WhatsApp changes its business model
WhatsApp, a messaging system that was purchased for $19 billion in 2014, announced that it will no longer charge subscribers for using its service. Previously, the WhatsApp userbase of nearly 1 billion people worldwide was charged 99 cents each for the service. WhatsApp now hopes to develop a revenue model involving charging corporations to communicate with its users, though this might compete with another Facebook service, Facebook Messenger.
The New York Times
Some private tech valuations take a hit
Privately-held technology companies have been a hot venture capital investment in recent years, but now the bloom may be coming off the rose. Jawbone, a wearable technology company, just did a new round of financing at half the valuation of its last 2014 assessed value, and this follows an even steeper haircut taken by Foursquare in its latest round of financing. Some of this may be due to company-specific factors, though a 30 percent drop in new private equity funding in the fourth quarter may indicate it is part of a broader trend.
The New York Times
Instagram getting high marks for user ad recollection.
According to Nielsen Brand Effect, ads on Instagram are remembered by consumers at a rate that is 2.8 percent times the online norm. Advertisers are taking note: eMarketer expects Instagram to reel in $595 million globally in mobile ad revenue in 2015, and its marketing usage rate among companies with 100 or more employees to jump from 32.3% in 2015 to 48.8% in 2016.
Media Post News
Tablet demand benefits from replacement cycle.
Even as penetration growth slows, demand for tablets remains strong as the market appears to have entered a replacement cycle. Thought the penetration rate is already at 57% in the US, roughly half of all adults surveyed said they plan to buy a tablet in the fourth quarter, either for themselves or as a gift. An analyst from Mintel sees the market becoming increasingly bifurcated between low-cost tablets on the one hand and high-powered "pro" versions on the other.
Media Post News
Google and Facebook team up on profile searches
Facebook now allows Google to include material from public Facebook user profiles in its search results. People clicking on a result based on this material will find themselves landed in the applicable Facebook profile via Facebook's app. The move helps Google further extend its search dominance and make inroads toward searching within apps, while the inclusion of profiles in Google search results should drive traffic to Facebook.
Latest move to thwart ad blockers introduced
Video ad platform provider Brightcove made the latest move in the ongoing chess match between advertisers and ad blockers. Since ad blockers work by focusing on the ad server, Brightcove introduced a method of integrating pre-roll ads directly into the requested video itself.
Direct Marketing News
Small businesses continue to overlook Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Whether it is due to limited budgets or a lack of marketing savvy, small businesses continue to place less value on SEO than do larger companies. Even though 45 percent of small business owners acknowledge that search engine traffic is an important source of new business, only 17 percent have invested in SEO.
Search Engine Watch
Online advertisers must prepare for life without Flash
Amazon and the Interactive Advertising Bureau are the latest heavyweights to announce they are turning their backs on Adobe's Flash. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers already hamper or completely block material running on Flash, and as other major marketing and content providers follow suit, ads dependent on Flash are fast becoming Internet pariahs.
Smart watch demographics pose a challenge for mobile app marketers.
With 63 percent of smart watch early adopters being male, mobile developers face a particular problem with getting users to engage with their apps. Not only are men less likely overall than women to use apps, but their app usage is less concentrated, meaning that no one category of apps is used by as much as 50 percent of men.