Tag Archives: Social Marketing

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.

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 marketing trends

Trends in Mobile Marketing

Mobile app usage and the enormous volume of apps continues to impact  marketing departments and requires mobile marketing and promotion to evolve.

We see the impact and change in ASO,  messaging, notifications, shopping.  Continue to stay on top of trends – specifically related to mobile app marketing, or get passed by those who are embracing mobile and spearheading the related marketing efforts.

The end game for mobile marketing  and app marketing is not just more users or installs, but improvements in retention and engagement, more social/viral sharing and increased user LTV.

Here are four ways you can use expected 2016 trends in mobile marketing to help boost your mobile apps’ ROI.

Brands will aim for omnipresence (app, web, social)

Greater exposure is a plus for any brand or product. As consumers move from “just” the physical and web to social apps (Facebook, Pinterest), mobile devices and mobile apps – brands are recognizing each of these represent a customer development and acquisition channel.

Coordinated messaging and shared attribution across these channels is the goal and challenge of many marketing departments in 2016.

Many large retailers have proven the value of a mobile app (or several) for their businesses, and now use the mobile app as the hub for all other marketing efforts – from email marketing to social media properties.

Mobile app marketers can capitalize on the trend of omnipresence by ensuring (or advocating) for a mobile-first perspective in all company marketing efforts.

Video, platform specific ads and deep linking will play prominent roles here.

Video ads for user acquisition

If we gave awards to trends, 2015 was the year of the video ad. Video ads made up a third of mobile ad spending. As mobile ad spend increases, video looks to take an outsized share.

In many cases, traditional ad budgets are fuelling mobile and digital video as the shift of budgets from print and TV move to mobile.

Popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all feature videos prominently in their feeds – which leads to native video advertising opportunities.

The traffic on these properties are overwhelmingly skewed to their mobile apps, and even internet video platforms like Youtube are mostly mobile.

Mobile app marketers who invest in videos to promote their mobile app can use these videos in Google Play, on Facebook and in mobile ad campaigns (Facebook, Vungle, Ad Colony and others).

Apple has several restrictions for app videos as part of an app listing, so videos used for promotion are probably not a good fit for an Apple app listing.

Calls to action in videos to install an app, offers of incentives or promoting specific in-app content can now be linked to directly from the videos via deep links.

Deep linking

App deep linking is an attempt to index, surface and connect in-app content not unlike how hyperlinks work for the web.

Navigating the internet is easy – everything is connected via links. Mobile has historically been different in that the app listings were “open”, but all in-app content was essentially siloed from indexing and discovery.

Deep linking addresses the “silo” problem by allowing developers to tag in-app content, add metadata or even link it to web content.

The implications for marketers is enormous as campaigns can now be fully personalized, with targeted ads leading to targeted “landing pages” inside an app as opposed to dropping a new user in the home screen after install.

Using deep links in non-app marketing efforts is a great way to ensure user acquisition and increased downloads.

A simple use case:  adding deep links to specific calls to action in an email marketing campaign encourages subscribers to install your app, view specific content and carry out actions.

Mobile apps will be integrated into marketing campaigns as opposed to standing alone

Some of these mobile app marketing trends are overlapping, but worth considering separately.

Brands will continue to invest in omni channel marketing and attribution, using video ads and deep linking – and increasingly the mobile app is not a stand alone marketing tool but the hub for all digital and physical marketing efforts.

We know more people (globally) are increasingly relying on their mobile devices and apps.

We have all seen the aggregate stats that mobile surpassed the web in time spent, and more time is spent on mobile devices than watching TV.

It has happened so fast, it is hard to even process the implications.

What it means to marketing departments is your emails are read on mobile devices, your content is subscribed to and read from mobile devices, and your website is searched for and visited more from mobile devices.

Notifications and messaging apps are replacing SMS and email.

Online shopping and in-store shopping are now not mutually exclusive.

The app stores and digital assistants like the new Spotlight (iOS 9), Siri, and Google M are replacing web search.

A mobile app is your chance to be in the pocket of your customers and prospects, to send personalized notifications and special offers.

The significant trend across all of marketing is the mobile app as the hub to everything else you do both online and off.

App Promotion

App Promotion Tips and Trends

As users have flocked to mobile and mobile apps, the number of apps have exploded.

Sure – there are tons of silly apps, “reskinned” apps and other apps with very questionable value, but there are also several mobile-first companies, and brands are just now entering with conviction.

Competing in the app store is not about rising above the volume, but connecting with your target audience.  

App store search still leads in app discovery, so any app promotion should be built on the solid foundation of  a well-designed app and an optimized app listing.

Where to go from here?  How do you promote your app after app store optimization?

App promotion free

There are several channels for paid install or impression campaigns, but let’s start with free ways to promote your app(s) that ultimately make any paid efforts more effective.

Add web interstitials

When someone from a mobile device navigates to your website where the content also is available in your app – suggest they install or open the app via an overlay, banner or other prompt.

Yelp provides a good example.

Yelp-interstital
Yelp Interstitial

The majority of local Google search (a search with a location component like “breakfast North Park”) is via mobile devices.  Let’s say the first result for the search “Breakfast North Park” is a Yelp listing.

When selecting the Yelp result, Yelp’s website recognizes the request is coming from a mobile device and presents an overlay suggesting the user open the result in the Yelp app (or install it if not installed).

Google has come out against the use of full screen interstitials but encourages app “banners”.

app-interstitial
Source: Google Webmaster Blog

Not unlike redirecting mobile vistors to a m.domain.com site, with the added step of asking the user to decide to install/open the app or continue to a web version of the content.

Set up incentivized sharing

Almost like an in-app affiliate program or viral sharing tool – incentivized sharing encourages users to share your app with their networks and rewards them for it.

A simple example is giving a user 100 gold coins for every install that is generated with sharing to their network. Sally shares her new favorite quiz game with 10 friends, 3 of whom install – Sally receives 300 gold coins.

branch-rewarded-referrals
Source: Branch.io

Here is an example from Branch.io who provides feature in their service amoung many other app promotion, retention and engagement tools.

Find a Social Network Channel

For many marketers, “social media marketing” all falls in one marketing bucket next to PR, SEM, content marketing, web etc..

What tends to get lost is your app may find much more traction on one social network than another. Facebook and Twitter are huge with lots of engagement, but developing a profile on Pinterest or Instagram may provide a better return on your investment.

Nathan Chan started Foundr magazine – a subscription app with new issues monthly, and drives thousands of new installs weekly by cultivating Instagram.

foundr-app-promotion

Driving traffic and installs via a social media channel only works when you find the balance of fun, engaging content with clear calls to action.  Nathan shared in his strategy for Instagram the balance is 5 posts to 1 “download this app” post.

Email your list(s)

Perhaps stating the obvious, but worth mentioning.  You have a huge group of people extremely likely to use your app – your company’s leads and current clients who are already using or familiar with your service.

A study of major retailers with mobile apps showed shoppers with the stores’ mobile apps shopped more frequently, longer and spent more than non-app users.

These retailers now include links to install their app in their weekly email “flyers” – as mobile users are valuable enough to make a prominent call to action.

Not unlike how you would have a link to your company website in your signature, consider adding a link to your app in your email signature as well.


The above are just some of the trends for app promotion in 2016. We’ll cover more app promotion tips, including deep dives into the specifics of implementing  in future posts.

Mostly Mobile – Facebook, Google and others are now predominantly mobile companies

Quick – Is Google a mobile company?

“Sure” you might say, “But mostly web search and web apps.”

Apple?  Sure but they sell Macs too.

We know Instagram, Uber, WhatsApp, SnapChat – all mobile first.

What about Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Pandora?

According to the mobile app statistics, including the latest revenue and usage data – all of the above are generating more revenue, more growth and have more usage as mobile apps and/or mobile platforms.

Some of the biggest names in the internet are now mostly mobile.

And companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo all wish they were too.

Here is a snapshot of the largest social networks – by time spent via mobile or desktop.

20140403_Mobile_Social

And here is what Google web search is looking like:

120418

  • The majority of email in Gmail accounts is opened on mobile devices

Usage only tells part of the story

73% of Facebook’s ad revenues come from mobile – up from 14% 2 years ago.

Facebook-Mobile-MAUs-Ad-Revenues-Q12013-Q12015-Apr2015

In 8 quarters, Facebook went from barely addressing the advertising opportunities for their mobile users, to generating 73% of their ad revenues from mobile.

The macro perspective of the mobile advertising space

2013

20% of time spent in Mobile, 4% of ad spend (US only)

Internet Trends 2014 Slide 15 copy

 

2014

24% of time spent in Mobile, 8% of ad spend

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 10.29.18 AM

According to the above chart, mobile advertising spend doubled, and still couldn’t keep up with the increase in time spent in mobile.

The rise of messaging apps

You may be very aware of Whatsapp ($22b) and Snapchat ($19b), if not a daily user.

How about LINE ($10b), KakaoTalk ($2b), Tango ($1b) and WeChat owner Tencent ($100b).

Top-10-Fastest-Growing-Social-And-Messaging-App

 

This is all happening fast, and there are leaders and laggards.

It is time to add fuel to your mobile marketing investment!

What to watch for next

It sure looks like the Apple Watch will have its own app store.

Applinks/Deep Linking will continue to expand as Apple tries to increase the value of Spotlight Search and Siri, while Google tries to index the content in the app silo.

The list of mobile first businesses with $1b valuations continues to expand.