Monday 19 July 2010

MomoLondon: 200,000 apps - where's mine?


The Cloud releases new FREE iPhone Wi-Fi finder

Wi-Fi FastConnect


  • offline hotspot search — find your nearest Wi-Fi from an iPad or in the underground
  • integrated maps — search the thousands of Cloud hotspots across Europe and see them all on the map
  • easy registration for O2 iPhone users — make sure you get your free Wi-Fi!

200,000 Apps — Where’s mine?

A busy Mobile Monday tonight — perhaps sparked by the twin pull of the “marketing” and “apps” tags in the event description!

It was a good panel with a fair spread of perspective: Eli from Vision Mobile provided a lot of useful information, based on research with mobile developers as to what works and what doesn’t; Dave Burrows talked about the traditional BlackBerry corporate apps; and Alyssa Tisne understood how to get people to buy things amongst 10 million different audio tracks.

There was a good mix of people afterwards as well — not just the usual suspects, but some design and marketing students on a 3 month course at Birkbeck and a load of BlackBerry developers too.

Anyway, on to my notes, typed at speed as usual. If you’d like to add anything or correct something I thought you said, please add a comment or contact me on twitter at adamcohenrose.

Keynote — Mike Kirkup, Director, Developer Relations, BlackBerry

  • BB introducing lots of ways to pay
  • enabling in-app payments
  • running a Super-App Developer Challenge at the moment (ends Sept 6th)
    • focussed on “super-apps”: tightly integrated, efficient apps
    • apps need to be in Developer World to be entered


Why apps rather than mobile internet?

  • CB: speed. Apps compensate for the lack of speed across mobile internet
    • speed will gradually improve over years
    • but apps provide clean, sophisticated, richer user experience
    • but can have local storage & javascript in browser apps…
  • AT: Apple has set gold standard for music apps
    • 7digital’s iPhone presence is web-only as can’t compete with Apple
    • however, can integrate with and built-in player on BB
  • MK: BB6 web platform has been optimised to ensure that it gives a great experience
    • 30-50% increase in traffic just by having an app icon (on home screen and app store), even if the app just launches the browser
  • EC: user experience is much better, but ubiquity is much harder
    • if you want to target a market rather than a technology then you have to strike a balance

Demographics & handsets: which demographics on which handsets?

  • EC: most people are not looking at demographics…
    • when asked devs where they were getting market information, they said mates, colleagues… not really the people actually using the app!
    • survey sponsored by Telefonica — they have more experience understanding the demographics
  • TP: hardest thing for any publisher is to get their app discovered
    • need to peel back the profile of the user
    • find out what they actually like
  • DB: we do a lot of B2B work — boss buys app and imposes on staff
    • don’t have a high curve of under 25s
    • instead have a large number of users all the way to 60+
    • most people want to do one thing on the device and that one thing well
    • amongst first feedback: “yes, but can we take the phone away please” !?!?
  • CB: mobile is moving too fast. although they’re tracking analytics, the market changes continually
    • seeing 13 year olds with iPhones purchased by their parents
    • they’re probably hand-me-downs as the parent gets the next version…
    • have run campaigns which were more successful with younger brother or sister of target audience — other family members were grabbing phone

BB has become a youth device — was this deliberate?

  • MK: partially driven by people transitioning from SMS, but also by other capabilities
    • not a concerted strategy, unfortunately :-)
    • were surprised at take up of BlackBerry Messager (BBM)
    • people walk into shops and say “I want BBM”, “Oh, that’s for BlackBerry”, “so that’s what I want”

Apps as marketing tools & marketing for apps

  • CB: iPhone apps may be a case of the CEO’s wife…
    • but also association with a cool company may rub off
    • launched a campaign for EBLEX: responsible for promoting beef & lamb in UK
    • made an app to help you BBQ better (iBBQ)
  • TP: no-one knows the apps on facebook
    • top few games are there because the publishers have the money to keep investing in advertising
    • is a discovery site for mobile & social media apps
  • EC: market towards niches
    • these are services — can learn from old industries how to get to individuals who need them
    • even games are entertainment services
    • seeing links between old platforms (e.g. magazine) & new (digital) ones
    • can do guerilla marketing
    • need to take responsibility for own marketing
    • get association with a brand that’s trusted & known
  • AT: 7digital want to integrate with other music apps
    • esp. streaming apps — “now buy the music you’ve just heard”
  • MK: seems like a new problem but it’s a new set of people encountering the problem
    • if you convince blog to feature your app then downloads go through the roof… (email:
  • DB: the real estate is on the device
    • when first buy a PC, first thing I do is remove the ISP adverts
    • there will be a time that this will happen on mobile

Apps are pushed through other media. How?

  • CB: need to have significant budget and use it wisely
    • for BBQ app, targeted mobile ad networks & aggregators
    • initially ran an explosive campaign to push app into top 25
    • then get organic usage and get talked about
    • when start to fall out of top 25, need to give app another push — a bit more budget
    • BBQ app relied exclusively on mobile media
  • CE: Royal Academy of Arts app — all users had downloaded it when they visited the museum
    • front desk had told them about it
    • still don’t know why they’re not promoting retail apps in retail stores (e.g. Selfridges app)

Is it worth plugging a free app?

  • EC: yes, if it’s extending services for a segment they want to own
    • again, BBQ example fits well
    • but not if it’s your core product
    • freemium works if the extra functionality is worth something and has clear value
    • bad free apps create noise — destroy space and time for apps that people will really value
  • TP: Nokia users are used to paying £5 for an app, whereas iPhone users are shocked at 59p
    • unless you have a freemium model and can get existing users to give you money
  • EC: ad-funded apps were not making money they expected
    • ones that were working were
    • maybe because of numbers
  • TP: content is key
  • DB: have to monetise somewhere?
    • sometimes get the money paid as development
    • marketing done by somewhere else
    • ad-funded market is in its infancy
    • have to have consolidated advertising mechanisms to provide content
  • AT: can send push message to get people to interact with app
    • get free releases and browse associated paid ones
    • since 7digital is a store, the app is always free

Is sponsorship a realistic model for launching an app?

  • CB: absolutely (see above)
    • actively looking for sponsorship opportunities
    • white labelling apps (esp. games)
  • BSR: lots of useful case studies
    • e.g. VW approached a specific game, stripped it down just to show VW car and released it for free
  • CB: Brand Butler idea
    • releasing services and games to consumers is a great way to get brand awareness & engagement

Andrew Scott (Rummble): discoverability should be about word of mouth but some operators still have a rate sheet for their promoted places

  • BSR: in theory app stores provide word of mouth
  • MK: BB twitter app has a load of feedback comments which are attempted first tweets… (is that a problem with the BB store?)
  • TP: will have a combination of user recommendation & editorial control
    • putting a social network behind each product
  • AT: with 10 million audio tracks available, discoverability is about genre, really good meta-data (which is not always available from the item itself), friends recommendations, …

Fragmentation: has anyone used an app-porting mechanism, and how did it work?

  • CB: they tend to break down at the edges
    • a bit like decorating your house — it’s only beautiful at the end when the details have been completed
    • app-porting tech tend to deal with heavy lifting well, but don’t deal with the polish
  • Charles McCloud from metaflow: have sent roughly 50 million SKUs to market
    • there are a few porting technologies out there
    • it’s tough, complicated & costly
    • it comes down to what user experience you want to deliver
  • BSR: if you want to deal with extra percentages covering the market, it gets more and more expensive
    • fragmentation is getting worse from an agency perspective
  • when porting, you want to take advantage of the new platform — not just port the app
    • e.g. to port an iPhone app to iPad — a day or so
    • but to take advantage of the iPad and make a good iPad app — a couple of months

How can apps modify people’s behaviour? e.g. foursquare

  • DB: “mission critical” apps need to modify behaviour or won’t get ROI
    • BBM is changing his behaviour
    • carriers want stickiness

How do small new companies get market knowledge?

  • EC: talk to the people who you think are your real customers
    • mobile metrics are mostly irrelevant — they come from technology point of view
    • even talking to 30 people who you believe you want to use your service
    • also want to test apps with people who will actually use it
  • CB: can also do croudsource-based testing (e.g. mob4hire)
    • can target individual segments or geographic regions
  • BSR: avoid listening to the press!

Helen Keegan: where does a small development house start with marketing, PR, branding?

  • MK: have a very popular “Marketing for Developers” session at BlackBerry World — can send slides
    • simple things: start a blog
    • respond to complaints — the faster the better
    • BB recommend mob4hire
    • get ideas from professionals giving a quote
  • CB: only way to get noticed is to cause trouble!
    • have something in your app that people will talk about
    • do something that will upset somebody
    • or start saving and then come to us :-)
  • BSR: don’t target a big audience — target a niche
    • communicate to people in context
    • if you’re in a niche, you probably know the people already


  • Vodafone Mobile Clicks competition launching this week
  • nothing in August
  • Over The Air 10/11th September
    • need volunteers to help
    • and sponsorship money
  • Demo night on Monday following
  • October — Design for Accessibility
  • October — DCKTN/UKTI competition for dev places to Mobile World Congress