In Q2, Android and apps prevailed

Mobile OS is a two-horse competition between Android and iOS — and in the second quarter of 2015, Android was still the winning horse.

Last quarter, for the first time, Android took the top spot for revenue generation across all platforms. This quarter, as seen in the findings of our Q2 State of Mobile Advertising report, the robot maintained its lead, accounting for nearly 3X the volume of impressions (63.7% vs. iOS’s 21.7%) and generating the most revenue of any OS (47.7%).

But when it comes to monetization potential, iOS still has the edge. Apple’s favorable market position in Western markets has helped the iPad, in particular, generate the highest revenue per impression of any device and platform combination.

Opera Mediaworks_State of Mobile Advertising_Traffic Revenue by mobile OS

Social networking has also held on to its leading status in terms of total traffic and revenue across the Opera Mediaworks platform, accounting for a solid 31.5% of all impressions and 17.7% of revenue.

As for the other players, Music, Video & Media retained its historically impressive share of revenue (14.7%), and Games and News & Information still rank high for revenue generation. But things weren’t as consistent in other categories. Sports jumped from its number eight position to the number two spot for impressions served, a change likely due to seasonality as the NHL and NBA championships coincided with the opening of the American baseball season. And on the flipside, Communications Services fell from third to ninth place for traffic volume and from fifth to tenth for revenue generation.

Opera Mediaworks_State of Mobile Advertising_Traffic Revenue PublisherThe mobile advertising report also provides unique insight into consumer behavior. Have you ever wondered how consumers are using mobile apps? As it turns out, the most common first “app of the day,” that is, the first app users access when they wake up in the morning, is in the Social Networking category. And the most common last app of the day, or the last app accessed, is for Entertainment.

We also took a look at a user’s “loyalty” to see how frequently he or she returned to that app category for their first or last app of the day. What we found is that there are only four application categories vying for the top spot as either first or last app — News & Information, Entertainment, Games and Social Media — and each only slightly changes its position between morning and evening periods. But if you’re going for consistency, News & Information had the most regular first and last app of the day usage, and the smallest relative change in its audience size between morning and evening.

Taking a closer look at these top apps to assess monetization trends, the report also found that Games leads in terms of eCPM. This isn’t necessarily that surprising given that there is a relatively high volume of performance (CPI) campaigns, most of which are video, being executed within gaming apps.

On a macro level, the mobile ad market is continuing to expand across the world. One of the most exciting revelations proved to be the enthusiastic adoption of video advertising, with Australia, Japan, Germany and Canada expressing a particularly high interest in mobile video ads. And when it comes to traffic and revenue, the United States remains the clear leader, but the report notes that Africa, and as of recently, the Middle East, are steadily growing their share of the market.

Inside the Opera House: challenges and opportunities in mobile creativity

Opera Mediaworks Opera House Creative Studio

It has been reported that mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide by 2016. Additionally, mobile video is predicted to account for more than 50% of all online video views. As mobile ad spend has continued to grow, the mobile ad space has become more competitive. Because of the increased competition and the prevalence of mobile media, consumers may have a tendency to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of mobile ads. Consumers are seeing content in more places from more brands, leaving them with shorter attention spans and high expectations. Mobile creative can also be seen as a difficult canvas to work with; brands must manage smaller screen sizes and catch a user’s attention within seconds.

With a growing mobile ad landscape where there are many ways to falter, brands are challenged to take advantage of mobile’s unique opportunities. Mobile has many native features like front-facing cameras, built-in fitness trackers, GPS, microphone and vibrate features. With significant money being spent on mobile ads, it seems many brands have risen to the challenge. Therefore, it is only through creativity in mobile that it will be possible to stand out above competitors. This will require brands to continuously come up with new ways to utilize mobile’s native features and find new tactics to engage users in their campaigns.

Defining mobile creativity

What exactly does it mean to be creative in the mobile landscape? One of Opera House’s creative masterminds, Gonzalo Borras, believes it’s about “finding news ways to engage with the audience.” Other experts from Opera House are in agreement, adding that creativity in mobile should close the gap between users and the brand, while being able to build new brand experiences that are impossible to do any other way. Mobile creativity allows users to experience new, innovative concepts — all in the palm of their hand.

Balancing creativity with technical constraints

We caught up with our global creative studio, Opera House, and picked their brains on some challenges they’ve ran into when it comes to intersecting art and technology to create an amazing creative

According to our Sr. Creative Director, Doug Manson, a common hurdle Opera House has run into is having to wait for technology to catch up with their creative vision:

“Figuring out how to translate a highly engaging user experience into a mobile ad unit that looks visually stunning within the constraints of both Android and iOS devices can pose quite the challenge. Processing power, file weight and bandwidth are just a few examples of those challenges. We also ask, how can we repurpose video for mobile screens to create the most optimized user experience? What are the best ways to use data to iterate on creative and creative concepts around mobile?”

From there, our folks at Opera House then have to find the right balance — dimensions, calls to action (CTAs) — optimized for each  device and operating system (i.e., Apple and Android). “Often times, we provide creative solutions to bring our client’s vision to life and make an impact in the mobile landscape ,” says Jason Collar, Sr. Director of Creative Services. “That, and figuring out how to get all the cool, engaging stuff we create across all devices can definitely be a challenge, but it calls us to be creative in intersecting science and art — that’s where working among such creative minds is extremely beneficial,” adds Manson.

An opportunity to exercise true creativity with technology

How exactly does Opera House face challenges in producing creative ad units that not only keep brands on par with competitors, but also ahead of the game? Nowadays, creative minds need to think beyond creating an engaging creative, limited to a video or display ad. Mobile devices now have a lot of native features brands can utilize, such as the camera.

“Emerging technologies have vastly opened the door to better the overall experience on mobile. The use of the camera, such as in the Lufthansa campaign, allowed users to take a selfie. The Wheat Thins campaign allowed users to experience a new product by using the device’s gyroscope. And with new technology such as motion ads, facial recognition, beacons, and mCommerce slowly hitting the market, the storytelling will only get better,” says Collar.

“That selfie unit was really cool in that it interacted with the user to give a personal connection between the user and the brand,” adds Manson. “It’s something we definitely didn’t perfect over night — there was a lot of trial and error over the years, but we’ve figured out certain ways to get things that are compact for mobile and can load in a matter of seconds. It’s a continued learning process for all of us.”

Unique challenges, unique opportunities

Mobile is unique in that it presents brands with various constraints while simultaneously providing the tools to create more immersive brand experiences. True creativity requires finding inventive ways to use the tools of mobile to minimize the effects of these constraints. In fact, instead of seeing these constraints as limiting, they should be seen as opportunities to enable better storytelling.

 

INSIDE THE OPERA HOUSE: 5 QUIPS ON MOBILE CREATIVE, ACCORDING TO LUKE HARRIS

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As part of the launch of Opera House, Opera Mediaworks’s global creative studio, we are launching a blog series that will showcase some of our best creative work, creative best practices and our global creative talent that churns out award-winning mobile ad campaigns. This week, we caught up with Luke Harris, the creative lead for the Opera Mediaworks EMEA team to find out what he thinks are mobile creative’s most unique characteristics and its most potential, and how his team works through the medium’s existing (and rising!) challenges.

“Good things — no, great things — come in small packages”

And yes, your phone is small. That screen is so many times smaller than the very traditional media spaces the advertising industry was used to: billboards, cinema screens and large TVs. But it’s densely packed with pixels, and, more importantly, with features. It knows where you live, where you’re going, how to direct you there, and all of these other little details that open up a whole world of engagement possibilities.

Sure, the screen size is a limitation. But that’s the fun of it: figuring out how to work with that one obvious limitation, and replace the old styles, such as rich, detailed layouts with loads of copy, or 30-second video ads, with new formats that are specific to the mobile medium.

Mobile creative, to me, is about striking the right balance between the traditional creative style – high-energy, high-impact formats and messaging – and a style that takes advantage of the phone’s features, providing a more subtle interaction, or usefulness, that consumers appreciate.

“A great mobile ad has a lifespan beyond the ad itself.”

It used to be that an ad was just an ad — that you’d see it on your TV, computer or even mobile device, have that single impression, and then turn away or close it out. And when you did that, the ad experience ended. But what we’re finding now is that when you integrate the native features of the phone, you can extend the lifespan of your ad.

It’s one thing to say, for instance, that “Your nearest Starbucks is 3 blocks away.” It’s another thing entirely to literally point the user in the right direction and guide them with arrows all the way to the door of the shop, leveraging the gyroscope technology to make the phone into a compass and guide.

A prime example of this is a campaign we did for the London Eye, a key landmark that overlooks the Thames river. It’s right in the middle of everything, but it can still be hard to find if buildings are obscuring it. We did proximity targeting to serve the campaign to visitors that were within 1,000 meters of it, and the ad pointed them to the exact location.

The London Eye [source: Wikipedia ]

And there are so many other ways that you can extend an advertisement, even well beyond a few minutes of guidance.


Lufthansa’s selfie ad unit [source: Marketing Land]

The selfie ad unit, for example, has the user taking a picture of themselves and integrating it into a background photo that we create. That (branded) picture then lives in the user’s image gallery, and, if they post it on social media, on those public channels as well.

Or, say there is an event, like the season finale of Game of Thrones; you can have the user “Add to calendar” and set reminders for it, which means that event also now “lives” on the phone itself.

“A unique storytelling campaign? It all depends on how brave you are.”

One of the great benefits of what we can do now with mobile targeting and user data is not limit ourselves to the one-hit wonder kind of ads. It seems contrary, because everyone thinks mobile is all about the quick hit, the short-form, but you do have the possibility of creating a full narrative. You can phase them just like TV ads, a teaser campaign with three, four or even five different messages, because the ad serving data tells us how many they’ve seen, which ones, and when. You can take the user on a journey, really.

But, it all depends on how brave you are. It’s very easy to overcomplicate mobile ads. The data still tells us that people don’t really see everything. If you look at mobile eye-tracking studies from web usability experts like Jakob Nielsen, for instance, you soon realize that it’s best to stick to the basics. Keep it sharp, with a simple message, logo and call to action (CTA). You can create multiple versions, of course, and even have a thematic connection among them, but make it a range, and keep your colors and style consistent.

We also try to stay on top of new workarounds to battle indifference to mobile ads. For example, there’s something now called “beyond the banner.” It’s not an auto-expand, but rather a subtle and fleeting little extra breakout from the conventional 320×50 space that is designed to counteract mobile banner blindness and get the user to look at the ad, even just for an extra second.

“Let’s turn that one off.”

When you do have a bunch of creative executions that are very similar, and just slightly different, you can then start testing those parameters to hit on the combination that works best. In a campaign we ran for a line of boots from a popular shoe brand, we had one with a man, one with a woman. We also had two different CTAs: “Shop now” and “Learn more.” We thought in this case that “Shop now” would perform better, but as it turned out, consumers really wanted to explore more content around the product, and not just start immediately shopping. So we said, okay, let’s just turn that one off.

“The real challenge? Communicating the concept to the client.”

You know those amazing features I mentioned earlier? The ones that we love to use as a core function of a campaign, like the gyroscope and camera? It’s a double-edged sword because it’s extremely difficult to get the concept across on paper, so it requires much more work to communicate it accurately to the client.

We found that flat design simply doesn’t cut it, so instead we create videos or digital storyboards. The client receives a URL that they can view on desktop or mobile, as an interactive slideshow that they can click (or tap) through to understand how the navigation plays out and how the ad ultimately works on a mobile device.

They’re not finished ads, of course, but we do find that they enhance the client’s imagination and allow them to get excited about it enough to buy in — and that’s what we need to move forward with what we know are exceptional campaigns.

Luke Harris is the Head of Studio at Opera Mediaworks EMEA.

OPERA MEDIAWORKS LAUNCHES AMP 2.0 FOR DEEPER TARGETING

Audience management platform delivers expanded data segments and profiles for programmatic buying

OperaMediaworks_TargetingAudiencesMobile

Today, we are happy to roll out the latest iteration of the Opera Mediaworks Audience Management Platform (AMP). AMP 2.0 will enable AdMarvel platform customers to uniquely package their ad inventory leveraging their unique datasets, to expose specific audience segments across their properties. In addition, publishers can use these new capabilities to extend their audience reach across OMAX (Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange)

Opera Mediaworks’ AMP is a product extension to the targeting capabilities of AdMarvel, the leading mobile ad serving and programmatic Supply Side Platform. AMP delivers granular audience segments by combining the publishers’ first-party data with third-party data available through the AdMarvel platform, enabling deep audience insights for ad targeting.

The key to AMP 2.0 is allowing a publisher to append its own valuable first-party data to third-party profiles delivered by Opera Mediaworks, to build profiles unique to their audience.  For example, a music application that today targets its users only with its own first-party data on music preferences, can use AMP 2.0 to add third-party demographic and behavioral data to that profile and serve even more highly targeted ads across its owned and operated mobile inventory. In addition, that audience can also be identified and served to in other apps, using OMAX, should additional reach be needed.

“This technology is being made available to publishers so they can strengthen their audience targeting capabilities and increase their reach. Publishers want to deliver meaningful ads to trusted, premium mobile audiences at scale in a brand-safe environment,” explains Mark Fruehan, President, Publisher Services Global Supply. “AMP 2.0 gives our publishers the tools to deliver ads to detailed and accurate audience segments within their own ecosystem and across more than 1 billion unique consumers we touch each month. The goal is to ultimately deliver the right ad, to the right user at the right time.”

Doing all that in a privacy-compliant manner is core to AMP. No PII (personally identifiable information) is exchanged, handled or stored. All data is securely managed in a private cloud-based platform, which augments publisher first-party data with data insights from Opera Mediaworks. Data is further protected via encrypted communication and is only accessible for ad targeting and decision-making at the time of the ad call.

To enable AMP 2.0 and more information how you can leverage this platform solution, contact opera-supply@opera.com.

Welcome to Opera House

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Technology dominates most conversations in mobile advertising, but it is creative that moves hearts and changes minds. This has been true in every medium from the beginning of advertising — first in print, then radio, television, desktop and now mobile.

It is for this reason “Innovative Creative” is one of the three pillars of Opera Mediaworks’ core value proposition (in addition to Premium Environments and Proprietary Technology).

Introducing  Opera House

Today, we find immense pleasure in announcing our new global creative studio: Opera House. We take deep pride in our global creative team that works with brands and agencies (both creative and media agencies) to bring mind-blowing creativity to their mobile campaigns that translates into actionable results.

Opera House is comprised of a global team of more than 60 well-known creative innovators and mobile marketing masterminds spanning North America, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Opera House’s goal is to become a trusted partner to brands and agencies with solutions and services to fulfill and test their mobile storytelling goals in a brand-safe premium environment. And in the end, it’s all about bringing results to our partners.

 

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What we do

At Opera Mediaworks, we firmly believe that creative storytelling power is produced when combining art with technology. The mobile device is unique in that it is very personal and stays with the consumer at all times, demanding the most attention. With mobile advertising, the idea is to delight the customer with innovative creative rather than annoying them with uninspiring ad units.

The Opera House team leverages the native features of the mobile device, such as the camera, gyroscope, vibration and GPS, to come up with powerful stories through rich-media and video formats. In the past, Opera House has pioneered ad units such as native video, short-form video, selfie ads and voice ads. You can see more examples of mobile ad campaigns executed by Opera House here.

What’s coming

In the coming weeks, we will celebrate and highlight the Opera House global team and their brilliant work across continents in a series of blog posts and videos. This will include creative director profiles and technologist roundtables focusing on finding creative inspiration and Q&As with brand and agency partners.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate creativity with Opera House!

CBS Interactive is our no. 1 draft pick

cbs interactive opera mediaworks

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor might be the most sought-after giants on the court, but in the mobile advertising space our no. 1 programmatic pick for June is CBS Interactive.

CBS Interactive, or CBSi, is the premier online content network for information and entertainment, with more than 280 million people visiting its properties each month. The media company’s portfolio of premium content sites include CNET, CBS.com, CBSNews.com, CBSSports.com, GameSpot, TV.com and Last.fm, spanning popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and gaming. And, the company has been doing an impressive job in optimizing these brands for mobile, offering consumers a seamless media experience wherever they go on the network, on any device and level of connectivity.

Opera Mediaworks has been working closely with CBS Interactive since its inception in 2008. Now, we are happy to announce that, through a preferred partnership agreement, we are able to connect buyers directly to CBS’s broad inventory of high performing mobile app and mobile websites.

Some top mobile web and in-app properties in the U.S. are:

  • Download.com
  • Techrepublic
  • ZDNet
  • CBS, CBS News and CBS Sports
  • CNET
  • Ciao
  • TV Guide

Our demand-side partners can now programmatically buy inventory on these properties through private marketplace configurations that reside in the Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange (OMAX), with the ease and efficiency that comes with automated buying and selling.

Available ad unit types includes banners (standard, MREC, full-page interstitial), MRAID native and video. To learn more about the opportunities from this new partnership, contact opera-supply@opera.com.

Ushering in a new era of mobile measurement

mobile media exchange mobile measurement

John Wanamaker, a department-store magnate in the late 19th century, famously quipped, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Seth Godin took that one step further, saying it’s closer to 1% of advertising that works, at the most. “Your billboard reaches 100,000 people and if you’re lucky, it gets you a hundred customers,” he says.

Fortunately, with the move to digital, marketers finally started to understand which half (or 1%) of their ads were working, especially with online display — starting with simple metrics like click-through rate and lift in top-of-funnel metrics like direct traffic and branded search, reaching all the way down to captured leads and conversion metrics.

Then mobile arrived on the scene, and marketers got frustrated again. The proxies that they had become accustomed to, many of which were made possible by cookies that identified that user and could record their behavior, were no longer viable options. Tracking an individual user across multiple apps and browsers, on multiple devices, running on different networks was a huge challenge, and tensions arose within the industry around it.

But now there is an opportunity in mobile to connect digital habits and actions to the offline world; entire companies have been created around that mission. We know the data is there; it’s just a matter of finding how to collect it (in a privacy-compliant way) and make it meaningful and actionable.

We’ve already come a long way, but there is a whole road ahead. Mobile media has never been riper for a measurement revolution. Instead of focusing on clicks (or rather, taps) or views, let’s find out if we are really making a difference. Are they buying that toothpaste? Purchasing that movie ticket, buying that car?

Here are some of the big strides that have been taken so far this year in mobile measurement across four of mobile’s most important verticals.

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
Since retailers do much of the actual selling of products, CPG brands have traditionally focused on branding campaigns, not direct response. Their KPI’s, by default, have been around “engagement,” such as:

  • Expanding ad to read product details
  • Watching a video
  • Downloading a coupon
  • Finding recipes

The impact of CPG campaigns is thus measured by interaction with ads, not purchase, or conversion, which is really what matters most. Fortunately, more CPG brands are taking advantage of new measurement services and are starting to gain visibility into purchase volume and lift among consumers exposed to their mobile ads, understanding the exact dollar value for their “return on ad spend,” or ROAS.

Because of this, we are hoping that mobile investment in this vertical will continue to grow, perhaps even faster than industry predictions. While CPG share of mobile is on the low end now — less than 8% of total mobile spending — mobile does account for more than a third of all digital advertising, and we think there is nowhere for it to go but up.

Automotive
Automotive is an exciting vertical for mobile, mainly because there has been a very effective measurement system that has been the standard in online advertising for years that is set up well for mobile adaptation. Currently, advertisers can match data of exposed audiences to household-level data offered by certain vendors to understand if that household recently purchased a specific make and model of car. The vendor then compares that group to the national averages, or another group of unexposed households, to determine the effectiveness of that campaign. In this way, mobile advertisers can see if they have increased the “buy-through” rate of households and thus driven the purchase of their specific vehicle above general population norms.

Retail
Like CPG, the key component for mobile ad measurement in the retail industry is not in a store visit, but in the final step — at the register. Marketers can now get anonymized credit card data and tie it back to user IDs to discover the dollar amount of purchases at specific places, like a clothing retailer or quick-service restaurant. They can also see how often those customers are making purchases of their product.

And, similar to the CPG studies, they can compare the exposed group to the unexposed group to analyze the total impact and calculate the achieved “lift” as well as the dollar value of the campaign, or ROAS. While credit card data from one company obviously does not cover the entire population, it is still an enormous sample size across the U.S., typically in the tens-of-millions.

Entertainment
If there is one industry that has truly gone digital, it’s entertainment. In many ways, the connection between ads and media consumption should be easier and more direct, as consumers’ behavior is often linked on the same device. For instance, an ad for the new season of Orange is the New Black should be directly linked to them streaming it on Netflix. With the numerous ways that mobile devices are connecting people to their home entertainment systems, like set-top box integration, mobile marketers will soon be able to see if someone watched a particular show and if that was influenced by an ad campaign for it.

Even entertainment companies that operate mostly offline, such as movie theaters and telecommunications companies, can now track mobile actions to offline behaviors, through one of the other methods mentioned above, such as credit card data.

MobileMediaExchange_OperaMediaworks_Shadows

Ultimately, what marketers really want to know is, “Did my campaign cause an action?” That is, did the ad push the consumer to try something new, choose a particular type of entertainment or make a purchase? The shift to digital has already increased our desire and expectation of transparency and accountability, and the shift to mobile is the next step forward, not back.

We should not be settling for proxies for “prospect” or “purchase” any longer. Just as Plato described the shadows in the cave as not the reality, click-through rate and video views are not the only ways we should measure campaigns. Every campaign, and all marketers, should — and now can — shift to a model that directly shows the return on ad spend, not an estimation of impact based on mere reflections.

Photo Credit: tnssofres and orkybash via Compfight cc

3 REASONS TO JUMP INTO OPERA MEDIAWORKS’ PRIVATE MOBILE MARKETPLACE

Mobile Private Marketplace

In the few years since we first launched the Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange (OMAX) we’ve grown tremendously, now handling billions of daily requests across more than 18,000 mobile apps and sites. As our volume has increased, we’ve taken significant strides to add valuable features for our demand-side partners to drive significant value from the marketplace.

Our focus in the past year has been around private marketplaces, which are “walled garden” agreements in which premium inventory is made available and searchable to approved and certified demand partners who buy high-value, brand safe pre-auction packages.

Here are some of the key offerings for demand partners to consider as they look at the best ways to reach their client’s objectives.

1. Location-based targeting to drive purchase

Leading retailers, brand and agency buyers are now utilizing more “proximity marketing” to close that essential last gap between the customer and the point of sale.

To meet this demand, we have actively been growing our high-quality location-aware inventory across our premium, tier 1 mobile publisher partners – and making this private, location-based marketplace programmatically available to approved and certified demand partners.

Now, media buyers and brands have the ability to target consumers in real-time, delivering a highly-engaging ad experience to drive customers down the path to purchase.

2. Buy audiences, not inventory

Another key trend we’ve seen is how publishers and media buyers are moving toward audience buying. We recently released a study that revealed that in some regions as much as 85 percent of advertisers were creating unique audience segments for their campaigns.

That study was cited by eMarketer as part of a larger report on the interest in audience buying on mobile, and they noted that 3 out of 4 digital media and marketing professionals said they targeted ads to specific audience segments on smartphones.

Good news for those marketers: with the Opera Mediaworks’ AMP (Audience Management Platform) solution, we offer IAB audience segments, as well as custom audience segments to demand partners interested in buying mobile audiences at scale across OMAX trusted, brand-safe and premium, tier 1 sites and apps.

3. A mobile native ad exchange, with proven success in 2015

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of our global premium native ad exchange, gaining the attention of mobile media buyers, as well as the trade media. (See coverage in MediaPost and AdExchanger.)

Since then, we have provided both direct response and native brand placements to a slew of customers and have seen great success in maximizing ad revenue for a large set of our premium publishing partners.

Now media buyers and brands can connect programmatically into brand-safe native inventory from partners participating in our native marketplaces.

“We’ve already shown publishers the immense scale of the Opera Mediaworks platform, across core mobile markets,” remarks Wouter Jean-Paul Vermeulen, Senior Director, Global Platform Sales & Product Marketing. “Location, audience and native are highly desired marketplaces for our demand-side partners; they are not just a trend. OMAX offers them all.”

For more information or to setup a meeting to discuss demand opportunities, contact the Opera Mediaworks platform sales team opera-supply@opera.com.

WWDC 2015: Our Take

WWDC 2015

 

One of the most anticipated moments of every year for those of us who work in mobile is Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC 2015 underway in San Francisco this week. This is especially true for the keynote address where we all learn where Apple is going to take the ecosystem next!

As expected, the 2015 WWDC brought a flurry of announcements from the tech giant, including the launch of the new streaming service that directly competes with Spotify (Apple Music), a news reader that borrows from Flipboard (Apple News) and the addition of transit directions to Apple Maps, among others. More detailed coverage on the announcements can be found here or here.

As usual, we particularly focus on changes to iOS 9, which launches later this fall, and new features and capabilities that could be pertinent to our business and our customers: marketers, developers/publishers, and consumers. We collected some thoughts from Opera Mediaworks SVP of Product Strategy, David Kurtz below.

David-Kurtz_AdColony_2014

  • Multitasking for iPad 

Apple introduced a new split-screen app mode, which allows iPad users to run two different apps side-by-side. “On the advertising side, advertisers may be able to provide a better and more seamless experience by deep linking users to a specific page in their app, without taking the user away from what they were originally doing,” says David.

  • SpriteKit, SceneKit

iOS 9 upgrades several of its graphics APIs (specifically SpriteKit and SceneKit) which will obviously allow developers to continue to create even better native apps. “It will be interesting to see whether these new APIs also offer opportunities for deeper/richer engagement within ad experiences inside native apps,” David adds.

Some other key announcements that we’re keeping our eye on:

  • Continued commitment to Apple Pay

When Apple launched Apple Pay last year, we were very excited by the possibilities to accelerate trends in mCommerce (both in-app and offline). Obviously it hasn’t gained the traction we’d hoped for. But the promise remains tantalizingly within reach — the ability for users to easily pay for purchases through their mobile devices so marketers can close the loop between marketing spend and final purchase.

We’re thrilled to see that Apple is doubling down on Apple Pay!

  • Apple Pay is adding more retailers, more store credit, debit, and rewards cards, and more corporate partnerships.
  • Apple also announced a mobile Apple Pay reader with payment company Square.
  • This will enable anyone, including the vendor at the Farmer’s Market, to be an Apple Pay vendor.
  • In equally exciting news, Apple Pay is expanding internationally to United Kingdom.
  • Picture-in-Picture Video

The last feature that really caught our eye was the ability to offer picture-in-picture video viewing. Craig Frederighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, demonstrated an example of watching a video within the ESPN app, opening the eMail app, and seeing the ESPN video go into picture-in-picture and continue to play, so the user can keep watching video while they answer email!

We’re not highly focused on advertising within those picture-in-picture frames. We just love to see validation of our focus on video as the dominant user behavior on mobile.

Opera Mediaworks named finalist for thinkLA’s 2015 IDEA Awards

thinkLA IDEA Awards__Opera Mediaworks_OMDe_Big Hero 6

We are proud to announce that Opera Mediaworks was recently nominated as a finalist for thinkLA’s 2015 IDEA Awards. The IDEA Awards are meant to recognize creativity and innovation in media, marketing, and advertising. Opera Mediaworks certainly demonstrated that, as we were nominated for our work in the Best Mobile Campaign category.  

Opera Mediaworks’ AdColony division is nominated as a finalist for Best Mobile Campaign for “Disney ‘Big Hero 6’ Recharges Mobile Engagement,” in partnership with Walt Disney Pictures and OMD Entertainment. The campaign not only utilized new and innovative technology, but also harnessed mobile to showcase the film’s characters in a way that created familiarity and connections with the target audience.

A big highlight was Opera’s AdColony Instant-PlayTM HD video technology and a post-video rich media unit. Users were able to engage with characters from the film using gestures native to their devices and could respond to calls-to-action that led to more video content, visiting “Big Hero 6” social pages, entering a sweepstakes, and more.

For a closer look at how the campaign works, check out the video below:

thinkLA will announce award winners during the 2015 IDEA Awards Gala, on Thursday, June 4, 2015 in Los Angeles. This year’s theme is, “What if we…”, focusing on celebrating creativity, cutting-edge innovation, groundbreaking achievement, and astounding execution.

The complete list of finalists for all 2015 IDEA Awards categories and additional information on the IDEA Awards Gala can be found at http://www.thinkla.org/page/IA2015Home.

About thinkLA:
As a non-profit 501(c)(6) association, thinkLA was founded in 2006 to promote Los Angeles as a network of creativity and innovation in media, marketing, and advertising. They connect LA’s creative community; grow ideas, business and talent; and inspire through education, social and philanthropic events. thinkLA.org