How Mobile, Retail and Consumer-Generated Content Drive Sales (Infographic)

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

User-generated content relating to your brand is an excellent way to engage a community. An interesting test case for this approach is the retail sector, which seems quite happy to adopt new ways to reach and cater to customers. An infographic from Bazaarvoice examines the interplay between mobile, retail and consumer-generated content.

During the pre-purchase journey, 60 percent of apparel shoppers read reviews, with 40 percent of retail apparel page views coming from mobile devices, according to Bazaarvoice. There is significant crossover between ecommerce and offline sales, with online reviews providing $2.25 of in-store sales for every $1 of online-review-influenced sales.

More than 80 percent of customers consult their mobile devices when in-store in search of product information, catalogs or other products offered by the retailer. This provides many opportunities for multichannel marketing, and businesses should do everything they can to create a seamless experience for customers.

It’s important to empower users with the ability to leave reviews, as it both fosters community and increases trust in a retailer. It also pays dividends for the offline and online sectors of your business. And remember to engage with superfans in review sections.

For more info, view the infographic below.

Ibotta Cash-Back Platform Now Rewards Users for Shopping in Other Apps

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Cash-back shopping platform Ibotta announced the release of its app-to-app marketplace, which allows shoppers to earn cash-back rewards by making purchases within supported mobile applications.

The launch partners for Ibotta’s app-to-app marketplace include Boxed, Caviar, delivery.com, DoorDash, Drizly, Groupon, Hotels.com, Jet and Spring. With this program, Ibotta users can earn cash-back rewards from these retailers by making purchases in their mobile apps.

As examples, a user can earn a 5 percent cash-back reward from Jet and a 15 percent cash-back reward from Boxed.

When a user activates one of these cash-back rewards in Ibotta, they will be sent directly to the retailer’s app, where they can make a purchase. If the user doesn’t have the retailer’s app installed on their device, they will be directed to the app store to download it. Contextual commerce company Button powers the app-to-app deep-linking experience for Ibotta.

Once a user makes a purchase in a supported retailer’s app, Button will verify the user’s Ibotta rewards.

In a statement, Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta, commented:

More people than ever before are making purchases through mobile apps as a convenient way to shop right from their smartphones, but until now, there hasn’t been a way to save on those in-app purchases. Now, shoppers can unlock offers through Ibotta before they shop on other apps, and automatically earn rewards whenever they book hotel rooms, order food delivery, purchase concert tickets and more.

Ibotta is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. Ibotta said its users have earned more than $110 million in rewards since the platform launched in 2012.

Why we should worry about Facebook’s Trending topics disaster

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook isn’t a great place to get your news. Yet millions of Americans use the social network to learn about what’s going on in the world every day.

This is core to a new controversy over Facebook’s Trending feature, which exists to connect users to relevant stories. The company fired several trained journalists from the Trending team last Friday, leaving artificial intelligence and technical staff to identify and deliver stories to the site’s users. ;

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later commented on his company’s place in the news business.

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s Trending Topics highlights fake Megyn Kelly story days after dropping editors Read more…

More about Social Media, Mark Zuckerberg, Trending Topics, Facebook App, and Facebook

Facebook Begins Prefetching to Improve Mobile Site Speed

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will begin prefetching, or preloading advertiser sites, in order to boost its mobile performance and ease users’ frustration with slow load times.

The social network also revealed in a Facebook for Business post that website landing page speed will become a factor in deciding which ads to show in order to ensure that mobile users have the best experience, adding that this will occur “over the coming months.”

The thinking behind implementing prefetching was described as follows in the post:

Our goal is to improve user experience by helping businesses be the best mobile advertisers they can be, so we’re always developing new tools and insights to improve mobile experience. Today, we’re introducing prefetching—preloading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a link is tapped. This can shorten mobile site load time by 29 percent, or 8.5 seconds, improving the experience and decreasing the risk of site abandonment. Learn more about prefetching, especially if you use third-party tag-based measurement.

Over the coming months, we’re working to improve ad experiences for people by considering website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system. In this way, we can better match ads to the moments when people can best engage with content. Helping to ensure the best ad experiences on mobile is key to providing value for both people and businesses on Facebook.

Facebook pointed out that up to 40 percent of website visitors abandon those sites after delays of three seconds:

People are spending more and more time on mobile—consuming content, interacting with businesses and making purchases. However, since it’s a relatively new channel, many businesses haven’t optimized their websites for mobile yet and still have very slow loading times. This can lead to negative experiences for people and problems for businesses such as site abandonment, missed business objectives and inaccurate measurement. That’s why Facebook is sharing tips and investing in solutions to help businesses optimize their websites for mobile.

Nobody wants to wait ages for a website to load. A better mobile experience helps businesses form a stronger connection with the people interested in them. Plus, site abandonment hurts business objectives, like completing a purchase or filling out a form. It can also bring challenges to measurement—people often abandon sites before third-party site analytics have time to register a page visit. This can make it harder to track and optimize ad performance.

The social network also provided the following suggestions for businesses looking to optimize their sites for mobile:

Minimize landing page redirects, plugins and link shorteners.
Compress files to decrease mobile rendering time.
Improve server response time by utilizing multi-region hosting.
Use a high-quality content delivery network to reach audiences quickly.
Remove render-blocking JavaScript.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s efforts to improve its mobile experiences for advertisers and users?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Netmarble Launches Final Shot on iOS, Android

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Netmarble Games announced the launch of Final Shot on iOS and Android. The first-person shooter allows users to compete in real-time five-on-five multiplayer matches.

Final Shot features three normal gameplay modes: team deathmatch, elimination and demolition. In addition, users can play in “hyper” team deathmatch battles, which include special boosters on the map.

Elsewhere, the game allows users to join clans with other players, and compete against enemy clans in clan battles. Finally, users can compete in single-player matches in a practice mode against the AI.

In each game, players can use a virtual joystick to move around the environment and tap buttons to shoot, toss grenades, switch weapons and more. The game includes an “auto-targeting system” that helps users aim at enemies, as well as a “revenge” feature, which lets users quickly turn to attack an enemy that’s attacking them from behind by tapping a button.

Players can unlock access to a variety of assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols and knives as they play. While some weapons can be unlocked permanently, others can only be used for a limited amount of time. For instance, players may be able to use a specific assault rifle for only three hours. Users can earn weapons as they play, and they can also purchase weapons instantly in the game’s store.

Users can also collect weapon kits as they play, which can be equipped onto weapons to increase their stats. Like some weapons, weapon kits may only remain active for a limited period of time.

In a statement, Seungwon Lee, chief marketing officer at Netmarble Games, commented:

Offering a genuine FPS experience on a mobile device, Final Shot is one of the easiest and most enjoyable FPS to play and maneuver with the touch of finger. With real-time clan battles and our innovative simple invite system that allows players to enjoy the game with friends, we are thrilled to introduce the game to players around the world.

Final Shot is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

mixi Launches Marvel Tsum Tsum on iOS, Android in North America

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Japanese social networking service mixi announced the launch of Marvel Tsum Tsum on iOS and Android. Developed by NHN PlayArt and published by XFLAG, a mixi game development studio, the line-drawing puzzle game allows players to complete levels by creating matches with characters from the Marvel universe.

In Marvel Tsum Tsum, players are challenged to complete a different objective in each timed level. For instance, one level may ask players to create a match containing eight or more Tsum Tsum, while another level may ask players to create and activate three bombs (bombs are formed by creating matches containing seven or more Tsum Tsum). Users can create matches by drawing lines to connect three or more matching, touching Tsum Tsum.

In addition to these normal levels, the game also includes battle levels, which ask users to drain an enemy Tsum Tsum’s health by creating matches on the board. While some battle levels are part of the game’s single-player campaign, users can also compete in two-player cooperative battles with other players. In these battles, two players work together to defeat a single enemy.

Gamers can collect individual Tsum Tsum characters over time, and they can take a team of three Tsum Tsum into each level. Players can select one of these three Tsum Tsum to be the team’s “leader” for each stage, which gives players access to a different special power while playing. Users can charge the leader’s special power by creating matches with the leader character.

Users can also collect coins and Iso-8 materials over time. Coins can be spent on mystery boxes containing new Tsum Tsum, while Iso-8, as well as coins, can be used to upgrade Tsum Tsum characters, which increases their skills. Players can also purchase Tsum Tsum mystery boxes using premium currency.

Finally, players can spend coins on Boosters before each game. One Booster may give players more time in the next level, while another may increase their score in the next level, as examples.

Marvel Tsum Tsum is now available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play in the U.S. and Canada. The game is expected to launch in additional territories later this year.

Instagram Finally Adds Pinch to Zoom

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

“Why can’t we pinch on Instagram photos and videos to zoom in on them?” Well, now you can, at least on iOS, with Android to follow “in the coming weeks.”

Instagram announced the launch of the new feature Wednesday:

Starting today, you can pinch to zoom on photos and videos in feed, on profiles and on Explore. Dive into an adorable puppy’s smile or into every detail of your friend’s new shirt.

Over the past six months, you’ve seen many exciting changes come to Instagram, from a new icon to longer videos and even a new way to share everyday moments with Instagram Stories. And as things change, we’re still focused on improving the core parts of Instagram.

Zoom is available today for Instagram on iOS. Zoom will be available on Android in the coming weeks.

Starting today, you can pinch to zoom on photos and videos in feed, on profiles and on Explore. Dive into an adorable puppy’s smile or into every detail of your friend’s new shirt. Over the past six months, you’ve seen many exciting changes come to Instagram, from a new icon to longer videos and even a new way to share everyday moments with Instagram Stories. And as things change, we’re still focused on improving the core parts of Instagram. Zoom is available today for Instagram on iOS. Zoom will be available on Android in the coming weeks.

A video posted by Instagram (@instagram) on Aug 31, 2016 at 8:00am PDT

Readers: What do you think of finally gaining the ability to pinch and zoom on Instagram?

InstagramPinchToZoom from SocialTimes on Vimeo.

Zoom comes to Instagram after a half-decade wait

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

It has taken Instagram five whole years, but it has finally delivered the most basic feature to its users: Zoom. ;

As of Wednesday, iOS users can zoom in on Instagram photos with a pinch of the fingers — a standard maneuver since Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone way back in 2007.

SEE ALSO: Instagram will soon suggest Stories from people you don’t follow

It isn’t clear why the app didn’t allow users to zoom so easily before, instead forcing iPhone users to change their phone’s setting to allow zoom before forcing a super awkward three-finger double-tap to get a closer look. It was like athletics for your fingers. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Zoom, How To, Instagram, and Tech

Pinterest Debuts Engagement Retargeting, Enhances Visitor Retargeting

By Wednesday, August 31, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Pinterest followed the ad-targeting features it introduced in June with new retargeting additions and improvements, announced Wednesday.

The social network announced the debut of engagement retargeting, improvements to visitor retargeting and the renaming of lookalikes to actalikes.

Product manager Frank Fumarola announced in a blog post that all of the new features are available via Ads Manager, and they will roll out “soon” across all Pinterest Marketing Developer Partners, adding that visitor retargeting will be updated “in the coming weeks.”

Pinterest said in an email to SocialTimes that engagement retargeting will allow brands to target users who have shown interest in their pins by saving, clicking or tapping them, and Fumarola added in the blog post:

For example, if someone saved your after-school snack ideas, you can retarget them in the future with birthday party treats.

We know that this type of targeting is impactful because pinners don’t just browse, they actually spend—87 percent have made a purchase after finding a product they liked on the platform. When someone engages with a pin, they are demonstrating an intent to spend in the future, and they are 2.2 times more likely to make a purchase in the next 30 days than those who don’t engage.

Visitor retargeting will be updated to support new events and event data that are passed through the Pinterest tag, which identifies nine events, including search, adding products to check-out and making purchases. Fumarola wrote:

For example, you can find people who purchased running shoes from your site and offer them new exercise gear, or you can give someone that extra nudge to buy the sweater they added to their cart before the weather turns chilly.

Finally, Pinterest said the reason for renaming lookalikes to actalikes is that its audiences don’t just look similar—they act similar, too. Fumarola elaborated:

Unlike other platforms, Pinterest is where people come to create wish lists, plan vacations and find favorite new recipes. Actions like these express someone’s intent to try or do and ultimately buy something, and some of the most useful information on Pinterest comes from engagements like these.

And as impactful as each of these engagement offerings are on their own, they work even better together. With actalikes, you can scale your campaigns, while retargeting can help you drive performance.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the new ad-targeting features introduced by Pinterest Wednesday?