Mobile Forecasts

57 posts categorized

June 04, 2014

Starbucks Brewing Summer Campaign

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As life slows down and the summer heat turns up, the need for that morning hot cup of joe may not be as necessary. By that same token, the quiet lull and warmer weather make it the perfect time for Starbucks to brew a new marketing campaign pushing its summer menu of cold drinks to an audience with less on its plate (Yes, even this ubiquitous beverage giant needs a helping hand to draw business). So, ladies and gentlemen, we enter the age of the Frappuccino.

These chilled delights are currently the star in the coffee store chain’s galaxy of beverages. And, like its new and unique menu of icy blended drinks, Starbucks is taking unique steps of putting their brand in customers’ hands - sans cup sleeve - by using the power of SMS and MMS text message advertising.

Having depended on the typical concoction of signage and other conventional ads to get the word out about new products, Starbucks has weaved a web of multiple touch points, once again using a mobile marketing campaign as a means to bring more customers into their stores.

Using Twitter and Facebook to lure fans, Starbucks has also made this campaign front and center on its website. In fact, the moment you go to the starbucks.com home page, the campaign is hard to miss, “Say Yes to What’s Next...Text SMILE to 22122.” As SMS marketing goes, once customers opt-in using the ‘SMILE’ keyword to the shortcode ‘22122,’ they will receive text messages delivered directly to their cell phones about new products and other promotions.

This latest mass text campaign is similar to one Starbucks did last year. This time, customers will be treated to an SMS trivia contest where they can win prizes. The contest is also a vehicle to incentivize subscribers to take action and recognize devices for personalized future content. But, rather than going for the ‘Venti’ approach to texting, Starbucks is limiting the number of texts to just six per month. However, with more than six million followers on Twitter, nearly 37 million likes on Facebook and 23,187 stores in 64 countries, including 12,973 here in the United States, this newest campaign is sure to off-load a few million Frapps.

While this might be a monster of an example for business owners grappling with the idea of taking their brand mobile, there are a few facts about SMS marketing to know:

  • 91% of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach
  • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action
  • 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour
  • Mobile coupons/offers receive 10 times higher redemption rates than print coupons
  • 33A% of U.S. mobile users prefer offers via text
  • 50% of recipients respond to text offers


Understanding the power of mass SMS text marketing, businesses everywhere can take advantage of the convenience, affordability, personalization, immediacy and efficiency that SMS has to offer. Like Starbucks, by connecting with customers on the single device that has the most dependable reach, more businesses can watch their cups runneth over.

 

May 30, 2014

FT Reaches Out to Young People via Mobile Marketing

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Britain’s premier business and economics broadsheet, the Financial Times (FT), last month launched a digital ad campaign aimed at the next generation of business professionals.

Digital posters are dotted around London train, tube and bus stations, imploring the public to find their ‘personalized Financial Times at FT.com.’ The mobile marketing assault includes video ads optimized for smartphones, while the usual social media suspects spread the word online.

Toni Ellwood, the FT’s boss of acquisition marketing, gave a statement at the unveiling of the campaign:

“Since the launch of our digital media acquisition campaign last year, we have seen that 40 per cent of new readers… were in the 24-34 age group – one we hadn’t specifically targeted previously.”

It’s an interesting development for the paper, which hasn’t always been so keen on the sort of mobile marketing tactics now used by most big businesses. Less than two months before the launch of the digital ad campaign, the FT’s chief technical officer John O’Donovan warned against obsessing over specific platforms, singling out mobile-optimized and responsive sites as examples of myopic tendencies among marketers.

And yet, the site was an early, aggressive adopter of certain online and mobile marketing practices that are now de rigeur among all sorts of enterprise. In 2007, FT.com became the first publisher to use a metered paywall and launch an HTML-5-based browsing experience. According to Donovan, the FT generates more revenue from content descriptions than it does from advertising - a pretty unequivocal endorsement as far as proponents of paid content are concerned.

Back then, Donovan described the FT as ‘pushing boundaries’ in the way it disseminated content through a diverse range of channels. His success cannot be ignored – but neither can the overwhelming power of mobile marketing which, frankly, is more effective than other strategies. After all, smartphone usage keeps growing year on year, and more than 90% of all text messages are opened and read within minutes of being received.

At the very least, Donovan would surely concede the point made by his colleague Ellwood, that nearly ‘half of FT.com traffic now comes from mobile devices.’ Their growing mobile audience appears to confirm the very thing Donovan denies: that a mobile marketing campaign should take precedence over other channels without excluding them altogether. 

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.

April 02, 2014

UK Experiencing Mobile Marketing Boom

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While companies continue to use mobile marketing tactics to promote and expand their businesses in the U.S. and in the U.K., the mobile marketing industry across the pond continues to trail its U.S. counterpart.  It seems everyone in the U.S. has a smartphone attached to their hand, which they use to send texts, make calls, look up information, browse social media and make purchases among many other activities. Smartphones and tablets are even surpassing laptops in popularity, as U.S. citizens are increasingly turning to mobile devices to retrieve necessary information. This frequent use of smartphones does not appear to be mimicked in the U.K. 

Recently O2 Media and the Marketing Institute surveyed 252 marketers in the U.K., finding two-thirds of marketers dedicating portions of their budgets to mobile rather than traditional media. Of these marketers, 14 percent obtained additional money for SMS marketing campaigns, and 7 percent redirected funds used in online / desktop marketing.

Despite these efforts, the idea that “marketing spend hasn’t followed where the eyeballs have gone” remains a concern, notes Fintan Lonergan, O2 Media’s managing director. The company works with clients such as Heineken, Aer Lingus, Ikea and Nissan, helping them connect to consumers.

In 2013, a mere 19 percent of U.K. businesses had dedicated 10 percent or more of their advertising budget to mobile marketing. “This is very low compared to the central role that mobile plays in consumers lives,” Lonergan adds. Only 7 percent of surveyed marketers said they worked for “a mobile-first organization,” with “lack of strategy” considered the biggest challenge Ireland faces in regards to mobile marketing. 

Progress is being made, however. Lonergan cites location-based targeting as a “really encouraging” development in the U.K., with more and more marketers focusing on mobile marketing strategy. In 2013, the most popular mobile marketing tactics were social media, SMS messaging, apps, mobile displays and  mobile-optimized websites.

“There is a lot of media attention on mobile and the growth of mobile and yet very little has been known about what marketers are doing within mobile,” says Lonergan. 

In the UK, Lonergan says mobile marketing has gone on “a hockey stick curve in the last 24 months,” noting a recent eMarketer study that found mobile advertising in the U.K. will likely surpass print advertising in 2014.

“Our marketing industry is lagging behind a bit, and that’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact,” he notes.

So why this “lag”? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of company funds, or maybe there just aren’t as many smartphone users in the U.K. Companies are provided with numerous other options in terms of advertising, such as email and social media, and success in those areas may prompt businesses to look at SMS marketing campaigns as unnecessary. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see how fast the U.K. catches up with the U.S. regarding this expanding form of advertising!

 

March 28, 2014

Messaging Apps: The Carriers Bite Back

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A capitalist economy is all about competition. Each company strives to get your dollar before the other guy does. AT&T is trying to do just that. With technology advancing, it is becoming even harder for traditional carriers and SMS texting providers to compete with the advantages offered by free and cheap one-time-buy mobile apps. Mobile phone providers are attempting to fight the loss of their customers with new mobile marketing solutions and a new SMS marketing campaign.

AT&T’s New Benefits

Just last month AT&T advertised that they will allow contracts for LTE roaming in many different areas internationally. They also announced their intention to make international SMS texting free for their customers. Not only will this support text messages globally, but it will also support picture messages and video messaging. On the 28th of February, AT&T started their Mobile Share and Mobile Share Value plans. These plans were created to have the same capability of third party apps, thus diminishing their value and rather increasing the appeal of AT&T. AT&T says that their SMS service will be available in 190 countries, and their MMS in 120 countries. Unfortunately these new mobile marketing solutions do not support tablets or laptops; all messages must be sent from one phone to another phone.

The new mobile marketing campaign also includes the new feature of international calling at a rate of one cent per minute. This feature is allowed in 35 countries. These new mobile marketing solutions really have users’ interests peaked. Previously, phone customers had to pay extra money to send picture and video messages, or even for every individual text. Often users would turn to mobile apps to allow them to text more when their SMS limit had already run out.

T-Mobile’s New Benefits

On March 23, 2014, T-Mobile will have a launch improvements of their own. Their new mobile marketing solution allows some users to double their amount of data for the same price. It also allows mobile customers to have unlimited SMS to 120 countries internationally. Because of the size of T-Mobile’s customer base it can not provide as widespread benefits as AT&T, but it shows that they too are wising up to the staggering appeal of mobile messaging apps. 

The Competition

Back in 2012, researchers found that the collection of messaging apps sent a total of almost 19 billion messages every day. That vast number passed up text sent by traditional SMS carriers by almost 1.5 billion. In the spring of 2013, it was projected that 2014 would be the year that application messages would pass SMS messages at a ratio of more than 2 to 1. There are fewer app users than SMS users, but the affordability of free in-app messaging is of course enormously appealing.

WhatsApp, Kik, Viber, WeChat and MessageMe, are taking the mobile market by storm, and AT&T would like to do something about it. Keep your eyes open for more benefits from traditional mobile carriers. The phone companies are fighting back, and you might just get a great deal because of it. 

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 06, 2014

How Mobile Devices Have Increased Customer Service Expectations

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The constant availability of digital information at our fingertips happened so fast, and so resoundingly, it’s easy to forget that ten years ago, hardly anybody owned what might be termed a ‘smartphone’.

As a consequence of such widespread mobile technology, consumer expectations have become dramatically elevated. Recent research conducted by KANA Software found that 5% of 18 to 24 year olds check their phone every minute – an alarming figure indicative of an almost pathological reliance on connectivity.

But they’re not just checking their phones. They’re using them as portals through which they can lodge complaints, and they expect their complaint to be dealt with quickly. If companies fail to respond in a way that satisfies the customer, they find themselves traduced on social media platforms and all-important user review websites. The Millenials have never known a world without the hyperspeed life of the web, and their patience is thin. Remember last century when 10 working days was the standard time period for responding to complaints? They don’t.

It’s not just young people. The survey – which polled more than 2,000 people in then UK – found baby boomers were among the most prolific online complainers. In this climate, mobile marketing solutions  must include a quick response strategy in the face of online criticism.

The first step towards meeting high expectations is to make the mobile experience a priority. Dedicate resources to ensure mobile users get the attention they require – the money spent will come back to you in the shape of more conversions.

More than that, you have to approach your mobile marketing strategy in the wider context of consumers’ journey-to-purchase. No amount of research is too much. Do your customers tend to browse products using their mobile devices, before buying in-store? Just because you aren’t generating the majority of conversions from mobile devices doesn’t mean they’re not a crucial part of the process. Identify common problems as early as possible in order to minimize the impact those issues will have on your business.

Once you’ve resolved the basic problems, devise creative mobile marketing tactics that will make your business stand out from the crowd. Find success in the mobile marketplace and you will be well-positioned for future growth across all channels.

 

March 04, 2014

Older Demographic Moves to Mobile

 

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New mobile marketing studies have pointed to older individuals as the fastest-growing demographic for mobile and social media usage. According to a Nielsen Company report, mobile media is attracting 45- to-64-year-old consumers above other age groups, despite the notion that mobile media is solely used by teenagers and those ages 20 to 35.

Companies aware of the increase in mobile usage among older adults can harness this information and use it to create effective mobile marketing campaigns.

The Misconceptions

Plenty of misconceptions surround older adults and mobile/social media use, such as the idea that they barely know what Facebook or Twitter is, let alone have any clue how to work a smartphone. However, the facts don’t lie: in addition to Nielsen’s findings, a new GlobalWebIndex study surveying 31,779 consumers in 31 different countries found older adults as the main reason for growth among social media sites. These include Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That’s enough to turn misconceptions about older adults and mobile marketing on proverbial ears! 

Older Adults and Your Business

Staying aware of statistics regarding older adults is highly beneficial when brainstorming mobile marketing solutions, and it provides opportunities many may not have considered before. For example, an effective mobile marketing campaign for a doctor or hospital is one that sends SMS appointment reminders to its older patients. These patients would have to opt-in to take advantage of such services.

Another example of an effective mobile marketing campaign is one that caters towards the mobile-savvy grandparents of the world and provides exclusive discounts to parks, zoos, indoor funhouses and anywhere else grandchildren like to go. Such deals and discounts would only be available through the SMS campaign, and could easily drive business to local attractions.

Other options include creating a mobile marketing campaign that offers coupons and sales alerts to older adults who frequently order from a medical supply or herbal supplement site. This could easily transform site traffic and business, as older adults would have access to exclusive SMS deals and discounts they didn’t have before.

These are just some of the endless possibilities regarding older demographics and mobile marketing campaigns! Now that you have the information, think about how you can use it to increase your business and expand your brand. Good luck!

 

March 01, 2014

How to Use Mobile Directories to Optimize for Local Search

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If you’re a local business relatively new to the world of mobile marketing, you will still be discovering new ways of leveraging consumer attention away from competitors. Perhaps you’ve just got a handle on your social media campaign, or you’ve optimized your website for common search terms, but you’re unsure where to turn next.

Equally as important – though oft-ignored – are online business directories. Each one acts as a conduit through which potential customers can access your service, so the more directories you add yourself to, the bigger your reach. You don’t need any particular technical expertise to get listed, just some time and effort, so adding yourself to as many business directories as possible should be a priority of your mobile marketing strategy.

As usual, the big players like Google, Yahoo and Yelp are a sensible place to start. Take a look at these fifty directories and add your business to as many as possible. But don’t limit yourself to the most commonly used directories – it’s a huge playing field populated by major brands, all packing a serious financial punch. Augment these listings with more localized directories by searching for ‘business directories Florida’ (or wherever you are situated). The smaller your operation is, the more specific you should be in terms of location; there is no point advertising your services to people all over your state if you can only serve customers within your county.

As easy as it is to achieve, getting listings in multiple directories can be time consuming, and not a little tedious. To speed up the process of filling out the same information on multiple forms, use Firefox’s neat add-on tool – it also helps you maintain consistency across all listings. Be sure to include a map of your store location in every directory that allows it. Don’t try to create your own personalized map – you can’t do better than Google Maps, which has the advantage of contextualizing your street address in a map of, you know, the world. Users are far likelier to engage with an embedded Google Maps image which they can click through to obtain directions.

Remember, 52% of all local searches are being done on mobile devices. If you haven’t climbed on board with a comprehensive mobile marketing strategy, you may have no idea how much business you are losing out on. Yes, SEO and social media are vital to your online presence, but directories are one of the most useful, easy-to-implement mobile marketing solutions around. Take a day out of running your local business to set up as many listings as possible – it’ll be worth it.

February 24, 2014

Gamification as a Winning Mobile Marketing Solution for Your Brand

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“Gamification” may not be the prettiest word, but it’s become part of the marketing parlance. It describes the incorporation of game techniques such as competitiveness and self-expression into desktop and mobile marketing solutions. Game elements may appear in the form of prizes, hidden tokens, loyalty programs – and any other type of reward system contingent on consumer engagement with a brand.

It already forms a central part of many mobile marketing campaigns, and M2 research predicts gamification will be worth $2.8 billion by 2016. Gartner figures project more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will be using at least one gamified application by 2014. Clearly, it’s a popular strategy with big companies. But is gamification worthwhile for your business?

The first thing to remember is this: gamification must add real value to the user experience. As with apps, there’s no point going in half-cocked, or you will simply waste money and effort on something that nobody uses. As in any game or competition, users must be motivated by a reward, and the greater the reward, the more you can ask for in return.

Florist Teleflora has been a leading light in the world of gamificaion, using a store-wide loyalty scheme that offers points for actions like reviews, comments and answering queries for other customers. Customers can get additional points for being first out of the gate for writing a review or answering a question. As customers rack up points they achieve ever-greater levels of influence, and therefore value to the brand. Teleflora increased referral traffic from Facebook by 105% and conversion rates by an impressive 92%.

Cloud storage firm Dropbox offered additional space to users who completed specific tasks. People who take a tour of Dropbox services are awarded an extra 250MB on top of the 2GB that comes free with every account. There’s 125MB up for grabs if you connect your Dropbox account to Twitter or Facebook, and 500MB available for every friend referred (up to a maximum of 16GB). LinkedIn adopt a similar strategy as a way of encouraging users to maintain up-to-date profiles. Their service is improved, and the users status and visibility goes up. It’s a win-win.

Gamification is not for everyone. The fun, trivial nature of the beast means it’s unsuitable for organizations with specific brand values that could be undermined by introducing game elements into their mobile marketing campaigns. Charities, banks, and certain non-profits are unlikely to benefit, and lots of small business lack the financial clout to pull of a really compelling gamification campaign. But it can reap huge rewards for the right brand, and as mobile marketing solutions go, it’s a useful way of harvesting crucial data, improving brand loyalty, and enhancing the user experience.