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Channel roundup : January 2014

Essential intelligence on the latest developments from the world’s leading digital networks and channels brought to you by Red Ant.
Red Ant is a specialist in delivering multi-device digital experiences and developing enterprise technology to help retailers drive increased sales and operational performance.
Based in the UK, with offices in China, Hong Kong and Switzerland, Red Ant began as a technology company established in 1999, creating effective ways to help retailers connect with their customers in a rapidly changing digital world.

SOCIAL

Pinterest: VisualGraph – getting the picture
Pinterest has bought the image-recognition start up VisualGraph as part of its strategy to use new technologies to better understand what people are pinning. Pinterest currently lacks a system for tagging the photos posted to its site, so this new image recognition technology could help the channel keep up with increasingly fierce competition from the likes of Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

Snapchat: Taking on Facebook, assisted by The Art of War,
Snapchat has reportedly rebuffed a $3 billion takeover bid from Facebook, and in doing so has positioned itself as the greatest threat yet to the social networking giant. And they clearly mean business – after meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, Snapchat founders Evan Speigel and Bobby Murphy returned to their office and ordered the ultimate book for their co-workers: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Forbes estimates that 50 million people currently use Snapchat with a median age of 18, whereas Facebook has been seeing a steady decline among teenage devotees – the average user age is now closer to 40. Instagram’s private messaging system (released last year) might be prepared to take on the fight, but one thing is certain – with the rise of Snapchat as a platform, disposable content will be prevalent in 2014.

MOBILE, TABLET AND NEW TECH

Android: Users set to hit 1 billion this year. According to a report by Gartner Research, Google is set to take 45% of the mobile market in 2014, as Android phone and tablet user numbers hit 1 billion. Emerging markets including China and India are expected to help boost new customer figures – they are predicted to provide more than 75% of Android’s volumes by 2017. Android and iOS device growth has been fuelled by the sharp decline in PC sales – indeed, tablet sales are expected to overtake personal computers in 2015.

Advertising: The only way is up for mobile ads. According to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, mobile advertising spending nearly tripled to $3 billion in 2013, from $1.2 billion in 2012. This upward trend looks set to continue – mobile advertising is predicted to rise by 64% this year, as brands increasingly use it to catch consumers’ attention on a range of platforms.

CHINA UPDATE
ecommerce : Apple flies the flag on TMall
Apple has opened an official online store in China on Alibaba’s trading giant TMall, a digital ‘department store’ that caters to large merchants and worldwide brands, with companies such as Nike and Levi’s counted among its leading retailers. Accessible via apple.tmall.com, the new virtual outlet marks Apple’s shift towards setting up e-stores outside of its own online presence. Rival manufacturer Samsung also has a presence on TMall and prominently features its latest handsets on its online shopfront.

Agneta Gumaelius, European Director, Red Ant

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