Tag Archives: android

Google Wins Mobile Payments Race With Summer Launch Of ‘Wallet’ App

Well I guess you could say if Google is gonna get into this space, then all with be looking and wanting to follow.

A couple of interesting things I see in this space unfolding – one around the opportunity for targeted, relevant advertising ( with a bit of social location thrown in for good measure) and the second for a robust solution that tackles the area of fraud. Maybe device fingerprinting from a company such as Bluecava could provide a solution that tackles both these areas. Let’s see….

The race to make mobile payments mainstream is one of the most competitive contests in the wireless industry, pitting telecom operators against credit card companies, payment processors, handset makers and operating system providers. With its May 26 announcement that it is poised to launch a national mobile commerce network (using its Android phones), Google now appears to be in the lead.

The service, called Google Wallet, will store credit cards in electronic form on Android phones. Users will be able to pay for purchases by wirelessly “tapping” their handsets against special readers in participating stores. Users can also receive targeted offers, such as coupons for products they have bought in the past or have indicated they like, directly on their phones while in stores. Loyalty rewards will be automatically tallied within Wallet and receipts will be electronic, as well, popping up on the phone instead of printing out on paper.

Merchants have already started testing the setup and will begin trials in San Francisco and New York City before expanding nationally this summer. American Eagle, the Container Store, Macy’s, Subway, Toys “R” Us and Walgreens are part of the initial group of retailers that will support the system.

As the name Wallet suggests, the app will support a variety of different cards, including credit cards, loyalty cards and gift cards. At first, Google Wallet will only work with Citi MasterCards, since both companies are Google Wallet launch partners. Users can also opt to load money onto a prepaid, Google-hosted card that can be funded by another type of credit card. Google says it will add more cards over time and hopes to eventually include other types of ID and passes, such as drivers licenses, event tickets and electronic hotel keys.

Retailers, says Google, will benefit from a corresponding service called Google Offers that will enable consumers to search for special offers and save them to their Google Wallet. Those stored coupons can then be redeemed by tapping a Wallet-equipped phone at a cash register or showing the phone screen to a cashier.

Merchants will be able to customize incentives based on a customer’s location and transaction history. A particularly frequent customer can receive a higher-value deal than a less loyal customer, for instance. Google Offers will go live in Portland, San Francisco and New York City this summer.

Google also plans to support location-based “check-in” offers, offers that are placed like ads in Google searches and offers that are situated in Google’s local business/maps service, Google Places.

Using a cellphone as a wallet is convenient but could be risky. Google says its Wallet app contains multiple levels of security, including a phone screen lock and a required Google account and pin number. The search giant also says credit cards are encrypted on a secure element within the phone and never fully displayed.

Part of the security comes from a chip developed by European semiconductor maker NXP, which collaborated with Google on its latest flagship smartphone, the Samsung-made Nexus S. That chip also enables Google Wallet to communicate wirelessly with all the various Wallet partners, via a technology called NFC (near-field communication).

Google’s vision appears similar to strategies espoused by organizations like ISIS, the mobile commerce startup backed by AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. New York-based ISIS is about a year behind Google, though it may have an advantage in being compatible with a greater variety of phones once it launches.

During Google’s Thursday New York event, its Vice President of Payments, Osama Bedier, argued that Google is “uniquely positioned” to roll out a mobile commerce program because of its wide-ranging partnerships forged through Android and its search and advertising businesses. Bedier, who was a top executive at eBay’s PayPal until January, noted, “This has to be an ecosystem; it can’t just be one company.”

Bedier also acknowledged Google’s lead in the mobile payments race by adding, “This is not just an idea or announcement…this is up and running.”

Source: http://blogs.forbes.com/elizabethwoyke/2011/05/26/google-wins-mobile-payments-race-with-summer-launch-of-wallet-app/

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Seatwave: iPhone App review

A nice mix of user location, recommendations from the users iPod collection plus a bit of m-commerce thrown in for good measure….anyone fancy going to a gig?

The Seatwave app uses information on the user’s location and the contents of the iPod to recommend upcoming concerts.

The app allows you to search according to your current location, or else set a location manually. In my area, there isn’t much on offer, unless N-Dubz is your thing, but there are many more events listed around London.

If you want to find recommendations that are closer to your own tastes, then the app will scan the contents of your iPod and recommend any upcoming concerts from artists it has found there:

There is also the option to search manually by artists, venues or dates, but this link to iTunes is a great way to simplify the process.

Once you’ve found a concert, you can click for more details on ticket prices and availability. So we can see that there are a few tickets left for Barry Manilow at the O2 Arena:

You can also see what kind of view you will get with the help of this seating map:

If you want to go ahead and book, you can do this through the app, and the checkout has been optimised for mobile:

The checkout is OK, but some of the extra charges may be offputting. A £55 ticket turns into £73 thanks to the addition of booking fees and a £6.99 ‘last minute handling’ charge:

Conclusion

This is a well-designed and easy to use app, which makes great use of location and the mobile user’s musical tastes to recommend upcoming concerts.

It should also be a great way to shift tickets at the last minute to consumers in the local area, and fill up any spare capacity.

The fact that tickets for last minute gigs have be collected in person from somewhere other than the venue makes the whole process less easy than it should be.

This is where mobile ticketing would be a massive bonus, though this has yet to be widely adopted by big players in the market. This blog post from Seatwave explains why this might be.


40 percent of Apple game downloads are free titles with in-app purchases

Lets see how Apple handles this one going forward with their change in stance on Pay-per-install as its a big part of the market for apps in the App Store…plus a revenue generate for those developers who monetise through in app purchase…

Free-to-play games have become huge on Apple’s App Store in the past 19 months. Almost 40 percent of game downloads are now free titles with in-app purchases, according to a study by Xyologic, a startup that indexes and searches through App Store data.

In March, there were more than 99.9 million downloads of free iPhone games from the App Store. About 80.8 percent of all app downloads in the month of March were free. In many of these games and apps, the free-to-play model is used, where a user can pay real money through the in-app purchase feature for virtual goods such as better weapons in a game.

The scary part is that Apple has made a lot of the developers of these apps and games nervous because of its shift in stance on a particular kind of model, known as pay-per-install. In games that use this model, an app will offer an incentive for the user to install another app as a kind of cross promotion. But a couple of weeks ago, Apple cracked down on the pay-per-install model because it can be used to artificially inflate a game’s ranking in the top 25 apps in the store. That has affected pay-per-install marketing firms such as Tapjoy.

The problem is that the free-to-play model (of which the pay-per-install model is one part) has become a bigger and bigger part of the total number of app downloads, and it has become a bigger percentage of revenues for developers. Those developers used pay-per-install marketing to help their apps stand out among 350,000 iOS apps. Apple feared it was leading to market manipulation. To ease Apple’s concerns, Tapjoy has limited certain promotions using the pay-per-install model.

“It may make Apple’s platform possibly less attractive vis-a-vis Google Android if developers can’t find a suitable alternative to offer walls,” the report said. “This is the biggest interference by Apple into the app economy in recent months. Its effects, at this point, are unclear.”

While Apple makes much more money with the App Store than Google does with the Android Market, the number of apps is another story now. Xyologic says that in March, 28,963 new apps debuted in the Android Market, while 18,787 debuted in Apple’s store.

Apple has to be careful about how it resolves the pay-per-install problem if it wants to hang on to its developers. The top developers affected by Apple’s decision likely include Glu Mobile, which saw 2.48 million downloads of free games with in-app purchases in March. The second-ranked company was Pocket Gems, with 1.55 million downloads. That was followed by TeamLava (part of Storm8) with 1.41 million; Craneball Studios with 1.41 million; Gameview Studios with 1.41 million; Sunstorm Interactive with 1.18 million; Capcom Interactive with 969,000; Backflip Studios with 933,000; Storm8 with 752,000; and BayView Labs (DeNA) with 723,000.

Xyologic says that almost all of the paid games on the App Store are priced below $3.99. Of the 8,017 iPhone apps offering in-app purchases in the App Store in the U.S., some 2,156 of them were free games with in-app purchases. That was up from 709 in September. Overall, about 4 percent of game apps account for 40 percent of all downloads.

Of the 150 top free games on the App Store, 94 games, or 63 percent, are games with in-app purchases. These are some of the observations based on the data that Xyologic dug out through its search service. Berlin-based Xyologic indexes 610,000 apps in the App Store, the Android Market, and the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace on a monthly basis. It can rank the number of downloads for each app and publisher in the month, according to Xyologic’s Matthaus Krzykowski (an occasional VentureBeat contributor).

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2011/04/28/almost-40-percent-of-app-store-game-downloads-were-free-titles-in-app-purchases/


Nothing Casual About This Game Obsession

Marketers Take Note: Time Spent on Casual Games Has Gone Up and the Average Age of Players Has Gone Down

Illustration: Martin Kozlowski

They do it at the bus stop, at the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store. They do it everywhere they can.

The number of people playing casual games and the amount of time they spend playing is unprecedented. “Angry Birds” alone sucks in users for 200 million minutes a day and Zynga’s CityVille entices close to 100 million people a month. This no longer sounds casual.

The reason people have become so committed is easy to identify: the proliferation of the mobile device that’s always in their pockets. The Casual Games Association reports the industry earned $3 billion in mobile revenue in 2009. Mobile devices and social networks have resulted in more people playing more games, giving advertisers an opportunity for innovation and huge new audiences.

“Casual games have been growing thanks to the explosion of mobile — largely the iPhone — and social networks, primarily Facebook,” said Mari Baker, CEO of PlayFirst, creator of the Diner Dash games. Ms. Baker said casual doesn’t refer to the relationship of the player to the game, but means that the game is easy to learn, can be played in short bursts and is relatively inexpensive and fast to develop. “Angry Birds” cost Rovio $100,000 to make and is bringing in more than $2 million a month.

Mobile devices have also had an impact on who plays the game. “Demographically the other thing that’s happened with Facebook and iPhone is the average age of the casual game player has gone down from 35-to-55 to 25-to-45,” Ms. Baker said.

The reason these games are so attractive to today’s consumers is the fact that they can get in and out in five minutes or less, making it appealing to busy people who are running around but have their mobile devices with them. Unlike games such as “World of Warcraft” or “Grand Theft Auto,” which can consume hours a day or more to complete just one stage of the game, casual games give gamers the satisfaction of completing a level without a huge time commitment.

So what can advertisers do with this incredibly huge audience and its love for quick and easy games? Peter Vesterbacka, creator of the “Angry Birds” game, said brands first have to let go of the idea that they need their own game. “We get a lot of requests like ‘You made ‘Angry Birds,’ can you make a game for us?’ Sure we can. But the smart brands are the ones who will work with the apps that have the audiences already and create experiences that will be integrated into the app.”

Mr. Vesterbacka added, “We have the audience, and we get contacted by some of the biggest brands who get it, who want to see how they can integrate their brand into the experience.” He said it was too early for him to discuss any plans “Angry Birds” has with brands for integration, but that 2011 will be a big year for the “Angry Birds” franchise.

Mr. Vesterbacka also noted he is looking to TV as an advertising model for casual games. “In TV, there’s free-to-air, there’s cable, there’s ad supported, there’s pay-per,” Mr. Vesterbacka said. “This is still early days, but we will be much bigger than TV.”

A good way for advertisers to integrate with casual-game content is to sponsor items inside the game. Unlike several years ago, when casual games were mostly for sale, gamers have more choices for free games than ever before.

“That’s a huge shift in gaming,” said David Madden, CEO of game marketer Wild Tangent. “It used to be a software business, but now it’s a content-access business, and users are paying for items inside the free content.”

Mr. Madden said his company creates campaigns for Clorox, Axe Body Spray and Dove. For interacting with a brand inside the game, players get virtual goods that would normally cost money. “In the social-game space, less than 3% of users are spending real money, so there’s a 97% opportunity here for advertisers to sponsor social-game access,” Mr. Madden said.

Another opportunity to innovate with casual games is merging online and offline experiences. PlayFirst’s Chocolatier game created a campaign for Charles Chocolates during which users could opt to purchase real-life versions of the chocolates they made in-game. Players have since created 135 million pieces of Charles Chocolates for their virtual shops — that’s not bad name recognition for a small San Francisco brand.

Ms. Baker, who worked on the Charles Chocolates campaign, said the most important thing for short bursts of game play is that the ad doesn’t get in the way. “You can’t be in the middle of breaking down the wall in ‘Angry Birds’ and have something pop up as an ad,” Ms. Baker said. “The principle of advertising has to be not to interrupt the game play.”

Source: http://adage.com/article/digital/angry-birds-success-shows-casual-games/148091/


Three Ways Google Could Push Adoption of Android Market’s In-App Billing

Charles Hudson is a co-author on our Inside Virtual Goods series of industry reports, a co-founder of Android game developer Bionic Panda Games and a partner at SoftTech VC. Bionic Panda recently began using Google in-app billing, which finally came out to consumers at the end of March after several months of anticipation from the Android developer community. Hudson also used to work at Google on new business development.

We recently decided to launch Google In-App Billing in our first game, Aqua Pets. As a matter of background, we had been using PayPal to monetize our original game and were beginning to get user requests for support for credit cards. About one week ago, we released Google In-App Billing for Aqua Pets and decided to see how it would perform.

Our one major reservation with moving forward with Google in-app billing was the relationship between the 30 percent commission and what we anticipated the payment-enabled customer audience to be. While we don’t develop for the iOS platform, there are two compelling reasons why we think the 30 percent that Apple takes makes sense:

  • Apple has over 200 million credit cards on file already, so they’re bringing a large payment-enabled audience to application developers and they have every right to charge for access to that audience.
  • Apple kept alternative options off the platform from the very early days, which meant that just about everyone had to live with the same constraints around what they could and could not used to monetize. This is markedly different from other platforms, such as Facebook

After a week of using Google In-App Billing, we decided to dive into some of the data for our first week of paying users. Google does pass a field called “Account Age” that allows you to determine how long a given user who successfully transacts has had a payment-enabled Google Checkout account. We ran the data on our first batch of paying customers to determine the distribution of account age and charted the data below:

This is an admittedly small sample size of transactions and Google In-App Billing has only been publicly available for less than a month. However, what was of particular interest to us was the dark blue slice — nearly 25 percent of the users who transacted have had Google Checkout payment capabilities for less than a week and a meaningful number of them had account ages of 0 or 1, which means they essentially enrolled in Checkout to purchase in our application. Another 21 percent had only had payment capabilities in Checkout for less than a month, still relatively new to the world of spending money on applications through Google.

We really do want to see Google In-App Billing succeed and succeed quickly — it would be good for anyone building paid or free applications on the Android platform. If I were trying to drive broad adoption, there are three things Google could do and they are not mutually exclusive:

1. Compensate application developers who are enrolling net new Google Checkout customers: One way in which Google could make In-App Billing more attractive to developers would be to pay developers who enroll net-new Google Checkout customers. A small bounty of $5 to 10 per activated account would be interesting for most developers and would give the community a stronger incentive to push it more aggressively to users. A bounty of that size would be inline with what other payment options, namely PayPal, have paid historically to activate new users. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for Google to consider compensating developers who are helping to acquire customers.

2. Make Google In-App Billing mandatory for all application developers and enforce it: One other way to drive more broad adoption of In-App Billing is to strictly enforce usage of Google’s In-App Billing as a required and perhaps exclusive way to pay for in-app purchases across the network of applications in the Google Android Market. I do think that having end-users consistently see the Google Checkout experience across applications will make it feel more familiar and help hopefully grow the base of payment-enabled users. Having a standardized, simple, consistent way to checkout and buy things in apps that feels familiar to all users would be a net benefit for the platform.

3. Waive all of the fees for the rest of the year: One objection that developers have to rolling out Google In-App Billing is the 30 percent commission that Google is charging. There’s a simple solution to that — just remove it for the remainder of 2011. Yes, it will cost Google money. But zero-cost transaction processing is attractive to every developer out there and would likely spur some of the folks sitting on the fence to integrate in-app billing into their apps and encourage users to use it. They can reinstate fees in 2012 with a larger base of installed users and a happier set of developers who’ve seen the benefits of using in-app billing in their own applications.

At the end of the day, it’s Google’s platform and they’re free to do what they choose. But enabling platform-level in-app payments should be a priority and everyone will benefit when the solution is more widely used.

Source: http://www.insidemobileapps.com/


Keeping a balanced investment between apps and mobile

A Microsoft study found that consumer usage of mobile Web browsers and mobile apps is equal, signaling the importance for marketers to keep a balanced investment between the two.

The Microsoft data shows that there are no significant behavioral differences across mobile operating systems. Thus, marketers should consider campaigns that include multiple handsets to achieve the campaign objectives and optimize reach metrics instead of focusing on select OSs, per Microsoft.

“Consumers are more engaged with mobile than we think,” said Pavan Li, senior research manager at Microsoft Advertising, Redmond, WA. “Our findings showed nine of 10 mobile Internet users have used mobile search and eight of 10 mobile Internet users have used their mobile device as part of their purchase process.

“Focus on the reach instead of the OS,” she said.

A Forrester Research study predicts that marketers will finally allocate sufficient funds into mobile, with an estimated $1 billion in spend for mobile display and search advertising by year-end.

The Microsoft Advertising mobile ad network reaches 55 percent of U.S. mobile Internet users, according to Nielsen’s May 2010 Mobile Media View.

Microsoft’s mobile ad network reaches users on the following handsets:  59 percent on iPhone, 53 percent on Android, 45 percent on BlackBerry and 55 percent on feature phones, per Nielsen.

Mobile Web and apps are both important
Here are some of the main takeaways of the Microsoft research:

Mobile has become a part of cross-media consumption

There are more heavy mobile Web users than heavy app users

Mobile ad exposure impact store traffic

Multi-screen exposure drives increased brand interaction and conversion

Microsoft Advertising advises marketers to keep a balanced investment between applications and the mobile Web.

Maintaining a balanced approach with on-deck and off-deck ads targeting both the mobile Web and apps will increase the success of mobile campaigns aimed at driving consumer reach and engagement, per Microsoft.

“To maximize audience reach and engagement, marketers need to consider a more balanced approach to mobile campaigns that include mobile browsers as well as mobile apps across multiple handsets, including Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and feature phones,” Ms. Li said.

“Based on our findings, iPhone users are the most balanced users between apps and browser,” she said. “It is completely different from what we would assume due to the focus on iPhone apps in the consumer and trade press.”

Source: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/research/9756.html


The A-Z of Location Based Marketing

 

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26 key elements inside this wide and complex channel that you probably need to be aware of. A  mixture of trends, platforms, strategy and more, avoiding simply listing the main players in the market that everyone knows about.

 

A … is for Apps

Apps are important and have proved to be a game-changer for geomarketing. 29% of mobile owners use location based apps on their phones more than once a day and 27% use them multiple times on a weekly basis. This is expected to dramatically increase in the future.

B … is for Businesses

Get your business online! Google Places should already be a staple part of of any SME/SMB company’s online marketing presence. Even enterprises with localised offline stores can jump on board to reach out to a local audience.

C … is for Campaign

Location-based marketing can take many forms so you need to think about your objective and then build a strategy around this. Will a quick PR campaign achieve your goals, or would you be better off finding a more long-term approach?

D … is for Directory

Getting listed in local directories is being overlooked a lot at the moment, in favour of more sexy kinds of geomarketing.

I still think there’s enormous value (especially for smaller businesses) in getting onboard with niche sites such as Yelp or TopTable. It’ll also help improve search visibility, which is an important factor, considering that more than 20% of search queries have a localised intent.

E  … is for Engagement

If you’re going to have a geo-based mobile application, you have to make it engaging for your audience. If not, it probably won’t work, especially when you consider that it has to compete with millions of other apps to stand out.

It’s generally the same for any wider campaign: if it doesn’t get people wanting to be involved, you’re likely not to meet your objectives.

F … is for Foursquare

I said I wouldn’t mention too many location-based services, but to ignore Foursquare would be silly. The platform has seen great uptake amongst users and brands have been quick to wade in.

There are a lot of great case studies of smart, creative campaigns floating around.

G … is for Gowalla

G was pretty hard, so I had to use this one. Gowalla is pretty similar to Foursquare: It’s a location-based social network that users can connect to and check-in based on their physical location.

In return virtual rewards are collected, which can then be redeemed for real-life rewards like cinema tickets.

H … is for Hotpot

Google is seriously throwing itself into localised content and search results. Hotpot is a new UGC local recommendation engine, Here’s a good explanation as to how this works.

It still seems to be developing, but may well gather momentum in the near future.

I … is for Information

A lot of users are looking for information from local businesses: where a store is based, opening times and more. Don’t withhold this from them!

Ensure that they have access to as much information about your company as possible across as many touchpoints you can manage.

J … is for JiWire

JiWire is a smart location-based advertising company, which uses free wifi hotspots to serve up relevant display ads.

It’s quite a new company, but an innovative approach means that it is blazing a trail across location-based marketing.

K … is for Knowledge

Before embarking on any form of geomarketing, you need to arm yourself with knowledge to help you understand your goals – at marketing and business levels – and to plan around these.

Who are your main audience? What are their behaviours? What do you want them to do? The questions that need to be asked will go on for a long time, but once you full know what the answers are, the rest should fall into place.

L … is for Latitude

Google Latitude is a location-aware mobile app. It allows the user to share their location on Google Maps with selected people to whatever degree they want: eg. Street, city or country levels.

It can be turned on and off at will, so gives a large amount of control. While this on its own is arguably nothing special, it has an open API that marketers can take advantage of.

M … is for Mobile

Without a doubt, mobile handsets are changing the location-based marketing game. The flexibility and potential now offered by smartphones means that the only real limit is creativity. (And budget).

N … is for Nice-to-have

You need to question whether having some geomarketing capabilities are essential or just nice-to-have.

What’s more important: allocating resources to ensure that your chain of offline stores can be found in the results of user’s local search queries, or setting up a Foursquare campaign?

O … is for Objective

What do you want from your location-based activities? Branding? Increased awareness? Sales? Leads? Once you understand this, figuring out the best strategy to achieve it should be pretty easy.

P … is for Places

What kind of list would this be without mentioning Facebook Places? Places lets users check-in to Facebook using a mobile device and share their location with their social networks.

Recent developments have seen partnership deals with the likes of Starbucks, Debenhams, O2 and Yo!Sushi.

Q … is for Question

As already mentioned, you need to question not only what you want from any location-based marketing, but also what your users want.

With the best will in the world, without understanding your main demographic, planning and execution of a campaign or programme can still go horribly wrong if not realised properly.

R … is for Rewards

It’s no secret that users love rewards and marketers are using this more and more. The likes of Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla have all formed partnership deals with companies to reward users with physical products, based on ideas surrounding location loyalty.

S … is for Search

Two words here, really: Local search. You need to make sure you’re on it, for all the obvious reasons.

T  … is for Twitter

Twitter recently launched Twitter Places, which is the functionality to show the location of users as part of an opt-in process. If a user chooses this option, then all their Tweets are subsequently attached to publicly shared information about their exact location.

U … is for User experience

In the same sense as “Engaging”, geomarketing has to deliver a great user experience, particularly if it’s part of a campaign. Without good UX, users will quickly stop participating.

V … is for Voucher

As with rewards, vouchers are growing to become a large part of geomarketing. The clever chaps at Vouchercode show how this is best done.

W … is for WiFi

As wifi becomes increasingly free, it’s getting easier for users to share their location with their networks and to engage with geo-driven campaigns and marketing. Arguably, this has been a big driver of the increase of LBM, alongside smartphone handsets.

X  … is for X-marks the spot

Make sure your location is right! There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than to discover you’ve moved, but haven’t changed the details on search-based maps, for example…

Y  … is for Y-gen

Just something to keep in mind, but statistically, Generation-Y is more likely to share their location and engage with geomarketing.

Z … is for Zzzz

Location-based marketing has been around for a while, but it’s definitely here to stay, helped along by the user uptake of social media and mobile. If you snooze, you’ll lose.

Source: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7292-the-a-z-of-location-based-marketing?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter