Mobile Drives Digital Ad Spend Forward

Mobile Ad SpendThe good news is that Internet advertising spend is growing faster than any other medium. The bad news is it still remains a small player with less than 50% of the total market value of TV ad spend. Traditional media formats like television, newspapers, magazines and radio still attract most advertising dollars, though they note that they are measuring online advertising in a smaller subset of companies.

According to a recent Advertising Expenditure Forecast from ZenithOptimedia, digital advertising accounted for 21.8% of all ad spend in 2013 ($109.7 billion), up from 19% the year before. Meanwhile, mobile remains a solid minority of activity with only 3.7% of all ad spend in the U.S. ($6.2 billion). Excluding television, traditional media budgets took hits in 2013, as spending in cinema, magazines and radio all declined (-1.3%, -1.1% and -0.7%). Ad spend in newspapers declined the most, dropping 2.2%.

Banners Are Just Not Enough Anymore

When looking at the rise of display advertising, is it is clear that the focus will continue to shift from standard display ad units to more dynamic, engaging ad units. Banners won’t cut it anymore, and brands will look to native advertising and richer content ads to draw in consumers as larger percentages of big scale advertising budgets are being spent on display and search.

Companies like motor giant Ford that started pushing it’s more than 3,200 dealers across the U.S. towards paid search. The goal: introduce Ford dealers to paid search if they aren’t using it and bolster the budget of those who are. In addition to the direct subsidy for paid search, Ford is requiring dealers to put more of their advertising co-op toward digital advertising, such as paid search and banner ads.

Ford joins Chrysler Group, Scion and others that have launched or changed co-op programs recently to increase dealers’ digital advertising and capitalize on changing shopping patterns. Nine of 10 shoppers do at least some vehicle research online, studies show. And two of three visitors to a dealer Web site get there via a Google link.

Digital Ad Spend

The Main Driver of Online Ad Spend: Mobile

Mobile is now the main driver of global adspend growth. Mobile is forecasted that to contribute 36% of the entire extra ad spend between 2013 and 2016. Television is the second largest contributor (accounting for 34% of new ad expenditure), followed by desktop internet (25%), which continues to enjoy significant growth alongside that of mobile advertising.

The figures are no less impressive outside the U.S. market. On a global basis, mobile advertising was worth $8.3bn in 2012, or 9.5% of internet expenditure / 1.7% of advertising across all media. “By 2015 we forecast this total to rise to $33.1 billion, which will be 25.2% of internet expenditure and 6.0% of all expenditure.

Major players like Facebook and Apple have launched new products trying to capitalize on video content (classic television advertising format) and the rise of mobile. Facebook launched its first video ads, that will be 15-20 seconds long and will auto play in mute mode on all of our news feeds in the upcoming months. Apple is also rumored to be launching new “iAds that look a lot like TV ads”. These ads will automatically play full-screen within iPhone and iPad apps and interrupt whatever someone is doing in app. A major player in mobile hardware and software, Apple remains a relatively newcomer to the mobile ad business.

The Main Markets of Ad Spend Growth: Latin America and Asia

According to recent reports from ZenithOptima, global ad markets spend in 2014 will grow by $5.3 billion and reach $532 billion in total spending. The US will stay the largest contributor of new ad dollars with $23 billion in new spending; however the biggest relative ad markets growth will be China ($14 billion), followed by Argentina ($6 billion) and Indonesia ($5.9 billion).

Seven of the ten largest contributors will be rising markets, contributing 42% of new ad spend over the next three years. Overall, we forecast rising markets to contribute 61% of additional ad expenditure between 2013 and 2016, and to increase their share of the global market from 35% to 39%.

Global Ad Spend

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Top Tech Mergers and Acquisitions 2013

In the good old days, Microsoft sold us software, Google and Yahoo helped us search the web, Facebook and Twitter gave us a social network and Apple sold us cool computers and phones. But that’s not the case anymore. All of these tech giants have grown to compete with on and other on every field. The weapon that these super powers use to fight this “winner takes all” tech war is tech mergers, and lots of it.

These big money tech mergers are what fuels the booming tech world, with more than $15 billion being spent each year by companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and Microsoft on mergers and acquisitions alone.

When one tech giants gobbles up another major player, like in the Microsoft and Nokia deal, the whole world talks about it. However, most of us are not aware that these media empires actually purchase companies by the dozen each year. Most of the time, the purchase price is not disclosed, but it is safe to say that it usually amounts to tens of millions of dollars.

So which company has been the most active this year in the market? Here are the top tech mergers and acquisitions that happened in 2013:

The Top Tech Mergers and Acquisitions 2013 Infographic

Tech Mergers


The search giant was very active in 2013, acquiring 19 different companies for more than $2.5 billion. The company’s biggest acquisition was the Israeli traffic navigating app Waze for a reported $966 million. Other big deals include buying the ecommerce product Channel Intelligence for $125 million, gesture recognition technology Flutter for $40 million and the language processor Wavii for “just” $30 million.

Google’s top secret department “Google X” bought a reported eight companies this year, all for an undisclosed prices. Most of the companies are in the robotics field, manufacturing cameras, wheels and even robotic arms. Altogether Google has acquired 128 companies since its first deal in 2001. 


Like Google, Apple’s biggest deal in 2013 was an Israeli company; PrimeSense a 3D sensors company purchased for a reported $345 million. Altogether Apple bought 12 companies this year, spending $200 million on the San Francisco based social search and analytics company Topsy and more than $45 million on the personal assistant app, Cue. Overall, Apple has bought 48 companies in the past 15 years.


Yahoo rocked the tech world earlier this year when it purchased the micro-blogging platform Tumblr for a reported $1.1 billion. The deal was just one of twenty one companies that Yahoo bought in 2013 with other major deals including the automated video production app Qwiki for a reported $50 million and the UK based news aggregator Summly for a total of $30 million.


After buying Instagram for $1 billion last year, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team were a bit more conservative in 2013, buying a total of seven companies including Israeli based mobile analytics company Onavo for $120 million and Seattle based advertising platform Atlas for $75 million.

Facebook is known to be a very active buyer in the market, buying 39 companies in the past seven years. It was also responsible for the biggest “almost deal” of the year when it reportedly tried to buy the photo sharing social network Snapchat for $3 billion just last month.


Building up to their successful IPO, Twitter also had a very active year in the market, buying no less than eight companies for a total of just under $1 billion. Major deals included the mobile ad network MoPub for $350 million and crash reporting app Crashlytics for around $100 million. Just for comparison, since Jack Dorsey founded Twitter in 2006, the company has acquired a total of 23 companies, eight of them in 2013.


Last but certainly not least, Software giant Microsoft stole the attention of everyone this year when it signed the biggest deal of 2013, buying the mobile unit of the Finish empire Nokia for an astounding $7.2 billion. Nokia was Microsofts biggest purchase since the historic Skype acquisition in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Other than Nokia, Microsoft bought six other companies in 2013.

Want to learn more about Banner Blindness and to stay up to date with everything new in the digital marketing world? Be sure to follow Infolinks on FacebookTwitter and Google+ and also visit our blog for all the latest!


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Beating Banner Blindness: Saving Display Ads

We are all painfully aware of the sub -.1percent clickthrough rates that have raised alarms throughout the industry over the last several years. DG MediaMind puts the average banner ad response rate at an appalling .1 percent. Looking at that from the flipside, 99.9% of banner ads generate no measurable engagement. Our industry is putting in an awful lot of work for a 99.9% failure rate, wouldn’t you agree?

We here at Infolinks are always focused on improving digital advertising and studying consumer banner blindness. That’s why we, in partnership with market research company EyeTrackShop, conducted an extensive study, aimed at examining the issues of ad location, responsiveness and brand recall, to provide specific direction for how the digital media industry can tackle the detrimental problem of banner blindness.

“The simple fact is, display as we know it is broken,” says Infolinks CEO Dave Zinman. “Many in the industry have turned a blind eye to the issue. We analyzed the eye movements of online users in order to understand their reactions to ads and content at a fundamental level. These findings point to fixes the industry can easily employ today. What are we waiting for?”

Banner Blindness Study Conclusions and Insights:

Location, Location, Location

156% more people saw the top content area of the page versus the bottom content area of the page, indicating that the area above the fold is significantly more visible than the areas below. While (obviously) organic content will always be more visible than ads, ads placed in the right locations can be much more visible than marginal content areas and traditional ad placements.

Go Native

The eye tracking examination showed that natively integrated Infolinks ad units were seen 47% quicker than banner ads on the same pages, and that the area on the page containing these units was seen by 451% more people than the banner ad. Furthermore, the study also found that the time spent in those content areas was 4000% more than the time spent in the area containing the banner ad, resulting in significantly higher brand recall.

Banner Blindness Study

Be Visible & Relevant:

The unique placement of Infolinks InSearch ad units managed to beat banner blindness by being both unobtrusive and attention-grabbing, according to 75% of study respondents who stated that the InSearch ads were easier to notice in this format. The unconventionality of the placement in the margins served to attract attention—the time to these units was 50% quicker than the time to the standard display units on the page. And because the units in the margins were contextually targeted to the content of the page in question, time spent on these units was 25% greater.

Banner Blindness Study

The Solutions to Banner Blindness:

Placement Matters:

Eye tracking shows that consumers tend to see more content at the top of the page but often skim past leaderboard and skyscraper ad units, presumably because they have learned from experience that those areas usually contain ads rather than content, and that those ads typically do not relate to their current task. Simply put, users have trained their eyes to automatically avoid looking at those standard placements. Placement “above the fold” does offer the best visibility; however, engagement is not simply about location.

Relevance Matters:

As the positive performance of the ads with real-time relevance against standard banners proves, consumers are more likely to engage with an ad if it provides a useful service – such as helping them find a product they were searching for, or driving them to additional pages for more information on a topic they were reading about. 66% of respondents said that the InSearch ad employing real-time intent targeting was helpful in supporting their search efforts.

Experience Matters:

Study respondents across the board were much more likely to notice, engage with and remember the non-traditional placements over standard banner ads. This is because the ad units were designed with the user experience in mind. They were designed to be subtle and useful, to enhance content rather than disrupt it, to engage rather than bombard – that is how you fight banner blindness.

According to Infolinks CEO, Dave Zinman, “This study confirms the ideals upon which we have built our business — that advertising should be about enhancing the user experience. This study makes it clear that ads that break out of the rut of traditional placement and are rooted in user intent can combat banner blindness and reverse declining consumer engagement.”

Want to learn more about Banner Blindness and to stay up to date with everything new in the digital marketing world? Be sure to follow Infolinks on FacebookTwitter and Google+ and also visit our blog for all the latest!

Click Research, Uncategorized | Tagged

Latin and Asian Ad Markets to Explode in 2014

Global Ad MarketsThe global ad markets spend in 2014 will grow by $5.3 billion and reach $532 billion in total spending, according to figures from Publicis-owned ad agency ZenithOptimedia. The US will stay the largest contributor of new ad dollars with $23 billion in new spending; however the biggest relative ad markets growth will be China ($14 billion), followed by Argentina ($6 billion) and Indonesia ($5.9 billion).

With the global ad markets forecasts continuing to predict the market grow by 5.8% in 2015 followed by another year of 5.8% growth in 2016, analysts believe that emerging markets will grow as Europe struggles to recover gradually from its recent crisis.

Top 10 Global Ad Markets

Global Ad Markets

Seven of the ten largest contributors will be rising markets, contributing 42% of new ad spend over the next three years. Overall, we forecast rising markets to contribute 61% of additional ad expenditure between 2013 and 2016, and to increase their share of the global market from 35% to 39%.

Despite the rapid growth of the rising markets, the US is still the biggest contributor of new ad dollars to the global market. Between 2013 and 2016 it is expected the US to contribute 26% of the $90 billion that will be added to global ad spend. After the US, however, the biggest contributors are much younger and more dynamic. China comes second, accounting for 16% of additional ad dollars over this period, followed by Argentina and Indonesia, accounting for 7% each.

Ad Markets Growth Analysis

Peripheral Eurozone

In Europe, the ‘PIIGS’ markets (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), which have faced the full brunt of the Eurozone crisis, have seen their ad markets fallen even more sharply than their economies. According to recent figures, overall ad spend fell in 2013 by 11.1% with 2014 looking a lot better with forecasts to shrink by just 0.9%, followed by a slow recovery of 1.8% growth in 2015 and 2.5% growth in 2016.

Eastern Europe & Central Asia

Eastern European advertising markets, such as Russia and Ukraine, generally recovered quickly after the 2009 downturn and have since continued their healthy pace of growth. Their near neighbors in such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, have behaved very similarly. It is expected this bloc to have grown 11.7% in 2013, followed by an expected 8%-10% growth in the next two years.

Fast-track Asia

Historically considered the “developing markets” of Asia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam have become the fastest growing markets in the word. Fast-track Asia barely noticed the 2009 downturn (ad expenditure grew by 7.2% that year) and since then has grown comfortably at double-digit rates each year. Estimates show that ad expenditure in these countries grew by 10.7% in 2013, followed by an estimated 10% to 12% annual growth in 2014 to 2016.

North + Latin America

Ad spend in North America grew by 3.3% in 2013, and is forecasted to stay strong with 4.6% growth in 2014, followed by another year of 4.6% growth in 2015 and 4.1% growth in 2016.

Latin America on other hand is a region with rapidly growing economic output, and its ad market is growing at a similar rate. After an estimated 8.0% growth this year, it is forecasted annual growth of between 10% and 13% over the next three years.

Middle East & North Africa

After the overall uncertainty following the Arab Spring in December 2010 brought ad spending to shrink by 14.9% in 2011, markets started to recover in 2013 with a 4.7% growth in ad expenditure. This trend is believed to continue with an estimated 7.3% growth in 2014, though expected to slow down a bit with 3% annual growth in 2015 and 2016

Want to stay up to date with everything new in the digital marketing world? Be sure to follow Infolinks on Facebook and Twitter, and also visit our blog for all the latest!

Country Statistics, Infographic, Uncategorized

What do People Click on During the Holidays?

Holidays Clicks InfographicDuring the year we spend so much of our time on the web, but how do the holidays effect our online habits? To prepare for the upcoming season, Infolinks pulled some numbers and facts about online user engagement during last year’s holidays in hope it would shed some light on what the future has to offer.

What do People Click on During the Holidays?

The trends are quite interesting, for example, while during Cyber Monday there was a 5% increase in traffic, Christmas Day showed the sharpest decrease with a 21% difference. Cyber Monday represented the sharpest increase in ad engagement, while advertisers surprisingly spent most of their budgets on New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas Day.

When looking at searched keyword trends, we discovered that over Thanksgiving users searched for turkey jokes and on new years eve cab services enjoyed a sharp increase of popularity. Food and beverage sites saw the sharpest increase on Thanksgiving, while shopping sites experienced the highest income on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Holidays Clicks Infographic

Want to stay up to date with everything new in the digital marketing world? Be sure to follow Infolinks on Facebook and Twitter, and also visit our blog for all the latest!



When and Where – US Click Trends

Infolinks studies US click trendsAll too often ad campaigns are set by advertisers with what seems like little care for timing and location. Planning where the ads will be displayed, which days of the week, and when exactly during the day are all, collectively, an important part of planning since these factors may directly influence the number of clicks received.


Infolinks studied its 2013 US click trends Q1 figures based on a sample of 1 trillion impressions from its 100K publisher network to discover which US state, day of the week and hour of the day performed best in terms of CTR (click through rates).

The US Click Trends:

Best State to Click

The top four CTR states are all located in the Southern part of the United States, including Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. The 4 states with the lowest CTR rates were scattered across the country with no obvious demographic connection (not that we could discover, anyway!).  These included California, Iowa, Georgia and Washington.

While the “been there, done that” California-based visitors click much less than average (-24%), ads in Georgia appear to be more appealing as the click through rates are dramatically higher than the average (+17%)!

Infolinks Studies US Click Trends

Best Day to Click

Ever hear the myth that campaigns shouldn’t drop on Mondays because click-throughs are lower? Guess what: CTRs are lower on Mondays – but not nearly as low as they are on Wednesdays, where CTRs dip down to -1.86%.  The surprising peak in CTRs comes on Friday, the day the industry always agreed wouldn’t perform well since consumers are generally focused on getting out of the office. But CTRs on Fridays peak at around 3.23% – nearly 4% higher than most week days and more than 6% higher than on Wednesdays.

Infolinks studies US click trends

Best Time to Click

Visitors tend to interact more with ads during the day, while clicks seem to drop as the evening wears on. During the day, a peak in clicks occurs between 11 am to 2 pm  when visitors interact with ads 14% more than the average. The timing shouldn’t be a surprise, as this is the peak of the workday, and many users are fully engaged with their computers. Later at night, between 11 pm to 2 am there is a significant drop in CTR, -21% below the average – which may be due to more leisurely browsing while watching TV or engaging in other activities.

Infolinks studies US click trends

While some of this is common sense, there were quite a few surprises revealed as we sorted through our data to pull this report together. Who knew the most successful ads would run at noon on Friday to consumers in Mississippi?

Marketers have to realize that there may be a few surprises within their own data as well – and you’ll never know until you analyze it. It’s best not to make assumptions about when and where audiences will or won’t click. The smart thing to do is dig in and look at the data to make informed decisions.

Click Research, Country Statistics, Infographic

The Banner Blindness Infographic

Banner Blindness InfographicBanner Blindness occurs when visitors ignore display ads while reading website content. This phenomena affects the entire online community, from website publishers to advertisers and brands. For instance, the average American user sees 1,903 ads a month, while just 2.8% of the users find these ads relevant. Infolinks rounded up the latest numbers and facts on banner blindness from 2012 in the following infographic.

Banner blindness is a phenomenon that all online advertisers struggle with. Website users around the world have developed a skill to ignore ads that appear in traditional ad spaces. It’s this kind of user behavior that shapes the creativity of marketers and forces outward thinking. Infolinks took this mission to battle this reality and for months planned and tested a set of ads units to serve highly relevant ads and receive more attention from online visitors.

When the first online banner ad debuted on HotWired in 1994 it took the internet by storm with a 78% click through rate. Nowadays the average banner ad reels in .09% CTR. In 1997 Jakob Nielson, the leading web usability guru, studied the eye pattern of internet users with the help of heatmaps. He discovered what he called banner blindness. Internet users have been programmed to subconsciously ignore the presence of online ads, not even glancing in the physical space on the page where assumed ads are located.

The Banner Blindness Infographic



Infographic: Best Day for Clicks

Infolinks Infographic - Best Days for ClicksAll too often ad campaigns are set by advertisers with what seems like little care for timing. Planning out what days of the week ads appear is an important part of planning as the day of the week may have something to do with the number of clicks received. Infolinks studied its Q4 figures based on a sample of 1 trillion impressions from its 100K publisher network to find which day of the week is best in terms of CTR (click through rates).

The results show Monday to Saturday as typical in terms of CTR levels with most days hovering around the weekly average. The two exceptions come in peaks on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday sees a significant drop in CTR from the rest of the week at 1.9% below the weekly average. Saturday’s mean CTR shoots in the opposite direction with a 3.2% increase in CTR.

When creating campaigns, advertisers need to be aware of and consider all available data.

Infolinks Infographic - Best Days To Click

Click Research, Infographic

Scribd’s Success With Infolinks

Scribd's Success with InfolinksScribd is the world’s largest digital library of original writings and documents.  Scribd has made it easy to share and discover entertaining, informative and original written content across the web and mobile devices.  A top 100 website with more than 90M monthly users,Scribd’s mission is to transform reading and publishing in the 21st century.



Scribd was seeking a monetization solution that did not affect user experience negatively. The Infolinks InSearch unit delivers both the value of a high performing ad unit as well as SEO and user navigation benefits.  It leverages an inbound search query to generate a highly targeted ad  tailored to a particular user’s intent at that moment.  “We had been approached by numerous companies offering ad unit solutions in the past but it was Infolinks that had the best solution to meet our challenges,” said Scribd’ s Ad Operations Manager, Matt Alecock.  The InSearch unit provided a way to add incremental revenue to our page visits without cannibalizing existing display revenue,” explained Matt Alecock.


The InSearch ad unit delivered impressive yield, and within a few weeks it was deployed across all Scribd pages globally.  “In many cases, the InSearch unit is the most valuable ad unit on the page,” said Alecock.  The unit also turned Scribd search queries into a significant source of revenue in countries where this was not always possible, thanks to the fact that Infolinks operates in 128 countries.  “The InSearch product continues to be a huge win for us,” added Matt.


A Closer Look at European Click Trends

Infolinks Infographic - European ClicksPlayers in the advertising industry often target Europe as one geographical market for online campaigns. Infolinks’ latest study provides deeper insight on this notion. Over Q3 and Q4 of 2012, Infolinks analyzed CTR (click through rates) of European countries, based on a sample of 1 trillion impressions from their 100K publisher network.

The study reveals a correlation between European regions and online engagement. Western European countries displayed higher clicking rates than Eastern European countries, with Portugal, Spain and Greece in the forefront. Scandinavian countries showed the lowest CTRs of all European regions with Denmark, Iceland and Finland at bottom.

With online advertising constantly evolving, advertisers may need to take a closer look at regional engagement trends when targeting the European market.

Infolinks Click Trends


Click Research, Country Statistics, Infographic