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Mobile Apps

Rebel Yell: How to not be obnoxious when advertising on mobile  
 Banner ads, coupons, and interstitials are becoming a thing of the past for many leading mobile brands. At this week’s  Shopper Marketing Summit outside Chicago , Manuel Rosso, CEO of Food on the Table, said, “Nobody clicks on mobile banners, it’s a terrible message medium.”    Banners were once touted as a key tool for app promotion and monetization  because they were easy to set up and wouldn’t distract users from the app they were using. But with newer apps that meticulously utilize every inch of screen real estate, many app developers are finding that sacrificing the lower-third (or full screen) of their app to an advertiser disrupts the experience for their users.  
  In addition, brand experts point out that banners (and coupons) tend to be poor drivers of brand engagement and loyalty.  While they increase the brand’s presence, tappable in-app ads tend to encourage the wrong type of consumer behavior. Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta, said, “Digitizing coupons is a poor investment” because “it reinforces a transactional relationship with the consumer.” It’s better to encourage consumers to engage than to transact. 
  The hard part for developers and brands is that creating engagement doesn’t follow a simple formula.  Some brands have sought to tell stories or build games in order to encourage brand loyalty and trigger rewards. Target and Starbucks are two such brands that have steered their mobile apps towards engagement and rewards, and away from transaction (although they both offer in-app transaction capabilities). Both have seen significant increases in mobile adoption and sales.   Messaging is still an important part of the mobile brand toolset, but it needs to be selective, relevant, and timely.  Selectivity  means messages need to be delivered for special purposes, such as to announce a sale or event.  Relevance  means messages need to be sent to the right audience segments, i.e. the ones most likely to be interested in the content of the message.  Timeliness  means that messages need to be delivered at times when users are most likely to read them and take action.    Following these three rules will help any brand put together an effective mobile messaging strategy, but this is still secondary to the function of the app itself.  Brands that want to benefit from mobile need to develop concepts about how to offer non-transactional value to customers. Whether this is done through storytelling, design, user experience, gameification, rewards, or some other method doesn’t matter so much; what matters is that the mobile app gets users interested in the brand apart from merely offering ways to buy. Interest breeds brand appreciation, which increases the likelihood of consumers to transact, which in turn helps to boost sales.

Rebel Yell: How to not be obnoxious when advertising on mobile

Banner ads, coupons, and interstitials are becoming a thing of the past for many leading mobile brands. At this week’s Shopper Marketing Summit outside Chicago, Manuel Rosso, CEO of Food on the Table, said, “Nobody clicks on mobile banners, it’s a terrible message medium.” 

Banners were once touted as a key tool for app promotion and monetization because they were easy to set up and wouldn’t distract users from the app they were using. But with newer apps that meticulously utilize every inch of screen real estate, many app developers are finding that sacrificing the lower-third (or full screen) of their app to an advertiser disrupts the experience for their users. 

In addition, brand experts point out that banners (and coupons) tend to be poor drivers of brand engagement and loyalty. While they increase the brand’s presence, tappable in-app ads tend to encourage the wrong type of consumer behavior. Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta, said, “Digitizing coupons is a poor investment” because “it reinforces a transactional relationship with the consumer.” It’s better to encourage consumers to engage than to transact.

The hard part for developers and brands is that creating engagement doesn’t follow a simple formula. Some brands have sought to tell stories or build games in order to encourage brand loyalty and trigger rewards. Target and Starbucks are two such brands that have steered their mobile apps towards engagement and rewards, and away from transaction (although they both offer in-app transaction capabilities). Both have seen significant increases in mobile adoption and sales. 

Messaging is still an important part of the mobile brand toolset, but it needs to be selective, relevant, and timely. Selectivity means messages need to be delivered for special purposes, such as to announce a sale or event. Relevance means messages need to be sent to the right audience segments, i.e. the ones most likely to be interested in the content of the message. Timeliness means that messages need to be delivered at times when users are most likely to read them and take action. 

Following these three rules will help any brand put together an effective mobile messaging strategy, but this is still secondary to the function of the app itself. Brands that want to benefit from mobile need to develop concepts about how to offer non-transactional value to customers. Whether this is done through storytelling, design, user experience, gameification, rewards, or some other method doesn’t matter so much; what matters is that the mobile app gets users interested in the brand apart from merely offering ways to buy. Interest breeds brand appreciation, which increases the likelihood of consumers to transact, which in turn helps to boost sales.

Why I Love Venmo  
 In the past few years, mobile payment apps have flooded the market, with some dominating in specific sections. Apps like   PayPal  ,   Square  ,   LevelUp  ,   Chirpify   and   Dwolla   have all taken their place within the industry. For my group of friends, our go to payment app is   Venmo  . 
 Behind Starbucks,  Venmo is the second most used payment app , racking up an average of  seven payments  per month.  Among age groups, Venmo users comprise the youngest category (18-24-year-olds). Young people love Venmo. It makes paying someone fun and simple. Business Insider recently  reported  that Venmo is now officially a verb. “Like Google, Xerox, and Facebook, mobile payments startup Venmo has already achieved that rare and highly coveted milestone in the product services world: its name has been verbalized.” I’ve heard my own friends say to each other,  “Dude, just Venmo me.”  Venmo has revolutionized mobile payments, making it a social interaction rather than a formal and tedious exercise. 
 There’s instant gratification about being paid right back. Gone are the days of worrying about giving your friend change for a $20 or them paying you back in drinks the next time you go out. You literally can get the exact amount you need within seconds of paying the bill. If you have a credit/debit card and a smartphone, there’s no excuse not to have it … unless you have no friends : ( 
  Featured photo from  Venmo’s 2013 Office Tour  on Business Insider

Why I Love Venmo

In the past few years, mobile payment apps have flooded the market, with some dominating in specific sections. Apps like PayPal, Square, LevelUp, Chirpify and Dwolla have all taken their place within the industry. For my group of friends, our go to payment app is Venmo.

Behind Starbucks, Venmo is the second most used payment app, racking up an average of seven payments per month.  Among age groups, Venmo users comprise the youngest category (18-24-year-olds). Young people love Venmo. It makes paying someone fun and simple. Business Insider recently reported that Venmo is now officially a verb. “Like Google, Xerox, and Facebook, mobile payments startup Venmo has already achieved that rare and highly coveted milestone in the product services world: its name has been verbalized.” I’ve heard my own friends say to each other, “Dude, just Venmo me.” Venmo has revolutionized mobile payments, making it a social interaction rather than a formal and tedious exercise.

There’s instant gratification about being paid right back. Gone are the days of worrying about giving your friend change for a $20 or them paying you back in drinks the next time you go out. You literally can get the exact amount you need within seconds of paying the bill. If you have a credit/debit card and a smartphone, there’s no excuse not to have it … unless you have no friends : (

Featured photo from Venmo’s 2013 Office Tour on Business Insider

6 Essential Music Apps for the Post-Pandora Generation   Pandora revolutionized the music industry by offering on-demand, user-customizable radio stations and an enormous library of music on desktop and mobile. Since Pandora, the industry has seen the rise of several niche services that make it even easier for users to discover new music, personalize their listening, and share their favorite songs and artists with friends. These 6 apps are essential for music listeners who are looking to expand their horizons beyond Pandora.   Shazam |  .com    Shazam lets users quickly identify songs, commercials, TV shows, and more by pointing their mobile device towards the audio source and tapping a button on the app to record and process an audio clip. Once the app has identified the media, users can navigate to the song or video on YouTube or a 30-second iTunes preview. In addition to being a great organic discovery service for users, Shazam has become an important tool for brands. By integrating Shazam into radio and TV ads, brands have been able to re-direct mobile users to custom brand experiences on their devices, which helps with migrating analog audiences to mobile.   Beats Music |  .com    Beats Music has a stylish, sophisticated user interface in line with its coveted audio accessories, and a library of more than 20 million tracks and curated playlists from audio experts like Pitchfork and XXL Magazine. Beats emphasizes personalization above all else. The app offers “The Sentence” — a feature that requests a user’s location, mood, and current activity in order to select the ideal song for the moment.   Songza |  .com    Of the many music apps available today, Songza may offer the most robust personalization features. Songza’s Concierge feature lets users select the time of day, day of the week, current activity, mood, energy/concentration needs, and genre preferences to hone in on the perfect set for the occasion. Telling Songza you’re at work will get you a largely instrumental set — more conducive to sustaining focus — while telling the app you’re pre-gaming with friends on a Friday evening will get you a custom mix of dance and pop songs to put you in party mode.   iHeart Radio |  .com    iHeartRadio is a free digital radio that lets users listen to their favorite live stations and create ad-free custom stations. Users can access more than 1,500 live radio stations from across the country, with genres including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and college. Users can also browse radio stations by genre and location, then tap the scan button to navigate from station to station. A thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system also lets users send feedback to DJs on which tracks are trending.   Slacker Radio |  .com    Slacker offers users hundreds of stations curated by human music experts. Popular stations include “Music Festivals,” as well as custom stations based on user-selected artists. Users can personalize their stations with continuous fine-tuning based on likes and bans on songs and artists.   Spotify |  .com    With a sleek user interface, flexible pricing, and access to more than 20 million songs, Spotify is one of the leading apps of the post-Pandora era. The Spotify mobile app lets you shuffle any artist or album for free, while the tablet and computer versions give users unlimited, ad-supported access to music. Recently added browsing capabilities make it easier than ever to find playlists, and Spotify Premium enables unlimited offline listening and ad-free streaming on mobile.

6 Essential Music Apps for the Post-Pandora Generation

Pandora revolutionized the music industry by offering on-demand, user-customizable radio stations and an enormous library of music on desktop and mobile. Since Pandora, the industry has seen the rise of several niche services that make it even easier for users to discover new music, personalize their listening, and share their favorite songs and artists with friends. These 6 apps are essential for music listeners who are looking to expand their horizons beyond Pandora.

Shazam | .com

Shazam lets users quickly identify songs, commercials, TV shows, and more by pointing their mobile device towards the audio source and tapping a button on the app to record and process an audio clip. Once the app has identified the media, users can navigate to the song or video on YouTube or a 30-second iTunes preview. In addition to being a great organic discovery service for users, Shazam has become an important tool for brands. By integrating Shazam into radio and TV ads, brands have been able to re-direct mobile users to custom brand experiences on their devices, which helps with migrating analog audiences to mobile.

Beats Music | .com

Beats Music has a stylish, sophisticated user interface in line with its coveted audio accessories, and a library of more than 20 million tracks and curated playlists from audio experts like Pitchfork and XXL Magazine. Beats emphasizes personalization above all else. The app offers “The Sentence” — a feature that requests a user’s location, mood, and current activity in order to select the ideal song for the moment.

Songza | .com

Of the many music apps available today, Songza may offer the most robust personalization features. Songza’s Concierge feature lets users select the time of day, day of the week, current activity, mood, energy/concentration needs, and genre preferences to hone in on the perfect set for the occasion. Telling Songza you’re at work will get you a largely instrumental set — more conducive to sustaining focus — while telling the app you’re pre-gaming with friends on a Friday evening will get you a custom mix of dance and pop songs to put you in party mode.

iHeart Radio | .com

iHeartRadio is a free digital radio that lets users listen to their favorite live stations and create ad-free custom stations. Users can access more than 1,500 live radio stations from across the country, with genres including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and college. Users can also browse radio stations by genre and location, then tap the scan button to navigate from station to station. A thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system also lets users send feedback to DJs on which tracks are trending.

Slacker Radio | .com

Slacker offers users hundreds of stations curated by human music experts. Popular stations include “Music Festivals,” as well as custom stations based on user-selected artists. Users can personalize their stations with continuous fine-tuning based on likes and bans on songs and artists.

Spotify | .com

With a sleek user interface, flexible pricing, and access to more than 20 million songs, Spotify is one of the leading apps of the post-Pandora era. The Spotify mobile app lets you shuffle any artist or album for free, while the tablet and computer versions give users unlimited, ad-supported access to music. Recently added browsing capabilities make it easier than ever to find playlists, and Spotify Premium enables unlimited offline listening and ad-free streaming on mobile.

An Overview of Mobile Trends in the Restaurant Industry  
 Mobile strategy in the restaurant industry is in its infancy stage. Many restaurants are slow to adapt to the changing tide of mobile innovation.  Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel - a few restaurants, in an effort to distance themselves from the competition and gain an edge, have taken to developing unique and sophisticated mobile apps that increase consumer traffic and drive revenue. Straying away from the simple apps used by the majority of venues, which include basic information like a menu, locations, and nutritional information, these brands have apps that incorporate innovative and remarkable features. I’ve outlined just a few apps that fall into this category and what they’re doing to separate themselves from the crowd. 
  As of 2014, 35% of  restaurant apps  include an ordering option.  In Q3 2013,  digital sales were 40%  of Domino Pizza’s revenue and their mobile app had over 10 million downloads. Papa John’s saw  more than 45% of all orders come from digital . The ordering options on these apps are easy, simple, and efficient. Loyalty sections of a restaurant app have also shown huge success. Starbucks’ app rewards its 10 million users with free coffee and food once they hit a certain number of purchases. This helps generate their  4 million transactions per week .  
  The final piece integrated into some of the best restaurant mobile apps is location based marketing.  Research showed that 38% of consumers in the United States have used a mobile coupon to purchase an in-store product. Quizno’s location-based campaigned netted a 20% increase in redemption.  Outback Steakhouse  geo-conquests their competitors by geo-fencing them and sending ads to those locations. A sneaky little trick but it seems to work. 
 These are a few of the ingredients for a terrific mobile app in the restaurant industry. As for the future, I’m guessing we will see more and more restaurants contribute to the innovation. 

An Overview of Mobile Trends in the Restaurant Industry

Mobile strategy in the restaurant industry is in its infancy stage. Many restaurants are slow to adapt to the changing tide of mobile innovation.  Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel - a few restaurants, in an effort to distance themselves from the competition and gain an edge, have taken to developing unique and sophisticated mobile apps that increase consumer traffic and drive revenue. Straying away from the simple apps used by the majority of venues, which include basic information like a menu, locations, and nutritional information, these brands have apps that incorporate innovative and remarkable features. I’ve outlined just a few apps that fall into this category and what they’re doing to separate themselves from the crowd.

As of 2014, 35% of restaurant apps include an ordering option. In Q3 2013, digital sales were 40% of Domino Pizza’s revenue and their mobile app had over 10 million downloads. Papa John’s saw more than 45% of all orders come from digital. The ordering options on these apps are easy, simple, and efficient. Loyalty sections of a restaurant app have also shown huge success. Starbucks’ app rewards its 10 million users with free coffee and food once they hit a certain number of purchases. This helps generate their 4 million transactions per week

The final piece integrated into some of the best restaurant mobile apps is location based marketing. Research showed that 38% of consumers in the United States have used a mobile coupon to purchase an in-store product. Quizno’s location-based campaigned netted a 20% increase in redemption. Outback Steakhouse geo-conquests their competitors by geo-fencing them and sending ads to those locations. A sneaky little trick but it seems to work.

These are a few of the ingredients for a terrific mobile app in the restaurant industry. As for the future, I’m guessing we will see more and more restaurants contribute to the innovation. 

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The Domino’s Pizza App

Let’s face it: picking up the phone and ordering a pizza is just too energy consuming. We want a way to order food that’s easy…and calling a restaurant is just too damn hard. Mary wrote about the On-Demand Delivery trend earlier this week - and now I share one of my favorite examples, the Domino’s Pizza app, which makes ordering effortless. 

That’s a lot of Pizza

As of January 2014, the Domino’s Pizza app has over ten million downloads with 2013 digital sales amounting to $1.3 billion. In Q3 last year, digital sales were 40% of Domino’s revenue. 

It’s just so simple. The quick process lets you choose your location, customize your order, and checkout. With the addition of “pizza profiles,” you can store your information and recent food order, which makes the process even shorter. If you’re a returning customer, you don’t need more than 30 seconds to order your food. And then there’s the Domino’s tracker, which lets you track the order through the entire delivery process. Pretty cool stuff!

Similar to Starbucks, the Domino’s app is a call-to-action for innovation across the industry. Restaurants need to see the success of the Domino’s app and adapt to the changing tide. Mobile is here; embrace it. 

Download the Domino’s App

My 7 Essential Apps when working on the go   
 Whether traveling, commuting or lounging on my couch, these are a few of my go-to apps when working from my phone. Tweet to me at   @MaryEliseChavez   and share yours! 
   @asana   |  Asana.com    
 Do Great Things.™  Nearly my entire life (personally and professionally) is organized with help from this brilliant tool. Its easy-to-use interface - both on desktop and mobile helps tackle large projects by breaking them down into a task-by-task approach - eliminating the overwhelming feeling of “there’s-so-much-to-do-where-do-i-start” conundrum!   As a big fan of   David Allen’s Getting Things Done ,  Asana has helped me increase focus  and  productivity. I've evangelized the benefits of Asana for years to friends and colleagues - I love seeing how Asana helps them achieve their goals. Great for teams too - both as a collaborative tool and a roadmap planning tool. 
   
   @tempoai   |  Tempo.ai  
 A smart calendar app that brings together your contacts, appointments, directions, documents and recommendations to streamline your schedule. Tempo helps me be better informed prior to meetings, coffee meetups, events and dinner dates - reminding me on everything from directions to recommendations on where to go (also birthday reminders, thank you Tempo!). 
 It skims my contact list to pull in details about my appointment - for example, say I’m having “Dinner w/ Jen at DBGB”, it will recommend the Jen’s I know and give me directions to DBGB - this is particularly helpful when meeting up with clients - as related emails, documents and their LinkedIn profiles are pulled in (awesome!).  
   
   @Pocket   |  GetPocket.com    
 In any given day we see 100’s (sometimes 1000’s) of media messages - from that hilarious   Buzzfeed   listicle that’s all over Facebook, to the latest staggering startup valuation that raised eyebrows (I’m talking to you   Snapchat  &    What’s App )  - digesting so much media can be daunting.   Enter   Pocket  . With a handy browser plugin and smart recognition of links (right click on a link and you can ‘Save to Pocket’), I can collect inspiration and news as articles, videos, photo tutorials and blogs to a central place with easy tagging - that way, I can read content when I’m ready, rather than disrupting my workflow or hanging with friends. 
 During my commute I dig around in my Pocket app, and typically read 8-10 articles in 30 minutes, which is a great way to get in my daily dosage of reading.  
   
   @8x8  |   8x8 Mobile Apps    
 8x8 offers a great virtual office setup - working seamlessly between desktop phone > computer > mobile. OysterLabs is HQ'ed in New York, with international offices in Moscow and Ukraine - 8x8 is super helpful with conference calls, shared-screen meetings and messaging for our teams around the world.    
   
   @hootsuite   |  Hootsuite Mobile Apps  
 A great tool for streamlining social publishing efforts, interacting in tweet chats and webinars, and managing multiple twitter accounts at once.  
   
   @instagram  |   Instagram.com    
   OysterLabs   works with global brands that have audiences all over the world. Instagram is a powerful tool for businesses to visualize the culture and lifestyle of their brand. On any given day, I’m tracking efforts and social content to see trends and steer my clients down the right track.  
 It’s also a guilty pleasure during #NYFW, #LFW and #SXSW. :) 
   
   @songza  |   Songza.com    
 Music is proven to improve productivity, stimulate creativity and make us overall better people. Songza is my go-to music app whether getting ready in the morning, working deep on a design project or getting my fitness on.  
 With a scenario-based music concierge, Songza serves up curated playlists from their music experts (you can create your own too), to align with your Mood, Time of Day or Activity.  
 My latest guilty pleasure playlists - “  Girls: Marnie  ” and “  70’s Pool Party  ” 
   
  Written by Mary Elise Chavez, Creative Director of   OysterLabs

My 7 Essential Apps when working on the go

Whether traveling, commuting or lounging on my couch, these are a few of my go-to apps when working from my phone. Tweet to me at @MaryEliseChavez and share yours!

 | Asana.com

Do Great Things.™

Nearly my entire life (personally and professionally) is organized with help from this brilliant tool. Its easy-to-use interface - both on desktop and mobile helps tackle large projects by breaking them down into a task-by-task approach - eliminating the overwhelming feeling of “there’s-so-much-to-do-where-do-i-start” conundrum!

As a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Asana has helped me increase focus and productivity. I've evangelized the benefits of Asana for years to friends and colleagues - I love seeing how Asana helps them achieve their goals. Great for teams too - both as a collaborative tool and a roadmap planning tool.

Asana App

Tempo.ai

A smart calendar app that brings together your contacts, appointments, directions, documents and recommendations to streamline your schedule. Tempo helps me be better informed prior to meetings, coffee meetups, events and dinner dates - reminding me on everything from directions to recommendations on where to go (also birthday reminders, thank you Tempo!).

It skims my contact list to pull in details about my appointment - for example, say I’m having “Dinner w/ Jen at DBGB”, it will recommend the Jen’s I know and give me directions to DBGB - this is particularly helpful when meeting up with clients - as related emails, documents and their LinkedIn profiles are pulled in (awesome!). 

Tempo

 | GetPocket.com

In any given day we see 100’s (sometimes 1000’s) of media messages - from that hilarious Buzzfeed listicle that’s all over Facebook, to the latest staggering startup valuation that raised eyebrows (I’m talking to you Snapchat & What’s App- digesting so much media can be daunting. 

Enter Pocket. With a handy browser plugin and smart recognition of links (right click on a link and you can ‘Save to Pocket’), I can collect inspiration and news as articles, videos, photo tutorials and blogs to a central place with easy tagging - that way, I can read content when I’m ready, rather than disrupting my workflow or hanging with friends.

During my commute I dig around in my Pocket app, and typically read 8-10 articles in 30 minutes, which is a great way to get in my daily dosage of reading. 

Pocket

 | 8x8 Mobile Apps

8x8 offers a great virtual office setup - working seamlessly between desktop phone > computer > mobile. OysterLabs is HQ'ed in New York, with international offices in Moscow and Ukraine - 8x8 is super helpful with conference calls, shared-screen meetings and messaging for our teams around the world.   

8x8

 | Hootsuite Mobile Apps

A great tool for streamlining social publishing efforts, interacting in tweet chats and webinars, and managing multiple twitter accounts at once. 

Hootsuite

 | Instagram.com

OysterLabs works with global brands that have audiences all over the world. Instagram is a powerful tool for businesses to visualize the culture and lifestyle of their brand. On any given day, I’m tracking efforts and social content to see trends and steer my clients down the right track. 

It’s also a guilty pleasure during #NYFW, #LFW and #SXSW. :)

Instagram App

 | Songza.com

Music is proven to improve productivity, stimulate creativity and make us overall better people. Songza is my go-to music app whether getting ready in the morning, working deep on a design project or getting my fitness on. 

With a scenario-based music concierge, Songza serves up curated playlists from their music experts (you can create your own too), to align with your Mood, Time of Day or Activity. 

My latest guilty pleasure playlists - “Girls: Marnie” and “70’s Pool Party

Songza App

Written by Mary Elise Chavez, Creative Director of OysterLabs

Mobile and the NBA    
 Something’s brewing in the NBA between Sacramento Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive, and Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban. No, it’s not about King James and the MVP Race or David Stern’s retirement. Believe it or not, they’re bickering about the use of mobile technology during live NBA games. 
 Ranadive, who purchased the Kings in May 2013, believes that mobile will  enhance the experience  of being in an arena during a live NBA game. He noted,  
 
  “The future is about giving people an extremely contextual experience…people love to play games and they love to participate.”   
 
   
 Ranadive believes an in-game app, like the one at the  Barclays Center  in Brooklyn, enhances the experience, rather than disrupts it. The Barclays Center’s new mobile Wi-Fi system allows fans to access game information, with future versions including the ability to order concessions from your phone. Ranadive said, 
 
  “I completely reject the notion that a fan looking at his mobile device is not an engaged fan…I want to know play-by-play, I want to know every metric.”  
 
 On the other side of this debate is longtime Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Cuban wants nothing more than to see fans put their phones away and become immersed in the game. Cuban said, 
 
  “No question people use their phones and devices at games…but they use them when they are bored. They don’t want more reasons to use them. They want fewer.”      
 
  A new study on stadium Wi-Fi habits , commissioned by the NFL, discovered that the busiest period of mobile use during a game comes at the beginning and mobile use slowly decreases during the game.  Most of that mobile activity is not looking at the play-by-play or statistics; rather, it’s photo uploading through Facebook.  Maybe Cuban is right. But then again, mobile apps catered to the in-game experience are not widely available yet and the lack of in-game use may be due to a lack of availability. 
 I do know that when I’m at home, watching the game, I’m using multiple devices at the same time. But, when I’m at a live NBA game, I rarely take my phone out. Why would I? I just paid a ridiculous price for a ticket. 
  Final Thoughts  In reality, both owners are right. NBA fans are a diverse group of people. Some would love the extra features of being able to look up stats and figures related to the game. Others would find it distracting, and would prefer to keep the phone in their pocket. The real key here is giving those fans who prefer the mobile experience, a great app that meets their needs. Cuban needs to step into the 21 st  century and reach out to Mavericks fans that fall into this group.  
 Regardless, I’m a Knicks fan; so I’d rather not look at the game anyway…

Mobile and the NBA 

Something’s brewing in the NBA between Sacramento Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive, and Dallas Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban. No, it’s not about King James and the MVP Race or David Stern’s retirement. Believe it or not, they’re bickering about the use of mobile technology during live NBA games.

Ranadive, who purchased the Kings in May 2013, believes that mobile will enhance the experience of being in an arena during a live NBA game. He noted,

“The future is about giving people an extremely contextual experience…people love to play games and they love to participate.”

Ranadive believes an in-game app, like the one at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, enhances the experience, rather than disrupts it. The Barclays Center’s new mobile Wi-Fi system allows fans to access game information, with future versions including the ability to order concessions from your phone. Ranadive said,

“I completely reject the notion that a fan looking at his mobile device is not an engaged fan…I want to know play-by-play, I want to know every metric.”

On the other side of this debate is longtime Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Cuban wants nothing more than to see fans put their phones away and become immersed in the game. Cuban said,

“No question people use their phones and devices at games…but they use them when they are bored. They don’t want more reasons to use them. They want fewer.”  

A new study on stadium Wi-Fi habits, commissioned by the NFL, discovered that the busiest period of mobile use during a game comes at the beginning and mobile use slowly decreases during the game.  Most of that mobile activity is not looking at the play-by-play or statistics; rather, it’s photo uploading through Facebook.  Maybe Cuban is right. But then again, mobile apps catered to the in-game experience are not widely available yet and the lack of in-game use may be due to a lack of availability.

I do know that when I’m at home, watching the game, I’m using multiple devices at the same time. But, when I’m at a live NBA game, I rarely take my phone out. Why would I? I just paid a ridiculous price for a ticket.

Final Thoughts
In reality, both owners are right. NBA fans are a diverse group of people. Some would love the extra features of being able to look up stats and figures related to the game. Others would find it distracting, and would prefer to keep the phone in their pocket. The real key here is giving those fans who prefer the mobile experience, a great app that meets their needs. Cuban needs to step into the 21st century and reach out to Mavericks fans that fall into this group. 

Regardless, I’m a Knicks fan; so I’d rather not look at the game anyway…

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Starbucks Mobile Innovation 

The forefront of the mobile revolution is taking place on the corner of your street, at your friendly, neighborhood coffee shop: Starbucks.  Business Insider reported recently that Starbucks has racked in more than $1 billion in 2013 from its mobile sales, a figure that can be attributed to its ten million active users.  

The staggering results from their mobile strategy come from multiple pioneering marketing campaigns during Q4 of 2013. Their Twitter campaign—aptly named “Tweet-a-Coffee”—lets coffee lovers tweet a hashtag that’s linked to a credit card, and friends and family can redeem them through the Starbucks mobile app.

Starbucks patrons can use the app for card payments and direct purchasing of beverages and food. Once downloaded, users can unlock free drinks and food after reaching a certain number of purchases in the app. The app is very much like a game.  It’s fun, it’s unique, it’s interactive, and it’s convenient.

I write about this app because…well…I use it—almost everyday, actually. No other eCommerce app has done what Starbucks has done, which is, quite simply, create an app that’s habit forming. Every morning I go into Starbucks and without thinking, take out my phone, not my wallet.  

Starbucks’ newest mobile venture will come in the form of pre-ordering on your phone. They want to change the ever-growing line at it’s locations by allowing costumers to order and pay from the app upon arrival or beforehand.

Starbucks continues to be at the forefront of mobile innovation and I implore all of you to download the app, even if you aren’t a fan of the brand.  Flip through it, study it, and ponder what the future of mobile may look like.  The Starbucks app is a wonderful case study of how mobile can positively impact overall brand strategy.   

I’ll leave you with a quote on Starbucks innovation…

And I think once again the Starbucks… mobile transaction platform is still in its nascent stage. And we believe there is an opportunity to extend that value to our customers in ways that we have not yet shared with you.

—Howard Schultz, CEO

Download the Starbucks App

The new Lexus 3D AR mobile app allows users to explore 3D images of Lexus car models on their mobile device.

Augmented reality (AR), which continues to gain relevance in the mobile app space, lets brands showcase their products in interactive environments that don’t just build interest, but convey key information and provide organic methods of engagement. Rather than simply displaying products, augmented reality allows for an immersive experience that can be supplemented by any combination of video, audio, graphics, and data. 

AR applications have already begun to disrupt the traditional approach to mobile product marketing – to drive consumers into a transaction funnel in hopes of achieving continuously higher conversion rates. With the onset of rich AR apps and devices that can support graphics-intensive operations, more brands are beginning to see the benefits of mobile as a means to immersion and brand building.

The takeaway is that branded mobile apps should offer more than just browsing and purchasing capabilities; they should allow for a level of engagement that fosters appreciation for a specific product or class of products, which in turn should boost conversion rates over time.