6 posts categorized

June 19, 2015

Are App Store Video Previews Worth the Investment?


Trying to stand out from the rest of the apps for sale on the App Store presents a big challenge for app developers. The App Store currently features some 1.2 million iOS apps, with developers using screen shots and simple text to attract buyers. Videos were used to build momentum outside of the App Store, however Apple is changing that...or attempting to, anyway. 

The launch of iOS 8 meant app developers had the opportunity to upload 30-second videos to iTunes Connect, as well as other app updates and marketing materials. App Store visitors see video thumbnails, or what Apple calls poster frames, next to app screenshots. Store visitors simply have to hit ‘play’ buttons to launch a full-screen video showcasing what’s fantastic about the app.  

Videos are designed to provide visitors with a “realistic experience” regarding the app in question, and function more as demos than anything else. Music is important to the mood and theme of the video, though narrated videos and those featuring animated text and graphics are also accepted by Apple. The company does not allow personal data and real names to be used in the videos.  

This tool has been in use for nearly a year, but its effectiveness is up for debate. Creating a visually-pleasing video that really sells why an app rocks isn’t an inexpensive venture, with even basic productions very costly compared to screenshot designs. Video expense subsequently limits A/B testing for an app page, and the possibility of producing a variety of previews is limited as well. Screenshots, in comparison, are easy to create and allow app developers to experiment with different styles to determine what their target audience likes most.  

Another problem with app preview videos is the constantly-evolving nature of the industry. Even the coolest, most professionally-executed videos can become outdated in an instant, forcing developers to produce more general, less creative videos that “justify investment” and are essentially evergreen. This in combination with Apple’s video guidelines and rules presents a serious challenge to developers. 

Videos even spell a bit of doom in regard to app page conversion rates. The perfect “app page experience” is one that creates a “compelling user experience.” This means the longer a user takes to decide whether they want the app or not, the more the developer has to lose. Screenshots are subsequently the better marketing tool, as they simply provide users with specific app highlights rather than a “deep exploration” of the product. The idea is to quickly convince users to install the app, not compel them to think about it.  

If a developer does decide to create a video preview for an app, it helps to focus on two or three specific features the screenshot cannot convey, refrain from mentioning discounts or seasonal offers, and ensure content is rated 4+, or appropriate for all audiences. 

December 31, 2014

Movie-fy Your Texts with This App



As much as we love the simple SMS message, it’s also fun to jazz things up occasionally with some of the weird and wonderful messaging apps out there - especially when talking to friends with whom you share an interest in pop culture.  

There’s already PopKey for gif-lovers, and RapKey for hip-hop fans. Other musical genres are promised by the makers of the latter, and Emoji-fication has already put down strong roots in the text message world. The SMS modification craze is showing no sign of abating, and there are new additions to the canon seemingly every month. 

If movie references are more your scene, the latest way to mod out your text messages is an app called Crumbles. It takes typed text and transforms them into edits from a bewildering array of popular movies and TV shows, one word at a time. It’s kind of hard to describe, but try it for yourself - it works like this.

The audiovisual dictionary from which Crumbles pulls words is featured in a sidebar so you can easily access the full database. There’s even a special Homer Simpson themed version, although it has a much more limited choice of words so if you write anything but the most prosaic of messages you’ll end up with a generic computer voice filling in the nouns and adjectives that Homer can’t utter. There’s even a dictionary with words culled from obscure animated web series Bee and Puppycat.

Once you’ve typed in the phrase you want to send, simply share it on Facebook or Twitter. As apps go, this has to be on of the least useful and most fun. You’re never going to use it for communicating anything remotely important - it would be a terribly insensitive way to break bad news, for example, conjuring memories of Ralph & Ted for sheer inappropriateness. The luster doesn’t take long to wear thin either. Crumbles is destined to be used a few times and then cast aside, like so many Christmas toys. But the ride sure is fun while it lasts. If you’re after a fun, interesting way to send someone a message and give them a giggle at the same time (or if you’re just feeling spectacularly bored and want to hear Darth Vader, Christina Applegate and Forrest Gump say ‘I smell like Alabama’… not that anyone at EZHQ would do such a thing) then Crumbles is your guy.

September 29, 2014

Record Growth for India's Mobile Marketing Industry


Mobile marketing tactics such as SMS coupons and geo-targeted ads are being used in practically every global economy, but one part of the world has taken to it more rapidly than any other. In India, the mobile marketing industry has grown by 260% in the past year. Compare that to the 70% growth in the Asia Pacific region and you start to get a clear picture of just how big the strides taken in India are.

The cause for such rapid growth is undoubtedly the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, which in some parts of the world are becoming the primary point of access for web users.

The expansion of the mobile advertising marketplace in India was studied in detail by Opera Mediaworks, a San Mateo ad platform. The analysis was published in a report called “State of Mobile Advertising.”

In addition to the overall growth figures, the report compared various mobile devices and their success in India. Android has the largest share of the market, with 41.7%. Apple devices, meanwhile, are trailing significantly, with less than a 1% share. 

The face of mobile marketing in India bears some striking differences to its American and European counterparts. This is largely because people living in remote regions often don’t have smartphones, and can’t experience the kind of rich content we’ve become used to seeing on handheld devices in the West. 

According to a Business Week article from earlier in the year, Unilever is issuing 15-minute recorded programs that can be listened to on old-fashioned cell phones. The shows include popular Bollywood songs, comedy routines and product commercials. The free service has proved popular, gaining 2 million subscribers when it first rolled out.

Original, bespoke mobile marketing tactics like this are the only way for businesses to get a foothold in new territories. As of the beginning of the year, there were 364 million rural mobile phone users in India. In January 2014, the pace of mobile adoption in villages was faster than in cities for four consecutive months. In 2013, Indian businesses spent 3 billion rupees ($49.9 million) on mobile ads, and the market is expected grow by nearly 45% by the end of the year (according to the Mobile Marketing Association).

The key, as Unilever has discovered, is to develop a mobile marketing strategy targeted at basic-feature phones. That means voice-based and SMS messaging services. Understand this, and your mobile marketing campaign in India will reach more people.

September 09, 2014

Texting at the Movies


Smartphones may have made our lives easier, but for screenwriters, the proliferation of mobile devices has made compelling, modern-day storytelling that little bit harder. Look around most public places in 2014 and a fair percentage of the ‘characters’ are completely immersed in their phone, heads bowed, the faint glow of the screen barely illuminating their frowning concentration. They’re getting a lot of work done, but it’s not exactly the stuff of nail-biting drama for anyone watching. 

This mass migration of human interaction from lips to touchscreens has thrown up some significant challenges for Hollywood. To gauge the impact this has on our daily lives, one only has to think about how many movies set before the 21st Century would be ruined by modern technology. It’s for precisely this reason that many filmmakers have turned their attentions to historical dramas, in which characters have to carry parchments on long, arduous journeys in order to get a message through. The dramatic possibilities are inherent. Will the letter make it? Will it be intercepted? Is it really from whom it purports to be from? None of these questions are an issue with SMS messaging.

Not that Hollywood hasn’t done it’s best to meet the challenge head on. For much of the noughties, movies took a literal approach to depicting SMS, opting for close ups of phone screens, often with comically large text, and cut with equally laughable reaction shots.

More recently, the modern revamp of Sherlock made some improvements to the depiction of SMS, with the content of text messages hovering around the senders and/or recipients. The typography bears no relation to any smartphone font we know of. By using this technique, the film has future-proofed itself, and will not date as badly as those mid-noughties, pre-smartphone movies filled with antiquated cell phones that tend to compromise the suspension of disbelief. 

Certainly, it's a lot better than most ceulloloid depictions of the internet. Copyright issues mean few movies can use Google (The Internship excepted), which leads to absurd inventions like 'Finder'Spyder', a made-up search engine used in lots of tv and big screen production. 

February 16, 2011

Use Brainshark To Add Video To Your Text Messaging Campaigns

If you’ve ever talked to us about mobile video you know that cross carrier multimedia messaging services (MMS) just aren’t there yet. Today we’re excited to let you know about a great service called MyBrainshark. MyBrainshark is a free online service that enables you to easily create, share and track online and mobile video presentations using your PowerPoint documents and your voice. If you have a plain old video file, that works as well.

So here’s how it works. Sign up for MyBrainshark – basic usage is free but the paid plans are well worth the upgrade, starting at only $9.99/month. Once you’ve created your account you can upload videos (or presentations – we’ll get to that in a minute) and they’ll automatically convert them into a mobile-ready format. They’ll give you a short link that you can add to your text messaging campaigns. MyBrainshark supports pretty much every smartphone. If you’ve been waiting for a way to enhance your mobile campaigns with video, the solution is here.

About the Powerpoints. MyBrainshark is guided by two philosophies. ‘Create once, share anywhere,’ is the first. Everything you upload to MyBrainshark is available on the web, can be exported to YouTube, and of course is available on mobile devices. The second philosophy is ‘Video Presentations…Anytime, Anywhere.’ Thousands of companies and organizations use MyBrainshark to share eLearning presentations and marketing materials. After you’ve uploaded your Powerpoint you can record a voiceover using your telephone, mic, or by uploading mp3’s and add background music for a multimedia viewing experience. If you’re one of the hundreds of trade shows or conference presenters who run at-event Keyword campaigns, MyBrainshark can take your campaign to the next level:

  • If you’re giving a presentation you can encourage your audience to text in your Keyword. Add a MyBrainshark link to your autoresponder and provide attendees with a copy of your presentation – including an audio narration track.
  • If you’re organizing the event you can do the same, providing everyone at the conference with keynotes, promotional videos and more.
  • myBrainshark also works with QR codes, so you can use one video solution for your entire campaign.

For $9.95/month you can upgrade to MyBrainshark Pro, but if you use the promo code –JPLRPKGPDJ, they’ll knock 15% off that price. Among MyBrainshark Pro’s added features there are three we want to highlight:

  • Remove myBrainshark site branding with the stand-alone player. This is perfect for a link inserted into your text message campaigns.
  • Lead capturing and viewer identification are exactly what they sound like – and are great for business customers.
  • Detailed reporting and alerts allow you to analyze usage and gauge the effectiveness of your video/presentations.

If you want to learn more about MyBrainshark for mobile, check out their blog post that covers all of their mobile tools – including their iPhone and iPad apps. Even better, if you want to see what you can do with MyBrainshark, watch their mobile presentation!

Ready to go? Try MyBrainshark now and start adding mobile video and presentations to your text messaging campaigns.  The promo code again is:  JPLRPKGPDJ

April 22, 2009

Text Messaging Commentary In The Movie Theater

Switched has the story on an interesting new SMS application from a company called MuVChat:

At MuVChat screenings (currently only in St. Charles, Illinois), ADD-afflicted Gen Y-ers and Millenials can text their thoughts and heckles to a central number, and then the comments are displayed via a live scrolling feed at the bottom of the screen. So far, the screenings have been cult comedy neo-classics like 'Zoolander' and 'Office Space,' but there have been calls for torture-inducing screenings of Mariah Carey's 'Glitter' and the Ben Affleck/J. Lo opus, 'Gigi.' According to Heald, most people at the screenings send about 40 comments per movie. An example comment? During 'Zoolander,' one commenter wrote, "I want a comb-over like Trump." Now, imagine 8,000 snarky comments popping up on the screen during a film (we're estimating an audience of 200).

Read more @ Switched