Blog : mobile advertising

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Advertisements today can be overwhelming to consumers. Especially in the last decade as advertising has come to focus upon online consumerism, customers are constantly bombarded with popups for the latest and greatest products. The negative response to this shift in marketing has led to a need for innovative and unique technologies that avoid overwhelming consumers while still reaching an audience. Indoor location technologies, such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons, is one of these innovative designs.

What are BLE Beacons?

Bluetooth Beacons are wireless devices that draw attention to a specific location, within a finite space. A clear example of a beacon is a lighthouse: its light draws attention from offshore ships, letting the ships know their distance from the lighthouse and the shore. Bluetooth Beacons do the same thing in a virtual environment, allowing brick-and-mortar businesses to send out signals to mobile devices in the immediate area.

Bluetooth Low-Energy Beacons, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, are just as their name suggests. They do the same thing in practice while maintaining low energy consumption.

How do BLE Beacons work?

The wireless device draws attention to its location by periodically putting out a radio signal. This radio signal consists of a small packet of data, usually advertisements. A beacon at a sports store, for example, might periodically send signals for current deals on hiking boots. Compatible mobile devices within close proximity to the beacon (usually about 100 meters) would then receive those advertisements, triggering applications to prompt responses like push messages or actions.

Why use a BLE Beacon?

Bluetooth Beacons, in general, allow businesses to deliver highly contextualized and personalized advertisements to their customers. Unlike other indoor location technologies such as GPS and NFC, Beacons are hyper-localized and specified for indoor environments. This means that the customer isn’t going to get advertisements for every store in the mall, but they also don’t need to be standing directly next to a product to receive an advertisement.

BLE Beacons also cost 60-80% cheaper than classic Bluetooth Beacons (although classic Bluetooth is recommended for more complex applications). Their low-energy consumption allows them to last much longer than the classic Bluetooth Beacon. The BLE Beacon stays in sleep mode unless it is actively configuring a connection, so it can last up to 3 years on one coin-cell sized battery.

Who benefits from using BLE Beacons?

Both Classic Bluetooth and BLE Beacons can be beneficial to a company. Classic Bluetooth can handle larger amounts of data, but BLE Beacons are ideal for transmitting advertisements to applications that periodically use small amounts of data. This, in addition to their low-energy consumption and cheaper cost, means that small businesses may benefit from using a BLE model over classic Bluetooth location technology.

The value of in-store retail sales influenced by beacon technology increased by $40 million between 2015 and 2016. The benefit of being able to personalize advertisements to customers continues to appeal to businesses, and it’s expected that 4.5 million beacons will be active by 2018.

What is Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencer Marketing?

The emphasis of digital marketing has continually shifted over the past three decades. For the last few years, our industry has been consumed by content marketing. Now, a marketing shift toward influencer marketing has grasped our collective attention. The product or service is falling subordinate to the salesman’s sales-pitch.

Influencer marketing relies on the individual’s popularity or reputation to draw market share to a company’s bottom line. A person’s online persona can sway the choice of thousands of followers in an instant. Their popularity enforces the value of the product, encouraging followers and fans to buy the product. If a consumer finds the influencer enticing, often all that is needed is a simple Tweet to bend a market.

The rise in social media has created a far stronger illusion of intimacy between big names and average people. Instead of relying on traditional media, consumers can go directly to a politician’s Facebook page, or see pictures of a celebrity’s child on Instagram. This direct connection between influencer and follower deceives the follower to trust an influencer in the same way that they might trust a friend or family member. Influencer marketing offers a new type of digital and mobile advertisement that appears far more organic and natural.

Goals when engaging influence marketers:

  • Plan in advance. The use of influencers requires research and focus. A scattered, shotgun approach to marketing runs contrary to the use of influencers.
  • Be strategic in your selection of individuals. Each influencer has a specific audience that follows specific individuals. Each audience has its own habits and tastes. Select a palette of influencers to facilitate your goals.
  • Allow the influencer to use his or her own voice. Influencers have a following because of their brand; they speak with their own voice. This is why you hire them. Let them do their job.

Influencer marketing allows the company to step deeply into the consumer’s circle of trust. In the same way that we are more likely to listen to a good friend, consumers rely on social media to construct their reality. As marketers take hold of this opportunity, consumers become less hostile and more accepting of endorsement by influences.

If you want guidance selecting the elements of you next marketing campaign, contact Colure’s advisory team.

Mobile Technologies and Wearables

Mobile Technologies and Wearables

Technology that helps to improve fitness is continuously growing and expanding. The goal of many of these apps or devices is to transfer information seamlessly from the physical world into an app. This particular niche has proven to be a goldmine. The wearable technology industry is projected to be worth $34 billion by 2020. Tracking is currently a large component of these technologies. By providing the ability to track steps, flights climbed, and calories burned, the fitness technology provides detailed insight into a wearer’s life and fitness habits. From there, the wearer can improve or maintain fitness levels.

This booming industry could be either an opportunity or a threat of independence to traditional gyms and fitness clubs. One fitness club, Equinox, took the opportunity when Apple and Nike released HealthKit. The fitness chain engineered its own digital platform with Apple. Personal trainers could now access customer’s accurate data to tailor fitness programs to the customer’s needs.

One non-traditional fitness app made by a gaming company boosted their net worth by 7.5 billion dollars. The company, Nintendo, created the app Pokemon Go with Niantec and the Pokemon Company. This app features the use of a smartphone’s GPS and camera system to make a highly interactive game. The player must walk around in the real world to move their virtual avatar in the game. The avatar will randomly encounter Pokemon. Then the app uses the camera to place the creature as if it is in your “real” environment. You also need to take a certain amount of steps to achieve accomplishments. The Pokemon franchise is so huge and well known that players of all ages download the game. Many users reported that the game is helping them boost their fitness since walking is a necessary component of playing the game.

All this tracking and fitness apps and technology creates a jackpot for mobile advertisers who use data. Since most use GPS, companies can get a detailed look at the lives of their consumers. Additionally, they can receive information about your general state of wellness, health conditions, diet, etc. from these apps. All this data could be sold to create more detailed advertisements, similarly to the online data tracking that already exists. This may be an issue of privacy for many. Others may enjoy having advertisements that are more relevant to their needs and wants.

The fitness technology industry is exploding with growth. Companies who take advantage of this trend will have a potential to reap major benefits. Contact Colure’s mobile advertising team to provide a solid go to market plan for your next mobile app.

Geofencing in mobile applications

Geofencing in mobile applications

Allowing a mobile device to recognize environmental elements can truly make an application dynamic. Because consumers live and breathe by their mobile devices, having environment-awareness available in mobile devices keeps users on their toes and engaged in their environment. This concept is called geofencing, also known as context awareness. 

Awareness of their physical environment for mobile applications brings more depth and attractiveness to an application’s user experience or UX. It engages the user by sending individually tailored data to their phone based on their geographical location. This plays a critical role in executing in-app mobile marketing and mobile app retargeting campaigns. 

Context awareness is a property used in mobile devices to identify where the user is using an application and how that might affect what the user is doing,” – Matt Carver at Bigspaceship.

In a context-aware environment, wireless devices such as environmental sensors, radio frequency identification tags, and smartphones send location, presence and other status information across the network. Specialized software captures, stores and analyzes the data, sending it back over the network to provide context to the end device as needed,” – Computer World. Having a mobile device react to its environment and offer advertising suggestions in terms of retail therapy or even a coffee shop facilitates the needs of each user.

Goals of context awareness

The ultimate goal of a context-aware system is for the system to arrive at a representation of the surrounding world that is close to the perception of the user,” – Interaction Design Foundation.

The layering of data allows the use of time of day and GPS coordinates to create a customized, ever-changing source of space and time relevant content for the consumer. They might provide breakfast suggestions in the morning, clothing suggestions relevant to elevation and weather, and locations for cocktails in the evening.

Geofencing is the ability for a mobile device to pinpoint the context of the user’s geographical location. “Context-aware applications look at the who’s, where’s, when’s and what’s (that is, what the user is doing) of entities and use this information to determine why the situation is occurring,” – GA Tech.

Challenges of context awareness

Mobile devices allow consumers to always be connected to the world around them. These connections can have difficulties. Computer World sheds light on challenges involving context awareness. One challenge of context awareness is privacy issues. Because context awareness uses data from the mobile device as well as environmental data, data breaches can occur. Being able to balance the security risks against the rewards is something that will be answered in time.

Geofencing is an interesting feature for mobile devices and applications. This functionality advances the capabilities of the smartphone for the specific user’s advantage. By having a more dynamic experience with your mobile device, it is no wonder that consumers fill every moment of the day looking at their phone. Advertisers and marketers will continue to take advantage of this desire for customized content and hyper focus audience targeting.

What is a Mobile App “Test Market Campaign” – Are they worth the hassle?

What is a Mobile App “Test Market Campaign” – Are they worth the hassle?

The development of a mobile application is a significant event for any corporation, team, or individual. As the app approaches its final stages of development, there is a tremendous temptation to rush that nifty new mobile application directly into the hands of consumers. Before that action, the product owner should ask one critical question: “Are we ready?”

A critical path to confirm the app’s market viability is to conduct a test market campaign. Establishing reliable numbers allows the development team to understand what is functional and what is lacking. A market analysis provides insight to what you don’t know about the marketplace.

Within the test market campaign, individual goals should be established on a timeline, and if those goals aren’t met, the company needs to be prepared to go back to the drawing board. An active test marketing campaign will answer many new questions, some of the benefits include the following:

  1. Seeing if the product/service is viable in the real world
  2. Analyzing if the marketing strategy needs a revamp
  3. Measure how consumers will respond to the product/service
  4. Gain feedback from customers before product launch

Overall, conducting a test market campaign before launching a major media buy and mobile advertising campaign is beneficial to the company. It can help to work out the minor (and sometimes major) details of the product/service. A major advantage is that it provides the product owner with insight into the relationship between the market and the product. It lets the consumer be a part of the overall process of creating something new, and that is good for business.

A test market campaign would be wise to use in this situation if time and money permit the organization to do so. The test marketing can be used to tweak the final product or modify how to market it better to the public.

Jumping into major campaign without a marketplace analysis is like jumping into a puddle of muddy water. You have no idea how deep the water may be or if there is broken glass just under the waterline. In short, it can be a terrible decision. Before you risk the fruit of your labors, take the time to investigate the viability of the marketplace.

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Display advertising has long been the driving financial force behind the Internet. Ads pay for the consumer’s seemingly endless appetite for the content they consume each day. The market forces created by profit margins and the ever increasing power of market leverage are staggering. Together, they have driven advertisers to peruse an ever-evolving set of techniques and technologies to grasp either the user’s attention or information.

A growing opinion amongst users is that internet advertising is out of control. It occupies too much space, data, time, and invades too far into our privacy. Users have now been given the opportunity to block most of the advertisements that fill their screens. A critical problem created by blocking all of those advertisements is that ‘no ads equal no cash flow.’ With this new shift in power, who will pay for the web? How will the current economic model of the internet survive?

At the heart of the issue lies the following dichotomy: while practically everyone wants free access to almost all internet content, they want to yield profits from their own internet endeavors. They don’t want to have to pay, however, they do want a pay-day. No matter how you cut it – there is no free lunch. If you are on the internet, you are paying a price to someone.

With this cost in mind, several questions come to mind. What is a just and equitable compensation for ‘free access’ to content?  At that point of full and just compensation, do the data harvesting and advertising behaviors of the advertisers change accordingly?

There is no question the internet is a capitalistic environment. Publishers should be compensated for their efforts and content. The question then becomes ‘what is a reasonable price for their product?’ Should users be given a price or simply subjected to endless mining of their resources and data simply in exchange for access to content? These questions have established a blurry synergy established between the users and providers. How many advertisements are enough? At which point has the consumer fairly compensated the publisher for the content they have consumed? When has enough data been mined?

In the past few years, a growing debate has given rise to the concerns of excess. It is virtually impossible to access any online platform without being, for the lack of a better description, attacked by advertising or silently data-mined. The scary part of the equation is that while consumers are aware of the advertisements that are flashed endlessly in front of their face, they have no clue as to the nature, amount, or depth of the data about that is silently harvested behind the screen.

Bluntly, this is the price of doing business. If you access the internet, you will pay the piper.

There is a growing backlash over the increasingly invasive nature of net advertising. At the forefront of this battle are two corporate giants – Apple and Google. One corporation has built their business model upon the mining of data, the funds generated through online advertising, and content management. The other has provided the consumer with the ability to limit the access of that reach.

The recent release of Apples’ iOS 9 and OS X operating systems include “content-blocking extensions” (AKA  “ad-blocking software”). If users can now effectively remove advertisements from the ‘free web’ who will pay the bills?

This clash of titans was eloquently described in a recent posting. I’ve posted an excerpt from it here:

The central philosophical dispute over ad-blocking goes something like this: Publishers have no right to force readers to be exposed to certain kinds of ads or allow numerous third parties to collect their information without a prior agreement; readers have no right to read or view content that they don’t pay for in one form or another, be it with money or data. What is not in dispute is that if ad-blocking becomes ubiquitous (and there’s nearly every reason to think that it will be!) it will be devastating for publications who derive much or all of their revenue from advertising—which comprises most of the professional publications on the internet. When Murphy first posted about “an hour with Safari Content Blocker in iOS 9,” he asked, rhetorically, “Do I care more about my privacy, time, device battery life & data usage or do I care more about the content creators of sites I visit to be able to monetise effectively and ultimately keep creating content? Tough question. At the moment, I don’t know.” (With the impending release of Crystal, it seems he’s resolved that tension.) When I spoke with Chris Aljoudi, lead developer on uBlock, an extension that tells users how many third-party scripts are active on a webpage, and asked how sites should sustain themselves if all of their ads are blocked, he replied, “I’m not an expert on whether it’s a business model, I don’t think we need to know as developers of a tool like this.” Even if they don’t have solutions, “users need to be able to control what they are forced to come across,” Aljoudi said, using the example of nytimes.com, a website for which no known mandate of visitation exists.                                                                                                                                                                                                      – Casey Johnson writing for theawl.com

In order to provide “free access” to content, publishers rely upon heavily inserting code scripts that too often invade users space, take control of the window, or harvest an unknown amount about data about the user. Providers do this to pay the bills. A broader question for everyone is ‘how and when can equity be found for all parties at the table?’

At Colure, we are well aware of this consternation and provide a balanced approach to advertising:
The way we differ from our competitors is that we help our clients with a balanced advertising portfolio. Within this picture, display or PPC advertisements would only be a single component of the greater picture. We also recommend SEO, app store optimization, blogging, syndicated or sponsored blogging with influencers. Digital PR is critical; let us not forget our recommendations for social media with content management. At the end of the day, we move forward to find a proper, working balance between the needs of our clients and those of the public.

Communications with your client and their customer base is an ever evolving game of chess. If you would like to discuss your project needs, contact our project managers.

In-App Advertising for Mobile Applications

In-App Advertising for Mobile Applications

Mobile devices have been described as ‘this generation’s fuel for their soul’. It seems as though every function, need or desire can be addressed, answered or satisfied by some type of mobile application. Being able to monetize these behaviors has been a point of significant focus by corporations both large and small. Competition in the marketplace is incredibly fierce. Successful market shares are measured in both time and dollars; the two are inextricably connected. The longer you keep a user engaged in your application, the better your odds are of generating revenue from that user. 

The big question that faced developers for years concerned both of these factors. How do you keep a user interested while engaging their wallets? In order to retain your clients, you need to hold their attention. A quality interface engages the user and won’t let them drift away from your application. Unfortunately, traditional advertising would do exactly that! When a user clicked on an advertisement inserted into a mobile application, they were whisked away to a distant website, often unable to find their way back to the place they started…the app. So how do you enjoy a mobile app without being taken to a web browser solely for advertiser content?

In 2009, Apple and Google got into a bidding war over a tech start-up which introduced a unique solution to that question. That solution integrated high-quality advertising directly into a mobile application’s operating platform. Google won the bidding war and acquired what would later be released as AdMob. The competitor of this was iAd, introduced as a new component of Apple’s iOS 4 operating system. Both provided customized, high-quality content, able to engage the user on many levels. This advertising platform, within a mobile platform, allowed the developer to engage the user with content, without taking them away from the app of their choice.

Both advertising platforms address a considerable business opportunity. Unfortunately, iAd was never able to conquer a majority of the market. After a few years on the market, iAd has had more than its share of challenges.

The market trends show that the demand for in-app advertising is strong. Users liked to be wooed right where they are, cradled comfortably inside of an app. As time passes, developers will have to continue the task of redeveloping advertising platforms.

Beginning with the earliest of spoken story tellers, advertisers have wanted the consumer right in the palm their hand. The mobile device has re-defined that for the foreseeable future – it is now the advertiser who is begging to be held by the consumer.

Audience retargeting in social media

Audience retargeting in social media

Advertisers use the practice of ‘audience retargeting’ in order to market a product to the most relevant audience. Social media has become one of the most vital parts of modern society because of its focused ability to meet this need.

The practice of retargeting allows companies to specifically target consumers who have previously demonstrated an interest in their goods or services. Manipulated content allows companies to place their brand freshly into the audience’s mind.

It is significant to focus on consumers who are truly engaged with a brand. In order to grow a business, it is critical to interact, stand out and appeal to your audience.

Facebook is extremely successful in terms of rebranding. They have access to critical data covering a fifth of the entire population of the planet. Because of this powerful information, they are able to place a specific ad in front of a specific person at a specific moment.

The data entered on Facebook pages such as personal preferences, searches, interests, and likes is identified, indexed and stored. Once the information is processed, they match commercial clients to your interests. It is not coincidental that as you search the web for a new computer, ads from electronic companies begin appearing.

The concept of retargeting is essentially a cycle. It begins when a potential customer visits a website and make a request. An association is established between that person and certain markets. As that person continues to ‘surf’, greater amounts of detail about that individual is gathered by various groups. As that person spends time on the internet, much of the commercial results surrounding that person will be molded to their tastes. The cycle both begins and returns to the individual.

By placing focused advertisements in front of a specific audience, companies are able to achieve a couple of critical goals. They maximize the effectiveness of their advertising budget. They’re able to place their advertisements directly before the audience most apt to make a specific purchase decision.

In the end, retargeting is the main tool used to manipulate consumer traffic towards your website. Contact Colure’s marketing staff to discuss the most effective exposure for your company. 

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process is an organized, systematic approach to developing software. It’s an organized pathway traveled together by both the client and a software development team. The development cycle is an upward spiral that allows for discovery, new growth, consideration of new ideas, inspiration and change.

The process begins when a client approaches a development team with an idea for a new ‘digital mousetrap’. It’s critical that the software team listen to all the concerns of the client. These may include a timetable, budget concerns, support, logistics and so on. In turn, the clients must understand that the development team will do everything in their power to assist them.

During your application’s development, you will encounter numerous pressures that will divert you from your end goal. It is critical that you have a focused plan and a development team who can appreciate these concerns. A solid team will keep your project focused toward a specific goal.

The Software Development Process includes the:

  • development phase – it starts as an idea, quickly followed by an analysis; quality standards are established; specific goals are set.
  • design phase – you’ll discuss form, function and the delegation of duties.
  • implementation phase – The actual program code is written during the implementation phase.
  • testing and verification phase – after the development team has a working copy of the project, they will usually issue it out to a limited group for beta testing. Here, they gather data on what works and what can be refined. Quality standards are met.
  • documentation phase – here the data is brought together and assessments are made.
  • maintenance phase – this is the longest phase. It consists of the constant updating of the program and customer management. This phase continues long after the final release of the project.
The key to success is open communication.

The process is often met with long hours, varied opinions, and strong emotions for a project. This mixture of blood, sweat and tears is critical to the creative process. For as much as a client is passionate about the function of an application, the creative team has similar motivations. They view the project from the inside-out. Ones and zeros take on form, function and texture.

It is this marriage of visions that brings life to the original idea. Each project is more than just the sum total of the various parts. The project evolves with each new idea, inspiration, and dream. Contact Colure’s Development Team to discuss bringing your software dreams to life.

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Content marketing is the technique for creating and sharing free content to provide the consumer with an additional level of product interaction. It is meant to attract new customers and to encourage current customers into developing a loyal, repeat business. But, it should be more than a portion of a company or product. It should be used as a tool to engage your audience.

Four successful content marketing campaigns:

  • Birchbox – a monthly subscription service that provides an array of carefully selected beauty samples to customers. They use content marketing to enhance the online shopping experience for their customers. Birchbox features articles about personal grooming, fitness, and popular beauty products to engage its customers. This has been the key to Birchbox’s success, allowing Birchbox to create an interactive experience for customers as if they were in a store.
  • Red Bull – the energy drink maker uses its content marketing to blend in with the community that enjoys its products. Red Bull specifically chooses to be associated with extreme sports through their advertising. They provide featured videos, films and photos of extreme sports and stunts to associate high energy with the essence of its community.
  • MasterCard – the financial institution uses their content marketing to create a hassle-free, convenient way for costumers to enjoy MasterCard’s features. On the MasterCard website, MasterCard offers features such as a saving calculator and debt FAQs to assist customers with their finances. To minimize inconvenience for it’s customers, helpful videos and ATM locators are located in its “Priceless Pointers” section on its website.
  • Kraft – the international food conglomerate, mastered the use of content long before it was a popular marketing technique. Kraft’s website features recipes, tips, ideas, and videos to assist customers with their products. They understand the power of connecting with their customers. Kraft has created a forum where customers can go beyond simply sharing their recipes. Customers experience those products on a most basic human level – while breaking bread. Kraft expanded its brand from simply selling their products to forming an online community that has become ingrained in the lives of its consumers.

A company’s content marketing has to be relevant to the company’s mission, products, and services. It should allow customers to consistently learn and engage with a brand. As content marketing continues to grow, it proves to be more of a long-lasting relationship than a trend. Content marketing will continue to be a necessity for companies to grow and actively engage their customers.

Contact Colure’s team to discuss marketing strategies for your business. See how a focused approach on your project can dramatically modify your performance in the marketplace.

Is Mobile Marketing Worth The Investment?

Is Mobile Marketing Worth The Investment?

91% of smart phone users keep their phone within an arms reach literally 24/7! Mobile internet usage will overtake PC internet usage by the end of 2014! 1 of our 2 mobile searches converts into a purchase! 61% of mobile searches converts into a phone call! Now let’s ask that question again “Is Mobile Marketing Worth the Investment?” (Source: Infographic courtesy of EverythingMobile, http://www.mobile-marketing-blog.net/2013/07/quick-stats-on-effectiveness-of-mobile.html) 

Mobile Marketing