By The Numbers: Mobile Purchase Habits

As mobile usage continues to rise, mobile spending is correspondingly increasing, growing 42% annually over a four-year period. Therefore, it is important for brands looking to conquer the mobile space to understand how and when average users are making purchases on mobile devices and hopefully discover some behavioral patterns that can help inform brands’ mobile commerce strategy.

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Whether in games, retail, travel or other commerce apps, users are much more likely to make purchases before and after work, according to a study from AppLovin and TUNE. The study found that, on an hourly basis, mobile revenues and usage spikes to a daily high around both 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during weekdays, discrediting the myth of “lunch break shopping”.

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Similarly, on a day-to-day basis, mobile spending peaks over weekends, while Wednesday marks the lowest. Although it is generally established that Mondays are generally the best revenue for online retail, Fridays and Sundays take the top spots for most in-app purchasing and spending.

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It is also important to note that mobile spending revenue pattern doesn’t necessarily correlate to mobile usage. While Wednesdays, the lowest day in terms of revenue, do register the lowest mobile usage of the week, Friday, second slowest day in terms of usage, is also the second highest in terms of revenue.

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Likewise, on an hourly basis, evening is when usage and spending both hit their daily peaks, whereas the morning hours post similar spending but less usage. The bottom line here is mobile commerce is not the same as general ecommerce, and marketers need to find ways to programmatically increase win rates during peak hours and weekends that fit the mobile spending patterns.

All featured charts courtesy of AppLovin Blog.


How The Shifting TV Landscape Caused Mindy’s Cancellation

The TV Upfronts are coming up next week, and reports on the fate of your favorite broadcast TV shows are popping up. The first big surprise cancellation came yesterday when Fox announced that The Mindy Project will not be coming back for a fourth season on the network, making it the first show in seven years to be axed with over 66 episodes under its belt.

Typically, when a network show reaches such numbers, the prospect of lucrative syndication deals would prompt the networks to grant shows with low ratings another season to produce sufficient episodes so as to bulk up its leverage in syndication negotiations. And that’s the way it’s always been done.

But with the recent rise of OTT streaming services disrupting the TV landscape, that rule seems to no longer apply. In this new circumstance, Universal Studios, which produces the show, could easily ship the show off to a streaming service where it can attract a niche audience and cumulate more episode counts, rather than negotiating with Fox to find the show a burn-off time slot for cheap.

And that’s exactly what they are doing – the Mindy Kaling comedy seems to be heading to Hulu, as sources report that the streaming service, partially owned by Fox and NBC Universal, is already in talks to acquire the show for multiple new seasons. If true, Mindy would join high-profile series in development at Hulu as the streaming service bulks up on original content to compete for audience attention.

The Lab has always been fascinated by the shifting landscape of the TV business, and we have been closely following the ongoing trend towards OTT streaming viewing. Come talk to us if you are a media owner or simply want to understand the changing audience behaviors and how to reach the fragmented viewers.

Things We Learned About Apple Watch From The WatchKit

Source: WatchKit – Apple Developer

Yesterday Apple officially released the SDK for Apple Watch to developers, and as a result, some new details of Apple’s first wearable device have emerged:

  • Dependence On iPhones: In Apple’s own words, Watch apps serve to extend iOS ones, partly because Watch apps’ processing power is all coming from the iPhone. That means for now, Apple Watch will require an iPhone at almost all times, save for basics like timer and alarm, in order to function. Native apps are reportedly scheduled for development later next year.
  • Two Screen Sizes: The resolution for The WatchKit revealed Apple Watch will have two screen sizes of the same 4:5 resolution ratio, with the smaller model being 272 x 340 pixels and the larger one 312 x 390 pixels. Reportedly , there could be more Watch sizes coming as well.
  • Touch-free Notifications: There are two types of Apple Watch notifications. The “Short Look”, which features “glanceable” information, is only seen when users raise their wrist. After a while, the notification will automatically change to a “Long Look” mode, which provides more information and is more customizable.
  • Some Limitations: Besides the aforementioned dependency on mobile devices, the WatchKit also revealed several other limitations of Apple Watch, including the lack of support for custom touch gestures and video playbacks. The Map on the wrist will be static and non-interactive, at least for now.

Global Watch: Secrets To Alibaba Record-Smashing Single’s Day Sale

 A new global e-retail record was set on November 11 when Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba finished its annual sale on Single’s Day—a new holiday in China popularized and trademarked by Alibaba to encourage splurging on oneself—with a smashing $9.3 billion (RMB 57.1 billion) in total transaction volume. This astronomical number surpassed the combined $3.7 billion online sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday made from desktops in the U.S. last year, according to comScore.

To achieve such an impressive number, Alibaba tried a couple of new tricks this year. First, it streamlined the purchase experience on smartphones, where 43% of this year’s sales reportedly came from. It also signed special logistics deals with delivery companies to facilitate faster movement of the 200 million orders generated on that day.

Alibaba also successfully connected Chinese consumers with international brands and online retailers: more than 200 merchants from over 20 countries participated with special discounts, including Muji, Desigual, and The North Face. Chinese shoppers bought overseas deals not just though Alibaba’s own retail sites, such as Taobao and Tmall, but also from overseas retailers’ official websites with Alipay, thanks to its newly-launched EPass program.

Considering the 60% increase from last year’s sales, Alibaba’s strategy of turning a silly, unofficial holiday into a national shopping frenzy provides a shining example for retailers worldwide.

We Tried The Taylor Swift Experience (And We Liked It)

Despite her very public break up with Spotify last week, it looks like Taylor Swift is not exactly done with new digital media yet. Accompanying her new single “Blank Space”, America’s No.1 ex-girlfriend has teamed up with RadicalMedia and American Express and released a free app that promises fans the ultimate “Taylor Swift Experience”. In an effort to connect with today’s Gen Z audience, we downloaded it, tried it, and surprise—we totally enjoyed it.

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A neat gamification of the single’s music video, the main “experience” of the app is a 360-degree interactive adventure through the lavish Oheka Castle, where the video was shot. You can either take a fly-on-the-wall approach to follow Taylor around and watch her overdramatically break up with her beau, or you can leave the drama behind and explore the seven different rooms featured in the video at will by moving your device around. The experience is entirely scored with the new single and therefore limited to the song’s length each time.

Tay Cat

To encourage repeat gameplay, a total of 41 Easter egg-style “collectables”—namely, close-up pictures of the props featured in the video—are scattered throughout the various space and up for grabs. (During first play, we stumbled upon a cute photo of Taylor Swift’s cat Olivia Benson in the background.) Unsurprisingly, the app also features upcoming tour dates, a link to watch the music video on YouTube, links to purchase her new album, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a bit of information about American Express as well.

As content creators become more familiar with new immersive technology, short-form media like music videos could become a great ground for testing how narratives work in new virtual environments.

All images featured are screenshots from the app.

By The Numbers: The Imminent Future Of OTT Market

With the rapid rise of content-streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, terms like “cord-cutting” and “over-the-top (OTT) services” have also entered our lexicon. But how far will those new OTT services go in transforming the way we consume media content? Let’s look at two telling graphics from our recently published white paper on the OTT market.

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As the chart indicates, connected platforms supporting OTT services are clearly forecasted to increase. “Smart” connect TVs, in particular, will see significant adoption in the next few years, thanks to the increasingly common partnerships between television manufacturers and streaming device makers like Roku.

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The proliferation of OTT platforms and services means a gradual decrease in the number of total traditional multichannel subscribers, with 2014 potentially being the tipping point. If these predications stand, the industry would soon be feeling the huge impact of OTT companies.

For more in-depth analysis and insight on the OTT market, download our white paper here.

How Macy’s Is Making Personalized Shopping Convenient Across Platforms

With the rise of ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing increasing challenges from the digital stores. But national chain store Macy’s is staying ahead of the market with two power moves that make shopping more personalized and convenient for its customers across platforms.

The first step it took was embracing beacon technology. Macy’s announced that it is expanding the use of Shopkick-powered iBeacons to all of its stores nationwide over the next 2 months, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. When completed, it will be the largest beacon installation in retail history, and provide Macy’s customers with highly personalized, interactive retail experiences.

Furthermore, the retail mainstay announced plans to offer same-day delivery service later this fall, effectively eliminating one key advantage of its digital retail competitors. Online shoppers in eight selected markets would soon have a consistent and convenient cross-platform shopping experience, whether on the web stores or mobile apps of Macy’s and its upscale subsidiary Bloomingdale’s.

As we pointed out in our recent POV on multi-platform shopping, successful retailers integrate points of sale to create a consistent customer experience, which is exactly what Macy’s is trying to achieve here. By embracing the beacon technology and on-demand economy, the 156-year-old retailer shows its strength in adapting to the changing market.

By The Numbers: Phablets On The Rise

With the announcement of 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus yesterday, Apple is officially jumping on the bandwagon of “phablets”—phones with big, tablet-like screen—after years of resistance. Why the change? Because the tide has changed and phablets have gained considerable momentum in popularity, as the following infographics from Flurry illustrate.

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Android phone-makers such as Samsung and HTC have led the movement towards bigger screens. There is little doubt that the phablets’ 11% annual increase among all Android devices signals growing consumer demand for larger phones.

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Furthermore, in the past year the phablets have almost quadrupled their share of app sessions, an indicator of actual device usage that are crucial to app developers and mobile marketers.

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Looking deeper into the behavior data of the phablet users reveals that they are more likely to fall into the affluent and influential demo that brands covet. Now with Apple finally on board, we can only expect this trend to continue.


“Hearable” Is The New Wearable

When it comes to smartwatches or fitness bands, the wrist is the focus of the current wave of wearable technology. But wireless smart-earbuds, also fashionably dubbed “hearables”, might just be the piece that truly mainstreams wearables. From Samsung’s necklace-like Gear Circle to Motorola’s new micro-headset The Hint, more and more tech companies are coming out with their own hearables that sit in your ears, freeing up your hands and eyes.

The prerequisite technology for mature hearables—voice command, wireless connection, and cloud processing—already exist, while obstacles like including battery life, connectivity, and faster cloud processing are being tackle by industry leaders. Intel has plans to develop a voice recognition that uses offline possessing for faster responses. Google, meanwhile, has been working on its voice control for years as part of its Google Now interface, and is allegedly grooming it to be featured on its wearbles.

By utilizing the oft-ignored auditory sense and eliminating screens that require constant visual attention, hearables are convenient, unobtrusive, and most importantly, intuitive—all invaluable qualities that make them easily adoptable. With the worth of hearables market predicted at over $5 billion by 2018, these smart-earbuds are set to take over as a key part of wearable tech.

By The Numbers: Digital Privacy Concerns

As more companies collect personal data, the potential for leaks and scandals has dramatically increased, along with consumers’ concerns about misuse: according to a research conducted by Temkin Group, nearly 75% of the respondents were worried about their personal information, a figure that has steadily risen over the past 3 years.

privacy concern breakdown

Different digital platforms, however, encourage varying degrees of trust, as a study by Harris Interactive reveals. A majority (66%) of the survey participants expressed concern for privacy on social media sites—the least trusted channel overall, followed by email and web browsing.

privacy concern by platform

Distrust of social media sites in particular varies between generations. Younger users (those below 35) are more trusting, with only 12% saying they don’t trust such sites. Generally, skepticism increases with age, with one-third of Internet users aged 55 to 64 reporting distrust.


Clearly, digital privacy will continue to be a hot-button issue, so successful brands must carefully respond to consumers’ concerns and take appropriate steps to protect their data.