CYBECOM Pty Ltd - Ecommerce Architects - Web Developers - Brisbane

Category: Trends

Facebook’s Mobile Ads For Apps

Facebook Logo

Facebook Logo

Facebook

Back on 8 August 2012, Facebook announced it was beta testing its new mobile ads for apps of which the repercussions are only just starting to filter out.  In their developer blog post, they said that developers of apps can “grow their business with an ad unit that helps them reach and reengage their users.”1  To explain it, Kim-Mai Cutler of Techcrunch said “These ads send users to the iOS app store, where they can download promoted apps. They’re going to be an important prong of Facebook mobile monetization efforts… Why? Facebook can’t derive fees or virtual currency revenue from mobile apps, because they exist on platforms operated by the company’s frenemies Google and Apple. As users have migrated to mobile devices, Facebook’s payments revenues has stalled because of this…. So mobile ads are going to be the key way that the company earns revenue from its developer ecosystem on mobile devices.”2

Back in August they were seeking out beta testers and right now, the results of that testing is coming in and it is all very positive.   Jim Edwards of Business Insider said, “Fab.com CEO Jason Goldberg, whose company tested the ad unit with Fab’s shopping app, says it was “Five times more effective than any other mobile download channel that we’ve used.” Fab is one of Facebook’s biggest advertisers.”3

At the fourth quarter briefing today, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, announced that 20% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps are using Facebook’s new mobile app install ads. It turns out that the ads don’t just get good click-throughs but many people download the resulting apps. History shows that once a user has an app on their mobile device, they’ll use it frequently. So how come the ads are so effective? One thing that Facebook has that many other ad networks don’t is information. They know all sorts of data about their logged in users which means that the ads are highly targetted. And then the flip side is that Facebook offer developers  a way to monitor their insights through a simple flow on the App Dashboard. So it’s a win-win value-add and finally it gives Facebook a way of earning money from the increasingly lucrative area of mobile devices.

Even if the general ecommerce market is still catching on, savvy developers and marketers quickly picked up on this.  Back in August, Nick Ellison; CEO of NickEllison.Net said, “Wow this is huge! Smooth move Facebook.” and Kasim Zorlu, Marketing Director at Bee Square said, “We were waiting for this, a piece of awesomeness :)”.

On a separate point, for the first time in the company’s history, the 4th quarter earnings announcement revealed that during the quarter more people used Facebook on mobile devices than from traditional web devices.  That is particularly poignant when looking to the future.

Acknowledgements

Mobile Commerce (Mcommerce) sales up 171% for the US Holiday Period 2012

Mobile Shopping Cart - Mcommerce

A mobile commerce platform (Branding Brand) showed substantial increases in shopping from smartphones. The data was collected over a 35-day period from November 21 through to December 25, 2012.

The Branding Brand Mobile Commerce Index is a compilation of 84 mobile sites developed by Branding Brand for retailers across a variety of industries including apparel, health and beauty, and home goods. The Index is the largest collection of data on commerce sites specifically designed for smartphones, as opposed to non-optimized desktop sites with mobile traffic.1

“While the year-over-year growth and traffic demonstrated the explosion in mobile as a channel, we are also seeing dramatic conversion rate improvements as a result of optimization work throughout our technology platform,” said Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand.

Mobile Shopping Cart - Mcommerce

Mcommerce – mobile shopping

The company has produced an interesting infographic that displays the key finding.

However, Mashable writes that for most retailers, mcommerce has had limited impact.

Lauren Indvik of Mashable said, “Sales of physical retail goods and services made on smartphones were $8 billion in the U.S. last year, accounting for 3% of online sales and less than 1% of total retail sales.”2

But given that smartphone take-up has only really accelerated in the last two to three years, it makes sense that it will be lagging the normal online sector. What is important is the pace of acceleration. 171% is a significant increase which is only going to continue.

Forrester, where Indvik got her data from, agree with this sentiment. Indvik also said, “Ensure that your mobile commerce site has a fast checkout solution, like PayPal Express or Checkout by Amazon. Make sure your mobile website is responsively designed so that it is optimized for the wide variety of device screen sizes on the market.”

Acknowledgements

The Rise And Rise of QR Codes

Cybecom Contact Details QR Code

Cybecom Contact Details QR Code

Cybecom Contact Details QR Code

What exactly is a QR Code I hear you ask. A QR Code (or Quick Response Code) is a type of two-dimensional barcode and was first designed for the automotive industry in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. Various types of information can be encoded.

So your next question might be “So what! Why should i be interested in QR Codes?”. With the simplicity of the QR Code format and the growth in mobile technology, it has become super easy to store lots of information (or sometimes just a little) in a QR Code to make it easy for people to access that information. ie. With the camera of your smartphone or tablet and a free QR Code scanning app, users can very quickly scan the code and then act on that data. The best way to describe this is by way of examples. The following table highlights just a few and their use is only limited by your imagination.

Information StoredMain Benefit/sWhere Would The Code Be Displayed?
Website Address (URL)Customer can go straight to a specific page on your website and find out more information and/or buy the product.Online and offline advertisements.
In presentation slides.
On stickers attached to cars, shop windows, etc.
On products for competitions.
Public transport timetable information.
In newspaper articles.
In art gallery next to an artwork.
In parks, shopping centres, etc. as part of a virtual game.
At key spots along a route for a car rally.
Business Card InformationA quick way to import full contact information into your address book.On business cards.
On websites.
On any marketing material where contact information would be handy.
Asset Number And Other Relevant DetailsHelp track physical assets.On stickers.
Electronic Coupons or eGift cardsEasy method for a shopper to receive benefits. Smartphone apps.
Payment Information (Possible Future Trend)A virtual credit card - no need to have a physical one anymore.Smartphone banking app.
Bricks-and-Mortar store shopping app.
Frequent Buyer InformationNo more physical cards.Smartphone apps. Wave code over the scanner when you shop.

And if you want to see a good example of a funny but very innovative use of a QR Code, check out this video where the candidate had a very interesting way to provide his resume.

Acknowledgements:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) To Heat Up In 2013

SaaS - Diagram

SaaS - Diagram

SaaS – Diagram

A discussion of SaaS, at the moment, still needs to start with a definition.  What is SaaS? In really simple terms, it is Internet-hosted software.  Most of the major SaaS packages allow users to build in their own custom modifications whilst benefiting from regular updates to the core software.

Why use it? There are lots of reasons but the main ones are:

  • short to mid-term, it is cheaper to run because the updates and management of the software is done at the hosting end. You no longer have to install client software on your computer and keep it updated.
  • you can access it anywhere where you can get Internet access and with major SaaS offerings, from different devices (eg. PC, Mac, iPad, etc.).

For small to medium businesses particularly, this makes SaaS very attractive and with Internet access delivering reasonable speeds these days, SaaS is a very viable option.

By its very nature, SaaS is ‘global’ because it uses the ‘cloud’ to deliver it. Senior Market Analyst – IT Services for IDC, Raj Mudaliar, said of the Australian market (back in 2011) that it is “…evolving in new ways, most notably with the rapid emergence of cloud-enabled, and cloud-amplifying technologies such as the ever-expanding “species” of new mobile devices, the explosion of mobile apps, growing availability of wireless broadband, and explosion of big data tools. Cloud services comprise many different market segments, some representing activity that is being reclassified as cloud services, and some consisting of new products and services. Eventually, all sectors of the IT market will be affected by cloud computing”1. Fast forward to the end of 2012 and he said, “Cloud service future ubiquity will mean that they will permeate the sourcing strategies of CIOs and business unit managers alike. IDC expects that the use of externally sourced businesses and IT services from ‘the cloud’ will form the basis of an Outsourcing 3.0 period, and will provide an extensive portfolio of services from which innovative solutions will be constructed from”2.

To cut a long story short, cloud-computing is a huge trend and SaaS (which uses the ‘cloud’) is driving it but are there any downsides?  Bigger businesses or more established businesses who have already invested in their software architecture have found that in the longer term, it is difficult to justify the subscription costs. (With SaaS you generally pay an annual subscription to use it.) Telsyte enterprise IT industry analyst Rodney Gedda says, “I’ve spoken to a number of CIOs and the problem with the SaaS delivery model being by subscription is it looks really good in years one, two and three, but it starts to look bad in years four, five and six”. Furthermore, Gedda said, “The big bugbear is integration … Companies are a lot more confident that they can integrate on-premise applications between each other more readily than they can with a SaaS product.”3

Other big factors with using any ‘cloud’ service is the fear of losing control and concern about security. And there is also a fundamental issue if you don’t have any Internet access.

We suspect that the cost issue will disappear as subscription costs reduce. The integration issue will disappear as businesses move more of their applications to the ‘cloud’ and SaaS vendors meet the market with easier and better integration with complimentary SaaS vendor offerings. The control issue is more a mindset and this will also change over time and the security issue simply requires the SaaS vendors to maintain good track records in that area and continually educate the market as to how they manage security – broadly speaking.  In terms of the Internet access issue, there’s not much we can say with that except  that where Internet access becomes mission critical, businesses need to make sure they have multiple ‘pipes’ to the Internet to give them some redundancy. In an SME office situation, this might be as simple as plugging a 3G pre-paid Internet access card into a suitable Internet modem.

So what are some of the SaaS applicatons being used here in Australia by small to medium businesses?  Examples include:

  • MYOB LiveAccounts – This is effectively a ‘cut-down version’ of MYOB’s main desktop client software AccountRight and it works solely in the ‘cloud’.   Just recently, MYOB also launched their AccountRight Live which looks to be a hybrid offering where you can choose to run your accounts on your desktop, in the ‘cloud’ or in both places.
  • Salesforce.com is possibly the most well-known SaaS providers whose products deal with customer relationship management (CRM). Given that many sales people find themselves ‘on-the-road’, a SaaS solution offers them the ability to use it wherever they are knowing that they are only a click away from the rest of their team.
  • Google Apps is where the market is a little blurred as to whether it is a true SaaS but because of our simple definition of SaaS, we are going to keep it here.  In its most basic form, Google Apps allows your business to run its email, calendar, storage and document sharing all from the ‘cloud’. Because it is an ‘app’ based service, its functionality is expandable.

In order to be competitive, businesses must find smarter ways to operate. We believe the ‘cloud’ is fundamental to the way businesses will work in the future as we become a more mobile workforce. No longer do we work a 9:00 to 5:00 time slot and SaaS (which operates in the ‘cloud’) means we can access our business data wherever we are and from whatever device is at hand. 

Acknowledgements:

Internet Sales Increasing; January 2013 Update

Online Shopping

Online Shopping

Online Shopping

Purchasing products and services through the Internet is gathering pace and according to the research by PwC and Frost & Sullivan in July 2012, 6.3% of sales in Australia, 7.3% of sales in the US and 10.7% of sales in the UK are done online. 

Further statistics can be seen in PwC and Frost & Sullivan’s Infographic.

Reasons for purchasing online include:

  • eliminate driving
  • no crowds
  • no noise
  • better selection
  • better prices

Reasons for businesses going online include:

  • “avoiding high rental costs (or reducing rental costs) for business premises
  • comparatively low barriers to entry in terms of business establishment costs
  • low barriers to geographic expansion across Australia and overseas
  • reducing the amount of advertising needed to sell products
  • removing the need for intermediaries and associated costs by interacting directly
  • with customers.”1

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Contact Details

CYBECOM Pty Ltd - Since 1999
ACN: 088 005 967
ABN: 13 088 005 967

PO Box 138
Hamilton QLD 4007
Australia
T 0417 916 529

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