Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

Yubico Delivers Passwordless Login for Enterprise Authentication on Windows 10 Devices

Yubico — a provider of hardware authentication security keys — has announced that the new Security Key by Yubico supporting FIDO2, will be supported in Windows 10 devices and Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

The feature is currently in limited preview for Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers.

This means that organizations will soon have the option to enable employees and customers to sign in to an Azure AD joined device with no password, simply by using the Security Key by Yubico to get single sign-on to all Azure AD based applications and services.

Yubico is demonstrating the power of passwordless login with the Security Key by Yubico and Windows systems at this week’s RSA Conference 2018, booth #S2241.

“Microsoft’s FIDO2 implementation using the Security Key by Yubico is just the beginning of a passwordless world; there are no limits as to where this technology can take us,” said Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and Founder, Yubico. “Passwords have been an age-old pain point for both individuals and organizations, and now, we have developed a unified open standard that can finally solve the problem at scale.”

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The Unique Battleground of Mobile Fraud

The following is a guest contributed post from David Sendroff, CEO, Forensiq by Impact

Ad fraud is an issue known to almost every digital advertiser and agency, thanks in large part to industry-wide efforts to educate the buy side and combat the issue. In fact, bad actors stole more than $6.5 billion from advertisers in 2017, according to the Association of National Advertisers. Now a new study conducted by Forrester for AppsFlyer found that mobile app marketers were exposed to between $700 million to $800 million in ad fraud in Q1 2018, an increase of 30% compared to the same period a year ago. The data points to the share of fraudulent app installs increasing by 15%.

Surely, as more ad spending is poured into mobile formats, we see the nature of ad fraud is changing dramatically. However, while many marketers have come to understand the issue from a desktop perspective over the last few years, the mobile platform presents bad actors with a completely different way of defrauding advertisers, app makers, and consumers alike.

An industry-wide lack of understanding of this unique landscape has created an environment ripe for fraudsters. Bad actors gravitate towards less-understood channels and take advantage of their complexities and the industry’s knowledge gap to defraud advertisers. Accordingly, mobile is the new battleground.

Bad actors perpetrate fraud in the mobile world with far more sophistication, which makes it crucial that everyone involved in the ecosystem make themselves aware of what fraud looks like and how it works. Here is a look at two categories of fraud in which we are seeing new variations of mobile in-app fraud emerge:

Impression Fraud

Fraud happens on mobile devices for many of the same reasons it happens on desktop. Programmatic technology, or the automated process of moving an ad from purchase to delivery, certainly plays a role in making mobile environments vulnerable to fraud.

Impression fraud occurs when fraudsters inflate the number of apparent users their apps attract, the number of ads they deliver to a given user, and the price they can demand per ad. And while the fraud techniques that are pervasive on the desktop web are also pervasive on the mobile web, in-app environments pose different threat levels. Since an app (unlike a web-page) is a discrete piece of software capable of altering a user’s device (e.g., by preventing it from sleeping) and reporting personal data (e.g., the user’s geographic coordinates), in-app environments are quite distinct from either desktop or mobile web. Therefore, the new types of fraud that are popping up are unique to the in-app environment.

Bad actors can run armies of fake devices, known as device farms, to make it seem like they have far more real users than they do. They can also program apps to request ads at much higher rates than normal, hijacking legitimate devices to transform them into impression-generating machines that hide the majority of impressions from view. Finally, to increase CPMs, fraudsters will use fake metadata, such as falsified location information, to deceive programmatic buyers into thinking that their app is desirable or that their app visitors (whether they are real or fake) are high-value users.

In order to evade detection, fraudsters use a number of spoofing tactics, in particular spoofing the device and app information. This allows the fraudster to fake or misrepresent the device information sent through a bid request, or make it appear that the fraud is coming from another app.

Install attribution Fraud

The impression fraud described above bears similarities to desktop fraud. But mobile is different in that marketers are often trying to get new users to install an advertisers’ app directly onto a device, and the install market grew to $7.6 billion in 2017, according to eMarketer. Attributing this success is a huge part of the performance marketing landscape, and it creates an opportunity for fraudsters to capture some of this growing market.

In a typical customer conversion path, the consumer is exposed to a number of touchpoints before making an install. Attribution models decide how much credit to allocate to each touchpoint for driving the app install. Install attribution fraud is when unscrupulous partners or affiliates receive credit – and the associated revenue – even though they played no part in driving the app install.

They’re able to do this because many advertisers still focus on the simplest of models: last-click attribution. The fraudsters inject a fake click event into the user’s conversion path, ideally right before the install, so that they receive credit and steal revenue. Bad actors are even able to take credit for organic installs – those that happen without the user being exposed to a branded message – something the advertiser others would not have had to pay for.  

Advertisers can do a few things to protect their brands against mobile ad fraud. First, they can educate themselves, and demand clarity and transparency from their ad tech providers and fraud vendors, in particular. That means asking the right questions such as: Do they have a track record in handling mobile fraud? Do they examine the entire marketing funnel for fraud? Are there viewability measurements based on valid human traffic vs. invalid or automated traffic? And are they looking at all types of spoofing such as device ID, location, and hardware spoofing, for starters. Those are just a few of the questions advertisers should be asking.   In addition, advertisers need to monitor incoming traffic and ad data to ensure humans not bots are viewing ads. Establishing a cross-device strategy is also important because most of us use three or more different devices.

The post The Unique Battleground of Mobile Fraud appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Why Sports Illustrated Is on the Right Track by Integrating AR

The following is a guest contributed post from Tom Farrell, the vice president of marketing for the mobile marketing and consumer engagement platform Swrve.

Augmented reality (AR) is hardly news by this point. The Pokémon Go craze has been and gone, and if you haven’t taken a selfie with the Snapchat AR flower crown, what on Earth have you been doing? As all tech trends eventually do, AR has come to the point where its sheer newness is no longer enough to get people hyped up. As a result, in order to become more than just another futuristic gimmick, AR needs to be integrated into users’ daily lives in a way that is useful; it must enhance their experiences rather than just being used for software showboating. In particular, AR opens up interesting new monetization opportunities for publishers.

One of the most extensive recent examples of just how many options AR can offer comes from Sports Illustrated, which has introduced several AR and virtual reality (VR) features as part of its famous swimsuit issue. There interactive spread includes a 360-degree VR tour of the photo shoot; Snapchat lenses that use AR to turn the reader into one of the models; AR-activated pages that readers can scan to bring to life; 3D holograms; and more. What makes Sports Illustrated’s AR application particularly notable beyond the sheer number of different features is the way that these integrate into the print and web editions, becoming part of the publication rather than replacing it.

These features are likely to drive revenue in two main ways, with the first (and most obvious) being by boosting the amount of time that people are engaged. In the same way that most of us are likely to spend longer playing a video game than looking at the cover of its box, creating actions that the audience can carry out and ways that they can interact with the material mean that they’re likely to spend more time engaging with the issue’s content.

Second, the AR features require readers download the LifeVR app, which increases the number of engagement channels, as well. By incentivizing engagement with the app through an exclusive experience, acquisition is more likely to be encouraged than by any amount of “download now!” messaging. In fact, to get the most from these AR and VR experiences, readers are encouraged to engage with the print magazine, website and app, tripling the reader’s total contact with the brand. These added features offer a way to revitalize the print medium, bringing readers of the magazine into the app, and users of the app back to the magazine. Having the app on readers’ phones means that they’re more likely to engage with the brand in the future. Because the LifeVR app features several publications from the Life brand, it’s also an opportunity to cross-sell users on to other titles, too.

For publishers, increased brand engagement time is particularly crucial since apps are a prime platform for monetization. If a publisher’s content is monetized by upselling readers to subscriptions or premium packages, then using the app to deliver these interactions means that the publisher’s approach can be much more targeted and much more effective. If monetization relies instead on showing advertisements from other businesses, these, too, can be optimized through the app by timing them to cause the least disruption and, therefore, to support maximum customer retention. With ad blockers becoming increasingly common, the ability to have full control over the ads shown through apps is particularly valuable. Essentially, having more readers spending more time in the app translates to more advertising revenue, and Sports Illustrated’s use of AR features is a great way to do just that.

Sports Illustrated is on to a winner here. Readers get a more dynamic experience that they’ll want to share and spend time engaging with, and publishers increase brand exposure, which can increase revenue. We predict AR will be an area of growth over the coming months, as applications like Sports Illustrated prove to bring real benefits beyond its original clickbait appeal.

The post Why Sports Illustrated Is on the Right Track by Integrating AR appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

New AppsFlyer Report Points to $700-$800 Million Lost to Fraud in Q1 2018

This week, AppsFlyer issued its State of Mobile App Install Fraud Q1 2018 report, which examines more than 6,000 apps and 10 billion installs across multiple verticals, regions and platforms.

Alarmingly, the report shows that ,obile app marketers were exposed to 30% more fraud in Q1 2018, reaching $700-$800 million worldwide.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The share of fraudulent installs has grown by 15%, tainting 11.5% of all marketing-driven installs.
  • Bots have replaced device farms as the most popular form of attack, responsible for over 30% of fraudulent installs.
  • Shopping, gaming, finance and travel apps are the hardest hit.

To learn more, check out the full report here.

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Augmented Reality is Here to Stay: Key Considerations for Marketers

Valassis, a leader in activating consumers through intelligent media delivery, is out with a new report sharing key considerations for marketers and retailers as they look to leverage augmented reality (AR) technology in their campaigns.

RetailMeNot reports that nearly all (99 percent) of retailers wish to improve the shopping experience to better engage and convert customers. AR could be a valuable asset to do so.

The past year served as a major turning point for mainstream AR adoption, the report explains, with Apple launching ARKit and Google following suit, unveiling ARCore at last month’s Mobile World Congress. With worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) expected to reach $17.8 billion in 2018, more innovation and opportunity are anticipated in this space.

“The rapid, mainstream growth of augmented reality presents a prime opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition,” said Pehr Luedtke, Senior Vice President, Marketing and International, Valassis Digital. “However, before companies dive head-first into this market, it’s important for them to identify how the technology can be applied in smart, relevant ways. Ultimately, AR should serve as another opportunity to enhance the customer experience in a unique way.”

Brands should keep the following in mind when considering the deployment of AR technologies and strategies:

  • The consumer research and planning phase is crucial: According to Valassis research, over 90 percent of consumers create a list before visiting a store, showing the prominence of pre-shopping research and planning. While product information was previously gathered through online reviews and word-of-mouth, AR is taking the research phase one step further, allowing individuals to truly visualize an item before making a purchase decision. For example, from the convenience of their phone, a consumer can see an image of a furniture item in their home, helping determine whether it fits in their respective space so they can make an informed buying decision. AR is providing an innovative “try before you buy” shopping model.
  • AR doesn’t stand on its own: While AR is a newer touchpoint for consumers, it should be incorporated into a broader, integrated marketing strategy. It may fit in and serve a purpose, however AR should be used in combination with other engagement strategies – including social media, email and direct mail.
  • Print and digital are an AR match made in heaven: To date, much of the AR focus has been placed on digital, although print plays a critical role in connecting brands and consumers – and AR technology further elevates that experience. More and more marketers are placing codes and images on print materials, which readers can scan with their mobile devices. For example, retailers can implement AR functionalities that allow consumers to scan an item, such as a furniture piece, in a magazine or direct mail print ad and view a 3D visual of the item. Through this AR data feed, consumers can also see relevant details including price, color/texture options, purchase locations and more. The inclusion of AR delivers an immersive and engaging shopping experience – all that’s needed is a print image and mobile device.

It’s important for brands to strike a balance between new innovations such as AR and tried-and-true tactics, the announcement concludes. This will ensure they’re effectively meeting their target audience when and where it matters most.

To learn more about how Valassis is helping brands drive results with integrated campaigns, visit its website.

 

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Blockchain Can Fix Ad Tech: Here is How it Can Address Fraud

The following is a guest contributed post by Rebecca Lerner, Executive Vice President at MAD Network

The advertising technology industry is broken, at least in its current form. That’s not breaking news.

Despite constant calls for transparency from brands, tech solutions continually stay the course, ignoring safety issues that affect advertisers as well as consumers. The desperate rush to collect as much data as possible has blinded adtech to the purposes behind these placements to begin with: creating something that connects with consumers.

Procter & Gamble has been one of the biggest brands to pull the plug, and its $200 million cut in digital ad spend has reportedly yielded a 10-percent increase in results — all by taking its operations in-house. Unilever’s pondering similar actions, as are other large brands. Adtech is starting down a crisis of its own creation. Unless it chooses to evolve.

But evolution can’t just be shining a light on fraud and transparency issues at this point. We’re too far down the road from where the industry should be. It’s time for the whole operation to be scrapped.

Where does it go from here, though? Ends up some brands are already exploring those possibilities for themselves.

Who’s actively looking for what’s next?

AT&T and Bayer are two companies looking toward blockchain technology to fix what ails digital advertising, at least for their own respective businesses. For programmatic advertisers, it’s always been a priority to know where money and placements are going, and how ads are measured. Yet, the industry currently fails to address those concerns effectively. If implemented correctly, blockchain initiatives can clear up many of those transparency concerns by reinventing the digital advertising ecosystem with privacy by design.

A brand like AT&T seems willing to do just that, though. One of the country’s largest advertisers, AT&T has an invested interest in protecting data and knowing where its money goes. The company has taken steps to improve its place in digital advertising in the last year, not only by looking into blockchain, but also by completely pulling out of YouTube due to brand safety concerns. That was last March. They’re still not back.

But is avoiding platforms like YouTube, or applying blockchain to the current industry norms a long-term fix, or just a short-term stop-gap ignoring the industry’s largest issues with fraud?

Customer data’s under the microscope right now with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) soon taking effect. The industry at-large has collected data without permission for a long time, and now suddenly, the threat of fines from the GDPR is going to deter them?

Why would actors that created the current paradigm be all that willing — or capable — of ushering in a new one that doesn’t find ways to step outside the lines once more?

This is where blockchain could work — not just as a solution for adtech’s woes, but as a hard reset for an industry that desperately needs a course-correction from outside of its current confines.

The second act

Blockchain represents a new way of transacting. So many platforms seem to be slapping a blockchain on the existing insecure workflows. And that’s a start, but what the industry needs right now is actual innovation — not just another “ad tax” to point out bad behavior. There is no proof that will reduce costs or fraud.

What the decentralized nature of blockchain represents is a true technology solution, not simply a new kind of plumbing behind an advertising face.

The supply chain is clearer within a shared ledger. Advertisers would see exactly which vendors are involved in transactions, and there would be no unnecessary middlemen added to the process. Transparency would be at the center of this infrastructure. There would no longer be questions about where ads are placed, where money is spent, or most importantly, where data is going.

Protecting customer data is essential to any ad tech fix, and it’s also where blockchain is at is most useful. With blockchain, companies can both collect data and respect privacy all at once. Customers can opt into sharing data and receiving targeted advertising, without giving up physical possession of their information. It’s privacy by design, and a convenient side effect for both regulators and companies.

As pressure mounts for digital advertising to repair itself, the industry’s leaders must look to a fundamental change, versus the light fixes that treat the symptom of the problem instead of the problem itself. Blockchain can usher in a new dynamic for digital advertising that prioritizes transparency and combats fraud, but only if implemented as a solution to the underlying problems. Some might say the industry’s survival demands as much. Hopefully its actors are willing to see the long-term benefit now, while they still can.

The post Blockchain Can Fix Ad Tech: Here is How it Can Address Fraud appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

First Look: oneAudience Integrates Mobile-Driven Audiences in Adobe Analytics Cloud

oneAudience, a first-party mobile data provider that specializes in mobile app usage data, confirmed ahead of the weekend an integration with Adobe Audience Manager, part of Adobe Analytics Cloud.

The mobile audiences now available in the Adobe Audience Manager marketplace enables revenue-driven marketers to leverage mobile insights across all major industries such as automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare and retail.

As a Premier level partner in the Adobe Exchange partner program, oneAudience enhances brand and agency audience data by understanding consumers at the individual level through their mobile device behaviors and app usage, providing audience attributes and segmentation for increased consumer engagement, brand awareness and sales.

“The combined power of oneAudience and Adobe Audience Manager enables marketers to gain additional mobile insights by layering together their data and our mobile-first audiences,” said Ari Saposh, VP of Data at oneAudience. “Our mobile-first collection methodology captures behaviors and insights, such as what apps an individual is downloading or using, to enable a better understanding of today’s on-the-go consumers.”

According to the formal announcement, mobile is hailed as being the most personal, relevant channel used by consumers. According to Facebook, over 88 percent of its revenue was driven by mobile alone – a number that is increasing year over year.

“The combination of Adobe and oneAudience gives brands and agencies access to additional mobile insights, such as data on apps consumers are downloading and using,” said Cody Crnkovich, head of platform partners and strategy at Adobe. “Joint customers can now leverage the unique mobile ID management capabilities in Adobe Audience Manager and the mobile data from oneAudience to help maximize reach and relevance.”

Having oneAudience mobile audiences available in Adobe Audience Manager marketplace lets marketers “apply real-time mobile insights and build truly personalized campaigns,” the emailed statement concludes.

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Ad Trends from MWC 2018

The following is a guest contributed post by Ignasi Prat, CMO at Tappx

Mobile World Congress reached its conclusion last week and again proved to be the beating heart of imminent and future technology. As a Barcelona based company, we at Tappx are most definitely biased towards MWC being the major global show for all things mobile related, which these days is every kind of tech.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, there were of course the usual smartphone launches, but this year’s show also went deeper into the two major technologies shaping our mobile future: 5G and Artificial Intelligence. Each of these technologies has its own incredible scope and likely impact, but when combined, they are set to superpower and transform industries; and one of these is the global ad industry.

5G – the fifth generation mobile wireless standard – is fast becoming a reality. 4G was a great improvement in terms of data speed download, which has delivered a sizeable and beneficial impact for users, and how they consume content across their smart devices. 5G is all about the user experience and is set to open up a whole new world of possibilities, as everything will be connected with an ever-growing flow of data, serving an exponentially growing number of connected devices – whether that’s connected cars, homes, or any other examples that people can’t imagine quite yet.

Why marketers should be excited by the focus at MWC on 5G is because it opens new doors for marketers, where new devices can provide new advertising opportunities and deliver new ways and channels to reach customers, where each one has their own idiosyncrasies and nuances.

5G is going to be faster, potentially much faster: compared to typical 4G download speeds of up to 150 megabytes per second, 5G promises up to an astonishing 20 gigabytes per second. But more exciting for mobile marketers is that 5G also promises a decrease in latency (ie the time between when an order is given and when it takes place). The drop is from 50 milliseconds for 4G, to between 1-5ms for 5G. This has a direct impact on the advertising industry, because faster data transmission and lower latency will permit new streaming capabilities, such as 4K video advertising, and immersive 360-degree videos or Virtual- (VR) and Augmented-Reality (AR) ads.

Prior to MWC, Apple unveiled its ARKit project that aims to boost the creation of AR content (at least for iPhone 8 and X users), Google has countered with ARCore. This ARms race will be a boon to mobile marketers as it opens up a new creative horizon for advertising and for creating 5G-enabled immersive experiences. It also gives content creators a new channel – with all the opportunities and challenges that go with it – to come up new types of content to appeal to audiences, but it’s up to mobile marketers to reach those audiences, to monetize the content and make it work for brands. We might not have all the answers, but we’re excited by the prospect of new message formats, acquisition metrics and creative fun we’ll have.

The other side of all the connected devices and content on display at MWC is data. It isn’t just the ‘new oil’ of the 21st century, but data is the fuel that powers technology. The days of marketing based solely on intuition or small data samples are history. Instead we have a wealth of data about consumers, telling us more than we could have ever dreamed of. But as the amount of data gathered grows exponentially, we need to ask the question – what’s the best method to identify data, build insights, and apply to our advantage? Enter AI.

It’s Artificial Intelligence that’s transforming the mobile advertising industry into the current mobile adtech industry, where smart machines trading ads in real-time are significantly more efficient than human ad operations. The increasing role of AI across the entire advertising industry, and its capability for solving challenges facing advertisers and publishers, can empower advertisers to serve relevant content, to hyper targeted audiences, in the correct context. Everything in real-time.

What Mobile World Congress tells us as mobile marketers is that the future of the ad industry is exciting and promising. The arrival of 5G and AI will open new opportunities to deepen and interrogate the relationships that advertising has with people and ways to use these technologies to move customers along the buying journey. Our challenge – as ever – is to get on top of these trends first.

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3 Ways to Spot a Liar In an Interview (And What to Do About It)

Let’s be honest (which, we admit, may be slightly ironic for an article about lying) and confess we’ve all been tempted to lie in an interview.

But most of us also know telling whoppers will get us nowhere fast, and so, we give it to a recruiter straight — for better or worse. Unfortunately for recruiters and hiring managers, not all job candidates are so scrupulous.

So how can they spot and liar? And what should they do once they do? Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc. and founder of HR Bartender, has some expert advice for exactly how to navigate this tricky situation.

First, “if a candidate is truly lying, it’s important for the company to realize it prior to the person being hired,” Lauby says. “If the candidate lies about their knowledge, skills, or abilities, they could be placing the company and themselves at real risk.”

To spot a liar in an interview, Lauby suggests paying attention to three key factors:

How to Spot a Liar in an Interview

1. Check for consistency.

Over the course of the interview process, consider asking the candidate the same question multiple times to see if you get the same answer each time. “For example, ask, ‘Are you able to work nights, weekends, and holidays?’” Lauby says. “If a candidate says ‘Yes!’ during the first interview but hesitates during another one, it’s a red flag that the company should try to get an honest answer.”

2. Watch out for too-good-to-be-true stories.

You know the saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “This isn’t to say that incredible candidates don’t have great stories to tell,” Lauby says. “But if a story sounds too good to be true, a hiring manager can ask some follow-up questions to make sure the candidate can explain the story in detail. For example, if a sales manager exceeded their sales goal by 500 percent, he should be able to provide specifics. In fact, he should want to.”

3. Study body language and tone.

According to Lauby, “short answers and fidgety body language might be an indicator that a candidate is uncomfortable responding to certain questions, such as, ‘Why did you leave your last employer?’” But that’s not always the case—so be careful when studying a candidate’s body language and tone.

“[Nervousness] can also be a sign the interviewer isn’t doing a good job of making the candidate feel welcome,” Lauby warns. “Hiring managers need to learn how to make candidates feel at ease, so they are open [and honest] with their responses.”

If you feel you’ve got a liar in your midst—or your office, as the case may be—your first step is to ask clarifying questions and for specifics to see if the candidate is able to back up any inconsistent or wildly positive past experiences, Lauby says. “For the body language situation, offer to give the candidate a tour,” she suggests, “and then resume the interview. See if that helps [the candidate to relax and open up]. Or have the candidate speak with another manager and see if he or she gets the same vibe.”

The important thing to keep in mind, Lauby says, is “the hiring manager [should be] absolutely, positively, totally, completely sure that the candidate was lying” before discounting or dismissing a job candidate. “I understand being suspect about a response,” she says, “which is why hiring managers should ask probing questions to get additional information. And don’t forget all of these questions need to be legal.”

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First Look: Urban Airship Expands its Platform to Revolutionize In-App Engagement

Ahead of the weekend, MMW learned that Urban Airship has big plans in the works.

Fast-following the announcement of AI Marketing Orchestration for cross-channel messaging coordination, Urban Airship has unveiled what it calls the industry’s first in-app automation engine.

So how does it work?

In-app messaging is a proven lifeline for apps to engage all users, but limitations in triggering and delivery timing meant there was always the possibility for messages to be seen as irrelevant, annoying or interruptive. With Urban Airship’s new in-app automation engine, brands can create rich, interactive in-app messages that instantly display based on customers’ multiple behavioral and lifecycle events with automation logic included in the app itself. This ensures messages are seen in the exact moment that matters most to each individual — in-session, in-context and on specific screens.

Marketers and mobile app product owners can now use Urban Airship’s marketer-friendly UI to fully customize native templates or custom HTML for different rich, interactive message layouts, define automation logic, edit messages and view their performance.

The company says that this skips the uphill battle of getting developer resources during app update cycles for instant in-app messages, saving marketers time and expense, and offering new levels of flexibility to address key onboarding and engagement opportunities.

“The vast majority of customer journeys today are self-directed, and digital offers consumers effortless, limitless choice, so it’s more important than ever to engage people as they learn about brand offerings and features — it’s their point of maximum influence,” said Brett Caine, president and CEO, Urban Airship. “We’re on a mission to disrupt the status quo of digital customer engagement, making it easier and more automatic to use customer data and drive action across all digital channels.”

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4 Signs You've Found an Informed Candidate

In the search for top talent, every recruiter prefers an informed candidate. Why? Informed candidates make the hiring process easier by asking smarter questions, doing the necessary research on the company, and tailoring their expectations to the role they’re applying for.

So how can these job-seeking unicorns be spotted?

Here are a number of indicators that will show you that you have an informed candidate in your application pipeline — for more, download the Ultimate Screening Checklist.

1. They Came as a Referral

Every year, employee referrals top the list as a source of new talent for employers — in 2016, 30 percent of all hires were a result of employee referrals, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

This is no accident: employee referrals are one of the most reliable sources for informed candidates. One reason for this is that your employees share your goal in wanting to recommend a good candidate — it makes them look good, brings in their friend or acquaintance to the company and sometimes even gives them a bonus for a successful referral.

In addition, referred candidates are often better informed because they have a friend who can fill them in on the ins and outs of the company, both before the interview and during the onboarding process. Referred candidates also save hiring time in the long run: multiple studies have shown that referred candidates have a higher retention rate — a 2015 study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics showed that in high-tech jobs, referred candidates are 26 percent less likely to quit.

2. Their Resume Is Tailored to the Job Description

In today’s digitized job application process, candidates can send out a flurry of job applications with just a few clicks of a button. High-quality candidates, however, will spend time tailoring their resume to fit the company and the specific job description. One place to look for this is in the candidate’s statement or objective section.

Statements that are bland and can apply to any job show a lack of thoughtfulness, while a statement that clearly is aligned with the goals of the company and the role that is being asked for is a clear sign you have an informed candidate on your hands. In addition, the presence of relevant industry keywords shows that they are familiar with the industry and know how to use the terminology.

3. They Understand the Role

Having an understanding of the role that they’ve applied to saves time for both the candidate and the employer. The applicant’s resume and cover letter, as well as the questions they ask during the interview, are the best places to see that they have thought about how their experience qualifies them for each specific aspect of the role. At the same time, it is your duty as an employer to follow best practices for writing a job description, and make the duties and expectations for the role as clear as possible.

4. They Ask Intelligent Questions

Before coming in for an interview, any competent candidate should have done their research on the company — if they have, it will likely show in the questions they ask you. Asking informed questions shows that they have both invested time in bulking up their knowledge of the company and getting to know the company on a deeper level. Bonus points if they bring up recent company news or product developments!

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Docent Health Selects mPulse Mobile to Scale and Deepen Their Personalized Healthcare Journeys

On Thursday, the official word was handed down that mPulse Mobile, a leader in mobile health engagement solutions, and Docent Health, the industry powerhouse in helping health systems manage and grow customer relationships, have solidified a new partnership.

We’re told that Docent Health recognized the value of interactive and targeted text messaging as an effective method to maintain a trusted channel of communication with patients at scale and turned to mPulse to incorporate their innovative mobile engagement technology into their communication strategy to drive engagement, retention, and customer advocacy.

Docent Health leverages multiple messaging capabilities from mPulse Mobile. By using a combination of real-time conversations, pre-scripted communications and responses, and rules based messaging triggered by a wide range of use cases e.g. time, date, recurrence and consumer profile, Docent Health is able to get consumers the right information at the right time and develop strategic campaigns that support patient engagement and growth strategies.

The result, today’s announcement highlights, is a Docent Health designed messaging solution that achieves mission and growth oriented goals yet retains the sense of human touch and individualization that is so important in today’s consumer-centric world.

“At the core of Docent Health’s approach is connecting with patients early in their decision making process, building awareness and conversion with prospective patients and continuing to build activation, loyalty, and advocacy throughout the customer relationship,” said Paul Roscoe Chief Executive Officer, Docent Health. “With the mPulse Mobile engagement solution, our customer-centric approach is extended and enhanced with the use of micro-targeted, personalized, and interactive text messaging.”

With 71% of Docent managed patients opting to have text messaging as their primary communication channel, Docent Health can scale interactions to the tens of thousands of patients they serve. Once embedded in their best-in-class experiences, Docent Health is driving a market-leading 46% click-through rate on links to key resources. This means digital communications are directly translating into patients feeling better supported; improving both patient education and customer engagement.

“Healthcare companies recognize the need to meet consumers where they are to improve patient activation and achieve their health and business outcomes,” said Chris Nicholson, Chief Executive Officer, mPulse Mobile. “Docent Health is a true innovator in raising the bar on delivering amazing patient experiences with integrating mobile engagement into their patient journey design.”

Healthcare providers and payers have been improving health and business outcomes with mPulse solutions for years and, more recently, innovative healthcare experience companies like Docent Health have turned to mPulse Mobile to fully realize the advantages of interactive text messaging to create powerful, tailored touchpoints that improve the consumer experience, drive engagement and streamline operations.

To learn more about Docent Health and mPulse Mobile at the upcoming HIMSS18 conference:

The post Docent Health Selects mPulse Mobile to Scale and Deepen Their Personalized Healthcare Journeys appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

How Messaging Will Topple Apps

Since the introduction of Apple’s iOS App Store in the summer of 2008, the number of applications on iOS alone has risen from an initial 500 applications to millions in just a few years. Top platforms like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android offer no end of applications for consumers to play games, look at pictures of cats, and message their friends. From day one, businesses have looked for unique ways to capitalize on the screen in their customers’ pockets. The ease of access in app creation is at an all-time high, meaning you may be one of the many businesses that are taking the leap and building an app to reach your customers. The question remains: How do you distinguish your brand, and make sure that your message is getting through the noise?

The Rise of Apps (And Fragmentation)

While restaurant and retail brands, luckily, haven’t had to fight for their place on the home screen to the same degree as app developers whose creations could be replaced by the next iOS update (RIP, flashlight app), branded apps have taken an increasing portion of marketing budgets over the past few years, with no end in sight. But how is that return-on-investment being measured, and how can a brand tell the difference between creating a more effective way to communicate with their customers, and fragmenting their user base even further?

Finding a Better Way

One of the most common goals of mobile apps for brands is building a more loyal customer base. This is usually achieved by allowing customers to earn points or receive exclusive offers through your app only. The problem, however, is that loyalty apps released by brands typically only see an adoption rate between 10% and 20% of a customer base, leaving a huge portion of your customers out of the picture.

Pair that with the fact that a recent study from Silicon Valley Analyst Andrew Chen showed that “less then 5% of downloaded apps are still in use after 90 days,” and you could be building a communication channel that not only fragments your customers, but also leaves a huge portion of them in the dark from your best deals, new offerings, and company updates. You need a way to reach the customers who didn’t download your app, or those who turned off push notifications and left it forgotten on the third page of their home screen. Luckily, a solution is emerging.

The Future of Enhanced Messaging

This week, we were proud to have a presence at Mobile World Congress to showcase how we’ve been working with Google and their new Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard to improve mobile ordering and marketing messaging for Subway. While RCS may still be in its infancy, the possibilities are near endless, and the ability to pull many functions “usually confined to apps” within a text message could prove to be highly fruitful for brands.

Currently, RCS focuses on finding nearby locations, mobile ordering, and delivering messages that include media-rich options and images. The prospect of an enhanced messaging standard could change the way that brands and customers interact with each other, all while delivering even more valuable insights on your customers.  For the first time in brand messaging history, you could gather delivery and read receipts, allow users to interact with your brand through pre-programmed messages or display rotating images of that day’s chip selection — all within the text message application that customers are already using multiple times per day.

“This is a cutting-edge, exciting opportunity to continue to evolve how we serve our customers,” said Carissa Ganelli, Chief Digital Officer of Subway. “Our goal is to make ordering and receiving your favorite Subway meal as easy as possible. We have been using text conversations to engage our guests and now we are taking it to the next level. With RCS technology and real-time conversations, we are delivering a personalized ordering experience in seconds and in clicks. We are excited to partner with Mobivity and to create a unique on-demand digital experience for our loyal customers.”

Would an app help your business create more loyal customers? Almost definitely. You will be able to reach your most interactive customers right off the bat, and depending on how compelling your offers are, you’ll probably keep them coming back. But with the high costs that are associated with app development, and the decreasing adoption seen across the industry in recent years, the ability to create a rich, interactive experience from directly within the messaging app your customers already use multiple times a day is increasingly valuable as you try to reach them in a more connected world than ever.

The post How Messaging Will Topple Apps appeared first on Mobivity.

Stayhealthy Trims the Fat in Modern Healthcare with Innovation That’s Off the Scale

It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it. That somebody, in this case, is stayhealthy. A healthcare solutions pioneer for the mobile age, the company is addressing what is undeniably among the biggest problems in all of healthcare today — excess body fat.

According to the latest research by the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 40% of adults and 19% of youth are now classified as obese, the highest rate ever observed in the United States.

“There is a health crisis caused by body fat which if not addressed will bankrupt our economy, and we could be looking at new generations being born not outliving their parents in the term of years lived for the first time.”

                –Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of DHSS

Twenty years ago, the percentage of the population that had excess fat was 60%, today it is 70% with continued annual growth.  Excess fat has a dreadful impact on any individual, including but not limited to: increase exposure to diabetes (Type 2), cancer, heart, liver and kidney disease, pancreatic issues, degenerative and joint issues.

Without question, the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of adults and children has contributed to this healthcare crisis. But now, the very devices that keep us glued to our seats are being harnessed to give us better information that we can use to play a more proactive role in our health and wellness.

If you’re not familiar, stayhealthy’s app suite is designed to measure and track a number of the early predictors of potentially serious medical problems and will even provide users with solutions and actionable information. With more than twenty years of experience in its back pocket, the company is now putting on the front burner it’s boldest plan yet to harness cutting edge technology to trim the fat from our lives.

Predicated on the belief that if you can measure and track your numbers you can also change them, stayhealthy is behind an effort to upend BMI, a controversial statistical measure based on standardized height and weight ratios.

Having received FDA approval for the first true innovation in body fat screening since the development of BMI in the 1800s, stayhealthy’s Body Fact App (BF App) is well positioned to effectively replace BMI, which is infamous for its inconsistency and inaccuracy.

Stayhealthy’s BF app is based on years of peer reviewed clinical research, and heralds the arrival of a groundbreaking screening tool for widespread public use. Unlike BMI, stayhealthy’s app gives actual body fat percent and lean body mass percent.

3,000 clinicians have already used stayhealthy’s previously resources for measuring body composition but now a web and mobile based screening tool is coming online that can be used by anyone at any time.

By taking body composition to the next level, stayhealthy may very well place in the palm of our hands the ability to eradicate ineffectual weight loss programs, remove bad data from our health management plans, and supercharge efforts to get healthy and stay healthy by leveraging information and insight better than any health management resource has ever made possible.

To learn more about stayhealthy, please visit https://www.stayhealthy.com/.

The post Stayhealthy Trims the Fat in Modern Healthcare with Innovation That’s Off the Scale appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Digital Ads Finally Get Out From Under the Plumbing

The following is a guest contributed post by Daniel Meehan, CEO at PadSquad.

Why has digital advertising always been approached so differently than any other form of the art?

Banners were among the earliest iterations of internet ads, and they basically filled space. Engagement rates were low, users ignored them. Online advertising was seen as ineffectual.

But social media, increased bandwidth and mobile browsing ushered in an opportunity to create ads that were highly targeted, interactive, and yes, innovative as well. Or at least, they were supposed to be.

In the rush to take advantage of all of the new ad real estate, the industry focused on the infrastructure — the plumbing — of it all. Targeting became a distinctly precise science. Ad exchanges became the norm, and the focus shifted toward the delivery, versus what was actually being delivered to the end consumer. Viewability rates were established and then gamed — the more ads you jammed onto the page, the more “viewable” the ads.

The influx of poor formats that led to the rise of ad blockers could’ve served as a death knell for digital advertising. But it may actually refresh the industry. It ends up everyone was so focused on the plumbing for digital ads, they forgot that the goal is creating something consumers actually like.

Look at TV advertising. Every brand utilizes a mix of 15- and 30-second spots, for the most part. Targeting tools are similar. The container ubiquitous. It’s what you do within the container — the creative part of the ad — that’s most important. That’s where the science and messaging of a brilliant ad come to life. Whether or not it elicits those (positive) consumer emotions or reactions make all the difference.

And for a mobile device, in particular, there’s additional challenges, too. The container is so personal to both the publisher and consumer. It’s difficult to strike the right balance on a device that holds the story of a person inside of it (figuratively). But that’s where innovation separates those on the right side of the upcoming ad-blocker conversation and those desperately trailing behind.

Chrome’s ad blocker went live on February 15, and with it comes a hard reset for the ad tech industry. The plumbing can and will still change here and there, but it will revert to its rightful place as the background noise in advertising — behind the creative experiences brands are able to share with consumers as a polite aside to digital media. Television advertising’s never been singularly focused on the technology to deliver the brand spot during your favorite primetime show. We’re on the cusp of digital advertising finally behaving similarly.

Recent industry conversations have already shown an entire ad landscape willing to follow suit. On a macro level, the conversations are moving toward creativity and why it’s important to provide consumers with something they actually want (like TV ads!). Platforms, plug-ins and data are all important for ad delivery. And an ad could even be super-targeted to the exact end-user it’s created for.

But the question for ad tech will (rightfully) be: When the ad renders on that page, will the consumer pay attention? Because if not, the plumbing doesn’t matter.

In a fragmented media world full of screens in every direction, brands and publishers are competing for eyeballs like never before. This is everyone’s chance to take advantage of a rare occurence: the clean slate. With time and money better spent on serving up the best ad, advertising can finally be at the forefront of ad tech, and stopped getting disrupted by the technology behind it.

About the author

Daniel Meehan is the CEO and founder of PadSquad, an award-winning mobile creative company consistently introducing industry-defining, hand-crafted rich-media formats on behalf of Fortune 100 and 500 brands across all verticals.

The post Digital Ads Finally Get Out From Under the Plumbing appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

This Simple Diagram Will Help You Tell Better Brand Stories

Tell someone to write a poem, and chances are, they’ll freeze up. Tell someone to write a haiku, however, and we bet they’ll bang one out in less than 10 minutes.

The reason: constraints unleash our creativity. But how can you translate that to the complex world of content marketing? The below diagram will help you do just that.

The Story Funnel-Matrix

The funnel-matrix has two dimensions. The first maps loosely to the stages of a typical marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and acquisition.

What stories you tell will depend on your current relationship with your audience –where you are as a couple, to use the obligatory marketing-dating analogy.

When you first meet someone, your conversations tend to be around things that you have in common — your shared interests and values. This is why so many people make small talk about the weather. It affects everyone, so it’s something we all have in common.

You probably won’t dive into your health problems the first time you meet someone. You probably won’t share intimate details about the people in your life.

But after you meet, you might start sharing some of those things, especially if the first date goes well. You might start to paint a picture of your dream life: where you want to live, your ideal career, where you want to travel. Though you shouldn’t hit them with a marriage proposal at this point, you’ll start to share more about yourself — what you care about and what you want.

By the third or fourth date, you’ll naturally be sharing more personal stories than before. This is the way a relationship progresses. (Notice how storytelling is such a big part of what we do when we’re dating. It’s good for more than just marketing and publishing!)

This brings us back to our storytelling funnel-matrix. In the beginning of a relationship, you should tell stories about shared interests and values. As things progress, you can tell stories about the people in your life (like your customers or employees). Finally, as things start getting more serious, you tell stories about your products and services themselves.

The second dimension of the funnel-matrix adds an extra bit of planning help to your content creation strategy. This comes straight from the playbook of newsrooms.

The idea is to divide the stories you tell into three more categories based on time: timely stories that are pertinent based on news or current events; seasonal stories that are relevant because of the time of year; and evergreen stories that will be valuable no matter when the audience sees or hears them.

Take our client American Express, for example. Amex’s OPEN line of credit cards wants small business owners to know that they care about them. Building that trust is a key element of their B2B branding, so they tell stories in various places, most notably on OPEN Forum, a content hub and newsletter that attracts millions of small business owners each month. They’re mostly interested in staying top of mind, not driving conversions or talking about Amex’s products.

Instead, they tell stories about how small business owners handle challenges like hiring and growth. These are examples of evergreen stories.

Sometimes Amex OPEN Forum spots something relevant that happens in the news and writes stories about how it affects small business owners, like new overtime laws and tax policies. These are timely + top-funnel stories.

And one day a year, American Express sponsors a holiday called Small Business Saturday, where it encourages consumers to shop at local businesses instead of big ones. To promote the upcoming holiday, Amex creates videos about small businesses around the country that are making a difference in their communities. These are seasonal stories.

Shinola’s stories of its factory workers and their mission to transform Detroit are about both values (saving American jobs) and its company/people. So they are evergreen + top/mid- funnel.

GE Reports, which tells stories of how GE invents really cool products (but doesn’t try to get you to buy those products), are mid-funnel and often timely—as the company reports on new innovations—but also evergreen because many of the stories are still interesting after the news is over.

The Groupon stories we talked about fit into the category of timely + bottom-funnel. They’re stories about product deals Groupon wants you to buy on one specific day.

Zady’s stories about the Indigo Skinny Jeans are evergreen + bottom-funnel. They’ll be around whenever you are ready for them.

The smartest brand storytellers are constantly on the lookout for data to tell them what their audiences are interested in during each stage of the funnel and each segment of the Bullseye. They obsess over it. And that’s because they know it’s their secret advantage.

This is an excerpt from the Amazon #1 New Release, The Storytelling Edge: How to Transform Your Business, Stop Screaming Into the Void, and Make People Love You” by Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, available today.

 

Email Marketing Lessons to Learn in the Year of the Dog

The Following is a Guest Contributed Post by Seamas Egan, Director of Marketing and Sales, Campaigner

On February 16, this Chinese New Year will celebrate the eleventh zodiac sign: the dog. Known as man’s best friend, dogs are America’s most popular companion animal — just as email is the most popular communications channel for business. As we approach the Lunar New Year email marketers can learn from these four tips to push their programs forward in 2018.

1) Understand Subscriber Preferences and Plan Accordingly

In Chinese astrology zodiac signs are paired with a rotating natural element, like fire and water. This year is considered the Year of the Earth Dog and people born this year are predicted to be communicative, serious and responsible at work. In order to emulate the Earth dog in campaigns email marketers should learn what content is most useful to their subscribers and take feedback into account while planning campaigns ahead of time.

As email marketers continue to add new subscribers to their lists it is important to adapt programs to meet the changing interests of these new consumers. To ensure they’re communicating content that consumers wish to receive, marketers should send a yearly survey asking them to rank what content they find most valuable, how often they wish to receive emails, and what products and services they are most interested in. This gives marketers better insight about subscribers and helps them develop planning calendars with deadlines and messaging that will resonate and ensure a regular communication frequency.

2) Learn From the Dog’s Lucky Times

There are zodiac beliefs that people born during a specific time of day will be more successful. Similarly, email marketers know that certain times of day are better than others for sending content to receptive readers, and that they can use this information to optimize their open and click through rates.

Marketers should note popular times to reach subscribers when developing their next campaign. For example, a recent Deloitte survey found that 40 percent of people check their email within five minutes of waking up. However it’s important that email marketers also trust their instincts and not send emails at inappropriate times, like 1 a.m. They should utilize tools like A/B split testing to determine the best time to reach subscribers and automate campaigns to hit their inboxes accordingly.

3) Don’t Pair Dogs With Roosters and Sheep

Chinese belief holds that certain character traits associated with the zodiac signs mesh well with others, but this is not the case for all. For example, dogs are considered adventurous by nature and rabbits are seen as curious — traits that complement each other and are believed to be an ideal connection. On the other hand, roosters are known to strut and be the center of attention, while dogs prefer to seek out intimate and loyal connections, traits that clash and can lead to trouble.

Similarly some subscribers are more responsive to specific content than others. Marketers can use segmentation and A/B split testing to match certain subscriber segments with the email content they’ll be most receptive to. A Campaigner survey found that the majority of millennials are interested in coupons, so marketers should segment their audience by demographics and pair millennial recipients with coupons when possible. Email marketers can also utilize A/B split testing to determine what content is most compatible for subscribers. By looking at how open and click-through rates differ for specific variables, marketers will be able to determine what content, subject line and even color palettes pique the interest of each subscriber group.

4) Treat Loyal Subscribers

As a symbol of good luck and best wishes in the New Year, it is customary to give friends and family a red envelope called a hongbao, which are typically filled with money. The act of receiving a red envelope is to invoke happiness and prosperity for the year to come.

Marketers should similarly reward loyal subscribers with special discounts and promotions to strengthen their relationship. Offering coupons to subscribers not only wishes subscribers luck in the New Year, it also helps marketers see an increase in ROI. Shopify found that merchants with coupons are 8 times more likely to make a sale. In order to capitalize on this year’s Chinese New Year celebration, marketers should offer discount codes that reflect the holiday with themed words such as loyal, lucky and fortune. Consider making these discount codes scannable so customers can use them in stores, and ensure they can be used online as well as offline.

As we enter the Year of the Dog, email marketers can align their stars to maximize the success of their programs. By developing a marketing planning calendar, sending at optimal times, and utilizing tools like segmentation and A/B split testing, marketers can create a strategy and content that builds brand loyalty and captures the interest of their subscribers. They should continue to experiment and develop content that can increase ROI, building good fortune for the new year ahead.

The post Email Marketing Lessons to Learn in the Year of the Dog appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Facebook Continues to Emphasize Personal Content With New Feature

By now, it’s clear: Facebook is trying to convince everyone that it’s putting the “social” back in “social media.”

As the network begins to show a loss of followers under 25, is called out as a place where users argue with each other over contentious topics, and continues to face scrutiny over bad actors allegedly weaponizing to influence elections — Facebook wants the world to know, with no uncertainty, that it is making changes to emphasize content from friends and family.

And the latest installment of that saga comes in the form of Lists: a new feature that Facebook started rolling out today that invites users to make, as the name suggests, lists. Whether it’s a to-do list, a wish list, or a list of self-improvement goals, the feature is quite open-ended and allows members of the social network to itemize whatever they see fit.

Image source: TechCrunch

The feature, first reported earlier today by TechCrunch, is the most recent of a series of moves by Facebook to deemphasize branded Page content and help users see more posts from their personal networks.

It began with an announcement in January that the user’s News Feed would only feature Page content with a high level of authentic engagement from his or her own personal networks. Then, just last week, Facebook confirmed that it was testing a feature that would allow users to downvote abusive or inappropriate content.

Image source: TechCrunch

Though Facebook is only beginning to roll out Lists, it appears that it’s only available to individual users, and not to Pages — a move that HubSpot Social Media Social Campaign Strategy Associate Henry Franco says underscores the network’s “throwback” shift to what it was originally created to do.

“My guess is it’s a play by Facebook to bolster the person-to-person experience on the platform,” Franco explains, “like the status updates of yore.”

The Lists feature, he continues, is “building out functionality for users rather than businesses,” further signaling a move away from Page content in users’ news feeds.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this feature as it continues to be tested. As always, feel free to weigh in with your take or questions on Twitter.

Upstream Unveils Evolved Mobile Marketing Promotions Offering ‘Next Gen Promos’

Mobile commerce platform Upstream has just announced the launch of Next Gen Promos, an evolution of its existing marketing promotions.

The service, we’re told, now offers integrated social media sharing, and the ability to boost interactions over web, SMS and apps, which allows 100% of an operator’s userbase to engage with fun and interactive promotions.

As highlighted in Upstream’s 2017 Digital Services Emerging Markets Report, conducted with Ovum, 72% of consumers state that digital services are an important factor in deciding whether to stay with a network operator.

The innovative gamified user experience is unique to emerging markets. By adding Next Gen Promos to their portfolio, mobile network operators can raise their ARPU significantly through increased user engagement and improved customer retention.

Regarding the news shared with MMW, Chrysa Karamanidi, Head of Product at Upstream commented; “The recent explosion in the use of smartphones across emerging markets has brought us both opportunities and challenges. There are now more users than ever before who are able to access rich content on their devices, but at the same time, the range of devices being used is also the broadest it has ever been.”

The post Upstream Unveils Evolved Mobile Marketing Promotions Offering ‘Next Gen Promos’ appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

How Does Facebook Stories Stack Up to Snapchat?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

This is a lesson Facebook has perfected over the last year as it continues to launch products to compete with Snapchat, the app it tried and failed to purchase back in 2013.

The battle over the disappearing social media story continued recently with the launch of Facebook Stories — a feature that replaced Facebook “Messenger Day” late last year. But is this Facebook Stories update competing with or even being used in the same way as its competitors?

Snapchat still has some advantages of its own as the veteran of disappearing picture texts. In this post, we’ll cover what Facebook Stories is all about, how to use it, and how this still young feature is changing the ephemeral messaging competition between Snapchat and Facebook.

Snapchat to Facebook: “I’m sorry that you’re so jealous of me, but I can’t help it that I’m popular.” Our team weighs in — listen below:

What Is Facebook Stories?

Facebook Stories was, at one time, a separate website Facebook hosted to share actual stories of members who were using the social network in inspiring ways. The company has since shut down this website.

Facebook Stories is now a function that lets users curate a slideshow of photos and videos that’s visible to their friends for 24 hours before it disappears. As with Messenger Day, this feature shares Stories through Messenger, Facebook’s standalone messaging app used by more than one billion people worldwide.

Users can also access their friends’ latest Stories from the top of their Facebook Newsfeed — as shown in the image of the Facebook mobile app three paragraphs down.

Messenger’s in-app camera lets users add text, drawings, stickers, emojis, filters, and lenses to photos and videos before adding them to their “Day” (hence the original “Messenger Day”) or sending them to individual friends or groups. Here’s what Stories users can tailor images to look like with the camera:

Three fun Facebook Stories photos users can add to their Day on Facebook Messenger.

Image via Bustle

Before you learn how to use Facebook Stories, here’s the lowdown on what it’s all about and how it’s similar to other ephemeral messaging apps and products out there.

How It’s Similar to Other Apps

Like Snapchat Stories and WhatsApp Status, Facebook Stories displays users’ ephemeral messages in a line of circular profile pictures you can click and view individually, or “Watch All” in a row. However, it is much more consistent with the interface of its subsidiary, Instagram, over its competitors.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of what they look like:

Facebook Stories shown on the newsfeed.Instagram stories on the app's homepage.

Images via Bustle / Instagram

Pretty similar, right? The distinguishing factor is that unread stories display horizontally along the top, rather than vertically down the left side like in Snapchat.

The cameras for each of these apps have different lens and filter styles, but for the most part, photo editing abilities are remarkably similar as well. Facebook, Snapchat, Whatsapp Status, and Instagram all let users send disappearing messages privately to individuals and groups, in addition to sharing on their Story, Status, or Day.

Now, let’s dive into how Facebook Stories is different from these other players.

How It Differs From Other Apps

What’s the one thing that sets Facebook apart from social networks like Snapchat? The size of its user base. I’ll get into the implications of this in just a minute.

Another difference between Facebook Stories and similar products is its intended use. While Snapchat and Instagram stories are focused on sharing what you’re up to in the moment, Facebook has positioned Facebook Stories as a way to make plans with friends and communicate about getting together.

In the original blog post announcement of Messenger Day, Messenger’s Head of Product, Stan Chudnovsky, said users can post images to their Days to “show what they’re doing, how they’re feeling and to invite friends to join them for activities.”

Here’s a video of the impetus behind Facebook Messenger Day, and how they company envisions Facebook Stories changing the way people communicate to make plans:

Now that you know what Facebook Stories is and what it’s for, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to use it.

How to Use Facebook Stories

  1. Update your Messenger app for iOS or Android.
    • Navigate to the App Store on iOS devices or Google Play on Android devices and make sure you’re using the latest version of Facebook Messenger.
  2. Open your Messenger app and tap the circular camera button in the bottom-center part of the menu.
  3. Take a photo, record a video by pressing and holding the capture button, or turn the camera to face you to snap a selfie.
  4. Add art, effects, emojis, and text to your photos and videos by tapping the smiley face, sticky note, and squiggle icons. Tap “Aa” to add text and caption your image.

Facebook Stories' photo editing features.

Image via Facebook

Once you’ve created your finished product, tap the arrow in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.

From there, you can choose to send your image to one friend, a group of friends, or post it to your Day. You can also save it to your camera roll by tapping the download icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.

List of friends who've viewed your Facebook Stories, and how to delete a photo from your Day.

Source: Facebook

You can also add photos or videos to your Day after you’ve already sent them to individual friends or groups. Within a direct or group message, tap “Add to your day” under the image to, you guessed it, add it to your Day.

Does Facebook Stories Stack Up to Snapchat?

At this point, it’s no secret (in fact, it’s become a running joke) that Facebook is trying to replicate and dominate Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc.’s, success. And so far, it looks doable. The Snapchat vs. Facebook showdown is a story of user base vs. user engagement, and the outcome of this social media arms race is being watched closely.

To recap: Facebook started adding filters to the Messenger camera back in the summer of 2016. Facebook-owned Instagram launched a near-exact replica of Snapchat Stories, called Instagram Stories, in August 2016. And in December 2016, Facebook unveiled a new in-app camera in Messenger, featuring lenses, more filters, stickers, and drawing abilities.

If you look at what photos and videos look like across the different apps and features, you’ll see a lot of similarities, like the ones we outlined above. But there are a few key differences, too.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Facebook Stories’ user base is much larger than that of Snapchat, with more than one billion daily active users versus Snapchat’s 187 million as of the end of 2017.

Snapchat attributes much of its slowed growth to Instagram Stories, according to its S-1 filing to go public last year, and there may be some truth to that as well.

For users, Instagram Stories arguably presents a better experience than Snapchat because video and photo ads aren’t shown between Stories as users scroll through their list of friends. This might prompt users to move over to Instagram to view Stories uninterrupted.

For marketers, Facebook and Instagram provide more detailed and more easily accessible analytics for understanding the reach and engagement of ephemeral content than Snapchat. Snapchat’s only metrics for Stories are the number of views and screenshots, and these numbers must be recorded in 24 hours before the content disappears.

… Or Will Snapchat’s Engagement Rates Win the Day?

One common theme among Snap Inc.’s competitors is that all were copies of the original, innovative Snapchat product: an app for sending messages that disappear. And as it turns out, that’s a very sticky idea.

Snapchat was a first mover in the ephemeral messaging space, and its devoted user base spends an average of 30 minutes on the app every day. Additionally, a huge portion of its user base is concentrated in the 18-34-year-old age range, and they could become bigger sources of revenue as time progresses.

I asked HubSpot Social Media Manager Marissa Emanuele what she thought about Facebook’s original Messenger Day announcement upon its launch in early 2017, and she noted that Facebook’s huge user base could be a disadvantage, too.

“The big advantage Snapchat has is that it’s highly curated with only the people you care about,” Emanuele said. “I’m friends on Facebook with somebody I met once in college and my neighbor from when I was a kid. I don’t really want to see what they’re doing every day, and I don’t think they want to see what I’m doing, either.

“I believe the only way that Facebook Messenger Day will be successful is if they have a much more curated version, where users could build lists of people they wanted to hear from,” she concluded.

Emanuele’s point? The massive size of Facebook networks — something Facebook Stories is still on the hook for — contrasts with how curated and one-to-one Snapchat is. Users might be more interested in sharing authentic content with a select few than with an enormous number.

What’s Next for Facebook?

The takeaway for marketers? Experiment with where your audience likes to consume ephemeral content. If you have a highly engaged audience that you communicate with on Facebook, especially on Facebook Messenger, then experiment with Facebook Stories. On the other hand, it could be worth engaging with audiences on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram if you have different active audiences on different platforms.

What’s more, companies are starting to use messaging apps to communicate with customers. Creating content on Facebook Messenger could create a more unified communication approach to customers if you’re already serving them there.

Whichever ephemeral app is your favorite, download the Facebook Messenger update and experiment. We’ll keep you posted on new developments in the competition heating up between Facebook and Snapchat. In the meantime, we have guides for marketers on how to use Facebook and Snapchat if you need help getting started.