Friday, 18 December 2015

App discovery is mobile gaming’s biggest issue

mobilesyrup.com
prune
We’ve all been there: you’ve got some time to kill so you open up the app store, hoping to come across a game worth playing. You navigate to the top paid apps setion, on the hunt for that mobile gem. Instead you’re greeted by the same never-changing list: Candy Crush SagaClash of ClansBoom Beach and, the worst free-to-play offender, Game of War – Fire Age.
But the world of mobile gaming is more varied than some might realize, expanding far beyond the free-to-play titles you see in commercials during Monday Night Football. The really great ones are just difficult to find.
appstores
Poor game discovery is a major reason many of the iOS App Store’s and Google Play Store’s best video games don’t land on players’ radars.
Some developers describe finding success with a mobile title as akin to playing a game of roulette. They can include all the correct ingredients — an eye-catching name, impressive visuals, innovative gameplay, solid reviews from critics, and a small but dedicated group of fans — yet still find that no one spends any money on it.
iosappstorecharts
Discovery is one of the most serious issues surrounding mobile game and app development today. Most casual game players aren’t browsing websites like IGN and Touch Arcade to learn which ones are worth their time. Instead, they’re casually perusing Google and Apple’s mobile storefronts, selecting titles that catch their attention, determining whether to download based on the icon or, in most cases, price. Because of this, some of the industry’s top mobile titles are overlooked by their intended audience.
We talked to a number of game developers about what it’s like to release a game on iOS and Android, and discussed the challenges they have experienced when it came to their titles vying for app store attention.
So what does it take to release a successful mobile title in 2015?
According to Miles Tilmann, the head of PixelJam studios, the studio behind Last Horizon, revamped app store layouts won’t solve app discovery issues. He says the key to success lies in a game getting a featured position on an app store’s landing page, especially on the iOS App Store.
lasthorizon1
“For a game like Last Horizon that is paid with no in-app purchases, featuring is somewhat critical for commercial success. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent necessary, but any developer would probably tell you that at least on iOS, featuring is one of the key ingredients,” says Tilmann.
He notes, at least in the case of Last Horizon, his studio experienced more success on Android, with the game’s popularity growing organically thanks to the Google Play Store’s less fluid ranking system. While Last Horizon only cracked the top paid apps list on Android for a brief period of time, the game remains in the number two position of the top new paid apps section.
“We had decent sales even before we were featured [on the Play Store]. Also as far as I know Google Play has recommendation engines that help with discoverability, as opposed to iOS which is still somewhat hand-curated,” he says.
Tilmann feels getting a title to the top of the Google Play Store yields a greater return than achieving a top ranking in the iOS App Store. The Google Play Store’s ranking system reportedly shifts around significantly more slowly and is only updated around once per day. In comparison, iOS app and game rankings move on an hourly basis, which means if your game makes it to the top of the charts, unless your studio or franchise has established brand recognition, like Minecraft: Pocket Edition or Terraria, it likely won’t hold that position for very long. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but they don’t happen very often.
Alto's Adventure
But even netting a coveted featured position on the convoluted Play Store or much-nicer iOS App Store’s front page doesn’t guarantee immediate success.
“From our experience, being at the top of the charts on iOS only helps if you got to the top of the charts organically — not by featuring alone.  If you got there by word of mouth, brand power or just having tons of social media activity, you are much more likely to stay there and make solid sales,” said Tilmann. “It’s not self-reinforcing; rather, the reasons you got there in the first place make much more of a difference.”
Ryan Cash, the head of Toronto-based Snowman, the team behind our game of the yearAlto’s Adventure, feels differently to Tilmann. Cash says most of the success his studio has obtained with Alto’s Adventure stems from being handpicked by Apple’s iTunes editorial team for featured placement.
“In terms of App Store search, I’m not so sure we really get much traffic from that. But app awareness in the App Store has definitely been quite helpful. What I mean by this is getting featured by Apple’s editorial team,” says Cash.

In the crowded Play Store and App Store marketplaces, Cash feels that above everything, creating a solid game, as well as marketing outside of the somewhat-confining nature of Apple and Google’s marketplace – Clash of Clans’ and Game of Wars’ massive marketing budgets are a good example of this – are the main factors that catch mobile players’ attention.
“I honestly think Alto’s Adventure has caught on because we did a good job marketing it, and we made a solid product. First and foremost you need a great product. Good may have worked in 2008 or 2009, but now you’re up against some heavy competition, and you’re fighting for people’s attention more than ever,” he concludes.
An Android version of Alto’s Adventure is currently in development with the help of an outside studio but hasn’t yet been released.
Prune’s developer, Joel McDonald, echoes Cash’s thoughts, saying he believes much of his game’s success comes from standing out from the pack on both the Android and iOS app stores.
Prune
“From the beginning of development I was very aware that I needed to position Prune so that it would stand out. For example, the art style was chosen not just because I found it aesthetically pleasing but also because not a lot of other apps look quite like it,” says McDonald. Prune’s dark visuals have more in common with a silhouette than the typical mobile title’s colourful assets.
However, he still says getting featured by Apple and Google played a significant role in Prune’s success. The game currently sits in the top 30 paid apps section in the Google Play Store but has fallen out of the top 150 in the App Store.
“Getting featured by Apple or Google is absolutely everything for a game like Prune. Without a feature it unfortunately makes it very, very difficult to gain any traction on mobile. It’s possible the game would have faded into oblivion were it not for the initial Apple Editors’ Choice feature,” said McDonald.
In terms of solving mobile gamings discoverability issue, Apple’s recently-launched @AppStoreGames Twitter account and editorial page, which features BuzzFeed style listicles of titles spanning various genres, helps highlight the App Store’s top video game offerings. Google will almost certainly be forced to follow suit with a similar editorial team at some point in the future. There’s a reason games often come to iOS first and are only later ported to Android.
gooleplaystore1
On the Play Store side, Google isn’t resting on its laurels. Its recently revamped user interface improves the discovery experience, highlighting featured content, but Google still emphasizes free-to-play titles over great paid games.
And then there’s the sheer number of categories. What should have resulted in a sleek and simple way to find apps and games worth downloading is bogged down by confusing horizontal, scrolling tabs. The store features no clear way to highlight individual titles and devolves into a continuous list of genres.
While Apple’s App Store is curated and features a variety of useful themed lists, it still shows bias towards the free-to-play genre that accounts for a majority of its revenue. There are bright spots, though: a section highlighting Canadian-developed apps and games is by far one of the App Store’s best features. In the end, there’s no clear solution to the two stores’ discoverability issues, although curated lists are definitely a step in the right direction in the mind of some developers.
“I think app stores could probably do a lot more to tailor content specifically towards your interests and tastes. For example, if you play a lot of puzzle games you’re going to take a lot more interest in that weird, delightful new puzzler that just came out. Also integrating more social and curated lists similar to what Steam has been doing would further help the discoverability problem,” said McDonald.
According to Cash, an enormous marketing budget and nabbing featured app store placement is in most cases trumped by accomplishing something that might seem obvious: creating an great game.
“I really think it’s quite simple – make something great, and then tell people about it. Too many people skip one of the two,” said Cash.

SEO Future Predictions for the Next Year: 2016

business2community.com
SEO has become probably the best methodology to drive your ROI. In 2016, it’ll aim to help you get more out of your conversions. So, let’s take a look at the SEO future predictions for the next year:
To begin with, take note of how Penguin 4.0 update has affected your website. Make use of the remaining days of 2015 to resolve all existing issues. Create a robust SEO strategy to fight Penguin and step in the new age of SEO as you welcome 2016.
Here are some other predictions to take note of:
  1. Mobile-friendly

mobile-friendly
mobile-friendly
As mobile devices are ruling the world, having surpassed laptop and desktop searches in terms of paid clicks and traffic generation, it has become imperative for businesses to develop mobile-friendly websites and make their business decisions attuned to this new wave of mobile savvy clientele. Every mobile related aspect, like mobile design, mobile marketing strategy, mobile search advertising and marketing, mobile CRM, mobile payment and mobile e-commerce, mobile coupons and integration of mobile with local and social, needs to be considered.
  1. Semantic searches

semantic search

Semantic search is an advanced data searching technique where the search query targets to determine the contextual meaning of the search words and intent of the searcher rather than focusing on finding just the keywords. Thus, it provides the user with more meaningful search results by understanding and assessing the search phrase and finding the most relevant results in a database, website or any other data repository. No wonder that semantic search is touted as the future of marketing. By applying the following tips, you can make the most of semantic search.
  • Create content that is understandable.
  • Try to identify the “companion” words that usually follow the keyword and insert them into your content. That way, you’ll be able to provide some clues related to the subject of your content to search engines.
  • Use variations and synonyms of words that are directly related to the subject matter of your content.
  • Use the keywords effectively to take complete advantage of semantic search.
  • Link to third-party websites related to some aspect of your business/domain/industry to provide your users with more value.
  • Mark up your content on specific social networking sites.
  • Use tools like schema.org, Yandex Checker, AlchemyAPI, Schema Creator, Gruff etc. to add more semantic value to your content.
  1. Outstanding quality

quality quotes

As SEO has become extremely content driven these days, you need to hire experienced people, even if the charges are steep, especially when you wish to get good results. After all, doing link audits, performing complete link clean-ups (if required, based on the results of link audits), driving organic traffic your way via quality content – all take effort and time, which explains why quality SEO services won’t be cheap. Company executives and CEOs too shouldn’t opt for SEO trial-and-error methods as they aren’t aware of the present SEO landscape and may end up doing more harm than good. So, it always pays to hire experienced SEO specialists for the task.
  1. Good user experience

Good UX

Search engines directly consider a restricted number of changeable factors like links, keywords and site structure. Linking patterns, machine learning and user engagement metrics jointly help search engines to make a significant number of hunches about a site. User experience and usability provide significant benefits to the external popularity of a site. This popularity is interpreted by search engines as an indication of higher quality. An empathetic and thoughtful user experience encourages users to bookmark, share, return visits etc. – all of which are signals of a quality site, which in turn helps in achieving higher rankings.
  1. Organic link

Organic Link

Links that don’t have a direct objective of influencing Google’s rankings are called organic links. When a site links back to another, the link is considered by Google as a vote. These “votes” normally help a site to get higher ranking in the search engine results. The only requirement here is to get such backlinks naturally or organically. Following are some useful tips to obtain organic links.
  • Create original information
  • Share your knowledge
  • Be an active participant on various social networking platforms
  • Provide valuable answers to questions online
  • Build community
  • Offer a service to your community for free
  1. Mobile optimization

Mobile traffic estimates

Earlier in 2015, mobile searches exceeded desktop searches. The trend will hold strong even in 2016 as mobile traffic is predicted to be of much more importance than desktop traffic in the coming 5 years. According to Google, a desktop-specific website isn’t required. Commitment of Google towards a “mobile” user experience across all devices reflects in their change to local three-pack.
  1. App store optimization

App Store Optimization

To sustain in this extremely competitive world, you have to find the right audience for your app. App store optimization or ASO is one of the most effective methods to execute mobile app marketing. Execution of ASO ensures showing up of the mobile app for appropriate search queries and thus getting organic installs and impressions. Finding the right keywords or topics is the most fundamental and significant part of app store optimization as that would describe the exact search items of your target audience.
  1. Local SEO (Customized Research Study)

Local SEO

With the advancement of local indexes of Google and arrival of wearable devices, local searches will provide more accurate results. When searching for a certain business, the results will consist of your neighborhood or street corner instead of showing the city or state region.
  1. Voice SEO

voice SEO

Voice SEO has shifted the entire mobile search interface to a different era. When a voice request is made, the results show up on map interface. Users can hear more information about a particular listing by touching the map icon. Audio files are worth adding to your website in order to make your presence felt in such search results.
  1. Indexing of Social Content

indexed twitter

In a mobile search for a particular news object, the results consist of a couple of tweets as Google has finalized deals with Twitter and Facebook. More social content platforms will become indexed in 2016 and be made available to search engines. Social media posts will carry a similar amount of value as independent web pages. From an SEO viewpoint, the difference between “social media” and “web” will begin to become indistinct.
  1. Conversion Optimization

conversion

Conversion optimization is the process of using customer feedback along with analytics to improve your website’s performance. A better conversion rate is equal to an improved ROI. Other than improving the ROI, conversion optimization also helps to protect the restricted attention span of visitors by providing them with exactly what they want. It’s important to keep in mind that optimization is all about acquiring the right type of customers for your business. In 2016, Less-is-more technique will be massively used for conversion optimization.
  1. Social Presence

Social Presence

In 2016, social presence is going to be more important for businesses. Google searches already show Facebook and Twitter results when you search for a news item these days, and in the forthcoming years, you are likely to see more of these social media pages in your mobile search results. Consequently, the boundary line between “social media” and “web” will get blurred further in 2016 from an SEO perspective.
  1. Page tagging

Page Tagging

2016 will experience more of mobile searches, which will surpass desktop searches. This change will give a boost to page tagging in a more frequent manner as businesses start rolling out tags to offer structure to mobile users’ results that require different browsers and devices to load pages differently.
  1. Bifurcation Buyer Journey

buyers journey

In 2016, SEO will be divided into these three stages:
  • Awareness: In this stage, you will have to work on a strategy that provides information. Create marketing materials that will make them aware of a problem and related information.
  • Consideration: Here you give them a set of solutions that work best to solve their problems. Giving them enough options will then help them select the best suitable one.
  • Decision: This is the stage where your audiences have made a decision and have agreed upon a point that they will move ahead with. You have to create material that will encourage them to move forward without hesitation.
  1. Call-only ads

Call Only Actions

Call-only ads are upgrades of existing call extensions. In call-only ads, phone number is the first visible thing normally created using larger font size and different text color. The second visible thing happens to be the call button that enables an instantaneous call to action.
  1. Alienation of keyword research

keyword research

In 2016, you would no longer be able to use a blanket SEO strategy for all platforms or the same list of keywords for every platform. Rather, you will have to use:
  • Voice SEO: The algorithmic rules that are applicable for any mobile optimization will work well for voice search too. You’ll also have to use Google’s Knowledge Graph and local SEO strategies as voice searches primarily occur on mobile devices and most have local intent.
  • Local SEO: You can leverage Google Trends for this.
  • Mobile SEO: You can get mobile-specific keywords using the Google Keyword Tool and Google Analytics (go to Audience, then click Mobile and then go to Overview in the R.H.S navigation to filter). Though it won’t be possible to ascertain mobile keywords using Bing Ads Intelligence, you can use a little trick and leverage Bing’s autocomplete feature in mobile to get the desired keywords.
  • App SEO: SEO for mobile apps or ASO (App Store Optimization) will be very important in 2016 to ensure that your app reaches the right audience. ASO would become an integral part of mobile app marketing, which would be the most efficient and cheapest way to attract organic impressions and installs.
  1. Search box optimization

Search-Box-Optimization

Search box optimization is the method of deceiving Google Algorithm to put your blog or brand name in Google Autosuggestions. As Google Autosuggestions affect 75% of search queries, a lot of internet marketers are using search box optimization to keep their brand in front of the users before they hit the search button. This is accomplished by searching the target term for numerous times in Google.
  1. Outgoing links

outbound link

Google identifies the nature of your article by using outgoing links. If you link to a trusted source, Google considers your site as a trusted one as well. However, if quality of the linked article is poor, it will affect your site’s reputation and search rankings adversely. To avoid this, you must provide outbound links to trusted sources.
  1. Link Building trends

Link Building

Link building was considered as one of the fundamental elements of SEO. In the present day media landscape, internet marketers incorporate significant links instead of gathering bunch of useless links. To sustain in today’s competitive world, marketers have to publish unique and fresh content and insert only those links that promote or support the main message provided by the content. Google always encourages a site that has the ability to provide answers for associated search queries and thus the site ranks high in SERPs. Incorporating links of these websites would greatly help you in 2016 to increase the quality of your website’s content.
  1. End of content farms

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/no-more-content-farms.jpg
content farm

It seems that there will be a dead end waiting for irrelevant content farms in 2016. Websites filled with robotic articles that are created by content farms will be highly targeted and penalized by Google in the coming year. The chances of ranking in SERPs are pretty less for these websites and some large scale content farms are likely to face a big penalty.
Conclusion
As these trends affect the SEO landscape in 2016, site owners and marketers have to think “mobile” and build robust mobile marketing strategy as mobile is the next version of digital marketing.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

40% Of Shopping Starts On One Device And Ends On Another

arc.applause.com
24/7 holiday shopping can happen on any device.
The feeding frenzy that marks the annual holiday shopping season is entering its final stages. With less than two weeks until Christmas, shoppers are steeling themselves for either one last visit to the mall or hoping that Amazon delivers all the gifts in time.
For retailers, it is a magical time of the year … and they don’t care how you shop or what you buy on as long as the cash is flowing and the shelves are emptying.
A recent survey of over 3,000 online retailers by performance marketing firm Criteo said that 40% of all transactions now take place on multiple devices, with smartphones and tablets leading the way. Cross-device shopping is increasingly popular among American consumers who might find an item on one device, research it on another and then buy it on a third, Criteo said.

Browse, Consider And Buy

According to Criteo’s State of Mobile Commerce Q3 2015 report, people who shop on multiple devices are 20% more likely to complete a purchase on a mobile device than the average shopper. The report said that 47% of consumers completed on a tablet while 43% paid with their smartphone. Desktop purchases accounted for 39% of final transactions in the multi-device model.
Mobile was the preferred option in 31% of all transactions in Q3, while 35% of purchases were cross-device based. Criteo said that shoppers were browsing on one device—a laptop or work PC, for example—and then buying the item on a mobile device later in the day.
cross_device
“The idea that the mobile is just a research device is simply wrong,” said Criteo. “We expect the fraction of cross-device transactions completed on mobile to grow fast as shoppers get more and more comfortable with completing purchases while on the go.”
Data collected by eCommerce marketing company myThings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. and presented to ARC via email supports this prediction.
Smartphones and tablets were used in over 33% of all post-Thanksgiving sales, with tablets coming on strong in the early evening on both days. Desktop shopping was still the preferred option for a majority of bargain hunters, accounting for 64% of final purchases on Black Friday and 72% on Cyber Monday. Much like any app-based marketing company, myThings has its own agenda when it comes to pushing cross-device promotion, but the data does point to a shift in how we buy.

Multi-Device Transactions Are Not Just For Christmas

Being able to shop wherever and whenever you want is not limited to the holiday season. Far from it.
In fact, shopping is a 24/7 hobby for those that are happy to buy anything at any time. Impulse buying—while not normally a factor in choosing the perfect gift for a loved one—is ideally suited to mobile, especially if that transaction is being completed after a night out. It should be noted that there is no way to collate data on the number of people who may have bought stuff after a few beers, but the existence of online shopping experience drunkmall tells its own story.
Irrespective of when you choose to shop, having a computer in your pocket that gives you instant gratification is an accepted part of our mobile society. It should come as no surprise that retailers have increasingly moved their focus from bricks-and-mortar to digital and giving people a seamless shopping experience has become one of 2015’s marketing buzzwords.
Mobile is an ever-present device in the path to purchase. Around 33% of transactions have a mobile device involved in the initial research, with the final action occurring on a desktop.
The report said that apps generate around 58% of all revenue for retail companies that have adopted a mobile first attitude. Conversion rates are also higher through apps as compared to mobile browsers—3.7 times more transactions are conducted through a specific app, although desktops are still a significant driver of traffic.
desktop
Customer spend is also greater in an app. Criteo said that the average person will spend $116 using a dedicated retail app and only $91 and $100 in mobile browsers and desktop, respective. Around 14.4 products per potential shopper are viewed on an app and the consumer is 2.4 times more likely to add those items into their digital basket.

Smartphones: How We Buy Stuff

The mobile shopping experience is dominated by smartphones, with 56% of all transactions in Q3 coming from the palm of the hand. Criteo cites the fact that smartphone screen size has a lot to do with how we shop on mobile and says that retailers that have optimized the experience accordingly are reaping the benefits—64% of all mobile transactions are on smartphones.
In terms of how the United States is ranked against other nations, there is still some work to do, said the report. For example, mobile conversion rates in Japan are almost three times higher than the U.S., suggesting that Japanese consumers are more comfortable with using a device to shop then their American counterparts.
mobile_ecommerce
Source: State of Mobile Commerce Q3 2015
Mobile accounts for an average of 35% of all global eCommerce transactions—only Japan, the United Kingdom and South Korea breached that number in the last financial quarter. The U.S ranks 7th in the list and Critea says that this again allows for a significant amount of growth in the near future.
Cross-device purchasing is another area where the U.S. can improve. The global average for completed eCommerce transactions is 50% and the U.S. is 10th on the list behind South Korea, Brazil, Italy, France, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany and Spain. Only the first four countries have broken through the 50% mark, which implies that multiple device transactions are still not the norm for the majority of shoppers.

4 Ways To Integrate Reviews And Ratings Into Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

forbes.com
Resultado de imagen para Social Media Marketing Strategy
Online shoppers trust buyers that have first-hand experience with the products and services they are interested in buying. More than half say they always check reviews before investing in high-ticket items. Almost three-quarters say ratings and reviews are part of the drill when deciding what to buy.
According to Jason Romrell of the Telli App, an app that allows you to rate and review people in your contacts list, that’s why “it is essential that businesses get a handle on effectively integrating reviews and ratings into their overall social media strategy.” And that means going beyond simply checking your reviews and responding to complaints.
You need to strategically use this type of consumer-generated content in your social media marketing efforts. It is priceless when shared across all your platforms, leveraging your credibility exponentially.
Here is a look at four ways to make the most of your reviews and ratings by fusing them with your social media strategies.
1. Stay on top of reviews and ratings, wherever they are
Consumers rate products where they buy them because it is simple to do. Think Amazon. But they also use third party sites to write about their buying experiences. The fact that reviews are located on different websites makes it difficult to stay on top of them, but it can be done with some advance organization.
If you’re checking just Angie’s List and Yelp, you may get blindsided by a critical review left on Google+. If you aren’t monitoring it, that single negative review can convince numerous prospects that your product isn’t for them.
Research where your products and services are getting posted. Make a list and check these sites regularly. Then develop a system to respond to negative reviews and to distribute positive reviews into your social media feeds.
2. Quickly reply to negative reviews
One negative review can have more pull than a dozen positive ones. That’s why you need to answer questions and offer to solve problems as quickly as possible.
Responding right away makes your buyer feel like he is important to you. The sooner you clear up questions, find a lost shipment, replace a faulty product, the happier your customer will be.
It also makes a good impression on visitors to your site when they see how quickly you move to solve the problem, whatever it is.
3. Post positive AND negative reviews to your social media accounts.
Consumers love to read reviews. Posting them on your Facebook page, tweeting them and adding them to other accounts boosts engagement from shoppers, encouraging them to buy. According to Ephraim Tinoco, founder of Instagram promotion service IGWildfire, “We see much more engagement from posts relating to before and after or product reviews than just about any other type of Instagram post.”
As tempting as it is, you don’t want to respond only to rave reviews. If you do, you won’t look believable. Choose a few that are in the two- and three-star range. Show your visitors how you fixed the problem mentioned in the review. And at the same time be sure to thank the reviewer for his honest comments.
The more authentic you are, the more engagement you will get. Visitors are positively impressed by honesty. It builds credibility, loyalty and sales.
4. Track the response on social media to the reviews you post.
There are numerous ways to monitor the impact of the reviews you post on your social media accounts. You do it the same way you track metrics for other types of content generated by users.
To get an accurate picture, tag each review according to the product being rated, the URL for the product, its keyword and category, and by location. The more details you can measure, the better you can interpret what is working and what isn’t.
Is all this effort worth it? In a recent survey by Millward Brown, 87% of consumers said Pinterest was their go-to site for checking the advice and opinions of other shoppers. And that’s just one social media platform.
It’s a fact. Your prospects are making up their minds about what to buy by reading social media content. Make use of this behavior. Integrate real reviews and ratings into your social media feeds to increase customer engagement and get more sales.