Hyves and the numbers

So there is some commotion is the dutch media about the numbers Hyves has published.

The 275 million pageviews on August 23rd are supposedly pretty high according to some criticasters.
With the 10.3 million users Hyves claims to have it would mean that around 26 pages were viewed per individual user. That is if everybody logged in that day and started browsing of course. Continue reading

Twitter, what are you doing?

I use Twitter and get the following questions a lot:

1. Please explain me what is so interesting about it? I signed up, but don’t get it.
2. Who has time for that!?

When explaining Twitter I often give the example of  being in a pub and talking to my friends. Sometimes I talk about work, sometimes about my health of that of my parents, sometimes about my kids, but mostly about women and other fun stuff. And then I say; but in a pub there often is loud music and you can talk with two to three people at the same time, plus you don’t know what the other people in the pub are talking about.
– With Twitter you can follow conversations of people you find interesting and have a low barrier of entry to mingle in the conversation.

– With Twitter you can easily skip a, for you, uninteresting conversation without having to say: “I have to go to the toilet, be right back!”

– With Twitter you can participate in many conversations at the same time.

So to sum it up: For me Twitter is being in a very big world wide bar, with only people you like.
And then I came across this video yesterday of @perrybelcher, he compares a lot of social networking to a party… Close enough to my pub :)

What I also find good about his explanation is the way he talks about the latent sales implications of sharing your knowledge and interests. I call this the indirect sales opportunities and will post my thougths about it in the near future.

follow me @mathys

AdMob names iPhone number one device worldwide

AdMob, the world’s largest mobile advertising marketplace, has announced that the iPhone is now the #1 device worldwide, displacing the Motorola RAZR, and in a regional feature focus highlighted traffic from Latin America and the Caribbean has more than doubled in the last year (this is all covered in the October 2008 AdMob Mobile Metrics Report). Information Week reports here.

The iPhone experienced strong traffic worldwide to become the #1 device, with 37 percent of requests coming from outside of the US. It enjoyed explosive growth across AdMob’s network after the company launched its ad units for iPhone sites and applications in July 2008. There are currently more than 400 applications and sites in the AdMob’s iPhone Network. In October 2008, AdMob reached more than 4.5 million iPhones, one out of every three on the market!

Following on from the AdMob announcement, it makes perfect sense that this is one area that is really getting huge. I was at the first Amsterdam iPhone Dev Camp recently, and there is another mobiledevcamp this weekend in Amsterdam. (will check it out tomorrow and report back)

What I’ve noticed though is that Apple is not communicating efficiently the reason why apps are accepted or not. At Mobypicture we’ve had some trouble getting our Moby app into the store; in fact, we didn’t hear back for two weeks. We offered it again and then found out, almost a month later, that we had to change some things.

It’ll be interesting to see the implications of iPhone apps for targeted advertising, because Apple knows exactly which apps are bought – everything goes through their store, meaning they can get to know a lot about the iPhone users.

I will keep an suspicious eye on it for you, to be continued….

UK – rise in online advertising spend

Interesting find. Recent figures from the telecom regulator Ofcom suggest that the UK online advertising spend has risen dramatically and at the moment is responsible for around a fifth of all the money spent on advertising in the entire world.

These figures show that almost a third more cash has been spent by businesses on online advertising than in 2006.

This is an indication that many businesses are increasingly looking towards the internet for their advertising needs and that there must be a return on their spending otherwise it would not be increasing.

Online advertising has changed over the past couple years with the introduction of mobile broadband and the amount of mobile phones which are able to access the internet too. This accounts for around 134m connections worldwide.

Recession – the implications for online advertising?

During the SIME event there was an eyebrow-raising presentation from PriceWaterHouseCoopers. Well, it sure caught my attention with the bold statement that ONLINE ad spending will grow in all European markets next year, mainly because of the shift from old to new media. See this link.

This reminds me of some news I stumbled across recently – the story of how HomeAway, the largest online vacation rental marketplace, this month nailed down a good $250 million in venture capital, an extraordinarily large amount of money for an Internet company. As the New York Times reports, the new round, which is the biggest a tech company has raised since 2000, brings the four-year-old start-up’s total venture funding to $405 million!

So, against striking news items like this one, it seems difficult to work out the true state of the online advertising business in these nail-biting times. Lately, and fully understandably, Toading has spotted reams and reams of negative reporting with regards to what is likely to happen with online advertising during the recession we’re already in. We’re even seeing some of the more popular online media companies drop head count in the expectation that ad spending on the Internet will crash and burn in the short to mid term. While I certainly believe that companies will be forced to rein in their spending, especially in the sphere of advertising, it’s my prediction that more money will be coming to the Internet. This is why I feel that way:

1) Consumers turning to online shopping to save money – More and more people will be trying to save money in every way possible. This will include saving on petrol money by making more purchases online instead of driving around town looking for the best deals.

2) Smarter purchasing – As people start to take a hard, critical look at their purchasing decisions, they will be making more use of comparison shopping online and doing more research on the web before they make those purchases. This will also lead to more online purchases as they work out where the best deals are to be had.

3) More time at home – This could be classed under the people saving more money category. As people begin to watch their spending habits, it will mean less time and money splashed out on entertainment outside the home, like going out to eat, going to the movies, travelling abroad, and so on. These will give people more free time at home, which in turn will mean more time spent online.

4) Measurability – If that’s a real word! Anyway, my theory is that companies that are cutting back on ad spending will only put their money in what they absolutely know delivers results. This gives online advertising serious clout over pretty much any other variety of advertising, as it’s all trace-able down to the click or penny. You can fine tune and experiment constantly to identify what works best for you.

It seems sure that, in some sectors at least, spending will drastically decrease online. I would actually put luxury goods, travel, automotive, and some financial sectors in this bracket. Although I feel that advertisers will cut back on banner ads and other rich media, I think that more advertisers will be moving to affiliate type CPA stuff and CPC, as well as other Search Marketing efforts. So, that means online display advertising may slow down but overall I still believe the state of Search Advertising is looking good.

What do you think?

Google’s stranglehold of online advertising grows tighter by the day

When I was reading the Wall Street Journal a few days back, I came across a fantastic article looking at Google’s continued dominance of the Internet’s business model for monetising content. The author’s conclusion hits the nail squarely on the head – that is, that the already significant gulf between Google and its rivals in online advertising is set to grow wider, essentially because the practice that Google dominates – search advertising – is expanding way faster than display advertising.

What she missed, though, is that Google is practically seizing almost all of the growth in online advertising and in the region of 90% of all the online advertising profits Stateside. Maybe the team involved in the FTC’s investigation and later 4-1 approval of the Google-DoubleClick merger are looking back with some regrets at their decision! After all, the FTC were pretty speedy to decide that Yahoo and Microsoft would provide tough enough competition to Google-DoubleClick to prevent any anti-competitive dominance by Google from becoming reality.

Looking at the situation as objectively as I possibly can, Microsoft knew it had to snap up Yahoo in order to compete with Google – and likewise, Google was fully aware it had to do something to stop that partnership reaching fruition. It made sense for Google to pay Yahoo that cool billion dollars, or close enough, in excess of what it could earn in a competitive marketplace – by transferring some of Yahoo’s inventory over to its higher priced monetisation engine.

With Yahoo marginalised, in a sense, and Microsoft cleverly sidelined, Google has the chance to consolidate its hold of online advertising while avoiding the likelihood of competitive interference that was seemingly taken for granted by the FTC.

The combination of DoubleClick’s grip on display advertising and Google’s control of search advertising can mean only one thing for advertising – Googleopoly. Advertisers take note!

The future of advertising

Today I stumbled upon an old article from White Noise Magazine in 2006 looking at the likely future path taken by advertising, complete with a number of references to the fantastic movie Minority Report and with various experts weighing in with their opinions about the technologies they reckon we have to look forward to in the years to come.

I have a problem with all these predictions though. Twenty-five or fifty years is a very long time in the world of media and advertising innovation. Whenever you try to look that far ahead, you’re likely to come up with one of those statements that your children will find hilariously off-target, like the famous quote by an IBM chairman about there being a market for only five computers.

Despite my reluctance to make predictions so I can evade detection when they fail to materialise, it is easier to have a wishlist instead, like that of a child writing a letter to Santa after visiting a toy factory. And at the top of my wishlist would be that these incredible advertising innovations featured in Minority Report will come to pass. After all, the experts have advanced rapidly in their work on gesture-based interfaces, to give one example. The components necessary for the highly personalised advertising are already here. Will you be greeted by name by a Philips billboard when you walk into a consumer electronics store in 2040? Yes, only it probably won’t be a billboard. The foundations for the so-called “holographic” displays featured in the film are already on the market today. Are thirty years enough for the technology to catch on? Without a doubt.

In future, I would like to think more advertising messages will be embedded directly into the content people consume. Perhaps something like electronic paper will give life to a new medium that will combine the interconnected portability of a smartphone with the richness of the world wide web. For sure, though, consumers will be the advertisers’ most important medium. More and more advertising will be finding its way into consumers’ homes through avenues other than mass media. And, most importantly for companies like Toading, online shopping will change dramatically. Consumers will be able not only to order goods online, but also to have them manufactured right in their living room!

Chrome – good news for advertisers?

Tabbed browsing is a real issue, as advertisers couldn’t give a fig about time displayed in a hidden tab. Instead, they now look at a new generation of metrics that show dwell time – that is, the period during which the consumer is actually engrossed with the advert. Chrome’s popularity may well influence consumers to toggle more, but will also force marketers to place stronger emphasis on dwell time. This will become the holy grail of brand measurement, even more relevant than ad exposure or click through rates.