In another interesting week for digital marketing around the world: Alibaba and the State of California target competition at gay Chinese couples; Twitter curates Cricket World Cup tweets in India; Android passes iOS for mobile ad impressions; eight Asian tech start-ups to watch; and a profile of South African e-commerce.
China, a country where the state attitude towards homosexuality is at best ambiguous, mainstream society lacks representation or even acknowledgement of LGBT lives and issues. So it’s something of a landmark event to see Alibaba’s Taobao.com running a competition offering ten gay couples a trip to California for marriage registration and a honeymoon.
Taglined “As long as yours is true love, Taobao will help you realize your dream” and telling “Heterosexuals [to] please wait for the next round” of the competition. Voted by 75,000 people, it suggests both shifting attitudes in China and signals interesting new international marketing tactics from American states courting the so-called pink dollar. Gay marriage is currently illegal in China and the marriages will be unrecognised upon the couple’s return.
The Cricket World Cup is a massive retail and e-commerce event in India – think of the Superbowl in America, or the Football World Cup elsewhere. It’s a magnetic event for marketers, who arrange promotions and sales events (one purchasing behaviour that’s directly analogous to the examples above, is that consumers justify new TVs purchases based on big games).
The size and importance of the event to Indian audiences explains Twitter’s somewhat off-book efforts to integrate itself there recently. Specifically, it plans on generating significant “logged-off” – or outright unregistered – engagement during the tournament using a special curated notification service. High data costs traditionally prohibit significant social media engagement, so the service, which sends three curated multimedia messages a day from both the ICC and BCCI, has the potential to be popular. A spokesperson at Twitter describes the consumption by notification behaviour as “unique to India” – similar services have been run for major Bollywood stars and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Though Google’s Android platform has dominated smartphone market-share for some time, mileage has always varied as to the commercial dimension of that user base. To this day, Apple still generates more money via its app store than Android’s Google Play marketplace. Though this is in part due the multiplicity of app stores, some are made exclusive on their respective devices (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle Fire Store).
However, Android is turning the tables in terms of mobile ad impressions, according to eMarketer. Android’s market share in Q4 2011 was just 26.1% compared with iOS’s 48.9%. Even as recently as Q4 2013, Android managed only 37.7% to iOS’s 43.4%. Now, however, Android has surged ahead: 62.7% of mobile ad impressions are via Google’s platform. Nonetheless, iOS accounts for 51.7% of ad revenue (Android 41.2%).
While many in digital marketing know names like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, the names of recent start-ups in Asia – the surprise successes and acquisitions of the near future – may well have escaped you. The Drum has recently profiled eight start-ups you may not have heard of, including Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, Hong Kong’s delivery van hire service, GoGoVan, online healthcare provider Guahao; and Meituan – a group deals website that is frequently compared to Groupon.
English speaking businesses are naturally drawn to working in English speaking nations, and among them South Africa is perhaps one of the more frequently overlooked. Econsultancy has a report breaking down some key facts. Around 25 million people use the internet in South Africa – making it the twenty-fourth biggest internet nation and statistics surrounding growth are encouraging (market penetration is only 47%, yearly growth rate is 14%).
As with many nations, growth is attributed to the mobile internet market; fuelled by affordability and infrastructure issues in the home (though the South African government has pledged to bring everyone online by 2030).
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Zuma beach photo by Zuma Beach.
Indian children playing cricket photo by John Haslam.
Android garden photo by Dan H.
Wechat-5-1 by Sinchen.Lin.