Six Mobile Tips for the Holidays

Holiday Shopping TipsMobile apps, location-based beacons and deep links are some of the tools at a retailer’s disposal that can boost sales this holiday season.

The holiday season is a critical time for retail. The sales from the final months of the year can make or break a retailer so it’s a good idea to go full bore with marketing efforts. This means coming up with a solid plan of action long before doors open on Black Friday.

With U.S. smartphone penetration over 65% of the mobile phone market, a comprehensive mobile strategy is a key component to finishing out the year in strong form. Here are six tips to help make the most of this year’s holiday shopping season.

1. Leverage beacons. Increasing staff and preparing the layout of a store for seasonal crowds are great ways to ensure customers are engaged. However, if a retailer has a mobile app, implementing beacons in-store can take engagement to a completely new level. Beacons are relatively inexpensive devices ($5-30) that can be used to send push notifications to Bluetooth-enabled smartphones. Simply place them in a store and customers with a retailer’s app will automatically receive messages on deals or promotions when they are near beacons.

2. Use family-friendly messaging. The holidays are a time when friends and families come together to celebrate and show how much they care for those closest to them. Reflecting this sentiment in ads helps reinforce this feeling during customers’ shopping experiences. And using family-centric messaging does more than just encourage customers to buy—it personalizes a brand and endears it to customers.

3. Increase user acquisition. Now is the time to start pushing an app to consumers, not while the seasonal rush is underway. There are almost endless possibilities when it comes to encouraging customers to download an app and promoting a retailer’s business; here are a couple:

  • Offer a special promotion for downloading an app. Send an e-mail announcement that those who install an app will receive a 5% Off coupon once it is downloaded. This could be tied to a holiday, like Halloween, or just a random promotion. Either way, this will help ensure an app is at your customers’ fingertips during the holiday season.
  • Use all existing marketing channels to make a business top of mind. E-mail blasts, in-store advertising and increasing online ads will all pay dividends in the coming months.
  • Implement a customer loyalty program. Though this is a great way to increase user/customer acquisition at any time of the year, it can go a long way toward making the holiday season a success.

4. Deep link products. It’s no surprise customers like instant gratification. Now more than ever, in the mobile age, customers are a lot less likely to invest the time to track down a product they have seen in an ad. This is particularly true when they are on mobile, as consumers are generally engaged in other activities. Deep linking product pages in an app means when a customer clicks on an online ad or e-mail promotion he finds enticing, he is taken directly to the product page in the app (if he has the app), as opposed to the page on a mobile web site. He then can purchase the product in the app, which provides a superior shopping experience to mobile web sites.

5. Use programmatic ad buying. During the holiday rush, retailers are busy. There are a variety of campaigns to manage and a flurry of special promotions and marketing initiatives that need support—manually managing ad buys isn’t exactly the best use of time. There is another, better way: programmatic ad buying. Programmatic ad buying is the use of software to purchase digital advertising. It removes the need for requests for proposal, in-person negotiations, and manual insertion orders, saving time and resources required to effectively buy ad space. There are a few different ways to leverage programmatic ad buying, but one likely helpful during the holiday season is real-time bidding. These are auctions, usually facilitated by ad exchanges, which cut the buying process down to milliseconds. Retailers can use technology to quickly decide which ad impressions they wish to purchase and how much to bid on them.

6. Regionalize creative. Ads are most effective when they speak to the individual. To truly be a powerful means of persuasion, the context in which an audience is viewing an ad must be taken into account and their geographic location is a big part of that. Ideally, a retailer wouldn’t speak to consumers in Dallas the same way it would to potential customers in Boston. Consider including imagery and text that references where an audience lives. For example, if targeting customers in New York City, showing an image of a Christmas tree in Time Square along with a promotion will resonate with the viewer and help strike that special chord. Likewise, for the holiday season in Hawaii, a retailer may want to show a palm tree strung up with lights and a star on top. These are basic examples of regionalizing creative to speak to the viewer, but this practice can go beyond just calling out landmarks or scenery through ad imagery. The demographics and culture of the different regions being targeted also can affect messaging and design.

Following these six simple tips will help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing efforts this holiday season and ensure retailers make the most out of this critical time of the year.

 

The following post is from our “Complete Guide to Mobile Advertising for 2015″ which you can download here:

Download our Latest eBook: A Complete Guide to Mobile Advertising for 2015

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What do publishers need to know about the iPhone 6? What is the real value of a private exchange versus a public one? TapSense tackled these questions and more in our Guide to Mobile Advertising 2015, a comprehensive collection of insights from the trenches of mobile advertising designed to help you create maximum value in this ever-changing landscape. Here are just a handful of the key topics covered:

  • What Advertisers and Publishers Need to Know About Apple’s new iPhone
  • 4 Tips for Great Mobile Ad Creative: How to Get a Free Trip to Cannes
  • Why Private Exchanges Monetize 213% Better than Public for App Publishers
  • 5 Things a DSP Should Look for From a Mobile Ad Exchange

Click Here to Download

Recap: 2015′s Mobile Media Summit During NYC Ad Week

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TapSense’s Ash Kumar at the “How To Do Native in a Programmatic World” panel at Mobile Media Summit during Ad Week in NTC (photo: Erica Haile—@ericahaile)

We’re fresh off the plane from New York and happy to report that this year’s Mobile Media Summit was a rousing success! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the TapSense booth and Ash’s panel, “How To Do Native in a Programmatic World.”

If you enjoyed Ash’s talk (or if you missed it), he goes into more detail on the subject with Mobile Media Xchange.

Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all things TapSense. Until next year…

Hack Your Way to LA: Register by 9/30 for November’s Hacker Bus to GDC

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Good morning! We wanted to remind you about our awesome 4-day hackathon coming up on the first-ever Hacker Bus to GDC Next, Nov 2-5, 2014.

Developers will get a free round trip ride from SF to LA on the wifi-enabled luxury bus, stocked with food and drinks. The hackathon continues in a work space in LA. You will also get a free expo pass to GDC Next, access to discounted hotel rooms, and the chance to win $10,000 in ad spend to promote your app. Can’t join us on the bus? Remote participation is welcome, too.

Sign up here by September 30th.

#hackdisrupt

Mobile Media Summit During Ad Week in NYC 9/29

MMS bannerHot on the heels of an epic few days at Games Beat, TapSense will be appearing at this year’s Mobile Media Summit during Ad Week in New York City, next Monday, September 29th. This is the largest summit of its kind, featuring top-tier mobile-first marketers and leading agency executives. Anyone with a vested interest in the future of mobile ads can’t afford to miss this networking opportunity.

Our CEO, Ash Kumar, will be speaking at a panel entitled, “How to do Native in a Programmatic World,” at 3pm on the 29th. We’re very excited to share our insights from 2014 with you at this prestigious event. If you make it, don’t forget to stop by and say hi to TapSense!

Register here.

How to Monetize Your Mobile Games With Ads

Monetize your game with ads

So you have a great mobile game that’s burning up the charts, but have you thought about how to effectively monetize? Are you sure you’re maximizing earnings? Here are some strategies you can use to make the process of monetizing with ads easier and more effective.

Getting Started With Mobile Advertising

Mobile games can be a great opportunity to generate ad revenue, but for an ad-tech novice, it can also be a challenging endeavor. Working with a single ad network like Google just isn’t enough. You won’t get enough ads to fill all the impressions shown which means you’re leaving money on the table. To maximize earnings you should enlist a mobile ad exchange to assist you.

The popular trend in mobile advertising right now is real-time bidding, or RTB, which acts like an online auction similar to the stock exchange where mobile advertisers compete for ad slots that are available on ad exchanges. Whichever advertiser bids the most wins the ad slot. This transaction takes place in milliseconds. If successful the mobile publisher can make more revenue than what would have been possible through their direct sales team alone.

The “public” RTB model isn’t perfect, however, and there are still some risks for publishers and gaming apps. Some of these risks include lack of controls around who is buying your ad inventory and the security of first-party data. Reasons like these are why publishers and gaming apps have been moving their ad serving to private RTB.

Why Private RTB Works Best

With private RTB more features are available to put the app in total control. With private RTB, developers can decide which advertisers are allowed to participate in the bidding of inventory. They can also option to set price floors on their inventory and tier access allowing certain advertisers access to the inventory before others.

The other major benefit of private RTB is that it’s more effective on a global level than RTB because it allows mobile publishers a convenient way to monetize international traffic. Therefore publishers and gaming apps tend to put their best inventory on a private exchange so they can get the best price. The rest of their inventory tends to end up on public exchanges.

Other advantages include the ability to make first-party data more valuable to ad partners by making it actionable, utilizing third-party data like geo targeting and audience segmentation to target at the exchange level. Both of these tools save mobile game developers the trouble of having to implement their own data targeting technology.

The problem with traditional RTB is everyone competes on the same exchange, making it hard to differentiate your app from competitors. As a small developer, everything is happening in real time and you’re always at a disadvantage to big apps who have billions in inventory to sell. In public RTB prices sometimes go down instead of up because there is just so much undifferentiated inventory available.

Private RTB avoids all of this by making the app’s first party data actionable to ensure premium inventory always retains its value or increases significantly. This prevents negative issues like data scraping in which sneaky buyers can alter things like data about your users by cross-referencing it with other data and reselling it without your permission. This can be detrimental because it can hurt your reputation and make your gaming app appear less valuable. All these negative factors have made private RTB the more preferable option to mobile game developers.

The Benefits of Mobile Ad Mediation

Another way to generate the most ad revenue for your game and sell through your inventory is to work with multiple partners rather than just one. The best way to do this is through mobile ad mediation.

Ad mediation technology sends ad requests to multiple ad networks to ensure publishers find the best available network to fill their ad slots. With a list of priorities in place related to things like geography, genre type, and other preferences, ad mediation can match your game with the right partners to maximize revenue. The other benefits of ad mediation include the ability to increase fill rates, maximize eCPMs, and control access to ad networks using only one SDK versus dozens.

Both RTB and ad mediation are useful tools that help simplify the mobile advertising process and can compliment in-game advertising by increasing fill rates along with CPMs. With the right implementation the ad revenue results can be extraordinary and separate your game from everyone else’s on the mobile marketplace.

Good Marketer, Bad Marketer

I was recently at a trade show representing TapSense. After looking at all of our competitor’s booths, I realized that we had only produced one t-shirt design ever in our three years of existence. We also have only produced a few printed brochures and some iPhone cases. In general, we have kept the SWAG to a minimum. This was in broad contrast to some other players, who had produced so much SWAG one might assume they were in the t-shirt business, not the technology business.

This instantly made me think of Ben Horowitz, a partner in the Silicon Valley Venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and his inspirational memo from his time at Netscape called Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager. The document is well known in tech circles and is a great read for people working in a startup environment. That night I was inspired and decided to re-edit his document, changing the focus of the memo from product managers to marketers and I shared it with my marketing team. They all loved it. Here is my re-edited version:

Good Marketers / Bad Marketers

Good marketers understand the customer’s needs both explicit and unmet, they know their product inside and out and have studied the competitor’s products, positioning and messaging in detail. They operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. A good marketer is the CMO of their area. They take full responsibility for the success of their strategies and use quantifiable ways to measure all marketing programs. They also understand that measurement systems have limits and some marketing strategies require significant investment before seeing a measurable return. A good marketer knows the competitive landscape, can anticipate the needs of the company in advance and takes responsibility for developing a marketing plan that uses the right strategy, channel and approach, at the right time.

Bad marketers waste lots of time on areas of marketing that have little impact on the business. Such as designing t-shirts and sweatshirts, arguing over the visual design of ad creative or the website, performing A/B tests on traffic volumes that aren’t statistically significant, and confusing trade marketing with socializing. Phil Schiller doesn’t make these mistakes and neither should the CMO of any successful area in marketing.

Good marketers don’t waste all their time attending other team’s meetings just to form cross-functional alignment. They don’t project manage the sales function, or act as a simplistic megaphone for product team announcements and updates. They are not managing one distinct aspect or channel of marketing; they manage marketing. All of it. Good marketers view themselves as the tip of the spear for their counterparts on the sales team or business development team. Good marketers set quantifiable targets for lead generation and PR. They then implement strategies to achieve those goals and build the business month over month, year over year, in a ROI positive way. Bad marketers feel best about themselves when they successfully negotiate more marketing budget from the CFO. Good marketers communicate succinctly and visually to the company by producing and keeping up to date project plans and strategy documents. Good marketers don’t work informally. Good marketer develop networks to gather information and competitive intelligence informally.

Good marketers create evergreen content, blog posts, downloads, and white papers. Bad marketers complain that they spend all day creating powerpoint decks for the sales team and are swamped. Good marketers anticipate the market and the competition. Good marketers take initiative, develop breakthrough ideas that they can execute independently of the other divisions of the company. They don’t pin their hopes on the next product release and complain when it’s late, or use IT as an excuse as to why they’re behind on lead generation. Bad marketers complain that resources are what’s holding them back. Once bad marketers fail, they point out that they predicted they would fail because they didn’t have enough help, or budget.

Good marketers focus the team on the market and the customers. Bad marketers focus the team solely on competitors. Good marketers work with what they have and leverage what resources are available to their absolute maximum. Bad marketers develop marketing plans that can’t be executed because they’re are too resource intensive or too expensive.

Good marketers wake up every day trying to find clever new ways to drive inbound leads and interest in the company and its product. They also obsess over developing measurement systems that prove they’re meeting their goals, both long term and short term. Bad marketers don’t understand measurement at all. They mistakenly use vanity metrics to try and prove their marketing is working, which only diminishes their credibility with other teams. Good marketers break down complex problems into small manageable chunks. Bad marketers combine all problems into one.

Good marketers understand the prevailing press narrative regarding their market area. They focus on timing stories that go with that narrative for maximum impact. Bad marketers think about press only in terms of volume of coverage, no matter how insignificant. Good marketers give the press what they need in order to get coverage. Bad marketers complain that they didn’t speak to the right reporter. Good marketers assume press and analysts are really smart. Bad marketers assume that press and analysts are dumb because they don’t understand the difference between a RTB exchange and programmatic buying.

Good marketers communicate simply and effectively. Using as few words as possible, communicating only what needs to be communicated. Bad marketers use complex language that obfuscates and confuses people. Good marketers define their success and achieve it. Bad marketers avoid responsibility.

Good marketers keep their project plans up to date, because they are disciplined. Bad marketers forget to update their plans on time, because they don’t value discipline.

GamesBeat 2014: TapSense Recap in Pictures

The TapSense team had an absolute blast at GamesBeat 2014! Here’s a few highlights, including some photos of our very own Ash Kumar at “The Evolution and Future of Monetization in Mobile Games” panel (photo credit: Michael O’Donnell, aka @Photo) and from Monday’s Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer. Enjoy and see you next year!

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Announcing TapSense SDK Support for iOS 8, Video, and 20+ new App Monetization Features

Apple’s release of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and iOS 8 is thrilling news for publishers and developers. We at TapSense have been hard at work not only adding support for iOS 8 but also adding video as well as 20+ new features to drive higher monetization for mobile app developers.

Our updated SDK is compatible with iOS 8 and XCode 6. TapSense’s team has done a great job making the SDK update process as seamless as possible. Your existing SDK ad units will work automatically for new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes. In order to ensure compatibility with iOS 8 as well as supporting new devices, please update to our latest SDK before submitting your latest app update.

Download TapSense iOS 8 SDK

Based on your feedback, mobile app monetization remains a challenging area. Some of the top issues we heard from you are:

  • SDK Fatigue: Every ad partner wants you to integrate their SDK which adds weight that can potentially crash your app.

  • Poor eCPMs and Fill Rates: We consistently hear that your fill rates and eCPMs are not satisfactory.

  • Inappropriate Ads: Some ad partners are not closely monitoring the quality of ads or the user experience of ad formats.

We took your feedback and have been actively developing the next version of our Private RTB Exchange to address some of these problems. Here are some key highlights of our new Private Exchange 2.0 and the updated iOS and Android SDK:

Lighter SDK

  • With our Private Exchange SDK you can work with more than 300+ demand sources rather than integrating one ad partner SDK at a time.

  • SDK also offers mediation support so you can work with larger ad providers such as AdMob, iAd, Facebook, Twitter/MoPub so you don’t have to integrate multiple SDKs.

  • Our SDK is lightweight and supports video, interstitials, and banners.

Improved eCPMs and Fill Rates

  • The new SDK is packed with numerous features to drive higher CPMs through our Private Exchange as well as enhance user experience. Mobile video advertising is growing rapidly and will get a big boost from the larger screen iPhones. We have significantly improved full-screen video capabilities in our SDK with the new native video player including: customizable text, color, and border for the call-to-action button, as well as customizable wait times and sizes for the close button.

  • Support for keywords: publishers can pass demographic and other valuable data such as age, gender, or custom audiences that typically get higher CPMs from advertisers.

  • Granular control over eCPMs across different geographies: publishers get more granular control over their monetization.

  • Support for interstitials and banner ad units: maximize your monetization with simple ad unit setup and a good mix of video, interstitial, and banner ads.

Superior Ad Controls

  • Private Exchange offers unprecedented control over your ad inventory:

    • Segment your traffic based on geos

    • Set up different price floors and ad partners

    • Control your ad creatives in real time from our dashboard

    • Control your first-party data access to specific ad partners

  • With the TapSense SDK, we keep the user within your app even after the ad click. We achieve this by using an in-app browser or SKStore View as appropriate.

We have received amazing feedback on our Private Exchange and how it’s helping you maximize your ad revenue while still maintaining control over your ad quality and pricing. The new SDK enables you to turbocharge your monetization going into Q4 which is shaping up to be the biggest quarter ever for mobile advertising.

For more information, visit our Github page or reach out to support@tapsense.com.

If you have not joined our Private Exchange, you are missing out on our $10M RTB fund.

Sign up for our $10M RTB Fund Today

Pocket Gamer Mixer Tonight!

Pocket Gamer Mixer

If you’re in town for GamesBeat—or if you’re just in town—don’t forget to stop by Vessel in SF’s Union Square for the Pocket Gamer / TapSense Mobile Mixer tonight at 6pm. It’s free and you can register here.  Come ready to mingle and don’t forget your business cards!