Yahoo’s first Mobile Developer Conference took place in San Francisco last week. Over 1,000 attendees—including Appency—gathered to learn about Yahoo’s new and improved mobile offerings, and the results lived up to the hype. Yahoo launched of a new suite of products to help developers analyze, advertise, and monetize their apps. These products combine Yahoo’s years of advertising technology with the mobile expertise of Flurry and BrightRoll, which joined Yahoo in 2014.
Flurry’s been around since the launch of the iTunes App Store. They provide developers the data they need to understand their audience, benchmarked with data from over 630 billion apps. Partnering with Yahoo gives them access to an enormous audience across multiple device platforms and technologies. Appency has used Flurry analytics for years, and we find these new updates very exciting, providing plenty of opportunity for our clients.
BrightRoll provides solutions for the entire video ecosystem. Their partnership will help create a complete suite of solutions.
Flurry Analytics Explorer
Flurry has updated their analytics and now allows users to ask even more complex questions about their data than before, and the platform shows insights immediately. Developers can create custom events relevant to their specific app and reference them against any other piece of data Flurry gathers, and see immediate results. For instance, Instagram could track engagement by monitoring when users upload a photo, then cross reference that even against time of day to see when users are most engaged. As we have come to expect from Flurry, these new features have an easy-to-use interface and provide in-depth graphs. Importantly, these new analytics tools are free and require no new codes or new SDKs.
Flurry Pulse makes it easy for developers to share app signals with partners using their existing Flurry SDKs. Pulse shrinks the app’s size and saves developers time: With fewer SDK implementations, developers can get an app out the door faster and still work with a broad range of partners. A partnership with comScore helps make this possible.
Yahoo App Publishing
Yahoo announced that developers now have the ability to monetize their apps with video ads, display ads, and native ads using Yahoo Gemini, BrightRoll, and Flurry. These are the same tools that Yahoo used to revamp their apps and they have seen a huge increase in their click-through rate and engagement, so it will be interesting to see how these tools translate from web to mobile.
Yahoo Search in Apps
This feature allows developers to integrate Yahoo Search into their apps. It improves experience by allowing users to search in the app instead of leaving the app to search. During the past few months Yahoo’s has seen an increase in retention and engagement with Search in apps, so we may see Yahoo coming back as a mobile search competitor, especially after users shared concerns about privacy and Google Chrome.
Yahoo App Marketing
Developers can now buy targeted native and video advertising across Yahoo’s network of 75 million monthly users with Yahoo Gemini’s native and mobile search marketplace, which could be a good opportunity to easily reach a broad audience.
To learn more check out www.developer.yahoo.com, or contact us here at Appency to get help with your own mobile advertising campaign.
In 17 years and 18 seasons, South Park has scathingly satirized dozens of organizations and cultural trends. This season, they’ve turned their attention to Silicon Valley. They’ve skewered everything from Apple’s culture of adoration to Uber’s rise over taxicabs to freemium, or free-to-play games.
In case you missed it, the recent episode “Freemium Isn’t Free,” opens with the four main characters introduction to a free game, based on a popular television series from the South Park universe (like so many actual mobile games). The app’s gameplay is simple: Harvest “Canadian coins” to build virtual hospitals and parks, or pay with real-world money to get more “Canadough.”
The game is revealed to be a product of the Canadian Department of Mobile Gaming, which happens to be in cahoots with the Canadian devil, Beelzaboot. Profits from the game fund massive infrastructure improvement projects in the northern nation.
When one of the main characters gets so addicted, he spends thousands of dollars in microtransactions, the actual Devil gets involved.
To us mobile geeks, what’s particularly fascinating about the episode is the explanation of how freemium games work (explained, of course, by the terribly unsubtle Beelzaboot), and how well the South Park writers hit the nail on the head.
In the “outdated” method of gaming, players pay a lot for a game upfront, and enjoy it for as long as they’d like, improving their character and circumstances through hard work and time spent in the game.
Beelzaboot and the Prince of Canada then reveal their updated RPG loop made for freemium games, infused with microtransactions wherever possible, gleefully shouting, “Money! Money, money, money, money, money!”
There is a grain of truth in the joke: In days past, a small, but highly-engaged group of gamers consistently bought consoles and games, and high-quality games were rewarded by large profits. However, that niche group has been expanding for over a decade, with games becoming more popular to a much wider group of consumers since the turn of the millennium.
Gaming no longer requires an investment in a console or a high-end computer: Ever since Snake, mobile phones are also gaming consoles. As mobile phones expand their reach, mobile gaming expands too. However, while users expect high-quality games on their game-specific consoles, they do not necessarily expect them on their mobile device. Plus, simple, casual games (and gamers) are on the rise.
The South Park animators nailed the issue on the head. It is a well-known fact that successful games are those that effectively balance time and pleasure. Users are allowed to “try before you buy,” but don’t ever have enough time with the game to get their fix, effectively “[keeping] them buying forever.” Candy Crush is the perfect example—users only get to play five games before they have to either quit or pay money, and five lives don’t always last long.
Short play periods fit right into the “distraction” periods in which casual gamers play. As the Canadian Department of Mobile Gaming so succinctly put it, funding freemium games means trying to find out “how to make people spend money on the toilet.”
Relying on microtransactions is fine. It’s a real, acceptable strategy. The problems come when games that are very good at getting players addicted, and converting them into microtransactions intersects with games that are low-quality time-fillers.
As the Devil says, “if something’s addictive because it’s fun, that’s one thing, but this is just blatant Skinner Box manipulation. […] Temptation has to be nuanced.” This is true: Quality, enjoyable games can turn over in-app purchases easily and not suffer. Monument Valley is a highly-acclaimed app that charges $3.99 for the initial download. When they asked their users to pay $1.99 for new levels, a whopping 10 percent were willing to pay—a conversion rate to make many app developers jealous. Users are willing to pay money to get quality content.
South Park is right to criticize the app industry for their questionable promotion methods. Random chance and limited opportunities make games more addictive, and these can have terrible consequences for players who, like young Stan Marsh of South Park, get caught in the web of microtransactions. Even the young get addicted to freemium games, and not all of them have the financial resources of John Lyndon of the Sex Pistols to support their habit.
Freemium app developers can say South Park is being a bit extreme in comparing them to Beelzaboot, and for the most part, freemium games aren’t evil. If games can convince their users to give them money—either up-front or throughout the game—because they enjoy the content and want to support the creators, then they’ve created something good.
Just remember: “When the Prince of Canada agreed to make a freemium game, he apparently signed a deal with the Canadian Devil.”
Sara Kewin is an Account Executive at Appency who has spent too much time on her iPhone. She stands with Sheila Broflovski and blames Canada.
The Kamino walking tour app launches a new, updated version of their mobile app and website, promising an enhanced travel experience for users
San Diego, CA – January 13, 2015 – Kamino Labs, the travel and urban exploration planning company, focused on changing the way people interact with cities through the use of mobile technology, rolls out a new version of their app and website with new and updated features, just in time for the new year.
Created by explorers, the Kamino walking tour app is the ultimate way for locals and tourists to embark on an urban adventure. With Kamino explorers can unlock an authentic city experience, fully equipped with user-generated information like detailed area descriptions, photos, GPS enabled maps, and recommendations from travel experts and locals. Currently, there are walking tours in over 90 cities around the world, providing fun things to do in each one.
The Kamino mobile app has been reinvented for 2015, making exploring cities around the world, easier than ever. With an all new look and feel, Kamino is also adding some new features to make exploring fun and convenient. Kamino now offers customized walking tours with suggestions from Kamino, so users can create their very own, unique tour—coming soon, Uber Integration, allowing users to call an Uber car directly from the Kamino app.
Kamino has also redesigned their website to help travelers find the best experience from planning to doing. The website has been augmented to provide tools for inspiration, planning and booking, like walking tour searches and featured blog posts, and will even offer travel booking to help streamline travel plans.
The new Kamino Experts Program showcases the most experienced travel experts, putting them front and center, while the city pages aggregate all the walking tours, posts and information so users can plan the best travel experience ever.
Kamino has also launched B2B services, including the Kamino API for travel brands that want to enhance existing websites and mobile apps.
One of the coolest additions to Kamino for the New Year is the White Label App Program for travel brands, allowing those brands and even travel experts to create their very own travel app powered by the Kamino platform. This program will allow users and guests to follow curated, walkable itineraries that ensure a positive experience and drive brand loyalty.
To kick off the launch of the new and improved Kamino app and platform, Kamino will be running a promotional contest for travel bloggers and writers to have a chance at winning their very own White Label app, in addition to other prizes for them and their readers, like an iPhone 6 and Amazon gift cards.
Travel bloggers and writers are invited to participate in this contest starting today, January 13, through January 23, 2015, based on creating best original travel recommendations in the form of walking tours within Kamino. Contestants are asked to sign into Kamino and create unique content in the form of walking tours. Once all participants have completed their walking tours and written content, they are asked to post an announcement/article along with a widget to their website or blog. From January 24-February 6, participants are to encourage readers, followers, friends and family to go onto the Kamino website or app to save/favorite the walking tour they created. The contestant with the most amount of saved “favorited walking tours” will win first prize. Second and third place prizes will also be given. Please note: voters must sign into Kamino in order to save/favorite walking tours.
Participants in the contest will be considered for the Kamino Expert Program, provided they meet Kamino guidelines and standards, usually by invitation only. The Kamino Expert Program allows writers to use the Kamino platform to showcase their travel brand, by increasing engagement and visibility as a travel industry leader with content marketing designed to complement existing communication platforms. In addition, it will allow writers to cross promote their travel brand to increase awareness and visibility within the industry, build customer engagement, create customized walking tours and drive awareness of their website, travel content and social media with customized profile, accessible contact information, and RSS feed from personal blog/website.
For more information on the contest and to see the full rules and regulations, go to: http://www.gokamino.com/contest012015.php
This year, Kamino promises and delivers a unique travel experience for its users, allowing them to explore international cities or their own backyards.
For more information on Kamino go to: https://www.gokamino.com/
Or download the app at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kamino/id697881464
In 2012, Kamino Labs was founded in San Diego, Calif. as a travel planning and urban exploration company, developed to change the way people interact with cities through the use of mobile technology. Created by an eclectic group of travel enthusiasts, with an unyielding passion for exploring and discovering cities, Kamino provides tools and services to experience the urban landscape in an authentic way. Through the use of the latest technologies, Kamino’s interactive travel platform reinvents the walking tour into actionable content marketing to enrich the travel experience, promote tourism and drive customer care. For more information about Kamino Labs please visit www.GoKamino.com, or join them on Facebook and Twitter at @KaminoLabs.
Appency for Kamino
Los Gatos, CA, November 13, 2014 — In recent months, news of data breaches with millions of passwords compromised, photos leaked, or financial data stolen have been all too common. Today online security is a top priority, but finding a simple and secure way to keep personal data safe isn’t always easy. Now it is with the newly updated SplashID apps for iOS and Android.
For over 12 years, SplashData’s SplashID has provided a seamless way to store and lock the confidential information of over 1 million users with smartphone and tablet apps, Mac and Windows desktop applications, and web access. Now with SplashID’s latest upgrade to version 8, the SplashData team has added additional security measures and convenient features to ensure SplashID users have access to their personal digital wallet whenever and wherever they are.
While individuals can always resort to keeping usernames, passwords and account numbers on a piece of paper hidden in their desk or on an Excel™ file saved to their computer, it’s easy for passwords to be forgotten, files to be erased, and hard copies of documents to be lost. With SplashID, data is quickly and easily accessible, private and customizable, but—most importantly—secure.
With the new version, SplashID is available as a free app for the first time. To use SplashID with multiple devices or browsers requires an easy upgrade to SplashID Pro.
“Now more than ever, people need simple and effective ways of keeping their personal information private and secure,” said Morgan Slain, SplashData’s CEO. “With version 8, we are excited to make SplashID’s combination of security and convenience free for a new generation of users and at the same time bring powerful new features to our advanced users with SplashID Pro.”
SplashID 8 offers a unique combination of features and benefits:
SplashID is available now for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. For access across multiple devices (for example, iOS and Mac) and additional services like sync and automated backup, upgrade to SplashID Pro for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year.
About SplashData and SplashID
SplashData (http://www.splashdata.com) has been a leading provider of security applications and services for over 12 years. The company’s secure password and record management solution SplashID has over 1 million individual users worldwide as well as hundreds of business and enterprise clients. SplashData was founded in 2000 and is based in Los Gatos, CA. https://splashid.com/
Cologne, Germany, November 12, 2014 — Discover the magic of bombardier beetles in Little Luna – Big Talent, Bastei Entertainment’s newest addition to their portfolio of mobile applications. Designed for children ages 4 to 8, this delightful interactive story teaches children about the importance of embracing their own individuality.
The story of Little Luna begins with a lesson on a bombardier beetle’s special talent – tooting! While typically bombardier beetles use tooting as a defense mechanism in the wild, for Luna and her family it is a way to express themselves. Children will enjoy following along with Luna as she introduces each of her family members and the unique ways in which they utilize their talents.
Through fun mini games like practicing toot target-shooting with her dad, doing yoga with her mom, and matching musical melodies with her brothers, the story of Little Luna and her family encourages children to pursue their own special talents even if it sets them apart from others. Additionally, the app’s interactive activities promote concentration, musical expression, and coordination.
“Little Luna was designed not only to teach children about bombardier beetles, but also to allow children to embrace and cherish the qualities that make them unique,” says Sabrina Glodde, project manager for Bastei Entertainment. “With the help of our entire team, we were able to make an engaging app to celebrate children for the individuals they are.”
Features of Little Luna – Big Talent include:
Little Luna – Big Talent is available for $2.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Video trailer: http://youtu.be/KRQrU_nCPqU
About Bastei Entertainment:
Founded in 2010, Bastei Entertainment is the digital department of parent company Bastei Lübbe AG, a leading German trade publisher home to famed authors David Baldacci, Dan Brown, Jeff Kinney, Ken Follett, Lesley Pearse and many more. Dedicated to the development of new innovative products and global digital entertainment, Bastei Entertainment’s in-house development team continuously creates unique multi-media content which translates the written world into digital works such as eBooks, mobile applications and other digitally enhanced products.
For additional information about Bastei Entertainment, please visit the company website at http://www.basteientertainment.com/.
Garner, NC, November 3, 2014 — Butterball is proud to announce the release of its newly redesigned meal-planning app, Butterball Cookbook Plus, now for iOS and Android users. Previously only accessible on iOS devices, Butterball has completely transformed the look and feel of its top-rated cooking app to give Turketarians everywhere easy access to hundreds of recipes, tools and tips to make cooking a complete Thanksgiving feast, or a weeknight family meal, a breeze.
In addition to recipes for main dishes, salads, sides and desserts, the new Butterball Cookbook Plus app is an ideal kitchen companion. The app provides Turketarians with cooking tools like conversion charts and substitution lists; how-to videos including ones on how-to choose the right turkey, how-to roast it and carve it; and Butterball’s helpful cooking calculator to find out just how long it takes to thaw and cook that Thanksgiving Day turkey. Additionally, the new Butterball Cookbook Plus app features nutritional information and promotional offers from Butterball and its valued partners.
“Butterball consistently searches for ways to meet consumers where they are – and that means providing relevant information to an increasingly mobile society,” said Kimberley Metts, manager of consumer promotions for Butterball, LLC. “The redesigned Butterball app now allows consumers who use a variety of different operating systems to take advantage of our turkey expertise no matter what device they use.”
Features of Butterball Cookbook Plus include:
For more information on Butterball products, including nutritional details and recipe ideas, visit Butterball.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
About Butterball, LLC:
Headquartered in Garner, N.C., Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S. – producing more than 1 billion pounds of turkey each year. For 60 years, the company has provided foodservice and retail products to customers and consumers around the world. As an industry leader in quality, food safety and animal well-being, the company employs numerous processes to ensure the health of flocks and implements recognized prevention measures to exceed food safety standards. Butterball products are currently distributed throughout the U.S. and in more than 45 countries. Butterball operates six processing plants located in North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.
For consumer questions or information, please visit Butterball.com or call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372). Visit ButterballCorp.com for corporate information about the company.
Land tricks, collect power-ups and avoid a wipe out in this addictive, turbo charged surf adventure.
Melbourne, Australia – Gamers, surfers, and retro arcade junkies alike are invited to ride the virtual waves of Surfy, an all-new endless-runner from the Australian app development studio DreamWalk Interactive. Surfy is DreamWalk Interactive’s latest independent mobile game following the very successful launch of their top-rated music app Jam for iPhone.
With simple two-finger controls Surfy is a fast paced and strongly addictive ride reminiscent of 8bit classics such as California Games. The ride begins when players are dropped into a wave by helicopter. Players must then stay ahead of the break while navigating exotic locations, performing tricks and collecting power-ups to compete for a spot on the leaderboard.
From surviving violent tropical thunderstorms to performing radical aerial stunts into outer space, surfers rack up points and coins when achievements are unlocked and tricks are landed. Coins are redeemable in the ‘Surf Shop’ for upgraded boards and power-ups for invincibility, gravity-defying jumps, power boosts and more. Click here to view the trailer for Surfy.
“We wanted to put a modern twist on a classic genre,” says Sam Russell, head of development at DreamWalk. “We hope gamers find Surfy as addictive and fun as the games that inspired us to make it.”
Features of Surfy include:
Surfy is available now on the iTunes App Store for free.
About DreamWalk Interactive:
DreamWalk is a boutique app studio based in Melbourne, Australia. It was founded by brothers, Joe and Sam Russell in 2008 with the development the world’s first commercial GPS treasure-hunting app, also called DreamWalk. DreamWalk’s most recent game, Jam for iPhone, reached #1 on the App Store music app charts in 26 countries, was featured in dozens of publications and showcased at SXSW 2013.http://www.dreamwalk.com.au/
Back in February, we blogged about how excited we were for Mobile App Europe, a new, app-exclusive weekend conference taking place in the heart of beautiful Potsdam. Now Mobile App Europe is less than one week away! The event will take place at the Dorint Hotel Sanssouci Potsdam from September 29 to October 1, 2014.
Appency is looking forward to attending and hearing what other experts in our field have to share, but we’re also proud to announce that our president, Aaron Watkins, will be speaking on the difference found marketing apps in Europe vs. the United States. With over ten years in the mobile industry and having worked with many European clients, Aaron brings his expertise to Potsdam to educate attendants about how to best take advantage of Europe’s attractive app market.
“The EU is a great place to launch an app—smaller countries mean smaller budgets are needed to achieve app rank, and they provide a good testing ground for apps before they attempt global reach,” Aaron says. His talk will cover some of these testing methods.
Beyond Aaron’s talk, some of Mobile App Europe’s keynote speakers include people from Google, AQuA, and Amazon Apps and Games. The conference offers six additional keynotes, 30 talks, and eight workshops. With conversations for app developers, managers, designers, and marketers, and testers, here are topics for discussion attendees can expect:
The final day of Mobile App Europe will be an all-day, hands-on tutorial session with Jonathan Kohl of Kohl Concepts, Inc. Jonathan will teach attendees how to create an overall great user experience, and vigorous discussion is more than welcome. This seasoned expert will show teams how to thoroughly integrate a mobile experience to replace the once-dominant web and PC user experience.
We hope you are as excited as we are. If you’d like to meet up during the conference, get in touch by leaving a comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve already started looking at registration, we’ve got you covered! Use the code “MobileApp” during registration for a discount rate.
Auf Wiedersehen! Wir sehen uns bei Mobile-App Europa!
(Goodbye! See you at Mobile App Europe!)
Get more apptastic details at the conference website, http://mobileappeurope.com/
We all know that Apple has its favorite phrases and uses them pretty heavily during its presentations. In anticipation of the special announcement coming up tomorrow, we came up with some bingo cards and shared them with our friends at the venerable news site Cult of Mac, who published them so they’re shareable with anyone.
Let us know in the comments what you’re most excited about from this announcement.
Los Angeles, Calif., August 28, 2014 – WeezLabs, a development agency, has announced the launch of their new Android mobile security application, Guest Locker Smart Security.
Perfect for any parent who has lent their child their phone, or a co-worker who has asked to borrow a phone for a quick call, Guest Locker enables owners to set up a discreet guest user account on their mobile device. With completely customizable settings, the owner can restrict access to photos and files, text messages, contacts, apps, and more to ensure their information stays secure no matter whose hands their device is in.
Unlike other security apps, there is no rooting required to use Guest Locker, and guest users will not know they have limited access. Owners simply create two login passwords – one for themselves and one for a guest. The admin password maintains normal profile settings, while the guest password provides access to only approved infomation. With Guest Locker’s beautifully designed and easy-to-use interface, guests won’t even realize their access is restricted.
“The Guest Locker team set out to create an app that made it easy to keep your personal content private while going above and beyond a standard OEM child lock or security mask,” states Samuel Strasser, director of business development at WeezLabs. “Anyone who values their privacy will love Guest Locker and all that it has to offer.”
Features of Guest Locker include:
Guest Locker is available now for $1.99 in the Google Play Store.
WeezLabas, Inc. is a Los Angeles, CA based company that provides solutions for companies with ongoing development needs. Founded in 2012, WeezLabs specializes in the custom development of mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, websites, and databases for businesses of all sizes. With a commitment to client satisfaction, the WeezLabs team develops customized results to furnish clients with the highest quality products by providing the latest technological trends and the best innovative business solutions. For additional information about WeezLabs, please visit the company website.