Archive for August, 2014
So we know that Twitch’s online broadcasts trump those of WWE and traditional sports, but how does it stack up against cable networks like CNN? According to the New York Times, the game-streaming giant’s peak viewership numbers have surpassed the average prime-time viewers for Headline News, CNN, E!, MSNBC and TruTV since this January. At its best, Twitch had over 720,000 viewers in July alone, but as the NYT points out, it’s still pretty far behind the likes of Netflix and YouTube when it comes to total hours-viewed per month. It’s all pretty fascinating stuff, and there are even breakdowns for what competitive gaming tournament broadcasts are getting the most eyes, too. Spoiler: for this month it’s Riot Games’ League of Legends. Considering that we’ve seen Twitch expanding into more than just gaming broadcasts recently (hosting concerts and even entire conventions) it’s pretty likely that the outfit’s numbers will only continue to climb. Surely Jeff Bezos wouldn’t mind.
Source: New York Times
Alibaba is expected to IPO in September and a new financial report from the company reveals that the Chinese e-commerce giant continues to grow at a blistering pace. The company’s growth pattern, and its recent entrance into the U.S. market, makes Alibaba a serious threat to e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay.
Alibaba is growing ~50% annually in volume terms.
The gross merchandise volume (GMV) — or, the value of all merchandise — sold on Alibaba’s e-commerce sites reached $248 billion in 2013, 52% more than it sold in 2012.
GMV in the second quarter of 2014 was $82 billion, which is 45% more than the same quarter last year.
Alibaba sells 4X as much stuff in dollar terms as eBay does, and it’s growing much faster.
It’s useful to compare Alibaba and eBay because they are both marketplace businesses — meaning they don’t actually own the merchandise they sell. Rather, retailers, merchants, and consumers use their sites to sell directly to consumers.
Alibaba owns two main e-commerce sites.
- Tmall, an Alibaba site where retailers sell directly to consumers, grew 81% year-over-year in the second quarter.
- Taobao, where consumers sell to other consumers, grew 33% year-over-year and still accounts for the majority of sales via Alibaba.
Mobile commerce is driving an increasing share of Alibaba’s business.
One in three dollars that flowed through Alibaba’s e-commerce sites came from mobile shoppers last quarter, up from 12% one year earlier.
For context, 30% of eBay’s GMV comes from mobile.
More than a quarter billion people bought something through Alibaba in the second quarter.
Alibaba’s customer base is already far larger than eBay’s, and it’s growing much faster.
Alibaba is still very dependent on Chinese shoppers.
Less than 1 in 10 revenue dollars from Alibaba’s e-commerce sites come from customers outside China. However, with the recent launch of its U.S. site 11Main.com, that could soon change. For comparison, almost 40% of Amazon’s revenues come from outside North America.
At $600 billion a year in sales, food and beverage is by far the largest retail category in the U.S. by a wide margin. However, it’s also the category that has been the least disrupted by e-commerce; less than 1% of food and beverage sales currently occur online, according to BI Intelligence’s estimates.
But shopping habits are changing, and niche online grocery services that compete on convenience and selection are gaining traction. Meanwhile tech giants like Amazon are fronting the cost of expensive delivery infrastructure that has so far held back grocery e-commerce.
In a new in-depth report, BI Intelligence looks at why the grocery business has proved so challenging to e-commerce companies — from consumer reluctance to complicated and expensive logistics — and what new strategies e-commerce startups and big-name tech companies are pursuing to push more grocery sales online. Between 2013 and 2018, online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1%, reaching nearly $18 billion by the end of the forecast period. For comparison, offline grocery sales will rise by 3.1% annually during the same period.
Here are some of the key findings explored in the report:
- There are a number of disadvantages to buying groceries online on both the consumer and business side, such as the cost and complexity of logistics, shipping fees, and the quality and freshness of orders. For online grocers to deliver the freshness consumers want, they have to be able to deliver orders fast while maintaining the quality of easily damaged foods like produce.
- But there are still some advantages to online grocery shopping, in particular convenience and a large selection of products. Only 15% of U.S. adults have purchased general food items online, but 25% said they have bought specialty food and beverages online, which are hard to find elsewhere.
- New startups that focus on concierge shopping and subscription prepared meals are innovating on the online grocery model and offering services that really are differentiated from traditional supermarket shopping. We believe these services could change the way people shop for food. In addition, established online grocers have an opportunity in enterprise grocery sales, which lowers costs through bulk purchases.
- Some of the biggest names in tech — Amazon, eBay, and Google — are beginning to offer and promote same-day delivery services. As consumers get used to the convenience of ordering something online and receiving it the same day, grocery e-commerce may benefit too, with people more likely to buy food they know they will get quickly. While same-day delivery comes with a big price tag, 25% of millennials said they would pay a premium for same-day delivery.
North American digital marketing decision-makers are more focused on winning new customers than they are on retaining existing ones, according to [download page] a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Interestingly, few identified the orchestration of personalized customer experiences across multiple digital touch points to be a top-3 goal. › Continue reading
Source: MAGNA GLOBAL
Notes: US ad revenues are expected to increase by 3.5% next year, with the 4.9% normalized growth rate excluding the effects of Political & Olympic (P&O) spending being the fastest rate of growth since 2005. That would bring core media advertising revenues to $172 billion, a new peak. Digital media ad sales are predicted to grow by 15.7%, fueled by social media (+32%) and video (+31%). Meanwhile, this year’s ad revenue growth forecast has been downgraded from the prior forecast of 6% to 5.1%, due in part to macro-economic conditions and to lower incremental P&O spending estimates.
David Daneshgar, a world-famous poker player, was attending the University of Chicago’s business school when Farbod Shoraka, a friend from Daneshgar’s undergrad years at Berkeley, reached out to him.
Shoraka’s aunt was a florist in Irvine, California, and had been telling Shoraka how services like Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers were hurting her local business. The two friends had used those companies to send flowers before, and were always disappointed with the results.
“The photos online didn’t match up with what was delivered,” Daneshgar said. “And so we noticed in that moment there was a huge disconnect.”
Companies like 1-800-Flowers and Teleflora are wire services, not flower specialists like local florists. This might not make any difference to customers at first, but it’s an important distinction.
When someone orders flowers from a wire service, they order a stock photo of a bouquet. The order then gets sent to a local florist who fills the order. But florists have a hard time making money; wire services eat up to 50% of the profits. So for every $60 bouquet you order, a florist only gets $30. The florists have to do their own deliveries for wire service orders, too.
“The florists say the same thing every time: ‘if a consumer just came to me directly and found me or called me they would get much better flowers.’ They would be a customer and not an order,” Daneshgar told Business Insider. “When you’re a florist and you’re getting that 50%, even if you’re doing an amazing job, the customer’s just going to go back to 1-800-Flowers and they’ll route it to any florist. There’s no retention. The florist doesn’t have the incentive. “&n! bsp;
When Daneshgar and Shoraka noticed this, it was around the same time they saw the prevalence of Etsy.
“We thought, ‘why isn’t there an Etsy for flowers?” Daneshgar said. “Why isn’t there a place where the florists can come together, put their own prices, make their own deliveries?'”
While Daneshgar’s classmates were going to Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs for internships between their first and second years of business school, Daneshgar, now-BloomNation CEO Shoraka, and Gregg Weisstein, BloomNation’s COO, decided to walk into a hundred different flower shops and ask what the florists there wanted.
“When they realized what we were doing, the conversation would turn into two and a half hours. They’d make us tea, they’d vent,” Daneshgar said. “And they’d tell us what they wanted. But they’re florists, so they could never build it. They need a group of tech savvy nerds, and that’s where we came in.”
Enter BloomNation.com, a marketplace that florists around the U.S. can join for free. Florists can upload pictures of their own products — no longer having to rely on wire services’ stock photos — and name them, too. They could also control their own inventories, so if peonies are out of stock, they can disable that option from showing.
The three entrepreneurs initially obtained BloomNation’s seed funding through an epic poker game.
The arrangements on BloomNation stay away from cliché floral designs featured on many wire services, and allow florists to create one-of-a-kind arrangements. You can type in exactly what kind of flowers you’re looking for in a specific ZIP code, and BloomNation will show yo! u the fl orist who does it, and where they’re located. It’ll even show you how much time you have left to order from that florist before they stop offering same-day delivery.
One of the most interesting parts of BloomNation is the connection it offers between you and the person you’re ordering your flowers from. The florist now has an app on their phone, and they can take a picture of your flowers — a “BloomSnap” — and send it out to you as it’s being designed. If you have any problems with the arrangement, you can communicate it to them directly — no more disappointing flower arrangements.
And when the florist hand-delivers the flowers you’ve ordered, they’ll notify you, so there’s no more anxiety over when or if your recipient got the bouquet.
“Florists are kind of lost,” Daneshgar said. “Their websites suck, they don’t know how to do social media, they’re writing down orders with pen and paper.”
BloomNation offers a cloud-based system for its florists, allowing them to have their websites powered by BloomNation for no extra cost. BloomNation is also the only flower website to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.
The flower delivery startup has raised a $1.65 million round from investors Spark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Chicago Ventures, Mucker Capital, and CrunchFund.
The startup is looking to raise more money within the next couple months and plans to expand its team of 14 employees to 40 within the next year, Daneshgar told Business Insider. When BloomNation inevitably outgrows its current office in Santa Monica, Daneshgar says its new office will have — what else? — a poker room.
Automated ad buying and selling tools are increasingly driving digital ad sales in the U.S. That means less human-mediated, manual sales, and more opportunities for ad tech specialists to gain a share of ad spend.
A new report from BI Intelligence finds that real-time bidding (RTB), a key piece of the programmatic ecosystem, will account for over 33% of U.S. digital ad sales, or $18.2 billion in 2018, up from just $3.1 billion in 2013.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- Programmatic and real-time bidding (RTB) ad spend is growing fast. RTB will account for over $18.2 billion or 33% of U.S. digital ad sales in 2018, up from just $3.1 billion in 2013, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 42%. Programmatic will be 50% in 2018.
- Mobile and video ads will be a major driver of this growth, with RTB sales for these formats topping $6.8 billion and $3.9 billion in 2018, respectively.
A number of companies are already cashing in on the growing programmatic market. Top programmatic ad companies include Criteo, Rocket Fuel, the Rubicon Project, and AOL. These four companies pulled in more than $1.5 billion in combined global ad revenue in 2013, accounting for more than one-tenth of global programmatic ad dollars.
- Prices for programmatic ads are increasing for almost all ad types, as demand outpaces supply. The effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPM) for social ads was up by 64% between January through April 2014, compared to the same time period one year earlier, according to Turn.
- There are still a number of barriers to adoption. Top barriers include brand worries that they will lose control over where their ads will appear, internal resistance at ad agencies, and lack of transparency in the industry over methods and results.
Google is reportedly planning to release two new smartphones this year, one with a 5.9-inch screen and another with a 5.2-inch display, according to Phone Arena’s Michael Heller.
Rumors about Google’s next smartphone have been circulating the Web for months.
We first heard that Google is planning to launch a giant phablet-sized Nexus phone back in July, when Android Police said the device would debut in November. The phone was believed to be a joint effort between Google and Motorola, but Android Police’s report suggests it will launch under Google’s Nexus brand.
At the same time, Motorola has been rumored to be working on two new smartphones — its flagship successor to the Moto X known as the Moto X+1, and a separate device called the Moto S.
Motorola is believed to be testing two different model sizes for this Moto S — a 5.2-inch version and a 5.9-inch variant. This isn’t to be confused with Google’s alleged Nexus X, since Phone Arena says a 5.9-inch Nexus X is already scheduled to go to market. From what we understand, it sounds like the Moto S is a separate device and Motorola is testing it in two different sizes.
Which size makes it to market will depend on the success of the Moto X+1, which is said to be slightly larger than the 4.7-inch Moto X.
So how does this relate to Google’s new Nexus smartphones? If Motorola decides to bring its 5.9-inch version of the Moto S to market instead of the 5.2-inch model, Google may repurpose that smaller Moto S and brand it as a second Nexus device. So, depending on Motorola’s choices, Google could launch a 5.9-inch Nexus phablet and a smaller 5.2-inch Nexus phone.
A 5.9-inch screen is unusually large for a smartph! one. In fact, it’s just about one inch shy of a tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Mega, which comes in both 5.8- and 6.3-inch sizes, is the only other phablet that would compare in size to Google’s upcoming giant smartphone.
There’s no word on when we should expect these phones to debut, but last year Google quietly unveiled its Nexus 5 smartphone and Android 4.4 KitKat at the end of October. It’s also important to note that Google hasn’t confirmed any plans to release new smartphones in its Nexus line just yet.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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