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Terracotta infantry

The global digital marketing weekly: Monday 16 February 2015

Welcome once again to Oban International’s global digital marketing weekly. In the news this week: mobile soars in China, with consequences for Baidu; 57.9 million people will use social networks via mobile in Brazil this year; Yandex explains Men’s Day, one of Russia’s biggest e-commerce events; UK retailers have their sights set on increasing international sales; and Google continues to clash with the EU over Right to be Forgotten legislation.

Baidu posts disappointing quarterly results, Sohu Sogou revenue grows by 70%

An evolving element of the Chinese search landscape in the last year has been the erosion, though slow, of Baidu’s search dominance. In January 2013, they had 64.5% of the market – just twenty months later, that fell to just 56.3% thanks to the growth of rival Qihoo 360.

Now The Drum is reporting that Baidu’s shares sunk 10% after fourth-quarter 2014 revenues came in slightly lower than expected – and Baidu was forced to admit that the current quarter was likely to continue the trend. Baidu is placing the blame on a consumer shift to mobile from PC – they recently announced that mobile revenue passed PC in December 2014. This gives them less ad-real estate to sell.

This mobile trend has benefited others, however. Sohu Sogou, creators of a mobile keyboard (Sogou Pinyin) that is China’s top input application for both iPhone and Android has seen revenue growing 70% year on year. Due to the relative complexity of the Chinese writing system, intelligent input software capable of efficiently parsing user input is highly sort after.

Dubai skyline

Argentina and United Arab Emirates top regional mobile usage

Speaking of mobile, recent reports from have revealed mobile market penetration figures in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa. Argentina comes out top in an analysis of social network use on mobile – 95% of all mobile phone internet users in Argentina (14.1 million people) check social networks, compared with just 75.5% in Brazil – nonetheless, Brazil’s greater population means that the size of the market is actually nearly four times larger (57.9 million).

Meanwhile, figures covering mobile phone use in the Middle East and Africa reveal that nearly 73% of people in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will use a mobile phone this year. This is roughly 4.2 million people – though penetration in Nigeria is just 47.6%, there are 93.5 million users – and by 2018, projects 107.9 million.

Leningrad defenders statue

Yandex highlights Men’s Day, Russia’s third-biggest e-commerce event

February 23 probably isn’t a day that many Western businesses are keeping a close eye on (unless their profits are somehow linked to the fact that it’s Emily Blunt’s birthday), but in Russia, it’s “Fatherland Defender’s Day”. According to Yandex, this seemingly militaristic observance is actually the third biggest e-commerce event in terms of search queries – after New Year and Valentine’s Day – and the fifth most important occasion once birthdays and weddings are put in the mix.

Why does such a patriotic day drive such commercial interest? Whereas February 23 was once associated with men who have served in the Russian Armed Forces, it has evolved into a general purpose, highly commercialised day for all men, “Men’s Day”. Common presents include razors, shaving foam, cologne, socks, ties and hats – though tea is also a surprisingly common gift. Russian women needn’t feel left out for long, either: International Women’s Day (March 8) is celebrated to a similar degree.

Nearly two-thirds of UK retailers plan international expansion

According to a Royal Mail survey (via The Drum), UK retailers are increasingly looking abroad for new revenue-generating opportunities, with 65% stating that they plan to increase international sales in 2015 – a significant increase over the 39% recorded in a similar survey at the beginning of 2014. As part of this trend, 84% said they plan to target new countries they do not currently sell to, especially the United States thanks to a strong dollar.

EU flag against a building

EU wants its right to be forgotten rulings to apply globally

Google’s clashes with the European Union as to the historical extent of its listings continued this week as the Google Advisory Council on the Right to be Forgotten issued a formal 44-page report recommending that delisting of sensitive information should be limited to versions of Google that operate within EU jurisdiction. They argue that because Google actively redirects users seeking to the appropriate local version, and 95% of all queries from Europe are served with European versions of Google, there is no need to extend de-listing to

The EU feels otherwise – they argue that so long as the RTBF rules aren’t implemented on international versions of Google, people will just use a different version of Google when they realise that the results they want to see are blocked. Google is naturally resistant to the idea that EU law should extend beyond EU borders. Google has deleted 260,000 links since the RTBF ruling came in last May.

Contact Oban on +44(0)1273 613 400 or email [email protected]> for advice on how we can help leverage your global online presence.

Image sources

Terracotta Infantry photo by Flickr user Richard Fisher.

Sunrise Dubai photo by Flickr user bpprice.

Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad photo by Denmead Man.

European Union Expansion Celebration photo by Flickr user Rock Cohen.