17 posts categorized "Android"

July 19, 2014

From Zero to Hero: How Mobile Revolutionized Planet Marketing

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Mobile marketing has gone stratospheric since the advent of the smartphone, but it’s been around in some form or another for more than 20 years. SMS messaging gave marketers a whole new channel to pursue during the 90s, when cell phone ownership first became widespread. Now, with text messages the most commonly read form of communication, advertisers are cautiously rediscovering the possibilities of SMS marketing.

But mobile marketing is about much more than SMS. The smartphone age has seen to that by putting the power and connectivity of a desktop computer into the palms, pockets and handbags of almost everyone in the western world. Some inroads were made into serious, non-SMS mobile marketing tactics during BlackBerry’s first flush of success in the early noughties, but when the first iPhone hit stores in 2007, marketing execs really sat up and began to take notice. 

As developers clamored to create apps to go along with Apple’s devices, the first wave of modern mobile marketing tactics began to take shape. The focus was very much on volume, and publishers relied largely on getting high app store chart rankings in order to gain visibility. Marketing efforts were all about short-term gains, with the main objective to generate as many downloads as early as possible in order to climb the charts. Quantity reigned supreme over quality.

These early years of app/mobile marketing were dominated by incentivized downloads – something Apple continued to allow until April 2011, despite the obvious credibility problems. Tracking performance was problematic. Platform regulations were loose, and developers took full advantage; it was essentially a land grab, the Old West of app and mobile marketing. 

By 2012, developers began thinking about the possibilities of quality and performance tracking. CPI-based campaigns gathered steam and, and better quality tracking was sought. For their part, Apple tightened its rules, clamping down on people accused of gaming the chart system by using bot farms to generate inauthentic downloads.

Around the same time, publishers became more data-focused, integrating in-app analytics software to collect metrics like usage, engagement, retention and monetization potential. There was a growing focus on high-quality user experience – but mostly with the objective of retaining customers for the medium-term.

That all began to change over the last 18 months, as a new climate took hold in the tech world. The shift is now overwhelmingly moving in the direction of stellar quality, as mobile marketing campaign managers realize that acquiring new users, even for a pittance, is not sensible unless they are retained, engaged, and monetized. Against that backdrop, some unlikely transactions have taken place – such as the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook – but there is no doubt that the app world has raised it’s game. With GPS technology and other location-based tools fast improving, the future of mobile marketing is unpredictable, but undeniably exciting.

 

 

May 29, 2014

SEO Strategies to Avoid

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Three letters represent the primary focus of any mobile marketing campaign, and have done for around a decade now. SEO. It’s come a long way since then, adapting to an increasingly complex array of strictures and barriers imposed by search engines in order to prevent people gaming the system, but the objective is the same: improve visibility for relevant industry keywords.

The fast pace of change in SEO best practices means that well-intentioned tips published a year ago may actually harm your rankings today. This is not a dilettantes game. To do it right, you need to stay on top of the latest effective strategies and, even more importantly, those tactics that have fallen afoul of Bot Logic. Smart mobile marketing tactics – or ‘white hat’ techniques – will be rewarded for creativity in the shape of increased clicks, impressions and conversions. The ‘black hat’ SEOs that still haunt our online world are fighting a losing battle. When was the last time you saw a link farm on page one for a popular keyword? I’m guessing some time around the turn of the decade.

Trouble is, the misinformed or naïve SEO strategist will be punished as fully as the cynical black hatter. Even if you adopt a mobile marketing strategy in good faith, if Google frowns upon it, you’re done for. It could set your business back months. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ‘must-avoid’ SEO tactics so you know what not to do…

 

Reciprocal Links

There is much confusion surrounding the value of reciprocal links. Of course, links from friends, family and business associates are a natural part of entrepreneurship. This is where the ‘link as vote’ analogy is helpful. Think of your business as an election campaign. You can and should reach out to potential ‘voters’ and ask them to support your campaign for success. But if you receive an unsolicited email from someone you’ve never heard of, and they request a link exchange, accepting it would be like associating your ‘candidate’ with the wrong sort of voter. In most cases, such emails will come from sites weighed down by links already, and the greater the link:valuable content is, the lower the value of each additional link becomes. Chances are, if they’ve contacted you (usually via automated software) they stand to benefit from your link much more than you from theirs. Don’t be tempted by offers of dodgy links. Bide your time, and grow your backlinks in a more organic way, and Google will love you forever. 

Peak Keyword

Back in Web 1.0, you could happily stuff a page with keywords, safe in the knowledge that this unsophisticated metric was given credence by search engines. Those days are gone. Now, when Google bots crawl a page crammed with keywords, they will consign that page to the bottom of the results.

Link Overload

Placing relevant links in your article is a key part of creating useful content – but overdo it with extraneous links and you will be stung by the search engines.

Comments

Just as link building needs to be done slowly and with great care, commenting on others’ blogs as a way of boosting your online profile can be a positive organic approach. But as with all good SEO practices, you need a rich mixture of tactics to get real results. Even if you’re only leaving comments of value, blog commenting for the sole purpose of building links is nothing less than spam.

May 23, 2014

5 Mobile Marketing Don’ts

 

More and more small businesses are catching on to the manifold benefits of mobile marketing, and 84% of companies that adopt a mobile marketing strategy report an upsurge in sales.

With so many new players in the game, rookie mistakes are inevitable. If you want to avoid some of the more common errors made by mobile marketing newbies, read our top five fails so you know what not to do…

Blocking Mobile Traffic

This is surprisingly common. There’s some kind of screwy logic at play: businesses think that just because they don’t have a mobile version of their site, they should block mobile traffic altogether. Bad idea. Something is better than nothing, and smartphone users are getting increasingly nimble at navigating non-mobile sites on their devices, so don’t cut yourself off from a potentially huge audience.

Failing to Optimize for Mobile Search

That said, you really should be working towards having a fully optimized mobile version of your site, searchable on a mobile phone. Remember, people search very differently on a portable device than they do on a desktop. You can’t simply transfer the keywords you target on desktop browsers to mobile. People tend to search for brands and precise names and locations on mobile, because they’re on the move and have a specific destination in mind. Their searches are also more likely to be location-based. The addendum ‘near me’ is a common prompt in mobile browsers – use it to your advantage. Bear in mind too that long tail key terms like your industry + town/city are much cheaper and easier to rank for, so you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you fail to target them in favor of the big keywords.

Omitting Contact Information

It’s surprising how many people fail to put their address on the homepage. It needs to be easy to spot, and attached to an embedded Google maps link to help them find your store. Similarly, your phone number should be prominently featured and a clickable link. The fewer steps it takes consumers to contact you, the more likely they are to do so.

User Unfriendly Apps

Everyone’s chasing the glitzy prize of their very own app. Problem is, the market is now glutted with sup-par apps that don’t really help anyone. Contrary to our earlier assertion that ‘something is better than nothing’, ill-thought-through apps don’t count. An app download is a much bigger ask of consumers than a quick visit to your website. Unless you’re part of a major organization with the clout and budget to build a good app that works across multiple devices, skip it.

QR Codes

No. They seem attractive because they’re free, but they’ve been ruined by poor execution on the part of many, many businesses. Consumer faith in QR codes has plummeted, and they are now little more than odd relics of the late noughties cluttering up billboards and lampposts around the world. Unless you’ve got some compelling new twist on the concept, leave the QR codes in the past where they belong.

 

 

May 17, 2014

Game-ify your Mobile Marketing Campaign

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The drive to play and compete is a part of human nature. People crave the thrilling adrenalin rush that comes along with trying to beat an opponent. The popularity of gaming apps like Angry Birds is a testament to just how universal that craving is. Consumers spend an average of two hours every day on apps, including games. Successful mobile marketing campaigns today are capitalizing on the universal appeal and power of gaming as a great way to boost customer interaction and thus drive sales.

Engaged Consumers Make More Purchases

In mobile markeint, gameification means creating messages that employ elements of fun and play to entertain members or customers. When consumers are entertained, they become a “fan” of the brand and thus more likely to make a purchase. Fun can blur the line between entertainment and marketing, making the engagement experience more compelling for consumers as they aim to defeat opponents or surpass challenging obstacles. The rush of pride and accomplishment that comes from play can directly affect mood and general brand perception.

The success of Verizon Wireless's revamped customer social hub, Verizon Insider, is a perfect example of how marketers can get more from their mobile marketing campaigns through gamification. In 2012, Verizon set out with the goal of increasing customer interaction. Through its gaming campaign, Verizon Insider users earned points and rewards in several ways, including contest participation that allowed players to post their scores on the company's Facebook and Twitter feeds. Just a few months after the campaign's launch, these users were already spending 30% more time on the Verizon Insider site, with page views up by 15%. Verizon's campaign shows that gamification works.

Analytics Drives Purchasing

Marketers hoping to boost brand awareness and/or increase sales should start by analyzing their mobile messaging. A/B split testing and re-targeting are action techniques that help marketers get the most out of their campaign efforts.

For an example of how this type of split testing and re-targeting might work, one can imagine movie fans receiving quiz questions via MMS. Not only do high scoring quiz-takers experience the thrill of victory; these consumers also receive a significant discount on tickets to the upcoming sequel.In addition, they are encouraged to post their scores via social media, sharing the campaign's message with their friends.

During this first phase of the MMS marketing campaign, the company sends two different versions of the message to various consumer groups, testing to see which wording results in higher conversion rates and in what demographic brackets. After the first round of texts, the company then re-targets, sending alternate messages to customers who didn’t respond to the first one. Consumers are targeted with an additional call to action and perhaps an even a bigger discount, increasing their likelihood of conversion. After analyzing the results, the marketers have a solid idea of what works and whom it works with.

Upping the Game

Gamification in mobile marketing has become a major topic of discussion, and its use is only gaining momentum. Regardless of how much fun consumers are having, however, the importance of testing a gaming campaign's messaging is essential if marketers are going to come out ahead and maximize their ROI. For companies, after all, the endgame is always the bottom line.

May 14, 2014

Twitter Adds SMS Messaging Password Resets

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Twitter has updated its security options to allow users to reset passwords via text or email. The updates were unveiled last week.

In order to implement the SMS messaging option, users must associate a mobile phone number with their Twitter account here. Once the phone is activated, it’s possible to disable any unwanted SMS notifications. To reset a password via email, simply click the ‘forgot password’ link on the front page (the option is available on both desktop and mobile versions of the site, as well as the Android and iPhone apps).

Once the SMS messaging request has been sent, a code is sent to the associated mobile phone; the code must be entered on Twitter’s sign in page, followed by the new password.

The move comes after Twitter promised to ramp up security for their service following a spate of suspicious log in attempts. In addition to the new password reset options, Twitter has started analyzing log in attempts based on location and history, in much the same way banks flag up unusual ATM transactions. If they identify an apparently suspicious log in attempt, Twitter will request verification via email or text.

Additionally, the process will ask users a secret question about their account prior to granting access, followed by e-mail notifications if an anomaly has been spotted.
Twitter said recently that user security is a  priority concern, and by adding these new steps accounts will be safer than ever before.

The single biggest breach of Twitter’s security manifested as the recent Heartbleed Bug scandal, which compromised the personal data – including bank details - of millions of users. The micro-blogging site hopes the new measures will prevent similar security breaches in future. A statement on their blog said:

“We’re aware that many people reuse the same passwords across multiple sites. And when any of these sites are compromised, stolen passwords could be used to access your account on Twitter.” 

When it comes to tightening preventative procedures to limit third party hijackings, Twitter is somewhat late to the party. Google implemented a raft of similar security measures in 2010, giving users the ability to track log in history and other information so they could keep tabs on their accounts. 

April 29, 2014

HoverChat is Helping Mobile Users Multitask

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The modern web audience is an inattentive bunch. Creating an effective mobile marketing strategy means figuring out how to grab your share of their attention. One of the ways developers are meeting this challenge is with multitasking tools that enable users to send SMS messages at the same time as using other apps.

Android users might remember Google’s recently-scrapped SMS messaging app. App developers certainly remember it, and have rushed to fill the gap it’s departure left in the market. HelloSMS, EvolveSMS and Textra all went a long way towards giving mobile users a good multitask experience. Facebook brought out ChatHead, which assigned floating chat bubbles to contacts, allowing users to respond quickly, regardless of what else they were doing.

It’s along those lines that HoverChat has carved out a name for itself. Formerly known as Ninja SMS, HoverChat has re-emerged with a familiar list-based inbox, and a not-so-familiar way of handling incoming messages.

In this case, the floating bubbles are replaced with “HoverHeads”. You can choose which of your friends or favorite brands get the honor of their own chat bubble. You can make the chat window semi-transparent, so you can literally read between the lines. It even allows you to send encrypted messages to another HoverChat user.

Other customizable features include a fully-featured store serving themes, fonts and HoverHeads, The store is available in a free or premium version (the latter of which animates HoverHeads).

Apps like HoverHeads demonstrate that, even in this new age of WhatsApp and Snapchat, traditional SMS messaging has a place – it just needs innovative new ways of being applied. Opening SMS messaging up to users who love to multitask is one of the ways this is happening.

Oh, and HoverChat is available as a free download on Google Play, with the paid version costing $3.99. Happy multitasking!

 

March 25, 2014

HTC One M8 Goes on Sale in UK

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HTC’s new smartphone went on sale today at several stores in London, ahead of a general release on March 27. International consumers will have to wait until April 11 to get their hands on the device.

The HTC One M8 was officially unveiled just one hour before it became available to shoppers at six Carphone Warehouse and three Phones 4U stores. A few handsets were also released at a press conference in New York.

The HTC One is being heralded as one of the best designs to hit the smartphone market to date. According to a press release published on the T-Mobile website, the HTC One has “the brainpower of a true superphone… [and] stunning hardware design.”

The device has two cameras on the back, allowing photographers to take shots capable of mimicking the depth-of-field control that was once the sole preserve of DSLR machines. Another winning feature is Motion Launch, which lets users quickly deploy their device without having to first unlock it. A phone call can be taken by putting the device to your ear; the camera can be activated simply by upending the phone and hitting the volume button. 

Despite all the bells and whistles, HTC’s new offering faces an uphill battle in terms of marketing. The company aims to make high end products capable of competing with iPhones. To a certain extent, they’ve achieved that with the HTC One, but they lack two key things that Apple has in spades: a fanatic, loyal customer base, and an app store that rules the roost.

That’s not to say HTC doesn’t have potential. For every hardcore Apple fanboy, there’s an open-source devotee who wouldn’t go near an iPhone if their house was burning down. And they’re precisely the same people who care more about design than market ubiquity. In that context, HTC has a place in the hearts of the anti-Apple brigade who don’t want to slum it with a Samsung device.

Whether there are enough of those people out there remains to be seen. In marketing terms, probably not. Few mobile marketing tactics include a pressing urge to reach out to HTC users – and their SMS messaging glitches are documented across the web. But for individual users with a taste for good design, and an antipathy towards good marketing, the HTC One could be the answer.

March 10, 2014

iOS vs. Android Users: Who Should Mobile Marketers Target?

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There’s nothing mobile marketers love more than a good scrap about the best operating system. Ever since the first generation Androids and iPhones emerged in 2007, their relative merits have been hotly disputed; you can usually tell which side of the debate a person will be on by the phone in their hand.

Of course, there is no easy answer to the ‘which is best?’ question. So much is subjective, and some Android (or iOS!) devotees will never be persuaded to change their personal preference, no matter how compelling the arguments for doing so are. Broadly speaking, iOS generates more revenue, but Android has a greater market share. Neither of these truths are going to help you create the right mobile marketing strategy.

The very fact that this debate has raged continuously since the smartphone boom took hold is indicative of the complexity of both operating systems. Deciding which device your mobile marketing strategy should focus on requires careful consideration of a whole range of metrics. Let’s take a close look at some of the factors at play:

US Performance

comScore report revealed 133.7 million people in the United States owned a smartphone during the first quarter of 2013. Android was ranked as the top smartphone platform, with 51.7% market share next to Apple’s 38.9%.

Similar results were gleaned from a Kantar Worldpanel Comtech report, which showed Android beating the iPhone by a 9% margin. It’s important to note, however, that the cut and thrust of the smartphone market means these figures are bouncing around on a daily basis.

Plus, device ownership is far from the full story when it comes to iOS vs. Android. Whilst the latter enjoys a greater number of customers, the former generates more money from online commerce. A Black Friday report conducted by IBM showed iOS users spent an average of $127.92 per order, compared to $105.20 spent by Android users. Android users accounted for 11% of ecommerce traffic, next to iPhone and iPad users’ 28.2%. These facts are of more relevance to your mobile marketing strategy than pure ownership.

Worldwide Performance

Phones supporting Android sell significantly better than iPhones in global markets. During the fourth quarter of 2012, Android had a 70% share, compared with 21% for iOS. If your business is global, you should adjust your mobile marketing strategy accordingly as such a marked difference in ownership levels undoubtedly supersedes the greater online spending conducted on Apple’s devices (which remains true internationally).

Tablets

Mobile marketing solutions targeting tablets should always differ from those targeting smartphones, because people use them in different ways. Apple’s iPad outperforms Android tablets and, again, ecommerce revenues are greater for the former.

Apps

According to data collected by Canalys, just over 50% of all app downloads in the first quarter of 2013 were for Android, with iOS taking the lion’s share (40%) of the remainder. What this means for your mobile marketing strategy depends on the type of business you run, so study your market closely. Find out which apps your customers regularly use and, if building your own app, create one for both operating systems.

Web Use

Apple rules the roost in terms of web use, with a 60.1 % share (according to NetMarketShare). Android lags with 24.9%, which, considering there are more Android devices out there, corroborates the evidence for iOS users being significantly more active online.

Overall, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from the wealth of data on which device performs the best. When devising mobile marketing tactics, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. We’re talking Apples and oranges (or rather, Apples and Androids) – so come up with a separate mobile marketing strategy for each, especially if your business has a global reach.

 

February 19, 2014

The Foundation of Mobile Marketing: 3 Key Solutions

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It’s been almost 10 years since smartphones and subsequently mobile apps were introduced to the world, thus revolutionizing the marketing industry in a way few expected. While numerous mobile marketing solutions are available for companies to utilize, three stand out as the best strategies for securing prospects and maintaining relationships with current clients. So what are these solutions, and what makes them so effective? 

Responsive Web Design

A somewhat new solution regarding mobile marketing tactics, response web design is defined as tailoring the layout and function of a website based on device screen size and viewing capabilities. Whether viewing site content from a laptop, smartphone or tablet, responsive web design allows for easy viewing minus distortions and other issues that crop up when browsing a site that does not include this feature. Responsive web design only requires one code and one content management system (CMS), making it easy to add new features, publish new content and fix site issues. A website optimized for any device also allows for much more traffic and overall site use.

Mobile Apps 

The development of mobile apps created a whole new way for businesses to market themselves. Mobile marketing campaigns continue to get bigger, better and more personalized, as they make staying in touch with users easy. Whether to employ native or hybrid apps depends on a company’s mobile marketing strategy, as native options are built solely for a specific operating system, such as an Android or iOS, while hybrid apps were created for use across numerous operating systems.

No matter which app version a company decides to use, it’s imperative that the app serve a practical purpose or otherwise feature a unique function the user won’t find anywhere else. A fantastic example is any shopping app, as it allows users to scan barcodes for quick and easy order and reorder of favorite products. Mobile apps are an ideal way to increase brand awareness and cement customer loyalty, even if the business generates a lot of traffic via their official website. 

Dedicated Mobile Website

Key mobile marketing tactics also include the dedicated mobile website, or when a site is optimized entirely for mobile use. This mobile marketing strategy is highly effective when a business is looking to analyze customer engagement and activity, but the company website isn’t fully operational or still in the “revamp” stage. An effective way to test proverbial waters, dedicated mobile websites let businesses know to what degree they will benefit from mobile marketing campaigns.

Whether using one or all of these mobile marketing solutions, it’s important to remember mobile internet usage continues to increase. Employ such solutions in mobile marketing campaigns and see if they don’t help business!

 

February 07, 2014

Mobile Advertising: The Tale of Two Marketing Paths

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The mobile apps market today is enormous. On the surface, this seems like an incredible, straightforward opportunity to earn a profit. The only problem is, while consumer demand for mobile apps is great, today's consumer is less and less likely to be willing to pay for them. Mobile marketers who want to get involved in the mobile app business, then, are left with two options. On the one hand, they could build and develop their own standalone app; the other option they have is to work within apps that people already have, strategically placing their mobile advertising there.

Option One: App Development

The first concern when talking about developing your own standalone app is the cost. While it is true that the expense, in total, of developing an app will depend on the type you are considering, a mobile app is generally expensive to build from the ground up, given that the process includes everything from coming up with the idea to layout and planning, to design, to making the app go live. In other words, there are many costs – associated with not only development but also design and IT architecture; one must also consider the percent of every sale that Apple or any other vendor would keep.

Alternatively, while it is possible to buy source code for less (cutting out much of the work you will need to put in), paying less in the app development process will almost always mean having far less control over the process. This can be tricky when your goal is to create something engaging that users will really want.

 

Option Two: Advertising on an App

Marketing an app for free, on the other hand, requires support through ads. Mobile marketing applications today are extremely sophisticated, using tools such as location-targeting to show consumers the most relevant ads based on how they show up via GPS, Apple's iBeacon, or any other app analytics tool. Another strategy, called deep linking, lets ads see whether consumers already have a specific app on their phones – and then directs the consumer to a specific page. If, for instance, a consumer in search of a spring jacket already has a specific department store's app, then the ad would direct him or her to the spring jacket section within the store's app, or to an ad for a spring jacket sale, thus generating increased revenue.

Of course, the question of how consumers react to such extremely specific marketing is a big one – and must be considered carefully. Increased brand awareness and brand sentiment is a great thing if the consumer appreciates the usefulness of such seamless targeting. If seemingly “mind-reading” advertising is not rolled out carefully, however, consumers could view these tactics as interruption marketing (on par with “pop-ups”) or spam – or, worse, they could view them as just plain “creepy” in an age when privacy breeches everywhere have customers on high alert. One suggested way of getting consumers to warm up to specific, highly targeted marketing is to first spend some time using targeting technology to offer freebies to consumers, thus increasing the feeling of goodwill and trust.

Mobile Marketing and the “Opt-In” Option

The great thing about SMS marketing is that it can require, by its very nature, an opt-in service – thus circumventing concerns about marketing tactics that might be perceived by the consumer as invasive. Users opt in because they not only expect but also want something of value from the company – and therefore they expect and want to receive marketing collateral. In this sense, SMS texts are actually less invasive than the older pop-up tactic or ad-heavy, overly-branded apps.

The truth is that mobile technology presents great opportunities for the marketing of mobile apps today. When it is approached carefully, the industry has an enormous opportunity to conveniently meet consumer needs and desires – while also safeguarding consumer trust.