As Danny Meadows-Klue, chief executive of the IAB Europe, posted on his blog recently, "Two and a half years ago, over a long working lunch in a quiet swanky restaurant in Mexico City's Santa Fe district, seven of us talked about the idea of creating a digital marketing trade association. Here in Mexico, Google hadn't yet opened up shop, MSN and Yahoo were the only web media of note, and the agencies were struggling with where online fits in the media mix."
Latin America: The next frontier for Google, Fox, and Time Inc.
Clearly, the second annual IAB Mexico conference held in Mexico City last week highlights how many more players have entered the market since then and, with it, interactive advertising investment has seen considerable growth. In the past year alone, Google has not only set up shop but now employs dozens of people across Latin America; News Corp. in a swift and decisive move recently purchased Click Diario (the largest ad network in Latin America), renaming it .FOX; and my company, Time Inc., launched three websites including CNNExpansion.com.
At the conference, five international keynote speakers -- including Yahoo! CMO Cammie Dunaway and 500 internet advertising decision makers -- discussed the impact of their international expansions as well their insights about the future of the industry.
Insights from Yahoo!'s CMO
Cammie Dunaway shared her view on the global growth of internet users and advertising sales, saying "Frequently, we tell marketers that they don't need a crystal ball to see into the future. All they need is a plane ticket to markets like Korea, Japan or Norway where broadband penetration rates are incredibly high and people use broadband to view full-length movies and purchase a variety of products."
She shared proprietary research showing how Mexican internet users are quickly adapting to the digital lifestyle and not far behind advanced markets:
- The average Mexican family has 12.2 technology devices (DVDs, TVs, computers)
- 71 percent of internet users share photos online
- 50 percent research products online
- 34 percent listen to the radio through the internet
- 33 percent of internet users have made a purchase online in the past 30 days
- Internet users spend 3.9 hours per day on the internet, well above TV and radio (at 2.4 and 1.4 hours respectively)
- The internet is the primary source of information in searching for jobs, autos and financial information.
She added that, "The Mexican internet market is exploding. Consumers here in Mexico are very social and engaged, connecting to their families and friends online where they are able to express themelves."
While they have quickly adapted to using these new Web 2.0 platforms, it is not about the technology, Dunaway said, but rather how the internet compliments their circles of family and friends. She added that "In developing markets, social networking is an important way to tip the market."
Publishers expanding globally
Showing how relevant social networking is to people internationally, Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO of hi5, presented the story of the growth of his social networking site, which is now the twelve most visited site in the world (according to Alexa), with 60 million users. As the third most visited social networking site globally, hi5 has found great success in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets where the site is ranked among the top 10 of all websites.
How has the company built such strong followings across the globe with only 42 employees in San Francisco and 12 in India? Yalamanchi says that through translating the product, providing localized search, maintaining a neutral design, and providing fast load times have enabled the site to grow exponentially on the a global scale. He adds, "Audiences are consistent throughout the world. We learned what works in one market and have applied that to our other products."
Looking to the future, the central question that Yalamanchi says publishers need to ask is what device are users going to use to access their profile? Mobile clearly offers great opportunities globally, especially in markets with lower PC ownership.
New product from Microsoft
In keeping on the social networking track, Chris Velasco, director branded entertainment EMEA and the Americas for MSN, previewed Microsoft's launch of a new Web 2.0 photo-sharing product called Photosynth.
This new technology, powered by collaborative sharing, takes services like Flickr to a whole new level. It intelligently organizes photos of famous tourist sites, like St. Mark's Square in Venice, by the view that they were taken from, empowering viewers to experience being there via a virtual map/grid layout of 100s of photos taken by a multitude of photographer-tourists. However impressive the preview is, I look forward to seeing how Microsoft performs in bringing this complicated system to market on a global scale for multiple locations. Click here to see the preview.
Joe Kutchera is the interactive sales director for CNNExpansion.com. .