The Oban Blog

Digital World – Global Digital Marketing News: Thursday 16 July 2015

This week’s Digital World is here to bring you up to speed with the big stories and discussions with implications for international businesses. Stories in this edition include: how to prepare for looming Russian data storage law; nearly 200 million subscribers on China Mobile’s 4G; an interview with a German Google Spamfighter; discussions about the costs and viability of social media marketing; and emails sent to trees.

Two months until Russian personal data storage law

In the middle of last year, the Russian parliament adopted a law requiring all companies operating in Russia to store the details of their Russian users on servers physically located within the country’s borders. The law will come into effect on September 1, and foreign companies are already making adjustments, according to Russian Search Marketing.

Sites already compliant with the law include Ebay, Google, PayPal, AliExpress, and, with a number of e-commerce sites (KupiVip and La Redoute) compliant well before the law was passed. Failure to comply may ultimately result in the site being blocked by Roskomnadzor, and the move limits the viability of borderless cloud-computing services in the country.


China Mobile approaches 200 million 4G subscribers

Major Chinese telecoms player, China Mobile, has announced that it is closing in on its 200 millionth 4G subscriber, with the cutting-edge communications tech now at 25% penetration. Nationally, mobile broadband (4G and 3G) is estimated to account for around 50% of subscribers – with around 700 million users. China Mobile has placed particular emphasis on 4G, having fallen behind in the 3G era: its 900,000 existing 4G nodes are said to account for around 40% of all of the 4G nodes internationally.


Interview with German Google Search Quality team member

Johannes Mehlem is a SpamFighting employee for Google’s Search Quality team, based in Dublin, Ireland. In this interview over at, we learn some interesting German-specific SEO industry and spam-fighting details. For example, Mehlem observes that he is particularly perturbed by fraud and abuse, especially phishing emails, and he calls out “websites generated purely for search engines” as a particular pet hate. The interview also includes handy resources for SEO beginners, views on the German SEO community, and some typical advice about onpage optimisation.


Global ups and downs in social media marketing

Among a list of social facts and discussion this week, we find out that the most expensive city to buy Facebook Newsfeed ads in is Oslo, Norway, according to The Drum – a single clickthrough costs $0.73 USD (compared with $0.48 USD in London, which is ranked ninth). The Drum also goes into depth with recent changes to how cost-per-click calculations have changed on the social platform. Specifically, Facebook has removed likes, shares and comments from the equation and now focuses solely on clicks. The reasoning centres on clicks as the most desirable outcome – engagement clicks are less likely to correspond with eventual revenue.

Finally, Emarketer notes that social media marketing may be in decline in South Korea. Whereas 98% of social media executives said their companies were using Facebook in 2014, that number has fallen to 87%. Similar declines in blog, Twitter and Youtube usage were noted, though gains for South Korean’s native KakaoStory (as well as Instagram) suggest diversification rather than outright decline. 26.7 million people in South Korea use social networking sites at least once a month.


City of Melbourne leafing through tree fan-mail

Back in 2013, the city of Melbourne, Australia, assigned 70,000 trees an email address – not as part of an administrative error or grossly mismanaged elderly internet access initiative, but as a mechanism through which residents could report deteriorating arboreal health. A substantial number (four in ten) of the city’s trees are expect to be lost due to old age in the next twenty years, and the email addresses allow – in theory – local councillors to stay informed about problems.

Of course, give a tree a publically available email address and you can expect humanity at large to contribute some less-than relevant correspondence. The Atlantic details some of the best love letters and assorted nonsense the city’s trees receive, as members of the public (and internet users with too much time on their hands) write to their favourites – and sometimes receive replies.

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 protected] for advice on how we can help leverage your global online presence.

Image Credits

The Moscow Victory Parade of 1945 photo 9 by Flickr user Mila Gutorova

Woman using mobile phone, Shanhai photo by Flickr user Soctech

Google – Dublin photo by Flickr user William Murphy

Oslo radhus, Norway photo by Flickr user Claudia Regina

Melbourne photo by Flickr user Jennifer Morrow