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 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”.

Remote Teams Vs In-house Teams

Remote Teams Vs In-house Teams

remote-teams-vs-in-house-teams

 

As the business scales, so does your team of employees, which leads to a conflict of decision between whether to go with a remote team or an in-house team.

Lately, there has been an increase in remote work, which has disrupted the traditional ways and policies of employment in almost every industry. People not only prefer but, are demanding to work from wherever they want whenever they want.

The catch here is, it’s not a one size fits all, some companies can really reap benefits from a remote team while others can’t, and the same goes for the in-house teams.

Productivity and cost are two of the most important things while building a team, doesn’t matter if it’s remote or in-house, how much of the prior can you scale up and how much of the latter can you scale down, or achieving a sufficient balance between the two, is the primary factor behind selecting any team.

If you’re a startup or a well-established organization who has been reluctant so far to explore working with a remote team, by the end of this blog you’ll have the clarity on which team would suit you the best.

So let’s dive deeper into the topic and see the prevailing ups and downs of both the teams.

 

 

1. Synergy

 

Synergy

 

“To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.” — John C. Maxwell, Leadership Speaker

It all started with open offices, in the earlier years, even though people were working in the same offices, they were hard to reach because of the hierarchy, closed-door policies, etc which proved to be a great hindrance to communication. To make collaboration easier, the concept of open offices came into existence, which proved to be really effective in the beginning but some of the employees sensed a feeling of disturbance, the constant chatter of the coworkers made it hard to focus on work. Over time the new alternative to this situation was conceived, which we know as work from home. If we go back a decade, such an arrangement wasn’t as common as it is now, the advent of internet paved way for successful communication between teams which are partly located in the same office and partly scattered around the globe, or the teams which are fully remote, this further led to remote work.
Internet and various communication tools have made it extremely convenient to reach out to your colleagues, be it work or just to discuss the weekend plans. There might be a chance that you might not find your in-house teammate at his desk when you are in dire need of his expertise, but there will hardly ever be a situation where you won’t be able to get in touch with your remote teammate.
Water cooler talks have been replaced by dedicated channels on tools like slack, where you can have a channel for a specific team, for the entire office, or just for you and your best bud to make an after office drinking plan.
The best part about collaborating with a remote team is that you’ll indulge in more written than verbal communication, you’ll always have a trail of documents you can refer to whenever you are missing out on something rather than spending an hour thinking about an important point another person had mentioned.

 

2. Commute

 

Commute

 

“People today really value workplace flexibility and remote work because it allows them to focus their energies on work and life as opposed to commuting or other complications due to geography.” — Ken Matos, Vice President of Research, Life Meets Work

The most dreadful thing about going to the office after a nice relaxing weekend is the LOOOONG commute, for some, it’s a daily nightmare. You spend every day in public or private transport, doing nothing productive, enjoying the blinkers of the car in front of you. Heavy traffic is a huge obstacle to an enthusiastically planned day. You don’t feel as productive when you reach the office as you felt while leaving home.
According to a Robert Half
survey, more than one out of five employees quit their jobs because of the hectic commute.
Remote workers don’t have to deal with this situation cause they enjoy the bliss of working from their bed or their couch.
On an average a person spends 70-90 minutes of his/her time commuting to and from work, this is one of the major factors behind reduced productivity and availability, how much product can a tired employee be?
It has been observed that employees are willing to work extended hours from home than to be victims of a long commute.
The only commute which remote workers are involved in, and which they enjoy dearly, is the walk from their home office to their kitchen, some might be even working from the kitchen, having a slice of pizza while writing an email, or drinking a beer while coding, must be adding that extra buzz to the code.
Some workers who might not like working from home would often work from a nearby cafe or a coworking space, but even that’s less of a commute compared to non-remote workers. I can stretch this paragraph to another 500 words but still, I wouldn’t be able to come up with one perk for the non-remote workers when it comes to commuting.

 

3. Productivity and Availability

 

Productivity

 

“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries, and continents.” — Michael Dell, Chairman, and CEO of Dell

Productivity is one of the most critical factors taken into consideration while building a team or hiring an employee. Research shows that in-house teams find it hard to concentrate on their desks. According to a
study, the number of people who say they can’t concentrate at their desk has increased by 16% since 2008, and the number of those who don’t have access to quiet places to do focused work is up by 13%.
Remote work is a great boon for productivity, with more autonomy and lesser distractions remote workers have the ability to achieve way more than their in-house counterparts.
As per the survey conducted by SurePayroll, Employers lose an estimated $1.8 trillion in lost productivity each year because of lack of engagement with the job, parents stressed over the cost of childcare, hangovers, chronic health problems and more. Thankfully, remote work and various technologies such as email, video conferencing, IM, collaboration software have made it extremely convenient to get your work done whenever you want from wherever you want and with the least distractions.
Another factor that weighs in is availability, we don’t need research to state that it’s difficult to reach your employees once they leave the office, the only time you can tap on their shoulder for a quick meeting is between 9 to 5, unlike in-house teams, you can get in touch with a remote team at any time of the day. And if you have a team scattered across multiple time zones, with a little overlap in time, it’s not just you, even your customers can reach out to your team whenever they want.

 

4. Happy employees are more loyal and productive

 

Happiness

 

Nothing makes a company shine like the smiles of the employees. Remote Work is hands down the best solution to keeping your employees happy. An employee can work from wherever they want, whenever they want, with such autonomy, employees are willing to take on more responsibility than ever before.
With no manager present to supervise the employees, they feel they are trustworthy enough to take end to end responsibility of every task & completing that task within the given time becomes their top priority.
You can find so many in-house employees whining about the working hours, working conditions, policies, no matter what you send their way to enhance their abilities, they will manage to find some discrepancies and soon enough you’ll have a complaint box filled with letters.
It’s a fact that companies establishing policies promoting remote work have way lesser employee attrition rate than the companies who don’t have any remote work policies.
Not having to commute every day to the office actually saves a lot of money, employees don’t have to pay for transport, lunch or buying office appropriate attire. All the more reasons to work remotely, right?
We all work to provide for our family, give them a better life, but if you’re stuck at the office all day, going home only to find your family has already slept, and there’s cold food on the table for you, what’s the use of such long hours?
On the other hand, wouldn’t it be awesome to work from home while helping your kids with their homework, going out with your spouse to buy groceries and finally tucking your kids in bed, remote work lets you do all of this while achieving each of your business targets? Amazing right? Why wouldn’t a remote worker be happy and loyal if his company is taking such good care of him?

 

5. Absenteeism

 

Absenteeism

 

Now, this is something every manager, CEO, or top-level executive hates about his employees. Too many leaves, some are informed and we always have those rebels who go AWOL, have always been a big concern for the company. Skipping work for a friend’s wedding, going on a long vacation, going to your kid’s soccer match, these are all important occasions but some of these occur quite frequently. Going on a leave every time you have to tend to some of your functions isn’t viable for either you or your company, let’s face it you’re on the clock and if you are going to be unavailable after 5, you are expected to be present at the workplace and put in efforts for as long as you are there.
Well, there is another way that you already know of that facilitates the time off to do all of the things that are important to you. People who love to travel, prefer remote work over any other thing, they get the freedom to roam the world while staying in touch with their teams and achieving their targets sometimes from Paris, sometimes from Brazil and sometimes from their own homes.
Remote workers take lesser leaves than an in-house team, with the freedom to work at your own convenience, given that you meet all of your KPIs, nobody is going to stop you from attending your friend’s wedding or taking out time for Netflix and chill.

 

6. Infrastructure

 

Infrastructure

 

The humble abode! In-house teams spend most of their time in the office than at home. So it goes without saying that you need to look after your team and their comfort in the workplace. Upgrading all the furniture, making sure your employees get the best of the technological instruments, replenishing the food stock from time to time, and in case your team grows and can’t fit in your current workplace, you are up for one crazy ride of finding a new and big workplace. A company spends almost $10,000-$20,000 to house an employee in their office.
Unlike, in-house teams, remote teams can save you a tonne of money. You don’t have to worry about the employee’s desk, computer or any other thing that is needed to work efficiently, remote employees take care of themselves.

 

Conclusion

Remote work is a blessing, but it’s not a one size fits all, you have to take into consideration your workforce, their productivity, cost and what kind of work you are involved in. If you’re a startup looking to attract the best talent but are running low on capital, remote work is definitely something you should look forward to. If implemented right, remote work will work wonders for your company, if you’re reluctant or need any help with any kind of remote resources, doesn’t matter if it’s a backend requirement or a development need, RemotePanda has got your back.

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, that’s 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…