How Do I Reach My Customers On Mobile Presentation

I presented at the inaugural Sydney Mobile Marketing meetup on 26 March 2015. It was a lot of fun. I spoke about our journey and how we got to 500k users.

I met lots of great folks interested in mobile. I ran a similar meetup a few years ago, and we could regularly pull 10 – 25 people. But this new meetup which was the first one had 90 people registered and about 50 turning up. It just shows the level of interest and awareness about mobile now.

Here are the slides from the presentation. Enjoy!

Mobile Marketing Meetup – February

We had our third meetup for Mobile Marketing Meetup on “mobile analytics“. About 25 people came to our event at Fishburners, Sydney to hear from 3 talks on analytics. I’ve written a short summary and included the relevant links mentioned in the talks.

1. Crash reporting – Giovanni from WeSync

From the demo, it showed that iTunes crash reports doesn’t seem to work very well, if at all. Hence tools like Crittercism look really useful and you can track where the app crashed, get reports and fix the issue. It looks very similar to the Crashlytics tool (which was bought by Twitter recently). Also check out Crashlog made by Aussie developer Ivan Vanderbyl (and friend of ours!).

It was interesting to see that only 2/25 people were using crash reporting tools.

2. Google Analytics – Alwin Chin from Stampii

I thought this was a really good talk. Alwin discussed why they were tracking metrics, use of google analytics for web/mobile and creating custom charts. Stampii were inspired by geckoboard to create a real time dashboard for businesses, and created custom charts using the same technology which was HighCharts / JQuery.  Also some interesting discussion in the end on NFC vs Passbook vs Paywave (creditcard tap system) vs QR codes.

3. Release cohorts – Michael from Storyberg

Cohort analysis is something I’ve come across last year, where you track segments of people from when they sign up. Whereas Storyberg are looking to track users based on feature releases (i.e. release cohorts). Its aimed to be a better tool if you are using lean startup methodology. It does makes sense to be tracking based on feature releases.

At Native Tongue, we’re currently using Flurry and you can set milestones, so we can track if features are being used. I’m not sure if we do a feature release, if we can track the usage in an updated feature though.

Final notes

I got something out of each of these talks and I’m starting to see how different startups are using analytics. I think that analytics is really underrated & underutilised in startups. How can you measure progress if you are not using analytics? You need to be able to track progress, analyse the data and adjust accordingly.

The best thing is that we’re building up knowledge in the mobile & startup community. None of us profess to be experts, since the industry in Australia is fairly young. By sharing what we are doing and the latest things that we’re trying from practitioners in the field, we’ll learn from each other and grow stronger as a group. There’s strength in numbers!


Matt Ho

How to get PR for mobile apps

Building an app is half the battle. The other missing piece of the puzzle is distribution and marketing.

So we decided to organise a mobile marketing meetup with some startups in this space to discuss these issues. It was inspired by this discussion on From Little Things. We decided the first meetup would cover the topic of “How to get PR for mobile apps”. You can check out our event here on eventbrite.

For our first meetup, we had a pretty good turnout with 15 people. The crowd was mainly comprised of app developers, product managers for apps, app marketers, and people with web apps looking to go mobile. It was scheduled to go for 1 hour, but it ended up being 2.5 hours. People just wanted to talk about mobile!

There was actually a lot of self-taught marketing experience in the room – people with some of the top apps in the Australian charts. So I’ve written a summary of some of the key learnings from the meetup. Its mostly about PR, and then we started covering other topics organically.

1. A targeted approach to each journalist

How you approach a journalist is important. Alison from ChillWithMe said that sending targeted emails with specific information for each journalist was critical. Networking with people at the SXSW conference before they launched and letting them be the first to know about it. That’s how they were able to get into PandoDaily.

2. Develop a knowledge base of relevant industry articles

Daniel from Parking Made Easy kept a spreadsheet of articles about his industry with notes on each article. He did this prior to launching his website. When he was ready to launch, he then personalised the email using the notes about the articles.

Media Scrum

When everyone wants to talk to you

3. Contact regional media

Chris from Buuna shared that contacting smaller regional papers was a great way to get writeups. They have more time available and may be easier to get in touch with them. Dain Hedgepeth also mentioned that local newspapers are interested in the “local boy done proud” angle as well.

4. A journalist will write about a group of apps 

It is unlikely that a journalist in a major publication will write an article that will only cover your app. I have previously spoken to Will Glasgow from BRW who suggested that journalists prefer to group similar types of apps together and write about segments. So its critical to understand what industry that reporter covers and if they have reviewed similar apps in the past. You can also reach out to them and introduce yourself if you have a similar app.

This recent article about taxi industry is an example – its about the industry and not one particular app. Personally, I have found positive responses from journalists if they write about our industry (language learning) and I’ll introduce our app to them as a follow on to that article and suggest that I can provide an industry point of view or about mobile apps.

5. Have a press kit available

This was something that I shared. We’ve had over 50 articles written about Native Tongue, and we make it easy for the journalists to find all the assets that they need from our press kit. Michael Fox from 22Michaels blogged that they missed a PR opportunity with MX when they didn’t have images of their products available. Check out the press kit for Shoes Of Prey – I used this for inspiration.

Ben Hamey of Bonobo Labs previously suggested you should have the following available in your media pack: app screenshots, app icon, pictures of people using the app in an everyday setting, FAQ, and press release. You also don’t have to panic to get these assets to them in time and miss potential opportunities. The media kit for Zilla App by Bonobo Labs is pretty impressive.

6. PR for your target audience

I’ve started becoming a big believer of “blog to your audience”, a concept I picked up from Mark Suster. I think the same applies for “getting PR to your audience”. Many people in the room agreed that most PR had a limited effect on downloads. There might be a spike but it wasn’t sustaining and started to taper off as the article became less recent. Sometimes that much hyped spike never came. In the group’s experience, those users that signed up from major news articles also weren’t as sticky (i.e. they didn’t keep coming back). I believe its because they weren’t the target audience for the product.

One of the biggest download days for our app Mandarin Madness came from an education article written in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s largest English print newspaper. It appeared in the education section and was written by an author that covers education and technology. This result made sense given that parents living in Hong Kong would read it, download it and love our app. It was our target audience.

7. Virality

Yose from Jormy Games had a simple, yet fun iphone app which involves replicating the reaction of shaking a softdrink bottle and having it fizz up and burst. It was one of the early apps on iPhone and topped the charts. At its peak, it was doing 70,000 free downloads a day. He believes it went viral when kids started uploading videos onto Youtube of them shaking their iphones and playing the app.

8. Partnerships

ScribblePics has a white label app to turn your photos into postcards. They  were able to get partnerships with QANTAS, Jetstar, Perisher, and Contiki Tours. How did they do it? Well Peter Bradd simply got on the phone and called them up. A direct sales approach worked. A few people in the room also had examples of how partnerships benefited them to get more distribution.

There are only some of the tips and experiences that were shared. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to come to the next meetup!

Its on Monday, 3 December, 2012 and the main topic is “mobile advertising”. RSVP here.

I’m out like kids shaking Coke bottles,

Matt Ho.

Dialing into the future with Xummi and Google Android

Mobile Mondays

Mobile Mondays

MoMo – Mobile Mondays

I turned up to my first Mobile Monday event tonite in Sydney. Mobile Mondays are chapters or societies in different cities dedicated to learning more about mobiles, mobile marketing and for networking opportunites for those in the mobile industry.

The event began by talking about general industry trends relating to mobile and internet. The most interesting fact was that China has now overtaken the US as the greatest number of internet users. Which is suprising given that the U.S has 70% penetration of its population using internet, while China only has a fraction at 19%. Kinda scary numbers as the internet hasn’t been fully adopted in China yet.

Xumii – Mobile Social Networking

The warmup act was Xumii, which is a company from San Francisco. It is developing a platform to use across existing social networking applications for mobiles. It’s great little application where you can chat to all your friends across different instant messenger platforms like MSN, AIM, googletalk, etc.., check the status of your friends, have RSS sent to your mobile, access facebook, myspace, etc… Consider it like a friendfeed for mobiles. It doesn’t really create anything new, it just lets your social networking applications talk to your mobile.

Friendfeed is brilliant in this way, and Xumii‘s use is quite similar. It allows you to keep track of your social applications and gives you a single access point from your mobile. They have worked together with Facebook, youtube, etc.. to use their existing features and security log ins.

You can drag all your contacts from online to your mobile and it lets you have private conversations with different groups of people. Instead of sending an SMS to all your friends to find out where they are, consider this scenario: check the status of your friends to see whether they are on the computer or on their mobile Xumii’s. Message the group of people that’s out and about telling them where to go and also upload a gif image of a map to direct them.

For me, what we are seeing, is a mobile being used as a greater social tool to organise and keep in contact with your friends. We don’t have to talk to them to know what they are up to. That is the beauty of facebook, its allows you to voyueristically see what your friends are up to by looking at their status, what’s going on in their lives by checking the messages on their walls and perusing their photos. Xumii brings that mindset and capability to the mobile.

The biggest question facing Xumii and its competitors is how to monetise this platform – because Xumii is free. The presenters mentioned having wall or profile page where advertisers could display current events coming up that the user is interested in – like local concerts, discounted offers, etc… They also mentioned revenue share with the carriers and so on. But as a business proposition, one really has to wonder how they will make money off Xumii. It is the same problem facing other social media like Facebook, Youtube, etc…

Overall, I thought it was cool application bordering on a product pitch to VC’s in Silicon Valley. My other concern besides monetisation is competition. Because of the similarities to Friendfeed, if Friendfeed developed a mobile application, would Xumii have trouble competiting? That remains to be seen, despite this, I think this is a step in the right direction for the future of mobile.

However, do people want to be contactable by their 400 friends on Facebook, so they can see what they are up to all times via their mobiles? For someone like me, who is really into web 2.0 products like RSS, social bookmarking, folksonomies, facebook, etc… I think its pretty cool. But they are times where you just dont want to be bothered by other people, I can understand if people simply switch off their phones to escape from the madness of the world.

Future of Mobile – Google Android

The main event of the night, was Google’s presenter Justin Baird on the future of mobile. He started off by presenting some interesting stats such as there being 1.3Billion people having internet access versus 3.3Billion having mobile phones. Obviously, mobile presents a wealth of untapped opportunites. there are more people sending SMS than using search engines. Everyone in the developed world has a mobile – if not one, than two!

Justin talked about a bunch of other stuff, but the only stuff which I remember was what we had all been waiting for – The Andriod – Google’s answer to the Apple Iphone. A very cool device I must say. Again, this bordered on being a product pitch, but that’s what happens when you attend a marketing event.

The Android is really different to any other phone because it an open source product, which I found rather interesting. The Apple Iphone or any other phone, is a static device because you only use the applications already found on your mobile i.e. they have already been preprogrammed on there. Being capable of open source, means that new developments and applications can be constantly added. Google is adopting a similar practice to its igoogle portal which has open source for its applications. I’ve got a igoogle portal, and I’m fascinated by the amount of widgets they have developed for it. You name it, and they’ve got it. If they dont have it, you can develop it, if you have the necessary know how. That is one of the reasons facebook is so popular, because new apps are constantly being developed by the user community.

I think we will see a lot more mashup apps involving google maps. What the phone does is triangulate your position using cell towers, giving you a fairly good idea of where you are. The thing that really blew me away was compass function using google maps. Imagine having a screen showing you where you want to go. When you move, the phone acts like a compass and adjusts the picture based on where you have moved, giving you a real picture. Very cool.

In addition, because Google is behind it, you know that search has to be incorporated somehow. the stats really surprised me. The click through rate for display ads on google typically is 0.2%. However, on mobiles, that rate is 2%. That’s a 10 fold increase. I tell you why – because the ads become even more relevant based on your location. If your current location is say Parramatta, and you search for restaurants and ads come up for that area, you are more inclined to click on those ads on your mobile. With the unleashing of True Local, we will really see the power of geographic based ads.

From the presentation and my own experience overseas, Australia is really behind globally in the mobile experience. But we are catching up. I remember friends of mine in New York, using blackberries to search for places using google maps. In the U.S they also have unlimited data ability for their phones. Phone data charges here are quite prohibitive – the carriers have to work together to find a way to somehow get to the level of unlimited data downloads. But its probably not going to happen because we can’t get enough people onto the network to make that feasible.

After this presentation, I really do think there are lot more marketing and innovative opportunites we can use with mobiles. I mean more people have mobiles than computers. A mobile is our social currency and keeps us attuned with our friends and family. It is only natural that it becomes even more extended into our lives. Once we can get full internet functionability on our phones, we will really see the true power of mobiles. And there really won’t be a distinction between online and offline. We’ll always be connected.

I’m out like dial up phones.

Matt Ho.