Internet Trends: Mobile Will Be Big; Battling 'Showrooming'; Skype As Model Microsoft Transaction?

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Internet Trends

In spite of the fact that former Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker has joined the VC world (Kleiner Perkins), she is still cranking out her famous Internet Trends report which she presented at All Things D's D10 conference. And guess what? Mobile is still coming! Mobile phone versus smartphone users appears to be a key metric as mobile phone (no "smartness" or Web) outnumbers its smarter cousin by 6 billion users to 1 billion users worldwide. See the prez now. She cautions that mobile ad CPMs are looking to be only 20% of PC display CPMs. That's what happens with a lack of targeting options. But, she sees blue skies ahead... "real-time" is just getting started.

Battling The Showroom

Samsung and Sony appear to be coming to the rescue of brick-and-mortar retailers who are tired of being picked clean by in-store shoppers who are trying and then buying online - known as "showrooming". Internet Retailer's Allison Enright explains, "The policies, if the manufacturers can enforce them, will limit price competition among consumer electronics retailers online and off." Read more. If Samsung and Sony have truly differentiated products, good for them and their retail channel partners. If not, it would seem other manufacturers - who are not willing to toe the pricing line - will under cut them in the long run.

On Microsoft Acquiring

Is this the future for real-time ad platform AppNexus? The New York Times explores Microsoft's acquisition of Skype which it continues to keep as a separate entity rather than integrate it more fully into the mothership. Skype's former CEO, and now President once Microsoft acquired the company, says, "We’ve kept our identity and our autonomy." Given the post-acquisition challenges of Avenue A and AdECN, maybe Microsoft has found a new roadmap for successful purchases. With its significant investment in AppNexus, which is rumored to give Microsoft 'first look' before any deal can be consummated, an acquisition seems inevitable. The NY Times' Nick Wingfield explains, " The distance has helped Skype stay true to its mission of allowing people to make calls from practically any device connected to the Internet, not just the ones powered by Microsoft software." Read more.

Social CRM and the Starship Enterprise

The mothership has landed, but are the natives friendly? Moves by Oracle and Salesforce.com to buy Vitrue and Buddy Media, respectively, could bring social CRM into the cloud in a big way, says Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer on AdAge's DigitalNext blog. But obstacles remain. Among them: agencies still control budgets, there's little precedent for cross-channel CRM, and Salesforce hasn't proven itself as a B2C marketer. The stakes are galactic. " If, via these acquisitions, Buddy Media (and Vitrue, for that matter) can further evolve marketing suites to encapsulate a longer-term focus on acquisition, conversion, retention, advocacy, and lifetime value, while somehow liberating data from its platform confines, then we may finally see social media live up to its promise." Beam it up.

Gee-Whiz Geo

James Moore, writing for Marketing Land, sees a knowledge gap in how marketers apply geo-targeting today. He suggests ad buyers take a page from politicians and the research industry, which have overcome the natural limitations of IP and zip code targeting by following shifts in IP assignments over time – a process sometimes called "beyond location." To wit: "The history of IP deployment is then used to predict the likelihood, or bias, that an IP qualifies some condition or property denoted as the desired target." The result: ad buyers can build more compelling geo-segments, for example isolating areas with a high index of good home equity. Read more.

Do Not Fear DCO

“Dynamic Creative Optimization” – the ability tailor a display ad’s creative in real-time – is sometimes viewed as never-ending agony for designers and project managers. PointRoll, the Gannett-owned rich media provider, has a blog post promoting its OnPoint platform as the solution to all the worries. The OnPoint system claims to let designers store all their dynamic content on the system and make the process of tweaking ads a little less painful.

Self-Reg Effort Looks Past Cookies

The Better Business Bureau has lightly wrapped the knuckles of a few ad companies - including BlueCava, Turn, and DataXu - for minor privacy infractions. ClickZ's Kate Kaye notes the BBB released the company names as part of its role in the Digital Advertising Alliance's self-reg initiative. The key nugget here: the DAA has its eye on device fingerprinting. "BlueCava's situation is especially interesting because it suggests the BBB's approach to monitoring behavioral ad companies for compliance with the self-reg program is not focused on cookies alone - but all technologies enabling data collection and tracking." Read more.

Groupon Adding New Product

It would seem that Groupon has ample opportunity to cull its vast local ad datasets from daily deals and roll out a more robust ad business. But, maybe that's just me. The Wall Street Journal reports that Groupon is venturing deeper into local through the payment process. The WSJ's Rolfe Winkler writes, "Today, merchants face fees ranging as high as 5% per transaction when customers use various cards. And they must rent expensive processing equipment. For a few dozen early testers of its payments platform, Groupon is giving away a modified iPod Touch to process transactions and, more important, charging merchants as little as 1.8%." Read it (subscription). Oh and Groupon acquired a local restaurant, point-of-sale (POS) app maker called Breadcrumb yesterday. Have another helping of local data on VentureBeat.

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