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4 posts from April 2015


How Does Beacon Technology Work?


Beacon technology is generating a lot of buzz by enabling new ways for people to communicate with others, as well as brands, through incredibly sensitive geo-specific technology. The way the technology works is fairly straightforward: beacons are equipped with familiar Bluetooth technology, which connects to smart devices (usually via app) when users are within proximity of the beacon. The app triggers any number of responses on the phone, including coupons, videos, or other high quality content.  

The utility of beacon technology is virtually limitless for retailers and developers. Retailers with limited shelf space can provide a more engaging customer experience by personalizing a shoppers experience before or after point of sale. This applies to broad merchandising situations like sporting events and theme parks. Further, beacons can connect people through smart networking in real-time, creating more value for the user and the budding technology. 

Once fully integrated, beacon technology is expected to provide the end user with access to more pertinent, up-to-date and persuasive content — a marketers dream come true! However, this supposes that companies are already developing in the mobile space. For the technology to achieve peak performance, the mobile content must be effective also. 

Studies suggest that smartphone usage is constantly increasing; brands unaware of this trend are expected to fall behind. However, there are other challenges faced by the proliferation of beacon technology. 

Currently, beacon networks are fragmented and closed. In this instance, retailers have to juggle the price of installing private network beacons with the time it may take for the technology to evolve and users to catch on. The price of being first to party may result in extra expenses for the retailer, who would have to spend more to switch networks down the road. 

The end user also suffers, as they will be forced to download a multitude of apps corresponding to the various private networks aligned with retailers. The result is cumbersome and arguably not worth the effort. 

To fully appreciate the powerful marketing tool, beacon networks should be open, widely assessable, and easy to implement. In this model, innovation will emerge more quickly and gain greater acceptance among retailers and end users. All constituents would benefit from an open system.  

Additionally, the prospect of this technology is preemptive to an entirely new era of collaboration between retailers and developers. Gaining timely, instant access to the intimate space of personal mobile devices is truly the final marketing frontier.



The Ad Tech Industry is Consolidating. Here's Why.


In the last two years, large acquisitions inside the ad tech industry have resulted in a consolidated market — a healthy sign of maturity, estimated to top all other marketing channels in 2016. Of the more recent acquisitions, Yahoo bought BrightRoll for $640 million; Rubicon Project acquired Chango for $122 million; and AppNexus gobbled up Yieldex for $100 million. This should paint the picture pretty clear: the massive opportunity in online, programmatic and mobile advertising is tomorrow’s marketing landscape. As for today, it’s a good time to be a small ad tech company, many of which are developing the technologies that will take the ad tech industry to the next level.  

It was only a few years ago that marketers scoffed at mobile spending. As brands and advertisers have slowly warmed up to the medium, there has been a wide increase in the demand for services. As the need for these services increased, the technologies themselves got better — formatting, scalability and advanced metric systems all developed into robust analytics tools that allowed for greater control and targeting. With so much demand, the market has become saturated with small tech companies left to battle over small niche markets and consumer segments. 

But in a world with behemoth players like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, it’s not always a safe place to exist. Rather than spend time and resources on R&D, the big boys have found it’s much easier to purchases these small companies. It’s up to the little guys to get noticed or get out of the way.  

The good news for mobile marketers is this slow consolidation will make advertising more standardized, as well as improve quality of both online and mobile. The bad news is low competition will likely drive up prices.  

The trend among the acquisitions so far has centered on scalability, or a company’s ability to provide scalable ad formats, analytics and insight. Most of the acquired companies also have a presence in both the supply side and demand side of ad integration. Many successful ad tech companies provide a solution to a unique problem or tap into a specific customer segment. 

There’s definitely room for the little guys as consolidation of the ad tech industry continues, but it’s going to depend greatly on a company’s ability to provide services that meet the above criteria at a minimum. However, as the industry grows, there will likely be room for new improvements as user behavior changes in response to increased mobile advertising. 



3 Top Tips for Marketing Your App


When the App Store launched in 2009 it carried a mere 500 apps. By October 2013, there were 1 million, and within a few months Google Play had a similar number of apps. That, my friends, is what you call an app boom. 

Great news for developers, hard work for marketers. How on earth can you begin to compete in such a busy marketplace? We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you bring your brilliant idea to the masses…


Plan, Plan, Plan

We get it. You’re eager to bring your app to market as soon as it’s ‘finished.’ But without a proper marketing strategy in place, there’s little point in having the app available for download because nobody will hear about it. This is where meticulous advance planning comes in.  

Set a release date at least 6 months after the expected completion date. This will give you time to set up decent press coverage and create a buzz around the app, as well as giving you breathing room in case of development delays and for bug testing. As you prepare for the release date, keep an eye on what’s going on in the wider tech world to make sure your release date doesn’t coincide with some major like the new iPhone. The optimal scenario is that your app comes out during a very quiet week. There are no guarantees here - but good planning is about avoiding the avoidable.



When it comes to launching any new product, there’s no such thing as ‘too much’ market research. Invest time and money in a thorough analysis of all the key competitors in your app’s category: 

  • What names are popular? 
  • What do audiences value in similar apps?
  • Which keywords do competitors rank for? 

The more research you do, the better your understanding of the target audience will be. Look at customer reviews to find out precisely what people are saying - this will help you build a picture of the things customers value most and least. 


Think Holistically

The development world is prone to insularity. When a team of developers work on a project they’re passionate about, one they believe in 100%, it’s all to easy to lose site of the big picture. Don’t simply rely on feedback from your team - test the app in the real world. 

To launch a beta testing project, recruit users through the channels you plan to target in your marketing strategy. Reward them, engage with them - anything to make sure you’re getting complete, honest feedback. The number of beta testers required will depend on your objectives, but it’s generally unwise to scrimp on beta budgets. Real world testers will have far more in common with your target audience than in-house testers. 


Nintendo Finally Moves into Mobile Gaming


In a move that’s surprising mostly because of how long it’s taken, Nintendo recently announced the imminent arrival of games designed specifically for smartphones. The veteran video game company has partnered with a mobile gaming specialist, and will release titles on both Android and iOS, with the first one expected later this year. 

It’s not yet clear whether Nintendo will fall in line with mobile gaming standards by offering ‘free-to-start’ options, a business model that has attracted criticism for getting players ‘addicted’ to compulsive games before requesting money to top up credits. It’s thought that Nintendo may want to avoid making the same mistake they made with Pokemon Shuffle, a game designed for their 3DS portable console that gives players a limited number of hearts (essentially credits) that are diminished with each game played. When the hearts run out, players can buy more. 

This model has proved tremendously successful for the makers of Candy Crush Saga and others, relying on the addictiveness of the gameplay to ensure monetization. Free-to-start has become the default practice for mobile game makers. But Nintendo has a hard-won reputation as a family-friendly brand, and will be wary of prompting accusations of ‘rip-off’ from their legions of loyal followers.

The question of whether to monetize mobile games this way is something Nintendo will have to mull over, but they undoubtedly have a number of striking advantages as they embark on this new area of business. For one thing, an official Mario game on the app store will practically sell itself. Other Nintendo titles, old and new, will be highly visible in what is a very crowded marketplace. This level of brand recognition is something most developers can only dream of.

Entering the mobile world will also allow Nintendo to tap hitherto-unexplored international markets (bafflingly, the company has never taken off in a number of major countries, including India). What it couldn’t achieve with consoles, it can achieve with mobile gaming. And if the mobile games take off, they will act like a form of reverse marketing in these countries, with the spin off game promoting the flagship from whence it came. If the launch of mobile games in a big market like India sparks interest in the Wii and DS consoles, that alone will have justified the entire endeavor.