Two of the biggest names in social media and apps made notable announcements last week…

Facebook’s Personal Touch

For a while now it seems like there’s been a constant bombardment of new messaging apps – some that have become household names, others that faded away as quickly as they arrived.

Facebook sent the messaging world a message last week when it unveiled “M” – the latest twist to its popular Messenger service. Currently in beta testing, M throws the concept of a personal assistant into the messaging mix – although we thought that was more Miss Moneypenny’s role (ba-dum-tssshh).

As TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) point out in their coverage of the news, M is effectively combining the scale of mechanised digital assistants like Siri with the personal touch of smaller outfits such as Magic. It’ll use real live humans like the latter does to help millions of users book restaurants, buy products and more.

We see huge marketing potential here, and we wonder if the human element will help win the hearts and minds of any app-phobes out there…


YouTube Ups its Game

We’ve spent many an hour enjoying gaming-related content on YouTube – from getting all nostalgic at footage from old Commodore 64 games to laughing at the latest crazy mods someone has come up for on Grand Theft Auto V. None of that was live content though, and for serious gamers content is very much about the here and now.

So YouTube have responded to that with the launch of YouTube Gaming – a standalone site and app that’s exclusively for the gamers. There’s live streaming of gameplay – some gamers offering up their commentary and others letting the viewer just soak up the atmosphere – as well as other features such as chat and of course advertising opportunities for the gaming industry.

Read more about YouTube Gaming on iTech Post.


Deutschland Liebt Mobile Gaming

Finally, with that last link to gaming and Mobile Growth Europe coming up in Berlin this week, we thought these stats about German mobile gaming were nicely timed.

Business of Apps (@BusinessofApps) highlighted the study by Deloitte, which said that 37% of internet users polled indicated they played a mobile game once a week, with 14% saying they played a game on their smartphone or tablet every day.

The year on year increase of German smartphone ownership from 68% in 2014 to 75% in 2015 is significant, as is the decline of mobile gaming consoles (remember them?) from 26% to 14% over the same period.
Read more about this story at Business of Apps.



A few things caught our eye this week via Peggy Anne Salz (@peggyanne), Chief Analyst at Mobile Groove.

How to Build a 5-Star App with Mobile Analytics

First and foremost was Peggy Anne’s recent TechBeacon article in which she highlights the use of mobile analytics as being key to user experience. With good UX comes the increased chance of success for your app, so if you’re a developer check the wise words on this article out.

There’s an interesting case study on SpeechTrans and some golden rules to follow (Think proactively, not reactively; Make data part of the daily routine; With great power comes great responsibility). Check out the full article here.


Selfie Service?

We also spotted via a RT by Peggy Anne the news on Business Insider UK about the announcement of “Selfie Pay”. Sounding like a really weak attempt at an April Fools’ joke by a selfie-obsessed tabloid newspaper, this is in fact a real thing.

The verification process, which will involve the user taking a quick snap that is then mapped against a stored image in order to help prevent fraud, is currently being trialled by MasterCard with First Tech Federal Credit Union in the USA.


Invest, Invest, Invest

Elsewhere it looks like people have money to spend, as a couple of stories featured by Business of Apps (@BusinessofApps) showed.

Sports app GameOn is a name that keeps popping up in app news recently, and the latest headline is about its relaunch following a $1.5 million seed funding round. Among those contributing to the funding were American Football big names Joe Montana and Lawyer Milloy. It’s definitely one to watch – sport’s such a big passion for so many millions of people that a dedicated app connecting fans around the world makes a lot of sense.

And the people at Snap Fashion, which gives its users a visual search engine for clothes, will be celebrating after receiving an “undisclosed sum” of investment from publishing giants Time Inc. Time Inc. owns the likes of Marie Claire and Look magazines so this is a real vote of confidence from the fashion media.



Lots of interesting news over the past week, and there’s a recurring theme… mobile is King!

A Little More Than Ten Cents…

We start with some heavy financial stats from China, where investment holding company Tencent recorded a second quarter profit of 10.3 billion yuan ($1.6 billion/£1 billion) – nearly half of which was generated by online advertising revenue. Dig deeper into these figures and, as ZDNet reports, over half of that online advertising revenue came from mobile platforms.

Make sure you check out the story on ZDNet as there are lots of interesting points. Like the quote from Tencent CEO Ma Huateng that “Operationally, we made notable progress across our portfolio of mobile utilities, with our mobile security solution, browser, and app store moving into industry leadership positions.” And their plans to develop mobile versions of popular games like FIFA Online 3.


YouTube Changing the Channel?

A few weeks ago we were talking about the big part that photo and video play on the app scene. We mentioned YouTube in passing as one of the big online success stories, but the household name has been a little quiet when it comes to app accessibility.

That looks like it’s about to change. According to a report on CNBC YouTube is well aware of the challenge it faces from mobile-dominating social platforms like Facebook and isn’t ignoring the fact that last year nearly half of its users were logging on via tablets and phones.

How does YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki regard mobile growth? “Superimportant”.

We’ll be watching to see if YouTube starts to offer more for the mobile user. Don’t forget it’s a massive advertising platform.


A Nation of App Users

Completing our round up of facts and figures this week are some stats from right here in the UK.

Communications regulator Ofcom has reported that 33% of UK internet users identify their smartphones as the most important device for going online, now surpassing laptops at 30%. With two thirds of UK adults owning smartphones that’s a huge audience to tap into. Yet there’s a feeling that this opportunity is not being taken up as it should be. Mobyaffiliates quote Mark Haviland – managing director at Rakuten Marketing, Europe – saying “It’s crucial that marketers respond to Ofcom’s research and change their approach to match how people are consuming the internet.”

Read more about the Ofcom report and what Haviland and others had to say about it at Mobyaffiliates.

Complementing this news – like a tasty starter from your favourite takeaway – was news from Just Eat, via this article on BusinessofApps. The food ordering and delivery service reported a 50% increase in pre-tax profits for the first half of 2015, with 60% of orders now coming via mobile devices and well over half of these being made directly from the Just Eat app.


It’s a bit like sales time at the big stores this week as we’ve been drawn to some colourful window dressing and some big and bold TV advertising… and more importantly some interesting stats to go with these.

Matt Lacey (@mrlacey) gave us a shout about some research he’s been doing on ASO for Windows and the results make for interesting reading. He took the icon for his demo PhoneBook app and tried it out in different colours from its usual distinctive pink.

Each colour was given a week on the store and the increase and decrease in downloads related to each colour is worth taking note of. Blue saw downloads increase by around 23%, followed closely by green. Red on the other hand saw downloads fall by about 19%. Other – more modest – increases were achieved with yellow and purple, while orange recorded a bit of a drop. The results in all their colourful glory are below – you can read Matt’s post here.


So is this a psychological thing? Blue and green – colours of calm, of the sea and the earth – appealing to us more than aggressive red of stop sign and blood fame? Maybe this is why the big players – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – choose blue; or maybe it’s because of them that we’re drawn to blue…

Bridge Building

Windows has been on our minds in other ways this past week too. Engadget reported that Microsoft had released an early look at its iOS bridge, which is designed to make it easier for developers to reuse already written code in new Windows apps.

As Engadget states in the article “…Microsoft needs more apps on Windows 10…”. We couldn’t agree more – in the past 10 days I’ve had my bank recommend I download their app, only to find that it’s not available on Windows, and had to explain to a friend that a well-known social app is not available on my phone. Hopefully the bridge will make Windows more accessible for developers and users alike.

From Windows to Screens

Other interesting news this week came from Quaid Media via mobyaffiliates.

It was reported that in the first half of 2015 the company booked 10 times as many TV advertising spots as it did in the whole of 2014. That’s 12,000 appearances in six months compared to last year’s 1,200.

Factors like reasonable pricing for campaigns and the ability to join up with digital campaigns are cited among the reasons for the increase.

We’ve watched app ads featuring well known celebrities and cinema quality animation and for us they’re proof that apps have been established as a mainstream industry.

hay day