Monday, November 29, 2010

Augmented Reality ads on Mobile World Congress to feature in TIME magazine

It may seem early for some, but the Mobile World Congress 2011 edition is round the corner. As preparations build up, you can expect attention-grabbing initiatives to pop up around the place. 

First off the block seems to have been SF-based Augmented Reality (AR) developer Junaio, who recently announced that they have developed an AR ad for the GSMA to help them promote the Mobile World Congress.

To advertise App Planet and the Mobile World Congress, the GSMA will place AR enhanced ads in key publications like TIME Magazine, Fortune, WSJ, The International Herald Tribune, Telecom2.0, Vanilla Plus, Wireless Week and others. When viewed through the junaio AR app the ad will trigger a 3D App Planet circled by satellites, which can be clicked to display further information about the conference`s scope and themes.

The ads are worth checking out and also represent a signal of AR becoming increasingly popular as a catchy, mass-market advertisement tool.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monetizing Mobile Apps- A Value-based approach

Apart from deciding whether to charge on a one-off or a subscription basis, mobile app developers need also to consider whether their application has mass market appeal as well as perceived value. This can help determine which strategy to follow when deciding how to price the application (free or not). It can also help to determine whether to include advertising or not.

In my book, Building Location Aware Apps (2010 Manning Publications, R Ferraro and M Aktihanoglu-AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON.COM) I present a model of how the perceived value of the app and target market can be combined to decide on the charging strategy for the app itself:

'Freebie' applications are shown in the lower left-hand quadrant of the matrix. When it comes to monetizing an application, there is clearly no interest in giving it away for free, especially if it is not supported by ads. However, in the case of low value/low market potential applications this is often the only choice available.

'Long Tail Kings' are those applications that address a small, but definable niche within the market with a high-value proposition. They can charge for their application a premium price, and don’t need to include advertising as a result.Long Tail Kings can try over time to extend their appeal to other market segments.

'Killer Apps' rule over the mobile landscape. By offering great value to the consumer within a mass market, they can use their dominant position to not only charge for their application but also generate regular advertising revenue. Other applications continually aspire to become killer apps, though most never make it.

'Boot Campers' are those applications that hold great promise, because they have a large market potential, but that do not hold a great deal of perceived value in the eyes of the consumer. Boot Campers have to work extremely hard (hence the name) to work their way out of their quadrant by convincing consumers of the value they can offer.    

There is a lot more on this and other approaches to determine how best to monetize your mobile app (including a full range of mobile advertising options) in my book. I also explore the freemium model in more detail, as it remains one of the key ways of successfully commercialising digital products.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Short Guide to Mobile Commerce-from Mobile Money to M-banking

I frequently get asked about mobile commerce, mobile money, mobile payments and mobile banking and often find there is some confusion over this new development in mobile.

I first posted an entry on this blog on mobile money in January 2008, when things were beginning to take shape, at least on paper. Now, with smartphone penetration approaching 30% in mature markets, interest in mobile money is picking up.

First, let's clarify some terminology.

Mobile Commerce, also known as M-commerce, means carrying out a wide range of commercial transactions on mobile, whether it is purchasing digital goods or physical goods (like train tickets) or carrying out mobile banking.

Mobile money refers to either transfers of cash through mobile payments systems, like Mobile Money Transfer service M-PESA (a popular money transfer method in countries with limited banking infrastructure like in certain countries in Africa) or to actual Mobile Payments to purchase items. This means using the mobile device as a kind of mobile wallet.Some operators, under the umbrella of the GSMA, refer to this as Pay-Buy-Mobile.

Pay-Buy-Mobile is now being trialled by 52 mobile operators worldwide and works by effectively using the mobile device's SIM card as a 'credit card within the phone'. It combines the secure encryption of the SIM card with an embedded NFC chip in the device to act as a touchless payment system. In reality, each payment has to be authorised by inserting a PIN code (though this may change in future). 

The advantage is that the mobile device can hold several credit and debit cards at the same time.

While this is all relatively new, acceptance of the technology is pretty high. Studies by the GSMA show that over 70% of interviewees would use the mobile to pay for their weekly supermarket shop. In countries like Japan, NFC-enabled mobile payments are already a standard way for travellers to purchase train tickets amongst other things.

To be continued...