For the last decade I have been involved in start-ups that tried to disrupt an existing ecosystem. As a result, I can smell a vertical integration play from a mile away. I am here to report on a shocking development on the North Pole.
For thousands of years, Elves were content running the production department for Santa’s operations. Now they incubated a new business unit called “Elf on the Shelf”.
As illustrated in the diagram below, these Elves infiltrate children’s homes, obtain their wish lists, and then pass them along to Santa. While this arrangement might have seem convenient to Santa at first, its spells trouble for the future. With wish list procurement and performance evaluation (naughty/nice) now in the Elves’ hands, who knows what is next.
One person close to the situation suggested they might cut Santa out of the mix, and go directly from wish list ingestion to production. The only thing Santa would be left with is delivery. Both Santa and the Elves declined to comment for this story, but inside sources confirmed early talks between Elves and FedEx’s new drone division.
Techcrunch just published a nice summary of Germany’s hot mobile start-ups: “More VC money continues to slosh around the Berlin adtech scene. In the last two months we’ve seen Adjust raise a $7.6 million Series C, and upstart Remerge secure $1 million in seed funding. Two exits also took place. Ad network Moboqo was acquired by Silicon Valley’s AppLovin, and Fyber sold to RNTS Media for €150 million. Today sees another Berlin-based adtech startup get an injection of capital.
Adsquare, which provides a platform for Mobile Audience Targeting to help advertisers target groups of people based on their location, has raised a $4.3 million Series A round led by German VC Target Partners, with participation from existing investors. This adds to a previous $1.4 million seed round from Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg, Berlin Ventures and various angel investors.
Congrats to all those companies!! MFG aus Boston!
A new trend will shape the future of the ad tech ecosystem: the rise of micro publishers.
There is a growing number of highly influential users on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube who are determining how today’s mobile users are consuming media and content. Some of these influencers have more visitors than traditional media outlets, and often almost zero production cost. This throws a wrench into the classic publisher/advertiser relationship, but it might also present an amazing entrepreneurial opportunity.
Much of today’s ad tech ecosystem remains focused connecting brands with “premium publishers.” Perhaps we need to rethink our definition of “publisher” and devise new ways to tie ad dollars to media.
Let me provide some context to underline how different tomorrow’s media landscape will be from yesterday’s. Mass media is a fairly new phenomenon. Between 1690 and 1780 the number of newspapers printed in England rose from less than a million to fourteen million per year. By 1938, 11 million newspapers were sold every day in England (A. Aspinall 1946), and over two-thirds of the population read a newspaper every day (A. Bingham 2005).
The US saw similar growth rates up until the 1950s, at which point the TV started to heavily intrude on the newspaper business, and the total number of papers began to decline. Today, the US has over 300 fewer newspapers than it had in the 1940s.
Today, the total circulation of the highest ranked US papers, the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal, are now both around 2 million per day.
Pretty good reach, but of course not as large as our beloved TV. Sunday Night Football still tops the charts with 22 million viewers, and the most watch event in TV history is the 2014 Super Bowl with a stunning 111.5 million viewers. But the numbers are top heavy and concentrated. Coming in at number 10 is “Dancing with the Stars” with only 12 million viewers, and CBS “60 Minutes” only makes it to 8 million viewers.
Now consider the following reach statistics:
- Katy Perry: 56 million Twitter followers
- Barack Obama: 41 million Twitter followers
- Bill Gates: 17 million Twitter followers
- Kim Kardashian: 4.6 million Instagram followers
Clearly these celebrities got some of their fame through traditional media, so we need to credit traditional media for this reach… but now check out these statistics:
- Nash Grier: 16 year old vine celebrity – 9.8 million Vine followers
- Cameron Dallas: 20 year old YouTube and Vine star – 5.3 Instagram followers
- Brent Rivera: 16 year old Vine celebrity – 5.3 million followers
- Carter Reynolds: Instagram star – 2.4 million Instagram followers
- Smoosh: YouTube star – 19 million subscribers
- PewDiePie: Youtube sensation – 31 million subscribers!
- W. Campos: Marketing manager taking toy photos – 5.3 million followers
The list goes on. From housewives posting recipes on Pinterest, to teenagers who post nothing but pictures of shoes, the masses are becoming famous.
The surprising result of a survey Variety commissioned in July found that the five most influential figures among Americans ages 13-18 are all YouTube faves, eclipsing mainstream celebrities. The highest-ranking figures were Smosh, the online comedy team of Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, both 26.
Now the time has come for these Micro Publishers to monetize their fame. Agencies have started to take notice, and are reaching out manually. Nash Grier’s team confirmed that major brands will pay the star between $25,000 to $100,000 to plug their products in vine, and according to the BBC, Viners can charge advertisers about $1,000 per 100,000 followers. When these influencers start to pull brands into their feeds, we are witnessing the true birth of native advertising. Now its time to create ad-tech tools to support this fascinating ecosystem without breaking the magic and authenticity of their posts.
What is needed is an automated platform to aggregate these influencers, help micro publishers connect with advertisers, give them consolidate payments, and measure the results/impact.
Two companies that have started to go down this road are Niche in California, and BrandNew in Berlin. Both companies provide tools to micro publishers, and connect them with brands through intuitive and easy to use interfaces.
Clearly the space is in its infancy, but early engagement results show that consumers love to interact this way, and advertisers appreciate the authentic nature of the dialog. Lets see what happens next.
“Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Makoto Azuma, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo.
He launched two botanical objects — “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms — into the stratosphere “I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Azuma explained that morning.
To accomplish this mission, titled Exobiotanica, Azuma and his 10-person crew teamed with Sacramento-based JP Aerospace — “America’s Other Space Program” — a volunteer-based organization that constructs and sends vessels into orbit. JP’s owner and founder, John Powell, started launching things into the upper atmosphere in 1977, when he was still a teenager. “The best thing about this project is that space is so foreign to most of us,” says Powell, “so seeing a familiar object like a bouquet of flowers flying above Earth domesticates space, and the idea of traveling into it.” As seen in the NYC Times Magazine.
When you’re a kid, a cloud can look as much like a dragon as a floating mass of water vapor. Even as adults, no one is immune to the magic moment when a random gathering of molecules morphs into fantastical animals or familiar forms. It’s a hallmark of the childlike, playful interaction with the world that we too often lose with age, and it is what makes Claire Droppert’s photos of flying beach sand so fetching.
In the first installment of her Gravity series, the Rotterdam-based photographer and designer captures thrown shovelfuls of sand midway through their aerial arcs. Her photos, taken only with natural light and fast shutter speeds, reveal sharp forms and bold strokes of movement. The vague shapes–Is that a rabbit? A seahorse?–suggest animals peeking into our world from a parallel dimension. Once you start seeing them this way, it’s hard to stop.
Droppert was walking on the shores of a Dutch beach 13 months ago when a spray of sand kicked up by her daughter caught her attention. Droppert was fascinated by the way in which the morning light framed the explosion of sand against the sky and started trying to capture the effect in pictures.
“I began to see these sorts of creatures rising from some of the images,” she says. “Then I started seeing creatures popping up all over.“
You can buy her prints here.
As seen in on Wired.com
Last week I had the pleasure to moderate a panel on cross device monetization at Mopub’s “Mobile First” Conference.
The premise of the panel was to discuss the difficulties around cross-device attribution – likely to be one of the hottest topics in mobile in 2014!
Here is the panel recap:
- Are Traasdahl, Founder and CEO of Tapad
- Giorgos Zacharia, Chief Product Officer at Kayak
- David Wiener, VP Product BlueKai
- Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Founder and CEO of Drawbridge
We are witnessing a massive shift from desktop to mobile computing. However, even to complete a single task, consumers are weaving their paths through multiple devices and screens. This is making it increasingly difficult for advertisers to follow users through the purchasing funnel and understand which campaigns drive purchasing behavior.
We invited a panel of friends and entrepreneurs to discuss cross device attribution, and the future of programmatic buying.
Here is the great news: everyone agreed that attribution is finally a reality, and will lead to increased eCPMs in the coming quarters. While most attribution solutions today remain siloed within tablet, desktop, and smartphones, there is much innovation happening in the space.
All that is fantastic news for publishers and advertisers alike. Here are some of the other key takeaways:
- Location targeting is coming fast and furious
- Multi screen experiences are key to creating a deeper and more magical storyline for consumers
- Cross device attribution is in its early days, but possible
- Advertisers are excited about cross-device attribution
- Many things the industry has been waiting for are now reality
- Growth will accelerate
- The mobile phone is one of the primary devices, but it is not the only one
- Taking mobile data and extending its reach into desktop is next frontier
So here is my take: The ecosystem is striving to reduce hurdles and allow advertisers to create a unified view of consumers. This will be critical for the success of the programmatic buying ecosystem, as well as for the publisher that needs to optimize content and provide a continuous user experience.
Cross device attribution is possible today and (even if slightly inaccurate) allows advertisers to follow consumers through their purchasing funnel. Today it is unclear to what extent 3rd party data can drive mobile DR campaigns, but the panel agreed that it does help in upper funnel brand campaigns.
Advertisers & publishers: 2014 promises to be a fabulous year!
Photo curtesy of A.E. Fletcher Photography 2013
In case you have not heard of Supercell, the company serves as a poster child for the burgeoning “freemium” game distribution strategy. It allows players to download and play titles for free in apps stores, but it requires them to pay for extras, such as special weapons or power boosters that speed up a game’s play. (In-app purchasing or IAP).
The Wall Street Journal reports that about “10% of Supercell users purchase in-game extras, much higher than the industry norm. Last year, the company made a profit of more than 40 cents on every $1 of goods it sold, or $40.3 million on sales of $105 million.” Forbes estimates their 2013 revenue to be north of $800. This clearly makes them one of the most successful mobile companies in the world. The reason I share this now, is because I just came across their mission statement, which is surprisingly tablet focused, and worth reading:
Supercell first started developing games for tablets in 2011, and we haven’t looked back for a second. Smoosh together all the best parts of gaming from consoles and PCs, add mobility along with a new touch UI and — BOOM — tablets have emerged as today’s ultimate games platform.
The best games on any platform are those designed specifically for that platform. Tablet First means we focus all of our energy and passion on creating, from scratch, the absolute best experience possible for the tablet – our primary target platform. No compromises.
When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad to a very skeptical world, he called it “magical”. We now know what he meant. Our inspired vision is to create some magic of our own that lives up to the awesome potential of these wondrous devices.
There is a trend brewing on the advertiser side of the ecosystem that is likely going to influence how advertising dollars flow in mobile ad tech. I believe we are witnessing the birth of a new category of companies: Meta DSPs or Universal buyside SDKs.
To understand where these new players fit in, lets take a quick look at the short and turbulent history of the Supply Side Platform. Their original value proposition was to bring order to chaos by supplying publisher with a single tag that could call multiple networks. Often this tag was placed into the publisher’s primary ad server.
SSPs also offered publishers a single dashboard that shows an aggregated view of all network advertising revenues. For the first time publishers were able to understand exactly who purchased their unsold inventory.
Additional services included financial reconciliation between networks and publishers. SSPs would send a single, consolidated check to the publisher at the end of the month. Often taking on some of the financial risk as well.
From a technical perspective the idea is to allocate the best possible demand to a specific ad-slot at any given time. First SSPs used dynamic daisy chains of networks, and later the deployed more efficient RTB auctions.
This had profound effects on the industry, as publishers got technically from their remnant demand sources. Benefits outweighed the costs, and many publishers realized that RTB was an opportunity for more efficient connection with their demand sources. Transparency entered the market like never before, and seeing all supply in one place helped the buyers to cherry pick the right impressions for them.
This brings us to today’s mobile buy side and what might happen.
Today media buyers work with Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) either directly or via one of the trading desks. Large app advertisers tend to work with multiple DSPs or networks. In a mobile app environment this throws up a unique challenge. In order to track effectiveness and attribution, these DSPs and Networks need to have their SDKs installed in the advertisers application. As a result, app advertisers need to have multiple buy side SDKs in their application.
Universal Buy Side SDKs give advertisers the ability to replace all buy-side SDKs with a single “universal” SDK.
Their SDK will bring order to chaos, by connecting to networks/DSPs via API integrations. These APIs can track the effectiveness of specific campaigns across multiple advertisers and supply sources. In addition, these companies offer dashboards that show all advertising spent in one place, allowing advertiser to instantly see the ROI of various campaigns.
Today these companies focus on attribution, and are not venturing into media buying, but its easier to see a future where they offer trafficking, bidding, and consolidated buying across multiple DSPs.
Once all demand is visible in one place, it is conceivable that Media Buyers will want to use mDSPs to adjust and execute advertising budgets. Hence they might transform from Universal Buy Side SDKs into full fledged Meta DSP.
This is all great news for the ecosystem.
Some of the likely outcomes might be:
- buy-side transparency will enter the market like never seen before
- it will become much easier for small DSPs to reach scale
- re-targeting becomes a reality at scale
- without the need to build SDKs, it will be easier for the 400+ desktop DSPs to spend money in mobile
All these changes mean that more ad dollars will flow into the mobile app ecosystem, and that’s a great thing.
In addition to the larger players, here are some of the start-up companies going in this direction:
- Ad-X Tracking (Acquired by Criteo)
- MobileApp Tracking (HasOffers)
- Grow Mobile
Clearly, this is just my personal opinion, and it could also happen completely differently. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Ever frustrated when you missed an event in your area, or did not know about a cool new restaurant?
Enter CO Everywhere
CO Everywhere is a service that lets you mark an area on a map that you want to watch and will then track every public social media update from Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (among many others), as well as reviews on Yelp and other services to present you with a feed of everything that’s happening in your area.
Its basically Shazam for a specific location. Draw a geo-fence with your finger, and find out whats happening around you.
Download the app here
Almost 3 years ago we launched the first Mobile RTB exchange at Admeld. Since then the ecosystem has evolved quite rapidly. At that time, yield management was still the dominant method to monetize remnant impressions on desktop and mobile. Today it is clear that RTB provides such strong advantages for both the supply and the demand side of the ecosystem, that it will become the dominant way to monetize unsold inventory. Having conquered that side of the house, RTB is now pushing into premium territory. More to come on that front…
While Mobile RTB is still in its infancy, the below ecosystem map clearly shows how quickly this particular portion of our industry has grown in the last couple of quarters.
We went from 1 mobile RTB exchange to 14, and the demand side is growing tremendously. Many of the traditional mobile networks have created bidders, new Mobile DSP have entered the stage, and many of the desktop DSPs are now buying mobile impressions.
There are 2 main reasons that RTB will win in mobile:
1.) In 24 months from now, the majority of all impressions will come from mobile operating systems. RTB is only efficient way to match buyers to sellers in this exponentially growing universe.
2.) Location based targeting is perfectly suited for RTB. Finding the right users at the right time, while they are walking into a geo-fence can only be accomplished through RTB.
So while this map is getting crowded, we are still at the very beginning of the mobile advertising revolution. In this new version, I focus on the Mobile RTB ecosystem in particular. If I have missed a particular company, just send me a tweet at #theermann and I will update the slide.
Please note: Clearly my mobile ecosystem slide was inspired by my friends at Progress Partners, who have been creating ecosystem maps since 2006, and of course by Terence Kawaja at Luma Partners, who made them famous.
Entrepreneurs listen up!
Google Glass is a fantastic and potentially transformative technology. If you have been dreaming of Google Glass ideas, your time has come.
Google Ventures just teamed up with Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to form the Glass Collective, an investment syndicate among the three firms. The goal is to provide seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem to help jumpstart their ideas.
Smart entrepreneurs and engineers are going to develop amazing experiences through Google Glass. If you have a brilliant idea for Glass, let them know.
These are photos of the new Tesla, Jaguar, Ford, and Maserati
Really? That is all we can come up with in 2013?
Google just announced a major update to its Google+ platform that allows users to sign in to web and mobile apps with their Google accounts and bring their Google+ profile info with them so they don’t have to create a new username and password when they sign in to a third-party application.
The new systems allows developers to add a number of new features, including the ability to let users install their mobile apps for Android with just once click and to allow users to share information like their Fitbit data directly to their Google+ profile pages or to selectively share content from services like Shazam directly to their Google+ streams.
This will be game changing for media companies that have both a large desktop web presence, and mobile applications. The new OTA feature allows them to push applications from their website directly onto a user’s Android device.
Read more on Techcrunch, and vist the Google developer pages to learn more.
The spiritual godfather of “the singularity” movement Ray Kurzweil just joined Google. Singularity is the theoretical moment in time in which artificial intelligence surpasses the human brain, and perhaps develop a conscience.
If you are new to this theory, I recommend Lev Grossman’s article in Time Magazine about Singularity.
Two great quotes of article: “Maybe we’ll scan our consciousness into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually.”
“…we don’t know what a highly advanced, artificial intelligence (…) would choose to do. It might not feel like competing with us for resources. You don’t have to be a super-intelligent cyborg to understand that introducing a superior life-form into your own biosphere is a basic Darwinian error.”
If you think this is crazy, ask yourself why Google’ hired him.
For more on Ray Kurzweil’s arrival at Google, read Rip Empson’s article on Techcrunch.
Corning produced this great video showcasing the future of transparent displays. Well worth watching.
In addition, Aditya produced a video showcasing some cool futuristic concepts. While it also focuses on displays, its also a beautiful collection of amazing GUIs.
Raising money from new crowdfunding sites is very en vogue these days. Crowdfunding refers to raising money from hundreds of people (aka the crowd) vs. raising money from venture capitalists, or friends and fools. Today’s (11/12) Wall Street Journal article by Javier Espinoza “Joining the Crowd” had some fascinating, tangible tips to increases your chances:
1.) Show pitch videos
Campaigns with videos raised 114% more than those without
2.) Send updates
Campaigns that gave one at least very five days raised 218% as much as those that updated less often
3.) Give Links
Campaigns with four or more external links raised 103% more than those with fewer
4.) Offer Perks
Campaigns with $25+ perks raised 35% more than those without
Here are some of the popular crowd sourcing sites for fundraising:
Indiegogo, Rockethub, Peerbackers, Kickstarter
The choice of what phone or tablet to buy is one that often involves many considerations, chief amongst those is the physical device and the operating system that it runs. But I think there is a third fundamental consideration that is growing in importance: what services and entertainment ecosystems you’ll be able to access. (…) Today I want to focus specifically on the entertainment ecosystems of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. I’m referring to the various digital content stores that are run by Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon – specifically their Music, Movies, TV Shows, eBooks and App stores. In my mind, there are four general aspects that make a good entertainment ecosystem.
The full article is here.
Google publishes new research paper on Tablets.
Abstract: Tablet ownership has grown rapidly over the last year. While market research surveys have helped us understand the demographics of tablet ownership and provided early insights into usage, there is little comprehensive research available. This paper describes a multi-method research effort that employed written and video diaries, in-home interviews, and contextual inquiry observations to learn about tablet use across three locations in the US. Our research provides an in-depth picture of frequent tablet activities (e.g., checking emails, playing games, social networking), locations of use (e.g., couch, bed, table), and contextual factors (e.g., watching TV, eating, cooking). It also contributes an understanding of why and how people choose to use tablets. Popular activities for tablet use, such as media consumption, shopping, cooking, and productivity are also explored. The findings from our research provide design implications and opportunities for enriching the tablet experience, and agendas for future research.
The full paper can be found here.
“It’s easy to underestimate how fundamentally good mobile is for us,” said Zuckerberg. “First, there are more users. Second is, per person who’s using Facebook on mobile, there’s more engagement and they’re spending more time. Third, per person on mobile, we think we’re going to make more money on them than on desktop.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-techcrunch-disrupt-2012-9#ixzz26GYp1300
Facebook is testing and will soon launch Facebook Exchange according to Techcrunch. FBX is a a real-time bidding ad system where visitors to third-party websites are marked with a cookie, and can then be shown real-time bid ads related to their web browsing when they return to Facebook. Thats mildly interesting for desktop, but potentially game changing for mobile. More to come I am sure. Here is the full article.
No it’s not me, it’s you!
After 17 years together, I finally pulled the plug on AT&T (Cingular) today.
Following an upgrade to an iPhone 4S 6 weeks ago, I lost all service at my house. So in addition to the dropped calls that I had gotten used to, I could not make/receive any calls at my house. Tested Verizon with a Galaxy S III for three weeks, and found it very convincing. Now making the full switch for the entire family. It goes without saying that AT&T made me pay a $300 termination fee per line, and did not take the 6-week-old phones back. Hasta la vista, baby
Among the more brilliant ideas: On an August morning in 1978, French filmmaker Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive him at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris. Here is the video.
eBay Inc. CEO John Donahoe:
“I think it’s very hard to underestimate the impact of the mobile revolution,” Donahoe said on CNBC. “We made a very big bet on mobile three or four years ago, and it’s really paying off,” he added. “Ninety million people have now downloaded the eBay mobile app, and we’ll do over $10 billion of volume on our mobile apps this year.”
Among all the amazing technology innovations, the iPhone and iPad clearly stand. Both devices created new consumer electronics categories, brought computing to the masses, and changed our lives forever. Much of their success can be attributed to amazing design, brilliant software, and intuitive user interfaces.
It’s exactly these qualities that Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers (both are ex-Apple) are now brining to Nest. Nest is a learning thermostat for your house. After having installed mine a few minutes ago, I am convinced that Nest will do for home automation what the iPhone and iPad have done for home computing. The Nest is a game changing device!
The installation process is beautifully illustrated, streamlined, and highly experiential. From the Apple-like packaging to the custom screwdrivers.
Within a few short minutes your previously isolated house is connected to the Internet. Stunning. What makes this truly amazing is the fact that we are decades away from a true smart grid in the US. Nest is circumventing the power companies, and creating a stand-alone smart grid one house at a time. Its not hard to envision that millions of homes will contain their technology in a few years, giving Nest an amazing overview of regional and individual power consumption.
Buy one now.
If you are looking to read-up on controversy surrounding Apple’s deprecation of its mobile hardware identifier (UDID), here are two great summaries:
The first one is by Craig Palli, vice president of Client Services & Business Development at Fiksu.
Understanding the alternatives begins with developing an appreciation for the fact that there is no single substitute for the UDID that fully meets the needs of all constituents: advertisers, publishers (those who show ads), ad networks, and consumers. Though some are hoping for Apple to provide a solution, no such plans have been announced. Therefore an entrepreneurial eco-system has responded with an explosion of competing solutions, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
Some of these include:
- HTML Cookie Tracking: This method has excellent ad attribution and privacy characteristics, but requires a quick redirect on the first app launch. Some feel this detracts from the initial user experience.
- Digital Fingerprinting: This combines anonymous data and statistical techniques to estimate conversions. It’s easy for a developer to implement, but it comes with an error rate that makes it too imprecise for many marketers, especially as it relates to loyal users metrics
- MAC address: Similar in nature to the UDID, this method uses a hardware based unique ID. It is easy for networks to implement but because, like the UDID, it is a universal identifier, many believe Apple will clamp down here as well. Two groups, ODID and ODIN, have proposed variants of this method.
- Paste bin methods: These methods store an ID in a segment of the copy/paste bin. OpenUDID and SecureUDID offer similar benefits to cookie tracking, but some view this approach as a misuse of system infrastructure.
To read his full post, click here.
The second post is by Jim Payne, CEO of Mopub, and you can read it here.
Both give a good summary of the situation, the challenges, and possible alternatives.
Cisco has an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications on global networks. Their current paper presents some of Cisco’s major global mobile data traffic projections and growth trends. Highlights include:
Last year’s mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000
Smartphones represent only 12 percent of total global handsets in use today, but they represent over 82 percent of total global handset traffic
By the end of 2012, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth.
You can find more information here.
Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel: “What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display (…) brands.” Seen in the WSJ “Showdown over Showrooms, by Ann Zimmerman.
- I think that train has left the station…
In June, we announced that we are acquiring Admeld, a New York-based company that helps large publishers (also known as the “sell-side” by people, like me, who live and breathe display advertising) maximize their revenues from online advertising. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today cleared this deal. We’ll close the acquisition in the coming days and then start the real work—building improved products and services that help our publisher partners to make more informed decisions across all their ad space, and to grow their revenues.
The opportunity for major online publishers is huge…and growing. People are spending more and more time consuming online content across numerous devices, advertisers are running more online and mobile campaigns to reach them; and ads continue to get more engaging and relevant. This represents an unprecedented moment for publishers. We believe that improved technology and services can help publishers seize it and make online advertising work much better.
For now, it’s business as usual—Admeld’s products will operate separately to Google’s existing solutions (such as DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange). But over time, there are opportunities to bring the best of both businesses together in a variety of ways; and to develop entirely new solutions, too.
As we do this, Admeld and Google are guided by some core shared beliefs:
- We want to give publishers more control over their ad space, and offer more flexibleways to manage and sell it. Publishers’ businesses should influence the technology they use; not the other way around
- We believe that publishers can make better decisions to maximize their revenues when they have better insights at their fingertips
- We envisage a much simpler system that enables publishers to manage and sell their ad space—across desktop, video, mobile, tablets and more
The content produced by Google’s and Admeld’s publisher partners is the lifeblood of the Internet. We can’t wait to start building the next generation of tools and services that will help them grow their businesses.
(Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)
Here is what I bought Phyllis for the holidays
Curtesy of AdR Studios. Click here for more.
Original blog post by Marcel Gorden is here, and a Q&A with Admonsters is here.
Mobile devices offer many new and exciting opportunities for businesses. But mobile devices are not simply smaller versions of the desktop – these devices, and the mobile ecosystem as a whole, are unique. In order to succeed in this ecosystem, businesses must build specifically for mobile. Our recent ‘GoMo’ campaign has helped businesses develop websites that are optimized for mobile.
Similarly, there are mobile-specific challenges for publishers who want to serve ads on smartphones and tablets. There are thousands of different mobile devices running on multiple platforms on the market today, and a lack of technical standards as to how to serve ads across all these different phones and tablets. Publishers need technology that helps them navigate the complexities of the mobile ads marketplace, but that also connects to the rest of their ad operations, so that they can operate as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
To help our publisher partners solve these challenges, we have rolled out an extended set of mobile features with the new DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Mobile, designed to complement the core mobile ad serving functionality released this summer.
DFP Mobile gives publishers access to an expanded set of mobile features. This includes extended mobile rich media capabilities, with built-in support for rich HTML5 ads such as video interstitials and templates for you to include your own more complex ad formats in a scalable way. DFP Mobile also offers advanced targeting options, better support for feature phones, and tighter integrations with Google AdSense, AdMob, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and mobile ad networks.
We’ve heard from our publisher partners that they want to be able to manage their mobile campaigns using the same tools that they use for the rest of their ad serving. For example, Billy Shipp, Director of Ad Operations at Flixster said “Not having to go to a separate interface to manage inventory, to set up campaigns, to pull reports, to optimize campaigns – having all of that in a single workflow makes it so much easier for ad operations folks to be effective because it gives them that global view of how a campaign is performing. The fact that we can use a single ad server and have all that information available in one place is a big win for us.” DFP Mobile is fully integrated with the DFP ad serving platform to help publishers streamline operations, create sales efficiencies, and leverage the power of DFP for their mobile business.
Publishers will also have more options when working with third parties. DFP Mobile can fetch mobile rich media ads directly from integrated rich media partners, decreasing latency and reducing discrepancies. Leading mobile rich media vendors such as Celtra have already integrated with DFP Mobile to help streamline operations for their partners. “The combination of DFP with Celtra’s innovative ad formats and analytics gives our premium publisher and ad network partners more rich media options to maximize mobile revenues and user engagement” said Grant Stratemeyer, VP of Business Development at Celtra.
Plus, later this week, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be rolling out the ability for publishers to opt-in mobile web inventory using the newly supported 320×50 banner size. With this functionality, publishers will have a range of options for monetizing their inventory, and can reach new pools of demand, potentially improving their returns.
This DFP Mobile release complements last month’s launch of DFP Video, to give publishers a truly unified experience for all screens, formats, and devices. With DFP, we’re committed to building best-in-class ad serving products for all channels within a single platform that works seamlessly across desktop, video and mobile.
To learn how you can begin selling across all screens with DFP Mobile, please contact us.
Today I had a chance to play with the new Nokia Windows-based smartphone.
This might indeed be the phone that saves the company. Nokia has been building amazing hardware and antenna technology for years. The only reason the world’s largest handset manufacture started to slip behind, was its disastrous software and development platform. The new phone feels amazing, is about the same size as an iPhone, but has a rubber rim. The new Windows OS is different, but intuitive.
At this point success is largely depended on Microsoft. It will be up to them to fill the phone with life, educate consumers, and seamlessly integrate it with home computers. Some of the iPhone’s success clearly rests with the fluent interaction between handset, computer, and cloud. You can easily fill it with emails, music, calendars, and then back everything up in the cloud. The same will be true here, and Nokia will only be able to influence this to some extend.
If Microsoft uses its power to push consumers to this new device, I believe it has the design and software to be a huge success and safe Nokia. BTW: Nokia stock is at $8. Time to buy?
Click twice for full screen:
Google (…) provided investors with a peek in the third quarter of 2010. The company said at the time that its mobile business was generating revenue at a $1 billion annual run rate and that its display business was generating revenue at a $2.5 billion run rate.
As seen in Bloomberg
Everyone knows the transaction where the board sided with John Sculley and Steve left Apple (AAPL). Steve sold all of his Apple stock, kept one share, and founded NeXT. Typical Steve maneuver. When I was still at Sun Microsystems, I visited him at NeXT—we did a bunch of deals with him. He was exactly the same way he was at Apple: strongly opinionated, knew what he was doing. He was so passionate about object-oriented programming. He had this extraordinary depth. I have a PhD in this area, and he was so charismatic he could convince me of things I didn’t actually believe.
I should tell you this story. We’re in a meeting at NeXT, before Steve went back to Apple. I’ve got my chief scientist. After the meeting, we leave and try to unravel the argument to figure out where Steve was wrong—because he was obviously wrong. And we couldn’t do it. We’re standing in the parking lot. He sees us from his office, and he comes back out to argue with us some more. It was over a technical issue involving Objective C, a computer language. Why he would care about this was beyond me. I’ve never seen that kind of passion.
At NeXT he built this platform—a powerful workstation platform for the kind of computing that I was doing, enterprise computing. When he came back to Apple, he was able to take the technology he invented at NeXT and sort of slide it underneath the Mac platform. So today, if I dig deep inside my Mac, I can find all of that NeXT technology. Now, this may not be of interest to users, but without the ability to do that the Mac would have died. I was surprised that he was able to do that. But he did it.
When he went to Apple, he was basically down to 1 percent market share. Apple was near bankruptcy, the company had been for sale, there were a series of management changes. I talked to him about it. He said, “The thing that I have that no one else has is very loyal customers.” He had these fanatical people who would line up all night for a product that wasn’t any good. He figured correctly that by upgrading and investing in and broadening the portfolio, he could do it. At some level he foresaw the next 10 years.
What I remember thinking at the time is that you shouldn’t take a job unless you know how to win. I had no clue how to do what he did. When somebody tells you they’re going to do something and you say, “I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,” and they succeed? That is the ultimate humbling experience. My interactions with Steve were always like that. He was always ahead of me. When he started working on tablets, I said nobody really likes tablets. The tablets that existed were just not very good. Steve said: “No, we can build one.” One of the things about Steve is, he was always in the realm of possibility. There was a set of assumptions that Steve would make that were never crazy. They were just ahead of me.
I joined Apple’s board after the Apple Stores started. It used to be that you would go to a store and you had Macs and PCs. And then, because of volume and because of the Microsoft (MSFT) monopoly, people were not buying any Macs. There was less and less distribution, and many dual Mac-PC distributors were going away. The argument at the time was you shouldn’t screw your distributors because they are your lifeline. Steve made the calculated decision to open a series of stores and turn it into a sort of a consumer lifestyle. He also understood that people had trouble with computers, and they wanted to go to a place where somebody could help them. The stores were universally derided as the stupidest idea ever known to man, and they would literally bankrupt the company. It was an incredibly gutsy move. And Apple Stores I believe are the highest-grossing stores in America.
It took enormous courage for Steve to go through the operations, the treatments—without violating his privacy, it’s just horrific what he had to go through. I think he made all the board meetings I was at. He was obviously ill sometimes, and sometimes he was fine. But Apple was his passion, along with his family. There was never any question when I was there as to his ability to do his job, and I just felt terribly sorry for him, as everyone else did, over what he was going through physically.
Steve and I were talking about children one time, and he said the problem with children is that they carry your heart with them. The exact phrase was, “It’s your heart running around outside your body.” That’s a Steve Jobs quote. He had a level of perception about feelings and emotions that was far beyond anything I’ve met in my entire life. His legacy will last for many years, through people he’s trained and people he’s influenced. But what death means is you can’t call—you can’t call him. It’s a loss. I’ll miss talking to him.
— As told to Jim Aley and Brad Wieners
There is a common misconception that the mobile ad space remains inherently different from online advertising. This misunderstanding was born in the days before smartphone and tablets, when the fragmentation of devices and operating systems made it difficult to reach consumers. Today this is no longer the case. We need to stop treating mobile different, and realize that its now just another digital screen. It is standardized and scalable. Advertisers can now reach 100 billion impressions per month through a single size banner (300×50).
Mobile Advertising 101: Fragmentation and Porting
The world was very different when marketers first starting thinking about reaching consumers through their mobile phones. Around 2001 Europeans had embraced messaging as a new way of communication, and marketers realized the opportunity to reach them away from their couch. The first mobile advertising campaigns we ran at YellowPepper in 2003 were naturally txt based.
One of the earliest campaigns we ran was a fishing game for a beer company, in which players caught various size fish to win a year’s supply of beer. The interaction rates were so high that we burned out the servers, and increases sales by 3%. It was then that we knew mobile advertising had a future.
SMS (TXT) should have been ubiquitous , as all phones can send and receive text messages, but for marketers this was not the case. Each carrier set up their own shortcodes, and at the time it was not possible to txt from a Verizon phone to an ATT shortcode. This initiated the mobile advertising fragmentation decade, which really only ended with the introduction of the iPhone.
Before the iPhone the mobile web was dominated by WAP – the precursor to the mobile web. Each device had a different operation system, and each phone had a different browser. To create a mobile website, marketers had to build hundreds of sites for various capabilities and sizes. A multitude of companies were created to help brands and media companies accomplish this.
The madness peaked when the ecosystem started building applications for these devices. Companies had to create a new application for each handset. The process, which became known as “porting” was a highly labor intensive, required special knowledge, and engineering talent.
Of course in those days, it was almost impossible to conceive a mobile advertising campaign with a single creative that would reach a significant number of consumers. This lead to the emergence of mobile ad networks such as Third Screen Media, Enpocket, Jumptap, and Admob. These firms aggregated and standardized this highly fragmented inventory and helped marketers to execute campaigns.
This was mobile advertising 101. A small stand-alone ecosystem dominated by mobile companies.
Mobile Advertising Today
Today the fragmentation is quickly coming to an end. Smartphones and tablets will outnumber features phones at the end of this year (Nielsen 2011), and most web traffic is already on smartphones today. Almost all smart phone screen sizes tend to be around 300 pixels wide, and the majority of mobile browsers are closely related to full PC browsers.
As such the smartphone killed the mobile advertising ecosystem – and that is a good thing. For mobile advertisers and publishers this results in a transition from a mobile stand-alone environment to a connected ecosystem. This will lead to greater efficiencies, as advertisers can use existing infrastructure to execute large-scale campaigns. Of course it does not mean that every screen needs its specialists. Mobile advertising firms will continue to strive, as they understand how to interact with consumers on the go. But this shared infrastructure opens the door for cross-platform buys in which publishers can package users across multiple channels (web and mobile) to provide a convenient means for buyers to reach their audiences.
The mobile revolution has just begun. If the consumer enthusiasm of the last 12 months is any indication of what’s to come, get ready for a very exciting 2012.
iOS gives consumers the option to allow specific applications to pull geo data from the handset, and utilize this data to improve the application’s performance, utility, and ad targeting. Below is a mock-up that shows how a similar methodology could have been used to give consumers the chance to transmit encrypted device identifiers. This will not happen for UDIDs (that train has left the station), but it seems to me that a similar opt-in procedure will be required to uniquely track and identify mobile users in the future. No matter if the device ID, MAC address, cookies, or fingerprinting is used.
It is now official: Apple will retire the unique identifier (UDID) that was used by many mobile ad networks to track application downloads, and measure ad effectiveness. The UDID was used instead of a mobile cookie, by uniquely and persistently identifying the user’s mobile phone. Uniquely, because every phone had a different number; persistently, because even after a power cycle, the number remained the same.
This sounds very much like a traditional web cookie, but there are two main differences. A web cookie is associated with the consumer’s browser, and can be deleted by the user. The UDID is a hardware identifier, which cannot be deleted.
What was the UDID used for?
Advertisers used the UDID to attribute downloads to specific ads. The UDID allowed them to make the connection between where (to which devices) an ad was shown, and if that device ended up making a download.
Why did Apple remove it?
Despite the fact that no personal data was exchanged, Apple and a few high profile publishers were recently sued by some gold diggers. These suits alleged that the inability to turn UDIDs off violated consumer’s privacy. Apple could have adjusted the operating system by giving consumers the ability to toggle the UDID on/off (much like iOS handles location), but instead Apple simply turned it off.
What impact will it have?
It will have a negative impact on the amount of CPA (Cost per Action/download) advertising dollars flowing into the ecosystem. Most CPA campaigns rely on the ability to track campaign effectiveness. The growth in this area will be hindered.
Are there alternatives?
The alternative to a hardware identifier is a browser cookie. Apple iOS devices -such as the iPad and iPhone- use the safari browser, which has “third party cookies” turned off by default. This means that publishers can write first party cookies, but advertisers are not able to use the cookie to measure ad effectives.
So now what?
The good news is that “brand budgets” and “location-based campaigns” will not be affected. Targeting consumers while they are utilizing certain applications (e.g. sports applications) or in certain locations (e.g. Boston) is still possible. Performance campaigns that optimize on click through rates are also unaffected. As a result, much of today’s mobile advertising will remain intact.
In conclusion, the deletion of the UDID is a move that will certainly have an impact on a subset of the mobile advertising ecosystem – especially CPA campaigns targeted to iOS. Multiple forms of mobile advertising will remain unaffected, and perhaps iOS dollars will flow into other operating systems and handsets.
Anne Frisbie presented the results of an interesting InMobi study about mobile commerce. The short of it is: consumers are super excited about purchasing goods on their phones. Today there are already around 60 million mobile shoppers that are purchasing physical goods. Of those 56% are using mobile shopping for convenience. Most consumers are using their phones for price comparisons, local store search, research, and of course to complete the purchase.
Over the last few months I have found myself more than once looking at a magazine, seeing an interesting product, and then using my Amazon mobile application to purchase it.
Apparently I am not alone. According to the InMobi study, 23% of asked consumers will purchase clothing, and 30% intent to purchase consumer electronics in the next 30 days. Those are mindboggling numbers that should get every mobile marketer excited. If mobile commerce is taking off with such speed, these retailers will increase their mobile marketing budgets tremendously in Q4.
The New York Times
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Google said Monday that it had agreed to buy Admeld, a display advertising start-up.
Google will pay about $400 million for the company, according to three people briefed on the negotiations. The companies did not disclose the price. The New York Times reported last week that the companies were in late-stage discussions about a deal.
A deal of that size is likely to attract regulatory scrutiny, and Admeld will continue to operate independently until that hurdle is crossed.
With modern online advertising systems, advertisers and publishers can buy and sell ads in the split second after a Web user has arrived at a publisher’s Web site. Admeld and similar companies, like Rubicon Project and Pubmatic, help publishers choose from a wide range of ad networks and exchanges to earn the most revenue.
Google has a display ad network and an exchange called the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Admeld’s technology could eventually be incorporated into those. But Google said in a company blog post that Admeld would continue to work openly with other ad networks and exchanges, too. Others include Yahoo’s Right Media, OpenX and an exchange operated by Microsoft with AppNexus.
“Of course, Admeld will continue to support other ad networks, demand-side platforms, exchanges and ad servers, to yield the best possible results for publishers,” wrote Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display advertising.
Michael Barrett, Admeld’s chief executive officer, wrote in a blog post, “Our goal, together with Google, is to continue to move display advertising forward and ensure that publishers stay on the cutting edge.”
Nihal Mehta just launched Local Response, a next generation mobile advertising platform. Nihal’s premise is that local check-ins happen in two ways: 1.) explicitly (i.e. check-ins on Foursquare) and 2.) implicitly (by analyzing natural language on Facebook, Twitter, etc.; e.g. “I’m headed to ShakeShack”). Nihal says that most of today’s platforms miss the implicit side of the business. Local Response tracks this data, and allows businesses to respond with real-time social media and mobile marketing campaigns, coupons or advertisements. Nihal is one of the leaders in the mobile advertising field, and I am certain he will crack this nut.
Read more about Local Response on TechCrunch
Google (GOOG) Q1 2011 Earnings Call April 14, 2011 4:30 pm ET
“A lot more of our searches are coming from mobile devices. This traffic has gone up more than 500% in the last two years. Android is obviously a big driver of this. We’re activating over 350,000 Android devices every day. Android market is taking off too, over 3 billion apps have been installed, up 50% in just the last quarter. You can now access the market online. Try it at market.android.com so you can shop and browse for apps from your computer, click the purchase, and they just magically show up in your device. We also recently launched In-app Billing, which has been very enthusiastically received and which gives developers more ways to make money from their hard work.”
“Moving on to Mobile (Advertising), we’re seeing growth this year really taking off. AdMob, the display network that we acquired last year, has over 150 million iOS and Android devices making requests per month. That’s up 50% in the past four months, which gives you an idea of how fast Mobile Display advertising is growing.
Many of our advertisers are starting to run mobile-only campaigns as opposed to bundling it with their desktop campaigns. It enables advertisers to move to much more customized mobile experiences. They’ll have mobile landing pages and campaigns that can incorporate location. For example, how far away is the advertiser from where you are standing right now? These custom-made stations, again, get us to the perfect ad on Mobile, since users also want to have location, or they want to have phone number. We’re also seeing Click-to-Call taking off with more than half a million advertisers using these features. As a result, the mobile-only campaigns are seeing an increase of 11.5% when they run a mobile-only campaign as opposed to a bundled mobile-desktop. So these are just a few of the examples and the opportunity that we see in Mobile. “
In terms of raw activity, 2010 was an unprecedented year for mobile advertising. US inventory exceeded 150 billion impressions a month, some important mobile ad networks disappeared, and a handful of promising technologies emerged. For publishers, the overall theme was growth and change as many took the opportunity to switch platforms, find new network partners, and begin experimenting with mobile rich media. For the first time, the US became home to a growing number of mobile content providers generating double digit millions in ad revenue. As big as it was, we expect last year’s mobile growth and adoption rates to seem quaint compared to 2011. Traditional media companies will begin to see mobile as a profitable channel for content distribution in earnest, and we believe that will hinge on a few key trends.
The Remote Control for Our Lives
Though the promise has always been there, in 2011 mobile phones will go from being stand-alone communications devices with neat features to the remote control for our lives.
The first phenomenon driving this will be the true proliferation of the smartphone. Despite all the fanfare over the iPhone and Android, so-called ‘feature phones’ have always been more numerous. According to Nielsen, in 2011 the scale will tip the other way. As a result, a flood of new mobile sites and applications will hit the market, and publishers will need to update their products and interfaces to appeal to much broader audiences. The second phenomenon will be the ultra rapid adoption of new mobile services such as maps, social networking, and commerce (via payment chips and virtual currencies). Publishers must ensure they integrate these services where they will most benefit their users.
For mobile advertisers and publishers, all of this means a transition from a mobile stand-alone environment (mobile networks, mobile vendors, mobile integration companies, and mobile content providers) to a connected ecosystem. This combination should result in increased mobile eCPM rates, better ads, and higher fill rates.
Paying homage to Terry Kawaja’s (Luma Partners) Display Landscape map, and drawing inspiration from the ecosystem graphs of Nick MacShane (Progress Partners) here is an updated version of the Mobile Display Advertising Ecosystem Map as I see it today. Email me with feedback and additions.
Click again to make full screen
Online contextual targeting is nothing new. Google and others have been using the context or content of a website as an advertising targeting criteria for quite some time. Often the content is even used to approximate the user intent, or make assumptions about the demographic makeup of the site.
As mobile traffic is lacking a persistent identifier, much of this targeting ability has remained elusive for mobile advertisers. Now a new generation of companies is tackling this problem with innovative technology and fresh thinking.
The idea to solve mobile specific challenges with online ideas was always flawed. Mobile is different because it adds a location component to targeting. PlaceIQ is now taking this concept and running with it.
Consider this: over the next few months, much of America’s mobile traffic will become location enabled. As a result, ad request will be able to pass category, publisher information, and location data to the demand side ecosystem. The problem is that a location is hard to decode for most networks or DSPs. A Latitude and Longitude passed as: 42.362258852866965, -71.06977054463653 means very little to an advertiser.
PlaceIQ has divided the world into 100×100 meter tiles. Each tile consists of a collection of Latitude and Longitudes. Now comes the exciting part: each tile is filled with offline, online, and mobile information. As a result the targeting parameter to a DSP is no longer: 42.362258852866965 -71.06977054463653 but rather: User in a high value, high density shopping district, frequented by people with a median income of $78,000, with an affinity to the Volvo car brand….
In other words PlaceIQ is transforming location into context by making Lat/Longs truly actionable. Check out the screenshot below, and expect to see exciting developments from this company.
If you are looking for something relaxing to read: don’t read this.
If you are up for some mind bending thoughts, you should not miss Lev Grossman’s article in Time Magazine about Singularity: The day that computers become smarter than humans, and perhaps develop a conscience.
The two greatest quotes: “Maybe we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually.”
“…we don’t know what a highly advanced artificial intelligence, finding itself a newly created inhabitant of the planet Earth, would choose to do. It might not feel like competing with us for resources. You don’t have to be a super-intelligent cyborg to understand that introducing a superior life-form into your own biosphere is a basic Darwinian error.”
Real-time bidding is the hottest topic in digital display advertising. It is the subject of countless articles, panels and press releases. Google recently predicted that by 2015, 50 percent of all targeted display ads will be bought using real-time bidding, or RTB. Make no mistake, the programmatic buying of audiences is a game-changer. But amidst the buzz, I do not think the industry is spending enough time explaining what RTB is, why it came about, and why it is so relevant for mobile. Let us start by taking a look back. To read the full article, please visit my column on the mobile marketer here.
Buying a mobile phone was the wisest $20 Ranvir Singh ever spent. Mr. Singh, a farmer in India, used to make appointments in person in advance to deliver fresh buffalo milk to his 40-odd neighbors. Now his customers just call when they want some. Mr. Singh’s income has risen by 25% a month. Now he hears rumors of an even more bountiful technology. He has heard that “something on mobile phones” can tell him the current market price of wheat. Mr. Singh does not know that that “something” is the Internet, because like most Indians, he has never seen or used it. But the phone in his hand hints at how hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets – perhaps even billions- will one day log on. (…) The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2015 there will be 1.2 billion internet users in these countries. These new Internet users will mostly log on via their mobile phones…
Abbreviated. As seen in the Economist. September 4th by Uttar Pradesh Dadri
Great quote by Devin Friedman: Companies are turning your iPhone into a remote control for your computer. As a result, your smartphone is now (or will be) your interface with the world.
Drove the amazing Tesla Roadster on a beautiful New England Fall weekend. Hardtop off. Racing along changing foliage. Amazing. As you can see in the picture, the Tesla is clearly a family car. It comfortably seats 1 adult and 2 kids. At least that is why I am trying to tell my wife.
The quality of the chassis, doors, hood, and trunk feels a lot like a Lotus. Not quite as tight or well manufactured as other cars in this price range. However, the inside is amazing and feels like something from Back to the Future: lots of blinking lights, a large screen, and numerous LED instruments. If Apple were to build a car, the inside would look like this.
Then you start the car and you hear the amazing… well nothing. Not the big rumble of the Bentley V12, or the shrill sounds of a Ferrari 360. A short chime, like starting up your cell phone, is all the car gives you. The car has few moving part, and the electric engine is completely silent.
One of the reasons the Tesla is getting so much attention these days, is the fact that an electric engine delivers maximum torque at every instance. As such the car goes from 0-60 in about 3.8 seconds (faster than most Ferraris). At any speed, pushing the gas pedal creates the feeling of sitting in a giant slingshot. With the sound of an Imperial Speedster Bike the car catapults the car forward without mercy. Clearly the most stunning acceleration I have ever experienced. As Ferris Bueller said: “If you can afford one, I highly recommend picking one up”
The Foursquare presentation by Dennis Crowley on Monday was my AdWeek highlight. I had been following the company’s location based endeavors from the outside, but had never heard Dennis speak about their strategy in detail. I would highly recommend that any mobile marketer should get familiar with the platform. Up to this point the company appeared to most like a location-based game. In the next 18 months, the team will transform the platform into a LBS marketing powerhouse.
Tristan Walker (VP Bus Dev) gave some great case studies about retailers independently creating customer acquisition and retention programs on the platform. However, the real eye-opener for me was the new ability to swipe a brick-and-mortar loyalty card and be automatically checked into the location. This allows retailers to unlock badges, drive folks to the store, and tie their existing (boring) loyalty cards to a new generation of consumers. All the while Foursquare remains the hub, and pushes its own brand. Very clever!
With the arrival of mobile veterans such as Holger Luedorf, Foursquare is the mobile company to watch in 2011.
Neal Mohan, VP Product Management and Barry Salzman, Managing Director of Media and Platforms at Google predict that Mobile will become the No. 1 screen for advertising by 2015. “The mobile screen will become the first screen that consumers go to on a variety of mobile devices”.
New York mobile advertising company Ringleader was hit Wednesday with a proposed class action lawsuit over its use of their propriatory mobile cookie technology called Mediastamp. Mediastamp is a HTML5 trick to track iPhone and iPad users across a number of websites.
Ringleader uses HTML5’s client-side database-storage capability as a substitute for the traditional cookie tracking employed by all major online ad companies. Mobile Safari users visiting sites with Ringleader ads are assigned a unique ID number ,which is stored by the browser, and recalled by Ringleader whenever they revisit.
The technology enables frequency capping and user recognition, both of which are needed in the online ecosystem. In the online world, cookies are widely deployed and used. So the reason Ringleader is being suit is not the ability to recognize the user, or the exchange of PII, but the fact that users cannot opt out.
According to Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/html5-safari-exploit/) the tracker, labeled RLDGUID, does not go away when one clears cookies from the browser. In addition, it is reported that users savvy enough to find and delete the database have found it returning mysteriously with the same ID number as before — a result the lawyers suing Ringleader say they’ve reproduced.
HTML5’s database storage is a highly touted feature designed to allow websites to locally store data on the user’s computer — a boon for offline use of a browser app. The HTML5 local storage feature lets sites store certain types of data on your hard drive for quicker access later on. For example, a Webmail service could use this feature to store some of your inbox data on your hard drive, so that when you visit your Webmail inbox, it’ll load more quickly.
my phone with ringleader mediastamp cookie
We recently came back from a few days in China. I have seen quite a bit of this planet already, but Shanghai was significantly more amazing than anything I had experienced before. Our import dollars are hard at work over there, and the resulting infrastructure is nothing short of spectacular. Even more shocking are the crowds: in the shopping malls, on the streets, at the main tourist attractions. Mindboggling.
Pudong (click to enlarge)
Model of Shanghai
The crowds at the Bund in Shanghai
We also checked out the World’s Fair. I had wondered why we still need an Expo like this. Well, now I know the answer: 70 million Chinese are expected to attend the show, check out the pavilions, and learn about different cultures. The World’s Fair is educating an entire people about the world they are starting to dominate. Oh brave new world…
Is it a prelude of things to come, or simply a crazy Chinese invention?
In either case, I am not sure how the Apple guys would feel about the iPhone Mini I just purchased in Shanghai. It has an Apple-like features, is about 1/3 of the original iPhone, has a camera, and holds 2 SIM cards. On each call you can decide which SIM to use. Pretty cool feature if you live 2 miles from a European boarder, and want to avoid roaming charges. I leave it up to you to decide if this is an Apple supplier leaking future ideas, or just a miniaturization frenzy.
Usually, I don’t really get excited about single applications. My mobile app life is pretty much dominated by Shazam, Pandora, and Thompson Reuters. Does anyone really need any other application? Well yes, they do. i.TV for their iPad.
My family’s television habits have been vastly influenced by TIVO, and we hardly ever watch live TV. However, it has become increasingly difficulty to find new series, records upcoming shows, and discover niche programming. The i.TV applications helps with all of the above. Not only does it provide a very easy interface to search programs, but it also lets you send the recording to your TIVO.
In addition, i.TV also comes with a graphical user interface remote, that replaces your TIVO remote. The only downsides are the lack of a keyboard for typing in larger titles into the wish list, and the ability to schedule a season pass from the i.TV application. All in all a great addition for the iPad, which removes one more remote from your sofa.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you already know that I like to rant about AT&T. Last week I was thrilled to get a letter in the mail from AT&T that said: Offer to our best customers. Wow, I thought – finally I am being rewarded for my loyalty and $600 cell phone bill.
Well, not quite. Below is a scan of the letter, so you don’t think I am making this up. The letter starts with the sentence: “You have been such a great customer, you deserve something special from us.” (Yes, I agree so far)
The offer is a free phone, when I activate another line by signing a new 2-year agreement. That is indeed very special, and I feel honored to be a loyal AT&T customer. Interestingly, this offer bears remarkable resemblance to the offer that any dude off the street can get by walking into an AT&T store….
Next time you get a “called failed” on your iPhone take a screenshot and email the screenshot to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
It will be uploaded to a growing art collection that can be found here.
1.) Set up a new contact (e.g ATT-Call Failed) and associate it with this email address: email@example.com
2.) To take screenshot of your failed call simultaneously hit the home + power button
3.) Go to photos, find the screenshots and hit the “email to” button. Find the contact you created. Email it.
4.) Repeat a few times a day
Nice video from Nissan that showcases their new iAd, which is one of the first out there. Not really any different from Medialets ads. Well, except for the i
Christian Lindholm from Fjord gave a great rant during the Open Mobile Summit, which received standing ovations from the audience. Basically his argument was: every other customer service driven organization is able to identify great customers. However, carriers seem unable to do this. Christian, and other international travelers, are constantly stuck with obscene international roaming charges. As Christian put it, “we are buried in the CRM system of an oblivious carrier”. Why are they not able to address this important segment of their user base?
He is absolutely right. I just received my AT&T bill after traveling in Europe for 2 weeks…. Need I say more.
The only reason I can sleep at night is because I know AT&T’s survival chances are dim. Any company that treats its best customers this way -while also not being able to keep a cell conversation alive-deserves to be outmaneuvered by competitors.
As promised Steve released the new iPhone today.
- video calls
- 2 x the display resolution using technology that nobody has ever heard of (retina), but from tomorrow on everyone wants
- front and rear camera with LED flash for still and video (HD)
- antenna is build into the aluminum frame
- phone is even more shiny (glass on front and back)
- smaller chip and bigger batter (longer talk time)
- new OS system (called iOS4) that allows multi-tasking, folders,
- iAds support starting July 1st. Advertisers will include (Nissan, Unilever, AT&T, Citi, Chanel, GE, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico, Campbell, Sears, JC Penny, Target, Best Buy, Direct TV, TBS, and Disney = total 60 million committed so far)
Yes, it is just a phone, but…
Mobile Crunch has some amazing coverage here.
PS: During the keynote the phone was not able to load the New York Times.
Steve (outraged) asked everyone to turn off their laptops because the 520 WIFI Hotspots were not able to support everyone twittering.
Mobilecrunch continued blogging from his phone..
Google’s Acquisition of AdMob Closed Today!
Congrats to the Omar Hamoui, Jason Spero, Russel Buckley, and the rest of the Admob team.
In the last 30 days, the Financial Times registered 20% of new subscribers via iPad.
One of the most asked questions is: what is the average mobile CTR. The answer for mobile display advertising is between 0.5%-1%. Of course there might be exceptions to the rule, and certain campaigns might perform higher. Screen take-overs and transparencies are in a different league.
On March 1st, I suggested that we would see a network outage this year. Looks like it was sooner than I had expected. AT&T had an outage in Seattle yesterday. Read more about it on MobileCrunch.
Using the iPad, you feel like a hobbit using the iPhone.
Testing the HTC hero over the last few months, I always had the feeling that it did not track my finger movements as well as the iPhone. Overall the phone is beautiful, and performance is great, but the screen started to annoy me.
An amazing test by Moto Labs actually uses a robot to test the responsiveness and accuracy of various handsets. A screenshot of the crazy results are below, but you should certainly watch the video.
Wanna know more about how RTB dynamically adjusts the price of an ad impression based on its specific audience data and performance history?
Download a free Forrester study on real-time bidding and bringing a proven search ecosystem to online and mobile display.
Admeld was just nominated as a finalist in the CTIA 2010 E-Tech Awards for mobile advertising. You would really help us out, if you could vote for us.
Follow this link, and then click the “Mark as a Favorite” button to vote for Admeld as one of your favorites.
Admeld is in the 3rd row.
There is a fairly high chance that 2010 will be the year when AT&T will have a network outage in a North American market.
1.) Turn your otherwise useless Amtrak Guest Rewards into “Single-Day Passes” to ClubAcela. (The 1st class lounge at Penn Station).
2.) Get to the station 20 min before train leaves
3.) Buy a coffee
4.) Go to the ClubAcela with your pass
5.) Get a red cap service. Don’t worry if you don’t have an actual suitcase, they are used to that. The Red Cap will get you down to the track 15min before the rest of the folks can go down
6.) Pick an isle seat in the quite car. You want to pick the isle, because that way folks would have to talk to you and squeeze by you. Most everyone will sit down on empty isle seats first.
7.) Put on your headset and pretend to sleep (People feel bad about waking you up)
8.) If it is really really crowed, you have to pull out the big guns and spill the coffee on the seat next to you, and look disappointed.
9.) Sit back, relax, and stretch out.
Coming back from Barcelona, I was pretty impressed by the new Windows 7. Yes: the handsets look like iPhones, yes: the OS looks like the slightly uglier cousin to Android. However, all the pessimists out there should take a quick look at Microsoft Balance Sheet:
Revenues $58 billion, operating income $20 billion, and cash flow $31 billion.
So my prediction: Decent OS + Good HTC Handsets + Unlimited Capital = new important mobile player
new windows mobile OS
Who cares about the next HTC Droid – throw one of these bad boys on the poker table when your buddies are over:
Sears currently has them on sale for $2000, and you can find some a bit cheaper on ebay. Either way “there is certainly no app for that” and they are so freaking cool.
Its 5.15pm and you’re already running low on iPhone juice. Here are some immediate tips to get you through the night:
1.) Turn off “location services”. This has a huge impact on your battery life. To disable location services, go to Settings/General/Location Services. Of course maps, and “friends finder” apps will not work anymore. So make sure you’ve got your night figured out beforehand.
2.) Turn off Wi-Fi. If you must browse the web, then using Wi-Fi instead of cellular data networks might actually save energy – but we are assuming you just want your phone to work. So turn it off.
4.) Turn off Bluetooth. Loose that dorky Bluetooth headset, and turn off Bluetooth.
5.) Turn off 3G. This will make it slower to get your boss’s email, but should have an impact on your battery. Settings/Network/General/Enable 3G
These settings will all have a tremendous impact, and are likely to double your standby time. Some more settings (with less of an impact) include: turning off “push mail”, using less applications, adjusting the screen brightness, turning off the EQ (iPod), decreasing the “Auto-Lock” interval (so that your phone’s screen goes off quicker).
In addition, there are two things that will improve your relationship with your battery:
1.) Apple claims that updating to the latest software helps. Not so sure about that, but here is how: Using iTunes connect your iPhone to your computer, then select iPhone in the Source List on the left. In the Summary panel on the right, click “Check for Updates”
2.) For longevity of your phone battery, make sure you charge the battery to 100% and then completely run it down at least 1 a month. Lithium-based batteries like that sort of things. It’s like a night clubbing in the Meatpacking district, so you know what you are made of.
Artifacts from the Future
February 23rd 2032
Doogle buys Bavarian Republic
Today Doogle announced the acquisition of the breakaway Republic of Bavaria. The deal is valued at 5 trillion Euros, including a cash component, Doogle stock, and an earn-out bonus for every citizen.
For the first time in history a private institution acquires a sovereign nation. This takeover also marks the end of a decade-long independence, and period of immense prosperity in Bavaria.
Everything started when BavNicad AG invented the perpetual battery in late 2015, bringing unprecedented wealth, and foreign investment to the region. Within a few short years Bavaria was named the 15th largest economy in the world. A 2022 referendum, and 6 months conflict, affirmed Bavaria place on the world stage. The region became an independent Republic in 2023.
The time after the independence saw a tremendous housing boom, the rise of the Bavarian stock exchange, and immense investment in infrastructure, education, and entertainment. Early critics hinted at a housing bubble, and called the Franz Joseph tower (the world’s tallest building) in Munich outrageous.
In late 2030 things started to go wrong, when a series of explosions caused by faulty batteries killed 150 consumers, including 55 American pre-school students. The public outcry, collapse in demand, and lawsuits that followed sent BavNicad’s stock tumbling. Things got worse when BavNicad announced that it had mismanaged some of its investments, and lost a substantial portion of its cash holdings.
The company was declared “too big to fail” by the Bavarian government, but it became clear quickly that the government’s own deficit was too high to rescue the BavNicad. “We thoughts everything would always go up, said BavNicad CEO G.W. Rush. “We never expected a downturn”. Desperate, the Bavarians turned to Germany’s government, which – still bitter and alienated- declined to help.
The results were devastating: BavNicad declared bankruptcy in May, laid off all of its 300,000 employees, and sent the Bavarian economy into freefall.
According to rumors the Doogle corporate development team approach the Bavarian leadership in the early fall, and preliminary deal was struck in late winter. During her state of the Union Address in March of 2032 the Bavarian’s prime minister announced the Doogle offer to its people, and scheduled a national referendum for April 1st.
The voter turnout was immense, and with a 60% margin the Doogle buy-out offer was accepted by the Bavarian people.
The acquisition makes every government and BavNicad employee a Doogle employee, all public offices will be privatized, and the prime minister will become GM Bavaria and report directly to Doogle’s CEO Sergey Brin Jr. Citizens will remain owners of their private homes, but all public assets will become part of Doogle’s balance sheet. Third party companies located on the Bavarian Doogle campus will be allowed to continue operations in a normal fashion. However, taxes will be paid directly to Doogle through partnership agreements.
Doogle plans to outsource certain public offices such as fire departments, police, mail delivery, public transportation, and road construction,. RFPs are already in the market, with Blackstone and FedEx appearing to have an early lead.
“Buying Bavaria is a great infrastructure investment, and the logical next step for a company such as ours,” commented Sergey Brin. Its people are well educated and computer literate, its public technology infrastructure is amazing, and the public support has been great”, concluded Mr. Brin.
Some critics are comparing the acquisition to failed socialist experiments of the 20th century, but most economics are enthusiastic about the prospects.
It has been reported that a few Bavarian Doogle employees have resigned from their jobs, and left the Doogle campus for neighboring Germany or Austria.
Nikesh Arora, president of global sales for Google, said display advertising had moved from being “nice” to an “essential part of any campaign our advertisers are planning.”
While mobile (display) is still nascent, Mr. Schmidt said he expected it to be a material contributor in 2010.
My new fascination with Augmented Reality has me surfing a lot of data visualization sites. Visual Complexity is certainly cool, and well worth checking out. It is here, where I found Walter Rafelsberger’s map on Twitter Conversations.
When art meets data.
According to Admob, Google’s Android platform is exploding at the moment. Admob reports that Android already had 20 percent of the US smartphone traffic, up from 7 percent six months before.
The Motorola Droid already represented 24 percent of all Android requests in AdMob’s network on Nov. 18, just two weeks after it launched. If that is in fact true, the Droid will save Motorola’s handset unit.
Google’s announcement of the AdMob acquisition was a spectacular day for the mobile marketing industry. Having been in mobile marketing for almost 10 years, I think a $750 million acquisition clearly answers the questions: “When will mobile marketing take off?”
It’s been a while since we have seen a meaningful acquisition in mobile. EA’s purchase of Jamdat, and Verisign’s acquisition of M-Qube were really the last two game changing moments in mobile.
Google’s move underlines the importance of mobile in their long term strategy. They own search, they own maps, and now they own mobile display. Many folks in the industry also have high hopes on the next generation of Android devices. If Android takes off, Google would own the entire mobile value chain in certain instances.
This begs the question: “What are the entrepreneurial opportunities in mobile marketing?”
I see three fields that have not been fully solved:
Yes: Google has maps and folks like Yelp have the local content, but who will bring thousands of small local advertisers to the table. Nokia’s Navteq unit might be one of the contenders, or perhaps a hard-core customer acquisition company with feet on the street. Either way, if someone figures out how to bring thousands of location specific advertisers to the table, it will increase the revenue pie.
Google was already paying decent prices to their (handful of) mobile publishers. Now with Admob’s advertisers on board, they will likely dominate remnant mobile text and mobile display. However, premium, targeted mobile ads are just starting to take off. Players like Quattro Wireless are well positioned to monetize premium inventory. The challenge is that premium advertising is very hands on. Can specialized mobile players excel in an industry dominated by large advertising agencies? TBD
Over the next few months we will see a surge of new mobile ad-networks coming online. Players like Mojiva will enable hundreds of entrepreneurs (if-Admob-can-do-it-so-can-I-players), and advertising executives to start their own niche ad-network. This means that publisher will be overwhelmed. Who should they work with, who will monetize their inventory… Mediation layers (mobile ad optimization companies) enable publishers to work with multiple networks at the same time. In essence they help to route the traffic to the most appropriate monetization source. Smaato, AdMarvel, and Nexage are the three most prominent players in this segment.
Let me know what you think the next big mobile marketing opportunities are.
Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with-, or augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery. The augmentation is often done in real-time and in context with environmental elements. Pretty much like the red line drawn on your TV during a football game.
Augmented Reality Application
When executed well, AR technology the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable.
What makes this so cool for a mobile environment is the fact that augmented reality, will further blur the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated.
Two companies are currently leading the way in this arena: www.layar.com from the Netherlands, and Austrian Mobilizy with their Wikitude (www.wikitude.org) browser. It comes as now surprise that both companies are led by mobile experts. This is clearly mobile 4.0 stuff. If you have the time, make sure you check out this video:
Layar Augmented Reality Video
Play around with both applications on your android phone they will blow your mind away. The applications are endless, and of course fascinating for marketing as well. Today Smaato already delivers 1.2 billion real-time ads to many publishers around the globe every month. Most of these ads are targeted based on carrier and country. In a true AR environment ads could be much more relevant by adding the location and category to the ad request. For example: the ad request could contain a specific location, and the category “travel”. Submitting information like this to a premium ad network such as Quattro or Advertising.com would lead to a significant increase in eCPM prices.
In general, I believe that AR will be huge game changer in terms of interface design. Yes, it is true that many of these functionalities are already available in other forms, but to me AR is a brilliant interface that visualizes information for consumers in an easy to digest format.
At Smaato we get a bird’s eye view of the state of the global mobile advertising industry. In addition, we are also able to follow general mobile web impressions in over 200 countries. In the last few months the growth of mobile web users in Africa has been astronomic. The low PC penetration clearly fosters the use of the mobile web, as it is often the only way to connect to the world. It would be great to connect with start-ups that are trying to address the African market, or talk to local entrepreneurs to better understand the opportunities for angle investments, and mobile advertising partnerships.
Looks like Nokia is getting ready to fight back with the introduction of the new N900. It will have a touch screen, full keyboard, desktop-like functionality, and most of all it will be able to make and receive phone calls (Something that the iPhone is not always capable of). Here is the promotional video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhTtsZATwBQ
“If I am in total control, I know I am going too slow!” Mario Andretti, Formula 1 racecar driver.
There are two revenue streams for mobile publishers: advertising and download fees (Lets ignore ringtone subscription schemes and SMS for this discussion). Interpublic’s Magna unit predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend $229 million on mobile media this year; which seems like a realistic number. If mobile ad networks take 40% of this revenue, mobile publishers are left with $137 million.
As far as download fees go, the only real option at this point is the iTunes store. Apple projects $300 million in revenue this year from the store. Since Apple takes a 30% cut of all revenues, mobile publishers should make around $700 million in 2009.
Carrier decks, other handset stores, and download portals (getjar, handango etc.) might add another $100 million to the mix.
That brings the total mobile publishing industry pie to $937 million for 2009.
Mobile media has been my life as an entrepreneur, investor, and senior operating executive for over ten years, but last year was pretty turbulent – even for my standards.
I incubated a mobile analytics and media buying dashboard concept at Polaris Ventures with the help of Bob Geiman and Sim Simeonov. Before the company ever hit the light of day, it was rolled into Smaato Inc.
Smaato is an Aeris Capital funded company with headquarters in Silicon Valley, and an engineering center in Germany. Smaato has a pretty interesting business idea. Many mobile publishers would like to better monetize their ad inventory. Smaato connects publishers and media companies with multiple ad networks across the globe. The company simplifies the complexity of working with multiple ad networks, and increases fill rates by optimizing ad-serving decisions across multiple ad networks.
Smaato is connected to ad networks across the globe, which allows the company to fill inventory in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia.
Publishers like Smaato because they see more revenue. Ad Networks like to work with Smaato because they see more targeted inventory in specific markets or categories. I like Smaato because it is great to see my vision executed by an amazing team of senior high-tech executives.
GM lost $30.9 billion in 2008. The total of all American Venture Capital (VC) investment in 2008 was only $28.3 billion in 3,808 deals (PricewaterhouseCoopers).
On average GM burned through $88 million each day of last year. That means that 44 start-up companies could have been funded with $2 million each day. This daily number is around the total number of start-ups funded each year by the entire Boston VC community (496 deals last year).
It also means that instead of funding the smashing, ground-breaking Buick Lucerne and his brothers and sisters, over 10,000 innovative small start-up companies could have been born in 2008.
iPhone and Dash are now proud parents of Kogan.
After a long an traitorous labor we welcome Kogan to the world.
2.5-inch touchscreen (320 x 240), 3G networking, full keyboard.
The parents are anxious to see their little one grow up, and have a better life then they had.
Check it out here: Kogan
Hamburg has been planning the revitalization of its harbor for many years already. The cleverly named "Hafencity" (Harbor City) is now one of Europe's largest urban renewal projects. The first phase is pretty much completed, and folks are moving in. Last weekend we walked around the various buildings and I was truly amazed. Living in a conservative city like Boston perhaps even underscored the though-provoking architecture even more. I can highly recommend anyone to check it out.