Apple clamps down further on third-party tracking with latest iOS updates

Apple used its annual developer conference WWDC to unveil a host of updates, including limitations on how companies can track users of its Safari web browser, a measure that poses obstacles for third parties such as Facebook and Google as well as other analytics providers.

The phrase ‘online privacy’ is one of the burning issues of the moment, with the European Union’s General Data Protection (GDPR) regulations coming into force, and Apple’s latest software update builds upon this trend.

Apple’s iOS 12 includes updates to its Intelligence Tracking Prevention (ITP) tools with the latest offering blocking tracking features such as ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ buttons by default. This means that users of the Safari web browser have to proactively opt-in to such tools in order for third parties to be able to track their online activities as well as other sensitive information stored on iOS devices, such as contacts information etc.

The newly unveiled updates also included limitations on “fingerprinting”, i.e. how third-party tracking companies can monitor which devices are visiting their website via the browser, a move that will make it even more difficult for advertisers to measure the reach of their online ads.

“Safari now also presents simplified system information when users browse the web, preventing them from being tracked based on their system configuration,” reads a statement announcing the updates.

“Safari now also automatically creates, autofills and stores strong passwords when users create new online accounts and flags reused passwords so users can change them.”

The latest privacy updates, among a host of others, were unveiled on the WWDC stage by Craig Federighi, Apple senior VP of software engineering, who said: “There can be a lot of sensitive data on your devices, and we think you should be in control of who sees it.”

Apple’s ITP was first unveiled at its corresponding event 12 months ago, with the measure causing some friction in the wider adtech ecosystem. Ad retargeting firm Criteo later told investors that the rollout of the feature could negatively impact revenues by up to 8-10% in coming financial periods.

Source: thedrum.com; 5 June 2018

Reddit to feature native video ads starting today

Reddit, the world’s third most popular website after Google and YouTube, is starting to roll out native video advertising across its website and mobile apps following a site-wide redesign. The company is launching the new ad format with select partners, but plans to eventually open it up to all advertisers later this summer, according to a blog post.

The video ads will only be served to redditors that are using the expanded card display layout which is the default of three new modes in Reddit’s latest redesign, which has been met with mixed reactions from users – many are opting to use the old design instead of the new one.

Reddit noted some interesting stats about video consumption in the blog post announcing the pre-roll ads:

– More than 2x video views, growing 23% each month since the start of 2018.
– The website is now averaging more than 5 million minutes of views per day.
– Since launching, videos uploaded via our native player receive twice as many views as YouTube videos on Reddit.
– Native video has taken off in a variety of communities and now accounts for as much as 20% of content in a number of major ‘subreddit’ communities such as r/oddlysatisfying, r/aww and r/FortniteBR for example.

The native video ads will be offered on a cost per view basis and is also offering video-only campaigns for the first time. VP of brand partnerships Zubair Jandali believes that the new format is adding to the utility that the company offers marketers, which are eager to tap the company’s base of 330 million monthly active users.

While Reddit’s website has remained relatively unchanged for the past five years, recently it has increased its product growth with a redesign of its mobile apps and desktop site. Part of that redesign includes giving users the ability to host images and video natively on the platform.

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 13 June 2018

100% brand safe and viewable: marketers eager for programmatic TV in Asia Pacific

Singapore, as well as Southeast Asia’s, switch to digital television by the end of 2018 represents a chance for marketers to tap into the potential of programmatic advertising on television.

Digital broadcasting in Singapore began in December 2013 when state-owned broadcaster Mediacorp converted all seven of its free-to-air TV channels to the digital format. However, it has continued to broadcast in the analogue format, which will end by January 1, 2019, with neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia following suit.

According to the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore, the switch is happening this year to ensure that viewers can continue to enjoy their favourite TV programmes from around the world as digital TV offers better quality pictures, superior sound and multi-language subtitles.

Marketers that The Drum spoke to, like Athena Bughao, regional account director in APAC for Google B2B Performance Media at Essence Media, believe digital TV is a step towards innovation and measurability for them.

“The move to digital means carving their own path towards the same content accessibility and measurement or get on the bandwagon. Adapt or die (from a relevance perspective),” she explains.

James Sampson, vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific at Dataxu, concurs with Bughao, and adds that digital TV is set to be 2018’s biggest thing, irrespective of the roles of Pay TV operators, advertisers and media companies, as some brands, agencies and media companies are very nimble in utilising new technologies and meeting audiences where they are.

“This is a consumer-led change, and we’re seeing all of the above stakeholders have various levels of speed and success in embracing this new world. We work with Sky in the UK, and that’s a great example of a company looking at new ways of selling, measuring, optimizing and advertising differently in 2018 than 10 years ago,” he says.

Buying ads programmatically on digital TV

While digital TV represents a chance for TV ads to be bought programmatically, targeting and measurement like data-driven automation and audience-based buying component are key foundations that will need to be built into digital TV and enable it across more networks, for it to be viable.

As Narayan Murthy, vice president for SEA and India at FreakOut puts it, how big data plays a role in this area and how fast TV can reach sophistication of current programmatic digital targeting capabilities remains to be seen, while Bughao quips: “We can’t manage what we can’t measure.”

Another challenge facing programmatic ads on digital TV is that there is a still a healthy level of scepticism from broadcasters who are worried that programmatic TV will devalue their inventory, or it will be a race to the bottom in terms of price, says Damien Thomson, general manager for APAC at Sizmek.

“We have seen really convincing evidence to support the contrary to that, where broadcasters can make premium inventory available and still attract a premium price for it. That is because advertisers will always want to be associated with premium content and they will always pay a premium for that,” he explains. “Where linear TV has struggled is the declining audiences on free to air linear TV. That has been supplemented by the increased consumption of catch-up TV in the digital channels. That represents a real opportunity to advertisers to reach that same audience in a more connected environment.”

That said, as more viewers are consuming content through OTT devices, it means there is a whole new playing field of advanced personalisation opportunities, to ensure consumers are seeing targeted marketing messages, across devices, in appropriate doses, according to Sampson.

“This creates a better experience for marketers, who are reaching a more relevant, engaged audience, and for viewers, who are seeing messages applicable to them and their interests,” he adds.

Murthy shares Sampson’s sentiments and points out that as TV gets more and more digital, it becomes part of the overall delivery of the creative, in this case, a commercial or video. “Programmatic TV will be a subset of buying and selling video spots across multiple form factors like laptops, mobile phones and smart TVs with a robust multi-channel planning with the same set of creatives. So effectively we can measure, attribute, and plan, TV with the same yardstick we do other digital channels,” he explains.

Programmatic advertising on TV is 100% brand safe and viewable

While still in its infancy, having programmatic ads on TV will be more attractive than desktop and mobile because it is 100% brand safe and viewable, as advertisers can put what they want to appear against with the high production values of the content, which they know is going to be safe, notes Thomson.

“Viewability also does not become an issue in a connected TV environment. There is a guarantee that their ad is going to be on screen, 100% view and all pixels displayed,” he explains. “At this stage, there is an over-reliance on video channels on Internet and social platforms. There is an opportunity for brands to achieve the same outcome and reach in a more cost-effective fashion by working with local partners, not necessarily just the global platforms.”

“By providing dollars back into the local ecosystem, the local media industry, you are supporting local businesses and at the same time, putting your advertising alongside more brand safe content. That will have an impact of reducing fraud, viewability rates, better consumer experiences by providing more relevant advertising to consumers across TV.

Marketers can also overcome user privacy issues or being accused of targeting personal information with regulation like GDPR in place with programmatic ads on TV, because they can use contextual-based targeting, as there are a lot of information that broadcasters have in relation to the metadata that is available for programming.

“In terms of being able to provide data, I believe that an opt-in approach is a good way to start and a lot of broadcasters will require log-ins to access the apps. Being able to target against an audience profile or information that is gathered, is one way of reaching an audience. They will start to provide information on pre-shot series, rather than current affairs and news as providing that metadata to targeting systems, it will provide context around the content that is being described and allow better targeting for advertisers against that,” explains Thomson.

Ready for the switch

Dataxu, Sizmek and FreakOut believe they are ready when Singapore and SEA finally make the switch to digital TV, as they can address concerns like how will reach be impacted on digital TV, if there will be incremental reach a brand increase its spend with a particular broadcaster and if buying through one demand-side platform, will there be a clear outcome on another.

Sampson explains that Dataxu’s advanced TV offerings were built from the ground up as cross-channel, meaning they are not specific to TV, desktop or mobile, but encompassing the spectrum of digital channels for marketers. Murthy points out that FreakOut work on a probabilistic mode to target disengaged TV audiences who are on Facebook or some other site while in front of the television, and further enhance the brand’s messaging to someone who has just seen the ad by showing him/her a form to finish the transaction just seen.

For Thomson, he says Sizmek as a business is very much focused on transparency and not just transparency on campaign data. “We look at data across five different dimensions like creative, costs, campaign, consumer and context. Being able to assess each of those components when looking at connected TV as a channel, not just in isolation, but across the entire media plan will become important for advertisers.”

Source: thedrum.com; 28 May 2018

Xiaomi Wants to Be More than Just a Smartphone Manufacturer

Xiaomi, sometimes referred to as the Apple of China, is known for its smartphone products. Like Apple, however, Xiaomi wants to be known for being more than just a hardware company.

Understandably so. In many countries, smartphones have gradually become a commodity. Smartphone users are simply happy with their current device and aren’t rushing to upgrade to the most recent model.

In fact, in spite of double-digital growth in some emerging markets, like India, global smartphone shipments fell by 1% year over year in 2017, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Xiaomi has already taken strides in establishing itself as more than a smartphone maker. The company has launched a range of software and internet services in its home market, including the Android-based MIUI operating system. And just last month, Xiaomi introduced its artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant, Xiao AI, which comes pre-loaded on newer smartphone models.

The company has also shifted its focus to digital content, which makes sense given that consumers in China have shown an increasing appetite for paying for it.

eMarketer expects that there will be 432.9 million smartphone video viewers in China—excluding Hong Kong—this year, making up 31.3% of the population.

By the end of the forecast period in 2021, we expect that audience to reach 592.0 million.

Source: emarketer.com; 24 May 2018

Pump up the programmatic: Google selling streaming audio ads

Google is plugging into streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora to deliver audio ads.

The company announced that it’s supporting audio ads through DoubleClick, its programmatic ad platform. That means brands that use DoubleClick for their ad buying can now buy audio ad inventory available in streaming services including Spotify, Pandora and SoundCloud.

Pandora will open to DoubleClick “soon,” according to Google’s announcement, while Spotify, TuneIn and SoundCloud are open as of today.

“Audio advertising will continue to grow,” said Jean-Claude Homawoo, product manager at DoubleClick, in a blog post on Wednesday. It’s clear that brands should invest in reaching consumers with the right messages in audio just like they do in every other medium.”

Audio ads are a growing niche in the industry as streaming services increasingly rely on advertising to subsidize their businesses. Audio ads generated $1.6 billion in the U.S. in 2017, a 39 percent jump from the year before, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

That’s still a small piece of the $88 billion overall U.S. digital ad market.

Spotify and Pandora—which already sell ads programmatically through their own self-serve platforms and other programmatic networks—are trying to energize their ad businesses. In the first quarter of 2018, Spotify generated $115 million in ad sales, which represented a 38 percent increase year over year. Meanwhile, Pandora generated $215 million in ad sales in the first quarter, a slight dip from $223 million in the same period of 2017.

Pandora was late to offer audio ads through programmatic pipes. It sold video and other ad formats through automated marketplaces, but reserved audio ads for more exclusive sales channels. That changed in February, when Pandora started selling its first audio ads programmatically through a private marketplace it created with select ad tech partners.

Relying on programmatic advertising can be a tough call for companies because they’re often associated with lower prices, devaluing the inventory. However, they also make it easier for advertisers to buy and could attract more interest from brands to try out the ad offering.

And on Tuesday, Pandora bought an ad tech company called AdsWizz, which developed a programmatic ad demand platform, for $130 million in cash and stock.

“Pandora has long understood the value that a sophisticated advertising platform can bring to everyone in digital audio,” said Pandora CEO Roger Lynch in an announcement about the acquisition.

Source: adage.com; 30 May 2018

Google highlighted the Assistant at I/O 2018

At its annual I/O developer conference, Google made several announcements related to its voice assistant, Google Assistant, that aim to spur adoption of the technology. The biggest updates circle around improving natural interactions and adding a visual component.

Google is enabling more natural interactions with the Assistant aimed to bolster usage of the platform with four key additions:

– Google introduced a Continued Conversation feature. Continued Conversation allows Google Assistant users to ask multiple questions in succession without having to repeat the “Hey, Google” wake-up word for each command. This feature, which should be available in the coming weeks, is similar to Amazon Alexa’s Follow-Up Mode.

– Google launched the ability to create custom Routines. Google rolled out Routines in March 2018 to enable users to manage their connected devices with just a single voice command to Google Assistant, but it was limited to only six pre-programmed Routines. Allowing for customization of Google Assistant Routines could make the platform more useful for consumers, and puts it on par with Alexa.

– Google rolled out a Multiple Actions feature. The Multiple Actions feature allows users to make multiple requests in one voice command. Now Google Assistant will be able to listen to a string of commands within 8 seconds of the initial command. The new feature will improve the speed of the Assistant’s responses, as users no longer have to wait for a second, or third, response.

– Google Assistant now supports six new voices. This brings the total number of voices the Assistant supports to eight — previously, Google Assistant let its users pick between just one female and one male voice. The new voices are built with machine learning technology called WaveNet, which is DeepMind’s model for creating natural-sounding speech. WaveNet also powers Google’s Cloud Text-to-Speech platform.

Google Assistant is also becoming visually assistive. Google unveiled a new experience for Google Assistant that brings up visual information as well as new ways to interact with apps such as those for smart home products. When a user makes a Google Assistant voice request, the assistant will provide a more interactive visual, full-screen experience. For instance, when asking Google Assistant to turn down the heat, a display will show up on the phone with a way to adjust the temperature.

The Google Assistant-powered smart speakers with screen displays will launch in July, with partners including Lenovo, LG, Sony, and Harman via JBL. Smart display speakers can perform all the same functions as smart speakers, but they also offer the ability for users to make video calls, watch videos, look at photos, and search the internet, using both their voice and hands. They also serve as a funnel to bring consumers to YouTube, particularly in areas like the kitchen, where a hands-free, voice-controlled screen could be useful for instructional videos, for example.

The latest announcements could be key in helping Google bolster its voice assistant platform. Google’s emphasis on making the overall Google Assistant experience more conversational and visually assertive will likely fuel engagement on the platform.

As Google Assistant becomes more intelligent and allows for a more natural interaction, and developers create better and more useful ways to integrate them with consumers’ lives, the Assistant will cement itself as the primary way consumers interact with their devices.

Advancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer’s life.

However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.

Source: businessinsider.com; 9 May 2018

China’s hip-hop ban: lessons for brands

Why all hope isn’t lost for brands looking to tap Chinese counterculture.

In the summer of 2017, China’s mainstream video streaming platform iQiyi released a very special singing contest, The Rap Of China.

It was special, because the genre was largely a fringe artform in urban hubs, even though Taiwanese singer Jay Chou’s R&B influenced brand of hip-hop first entered into mainstream music more than a decade ago. But each of the 12 episodes of The Rap Of China—hip hop’s first appearance on mainstream TV—got between 200 and 300 million views. All of a sudden, music with a stronger hip-hop flavour became mainstream.

At first, its rise was dismissed by the government as a ‘foreign-born’ homage, an inevitable by-product of the cultural globalisation of the noughties that saw Eminem and 50 Cent find their way onto the walls of Chinese middle-class bedrooms. Yes, there was the inevitable display of streetwear and bling posturing. Chou eventually launched his streetwear label PHANTACi.

But there was something different about hip-hop in China. The lyrics often talked about overbearing parents, urban boredom and the desire to travel the world. Often sung in mixes of local dialects, Mandarin and English, Chinese hip-hop had a home-grown identity of its own and reflected the unique characteristics of the Chinese urban middle classes, striving for a new identity.

Within the first few episodes, The Rap Of China had generated enough memes and trending topics to skyrocket to a hit. With celebrity judges, gruelling rules and participation from some of the biggest Chinese underground hip-hop stars, it wasn’t long before the show’s key sponsors McDonald’s and Nongfu Spring’s Vitamin Waters upped their involvement by shooting fresh ads with popular contestants.

Nongfu Spring’s Vitamin Waters picked Sun Baiyi, a Guizhou-born contestant famous for representing the voice of the urban Chinese white collar class. Their ad promoted the drinks’ energy-boosting properties (perfect for the 50-hour week) against a backdrop of hip-hop cool.

But in January, the Chinese government stepped in. TV appearances by rap contestants on other shows were suddenly pulled. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), declared that “actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble” and who are “tasteless, vulgar and obscene” should not be on television. Beijing decided that hip-hop, as an entire culture, didn’t align with party values. And an entire culture that had been speaking to thousands (if not millions) was outlawed overnight.

Although the hip-hop ban was heavily criticised by Chinese netizens (of course not in the mainstream media), the public had seen this before.

But imagine planning and investing in a campaign wrapped around a culture, only to have it suddenly obliterated. In a market where government crackdowns can come out of nowhere, sending shockwaves through business and culture, brands may legitimately ask: What does this mean for strategy? How can you plan around such political and cultural uncertainty in China?

Recent research by Flamingo and DDB examined strategies for dealing with uncertainty, finding ways to reframe it in a more positive light. One of these, the ‘guide’ strategy, calls for a brand to stabilise itself through a deep understanding of whatever issue it’s facing, followed by reframing and offering a clear message to customers. Here, a focus on long-term goals and messaging is best. In the case of the sponsors of The Rap Of China, one of them, Nongfu Spring Vitamin Water, did just that.

Since the ban, rather than crying over the loss of a single platform, the brand revisited its brand pillars, encompassing a connection with creativity, youthfulness and motivation. The brand went on to sponsor other TV shows in the music genre and to hold inter-university singing contests. By encouraging consumers to look beyond the hip-hop trend and to think of the value of creativity more broadly, Nongfu Spring’s cultural identity stayed in place, appealing to those who enjoyed buying and drinking the rainbow-coloured water.

In the case of Chou’s PHANTACi label, it started out in sports fashion / streetwear rather than hip-hop, but since the show has borrowed elements of hip-hop culture to curate its products and brand. The Rap of China satisfied the curiosity of the Chinese public about a foreign culture. PHANTACi knows that, and since the ban has continued to curate a foreign culture to mass Chinese consumers. But it has suffered less from the ban since its original engagement with hip-hop music is shallower.

Underground and mainstream

Meanwhile, Chinese fans have taken hip-hop back underground since the ban, doing what they do best: playing cat and mouse with official censorship. A new mainstream show called This Is Street Dance launched, with production style that can easily be mistaken for that of The Rap Of China, including the stage, graphics and clothes that the contestants are wearing. This Is Street Dance’s banner in central Shanghai

While we don’t advise that brands play games with the government, we do feel that there is a bigger lesson to be learned from how Chinese culture deals with these occurrences. As a brand operating amid uncertainty, it’s wise to ask what was meaningful about your original engagement with this culture, listen carefully to your customers to understand the reasons that they valued that engagement, and look to your enduring brand values to harness this in the most effective way.

In Nongfu Spring’s case, the brand understood that its engagement with music culture didn’t end with hip-hop. It survived, and even thrived, following the ban by staying close to its customers and not only understanding their need for alternative entertainment, but actually contributing to the creative culture.

Hip-hop in China is not dead, it will just manifest in a different way. It will return to its roots for a while, but what will not change is the mindset of the culture that spawned it. The soft voice of the increasingly numerous and forever resilient urban middle classes. Frustrated with urban life and social pressures, they are still redefining their identity, and brands that recognise and continue to play to this, perhaps with fewer gold chains, will thrive amid uncertainty in China.

Source: campaignasia.com; 24 May 2018

Brands in non-EU countries should adopt GDPR rules, study finds

Publishers are being too slow to adopt consent management platforms, which will cause growing pains for programmatic advertising when the new regulation comes into force.

The majority of consumers in non-EU countries would like at least one of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules to be in effect in their country, a study has revealed.

Research carried out by video ad tech company Unruly, which spoke with 4,000 people across eight markets about the incoming changes to the way data is handled by firms, also found that 63% of consumers worldwide trust brands more when they are clear about how and where their data is used.

“There’s a lot of trust that needs to be built between brands and consumers globally, not just in the EU,” said Kenneth Suh, chief operating officer at Unruly. “They really need to be providing some clarity around the data and the purposes it’s being used for.

“This is all really great news for users. It’s an opportunity to get a much clearer picture and understanding of who’s collecting your data and how it’s being used.”

The new law kicks in on May 25 and applies to all EU citizens, but even companies in the US or China have to follow the rules if dealing with EU citizens.

Among the changes include that future requests for consent of data sharing can’t be hidden under reams of Ts and Cs — they have to be clearly distinguished. Pre-ticked boxes can no longer be used to indicate consent, and making people hand over more personal information in exchange for extra features is also not allowed.

Only 58% of those surveyed in the UK had heard of GDPR, and 26% in the US

But when asked, 93% of all consumers in non-EU countries said they would like at least one rule brought about by GDPR effective in their country.

Among the top areas of importance, people agreed with the three following statements: I should have the right to see a copy of my personal data at any time; I should have the right to ask how my data is being used at any time and; I should have the right to delete the data companies have collected about me.

The research found that people are most comfortable sharing biometric data for services like fitness apps because the rewards for exchange of data are clear and obvious — you get to learn about your health.

In an age of fake news, brands and advertisers must strive to voice a message of trust and transparency, stressed Suh.

However, using social media to project this message may hinder the goal. The study found that 43% of people worldwide say their trust in advertising on social media has dropped significantly in the last few months — 43% in the US, 51% in the UK

“You can think about the conundrum brands have around social media platforms as a way to reach audiences,” said Suh. “We know that reach is on the social media side, but if more than half of the information you’re reading from that place isn’t considered real, then your brand being associated that information.”

The findings come as the programmatic world braces for extreme turbulence. Research by PageFair found that just 3% of brands surveyed believe users will opt-in for third party tracking on websites.

Suh said it isn’t clear how much havoc GDPR will wreak on programmatic advertising, but there will definitely be “growing pains.”

“In GDPR world, [publishers] are going to be adopting a consent management platform to ensure that the user knows what data is being collected on the website,” he said.

“What we’ve seen is, widely, publishers are still trying to figure out what platform they want to use. That’s important, because those are signals that are going to be passed through the bid request to programmatic buyers. So, without that platform adoption happening at the publisher side, those signals won’t be coming along as readily available to buyers, and then as a buyer you would say, ‘if I don’t see those signals I won’t bid on that,’ or it may be a less valuable piece of inventory.”

Suh believes advertisers will have to jump through multiple hoops before programmatic is brought up to speed.

At a glance: GDPR around the world
– 58% of people in the UK and Germany have heard of GDPR, 63% in Sweden

– 93% of consumers in non-EU countries would like at least one of the rules brought about by GDPR to be in effect in their country

– Worldwide, consumers are most comfortable sharing biometric data (fitness trackers as best practice examples for brands)

– Less than one-third of consumers in the UK, Germany and Sweden trust brands to ask their permission before sharing data with third parties

– But 63% of consumers worldwide trust brands more when they are clear about how and where there data is used

– 60% of people worldwide believe that more than half the news they read on social media is fake — this number is highest in India where it rises to 71%

– 43% of people worldwide say their trust in advertising on social media has dropped significantly in the last few months — 43% in the US, 51% in the UK

The most requested changes in data policy
– Australia: 67% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– Singapore: 67% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– Japan: 54% want the right to delete data collected at any time
– India: 63% want the right to ask how their data is being used at any time

Source: campaignasia.com; 24 May 2018

Time Spent with Media, Ad Spending and Trends in China

Consumers in China are known for their digital savviness. For many, digital is their first choice to consume media, with much of that time spent on mobile devices. Content that was previously viewed or read through traditional media is now being consumed via digital and mobile devices.

Much like in the US, digital video is challenging linear TV as the delivery system for entertainment and advertising, and it has given rise to new video categories, including “short-form” video and live streaming.

The trio of digital powerhouses known as “BAT”—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—are leading the advertising market due to the popularity of their digital platforms.

– Ad spending on digital overtook traditional media in 2016. Since then, digital has only grown in its dominance as the preferred channel among advertisers in China. We expect digital ad spending to reach $61.81 billion in 2018, growing at a rate of 25.0% for the year. Digital will capture 64.6% of total media ad spending.

– Over three-quarters of digital ad spending will be allocated to mobile in 2018, with the rest going to desktops/laptops and other nonmobile devices.

– In 2018, Alibaba’s net digital ad revenues in China, derived from its core commerce as well as its video-on-demand (VOD) subsidiary Youku Tudou, will exceed $20 billion. (That’s more than Baidu and Tencent combined, and surpasses traditional TV ad spending for the first time.)

– Of the 6 hours, 23 minutes per day adults in China will spend consuming media this year, 55.5% will go to digital media (including 47.1% to internet-connected activities), followed by 39.8% to TV, 1.6% to print and 3.1% to radio.

– We forecast that slightly over a quarter of digital time will be spent watching video in 2018, rising to almost one-third by 2020.

Source: emarketer.com; 15 May 2018

Devices supporting Google Assistant have more than tripled in last four months

Over 5,000 devices can talk to Google

Google Assistant has had a good few months: Google’s smart assistant is now compatible with more than 5,000 devices, up from the 1,500 it worked with back in January.

According to Google, it’s a list made up of a huge variety of products, including “cameras, dishwashers, doorbells, dryers, lights, plugs, thermostats, security systems, switches, vacuums, washers, fans, locks, sensors, heaters, AC units, air purifiers, refrigerators, and ovens.” It’s a big jump — at least, numerically speaking — and if nothing else, it’s a sign that the full court press that Google started at the beginning of the year with its massive Google Assistant-themed booth at CES is starting to show some results.

Compare that number to Apple’s Homekit, which has just 195 products listed on Apple’s official site of devices that work with the iOS-based smart home system, and it seems like Google is making some serious progress.

But Google still has Amazon to contend with in the smart home assistant space, and it’s still got some catching up to do there: there are currently over 12,000 devices that work with Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

Source: theverge.com; 3 May 2018