Report: Apple’s Mobile Ads Make More Money Than Google’s

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Despite the rapid rise of mobile devices based on Google’s Android operating system, marketers are still getting better results from their advertising on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Ads that run on Apple’s iPhone command significantly higher prices than Android, and way higher prices than any other mobile platform, according to a new report from mobile browser maker Opera Software, which also operates a mobile ad network. The iPad in particular, thanks to its large touchscreen and ease of use, gets the highest effective cost per 1,000 impressions (eCPM) of all devices–$3.96 to the iPhone’s $2.85 and Android’s $2.10. All the other platforms are far behind.

That gives Apple’s iOS platform an outsized lead in actual ad revenues compared relative to its market share in traffic: Together, the iPhone and iPad capture more than 61% of revenues to Android’s nearly 27%. Again, all the others bring up a distant rear.

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

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No Larry Page, But Google Q2 Profits Beat Forecast on Light Sales

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Providing a sign that online advertising continues to shine in a tough economy, Google reported a second-quarter net profit today of $2.79 billion, or $8.42 a share, up 11%, on a 35% jump in sales to $12.21 billion. Non-GAAP profit per share, the one analysts track, came in at $10.12, a little above the Street’s $10.04.

Those revenues included six weeks of its recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Google revenues alone were $10.96 billion, up 21%. Either way, revenues after payments to website partners were $8.36 billion, a bit lighter than analysts’ forecast of $8.41 billion.

In trading immediately after the close, shares rose about 5%, then eased back to a steady 3% gain. Google’s shares closed up today about 2%, to $593.06.

Although Street estimates were iffy given the addition of Motorola Mobility to Google’s results for the first time, Citi analyst Mark Mahaney was expecting a $9.99 non-GAAP profit per share on $12.45 billion in gross revenue. Without Motorola, he was expecting $10.76 billion in gross revenues, $8.23 billion in net revenues after payments to website partners. You can listen to the archived analyst call on Google’s YouTube channel.

The upshot after the call: Google executives sounded a confident tone about the business, though insight about Motorola was almost non-existent. In particular, Google appears committed to making mobile advertising pay off, shrugging off concerns about low mobile ad prices.

Google partners don’t seem worried about that either. Jared Belsky, executive VP at digital ad agency 360i, said in an interview that he thinks the rapid rise in mobile computing should be a net positive for Google simply because people are searching more hours of the day now. “This is a strategy for the long term,” says Belsky, who notes that its clients’ mobile ad search spending is now 14% of the total–an increase of 300% from a year ago. “Increasingly they’ll be able to monetize it.” Even more important, he says clicks on mobile ads have risen 300% as well as marketers provide better landing pages and people get more comfortable clicking on the ads as a result.

And the call begins.

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Finally, Fearless Frictionless Sharing on Facebook

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Ever since Facebook debuted “frictionless sharing” last year, this practice of apps such as the Washington Post Social Reader or Socialcam posting your activity on your Wall without asking your permission each time has produced waves of annoyanceprivacy concerns, and even requests for the feds to ban it. There’s also evidence that Facebook users are rebelling against them.

On Thursday, a company that enables sharing on a number of social networks is introducing a tool for publishers of all kinds to enable frictionless sharing on Facebook in particular, but in a way that may ease many people’s concerns. ShareThis, one of several companies that aggregate share buttons on many websites, including Forbes.com, is debuting ShareNow. The tool lets publishers enable automatic sharing on Facebook without having to build their own social reader like the Washington Post’s, for example.

In beta test mode for now, the ShareNow button will sit on the left side of the page on each website that enables it, showing an on/off button that indicates whether continuous sharing is on or not. Readers can turn it off for stories they don’t want to share and then turn it back on for others. Also, if they change their mind on something they shared, they can delete that share on their Facebook Timeline, again with a click to “undo.” …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Job One For Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: The Vision Thing

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Cross-posted from my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Everybody has all kinds of advice for Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa MayerHire great engineers. (Well, duh, but how? Big money alone won’t do it.)  Fire 10,000 people. (Sure, Marc, easy peasy–that should help with recruiting too.) Fix Flickr. (Right, and 47 other services while you’re at it.) Go mobile. (Years late, that should work.)

Granted, most of those things may well be necessary at some point, and probably soon. But here’s what everyone from employees and advertisers to users and investors needs to know first: What is Yahoo?

It’s a question that has produced unconvincing answers for so many years it’s hard to remember by now what made Yahoo unique. Yahoo itself takes a direct crack at it on its “Investors FAQs” page, answering the very same question, “What is Yahoo!?”:

“Today, Yahoo! Inc. has become the world’s largest global online network of integrated services with more than 500 million users worldwide.”

Ugh. “Digital media company”? Makes my heart, uh, flatline.

It also has an actual “mission or vision statement,” a clear carryover from Carol Bartz, two CEOs ago:

“Yahoo! is the premier digital media company. Yahoo! creates deeply personal digital experiences that keep more than half a billion people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the globe. That’s how we deliver your world, your way. And Yahoo!’s unique combination of Science + Art + Scale connects advertisers to the consumers who build their businesses.”

A little better, but really, “Science + Art + Scale”? Hard to imagine that means much to advertisers, let alone consumers. (I was always surprised Bartz didn’t call it Art + Science + Scale to provide a more characteristically salty acronym.)

Still, there’s a kernel of something in the part about keeping people connected to what matters to them. I will hazard an unpopular view that Yahoo’s original mission as a portal still has fundamental appeal to many people. Most digerati will say the portal is dead, and good riddance, as people flock to more focused services such as Facebook’s social network and Google’s search engine. So if Yahoo comes out and says it’s a portal, it will become even more of a laughingstock in the tech community.

But even Google and Facebook increasingly are becoming hubs for all kinds of activities, even if they will never utter the P word. So it seems clear that a very large number of people out there want someone else to help them decide the best services and apps to use online–and provide a way for them to work together and share data in ways that are useful to us, not just advertisers. It’s also clear that many people are leery, thanks to privacy concerns or simply because they may miss the latest and greatest from that new upstart, about going all-in on Google or Facebook or even Apple.

At its heart, Yahoo’s value, when it has had value, is providing people easy, curated access to the best online services out there, whether they’re Yahoo’s own or others’. That’s a media company, however that’s evolving today and will continue to evolve in the future.

Of course, a vision only works if you act on it, so ultimately, what will really matter is creating new services people can’t live without. Those are now few and far between at Yahoo, though a few like Sports and Finance come pretty close. Spurring the creation and execution of new ones is where Mayer could shine where her predecessors did not.

But Mayer’s vision needs to acknowledge that Yahoo’s future can’t simply rest on pumping out cool products. It needs to be more meta than that in an era when only a couple behemoths can even think about providing everything on their own (and even Google has throttled back its habit of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks). And dozens of smaller companies are providing best-of-breed services that Yahoo will be hard-pressed to compete with.

The way Yahoo becomes a 21st century media company, a concierge of online services, needs to be fundamentally redesigned for the mobile era, of course. I still use MyYahoo a lot because I’ve populated it with stock lists, key news sources, access to email accounts, quick views into other services such as Twitter and Facebook, and more. But the desktop version is a fright on my mobile phone, and the mobile version is simply a long list of seemingly random feeds.

Yahoo, of all companies–the one that famously kept its home page simple enough early on that it wouldn’t take more than a few seconds to load on slow dial-up connections–should be able to figure this out. Even Apple, with the random scattering of apps across multiple pages on its iPhone, hasn’t figured it out. But I’d love to see it, and I and a few hundred million other people wouldn’t mind getting it from Yahoo.

For her part, Mayer provided a provisional vision of what Yahoo is or should be to the New York Times: “My focus at Google has been to deliver great end-user experiences, to delight and inspire our end users. That is what I plan to do at Yahoo, give the end user something valuable and delightful that makes them want to come to Yahoo every day.”

But that “something” is far too diffuse, and surely she knows that. As a former product chief at Google, Mayer may face a challenge doing the vision thing. She needs an elevator pitch, yes, but more than that: She must make a clear, bold statement of why we should continue to type Y-a-h-o-o into our browsers, or install Yahoo apps on our smartphones.

Move Over, PayPal Mafia. Meet The Google Mafia

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

PayPal, the online payments company that eBay bought in 2002, is legendary in Silicon Valley for spawning an incredibly talented group of founders, investors, and executives at startups that read like a Who’s Who of Web success stories. The so-called PayPal Mafia includes Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, LinkedIn cofounder, angel investor and Greylock VC partner Reid Hoffman, hedge fund and early-stage investor Peter Thiel, Yelp cofounder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, YouTube cofounders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, and many more.

Now, it looks like a new corporate organization is moving in: the Google Mafia. With the surprise appointment today of longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo, it now appears that the Google Mafia could prove almost as powerful, though in a different way: It’s more of an executive mafia than a startup mafia. But these former Googlers are now in high-profile positions around the Valley and the larger tech industry, in very influential companies. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

What Google Veteran Marissa Mayer Can Do As Yahoo’s New CEO

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

In a surprise move widely viewed as a coup, struggling Yahoo has just appointed Marissa Mayer, a highly visible longtime executive at Google, to be its new chief executive. The appointment, initially announced through a New York Times story, now has been announced officially.

Mayer, who for years ran Google’s search products after joining as employee No. 20 13 years ago, more recently had moved to head its local business efforts. But last year, Jeff Huber was appointed senior VP of local and commerce, seemingly a management level above Mayer, though Google tried to say the move wasn’t a demotion.

Mayer, 37, wasn’t mentioned as a possible Yahoo CEO successor to Scott Thompson, ousted in May after revelations about a falsified resume. Instead, it was becoming more likely that interim CEO Ross Levinsohn would step up to the permanent post, if any CEO job at Yahoo, which has run through multiple CEOs in recent years, can be said to be permanent. On the other hand, delays in the decision indicated the board wasn’t going with the seemingly easy choice.

In an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times’ Dealbook column, Mayer said that despite “an amazing time at Google” for the last 13 years, the decision to take the top spot at Yahoo was “relatively easy” because it’s “one of the best brands on the Internet.”

The job will be a big challenge for Mayer, as it would be for anyone, because Yahoo has been losing ground on virtually every measure, with sales flat or down for years. What’s more, there has been a steady exodus of talent as Yahoo changed direction and leadership multiple times in recent years and laid off thousands of workers.

Mayer faces an additional challenge because she has never run a company, let alone a large one that’s essentially fighting for its life vs. runaway competitors such as Google, Facebook, and even Twitter. Even more important, perhaps, though she was apparently moved over to Google’s local efforts to revive them, she hasn’t faced a true turnaround situation before. She could face a skeptical reception from investors, analysts, and especially Yahoo employees, who have seen two other outsider CEOs, Thompson and Carol Bartz, depart without making any headway. …

On paper, a charismatic product chief from the company largely responsible for Yahoo’s decline as an online advertising powerhouse looks like just what the Web pioneer needs. But her success now will depend not on what she has done in the past at the world’s most successful Internet company but what she can do next at the least successful one.

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Report: Apple iPhone 5 Will Be Last Smartphone Hurrah As Market Nears Peak

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

The great smartphone boom is about to end. That’s according to one savvy tech prognosticator, Bill Whyman, head of the investment research firm International Strategy & Investment‘s tech strategy research team, who tends to look more than a couple quarters ahead.

Whyman contends that as smartphone penetration reaches 50% sometime next year, the market will start to slow for the first time. That will put pressure on all the players, from struggling RIM to to Google’s newly acquired Motorola and even to so-not-struggling Apple. Assuming Whyman’s right, here’s what he thinks happens next:

* Growth slows: Emerging-market demand means it won’t fall off a cliff, but as market share of smartphones reaches 50%, Whyman says, the current 45% growth slows as that second 50% becomes much harder to get. Over time, much of the new demand will be replacing older models, further driven by upgrades to faster 4G networks.

* Competition intensifies. It’s hard to imagine the smartphone battle getting more heated than it already is, but Whyman says this will be an inevitable outcome of a slowing market. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

What Mobile Advertising Problem? Search Ads Zoom On Tablets, Smartphones

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Worries that mobile advertising will never amount to much have investors worries about even relatively strong companies such as Google and Facebook. And there’s reason for concern, from whether people want their little smartphone or even tablet screens cluttered with ads to whether advertisers will ever be able to know, for instance, that someone who sees an ad then went into a physical store and bought something.

For now, though, the advertisers who command the marketing budgets don’t seem too concerned. According to a new report, search ads in particular are growing rapidly on mobile devices, especially tablets. The study, from online ad management firm Marin Software, points up several interesting trends, pretty much all of them a positive for advertisers and search engines–mainly Google, since it still owns 81% of all search ad spending.

First, a lot more clicks on search ads are coming from mobile devices, says Marin Marketing VP Matt Lawson. In the U.S., mobile devices accounted for 18% of paid search clicks, up from 14% in the first quarter. And in an indication of a surge in tablet ownership and use, the share of clicks on tablets, at 8%, was up 33% in the quarter.

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Ad Tech Funding Rolls On With $15 Million For Retargeter AdRoll

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

You know those ads that seem to follow you around the Web after you visited the advertiser’s site? That’s retargeting, a method of pitching people online that many marketers consider one of the most effective ad targeting methods.

AdRoll, one of the biggest companies doing retargeting, just got a new slug of funding to help it expand, including a deal to participate in Facebook’s new ad exchange. Foundation Capital, along with previous backers Merus Capital and Accel Partners, ponied up $15 million in a new round announced today. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

Internet Ad Spending Bucks Economy To Grow 12% in Q1

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Despite a roller-coaster economy, marketers spent 12.% more on Internet advertising in the first quarter from a year ago, according to a new report from Nielsen.

That’s the highest growth rate of any ad medium. Radio, a bit surprisingly, came in next at 7.9%. Television grew 2.9%, but it still commands almost 62% of all ad dollars to the Net’s 2.6%. (While the latter seems quite small, it’s only display advertising, not search. Why Nielsen leaves out the largest online ad format, I’m not sure.

Magazines were the only loser, falling 1.4%. Overall, ad spending grew 3.1% worldwide, to $128 billion in the first quarter, but in North America, the uptick was only 2.1%–there’s that economy.

Those figures from Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report mask much bigger increases in some overseas markets. Latin America saw a 31.8% jump in Internet ad spending from a year ago, the Middle East and Africa 35.2%.

And those increases weren’t just online.  TV ad spending in the Middle East and Africa jumped 33.8%.

The Asia-Pacific region, however, saw a noticeable cooling to 1.7% thanks the slowing Chinese economy.

Read the original post on The New Persuaders.

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