Here’s a handy little infographic covering some of the key details about Apple’s new support for ad blockers in iOS 9
The Mobile Majority released an eye opening infographic entitled “The Implications of Mobile Ad Blocking on iOS 9” which gives the industry extremely important and surprising data regarding the effects of mobile ad blocking
Exponential growth can bring unexpected results. How did the long-predicted “Year of Mobile” pass us by?
An Ofcom report today shows that for the first time the majority of internet usage is coming from mobile devices. For some time it’s been a running joke in the media industry that it’s perpetually going to be “The Year of Mobile”. It seems like the year of mobile is now decidedly behind us. After all, Ofcom has declared that the UK is now a “Smartphone Society?”
How did we go from constantly predicting the Year of Mobile to staring at it in the rearview mirror? The answer lies in exponential growth.
Smartphones have become the most widely owned internet-enabled devices, alongside laptops. In Q1 2015 smartphones were present in two-thirds of households (66%), on a par with laptops at 65%. – Ofcom report
Exponential growth can be a tricky concept for us to get our heads around. That is, it’s simple enough to understand in theory, but it’s not always easy for us to visualise. A familiar example of this is the ‘place a penny on a chessboard and double it for each square’ problem. Before long you’ve got more money than has ever or will ever exist, even though all you did was start out with a measly penny.
How exponential growth works
A simple, day-to-day example of exponential growth is compound interest. You deposit some money in a bank account, and you get interest on that money per month or per annum at a percentage—say, 1% interest per month. But this additional 1% doesn’t apply only to the original amount you put in. It’s compounded, because every month it takes a total amount including the interest you’ve already accumulated, and adds 1% of that new total.
Over time, in this example, you would see steady growth of your bank account balance. But the result of exponential growth can be a lot more drastic. Chris Martenson came up with a now-famous example of the “magic eye-dropper” to describe how it works. Imagine you have an eye dropper and you place a single drop of water in the middle of a large sport stadium. Every minute, the amount of water added from the magic dropper doubles.
If we assume a drop of water is 0.05mL this would mean in minute one 0.05mL was added to the pitch. About enough to bend the tip of a blade of grass. At the next minute 0.10mL are added to the pitch. In minute three 0.20mL. And so on. Assuming for the sake of the example that the stadium is watertight, how long does it take for the stadium to fill up?
Using Martenson’s example of the Yankee Stadium, he says it takes about 50 minutes. But for the first 45 minutes, the volume of water isn’t very noticeable, or it doesn’t seem like much of a threat—the field has maybe about five feet of water by the 45th minute.
It’s in the last five minutes that the stadium suddenly, rapidly, fills up, leaving you with very little time to escape.
The point of this example is not only to show how exponential growth works, but to demonstrate how it can take us unawares, and how we might not be able to react in a timely manner when it happens. By the time we’ve noticed the growth, the window of opportunity to react to it is very nearly gone.
“The Year of Mobile” Conundrum
With the onset of new technology and the impact this can have on commerce, the result can be similar. For years, we’ve been predicting that next year would be “the year of mobile”, the time when the shift to mobile for media would really happen in a critical way. And yet what if, in the blink of an eye, this event is already behind us?
According to the logic of exponential growth, this could happen almost instantly. That’s because, even though we’ve had our eyes on the growth of mobile, just as we might have been watching the magic water expand in those first 45 minutes in the stadium, we might not truly comprehend the rapid geometric growth that takes place in those last few moments. We keep expecting “the year of mobile” to happen when the critical moment might, in fact, have already happened.
This is why, when it comes to mobile, most of us already feel like we’re playing catch-up. But as marketers, we need to ready ourselves for the surprises of exponential growth and be able to prepare and react accordingly.
DAILY REPORT: The GIF Start-Ups Fostering a Visual Language on Mobile
The humble GIF seems to be getting at least third lease on life, this time through mobile messaging.
What started life as a way of simplifying and reducing the file size of digital pictures on the pre-Web online network CompuServe has found yet another role in life. GIFs later found a home on chat boards and Tumblr sites as a way of sharing compressed motion image clips (an example is looping below this paragraph). Now they are being used to do the same over mobile messaging.
More top quality content from Digiday looking at the state of Native. As I continue to dig into this marketplace through my work with DistroScale, it’s becoming clear to me that there is a crossroads in the distance. It’s a road we’ve been down before — first with display, then with rich media: Hype & Buzzwords; Tech Provider Cage Fight; Appeal to the Buyers; High CPMs; Wide Scale Adoption; Acquisitions; Devaluation; Commoditisation.I think we’re at the Tech Provider Cage Fight phase of this lifecycle right now. I keep a matrix of Native providers and it seems like at least once a week I need to add a new company to the mix. They are all clamouring for marketshare and to get in front of the buyers right now.
What we are calling ‘Native’ is here to stay but I think we are in the very early days of this. It’s nothing new, per se, in the media world; it’s been going on for decades. What is new is the ability to deliver it at scale and across publisher sites — the ability to create a marketplace of brand content (i.e. native advertising) for publishers to review and cherry pick.
Here’s are Digiday’s top 5 takeaways:
Some are better at it than others: 40 percent of publishers expect native advertising to drive one-fourth or more of their digital revenue this year, while the other 60 percent expect it to generate less than a tenth
Publishers are controlling the content: Half of publishers take full editorial control of creating sponsored content; 36 percent let advertisers contribute content on a case-by-case basis
Brands are becoming publishers, too: two-thirds of the articles that were distributed on smartphones via Sharethrough’s 1Q campaigns were created by brands themselves, up 31 percent from 4Q 2013
Sponsorship method dominates: 41% [of publishers] are pricing ads according to a sponsorship model while 18 percent charge by CPM or cost per engagement
Subtle labelling performs better: click-through rates of native ads are 57 percent higher for those with a subtle background color compared to those with a strong background shade. When the font of the “sponsored” label is consistent with the rest of the site, the CTR is 64 percent better than when the font style is unique.
I think I would add to this list a few things:
Publishers are becoming creatives: In Barcelona recently, at Digiday’s EU Publisher Summit, we heard from Dennis Interactive that journalists are being drawn into Native and recruited to create content for advertisers. This is a very intriguing development that blurs the line between commercial and editorial — not something every publisher will have the temerity to do.
We need to differentiate between Native Content, Native Advertising, and Sponsored Content: It’s still the wild west when it comes to defining what we are talking about and any three marketers will have 5 different terms they use. However, I think an important distinction is between Native plays that keep you on-site and within the publishers domain (Polar, DistroScale) and ones that drive you off the publisher site (Taboola, Outbrain).
Native thrives on mobile: Native works really well in mobile. Twitter and Facebook have shown this. I suspect it’s to do with the scrolly nature of mobile sites. People don’t mind scrolling down screen after screen to read mobile content. Embedding clearly labeled touts within that stream that are relevant and targeted are a great way to not frustrate users and to get your brand stitched right into the content.