The final week in November has seen a surge in advertising in the app world and beyond, everybody wants to be ahead of the game in the final weeks before Christmas. Don’t worry if you think you’re struggling, this week the pros have plenty of advice to share! Read more
Last week’s video challenged Takumi’s claim that Instagram is the most influential social channel. BTW We tweeted them for clarification (below). No response. Which is a shame. Read more
Money, user statistics, celebrity endorsements… These are some of the regular themes that come up when we’re talking about app marketing on here. Read more
We’re being sociable this week as two of the world’s biggest social platforms introduce some interesting features for marketers. And a well known figure takes to a social network to make his own Weekly Noise about certain apps…
Will Advertisers Snap This Up?
We go to mobyaffiliates first of all, where they were talking about Snapchat’s plans for sponsored lenses. The video messaging platform has introduced a lenses feature which overlays graphics and allows the user to have a bit of fun with their messages… now they’re planning to charge advertisers $450,000 a day ($750,000 on special occasions like Halloween and Christmas) to sponsor the lenses. That is big money.
mobyaffiliates point out that Snapchat have previously talked similar figures for different forms of advertising, which have not been popular with marketing people. However this might just have the high potential for customer engagement (think those Coke cans with people’s names on them) to make companies take note. The article says that Snapchat has already been courting Hollywood studios about the facility – this seems like a very likely match. Don’t be surprised to receive Snapchat messages from your friends wearing Captain America masks or sporting slightly dodgy faces a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in 2016.
The Power of Suggestion
Getting big name advertisers on board for one of its latest features doesn’t seem to have been a problem for Facebook. As reported by Marketing Dive, Procter & Gamble, Jet Blue and KFC are among the companies to have participated so far in Facebook’s Suggested Video experiment.
Basically it’s all part of the big F’s push into mobile video. Partnering with the likes of Funny or Die and the NBA it’s aiming to send its users to such respected publishers when they view a related video on their feed. Between every few videos (and let’s face it, once we watch one video we all tend to spend a while clicking through the next suggestions) you’ll see an ad. At present Facebook is splitting advertising revenues from this 55/45 between the publisher and themselves. Everyone’s a winner!
Kanye’s Weekly Noise
Presidents, awards ceremonies, the fashion industry… just some of the things Kanye West has ranted about in the past. And now he has mobile gaming in his sights.
You see the rapper and producer has fallen foul of a problem faced by many unfortunate parents – the dreaded in-app purchase.
“F**k any game company that puts in-app purchases on kids games!!!” he Tweeted on 10th October, as reported on Hip-Hop Wired. Check out the article for more of Kanye’s app outbursts.
Mobile gaming has been in the news a lot recently. There have been some stats that suggest the industry has seen better days, but elsewhere there are parties who see mobile gaming as the key to the future…
The Bad News
If this post was a game we’d keep the “big bad” til the end, but when have we ever been conventional? There’s no hiding from the stats in a recent article published by Developer Economics – the time spent by users on mobile gaming has declined.
The main thrust of the article is actually app usage’s overtaking of TV viewing in our leisure time, but the author Simon Khalaf (CEO of Flurry) admits within that the findings about time spent on gaming were unexpected. While messaging, social and entertainment usage have increased, the average time spent gaming per day has declined from 52 minutes to 33 minutes year on year. The article cites the following as possible reasons for this dramatic drop – market domination of the big hitters like Clash of Clans preventing new entrants from making a mark; the phenomenon of eSports (gaming fans watching other gamers play on the likes of Tumblr rather than playing the game themselves; gamers spending more on in-app purchases to accelerate their progress in games and thus spending less time working through them.
The New Direction
The decline in time spent on mobile gaming isn’t necessarily a sign of the End Times. For one, it could just be a blip (only the actual End Times are going to stop people from gaming). And as the Developer Economics article mentions, money spent on in-app purchases has not declined, so where there’s money to be made…
And that brings us neatly onto a Boston Globe article that caught our eye. It talks about Massachusetts’ rise and fall in video game development – with the likes of Rock Band and BioShock produced locally Boston had hopes of rivaling L.A. and Seattle as a game developing hub, but the dream kind of fizzled out.
But industry figures in the state are looking to mobile gaming in the hope of once again making a mark, perhaps – as the article alludes to – producing an Angry Birds with the “Made in Massachusetts” stamp on it. The seeds of a potentially fruitful future have certainly been planted – recent games made in the state include World Zombination by Cambridge based Proletariat Inc and Marvel Puzzle Quest from Demiurge Studios – also based in Cambridge, MA.
Another news outlet recently displaying faith in the future of gaming was the BBC’s Newsbeat – the corporation’s radio news programme aimed at a younger audience.
The Newsbeat team had been at the EGX video games event in Birmingham and were encouraging their listeners (and online readers) to consider a career in gaming. Their story talks of the nearly 2,000 games firms in the UK, the dedicated area at EGX for helping future developers and designers and contains a list of hints and tips for getting into the industry.
Among the games featured in the article are Sega’s Total Wars and Football Manager, both of which are available as apps.
This week’s Weekly Noise is endorsed by… well, not really. But it does bring together stories from the past week that all have something in common – apps with famous names attached to them in some way.
Headspace was the first to catch our attention – not because of the celebs involved, but more because of the app’s unique nature.
It’s all about meditation, you see. Billed as “your very own personal trainer, here to help you train your mind” Headspace provides the user with ways to improve their mindfulness and ultimately reduce anxiety and stress.
As reported by Business of Apps, Hollywood stars Jessica Alba and Jared Leto are among those that have contributed to Headspace’s latest $30 million funding round. Leto himself may or may not be a chilled out kind of guy, but one of his forthcoming characters might find a bit of meditation helpful…
We remember Alexa Chung best as a presenter on Channel 4’s weekend T4 content during the latter part of the last decade. But it seems she has established quite a name for herself as a major name in fashion – modelling and fronting campaigns for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and living in New York’s East Village no less.
Which is why she was an unsurprising target for fashion app Villoid when they wanted some public-facing endorsement. Fashionista, who reported the Chung-Villoid relationship, probably give the best description of the app: it allows the user to make Pinterest-like “boards”, pulling together fashion items they like and trying out outfits with the added benefit of sharing with an audience of other users for their opinions.
The story goes that Chung was brought on board (apparently after a lot of negotiating to sit her down for an initial meeting) to help revamp the existing SoBazaar app – not only giving her input on design and user experience, but ultimately being the one who chose the new name of Villoid. According to the report, since Chung’s involvement was made public and she promoted via Instagram the app has been seeing an additional 10,000 boards being created each day.
Our final star story has more of a political theme and it comes from CNN Money. Internet news media company BuzzFeed is launching the BuzzFeed News Candidate College Tour, which will see some of its 190 journalists interview 2016 US Presidential candidates at various stops around the USA.
In something of a coup they’ve signed up their first big interviewee in the form of arguably the joint highest profile candidate – Hillary Clinton (the other one being that guy who had a cameo appearance in Home Alone 2).
It’s a savvy bit of marketing for all parties concerned. It creates both awareness and credibility surrounding the BuzzFeed News app, and for the former First Lady she’s seen as first off the starting block to embrace mobile technology and its ever increasing audience.
Breaking News: iOS App Store Hit by Malware
This morning, alongside speculation about a certain public figure’s student days, the mainstream media was awash with news of a malware intrusion on the iOS App Store. “Rotten Apple” begins the Sky News headline, while the Daily Mail speaks of “…hundreds of millions of iPhone users at risk…”
So what’s happened? Well, in a nutshell it looks like a number of legitimate developers – mostly focused on the Chinese market – were duped by hackers into using a counterfeit version of Xcode, Apple’s app creation software. With the so-called XcodeGhost in place, the potential for users to fall victim to phishing scams via the affected apps is increased significantly – a rare occurrence in Apple’s ultra-secure world.
Indeed, the Sky News report points out that only five malicious apps have ever been found in the App Store due to its strict vetting. The latest news is that Apple have removed the affected apps from the store and are working with developers to reinstate them with the correct software.
Apple Pay – How is it for You?
Like we said above, there’s no doubt about how seriously Apple takes security… but the XcodeGhost headlines will have been less welcome than ever during the infancy of Apple Pay. Let’s face it, after family and friends the one thing people are most protective about is their bank account and there are lots of people who have an issue trusting even “old-fashioned” contactless cards.
So this train of thought got us thinking how have things been going for Apple Pay since it launched?
Anecdotal evidence to date has been mixed – in one weekend I saw one Facebook friend proclaim “never again” and radio personality Sara Cox wasn’t doing much to endorse the product on Twitter:
But on the positive side it seems that many people are desperate for more. A recurring theme on social networks is that of customers calling out the small number of banks which are yet to embrace the service to get a move on. It could be a game changer for many retailers too – Morrisons supermarkets aren’t often seen as trendsetters but their checkouts are all proudly displaying the Apple Pay logo now, whereas the superpower that is Tesco is looking increasingly isolated with its clunky old chip and PIN devices (they don’t even accept regular contactless payments!)
For more on the early days of Apple Pay we recommend this article in The Drum, where guest columnist Andrew Darby trialled the service for a week.
All Eyes on Uber
We liked the cheeky wee remark about Uber that appeared in the latest update of The Simpsons Tapped Out app – see it at the bottom of this post.
It’s funny, but Uber seems to have become one of the most talked about apps on the planet. Here in the UK alone it’s been hitting the headlines as a hero (the go to when the London Underground goes on strike) and a villain (the scourge of the hackney taxi driver). Many people now just talk about “booking an Uber” instead of “booking a taxi”.
For a full picture of the scale of this phenomenon, check out this round up of Uber’s usage statistics and revenue that appeared in Business of Apps last week. Just one of the awe-inspiring figures to feature in the article: “Uber is expected to process $10.84bn in bookings in 2015”.
A few headlines jumped out at us over the past week, and they all had an American theme to them. App development and usage may be global movements but the US of A is certainly not taking a back seat.
Spend, Spend, Spend
First up are some figures from eMarketer via mobyaffiliates. The market research company was looking into digital spending and – just six months after a previous forecast – has increased its estimate for US mobile ad spend.
The March forecast was predicting a 49% market share for mobile in 2015, but the revision now sees mobile set to account for over half of America’s digital spending this year at 51.9%. The report points to consumer demand, with the average adult American spending 2.51 hours on mobile devices for non-voice activities.
eMarketer is also predicting that – in terms of American market share – print advertising will bow to the might of mobile this year. Visit mobyaffiliates for the full story.
Good Morning America (and Good Morning Britain)
If The Weekly Noise was a Hollywood movie, this story would open with a montage of morning rush hour traffic, shop shutters being rolled open and a paperboy flinging the day’s news on to well-manicured lawns, while a radio DJ talks about it being another beautiful morning in the bay area.
Sadly we’ve not conquered Hollywood yet, but if you keep that image in mind the morning rush hour bit in particular is quite relevant here…
In another story via mobyaffiliates, this time from mobile advertising platform StartApp, there are interesting findings about click through rates in relation to the time of day. StartApp found that Americans seem to be morning people when it comes to responding to ads – click through rates see their highest engagement there (18.17%) between 6am and 9am.
The Brits have a similar approach, albeit within a surprisingly earlier and shorter timescale – apparently the 20.98% peak for UK in-app ad engagement occurs between 5am and 6am.
The Favourite Child?
Our last shout in this week’s Noise stems from a story at Business of Apps. The article was primarily about Europe, but once again the USA’s role in the story caught our eye.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech released data indicating that Android has been losing market share to iOS in key European markets. This is indeed a big story, but with our American theme this week we were drawn to these words from Carolina Milanesi, Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech:
“In the US, performance was more of a level field between the two leading operating systems, as the iOS market share decline and Android share gain both decelerated”.
There will be a number of factors influencing this “level playing field”, and one example given in the article is that Americans enter into longer term contracts and therefore don’t replace their smartphones as frequently as Europeans. But we can’t help taking into account the USA’s unique position in this story – as the home of both operating systems. With Americans apparently divided over who is the favourite of these two home-grown success stories, is this simply a case of the new Coca-Cola versus Pepsi?