Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

AWS re:Invent 2017 - Tales From The Future Of Cloud

AWS-reInvent.jpg

In the weeks leading to the AWS re:Invent 2017, we have seen many speculations about the nature of the announcements that Amazon would do during its annual event. The first few days have maintained, if not exceeded, the expectations.

There is a constant element behind all the news emerging about Amazon's Cloud: a significant shift towards the 'applications' side of the technology. Follow us as we unveil the future of Amazon Web Services and the entire Cloud world.

The general trend sees Amazon more and more focused on providing companies with technologies that increase the engagement and improve the customer experience. From this point of view, we could even dare to say that AWS is becoming more ‘customer-centric’.

This broader trend translates into a specific attention to the technologies that affect the customer behaviors online and offline (and are affected by them in return). It is easy to see that video content and AR, VR, and mixed reality have taken the center stage in the last couple of years.

Many companies are trying to take advantage of the potential of these immersive technologies, which so far have proved to be too complex and expensive for general use. The great players - Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and now Amazon - are trying to close this gap, providing affordable tools (in terms of costs and complexity) available for a broader audience.

AWS Elemental MediaConvert is the way Amazon wants to capitalize on the obsession that both customers and Brands have for video contents. The new suite, formed largely on the back of the acquisition of Elemental Technologies in 2015, is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features:

It allows you to easily create video-on-demand (VOD) content for broadcast and multiscreen delivery at scale. The service combines advanced video and audio capabilities with a simple web services interface and pay-as-you-go pricing. With AWS Elemental MediaConvert, you can focus on delivering compelling media experiences without having to worry about the complexity of building and operating your own video processing infrastructure.

While we do not have more than the announcement right now - even though Elemental has been around for a while - there is a major strength in the proposition: the ability to create high-quality, end-to-end video processing workflows in the cloud without upfront investment for video processing infrastructure (you pay based on the duration of video that is processed and the features you use).

If you read the description carefully, you will see how Amazon is now “into competition to some extent with the likes of Google’s YouTube and its efforts to work with media companies and other creators to build and host live streams and ad-based videos. Interesting timing, given all the negative press YouTube has had over the kind of content that it’s been hosting over the years.” (TechCrunch)

The second product launched at the AWS re:Invent 2017 - this one entirely new - is called Amazon Sumerian and is, in some extent, a straightforward response to the announcements made by Mark Zuckerberg during the last Facebook’s F8 event. The topic is, of course, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.

Amazon Sumerian lets you create highly immersive and interactive scenes on VR, AR, and 3D applications without requiring any specialized programming or 3D graphics expertise. The scenes can then run on different hardware - Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS mobile devices, while the support for Android ARCore will come soon. All this starting from the libraries of pre-built objects that make the creation effortless and less expensive.

If you look at the bigger picture, it is easy to understand where Amazon is heading: In a world where the new wave of technology has a lot of time-consuming processes behind it, Amazon aims at becoming the one who can modernize and simplify that — thereby becoming the default platform for creating applications on that new tech. Elemental and Sumerian score two points. And now the ball goes to the opponents.

For a deeper coverage live from the AWS re:Invent, you can also follow Luca Bianchi, CTO of Neosperience, on Medium.

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: aws developers development customer engagement Innovation

App Store Optimization: A Brief Guide To Perfect Your Mobile Marketing

app_store_optimization_aso

Where do customers discover mobile apps? In 2015, is the app store still a critical success factor in mobile marketing strategy? Since the smartphone became our friendly companion, app store has proved itself a profitable marketplace for developers. However, is it still?

With over 3 million mobile apps available in the major stores, getting an app discovered (and downloaded) is one of the biggest challenges facing publishers today. You need to know how to marketing your app, and app store optimization (ASO) is a very important method - yet still mostly overlooked.

Right now, we all understand the value of search engine optimization (namely SEO) to deliver the best content properly ‘formatted’ through a website, blog and social networks. The only way to climb the rankings and sit where matters the most - the first page in Google’s SERP - is to follow the SEO best practices and improve customer experience.

Optimization is the keyword both Apple and Google are focusing on, to win the mobile war and ensure that users find what they need, when they need it, wherever they are and whatever device they are using. Why this evolution should not be valid also for mobile app stores?

A recent research by Google shows that, while apps are often discovered thanks to the opinion of friends, family or colleagues, stores still make the preferred channel to browse and scan thousands of alternatives.

In the exact moment you develop and publish your app, you enter a fierce battle, competing with over 1.6 million competitors in both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store to conquer customers’ attention.

WHAT’S APP STORE OPTIMIZATION?

What is, in a few words, the ASO? It can be defined as “the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers. That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.” (Kissmetrics)

The goal of all your ASO efforts is evident: drive more qualified traffic to your page in the app stores, so users can convert, downloading your app.

The download might be just the first step in a more complex mobile app marketing strategy but, if you are untraceable in the depths of app stores, you will not even make that first step. When customers are not able to find you, it is like you do not exist at all. This is the first (and only) rule of app store optimization.

DO YOU REALLY NEED ASO?

Of course, you can live without optimizing your presence - much like you can avoid any investment in SEO and content management. It is a choice many brands have taken, spending in paid promotions to boost downloads, but competition raises costs. How can you compete with companies that have hundreds of thousands in advertising budget?

You can invest huge budgets in advertising and incentivized downloads, but that is not always a useful shortcut. You can spend all the money in this world to be first in line, but you must work to offer all useful information in a proper manner, or you will fall short anyway.

Same as results pages on search engines, organic is the answer. Moreover, that is where app store optimization comes in handy. ASO is your bet to avoid high expenditure while receiving the best outcome.

Optimization allows you to gain low-cost app visibility, increase the quality of your store page and boost downloads from quality users - increasing revenue in the process. With so many brands still overlooking optimization, ASO might become your secret weapon. Do you need further reasons?

App-store-optimization

A BRIEF GUIDE TO ASO

SEO and ASO are at the same time very similar (in tactics) and totally different (in scope).

Here we describe the core components of app store optimization, but consider that Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store have slightly different rules.

KEYWORDS - All relevant keywords for that specific app should be included in all strategic pieces of the page (name, app description, keywords tag), but stuffing your content with keywords, is a terrible mistake too many still don’t understand.

CATEGORY - Choose the right category for your app, also based on the level of competition, to influence your ranking. Always keep an eye on competitors to learn what you should be doing in the store, and what you are doing wrong.

VISUALS - The first thing that users see is your logo. Make sure it is iconic and unique. Even on the app page, visuals represent the main element to attract. The rule is simple: take advantage of screenshots and video trailer to describe the app and be memorable.

PRICE - Is it price an internal ASO factor? Yes, because app stores often use prices to categorize, suggest and offer discounts. The app store homepage is your display window, make sure to put a price that make sense for what you offer.

LOCALIZATION - your app must speak the same language your customers speak. Localization is critical to helping users decide whether that is the right app for them or not. Use description to explain all localized features.  

RATINGS - What is the first thing users look at when scrolling down an app list? Ratings and reviews. While they are out of your control, they can decide the fate of your app. Make sure to highlight positive reviews and always reply to negative comments.

DOWNLOADS - of course, you do not have complete control on the total number of downloads, often considered and external factor. Nonetheless, it has a great impact on ASO and customers’ evaluation.

BASIC ASO REQUIREMENTS

Search engine optimization is not made to cheat the machine but to satisfy customers. The same way, the ultimate aim of store optimization is not to increase traffic but to make sure your app is discovered by relevant users.

That said, ASO management requires that you fulfill few critical preconditions:

  • You will never optimize if you do not know who your digital customers are.
  • This knowledge is the base to understand the language spoken by those who search for your keywords.
  • Optimization takes time; customer engagement takes even more times.
  • Most of all: if your app is useless or badly designed, no optimization might save you from failure.

Remember, ASO is not carved in stone. It is in constant motion.

Store Optimization continues to become more sophisticated today than it was yesterday. In the future, Apple and Google will recognize install/uninstall rates, engagement, retention, and ratings/reviews data. This will allow app developers to focus optimization efforts on keywords, images, descriptions and, most importantly, on in-app user activity.” (Aykut Karaalioglu, CEO of Mobile Action, on Go-Mash)

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Content Marketing Facts You Need To Know (To Be Truly Epic)

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Apps Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile developers

Top 10 KPIs To Measure Mobile App Development Success

mobile_app_Neosperience

The mobile app market is expected to reach 36.7 billion dollars in revenues by the end of 2015. With so much at stake, competition is rapidly evolving into a fierce battle to conquer users’ attention.

With app stores rapidly becoming crowded, how can you measure the success of your efforts? Mobile app development is not just a matter of downloads anymore. You need more specific KPIs to understand what’s going on.

Obviously, downloads are the first and most eye-catching key performance metric any company will analyze. They tell you how many people have chosen your app and whether or not your launch strategy was really effective. Like all other marketing-related fields, though, a single number means nothing without context.

Many years ago, when app stores were much less competitive, getting your app installed could be considered a great accomplishment in itself. Today, it is just the first step of the mobile customer journey, and it does not guarantee success in the long term. Too many users install apps that immediately fall by the wayside, forgotten and neglected.

A business development plan for the Age of the Customer can’t do without a customer-facing app, to bridge the online and mobile experiences. That said, the number of downloads does not indicate whether or not a mobile app campaign has been successful.

Yet marketers often still focus this KPI, spending all their budget in huge one-shot advertising campaigns (maybe even on traditional media) rather than planning a long-term customer engagement strategy.

According to a new research from eMarketer, mobile ad spending will reach 28.72 billion dollars in the United States in 2015; 3 billion will come from mobile application install ads, up 80 percent from 2014.

Considered in a broader digital marketing perspective, a well-designed app is a unique opportunity to add value to your strategy and instill the idea of a cutting edge brand, unlocking the power of a truly amazing digital customer experience.

While a mobile-friendly website is still considered the most important business card, in many respects it is not the top priority anymore. Apps now account for 86% of the time spent on mobile devices, replacing web browsers as the primary door to access the Internet.

In a world where the smartphone has become an extension of the body (particularly for younger users, the so-called millennials), an app should be never treated as a simple porting of the official website.

Your brand will be in the hands of users practically 24/7; your products and services will be one tap away in the purchase moment. This is an opportunity you should not waste. To ensure success, your app should bring something fresh and exciting to the table, enhancing the mobile customer experience and stimulate emotional connection with the brand.

With the launch of other disruptive mobile devices (i.e. the smartwatch, with Apple Watch and Android Wear already battling), and the connectivity of cars, objects, houses and stores, new apps will invade big and small digital screens.

This trend forces developers and marketers to adapt their output to the needs of tech-savvy customers. The number of downloads, needless to say, is totally inadequate when considered as the only KPI to measure engagement and loyalty.

app_KPI

To optimize the reach of your app, you need something more. What? More specific and dedicated KPIs. Every app is different, and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, a set of key performance indicators working with no distinctions.

You need to pick the ones that fit your app. The ones that fit your business goals. And measure them in a given period of time. Here we share the top 10 KPIs to measure mobile app development success, according to Neosperience.

ACTIVE USERS

To download an app (specially when free) it’s the easiest thing in the world. What happens next is critical: how many of those that have installed your app actually use it? Monthly and daily active users tell you the truth about how much the world loves your app.

VISIT FREQUENCY

How many times users open the app and interact with your contents? The fact that they have the app installed in their smartphone is useless if they just open it once and for all. Hold frequency in check; the usage during the first week is a plausible signal of what will happen in the future.

SESSION TIME

The length of a single session is a performance indicator you should always consider in correlation with the number of active users in a given time and the depth of visit. This is even more true for gaming apps or section dedicated to the gamification dynamics.

DEPTH OF VISIT

This is an important engagement metric. The depth of visit is the number of screens or pages visited in one session. This information gives you two critical insights: how engaging and useful your content is; and how seamless and smooth is the experience you actually deliver.

CONVERSIONS

When the primary objective of your app is to sell or convert (i.e. retail app, fashion branded app and e-commerce), you should measure conversions in a given time. A conversion can be a purchase, a subscription or registration, depending on who you are. But remember that lifetime value is always more than a one-shot sale.

REVENUE PER USER

The potential of a loyal user base is pictured by a metric too often overlooked: revenue per user. This number indicates the overall value of an individual to your app business; not just in-app purchases (the Holy Grail of mobile marketing these days), but the app spending across all other digital channels.

SOCIAL SHARES

If your app is content oriented, in-app purchases are not the only KPI you might want to monitor. Mobile customers, more often than not, connect the app they install with their social media account. Social shares indicate interest in the content you deliver, and are perfect to increase word-of-mouth and build a trustful community.

RETENTION RATE

When you plan a loyalty strategy, one sale is nothing compared to repeat sales. Customer retention is cheaper than acquisition but harder to achieve. In a mobile market where a roughly 65% of users stop using an app no more than three months after install, retention rate in a given time is perfect to tell you how much your customers are engaged.

ACQUISITION COST

To know what’s the cost of customer acquisition, you need to understand where existing users found your app. App stores, in fact, are just one of many channels to promote your app. Search engine advertising, organic search, in-app referrals or social networks: different tools with different costs. This metric shows you the most efficient way to reach your potential audience.

USER EXPERIENCE

You can have the hottest app in the whole Internet, but it’s customer happiness that ultimately proclaims your success. And happiness is strictly connected with the user experience. Defective UI, bugs and crashes keep users away. Always check reviews and ratings to understand what customers think and what needs a fine tuning.

Success is marked by having loyal users that are regularly engaging with the app: spending their time to visit the different sections, converting, making purchases, playing with it. In the race to mobile engagement the app install is only the opening sprint. Find the right partner and develop a long-term omni-channel customer experience strategy.

 

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:
Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Apps iOS Analytics Android Mobile developers Apple