Archive for June, 2015

Maximizing the Success of Mobile Apps

The name of the game, after the most important first step of actually getting your app installed is getting your customers to use it on a consistent basis. When users are engaged the next step in the process is to maximize the mobile app revenue because the ultimate goal, no matter what industry is to make a profit.

Many mobile marketers and app providers’ focus mainly on getting their app installed which is still the most important goal, but installing an app is only the beginning of the mobile customer journey. The brass ring is to have the app used. Customer engagement has always been the goal of marketing, and mobile customer engagement is the future of the new marketing era.

Mobile marketing has been around for more than a decade now, and there are certain Key Performance Indicators that have emerged as bellwethers to gauge the performance, success and failure of mobile apps and mobile marketing campaigns. Although every industry has their own unique requirements and solutions, there are certain common features found in most successful mobile apps.

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Engagement Metrics, including how often and when users grant permission for the app to access personal information, the number of times an app is used during the first day and week after installation, and how long users spend on each in-app session are clear indicators of user engagement and the “stickiness-factor” of the content. Also, the number of pages visited in a session is a great indicator of how captivated a user is with the content and is a good predictor on customer loyalty and longevity.

While engagement and use is a primary goal of an app, if the venture doesn’t make money it is most often not considered a success. The transition from engagement to revenue is tricky and very important to do properly. There are a number of models available for revenue generation including subscriptions, fees per use and charging for specific premium content. Generating a continuous revenue stream is possible by studying the market and deciding which iteration suits the particular product or service being provided through the app.

In-app purchases are the prize for marketers, but keeping a customer long-term is a close second. The objective isn’t only to make that first sale but to generate a continuous stream of revenue from the best customers for a long time. The process required for a customer to complete a purchase must be developed with care. A simple, intuitive shopping experience is key to having repeat customers.

Social media is a big player in online sales and marketing. Social shares to a customer’s circle of influence are a vote of confidence in the content they’re reading. People are very careful about what they share with their friends, because recommendations are real reflections on taste and judgement.

Once an app is established, brand awareness marketing campaigns return data which enables marketers to understand how well known their brands are in the local media market. Surveys and quizzes promoted through websites and social media sites can be used very successfully to gauge brand awareness.

About Apple iOS 9 Apps and Services

Apple’s iOS 9 operating system for iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad is being launched soon. This is a general rundown of the various design changes, feature refinement and performance enhancements that it will offer. The biggest shift in iOS 9 is the focus on intelligence capability and proactivity. Apple is calling it “Proactive Suggestions”. This operating system will allow iOS devices to learn user habits and act on that information, for example by opening up apps before they are needed, recommending places based on past usage history, and generally guiding users through their days to make sure they get where they need to be when they need to be there.

Improvements to Siri is at the heart of the changes. Apple’s personal assistant is now able to create contextual reminders and search through photos and videos in new ways. Increased search capabilities allow users to get results like sports scores, videos, and content from third-party apps using the search tools on the iPhone or iPad. Proactive suggestions are system-wide and will work in many ways, suggesting apps and recommendations at appropriate times.

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Some major features have been introduced in iOS 9. Split-screen multitasking that lets two apps be used at once is now available, as it has been to a greater or lesser degree on certain Android devices for some time. The keyboard and some gesture commands have been improved as well. Many of the built-in apps have been improved. Other significant modifications have been made to improve the host devices, such as various battery optimization features.

Existing apps and services have received various updates, some significant and some just tweaks, and one brand new app called News, which is geared to replace Newsstand. News aggregates stories from a variety of sources and displaying them in a mobile optimized format. It will learn about user preferences as it is used, and will suggest articles of interest to the reader. Apple is partnering with several content providers including The New York Times to offer content for news, and all content providers have free tools to optimize their sites for the platform. More than a million topics will be available.

Apple Pay is expanding to support store credit cards and loyalty cards, and has a new name – from Passbook to Wallet. According to the company, the new name is a reflection of its progress towards replacing the physical wallet. Notes has been updated and is being positioned to compete directly with third-party platforms. Maps, iCloud Drive, Health, Carplay and Mail have also been improved and substantially upgraded.

iOS 9 can efficiently stream updates to an iOS device, reducing the amount of space that it takes to install the operating system, and third-party apps will also require less installation space. iOS 9 will work with all devices that are able to run iOS 8, including the older A5-based iPhone 4s and iPad 2, the iPhone 4s and newer, the iPad 2 and newer, and the original iPad mini and newer.

All About Digital Wallets

A digital wallet refers to an electronic application that allows an individual to make electronic commerce transactions. These transactions include purchasing items on-line with a desktop computer, smartphone or other mobile device. Digital wallet software is being developed to do more than just basic financial transactions. They are also increasingly being used as a security feature to authenticate the account holder’s credentials. The uses for this technology are expanding all the time. For example, a digital-wallet could be used to verify the age of the buyer to the store while purchasing alcohol or tobacco products.

Bank account can also be linked to a digital wallet. These accounts can include accounts at a traditional brick-and-mortar bank branch, as well as virtual bank accounts such as PayPal. Driver’s licenses, health cards, loyalty cards and other identification documents can stored in a digital wallet. These credentials can be transmitted to a service provider or merchant’s terminal wirelessly via near field communication (NFC). It is not inconceivable that digital wallets will replace physical wallets, paper currency and plastic cards in the not too distant future.

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The term “digital wallet” comprises three major parts: the system, the application, and the device. It has both a software and information component. The software provides security and encryption for the personal information and for the actual transaction. Digital wallets are either stored on the client side, where they are easily self-maintained and fully compatible with most e-commerce Web sites. They can also be what is known as a “thin wallet”, which is a server-side wallet created and maintained by an organization on its own servers. Server-side digital wallets are gaining popularity among major retailers due to the security, efficiency, and added utility it provides to the end-user. They are considered a value-added benefit to their customers, which increases their satisfaction of their overall purchase.

Digital wallet systems enable the widespread use of digital wallet transactions among various retail vendors in the form of mobile payments systems and digital wallet applications. There are various mobile payment systems in use around the world. One system in widespread use across the United States and worldwide is the MasterCard PayPass application.

Digital wallets are always available to consumers free of charge, although vendors charge merchants for wallets. Some wallet vendors charge merchants a percentage of every successful purchase directed through their wallets, quite similar to a credit card processing fee. In other cases, digital wallet vendors process the transactions between cardholders and participating merchants and charge merchants a flat fee.

Digital wallets make electronic commerce easy and secure. It is estimated that more than 25% of online shoppers abandon their order due to frustration in filling in forms when making purchases using a credit or debit card on a website. Digital wallet software combats this problem by transferring consumer’s information securely and accurately. This simplified approach to completing transactions results in better usability and ultimately a more satisfying experience for the customer.

Consumers and Mobile Apps

Most consumers first hear about mobile apps from friends and family, according to a recent report from Google and Ipsos, titled Mobile App Marketing Insights: How Consumers Really Find and Use Your Apps.

The report is based on data from an online survey of more than eight thousand people conducted in September 2014. Respondents were aged 18-64, and they were ask about how they find, buy, and use smartphone applications.

Just more than half of respondents said they typically become aware of mobile apps from friends and family. Other common discovery methods are app stores (40%), search engines (27%), company websites (24%), and television (22%). Search engines are often used for finding technology, travel and local apps. Although there are estimated to be over 1.2 billion apps in the App Store, the average user has 36 apps installed but only about a quarter of them are used on a daily basis, and another 25% are never used.

Consumers often uninstall apps that they are required to install to complete a specific transaction. More than a third of respondents said that they would download an app when it’s required to complete a purchase, but half of those would uninstall it after the purchase was complete. These users were receptive to incentives to prompt them to restart using an app or even reinstall it. Discounts, bonuses and exclusive content are examples of incentives that drive reengagement.

Consumers

An interesting note for marketers is the finding that search ads are effective in driving app downloads, including social ads, banner/graphical ads in apps and websites and video ads. Apps also play a significant role during purchasing decisions. Fifty percent of app users turn to apps to help them make purchasing decisions. 45% of these people use their apps to look for more business and product information, and almost one-third use apps later in the buying process to actually make the purchase, either online or offline.

Consumers typically spend an average of thirty hours per month using apps, and it is no surprise that social and gaming apps have the most daily use. The breakdown by category is:

68% social and communication
46% games or gaming related
33% media or entertainment related
19% retail stores or retail related

Eighty percent of respondents said that price is the most important factor when deciding to download an app, followed by descriptions, reviews, ratings and free trials. Most consumers expect apps to be free, and the key number for the overall average willingness to pay for an app is $2.17. People are willing to pay the most for technology apps and the lease for gaming apps.
The most frequently used apps help to simplify the life of the user and they are easy to use. Frequently used apps share the same attributes, including ease of use, appealing design, and consistent experience on multiple devices.

Check out the whole report at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-app-marketing-insights.html

The New Windows Store

Microsoft will be introducing new Windows Store when they release Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. The new Store will provide users with a unified shopping experience across every Windows 10 device. The ability to browse the store on PCs, tablets, and smartphones and easily purchase digital content including apps, games, music, movies and TV shows will make the Windows Store a competitor for Google and Apple.

The new Store (as presented in beta version) features several much-needed design improvements. The top navigation menu is visually more pleasing. There are now different and some new categories, such as Movies & TV. It appears that this category will only be available in markets that already have Xbox video service. Games is now in a separate category as well. Search results are now automatically split up by Type (Apps or Games), then sub-categories.

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Microsoft is investing a lot of effort into making it easy to bring existing Android, iOS, and even older-school Windows apps into the new, improved Windows Store. Microsoft claims that with Windows 10, developers will now be able to publish hosted web apps to the Windows store. This will allow developers to easily convert components of their web sites into apps that are available for download from the Windows store, but still host them remotely on their own web infrastructure. Microsoft hopes this ability will entice more developers to write apps for the Windows 10 platform, which includes desktops, smartphones, Xbox, and other devices. This will go a long way in fixing what has until now been Microsoft’s weakest link – its app store.

Microsoft recently announced a set of new policy guidelines for Windows app developers, all designed to rid the store of inappropriate, aka garbage, apps. Windows 10 will allow Microsoft to offer a more unified experience across all devices — PCs, laptops, tablets and phones by combining the Windows Store and Windows Phone store into one single destination.

In a broad attempt to improve the quality of their offerings, Microsoft is implementing some specific requirements for any app that is available in the Windows Store. They are tightening up developer guidelines in an effort to do away with app clutter. Too many apps with similar titles and icons can confuse customers. Microsoft may also get rid of apps that don’t offer unique content or value, and they are changing their pricing structure to make sure that each app is priced appropriately. Though developers set the price for their apps, Microsoft wants to ensure that customers get what they pay for.

Microsoft also wants developers to clearly distinguish between app categories and formats including informational apps, such as guides and tutorials, from functional apps, such as games and productivity software. They want customers to get exactly what they are looking for and are not fooled into buying an informational app when they actually want a productivity app. One other thing that will be enforced in the Windows Store is to ensure that an app’s title and keywords are relevant to its content. The title and description cannot say that the app is similar to or better than other apps unless they are comparable.