Foot traffic to stores is steadily decreasing, but the fact that consumers are making fewer trips to retailers doesn’t mean overall sales have been down. In fact, retail sales for many businesses are soaring — and they have mobile to thank for that.

More often, shoppers are going to their mobile devices to make purchases. From pondering to researching to making that final decision, mobile devices play an essential role in the shopper’s journey, and that’s a trend that seems to be escalating all across the world.

“Online shopping has become a major force in global markets, and with the holiday shopping period upon us in the United States, we are seeing mobile’s share of that market accelerating,” says Larry Moores, our Vice President of Consumer Mobile Reporting and Analytics.

To better understand consumer behavior, we initiated a study  in which we combined the anonymous, aggregated data from the 270 million users of our mobile browsers with data from our mobile ad platform in order to shed insight on mobile shopping trends. The results varied across country and across time of the year, but ultimately validated the fact that mobile usage is truly poised to become the number one engine of e-commerce.


According to our findings, across Western Europe, Latin America and the United States, the holiday season leading up to Christmas marks the busiest mobile shopping activity period. But in other parts in the world, mobile shopping activity peaks during other times of the year. In fact, globally speaking, June is the highest month for mobile traffic volume to shopping sites.

When it comes to behavior during the week, the report showed that while desktop traffic to e-commerce sites typically peaks on Mondays and remains stronger on weekdays than on weekends, mobile shopping traffic is highly concentrated on Sundays. This could possibly be explained by consumers utilizing their mobile devices to browse products over the weekend, then making the purchase when they return to their desks on Monday. Fridays tends to be the slowest day for mobile shopping.


We also took a look at where consumers are directing their attention. Amazon leads the way when it comes to where consumers are shopping in the United States, taking up a staggering 36.3% market share of traffic volume. Right behind Amazon is eBay, at 16%, and craigslist, at 11.5%. When it comes to the big box retailers who offer mobile shopping, Walmart leads, followed by Target and Sears.

Globally, Amazon remains the frontrunner, but there are some new kids on the block — like FlipKart in India and Berniaga in Indonesia — that have solidified their positions in Asia. In Latin America, mercadolibre has become a top mobile shopping destination. In China, Alibaba seems primed to pull some solid market share as mobile shopping marketplaces continue to evolve.

Retailers can simply not afford to miss out on the growing opportunities for mobile revenue. But to do so, they must understand the consumer and the consumer’s behavior. It’s not enough to provide quality content with minimal hassle. Retailers must make the experience and the interface bespoke to each consumer if they really want to capture the consumer’s attention and ultimately, motivate the consumer to make a purchase.


footballThe Super Bowl is one of the most exhilarating displays of athletic competition known to mankind. Fans wait all season for the championship game, cheering on their team, heckling the opponents, talking stats and strategy. It’s a battle of blood, sweat and tears, and for so many, there’s nothing more exciting…well, aside from the Super Bowl commercials.

The commercials that air during the big game often get as much hype as the game itself. Not just because of the staggering amount that they cost to run — this year, NBC is selling 30-second spots for a record $4.5 million each — but because they are, for the most part, the most hilarious and most memorable advertisements we see all year. And the truth is, they need to be.

The Super Bowl is the kingpin of broadcast advertising. It is the most-watched television program of the year. In fact, Super Bowl XLVIII was the most-watched show in human history with 111.5 million viewers. So if advertisers don’t bring their a-game to the big game, they may as well be flushing their money right down the toilet.

So far NBC has reportedly sold roughly 90% of the ad time available during the Super Bowl. Of that 90%, you can expect to see fewer automobile advertisements, along with a decrease in ads for technology hardware and health snacks. What you will see, however, are more advertisements for movies, beer, soft drinks, fast food and insurance.

There’s no doubt that the Super Bowl spotlight makes an impression, but the cost of getting that impression has many looking for other avenues, as they very well should.

Sports are best watched live. That’s the beauty of streaming from a mobile device — fans can watch the game in real time from wherever they are. And one of the most popular times to tune in from a mobile device? No, not the Super Bowl, but NFL playoffs.

During playoff season, more fans are using their mobile devices to watch games. And they’re just as engaged as consumers are during the big game.

So what kinds of advertisements work best during playoffs?

Just as week 20 matched the final four teams last season to determine who would go to the Super Bowl, last year we noted in a special report that four categories of advertisers vie for sports fans’ attention with mobile advertising impressions: consumer electronics, energy producers, food (fast food) and beverages, and communications services. And the top advertiser by engagement last year was fast food sandwich delivery companies.

On top of that, it was just revealed that ESPN, Yahoo,  CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated have all seen huge surges in mobile football viewing. Fox Sports Digital just told Adweek that it experienced a 90% jump in mobile traffic last month compared to October 2013.

So between the lower cost, the consumer base and the overall effectiveness of mobile ads, advertisers may start to reconsider their strategy when it comes to when and where they air their commercials…or at least, how much they are spending.

Brace yourself for the biggest m-commerce day of the year


Image via Mobile Commerce Press

Image via Mobile Commerce Press

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about your gift list. And if you’re anything like the vast majority of consumers, you’ll be swapping the crowds and craze of brick-and-mortar shopping for the more laid-back approach of perusing what’s in stock from your mobile device.

Adobe recently released its 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast, which looks at more than a trillion visits on 4,500 retail websites from the past six years—as well as 20 billion visits from last month—in order to come to its findings: that mobile devices and holiday shopping are a match made in marketing heaven.

According to the report, e-commerce prices will hit rock bottom on Thanksgiving Day, lower than any other day during the holiday season.

Record sales of $1.35 billion are expected on Thanksgiving Day (a 27% increase since last year). Sales on Cyber Monday are predicted to reach around $2.6 billion (an increase of 15%) and Black Friday is expected to be the fastest growing online sales day of the year at $2.48 billion (an increase of 28%).

The report not only forecasts that Thanksgiving Day will be the best day to shop online for the best deals, but maintains that a growing number of consumers will be shopping from their mobile devices.

“Consumers will be able to get the best deals this year if they shop online on Thanksgiving Day,” stated Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing at Adobe. “Smartphones and tablets continue to drive more and more sales online, which will lead to new sales records on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With over 30 cents on the dollar spent via mobile devices, Thanksgiving Day will surpass Black Friday as the most mobile shopping day ever recorded.”

Thanksgiving is expected to be the most mobile shopping day of the year: 31% of all online sales ($418 million) will be generated via smartphones and tablets, up from 21% last year and marking a new mobile share record. Mobile devices will also drive a substantial share of sales on Black Friday (26% or $644 million) and Cyber Monday (20% or $520 million).

Those numbers represent the growing prevalence and prominence of mobile devices and build on 2014’s biggest marketing trend: that retailers can not afford to shrug off mobile as an overhyped channel.

By leveraging mobile devices, personalization tools and contextual signals, retailers can better interact with consumers on a personal level, reaching out when relevant, providing a better experience and, ultimately, finding a higher return on investment.

Social media is proving to be a significant player in the earlier stages of the consumer’s purchasing journey. The report indicates that 2% of purchases will come directly from social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter. According to an Adobe survey of more than 400 U.S. consumers, only 25% of them will consult social media when deciding to make a purchase, while 40% of 18 to 34 year olds are likely to check social networks for gift ideas.

The report indicates that 18% of mobile marketers plan on using iBeacon technology in order to target consumers.

As the holiday season kicks off, Opera Mediaworks announced Fuse this week, a new cross-screen attribution measurement system to complete its Retail Intelligence Suite (RISe) for retail and CPG brands. This cross-screen attribution tool will be coming at a key time for retail marketers, as they use mobile media to drive online and in-store sales during the holiday shopping season. FUSe will allow them to understand the impact of those campaigns on their Black Friday e-commerce sales, regardless of what device customers choose to use for checkout.

The State of the Digital Industry – Where is mobile at?

IMG_0562 IMG_2550


The Opera Mediaworks team today attended the Chief Digital Officer Global Forum in Half Moon Bay, California. The event is an exclusive gathering of senior digital operating executives and industry influencers to discuss and debate the state of the connected consumer.

Opera Mediaworks CEO Mahi de Silva was on an opening panel on the first day of the conference, talking about “The State of the Industry” with Mark Mahaney, Managing Director, Internet Research, RBC and Tom Bedacarre, co-founder and chairman, AKQA & President, WPP Ventures. The panel was moderated by Ari Levy, Senior Tech Reporter at CNBC.

The panel went over many discussion points about the state of the digital advertising industry and where the dollars are moving. Some of the key points addressed by the influential panelists were:

Mobile advertising:

Mark Mahaney from RBC quoted a stat that today up to 25% of digital ad spend is going into mobile and he sees mobile as the single biggest trend in digital advertising. However, there is a problem of attribution and tracking to the right source, which is what the industry needs to solve, pointed Tom Bedacarre of AKQA. Our own Mahi de Silva talked about the growth of mobile video advertising as the ultimate medium that connects with the consumer with sight, sound and motion. He pointed out that with a $100M annual revenue run rate, Opera Mediaworks mobile ad platform now sees almost 50% revenue coming from mobile video ads — a trend to watch out for in mobile.

Cross-screen advertising and Connected TVs:

 Ari brought up a good point about the role of connected devices in the advertising ecosystem and how marketers will be able to target consumers on the large screen. Mark from RBC predicts that these will just be intermediary devices for the time being that will go away with the rise of Connected TVs. Mahi pointed out that Europe is already implementing cross-screen advertising and companion experiences across TVs, tablets and mobile devices and it won’t be too long before this becomes a mainstream phenomenon.


And how will marketers utilize wearables as an advertising opportunity? We certainly don’t expect consumers to be bombarded with ads on their tiny wearable screens, pointed Mahi. However, what is important for marketers is the data they can retrieve from these devices for better marketing and targeting. With wearables, companies will be able to get more information about user habits, preferences, and their proclivities, which marketers will then be able to use to offer consumers the right messages on their mobile devices which are heavily attached to their wearables.


Last but not the least was the age-old question of the compromise of privacy as users continue to give away lots of personal information to apps such as Facebook. Panelists seem to agree that consumers were ok with their privacy being compromised to some extent as long as they got a fair value exchange for giving up that information – and will continue to use services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to stay connected. Mahi pointed out that Facebook has been able to do a tremendous job of keeping its users engaged even though there is no way to opt out of their targeting like users can with Google.

All in all, an interesting, high-level discussion on where we are with digital and mobile advertising with many view points.

Opera Mediaworks at M1 Summit and CDX Forum

m1-summitOpera Mediaworks will be at several upcoming events this month that are not to be missed, beginning with the M1 (“Mobile-First”) Summit on Thursday November 13 at The Village, San Francisco. Join us there to hear Scott Swanson, President, Global Advertising Sales speak on the “Mobile Cross Device Advertising” panel alongside panelists from Verizon, ActionX and xAd. The panel will be moderated by Jeff Bercovici from Forbes and begins at 12:30pm. Register for tickets here!

CDX2013_LogoIconOnly_RGB_72DPI Then join us November 19 at the Chief Digital Officer Global Forum in Half Moon Bay, California where CEO Mahi de Silva will take the main stage on the panel “CNBC Presents: The State of the Industry” moderated by Senior Tech Reporter Ari Levy. This 9:25 am session will take a look at the exploding digital and mobile economies, key macro-level trends and issues, and predictions from a diverse group of industry leaders and influencers.

The CDX Forum runs from November 18-20 and we hope to see you there. 

 It’s a busy time for us at Opera Mediaworks and we want to share it with you. Follow us on our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages for more details and upcoming events!

Mobile tech: Near-field communication


Is NFC the bridge to the future?

It is certainly bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, and it is absolutely poised to play a pivotal role in the way we use our phones, especially when it comes to mobile payments.

Even if you’ve never owned an NFC-equipped device (like a Samsung Galaxy S5 or a Nokia Lumia), chances are you’ve still probably used NFC. The technology is embedded in things like commuter cards, print advertisements and smart cards. And now that the technology is placed in more Android and Windows phones, and Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, NFC is more relevant than ever.

NFC, or near-field communication, is a fairly straightforward technology that allows two devices placed within a few centimeters of each other to share small bits of data. In order for this to work, both devices must be equipped with an NFC chip.

One-way vs. two-way

There are two ways that this can play out. The first is two-way communication. This happens when two devices work together so they can both read and write to each other. For instance, using NFC, you can touch two Android devices together to share information like contacts, links or photos.

The second is one-way communication. In this case, a powered device (like a phone, credit card reader, or commuter card terminal) reads and writes to an NFC chip. Then, when the user taps his or her commuter card on the terminal, the NFC-powered terminal deducts money from the balance written to the card.

One-way communication to a mobile device is what advertisers are interested in working with first, of course. Retail is the obvious application: A coffee chain serving a coupon offer directly to a customer’s phone, for instance. (NFC should be confused with beacons, however, which have farther physical reach.)

Less power, Bluetooth-friendly

Consumers tend to have a love-hate relationship with Bluetooth. They like for its ‘magical’ powers, but don’t like the inconvenience of pairing devices. It’s hard enough pairing Bluetooth in a car to call mom.

 Bluetooth is also a huge drain on your battery. That’s the beauty of NFC – it uses significantly less power than Bluetooth. This is important when you consider that someday, phones could supplant wallets, meaning battery life will be one of the primary considerations when purchasing a mobile device.

NFC is a team player, too, in that it works directly with Bluetooth. For example, rather than trying to endure the process of pairing your phone with Bluetooth speakers, you can just tap your device to a speaker and allow NFC to exchange the pairing data.

So it really isn’t too big of an exaggeration to say that someday we will all be making purchases with our phones, using NFC technology. In that sense, NFC is the bridge to the future.

Will credit cards become obsolete?

Maybe. But maybe not. Credit cards could still remain the golden standard to which everything must be compared to – the ease, the reward points, the lustrous sheen — what’s not to like? Still, as we’ve seen recently, credit cards are swimming in their share of problems. From credit card breaches (remember the Target nightmare?) to credit card fraud (according to your statement you just dropped a grand at a Parisian nightclub), now may be an especially good time to find a solution that protects our wallets from theft and fraud.

Millennials, Gen Z are digging mobile payments

According to GfK’s FutureBuy survey, Millennials (Generation Y) and the generation after (Generation Z) are more apt to see mobile payment systems as more efficient and effective than other types of transactions, even if they are admittedly concerned about security and privacy.

About a third of Generations Y and Z say if they have the opportunity, mobile is their preferred method of payment. As for the others, mobile payment may not be their number one pick right now, but they certainly do not seemed closed to the idea.

“Right now, people are standing by. There’s a willingness to embrace mobile payment, but they’re standing back because they sense the issues,” Tom Neri, executive vice president of GfK’s Financial Services team in North America, tells Marketing Daily.

One factor that may help give this crowd a boost of confidence in mobile payments — Apple. Apple’s introduction of ApplePay could just be the key player that the industry needs to really take hold.

“No one’s really made the case yet, and Apple’s probably in the best position to do so,” Neri points out.

With Q3 numbers, Opera Mediaworks is the no.1 independent mobile ad platform

Today, Opera Software reported third quarter earnings, showing strong revenue growth from Opera Mediaworks, the mobile advertising subsidiary.

Some highlights from the earnings report that went out today:

  • Opera reported Q3 revenues of $138.8 million, up 84% from Q3 2013
  • Adjusted EBITDA* of $33.9 million, up 51% from Q3 2013

In Q3, the Opera Mediaworks business became the largest independent mobile ad platform globally, as measured by reported revenue. The Opera Mediaworks business showed revenues of $86.9 million in Q3, up 193% compared to the same time last year.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.05.24 AM

Last quarter, revenues from Opera Mediaworks surpassed Opera’s overall revenues by 50 percent. In Q3, they were well above 60 percent of the company’s overall revenues. In stark contrast to the scaled businesses in the mobile ad tech space, the Opera Mediaworks business generates healthy operating income.

Total mobile advertising impressions now managed by the Opera Mediaworks platform are 187.5 billion – up 9% compared to Q3 2013. This revenue growth was driven primarily by increased revenue from premium and performance advertisers and “app install” driven spend from primarily the mobile gaming sector.

In Q3, Opera Mediaworks also closed the acquisition of AdColony and saw a very strong contribution from the company in Q3 earnings. Opera Mediaworks made a strong bet on mobile video advertising by acquiring AdColony, and today, close to half of Opera Mediaworks’ revenues come from mobile video.

One in 10 mobile ads in the United States today is video, as reported by our Q3 State of Mobile Advertising report,  and that trend is only growing as we move toward the magical impact of video on consumers through sight, sound and motion.

AdColony excels in delivering innovative, TV-like crystal-clear video ads instantly in HD across the most popular iOS and Android smartphone and tablet apps in the world.

Together with AdColony, the Opera Mediaworks’ mobile advertising platform now reaches more than 800 million consumers globally. When combined with the Opera owned and operated properties, Opera Mediaworks has a reach of 1 billion consumers.

“We are proud to report yet another successful quarter with record revenues,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO, Opera Mediaworks. “Our Q3 results and the addition of AdColony, positions us the no.1 independent mobile ad platform globally. While generating record revenues, we are also delivering very healthy profits, in sharp contrast to other mobile ad tech companies.”

You can read more about Opera’s Q3 results here.

Code Mobile and more…

Opera Mediaworks at the Code Mobile conference

Opera Mediaworks at the Code Mobile conference

Opera Mediaworks was one of the founding partners for the prestigious Code Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay earlier this week.  Apart from the gorgeous location at the Ritz Carlton, Code Mobile proved to be a solid gathering of some of the key personalities in the mobile industry – discussing some of the important trends and innovations in mobile.

It was  interesting to catch them talk about how they have utilized mobile as a platform to either connect people, enable commerce or just unleash their creativity.

At the end of the day and a half, it was clear that mobile is a pervasive platform that is here to stay. This is clearly expressed in this piece in Re/Code on the “World of Mobile by Numbers.” You will see the Opera Mediaworks’ Q3 2014 State of Mobile Advertising highly cited here.

CEO Mahi de Silva and President, Global Ad Sales, Scott Swanson at Code Mobile

CEO Mahi de Silva and President, Global Ad Sales, Scott Swanson at Code Mobile

In other news, Opera Mediaworks CEO Mahi de Silva was seen earlier this week talking on Bloomberg West about our latest State of Mobile Advertising report. Mahi focused on Android and iOS as mobile platforms and which one garners more mobile ad impressions versus mobile monetization.  He also talked about the rise of mobile video as a way for brands to connect with their audiences on the devices closest to them – their phones. See the interview here.

All in all, a very busy and fruitful week for Opera Mediaworks!

Proximity marketing for holiday shoppers

omw_logo_1Beginning in November, Macy’s will roll out a proximity-marketing platform that helps shoppers find the specific item they’re seeking — and will also offer recommendations about merchandise in their local Macy’s that they may not be aware of.

The program works with Google’s proximity marketing platform that taps into the marketing and sales possibilities of using GPS to give consumers promotional stimuli at times that it can be most impactful: while they’re either in or near retail outlets.

“We’re trying to encourage omni-shopping behaviors in consumers,” Jennifer Kasper, group VP-digital media and multicultural marketing at Macy’s, told Ad Age. “We know that we have great opportunity to build a longer, more loyal relationship with them if we are successful in communicating…and encouraging discovery.”

With this new feature, shoppers can search for an item on their phones and see exactly what Macy’s locations have it in stock. Along with images of the items, shoppers will be able to view product details like price, size and color, directions to the store, and a link to the item on the retailer’s website.

The program will also suggest other items in Macy’s stores on a customized basis.

“This is a great opportunity for us to shine a light on what’s in our stores,” Kasper says. “It’s getting more credit for the inventory that’s in our stores through digital.”

Macy’s has been testing the local inventory ads in various markets over the past year and so far, the results have been encouraging.

But while search-based mobile marketing does hit the consumer at a great time — while they are actively seeking products — this does not, by any means, eclipse the importance of other types of location-based brand campaigns.

There are ways to know if a customer is in-market for a product without them having to type it into a search engine. You can obtain rich consumer profiles and achieve very precise targeting for rich media brand campaigns that deliver on strong KPIs. And there’s no partnership required to do so.

Take, for instance, a rich media ad unit that dynamically populates the ad with products based on where the user is located. This product, called Shop Local, lets advertisers customize the design of the interface of that unit to match their ad branding, too. It’s a complete solution that allows both map and list display, sorting of entries by either price or popularity, dynamic feed of offerings per specific location and a swipe-able product gallery. It’s like a shopping experience – all within an ad unit.

Understanding the impact of these types of units is actually fairly easy, too. Through Shopper Insights — a reporting technology that analyzes billions of locations from the largest opt-in panel in the industry and measures the data signals shift to confirm in-store visits — it is possible to determine exactly how many unique visitors went to a retail location after seeing an ad. Retailers will also be able to understand the characteristics of their audience exposed to mobile ads, indexed against U.S. population.

And now is the time to be thinking more about the mobile opportunity for retail. With the holiday season fast approaching, shoppers are more likely than ever to turn to their mobile devices to view offers, comparison shop in-store and purchase goods and services.

According to the Ipsos Holiday Shopping Study, more than 75% of all smartphone owners will use their device for holiday shopping and that 1 out of every 4 will make a purchase on their phone.

Consumers are starting their research earlier than ever and retailers are expanding their Black Friday promotions across the entire month of November. What used to be a one-day special is now a month-long event, making location-based campaigns more important than ever.

Shoppers are also spending more time researching and consulting more sources before making a decision. In 2010, consumers used an average of five sources of information before making their purchase. That number has more than doubled, with shoppers consulting at least 12 sources last year. That means that October through November has become a pivotal window for retailers to reach their consumers, present them with offers, information and other valuable content.

Android and mobile video on the rise

Today we released our quarterly State of Mobile Advertising report, using the impression and monetization data from the third quarter of this year. The findings, while not surprising, do point to some significant trends that we’re seeing as we round the corner of 2014 and head into the final stretch.

Android, for instance, has truly risen from its 2013 position and has made a deep impression (pun intended!) on the global consumer. It seems almost implausible that just one year ago, iOS was the clear leader of the two operating systems. While iOS continues to dominate monetization, with more than half (51%) of market share, Android is catching up. Google’s mobile OS climbed three percentage points in the last quarter to reach 42% of revenue. In terms of impression volume, Android devices captured almost 58%, nearly double that of Apple devices (30%).


phonesWhile marketers and technologists tend to think of the mobile device battle as “Android vs. iOS,” consumers have typically been more concerned about device type and brand, such as a Samsung Galaxy or an Apple iPad.

However, as noted in a recent study by J.D. Power & Associates, operating systems are becoming more of a factor and are a significant driver of device selection, user experience and brand satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction with mobile devices is becoming more closely tied to the system powering it than the bells and whistles it provides, reported MediaPost last week. As such, we will continue to closely watch the popularity of these top two operating systems ebb and flow through the rest of the year and into 2015.

Another significant finding from this quarter’s SMA is the clear rise of mobile video advertising. Marketers are quickly adopting it as a format: brand spending on in-app HD mobile ads has increased 36% from the second quarter, and 1 in 10 mobile ads in the U.S. are now video. Mobile video ads are also incredible revenue opportunity for publishers, as eCPMs are 8X that of regular banner ads and 2X higher than rich media ads.

ecpm_multiples[1]With that rise, and the interest mobile video is getting from advertisers — especially those in Entertainment, CPG and Financial Services — comes a series of questions. As part of our integration with the premium video ad platform AdColony, we were able to cull some data that helps to address some common questions from advertisers. Below are three of those that we were able to answer in this report.

Q: What is the ideal length for a mobile video ad?

A: The average length of a mobile video ad is 20.6 seconds, but 53% of video impressions are shorter than that. Advertisers are finding that short videos (<15 seconds) can support a number of marketing goals, from driving awareness to purchase intent.

mobile_video_creativeQ: Who watches more video, iOS or Android users?

A: iOS users. There are more video impressions served to them, relevant to overall market share.

Q: What are the hot app categories for mobile video?

A: Shopping, Sports, Social and Health & Fitness are the categories that are seeing the strongest mobile video ad completion rates — with many of those averaging higher than 90%.

For deeper background on these questions, and additional findings from Q3, see the full report.