With smartphone penetration rising and more and more consumers turning to the mobile web, the opportunity to get your mobile app into the hands of those consumers might seem to be growing by leaps and bounds.
But getting the users you acquire to stick around is proving challenging -- perhaps even more challenging than on the web.
When I was offered the opportunity to moderate the table on Mobile Marketing at Digital Cream Dubai, I couldn’t think of a single reason to not be there; it isn’t every day I’d get to sit down on a table with 10 client side marketers and hear about their pains and pleasure of doing mobile. And it really was equal parts both.
There were a lot of insights that came in from the three roundtables featuring 10 marketers each.
Developers hoping to cash in on the app gold rush today face a harsh reality. Competition is fierce, standing out can seem like an impossible task and well-heeled companies are capable of producing bigger and better apps more rapidly than ever before.
Even so, app store success stories like keep developers going.
While the native versus mobile web apps debate continues to rage, one thing is for sure: mobile browsers are going to get a lot more capable, and that means there will be more development of mobile web apps.
Developers of mobile web apps will face numerous challenges, from performance to monetization. But one challenge stands out perhaps more than the rest: building an app that functions and looks good across multiple devices.
Thanks to the internet, it's never been easier for consumers to share their thoughts and opinions about products and services. That has spurred the creation of an entire online reviews ecoystem.
Popular reviews sites like Yelp, which is planning to go public, can literally make or break a business. Earn favorable reviews and a steady stream of eager new customers could be coming through the door. Earn poor reviews and attracting customers can become a difficult task, although there's some evidence that negative customer reviews aren't as bad as thought.
eBay's CEO, John Donahoe, believes that digital payments should account for a lot more of the global payments market than they currently do.
One of the big ways he's trying to make that happen is by ensuring his PayPal subsidiary grows its volume in the most promising digital payments space -- mobile. On that front, it appears he's making good progress as quietly, mobile payments have become a multi-billion dollar business for PayPal.
That, for obvious reasons, is probably not what bank executives want to hear. So it's no surprise that banks and other traditional players in the finance and payments markets are getting involved in the most promising digital payments space.
In the multi-channel, multi-platform age, running marketing campaigns is a lot different than it used to be. There are more options, and a lot more to think about. The same is true when it comes to giving away a car.
That's what Toyota is doing as part of its Camry Effect, which the company describes as "a social media initiative developed to unite the nearly seven million Camry owners in this country through an interactive, online experience."
While Hollywood pushes to have Washington D.C. take over the internet in the name of fighting piracy, some of the most successful purveyors of digital content are heading in the opposite direction.
Take for instance Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds.
Mobile in-app purchases are expected to hit $4.8bn by 2016, and increasingly they're key to the monetization models mobile app developers and app store operators are employing to keep themselves well fed.
But the dollar signs are somewhat deceptive. Profiting from in-app purchases is a lot more difficult than just enabling in-app purchases, and not all developers will implement the model successfully.
So what's the secret to success?
Virtual currency has fast become a multi-billion dollar industry. It's
the juice that could propel Facebook to great IPO heights, and has already served as the foundation for other billion-dollar businesses,
like social gaming giant Zynga.
In fact, a study released yesterday from Juniper Research predicts that the amount of money being spent on virtual currency in mobile apps is going to more than double in the next four years, going from $2.1bn last year to $4.8bn by 2016.