One Year on – The Top Grossing UAE iPhone Apps

Almost one year ago I published the top UAE iPhone Apps 2012, so I thought I would revisit this post and see how things have changed. Has any App remained in the Top 10 spots?

Apps are arguably a superfluous addition to our lives, with the occasional app truly adding value to our day to day routine (news feeds / social apps / baby feeding reminder apps!!) and most are downloaded and never touched again.

souq.comFREE APPS: What is truly great to see in 2013 is a local App Souq.com taking the Top Spot of the free apps, followed very closely by two other locals;  Air Arabia and VOX apps.

PAID APPS: Pimp your Screen (“Pimp Your Screen is an award-winning app that helps you customize the look of your device by giving you an exclusive selection of specially designed backgrounds, icon skins, app shelves, neon combos and many other eye candies“) – takes the top spot on paid, with almost all other Apps in the paid sector being games.

GROSSING APPS: Slotomania and Texas Poker remains the only apps throughout that is consistently in the rankings, but slipping down the field.

voxDEVICES: iphone / iPad 

What is truly interesting is the divergence of apps between devices. Granted the apps available a determinant of developers interest (and possible financial gain), but could we also draw some parallels to the divergent type of device purchaser? Are iPad users more interested in games and less interested in social/sharing? Are we doing more connecting  / researching on our smartphones? Are tablets always going to be the 3rd device and unlikely to ever overtake smartphone or laptop?

locojoyAPPS ACROSS BORDERS

Another interesting angle to look at is the types of Apps used by geography. The most obvious fact that no country has the same apps in any sector that are the same. This may seem sensible for local language or location based activity, but even games / social / commerce apps vary quite significantly across countries. The top apps in the USA on iPhone are almost all games (Free, Paid, Grossing), while in Italy there is a considerable amount of communication / sharing or functional apps, with few games. While over in China, there is a localised app economy emerging that differs drastically from the rest of the world (like everything else in the China Digital Walled Garden!) and many of the big brands (Sina Weibo, Baidu etc.) are leading the charge. The sheer size, volume of customer base and demand for mobile connected internet in China makes it a very enticing playground, if you know how to really localise.

Download & Discard!

What is evident by the changing APPS in the top 10 is their download then discard nature, as pertinent in the UAE as the rest of the world. What the analytics don’t tell us (yet!), is the actual engagement levels and thus overall value (however in-app purchasing helps to some extent).

Make it local or fail!

The localisation of Apps (language, location services, local information etc.) are vital for long term success and more so due to the local requirements of the mobile device user accessing and utilising content (and also consider the limited available technology to translate application content dynamically, unlike on web browsers). Simply taking an app that worked in New York exceptionally well, will not necessarily cut it in Dubai. Obviously there are outliers to this thought that have solely delivered in English and been a success, but predominantly these are short lived and throw-away or the app functionality does not require local content. Truly long-term and sustainable apps will continuously develop their product to serve the users local needs, no matter where in the world they are.

App developers are in working an exceptionally fast moving, fragmented and competitive sector, but looking at the constant consumer demand for new “gizmo’s” in your pocket and the viral nature if you are luckily get it right, it can certainly be a financially lucrative sector if you get can it right, just ask WhatsApp (WhatsApp valuation $1Bn).

The Tables

Top  iPhone Apps 2013 – United Arab Emirates 

Free
Paid
Grossing
=Souq Deals & ShoppingSouq.com FZ LLC =Pimp Your ScreenApalon =Clash of ClansSupercell
▲1Coco VoiceInstanza Inc. =Smart Alarm Clock: sleep cycles & noise recordingPlus Sports =Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited
▼1Air ArabiaAir Arabia ▲18 Ball Pool™Miniclip.com =Top ElevenNordeus
=VOX Cinemas for iPhoneVOX Cinemas ▼1Temple Run: OzDisney =Texas PokerKAMAGAMES LTD
▲1Google EarthGoogle, Inc. ▲4Prince of Persia® The Shadow and the FlameUbisoft =Hay DaySupercell
▲1MBC NOWMBC Group ▲1App IconsMatsvei Tsimashenka =Modern WarFunzio, Inc
▼2Ninja Kid Run by Fun Games For FreeFun Games For Free ▲4Minecraft – Pocket EditionMojang =ممالك الأبطالVekee Games Inc.
▲5Talking SMSOren Avraham =FIFA 13 by EA SPORTSElectronic Arts ▲1Slotomania – Slot MachinesPlaytika LTD
=Despicable Me: Minion RushGameloft ▲1Riptide GP2Vector Unit ▲2Subway SurfersKiloo
▲1Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited ▲2PicfxActiveDevelopment ▲8Online Soccer ManagerGamebasics BV

Top iPad Apps 2013 – United Arab Emirates

Free
Paid
Grossing
▲2Celebrity DentistBear Hug Media =Minecraft – Pocket EditionMojang =Clash of ClansSupercell
▼1Ninja Kid Run by Fun Games For FreeFun Games For Free ▲1FIFA 13 by EA SPORTSElectronic Arts ▲1Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited
▼1Skydiving – Mr. Bean EditionNormand Hackett ▲1Riptide GP2Vector Unit ▲1Hay DaySupercell
▲2Super Dad – Baby Care GameRita Haupert ▲1Toca Tea PartyToca Boca AB ▼2Subway SurfersKiloo
=Design & Dress up BoutiqueUmair Javed ▲2Gangstar: Miami Vindication HDGameloft ▲4Modern WarFunzio, Inc
▼2Banana KongFDG Entertainment ▼4Plants vs. Zombies HDPopCap ▼1Slotomania HD – Slot MachinesPlaytika LTD
▲7Best Friends Forever – Dress Up, Makeup, Card Maker & Photo FunKids Fun Club by TabTale ▼1Prince of Persia® The Shadow and the FlameUbisoft ▲1Smurfs’ VillageBeeline Interactive, Inc.
▼1Despicable Me: Minion RushGameloft ▲1Eden – World BuilderKingly Software Inc ▼2Real Racing 3Electronic Arts
=Dr. DrivingSUD Inc. ▼1Monsters UniversityDisney ▲7GameTwist SlotsFunstage Spielewebseiten Betriebsges.m.b.H.
▼2Nail Makeover – girls gamesGeorge CL ▲10Pimp Your ScreenApalon ▼3Battle Beach

Top iPhone Apps 2013 – United States


Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Gameloft
=djay 2 for iPhonealgoriddim =Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited
=Bus DerbyDimension Technics =Smart Alarm Clock: sleep cycles & noise recordingPlus Sports =Clash of ClansSupercell
=Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited =Where’s My Mickey?Disney =Pandora RadioPandora Media, Inc.
▲1Colormania – Guess the ColorsGenera Mobile =Heads Up!Warner Bros. ▲7Big Fish Casino – Free Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Poker and More!Big Fish Games, Inc
▼1Celebrity DentistBear Hug Media =Minecraft – Pocket EditionMojang ▼1Hay DaySupercell
=VineVine Labs, Inc. =AfterLightSimon Filip ▲2MARVEL War of HeroesMobage, Inc.
=SnapchatSnapchat, Inc. ▲1Contra: EvolutionPunchBox Studios ▼1Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the NorthKabam
▲13RdioRdio ▲2Free Music Download Pro – Mp3 DownloaderASPS Apps ▼3Modern WarFunzio, Inc
▼1Rivals at War: 2084Hothead Games Inc. ▲5Kick the Buddy: No MercyCrustalli ▼2DoubleDown Casino – FREE Slots, Blackjack & Video PokerDouble Down Interactive
▼1Ask.fmAsk.fm ▼3Grand Theft Auto: Vice CityRockstar Games ▼1The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-iearthKabam

Top iPhone Apps 2013 – Italy

Free
Paid
Grossing
(new)Radio Live! deluxeEric MILLET =Smart Alarm Clock: sleep cycles & noise recordingPlus Sports =Candy Crush SagaKing.com Limited
▲1WeChatWeChat ▲1PouPaul Salameh =Clash of ClansSupercell
▼2TuttoCittà MAPSEAT Pagine Gialle S.p.A ▼1djay 2 for iPhonealgoriddim =Top ElevenNordeus
▼2Battery Saver – Improve the Battery LifeKS Mobile, Inc. =InstaWeather Probyss mobile ▲1Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the NorthKabam
=Banana KongFDG Entertainment =Pimp Your ScreenApalon ▼1Hay DaySupercell
(new)PhotoVivaLamina Design =FoxTube – YouTube Playermix1009 =Pet Rescue SagaKing.com Limited
=Red Bull Urban FutbolRed Bull ▲1Running for Weight Loss PRO: training plan, GPS, how-to-lose-weight tips by Red Rock AppsGRINASYS CORP. ▲8MegapolisSocial Quantum
▼2InstaWeatherbyss mobile ▼1FIFA 13 by EA SPORTSElectronic Arts ▲2Online Soccer ManagerGamebasics BV
▲1Significato dei Nomi – NomixNomix s.a.s. =Akinator the GenieElokence ▼1The Simpsons™: Tapped OutElectronic Arts
▼2Monsters University: Catch ArchieDisney =iTheme – Themes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touchnovitap GmbH ▼1Skype for iPhoneSkype Communications S.a.r.l

Top iPhone Apps 2013 – China

Free
Paid
Grossing
=Despicable Me: Minion RushGameloft =AA Ringtone Maker ProLI SI MIN =我叫MT OnlineLOCOJOY.,LTD
=Sango FightLogic Ball =画个火柴人Hitcents.com, Inc. =Clash of ClansSupercell
=WiFi免费通747 =暖暖环游世界:搭配研习生RUNHAO YAO =扩散性百万亚瑟王Meiyu Information and Technology Co.,ltd
=看图猜成语Bin Wang =Phone Numbers Reverse Search LocationQIU CHAO =大掌门Air&Mud Studio
=Banana KongFDG Entertainment =植物大战僵尸PopCap =陌陌Beijing Momo Technology Co., Ltd.
▲2百度视频(影音版)Beijing Baidu Netcom Science & Technology Co.,Ltd =Color Message Text ProsLi Pu ▲2神仙道PinIdea Co., Ltd.
▲3Who Calls Me?Tinnientec Inc. =Temple Run: OzDisney ▲4王者之剑LineKong Entertainment Technology Co.,Ltd
▲1Tiny PopCom2uS USA, Inc. =Contra: EvolutionPunchBox Studios ▼1萌江湖:Q版武侠Shanghai Youzu Information Technology Corporation Limited
▲2美图秀秀Xiamen Meitu Technology Co., Ltd. =Asphalt 7: HeatGameloft ▼3我叫MT Online (國際版)LOCOJOY.,LTD
▲3WeChatWeChat =Riptide GP2Vector Unit ▼1龙之力量com.digitalcloud

Source: App Annie. Data accessed July 31 2013. Paid – refers to both App and in-App purchases. App Annie reports on rankings dynamically, meaning that App rankings can change frequently. 

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Accessible Arabia? Why accessibility matters online – Part 1

The following is a contributor post from Chris Rourke, MD of User Vision.

 “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

— Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

W3C Keys

Courtesy of W3C.org

Well, that was the intention at least.

The reality is very different, especially for most sites representing companies and organisations in the Arab world.  Every day thousands of people with disabilities are unable to take full advantage of the incredible information and services available on the web.

They find their online goals, whether for work or personal use, are difficult or impossible to perform.

Why? Because sites have not been developed with accessibility in mind and this problem is especially common in the Middle East.  Web accessibility is typically not high on the agenda for businesses online or the digital agencies they commission and the result is frustration and failure for thousands of people with disabilities.

Web accessibility is about enabling people who may need to use your site slightly differently than you might expect.  Some visitors might want to increase the text size with browser controls or navigate by tabbing rather than use a mouse.  Others may use assistive technology to navigate through voice commands, magnify the screen or hear the site content through a screen reader.  All of these will benefit from a site designed to allow these adaptations to be made so they can control their view and use of the site.    Essentially the site needs to meet the user half way by being coded in a way that allows user adaptations or assistive technologies to be used to improve the experience.

Why does accessibility matter? First of all it’s the right thing to do – the web has been incredibly empowering to all of us, and the intention is that a person’s disability should not prevent them from enjoying the benefits.  It also make good business sense, especially if you are in B2C or B2B commerce, it really does not make sense to exclude some of your target audience. Making your site accessible will help you avoid certain PR or legal risks and the fact that accessible sites display the best coding and mark-up means there is a strong correlation between good accessibility and search results.  Google likes accessible sites and rewards them for that fact in their search algorithm

Some examples of inaccessibility in action

What does an inaccessible site look like?  It depends since the degree of inaccessibility depends on the type of disability that the person has.  For instance poor colour contrast will affect a person with low vision but it would not affect someone that is completely blind and using a screen reader.

Fortunately there are several tools that can help you identify some, but not all, web accessibility issues on a site. They apply technical scans of a site, and therefore can help to identify only about half of the issues, but they are a good first step.

My personal favourite tool for such quick checks is the WAVE tool from WEBAIM since it clearly identifies the accessibility issues on a page and uses colour coding (and more accessible means!) to classify them.  It is easy to drill down into the issues and recommended solutions for each one too, making it a great educational tool.

In this image the WAVE tool has identified the quintessential accessibility issue – missing alternative text on images – on a large central government department website.

Alt=navigation icons with missing Alternative text

The impact of this is on a screen reader user who will be unable to hear what the button is for – and therefore cannot use the site.

Here for a regional airline it shows another common problem of form labels not being specifically associated with their form controls. This can affect those with visual or other disabilities since it will be unclear which label is associated with each form field.

Alt=form fields labels not associated to form controls

Searching through various sites in the Middle East region shows that problems such as these are common.

Causes of poor accessibility

Of course no one sets out to intentionally create inaccessible websites, so accessibility is much more an error of omission than commission.  It is often a side effect of a fundamental issue that is often forgotten by clients and the agencies developing websites:

It is not your website and not all site users are like you.

Accessibility is often not put on the design agenda at all in web design projects.  Broadly speaking there are three main stakeholders with a part to play in this:

  • Site owners who may not require web accessibility provisions in their web projects, for instance in their design brief to their agencies
  • Agencies who may not have in-house knowledge to build in accessibility to their sites; they may not have prioritised it during the design, or they fail to maintain focus on the site accessibility in the cut and thrust and compromise of site development.
  • Those that would benefit from better web accessibility who may not be aware of the potential for better web accessibility or they may not notify site owners of issues they encounter

There are additional factors as well such as whether web accessibility is in some way built into the national legal structures (such as the Equality Act in the UK, or the Section 508 guidelines in the US, which help to provide a legal basis for the web accessibility.

So we have identified a problem – what can we do about it?

In Part 2 of this Article, later this month, will cover

  • Ways to get accessibility on the agenda for your organisation and in the Arab region
  • Some good examples of accessibility being implemented and
  • The best resources to learn more about web accessibility

 

uservision_logo

In the meantime, you may wish to learn more about web accessibility at the UX breakfast briefing provided by User Vision on March 26th in Dubai Media City, where web accessibility will be the featured presentation.

 

 

About Chris Rourke

Chris Rourke  - CEO UservisionChris Rourke is the Managing Director of User Vision MENA, the Middle East’s leading user experience research and design agency.

With over 20 years’ experience in usability, accessibility and experience design, Chris has worked with leading brands in the region including Emirates Airline, Jumeirah Group, and the Government of Abu Dhabi, as well as many others in the UK and Europe.

He has led projects at all stages of the user-centred design life-cycle  from user needs research through to development of information architecture, usability testing and on-going user experience research.

Chris enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for user experience and provide training on user experience through Twofour54 and Econsultancy as well as in-house training courses.

Vine. What’s the Big Deal?

Vine

Guest post by @waynedenner

The Deal is big. Before you do anything, head on over to the App store and download Vine. You, your business or brand may thank me later.

Now on a serious note, as businesses and marketers seek out new and engaging ways to connect with their audiences, we have seen over the past few months, video starting to take centre stage. (And rightly so). A whole host of new Video Apps have hit the social media space. These videos can present many new golden opportunities. Exciting platforms such as Vine present new ways to create engaging brand content.

Now for those of you who are wondering what on earth Vine is, or indeed have yet to hear the hype about this effective little video platform, you should have already been curious enough from my opening statement to have it downloaded already. In a nutshell.. it’s Twitter’s New App. This exciting new App from Twitter will present those who welcome it with open arms a unique opportunity to create content, which can connect with their customers. Vine allows users to create and most importantly 6-second video clips. Now I hear you say only 6 seconds? Yes only 6! Think of it as the Dynamic Little Brother of 140 Character Twitter if you will.

As we are all now beginning to understand with Twitter those users who can create effective brand messaging in 140 Characters which engage users tend to win big. With Vine it’s no different, its almost like the animated Giff from the early Internet days has made it’s return. You create your video in 6 seconds, which will endlessly loop. Now this is good news because as research has shown on platforms such as Facebook, images and videos from businesses or brands tend to get a lot more traction. With Vine there is an opportunity for Brands to create niche content which it can roll out to it’s customers. On the other hand there is also a big opportunity if Vine continues to grow we will start to see the platform being used more for User Generated Content from the costumers end. It presents those users who embrace it a new way to record and share experiences.

Here are 5 ideas I had on how Businesses can use Vine. First thing I will say and I stress.. Be Playful.

  1. ShowCase your Business or Products in 6 Seconds
  2. A simple How -To video
  3. Create teasers for upcoming product launches or events
  4. Encourage your Customers to create short Vine Videos on experiences they have had with your Brand or Products (UGC)
  5. Share behind the scenes news and insights – think of a Chef knocking together a signature dish.

These are of course, only a few ideas – Vine presents a host of opportunities for businesses to create rich media, which will be far more effective and increase audience engagement. What is important with the development of Apps such as Vine & Viddy is that increasingly customers are becoming more overwhelmed by the sheer volume of marketing messages around channels such as Facebook & Twitter – Business & Brands need to find new & more engaging way to reach their customers. Those Businesses & Brands who embrace & incorporate video as part of their marketing strategy in 2013 are going to have a better chance of reaching and connecting with their customers.

Major Brands like GAP, America Airlines and Dove are already using Vine within their digital marketing efforts – here are some of them..

America Airlines – Click Here

GAP – Click Here

 

About Wayne Denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,Drinkaware.co.uk, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner

The Adobe Slap & BS Detector

Two great videos from @adobe…

The First one… The Adobe Marketing Buzzword BS Detector…

Second… The Adobe Slap…

Both very funny, both with a key point to make. Both setting the challenge to make it real!

Tomorrows Marketer, Today

Retro TV CommercialAvoiding all the cliché’s, skilled resource is undoubtedly the most valuable asset to an organisation. Keeping your competitive advantage doesn’t come from one guy or girl at the top of the pyramid, but from the people within and only when the culture is correct can they meet and exceed the customers’ demands.

Google, Microsoft, Linkedin, Facebook….. Harley Davidson, Ford, Bugatti…. Pepsi, Coke, Mars… you name the industry, a leading force within and on their corporate section of the website, their staff are the number one asset.

Consumer habits and communications are changing rapidly. The change surrounds us in consumer buying habits, consumer researching and ultimately decision making.

So, with the undeniable changing consumer habits and the consistent mash-up of IT/eCommerce/Marketing and Sales, here is my view on the types of personalities we can expect to appear in a future organisational structure that is built for success.

To think of the future, look at the P.A.S.T…


People People
People, people– Some things will never change. Without a doubt a key element of the future marketing leader will still be about the person and their ability to lead in varying degrees of complexity and changing environments. An individual may be a tech wizard, a financial modelling genius but if they are not true leaders in a world that the specialist is often the highest paid and most respected, success is unlikely. One adage that I have always bought into is: “Leadership is about enabling people to deliver more than they themselves thought possible”. For digital/eCommerce particularly a new style of leadership is required, distancing the hierarchical “ I am the boss, therefore it is written”, to a involving, problem solving, innovation creating culture that enables experts to flourish while maintaining output and increasing value across the organisation. Advanced education, a determination to succeed and quality experience (life and work) helps to garner commitment from all of the below to be part of the journey! Look at any successful tech start-up, at the right time they will bring in the qualified leader that will take the business forward. They know business, they know leadership, and they know people.

ArtistArtists – Creativity remains an invaluable gem, even when the forces of process try to keep many companies within boundary the artists shine. The artists are the challengers, the creators, the innovators willing to take risks and put their name on the end result. Artists will look at the existing and magic a new opportunity, they will see the gaps and they will seek to fill them, they look at the broken and find a new, better fix to them. They are the Linkedin of CV’s, the Facebook of Bebo, the Apples of Nokia, the Google of Lycos, The Sir Tim Berners Lee’s of the digital world. They are passionate, driven and relentlessly challenging in pursuit of creation. They irritate the status quo and challenge the job-for-lifers; they are the upstarts and the up-setters. They know how to mash, take the existing and make it more useful. They are not always tech purists per se, but they are technical fluent. They see the bigger opportunity, faster than others and they know how to take the chance.

ScientistScientists – They ask “what if”. The big Data people. The new BI stars. They dream of attribution and arbitrage. They seek continuous improvement through models and simulations. These are the true stars of the decision making. They model risk and present the opportunities through data, they test hypotheses against simulations. They are Monte-Carlo, Regression, and algorithmic Rockstars. They are confident interpreters of trends and assertive and creative communicators to the less versed. They see the opportunity that others do not and they are skilled to take immediate action. The scientists are critical to the new-age marketing cycle of finding and speaking to individuals rather than the masses. They reduce your paid and assist increasing the owned and earned. They are invaluable.

technologistsTechnologists – The Purist creators, the systematic operators and the mashers live here. The purists speak a different language, but fluently. They write faster and more accurately in code than they do in their native tongue. They understand the business need, question it and then seek to provide a solution to a problem. In their spare time they code, they create and come up with novel solutions to known and unknown problems. If they fail, they get up and start again and again. The operators are the best friends and the worst enemies of the purists… they are systematic, process driven and represent the end consumers experience. They operate multiple devices and channels, with increasing levels of efficiencies. They are the testers of code and the stalwarts for perfection. The mashers are the modern day techies, the artists who do not write code, but know how to maximize its performance when mixing up the applications. They take the code to the next level, where even the purists did not realize was possible. They are the best friends of open source and the enemy’s proprietary code. They are conversationalist, social influencers and content creators.

“Why Google+ is awesome”!

Wayne Denner is great at providing quality insights and open discussion opportunities on digital strategy, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend grabbing a coffee to inspire some blue ocean thinking! His recent post below about G+ provides some honest feedback on G+ from both a consumer and business perspective.

From a purist business perspective, G+ is an essential component of a digital strategy, primarily due to the inextricable connection between search (paid and natural) and building on the P/O/E media attribution model / strategy it is vital to ensure that your brand is present and active. Just think of all the Google products, and how they are now being consumed & intertwined through the use of G+  also, think of how your business is presented on them (if at all). If you don’t get this today, you need some help!

Google+ is more than just a Facebook competitor, what G+ represents for the future of (Google) Search and the user online interactions are essentially the first real steps towards the semantic web (aka a component of Web 3.0) and long-term, will ultimately change how we all use the web.

(Mashable blog posts on this subject can be seen hereoh and here among so many other places!)  (See Guardian article about G+ influence on charities).

Why I think Google+ is Awesome & some changes it needs to make…

Guest Post by @waynedenner

Digital Arabia - Google-PlusEvery so often I like to push out a Tweet saying how wonderful I think Google+ is and how I feel it’s going to be a game changer in relation to how we interact with social media.  Usually and more times than I can remember I get replies from people with statements like “It Sucks” or “Dunno how you have the patience with Google+” being examples of recent messages I have received in relation to the platform.  But here’s the thing.  Just because it does not have 1 Billion people using it yet, does not mean it sucks.

So just a few of the reasons I like it, in no particular order:

  • Loving Circles: Although with other platforms mainly Facebook you can group contacts, friends, followers etc, the whole aspect of Circles really excites me.  Within Google+ for me at least it seems a simple and straight forward way of managing interaction with different groups of people and engaging with them with messages or posts which are of most use and relevance to their interests. In a nutshell, when I decide to share content or a post on Google+, I get to decide who sees it.  This gives me further flexibility to organise my circles and add users based on connections within these.    This can also become very useful if you’re a business needing to segment your audience.
  • Hangouts:  Over the past number of months I have really started to use the Hangout feature.  I must admit when I first joined Google+ being an early adopter there was not much point in creating or using hangouts but as the platform has started to grow and more users like me are realising the benefits of + there are increasingly more opportunities to create Hangouts.   For anyone reading this who has no idea what I am talking out, it’s as the name suggests, a chat room of sorts and gives you the power to Video chat with other users by hosting virtual meetings with up to 10 people.  I like to use it most for team collaboration.  For example, if I’m working on a marketing project which has designers, developers and marketing professionals in different parts of the world we can all join the hangout and engage via video and voice.  As part of this interaction Hangouts offers a suite of productivity apps, which can allow sharing of onscreen information in Google Docs and the facility to view presentations and diagram together.
  • Integration with other Services:  Many of us currently use other services and products from Google, eg Gmail or You Tube. With it’s plans to continue to grow and acquire other products and services, integration becomes key in its strategy to position itself as a major social platform player.  With everything being integrated there is increased time spent on the platform, better engagement and less likelihood of the user seeking to want to find alternatives.

There are of course many other benefits when it comes to using the platform for business & personal purposes. There is no doubt that Google aims to become a major player within Social Networking.  It’s biggest problem is trying to move users across from the other big platforms, mainly Facebook & Twitter and users are reluctant to do that.  Other challenges include page administration which can be difficult and many Social Dashboards still don’t integrate with Google+.  Up until the launch of its mobile app, this has always been the big let down for me and an area which is proving to be key for brands seeking ways to push out content to social channels to drive engagement.  But for me the big one to date has to be the Mobile Application for IOS. As a massive mobile app user I was impressed with its clean user friendly UI.  However, If you are like me and you have a personal profile as well as pages for brands which you manage, the big letdown comes from not being able to flick between accounts without having to sign out and back in again and then choose the account which you wish to use this for me and other users particularly marketing professionals using it is a big failure and something which needs addressed sooner rather than later.

To sum up,  Google+ is a great platform but there are areas in which it needs to focus on refining its user experience and work on building connections with its current user base as well as taking steps to ensure the experience is second to none.  Although growth may be small there is still great opportunity to improve winning across user ambassadors who can champion awareness via other more well-known platforms.  Moving forward Google will need to focus a lot more on its mobile platform as this is where the Big Winners will be.

About Wayne Denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,Drinkaware.co.uk, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner

 

Building your brand in an always on, 360 digital world

As part of Gitex 2012 the regions leading tech event, I had the pleasure of being invited to present on how brands can be built in an always on, 360 degree world.

I love presenting at these events and getting to mingle with start-ups, experienced and entry level professionals, global brands, publishers, agencies, etc.. I also have a passion about speaking about my profession & passion, digital strategy.

The presentation focussed on the original insight that customers, (including you and I) actually have a choice! Simple as it sounds, it forms the baseplate for building your digital brand and enables you to focus in on what their choices actually are. Choices could be competitors, channel to purchase, platform to use, communities to form opinions, payment methods… choices are wide and varied, but require you to focus in on them. What will make their lives easier? What solution do you have to their problems, wishes or wants?

The next focus area for a digital strategy, is to build authority in industry & marketplace. For this, every effort that you are making on communications (paid, owned, earned media, content etc.) should be focussed on establishing an authority on the various platforms and channels that exceeds your competitors. This helps you to focus your P-O-E media efforts on that authority messaging.  By focussing on an authority it streamlines efforts and minimises wastage / reduces paid media expense. It can also provide a basis for further authority expansion and creates a “billboard effect”.

The final pillar of the digital strategy is that you must establish consumer trust. This could mean many things, depending on your business, but for eCommerce specifically, means that the online experience has to be flawless, to encourage people to part with cash. This provides a baseplate to build your UX strategy, content strategy, social strategy, payment systems etc. You must establish the trust between the virtual world and what the consumer will receive or experience.

The presentation then provided a Digital Engagement Framework that I use currently. The objective of this internal business tool, is to focus global teams and for them to test what they are trying to achieve. The framework works at a macro-level but is adapted to a micro, per campaign level. By following the simple steps, you have to ask yourself some key questions prior to taking action.

Then comes one of the greatest challenges that face eCommerce in the near future, BIG DATA. As a profession, digital marketing used to be so simple, partly because the only competition was print/tv/outdoor. However now that digital marketing is at the forefront of all marketing expense and become so much more technical and scientific, there is a great challenge in effective attribution modelling and creating a new, behaviour based model that attributes on the behaviour of 1, not groups. As the digital landscape has become much more technical (and technically fragmented), more platforms, more providers, more sales intermediaries and the heightened levels of competition, the future of successful eCommerce is undoubtedly going to be led by the data driven experts. The sexy job in the very near future will be the statistician or data modeller.

I had a number of requests to share the presentation and have adapted it slightly to show in the out-of-the-box WordPress slideshow below. Unfortunately I cannot include the full detail, I guess you had to be there!

For the videos you can see the Burj Al Arab case study here and the TedX video here.

Focus on: Smartphone India

With a market place of 1.24 billion, GDP per capita growth rate of 5.4% (2011, $1500), 91 million internet users, a burgeoning middle and upper class, India is a land of diversity and opportunity for the digital smartphone prospector.

Research was conducted in 2011, sponsored by Google and conducted by  Ipsos MediaCT and TNS Intratest on countries and Smartphone adoption and usage by country.

“The survey data was collected in all countries via an online questionnaire. Weighting procedures were applied to the collected sample data along key variables of the smartphone population in each country. The variables necessary for weighting were collected using telephone interviews in all countries surveyed”.

For the India research below, 1000 respondents were received and processed.

This research should be considered in-line with the error margins accordingly and further modelled utilising regression analysis. Note also, this data reflects 2011 only.

Related Post: World Economic Forum Research

Smartphone Adoption:

  • Smartphone Penetration in India  – 23% of the population are Smartphone users
  • Symbian was the primary operating system with 37% of the market
  • This was the first smartphone purchase for 80% of the respondents 
  • 97% used the smartphone at home, with 87% using on the go
  • 74% don’t leave home without it and 56% say that it is more entertaining than TV

What Indians do on their smartphones:

  • 56% access online services multiple times daily and 56% also use every day
  • Over 76% use smartphones to browse the internet (see expanded image below)
  • 74% using it for email
  • 73% used it for listening to music
  • 40% use it for financial related purposes

APPS:

  • Average number of apps per user is 15
  • 79% state that they intend to increase the number of apps used

Connecting:

  • 81% of users, use email daily
  • 78% use Search Engines daily
  • 76% use social networks daily
  • 62% share information through social sites
  • 52% watch video on mobile daily

Advertising:

  • 60% noticed advertising through search engines
  • 35% while on a video site
  • Only 11% while on a website

Local Information Services:

  • 52% look for local information services on a daily basis
  • 50% will visit the local services website once found

Commerce:

  • Only 50% have bought on mobile
  • With 80% of the barriers to entry associated to; TRUST & PC PREFERENCE
  • 69% will use credit cards to buy on smartphones
  • 63% intend to purchase more on smartphone in the future
  • Only 52% of those that researched on phones, bought on phone.  Majority did nothing ROPO
  • 56% state that they are intentionally taking the smartphone to research products

For the full graphs, click below to launch the previewer:

 

Digital Arabia - India - Smartphone Usage

Digital Arabia – India – Smartphone Usage

Top 25 Websites for CEOs

Quote

I came across this today from Mike Myatt. Top 25 Websites for CEOs – Forbes.

Mike, I could not agree with you more on the top 3 sites (the others are arguable).

Like Mike noted in his post, It never ceases to amaze me how little knowledge C’Level has about their own websites, the experience that a user has, how the brand is represented, the investment that the company makes or simply what gets published on behalf of the brands, corporation or otherwise. Particularly in the B2C world, where brands are becoming the publishers and content is the key USP that can attract / detract. 

Competitors are a great source of motivation, inspiration, fear and confidence, a great benchmark to aspire or exceed. I would also argue, that the C’Level should focus on the big digital picture, not solely on the latest gimmick or sales promotion.

I loved the use of the term digital footprint. As we all know, brand.com is no longer the only place online and most likely you will have a more personal interaction away from your own website, arguably where your brand is truly represented.  Brands are distributed on hundreds of channels, in multiple languages without your knowledge, therefore control is something of the past and the truly successful CEO will understand this new level of communication strategy & the ability to build a new found trust in people will prevail.

A well performing digital strategy never stops but always evolves, it involves a myriad of micro-strategies,  that also require resourcing and investment, therefore a CEO should familiarise themselves with top level digital KPI’s. The days Google being for geeks is over and a CEO (in a B2C environment particularly) need to know where, why and how the $Xm investment in a thing called PPC is performing.

Finally, CEO’s cannot be expected to have time to become the expert, therefore they need strong leaders that can drive the digital strategy forward. Not only should the CEO know the digital footprint, more importantly, they should know the key people in the company that make digital strategy happen (or don’t!), control the risks and truly maximise the opportunities that digital offer to the equity objective.

A good test for any CEO (and head of digital!) is to search on Google for their own name…. are you appearing top of the results and on your own companies website? What are the bounce rates, time spent on page? Is the information on you of value to the user?

Have brands really become publishers?

content-is-king

content-is-king

Thanks @waynedenner for another great post on the shifting nature of communications. The greatest asset for any communications strategy (and arguably the organisation) is the quality and unique nature of their content. Some of the farthest reaching publishers of content have been amateur enthusiasts or opportunists with laughing babies or others, seeing a gap in the market have maximised the opportunities of servicing content in different ways (thinking Huffington Post, Twitter among so many others). For non-publisher brand owners, content is what gets you SEO rankings, what differentiates you in the decision making stage, and great content and a crap product/service are more likely to sell online than a great product but with crap content… likewise, brand sites with great content (& UX!) will be a more lucrative source of consumer content than the publishers themselves. By being the authority on a subject area, it doesn’t  matter if you are a publisher or a brand, the user decides, seeds and shares!

Over to Waynes post….

This will be a short blog………..

Yes…. Just kidding.

On a more serious note the delivery of content has we previously have know
it has changed, the game has changed. The PR & Marketing Communication
powerhouses no longer control delivery of the message or how the message is
created – in a nutshell it’s created a lot of the time by the brand. Many brands
have been quick to realise by jumping on the content creation train it has helped
them offer more engaging ways to connect with their customers using a different
variety of channels and mediums, all of which have only been made, possible by
the Internet.

This step or change has become very important and as I see it and has opened
up a whole new level for brands to begin to try and build connections with
their audience at a more personal level. This will be the brands chance to re-
humanize advertising and make it become more social and join up the dots.
Now more than ever because of Social Media & Digital brands actually have to
care what people think, the consumer wherever they are in the world have a
voice. The content, which they create & publish, is spreadable on a global level
get it right and just think of the impact which it can have on your business.

This shift although it be massive is great because brands with products
and indeed those with services now have a global focus group and there all
connected just think what can be done with this consumer insight if harnest
correctly create and delivery better products and experiences for customers,
which will equal a more profitable business.

Now this all matters why? Because content is spreadable

Many reading this will be able to think of a number successful brands who have
already become publishers and been very successful at content creation however
those brands who have still not even entered the arena for them its going to
be hard because what we are increasingly finding is just with other areas of
Social Media content on there brand has already been created by the a new type
of publisher ‘The Customer’ the brands who have got stuck in early are those
brands who have been able to build connections with their users, re-connect
advertising messages and shape the face of the content which their consumer
wants to receive and content which the consumer is able to help spread on
behalf of the brand.

About Wayne Denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,Drinkaware.co.uk, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner