F8-recap

Mobile Recap Of Facebook’s Developer Conference F8

Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference has grown tremendously in just a few years to become one of the most highly anticipated tech events of the year.

This impressive growth is due to two main reasons:

  • the large number of consumers who use Facebook’s products (WhatsApp, Facebook IM, Instagram, and the main Facebook site) and
  • the major announcements that top executives, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, reel off


Below is an F8 recap of the announcements and events that took place during the 2016 F8 developer conference with a focus on those impacting and affecting mobile development and mobile apps.

VR/Social VR

Virtual reality was a dominant theme during the 2016 F8 conference where Facebook announced that it expects this technology to enhance social media interactions greatly in the future.

In particular, Facebook envisions VR technology that would enable web users to meet their friends or visit different locations virtually. In fact, a demonstration of this technology showed two friends visiting London and taking a virtual selfie.

Facebook is aware that pulling off this feat is not easy because each VR experience requires 360-degree video and at least two Oculus Rift headsets.

The headsets are largely a done deal because Facebook has started shipping Oculus Rift gear to consumers. However, the 360-degree video problem is more challenging and Facebook has decided to attack it in two ways: outsourcing ideas and building solutions internally.

The first approach involves the new “Surround 360″ camera that enables users to capture 360-degree videos thanks to 17, 4-megapixel cameras that can shoot video content at a resolution of up to 8k.

According to Facebook, this camera is based on existing hardware and the cost of building one is roughly $30,000. Luckily, Facebook said it would post the hardware design and algorithms used to stitch videos on GitHub this summer.

Looking ahead, Mark Zuckerberg said he expects VR headsets to resemble a normal pair of sunglasses in about ten years. If this prediction pans out, consumers will be the main beneficiaries because current VR devices are big, clunky, and uncomfortable to wear.

Some consumers have even complained of motion sickness after donning VR headgear. In addition, Zuckerberg reckons future devices in this niche will be able to handle VR and AR immersive experiences simultaneously.

App Analytics and Push

Facebook continued its push into the app analytics space with the announcement of better analytics and push notification solutions.

The aim is to enable developers who have been using Analytics for Apps (debuted during the 2015 F8 developer conference) access more powerful push notifications and granular metadata on app users.

One great feature is People Insights that developers can use to access user data such as job title, spoken language/s, and age. To protect the privacy of app users, Facebook only provides developers with anonymized metadata.

On the notification front, Facebook now allows developers to target people who are yet to download and install their apps with push notifications.

These notifications can be pushed to a specific target group such as millennials who spend a specific amount purchasing goods/services online annually.

What’s more, developers can send in-app notifications that contain emojis, video and audio content, GIFs, photos, or buttons with the aim of enticing app users to take specific desirable actions. Developers can shun the “stock” actions and create customized actions that suit their needs.

Facebook SDK in React Native

Thanks to the Facebook SDK for React Native, developers can now access and incorporate features such as App Analytics, Login, Sharing, and Graph APIs into their apps.

Moreover, this SDK exposes a wide range of iOS and Android app building blocks to the JavaScript programming language, thereby shortening the “build time” for apps because developers can build apps using programming languages they already know such as JavaScript.

React Native will also support the development of apps for Samsung’s Tizen platform.

Developers need not worry about the onboarding process because the F8 app has all the information they need to get started. In fact, Facebook has open-sourced the F8 app, meaning developers can probe its internals and tweak the source code to see how it works.

Developers will also be pleased to know that Facebook has hosted this SDK on GitHub in an effort to open source its solutions and attract more developers.

App builders have responded positively to this approach by downloading or cloning the React Native repo on GitHub from npm about 70,000 times since March 2016.

React Native’s GitHub page has also garnered more than 30,000 stars since it was launched making it the 21st most starred GitHub repo.

React Native Windows Support

Facebook surprised the 2016 F8 developer conference attendees with a slew of React Native announcements.

For instance, developers can now create React Native apps to run on Xbox, smart TVs, wearable devices, and Windows platforms. In fact, both Facebook and Microsoft announced the addition of Universal Windows Platform (UWP) support to React Native.

Similar to other Facebook solutions, the UWP is an open source framework supported by a robust community of app developers. On its part, Microsoft has created a React Native extension for Visual Studio Code making it easier for developers to create and debug apps using a familiar programming tool.

Microsoft says that the UWP’s native modules and view managers are implemented in C# while Chakra is the JavaScript runtime environment.

Facebook M Open to Devs

Besides VR, Facebook has invested heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) and caught many F8 conference attendees off-guard when it announced that it is opening its “M” AI platform to developers.

Facebook envisions developers using the M platform to build powerful bots that leverage the power of AI to perform tasks such as carrying out logical conversations with consumers. In this case, the aim is to enhance the business-to-consumer and consumer-to-business communication process.

Conclusion

Facebook’s 2016 F8 developer conference that took place in San Francisco on April 13 was packed with announcements that will definitely excite and delight app builders.

These announcements covered a wide range of topics including virtual reality, React Native Windows support, Facebook M platform, Facebook SDK in React Native, as well as App Analytics and Push.

What is CPI  Mobile Terms Defined

What is CPI? Mobile Terms Defined

The launch of the iPhone and the App Store in 2007 heralded a new era in mobile technology. More specifically, it led to the explosive growth of smartphones and related technologies such as app development.

The expansion of the smartphone space led to the creation of new terminologies and vocabulary specific to the industry.

Here are some of most common terms and acronyms in the mobile app space and mobile marketing:

Cost per install (CPI)

Cost per install (CPI) or cost per acquisition (CPA) is the money an advertiser/marketer pays an advertising network after a consumer downloads and installs a specific app.

This is irrespective of the number of impressions an app generates. It is important to note that some advertisers use the term cost per download (CPD) to refer to cost per install.

However, CPI and CPD are different terms because a consumer may download an application and fail to install it.

Cost per impression (CPI)

Cost per impression is the amount a marketer pays an ad display network whenever an online ad is displayed on a web user’s device.

Every time a consumer sees the ad, the display network counts it as one impression.

Nevertheless, cost per impression is highly controversial for several reasons. For instance, an ad could be displayed on a webpage part that is not easily visible to site visitors such as the footer section. As such, an advertiser could end up paying for ads that consumers never saw.

To resolve this problem, some modern CPI programs exclude actions such as page reloads and failure to scroll by the section where an ad is displayed.

Lifetime value (LTV)

Lifetime value or customer lifetime value (CLV) is a measure of the total worth of a customer to a business over a given period (usually over the entirety of a business relationship).

This is a key metric because it enables business owners to make reliable future operational plans and allocate their financial resources more appropriately.

Moreover, you can also use this metric to determine whether a young and growing business is financially viable over the long term.

Retention

Simply put, retention refers to the ability of a brand to attract repeat customers.

Retention is closely tied to the term “retargeting,” which refers to activities aimed at re¬-attracting customers who were loyal to a brand and abandoned it at some point in the past.

Some of the strategies businesses use to improve their retention rates include better service delivery, replying customer queries fast, competitively pricing goods and services and continuous innovation.

Cost per mile (CPM)

Cost per mile is the amount of money marketers pay ad display/delivery networks per 1,000 impressions.

Unfortunately, all impressions under this category are valid irrespective of whether a consumer takes an action or not. As such, most marketers do not consider CPM a reliable and effective marketing method.

In fact, tech savvy entrepreneurs use CPM impressions to keep their brands in front of consumer eyeballs. Nevertheless, you can include a CPM strategy in your marketing plan if prior usage resulted in high click through rates (CTRs).

Cohorts

Cohorts or cohort analysis is a mobile analytics technique that enables entrepreneurs/businesses to identify consumer segments that fit a specific description or fall into industry-specific/different categories.

In most cases, cohort analysis focuses on consumers that took a desirable action within a specific period. For instance, you can use cohort analysis to determine the number of unique mobile device owners who use your brand’s app monthly.

You can also use it to determine the average revenue per new, the number of repeat customers and churn rate. Most of the free and paid mobile analytics solutions have a cohorts feature.

A good example is Google Mobile App Analytics that has an easy to use cohort analysis feature (you can use it to evaluate the behavior of customer groups in relation to a common attribute).

Software development kit (SDK)

A software development kit is a toolkit that programmers and developers use to create mobile apps.

As such, it contains all the tools required to build a fully functioning application including supported programming languages, relevant libraries, coding language documentation, and a few examples.

Although there are platform agnostic SDKs, some are platform-specific, meaning they only support the development of apps unique to a platform or mobile OS ecosystem. Of course, some SDKs support open source or paid software design tools.

In fact, Apple’s mobile SDK supports a programming language called Swift that was designed solely for developing iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watch OS apps.

What’s more, Apple has released the Swift programming language under an open source license, meaning programmers and developers can tweak its source code to suit their app development needs.

Application programming interface (API)

Application programming interface (API) is probably the most widely mobile technology term. In simple words, an API is a set of protocols, rules, and commands that govern the way different software tools/programs should interact with each other.

The aim is to enable one software programs to access and deploy the functions of another program using a universally applicable set of rules/commands.

For instance, social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), B2C platforms (Uber and Airbnb), and business solutions (Salesforce and Slack) have APIs that developers and programmers can use to access specific resources like consumer data.

Some APIs also enable web users to access server-side resources such as login details (usernames and passwords). Moreover, APIs have become popular and essential because you can use them to build a business on top of another established company’s web platform.

For example, Salesforce allows developers to access its API and use it to build business solutions that are hinged on its cloud-computing infrastructure.

Key performance indicator (KPI)

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric used to measure the performance of a brand or its ability to achieve pre-defined goals.

KPIs vary widely depending on market/industry segment, target audience, type of goods/services on offer, and business size.

Examples of common mobile KPIs include total app downloads, revenue per user (RPU), monthly active users (MAUs), LTV, session length, cost per lead, traffic-to-lead ratio, and lead-to-customer ratio.

Conclusion

The growth of mobile marketing and mobile app development has led to the creation of industry-specific terms and acronyms.

Examples of popular mobile terms include CPI (cost per install), CPI (cost per impression), LTV (lifetime value), CPM (cost per mile), cohorts, SDK (software development kit), API (application programming interface), and KPI (key performance indicators).

Mobile App Naming Examples

Mobile App Naming Examples

Shakespeare once inquired: “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

When it comes to mobile apps, however, names matter a great deal.

There are many factors that impact app store rankings and user installs – from how the app is indexed to which searches Apple and Google deam an app a relevant result, and then conversion of search result views into installs and users.

An app’s name impacts all of these factors and often serves as the anchor for the rest of an optimized app store listing.

Looking at the top apps in the store, not only overall but by category or niche and a few trends for naming appear:

  • the stronger the brand, the less emphasis put on using target search phrases (keywords) in the app name/title

instagram-app-name

  • many top apps include a very specific search phrase as the tagline

hotels-app-naming

letgo

Where You Want to Be

Ultimately, you want to be in a space that is automatically self-descriptive with your audience and needs no further expansion or explanation.

Facebook or Starbucks would be good examples of this state of wide public awareness. There may well have been a time when it was necessary to explain that Starbucks sold coffee, but it is no longer the case. People hear “Starbucks” and they are fully aware of all the necessary connotations. The brand has victoriously engulfed the product it represents.

Lofty goal right?  A growing trend in the SEO space is to create your own keywords and then own them.

Starbucks and Facebook are ubiquitous, but your app only needs to carve out a space in the niche you are targeting.

Consider EasyUp.  Easy to remember, easy to tell a friend, easy to spell, and broadly describes the function – without requiring searching for “upload images from camera roll to snapchat”.

EasyUpload

How Your App Marketing Strategy Gets You There

Some app marketers are clearly working to establish iconic status for their clients, so that they can gain the coveted position of being simply a name.

Others are supporting a brand with a tagline that helps them to be discovered in search – which we strongly recommend!

Looking at some recently touted music apps by way of example, TIDAL has elected to go with a strictly branded approach as its format.

Tidal

While competitors such as Spotify and Pandora have both chosen to more-directly categorize themselves by making sure that the customer knows these are music apps.

What TIDAL may gain in having a ultra-simple app name, they lose loads of potential organic traffic that instead is split among the music app optimized for music-related search.

Not All Apps are Marketed Equally

While music app marketers have a wholesale product to sell—music created by all sorts of other people—game developers have a retail product of their own creation to bring to market.

This results in campaigns that are designed to make a more specific pitch to the public.

Mobile games like Boom Beach or Mobile Strike are almost completely self-descriptive in a way that serves as an overt campaign for its potential audience.

The intent here is not to establish the creator/publisher as a brand but for the creation to be able to stand on its own.

It is highly likely that most players of the various mobile game apps are rather unfamiliar with the entities which created those games.

Compare that approach with King – the makers of the Candy Crush series of apps.  Candy Crush achieved iconic status, and the creators quickly sprung into action to offer a series of follow-up apps that are tightly bound to the original tentpole entry.

Everyone Can Play the Game

Of course, imitation has always been part of the marketing world.

Not only does an Angry Birds spawn Angrier Birds, but it also midwives a host of emulators that will take every possible detour off the now-established brand name.

An app that aims to confuse or misrepresent itself using another’s brand name will get denied and may even impact the publisher account – but apps that supplement or complement other popular services would do well to mention them by name in the app name/title.

In summary, there are basically three common approaches to naming an app:

  • Establish an iconic identity that supersedes the actual product on offer.
  • Buttress an intended iconic identity with succinct descriptive commentary.
  • Play off of another iconic identity in hopes of capitalizing upon the reflected glow of success.

When considering app store optimization, the second and third options have the biggest impact on indexing and ranking, but it can be helpful to step back and see what other apps are doing with success in the app stores.

app-marketing-services

What Marketing Services Should You Expect From an App Agency?

With so many companies offering app marketing services, evaluating not only the providers but the service can be overwhelming and even subject to circumstance and debate.

There are; however, several common services that marketing agencies should offer and demonstrate strength with as they are crucial to mobile app ROI.

Marketing Strategy Development

App developers can expect just about any app marketing service to offer assistance with marketing strategy development.

Some companies offer initial marketing strategy development and ongoing strategy development as two separate services while others combine the two; however, successful app marketing starts with a jointly built strategy.

Marketing strategy development is not something that an app marketing service does in a vacuum, but works collaboratively with the marketing, design and development teams or project management staff.

After the marketing plan has been created, quarterly reviews (at least) with the marketing agency should be scheduled to re-evaluate and adapt the plan to market changes and customer feedback.

App Store Optimization

The way in which an app is listed differs depending on which platform it is sold on.

Google Play has different rules than Apple’s app store; however, both stores offer opportunities for creators to optimize an app’s title and description so that the app will be highly visible both in the app store and on Google’s search engine.

Given that the app stores are the main way users discover and search for mobile apps – ASO should not just be an offering but a primary strength.

Of course Gummicube leads with enterprise-level app store optimization and also partners with some of the world’s largest marketing agencies to provide ASO research, tools and data to compliment and extend their offerings.

Other Forms of Optimization

As mobile apps have taken over how we interact with almost every facet of our lives, the path to apps and the content in apps have started to grow as well.

Partnering with thought-leaders in your niche, building new channels for acquisition and engagement outside of the mobile app, and even traditional SEO efforts are starting to become a bigger part of mobile app marketing plans.

Increasingly, the same forms of marketing that are employed to sell other goods and/or services online are used to create awareness of mobile apps as well.

Many of these “off-app” efforts can have a positive impact on ASO as well, as Google uses social signals (“backlinks”) in their Google Play ranking algorithm.

The partnership with a thought-leader has the potential to drive downloads and a strong social signal as measured by links from their site and social accounts to your app store listing!

Data Analytics

Between offline and online marketing efforts, website analytics, and now mobile user and app store data – it is easy to drown in numbers.

Your app marketing service provider should help you navigate through mobile app and app store data to uncover actionable insights.

In many cases, data collected in the mobile app and from the app stores can help identify and prioritize issues and opportunities.

This data includes not only number of sales but also geographic location of buyers, which days the sales were made on, how many people actually use the app on a regular basis, why and where users drop off, which features are the most popular and what potential users are searching for.

While an app creator may be able to gather this data without professional help, app marketing companies (should) do more than just register and compile data.

Market Research

Market research goes beyond collecting and analyzing stats.

It may involve conducting surveys, running focus groups, analyzing competitor performance or using app store data to research the preferences and needs of a company’s target audience.

In any case, it is a useful way to determine how an app can successfully reach its target audience and how to optimize or adjust for discovery and use.

Market research – specifically app store research using app store data – can help a company stay ahead of competitors by locating areas of demand or weakness ripe for solving.


 

There are many cases where working with several marketing partners or agencies is not efficient (time or expense).  If you have a significant investment in mobile, or your company sees the opportunity in developing mobile apps – your marketing partners should be able to address at least the above.

If they don’t have convincing answers or approaches to address the mobile opportunity, consider partnering with an agency just for mobile until your current partner either catches up or you move to a more modern agency.

Mobile App Store Data

Reports Worth Reading For The Latest Mobile App Store Data

Although there are many sources reviewing and opining on mobile app data, there are a few exceptional resources that generate original data.

These resources are uniquely positioned to access and report on mobile app and app store data (data they collect and often only they can collect) or offer solid and thoroughly researched information and analysis.

Let’s take a look a few reports and sources worth subscribing to or bookmarking.

ComScore

ComScore is one of the leading market research firms globally that covers more than ten industries including financial services, media, technology, retail, and telecommunications.

In addition, it regularly carries out research and publishes its findings via press releases, whitepapers and case studies.

Additionally, businesses and other organizations regularly commission ComScore to carry out research on their behalf. As such, ComScore is well suited to cover trends in mobile app development and usage.

A recent article published by ComScore focuses on the way a mobile first approach has enabled tech entrepreneurs to build brands worth more than one billion (unicorns).

For instance, a ComScore study found that 98% of Snapchat users access the social networking site via mobile devices. Coming in a close second is Uber, which receives 85% of its traffic from smartphones and tablets. Mobile traffic accounts for 57% and 54% of the users that visit Pinterest and Spotify websites.

Flurry

Flurry is a mobile analytics and ad company owned by Yahoo that gathers and analyzes data from 150 million iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, HTML5, and JavaME platform app sessions per month.

Moreover, Flurry provides data analytics solutions to more than 170,000 developers globally, meaning it has the industry connections and data required to identify both current and developing mobile app trends.

Flurry maintains a Tumblr blog where it publishes mobile app related content.

For instance, a recent article published on Tumblr covers the emergence of messaging apps as the new frontier in the retail-banking niche. In particular, it quotes figures from a Goldman Sachs study that the retention rate of messaging apps is 5.6 times better than the average for all other apps over 12 months.

eMarketer

eMarketer is a leader in the digital technology information and data analytics space. In fact, eMarketer says that more than 1,000 businesses including media companies and ad agencies rely on it to make better and data driven decisions on issues related to digital technology.

To illustrate this better, an article published by eMarketer in March is based on a survey that found voice-controlled personal assistants are becoming increasingly popular.

emarketer-app-data

Presently, 13% of mobile device owners in the US use a voice-controlled personal assistant daily.

Furthermore, 14% and 10% of American mobile device owners use the same technology weekly and monthly respectively.

Google Insights

It is virtually impossible to talk about mobile app data without including Google Insights because it covers a wide range of interesting niches such as consumer surveys, mobile app developers, Google Trends, Google Analytics, Google Correlate, Google Business Solutions, and Adometry by Google.

For example, you can use Google Correlate to find industry-specific patterns that correspond to real-world events or occurrences. This enables entrepreneurs to gain better understanding of consumer beliefs, influences, and changes in purchase behavior.

think-with-google-mobile-app-data

Think with Google is a free weekly “thought-starter” that can keep you plugged into the latest Google research findings.

Ben Evans

Ben Evans works at Andreessen Horowitz’s venture capital firm “a16z” and runs a website focused on disseminating information related to technology and mobile devices.

Evans also emails a newsletter every Sunday to about 49,000 subscribers that covers mobile and technology topics – well worth subscribing.

Ben just updated his popular “Mobile is Eating the World” slide deck (note the new title!).

ben-evans-mobile-ate-the-world

One of Ben Evans’ latest post covers the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in conversational chat bots such as Google Now and Apple’s Siri.

Google, Apple and Facebook Quarterly Results

The quarterly reports released by Google, Apple and Facebook contain a wealth of actionable information that only they can provide.

Some recent examples include:

  • Google sharing the majority of search in the US (and several other countries) is from a mobile device
  • Google/Youtube announcing more video is viewed via mobile than desktop
  • this image of Facebook’s ad revenue over last several quarters

Infographic: Facebook's Growth Is Entirely Fueled by Mobile Ads | Statista

There you have it, a few newsletters (Ben Evans and Think with Google), a few reports to subscribe to or monitor and a reminder that the leading tech companies are increasingly mobile-first.