What We’ve Been Thinking
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
This post came to me because of an actual app experience I had and couldn’t stop thinking ‘that could’ve been a much better experience’. I’ll go over what happened and how I think app marketers and indie developers can avoid making these mistakes.
I came across Blippar after I saw a advertisement, for Watch Dogs, on the front cover on the free magazine Short List last week. In the advert was a promo for Blippar which stated interactive advert. My thoughts were this could be cool!
As soon as I got a good internet connection (it amazes me that, still!, some cafes don’t offer free wi-fi) I downloaded it. Then I didn’t look at it again for over a week. On Sunday I was standing on Platform B at St Pancreas and saw another Blippar ad advertising Coca-Cola. It didn’t really explain what the app did just that you could Blippar a can of coke. I assumed something cool would happen. I decided to scan a can of Coca-Cola that I had back at the house.
Right after I got home I went for the can of Coke. After about 20 seconds of 70’s Star Trek transporter style graphics on the screen, which I thought was pretty cool, I got the following image.
After taking the time to remember to, then go get a can of coke to watch this awesome augmented reality advertising stuff unfold and ultimately improve my life, it didn’t work. I felt exactly like every person that takes the time to use the Blippar app feels.
Using Blipper is something you need consciously do. You need to stop doing something else to use it. It’s interruptive. So when a user takes that time to engage with a brand that they like you need to make it work, first time or gives a good reason to why it hasn’t worked.
Seeing an ad for a brand that Blippar supports 30 minutes prior to testing the app and then being told ‘it’s not a Blippable item’is pretty frustrating and not follow with a good reason or another action to compensate. The experience ends sharply at that point.
Looking at the app reviews and ratings it would seem that I’m not the only one having problems with Blippar.
Depending on how you look at it this is good user feedback or at least useful. It may not be as easy to hear as ‘this app is awesome’ but it’s definitely giving Blipper qualitative feedback to work with. Blipper are doing their best to manage the complaints by responding to each negative review, enquiring for more info or explaining how it works. That in itself must be a full time job.
This is an outside view and based on the users responses so I maybe wrong. It looks as if they’ve sold the service to users before fully on-boarding the brands.
They have extensive marketing campaign across the UK (I saw one ad in Glasgow and the other in London) across print and other out of home advertising (not cheap!) which I’m sure will have pushed them to the 100+K downloads that they have. In realising the app too soon they’ve angered almost 60% of early adopters and provoked a ‘meh’ response from the rest.
Below are a few points that I think you can use to try defend agains the problems that Blippar are having.
Hire, yes, as in pay someone. Hire testers to use the app for an entire day. Get 200-300 people from across your target market to test your app. 24 hrs of high volume use from a varied demographic will create a fantastic bug list.
Using social media it’s pretty easy to find brand-crazies (I think they are also called ambassadors, ha!) as I like to call them. These are people that are always posting picks of the latest branded item they’ve bought.
Speaking to brand ambassadors (brand-crazies) will help you, as either a developer or marketer, understand the motivation and process of someone actually engaging with the app. If a person who is addicted to brands and engages with brands, sharing, posting, etc. finds it a hassle to use your app you might need to rethink things.
Some people hate soft launches. I can’t think why. They allow you time to debug with, generally, a more patient user. I’m not saying a less vocal user but certainly one that’s willing to perceiver with you.
Soft launches also allow you to test that your in-app analytics are working correctly and gives you time to make any last minute adjustments.
You could argue that beta testing is like a soft launch but you need to assume that once someone has got their pay cheque that the app will be removed from their phone and never looked at again.
Assuming you’ve worked out all the kinks in the app and the UX is perfect you are now ready to launch.
Your big task is now to ensure that when someone sees your ads that they know exactly what to do, what the app does and how it will benefit them. I’m not saying that if you don’t do this that you campaign is unlikely to be successful at all. I’m saying that if you don’t do this your campaign won’t be as effective as it could be.
Blippar didn’t communicate what their app actually does. I took leap of faith and used my intuition and it didn’t work out. The experience caused me to write this blog post. Which could be perceived as good or bad.
The app isn’t user focused and indeed Blippar the business isn’t user focus. I came to this conclusion after looking at their website. The sites tone talks to potential brands first and has very little to say to the user.
My thought on this are: App’s don’t exist without users. Keeping the user happy will ensure that you have prime real estate for advertising partners in the future.
Augmented reality advertising still interests me. I found the process of figuring out what it is that Blippar does then it failing to work very frustrating.
For the time being I will be uninstalling Blippar. If I were them I’d pull back in pushing to users until they’ve got a lot more brands on board or fix the technical problems they are having. Then I’d start talking to my users and build a community around the app. Not just push via their clients.
In saying that all of that. Blippar are certainly doing something right to get the clients and exposure they have had. Keep Going and Good luck Blippar!
p.s. This is a blog. Which means if you disagree (or agree) you can post below and tell me why. Unless it’s offensive or totally off topic I won’t be censoring comments.
The smart person learns from their mistakes, the genius also learns from the mistakes of others. Learning from the world of search engine optimisation can help you avoid the pitfalls of not just individuals but, arguably, the entire industry.
Firstly, note that the SEO world and the ASO (App Store Optimisation) world are closely linked due to their alogrithmic nature as well as the fact that Google is a controlling player in both.
Next, if you are involved in SEO you’ll know that this week we were issued with the news that all organic traffic phrases will be hidden from us – check out this article on seo round table. This makes it very difficult for SEO’s to do their job from now on. Not impossible, just difficult.
This latest development is a further blow from Google following their ramp up of algorithm updates since 2011: take a look at this Moz’s algo update timeline, which has been catalysed by those who game the algorithm, understandably, to earn more money.
App Store Optimization (ASO) will see the same happen in the future. If companies continue to leverage apps to game the algorithm to sell their app or gain popularity, we will see a shift to spammy results then to tighter app store guidelines with retroactive penalties.
Here are some examples of what happened to the traffic for site whose owner didn’t obey Google’s terms and conditions and didn’t earn their rank.
Let’s Try A Little Role Playing…
Imagine that this was your app business. Imagine that the salaries of you and your employees were paid from the revenue generated from the traffic which you lost overnight. Think about this situation. It’s happening all the time with online companies which don’t have the brand awareness to prop themselves up after a penalty.
To quote Raekwon: “It’s in the wind, I’m tellin’ you…”
In all honesty I’m thinking out loud at the moment. But it’s more than feasible that Google will apply its spam team to its app store if they feel the manipulation and spamming of results is ruining the user experience. Apple will do the same, though it’s far easier for Google to do so. If this happens, expect retroactive penalties aplenty.
Google is pushing everything through Google+. This means that when you spam you are doing it through Google+, a system over which they have complete control.
Ask yourself, ‘How easy is it to identify a spammy Google+ profile?’. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it? It would take you five seconds using a couple of key identifiers: usage, profile location, profile’s recent posts, past app interaction, etc. Spam social media accounts are pretty obvious and easy to identify.
Ask yourself another question. ‘Could I automate the identification of profiles with the key characteristics I choose?’. Yes you can and pretty easily too.
Celebrities are the best at this all you need to do is look at a with and without makeup post, Mela Klunas:
Let’s imagine that you’ve got a great app, people use it and it has a whole bunch of real reviews. But in the early days to get people to find your app you used some questionable techniques. I’m not blaming you, it’s tempting. You’re thinking ‘It’s cool though, that was in the past. I’m white as white now, right?’. Wrong.
If Apple’s App Store and Google Play decide to look at profile quality in more detail and dish out penalties or remove apps based on poor quality scoring. You. Are. Toast.
An algorithmic penalty might just lower you position but a manual penalty could be a removal from the store. Either way could be catastrophic to your business.
You Sunk My Battleship
One day you wake up, check your rankings and BOOM. They’re on the floor. The app that was paying all your bills just bombed. Do you have a backup plan? Probably not. Do you know how to correct the penalty? Probably not. Do you have enough cash to bridge until you have a plan? Hopefully you do.
Earning your rank by being a better, more outward facing business is a concept that smart and ethical SEO’s have been trying to float for at least five years. It didn’t work until recently. Until Google reacted to the spamming and then devastated businesses overnight, people wouldn’t listen. Don’t end up like this. I’ve spoken to companies who have literally had to start again. It’s sad to see but this is the nature of spamming.
Avoid An App Slap
Work to communicate with your customers and users. Keep you apps up to date. Try new things and do real-world stuff. Generally be a better business and you’ll avoid the wrath of Apple’s App Store and Google Play’s spam team.
If you have any opinions, ideas or thoughts on app store penalties, stick a comment below. We love to hear others ideas on the subject. Because learning is earning 😀
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Please don’t go crazy when I say that Christmas is just around the corner. There are few industries where Christmas time is a quiet time and mobile app downloads is not one. So what have you got planned for your app marketing this Christmas?
Mobile phones and devices are definitely on the list at Christmas. Whether it’s someone specifically asking for one or that you think it would make a great gift – for example last year I bought two tablets as gifts both were for people over 60 years of age.
The table below is a combination of Google search volumes for terms which contain mobile, phones and Christmas.
As you can see a huge uplift in search phrases occurs from September to October, then goes stratospheric into December. After December search volume comes back down to earth. You can download the list App-Marketing-Christmas-Terms.
This data would suggest that shoppers and users are highly engaged with their mobile during this period and two themes emerge from the snapshot of keywords: personalisation and purchase. Both themes are interesting to you because personalisation will allow you to engage with your current users, and every new purchase of mobile devices creates more potential customers.
I’m currently working on a campaign, of which I will disclose more information after the campaign has run (it’s Top Secret). This campaign is not for a seasonal mobile app and in time will also exist as a hardware product. With that considered it is still possible to create an app marketing campaign for Christmas to boost downloads of the app for new devices.
Based on the keyword pool I provided you can take a few approaches. Assuming that you all use social media and email marketing (if not email, social media will do) for distributing content and communicating with your customers and fans, you will get feedback pretty quickly.
Nothing puts you in the mood for Christmas like a festive wallpaper. It sounds simple but why don’t you provide Christmas Wallpapers for mobile devices? Something cute, Christmassy and subtly branded with your logo. One up on that would be to make the wallpaper ‘Live’. Making the wallpaper interactive and providing a way to easily share the wallpaper with their friends may not get you immediate downloads but will reinforce your app’s brand.
How often do you change your apps creative? Start thinking about changing creative content regularly. I don’t mean entirely I mean tweaking it here and there for short periods of time. Google do this with their homepage and it gets lots of attention.
Updating your app’s creative with a seasonal theme will help float your app to the top of the user’s mind. Android currently allows automatic updates, and provided that your app is set to do this the user should receive a Christmassy themed app with no effort at all. And in a worst case scenario they will receive a notification to update the app which will bring the app to their attention.
Competitions provide an outstanding way to gain interaction with users. The temptation of something for free is too much for most people to resist. They’ll be crawling over one another like zombies to get at the juicy (brain) prize.
Putting some sort of Easter egg in the app which leads to a prize is a good way to increase time and interaction with the app. And the interaction with your company and the customer come collection time will be binding.
A good example of this, from a personal experience, is a few weeks ago I won an HP Slate7 tablet. As much as the tablet isn’t as good as the Nexus, I do now have a much better opinion of HP and an awareness that they make tablets; I didn’t know this previously. Now when I’m in the market for an upgrade, HP will be in my list of devices to compare.
If you can’t crack out a cool Easter egg competition, find a way to give something way for free in return for downloads. Facebook ‘Likes’ campaigns are a good example of this. They give out prizes based on tiers of ‘Likes’ and pick the winner at random.
These are only a handful of ideas which you could use from just one start point. You can do more research into the relationship between mobile and Christmas terms using the Google’s Free Keyword Tool which would yield loads of ideas for you to play with.
Christmas can be a very busy time for mobile app downloads and you want to take advantage of that as much as possible. Find your niche, identify KPI’s and unwrap the creativity!
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We promise not to spam (Nick’s a firm believer in this) and not to share your information EVER.
We’re all hearing the noise around Google’s Glass. And if we were to fully accept Google’s ad campaign we would believe that the brave new world of Google’s Glass will be run by nerds and smoking hot women, just as fashion changes to that of StarTrek. But let’s try to see through the hype, as well as the Glass.
The implications of the technology are more than skin deep. Marketers – ‘Eye’s Up‘!
Google Glass isn’t a one way technology. Google are pushing the user benefits of having augmented reality, the capacity to take photos and videos without a clumsy handset. As well as being able to access useful information using voice commands.
What Google aren’t publicising as highly is that while you are looking at Glass, it’s looking right back at you. Monitoring eye movement, dilation and focus. This has obvious privacy implications and what they could do with that data is mind boggling. But for now we will stick to its effect on advertising.
We’ve all seen the Google search results heat map. And if you haven’t don’t worry because here’s one they made earlier.
For years Google has been trying to understand how users interpret their results before clicking on them. While heat mapping with cursor and eye movement studies have pointed them in the right direction and have been relatively accurate in expressing what part of the page people engage with, it’s nothing compared to what eye tracking millions of individuals could do to the way they display their ads and results.
It’s a long way off and probably a few heated legal battles will ensue, but Google Glass could revolutionise the ad industry as we know it.
Imagine a world where your ads are measured by the emotional response to the content. Not just how it matches the keywords on the page and how many people clicked it. Badly written ad copy or pictures of Miley Cyrus could cause your ad to plummet in quality score.
We thought it was bad when Google introduced first page bid prices. Ads based around emotional response would make this look like a blip.
Ad prices could rocket for those who don’t have the creative talent and as for small businesses, well, you can forget it. We’ve all seen the state of account setup but the owner of a business who’s mentality was ‘this isn’t so hard’. It will certainly bode well for agencies and in-house PPC managers who know what they’re doing. But for those who are winging it and muddling along it’s maybe time to think about seriously upgrading your skills or getting another career.
Google has no plans to introduce ads to Glass any time soon. Just keep it in the back of your mind that one day you are going to need to seriously up your creative skills to induce a strong positive emotional response when someone reads your ad.
Here’s a different way to look at this patent: it could be a huge PR stunt by Google. With that in mind don’t go running away telling your boss the end is nigh and we need a new paid search strategy (like some have done with a certain Google +1 post).
Setting up a Yelp business page is relatively straightforward. It does require a lot of waiting and confirming.
Like Google, Yelp tends to change its processes quite a bit. For example prior to writing this post you would have had to confirm your business with Yelp via a phone call and a pin. Now, however, it goes off to a mysterious place where – from a remote location nowhere near your business – a person decides whether you are a real business or not. I’m not sure how this method could work better than calling the business. But, hey, who am I to argue.
As usual I’ll be providing screen shots of all the pages you’ll see in the process so you can be fully prepared.
This is a 13 step process which includes verification to setup a Yelp business listing. You need a fair amount of copy in the form of:
Specialism of the business
History of the business
A bit about the owner
As with Google Places you’ll need photos.
The verification process takes a few days. You’ll receive an email which will tell you to login and set up your account.
Calling it a business section makes it sound very official but you don’t need to pay for this service.
To get to the business centre good to the footer of the page and under Help and click on Business Support Centre to add a business to yelp. Then click the big red button to get to the details page where you will fill out contact details.
Another nonsense page with a big red button you need to click again.
Now we are getting to the nitty-gritty. Input your business name and location and look it up. If it appears you need to claim your listing. If not, go to the bottom and click ‘add my business to yelp’.
Fill out the form with the appropriate details and click add.
Now check the email account that you entered for the verification email. Follow the process outlined in the email.
After verifying your account you will need to wait until the details you entered are manually checked by Yelp. This can take a while, at least a week.
Once you get your manual verification email you will be sent to this page. Login.
Now the fun starts. Get your copy and images to hand. Click the big red button in the lower middle of the page.
What you need here is a bit of copy explaining what your services are. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
Add some photos of your business, logos or maybe the dishes or work you’ve done in the past.
In this section you’ll want to talk about how your business was formed. The ethics, standards etc.
Because the nature of Yelp is local you are expected to have a little blurb about the owner. A ‘get to know the boss’ section.
YAY! We’ve completed the setup process! You can go in and add extra information, tweak or refresh whatever is there whenever and as often as you like.
It’s a bit of a process but..
Just like an episode of Strictly, setting up Yelp requires a lot of steps, but it really doesn’t take long if you have your copy and images at hand.
Another tip about Yelp. Reviews are super important but don’t go faking them, buying or in any way try to game Yelp. They have very clever systems which can identify this and will strip your account of all your ratings – yes, even the legitimate ones.
I hope this helps you, adds to your understanding of Yelp and clarifies what to expect when you set up a Yelp account.
Appearing in Google’s local search results can be immensely beneficial to most businesses. Especially small hyper-local businesses, who gain from the online equivalent of passing trade. Someone could be in your area, round the corner for instance, looking for exactly what you sell or provide. That person uses their smart phone to Google “…in Your Street” and if you’re set up correctly you will be at the top of their list of results. You are encouraging an easy sale and who doesn’t like an easy sale?
The question is, what’s the most efficient route to maximum opportunities? Sit back and relax while I take you there.
First, be aware that Google has changed the name of the product so often that I don’t know what to call it anymore – Local, Maps, Places, Business, Whatever. Different names, same thing. Let’s go with ‘Google Local’.
Setting up Google Local is pretty easy and quick. The only downside is the length of time it takes for Google to verify the listing.
In order to do this you will need a Google account. If you don’t have one then create one here. You’ll be using this account for other Google services which we will discuss later in the series.
If you follow the link above you can start to create a Google account. Click the Sign Up button at the top right of the page. The first page you’ll come across is the Personal Details page.
Fill out your details and move to the next stage.
If you’ve not got a Google account you’ll hit a page which will entice you to sign up to Google+. They use clever wording to disguise what they are doing. Ignore it for just now. We will return to it later in the series.
Next you’ll land on the page where you’ve to enter your business details. Google have simplified this process and it’s far easier that it used to be, simply because they want you to sign up to Google+ to develop your business profile.
More often than not, the next page will have other options of similar or closely located businesses. Sometimes it will have your business. This is because someone else set it up before you. If this is the case claim the business. If your business is not there then click ‘none of these match’ and move on to the next stage.
We are at the end HURRRRAAAAH! It wasn’t that hard, was it? You will see a text box where you enter the recipient’s name. Do that then click. You will see a confirmation overlay showing an example of the verification postcard. This is what Google sends you and inside is your verification pin.
Now. You might be thinking ‘Awesome! That’ll be here by the end of the week and I can start earning my place in local listings.’. Wrong! The time it takes for a card to arrive varies greatly. I’ve seen it go from one week to six. Make sure you don’t miss it because you have a long wait on another card.
That’s it. Fairly straightforward, eh? The other stages of local optimisation are just as simple. Stay tuned.
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