Half of All US Adults Turn to Mobile for Local News

Mobile is the place for local news according to a freshly published survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Nearly half (47%) of all US adults surveyed admit to accessing local news and information on either their mobile phone or tablet computer. “One of the newest forms of on-the-go local news consumption, mobile applications, are just beginning to take hold among mobile device owners,” the report finds.

The most sought-after material was local weather. About 4 in 10 mobile phone and tablet owners (42%) use their mobile device to access local weather information. “That represents 36% of all American adults,” the Pew report says.

The next biggest category among cellphone and tablet owners was information on restaurants or other local businesses (37%). General local news came next (30%), followed by other news such as up-to-the minute information of local sports scores (24%) and the latest local traffic and transportation (22%).

Other interesting findings include:

35% of mobile local news consumers feel they can have a big impact on their community
65% feel it is easier today than five years ago to keep up with information about their community
51% use six or more different sources or platforms monthly to get local news and information
75% use social network sites
15% use Twitter
For more information about the Pew Internet & American Life Project or to read the full report, click here.

The Kno Tablet

Changing Education Forever from Kno Tablet on Vimeo.

Top 10 Mobile Trends of 2010: Highlights from comScore’s Mobile Year in Review

Below is a summary of what we see as the top ten overarching mobile trends of 2010:

  1. Phones Keep Getting ‘Smarter’: Smartphone adoption continues to increase across the U.S. and Europe, with most markets surpassing 25-30% market penetration for smartphones. The proliferation of new devices hitting the market in 2010 – including the iPhone 4, Blackberry Storm 2, and Motorola Droid X – has given consumers strong smartphone options across wireless carriers that is helping this segment of the market gain traction.
  2. iPhone Dominates Device Sales: The top two devices sold in 2010 in both the U.S. and EU5 were the iPhone 3GS and iPhone4, respectively. The #3 device in the U.S. was the Blackberry Curve, while the #3 device in the EU5 was the Nokia 5800 – XpressMusic.
  3. Android Storms Smartphone Market: 2010 saw Google’s Android platform grab hold in the mobile marketplace in a big way. In the U.S. alone, Android’s share of the smartphone market jumped from 5% to 29% in just one year, and it leapfrogged Apple to become the #2 smartphone platform after RIM. The number of different smartphones running Android certainly helped accelerate this trend, as did the desire for many consumers on Verizon to opt for a smartphone with a strong app economy.
  4. The App Ecosystem Blossoms: iPhone paved the way for the app ecosystem to emerge as developers create new and interesting apps for consumers every day. While most early apps were developed primarily for the iPhone, we are now seeing vibrant app ecosystems for Android, Blackberry and others.
  5. Email Shifts to the Mobile Phone: 2010 saw usage of PC-based email decline, particularly among teenagers, and it appears that much of that email activity is moving to people’s mobile devices. While Blackberry was once in a league of its own in terms of email functionality, many other devices have since caught up, and consumers are responding. Email now exists across media and mobile devices will continue to be a growing part of that trend.
  6. Location is Everything: Location-based check-in services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places all entered the digital lexicon in 2010 and have begun to gain consumer adoption. Other GPS-enabled apps like Google Maps and Garmin have also proved to be among the most popular and widely downloaded.
  7. Social Owns Mobile: Social media is one of the most prevalent and fastest-growing activities on the mobile phone. In the U.S. the number of mobile social media users grew 56% to lead all content categories, and in the UK Facebook accounts for 40% of all time spent on mobile sites.
  8. Mobile Commerce Readies for Lift-off: Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, has yet to gain traction in a significant way, but as smartphone adoption accelerates, technology has begun to facilitate mobile transactions. The next phase in m-commerce will be the emergence of the “mobile wallet” with direct payments coming from the mobile device, with Starbucks leading the way among merchants in installing the technology for such payments.
  9. iPad Redefines the Mobile Landscape: Apple’s blockbuster launch of the iPad in early 2010 set the stage for a completely new category of device to emerge, as several other tablets and e-readers hit the market by the end of the year. As a reasonably sophisticated computing device that is also mobile, the iPad has given new definition to the types of behaviors in which consumers will engage in the mobile environment. The iPad is also causing time-shifting in how and when consumers engage with content, with the iPad showing a high percentage of activity late at night as people wind down for the evening.
  10. Mobile Advertising Market Takes Shape: As mobile media consumption increases, it was only a matter of time before the mobile advertising boom began to take shape. Apple got into the act with the introduction of the iAd, which has already attracted many of the top brand advertisers like AT&T, Citi and Disney. Expect to see more and better quality ad units alongside mobile media content in 2011.

You can see from this selection of highlights that 2010 was another outstanding year, and this year promises to shine even brighter. If you haven’t already downloaded the 2010 Mobile Year in Review, you can do so here. We hope you enjoy and that it gives you a few things to think about on your way to success in 2011…

Search Revenue Disproportionate to Activity

from Laurie Sullivan, Monday, January 3, 2011, 4:23 PM

The explosion of content geared toward a variety of computer, cloud and mobile devices will continue to drive search marketing budgets and strategies. Welcome to 2011 and a new year of Search Marketing Daily.

As J.P. Morgan Analyst Imran Khan points out in a report, Nothing But Net, released Monday, the cost of content creation and distribution continues to decline, providing opportunities for businesses. To survive, however, I believe traditional media companies will need to tap resources from Google and other search and tech companies to address their inability to fulfill consumer demand. These are the same media companies that threatened to put up pay walls and shut out search engines in 2010.

As time on the Net continues to grow, online publishers will experience stronger advertising sales. J.P. Morgan estimates global paid search revenue to grow at a 17% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next four years and global graphical advertising to grow at a four-year CAGR of 11%. Overall, the forecast for global online advertising should reach about $105 billion by 2014.

Some of that growth this year will come from the emergence of tablets, I believe. This year I suspect AT&T, Verizon and others will finally create and standardize affordable pay as you go Internet services. The tablet will create new opportunities for advertisers targeting consumers who don’t want to download movies or content to read or watch on small devices such as Apple iPod or Google smartphones powered by Android. An online ad game changes begin talked about this morning across the Internet include a Google digital newsstand, a move that in my opinion would have far more reaching positive implications for newspaper and magazine industries in terms of local advertising than some might realize.

Mark Moskowitz, J.P. Morgan’s hardware analyst, estimates 46 million tablets sold in 2011. The investment firm cautions against failure to understand the mobile audience. In the report, Khan explains the dangers for content aggregators, publishers and advertisers.

Mobile search is one of the Top 10 innovations Khan will continue to watch in 2011. He calls monetization of mobile searches a critical factor for Google’s growth. J.P. Morgan estimates Google generates about 15% of its query volume from mobile devices, yet mobile searches contribute just 3% of revenue.

Will Google Android take the tablet market? In the electronics industry, typically the first to market wins. While Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab led, a tablet the size of Kindle or Nook provides consumers with a portable device, and more space to browse, compared with mobile phones. So, the Via Tablet running Android from Visio shouldn’t come as a surprise. Expect Visio to unveil the device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. It will sport an 8-inch, high-resolution screen; WiFi wireless connectivity; three speakers; and a front-facing camera for video conferencing. CES watchers also expect Lenovo to launch tablets.

Google’s attempt might work to get back in the good graces of publishers like Time Warner and Conde Nast and Hearst by agreeing to take a smaller slice on any sales made from Android apps, at least smaller than the 30% cut Apple typically takes on iTunes sales. The idea might work not only to increase readership, but also local display and search marketing ads lumped in with mobile.

Besides, the app and the ad markets for tablets are much bigger than newsstands. Scholastic Media debuted Monday under the new brand Touch & Tilt its first children’s storybook apps designed for the iPad. The apps feature animated interaction to engage children with the story, ability to touch the words to hear the story, and music and sound effects.

A new report from research and advisory firm Forrester Research Inc. says mobile marketing investments will surpass $1 billion this year as marketers begin to see returns on their investments from consumers buying more via mobile.

The report, “Mobile Trends 2011,” also predicts mobile will combine with social and local services through programs like Facebook Places to gain significant traction over standalone location-based services. However, it says that ad revenue from such services will be cut short because of privacy concerns.

The report, written by Forrester analysts Thomas Husson and Julie Ask, also predicts companies planning to reach large audiences via mobile apps will continue to face a fragmented market with a wide variety of mobile devices, operating systems and screen sizes.

The report also forecasts:

  • The term mobile will mean a lot more than mobile phones. Tablets such as Apple Inc.’s iPad will emerge as a category of their own in the years to come. However, the report says only mobile phones will sell in the hundreds of millions and are truly “pocketable,” providing anywhere/anytime connectivity.
  • 2011 will be the year of “the dumb smartphone user.” Because of deep discounts, smartphones will be available to the masses. That, Forrester says, means new smartphone owners will be less engaged and active than earlier Android and iPhone owners. However, thanks to customer education and the convenience that such sophisticated devices offer, even so-called “dumb smartphone users” will consume massive amounts of mobile media and data.
  • NFC, augmented reality and Quick Response, or QR, two-dimensional bar codes will finally reach their tipping points. Technologies such as QR codes and mobile augmented reality, which uses the capabilities of a mobile phone to enhance a presentation, such as using the smartphone’s GPS to identify a consumer’s location and then displaying through the device’s camera view a coupon to a nearby store, are already helping bridge the real and digital worlds via mobile devices, Forrester says. And the report predicts 2011 will finally be the year that Near Field Communication (NFC) begins to matter for mobile. The market will start to move away from the pilot stage in regions where NFC infrastructure is in place, Forrester says. “There is already quite a bit of this happening in Japan,” says Ask. “More of it will occur with education with consumers in the U.S. and Europe. We’re at the very, very beginning of consumers beginning to understand these use cases with their customers.” NFC is a technology that enables phones (or other items, such as credit cards) to interact with objects—such as posters and payment terminals—over a distance of a few inches.

Several media outlets last week reported that Apple is working on adding NFC mobile payment capabilities to the forthcoming iPhone 5. Companies such as Isis have launched over the past year aiming to enable shoppers to use NFC technology to pay with their phones in stores. Isis is backed by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, which together provide wireless services to more than 200 million U.S. consumers.

H.P. Introduces a Tablet and New Phones

Why this is important: By the end of 2011, an estimated 10 tablets will be on the market. HP will have to convince consumers that the Touchpad is the tablet for the business class. Simultaneously,  they will have to convince developers that WebOS is worth developing for. Currently, about 5% of developers worldwide develop for the WebOS platform.

Hewlett-Packard wants to get back into the business of selling phones.

Almost a year after buying Palm and nearly two years since Palm introduced its last product, H.P. announced Wednesday in San Francisco that it would make a tablet computer, the Touchpad, running on the webOS operating system.

It looks like an iPad. But it is lighter, weighing 1 1/2 pounds, and has a 9.7-inch screen. Running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the device’s selling point will be its ability to multitask quickly.

It will support virtual private networks for corporate users and enables video conferencing.

The device will be available later this summer, the company said, with Wi-Fi. Devices for 3G and 4G phone networks will come later.

The company also introduced the Veer, a small phone — the dimensions of a credit card — with a slide-out keyboard. It also operates as a hotspot device. It will be available in the spring.

And the company introduced the Pre 3, an iPhone lookalike for the business market. It also has a slide-out keyboard, and will be available in the summer.

H.P. has created an updated operating system for mobile devices, webOS 2.1.

The software is currently available on five devices,  including the Pre 2 for Verizon, which is going on sale on Thursday. That’s the same day Verizon will begin selling the long-awaited Apple iPhone, so the Pre is not going to get a lot of attention.

No exact dates of release for most of the products. And no prices were mentioned.

Jon Rubinstein, H.P.’s senior vice president and the former chief executive of Palm, spent a lot of time at the two-hour product introduction talking about the software. As the devices become similar — a big screen in a small frame — the companies have to differentiate on the software and how well it is integrated.

It also has to get developers to build apps and games for it. With a tiny installed base of Pre phones, H.P. devices aren’t very appealing. But the company said it would also place webOS on PCs, which because H.P. sells 120 PCs a minute, suddenly the installed base of webOS devices is immense.

In a demonstration, H.P. showed how the OS is a gaming platform, integrates social media alerts and messaging throughout the platform’s apps.

It will have a Kindle app, but the company only showed magazines from Time Inc.

Q4 2010 Mobile Video Ad Report

Rhythm releases metrics every quarter to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your mobile video ad campaigns and to learn best practices. The report for Q4 2010 covers over 535 million average monthly content views in the US only across iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and other mobile devices.

Key findings for Q4 2010 include:

  • Mobile video ads go mainstream: Over 70 Fortune 500 brands ran campaigns on Rhythm’s network in Q4 alone. Over 200 Fortune 500 brands ran in 2010.
  • Apps dominate mobile web for premium video: Video views per unique user are moer than five times higher in apps than on the mobile web.
  • Mobile video retention rate superior to online video:Viewer retention rate after 60 seconds was 81% on Rhythm’s network vs. 55% online.
  • Ad completion rates exceed online and TV: Completion rates for interactive pre-roll video ads remain high at 88%, exceeding online video and TV.
  • iPad CTRs highest: iPad CTRs for pre-roll video ads are higher vs. iPhone, iPod Touch and Android.
  • Action words drive high CTRs: CTRs are 67% higher on display ads that include written actionable words like “Tap to video.”
  • Auto & Telecom top two categories: Other categories in order for Q4 were CPG, Travel, Entertainment, Retail, CE, Finance/Insurance, Govt/Edu, Beer/Spirits/Wine.

Mobile commerce sees 86% annual growth: study

Dan Butcher, Mobile Marketer January 25 2011

Of the seven most common business models that brands, retailers, publishers and developers use to monetize applications, mobile commerce showed the most gains year over year, according to a study by Appcelerator and IDC.

Mobile commerce showed 86 percent year-over-year growth, the biggest jump out of the seven monetization tactics that survey respondents were asked about—a strong vote of confidence in mobile commerce as a viable long-term business model. Appcelerator and IDC also found that PayPal scored the top spot among in-application payment platforms.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Scott Schwarzhoff, vice president of marketing at Appcelerator, Mountain View, CA. Here is what he had to say:

What are some of the key takeaways from the survey related to mobile marketing and advertising?
There is a movement away from “brand affinity” applications that do little more than provide free infotainment content and toward a utility model that rewards repeat engagement and ongoing connection with the brand.

Social, location and cloud-connectivity are driving this shift.

Last year, 64 percent of respondents said they connected their applications to the cloud, while this year that number jumps to 87 percent.

Similarly, 78 percent of respondents say they are now using location in their applications and 75 percent said Facebook will be in their apps this year.

Location sets context to understand when and where cloud-based services should be delivered, and omnipresent social connectivity encourages adoption that would otherwise be lost from discoverability issues in app stores.

As applications become increasingly usage-based, the business models underlying them change as well.

We polled respondents on seven business models in use today, and the three models that showed the most gains were mobile commerce (86 percent year-over-year growth), advertising (59 percent growth), and in-application purchases (56 percent growth).

The slowest-growing business model?  Free “brand loyalty and engagement” applications.

What are the key takeaways related to mobile commerce and payments?
As applications move from an upfront content-based model to an ongoing usage-based model, mobile commerce and payments dramatically increase in their importance.

We found several interesting findings in this area: PayPal (53 percent of respondents) leads Apple iOS (52 percent) as the number-one preferred method of payment in applications.

This is driven by the increase in importance of monetization of Android applications and PayPal’s focus on sophisticated micropayment capabilities such as split payments, chain payments and an overall robust payment SDK.

PayPal and iOS in-application payments lead AdMob and iAd in terms of interest.

We find this to be a strong vote of confidence in mobile commerce as a viable long-term business model.

Appcelerator and IDC also developed a three-tier “Mobile Maturity Model” that separates brands and businesses into three adoption phases: exploration, acceleration and innovation.

The major criteria for the innovation phase is providing transactions in an application.

When asked which phase they were in, innovation jumped from 9 percent to 20 percent of respondents.

To us, this indicates that mobile payments are increasingly being considered as a major source of monetization opportunity for developers and businesses large and small.

Which smartphone/tablet platforms/operating systems have the best prospects for dominating the connected devices OS market?
Increasingly, the question of which platforms dominate the connected device OS market, for example, iOS and Android, is shifting to a more problematic issue of prioritization.

Now, the question we hear repeatedly is, “After iPhone, do I go Android or iPad?”

Appcelerator’s and IDC’s recommendation? For pure market share, go Android. For enhancing the experience, go iPad.

However, this picture is about to become even more unclear as the 85 tablets announced at CES hit the scene in late 2011.

Now, more than ever, businesses and brands need to consider a flexible mobile application strategy that can stand up to the massive amount of innovation that is occurring in devices, capabilities, operating systems and application business models.

What is the outlook for the mobile space in 2011?
Going back to our Mobile Maturity Model, this is the year of acceleration.

In 2010, 66 percent of respondents said they were either just getting started or in the exploration phase of mobile adoption.

A simple application, typically on just the iPhone, lobbed into the App Store for branding purposes is no longer viable.

This year, 75 percent of respondents said they are either in the acceleration or innovation phase—only 25 percent remain in the exploration stage of just getting started.

Advanced phases are defined by multiple applications (the average number of applications is increasing from 2.3 to 6.5 this year), multiple devices (doubling from two to four in 2011) and engagement (social, location and the cloud define the new application experience).

What advice can you give to brands, publishers and merchants/retailers based on the findings of the study?
The need to define a mobile application strategy now is critical. There are simply too many new capabilities, operating systems and devices coming into the market to look at each independently.

Instead, a business needs to assess their strategy from four different perspectives:

No. 1, platforms: “I need my iPhone app” was a common phrase in 2010. No more. Cross-platform is mandatory, as is deploying to multiple form factors, including tablets.

No. 2, customer experience: We are shifting away from simple content-based applications that inform or entertain to more complex and engaging applications that make use of location, social and cloud services to transactional applications such as mobile commerce.

As the customer experience evolves, so do the opportunities to transform the relationship between brands, publishers, merchants/retailers and customers.

No. 3, people: There is an increasing shift from outsourcing to in-house development.

What starts as a tactical out-sourcing of development “to get an application done fast” quickly turns into a more strategic discussion around competitive advantage, control over a sustainable long-term mobile strategy that is well integrated with an online strategy and rapid time-to-market considerations.

No. 4, technology: In order to meet the demand for more applications, new devices, frequent updates and deeper customer engagement, a business needs to drive down costs, time-to-market and complexity by developing and leveraging reusable components.

For example, a media company needs to consider how to plug into its content library, backend analytics, video streaming, social connectivity, location-based notifications and advertising systems in every application it produces.

This enormously challenging exercise becomes exponentially harder and more complex for every new application and platform.

Ultimately, this results in the need for a cross-platform, fully integrated mobile architecture that spans a company’s entire application portfolio.

Appcelerator and IDC believe it is critical to have a long-term yet flexible mobile strategy in place to deal with the explosion of opportunity that mobile offers.

The four perspectives described above provide a foundation upon which a business can begin planning a well-constructed mobile architecture that stands the test of time.