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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 Advertising Predictions for 2012 (via Website Magazine)

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Does your marketing plan for 2012 involve mobile advertising? If not, perhaps it should.

Website Magazine just published some predictions of how mobile marketing will be an increasingly big factor in advertising. The most interesting opportunities for brands come from the closer integration between mobile devices and everything else electronic. For example, you may have started to notice TV ads that incorporate QR codes  where smartphone users scan the QR codes to get more information. Or brands that offer their own mobile app with built in loyalty programs where users can unlock deals by scanning QR codes, rewards and coupons, or by using their mobile device to unlock GPS based deals when visiting the store.

As the New Year begins, resolutions and predictions are out in full-force, and many observers are expecting the biggest year yet for mobile advertising. Below are a few predictions from global content delivery network Mirror Image Internet that may help your online and/or mobile advertising plans.

    • Advertisers will use HyLoMo (hyper-local mobile) technology to offer consumers more engaging advertising options. The advertising options will be directly relevant to consumers, based on device type and user behavior, and will include interactive coupons and games.
    • Interactive TVs will be an important part of an advertiser’s marketing strategy. Because consumers will have the ability to make purchases and interact with ads from their living rooms.
    • Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will interact more with home devices. And, therefore, will provide advertisers with new avenues to promote and sell their services. This will result in a shift of marketing dollars to online mediums because advertisers will rely on connected devices to reach target audiences.
    • More consumers will use smart devices in real-time to find deals while they’re out shopping. This will result in advertisers taking advantage of geolocation detection to reach customers closer to the point of purchase. This will directly impact the way marketers and brick-and-mortar stores interact with consumers. 
    • The growth of online videos will put a strain on websites. According to ComScore, U.S. Internet users watched an average of 20.5 hours of video online in November 2011, a total of 40.9 billion videos – more than 20 billion more videos than in November 2010. With the growth of this number in 2012, there will be an increased strain on websites, which will lead TV networks and video providers to look for new services that can deliver rich content faster and remain competitive.

More Than Words

While it may seem like a good idea to just turn your eBook or pdf into an app with minimal tweaking, think again.

True, it can be a faster and cheaper way to get into the app store and/or onto your customer’s Newstand shelf (we talked about this in Put Yourself on the Shelf), but there’s a possible cost associated with such an approach.  Of course it depends on your objective for being in the app store, but if high visibility and sustainability are important to you,  then quality matters.

As Adage.com reports “Magazine and newspaper apps’ quality seems to be the most important factor in their success with consumers, according to the first annual “The State of the App” report from McPheters & Company’s iMonitor service, drawing on iMonitor’s evaluations of 3,000 apps from publishers around the world.

Findings from our Polymash survey of mobile usage among professionals validate the same response:  quality comes out on top of what users value most in apps.

Moreover, iPad owners are a pretty sophisticated and tech saavy bunch which translates into high expectations when it comes to the apps they choose to download.  These customers naturally expect to see a certain level of design elegance rub off when you move your content to an iPad.  If they don’t, they are likely to be disappointed and may never come back.

Apple Store Approval does not Necessarily = A Quality App

It is surprising, given Apple’s standards, that apps amounting to little more than conversions or a wrapper with a bunch of files that looks no more sophisticated than the contents of a file folder manage to slip through the app review process.

So just because you made it through Apple’s gatekeepers doesn’t mean your app will satisfy the expectations of tablet or smart phone users.

Quality Content Deserves Quality Design

Besides, if you have high quality content why not present it in a high quality way?

There was a time when great words on a page were enough to reach people.  Yet in today’s fast paced world with short attention spans words alone may not be enough to get your message across and keep people coming back for more.

The iOS devices showed us communication and design are inextricably linked.

How are you leveraging the best of the communication tools and technologies available today to communicate in a way that maximizes the impact of your ideas and your words?

For a free consultation on how you can transform you rcontent into an exceptional experience on mobile devices and take your place in the app marketplace contact us.

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PR Mac Press Release: FilmOneFest iPad app is a celebration of one-minute film as an art form

Polymash Inc. today introduces the FilmOneFest app for iPad. The FilmOneFest app is a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers all around the world with supporting stories, artists’ statements and interviews. The app gives visibility and voice to film makers across the world, enabling their talent to serve and inspire others to question, experiment, explore, laugh, cry, and unite us in our common humanity in this one-minute format.

[button link=”http://prmac.com/release-id-27475.htm” type=”icon” icon=”notice”]Read the Full PR Mac Press Release[/button]

Our FilmOneFest iPad app goes live!

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We are pleased to announce that our free FilmOneFest iPad app is now available on the iTunes iPad app store.

FilmOneFest is a celebration of one-minute films as an art form, also a film festival held in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and the FilmOneFest iPad app is a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers all around the world with supporting stories, artists’ statements and interviews. To find out more:

[button link=”http://polymash.com/film-one-fest-ipad-app/” type=”icon” icon=”notice”]Visit the FilmOneFest Home Page[/button]

It’s the Crankamacallit!

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We’re super excited to announce that our next iPad app has launched! The Crankamacallit is an interactive children’s book chock full of interactive features, discoveries, sounds, animations, 360 degree panoramas, mini games and more. I think it’s a doozie! Part poem, part story, this 3D fantasy was written by Mimi Cross, and wonderfully narrated by Robert Burke Warren (AKA “Uncle Rock”)

Come visit the Crankamacallit page, see our gallery, or check out the developing posts.

Unhappy publishers watch Apple cement its grip on tablet, app and subscription markets

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How long will Apple hang onto its leadership position in the tablet market?
With a slew of new tablets having been announced in recent months, one might be forgiven to interpret the plethora of upcoming devices as an indication of upcoming alternatives to Apple’s domination in this space. However such a perception overlooks the fact that Apple still represents 90% of all tablets sold:

Apple has sold nearly 15 million iPads since the product’s release last
April, and the device now accounts for close to 90% of all tablets
shipped worldwide, according to market research firm IDC. Apple also
says it has 160 million users who have credit cards on file. That means
if publishers want to sell books or magazines to tablet readers, they
have to go through Apple. (via LA Times)

And most upcoming Android tablets do not seem to significantly break Apple’s price point: The Motorola Xoom will be approx $800.00, other popular models are similarly priced

Turning the screws
In addition, the primary reason Apple’s device has become so popular so quickly are the quality and choice of software content available, namely apps, and their associated market place in iTunes. And here is where Apple is starting to turn the screws, as evidenced by their recent announcement of new digital content subscription models that fundamentally change the way publishers have positioned apps in the app store. In many cases magazine and e-Reader apps existed in the iTunes app store solely to sell content outside of the app store: examples of this are Amazon’s Kindle app, which offered books on the web only, downloading this content to the iPad’s Kindle app, bypassing Apple’s 30% apps store share. But Apple will now begin to kick out apps from the app store that offer outside purchase or subscription based products, unless these products are also made available as in-app or iTunes purchases.

For consumers this is great news, and represents an easy one-click way to purchase subscriptions. For many publishers however, this represents a 30% revenue sharing loss they did not have before.

How quickly is Google catching up?
Google on Wednesday announced their own digital subscription mechanism called “One Pass”. It is rumored to charge publishers only 18%, but details are sketchy at this point, and from a content perspective Apple has a huge lead in the app store market for the time being.

So for larger publishers, what does this all mean?
My interpretation is that there is no good immediate alternative to staying out of the iTunes app store, and that it will be quite some time before Android devices and Android app marketplaces present a significant leverage point for publishers to pressure Apple into changing their 30% subscription fees. The LA Times agrees:

Android tablets from Samsung, Dell and others have not gained the
traction with consumers that could present publishers with a clear
alternative.

“If you look out over the coming several months, there’s probably
nowhere else [besides iPad] for those content producers to go,” said
Yair Reiner, an Apple analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

And for smaller publishers like us?
And as a smaller independent publisher I’m seeing opportunities in creating products and apps that leverage the ease of the new subscription models. Because we are reaching mostly new global market segments with our upcoming apps, Apple’s new subscription announcement represents no loss of existing revenue, but an opportunity to conveniently offer subscription based products world wide.

Our iPad app breaks into the top 100 ranking for the busines scategory

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Glad to share that “Embracing Change” climbed into the top 100 it’s first week out, and we have not started our marketing campaign yet. Stay tuned:)

iPad and Android Tablet and iPad apps: five monetization strategies

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  • Subscription workarounds
  • In-app single purchases
  • Advertising
  • Location-based offerings
  • Social media sharing and aggregation
  • via emediavitals.com

    Click throught for a nice summary post from Prescott Shible’s blog on current digital magazine monetization options.

    I fully agree with the fact that the biggest current challenge is offering robust subscription models for tablet magazines, but also think that with upcoming solutions from Adobe and other major tool providers, the negative aspects of in app purchases will soon be addressed, in terms of being able to provide tracking intelligence of in app user activities and behaviors.

    Can Apps Save Content Publishers?

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    Can Apps “Save” Content Publishers? Apps have helped bring shuttered magazines like Gourmet back from the dead, and take publications like Wired to the peak of popularity. But can apps “save” all digital publishers from dwindling online CPMs? Are they the magic bullet for getting readers (and advertisers) to pay for content?

    Leading publishers and facilitators like Kargo, who have helped publishers like Wenner and Consumer Reports land in the winner’s circle at the SAMMY Awards, shed light on how they’ve monetized their content with both paid apps and appvertising.

    via digidaydaily.com

    Great video from a content publisher’s view on tablet devices.