Spotify Introduces Sponsored Playlists

spotify sponsored playlistMusic streaming service Spotify has introduced a new marketing feature, enabling brands to sponsor the 400-plus playlists the company curates, reaching and engaging target audiences through the passion point of music.

The feature was unveiled with Kia Motors sponsoring the New Music Friday playlist to introduce its new Kia Sportage model. Through the sponsorship, Kia was able to promote the new vehicle with premium native logo placement, as well as video, audio and display advertising.

Spotify playlists span every genre and mood on the streaming service, and are accessed by millions of users every day. Spotify’s deep music intelligence claims to be able to find the perfect playlist to best match a brand’s target audiences and campaign objectives, then use native promotion and social media to maximise engagement with the playlist during the sponsorship.

“Music listening has changed a lot over the years,” said a spokesperson for the Spotify for Brands team. “We’ve moved past the album, the single, even the download. Now it’s all about the playlist. Our playlists already have a passionate, loyal fan base that guarantee reach. With Sponsored Playlist, it’s all about matching the playlist to your marketing goals.”

The feature has been rolled out in the US, and is currently in beta for UK marketers, with plans to introduce it to additional markets over the course of the year.

Featured Articles

LoopMe Goes 360 for Robinson Crusoe

robinson crusoeMobile video platform LoopMe and ad agency Target Media have teamed up to create an immersive 360 degree mobile video experience to promote the launch of Robinson Crusoe, the new animated film from StudioCanal.

The campaign makes full use of the mobile device’s gyroscope functionality to create a 360 degree video environment that users can explore, turning their screens to intuitively reveal more content.

LoopMe’s technology is the only full-screen 360 degree solution delivering global scale, and the company has worked closely with StudioCanal to ensure the video is served to targeted audience who are likely to engage with the innovative format.

“360 degree video is a very exciting opportunity for us, especially when working closely with our animation partners nWave on titles such as Robinson Crusoe, to create exciting and engaging content to be used in advertising,” said Jamie McHale, digital marketing manager of StudioCanal UK.

“As consumers become more familiar with the experience with Facebook and YouTube rolling it out and as animators and film production improves, we look forward to bringing even more immersive experiences from the big screen to the smaller screen.”

“When looking to cut through with a younger audience online, creativity is key and doing something that will impress and engage an audience is the goal,” said Alice Bartlett, digital account director of Target Media. “Having access to the 360 degree video was a massive strength to the online campaign.

“With newer formats however, scale can be a concern, but LoopMe were able to build the creative in such a way that allowed us to target and reach our core audience without restriction. We were also able to deliver that asset to other media owners to further increase the scale.”

Featured Articles

Vodafone Strengthens Signal with ‘Network in a Briefcase’

vodafone briefcaseVodafone UK and Ericsson have partnered to introduce new mini base-station units, called the Ericsson Radio System, to London with the aim of boosting signal in key areas without the need for expensive and disruptive works.

The award-winning radio units are packed with the latest 4G mobile technology to give the greatest possible number of customers a faster and more reliable mobile connection, providing three times the capacity of a standard radio unit in a case that’s half the size and weight.

The small form factor means that the units can help meet increasing data demands in key areas in an energy efficient fashion, and can be deployed to rooftops in urban areas without the need for cranes or similar equipment to move them into place. Engineers can simply carry the units and install them quickly and easily.

The first Ericsson Radio System has been installed in Southwark, London, and the network will be rolling the new system out across the capital and in other urban areas across the UK. As mobile data needs increase, Vodafone is exploring more deployment solutions that can keep up with customer demand.

The same technology also enables projects like the Instant Network, a portable mobile network that has been deployed in countries including Kenya and the Philippines following natural disasters, helping both locals and relief agencies to co-ordinate following catastrophes.

“We continue to look at new and innovative ways of providing improve mobile coverage in order to meet our customers’ soaring demand for mobile data and video while minimising disruption to the general public and improving the aesthetics of the surrounding area,” said Jorge Fernandes, chief technology officer for Vodafone UK.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Ericsson, one of our key network suppliers, on this project and look forward to further engaging with local councils and government to look at ways of reducing red tape around site planning for mobile mast installations.”

Featured Articles

Facebook Expands Audience Network Ads Beyond Users

twitter-audience-network-ads.pngFollowing the closure of its LiveRail and FBX exchanges, Facebook has expanded the capabilities of its Audience Network platform so that customers’ ads will now be visible on third-party apps and website to everyone who has ever visited Facebook, not just visitors who are logged into Facebook.

Previously, Facebook Audience Network could only serve ads to signed-in Facebook users, limiting its scope but also ensuring that it could determine exactly who was seeing each ad, providing it with powerful targeting and analytics tools that it could offer to third-party advertisers.

The introduction of Audience Network ads for non-logged in consumers means that Facebook has begun to leverage some of the valuable information it picks up from non-users whenever they visit sites which integrate Facebook technology, but also represents a shift to include probabalistic modelling.

The move is a challenge to Google’s AdSense network, which uses similar methods to enable advertisers to target users without knowing their precise identities, and shows that Facebook continues to have big ambitions when it comes to the world of advertising.

“People want high-quality, relevant adverts that fit seamlessly into their environment, and advertisers want the same thing,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a blog post announcing the change. “Extending Facebook-powered adverts in this way helps advertisers reach people who they otherwise may not have. It also improves the quality of the adverts that people see on websites and in apps.”

The change will be rolled out over the next few months, and Facebook hasn’t made it clear if this is an initiative that will be rolled out geographically, or be provided to key partners first before being made available to the whole of the Facebook Audience Network.

As part of the expansion, Facebook is also enabling people to opt out of seeing ads on apps and websites in the Audience Network, either via their Facebook settings or by clicking on the AdChoices icon in Audience Network ads. Whether people without Facebook accounts who are now being tracked by the firm will have this ability, beyond the standard ‘cookie warning’, has not been made clear.

Featured Articles

Mondelez Shifts Focus to Mobile Marketing

oreo twist lick dunk appFood and beverage producer Mondelez International has announced plans to increase investment in mobile apps, content marketing and digital video, following successes that the company has seen with campaigns from brands such as Oreo.

The Twist, Lick, Dunk application that launched in November 2012 to promote the Oreo brand has helped Mondelez make twice as much money through in-app purchases and advertising than the firm invested in the app’s creation, indicating the potential mobile had to not only strengthen its brand, but also generate revenues for the company.

The app, developed by mobile game studio PikPok, has been downloaded 7m times, with over 5bn cookies being ‘virtually dunked’ since it launched.

Mondelez has revealed it has plans to develop a Sour Patch Kids mobile app, and is changing its product advertising strategy to partner with firms such as 20th Century Fox and Buzzfeed to produce online video content.

“Advertising is no longer a huge part of the content consumption experience,” said Laura Henderson, global head of content and media monetisation for Mondelez International, referencing the firm’s decision to focus more on content marketing and less on traditional advertising.

As well as digital initiatives, the company is teaming with Fox to live-broadcast a sky-diving stunt online and on US television to support the launch of a new flavour for its Stride gum brand. The firm hopes that up to 10 per cent of its global media investments will break even or make a profit by 2020.

Featured Articles

Qualcomm Strengthens Wearable and IoT Offerings

qualcomm.pngChipmaker Qualcomm has revealed a new set of products aimed at powering the next generation of wearables and Internet of Things devices, unveiling a new wi-fi solution, software ecosystem and development platform.

New Snapdragon Takes Flight
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 1100 processor is aimed at use in the fast-growing targeted-purpose wearables segment, targeting devices like smartwatches for children and the elderly, fitness trackers, smart headsets and wearable accessories. It complements the existing Wear 2100 processor, which is designed for multi-purpose wearables.

The Wear 1100 is designed for smaller wearables with longer battery lives, and comes with low power features including a Power Save Mode, and a next generation modem that supports an always-connected experience. It also features an integrated app processor that can support voice, wi-fi and Bluetooth, Qualcomm’s iZat location engine for enhanced accuracy, and a cryptographic engine.

To support the Wear 1100, Qualcomm has announced a series of collaborations with designers and manufacturers including Aricent, Borqs, SurfaceInk and Infomark, all of which showcased reference platforms based on its wearable technology. These platforms are designed to accelerate adoption of the new chips, and demonstrate reference implementations that target children and the elderly.

“Borqs has strategically invested in IoT for smart connected wearables with tailored solutions for kids, elderly, enterprise and youth,” said Goerge Thangadurai, senior vice president of international business at Borqs. “We are please that our close collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies as a Snapdragon Wear platform ecosystem provider has resulting in ready-to-commercialise innovative reference designs exploiting the leadership features of Qualcomm Technologies’ SoCs (systems on a chip).”

As part of the wearables announcement, Qualcomm also hosted a number of manufacturers who launched connected kids watches which made use of the Wear 1100. Anda Technologies unveiled a smartwatch for the Latin America region that was based on the Borqs reference design, inWatch revealed two watch designs aimed at the Chinese market, one for boys and one for girls, and WeBandz demonstrated a smart tracking modular device based on the SurfaceInk design which can be customised for the elderly, children or even pets.

Accelerating the Smart Home
Qualcomm also announced a new product for its flagship connectivity solutions line, the QCA4012. The chip brings dual band wi-fi, enhanced security and low power modes to connected devices, all in a tiny form factor and at a competitive price. To support the new chip, Qualcomm is expanding its software ecosystem to support Apple’s HomeKit, Google Weave and AllJoyn, as well as a number of new cloud providers.

The chip complements Qualcomm’s existing IoT products with dual-band connectivity, making it well-suited for applications in interference-sensitive environments, while also offering increased computing performance, memory and advanced features while minimising size, cot and power consumption.

The QCA4012 integrates low-power wi-fi and a fully featured micro-control unit in a single-chip solution, combining flexibility and development capabilities with a comprehensive set of interfaces and enhanced security.

The support for a number of ecosystems aims to achieve interoperability between products in the home, making them easier and more secure to use and enabling consumers to build more comprehensive, interdependent networks of smart home devices.

Qualcomm has also been involved in providing developers with technical tools to develop new IoT solutions and accelerate commercialisation of the technology. Cloud service providers including Exosite, Ayla and IOTA Labs have built solutions involving Qualcomm’s technology, while Silex and other manufacturers are working on hardware platforms integrating the new chip.

Featured Articles

Infographic: How Do Countries Compare in the ‘App Olympics’?

Brazil has the highest app user engagement globally, with the average Brazilian using 29 apps each month.

That’s just one of the findings from Cheetah Mobile’s ‘App Olympics’ infographic, which compares nine countries, including the US, UK, Russia and India. See it in full below.

Cheetah Infographic

Featured Articles

Over 17.9m Smart Homes Across Europe and North America

o2 smart home featuredThe number of smart homes in Europe and North America hit 17.9m at the end of 2015, a new research report from Berg Insight has revealed, demonstrating the huge growth that the consumer-facing Internet of Things market has seen over the past few years.

North America is the world’s most advanced smart home market, with an installation base of 12.7m smart homes by the close of 2015, and 56 per cent increase year-on-year. Strong market growth is expected to continue in the area for at least several years, with the number of smart homes in North America expected to reach 46.2m, or 35 per cent of all households, by 2020.

The European market is around two to three years behind the North American one in terms of penetration and maturity, with 5.3m smart homes in existence across Europe by the end of 2015. The market is expected to grow at a rate of around 54 per cent over the next five years, reaching 44.9m smart homes by 2020, or 20 per cent of all European households.

Smart thermostats, light bulbs, security systems, multi-room audio systems and networked cameras all rank among the most popular consumer products, with vendors such as Philips Lighting, Belkin, Nest, Sonos, Netatmo, D-Link and Honeywell leading the market in both Europe and North America.

“There is no doubt that regular consumers in the future will own and operate a wide range of connected objects in their homes, from connected home appliances and luminaires to thermostats and security devices,” said Johan Svanberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.

However, the report also warned that the market is still in its relative infancy, and many smart home ecosystems are undeveloped, with products considered complicated or confusing to use.

“Attractive use cases, inter-operable devices and well-implemented user interfaces are needed in order to accelerate the market,” said Svanberg.

Voice-driven user interfaces were pointed to as a potential turning point for the smart home, with hubs like Alexa and Google Home serving to simplify interactions with smart devices.

Featured Articles

Innovation Lab: Mutant Roach Traps, Murder Prediction and Liquid Watches

At Mobile Marketing we’re proud to help tech companies showcase their cutting-edge solutions, whether it’s on our website, in our magazine or at our Mobile Marketing Summits. Giving a platform to companies that are breaking new ground in their market brings audiences one step closer to the ideas and developments that will shape tomorrow.

In that spirit, our Innovation Lab feature takes a step beyond the world of apps, ads and handsets with slightly bigger screens, in order to share some of the tech world’s innovative ideas. They might be interesting, disruptive or just outright strange, but these are the stories that have caught our eye over the past week.

Japanese Pest Control Firm Builds Traps for Mutant Cockroaches

Earth Chemical, the Japanese firm behind a popular brand of cockroach traps, wants you to be worried about giant mutant roaches that will eventually take over the Earth. Or at least that’s what the company claims in a new video designed to promote the firm’s glue traps.

In order to show off the strength of the glue used in its ‘Roach Motel’ style traps, the company constructed a huge version, 929 times larger than the standard model, and tested it on a number of human subjects to show how effective the adhesive is at trapping subjects.

The test was run using a scientist, a track runner and a Sumo wrestler, in order to show that no matter how smart, fast or strong you might be, the company’s glue still rendered you immobile in fairly short order.

The company’s threat of giant-sized mutant roaches is, of course, all fictional, but the campaign demonstrates the strength of its product. The video is accompanied with a website where consumers can upload their photo to transform themselves into giant bugs, as well as accessing information on dealing with household pests.

eddie johnson police chicago

Eddie Johnson, superintendent of Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Develop ‘Minority Report’ Formula to Predict Murders
When we talk about the film Minority Report in tech circles, it’s usually to cite the film’s vision of touchscreen technology and hyper-personalised marketing. However, the Chicago Police Department claims to have calculated a formula based on police records that can predict murders before they happen, just like the psychics that drive the film’s plot.

As part of the city’s campaign to control gun and gang violence, the computer algorithm assigns scores based on arrests, shootings, gang affiliations and other variables and predicts who is most likely to be involved in a gun-based crime soon, either as a victim or perpetrator.

“We know we have a lot of violence in Chicago, but we also know there’s a small segment that’s driving this stuff,” said Eddie Johnson, superintendent for Chicago PD, in an interview in the New York Times.

Once figures are identified, they are kept under close scrutiny by the police, while social services reach out to those who are hoping to leave behind a life of gang violence and bloodshed. The program has faced criticism as a potential breach of civil liberties, and as something with the potential to reinforce prejudices or stereotypes, but according to the developers, variables like race, gender, ethnicity and geography are not taken into account, simply factors like previous criminal behaviour.

Chinese Bus Will Drive Over Traffic Jams

China’s roads are notorious for traffic jams that can last hours or even days, and while legislators and planners are trying to find ways to change driving habits and ease congestion, one company has come up with a fix for the intermediate term that could help commuters get where they need to go.

The ‘straddling bus’ is a giant vehicle capable of carrying up to 1,400 passengers at a time, designed so that other vehicles can travel underneath it. As a public transport vehicle with a top speed of 40mph, the space under the central passenger compartment would allow other vehicles to pass through while it stopped to load and unload, or overtake when roads were clear.

The design, which was unveiled at the 19th International High Tech Expo in Beijing, would also allow the vehicle to travel over the top of other vehicles during heavy traffic, keeping its passengers moving even when most cars had ground to a halt, as long as nothing in front of it was taller than 7ft, the clearance under the bus.

liquid metal watchLiquid Metal Watch Tells Time With Mercury Droplets
Smartwatches are getting more and more advanced as companies sink money into development, hoping to be the first firm to truly crack the wearables market. The Liquid Metal Watch by Seahope is far from the most technical device, but it’s certainly one of the most stylish.

The watch uses three blobs of mercury trapped within the face to indicate the current hour, minute and seconds. The company has remained tight-lipped on exactly how the device works, but one can assume there’s a series of magnets keeping the blobs where they’re meant to be.

The watch is currently taking pre-orders, and will be available in various colours and metal finishes once it does release, with customers even able to select black or golden liquids with similar properties to go inside, to make sure even their magical liquid watch matches their outfit.

Hemostatic Device Celebrates First Successful Field Use

The nature of the Innovation Lab means were often reporting on prototypes, experiments or potential products, so it’s always great to see news of ground-breaking device that’s actually being put to use by the people its designed for. That’s the case with the XSTAT Hemostatic Device, a revolutionary medical tool built to staunch severe bleeding on the battlefield.

The device, created by medical innovation firm RevMedX, works by injecting a group of small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity using a syringe-like applicator. Once in the wound, the sponges rapidly expand and exert pressure to stop the bleeding, as well as absorbing blood. Each sponge has an x-ray detectable marker so they can be removed once the patient is stabilised.

The US Military released information earlier this week that the device was used on a coalition forces soldier who had been wounded in action with a gunshot wound to his left thigh. Unable to stop the bleeding using more conventional methods, the medical team attending to the soldier deployed the XSTAT and achieved “nearly immediate hemostasis”.

“The first-in-human experience with XSTAT is the culmination of tremendous effort on the part of both RevMedX and our military collaborators,” said Andrew Barofsky, CEO and president of RevMedX. “We are pleased to see XSTAT play a critical role in saving a patient’s life and hope to see significant advancement toward further adoption of XSTAT as a standard of care for severe hemorrhage in pre-hospital settings.”

Featured Articles

Twitter Turns Off the Buy Button as Commerce Team is Shuttered

twitter-buy-button.jpgTwitter has reportedly stopped development on its ‘buy’ button and product pages to shift its focus to other offerings.

According to BuzzFeed News, the social firm’s Commerce team which worked on these products has been disbanded. Most of the two dozen staff on the team have left the company, and the rest have been moved to work on either dynamic product ads or customer service.

While Twitter continues to offer a ‘buy now’ option as one of its ‘card’ formats in the US, but no further work is being done on this product.

The fate of the Commerce team – founded under former CEO Dick Costolo – is reportedly one example of a broader policy at Twitter. Non-core businesses are being closed down as part of current CEO Jack Dorsey’s attempt to turn things round after a difficult period for Twitter which saw its user numbers temporarily dip in Q4 2015. BuzzFeed cites one source saying: “The innovative, experimental ‘could, should, might happen in a year or two years’ stuff is completely shut down at Twitter.”

Twitter is instead doubling down its efforts on its dynamic product ads, served based on users’ browsing activity, which have proven to be a success for the company.

Featured Articles

Newsletter Signup

Complete the form below to complete your signup.