AppURL Wants To Link Between Mobile Apps

A new initiative by mobile app search engine Quixey aims to integrate “deep linking” with standalone mobile applications.  The initiative is called AppURL and would allow users to navigate between individual apps from within them, calling restaurant reviews in Yelp from within a social media app, for example.  The concept of deep linking isn’t new, and there have been several efforts in the past to push it into the mainstream, but most companies using any form of deep linking have a proprietary method of doing so.  AppURL aims to standardize deep linking to allow more immersive, efficient app use experiences.

Fashion App Pose Introduces Advertising

Pose, after two years as an app-based fashion network, is finally getting serious about advertising, as it launched an ad campaign with Juicy Couture Fragrances. The ads, though, aren’t traditional banner display units; instead, they’re modified takes on the app’s standard “pose” and appear in-stream with poses uploaded by regular users. Users can interact with these advertised poses much in the same way as they can interact with user-uploaded poses. It’s the second in-stream ad campaign that the app has brought to bear, and fits with the app’s stance that advertisements should be more integrated and actionable. And with 2 million subscribers, it seems likely that Pose will be able to execute the campaigns with tangible results. 

Samsung Outpacing Apple In Smartphone Sales

According to new estimates, Samsung smartphone samples left Apple in the dust for Q2 of this year. TrendForce reported that Apple sold 27 million iPhones in the second quarter as its global market share fell to 12.1%, which would mark a 30% sequential decline – and if the 5S doesn’t launch until October, the numbers are projected to get worse. Samsung, on the other hand, sold 71 million smartphones, which explains their record profits. The Galaxy S4 shipments totaled 23 million units in Q2, which was the fastest-selling Android smartphone in history, as well as the best-selling smartphone in the world last quarter. 

Apple Patents Touchscreen Dashboard

The connected car is quickly becoming a reality. Apple was granted a patent for a new car dashboard that would make most manual controls in your vehicle obsolete. Apple spoke about bringing iOS to vehicles during its developer conference earlier this year, but some design features that will likely make it into the vehicle will likely include the Airplay feature that will allow content on your phone to be displayed on your car’s screen – and Siri support to allow you to do lots of things hands free. iOS in the Car is expected to be released in 2014.

Google Now Comes to iOS

iOS Users: Welcome to the predictive search future.  Google has integrated its Google Now product, previously only found in Android’s post-Jelly Bean releases, into its Google Search iOS app.  Google Now is designed to present you with information before you ask for it, tracking packages, flights, traffic, weather, sports, concerts, and dozens of other pieces of information.  One limitation of the iOS release is that it is still app-based and does not carry the advantage of being baked-in as it is with Android.  This upgrade to the iOS app could be the first in a series of moves to make predictive search ubiquitous on mobile devices.

Yahoo Relaunches iPhone App Summly

Yahoo’s relaunched its flagship purchase, Summly, for iPhone and iPod touch devices this morning. The app uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing algorithms to deliver short summaries beneath story headlines. The new features are prominently on display in the “Visual” mode, wherein headlines and summaries are overlaid atop blown-up thumbnail backgrounds. You can now also specify your section and topic preferences, making your Yahoo news experience more personalized. Yahoo also gave the app a major upgrade to its video and image searches. This is another big app release for Yahoo, who also released Weather and Mail apps last week, and demonstrates their continued effort to penetrate the mobile app market. 

iOS Remains Top Monetising Mobile Platform

According to Opera’s Q1 study, Apple’s iOS remains the top platform for monetising mobile ads, and the iPhone regains its top status over Android in generating Ad traffic to mobile ads. Opera’s data comes from its mobile advertising platform business that serves more than 50 billion ad impressions per month via 12,000 mobile sites and apps. Mobile ad campaigns running on Apple devices achieve the highest average eCPMs, and account for nearly half of all revenue delivered to mobile publishers. At the end of 2012, iPhone lost the number one position in terms of ad impression volume, but Opera reports that that it has regained the number one position with 31.91% of traffic and 34. 24% of all revenue, whereas Android phones clock in at 30.22% and 26.24%, respectively. Including tablets and other devices, iOS has a very clear margin in all categories over Android’s operating system in mobile traffic share. Presents New Ticketing Platform, a brand new startup, has moved their ticketing system into public beta after a successful private beta in which it claims to have processed over $1 million in ticket sales. Thus far, Tito has involved many tech conferences as beta testers, including JSConf Family, JSConf US, Robots Conf, Elabs, Nordic Ruby, WebSummit, F.ounders, RightScale, RightSignature, Exceptional Software, &yet and the Realtime Conference. The app is supposedly faster, simpler, and more customizable than the few genuine competitors on the market currently. It also has iOS Passbook integration, and uses Stripe and Paypal. Beyond this, it’s unclear how effective the app actually is (especially as it has been private until now), and it will be interesting to see how this and other ticketing innovators can compete with heavyweights like TicketMaster. 

Mobile advertising – turning the dream into a reality.

Since about 2005, every year has been the year when mobile advertising was going to explode.

In 2013 it’s expected Mobile Ad revenue will top $11.4bn after growing 20% in the last year, so it’s pretty safe to say we now live in a world where Mobile advertising has arrived and predictions now show over the next 5 years mobile ad revenue will rise faster than any other media.

While this sounds hugely impressive, by two key measurements Mobile advertising is failing to live up to expectations.

1) The revenues are not keeping pace with the time spent on the media, we now spend 4.5% percent of our time on mobile, but yet only 1.7% of ad spend is on the channel, and this gap is rising as smartphones become ever more popular and ever more used.

2) The value of mobile ads are still low, a typical CPM of $1.31, about 1/3rd of other digital ads and around 1/20th of TV.

What’s more the ability to monetize mobile traffic has never been greater, it’s the largest challenge facing some of the most important companies of our time, be it Facebook, Twitter or any content provider without a paywall.

But what most disappoints me is the very unambitious and extremely uncreative way that people have looked at mobile as advertising platform, it reminds me of how most digital ads have completely failed to make the most of the unique opportunities the channel has to connect with people in incredible ways.

Allow me to follow a brief journey through the history of digital advertising:

Digital ads first appeared around 1994 with the world’s first pop up ad and some banner ads. While this may have been an entirely new media channel, the thinking was basically taking existing print ads like loose leaf ads and newspaper ads, and simply finding digital equivalents.

Around ten years later with much faster internet access speeds allowed video to be streamed and as a result people took 30 second TV ads, chopped them down to 15 seconds and the world of pre-roll ads was born.

It strikes me that this timeline shows how incredibly poor innovation in the space has been, while we may see page dominant ads, or expandable banners, or MPU units, basically the entire world of digital advertising, a new paradigm of targeting, connectivity, measurement, real time, personalized content, and what we got was traditional ads repurposed.

Mobile seems no different.
Whether it was using SMS as a way to clumsily impart basic information or the decision that the mobile internet should be turned into screen real estate in exactly the same way that we approached physical newspapers, the quality , functionality and ambition has remained low.

What I don’t get has been the way that we’ve approached both digital and especially mobile as a screen. Just simply space to take up and put in front of eyeballs.
mobile ads
Our mobiles are far more than screens, they are our diary’s, our address books, our things to do lists, our maps, our photo albums, our location beacons, our coupon collectors and more, in many peoples cases they are their wallets.

The opportunities for mobile marketing are incredible, but it won’t come from thinking of the mobile as a small screen we take everywhere, but as a device that can remind us to do things, tell us where things are, keep our shopping lists, and so on.

And as our phones start to understand more about how we behave and where we are, the opportunities for mobiles to start predicting our behavior and make suggestions to us at the right time and the right place, will soon make advertising as a service the true moment where Mobile advertising really has arrived.

More on predictive computing and the true value of mobile advertising later.

HopStop Announces HopStop Live!

HopStop today is pushing an update to its iPhone app called HopStop Live! that includes real-time user feedback in seven countries for 20,000 public transit lines. Users can submit info on any of the 750,000 that HopStop services that cues other users in to real-time updates, problems, or construction that transportation authorities might be slow to push out. According to HopStop, there are over 2 million active monthly users on the app, so this feature should prove effective at crowd-sourcing commuting information. Of course, many subways and public transit systems are without cell service as of yet, so such an update might not actually be quite as real-time as advertised. But if and when such service comes, this data could change the way users interact with their public transportation systems.