Friday, 9 November 2012

Calling All Developers - AppsFuel HTML5 Challenge Now Open

Round 2 of HTML5 App Challenge is announced.

The overall winning app will participate in the prestigious Mobile Premier Awards, to be held in Barcelona in 2013.

Barcelona, November 07, 2012: The second round of the HTML5 App Challenge has begun. Developers, startups and app businesses can now submit their apps for the next round of the competition. The challenge is open to all developers, professionals or business startups with a functioning HTML5 app optimised for smart phones or tablets.

AppCircus and AppsFuel have launched the HTML5 App Challenge to find the best apps written in HTML5, the programming language that will power many of tomorrow’s mobile web applications.

By submitting their HTML5 app to the competition, developers will have the chance to be among the first to use the AppsFuel Payment API, giving them the ability to start monetising their apps in supported territories, no matter where they are based.

The HTML5 App Challenge is a three-month online competition, ending December 20, with the next deadline for submission being November 26. Each month a winning app will be chosen via online voting. The overall winning app will participate in the prestigious Mobile Premier Awards, to be held in Barcelona in 2013.

To submit apps and find out more about the competition go to HTML5 App Challenge page.

AppCircus is the world’s largest travelling competition for applications. The event serves as a showcase for new app developers to premier their latest creations in front of mobile industry experts, angel investors and other developers. Since it began in 2010, there have been over 100 AppCircus events around the world in over 30 countries, with over 2,500 apps submitted.
For more information, please contact:

AppsFuel is a new marketplace – device and OS independent – featuring only top quality HTML5 Apps.

With AppsFuel, users will find it easy to browse categories, read reviews, find their favourite apps and share them on social media, knowing all their friends can use them, because AppsFuel apps work on any smartphone.

For developers, AppsFuel is an open and simple platform to use for distribution of mobile web applications and monetisation via carrier billing, an exclusive feature of AppsFuel.

By joining AppsFuel, developers will enjoy an unprecedented direct connection to their customers, always providing them the latest version, as well as the flexible payment options of carrier billing, soon to be available in more than 25 countries. What’s more, the "write once, deploy everywhere" nature of the platform will massively reduce the cost of creating, versioning and maintaining applications.
For more information, please contact:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Subscription Services - Not as easy to be subscribed as some make out.

There is a lot of pressure on content providers these days, unlike a couple of years ago when a subscriber would simply sms a keyword in order to be subscribed to a club - these days there are a number of hurdles in place that literally should stop any potential subscriber in their tracks.

The regulation, which is very similar in most countries, stipulates that there has to be a double opt in process. What this means is that there has to be an authorization process that verifies and authenticates any potential subscriber before they join a service.

Not only does a company have to abide by the regulatory bodies (i.e. WASPA in South Africa), but they also have the Business rules of the networks to abide by, the consumer protection act, the National Lotteries Act, the  advertising standards authority etc.

This makes doing business in this landscape exceptionally difficult as one has to abide by not one set of regulations but many just to get a customer in to your world.

Some companies, like Via Media, Integrat, Bee Mobile, Zed, Strike Media, Sprint Media, Natta and Buongiorno are some examples of companies that are working in this area.

These companies achieve a feat very few others are able to do -and that is survive in an environment that is technically geared to stop them from trading - and yet they still manage to survive.

In my opinion it is the likes of these companies that are the leaders, drivers and innovators of marketing, of acquisition and conversion.

You want to know how to shift your business - look at what these guys are doing - BUT heaven forbid you try to replicate what they do - because you'll have to jump through hoops, walk on coals and swim with piranha - just to get yourself wet. Surviving all that is an entirely  different story.

I've included a rough schematic flow of the process an online user has to follow - to join one of these services... below;

Now, you tell me - just how easy is it to join a subscription service?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Mobile Industry is Cooking!

The Mobile Industry is Cooking! One just has to review any one of the popular blogging forums and you'll see that.

The ad Networks are in a very comfortable space with brand spend increasing rapidly. I've seen increase in brand spend of well over 1000% between 2009 and now which is remarkable.
The only concern I have is with regards to the integrity of data that we are being fed by most of these ad networks. I have have seen targeted South African campaigns delivering users from Kuwait, Vietnam, Kazakstan, Tehran, India and many other countries where the campaign would have little or no reference. This needs to be challenged!

In terms of Brand KPI's it may be easy to overlook these things as the results themselves will blow any other medium well out of the water! Last year we ran a campaign for SA Tourism, our very small budget out performed any other medium significantly. Web brought in about 200,000 users and mobile in excess of 2.2 million visits - within a 4 week period. This is the power of Mobile!

The KPI's were pretty much all based on engagement and number of entrants into a competition which worked exceptionally well however if you are measuring conversion against Cost and Payback periods - well then this area becomes quite interesting as the variances move dramatically based on available inventory, quality of publishers and users browsing those sites.

There are a number of ad networks out there which make it even more of a challenging decision as to where to place your advertising. I personally look at their publishers as this gives one a fair idea of the quality of user engagement one can expect to receive. I think it would be safe to say that Admob/Google and iAds would be your safest bet as they have the cleanest inventory and consistency in output.

Another thing to be aware of is that there are a number of 'ad-networks" that lay claim to millions of publishers, billions of impressions, blah blah blah..... ask them if any of the top ad networks back fill into their platform? Ask them if they use any of the top ad networks to distribute their adverts. 9 out of 10 times you'll find that the Admob/Google's of the world are back filling into these platforms and they 'the media owner' lays claim to their numbers and not the 'Actual' statistics of their property - which should be concerning for large Brand as the integrity of that property should be checked.

At the end of the day its not all bad, as your costs in mobile are relatively low and if you spread your budgets across a couple of networks you'll soon realise which are the ones that perform and which are the ones costing you money. Its a relatively new space, with every Tom Dick and Harry trying to "cash-in" on mobile - what will separate the serious contenders from the inexperienced and or fly by nighters will be the performance of your ad spend which needs to be measured against very specific KPI's.

So be aware - be very aware - ask for examples and case studies prior to jumping into any mobile advertising commitments.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Intermission: Admob Acquires Adwhirl

Mail I received from Admob today, very interesting;

"Over the past several months we have listened closely to the developer community to better understand the role of mediation in the mobile ecosystem. As a developer myself, I definitely understand how mediation is a valuable tool for developers, and our goal at AdMob is to provide developers with choice and control over their inventory, and help them efficiently maximize their revenue.
We appreciate everyone's patience as we evaluated the mediation options that existed in the market and tried to work through what would be best for the industry. From my perspective as a developer, I realize that the lack of clarity in terms of the direction AdMob would take with mediation was not convenient for you. Unfortunately we could not share many details as we spoke with key mediation players due to the sensitive nature of these conversations. This evaluation process brought us to what I believe will be a key moment in the future of monetization tools for app developers.

I am happy to announce that AdMob has acquired AdWhirl, and in addition to maintaining AdWhirl's current functionality, we will soon offer iPhone application developers a much needed open source mediation solution.

Offering an open source solution will enable us to ensure advertisers and publishers a high quality experience with mobile advertising and publishing, and introduce an open, transparent choice into the market which has not existed to date. The open source solution will be available for all iPhone app developers and advertising networks, whether they currently work with AdMob directly or not.

We will have details regarding our open source solution, including the additional functionality we plan to offer, within the coming weeks. Developers currently using AdWhirl will soon have full support for AdMob ads. Developers with questions or feedback can continue to reach us at

As always, AdMob's focus is on furthering the growth of the mobile ecosystem, and providing a comprehensive suite of tools for both advertisers and publishers is a critical part of this. This is an important milestone for us that builds on the publisher tools we've given publishers over the last year, such as House Ads, Download Tracking and rich media iPhone ad units. Our hope is that this open source mediation solution will further ensure that developers can easily and effectively promote their apps, monetize their traffic, and overall further the growth of their businesses. For those of you who are current AdMob partners, thank you for your business; and to those of you who will be new to AdMob, we're looking forward to working with you.


Thursday, 13 August 2009

What is Mobile Marketing - Actually? Part two

Part TWO

USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)
Following on from Part ONE and messaging, USSD is a form of messaging that can be utilised across all handsets and is a solid tool for engaging with users. Practical application of utilisation of USSD is topping up of pre-paid airtime, setting up of one’s phone for WAP or Multimedia i.e. *123# (MTN) or *111# (Vodacom) and many other applications. The only problem I have with USSD is that it can be relatively clumsy for the user in the sense that one needs to have a form of reference to remember the USSD string which can be relatively long and if not used regularly by the users it’s sure to be forgotten.

Content has always been at the forefront in the multimedia space with the likes of ringtones, wallpapers and games and is commonly associated with a premium rated SMS SHORT-CODE which is used to manage the authorisation of the premium for the content you wish to download. In the Mobile Marketing space it is crucial to identify what sort of content you are providing i.e. an advert, instructional video, music, music video, wall papers etc.. And then make sure you provide it for free. The content element within mobile marketing generally forms part of the value add to users and with the success of social networks mobile offers a perfect platform to users to submit their own content.

Applications are the talk of the town at the moment particularly with specific regard to the iPhone and Android based phones. There is a debate going round as to whether one should deploy applications or focus on mobile web however I’m not going to enter into that discussion here. Applications provide quick access to the online environment and as examples one can look at Facebook, The Grid, MxIt, FireID, Pocit, Fring, Nimbuzz, Google Maps, Vufone, and Gravity as classic examples. The only comment I have to make about an application is that although it is designed to operate 24/7 they generally use massive battery resource and if you have a couple of them running at the same time you’ll be charging your phone every hour or so. Applications are utilised (in my opinion) as glorified book marks based on what I have just mentioned above and as such ask yourself whether the money you are about to spend on application development, is justified – when in fact you could have a widget which fulfils the same or a similar role.

LBS although defined as a product should be viewed more as an extension of a service where location is relevant. I personally believe that this is the future for mobile services particularly in the tourism and events space however there is one complexity that is holding the uptake back a little – and that is the cost of the location look-up. What this translates to is an undefined cost to any brand or service provider... However I do believe that this will change in time to come.

Probably one of the most powerful mediums within the mobile marketing space is the ability to deliver a voucher to a user’s handset. A Voucher is a tool that can be used to encouraging users to fulfil a very specific call to action which means that it can be used to help drive impulse buying, and or provide value in the form of discounts. There are various types of Vouchers that can be utilised, SMS, MMS, Bar-Code) however the one element that has been prohibitive in this form of element truly taking wings is the ability of the retail outlet to redeem the voucher – securely without giving any margin for pilferation. I believe if the retail outlets get behind this form of medium and train their staff on the redemption processes we’ll see an upsurge in the utilisation of vouchers.

This is another fascinating element in the mobile space and exceptionally powerful in that you have the ability to set up panels who in turn have the ability to set up their own networks or user groups. Considering the size of the mobile market it boggles my mind as to why Research companies have not adopted mobile research platforms fully as this environment can yield outstanding results in exceptionally quick periods of time. The mechanisms that can be used in this environment are; Mobile Online, SMS and USSD.

CRM/Profiling is a tool utilised for effectively engaging with customers and allows the brand to manage and track all levels of engagement. This tool provides for real-time information giving brands the ability to track and manage the success of the campaign. You are able to profile users in the mobile environment and understand their behaviour and trends allowing you to engage in a relevant manner with customers. It is important to note as with SMS that although you are able to profile your user - your level of engagement should always be non intrusive and at the same time relevant.

In this day and age it is hard to believe that there are people out there without a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail address. The portal element is a handy mechanism that facilitates a mobile intranet type of environment allowing business or social groups/committees to communicate directly with each other without any other clutter.

Mobile banner ad placement is generally used for acquisition of new customers by placing banner adverts on various platforms such as Admob, Buzz City, Vodafone Live, The Grid, MxIt etc. to encourage users to click through to the Online environment. This is one of the most important elements to any form of mobile marketing as this is the tool that gets users into your online environment. In Part 3 I’ll demonstrate how to effectively use this element within your mobile campaigns but now I am going to point out that not only are banner adverts used for acquisition but also within your own mobile environment if applied effectively they can be used to advertise a competition, highlight a news feed or drive traffic to specific areas within your Mobi-site (in essence becoming your own call to action element).
If you are intent on becoming a publisher and have 50,000 unique visitors a month then the banner advert within your Mobi-site could be used to derive additional revenues for you similarly to the online environment where you become a mobile online publisher. My only word of advice would be if you were to do that, please ensure that the adverts served are relevant to the content within your environment.

As you can see there are a number of elements one can use, either on their own or wrapped up to bolster the mobile campaign. There are a lot more elements and I could go into more detail but my objective is to provide an overview of what I do... and this has to be one of the longest elevator pitches I have ever delivered... look out for Part 3 - wrapping it all up.