Daily Archives: June 28, 2015

Tie-Up With UNP Is Sirisena’s Achilles Heel


COLOMBO: If Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is to marginalize the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and gain full control over it, so that the party wins the August 17 parliamentary elections under his leadership, he has to distance himself from the United National Party (UNP), which is now his ally and partner in the government.

The SLFP and the UNP are traditional rivals in the Lankan political arena. No SLFP leader can hope to retain the loyalty of its cadres and enthuse SLFP supporters to vote for the party if he has a tie up with the UNP.

But jettisoning the UNP now is not easy. Sirisena has said that his understanding with the UNP was only for the first 100 days of his Presidency, but he has a moral obligation to keep it in government till the new parliament is elected. Without UNP’s unstinted support he would not have won the Presidential election.

Therefore, Sirisena will not be able to criticize the UNP during the election campaign. When the government under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe files cases and launches investigations against SLFP leaders and ministers in the erstwhile SLFP government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sirisena will have to watch helplessly. This will only undermine his position in the SLFP and strengthen the hands of Rajapaksa, his principal rival in that party.

Sirisena is trying to keep Rajapaksa at bay by saying that he will not give him the SLFP ticket to contest the coming elections. But the power to give or deny the party ticket is with the General Secretary of the party. And SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa may well switch to the Rajapaksa faction. Susil Premajayantha, General Secretary of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), of which SLFP is part, is also poised to join Rajapaksa.

There is a rush to get on to the Rajapaksa bandwagon, partly because the grass roots level SLFPer is with him and partly because of the anti-incumbency factor. A Social Scientists Association survey says that while minority Tamils and Muslims are satisfied with the government, anti-government elements are in a slight majority among the majority Sinhalese, a community which SLFP concentrates on.


Photo credit SN

Brands and mobile ads: The $25B opportunity waiting to be tapped (report)


As a research analyst, you spend a lot of time with data. One of the first things you do upon encountering new research data is pick apart the methodology and look for any kind of bias.

I recently looked at new data illustrating the time, activity, and consumer behaviors on mobile devices, and I’ve found it to be both staggering and irrefutable.

Boy, do we love our “second” screens. So much so that they can no longer be called our second screens. They’re our “first” screens now. We spend more time with our mobile devices than we do watching our TVs. They’re even our number one Google searching tool.

It begs the question: Why haven’t brands caught on?

Last year, 2.1 billion mobile users downloaded over 350 billion apps, and spent around 76 percent more time on their device than the year previous. And yet, in Mary Meeker’s yearly trend report, the industry is still under-spending on mobile ads by around $25 billion.


Still, within that opportunity gap there are brands taking advantage, and they’re finding ways to win. So we created an extensive research report outlining exactly how.

It’s abundantly clear that we’re on the edge of a major shift in marketing and advertising. But the challenges are massive for brands trying to effectively engage consumers.

“The mobile ad ecosystem is like a giant Plinko game,” said John Koetsier, the author of the report and VB Insight head of research. “Advertisers toss in $100 at the top, and after going through data management platforms, ad agencies, networks, and supply-side platforms, they’re lucky if $60 actually gets spent on true placement of their ads.”

But new VB Insight research shows that if you can deliver an ad to a consumer that is targeted to his or her needs and desires at just the right time and in just the right way, 49 percent of Americans will give you their attention. Seventeen percent will engage with a well-placed ad to determine whether it’s worthy of further action, and 24 percent will actively check out the product or service you’re offering.

That sure beats the heck out of the 0.06% engagement most brands can expect with traditional display advertising.

The supply side of the industry (technology vendors) is only just starting to mature, and it may soon get easier for brands to trust that their ad investments will pay off.

“There are something like 1,000 ad networks, adding to the immense complexity of this space, so the biggest opportunity for vendors is to consolidate the stack — ad network, data, supply aggregation, demand aggregation, attribution, and fraud detection — so that advertisers just have to deal with fewer vendors,” Koetsier said.

Messaging platforms are likely to evolve into multipurpose content hubs. This means even more opportunity for brands, with the number of individual mobile “sessions” continuing to skyrocket. It turns out, one of the absolute crucial keys to mobile ad success is helping the ad networks with as much personalized data as possible — finding not just ‘one-time’ clickers, but long-term, repeat customers through mobile ads.

The new VB Insight report goes into depth on each of the 12 ways brands are succeeding with mobile advertising. It also explores five ways they’re failing. The report is based on an analysis of over 500 million mobile ad impressions in multiple studies, and a survey of 1,501 Americans.


Facebook made a huge move this week that could lead to its next billion-dollar business


Earlier this week, Facebook made a big change to its chat app, Messenger: It’s no longer requiring people to have a Facebook account to join.

On the surface, that’s exciting for people who don’t want to join Facebook, but still want a non-SMS-based way to communicate with their friends.

Mostly though, it’s a huge business opportunity for Facebook itself.

Most simply because Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company believes in waiting until its products hit 1 billion users before focusing on turning them into meaningful businesses.

Before this update, the app had roughly 700 million users (after adding 100 million new ones in only three months). The change could create another spike in user sign-ups, bringing Messenger closer to that magic “1 billion” landmark.


And we’re already starting to see hints of those monetization efforts. Facebook introduced peer-to-peer payments on Messenger in May. Because the company isn’t charging anything per transaction, it doesn’t make the company any money just yet. However, it is potentially getting a bunch of credit cards on file.

That means that sometime in the not-too-distant future, it would be very easy for Facebook to start letting users buy other things through Messenger, like stickers or gifts for their friends (both of which are big businesses for other, international chat apps).

The company has also started letting third-party software developers create apps to run inside Messenger.

Right now, all of the apps are free and we haven’t seen any with in-app purchases from which Facebook could take a cut. But that probably won’t always be the case.

The company also announced during its developers’ conference in March that it was going to start letting brands and businesses use Messenger to send customers receipts or shipping updates for products they bought or handle any other customer-service issues.

If Facebook can find a way to make messaging between consumers and businesses effective and valuable for both, it will likely find a way to squeeze some money from brands in the process. Especially if almost every one of those brands’ customers has Messenger — which is more likely now that they don’t also have to have a Facebook account.


%d bloggers like this: