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What is Native Advertising?

What is Native Advertising?

Consumers have become increasingly adept at either ignoring or electronically blocking advertisements from their screens. To battle this trend, “Native Advertising” was created to grasp the readers’ attention. This is the practice of crafting a SEM (search engine marketing) advertisement to look specifically like the content already on a site.

This advertisement is often added into a news feed, blending in with the endless stream of stories from that day’s events. In this way, the advertisement tries to slip past the reader’s defenses, in the area of the web page readers often see as reserved for “real news content”.

This type of advertising is dressing a paid advertisement in the “clothing of content”. Often you will see this if you read a newsfeed, such as Yahoo! News. In their newsfeed, you’ll see a long line of stories. Interspersed with the news articles, there will be great articles and content pieces, with interesting headlines and eye-catching images. All look like original content, but state that they are “promoted by” or “sponsored by” a particular company. This is the separation between sponsored advertising content and news content.

Mashable promoted an article touching on summer music playlists created by a new upcoming pop group.

For those interested in that pop group or in music, in general, this would probably look worthy of reading. Compare this article to an advertisement that interrupts your browsing experience by flashing on the side of your screen or that makes you click out into another window. The native ad experience is executed by “cloaked choice”, not by force.

While native advertising is a popular option, it does have it’s setbacks. Traditionally, news articles are not directly sponsored by an advertisement. However, the ads do often closely surround the news. There is a level of trust that goes into visiting a website and reading content that you believe has been placed there by journalists. These are reporters who value your readership.

If that relationship is tainted by paid advertising, it can taint that brand, but more importantly, it could damage the trust the consumer has for that site. The site must balance the funds raised by the advertisement against the cost of the consumer’s trust.

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax scrolling is an incredible tool used to ramp-up your mobile application’s user experience (UX). Keeping the user engaged and focused is part of developing a quality experience that will bring the user back to your app time and again.

Parallax scrolling is a computer graphics technique which creates a 3-D environment using 2-D elements. By establishing a differential between the display of foreground elements and background elements, a sense of depth (parallax) is created. In the end, it’s visually entertaining. The visual applications are endless.

Here are 2 websites that entertain us using this technique. They demonstrate the incredible power of parallax scrolling. Look at this example that takes you under the sea, and here we see an infographic of your brain!

The amount of displayed parallax often differs between platforms. A website viewed on a desktop may show a tremendous amount of the scrolling differential between visual elements. That same site, viewed on smaller platforms, will probably reduce the amount of displayed parallax. What you see on a desktop probably will be a much richer and fuller UX than what is presented on a smartphone. This is the nature of responsive website elements. The use of this tool is currently a strong growth trend for both responsive websites and mobile apps.

Regardless of the size of your company, creating a responsive mobile website and mobile app is a smart way to market your service or brand. Today over 50 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 80 percent of Internet users use a smartphone. These statistics show how mobile applications have become a necessity rather than a luxury. In order to stay relevant with today’s online marketplace, quality engagement is key.

Due to an abundance of mobile applications, deciding how to differentiate yourself can be a challenge. Tools like parallax scrolling can help overcome those challenges. Parallax scrolling creates depth and movement of images that add to the application design and sophistication.

Developing an application that grabs user’s attention is the key. The developer’s goal is to engage the individual. The experience itself is meant to impress the onlooker, tell a story, but also to clearly state the benefits of that service or company. This tool is designed to make your web and mobile applications stand out as a ‘one-of-a-kind’, one to be remembered.

Parallax scrolling provides a new fun way to experience a mobile app. It is a tool that developers use to provide depth and texture to their content. By carefully structuring content, users may not mind spending time exploring your app or your business. When you are ready to explore the graphical world created by your next mobile application, contact Colure’s project management team.

Keep your brand relevant

Keep your brand relevant

Manipulating a corporate brand to be a part of the news cycle and not the “background clutter” requires timing, social acuity, and the ability to read the pulse of the public. This is known as “agile marketing”. This marketing technique is the opposite of crafting a large project. This requires being aware of current events, trends, and having the ability to act on them swiftly to appeal to your audience and/or to the masses.

Six years ago, the infamous Oreo Cookie Dunk in the Dark tweet went viral, taking the 2013 Super Bowl Blackout headline. A single marketing team used that event to their brand’s advantage. Here, Oreo saw an opportunity to comment on trending news. Since then Kit Kat has taken the agile marketing spotlight with its tweet and trending hashtag #bendgate, which referenced the past iphone6 bending fiasco.

“In today’s fast-paced, multichannel world, marketers no longer have the luxury to spend months crafting large projects; they must innovate and produce on the fly and respond immediately to market disruptions.” – Forbes staff writer Jennifer Rooney

No matter if your company is large or small, relating your brand or service to noteworthy information can draw attention to your company. Agile marketing demands your business be able to adapt and to be flexible to the outside noise-makers.

Many of these agile marketing examples can be seen utilizing Twitter and Facebook to express their one-liners. However, agile marketing is still a fairly new marketing tool. In 2019, we are sure to see more brands use this technique. Recently, during the ESPY’s, a television advertisement by Airbnb grabbed viewers’ attention. Airbnb is known for its home sharing service decided to use the theme of “trans kind” in their advertisement during the awards show. This ad smartly aligned with the ESPY’s choice to award Caitlyn Jenner for her contribution to sports and her relationship with the transgendered community.

With company demands to be relevant, so are the needs of flexibility and speed. These needs make agile marketing a necessity today. Because of the “always-on and always-connected” individuals, agile marketing may one day become the norm.

Marketing is an interactive process that brings together the breadth of both the advertiser and the public. Being able to read the pulse of both parties is critical. Once more, being able to appreciate the space they both occupy marks the difference success and nothingness.

Marketing shift from globalization to personalization

Marketing shift from globalization to personalization

The latest marketing trend consists of shifting from globalization to personalized interaction. Personalization means getting closer to your audience, getting to know them and touching their hearts. Personalization is the current path to success. Personalizing is transporting your consumer to another place, giving him something to think about, making them crave better engagement. Personalization means engaging and embracing your customer.

Today’s business world has automated much of the process of communication. It is mission critical to make the consumer feel genuinely needed and desired. When a company creates a personalized experience with the audience, the trust level between the consumer and the company usually increases. This is the User Experience (UX). This relationship will be the mechanism by which a company may very well sink or swim.

Know your audience

To personalize, the marketer must know their audience on a personal level (names, gender, age and more). What’s more, they must engage that audience on a meaningful level. This means engagement in a way that is meaningful by the consumer’s standards – not the business’ standards.

Personalizing means looking for something that will have an impact upon the client at a personal level. This calls for constant creativity, as the marketer has to predict the wants and needs of the consumers. Clearly, this is a critical challenge for corporations of all sizes.

Personalization affects every company these days. Because it has become so popular, companies that do not practice it may very well lose their audience share. As personalization has revolutionized communication, each communicator must take an active role in order to keep their audience alive.

How to calculate an advertising budget

How to calculate an advertising budget

Every company must stake its own space in the marketplace to survive. In order to successfully interact with your customers, each business must decide on the best course of communication. This function is facilitated by your company’s marketing budget.

Each business owner is an expert in their given area of practice. Everyone needs customers, yet often, stakeholders haven’t been provided with a game-plan of how to reach those customers through advertising.

We’re providing a roadmap for your future marketing budget. The purpose is to help the business owners focus their resources for the best ROI on their investment. If you begin with a focused process, your odds of success greatly increase.

Dollars and sense

When deciding on a typical marketing budget, there is no definitive answer on the dollar amount a business should spend. How much you plan to allocate depends on a number of variables including the industry you are in, the size of your business, its growth stage, your annual revenue goals, your projected sales, your cost per acquisition, whether you are willing to spend on websites, mobile apps or some other long term project.

It may be helpful to examine some methods of determining marketing budgets and average percentages that companies use in their calculations. You need to determine your marketing budget wisely and not depend on what is left over after your business expenses are covered. We are here to give you some guidelines that you can use to determine your marketing budget.

As a general rule of thumb, Colure Media suggests that the marketing and advertising budget should be on an average 10% of the company’s overall revenue. This budget should be split between brand development costs including the channels you use for marketing and the costs of promoting your business (campaign, events, and advertising etc.). The percentage of revenue calculation should account for possible additional factors such as new product launch, new market entries, and mergers/acquisitions.

Calculate your CPA

For companies who are unsure of their revenue goals or don’t know their exact overall revenue, we suggest calculating their marketing budgets using cost per acquisition (or CPA). Using a CPA, we help companies reverse engineer their budgets by understanding their sales goals. For example, if a company wants to sell 10000 units of something and if they know their CPA, they can calculate their marketing budget by multiplying their sales goals of 10000 by CPA.

It is very important to re-examine your CPA, as this is a number that you want to optimize. Your goal is to make it lower since you want to receive a higher rate of return on every dollar you spend on marketing. Continually look around for new and more effective methods of reaching out to your target market. The use of new and improved technology can help you optimize your cost per acquisition.

If you are seeking out the development of projects like mobile applications, website development, and mobile marketing (or some other long term project), our advice is that you pull that project out of your total budget and calculate its own budget as a separate line item. The reason being is that these long-term (5 to 7 years) marketing tactics require an initial heavy investment and small investments later on. You are better off doing an initial investment of around 8 to 10% on these large projects and then 2% of your annual revenue toward web development for the next 3 years. After that, you need to put money only for updates and maintenance for the next couple for years.

These values are not set in stone

Once you have set your marketing budget, remember that it is not a fixed value. There might be times when you will be throwing in another unplanned event or campaign. The main thing is to know whether your spending is giving you your required ROI.

One of the biggest issues facing new and existing businesses is that they may not know what their marketing and advertising budget should be. Often, businesses don’t understand the process of media planning. Many times budgets are set blindly, with a number just being thrown into the air and hoping that it lands on the success outlined in their business plan (if they have created one).

There are three components to every business:

     1. Unique product/service

     2. Profit

     3. Marketing/Advertising/Sales

At the end of the day, a business with unlimited funds can spend plenty of money and time running test after test, but they may sacrifice market share to competitors (who may have inferior products/services) who are knowledgeable and have navigated these seas time and time again. Blindly throwing money at your advertisements is not the answer. Define your goals. Examine your numbers. Start with a solid plan that can be modified, with purpose, as time passes. We hope that this will help your gain a better perspective on your marketing efforts.

If you want to discuss your advertising needs, contact Colure’s Project Managers to help you reach your target audience.

A key to corporate communications

A key to corporate communications

The marketplace is placing new demands on how corporations interact with their clientele. At the core of many consumer’s concerns is the ability to resolve an issue without any unneeded hassle.

The solution begins with anticipating the needs of your audience. Does your staff have the skills to identify the nature of an issue, the tools to correct the problem, and the latitude to engage a working solution?

As a consumer, how many times have you spoken to someone in a customer service department who clearly does not understand what you are describing, cannot access the information that is needed, nor do they possess the authority to resolve your issue?

Empower your staff

By anticipating the needs of your customers, providing proper staff training, and empowering your employees to resolve an issue, you position the company to respond intelligently to an inquiry of any caliber. The process starts with you.

Communications is a proactive and interactive relationship. The key is listening and responding intelligently to what your customer has to say. After you hear what they tell you, provide some type of proactive response that advances the situation toward a proper resolution.

Two critical needs for successful communications are:

  • An established path of open communications – Is that path flexible to meet the changing needs of the consumer and your corporation?
  • Trained “brand ambassadors” who understand your brand and your corporation. They must understand the needs of your clients. Do you have people who can effectively communicate with your customers? Do they merely read text off of a computer screen or do they actively process the requests when the public contact them?

The way we interact and the manner in which we prepare for that interaction are mission critical to the success of your brand. If a customer’s requests get lost in a web of inefficiency, the potential PR damage is probably more significant than the event that generated the initial query. No one likes to have their concerns dismissed, lost, or just ignored.

Be sure that your customer service team has a flexible, interactive pathway established before you “open the front door.” If your staff doesn’t have an answer, at least have the ability to ‘vamp.’ Be able to acknowledge, record intelligently, and pass along the genuine concerns of your clients to someone who can correct the situation.

Your corporate brand is not an image on a bumper sticker. It is the lifeline to your customer. Be sure that you understand the process of communication.

Simplify the corporate image
The internal workings of almost any corporation are complex. Structure, hierarchies, and procedures are mission critical to keeping an organization well oiled and operational. However, when a customer calls in, they don’t care about your corporate needs – they want a simple answer to their problem.

This challenge faces every corporate communications office. How do you merge these two necessities? The problems that most corporations face are being able to listen successfully and answer intelligently.

Calvin Sun wrote a great piece on corporate communications for TechRepublic. Being able to communicate successfully involves active participation. Be ready to listen. Be prepared to change for the needs of your customer, your industry, and your brand.

If you want to develop a working strategy for your customer’s needs, contact our project managers to help you get your brand to those who matter most.

It’s time for your 2018 corporate social media review

It’s time for your 2018 corporate social media review

The end of the year marks the time for a broad review of your corporate social media plan. Take this opportunity to examine your media successes and failures for 2018. Before you step forward into the next calendar year, you should examine what has and has not worked for your company.

This broad overview is a specific year-end event. This differs from the regular monitoring of your media profile. The yearly review is an opportunity to see if you have reached the broad marketing goals you set for yourself and your company.

Key Performance Indicators (or KPI’s) are the benchmarks used to measure social media performance. A KPI could be the measure of website traffic, likes, clicks, or retweets. You need to examine your audience’s level of interaction with your social media profile. Are they interested? Have they been motivated to interact with your media? Are you providing the content they crave? At the end of the day – what service or content have you provided that they value?

Your media team should be analyzing your social media on a regular basis. How often? Daily, weekly, monthly, who is to say? Every company has different needs and resources. No two groups are the same. However, the one constant common to every organization is the clear need to understand their own customers. You need to decide what works best for both you and your customers.

There is one definitive answer – choosing to do nothing will be the most costly option you can select. At that point, you are wasting resources – time, money, and most importantly, your relationship with your customers.

Keep in mind that your social media profile is a living, breathing relationship between your company and your audience. It’s critical you listen to what they are telling you. However, it’s not always a simple conversation. The difference between what your customers are saying and what you are hearing can be immense. Be sure that you take the time to provide an honest evaluation of your media’s track record.

Media analytics tools make the process of analysis clean and simple. As a manager, you’ll be able to read either a brief overview or an in-depth report. Take the time to examine the story that is being presented to your team. As a business owner, this is a conversation you must understand. You don’t have to have fluent media skills, but you must be able to speak the language. You have to understand the basic concepts.

The key steps here are:

  • Research and Plan – Do Your Homework
  • Execute
  • Review your Analytics
  • Modify your Media Plan
  • Re-Execute

Let your media team do the heavy-lifting for you, but as an owner, you need to understand what they are saying. A small investment of time will yield a great reward. Learn the simple mechanics of social media analytics.

This is a polite reminder to re-examine the performance of your corporate social media portfolio for 2015. Before you do anything else, schedule a review near the end of Q4 2016 or whenever you perform your next yearly corporate media review. Don’t allow another year to pass without this critical review.

As you read these words, hopefully, you’ll smile and tell yourself “I’ve already had my yearly media review”. If this is a new concept for you, I challenge you to review your 2015 media results soon. Before you step forward into 2016, be sure to review your performance for 2015.

If you have questions how to proceed, contact Colure’s Advisory Team to help you mold your media profile for 2016.

Analytics in business

Analytics in business

Analytics is a multidimensional field that uses mathematics, statistics, predictive modeling and machine-learning techniques to find knowledge and patterns in recorded data. It studies past historical data to find patterns and potential trends to analyze the effects of certain decisions and events.

Social media is an example of a platform that can produce its own analytics. Most social media sites will provide users with analytics, but will also provide data to other websites through big data as well.

Analytics contains a data that can help us identify what happened, how, or why an event happened, what’s happening now and what is likely to happen next. There are many ways to gather data through graphs and charts and even numerical data

This can pertain to any field or industry that rely on data to understand the data as it progresses. It is often most useful for many businesses and companies due to its predictive qualities. Analytics can be used for websites to determine how well or not well their business is doing.

The most popular form of analytics within businesses and companies is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics have surged in popularity due to the desire to predict customer behavior. Web analytics are important to a companies’ website because they deliver data about the website, the traffic from its visitors and their behaviors, so they can measure what is and isn’t working. This helps to improve your website’s performance rates.

By using analytics, you are able to track where your traffic is coming from, what attracts the most visitors, and what days of the week are the heaviest with traffic. This information has value in helping you to improve and maximize your online marketing and sales leads and to improve the user experience.

Analytics can open doors to new information that have never been seen before. They provide a deeper insight into the behind-the-scenes of your business to see much more than revenue. Companies often don’t realize the need to improve or change things in order to be more successful until they see that data that suggests otherwise.

If a company or business doesn’t analyze the current state of their website and business, then they won’t be able to identify areas that need further development and improvement. It is critical for businesses to understand the analytics of the numbers and graphs that pertain to their company. Without understanding, the data means nothing to a business.

A company must understand and be able to discuss their companies’ analytics to experts even if they aren’t experts themselves. This shows that they have basic knowledge of the information that they are receiving on how their business is doing so they know where to improve, whether it is their online presence and marketing or physical revenue.

What is cost per registration (CPR)?

What is cost per registration (CPR)?

In order to measure the fiscal health of a company, businesses must measure key performance indicators (KPIs). One critical measurement is determining the cost to acquire one new paying customer. For subscription base companies this model is known as cost per registration (CPR), or cost per acquisition.

The New York Times is in the media industry. In a simplistic model, the media outlet sells subscriptions as one of its revenue streams. For every subscription that the Times sells, some money is spent to cover the cost of advertising. Their net gain is the amount spent on advertising subtracted from the funds raised by the new subscriptions purchased.

No business can avoid this cost. To stop all advertising is to lose subscribers. Subscriptions cannot be attained without advertising. Yet, if there is no reliable consumer base, the Times cannot afford to spend money on ads.

Casual readers who have not purchased a subscription cannot be counted upon as a revenue source. Their inconsistency does not allow them to be relied upon for long-term sales. However, they can be persuaded to become subscribers. Special promotions that are tailored to their situation or lifestyle will increase subscription sales.

For example, repeat visitors to the Times’ website could be re-targeted for a free trial to the print version of the paper. If enough of these readers decide to continue with the service, the Times will have made more money in the long run. Or, existing subscribers could receive a discount flyer for the New York Times’ weekend edition. The revenue lost by giving a discount will hopefully be negated by a wave of new subscriptions.

A careful balance between advertisements and subscribers is the only way to maintain a successful, profitable business. If properly organized, any additional costs taken on in this model will be negated through sales revenues.

What is deep linking?

What is deep linking?

Time is money

Anyone who has used a search engine knows that you can easily waste hours looking for a particular piece of content. If your customers spend too much time or energy searching for your product, sooner – more often than later, you will lose them to readily available content. To combat this waste of time and energy, the practice of “deep linking” has evolved to take that customer to a specific target.

Deep links differ from broader linking practices because the deep link usually bypasses the landing page of the destination website and takes the customer to a specific location deeper inside of a website.

Deep links help to establish control over the conversion process by providing direct access to a specific goal. By taking control of the journey through customer’s conversion funnel, programmers can sidestep the need for a search and take the customer directly to the destination service, good, or data.

Deep links and mobile apps

Companies can include these deep links in a mobile text or an email format. The flexibility and speed of mobiles apps have bridged the continuity gap between the web and the mobile universe. Corporations are able to tailor the customer’s user experience (UX) to be faster and more functional. The journey has been crafted to fit the wants of the customer with the needs of the business.

A deep link is a URL that opens and directs a user to a specific location within an app. When a developer creates an app, they can register a URL scheme with iOS. For example, in our app Agenda, we registered “agenda” as the app’s URL scheme, so any URL that starts with agenda:// will deep link to the app,” – Savvy Apps.

Deep links differ in complexity, due to their intended function. They can range from being very basic to very complicated. Many variables will define the complexity, such as function, audience, and medium. A goal for your website may be the download of a corresponding mobile application. By downloading the application, the user can access the information in an email or text more quickly than going to the website. “When the app has been downloaded, the user can be taken to specific content immediately,” – Branch.

This type of mobile device behavior will only increase in order to keep users engaged and to be able to deliver content and information whenever the user needs/wants it. Deep linking makes applications more appealing, even if the user may not want to download it. Eventually, applications will be favored over websites because the functionality of the application will overcome the functionality of the website. User engagement and experience will drive the continued creation of deep linking.

If you are interested in learning how to connect better with your customers, contact Colure’s mobile development 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 the potential to reap major benefits. Contact Colure’s mobile advertising team to provide a solid go to market plan for your next mobile app.

User-Generated Content (UGC) in your ads

User-Generated Content (UGC) in your ads

User-Generated Content (UGC) can be a useful way to produce exposure. Many customers who use UGC are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over the actual content being presented. This is because people usually trust other’s experiences. When certain companies try to win customers over with branded content, this can easily lead them away from the product. UGC allows users to create content based on their likes and wants.

Instead of TV, radio commercials, or billboards, UGC allows users to create their own content while sparing expenses of the businesses. Companies won’t always know if these commercials or ads will sell their customers, which is where UGC becomes useful. It becomes more genuine and sincere because the users that are generating content are not being paid to do so, they are simply sharing experiences.

People are generally likely to trust online reviews just as much as ones that could be in-person. UGC is also a way of exposing people to content that may be able to work better than advertisements. Many people in today’s age will click through ads or fast-forward through commercials. On the other hand, if someone recommends you to a certain product or website, you are more likely to see what it has to offer.

User-Generated Content also allows customers to be more active in the decisions business may or may not make. By generating the content to their needs, it allows businesses to note and modify their products and the way they advertise them. UGC leans more towards creating buzz and not simply just trying to sell based on advertisements. It can be seen as companies talking to customers, not just talking at them through these advertisements. Social media is a great place for UGC and has been found very effective at creating this user content.

Sometimes businesses are not the most effective people to sell their products, but customers might be number one. UGC is important because the customers are unbiased, they do not work for the company or get paid by the company, they are simply expressing opinions and feelings based on the products that they use.

If you want to explore options for content in your advertising, contact Colure’s project management team.

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 on 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.

Content is the core of all media

Content is the core of all media

Business Basics

A brand’s voice and personality depend on the type of content used to craft that image. How you decide to manage that content is intimately involved in every step of the purchase decision-making process. It is the most stable mechanism for a brand promotion.

Customer engagement, which is a strong predictor of company growth and brand loyalty, is built by providing value to the consumer. This action is most often achieved through value, usually achieved through useful content. “Emotional engagement is far more important to consumers than promotional content,” thus making the quality of the content the main factor in its success.

A reputation…is it owned or earned?

While everyone recognizes the role of content in owned and earned media, it’s harder to determine if the content has a place in paid media or if paid media is rendering content useless. Owned, earned, and paid media sources are almost always used together in unison. They’re used to build off each other, but they have key differences worth elaborating.

Owned Media refers to all channels that a company manages and curates, like websites, blogs, and social media. Its main strength is the control it gives a company over their brand image. Its main weakness is its limited reach—though 89% of marketers are using social media around 16% of Facebook fans see the brand’s content on their newsfeed.

Earned Media includes all mentions of a brand on third-party channels. Sometimes referred to as organic advertising, search engine optimization and mobile app store optimization. It is the shared, the reviewed and the viral. Its main weakness, that of having no control over what is being said when, is counteracted by its main strength, the power of word-of-mouth to influence people’s decisions. The skepticism people have when viewing ads is equivalent to the trust that comes from another person’s recommendation.

Paid Media is comprised of all of the advertisements that you have paid. These include Adwords, sponsorships, and content written by others for a fee. Many times, this can appear as sponsored items, appearing in a news channel feed. Another name is “native advertising”. It is expensive, yet, far-reaching. This is a highly targetable resource. While many have frowned upon it, paid media is important to a marketing campaign because, without it, your best content might remain hidden. It is not a replacement for “true content”, but it is a valuable tool in taking owned media and pushing it to possibly blurring the line toward earned media. Competition online has made it hard to sift through information on the basis of interest alone and paid media allows one to place an ad before eyes who are searching for it.

At the core of all three strategies lies content. It is content that draws people to your website. It is content that makes people want to talk about your brand and share it with their friends. And it is content that keeps people engaging with ads even when they’re savvy enough to recognize and avoid them. Paid media will reach an audience, but it will rarely keep them watching more than they have to.

Content is what makes consumers say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was an ad for something!” Questions for the ad industry become “Where do we draw the line between advertising and content?” and “How visible do we make that line?”

Exploring a complementary user experience

Exploring a complementary user experience

An excellent user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is necessary in today’s interconnected world. In our lives, it’s common for users to use multiple smart devices in multiple environments. As users move between devices, it makes sense to transfer a user’s UX across those platforms. An example of this type of event may start by watching a Netflix movie on your living room television. After a while, you get up and continue watching that film on a laptop in the garage while you work on the lawnmower. That singular experience is maintained through different environments and platforms.

The key is providing a seamless UX within a user’s network. Each device becomes an extension of that network; each is a compliment for the other devices in that network. A complementary user experience allows for mobile applications and experiences to intermingle across these platforms. The true essence of the event is found in the experience, not the network.

Mobile gaming apps are another type of application that can benefit from complementary designs. SMHK Funklab’s game Padracer uses an iPhone as a steering wheel and an iPad as a racetrack. Extra iPads can be added to the game as well. The creativity behind Padracer led to its success as one of the first mobile games with a complementary design.

There are two main types of complementary designs: collaboration and control. In a collaborative design, two different devices have different functions. Padracer falls into this category. Control designs allow for one device to remotely control the other which typically serves the main function. An example of this would be using your smartphone to switch the song playing off Spotify from your laptop. Devices in the complementary ecosystem can also fall into two categories: must-have or nice-to-have. A must-have device is required for the app to function. In the case of Padracer, an iPad and iPhone are must-have devices that are necessary to use the app. Additional iPads add to the experience but aren’t required. These extra devices fall under the nice-to-have category.

A complementary design can unlock endless options for a business to provide an enriched experience for app users. More and more companies are discovering how a complementary UI/UX can lead to company growth. A study by AppDynamics discovered that 65% of people have very high expectations for app performance. Additionally, 30% of customers would spend more money on a company with a good app. If your business uses a mobile app, consider how multiscreen compatibility could boost your user experience.

Cross-platform development is critical

Cross-platform development is critical

Thanks to the cell phone, our world has become mobile and immediate; information is always ready at hand. An individual’s entire life can fit into their palm or pocket. That phone might be either Android or iOS based, the two dominant mobile platforms. Developing your mobile app for both platforms is critical in today’s marketplace.

It has become progressively important for companies and businesses to have a heavy mobile presence since smartphones and tablets have captured a dominant share of the market. Mobile application development, a pathway to marketing and branding, includes the need to create applications that run on various mobile platforms. A mobile platform is simply an operating system. 

Developers create applications that are targeted at specific audiences. Often, cross-sections of these audiences disperse between various mobile operating systems. The need to ‘skip’ across various platforms provides the companies the ability to reach different audiences with one application, regardless of the platform. Cross-platform services save time, money and allow code to be easily shared between different platforms. It provides a greater reach to users.

With many solutions, often come with both pros and cons. Mobile development is no different.

Advantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Deploy your app to various platforms reaching a greater audience.
  • Saves time. Allows developers to write code in one language.
  • Reduces development costs. This allows companies to save money by not investing in one team specific to that platform.
  • Simple for developers. The frameworks to create cross-platform applications are designed for scripting languages which allow for a smooth transition to the mobile device.
Disadvantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Technology does not include all features of all mobile devices and operating systems. App developers are continuously updating the apps whenever companies add new features. The framework will need to be updated to support the new additions.
  • Tools are restrictive. Designing an app compatible with cross-platform frameworks can challenge developers, prohibiting them from using their own development tools and suites.
  • Code inefficiency. The inability to work on every platform’s native language. When the translation engine become ineffective, the coding efficiency decreases.
  • Slower code and process. Due to the cross-compilation process, the code writing runtime may slow down.

As with any development process, there are benefits and liabilities associated with using a cross-platform application development system. Cross-platform tools are not a universal solution. Having a development team with a working knowledge of the development environment is critical.

Contact Colure’s development team to help integrate your mobile applications with your existing systems, fitting your specific needs.

Understand social media marketing (SMM)

Understand social media marketing (SMM)

Business Basics

Every hour of every day, social media allows people to consistently create and share information. This constant interaction has driven companies to fully embrace social media as a vital marketing tool. It aids them in displaying their products; manufacturers connect with their returning and future customers. With over 2.3 billion active social media users, a company’s robust, social media presence will continue to solidify the company’s earnings.

Social media marketing (SMM) allows companies to market their brand on social media sites to increase traffic to their websites and stores. The goal of social media marketing is to raise brand awareness on a platform that the customer uses daily. By displaying ads on a site, home screens, or creating a company page with updates, customers are repeatedly exposed to the company profile and products. If the customer likes what the company has to offer, the customer is likely to share videos, images, ads, and articles about the enterprise. This media span reaches potential clients who have not seen the brand’s web presence. SMM allows companies to increase their brand recognition and draw in, as well as retain, customers.

Shoe manufacturer TOMS saw a huge boost in their brand recognition with their #withoutshoes campaign on Instagram. In 2015, Toms designated one day a year as “One Day Without Shoes Day.” Each year on that designated day, the company asks users to post one barefoot photo on Instagram with the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each post, one pair of shoes is donated by TOMS to a child in need. Not only did the campaign rapidly spread, but TOMS also established itself as a socially conscious driven brand. This type of savvy promotion allows customers to feel that their photo contribution and any purchase of TOMS shoes will add to a larger, positive impact on the company.

Camera manufacturer GoPro frequently uses their Instagram account to show the quality of their product. GoPro extensively uses user-generated content for its Instagram page. Besides their company photos, GoPro encourages users to send in pictures of their best shots with their GoPros. This type of social media marketing not only promotes their product but helps customers to consistently use their GoPros and send in their photos with hopes of being featured on the account.

The prominence of social media in society has created a strong personalized sense of marketing. The life-blood of social media is built upon allowing people to create and share information with others. By marketing brands through ideas, social media allows people to be exposed to products they may not find elsewhere. This type of industry is not bound by a geographical location nor an allotted time slot; it is readily available. Whether the appeal comes from an ad, company page, or a friend’s referral, social media marketing is essential in staying relevant in peoples’ lives.

Explore consumer-generated content

Explore consumer-generated content

There is probably no greater assurance in life than that of human testimony. Seeing someone provide support for a product or service may be all you need to make a final purchase decision. If you take a look around, user-generated content is everywhere. Content created by actual consumers is becoming the go-to method to increase customer loyalty. The first-person narrative is quickly becoming a primary marketing channel.

This technique, coupled with the growth and effectiveness of social media interaction, is a deadly combination. This method gives businesses the ability to pass the brand-building responsibilities to the consumer. The purchase cycle begins with the customer and ends with another client. Why create external content when original user-generated content is available?

This new advantage leans on the customer’s interest to hear more views of people who were once in their position. The direction selected by those and have had a positive outcome with a particular product or service.

The more convincing a user can be in their first-person content, the more enriching the experience will be for the customer who is receiving that message. Satisfaction can come from a picture filled with joy & commitment, a story with an excellent description, or an experience filled with uncontrollable emotion. Comfort can come in many forms, as long as it is a testimony that inspires your users to investigate an innocent way to brand your business. Close to 60% of retailers and 61% of brands are using consumer-generated content in their social media campaigns. The most efficient campaigns focus on these five principles:

  • They concentrate on the basics
  • They stay in it for the long run
  • They listen to the customer
  • They let the customers share their story
  • They allow everyone to be a stakeholder

86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a good indication of the quality of a brand. Let’s help each other and share the experience.

If you need guidance to cross that bridge from one customer to the next, contact our Development Team.

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

The recent developments in voice activated technologies have opened the door for explosive growth in the realm of digital interaction between humans and machines. Technology platforms across the board have embraced user control activated by voice commands. Individuals can ask their phone any question and a response will be given. The voice recognition by the operating system is as valid a command input as that from a computer keyboard. These developments created the birth of the ‘digital assistant.’

With the sound of your voice, random data can be searched, reminders can be given about certain events on your mobile calendar, requests become completed actions. Convenience for the user plays a huge factor: it is easier to talk to your phone than to type on it.

The range and depth of these computer responses are impressive. Joe Hindy, The Android App Guy on Youtube, posted an interesting side-by-side comparison of three frontline voice activated platforms – Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. It’s not a perfect demonstration, but it clearly demonstrates how the competing products perform.

Siri

When Siri was introduced in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, it was a sensation.  Back then, PCMag described this new technology “Siri is a speech-recognition computer application. It has both speech input and output, meaning you can speak to it, and it can speak back to you.”  Prior to Siri being introduced as part of the operating system, a voice-activated app was available at the Apple App Store. The technologies were focused on a specific market share, those who may have had difficulties working with a smartphone. The function was similar to Siri but had nowhere near the capabilities of the current Siri. That company was acquired by Apple, and the mobile app was pulled from the App Store. Later, that same technology emerged as the Apple tool we now call “Siri.” It was a cool new addition that Apple built into its iPhones. From then on, it has become a staple of the iPhone user experience.

Google Now

In 2013, Google Now was created.  This program is Google’s answer to the virtual assistant. Google Now “can answer questions like Siri and search the web, but more importantly, it cannot only assist, but pre-empt your requirements using your calendar, email, historic behaviours, and location.” quoted from Koozai.com. Google Now is like an upgraded version of Siri.

Cortana

In 2014, Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 was introduced.  Cortana is a Halo-inspired personal assistant.  It is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now.  What started for the Windows Phone is now on every desktop using the Windows 10 operating system.  “Cortana is powered by Bing, and can perform many of the functions one has come to expect from artificial intelligence-style assistants, such as setting reminders and powering vocal updates to one’s calendar” – CNET.

Amazon Echo

Also, in 2014 was the unveiling of Amazon Echo.  Amazon Echo is an at the home tower and  “lives as a piece of hardware, not just a layer of software available through a mobile device. It has built-in speakers and lets users sample and purchase music as well as stream that music on demand,” according to CNET.  Amazon is trying to make a statement with Echo by offering this virtual personal assistant.

“A June 2014 study by Thrive Analytics found that over half of US adult smartphone users (56%)” use their voice-activated assistants. – Emarketer.

The Future is Now

Millennials will continue to drive the use of virtual personal assistants and will be the deciding factor on whether this trend will stick or be a bust. The digital stage has been set to respond to the sound of our voice. Interaction with a digital assistant is now part of our daily routine. How that interaction is crafted will depend upon the minds of the users and dreams of mobile app developers.

Protect your brand identity

Protect your brand identity

Your brand is the most important asset your corporation possesses. More than money, more than real estate, more than anything – if your consumers cannot identify, define, or respect you, you are dead in the water. Protecting that brand is critical to every interface your organization faces. A brand defines your values, creates an emotional bond between yourself and your customer, and it is the anchor upon which you stand every single moment.

A plethora of voices

Anyone can jump on social media to criticize your products and brand. They can write a blog posting that ranks higher in Google’s search results than you’d like. Control has left the hands of the marketer. The issue is multiplied in the service industry, where review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List – all designed to improve customer experience – can seriously threaten your brand’s credibility and identity.

The consumer has a direct voice to connect quality to value. Now branding efforts must address both macro and micromanagement strategies. Companies must be responsive to individual voices of dissatisfied consumers while focusing resources toward broader quality efforts and branding.

This is the price of doing business. Rightfully so, consumers can now put their mouth where their money is. The business community must do the same.

What can you do?

Successful companies leverage positive reviews into word-of-mouth advertising. This remains the single most effective type of advertising today.

If your company is being battered with negative reviews, what can you do? Here are a few ideas to start:

  • Find them. Use focused social media searches to discover what consumers are saying about your company. 
  • Respond diligently. Once you’ve found complaints, don’t just dismiss them. These reviews are actively read by consumers. Consumers are often more likely to embrace a review than an advertisement.  Respond to the feedback openly and solve the issue. Deal with it.
  • Improve. Don’t just make empty promises. Empty lip-service is the worst response you can provide to a complaint. If you have an issue, deal with it. If you get called on the carpet because of poor service – deal with it. If the customer is upset – deal with it. Don’t dismiss the complaint, resolve the issue. Even if it costs you a few dollars and a bit of time – solve the problem. At this point, damage from the mismanagement of a complaint only escalates.
  • Grow from your mistakes. Learn what the consumer wants. It’s that simple.
  • Take feedback. Make this an opportunity to improve your brand – your customers will thank you for it.

Contact Colure’s marketing team. Discover the art of crisis management. Learn from a team that can help you properly manage your corporate image.

Project management is critical for mobile app development

Project management is critical for mobile app development

How do you develop a simple idea into a fully functional mobile app? The answer is quite simple – solid project management. Many individuals have ideas for an app, but not many invest the needed focus, time, and effort to bring the idea to maturity. Along with your vision, you’ll need an experienced project manager and development team who can help you avoid the pitfalls often associated with a new project.

Project management ideas:
  • Be sure that you are fulfilling a real need. This need could be a totally new idea you create or you could be advancing an existing idea. No matter the origin, be sure that your app actually has a valid purpose. Make sure that it actually does something.
  • Allow your idea to mature. Anyone can place a half-baked app into the market. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘rushing for sake of rushing.’ Time is critical for the maturity of ideas and growth.
  • Take off your blinders. One of the most difficult moments in project development is when you concede that someone outside of your ‘camp’ may have a better idea than yourself. Yes, you too may have a solid idea, but always be ready to listen to the perspective of others. They just might possess a wealth of knowledge from years of experience or education. Take the time to listen with a level head. The viewpoint offered by those outside of your project can often see past your own biasses. Just because you came up with an idea does not mean that your idea will always the best. Each project manager needs to appreciate their own limits. A responsible project manager knows when to check their ego at the door. It’s a  tough lesson, but one that will surface in almost every project, in one form or another.
  • Learn from your mistakes. A poorly developed idea is usually worse than a simply weak idea. The weak idea often has a couple of good ideas at it’s core, but may lack refinement. Poorly developed projects are often riddled with a lack of planning, vision, and purpose. These projects are often doomed from the beginning.
  • Break the process into manageable steps. Be sure you’ve taken the time to explore the needs of the development process. Don’t try to do everything in one step. You’ll need to be able to review and modify your project as it progresses. Make sure that you identify both the short and long-term needs of the project. Growth and development are mission critical.
  • Work with a development team. Engage a team of professionals who understand the subtleties of breathing life into your ideas. As the originator of your idea, you need to stay focused, but stay open minded.

TechRepublic put together a great list of pitfalls that can plague a software development project. Often, project mechanics get gummed up for different reasons. Sometimes those reasons are valid. Sometimes they’re not.

When you’re ready to explore the needs of your next development, contact Colure’s project managers to discuss your dreams.

In-app advertising dominates mobile applications

In-app advertising dominates 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 the now-defunct 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 storytellers, advertisers have wanted the consumer right in the palm of 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.

Mobile gaming is big business

Mobile gaming is big business

There’s no question that the greatest money makers in the app stores today are games. Entertainment is serious business for both the Apple and Google’s app stores. Gamasutra.com looked at the trend and found without question, that one person’s entertainment is another’s business.

The top two revenue-generating apps from late last year both generated over a million dollars per day. During October 2014, Supercell’s “Clash of Clans” brought in almost $1.4 million each day and King’s “Candy Crush Saga” brought in just under $1.2 million per day in the major app stores (Apple and Google).

The vast majority of the market is filled with players who elect to play free-for-play games. However, the numbers of players who actually generate funds are amazing limited, as a percentage of the audience. Gamasutra added that “Only 2.2% of users ever pay in free-to-play games, and 46% of the total revenue comes from just 0.22% of the total amount of mobile users, Swrve reports.”

It’s been reported that the average user checks their smartphone over 1000 times per week! That number may seem a bit high, but it demonstrates how ingrained the mobile phone has become in our lives. With repeated use and shorter attention spans, game developers must capitalize on bringing the customer back to their app.

Although the numbers show a tremendous usage of the device, we see the average user launching apps about 10 times per day. These numbers reflect repeated usage of a limited number of apps. Thus, the market share for competing apps is tremendous. If you can hook the user into coming back to your app, you’ll retain their time and funds. More importantly, you’ll keep those resources from being spent on other developer’s applications.

The gamer is hooked by an enticingly addictive environment, then offered pay-for-play levels deeper inside of the game. The funds are generated by offering ever-increasing levels of adventure, tools, rewards, and exploration.

Contact Colure to engage our game development team. The market is hot for those who want to host their own games.

Republishing content extends audience reach

Republishing content extends audience reach

Social media is arguably the most crucial outlet to market any product or service. Publishing content on the internet is only the first step to market penetration. The re-publishing or re-marketing of that original content allows for a more specific, finite placement in front of the target audience.

When a company publishes a post it might not initially receive the anticipated web traffic. The next step is to re-post that content onto another social media platform to provide exposure to a new audience. When an idea is marketed multiple times, on multiple platforms, that idea will begin to ‘grow legs’. The danger with reposting is that you do not want to earn the title of ‘spammer’ by an email system. If your reposting is qualified as spam, it will go straight into the trash. All of your republishing efforts will be lost.

Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are all necessary platforms for a company to reach its audience. When you have successfully connected with your audience, you can begin marketing your company with a specific audience penetration. Pcdigitalmarketing.com had a few interesting words on how to republish across various social media platforms.

When republishing your content you need to keep all facets of the process in mind:

  • Understand the correlation between the frequency of your posting and platforms you are using. If you republish a post every hour on two different platforms, the audiences will probably react in different ways. A Twitter audience may not mind the hourly update. A LinkedIn audience may find that tactic annoying.
  • Develop a tactical move to advance your content. What is the specific reason for republishing? Are you going after a unique demographic which the original platform doesn’t engage? Answer the following questions in regards to your next media move – WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN and HOW?
  • When a company decides to republish, it should not repeat the same exact caption. The content title is used to draw in a reader. It should be written differently to keep the audience alive and excited.
  • If a company decides to repost content, they should know their audience and know how many times a day or week they should republish their post. It is important to republish to increase the audience, but also very important to be considerate of the audience.
  • Republishing is the perfect approach to spreading a message, as long as the person reposting knows when and how to proceed.
  • Most importantly, be sure that you are tracking the progress of your republishing with some format of web analytics. If you are not counting the specific hits – where and when they are falling, you are just shooting into a dark room with no idea as to any progress toward your goal.

Communication is an interactive process. Take the time to map the process of moving your message from you to your audience. To help you move your company’s message, contact Colure’s Project Managers.

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Creative social media campaigns are mandatory during the successful release of a new mobile application. During the software development process, the software team will design and create the new mobile app. A parallel process is the development of your social media campaign. This is how you will announce your new app to the world. Both of these efforts are mission critical to your application’s survival in the marketplace.

You must create a demand for your product. The development of momentum and interest in your project is an absolute must-do. Keep your audience focused upon only one thing – why they must have your app. While you create your social media campaign, your focus of purpose must permeate each and every action.

Key social media ideas for a mobile app campaign:
  • Each brand has a unique identity. The individual features that separate you from the completion are yours to use or lose. Be sure that you highlight those differences.
  • Stay consistent. As your media efforts crossover between various platforms and campaigns, be sure that you remain centered upon the original identity of your product. Move your campaigns around your product, not your product around your campaigns. If you lose the focus of your product’s identity, there is no possibility that your audience will ever be able to follow you.
  • Emphasize the benefits. Apps must be the solution to a problem. That problem may simply be avoiding boredom (solved with a game), finding information or saving money. By emphasizing benefits rather than features, you compel your audience to click through and download the app. Emphasizing the features of your app – such as its functionality or the speed at which it operates is important, but it will not create demand. Provide a solution to your user’s problem.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Native Ads. In-newsfeed ads, especially on Facebook and Twitter, can be effective tools to promote your new mobile app. Detailed targeting methods allow you to push your message directly to a specific audience. Both Twitter and Facebook offer marketing solutions that are especially enticing for app developers. Twitter’s App Card allows you to add rich media beyond the 140-character limit. This extra media changes the presence of your ad, helping to persuade consumers that your app is right for them. Marketers can specify “App Download” as the goal of their native ad on Facebook, which allows them to track how many users downloaded their app as a direct result of the ad.

Your goal is to market the unique identity of your new application. Stay on task with specific goals for your project. Be certain that your media team is in perfect unison with your software development team.

Contact Colure to discover the union form and function. Our development team will bring your dreams to life.

The power of multimedia convergence

The power of multimedia convergence

The diversity of mobile devices has increased the way information is spread across society. No longer do individuals rely on only a single device as their data source. The increasing volume of mobile devices used by any one person allows individuals to constantly want to check the latest trends, follow the latest celebrity, or look at the latest technology across all their devices. The melding of media is starting to be practiced by many.

“Simply put, media convergence is bringing together different media platforms to support one single campaign or promote a product.” – Gerhard Jacobs writing for Target Marketing

What is the power of multimedia convergence?

A vast majority of consumers are cross-device users regardless of age demographic and mobile device usage is on the rise,” according to Millennial Media. Because information is at our fingertips and individuals have to have the latest technology trends in their hands, there is no secret that multiple device users exist. In addition, individuals are more likely to choose a mobile device over a desktop to search the internet or just for enjoyment.

Millennials (Gen Ys) have definitely changed the way individuals view information on the internet. These individuals are at the forefront of the way information is received and will definitely continue to pave the way marketing and advertising companies deliver their product or service to the general public.

Great power lies in combined media sources; it allows for different mediums to display and send the same message. Because of this overlap, individuals are prone to look at multiple devices throughout the day. The question becomes “Why not streamline those messages to show similar images and branding pieces?” From the public’s standpoint, the increased convenience of information provided by converged stories makes using the media a better experience.”

Why is this such a powerful tool for marketers?

Being engaging with the audience is something that every marketer needs to keep in mind when creating content. The audience wants to know the latest, up-to-date information about their favorite product or brand. By displaying the same message across different platforms at different times during the day/week will help reach different audiences at different times in different ways.

Industry revenue resources will drive the deliverance of the messaging and will help marketers to gauge how to reach different audiences on different platforms. Of course, the difficulty will come trying to figure out rotation of advertisements and trying to figure out the best times to display those advertisements.

So marketers are faced with a multifaceted chess game – how, where, and when do place your content in a dynamic marketplace? How do you reap the greatest ROI with constantly revolving players?

Programmatic media buying

Programmatic media buying

The ability to present the right advertisement, to the right person, at the right moment is priceless. Computers have forever changed the advertising landscape. They have brought together all of the key stakeholders in a place of efficiency and finesse. This is called programmatic media buying (sometimes simply referred to as ‘programmatic’). Its simple beauty is founded in highly complex math. This is the computerized, mathematical purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. Fluid and seamless; it presents seemingly effortless connections between the consumer, publisher, and advertiser.

It is more than just the computerized buying and selling of ad space. It’s an interactive relationship between all of the players in the online advertising world. One definition is “the automated method of buying digital advertising in which supply and demand partners make decisions on a per-impression basis and adhere to business rules as provided by the operators of each platform”. Defining the inter-relationships between the stakeholders can be difficult. A group of industry experts offered their insights to help define the process for the layperson.

Simply stated, this process levels the playing field for companies of all sizes. If two companies have the same amount of funds for advertisements, ‘Bob’s Key Shop’ can have the same market reach as a ‘Target’.

This process provides an established pathway allowing all parties to reach highly focused goals. Companies can focus their advertising budgets on an exact audience. If they need assistance in defining their target audience, they system provides the support and data to bring the parties together. Long gone are the guesses of “how do I get my audience to notice my business?” A focused approach delivers data-based results.

Programmatic has dramatically changed the marketplace for everyone. For clients entering the marketplace for the first time, the system is tremendously beneficial. “Programmatic buys are a good thing for our clients when it comes to paid media campaigns, (meaning SEM, display banners, desktop, and mobile marketing) along with traditional tv campaigns. It allows us to get inventory which normally wouldn’t be available to the client, at an affordable rate. It’s definitely a good thing for paid media campaigns.” – William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor.

The system hasn’t always been embraced by everyone in the marketplace. This response is from a blog posting from just five years ago:

“Sounds like another thing for large companies to spend more on staff figuring it out than they’ll ever make/save on ROI, and another thing for scammy marketing companies to sell contract services to small businesses. In 3 to 5 years, the fad will have passed, some lessons will have been learned and the smart businesses will come and implement changes and software then. My ROI is not a beta test.”

Over $46 billion will go to programmatic advertising in the US this year, according to eMarketer’s latest programmatic forecast—about $10 billion more than last year (2017). That means 82.5% of all US digital display ads will be bought via automated channels in 2018.

Some of the concern is based on who the end consumer may actually be. “There is some skepticism of Programmatics because we don’t truly know if a real human is absorbing the content,” says William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor. The focus and delivery are there, but it’s impossible to gain a definitive assessment of the message consumption. The fact that a human is still the ultimate consumer leaves a variable in the equation. The true level of message absorption can never be accurately measured. Like they say, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make ’em drink’.

Despite voices of concern, the marketplace performance of programmatic purchasing has been well established. The significant growth in market share has provided the viability that few question.

If you want to discuss entering the marketplace with your business, contact Colure’s project managers to see how programmatic media buying can assist your company.

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Mobility and responsiveness – these are two critical skills needed for anyone who enters the arena of mobile application development. Your product must be nimble and quick, but these too, are critical skills your marketing team must employ in the release of that shiny new app. The art of App Store Optimization (ASO) is important during the entire release process.

In a marketplace that features over a million apps in each of the major app stores, developers must manipulate each variable in their media arsenal. One very powerful tool is the use of consumer reviews.

The power of reviews

Being able to harness the energy of raw consumer feedback is like riding a wave. Managing both good and bad press is at the core of your public image. For better or worse – the true measure of you and your product is formed by the users’ impressions. Once you release, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

Your team must be able to respond instantly and individually, in order to reap the value of feedback. Take the time to interact with consumers and let them know that their opinions matter to your team.

You already have a plan in place. You have from the beginning. But if the consumers go in another direction or simply don’t like your idea, you need to be able to really listen and appreciate the value of what you are being told.

The fickle winds of consumer opinion can easily blow in either direction. A stunning app with an established track-record can suddenly be dashed upon the rocks by a sour update, or by the development team not listening to consumers.

The transparency of reviews clearly matters. KISS Metrics conducted a study evaluating average reviews in connection to app store rankings and it found that the most positively rated apps ranked highest on a given keyword. Those reviews are being offered by users as their reaction to your new app. How you respond to those words will determine how the market views your product. In other words, reviews are vital. 

Increasing the volume of reviews

There are several ways in which you can increase your app’s reviews. One way to do it is through app reviews plugins. This is a pop-up screen that appears after a bit of usage, asking the consumer for their opinion. You should be sure to delay the activation of the plugin. Give the user the opportunity to get comfortable and really discover all of the features you’ve built into the app. If you ask users to review when they first open an app before they’ve actually had a chance to try it, they may be displeased and leave a negative review instead.

The best way to get a positive review is to build a high-quality application that makes a significant difference to your users by either helping or entertaining them. The more satisfied users you get, the more likely they are to leave a positive review, with little to no reminder or encouragement from the app.

Managing negative reviews is a metered skill. It takes time and patience to respond thoughtfully to whatever may be written. How and with which words you respond, will determine if you are able to yield a net favorable response.

Keep in mind that this is a difficult task. It often takes time, energy and patience. Be ready to have your greatest weaknesses publicly highlighted. At your moments of weakness, how you respond to your critics will determine if you earn their respect and future business.

Contact Colure today to establish a plan to help define you next mobile app.

Click-through rates

Click-through rates

Click-Through Rates (CTR) are one of the most important pieces of data for measuring the success of your advertisements, but it can be confusing to interpret the numbers and apply them appropriately to your mobile app marketing and advertising campaign. Here’s a breakdown of what a CTR is and how you can maximize its use:

What is a click-through rate?

A CTR is the number of clicks that a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement gets for every number of impressions (views). In essence, it tells you how many times your advertisement is viewed before someone clicks on it.

Why do click-through rates matter?

A higher CTR ultimately leads to lower costs for advertising. Google and other search engine platforms commonly offer lower prices for ads that offer a higher relevance to search engine users. Google, for example, determines the cost based on your Quality Score. The higher your quality score, the less you have to pay for a PPC advertisement.

How do click-through rates work?

What makes a CTR “good” really depends on your industry and the ad’s position, but overall, Google AdWords has an average CTR of 1.91% for search network and 0.35% for display network. With this in mind, your CTR should be as high as possible while still maintaining relevance.

How can I increase my click-through rate?

  • Use targeted keywords. If a keyword isn’t relevant to your business, it could end up costing more money than it’s worth because your ad is leading to click-throughs but not conversions.
  • Use visual content. Images and video boost engagement. In fact, research shows that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts click-through rates by 65%.
  • Offer freebies. Consumers love free stuff, so promoting an offer like a significant discount off the price of a product is likely to increase CTR.

Click-through rates are used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), used to evaluate performance against the market competition. It allows for an apples-to-apples comparison. Numbers can be tricky sometimes. To understand those numbers, it’s important to see your company’s marketplace performance from another angle.