The Oban Blog

Digital World – Global Digital Marketing News: Thursday 25 February 2016

In this week’s update of digital marketing news from around the world: the Chinese government consolidates existing rules aimed at limiting the autonomy of foreign media publishing; Thailand and India lead the league table for fake followers in Asia; mobile-ad blocking comes to the Three network in Europe; Chinese online TV gets covered in comments; and Google translate passes 100 languages.

Beijing may be moving to ban foreign media publishing

China’s State Administration of Press, Publication Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) along with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have publicised new regulations that could see foreign-funded companies struggle to publish online content. The rules will come into force on March 10 and would apply to any company without a domestic partner and explicit government approval.

Widely reported as a complete and newly penned ban, China Digital Times has an interesting round-up suggesting that the strongly worded rules are instead consolidating rules that exist in various forms already. It also contextualises the move against the backdrop of Xi Jinping’s presidency, where information controls have been tightened and media outlets told that they “serve the party”.


Dealing with Asia’s fake follower problem

As Econsultancy points out, fake clicks cost web advertisers about $6.3 billion – but the cost of fake social media audiences is less widely acknowledged or measured. Claiming that audience numbers don’t add up and citing examples of social click farms in the less economically developed world, Econsultancy’s article observes that the problem is especially pronounced in Asia. In fact, Thailand and India may have a shocking one tenth of the clickthrough rate they appear to have “on paper”.

Fake social accounts interfere with metrics and can result in a distorted view of who to target and how successful a marketing message is. Therefore, the article makes some suggestions about how to mitigate this effect: using performance-based metrics, segmenting your audience and using your own business’ CRM for targeting.


Europe-wide deal brings advert blocking to Three phone network

On 19 February, Europe-wide phone network Three announced that it has struck a deal with Shine Technologies, an ad-clocking company. The deal is expected to roll out initially in the UK and Italy, potentially preventing websites from serving advertising to mobile users. Three’s other regional operators (including those in Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden) are likely to follow soon after.

Three has described the technology as allowing customers “more control, choice and greater transparency” over the kind of advertising they receive. It has also stated that it believes customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts – advertisers should absorb these costs – and it is apparently working with mobile advertisers at Google and Facebook.


The popularity of real-time comment TV in China

The crossover of television with social media is a well-known phenomenon in western markets – many shows prompt avid tweeters to use a certain hashtag to get people talking about the show, for instance. However, the practice has taken on a life of its own in Asia – as explained in a Technode article on “The Weird World of Chinese Interactive Video Shows”.

Many Chinese video streaming sites are using Danmu, a real-time commenting function (originating in Japan, popular in South Korea) that places user comments directly on screen. In the final episode of one talent show described in the article, about 30 million Danmu comments appeared onscreen. Users can also be polled on matters such as song-selection at live-concerts, and they can “tip” performances by paying for onscreen graphics (such as virtual flowers) – something that is proving to be a significant stream of revenue for the websites involved.

Google translate now in 103 languages

Popular machine translation software Google Translate has been updated with 13 new languages, offering 103 languages in total and apparently allowing for translation of 99% of all language use online. The 13 new languages account for around 120 million new native speakers, with significant new additions including Pashto, Sindhi, Amharic and Kurdish (all of which are spoken by in excess of 20 million people each). Pashto is arguably the biggest addition, spoken as it is by 39 million (mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan).

A number of languages with fewer than one million native speakers also made the cut – including Corsican, Frisian, Hawaiian, Luxembourgish and Scots Gaelic. Translate is dependent on the availability of existing translated documents in any given language, as well as volunteers willing to add and improve translations. While a far cry from proper localisation, it is nonetheless impressive to have seen the tool grow to its present size from its launch a decade ago (offering translation from English to/from French, German and Spanish)

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Image credits

Beijing Mao photo by Flickr user Yiannis Theologos Michellis

Thailand Crowd photo by Flickr user Jamie Hutt

Non aprire gli occhi photo by Flickr user Emanuele

Danmu screengrab from cited Technode article