Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare

We wrote about Google edging out Yahoo! in our Olympics control test but perhaps we were too hasty. I have re-read the post after reviewing the final results of the campaign and it still holds true but I'd change the emphasis if I were to write it again.

Yahoo! actually held up pretty well across the entire length of the campaign. It was - unusually for our general Yahoo! campaigns - more expensive than Google but it actually came through in the end to generate as many new users for us as Google did.

There are two caveats: first, if we had have cleared the same CPC level in Google as we were spending in Yahoo! the volume would have been considerably greater; second, we were asked by Google to remove the term Olympics from our ads at the end of the first week(!). This halved our volume and allowed Yahoo! to catch them at the tape.


Monthly Metrics

A couple of links to the regular monthly reports from


and then more from


The feature on phone browsers within the AdMob report gives Opera a 7% market share which is quite remarkable and probably understates the total amount of traffic going Opera's way. But the impressive stat is Nokia's 34% market share - bearing in mind that it has almost no share of AdMob's home, and largest market, the US.

The Opera traffic growth statistics are continuing to impress. In fact, they are sufficiently impressive to see the entrance of two competitors over the past few weeks: Skyfire and Teashark. Given the amazing loyalty to Opera it will be interesting to see how these two newbies fare. We are already in correspondence with Skyfire - it has not factored mobile specific sites into its strategy yet which leaves usa little nervous.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

Videos from VuClip

Our discerning users may have noticed that our videos are now provided by VuClip. Don't be concerned it's simply our provider BlueApple has changed its name to VuClip. See their press release.

We do have to say that working with VuClip has been a dream. They convert videos for all the thousands of devices we support and often provide high resolution as well as the smaller file size resolutions (for those concerned with larger downloads). Their rendering on the iPhone is also exceptional quality and they implemented a neat inline integration with the iPhone video player. VuClip are a perfect technology partner for us - we locate the video content in any feed and VuClip converts the content in real-time. This means that video content can be live on Mippin within seconds of it being published on the Internet - even though it almost certainly was published for viewing on a PC only. We do not know anyone else in the Mobile world who can replicate this - let us know if you think anyone can beat this Mippin-VuClip integration.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Gold Medal for Google. No surprise really.

So, here is a different take on the Olympics ....... and a decent piece of analysis to add to the contributions made by Colin Bates at Mobile Commerce over at mSearchGroove.

Colin's finding was that Yahoo! was the most effective mobile search engine, generating superior clickthrough from a smaller keyword list than Google. This is undeniably a truth, the result of Colin's control test. But it surprised me and did not match what I felt I had been seeing in our Mippin promotion. Our finding has consistently been that, though Yahoo! is more cost effective, it simply does not generate the volume that Google does.

For the Olympics, we created identical campaigns running on Google and Yahoo! in the US - our largest market and the home market for these two advertising marketplaces. Thus, if someone searched for a keyword we had defined they would stand a good chance of seeing a Mippin promotion inviting clickthrough to our collection of Olympics sites.

These two campaigns were exactly the same. We ran five different ad groups (athletes, sports and other related terms) beginning on the 8th August and ran this comparison after the first weekend.

Yahoo! did indeed generate the higher clickthrough, an impressive 4.4% with a quarter of those repeat using Mippin after that initial contact. A great result.

By contrast, Google could only contribute 0.64% clickthrough; though once interacting with Mippin, nearly a third of those came back again.

However, while Google's clickthrough was disappointing it really was a cut above Yahoo! in traffic generation. Google drove 76,000 impressions; nearly 12x the amount that Yahoo! contributed and as a result over-compensated for the lack of clickthrough.

The greater effectiveness of Google over Yahoo! is further demonstrated by the fact that though both campaigns were established with the same guideline cost per click, the actual performance showed Google driving 12x the volume with an average cost of 4c and Yahoo! contributing its volume at the pre-agreed 10c.

In fairness, the last point that Google is more cost effective in acquiring users is not something we see consistently in the US. But, the fact that it is capable of driving considerably more volume absolutely is.

Yahoo! might deliver better CPC but you cannot build a business using it (I'll qualify that with a "yet" and a "in our opinion"). Google by contrast just gets bigger and bigger and now dominates this space.

[You might wonder why we have not included an analysis of AdMob in this post. The reason is simple: for targeted campaigns you do have the ability to target those users interested exclusively in the Olympics as you do when responding to particular search queries on the topic. AdMob is a blind network and this is its Achilles Heel for targeted campaigns. For these specific campaigns, AdMob cannot match the cost of acquisition of either Yahoo! or Google.]

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The browser is the killer app

For those of you not in the Valley this video clip of a recent Mobile Wars Roundtable will offer up some real insight into the prevailing histeria created by the iPhone.

This is a two hour video but it is worth a watch if you are in the mobile industry.

45 minutes of the discussion at the beginning is on nothing but phone applications - it takes an interjection from our CEO Judy to wake the room up to the fact that you can do a hell of a lot on the phone using just the browser. As Eric Schonfeld - the mediator from TechCrunch - puts it "the browser is the killer app".

Discussion still returns to "apps" and this even after the room of developers confirms that no-one is developing only for the iPhone and nothing else.

It is a really interesting insight into a different way of thinking and a peculiar one from a predominantly web based audience. Where does this fixation for apps come from? It certainly isn't a web thing.

The fact that you can browse the internet from your iPhone (albeit better with Mippin - see the Pepsi Challenge) will be one of the iPhone's great contributions to the mobile industry. But if app development is to be another there could be trouble, and a lot of wasted money, ahead.

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Monday, 4 August 2008

Mobile Best Practice

The W3C is an organisation which attempts to deliver standards in the web space to drive its development. It recently published the first variant of its Mobile Web Best Practices which aside from the ghastly name - there is no such thing as a separate mobile web! - is a really excellent guide as to things you should consider when designing a variant of your site for mobile devices (or an excellent guide to cross check against those that are doing it for you - this does not mean that they should abide by it literally but they should know when they digress why it is the case and for what reason).

Instrumental in the formation of this document - and in such an environment contributing to the authoring is one small part, having the tenacity to see it through committee is the real achievement - is Daniel Appelquist from Vodafone. One of the most well-known and likeable evangelists of the mobile space and one of a number of "human" faces into the world of the network operator. Well done, Dan!

If you have a blog - remember to give the Mippin Maker a test drive. It puts these best practices into practice, for free and instantaneously so your blog is readable on every phone, everywhere.

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