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Why Should Schools, Colleges and Universities Invest in Mobile Apps?

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Paul Swaddle, Pocket App Chairman.

As we start a new academic year and term, now more than ever college and university dropout rates are a concern for many education establishments. A high dropout rate not only damages reputation, but also reduces the amount of funding awarded to the organization.

Previous figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that over 32,000 students dropped out of university after a year of study in 2013. Of those who dropped out, 7,420 transferred to another university, while 24,745 were no longer in higher education. Three years on and dropout rates are still a concern and institutions are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to attract students and keep them engaged.

An increased amount of colleges and universities are working closely with industry experts in order to integrate technology into the classroom and into their own practices with real-word hands-on projects providing new and innovative ways for both students and teachers to keep up-to-date with technology advancements.

There are many examples showing how educational organizations have changed their approach to student communication by integrating technology in the classroom, appealing to the younger demographic. Indeed there are now a wide variety of apps that have real appeal and below are the ones that I think are really being exploited:

  1. The SAMR model: This app helps teachers integrate technology into their teaching and a student’s learning. It was created with the explicit aim of helping teachers design, develop and integrate digital media to increase students’ academic achievements. This is the perfect example of an app that has been designed to move colleges and universities into the digital age.
  1. Class Dojo: Teachers are able to store students’ information and can easily provide negative or positive feedback around their behavior in class. The information is sent straight to the parent and student separately. The app records and tracks all behavior data so it can then be viewed in a graph and analyzed by both teacher and parent. This app helps to tackle dropout rates as the parent and teacher are alerted to erratic behavior or attendance and then they can act quickly on that information.
  1. Socrative Teacher: Educators can initiate formative assessments through quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races through this app, which is sent straight to the student’s tablet or phone. The app will instantly grade, aggregate and provide visuals of results to help teachers identify opportunities for further instructions, with the aim of saving time and visualizing student understanding. This app tackles issues straightaway, as lecturers can be alerted to areas of the topic that need more explaining.
  1. Educade: This app allows you to easily search by grade-level or subject area to find any lesson lecturers and teachers need. The app comes with the resources that will be needed, a step-by-step lesson plan, and even reviews from other teachers who have tried it out. Therefore, teachers are able to keep lessons and lectures exciting so that more students will be willing to attend throughout the course.
  1. Schoology: This app enables teachers to manage their classroom, to create and submit assignments, participate in interactive discussions, and to collaborate with their peers to make the communications in colleges and universities quicker and easier. Not all students have the confidence to interact with a large amount of people often found in lectures, this app effectively deals with that issue, as well as enabling students to ask for help via a discussion room, rather than doing it in-person.

All of these apps aid the development of the students, so that they feel more connected with their college or university. For the organization, this means that they are able to attract a younger demographic to their institution as well as adapt their communication systems to ensure all students’ needs are met.

Going forward, some of the more innovative colleges are starting to evolve their own apps as more and more organizations realize this is the way forward for communication and success.  For example apps can be used as a key indicator of trends to show the performance of the college or university. Equally apps can be used as a way of tracking admissions and understanding where students are in their development, ensuring any students that are struggling are given all the extra help needed for them to continue with their education.

Here at Pocket App, we can assist in any stage of the development of your app from workshopping the idea to design and build. We have an extensive team who can help at every step of the way. We understand that students’ success is key for any college or university and key to this is making sure that the students stay engaged and that the organization doesn’t end up with a high dropout rate post admissions.

It is time for all educational organizations to become more competitive in the world of technology and apps are one way to make the organization stickier as you can monitor key indicators for students across the board and become more pre-emptive and responsive.

The post Why Should Schools, Colleges and Universities Invest in Mobile Apps? appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Mobile Marketing Watch

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Two Companies Apple Should Acquire: Evernote and VMware

Apple StoreWith Apple’s cash pile growing with the day, we are wondering when (or whether) will they start making big moves, as in – big acquisitions. The iPhone maker typically acquires smaller firms, but with more than $ 200 billion sitting at their offshore accounts, one wonders how on earth will they spend/invest all the cash. There…

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IntoMobile

Grab Their Attention: 5 Content Tips for Creating Engaging Emails

Email is a fact of life. Not getting any feels like someone’s turned the volume down on your personal universe – we’re so used to seeing that little number that screams

Hey! Hey, you! 181 things need your attention!

 

No one knows this better than marketers. We send emails, and we get emails. It’s like the tide: it goes in, it goes out, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.

The average person receives 121 emails per day (The Radicati Group) – but how many of our carefully crafted messages they actually open and engage with is the important part. Spam filters are locked and loaded. A cool hundred other people are waving ‘30% off!’ and ‘Check out Our eNewsletter’ flags, and your email is all set with… another offer. If your emails are getting lost in the shuffle, use these tips to make your emails stand out from the crowd and build an engaged subscriber list.

Tip #1: Lead with the subject line

One thing that gets my attention right away is humor. If you know your audience well, humor is a great way to show off your company’s personality. Go for smart puns, timely asides, and little nods to industry standards, or inside jokes that will make your subscribers feel like they’re part of the in-the-know circle.

If you’re not feeling especially ‘punny’ (see what I did there?) you can use questions – whether they’re amusing or serious – to generate that ‘tell me more’ feeling. Simple ones like “How do you feel about this new technology?” or “Where do you want to be in your business?” just beg to be answered. Why? Because the focus shifts back to the recipient, especially when you’re asking (and subsequently answering) a relevant, timely question that they really might have.

But wait, you say. My content is focused on data, how can I make puns and questions out of numbers? Well, you can, but there is an easier way. Starting your subject line with big numbers – 1,000, 300, 25,000 – or percentages slows the eye down and tug at the mind making you want to know more: 80% of what? To avoid looking spam-y: “93% of people open this email” for example, use your best, most relevant statistics up front, and then elaborate on it in the body copy.

Tip #2: Value > Everything Else

In my own inbox, companies who specifically send me things I can use immediately like e-books, discounts, or eNewsletters get priority. I read and even bookmark those emails to revisit later. I might even save or forward them. Making your content identifiable as useful starts with finding out what your recipients consider useful.

You want the content you send to add real value. Whether it’s mind-blowing statistics about your industry, or a series of funny videos starring your company’s mascot llama, show your subscribers that you’re genuinely trying to provide them with content that they’ll find useful or entertaining as opposed to random sales pitches.

I once received an email asking me if I’d like to receive a curated newsletter of each month’s new demos and how-to videos. I had been subscribed to the email list for a few weeks, and had been primarily watching the demos and how-to videos that were sent out. I signed up. Tracking what types of content your recipients engage with is the first step to sending them content that will resonate – and that brings me to the next tip.

Tip #3: Make it Personal

Personalization positions your customers firmly at the center of the conversation, which is where they should be. Allowing subscribers to set the frequency of emails, or including the recipient’s name, are good methods of personalization (and pretty standard), so to really offer a personalized experience, think about enabling your subscribers to choose the types of content they want to receive.

Are they more into webinars? Big fans of blog posts? Or do they just want to know about new products? The choices they make can also give you some additional insight into what interests them about your brand as a whole, and what made them subscribe to receive your emails in the first place. From there you can send subscribers the content that will always be most relevant to them.

Offering a ‘pick your own content’ option can also help with defining buyer personas and choosing who to assign to lead nurturing campaigns without coming across as too intrusive. For example, you might add a form field that asks what kind of content a prospect is interested in receiving emails about. You can then include a link to edit or update these preferences in your emails, so that instead of unsubscribing recipients can choose to consume a different type of content.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid of older content

I’m probably not the only one who loses emails. They get buried under the flood of new stuff that appears in my inbox every hour or so. Even when I flag things, sometimes I have a hard time scrolling through the 300 or so other messages to find the one I wanted to revisit. Particularly if you’re sending out a regular email with the week’s blog post, or new video, adding older content can provide more context and help with educating prospects about your offering.

You don’t have to make older content front and center, but adding a recap or archive section is a great way to revive older pieces and dust them off for a new set of eyes as your list continues to grow.

Tip #5: Be Honest

Honesty is valuable. Use it to tell your story, and to demonstrate your core values to your recipients. By being straightforward with what you have to offer and what you want from them in return, you’re positioning your brand as trustworthy, and building a positive association around who you are and what you do.

In your emails, explain to recipients why you want to be in touch with them – maybe you want to provide them with valuable content, or you’d like to share some things you think they’d be interested in based on previous interactions. Whatever it is, make sure you give your word and stick to it.

If you promise to only email them once per week, only email them once per week. If you say you’ll only send information about specific topics, then only send information that pertains to those topics. Doing so will help you build trust with your recipients, which will make them more likely to prioritize emails from you, and attach greater significance to the content.

Building a relationship with your subscribers takes time, but the rewards are well worth the investment. With people (and inboxes) busier than ever, turning your emails into conversation can help you turn the tide and increase email engagement.

Email Marketing – Pardot

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Nielsen Nugget: Technological Changes Drive Changes in Media Usage

nielsenThere’s an interesting graphic this week from respected media measurement company Nielsen.

The graphic tells the story of the “current state of the media universe,” a universe now full of choices for consumers of media, scanning the spectrum from TV to radio to mobile and social media platforms.

“Like the cosmos, which is contemplated much in current times, the proliferation of devices and the abundance of media choices is presenting endless options for the consumer and endless challenges and opportunities for the marketer,” notes Nielsen.

Nielsen no longer just tracks home viewers of television, as it once did. The company’s mission is — as the company notes — to total up “audiences across devices and burgeoning viewing platforms.”

One notable find from Nielsen? Consumer engagement is definitely growing.

Check out the graphic here to see what’s happening in a variety of market segments.

The post Nielsen Nugget: Technological Changes Drive Changes in Media Usage appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Mobile Marketing Watch

Let’s Talk About Pardot And Data.com

Since we’re both a part of the Salesforce family, we get a lot of questions about using Pardot with Data.com. Strategically combining these two tools can help you get a more complete view of your prospects and better understand their needs. You can use this “bonus data” to refine your segmentation and offer a better customer experience through personalized campaigns and a warm sales approach.

Pardot’s Permission-Based Marketing Policy states that we require permission based marketing, meaning you can only send email to those that have opted in to receiving email. Data.com is what’s known as an opt-out database, meaning information is obtained by Data.com, but the option is given for people to remove themselves from that database. There are many articles explaining why it’s a bad idea to purchase email lists and immediately send email to those purchased prospects, and no reputable email service provider will allow you to immediately send email to a purchased list. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from this treasure trove of information, as long as permission is explicitly obtained first.

So, how can your sales and marketing teams take advantage of the myriad capabilities of Data.com, while staying in compliance with the requirements of the email industry? Today, we’ll outline correct and incorrect usage of Data.com with Pardot, so you can start using Data.com to enrich your overall marketing.

Using Data.com Clean

The best way to use Data.com with Pardot is to fill in the gaps in information for any prospects that you’ve already obtained through something like a form or a tradeshow. Say you have basic contact information, like their first and last name, their email address, and their company, but you’d really like to know their company address or their phone number. There are two ways to do this with Data.com:

  • Within Pardot, you can use the Data.com icon next to the prospect’s name. If you click on the icon, the prospect’s information will be compared to information from Data.com Connect — the free contact data service — and any additional or different information will be made available in Pardot. This does not require a Data.com subscription, but do keep in mind that that this is only contact-specific data, so it will not include the company-specific information that is available through the Data.com Clean subscription service.
  • If the prospect is syncing with Saleforce, you can use Data.com within Sales Cloud to automatically match and enrich the prospect record with the rich set of details available from Data.com (i.e. industry specification, company profile information, corporate parent linkage, etc.). By doing this, you will have a more complete profile for the prospect and that information will flow into Pardot on the next sync cycle. You can then use this additional information to route the prospect into precisely targeted marketing campaigns, as well as to determine if the prospect should be fast-track routed to a specific sales rep or team.

These methods are updating already existing information from prospects that have explicitly opted in, so you can be in compliance with the policy and still use your Data.com subscription.

Using Data.com Prospector

Data.com can be used to generate new leads that your organization can contact. Let’s review the correct way to include Pardot and Data.com Prospector in your lead generation plan.

  • The correct way is to put these leads in the hands of Business Development Reps or cold-callers who can first make contact with the prospect, and then if they are interested and agree to opt in to receiving email, add them to Pardot lists for emails and/or nurturing. Because you have had previous contact with these prospect, you are allowed to send them messages to help move them through the sales funnel.
  • The incorrect way would be to use Data.com as a cold lead generator for email purposes. Given the terms stated in the Permission-Based Marketing Policy, customers can not pull in prospects through Data.com and immediately add them to Pardot lists for emails and/or nurturing without first obtaining their permission. By not following best practices, you’re also running a significant risk for getting your IP address blacklisted, which can lead to significant email reputation damage. Instead, you should follow the best practices outlined above, to first obtain permission prior to sending email. By obtaining explicit permission prior to sending email, you can reap the benefits of the Data.com database while staying in compliance with Pardot’s Permission-Based Marketing Policy and keeping your email reputation high.

Overall, Data.com and Pardot are a fantastic combination, especially if you’re using Data.com to better understand your prospects, and Pardot to convert them to customers.

Want to learn more about how Data.com and Pardot can be used to personalize your marketing communications and sales pitches? We’ve got a tremendous e-learning module below!

Email Marketing – Pardot

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Facebook Slideshow Ad Enhancements: This Week in Social Media

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Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Facebook Rolls Out New Features for Slideshow Ads on Facebook and Instagram: Facebook introduced new features to the […]

This post Facebook Slideshow Ad Enhancements: This Week in Social Media first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

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Consolidation is Rampant in 2016 Marketing Technology Industry

mobvistaWhile the years 2014 and 2015 were each once heralded as “the year of ad tech consolidation,” 2016 may easily blow away anything previously witnessed in this sector. Those years, it appears, were just the warm-up.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) moves in the marketing technology, advertising technology, and digital content sectors have mushroomed in 2016 as visionary firms seek to offer a panoply of complimentary services.

In the first quarter of this year, there were 72 M&A events — reportedly the second-highest quarter for such activity since early 2015. Digital content sector transactions alone spawned 34 of them, with seven pegged at valuations of more than $ 100 million.

What’s the incentive for all of these consolidations? Basically, it streamlines things for marketers when they can get most of or all of the services they need from one provider. In tandem, companies that offer everything from a platform to ad serving technology, targeting technology, data analysis, and/or other services are better positioned to grow and prosper.

Mobile, of course, is the driving force. In fact, researchers forecast that by 2019, mobile ad spending will rise to $ 65.87 billion and will constitute 72.2 percent of total digital ad spend. It will result in substantial demand for digital marketing and advertising services. That’s a huge incentive to companies that want to serve digital marketers.

While decreased competition can be a common drawback of consolidations (more than a few watch acquisition moves by giants like Facebook and Google with some trepidation), there are also benefits: increased standardization, better ad quality, clarity and consistency for marketers, and more a more efficient menu of tools for digital advertisers.

What company is among the best of the digital firms pursuing an M&A strategy? One notable contender is Mobvista. Earlier this year, this shrewd and forward-thinking Asian mobile ad platform — a leader in its market space —  purchased Denmark-based GameAnalytics, a behavioral analytics platform for game developers.

“The acquisition will help China’s Mobvista extend its international reach and help game developers simplify their businesses by providing an ad-tech platform that helps drive revenue and lifetime value,” noted a report from Venture Beat that heralded the acquisition. “Mobvista said it chose GameAnalytics for its rich player insights, which complement Mobvista’s proprietary ad tech and unique native ad mediation service.”

Today, Mobvista is well positioned because of its resources and talent to capitalize on rich market opportunities made possible by the company’s far-sighted steps in recent years. The Chinese ad platform is now in rapid expansion mode after its success in user acquisition and app monetization.

It has been a short but very busy journey for Mobvista. When the firm first started in 2013, it specialized in helping app companies achieve user acquisition in key regional markets such as Southeast Asia, the United States, and India.

According to Mobvista’s VP for business development Yuan Xi, the company was “privileged” to benefit from the growing mobile market and globalization trend in China.

“Advertising beyond the China market was a major trend within the Internet industry in China during that time,” explained Xi. “Some big names in the industry, like Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent were our initial clients. Through the campaign solutions (we) provided, these clients saw our capabilities in app marketing.”

In recent months, the company has diversified its clientele (it now serves a global roster of companies) and now offers them more comprehensive and innovative marketing solutions. Currently, Mobvista has established 11 offices globally (FYI:Hong Kong / Guangzhou / Beijing / San Francisco / New Delhi / Singapore / Minneapolis / SartellJarkata / London / Copenhagen), with local teams based in every major market. Some of its clients include Uber, Paytm, VNG, Lazada, etc.

We’re told that overseas business accounts for 40% of total revenue.

“We’ve evolved from a business-driven company to a technology-driven company, offering our clients top-notch advertising solutions in the industry, through ensuring higher efficiency and precision, and introducing automated solutions in our marketing process,” Xi said.

One move Mobvista made right away was to purchase NativeX, a U.S.-based mobile advertising platform that offers native ad technology for mobile apps and games.

“End-consumers prefer native advertising to banner popups within the app, as the experience is less intrusive and follows the form of the app or even the news feeds,” Xi explained. “We’ve received feedback from our clients that the consumer experience has been positive with native advertising, and we believe that native advertising will reign in Asia for some time.”

In a mobile marketing universe dominated by internet giants, Mobvista has gained a firm foothold in industry rankings. One reason is that Mobvista’s traffic currently takes in more than 240 countries and regions. Its robust development —backed by its business model and strategy — is rarely seen in the competitive mobile marketing industry. In fact, in the AppsFlyer Performance Index released in February, 2016, Mobvista ranked Number 3 in the Android Ranking (non-gaming) following Facebook and Google AdWords and Number 1 in Asia. As for its iOS strength, Mobvista was the only Chinese advertising network included in this ranking for two consecutive quarters.

Now finalizing a funding round of U.S. $ 100 million in order to pursue further digital tech prowess, Mobvista already offers a variety of performance-based SSP ad formats, including Native Feed Ads, App Wall, Rewarded Video, and Interstitial. Working with 10,000 publishers, the company handles 15,000 apps and boasts a 97 to 99 percent fill rate. Ads requested top 5 billion.

In addition, Mobvista’s precise targeting pipeline is powered by three terabytes of data. Its user-based targeting is ideal for marketing campaigns based on location. Workflow is automated and optimized via an advanced algorithm.

Mobvista’s technologically advanced mobile ad platform — which benefits from user targeting based on customer objectives — helps a variety of clients.

“As a critical component of our full stack product strategy, our self-developed native ad mediation platform enables advertisers to target users more precisely and thus lower the cost of user acquisition. For publishers, this product substantially increases their yielding. What we are offering is a one-stop solution for app developers: from user acquisition, data analysis to app monetization, uderpinning this whole process is a SaaS model,” said Xi.

Mobvista is one of a roster of firms focused on smart acquisitions designed to create value for clients, as Snapchat did when it acquired Bitstrips (for an estimated $ 100 million) and Microsoft as it scooped up mobile keyboard firm Swiftkey (for an estimated $ 250 million).

And the beat will go on. Analysts tracking merger and acquisition activity suggest that marketing technology firms associated with activity like data analytics are likely targets for future deals we may see in 2016.

There’s no way to perfectly foretell the future, but two things are certain: there will be amazing new digital technologies and consolidations will bring them together for marketers. And one more thing: Mobvista will remain at the center of this whirlwind.

The post Consolidation is Rampant in 2016 Marketing Technology Industry appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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