Consumer Prices Stay Low

china consumer price index

Rarely do economic numbers so clearly confirm each other as they do this week.  On Monday we reported China’s consumer confidence was at its highest point since we have charted it and that it’s been in the same strong territory since February.  Note that the Consumer Price Index since its steep fall in February has maintained its relatively low position.  The perception of low prices, which began in February, correlates directly to high consumer confidence over this three month period. If people believe their money can buy more, they buy more.  Sources: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

New Location-Based Advertising Guidelines

MRC location based

This blog has been vocal about the transparency issues that have become identified with programmatic buying and digital advertising.  Our concern has been that if nothing is done, practitioners of the advertising arts could allow this negative moment to become permanently enshrined. Now the Media Rating Council (MRC) issued its Location Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines, which were developed in collaboration with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  Bravo!

Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Video, IAB said it well, “Location-based advertising is already a key part of many marketers’ strategies, and these guidelines will be central in building the type of trusted media environment where geo-marketing can flourish, benefiting both consumers and advertisers.”  Source: Media Rating Council


Mobile Purchasing in China Continues to Grow

latest ecommerce

PriceWaterhouseCooper’s latest report on e-commerce patterns by Chinese consumers support the notion that mobile usage and e-commerce purchasing are closely linked and that the Chinese are by far the world leaders in both  With a billion smart devices in use and local bricks and mortar stores not well distributed in lower tier cities, e-commerce has a natural environment for growth.

Michael Cheng, PwC Asia Pacific and Hong Kong/China retail and consumer leader notes, “With continuously increasing purchasing power from millennials, e-commerce is enabling international retailers and brands to enter China more quickly and easily than before through online-only business models.”   Source: Marketing

In Spite of its Issues, Programmatic Growth is is here to Stay


A report from Zenith covering 41 key advertising markets projects significant growth in digital media’s key sectors by year’s end. Central is the expectation that programmatic as a percentage of all digital ad spend will reach 58% in 2017.

Benoit Cacheux, global head of digital and innovation at Zenith commented, “Programmatic buying of digital media has become the norm in major markets, and is aggressively following this path in smaller markets.”   Source: Marketing Interactive

China’s Consumer Confidence has Reached Rarified Air

china confidence

April’s Consumer Confidence level of 113 is the highest since we’ve been tracking it – more than two years.  The measure hit 110 once in May of 2015 and not again until February of this year.  Since then it has stayed above that mark, all the time sitting well above the 13-month average of 107.  Chinese consumers are happy people with their minds fixed on a positive future.  Sources: Trading Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China

Good News in the War on Ad Fraud

loses due to ad fraud

Apparently all of our collective talk about digital ad fraud is having an effect.  A recently released report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in conjunction with WhiteOps projects a positive turn in the battle against fraud. These data suggest a 10% decrease in digital ad fraud this year, supporting the idea that awareness is been converted into action and it’s rooting out the bad actors in our industry.

Bob Liodice, ANA CEO, said about the data, “This is a powerful indicator that the war on digital ad fraud is winnable for those who establish proper controls and protocols. And that is exceptionally good news for the advertising, marketing, and media communities worldwide.”  Source: CampaignUS

Non-Manufacturing Index is Down, but Still Healthy

China Caixin

Data from China’s non-manufacturing sector match those from the manufacturing side as reported here earlier in the week.  These data are down because of a slower pace of growth in new orders, particularly export orders. In addition, selling prices increased as did supplier’s delivery times.  All of which has caused business to pumped the brakes on expectations.  Still, an Index of 54 is healthy by any standard.  Sources: Trading Economics; National Bureau fo Statistics, China

How Fraud Works

Fraud Filter

In order to fight ad fraud honest advertisers have to understand how ad fraud works.  Here’s a four step tutorial.  First, the wannabe fraudster finds low quality traffic on sites that people sit on for a long time – porn sites and adult films fit the bill.  Second, they create fake fashion websites to be served as pop-unders that sit under the long attention-span adult fare.  Third, they serve more than 100 ads per minute to the unsuspecting user.  Fourth, as a coup de grab, they cluster up to 10 of these fake websites, then serve them on a rotating basis to show even more ads and collect even more real money for their unreal, non-audience.

This defines the problem; all of us digital advertising pros have a responsibility to clean up this mess before it defines us.   Source: Protected Media

Publisher Frustration Expressed


The Guardian is a prestigious, British-based newspaper that serves a high-end audience of the thoughtful.  Like all newspapers it’s trying to adapt to the new digital world of advertising – a less remunerative world that is returning, by their estimate, only 30% of the advertising dollars that are being programmatically spent after exchange fees are removed.

Hamish Nicklin, Chief Revenue Officer of The Guardian – a former Googlian – is determined to pull back much of the 70% that is being drained from the pool.  “We want our vendors to give us audit rights, show us full transparency, so we can be more on top of what’s happening and see what’s going on in the bid train,” he says. “We want to take back more control of that part of the revenue stream.”

Nicklin expresses the frustration and reality of the near-term future for digital ad exchanges and programmatic buying.  They will be required by the market to open the window and let in the light.  Source: Digitday

Two Month Decline for Manufacturer’s Index

china PMI

April saw the second consecutive month of decline in the Manufacturer’s Purchasing Index because growth in new orders and new exports were slower than previous months.  Slower growth has weakened confidence at the business level and has restrained employment, meaning that it is likely to affect consumer confidence, but we will have to see what happens when those numbers arrive. Sources: Markit Economics; National Bureau of Statistics, China