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November 29, 2015

6 of the Best Cyber Monday Deals



For retail junkies across the country, Cyber Monday is the most wonderful time of the year. Shoppers wait in long lines, brave giant crowds, and fight their way to checkout with dreams of scooping up the best deals of the season. 

The best way to ensure you make the most of your shopping time during Cyber Monday is to plan ahead and make selections well before you hit the retail road. There’s no time to browse and compare prices on the big day, so building a list ahead of time is the best way to save time and money. Here’s a list of six Cyber Monday bargains you’ll want on your shopping list in 2015:


Apple MacBook Air (11.6-inch screen) - $720

It’s true—great things do come in small packages. That’s especially true with this offer from online retailer eBay. Apple products are notoriously expensive and rarely go on sale, but you can scoop up this featherweight laptop for a cool $720 this weekend, a 20 percent savings off the usual retail price. 


Selfie Stick - $2.99

You may not take selfies, but everyone in your family and circle of friends does! This deal featured at Five Below discount stores is a simple and affordable gift for just about everyone you know. The stick comes with an AUX cable and fits most smartphones. 


Camera-Equipped Quadcopter - $50

For only $50, this kid-friendly, remote-controlled aircraft has a built-in camera so pilots can get a birds-eye view from up to 260 feet away. Regularly priced at $150, this gift will soar above the rest this holiday season. You’ll find this bargain at JCPennys across the country this shopping weekend.


Kindle (Paperwhite) - $50

Amazon makes the backlit Paperwhite Kindle irresistible this holiday season at the low price of only $50. This is a great opportunity to scoop up one for yourself, if you’ve never enjoyed an e-reader before, or share your love of reading with family and friends at nearly 40% off the regular price. 


Xbox One: Gears of War Bundle - $300 + Target Gift Card 

There’s a lot of sales to choose from as far as the Xbox One is concerned, but this year it looks like Target has its competitors beat. In addition to $50 off the regular retail price, this bundle includes the latest Gears of War game, as well as a $60 Target gift card for you or to be used as another gift. 


Samsung 65-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - $1,888

What Black Friday shopping list would be complete without an insanely big TV? This Samsung Smart TV, available on eBay, is the granddaddy of deals this holiday season at only $1,888. While that’s a bit much for a stocking stuffer, if you’re in the market for a new TV this year, this is a great opportunity to grab a quality device for well below retail value. This 65-inch TV normally goes for $4,000.

So, there you have it: six of the best Cyber Monday deals in 2015. Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, you’ll be well on your way to savings. 

November 20, 2015

Swrve Raises $30m



Last week, mobile marketing software company Swrve raised $30 million in funding to further the company’s goal of global expansion and product development. To date, the company has raised more than $50 million, with this latest round led by Evolution Media Partners and Irish investment firm TPG Growth and Participant Media. 

The funding money was a huge victory for Swrve and its CEO Christopher Dean, who recently helped acquire, a data automation platform for mobile. 

With help from the latest round, Swrve and are positioned to roll out the latest produce line called Swrve Amplify, which allows clients to manage multichannel campaigns with real-time targeting data. 

“We’re excited about the simplicity of Swrve Amplify in allowing us to make real-time decisions based on all of our data sets,” said Dean. 

What he’s referring to is a combination of predictive analytics, which contain an evolving behavioral algorithm that predicts user behavior, segmentation, AB testing, and in-app messaging. The sum of these parts has resulted in the California-based company’s major success; today Swrve is considered the word’s leading mobile marking automation platform. 

In 2015, Swrve made considerable headway in terms of building out its client portfolio. Earlier this year, Swrve added The Guardian, Condé Nast, Glamsquad, Warner Brothers, and Microsoft to a growing client list.


Important Mobile Developments

“Mobile has reached a point where brands and games can’t ignore it,” said Dean. 

In addition to improving and simplifying omnichannel communications, Swrve is attempting to fully measure the app user’s collective behavior online as a distinct category of activity from the spectrum of devices and channels we choose (or don’t choose) to interact with every day. 

The end game is a more sophisticated advertising and marketing strategy for business, and what will hopefully result in more meaningful and relevant content for users. 

With the addition of $30 million, Dean and Swrve have found a bit of breathing room to let the innovation process begin. 

November 14, 2015

What Are 'Mobile Moments' and How Can They Help My Mobile Marketing Strategy?



Christmas shopping used to be a hectic business. Typically, a day or two was set aside sometime in between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve - depending on how organized you were - in order to head to the mall and fight the crowds for the ever-dwindling supply of gifts. 

In the age of the smartphone, everything has changed. From browsing to buying, every stage of a transaction can now be performed on a mobile device. According to recent Google research, 54% of holiday shoppers will use their smartphones to shop throughout the season, and smartphone-based commerce has gone up by 64% over the last year. In fact, almost a third of all online purchases now happen on mobile phones.

So how can your mobile marketing strategy benefit from this continuing trend towards smartphone commerce? The key is understanding how people use their devices. 

A recent study claimed that people use their smartphones as many as 150 times in a single day, spending around a minute on each ‘session.’ A rounded mobile marketing campaign will tackle each and every kind of activity: text messages, emails, social media and web searches. Because each session is typically so brief, the trick is capitalize on these ‘mobile moments.’ 

Mobile moments - or micro moments - are those brief snatches of time when people turn to their smartphone in order to take a specific action, like finding the answer to a question, booking a plane ticket, downloading an app or buying something online. Mobile users approaching these moments have an express, immediate intent. That intent may be to buy. It may be to browse, or compare user reviews. But whatever the reason shoppers turn to their phones, your business should take the opportunity to be there - and be useful. Here’s how:


Comprehensive Online Listings

Google’s research shows consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to buy from companies whose online directory listings are complete, up-to-date, and accurate. Further, you should regularly update the listings with seasonal info and include images and business hours. The more information you can parlay in your listings, the better.


Predict Expectations

The digital marketplace is a diffuse, niche-led realm, and users will respond to a wide variety of different messages. The key to a successful mobile marketing plan is recognizing which message will have the most impact on which user. For text message sign ups, location-based notifications are a solid way of reaching potential customers at the moment they’re most likely to buy. Throw in a discount, and suddenly you have a customer with two compelling reasons to visit your outlet: 1)they’ll save money, and 2) they’re within walking distance. 


Take Advantage of the Holiday Season

Many retailers live and die by Q4, when the annual spending bonanza kicks in, with more people buying more stuff than at any other time of year. That’s why now - before Thanksgiving - is the perfect time to implement changes to your mobile marketing strategy. Invest in a mobile friendly website and start promoting festive deals so you can hit the New Year with a running start.

November 01, 2015

Mobile Helps Propel UK Adspend to Record Highs


According to the Advertising Association/Warc, UK ad spending hit a record high in 2015. Spending increased by 5.8% to reach £9.42bn in the first half of the year, and mobile is predicted to exceed the billion-pound barrier for the first time. Digital channels remain the force behind this growth, as Internet spending is up 13.3% for H1 to £3.9bn. Mobile makes up 79% of this growth, with ad spending increasing more than 52% to £1.08bn. 

Growth is noticeable throughout the industry, including both television and cinema forms. Only print has seen a decrease in revenue. 

“Advertising’s resilience points to the strength of the broader economy in the first half,” said Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the Advertising Association. “The UK leads the world in eCommerce and the trend to mobile means serving the public better ads in the right place at the right time.”

Ad spending is expected to demolish the £20bn barrier in 2016, with the Advertising Association’s media breakdown is as follows:  

  • Radio: Radio ad spending decreased by 2.2% to £116m in Q2, branded content excluded. Full-year growth is expected at 3.0% in 2015, and 2.3% with branded content included.
  • TV: Spot advertising “recorded solid YOY growth of 2.9% to £1,144m in Q2, compared to a quarter in which the FIFA World Cup was held last year.” TV spot advertising also enjoyed a fantastic Q1 via ad revenues rising to 11.5%. An “increase of 6.7% is forecast for 2015 as a whole.” 
  • Out of Home: YOY growth was strong at the beginning of 2015 with an increase of 9.7% in Q1, though it decreased 3.6% to £249m in Q2. 
  • Regional Newsbrands: These newsbrands saw a decline of 7.2% in ad spend in Q2 2015 compared to 2014. This “represents a 12.1% drop for print (to £246m) and a 24.0% increase for digital revenues (to £55m).” 
  • National Newsbrands: Print ad revenue decreased by a staggering 19.2% Q2 2015 to £239m. Digital ad spending, in comparison, increased 5.9% to £51m.
  • Magazine Brands: Ad spending declined by 6.8% in Q2. Print advertising saw a 11.0% decline to £168m, while digital saw an increase of 5.2% to £70m. 
  • Internet: Internet ad spending included a 12.8% increase in Q2 2015, which was followed by “revised growth of 13.9% in Q1 (+1.1pp).” Mobile made up 79% of total internet growth during H1, resulting in ad spending of £1,079m (up 52.1%). 

Cinema and direct mail ad spending saw increases as well. Separate Advertising Association research indicated the UK as the biggest mobile advertising spenders in Europe, and the third-highest spenders in the world following the United States and China. 

October 17, 2015

3 Ways Mobile Has Influenced Social Media


Where would social media be without mobile? On-demand access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al has made us take it for granted. For many social media addicts, anything less than hourly engagement is punishing. Smartphones have satisfied (or pandered to, depending on your perspective) this urge for constant connectivity.  

B2B marketers who are new to digital marketing may feel clueless about how to launch a mobile marketing campaign. To help you get started, we’re going to take a look at the key ways in which mobile technology has influenced the way people interact with social media, and offer some tips on how to capitalize on this shift in online habits:


Mobile is Mainstream

Mobile is no longer the ‘alternative’ to desktop browsers. According to social media mogul Jeff Bullas, 71% of social media users access their network via a mobile device. This trend has been heading steadily skyward since the first web-enabled small-screen devices hit the market, and social networks have responded accordingly. The most effective mobile marketing strategy will reflect this. 

Budget permitting, a dedicated mobile app is best, but it’s quite possible to optimize an existing website in a mobile-friendly fashion. The columnated design of major social networks like Facebook were conceived, in large part, with this in mind. Be sure to use a visually striking header image, and make the bio section an attention-grabbing tagline capable of communicating your core brand message. In addition, use highly shareable, rich media content like videos and images.


Cache has Cache

Print media is no longer the king of the crop in terms of credibility. Social networks and online sources are by far the most common ways people consume news. For B2B marketers, becoming a credible source of industry news is a really good way to extend your reach. Become a ‘thought leader’ on your industry, using primary sources from within and without your own company. It could be interviews with experts or direct coverage of industry events - anything original that will appeal to readers and make them more likely to share your content across their own networks.


Intuition Breeds Loyalty

The easier your promotional efforts are to engage with, the better the user experience will be. Interactive ads ask for feedback and involvement from users, which in turn solidifies brand recognition: the longer a person spends with your marketing, the more familiar with and loyal to your brand they’ll become. Similarly, native ads (those that appear as regular, non-marketing content) generally offer greater value. The more immersive the experience, the less likely users are to switch off. Approach your content in as creative a way as possible. Avoid sales-speak. Talk to your audience as people, not cash-cows waiting to be milked.

Think a little differently, without a transparently profit-driven approach, and the long-term benefits will be far greater than an old-school aggressive sales pitch. In an age of endless, free content at the click of a button, an effective mobile marketing campaign is one that puts the user first. 

October 15, 2015

Mobile Marketing for the Over 65s


The huge disparity between the amount of attention marketers pay to the over-65s, and the spending power of that demographic should give brands with an eye for opportunity pause for thought.  

There are two main misconceptions about older audiences. One, that they have already defined their brand loyalties and so aren’t worth chasing; two, that they aren’t tech savvy enough to engage with a social media or mobile marketing campaign.  

In terms of brand loyalty, it may be true that baby boomers retain allegiances to familiar brands. But their sheer spending power allows them to explore new products and services without sacrificing loyalty to brands they’ve used for 20 years. It’s not an either-or situation.

On the second point: this view may have been true a decade ago, but a 65 year old in 2015 was only in their mid-forties when the Internet Age got under way, and although the digital landscape has changed somewhat since then, we’re hardly talking about fuddy-duddies here. This generation were some of the earliest adopters of mobile technology. They understand how it works.

In fact, Pew research reckons close to 40 million over-65s have a Facebook or Twitter profile, making them the fastest growing group of social media users. What’s more, they’re using social media for the same reasons as everyone else - and that includes commerce.

Reluctance to engage this demographic has nothing to do with how lucrative it might be, and everything to do with a lack of understanding of how to communicate with them on the part of young start-ups and their marketing teams. The elephant in the room is ignored because businesses (especially technology-based businesses) don’t speak elephant.


What’s Good for the Goose…

Overcoming this communication problem is simply a matter of adjusting the processes by which users engage, particularly with apps (which, admittedly, only started really booming during this decade). The onboarding process should be kept simple, with as few steps as possible. But guess what? That should be the case regardless of the demographic you’re targeting. Apps are supposed to be intuitive and user friendly. Design your app with a 75-year-old in mind and it will appeal to all generations.

Similarly, your text content should use relatable, universal language. Avoid aggressively youth-oriented slang - it won’t be understood by older people, and will be embarrassingly wide of the mark for high-schoolers. Don’t waffle, and try not to sound like you live in a marketing bubble.  

Mobile marketers and social media bods are wrong if they think they don’t know how to reach baby boomers. If they know how to market a product to 30-year-olds, they’re already speaking the right language. So for your next mobile marketing campaign, keep it simple, visually appealing and non-age specific. Cast aside your stereotype of ‘the grey dollar’ and treat all consumers as equal - you’ll find that the over-65 demographic isn’t as elusive as you thought.

October 08, 2015

6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for SMBs


Everyone’s favorite spook-tactular holiday is approaching, and with it comes the opportunity to drive more customers to your small business. Check out a few of the super-cool Halloween-related possibilities for small business marketing to implement while you enjoy the beautiful fall season: 


Welcome Trick-or-Treaters

Participate in a trick-or-treat event with other area businesses, or simply welcome costumed tykes into your store. Put treats that relate to your business in bags, such as candy featuring your business name, pencils, erasers, small note pads, and pencils. Kids love getting small toys in addition to candy, so feel free to be as creative as you want.


Create a Haunted House

Turn your business into a haunted attraction, and have your employees dress up as various ghosts and goblins. For example, if you have a retail business with aisles of merchandise, turn each aisle into its own special “haunt.” Encourage employees to get really creative with their costumes, which they’ll be all about if they love Halloween. Provide a discount that’s attractive to parents bringing their kids to your business, such as 10 or 15 percent off certain merchandise. Giving away coupons to customers upon their completion of a haunted house is also a fun possibility. 


Offer a Halloween Promotion

Send email coupons or codes to customers that are only good on or around Halloween. Text message codes are another possibility. Decorate your store as extensively as you want—or as much as your budget allows—to further draw people in and look for decorations in dollar and “five below” stores. Dress up in a creative costume and have employees do the same, which again they’ll likely be excited about. 


Hold a Costume Exchange

Show your dedication to the community by hosting a costume exchange. It’s not only a great way for customers and potential customers to cull and subsequently procure new costumes for cheap, but it’s also a way to familiarize locals with what you offer. Besides, people will likely jump at the chance to get rid of old masks of politicians and find something fun without spending a small fortune. Halloween costumes are expensive, after all!


Throw a Halloween Party

Make your business Halloween party central! Host an open house that allows consumers to learn more about your business while enjoying mystery punch and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. Designate a section for games, which will keep kiddies occupied, and offer freebies such as temporary tattoos, face painting, and of course plenty of candy. Ensure party-goers leave with goodie bags that feature more freebies and lots of information about your business, including business cards. For best results, make certain all freebies feature your business name and contact information. 

These are just some of the many ways to use Halloween to your small business’s marketing advantage. Have fun and get creative, and don’t forget to ask employees for their input and help. Most people love Halloween, and are excited to participate in anything involving the spooky holiday. Have fun! 

October 05, 2015

Mobeam Promises to Be a Comprehensive Mobile Wallet


Mobile shopping has made great strides in the last year, thanks to technology that allows smartphone users to scan in-app barcodes for food, tickets, merchandise, and more. Shopping is already convenient, but is there an even smarter way to shop? Mobeam thinks so. 

Mobeam, a mobile barcode beaming technology provider for Android, has partnered with Mobiquity Network to deliver a comprehensive mobile wallet solution. Mobiquity Network, a subsidiary of Mobiquity Technologies Inc. is a location-based advertising and app engagement software provider that should prove a useful ally for Mobeam. 

Mobeam will integrate Mobiquity Networks’ ad platform and software into its Beep’nGo app, which will enable the company to deliver highly targeted barcode-scanable offers to smartphone-holding shoppers. These shoppers can redeem target discount and coupon offers at in-store checkouts via scanable barcodes on their phones.

The partnership gives Mobeam the potential to reach 260 million monthly shoppers who already use Mobiquity’s network. Mobeam’s Beep’nGo app will now be able to detect Mobiquity Networks’ beacons, which are currently placed in high-traffic mall areas like food courts, walkways, and corridors.


Creating True Mobile Wallets

George Garrick, Mobeam’s CEO, says integrating Mobiquity Network’s ad and software technology with Mobeam's offerings creates a true mobile wallet for smartphone users. 

“Our goal is to make the shopping experience for consumers as easy as possible using mobile technology which enables true digital wallets, not simply digital credit card alternatives,” said Garrick. 

Mobeam chose to work with Mobiquity Networks because Mobiquity powers the biggest shopping mall-based beacon advertising network in the United States. Mobiquity Networks is known for providing proximity marketing in a way that enhances the user’s experience.

Garrick continues, “By joining Mobiquity Networks’ publisher network, we can improve the shopping experience even more by enabling shoppers to redeem their Mobiquity offers by simply beaming them into the checkout scanner.” He explained, “We complete the ‘last mile’ of capturing valuable targeted retail deals and enabling the shopper to easily transmit those savings into the checkout POS for an instant redemption.”


How Does It Work?

Garrick states that Mobeam “will integrate Mobiquity Networks’ software into its popular Beep’nGo app, enabling it to deliver smarter and more convenient ways to pay and save while shopping.” He adds, “Popular and emerging ‘mobile payment’ apps rely on NFC or other technologies that communicate with credit card payment terminals, but not with scanners.”

Mobeam’s barcode technology enables true mobile wallets, not just NFC-based card substitutes. This means that Beep’nGo users will now be able to carry membership cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, vouchers, coupons, tickets, and more in one app, offering universal POS access at retailers. And, they’ll get targeted discounts delivered to this app, which provides more opportunity for saving money at stores where they shop most.

The integrated technology solution will deliver highly impactful offers to users’ smartphones, at the moment they’re looking for deals.

Mobeam’s patented light-based beaming technology excels at overriding technical barriers and enables POS red laser scanners to read barcodes on Android mobile devices. Mobiquity Networks is a national leader in location-based mobile advertising and application engagement software.

October 04, 2015

APUS and InMobi Team Up to Capture Chinese Mobile Market


How does an already-huge company reach more mobile users? It teams up with another huge company in a quest to, together, dominate the Chinese mobile market, among others. 

Chinese start-up APUS and Indian mobile advertising firm InMobi are forming an alliance to reach a hoped-for 500 million new users in China, India, and other countries by 2016.

InMobi is the leader in customizing Android software. InMobi is India’s top mobile advertising firm. InMobi, in fact, competes with Facebook and Google in the $100 billion worldwide mobile advertising market. It’s one of the only Indian start-ups to make a profit and it already reaches about 1.4 billion devices.


What’s in It for APUS? 

The new partnership will help APUS earn advertising revenue from ads run on InMobi’s platform. APUS will likely see a boost in its user base and enjoy a share in the huge Indian smartphone market. 

APUS’ flagship product lets Android users customize the home screens on their smartphones. APUS hopes to gain more than 80 million users as a result of the deal with InMobi, which will lead to hefty profits.


What About InMobi?

InMobi will gain access to more than 200 million additional users by partnering with APUS. They’ll have exclusive access to all APUS users in India, which total more than 25 million. 

This partnership is the first of its kind between two of the fastest growing tech power companies from China and India. The time is right for APUS and InMobi to make this move, as the smartphone markets in China and India are growing rapidly.

APUS and InMobi’s deal comes after recent media reports that Google has plans to re-enter China. This partnership is important for InMobi if it wants to secure a stronghold in the country. Google pulled its services out of China five years ago, largely because it refused to self-sensor search results.


What’s Next? 

In an official press release, InMobi said, ““InMobi will share its vast expertise in India to help APUS establish a larger footprint in India, enabling an increased user base and market share. In return, APUS will engage in monetization partnership with InMobi….”

InMobi offered, ““InMobi will provide local expertise to APUS to help them understand the unique Indian app market and will aid in user acquisition programs including providing guidance localizing the APUS app experience and acquiring the right talent to help APUS India grow as APUS aims to make its app climb to the top five in the local Google Play store.” 

The big goal is APUS “becoming the leading Android user system in India by the end of 2015 and acquiring more than 80 million users in India by 2016.” 

However, this deal is not the only big thing on the horizon for InMobi. The company is placing heavy bets on its new mobile advertising product, Miip. Miip gives customers curated lists of products they might be interested in, based on their previous choices and their personalities.

InMobi is currently estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion.





October 02, 2015

How to Identify the Right Mobile Niche for Your Brand


Businesses that are succeeding today are using mobile technology to do so. They’re harnessing the power of mobile apps, mobile search, and text messaging to tap into consumers’—and other businesses’—demands. They’re also embracing mobile technology because it is effective, and it can no longer be ignored. Gone are the days when businesses could afford to forgo mobile technology due to cost or lack of understanding. Today, whether you’re already using mobile technology to advertise and grow your business, or are new to the game, you need to be identifying the right niche for your brand and reaching out.

To identify the right mobile niche for your brand, you first need to determine who your customers are, what devices they’re using, and how they’re utilizing mobile technology. Then, you need to position yourself as a company that’s mobile friendly and knowledgeable, and you need to supply what your customers are demanding.

Let’s take a look at a few ways in which businesses are identifying the correct mobile niches for their brands and seeing success:


When Public Opinion Matters

Mobile marketing to smartphones and tablets can help build a brand’s reputation or save one that’s damaged. The right mobile marketing techniques can increase customer count and shift negative perceptions of a company. 

Take, for instance, a business like a hotel or restaurant. These types of companies are prone to receiving negative feedback from disgruntled customers, many of whom document their anger and frustration online. These businesses benefit from mobile customer service techniques that bring a warm and fuzzy feeling back to the customer. Mobile marketing in these circumstances can include texting discount codes to customers and offering easy booking from tablets and smartphones. 

Brands that have been associated with more traditional marketing techniques, like banking, can utilize mobile marketing strategies to appear more contemporary and current. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in the number of banks offering mobile banking as a way to keep customers satisfied. Businesses that want to compete today need to be where their customers are. And, they’re on their mobile devices.


Mobile Devices to Meet a Specific Need 

Along with the rapid increase in mobile device usage, we’re seeing an increase in the types of mobile devices available and their usage possibilities. This is making it easier for businesses to come up with products and services specifically targeted to help other companies. 

New and unique niche market opportunities have arrived because of the ease of use of mobile devices. Crime scene investigators, trucking companies, and even pavement manufacturers are making the most of mobile technology and offering solutions that have never seemed possible. Those investigating crimes can use software applications to scan tablets and smartphones for important information. Truck drivers’ driving behavior, speed, and other stats can be monitored by their company via tablet. Sensors embedded in pavement can now be monitored, and tests can be analyzed easily via mobile technology.

Today, mobile technology offers opportunities for nearly all businesses—you just have to find the right method for you.