Yahoo released a mobile white paper called "Mobile Internet – Delivering on the Promise of Mobile Advertising." It's part one of a series. There's a great deal of mobile consumer data in the document. The report covers multi-screen usage (TV + mobile) and tablets in addition to laying out some general mobile consumer behavior numbers and trends.
Citing third party data the report asserts that by the end of 2011 there will be 126 million mobile Internet users. Currently there are more than 90 million in the US according to Nielsen. I would estimate that at the end of 2011 mobile Internet users will number closer to 150 million.
Yahoo cites survey data that shows about 50% of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching it on mobile, while "90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor." Google has slightly different numbers but they're broadly consistent (79% of smartphone owners use their phones while shopping and 74% purchased something as a result).
Yahoo also identifies mobile Internet usage patterns, which appear to be largely parallel during week days and on the weekend. Google and others have argued that PC and mobile usage patterns are complementary.
Here's Google's data about PC and mobile Internet "daypart" usage (via Efficient Frontier). It shows a slightly different pattern than the Yahoo data above.
Mobile Internet use is high in the home, as well as on the go. Yahoo said that 89% of mobile users access the mobile Internet at home. In addition, "86% of mobile Internet users surf the Web while watching TV, often searching for information on advertised products."
Mobile devices thus need to be thought about by marketers and publishers in a more holistic sense. Consumers are using them in the home and in conjunction with other media. This media mutlitaksing was previously done via laptop in front of the TV. I would imagine laptops are quickly being replaced by smartphones and tablets.
Finally Yahoo says that when online and mobile advertising are combined there's a significant lift. This is the same argument that has been made about search and display: "1 + 1 = 3." In addition, in terms of effectiveness Yahoo cites case studies that show significant mobile performance gains over PC:
See related post: Report: 43% of Mobile Internet Usage Happening in Home
An article in Bloomberg this morning says that Google is working with VeriFone and select retailers to test NFC-based mobile payments at stores in New York and San Francisco:
The company will pay for installation of thousands of special cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY) at merchant locations, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because Google’s plans haven’t been made public. The registers would accept payments from mobile phones equipped with so-called near-field-communication technology.
The project would put Google in a growing field of companies experimenting with NFC, which lets consumers pay for products and services by tapping a device against a register at checkout, giving them an alternative to cash or physical credit cards. The Google service may combine a consumer’s financial account information, gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions on a single NFC chip on a phone.
Because of a lack of universally accepted standards Apple has apparently decided against including NFC technology in the iPhone 5. Apple has 200 million credit card accounts on file and could become a major player in mobile payments if it decides to. Google has far fewer credit cards in Checkout, its payments platform, but the company can leverage its growing Android user base.
Google's would be the first major test of NFC mobile payments in the US. Starbucks has rolled out a mobile payments app across its stores in the US; however it doesn't rely on NFC technology. There are various NFC roll outs now going on in Europe.
US carriers and credit card issuers are also seeking to be major mobile payments providers. So are eBay/PayPal as well as a range of startups including Boku, Zong, Square and Bling Nation.
Beyond payments, NFC would support a range of marketing capabilities, not unlike QR codes today only more versatile. Beyond this Google would be able to capture a range of consumer data, including purchase behavior, that would be incredibly valuable to marketers and that Google itself could use to optimize and advantage its various advertising platforms.
In-stat has projected that mobile payment users around the globe will surpass 375 million by 2015.
Mobile ad network InMobi today released its "Mobile Insights Report: Global Edition January 2011." The report effectively covers all major regions of the globe and there's a trove of data from each continent. I'll focus only on North America and global data.
The company reports that smartphones now represent 36% of global ad requests on the InMobil publisher network, up from 24% -- just three months ago. Most of that growth has been driven by Android. But most ad requests (84%) are coming from mobile Web vs. apps (16%).
Unlike in the US where Android is now the top smartphone platform, Nokia and Apple outstrip Android on a global basis. However Android's growth is much greater than that of the iPhone and Nokia is declining by almost as much as Android is growing.
In North America operating system share appears like this to InMobi:
InMobi explains that Android has gained 21 share points in just three months to become the largest OS in North America.
These numbers are not an absolute reflection of market share but what InMobi sees in terms of handsets and operating systems making ad requests. In terms of individual handsets, the iPhone continues to dominate on InMobi's network globally and in North America.
Global device share:
North American device share:
It's clear from the totality of all the available data that Android's gains are coming through the sheer number of devices in the market. Windows isn't on the radar for InMobi in North America. And RIM appears to be getting overwhelmed by the Android onslaught.
This past weekend Foursquare announced a deal with Amex, which was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. The partnership essentially offers discounts and rewards for checking in at participating local businesses:
Under the arrangement, AmEx customers can register their cards in the Foursquare system to get access to special offers from merchants who are also Foursquare participants. Customers who shop at those merchants with an AmEx card will receive credits and electronic notification that they have redeemed the offer. Merchants who participate in the program would potentially see more sales. . . .
The Foursquare partnership is AmEx's latest offering aimed at people who are roughly a generation younger than the company's traditional customer. AmEx has introduced several new cards targeted at the hip and tech-savvy generation in recent years, with mixed success.
It's going to be initially tested at the SXSW conference coming up next week in Austin, Texas: "Sixty local merchants will honor the 'spend $5, save $5' promotion."
It's great PR and a great high-profile deal for Foursquare, which now has more than 8 million users globally. Amex claims, however, this isn't simply about younger users but about new forms of loyalty and cardmember engagement.
On paper it all makes sense; however there are some potential challenges with the deal. I couldn't find empirical data but my understanding is that on average Amex cardholders are generally older than the bulk of Foursquare users, although there will be some overlap. According to Pew, here's the demographic breakdown of "location based services" users:
This "generic" LBS user profile cuts more broadly than Foursquare specifically. And Google's Ad Planner (as well as Quantcast and Alexa) shows a user base that is somewhat older than Pew's profile. It also shows more female users on Foursquare.
Beyond the "demographic" challenge, is the fact that most local businesses don't use Foursquare to promote themselves. In addition many don't take Amex; you remember the Visa ads. ("They won't take no for an answer, and they won't take American Express.")
In our recent SMB survey about 8% of respondents said they were using Foursquare to promote themselves. This number cannot be generalized to the entire population of SMBs. That would effectively mean about 2 million SMBs actively on Foursquare marketing themselves. The 8% figure is larger than in previous surveys, reflecting Foursquare's growth and increased visibility. However the number of businesses using it to acquire new customers or as a loyalty platform is relatively small.
Accordingly you have to find SMBs or national-local entities that are on Foursquare (and take Amex), together with Foursquare users who have Amex cards to use in those establishments. This slices the potential pie pretty thinly. Yet this is the right direction for Foursquare, which will have enormous difficulty monetizing via SMB self-service. It needs to make big deals with channel partners and do national-local deals with retailers to generate meaningful revenue.
Loopt was an early friend finder and social network for mobile devices that has been forced to reinvent itself and try different things repeatedly because of the entry competitors and better-known brands into its space: e.g., Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google.
The most recent effort to do that is with its new "Reward Alerts," which are limited-time offers that are pushed to users based on location. This is similar to an AT&T-Placecast ShopAlerts initiative that was also announced this week. In that case AT&T handset users opt-in to receive deal alerts and they're pushed to users via SMS/MMS depending on location.
Initial advertisers for the Loopt program include Participating companies include Altec Lansing, FOX Broadcasting, Gilt City, Jawbone, Microsoft, OkCupid, Southwest Airlines, TabbedOut, Twelve South, TiVo and Yurbuds.
In order to participate, users must download the new version of the app, turn on "rewards" then the deals start flowing based on where users are. Loopt has had a deals/coupons product for some time in Loopt Star; however this is a more interesting and potentially successful implementation.
Deals have become immensely popular and the opt-in/push dimension of Placecast's and now Loopt's programs will make them compelling to marketers. For Loopt scale will be key. The company has more than four million users (compare Foursquare's 6+ million). However the Placecast program, because it's text-based, has an addressable audience of 95 million hypothetically (the entire AT&T subscriber base).
WHERE also offers location-based push couponing.
I presented yesterday at a conference called SEMpdx, which is a search conference in Portland. My presentation was on "Mobile Marketing Strategies & Tactics." Reid Spice of iCrossing was my co-presenter. Prior to the session we had an informal discussion about mobile search, CPC pricing and "inadvertent clicks" on mobile ads. The latter was tied to a survey that got fairly wide (and uncritical) attention at the end of last month. The survey was sponsored by mobile lead-generation company Pontiflex and conducted by Harris (in December, 2010).
There were a wide range of findings from the survey, which was conducted either twice or in two parts and had more than 4,000 total responses from US adults. The survey asked a number of questions about apps, advertising and mobile user behavior. However the big headline and finding that got all the attention was "47 percent of mobile app users say they click/tap on mobile ads more often by mistake than they do on purpose."
Other survey findings included the following:
The press release pulled out a piece of segmented data that is even more pronounced: "61 percent of mobile apps users ages 18-34 click/tap on mobile ads by accident more often than on purpose." The "message" conveyed by these findings is that people frequently click ads by mistake and so clicks are a false metric and unreliable as a measure of the efficacy of mobile advertising. Let me say that I absolutely agree with that statement; clicks are a false metric that mobile marketers should walk away from.
However there are a couple of problems here. Self-reported data and "behavioral data" are often inconsistent. In other words, what people say they do and what they actually do may not always line up. So as a fundamental matter we don't know whether people are in fact clicking by mistake more often than not. And we don't have a "control" or baseline metric for the PC to compare it against. It could well be that there's a high incidence of mistaken clicks online.
As an aside the audiences that click display ads online are "a small, unrepresentative portion of the total online population." According to comScore (2009), "4% of Internet users account for 67% of all display ad clicks." Thus clicks are a really bad metric for the efficacy of display ads on the PC. Yet lazy marketers still use CTR as a measure of ad effectiveness.
Most of the coverage of the Pontiflex survey turned into a kind of "telephone" game that ultimately distorted what the publicly released data said. The coverage, and especially the secondary coverage based on the first stories, turned into: "half of all mobile clicks are inadvertent."
In fact we don't have any sense of what percentage of mobile clicks, according to this survey, may be "bad." We know that 47% of these survey respondents think (key word) that more of their clicks than not are unintentional. It could be. But I'm surprised that nobody who covered this was critical or sought to drill into the data for more information.
I don't disagree with the argument that Pontiflex makes about engagement, lead capture and other KPIs being better vs. clicks. And if these Pontiflex data are supported by other findings from others we could see marketers make a push toward CPA (publishers prefer CPM of course). Networks like OfferMobi are also pushing CPA as a better mobile metric too. One might argue that mobile is better suited to CPA than online in many respects because mobile user behavior is more "action-oriented" than PC user behavior.
If CPA does become the standard in mobile display -- we'll probably see a mix of models however -- that, in turn, might influence online advertisers as well to demand or gravitate toward CPA. Search marketing, whether online or in mobile, will largely remain CTR-based however.
The image at right is a bus stop outdoor ad in San Francisco. It's increasingly common to see outdoor ads with barcodes on them. But not just outdoor ads; Sports Illustrated previously announced it was embedding Microsoft Tags in the print edition of its best-selling swimsuit issue:
Readers will have the ability to instantly:
- Vote for their favorite of the eight models competing for the chance to be a SI Swimsuit rookie in the 2012 issue. They can view photos and video of each model.
- Watch behind-the-scenes video of all 17 models in the 2011 issue.
- Share videos via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail.
- See their favorite 2011 models in "Model vs. Model," featuring swimsuit models matched with a Nissan car.
- Download SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's new Swimsuit Mobile App
These are just two examples of many more already in the market and many more to come: traditional media integrating mobile tags/codes to extend the value of those ad buys, make them more engaging and to provide response analytics as a secondary matter.
We discussed this scenario at length in a report from July, 2009 called SMS Marketing: Direct Route to Consumer Engagement. However SMS is being superseded in some of these cases by these other methodologies that provide more immediate and richer response for users.
Augmented reality (AR) should also be thought of in the same category, from a commercial perspective.
Users at the point of sale or interacting with products and ads will be able to use their smartphone cameras to get additional information and data via AR to support a buying decision. Scenarios allowing consumers to see how furniture looks in their homes (via photo uploads) or how clothes look on themselves are largely PC use cases, rather than mobile.
The same scenarios generally apply to NFC. Beyond contactless payments NFC equally facilitates delivery of additional information (e.g., offers) at the point of sale to help consumers make purchase decisions. Indeed, all three methodologies have in common the fact that the end user is right in front of an object, place or ad and may be susceptible to influence or nudging toward a purchase.
It remains to be seen which methods are widely adopted in the US and Europe and become standards. But I'll wager that there won't be a piece of print or outdoor media in years to come to don't offer some code/tag/AR capability.
Velti's Mobclix put out some data a couple of days ago that shows iPhone users are more "valuable" than Android users. Some apps categories are more valuable than others. But across the board, iPhone users buy more and spend more than Android users on apps. Part of that is the lack of a widely penetrated and easy to use payments infrastructure for Android however.
Here's the Mobclix "infographic" showing the differences in value between iPhone and Android users in various app categories:
Once again, it's iTunes that is largely the explanation behind the discrepancy here.
As a kind of related aside, I've seen it reported in several places that Android users "click more" than iPhone users. Mobile ad mediator/exchange Smaato reports on the display ad CTRs of the users of the various operating systems. (Note: CTR is the wrong metric to use to evaluate the efficacy of display ads.)
In December Smaato found that iOS users clicked much more than Android users. But mid-2010 data shows the opposite. Has Smaato has changed its methodology? Are iAds responsible for higher clicks/engagement on iPhones? Or, as Android has grown have CTRs simply become diluted?
It's a curious change. All the operating systems are in roughly the same position except iPhone and Android users, which changed places:
I would have thought that free Google Navigation, which is very good, along with free navigation from Nokia might have killed all the subscription-based providers out there. But TeleNav seems to be holding its own; part of that is its enterprise and white-label businesses. The company provides navigation for AT&T, Sprint and other carriers outside the US. Beyond this the company is also being very inventive and expansive in its thinking about its product.
The company's latest financial release -- it went public last year -- shows healthy growth:
Now the TeleNav is putting out a Verizon version of its consumer-facing TeleNav GPS app for the iPhone. It costs $2.99 per month or $21.99 per year. This is cheaper than both the AT&T iPhone and Android versions of the app. It has lots of useful features:
This is a good solution for iPhone users who don't have access to Google Navigation. In addition to turn-by-turn directions, the app can be used expansively as a local search tool and business finder (it has voice search as well). TeleNav is also integrating local ads from xAD, AT&Ti and others.
One of the "coolest" aspects of the product is "Shake-to-Go." Shake-to-go "allows users to simply shake their iPhone 4 while using TeleNav GPS and they will automatically be routed" to their home location.
I've had an Android version of the app for a number of weeks. I've used it and liked it, although I have to admit the seamless integration of Google Maps and Navigation into Android create a big barrier to the use of any other mapping platform or tool.
TeleNav also introduced APIs late last year to allow developers to integrate navigation into any app. Advertisers can also do this using the API. In other words one could ad a "drive there" or "get directions" button on any display ad in mobile. That's pretty interesting and I think not widely known.
Some time ago I met with the markeing people at TeleNav and was struck by how broadly and creatively they're thinking about the product, the challenge of free navigation and expanding their apps' boundaries well beyond traditional GPS.
For some time I've speculated that mobile might be a more compelling branding medium than TV. InsightExpress and Dynamic Logic have shown data multiple times that reflect higher brand lift and unaided recall from mobile vs. PC display ads. Now comes a study with the first solid evidence of my prediction, showing that iAds performed better than TV advertising.
Campbell's Soup, one of the early iAd adopters, conducted a study with Nielsen, measuring recall, intent to purchase, favorability and other metrics. According to a write-up of the study in AdAge:
Those exposed to one of Campbell's iAds were more than twice as likely to recall it than those who had seen a TV ad. Indeed the five-week study, conducted by Nielsen, showed that consumers shown an iAd remembered the brand "Campbell's" five times more often than TV ad respondents and the ad messaging three times more often.
IAd respondents said they intended to purchase Campbell's four times more than the TV group and that they liked the ad five times more. TV and mobile audiences were queried separately in mobile and online surveys. The TV audiences were part of Nielsen's panel, while mobile users were recruited within various apps.
Once again: "IAd respondents said they intended to purchase Campbell's four times more than the TV group." These people are not only potential purchasers of the product but they're social promoters. They'll potentially tell friends about the campaign so there's a likely secondary benefit or effect (which wasn't reported).
This study will have a major impact on brands and agencies, which are adopting mobile marketing and advertising in earnest. It's unlikely to move much of the TV budget in the near term. But if these results are replicated and repeated it will send a shockwave through the big agencies.
We all know that Apple recently announced its 10 billionth app download. But the larger question about apps goes to engagement and retention. How often are apps used and are they used more than once? Mobile app analytics provider Localytics just published data that shows "26% of Apps Downloaded in 2010 Were Used Just Once."
The data overall show between 20% and 30% of mobile subscribers only use apps a single time -- presumably deciding there's not enough there to make them come back. However 75% or so do return, though whether it's more than twice is not mentioned in the Localytics data.
Being discovered is increasingly tough, which is why lots of mobile advertising promotes app downloads. Retaining users it also tough. To my knowledge nobody yet has "normalized" app churn (downloads to regular users). Regardless of the apps heavy users are going to be in the minority vs. occasional users vs. all downloads.
The above data impliedly argue that users should be educated about what the app is about before downloading (via news, PR, word of mouth) and that the app's value proposition must be very intuitive and self-evident. Games are arguably in a different category.
The average number of smartphone apps (per Nielsen) is 37 for the iPhone and 22 for Android devices. Here are the most common app discovery methods:
Accordingly word of mouth would appear to be a critical driver of app adoption. Thus the mundane advice is: build a great and useful (or fun) app and then promote the heck out of it through all available channels.
Verizon now has the iPhone, which is going to adversely impact demand for Android devices at the US's largest carrier. However, Android will maintain momentum in part by making affordable smartphones available to the masses.
Indeed, VirginMobile, which has great prices but horrible customer service, is going to soon offer the LG Optimus on its network. This is the second Android device the pre-paid carrier and wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint is making available, following the Samsung Intercept.
For $150 from Radio Shack and $60 per month VirginMobile users in the US will be able to have an unlimited plan on the 3G Sprint network. But plans start much cheaper at $25 for unlimited text and Web. Sprint's other pre-paid carrier Boost offers a $50 unlimited plan that "shrinks" to $35 after 18 months of loyalty. (Expect more Android phones there.)
Unlike the weak Samsung Intercept the LG Optimus has Froyo and was well reviewed. While Apple lures kids into its platform with the iPod Touch, many people, especially younger users, will be picking up inexpensive Android devices like the Optimus on pre-paid carriers. This may create an Android "funnel" where people start on lower-end Android devices and migrate up to others after they become "acculturated" to the Android look and feel.
Cheap Android devices on pre-paid carriers may also put pressure on post-paid plans. Only a small group of business users and fashionistas will care about getting 4G access on the best Android handsets. The rest will be very happy with 3G and cheaper pricing.
Nokia previously hinted at a potential willingness to build some phones on Android. I believe it will have to go this route as the market soon floods with highly affordable Android smartphones. Nokia will start to feel tremendous pressure in the developing world, where it has been exceptionally strong based on pricing, from inexpensive Android handsets.
Back in the US it's going to be very hard to resist deals such as the one above: $25 per month for unlimited Web access on a very good Android phone.
In December Microsoft sponsored a "Location Based Services Usage and Perceptions Survey." Last week in honor of privacy day it released results, which were widely reported -- mostly with a focus on the privacy issues and questions. Yes, people are concerned about location sharing and privacy. Those data, however, are less interesting to me than some of the other findings in the survey.
The online survey was conducted in December with 1,500 total respondents from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Japan. Here some of the more interesting findings from my perspective:
Here are the most common LBS use cases:
The most significant finding from the survey (beyond the privacy stuff) is about the efficacy of location-based ads:
The data in the tables above show that an average of 46% of those seeing location-based "retail" ads took action after exposure. The percentage is highest in the US: 55%.
Among those using LBS services to share location, here are the services they used:
Friday Google released AdMob data showing 2010 growth and ad distribution by region for the Google mobile display network. The largest region is North America (dominated by the US), followed by Asia and Western Europe.
According to IDC's most recent estimates mobile display is not as big a revenue source as mobile paid search for Google. Here are the estimated US mobile display ad market share figures (minus search dollars):
The following are the AdMob charts showing 2010 growth by region:
4INFO yesterday announced that it has dramatically grown its display ad business and now reaches "75 percent of all US Mobile Web." It has done this by leveraging its US SMS advertising and publisher relationships to include display advertising from the company. 4INFO also touted some high display campaigns in its release:
Last November 4INFO launched its "AdHaven" platform, which the company promotes as a "360 degree" solution for advertisers and which offers "display and SMS advertising, as well mobile app, rich media, and video ad units."
While SMS has the greatest reach of any mobile ad format it's not well appreciated by brands and agencies, much like search was shunned by brands for years until necessity drove adoption.
Tom was CEO of ExtendMedia, which he grew into the leading IP video platform serving major operators, including AT&T, Verizon and Bell Canada, and leading movie studios, including Disney and Paramount. Extend was acquired by Cisco Systems in September 2010. Previously, Tom served as CEO of Lightningcast, a pioneer in online video advertising where he led the development of the first advertising technology platform specifically designed for monetizing broadband video and launched the first online video ad network. After AOL acquired Lightningcast in 2006, Tom served as SVP Strategy overseeing strategy, strategic planning and corporate and business development for AOL's market-leading advertising business, Advertising.com. Prior to Lightningcast, Tom was founder and CEO of Backwire, an online and mobile messaging company that was acquired by Leap Wireless in 2001. Prior to his career in digital media, Tom was a corporate lawyer with the global law firm Dechert.
Verve is positioning itself as a premium local display ad network for mobile. It originally developed its network, like Quattro and others previously, by building and hosting publisher (primarily newspaper) mobile sites. The company is focused on both national-local and small business advertisers. It has a presence in the "top 200 markets" in the US.
Recently surveys by Handmark and Pew show the degree to which mobile has become an important and even preferred news medium, especially for breaking news. According to the Handmark survey (n=300,000):
Mobile has pulled ahead of the desktop web as the preferred medium to access breaking news information. More than 30% of respondents surveyed feel mobile is the most important medium to access breaking news, compared to 29% who prefer the desktop web, 21% who prefer television, and a mere 3% who chose newspapers as their the most important medium for breaking news.
This will be a significant year for mobile advertising and growth. The foundation has been laid in the form of consumer adoption of smartphones and mobile in general. Regardless of which mobile ad forecast one points to, the medium is now a critical one -- both for publishers and advertisers seeking to build awareness or to drive offline purchases.
On the heels of Verizon's embrace of the iPhone and speculation over how it may impact Android handset sales, ad network Millennial Media released December data showing that ad requests coming from Android handsets were now generating more impressions (and revenue) on Millennial's network than the iPhone.
This is consistent with sales data from comScore and Nielsen showing that Android has surged among recent smartphone purchasers. It's the first time that Android has collectively surpassed iOS devices on Millennial's network. However the iPhone remained the top single device, followed by the BlackBerry Curve.
Android's growth represented a 13% increase quarter-over-quarter, according to Millennial. Since January, Android has grown a massive 3130%. Smartphones now represent 60% of devices on Millennial's network (compared to 48% in May, 2010).
Simultaneously ChangeWave released some survey findings about potential switching to a Verizon iPhone.
The chart above indicates the percentage of mobile subscribers who plan to switch carriers without regard to any particular device. However the chart below shows that 16% of AT&T customers are stongly considering a switch to Verizon for the iPhone. Another 23% are ambivalent. The chief reasons for considering leaving AT&T were "poor reception" and "dropped calls."
If we interpret "don't know" in the chart above as "maybe," it suggests that almost 40% of AT&T customers surveyed may leave for the iPhone. If even the 16% make good on their impulse it would be significant.
The early evidence is that people are quite excited about the Verizon iPhone and we're likely to see high initial sales figures. A not-so-hidden benefit in all this for Apple is that a VZW iPhone blocks or will dilute some of the Android brand advertising.
Of course Verizon will continue to promote Android devices but without the hard-charging and almost offensive ads that attacked the iPhone as "feminine."
Amazon has just added "deals" to its growing list of iPhone apps. There are now five, if you count Kindle and the iPad-only Windowshop. The new Amazon deals is currently only on the iPhone, but ultimately will come to Android as well. It basically combines the venerable Amazon "gold box" set of offers with the aggressive hourly deals that the e-commerce provider was offering during the holidays.
There's a single featured deal at any given time and several throughout the day. As you can also see from the graphic below there are push notifications. It's very straightforward but likely to be very effective. It's very interesting how Amazon has built out a number of specialized mobile apps rather than seeking to pack everything into a single "Amazon mobile" application.
Unlike many retailers and etailers out there, Amazon (and eBay) are "killing it" in mobile and leaving most other shopping sites and engines far behind.
Amazon knows how to sell things -- that's for sure. But will the leading e-commerce destination be able to sell apps for developers in a way that Google's own Android market has largely been unable to? My belief is, yes. The Amazon Appstore was formally announced on Tuesday.
Amazon must first get developers to sign up and participate; but I suspect that almost all serious Android developers will submit their existing apps for approval. The promise of a lower-friction consumer purchase funnel for apps will be a major part of the appeal. Amazon has millions of consumer credit cards on file and is a trusted retailer. The notion of a one-click purchase (like iTunes) could help developers make much more money off Android.
Here's Amazon's pitch:
Why should you submit your apps for inclusion in the Amazon Appstore for Android?
--For the first time, you will have access to tens of millions of active Amazon customers.
--Amazon’s proven marketing and merchandising features will help you get your apps discovered and in front of the right customers.
--The convenience of using an existing Amazon.com account will make it simple and easy for customers to purchase your apps - both online and on their mobile devices.
The third one is arguably the most important.
There have been persistent developer complaints that consumers aren't buying apps on Android. As a percentage of overall apps downloaded paid apps are considerably lower on Android than other smartphone platforms, iOS in particular. Part of that is the "culture" of Google and Android -- Google favors the mobile Web over apps -- and part of it is the lack of a smooth payment system. (I wrote about how Google's failure to drive Checkout adoption is now hurting the company with Android developers.)
Amazon may be able to use its celebrated recommendations and merchandising capabilities to create the leading Android marketplace. If it succeeds it will be interesting to see how Google reacts.
Previously I argued that LBS apps are as much about brand engagement as they are about deals/coupons. (Indeed this is where the money is.) Here's another of several examples: the Nissan "Juke the City" promotion using SCVNGR as an engagement tool.
SCVNGR, which just raised a $15 million funding round is being used by Nissan in connection with a sweepstakes to help build awareness of the new car.
According to the company's blog, users with the app (iPhone, Android) check in and complete challenges at locations in several cities (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco) in order to be entered to win a new Juke. There are also lesser prizes involved.
We'll see more and more smart brands use LBS apps to influence user behavior around new products this year and into the future. It's partly about location but mostly about brand awareness and affinity. And the gaming aspect works perfects in this context.
Deals are great to drive people into stores and physical locations (and for loyalty). But there's an equally large if not larger opportunity for these LBS firms and brands to work together in clever and creative ways.