Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mobile Marketing Trends for 2014: Part Two

Last week, we discussed the first portion of recent mobile marketing practices.  Now, we will go over three more trends to leverage: geotargeting, crowdsourcing, and mobile payments.

3.  Geotargeting

As GPS technology in smartphones continues to improve, location becomes an important part of user experience.  Most software already has location options, such as displaying the stores closest to the user, but that may not be enough.  Companies should consider the unique properties of different locations and their residents.  If consumers cannot relate to the product, they will not care for it.  Google AdWords lets businesses customize advertisements based on location, or exclude certain locations completely.

Mobile app Foursquare encourages users to “check in” to local businesses.  Other users in the same area can see their check in on the map.  It also incorporates gamification by offering badges and “mayorships” when the person visits a place more than any other user in the past 60 days.

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 Foursquare’s location-centric model

 4.  Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is letting users themselves generate content for you.  Each person contributes information that is uploaded online and made available to others, as well as the company.  It has been around online for a while now, in the form of idea generation contests and surveys.  While those examples use crowdsourcing as a small portion of their business strategy, there are now entire mobile apps that center around it.

Last June, Google spent $1.1 billion on mapping startup Waze.  It displays real-time traffic and road information contributed by 70,000 volunteer map editors and 15 million users. 

Egen Solutions has our own crowdsourced app, Waitbot.  When users visit places like restaurants, buses, airports, or hospitals, they can share current waiting times so other users know the best times to visit.

5.  Mobile Payments

Since people already bring their smartphones wherever they go, companies have devised ways to make the physical wallet obsolete.  Apps like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Venmo, involve storing credit card and bank account information inside the app so users can quickly pay merchants and each other.  Square, Leaf, and PayPal released hardware in the form of card readers that attach to smartphones and tablets.  They serve to replace bulky registers at brick-and-mortar stores.  Many brands have their own apps, which can entice consumers to buy more from them.  Starbucks is hugely successful with 5 million weekly  transactions through its mobile app alone, which only lets users pay through the Starbucks reloadable card.

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The Square Reader

 When creating a mobile presence, it is crucial that you accept these new ways of paying.  The first step would be establishing affiliation with and accepting each mobile payment method.  If your company has physical stores, it could use mobile payment hardware like Square Reader.  You could also integrate payments and reward programs into your existing brand name app for customer loyalty.  Embracing new technology shows that your company is willing to keep up with trends.

Conclusion

The indisputable prevalence of mobile devices has brought about creative marketing tactics.  Implementing several, not just one, of the above strategies will give your app and business a modern edge against the competition.

Mobile Marketing Trends for 2014: Part One

Business Insider revealed in December 2013 that for popular websites like Amazon and Facebook, the total user time spent on mobile was already more than that on desktop. As mobile continues to gain dominance, established businesses and emerging startups alike are utilizing smartphone technologies and marketing strategies to attract new customers and retain existing ones. This week we will look at the first two rising trends, microcontent and gamification. The second installment will be released next week.

1. Microcontent
Application content has been getting shorter. Content means anything that the users see, which can include articles, messages, and videos. Infrequent, lengthy content has given way to bursts of short content. There are two main reasons why.

  • Mobile users are always on the move, so they won’t have time to consume lengthy content. Keep in mind, they could be using their smartphone while waiting for a bus, friend, or restaurant order. Soon enough, they’ll have to put their phone away. If the content is lengthy, users will consider it an unworthy investment to keep a mental note of where they left off.
  • The second reason is a shorter attention span. The Pew Research Center reported that 87 percent of teachers thought that online search tools “are creating an ‘easily distracted generation with short attention spans’”. Thus, the microcontent itself should be concise and necessary or it will become irrelevant as well.

A number of Internet companies have caught on. Twitter limits its “tweets,” or messages, to 140 characters. In fact, tweets with less than 80 characters get 66 percent more engagement. Video-sharing mobile app Vine allows a maximum video length of six seconds. When sending Snapchat photos to friends, users can set a time limit from 1 to 10 seconds before the image is deleted. Of course, microcontent doesn’t have to only be for social networks. It can improve any mobile app.

2. Gamification
Gamification is the use of game design in non-game settings to make them more engaging. It appeals to the human drives of achievement, status, and competition. Common elements are leveling, points, and badges. Rewards are given for completing specific tasks, effectively encouraging users to follow the path that the creators lay out. The status and competition elements are present since users can view each other’s achievements.

Skeptic consumers may accuse gamification of being a meaningless numbers game that companies utilize to manipulate them. While that may be true, the privy users can use it to their advantage. Since user profiles and their achievements are viewable by anyone, gamification can mean recognition in the eyes of others. This may not equate to much in casual websites such as Facebook, but it is becoming important in serious websites. Stack Overflow, a question-and-answer site centered around programming, has a user base of mostly computer science college students and professional software developers. It features gamification in the form of reputation points and badges, earned through answering questions and doing certain tasks. Since they somewhat accurately convey knowledge of software development, users have begun putting links to their Stack Overflow profiles on their resume. Thus, gamification can be beneficial to both the website/application and its users.

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One of the highest scoring members on Stack Overflow. The line below the reputation is the number of gold, silver, and bronze badges that the user has.

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 Example of a gold badge. The user wants the badge, and Stack Overflow wants the user to want the badge.

What Do Mobile Apps Mean For Healthcare Insurance?

CNN recently revealed that in January 2014, Americans spent more time online with Smartphone and tablet apps than PC’s. The mobile user base has been on a steady rise, but this latest milestone indicates that mobile strategies are now an indisputable part of success in the business world. How can it complement your healthcare insurance company?

Storing Patient Information

Having a mobile device means carrying it wherever you go, including the doctor’s office. Instead of bringing multiple insurance cards and medical bills, patients can just show their Smartphone with the appropriate app. Digital technology equates to convenience, as customers no longer have to worry about losing or forgetting their physical documents. And, by saving all transactions to one centralized data center, fraud can be prevented in real-time.

Of course, the amount of user data can quickly spiral out of control as the app gains popularity. An ideal solution would be cloud storage such as Egen’s CloudSmart approach, where data is securely scaled and backed up through a distributed system of connected servers.

Offering More Insurance Perks

People always enjoy saving money. Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, insurers can now increase the wellness incentive from 20 to 30 percent of the coverage cost. This would motivate consumers to improve their wellness while saving money at the same time. Employers who provide healthcare plans would be more eager to look after the well-being of their employees.

An advantage of the act is focusing on actions (going to the gym, quitting smoking, etc.) rather than outcomes (e.g. losing 10 pounds). Therefore, consumers are encouraged for their efforts without being pressured for hard results. Since many people already track their fitness and eating plans with mobile apps, it would be simple to integrate those functionalities into one healthcare insurance app, turning it into a one-stop-shop for an active lifestyle.

The new perks will mean resurging interest in your company’s healthcare plans – from both an employee and employer perspective. Employers will likely embrace it, as many of them already offer gym memberships. Additionally, app users could be given the option to voluntarily share their data with others, revealing the connection between lifestyle and healthcare costs – this could have a snowball effect in many ways.

Keeping Up With Competition

In 2012, Aetna released CarePass, which helps users track their fitness goals by connecting with existing lifestyle applications. UnitedHealth Group has partnered with several app developers such as Lose It! – a weight loss app that involves personal trackers and peer support.

Many Healthcare Insurance companies have already expanded into the mobile domain. Instead of worrying about developing an in-house app yourself, let our experienced Egen team help broaden your business’ capabilities via its HealthMateTM platform.