January 22, 2018 | by Alexian Chiavegato

AdTech Weekly Round Up

A look at how last week’s news affects mobile publishers…

Google Announces it will be Using Page Speed in Mobile Search Rankings
In a news release last week, Google announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. The “Speed Update,” as Google is calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content. The company is encouraging developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics.

Facebook Wants to Turn Video Watching into a Group Experience
Facebook has begun testing a video experience that enables members of groups to watch live or recorded videos together in the same place at the same time. Known as “Watch Party,” group admins and moderators can select any public video to share with group members. These members can then comment and react in real-time with others in the group – bringing elements of Facebook Live into the ‘party’ feature. According to Facebook, the test – which has begun with a handful of groups – is starting with groups because one billion people use Facebook’s groups every month to connect with others about their passions and hobbies. Facebook has plans to expand the feature out to other areas, if the test is successful.

Twitch Takes Aim at YouTube’s Throne, Announces Disney Partnership
Amazon-owned live-streaming service Twitch has announced the release of a new suite of tools aimed at video creators which will help them distribute pre-recorded content on its network. Twitch has previously been known primarily for hosting and distributing live-streams of video games, although the platform has branched out in recent years to embrace a wider variety of video subjects. This move places the service more obviously in competition with Google’s YouTube platform. The release of Video Producer, the company’s new set of tools for broadcasting uploaded and recorded videos, positions the firm more clearly as a rival to YouTube by moving away from its initial live-stream focus. The tools will enable users to re-broadcast live-streams, providing fans with a second opportunity to engage with content, and upload pre-recorded videos to their community of followers.

Phablets Account for Over Half of Mobile Devices in Use
According to Flurry’s State of Mobile 2017 report, larger smartphones, also known as ‘phablets’, continued to increase their popularity in 2017, with over half of all mobile devices in use now belonging in this category. The report states that 55 percent of devices fell into the ‘phablet’ category, compared to 41 per cent in 2016. Small and medium phones, as well as small and full-sized tablets, all saw declines. The growth of the ‘phablet’ goes hand-in-hand with consumer lifestyle trends, which are seeing more people using visually-demanding apps and services like shopping and watching video on their mobile device. Flurry’s figures suggest that while mobile app usage grew an average of six per cent in 2017, shopping increased by 54 per cent and music, media & entertainment grew by 43 per cent.

Barcelona Sets its Sights on Becoming a European 5G Open Lab
Earlier this month, a joint agreement was announced promoting the 5GBarcelona initiative – a project with its sights set on converting Barcelona, and Catalonia as a whole, into a digital innovation hub within the 5G field. The agreement brings together several prominent local organizations to spread awareness of this new initiative to make Catalonia a European 5G hub. Catalonia is already a major player in the international 5G ecosystem. However, this ambitious joint initiative is set to strengthen its position among the world’s 5G research and development forerunners.