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RCS vs. SMS: What it is and why your business will end up using it.

A new messaging standard

A lot of people have become bored with SMS messaging, and the tech industry is very aware of it. While services such as Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp allow you to add photos, GIFs and videos to your messages, they are not universal solutions — for example, you can’t send a WhatsApp message if your correspondent uses Facebook Messenger. The answer — or so Google and other companies are hoping — is Rich Communications Services or RCS.

WHAT IS RCS?

RCS is a new online protocol that was chosen for adoption by the GSM Association in 2008 and is meant to replace the current texting standard SMS (Short Message Service), which has been around since the 1990s. The GMSA represents a wide variety of organizations in the mobile industry, including device and software companies, internet companies, etc. Naturally, given all those players, it took a while to come to an agreement, and so it wasn’t until 2016 that the GSMA was able to come up with something resembling a standard. Called the Universal Profile, it is, according to the GMSA, a “single, industry-agreed set of features and technical enablers.”

HOW IS RCS BETTER THAN SMS?

RCS will add a lot more multimedia capabilities to your messaging. Besides the usual texts (plain and fancy), it will make it simple to send GIFs, high-resolution still photos, and videos. It will let you know if the person you’re texting is available, and can send you a receipt to prove they received your message. It will allow you to create longer messages and attach larger files. It also enables much better group messaging than SMS can handle. In other words, it can make standard text messaging look and work a lot like iMessage.

It will also make it easier for companies to interact with the customers. So, for example, RCS will allow you to quickly find out the status of an order, and will provide a way for companies to encourage customer comments on their sites. (Okay, that may not be top of your list of great features.)

As of this writing, support for RCS has been promised by 55 carriers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and a slew of secondary companies; 11 hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, Lenovo, and LG (but not Apple), and both Microsoft and Google.

IS ANYONE USING RCS YET?

Google has been a major backer of RCS and even offers back-end services to carriers to help them quickly spin up support for it, but at the end of the day it’s the carriers that are responsible for launching and supporting it. The big recent news is that Verizon is beginning its rollout of the service, but only in a very limited way to start. Currently, Verizon only offers it on Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones — and even then it hasn’t hit all those customers yet. But because Verizon is supporting the “Universal Profile” (more on that in a minute), it will work with any other phone that supports it.

(Somewhat confusingly, most carriers are opting to call their RCS services “Chat.” It’s confusing because Google itself has a product called “Hangouts Chat” which is used in corporate environments and will eventually make its way to consumers.)

If you’ve got Chat, you can still send messages to somebody without the capability — they will just get normal SMS texts. So it’s a fairly limited try-out, for now.

Texting lumia

There are some other carriers that support RCS. T-Mobile added Universal Profile version 1.0 of RCS to its Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones in June. Sprint announced it was launching RCS with Universal Profile to its devices in early November, and promised that all its new 2019 devices would come with RCS preloaded. Anything using the “Universal Profile” standard should support cross-carrier messaging — but if you look at the carrier sites, they only claim to communicate within their networks, and we have not yet been able to test whether RCS-capable T-Mobile or Sprint devices can exchange RCS messages with Pixel 3 phones.

Muddying the waters even more is the fact that some carriers and device makers are currently using RCS, but not the Universal Profile (which is being used by Chat), so their apps and services are not cross-compatible with those being used by other vendors.

WHY ARE PEOPLE SAYING IT’S NOT SECURE?

One issue that a lot of security nerds are pointing out is that RCS — and, therefore, apps such as Chat — lack the end-to-end encryption available in some current messaging tools such as WhatsApp. End-to-end encryption means that the message is impenetrable to everyone — including the app vendor and the network provider — except the message sender and receiver. You want to text someone with no chance that the authorities will ever see it? Chat / RCS is not the way.

On the other hand, RCS does have all the standard security protocols, including Transport Layer Security (the underlying tech behind HTTPS), and IPsec (Internet Protocol Security), which is used in VPNs. So for the most part, it’s pretty secure. Whether you’re comfortable using Chat / RCS depends on your security needs.

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

Right now, support for RCS is limited to only a few carriers and even fewer devices, which means that most people can’t yet take advantage of it. Stay tuned to see what — and who — follows.

 

A special thank you goes out to

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Has Mobile re-defined your digital re-targeting efforts…Yet?

What is Mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is promotional activity designed for delivery to cell phones, smart phones and other handheld devices, usually as a component of a multi-channel campaign.

If you are a marketer, you need to look from the perspective of reach. If you want to reach out to consumer, you need to think first where the reach is for example in the case of mobile phone. So, the job is to reach out and create an awareness that impacts the minds of consumers.

New mobile marketing channels

The expanding capabilities of mobile devices enable new types of interactive marketing that include:

  • Location-based service (LBS), which involves detecting the area the user is connecting from (geolocation) and sending marketing messages in that area.
  • Augmented reality mobile campaigns, which overlay the user’s phone display with location-specific information about products.
  • 2D barcodes, which are barcodes that scan vertically as well as horizontally to include much more information.

Why is Mobile optimal?

Mobile is the only medium that can optimize for micro-moments.

The first step is to connect the consumer at the right place. The second step is to seamlessly integrate the historical data of customer across all the channels.

Identify the single identity of the user across different channels. Typically, the mobile number is the most common thing found across the channels. And, the parsed mobile number is the one that could be a potential customer. So, based on the channel that the customer is interacting, customize the experience.

If you reach out the consumer at that contextual and relevant point of time, then you achieve that micro-moment (moment of truth). Business owners need to anticipate ahead of time about their customers’ need.

Now let’s look at some interesting stats:

  • 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
  • 48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine.
  • Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites.
  • Tablet devices account for the highest add-to-cart rates on e-commerce websites at 8.58%.
  • Over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up.
  • 68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy.
  • 71% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business.
  • Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
  • 91% of mobile users say that access to content is very important.

 

As you could see the significance of mobile marketing, now we move on to re-targeting.

How do you use Mobile to re-target?

Using Mobile to re-targeting lets you selectively reach your on-the-go audience. Mobile ads drive consumers back to your mobile-optimized site where they can engage with your brand once again. As a result, your brand is a top of mind for those who are actively researching to purchase on mobile.

In order to start your own campaign, first of all, you need to choose a re-targeting ad network. Although there are a lot of possibilities, the one which is the most eagerly chosen is Google Display Network.

Always remember, emotions drive people to your content and they will drive them to click on your ads as well.

Setting up a Mobile re-targeting campaign
This should be your first step in using mobile in your re-targeting journey. You need to divide your visitors into groups so you could (Hyper-Target) send them customized messages. Using the available data you can creatively increase your ROI dramatically. Analyze your data and develop a conversion strategy.

Best re-targeting strategies

  • Reach all your mobile website visitors
  • Reach out via digital PC visitors
  • Showcase different product categories
  • Use view thru ads to quantify your leads
  • Appeal to visitors who didn’t convert
  • Re-engage visitor with abandoned shopping carts
  • Up-sell or cross-sell to existing customers
  • Reach customers within a certain time period after they completed a purchase

In 2018-19, if you’re not catering your content, ads and online experience to a mobile user, then you are missing a massive opportunity. With everything falling into place now, it’s time your brand got started on this before your competitors.

Finally, don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly too.

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Mobile Ads: Ad Goals are first priority, KPI’s should be secondary.

Talk to brand advertisers about the possibilities of mobile advertising, and enjoy watching their eyes light up with excitement.

“Wait, so you’re saying I can target based on historical location, or by real-time GPS radius?” “I can make the phone vibrate in their hands during impactful moments while the ad is playing  — and the video can be HD and full-screen?”

It’s enough to make anyone salivate. But sometimes the things that make mobile so enticing end up standing in the way of success, and can interfere with your efforts to  meet your objectives. Here’s why:

What’s possible is not always practical. Many brand advertisers now know enough about mobile to know what’s possible, and they get ideas about what mobile can offer. Big ideas!

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what happens is the latest ad units, targeting parameters or attribution models make their way into the RFP as must-have tactics just because they are possible. Unfortunately, there are ramifications to everything you include, and many times they are actually obstacles rather than allies in your effort to hit the right user, with the right ad, at the right time.

I get why. Brands are accustomed to high-funnel awareness campaigns, where quantifiable metrics other than click-through rate are rare. But if you come in with preconceived notions, or treat your mobile tactics like a wish list, all you’re doing is creating limits for yourself, and the focus moves away from the end result.

Pick your outcome first. If you’re a brand, you’re probably accustomed to traditional metrics such as views, impressions and clicks. While these KPIs can track general activity and the efficacy of a campaign, they don’t always connect your ad spend to that specific business outcome you’re trying to drive.

As the saying goes, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. The first part of that is certainly true in mobile, as attribution is another problem that remains to be fully solved, and the latter half is also spot-on. There are many choices with mobile performance KPIs but you only have one real decision to make:

Determine your ultimate goal. In some verticals, there are many choices. With retail, it could be foot traffic, a lift in offline sales, direct e-commerce purchases, etc. In other verticals, it’s easier. In auto, generally speaking, your main goal is lead-generation. You want consumers to fill out a form, contact a local dealer, schedule a test drive, etc. These are all great KPIs for a performance campaign.

But now watch what happens when you add in another KPI that’s not your main goal: viewability.

Say you’ve found an applicable audience to target based on engagement with automotive content, or recently installing an app like Cars.com or Autotrader, but you’re accustomed to achieving 70% viewability on your brand campaigns.

What if we follow a targeted user to 10 sites today, seven of which fit that site-level statistic of “viewable,” yet the user doesn’t convert. The next day, we’re still targeting that user, and only three of the 10 sites he visits fit the viewability criteria — yet he converts. You bombed your viewability metric – but you got the lead. And the campaign met the overall CPA goal.

Does it matter if the viewability was 70% versus 59%? Does it matter if the user saw one ad per 24, versus five per 24? No. You met your outcome, and because you didn’t have to optimize toward multiple KPIs, you were able to focus on the ultimate goal: leads!

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Mobile Ads; Is your business indulging? No time for more excuses…

Online ads are tricky and mobile ads are no exception. There’s a strong undercurrent of distrust towards advertising online thanks to the brilliantly awful tactic of unremitting pop-ups and numerous imitations of “Download now” buttons on download pages.

mobile-ads

There is always the intelligent option, however. Mobile ads can be supported by user data to the point that they’re not only relevant but timely too. And they don’t need to be intrusive, either. Native advertising on platforms like Instagram enables ads to resemble ordinary content (though explicitly identifying itself as an ad) and will appear on an individual’s feed who has shared data that implies they might be interested.

Because of the diminutive screen size of mobile devices, as well as the general trend of condensed, consumable content that mobile thrives on exporting, ads need to be concise. Instant gratification is a growing trend online – people want fast, unabridged results – so mobile advertising can’t beat around the bush.

Mobile use is growing rapidly – it’s now used more than desktops to browse the internet. With its popularity growing, marketers now have a new, evolving resource to reach their audience. Don’t get left behind!

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Geo-Marketing vs. Geo-Fencing vs. Geo-Targeting: Who wins, and what’s next?

Geolocation as a concept is defined as the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, Internet-connected computer or mobile device. Interestingly, the earliest known example of geolocation dates back to the ancient Greeks who used stars to triangulate their position on land or sea.

geo

As a technology, Geolocation was first developed by the US and Germany in the 1930s and known simply as radar. However, geolocation, as we have come to realize it today, started with Google Maps in 2005.

Fast forward to the present day: Geolocation in marketing has become one of the latest industry buzzwords. But many mobile teams have only a vague idea of what it actually means, both in theory and practice.

Keep reading for an overview of what geolocation marketing means and why it matters.

Geolocation Marketing Explained

Geolocation marketing refers to the collection of data about a person’s physical location, usually provided through GPS satellites and internet protocol (IP) addresses. If you’ve ever opened a map app and zoomed in to see just how accurate the little blue dot is, that’s GPS-supplied geolocation data at work. Alternately, when you open a map on your computer’s browser, it will automatically open in your general location or city based on your IP address.

If the phone’s GPS is turned off (or if you are indoors), the location data is instead triangulated from cell towers. This method is less precise, but it still works relatively well. If you’ve opened your map while underground or in a building, you’ve probably received your location data from a cell tower.

So smartphones and handheld devices ping a satellite or cell tower to determine where in the world it is. And once the device obtains this information, it can then share it with maps, restaurant guides or weather and retail apps.

How Mobile Teams can Employ Geolocation Marketing

You can target users based on their location data in a three different ways.

Geo-Targeting

Geo-targeting predates mobile and simply refers to the act of reaching someone based on their location. Marketers generally track a web browser’s IP address rather than GPS location. Since the early days of the internet, websites used a visitor’s IP address to serve personalized content. For example a retail site would display the local currency and store locations based on the visitor’s country.

The downside is that IP addresses aren’t very precise, and it’s difficult for marketers to target specific neighborhoods based on IP addresses. Therefore this type of geo-targeting is more commonly used for broad regions, like an entire city or state. For marketing teams that want to go more granular, they can use a system called  geo-fencing, as discussed below.

Geo-Fencing

Geo-fencing is the mobile generation’s answer to traditional web-based geo-targeting. This type of targeting uses a smartphone’s precise GPS location rather than its IP address. It’s also updated while the person is on the move, so it’s suited for timely mobile messaging. For instance if a clothing store app detects a user near a physical location it can utilize time limit marketing tactics like offering up a discount coupon to encourage an immediate store visit.

A geo-fence can be as wide as a city, but it’s most effective when targeting smaller regions like specific neighborhoods or streets. These targets are especially useful for apps that want to direct foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores or offer deals at nearby restaurants.

Beacons

Beacons are the most granular of the three location targeting methods. A beacon is simply a small device that receives location data from nearby devices via a smartphone’s Bluetooth signal. Because it’s Bluetooth-based, beacons can be deployed in areas with poor cell reception, such as the interior of a department store.

Beacon data tells the app precisely where in the store customers are walking, which helps marketers optimize the in-store experience by directing them for example to the new Spring collection based on data gleaned from previous app activity. But the obvious downsides is that the device’s Bluetooth signal must be turned on and has to be within a short distance of the Beacon’s very limited range. What’s more, beacons are difficult to use on public property, since they must be physically placed, secured and monitored.

The Best Way to Improve App Engagement With Geo-Targeting

For mobile teams in search of marketing tactics that increase engagement, geo-fencing is a good place to start. The precision of geo-fenced audiences makes them perfect for mobile campaigns, yet they don’t require a brick-and-mortar presence to be effective.

For example, a travel app might want to alert flyers that their gate changed via push notification. Instead of triggering the notification based on time, the app publisher could establish a geo-fence around an airport and trigger the message based on location instead. This way, they’ll deliver the message with perfect timing.

Likewise, an app that curates local restaurants or events could trigger recommendations based on the user’s neighborhood. Instead of offering broad suggestions (e.g. “Trending restaurants in your city”), geo-fencing enables suggestions that are personal and immediately valuable (e.g. “Welcome to [neighborhood]! Here’s what you need to see”).

Predictive Analytics and Geolocation Marketing

Predictive Analytics through the use of artificial intelligence will quietly driving geo-location marketing into the future.

While location-based offers are nothing new, predictive analytics algorithms will mine historical geolocation data and user behavior for marketers to provide just-in-time, localized offers before a user leaves his or her home. For example a retail app will forecast when a user will purchase a certain item based on their in-app browsing and past shopping behavior. Information from these patterns and data can then offer up discounts on the day or hour the user plans to go shopping for a specific product or service.

How to Get Started with Geolocation Marketing

Geolocation is intuitive from a marketing perspective, but it can be difficult to implement from an engineering standpoint. However, mobile marketers can easily get started by selecting a mobile marketing platform that already supports location-based campaigns.

Call me for more. 714-699-4249

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Six tips for successful mobile advertising in 2017 (#1: START NOW!)

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on “what worked” with mobile advertising this year and to summarize the successful strategies you should be looking at in 2017.

Here are 5 top tips:

1. Respect the user

Mobile devices are highly personal. Mobile users want to decide where, when and how they interact with brands on their devices. So put the user in control. Mobile ads should be opt-in, so the user decides whether or not to engage with a brand’s message.

Crucially, mobile ads should be easy for users to dismiss, with a prominent ‘close’ box. Finally, if the ad unit covers some content on the page, design the ad so it disappears when a user scrolls and only reappears when the user stops scrolling.

2. Use mobile-friendly ad formats

While they can look fine on tablets, desktop ads don’t look good on small smartphone screens. Instead, use mobile-friendly ad formats such as the IAB Rising Star adhesion unit.

Adhesion units look great on any mobile device because they take up about 10% of the screen and are anchored at the bottom in either portrait or landscape mode. They also produce strong results.

3. Target the right audience

Strong results don’t matter if the wrong audience is responding. The best advertising solutions providers have robust behavioral data that can be targeted as well on mobile as on desktop.

Lookalike models can be built to target scalable audience segments most likely to be receptive to a brand’s message and respond favorably to it.

4. Keep users engaged

Once you’ve targeted the right audience with mobile-first ad formats and the audience is responding to your ad, you want to keep them engaged and spending as much time as possible with your brand’s message.

One great way to keep users engaged is to use video as the main act in the creative. Users increasingly watch video on mobile, with a trend for larger screens.

Showing multiple videos is even more effective. Combine video with interactivity – inviting users to explore a brand further via photo galleries, feature demonstrations, product showcases and maps with directions to the nearest store – and you have the perfect recipe for deep user engagement.

5. Measure the right things

The last thing you want to do with your highly interactive, video-centric mobile campaigns is track results that don’t truly reflect the positive impact on brand metrics and sales lift. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to use clicks as a key performance indicator since clicks have been shown to have little to no correlation with conversions.

On smartphones, in particular, a significant percentage of clicks are accidental. Instead, more advanced metrics such as engagement rate, interaction rate and time spent are much more indicative of users actively paying attention to a brand’s message and ultimately being influenced by it.

After all, it’s deep user engagement that causes consumers to know, love and buy a brand, not a single or series of emails.

Infographic: How to Make a Mobile Ad That Consumers Won’t Hate

Mobile ads may be small in size, but done the right way they can be impactful. The key is for marketers to avoid making them obtrusive and obnoxious. And according to research from IPG Media Lab and Magna Global, there are certain mobile ad formats that tend to be more favorable than others.

While slightly fewer respondents were able to recall brands from six-second ads (41 percent) versus 15-second ads (50 percent), they viewed the brands that used shorter ads as more relevant, innovative and modern—especially when brands used a vertical format more fit for a smartphone than the standard horizontal layout.

“The results of this research prove that mobile demands its own customized ad formats, rather than simply repurposed versions of existing assets that were developed and optimized for other platforms,” said Kara Manatt, svp, intelligence solutions and strategy at Magna Global. “For example, six-second ads and vertical video were developed from the ground up for the mobile experience, and they have been extremely successful for advertisers.”

infographic-2018

Taco Bell Drives 170K store visits with location-based mobile targeting.

GT-Tacobell-social

  • Taco Bell, the Mexican fast-food chain with 7,000 restaurants in the U.S., drove more than 170,000 store visits with a two-week mobile campaign that raised money for a college scholarship program. GroundTruth, a location-based mobile ad platform formerly known as xAd, ran the “Location for Good” campaign to urge consumers to visit a nearby Taco Bell, a statement said.
  • Customers who participate in Taco Bell’s loyalty program showed the highest engagement with about one out of four members visiting a Taco Bell after receiving a personalized mobile ad from GroundTruth. Male 18- to 24-year-olds were the most receptive audience to the campaign message for Taco Bell’s broader “Feed a Dream” campaign.
  • The restaurant chain donated $500,000 to the Live Mas Scholarship with proceeds from sales of the Doritos Locos Taco. The scholarship is intended for students whose interests may not fit into conventional academic or athletic categories, according to the Taco Bell Foundation.

Insight:

Taco Bell’s fundraising campaign shows the power of smartphone media in targeting consumers by using geolocation data that also help to monitor how audiences respond to a mobile ad. GroundTruth, which leverages mobile location to signal intent, is able to track physical location with more than 90% accuracy, according to an independent survey. Working with the platform, Taco Bell was able to target consumers nearby its location and then gauge how its audience behaved after receiving the messages.

The location-based ads, which fell under Taco Bell’s wider “Feed a Dream” campaign, encouraged recipients to visit a nearby Taco Bell to purchase a Doritos Locos Taco and a portion of all sales would be donated to the Live Más Scholarship.

Taco Bell this year has tried several ways to harness the power of mobile media to drive store traffic. The chain in July partnered with ride-hailing company Lyft to test a “Taco Mode” setting in Lyft’s mobile app that let passengers request a stop at a restaurant drive-through. The chain reported an 8% increase in late-night customer visits on weekends following the effort.

Location data can help to target an audience, but many marketers said they don’t have a good understanding of how to best leverage it, eMarketer saidin July, citing data from researcher Forrester. One-third of digital marketers in North America said understanding how to use location to deliver relevant mobile ads was a significant challenge. More than a quarter of respondents cited lack of transparency in location data collection as a concern. Meanwhile, a tiny 6% of digital marketers faced no significant challenges in using location data to inform mobile advertising, the survey said.