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.
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.