Each week our cross-channel marketing roundup recaps the biggest stories in mobile and beyond. This edition includes iOS 11 calling out apps that overuse location data, Google adding new features to the Test My Site mobile load time tool, and a look at how Apple's iPhone has changed mobile engagement over the last 10 years.
Smartphone Game Revenue Tops Consoles (Business Insider): Not only does the mobile gaming industry now account for a large chunk of in-app sales and revenue but now also tops more traditional gaming platforms like PCs and consoles. In fact smartphone games now make up nearly one-third of all gaming revenue with tablets contributing another 10%. That tops console game revenue at 31% and PC games at 23%. With figures like these, it's easy to see why video gaming icon and long-time app industry hold-out Nintendo finally decided to get into the mobile gaming movement last year.
iOS 11 Will Alert Users to Which Apps are Using Location Data in Background (TechCrunch): Ahead of Apple's public release of iOS 11 this September, developers and now public beta users are getting to explore and discover some of the updates new features. Among them is a change that will allow users to better understand how and when certain apps use their location data. With the new OS, a blue bar will display at the top of a user's screen whenever an app is using location data in the background. In conjunction, Apple will now allow users to toggle any app from always using location data to only accessing it when the app is in use. Previously a number of apps did offer the "Only While Using the App" option for location data although others forced users to decide between "Always" and "Never." Now all three choices will be available by default.
Facebook Tops Two Billion Monthly Users (VentureBeat): This week Facebook reached another milestone and now boasts more than two billion active monthly users. That's a mighty number considering the world's population is currently estimated to be 7.4 billion. Additionally the figure puts it on par with Android OS, which also recently announced hitting the two billion user mark. Back in May, when Facebook had 1.94 billion users, the company said two-thirds of those users visited the app or site daily. It stands to reason that a similar ratio stands six million users later.
Snapchat Custom Filters Can Now Be Purchased in the App (TechCrunch): Snapchat is once again making it easier to purchase their popular custom geofilters, this time adding to the app itself. Users can now build their own on-demand filters by selecting the option in Settings. From there, they can browse and design filters based on the occasion (birthday, wedding, baby shower, holiday, etc.), select templates, and customize with text, emojis, and stickers. These filters start at $5.99, with final pricing depending on how long they'll be active and how large the geofilter's access area will be. It should be noted that this latest outlet for filters is mostly intended to serve individual users. More business-minded tools that support custom logo uploads are available on Snapchat's website.
Marketers Cite Creative Challenges with Mobile Video (eMarketer): A new survey of professional marketers has discovered that the biggest challenge they face in terms of mobile video is coming up with creative ideas. 44% of respondents said as much when asked while 35% said they had trouble finding the right property to deliver video content to their audience. Another top concern, cited by 28% of marketers, was not having enough cash in their budget to create quality mobile video content.
YouTube App Update Will Bring Better Support for Vertical Video (TechCrunch): At the recent VidCon conference in Anaheim, California, YouTube announced that it would be updating its mobile app to dynamically adjust to various video types in order to display them better on any device. In a blog post highlighting the change, the company said, "Who cares if they’re vertical or horizontal? Shot on a mobile phone or DSLR? Square, 4:3 or 16:9?... If you’re watching a vertical, square or horizontal video, the YouTube player will seamlessly adapt itself, filling the screen exactly the way they should." Another big addition coming to YouTube's app is their new sharing feature that allows users to not only send clips to each other in the app but also chat while watching them together. This feature will first debut in Latin America in the next couple of weeks before coming to the states soon after.
Google Beefs Up "Test My Site" Mobile Load Times Tool (Search Engine Land): It's no secret that Google has taken great interest in speeding up the mobile web. One of many initiatives they've launched in pursuit of that goal is the Test My Site feature that would score websites on their mobile load times. Now the company has enhanced that free product to provide more data on the importance of having a fast-loading site. In addition to offering an overall mobile speed score, Test My Site will now provide an estimation of how many visitors your site is losing due to long load times. Similarly Test My Site gives you an idea of how your load times compare to your competitors. Webmasters can also download a free report compiling Google's recommendations for improving. Google's Test My Site feature can be used both on mobile devices and on desktop.
App Market Expected to Reach $6.3 Billion in 2021 (TechCrunch): If you think the app economy is big now, just wait a few years. According to new estimates, app spend — including app store purchases, m-commerce, and in-app ads — will climb from $1.31 trillion in 2016 to $6.35 trillion in 2021. At the same time, the number of mobile app users is expected to go from 3.4 billion to 6.3 billion, with time spent reaching 3.5 trillion hours. This would bring total spending per user (whether via m-commerce, ads, or other app purchases) from an average of $379 in 2016 to $1,008 in 2021.
Opinions and Advice:
The iPhone's Impact on Mobile Marketing (Marketing Land): Ten years ago this week, the first generation of Apple's iPhone hit store shelves, effectively changing the smartphone field. With each subsequent model and iOS release, Apple's device — first introduced by the late Steve Jobs as being an iPod, a phone, and an internet communications device — the company has changed the way marketers reach customers and how users interact with brands. In celebration of the iPhone's milestone, Josh Todd takes a look at how the device has led the evolution of mobile engagement and where it might go from here.
Instagram's Growing Video Business (Digiday): While the mobile video field overall has seen amazing growth in recent months, one platform in particular has been drawing the attention of marketers: Instagram. Despite the dogfight the Facebook-owned app is currently experiencing with Snapchat, Instagram seems to be emerging the platform of choice for publishers. For his piece, Max Willens highlights a few publishers who have found success with video on Instagram and why the app has become such a draw.
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Walgreens' App Attracts Older Users (Mobile Marketer): Whether you're talking mobile payments or social media, it's been clear that younger smartphone users have been quicker to embrace mobile than their older counterparts. But Walgreens has announced that they're bucking that trend and attracting a significant amount of Baby Boomers to their app. The drug store and convenience chain says that 20% of their app's user base is over 55 years old — double the industry average. Furthermore 37% of users taking advantage of the app's pharmacy tools are over 55 as well. In addition to traditionally youth-skewing features like mobile pay and ordering, Walgreens' app also includes pill reminders and prescription information that may explain its popularity among older adults.