Lost in the mobile maze, free whitepaper

14 01 2010

If you feel like you’re living in an episode of Star Trek when people in the industry talks about transcoders, latency, cookies, gateways, tracking codes, markup languages and postbacks,Lost in the Mobile Maze today is your lucky day!

Today, my colleagues at Bango have published a new white paper entitled “Lost in the mobile maze”, explaining Why mobile complexity continues to challenge the biggest and best in the industry.

This white paper sets out the challenges that need to be understood to succeed in developing mobile solutions and explains all the bits that need to be considered when taking your brand to mobile.

Now you´ll be able to understand the conversations and make better decisions about your mobile strategy. Download your free copy today and “geek up”!

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Would you like a piece of the BlackBerry pie?

8 09 2009

We have been talking lately about the increase of smartphones accessing the internet via Wifi connections, how iPhone is gaining positions on our device ranking and today Bango published a free whitepaper Increasing your slice of the BlackBerry pie, to help us understand and overcome the challenges of how can we accurately identify BlackBerry users for tracking, CRM and marketing campaign purposes; and also how is it possible to enable these customers to make transactional payments on their mobile phone bill, just like any other phone.

Smartphones have become the standard handset of choice in the mobile phone market – even during global recession the growth in smartphoneBlackberry WP banner sales continues to soar. Gartner reported a global smartphone sales growth of 27% year-on-year in Q2 2009 compared to a 6% drop in cell phone sales during the same period. And the numbers in the USA were even more dramatic during the second quarter. The research firm NPD Group reported US smartphone sales grew by 47% and accounted for 28% of all handset sales.

Get your copy of the white paper and find out:

•Why BlackBerry has become a popular consumer device

• How BlackBerry users consume data services

• The challenge of capturing identity and delivering payment to Blackberry users

• Optimizing your mobile services to overcome these challenges

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Mobile marketing over Wifi connections, interesting idea?

5 08 2009

I want to share this valuable information that Andy Bovingdon, VP Product Marketing at Bango, shared last week:

Recent reports clearly show a rapid increase in mobile phones browsing using Wi-Fi – according to recent Bango research over 20% of your customers are now connecting via Wi-Fi (see Bango Wi-Fi stats). Millennial Media also reported 22% Wi-Fi use in the USA as part of their June U.S Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting (SMART) report (see Millenial Media report).
Bango goes on to predict that over a third of all mobile customers will use Wi-Fi by 2010. Combine this with the increased growth in smartphone sales with 38.1 million units sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2009, and it represents a very large percentage of your customers. Using Wi-Fi makes browsing your store fast, easy and cost effective, but it also introduces significant challenges which, if not addressed, will lose 20% of your sales.

Last week Bango launched operator billing over Wifi connections. This means customers accessing your site over a Wifi connection can pay for your content on their mobile phone bill – the same quick and easy payment experience familiar to them when connected via their operator gateway. Watch this video to see the payment experience for yourself. You’d think that more companies are doing this, but actually Bango is the only one!

With the increase in mobile visitors connecting over Wifi have you thought about how this will affect your mobile marketing strategy? Will you start using different techniques to engage with these Wifi connected visitors or will you treat them the same? If you think you’d treat them the same let me put this into perspective – would you have the same messages for someone that shares a flat and someone that owns a mansion with a swimming pool?

Of course you wouldn’t, so let’s understand the opportunity here and get creative! Once connected over Wifi mobile visitors are not so worried about how much data is being downloaded or uploaded. So don’t be afraid to offer them some richer content and get them engaged.

For example, why not try surprising your mobile visitors with an engaging MMS message. Interact with them by offering video content or ask them to upload a video, a picture or a voice recording from exactly where they are.
You can now detect visitors using a smartphone device with tools like Bango Analytics. You can also identify when they come back again to make the most of your mobile marketing.

People with smartphones love their phones (if you have one, you know what I mean!) and best of all, they know how to use it and want to get the most out it. This is an open door to new creative mobile marketing campaigns!
If you’ve recently undertaken some creative mobile marketing campaigns that you’d like to share with us – get in touch we’d love to hear from you.

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New! Bango mobile analytics v4 is here! Get a 30 day FREE trial on bango.com/analytics

22 04 2009

Bango has announced today the launch of Bango Analytics v4, and this is how I see the new granularity and depth of data can help all mobile marketers:

  • Now ALL visitors get a unique user ID. This gives an accurate total for unique visitors and let you drill down to see more information about each visitor, like when the first time you saw them was, or how many times have they been to your site. Why is this useful? Well, thanks to this you can check if a landing page is successful, if your navigation works well, if your message is compelling so people keep coming back to your site or if it sucks so bad, that people only comes once and leave for ever… useful, don’t you think?
  • You can now track unique visitors whether a mobile user connects via operator gateway, WiFi or home broadband – even if users change their connection, Bango still retains the ability to track them. Now everyone who interacts with a mobile website or mobile campaign has a privacy-protected, unique user ID, no matter what type of network connection they use.  So there are no mistakes in counting where your visitors come from, and how many of them you are getting, as Bango can see if the same visitor has come one time to your site via WiFi, or via WAP.
  • New advanced filtering and sorting enables precise segmentation of mobile data, so it’s quick to get to the results needed on a case by case basis.  Select to filter any report by page, country, operator, device, time or date.  This is just heaven! I can see if my smart phone visitors are the ones really buying or downloading my content, or if they are just browsing because they have unlimited browsing plans. This feature really tells me how my users interact with my site so I can go back and talk to them in their terms. It is just perfect.
  • Unlike other analytics solutions, Bango Analytics works from your original “raw” data and the new data warehouse delivers even better performance and scalability, allowing Bango to record, enrich and report more information about your visitors. This means, among many things, that your data is always available in its fullest capacity and is enriched anytime enhancements take place.

  • Bango Analytics lets you see metrics by the hour so you can understand how a mobile marketing campaign is performing in real time and make any necessary adjustments to ensure campaign success.  Thanks God somebody gets this, why would I want to look at my campaign results once the damage has been done? If something isn’t working, do you want to let it drag around until your budget is gone and your reputation ruined? I didn’t think so…another way to look at it is, imagine your campaign is targeting a particular group but looking at the results of the campaign there is a better response from a completely different public. If you can see this as it happens, wouldn’t you be amazed at how a few tweaks can make your campaign even more successful? Think how you use Google Adwords and how important this is…

  • Bango’s device reporting now lets you view your visitor’s devices by manufacturer, model and version.  Target your site or application to the most popular. Just reminding you not to sell ice to the Eskimos  😉

  • Bango Analytics records all the parameters passed on the URL.  Many marketing tools pass important information within the URL. By recording all this information, it’s all available to you for analysis.  Aha! Let’s check where our ads are really being displayed, in case you ever had any doubts…

  • Bango Analytics delivers the top 3 WAA metrics – page views, unique visitors and visits. It couldn’t be any other way.

Watch this space to see how we use all this new functionality in real mobile marketing campaigns or have a look by yourself on our analytics center where you can see real traffic and campaigns taken place.

We have a case study coming up on South African traffic and we are getting Mobislim optimize for mobile SEO, so there is quite a lot coming up!

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iPhone: Not a top 20 handset for browsing and buying on the mobile web

1 04 2009

If you are thinking in focusing your mobile advertising just on the iPhone, keep reading!
Just in case, this is not an April Fool’s joke 🙂

According to statistics released on Monday by Bango, when it comes to the most popular phones for browsing and buying content on the mobile web worldwide, the iPhone sits outside the top 20. The Bango Top 20 handset list, based on Bango’s February statistics, puts the Nokia 3110c on top, followed by the Samsung M800 in 2nd and the Nokia 6300 in 3rd. The iPhone appears at 24th on the list.
This data represents the activities of major brands and businesses as their consumers browse to mobile websites (measured by Bango Analytics) and buy mobile content and services (as measured by Bango Payment).
The stats come from the month of February when 1.1 million unique visitors browsed to mobile websites as monitored by Bango’s Analytics service (customers include the Financial Times and MTV) and bought mobile content and services using Bango’s Payment service (customers include Thumbplay, Buongiorno, Gameloft, EA Games).
This sample size is certainly considerably larger than trials carried out by comScore and others. With global penetration of the iPhone at 1% according to Gartner, brands need to look beyond the iPhone to reach the mass market.

Let’s have a look at our site mobislim.wap.com and check the footprint that iPhones left on our Bango Analytics center:
January 0,44% of the devices that access our mobile site where iPhones, from a total of 614 devices and 25,040 page views.
February saw a 1.32% of iPhones from 313 devices and 5,738 pageviews (you can tell we didn’t run any campaigns…)
And March shows another increase with 1,41% of iPhones from 331 devices and 6,303 page views.

Check this out by yourself in our analytics center!

Putting this into context, as you probably know the iPhone browses “normal” site content but it doesn’t handle Flash, and you can’t follow links that lead to the download of content or files.   It can also be a pretty painful experience for large, complex sites – compare m.ft.com with ft.com and you get the picture.

For that reason, many sites are producing specially adapted sites for the iPhone. Look at how much better iphone.facebook.com is than facebook.com – in fact even Apple has an iPhone specific version of parts of apple.com.  So, we are seeing more and more businesses detecting the mobile Safari on their PC website and pushing them to the iPhone adapted site.
Personally, I have an iPhone and like many of my friends I think it’s really fun to use.  So what do think?  Does this make you re-appraise your mobile advertising plans?

If you want more analysis on this story read Ray Anderson’s post on blog.bango.com





Setting up a paid subscription option for Mobislim BMI Java App

6 01 2009

Extending the basic Java application using Bango’s web services.

 

Following on from my first post, my second objective was to develop a way to make it so that my application will only work if the user has a valid Bango subscription with some time remaining on it. This started with quite a lot of research into how I was going to do it.

 

The first obvious problem was how to get the application to find out if the user has a valid and active subscription.  I played around with a few different techniques and approaches, the one that appeared to be the most successful was to have the application connect to a web server which would then send a web service request to Bango. The web server then returns some data to the phone (Illustrated right).

 

So the first stage was to develop a script on the web server to get the correct information to the device. The information I needed to get to the device was really only the time remaining on the subscription. I did however actually decide to send a few extra pieces of data to the phone too though for some further ideas I had.

 

To get the subscription status, we have to go through three major stages:

  1. Get the users Bango user ID
  2. Get the users active subscriptions on a Bango number
  3. Get the time remaining on the subscription

 

To do this I used PHP as my server-side scripting language, and this is what I came up with.

 

<?php

 

$username = “myusername”; // Bango web services username

$password = “mypassword”; // Bango web services password

$bango    = “000111222333”; // Bango number with subscriptions

$script   = “http://domain.com/userid.php&#8221;; // URL of this script

 

if(isset($_GET[‘b’])){

 

       $client = new SoapClient(“https://webservices.bango.com/subscriptions/service.asmx?wsdl&#8221;);

 

       $SubscriptionID = $client->GetSubscriptionID(array(“request” =>

       array( “username”    => $username,

              “password”    => $password,

              “bango”       => $bango,

              “userId”      => $_GET[‘u’])

       ));

      

       $SubscriptionInfo = $client->GetSubscriptionInfo(array(“request” =>

       array( “username”        => $username,

              “password”        => $password,

              “subscriptionId”  => $SubscriptionID->GetSubscriptionIDResult->subscriptionId)

       ));

 

// Redirect to same script, but only with the variable we need.

// We then scrape the variable in the app.

       header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);

       header(“Location: ” . $script . “?time=” . $SubscriptionInfo->GetSubscriptionInfoResult->accessMinutesRemaining);

 

}

 

?>

 

 

I did actually have quite a few problems with PHP and SOAP. There are quite a few ways of using SOAP; I used the PHP SOAP module (http://uk.php.net/manual/en/book.soap.php).

 

I then setup a Bango number with the identifier function enabled which redirects to the script. I was now set to work on two more things:

  1. Getting the data into the application
  2. Using the data to make the application expire

 

String scripturl = “http://domain.com/userid.php&#8221;; // The same url you entered in the php script

String bangoid = “444333222111”; //the bango number with identifier function turned on

 

       HttpConnection conn = null;

 

       String url = “http://bango.net/id/?bango=&#8221; + bangoid + “&register=n”;

        try {

           while (true) {

               conn = (HttpConnection) Connector.open( url );

               conn.setRequestProperty( “User-Agent”, “Mozilla/4.0” );

 

               rc = conn.getResponseCode();

 

               if ((rc == HttpConnection.HTTP_TEMP_REDIRECT) ||

               (rc == HttpConnection.HTTP_MOVED_TEMP) ||

               (rc == HttpConnection.HTTP_MOVED_PERM)) {

                   // Get the new location and close the connection

                   url = conn.getHeaderField(“location”);

                   conn.close();

 

               } else {

 

       String timeremaining = replaceAll(conn.getURL(),scripturl + “?time=”,””);

 

                    conn.close();

                    break;

 

               }

 

            }

 

        }catch( IOException e ){

           // handle the error here

        }

 

This also requires a small method called replaceAll, below.

 

private String replaceAll(String text, String searchString, String replacementString){

    StringBuffer sBuffer = new StringBuffer();

    int pos = 0;

    while((pos = text.indexOf(searchString)) != -1){

        sBuffer.append(text.substring(0, pos) + replacementString);

        text = text.substring(pos + searchString.length());

    }

    sBuffer.append(text);

        return sBuffer.toString();

}

 

I then just compared the variable timeremaining against 0. If the number is greater than 0, the application will start. If not we tell the user that the subscription doesn’t exist or has expired.

 

if(Integer.parseInt(timeremaining) > 0){

       // Code if not expired

}else{

       // Code if expired

}

 

What could be easier?

 





Building the Mobislim BMI Java App

2 01 2009

I started out with the objective of creating an application for mobile. Even with my limited knowledge of Java and having never programmed anything for mobile before, it was surprisingly simple.

 

The first thing I did was go to the Java website where I found the Java Mobile Edition Software Development Kit (http://java.sun.com/javame/downloads/index.jsp). I downloaded it, and then tried to install it. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t let me install it as I was missing the Java Development Kit. I went back to the Java site and found it on this page http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp. It is worth noting that the top download is the Java Runtime Environment. I almost made the mistake of downloading it, the one I needed for Java ME was the Java SE Development Kit.

 

Once the Java SDK had finished downloading, I installed it, and then installed Java ME. Both installed without errors, so I went ahead and started up Java ME.

 

Once Java ME had started, I created a project by clicking File -> New Project -> Java ME SDK -> MIDP Application.

 

After clicking next, I entered “HelloWorld” as my Project Name. As it was my first time using Java ME, I left the two checkboxes checked as they were by default. The HelloMIDlet created a simple hello world MIDlet for me, which I found really useful in getting going.

 

After clicking next again, I selected the DefaultCldcJtwiPhone1 from the drop down list. This was as it had the lowest phone requirements, so I assumed that it would work on the greatest number of phones.

 

I clicked finish, and I was presented with my project on the left hand side, and my HelloMIDletcode on the right. I decided to see what the default code did by clicking the “Run Main Project via OTA” button. This is the blue button at the top with a green play button on it. The application started up in the emulator and said Hello World. Great!

 

Next, I played with the default code seeing what I could do, but I found the default code very limiting. After about 10 minutes, I had created my own version of the hello world application, which was a really good starting point. This is the code I came up with:

 

    public void startApp() {

 

        // Create a form with the title My First App

        Form mainForm = new Form(“My First App”);

 

        // Add the text “Hello World” to the page

        mainForm.append(“Hello World”);

 

        // Add an exit button to the page

        mainForm.addCommand(exitCommand);

        mainForm.setCommandListener(this);

 

        // Display the page

        display.setCurrent(mainForm);

 

    }

 

Anything that I now put in the area where it says Hello World would now appear within my application. Easy!