Mobile phones are essential to shopping these days, and a majority of cell phone owners say they’re willing to share personal data with merchants in exchange for such things as coupons and discounts.
But navigating mobile marketing can be confusing for small business owners, who must avoid bombarding people with unwanted texts while they’re slogging through crowds of holiday shoppers. So how can local merchants use mobile marketing effectively? Here are six tips.
Focus on customers. Consider how consumers already interact with their mobile devices and take advantage of that behavior. Eliminate anything that makes buying more difficult, such as a website that doesn’t load correctly on a mobile device or hard-to-find contact information. Optimize your customers’ mobile Web experiences by adding “click to call” and “click for directions” features, suggests Jeff Fagel, chief marketing officer at G/O Digital. Make sure all your marketing messages look great on the small screens where people are increasingly opening them, says Jessica Stephens, chief marketing officer at marketing technology company SmartFocus. She says 30 percent of mobile shoppers abandon transactions that aren’t optimized for mobile and 57 percent abandon sites that take more than three seconds to load.
Don’t get too pushy. Most Internet shopping activity involves consumers actively searching out information on services or products. But mobile marketing is what’s called “push” technology, which involves sending unsolicited messages to would-be customers. “It’s all done with the idea of engaging customers and getting them to spread your offers on social media,” says Betsy Page Sigman, who teaches operations and information management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “If people buy something every time you send a discount, keep sending them. But pay attention to when they stop, because that data tells you a lot, too.”
Respect privacy. The discovery of a series of ad beacons used to track phones in New York City recently caused a ruckus over privacy concerns. You won’t catch people by surprise if you direct your marketing messages to customers who have agreed to receive texted discounts or coupons or who have downloaded an app such as Shopkick. The application, and others like it, allows merchants to send messages to users’ devices when their location service is turned on, showing they are nearby.
Give something away. Most people don’t mind that their supermarket tracks their purchases—as long as they get discounts when they swipe their reward cards. The same idea applies to mobile marketing: You need to sweeten the deal, not just text annoying ads. Send customers special offers, reminders about sales, and discount coupons. Imagine the response to a “free coffee with purchase” offer you send to shoppers a block away from your bakery at 4 p.m., for instance.
Integrate. Mobile marketing should be part of your overall marketing plan, along with e-mail, direct mail, and other advertising, says John McGee, chief executive of OptifiNow, a Los Angeles sales and marketing company. “Track the results you get from each channel and see which one is working. There’s no silver bullet—you need to do a little bit of everything. And remember, it doesn’t matter what you want to do—it’s what your customers like,” he says.
Be concise. Unlike e-mail, text messages have a high open rate. But you have to get your point across in few words, which is easier to do the better you know your customers. “Text messages work better for local marketing, which lends itself to small business,” McGee says. “If a local restaurant is having a slow night and sends text to people nearby to get them in for a special, that’s more effective than a retail chain sending out messages to people 20 miles down the freeway.”
P97 Networks, developers of PetroZone, a cloud based mobile commerce and behavioral marketing platform for the convenience and fuel retailing industry, announced today the closing of an $8 million Series A funding. The round was led by Emerald Technology Ventures, a globally recognized investor in the areas of energy, advanced materials, water technologies and industrial IT. Charles Vaslet, Partner at Emerald Technology Ventures has joined P97’s Board of Directors. American Trading and Production Corporation (ATAPCO) also participated in the Series A round alongside other new and existing investors. The investment will be used to accelerate product development, sales and marketing for P97.
“We look forward to an exciting 2015 as our oil company and retail fuel merchant customers are ready to deploy PetroZone across their enterprises,” said Don Frieden, founder of P97. “We have assembled a team who understand both the business and technology issues that must be addressed to create new mobile payments offerings for broad adoption. We are fortunate to partner with Emerald Technology Ventures and their global network will be an important pillar in supporting our growth.”
“Retail fuel merchants can now choose a mobile solution with confidence by selecting P97’s PetroZone, a world class mobile commerce platform,” said Emerald Technology Venture Partner Charles Vaslet. “P97 has a knowledgeable and passionate management team with a proven track record for deploying enterprise class mobile software solutions across the globe. Their strategic partnership with Microsoft along with their industry partner eco-system positions them well for lasting success. I look forward to working with the board and management team to contribute to the growth of the company.”
P97 Networks was advised by Pharus Advisors, a boutique investment bank with offices in New York and San Francisco.
PetroZone®, created by P97 Networks, is a cloud based mobile commerce platform which connects consumers with retail fueling merchants and convenience stores across a broad partner ecosystem, including oil company payment networks, merchants, consumer package good companies, automotive companies and banks. Consumers using their PetroZone enabled mobile phones and “connected cars” have better mobile shopping experiences, options for lower fuel prices and opt-in personalized digital offers for in-store purchases. PetroZone ecosystem partners can gain consumer loyalty through omni-channel marketing opportunities and “connected-consumer” experiences when enabling mobile payments and settlement, behavioral marketing and digital offers, and hosted-managed point-of-sale solutions when connected to PetroZone’s open integration framework. For more information visit www.petrozone.com or download the PetroZone Brochure.
About P97 Networks
P97 Networks provides secure cloud based mobile commerce and behavioral marketing solutions for the convenience retail and fuels marketing industry under the brand name PetroZone™. P97’s mCommerce solutions enhance the ability of convenience store operators, marketers, and oil companies to attract and retain customers by providing technology that securely connects millions of individual mobile phones and connected cars with identity and geo-location based software technology to create truly unique connected-consumer experiences. P97’s software personalizes the “find-buy-save” experience for every mobile consumer. For more information about our company please visit www.p97.com and https://twitter.com/P97Networks.
About Emerald Technology Ventures
Emerald is a globally recognized investment firm in the areas of energy, water, advanced materials and industrial IT. Founded in 2000, the company has invested in more than 50 early-stage companies out of three venture capital funds, provides open innovation services to many multinational industrial corporations and has won mandates for three technology investment programs for third parties. From offices in Zurich, Switzerland and Toronto, Canada, Emerald has managed assets of over USD 660 million to date.
- Venture Capital
Apple recently released its top grossing apps for 2014, and the top three are all, not surprisingly, games. Gaming represents the largest percentage of time spent on mobile devices, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. However, there are some things we do expect to change in 2015 that will impact mobile marketing strategies for games companies.
Those factors include:
- Increased spend from big brands
- Focus on audience targeting
- Retargeting deep linking
- Programmatic buying
- Cross-platform gaming
- Rise of phablets advancements in OS
We’ll look at each of these in more detail.
Fiksu’s Cost Per Install (CPI) Index measures the cost per app install directly attributed to advertising. As you can see in the chart below, for much of the last year, Android games costs have remained consistently higher than iOS games costs – primarily due to significant spending on lower-cost incentivized networks for iOS games, which has a different impact on Android. We expect this trend to continue into 2015.
However, we also expect games CPIs on both platforms to be impacted by some key factors looming for 2015. For starters, as we’ll discuss later, big brands are finally putting more money into mobile. These brands have big budgets, and they’re not as price sensitive as other marketers. This increased pressure from brands is expected to drive up costs for everyone on mobile, including game marketers.
At the same time, however, marketers are increasingly focused on leveraging Programmatic Real-Time Bidding (RTB), which offers access to a large scale of display and video ad inventory with greater efficiency through the use of machine learning optimization. Marketers can focus the optimization technology around in-app monetization events like social shares, subscriptions or in app purchases to find the “traffic that matters”. This “Rise of the Machines” could put downward pressure on overall costs and increase the performance of a mobile marketing dollar.
In either case, the important thing to remember is that CPI is not the most important metric for mobile marketers. As our past research has shown, low CPIs don’t mean anything if those users don’t deliver a positive ROI. Alternatively, high CPIs can result in large returns if they produce high-quality users. More and more, we’re seeing ROI-driven marketing become the norm, and we expect that to continue into 2015.
Pressure from Brands
As mentioned, brands are finally beginning to embrace mobile as a part of their digital strategy. For instance, Taco Bell recently had a big push to promote its new mobile app, and they’re not alone. As this trend continues into 2015, increased mobile spending from brands will gobble up more inventory and increase user acquisition costs for everyone else, including games.
In addition, as traditional and digital first brands begin to strengthen their presence on mobile, this will also increase competitiveness in iOS App Store rank for everyone on mobile, including game marketers.
“As a result of this growing trend, ‘ok’ UA strategies that have worked in the past won’t cut it anymore.”
As a result of this growing trend, “ok” UA strategies that have worked in the past won’t cut it anymore. Brands and games will be competing for the same inventory, and ultimately, something’s going to have to give. Game companies do however, have a head start over brands and could maintain their edge leveraging data, smarter audience buying, retargeting and all the mobile ad-tech tools available.
As more robust mobile data becomes available, marketers across the board are increasingly gaining opportunities to reach highly specific audiences at scale. While this strategy has been most intriguing to brand marketers, the capabilities will undoubtedly prove highly beneficial to game marketers as well.
Previously, many mobile game marketers were most interested in acquiring low cost loyal users, with less focus on and visibility into the characteristics of those users. While that may still be the primary goal, now, mobile game marketers will really be able to hone in on the characteristics of the specific audience that monetizes best for them, and go after those highly targeted users.
To make this possible, there will be an increased emphasis on the value of both 1st and 3rd party mobile data. Combined, they create an extremely rich dataset which can allow game marketers to refine their mobile marketing spend. With this capability, game marketers can identify, target and programmatically buy against an audience as specific as males, 18-24, with at least 3 mid-core games downloaded on their device-instead of just trying to display ads where that audience tends to be. While it will cost more initially to reach these highly targeted segments, the users will be more likely to monetize, therefore driving increases in ROI.
“In fact, for one popular social casino game, retargeting was able to more than double the number of purchasers acquired purely through user acquisition strategies.”
2015 is likely to be the year of retargeting, particularly when it comes to gaming. Retargeting was recently characterized as being “where the puck is headed” by Marc Hale, Re-engagement Sales Lead at Twitter. In fact, Hale noted that “The majority of the money being spent on mobile retargeting is coming from the mobile gaming community…gaming companies are ‘mobile first’ and they know the lifetime spend of their customers, and they can see the whole customer sales funnel.”
Through our own experience at Fiksu, we’ve seen gaming companies as early adopters of mobile retargeting-and they’ve been seeing success. In fact, for one popular social casino game, retargeting was able to more than double the number of purchasers acquired purely through user acquisition strategies.
Using the latest in deep linking technology, future retargeting ads will feel less like advertisements, as they drive users to a specific location within the game. As mobile game marketers become more familiar with this strategy, many will realize that it should play an ongoing role in their marketing campaigns. There are so many instances where retargeting can be beneficial: from reminding a user to open the app after installing it, to encouraging them to register, to trying to get them to make in-app purchases. Retargeting is definitely where the puck is headed, and it’s travelling fast.
As mobile advertising costs rise, it will continue to become more important to make sure that every penny spent is being done so wisely. Through programmatic buying, which incorporates closed-loop feedback (within milliseconds) into an automated decision-making process, marketers can leverage machine learning to be sure that their dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible.
“While not purely specific to the gaming industry, programmatic buying, and in particular real-time bidding, will be increasingly popular if recent trends are any indication”
While not purely specific to the gaming industry, programmatic buying, and in particular real-time bidding, will be increasingly popular if recent trends are any indication. According to Smaato, global mobile real time bidding (RTB) spend increased 140 percent year-over-year from Q3 2013 to Q3 2014. And that growth isn’t expected to slow. According to eMarketer, RTB (on desktop and mobile) is predicted to grow from $4.16 billion in 2013 to $11.84 billion in 2016, a 185 percent increase.
One growing trend that will be unique to gaming is a growing emphasis on a cross-platform experience and marketing strategy. One great example of this is Activision, which recently released an iPad version of its game Skylanders Trap Team that is identical to the console version.
For Activision, a cross-channel marketing strategy has been key to driving the success of this game in a time when player habits are shifting rapidly. They’ve been among the first to take advantage of the full capabilities of mobile gaming, but they won’t be the last.
According to Newzoo, mobile gaming revenue is expected to surpass that of console games next year, as it tops $30 billion in 2015. As this happens, game publishers will need to be able to truly extend their reach across multiple platforms, and have a mobile marketing strategy to compliment that increased emphasis on the mobile gaming experience.
“Despite the potential it seems to offer, Metal has not yet had a major impact on the industry: per Apple, only 12 of the hundreds of thousands of games in the App Store are currently incorporating it”
We expect more of these console-quality gaming experiences to come to iOS thanks to Apple’s iOS 8 feature “Metal.” Metal is a new technology that helps developers create console-like gaming experiences by enabling them to maximize the graphics and computing potential of their iOS app. Despite the potential it seems to offer, Metal has not yet had a major impact on the industry: per Apple, only 12 of the hundreds of thousands of games in the App Store are currently incorporating it. Look for that number to change dramatically over 2015.
The Rise of Phablets Advancements in Operating Systems
Larger smartphones, aka “phablets”, like the new iPhone, Nexus, and Samsung devices, along with the continued evolution of mobile operating systems like iOS 8, will likely fuel monetization improvements in the coming year. While better gameplay probably isn’t the primary driver behind the size increases and new technologies, anyone who’s played a high-end game on an iPhone 6 Plus or a Samsung Galaxy S5 knows that they really do improve the gaming experience.
The enhanced experiences these devices offer are likely to result in users spending more time, and consequently more money, playing mobile games. With UA costs potentially rising as previously mentioned, these potential monetization improvements could help lessen the blow of the higher UA costs.
What This All Means to You
Now that you know what to expect in the year ahead, how can you take that knowledge to make sure you have the best mobile marketing strategies in place for 2015? The most important thing to be prepared for is fluctuations in costs: don’t depend on costs staying where they are today.
“you should know what these costs mean to you. If you have to pay $2 or even $4 for an install, but that user spends $10 in your game, it’s worth it”
That said, you should know what these costs mean to you. If you have to pay $2 or even $4 for an install, but that user spends $10 in your game, it’s worth it. As we said, the key to remember is that CPI doesn’t tell the whole story and shouldn’t be the only metric you’re using to measure success in your campaigns.
After that, you want to be sure you’re embracing the use of data and maximizing some of the newer mobile ad-tech capabilities that will help you drive increases in revenue, namely audience targeting and retargeting. Generally, you need an established mobile gamer base before getting started (or massive desktop gamer base for cross-screen retargeting), but as long as you have that, you should be trying to drive increased engagement with your game. As mentioned, this could mean reminding users who have downloaded your app to come play, or encouraging users who have registered to make their first in-app purchase.
You also want to be sure you’re buying as much media as possible programmatically, and maximizing the technology, use of audience targeting, reach and low costs available through RTB. Also, as you look to amplify your gamer acquisition or retargeting using Twitter and Facebook, look for companies like Fiksu that apply programmatic buying to social.
And finally, larger smartphones are changing the game, both literally and figuratively. You should be making sure your game is capitalizing on the increased functionality, and that you’re upping your marketing efforts to make sure users are aware of these enhancements.
You should also be on the lookout for other upcoming trends, including a stronger focus on video, as well as App Store chart inflation.
2015 promises to be an excited year for advancements in mobile game marketing. While marketing strategies, costs, and mobile ad inventory could be impacted by pressure from big brands and massive digital first companies, there’s a lot to look forward to on the horizon. I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015. It’s going to be a fun ride.
T-Mobile in 2015 plans to step up its efforts to court enterprises with its various “Uncarrier” efforts that appear to be winning over consumers.
At the telecom’s Uncarrier 8.0 event on Tuesday, CEO John Legere touted a data stash plan that will allow customers to carry over gigabits into another month. Most plans make customers guess about their data usage and then penalize them for overages. As a result, customers either aim too high and leave GBs on the table or pay up for overages.
While that plan could appeal to businesses, Legere did note that T-Mobile had an initial “focus on the individual customer.” Indeed, T-Mobile’s plans on termination fees, global roaming policies and data stashes are marketed to consumers who are open to jumping from their existing carriers.
In 2015, the company does plan to step up its enterprise recruitment efforts, said Michael Katz, vice president of B2B marketing at T-Mobile.
T-Mobile does have a unit specializing in businesses and said Uncarrier features do win over smaller enterprises quickly. For example, “more than a third of businesses are hit with data overages,” said Katz, who noted that enterprises are partly fueling subscriber gains in recent quarters.
Today, T-Mobile sees enterprise gains for companies with up to 25 lines. Going forward, T-Mobile will take bigger swings for larger enterprises. “A lot of what we’ve done with Uncarrier plans is relevant to business,” said Katz.
- John Legere
WHEN the first mobile phone call was made in 1973, few members of the public were interested in the new technology. Telecoms companies had to invent reasons to use them—for instance, that they could be used to call a friend to pass the time when stuck in a car during a traffic jam—in order to get sceptical consumers to adopt them. But now, most people in rich countries could not imagine life without one: there are now more active mobile-phone connections in America and Europe than people.
The rising importance of mobiles—not simply to make calls but to access the internet as well—partly explains why BT, a fixed-line telecoms firm, decided to make a £12.5 billion ($19.6 billion) bid for EE, Britain’s biggest mobile operator, on December 15th. BT also hopes that the merger will allow the firm to profitably offer what is know as “quad-play” (a bundle of fixed and mobile phone calls, internet access and television), which will also help keep customers from switching away from its other products.
There is mounting evidence that mobile-internet access is becoming a more important part of this bundle. While a decade ago surfing the internet on a portable device was seen as a niche interest, it has now become a necessity. A new report published last week by BCG, a consultancy, says that Europe’s consumers are now valuing mobile-internet access more highly than ever before. In a survey, more than 50% said they would be more willing to give up fast food, chocolate and alcohol than lose access to the internet on their phones (see chart). Worryingly, at least for the print publishing industry, more than half also said the same thing about books and newspapers. But reassuringly, for those using the continent’s crowded public transport systems, only 9% said they would be willing to forgo their morning shower to be able to browse on the go; 14% said the same thing about sex. BT’s £12.5 billion bet on EE is that these numbers will continue to steadily grow.
Jennifer Lum / Twitter Adelphic president and co-founder Jennifer Lum.
Mobile advertising startup Adelphic has raised $11 million in Series B funding, the company confirmed today.
The latest round was led by Blue Chip Venture Company. That brings Boston-based Adelphic’s total investment to date up to $23 million, with other investors including Google Venture and Matrix Partners.
Adelphic has quietly become one of the more interesting pre-IPO adtech companies. Its president and cofounder is Jennifer Lum, the former VP of advertising operations at Quattro Wireless, which was the company that Apple acquired and turned into iAd. She has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Powerful Women To Watch In Mobile Advertising” for three years in a row. The company’s CEO is Michael Collins, the former CEO of WPP’s mobile ad agency Joule.
Adelphic’s major selling point is user identification, no matter which device they use.
The company runs a mobile and cross-device demand side platform with patented user identification technology that allows brands and agencies to target consumers with contextualized ads as they switch from mobile to desktop to tablet.
Cross-device and identification is a seriously important factor in the mobile advertising industry. Facebook is the biggest company leading the charge in this area with the launch of its Atlas ad platform, Apple’s iAd is understood to be exploring it using users’ Apple ID as an identifier across different devices and other smaller players like Criteo and Tapad also specialize in offering alternatives to the cookie across mobile.
Adelphic says the money will be used to fuel its international growth in both EMEA and APAC, with the company set to increase its employee base from 39 currently to 65 in 2015. The company has yet to reveal its revenues.
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You probably don’t need me to tell you that mobile usage in China is rather massive.
But just how big is the opportunity and how are Chinese marketers approaching the challenge?
A new report from Econsultancy and the Mobile Marketing Aassociation answers these questions and more.
The State of Mobile Marketing in Asia Pacific Report takes a close look at how APAC organisations and agencies are responding to the ever-expanding reach and importance of mobile.
The findings, also available as a 60+ slide presentation, are presented for Asia Pacific overall, with key charts broken down for Asia, Australia, China, India and Singapore.
To give you a taster of what the report contains I’ve picked out some of the stats that relate specifically to the Chinese market.
They are detailed below along with data pulled from other sources which adds further insight into the Chinese mobile market.
Chinese investment in mobile marketing
- Our research shows that, on average, mobile accounts for over a third (39%) of Chinese companies’ web traffic and over a quarter (27%) of ecommerce revenue is transacted directly on mobile devices.
- Chinese companies spend nearly a third (28%) of their overall marketing budgets on mobile – the largest spend across Asia Pacific.
- Two in five (41%) companies surveyed spend over a quarter of their overall marketing budget on mobile.
- Additionally, nearly two-thirds (63%) of Chinese companies plan to increase their mobile spend during the next 12 months (compared to 75% in India). More than three-quarters (77%) plan to increase their mobile budgets by up to 30%.
- Seven in ten (72%) Chinese organisations claim that mobile will become a fundamental part of their marketing and commerce strategy during the next 12 months. This is slightly above the APAC average (67%).
Mobile will become a fundamental part of our marketing and commerce strategy during the next 12 months
- By the end of August 2014 the total number of mobile subscribers in China reached 1.27bn.
- 480m of these are 3G users and 30m are 4G users according to MIIT (Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology).
- This means that by August the number of 4G users had more than doubled from 13.97m in June 2014.
- Separate data from iResearch showed that almost three-quarters (73%) of mobiles sold in China are smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011, so the market size is likely to continue its strong growth.
- By 2016 it’s forecast that mobile phone penetration will reach 86.9%.
- In Q3 2014 Chinese people spent RMB230.96bn ($37.59bn) through mobile commerce, according to iResearch.
- This represents an increase of 250.9% year-on-year.
- Mobile now accounts for a third (33%) of all online sales, up from 14.3% in Q3 2013.
Local mobile advertising
- Investment in local mobile advertising is expected to exceed RMB10.142bn ($1.65 billion) in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 93.6%, according to EnfoDesk.
- Mobile gaming is hugely popular around the world, and China is obviously no exception. This presents a big opportunity for marketers to place in-app adverts and other forms of marketing.
- As of June 2014 almost half of Chinese mobile users (47.8%) played games on their device.
- Total transaction value of China mobile gaming market is expected to be over RMB20bn ($3.27bn) in 2014.
- Furthermore, it is estimated that the number of total value will exceed RMB40-50bn in 2015.