Page Impressions Ltd Blogcetera: December 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Google to institute only pay if viewed!

Fraud has plagued the on-line advertising market since its initiation. Back in 2009, Click Forensics estimated that for advertisers and ad networks, 14.1% of the clicks on their ads were bogus, and costs them money.

All PPC (pay per click) ad providers are keen to combat click fraud and have sophisticated methods for doing so although it still represents a significant proportion of their income since it is the advertiser who will always end up paying.

 However, on Thursday (13th December 2013) Google announced that it was introducing a new system to deal with how ads are viewed and consequently charged for. “If you are an advertiser and a human being didn’t see your ad, then frankly nothing else matters,” said Neal Mohan, Google’s vice-president of display advertising products at Google. “If you are a marketer, why pay if a human being did not see the ad?”

The global on-line advertising industry is worth $117bn and it is estimated that as many as half of the digital ads that marketers buy are not seen at all, with a large portion only being viewed if a website user scrolls all the way down to the bottom of a web page. This issue of how effective advertising is has always been an issue for all forms of advertising be it TV of Bill Posters.

 Now Google intends to introduce an approach called Active View. Google's new Active View offering is based on an emerging industry standard called IAB/3MS, which states that an ad is only “viewable” if more than 50 per cent of it is visible on the screen for one second or longer. Advertisers will be able to see a report of how many viewable impressions they have received for any given campaign, and this data can be used to inform future campaigns. The Active View system ensures that if your ad is buried "below the fold" and doesn't get seen then you will not be billed and if your on-line ad has been seen for at least one second then you will be billed for that impression.

I have always been rather sceptical about the value of such viewed ads which do not have any "call to action" and certainly attempts to at least bill for a viewing by a human being is a step in the right direction, but it really doesn't make for very effective use of ones advertising dollar, pound or euro. Billing for ads that didn't get seen in the past was always a very dodgy practice and this approach should have been introduced a long time ago. Whilst this may not be click fraud, I do think it continues to call into question the billions spent on adverts which are just about brand awareness on-line and fail to trigger a genuine sales lead. Maybe advertisers and agencies placing the ads need to think rather more carefully about what they are attempting to achieve with their on-line campaigns.

This is a good start, but Google and the other major on-line players need to go much further to clean up this industry and ensure advertisers get the value for money they pay for.

Further reporting:-
Financial Times , The Daily Telegraph , BBC

Monday, December 09, 2013

Has the Mobile Internet finally emerged as a primary retail channel in 2013

Back in 2000, I worked with a former colleague from business school to raise investment for what we now refer to as a location based mobile application. The application was known as ZagMe enabled customers to send offers to users of the service in their location such as a shopping mall  (BBC Zagme News report). Unfortunately the technology platform was based on WAP which proved unreliable and costly to use. Today companies such as Foursquare have taken the concept to a mobile broadband customer base happy to use and act on location based offers. However, 2013 has seen the break through of the mobile device including tablets etc. as a primary channel for online purchasing. Retailers have rushed to adapt to the new format and even bring out their own optimised devices such as Tesco and Aldi launching bespoke low cost tablets. According to mobile experience management platform Artisan ( ), 77% of consumers intend to make purchases through a mobile and/or tablet app this holiday season.

This statistic suggests that using mobile devices to purchase through sites such as Amazon, John Lewis etc. is more likely to be the norm rather than the exception.  In a recent survey, OFCOM forecast the number of mobile broadband subscribers to be in the region of 5.1 million.  With sales of Tablet computers of every type likely to be the most sought after gift this Christmas, that number is sure to grow dramatically and with it the opportunity for retailers to grow their online sales channel as well as location based sales by offering incentives to bring users into High Street stores.

Sadly all this furious activity in mobile sales comes to late for Zagme which succumbed to the dotcom bust when trying to raise a second round of finance.  Todays location based apps have a much brighter future!

UK ISP, Mobile Internet and Cable Subscriber Numbers - December 2013

Here is an update of the UK ISP market covering DSL and Cable Access market as well as the Mobile Dongle market in the UK.  I have also added in the published figures for 3G and 4G mobile access devices. I have used ITU published data for Broadband usage numbers and Neilson Ratings and ISP published figures to get an accurate picture as well all the reports and disclosures for each of the companies shown below. I believe these figures represent a reasonably accurate representation of the genuine adoption of broadband either via DSL, Cable or mobile dongle. Broadband connections included in this data cover download speeds equal to or faster than 256kbit/s.

Table 1. Broadband ISPs (Source: ITU, Neilsen, OFCOM & ISP Published Figures)

User Numbers
% of UK Market (inc Mobile)
BT Retail
Sky Broadband
Virgin Media
TalkTalk Group
Kingston Comms
Zen Internet
Vodafone UK
Thus Group

BT continues to grow its user base at the expense of the smaller players.  Sky Broadband has continued to grow, primarily by acquisition having taken over O2’s broadband user base.  However, although BT Sport is still in its early days, it is clearly impacting Sky’s organic growth.

The total UK Internet connectivity market is not only made up of Broadband ISPs, but connection is now frequently through 3G and a growing 4G user base. Consequently I have taken the total market as being made up of both the fixed-line broadband and mobile internet access as I think it would be erroneous to suggest that they are not part of the same competitive market. The Broadband ISP market size is estimated to be just under 22 million broadband connections. OFCOM estimates the mobile internet connectivity to be in the region of 5.0 million mobile broadband users in addition the 21.7 million fixed line users.  So the total market is estimated at 26.7million subscribers.  Of these super broadband users make up just 3.7million.