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Social Media Insights is a new daily newsletter from Business Insider that collects and delivers the top social media news first thing every morning. You can sign up to receive Social Media Insights here or at the bottom of this post.

Facebook Owns Your Phone (Fast Company)
Over the last couple of years, Facebook has packed its mobile apps with much of the same functionality as operating systems like Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, or Amazon’s version of Android for Kindle Fire. It has not, however, launched the Facebook phone that once seemed inevitable. That's because your phone already is a Facebook phone.

facebook apps

According to comScore, Facebook already owns 23 percent of time spent in apps on Android and iOS. It also owns Instagram, one of the apps with which mobile users spend the second most amount of time (it's tied with Gmail and YouTube at 3 percent). The more time the company controls on its competitors' phones, the less important it is that it doesn't have its own devices. Read >>

What's In Your Wallet? A Facebook Card? (The Huffington Post)
Facebook announced a major addition to their Gifts product on Jan. 31— Facebook Cards. Facebook Cards, as the name implies, are physical, multi-use gift cards that users can order for friends directly through Facebook. Facebook Cards uses the existing Facebook Gifts infrastructure to allow a user to send a Facebook Card with a credit from a participating retailer. The recipient is prompted to enter their mailing address (more data!) in order to receive the physical card. Facebook sees it as a multi-use, multi-retailer product. This nudges it up close to, but not fully into, the mobile wallet space. For one thing it's still a physical object and for another, Facebook has no immediate plans to allow users to load up dollars or deals, but this could change rapidly. Read >>

Facebook Can Totally Undermine Apple And Google (Wired)
We’re in uncharted territory here since platforms-on-top-of-platform configurations are relatively new. Yet we do have one related industry example that could shed some light on this case. It’s one of Japan’s leading mobile social game developers: GREE. GREE makes up to four times more average revenue per user (ARPU) than Zynga. And Facebook has far more reach than GREE. Given that social applications, and particularly games, are the most popular and highest revenue generators of all mobile applications— a Facebook multi-sided platform similar to GREE would divert a lot of value away from Apple’s and Google’s smartphone platforms. Read >>

Wall Street Rethinks Facebook Earnings (Reuters)
Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser upgraded Facebook to a "Buy" rating, calling Wall Street's reaction to the results "downright dazed." The stock market incorrectly interpreted Facebook's "mobile revenue figures as a negative when in fact they are part of a story that we can see as qualitatively more favorable," Wieser said. Shares of the company finished regular trading the day after earnings down 0.8 percent at $30.98. The company reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday and said mobile advertising revenue doubled to $306 million, suggesting it was making inroads into handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. Investors were looking for at least $350 million in mobile advertising revenue, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a note to clients.  Read >>

Developing A Strategic Social Media Plan For Your Business (Ahain Group)
After you’ve taken time to discover how customers would like you to engage on social media, you now need to develop a social media strategy that will generate meaningful and real returns for the business. The 10 steps in developing strategic social media are:

  1. Align with the business
  2. Discover opportunities
  3. Define goals
  4. Identify KPIs
  5. Assign values to KPIs
  6. Decide on channels
  7. Determine tactics
  8. Select analytics
  9. Roll out strategy
  10. Measure and refine

Quantifying an ROI from social media is only possible after you’ve developed a strategic plan that will make measurement both clear and easy. Read >>

Super Bowl, Commercials, And Social Media (NetBase)
Now that the game is over, here is what NetBase found about Super Bowl commercials during the last 24 hours:

  • Go Daddy (249,273 mentions: 14.67 percent positive)
  • Doritos (137,509 mentions, 90.87 percent pos)
  • Pepsi (47,176 mentions, 69.99 percent pos)
  • Volkswagen (31,052 mentions, 84.08 percent pos)
  • Budweiser (24,658 mentions, 83.37 percent pos)
  • Dodge Ram (19,619 mentions, 77.66 percent pos)
  • Taco Bell (19,783 mentions, 93.20 percent pos)
  • Calvin Klein (16,532 mentions, 75.17 percent pos)
  • NFL (Leon Sandcastle) (12,700 mentions, 91.54 percent pos)
  • Blackberry (10,773 mentions, 55.36 percent pos)

most buzzed about football commercials

The graphic compares 8 of the 15 most buzzed about commercials by mentions, sentiment and passion intensity. The amount of chatter about a brand is indicated by the size of the bubble, while the placement of the bubble shows the sentiment (from top to bottom) and the intensity of passion (from left to right). Read >>

How To Measure Social Media ROI (Jason Fox)
Is it enough to have a Facebook profile, a Twitter account, and a YouTube channel? To be putting original content onto each platform on a consistent basis. To be monitoring for comments and likes that you can connect with and create relationships. Maybe venturing out into less common social media channels like Pinterest or Google+. To be collecting Fans, Friends, Followers, and Likes with a reckless abandon. Possibly promoting an occasional Facebook post to maximize exposure. Is that enough? Perhaps it is to much. The only way to know for sure is to measure social media ROI:

social media solutions

No matter how you are using Social Media there is a way to measure its value.  Whether you interested in a general overview or you want to create a closed loop marketing campaign.  There is a system that will help you to Measure Social Media ROI. Read >>

Twitter Blew Out Facebook In The Super Bowl (Business Insider)
As the Baltimore Ravens were narrowly beating the San Francisco 49ers, Twitter featured in 26 out of 52 nationally aired advertisements, while Facebook only featured in four, and Google+ was not mentioned at all. YouTube and Instagram were mentioned once each, according to the website MarketingLand.com. In last year’s Super Bowl, Twitter and Facebook tied with only eight mentions each out of a total of 59 advertisements. For Twitter, the change from eight mentions to 26 represents a gain of more than 300 percent. For Facebook, it is a 50 percent drop. Read >>

The Social Credit Card? (The Huffington Post)
BarclayCard tapped the power of the crowd (their card members) to collaborate on building a better credit card experience. They launched a community where card member could exchange ideas, vote on product features and earn "credits" for their participation. The result is BarclayCard Ring — the world's first community-designed credit card. Benefits include:

  1. Full transparency — insight into how Barclaycard Ring makes money, including metrics on Ring's financial performance.
  2. Continued influence over the offering — a chance to guide Ring's benefits, rates, rules and penalties through an idea submission and peer evaluation system.
  3. A share of Ring profits — including options to donate profits to community-chosen charities.
  4. A robust social experience — topical forums, ask-and-answer, idea-sharing, polls, blogs, and credits earned for community participation.

If your social strategy doesn't include new ways of thinking about how your social customers fit into your business, it better. 2013 will be a game-changing year for social media. Brands like Barclaycard who are serious about social will make sure of that. Read >>

Social Media Is Changing The Way You Fly (WFAA)
Airlines no longer just make money taking travelers where they want to go. Some carriers now show up where their passengers already are. Southwest has six employees dedicated to social media, often only during regular business hours. The airline created its team by drawing employees from different departments, including customer service, marketing, and communications. This team doesn't just respond to questions, comments, and criticism on Twitter. Southwest employees also rebook flights, track bags, and issue travel vouchers all in 140 characters or less. Airline customer service has always been a thankless job. But its presence on social media continues to evolve as the power of participating for passengers does, too. Read >>

Social Media vs. Email: Which One Is Best For Your Business? (Publicity Mag)
The following infographic shows the peculiarities of social media and email. The stats are a bit dated, but you can get a fair idea about the power of both tools. Read >>

social media vs email

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I've been an eBay user since 1999, and I still frequent eBay as both buyer and seller. In that time, eBay has transformed from a place where geeks sell broken laser pointers to each other, into a global marketplace where businesses sell anything and everything to customers. If you're looking for strange or obscure items, things almost nobody sells new any more, or grey market items for cheap, eBay is still not a bad place to look.

At least for me, eBay still basically works, after all these years. But one thing hasn't changed: the eBay website has always been difficult to use and navigate. They've updated the website recently to remove some of the more egregious cruft, but it's still way too complicated. I guess I had kind of accepted old, complex websites as the status quo, because I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until I compared the experience on the eBay website with the experience of the eBay apps for mobile and tablet.

eBay Website

Ebay-web

eBay Mobile App

Ebay-iphone-app

eBay Tablet App

Ebay-ipad-app

Unless you're some kind of super advanced eBay user, you should probably avoid the website. The tablet and mobile eBay apps are just plain simpler, easier, and faster to use than the eBay website itself. I know this intuitively from using eBay on my devices and computers, but there's also usability studies with data to prove it, too. To be fair, eBay is struggling under the massive accumulated design debt of a website originally conceived in the late 90s, whereas their mobile and tablet app experiences are recent inventions. It's not so much that the eBay apps are great, but that the eBay website is so very, very bad.

The implied lesson here is to embrace constraints. Having a limited, fixed palette of UI controls and screen space is a strength. A strength we used to have in early Mac and Windows apps, but seem to have lost somewhere along the way as applications got more powerful and complicated. And it's endemic on the web as well, where the eBay website has been slowly accreting more and more functionality since 1999. The nearly unlimited freedom that you get in a modern web browser to build whatever UI you can dream up, and assume as large or as small a page as you like, often ends up being harmful to users. It certainly is in the case of eBay.

If you're starting from scratch, you should always design the UI first, but now that we have such great mobile and tablet device options, consider designing your site for the devices that have the strictest constraints first, too. This is the thinking that led to mobile first design strategy. It helps you stay focused on a simple and uncluttered UI that you can scale up to bigger and beefier devices. Maybe eBay is just going in the wrong direction here; design simple things that scale up; not complicated things you need to scale down.

Above all else, simplify! But why stop there? If building the mobile and tablet apps first for a web property produces a better user experience – why do we need the website, again? Do great tablet and phone applications make websites obsolete?

Why are apps better than websites?

  1. They can be faster.
    No browser overhead of CSS and HTML and JavaScript hacks, just pure native UI elements retrieving precisely the data they need to display what the user requests.
  2. They use simple, native UI controls.
    Rather than imagineering whatever UI designers and programmers can dream up, why not pick from a well understood palette of built-in UI controls on that tablet or phone, all built for optimal utility and affordance on that particular device?

  3. They make better use of screen space.
    Because designers have to fit just the important things on 4 inch diagonal mobile screens, or 10 inch diagonal tablet screens, they're less likely to fill the display up with a bunch of irrelevant noise or design flourishes (or, uh, advertisements). Just the important stuff, thanks!

  4. They work better on the go and even offline.
    In a mobile world, you can't assume that the user has a super fast, totally reliable Internet connection. So you learn to design apps that download just the data they need at the time they need to display it, and have sane strategies for loading partial content and images as they arrive. That's assuming they arrive at all. You probably also build in some sort of offline mode, too, when you're on the go and you don't have connectivity.

Why are websites better than apps?

  1. They work on any device with a browser.
    Websites are as close to universal as we may ever get in the world of software. Provided you have a HTML5 compliant browser, you can run an entire universe of "apps" on your device from day zero, just by visiting a link, exactly the same way everyone has on the Internet since 1995. You don't have to hope and pray a development community emerges and is willing to build whatever app your users need.

  2. They don't have to be installed.
    Applications, unlike websites, can't be visited. They aren't indexed by Google. Nor do applications magically appear on your device; they must be explicitly installed. Even if installation is a one-click affair, your users will have to discover the app before they can even begin to install it. And once installed, they'll have to manage all those applications like so many Pokemon.

  3. They don't have to be updated.
    Websites are always on the infinite version. But once you have an application installed on your device, how do you update it to add features or fix bugs? How do users even know if your app is out of date or needs updating? And why should they need to care in the first place?

  4. They offer a common experience.
    If your app and the website behave radically differently, you're forcing users to learn two different interfaces. How many different devices and apps do you plan to build, and how consistent will they be? You now have a community divided among many different experiences, fragmenting your user base. But with a website that has a decent mobile experience baked in, you can deliver a consistent, and hopefully consistently great, experience across all devices to all your users.

I don't think there's a clear winner, only pros and cons. But apps will always need websites, if for nothing else other than a source of data, as a mothership to phone home to, and a place to host the application downloads for various devices.

And if you're obliged to build a website, why not build it out so it offers a reasonable experience on a mobile or tablet web browser, too? I have nothing against a premium experience optimized to a particular device, but shouldn't all your users have a premium experience? eBay's problem here isn't mobile or tablets per se, but that they've let their core web experience atrophy so badly. I understand that there's a lot of inertia around legacy eBay tools and long time users, so it's easy for me to propose radical changes to the website here on the outside. Maybe the only way eBay can redesign at all is on new platforms.

Will mobile and tablet apps kill websites? A few, certainly. But only the websites stupid enough to let them.

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hypnosec writes "While you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying — detractors have been claiming this for over a decade — one developer has a different take: that consoles are the ones on the way out. In a 26-minute presentation at GDC — available now as a slideshow with a voice-over — Ben Cousins, who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses statistics of electronic and gaming purchases, along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, to come to some surprising conclusions. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft — are losing out when compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers: Facebook, Apple and Google. With the new companies, the size of the audience is vastly increased because of their focus on tablets, mobile and browser-based gaming."


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2011 was a huge year for the mobile gaming industry, and 2012 promises to bring even even more growth and bigger revenues. These four predictions describe changes in mobile games, the people who play them, HTML5, Android, and brands this year.

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These days there are so many handheld devices available that allow you to play games on the move - small and large, cheap and expensive, buttons and touch - that it's a challenge to stand out from the crowd. Where do you put your focus? Judging by a fortnight with PlayStation Vita, even Sony's hardware designers couldn't make their minds up about that, because the initial impression is that they threw everything at the wall and everything stuck. The result is a handheld that can do pretty much anything. The good news for hardcore gamers is that in amongst all of that functionality are a few things that could - if the software follows - make this the best gaming portable ever.

PlayStation Vita isn't going to infest the world like iPad did two years ago, but it faces the same scepticism - that Sony is answering a question no one's asked. Apple's tablet quickly rose to that challenge by seeping into the gaps between other devices to become the best at things we forgot we wanted, and gamers may discover that Vita pulls a similar trick. Now you can sit on a train playing a new Uncharted adventure and it looks almost as good as the one at home, and crucially it feels the same.

"We need that second analogue stick - something that even Nintendo has belatedly acknowledged with its revisions to the 3DS - and it's here at last."

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