Tag Archives: facebook

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.

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.

 

4 Awesome Free Mobile Analytics Services

4 Awesome Free Mobile Analytics Services

One way developers can stay ahead of the competition in today’s highly competitive business environment is by incorporating data-driven solutions into their mobile apps.

Luckily, developers can access a whole host of free and premium mobile analytics tools. With that in mind, here is a look at four awesome free mobile analytics services.

Google Mobile App Analytics

Search giant Google has a mobile app analytics solution that developers can use to measure a wide range of metrics.

Some of the key features available via the Google Analytics for Mobile Apps solution include Install Attribution, Mobile SDKs, Cross-Device Data, Event Tracking, Demographics & Remarketing, Google Tag Manager, as well as Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis.

In addition, developers can import data into this data analytics solution from their CRM platforms.

Developers can also integrate other Google products including AdMob, AdWords, Google Display Network, and Google Play into Google Analytics for Mobile Apps.

Besides data ingestion and import, this product supports real-time data analytics and reporting. This includes Acquisition Reporting, Audience Reporting, Cohorts Reporting, Conversion Reporting, Custom Reporting, Ecommerce Reporting, and Reporting APIs.

More importantly, Google’s mobile data analytics tool allows businesses and marketers to use the data insights gleaned to improve their marketing campaigns via Alerts & Intelligence and Experiments.

For instance, one can run A/B tests via Content Experiments in Google Tag Manager. To access and use this solution, Google recommends setting up an Analytics account. From your account, you can set up Google Tag Manager and Analytics SDK app properties.

Twitter Fabric

The social networking site Twitter offers a mobile data analytics solution aptly called Twitter Fabric Mobile Analytics. With this solution, developers and entrepreneurs can get real-time data on diverse metrics all within the same dashboard, meaning no more jumping from one dashboard to another.

Twitter has even made it easier to track and measure mobile data metrics by providing developers with SDKs that address analytics issues ranging from verifying users, to generating revenue.

These SDKs include Crash Reporting, Mobile Analytics, Mobile Identity, Growth, Monetization, Infrastructure, Payments, Optimization, UX Analysis, Maps, Realtime Signaling, and Game Analytics.

Out of these, the mobile analytics module will be of interest to developers and entrepreneurs because it enables one to measure and quantify metrics including:

  • Daily active users
  • Daily new users
  • Daily active users by OS
  • Median session length
  • Sessions per active user
  • Monthly active users
  • Daily active user to monthly active user ratio (DAU/MAU ratio)
  • Active users right now
  • Daily users for top builds
  • Time in app per user
  • Percent crash-free users

To make it easier to use this mobile analytics solution, Twitter has integrated it with the Crashlytics kit. It is worth noting that Twitter analyzes the behavior of apps tied to this platform and alerts their owners or developers when they observe abnormal behavior.

Facebook Mobile SDK

According to Facebook, its Facebook Analytics for Apps enables users to measure all customer activity across devices.

To start with, this solution has a feature called Events that you can use to view key trends related to your app. More importantly, you can view these trends by gender, age, country, platform, and language.

Another key feature is “Funnels,” which enables one to monitor accessibility problems especially when app users face difficulties accessing certain features, navigating in-app, or accessing specific content.

The “Cohort” feature makes it easy to compare current performance metrics against historical data. As such, you can make tweaks to your app to improve the lifetime value of app users, retention rate, and repeat purchase rate.

Finally, the “Segments” feature enables app owners to understand their customers better. This is because Segment consists of filters that one can use to investigate the behavior of a specific consumer demographic.

Luckily, Facebook Analytics comes with several in-built graphs that enable users to display app user actions as charts.

Flurry Analytics

According to Flurry, its analytics solution supports all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and mobile web.

One useful feature is Flurry User Acquisition Analytics (UAA), which enables app owners and marketers to monitor metrics such as install, clicks, and impressions for purposes of optimizing and maximizing marketing ROI.

Furthermore, Flurry Analytics allows one to drill down into key metrics at the campaign level. You can also use Flurry UAA to customize user and campaign quality parameters. Another great feature is Crash Analytics that you can use to monitor and investigate app crash issues.

Flurry Analytics will even estimate key app metrics such as the age and gender of app users even if you do not track these demographics.

In general, you can use Flurry Analytics to segment app users, filter data according to selected segments, and analyze data to understand the performance of chosen segments.

Conclusion

Whether you are developing a mobile app to promote an upcoming event, promote a product/service, or improve brand reach, you should measure user actions via mobile data analytics. Some of the best free mobile analytics solutions available today include Google Analytics for Mobile Apps, Twitter Fabric Mobile Analytics, Facebook Analytics for Apps and Flurry Analytics.

Google Mobile Analytics

Google Mobile Analytics

In the early days of mobile apps, marketers used Flurry Analytics in their iOS apps and Google Analytics in their Android apps.  Apple released an analytics module in iTunes Connect (where marketers and devs manage their apps) that only worked for iOS apps. Then Facebook started offered event-driven analytics as part of both Parse and the Facebook SDK.

The mobile analytics space has been fragmented by platform, and challenged with incorporating app data back to a multi-channel marketing campaign or a web property.

There were signs that Google was going to start to view their (primarily web) analytics service differently when KPIs like “visits” – which describes a web site visit – were changed to “sessions” – which was the way most referred to opening/starting a mobile app.

Google’s aim is to have access to data – which they monetize by organizing and aggregating for discovery.  Google did this with the web and became one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Social media and their walled gardens, and mobile apps and the information essentially hidden from Google in the app silos presented real challenges to Google being able to collect and aggregate data.

To make things worse for Google, the market was flocking to mobile apps, not just for games but for reading and watching videos and even search.

One of the places Google is uniquely positioned, Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics service by far.  GA offers all the basics one would expect from an analytics package – like number of sessions, when and from where, how long a session lasted, where they came from etc..  But GA also provides (free) tools for attribution, funnels, segmentation and more, all tied back to AdWords and AdSense.

Where Apple provides a basic analytics service for just iOS apps, Google’s mobile offering works across Android and iOS (connecting data from the same app across platforms), and the web.

A content publisher who both sells ad space and promotes content can now see how an article (for example) performed on their website, and in their app (both iOS and Android).

This is all free from Google.

If app downloads are the ultimate vanity metric, then user lifetime value (LTV) is the ultimate KPI. It is just that measuring LTV is not so easy, especially across marketing and consumption channels.

Google’s Mobile SDK gets marketers closer to a holistic view of their digital business and marketing efforts.

How Google Mobile Analytics Can Help Your Mobile App Marketing Campaigns

More than just merely providing data the volume of users of a given app, Google Mobile Analytics help marketers segment their audiences and maximize their mobile app marketing efforts.

Quick Quiz:  who knows you better?  Google, Facebook or your spouse?

They each know you in different ways, but the three (2 companies and your partner in life) are  probably closer than you think.

What that means here is Google can provide insights to who your audience is by broad demographics, but also with very specific personas.

LTV takes on a whole new meaning when you can not only track user LTV by source or funnel, but by persona.  Persona X converts with the highest LTV from Facebook ads, Persona Y via web ads, Persona Z shows the highest LTV when acquired organically in app store search.

  • Which channels created the highest number of downloads and which drove the most in-app purchases?
  • Which channel and persona showed high downloads but low retention?
  • Which channel can you scale, or what other channels can you use to reach a valuable target persona?

Google Mobile Analytics enables marketers and app developers to wade through data and make informed decision for better apps and better marketing.

Google Mobile Analytics Features and their Benefits

Marketers using Google Mobile Analytics stand to benefit from the data gathered from seven major features. This data when gathered provides the marketer with important information regarding the success or lack thereof of a given marketing campaign. Google Mobile Analytics features include the following:

Install Attribution

Mobile app install attribution tracks user interactions with an app that has resulted from specific marketing campaigns or activities.

The user interactions that can be measured include anything event driven:

  • App installation
  • In-app purchase
  • Repeat launch app
  • Level completion

Mobile SDKs

Native Android and iOS SDKs help marketers measure the level of user interaction with an app and its content.

For app publishers that have content parity on the web (a website), this feature helps connect in-app events and locations with the corresponding location on the web.  An example question – Did users read the recent article on Tesla longer in your app or on the web?

Cross-Device Data

Cross-device data employs a Measurement Protocol that uses a user ID feature to monitor data across devices and sessions when they are logged in. Measurement Protocol measure usage across digital platforms beyond apps and web log ins. This allows marketers to measure a user’s online activity and offline conversations.

Event Tracking

Events in the world of mobile apps measure in app activities by users. These events can include passing levels, adding items to cart (in the case of ecommerce) or up-voting. All of these and more are measured by Google Mobile Analytics’ event tracking feature.

Demographics and Remarketing

Demographics and remarketing is a two-fold feature of Mobile Analytics that provides marketers with data regarding:

  • The gender, age and interests of a user
  • Tools to build audience lists for retargeting

Facebook’s SDK is amazing at building audiences, but any app that spends to acquire users should use both Facebook and Google SDKs for analytics if for nothing more than the insights to users (in aggregate) these services provide.

Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis

As the name suggests, Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis is a report feature that allows developers and marketers to get insight regarding just how much revenue a given cohort have brought to the app since making their first visit.

The report shows retention rates for different groups and uses and allows developers and marketers to develop a long-term picture of how users value the app and the features therein over time. This feature supports making positive long-term marketing decisions.

Your can learn more about Google Mobile Analytics here, and check out our other posts on mobile analytics here.

Apple Results

Making Sense of the Recent Apple and FaceBook Results

Allocating budgets and prioritizing projects are primary concerns for marketers and executives. We rely on industry conferences and chatter, what competitors are doing and what is working internally to help guide these decisions.

Two of the biggest and most influential companies in technology – one being the biggest company globally, ever – released their quarterly reports providing a look into what is driving their results (good or bad).

To follow along at home – Apple released their 2015 Q4 results here, and Facebook here.

Apple Results

Starting with Apple, to summarize in a sentence: Apple reported the largest quarterly profits ever reported by a public company. The biggest company in the world (by market cap) just delivered history’s most profitable quarter ever.

Roughly 60% of Apple’s revenues come from outside of the US. Due to the relative strength of the dollar, revenues in non-US dollar denominated currencies are worth 15% less than they were 2 years ago – making the quarter even more impressive.

What does all of this tell us about marketing, apps and where to allocate marketing (project and advertising) budgets?

Because the majority of Apple’s revenues and profits are driven by iPhone device sales, their earnings report help us understand where growth is likely to come from, and where they see challenges.

Apple-results-currencyIndex

The story of 2015 and Q1 2016 was Apple’s tremendous success in China. In fact, remove China from iPhone shipments and Apple was actually down year over year in device sales.

For those following wearables and the new Apple TV, it is hard to determine sales given the way Apple reports, but the “Other Products” category grew 62% year over year.

And….the market responded by selling Apple stock to the tune of a 6% drop by days end..

Tim Cook and Apple gave extremely cautious guidance in the earnings call, citing potential turbulent economics in China, and a slower adoption of the latest round of iPhones (the 6s).

While this may be a case of nowhere to go but down after setting quarterly profit records, the larger challenges Apple faces to maintain growth are related to investments in the iPad as a business PC replacement.

All said, there are now 1 billion consumers in the Apple ecosystem, where Apple continues to adopt the app model vs the open web.

install-base-apple-results

Consumers prefer mobile and apps to PCs, and now Apple’s focus will be on replicating the massive success in the business environment.

Facebook Results

If Apple provides insight to market saturation at the high end for mobile devices, the company with the 4 of the top 10-15 apps across both Android and iOS provides a broader view of the mobile space.

Facebook – with its primary Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp – are consistently among the top apps globally across platforms by installs and usage.

Reporting a record quarter of $5.84 billion, 80% came from mobile ad revenue. Facebook showed more mobile ads, made more per ad and is forecasted to generate almost $10b in display ad revenues for 2016 in the US alone, or around 30% of total US display ad spend.

facebook-results-mobile

Facebook is now essentially a mobile-first company and provides clear guidance as to where marketers and executives should be focusing their efforts.

A key takeaway should be a mobile app is not a side project like sponsoring an event or building a dedicated website for a campaign. To effectively reach consumers, a mobile app should be the hub of your digital presence and all marketing should be mobile-first marketing.

The smartphone is the most personal computer yet (the name PC was already taken)… Setting all-time global corporate profits records like Apple, and essentially monetizing a social network and leading the way in reaching mobile users like Facebook are just some data points to make the case that 2016 is the year mobile should be the core of your marketing department’s focus.