Monday, 11 December 2017

How to Pick the Perfect Market for Your Mobile App

customerthink.com
Image result for marketing strategy for your app
I have made an app and cannot decide the appropriate Market on which I should publish it! Yes, we have heard this plenty of times from many mobile app developers. For instance, it is far easy to make an app but it requires a lot of patience and research to make a marketing strategy for your app. Launching your mobile app in the market without any prior knowledge of marketing is like fishing in an empty pond. When we talk about the different brands, mostly the big ones have huge success rate no matter what is the quality and efficiency of their app. On the other hand, newbies whose apps are absolutely brilliant class need to strive hard to make their apps outshine in this cut-throat competitive world.
The entire league of apps doesn’t need to combat the different features but also they will have to deal with other installation challenges. In rare cases, if you are lucky enough, you will need to the level of 50 users. If we see the present day reality, a set of the top-rated apps are in their firm position and the entry of every newbie app will not affect their rating in any way.
Take an example of a booking app known as bookmyshow. Besides this app, there are still plenty of apps available in the market but still, this app has managed to stay strong despite the ongoing market competition.
So, the question is how to find your position in this competitive market world with all those great leaders. Here we go,

1) Verify your idea tonnes of time

We have seen many cases where there is a brilliant idea according to the application developer but when it is actually implemented in reality, the story looks entirely different. Many users boast of an idea which will change the world. Like, really? With over millions of apps in the app market, you have really found something which can change the whole course of this world? Well, ponder on this question once again and you will come back to the reality.
The only way to be absolutely clear about your app is to do a lot of Research. In that research, a complete survey of the existing app market is a must. Study every app which has a high rating and finds out the extra features which you can add to set your app apart from others. Also, study some low rated apps to verify what the areas of their improvement are. Finally, when you are totally sure by your decision, you can further go for development and deployment.

2) Target the Niche Audience

Many Android app development companies are making their apps a huge success and earning huge revenues in domestic as well as in the global market. You must be willing to know their secret recipe for success. Well, one thing is quite clear that there is no sense in targeting customers of every category. If you are targeting users of every category, there is a slight chance where only 10 will buy your app from 1000 customers. On the other hand, what is more, important is to target only a given range of audience at first. Target those 100 people who will definitely become your potential customers. It will improve your chances, wherein 90 percent will buy or use your app. Also, you should optimize the marketing resources very smartly to the niche audience to make them feel better and provide a full level of satisfaction.
Name your app with the brand name, for example, if it’s specifically for a particular hotel, give it the same name. But, in case it’s a service provider like booking hotels at a cheap rate, you can choose a unique yet meaningful name to promote it. By doing this, you will be able to target a given set of audience who have a keen interest in looking at your app or even buying the app. You will see a difference as soon as you implement this and your targeted customers will become your paid customers.

3) Choose the right platform

At times, the whole effort of app developers goes in vain because they have no knowledge in choosing the correct platform to give their app a power-packed kick start. Since you have identified your target audience, the next big step is to decide which platform will suit you the most. If your app users are an Android addict, you probably know which platform to choose and the same goes for any other app.
In the present day app market, in one category, thousands of apps are available no matter what their names are. If you are coming with an idea which is already implemented in a similar app available in the market, all your efforts will go in vain. For example, Instagram is the king of photo/video sharing. If you come with a similar idea as of Instagram, there is no point users will move to your app leaving the popular Instagram app uninstalled. The only chance for this is when you offer something extremely better than what they really have. Still, the competition will be quite high.

4) Follow the Latest Trend

Making an app which has all the past technologies implemented in it is clearly not a good idea. Instead, researching will help in this strategy. The Internet is filled with different latest technologies which are in use for app making. Perform in-depth researches on the latest trend, even if you fail, keep doing the same until you find the best possible strategy to make your app bloom in your desired app market. As of now, Xamarin, Appcelerator, PhoneGap, Sencha, and RMAD are some mobile app development tools which are driving a massive amount of app market. Investing your time in such tools is called as right-thinking no matter how much time it will consume. Such apps are worth every second.
Also, pay attention to launching your app at the right time. If you hit everything at the right time, there will be no stopping of your app in the global market for sure.
As an app developer, identifying the correct market for your mobile app is essential and following the above strategies will surely give you the immense knowledge and a way by which you can outshine your app from the remaining ones.

67 Fascinating Facts About Online Vs Offline Commerce Infographic

love.shopping.fm
Don’t we all love online shopping? It’s like buying a gift from ourselves for ourselves. A fact well known is that we’d much rather enter our credit card numbers from the comfort of our own home, rather than standing in line at cash registers. Not to mention how very convenient it is to have your goods delivered to your doorstep, instead of trying to get all shopping bags through your door in one trip from your car.
It’s not new that e-Commerce is a big thing right now. Online sales are rapidly accelerating on a daily basis. But, there still are people here and there that prefer a more tactile shopping experience by shopping in physical stores. There are many reasons why people would choose in-store shopping rather than shopping online, but do they outnumber the ones that keep the online shoppers hooked?
The infographic will provide you with information concerning both in-store and online shopping. Compare the growth rate between both types of sales and see who the top sellers are. Have a look at what people buy most and where. Compare what factors do people take into consideration before shopping in-store and what triggers them to shop online. All the relevant facts and stats are right below.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Tapping The 10 Habits Of Highly Effective Mobile Heroes To Boost App Marketing And Engagement

forbes.com

In a market where 95% of users are likely to churn within 90 days, spending blindly on user a [Health article: Techniques For Stress Managementcquisition is a sure-fire way to burn money as fast as you can make it. That’s why smart marketers are shifting away from app installs, surface data, and metrics that led app marketing to the brink of a mobile engagement crisis. Now, marketers are focusing on new ways to drive actions and conversions deeper into the funnel. They have realized value trumps volume.

[Health article: Techniques For Stress Management]

The ability to architect a comprehensive app marketing strategy–one that prioritizes quality over quantity and engagement over installs–is what will distinguish the leaders from the also-rans. To help you super-charge your approach, and open the aperture of how you view and pursue growth opportunities in 2018, I draw from the lessons and habits of ten remarkable mobile marketers and user acquisition (UA) managers whose expertise has earned them the title Mobile Heroes. Below you'll find advice and tips from Mobile Heroes excerpted from interviews that have aired on Mobile Presence, a weekly podcast series I host (a position for which I am not paid).
1)
Alessandra Sales, VP of Marketing at Smule, has harnessed a deep understanding of users to drive experiences that amaze and engage customers for the company’s social music-making app. Before joining Smule she headed marketing efforts at companies including Zoosk, where the ability to make a match between audiences and advertising was at the core of converting people shopping for the perfect date. 
Learn from your power users. Installs give you volume, but engagement drives revenue. High ROI is the measure of a highly effective campaign, so monitor the metrics that matter most. At the top of the list is LTV (lifetime value), the prized metric that yields the value of future cash flows based on calculations tied to the actions and affinities of your users. Calculating LTV can be a challenge for some app categories, but not for Smule. It monetizes primarily through a subscription model--which generates a highly predictable cash flow. Knowing LTV--and connecting it to early metrics--allowed Smule to “better distribute budget across regions and products, and scale campaigns while keeping a healthy ROI,” Sales tells me.
Alessandra’s tip: Look at your power users. “We observed their early behavior in the app then studied which behaviors strongly correlated with a purchase intent,” she explains. Using these data-informed insights allowed Smule to improve targeting and, importantly, architect re-engagement campaigns sure to drive conversions.
Her reason: Watching the actions users take before committing to a subscription lays the groundwork for effective re-engagement campaigns that target users at critical stages. It’s an extra effort to map and influence the user journey at the moment of decision, but ROI on these campaigns is “around 20% higher than on generic CPI campaigns.”
2)
Annica Lin, Senior Acquisition Manager at Stash--a fintech company offering a mobile app with micro-investing services–has turned an obsession with data into a solid career. Since leaving her native Taiwan to pursue her own American Dream she has focused on hard numbers and real results.
Effective seed audiences start with segmentation. Effective app marketing is powered by approaches that take the guesswork out of targeting high-quality users who are highly likely to convert in your app. Lookalike targeting wins on both counts. It enables marketers to reach and engage new audiences likely to be interested in the app because they're strikingly similar to the existing (and loyal) users in the customer base. “Success hinges on how you select and segment your seed audience--the users that you want the algorithm to analyze in order to find more of the same,” Lin tells me. Start out by identifying the audience attributes--such as gender, income level, location, age–that are important and relevant to your app. Then narrow down the precise percentage of lookalike users to target. Keep in mind there are benefits and trade-offs, and size does matter. Targeting a smaller percentage (between 1% and 3%, for example) obviously yields a smaller pool of users. But focusing on a small number of high-quality users can also increase your chances to reach and engage users genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Casting a wider net (between 1% and 10%) can produce a larger pool of users and a greater danger of wastage. She says, “The quality may be lower since the users are not so similar to your seed audience, and this typically results in lower conversion rates.”
Annica’s tip: Adapt your targeting percentage to your offer. “If your app appeals to a niche audience, like lovers of luxury goods, then dialling down the percentage of lookalike users you want to target can help ensure you reach high-value users and high results for your campaign.” Besides adjusting the percentage of lookalike users to align with your campaign goals, you can also narrow down audience size by layering over data around demographics, interests, and behavioral targeting.

Her reason: “A higher quality seed audience will ultimately drive better ROI and LTV for the lookalike campaign--clearing the way so you can bid more aggressively to scale up the campaign.”
3)
Cassie Chernin, Senior Manager Digital Marketing at HomeAdvisor, a digital marketplace evolving the way homeowners connect with service professionals-- manages all aspects of display and app marketing acquisition and retention. Prior to HomeAdvisor, Cassie honed her marketing skills at online personal fine jeweler Gemvara, where she began a pursuit of growth hacking and direct response marketing opportunities that would define her career path.
Go for value–and look beyond the install. Installs are top-funnel events but not necessarily top priority. In fact, many companies, including HomeAdvisor, are looking beyond the install to make customer connections and drive conversions. For HomeAdvisor, it's in-app bookings that matter. Cassie tells me this is the motivation behind the company’s transition from driving a high volume of installs to cultivating and converting high-value users--customers that use the app to find contractors for all 6-8 home projects (the average number of projects a homeowner completes per year).
Cassie’s tip: “Build out a simple but effective LTV (customer lifetime value) model that focuses on your key metrics, not just the cost-per-install (CPI).”
Her reason: “When you focus on CPI, you can get poor-quality installs that don't add real value.” She therefore advises marketers to optimize for their post-install goal, an approach that will allow them to focus on the bigger picture rather than straight installs.
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Move the needle on app campaigns by observing users, wielding data, and driving deep-funnel engagement. These are just a few top tips from "Mobile Heroes."
4.)
Cole Mercer, Director of Digital Media for the Norton and LifeLock brands at Symantec, specializes in growing mobile apps using social media, paid, and organic user acquisition techniques. A laser focus on finding ways to engage and retain existing users–not just find new ones–has helped him meet and exceed campaign targets across the board.
Be creative in how you create the ‘Moment Of Truth.’  In marketing, the Moment of Truth (MoT) is the instance of contact or interaction that gives the customer an opportunity to form or change their impression of the company. In app marketing, you face the same challenge–to make a great impression or influence behavior–but you have a wide array of tools, including push notifications, to get you to this goal. “Start by establishing what makes your app unique and then delve deeper to identify your key value proposition and the context that will accentuate this,” Mercer tells me. Early on, this was defined by user context. He says, “We figured out pretty quickly that many VPN users were looking for a way to secure their public Wi-Fi connection above anything else.” The product team drew on that insight to implement a cross-sell app MoT into their most popular app, Norton Mobile Security. In practice, users with the Norton Mobile Security app receive a notification when they are on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Tapping the notification prompts them to install the Norton Wi-Fi Privacy VPN to secure their connection.

Cole’s tip: Look beyond messaging to find other approaches and partnerships that will enable you to recreate and reinforce the MoT to your advantage.
His reason: Understanding user context opens the doors to new possibilities, such as partnerships to target users connecting to free Wi-Fi in airports and urban areas. A smart move since travelers and users with this persona would naturally congregate in such places and share a concern about the security of their Wi-Fi connection. “Using this combination of contextual targeting + messaging to recreate our Moment of Truth has outperformed all our other campaigns to date.”
5.)
Kartick Narayan, VP of Growth & Computational Marketing at Coupang--one of the largest and fastest growing e-commerce platforms–started a career in finance before joining online shopping giant Amazon. Experience driving algorithmic advertising and marketing inspired him to take key learnings to a new level, bringing together product, engineering, and marketing teams to close the loop and clinch the sale.
Find the ‘golden path.’ Deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time using the right channel on the right platform. It’s the mantra of all marketers, but a must for app marketers. It’s easy to get confused when identifying and understanding active, inactive, and lapsed customers across your user base. What helps, Narayan tells me, is to start with a laser focus on segmenting customers between “whales” and “minnows.” Once you have split between the disproportionately big spenders (or whales) and the rest, then it’s time to map what he calls the “golden path” to conversion that will lead whales to deepen long term engagement and increase retention. At the same time, you need to encourage minnows to grow up and start acting like whales. You do this by pinpointing the early leading indicators and variables among your minnows–such as average session length and cross category shopping patterns--which give you high confidence in minnows having the ability to emulate (even eclipse) your whales.
Kartick’s tip: Use clustering to find the whale and minnow groups in your user base. “When used properly, machine learning libraries such as scikit-learn can be effective for customer segmentation because it uses clustering of data sets at a very large scale.”
His reason: It works. Using this technique has contributed to shaping his long term engineering and product roadmaps which in turn has increased the number of whale customers.
6.)
Marco Esposito, Senior International Mobile Marketing Manager at online food delivery service Delivery Hero, draws on a strong background in ethnographic marketing to turn campaigns into “conversations.” It’s an approach at the forefront of the company’s strategy to target and retarget audiences across the 50+ countries where it operates.

Get personal in your messaging. Getting users to download your app is certainly not a walk in the park, but taking a walk in your users’ shoes (and keeping in step with their desire for advertising that genuinely speaks to them) is a must to boost app engagement and interaction. “It’s important to know your audience, speak their language and engage them in a relevant conversation,” Esposito explains. Putting this into practice–through personalized messaging that is aligned with every aspect of the user, all the way down to dialect--has paid dividends. To boost brand interaction, and ultimately conversion, among users living in major cities across the Middle East, Delivery Hero adopted a more local voice. Campaigns targeted this audience segment with visual assets that were an appropriate match both with their local context (city of residence, for example) and their local dialects.
Marco’s tip: Avoid language in advertising and notifications that is generic, or just plain boring. “Personalize the communication with dynamic ads wherever and whenever possible, and A/B test your ad copy and messages to sound genuine.”
His reason: Engaging, personalized communication has allowed Delivery Hero to deepen connections and scale its user base. “But it’s a never-ending process of learning about your audience and finding new ways to adapt your campaigns to the way they want to communicate.”
7.)
Nat Robinson, Head of Marketing at MileIQ--a Microsoft company headquartered in San Francisco–drives subscriptions of the mileage tracking mobile app (and overall customer loyalty) by educating users on ways they can use the app to get the most value.
Test, experiment–and follow the feedback. From Da Vinci to Jeff Bezos, history is filled with examples that underline the inextricable link between excellence and experimentation. It’s an ethos that’s baked into Amazon’s corporate DNA. (Makes sense that Bezos remarks success at Amazon is “a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.") At MileIQ, Robinson tells me, a similar “culture of experimentation” has allowed the company to discover new approaches that have paid surprising dividends. “It all starts with defining processes that allow your people to practice. This practice will become a habit, and over time part of your culture,” he explains.
Nat’s tip: Organize a weekly “Funnel Meeting” where Product, Marketing, Engineering, Support, and Data Science all take part, review growth priorities, and brainstorm experiments to run and results to measure.

His reason: It’s this spirit of internal experimentation that allowed MileIQ to set pricing and paywall for the mileage logging services. Early on, he recalls, many advised the team not to charge for the app. “But we'd done a lot of testing around value perception and how users perceived our value-add.” The outcome was a double positive. First, the tests helped MileIQ validate its model and the business sense of charging for the app. Second, testing yielded valuable feedback–from paying users–that allows the company to focus energy and experimentation on what matters most to keep customers coming back.
8.)
Nick Quan, Performance Marketing Manager, Growth and User Acquisition at Twitter, is focused on acquiring new users through paid mobile channels. He was previously at EA, where he managed the mobile user acquisition efforts for mobile titles including Madden, FIFA, and Iron Force.
Leverage programmatic now to beat the holiday rush. Holidays are a hot time for mobile advertising campaigns–a dynamic that can send the costs of acquiring users (and users who convert) into the stratosphere. There’s no escaping high prices, but there are ways to ensure you achieve high performance. “If you’re going to start paying more for users, then you definitely want to make sure you’re engaging with your exact target audience,” Quan tells me. This is where programmatic can make a big difference. Start by providing your programmatic partner with the audience list you want to engage with, and dedicate a larger portion of your budget towards retargeting/reactivation.
Nick’s tip: “Making this shift in your strategy will help you justify increased costs by ensuring your mobile campaigns continue to deliver qualified valuable users.” This in turn helps you maintain your return on ad spend (ROAS) goals. And a bonus: “Get those holiday-themed creatives ready with tailored messaging to match.” Thanks to programmatic you know the exact audience that will see your ads, so use the opportunity to make your mark.
His reason: “By providing my programmatic partners with my exact target audience I was able to minimize wasted ad impressions and reach those users who I knew based on the data were most likely to convert and maintain a positive ROAS.”
9.)
Vivian Chang, Director Digital Marketing at RetailMeNot--a savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store-- has proven success optimizing media with an audience-focused approach that has helped drive mobile app use and engagement.
Partner to prosper. In app marketing, the ultimate goal is to achieve high performance. Treat ad networks and ad tech vendors as partners—as opposed to just another traffic source—and brief them on your high-level marketing goals, plans, and trends. Doing so lays the groundwork for a deeper working relationship that can unleash great ideas. “Partners work with a broad swath of retailers and may have valuable industry and vertical insights which can help you refine your in-house strategy,” Chang tells me. “Discussions with like-minded partners often spur new testing ideas and out-of-the-box solutions.”

Vivian’s tip: The best long-term partners are those interested in promoting your business success, not just closing the next sale. “Spend the effort cultivating your ‘tribe’ of partners when things are going well, and you'll have a network to rely on during unexpected changes in your business.”
Her reason: Working with the right partners has helped RetailMeNot to stay relevant as a top shopping app in a highly competitive market. It also helps ensure the company is spending budget effectively. “Collaboration with our partners led us to integrate new tools that improved mobile ad fraud detection, thereby ensuring that we are reaching a high-quality audience and high performance.”
10.)
Vinícius Gerez, Senior Marketing Manager at Berlin-based game developer Wooga, has spent a decade at the company growing the casual games player base through paid channels and innovative approaches to ad optimization. In addition to app marketing and testing, he also manages real-time bidding (RTB) strategy for global markets.
Make the effort to match creatives to audiences. As most app marketers are armed with an arsenal of data and analytics tools to perfect their performance marketing, some clever marketers are moving to master the art of activating–and optimizing–ad creatives to gain and maintain a competitive edge. Their approaches are still data-informed, but the emphasis is on architecting app experiences that heighten interest, not costs. “First impressions count, so show the user up front what your app is really all about,” Gerez tells me. Nailing the right creative is an art grounded in science. It helps to deconstruct your ad into component parts, and experiment with combinations. “Keep in mind that different audiences will likely respond to different aspects of your app, so work on specific iterations of your ads for specific audiences to cater to their tastes.”
Vinícius’ tip: “Once you find the perfect match, the way is clear to start testing variations of that creative aspect, and get further wins.”

His reason: As Wooga offers a wide range of games apps it has also tested a wide range of creatives. “In some cases, our conversion rates doubled once we cracked the code.”
Peggy Anne Salz is an analyst, author and content strategist in Europe, where she tracks mobile trends shaping our data-driven digital economy. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

App: The Human Story is an antidote to Planet of the Apps

cultofmac.com
app documentary
What does it feel like pinning your hopes and livelihood to one of Apple’s most important creations? Fascinating new documentary App: The Human Story takes an unflinching look at the world of app developers in an attempt to answer that question.

It turns out that apps make for an interesting documentary. Building on underdog stories like the brilliant 2012 Indie Game: The MovieApp: The Human Story follows the plight of real-life developers trying to make a living in the App Store. The results are inspirational, exciting, worrisome and — most of all — varied.
We follow newcomers like Melissa Hargis and Nicki Klein, fresh from developer bootcamp, who are quitting their jobs to work in tech and build what they hope is the next great mapping app. There are also seasoned veterans, such as Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser, who have been producing hit apps for the Macintosh with their growing team for the last 15 years and are now trying to bring that success to the iPhone.
Following their trials and tribulations highlights the challenges developers face — like Ish Shabazz, whose apps are constantly reaching more users than ever, but who still struggles to make a sustainable living.

Documenting app developers’ trials and tribulations


There have always been independent developers, of course. In the early days of Apple, developers like Paul Lutus created Apple Writer, the Apple II’s first great word processor. It made him a small fortune.
A few years after that came VisiCalc, a spreadsheet that gave regular people a reason to actually own a computer. Today, developers have it both easier and harder than ever. They get an opportunity to reach more people, but they face a horrendously crowded marketplace and struggle with Apple’s top-down control.
“I think the control that the platforms have over developers is what makes today’s scene so interesting,” Schumacher says. “The older developers who were making Mac apps before the iPhone were distributing their software through the web, and they had very effective tools for selling their applications — most importantly, free trials, so a user could establish value before purchasing.”
The level of control that Apple wields through the App Stores worries Schumacher. He’s particularly concerned about the “devaluation of software” he thinks Apple is complicit in.
“I know there are passionate people inside Apple wanting to bring significant developer changes to the App Store,” he says, but he still sees numerous challenges coming in the future.
“There is an uphill battle to convince people that software is valuable,” he says. “When we lose indies, we lose innovation. We also lose room for newcomers, which inversely affects underrepresented groups in programming.”

An app documentary well worth watching

If you thought Apple’s reality show Planet of the Apps was a tone-deaf attempt to turn app development into American Idol-type entertainment, App: The Human Story is well worth checking out. It’s well filmed, stocked full of good interview subjects, and with a narrative that’s most assuredly worth telling.
Given some of the doc’s bittersweet conclusions, it’s easy to see why Apple is keen to present a more upbeat version of events through its official channels. But if you’re looking for a entertaining, balanced, thoughtful look at the role of apps that more than delivers on the film’s original promises as a 2014 Kickstarter campaign this more than hits the mark!
You can download the 70-minute documentary as a VOD file from Vimeo, priced $15. Physical media releases are planned for the near future.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

As The App Economy Booms, Mobile-Focused Funding Slips

news.crunchbase.com
Image result for As The App Economy Booms, Mobile-Focused Funding Slips
The app economy is booming. So why aren’t mobile-focused companies raising huge numbers of new rounds?
Yesterday, we reported on a recent industry discussion regarding the decline in early-stage fundraising. It’s a topic that Crunchbase News has written about quite often, and we’re bringing it back up again. (We’re nearly done; we promise. But you should also read this).
This morning, a new App Annie report detailing the size of the app economy, in terms of revenue, drove coverage. TechCrunch’s coverage of the report noted that “[c]onsumer spending on all mobile app stores will surpass $110 billion in 2018” and that the expected revenue result is “a 30 percent increase from the year prior.”
Those are obviously big numbers. That the app economy is soon to crest the $100 billion mark (estimated, to be sure) while growing at a 30 percent year-over-year clip is astounding. It implies that that particular market has quite a bit of legs left to carry it forward, and it’s going to end up closer to $200 billion than $100 billion when it levels off.
The data point jogged our memory slightly, however. In our coverage of the recently early-stage funding conversation, we noted an op-ed of sorts that posited a number of interesting hypothesis regarding why the startup market is seeing a decline in earlier investment. To wit, the critical paragraph:
The era of funding apps is over – VC funding rounds grew dramatically after 2010 partly because of rebounding economic activity, but mainly in order to back a raft of B2C apps taking advantage of consumers’ emerging mobile-first behavior. With Android and iOS ecosystems well established, nearly every commercial segment saw a raft of new digital challengers, in everything from lifestyle to health, finance and a raft of special interest categories. Since 2014, early-stage funding for businesses with “mobile” in their description has fallen off a cliff.
Given that the app economy is growing by huge percentages from a simply enormous base, the claim seemed worth checking in on. Here is us doing that.

Mobile Up, Mobile Down

Staying as close to what the quoted piece claimed, I asked our own Jason Rowley to dig up all funding rounds from companies in the Crunchbase database that have “mobile” in their listed description.
To keep our analysis simple, we only looked at funding rounds (no exotics, grants, etc) and picked 2011 as a starting point so that the promised 2014 peak would have some space to breathe. Before you look down, guess the shape of the graph. Now, holding that in your mind, read on.
The resulting chart mirrors the original claim:
This almost feels wrong. After all, you might expect the growing sum of available app revenue to entice more players into the market. Players that would, presumably, require capital to get and keep going.
But that isn’t what we see. Indeed, as the app world has matured, funding has declined. There could be a number of reasons for this sort of retrenchment, but I want to highlight how the above mirrors another category we’ve recently explored.
The SaaS world, as we reported earlier today, is seeing a similar divergence in data. While public SaaS companies are doing well, and setting new valuation records, the funding environment for SaaS startups is slack and falling. You can see the similarity to that in our mobile example.
Now in this case, we followed what the original claim said — we looked for companies that use “mobile” in their company descriptions. As such, we casted an over-broad net that also probably had some holes in it.
(For example, some companies that work on mobile apps simply might skip that part of their description. After all, if you can claim that you put AR in VR on the blockchain using ML-powered AI inside of a container, you’ll probably secure a higher price-sales multiple off your current top-line base of zero. But we digress!)
All the same, the search seems sufficiently cogent to make our point: Certain tech categories that we might expect to be awash in external capital due to their initial TAM estimates coming true are not. SaaS and mobile, two previously preeminent categories, seem to have spawned most of the winners that investors expect. If that wasn’t the case, we’d see more activity, not less.

Mobile app store spending to jump 30% in 2018

retaildive.com

Brief:

  • Consumer spending among all mobile app stores will rise 30% to more than $110 billion in 2018 from a year earlier, researcher App Annie forecast in a report made available to Mobile Marketer. Games will maintain their dominance in total spending, but spending on other kinds of apps, including retail, is predicted to grow faster due to a shift toward subscription-based revenue models.
  • Mobile platforms will make a greater push into becoming a full-fledged shopping platform instead of a research companion for product information, prices and reviews, App Annie said. U.S. and U.K. consumers spent an hour a month on average in shopping apps this year, and that usage will grow as retailers integrate their mobile apps with in-store experiences.
  • Netflix, Apple, Google, Facebook, Snap Inc. and Disney are among the companies that will drive more fragmentation of the video streaming market to feed a growing demand for content on smartphones, per App Annie. The share of iPhone users who have four or more streaming apps on their phones grew to 31% this year from 25% in October 2016 as consumers seek a wider variety of video content.

Insight:

App Annie’s forecast for 2018 holds nuggets of insights based on the in-app spending and downloads it tracks. The retail industry will increasingly become less segmented between traditional categories of "digital-first" like Amazon and eBay, and "bricks-and-clicks" like Walmart and Target.
One key driver lies in the growth of mobile payments, as Western countries will become more like China, where cashless mobile commerce is becoming increasingly popular in major urban centers, App Annie said. Several tech companies and retailers like Apple and Walmart are ramping up efforts to integrate mobile pay options in the $49 billion market that's faced some difficulty gaining traction among consumers. For shoppers, enhanced mobile apps could lead to people using physical stores as a place to pick up items purchased on smartphones, while cash registers will gradually lose their role in the checkout and payment process as mobile solutions become more prominent.
On the interactive app front, mobile programs that use augmented reality (AR) are set to jump in popularity in the coming year as developers use the new software tools that came out this year that could make the emerging tech more accessible. App Annie saw a surge in iPhone app downloads in the AR category in September after Apple released its latest mobile operating system to support the tech.
Voice-activated digital assistants also will also likely become increasingly popular as more tech companies offer devices to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple, Samsung, Alibaba and Baidu are among the companies that seek a greater share of the in-home device market, App Annie said. The most popular applications for the devices will likely be consistent with past uses such as listening to music, web searches and basic tasks that are becoming increasingly more complex and useful for consumers.

Snap's Redesign Isn't Groundbreaking, But A Step In The Right Direction

forbes.com
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Last week, Snap Inc. unveiled a redesigned version of the Snapchat app that offers a simpler user interface, while emphasizing more relevant content as the company looks to drive user growth and engagement. Snap has started to roll out the update to a portion of its users, with a large-scale rollout happening in the coming weeks. The redesign comes at a time when Snap’s quarterly daily user growth has slowed to all-time lows of just 2.9% in Q3, while its ARPU growth in the bread-and-butter North American market has also moderated. Below we take a look at the changes and the impact they could have on Snap’s user base and valuation.
Trefis has a $15 price estimate for Snap, which is slightly ahead of the current market price.

Splitting The Social From The Media, Doubling Down On Algorithmic Feeds
With the redesign, Snapchat will essentially separate social content from its media offerings. While messages and Stories from friends will appear on the left side of the Snap camera screen, content from media publishers (Discover), social media influencers and amateur content curated by Snap will appear to the right of the camera. In previous versions of the app, Snap intertwined Discover content with posts that are shared by friends. With the redesign, Snap is hoping that it will become a more focused app, allowing people to communicate with friends by separating those conversations from other content. Moreover, publishers and influencers will also get a more clearly demarcated platform for their offerings. Separately, Snap is also doubling down on its algorithmic feeds that personalize and highlight the most relevant content for users in both the friends and media tabs. Unlike Facebook, which typically sorts content by its popularity, Snap will curate its timeline based on what each user watches the most. This could be an important change, as Snap previously used a chronological feed for its content, which emphasized the most recent posts.
Redesign Is A Step In The Right Direction
Ultimately, the success of Snap’s redesign will hinge on driving value for advertisers, and we will have to wait to see how things pan out. By separating the social aspect of the application from the Discover section, Snap could impact engagement levels on the more commercial part of the application, as users could use Snap as a core messaging app without exploring its media features. While Snap says that it will still be displaying stories in the Friends section, it’s likely that ad loads will be lower, impacting monetization. This could potentially cause some concern among Snap’s advertisers and investors, who are seeking higher levels of revenue growth. However, Snap’s move towards algorithmic feeds might help to improve user engagement, as Snap could show users Stories and content that they are interested in, which could potentially lead them to use the app more regularly, boosting opportunities for advertising. Overall, we don’t see the redesign as being a breakthrough that will bring in more older users, or mainstream users in international markets, where Facebook’s products are more deeply entrenched. That said, the redesign does appear to be a step in the right direction in terms of making the app more user-friendly and engaging.