Brits Struggle with Shopping Apps

Brits are increasingly struggling to control their out of hours shopping expenditure which is leaving them out of pocket, says a new survey.

The findings reveal that the apps encourage users to spend more than they intend to so they lose track of outgoings.

The convenience of apps and the ability to make purchases with the click of a button mean growing numbers of British smartphone users are opting to use them.

The findings from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) also found that 15% of users are using shopping apps at work, 89% are using them in the morning and 38% use apps for shopping when in bed.

Also, 61% of users say the apps make it easier to spend and 31% say shopping apps have had a negative impact on their finances.

On average, men are spending £115 a month on shopping apps while women spend £131.

New app helps offenders and families

A new app has been launched to help offenders and their families in the UK’s prison system.

The man behind it, John Burton, says the app is ‘revolutionary’ and with its £1 cost to download, it’s received more than 35,000 online recommendations.

The app aims to help families keep track of their loved one through the prison system including inspecting a log of medications, what education is being received and arranging visits easily.

Drinkers enjoy pub app

When JD Wetherspoon unveiled its new table service app earlier this year they didn’t realise how popular it was going to be.

Indeed, while its main aim is for customers in a Wetherspoon pub to pay for drink and food without going to the bar it’s also popular for another reason.

That’s because drinkers have also begun using it to ask their friends to buy them a drink using the app – regardless of where they may be in the world.

Wetherspoon’s say they are happy with the inadvertent use for its app and a spokesman said: “We are delighted the app is being used by those to buy drink and food for friends thousands of miles away.”

Users urged to be wary of scam apps

While there are thousands of high-quality apps in Apple’s App Store, there are growing numbers of scam apps too.

Indeed, many of these scams will be free to download but will hit the user with expensive weekly subscription fees.

One app was charging around £80 every seven days for users.

Researchers say the app in question was ranked number 10 for being among the top productivity apps.

The app, ‘Mobile Protection: clean and security VPN’ was earning around £63,000 every month, according to researchers Sensor Tower, mainly down to search ads.

Apparently, Apple is now improving its search ads service to prevent future scams appearing.

Progressive Web Apps will take off

Businesses are being urged to turn to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to help recapture their audiences as app fatigue sets in for growing numbers of consumers.

The call is being made by Alchemy Digital’s Will Morris who says that these web apps will usher in a new era for brand engagement.

Among those who have begun using PWAs are Twitter and the BBC as well as stores such as Lancome with the appeal being for those firms who have an app that is not perform performing well enough.

He says that the big attraction for investing in PWAs is that they only need to be built once and can be deployed instantly across a range of platforms.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Sony has unveiled its PlayLink app which will enable users to play PlayStation games on their mobile phone. Essentially, they no longer have to watch friends playing and can now join in using their iOS or Android device.

📈 Will My Favourite App Marketing Channel Surprise You? | MTX65

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hello, welcome to this week’s video.

I’m going to talk about one of my favourite marketing channels of all time. It is email. I love email.

I kind of started my digital career helping to build Hilton International’s team, because it was just me and another person, called Montgomery, worked together to train and build a team. I just think that the results you get from it are brilliant. Email can be really personalised. People’s inboxes are still an important place which people trust and look at everyday.

If you’ve got an app and you’re not doing something to capture an email address, you’re crazy. Try and gather an email address and start conversation with them outside of your app. Try to re-engage them using emails. Try … god … try to engage them, never mind re-engage them, with emails after they install the app, and build a programme to get a relationship with these people. Don’t miss out on email, it’s still a very effective marketing channel. All you need to do is ask for an email address.

All right, that’s this week’s video. Speak to you next week. Bye.

Firm unveils unusual smart TV app

In the fast-growing market for food delivery apps, one firm says it will grab a big slice of the action with its smart TV app.

The announcement from Foodnfilm says its app will not be available for mobile phones and only for smart TVs.

The market for food delivery in the UK has rocketed and last year there was a 10% increase to 599 million food deliveries while visits to restaurants and other eating outlets rose by just 1%.

Now the new app will integrate with a smart TV’s operating system and enable users to order food as well as convenience items from the big screen and also track their order in real time.

They can do this while watching a movie of their choice.

The firm has now teamed up with Samsung to integrate Foodnfilm into some of its smart TVs and is also looking to partner with LG.

Apple will prevent phone use while driving

One of the new features for Apple’s iOS11 software update will be a new ‘do not disturb while driving’ for iPhone users.

The aim is to reduce driver distraction and silencing all notifications.

In addition, drivers will not be able to access the home screen to open apps when they are behind the wheel.

On top of this, Apple says there’s also an automatic text feature that will be sent to notify family friends that the iPhone user is driving.

The new features have been welcomed by road safety charity Brake who say that drivers using phones while behind the wheel are a ‘growing menace’.

The announcement comes after the UK brought in stricter measures for those caught using a mobile phone while driving with penalty points doubling to six and a £200 fine being introduced.

App will help savers

A new app aimed at freelancers and self-employed people with variable incomes hopes to change the way they save.

It’s been unveiled by the former chief executive of Uber Italy and is called Oval Money.

The personal savings app will enable users to track their spending habits and automatically save money by programming saving goals and tracking transactions as well as setting aside certain amounts of cash every month.

The firm behind the new app says users should, over a three-month period, manage to save £400.

New app will bring about the demise of loyalty cards

A new app has been unveiled that could bring about the end of loyalty cards and create a seamless shopping experience.

Bink is the brainchild of Lee Clarke who developed the idea after realising he did not have his Boots Advantage card when making a big purchase before a family holiday.

He says that loyalty and payment cards should be brought together to help resolve the problem of users missing out on potentially valuable rewards.

In addition, retailers can use the app for sending content, e-receipts and coupons to users.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Skype has unveiled its newest app and revealed that older apps for Windows users will no longer be able to access many features. The new additions see social media style apps including Highlights and bots to add to chat and group conversations.

A grandmother from Somerset claims she managed to diagnose skin cancer by using a mobile phone app after reading about SkinVision in a magazine. While most of her moles were diagnosed as being normal, an ankle lump received a red warning and weeks later surgeons removed an aggressive form of skin cancer. She has called the app ‘amazing’.

Industry watchers say Microsoft is planning to drop support for its classic Windows phone apps with a release of Windows 10 Mobile. The apps, known as Silverlight apps, will no longer work with the new version of Windows.

A new money messaging app has managed to secure €25 million in financial backing. Plynk works in the same way as WhatsApp but users essentially text money to each other.

ASO: Is Web Search is Important For ASO 📈? | MTX64

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This week I’m going to talk about how web traffic is important for app install.

Now, to clear up a myth, links to your app listing page in Play do not have a direct correlation with the algorithm in the app store. I did a bit of research with 280 top-ranking apps and there was no correlation between that linked profile and their ranking. Okay? Get that out the way. Secondly, people tell me all the time they don’t think that web traffic is the sort of traffic people use to find apps.

The complete opposite because it says, “Service. Thing. App.” They’re looking for an app. They might not immediately install off the back of that, especially if it’s an iOS app. More likely if it’s a Play app because you can install directly from web. Where it affects ASO is you’re ranking for something, number one, and it has 10,000 searches a month, you’re maybe getting 30% of that traffic to your app listing page. Velocity of installs that that boosts affects the algorithm in the Play store or iTunes, then boosts your rank in the store. The secondary effect, in the end visibility is there when people are searching in mobile web or web. Take a step back from all this app first stuff and look at other channels, older channels, for ways of getting traffic. Or look at your app name, service, thing, with the keyword “app” at the end, and then add words, see if there’s any volume.

All right. That’s this week’s video. Ciao.

New app will bring an end to supermarket queues

Barclaycard has unveiled a new app to bring check-out free shopping for those using mobile phones.

The app works with shopper snapping an image of the barcode and their credit card being charged automatically which means they do not have to queue to check out.

The new app is currently being trialled at shops within the company’s HQ and will be piloted in the UK in early 2018.

Barclaycard says that while they are focused on their own app, they could integrate the technology with a retailer’s current app for wider take-up.

The retailer would also be to monitor transactions in real time and there is also access to a virtual receipt to deter shoplifters.

The announcement follows news from Amazon that it’s also trialling checkout free shops that will facial recognition cameras on a shelf to determine what customers are buying.

Most apps trade personal data with third parties

Fears over the loss of personal data have been underlined with news that seven in 10 smartphone apps are sharing the user’s data with a third-party service.

Among the services accessing data are Facebook and Google.

The findings from the US-based research firm reveal that when users install an app on Android or iOS, it will ask for their permission to access personal information.

The researchers say that because apps do not have to tell users which software libraries they are going to use, the user will never know what data is being handed over.

Google unveils 12 best apps

Of the millions of apps and games available in the Google Play Store, the firm has unveiled the 12 best ones.

The list was unveiled at the latest Google IO event in May with the focus on what makes its Android platform more popular.

They include Mushroom 11, Hooked, Runtastic Running & Fitness – which is also the winner of the best Android wear experience award – Red Bull TV, for offering the best TV experience.

The list also features IFTTT, Woorld, ShareTheMeal, Animal Jam – Play Wild!, HearthStone while the best game award went to Transformers: Forged to Fight.

Winner of the best app in Google’s awards is Memrise which offers users an advanced form of flashcards to help studying.

In other Miratrix mobile phone news …

Adobe has unveiled an app that enables a smartphone to be turned into a document scanner. The Adobe Scan app will take images of paper documents and then turns them into PDFs. In addition, the app also turns the page’s text into searchable digital text automatically which users can then edit and annotate as well as highlight and upload to a document cloud.

Sony PlayStation has made waves by announcing its first mobile game aimed at Android and iPhone smartphones with the first one being ‘Everybody’s Golf’ which is coming to Japanese smartphone users soon. The app itself will be free to download.

Users who have the Alexa app installed on their Android or OS device can use the new Amazon function to call and message people via its Alexa platform. The calls will be free since the feature utilises mobile phone data and Wi-Fi so users do not need to have a mobile data plan. The Alexa Calling app is available now.

Industry watchers say that Asia will be the main area for mobile banking. That’s down to the high economic growth being predicted and the growing use of mobile phones from people living there. Apparently, there is a big market for apps to fill too.

Researchers have revealed that Brits believe that apps are as important as eating and breathing and many cannot live without them. The findings from A10 Networks also show that British employees are the largest users, it is 41%, of non-sanctioned apps at work in Europe. Worryingly, 24% say they have had their mobile device hacked which is more than any other country in the world.

ASO: Search Volumes in the UK App Store 👀 | MTX63

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hello. Welcome to this week’s video.

I’m going to talk about volumes in the UK App Store. You might have seen, in one of my tweets, a little sort of before and after App Store optimization metric. I’ve been to a lot of events lately, “Oh, ASO didn’t work for us.” ASO isn’t for everybody. People immediately think just because somebody without a semi-successful app says that, that its not for you.

For example, the people that I’ve been working with, ASO is very much for them. There’s volume in those categories, there’s people working for what they’ve got. Comparison, that I’ve shown you, one day on another day. And all ranking, for everything in the world, ranking for a few good terms, the latest business.

The App Store actually has volume, and if your app fits a lot of searches that are going on there, so that you’ll do really well.

Investigate it, have an open mind. Don’t just feel if it didn’t work for somebody else, maybe they rank properly. There’s a lot of things going on. For a lot of my clients, Facebook doesn’t work. Different channel for different companies.

That’s this week’s video. Gonna count my tweet. Put a link somewhere, maybe in … Down the bottom of the screen.




Google under fire for refusing to block fake apps

Google has been criticised for refusing to block fake apps in its store that claim to protect users against the WannaCry ransomware virus.

Researchers from McAfee say the apps do not work as advertised and will instead bombard the phone with adverts.

For those interested in the apps to protect their phone will be wasting their time since WannaCry exploited a flaw in the Microsoft operating system.

In addition, McAfee says the apps might contain malware that could steal user’s bank details though this was not found on the malware they tested.

Now industry watchers say that Google should do more to screen apps and days after McAfee reported the malware to Google, the apps were still available for downloading.

Google says it has now taken action.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Homeland Security has announced the vulnerability of a flaw in the networking software Samba which could leave thousands of computers open to a similar WannaCry attack.

While hackers are not exploiting the vulnerability, the Department is urging administrators and users to apply a security patch.

T-Mobile unveils its ‘Digits’ program

T-Mobile customers in the US will be able to use their phone number across multiple devices by installing an app to do so.

The phone network says it will create a seamless integration so customers can access their service from a variety of devices rather than just a mobile phone.

The phone number is free to customers though they can pay for extra packages including in-flight Wi-Fi. The app is available for devices including tablets and wearables as well as laptops.

The move is similar to that from the tech giants and sees the phone number being separated from the phone in the same way Google Voice and AppleID do.

One reason for the move is that T-Mobile says that 30 million people in the US, particularly business owners, own two phones and two plans and they are effectively wasting $10 billion every year.

In other Miratrix news …

Parents in one US city can download a new app that will help them find free nutritious meals for their children in Minneapolis. The app is being created by charity aimed at helping children enjoy a healthy start to life.

A new app launched by a start-up technology firm in Leeds will help users find budget friendly mobile phone contracts. The app, yboo, has been launched after research revealed that the average UK phone user is overpaying by nearly £160 every year on their mobile phone bill.

Police in Hertfordshire have unveiled a new app to help people report crimes as well as receiving news and accessing a live web chat facility with staff.

A judge has ruled that British paedophiles can be banned from using the Snapchat app because it deletes images. The landmark case follows an appeal from a convicted sex offender who was prevented from using a device capable of not retaining its Internet history.

The popularity of the Chinese chat app, WeChat, is rocketing in popularity with one in three of the app’s 890 million active users spending four hours a day on it.

Microsoft has unveiled a new app for Android and iOS called Mixer Create which enables users to broadcast live streams of their activities to their Mixer audience. Users will, in future, also be able to livestream their mobile phone games.

A new app from what3words is offering to make Google Maps obsolete by offering more accuracy. Instead of using postcodes, the app uses a system that reduces mistakes by using 40,000 words and an algorithm to break the world down into 57 trillion squares covering 3 square metres.

SPAM: Chinese Phone Farm’s & Conspiracy Theories 😀 | MTX62

Watch this video on YouTube.

Hello, welcome to this week’s video.

We’re going to talk about Chinese phone farms. They’ve been in the news over the past couple of days … again.

About a year ago, maybe two years ago, it was all exposed. For me, it’s incredibly interesting, the technology, the infrastructure they’re building to create frauds. I know, it’s not necessarily a good thing. You’ve got to admire it when they’re that clever.

Also if you’ve seen the video and seen the historical ones, they’ve cleaned things up a bit. More room, more phones.

Another question, where are they getting all these phones? Getting them out the back of factories? Somebody else bigger funding it? Some paranoid stuff coming out there. It’s all kind of creative. Google it, read all the stuff. It’s interesting, should be aware of it.

That’s this week’s video. See ya.

Google Announces Shift to Focus on Apps

It one of the most anticipated days for developers around the world, and Google’s annual developer conference this year did not disappoint.

Among the many announcements, was one of the software firm’s announcement to develop mobile phone apps.

Google says it will spend less time developing its Android mobile operating system and more time developing its digital assistant and popular photo app.

Industry watchers say Google has effectively revealed that apps and its voice assistant are now increasingly important to its future.

Meanwhile, those attending the conference also heard that the firm’s stand-alone Daydream VR headset already has more than 150 apps available and developers are working on more.

Android ransomware flaw to be fixed

A flaw in Android that is used by 74% of ransomware attacks is set to be fixed this summer.

That is when the firm’s new operating system, Android O, is being released.

While many legitimate apps use the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW command, it can be used by ransomware attackers to lock users of their phones.

Also, industry watchers say the new operating system will offer improvements for text-based verification services.

Apparently, the Android O system will check text messages automatically and should the relevant code be detected the user will be able to access apps directly without the need to seek permissions.

British retailers could do more with apps

A survey from Eagle Eye has revealed that retailers in the UK are failing to utilise mobile phones to enhance their customer’s shopping experiences.

In a report, the firm says that 60% of young buyers will use their phone while in a store but less than 20% will use it to redeem promotions or make payments.

Eagle Eye says that consumers are open to receiving mobile promotions and 68% said they would find it helpful to receive vouchers while shopping.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

People visiting pubs would be encouraged to spend more if they could use their smartphone as a digital wallet, according to research. There has been a sharp rise in numbers using mobile technology in hospitality and there is potential for apps to help pubgoers order food and have the items delivered to their table.

Payment apps have taken off in Russia and their usage is now 60% higher than those who pay for services on websites. The most popular apps are for making money transfers, ordering from online stores and paying for mobile phone services.

A survey in China has revealed that expats living and working there are enthusiastic users of Chinese apps including WeChat. Many expats are using the service for video chat as well as voice calls and tend to communicate with emoji stickers – and their use is more popular than with Chinese people.

Apps being sold in the Chinese App Store have been told to remove tip functions since Apple has decided these are in-app purchases and liable to 30% commission. The move follows a growth in free apps that enable users to offer monetary tips to content creators and authors.

Users of Microsoft’s GroupMe apps can now access polls on their mobile devices. The function enables users to sort and collect their friends and contacts into easier to manage groups.

A burglar in Ipswich has been jailed after a barking dogs’ app alerted the homeowner to the break in. The owner had internal cameras fitted to monitor her dogs and the app alerted her to them making a noise. When checking her phone, the owner saw the burglar in her kitchen and then called police.

Users with an Android smartphone that’s been ‘jailbroken’ will not be able to access Netflicks’ mobile app, the firm has announced.

Instant Apps is Here

More than a year after being unveiled at Google IO, the firm has launched Instant Apps.

The aim of the feature enables mobile phone users to use apps without installing them first which enables more storage to be available for other apps and games.

Instant Apps pulls the interface from, for instance, a retailer’s app in the Google Play Store and this will run as if the user has downloaded the app.

It’s not currently available for every device, but it is a feature on Google Pixel but app industry watchers say the feature will be more widely available soon.

It appears too that users will also need to opt in for Instant Apps with their Play Store ID to access the service and Google believes it will prove very popular.

One of the big attractions is for those phone users who do not have large data allowances since they can access many more apps for purchasing and browsing experiences without downloading them.

Apple’s App Analytics tool unveiled

Apple has unveiled its latest app analytics tool which will enables developers to gain more insight into how users are discovering their apps.

The latest version will reveal what users were looking for when they discovered the developer’s app and where they were on the iTunes store when they did so.

There will also be access to metrics to analyse the referring apps and sites to reveal which are the most effective ones for driving users to the developer’s products.

Apple says the new tool should help developers deliver better marketing campaigns.

The tool was first unveiled two years ago and in addition to helping developers understand how often their apps crash on the iOS platform, the tool also measures the retention of users and the number of active devices that are using a particular app.

Ultrasonic cross-device tones takes off

A growing number of apps are using ultrasonic cross-device tones which enables a mobile device to pick up a signal from an advertiser.

German researchers say the tones cannot be heard but are detected by apps in the phone and are being used by advertisers and billboards to offer phone users discounts and offers for goods.

Essentially, apps that have access to the device’s microphone to pick up the tones and then build a profile of where the user has been and seen the adverts.

There are around 234 Android apps currently available that have this ability for tuning into ultrasonic tones without the mobile user’s knowledge and the researchers say there is a potential for breaching privacy rights.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Nissan have developed a Faraday cage in the armrest of the Juke car where the ‘Signal Shield’ blocks the phone’s signals and wifi connections so drivers won’t be tempted to check their phone while driving.

Google has reacted quickly to an app called ‘Google Docs’ which is a sophisticated phishing scam by hackers to access a user’s Google Doc account. They can also then access emails and other personal information.

Sophos Labs says that users should avoid two Android apps, the Full Optimizer and Full Optimizer Lite, as they do nothing but serve adverts. While claiming to ‘fully optimise’ an Android phone, users will find this is all that they do and Sophos says there is no optimisation taking place simply numbers being generated.

Google has apparently just filed a patent for a smart drag-and-drop system to enable users to better use and close apps. Experts say that the hand gestures that will work on smart phones will also extend to computers and augmented reality headsets so users only need to learn the gestures once and apply them to a range of digital devices.