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.
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.