Tag Archives: iphone

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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South Korea and Malaysia show impressive digital growth

This month some of the most interesting data to make it into our Internet Statistics Compendium came from Asia-Pacific countries.

In particular, mobile can be seen to be having a big impact in South Korea and Malaysia, and there has been significant news elsewhere in the region also.

We are often looking to the APAC region for insights into the latest digital trends and how new technology is being adopted across a diverse continent.

This month some interesting analysis from Nielsen has highlighted how Asia-Pacific countries are leading the rest of the world when it comes to e-commerce, with Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China and South Korea all with more than 90% of consumers having made a purchase online.

In comparison, only four countries from Europe (Poland, Germany, France and Great Britain) and two from the Americas (Brazil and the US) have similar levels of online retail spending.

Not unexpectedly, much of the growth of e-commerce in the region is due to the increase in mobile shopping. This certainly seems to be the case for South Korea, as highlighted in Google’s recent AdMob mobile metrics report.

Web traffic from smartphones has increased by 75% between December 2009 and December 2010 with 97% of all mobile internet traffic coming from high-end devices. In addition, mobile ad requests were seen to grow by an impressive 5139% to 2.1bn during the same time period, making South Korea the fastest growing country for web traffic in Asia.

According to Nielsen, mobile broadband is also seen to be having an impact in Malaysia, a country which has not had quite the same degree of growth as South Korea but is set to see considerable changes as 3G service providers offer more competitive pricing.

At the end of last year, internet penetration in Malaysia hit 41%, and while around half of Malaysians aged between 20 and 34 own a phone with internet capabilities, many don’t go online with their devices due to high costs. With the technology in place there is clearly opportunity in the mobile web sector as 3G starts to become more affordable.

Elsewhere in the region, the last couple of months have seen a number of reports about the continuing growth of Baidu. According to Digital East Asia, revenue for China’s leading search engine is growing at more than 88% per year to RMB2.436b ($372.0m).

This is set to continue as the company further promotes its box computing product and dominates a large market of around 400m web users, but with a comparatively small online penetration at just over 15%.

China and Malaysia, where a vast proportion of the population are yet to be connected, are two of the most intriguing countries within the APAC region. With the effect of smartphone availability in South Korea in mind, these are vast areas where mobile could potentially be more integral to the web landscape and the inevitable uptake of activities such as online shopping than it has in countries with more close-knit populations.

For marketers, the need to acknowledge that a majority of internet users in these countries will be consuming content via a mobile screen as opposed to desktops and laptops will be imperative to the success they have in reaching out to them.


Mothercare launches a mobile commerce site

Retailer Mothercare launched its first mobile commerce site this week. 

The user interface was designed in-house, while the site was developed by Usablenet, which has also worked on mobile sites for John Lewis and M&S.

Site search and navigation

Mothercare has opted for a simple mobile site design, and one which has been optimised for smartphones. Visitors to the site from other devices will see a more basic version.

As well as a prominent search box, the site has very clear navigational options, represented by 12 ‘buttons’:

This is a good approach for a site which will be accessed by people on touchscreen phones, as it avoid the problem of clicking on the wrong link.

As users navigate through the various sections of the site, filtering options allow them to narrow the available product range, and make the remaining results more relevant:

Product pages

Research suggests that people want the user experience on mobile commerce sites to match that of desktop sites, meaning the same level of detail, product information and functionality that helps them decide on and make a purchase.

Mothercare achieves this with its product pages. There is a good amount of detail (product specs, suitable ages, dimensions etc) for items such as prams and car seats, as well as multiple product photos:

Any product reviews from the main website are shown on mobile, and calls to action are nice and clear:

Checkout process

The checkout has been optimised for mobile users, and also avoids making new customers go through a registration process before checkout, only asking for an email.

The checkout is well-designed and works well, but it is split over several pages, which means more page loads for users who may be on less than perfect 3G connections.

The more page loads, the slower the process is for users, so having things like selecting delivery options on a separate page should perhaps be avoided.

Conclusion

Mobile commerce is growing, with 10m UK consumers conducting a transaction by mobile last year, but unfortunately, 83% experienced some kind of problem when making a purchase.

This means that retailers need to ensure that mobile commerce sites are usable and designed to make payments as easy as possible, and Mothercare’s site fits the bill.

Source: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7550-mothercare-launches-a-mobile-commerce-site?utm_medium=email&utm_source=topic


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.


Mobile web: the game changed

The accessing of the internet from mobile is growing rapidly and one area that is growing in equal importance is the area of device identification. Being able to provide information back to any number of sources on what device a user is using to access the mobile internet, apps etc. will be a driving force in the future of engaging users with the services they want instead of vice versa….

7.1m Brits now access the internet via their mobile phone, and that’s actually quite a lot! And, not only are these users generally more affluent, but they are also avid consumers of digital marketing.

The advent of truly mobile internet, and the incredible speed of adoption by the population as a whole, is causing a re-evaluation of web marketing.

Mobile web is the greatest revolution since the invention and adoption of the PC. That might seem like a bold statement to make, but the platform has changed.

Using the internet does not necessarily mean being stuck under a desk sitting at home or in the office. You don’t need to pull a laptop out of a carry case to use it, and you can even choose the size that most suits your needs.

The impact these devices are having, and the tide of change that is following in wake of their adoption is fundamental.

So what does this mean for digital marketers? How will mobile web change email marketing in the near future? What are the challenges this opportunity has created? And how do we ride this wave and grasp the opportunities that are being laid before us?

Game changing technology

It’s the device that’s done it; the truly mobile computer. The only issue is some devices still hold onto that archaic title “phone”.

The challenge with mobile internet has been that to make the most of the medium you need to easily interact with the device. This is what’s made the latest generation of mobile devices so different.

Even with the smaller screens, the superb resolution and usable touch screen makes the internet truly mobile. The apps and software work together with this new technology to make the whole mobile web experience simple and satisfying. This has allowed people new to the concept, to quickly adapt and benefit from the new platform, thereby fuelling high adoption rates.

Look at any of the research available on mobile internet and they are all pointing in one direction. Mobile internet is growing and it’s growing fast.

Game changed for email?

Email has gone mobile. According to the Econsultancy Mobile Statistics Compendium, email is used by 75.4% of British iPhone owners, making it the most popular internet activity on the phone. The same study stated that mobile adoption patterns mirror the early days of the internet, when email dominated usage.

Wait a minute… wasn’t email supposed to be dead (or on its last legs anyway)? Or could it be that mobile internet has taken one of the most powerful online channels to date, and given it legs.

Email is now on the move. You follow the recipient around their daily lives; you engage with them when they are doing lots of other things. They could be watching TV, at a restaurant, with friends.

The mobile experience changes the way users interact with your email as well your website. Arguably, interacting with a PC could be quite a lonely experience. With mobile internet, sharing now includes simply handing your phone to your friends.

Mobile email looks slightly different too! It not only demands great graphics, but it wants to be super usable on the small screen. One of the best ways to do this is to code the email to fit the screen it is being used on.

From the data I have seen so far and opinion on the web, people seem to use mobile as “one” of the ways that they will be viewing the email, so this needs to be considered when developing the template. Is it possible to develop a template that is going to satisfy both a traditional desktop client as well as the mobile browser? That’s going to be worth quite a bit of testing!

Another new consideration is the actionable copy (links). Are they touch screen friendly? Or is the recipient forced to expand the screen to click on the link? The same is going to go for putting links close together, as you don’t want to send butter fingers off to the wrong place.

Although the web has gone mobile, it seems like more people fail to complete a transaction on mobile, than they do on a PC. The figures also seem to suggest a substantial amount of people intend to use more mobile ecommerce in the future. This means basket abandonment emails will be even more important to mobile conversions than it is for normal static web.

Game changed for e-commerce and conversion rate optimisation  

The Mobile Shopping Framework Study” is one in a series of white papers from Yahoo that provides an overview of the mobile landscape. In the report, half of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching on their mobile, and 90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor.

So now price comparison shopping could consist of walking round the shops, handling the products, comparing prices online, and making the buying decision. In fact, the Yahoo mobile study revealed “Almost half of all mobile in-store activity involved transmitting a picture of a product to personal contacts for comment”.

The adoption of mobile web is gaining pace, and the e-commerce platform will be moving out of the home and into the pocket. One of the key challenges now facing the digital marketer is optimising the conversion process for users of mobile web.

As was mentioned before, mobile users fail to complete the transaction more often than other web users and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

It’s almost as though there is now a third way of doing things, it seems to fit in the middle between the full blown website optimised for the modern PC screen, resolution settings and controls, and the cut down versions developed to cater for the previous generation of mobile devices.

So, will you need three versions of your website? I don’t think so…

The mobile platform for internet is going to become a core part of the way people interact with e-commerce, so people must be able to do things when they want to do them.

This means the web will need to be designed for the mobile. It’s surely not unrealistic to expect some businesses to achieve 50% of web sales via mobile. If the consumer wants to order their daily shopping while watching the telly, or sitting on the train, then that’s what they are going to do.

So, whichever website allows them to achieve this simply, with the best user experience, will most likely get the business.

User experience and conversion rate optimisation will become even more vital for achieving good results from mobile internet. Mobile device and software developers have given consumers the means to use the web whenever convenient.

The e-commerce winners will be those that make it easy to shop, whether the customer is behind a desk or on the move.

Source: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/7468-mobile-web-the-game-changed?utm_medium=email&utm_source=topic


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/


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