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Why Everyone’s Talking about Snapchat’s Latest Update

A new year equals a new you. This is the case with one of the most popular social media platforms, Snapchat. Recently, the company announced updates to the app which will be released in the near future on iOS and Android.

What’s new?

The most groundbreaking change in the update is the addition of a universal search bar that allows users to find friends and people they want to follow. Another new change is the inclusion of a quick access chat directory screen, which lists out friends, groups, and contacts.

 

This update is great for businesses and startups. As users can discover other profiles easier, the new search bar will allow users to also discover businesses, allowing them to increase their brand and content exposure.

 

At this stage, Snapchat hasn’t announced plans for ads in search. However, this will be highly likely to be implemented as a response to Instagram, who is planning to implement advertisements in their Stories feature.

 

Another update has been added to the “Our Story” feature, where users can submit snaps wherever they are at any time. Snaps curate based on holidays, events and what’s trending around the world. This will provide businesses with the opportunity to utilise creative occasion-based marketing and create user engagement.

 

One of the main reasons for the update could be to improve the app’s user experience. On the business end, this could be a tool to motivate businesses to produce more content. The final reason might be a move to help Snapchat keep up with its close competitors.

At the end of the day, only time will tell.

 

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We’re also now on Snapchat! Connect with us by scanning the Snapcode below.

7 Apps Entrepreneurs Need on their Next Business Trip

As an entrepreneur, you might be required to travel to different locations to meet with customers or clients. In the past, we had to rely on physical maps, travel guides and notepads which might take up space in our luggage. Luckily for us, we can now access all those tools on our smartphone.

There are a variety of travel apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores that can make your bags lighter and make your trip more efficient. We’ve done the groundwork and compiled a list of seven mobile apps that you should have on your mobile devices the next time you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

 

1. Uber

If you’re not hiring a car, Uber is the app for all your transportation needs. As one of the most popular on-demand ridesharing apps, you can save time waiting for taxis or public transport and also could save money. With its intuitive UI design, you’ll be able to request your Uber at the touch of a button and track the driver as they arrive at your pickup location.

Compared to a taxi, you’ll pay a fixed fare and will be able to know how much it costs before travelling. Payment is all done through your credit card via the app so you won’t have to use cash. You can choose to ride economically, luxuriously or carpool with other passengers. With Uber you can save money and ride to your next meeting with style.

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Uber gets you where you need to be at a lower cost

2. Tripit

Tripit is a very useful that allows you to input and access travel plans on your smartphone with ease. It’s one of my personal favourites that I always use when going on trips. You can add essential information, such as flight itinerary, hotel reservations and contact information all on your smartphone or tablet.

Tripit is very easy to use and setup. All you need to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to a specified Tripit email and it will create a master itinerary for you. Your plans and itineraries are shareable to others, which means your family, friends, managers and co-workers will know where you are. Tripit boosts your efficiency, allowing you to stay ahead of your travel plans.

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Tripit helps you stay ahead of your itinerary

3. Evernote

With its recognisable app icon, Evernote is one of the most popular productivity apps for entrepreneurs that is available for free for Android, Apple and Windows phones. The app allows you to take notes, create to-do lists, add meeting minutes, set reminders and capture your thoughts while you travel.

You won’t need to worry about losing your notes because they’re stored on a cloud server and accessible on multiple devices. Evernote comes in three different plans; Free, Plus and Premium, which varies in pricing, features, and data uploads. One of the standout features, which is only available in the premium tier, is the ability to scan and digitise business cards into your phone.

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Evernote keeps your notes organised and improves your productivity

4. Google Maps

If you’re trekking into an unfamiliar location you’ll need an app that can help you get to your destination. Here’s where Google Maps comes into play. With this app, you won’t need a map or directory ever again. The app lets you easily find your way from point A to B in a matter of seconds. It also delivers real-time information on traffic, public transport and even identifies points of interests.

Finally, you can use it offline by downloading maps to your phone in case you don’t have wifi or mobile data available. Like Google Translate, this app is preloaded onto android phones and available on the iTunes store. With this app, you’ll never get lost again.

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 Google Maps helps you get from A to B efficiently

5. Tunnelbear VPN

It’s a good idea to use a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) if you rely on public wifi for social media, email, and web browsing.  Essentially, a VPN helps encrypt the internet data on the connection you’re using, allowing you to use the internet privately and more securely. Another of my personal favourites is Tunnelbear, which I use every time I travel overseas. It’s free, easy to use and visually appealing. The free plan limits your usage to 500 MB each month but you can gain more data by tweeting the company on Twitter or subscribing to their paid plans for unlimited data. 

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 Tunnelbear helps you browse privately overseas

6. Skype

Whenever you’re away from the office, you might want to communicate with your colleagues, customers or even family. If you don’t want to be billed for long distance overseas calls and only at your location for a few days, you’ll need to download Skype. The app allows you to make calls, video calls and chat through instant messenger with other users on your smartphone or tablet.

Skype also offers cheap rates if you use Skype to call landlines and mobile numbers. You can make a free account or opt in for the paid option called “Skype for Business”, where you can hold online meetings and create accounts for all employees.

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 Skype lets you stay in contact with your family, friends and colleagues wherever you are

7. Google Translate

Nǐ míng bái wǒ shuō de ma? If you didn’t understand what that meant, then it’s a good idea to use the translating app, Google Translate. Using the app will help you translate the Chinese phrase at the start to “Do you understand what I’m saying?”. It’s easy to get start translating foreign words. Just type or say what you want to be translated and it will do the work for you. 

One of its innovative features is that you can also translate words using your device’s camera. This can help if you’re not sure what words mean on street signs or posters.  This app will help when communicating with foreign clients to ensure there isn’t any miscommunication.

This app is already preloaded onto Android devices and is available to download on the iTunes store

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Google Translate helps you to communicate with locals overseas

 

There you have it, the 7 apps that entrepreneurs should have on their next business trip. With these apps you’ll be prepared for any journey.

Bon Voyage!

Do you use any of these apps? Are there any other apps you’d recommend?

Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

5 Reasons App Development Should Be Your #1 Business Strategy

Are you caught up in the thought that only corporations with an abundance of financial backing need to create an app? Think again. In this post, we outline five reasons why all businesses, big and small, should make Mobile App Development a top priority in 2016.

A 2008 study by Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey found that 69% of users only used their mobiles for voice calling and SMS. In 2014, the same survey found that 7% of users only made use of their mobile for voice calling and SMS. Why is there a huge change in just six years?

Thanks to the rise of the smartphone we can now be connected to the Internet at all times. The way we make use of this connection on our phones is through mobile apps.

81% of Australians now own a smartphone with mobile apps playing a key role in how we go about our daily lives. Mobile apps can help us do chores and order food all with a few clicks on my phone.

But it’s not just smartphone users who can benefit from apps. Businesses can too.

Many businesses still prioritise the desktop/laptop experience for customers over mobile. However, mobile Internet access has overtaken desktop in 2014. with 21% of users now only accessing the net via their mobile devices.

That’s where the benefit lies for businesses. Having a mobile app that is beneficial for customers and a potential revenue generator must become a top priority for any business to consider, from local start-ups to multinational corporations.

Here are five reasons why your business must have a Mobile App Development strategy.

 

1. Internet use is occurring more on Mobile than Desktop – You need a mobile strategy to not miss out on this audience.

Desktop is dead! Long live mobile! While it might not be quite that bleak, it’s not far away from being reality. Mobile is now king when it comes to how users make use of the Internet.

Your customers are waking up to social media notifications on their mobile, looking at their emails over breakfast and making use weather apps to check if they need an umbrella – all just a few moments before leaving for work. You’re probably even reading this blog on your mobile right now.

Take a moment to look around at your fellow commuters the next time you walk onto a train. I’m betting you’ll see that their eyes are glued to their phones. Soon your eyes will be entrenched on your phone too. The point is, people spend a tonne of time on their mobile phones and they are now truly intrinsic to our everyday lives.

But what does that mean for your business?

Firstly, there is a large audience out there, whose daily Internet use is done largely through mobile apps, which your business is missing out on. And let’s not forget that 21% of users who exclusively access the Internet via their mobile.

Secondly, having a web presence is simply no longer good enough for small to medium size businesses. Many businesses are still creating and relying on websites, without the knowledge that developing a mobile app would be far more efficient and effective at targeting a mobile app-driven market.

Thirdly, and most importantly, it means that there is now an opportunity. Opportunity for your business to develop a mobile strategy that will help market your product to a large audience that is yet to be reached by your competitors and will only become more mobile-focused for years to come.

Long live mobile apps!

 

2. Mobile notifications allow you to connect with customers 24/7, 365 days a year.

Does your business struggle to bring in new customers or reconnect with old ones? This is a problem for businesses worldwide as traditional forms of advertising are becoming less effective.

But with strategic mobile notifications, connecting with customers is easier and more effective than ever before.

Before mobile, traditional forms of customer engagement included flyers, catalogues and emails. They are still used today, but the fact is that mobile notifications are the most efficient method of connecting with customers. Mobile notifications are also more effective at capturing and engaging users too.

Customers can so easily put down a catalogue or just delete an email. Not to mention the fact that you constantly have to produce new and engaging content for these forms of advertising.

How about that email marketing campaign you’re running? According to Smart Insights, it’s only getting a click thru rate of 3% to your website from recipients. In comparison, check out the infographic below to see how effective mobile notifications are.

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Your eyes are not deceiving you – mobile app notifications really do get an incredible 6% Click Thru Rate across all industries. Source: Accengage

Mobile app notifications have a click thru rate of 6%. That’s twice as effective as that email marketing campaign you’re spending so much time and money on.

With mobile notifications, there are constant alerts and interaction between your business and its customers in real time – 24/7, 365 days a year.

You can nudge your customers to do something, remind them of an upcoming service or even provide offers exclusive to mobile users. The options are endless when it comes to using mobile notifications.

Mobile notifications are here, they’re effective and are ready to be used on your potential app. So what are you waiting for?

 

3. Apps have customer’s full attention and improve customer engagement.

15.3 million Australians own a smartphone, but just how engaged are we with them? I called out my fellow commuters for being engrossed in their phones but I have the evidence to back it up.

Below is a table displaying how much time a month users are spending on their mobiles and how they use them. You might be surprised by the amount.

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Source: Nielsen

That’s 36 hours a month spent on smartphones, with users spending 33 hours of that time on mobile apps.

Further analysis by Deloitte found that Australians look at their smartphone more than 30 times a day on average, with all our daily views combined making a total of 440 million views a day.

What if Australians were spending some of those 33 hours or 440 million views on your business’s mobile app? With the right app, this possibility can easily become a reality.

While it’s clear that mobile apps have our attention, it’s important to understand why certain apps have our attention and how they improve customer engagement.

The great thing about an app is that your customer is locked into your app while using it. They can’t just open up another tab or look up something else, like they can on a desktop or laptop.

Once customers are using an app, the best ones keep them engaged enough to understand the value of the app, without the desire to search for an alternative.

You can keep users engaged with your app in a number of ways.

Apps that provide value to customers are always the biggest engagement winners. Whether it’s having a mobile store that provides a streamlined shopping experience or a loyalty system that incentivises ongoing purchases, provide value to app users will keep them returning for that same value again and again.

Remember that dinner reservation I mentioned before? It was done in a few easy clicks and without that loud, tedious phone call to the busy restaurant. Now that’s value right there.

Mobile notifications keep your customers engaged and help to reconnect with users. They are attention grabbing and remind customers of your products/services in a more personalised and strategic manner.

My personal favourite are in-app rewards. The offer of a small reward, eg. 10% off for ordering through an app, is another highly effective method to keep customers engaged.

At the end of it all, creating more interesting and sophisticated apps that provide the customer with real value will command the attention of users, keep them using your app and generate revenue for your business.

 

4. Mobile apps can be personalised for each user, creating a better user experience.

No two people are the same. So why give everybody the same experience? With apps, you can personalise the customer experience, generate a loyal user base and, ultimately, provide a better performing app.

Again, we bring it back to making the customers life better or easier. If the app is more tailored to the user, then it’s easier for them to perceive the benefits it provides.

A major hurdle in personalisation is the log in process. Customers have to log into a website every time they come back to use it. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got better things to do than continuously log back into websites.

With a mobile app, your customers only need to log in once to access their account and make use of the app. The best form of log in is through a social network (E.g. Facebook) as this provides your app with rich user data to aid the personalisation process.

A personalised app can use data to understand details about your customer. You can find out likes/dislikes, where they are using your app and time spent in the app.  Additionally, you can gain personal information, such as birthdays and gender. Your app continuously responds to this information and creates a constant personalised experience for the user.

There are no limits for how personalised an app can be to each user.

You can even use personalisation as a marketing engagement tool. Mobile notifications can be personalised to each user to increase click thru rate and create cost-effective mobile marketing campaigns.

When investing in a mobile app for your business, make sure your app provides a personalised user experience.

 

5. Stand out from the competition.

Mobile app development gives your business the opportunity to stand out in your industry and gain the competitive edge.

More small business owners are recognising the response digital media advertising garners from consumers and are keen on making use of that strong response. Instagram advertising is being embraced by small businesses, but soon too will mobile app development.

Mobile apps at small business level are still rare, but by being the first to adopt a mobile app strategy, your business can stand out from the competition and validate your brand to its customers.

A great app also helps businesses differentiate themselves from competitors. If your business offers a great service and an enticing app that provides real value, then customers will flock to your business in droves.

Ultimately, having your own app means that your business will be a step ahead of its competitors and be perceived as a forward-thinking business in your industry. That’s the power great mobile apps have.

Look at Netflix. The DVD-by-mail business was failing badly in 2011 and looked in dire straits. However, the company embraced mobile apps, which led them to be an iconic company. They have also dominated the DVD and online video industry, which made Blockbuster go bankrupt.

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Netflix subscription rates have increased significantly since the introduction of its mobile apps. Source: Daily Tech

I’m not saying that you need an app to bankrupt your competitors, but I’m sure that you would like a way for your business to one-up the competition.

This is all possible with your own app. Embrace the idea and be ready to stand out.

 

Key Takeaways

Mobile apps are the future of how we use the Internet and connect with customers in the online world.

There should always be a place for desktop in business strategy, but with mobile apps taking on greater relevance in our lives, your business must have a mobile app strategy to remain relevant in today’s ever connected digital world.

Being an early adopter of a mobile app strategy helps your business stand out competition and open up opportunities.

Remember – there’s nothing holding back your competitors from developing an app of their own. Nothing should be holding you back either.

Do you have any other reasons why businesses should adopt a mobile app strategy? Feel free to leave us a comment below.

An App Entrepreneur’s Guide to Facebook Marketing

To advertise your app successfully on Facebook, you need to understand Facebook’s unique opportunities, and how it differs from other marketing channels. Within this guide, we highlight the core aspects of Facebook mobile app marketing, explaining the process from start-to-finish and providing tools to scale your operations towards sustainable and cost-effective ad campaigns.

 

More and more business are moving their budgets away from traditional advertising channels and increasing their social spending. According to eMarketer, Facebook’s social platform commands the highest market share in mobile ad spend with 37%. Why is this the case?

It’s simple: Facebook Advertising works.

However, putting together a Facebook campaign is no small task if you’re attempting to scale operations and maximise your ads’ ROI. When you’re trying to get people to download your app, every user – and every dollar – counts.

The upside is clear — Facebook is something you want to explore if you’re looking to grow user adoption. But if this is your first foray into paid acquisition or Facebook ads in general, it can be daunting to set everything up.

But worry not — the following step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the Facebook campaign creation process from conception to execution.

 

Finding your uniqueness

So here’s something you probably already know from scrolling through your Facebook Newsfeed: Most users only spend one second on an ad before moving on. This is an extremely short window of time to grab their attention, show value, and get them to take action.

The best way to capture a user’s attention is to provide a clear message. As discussed in How To Optimise App Store Screenshots, the visuals should depict what the user will get from your app. If your app is a mobile game, your ad better show off the core gameplay. This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how an ad transforms when people brainstorm visuals — a smiling guy, multiple tag lines, the presence of a phone etc. These visuals may be valid in the right context, but when put together, add noise that confuses your message.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.32.18 am✗ Cluttered with too many tag lines                  ✓ Shows value and prompts user action

So how do you achieve clarity? You identify your unique selling point, or USP. This is something you offer that your competitors don’t, or something your competitors don’t do well. It’s what sets you apart in the marketplace, but also the core of your app’s experience.

As part of our Rocketfuel Workshops, I help entrepreneur’s determine the USP of their app product by applying the following 5-step process:

  1. List the features and benefits that are unique about your product or service. Do a Google search and compare your features and benefits with your direct competitors. Identify the benefits that set you apart.
  2. Decide what emotional need is being specifically met by your product or service. Think about this from your customer’s perspective and add it to your list.
  3. Identify aspects of your product or service that your competitors cannot imitate. Put a star beside anything that cannot be easily duplicated, reproduced, or copied.
  4. Create phrases about your unique product or service that are short, clear, and concise. Use the words from steps 1-3 that you singled out. Be sure they can be easily communicated to and understood by your customers.
  5. Answering your customer’s primary question: “What’s in it for me?” Make it to the point and state it as a benefit to the customer.

 

Making your first campaign

Facebook provides their free Power Editor to create campaigns. If you followed our 5-step USP process from the previous section, I recommend using Power Editor for your first campaign as it allows you to attach an image that highlights your USP and plug in all relevant targeting information. Simply put, it sets up your campaign’s framework for you.

But don’t go attaching that image just yet!

Make sure that the creative image that you’re using is both relevant and engaging. If you just want to humor or surprise your target users, a Meme image might get some clicks, but very few people will convert.

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Humorous? Yes. User conversion? Probably not.

Long story short, avoid clickbait. Best case, users will install your app and then quickly uninstall it when they realise it has nothing to do with the ad they clicked. Worst case, you’ll upset users and damage your brand’s reputation, probably leading to a few bad reviews across your app’s Facebook page.

When you consider that 60.3% of all mobile sharing takes place on Facebook, you need to make sure that your app is part of that number the right way!

Remember the goal of Facebook campaigns: You want conversions, not just clicks. You want good users. The ones who were meant for your app the moment they picked up a mobile device. The ones who will buy your app’s Premium version, subscribe or make in-app purchases.

When making your first Facebook campaign, here are a few things to consider:

  1. The 20% Rule – When you’re making your design brief, keep one big thing in mind — your creative can be at most 20% text. Covering it with copy and call-to-action text won’t pass approval.
  2. Size up your creative – Before you or your designer get cranking on making an image, make sure it’s the correct resolution. If you need a visual reference, the Facebook Ads Guide displays each ad type.
  3. Make your campaign in Power Editor – The whole campaign process within Facebook’s Power Editor is very straightforward with many editing options. Furthermore, Facebook provides a video tutorial to creating ads in Power Editor.

One last thing before you create your ad: creative is much more important than copy. According to Elias Sandler, Founder and CPO of Adquant, Ad Click is determined 90% by creative and only 10% by copy. Simply put: Facebook users want to see, not read. Tune your ads accordingly.

 

Optimising your campaigns

So you’ve researched your user, thought of ways your app stands out, and made your first campaign. Now you need to look at optimising things.

If your ads go untouched — especially on a platform as fluid and changing as Facebook — you’ll see your once-awesome campaign’s budget evaporate with little growth to show for it. Don’t underestimate the importance of optimising, and doing it regularly.

Once you have an audience built up on your app’s Facebook page, or you have an email list to pull from, you can start using Lookalike Audiences. Facebook will automatically figure out who your top audience is through metrics you set, then go out and find people similar to them so you can target them with your ads.

To leverage Lookalike Audiences, first you need to create a Custom Audience with all your existing users. From Custom Audiences, you can locate hundreds of thousands of users who have never engaged with you but have a high likelihood of wanting your app.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it is worth it when you consider that advertisers can lower their new customer acquisition cost by 73% by setting up Custom Audiences.

MarketLand recommends the following ways to target Lookalike Audiences:

  • Similar to mobile app users – Target users that engaged with your app in a certain way. Be it downloading something or making in-app purchases, any trackable activity can be a trigger to make users targetable.
  • Similar to Facebook page fans – You probably have a Facebook Page with some fans, so put them to work for your app. Find other people out there that look similar to your current fans.
  • Similar to website purchasers – This requires you to have a Facebook Conversion Pixel installed on your website, but you can reach people similar to those who previously made purchases on your website. E-commerce apps should find this particularly useful.

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Target optimisation is a great way to save precious budget dollars, so make sure you take time testing and evaluating your ads. Explore the full list of targeting options when building your own campaign, as there are a number of Facebook-specific techniques you can leverage.

 

Your users are waiting…

So you’re now equipped to conceive and execute your own Facebook ad campaigns. This guide should serve as a framework for all your future campaigns to ensure that you find new users and keep people engaged with your app.

Identify your app’s unique selling point. Create campaigns people want to see. Optimise your ads to target potential users.

Many startups are running into Facebook 
without a map, so use this guide to your advantage and secure great ad placement at a much lower cost.

Do you have any tools and tips for Facebook Marketing? We’d love to hear about them.