Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is App Usage Really on the Rise?

Worldwide smartphone use continues to rise at a rapid rate. In 2011, there were 38 million smartphone users worldwide; in 2012 the figure is at 84 million with the rise in numbers of users comes a rise in the range of apps on the market. Popularity of apps seems to be at an all-time high, with the average user’s smartphone containing on average 41 apps, compared to 32 in 2011. The average user is spending 39 minutes engaging with their apps a day in 2012, a slight rise from 37 minutes in 2011. Competition among app producers is similarly at a high point, with up to 20,000 downloads in the last 24 hours needed for an app to be listed in the top 25 of its kind. This number was 10,000 six months ago.

Despite these soaring statistics, is app usage really on the rise? Only 20% of smartphone users revisit a free downloaded app the next day, and a staggering 5% reuse apps a month later. This has a significant impact on advertising within these apps. For these ‘free apps’, if they were used on average 12 times by the user (a figure which seems unlikely for the typical smartphone user), the application would have to “bombard its users” in order to match the money it would make from paid sales. In dollar terms, the app would need to generate $8.75 per thousand impressions (CPM) to match such revenues raised by paid apps. Currently the average free app generates $0.50 to $2.00 (CPM) from advertising. Despite the growth of apps on the market, Facebook, Youtube and Gmail are still the most popular apps available. Another point of note: deal of the day websites have been used by 87% of all smartphone users.

What conclusions can be drawn from these figures? On the whole smartphone use is growing at a rapid rate, with this comes an expanding market for free downloadable applications. Is app use rising at an equivalent rate? While the average number on apps on a smartphone has risen, the actual usage of such apps drops off very quickly after the first day. This surely attributes to the inability to gain revenue through advertising to match that which paid apps can generate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mirror Mirror On The Bus Stop, Who's The Prettiest Prive Winner Of All

A few months ago I wrote this post about the blurring of lines between outdoor and digital, with a few examples of outdoor using X Box Kinect technology to create some interesting engagement experiences for users in overseas markets. 

A simple but effective execution has been put into market by Spark to promote the Samsung Galaxy release via Vodafone.  Vested interest disclaimer here – yes, Spark are our traditional media kin folk, Vodafone our client.

Simply stand in front of the bus shelter ad shel, the camera reads your movements and reflects  them in the form of an astronaut in space in the digital screen, highlighting the prize offering that Samsung are offering up as part of the launch promotion, a trip into space.  Includes projecting your face in the astronauts helmet to give you that greater sense of winning.  By the photos and video we’ve seen (thanks AdShel, the media owner partner) hundreds of pedestrians of all ages have been engaging in the piece, dancing and carrying on like a carefree 6yr old (including even a big bank brand Marketing Manager that we spied in the video, and we know how tough it is to make them happy).

In place until mid July outside Britomart train station, so have a tutu with it if you’re in that part of town.  Or catch a train and go there specially.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Google Penguin Update

On April the 25th Google released an update that rivalled both the Panda and the Florida updates.  The Penguin update, initially called the ‘Over Optimisation Update’ by Google wreaked havoc amongst the SEO fraternity as the update was rolled out across all of Google’s global indexes.

Matt Cuts, Google’s ‘Top Dog’ at fighting web spam, announced Google’s intent to target over optimised websites earlier in the year however very little was known about exactly what the update would target.

Six weeks on and the Penguin update appears to have focused on:
  • Comment spam;
  • Content spam;
  • Links from blog networks (blog farms);
  • Paid links;
  • Site-wide links from footers or sidebars;
  • Anchor text spam (unnatural anchor text links);
  • On-page keywords stuffing.
Although Google sees this update as a positive step towards reducing web spam, it did come, initially at a cost to the user and some unsuspecting webmasters.  Google’s mantra has always been to provide a quality product, relevant search results.  However, there were several instances where the quality of the search results had been negatively impacted. wrote an interesting article comparing search results before and after the Penguin update but by most accounts, the NZ results have been largely unchanged.  

Innocent webmasters were also affected by this update with many respectable sites experiencing a drop in organic traffic.  An example of this is a highly respected developer resource and a distributor of free WordPress themes. Organic traffic to this site dropped from 8,590 visits per day to 1,527.

      Image supplied by

The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Matt Cutt’s about’s situation and was told by Cutt’s that backlinks from questionable sites linking to may have been devalued and thus damaged the sites rankings.

This has led to the fear of ‘Negative SEO’ attacks where competitors could hire Blackhat SEO’s to spam sites.  Aaron Wall from SEO Book wrote about this in length and provides a case study where a website owner experienced a negative SEO attack.

Been Hit By the Penguin Update?
Matt Cutts pointed to two very specific videos in recent interviews that people should watch if they want to clean up their sites and recover from the Penguin update.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What Media Multi-tasking Really Means

I stumbled across this interesting chart on warc today:

'Screens to the nth – What People Are Doing and Why' IAB

There has been a lot of talk about media multi-tasking and how new technologies are driving efficiencies for consumers, but what this demonstrates is we are just trying to fit more into less time.  We are working more, we are consuming more media and somehow finding more time for leisure but because a day still is only twenty four hours we are doing it all at once. 

This begs the question - with our attention so divided how effective are we being?

Furthermore, as marketers, we can never count on having consumers undivided attention.  This poses an interesting challenge - how do we capture consumers attention in such a distracted world?