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Business Critical: Tablet Shopping, Bill Gates as Santa, Mobile Ads Booming

Ryan Parlee

By Ryan Parlee

Business Critical is our weekly collection of what’s new, exciting, and insightful for business leaders from the world of the web, marketing, social media, and more.

“I Paid on my iPad”

What once seemed to be a never-gonna-happen scenario appears to be making its way to reality. Consumers — who have continually expressed reservations about making retail purchases from mobile devices and tablets — are projected to throw up their hands in defeat and start buying from their handhelds, according to a new study from eMarketer.

Well, not all of them. But, the new report projects that 18% of online purchases in the UK next year will come from a tablet device. That’s up from less than 10% this year. In other words: Consumers are gaining confidence in the mobile shopping experience via tablets and other devices. (Hint: That means mobile optimization is even more critical than it was before.)

Read eMarketer’s report on the UK taking up tablets.

Mobile Ads Eat up Nearly a Quarter of All Digital Spend

Another report from eMarketer further proves how quickly the mobile web is becoming the norm: Mobile ad revenue is expected to hit $9.6 billion in 2013 — 22.5% of all digital advertising. This is up from 2010, when mobile ads accounted for just 3%.

As you may expect, the top players in this space are Google and Facebook, who own a combined share of more than half of all mobile ad spend. And, a huge part of this growth has come from Facebook’s aggressive expansion of ad units targeted at users of their popular mobile app.

Read more on the mobile-first monetization.

Bill Gates holds a sign and gift that he gave in the Reddit anonymous secret Santa program.Bill Gates plays Santa for unsuspecting Redditor

Do you think the Internet has brought us all a bit closer together?

Maybe just a touch. Like, the fact that Bill Gates — yeah, that Bill Gates — signed up for this year’s massive Reddit secret santa program, sending a present to a Redditor who was none the wiser to his identity until she received her gift.

While having Bill shipping you a nice stocking stuffer is certainly cool, the bigger implication is even more amazing. We live in a world that’s so connected that even one of the wealthiest and most-powerful men in the world can join the ranks of millions of other (read: ordinary) people via the Internet to exchange gifts anonymously. That’s how ingrained social media has become.

Check out Redditor NY1227’s reveal that her secret Santa was, in fact, the founder of Microsoft.

Hulu tops $1 billion in revenue

The second-most-popular streaming service, Hulu, announced this week that it will top $1 billion in revenue for 2013.

Of course, it’s still a far shot from topping Netflix’s numbers, but the figure reveals a lot about the rapid adoption of streaming online media services. Namely, the fact that two players in ostensibly the same market can both be hedging $1 billion in revenue means there is no shortage of consumers willing to pay a flat fee for unfettered access to media (even if they don’t get to own it) across their devices.

Read CNN’s story on Hulu’s revenue record.


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