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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

Why micro videos are the hottest trend in 2014

Posted Friday, August 15th, 2014

If 2014 is the year of anything, it’ll be the year of micro-video. The rise of the ultra short form film in 2013 might have surprised many – after all what can you say in a few seconds – but already smart brands are starting to master this medium.

Promise of engagement

Micro-video offers the promise of more engagement than traditional online video, with branded Vines four times more likely to be shared than traditional online video.

Added to this, the mobile-based nature of micro-video and its expansion onto sites like YouTube, means that micro-video may have the potential to further increase a brand’s reach by providing additional touch points within the digital space.

The plus points for consumers is that the time commitment is small, making them more willing to watch, but brands still need to be aware of the following:

  • Micro-video films need to be entertaining, informative or intriguing. This is currently a push medium so entertainment value is critical.
  • Typically, consumer films are shot on a mobile and the lo-tech aesthetic is important; quick rather than slick should be the watch-word.
  • Micro-videos are short and thus brands need to adopt simple visual cues that make the brand clear right from the start. Audi and Samsung place the products they produce at the core of their micro-video, making them a key part of the action.

Will your business be producing micro-videos and for which apps/websites?


15 Apps Kids Are Heading to Beyond Facebook

Posted Friday, July 4th, 2014

Recent reports go back and forth on teens’ favorite digital hangout, but the fact is that the days of a one-stop shop for all social networking needs are over. Instead, teens are dividing their attention between an array of apps and tools that let them write, share, video chat, and even shop for the latest trends.

Twitter
Instagram
Snapchat
Tumblr
Google+
Vine
Wanelo
Kik Messenger
Ooovoo
Ask.fm
Yik Yak
WhatsApp
Omegle
Yo.
Whisper

 

Here’s why they’re so popular with teens:

Twitter
Teens like using it to share quick tidbits about their lives with friends. It’s also great for keeping up with what’s going on in the world — breaking news, celebrity gossip, etc.

Instagram
a platform that lets users snap, edit, and share photos and 15-second videos — either publicly or with a network of followers.

Snapchat
Snapchat’s creators intended the app’s fleeting images to be a way for teens to share fun, light moments without the risk of having them go public. And that’s what most teens use it for: sending goofy or embarrassing photos to one another. Snapchats also seem to send and load much “faster” than email or tex

Tumblr
Many teens have tumblrs for personal use — sharing photos, videos, musings, and things they find funny with their friends. Tumblelogs with funny memes and gifs often go viral online, as well (case in point: “Texts from Hillary”).

Google+
Teens aren’t wild about Google+ yet. But many feel that their parents are more accepting of it because they associate it with schoolwork. One popular aspect of Google+ is the addition of real-time video chats in Hangouts (virtual gatherings with approved friends), and some schools may use Google Docs for classroom assignments.

Vine
Videos run the gamut from stop-motion clips of puzzles doing and undoing themselves to six-second skits showing how a teen wakes up on a school day vs. a day during summer. Teens usually use Vine to create and share silly videos of themselves and/or their friends and family.

Wanelo
Teens keep up with the latest styles by browsing Wanelo’s “trending” feed, which aggregates the items that are most popular across the site. They can also cultivate their own style through the “My Feed” function, which displays content from the users, brands, and stores they follow.

Kik Messenger
It’s fast and has no message limits, character limits, or fees if you just use the basic features, making it decidedly more fun in many ways than SMS texting.

Oovoo
Teens mostly use Oovoo to hang out with friends. Many log on after school and keep it up while doing homework. Oovoo can be great for group studying and it makes it easy for kids to receive “face to face” homework help from classmates.

Yik Yak
Kids can find out opinions, secrets, rumors, and more: plus, they’ll get the bonus thrill of knowing they’ve all come from a 1.5 mile radius (maybe even from the kid at the desk in front of them!).

Ask.fm
Although there are some friendly interactions on Ask.fm — Q&As about favorite foods or crushes, for example — there are lots of mean comments and some creepy sexual posts. This iffy content is part of the site’s appeal for teens.

whatsapp
The price is right — for teens who have a hard time keeping within the limits of a standard texting plan, the ability to send unlimited messages for free is a definite bonus.

Omegle
Being anonymous can be very attractive to teens, and Omegle provides a no-fuss opportunity to make connections. Its “interest boxes” also let users filter potential chat partners by shared interests.

Yo
This admittedly silly concept has taken off big-time since the app’s release in mid-2014. While it may not seem like much, this single word has the potential to let friends and family know you’re thinking of them, and just wanted to say, you know, “Yo.”

Whisper
With all the emotions running wild in the minds of teens, anonymous outlets give them freedom to share their feelings without fear of judgment.

Which other apps are you or your kids loving right now? And will Facebook’s new slingshot be on the list soon?

 


Reskinning Apps- the opportunities to reskin differently

Posted Friday, April 4th, 2014

Here’s a blog post I wrote for an app blog which is about to go live and I thought I’d share. It looks at how many indie app developers are reskinning apps with he same old code and having trouble standing out in the app store. Here’s thoughts about a different approach and how reskinning could even help people around you.

Smashing Apps

We’re all in the app reskinning business and hopefully everyone is smashing it! It took me some time to get my head round how it all works and implementing the systems that helped me release quality apps quickly. But as I’m sure many people experienced, I hit some early financial losses when I started which I couldn’t afford and what’s more, I was worried whether the app business would work for me or I would get it right.  It forced me to find a way of making guaranteed income from reskinning before I spent all the money I had to build apps

I’d love this article to be about how I’ve cracked it, instead it’s a couple of thoughts on the opportunities reskinning offers and how I’ve used what I’ve learnt to make alternative revenue. Initially I needed to find a way to cover my costs to reskin my own apps but eventually I realized how reskinning could apply to any new business. Hopefully there’ll be a follow up message on how I’ve nailed it!

The Background

I run a company called SWARMbuzz which helps businesses with their online, social and mobile strategies. I’d been running the business for 3 years when I discovered how to build an app, I love everything mobile so I thought I’d give the app game a go. But I took a massive early hit; I made some poor decisions on my first app, severely overspent and finally got nailed by the developer. It was a disaster. But I tried again and whilst I’d learnt a few lessons, I still made mistakes and made a loss, poor developers and my own inexperience were costing me. By my third attempt I had an app released which saw some good early downloads but it would have needed to be a smash hit to recover expenditure on 3 apps, 2 of which didn’t even get released!

I couldn’t afford to keep losing money but I wanted to continue having a go at building apps as I believed it was a great market and I enjoyed it. I needed to find a way to cover my early losses and get some quick income to fund further projects. I continued to release some small games which were making money but my P&L sheets weren’t looking very healthy and I needed to do something about it

 

How can I play the reskinning game differently?

Initially I thought that the reskinning game was a secret I should keep. As I’d spent the time and money learning only I should know about it. But this didn’t last, partly because I think it’s better to share knowledge and secondly I’m not very good at keeping secrets! The more people I told, friends and clients, the more they were interested and saw the sense in it. Until a friend who owns a successful company asked me to produce monthly games for his business targeting families. He knew they were reskinned apps and he was happy they were, I wasn’t cheating him, I was helping him. He’d been producing apps for his other companies paying tens of thousands of dollars but I was telling him I could produce apps at a fraction of the cost and quicker, he was naturally very happy and I now produce small games for him each month. You may ask why I wouldn’t just produce these games for myself but in the early days the money I charged allowed me to recover my loses, I liked working with his company and we’re about to start new mobile businesses together because it has worked so well

When we think reskinning we think of games immediately because that’s what we’ve seen our teachers do and what we’ve read most about. But I’ve come to realize that the opportunities are truly endless, so far I’ve found a source code that has suited all of my crazy ideas! As an example, my family run a charity to help educate children less fortunate in India and Africa so I decided I could take a wallpaper source code I owned and use it to build a charity app. I wanted to offer it to other charities so I contacted local charities to show them the app I’d built and how I could do the same for them. I covered my costs and time and whilst it made a little money, it was the chance to help charities reach a mobile audience and acquire donations via an app which was all for good causes.

Where are these opportunities?

Networking networking networking! Speak to new people on social media, forums and friends at the bar!. Reach out to new people and speak to your friends to share your app knowledge because mobile is still very new to many people. I made a point of listing the people I knew who ran a business which could best benefit from apps. I sent them an email and just asked if we could meet for a chat. All of them agreed and those who understood mobile liked apps and they loved reskinning because quite frankly, it makes sense! Keep in contact with the people you know who own or work in a small business with a simple email or text message; majority of your business will come through people you already know.

To help my online business I took out a $1500 loan from my family and joined a networking group which could be hard work as it started at 6.30am once a week, but it gave me the chance to meet local businesses and talk about the online and mobile world. Remember we’re tech ninjas, there are a lot of people, even young people, who don’t understand the mobile game and how it’s conquering everything! When I decided to offer reskinning commercially I arranged meetings with fellow members and we discussed how I thought apps could help them. Over the course of my two years with the group I did $25000 in business (a mixture of mobile, social and app work) so I was thankful the investment was worthwhile.

It’s not as though my time is now filled with building other people’s apps, I still have plenty of time to build my own. But it brought in some early money to help cover my mistakes. What I’ve enjoyed the most is being able to help companies build a low cost app that is equally effective as one that would’ve cost far more money. It also started conversations with successful business owners who now want to build other mobile businesses together.

The fighting talk

What’s cool about all of this is that I’ve never written a line of code, I can’t design an icon or implement a chart boost SDK. That’s not what I do, a property developer doesn’t build the walls, they try to spot the opportunity and that’s what I enjoy the most; now and again it pays off!

It might not be your bag getting involved in other businesses; personally it’s what I love to do. If you’re in reskinning just as a passive income then you can still consider how your app flipping knowledge could pay for your first app, your next app or a big app you’ve been dreaming of releasing. You could reskin an app for your local restaurant or even your or your kid’s school and then multiple schools in your area. Charge whatever you’re comfortable with or enough to pay for your next app. Or simply find fun opportunities to utilize your app reskinning knowledge.

How cool would it be to build fun apps, extraordinary businesses and potentially help others, with the app reskinning lessons we’ve been taught, there’s no reason why we can’t!

Good luck to you all!

Get in contact:
Twitter: owhittle

 


More Than Half Of Online Adults Watch Video On Social Media

Posted Friday, October 11th, 2013

 

Pew Internet Research published a new study on online video.  Some interesting findings:

  • 78% of adults internet users watch or download online videos, up from 69% who did so in 2009.
  • Comedy/Humor is the most popular genre of video content online
  • 57% of online adults (ages 18-49) watch videos on social media; 28% publish video to social media.
  • 41% of cell phone owners watch mobile video, compared to only 8% who check-in to locations using their phone.

 


Phones 4 everyone!

Posted Monday, July 18th, 2011

While the explosion of mobile use is no new phenomenon, what continues to amaze is the appetite for smart phones and the onus on making them indispensible to the consumer. The smart phone was impressive alone, let alone the continued progression of technology that is making it the most modern form of communication far beyond texts and phone calls. In fact, in terms of social media use, it’s easier to use a smart phone that it is your desktop.

Currently, 25% of people in the UK own a smart phone but by 2014 this number will rise to 75%, a staggering increase in such a short time. Social media will play a key part in this growth, consumers want to access their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or watch YouTube videos where ever they are, at any time of the day. In the UK 50% of all mobile internet traffic is on Facebook the key platform driving mobile internet usage, followed by Google and YouTube.

What does this mean for your business? The key aspect is that your customers are constantly talking about your brand with more ease than ever before. A consumer having a coffee mentions where they’ve been and how good it was, a service they’ve used and their reflections on it. In many occasions it’s not even a conscious effort to name the brand and give their opinion; it’s just sharing information and updating the people in their community.

Businesses need to get smart. They need to be aware that in the past they discovered what their customers thought by handing out testimonial cards. That’s long gone. They’ve almost lost control of who says what and when, but as a result, businesses need to be at the top of their game every day. It’s no longer enough to produce a good dish when a restaurant reviewer visits; every customer is now the reviewer with an equal opinion. They need to embrace social media rather than continue to run from it.

Facebook, Twitter and no doubt Google+ have been developed with the mobile device in mind. Facebook’s places and Twitter’s geotagging are developments that use smart phones to give information beyond an update. The idea is for the micro-blogging sites to be immediate and convenient. It captures their thought at that moment which can then be shared with incredible ease. Experiences, good and bad are shared by consumers every minute of every day.

70% of people will buy products/services even if it has been recommended by a stranger and 90% buy after recommendations from friends. For businesses this means that with the spread of social media and the rise of smart phones they need to be at the top of the game and value every customer. Companies are being discussed, whether it be positive or negative feedback and they need to be on top of it. Social media isn’t going away, it’s only going to grow as smart phones make it easier to post and the consumer now gets their voice heard.

See also- How long until you’ll be buying your groceries with your phone?


How long until you’ll be buying your groceries with your phone?

Posted Friday, April 8th, 2011

In light of recent advances in technology– the mobile payment sector is fighting to be the next big thing.

While our friends in Asia and parts of Europe have already been making purchases with their phones, mobile payments in the UK haven’t really taken off.

The biggest problem with mobile payment and top of everyone’s greatest worry is security. When it comes to people’s payment processing, data is of the utmost importance. People are generally very reluctant to enter their payment details when very few sites offer any obvious security measures.

There are 3 important factors to think of when you’re making a payment:

• Make sure it’s only sent to the POS system, rather than passing through third-party services.
• Your payment details are stored carefully on your phone
• Make sure it is encrypted when it’s sent to the POS system

However, despite the security measures and concerns million os people use the POS terminals and systems which in actual fact aren’t that secure. Ironically, there is no evidence that mobile payment is any less secure.

Starbucks has recently started accepting mobile payments. They claimed 3 million people paid for their coffee using the company app.

How long will it be until we pay for our Sunday newspaper using your smartphone?


Mobile App Market to Surge to $17.5 Billion by 2012

Posted Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Lithuanian-based GetJar, an independent mobile phone application store with more than 60,000 mobile applications for major mobile platforms such as Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile, commissioned a study that predicts a huge surge in the number of mobile app downloads and the overall size of the mobile app market.

Mashable, 17th March 2010

According to the study, created by Chetan Sharma Consulting, mobile app downloads should jump from 7 billion in 2009 to almost 50 billion in 2012. By this time, the market will be worth 17.5 billion dollars, the study predicts, despite the expected lower price of mobile apps, which should drop from the current average of 2 dollars per app to 1.5 dollars in 2012.

GetJar chief executive Ilja Laurs makes another bold prediction, echoing the one we’ve recently heard from a Google executive. “It is easy to see how mobile apps will eclipse the traditional desktop Internet. It makes perfect sense that mobile devices will kill the desktop,” he said.

He backs this up with more data from the study, citing that 17% of GetJar users spend more time on internet-linked smartphones than they do on desktops.

Be that as it may, the work you do on your desktop is still a lot different than the work you do on your smartphone. The mobile application market definitely has tremendous room to grow, especially with the coming of iPad, which takes the mobile app paradigm and slaps it onto a bigger, tablet device. But let’s wait and see how it performs on the market before we declare desktop dead or irrelevant.


5 Online Marketing Resolutions for 2010

Posted Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Resolve to give your online marketing efforts a boost this year by recognizing areas for improvement and putting in place a plan to make positive changes.

online marketing, Jan 8 2010

1. SEO:
I resolve to focus more on maximizing visits and conversions from organic searches. With SEO efforts, it’s easy to get caught up in one goal: getting found via the search engines. But ranking in the search results is only half the story. If potential customers aren’t clicking through to your web page – or other piece of digital content – the ranking doesn’t mean much. Plus, due to variances in what each of us sees in the search results for the same query, rankings as metric are no longer as useful. Personalized search results according to location and web history means your site might rank high for one person, but not another.

Maximize the success of your online marketing efforts by analyzing your metrics report to determine which pieces of digital content are highly visible but producing less than ideal traffic results. Then take some time to ask yourself these questions:

What competitive search results are your potential customers seeing? Assess the title tags and meta descriptions of competitive search results. Are competitors offering customers a free case study or a complimentary product sample? Then consider ways to make your own title tags and meta descriptions out-entice the competition.
Does your content live up to the promise put forth in your title tags and meta descriptions? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: When you first visit your web page or other digital content from an organic search, is the content you find relevant? Potential customers don’t want surprises; they want a solution to the problem that caused them to search in the first place. And they want it as promised.
Not only will searchers respond more favorably to customer optimized titles and meta descriptions, but the increase in clickthroughs will, no doubt, be noticed by search engines and may influence subsequent rankings.

2. Social Media:
I resolve to set goals and track the results of my social media efforts.
There’s no denying that social media is more difficult to justify in terms of ROI compared to other online marketing strategies.  But that’s not to say it’s impossible – or that tracking results should be placed on the back burner. And without goals, it’s pretty difficult to measure success. In 2010, put forth even more effort to set goals for social media participation and tie results back to specific tactics.

There are a host of free or near-free tools available to gauge brand mentions and traffic from social media channels.

Tracking results via social media monitoring tools is just a start. Those results must be tied back to business goals. Potential goals might be:

Develop better customer relationships
Reputation management
Identify and energize brand evangelists
Increase brand awareness
Increase relevant visitor traffic
Improve standard and social search engine visibility
Build up a list for email marketing
Increase leads or sales
Without setting specific goals upfront, social media efforts can’t be definitively quantified so be sure to implement a Social Media Roadmap and all or social bases will be covered.

3. Email Marketing:
I resolve to integrate my email marketing with other online marketing channels. Regardless of what the naysayers may say, email marketing isn’t going to disappear as a result of social media in 2010. In fact, email will continue to play a significant role in most online marketing mixes this year. A study from Silverpop found nearly half of marketers surveyed plan to increase email marketing budgets in 2010.

That’s not to say email marketing efforts shouldn’t evolve with the times. Integrating email with social media is on par to be a popular resolution for 2010: A recent eMarketer report found 40% of executives surveyed willmake integrating the two tactics their top marketing initiative this year. Another 25% of respondents have already implemented an integrated strategy.

Pledge to take email marketing to the next level by encouraging email subscribers to not only forward content via email, but also to get social with email and share it via Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other sites. Conversely, conduct a poll on Twitter or your blog, and encourage followers and readers to subscribe to your e-newsletter for the results.

4. PPC:
I resolve to maximize conversion rates by testing different versions of my ads and landing pages. Most companies using self-serve pay per click programs fall victim to “set it and forget it” habits. They’re busy with numerous other marketing activities or don’t have the time to really get to know the native bid management platforms and test/refine campaigns. Even if PPC efforts are reaching set goals in terms of conversion rates, there’s always room for improvement. You’ll never know until you try.

Consider these three ideas for testing different elements of your PPC campaigns:

Test multiple ad versions that highlight different benefits of your product, service or company. For example, one could tout cost-savings benefits, while another emphasizes a convenience aspect.
Use A/B testing to try out two different headlines on your landing page. Again, each could speak to a different benefit (i.e., cost savings vs. convenience). Google Optimizer is a great tool for this.
If you’re targeting a competitive search term with many competing ads, consider launching two different campaigns simultaneously. Each could offer a distinct piece of fulfillment – a free case study and a product coupon, for example.
A few tools for testing include:

A/B Testing resources: (Google Website Optimizer, 7 Free Resources)
Multivariate Testing service: (Omniture)
Heatmap & User Testing tools: (CrazyEgg, Clickdensity, Clicktale, userfly andEyetools)

5. Mobile:
I resolve to rethink my website design for mobile users.
If your site isn’t already optimized for handheld devices such as cell phones, now is the perfect time to re-assess your site design and how users find your site through mobile search – particularly for B2C companies.

In October, ABI Research forecast that mobile sales of physical goods in North America would reach $750 million by the end of 2009, a 117% annual growth rate. Consumers are doing a lot more than purchasing downloadable cell phone ringtones and games from their mobile devices. These days, clothing, electronics, books and a host of other items are being purchased through mobile commerce. Additionally, social network participation through services like foursquare, Facebook and Twitter are growing dramatically, creating additional opportunities for promotion and traffic to the mobile version of your company web site.

When optimizing web pages for the mobile web, consider a few tips:

Keep fonts in their most basic format
Eliminate advertising to conserve screen space
Take out images unless they are absolutely necessary
Remove Flash, Java or any plug-in content unless absolutely necessary


 
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