UK adspend posts 8.2% growth

28 July 2015
LONDON: Advertising expenditure in the UK rose an impressive 8.2% in Q1 2015, taking overall adspend during the quarter to a record high of £4.71bn, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

This was well ahead of 6.2% that was forecast in their previous report in April and reflected strong growth in display advertising as well as a general uplift in confidence about the UK economy.

Regarded as the definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK because it is the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape, the report also forecast 6.2% growth for the entire year, a positive revision of 0.6pp.

Internet advertising, including mobile, recorded its highest quarterly total on record, rising 12.8% in Q1 to £1.9bn. Mobile spend also grew 50.9% from a year earlier to reach £502m, according to the estimates.

TV spot advertising (+11.5% to £1.2bn), out of home (+9.7% to £229m), radio (+8.2% to £122m) and cinema (+19.6% to £43.6m) saw particularly strong performances over the quarter, but print media continued to decline.

Magazine brands saw adspend dip 3.9% in Q1, including an 8.6% decline for print, although magazine digital spend increased 11.5%.

Regional newsbrands declined 2.3%, driven by a 5.2% fall in print revenues, although their digital revenues increased by 17.6%.

Furthermore, these spending trends are expected to continue throughout the year with internet advertising forecast to deliver 12.6% growth in 2015, including a 43.4% rise in mobile advertising.

TV advertising is forecast to grow 6.9% this year, followed in terms of growth rates by cinema (6.4%), out of home (+6.3%), radio (+4.3%) and direct mail (+1.9%).

Meanwhile, national newsbrand adspend is expected to decline 4.3% in 2015, magazines by 3.3% and regional newsbrands by 3.0%.

Commenting on the report, Advertising Association chief executive Tim Lefroy, said: "Despite uncertainty in Europe and at home prior to the election, these figures come as a welcome boost. Adspend is growing faster here than anywhere in Europe, to the benefit of our digital economy, creative industries and UK plc."

Data sourced from the Advertising Association, Warc

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Consumer confidence surges in UK

28 July 2015
LONDON: Consumer confidence in the UK is at a nine-year high, having risen for the sixth consecutive quarter to take the country above the global average for the first time since 2006.

Nielsen's UK Consumer Confidence Index rose from 97 in the first quarter of 2015 to 99 in the second while the global average dropped from 97 to 96.

The research firm, which measures attitudes among 30,000 internet users in 60 countries, also said the UK overtook Germany (97) in Q2 2015 to make it the second most confident nation in Europe behind Denmark (112).

It means that UK consumers are now at their most positive since 2006, when Tony Blair was in his third term as Prime Minister and the UK was enjoying a consumer boom before the global economic crisis struck.

Confidence across Europe remains subdued at just 79 as the region struggles with high unemployment, weak growth and fallout from the Greek economic crisis.

Greece had the largest quarterly decrease in confidence, falling 12 points to 53, while Ukraine (48), which is embroiled in conflict with Russia, recorded the lowest level on the continent.

Steve Smith, managing director of Nielsen UK & Ireland, outlined the underlying factors that helped to make the UK the most confident major economy in Europe.

"Consumers in the UK are feeling ever more confident. Wage inflation is starting to outstrip price inflation for the first time in years, while mortgage rates are at historically low levels and unemployment has generally been falling," he said.

"This positivity is reflected in the cornerstone of household budgets: grocery spending," Smith continued.

"The number of UK consumers switching to cheaper grocery brands in order to save money is at its lowest level (30%) since late 2009. This is an encouraging sign for retailers that consumer purse-strings may be starting to loosen."

Further encouragement comes with the finding that the number of Britons feeling positive about their personal finances increased for the second consecutive quarter to 53%, its highest level for nearly eight years.

Meanwhile, in another lift to the UK's economic prospects, the latest Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report revealed another month-on-month increase in consumer confidence.

Its overall index climbed to a record high of 164 points in June as spending on essential bills fell and discretionary income increased.

Data sourced from Retail Times, Nielsen, Lloyds Bank; additional content by Warc staff

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Huge ad revenue growth for Instagram

28 July 2015
NEW YORK: Instagram, the photo- and video-sharing social network owned by Facebook, is forecast to overtake Google and Twitter in terms of US mobile ad revenues by 2017, according to new analysis from eMarketer.

The market research firm calculates that Instagram will generate $595m from global mobile ad revenues this year, but this will rise to $2.81bn by 2017.

That would make Instagram account for more than 10% of Facebook's total global ad revenues – up from 3.7% this year and 7.1% in 2016 – and, with the vast majority of its ad revenue made in the US, that presents a challenge to Google and Twitter.

Instagram is already the second-largest social network in the US after increasing its user base by nearly 60% in 2014 to 64.2m. That took it past Twitter, whose user base in the US grew 12.1% to 48.4m, and Instagram is expected to continue growing to 111.6m users by 2019.

In a sign of how quickly Instagram is expected to grow in the US, eMarketer forecasts that it will have higher net mobile display ad revenues than both its rivals in 2017.

While both Google and Twitter are also expected to increase their US mobile display ad revenues significantly over the next two years, Instagram will grow faster.

Instagram is forecast to earn $570m in net US mobile display ad revenue in 2015, compared with $1.47bn for Google and $1.19bn for Twitter.

But next year Instagram's US mobile revenue is expected to rise to $1.37bn, still behind Google ($1.89bn) and Twitter ($1.72bn), before surpassing them in 2017.

By then, Instagram is projected to make $2.39bn from US mobile ads, edging the social network ahead of Google ($2.38bn) and Twitter ($2.29bn).

"Now that Instagram is opening up, there is a lot of pent-up demand. The rollout of new features over the next several months means that by the end of 2015, Instagram will have a host of new ad products for advertisers large and small," said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.

"In particular, Instagram advertisers will be able to use a full slate of Facebook targeting tools, including the popular Custom Audiences feature. That will be a key drawing card."

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Nestlé India rebuilds battered image

28 July 2015
NEW DELHI: Following a food scare centred on its Maggi noodles brand, Nestlé India is taking steps to shore up its reputation with a new advertising and social media campaign.

The FMCG giant also announced that Suresh Narayanan, former head of Nestlé's operations in The Philippines, will replace Etienne Benet following reports that food safety inspectors had found excess traces of lead in the popular Maggi brand.

Since being engulfed in the ensuing scandal for more than a month, Nestlé India is determined to improve its image with consumers and all its stakeholders.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Narayanan said his immediate goal is to rebuild the company's brand "brick-by-brick, consumer-by-consumer and employee-by-employee".

Although Nestlé is challenging a court order to remove Maggi noodles from sale, insisting they are safe to eat, consumer reaction has been strongly negative.

In a bid to win shoppers over, Narayanan confirmed that the company is planning an advertising and social media campaign with the central message that its products are safe.

Nestlé also will engage with all the suppliers, distributors and noodle factory workers who have been left out of work since the scandal erupted.

"Nestlé India is not 'on the brink' and I want to say this with all the emphasis I can muster," he told the Economic Times as part of his media blitz.

"Yes, we face a challenging situation, but I am confident that we will resolve this issue through engagement with all stakeholders," Narayanan added.

Wan Ling Martello, executive vp at Nestlé who is overseeing the transition in India, went on to tell the Economic Times that she thought Narayanan would be "perfect" for the job because of his people skills.

"As the recall process comes to a close, we are looking at rebuilding," she said. "It is very much about how we can take Nestlé India to the next phase of our journey."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Loyalty apps work for Starbucks

28 July 2015
SEATTLE, WA: Mobile transactions at Starbucks now account for 20% of all its in-store sales and have boosted footfall by 4%, the global coffee brand's CEO has said.

Speaking as Starbucks revealed an 18% increase in third quarter revenue to $4.9bn, Howard Schultz attributed its success to the different approach he said the company has adopted in comparison with other bricks and mortar stores, pymnts.com reported.

He said there had been a seismic shift in consumer behaviour over recent years, yet many traditional retailers responded to the challenge by simply increasing their digital ad budgets without concentrating on the in-store experience.

"We, on the other hand, took a very different approach," he said. "By further enhancing our already world-class digital technologies through the introduction of capabilities like Mobile Order & Pay and soon to be delivery and expanding our loyalty program, we are driving traffic."

"Mobile Order & Pay" allows customers in the US to pay for their coffee via their devices and Starbucks is rolling out the service to 4,000 locations.

In addition, the "My Starbucks Rewards" loyalty program has grown to 10.4m active members, up 10% from the same quarter a year ago, with 6.2m of them choosing to take out "gold" membership.

"Bringing in new customers and deepening our connection to our existing customers, elevating the Starbucks brand and our customer experience and streamlining our in-store operations are key to our success," Schultz asserted.

And in another development, Starbucks announced that it is teaming up with ride-sharing company Lyft to allow all Lyft drivers to become gold members of the Starbucks loyalty program. It follows a similar offer made to users of the Spotify music service and readers of the New York Times.

Data sourced from pymnts.com, Wall Street Journal, Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff

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Clorox engages new audiences

28 July 2015
NEW YORK: Clorox is aiming to reach a wider audience - including dads and "joyful guardians" - as it adapts to changing habits and preferences in the cleaning category.

Erika Lamoreaux, The Clorox Co.'s associate director/digital media, discussed this idea at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2015 Audience Measurement conference.

"In history, CPG brands have really focused on a singular demographic," she said. (For more, including results from the firm's consumer analysis, read Warc's exclusive report: Clorox throws legacy sheets to the wind.)

More specifically, most of these brand owners traditionally based their marketing efforts around a certain type - and sometimes idealised - mother.

"She's a mom. She has lily-white sheets in the wind," said Lamoreaux.

Although these customers are still undoubtedly important for Clorox, the company knows it must match evolving attitudes and behaviours. "We've branched out," she continued.

Fathers and younger consumers are two cohorts that the enterprise is more actively attempting to engage.

"We started to talk to dads," Lamoreaux said, with a particular focus around coupons. "We've also focused a little bit on millennials."

In connecting with the latter group, the firm has run a tongue-in-cheek campaign starring TV icon David Hasselhoff, and created cleaning products that are simpler to use.

Another point of focus is "joyful guardians" - a segment comprising 25-54-year-old women who are "increasingly and aggressively reactive to" digital channels.

"Our global insights organisation spends a huge amount of time doing research and in-home visits to find out who this person is," said Lamoreaux.

Data sourced from Warc

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Tmall launches $161m campaign

28 July 2015
BEIJING: As the Chinese ecommerce market becomes ever more competitive, Tmall is stepping up its challenge to rivals by launching an online grocery promotional campaign worth Rmb 1bn ($161m).

Aimed at persuading its users in Beijing to take advantage of same-day delivery services, Tmall's campaign follows its partnership with logistics firm Cainiao, a fellow subsidiary of Alibaba Group.

Describing online grocery shopping as "a strategic area of interest", Alibaba said in a statement that Tmall Supermarket will run promotions three times a day up until 31st July.

Beijing internet users are being offered the chance to win so-called "red packets" that they can use to get discounts on their grocery purchases. Also, same-day delivery is being offered to users who place orders before 11am.

"Tmall Supermarket will draw on Alibaba Group's complete ecommerce ecosystem," explained Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Group's China Retail Marketplaces.

He said Alibaba's advantages in logistics, strength in online payments, big data and cloud computing would bring consumers "the most convenient and secure online shopping experience for quality products".

Citing research from McKinsey, the management consultancy, Alibaba said 40% of Chinese consumers have used the internet to buy food.

The company also claimed that, in the past year alone, merchandise volumes for Tmall Supermarket in the Beijing area increased more than 700% as 90% of consumers shopped via their mobile phones.

The initiative comes just a few days after Alibaba announced that it is forming a strategic partnership with Unilever to promote the FMCG giant's brands to more Chinese consumers.

The offer to Beijing online shoppers also mirrors activity by rival Amazon, which has been rapidly expanding its same-day delivery service to selected US cities.

Data sourced from Alibaba, Business Wire, CNET; additional content by Warc staff

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Google is the world's top brand

27 July 2015
LONDON/NEW YORK: Media giant Google has been named as the world's top brand for the second year running in a new index that is dominated by US brands.

No fewer than eight US brands feature in the top 10 rankings compiled by brand consultancy FutureBrand with the only exceptions being Samsung (#7), the South Korean electronics firm, and SAB Miller (#10), the London-listed global brewer.

Rounding out the top 10 are Apple (#2), Microsoft (#3), Walt Disney (#4), AbbVie, the Chicago-based pharmaceutical group (#5), Gilead Sciences, a biotechnology firm (#6), MasterCard (#8) and Celgane Corp, another biotechnology company (#9).

The FutureBrand 2015 Index is based on the PwC Global Top 100 Companies report, which ranks companies according to their value, and also involves a survey of 3,000 people across 17 markets about 18 attributes attributed to each company. These include authenticity, consistency, innovation, purpose and trust.

While US brands are rewarded at the top of the rankings, Marketing Magazine noted that seven of them feature among the bottom 10, including Union Pacific Corp (#93), JP Morgan Chase (#95), Philip Morris International (#96) and Bank of America (#97).

Only eight British brands feature in the entire rankings and the lowest ranked brand of them all is British American Tobacco (#100).

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant (#25), fell 16 places since last year's index while pharmaceutical group GSK (#41) dropped 15 places.

Other major UK brands also slipped – telecoms giant Vodafone (#76) fell 28 places, banking group HSBC (#82) was down 14 places while energy company BP (#86) dropped 12.

However, it was better news for pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca (#66), which entered the list for the first time.

Data sourced from FutureBrand, Marketing Magazine; additional content by Warc staff

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Ad fraud prompts app suspension

27 July 2015
NEW YORK: Google has suspended a number of apps from its Play store following concerns that they were secretly running ads that could not be seen by users and were defrauding advertisers out of an estimated $1bn a year.

The internet giant took action following a report by fraud detection company Forensiq, which warned that thousands of malicious apps were carrying out ad fraud while also severely using up the battery life of devices, Advertising Age reported.

Once installed, these seemingly harmless apps ran in the background, serving thousands of unseen ads and using up to two gigabytes of data.

After monitoring the mobile ad market for 10 days, Forensiq calculated that 1% of all devices in the US ran a suspect app, rising to up to 3% of devices in Europe and Asia.

More than 5,000 mobile apps on both Apple and Android devices were identified by Forensiq as being suspect and it warned they could be costing advertisers at least $857m a year.

It is difficult for advertisers to keep track of the problem because the malicious apps mimic user behaviour and send back seemingly legitimate data. Even if users reboot their phone, these apps can still load in the background.

According to the report, many of the apps were observed generating traffic through most major ad exchanges and networks, establishing 1,100 connections per minute and communicating with 320 ad networks per hour.

Mike Zaneis, executive vice-president and general counsel at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, described the Forensiq report as "groundbreaking".

"It explores the impact in the mobile space when before the focus was on display advertising," he said. "This is the next frontier for criminals. As the money and ad dollars flow toward the mobile space, criminals are going to go there. They are following the money."

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff

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Unilever undergoes transformation

27 July 2015
LONDON: Unilever, the FMCG giant known for its famous food brands like Marmite spread and Ben and Jerry's ice cream, is repositioning itself to concentrate more on faster-growing personal care products.

Speaking on a conference call following the announcement of its half-year results, CEO Paul Polman said the company saw great opportunities to increase its premium personal care business, Marketing Week reported.

After acquiring four prestige personal care brands earlier this year, Unilever plans to grow the division into a €1bn business and, while it hasn't ruled out further acquisitions, it plans to focus on R&D and consumer insights to achieve growth.

"We will be a major player in the [prestige] segment," Polman said. "Our personal care business is now the second biggest in the world after L'Oréal and we are on a continuous path to improvement."

Premium personal care is close to accounting for 50% of Unilever's business, he said as he emphasised the importance of innovation to maintain this growth.

Polman said Unilever has stepped up its innovation capabilities in a number of ways and that innovation had delivered 20% more to turnover than in 2013.

Meanwhile, the number of projects using new technologies has risen from 35% to 45% and the company aims to raise the proportion further to 75%.

Unilever's turnover in the first-half of the year was a better-than-expected €27bn, although the maker of Dove soap and Percil detergent reported a 14% drop in pre-tax profits to €3.6bn.

However, last year's profits had been boosted by €1.3bn from disposals of some of its food brands, the Financial Times reported. If that is taken out of the equation, then pre-tax profits rose 13%.

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

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Twitter launches event targeting

27 July 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: Brands and advertisers will have a new tool at their disposal when planning their live campaigns, after Twitter announced the launch of a new event targeting feature.

The social network has long been a leading platform for real-time marketing, but now it claims its new three-stage tool will simplify matters for marketers.

Twitter's new feature includes a calendar for highlighting major global events as well as sporting fixtures, holidays, festivals and other significant events in the US, UK, France, Brazil and Japan.

Advertisers will be able to filter the calendar by location, date and type of event so they can align their campaigns to the most suitable events months in advance.

Secondly, an event insights tool will provide audience data from the previous year, helping advertisers to assess what were the most engaging tweets at an event as well giving them access to other metrics, such as audience reach.

The third stage of the process will be event activation, which will help advertisers to create campaigns targeted at chosen events with just one click. Event targeting can be combined with other Twitter targeting features, such as language and gender.

"With event targeting, you can activate around live moments, quickly and easily," said Dinkar Jain, senior product manager at Twitter.

"We'll help you discover and plan for these moments, learn more about the participating audiences through valuable insights, and with one click, create a campaign that delivers the right message to just the right users as the event unfolds."

Ameet Ranadive, Twitter's senior director of revenue products, went on to explain that promoted tweets will be sent only to people who are engaged with a current event.

He told Marketing Land that would enable marketers to reach people at events they possibly missed in previous campaigns.

Meanwhile, users will continue to be protected because the events feature will be subject to Twitter's standard ad targeting rules that limit the number of ads served to a user in a given time.

Data sourced from Twitter; additional content by Warc staff

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ESPN backs cross-platform research

27 July 2015
NEW YORK: Brands should seek to balance cross-platform research with big data rather than simply shift their resources away from the former and towards the latter, according to a leading executive from ESPN.

Artie Bulgrin, ESPN's svp/global research and analytics, raised this idea at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 2015 conference and explored a similar theme in a recent Warc webinar.

"The concern is that there's a bifurcation in the industry - a separation of interests: one path moving towards data and analytics, and one still focused on measurement," he said. (For more, including results from the organisation's own research, read Warc's exclusive report: ESPN spots disconnect between big data and market research.)

"Is that going to continue, or are we going to going to unify the two to accomplish what we need to do?"

Cross-platform measurement, he argued, had made significant progress in the last few years - not least thanks to offerings like the ESPN-led Project Blueprint - in helping brands acquire deeper audience understanding.

"We started to see shortly after that - later in 2013 and through 2014 - that attention shifted a bit away from cross-platform measurement, which was gaining momentum, into big data," said Bulgrin.

"It's not just a shift of intention; it's a shift in investment that concerns me as somebody who still believes that we need cross-platform measurement."

As an example, he suggested that the rise of programmatic, data-management platforms (DMPs) and services promising increasingly tight targeting has drawn attention away from cross-platform measurement.

"Everybody is building a DMP in this business," said Bulgrin, by way of example.

While not disputing the importance of big data, he recommended that it should be combined with cross-platform measurement, rather than replacing it in a zero-sum game.

That, in large part, is because cross-platform efforts can fulfil a distinctive purpose than big data, from analysing the mix of channels people use to drilling down into the time spent with various media.

Big data may also have some gaps - such as if a consumer has a set-top box or over the top service switched on but their television set switched off - which can be filled with more traditional techniques.

Data sourced from Warc

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Indian consumer durables to double

27 July 2015
NEW DELHI: Driven by rising disposable incomes and easier consumer credit, India's consumer electronics and appliances market is on course to be worth $20.6bn by 2020, according to a new industry report.

The Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA), a trade body, and consultancy firm EY calculated that the market would more than double over the next five years, the Economic Times reported.

"The Indian market for consumer electronics and appliances is around $9.7bn and has grown at a CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 9.7% over the 2010-2014 period and is poised to reach $20.6bn by 2020," their report said.

Urban areas currently account for about two-thirds (65%) of the Indian consumer durables market, but the report predicted that future growth will be driven by consumers in the countryside as the government steps up its rural electrification programme.

Rising income is another factor that will continue to boost the market and the report estimated that per capita income will be $2,200 in 2019, up from $1,500 in 2013. More retailers offering easier financing options to consumers will also help.

Turning to the growth projections for individual types of product, the report expected set top boxes to grow the fastest because of digitalisation of the country's cabling system.

Air conditioners are expected to grow by up to 7% between 2014 and 2020 while washing machines are forecast to grow even faster at 9% over the same period.

Meanwhile, the LED/LCD TV market is expected to record growth of about 20% while growth for refrigerators until 2020 will be about 10%.

Taken together, the report concluded that India is likely to become the fifth largest consumer durables market in the world by 2025.

Data sourced from the Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Foreign travellers flock to Japan

27 July 2015
TOKYO: The number of foreign travellers who visited Japan in the first six months of 2015 has hit a record high of 9.14 million, up 46% from the same period last year, official statistics have revealed.

According to the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), record numbers are also expected in the peak tourism month of July, as visitors from China and other countries take advantage of the weakened yen, relaxed visa regulations and expanded duty-free shopping options.

JTA commissioner Shigeto Kubo forecast that about 18 million foreign travellers will visit the country this year, up almost five million from the 13.41 million people who visited last year, Japan Times reported.

Despite the current political tensions between Beijing and Tokyo, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan more than doubled to 2.2 million in the first half of the year.

Tokyo's shopping districts have become accustomed to Chinese visitors going on shopping sprees known as "explosive buying" when they descend on department stores and snap up a wide range of products.

Following the Chinese, South Koreans made up the second-largest nationality to visit Japan this year. There were 1.82 million visitors from South Korea and another 1.79 million from Taiwan.

Despite concerns about China's economic downturn, JTA's Kubo said he did not think there would be any negative impact on organised tours from the country to Japan.

As well as the shopping opportunities on offer, visitors from across the region may also have other reasons for visiting.

A recent survey of 3,200 consumers in eight Asian nations by J Walter Thompson Asia Pacific revealed great admiration for Japan and Japanese products.

The survey also showed that consumers in ASEAN and India want to visit Japan more than any other country in the world.

Data sourced from Japan Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Brand purpose has no single formula

24 July 2015
LONDON: In his bestselling book, Grow, former Procter & Gamble CMO Jim Stengel outlined how the highest-performing companies used the power of brand ideals to drive success, but his case was flawed argue two leading industry figures.

Richard Shotton, head of insight at ZenithOptimedia, and his colleague Aidan O'Callaghan take issue with Stengel's concept that brands with a brand purpose or ideal grow faster than their peers.

Their feature "Debunking Brand Purpose" in the current issue of Admap highlights six main flaws with the thinking behind his highly successful book of 2011 and declare that there is no proof that ideals deliver success.

First, they question the methodology Stengel used to identify the best-performing brands known as the "Stengel 50", which grew by 393% between 2000 and 2011 compared with a -7% loss for the S&P 500 benchmark.

While seemingly compelling, the authors write, the problem is that at least 11 of these 50 brands accounted for only a proportion of its parent company's sales.

Calvin Klein, for example, was one of the Stengel 50 brands, but it accounted for only 43% of owner PVH's sales in 2013.

Another problem with comparing the Stengel 50 with S&P 500 is that it excluded brands listed on European and Asian stock exchanges.

Also, Stengel selected only the most successful brands from Millward Brown's database, prompting Shotton and O'Callaghan to say that "it's not surprising that the most successful brands had performed well financially in previous years".

The fourth serious flaw concerns the definition of a brand ideal because the term is so "malleable" that it can be adapted to fit most brands.

For example, the ideal defined by Stengel to describe Mercedes-Benz was that the luxury German car "exists to epitomise a life of achievement".

However, in poll of 1,000 consumers conducted by the authors to test whether that ideal was a genuine fit, only 10% recognised the descriptive for Mercedes.

Fifthly, Stengel did not compare the best-performing companies with the underperforming ones, yet these could also be said to be defined by ideals.

Smartphone vendor Nokia, for example, witnessed its share price decline by 96%, yet a full 52% of consumers in the authors' poll were able to connect Nokia with the ideal of existing to "connect people with one another and the content that is most important in their lives, anytime, anywhere".

Finally, Shotton and O'Callaghan looked at the stock market price for each relevant brand from January 2011 to December 2014 to test whether their strong performance continued beyond the period covered in the book.

Out of 23 brands monitored, only 12 outperformed their benchmark while the overall performance was 27%, far less than the nearly 400% highlighted in Glow.

"Despite Grow's popularity, there is no proof that ideals deliver success," they declare. "No one has yet uncovered the single secret to sustained business growth nor is anyone likely to. Unfortunately, it won't be long before someone else tries."

Data sourced from Admap

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US adspend forecast downgraded

24 July 2015
NEW YORK: Advertising expenditure levels are predicted to rise by 1.4% in the US this year, although that figure marks a downgrade of three percentage points on prior expectations, according to new data from Warc.

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast suggests that adspend in the country should reach $166bn in 2015 at current prices, equating to a 41.9% share of the report's 12 market total. These markets represent some 75% of all adspend tracked by Warc.

The study cited the comparatively weak TV upfronts as one reason behind the downgrade in the US outlook when measured against the previous forecast, which was published in December 2014.

More specifically, advertising returns for television are now anticipated to log a 3.3% decline year on year in 2015, standing at $63.5bn overall.

This follows a record year for TV in 2014, as the Sochi Winter Olympics and mid-term elections helped fuel ad sales.

But according to Magna Global, a unit of Interpublic Group, discounting such "cyclical" events means that underlying TV adspend actually fell in 2014, the first dip since 2009, when the financial crisis was in full swing.

Another factor in the softening outlook for the US market, per Warc's analysis, is a "worse than previously expected print decline", as newspapers and magazines are now due to post a joint decrease of 12.1% in 2015.

The internet, by contrast, is pegged to witness an uptick of 15.7% on an annual basis, as brands continue doubling down on their digital activity.

Such a strong performance will mean this channel further closes the revenue gap on TV - having already overtaken television in countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany and the UK.

TV will retain its lead position in the US next year, with growth of 4.1% taking it to a value of $66.1bn, buoyed by the presidential election and Olympic Games.

On its part, the internet will enjoy a 14.2% expansion to $65.3bn, more than trebling the forecast improvement of 4.1% for the US ad market as a whole.

Warc's International Ad Forecast is published twice a year and provides in-depth figures for 12 major nations. A free sample can be downloaded here.

Data sourced from Warc

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Marketing drives growth for Coke

24 July 2015
ATLANTA, GA: US drinks giant Coca-Cola is improving its performance largely because of its increased investment in high quality marketing, the company's CEO has said.

Speaking at a conference call with analysts to announce Coke's second quarter results, Muhtar Kent said revenue growth in North America would not have been achieved without improved marketing, ABC News reported.

Revenue in North America rose 3.5% to $5.92bn following a marketing drive and the introduction of smaller mini-cans that cost more on a per-ounce basis. Meanwhile, total revenue fell 3.3% to $12.16bn, but net income rose 20% to $3.11bn.

Coca-Cola saw a double-digit increase in its advertising spend during the quarter and Kent explained that the increased spend, coupled with stricter cost-controls over budgets, are helping to turn the company around.

Marketing investment in North America, in particular, was a "clear contributing factor" to its strong performance over the quarter, he added.

"It takes some time, anywhere from 12 months to 18 months, to realise the full value in terms of a return on investments. We've found that disciplined and quality marketing investments drive growth better than any other strategy or action," Kent said.

Coca-Cola has been following through a five-point strategy, which it announced earlier this year, to make an extra $1bn in productivity savings by 2016.

The plan involves accelerating growth of its sparkling portfolio, strategically expanding the profitable "still" portfolio, increasing media investments by maximising systems optimisation, making improvements to point of sale and investing in the next generation of leaders.

The company appears to have met these objectives over the quarter, having increased global volumes by 2%, including 5% growth for its still beverages, such as tea and water, but Diet Coke continued to disappoint after declining 7% in volume.

Kent said: "We are executing against our strategic initiatives and remain focused on driving efficiencies through productivity and making disciplined investment decisions to accelerate growth."

Data sourced from ABC News, Seeking Alpha, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Social adspend more than doubles

24 July 2015
LONDON: Global spend on social advertising grew by 114% year-on-year in Q2 2015, more than twice the rate from a year ago, a new industry report has revealed.

This was one of the headline findings in the Kenshoo Digital Marketing Snapshot study, which tracked the 550bn impressions, 9.5bn clicks and $5.5bn in advertiser spend put through the marketing software firm's suite.

Mobile was the key driver of growth with adspend on smartphones and tablets rising 167% year-on-year to account for nearly two-thirds (63%) of all paid social spend, up from 51% last year.

Mobile also accounted for 38% of paid search spending, up from 31% last year, and the report said that the year-on-year increase in paid search spending was fuelled entirely by phone and tablet spending, which rose 71% and 4% respectively.

"Both paid search and social are showing healthy increases in spend and clicks with social obviously showing the much faster growth as it's a far younger market," said Rob Coyne, Kenshoo's managing director for EMEA.

"Existing social advertisers are ramping up spend and getting better results in terms of click volumes despite fewer available impressions, while new social advertisers are also entering the market.

"Mobile has been the key driver of growth in both search and social, with 36% of revenue from advertiser sales now coming from mobile phones, up from 16% last year."

Total clicks from social advertising increased by 129% over the year on top of 64% fewer impressions, leading the report to suggest that marketers are becoming savvy at driving clicks on social ads.

Social advertisers also saw a huge 535% rise in click-through rate (CTR) over the year as they took advantage of changes in the structure and available inventory of paid social publishers.

Data sourced from Kenshoo; additional content by Warc staff

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Walmart beefs up online presence

24 July 2015
SHANGHAI: Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has taken over Yihaodian, after buying the remaining 49% stake in the Chinese ecommerce firm it did not already own.

Although Yihaodian is a minor player in China compared with the likes of Alibaba or JD.com, Walmart's move to take full control of its venture will help it to target China's rapidly growing online market, Reuters reported.

"With full ownership of Yihaodian, Walmart plans to invest in both accelerating ecommerce and creating a seamless experience for customers across online, mobile and stores," Walmart said in a statement.

Walmart has taken over following the departure earlier this month of Yihaodian co-founders, former chairman Yu Gang and former CEO Liu Junling.

The move comes as Walmart, like many other large Western retailers, experiences lacklustre sales at its physical stores as China goes through an economic downturn.

In addition, international retailers are facing increased competition from Chinese retailers and the growth of ecommerce in the country has made expanding online essential for Walmart.

Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce said that Yihaodian has "excelled" as one of China's top ecommerce businesses and that Walmart's investment is part of its long-term commitment to grow in the country.

"This local experience, combined with Walmart's global sourcing and our strong local retail presence and supply chain will allow us to deliver low prices on the products customers need in new and exciting ways," he said.

According to a report published earlier this year by research firm Forrester, China is now the world's largest ecommerce market after growing in value to $440bn in 2014.

Alibaba and JD.com dominate this space, with market shares of 57% and 21% respectively, as well as having a combined 85% of the mobile market. With its acquisition of Yihaodian, Walmart will be hoping to win a bigger share.

Data sourced from Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Forrester; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: Advertisers obsess about youth

24 July 2015
Real purchasing power lies with older consumers, yet marketers continue to focus on youth and millennials, leading Les Binet and Sarah Carter from communications agency DDB to explore the possible reasons behind this obsession.

Data sourced from Warc

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Asians welcome sponsored content

24 July 2015
SHANGHAI: Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers in Asia would be open to branded content and advertising in return for free access to data, a recent survey has shown.

On Device Research questioned 3,500 people in seven Asian countries on behalf of Syniverse, a technology solutions firm, and also found that nearly half (49%) would be willing to accept coupon offers from sponsors.

Asian consumers are most willing to accept offers, in return for free or reduced cost data, from entertainment businesses (42%), bars, restaurants and café (31%) and travel companies (29%).

In terms of content, consumers are willing to accept sponsored branding or advertising in order to gain free access to websites and mobile internet browsing (43%), social networking services (41%) and web-based video services (38%).

Mary Clark, CMO at Syniverse, said consumers, content providers and mobile service providers have found themselves stuck in a no-win situation when it comes to mobile data usage.

"Consumers want to use more data along with richer mobile engagement, and operators and content providers are missing out on the revenue that this usage could deliver," she said.

Specifically, brands using sponsored mobile data services could unlock $6bn a year by 2019, according to Syniverse and its partners at Strategic Economic Engineering Corp (SEEC).

Sam Brown, founder and CEO of SEEC, said the key to unlocking this potential is for brands and mobile operators to work together to create highly personalised offers that meet individual user expectations.

Clark added: "Sponsored data offers considerable benefits for all involved, enabling content providers to enjoy increased use of their services, providing mobile operators with a new source of revenue, and offering consumers cheaper access to content."

Data sourced from Syniverse; additional content by Warc staff

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Internet adspend to overtake TV

23 July 2015
LONDON: The internet is expected to overtake TV to become the largest medium for advertising in 2016, according to the latest International Ad Forecast from Warc.

As well as downgrading its global adspend forecast for 2015 by 2.5pp to 2.3% growth, Warc examined the rise and fall of various marketing channels in the 12 major markets covered in its report. The 12 markets studied comprise some 75% of all advertising expenditure tracked by Warc.

Across all key markets, internet adspend is expected to register rapid growth, rising 15.6% to $135.9bn in 2015 and 12.7% to $153.1bn in 2016.

At the same time, adspend on TV is expected to fall 0.9% to $144.9bn this year before rebounding with 3.1% growth in 2016. By then, TV adspend across the 12 markets will be worth $149.4bn, or $3.7bn less than adspend devoted to the internet.

The internet is already the largest ad platform in six of the 12 major markets and they include Australia (as of 2014), Canada (2014), China (2014), France (2014), Germany (2013) and the UK (2011).

In addition to becoming the first major market where internet advertising leads, further data show the UK spent the most per head on internet advertising in 2014.

UK per capita internet adspend amounted to $187 (£114) last year and it is forecast to carry on growing to reach $233 (£142) in 2016.

Looking at four other major markets, per capita internet adspend in Australia is forecast to grow to $225 in 2016, followed by the US ($202), Canada ($118) and Germany ($97).

Even on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP), when exchange rate fluctuations are removed, the UK still leads and is followed by the US and then Australia.

For other media in 2016, Warc forecasts rises in PPP adspend for cinema (+3.3%) and outdoor (+2.4%). However, adspend on newspapers (-5.8%), magazines (-7.4%) and radio (-0.1%) is expected to fall next year.

Commenting on the report, Warc data analyst James McDonald said: "Internet adspend has grown at a phenomenal rate since the dot-com bubble burst, and more recently an influx of spending on mobile ads has boosted this growth further.

"While television will continue to draw a vast amount of ad revenue over the coming years, the added tailoring and targeting offered by internet ads will prove ever more attractive to marketers, particularly as these features become more refined."

A free sample of Warc's International Ad Forecast can be downloaded here.


Data sourced from Warc

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Mobile addicts multiply globally

23 July 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: The global number of consumers who use mobile apps 60 times or more per day has risen to 280 million, a new report has revealed.

According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, these "mobile addicts" would make up the fourth most populous country in the world if they were all brought together.

Based on analysis of the total population of smart devices Flurry measured between Q2 2014 to Q2 2015, this means the number of global mobile addicts has increased by 59% in just one year.

To put these findings into perspective, Flurry said it shows mobile addicts now outnumber the entire populations of Indonesia or Brazil and their number is just 42m shy of the total population of the USA.

"Regular users", or consumers who use apps between once and 16 times per day, increased by 25% from 784m to 985m over the year while "super users", who use apps between 16 and 60 times a day, grew 34% from 440m to 590m.

Apart from measuring such explosive growth in smart device usage, Flurry also examined what motivates those consumers it dubs mobile addicts.

Messaging and social apps are their clear favourites – mobile addicts use messaging apps 6.56 times more than the average mobile consumer.

Utilities and productivity app usage is high as well, indicating that mobile addicts are using their smart device as their sole computing device.

Not surprisingly, games, news, media and entertainment are popular apps, but the Flurry report authors said they were surprised to find that mobile addicts use finance apps 2.5 times more than the average mobile consumer.

This finding supports research by Bank of America, which has revealed that 48% of its customers are active banking app users.

Simon Khalaf, svp of publisher products at Flurry, said: "This is an astounding finding given that Bank of America's history dates back to 1904 and in just eight years almost 50% of its consumers changed banking habits."

Data sourced from Flurry; additional content by Warc staff

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UK consumers boost legal streaming

23 July 2015
LONDON/NEWPORT: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of UK internet users download or stream content, such as TV shows and music, but one-in-five continue to do so illegally, a new official report has revealed.

The survey, conducted by Kantar Media on behalf of the Intellectual Property Office, questioned more than 5,100 internet users aged 12+ between March and May 2015.

Now in its fifth wave, the Government report found an increase of more than 10% in the take up of legal services since 2013 as well as a 6% rise in online consumption, including both legal and illegal content.

After extrapolating the data, the report concluded that 15m UK internet users access TV programmes online, with 21% accessing some content illegally, while 10m access films online (25% illegally).

BBC iPlayer, YouTube and ITV Player are the top platforms for accessing TV programmes online while Netflix, Amazon and YouTube are the top platforms for film downloads. Netflix alone is responsible for 44% of all film-streaming activity.

15.6m UK internet users access music online, but 26% have done it illegally. Also, perhaps not surprisingly, 16-24 year-olds are the most active for music downloads.

YouTube, Amazon and Spotify are the top platforms used for accessing music, and YouTube accounts for more than half (54%) of all music streaming and downloads.

Turning to other content that UK internet users access or download, e-books are used by 5.6m, followed by computer software (5.5m) and video games (5.2m).

The findings show that the average quarterly spend on downloading and streaming content ranges from £6.68 for TV programmes to £20.28 for music.

Elsewhere, the most common reasons for illegal downloads are because it's free (49%) and convenient (43%), but respondents say they would be encouraged to stop infringing if there are cheaper legal services (25%) and if everything is available legally (21%).

Interestingly, the survey was conducted in parallel with research in Australia. It found that, while British and Australian users consume online media at similar rates, illegal downloading by UK consumers is half the rate than in Australia.

Commenting on the findings, Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said: "It's great news that a huge proportion of UK consumers are going online to enjoy music, TV shows, video games and e-books legally, supporting our creative industries to grow and showing the benefits of making legal content widely available.

"By building a clear picture of online streaming and downloading trends we can work with industry and international partners to tackle the problems of internet piracy and increase public awareness of the ways people can download and stream legally."

Data sourced from the Intellectual Property Office; additional content by Warc staff

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ARF, comScore tackle digital 'jargon'

23 July 2015
NEW YORK: The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and comScore are helping marketers confused by the "jargon of the ad-delivery space" by defining many of the key terms within the industry's growing digital lexicon.

Serge Matta, comScore's president/CEO, spoke about this subject at the ARF's Audience Measurement 2015 conference in New York City.

And he reported that the two organisations' efforts to produce a dictionary-in-progress were motivated, in part, by the changing shape of marketing conversations.

"The discussion now seems to have its own language - jargon of the ad-delivery space," he said. (For more, including selected definitions, read Warc's exclusive report: Digital basics: comScore, ARF come to terms.)

Given the level of complexity facing brands and agencies, he continued, it is no surprise that this "jargon" has appeared.

"Digital media is complicated," said Matta. "There's the difference between 'display' and 'video'. Between 'desktop' and 'mobile'. There's 'in-app' versus 'browser'.

"Some people may have heard of the term 'Non-Human Traffic'. Now 'NHT' is called 'Invalid Traffic' or 'IVT'."

New technologies like programmatic have also been accompanied by the advent of distinctive vernaculars which can be difficult for novices to comprehend.

Further, Matta asserted, the fact there are now "countless vendors and differing standards" only adds to the overall sense of confusion.

The attempts by comScore and the ARF to provide greater clarity are thus based around the crucial notion of "viewability".

In defining this concept, they focused on the "opportunity of an ad to be seen by a consumer" - and they have been working together to improve such standards in practice, too.

Other entries featured in their glossary include everything from "above the fold" and "engagement" to "tag rotation" and "validated GRP".

Data sourced from Warc

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India inspires global innovation

23 July 2015
MUMBAI: An increasing number of global brands regard India as a centre for "reverse innovation" where cost-effective products are designed and developed locally before they are launched successfully in other markets.

A good example is Samsung's new ActivWash, Times of India reported. It is a top-loading washing machine, which the South Korean multinational developed at its lab in Chennai and is now exporting to South Korea where one sells every two minutes.

Samsung also showcased the machine at CES Las Vegas, the world's top consumer electronics show, earlier this year where it garnered positive reviews.

"ActivWash is an example of a product that we made for India, but soon got recognised for its utility across our shores," said Ranjivjit Singh, senior vp of corporate marketing at Samsung India.

Arch rival LG has also developed products in India, such as a smart refrigerator and a mosquito-repelling air conditioner, and plans to sell them throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Elsewhere, Renault has launched its Indian-built Kwid, which the French car maker developed from scratch at its Indian research and development division, and is now looking to export to Brazil, Iran and other global markets.

The reverse innovation trend is also being pursued by major brands in the food and drinks industry.

Mondelez India and Coca-Cola India have both developed a visi-cooler for the Indian market and have since exported these low-cost refrigerators to Malaysia and other countries with a hot climate.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Unilever's Pureit water purifier is an Indian innovation that has been adopted by consumers in Indonesia, Brazil, China and Africa.

Commenting on the development, Professor Vijay Govindarajan, a Fellow at Harvard Business School, said: "When India can innovate world-class quality products at ultra-low costs, those products will appeal to customers all over the world."

Data sourced from Times of India, Carscoops; additional content by Warc staff

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Australia leads world in programmatic

23 July 2015
SYDNEY/BOSTON: Australia leads the world in programmatic advertising and is even ahead of the US and UK for mobile and video programmatic trading, a new report has stated.

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Australia benefits from a sophisticated structural system and has a more concentrated market with trading desks specifically pushing programmatic, AdNews reported.

The Australian ad market is currently worth about US$13bn a year, but programmatic digital display adspend in the country is expected to edge up to US$724m in 2015.

That would represent year-on-year growth of 24.9% and account for almost a quarter (73.6%) of online display advertising.

Anna Green, partner and managing director at BCG Australia, said: "The high penetration means that the opportunities to maximise revenues and deliver improved results for advertisers is there."

However, she added that the sector could improve further if agencies enrich the data they hold on users while ensuring those working in the market are given the tools they need to deliver results.

The Google-commissioned BCG report went on to say there are significant benefits for publishers, such as improved revenue and profits, if they automate their inventory management and trading strategies, Business Review Weekly reported.

But one of the biggest challenges for publishers and digital media companies is that they have been too focussed on low-value activities in the programmatic supply chain.

For example, publishers have often regarded automated ad exchanges as a way to offload remnant or unsold inventory and they have been too cautious about deploying fully-programmatic initiatives.

Data sourced from AdNews, BCG, Business Review Weekly; additional content by Warc staff

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Gen X is more likely to use OTT

23 July 2015
NEW YORK: Households with at least one person from Generation X and those with children are much more likely to view over-the-top (OTT) content via TV sets, a new study has shown.

Research firm GfK found that more than half (53%) of households containing someone aged roughly 35-49-years-old view OTT content via TV sets, compared with the national average of 40% of all TV households.

Similarly, 54% of households with children use Smart TVs or web-connected devices linked to television sets to go OTT, compared with 34% of households that have no children.

A full 20% of homes do not pay for traditional TV, the report found, while streaming video has become the third most common online activity in the US.

That places it behind only social networking and online shopping on the list of online activities, but ahead of listening to music, instant messaging and internet gaming.

"The old stereotype of an OTT viewer hunched over a laptop or tablet is very much out of date," said David Tice, svp of GfK's media and entertainment practice.

"Rapid adoption of smart TVs and digital media players over the past three years has pushed OTT to the biggest screens in the home, with attendant expectations from consumers that OTT quality should be as good as regular TV service, and as easy to use as mobile OTT options."

Turning to OTT adoption among different groups in the US, the report found a high uptake among Hispanics (42%) and Caucasian Americans (40%), but a relatively low rate of adoption among African Americans (29%).


Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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Global adspend growth slows to 2.3%

22 July 2015
LONDON: Global adspend is expected to increase by 2.3% in 2015, according to Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, although this amounts to a downgrade of 2.5pp from the 4.8% forecast in its previous report in December 2014.

The more challenging outlook for 2015 reflects downgrades in half of the 12 major markets covered in the report, including the US (-3.0pp) and China (-1.5pp), the two largest economies in the world. The 12 markets studied comprise some 75% of all advertising expenditure tracked by Warc.

Russia (-15.1pp), Canada (-2.9pp), Italy (-0.7pp) and the UK (-0.3pp) make up the remaining four major markets where adspend growth has been downgraded.

However, despite its modest downgrade, the UK is still expected to post 6.6% growth at current prices this year, making it the third fastest-growing major market behind China (9.0%) and India (16.1%).

There is a bleaker outlook for Russia, which is suffering from low oil prices and decreasing consumer spend. Adspend in Russia is expected to decline 13.1% in 2015, making it the only market other than France (-0.2%) where adspend is projected to fall.

The US, the world's largest ad market, is expected to record adspend growth of 1.4% in 2015 despite its downgrade of 3.0pp since Warc's previous forecast.

US adspend growth is being dragged down by the performance of its TV sector, which experienced a weak 'upfronts' period earlier this year and, unlike last year, has not benefitted from the stimulus of major sporting and political events. US TV adspend is expected to decline 3.3% this year.

More positively, all markets apart from Russia are expected to post adspend growth in 2016 with India rising at the fastest rate (+12.4%) followed by Brazil (+7.7%), which is likely to benefit from the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.

Taken together, adspend across all 12 major markets is expected to total $413.7bn at current prices by the end of the forecast period in 2016.

In real terms, after accounting for inflation, the total is expected to be $325.3bn, or $8.5bn below the peak that preceded the global economic downturn in 2009.

Commenting on the report, Warc data analyst James McDonald said: "After a strong rise in global advertising spend last year, the outlook for 2015 is more sobering.

"With three of the world's largest economies now in recession, and slowdowns seen in the US and China, we expect a degree of caution when it comes to committing ad budgets this year.

"That said, advertisers have increased spend every year since the 2009 crash, with the influx of money for internet ads underlining the growing range of options for marketers."

A free sample of Warc's International Ad Forecast can be downloaded here.


Data sourced from Warc

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Programmatic rises, ad viewability falls

22 July 2015
LONDON/BERLIN: Programmatic trading is surging ahead in Europe, but the rate of online ad viewability has declined, most notably in the UK, two new reports have indicated.

Adform, a Danish digital advertising insights firm, reported that ad space bought via programmatic trading increased 76% year-on-year to April 2015, driven to a large extent by a 333% rise in spend on branding ad formats.

This led to an increase of 119% in total adspend, the report said, as advertisers dedicated a larger proportion of their budgets to programmatic channels.

However, despite brand advertisers paying more attention to programmatic, ad viewability across Europe declined 0.7% to 55% over the past year. There was a marked decline in the UK, the report noted.

Meanwhile, the overall engagement rate in Europe fell by 33% while the average engagement time spent with ads declined to 12.66 seconds from 13.93 seconds.

The drop in ad viewability rates over the last year occurred despite guidance from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) aimed at raising viewability standards.

Further evidence about the ongoing problem came in a separate report from German ad verification company Meetrics, which reported that the level of online ad viewability in the UK had "dropped noticeably over the last year".

Only 49% of online ads in the UK during Q2 2015 met the IAB's recommendation that an ad is considered viewable if 50% of it is in view for at least one second. That compared with 56% in Q2 2014.

Interestingly, viewability rates were considerably higher in Germany (64%) and France (62%) where the programmatic marketplace is less advanced.

"There's no doubt programmatic brings many benefits to advertisers but there's a flip side to every coin," said Anant Joshi, director of international business at Meetrics.

"It's certainly less transparent than buying directly and there's also a big question mark about the quality of much of the inventory sold this way and, clearly, that most of it never ends up being seen."

Data sourced from Adform, Meetrics, IAB; additional content by Warc staff

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JWT NY taps 'new breed' of creative

22 July 2015
NEW YORK: Modern creatives must embody a "new way of looking at the world" that involves fusing data and the latest tech with big ideas for clients, according to executives from JWT New York.

Lynn Power, the agency's president, and Eric Weisberg, its executive creative director, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2015 Audience Measurement conference.

"Today requires a new breed of thinkers - a new way of looking at the world," Power said. (For more, including examples from Zyrtec, KitKat and Berocca, read Warc's exclusive report: How technology revolutionizes JWT's creative process.)

"The secret sauce of how creativity gets made is no longer something that resides solely in the creative department."

Instead, she suggested, the use of data is now a core component of JWT's creative practices - with the end goal often being the formulation of unique, technology-driven experiences rather than traditional campaigns.

"We're embracing data not just as a separate group in the agency but really as an extension of the creative department," Power said.

And the result, Weisberg continued, has been nothing short of the "reinvention of the creative department and the creative process".

More specifically, he argued that strategists, writers, artists and technologists are working in unison, instead of sticking to the silos of the past.

"The time when a writer and an art director would lock themselves in a room and come out in a few weeks with Hamlet is gone," he reported.

In its place have emerged different standards, expectations and proof points through analytics - all of which demand that "more people need to be part of the creative process".

Weisberg added: "They're connecting the dots between everything that's out there in the world to create insight through data, to use technology through data to create new ideas. And that's really transforming everything that we do."

Data sourced from Warc

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YouTube advertisers grow by 40%

22 July 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: The number of advertisers using YouTube has risen by more than 40% over the past year, according to a new report commissioned by the video-sharing platform.

The study by video marketing firm Pixability examined how the Google-owned site is used by the world's top 100 brands, as ranked by brand consultants Interbrand, and found they are creating ever more content for YouTube.

According to Pixability, the top 100 brands are collectively uploading a video to YouTube every 18.5 minutes and views of their branded content have nearly doubled in the last 12 months.

These brands have a total of 40bn views across their 2,434 channels and 18bn of them took place last year. YouTube's channels also have 73m subscribers, up 47% year-on-year, the report noted.

As these brands build relationships with viewers, it appears that an increasing number of them are making content specifically for the channel.

10% of brand videos posted to YouTube in the last year were over 10 minutes long, which the report said made them perform better than "repurposed material" and indicated that brands are seeking to produce unique and relevant content.

Furthermore, they are prepared to pay to do so and the report found that the average spend of the top 100 video advertisers, as defined by media spend, has risen 60% since last year.

"We hit a turning point last year," said Tara Walpert Levy, managing director of agency solutions at Google, in comments reported by Adweek.

"What drove it home is the viewership piece – how much viewers are embracing brand content, and the sheer volume of it."

The Pixability report was published a few days after Google announced second quarter net income of $3.93bn.

Advertising revenue grew 11% to $16.02bn from the same period last year while the number of ads, or paid clicks, rose 18%.

Data sourced from YouTube, Adweek, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff

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Amazon earmarks $5bn for India

22 July 2015
BANGALORE: Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, is reported to be planning to invest $5bn in India to turn the country into its biggest market outside the US.

According to the Economic Times, two unnamed people "directly familiar with the company's decision" also revealed that the ecommerce giant is planning to launch its instant video service and subscription-based Amazon Prime later this year.

Amazon entered India in 2013 and last year CEO Jeff Bezos announced investment of $2bn because of the "huge potential" he saw for ecommerce growth in India.

With an additional $5bn at its disposal, Amazon will be ramping up its challenge to domestic rivals, such as Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal, which have raised $5bn investment between them.

An executive at one of these companies described the challenge starkly. "Unlike us, Amazon doesn't have to get worked up on upcoming valuations, or getting a fresh investor in every round," the executive said. "They can keep funding to ensure the others in the market bleed."

Most of Amazon's additional funds will be spent on expanding its network of warehouses and data centres, the sources said, but it also aims to strengthen its online marketplace to compete more effectively with its Indian competitors.

Kartik Hosanagar, Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said he expected Amazon's operations in India to fit well with what it does in the US.

"Overall, the bet on India will pay off well for Amazon – it's a high-volume, low-margin business in the US; Amazon India will be similar," he said.

"I don't expect high profits from India but definitely good scale. So, while we shouldn't expect Alibaba-like financials from India, Amazon will find that India nicely complements its efforts in the US," he added.

Data sourced from Economic Times, International Business Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Blog: The era of outrage advertising

22 July 2015
Controversial "outrage advertising" can work because it gains coverage and brand awareness, argues Darika Ahrens of marketing agency LDN Stock, but it comes at a cost too.

Data sourced from Warc

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Convenience aids Japanese retail

22 July 2015
TOKYO: Even though Japan's convenience store sector faces numerous challenges, the country's second-largest operator, Lawson, plans to open another 450 stores this year, the company's CEO has revealed.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Genichi Tamatsuka said there are 55,000 convenience stores in Japan but the market has not yet reached saturation point.

He sees massive potential for growth because of demographic and other social changes that are altering consumers' buying behaviour.

"Whereas people used to go to a big supermarket and prepare meals for a family of four or five, now they're busier, they're older, and they prefer to buy in a small neighbourhood store," he explained.

Lawson currently runs a network of 12,000 stores – soon to be expanded – and, combined with its logistical muscle, Tamatsuka expressed confidence that it would be able to meet the needs of these "combini" neighbourhood stores.

"With our scale of 12,000 stores, our supply chain and platform, we can supply food and necessities to these neighbourhoods," he said.

Expansion overseas is another source of potential growth, he indicated, considering the value placed on the high level of customer service provided by Japanese retailers.

Lawson has 500 stores in China and has also started up operations in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Despite Tamatsuka's confidence, research group Euromonitor earlier this year published a more downbeat assessment of Japan's retail landscape.

"Japanese grocery retailers are expected to face numerous challenges imposed by such factors as changing demographics and operational difficulties," it warned.

However, in what could be seen as endorsement of Tamatsuka's expansion strategy, the report went on to say, "in order to fight against such negative circumstances, grocery retailers may attempt to expand in size and diversify business portfolios".

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

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High street footfall declines again

21 July 2015
LONDON: British high street retailers have further unwelcome evidence of shifting consumer behaviour as new data reveals footfall declined by almost 3% in June.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the industry trade body, and data consultants Springboard, high street footfall was down -2.8% last month compared with the same period last year.

Shopping centres also suffered, seeing a decline of -2.4% year-on-year, although overall retail footfall in the UK declined by -1.5% in June largely because out-of-town retail parks fared reasonably well, Retail Bulletin reported.

Retail parks, which are attracting more "click and collect" shoppers, reported a +2.8% rise in footfall, the 18th successive month in which the sector's footfall has increased.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, said this was "clear evidence that it is still possible to drive up the volume of customers to bricks and mortar stores" as long as retailers continue to improve the quality of their offer.

She added that the overall drop in footfall of -1.5% did not appear to be "hugely detrimental", but "it belies the long term decline in the attractiveness of urban retail destinations to shoppers".

After breaking down the national figures to the regional level, the report found that Northern Ireland and Wales had notable declines in footfall of -3.5% and -3% respectively while South East England also fell a significant -3.1%.

Commenting on how the UK retail landscape is changing, BRC director general Helen Dickinson, said: "The fundamental shift in the way people are shopping seems to be driving the sustained reduction in shopper numbers to both high streets and shopping centres.

"This is a clear demonstration that the reinvention of the high street is far from complete. The process of creating multi-use destinations in the heart of our towns and cities needs to continue in earnest if people are going to be drawn back to the high street.

"This has happened in some areas, but the energy and effort behind sharing best practice needs to be redoubled."

Data sourced from Retail Bulletin, Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff

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Programmatic revenue hits $10.1bn

21 July 2015
NEW YORK: Programmatic ad revenue in the US reached $10.1bn in 2014, accounting for a fifth (20%) of total internet advertising of almost $50bn last year, according to a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The IAB Programmatic Revenue Report, co-produced with professional services firm PwC, suggests major change is underway concerning how display advertising is bought and sold.

But it also makes clear that there are lingering issues about insufficient transparency and says that even attempting to size the programmatic market is challenging because there are inconsistencies about how it is defined.

In this report, the IAB's first attempt to size the US programmatic market, programmatic is defined as display and video ads bought or sold via an automated channel.

Display banner ads for desktop and mobile accounted for approximately 80% of programmatic revenues in 2014, the report found, and it forecast that mobile and video formats will take more from advertiser and publisher budgets and inventory "over time".

Open auction marketplaces generated about 70% of programmatic revenue last year, but the IAB said it expected other formats, such as private auctions, unreserved fixed rate or automated guaranteed methods, to become more popular.

In terms of programmatic revenue recipients, ad tech companies comprised about 55% while the remaining 45% was taken by publishers.

"With our estimate of approximately 45% of programmatic revenues reaching publishers, understanding where dollars are distributed across the ad-stack from advertiser to publisher can be quite disorienting in the current programmatic landscape," the IAB said, in comments reported by Advertising Age.

With ROI remaining difficult to calculate, coupled with ongoing concerns about ad verification and transparency, the IAB also announced that it is establishing a Programmatic Fee Transparency project to develop guidance and improve confidence.

"Limited transparency around fees in programmatic has the potential to undermine trust and liquidity in the marketplace," said Carl Kalapesi, IAB vp of industry initiatives.

"The IAB Programmatic Fee Transparency project will develop guidance around fee disclosure and transparency within the programmatic ecosystem," he added.

Data sourced from IAB, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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Alibaba, Unilever form partnership

21 July 2015
HANGZHOU: Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce giant, and Unilever are forming a comprehensive strategic partnership to enable the international FMCG group to reach more Chinese consumers.

The companies issued a statement late last Sunday, announcing that their partnership would go beyond product sales to encompass innovation and collaboration across a wide range of applications and logistics.

Aimed to a large extent at widening Unilever's access to China's rural consumers, the joint strategy will involve collaboration on distribution channels, big data analytics, cross-border ecommerce, supply chain management and digital advertising.

Unilever first opened a virtual store on Alibaba's Tmall online marketplace in 2011 and the companies said this latest agreement marked a "major milestone" in their relationship.

"We are very pleased to amplify our partnership with an industry leader such as Unilever," said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba. "[We] will jointly innovate in Big Data analytics application, cross-border ecommerce, and supply chain management."

Marijn Van Tiggelen, Unilever's North Asia president, described Alibaba as "the leading internet company in China, with the most innovative thinking".

"It's not only an online store, but also a solution platform for online payment, e-finance and e-commerce logistics," he added. "In co-operation with Alibaba, Unilever can provide more convenient services to consumers in China."

Unilever generates more than half its sales from emerging markets, yet its performance in China has suffered in recent months as the world's second-largest economy has slowed.

With the announcement of the partnership with Alibaba, Unilever aims to expand its distribution channels to rural areas while also developing cross-border ecommerce co-operation on Tmall Global.

The two companies also will work together to optimise Unilever's digital advertising strategy through Alimama, Alibaba's online marketing platform, and reach more consumers through online-offline retail integration.

Furthermore, on top of improving supply chain management, they will combat the counterfeiting of Unilever goods through Alibaba's Blue Star program, which uses a unique QR code that allows consumers to verify a brand's authenticity and origin.

According to Campaign Asia, the new partnership will be celebrated with a special promotion on Tmall this week that will feature flash sales with 50% discounts on popular Unilever brands.

Data sourced from Business Wire, Reuters, Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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US TV adspend drops 5% in Q2

21 July 2015
NEW YORK: TV adspend in the US declined -5% year-on-year in Q2 2015, according to a new industry study, which also noted that growth in the digital sector appears to be slowing down.

Standard Media Index (SMI), the advertising measurement firm which reports on 80% of US ad agency spending, reported that broadcast TV adspend was down -10% for the period while cable TV fell -3%.

Looking at the results for June, adspend was down -16% for broadcast while cable dropped -1%, but SMI attributed much of the decline to the boost the industry received last year from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The global footballing event generated more than $500m in TV ad revenue last summer, SMI reported. However, it said other factors could be in play.

"June's overall numbers were negatively impacted on a year-on-year basis by last year's World Cup," said James Fennessy, SMI's chief commercial officer.

"However, there are some underlying factors that are contributing to a deeper malaise," he added.

"Soft ratings and ongoing measurement issues continue to impact television's results and we also saw a slight slowdown in the explosive growth from digital, which points to marketers focusing more closely on return on investment."

Digital adspend posted double-digit growth in the second quarter, but it was up by just +17% in June compared to double that rate in April and May.

Overall US adspend increased +2% in Q2 2015, boosted in part by +16% growth in the out-of-home sector, but adspend remained flat in June amid signs that advertisers are holding back their spending to buy nearer to a broadcast date.

More positively, SMI also found that advertising on social media and video sites continued to grow consistently at +37% and +43% respectively.

Data sourced from SMI; additional content by Warc staff

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Marketing has 'big role' for Ikea

21 July 2015
LONDON: Nearly 30 years since it launched in the UK, Ikea is seeking to recreate the "buzz" it generated at the time and sees creative marketing as key to its success, the Swedish retailer's UK head of marketing has said.

Peter Wright, the furniture retailer's head of marketing in the UK and Ireland, told Marketing Week that Ikea wants to connect emotionally with consumers and not be seen as a good place just for low-priced furniture and meatballs.

"When we first came to the UK 28 years ago there was a huge buzz – we are looking to rekindle that and creative marketing has to play a big role," he said.

"There is more to be told about who and what we are as we have a reputation for being secretive…We have a great story we must start telling as we've never really got into or explained it before – there is a lot of work still to do," he added.

On top of its "Wonderful Everyday" campaign, which was launched last week, the company is seeking to broaden its appeal with smaller format stores.

Famous for its large out-of-town warehouses – it currently has 18 in the UK – Ikea is now seeking to complement them with some high street stores with the first scheduled to open in Norwich this autumn.

"If you look at the number one reason why people don't shop with Ikea it is accessibility as many Brits live several hours away," he said.

"There is a logic in making the brand more accessible. If you work in retail, 90% of brand building happens in-store and by offering compelling experiences, so advertising is relatively unimportant."

The company has a good platform on which to grow. According to YouGov BrandIndex, its index rating – covering consumer perceptions of quality, value, satisfaction and reputation – has grown 4.4 points to 33.8 over the last six months.

Ikea's reputation may grow further with news that it will become the first national retailer in the UK to pay its staff more than the government's new National Living Wage.

From next year, Ikea staff will be paid a minimum of £7.85 per hour, or £0.65 more per hour than the new compulsory living wage announced in the Budget earlier this month by Chancellor George Osborne.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Washington Post learns from Amazon

21 July 2015
NEW YORK: The Washington Post is pursuing "excellence in engineering" to enhance its digital prospects - a strategy favoured by Jeff Bezos, the news title's owner and chief executive of Amazon, the ecommerce giant.

Steve Hills, the Post's president/general manager, discussed this subject at the INMA World Congress 2015 in New York.

He reported that Bezos had moved software engineers to the forefront of the publication's operations, whether that is creating more personalised experiences on its website or building a monetisable content management system.

"A key part of our experiment is to embed technologists," Hills said. (For more, including how the publication is building its audience, read Warc's exclusive report: The Washington Post explores the Amazon trail.)

"We have embedded engineers," he continued. "And, very importantly, engineers are treated as first-class citizens."

In short, that means these digital experts are now working directly with journalists and advertising teams to improve the Post's offerings across the board.

"The new world is engineers and editors - or engineers and ad-sales executives - sitting together and co-developing products," said Hills. "And the ideas are as likely to come from the engineers as they are from the editors."

Just as Amazon's under-the-hood capabilities have been essential in building superior ecommerce experiences, so the Post is combining traditional journalistic excellence with deeper digital savvy.

"It means [we have] to think like a digital-product company, because our big competition: they are digital-product companies," said Hills.

"But, uniquely and why we think we have the potential for success - and what, I think, is a key reason why Jeff Bezos bought us - is [that] the Washington Post can, actually, possibly be truly world class on both axes."

With online companies of various forms pressing into the news and entertainment space, such ideas are particularly timely for the venerable newspaper.

"There are great technology companies who are learning and investing. We can downplay them now and say, 'They don't care about content', but they'll get there," said Hills.

"And there are great journalism companies trying to have a race to become great technology companies. We believe we can be the best of both."

Data sourced from Warc

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Commuting tops mobile search usage

21 July 2015
HONG KONG: Three-quarters (75%) of consumers in Hong Kong who engage in mobile search do so while commuting compared with the home (73%) or the workplace (58%), a new survey has shown.

Conducted by Yahoo Hong Kong Advertising, the study of more than 1,000 local users also found that, while they depend heavily on mobile to get the best search results, nearly two-thirds (65%) say small screen size inhibits them from scrolling down for more search results.

This has implications for advertisers, Marketing Interactive reported, because the study claims that mobile search can be effective at driving ad revenue.

A full 58% of respondents say they would click on an ad while almost a third (30%) would go on to make a purchase or conduct more research.

Location-based services prove popular in Hong Kong, the report continued, with 59% of survey participants saying they use mobile search mainly because of the location function.

In terms of the main channels used by mobile consumers when they start their search, WAP Search Box and URL field scores 44% and 42% respectively compared with only 27% who use apps.

Nonetheless, Yahoo is experimenting with a new video-texting app, called Livetext, which it launched earlier this month.

Currently available only in Hong Kong, Livetext is free to use, works over a device's Wi-Fi or mobile connection and is focused on individual messaging rather than group chats.

Yahoo claims Livetext is not an alternative to a smartphone's built-in mobile apps, but rather acts as a "new way to stay in touch".

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, PC Mag; additional content by Warc staff

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Sharing essential to agile marketing

20 July 2015
LONDON/CHICAGO: Breaking down internal barriers and sharing information and ideas are part of the agile marketing approach which has helped one agency create an effective campaign in just 14 days.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, John Kenny, evp/strategic planning director at FCB Chicago, outlined an approach that saw a new campaign for a major brand produced in two weeks, from client briefing to final edit.

What made this even more remarkable was the fact that the client had not worked with the agency before or even met them in person, the initial point of contact being a video conference.

And Kenny pinpointed that first exchange as where agility starts. It matters who is in the room, he said, and creatives need to be there rather than being handed a brief written by someone else.

"They need to be seen as a strategic function, co-creating the brief with planners, exploring the creative possibilities in an assignment with clients and agency partners."

The next stage involves the use of "tools that enable sharing multiple perspectives on a problem to see where the potential creative heat and strategic possibilities lie," and no waiting around while lengthy research is carried out.

FCB Chicago instead tapped into its own resources and networks for insights into consumer behaviour to help it understand how messaging might need to be reframed.

"No PowerPoint. Conversations, not presentations, are the fastest way to see if an insight has potential," Kenny stated.

In this way the agency was able to come up with a viable brief within three days and a creative idea within four.

The subsequent creative execution within the two-week time frame was only made possible by having in-house video production capabilities – that "changes everything", said Kenny – and by having a director present in the first creative review.

The logistics of shooting could be quickly organised with scripts following and completed video footage available for editing within five days.

To work this way consistently, said Kenny, "agencies need to reconfigure how they think about what they do, how they are structured and how they operate".

Ultimately, he suggested, agile marketing is a way of working that empowers agencies and their clients to get to greater work.

Data sourced from Admap

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Online spending grows during Ramadan

20 July 2015
DUBAI: Online retailers across the Middle East have reported a surge in spending during Ramadan with a marked shift towards the use of mobile.

Shopping patterns have traditionally shifted towards evenings during Ramadan and while shopping malls have extended their opening hours to take advantage of this, online retailers in particular have reaped benefits.

In Turkey, for example, Hepsiburada reported sharp increases in traffic between 1am and 3am as people observing the fast went shopping to pass the time before the morning meal.

And in Dubai, Awok said that online shopping was up 35% between the evening meal that breaks the fast and the pre-dawn meal.

With the end of the fasting period last Friday, online retailers expected another uplift as people bought Eid gifts.

"We see a big see push online and [changing] consumer habits due to mobile," Ronaldo Mouchawar, chief executive of Souq.com, told the Financial Times.

Souq.com, which claims to be the largest ecommerce site in the Arab world, was anticipating a 20-25% increase in traffic during this period.

Mobile penetration in the region is growing, helping to draw more consumers online generally, but the patterns of behaviour during Ramadan mean it also has a role to play at certain times.

According to Criteo, computers are more often used for online shopping during the second and third weeks of Ramadan as people prepare for the holidays that follow.

Sales via mobile peak during the fourth week when many people are away from home visiting family.

And as the Eid holiday period gets under way, so too will mobiles be more prominent in online retail.

Criteo also noted the lack of global ecommerce names in the Middle East. "Local guys were quick to set up strong local presences, whereas big international ones went for global platforms," explained Dirk Henke, Criteo's managing director for eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"Now locals literally rule ecommerce here."

Data sourced from Financial Times, The National, Today's Zaman, Criteo; additional content by Warc staff

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Marketing ops need to improve

20 July 2015
NEW YORK: When done well, marketing operations can deliver significant improvements in ROI and customer engagement according to McKinsey & Co.

An article on the consulting firm's site described digital marketing operations as involving "the application of capabilities, processes, structures, and technologies to cost-effectively exploit and scale the interactivity, targeting, personalization, and optimization of digital channels".

Authors David Edelman and Jason Heller admitted that it is not a particularly glamourous area but argued "it is becoming the most important one".

They claimed that good marketing operations could provide between a 15% and 25% uplift in marketing effectiveness, as measured by return on investment and customer-engagement metrics.

But many businesses are not achieving that as they fail to adapt their organisational structures to cope with the increasingly complex world in which their marketing teams operate.

The authors cited the example of a global consumer products company, which had seen its content spending rise by more than 25% in a year as it sought to become more customer-centric.

"There was, however, no unifying strategy, governance, or system to create cohesion, reuse assets, or measure effectiveness across the company's complex supply chain, which consisted of dozens of agencies, production companies, and media partners, producing material for websites, blogs, YouTube, social media, mobile, and customer-relationship management," the authors said.

But the establishment of a centre-of-excellence function to develop and manage a consistent content operating model across divisions had changed that.

The time to generate content was reduced, costs stopped growing and new discipline was applied to managing the impact of content.

"As a result, marketing return on investment has improved by more than 20%," the authors reported.

They identified five attributes of effective marketing operations, including the creation of more integrated customer insights programs, delivering a superior customer experience, choosing the right marketing technology rather than the "best", implementing clear processes so that all parties understand their responsibilities, and using metrics focused on customer activity rather than products or regions.

Data sourced from McKinsey & Co; additional content by Warc staff

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Delta analyses 'share of experience'

20 July 2015
NEW YORK: Brands may benefit from focusing on their "share of experience" – a strategy employed by Delta Air Lines to gain a more holistic picture of how it is performing with consumers.

Fiona Blades, founder/president of research agency MESH, worked with Delta on this effort, and discussed details at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 2015 event.

And she suggested that, in many cases, marketing directors are asking the wrong questions when seeking to determine their success.

"We know how much is going into TV and how much is going into the internet," she said. (For more, including further tips for diversifying measurement, read Warc's exclusive report: How "experience" aligns (or doesn't) with media spend.)

"But if you asked the question, 'How do people experience your brand?' ... the result won't just include paid media."

More specifically, Blades recommended establishing the full context in which consumers experience a brand.

That will include whether they experience it with family or other people, if this event occurs at home or elsewhere, if they are doing something else at the moment of exposure, and so on.

Such an approach does address the paid/owned/earned media mix, but also incorporates a wider group of "environmental" factors, too.

For an airline like Delta, these drivers will extend to the physical spaces in which individuals experience its brand, right down to the airport and the aircraft itself.

Attempting to "harness" this fuller slate of touchpoints, Blades asserted, enables companies to more deeply understand the customer experience.

"Positive experience can have many times the impact of neutral experience. In some instances, we've actually found that neutral experiences have a negative impact on brand consideration," she added.

"So it's important to have not just 'quantity' but 'quality' experiences."

Data sourced from Warc

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Cable TV's got five years

20 July 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: More and more Americans are turning to OTT platforms and a majority no longer expect cable or satellite TV to be widely used in five years' time, a new survey has said.

Zogby Analytics polled more than 2,100 people for CALinnovates, a body that advocates for the future of California's tech sector, and found that "cord cutter" platform adoption is already widespread.

Specifically, 44% of consumers are already accessing movies and television via these platforms. That includes 57% of consumers between the ages of 18-29, and 63% of parents with a child under 17.

Further, only 42.5% of respondents believed that cable or satellite TV service would continue to remain in wide use by 2020.

Unsurprisingly, it is younger consumers who are driving this trend. Just 37% of consumers between the ages of 18-24 planned to continue to subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service.

"It's no longer accurate to simply say that streaming video is the future of entertainment, because the future is now," said Mike Montgomery, CALinnovates executive director.

His comments came in the wake of several recent reports highlighting the growth of the OTT market.

FBR Capital Markets, for example, predicted that by 2016 Netflix would have more viewers than any of the three major US broadcast networks.

And in Prospects for Premium OTT in the USA, analyst firm MTM forecast that OTT revenue would at least double between 2014 and 2018 but could triple, depending on the success of new entrants and the propensity of consumers to take multiple services.

It expected that pay-TV and OTT would converge, with pay-TV providers developing OTT offerings as entry-level packages or to target specialist audiences; OTT services, on the other hand, would be looking for distribution on affiliate networks

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Variety, Ooyala; additional content by Warc staff

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Australians brands lag on CX

20 July 2015
SYDNEY: Few Australian brands have a well-structured and organised customer experience strategy despite professionals in this field expecting the proportion of self-service customer interactions to grow sharply over the next five years.

Salmat, a specialist in customer marketing and engagement, polled 288 customer experience professionals for a Customer Insight white paper and found that 37% of customer interactions were currently self-service and that figure would grow to 61% by 2020.

But when it asked what marketers were doing to address this, it discovered that that only 22% had what they considered a well thought-out plan in place.

A further 31% said they had a plan but admitted that it didn't always get followed, while 13% didn't have a strategy.

Even among those who did have a plan, only 38% said that it fully addressed all stages of the customer lifecycle.

Sarah Pike, chief marketing officer at Salmat, was critical, saying that brands did not really understand their customers' needs, even though they were employing a range of tools to measure their experience, ranging from net promoter score to customer effort score.

"While most brands use some form of customer experience measurement, for the most part these results aren't used to implement change," she told B&T.

For example, 39% of CX practitioners claimed to use net promoter scores at least annually, but one third of these rarely made any changes as a result.

The biggest challenge, according to the white paper, is keeping pace with emerging technologies.

"Knowing what data to collect, how to collect it through multiple touchpoints and knowing what to do with it are all concerns for CX professionals," Pike noted.

And of the expected growth in self-service, she said that "brands are worried that providing no direct contact with customers will impact loyalty".

She recommended taking a holistic approach, rather than looking at each initiative individually.

Data sourced from Salmat, B&T; additional content by Warc staff

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Athletic staff boost sales

20 July 2015
BENGALURU: Leading sports brands are recruiting athletes as sales staff in India and reporting a significant uplift in sales as a result.

Adidas-Reebok, for example, currently has around 200 runners in its footwear sales team and plans to expand that number to 500 by next year. Since it began this initiative six months ago, it claims that sales have shot up 20%.

Nike and Puma are also taking this route as they seek to persuade consumers to trade up from the basic footwear they have relied on for many years.

"This is a global trend that is now picking up in India and we are trying to change the state of the market," Sanjay Gangopadhyay, managing director and general manager at Nike India, told the Economic Times.

Another factor is the technical specifications of modern sporting footwear, and while consumers know something about these, sales staff have to know more.

"This heightened awareness has made it imperative for us to scale up the levels of knowledge of the sales staff in Adidas and Reebok stores," said Dhruv Bogra, senior director of retail at Adidas Group India.

At present Adidas operates through local distributors and retailers but has plans to set up 100%-owned outlets.

A spokesman said the company would continue to partner with its franchisee network, but "It is also our desire and strategic intent to bring to the country world-class large retail formats that currently exist in our global set up", Mint reported.

That will presumably open up more retail career opportunities for athletes who are already being tracked in colleges and gyms.

Asics, the Japanese sports and leisure brand, has also recently opened its first Indian store, in Delhi, having ended a distribution partnership with Reliance Retail.

"After three or four years of expansion in major cities, we will expand to tier II and tier III cities," Rajat Khurana, general manager and director of ASICS India, told the Financial Chronicle.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Mint, Financial Chronicle; additional content by Warc staff

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