This month’s top digital trends: Surge in real-time bidding | Top property websites | Brits ‘tighten purse strings’ | Ringback Tone Advertising | Sluggish e-retailers avoid downtime | VAT hike slows January sales | Entry-level smartphones | Casual games | Domain name sales
Massive growth in real-time bidding spend
Forrester has unveiled a study showing incredible growth in real-time bidding – more than 130% in the US this year. By the end of 2011 an estimated $823m worth of online advertising will have been traded in this way in the US. Because RTB platforms are closed systems, this is the first time it’s been possible to find out how much business is being conducted in this manner.
Agencies and technology firms have invested millions in tools and specialist staff to make it possible to buy and sell online advertising in an automated fashion. This technology allows advertisers to buy impressions that precisely match their target audience requirements. The Forrester study illustrates how rapidly advertising budgets are being switched to take advantage. The study has been launched at an event in New York run by Admeld, a company that helps premium publishers maximise earnings in these automated trading environments.
Zoopla ‘now second most popular property website
According to the latest independent data for January from Experian Hitwise, Zoopla.co.uk is now the 2nd most popular property website in the UK, demonstrating remarkable growth for one of the newest market entrants and a business that has been around for only 3 years. Zoopla.co.uk, which has now broken into the top 100 websites in the UK, was ranked 98th by Experian Hitwise in January for share of total web pages viewed by UK users, putting it well ahead of its longer-established rivals including Findaproperty (ranked 125th) and Primelocation (ranked 193rd). Zoopla.co.uk’s position as the #2 UK property website behind only Rightmove is confirmed by the most recent figures for December released by website monitoring firm UKOM Nielsen. According to UKOM Nielsen data, the unique audience figures in December were 1,034,000 for Zoopla compared to 852,000 for Findaproperty and 656,000 for Primelocation.
Unique visitors to the UK’s leading property portals
Rank Site Unique Visitors December 2010
1 Rightmove 2,350,000
2 Zoopla 1,034,000
3 Findaproperty 852,000
4 Primelocation 656,000
Source: MediaTel/UKOM powered by Nielsen
Brits ‘to manage their pennies more closely than ever in 2011’
As Brits feel the pinch after the indulgences of Christmas, 94% of people plan to tighten their purse strings this year according to a poll by Orange* – the first UK communications company to offer Tiny Top Ups**, a new service that lets Pay As You Go customers top up using their loose change from as little as 10p. With one in four (25.7%) 18-24 year olds carrying less than £1 in loose change in their pocket, Tiny Top Ups puts the power back in the pennies making it easier than ever to stay in touch – welcome news for almost one in four (23%) Brits who normally wait for pay day before they top up their phone. The research also reveals that running out of phone credit has caused more than one in ten (13%) 18-24 year olds to miss out on a new job opportunity, 15% to lose a love interest and one in six (16.6%) to miss meeting up with a friend; however with Tiny Top Ups these missed opportunities could be a thing of the past.
Further findings revealed by the research include:
The value of staying in touch is more important than other life essentials for over one in four (27%) 18-24 year olds who would least like to be without phone credit, compared with only 18% who can’t stand to be without a clean pair of underwear and 11% who refuse to be without make-up
While over one in five (22%) of Brits admit texting “I love you” on a daily basis, text etiquette is evolving with almost one in ten preferring to say “I love you” to someone for the first time via text and 7% having split up with an ex-partner via text
When it comes to voices of comfort, if the world was about to end, almost half (42%) of Brits would make their last phone call to their partner while 19% would call their mum and just 3% would call their dad. Surprisingly 1% of barking mad Brits would pick up the phone to their pet if they only had one last call to make.
Ringback Tone Advertising to Hit $780m million annually by 2015 as Consumers Chase Free Airtime
A new report from Juniper Research has highlighted the increasing popularity of ringback tone advertising, which is expected to be the destination of more than $780 million in annual adspend by 2015. The ad format – where consumers opt-in to receive airtime or credit in return for allowing branded content as their ringback tone – has already been successfully implemented in a number of key markets, proving popular both with mobile users and leading brands. The mobile advertising report found that some campaigns run on ringback tone advertising were currently generating substantial response rates: for example, a Pepsi campaign on Turkcell’s TonlaKazan service generated more than 25 million calls from 5 million users. Meanwhile, as ad-funded services are increasingly deployed in key ringback markets such as China and India, there is expected to be a gradual transition of service users across from paid-for ringback tone to capitalise on free airtime offers.
However, according to report author Dr Windsor Holden, for the channel to gain optimal adoption, it was essential that content placed within the ringbacks was non-intrusive. “While ringback tone advertising has a number of potential benefits for network operators – notably providing a new revenue stream and reducing customer churn – both they and the brands must ensure that the advertising is contextual and does not jar with those listening. Otherwise all parties – operators, brands, even the service subscribers – could face a backlash from disgruntled callers, conceivably resulting in a decline in network voice traffic.”
Other key findings from the report include:
• Total advertising expenditure across all mobile channels is expected to reach $11.5 billion in 2015, up from $3.1 billion in 2010
• Mobile channels are benefitting from brands’ strategic transition from above the line (ATL) to below the line (BTL) advertising
• Retailers are increasingly seeking to offer smartphone apps as a key means of generating brand exposure
The Mobile Advertising White Paper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the study ‘Mobile Advertising Strategies: Opportunities, Business Models & Forecasts 2010-2015’.
provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.
Sluggish e-retailers avoid downtime during crucial sales period
UK e-retailers experienced slow download speeds during the December and January sales period, according to research from Site Confidence, an NCC Group plc company. Performance data from the website monitoring specialist showed that the UK’s top 50 e-retailers avoided serious outages between 25 December 2010 and 12 January 2011, despite visitors experiencing website download speeds in excess of 10 seconds. On Christmas Day – when many of the largest sales began online – the average downtime for e-retailers was less than one minute (0.03 per cent), while on Boxing Day the top 50 experienced an average of just over one minute (0.08 per cent). The average downtime for the test group between 25 December 2010 and 12 January 2011 was just 35 minutes (0.13 per cent). The average download speed for e-retailers during the research period was in excess of 10 seconds (10.92 sec) – above many retailers’ target eight-second threshold, according to Site Confidence. Average download speeds on Christmas Day (10.92 sec) and Boxing Day (10.98 sec), were consistent with the overall average for the sales period.
VAT hike slows January sales
Data on consumer spend from PayPoint.net, a payment services and risk management provider, shows that the rise in VAT at the beginning of January did not prompt a big decline in online sales. Online spend between 3rd – 9th January 2011 increased by 15% compared to the previous week (1). However, consumer spend increased at a greater rate during the same period in 2010. Between 4th – 10th January 2010 online consumer spend increased by 33.3% compared to the previous week (2), suggesting the VAT rise this year had some impact on sales.
Number of Entry-Level Smartphones to reach over 185 million by 2015
Shipments of entry-level smartphones are set to exceed 185m globally by the year 2015, driven initially by operators’ own brand devices which are intended to boost data usage on their networks, finds a new report by Juniper Research. Pricing of these low cost smartphones will come down from $150 in 2010 to $80 in 2015, due to increased competition and the availability of lower cost chipsets, states the report. Devices such as the Orange Boston and Vodafone’s 945, manufactured under OEM agreements by handset vendors like Huawei, allow smartphone features like app store connectivity and an Android OS to be offered to subscribers without the high price usually associated with the smartphone, finds the report:
Further findings from the Low Cost Handsets & Entry Level Smartphonesreport include:
• Chinese and Indian handset vendors such as Micromax are expected to launch Android-based smartphones at competitive prices for their local markets in the near future
• Compression and remote browsing is enabling the mobile internet to reach low-cost handsets at price points as low as $25
• Content strategies in developing markets are becoming important to reduce churn for the operator and to tie in the customer to the handset brand for the vendor
• Barriers to entry into the handset market have come down, opening the door for local players in growth markets such as India and China
Majority of gamers play casual games
Analysis of data from Newzoo’s National Gamers Surveys 2010 in the US and key EU markets, shows the enormous impact of gaming on social networks and mobile devices on the total number of “casual” gamers. It also reveals a significant overlap between the individual platforms. The number of people playing on social networks, mobile devices or dedicated casual game websites has grown to 47% of the online population in Germany and even 67% in the US and UK. The Netherlands, France and Belgium are in between with 56%, 59% and 60% respectively.
On average, online casual game destinations, such as RealGames/Zylom, King.com and PopCap.com reach two-thirds of this audience. As these players extend their games offering to social networks and mobile devices, they find themselves servicing the majority of the nations’ online population and 73% (Germany) to 88% (US) of all gamers. Overlap between platforms is considerable, illustrated by the fact that 46 million Americans– or 33% of all casual gamers – play games on all three platforms. Consumers choose their platform depending on time of day, location and social setting. Factors to be investigated in a new series of National Gamers Surveys to be performed by Newzoo in twelve countries, March this year.
Online investment booms with global growth in domain name sales
Sedo reveals that the trading of domain names online has reached new heights, with a 12 per cent growth in sales of web addresses recorded year on year. The research, which features in Sedo’s latest Annual Domain Market Study, highlights the strength of the online property market at a time when offline property prices decreased by 2.4 per cent in the same period†. The average value of .com domain names grew by 61.9 per cent from £1,260 to £2,040, the average value of .net by 10.2 per cent from £942 to 1,038 and .org by 55.9 per cent from £922 to £1,437.
The dramatic increase in value of domain names has been prompted by major sales over the past year including the sale of .com extensions, such as Sex.com for $13 million, and leading .org domains like poker.org, for $1 million. Location related domain names once again proved popular over the past year, following the sale of Jerusalem.com and Pakistan.de for $510,000 and €65,450 respectively.
The most lucrative country code top level domain (ccTLD) is the French extension .fr, selling for an average price of £4,297, followed by the British extension .co.uk which offered an average price of £1,291. The most traded ccTLD was .de, which accounted for 46 per cent of country specific domain names sold, followed by .co.uk (20 per cent) and .eu (14 per cent). The most commonly traded generic top level domain name (gTLD) by far and away remained the .com extension accounting for 75 per cent of all sales, followed by .net (11 per cent) and .org (8 per cent).