Mobile Apps for Customer Engagement

mobile consumer behaviorFor many business owners and managers, the idea of building a mobile app seems like an allusive technology expense that is needed but never gets done.

In today’s mobile eCommerce marketplace, over 85% of consumers use smart phones and tablets to shop online; so mobile apps have become a necessity to maximize your customer engagements and repeat sales.

Mobile apps drive more business now than legacy web site traffic. Ecommerce revenue is coming more often through social networks says James Dean @iHumanMedia.com. 

The unique customer experience that a mobile app can offer, creates a virtual bridge for your business to deliver promotional incentives to shop like digital coupons. Mobile apps engage customers 24/7 on smartphones, enabling your business to literally be at their finger tips anywhere they go says Mr. Dean.

Using mobile app software to create API (application programming interfaces), iHumanMedia.com programmers build a set of routines, protocols, and tools that allow users to control camera functions, access geolocation data, and merchant payments. Although, the battle over using Apple iOS versus Google Android continues, the customer is always the primary concern. The overall goal may i.e. purpose of the mobile application, often determines which development tools are used.

Much of the graphical programming for mobile apps can be done using JavaScript, Apache Cordova, JQuery, Apple iOS and Google Android tools. The ability to network with individual customers using mobile technology has transformed; “How business is done” says Mr. Dean. Mobile applications provide a platform for customizing each engagement with your customer.

The initial planning in mobile app develop is critical to the success of each project. Solid research and planning is the key to building a better user experience. Clearly define your goals to start. Make sure to understand budget restraints. Collaborate.

mobile app steps

Reason Your Business Needs Mobile Apps 

1. Customer Engagement – With a mobile app you gain access to smart phone and tablet user profiles, geolocation, and delivery of discount coupons.

2. Customer Service and Support – Build loyalty and repeat business using a mobile app. Provide better services and support. For example, many banks now allow customers to take a digital photo i.e. scanned image of a check and deposit it via wireless network without having to visit a branch. Mobile apps reduce overhead and cost of doing business.

3. Inventory tracking is also much easier. Many retail stores are integrating smart phone coded tags on clothing apparel, sporting goods, auto parts, electronics and house hold appliances. Shoppers in the store can scan coded tags using the native mobile app to get product information and demo video clips etc.

4. Merchant payment using mobile apps helps reduce the time of checkout and creates a smooth, customer friendly purchase experience says Mr. Dean. iHumanMedia.com programmers are working with companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Panera Bread to develop secure mobile app payment options for customers. Merchant payment projects integrating mobile apps also include Target Stores, Macy’s and Best Buy.

Each step should be graphed out prior to beginning the mobile app programming phase with a clear understanding on how each software module will fit, interact and display on multiple devices. Each module performs an action in the real world.

For example, the Android is a mobile operating system (OS) based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google. With a user interface based on direct manipulation, Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The OS uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Despite being primarily designed for touchscreen input, it also has been used in game consoles, digital cameras, regular PCs (e.g. the HP Slate 21) and other electronics.

Using visual studio, iHumanMedia.com programmers build a single app for iOS, Android, and Windows using your skill set in web standards: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Apache Cordova  is an open source project that enables you to access native device APIs (camera, geolocation, barcode scanner) not yet available to browsers and to create mobile apps for each major app store.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Mobile App?

iHumanMedia.com mobile app solutions are based on $65 per hour for technical programming. Projects are quoted and billed on a flat rate total. It’s very affordable compared to other mobile app developers. Questions call 615-420-5153 EMAIL US  

For example, Alex Ahlund, former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps, and later an advisor to Appolicious, wrote a guest blog article about app sales on TechCrunch.  According to that article, a survey of 96 mobile app developers showed the average cost to develop an app was $6,453.  An article on OS X Daily about iPhone Development Costs reported that the development cost range for “small apps” is $3,000 to $8,000 and that “more complex or recognized brand apps” can cost $50,000 to $150,000.  A well-written article on PadGadget.com explored The Cost of Building an iPad Appand suggested the development costs (as compared to design and other costs) range from $12,000 to $150,000 or more ($100 per hour).

Mobile Apps & Smart Phone Market Share Data 2014 

Smartphone OEM Market Share … About 173 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (71.8 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in July, up 3 percent since April. Apple ranked as the top OEM with 42.4 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 1 percentage point from April). Samsung ranked second with 28.4 percent market share (up 0.7 percentage points), followed by LG with 6.4 percent, Motorola with 5.7 percent and HTC with 4.7 percent.

Top Smartphone OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Jul. 2014 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2014
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Apr-14 Jul-14 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Apple 41.4% 42.4% 1.0
Samsung 27.7% 28.4% 0.7
LG 6.5% 6.4% -0.1
Motorola 6.3% 5.7% -0.6
HTC 5.3% 4.7% -0.6

Smartphone Platform Market Share
Android ranked as the top smartphone platform in July with 51.5 percent market share, followed by Apple with 42.4 percent (up 1 percentage point from April), Microsoft with 3.6 percent (up 0.3 percentage points), BlackBerry with 2.3 percent and Symbian with 0.1 percent.

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Jul. 2014 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2014
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Apr-14 Jul-14 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Android 52.5% 51.5% -1.0
Apple 41.4% 42.4% 1.0
Microsoft 3.3% 3.6% 0.3
BlackBerry 2.5% 2.3% -0.2
Symbian 0.2% 0.1% -0.1

Top Smartphone Apps
Facebook ranked as the top smartphone app, reaching 71.6 percent of the app audience, followed by YouTube (53.7 percent), Google Play (51.7 percent) and Google Search (47.5 percent).

Top 15 Smartphone Apps
July 2014
Total U.S. Smartphone Mobile Media Users, Age 18+ (iOS and Android Platforms)
Source: comScore Mobile Metrix
  Top 15 Apps % Reach
      Smartphone App Audience 100.0%
1     Facebook (Mobile App) 71.6%
2     YouTube (Mobile App) 53.7%
3     Google Play (Mobile App) 51.7%
4     Google Search (Mobile App) 47.5%
5     Google Maps (Mobile App) 46.2%
6     Pandora Radio (Mobile App) 45.9%
7     Gmail (Mobile App) 41.0%
8     Instagram (Mobile App) 30.9%
9     Yahoo Stocks (Mobile App) 30.0%
10     Facebook Messenger (Mobile App) 29.5%
11     Apple Maps (Mobile App) 27.5%
12     Yahoo Weather Widget (Mobile App) 25.5%
13     iTunes Radio/iCloud (Mobile App) 21.7%
14     Twitter (Mobile App) 21.6%
15     Google+ (Mobile App) 21.5%

About Crowdfunding Microfinance

crowdfundingAccess to seed money and financial capital is a challenge for most entrepreneurs worldwide. Although, small business companies have historically generated more than 68% of all new U.S. employment opportunities says James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com. 

We’re seeing a big jump in our programs designed to help small business owners gain crowdfunding, microlending and crowdsourcing resources. Geographically, places like Europe, Africa, and Asia have led the way in microlending but with legislative changes in the United States coming in 2015; we’re working on several business plans now.

What is Crowdfunding?

The basic idea is to raise money through relatively small contributions from a large number of people – combining the best of microfinance and crowdsourcing. It’s a great financial resource for enabling our communities.

The United States could accelerate its economy gaining over $67 Billion plus 350,000 new jobs comments Mr. Dean. Today, the opportunities through community based funding i.e. crowdfunding are magnified through mobile network technology platforms. We’re shedding light on new ideas, concepts and innovation says Mr. Dean.

Why is Crowdfunding necessary?

  • Entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses are overlooked by conventional lenders (local banks or venture capitalists, angel investors) and have a hard time accessing credit in today’s marketplace.  As a result, United States capital formation and entrepreneurs suffer due to lack of seed money.
  • Today in the United States, internet-based crowdfunding is utilized to raise millions of dollars for charitable organizations and non-profits.
  • Other nations – such as Great Britain, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands – already offer equity-based crowdfunding opportunities to investors and startups to spur capital formation.
  • Entrepreneurs and investors in the United States that communicate through internet-based platforms and offer securities are subject to costly SEC registration requirements.
  • Compliance with each individual state’s securities laws and rules – known as “Blue Sky Laws” – is prohibitively costly if companies are seeking to raise only small amounts of money.
  • The SEC’s general solicitation ban restricts companies from using modern communications to inform and connect to investors.

iHumanMedia.com receives about 50 new business proposals per week for review. From that group, we pick about 2 small businesses to place in our ‘microfinance program’ adds Mr. Dean.

Crowdfunding Program Services Help Small Business Owners to Gain Capital using a Proven System by iHumanMedia.com. Below review the benefits of the program. 

1. Pitch Video mini promotional video about your project (1-3 minutes). A concise intro with summary of goals, costs and return-on-investment for microlenders.

2. Build A Network of people within the community that maybe inclined to give and/or loan money for your business. Several components are involved in this feature such as social network app development.

3. Promotion of organization with the creation of a comprehensive business plan that specifies mission, expenses … financial breakdown. A complete business plan designed to raise funding for your business is submitted to the investor networks.

4. Develop a Branding Campaign that offers PERKS to lenders such as T-Shirts, free tickets to sports event or dinner for two at local restaurantsThe branding campaign is used to promote ‘customer loyalty’ for sustained funding opportunities.

Learn more about applying for the Crowdfunding Program Contact 615-420-5153 

The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (H.R. 2930):

  • Creates a crowdfunding exemption from SEC regulations for firms raising $1 million or $2 million if the issuer provides potential investors with audited financial statements.
  • Individual investments limited to $10,000 or 10 percent of an investor’s annual income, whichever is lesser.
  • Preempt Blue Sky Laws and eliminate the application of the ban on general solicitation for issuers relying on the crowdfunding exemption.
  • Excludes crowdfunding investors from counting as shareholders for the purposes of calculating the 499-shareholder cap under 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act.

Click here to review SEC regulations and latest updates on Crowdfunding … 

crowdfunding investment

Are Product Reviews Effective?

Over 65% of shopper purchase a product and/or service, based on product reviews in social media networks and organic searches like Google, Yahoo!, Amazon.com and Facebook says James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com. High quality customer ratings equal better sales.

Online about 85% of Americans rely on trusted product reviews prior to buying. Creating a conversation with online shoppers will increase sales. Always develop a unique message for your content marketing campaigns. Think different, be an innovative market leader.

Keys to Effective Reviews

1. Use visuals – color draws attention. Imprint your logo, brand marketing. Audio works great, ‘Nationwide is on your side’.

2. Make it interesting. Breaking news, reality TV and sex, improve sales.

3. Localize retail sales, add discount incentives ‘Buy Now 10% Off’.

4. Video pushes the consumer to buy more often. Figure 45% better sales using online video reviews.

5. Create conversation, gain feedback from mobile social media users.

In brand marketing campaigns, we suggest the use of text content and online video to demonstrate your product and service comments Mr. Dean. You don’t need to spend big bucks, it can be done using a digital video camera, good copywriter and broadcast in social networks. Below checkout our review of the ‘SONY Tablet Xperia’. Adding humor makes it fun!

Xperia Tablet Highlights – View Specifications

  • 32GB Storage Capacity
  • Waterproof and dust resistant1 (IP55 & IP58)
  • 0.25 inch thin and 15.5 ounces light
  • 10.1″ Full HD TRILUMINOS® display with Live Color LED
  • Sharp images with deep and vivid colors for a true to life experience
  • Dynamic sound quality with front stereo speakers
  • Digital Noise Cancelling support
In The Box
  • EC803 Micro USB Cable
  • EP800 Charger Head

Aerial Video 79.6% Savings : Drone vs Helicopter

Drone video productions and aerial photography has many important applications in the digital economy that promote our social media connected world says James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com. 

For example, natural disaster search and rescue apps is the most obvious beneficial application. But news media reporting is also evolving through cost-effective mobile app technologies that incorporate drone video surveillance. There are many advantages to using drones in business risk assessment and information gathering which allow us to eliminate wasteful spending says Mr. Dean.

Today, drone video services offered by iHumanMedia.com help reduce costs for insurance companies trying to assess damages and better serve customers. Visual information gathering is now far more cost-effective than previously.

iHumanMedia.com offers aerial HD quality video productions used for visual entertainment imaging, smart phone mapping for real estate sales and insurance assessment from natural disasters. There’s a multitude of social media news applications that create a better customer service experience reports James Dean. 

For example, using mobile drone video and aerial photography equipment, we help insurance companies save an estimated 79.6% on-average says Mr. Dean. We offer in-house videographers and a network of drone imaging operators throughout North America. Each case is based on separate parameters that affect costs. (DRONE daily rate $895 drone video w/editing services) versus (HELICOPTER daily $3,500 flight, fuel, video equipment and maintenance costs according to FAA). 

Although, drone flight times face challenges based on lithium batteries power limitations, the cost savings is tremendous for the unmanned aerial vehicle when compared with aircraft such as the helicopter says Mr. Dean. Aerial video Service

Below checkout the amazing drone video 3D footage inside recent Fourth of July Fireworks entertainment … Enjoy !

Internet Consumer Study

iHumanMedia.com web analysis reveals that consumers logged into the Internet in the United States, spend on-average 39% of their time using social media, 26% entertainment, and 18% shopping reports James Dean.

Consumers are far more knowledgable now accessing vast amounts of information and research through mobile Internet devices 24/7. The study is based on 1,000 respondent sample groups worldwide.

Internet activity

Increasingly, we’re finding people are shopping for retail sales and product reviews in their social networks like Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Pinterest adds Mr. Dean. Social media is transforming business paradigms and cost models worldwide. 

Interesting Places to Shop on Facebook … 

Understanding Google Advertising Campaigns

Google ads reach almost 62% of all web traffic on a daily basis, so having a top ranking in organic searches is critical to building sales and improving your web site ranking says James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com.  

Consistent advertising in social media search engine like Google, Facebook and Twitter; over time create brand loyalty that delivers better return-on-investment (RIO) versus alternatives such as email and snail mail. Be sure to adjust your high impact keywords regularly. Retail businesses should target customers geographically using Google AdWords. Make sure your web link content is high quality and captures leads with a phone number clearly displayed says Mr. Dean.

AdWord Infographic_FINAL-PDF

By using the Google AdWords settings to reach mobile Internet devices and YouTube video audiences; our businesses are increasing sales exponentially. The Adsense tools offer a great way to generate additional income enabling affiliate ads to be run on your web site and.or online video production comments Mr. Dean. Also Learn About Facebook Advertising … 

I recommend you watch our video below to learn more says Mr. Dean.

Google Adwords

Learn Common Traits Successful People Share

Based on research over ten years and 500 face-to-face-interviews led Richard St. John to a collection of eight common traits in successful leaders around the world. The most important attribute needed for success is passion. 

iHumanMedia.com is a thought leader and mentor to small business entrepreneurs and Fortune 1000 companies across the United States and Canada says Jenny Gardner, Nashville Tennessee. I recommend the video clip below, learn more. Use the parts to that apply to improve your life. 

skills for success

Black Friday Sales Online 6.4% Increase 2014

Black Friday online sales as of 1200 EST (1700 GMT) were up 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Online sales were up 14.3 percent on Thanksgiving Day reported James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com. 

Wal-Mart said Thursday was its second-highest online sales day ever after last year’s Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when online retailers promote bargains. More than 75% of online shoppers are now using smart phones, tablets and shopping for product recommendations in their social networks like Facebook, Google Plus and Instagram.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said his company rang up a record day of online sales on Thursday, and was seeing brisk demand in its stores. He said the company was selling 1,800 televisions a minute between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday night.

Heavy traffic caused the Best Buy Co Inc website to crash for a little over an hour earlier on Friday, but as of afternoon it was back up and running, a company spokesman said.

The National Retail Federation is projecting that sales for November and December will rise 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, which would mark the most bountiful holiday season in three years. Holiday sales grew 3.1 percent in 2013.

Some shoppers said the price of gasoline – expected to go even lower after the price of crude oil fell to a multiyear low – could make them more inclined to spend.

“My budget is pretty tight this year and gas is a tremendous expense because I have to drive my daughter around a lot,” Kristen Akeley, 46, who works at an elementary school, said while shopping for clothes at a Target in Connecticut.

“My gas expense has fallen from $150 a week to $80 a week and that is big savings at this time of the year.”

How to Advertise Better on Facebook

Advertising on Facebook engages more than 65% of all online Internet consumers. Targeting shoppers online is very cost effective using Facebook profile settings. Advertisers can target their audience by unique interests, geographic location and age settings in the Facebook power editor for better results comments James Dean @ iHumanMedia.com. 

Promoting daily posts builds your social network in Facebook. Posts may also be edited, deleted and targeted geographically to your audience. In order, to gain better feedback try ‘asking a question’ or ‘recounting a problem solving’ that gives the reader better in-sight to how they might handle a challenge.

Note below some of my best practices when advertising on Facebook. 

1. Use Power Editor

What: Instead of using the slick consumer-grade ad editor, use Facebook’s professional ad tool – the power editor.

How: In your Ads Manager there’s a link to it.

Why: Power Editor gives you far greater control over your ads and a detailed, but useful interface for managing your campaigns.  It’s worth learning and becomes intuitive after you use it for a few campaigns.

2. Tag your ad URLs

What: Every ad you place should have attached variables (UTM variables for Google Analytics). They look like this:

www.yoursite.com/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=CPM&utm_campaign=YourCampaign

You can either paste them as is into the ad URL field, or use Facebook’s tag manager.

How: you can type them in manually, though it’s best to use a spreadsheet. Simply put your URL in the left most column and your arguments going across.  Then in the final cell use the ‘&’ symbol to paste them all together:

Why: When you see your campaigns in Google Analytics you can gauge the relative performance of one platform/medium/campaign over another.  Then you can do more of what works, less of what doesn’t.

3. Pick a wide audience

What: When you target your ads it’s tempting to get super-specific with your ad targeting.  Resist that temptation.

How: Research your audiences extensively and try to find one which includes your target audience, but one which also has a broad enough reach so that you have a much better chance of success.

Why: Ad performance comes down to how many people click – and they can’t click if you exclude them from your target audience.  Now there is an argument that high-quality traffic is better than sheer numbers, but minimal qualification at the audience level is fine.  Despite reports to the contrary, Facebook doesn’t know everything about you – and you may miss qualified leads with too many audience filters.

I typically keep my filters to country,age group, sex – and then an interest or education level.

4. Or use website custom audiences

What: Build an audience of people who have already visited your site and remarket to them through Facebook.

How: Put a Facebook-generated pixel on your website. All visitors to your site will be added to your target audience automatically.  You can also build your custom audience from your customer email list.

Why: Your best advertising targets will be people who have already shown interest in your product or service.  It’s also possible to stop showing the ads to people who convert, so you don’t annoy them.

5. Use Optimized CPM for payment

What: Let Facebook decide how much to pay for CPM dynamically.

How: When choosing the payment for ad – currently in a tab on the ad, but moving to ad groups – choose Optimzed CPM and Use Default Bids in the Optimization & Pricing section.

Why: Because they know best!  You tell Facebook your goals and they adjust the bidding for ad space to maximize that goal.  Now, of course I can’t be prescriptive about every campaign, but all of the marketers who have written about it come to the conclusion that Facebook does a better job than us when deciding what to pay for CPM.

6. Split up mobile and desktop campaigns

What: If you advertise on desktop and mobile, make sure that you have different campaigns for each.

How: Through Power Editor you set up different Ad Groups: Mobile and Desktop.  Ensure all ads in the Ad Group only target the respective platform.

Why: Once you switch over to Optimized CPM and you’re use Website Clicks for your campaign goal, then you have a new problem.  People on mobile tend to click a lot more than those on their desktop so – if you’re optimizing for clicks – the ad will stop showing on desktop and only show on mobile.

Well that’s fine, but a lot of mobile traffic is unintentional and does not convert well – so split mobile ads from desktop ads and Facebook will show your ads equally across the platforms.

7. Segment as much as you can

What: After splitting up desktop and mobile, see if you can segment further. Age groups? Male/female? Countries?

How: Make a different campaigns for each segment.  So if it’s male/female and desktop/mobile, you will have 4 campaigns: Male desktop, male mobile, female desktop, female mobile.

Why: Facebook ad targeting is all about fitting in your target audience’s News Feed.  If your ad is too different than the other content it will be irritating and ignored.

Segmenting, as far as is practical, is a great way of delivering different content to different audiences and being able to tweak once you have analytics.  Yes, all of those campaigns can be a pain to manage – but you will have far greater control of the campaign.

8. Duplicate previous campaigns for structure

What: Use the duplicate function instead of starting every campaign from scratch.

How: Select a campaign in Power Editor.  Then hit the duplicate button.

Why: This one is more of a matter of preference, but I find that it’s easier to fill out a campaign template than it it is to create one from scratch.  You do have to be careful that you don’t accidentally launch old ads in a new campaign though.

9. Use dayparting

What: Set your Facebook campaign to only run at times which you feel is optimal for getting the right audience and clicks.

How: In Power Editor you select dayparting in your Ad Group.  You do, however, have to price for the whole campaign when you do so (but you can change it later if you need to).

Why: Without dayparting, your ad impressions may be wasted at times when people aren’t thinking about using your service – during a commute or in the middle of the night.  You can also have two campaigns which run at opposite times to see which provides better returns.