Daily Archives: January 25, 2019

Mobile Advertising Trends In 2019

Mobile Advertising Trends In 2019

We have observed a rapid advancement in technology in the past couple of years. These advancements have rendered traditional marketing strategies a little less convenient and have given rise to new and enhanced digital marketing strategies.

Mobile advertising has been one of the most widely used marketing strategies, and why shouldn’t it be? Gone are the days of sticking fliers on the trees, painting benches at bus stops with the advertisement, it’s time to be omnipresent, anyone with a mobile device should have a taste of your brand.

Year after year we have seen a new trend in advertising coming to life, let’s see what emerging technology will give rise to in 2019.

01. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

William Arthur Ward once said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” 
It’s not just a quote anymore, AR/VR has given us enough power to bring our imagination to life.

People only remember those ads which were interactive enough to hold their attention.
Current media puts a constraint on the amount of interaction one can have with an ad, but, AR/VR has surpassed all those limits and has provided users with interactive ads that go way beyond the traditional ads.

Anything can be put up for a display now- be it your new furniture or your next holiday. This is just the beginning, who knows, by 2025 you could see an ad on VR and place your order right from there, or have real-time notifications popping up and you’d have the option to choose what to do with them, it could be the best replacement for facetime, integrating VR with your video calls, holographic projections as real and interactive as if the person was standing right in front of you.

After Apple launched its ARKit last year in WWDC 2017, leading voice, video and broadcasting platform Agora.io has managed to integrate it with their platform to create an augmented reality video conference system.
Microsoft’s hololens has been able to bring holograms to life, this lets people interact with each other in real time and can watch and work on objects in 3D.

02. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

There are specific times when your target audience is most active and the amount of engagement with your ads at this point is at its peak.

Advertisers need to analyze data to figure out this peak time when the user interaction is maximum in order to capture their attention.

Now the problem that every marketer faces is that there is a mountain of data and there is comparatively lesser time to analyze it and narrow it down on the demographics, their preferred time to watch and engage with the ads.

This is where AI/ML comes into the picture, it does all the work of keeping a track of user’s interaction with your ads, keywords they use and accordingly predict what’s the best time to display ads that will get maximum user interactions. ML can work wonders by analyzing all the data. This, in turn, helps to start predicting the best times to display an ad and help run optimized marketing campaigns.

Using data predictions from AI/ML, marketers can only direct those ads to user’s newsfeeds which are of interest to them. For instance, when we listen to songs on music streaming sites, we get suggestions of similar songs based on our search history.

AI/ML might just give rise to artificial entrepreneurs, they might be able to observe and identify a market opportunity and come up with various strategies to satisfy the market need.

MediaGamma an AI technology company which uses Machine Learning and Data Science to help digital clients understand user behavior, won a grant from the UK government’s innovation agency to develop AI that can generate text and images for the targeted ads.

“We could have a banner ad specifically tailored to a person’s tastes,” — Wang, co-founder of MediaGamma mentioned at the event.

Our favorite online streaming platform Netflix has been showing the users what they need to see, it uses AI to predict it’s users choice and recommend shows accordingly. No wonder they have got everyone hooked on to their platform.
AI/ML is going to ease a lot many things for all the marketers and advertisers.

03. Chatbot

We are living in an era where we text more than we speak, but we can’t have someone on the phone or sitting on a computer 24/7 to have a conversation with everyone.

We have a better solution, Chatbots! They are taking over the customer service.

Let’s face it, customer service is one of the most important aspects of a user’s journey. Better the service, loyal the customers.

All a customer really wants is a direct line between their problems and their solutions.

Marketers can use Chatbots to their advantage as a communication channel to solve customer issues, promoting events and offers and many more things.

Chatbots aren’t just limited to customer service, utility bots can be used to order takeouts, placing orders, or book a hotel room or an entire trip.

It’s totally up to you what functionality you would like your chatbot to have and what customer needs you want to cater to.

Imagine if your brand could talk, what would you like it to say? And most importantly, how would you like to say it? As cool as Chuck Norris, right? That’s what you can develop your chatbot to be.

If you’re a coffee fanatic, you already must be aware of the chatbot Starbucks has been using in its app. It has made it incredibly easy to order your favorite snack or coffee with the exact cost and time it will take to prepare your order.

Staples has developed a Facebook messenger bot in partnership with IBM’s Watson which makes it convenient for the customers to order, track and return their packages, you can even check if the item of your interest is in stock or not.

04. GDPR

Users really like to experience something that is personalized for them, but what they also value more than anything is the privacy of their data.

The authorities in the European Union established the General Data Protection Regulation for protecting users from data breaches, identity theft and other forms of cybercrime.

Mobile marketers usually have a global audience, and if some of your audience hails from one of the 28 countries that make up the European Union, then you need to comply with the GDPR.

Marketers need to be completely transparent about how they are going to use the data they are gathering from their users, they need to get users’ consent before they even begin to gather data, no more pre-checked boxes.

If your company faces any kind of a data breach, it’s your responsibility to notify your customers about it.

05. Internet Of Things

IoT is a blessing for marketers who can come up with strategies to target connected devices to give their consumers a seamless experience. IoT gives marketers a chance to build their brand, voice their opinions at the right time and at the right place.

IoT can be used by marketers for real-time interaction, gathering insights about customers journey, their buying behavior. A lot of data can be gathered and analyzed to predict customers’ experience and buying preferences.

And since all of the devices will be connected, marketers won’t have to put much efforts in deciding which device to promote or engage the customer on, whichever device seems the best for a particular ad, the user would see it on that particular device.

One of the best examples of IoT is Amazon’s Alexa powered Echo.

You can get a feel of what it’s like to be Tony stark living with Jarvis. Your very own personal assistant, who take voice commands from you, play music and even order food.

Conclusion

These emerging trends can work wonders if utilized properly, marketers need to think about how they can use this immense power to their advantage and lead their business or company towards rapid growth. Uncle Ben was right all along, “with great powers, comes great responsibility”.

How To Make Your Organization Remote Friendly?

How To Make Your Organization Remote Friendly?

Make Your Organisations Remote Friendly

Fierce competition, hiring suitable candidates, and acquiring loyal customers are some of the biggest problems faced by startups.

Our experience shows that the best solutions to address these are simple: amazing employees.

Employees are the biggest assets of an organization. Read that again – it’s the most important and time-tested truth that there is in business. Superstar employees are the ultimate weapon against the competition, the cornerstone of amazing customer service, and makes your organization resilient to any other problem which may arise.

But it’s not so simple. It’s hard to find great talent. So what do you do when your superstar is nowhere to be found? You can start by broadening your search. Try thinking globally.

Thanks to the internet, it has become tremendously easy to get a hold of a person who is living thousands of miles away. Every startup wants fast growth, and for that, they need great talent. Many times, it doesn’t matter if that talent is local or in a completely different timezone.

But, there’s another catch Are you able to retain your remote workers? In other words, Are you providing an environment where your remote team can be productive, where they can grow?

Checking in on your in-house team and taking care of the issues they are facing is easy. But remote workers are physically distant from you, and you can’t see what they are doing and what problems they are facing. It certainly isn’t viable to call them every hour to check in on your remote team. This leads to isolation and reduced social interaction, which may lead to stress and anxiety.

Related: “How to stay mentally healthy while working remotely?”

It’s indispensable to develop a plan to include your remote team in your in-house family, getting them acquainted with your company culture, and making them feel comfortable.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can make your organization remote friendly.

1. Communication:

Communication is the most important factor in making your organization remote friendly. You have a distributed team, so water cooler talk isn’t an option anymore, and swinging by your coworkers’ desk is impossible. So, it’s time to rely heavily on instant messengers and video calls.

In one of a webinar5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Remote Staff”, Krish Chopra, Co-Founder of NPHub said –

“You have water cooler talks or coffee where you hang out with your coworkers every day, you need to schedule that time for your remote teams as well.”

Create channels where your team can communicate, and not just about work. Constant communication is a good way of getting the in-house team and your remote team to interact and know each other well, and also to get work done.

Remember, there is no such thing as over-communicating when you have a distributed team.

2. Trust:

If you want your company to grow with your distributed team, you need to foster a culture of trust. The employer isn’t aware of the whereabouts of his remote team and the work routine they have, but that should not be a reason for him to be doubtful about their work arrangement. Employers should trust their remote teams, and that’s how they can set a great example of trust in the organization as a whole.

Mention to your team that mistakes are alright, supposing they talk about those mistakes, learn from each other, and bond together.

Don’t be afraid of giving leadership opportunities to remote workers just because they aren’t in front of you all the time.

3. Train your team:

It’s critical to give your remote team the appropriate training needed to perform their duties. Your in-house team always has the advantage of watching you work and pick up on some tips and tricks. This won’t be the case with your remote team. You will need to think about how to give your remote employees an environment where they can thrive, constantly improve, enjoy their work, and be more productive.

4. Team retreats are also for remote teams:

Team retreats are probably the thing employees look forward to. Who would want to miss an opportunity to go out with the team, have fun, and especially meet your remote teams?

Organizations should organize a team retreat once in a while; this gives a chance for the in-house team to meet face to face with the remote team.

Meeting in a new environment, away from work, getting to know each other over a couple of drinks and games, can make your remote team feel like they are an essential part of the family.

5. Buddy system:

The buddy system can work wonders in increasing interaction between your local and remote teams. Pairing members from your in-house team with members from your remote teams is an excellent way of training your remote team, getting things done, and making your team feel comfortable around each other.

Conclusion:

It’s high time for organizations to start planning how work will look like with a remote team. With the millennial workforce on the rise, the 9 to 5 schedule isn’t what it used to be, employees they like to do things on their own terms, on their own time. Making everybody feel like an integral part of your organization should be one of the top priorities. Millennials come with different perceptions towards the world and have a different skill set; it’s up to you how to utilize those skills in the best interest of the employees and the company.

These tips will get you started in making your organization remote friendly, but you may need to think on different, innovative methods to make sure that an entire team is a single unit firing at peak efficiency.

What really went wrong with Appster?

What really went wrong with Appster?

Appster
Image Source: Mobileappdaily.com

When a colleague shared an article today that Appster filed for liquidation, I was a bit taken aback. My relationship with Josiah Humphrey goes around 5 years back…when he was someone looking for devs on Upwork (then Elance) for one of his clients and I was among the ones looking for work for myself. Things have grown from there. Both I and Josiah do not visit Upwork anymore. While I dedicated my time to build an Upwork alternative — RemotePanda, Josiah has become an industry stalwart with Appster consistently being ranked among the top agencies.

Our connection has been limited to Skype and Linkedin now but yes I do often check his profile for inspiration and getting to know whats going on in the app world.

Today as I saw Appster news, I thought of reasons what could have gone wrong for the guys. Here is my take.

1) App development demand is drying up

App development saw its peak between 2010–2015, thats when the industry was new and you could ask for whatever price you wanted and the client would pay for it, but now in 2018/19 that is not the case. The market has become saturated with App Development companies, so any company whose revenue is completely dependent on developing apps is in a tricky situation right now.

“Paul Vartelas of BK Taylor & Co has been appointed administrator. He has said the main reason for the collapse was a “sharp drop” in available work over the last six months”

https://www.channelnews.com.au/appster-goes-into-liquidation/

The demand is down because there is no more incentive for new players to come in and build apps. Almost all of the top 30 apps on any Appstore have remained the same year on year, with the only exception of Flappybird. Nobody is beating Skype or Google duo in the video chatting vertical anymore, they might be getting a fight from WhatsApp but WhatsApp is a leader in another vertical. So its like they are all just fighting amongst themselves to be leaders in most categories. Thus, the economics does not work for people to build new apps because most verticals are now saturated and the chances of coming in the top 100 apps are like slim to none.
http://fortune.com/2016/09/16/smartphone-users-apps/

2) Deal size does not justify the lifetime value of the client

Contrary to typical IT sales, size of an app deal is usually 3–4 months long (50–100K in revenue). This means that the sales engine should be running fast enough to keep bringing new demand. If demand diminishes you can still get a new sale every 3 months…isn’t it?

Well, thats where having a bigger size could be a problem.

With an average deal size of around a 100K means, they need around 100 new clients every year. Now, this is possible when the tide is high but not in the markets like I mention in point a – where the market has lost the incentive to build new.

“Surprisingly we were in one of the best cash positions the business had been in, just four months ago, but things spiraled out of control very quickly. We missed forecasted sales targets by about 50 percent four months in a row … with expenses of roughly $1 million per month, our cash reserves were depleted very rapidly despite attempting cost reductions,” they said further.

https://www.mobileappdaily.com/appster-collapses-into-liquidation

In addition to this, having ambitions to be the premier company requires a lot to be spent on overheads and on experiments that may not convert to profits instantly.

This brings me to my next and most important lesson

3) Do not mix products and services growth plans

In 2014, Forbes quoted Appster to “expect to hit $100 Million in annual revenue within the next four years. To fuel that revenue growth, the company is currently opening offices in Canada, the U.K., and Germany and ultimately aims to scale to forty-two countries”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jlim/2014/08/06/aussie-start-up-appster-adds-former-founding-paypal-cfo-and-virgin-australia-executive-to-its-board/#34a6938b54f3

They even had people like Former Founding PayPal CFO And Virgin Australia Executive as part of their board.

Sounds like the recipe to success. No its a recipe to disaster because the ingredients that you are buying are for building a product growth strategy and not service growth strategy.

A services business is linear in scale and so are its costs and profits. No amount of funding or add-ons can change the linear growth model to a nonlinear model of a product.

A quick glance on Appster website shows their commitments towards building IP, trademarks and so on but were they really required?

Appster services

In the end, I would add that though I pointed out things that could have been done right and what not, I the guys would have seen that already and must have taken decisions that were best at the time. I have actually adored Josiah and Mark for their zeal and contagious enthusiasm in building Appster to what it is today. It started at $3000 and still remains a multi-million dollar company.

A salute to the guys who dreamt and built it on…