SMX East Local & Mobile Search

By Paige Payne | Oct 6, 2009
More Articles by Paige


The second session of the day I attended was on the topic of “Mobile Search Apps & Opportunities.” Need to search for something? There’s an app for that! There is a large variety of apps meeting a wide range of needs. This session looked at popular search apps on different devices, how they gather data and opportunities they offer to marketers. The moderator for this session was Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence, panel of speakers: Scott Dunlap, CEO, NearbyNow; Michael Martin, SEO Director, Internet Marketing Inc.; Rachel Pasqua, Director of Mobile Strategy, iCrossing; Matt Siltala, President, Dream Systems Media.

Rachel Pasqua begins the session by discussing that for many brands, apps are becoming indispensible to their digital strategy. Rachel goes on to talk about the great opportunity in how “a findable, sticky app can create considerable traffic and even revenue.”

Rachel points out that for most apps (iphone apps) the shelf life is that of about 30 days with the average cost somewhere around $50 k varying by the level of complexity of the app itself

Rachel goes on to analyze individual apps; however, given how app development is a relatively new frontier her analysis was based on her own personal opinion and no statistical data.

Key points of emphasis Rachel pointed out in her observations were:

1. Be sure your app is branded properly; popular non-branded apps are missed opportunities.

2. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.  Don’t assume that you need an app just because your competitor has one.  Make sure you have a smart-phone audience.

3. If you’re thinking “how can I use the GPS and the accelerometer” – stop

4. Do learn from the apps you yourself enjoy.

The next speaker, Michael Martin, discussed another platform for apps, Google Android.

Michael discussed the many selling points about Android such as how it is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.  It can be coded on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.  It can run multiple applications and have onscreen widgets.  It can run flash videos on updated versions.  Android had MMS and Digital Compass about a year before the iphone.  40+ different Android phones will come out in the next 6 months globally.  New android apps are accelerating by more than 50% month over month vs iphone’s 30%….and so on.

While the facts presented by Michael were interesting, the next presenter, Scott Dunlap, illustrated the bottom line by a simple poll of the audience in terms of which platform for apps are used on their phone? Of the 75 respondents only 1 person had an Android phone, followed by about 20 or so Blackberry and the overwhelming majority being the iphone.

Scott then went on to give statistical data on how many users of each major mobile device type know how to download apps:

  • iPhone: 85 percent of users know how to download app
  • Blackburry: 5-7 percent
  • Android was even less

The bottom line is that the market emphasis for now is on iphone.

Scott then went on to point out that when it comes to measuring conversions on iphone, he has found the overall conversion rate of apps being 6.5% (data from popular magazine apps like Seventeen Magazine).

Making up the 6.5 % conversion rate, Scott broke out the portions due to different types of call to action buttons:

  • Find online: This call to action button makes up around .5 percent of the conversions
  • Find it near me: 5.9 percent
  • Share with a friend: 0.25 percent (varies drastically with new products)

The final presentation for the session was by Matt Siltala, explaining how people can get very addicted to certain apps. Matt’s app of choice being YELP, an app used for user reviews and comments. Matt went on to point out that Yelp is growing around 80 percent a year, with 25 million visitors in august. Matt finished up the presentation discussing some of his favorite features and functionalities of the app (making sure to point out that even though he is presenting on YELP he himself does not work for YELP).

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