Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

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What better way for an anti-social app to get noticed
than by insulting its target audience? London-based
app design studio ustwo has just put up a pair of
billboards in the hipster heartland of Shoreditch, East
London, a stone’s throw from where its own studio is
based, which brazenly proclaim: You have no friends and No one likes you. The billboards, which will be teasing Shoreditch’s
hipsters for two weeks, are an experimental ad
campaign for one of ustwo’s recent apps: random
photo-sharing app Rando, which launched back in
March on iOS. Rando has now also been rolled out on
to Android and Windows Phone. Last month ustwo said the app had racked up a full five million of its
entirely social-less random photo shares after around
two months in the wild. So what’s with the anti-social insults? Rando’s
schtick is that it eschews all the usual social
paraphernalia developers typically embed in their
apps. There’s no Facebook sign-in, zero social
sharing options at all, no comments, no likes, no
favourites, no followers/followees. There’s also no way to tell who gets the photos you share/receive,
beyond a general location. It’s deliberately —
liberatingly — stripped of context. Turning to a fixed-location, paper-based advertising
medium may seem pretty old school but Silicon
Valley has long had a bit of a thing with billboards.
ustwo’s Matt Miller tells TechCrunch that’s certainly
one reason he was keen to experiment with papering
giant fliers atop one of Shoreditch’s busier junctions. “I’ve always been interested in billboards since flying
out to San Fran in 2012. I remember during a taxi
journey over there, being really impressed with the
billboards and thinking to myself how I’d love to see
our work pushed that way back home,” he says. The cost of the Rando billboard campaign is “around
the same amount it would cost us to develop a small
app”, according to Mills. But it’s the only paid
marketing ustwo intends to do for Rando — relying
instead on “the virality of the concept” to keep it
travelling, which, ironically enough, has led to plenty of organic chatter on social sites like Twitter and
Instagram. “The irony of Rando is that the majority of promotion
very much is driven by the virality of the concept.
We’ve had a range of people talking about it on
Twitter and Instagram — with a lot saying how much
they love the anti-social element of the app. Other
than the billboards we won’t be advertising though… we’d rather someone influential picks is up organically
and spreads the word,” he says. The point of the billboards is thus to provoke and
spark debate – ustwo is certainly not expecting them
to trigger a goldrush of downloads — but if it’s virality
you’re after, debate and controversy are your (anti-
social) friends. “We hope people will talk, and be
intrigued,” Mills adds. That said, he does also reckon the billboards help to
“validate Rando as a quality brand” — showing how,
despite everything going digital, paper advertising is
still clinging to cachet and a lasting sheen, perhaps
even more so as digital ads have cheapened and
proliferated. And that despite the impact of paper- based marketing being far more elusive vs
measurable clicks. “We wanted to raise awareness of Rando within the
tech and design scene in and around our studio in
East London. Also to make the point that in a world
so dominated by digital development, we still believe
that old school display advertising has the power that
no digital can match on a local level in terms of making a big statement,” he says. “We originally came up with the straplines a few
months back and mocked them up into billboards. We
had a lot of interest with people asking if they were
real or not – which made us decide to actually run
them. The ‘no one likes you’ and ‘you have no friends’
message was something we wanted to get out there. The straplines themselves are perfect for Rando and
so far removed from the majority of other advertising
messages you see out there by big brands, that we
had to go for it.” As for the anti-social stuff in general — that’s always
been and continues to be another experiment for
ustwo. “Consolidation of anything that people want to
engage in, without social validation, is something that
really fascinates us and hopefully Rando means we
learn a lot more about it,” he adds. So yeah, Shoreditch hipsters, for the next few week
read this and weep…

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Mobile app developers using Google’s AdMob ad
network will start seeing a new version that has been
rebuilt “in a ground-up sort of way,” according to
Jonathan Alferness, director of product management
for mobile ads. The update, which starts rolling out today, also brings
AdMob more in line with Google’s other ad platforms.
That’s something the company has been working on
since it acquired AdMob in 2010, for example by
integrating AdMob with AdWords, but Alferness said
today is the “culmination” of all that work, and that the new AdMob can be more easily extended with new
features, setting the stage for future improvements. More concretely, Google says there are a number of
new features in the current update, including a version
of the AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which allows
developers to identify the cost-per-acquisition that
they’re aiming for. It then automatically runs the ad
types that are best-suited to drive the most app installations on that budget. There are also new filters
allowing developers to block specific topics or
specific ads for showing up in their apps. There’s a
new setup for AdMob Mediation for showing ads from
multiple networks. And AdMob now supports payment
in local currencies. There’s a new interface, too — Google didn’t show it
to me, but Alferness said it fits much better with
Google’s other ad platforms. At the same time it will
have “a lot of the same tools, a lot of the same
functionality,” so developers used to the old system
won’t feel like “a fish out of water.” “We’re continuing to see changes in the actual app
monetization industry,” Alferness added. “The
platform enables us to grow and pivot and change.
You can look at the platform and start to imagine
missing pieces — one of the areas where we know
that we have more work to do is tracking and analytics.” However, as AdMob changes, Alferness says the
central vision remains the same: “We’d love to be a
one-stop place for app developers to come to deal
with various Google technologies.” And if mobile apps
move to new business models, he wants AdMob to
move with them.

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Fresh off its $2 million in Series A funding, in-app
mobile payments platform ZooZ is announcing a new
product today: in-ad payments. Yes, that’s right, “ad”
not “app.” The big idea here is to streamline the
checkout process for consumers by addressing some
of the challenges with e-commerce on mobile’s small screen, and now connecting that process to mobile
banner ads to increase click-to-buy conversions. With in-ad payments, mobile users will be able
checkout by tapping once on a visible banner ad
within a mobile app, which then launches ZooZ’s
checkout flow. As with ZooZ’s previously launched in-
app payments product, the fully native checkout
experience here doesn’t require the end user to re- enter their credit card or payment details after their
initial sign-up. For those unfamiliar with ZooZ, the company has
been focused on rethinking e-commerce on mobile,
with a checkout process that’s designed to reduce
cart abandonment. As CEO Oren Levy explained to
us last summer, when announcing a partnership
with MobiCart, “despite the fact that there’s a lot of m- commerce going on, there’s a lack of uniformity in
checkout schemes. Each app creates it own
checkout, its own colors and you don’t know how
secure it is.” The first time a user checks out on mobile using
ZooZ, they will have to provide their credit card or
other payment details (e.g. PayPal, Dwolla, etc.) in a
mobile-optimized screen. But afterwards, all
subsequent checkouts become one-tap payments. At
that point, instead of entering in payment information again, ZooZ simply presents you with an interface
where you can flip through your saved credit cards
and other payment methods, then tap “pay now” to
complete the process. Today, ZooZ’s in-app payments product has been
adopted by 5,500 mobile developers. The company
offers a ZooZ SDK for developers, which integrates
ZooZ’s checkout into mobile (iOS, Android, or
HTML5) apps, and it works with several app building
platforms, including Appcelerator Titanium, Phone Gap, and Basic4Android. Levy says the idea for in-ad payments came to him
when he was stuck in an airport playing mobile games
and clicking on banner ads within them. “We were seeing a horrible experience where we were
redirected to another webpage and then the whole
process was so cumbersome – very long and
unfriendly, to say the least,” Levy explains. Screens
weren’t optimized for mobile, he says, and you would
have to zoom in on the forms provided. “Then, when we started exploring this world a little bit,
we found that conversion rates from banner ads were
so low, there was a need for a quicker and easier way
to purchase items from banner ads – whether that’s
physical goods, services, or coupons, etc.,” he adds. So the team decided to take their core technology,
and make it work with the banner ad medium, too. The newly launching ZooZ in-ad payments solution is
not being aimed at developers, but rather at ad
agencies who will bundle the ZooZ in-ad SDK into
their own. Two big-name ad agency brands are
currently testing the in-ad payments SDK, but Levy
says he’s not able to disclose those by name at this time. He expects the SDK to exit from beta in a couple of
months’ time, however, at which point there will
hopefully be room to discuss who’s involved in more
detail. As with ZooZ’s in-app payments platform, the
company charges a processing fee or per transaction
fee to generate revenue. Fees vary depending on the
type of merchant. When offering the full payment
processing solution to indie app developers, the
company charges 2.8% + $0.19, but when partnering with payment processors where ZooZ only operates
as a technological layer on top of the payment
processing, it charges different flat fees per
transactions. The company, now with $3.5 million in total funding,
has seen most of its adoption to date in European
markets, but is now starting to see some traction in
the U.S. and parts of Asia. In Europe, ZooZ has
found a niche within last-minute hotel booking apps,
Levy notes (e.g. HotelTonight competitors), while in Asia, Japan is its key market. The company is now
thinking about expanding further into that country by
opening an office there. ZooZ’s new in-ad payments option is not available
publicly today, but can be requested by interested
agencies for testing purposes by contacting the
company via email or phone.

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Another move in the oh-so-hot mobile messaging
space today: South Korea’s Kakao Inc, which owns
the KakaoTalk cross-platform mobile messaging app,
has inked an agreement with digital marketing
company IGAWorks to bring its mobile ad product,
adPOPcorn, to the messaging app. IGAWorks will also provide adPOPcorn to game
developers whose products integrate with KakaoTalk.
In a press release, the pair said the adPOPcorn
advertising platform provides “in-game/in-app
incentivized ad offers, including integrated advertising
pop-ups, higher conversion rates and traffic, to social and mobile media channels while offering in-game
items and other incentives to players”. Mobile messaging companies are using a variety of
strategies to monetise the large user-bases they have
built up by offering free messaging services. It’s
worth flagging that messaging giant (and KakaoTalk
rival) WhatsApp has taken a public stance against
advertising – but the company does (generally) charge yearly subscription fees to monetise its
service, after a first free year. Other messaging apps,
such as Line, have been using in-app entertainment-
focused purchases such as stickers and game-
related content to generate revenue. KakaoTalk, which now has 90 million registered
users, booked a profit of $6.3 million for fiscal 2012
on revenue of $45 million, according to Forbes.
Building out its ad platform is an obvious way to
supplement revenues from the 100 or so gaming apps
on its platform (KakaoTalk takes a 20% cut of game sales). The bulk of KakaoTalk’s 2012 revenue came
from game sales, according to Forbes – so today’s
news means it’s adding a mobile advertising string to
its bow. KakaoTalk has also previously announced plans to
create its own Android launcher, following Facebook’s
launch of Home: a messaging-centric skin for Android
devices, designed to keep users chatting within
Facebook, rather than via third party apps. Yesterday
Facebook announced Home downloads have reached close to one million. It’s unclear whether KakaoTalk’s
launcher could display adPOPcorn ads in future.

20130508-205749.jpg Boston-based Localytics is fleshing out its mobile app
analytics and marketing platform in a major way today
with a variety of new features to help not just with
customer acquisition, but also with monitoring and
maintaining customer relationships over the lifetime of
an app. The three big new areas Localytics now addresses with its platform are Lifetime Value
Tracking, Customer Acquisition Management and
Real-Time Funnel Management, all of which serve to
help determine long-term engagement value. Localytics is introducing these new features based on
the theory that most marketers spend all their time
and money on the front end of the sales cycle, getting
people to download the app, and then aren’t really
concerned about whether that person will become a
quality user over the long term. If you’re used to web marketing trends, it’s like the difference between a
low value visitor who comes in from search traffic and
doesn’t stay long, and one who is referred by a
trusted source and has a much higher chance of
becoming a repeat customer. Most web properties,
including our own, now value metrics like time spent on page whereas before they cared only about getting
page views. Paying attention to the entire cycle is a key
competitive advantage for Localytics, according to
CEO Raj Aggarwal, who explained in an interview how
it helps his company offers something that mobile
marketers won’t be able to find at most of its
significant competitors. “Unlike other vendors in this space, the latest
additions to our platform allow our customers to close
the loop of the entire customer lifecycle within apps –
from acquisition, to funnel optimization to tracking the
total customer lifetime value,” he said. “App
developers can then leverage that insight to interact with users in a personalized manner and customize
the content they receive. No other vendor can deliver
the combination of deep insight and action within
apps.” The new features help Localytics users identify which
customer segments are driving the most revenue and
profit, target the most valuable users with tailored
advertising and acquisition outreach efforts, and
provide in-app messages aimed at those users. It can
also bring in Facebook advertising spend data, and provide long-term looks at how marketing campaigns
are shaking out. Finally, there’s more information
about how conversion funnels are working to turn
people into paying customers, with real-time insights
and long-term tracking of the efficacy of any changes
made to the process. This isn’t just good for companies, Localytics argues,
but ultimately benefits the consumer, too, since it
enables developers to create a better app experience
that’s more likely to meet a user’s needs. “The benefit
to the end user is that the user will receive a much
better experience as the developers can tailor and personalize the app based on a granular
understanding of the user’s preferences,” Aggarwal
says. Localytics is essentially trying to move away from a
siloed approach to analytics, and providing a more
thorough look at an app’s marketing life style is just
the first step. Ultimately, the company says that its
goal is to help mobile analytics drive real action
throughout an organization, not just as it relates to apps, and helping to turn data into a more holistic
picture of how a mobile experience can affect a
business at the macro level.