Mobile Devices and You: Application vs Web

The term mobile device, while propagating quite quickly through our current cultural zeitgeist, is almost a misnomer. If we take the phrase, in context, at its most literal it would essentially mean any operating platform, which we can carry around with us. Laptops have been around for decades now, and yet they are lumped in with the personal computer market and not the mobile device market. Ultra portable might be closer to the mark, but even that is not quite there yet.

When the conversation turns to ‘mobile devices’, most people are probably talking about things like mobile phones such as the HTC Desire or iPhone and tablet devices like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. It’s these devices we are concerned with. Current phones and tablets, while advanced, are still behind when compared to your typical laptops and netbooks; limitations are generally processing power, RAM, storage space, compatibility with things Flash and Silverlight and, as with the iPhone, the lack of a transparent and accessible file system. When developing for these platforms a lot of stuff has to be taken into consideration, and on top of that you also have a decision to make:

Do I need an app, or a web application?

This is something an awful lot of people will be asking themselves right about now. A mobile optimised interface for connecting with visitors and customers is becoming more and more important as the platform evolves. A mobile presence can build value for your brand in the eyes of the consumer and put you a step above the competition, if it’s done right. The difference between the two may not seem obvious; below you can find a list of the features and relative benefits of each approach.

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Mobile advertising: key benefits and features

It’s been around for a while now, but only recently has it really become a valid avenue of exploration for the online advertiser. Mobile advertising is the practice of displaying ads in content designed specifically for mobile devices, such as websites, search results and, most recently, mobile applications. But what exactly can it offer over traditional display and search advertising?

  • Unlike in previous years, there is currently a high device penetration rate for mobile advertising. Operating systems such as Android, RiM, iOS and Symbian all support fully featured mobile web browsers which are capable of displaying mobile optimised web pages. Introduction of tablets such as the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab have contributed to the spread, and the number of capable devices is only going to increase as the market (and the technology) devices.
  • A whitepaper conducted by research firm YouGov for the annual Tamar Search Attitudes report shows us there has been an increase of no less than 246% in mobile search traffic in the UK in the past year. (Source)
  • The nature of a mobile handset opens up the possibility of anywhere, anytime searching. Consumers who are out and about can now find what they are looking for regardless of their location.
  • In addition to this, with modern cellular devices now equipped for location services (such as cellular triangulation or via GPS satellites on more high-end devices) it’s now possible to tailor both search results, content and advertisements based on these parameters, allowing advertisers to deliver location targeted and relevant ads such as “Papa Johns Pizza, Winton”. These are often more accurate than IP based location targeting.
  • This type of targeting can also be applied to specific carriers, for example Vodafone or Virgin ads that are targeted for the sole purpose of tempting customers away from O2, delivered straight to the O2 provided device. An amusing, but effective, means of finding potential customers.
  • Most modern mobile operating systems are capable of recognising not only text formatted like an email address, but also telephone numbers and Skype usernames. This means that with a simple click of an ad, marketers can direct potential new customers not just to a website, but to direct contact to the company via a phone or VOIP call.
  • Most importantly, from some perspectives, is the ability to place ads not only on web pages and search results, but framed into downloadable apps from the Android Market, App Store or OVI store. This has given rise to a number of app developers releasing full, but free, ad supported versions of applications they would normally charge for. On Android especially, where statistically users are more likely to click on in app advertisements, this has left the vast majority of apps being available for free, such as the internet sensation Angry Birds. On the iOS store this costs £1.99, on Android you can download the full game for free with a small ad inserted to offset the costs. As you can imagine, this gives your marketing a rather large reach across many networks, countries and demographics.

These are just a few of the benefits and features available to marketers should they decide to tap in to the ever growing world of mobile advertising, and there is much more to it than the points listed above. What campaigns work best, how to target your audience, and the most important factors leading to campaign success are key things you’ll need to know in order to run a successful mobile marketing platform for your business. To learn more, get in touch with us today and find out what mobile advertising can do for your business.

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Facebook Privacy Settings: What’s Going On?

It’s everywhere, inescapable. In every news outlet, in every country of the world (sometimes as a front page story), Facebook privacy settings are changing once again. That fact in itself is practically a landmark in the importance of social networking sites, but that’s a different blog post.

So you may be thinking, as I’m sure quite a lot of Facebook’s almost 500 million registered users are, what exactly is going on?

Not so long ago Facebook changed their privacy settings to allow users granular access to their privacy settings, to control exactly who can see what, when, where and in what context. Personally I thought this was a marvelous idea, and the first thing I did was set everything to private. Job done, straightforward and spelled out for you there in black and white.

Unfortunately this spelled trouble for people who found the level of control to be overwhelming and confusing, and after a few privacy gaffes (including a few choice comments from Mark Zuckerberg himself) and millions of users threatening to delete or abandon their accounts, Facebook have caved to the pressure and are rolling out a simpler, one click approach to privacy controls. But what exactly does this mean?

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Fixed CPA in Adwords

CPA is an acronym you may not be familiar with. It stands for Cost Per Acquisition, in effect the amount of money you have paid (or are willing to pay) to acquire a sale, quote or registration via an advertising program.

CPA is primarily used for e-commerce websites, where it is much easier to track your “customers journey” from landing page to checkout confirmation page.

At TFM&A 2010 there was some interesting new ideas surrounding the usage of CPA in AdWords. Traditionally, CPA is used in addition to a normal advertising campaign to help drive potential customers to the site and convert them. Now though, some companies have been looking at using a CPA only approach with managed campaigns.

This is normally handled through an agency who can take the time to apply their knowledge to the situation. This starts with an agreed retainer with the actual costs for the advertisements ultimately coming out of the agencies pocket and an agreed number of acquisitions within a time period. The agency can then take this information and apply it to the campaign, starting off with the AdWords recommended CPA.

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Loyalty and Dedication: The Priceless Commodity?

Brand and customer loyalty has been a hot topic for the past few decades. Since American Airlines started its first “Frequent Flyer Miles” program in the 80s, companies and brands all over the world have been coming up with new and interesting ways to capture attention and reward their faithful consumers for buying their products or using their services.

Traditionally these would come in the form of a barcode card, key fob or printed coupons. These schemes offer a combination of rewards and recognition, in order to drive up sales and customer retention rates. Credit card companies are notorious for their offers, with the majority now handing out flight miles, cash back, credit points and prizes if someone makes a purchase on the card. Through this, the idea is that they are helping the customer to stretch their budget that little bit further and keep them coming back for more.

Despite this, almost half of people still do not participate in these loyalty programs. And only half of those again are actively using them. So why is that? Could it be that most reward schemes come down to only one thing: freebies? As the concept has gained popularity over the last couple of decades it’s easy to see how it can be a double edged sword.

The problem is that it’s possible to get it wrong. While offering free stuff to customers the more they buy, an aggressive campaign could feel almost like a bribe, whereas a complicated system with different tiers and structures can only serve to confuse and confound the customer. Take Starbucks as an example:

My Starbucks Rewards

Last year, Starbucks introduced a Gold membership card. A customer could pay $25 dollars for a year membership, and in return they would get 10% off their purchases every time they went into Starbucks. For hardcore coffee drinkers this could equal some serious savings. The card would pay for itself in a matter of a month or two (or even a few weeks if you were a serious caffeine addict).

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