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The Beauty App: The Rise & Benefits

It’s evident that the rise in technology has altered the way in which we interact with beauty brands. Just only ten years ago it was a case of simply entering a store, buying a product from a brand and then hoping that it was ‘for you’. But now, courtesy of the boom in social interaction between brands and consumers via smart devices, we’re able to contemplate, query and research well before purchasing goods.

The statistics on the UK beauty industry speak volumes. Market research specialists Racounteur state that beauty retail sales grew by a billion pounds from 2008 through to 2013, which contributed to the overall £8.9 billion spent during the latter. Some have even gone as far to say that the beauty industry is “recession-proof”.

One can only assume that the above statistic has been achieved by the sheer expansion of beauty companies, who have been provided with new digital marketing platforms to reach more people than ever before. Beauty-focused apps are a prime example of the industry’s attempts to broaden their audience, with the likes of firmly established brands L’Oreal, John Frieda, Veet, as well as a growing number of local businesses, getting on board the app craze.

It goes without saying that generating a profitable ROI is the key focus for beauty companies (like any business), and there are a number of app features that can be utilized to achieve this.

Product Testing

L’Oréal Paris introduced its virtual makeup application tester ‘Makeup Genius’ app last year, and has since started a mobile trend. Its functionality allows users to upload a ‘selfie’ image on to a mobile device and test out various types of makeup in real-time. The benefit of providing your users with this (via a free download worth noting) is that not only will they sample a range of your products, it’s also a fun gimmick which has the power to get people talking and sharing.

Take a look at the L’Oréal Paris Makeup Genius app here – http://bit.ly/1r6HFPy

It appears that the time of consumers basing their purchase decisions on physically engaging with a product are rapidly disappearing into the past…

Location Extension

A benefit that beauty companies have are that they aren’t restricted purely to the online sphere. If you run a beauty salon who also sell products online you can use the app as a tool to visit your store and in turn spend more on additional services. By including a contact telephone number, email address or a ‘get in touch’ form you’ll be maximising your chances of a client dropping by for a personable experience.

Push Notifications/Re-Marketing

Implementing push notifications can act as an effective method of re-attracting your app users via special offers/promotions. You can also tailor the timing of your push message to coincide with the location of your user, meaning that once again you’ll maximise your chance of generating a sale.

Advertising

There are now more and simpler advertising platforms available than ever to pretty much every technology user. By the term ‘simpler’ we mean that digital advertisements today have significantly shrunk the time and effort needed for a potential consumer to acknowledge and purchase a product. A user scrolling through their timeline will now be presented with a small advert consisting of two lines of text, an image and a download prompt. Making it simpler for a user to engage with a brand (in this case a beauty brand) simply with the touch of a button.

Social media channels continue to be invaluable for brands during the current rise in mobile advertising, with Facebook (and its subsidiary companies) being the latest to announce their official figures. According to CNN Money mobile advertising revenue made up 73% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue during the first three months of 2015, up from 69% at the end of 2014.

Looking forward to the foreseeable future mobile advertising is projected to go from strength to strength. Zenith Optimedia (via Reuters) has predicted 2017 will bear witness to the internet becoming the biggest advertising medium in a third of the globe, with mobile contributing to 70 per cent of all global ad spend.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we make bespoke apps in a number of specialist areas. If you wish to speak to someone about a establishing a beauty app or modifying an existing one then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook 

The Essential App Start-Up Toolkit

When it comes to creating an app there are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration. It goes without saying that a well-constructed app is vital to you achieving downloads, but it’s also very important that you also carefully think about the environment that you’re placing your app into. How and where are you going to get your app noticed? What are your competitors doing around the time of your release? Have you secured the appropriate licenses?  How are you planning on generating your revenue?

Fortunately we’ve created a handy app start-up toolkit which contains everything that you need to address before, during and after your apps construction. To some start-ups the prospect of creating an app from scratch may seem like a daunting prospect, that is until now of course…

 

Marketing

Marketing

The world of marketing is broad and diverse, yet exciting with plenty of scope for opportunity. Marketing is key to generating excitement for your product and should be the first factor you address and constantly in the back of your mind as your app is being built. By utilizing a range of relevant media platforms (including traditional and new media), along with producing innovative content, you’ll maximise the chance of getting your app in all of the right places! These include:

  • Targeting key influencers and bloggers to review and rate your app
  • Creating blog content to accompany your company’s platforms
  • Implementing PPC (pay-per-click) advertising
  • Ensuring that all content produced is SEO friendly
  • Creating, executing and monitoring social media campaigns

 

 

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Monetization

Fortunately there are a number of ways that you can generate revenue from your app, it’s just about finding the right one that caters to your business needs. When it comes to generating ROI you should think about two things; how and when. Begin to look at successful and indeed unsuccessful case studies from down the years and then start to place your business model against others. Industry facts and figures are also a great way to highlight the spending habits of your consumers during that particular time, meaning that your app will have the best possible chance of success.

 

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Competitor Analysis

You may well have a fantastic app but if it’s competing against a firmly established company with a loyal fan base, then yours may struggle to reach its full potential. In the event that yours is too similar to have its own out stand-out identity then begin to look at additional USP’s. Similar to above try to evaluate the successes that your competitors have with particular features, especially if they’re running with something that you wish to implement.

 

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Brand Protection

Ensure that you have secured all of your appropriate licenses before your launch date. Whether that’s having your businesses name registered as a trading company or your app registered to its respective store, pending confirmations have the capacity to defer your plans around your launch date.

 

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Design

Carefully think about how you want your app to look and feel, as this will be an accurate reflection of your brands identity. Most app agencies offer designs as a part of your package, yet only you know what it is you want to achieve with the aesthetics.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we offer the above tool kit as a comprehensive package for those who wish to get there app off the ground or are seeking additional funding. If you wish to speak to someone about your project then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

Essential Apps for Your Summer Holiday

It’s officially July which means one thing, you’ll soon be taking to the skies to swap your exams, 9-5’s and early morning commutes with stretches of golden sands and unlimited sangria to hand. We take a look at the best and essential apps that everybody should download prior to stepping on that plane. We’ve even placed them in chronological order tailored to fit to your busy holiday schedule!

Courtesy of their UK allowance policy in 18 foreign countries, chances are Three mobile network users will enjoy this upcoming blog a lot more than anybody else. For everyone else at least you have Wi-Fi available or an incredibly generous mobile budge set aside for your trip.

1) National Geographic World – Free

If you’re still contemplating where you want to venture off too or you want more information, then prepare to be inspired by the National Geographic World app. You’ll be able to find facts and stats for every country and territory on the globe and get real-time weather updates so you can plan what to wear!

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2) Wunderlist – Free

So you’ve decided on where you want to go, now it’s time to get yourself ready. Wunderlist is a great app where you can centralise all of your holiday essentials into one place and check them off as you go. Unfortunately it can’t check off your passport every 5 minutes, that’s still something that you’ll have to do yourself!

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3) Airline Apps (British Airways, easyJet, AirFrance etc) – Free

Airline apps make booking, boarding and accessing everything about your flights much easier than ever before, make the most of them! If you’re using the Apple Watch you’ll be able to view the flight number and even get a countdown to the departure time so you don’t miss your flight whilst shopping in duty free!

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4) iTranslate – £4.49

With iTranslate you can speak your native language into your phone which can then be translated into one of 42 languages. You can also link up AirTranslate to connect devices together and have a conversation in a particular language. Perfect for those “I’m going to miss my check-in” conversations with your hotel/hostel/apartment.

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5) Car Rentals Market App – Free

The Car Rentals Market app for iPhone has the largest selection of car rentals available today, and partner with car rental companies in the USA, Canada and Europe. Users are able to compare prices from all car rental companies in one place meaning that you’ll always get the cheapest deals.

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6) WifiMapper – Free

WiFiMapper is the world’s largest free Wi-Fi database which contains over 500 million hotspots. Not only does it tell you where the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot is, it will also give you information on the location so you know where to go and where to avoid.

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7) City Guides by National Geographic – Free (with in-app purchases)

It’s the return of our our friends at the National Geographic. This app will allow you to explore the best of four of the world’s most vibrant cities – London, Rome, Paris and New York. Features include established routes, ‘Did You Know’ facts and a photo upload function.

If you’re not visiting one of these places have no fear, there are tons of individual apps for specific locations all over the world.

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8) TripAdvisor – Free

We’ve all had it where we feel the need to spread the word about something atrocious on our holiday, yet never actually get round to doing it. With good ol’ fashioned TripAdvisor you can instantly let people know how please or displeased you were with a particular service, making sure that they go too or avoid entirely thanks to your wise words.

 

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Have a great holiday all!

 

Do you have an idea for a similar type of app? Do you want to speak to someone about how you get your project off the ground? Do you have any questions regarding your digital marketing strategy?

If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

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The Children’s App: The Essentials

Whether you’re a parent, a child carer, an app developer or just somebody that is interested in technology we’re certain you’re well aware of the following, the children’s app is on the rise! The reason for this could be whittled down into a broad range of social/personal factors, yet there’s two that particularly stand out; the rise in smart devices and the deterioration of the stigma attached to letting children integrate with them.

With there being so much choice on various app stores it’s now a crucial time for both app developers and parents to start constructing and selecting their apps wisely. It may seem that a child will interact with anything that is submerged in more colours than the rainbow, and this is probably true, but there needs to be an aim behind the download (especially if you’ve paid for it!). We take a look below at the objectives that should be deliberated by developers and parents alike.

 

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Location

Most children’s apps are designed to occupy them whilst they’re at home or at school. This means that the content of the app should therefore reflect the purpose of the child being in that location at that particular time. It’s perfectly acceptable for a parent to want to slightly extend ‘learning time’ outside of school hours, yet the content shouldn’t direclty mirror the content type used in lessons. The reason for this being that you could be running the risk of the child losing interest in the app all together, deriving it away from its original purpose.

It’s all about getting the balance right, and one of the key responsibilities for a parent (one of many!) is to determine and specify when a child’s playtime and ‘learning time’ are, with the app being there to reinforce your decision.

Look & Feel

The aesthetics of the app should be fun and easy on the eye, yet not messy. With children’s apps it’s easy to think that a lot of colours and clickable icons will do, but do they serve a helpful purpose? The app must have a clear start and finish which can be navigated via basic manoeuvrability and children must be able to determine objects along the way for learning purposes.

Needless to say the look and feel also has to cater to the age group that you’re serving too.

Purpose

The app needs to serve a variety of purposes; to engage, challenge and reward. Children shouldn’t really be encouraged to engage with smart devices and apps throughout the entire day, so the time spent on them should be done so efficiently.

1) Engaging /Enticing

The chances are if a child isn’t automatically transfixed on a toy/game/device it just isn’t going to work out. As mentioned above the aesthetics need to captivate him or her and then guide them through a story where an end product is permanently in sight. Storytelling is an important skill for parents to teach and for kids to place themselves in to, and this is something that can be facilitated by a gripping app.

2) Challenging

We’re not saying that an app should make a child’s head hurt, but a slight challenge will benefit them mentally. Whether it’s a game of pairs or asking them to solve basic mathematic equations an app of this nature will keep them engaged, entertained and informed.

Plus it will also keep you amused…

3) Rewarding

Make sure there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that the child is rewarded for their efforts both visually and in person. Token gestures in the app such as a gold star or a thumbs up will encourage the child to want to learn more, which can only be a good thing…

It’s also crucial that you participate in rewarding them for their hard work and not leave it entirely down to the app.

 

Have you got any questions on the above? Have you got a children’s app in mind that you would like to explore further? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

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Your User’s Navigation: Why It Matters

The amount of time your app is in its development stage can depend on a number of factors. Typically we find that it’s the review phase which tends to extend your projects build time as this is where the majority of changes are flagged. Have no fear though, this can be prevented from an early stage by envisaging your user’s journey on your platform before you begin its construction.

Fortunately digital agencies are working with programmes such as Pidoco and POP (Prototype on Paper), which transfer hand sketches into digital format, allowing you to click on buttons and tabs like you would on your phone. To sum up their main purpose in one nimble sentence; you’ll be able to get a thorough insight into the overall look and feel of your app well before it’s even built.

 

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This type of software can ensure that your app developer works as efficiently as possible. It can be time intensive for a developer to make changes to an apps structure once it’s been built, and this is where delays can start to occur. Another good thing about having your designs roughly sketched out is that you’ll be able to see what areas of your app are feasible and those that aren’t, plus you can also add and remove areas where you see fit as you refine your idea…

Whether you’re planning on creating a new app or updating an existing website, it’s advised that you think about your user flow before you approach your digital agency. No-one knows your customers quite like you and therefore you are uniquely positioned to guide your agency in how you want it to look, feel and flow, with the agency being there to acknowledge, implement and recommend. In turn this will ensure that you have every possible area covered which will also save you time and money further down the line. A well-constructed brief will fuel the agency with all of the necessary tools to work efficiently and adhere to your deadline specified.

Before you get your creative juices flowing you need to have your user in mind at all times. Put yourself in their shoes and wonder why they’re there in the first place and how they can get to and from your key hot spots as a result. A users intentions may vary depending on the apps sector (consumer and enterprise for example will differ), yet this shouldn’t dictate the quality of their experience in any way shape or form.

We’re not saying that you have to spend hours on the sketches as you’ll receive detailed artwork as part of your package from your agency. But we are however saying that you should try and think of every little detail in the time that you have to gain an even better understanding of your project’s aims, and this in fact has proven to inform design in the past. Even if you’re adding to your user flow periodically page by page on scrap pieces of paper it will still help you gain a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve, and what particular pages can help you maximise your chances of doing so.

One of the main faux pau’s in app design is asking your user to do more than what is required. Whether it be a frustratingly long sign-up or checkout process or when you just can’t find that particular product in a sea full of others, these have the power to deter a user all together. We found that the following link provides some great examples on frustrating user scenarios – https://theresaneil.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/ux-fail-part-1/

Like any projects there’s always the realistic possibility of complications. In the world of app development the complications are most likely to arise whilst it’s being built. Adding and removing content whilst your app is being coded can be time consuming which may lead to you incurring additional agency time and costs. Time which could be spent testing and fine-tuning your already well thought-out project…

The key point here however is to have fun with your app wireframes. Feel free to get as creative as possible and be open to suggestions as may give you additional ideas going forward. If the agency can’t provide a match for the functions you’re after, chances are they’ll be able to provide realistic alternatives which still aim to facilitate the same purpose(s) that you had in mind in the first place.

Important points:

  • Make sure you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve in your app
  • Try and think of every page of your app and make a note of them
  • Don’t assume that something can be done instantly halfway down the line as this can lead to additional costs
  • Have fun whilst creating your app – this is your chance to shine!

 

Have you got an idea for an app or website? Do you want to speak to someone about your digital marketing strategy? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0) 1737 45 77 88

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The Google Glass – When & Why App Developers Should Be Ready

Despite there not being a mention of Google’s poorly-received Google Glass at the firm’s I/O conference last week, there have been rumblings of its return at some point in the future. At the end of its Explorer program the project was placed under the control of Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, who was asked to develop a more commercially viable device. Since then a new job listing of Advanced Technology Manufacturing Engineer has started to get people talking again, this time for the right reasons.

So maybe, just maybe, companies can once more start to ready themselves for the marketing opportunities that it will offer. Let’s take a look at where we are currently with the Google Glass and what app developers should prepare for in the foreseeable future.

 

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Since the recent surge in mass production of smart watches, the transition between handheld and wearable tech is now as clear as ever. The Google Glass however does promise to bring something new to the table with its slick and fresh design, and subject to its success may well revolutionise the reason why people decide to wear glasses.

The Glass, combined with elegant design and fast processor speeds, promises massive potential; and not just for personal users, but also within a business environment. Imagine a tool that would aid businesses to do the following:

  • Rapid internet search engine facilities
  • On-the-go internet marketing
  • Constant social media connectivity
  • Video recording and sharing capabilities

And let’s not forget, adopting a slick new product like Glass inevitably makes any company appear modern, energised & innovative.

With Google Glass, the internet was always just a glance away. So what happened?

Google envisaged a multitude of applications for Google Glass and created various videos to clearly demonstrate its real-world application:

The Google Glass Project – pretty cool aye?

With the promise of a revolutionary product in the offing, app developers and businesses moved forward with the idea of producing software to go with it. Even the UK supermarket chain Tesco developed an app for Google Glass as a  new way of checking prices and ordering food. If the Google Glass had officially been released chances are the app would have been successful.

Like any app you need to think carefully about the solution that you’re offering. In Tesco’s case this would have altered the way that online shopping was done, and probably would have taken half the time that it does now. Developers need to think of the following when it comes to designing for the Glass, taking into consideration who, what, where and why:

 

  • Would your app type  (i.e., messaging, fitness) suit the product’s demographics?

 

  • Would the app’s manoeuvrability be user-friendly in terms of constant eye movement?

 

  • Will your app just be solely designed for the Glass or will it act as an extension?

 

Whilst Google’s final platform might not be available yet, the exposure and potential benefits to customers arising from early adoption could be vast. The recent rise in the popularity of virtual reality headsets and smartwatches suggests a bright future for wearable technology such as Google Glass, and a wealth of new opportunities for app developers.

Lets hope the next time we’re talking about the Google Glass we’ll be doing a review on it!

 

Are you excited by the return of the Google Glass? Are you a business and feel that your app would suit the Glass? Are there any areas of your digital marketing strategy that you feel you need to address?

If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

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The Evolution of Music Streaming Apps

From the gramophone to radio, and the cassette tape to streaming, the way we listen to music has evolved at a rapid rate. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that music streaming was born, but back in 2005 it was apps like Pandora that launched the service into the stratosphere.

Pandora’s music recommendation function was pioneering, and paved the way for streaming services we use today, like Spotify.

Here we take a look at how music streaming apps have evolved, and how digital marketers can make the most out of them.

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Why Growth Doesn’t Always Equal Success

Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming apps. So it’s no surprise that Spotify’s net cost trebled between 2013 and 2014.

However the company’s 15m paying subscribers aren’t enough to slow down the losses being made. As Spotify’s revenue increases so does its operating costs, highlighting the current struggle to make streaming music profitable.

Unlike their music streaming rivals TIDAL, Spotify continue to provide their free on demand service, despite pressure to end it.

TIDAL Wave Of Disappointment  

TIDAL, the new streaming music service from Jay Z and his fellow musicians, isn’t quite the hit they thought it would be. In fact it’s proving to be a huge disappointment. Executives at the company have been fired and the app’s ranking has plummeted from the top 20 in the US App Store to below 700.

CEO Jay Z recently took to Twitter to defend the company’s position.

“TIDAL is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 [subscriptions]. We have been in business less than one month.”

Music To Marketers Ears

TIDAL

Like any new tech start-up, time is a crucial element. With Jay Z on the defensive the company is gaining more exposure, but in the end it will take time for the app to become established and trusted.

You’ve got to consider the value of app’s USPs, but with such huge rivals to compete against, TIDAL may have finished before it’s even had time to start.

TIDAL doesn’t currently offer a free, ad-supported service, but with initial take-up rates so low that could swiftly change. Digital marketers need to keep TIDAL on their radar, because the tide could turn at any time.

Warner Music Group

For the first time since its launch, Warner Music Group’s streaming revenue is surpassing its subscription sales.

As Warner CEO Stephen Cooper stated, “The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear that in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music.”

Now is the perfect time for digital marketers to make the most of Warner Music Group’s surge in streaming audience and connect with their valuable customers.

Apple

Apple’s new Beats-based music streaming service is yet to be launched but it’s already causing a storm in the industry.

Rumoured to be released as part of the iOS 8.4 upgrade for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the app could include personalised playlists, cloud-based music storage and the ability to customise specific elements.

Apple’s new streaming service won’t offer a free, ad-supported option, instead opting to provide a premium-only service.

Whilst this may at first seem like a blow to digital marketers wanting to maximise reach through ads on the app, this is a platform that’s worth keeping in mind for the future. The digital landscape is constantly changing and the situation could adapt in the next 12 months.

Beatport

SFX Entertainment have recently launched their own music streaming service that stands out against its competition for two main reasons. With no subscription needed, the service is free and even better for the user, it’s also advert free.

Whilst we hope Beatport succeeds, without advertisers the app may struggle to find its revenue stream.

Beatport recently announced that they will offer banner adverts for new release to the biggest bidder. So it’s a great time for digital marketers looking to increase brand awareness to get on-board with the music mogul.

Spotify

Spotify are rumoured to be launching a video steaming service. Although this will add yet more costs onto the company’s business model, it could bring in a much-needed stream of revenue through advertising.

According to the music streaming service, people spend 21% more time on mobile apps, and 79% more time on music streaming apps than they did last year.

Spotify’s free service is supported by ads, so it gives digital marketers a fantastic opportunity to reach the audiences that matter most to them. Recent studies reveal that Spotify’s audio ads deliver a 60% lift in ad recall compared to industry benchmarks, making their advertising platform an invaluable tool in the marketing mix.

In Summary

To summarise, digital Marketers have a wide variety of options to engage and advertise to targeted audiences using these apps. Streaming music is now the primary way that people listen to their favourite songs, so music streaming companies, their apps and digital marketers utilising them must evolve to survive in the ever-changing and extremely competitive market.

After all, there could be a brand and improved music-streaming service just around the corner…

 

Do you want to speak to someone about your digital marketing strategy? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 88

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The Apple Watch Review

So after months of waiting the Big Orange office were finally blessed with the presence of their highly anticipated Apple Watches, one of which is the black sport band stainless steel edition. Our first impressions were that it looked slick, smart and sophisticated, and not an obvious looking Apple product (that is until you activate the glances feature) which we imagine is the approach that Apple had in mind. It’s been over a week since we unwrapped it so without further ado we bring you our Apple Watch review.

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Battery

The battery aspect of the watch was a feature that was heavily scrutinised prior to the launch, but we feel that may have been a little unfair. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to charge our mobile phones or indeed any other of our trusted smart devices but unfortunately we do, so does it prove that much more problematic but having one more addition?

By allowing it to charge fully at night we’ve managed to get the full 18 hours (plus a little more) out of it which comfortably covers the slightly extended day of 5am – 11pm. Although it doesn’t fully cover the 24 hour day we really don’t think it’s much of a problem as it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

After all, you do have your trusty iPhone as a solid backup should you find yourself deprived of the watches’ functionalities!

Take a look below at this handy image of battery usage depending on how you plan to primarily use your watch.

 

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Verdict: Not much of an issue if charged fully at night.

Sound Quality

We don’t use the term ‘surprised’ often, especially when it comes to Apple products, but the speaker and microphone were surprisingly brilliant. We found that the caller and the recipient were able to hear each other clearly and with only with a fraction of delay. Something else that was welcomed was the fact that the Apple Watch user didn’t have to prop it up to their mouth or ear in order to speak or listen. We wouldn’t use it in a public sphere as the loudspeaker would obviously prove to be rather intrusive (as you clearly wouldn’t do on your mobile device). But in a meeting room, kitchen or in your car it’s ideal.

Verdict: Very impressed

Apps

With the Apple Watch the apps were always going to serve a utilitarian purpose; to get in, read the headlines and get out again, meaning that we weren’t surprised with the end product. We’re able to read the news, check the stock market and select the music output through our phone, which is actually quite convenient as these are the apps that we wouldn’t typically spend a long time on, even on our mobile devices.

Verdict: You’re limited as to what you can do with the apps, but what you can do is simple and efficient.

Responsiveness & Interface

We found that the responsiveness of the watches’ interface was excellent, and once again reverts back to what we said earlier about it looking smart and slick. The only drawback is that we wish we could have more control over what is displayed on the home screen.

Verdict: Needs work but will probably be reviewed by the time the next edition is released.

Siri

Siri proves to be a little problematic on the watch. Given the watches’ face size it’s obvious that it’s not designed for the prolonged text message or long reminder list. We found that the voice recognition tool wasn’t picking up relatively simple words or phrases which can be quite frustrating. We were however impressed with the fact that you can activate the feature without holding down any buttons. which differs from your mobile devices.

On the whole it does its usual job and does 9 times out of 10 take you to where you want to be…

Verdict: Could be tweaked for simpler user navigation.

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Day-To-Day

The watch has had an impact on how we go about our day to day business. We find that it does indeed draw you away from your phone, and in turn makes you a fairly more sociable than normal! Typically if you’re not wearing a watch of any kind you’re going to use your mobile phone to seek the time, which then in reality ends up in you checking your social media feeds and emails for a solid 30 minutes. We find that it’s a great way of doing both, but without making you transfixed on something that you weren’t initially looking for.

Verdict: Has slightly altered our mobile habits for the better.

 

After spending a week with the watch it would now be difficult to contemplate life without it. It’s a fun and efficient piece of kit which is certain to be a success in the near future, both with app consumers and app developers.

Do you agree?

Want to speak to someone about your digital marketing strategy? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 83

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The Art of App Monetization

So you’ve come up with a great idea for an app, everything lines up and you’re confident that its content and overall functionality is what the world needs, not wants! You know it’s going to be a hit amongst iOS and Android users and feel you’re the creator of the next big sensation. You’ve paid your $99 or $25 for your Apple and Google Play licenses respectively and you’re ready to start developing. Now you’ve just got to start thinking how you’re going to make it work financially, we take a look at the possible options available to you.

App owners need to ask themselves what their key goals are. Fundamentally the key questions is; is there any point in spending your time and hard earned money on a great idea if you’re not going to make any money from it in the future? After all, those yachts aren’t going to pay for themselves…

Your business intentions may vary; some may not be seeking profit from their work straight away, some shall be and there are those who aren’t seeking profit whatsoever (believe us they’re out there!).

Let’s look at some of the options that are available to app owners. We’ll be looking at paid apps (ideal for business tools); Freemium/Lite apps (great for addictive games); Paymium apps (fantastic for established brands); Native and banner advertising and other factors which can lead to effective ROI.


App Revenue

PAID

Paid apps are deemed as one the most straightforward yet relatively risky forms of generating ROI. Yet if successful, distributing a ‘paid’ app will guarantee that you generate revenue upfront as you achieve downloads.

When pricing an app in your particular industry you have to take the mind-set of your potential consumer into consideration. Overall the paid download market is on the decline. The reason for this? Because there are so many apps out there who are operating on other models that sway the user with promises of free initial download and trials. You have to think realistically, what makes yours so worthy of making members of the public part from their hard earned cash when they can try a competitors app for free?

Business tool apps, such as task managers, are generally viewed to bring value to the workplace which means that people/businesses will be happy to purchase them as they will in theory bring return with them.

If you’re developing for iOS you generate 70% of your sales revenue per download, 30% goes straight to Apple. If you decide to sell your app at 99p you’ll receive just under 70p. However if you were to sell it at £1.29 you’ll receive just over 90p. This may seem not seem that much drastically higher at a first glance, but in the context of a hundred thousand downloads you’re sure to notice the increase in your revenue streams.

You may also be able to charge just that little bit more if you’ve done your marketing well beforehand. You need to put yourself in your consumers’ shoes here; once they have committed to buying your app are they going to put off by the extra 20p? If only a few users are put off from this slight increase this may still be a step forward in terms of maximising your revenue.

FREEMIUM/’LITE’ VERSIONS

According to CNBC in January 2014, 79% of the Apple Store’s revenue in the US was generated via ‘Freemium’ apps. To sum up the ‘freemium’ app is free to download, however often large sections of its content is only accessible by in-app purchases.

Freemium apps are often very popular with downloaders as they prove to be a risk free option where they can try out the app for free and get to know it before committing to a purchase. From an app owners’ point of view the risk is that users may find that they only need the basic features that come for free, but still expect the same level of support. According to The Guardian the infamous Candy Crush Saga had only 2.3% paying users in 2014, however through these dedicated users (and a huge user base) they still generated some $1.33 billion!

PAYMIUM

‘Paymium’ apps are all about charging their consumer both an up-front cost along with in-app purchases. Despite this method of monetization not being so popular on the App Store (reportedly accountable for 2%), it is indeed a growing trend and are responsible for generating as much revenue as paid apps.

A good example of this model is world destruction mobile game, Plague Inc. It was first introduced as a simple premium app, but as it grew in popularity its creator James Vaughan began to add purchasable items throughout the game play. Despite its ‘Paymium’ approach it is now a huge success and generating further downloads as we speak.

A ‘paymium’ app needs to offer two things; a great product with even better add-ons. In terms of a business tool kit app it needs to offer an instant benefit, for instance a fire drill register function. Its original functionality allows fire marshals to quickly make a note on who is present, whereas its additional feature could be an online fire-drill for beginners’ course, which could save money and time for the company.

AD SPONSORED – NATIVE & BANNER

If your app is well known and achieving high quantity of downloads, native and banner sponsored adverts will benefit your business model. Native ads are those that appear to be the same content style as normal blog piece, therefore less intrusive, and tend to have a “sponsored story” mark on the bottom right. These are typically less intrusive to the end client because of this non-invasive reason.

Banner ads on the other hand are perceived as the more traditional method of app advertising, however not as effective. Smart Insights noted that only 0.1% of banner ads are clicked on, meaning that they are more likely going to be overlooked in favour of native.

When you start accumulating more users you’ll be able to start launching co-branded email campaigns with your apps sponsors, which will also generate you revenue via an alternative advertising platform.

REAL WORLD GOODS

Another way to make a ROI is by using your app as a gateway to your main product(s) (if applicable). This can be applied to a variety of industries where apps are used as digital extensions to drive brand awareness and traffic to other consumer spaces. A photography app could send users off to its frames department on its official website, a cookery app to its cutlery, and a fitness tracker app to its trainers for example.

YOUR AUDIENCE/CONSUMER

Keeping all of these monetization factors in mind, you have to ensure that you’re happy with the messaging of your app and that you know who you’re targeting and how. When thinking of him or her you need to put yourself in their shoes and consider what will sway them into tapping that download button.

A well-rounded, thoroughly thought-out app will act as an effective lead generator for consumers and sponsors alike, and will therefore give your app the best possible chance of success.

Good luck!

 

Are you a business start-up? Does any of the above apply to your current situation? If so, get in touch with us to discuss your project and getting it off the ground.

Give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 88

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How Do You Develop Your Own Mobile Game?

Mobile gaming has never been hotter. Once brief distractions for long commutes, mobile games have long since evolved into powerful experiences, with some even challenging the popularity and performance of their console counterparts.

Mobile-Gaming-Advantages-of-Mobile-Gaming-blog-March-14-2014

 

We’ve reached a point where 80% of our time onmobile devices is spent inside apps or games (source: BigFishGames.com), and mobiles are now considered a serious contender against other handheld gaming consoles.

So how can you get a slice of this action?

Sadly, you can’t just snap your fingers and come up with the next Angry Birds. Developing a mobile game takes time and research, but with the right amount of coding knowhow and elbow grease, you’ll be able to produce an addictive new app which is ready to reach the masses.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can develop your own mobile game.

Pick your platform

So you’ve got a killer idea for a game; now it’s time to decide which platform you’re going to host it on.

Depending on where you’d like your app placed, the development process can vary wildly.

The two biggest mobile platforms are Apple iOS and Android, but each of these has its own, very different, methods of development.

Exact details on how to program for each mobile platform can be found on the respective website, but below we’ve included a brief outline of the general process for iOS.

Register to release

First things first: you’ll need to register for free by heading to Apple’s developer site. Fill out the necessary information and agree to the terms.

If you’re planning on releasing the app you’ll need to enter your card details and pay an annual fee of $99.

Whilst you’re in there, that area of the website has a wealth of useful information and development tools to help guide you through the process of developing an app, so be sure to have a good look around.

Start your engines

Once you’ve registered and downloaded thenecessary files, it’s time to decide which game engine you’ll use.

Possible engines include:

  • GameMaker Studio – A popular and easy 2D game engine
  • Sparrow – An open-source engine designed specifically for iOS
  • Unity – An industry-leading platform for developing 2D and 3D games

Each engine will have its own unique features and perks, so it’s best to pick the one that best suits your needs and study it completely.

Even the most basic of engines will require some simple coding skills, so ensure you know what you need to learn before paying for a new program.

Build your world

Now you’ve got your engine downloaded and running, you can start creating and designing game models and environments. Use 3D and2D design programs such as Blender and Adobe Photoshop to bring your world alive.

You’ll also need to record and create the audio to help complete the users’ gaming experience. If you’re not confident creating your own music, there are a wealth of royalty-free audio files available online.

Your engine will contain all the information you need on how to transfer and upload these files into the game.

App development agencies

Alternatively, there are app development companies you can use to help transform your mobile gaming dreams into reality. If you havean idea you think would work particularly well but don’t have the necessary time or skills to bring your vision to fruition, this will be your best bet.

Testing, testing…

With the game design and mechanics complete, it’s time to test everything, and we mean everything!

No one wants to play a glitch-filled, buggy game, so ensure you play it as much as possible before release. Try tactics and moves that users might not naturally think of, and treat it like you have no idea how to play it in order to ensure that you iron everything out.

Once you’re 110% sure that you’ve got everything covered, it’s time to log into your developer account and upload your game to the app store. Congratulations on developing your first game.

Have you got an idea for a mobile game? Do you want to speak to someone about your digital marketing strategy? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 88

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