All posts in “Apps”


Giving Up on Mobile? You’re Not Alone: What Brands Can Learn from Uber

Mobile apps for brands have failed. This is the quite jarring — but not unsurprising — sentiment at many agencies and brands. Despite investments in the development and promotion of branded apps, very few, if any, can be considered a success. Download numbers are dismal and for the consumers who have taken the download bait, their attention span is comparable to that of a goldfish. I get it. The ROI that marketers are seeing is very discouraging. EX200 From a consumer’s point of view, there are a few reasons why I’m not engaging – or even using – branded apps. There is no efficiency increase, no real system of engagement and no true mobility add-ons. So how do brands move from unsuccessful mobile initiatives to results that are worth the investment? As one of the most successful

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mobile stories of the year, examining the five key characteristics of Uber is a great place to start:

  • Mobility: Uber was designed for the mobile-first world. It’s not just a ported version of an existing Web solution. Too often, brands simply replicate other digital solutions, offering no mobile add-ons. The apps that keep users engaged over the long-term will be built for the form factor, taking into account the small screen and leveraging all of the available sensors to provide a true mobile experience.
  • Integration: Uber connects with a network of systems and data sources to provide a comprehensive, seamless user experience throughout the entire customer journey – from discovery to payment to reviews. Apps cannot live in silos; they need to simplify the user experience as much as possible. For instance, a retailer app should allow for in-store contactless payments, connect with CRM systems and transaction records to allow for personalized deals.
  • Automation: Previously done manually, Uber automates the demand matching workflow for the taxicab industry. The nature of the “always-on” consumer requires automation technology to power marketing efforts. Marketers need to automatically trigger campaigns based on a variety of situational and behavioral factors for millions of individuals. To intervene in consumers’ lives at the right moment, mobile marketing campaigns must be agile, launching when it is relevant for the individual – not the brand.
  • Data: Uber figured out how to act on data in real-time. By analyzing the integrated data streams and anticipating customer demand, the company has introduced surge pricing to maintain optimal ratios. Marketers need to adopt predictive and prescriptive analytics to not only anticipate customer

    behavior but also make this information actionable. For example, a clothing brand could predict which items from the new spring line a customer would be interested in and know that a Free Shipping offer sent Friday afternoon is more likely to motivate a sale.

  • Community: Uber has created its own community; users are empowered to rate drivers and drivers can rate consumers. By allowing people to participate and connect with other users, they have a sense of ownership. Brands should find ways to let their users connect with each other, contribute content (in the forms of reviews, photos, etc.) and participate in decision-making, like voting on new app functions or products, such as a new seasonal holiday drink at a coffeehouse.

The customer journey no longer fits into the “funnel” that has guided marketing

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for decades. The complex new reality mobile has created is one of always-addressable consumers who

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are increasingly unforgiving of less than ideal experiences. As marketers reinvest in the development of native branded apps in 2014, they should keep Uber in mind – and not just for a ride around town – but as

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a mobility model

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7 questions to ask for a stellar mobile app

According to a recent study from Millward Brown, mobile is now the first screen in our lives — and the screen that dominates all others. Sorry, TV, but you have finally been replaced.

As our attention continues to shift to the smaller screens in our lives, brands need to take a hard look at their current apps, especially as consumers are spending more of their time engaging with apps than on the mobile web. Unlike any other touch point, apps give brands the opportunity to address real-time customer context. Apps also become the heroes in consumers’ lives by offering functionality that serves a precise message at a specific moment. Sensors on smartphones and other connected devices in our cars, household appliances, TVs, and more are maturing and multiplying. Predictive modeling is becoming more accurate. People are sharing innermost thoughts at every opportunity. It all goes into the recipe for the most organic, loyal, and profitable relationships ever between brands and consumers.

Apps, though, are failing for most brands. While the list of reasons why is long and varied, failure is driven by the lack of any contextual and personalized experience. But if leveraged effectively, apps offer brands a periscope into the lives of their consumers — a way to see into what is happening around consumers. By learning what circumstances consumers act in, a brand can in turn become empowered to serve up a highly engaging experience. Messaging today is one-way, filled with quasi-random spurts of content — spray and pray that something sticks — when instead it should be sensitive to a person’s unique situation. Is there a lot of traffic on the route they take to work? How will today’s pollen count affect their day? What about their packed calendar of meetings?

Consumer expectations for highly personalized and relevant interactions with brands are only hardening. There is little room for error (e.g., annoying consumers with inappropriate content). With mobile now mature enough to become a multi-billion dollar marketing opportunity in the U.S. and a multi-trillion dollar opportunity worldwide, companies can’t afford to offer anything less than a stellar mobile experience. As companies scrutinize their offerings, the below questions are good starting points for a discussion on how to offer a better consumer experience:

  • What moments are people having in your app? What organic, ancillary experiences can your brand provide to become a more active part of users lives?
  • Does your app provide different experiences (overlays) based on where your customer is (at home, in-store, in-car, etc.)? Before a person gets to a store, they may need to find the closest location. But when they arrive, they would need to request help instead.
  • What systems are you integrating with CRM, e-commerce, social, etc., to provide a cohesive experience?
  • What sensor data (accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, altimeter, humidity, etc.) are you tapping into?
  • Are you analyzing a user’s context when they complete tasks to know what situational factors drive certain behavior? For instance, are some users engaging with your content only on the train during their morning commute or browsing swimsuits when the temperature reaches a certain temperature?
  • Are you looking beyond location to decipher context? What secondary location data can you infer — weather, traffic conditions, events, or news?
  • Do you predict your users’ implied intent (what they are trying to do) before providing an offer, message, or experience? For example, are they searching for a restaurant at lunchtime or trying to plan their weekend?

With access to real-time signals from smartphones and other connected devices and tools that anticipate customer behavior, the brands that don’t retire their early generation apps will quickly lose relevance. The insanely personal small screens that we carry around everywhere we go demand a new approach to engagement. The companies that offer streamlined utility and experiences based on an individual’s context — not an experience for the masses — will be invited to stay in customers’ lives, while those that interrupt with irrelevant push messages and clunky app experiences will be deleted and forgotten.


Why Brands Should Stop Mobile Advertising (Until You Ask Yourself 4 Questions)

Mobile devices are the most personal of all channels advertisers have at their disposal, as consumers carry them at all times. A recent analysis by Tomi Ahonen found that users check their phones 150 times… per day. These devices are in the purses and pockets of customers as they carry on through all aspects of their lives. They can provide a true window into who a person is, and more importantly, what kind of consumer they are. In the not-so-distant past, mobile advertisers looking to target consumers were dazzled with the “reach” mobile provides, without considering who specifically they were communicating with. While this metric works for traditional forms of advertising, on mobile, brands must take into account who a person is, as well as their current context and intent if they want to deliver the most effective advertisement. What mobile advertisers are coming to realize is that data-driven insights is the new competitive edge, and frankly, if they’re not seeking platforms that provide such value it’s not

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worth their time,energy and money. There are four key questions that advertisers need to ask before they advertise on the mobile channel:

  • Is it in the right context? Advertising must be delivered when it is contextually-relevant to the customer. Location, of course, is one of the primary ingredients that drives a contextually relevant experience today, but situation-awareness can and needs to go much further than latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. The most effective advertising should also take into account the secondary location data available, such as weather or traffic conditions, to deliver ads that are more relevant.
  • Does it align with my customer’s profile? The trove of real-time customer profile data that exists, like spending and mobile behavior data, combines to create an
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    incredibly dynamic customer calling card. This active and always-changing profile needs to be tapped to deliver true relevance. Advertising needs to target on an individual level based on who a customer is and what they do.

  • Does is relate to the customer’s intent? The always-on customer is constantly accessing their phone for something – be it engaging with entertainment and news content, finding a local business, connecting with friends, or purchasing. Through data, today’s mobile ad can take into consideration purchasing patterns and social routines, allowing it to predict customer intent.
  • What is the potential impact on social? Marketing, particularly with deals and offers, should be based on how influential a customer and his/her social circle is. Advertisers also need to consider whether a consumer refers brands, events, products, etc. via social media — the new and highly effective “word of mouth” marketing — as those that do, are much more valuable.

Advertising on mobile will be the most effective of any other channel. The brands that embrace the features that make mobile so unique are the ones that will break through and capture the attention of their audience. When they do, mobile advertising will be

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