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Gemma Houghton

The Problem Of Geo-Blocking In Europe

Global Marketing News –30th March 2016

The problem of geo-blocking in Europe

Research by the European Commission has revealed that geo-blocking is a common problem in Europe.

Geo-blocking is where a website stops internet users from certain countries from accessing or fully using the website.

The study found that 68% of retailers selling digital content, and 38% of retailers selling physical goods, engaged in some form of geo-blocking on their websites.

Looking a bit deeper into the specific tactics used, it found that 27% refused to deliver items to other countries, 22% refused to accept payments from foreign customers, 10% would re-direct an internet user to another micro-site, and 5% would refuse access to the website altogether.

To fight back against geo-blocking, which it considers unfair, the European Commission hopes to pass a “portability regulation” in 2016, which would mean that all digital service providers would be required to stop geo-blocking in 2017.

Ecommerce changing in China

The ecommerce landscape is changing in China.

Online shopping in the country is shifting both towards rural areas and onto mobile devices.

One of the country’s largest ecommerce companies, Alibaba, recently announced that it saw sales hit 3 trillion yuan, or 463 billion US dollars, in the year ending March 2016, its highest annual sales figure ever.

It said that this phenomenal figure was largely due an increase in the number of rural Chinese users starting to buy items online. The company now delivers items to 12,000 Chinese villages following a partnership with the distribution company Suning.

The other major change in the Chinese ecommerce market, mobile shopping, was uncovered by a study by Analysys International Enfodesk.

The study found that 65% of retail and C2C ecommerce sales that took place in China in Q4 2015 were done on a mobile device.

This is a massive increase, with just 9% of Chinese retail and C2C ecommerce sales having taken place on mobile as recently as 2013.

Programmatic advertising rising in popularity in Finland

Programmatic advertising is rising in popularity in Finland.

Programmatic ads are those that are automatically bought and placed by software rather than by humans.

The key reasons given to explain this rise are the increased ROI and time-saving elements associated with programmatic.

A study by the Association of Finnish Advertisers found that three-quarters of advertisers in the country bought ads programmatically at the end of 2015, with the majority doing this via a media agency.

The study also revealed the leading challenges of programmatic buying according to advertisers in Finland.

The quality of ad space and the programmatic environment was the top concern, with a lack of transparency coming in at second place.

Concerns about ad viewability, ad fraud and data recovery came in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

Lack of in-house expertise was the sixth most common concern, cited by a quarter of respondents.

Millions of dollars invested in Iranian internet firms

The Swedish company Pomegranate Investment has invested “millions” of US dollars into three Iranian internet companies.

The undisclosed amount of money went to the ecommerce site Digikala, and the classifieds sites Sheypoor and Divar.

Pomegranate Investment hopes that the money will help to improve, strengthen and grow the companies. The ecommerce site Digikala is currently worth 400 million US dollars, with Pomegranate Investment hoping that this will grow to 4 billion US dollars within 5 years.

Iran has an internet penetration rate 57%, equivalent to around 47 million people.

Eataly opens new restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Qatar

And finally, the Italian restaurant chain Eataly has announced that it will be opening new restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

A company spokesperson said they had chosen to expand to the Middle Eastern countries due to the strong demand for Italian cuisine and relative lack of competition in the region.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not the first Middle Eastern countries that Eataly has entered. It entered the United Arab Emirates in 2013, and reported 17% sales growth in the country last year compared to 2014.

Webcertain’s global marketing news bulletins are daily 5-minute videos, providing marketers with the latest international digital marketing news in an easy-to-digest format.

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Gemma Houghton

Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over ten years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programs Webcertain's International Search Summit, a search marketing conference focusing on international and multilingual online marketing which runs across Europe and the US. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

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