The AppGratis Controversy And The Mobile App Discovery & Promotion

Thomas Husson

AppGratis is a French app promotion and discovery platform startup that was recently ejected from the App Store on the grounds that it violated Apple’s developer T&Cs. Back in September 2012, Apple tweaked its developer guidelines, adding a clause that states: “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.”

Simon Dawlat, the CEO of AppGratis, shares his vision in great detail here and explains why he thinks the ban is totally unfair. Even France’s digital industry minister, Fleur Pellerin, has spoken up in support of AppGratis, describing Apple’s actions as ”extremely brutal, unilateral, and without explanation,” and calling on Cupertino to “behave ethically.“ Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch fairly and exhaustively summarizes the whole story here.

Without going into the legal details here, one may argue that there is a blurring of the line between app discovery and app promotion. I personally viewed AppGratis as a traffic booster based on curated app discovery experiences. I think it definitely helped gain some initial visibility in app stores, but I think app developers and publishers still needed to measure the customer lifetime value and make sure their audiences would stay engaged.

Anyway, the AppGratis controversy highlights the growing dependency from publishers and developers to Apple and Google in the app economy.

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Sophisticated, demanding mobile customers: Ready or not, here they come!

Melissa Parrish

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about the policy on airplanes to turn off all devices from the time the door closes until the plane has reached 10,000 feet. 

My point: I don’t have a problem powering down for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s when we get delayed on the tarmac for an hour or two that I get antsy, though lately the pilots seem to let you reconnect while you wait for take-off. 

His point: “I don’t see why people feel the need to be connected all the time anyway.”  

A predictable response based on generational differences? Perhaps. But what made it a particularly interesting comment is that he said it while using his iPhone to find the least traffic-ridden route home to CT from NJ. 

This, then, is the mobile mind shift: The expectation that the info you need is available whenever you need it on any appropriate device — without having to make a conscious effort to stop what you’re doing, decide which device to use, turn it on, scroll, click, etc., and eventually find what you’re looking for. You want to know what the traffic’s like? Here’s the map. You want a table for dinner? Reserved. You want to know the weather? Done. 

The result is a customer with extremely high expectations that you must be ready to meet, or risk irrelevance. The key to serving these customers will be to shorten the distance between what they want and what they get; to refocus your marketing efforts to deliver utility at speed; to make your customers’ lives better rather than just making your messaging better.

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We Are All Mobile Teens

Thomas Husson

To borrow from McCann Truth Central, most of us have owned mobile devices (not to mention smartphones) for, on average, 12 years — and we’re still figuring out mobile phone behaviors and the impact of mobile on our relationships. We have distinct mobile personalities.

This means we’re all mobile teens, trying to envision our futures and figuring out our relationships with others and with brands. If mobile marketing is entering the teenage years, then needless to say, tablet marketing is in its infancy.

To draw the analogy a step further, let’s consider marketers as parents. What does this mean? It implies that marketing leaders should help their kids grow and develop, play to their strengths, accept their differences, and reinforce their identities without forcing them to become what they are not. It means that the future will be full of surprises, with unknown territories and new use cases to come for not only smartphones and tablets but also reinvented laptops and personal computers. A lot of the attention will be paid to the new baby (the tablet), certainly creating some conflicts with the older sibling (the smartphone), which is particularly keen to become independent despite its relative immaturity.

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TV Advertising Goes Cross-Channel: Threat or Opportunity?

Jim Nail

I just wrapped up my report on the future of television: “Digital Disruption Rattles the TV Ad Market.” And, while I was interviewing and exchanging views with advertisers and senior TV industry executives, a clear and surprising find emerged…

I wasn’t surprised to hear visions of dynamically targeted ads to deliver the right message to the right household. Neither was I surprised by the dream of synching messaging on the living room screen to the screen in people’s hands. Nor was I surprised that many in the industry still want to shoehorn these new ad opportunities into the old Nielsen rating model of the TV ad market.

What surprised me was the general optimistic outlook that these new developments will bring even more dollars to the TV ad market.

For decades, talk of the impact of cable television, VCRs, DVRs, online advertising, etc. has usually predicted the end of TV’s reign as marketing’s most powerful medium. New technologies would sap advertising effectiveness and splinter the audience. New advertising opportunities would be more engaging and measureable than the soft branding of TV.

But the fact is, the opposite happened: TV is stronger and more important than ever. Even as prime time TV audiences have shrunk, fragmenting across hundreds of channels on the cable spectrum, the rest of the media landscape has fragmented and faded even faster.

But perhaps I should amend my statement that TV is more important than ever: something like “video entertainment content originally created to be broadcast on television networks is stronger and more important than ever.” As these programs find new audiences, on new devices, at new times in viewers’ lives, it creates opportunities for video advertising to draw more dollars and more advertisers to it.

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Identify The Right Social Platform For Your Marketing Efforts In China

Xiaofeng Wang

Greetings from Beijing! Allow me to introduce myself — my name is Xiaofeng Wang, and I’m a new analyst at Forrester, having just joined in November 2012. My coverage focuses on digital marketing, and, specifically, how marketers should harness the power of social media in China.

After working at Sina Weibo (a major Chinese social media platform) for around three years, I joined Forrester with a lot on my mind regarding social media in China. A highly fragmented platform landscape, the lightning-speed evolution of technology, and marketers’ struggle to identify the right platform to engage audiences effectively all weighed heavily as I set out to write my first report. I’m pleased to announce the outcome of my analysis, entitled “Winning Social Media Marketing In China,” is now live on our website. 

In the report, we divide the development of Chinese social media into three different dynasties: the Kaixin001/Renren dynasty, the Weibo dynasty, and the WeChat dynasty. Each social dynasty is defined by different features, which are the key reasons behind their adoption. For example, anonymity and casual connections contributed to the initial boom of Weibo, while WeChat is increasingly attracting privacy-conscious users. By tracing the rise and fall of a handful of social giants, the report helps marketers understand what features matter the most to Chinese consumers and the marketers who want to target and engage them.

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Make Mobile A Loyalty Priority

Emily Collins

I belong to more loyalty programs than the average consumer. As a result, on any given day, my wallet is overflowing with loyalty cards and loyalty program related paraphernalia. At the register, I’m often rummaging through my purse to locate reward certificates, half-filled punch cards, coupons, and the like.More often than I would like to admit, rewards go unredeemed simply because I didn’t have access to them when I needed or wanted to make a purchase.

I am also — like 42% of US online adults — a perpetually connected consumer. Whether I’m “just looking,” comparing specific products and prices, searching for coupons in my email, or making a purchase, I rely on my smartphone as a trusty sidekick. In that vein, my mobile phone has recently helped me reduce some of the physical bulk that comes with loyalty program membership. I have an app that digitally manages all of my membership cards in one place, a loyalty program folder to corral branded apps that offer loyalty program functionality, and more than one retailer lets me scan rewards barcodes at the POS.

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Take On Mobile Marketing Tactics With Support

Jennifer Wise

Think about the past 24 hours: What have you done with your mobile phone? Did you send a text message? Check your email? Read any articles? Challenge someone in Words With Friends? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these, chances are that you may be one of the rapidly growing segment of perpetually connected customers that Forrester has been talking about. Welcome to the club!

Being one of these super-connected, mobile-savvy people is exciting. You can sit on your couch browsing a store’s catalog on your tablet while simultaneously messaging with friends on your smartphone. You can get a notification from your favorite store’s app about a flash sale happening that moment. You can search for the best dinner spot nearby and check reviews while walking down the street. You can find out more information about the TVs you are deciding between while in-store through the mobile Web or scanning a barcode. The options are endless!

Now put on your marketer hat. It’s an exciting time from this perspective too because the opportunities available to reach this consumer anytime, anywhere also seem endless! So yes, it’s exciting, but — let’s be honest – there is a lot of pressure to successfully meet these consumers’ demands, and it’s a little daunting to wade through the endless options to discover what tactics are right for your brand and how to get the programs launched.

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Back From Yet Another Pilgrimage To Mobile's Mecca

Thomas Husson

 

After experiencing some of the most exhausting days in the life of a “mobile” analyst, I am back from Barcelona. I shared some thoughts before the event started (see here), but here are my key takeaways from the 2013 event. I saw:

  • Fewer high-end smartphones. Gone are the days when handset makers announced their flagship devices in Barcelona. In a communication ripped from Apple’s playbook, Samsung announced a press conference for the likely launch of the Galaxy S4 on March 14. Among the most interesting devices from a price/technology standpoint were the Huawei Ascend P2 and some of the LG handsets. 
  • More and more “phablets” and tablets. In the “phablet” category — I prefer to call them supersized smartphones — a special mention goes to the LG Optimus Pro. Numerous tablets were announced, including the Sony XPeria Tablet Z for $499, three Android Lenovo tablets, and the HP Slate 7 — an Android tablet for business users at only $169. These types of announcements are new for MWC, highlighting the evolution of personal computing and the growing importance of the screen size.
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MWC 2013: More Global And More Disruptive Than Ever Before

Thomas Husson

It’s that time of the year: the pilgrimage to the Mobile Mecca, Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona. This is my 10th pilgrimage in a row and, needless to say, the event has changed tremendously over the past few years – from 3GSM in Cannes to the new venue in Barcelona this year. While CTIA is still very US-centric and CES is still a lot about TVs, MWC is really the only global mobile event with a strong presence of operators and handset manufacturers from all over the world. Every year the show becomes not only more global, but also more open to new categories of players — such as advertisers and developers — willing to make the most of mobile technologies, and more open to connected devices that go far beyond the traditional definition of a mobile phone. Markets are colliding and mobile innovation is at the center of these upheavals. MWC used to be a telecom show focusing mainly on mobile technologies, but the event is now bringing together people from every industry.

In the light of today’s first announcements, here is my take on how to put in perspective the announcements to be made at MWC 2013 in the coming days:

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MOVE BEYOND THE CAMPAIGN

Rob Brosnan

Standing in an aisle of a big box retailer, I bought a new electric shaver from a competing retailer’s online store. The store’s shaving display reminded me that my razor was dying. Not knowing which to choose, I twitched for my iPhone, scanned a barcode, read several reviews, explored competing products, found the best price, and ordered it with free shipping. I saved $75 over the same model I could have purchased then and there.

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