Global marketer confidence dips

21 August 2014
LONDON: Confidence among global marketers dipped in August, according to the latest Warc Global Marketing Index (GMI), although optimism about trading conditions in Europe continued to strengthen.

The headline GMI figure, which assesses marketers' expectations in three main areas – trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels – was down 2.2 points from July to 54.4, and down 1.2 points on the same time last year. A reading of 50 indicates no change from the previous month, while a reading of 60 indicates rapid growth.

Warc's GMI is a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry which tracks conditions among marketers within their organisation and region.

While confidence was slipping in every region, it remained highest in Europe, at 56.0, down 1.2 points on the previous month. Larger declines in the headline index were recorded in the Americas, down 2.5 points to 55.2, and in Asia Pacific, down 3.3 points to 51.8.

Each region's decline was marked by a sharp movement in one of the component parts of the index. Thus, in the case of Europe increased optimism about trading conditions and budgets was more than offset by concerns about staffing levels.

After two months of declining positive sentiment about budgets, the Americas was likewise rebounding but was also less optimistic regarding staffing levels.

Nonetheless, in all these instances the relevant index remained above 50.0, indicating a generally positive feeling. Only in one case did an index fall below 50: in Asia Pacific the index for marketing budgets plunged 4.3 points to register 48.2, the first month of declining budgets in the region since September 2013.

This sudden decline was largely attributable to a tightening in budgeted spend on mobile.

"Despite a fall in headline indexes this month, industry consensus is that things remain on the up, with trading conditions in particular proving favourable for marketers in all regions," said James McDonald, Research Analyst at Warc.

Data sourced from Warc

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Young annoyed by poor retail service

21 August 2014
GLASGOW: Almost one third of UK consumers have become less loyal to retail brands in the past five years, with poor service the most commonly cited reason and younger consumers disproportionately affected according to a new survey.

KANA Software, a customer service specialist, surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and identified the need to repeat complaints to numerous different people within the same organisation as a particular bugbear.

Almost half of respondents (48%) said they had to repeat information during their last communication with a retailer. And while all age groups said this was a problem, it happened most frequently for customers under the age of 35 where one in 20 repeated themselves at least five times.

That need for repetition showed "poor management of customer data, channels and context, but more fundamentally a lack of ownership of the consumer's problem and lack of appreciation for their effort levels," according to Steven Thurlow, head of worldwide product strategy for KANA.

Only 30% of younger customers had their issue resolved after one interaction. By contrast, 64% of customers over the age of 65 did not have to repeat their complaint at all, feeling satisfied after first contact.

This disparity had a clear impact on loyalty: of those who felt less loyal to retail brands, 37% of 18-to-24-year-olds cited service as the key factor versus just 20% of those aged 65 and older.

"The younger generation has higher expectations of digital channels, collaborative and social communications and asks 'how hard can it be.' They won't take seriously an organisation that is unable to do the basics right, and these expectations are rising all the time," Thurlow said.

In the past six months, more than 10% of those surveyed had used at least five different customer channels to contact a retailer, emphasising the need for companies to be connected as well as customers.

"Without a true sense that different channels of communication are linked, people feel that they are wasting their time and, ultimately, this leads to an erosion of loyalty in the retail brand," Thurlow concluded.

That is also illustrative of a common failing in brands' relationship with consumers. Writing in Market Leader, Nichola Raihani of University College London, argued that too many businesses did not understand the need for reciprocity with consumers. Thus, even when a consumer knew they were at fault, in a long-standing relationship with a brand they would expect some leniency.


Data sourced from BusinessWire; additional content by Warc staff

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HDFC Bank is India's most valuable brand

21 August 2014
MUMBAI: HDFC Bank has been named India's most valuable brand in the first such ranking by BrandZ which is dominated at the top level by services companies.

The Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands, compiled by marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown in conjunction with WPP, assesses not just the financial worth of a brand but also takes account of consumers' opinions. It said that India had evolved into a "brand powerhouse", with these top 50 having as much Brand Power – defined as consumers' predisposition to choose that brand over another – as the global Top 50, while also being ahead of other emerging economies.

Despite that, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell said that "India is underbranded in our view – it's underadvertised", as he explained adspend constitutes a steady proportion of GDP in mature markets but is growing faster than the wider economy in emerging markets.

With a value of $9.4bn, HDFC Bank was the clear leader, ahead of wireless telecoms brand Airtel, in second place worth $8.2bn, and the county's largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, was third, worth $6.8bn.

Banks and telecoms brands took another four of the top ten places, including ICICI Bank, in fourth worth $3.5bn, telecoms business Idea in eighth worth $1.9bn, Kotak Mahindra Bank in ninth worth $1.7bn and Reliance Communications, another telecoms brand, in tenth worth $1.6bn.

Overall, services businesses such as these, including banking, telecoms and insurance, made up 30% of the top 50, with 12 banks and insurers accounting for 37% of their combined brand value of almost $70bn.

Two auto brands also made the top ten – Bajaj Auto, in sixth place worth $3.0bn, and Hero Motor Corp, in seventh worth $2.2bn. Asian Paints, in sixth spot and worth $2.8bn, rounded out the leading ten brands.

Across the top 50, brands from a total of 13 different categories featured, including 17 multi-national corporations, 26 private Indian brands and seven state-owned brands.

"Any global manufacturer that makes the effort to understand the diversity of the Indian consumer's needs, tastes and aspirations, and which can build a proposition that is both meaningful and appropriately differentiated, will succeed in building a strong brand," said Prasun Basu, Millward Brown's Managing Director – South Asia.

Another crucial aspect of the market was highlighted by David Roth, CEO of The Store, WPP. "With the second highest number of social networking users in the world, and the third highest number of users of mobile devices, developing an e-commerce strategy that focuses on social and mobile platforms is essential for brands in this region," he said.

Data sourced from BrandZ, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Most unpaid social gets no engagement

21 August 2014
NEW YORK: Almost all engagement with unpaid social media updates is focused on just 1% of posts, a new study has found.

SocialFlow, a social media optimisation platform, analysed 1.6m non-paid social media posts across Twitter, Facebook and Google+, for its report Data Drives Social Performance. These reached a total of 361m users and generated nearly 1.5 billion social actions, but 99% of the posts generated little to no engagement.

Even among the remaining 1%, most of the Likes, retweets, shares and comment came in the last 0.5%.

It was not a surprise that media and entertainment companies featured heavily in this top group, since their entire business is based around the dissemination of information and entertainment designed to engage consumers.

Marketers in other industry verticals could still achieve success, however, through the creation of more posts that were only modestly successful, the report suggested.

"The massive scale of the most successful 1% of posts makes everything else look small by comparison," Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow, told VentureBeat.

Anderson added that this was not really the issue. "To use a television analogy, most every show's ratings look weak if you compare them to the Super Bowl," he explained. "But that doesn't mean that everyone else should just give up on creating great programming – and the same is true with social."

The report argued that media and entertainment companies were best placed to utilise real-time marketing on social media and that other industries needed to consider using a data-driven approach to social publishing, rather than the scheduled posts that most currently employ.

Its findings showed that data-driven posts delivered 91% greater reach and 25% greater engagement than scheduled posts. This was partly because companies were able to publish more content and partly because they were able to better match posts to the type of content the audience was already engaging with.

Organic social publishing should be as data-driven as the rest of a business's marketing, the report concluded.

Data sourced from SocialFlow, VentureBeat; additional content by Warc staff

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Consumers warm to wearables

21 August 2014
CHICAGO, ILL: Wearable fitness devices are leading the US consumer charge into the internet of things, with over one fifth already owning one or planning a purchase by 2015.

According to the 2014 State of the Internet of Things Study, carried out by digital marketing agency Acquity Group, part of consulting firm Accenture, that figure will hit 43% within the next five years, making "fit-tech" devices a truly mass market product.

More than 2,000 consumers across the US were surveyed to gain insight into their preferences for and barriers against use of the internet of things (IoT). After fit-tech, the other areas expected to see the most take-up were smart thermostats, from a projected 13% adoption in 2015 to 43% in the next five years, and connected security systems, from 11% to 35% over the same period

Smart clothing and heads-up displays were expected to see the least overall adoption, with only a 3% projected adoption in the next year, and 14% and 16% in the next five years.

The survey also revealed that even self-identified "late adopters" were planning to take the plunge, not just tech enthusiasts. For example, 75% of consumers and 62% of late adopters said they would purchase a wearable device in the next five years; those figures fell to 42% and 24% respectively for purchases within the next two years.

Men were more likely than women to buy wearable technology in the coming five years – 53% against 45% – but women were more likely to already own a fit-tech device – 8% versus 7%.

"The growth of these devices will have a major impact on customer experience innovation across industries," said Jay Dettling, president of Acquity Group. "Adoption of IoT technologies can provide digital businesses high-quality brand engagement opportunities with customers and drive more revenues," he added.

An alternative view of where this market stands came from market intelligence business CCS Insight, which described the wearable tech market as being in the Stone Age.

"There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal," Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight director of forecasting, told Marketing Week. She added that the market could change "beyond recognition" if a player such as Apple entered.

"History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product," she said.

Data sourced from Accenture, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Phablet role challenged in Asia

21 August 2014
SINGAPORE: There are signs that the rise of the phablet in Asia may be short-lived as new data indicates a nascent trend to the use of tablets with cellular voice capabilities.

A year ago, International Data Corporation (IDC) was reporting that sales of phablets in the region had doubled and stood at the same level as tablets – devices with a screen size of seven inches or more – and laptops combined.

But it has now found that tablets which have voice calling built in are taking an increasing share of shipments to Asia Pacific (excluding Japan).

According to its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker report, some 13.8m tablets were shipped in the region in the second quarter of 2014. Of these, almost 25% included a voice calling option as standard. IDC said that this was equivalent to 60% growth on a year-on-year basis in unit terms for this category of tablets.

The surge in terms of both shipments and vendors since the beginning of this year, has been particularly noteworthy in some markets, including India and Indonesia, where shipments of voice-calling enabled tablets are approaching a 50% share.

The concept is not actually new, noted Avinash K. Sundaram, Senior Market Analyst IDC Asia/Pacific's Client Devices team, as earlier Samsung devices offered the option via a Bluetooth headset.

But he thought the shift being observed presaged a new development, as consumers in emerging markets were increasingly interested in having a single mobile device for all their needs, "be it watching movies and soap operas, taking pictures, texting or making calls, even if the device has a huge 7" screen on it".

That raised an image of users almost having to use two hands to hold a device to their face when making a call.

"It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets," Sundaram added.

That combination of addressing a need and offering a competitive price means that IDC believes this trend shift will continue to gain momentum.

A final point to note is that these devices are currently all Android-based. It remains to be seen whether devices based on other operating systems follow this route.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff

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UK bucks European FMCG trend

20 August 2014
LONDON: Volume sales of FMCG brands are rising in all major European markets except the UK according to new data which suggests that a reduction in promotions is having an effect.

Figures for the second quarter from the Nielsen Growth Reporter, reported by Marketing Week, showed the average European volume growth in FMCG sales was 1.6% year on year but that for the UK was -1.1%.

Germany and France registered the greatest volume growth, each at 2.0%, while Italy was on 1.8% and Spain on 0.9%.

Relative price inflation figures played a role as this was higher in the UK, at 2.3%, than in any other country. Only Germany, on 1.5%, came close to that; France was on 0.2%, Italy was flat and Spain recorded a decline in price inflation of -0.6%.

Overall, nominal FMCG sales value was growing at its slowest rate for five years in the UK, up just 1.2% year on year in the second quarter, well below the below the 3.8% average for the whole of Europe. Only Spain was lower, on 0.3%.

Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, Nielsen's European director of retail insights, attributed part of the increase to Easter. "While we estimate this calendar anomaly accounted for about 1% of extra volume sales," he said, "a 'normalised' view is that overall sales value is still up around a healthy 2.8% – which is more positive than it has been recently."

Another interpretation is that a move away by the giants of the FMCG sector, such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble, from price-led promotions in the UK is finally having an impact, albeit at the expense of volume sales.

Last year, Irwin Lee, P&G UK managing director said the thing that kept him awake at night was "the amount of value given away via ever deepening promotional offers".

"We believe promotions win quarters," he declared, "but true innovation wins decades."

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Publishers diverge on programmatic

20 August 2014
LONDON: UK publishers are taking widely differing approaches to programmatic advertising, as evidenced by the pronouncements from two different sources this week.

At the Daily Telegraph, senior executives felt the need to write to advertisers reassuring them of the newspaper's commitment to full transparency in this regard. While at magazine publisher Dennis Publishing, the company's head of digital sales warned of the risk that programmatic trading would lead to standard ad formats becoming "too commoditised".

The Drum revealed the contents of a letter from the Telegraph publisher's sales and trading director and its client director in which they addressed the concerns surrounding online ad fraud, including the viewing of ads by bots.

The new Telegraph Customer Charter, they explained, was a guarantee to all advertisers that its trading, whether programmatic-based or direct sales would be fully transparent and accountable and would deliver real readers.

Dennis Publishing, however, remains wedded to direct display advertising, which accounts for 70% of revenue; programmatic takes just 4% and native advertising the rest.

Gary Rayneau told The Drum that Dennis currently offered the option of programmatic trading only in conjunction with direct spend.

"I think it will become the default way of buying impressions if the focus is direct response … and I completely understand the legitimacy of programmatic from that perspective," he explained. For brand-led advertising, however, he felt that direct buying would continue to have a role.

But he added that if it came to the point where display advertising became too commoditised, "we'll get to the stage where we won't run standard formats and we will just run partnerships and native placements".

He pointed to the example of Buzzfeed, "the brand that everyone's talking about right now", which does not run display advertising.

"There are definitely plenty of other ways to make money in this market, you don't have to just run straightforward advertising, you don't have to be fully programmatic," he concluded.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff

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OTT ad views triple

20 August 2014
SAN MATEO, CA: Viewing of digital video ads on OTT devices in the US more than tripled in the year to June, but desktops and laptops continue to account for over three quarters of the total, research has shown.

The quarterly Video Monetization Report from FreeWheel highlighted a year-on-year growth of 236% for ad views on OTT devices, with consumers proving particularly keen to invest in streaming set-top boxes and dongles in order to watch online video.

But even with this stellar rate of growth, OTT devices still only accounted for 4% of the total. Ad views via smartphones grew 93% to take a 13% share, while tablets increased 26% to a 7% share.

Ad views on desktops and laptops declined only 1%, and with an overall 76% share these devices remain by far the most important for marketers.

FreeWheel said the US was lagging behind the UK, where "publishers have done a remarkable job at monetising content across devices". Some 40% of UK ad views came on smartphones, tablets or OTT devices in the second quarter.

It also remarked on the trend in the UK to long-form content, of 20 minutes or more: this accounted for 75% of ad views compared to 53% in the US. The respective figures for mid-form content (5 to 20 minutes) were 5% and 8%, and for short-from content (less than 5 minutes) 20% and 39%.

US publishers and video distributors might well look to the UK not only for hints on monetisation, the report suggested, but also for proof that future of digital video was likely to resemble linear TV.

In one sense that was already evident, as Freewheel noted that ad break lengths were getting longer and that more ads were being shown. An average of 2.7 ads in a 68 second break in Q2 2013 had increased to 3.7 ads in a 98 second break a year later.

Publishers were looking to emulate the viewing experience that consumers were most used to. "Viewers have proven receptive thus far," the report said, "acknowledging that TV is TV, regardless of screen."

Data sourced from Freewheel; additional content by Warc staff

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Mobile payments are inevitable

20 August 2014
PHILADELPHIA, PA: Mobile payments will be as unremarkable within ten years as credit card payments are today, according to two leading academics who warned retailers to heed the technology's increasing popularity among millennials.

Responding to the findings of a PwC study that suggested consumers were reluctant to store money in a mobile wallet because of concerns about security and privacy, Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein argued that this was simply another manifestation of people's "paranoia to things that are new".

Consumers were no longer worried about credit card companies knowing what they were buying for example. Similarly, restricting liability to $50 in the event of fraud had alleviated security worries.

"It's just a matter of people making an adjustment," Reibstein said. "I think 10 years from now, we'll look back at it and say, 'Hasn't this always been here?'"

His colleague John Zhang highlighted the take-up of mobile payment technology by millennials, who are using mobile wallets to transfer funds between friends and to store tickets for events.

"In fact, you can combine mobile payments with social networks," he said, with apps such as Venmo enabling peer-to-peer transfers – ideal for splitting the check in restaurants, for example.

For a demographic that has grown up with social media, this is quite natural behaviour. Bloomberg even remarked on how, among the younger age group, Venmo was on the way to becoming a verb – 'venmo me' – in the same way that people talk of 'googling' or 'tweeting'.

While consumers generally have been slow to adopt the mobile wallet – partly because of engrained habits, partly because of the confusion of proprietary technologies available and partly because of security – consulting firm Accenture said that it could "mend the seams of consumers' disjointed omni-channel experiences".

And with millennials already embracing the technology, the only choice retailers face is effectively one of timing – when do they step up to the plate and offer the service.

As Zhang pointed out: "If you don't [accept mobile payments], you're going to be passé. You're going to lose lots of your [future] customers."

Data sourced from Knowledgte@Wharton, Bloomberg, Accenture; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian ad outlook positive

20 August 2014
MUMBAI: The outlook for India's advertising expenditure is bright following some uncertainty at the start of the year ahead of a general election, a leading industry figure has said.

In its latest This Year, Next Year report, GroupM, the media management investment operation of WPP, revised upwards its predictions for growth in India, from 11.6% to 12.5%, the Economic Times reported.

"After a cautious start to the year, the overall sentiment in the country is positive following the general elections and a new stable government," according to CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia.

In particular, he anticipated that the retail sector would contribute strongly to this trend. "With FDI in multi-brand retail taking a backseat, the market will see a surge of local players in this sector," he said, "specifically e-commerce players that are investing heavily in above-the-line advertising along with digital media."

Other sectors expected to register a growth in adspend included FMCG, auto, telecom and banking, financial services and insurance.

Digital media is projected to show the greatest increase, at 35% year on year. TV advertising expenditure has also been revised upwards, from 12% to 14.8%, as a proliferating number of channels accompanies the ongoing digitisation of the nation's broadcasting network.

In the print medium, regional publications and local advertisers are forecast to lead the growth for dailies. Government spending and retail will also continue to increase spending in print.

Not everyone was convinced by GroupM's figures, however, as the chief executive of one broadcast company noted that, despite the optimistic sentiments, advertisers were being cautious.

"Most of them are yet to increase advertising spends," he said. "We will know the real advertiser sentiment in the upcoming festival season," he added.

Warc's International Ad Forecast, released in June, put all media adspend growth in India at 14.0% this year, slowing to 13.5% in 2015. Digital will see the largest growth in 2014, at 36.8%, while TV is forecast to record growth of 13.7%.


Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Samsung is Malaysia's top brand

20 August 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: Consumer tech companies dominate the upper echelons of Malaysia's top brand rankings with Samsung, Sony and Apple occupying the first three spots, according to a new study.

The list of top 100 Malaysian brands, part of a wider Asian survey compiled by Campaign in association with Nielsen, is based on consumer attitudes to brands in terms of trust and reputation.

Panasonic and Canon were two more consumer tech companies appearing in the top ten, in fifth and sixth places respectively.

Food and beverage businesses also featured prominently, with Nestlé in fourth, 100 Plus, an isotonic drink, in seventh and seasonings brand Maggi in ninth. Air Asia (8th) and Nike (10th) rounded out the top ten.

Campaign Asia-Pacific highlighted the often contradictory nature of consumers in that diverse country, where a largely young, multi-ethnic population is ready to embrace meritocracy and modern commerce and ideas while an older tradition looks to religion, family and connections.

The most successful brands, according to Milan Agnihotri, chief catalyst for creative strategy and innovations at Leo Burnett, are those that can understand a 'Malaysian' way of life rather than skewing their appeal towards any particular ethnic group.

"Malaysians always relate to brands that are able to demonstrate a clear purpose beyond profits," he said.

He cited Petronas (ranked 47th) as an example of this. The company, he said, had "defined its role to support nation building by promoting social cohesion". To that end it had developed an approach centred on festive communications which showcased human stories and highlighted social issues.

This was now "the benchmark in festival advertising in Malaysia and part of people's everyday conversations," said Agnihotri.

Other strategies he highlighted included treating Malaysians as people rather than consumers – "brands are incidental in people's lives and at best can play enabler" – and encouraging participation – whether that was for a simple smartphone game to save a melting ice-cream (McDonald's, 32nd) or using sports personalities to get people to take more physical exercise (100 Plus).

Ultimately, it was about building relevance and emotional equity, he advised.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff

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CMO confidence is high

19 August 2014
SAN JOSE, CA: A majority of senior global marketers are confident they can drive growth and improve market share, according to a new study which also shows widespread optimism regarding staff levels and budgets.

The CMO Council surveyed 525 global marketers for its State of Marketing report and found that a "surprising" 81% believed their targets for top-line revenue growth and market share in 2014 were realistic and attainable.

Having said that, however, only one quarter (26%) were halfway to achieving those goals.

Twice as many top marketers expected to increase budgets and headcounts as expected them to remain the same or reduce. Some 55% planned to increase recruitment, for example, while just 22% were contemplating reductions.

And a similar proportion (54%) anticipated budget increases, compared to 27% who thought they would remain unchanged. But whatever the outcome, many felt it still wasn't enough – 41% reported feeling challenged by insufficient budgets.

Marketing Week highlighted a significant change in the allocation of spending, as just over half (52%) planned either no change or a decrease to their mobile marketing budgets.

Liz Miller, senior vice president at the CMO Council, suggested that an "excited spending spree" was giving way to a more sober period of reassessment.

"Everyone raced out to try and develop their own app before realising that mobile's power is in the mobile web, banners and search," she said. "Now they are trying to figure out their strategy again."

"This is a positive thing," she added. "Marketers are redefining what they mean by mobile."

Another area where senior marketers are reassessing their options is their agencies. Despite the fact that 63% rated the contributions of their agency partners as extremely valuable or pretty good, 66% were planning to make one or more changes to their agency roster in 2014.

Lack of business results, value-added thinking and uninspired creative topped the list of reasons for these changes.

Data sourced from CMO Council, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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UK at app saturation

19 August 2014
LONDON: The UK app market has reached saturation level, with average monthly downloads having fallen significantly during 2014, according to a new report.

Deloitte, the business consultancy firm, said that among those consumers who downloaded apps, the average monthly number of such downloads had decreased from 2.32 last year to 1.82 this year.

At the same time, the proportion of smartphone and tablet owners who never downloaded any apps was increasing, from less than 20% to 31%.

"We are reaching a limit in the UK in the volume of app store downloads," claimed Paul Lee, analyst at Deloitte.

"Each additional new smartphone [owner] has less inclination to download apps, either out of apathy or, at a more global level, affordability," he explained to the Financial Times.

And in any case, in a mature market many consumers already have all the apps they want to use. "Ironically the better that apps get the longer people will keep them meaning people feel less inclined to look for new apps," he said.

The overall size of the app market is not decreasing, however, as Lee noted a rise in the number of "casual users" using fewer apps within a larger smartphone market.

But with nearly 90% of smartphone users claiming never to spend money on apps, or any other smartphone content for that matter, the FT observed that this "will raise questions about the size and profitability of the mobile market for games makers and other producers of mobile media".

Another factor which may be at work was highlighted earlier this year in Deloitte's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions for 2014 which suggested that 2014 would see a significant increase (25%) in smartphone penetration among the over-55s, taking it to around 50%. But this age group tends not to make full use of the device's capabilities, with many continuing to use it like a feature phone.

A separate survey earlier this month by price comparison site uSwitch.com found that apps were a primary concern for only one in ten UK consumers choosing a smartphone – most were more interested in functionality, reliability and good design.


Data sourced from Financial Times, Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff

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Tech sector is mostly mobile

19 August 2014
LONDON: Despite the onward advance of mobile, a significant minority of the UK's leading tech and telecoms brands have yet to develop a mobile-optimised website, according to new research.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, a trade association for digital advertising, carried out a an audit in July 2014 across the top 50 technology and telecom brands spending the most on advertising in the UK in order to gauge their uptake across the mobile channel.

Among the KPIs checked were whether the brand had a mobile friendly site (including separate mobile site and responsive web design), a tablet-specific site, if they had optimised their search for mobile, and whether they had an app.

It found that, while 76% of those surveyed had a mobile-optimised site, 6% had no mobile presence whatsoever.

The audit further revealed that 62% of the technology and telecom brands had a mobile site and an app. Fully 80% of the brands had an app, with brands favouring developing for the Google Play store over the Apple App Store, with 72% citing the Google Play mobile app and 58% the App Store.

Some 38% of the brands were optimising their paid search for mobile, with 47% of those optimising their search including a click to call in the ad creative.

The research also showed that some brands performed well across all of the mobile KPIs. For example, O2, Sky, EE, Three, ADT and HP all had a mobile friendly site, and a mobile and tablet app.

"The IAB's mantra this year is to make mobile mandatory," declared Alex Kozloff, IAB UK's Head of Mobile, as he explained the audit formed part of a series of sector-specific audits – which so far include mobile finance, FMCG, travel and retail – aimed at "encouraging brands to get to grips with mobile".

"It's no longer OK to ignore mobile," he said. "If you're looking at engaging, selling or even driving awareness for your brand amongst your consumers, then you need to be embracing this medium."

Data sourced from IAB (UK); additional content by Warc staff

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Personalisation brings challenges

19 August 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: Most marketers use personalisation and say this has an effect on customer loyalty, but they sometimes struggle to meet consumer expectations and to handle the volume of data involved, a new report has said.

Refresh Your Approach to 1:1 Marketing, a study for ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, the digital marketing platform from Salesforce, was based on research by Forrester Consulting among 121 American digital marketers.

This found that 86% used personalisation and targeting based on broad segmentation and simple clustering, while 84% reported that personalisation impacted customer retention and loyalty.

Several issues cropped up when considering the use of personalisation, however, with almost half of digital marketers (48%) saying it was a challenge to personalise every customer interaction.

Further, 42% cited the difficulties of meeting the expectations of always-connected customers, while a similar proportion were concerned about analysing a constant flow of customer interaction data.

"The ability to deliver personalised customer experiences and contextual, unique offers is essential to retaining and converting customers to brand advocates," the study said.

"But the expectations of empowered, connected consumers make this easier said than done. They have instantaneous access to information across multiple devices and want to interact with brands on their terms – across channels and whenever they want."

Another aspect was highlighted in a recent issue of Market Leader, where Martin Hayward, head of global digital strategy at loyalty management firm Aimia, warned that the possibilities offered by digitisation could either be deployed to provide long-term benefit for brands and customer relationships "or, as normally seems to happen … for – ultimately destructive – short-term promotional activity".

The ExactTarget report highlighted four key predictive and data analytic tools where marketers planned to increase investment to overcome the various challenges, including site optimisation tools (58%), real-time interaction management (52%), predictive algorithms (51%) and guided selling (51%).

"The future of marketing is the customer journey," said Woodson Martin, CMO, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. "Today's hyper-connected consumer requires companies to create personalised experiences and deliver value at each touch point to increase brand loyalty and drive sales."

"Marketers need to be empowered to use data to drive these 1:1 journeys and experiences with their customers," he added.

Data sourced from ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Marketing Leader; additional content by Warc staff

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Smartphone sales up sharply in India

19 August 2014
NEW DELHI: India's smartphone market continues to grow rapidly as low price models attract new consumers and accelerate the migration from feature phones.

Latest figures from market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) show that the smartphone market grew by 84% year-on-year during the second quarter, rising from just over 10m to 18.4m.

Most of this growth came in the sub-$200 category, which contributed 81% of the total. IDC noted that the low-end segment was set to grow even faster thanks to an influx of Chinese vendors and Mozilla's plans to enter the smartphone category at the $50 level.

Currently, feature phones account for 71% of volume sales and the speed of the shift towards smartphones is evident from the change in just one year – feature phones took 84% of sales in the second quarter of 2013.

Prime minister Narendra Modi will likely have given the sector a boost with a declaration in his Independence Day speech that digitisation of the country needed to become a reality and one that empowered every citizen.

"Digital India is not an elite concept anymore," he stated. "We have to take broadband connectivity to every village. We have to use this idea to revolutionise health and education."

IDC anticipated high growth in the smartphone market in the coming quarters due to the festive season and projected consumer buying rates. Kiran Kumar Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, forecast that the smartphone market would more than double between now and 2018.

"The user expectations are simple i.e. best-in-class user experience at affordable prices," he said.

Samsung is the market leader, with a 29% share, followed by several Indian brands – including Micromax (18%), Karbonn (8%) and Lava (6%) –which are targeting entry-level price points.

"These devices are not equipped with high end specifications and RAM is typically 256 MB," said Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst at IDC India. "This ultra low cost segment may not sound a viable option to the repeat buyers, but it works well on the targeted segment."

Data sourced from IDC, BBC; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands neglect online reviews in China

19 August 2014
SHANGHAI: Customer reviews are an important aspect of Chinese ecommerce platforms that foreign brands often overlook and fail to integrate into their digital presence, according to a leading consultancy.

Brand consultancy Labbrand noted that around eight in ten Chinese online consumers rated and reviewed products and checked out the online comments of others before making any purchases.

"Reviews are not an option," it stated. In its experience, reviews consistently ranked as "one of the most important sources of information in the customer journey and the most important feature that Chinese customers expect brands to provide". This held true whatever the sector, whatever the category.

One reason for this is that China is essentially a "low trust society" where consumers tend not to assume things like product quality and safety. "They are amongst the world's most skeptical and least loyal consumers," said Labbrand, "and require extensive proof of quality and reliability before any major purchase."

That, along with the fact that many brands in the Chinese market tend to be essentially commodity items, means that reviews can act as one of the few differentiators between brands.

Online shopping site Taobao was among the first to integrate user reviews into product search rankings and to feature them prominently on product pages, since when all Chinese e-commerce platforms have done so.

Labbrand also recommended profiling and ranking reviewers to make them more useful to readers. So, for example, "reviewers on a furniture ecommerce site can be profiled based on the size of their household and the type of apartment they inhabit".

It added that while Chinese consumers were rarely reticent in talking about their experiences of a brand, "a little nudging is sometimes needed". So rewards – loyalty points, discounts, access to exclusive branded content – could help ensure a steady stream of quality reviews.

Another way of building trust was to let users themselves upload pictures of the products they had bought, so reassuring potential buyers that product quality and appearance is consistent with the pictures featured on the website. "We believe that it should be standard for all brands looking to sell anything online in China," declared Labbrands.

Data sourced from Labbrands; additional content by Warc staff

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Global adspend back to pre-crisis levels

18 August 2014
NEW YORK/LONDON: Next year global advertising expenditure will finally surpass the peak seen before the global financial crisis, although this recovery is patchy with some markets remaining well below the 2007 level, a new study has said.

In its This Year, Next Year report, GroupM, the media management investment operation of WPP, forecast that global adspend would increase 4.5% in 2014 to reach $534bn, and 5.0% in 2015 to hit $560bn.

This progress is not spread evenly, however, as just 17 markets will account for 93% of expected ad growth this year. The US leads the way with an expected additional $162bn of spending, followed by China, adding $76bn. Other countries contributing include Nigeria, Kenya and Vietnam.

Of China, report editor Adam Smith observed that the consumer economy was continuing to grow. "This, plus intensive digitisation of advertising, keeps China ad investment rising at or near double-digits, with no large print legacy to correct," he said.

The Western Europe outlook, however, was less bright. In the eurozone area, which accounts for 73% of the regional economy, adspend was still 20% below the 2007 peak; amongst those countries hardest hit by the crisis – Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal – it was 47% below the peak.

The report noted that Western Europe also had the world's most print-heavy advertising, although the downward trajectory of adspend in this medium was slowing from double digits to single digits.

And, according to Smith, Western Europe is also the most-digitised ad region in the world, "though this may finally be maturing to judge by digital ad investment growth slowing from double- to high-single digits in 2014 and 2015".

In Asia, GroupM warned that the political and economic challenges being faced in several countries – and it highlighted Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam – meant that ad growth in the Southeast Asia region would slip from double-digit growth to mid-single.

The fastest-growing markets were expected to include India, Brazil and Russia, although GroupM warned that its Russia forecast – already reduced from 10% to 6% – was dependent on the situation in Ukraine remaining stable.

Data sourced from GroupM; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands ditch mobile banner ads

18 August 2014
LONDON: Banner ads now account for just 4% of mobile ads run by entertainment brands as they turn to video and rich media formats to take advantage of people's increasing video consumption on smartphones, according to a new report.

Mobile video advertising company Vdopia analysed entertainment mobile ad campaigns viewed by 23m people in the UK over a year-long period and found the number of mobile ad campaigns run by entertainment brands through Vdopia's technology increased by 46%, making it the highest spending sector on mobile ad campaigns.

At the same time, the share of banner ads dropped from 14% to 4% in just six months. Video and rich media formats now account for 96%.

"The mobile ad landscape transformation from static banners to more engaging and interactive video and rich media formats is astonishing," said Farzad Jamal, Vdopia's European vice president.

But he was not surprised to see entertainment brands leading the change, pointing out that 23m Britons viewed entertainment content via smartphones and were over 40% more likely to recall ads than the average smartphone owner. Further, the entertainment sector accounts for 15% of UK smartphone app time, according to Nielsen figures, behind only social and games.

Vdopia's report also revealed that mobile advertisers may be misdirecting their investment into longer video formats as shorter ones are actually more effective.

Its Video Performance Index (VPI) – a measure of the effectiveness of video ads by completion and click through rates – showed that ten second ads were 65% more effective than the average video ad but attracted just 3% of mobile video adspend. Longer ads – of 20 seconds and 30 seconds – accounted for nearly three-quarters of entertainment brands' mobile video ad spend but were 27% and 13% less effective, respectively, than the average.

"You'd expect shorter ads to have a higher completion rate but, generally, the shorter the ad the more likely people are to engage with it – ten second ads are twice as effective as 20 second ones," Jamal said.

He suspected that the reason for budgets being allocated to longer ads was that marketers were simply re-purposing TV ads for mobile. This, he said, was "a viable solution if the ad can be shortened by removing any secondary messaging and adding an interactivity element".

"Even for a mobile-dedicated video ad, keeping the length short should prove to be a winning strategy for marketers," he concluded.

Data sourced from Vdopia; additional content by Warc staff

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Boost for digital magazines

18 August 2014
LONDON: The circulation of digital magazine editions rose by 26% in the year to June 2014, helped by growing sales of tablets, but they remain a very small proportion of overall sales.

The latest circulation figures published by ABC show that 44% of all audited magazine titles now have digital editions and while sales are growing, the rate of growth has more than halved, partly because of a slowdown in the rate at which publishers are introducing digital editions.

Nonetheless, Barry McIlheney, CEO of the Professional Publishers Association described the increase as "encouraging" and reminded observers that the ABC report "does not include the increasing number of other ways – websites, live events, social media etc – in which the magazine brands of today engage directly with their consumers".

Marketing Week noted that digital sales now made up just 2.9% of total magazine circulation and that print circulation figures were falling faster than a year ago, at 3.8% compared to 1.9% in 2012-13; digital sales were not offsetting this decline.

The scale of the figures involved is apparent when considering that the greatest increase in digital sales came at current affairs magazine The Economist, up 72% to 21,780, within an overall average circulation figure of 223,730.

McIlheney suggested that a growing demand for digital content was putting pressure on print magazines in some markets but argued that there was a "continued robustness of print for certain brands, in certain markets, and among certain demographics".

Modern magazine brands, he said, were extending their cross-platform audience reach and growing their influence as a key platform for advertisers. And he expected that the launch of a consumer magazine media marketing agency later this year would further those trends.

Data sourced from PPA, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Facebook is best for small businesses

18 August 2014
NEW YORK: Facebook is by far the most effective social media platform for driving offline sales for small businesses, according to a new report.

Digital marketing company G/O Digital surveyed 1,000 US users aged 18 to 29 for a study on Facebook advertising and found that 84% of respondents said local deals or offers on that site were a major influence on their purchasing decisions. Further, 25% said "it's very important and I would be likely to make an in-store purchase within a week".

Facebook offers that could be redeemed at a local store were by far the most persuasive marketing tactic. Some 40% cited this as being most likely to influence them to make an in-store purchase at a local or small business.

Promoted Posts were effective for 12% and photos/videos for 11%, while loyalty app promotions gained a 10% response.

Facebook was also way out in front when respondents were asked which social media channel they found most useful for researching products or services before visiting a local business. Fully 62% opted for Facebook, with Pinterest (12%), Twitter (11%) and Instagram (9%) trailing in its wake.

"The most bang-for-your-buck way for many small businesses to drive in-store activity and sales through social marketing in the short term is going to be Facebook," Jeff Fagel, G/O Digital CMO, told ClickZ.

"Pinterest and Twitter should definitely have a place in their larger social marketing strategy, but will serve different purposes and support different objectives," he added.

Amid the ongoing debate about privacy, and recent revelations surrounding Facebook's manipulation of news feeds, G/O Digital's research suggested that local relevance and personalisation might be more important for users.

It found that just over one third (36%) of respondents felt that "ads that are targeted based on your personal interests and past purchases" were most likely to influence them to interact with Facebook ads from small businesses. More than one quarter considered "ads that are targeted based on current location" to be most influential.

"It's all about relevancy," Fagel declared. "For example, if you offer me $2 off a hot dog at a baseball game, I won't mind having my mobile viewing experience interrupted by this ad, because it's solving an immediate, relevant need that I have: feeding my hunger and giving me a discount at the same time."

Data sourced from ClickZ; additional content by Warc staff

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Fashion brands seek China foothold

18 August 2014
BEIJING: Many Western fashion brands seeking to enter the Chinese market are opting for a digital first strategy, but some may still require brick-and-mortar outlets to succeed.

Topshop and Miss Selfridge, two well-known fast fashion brands from the UK, have recently joined the growing ranks of foreign brands jostling for a position in this competitive market, opting to launch on fashion retail site ShangPin.com.

"Putting Topshop on ShangPin.com is quite sensible," Richard McKenzie, director of OC&C Strategy Consultants, in Hong Kong, told the Financial Times, as it then becomes associated with more upmarket brands.

At the same time, however, he thought the small size of the site – it has around 5m customers but claims they are amongst China's most fashionable – meant that "potential in the long run is relatively limited".

Other fashion brands, such as Asos, have chosen to establish themselves with an online store on the much larger Tmall site, which claims 250m customers over the past 12 months. This brings its own set of problems, however, as it is no simple matter to achieve visibility.

"It's difficult to build a brand that way online," McKenzie said. "It's like having only one small shop in the world's largest shopping mall."

Ultimately brands like Topshop and Miss Selfridge may have to invest in physical stores to gain traction. As McKenzie noted: "There are so many fashion brands in China that you need to find a way to stand out, and having a good-looking store is one way to do that."

For Chinese shoppers, price is the main reason for shopping online rather than in-store, but many still like to see and feel goods before buying them according to a PwC report, China's Surprising Shoppers.

The report said that 43% shopped weekly and 35% monthly in stores, with two thirds (68%) wanting to see, touch or try the merchandise.

PwC also noted how consumers generally, but Chinese consumers especially, were making less distinction between manufacturers and retailers. While 22% of global consumers had not bought directly from a brand online, just 6% of Chinese consumers had not.

This trend was most marked in the clothing and footwear category, where 68% of Chinese shoppers had bought directly from brands online, compared to 51% of global shoppers.


Data sourced from Financial Times, PwC: additional content by Warc staff

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Malaysian economy buoyant

18 August 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter, although the tourism sector has been affected by the loss of two Malaysia Airline planes in recent months.

New data show that the economy grew 6.4% in the second quarter, with consumer spending remaining buoyant. But with household debt in excess of 86%, Bank Negara, the central bank, may increase interest rates again in a move to curb this.

Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz told a news conference that the bank's efforts to curb consumer debt were working as intended – interest rates were increased from 3.0% to 3.25% in July – and noted a "moderation" in household debt.

The tourism sector, traditionally one of Malaysia's strong suits, has been affected by the so-far unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 en route to Beijing, with arrivals from China slumping. The loss of a second plane, shot down over Ukraine, has only added to the turmoil.

The airline itself is planning to delist from the stock exchange prior to a major restructuring and rebranding exercise, a strategy that some observers have questioned.

"A rebrand is not the answer," according to Natalie Cowen, head of marketing at train company East Coast. "Malaysia Airlines doesn't have anything to hide so from a brand perspective it needs to focus on reassuring people that it is dealing with the situation and doing whatever it can," she told Marketing Week.

The speed at which the airline had arrived at its decision was a concern for Rebecca Gudgeon, senior member of the Public Relations Consultants Association and managing director of corporate and financial at Grayling.

"Trying to distance itself from the situation too quickly is almost like denying it happened and that for a brand carries inherent risks," she said.

"A brand can almost stand as a memorial for people who have died and I think moving on too fast and trying to disassociate itself from its old identity could be misconstrued as it wanting to disassociate from any responsibility, and that doesn't bode well for the organisation's values."

Data sourced from The Malaysian Insider, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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China ahead on mobile investment

15 August 2014
BEIJING: Chinese advertisers are ahead of their global counterparts when it comes to investing in mobile, with a significant number having already integrated it into their overall marketing strategy, a new survey has said.

The World Federation of Advertisers polled 21 leading Chinese advertisers spending RMB 25bn ($5.7bn) annually on communication and found that 20% claimed mobile had been a key priority for some time and that the channel was already well integrated into an overall marketing plan. A further 35% claimed to have a strategic vision for mobile.

These results contrasted with a separate global survey conducted by the WFA involving 23 companies spending an estimated $39bn annually, which showed that just 4% of respondents had successfully integrated mobile into their marketing plan, although 57% said a strategic vision for the channel had been developed.

The disparity continued when considering the weighted average of mobile spend: 11% of interactive budgets in China were spent on mobile, with some respondents devoting up to 40% to mobile.

Global advertisers, however, were spending just 6% of digital budgets on mobile and none was allocating more than 20% here.

This gap between the global picture and the Chinese market is only likely to get bigger, as the WFA reported that all respondents in China planned to increase their mobile spend in the next 12 months. Fully 72% intended to make a large increase, compared with the 54% of global advertisers who had similar plans.

The WFA pointed to the different ways that mobile was being utilised and the different marketing aims as possible reasons for the discrepancy. For example, in China the top use of mobile in the last year has been QR codes (84%), while the global community has focused on paid search and mobile display (both 88%).

And global respondents were also more likely to invest in mobile video (used by 83% in the last year) and social media mobile advertising (79%) than their Chinese counterparts who are putting more emphasis on mobile social content or engagement (68%).

The two sides found more common ground in the issue of measuring the impact of mobile and comparing it with other channels, the difficulty of which was mentioned by 67% in China and 50% globally.

David Porter, Media Director North Asia, Unilever and WFA member applauded "the increasing energy with which industry bodies in China are addressing these issues".

Data sourced from WFA; additional content by Warc staff

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Seismic shift in MEA online adspend

15 August 2014
DUBAI: Online adspend in the Middle East and Africa is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27% over the next five years according to a new forecast which says the region's advertising is undergoing a "seismic shift".

A report from IDC, New Media Market: Internet Advertising Spending in Middle East and Africa in 2013 and 2014–2018 Forecast, attributes this dynamism to rising internet penetration and the growing economic affluence of the region's consumer base.

Rising disposable incomes have meant that consumers are better able to purchase mobile devices, while falling data tariffs encourage more internet use. That in turn attracts more advertisers targeting these consumers.

In particular, the growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises in these markets are expected to take advantage of the low-priced advertising options now available – such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads – that allow them to target customers more cost-effectively than via traditional media.

"In this sense, the Internet has 'democraticized' advertising, as it is no longer absolutely necessary for businesses to have huge funds at their disposal in order to hire expensive advertising agencies or marketing firms," said Sony John, program manager for telecommunications and media at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

He added that there had been "some cannibalisation of traditional media advertising, particularly print, [but] the widening participation of smaller organisations in the advertising space has more than made up for it."

IDC expected that mobile search and mobile display would be the fastest growing advertising formats, with CAGRs in excess of 50%, while online display and online search would continue to attract the highest levels of spending.

John thought there was scope to educate businesses and drive even greater growth. "There remains an overall lack of clarity among organizations around the different internet advertising options that are available to them," he said.

"Ad publishers can help drive this growing phenomenon even further by investing more in generating awareness of the different advertising possibilities that are available online, particularly in relation to the flexible pricing and payment options that can be tailored to meet an organisation's specific budget and needs."

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff

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FMCG slowdown bites in UK

15 August 2014
BRACKNELL: The FMCG market in the UK is experiencing its most significant decline in seventy years a new report has claimed.

The UK Topline Retail Trends report from market and shopper intelligence firm IRI said that in the first half of 2014 sales of FCMG products across all of the UK's major supermarkets were down in volume by -3.2% and in value by -1.2%. This was lower than the same period in 2013 and was, said IRI, "almost certainly unprecedented, despite recent declines in food price inflation".

Tim Eales, strategic director of insight at IRI, observed that wages were rising more slowly than prices and that consumers were finding it hard to keep within their budgets.

"They are cutting back on how much they buy from the major supermarkets, some moving instead to the discount shops, buying lower priced alternatives or simply making do with less," he said. "This is having an unprecedented effect on sales from the UK's major supermarkets."

The price-cutting strategies of the leading supermarkets – an attempt to ward off the challenge from discounters – do not appear to be helping them. IRI reported that its average shopping basket price had fallen just 0.5% in the past 8 weeks which equates to just 54 pence a week for the average family spending £500 a month on groceries.

"The retailers' price war is saving families close to nothing," said Eales. "It's going to be increasingly difficult for supermarkets to find paths to growth during the next few years unless they think differently. Optimisation of price levels and range assortment as well as focusing on the shopper's experience will all be critical."

IRI estimated that trading down cost the grocery industry over £800m in 2013 and expected this would be significantly more by the end of 2014. It also noted that more than half of the UK's shopping was bought on promotion "at a huge cost to manufacturers".

Volume sales in the confectionery and personal care categories fell -2.4% and -2.2% respectively, despite these sectors being the most promoted of all FMCG categories. But other categories fared worse: ambient food/hot drinks fell -5.0%, frozen foods -4.1% and chilled foods -3.6%.

Wines and spirits volume dropped by -2.5%, but warm weather and the World Cup helped boost sales of beer, lager and cider, which grew by +6.8%.

Data sourced from IRI; additional content by Warc staff

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AT&T quantifies role of WOM

15 August 2014
DALLAS: Word of mouth is among the top two sales drivers for AT&T, explaining one out of every ten purchases that US shoppers make from the telecoms giant.

Greg Pharo, director/market research and analysis at AT&T Mobility – a unit of AT&T Inc. which provides wireless services to over 116m people – discussed this theme on a webinar held by The Keller Fay Group.

More specifically, he spoke about an in-depth study undertaken by the company into the sales impact of the brand-related conversations taking place between consumers, covering both the online and offline worlds.

"We saw that word of mouth explained over 10% of our sales volume through positive comments, and over 10% of the lost or unrealised sales volume due to negative comments," he said. (For more, including details of how the firm determined the role of WOM, read Warc's exclusive report: How AT&T quantified word of mouth.)

"In others words, we saw that it was one of the most compelling, one of the strongest, elements of our marketing mix."

Research firm Kantar Media has reported that AT&T was the third-biggest advertiser in the US in 2013, behind Procter & Gamble and General Motors, and spending just under $1.8bn on measured media during the year.

And the analysis conducted by Pharo's team suggested that such investments still wielded the greatest overall influence on sales.

"Now, paid media remains our number one sales driver: it contributes, for us, about 30% of our sales," he said.

"But, I'll tell you, word of mouth is a very close second: it is essentially paid media, and then earned media through word of mouth being our two big, impactful drivers of sales."

Increasingly, Pharo continued, these two areas are coming together as part of AT&T's ad strategy – as shown by the celebrated "It's Not Complicated" campaign, where a group of kids extol the virtues of the firm's network.

"One of the things that we have realised from this is that if we really want to maximise the impact of our advertising, we need to be able to make it buzz-worthy," he said.

"We need to be able to make it worthy of conversation."

Data sourced from Warc

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Marketing is the beer brand

15 August 2014
NEW YORK: The brand loyalty of beer drinkers has little to do with product taste and everything to do with how their preferred tipple is promoted according to new research.

The American Association of Wine Economists diverted from its more usual investigations into wines to carry out a simple "triangle test", asking 138 volunteers to blind-taste three beer samples, two of which were the same, and to identify the odd one.

The testers chose three widely available mass-market European lagers – Budvar (Czechvar in the US), Heineken and Stella Artois – and found that drinkers were unable to distinguish between them. Overall, the results showed little difference from random guesses: if the subjects could not choose the singleton at a rate above chance (33%) then the inference was that there was no perceived difference between the three samples.

"Brand loyalty in this market is likely to be driven largely by marketing and packaging, and not by the underlying sensory properties of the competing products," the testers concluded.

The report authors noted the huge amounts spent on advertising – more than $1bn each annually by Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller – and described beer brands as "identity brands", where consumers associated themselves with factors such as the brand image projected in advertisements, packaging aesthetics, the social influence of peers and, in the case of the European lagers, the country of origin.

In a normal drinking environment, brand cues help to "shape the sensory experience of consumption on a fundamental level", the authors stated.

"I think basically what we're looking at is a commodity industry – the products are interchangeable," Robin Goldstein, co-author of the study, Hide the Label, Hide the Difference, said in remarks reported by The Drum.

"They have a good product, a good manufacturing method and it can be sold at a good price. So if you're in a bar and they don't have the lager you usually drink, have another one. They will taste pretty much the same."

Data sourced from AAWE, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff

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Back to school for US retailers

15 August 2014
BOSTON: Two thirds of US retailers risk missing out on the back-to-school shopping season by failing to exploit loyalty programs, it has been claimed.

An update from Merchant Warehouse, a provider of payment technologies, said that just 34% of retailers were expecting to leverage a loyalty or rewards program during the current back-to-school shopping season, despite this being the second largest shopping season in the US after the winter holiday, worth $76.9bn.

Figures from the National Retail Federation show that the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669 this year, up 5% from last year for a total of $26.5bn, while college students and their parents will spend an average $916, up 10% for a total of $48.4 billion.

Merchant Warehouse reported the finding that 85% of back-to-school shoppers return to the same stores every year but said 91% would shop elsewhere if a store offered a promotion or reward.

While 72% of back-to-school shoppers are already in loyalty programs with their favourite retailers, 66% indicated they would sign up for a retailer loyalty program during back-to-school shopping if offered a discount at the checkout. And for most (53%) price is a determining factor in where they shop.

In addition to driving increased sales during the shopping season, Merchant Warehouse suggested that retailers implementing effective programs could expect to reap additional rewards in the months ahead as loyalty programs were capable of increasing a brand's market share by 20% and improving customer acquisition by up to 10%.

Among those retailers already executing loyalty campaigns targeting back-to-school shoppers, social media emerged as the most popular method, cited by 21%. Paper coupons were favoured by 14% and plastic loyalty cards by 13%, while mobile apps (9%) have yet to make significant inroads.

When consumers were asked their preferred method of getting rewards when shopping for back-to-school items, 49% chose to receive these rewards through social media.

Data sourced from Merchant Warehouse, NRF; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands target Independence Day

15 August 2014
NEW DELHI: India's Independence Day is attracting a host of promotions, as brands and services seek to grab consumers' attention during what is expected to be a major shopping weekend.

A relatively recent phenomenon, the Independence Day sales now sit alongside Republic Day and Diwali as a key period for retailers. According to The Hindu, hypermarkets which normally see 1,500-3,000 customers a day can see up to 6,000 on sale days, while individual's spending rises from Rs 600-1,000 to Rs 1,500-4,000.

Banks and retailers, both physical and digital, have linked up with a range of cash-back offers, while several brands have created advertising material with a patriotic angle specifically geared towards Independence Day.

Exchange4media reported that "from to TV to digital, all mediums are abuzz with ads to make most of this annual break", and highlighted the best examples, including an attempt by FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever (HUL) to set a world record for missed calls.

HUL's Cannes Lions-winning Kan Khajura Tesan campaign, which sees consumers call a toll-free number and hang up before being called back with free entertainment content interspersed with advertising, is aiming to get as many missed calls as possible in 120-hour period. In addition, for every 100 missed calls it will make a donation to the National Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau.

"With this initiative, we want to use this powerful platform to drive a social change," declared Priya Nair, HUL vice president.

Public service broadcaster All India Radio took the opportunity of Independence Day to launch a toll-free number linking to a one-stop shop for advertisers, particularly those on a limited budget, looking for an easy way to advertise across all its 413 stations.

According to a senior official, "as we are essentially working for the betterment of the country and public at large, so our charges are basic and coverage is the best". All India Radio claims to cover 92% of the country and to reach 99.19% of the population using 23 languages and 146 dialects.

Data sourced from The Hindu, exchange4media, ANI News, indiantelevision.com; additional content by Warc staff

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Global mobile adspend doubles

14 August 2014
GLOBAL: Global mobile advertising revenues almost doubled in 2013 to reach $19.3bn according to new data.

Latest figures in the Global Mobile Advertising Revenue study, from the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB Europe and IHS Technology, show that mobile advertising revenue leapt 92%, with the greatest growth coming in Latin America, up 215%. North America increased 122% and Europe 90%.

Growth was more modest in Asia-Pacific, at 69%, and in the Middle-East and Africa, at 45%.

In terms of regional shares, North America's was the largest at 41.9%, worth $8,100m. Asia-Pacific was in second place on 38.9%, worth $7,525m. Then followed Europe on 17.3% ($3,346m), Middle East & Africa on 1.2% ($225m) and then Latin America on 0.7% ($144m)

"These powerhouse numbers directly reflect mobile's rapidly increasing role as a vital part of the marketing media mix," said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. And she pointed to the operational efficiencies being enabled by programmatic buying as a particular spur to growth in the mobile display ad market.

Of the three categories of mobile advertising, display showed the highest growth at 123.4 %, followed by mobile search, up 92.1 %, and then messaging, up 19.4%.

The advance of search was attributed to increasing smartphone penetration and affordable data plans fuelling location-based search-on-the-go. Search remains the dominant segment representing 48.9% of the total global mobile advertising revenue, or $9.5bn. Display is close behind with a 41.5% share worth $8bn. Messaging is the minnow, with a 9.6% share worth $1.9bn.

"Businesses of all sizes are now able to engage their customers via mobile, demonstrating a clear opportunity for publishers to take advantage of," noted Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe.

But he added that many publishers still needed to hone their mobile advertising strategies. "Growth has been largely driven through in-app and native advertising whilst the delivery of a qualified audience at scale with demonstrable campaign impact is still a work-in-progress in some markets," he said.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff

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European online display grows 10%

14 August 2014
LONDON: Online display advertising in Western Europe is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% over the next five years, according to a new report.

Forrester Research's Online Display Advertising Forecast predicts that spending on this format will grow three times faster than total advertising between now and 2019, by when it will account for 12% of all advertising expenditure in the region.

This development is being helped by underlying factors such as the growth in the online population and increasing amount of time spent online, as well as the adoption of new formats, including video and rich media. Forrester also noted the importance of mobile devices, saying that "the growth of the online display advertising market would be negligible if smartphones and tablets were excluded".

Analyst Michel O'Grady enlarged on these themes, pointing out that more than 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute and that Google has had to create ways to curate this volume of content. He also cited studies showing UK click- through rates for rich media were more than double those for standard banner ads.

A recent survey by US adtech company Celtra found even higher click-through rates for rich media on mobile – nine times greater – while video play rates were 8.5 times higher for rich media.

And Forrester expects an increasing proportion of video and rich media ads to be viewed on mobile devices – 48% of all online display ads compared to 19% today.

This shift was highlighted by Victor Milligan, CMO of Nexage, a mobile advertising exchange, who in June told Warc: "There is a major creative mix shift underway in mobile advertising, as high-value rich media, video, and native ad formats take more and more share of the market." He expected these would be the majority ad formats sold by 2015.

O'Grady suggested that firms using online display ads would need to consider how to increase trust in online advertising, from the perspective of consumers, publishers and advertisers, in order to help it compete with TV advertising.

Data sourced from Forrester Research; additional content by Warc staff

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Retailers offered more tech solutions

14 August 2014
LONDON: High street shops are being offered an increasing number of technology-based solutions aimed at attracting more shoppers and bridging the online-offline gap, such as tracking beacons placed within store mannequins.

Three UK fashion outlets – House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls – have just begun testing the VMBeacon. This is "a version of a bluetooth light beacon," Iconeme co-founder Adrian Coe explained to Marketing. "We've custom made the beacon and it goes within our visual merchandising equipment."

In this trial the beacon has been installed in store mannequins and transmits information to customers within a 50-100m radius with an app-enabled smartphone, including details about the clothes and accessories displayed, pricing and links to purchase the items directly from the retailer's website.

And as the beacon is always on, the retailer can engage with customers even if the outlet is closed, as the shop window becomes a constant interactive selling point.

"Installing this technology in mannequins ensures it occupies a prime location and an ideal focus-point for shoppers," Iconeme Co-founder Jonathan Berlin said, "whether they are in the store itself or just passing by the window."

Media agency Maxus has also been working on technology for retailers, such as a Magic Mirror, which recognises skin tone and colouring and offers an interactive facial analysis before presenting a number of looks to try using the cosmetics available.

"We know that there is a tendency for consumers to shy away from asking for help," noted Neil Stewart, global chief client officer, Maxus. "So for the consumer this technology offers tangible benefits. For retailers and marketers … these technologies enable you to engage with your target demographic and while doing so capture invaluable data which can be used to gain a better understanding of your shopper and their individual needs".

Other innovations include a trolley app, Wayfinder, which guides consumers around a store and brings up promotions, and iShelf, a small interactive digital shelf display.

Stewart was critical, however, of the unthinking use of technology by retailers, telling MediaTel of a recent trip through Bangkok airport where he was bombarded with 63 text messages from retailers in the duty-free area.

"The challenge for using tech in the retail space is refraining from being too intrusive," he said. "It requires a balancing act between what we can do and what as a brand or retailer, we should do."


Data sourced from Marketing, MediaTel, Gigaom; additional content by Warc staff

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Travel brands need video strategy

14 August 2014
MOUNTAIN VIEW: More and more holiday makers are turning to sites such as YouTube when planning their vacations, making a strong video strategy essential for marketers looking to connect with this group, new research has said.

A recent study Google conducted with Ipsos MediaCT found that two out of three US consumers watch online travel videos when they're thinking about taking a trip. Further analysis of views of travel content on YouTube in the US revealed that these were up 118% year on year and that an increasing proportion of this was taking place on mobile devices, which now account for around 30% of all such viewing.

Further, viewing on tablets had tripled year on year (+205%) while that on smartphones had doubled (+97%).

The research also highlighted distinct differences in search activity between YouTube and Google. Thus, while 71% of searches on YouTube were for destination names, the majority on Google (58%) were for specific travel brands.

But travellers were interested in more than simply watching videos, as evidenced by a 106% increase in subscriptions to the top travel channels on YouTube during 2014. "They want to connect with creators and brands," Google's researchers stated. And they're willing to put the time in – subscribers watched 86% longer per view than nonsubscribers

Almost half of these subscriptions were to video blogs relating personal travel experiences, a format that attracted four times more engagement – in the form of likes, comments, shares, favourites and subscriptions – than other types of travel content on YouTube.

After vlogs, travellers were most likely to engage with, in descending order, official travel networks and publications, reviews, tips and how-to content, travel ours and only then official travel brands.

While people of all ages subscribe to YouTube travel content, vlogs were preferred by a younger age group, reflecting the trend noted elsewhere regarding their interest in "authentic" content.

Older consumers watched a broader range of content relevant to frequent travellers, said Google, and those videos tended to be "associated with decisions further down the travel purchase path, such as brand information, reviews and tips".

Data sourced from Think With Google; additional content by Warc staff

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India's internet users to pass US

14 August 2014
NEW DELHI: The number of Indian internet users will exceed the US total by the end of 2014 a leading industry figure has said.

Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India, made the claim while addressing the Digitising India event organised by FICCI and reported by India Today. "By the end of this year, India will become larger than the US in terms of number of internet users," he declared. "By 2018, India will have twice the number of internet users as the US does."

At that rate India will have 500m people connected to the internet, or almost half the population, within four years.

The speed and scale of this development is extraordinary. Anandan pointed out it had taken ten years for the country to move from having 10m internet users to having 100m, but it was now adding 5m new users every month.

"We have seen nothing yet in terms of what the internet can do to every aspect of life, of society and of governance," he said. In retail terms, for example, the path to purchase was already changing as people increasingly turned to online platforms to buy goods and services.

"Everything is getting accelerated with technology," Anandan noted. "Every new wave of technology has taken half as long as the previous technology. The next big thing will take half the time taken by smartphones."

Smartphones had taken eight years to reach one billion consumers, but he expected wearable technology to achieve that within the next four years.

Wearable devices are "taking on computing", he stated. "All these wearable devices will penetrate across the world very fast, and with it technology will get better and better."

Alongside wearables he anticipated that software would have a major impact on traditional industries, such as automotive. "The next big thing that could happen is the driverless car," he said. "In the next 20 years, in our lifetime, software can do anything."

Data sourced from India Today; additional content by Warc staff

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Philippines adspend up 5%

14 August 2014
MANILA: Total advertising expenditure in the Philippines across the three media of TV, radio and print rose 5% in the first half of 2014 according to new data.

Figures from Kantar Media, reported by Marketing Interactive, show that overall spending reached PHP 175.6m in the first six months compared to PHP 167.9m in the same period a year earlier. TV accounted for the lion's share of this, at 79.7%, followed by radio (17.2%) and finally print (3.1%).

Television was also the only area showing growth as spending in that medium increased 6.4% to PHP 139.9m. Radio was broadly flat, slipping -0.8% to PHP 30.3m, while print was down significantly, by -8.4%, to PHP 5.4m.

Unilever was a prominent television advertiser: Unilever Philippines itself was the biggest TV spender, increasing its spend 16% to PHP 25.8m, while sister company Unilever RFM Ice Cream posted the highest increase in TV spending, up 291% to PHP 2.67m.

Procter & Gamble, Unilever's rival in the household/personal cleaning market, stepped up its challenge in the first half, more than doubling (+111%) its TV spend to PHP 15.4m.

Radio remains an important medium in the Philippines. "It has retained its effectiveness and potential," Gabriel Buluran, Kantar Media general manager said earlier this year. "It just has to protect what is already theirs so they won't be encroached upon by existing or emerging media."

ACS Manufacturing, a local cleaning products manufacturer, was the leading radio advertiser, doubling its spending to PHP 2.45m. Others were also investing heavily in this medium: confectionary business Columbia International Food Products had upped its expenditure 675% on the same period in 2013, while that of beer brand San Miguel had almost tripled.

The most noteworthy development in the print sector was the increased investment by Ford Motors Philippines, which amounted to a 12,270% uplift, but at PHP 90,000 this was still tiny in relation to other media.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff

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Quiznos content engages millennials

14 August 2014
NEW YORK: Quiznos, the quick-service restaurant chain, has successfully connected with millennial consumers through making highly effective use of content marketing.

Chris Ruszkowski, vp/advertising and marketing at Quiznos, discussed this aspect of the company's strategy while speaking at the VideoNuze 2014 Online Video Advertising Summit.

More specifically, he spoke about the roll out of Toasty.TV, a content hub the brand uses to provide a range of material, from videos to photos, music and art – and which marked a deliberate attempt to engage millennials.

However, this platform is simply part of a far wider strategy that has seen Quiznos share its content through a mixture of social channels.

"Brands that were having success were doing things differently. They're acting more like a publisher, versus just an advertiser," said Ruszkowski. (For more, including details of the Quiznos 'Mad X-Men' viral video, read Warc's exclusive report: Quiznos attracts millennials with content marketing.)

"They were doing more storytelling versus just advertising. We had this wake-up call and we knew we needed to do something different."

Given that the millennial audience is both large – numbering around 87m people – and a vital demographic for chains like Quiznos, inaction was not an option.

"People are watching this content in different ways. They're no longer sitting at home in the living room with the family, watching ABC, NBC and CBS every night like they did," Ruszkowski said.

With so many brands competing for attention on digital channels, though, achieving cut through can be challenging. "There's more content out there than there has ever been before," he added.

One indicator of Quiznos' rapid progress was "House of Thrones" a viral video mash-up of two popular TV series, Game of Thrones and House of Cards.

This content received over 1.5m views in just two weeks on YouTube, where it also prompted a substantial increase in the brand's subscriber base.

Approximately 200 media organisations across the globe picked up the content, too, further adding to its viral success.

Data sourced from Warc

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Twitter offers new metric

13 August 2014
NEW YORK: Twitter, the microblogging site, has revealed that around 23m of its active accounts are actually bots, with no human users behind them.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, it said it had calculated a new metric which showed that, in the three months to the end of June, "approximately 8.5% of all active users used third party applications that may have automatically contacted our servers for regular updates without any discernable additional user-initiated action".
 
Many of these will include automatic updates from legitimate sources as varied as news service, retailers or earthquake alerts. Twitter estimated that false or spam accounts made up less than 5% of its monthly active users.

Marketers will obviously be interested in the new metric as these accounts carry no possibility for interacting with brand advertising or content.

At the same time, however, the filing reported that "11% of all active users solely used third-party applications to access Twitter". This compared to an earlier figure of 14% meaning that more people than it had thought were able to view ads served on the platform, 89% of the total active user base against 86%.

Previously Twitter has spoken of monetising visitors to the site who are not logged in – those who arrive, for example, after seeing tweets on news programmes or in newspapers.

"You get a great signal for the kind of content they like to consume and we think those signals will provide the data that we need to deliver the right kinds of monetisation experiences to that audience," said CEO Dick Costolo

Data sourced from SEC, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Travel brands neglect older consumers

13 August 2014
LONDON: Travel brands should consider a more sophisticated marketing approach when it comes to older consumers rather than simply putting them in a catch-all over-50 category, new research has claimed.

Digital performance marketing agency iProspect polled 1,012 online UK consumers aged 30+, examining their attitudes to media and technology. It found that age was no barrier to getting inspired, researching and booking travel online.

Consumers aged 50-59 were just as likely as those in the 30-49 age group to make their holiday arrangements digitally. And 72% of the 50-69 age group said they found the internet more convenient than visiting a travel agent on the high street. Even among the over-70s, a majority (69%) preferred to book online.

Over half of those surveyed felt the web offered more holiday inspiration than a traditional brochure: 55% of those aged 50-59 and 52% of 60-69 year olds used the internet to discover new destinations.

And while price was obviously a factor in their ultimate decision, just under half of 50-59 year olds (45%) were taking notice of online customer reviews, on a par with the younger age group (49% of 30-49 year olds).

Sandra McDill, Managing Partner at iProspect said that while older age groups were increasingly using the internet to organise holidays and experiences, they were still largely overlooked by travel brands.

"This generation commands a large amount of wealth that they are looking to spend on leisure, presenting a huge opportunity for marketers," she said, urging travel providers to come up with cross-platform solutions "based on interests and behaviour rather than pigeonholing groups by age".

"By personalising online experiences, travel brands can introduce a human element that is central to building loyalty and driving conversions with older customers," she added.

The findings echo those of a recent study – A Life Less Linear – by RAPP, the UK full-service agency, which warned that marketers needed to rethink their lifestage marketing strategies.

"Lifestages are changing," said Paul Philips, head of media strategy at RAPP, "and having a pre-packaged set of expectations and behaviours is provocative". Age remained a useful indicator of lifestyles, preferences and choices, but it was by no means the only measure.


Data sourced from iProspect; additional content by Warc staff

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Samsung tops UAE buzz ranking

13 August 2014
DUBAI: Samsung and Google are the two brands which generated the most buzz in the United Arab Emirates during the first half of 2014, according to new data.

YouGov's BrandIndex tracks over 500 brands in the UAE across multiple sectors simultaneously to provide a daily measure of brand perception among the public. The market research company creates a Buzz score by asking respondents if they have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news, word-of-mouth or friends and family.

Over the course of the first six months of the year, Samsung replaced internet company Google at the top of the ranking as it promoted its range of smartphones, including the April launch of the Galaxy S5. Emirates remained in third spot, having been named the most valuable airline brand in the world in the Brand Finance Global 500 report.

Below these three fixtures there had been a few changes, however, with retailer Carrefour leaping five places from ninth to fourth, helped by while regional dairy Almarai moved in the opposite direction, from ninth to fourth.

Apple featured as a new entry at five as the visit of CEO Tim Cook to the UAE sparked speculation about the location of a new flagship store. Apple's iPhone warranted a separate entry in eighth place – despite the buzz around Samsung, the iPhone 5 is the most commonly used smartphone in the UAE.

The remaining three brands in the top ten were also new entrants. In sixth place was Facebook, the most popular social media network in the country. Property developer Elmaar was in seventh, hosting various events at its sites such as the Dubai Festival of Lights and a Classic Car Festival.

In tenth place was Dubai Mall, the world's largest mall and most visited destination, attracting 75m visitors in 2013.

Several household names, including Nestlé, Galaxy, Dove and Dettol, have all been squeezed out of the Top 10 since 2013, noted Zawya.

Ecommerce business Amazon topped a separate Buzz Improvers ranking which showed those brands had making the greatest progress over the past twelve months. It had moved from a negative score of -2.9 to a positive 9.5. Other significant improvers were social media site LinkedIn and fast food chain KFC.

Data sourced from Zawya, YouGov; additional content by Warc staff

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Reckitt targets eshopper emotions

13 August 2014
NEW YORK: Brands in the FMCG category which are seeking to drive up ecommerce sales may need to consider emotional factors as well as rational ones, a leading executive from Reckitt Benckiser has argued.

Michele McNamara, the firm's etailing team leader/food, drug and mass, discussed its work with ecommerce site Peapod at the Brand Activation Association's (BAA) Marketing to the Omni-Channel Shopper: EAST 2014 event.

Reckitt, which makes brands like Finish and Veet, began leveraging Peapod as a distribution channel around three years ago, and has thus gained an insight into the incentives and hurdles relating to habits in this space.

"The mom who is shopping on Peapod: she still has a certain amount of guilt about not going to the store and picking out each and every grocery, [piece of] produce, steaks, or even the Cheerios," said McNamara.

"She has guilt about doing that. So if we can somehow take that guilt away as a barrier for her, she's more likely to engage." (For more, including how the company has sought to build online sales, read Warc's exclusive report: Reckitt Benckiser and Peapod put emotion into ecommerce.)

Reckitt has, in the first instance, sought to ensure that factors like its product selection and pricing are the same on Peapod as they are in bricks-and-mortar stores.

However, McNamara suggested that the right digital strategy does not simply involve duplicating what is happening in physical stores.

"It's really about emotions," she said. "Yes, it's great to tie in with how mom's acting in store. But I need to figure out a way to layer Peapod on top of what's happening in store."

A recent report from Kantar Worldpanel, the research firm, predicted that annual ecommerce sales in the FMCG sector will hit $53bn worldwide by 2016, compared with $36bn at present.

The study also discussed the obstacles that prevent brands and retailers from placing more emphasis on this channel – and asserted they were often "perceived rather than based on how consumers actually behave".

Among the main concerns were that digital sales would cannibalise the in-store equivalent, and that online shopping will erode brand loyalty. According to Kantar Worldpanel, the opposite is true in both cases.

Data sourced from Warc

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Canadians switch off on holiday

13 August 2014
TORONTO: Canadians are among the world's travellers who are most relaxed about their vacation experiences, being significantly less attached to their mobile devices than many other nationalities new research has found.

Hotels.com, the online accommodation site, surveyed 2,495 people across 28 countries and found that just over one quarter (27%) of Canadians were unwilling to relinquish their tablet or smartphone when on holiday. Only vacationers from Sweden (23%), Spain (23%), Argentina (22%) and India (20%) were less likely to feel the need to stay connected.

Asian travellers, however, were at the other end of the spectrum as people from Thailand (85%), Korea (78%), Japan (69%), China (67%) and Singapore (60%) all proved reluctant to ditch their devices.

"Going away on vacation should be a time to unwind, whether you're lying on a beach in Cancun or snowboarding down a mountain in Whistler," declared Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert at Hotels.com.

"While smartphones are useful for checking the weather or viewing maps, travellers would benefit from switching off their e-mails to disconnect and restore a little more of the all-important work/life balance," she added.

Almost half of Canadians (44%) said they spent no time at all on social media while on vacation and another 41% were happy to go on a vacation without a mobile device or laptop.

Further indications of the Canadian attitude came in their assessment of the most important travel items, with physical fitness and personal hygiene (in the form of gym kits and deodorant) ranked least important, suggesting they place greater importance on actual relaxation when on vacation.

Similarly they were among the least likely to exaggerate their vacation experiences, with just 20% admitting they would embellish stories to impress others, unlike the majority of Chinese (67%) and Germans (64%).

Perhaps all the time away from their smartphones freed up more time for genuine enjoyment, mused Hotels.com.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff

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Australian measurement data questioned

13 August 2014
SYDNEY: Even as the circulation figures of Australian newspapers and magazines continue to fall, average readership figures are on the rise as people increasingly share their copies, publishers have claimed.

Data from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (EMMA), an industry funded body, analysed by Mumbrella, show the number of readers per copy increasing for the majority of titles – only four of the 46 examined registered a decrease.

But some figures – such as the leap in readers per copy of Zoo Weekly from 9.44 to 15.24 even as circulation plunged 36.4% – led to scepticism over EMMA's data.

Adam Hodgson, research and operations director at Ipsos MediaCT which conducts the research for the survey, told Mumbrella that "there is no direct correlation between circulation sales figures and readership ... we have to take into account promotions, discounted copies, plus higher readership and pass-on-copies for big news stories."

And Peter Zavecz, director of magazines at Pacific Magazines, argued that in difficult economic times "the appetite doesn't diminish for magazines consumer spending does".

"We see an increase in pass on readers around those sort of times," he added. "It usually happens around families, friends and colleagues – they may not be purchasing them as regularly but they are still accessing them."

The long-running dispute about readership figures, fought out between EMMA and market research firm Roy Morgan, took another turn as the latter announced a new metric – Audience Dollar Value – which aims to put a precise figure on what readers from a media brand spend online.

Michelle Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said Australians were spending $750m a week online. "We are now using our online expenditure data to quantify the dollar value of magazines and other media in terms of their reach into the lucrative online market," she said in a statement.

Initial data released by the company shows that readers of Coles Magazine spent a combined $123m a week online, those of Woolworth's Fresh magazine spent $88m, Better Homes and Gardens' readers spent $76m Women's Weekly readers spent $68m and Woman's Day readers $53m.


Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff

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Kabbadi attracts brands

13 August 2014
NEW DELHI: Kabbadi, described as "combining the characteristics of wrestling and rugby", is the latest sport to attract the attention of brands seeking new ways to connect with their target audiences in India.

While cricket has long been India's premier sport, broadcasters and sponsors have been looking for other areas to invest in, including football, hockey and badminton. Now two new kabbadi tournaments have been launched – the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL) and the World Kabaddi League (WKL) – bringing money into a centuries-old game widely played in rural areas.

And that is a major attraction for brands, which see an opportunity of reaching rural consumers, who are now an increasingly important market. As Charu Sharma, whose Mashal Sports helped set up the PKL, told Livemint: "This is a mass sport and plenty of mass consumer brands and products are looking for mass-base properties. Everyone wants to head to tier 2, tier 3 towns; profits are coming from there."

Those businesses getting on board appear pleased with the results so far. Ankit Patidar, vp/marketing at Shakti Pumps, which sponsors the Jaipur Pink Panther team in the PKL, told the Economic Times that brand awareness was increasing, with "customers coming and discussing the game with our local distribution team".

Leading retailer Future Group owns the Bengal Warriors team in the PKL and has generated huge interest by organising kabaddi matches outside Big Bazaar outlets in the state West Bengal in a search for new talent.

"The investment has turned out so well from a business point of view that we are hoping to break even in just three years," said Sandip Tarkas, president customer strategy, at Future Group and CEO of Bengal Warriors. "The tournament has struck a chord with rural as well as urban audience," he added.

The WKL is an international event, featuring eight teams in five countries, including the UK, US, Canada and Pakistan as well as India, and played to different rules. "Both these leagues are two different products for two different markets," according to Prasana Krishnan, EVP and business head, Sony SIX, which is broadcasting the event.

"I don't think kabaddi is big from a revenue perspective because it has never been done commercially," he told afaqs!. "Only time will tell how much of the rural familiarity will translate to viewership."

Data sourced from Economic Times; Livemint, afaqs!; additional content by Warc staff

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