Yahoo! Acquires Flurry: Inexpensive Audience Acquisition For Yahoo!

Today Yahoo! announced its acquisition of mobile analytics and ad platform, Flurry. TechCrunch and Kara Swisher on re/code both reported the deal, with a $300M minimum price and $1 billion on the upper end. According to the press release, Flurry sees app activity from 1.4 billion devices monthly and 5.5 billion app sessions per day.

A little math: 1.4 billion devices does not equal one billion active users. However, a user could have one or many apps on his phone with the Flurry software embedded. Apps do not tend to have exclusive arrangements with one mobile analytics provider – let alone the free ones. They tend to have one or more. The code is small and there aren’t many compelling reasons to limit the number of buyers for your inventory unless there is unique value. It becomes hard to compare to the price tags of Viber ($900M) or WhatsApp ($17B to $19B). This is as much a play for audience as it is analytics. Flurry’s scale makes it interesting as an acquisition more so than what they do.

What does the acquisition mean?

No doubt, it’s a huge financial payoff for Flurry and its investors. When we interviewed Flurry a year or so ago for our research, they had 150 employees. 2014 will be known as a year of phenomenal mobile exit events – especially for those companies buying audience. It’s a good time to sell. A few thoughts:

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Mobile App Innovation Has Paused

Why? eBusiness pros are pursuing too many one-off initiatives without tight collaboration with their Technology counterparts. And, they are doing too little to build infrastructure to support future mobile services - and mobile moments. Check out our full report "Developers Are The St. Bernard For Mobile Projects." 

I've Stopped Opening My Favorite Mobile Apps

Mobile has transformed my expectations putting me on the bleeding edge of the mobile mind shift. I've had a smartphone in my hand since August 30th 2005 when a broken wrist forced me to be a one-handed typist - better done on a smartphone than a laptop. My Lark wearable wakes me each morning. My Nike Fuelband tracks my steps. I tweet and check Facebook on my phone. I deposit checks. Honestly, there are a handful of websites that I can no longer navigate because the complexity of the experience overwhelms me. It's simply easier to do stuff on my mobile phone. 

Today, I rolled into Starbucks a little after 7am to pick up an iced tea. I had to reload my stored value card within the app. (I don't use auto reload in case my phone is stolen. My bus card was autoload ... the last time it was stolen, the person must have handed off to six other people to travel before I could shut it down.) What was my reaction when I realized I would have to reload the card? "Sigh" ... well, really a "heavy sigh." The thought bubble over my head was: "Ugh, I now have to open this app, type in my password, etc." Usually I just open Passbook and do a quick scan. Please keep in mind that I think the Starbucks app rocks and reloading my card takes about 30 seconds. That said, I was annoyed that I had to go into the app. 

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Wellness Wearables Battleground Shifts From Hardware To Mobile Moments Enabled By Ecosystems

One of my first mobile moments this morning was a text from my husband on WeChat announcing that he had a Lark sleep quality rating of 9.4. We’ve become competitive sleepers.  The Lark is a wearable device worn on the wrist at night to track the quality (e.g., number of times awake) and length of sleep. Activating the device requires you to set an alarm (and lets me know how few hours I have to sleep). The device wakes you by vibrating on your wrist. Disarming it in the morning includes journaling information on how you feel and what occurred that may have helped you to sleep well or disrupted your sleep.

While I love this device, in April Lark announced it will discontinue making hardware, but support existing units. It’s retained hardware staff to continue to understand how to make the most of data collected from sensors on the phones. Similarly, Nike didn’t announce it was discontinuing the FuelBand, but there were rumors it had laid off its hardware team.

Why these shifts?

These devices and apps are creating mobile moments by sharing basic data, a concept outlined in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. But, the excitement of reaching milestones of 5,000 or 10,000 steps a day or shifting your sleep behavior quickly fades once consumers have a sense of what it takes to reach these goals. In fact, overtime data can even demotivate individuals.

In order to change consumer behavior in the long-term, these wearables must offer effective engagement mechanisms that create relevant mobile moments that change over time with consumer needs. To succeed requires:

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Amazon’s Firefly Generates Impulse Sales Moments

With the launch of Firefly, Amazon has the opportunity to create millions of what Forrester calls impulse sales moments. These are the mobile moments when I pull out my phone and make an unplanned purchase – even if it is for something that I need. Impulse sales moments are one of the leading mCommerce opportunities, which we detail in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. They include flash sales, sales of diminishing/remnant inventory, or sale of goods that I would have otherwise forgotten to buy. WTSO, Backcountry.com, and Gilt all use this tactic.

How often have you seen something you wanted to buy only to later forget? Sometimes it is as simple as milk at the grocery. Other times it is the latest kitchen gadget at your friend’s home.

Yesterday, Amazon announced its new Firefly service (and hard button on the Amazon Fire Phone). As a consumer, you point your phone at an object or hold it to listen to music, and the Firefly service will identify the product, music, or video. Amazon uses a combination of optical or audio recognition.

Buying products on Amazon – especially for Prime members – is already low friction with 1-click purchase. Firefly takes even more friction out of the process.

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Winning In Your Customers' Mobile Moments

Globally, consumers will own more than six billion mobile phones by the end of 2014, and about two billion of them will be smartphones. With this penetration comes the mobile mind shift - the expectation to be able to access any information or service on the mobile device, in the moment of need.

What’s more, consumers reach for their mobile phones 100 to 200 times a day. In these mobile moments, they expect companies to understand their context and offer relevancy as well as both curated and streamlined experiences on mobile devices. They want to see if their children are home from school, buy coffee, access coupons, check in for a flight, check stock prices, use Skype to call Singapore, and play Candy Crush. Enterprises must learn how to, and then serve, customers in these mobile moments. Otherwise, they will lose – an entrepreneur like Uber’s Travis Kalanick will disrupt their business just like he did with taxis.

Mobile moments extend all of the way through the customer’s journey.

But while mobile has definitively become the most important digital platform for most companies to engage with their customers, too few enterprises have embraced this opportunity. Too many view the mobile phone as simply a smaller screen or another channel.

Only a few businesses, like Starbucks, have been able to curate and own mobile moments with their customers. More than 10 million customers engage with the coffee chain each week through its mobile payment app. Starbucks owns what we call Loyalty Mobile Moments. For them and others like Citibank, USAA, and United Airlines, they must strive to excel in those moments of truth.

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GoPro Lets Us Share Our Most Exciting Mobile Moments

Why do we use Facebook on our mobile phones? Because when we are out and about doing something fun, we want to tell our friends about it.

If I were posting from home, my posts would be:

“I am working.”

“I am watching TV.”

“The cat just sat on my laptop.”

“My cat just knocked over my water cup.”

Yawn. Boring. It is much more exciting to post updates to our friends about the latest sashimi we’ve eaten or the last run we skied on Val d’Isere. These are the mobile moments we want to share with our friends. This is part of the mobile mind shift, the expectation that we can get what we want, in our immediate context and moment of need.

GoPro takes the capture and sharing of mobile moments to new heights. We (yes my family owns one) not only use our GoPro at cool, exciting outdoor places like Yosemite and Tofino to capture HD images, but also use it when we are in motion – fast motion down hills on skis, snowboards, and bikes, or in the water.

But rather than waiting until the day’s adventure has ended, GoPro enables the consumer to share these moments in context with friends and family, thanks to wifi enabled cameras and the GoPro mobile app. It’s immediate proof and boasting rights for some of the most exciting mobile moments.

Here’s one of my favorite mobile moments GoPro has enabled:

What is it like to free fall from a space capsule?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9CsZMsIgRU

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You Know Your Customers Aren't Going To Download Your App, Right? Even If They Do, It Doesn't Mean They Want To Open It

Ok, well, some of them will. Those customers who are mobile-savvy enough (they are the shifted as part of what we call The Mobile Mind Shift) and engage with your brand frequently will. You own those mobile moments with your customers. They reach for their phones to engage with your brand. You will still need to work hard to keep them engaged, but it's a good start that they downloaded your app. It's even better if they allow you to send push notifications - that gives you the opportunity to create mobile moments with them. 

If they don't download your app, borrow moments. 

Let's face it. Lots of your customers won't download your app. They won't invest the time or energy. With these customers, you must borrow mobile moments - that is, you must engage with your customers on third party apps (really platforms). 

We see more and more brands embracing this strategy. What is your strategy to engage with your customers through borrowed moments?

Google Maps released a new app version this week. Uber is integrated into the Map app if you are already signed up for Uber (and in this implementation have the Uber app on your phone.) Uber already owns mobile moments with thousands if not more consumers. Exposure through Google Maps gives them more upside. First, it will help them to acquire customers through exposure. Second, it puts Uber in the mix of transportation options I have as I evaluate how to get from point A to point B within my Map app that also shows me traffic and parking availability. Highly contextual. 

If they do download your app, don't assume they will actually open it - kind of a hassle for quick tasks, right?

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F8: How To Use Facebook To Borrow Mobile Moments And Meet Your Customers Where They Are

Most retailers, and other selling services, look to drive traffic in-store, to their mobile app, or to their website. But why not engage your customers where they already are, on social networks and media platforms like Facebook and The New York Times. Mobile allows you to do this.

Facebook’s F8 announcements today put forward new tools to do just that.

This is the notion of “borrowing mobile moments” that we talk about in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. For brands that don’t already own their customer’s mobile moments or can’t manufacture mobile moments effectively, third parties like Facebook, with large audiences and minutes of use, can offer instantaneous engagement. It’s highly contextual and offers a great mechanic to engage with your customers – where they are and where they want to be.

Facebook has driven 350M app installs through their mobile platform. For those of you looking to generate revenue, 60% of the top grossing ads use Mobile App Ads. (Source: Facebook’s Ime Archibong)

One quick case study:

 “Facetune” – tweak and tune photos before you share

#283 to #2 in under 5 days in the US with $500 in marketing budget

#1 in 78 different countries (now in 94 countries they are the #1 slot)

You want to increase the engagement in your mobile app

One solution - and the most common - is to drive engagement in your app directly through push notifications.

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Next Generation Consumer Wearables: Think Small & Fast Content

Rumors have been circulating about a potential Apple iWatch. Very few executives we have surveyed about wearables have a strategy or are planning a strategy for their content and services for wearable devices. I am in love with my Pebble, but anxious for something more stylish that looks and feels more like my FuelBand, but with color, multiple apps, and a display that does just a wee bit more. 

A few early tips. Think:

1) Atomized content (think small, minimal)

2) Dynamic content delivery based on a combination of real time, historical and operational data. (See report

3) Notifications - the majority of interactions with your customers (for many of you) will be glanceable alerts. (And, yeah, you are going to have to stop measuring the performance of your mobile apps based on opens and time spent.) I don't necessarily need to make a purchase on this device, but I need to know if the sale is on. I need to know if the gate for my flight has changed. I can go into the app to change my reservation. Apps will soon be too heavy and finding/opening apps will involve too much friction to receive simple bits of information. 

Here is an artist's mock up of a potential Apple iWatch device as well as a photo of the Samsung Gear Fit.