Global Ad Spend Expected to Hit $500 Billion

Though the economy still has us all singing the blues here in the US, eMarketer says that global digital ad spending will continue to shine on through. The rough estimate is $500 billion spent by the end of the year thanks in part to the rise in mobile marketing.

As you can see from this chart (over there –>) North America is responsible for the largest chunk of the spend and that trend is expected to continue. However, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are all making their move.

Asia, in particular, is being influenced by mobile marketing. It’s one of the areas where mobile devices are the primary means of accessing the internet and though they only sit at about 55.4% penetration right now, that number should rise to 73% by 2015. Says eMarketer, that’s “an eye-popping 2.9 billion mobile phone users.”

Ebay Prepares to Transform the Online Marketplace with X.Commerce

eBay wants to transform the way we sell things on the internet and believe me, there’s not a drop of sarcasm behind that statement.

Technology has changed everything about the way we shop, but it seems like the retail industry is always rushing to play catchup. eBay says it’s time to get ahead of the curve, and to that end, they’ve created X.Commerce.

For developers, X.Commerce is the key to creating cutting-edge, apps and tools that will help people shop better, faster, and hopefully, more often.

For merchants, X.Commerce aims to be a one-stop shop for selling tools and solutions.

For marketers. . . well, it’s a little too early to tell how it will effect your job, but it’s probably going to be good.

Facebook Gets Friend.ly

Social Q&A company Friend.ly has been acquired by Facebook. Hooray?

Friend.ly refers to their app as a conversation starter that will help you find new friends and meaningful relationships on Facebook. The app is designed to offer you a list of thought provoking questions that you can either answer or simply approve of answers given by others. Friend.ly suggests that if you say someone’s answer is cool, they’ll probably say you’re cool and there’s no telling where it will go from there.

According to All Things Digital, the two-year old company had an impressive growth spurt earlier this year but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Like many Facebook apps, there’s a big difference between those that signup and those that actively use it on a regular basis.

Groupon Counters No Longer Add Up

As human beings, we like to follow the crowd. That’s part of the reason group deal sites works as well as they do. If only five people jump on a deal, then maybe it’s not as good as it sounds. But if 200 people buy in — well, then you know you’re in on something great.

Groupon wants you to feel the satisfaction of knowing you’re part of the popular crowd, but they’ve decided to be less specific about it.

Going forward, Groupon deals will no longer show the exact number of deals purchased. The wording on tipped deals has been changed to “Over INSERT NUMBER bought” and even that’s not necessarily true.

According to Groupon’s blog, they’ve been testing a variety of ways of covering the numbers including including this gem.

Twitter Wins Trademark Battle Over Word Tweet

Tweety bird should have seen this one coming. According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter is about to gain possession of the word “Tweet” and birds all over the world are angry :-).

Twitter has been trying to trademark the word for a while now but has consistently been blocked by the US Patent and Trademark Office because two other companies had already applied for variations of the term.

Back in September, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Twittad, a company that arranges for people to get paid to Tweet. But instead of a long drawn out battle, it turned into a short fight. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two companies have come to an agreement. Twitter will withdraw their lawsuit and Twittad will give them the trademark on the word “Tweet.”

Tablets Slowly Eat Away Mobile’s Lock on Non-Computer Traffic

The overwhelming majority of people on the internet got there by using a computer. But in the US, 6.8% of them got there using an alternate device. The majority of those people did it with their mobile phone, but an increasing number are using tablets and that percentage is rising fast.

comScore has just released a new whitepaper called “Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits.” It’s a long name for a data-loaded report that should interest anyone in mobile marketing (which should be anyone reading this post.)

Take a look at this chart:In just a few short months, tablet usage jump up from 22.5% to 28.1%, and they did it by eating into both the mobile and “other device” categories.

New Study Shows Online Video Viewers Don’t Mind Ads. . . Sometimes

A new study from Dynamic Logic and blip.tv, shows that viewers are watching more online video and less TV — but not by much.

The numbers show a 9% decrease in cable TV watching vs a 26% rise in viewing via PC. The real trend is in mobile, with a modest rise of 19%, but you can expect that number to keep climbing as more tablets make it into homes across the US.

The study also found that online viewing habits were starting to mimic those of regular TV viewers. Both capture the majority of their audience during the primetime hours of 8pm to 11pm, with 6pm to 8pm, coming in second for web shows.