Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: July 10th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Snapchat adding support for web links, Android Nougat finally reaching double-digit adoption, and a look at how mobile optimization can increase e-commerce conversions.

Mobile News:

Apple News Allows Select Publishers to Sell Their Own Ads (AdAge): In a bid to help boost the revenue publishers see from Apple News content, the company will reportedly allow some top publishers to sell their own ad inventory and use their own technology to fill ad space. Several publishers (speaking to AdAge on the grounds of anonymity) complained that, while their Apple News content has proven popular, monetization was lacking. This expected move will hopefully appease publishers and prevent them from bailing on the medium. It should be noted that Apple News isn't the only mobile publishing platform experiencing controversy — Facebook's Instant Articles have also been criticized by publishers for similar revenue-related reasons in recent months.

Snapchat Lets You Add Links to Snaps with "Paperclip" (TechCrunch): This week Snapchat not only added a couple of fun features users are sure to love but also added one big addition that publishers and marketers will be excited about: the ability to include links in snaps. With Paperclip, users can now attach links to the posts they share. These links can be opened by swiping up and loading the page in Snapchat's internal browser. Previously this feature was only available to advertisers and Discover publishers. Some other new features recently added to the app include various voice changers and step-and-repeat-style backgrounds.

Facebook Adds Tool to Lead Users Toward Businesses with Wi-Fi (Dyer News): After testing out a similar feature in various countries, Facebook has now rolled out their Wi-Fi location tool worldwide. This addition to the company's flagship apps allows users to search for businesses and other nearby locations that offer Wi-Fi, listing the businesses name and their network name. Facebooks says this data is taken from business's pages. Not only does this new Find Wi-Fi feature benefit users but could also prove helpful to businesses looking to attract customers with free Internet access.

Messenger Update Makes Finding Bots Easier (Mobile Marketer): Facebook Messenger is continuing their quest to make chatbots the next big thing, now adding a new Discover tab to the app. The new tab makes it easier for users to find bots along with nearby businesses they can message. In a blog post announcing the change, the company said, "Within Discover, people can explore by category, recent activity and featured experiences. In addition to advertising, Messenger Codes, me.me links and plugins, Discover gives bots and businesses a dedicated new surface to drive even more growth by giving you another way to get your experience in front of the Messenger community." Developers and businesses can also submit to have their bots featured in the Discover tab by completing a form located in Page settings, which will help Facebook better categorize and describe the bot.

Standalone Video Chat App Reportedly In the Works at Facebook (The Verge): It's no secret that Facebook has long viewed video as the future of their platform. However, it seems their latest video project is currently a secret. According to The Verge, the company is developing a group video chat app tentatively named Bonfire. The site also says that the app will draw a number of features from Houseparty — a video chat app from the creators of the now-deceased Meerkat. When asked for comment on Bonfire, a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge, "We don’t have anything to share at this time."

Google Offers Responsive Native Ad Inventory to AdSense (Marketing Land): AdSense publishers are now able to add native ads to their site through the service. Google is offering three different types of native ads for AdSense: in-feed, In-article, and matched content. In a blog post introducing the new features and explaining the differences, Google said, "Use In-feed ads inside your feed (e.g. a list of articles, or products), In-article ads between the paragraphs of your pages, and Matched content ads directly below your articles." Each of these options are responsive (meaning they'll look great across any device) and are also designed to match the theme of your site, making for a better user experience.

Android Nougat Reaches 10% Adoption 10 Months in (VentureBeat): Two months ahead of its one-year anniversary, Android Nougat (7.0 and 7.1) has cracked double-digit adoption. After 10 months the latest Android OS is now installed on 11.5% of active Android devices. While that's still far behind the adoption levels new versions of Apple's iOS see, it is a significant improvement from the 1% Nougat had just five months ago. The latest figures make Nougat the fourth most-used Android OS behind Marshmallow (31.8%), Lollipop (30.1%), and Kit-Kat (17.1%). Meanwhile the final name for Android "O" (8.0) is expected to be announced soon.

Mobile Food Ordering Rises Year Over Year (Mobile Marketer): Last year 1.9 billion foodservice orders were placed using mobile apps, text messaging, or the Internet. This marks an 18% increase year over year, with mobile app orders driving a good share of the growth. Following the success Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and even Walt Disney World dining locations have had had with mobile ordering solutions in recent years, McDonald's has notably been working to roll out their own mobile order offering in the near future.

Opinions and Advice:

How Mobile Optimization Can Lift Conversions (Marketing Land): Even as m-commerce continues to rise, there's no getting around the fact that conversions on mobile remain low. In fact, in 2016, mobile's conversion rate was at 20% compared to 70% for desktop. However, as Ben Jacobson highlights, optimizing your e-commerce site for mobile —including lower load times and utilizing one-touch payment options — can help lift your conversion rate in a big way.

Best Practices For Boosting Your App's Download Numbers (Business2Community): When it comes to app developers, you'd be hard pressed to find one that doesn't hope for more downloads. Unfortunately not all of those developers are taking advantage of some of the latest tools and tricks that can drive more traffic to their apps. In this piece, Itai Elizur shares a few best practices and tips for increasing your app's download numbers.

Campaign of the Week:

Ticketmaster Turns to Proximity Technologies on Mobile To Enhance Event-Going Experience (VentureBeat): Ticketmaster is partnering with Lisnr to introduce a new mobile-powered offering called Ticketmaster Presence. Instead of scanning a barcode on a paper ticket or smartphone screen to enter an event, Presence allows venues to verify your ticket via NFC, RFID, and an audio signal inaudible to the vast majority of humans. Not only will this system improve admission wait times at venues (the company claims it takes less than a second to verify tickets with Presence) but will also help crack down on fraud. But the power of Presence doesn't stop at the gates — it also allows for tailored messages to be sent to attendees and offer them personalized experiences. As Ticketmaster EVP of product Justin Burleigh explained, "We used identity as our North Star — our guiding light to develop a product that makes each individual fan experience the greatest it could be. This means using identity to drive customized experiences based on who you are and where you are, eliminating fraud, resulting in a safer environment, and delivering more personalization based on the specific event you’re attending.” It's unclear exactly what Ticketmaster's roll-out timeline for Presence is but a video produced by the company says billions of eventgoers will use the technology in the next several years.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: July 3rd, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes iOS 11 calling out apps that overuse location data, Google adding new features to the Test My Site mobile load time tool, and a look at how Apple's iPhone has changed mobile engagement over the last 10 years.

Mobile News:

Smartphone Game Revenue Tops Consoles (Business Insider): Not only does the mobile gaming industry now account for a large chunk of in-app sales and revenue but now also tops more traditional gaming platforms like PCs and consoles. In fact smartphone games now make up nearly one-third of all gaming revenue with tablets contributing another 10%. That tops console game revenue at 31% and PC games at 23%. With figures like these, it's easy to see why video gaming icon and long-time app industry hold-out Nintendo finally decided to get into the mobile gaming movement last year.

iOS 11 Will Alert Users to Which Apps are Using Location Data in Background (TechCrunch): Ahead of Apple's public release of iOS 11 this September, developers and now public beta users are getting to explore and discover some of the updates new features. Among them is a change that will allow users to better understand how and when certain apps use their location data. With the new OS, a blue bar will display at the top of a user's screen whenever an app is using location data in the background. In conjunction, Apple will now allow users to toggle any app from always using location data to only accessing it when the app is in use. Previously a number of apps did offer the "Only While Using the App" option for location data although others forced users to decide between "Always" and "Never." Now all three choices will be available by default.

Facebook Tops Two Billion Monthly Users (VentureBeat): This week Facebook reached another milestone and now boasts more than two billion active monthly users. That's a mighty number considering the world's population is currently estimated to be 7.4 billion. Additionally the figure puts it on par with Android OS, which also recently announced hitting the two billion user mark. Back in May, when Facebook had 1.94 billion users, the company said two-thirds of those users visited the app or site daily. It stands to reason that a similar ratio stands six million users later.

Snapchat Custom Filters Can Now Be Purchased in the App (TechCrunch): Snapchat is once again making it easier to purchase their popular custom geofilters, this time adding to the app itself. Users can now build their own on-demand filters by selecting the option in Settings. From there, they can browse and design filters based on the occasion (birthday, wedding, baby shower, holiday, etc.), select templates, and customize with text, emojis, and stickers. These filters start at $5.99, with final pricing depending on how long they'll be active and how large the geofilter's access area will be. It should be noted that this latest outlet for filters is mostly intended to serve individual users. More business-minded tools that support custom logo uploads are available on Snapchat's website.

Marketers Cite Creative Challenges with Mobile Video (eMarketer): A new survey of professional marketers has discovered that the biggest challenge they face in terms of mobile video is coming up with creative ideas. 44% of respondents said as much when asked while 35% said they had trouble finding the right property to deliver video content to their audience. Another top concern, cited by 28% of marketers, was not having enough cash in their budget to create quality mobile video content.

YouTube App Update Will Bring Better Support for Vertical Video (TechCrunch): At the recent VidCon conference in Anaheim, California, YouTube announced that it would be updating its mobile app to dynamically adjust to various video types in order to display them better on any device. In a blog post highlighting the change, the company said, "Who cares if they’re vertical or horizontal? Shot on a mobile phone or DSLR? Square, 4:3 or 16:9?... If you’re watching a vertical, square or horizontal video, the YouTube player will seamlessly adapt itself, filling the screen exactly the way they should." Another big addition coming to YouTube's app is their new sharing feature that allows users to not only send clips to each other in the app but also chat while watching them together. This feature will first debut in Latin America in the next couple of weeks before coming to the states soon after.

Google Beefs Up "Test My Site" Mobile Load Times Tool (Search Engine Land): It's no secret that Google has taken great interest in speeding up the mobile web. One of many initiatives they've launched in pursuit of that goal is the Test My Site feature that would score websites on their mobile load times. Now the company has enhanced that free product to provide more data on the importance of having a fast-loading site. In addition to offering an overall mobile speed score, Test My Site will now provide an estimation of how many visitors your site is losing due to long load times. Similarly Test My Site gives you an idea of how your load times compare to your competitors. Webmasters can also download a free report compiling Google's recommendations for improving. Google's Test My Site feature can be used both on mobile devices and on desktop.

App Market Expected to Reach $6.3 Billion in 2021 (TechCrunch): If you think the app economy is big now, just wait a few years. According to new estimates, app spend — including app store purchases, m-commerce, and in-app ads — will climb from $1.31 trillion in 2016 to $6.35 trillion in 2021.  At the same time, the number of mobile app users is expected to go from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion, with time spent reaching 3.5 trillion hours. This would bring total spending per user (whether via m-commerce, ads, or other app purchases) from an average of $379 in 2016 to $1,008 in 2021.

Opinions and Advice:

The iPhone's Impact on Mobile Marketing (Marketing Land): Ten years ago this week, the first generation of Apple's iPhone hit store shelves, effectively changing the smartphone field. With each subsequent model and iOS release, Apple's device — first introduced by the late Steve Jobs as being an iPod, a phone, and an internet communications device — the company has changed the way marketers reach customers and how users interact with brands. In celebration of the iPhone's milestone, Josh Todd takes a look at how the device has led the evolution of mobile engagement and where it might go from here.

Instagram's Growing Video Business (Digiday): While the mobile video field overall has seen amazing growth in recent months, one platform in particular has been drawing the attention of marketers: Instagram. Despite the dogfight the Facebook-owned app is currently experiencing with Snapchat, Instagram seems to be emerging the platform of choice for publishers. For his piece, Max Willens highlights a few publishers who have found success with video on Instagram and why the app has become such a draw.

Campaign of the Week:

Walgreens' App Attracts Older Users (Mobile Marketer): Whether you're talking mobile payments or social media, it's been clear that younger smartphone users have been quicker to embrace mobile than their older counterparts. But Walgreens has announced that they're bucking that trend and attracting a significant amount of Baby Boomers to their app. The drug store and convenience chain says that 20% of their app's user base is over 55 years old — double the industry average. Furthermore 37% of users taking advantage of the app's pharmacy tools are over 55 as well. In addition to traditionally youth-skewing features like mobile pay and ordering, Walgreens' app also includes pill reminders and prescription information that may explain its popularity among older adults.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: June 26th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes a comparison between how in-app and mobile web ads perform, mobile traveling bookings climbing, and how early adopters are finding e-commerce success thanks to Google's AMP.

Mobile News:

Mobile Broadband Subscriptions Set to Double by 2022  (Recode): Over the next five years the number of mobile broadband subscriptions — the cellular connections used to connect smartphone, tablets and other devices to the Internet — is expected to nearly double. According to a new report there were 4.6 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in Q1 2017 but that figure is set to reach 8.3 billion by 2022. Furthermore, while subscriptions in North America are currently dominated by LTE (70%), 5G is anticipated to make up a quarter of all mobile internet subscriptions by 2022 as well.

In-App and Mobile Web Ads Found to Perform Near Equally (eMarketer): A recently released study by the Interaction Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that users react quite similarly to both mobile web and in-app ads. For example 47% of worldwide users took some form of action after seeing an in-app ad compared to 45% for those viewed on mobile websites. Incidentally, the two mediums were actually tied at 43% in North America. In terms of recollection, 90% of users were able to recall mobile web ads days later while 86% recalled in-app ads.

Twitter to Safari View Controller in App Latest Update for iOS (Marketing Land): This past week Twitter released an update for their mobile app, which mostly tweaked a few cosmetics, including switching from square avatars to circular ones. However one less instantly noticeable but perhaps more impactful change is that Twitter's iOS app now uses Safari View Controller to load links clicked in tweets. One benefit of this update is that Twitter's in-app browser will offer the same settings user's have set up in Safari. For example they'll be able to use autofill on forms or may automatically be logged in when visiting paywall sites.

Apple Cracking Down on Clone Apps and Other Spam (TechCrunch): Among the changes that Apple is making to their App Store with the release of iOS 11 is a new guideline aimed at fighting cloned apps. Rule 4.2.6 states, “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” It's unclear how hard lined Apple will be on this policy as that might technically exclude apps built with various app services. When TechCrunch inquired about this rule change, Apple declined to comment.

Travel Bookings Increasingly Moving to Mobile (eMarketer): Not only are more travelers booking flights, hotels, rental cars, and more online but they're also increasingly doing so via their smartphones. According to eMarketer 40% of the $189 billion in digital travel sales this year can be attributed to mobile devices. That $75.85 billion is up 16.7% from 2016. Moreover mobile's share of digital travel booking is expected to increase in the coming years, reaching a near-even split with desktop in 2021.

One-Fifth of Mobile Users Generate Vast Majority of Ad Revenue (VentureBeat): Just as you've probably heard it said that the top 1% of Americans own 99% of the country's total wealth, a new report finds that just 20% of mobile users are responsible for 80% of total mobile ad revenue. Similar to another stat related to in-app purchase revenue, it was discovered that a small group of mobile gamers drive a majority of ad revenue as they frequently few ad spots to obtain rewards in various applications. These users have been dubbed "ad whales." As a result the study suggests it would behoove app developers to consider ad-based models.

Facebook Updates Creative Hub with More Mobile Ad Creations Tools (Fast Company): One year after first introducing their Creative Hub at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Facebook used the same venue to introduce new tools aimed at allowing marketers to create and test mobile ads. In addition to new video metrics that give marketers insight into how to optimize for mobile, they can also now create and deliver ads directly from Creative Hub. Speaking about the new features, Facebook's director of product marketing Graham Mudd said, "The new tools allow a creative agency to test a campaign or work, then once it decides it’s good to go, allows it to bundle it up and pass it to the media agency who puts the budget behind it and executes the buy."

Opinions and Advice:

The Conversion Power of AMP (Search Engine Land): While many might still see Google's AMP project just as a format for fast-loading articles, some early adopters are now pushing the envelope and testing the platform's power. In fact e-commerce site Event Tickets Center, which has been using AMP to create their landing pages and beyond, reports seeing a promising rise in conversions versus their previous responsive design. Ginny Marvin takes a closer look at Event Tickets Center's story and how AMP could be the future of e-commerce.

Behind Apple's Big Move into AR (CNET): At the company's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled ARKit, allowing developers to add augmented reality features into their apps more easily. Although they're far from the first to explore the world of AR (fitting perfectly into the company's "It's not about being first, it's about being the best" approach), Apple's embrace of it could be a breakthrough for the medium. As a result, Sean Hollister suggests Apple may have jumped ahead of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others in the new AR arms race.

Campaign of the Week:

Pepsi's Mobile Video Ad Utilize Multiple Screens (Mobile Marketer): Soft drink big shot Pepsi Cola is putting a new twist on vertical video with their latest mobile ad campaign in Egypt. Featuring three clips placed into Facebook's Carousel offering, the video encourages users to join up with two others to play all three videos in sync. When this is done, the ad shows four friends as they learn to interact more with each other than with their phones. The clip is part of Pepi's “Let’s Get Together” promotion and was released to coincide with the Ramadan. Adweek has footage of the full clip assembled with all three screens.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: June 12th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes details on Apple's just-announced iOS 11, AMP and Instant Articles boosting user engagement, and a look at both Snapchat and Instagram from a marketer's perspective.

Mobile News:

Video Leads App Install Ad Budgets (MarketingCharts): When it comes to driving app installs, it seems most developers are turning to video in all of its different forms. Not only are 96% of developers surveyed currently employing video app install ads but half of them report spending more than $1 million each month on various types of video ads. More specifically, 25% spent more than a million on full-screen video each month followed by social video at 15.7%. Social display ads were the most popular non-video ads with 11.1%. As mentioned last week, playable ads have been gaining attention from marketers but, as it stands now, only 4.4% of developers are spending more than $1 million a month of these forms of install ads.

Apple Introduces iOS 11 at Worldwide Developers Conference (VentureBeat): This past week Apple hosted their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California. While the company introduced a new OS for the Apple Watch and the iMac Pro, the big news was the upcoming release of iOS 11 and what the update entails. To start, one major rumor was confirmed as Apple announced a new P2P payment feature called Apple Pay Cash. Similar to Venmo, this allows users to send each other money via iMessage and spend their balance by using Apple Pay or transferring it to their bank account. Other additions include a new voice for Siri, a redesigned Control Center, and a new ARKit for developers. Lastly, iOS 11 will bring with it a redesigned App Store intended to improve discoverability. This updated store offers a dedicated games tab and also rebrands the Top Charts section as simply "Apps." iOS 11 is set to be released to consumers this fall.

Don't Know What to Delete? Your iPhone Will Tell You (TechCrunch): Another interesting feature of iOS 11 that Apple didn't really highlight in their keynote is the addition of suggestions meant to help device owners maximize their phone's storage space. Basically, when users visit the Storage in their iPhone settings, it will instruct them on what to do to increase space, be it deleting photos or turning on a feature to auto-archive old messages. Those previewing iOS 11 have also noticed a new option labeled "Offload Unused Apps" that will automatically uninstall applications to make room. At this time it's unclear what parameters this feature would use for determining when apps are deleted.

Study Finds iPhone Users Not Ready to Upgrade Just Yet (eMarketer): One thing not announced at this year's WWDC (not that it was anticipated to be) was the release of a new iPhone. That's probably for the best as a new study finds 45% of U.S. iPhone owners say they aren't ready to trade in their current devices. Furthermore, of those who will be looking to upgrade, only 26% say they'll be gunning for the iPhone 8 — or whatever Apple ends up calling their latest device expected later this year. On a more positive note for Apple, only 2% of those surveyed said they planned to switch to Android when the latest iPhone is unveiled.

Two-Thirds of Marketers Promoted Videos on Facebook Last Year (Marketing Land): A new survey of U.S. marketers found that more of them invested in video advertising on Facebook than YouTube last year. In fact, while two-thirds (67%) reported paying to promote videos on the social network, just over half (51%) did the same on YouTube. Meanwhile Twitter and Instagram videos lagged behind with 25% of marketers using each. However there is good news all around as over 50% of those surveyed say they plan to increase their video investments on Twitter and Instagram in the next 12 months while over 60% plan to raise their Facebook and YouTube buys.

Facebook Rolls Out "Related Article" Ads to All Instant Article Publishers (MediaPost): Following a test among select publishers, Facebook has now officially opened Instant Articles to "Related Article" native ads. In a statement Facebook said that the tests of this new ad feature showed incremental increases in the revenue publishers earned. They added, "Publishers have told us that ads in related articles are an important monetization driver on the mobile web. This test introduces a similarly placed native ad unit in Instant Articles that shows readers relevant and high-quality ads from Facebook advertisers. We look forward to learning how these units work for people, publishers, and advertisers."

AMP and Instant Articles Found to Boost Engagement (Marketing Land): In recent years, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) has frequently been referenced in the same breath as Facebook's Instant Articles. Now Chartbeat has assessed both fast-loading mobile offering to see what can be learned about their speed and how users engage with pages in both mediums. The first big finding was that Instant Articles were significantly faster than AMP pages with the IA pages loading in less than .001 seconds compared to 1.4 seconds for AMP. That said, the median for average mobile web page was 5.4 seconds. Despite the longer load time, AMP sees far more traffic than Instant Articles — three times as much, in fact. Ultimately both mediums were found to increase user engagement by as much as 50%. Additionally the study found mobile conversion rates climbed as page load times fell.

Google Increases "Bug Bounty" Rewards for Hacking Android (VentureBeat): Google wants you to try and hack their Android OS — no, really! After obtaining no successful submissions, the company has increased their "bug bounty" reward for a complete remote exploit chain leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise to $200,000 from $50,000. Additionally the payout for a remote kernel exploit has climbed from $30,000 to $150,000. Although no one has claimed victory and claimed that top prize, the Android Security Rewards program has paid out $1.5 million to those who have discovered past vulnerabilities over the past two years.

Snap Inc. Acquires Location Analytics Company Placed (TechCrunch): Last week found Snapchat reportedly offering discounts to advertisers in a bid to raise revenue but their latest plan to goose growth is apparently to prove the worth of their ad units. Snap Inc. has now acquired Placed, a firm that deals in location-based analytics and measurement. The acquisition will help Snap with their ability to show marketers how their sponsored geofilters bring users into physical stores (a program the company has dubbed Snap to Store). In a post from Placed CEO David Shim, he wrote, "Placed has measured more than $500 million in media spend to store visits, across thousands of campaigns and hundreds of partners, cementing Placed as the leader in location-based attribution. By partnering with Snap, we will do even more... Together, we believe we can drive much better results for advertisers and publishers."

Augmented Reality Set to Boom (VentureBeat): The augmented reality revolution is just getting started. In addition to news that Apple was releasing an ARKit for developers, Digi-Capital now predicts that mobile AR could be a $60 billion business by 2021. That growth is largely expected to be driven by the aforementioned Apple alongside Facebook and others. Of that projected $60 billion, the top sources of revenue are expected to include mobile network data, e-commerce sales, and ad spend.

Opinions and Advice:

Comparing Snapchat and Instagram from a Marketing Perspective (Digiday): It's no real secret that a battle has been brewing between Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram for some time now. Sure users now have their preferences between the two, but what about marketers? In this piece Shareen Pathak takes a look at both platforms, their ad formats, and what else marketers need to know about each of these popular mobile apps.

Campaign of the Week:

Disney, Buffalo Wild Wings Test Interaction Video Ads (Adweek): Mobile video ads are already big business but now certain brands are looking to take them to the next level. Recently The Walt Disney Company debuted a custom ad for their film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. In keeping with the pirate theme, Disney's ad had users tap certain items on their screen to unlock exclusive clips and content. Similar dining chain Buffalo Wild Wings introduced an ad where users could "capture" a character featured in their current television campaigns using their finger. Both of these promotions were created using AdColony's Aurora HD Video system.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: June 5th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Google Chrome's upcoming filter for annoying ads, Apple paying out $70 billion to app developers, and a look at the state of mobile advertising by the numbers.

Mobile News:

Ad Blocking Still Relatively Rare on Mobile (Marketing Land): According to a new survey, only around 15% of Internet users in the U.S. currently employ ad-blocking software on their smartphones. By comparison, 40% report using ad blockers on their laptops and 33% use them on their desktop computers. The ad-blocking rate for tablets is even lower than smartphones with just 8% of those surveyed saying they used blockers on such devices. Among those who that claimed to be ad blocker users, still only 22% used them on smartphones and 14% used them on tablets compared to 68% on laptops and 51% on desktops. Interestingly males were far more likely to use ad blockers than women, 58% to 42%.

Chrome Browser to Block "Annoying Experiences" (AdAge): Speaking of ad blockers, Google officially announced their plan for combating such technology, which includes building blocking capabilities into their own Chrome browser. However, unlike generic ad blockers that remove all advertising, Chrome will only block what they deem to be "annoying experiences." Publishers will be able to look at an Ad Experience Report from Google to better understand what ad types they find to be annoying and will be blocked by the browser. Notably Google is calling this new technology a "filter" and not an ad blocker. At the same time Google plans to roll out a new service called Funding Choices. This will allow publishers to give ad-blocking users the choice to either whitelist a site and allow ads to display or pay a small fee to access the site ad free. Speaking on the upcoming changes Google's senior VP of ads and commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy said, "We've all known for a while that the ad experience is a real problem and that it's confusing and angered users. We realized solutions like ad blockers punish everybody, including publishers who develop great content and are thoughtful about the ad experience they put on their site." The filter and Funding Choices are expected to launch in early 2018.

Mobile Advertisers Buying Into Playable Ads (VentureBeat): A new survey on what types of ads mobile marketers are most excited about has revealed an enthusiasm for playable ads. These spots allow users to try a sample of a game before downloading and often display as interstitials within other applications. With 45% of respondents naming playable ads as the format they were most excited about in 2017, the medium easily topped  "full-screen video ads" in second place with 22%. Additionally 71% of advertisers surveyed said they found playable ads to be effective, however only 4% of overall ad budgets were applied to the format this year.

Smartphone Expected to Stay Around the Same Size in the Coming Years (TechCrunch): A few years ago the introduction of the "phablet" shook up the smartphone market, eventually getting skeptics like Apple to join the trend. While the company did backtrack some with the release of their 4" iPhone SE, it was clear that the larger phones were here to stay. Furthermore new IDC research indicates that, while smaller screened phones will slowly fade in the coming years, the majority of devices will stay around the same size. According to the report, phones with screens 5" to 5.5" and those with screen 5.5" to 6" will rise in tandem as we approach 2021. In fact they two sizes are expected to remain close in shipments, with the former rising from 593.3 million to 731.4 million and the latter swelling from 558.7 million to 749.3 million. Phones with screens between 6" to 7" are expected to maintain their small share as well, only climbing to around 37 million from their current 32 million. Meanwhile they anticipate shipments of 4" to 5" screens to fall from 314.2 million now to 223.3 million in 2021.

App Store Has Paid $70 Billion to Developers (Variety): Since launching in 2008, the Apple App Store has paid a reported $70 billion to app developers. This news comes ahead of the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicking off today in San Jose, California. Apple has also announced that downloads on the App Store have increased more than 70% in the past 12 months. Additionally paid subscriptions for apps like Netflix and HBO Go were up 58%, generating $2.7 billion in sales for 2016. Unsurprisingly the top-grossing categories overall were gaming and entertainment. In a statement, Apple's VP of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller said, “We are amazed at all of the great new apps our developers create and can’t wait to see them again next week at our Worldwide Developers Conference."

Skype Channel Snapchat, Messenger with App Overhaul (TechCrunch): Microsoft-owned Skype is rolling out a major update to their smartphone app that takes inspiration from the likes of Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. This overhaul not only includes expanded chatbot and add-in features a la Messenger but also brings a Stories-eque feature made famous by Snapchat (and adopted by Instagram and others) to Skype. Other additions include the ability to customize the app with color preferences and send emoticons during video chats. In a statement about the app update, Skype VP Amritansh Raghav explained how this service differs from its competitors saying, “If social networks have given you the stage on which to perform your life, the new Skype gives you the additional equivalent of the local coffeehouse or corner pub, where you meet people on a daily basis to deepen your relationships. We call that set of interactions your personal network."

Messenger-Linked Ads Come to Instagram (Marketing Land): The Facebook/Instagram/Messenger ecosystem is growing as advertisers can now purchase Instagram ads containing links to their Facebook Messenger profiles. Facebook's flagship app added a similar feature last year where advertisers could select sending traffic to their Messenger bot as an objective when buying news feed ads. Previously Messenger links could be included in Instagram profiles, although these links would open in the app's built-in browser. Instead, these new ads utilize deep linking to open Messenger and take users directly to a business's account page.

Opinions and Advice:

Mobile Advertising By the Numbers (Digiday): There are many reasons why mobile advertising has continued to rise: the popularity of social media, improvements in mobile networks allowing for video streaming, increased penetration, etc. Looking at any one of the stats on the rise of the medium is impressive enough but assessing the state of mobile paints and even more important picture. With that in mind Yuyu Chen shares a look at mobile advertising by the numbers and what they all mean.

The Problem Facebook and Starbucks Share (Social Pro Daily): While Facebook has made a proverbial killing in mobile ad revenue in recent years, one area where it's been lacking has been in converting sales. In fact some have half-jokingly implied that the site is like Starbucks — a place where people hang out but don't buy anything. For his piece, James G. Brooks takes a closer look at the stigma and why Facebook has had a hard time shaking it off.

Campaign of the Week:

Big Brands Make Waves on Mobile (Mobile Marketer): This week's top campaign is a little different as it doesn't just include one outstanding implementation of the medium but several. From Pepsi and Taco Bell to Jeep and Acura, a number of big brands have made a splash on mobile lately by delving into new technologies and exploring different ways to reach consumers on mobile. For example M&M recently jumped in on the augmented reality craze, launching a virtual arcade to promote the addition of Caramel M&Ms to their line up. Meanwhile hotel chain Marriott recently launched their own Snapchat series "Six Days, Seven Nights" that not only stars various influencers but also makes use of Snap's Spectacles product. For more details on top brands helping to revolutionize mobile advertising, check out Mobile Marketer's full write-up here.