Friday, 31 March 2017

Why app store optimisation is a missed opportunity
Mobile app usage has grown 11% YOY, according to the Flurry State of Mobile Report. And whilst people are continuing to use apps more than any other medium, search is by far the most prolific method for discoverability. According to Apple, 65% of people are downloading apps through search.
What does this mean for marketers? If you don’t have App Store Optimisation on your radar, you should. Whilst there are other popular means of app discovery: media, word of mouth, and app discovery apps, search within the app stores is by far the most common.
Although Apple and Google’s algorithms denoting app visibility in the stores are veritable black boxes, there are a lot of best practices and tactics, which have been established through good old-fashioned testing and learning. Seemingly minor adjustments to titles, descriptions, keywords and visual listing elements are resulting in measurable improvements in visibility and uptake for apps in Australia.
With Apple’s Search Ads imminent launch in this market, optimising your app listing will be increasingly important. Paid Apple Search Ads will pull directly from apps’ organic listings, and the strength of these consumer-facing assets will determine paid effectiveness.
Why ASO?
*In recent times, App stores have seen unprecedented growth. The Apple App Store saw a 40% spike in listed apps from June 2013 to June 2016. Specifically, it now boasts listings of over 2,000,000 apps. As of September 2016, the Google Play Store had over 2,400,000 apps listed.
*Looking ahead, nearly 270 billion apps are expected to be downloaded in 2017 across the globe.
At any one time within the major app store categories, an app will have hundreds of competitors in market, which is a staggering prospect for app marketers. As consumers’ attention is almost always above the fold, visibility against critical organic search terms is paramount. Enter ASO.
So where does one start?
To successfully optimise an app listing to increase visibility in the stores, app marketers should view ASO in two segments: keyword optimisation for increased discoverability and storefront optimisation for increased conversions. Focus on creating a test and learn plan for each respective app store to increase discoverability on your search result page. To convert users, focus on creating and portraying concise and enticing value propositions.
Don’t worry if you see a negative correlation between discoverability and conversion. A well-optimised app listing might increase discoverability, but it may also decrease conversions. This is not a negative result. Optimising an app listing to set authentic expectations on the values of the features and functionalities of the app should result in higher quality conversions.
These are the main factors to consider when practicing ASO:
App Title: This is perhaps the most important feature. With a maximum of 50 characters, tell users what your app does in the most concise way, or you risk them moving on to the next.
App Description: Finding the balance between too much and too little information here is key. Don’t sell yourself short, but ensure you cover off all the important bits whilst maximizing your keyword count.
App Keywords: Choosing the right keywords requires understanding your market, your competitors and popular search phrases. Choose keywords that are relevant with high search frequency.
App Reviews and Ratings: We know that your app’s ratings and reviews have a significant effect on your ranking. Thus making the analysis of your reviews to gain insights a crucial step in ASO. Understanding how users view your app can give you insights, and help to identify key themes.
App Logo and Screenshots: Capture the user’s imagination with your logo and screenshots. Your logo should stand out from the crowd. And think of your screenshots as another space on which to advertise. They don’t necessarily need to be in app shots.
App Category: Choosing a primary and secondary category for your app is crucial decision that can lead you to the right user. It can also sway your app ranking depending on the level of competition in that category.
App Publisher Name: Users can search by publisher name and so you should consider tying in apps if you have more than one.
Minimise ATL Wastage
Outside of digital and mobile channels, ASO is also critical to maximizing ATL investment. For any brands with a ‘find us in the app store’ call to action across TV, OOH, and digital campaigns, there is serious wastage involved when the consumer obliges, and is presented with a competitor with superior optimisation.
So, App marketers, it’s time to get your houses (app stores) in order to remain accessible and relevant to your savvy mobile-first consumers.

5 ways to measure customer experience with your app

Step back for a minute and ask how it would feel to be a customer using your apps.
Would it be easy to learn what your app does? Would it be easy to get in contact with you to find out more? Would your after-sales care be a positive experience?
In the digital era, the ability to provide a positive customer experience (CX) is widely regarded as the ‘holy grail’ for companies of all shapes and sizes. A recent eConsultancy survey showed that in both B2B and B2C firms, optimizing the customer experience is ranked as the most exciting opportunity for the organization.
For app developers in particular, providing a great CX is paramount—poor user experience or lack of support is likely to quickly lead to rejection of the app. This is true for both consumer and business-focused app developers.
Offering a great CX is not just a ‘nice to have’. According to a ROI study by Forrester, companies that were ranked as consistently providing a top quality experience by their customers between 2010 and 2014 grew around four to seven times faster than companies that received generally poor feedback for their CX.
So, measuring your CX and then using this information to make tweaks to your customer touchpoints is vital—and should bring you long-term benefits.

5 ways to help you measure your CX

Another Forrester study found that less than half of companies measure how their customers perceive their brand, and only 34% review their customer experience metrics regularly.
Given the benefits of improving your CX, it seems like a real wasted opportunity not to regularly measure how you’re doing and then use this to make improvements. The following tips should help you understand how customers view your company and your app.

1.    Net Promoter Score

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an index which measures how likely your customers would be to recommend your company services to their friends or work colleagues.
It’s recommended best practice to carry out an NPS survey on a quarterly basis, so you can track how perception of your brand improves (or declines) over time.
The survey should literally take your customers no more than a couple of seconds—they simply need to mark on a scale of 1-10 how likely they would be to recommend you.
If you are a B2C developer, we’d suggest issuing an NPS survey as a pop-up in your app’s home screen when the user next logs in. For B2B designers, you might find it better to send the survey as an email to existing clients, since they’ll likely be rating your company as much as the app itself.

2.    Customer satisfaction survey

We’ve all filled in a customer satisfaction survey at some point.
Since it’s a little more involved, we’d recommend aiming to release this survey less regularly than the NPS, perhaps once per year. The survey need not be long, aim for five minutes’ maximum.
Ask for general points of view on your services, how helpful (or otherwise) your staff are, how much the respondent likes the app. But, also give people space to leave comments. Let them give you written feedback on how to improve or vent negative feelings. It might sting at first, but such feedback can be highly valuable. 

3.    Customer churn rate

The churn rate is the percentage of customers of your app that stop using the app within a given timeframe (for B2C, we recommend a quarterly measurement. For B2B, we recommend annual measurement of buyers—as in, does the buyer stay with you, or do they drop you after you built one app for their users).
If that churn rate is going down over time, you can pat yourself on the back. If it’s staying the same—or going up, then you know there’s a problem to be fixed.

4.    The secret customer

This article began by asking you to imagine what it would be like to be a customer of your own app. Well, that’s exactly what a secret customer should do.
Depending on your company, you could do this in all sorts of ways. There are specialist agencies that can provide these services (for both B2C and B2B companies), you can simply ask a friend to pose as a potential customer or you can even do it yourself.
Your secret customer can provide you feedback on your marketing, on how easy it was to download and use your app, but also on the experience of working with your company. Was it easy to get answers to their questions? Were your team responsive and polite?

5.    Measure your marketing touchpoints

A great CX is about consistency in all the touchpoints customers have with you—from the actual buying experience to post-sales support, as well as your marketing. 
Maya is a free tool which helps you monitor the quality of three key customer touchpoints: your website, your social media presence and your company blog. By regularly reviewing how these touchpoints are performing, you can make incremental improvements right across your customer experience.
The Forrester Customer Experience Index is another tool which helps you benchmark your CX right across your market. 

5 Do's and Don'ts of Programmatic Advertising

Though programmatic mobile is one of digital advertising’s fastest-growing categories, many brands and agencies are still struggling to get it right. Whether due to mobile’s unique creative environment or the targeting challenges it presents, even seasoned advertisers have had trouble transferring their desktop programmatic success to smartphones and tablets.

1. DO Use Cross-Device Targeting and Attribution: Mobile empowers brands to reach their customers inside an intimate, interactive environment, but mobile audiences are nonetheless more likely to convert on desktop.
With cross-device targeting and attribution, performance marketers can retarget their audiences once they’ve switched to desktop, while ensuring that the mobile ads will get credit for moving the user closer to purchase. Cross-device targeting also allows you to set frequency caps so you don’t oversaturate consumers with too many ads across multiple devices.
2. DO Use mobile-optimized creative assets: Mobile provides a completely different user experience from desktop devices, so it’s important that your creative assets are developed with mobile delivery in mind. For best results, use small-screen sizes like 300x50 and 320x50, as well as mobile-specific interstitial ad formats. Since video completion rates are relatively low on mobile, make sure to keep your video content short.
3. DO Run in-app and mobile web campaigns: Programmatic mobile web and in-app advertising offer two very different environments, often with very different audiences. Maximize your scale and reach by utilizing both.
4. DO Make sure you’re driving consumers to a mobile optimized site: If you’ve ever had to pinch and zoom to read something on your smartphone, you know just how annoying it is when companies try to serve their desktop websites to mobile users. Chances are that your customers feel the same way.
5. DO Strategically utilize data providers and analytics partners like Adsquare and Factual: It’s impossible for any one advertiser to have all the data they need. Working with partners can help you learn more about your audience, find new groups of likely customers and even figure out how many of the people who saw your mobile ads went on to make an in-store purchase.
DON’T Use the same KPIs that you use for other channels: Your programmatic mobile campaign goals need to reflect the fact that mobile performs differently from other channels. For instance, people rarely apply for credit cards on their mobile devices, and there’s no way to track in-app conversions.
Instead, consider metrics like Click Through Rate (CTR). Framing your programmatic mobile campaigns to drive in-store or digital traffic will likely be more fruitful than solely expecting mobile conversions.
2. DON’T Forget to take full advantage of mobile-specific signals like device make, model and phone carrier: These might sound like broad categories, but they could give your campaign an edge. As an example, a hotel brand could use device model targeting to serve ads for its luxury properties exclusively to owners of the latest smartphone model.
3. DON’T Expect mobile to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution for all your campaign goals: It’s crucial to tailor what you’re trying to achieve to the strengths of mobile devices. To this end, programmatic mobile is a particularly strong channel for direct response, branding and geo-targeting. You should also consider using it to synchronize your linear TV buy with a second-screen native video campaign.
4. DON’T Treat mobile web and mobile optimized-web the same: The mobile-optimized web offers a superior user experience and much higher engagement rates than the standard mobile web. It’s usually worth paying a higher price to reach consumers in this environment.
5. DON’T Forget about all of the touch points you can use to reach your audience: The mobile ecosystem contains countless social networks, gaming apps, news sites and streaming services you can use to find your target audience -- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Craft a holistic programmatic mobile plan that engages your customers across their customer journey.
While a fully developed programmatic mobile strategy requires a little more nuance than one blogpost can provide, these tips should give you the building blocks for a successful small-screen media plan. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

How AI is affecting Mobile Applications Development and Marketing?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is well known and globally appreciated innovation which opened the door to new era of technology and introduces us to the whole new dimension of human-machine interaction. Many tech giants are betting lot of money in AI Including Google, who totally believes that AI is the future of the tech world. With the introduction of the self-driving car, Google shown a glimpse of AI driven future.

Having an intelligent assistance with yourself, all the time in your smartphone is nothing less than a dream come true. Getting daily task done with the help of intelligent apps is amazing and awe-inspiring. However, this AI feature of the app is not limited to the digital assistance but integrated with a variety of security to e-commerce apps. Most of the companies are using AI with the trending mobile app technology to ensure a more efficient and promising customer experience.
What is AI?
The word ’AI’ comes to limelight recently and make us wonder that it is some evolve or created overnight. Basically, Artificial intelligence refers to the machine or computer, able to solve the problem or task done by human using natural intelligence. The algorithms and technology synchronized in a way that it assist the humans with normal intelligence to perform a simple task without being giving an order or intimidating.
In terms of mobile applications, AI provides a high-level assistance to the user. AI is used by the companies in their app to deeply engage and ultimately retain their user.
Impact of AI on Mobile Application Development and Marketing
  • AI technology when combined with top mobile application trends in industry, it results in amazing assistance to the user in many aspects. With the basic functionality of the app, AI provides additional features to the user, by collecting and storing the different data from the user by analyzing the behavior based on how, why and when the user uses the app.
  • Information like user’s location, recent contacts, times of interaction with the apps and daily behavior taken by the AI and utilizes it to serve the user with better and specific assistance every time.
  • With the recent evolution in technology and consistent change in user demand, AI is chosen as the best and most reliable tool to enrich the app in every aspect. Retail Giants like amazon and eBay have proven the importance and strength of AI embedded apps.
  • Many IT companies are integrating AI with their top products strategically to generate maximum revenue with satisfactory and user-friendly UI. This will profit the business in terms of high user engagement with improved involvement.
  • Learning- driven app uses the algorithm which collects all the information of the user on daily basis. Then it utilizes the important details to show or push the user oriented contents regularly, which ultimately benefits the business. This also enhance the advertising, only  the content regarding the regular searched  products will be notified.
Final Thought : AI Technology & Mobile App
This powerful combination of mobile app and AI will change the face of technology in the coming time. The increasing use of AI in mobile app development have proven how essential it is for the business growth and user engagement. Siri from Apple, Google assistance, and Cortana from Microsoft are the leading example of trending mobile app technology with AI, allowing the world to get a sneak peak from future.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Six Things To Consider When Deciding Between Mobile And Desktop Marketing
Having a smartphone is like having a computer on the go. But there are key differences between desktop and mobile formats, and they extend beyond just screen size.
For marketers, reaching consumers effectively depends more and more on where they're spending their time. So should you be channeling your marketing dollars into mobile or desktop, or both? Before you decide, it's important to understand the distinctions between the two.
Below, six communications executives from Forbes Communications Council offer their insights on approaching mobile versus desktop marketing.
Clockwise from left:
All photos courtesy of the individual members.
Clockwise from left: Charlie Riley, William Topaz, Jim Nichols, Adam Mai, Cody McConnell, Holly Chessman.
1. Not every pain point is solved by building an app. 
Not every pain point is solved with an app. Understanding how your customers or prospects digest your information and purchase/engage can help you design a user experience that differs on mobile versus desktop. Building an app just for the sake of it when the same information can be found on a responsive mobile page may not solve a problem and can actually cause more frustration. - Charlie RileyLawley
2. It's all about time. 
Time is a precious gift. People sit at a desktop for long periods of time, people on tablets are less sedentary and people on smartphones are on the move. As the device shrinks, the less time you will have to make an impression. The smaller the device, the more simple and direct your message needs to be. Attention spans and bounce rates are always a concern. Distill your message to its essence for mobile. - William
3. PC and mobile are measured differently. 
The biggest distinction is in how PC is measured versus mobile. Third-party cookies are the PC standard, but largely don't work in mobile. Instead, brands rely on first-party cookie data, software development kits (SDKs) and ID-based measurement techniques. Cross-device graphs connect activity across devices. - Jim NicholsApsalar
4. Live assistance tools are used differently. 
When customers are in the late phases of making a larger purchase, you must provide adequate live assistance tools. A chat and co-browse option is great for desktop, letting you quickly answer questions before a buying decision is made. But on mobile, chat can become more challenging. Folks are more likely to use phone together with co-browse to get questions answered before sealing the deal. - Holly ChessmanGlance Networks Inc
5. Your intended audience varies based on the device. 
The biggest difference is the intended audience. Who are they and how do they absorb content like yours? Are they primarily using an 18-inch monitor to do their work, or are they glued to their mobile phone with a significantly smaller display? Knowing and understanding who they are and what they use is key. - Cody McConnellKeller International
6. Usability is affected. 
People who are on mobile do not have the same functionality as someone at a desktop. They are without a mouse to click to the next box and additional numbers are common. Marketers need to find methods to collect the same type of data on mobile as they do on desktop, but with much more ease. Marketers must simplify their campaigns as much as possible. - Adam MaiAd Exchange Group

Pinterest makes Promoted App Pins available to all advertisers

Dive Brief:

  • Pinterest announced it is opening its Promoted App Pin ad format to all marketers via a company blog post. Advertisers can buy the new ad format through the Pinterest Ads Manager or Pinterest Marketing Partners, and marketers can get reports on downstream installs from Pinterest’s mobile measurement partners AppsFlyer, Tune, Adjust, Kochava and Apsalar.
  • Pinterest tested Promoted App Pins and found that 70% of advertisers reached their install goals with the format.
  • In a market where many new mobile ad vendors offer minimal differentiation, Pinterest stands out. Thanks to audience and targeting capabilities, we were able to significantly increase yields for Gordon Ramsay DASH through Promoted Pins,” said John Parides, Head of User Acquisition, Glu Mobile, in the blog post.

    Dive Insight:

    App install is a popular ad format on social media, with major players already offering their own versions. Twitter released a new native app install ad product last SeptemberSnapchat lined up to challenge Facebook on the format by providing direct response specialists access to its API for app install ads last November.
    Pinterest has been a relatively quiet social media platform. The landscape has been crowded with noise generated by Snap Inc.’s IPO, ongoing troubles for Twitter, and Facebook regularly borrowing from the Snapchat user experience and making those features its own. Pinterest has started introducing more tools and products in an effort to expand its reach. The Promoted App Pin announcement gets it back on more even footing in terms of ad products it offers marketers. Last month it announced new search options with an eye toward driving more purchases from its users.
    Among social media platforms Pinterest has a robust influencer market and the platform is clearly betting on the power of its pins with the new roll out. The company's announcement highlighted the ability for users to discover mobile apps tied closely to content they are already engaged with as a strength, asserting that those users are more loyal over time.
    Time will tell how well the new Promoted App Pins live up to Pinterest's claims. Mobile app install ads have been on the rise, driven in part by the increasing amount of time consumers spend in apps on their mobile devices. If it can deliver on its promises, Pinterest's announcement offers marketers a potential new tool to add to their mobile arsenal. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Snapchat Has Replaced Twitter As the No. 2 Social Platform for Advertisers
Snapchat Has Replaced Twitter As the No. 2 Social Platform for Advertisers
Snap just started selling ads on its flagship Snapchat app two years ago, but it's already displacing Twitter as a second source of social ad inventory after Facebook. Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin recently spoke with the CEO of an undisclosed ad agency that's in charge of hundreds of millions in social ad spend. The source says Snap "has replaced [Twitter] as the [No. 2] social platform, although it is still too early to determine [return on investment], or how fast Snap's growth will be since [Facebook] is commoditizing Snap's best ideas."
There's a lot to unpack in that comment, but it's clearly not good news for Twitter. As Snap overtakes Twitter in advertiser preference, it makes it more difficult for the latter to reach its stated goal of GAAP profitability in 2017.
Meanwhile, Snap faces challenges of its own as it struggles to prove its return on investment for marketers and Facebook co-opts its best ideas. Here's the new social advertising food chain.
The social advertising food chain: Facebook eats Snap, Snap eats Twitter. 

Snap is eating Twitter

All of Snap's product improvements have clearly been aimed at Twitter since the company started getting serious about advertising in 2014. When Jack Dorsey took over as CEO in 2015, he said Twitter should be "as easy as looking out your window to see what's happening." But Snapchat -- with Our Story and Discover -- has arguably succeed more at that vision than Twitter.
It makes sense then that Snap is attracting the same advertisers as Twitter. And with a larger, younger, and more engaged audience, Snap is taking ad share away from the little blue bird.
Don't say I didn't warn you, Twitter investors. Snapchat's new product features since 2014 have all been aimed at engaging audiences in the same way Twitter has been focusing -- video and live. Our Story puts users right in the middle of big events around the world as they're unfolding. Twitter tried to mimic the feature with Moments, and it recently folded that product after it couldn't change user's behavior. Meanwhile, Discover (now called Publisher Stories) gave media companies a platform to showcase their best video content.
Twitter is now hyper-focused on video after de-emphasizing its direct response and promoted tweet ad products. The higher value ads might help it reach profitability in 2017, but it'll be off a smaller revenue base as Snapchat continues to steal ad revenue.

Concerns over Snap's ROI

But things aren't all roses for Snap. As Martin's source mentioned, it's still too early to tell about return on investment. The early indications aren't good, though. A recent survey from AdAge and RBC Capital found the return on investment of Snapchat ads is lower than those of nearly all of its peers, even Twitter.
Marketers big concerns are focused on measurement, targeting, and engagement. The good news for Snap investors is that the first two factors are well within Snap's control, and it's working on several tools and partnering with third-party companies to improve both measurement and targeting. But there's not much Snap can do to improve how much its users engage with Snap ads (the video ads between Stories).
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In addition, Snap ads can cost more to produce, since it sells only vertical video ads. Marketers must make special cuts of video ads to fit the format, adding to the cost of the ad campaign, thus lowering return on investment.

Facebook is taking Snap's best ideas

A big reason marketers are willing to take a flier on Snapchat ads is that the platform was growing extremely quickly. If they put a bit of work in now to develop some best practices and know-how with Snap ads, it'll pay off in the future, when Snapchat's audience is even bigger.
But the size of Snapchat could be limited as Facebook continually rolls out features across its family of apps that directly copy Snapchat's. The most popular example is Instagram Stories, which amassed 150 million daily users within five months of its launch. For reference, Snapchat had only 161 million daily users as of December.
Importantly, the growth of Instagram Stories coincided with a significant slowdown in growth at Snapchat. If Facebook's efforts continue to have a negative impact on Snapchat's growth, we may see Facebook devour Snap's revenue, as it monetizes its various Snapchat clones.
So while Snap is moving up the food chain, it needs to move fast to make sure it doesn't get eaten by Facebook. Twitter didn't move fast enough, and now it's looking at declining revenue as Snap wins the favor of marketers. If Snap can't produce the return on investment or engagement growth marketers are looking for, though, Facebook is ready to prove it can. 

What Will be Mobile App Economy by 2020?
Mobile App Economy
Mobile apps are not only restricted to the games and entertainment they constitute news, shopping, business, ventures, bank, airlines, and anything we can think of. Mobile app economy contains the whole world which includes the users one side and the providers another side, in between developers those are responsible for the ongoing evolution every day. Mobile app development and its future totally depend on Mobile app economy.
Talking about economy, mobile app economy contributes a significant portion of nation’s economy and makes a lot of jobs available. Annie app and Newzoo are the firms known for identifying the ongoing trends, analyzing the data and providing global mobile app revenue and forecast. They also put some light on smartphone penetration, global mobile app ecosystem and financial condition of mobile app industry.
Let’s have a quick insight of some mobile app economy forecast by these firms
  • According to Annie app, the global app economy will be almost double by 2020. Since 2007, mobile app industry has shifted from game & entertainment focused to a non-ending range by rapid transformation every year. With the modern app based technology gross revenue rises from $41 billion in 2016 to $101 billion by 2020. On an interesting note game app-generated revenue is expected to grow $74.6 billion in 2020.
  • As all the software related ventures and companies are targeting mobile  app and they are involving app marketing strategy in their company’s plans. Banks, airlines, food business, every business involves the app related service which directly affects the mobile app economy. This reclamation of the revenue is forecast on the basis of the users. Use of smartphones will increase in future resulting in more demands of mobile apps.
  • Why is IoT important for mobile app economy? how does it affect mobile app industry? It is predicted that count of the web-connected devices will go up to 20 billion by 2020, some of the analysts suggested this count could go actually up to 100 billion with the increasing smart device users. This enormous increment in the user will positively affect the app economy and may change the predicted revenue and set new bars.
  • India is the world’s fourth largest economy with annual figure 7.7. A Billion downloads in 2016 and will go to 20.1 billion by 2020. China, US, and Brazil are the only countries have bigger app economy than India. The wrong perception regarding the time spent on browsers,  the Indian people spent 93% of the time on the app same as the rest of the world (only 7% comes from the browsers). Annie discloses that 25% of Android users in India uses at least one ride app ( Uber, Ola etc.) which highest among all the four biggest app economy countries.
  • The number of app downloads will increase dramatically in the coming years which will directly skyrocket the global app revenue. By 2020 the app downloads will be 284 billion across the globe, developing countries such as China and India will play a crucial role in this massive expansion. Smartphone penetration with the affordable devices based on android platforms will be important in these countries to grow maximum revenue.
Mobile app industry is going to explode by 2020 in terms of revenues and downloads, if you are brand or business and yet to develop an app or app strategy you should consider it immediately. The mobile apps going to be future of brands or business and consumer interaction as the use of smartphones and apps are increasing at rapid rate day by day.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Instagram Is Set to Make a Killing in Advertising in 2017

Instagram is growing advertisers and users at a rapid clip, and that bodes well for revenue growth.

Facebook doesn't disclose how much revenue Instagram generates, but if the numbers it does provide are any indication, it's a lot. Most recently, the company announced it surpassed 1 million active advertisers. That's up from 500,000 just six months ago and 200,000 around this time last year.
Instagram's rapid advertiser growth is accompanied by an acceleration in its user growth. The company added 100 million new users in six months to reach 600 million by the end of 2016. Of those users, 400 million log in daily.
While Instagram doesn't have as many users as its parent company had when it reached 1 million active advertisers, expectations aren't nearly as high as the ad revenue Facebook produced that year ($7 billion). But if Instagram even comes close to that number, it would produce a huge impact on its parent company's top line.
An example Instagram Business Profile shown on a smartphone

A pipeline of advertisers headed straight to Instagram

One reason for Instagram's rapid adoption among advertisers is the pipeline of 4 million active advertisers on Facebook. Aa Facebook faces ad load saturation on its main app, marketers have more reasons to experiment with Instagram advertising. Facebook can provide the same targeting capabilities on Instagram as it does on its flagship platform, but there's more available inventory on Instagram.
Example of an Instagram photo ad
That's not to say Instagram hasn't done a good job on its own. It says it has 8 million businesses with profiles -- the equivalent of Pages on Facebook. For comparison, Twitter said it had identified 9 million active businesses on its social network around this time last year.
But where Instagram has already converted 1 million of them into advertisers, Twitter only had 130,000 active advertisers as of the end of 2015. It hasn't provided an update since.
Instagram's outperformance can be (at least partially) attributed to the pipeline of advertisers coming from Facebook. With over 4 million businesses actively advertising on Facebook and over 60 million Pages, there are still plenty more advertisers for Instagram to court.

How important is Instagram's growth to Facebook?

As mentioned, Facebook is facing ad load saturation on its flagship platform. There's no more room for it to squeeze in ads without negatively impacting user engagement.
As such, Instagram will be a major revenue growth driver going forward. Analyst estimates for Instagram's revenue in 2017 average nearly $4 billion. Credit Suisse is on the high end, with an estimate of $6.4 billion. With the rapid growth in users and advertisers and the strong adoption of new features like Stories, Instagram may outperform the consensus estimates.
Overall, analysts expect Facebook to generate about $37.9 billion in total revenue, up from $27.6 billion in 2016. Instagram alone could easily account for around 20% of Facebook's total revenue growth based on estimates of $1.8 billion in revenue last year.
If Instagram keeps growing at the pace it's been (500,000 advertisers and 100 million new users every six months) it could contribute much more to Facebook's growth. While it won't completely offset the impact of Facebook's ad load saturation problem, the company should experience another year of very strong revenue growth thanks to its photo-sharing app. In the meantime, it can work on monetizing its messaging apps to keep the revenue growth engine churning for years to come.

It's the same old story for mobile payments adoption
Stop me if you've heard this one before: You're more likely to go back home to retrieve your smartphone than the wallet you left behind.
For years now, executives, industry analysts and the media have cited this overused — and misleading — statement as a primary driver for widescale consumer adoption of proximity mobile payments in the U.S.
Guess what? We're nowhere near that reality today. And now The Boston Federal Reserve is here to remind us why.
During a 12-month period between June 2015 and May 2016, the Boston Fed Payments Strategies group conducted a "mobile-digital wallet analysis project" in which six people tested mobile payments. The test included proximity and remote purchases using a variety of methods, such as Amazon, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Masterpass, Samsung Pay, PayPal and Visa Checkout.
Elisa Tavilla, an industry consultant for the Boston Fed Payments Strategies group, concluded in a report that while members of her team continue to use their mobile and digital wallets regularly, none is ready to leave his or her physical wallet at home.
And while mobile payments adoption has grown since the group concluded its test, some of the issues raised in the report persist as we approach the end of the first quarter of 2017.
Let's examine three key findings that stood out:
  • Consumers and employees need more education on how mobile and digital wallets work if the market is to achieve mass adoption. Tavilla wrote in the report that "staff training on the Pay wallets varied, even within the same store location."

    Cashiers at one chain (and at different locations, no less) told team members that Apple Pay wouldn't work with their POS system, even though the terminals displayed the Apple Pay logo. In each instance, team members did, in fact, complete such transactions.

    Tavilla said that had those team members been typical consumers and unfamiliar with Apple Pay transactions, "they would have used an alternate form of payment and perhaps been discouraged from trying again."
  • Features such as robust loyalty and rewards features can help to build adoption. While this has become a popular suggestion for increased consumer adoption, implementation has been inconsistent. However, this is starting to change.

    Samsung Pay added Samsung Rewards last fall. Blackhawk Network and Apple are working together to integrate loyalty rewards into Apple Pay, though we haven't seen any real-world examples of this partnership since it was announced in December.

    Tavilla mentioned in her report that Kohl's is helping to set a precedent with loyalty and rewards for big-box retailers. And of course, we all know about Starbucks.
  • Consumers look for a retailer that sells what they want to buy, not one that accepts their digital or mobile wallet. Tavilla's conclusion is accurate, though I do believe there are exceptions.

    I've mentioned in previous commentaries how much I love Sweetgreen, not only for its salads, but also for its mobile app and associated rewards program. I will go out of my way to visit a Sweetgreen for these reasons.

    It’s possible that the right combination of product and rewards can change consumer behavior on a large scale.
In the end, I found myself nodding my head in agreement when I read Tavilla's report. Her team encountered many of the same problems I've faced when using mobile payments in store.
When retail associates are uncertain how mobile wallets work, confusion is sure to follow. And constant employee turnover in the retail sector doesn't help.
I believe mobile payment and wallet providers of all kinds need to get more serious about their marketing efforts. A more hands-on approach is needed.
Why not do something like Visa did a couple of years ago at the Super Bowl in San Jose, when it showed fans visiting the game's fanfest how to load a payment card into Samsung Pay?

This kind of marketing could go a long way toward increasing consumer adoption.