Tuesday, 22 August 2017

4 Ways Startups Can Expand Their Brand With Paid Advertising


No one is particularly fond of ads, but there’s no point in denying it – paid advertising works. Especially for companies that are just starting out and do not have a loyal fan to organically amplify their reach and spread the good word.
Here’s some data to prove the point:
Yet the “take my money and make it happen” approach doesn’t work for creating high-impact advertising campaigns. Merely paying for exposure does not guarantee a sale or any positive ROI. You will need to be more strategic with your digital ad budgets. The following quick tips should steer you in the right direction.

Boosting Sales

Large companies tend to place “brand awareness” in the middle of their ad focus, rather than expecting immediate ROI on it. Most startups don’t have the luxury to do that. They need to show accurate numbers and justifiable user acquisition costs to raise another investment round.
Initially, experiment with Push Marketing. It’s aggressive, it’s pushy (pun intended), but it works when you need to attract as much attention as possible and create an instant customer interest in your offering. Specifically, that could be a cross-channel ad campaign that promotes your incredible discount or incentive, offers price reductions and so on.
The draw of push marketing is that it can only generate a temporary effect. Once you’ve built up an initial customer base, you will have to switch to more personalized offers and “softer” marketing tactics to re-engage and retain your clients.

Expand Your Advertising Channels

The modern consumer’s attention is highly dispersed. According to McKinsey research, only 13 percent of US customers are brand loyalist and don’t shop around for a better deal and around 58 percent regularly switch to another brand.
And while you may be getting a steady influx of new customers from one channel – Instagram for instance – there’s no guarantee that your funnel won’t dry up due to the new algorithm update or your target demographics sudden decision to embrace the hottest platform. That’s why putting all your ad spendings in one basket is never a good decision.
Ideally, you should continuously experiment with different channels and give up those that do not bring consistent results in favor of a new testing ground.
For example: You have been optimizing your website to make it rank in search results and invested in content marketing. Both need time to gain traction. In the meantime, you are driving some traffic and sales using paid ads on Facebook and Instagram. Later, you invest less in those platforms and focus more on Pinterest, while new customers start pouring in from organic search. You re-engage your current customer base with email marketing and start hosting regular webinars with up-sell deals.

Experiment With Programmatic Ad Buying

Buying media ad spots can be overwhelming. You need to verify the quality of the publisher, check their analytics and audience, negotiate the deal and finally sign it off.  Programmatic ad buying assumes that all of those things are done with software across different channels (social media, video, in-app advertising etc.) According to the latest data, two-thirds of US digital ad spending is already programmatic and have totaled $22.10 billion in 2016.
The particular appeal here is that you can program highly personalized campaigns. Most programmatic algorithms will allow you to deliver relevant and targeted offers to selected audiences as they interact with your brand across different touch points.
Deep learning algorithms are expected to revolutionize the space even further. Originally applied to speech and image recognition, deep learning methods will now be used towards predicting user behavior, analyzing the probability of a purchase and measuring value with higher accuracy. For advertisers that stands for a whole new level of precision and significant financial savings.

Measure The Results Your Ad Campaigns

Those who complain that advertising doesn’t pay off, most likely fail to measure and attribute the results in a coherent matter. Knowing “the good, the bad and the ugly” would help you to improve your product or service and eliminate flaws for the future.
You should focus on the next two aspects for deterring your marketing effectiveness:
  • Pre-Defined Marketing Metrics
  • Predictive Analytics.
The key marketing metrics worth tracking include:
  • Lead/Sales Conversion
  • New visitors vs returning ones ratio
  • Click Through Rate for ads and throughout your website
  • Bounce rate
  • Email opening rates, clicks and conversions
  • On-site user behavior and events tracking (set up in Google Analytics)
The data you are tracking should be further converted to calculate customer acquisition costs (CAC) and measure sales per region (optional). Of course, these are just the general metrics to mind. Each company has different business models and ultimate goals, so you will need to tweak those up to obtain the exact data you need for accurate measurements.
Predictive analytics is your next step forward toward making more data-driven decisions, rather than second-guessing your next more. It assumes using existing customer data and statistics to identify and explore common patterns in your data. For instance, you can create an algorithm with would determine site-wide purchasing trends, pitch more relevant up-sell/cross-sell offers to the customers based on their past purchase history and even predict their future purchases and shopping habits.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Worldwide App Downloads Q2 2017: Games Eclipsing Social Media [REPORT]

App downloads Q2 2017
The mobile app industry is one of the single largest software economies in the world, and the growth of worldwide app downloads in Q2 2017 has proven it once again.
Smartphones have brought about a major shift in computing platforms and how we interface with them. The overwhelming popularity of the app based ecosystem has now intrinsically linked smartphones and other mobile devices with the app economy. However, there is one key difference between the two; while hardware sales have a definite growth ceiling which we are fast approaching, the full potential of application software is still far from being realized.
Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence Data Digest report for Q2 2017 is out, and it has some interesting salient points. Let us have a closer look at the data in the report and analyse newer developments.

App Downloads Register Impressive Growth

The total app downloads on the Google Play and Apple App Store grew by 15.3% YoY to reach 21.8 billion in Q2 2017, worldwide.However, these numbers are a tad under last quarters numbers, which saw nearly 22.6 billion downloads, globally. Despite this, the YoY growth of 15.9% in Q1 2017 is very similar to Q2 2017.
The proportion of downloads is expectedly skewed in favour of the Play Store with 70.2% of the total, or 15.3 billion downloads. This represents an incredible 21.4% growth over Q1 2016. This conforms to the prevailing growth trend in the Google Play downloads, which registered 21.7% YoY growth last quarter as well. In contrast, the App Store registered only 6.5 billion downloads, with a mere 3.2% YoY growth. This is even lower than the YoY growth we saw in Q1, which was around 4.5%.
Of course, these numbers are not particularly surprising as the user base of Android is considerably much higher than the iOS. However, one worrying trend for Apple is the relatively stagnant app growth as compared to Android.

Facebook Services And Games Dominate The Top Charts

One striking feature of the report was the sheer level of dominance Facebook is currently enjoying in the app ecosystem. Four out of the top 5 most-downloaded apps worldwide belong to Facebook. WhatsApp leads with a mammoth 155.8 million downloads. The popularity of WhatsApp is now at an all time high, with over 1 billion daily active users! Facebook comes in at second, followed by Messenger, Instagram and finally Snapchat. Combined, Facebook and its subsidiaries account for over 600 million downloads on App Store and Google Play.
Another feature worth noting is the fact that all apps in the top 5 fall under the social media and messaging category. However, despite this, the social networking and communication app downloads actually went down compared to Q1 2016. This means users are consolidating around a few select platforms. While the established social media apps are seeing more and more interest, fringe players and upstarts are falling by the wayside.
Despite reports of declining mobile gaming sessions, games downloads registered strong growth this quarter. In Q2 2017, seven games made the top 20 most downloaded apps worldwide, compared to only 4 in Q1 2017. Mobile gaming giant Supercell had two games in the top 20 – Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. The continued success of Clash of Clans five years after launch is remarkable, especially on a platform where consumer engagement and interest is fleeting at best. Games were also the top downloaded category across both the Play Store and App Store with 6.64 billion and 1.90 billion downloads, respectively. This represents growth of 25.8% YoY and 1.6% YoY, respectively. So, not only are games the most profitable, but they are also the most downloaded type of app.

Differing Trends On The App Store Vs Play Store

Despite quite a few similarities like the dominance of social media apps, there are a few key differences between the two platforms. The YouTube app was extremely popular on iOS, ranking as the second most downloaded app worldwide. Of course, it was nowhere to be found on the top Play Store download list as it comes pre-installed on most Android smartphones. The situation is similar for Gmail and Google Chrome, which ranked 13 and 19, respectively, on the App Store. The Chinese app ecosystem also had a significant impact on iOS, as WeChat came in at number 8 on the App Store, while Tencent’s wildly popular Honor of Kings ranked at 6, dropping down from the top position in Q1. This is still impressive, as the game has very limited regional availability as it is set for a global launch later this year.
Meanwhile, Android users were found to be bigger gamers than their iOS counterparts. Seven games were among the top 20 most downloaded apps worldwide on Play Store, with Subway Surfers ranked the highest at 7. Meanwhile, Honor of Kings was the only game on iOS to make the top 20. Another huge success on the Android platform was the file sharing app SHAREit, which has the only minimal presence on iOS due to system level restrictions. Star India owned Hotstar was the only video streaming service that made the top 20 ranking on Android, while Netflix dominated iOS.

Actionable Insights

  • Games downloads on Android continue to grow at a rapid pace. Games also dominated the top downloads list on Android, making Google’s platform ideal for games publishers.
  • The Tools and Communication app categories saw a decline in downloads on Android, presumably due to enhanced OS level feature integrations. Non-game app makers would do well to focus on the burgeoning Photography and Entertainment categories instead.
  • Despite the apparent popularity of social media apps on iOS, overall social media app downloads saw an 11% decrease. Users are flocking to established platforms, leaving very few prospects for newer social media app publishers.

The app economy is real, because our time is just too important

Many famous faces have decorated our notes over the years, but just like the cheque, cold, hard cash is living on borrowed time, writes Jamie Davies at Telecoms.com (Banking Technology‘s sister publication).
That is, of course, a prediction from those in the industry who have a vested interest in the digital economy. Bias will be present and propaganda flying, but the statistics are difficult to argue with. Globally, in-app advertising is predicted to reach $201 billion by 2021, and in Europe, 88% have used a mobile device to make a payment. On both the consumer and vendor side, there is a genuine appetite for the digital economy.
The need here is for speed. Mobile payments are faster, while online shopping is quicker. We’re now too important to do things like wander around shops, but in some cases, it is the only option. After all, who has the time to sit at home during the hours of 6-10pm to wait for the Sainsbury’s delivery, we’re too important to do things like waiting.
Enter Ubamarket.
This is a nice little app which we’re surprised we haven’t seen more of. It’s a simple idea which most people who are reading this article will probably think, neat. But imagine an app which can create the most efficient route around the supermarket aisles for you. You’ll never get to the checkout and remember about that tin of chick peas, before turning around and spending what seems like hours searching the same aisle.
The process is simple. You enter your shopping list at home. Go to the shops and follow the route which the app has mapped out for you. Once you find the items, you scan them into the app, before heading to the checkout and scan a code into the cashiers register. Not only does this remove the painful experience of unloading everything onto the conveyor belt and then back into your trolley, but it also takes the payment from your mobile. What could be more simple.
Of course this is still in the early days, and there aren’t many shops which can offer such an experience, but it is an interesting idea. The app does actually connect to a shops inventory system, so it knows when something is out of stock, and in the future, there is the potential for dynamic pricing to save some money as well. Loyalty cards are another way which the app could work for you.
In the second phase of the app’s development, the Ubamarket team has also promised little reminders for your shop. Once you have uploaded your list, the app might notice you’ve not added eggs like you have over the last couple of trips, so it will tell you.
There are a couple of potential downsides though. In-app advertising is always a threat. You won’t be pummelled with promotional offers as your wandering the lonely aisles currently, but it is certainly an option to make money in the long-run. We also were able to locate the apps terms and conditions, so we’re not 100% sure what the policies are on reselling your data. Such apps have to make money of course, so selling your shopping preferences onto third parties seems like a logical way to do so.
This might come across as a negative, but this is the way the digital economy works. The sooner people realise that nothing comes for free, the sooner we can move forward.
The final downside is that of childish games. When your correspondent was younger, he and his brothers used to add a “new” brand of biscuits or cereal to the weekly shopping trip. Mr Davies used to stomp up and down the aisles looking for such a product, sometimes for quite a period of time. As many will know, finding a product in the supermarket becomes a thing of frustration and pride, but occasionally he used to ask for help, before being told by a member of staff that Mr BoneBags Crunchies was not a real brand. Such an app would remove delightful games.
Overall, it probably will save you money, and it probably will save you time, which is what the digital economy is all about. But at the same time, consumers will have to accept they are using their data to finance such an app. This might not sit well with some, but most have to accept there is always small print. Either you pay for something, or hand over data to fuel the digital economy. You can’t have it both ways.
Here’s an infographic as well:
Source: Telecoms.com

Why the marketing campaign is dead and what should replace it


It's time to stop thinking in terms of campaigns. Contributor Justin Dunham says marketers need to take a more iterative approach and instead think in terms of programs -- algorithms, assets and continuous optimization.

Remember WhatsApp? They built a $20 billion company — without running a single marketing campaign. As AOL co-founder Steve Case noted on Mashable:
WhatsApp built its massive audience with no traditional advertising or marketing. They just created an awesome app and made it compelling enough (and easy enough) for people to tell their friends.
Do I think this strategy would work for most companies? Probably not. But the point is that today, user acquisition and customer growth aren’t (just) about marketing. And they’re certainly not (just) about marketing campaigns.
Instead, successful marketing is about building assets and systems that drive growth — whether that’s an amazing customer service experience, a growth hacking mindset or an incredible product.

Programs, not campaigns

Many marketers think in terms of campaigns. Start with an idea or product, come up with a marketing plan, develop the messaging and creative, and you’re done. The problem is, once you’re finished, you’re already chasing the next campaign. (I’ve copied the idea for this diagram, and the following, from consultant Steve Seager.)

When you run a campaign, you get a temporary boost in your key metrics. But mostly, you can expect to go back to where you started once the effects of your campaign have worn off. Rare is the campaign that’s truly evergreen, that stays relevant forever. But compare a more iterative approach:

The iterative approach gives you better results over the long term. And today, marketers can iterate much more easily — we have data about what works and what doesn’t, and that data comes to us in real time; we don’t need to wait months, or even minutes, to start thinking about the next iteration.
The way to get out of this trap is to think about marketing in terms of programs — algorithms, assets, ongoing optimization — rather than as campaigns.

Why programs work

Why are programs the right way to think about modern marketing? Four reasons.

1. Data is key to effective marketing

Let’s take paid search as an example. For paid search to work well, you need lots and lots of data about:
  • what keywords are effective.
  • how you should bid on them.
  • how your landing pages are working.
  • and so on.
This data can only be accumulated with time and consistency. And it’s not just you who accumulates data — it’s Google, too. Google learns over time how well your ads are working and who it can show them to most effectively. And it calculates its “quality score” — which directly influences how much an ad costs you to run — based on the behavior it sees from your website visitors.
The need to gather data is key for any digital marketing effort — whether it’s search marketing, website performance or marketing to your database.

2. Evergreen content rules

Think about all the steps that go into producing a single digital asset — copywriting, graphic design, production, marketing automation and so on. It can easily take dozens or even hundreds of hours.
Given this level of investment, it’s much better to have evergreen content that can be improved over time, rather than something that just targets in the moment, like a campaign.
And meanwhile, since 51 percent of website visits are through organic search, your content can be much more effective if it has time to accumulate backlinks and traffic. As HubSpot notes:
Over its lifetime, one compounding post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts. A single compounding post provides a much higher return on effort to better target leads and are intended to generate sales.
Rather than relying on the initial surge of traffic, sales or inquiries for a single campaign, invest in evergreen content. Start focusing on improving the landing page and honing audiences.

3. You can — and must — iterate

It used to be that you had to launch a campaign and never touch it again — imagine trying to update a direct mail campaign after you’ve already sent it. But digital allows (and indeed requires) constant iteration and responsiveness.
This can apply to any program you run long-term — paid search requires constant optimization, as does your website content and your email marketing. But one-off campaigns just don’t allow for the constant adjustment that’s required to be successful.

4. The scale of modern marketing requires a systems approach

Lastly, digital marketing today is all about scale. You can potentially reach billions of customers with very little effort, so you have to be efficient about communicating with them.
Marketing isn’t about manual segmentation anymore; it’s about building algorithms — software — to communicate in effective ways at scale.
The example that comes to mind is a nurture track, the set of emails you might get when you first sign up for a product or indicate interest in something a particular company offers.
Nurture tracks are automated, and once you’ve invested the time in setting them up, the cost to add someone else to them is zero. They’re a great example of marketing at scale, and marketers who are building them are really just writing code.

Is marketing like software engineering?

Is the marketing campaign literally gone for good? Of course not. It will be with us for a long, long time.
But increasingly, successful marketers are building systems for growth, rather than thinking about how to hit this month’s lead target.
In that way, marketing is becoming a little bit more like writing software. Efficient digital marketers are building codebases that can be incrementally improved on over time. These “codebases” bring people to your product and help them get value out of it.
The codebase includes collateral, brand, and design, of course. And it includes the workflows that run your email marketing, the rules that you follow to optimize your spend, and even the actual HTML, CSS and back-end code that run your website.
We shouldn’t become software engineers — but since we’re all managing software, we have a lot to learn from them.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Successful SMS Marketing Campaign [INFOGRAPHIC]


It is a fact that you will never be the only SMS campaign that is vying for your potential customer’s attention in their inbox. You have to make every message worth the read, and thus personalization of every message is crucial to adding value to each message a customer receives. Accomplish this by adding the customer’s name to the message or including your own name.

The importance of market research prior to launching a new SMS campaign cannot be overstated. To keep your campaign in compliance with federal regulations, all people with phone numbers on your contact list must sign up voluntarily and agree to receive your text messages. 
When onboarding new subscribers, it is also a very good idea to garner as much additional information as possible.

Once you have done your due diligence on your target audience, start assembling your contact list of the subscribers with the greatest potential. Pick a core segment of your audience that you plan to pursue first.

What concrete objective are you planning to accomplish with this SMS campaign?

To help beginners navigate the many pitfalls and gaffs of far too many SMS campaigns, take a look at this infographic presented by Mobile-Text-Alerts with tips on making your text message marketing campaign a stand-out winner: Analyzing your audience, building your list, setting clear goals, making attractive messages, selecting the right keywords and more!

Imagem inline 1

Monday, 14 August 2017

With Facebook’s shoot to kill policy, Snap was already dead

Snapchat Parent Snap Begins Trading On New York Stock Exchange
Snap's disappointing Q3 earnings report released last week underscores the dire straits in which the company, seven years old, still finds itself selling dollars for ninety cents.
For the second sequential quarter, the company has failed to increase the rate of growth and deliver the monetisation performance expected of a fast growth tech company. Quarterly losses grew fourfold year over year with revenue up only 153 per cent on that same period.
In the modern history of technology companies, new category winners are most often created due to innovative product combined with the incompetence or complacency of the largest entrenched competitors in the market.
Google grew exponentially since the turn of the millennium not only due to an exceptional product but also because competitors Yahoo and Microsoft didn’t properly prioritise and resource their search products. They were simply too slow for a nimble, aggressive newcomer like Google. It’s that combination of great product, constant innovation and sleepy competitors that create massive opportunities for disruption and generation changing companies of tremendous value.
Snap, unfortunately has difficulty in both these areas. Most importantly, it has the unfortunate luck of an extremely rich, extremely aggressive competitor, namely Facebook. Ever since the acquisition of Instagram, it has been abundantly clear that Facebook’s management is keenly aware of competitors and can rapidly buy or otherwise outmaneuver them. They’ve clearly taken to heart the aphorism of Intel’s Andy Grove that “only the paranoid survive”.
Despite Snapchat having some very early product innovations that captivated a young North American userbase, Facebook has made it its mission to copy each feature more quickly than the last and remove the unique user proposition Snap offers. Indeed, Facebook is rumoured to have numerous early-warning tracking systems alerting them to fast rising new apps and websites, which Facebook can then closely monitor and then develop competitive products when deemed important.
Looking at the Snap userbase, users do seem to stick around once they’re engaged with Snapchat as measured by daily active and monthly-active users. However the flow of new users to Snapchat has been absolutely crushed as people find the features they want already inside Instagram where they already have a robust social network to start.
Not since Microsoft in the early 1990s has there been such a ruthless competitor in the tech industry waiting to cut down all challengers as soon as they bravely stick their heads up above the trenches.
Snap is not entirely faultless here either as it’s not been able to meaningfully iterate on the product yet. For several years now it’s had very few product improvements and the interface remains challenging for many older users. Its forays into display advertising have not resonated with large ad buyers due to perceived poor performance versus other ad channels. Spectacles have proven to be a flash in the pan, contributing only $5.4m to the latest quarterly earnings and Snap’s newest geographic features have met with a lukewarm reaction to date. Their recent acquisition of Paris’ Zenly could deliver an additional footprint for location-based advertising and future geo-specific product improvements to the core Snapchat app, but so far Snap users have mostly revolted over any sort of location sharing inside the app.
With these financial results, it appears that Snap looks far more like Twitter than the next Facebook or Google. While they could always come back from the brink and launch new products to restore growth, the company appears vastly overvalued for the performance exhibited to date, and when considering its current trajectory of growth and innovation compared to peers.

Tech Boom Keeps Booming


The tech industry is thriving and more and more companies look to add apps to enhance their accessibility and improve the overall customer experience. It doesn’t look like this space will be slowing down anytime soon. Businesses of all sizes are turning to app developers to bring their concept to reality with smart, user-friendly integration that will garner customers and take their products and services to the next level. The growth of thetech industry is picking up steam at a rapid pace as the need for the latest and greatest in technology takes a strong hold. I sat down with founder and CEO at Wve LabsDave Shah, to find out what’s behind this growth and what we can expect to see going forward from the tech community.
What has been the biggest change in the tech industry in the last year?
One of the most promising changes that have occurred in the tech industry is the digitization of goods and services we use every day. From self-driving cars to smart homes controlled entirely by voice, basic life processes seem to be moving towards autonomy. In turn, with artificial intelligence becoming so prominent, I predict that the world will be safer, more efficient, and continue to push the boundaries of what is feasible for years to come.
What is the biggest struggle for companies looking to market and develop an app?
One difficulty that is pervasive among companies that want to develop an app is when business-generating revenue opportunities are not at the forefront of their goals. Some simply want an online presence and to say that they have “an app” available. However, Wve Labs is uniquely able to identify the potential in our clients’ sectors and work side-by-side with them in the business development aspect of app creation as well, from ideation to execution to implementation and marketing.
What advice would you give to a company that wants to develop an app?

First and foremost, discover the true purpose of having an app associated with your company and apply that towards its target market. At Wve, we make it a priority to help our clients understand the full potential and benefit that a mobile application can bring to a company as they consider. An app that is developed for informational purposes is much different than an app for on-demand services. Most companies we work with are able to eliminate more than one void in their customers’ experience with an app.
What is influencing the growth in the tech space for app development and marketing today?
The biggest influence is the access to ideas, information, and the ability to buy. As the global database of technological information expands, more companies have been able to expand their marketing to millions of people globally and individuals have taken open-web data and developed their own websites, apps, and corporations. Meanwhile, the ability for the consumer to shop on the go is becoming increasingly easy and efficient.
What’s on the horizon for the tech industry and what can we expect to see in the next two or three years?
I believe the automation of everyday tasks will continue - cars will be fully self-driving and homes will be completely controlled with the touch of a button. In turn, technology will be developed to continue increasing the safety and convenience of our communities and efficiency of our processes.
It is without a doubt that the future looks bright for tech companies that offer app development for businesses. There is an endless opportunity for growth in this arena, and by all accounts, it is just starting to heat up. This is definitely an industry you’ll want to keep an eye on as it is destined to blast forward at an alarming rate. The only question, is how long it will last?
We will all watch to find out.