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.

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