In this week’s edition of Oban’s regular summary of the international digital marketing news that effects your business: Alibaba demonstrates face-recognition payment software; Mail.ru group launch new mobile advertising platform; Canadian millennial brand interaction findings; a new Google algorithm update for mobile search with international implications; and Yahoo shutters office in Beijing.
On March 15, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba gave a talk about upcoming technology developments during which he scanned his face with the front-facing camera on his phone to make an e-payment.
“Online payment to buy things is always a big headache,” he said. “You forget your password, you worry about your security. Today we show you a new technology.”
Alibaba representatives have mentioned that the technology is still under the development, and the launch day is unknown yet. However, if launched the technology could be disruptive, due to the ubiquity of Alipay, Alibaba’s payment platform.
A new advertising platform, myTarget, has been launched in Russia by the Mail.ru group. The platform combines the audiences of mobile services and the top social networks including VK, Odnoklassniki and Moi Mir.
According to Dmitry Sergeev, the first deputy general director of the Mail.ru group, the system will provide a single point of access to a large amount of mobile data traffic, equipped with a range of analytical tools that will help to optimise traffic. myTarget will allow the purchase of targeted advertising, previously available through Target Mail.ru. Advertising on the web version of VK will continue to be sold through the VK platform as before.
Millennials are perceived as digital natives, spending more time on mobile and social than other generations. As many brands are inviting millennials to engage digitally, mere presence in the space is no longer enough. Scepticism about brand intentions is rampant, and according to eMarketer, 27% of respondents in Canada are cynical about the way brands interact with them.
Traditional advertising models have worked with baby boomers and Generation X, but the representatives of Generation Y in Canada are more aware about their purchasing decisions compared to other countries and other generations. Higher market awareness is forcing brands to find new ways to communicate with their customers.
“I think the biggest thing is the truth within the message,” said Andrew Au, president of youth marketing agency Intercept Group. “This group is so quick to call BS. They’re extremely savvy, and in some cases, equally as savvy as the marketer trying to engage them.”
At the recent Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in Munich, Zineb Ait Bahajji, webmaster trends analyst at Google, stated that the upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have an even greater effect than the infamous Panda and Penguin updates, even though its effects will be limited to the mobile space.
Considering the growing audience of mobile users across the world, such an update is extremely timely. According to eMarketer, there has been a 25% growth in smartphone penetration from 2013 to 2014. By 2017, more than a third of all users worldwide will be on smartphones – algorithmic improvements may even accelerate this trend.
Out of all Google updates, the biggest impact was caused by Panda algorithm, which caused changes in 12% of search engine results pages at its peak (Penguin managed “just” 4%). For mobile search, around half of all websites may be impacted after the algorithm is rolled out on April 21. Though the change will likely roll out regionally, international versions of Google will soon be affected, and the effects could be dire for sites that fail to offer a mobile-friendly experience.
Yahoo will soon shut down its office in Beijing, its only office within the country, with the loss of hundreds of jobs. The office has been running its consumer-facing activities, but after the low popularity of its services, including its web portal, music and email services, the office was changed recently into a research centre.
Alibaba manages Yahoo’s operations in China, but the office in Beijing was known for being Yahoo-controlled. This isn’t the first office Yahoo has closed in recent memory. Last year it laid off people in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as downsizing in the Middle East. This was done to reallocate resources and increase the company’s focus on the US market in the future.
To keep up-to-date with the latest international digital marketing news, sign up to Oban’s newsletter, Trendspotter. Alternatively contact Oban on +44(0)1273 704 434 or email email@example.com for advice on how we can help leverage your global online presence.
Chinese flag photo by Flickr user Patrick Denker
‘Pot of honey’ photo by Flickr user Denis Kortunov
‘Maple leaf’ photo by Flickr user ankakay
‘United Nations of smartphone operating systems’ photo by Jon Fingas