Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: October 16th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Snap's new Accelerate program for mobile startups, Google acquiring Relay Media's AMP converter, and why you might consider chatbots as an alternative to online forms.

Mobile News:

Flipboard Introduces Label for Mobile-Friendly Content (FastCompany): The popular content site Flipboard is introducing new tools to help publishers create faster-loading pages. Additionally the platform is introducing their RED Bolt icon (in which RED stands for Reader Enhanced Display) to denote which articles meet their mobile-friendly guidelines. However, in addition to speed, RED Bolt articles will also need to meet a certain quality standard. As Flipboard CEO Mike McCue explained to FastCompany, the new mark will signify that the link “is going to load quickly, it’s going ti be really respectful of reader experience when it comes to advertising, and it’s going to be optimized for a mobile experience.”

Snap Targets Mobile Startups with New Program (Marketing Land): Snapchat is launching a new program aimed at helping mobile startups reach new customers via Snap's advertising power. Dubbed Snap Accelerate, participants will not only be freed from Snap's normal spending requirements but will also entitle them to early access for new ad products and even provide them with ad credits. The new program will have three different levels that businesses can apply for: Kickstart, Sprint, and Scale. Those levels include benefits ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 and give startups free branded filters that will run near their headquarters for three to 12 months. Interested companies can apply for Snap Accerlate on Snapchat's developers site.

Context Cards Come to Snapchat (VentureBeat): This week Snapchat debuted a new feature that will allow users to easily access additional relevant information about Snaps they receive. For example, if a user receives an image geotagged at a restaurant, the user can swipe up to view a Context Card with the store's hours, reviews, and even hail a car using Uber or Lyft. Some Context Cards will also have links to Stories where users can browse other images shared from a certain location. Context Cards are now live in the iOS and Android versions of the Snapchat app across the U.S. and a handful of other countries.

Shopping Apps Increase in Time Spent (TechCrunch): According to a new study, the average consumer in the U.S. spends approximately 50 minutes a month using a shopping app on their smartphone. This adds up to about 10 hours per year. While this year has seen sessions for such shopping apps increase across the board, digital-first brands like Amazon are outpacing their brick and mortar competitors. In fact digital-first shopping apps gained 60% in the first half of this year compared to 50% of traditional retailers. As a result, apps from digital brands now average 19 sessions per month versus 12 sessions per month for other retailer-branded apps.

Google Acquires Relay Media and Their AMP Converter (ZDNet): News that Google had acquired Relay Media was quietly posted on the latter company's website this week, signaling Google's intent to give their Accelerated Mobile Pages format an even bigger push. Relay is the creator of a converter that turns webpages into the AMP HTML. In a statement, Relay Media wrote, "We're excited to announce that Google has acquired Relay Media's AMP Converter technology. Service for current customers will continue uninterrupted as we transition the Relay Media AMP Converter to Google's infrastructure. We're pausing new publisher onboarding as we focus on the integration effort."

ARKit-Powered Apps Have Been Downloaded More Than Three Million Times (TechCrunch): One of the biggest features to come with the recent release of Apple's iOS 11 was the augmented reality capabilities brought forth by ARKit. It seems that iOS users are interested in these new features, as apps that utilize ARKit have now been downloaded more than three million times. Of those apps, 35% were games followed by 19% that were utilities and 11% entertainment. In terms of revenue, games are dominating so far, accounting for 62% of ARKit-only revenue. Additionally many of the top AR apps are games, although Ikea Place currently ranks fourth behind games such as AR Dragon.

Opinions and Advice:

Considering Chatbots Instead of Forms (Marketing Land): If you've been paying attention, you'll surely know about the buzz surrounding chatbots. From customer service to online ordering, brands are finding a number of uses for these artificial intelligent beings. Now Andrea Lehr has another suggestion for employing chatbots: using them to replace forms on your website.

Campaign of the Week:

NFL Teams Add AR Fan Masks Thanks to Bud Light (Mobile Marketer): After deploying one of the first branded Snapchat 3D World Lenses in couple of weeks ago, it seems that Bud Light is enjoying playing in the AR sandbox. This week three NFL teams — the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and Philidelphia Eagles — added an augmented reality facemask feature to their respective apps, each bearing Bud Light branding. Those customizable masks are very similar to those made famous by the aforementioned Snapchat and others, although these were developed by YinzCam. These Bud Light-powered fan masks are now available in the Android and iOS versions of the Eagles app, the Texans app, and the Broncos 365 app.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: October 2nd, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Twitter's big character limit change, Snapchat's new sponsored 3D World Lenses, and how brands are utilizing Apple ARKit so far.

Mobile News:

Daily Mobile App Usage Has Doubled in the Past Two Years (Mobile Marketer): According to a new report, the average user now spends two hours a day using mobile apps. Not only is that double what the average time-spent was two years ago but is also seven times as long as the mobile web's time-spent figure. Moreover one-fifth of those surveyed spent more than four hours a day using mobile apps. Further demonstrating the dominance of apps it was discovered that native apps account for 88% of time spent as well as 93% of sessions on Android devices.

Twitter Doubles Its Famous Character Limit (The Verge): Throughout the year Twitter has been making tweaks to their platform including adjustments to how their famed 140 character limit was calculated. First photos were excluded from the limit count followed by a change in the way users were tagged in tweets, thus excluding those characters as well. Now the company has announced it plans to double the current limit to 280 characters. In fact this update has already reached some users, although it's unclear when the feature will be rolled out further. Twitter says that currently 9% of all tweets sent are exactly 140 characters, adding that “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”

Instagram Tops Two Million Monthly Advertisers (Mobile Marketing Magazine): Back in March, Instagram announced that it had one million active advertisers. Now just six months later that figure has doubled, with the photo-sharing app saying it currently has two million monthly advertisers. Notably that's also four times the number of advertisers Instagram had one year ago. Many attribute this growth to the continued strength of its parent company (Facebook) as well as the app's rising user base, which makes it attractive to big brands and small businesses alike.

Facebook Adds "Messages" Campaign Objective (Marketing Land): Facebook is looking to boost the number of users interacting with Messenger bots by introducing a new campaign objective for advertisers. Now brands using the social network's Ads Manager can select "Messages" as their objective. Doing so will serve ads to those users most likely to communicate with Messenger bots. As Facebook Messenger head David Marcus elaborated, “We’re going to optimize that campaign for the most amount of conversations with the right target audience.”

Snapchat Introduces Sponsored AR World Lenses (Marketing Land): Brands can now join the augmented reality revolution as Snapchat has rolled out sponsored World Lenses. The first to advertise in this new format were Budweiser and Warner Bros. For the former, users could place a Bud Light salesman — similar to those that march up and down stairs and various sporting events — into their surroundings. Meanwhile Warner Bros. promoted their upcoming Blade Runner 2049 by inserting a flying vehicle from the film into Snaps. Snapchat says the new sponsored 3D World Lenses can be purchased in conjunction with traditional branded lenses or with other Snap ads that will promote the World Lens offering.

AMP-Enabled Sites Found to Rank Better (Mobile Marketer): A new study has found that publishers utilizing Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are ranking higher than those that don't. Of news-related results of the first page of Google mobile searches, 78% of pages were AMP-enabled. In a statement about these findings, Searchmetrics CTO Marcus Tober said, “With so many people now consuming news and information round the clock on mobile devices, it’s becoming more and more important for media sites to ensure an easy online experience, allowing readers to click and scroll through content quickly. That’s why AMP – which displays a stripped-down, faster-loading version of web pages – was introduced and is now a growing presence in news and topical searches on mobile.”

Opinions and Advice:

Utilizing Augmented Reality (Digiday): Following successful implementations of augmented reality (AR) by Pokemon Go! and Snapchat's World Lenses, the technology got a big boost last week with the release of Apple iOS 11 and its ARKit. Already several brands have introduced new features that take advantage of the new AR capabilities and help engage their users. In this piece Ilyse Liffreing takes a look at what companies from Ikea to Overstock are doing with the new ARKit.

Campaign of the Week:

Delta Offers Free In-Flight Messaging (Money@30): This week Delta announced that it would allow flyers to send messages with iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other apps via in-flight WiFi for free. Previously the same privilege cost $2 for most, while T-Mobile customers had free texting abilities thanks to a deal with Gogo. The free messaging offer went into effect on October 1st and is available on WiFi-equipped Delta flights. Speaking to the change, Delta SVP Tim Mapes said, “We know many of Delta’s customers want or need to stay connected in the air and on the ground, which is why we’re investing in an easy, free way to send and receive messages in-flight through some of the most popular global platforms." It should be noted that this free offering does not support video, image, or audio message — text only.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: September 18th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes news from Apple's latest presentation, Facebook testing out Instant Videos, and how your business could benefit from having a mobile app.

Mobile News:

App Marketers Rank Retention as Biggest Challenge (Marketing Charts): A new survey of app marketers has found that user retention is still a major problem. In fact 55% of respondents ranked it as their top challenge this year. Additionally 50% said that app discovery is now harder than ever before and 41% had concerns about rising user acquisition costs. Interestingly 70% of app marketers included user acquisition as one of their main goals while only 35% put user retention on their list, which seems counterintuitive to their concerns.

Apple Shows Off iPhone 8, iPhone X (VentureBeat): On Tuesday Apple held their first presentation in their new Steve Jobs Theater. There they unveiled their new line of products including the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular, the Apple TV with 4K, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone X (pronounced "ten" to mark the phone's 10th anniversary). While many of the announcements leaked ahead of time, Apple enthusiasts were still thrilled as the company showed off its $1,000 all screen, no home button iPhone X. That model will also introduce a new authentication system, Face ID. Meanwhile the presentation also put an emphasis on augmented reality, which will get a big boost in iOS 11 — available September 19th. The Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, and iPhone 8 will officially go on sale September 22nd while the iPhone X will begin preorders October 27th ahead of a November 3rd release.

Google Event Set for October (VentureBeat): Not to be outshone by Apple's event this week, Google announced its own hardware presentation for next month. The event, which marks the company's second "Made by Google" gathering, was first teased on a Boston billboard before being formally confirmed. Google is expected to unveil their sequel to the Pixel smartphone along with new Chromebook and Google Home. If there were any doubt about the former coming to fruition at this event, a landing page on the Made by Google site asks visitors "Thinking about changing phones?" before prompting them to stay tuned for more on October 4th.

Snapchat Debuts Bitmoji World Lenses (TechCrunch): Snapchat is furthering its Bitmoji integration, introducing new World Lenses featuring the personalized characters. This update allows users to view their animated avatars in the real world and send Snaps of their antics to their friends. For example a Disco-inspired World Lens adds colorful lights and a dancing Bitmoji to your screen while a skateboarding one allows you to record your character attempting tricks. Although Snapchat has been one of the main proponents of AR in recent months (at least among youth), the technology is expected to grow considerably with the release of Apple's iOS 11 and other ventures from Facebook and Google.

Mobile Bests Desktop for Audience Targeting (MarketingCharts): According to a new study mobile ads are more likely to reach their intended target than desktop ads. For Q2 2017 mobile bested desktop's in-target rates with an average of 53% to 49% respectively. Moreover some verticals saw larger discrepancies, such as telecoms (71% on-target for mobile, 61% for desktop), autos (61% mobile, 53% desktop), and CPGs (50% mobile, 42% desktop). However there was one vertical where mobile underperformed: health, where desktop won out 60% to 50%.

Biometric-Equipped Smartphones Become the Majority (eMarketer): As mentioned, the iPhone X will ditch Touch ID for the new Face ID. This (arguable) upgrade comes as the majority of smartphones now come equipped with biometric capabilities. New research suggests that 63.5% of smartphone shipped in 2017 will offer biometrics — up from 40% in 2016. Looking forward, it is expected that more than 80% will include biometrics in 2018 before reaching 100% in 2019. Additionally, while tablets and wearables lag a bit behind smartphones in this feature, 100% of both are expected to come equipped with biometrics by 2020.

Instant Articles No Longer Display in Messenger (Marketing Land): In what amounts to another blow to Facebook's Instant Articles, the company has announced that links shared in Messenger will no longer open the Instant Articles version. This move comes just over a year after Facebook first brought the Instant Article format to Messenger. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the change, saying "As we continue to refine and improve Instant Articles — and in order to have the greatest impact on people and publishers — we’re focusing our investment in Instant Articles in the Facebook core app and are no longer offering Instant Articles in Messenger. We believe that Messenger is an exciting channel for new and interesting news consumption experiences, including the opportunity to build unique messaging experiences in Messenger that many publishers have executed successfully via the Messenger Platform."

Facebook Testing Instant Videos (TechCrunch): While the door is seemingly beginning to close on Facebook's Instant Articles, the social network has a new plan: Instant Videos. Despite the similar name the two offerings are actually quite a bit different, although both revolve around mobile. With Instant Videos, users will be able to save clips they find while on Wi-Fi and play them back later without using data. This feature is reportedly being tested among a small group of Android users and comes soon after Facebook debuted its Watch tab to help take on YouTube.

Web Traffic Growth Attributed to Smartphones (Recode): When it comes to web traffic, smartphones are the only medium seeing gains. Since 2015 smartphone web traffic in the U.S. has increased 68% while tablets and desktop have seen declines of nearly 20% and 30% respectively. So who's benefiting from this trend? Two big winners are Google and Facebook, with the former accounting for a 61% of referral traffic on smartphones and the latter making up 16%. Despite the increase in mobile web use, app launches are trending downward for both smartphones and tablets. In fact app launches on smartphones are down 22% from 2016.

Opinions and Advice:

Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App (Forbes): There's no doubt that the app marketplace is growing considerably crowded. However that doesn't mean that your business can't still benefit from developing and offering a mobile app for your customers. In this piece Jia Wertz shares why your business needs a mobile app and how to go about creating one.

Google's Advice for the Mobile-First Index (Search Engine Land): Over the past few months there's been a lot of talking about Google's impending mobile-first index. Among with chatter have been discussions about how publishers and webmasters should be preparing for the big switch. Well now, as Barry Schwartz notes, Google themselves have offered advice on the matter, suggesting responsive design.

Campaign of the Week:

Disney's Next Generation of the Mickey Mouse Club is a Social Media Exclusive (Mobile Marketers): Back in the 1950s, The Mickey Mouse Club made stars out of many its Mouseketeers, including Annette Funicello and Cubby O'Brien. Decades later, a rebooted version of the program ended up turning out a slate of some of the biggest pop stars and actors on the planet such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. This week Disney launched yet another iteration of their famed Mickey Mouse Club, only this time its dubbed Club Mickey Mouse and airs on Instagram and Facebook. The show is one of the first creations from the company's Disney Digital Network (which was built by way of Disney's acquisition of Maker Studios) and will include clips of the cast working behind the scenes along with their finished content. Discussing the new venture, Disney's Andrew Sugerman explained, "We see Club Mickey Mouse as always-on content versus a show or series. It's programmed specifically for social media audiences who want to follow the kids' journey just as they would follow their friends' stories." Club Mickey Mouse is now live on Facebook and Instagram.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: September 11th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Google's new Mobile Web Specialist certifications, Canvas ads coming to Instagram, and a look at some of the myths that surround playable mobile ads.

Mobile News:

Trending Searches Added to Google iOS App (Search Engine Land): This week Google debuted new trending results to their search app for iOS, similar to items found on Twitter and Facebook. Incidentally the same feature rolled out to Android devices last year and actually received some backlash from users. In fact Google later added an opt-out setting for the feature (which is included in the new iOS version as well). Also new in the app are faster Instant Answers that display while users are typing. For example, you won't need to get to the end of typing "how tall is the Eiffel Tower" before Google informs you 1,063 feet to the top. The latest update to the app is now available.

Google Offering Mobile Web Specialist Certifications (VentureBeat): Google has introduced a new certification program for mobile web developers, giving them something to add to their resumes. The company's Mobile Web Specialist certification can now be obtained by passing an exam and paying a $99 fee. Participants will be provided with a study guide once signing up for the program and will have as many as three attempts to pass the timed coding exam. Certification seekers will also need to complete an exit interview to help confirm the authenticity of the exam submission. In announcing the certification, Google's Sarah Clark noted, “Based on a thorough analysis of the market, this new certification highlights developers who have in-demand skills as mobile web developers."

Millennials Rank Their Most Essential Apps (Marketing Charts): According to comScore, the majority of Millennials say their most essential app isn't a social media tool but a shopping one. Yes, Amazon topped the list of apps those aged 18 to 34 rely on with 35% of respondents naming it as such. In second place was another minor surprise: Gmail. Facebook landed at a close number three with 29% while its Messenger was a distant fourth with 18%. Over all four Google-owned apps made the list along with four Facebook-owned ones, with just Amazon and the Apple App Store providing diversity.

Mobile Leads Desktop in Google Search Traffic (Retail Dive): A new report has found that 57% of Google search traffic now comes from mobile devices. Additionally the study compared search results on mobile and desktop devices, which showed the differences in indexes. In fact 79% of searches performed on mobile yielded different results than on desktop. Google has stated that it plans on unifying its indexes to create a mobile-first index beginning sometime before the end of the year.

Facebook's User Reach Questioned Against Census Data (Adweek): Over the past year Facebook has fessed up to a number of measuring error affecting both ad and organic post data. Now some are raising an eyebrow at a report from the company saying it reaches 41 million 18 to 24-year-olds and 60 million 25 to 34-year-olds. The problem? U.S. census data puts the total number of 18 to 24-year olds at 31 million and 25 to 34-year-olds at just 35 million. In a statement to Adweek, the company explained, "Reach estimations are based on a number of factors, including Facebook user behaviors, user demographics, location data from devices, and other factors. They are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad a business might run. They are not designed to match population or census estimates. We are always working to improve our estimates.”

Instagram Tests Canvas Adds in Stories (Marketing Land): More than a year after initially announcing that Facebook's fast-loading rich-media Canvas ads would be coming to Instagram, the format is now finally testing within the app. Canvas is reportedly making its Instagram debut within users' Stories and is currently limited to select brands. In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson spoke to the test, saying, "We are beginning to test an integration of Canvas with ads in Instagram Stories. Since the launch of ads in stories, we’ve been focused on delivering business value to advertisers and Canvas offers a seamless extension of the full-screen immersive experience, helping marketers tell compelling brand and product stories."

Samsung Announces Bug Bounty Program (Engadget): Following in the footsteps of many other tech companies like Apple and Google, Samsung has announced a "bug bounty" program that enlists the help of users to find firmware vulnerabilities. Samsung's program will pay out up to $200,000 for finding flaws in a number of Samsung devices and services released since 2016. To qualify these weaknesses must exist without utilizing a physical connection or third-party app. Previously the company put a similar program in place for its smart TVs.

Opinions and Advice:

Playable Mobile Ad Myths (Mobile Marketer): As mobile technology continues to evolve, new mobile ad formats that are more interactive and less annoying are starting to gain traction. Among these entries are playable ads made popular by gaming apps. However, as Bryan Buskas point out, the idea that these spots are limited to the gaming vertical is just one of several myths surrounding playable mobile ads.

How Mobile is Changing Loyalty (The Economist): When it comes to loyalty programs, personalization seems to be a top trend. Thanks to mobile data and technology, providing that customization and personalization is now easier for brands to achieve. In this piece, take a look at how some top brands are utilizing mobile data to craft their loyalty programs.

Campaign of the Week:

T-Mobile Offers Users Free Netflix Subscriptions (Money@30): For the past several months, T-Mobile has been trying to distance itself from its competitors by embracing its use of bright pink, calling itself the "uncarrier," and teaming up with various brands and retailers to offer users free stuff. To that lattermost point, T-Mobile has just announced their new "Netflix on Us" program that will provide Netflix subscriptions to T-Mobile ONE family plan members. This promotion will officially go into effect September 12th and will offer users with two or more eligible T-Mobile ONE lines a free standard (up to $9.99) subscription to the popular streaming service Netflix. Additionally users can elect to upgrade their subscription to Netflix's 4K streaming option and have the $2 difference billed to their T-Mobile account. Previous T-Mobile promotions include giving users free pizza and other gifts as part of their T-Mobile Tuesdays.

Cross Channel Marketing Roundup: August 28th, 2017

Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes Android's next release getting its official name, the effect your app's logo can have on churn, and how marketers should think about augmented reality.

Mobile News:

Google Updates Brings Video Previews to Mobile Search (TechCrunch): Given the amount of video content that's now consumed on mobile devices, it makes sense that Google would want to make finding such content even easier. That's what they've done with a new update for mobile search results that allows users to see a six-second silent preview of videos to ensure it's a clip they want to watch. Instead of displaying the first six seconds of a given video, Google's algorithm will actually assess each clip and present the moment it feels best represents the content. Not only will this feature work for videos on YouTube but will also work for the majority of clips on the web.

Android O Gets an Official Name, Release Date (TechCrunch): This week Google unveiled its next Android OS, which will officially be known as Oreo in following with the dessert theme of previous releases. The latest OS will first roll out to Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P devices followed by Pixel C and Nexus Player. Some of the highlights of the update include picture-in-picture, Android Instant Apps, and autofill for apps as well as some security upgrades and, of course, a set of new emojis. On the eve of Android Oreo's release, Android Marshmallow still ranks as the most-used OS, commanding just under one-third of the Android market. Its predecessor, Lollipop, is not far behind as it currently runs on 29% of Android devices.

AMP Ads Get Speed Enhancement (Search Engine Land): With phase one of Google's three phase plan for bringing ads to AMP now completed, the company has announced: "Fast Fetch" for improving ad render times. "With Fast Fetch, ads are requested much earlier in the lifecycle of the page, allowing page rendering and creative selection in the ad server to happen in parallel. Fast Fetch is 850ms faster at the 50th percentile and 2.7s faster at the 90th percentile as compared to Delayed Fetch," according to AMP Project. Although there is no announced date for this upgrade as of yet, the change will first affect eligible ads purchased on DoubleClick and AdSense, as those automatically convert to AMP ad format.

iOS 11 Will Make it Easier to Copy and Share AMP Links (TechCrunch): One downside of Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages is the link structure that places "" before the publisher's URL. As a result, when links were shared, the receiver would not get a proper preview of the link. Now it appears that glitch will be fixed when Apple's iOS 11 is released this fall. According to reports, when users save, copy, or share an AMP link, iOS will automatically strip the AMP preamble and return pages to their original link structure. While this isn't a headline feature of the update by any means, the change does seem to be garnering support so far. In fact Google has requested that browsers handle AMP links in this manner moving forward.

App Install Ad Fraud Estimated at $300 Million Annually (Mobile Marketer): A new report indicates that mobile marketers are currently losing as much as $300 million a year on fraudulent app installs. The study found that 5% of app installs from non-premium ad networks were fake. Furthermore fraud was also found in active user campaigns, as 84% of fake installs still garnered in-app events after downloading. Despite the gloomy news, it appears that ad fraud is declining overall, falling approximately 10% globally in the last year.

The Design of an App Logo Could Make Millennials Delete It (AdAge): According to comScore, the look of your app's logo could actually be leading to churn among younger users. That assessment comes from a report that found that one-fifth of Millennials will delete an application off of their phone if they don't like how the icon looks on their screen. By comparison only 2% of Gen Xers had the same predilection. While this habit may seem strange, comScore analyst Adam Lella explains, "Millennials identify closely with their smartphones, and nearly every aspect of their lives is integrated with it. For that reason, the apps on their phone represent who they are. Even if an app serves a practical need or purpose, many Millennials don't want it on their phone if they don't like the way it looks and represents them."

Snapchat Opens Verified Account Status to Influencers (Digiday): Just as influencer marketing has proven effective for brands and top users, there are also financial reasons why social networks would want such influencers on their platform. That's why it comes as no surprise that Snapchat is wooing influencers by extending verified status beyond just celebrities. The program is known as Official Stories and gives select users greater visibility in search results as well as custom filters and other perks. According to Digiday, Snap plans to roll out the expanded Official Stories to their "top creators" in the coming months, although it's unclear what criteria is required to earn that label. This announcement comes as Snap continues to fend off competition from Instagram Stories, along with skepticism from investors following some disappointing earnings reports.

Five Apps Occupy Most Users' Time on Mobile (Marketing Land): Mobile users are continuing to spend more and more of their time in apps. Overall mobile apps now take up 50% of time users spend with digital media. Moreover the average user spends 90% of their mobile app time within just five apps. Of course which five apps those are depends on a number of factors including the age of the user. A new report finds that YouTube is the most-used app among 18 to 24 year olds while Facebook reigns for older age groups. Snapchat also ranks highly for younger users (placing third for 18 to 24 year olds and sixth for 25 to 34 year olds) while Gmail cracked the top eight for those over 35. Some other applications that ranked for each demographic include Facebook Messenger and Google Maps.

Opinions and Advice:

Preparing for the Impending AR Revolution (Adweek): Last year a little game called Pokemon GO! not only became a worldwide phenomenon but also introduced many layman to the concept of augmented reality. Since then Snapchat and others have continued to show the playful novelty side of the technology, while more useful applications have mostly alluded us. However that's about the change and Facebook and Apple are looking to make big plays in the world of AR. As Christopher Heine writes, these developments should have marketers thinking about how to take advantage.

The Potential Power of the Mobile Lock Screen (Marketing Tech): Are marketers taking the lock screen for granted? After all, the average smartphone user checks their device every 10 minutes, seeing their lock screen each time. This leads Krishan Patel to question whether they may be advertising and marketing potential in the mobile lock screen's future.

Campaign of the Week:

Discover Targeting Millennials on Tinder (Mobile Marketer): What's more attractive than good credit? That's likely the logic behind Discover's latest ad campaign that finds them teaming up with the popular dating app Tinder. This comes after a study by the duo found that only a quarter of respondents were comfortable with discussing their financial habits. Now Tinder's 25 million users will encounter three different ads from Discover featuring personal finance questions as well as a link where users can get their FICO credit score from the company. With the goal of reaching money-conscious Millennials, Discover's partnership with Tinder is a perfect match as more than two-thirds of the app's users are members of that generation.