Weekly Round Up

Yo Grows

yoRemember back in June we spoke about messaging app Yo? The app was on the verge of something big, having reached fifth place in US Apple App Store rankings, and now it appears to be coming of age following an investment of $1.5 million in seed funding.

TechCrunch this week spoke about its new features. Yo is no longer confined to simply saying “Yo” to your friends – although that alone was generating 4 million messages in one day. You can now send links in the app’s unique punchy style – sure to be a favourite with marketers – and create hashtags, where the more someone Yo’s the tag the more likely it is to trend.

iBeacon Enters the Sporting Arena

ibeaconAppleInsider had an interesting article this week about the pros and cons of marketing to sports fans at venues via Apple’s iBeacon. The platform obviously presents a massive opportunity to businesses what with the vast capacity of America’s arenas and stadia, but organisations like the NFL and New England Patriots owners Kraft Sports Group are approaching it with a degree of caution.

Showing that big business can be thoughtful, some of the big names in the industry are setting out to make sure that they don’t irritate sports fans by spamming them with too much advertising of goods and services when they’ve come to see their team play.

We think the key to getting this right is not necessarily the frequency of the content, but rather its quality. There can be a lot of sitting around waiting at sporting fixtures, before they start and during half time, so there’s certainly no harm in giving smartphone users something new to look at while they wait. But it has to be something engaging – get that right and you could see a great return.

Users Send Facebook a Message

messengerFacebook has ended the ability for users to send messages via its main mobile app and one must now download the Facebook Messenger app in order to retain this function. As Business Insider reported it has seen the Messenger app go to number one in the Apple App Store download chart, but the report also states that there are a lot of unhappy bunnies.

Around 94% of the nearly 10,000 reviews so far have given the app just one star out of five. Privacy concerns and just the general inconvenience of having to download another app alongside their existing Facebook one are the main complaints being voiced by users.

Weekly Round Up

Taking the Directr Approach

DirectrTime and again we see stories of relatively small apps impressing the big guys and subsequently being snapped up.

The latest example of this was reported by Entrepreneur this week. Directr – a mobile app that helps small business owners create marketing videos was purchased by Google to become part of YouTube’s video advertising team.

Interestingly, while it is planned for Directr to maintain its identity for now, one fundamental change that is being implemented is the scrapping of its charges (99 cents for publishing a personal video, $25 to $500 for a business one). While this might seem like an odd decision it is most likely a very savvy one aimed at leaving small businesses with more money to spend on YouTube advertising, with production costs taken out of the equation or at least reduced.

Appy Days

Apple-App-StoreWe spoke recently about how the App Store is now being regarded as the cornerstone of the Apple empire. The praise heaped on the platform continued this week when Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that the store had achieved record setting revenue numbers in July.

Even in good times for businesses it’s rare to hear a soundbite as candidly positive as this one from Cook, off the back of the figures: “I couldn’t be happier. This is the best execution of any quarter since I’ve been at Apple”.

From a Slice of Apple to a Slice of Pizza

x factorThe most depressing thing about the end of summer is not the shorter days or the colder temperatures – it’s the realisation that The X Factor will be returning to our screens before long.

Not everyone’s as cynical though – certainly not pizza delivery giants Domino’s. As MarketingWeek reports, they’ve signed up for the second year running to sponsor the ITV show’s app. With talk of a “second screen” experience, users will be able to go on to the app during commercial breaks and play games that can win them prizes such as Domino’s money off vouchers. The logic is that they’ll then act on impulse to use that voucher and order a pizza there and then.

Weekly Round Up

In a fairly quiet week for app-related news, these two stories did catch our eyes…

Bolt

bolt-logoNo, we’re not still going on about the Commonwealth Games and Usain’s appearance in these today! Bolt is a new social app that is being launched initially in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa (ironically keeping up that Commonwealth theme there).

As reported by Marketing Interactive, it’s a visual messaging app from Instagram that will let users take a picture and send off to contacts like an SMS with a single tap.

The report added that the reasoning for the launch outside of American shores is that 65% of Instagram users are from outside the USA. This therefore seems like a sensible way of trialling Bolt in a diverse trio of markets.

Also of note is that you can sign up for Bolt without having an Instagram or Facebook account.

Google Glass Growth

glass_logoMarketing Land were reporting that the number of apps listed on Google’s official Glassware directory has increased by around 50% over the last six weeks – from under 50 to a current 73 apps.

Growth in the Google Glass marketplace has been slow and this has been attributed to the reviewing process that ultimately lets each app onto the official directory. There are in fact hundreds of apps available for Google Glass.

While the slow approach is not very competitive and Google Glass users will rightly be itching for more choice, this at least suggests that there is some proper quality control going on. Google Glass has big potential and it would be a mistake to tarnish it by opening the floodgates and undermining it with apps that don’t do it justice.