Mobile video ads have always been a dream of digital marketers, but the timing has never seemed right: The internet connection is too slow, the targeting is off, they’re not as engaging when they’re not on television. For a hundred reasons, video ads have been slow to hit it big, but they’re gaining popularity now, and for good reason.

How it’s being done right

Some apps have been able to master video ads and prove—and improve—their effectiveness. Newer indie game Crossy Road has proven very profitable for developer Hipster Whale, and the industry has taken notice. Crossy Road made over a million dollars in revenue through incentivized video ads by organizing their in-game economy to strongly incentivize players to watch ads for in-game currency. Because of the nature of incentives, these views tend to be lower quality than other ads, but are very effective at extending reach. However, this method of incentivized video ads can be difficult to properly utilize outside of the context of mobile games.

For apps where an incentive isn’t readily available, there are “playable” ads, which let users “test drive” an app through a virtual emulation. These ads tell consumers about an app and its features, then hand control to the viewer, allowing them to try out the app directly on their phone without having to install anything. Thanks to the use of a virtual server, consumers get a feel for the product directly after viewing the ad, solidifying the link between the ad and the product. mNectar, a provider of virtual ad services, says these playable ads are much more effective than traditional ads.

How Facebook is catching up

With the introduction of video posts to Facebook comes a whole new avenue of engagement for users—between each other, and between users and advertisers. According to a blog post by Facebook, the number of videos posted to the platform has increased by 94 percent. Now Facebook records a massive three billion video views a day for videos uploaded by users. With this burgeoning influx of content and traffic, the news feed has now become much livelier than ever before. In fact, Facebook has begun to catch up to YouTube in terms of shared videos, and evidence shows that it may even be taking users from them.

Share of Facebook Video Posts

Given this huge increase, Facebook is set to become the new video advertising powerhouse. While users do see many sponsored video posts and video ads in their feeds, video ads have not yet realized their full potential. Facebook has not quite dialed in its formula for video ads yet, despite their commonality and proven effectiveness in other apps and games. Facebook’s task is to find a balance of organic content and premium ads that is both profitable for them and effective for advertisers, but does not overwhelm organic user content.

Facebook Video Posts

Some have questioned Facebook’s staggering video statistics—and for good reason. YouTube is primarily accessed through its own front page and interfaces with Google’s search algorithm, meaning video views do not often happen accidentally. Videos on Facebook, on the other hand, are primarily watched in the user’s news feed, and have not been actively selected by the user. (Any advertiser who has run a CPM campaign will be familiar with the problem of sorting interested eyeballs out from the chaff.) While the auto-play feature is generating views, they cannot all be counted as interested views, and in fact may be shown to users who don’t fit in the target demographics.

To help correct this problem, Facebook has revamped its video view metrics. Users can now see reporting on their videos’ average viewing time, unique views, audience retention, and more. This engagement data will help marketers decide how to structure their video ads, when and where to place critical messages, and track the efficacy of their campaigns. Additionally, Facebook has redefined a view: Now, a view only takes place if a user sees  three seconds or more of the video. Because videos are muted in auto-play, enticing visuals are important to getting users to actively view the video.

Just like any sponsored post on Facebook, users can optimize video ad campaign with a wide assortment of parameters and tools, depending on the campaign’s needs and budget. Using Interest targeting, marketers can focus their ads on groups that have liked specific activities or interests on Facebook, similar to the current targeting available for app install or like campaigns. Audience and Demographic tools help narrow the campaign’s focus to specified groups, like parents or college students. Using these tools can help give a video a wider reach, and track its effectiveness with their analytics tools. Using a fixed cost-per-thousand views style of campaign, marketers can tailor campaigns to any budget without sacrificing effectiveness.

Facebook is a great canvas for advertising, and the rapid growth of their video platform shows off opportunities to engage users in a different manner than YouTube does. The time is particularly ripe for app marketers: COO Sheryl Sandberg said at Facebook’s 2014 Q4 meeting that 65 percent of the site’s video views come from mobile devices. Implementing a video ad campaign and augmenting it with incentives and virtual trials where applicable makes the opportunity even more enticing.

San Francisco, California, January 14, 2013 — This past holiday season saw a number of brick and mortar retailers, including Target and Best Buy, offering to match online prices of some of their largest competitors, such as Amazon. Restrictions of course applied, but based on their experience in December, some of those retailers have chosen to extend their price-matching policies year round.

To make it easy for consumers, TheFind has added a price-match feature to its popular iPhone and Android app, TheFind: Shopping. A shopper can simply scan a barcode for a product and instantly see if it is eligible for price matching at Target, Best Buy and others. Additionally, people can also choose to “Price Watch” specific items, in which case they will receive an alert automatically should that product go on sale at another retailer

“Depending on what you’re shopping for, there are savings on items that range from a few bucks to several hundred dollars that are eligible for price matching at leading retailers,” said Ramneek Bhasin, VP and GM of Mobile at TheFind. “The catch is, it’s often hard to discern which products and online stores qualify for price-matching, and that’s exactly the problem we’ve solved. Consumers don’t need to do anything other than scan what they’re looking for, and we make it obvious if it’s eligible for price matching. All the detail a shopper needs to take advantage of the price-match offer is one click away, all while they’re in the store and ready to buy.”

TheFind: Shopping has been downloaded more than 1 million times and the updated app is currently available in the iTunes app store and Google Play.

Concurrently, TheFind also released iPhone and Android versions of its popular discovery-shopping app Glimpse. Whereas TheFind Mobile app and TheFind.com website excel at producing a comprehensive set of search results that are ideal for when you know exactly what you’re shopping for, Glimpse is meant to occupy people in those moments when they “just want to shop” or browse.

Fully integrated with your Facebook profile, Glimpse is instantly personalized to show you items from stores and brands you and your friends have previously liked, in addition to items you would appreciate because “people like you” have Liked them on Facebook. Launched in July 2012, Glimpse already has over 1 million users. The smartphone version of Glimpse makes it easy to browse store and user-created catalogs, upload your own images of products into catalogs you create, and to simply browse the most Liked items according to your tastes and preferences.

Glimpse by TheFind and TheFind: Shopping are available for immediate download in the iTunes app store as well as Google Play. Glimpse by TheFind is also accessible as a Facebook app.

Glimpse
Shopping by The Find
Download TheFind on Google Play
Download Glimpse on iTunes
Download Glimpse on Google Play
Media Assets

TheFind’s patented search, browse and discovery technology is expanding the eCommerce landscape through social, mobile and tablet commerce innovations. These include the Facebook timeline app Glimpse by TheFind, TheFind Mobile barcode scanning app for smartphones, the popular tablet app Catalogue by TheFind, along with the comprehensive shopping search engine, TheFind.com. Ranked number 12 on the 2010 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies, TheFind was founded in 2005, venture funded by Bain Capital Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures and is a San Francisco and Silicon Valley-based company. Copyright (C) 2013 TheFind. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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Quizboard – Now Available in the App Store!

Words with Friends meets Trivial Pursuit in this great new trivia game now on iPhone and iPod Touch

Malmö, Sweden, June 12, 2012 – Think you’re smarter than your friends and family? Dying to prove your expertise? Then prove it with Quizboard, the social trivia game from Planeto.

Quizboard lets players take turns answering sets of five questions. Players then navigate the game board with those questions trying to gain more points to bump up their scores: the person with the highest score when reaching the goal tile is the winner. Question categories include sports, arts & literature, science, geography, entertainment, and history, and for each question players get right, they gain an extra hundred points.

The game lets players invite their friends through Facebook or try their knowledge against a random player. Push notifications help keep users informed of their ongoing games as well.

Martin Walfisz, Quizboard’s creator and founder of Planeto, is no newcomer to the world of games. Before starting Planeto, Martin also founded Massive Entertainment where he led the company to develop AAA titles such as Ground Control and World in Conflict. In 2008 Massive Entertainment was acquired by global publisher Ubisoft Entertainment.

“After having developed hardcore PC and console games for over twelve years, I felt that it was time to join the revolution of mobile and social gaming. At Planeto our objective is to create games that everyone in the world can enjoy,” said Martin Walfisz. “The launch of Quizboard is a pivotal part of achieving that goal.”

The game will be free to download for iPhone and iPod Touch. By upgrading to a premium account players get an ad free game and access to all premium game boards.

ABOUT PLANETO
Planeto creates fun trivia games and knowledge platforms for a worldwide audience. The company was founded in 2009 by Martin Walfisz and Magnus Robertsson, with the goal of becoming the world’s leading developer of online trivia and knowledge-focused entertainment experiences.

To check out the iPhone version, click here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/Quizboard/id501620249
To see screenshots from the game click here: http://quizboard.com
To see the game’s trailer, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuFmtg2aEwM

For more information about Quizboard, please contact: Brian Collins, public relations, brian(at)appency(dot)com

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iphone-chinaAt 8 o’clock in the morning on October 30th, 2009 (read: 5pm tonight, Pacific Apple Time) , the doors of China Unicom’s retail stores opened to the Chinese populate and offered 5 Million new iPhones into the global marketplace. While the launch got mixed reviews, amongst concerns of the disabled Wi-Fi features, a hefty price tag and the fact that rabid iPhone fans already were probably using one of the two million gray market iPhone in the country, the fact remains – the largest wireless market in the world now has open access to the iPhone.

So what does this mean for app developers? While many developers have always traditionally focused on the US as the only major iPhone market that matters, and with that English as the only major language – a major non-English speaking country poses an entirely new set of challenges.

I’ve already seen a number of sites  pop up that would be happy to do a direct translation of your app. I’m sure many of them are quality sites with quality native translators. Make sure you do your homework however – a second rate translation can be spotted by a native speaker of any language a mile away. (Anyone else remember the English to Spanish translation of “Got Milk” that led to billboards that screamed out “Are You Lactating?”). Never try to use a free online translation program to perform your app translations. While they may work for single words, they are not designed to be able to properly navigate grammatical structure.

Translation of your app however, is only the first step. You must also translate your app description page (often providing it in two languages can be benifical) and app name. A potential client last week contacted me from Russia with a checkers based game app that use the Russian work for checkers as part of its title. I see where they are going with this – but the reality is, I would never be able to spell it if I was searching for it.

Oh yes – let us not forget search.

Search is one of the most important functions to getting your application found. Your keywords are of utmost importance to how your app fares in any of the app stores around the world. Unfortunately, doing well in search in other countries is not as easy as taking your English keywords and translating them to another language. Search is about understanding how someone in that country will think – and in understanding how they think, also understanding how they navigate to find a product. What makes a perfectly logical search string for you may not make any sense when translated, and as we know – the app store only recognizes direct keyword matches.

Every market is different, and every country has different needs. Did you know that in China there will be not one, but two app stores? Yup – the one from Apple and the one operated by China Unicom. Did you know that writing in red lettering indicates the writer will die soon? That three (and multiples of three) are considered lucky numbers, but four signifies death? (4! sorry… had to do it). Oh yeah, and white, blue, black, storks, cranes, clocks and handkerchiefs also are associated with death. (Are you dizzy yet?)

Promotion in China will be its own hurdle. PR is handled differently, as are blogs. There are new forums to reach out to as well. Are you ready?

All this to say that Appency is happy to announce we have a partnership on the ground in China and will be happy to assist in your localization into this new market with all of the above. The time is ripe – before the app store gets too crowded – to make your mark in the Far East!

We've had a lot of people lately coming to us and asking how to get their iPhone app reviewed by the various iPhone blog sites around the net. While there is no guaranteed method, ( 148apps told us they get over 400 requests to review per week – there is simply no way they can get to all of them) we sat down with SlapApp.com's Co-Founder  Ryan Johnson this weekend and he gave us a few pointers. 


1. Read and understand the blogs preferred method of communication. Each blog has a different process, some bloggers have an email address to send submissions to, while others use a web form on their site. Just because you were able to track down the email address of every writer that contributes to their site, doesn't mean they would all welcome an out-of-the-blue email that goes outside their normal submission process and clogs up their professional email boxes. Ryan Johnson, SlapApp Co-Founder

2. Don't force them to do time wasting research. Simply submitting and saying "hey, can you review app X" is a sure fire way to not get reviewed. At the very least you need to provide:

  • App Name
  • Company Name
  • App Category
  • A brief overview of your app including highlights (what makes it special?)
  • Direct link to app

3. Spice it up with some media. You will hardly ever see an app reviewed without an image, video, etc. to catch the readers eye. Pulling those images and making those videos for those that do it themselves is a time consuming process. Make it easy for them! Include your screen shots, videos, promo art, icons, etc with your submission. Do NOT however send them as attached files unless specifically requested. Host your images on photobucket or one of the various other image hosting sites (Photoshop has an interesting new one) and send the link to the image. This goes for videos as well.  

4. This one may be obvious – but if its a paid app, provide a promotional code. On the same note – if you are a blogger yourself and are reading this – when a developer provides you with a promotional code, if you do not think you are going to review the app, be so kind as to send the code back to the developer unused.

5. Stick to the theme of the site. Some sites like Touch Arcade have very specific focuses (Touch Arcade is specifically for games). It is a waste of your time as well as the bloggers time to et submissions that do not fit with the site in question.


6. Additional information that may help getting your app reviewed:

  • Current Rank / Highest Rank Achieved (Most bloggers generate revenue as a iTunes affiliate, they want to promote apps that sell)
  • Date of Release
  • Notable mentions in other media (and links to them – bloggers love to cross link, it helps their SEO)

7. Getting close to launching a brand new app that has never been seen before? Offer a blogger an exclusive "first look" at the application. Bloggers are like other news reporters in that they like to be the first to a story. Dangling the "exclusive" carrot can catch a writers eye like nothing else can.

SO YOU GOT REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Congratulations! You got your app reviewed! What to do now? A couple basic things:

1. Mention the review in your app description. It's good for you (assuming it was a positive review), and its good for the review site.

2. Share the review link as much as possible. If your apps direct a lot of traffic to a blogger, the blogger may remember this in the future and be more inclined to blog about your next release.

3. Thank the reviewer. Common courtesy goes a long way these days. A good review can take 30 minutes to an hour of the writers time, if not more. Time spent on your application. Show them you appreciate it.

SO YOU DIDN'T GET REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Not every app will get reviewed by every site. Often times the blog wont even contact you to let you know, they simply wont do anything with it. Don't get disheartened, but ask yourself why. Is your app a purple cow? That is – is your app remarkable in any way, shape or form, or is it one of a dozen apps just like it that are already littering up the app store. As I mentioned before – blog reviews are a type of news… so make apps that are newsworthy.

A Special Thanks:

SlapAppLogo

A special thanks to Ryan and the rest of the SlapApp.com team for providing this interview. For help getting your app reviewed by bloggers, mentioned in the press, or just talked about in general… drop us an email, we would be glad to help!

How long have you been sitting in front of the computer developing the next killer iPhone app? 50 hours? 100 hours? More? How much money have you put into becoming a registered developer, paying artists, hardware, software, and training? The day has finally come to submit your hopes and dreams to the whims of the Apple approval team and hope that you don't get that fateful rejection email in your in-box. But… did you forget something?marketing

In order for your app to succeed, you need a strategic approach to marketing it. With almost 100,000 active apps in iTunes, the likelihood of your app being "discovered" and succeeding on its own gets harder every day.

I don't know how many times I've heard a developer say, "That's okay though… I'll get to the marketing thing once the app gets approved and goes live". By waiting until an app goes live, the developer looses a number of significant marketing opportunities right off the bat.

To start, one of the most important components of your marketing, Search Engine Optimization, can ONLY be performed before your app has been submitted, or when uploading a new binary. Too many developers we have worked with didn't realize this, threw a couple of keywords into the keywords field and figured they would come back to it later… they simply wanted to see their app in the store. We even read a story of one developer that simply didn't use keywords because they were worried the wrong keywords would get them a rejection and their application was Halloween themed meaning a delay would render their app useless. Unfortunately.. having no keywords will render your application practically useless as well.

There is also a period of a few days at most where your natural browsing will be higher. The default browsing of iTunes is by "Release Date" – giving you first page visibility when a consumer wanders into your category. Depending on the category, you might be on the first page of this listing for close to a week! This is a great time to take advantage of the boosted sales and use a blitz marketing campaign to drive yourself into the higher rankings – shooting to either get in the top 100 listing, or get noticed by Apple and featured.

Social media is another tactic that requires some pre-planning. Most social media tactics rely on "followers" of your content. If you have not started building a following before you launch.. you are already missing out!

Finally your PR buzz is much more effective if its about a "new" product. Reporters are less likely to cover a story about something that has been sitting available for a while unless there is something new and unique about it. "Company X releases a new app that is the first to do Y" is much more of a story than "App Z is still in the App Store and still not doing that well even though its a good concept.."

Already launched? Its not optimal… but its not too late either. Drop us an email and we will be glad to take a look at how your app is being marketed.

alchemize 40

I like to call this Stunt Marketing/PR at it’s best.  Schiau Studios, the creators of Alchemize, an iPhone game – have caused quite a stir in the iPhone App blogosphere.  Tired of all the complaints that their game was priced too high at $2.99, Schiau Studios went and (brilliantly) did the unmentionable – they RAISED the price of their game to $39.99! While only a temporary price increase, the drastic change made a point and got a ridiculous amount of press.  The price of a game in the iTunes store is still considerably cheaper than buying a console game.  But the best part of this stunt – free publicity!  People (including you after reading this) now know about the game, Alchemize.  And the more people who know about the game, the more people will check it out and possibly purchase it.

At Appency, we’re in the business of marketing iPhone apps, and publicity is one of the services that we offer.  People often ask, what kind of publicity can you bring to a new app?  My definition, anything that gets people to take notice and/or talk about your product. As long as they are talking, you are building brand awareness.  In most cases, a press release and pitching to journalists/bloggers can be a great first step to getting people’s attention.  It helps if you have an angle – first game of its kind, new use of technology, great game play, or in Schiau Studios case, most expensive iPhone game ever!!

Before you take action, we recommend you take a good look at your app. What’s your angle?  Why did you make this app in the first place? Do you have competition in the marketplace?  If yes, why should people download your app versus the competitor’s? Is it priced fairly?  Does it have a good user experience?  Check any current reviews and make any necessary tweaks. When you’re ready to make a big noise, make sure your product can stand the heat!

Kudos to Schiau Studios!  Nicely done.