Welcome to your weekly update of international digital marketing news. In this week’s update: North Korea blocks Facebook and Twitter; 46% of Spanish web users state ads prevent them seeing or reading content; smartphone sales continue to rise in India and the EU says Google, contrary to popular belief, is not a search engine.
India is the world’s fastest growing mobile market and sales have continued to increase this year by an extra 29% despite a plateau in China and the US. As a whole, the rate of smartphone sales will decrease globally to a low 7% in 2016. Technology updates are becoming cumulative rather than changing rapidly which is causing smartphone owners to refrain from upgrades in Asia. Only 17% of India’s 1.3 billion people own smartphones which can only predict positively for the progression of mobile commerce and other mobile-first or mobile-only businesses in India.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have come to the conclusion, after much deliberation, that Google is not a search engine. This means that Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo are also in the same boat because they do not meet the EU’s definition. In fact, there is currently no search engine in existence today which matches the definition laid out by the EU’s Directive on Network and Information Security. It is suggested that a search engine can only be given thus title if it ‘allows users to perform searches of, in principle, all websites’.
The global internet was once free from subject to censorship in North Korea, although on occasion sites were periodically blocked, it was not as restricted as it has become today. Tech in Asia reports the DPRK’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications named YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Voice of America and South Korean media sites as websites that should be blocked “for a certain period of time”. Access to the global internet is limited to the country’s universities and Party Elites. North Korea permitted tourists to buy 3G SIM cards for use during their closely monitored visits. It is unknown how long this official forbiddance will be implemented for.
IAB Spain and the native ad platform provider Ligatus recently commissioned Elogia to assess the extent of ad blocking in the country. Over one quarter of the 2000 web users interviewed said they currently blocked ads – the staggering equivalent of 5.6 million people in that age group.
Why do people block ads? Half stated ‘too much advertising’ as their reason with 53% saying ads were inconvenient and intrusive. It is important to note that 46% felt ads prevented them seeing or reading content and 84% agreed that digital ads (pop ups, non-skippable pre-roll video ads) were more invasive than others. IAB Spain reported 95% of respondents who went online several times a day had installed an ad blocker and 88% of mobile internet users had also done so with those surveyed noting digital ads were most inconvenient on mobile phones.
The good news? Fewer than one in five respondents said they shut down ad serving on sites such as social media, news, games or sports with 64% feeling some digital ads were informative.
Pyongyang Ladies, North Korea by Flickr user Matt Palsh
Girl talking on mobile by Flickr user Ramesh Lalwani
Google Neon by Flickr user mjmonty
Alto de Buenavista by Flickr user Nacho