Google has just announced improvements in mobile search advertising. (See the Google Blog post for more information.) Apps that incorporate search capabilities will see more relevant ads appearing on their screens.
To date, mobile ads appearing on smartphones have not been particularly relevant to the nature of the apps displaying them. In contrast, desktop search ads are highly relevant to the search terms used. So, for example, if I'm searching for information on bicycles, I'll see ads related to this topic.
Making mobile ads more targeted should improve ad click through rates and improve user satisfaction.
If I'm searching on my smartphone for bicycles, I'll see ads related to bicycles, including information on bicycle shops near my current location.
According to a new study by IDC, mobile internet access via smartphones and tablets will soon outpace wireline access via PCs and other fixed position devices. Mobile device use is growing rapidly and wireline use is expected to level off and then decline.
This is expected to alter the very nature of how the internet is used. Consider some characteristics of mobile devices that will contribute to this change:
- Location sensing.
- Touch screen.
- Device mobility.
- Always on status.
- App centric user interface.
It looks like the shift from fixed to mobile devices may be every bit as significant as the historic shift from mainframes to PCs.
Certainly traditional media such as newspapers, TV, radio and magazines are still very important to marketing products and services. But the newer, high tech, internet driven media and tools are playing an ever increasing role. Consider:
- LPO (Landing Page Optimization)
- Internet Based Public Relations
- PPC (Pay per Click) Advertising
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Smartphone and Tablet Apps
- Weblogs (Blogs)
- Video (YouTube, etc.)
- Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Web Analytics
- QR (Quick Response) Codes
And the list goes on. Some long for the 'good old days' as portrayed in the popular TV series Mad Men. Come up with a great angle on a product, buy a lot of space in paper media and watch the sales roll in. Technology was left up to the back room gnomes who would calculate results and play with budgets.
Today, technology is center stage in most marketing campaigns. There are, of course, challenges in the marriage of the two domains. Consider this list:
- Finding the right balance between the new and the traditional.
- Knowing how far to go with technology. Just like traditional media, it can get expensive.
- Getting the traditional media folks to interact with the new media folks.
- Not forgetting the importance of branding, positioning, images and other 'soft' elements when dealing with 'hard' technology.
So, how to deal with all this? Some thoughts:
- Technology can be applied incrementally. Small scale at first to judge results, then a broader roll out.
- Technology can provide a lot of detail about results and how it is working. It can be much more transparent than traditional media if reported correctly.
- Technology can provide two way dialogues with the audience. This can be informative and allow adjustments as time passes.
A good example showing that today's audiences want both old and new media is the YouTube phenomenon. People like watching moving images. It's been around for 100 years. YouTube provides audiences a new element of control and interaction that enhances their experience.
Find ways to marry the two like that, and you're on your way to success.
Just as it has in a growing number of industries, the Internet is transforming the field of public relations.
Here is some of what's happening:
- The dividing line between marketing and PR is disappearing.
- PR is providing more useful information for consumers.
- New Internet focused PR companies are greatly lowering the cost of PR campaigns.
- Internet based tools are making PR campaigns easier to develop and manage.
- PR content is interacting with and feeding off of other content such as blogs, video, images, web sites and e-books.
- It is becoming cost effective to focus PR campaigns on smaller, niche markets as well as big, broad markets.
- Internet based PR is becoming a critical element in gaining search engine placement.
In short, an Internet based PR campaign is becoming an essential and growing part of selling products and services.
Google is rolling out a new Market app that will allow them to compete more effectively with stores such as those provided by Amazon and Apple.
There is speculation that an upcoming version of the Google Android platform (possibly 3.2) may have better options for displaying apps on tablets that are sized for smartphones.
Apps would have both stretch and zoom options. Zoom would be a new mode that would simulate a smartphone display and then fill the tablet screen with it.
The purpose is to give Android tablet users greater access to Android Market apps, the majority of which are designed for smartphone screens. Since smartphones greatly outnumber tablets, this seems to us to be a great idea. Some smartphone apps incorporate a mixture of screen size optimizations. For example, our QuickClick Locales series of apps use a smartphone sized screen for user query input and mapping function that is optimized for both smartphones and tablets.
Naming and creating symbols for your app, tabs, sections is important as an aid in remembering where users have been and where they want to go.
Apple and Google are changing the way they rank apps in their markets. Although the exact formulas are kept secret, there is talk and news that they are moving away from basing rankings on downloads and now using a formula based on the "sticky-ness" of apps.
The sticky formula is based on the ratio daily active users to monthly active users. So just getting users to download an app no longer gets a high rating. Users need to actually use an app to move it up in the ratings. Seems to make sense. After all, they are called "users" not "downloaders."
The news is full of stories about interest in and growth of cloud computing ... relying on services hosted on servers owned, operated and maintained by others. Some get nervous about having their information located in places they don't control. The growth of smartphones should, however, accelerate the move to cloud computing and gradually ameliorate those fears.
Relying on cloud computing with a smartphone, or tablet, isn't an option. It's all controlled "in the clouds." Faster and more reliable networks will also help. Over time, whether computing is done on your device or in the cloud should become a somewhat meaningless distinction.
A new study has shown that nearly 20 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. use check-in services. The study was conducted by researchers from ComScore. Check-in lets visitors take advantage of special offers and discounts and, if they choose, let friends know where they are.