Tag Archives: QR codes

2015 is The Year of Mobile and 5 other predictions

crystal-ball

Around this time of year, you’re going to be inundated with “resolution” and “prediction” posts, with folks proselytizing on their views of tech trends for the upcoming year.

Your boy is no better.

But unlike these other jokers at Mashable, Techcrunch, Gawker, et al., who spend time researching, interviewing experts and reviewing industry reports, I simply comb through their work, cherry-picking the tastiest tidbits and regurgitating their work as my original thought.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously.

The end of the year provides a great opportunity to review the wins, hits or misses or the previous year and reliably forecast what may happen in the year ahead.

There have been a number of interesting developments over the past year, which give me confidence to say that 2015 will be the year of mobile.

For example, there are more mobile devices than people on the earth.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That’s significant, especially if all of these people are browsing from their mobile devices.

Even if only half of them utilize their mobile devices as the primary means for getting online, brands that aren’t mobile-enabled are going to see their bounce rates increase and revenues decline, as folks abandon them for sites that are mobile optimized.

But rather than talk about how mobile will impact brands generally, here are my top five mobile predictions for 2015.

1. Mobile payments are going to take off. With Apple Pay already being adopted by 220,000 vendors, the mobile payment trend is undoubtedly going to grow. Apply Pay joins other established mobile payment solutions, like Google Wallet and PayPal, and newcomers, like LevelUp and Paydiant, as well as a host of others scoping the mobile payment space, including Square and Swipely. With folks taking privacy and security seriously, e-commerce sites and mobile applications that allow users to avoid the necessity of having to manually input payment details over insecure wifi networks, will undoubtedly be the preferred method for completing online transactions.

This year, I predict mobile payments becoming a standard.

2.  Mobile sites will proliferate this year. As brands start to realize that customers are spending increasing amounts of time on mobile devices, getting in on this action will be a critical strategy to engagement. Last year, the average person spent almost 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. That’s more time than they spend online, and this trend will likely continue. With streaming services offering television-like abilities, mobile may eventually outpace tv. But at a very basic level, this year brands will acknowledge that the failure to have a mobile site (either mobile enabled or fully responsive) is a distinct competitive disadvantage.

I predict the number of mobile sites will invariably grow at a tremendous pace this year.

3. Widespread adoption of auto-fill. Retailers bemoan cart abandonment as the bane of their existence. Over 68% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned. The holy grail for online shopping involves seeing shoppers through checkout. But for mobile shoppers, there is nothing more frustrating than having to complete payment and shipping forms on their mobile device. Payment options like PayPal or Amazon One-Click save users from filling out many of the fields required to complete their online purchases, but too few online vendors are set up with streamlined payment processes. And while a fine tuned checkout doesn’t necessarily equate to fewer abandoned carts, it couldn’t hurt!

Auto fill is a simple and easily implemented solution, that can occur at the browser or native (device) level, which will enable users to quickly and securely complete online forms, typically with one click, dramatically reducing the amount of time (and frustration) required to complete payment or shipping information (or forms of any kind). Google Chrome has already implemented the ability to auto fill forms in both full HTML and mobile web browsers, and many of the mobile payment solutions described above, also include the ability to complete non-payment forms as well.

I predict widespread adoption of mobile autofill solutions, as more players enter the space and users become more conversant with these types of platforms.

4. Mobile loyalty programs will grow. Nearly every retailer I frequent has some sort of rewards program. Stores like Anthropologie, Sephora, CVS, Modell’s, Target, and ShopRite all have rewards programs tied to a keychain or wallet-sized reward card that patrons can present at checkout to earn points or qualify for rewards. But 2015 will see an increasing number taking advantage of Passbook or eliminating cards in favor of mobile loyalty or punch cards. Instead of having to present a loyalty card, users will simply whip out their cell phones flash a QR code and transmit their rewards or loyalty account info, similar to how Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts’ mobile rewards work.

I predict that 2015 will see more brands taking advantage of the convenience of mobile loyalty and release Passbook-like offerings of their own.

5. Wearables will change the mobile landscape. In the not-too-distant past, when you thought “wearables” a massive virtual reality helmet was probably all that came to mind. But with Oculus Rift making wearable headsets more like goggles, and less like NFL helmets, the concepts is more palatable. The definition of wearables has extended from virtual reality headsets, to Google Glass to fitness devices like the Nike FuelBand, the Fitbit tracker, the Apple Watch and Android smart watches. Wearables will open a whole host of smart applications, devoted to health and fitness, as well as medical diagnostics.

I predict that wearables will have a breakout year in 2015, driven primarily by the Apple Watch, but supported by advances in Android wearables, the proliferation of 3D and augmented reality applications adding rich virtual layers to users’ real life experiences.

What are your mobile predictions for 2015? Feel free to comment and share!

Happy New Year!

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Move over QR Codes. Good night SnapTags. Augmented reality is here!

A few months ago, I was looking at the back cover of a box of cereal and noticed something pretty interesting.

There was a complete takeover by the latest Spiderman movie, and (more importantly) there was an app.

If you downloaded the app, you would be able to see an advance clip from the movie.

Intrigued, I downloaded the app, dialed it up on my iPhone, and pointed it at one of the frames on the box…

And suddenly, the scene on the box came to life and I was watching a clip from the movie on the box!

Rather, on the box on my phone.

I had never experienced that before.

There were no weird wiggly lines or ringed logo required to access the video.

No separate browser window.

I just aimed my phone at what looked like a frame from a Spiderman comic strip…and viola!

Mind you, I’m a fan of QR Codes and SnapTags.

I’ve written about them a few times.

I think they’re immensely useful for driving interactions between brands and consumers.

At the time, I had no idea what technology was powering the Spiderman experience on the cereal box.

And while I found it novel, I didn’t explore it any deeper.

But a few days ago, a colleague shared a Ted talks link with me about augmented reality.

The video talked about how brands were exploring ways to integrate augmented reality into their apps.

I realize that my explanation of the Spiderman cereal box leaves much to be desired.

So check out the video from the Ted talk, which explains (and demonstrates) augmented reality with far greater clarity.

The technology Matt was demonstrating was developed by a company called Aurasma, which is one of the pioneers of augmented reality apps.

I definitely see augmented reality as the wave of the future.

The possibilities are literally limitless.

And the opportunities for brands to engage in immersive and increasingly interactive ways are even more limitless.

And I’m not talking about donning a helmet or a pair of glasses – I’m talking about having rich, interactive layered experiences by simply pointing your phone at an object.

But don’t take my word for it.

Keep an eye out for augmented reality coming to an app near you.

If you want to get a jump on the whole augmented reality movement, check out the Aurasma app in the iTunes App store.

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Super Bowl XLVI: Social Media FAIL!!

The Super Bowl commercials integration of social media=FAIL.

This weekend, I, like most, watched the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots to become the Super Bowl XLVI Champions.

But unlike most, who were likely concerned with the outcome of the game, I was watching to see how the advertisers, who had forked over a pretty penny, integrated social media in their ads.

With ads going for up to $3 million dollars for a 30 second spot, I figured that advertisers would go the extra mile to make sure that their ads got all the traction they could.

At a minimum, I figured most (if not all) the advertisers would add websites, Facebook URLs or Twitter handles into their ads.

But I fully expected that at least one or two advertisers would realize the tremendous potential in social media, and do something more exciting.

To me, that meant leveraging social media, and integrating text messaging, QR codes, SnapTags, etc., in interesting and innovative ways.

So it was with rapt attention, that I waited for each time out, 2 minute warning, quarter and tv time out.

I sat through over 75 different commercials (excluding pre-show, post-show and half-time), and I was saddened…saddened by what I saw.

Not only were the commercials…ho hum, but they completely missed their mark from a social media perspective.

The most “innovative” use of social media (and I use innovative so loosely as to have absolutely no meaning in this context) was by the NFL itself.

Their NFL Fantasy promotion gave viewers the chance to win a million dollars.

Viewers could either text NFL to 69635 or visit the NLF Fantasy website to register for the contest.

Beyond that, advertisers brought nothing exciting (from a social media perspective) at all.

There were a collection of advertisers that used hashtags.

Hashtags are the # symbol, used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet.

It was created by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages and used widely to track a particular topic in Twitter.

  • Audi’s #solongvampires played on the brightness of the Audi’s headlights.
  • Bud Light’s #makeitplatinum highlighted the new platinum Budweiser beer.
  • Best Buy’s #betterway hashtag alluded to the depth of their mobile phone offering.
  • H&M used #beckhamfromh.m in it’s ad with David Bekham, sporting their new trunks.

Spectacular! NOT!

Some of the more “progressive” (again, I use the term loosely) advertisers, added their Facebook pages to their ads.

  • Disney’s The Lorax
  • Marvel Comic’s The Avengers
  • Cars.com
  • Bud Light’s spots (LMFAO and Here We Go)
  • Pepsi Max
  • MetLife
  • NBC
  • Samsung Galaxy

Amazing! NOT!

A few advertisers also listed their websites, including:

  • Godaddy (.co and .com)
  • Taxact.com
  • Chevy (letsdothis.com)
  • Teleflora.com, Cars.com
  • Prudential (dayonestories.com)
  • Honda (leaplist.honda.com and cr-v.honda.com)
  • BMW (tristatebmw.com)
  • GE Works (ge.win.com)
  • Hyundai (hyundai.com)
  • CareerBuilder.com
  • Cadillac ATS
  • NBC’s new show Awake (isheawake.com)

Inspired! NOT!

GoDaddy was the one advertiser who used a QR Code in their commercial.

But for a 30 second ad, I didn’t think it was the best execution.

When the commercial came on, and I saw the QR Code, I immediately tried to open my iPhone, launch the QR code scanner, move to the tv and scan the image.

But by the time I had completed all those steps, the code was gone and they were on to the next commercial.

One interesting thing I noted, was that a few advertisers with music in their commercials, had the Shazam logo in the corner.

Shazam is the app that helps you find out the title of a song you’re listening to.

Shazam...sucks!

By letting the Shazam app ‘listen’ to several seconds of a song, it searches it’s database and (if the song exists in it’s database) tells you the title and artist.

Ads from both Cars.com and Toyota had the Shazam logo.

My previous experiences with Shazam have been so underwhelming, that I no longer have the app on my iPhone.

So I didn’t determine whether the Shazam integration worked for either of these brands.

And since it would have (presumably) led the viewer to the underlying song in the commercials, I’m not sure what value the advertisers would have derived from it’s integration.

Anyway, nothing from my wish list came to be.

My disappointment is palpable.

I guess we’ll have to wait another year before we see whether advertisers ‘get it’ and utilize their 30 seconds a little more effectively.

If you want to see all the commercials that aired yesterday, AdAge has a great compilation of them here.

But don’t blame me if you’re bored.

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, opinion, rant, social media

Superbowl XLVI and Social Media: A Wish List

Which brands will freak social media this year?

Tomorrow night, the New York Giants will play the New England Patriots in Superbowl XLVI.

While most will be focusing on the game, for marketers, talk always turns to the commercials that air during the game.

With an estimated audience of 111 million, advertisers are queued up to spend $3 million for a thirty second spot, all in hopes of making an impact on that audience.

A well executed commercial can leave an impression on viewers that will last for months afterward and translate into money well spent by the brand(s) that get it right.

Volkswagon’s Young Vader commercial, which aired during Superbowl XLV has garnered over 50 million views to date, and was by far, one of the most popular commercials of the game.

While talk usually revolves around what Superbowl commercials the big brands are planning, I’m more interested in seeing how (and whether) these same brands integrate social media into their campaigns.

Aside from making their commercials available on YouTube (which is valuable), I’m curious as to how many have planned more comprehensive social media campaigns.

I’d imagine that we’re going see a number of calls-to-action involving ‘liking’ this brand or that on Facebook.

Quite passe, if you ask me.

But aside from the standards, like this or follow that, are any of these brands thinking outside of the box?

My wish list for this year’s Superbowl is to see brands utilizing social media in new and innovative ways.

I, for one, am going to be keeping a watchful eye for anything extraordinary tomorrow.

I’m also going to be looking out for which commercials create the biggest buzz during the game.

Which commercials are trending on Twitter?

Which brands get people updating their status with ‘LMFAO’s?

Which commercials get shared the most?

SMS. SnapTags. QR Codes. Spoof videos. Mobile-only content. I’m expecting it all!

Since my Cowboys were unceremoniously drummed out of Superbowl contention by the Giants (damn you Eli!), I’ve got no skin in the game.

So, don’t worry. I won’t be distracted rooting for any team. I know you were concerned.

I’ll keep a scorecard of who did what, paying special attention to the campaigns that tricked out their social media components.

Check in Monday for my post-game survey.

Go <fill in the name of your team here>!

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, social media