Digital World is Oban International’s weekly roundup of international digital marketing news, covering some of the most interesting digital business news of the last seven days. This week: Google announces that mobile accounts for over 50% of all search worldwide; how social messaging app Line is breaking ground in Pakistan; Alibaba’s huge Double Eleven sales event will include significant high-street presence; bloggers engage with brands in India; and why Spain needs to be less hostile to the sharing economy.
Back in May 2015, Google announced that mobile search had pulled ahead of desktop search in 10 markets (specifically said to include the US and Japan). Just five months on, and mobile is now said to account for more than 50% of search queries globally, underlining the importance of optimising all sites for the format.
As Search Engine Land’s writeup observes, this increase in share doesn’t come at the expense of desktop searches – though the percentage of desktop shares is down, the total number is up. Mobile’s share in individual countries may also still be less than 50%, and the numbers are based on Google’s data, which may not reflect trends in markets where other search engines are dominant.
As regular readers and international marketing sorts will know, Line is a social app strongly associated with Japan, where the colourful, cutesy cartoon-aesthetic at its core seems most at home. However, on the lookout for new markets to break into, Line entered Pakistan – a market that other tech companies have been wary of entering to date – in August 2014. Even within the last 12 months, the userbase has grown 600 percent – making them second place behind WhatsApp.
Tech in Asia have taken a closer look at Line’s success, discussing some of the tactics the company has deployed to make the app appealing to Pakistani consumers. Line’s partnerships with local telecoms companies – offering free data packages to users and seeking app pre-installation on new devices – have been a significant factor. Line also has effective partnerships with cinemas, restaurants, media companies, ecommerce startups and celebrities.
We are now just a little under three weeks away from November 11, China’s biggest ecommerce day. Popularly known as “Singles Day”, the main event will, as ever, be Alibaba’s Double Eleven sales event – last year, Chinese consumers spent US$9.3 billion in 24 hours through Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. The day is frequently contrasted with Black Friday – a sales event originating from and largest in the US that is significant offline as well as online.
Well, Alibaba has announced its intention to take its Double Eleven offers offline, offering “the same products, prices, services, logistics and membership benefits [… in] the stores of participating merchants.” Merchants involved include Intime (department store chain), Suning (electronics retailer) and Haier (an electronics maker), all of which are entities Alibaba has invested in. Global partners include Estée Lauder, Mars and Chow Tai Fook (the later being a Hong Kong-based retailer).
A recent poll by echoVME, featured in eMarketer, claims that 85% of Indian bloggers surveyed endorsed brands via their blog and social media channels. Indian bloggers, including those who cover topics such as beauty, fashion, food and travel, are generally very willing to play along with more overt marketing tactics too. 64% say they attend blogger meetups hosted by brands and 61% were prepared to write sponsored blog posts. Nearly all respondents were active on Facebook and Twitter, and over 90% said they used those platforms for blog content distribution.
Spain’s regulatory policies are counter-intuitively resisting the sharing economy, according to an editorial by TheNextWeb.com. The argument made is that the decisions specifically harm tourism and business more generally at a time when Spain’s GDP is still struggling to return to pre-2008 levels.
Last year, Spain outlawed ridesharing app Uber and cities such as Barcelona have made it clear that they wish to impose fines on services such as Airbnb and Booking.com. These actions make less sense when Spain’s tourist industry is booming – and Barcelona has actually decided to block the creation of hotels, B&Bs and rental homes.
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GES Summit photo by Flickr user MEAACT Kenya
Line character banner from Line.me
Shopping Paradise: Nanking Road (Shanghai) photo by Flickr user Matthias Ripp
Jaisalmer (Rajastao), RTW 2012 photo by Flickr user Ana Raquel S. Hernandes
Barcelona: Arc de Triomf photo by Flickr user Jorge Franganillo