How to forget design and focus on courage for digital transformation

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Canary in the coal mine: How often do you need to re-design your site?

We always ask our clients about what insights finally prompted them to take action to re-invent, re-launch or re-design.

The stories that emerge are often quite compelling, and a good indication of how rapidly things are changing in the online world.

In many cases the realization that their site was “out of date” is prompted by lower business performance, less traffic, lower site rank, fewer people signing up to email lists and so on.

Yet a common perception persists that a site upgrade is largely a cosmetic exercise.

This is just a canary in a coal mine, an indication of more important things that may be going amiss.

Unwelcome news – or digital transformation opportunity in disguise?

unwelcome news or digital transformation opportunitySo it comes as unwelcome news that more deep-rooted causes may be at play. Here you thought all you needed was a new theme, or a cosmetic site upgrade, and the next thing you hear is that online behavior and consumption patterns may have changed enough in the last few years to re-examine not only the type of content but even your existing business models on your site.

But “unwelcome news” can actually be re-framed as an opportunity in disguise

We live in an age or accelarating change, disruption and re-invention. Web sites are not immune, and the typical life-span of a site is now 2-3 years. The opportunity is to use the catalyst of re-designing a site to look more deeply at the health of your online business strategies, and to upgrade your content, product and list building strategies at the same time.

Age discrimination – or failing to address shifting demographics?

When we dig down into the causes of “outdated websites”, some folks understandably get defensive about their existing online presence.

  • People are proud of their older sites, even when they realize a change is needed
  • It worked well in the past
  • A lot of effort and expense went into the design

When I was a graphic design a photography student, this is the sign that hung above our darkroom:

The first line of defense is usually to blame the design or visual appeal of the site itself. And the last thing anyone wants to look at are more deeply rooted business decisions or product strategies. And there are usually other, deeper factors at play, as people’s online behavior, preferences and content consumption patterns are continually changing.

  • Attention spans have gotten shorter
  • Mobile devices may be a slight misnomer: it’s people who are in fact mobile, constantly connected and expectating to consume and engage with content on the go
  • User interface design has changed to accomodate mobile responsive screens
  • The rise of short form social media sharing has shaped our communication patterns
  • Email marketing and list building methods (as well as overall content strategy) have changed.
  • If a site is older than 5 years, there is a likely significant shift in the demographic of site visitors

So the term “age discrimination” is a bit harsh – it’s not that younger people are intentionally avoiding our content; we may simply be missing the opportunity to present our content in a way that honors evolving consumer preferences.

Evolving content preferences

I actually seem to see a big “age” related phenomena, in terms of long form emails and newsletters preferences still prevalent with Baby Boomer (50-64) and Greatest Generation (65+) consumers. It requires patience and a certain attention span to read long emails and newsletters. However for consumers below 40, super short skimmable content is increasingly necessary.

  • So from a persona perspective, list building and newsletter success these days may depend on nailing the age group persona being targeted, and being flexible enough to adjust to their preferences in the delivery format and perceived value of content.

I am constantly working with clients my age (in their 50s) that write hugely long form blog posts, lead magnets and emails, and somehow fail to connect with the younger audience that would like to attract and ultimately target.

Some tips to “Shorten Up”

  • Our recommendation is to write extremely short paragraphs, and to break paragraphs up with (H2) headlines frequently. This introduces white space into the copy, and makes content much more “skimmable”.
  • If you have an email newsletter, resist sending entire articles to your list. Instead offer short and concise headlines, a thumbnail image and teaser excerpts that encourage your newsletter readers to visit your blog for the rest of the story, earning you SEO credit in the process.
  • My theory is that writing for short attention span, skimmable content, design patterns with lots of white-space and emphasis on 1-3 minute videos are necessary to connect with a younger audience, and this is a skill that few of us older, “long form” and academic types are good at:)

Evolving pricing strategies for content owners and digital product creators

We work with a lot of content owners and digital product creators, and we often see pricing and overall product strategies for knowledge products lagging behind in a way similar to web design patterns.

The same dynamics of changing consumer preferences apply, and just as some content owners are resiting to shorter content formats, they also resist lower their digital product pricing to accomodate the market.

Of course there can not be a hard and fast rules for this, and I do not mean to imply that the overall value based pricing should be diminished.
But consumer perception on price points for knowledge products and what the market will bear for typical courses or coaching experiences change. The fact that 100s if not 1000s of online courses, universities and learning tools have sprung up in the last few years have, in my optioning, changed the perceived value and landscape of e-learning.

Some work-around tips and possible examples of alternative pricing approaches

  • I see a lot of people re-positioning and breaking up their existing mega-courses or mega digital products into bite sized components that can withstand the markets price expectation and preference for a la carte learning.
  • To launch a mega product or course as the first offering is considered my many to be a productization mistake
  • Modern courseware and digital product environments accommodate free content or courses as appetizers, and then very low cost bite sized courses as the core offering, and finally membership models and premium benefits of “in person” experiences being offered as part of a community site.
  • So in the end the same amount of content can be broken up and presented in smaller and more a la carte ways, while at the same time lowering price points and attracting a new audience.

Conclusion & Recommendations

  • Don’t just think of your site re-design project as a cosmetic excercise
  • Talk to a digital strategist, not just to web designers, and have a more wide-rangingconversation about hidden opportunities you may be overlooking
  • Too many people would rather be hurt by compliments than saved by criticism: Be open to wider ranging changes to your products, services, pricing and content
  • Download our “Ultimate Website Re-Design Checklist” and be honest with yourself.

Design problems? 5 powerful ways to reframe them as opportunities!

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Let’s face it, your web site design has a certain shelf life, and the time comes when even the most reticent business owners realize their site is due for a make-over. Being a visual design fanatic, graphic designer and photographer I sympathize with clients who think they have a design problem. Just recently a prospect stated something I hear a lot:

“My biggest problem has always been the design of things”

I think this comes from intuitively recognizing that “there is something wrong or missing” from their site, but failing to realize exactly what it might be. And so the focus falls on “design”, the “look and feel”, the “cool factor”, the latest font choices, video backgrounds and sliders. Thoughts turn to “mobile”, “responsive”, “more modern”.

UX Design Problems Are Hard to Spot At First Glance

hard to spot ux problemMarketers and app developers have embraced user experience as being a fundamental aspect of modern design. But for the average small business owner, blogger, solopreneur and for most lay people, UX is a difficult and mysterious concept to come to grips with, and the lack of a good user experience is hard to spot.
This means that very often site re-designs are based on visual decisions and look and feel only, ignoring the fundamentals of user behavior, research, and customer centric thinking. This also implies little research and planning.

But Digital Strategy Gaps Are Even Harder To Spot

For me, the coolest vanity site out there is useless (or at best a hobby only) if it fails to attract and convert visitors into leads. Or fails to engage consumers of our content. Visitors will come, say “wow this is cool”, and then leave, unless we have a way to capture them. Like being on a blind date with someone beautiful, without ever asking for a name. Now there’s a design problem for you.

Some examples of missed opportunities

We’ve seen carefully crafted corporate site re-designs launch, with no content other than myopic product catalogs, services and company history, all organized by internal departments, and navigable only by the initiated. Why was the site not converting?

Because that’s called an intranet.

So often the language is that of a first person narrative, it’s all me, me, me, or we, we, we.

Sorry, how are you helping your site visitors?

We see sites that advertise their products and services by shouting at a demographic, rather than starting to engage with their prospects.

If you want to start a conversation, don’t shout.

And often we see thoughtful and entertaining blog articles, marooned and hidden away in some far corner of a site without linking to other valuable pages, and without any accessible opt-ins chance to grow email lists for the content owners. Or we’ve seen famous authors book launch site giving away free preview chapters of their book, without a sign up form asking for an email in exchange. I get it, you’re being modest and are providing value, but trust me, it’s OK to have an occasional opt-in asking for a name and email address.

There is such a thing as being too humble.

So the question for me is always one of customer centricity: Who do you place at the center of your site’s experience? Yourself or your visitors?

So what should we focus on when considering a site re-design?

Let us adopt our customer’s point of view. What is our value proposition to them? How can we inform, delight and offer relevant content and experiences to them?

1.) Awareness: Start by realizing the opportunity for re-invention

It starts with simply realizing that each time a web site is re-designed, it is a huge strategic opportunity to re-invent not only the site, but also the way it contributes to your underlying business model.

2.) Education: Why and how content marketing works

Initially, spend more time researching. In my experience, most web design projects benefit from an 80/20 rule: 80% planning, 20% execution. Educate yourself about why content marketing and an inbound approach work so well for most companies that practice it. Here some quick stats and info to understand the opportunity better…

3.) Conversion: Going Inbound

There is no better way to start customer centric thinking than by implementing an inbound content strategy. It will help develop the muscle for customer centric philosophy and language. It will lead not only to a deeper understanding of your site visitors, but also to a better relationship with your prospects.

4.) Marketing Automation: The difference

For small businesses and solopreneurs, the potential of marketing automation cannot be overstated. Once accessible only to relatively large organizations and corporates, marketing automation platforms are now extremely affordable, and an excellent way to design and run sophisticated inbound content campaigns.

5.) Re-Frame the Opportunity: Converting visitors into prospects, prospects into leads

A re-design project is an ideal place to start, because it can provide you with a re-frame: Your site’s job is to convert site visitors into leads, by providing valuable content to your readership in exchange for contact info and email addresses.

Your site can become the central hub of a customer centric overall digital marketing strategy that supports your business goals (and reflects your brand of course).


I’d like to share the following FREE materials with you:

  • WebSite Re-design Checklist

    Optimized for inbound marketing, here is a check-list that you can use when first starting to plan a site-redesign

  • Marketing Automation Platform Price Comparison

    Each web re-design is an opportunity to consider how marketing automation can boost your site conversions and list generation. This price and platform comparison shows how affordable it is becoming.

  • Your Site Re-design Email Course

    Our completely free, completely non-technical site re-design email course. You will learn how to transform your site into a highly converting inbound content marketing hub.

design problems and solutions with our 3 part offer

Where can we send these
useful materials?




How To Start A Podcast As A Content Strategy

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You might not think tips on how to start a podcast have anything to do with content strategy…

But before you laugh, for the right sort of business, launching a podcast can be an amazing content strategy driver…

How to start a podcast - Google trend statistics

Google Trends Interest Over Time Graphic

Sure, podcasts are hot right now, as recent articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post point out.  Breakout shows like “Serial” and “Start-Up” have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent months, and most terrestrial radio stations, and their advertisers, are launching podcasts as part of their digital strategy. Alex Blumberg of PBS just left his well paying job as host of “This American Life” and “Planet Money”, and raised $1.6M+ for his new podcast venture “Gimlet Media“.

But the success of this approach is more pragmatic. Assuming you want to launch an interview show with thought leaders in your space, the show notes accompanying each episode can be huge traffic generator for your site, and lead to Google rank increases, since it is in the interest of the thought leaders to cross promote each episode.

How to start a podcast - launch effect on Alexa rankings

Podcast Launch Effect On Alexa Rankings
(click to see a larger version of the graph)

We recently produced and launched a podcast for our client “Positivity Strategist” and as a result the site has sky-rocketed in Alexa and Google ranking in the last three months, and their email list is growing exponentially, solely due to a successful podcast strategy.

The attached Alexa Ranking comparison chart shows the effect of positivitystrategist.com (in blue) as well as one of its competitor sites (in green) launching a podcast late in 2014.

[August 2015 Update:]  In his awesome article how recent Google patents are shaping the future of SEO, Neil Patel predicts both the rise and fall of podcast’s popularity as  tied to driverless cars. While podcasts are a form of content that is currently taking advantage of commute time for drivers, he predicts that eventually other forms of content will become popular once hands free driving allows us to consume video and visual content while driving.  (Neil even kindly linked to this post in this article, a big thanks!)

One additional content marketing benefit is that there is no shortage of topics to write about, since the show’s guests and schedule pretty much sets a highly relevant agenda for show content and related posts.

And while we love building a loyal listenership, this article is not just about how to start a podcast, it’s about how to start a podcast as a content marketing strategy for your business and web site.

It’s not for the faint of heart, and it is a long tail type play, but for organizations with a host “personality” and a point of view, it can be a hugely successful way of generating valuable content for both listeners and web site visitors.

Benefits of an interview style podcast

Some of the  benefits of an interview style podcast with thought leaders in your area of business are:

  • Meeting, collaborating and establishing working relationships with thought leaders in your space. Each episode of your podcast gives your guests a chance to talk about their experience, products, books or latest offerings. So you are essentially promoting them on your podcast, which is why it is beneficial for them to be on your show. Therefore most of the time getting guests is relatively easy, and we have seen lasting relationships come out of supporting each other in this way.
  • How to Podcast As Content Strategy BenefitsBecome an authority in your field. Often the intent of an inbound content marketing strategy is to establish your business and your web sites as authorities in your industry segment. There are few better ways than to have a regular podcast interview show to establish this authority not only in your own mind, but in the mind of your listening audience as well as your web site visitors.
  • Google page rank, domain authority and overall SEO for your site. These factors are driven by having high quality incoming links. SEO is an ever changing field, and what worked in years past no longer works today, most SEO experts agree that high quality content and inbound links are the gold standard here. And since your show notes will promote and feature links to your guests site and latest products, it is a fair exchange to ask that they feature your episode on their site, as well as cross promote it on their own social media channels. So 50 episodes into your show, you will have 50 high quality inbound links, as well as all the traffic and social media mentions these episodes generated.
  • Self generating topics of discussion for posts on your site. Sure, you will need to prepare to think about guests and invites for your podcast strategically, but usually what emerges from each conversation is highly relevant content, easily turned into long form show notes that will constitute a large percentage of your content strategy.

Finding your passion and your voice

One caveat: You, or someone in your organization, needs to have a passion for your topic of choice. So if the ONLY overall reason you want to start a podcast is to increase page rank and generate traffic for your site, then this may not be not enough. Starting a podcast should not be a chore, it needs to come from the heart, and it needs to show passion.

  • How to podcast, bored listenerAudio is an interesting medium in this way. Your enthusiasm, or lack of it, will instantly shine through to your listeners, and be either a turn-on or turn-off. The effort required to launch a podcast is high, as are the rewards, but if it does not come from the heart, and if you don’t feel you can find something of value to share, don’t even start. I would argue the same is true for writing and blogging, but in audio format it is way more apparent.
  • Be clear about your value proposition to your listeners. Just like when writing blog articles, the listener experience should be front of mind. We love doing Value Proposition Design workshops for our clients when building web sites, and similarly the exercises we help our clients with apply here: clarity around who your likely listeners are, what they are interested in, what they can gain from listening to your show, or what pain relievers to their issues and problems you can provide.
  • Niches are good, up to a point. In thinking about topics for your show and episodes, the more narrow the niche of your topic is, the better. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are many examples of extremely small niches doing well in podcasting, and establishing a loyal listenership. But if you are launching a podcast for your business, the focus should be on what best serves your particular audience.

Focus on concept and content more than the equipment

You might think that starting a podcast is all about high quality sound and production value, and therefore you will need to focus on getting the right equipment.

  • Great Expectations. It is true that with the rise in popularity of podcasts there are increased listener expectations around having great sound, but there are many great sites that offer tips on how to start a podcast from a technical perspective, as well as how to do it affordably. No matter what budget, starting a podcast is relatively affordable in terms of money, but it can consume a fair amount of time.
  • What To Focus On. Having great equipment won’t automatically make you a great podcast host or producer, so the focus should go into the planning, concept, and automating the production process. Statistically speaking, most podcasts shut down after only 7 episodes. There are many reasons for this, and my own guess is that people under-estimated the time and dedication it takes. In order to see results in terms of a content marketing strategy, obviously your podcast needs to last longer than 7 episodes, so don’t over-focus on equipment, go with basic equipment for low cost to start with. If your podcast makes it past 25 episodes, reward yourself with a nice microphone upgrade:)

Find strategic guests with an existing platform

When inviting guests for your podcast, there is a strategic way to look at this:

  • podcast episode show posts are a giftIt is a good idea to set expectations with your guests up front. Be crystal clear about the fact the this is a mutually supportive endeavor and win-win gift exchange, where you create a piece of great content that promotes your guest, and that in return you expect a blog post or resource-link back to your site and the episode post in return, as well as active guest participation in sharing the episode on social media.
  • Having a platform.  Of course you want to pick your guests to be interesting and entertaining for your audience, but ideally your guest should also have a popular site, with a Google page rank of 4+, as well as a large social media presence. It may sound harsh, but otherwise getting links back from a dormant or low value site is of little SEO value, and guests with little or no social media following are not likely to help share your episode widely.

Write great long form show notes

how to podcast with long form shownotesLong form content is better in terms of SEO, while 300+ words are required from an SEO perspective, 700 words plus is better.

  • Create standard headers and footer. We follow a recipe  for creating a standard header and footer segment for each episode. We use automation tools like Text Expander to create show notes footers, with standing subscribe links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher; a standard section on how to share the podcast; where to find links to books or sites mentioned in the episode.  This helps in creating longer form notes post.
  • Create some standing segments for questions you ask each guest.  You might also find that you have some standing questions you ask each guest, and you can prepare a show notes template that already includes the <H2> titles for each segment.
  • Use a Transcription Service, or Dragon Dictation software: We have had some pretty good luck with using Dragon Dictation software to process our podcast recording and to transcribe the content into a text file. While this process does not produce punctuation, it is helpful in creating summary notes or themes for show notes segments. There are transcription services that will do a better job, and turn around a full transcript of each episode in about one day. The only drawback is that this approach is a bit more expensive.
  • Include a nicely formatted audio player bar for each episode. We have found that many of our listeners visit the web page and listen to the entire episode there, using our built in web player. This is great in terms of getting high Google analytics engagement and time on site scores, as well as very low bounce rates.

Invest in your sound quality and the editing process

Make sure you make your guests and yourself sound great. The better and more professional your podcast and each episode sounds, the more likely your guests will see it as an asset they are eager to share on their site, their social media and as part of their PR kit.

  • Sound Editing Resources. If you are editing the episodes yourself, there are several resources to help producing high sound quality regardless of  your software of choice. One of the best is Ultimate Vocal Formula, a generous course run by Rob Williams, which offers great editing tips, a terrific cheat sheet for correct use of equalizers and compression to shape your show’s sound to be broadcast standard.
  • Remove “Ums”, “Ahhs”, “You Know” and “Lip Smacks”. Unless your guests are totally fluent public speakers, if you are like us you may be surprised to notice just how many of these flubs are in the un-edited field for each episode. I can’t stress how important the editing process is in shaping the overall listener experience.
  • Be Ruthless. We not only try to remove flubs, but we may at times even delete irrelevant or repeating and rambling parts of a longer conversation, in order to create a better and more concise episode.
  • Sound Tracks and Segments. Having a great sound track and theme intro, even having repeating show segments with their own theme music can make your show stand out and sound professional and broadcast ready.

Promote and build your e-mail list

How to start a podcast email list buildngWhen people visit your show notes page, they should have an easy way to subscribe to podcast episode reminders via email.

  • Mention an easy to remember show-notes URL during each episode. Use tools like “Easy301 Redirects” or “Prettylink” to create short URLS in addition to your long episode specific URLs. This is because you want to mention an easily accessible URL during the episode to encourage listeners to visit there, find out more about the guest, or download special offers and lead-magnets. So for example, instead of “myshow.com/long-podcast-episode5-description”, create a short URL for episode: “myshow.com/5”, which is easy to remember for listeners.
  • Offer a way to subscribe via email. Make sure visitors have an email opt-in to be notified for each episode. We use a Mailchimp based automated RSS driven email campaign to send email notifications out for our podcasts.
  • Promote opt-ins and give aways. Where applicable, create downloadable content for each episode, and allow clients to opt in for these using tools like LeadPages.

How much time will it take, and are there good ways to save time?

how to podcast - saving timeI’ve heard experienced podcasters agree that that the overall time it takes to produce a podcast episode is about 4-5 times the amount of time of  the actual episode recording length. I would say that this is a conservative estimate, coming from people who have their workflow down to a finely honed art, with templated processes and automation.

Overall, the steps involved are

  • Guest Management. Identifying guests, inviting them and scheduling pre-interviews and the actual interview
  • Recording. Recording the actual episodes sound files.
  • Producing. Editing the audio files in audio software, outputting the .mp3 files, tagging the .mp3 files with show information, uploading to your podcast hosting service, and preparing episode titles and summaries, as well as scheduling each episode for release and distribution on feeds and social media.
  • Show Notes Production & Promotion. Writing a blog article to accompany each episode, with links to your guest’s site and resources, as well as managing social media shares.

However, there are ways to save time:

  • Establish a schedule and stick to it. John Lee Dumas of the highly successful “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast shares that he sets aside one day a week to schedule, record and produce content for a month. In our experience, this is no small feat, and podcast related activities tend to bleed into the rest of the week. This is, of course, subject to your resources.
  • Automate as much as possible. When producing podcasts we have templated everything, from guest invite emails to basic show notes structure, episode footers and other lead magnet downloads. This greatly decreases the amount of time to produce show notes.  (I will share our process for applying some great automation tools in the near future).
  • Get help. If your business has the resources, you can easily farm out some of the more time consuming aspects of doing a podcast. For example, you can assign interns to handle guest scheduling and invites. Or, you can take advantage of podcast production packages like the ones we offer here at Polymash, where the only thing a host has to worry about is the actual recording of the interview, and where everything else from editing to basic show notes and publishing of each episode is taken care of.
Free Download - if you've read this far, this is for you!

How To Start A Podcast Resource GuideFree Podcast Resources Guide

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  • My favorite resources and gear guides on how to start a podcast or improve an existing one.
  • These are the very things that helped me get started and launch quality podcasts for our clients.

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Last Tip: Define what success means for you

When first launching a podcast, it is easy to get caught up in your download stats. Don’t.

You can set your own goals and ways to measure success.

For example, building a loyal listener base can matter, or maybe it’s establishing lasting relationships with peers and clients.  There is intrinsic high value in having people want to listen and visit your site because they are truly interested in the topic. Our bounce rates on podcast episodes are below 20%, sometimes in the low teens. And our email sign-ups have skyrocketed.

This is a longer term strategic investment, but as you can see from the Alexa ranking graph at the top of this post, the reward can be massive.

  • If you’ve made it this far reading a long post about how to start a podcast as content strategy, then chances are it might be a good fit for you.  I’d love to hear your perspective, please leave a comment!

The Role of Push Notifications in App Marketing

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push notificationsWhile I agree with the best practices described in this PandoDaily article “How to use much-hated push notifications to build loyalty “, overall I’m not sure how appropriate “push notifications” are in carrying on “conversations” via mobile.

A recent survey by X+1, showed an abysmal consumer attitude toward marketing channels on mobile, where only 6 percent of consumers surveyed, found the information on mobile apps accurate and valuable. Compared to 28 person finding personalized web experiences accurate and valuable and 32 percent finding email accurate and valuable. Email? Accurate and valuable? Believe it or not, many marketers have emerged wiser, from the early spam days, and now know that to be heard on email, is to be accurate and relevant. This lesson on creating relationships based on the useful exchange of information must be carried over to mobile.

Read full story on PandoDaily

Ways of engaging app users on mobile devices around relevant content is something we at Polymash are exploring, but I see only a minimal or supportive role for push notifications to play a part in this.

In my way of thinking, engagement around content is very difficult to achieve on mobile devices in the first place. As the popularity of a single click “Like” interactions shows, typing in longer comments can be a significant barrier to entry on smartphones at least.

However, on tablets and mobile web platforms the ability to carry on a conversation needs it’s own user interface, and unlike commenting systems on the web, standards and best practices around this are still emerging.

I feel bi-directional commenting / chat as well as single click interactions are an important component, and push-notifications merely serve as an alert system in that context.

Chomp Change – App Store Search Behavior in iOS-6

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The face of the app store is about to change again in iOS6.

Back in February Apple acquired Chomp, an app store search company. With the upcoming release of iOS6, Apple is about to showcase their integration of Chomps technologies. One likely result is that consumer app store search behavior will change forever.

Compare the current search results display on the left to the Chomp approach on the right.

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What is special about the Chomp inspired approach are two things:

1.  A card based search result interface, much larger and emphasizing screen shot previews, and with potentially more room for information about each app.
2. A new search algorithm

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Footnote: iOS6 is expected to be released to the general public later this fall.

How will this change impact app store search behavior for consumers?

This change will display cards about each app, roughly 75% larger than the current display. So I think the likely change in user behavior will be driven by the fact that 2/3 fewer apps will be visible in the search result viewport, but that more visuals about each app will be included in the resulting card display. For users this will likely increase engagement and drill down with the top search results. I would also predict that the total number of apps a user browses through in search results will decrease.

The above is true for the iPad.  I should also mention that the impact on the iPhone search results will be even more drastic, displaying a single card display users can swipe through a card at a time.

Image courtesy of MacRumors, read their post here

How will this change impact app developers and marketers?

For app developers and marketers this change will be significant. Getting into the top 25 search results will be even more important than it is already. Carefully keyword selection, as well as selecting the most compelling screenshots to entice users to check out an app in greater details will be key. But in general the opportunity to have cool screenshot displayed in the search result is good for apps and developers that have great graphic design. More challenging will be how the search algorithm will actually function.

What about the new search algorithm?

It is hard to tell exactly how this new search algorithm works. I suspect we will learn greater details about it once it is live. However, what is clear is that there are differences when comparing the results returned from an iOS5 search versus an iOS6 search.

In various Mac discussion forums some suspect at the new algorithms will emphasize popularity ratings and downloads, in favor of relevancy. The suspicion is that Apple would tweak the search results to increase sales as the primary objective. This means popular apps would get more popular, and smaller indie apps would struggle even more to be found. For indie developers this would not be good news.

However, PC Magazine Reports it differently

“… using an algorithm that learns the functions of apps, then allows users to search based on what an app does, rather than its given title.” read more…

A Stroke of Genius

I also suspect the new algorithm will play a result in driving the recently introduced Genius recommendations, which suggests other apps a user may be interested in and displays these on the bottom of the app store screen.

Watch a Video of the new UI

What do you think?

Will these changes result in app store search behavior that ultimately benefits consumers?

Mobile Trends 2012 – A Compilation of Stats on Slideshare

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A Context for Mobile Trends 2012

If you look at some of the mobile trends 2012 stats we have gathered in the presentation below, it’s clear  Moore’s Law going on. With the growth in mobile devices and, as a consequence, all that has to do with being able to access the web while mobile, having your content and message able to be comfortably experienced on mobile is a growth opportunity in all ways.

For a much more comprehensive look at mobile trends 2012, please check out our Mobile Readiness Tool and 25+ page white paper on the state of mobile.

These are not your Grandfather’s Superbowl Ads: Of Second Screen Experiences, Soundprint Technologies and Mobile Integration

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The Age of the DVR

I hardly watch commercials on TV anymore, since we skip through a lot of them using our DVR. This has had the unexpected result that when we do watch a show live, more commercials actually seem entertaining to me, I suppose due to the lack of over-saturation from TV ads.

And of course half the fun of watching the Super Bowl stems from seeing what great new campaigns are being launched.

Increasingly, Superbowl ads, and TV advertising in general, will feature a mobile component: Nearly 60 percent of mobile users planned to look at or use their mobile device during the Super Bowl, according to a survey from Velti and Harris Interactive.

So, how will we engage in these “Second Screen Experiences”?

Get your QR code scanner ready

I’ve observed an increase in the use of QR codes in TV commercials. While QR codes are everywhere these days, I feel a 30 second commercial is often not enough time to whip out your smartphone and scan the code in time. But special offers, QR based coupons and exclusive timed deals may have some folks ready to “quick draw”.

  • To me, QR codes are more suited to static / printed media.

Apps

I would predict that there will be a host of apps advertised or mentioned in Superbowl TV commercials, perhaps too many to open and interact with. From the NFL’s official superbowl app to Domino’s Pizza’s “Pizza Hero”, there will be many apps to interact with.

  • Will there be time to watch the game anymore?

Mobile Ready Web Sites

Having mobile enabled web sites will be a big advantage for second screen advertising, as few people will be using laptops as their “Superbowl Second Screen” of choice. It is far more likely that smartphones prevail in this category.

  • For brands advertising during the Super Bowl, a mobile ready web site, with flexible content layout optimized to smartphones will be a huge plus.

Messaging and Social Media

I feel text messaging and pusgh notifications will be used sparingly by brands, as the annoyance factor could be quite big. However I see push notifications as being central in the use of Social Media apps, and I think much of the interactive “Did you just see that!!!” conversions will happen on Facebook, Twitter, SMS and the like.

  • I hope SIRI can cope.

In 2011, Nielsen found that Super Bowl ads including social media tags that directed viewers to a link on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube were more 33 percent more memorable for viewers. “Advertisers are seeing second-screen opportunities as a natural move to drive engagement in the moment of big-screen advertising – especially when it comes at such a premium as the Super Bowl,” said David Hewitt, Atlanta-based global mobile practice lead at SapientNitro. “Adding an interactive component on smart phone or tablet both extends the time spent, gives consumers an opportunity to participate, and leverages a more cost-effective and measurable channel to continue the brand conversation.”

[button link=”http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/advertising/12040.html” color=”silver”] Read the Full article at mobilemarketer.com[/button]

 

Socializing your TV viewing

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Apps That Are Shaping Social TV

In our home, we’re in that 86% refered to by Jim Hanas (link to the full article below) – we watch TV, read our iPads and connect with friends via social media and sent text messages on our iPhones. But we have yet to formally socialize our TV preferences or experiences.  (Go to Wikipedia for a good overview of Social TV.)

Jim briefly describes five apps that are already shaping social TV.  If you’re into co-creating, sharing and wanting to interact with others about your viewing habits and preferences, download one of these apps.

And, another biggie for marketers.

It’s easy to understand why 2012 is shaping up to be the year of social TV. Consumers are turning to the so-called second screen like never before. A 2011 whitepaper prepared by Yahoo/Nielsen reported that as many as 86 percent of viewers use mobile devices while watching TV. While many think that number might be high, it signals a trend in consumer behavior that cannot be ignored. Broadcasters and marketers are feeling the heat of both risk and reward. Risk if they do nothing and cede the second screen to Twitter and Angry Birds; reward if they find a way to deliver companion experiences, drive engagement–and expand ad inventory.
[button link=”http://www.fastcocreate.com/1679561/the-race-for-the-second-screen-five-apps-that-are-shaping-social-tv?partner=homepage_newsletter”color=”silver”] Read the Full article.[/button]

The Power of QR Codes for small businesses

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What is a QR code and how can it help your business? It’s simply a unique barcode that takes you to a specific place in cyberspace. Mobile coupons, click to call, directions, it can be a URL, a text message or a phone number.

The possibilities are unlimited! For an overview, watch this: