Marketers Shift Spending to Mobile

In 2013, Mobile, Social Lead Shift From Traditional Media to Digital. Mobile and social media were the two categories expected to see the most increased attention in 2013. In fact, more than eight in 10 of those polled named mobile media as a target for increased focus, while just over three-quarters of respondents said the same for social media. Read more


Apptology to Release Publishing Tool That Allows Users to Self-Publish to Apple Newsstand

Mobile readership offers publishers new circulation revenue sources

Media businesses have already gone through a first wave of digital transition, and in the last few years, mobile has been the next frontier. Publishers have been tasked with deciding whether to offer their content on the smaller-screen devices—and how.

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Marketing Research Chart: Top Mobile Marketing Objectives

Whenever marketers begin to investigate the implementation of a new tactic, it’s likely that the first questions asked are, “Why should I do this?” and “What are our goals in doing so?” Mobile is no exception.

When asked about their top objectives, 63% of respondents indicated they hoped to increase sales conversion, followed by increasing lead generation (55%) and lead nurturing (50%). As we learn — somewhat unsurprisingly — in subsequent charts in the Benchmark Report, sales conversion was the top choice for B2C companies, while their B2B counterparts focused on lead generation.

If you’re a B2B marketer, do you see mobile as a viable lead nurturing channel? What types of lead nurturing tactics have you employed in your mobile marketing? What restrictions, if any, have you faced in nurturing leads through mobile efforts?

Despite the fact that increasing sales conversion was a top mobile objective for 63% of marketers, improvement of the customer service experience was a low-ranking category, at just 19%.

Has your company used mobile to improve the customer shopping experience? How have these efforts paid off for your company? Does your company’s approach reflect these findings, or do you feel focusing on the lowest-ranked categories might benefit mobile efforts?





Mobile Apps: We Interrupt This Broadcast

In the month of November, we measured over a trillion events from over 250,000 applications created by more than 85,000 developers.  Events are actions completed by consumers inside apps such as completing a game level, making a restaurant reservation or tagging a song.  In November, we also measured over 60 billion sessions, which is the start and a stop of an application on a mobile smart device.  The chart below shows the growth in events tracked since May of 2008, when we first made our analytics service available to developers.  This growth reflects the growth of the app economy. Read More

Mobile Drives Bottom Line Growth for Businesses Worldwide

There’s a thin line between success and failure in the modern economy. Lately, that difference is increasingly tied to technology and a company’s willingness (and ability) to adopt it. The most obvious example today is that of mobile applications.

A few years back, having a mobile app was something of a novelty for most businesses. Many companies had them of course, but very few relied on them to do anything but expand brand awareness. Although there’s no way to quantify it, I would wager that most apps were launched without any real definition of what “success” might look like. There was certainly no widespread reliance on mobile apps to impact the bottom line – but that’s starting to change.

There can be no question that the mobile landscape has evolved technically. There are more mobile apps on more devices and operating systems than ever before. No matter what metric you look at, the mobile experience is improving every day. Today, however, we’re beginning to see how the mobile landscape is evolving strategically and financially. As a result, many large enterprises and small businesses – which have built their marketing and operations strategies on desktop and web platforms – are now feeling the heat from the mobile boom.

In the past, the path to mobile monetization wasn’t always so clear. For many, it appeared as though the only people making money from mobile apps were game developers. Today, that path is becoming much clearer for businesses of all sizes and in all industries, as evidenced by development firm Mubaloo’s CEO Mark Mason, who told the TabTimes:

“An increasing number of businesses are preparing a suite of apps, both for internal and customer purposes. I think that this is really the end of the [app] gimmick and that we’ll see 2013 as the start when businesses really start to understand the value of apps.”

A great example of a business that saw the potential in mobile (long before most) is Internet retailer eBay, who has seen their revenue increase by 15% in the past year largely as a result of their willingness to embrace mobile platforms. For reference, Steve Yankovich – eBay’s VP of Mobile – has stated that 1.8 million new users made their first eBay purchases on mobile in the first nine months of 2012.

Like eBay, Go Daddy also saw an opportunity to revive its business through mobile. But unlike eBay, GoDaddy’s mobile success would not be as closely tied to their own mobile app, but rather those of their customers. Go Daddy has just recently launched a mobile component to its Website Builder, offering businesses both mobile commerce services and tools for building mobile websites. Operating Executive Investor for Go Daddy at Silver Lake Partners, Jason Rosenthal, told TechCrunch:

“The way we think about it is, where is the market today and where is it going? We’re hearing loud and clear that mobile is becoming a huge channel for our small and medium business customers, so we want to be there.”

Even search engine giant Google now considers itself a mobile-first company. Three top Google execs at the 2012 Open Mobile Summit told Jim Edwards of BusinessInsider that:

Mobile will be the primary way people access Google in 2013.
Mobile searches have increased 200% to-date in 2012.
On YouTube: 25% of traffic and 40% of views on now come from mobile devices, a 300% increase in 2012.
Total mobile traffic to YouTube may soon surpass 50%, as it has already in Korea.

With Google leading the way to a mobile-first business model, it is easy to assume countless companies that haven’t already gone mobile will follow.

Maribel Lopez of mobile market research and analyst firm, Lopez Research, focuses the majority of her research on the corporate understanding of enterprise mobility and its effect on businesses. According to Lopez:

“Mobile is another Internet channel, so not being a part of it puts you noticeably absent from the commerce sphere. The challenge for a lot of companies is that on average there are about 75 apps on people’s phones and they use about 11 of them. When a company is designing an app they need to figure out their business strategy -what will drive people to use the app and what will they do on it. Dunkin Donuts’ mobile app makes a lot of sense because they maintain both a brand and retail presence. However, a company like Kraft could design a mobile app, but would face a big challenge defining the app’s consumer need.”

For many large enterprises and big consumer brands, launching a successful mobile app can directly impact growth. For others, “success” can be a bit more indirect. Lars Albright of VentureBeat actually generated an equation for business app success – Success = downloads + loyalty.

Albright says:

“So the real question becomes: what are you doing to find your power users (best customers) and keep them loyal? This is still a pretty new concept to mobile, but it’s a tried and true formula for the rest of the world. For example:

American Express has its Membership Rewards program to give loyal users points for every dollar they spend — points they can redeem for concert tickets or home electronics.
Virgin America rewards its loyal customers through its Elevate program — not only for flying but for using the Virgin credit card, staying with partner hotels, and so on.

…In most major industries, the focus on power users is a given. That’s why the average household belongs to more than 14 loyalty programs.

And that’s why the best way to turn your app into a thriving business is to invest in your most active users. Focus on keeping them happy and you’ll not only grow their usage and loyalty to your brand, but you’ll make them more likely to go out and recommend you to other potential power users.”

Chief Communications Officer at Dunkin Brands, Karen Raskopf, says Dunkin Donuts’ centers the company’s mobile strategy around driving loyalty:

“With the consumer adoption of mobile continuing to increase, we are focused on having a mobile strategy that makes the consumer experience at Dunkin’ Donuts even better and drives loyalty. The goal of our mobile strategy is to provide a benefit to our consumers with both technology and through offers that are only available to those consumers who have the DD Mobile App. The launch of our DD Mobile App in August 2012 provided consumers an even faster way to pay in our restaurants, and we have recently launched Mobile Offers that are only available to consumers that have downloaded the our Mobile App.”

Mobile matters. When a major player like Google considers itself “mobile first”, then every business large and small needs to examine (or re-examine) what they are doing to thrive in a mobile world. When the web was first introduced, companies scrambled to launch a web application. The rush to get into the game produced some very poor quality web sites and web tools. History is repeating itself as companies are rushing their mobile strategies and mobile executions. While forming a mobile strategy is critical for most businesses, businesses should take care to engage developers and testers that are focused on quality. The evidence is mounting, and with a sound mobile strategy that is executed correctly companies can enjoy measurable growth.

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In-Store Mobile Users Want Information, Experiences, and More

As we move into the holiday season,and marketers put their hair on fire over how much smartphones are hijacking their retail business, in most cases, mobile shoppers are using their phones to get validation of their purchase decision, not a deal that saves them just a few bucks but makes them wait days for delivery.  To be sure, comparison shopping is not dead, with 54% of the 1,000 mobile shoppers surveyed saying they have done so with their devices in-store. But almost as many (51%) also say they have looked up product reviews. In other words, retailers have an important opportunity to capture these information-hungry shoppers with their own branded content. About a third (33%) of in-store mobile users have gone to that store’s mobile site, for instance, for more information. And 28% have actually used that retailer’s app in the same store.

Among these connected shoppers, the most common in-store mobile activities included:

  • 54% Compared on a competitor’s site
  • 51% Looked up a product review
  • 45% Scanned a QR or barcode for product information
  • 33% Researched a product on the store’s site
  • 28% Used a company’s app in the store
  • 19% Checked in with location-based services
  • 18% Purchased a product from the store’s Web site
  • 17% Sent a text message for more information
  • 15% Purchased a product from a competitor
  • 14% Sent a text message to subscribe to a list

Read more 

Why You Need a Mobile Website

The mobile web is a fast-growing online arena. Home to more than 4 billion connected smartphones, statistics show that mobile use will overtake desktop traffic by 2014. This means that no matter what kind of business you run, your audience is on the mobile web, and you should be reaching them.

There is a particular behavior on mobile visits that’s quite different from a typical web visitor. Mobile searchers who land on your site are typically visiting your business or researching a purchase that they’re going to make. AlchemyViral has put together this incredibly informative infographic on mobile optimization.

Sacramento Business Journal Profiles:

Folsom-based custom-app builder Apptology Inc. is adding a line of less expensive applications in a bid to broaden its market share.

The company began two years ago by developing high-end smartphone and tablet applications for clients ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Round Table Pizza. Now it is offering ready-made apps for about $550 that can easily be tailored for smaller businesses like restaurants.

So far, the new business is doing well, said Dana Smith, Apptology’s chief marketing officer. “We’re busy through the next four months just based on referrals.”

The company has 10 employees in the U.S., mostly around Sacramento, and another 100 programmers in India. It was founded by Rich Foreman, a 10-year executive with WebEx, which was bought by Cisco Systems Inc. in 2007. After a couple years with Cisco, he started Apptology in 2010 to focus on the growing app market.

WebEx developed and supports online video conferencing, so it’s no surprise that Apptology has chosen to operate as a virtual company. Apptology’s U.S. employees work remotely and meet only weekly at the company’s Folsom office.

The custom app development business differs from that of many app developers, who write apps in hopes of finding a hit that will sell hundreds of thousands of copies for $1 each, said Eric Ullrich, program director for VentureStart, the technology incubator for the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance.

Developing custom apps is a more lucrative and steady line of work, said Chris Minnick, founder and CEO of Minnick LLC, which builds and designs apps, websites and videos. He has 6 employees and also uses programmers in India, as well as some in Romania and Bolivia.

Keifer Consulting Inc. has built both custom apps and apps for the general market. The general market is fickle, said CEO Greg Kiefer, who employs 33 people in Folsom.

“The best business is to have someone pay you to build it,” Keifer said.


Mobile Cravings…Here’s Why Restaurants Need a Mobile Application

Nearly 90% of mobile restaurant seekers make a reservation or call within the day they plan to visit or make a purchase from a restaurant. Smartphone users had the most urgent needs, with 64% converting immediately or within an hour of their mobile search activity, according to a recent study.

The findings from the xAd and Telmetrics Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study show that on tablets, 44% of users convert immediately or within the hour. It turns out that mobile restaurant search behavior has a high conversion rate and is more locally driven than travel or auto. In the travel category, one in five mobile travelers search for local business information. Some 33% look to make a purchase within the day, and nearly half go on to make a purchase as a result of mobile activity.

When it comes to smartphones and tablets, activities differ. On smartphones people typically make calls to restaurants, look up directions and nearby locations. On tablets, people search for ratings and reviews, find online coupons and promotions, and research menu and specific food items.

Meanwhile, three out of five people searches in the restaurant category do not have a specific location or brand in mind, but 75% notice mobile ads. And nearly three-quarters of the time spent with restaurant content on mobile devices is done in application, which means that new surface areas for search will continue to become more important in downloadable apps.

The social foodie — defined as typically male users between ages of 25 and 54 with an annual income of between $50,000 and $150,000 annually — and the on-the-go diner — a largely male audience between the ages of 25 and 54 typically bringing in less than $100,000 per year — don’t use search engines to find restaurants.  Ironically, the savvy patron does. This demographic is quick to search on engines for the perfect restaurant and have more than enough time to check social sites, along with other mobile Web sites and applications. Savvy patrons are largely Hispanic females between the ages of 18 and 24 making less than $100,000 per year.

The restaurant behavioral data support a larger study that aims to measure what consumers report they do on mobile devices, and capture their actual preferences and behaviors based on data from an online survey of 1,500 U.S. smartphone and tablet users and actual observed consumer behaviors from Nielsen’s Smartphone Analytics Panel of 6,000 Apple and Android users.