Mobile gaming revenues exploding

Games figured heavily in the (official) introduction of the iPhone 4G and according to industry research, it’s easy to see why. A recent Nielsen study found games are the most frequently used apps, ahead of more utilitarian categories such as social networking, news and navigation. Games are also at the top of the entertainment app heap, with more usage than anything having to do with either music or movies. Current projections see global mobile gaming revenues surpassing $5.6 billion in 2010.

Here are a few of the new iPhone’s gaming-relevant updates. A new chipset and the promise of faster processing could improve the speed and graphic quality of games. Promises of better networking speeds could eventually allow better multiplayer or even eventually streaming experiences. A better camera on the back and a new camera on the front might allow iPhone developer to take creative cues from existing game platforms and eventually yield some interesting changes in the way players can control the experience. The new iPhone also has a built-in gyroscope, promising more refined game control. The near-term implications are obvious: better mobile games and competition against the mobile games platforms from Nintendo or Sony. The potential long-term ramifications are far more compelling. Continue reading “Mobile gaming revenues exploding”

Slimmer, cooler, enough to compete with Android?

Steve Jobs officially announced the new iPhone 4 yesterday morning at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. The basic design of the iPhone 4 (read a full review of the iPhone4 handset) was hardly novel due to a leak by technology blog Gizmodo several months ago, but the slick appearance of the iPhone 4 and some steady improvements earned it a round of applause from technology media and blogs at the conference.

While the iPhone 4 still leads the smart phone market in some ways, there was hardly any single killer feature that significantly sets it apart in this fast-paced and rapidly evolving smart phone market. Instead, the iPhone 4 is entering a more homogenous and competitive smart phone market full of competitors eager to challenge its supremacy, an indicator of a new phase of overall growth for the mobile industry. Here are the three things you need to know about the iPhone 4 and its impact on the mobile space:
Continue reading “Slimmer, cooler, enough to compete with Android?”

API driven creativity

There is a new school of advertising creativity that paints with data and sculpts with APIs. Storytellers are learning to apply dynamic personalized data to enhance the narrative itself, not just provide adjacent functionality. API stands for application programming interface. Essentially APIs allow data streams to be shared with external entities. Data is bundled in a way so that that a developer can design a new application that incorporates that information and functionality.

The trick with building an application that relies on someone else’s API is that if the other guy changes the way their API works it can break your application. Facebook app builders have long struggled to stay aligned with how Facebook shares data. For API-enabled digital ads, companies are emerging that can add the layer of functionality and monitor for any changes to the underlying APIs. Examples of ad networks that offer this type of “rich media” are SpongeCell, ClickTurn, and

In an ever more fragmented media world, it is getting harder and harder to deploy a relevant piece of creative to niche audiences. Data feeds are one way to produce a personalized experience without having to actually construct a vast portfolio of creative. Continue reading “API driven creativity”

MySpace’s death rattle?

After five years at the top of the social networking pyramid, MySpace spent the last two years becoming the new Friendster. It’s a tag the company wore happily when it outdid Friendster in 2003, but in 2010 it’s nothing short of a scarlet letter. This week Rupert Murdoch folded Slingshot Labs, MySpace’s technology development arm, in what is the closest News Corp. has come to an admission of social networking “Game Over.”

In all likelihood MySpace will continue to loom in the social networking galaxy for years to come come, shimmering in the distance as a dying white dwarf star that grabs what financial dust it can from the ether. Music lovers might still use the site on occasion to check out new artists, but for the most part any self-respecting teenager will tell you that MySpace is “so 2006.”

So what went wrong?

Here are the three biggest MySpace missteps that newer sites like Facebook and Twitter can avoid: Continue reading “MySpace’s death rattle?”

Google wins big with AdMob ruling

Despite the growing rivalry between Google and Apple, the FTC approval of Google’s AdMob purchase proves the tech giants are indispensable to each other on at least one effort– circumventing antitrust scrutiny. Despite tough talk from members of the FTC in recent months, the commission cited Apple’s recent purchase of Quattro Wireless as proof that Google’s purchase will not harm competition in the growing online ad marketplace.

With mobile phones outnumbering computers by more than 4 to 1 and smart phones upping their IQ and prevalence by the day, mobile marketing is poised to hold huge financial rewards in the coming years. The Admob platform, which was launched in 2006, operates much like’s Google’s existing Content Network– allowing companies to syndicate ads to a large network of mobile publishers. AdMob has already served a host of major clients including Ford, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble and fits seamlessly into the Google world, giving existing clients another major weapon to utilize in ad campaigns. Continue reading “Google wins big with AdMob ruling”

How the iPad is reshaping the Web

iPad continues to create ripples through the mobile, eReader, and online applications worlds. Here are five ways the device is transforming the Web as we know it:

1) Where has all my flash gone?  Or Hello, HTML 5
This is playing out in the press with a great flourish as everyone scrambles to understand apple’s strategy and relationship with Adobe.   85% of the top websites use flash (according to Adobe Labs) so Flash isn’t going to go away but HTML 5 will be a new way to navigate the web and consume applications,  without relying on Java or other plugins.  The very nature of how pages are built and how you navigate the web will be an application metaphor.  And playing off the current popularity of location based services, with HTML5, the browser on any device can detect the user’s geographical location if approved by that user.  This makes it possible for web pages to explore location aware experiences.   And video consumption will also really benefit because you won’t be relying on proprietary plug-ins that are CPU intensive.  And as of this week, Revision 3, a popular broadband TV site, announced it now supports video playback on the Apple iPad, thanks to its foray into HTML5.  You’ll see other major video consumption sites follow suite as the game changes again for video on and offline.  (HTML 5 will also be a player in the set top box world) Continue reading “How the iPad is reshaping the Web”

Five most promising location based campaigns

Propelled by location based technology, mobile advertising is taking leaps forward right now. Projections from Juniper Research anticipate location based mobile marketing will jump to a whopping $12 billion dollars by 2014. Meanwhile, in the past four months the number of location based campaigns pushing the bounds of mobile advertising has grown exponentially. With Facebook’s anticipated release of a place-based functionality and the near hysteria surrounding Foursquare, opportunities continue to grow. Scale is the primary qualifier when it comes to mobile, but it’s not an excuse to avoid experimenting with the channel. Now is the time to gain learnings–from relevant ways to reach a highly targeted audience, to gathering insights and data on your customers.

Here are five promising executions:

Continue reading “Five most promising location based campaigns”

Travelocity: Chatroulette marketing a success

Travelocity made headlines this week when it revealed the metrics of its Chatroulette marketing campaign and declared the site to be a successful platform for reaching consumers. Other early pioneers of Chatroullette ad experimentation include Burger King, which used its King character to give users coupons, and French Connection which actually asked users to prove that they successfully seduced someone on the site to earn store gift certificates.

According to Travelocity, the company received 350,000 impressions and had 400 conversations with potential consumers who chatted with “chat specialists” that use the popular Travelocity gnome mascot as their avatar. During non-business hours the company kept the cameras rolling and left the gnome to his own devices– holding up signs with messages like “Traveling from person to person doesn’t count.” Continue reading “Travelocity: Chatroulette marketing a success”

I Like you. I just don’t Fan you.

Facebook recently unveiled a variety of new features. Among the changes was a subtle but important shift in the way Facebook lets users express their affinity for a brand. Prior to the update, users clicked the “Become a Fan” button in order to connect their Facebook profile to a brand’s page. That button has now been replaced by a “Like” button. Here’s what Facebook says about the change on their consumer-facing information page: “We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.”

If the change from “Fan” to “Like” is intended to make things easier for users, what does the shift mean to brands? Is this an opportunity for deeper or wider engagement? Or is it a harmful modification to the existing system?

Why this matters

Facebook assumes that consumers feel much more comfortable liking a brand than they are declaring themselves brand fanatics. In some ways this goes to the heart of the brand/consumer relationship, which is frequently a tumultuous and uneven affair. Brands hope for long-term consumer commitment. On the other hand, consumers are fickle – “brand loyalty” is more often “brand that I’m loyal to, so long as I’m not swayed toward a competitor’s offering for any one of an almost nearly infinite list of reasons.” Continue reading “I Like you. I just don’t Fan you.”

Why Apple shut down LaLa

In another disappointment for U.S. music fans, Apple announced last week that it would shutter online music service LaLa on May 31st— only months after purchasing the company for over $80 million in December 2009. Started in 2006, the company allows users to create and share music playlists, access music collections from any computer, purchase MP3s, or buy the right to stream songs indefinitely for ten cents. The site gained notable exposure in the music community when taste making blog Pitchfork Media began using LaLa widgets and playlists to accompany it’s music reviews. The announcement leaves room for speculation as to Apple’s motivation and its next move in the music space.

Many predict Apple will use LaLa’s “cloud” technology to launch a music subscription service within the iTunes platform– LaLa, unlike iTunes, stores music on servers which users can access in addition to direct dowloading. In a world of lost iPods and constantly updating technology, that convenience could add substantial value to an already established brand. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Apple will likely start an site this year empowering users to play music without the currently required iTunes software. This would open Apple’s music business to a larger audience and position the company to tap into a growing mobile market. Forrester Research projects that today’s 2.1 million music service subscribes will mushroom to over 5 million by 2014, due in part to an expansion of music streaming on smart phones. Continue reading “Why Apple shut down LaLa”