James Whatley on Mobile Commerce

This interview features James Whatley, the Engagement Strategy Director for 1000heads. James is one of organizers of the he Nokia N97minitour, and we sat down with him to discuss how he sees mobile commerce evolving.

James touched upon 3 themes during our chat. First, he discussed the possibilities that mobile experience offer in general. Second, he shared his thoughts on what the future might bring in terms of mobile commerce. Finally, James shared his feelings about what direction he would like to see mobile go next.

DISCLOSURE: We shot this clip with an Nokia N97 phone that is on trial loan to us from Nokia.

Andrew Currie on Recent Mobile Trends

This is an interview with Andrew Currie, blogger at OpenAttitude.com. In this clip Andrew discusses some recent trends mobile technologies.

For Andrew, the significance of mobile lies in its personal experience — not only in how we customize our phones and apps, but in how they become part of our physical daily experience. Andrew also shares his thoughts on how open-source is becoming a more and more important element in mobile technology, as well as how he sees the world of mobile devices evolving in the near future.

We caught up with Andrew on the N97minitour, and shot this video on an N97 Mini that’s on loan to us from Nokia.

Mobile Search: Apps and Opportunities at SMX Toronto 2010

Smart phone penetration is expected to overtake feature phone penetration by the end of 2011. Well, in this session at SMX Toronto, panelists explored what kind of mobile search opportunities exist currently, or will exist in the very near future.

The most interesting part of this session was the stats being thrown around, and most of those were provided by one panelist. After the stats component, the conversation between panelist became a little less focused, but nonetheless interesting because the panelist were offering some thoughts on what brands should be considering before they make the leap into mobile marketing.

Moderator: Sionne Roberts, General Manager, Visability (A division of IT World Canada)

  • Warren Raisch, Digitaria
  • Christopher Berry, Syncapse
  • Marcus Anderson, Broadplay

Warren Raisch on Mobile App Opportunities

The opportunity with mobile is to deliver a permission based, targeted, and easy to use branded promotion to millions of consumers via their mobile devices. The only question that remains is how to implement and deploy that platform.

If you look at the global market, there are more mobile devices in circulation than TVs and computers combined. In the US alone, for example, mobile penetration has surpassed cable TV, web access, and Home PCs. And over 20% of US households are wireless only.

The mobile is social. It offers perpetual connectivity to social circles. Mobiles also offer a component of personal identity — e.g. ringtones, designer phones, etc. Over 80% of 18-29 year olds use SMS, and 38% of people say that mobile is more imporatnt than their wallet. In sum, mobile phones have become an integral component to our social lives, so mobile offers a much more integrated channel than any other medium.

Over 3 billion apps downloaded from Apple’s App Store in the first 18 months. Eric Schmidt has gone on record to say that Google believes mobile ad revenue will surpass traditional search advertising. So it seems that innovation on these devices will be rapid and capabilities will surpass PCs.

Mobile web consumers are more like “hunters” than “browsers,” so information and utility are paramount for user engagement via mobile. And meeting this “hunter” demand is done through apps, not mobile sites, because apps offer users that instant access to information and utility.

There are several components to the future of direct marketing, and so far they are showing 5-8 times the redemption rate of PC based web use:

  • text for offer codes
  • link to mobile webistes
  • mobile search location based
  • free 411 info
  • consumer loyalty opt-ins
  • mobile giving
  • green – paper free

Wap vs App: The one that’s best for you depends on the content you’re dealing with and your budget; whereas wap is cheaper and offers quantity over quality, apps are more suited to brand engagement and user retention.

Marcus Anderson on Mobile App Opportunities

As per hunter vs browser, the person is looking for something they are aware they are looking to find. It’s not an entertainment experience, it’s an experience that needs to provide relevant information in a timely fashion. The mobile search results need to let mobile users act upon the information they find, and on a retail level. For instance, when a user comes into a retail space, retailers are going to have to provide an experience that can be tracked and measured, and generate a sale as well.

Wap vs App: You have to consider the audience that you’re trying to reach, and their level of sophistication. You also have to consider the kind of content you’re trying to push out through mobile channels.

Christopher Berry on Mobile App Opportunities

There is an underlying shift in which device we use at home to consume media from different channels. Much of what we used to do with our desktop and laptop, we’re now doing with our mobiles because mobile is just more appropriate for consuming certain social and geo content.

Wapp vs App: When it comes to cost, apps are not necessarily expensive to develop.

QR Codes: These will really offer brands many creative ways to engage consumers and possibly convert them in some way.

How Newspapers Are Using Mobile Apps – Dave Coleman Interview

At Podcamp Toronto 2010, I gave a presentation titled Saving Newspapers Using Search & Social. One of the things I recommended newspapers do was leverage mobile apps to both reach more users and diversify their ad offerings. Some people thought it was a good idea, and other people thought I was dreaming.

Well, the day after my session, I met Dave Coleman, the Director of Marketing for Spreed Inc. Spreed is a company that develops mobile apps for online publishers so that the can reach mobile users with their content and advertising. In fact, Spreed is already working with some major newspapers, such as the Globe & Mail, for whom they are serving up 7.5-10 million page views a month.

So it looks like if any part of my presentation was dreamt up, it was the part where I thought my idea was original. Newspapers are already using the mobile web to find new sources of ad revenues, and if the numbers are any indication, it’s working just fine.

2010 Tech Predictions

With the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, there are always so many top 5 and top 10 lists, as well as predictions for the year to come. Well, Deloitte Canada is holding a contest where participants make a technology, media, or telecommunication prediction for 2010 by submitting a 90 second video.

This is my 90 second video prediction. It’s about how in 2010, we’re probably going to see an all-out war in the mobile space. It’s not going to be a mobile advertising war, however. It’s going to be a way between companies that make mobile operating systems — i.e. Apple, Google, and RIM.

In any case, if you like my prediction, I hope you vote for me. And if you don’t, I encourage you to submit your own video — they seem to have extended the submission deadline until January 8th.

Mobile Search According to @randfish and @GuillaumeSEO

This is the third and final installment of our chat with Rand Fishkin and Guillaume Bouchard (our CEO). In this clip, the search gurus discuss mobile search, where they see it going, and what kind of place they might see it taking in the marketing mix. Guillaume makes an interesting analogy between the mobile web and a more common technology, and Rand emphasizes just how mobile ads will have be completely different from other online advertising.

SES Toronto Live Blogging – Cool Mobile Apps

Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image
Cindy Krum, CEO & Founder, Rank-Mobile
Nick Patsiopoulos, Yahoo! Canada
Miriam Warren, Director of Marketing, Yelp.com

Cooler than the other side of the pillow

Cindy’s up first!
Starting with what’s important: what makes apps cool, the iPhone being the primary hunting ground.

Unique – Cool special features and combinations of features (Shazam audio search engine)
Viral – Not only for its quality (telling people about it), but its social nature (Monopoly)
Useful – (Air Mouse Pro, turning your iPhone into a mouse, or a wireless keyboard, stereo, tv, etc.)
Interactive – Cool (iBeer glass of beer)
Fun or Novel – Nifty interfaces and fun ways to engage with the app (Urban Spoon restaurant search engine)

All the above examples have all the qualities.

How to make your app cool:

  • See What’s Hot, New & Noteworthy & Staff Pics
  • See what the competition is doing, let what works inspire you
  • Learn from your competitors’ mistakes
  • Learn from other apps for interactivity and fun inspiration
  • Price properly and promote

The coolest thing I will see all day, apparently, coming up…

App evaluation engine! She’s showing an easy tool to change location, time period, type of app, paid vs. free, and other details to be able to see what people like, sortable in cool ways.

Nick Patsiopoulos, Yahoo! Canada

Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998
-Jakob Nielsen, useit.com
The opportunities that we’ve enjoyed in desktops will get there in mobile, but it’s tough because the technology progresses at half the rate.
% of Canadians using mobile web has jumped:
Aug 2006: <5%
Aug 2008: Just over 5%
Feb 2009: Just over 20%

What’s changed?
1. The devices – screen, browser, isp.
Extra point about wi-fi, being a major driving force in mobile web use. Makes it more of an integrated part of your daily life. Do heavy users seek mobile devices with wi-fi, or does wi-fi turn people into heavy users?
2. Apps
Far more visual, better usability, taking advantage of browser capabilities
3. Cell Phone Plans
Usually seen as a hindrance. The apps are no longer crap, so it’s more worth it.

3 Apps he loves:
Yahoo! Front page. Right! Real time info, easy look and feel, portal.
Viigo (Blackberry): Access to offline information. Pushes content to the application. Full articles when the RSS contains it.
iHandy Level (iPhone): Better than physical alternative, and takes cool advantage of what the device can do, symbolic for what mobile applications and technology will be able to do as they evolve.

Yelp for iPhone

Miriam now.

They wanted to solve a problem: How to connect businesses to customers?

What is Yelp? (Time for another speaker advert!) Really about connecting to business more than people.
Yelp consumers are affluent, educated adults. Good to send people to businesses with money, after all. She’s proud of her 21 million unique users in May. Nabad! 6 million business reviews, 1 million in the last 3 months. Mostly restaurants, a lot of shopping, and the rest is spread out just about everything else.

What do Yelpers want?
They wanted to build an application that would meet users where they are, Yelping from wherever they feel like, to help them find the best local businesses nearby.

You can search by category (even ATMs!), ratings, proximity (then offering directions).

Shows easy highlights of the information you’re looking for to save you time.

I would have liked to have known more about their development process and strategy, and I feel like I’m just extending her advertisement to our readers here. Enjoy!

She’s talking about the detail in tips and reviews that people give (eg. “This restaurant is dog-friendly!”), and is proud of her “amazingly dynamic community”.

The Future:

  • Ongoing dev for iPhone
  • Focus on features for the community
  • Evaluate opportunities with new mobile devices. They started with the iPhone because it’s what their user-base was using, but they’ll branch out.

Q & A

How long did it take to develop, and how many people were involved?
Miriam: Several months, developed in-house

Does the variety of OS hinder application development?
Cindy: Yep, definitely. Have to keep porting. See what your audience is using, and develop there first.

How do people react to ads on mobile devices?
Summary from the panel: people hate them, threaten to leave their providers, but they end up clicking. Click through rate is around 1%, much better than on non-mobile.

Mitch Joel: How do you overcome the developmental problems associated with developing mobile applications?
Much less competition on Android, so opportunities there. If you make it simple, it’s easier to port.