Archive for April, 2008

AndroidRumors continue to percolate that HTC’s “Dream” Android handset will be unveiled to the world at a May 6th event in the UK. HTC has announced that it will be showcasing many upcoming and widely anticipated handset releases at the event, including the HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Raphael and Titanium. The handset manufacturer has issued no official word about the exact timing of the Dream release, or if it will be making an appearce at the event.

In a move seemingly pulled from Apple’s “secrecy and intrigue” playbook, the May 6th event was heralded by a press invite capped with the conspicuous phrase “Something Beautiful is Coming.”

While on the HTC rumor train, many have also speculated that the handset featured in the BBC clip below is in fact the HTC Dream. Hopefully we’ll know for sure in about a week or so…

[wp_youtube]2llGxzWXudw[/wp_youtube]

cotm-button.jpgThis week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is live over at 3-Lib.

Great mobile posts from across the blogosphere! Check out hip, happening features such as a “top 10” list of mobile websites, some neg’s thrown at the mobile TV industry, props to Blyk’s 100,000th customer… and so much more!

Go check out the Carnival Here!

As always, bloggers can submit stories to: mobilists [at] gmail [dot] com.

bryson-meunier-mmnyc-2008.jpgMobilestance.com Welcomes Mobile Search Authority Bryson Meunier to This Month’s MoMoNY Event.

The April 28th event, entitled “Optimizing the Mobile Experience and Increasing Visibility with Social Search and Mobile Analytics is sponsored by mobile search engine taptu and will moderated by Mr. Meunier of Resolution Media. As always, the MoMoNY event will be held at the Samsung Center in the Time Warner Bldg (Columbus Circle) starting at 7P and running for an hour or two. Registration for most MoMoNY events isn’t much of an issue, but apparently this one is filling up so I’d encourage you to RSVP here. Business casual attire is recommended.

Mobilestance has been enthusiastically following Mr. Meunier’s blog for quite awhile now, as his work in mobile search and SEO is among the most lucid and comprehensive in the industry. His greatest hits include a highly informative mobile keyword analysis (on-deck, AT&T Mobility), a white paper on mobile SEO (warning: .PDF link), a review of several well known mobile analytics packages, and a post comparing/contrasting traditional (wireline) web SEO versus the mobile variety.

We encourage anyone interested in mobile search in the NYC area Monday night to join what is sure to be a highly informative event. Also, as if that weren’t enough… (as with all MoMo NY events) – there’s complimentary beer, wine, fruit and cheese on hand to help lubricate the conversation.

Moderator:

Panelists:

Your Hosts:

When:

  • Monday, April 28 2008 at 7:00 PM (until 9:00 PM)

Where:

Samsung Experience
Time Warner Center – Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd floor
New York City, New York 10022
(map)

At the intersection of Broadway, Eighth Avenue, Central Park South and
Central Park West.

Subways to Shops at Columbus Circle: A/C, 1/9, B/D
to 59th Street/Columbus Circle

Cost: FREE, please just RSVP here.

About Bryson Meunier
Bryson is the Product Champion for Natural Search at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group Company. His position gives him the opportunity to drive SEO strategy for some of the world’s top brands, and to share some of his learnings at BrysonMeunier.com. Special interests include linguistics, semantic search, and all types of content syndication strategies, including mobile SEO and video search optimization. He has previously reviewed the major mobile analytics vendors in his Mobile SEO’s Guide to Mobile Analytics

qr codes usiPhone, Android Developers Race to Bring Highly Anticipated Technology to Masses.

While we here at mobilestance prefer to poke fun at market predictions rather than make them, we’ve decided to go out on a limb and draw a big ol’ line in the sand: 2008 will be the year that QR codes become viable in the US, thanks largely to the efforts of Apple and Google.

While recent efforts by Scanbuy, Discovery Communications and Citysearch have been impressive in terms of ambition and overall scale, they were nevertheless hamstrung by two significant flaws: (1) they’ve relied on a non-standard, proprietary code format, and (2) nearly all participants were required to download a java app via SMS prior to engagement – a tall order if you’re activating an OOH general market ad campaign. That said, in either an odd coincidence or boldfaced market collusion (kidding), both Google (directly) or Apple (indirectly) have taken the necessary steps to breakdown both of these barriers… the results of which will begin to take affect in and around the third quarter of this year.

To date Apple’s efforts have been uncharacteristically hands off, although this could quickly change in the next iPhone firmware release. Specifically, Apple has created a near perfect platform for a QR reader: a high-quality handset inclusive of a (good enough) two megapixel camera, a publicly available SDK, a bullet-proof distribution model in the iTunes App store (expected this June), and most importantly, a highly-attractive, early-adopting, data-hungry user base.

All of which makes for extremely fertile ground for the (third party) development of an iPhone QR reader, and develop they have. Even without a user-friendly distribution model in place, developers have been busy porting their existing QR readers for use on the iPhone. iMatrix has already developed an iPhone version of it’s dual use (proprietary shotcode + EZcode / standard QR / Datamatrix) reader, and no doubt many more will follow. The iMatrix reader utilizes the iPhone SDK’s relatively robust API set to not only launch web URLs and initiate messaging and voice call events, but can also “add contacts to your Address Book, add events to Calendar [and] add new notes to Notes.” Until the iTunes App store is online the only way to install the reader is a via a fairly manual process (and only on unlocked handsets), but it won’t be long before the average user can easily download and install the reader via what is sure to be a dummy-proof, Apple-branded experience.

Compared to Apple’s laissez faire attitude towards QR, Google has been far more proactive. In addition to make sure that every Android phone will include a non-proprietary reader preloaded as part of the standard application set, Google is also championing an open-source J2ME reader project dubbed “ZXing” (which supposedly stands for “Zebra Crossing”). Not only is Google helping the app’s development in terms of hosting / distribution, it has also been actively recruiting developers to help with the project (I witnessed this first hand at the Nokia Barcamp in New York last November, when Google’s Sean Owen led a packed house through a four-minute ZXing presentation that abruptly ended with a pitch to java developers to aid in its development).

So which will have greater impact on the market? Well, while Google’s approach has the advantage of having the reader app reloaded onto the handset, Apple has the (short term) advantage of actually having handsets on the market! Also, (as stated earlier) Apple could always add a reader app to the next firmware release and instantly increase the size of the US QR-reader install base by a factor of twenty or so. This scenario is not (purely) speculation, as Apple has been known to “pull a Microsoft” and co-opt a particularly useful software app or two… all in the name of “user experience.” Watson, anyone?

More to the point, the reason all of this is so interesting is because of the perfect intersection between technology and lifestyle. Start with the iPhone user base (mobile-dataphilic, upscale, big spending, early-adopting, Gladwell-style alpha-influencers), then add what we can assume to be first Android buyers (ubergeeks, tinkerers, mavericks and malcontents – i.e. current Linux users) and you’ve got the perfect launching pad for a QR movement – and not just any old QR movement, but one of the advertiser-friendly / “interesting to Sandhill road” variety.

Proof of concept video, iPhone QR reader, below:

Achung! Clip is punctuated with annoying whistling, nauseating camera movement and a few failed demos to boot!

[wp_youtube]FNVZV9-z5vE[/wp_youtube]

cotm-button.jpgThis week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is live over at Skydeck.

Great mobile posts from across the blogosphere! Check out hip, happening features such a look at feature creep and mobile UI design principles, an in depth analysis of Nokia’s “Comes with Music” program, the much lamented death of Mowser, an important update on the Sprint “transcoded mobile web” debacle… and so much more!

Go check out the Carnival Here!

As always, bloggers can submit stories to: mobilists [at] gmail [dot] com.

us-mobile-media-audience-copy.jpgAccording to the latest release from M:Metrics, US mobile subs are more actively consuming mobile media than their counterparts in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Denmark. While the male-focused piece, entitled “The Way to A Man’s Heart is Through His Mobile Phone”, was well publicized in the major trade press for its key story that men respond twice as frequently to SMS offers as women do (9% to 4%, respectively), a less emphasized set of data points seem far more interesting to those who have had their fill of the “US as Mobile Laggard” story.

The piece points out that “U.S. mobile users are more active consumers of mobile media, as unlike Europeans they use SMS less frequently for news and information retrieval and are more likely to have data plans, which directly impacts mobile content consumption.” While anecdotally this seems fair enough (it would make sense that the highly web-centric US pop would be less enamored of SMS-based media and search services in favor of the more familiar browser-based approach), what is more striking that the US has achieved a higher percentage of mobile media usage while considerably lagging behind many markets in both 3G and smartphone penetration – both considered fairly-reliable leading indicators of mobile media use.

Does this mean that Americans will considerably out pace Europeans in mobile media usage if and when the US catches up to the rest of the planet in terms of 3G and smartphone penetration? Perhaps… either that, or it could be that we’ve be led astray by erroneous data fed by survey-based research methodology (wouldn’t be the first time). Ultimately, more research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn, but certainly the data is encouraging for the US mobile media market.

androidguys-copy.jpgAndroid junkies looking for the latest news and rumor need look no further than AndroidGuys.com, our new go to source for all things “Gphone. ” The site was founded “on November 5th, 2007… the day when Google made their long anticipated announcements regarding the Open Handset Alliance and Android” by “two guys who have a love for smart phones, gadgets, and technology in general.” The site asserts that while they “respect and admire practically all things Google, [they] are not unapologetic supporters.”

The site first caught our eye last week with its minor coverage of the numbers on the “initial round” of the Android Developers Challenge, but upon a closer look the site boasts far deeper Android coverage than otherwise indicated by the inconspicuous post. Sections include standard items such as news, editorials and interviews with industry execs, as well as other juicy tidbits such as leaked handset roadmaps, regular podcast posts, a “Developers Spotlight“, and our personal favorite, “34 Weeks of OHA“, a weekly feature highlighting each of the 34 founding members of the Open Handset Alliance.

Overall, we’ve found AndroidGuys.com to be an excellent resource for the Android fanboy in all of us, and plan on making the site a permant fixture around these parts. Scott, Jamie and Jordan… keep up the good work!

mobile-media-salesman.jpgA New Twist on a Familiar Tale.

Agencies are often confronted with a common challenge when drafting a mobile advertising plan: Should they go to the mobile ad networks, or should they attempt negotiate directly with the individual mobile publishers? Both have significant advantages and limitations that Agencies would be wise to keep in mind when planning and executing their mobile marketing plans.


Mobile Ad Networks. As mobile often commands a relatively small percentage of an advertising budget, most agencies do not usually have the internal resources to plan and negotiate sophisticated mobile advertising plans on a publisher by publisher basis. This challenge is compounded by the relative inefficiency of the mobile advertising marketplace. Overwhelming manual, most mobile RFP processes are just beginning to become formalized – and even when established, usually require the agency to juggle multiple phone calls and emails to each individual publisher in a plan.

That said agencies look to mobile ad networks, such as AOL’s Third Screen Media, Ringleader Digital, AdMob or Millennial Media to streamline this process. By aggregating and bringing to market large tracts of mobile ad inventory, Mobile ad networks play a highly important role in the mobile advertising ecosystem. However, while these networks greatly simplify the process of mobile advertising planning and buying for the agency, Media Buyers cannot rely on the networks alone to provide objective media planning services, as the two often have conflicting interests.

This is because while both ad networks and individual publishers share the goal of extracting the highest price for their advertising inventory that the market will bear, ad networks are also faced with the daunting task of satisfying a large network of highly dissimilar mobile publishers. The networks risk losing publishers to rival networks should they fail to sell a certain percentage of each publisher’s inventory. This creates a potential conflict of interest between the network recommending the most targeted and effective inventory, versus recommending inventory solely on the basis of appeasing their publisher base.

Buying Direct. While more time consuming, Agencies negotiating media plans directly with individual mobile publishers can also reap tremendous dividends for their clients. As is the case with online media planning, individual mobile publishers such as The Weather Channel, ESPN and The New York Times often provide a much higher level of integration than that offered the ad networks, including access to exclusive editorial content, custom promotional programs, as well as highly integrated, cross media campaigns.

It should be noted that a common misperception is that “buying direct” from individual publishers automatically results in huge price advantages (versus purchasing mobile ad inventory through an intermediary such as a mobile ad network). In fact there is should be no price advantage in either model, as publishers must “sell” their advertising inventory to ad networks (for resale) at significantly discounted rates versus those found on the open market. Furthermore, considerable market pressures encourage mobile publishers to establish identical price floors for both their internal sales forces as well as any external sales channels, such as mobile ad networks and other resellers.

Recommendations. Obviously both the Mobile Ad Networks and the Individual Mobile Publishers play important yet highly differentiated roles in the mobile advertising value chain – with the networks providing the broadest reach, while the individual publishers providing increased promotional and mobile content integration.

Clearly then, best practices dictate that agencies should utilize both Mobile Ad Networks and individual mobile publishers in the planning and execution of mobile advertising plans. Agencies must cultivate relationships with key mobile portals if they are to bring innovative integrated mobile advertising opportunities to their clients. Additionally, Agencies should also look to Mobile Ad Networks in order for their mobile campaigns to achieve desired levels of scale and reach.

That said, Agencies need to take the time to scrutinize each site recommended by the networks by respectfully requesting a rationale its inclusion. At a minimum, mobile ad networks sites should be able to provide agencies with an aggregated site demographic or content target data as justification for inclusion in a plan.

cotm-button.jpgThis week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is live over at mobilejones.

Great mobile posts from across the blogosphere! Check out features on the impact of mCommerce on the brick-n-mortars, more numbers on the US mobile market, speculation on the iPhone roadmap, mashups, mashups, mashups (Facebook meets LBS and Gmail meets Blackberry), and tons more…

Go check out the Carnival Here!

As always, bloggers can submit stories to: mobilists [at] gmail [dot] com.

emarketer-advertising-report-copy.jpgReport Identifies US Market, Messaging and “Mobile Subsidized by Advertising” as Hottest Areas.

As inevitable as the changing of the seasons comes another mobile advertising report from eMarketer. The report carries the subtitle “After the Growing Pains,” although “A Prelude to Growing Pains” might have been a more apt tagline.

As with earlier eMarketer reports, the work contains an analysis of primary and (mostly) secondary research relating to the global mobile advertising market, along with a smattering of quotes from industry heavyweights and all-stars. While most of the research cited in the piece comes from reputable, independent third party sources, the quality of the data varies from section to section, and becomes somewhat corrupted by several sources containing obvious lack of independence (such as data from Third Screen Media on the “Average Price for a Mobile Marketing Campaign,” or AdMob’s report on “Worldwide Mobile Advertising Impressions”). While interesting and no doubt impressive on an anecdotal level, such data unfortunately cannot be viewed as objective research.

Market size. Fascinatingly, eMarketer deems the US as the most dynamic region for mobile web advertising due to “its position as the largest interactive economy.” While we have no data that directly contradicts this conclusion, it would seem likely that other global regions where mobile data services are far more utilized (Asia-Pac, Europe and Latin America), would be more attractive from an mobile advertising standpoint.

emarketer-1.jpgThe report identifies 2012 as the year that Asia-Pac will usurp the US in total mobile marketing spending “largely due to the huge middle classes in China and India who use mobile as their primary interactive screen.” Indeed, the middle class in BRIC nations is “expected to double between 2006 and 2009, and [is projected to] reach a total of one billion people in 2015. That will match or even exceed the total combined population of the US, Western Europe and Japan.”

The report breaks down mobile advertising budgets into three areas: messaging, mobile display and search (other areas of mobile advertising, such as in-game or video, are deemed to small to be measurable). The search category also counts dollars spent on sponsored directory assistance, which explains why search budgets eclipsed mobile display dollars in 2007 $83 MM to $52 MM, respectively. Overall, global mobile advertising spending is projected to rise to $19,149 MM in 2012, from $2,695 MM in 2007. eMarketer has Messaging-related campaigns dominating mobile budgets through 2012, although declining from 95% of all mobile ad spending in 2007 to a projected 74% of budgets in 2012.

Mobile Advertising by Region. While lagging behind most of the word in terms of mobile penetration, eMarketer purports that the US is currently the largest mobile advertising market, with total 2007 spending estimated at $878 MM (projected to $6,525 MM by 2012). Mobile ad buying is said to be driven by digital ad buying shops here in the US.

emarket-usa-budgets.jpgemarket-w-europe.jpgemarket-asia-pac-spends.jpgThe report cites Western Europe as (currently) the second largest mobile advertising market ($1,074 MM in 2007 to $5,550 in 2012). Asia-pac, currently at $700 MM, is projected to move into second place in 2012 (with mobile adverting spends in the region expected to rise to $6,877 MM by the time the next year of the dragon rolls around).

While growth in the Asian markets is primarily viewed as a function the overall economic growth on the region (this, coupled with the fact that the mobile handset is seen as the primary internet device in Asia), the story in Western Europe is muddied a bit by the largely unknown effects of flat-rate / “unlimited” data plans (currently being rolled out by Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange and 3UK), as well as the over-sized pre-paid mobile population in Europe as compared to other regions (it is believed by some that pre-paid users are more accepting of mobile advertising). Lack of 3G network capacity is identified as the main reason that messaging is (and will continue to) dominate mobile ad budgets. That said, the US mobile web population is expected to grow from 37.9 MM in 2007 to 91.7 MM in 2012 (unfortunately research in the the measuring mobile web penetration in markets such as Japan, China Australia and the UK is relatively out-of-date, with some sources going as far back as 4Q 2005!).

emarket-sms-response-global.jpgemarket-mobile-attitude.jpgConsumer Attitude. The report cites a September 2007 Neilsen Mobile report examining global exposure and response to SMS-based advertising. Overall, the now well-known study cites relatively high SMS advertising exposure and response numbers, although (predictably) response rates decline in nearly a linear fashion as exposure to SMS advertising increases (on a market-by-market basis). Specifically, the study found that “58 Million US mobile subscribers has been exposed to a mobile ad during a 30-day period. This equates to about 23% of the total US mobile population. Moreover, nearly half (or 28 million) reported that they had responded at least once to a mobile ad. Nielsen Mobile also reported that 32% of those surveyed said they would accept mobile advertising if it somehow lowered their overall mobile bill, while 13% would accept advertising if it improved the selection of mobile content and services.”

Consumer affinity towards the “Advertising Supported Mobile Services” model is somewhat supported in additional research by the Online Publishers Association which examines consumer attitudes toward mobile advertising in the US and UK. While consumers in the UK overwhelmingly prefer a model whereby mobile advertising is subsidizing the cost of mobile services, US consumers simply “like [an] ad when something free is offered.” Generally speaking, it is hardly surprising that consumers (in any market) like stuff for free!