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What the Top Apps of 2013 Say About Us


Dec. 30, 2013 9:46 am

If you're like us, you've downloaded and used a number of different apps this year.  Apple recently revealed the top apps downloaded in 2013 from their App Store.  Here's the list:


Top Free iPhone
  1. Candy Crush Saga    
  2. YouTube
  3. Temple Run 2
  4. Vine
  5. Google Maps
  6. Snapchat
  7. Instagram
  8. Facebook
  9. Pandora Radio
  10. Despicable Me: Minion Rush 

Top Paid iPhone
  1. Minecraft - Pocket Edition   
  2. Heads Up!
  3. Temple Run: Oz   
  4. Angry Birds Star Wars
  5. Plague Inc.
  6. Afterlight
  7. Free Music Download Pro - Mp3 Downloader
  8. Bloons TD 5
  9. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
  10. Plants vs. Zombies 

Top Free iPad
  1. Candy Crush Saga    
  2. YouTube
  3. Temple Run 2    
  4. Calculator for iPad Free
  5. Skype for iPad
  6. Netflix
  7. Despicable Me: Minion Rush    
  8. iBooks
  9. Facebook
  10. The Weather Channel for iPad

Top Paid iPad
  1. Minecraft - Pocket Edition 
  2. Pages
  3. Temple Run: Oz  
  4. Plants vs. Zombies HD    
  5. Angry Birds Star Wars HD    
  6. Notability
  7. Angry Birds Star Wars II    
  8. iMovie
  9. The Room
  10. Bad Piggies HD



What do these apps reveal about us?




WE LOVE TO GAME

Minecraft, Temple Run, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, The Room, Bad Piggies--our smart devices are gaming devices, no doubt.  Whether we're waiting in the terminal before catching a flight or taking a breather on a stressful day, a quick gaming break may be just what the doctor ordered.

Smart device games are typically broken up into short, challenging levels.  This makes them fun to play and figure out yet easy to set down and come back to later.  Perfect for killing time.

The increase in gaming downloads also confirms that many parents use their smart devices to occupy kids on car rids, airplane flights or trips to grandma's house.  As much as we love our devices, our kids might love them even more than we do.  


WE'RE SOCIAL

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, -- sharing is second nature.  When we're at a movie, on a vacation or just having dinner with friends, most of us love to tell the world about it.  

While we're increasingly connected, there may be a bit of an illusion of friendships here.  It will continue to be a struggle to engage with people in real life, just as has been an issue since the beginning of human kind--people be messy.  These social media tools are a wonderful way to be connected, but we can always put more time and energy into the relationships we truly value.


WE WORK ON THE WEEKENDS

Pages, Notability, Skype for iPad, --our devices are mobile offices.  We can work when we want, where we want and how we want.  Meetings, brainstorms and updates can be done on the fly.

We can take work with us.  This is a major advantage when we want to live a little.  Taking a vacation and not falling behind; attending a birthday party and not missing an important email; and staying up-to-the minute are all benefits of the smart device generation.  For some people this can be liberating.  For others, this can be a stressful situation.  The key is to find the balance that works the best for you,  so you can be fully engaged at work and in your personal life.


WE'RE VISUAL

Instagram, iMovie, Afterlight, --our devices capture our lives.  Many people no longer take a separate digital camera.  We rely on the accessibility and convenience of our phones and tablets, as they're never too far away from us.  

While these devices can take great snaps and pics, we all need to remember to back up our photos, or risk losing them when our phones break, fail or are misplaced.   Also, a good quality digital camera may be preferable when we're capturing truly important moments.  It's easy to overestimate the photo quality of our favorite device.  


WE'RE RELIANT

Weather Channel, Sleep Cycle, Netflix, YouTube, Google Maps, Pandora -- our devices are our BFFs.  In bed, in the bathroom, at work and at play, our smart devices never far away.  We've come to rely on them for entertainment, information, normal every-day use.  When we lose or break a smart device we feel like a part of us is missing.  That's because a trusted tool relied upon every day is missing or not working properly.

While we rely on our devices, we must remember that they won't work properly without some proper care.  Backups, taking along power cords, and handling them with a bit of care are all important parts of the smart device relationship, so to speak.  We can lose valuable photos, information and contacts if we're not a little bit proactive.  That way, when a new, shiny model comes out, we won't be so invested in our current model that there's a fear to upgrade.  Or replace one that fell in the toilet.

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What do your apps say about you?  We'd love to hear your thoughts over on Facebook!

- Comments

Mobile App Strategies - More Goals


Feb. 20, 2013 7:35 pm

You're already considering a Mobile App as part of your brand's mobile strategy, and you're beginning to look at goals.  We've discussed Shopping Ease and Brand Loyalty.  Here are some additional goals for Mobile Apps that add value:

Service Add-Ons

An app can improve upon an existing product or service.  We've discussed Cadillac's MyCadillac app that offers additional service to their existing customers.  Another example is the increasing number of banks that allow customers to simply take a picture of their checks in order to deposit them from a mobile device. 

To-Do

The key here is looking at your brand's current service/product offering and enhancing it with the service of an app. Tasks and services that naturally compliment your product are the best place to start (GPS functionality for Cadillac-owners).  In addition, think about tasks or services that might further enhance your current offering (like the banking example).  The crux here is to really look to serve your customers through the ease of an app.


Rewards

Creating rewards for your brand's most loyal customers is a great way to utilize an app.  The Starbucks app gives frequent coffee customers the ability to earn "Stars" as rewards towards free drinks and food.  Starbucks knows they have loyal customers, so why not reward them for their loyalty?  

To-Do

If your brand has a high-frequency rate of purchase with your customers, a rewards-style app might be a great fit.  It's a whole lot better than handing out another punch card to put in their wallets.  The key is to create a program that your customers will use and benefit from frequently enough to keep up with it.  

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We hope this list of App Goals will help get the wheel of possibilities spinning in your mind.  Apps are robust tools that can be an asset to your brand.  With all of the app-craze out there, be sure to take some time to weigh the value of creating an app for your brand.

If you need some help along the way, we'd be happy to chat about apps!

- Comments

Mobile App Strategies - Goals


Feb. 13, 2013 11:32 am

Mobile Apps should be an important consideration in your brand's mobile strategy.  Apps are not a solution for every brand, however they can be an asset when properly used.  The question many brands ask is:  How do we decide if an app is right for us?

First, remember:

The key to a successful app is one that enables your users to do something related to your brand quickly and easily.  

Anybody can churn out an app.  However, an app that adds value is a more difficult achievement.  There are a number of goals a Mobile App can achieve for your customers.

Shopping Ease

Some apps are specifically geared for mobile shopping.  Other apps are simply for order tracking and notification or to help with the decision process.  For example, Amazon has a Price Check App to make cost comparisons easy in addition to an app for shopping.  We've previously mentioned the Dominos app to order pizzas quickly and easily and Tiffany's Engagement Ring app that allows customers to throughly investigate all of their options.  These apps strive to make the a step of the purchase process easier.

To-Do

Dig into your web site's stats to see how many of your visitors are coming from hand-held devices.  There may be way more (or way less) than you think.  Also, investigate the sales made from these devices--size of each sale, typical items ordered, etc.  Really get to know your mobile customer.  That way, you can make the tasks he's already doing on your website, easier.

Brand Loyalty

The Snow Report App by The North Face helps to create brand loyalty.  Many of The North Face's customers enjoy skiing or may be planning a ski get-away.  To make their planning easier, The North Face provides an app that gives ski conditions, weather forecasts, trail maps and the ability to post a photo to their Facebook page.  And every time the app is opened, The North Face's brand is right there.  Like a trusted friend.

To Do

Get in your customers heads and habits.  Think about how they use your product or service and what types of service would compliment that.  What are your customers like?  Sometimes, creating a picture of your typical customer (demographics, preferences, hobbies, etc) can help with this process.  Then, ask yourself how your brand can bring even more service to them.

--

Stay tuned for more Mobile App Strategy Goal planning.

- Comments

Creating a Mobile Strategy - Mobile Apps


Jan. 31, 2013 5:11 pm

Earlier in the week we discussed a Mobile Website as part of your brand's Mobile Strategy.  The second major part of a successful strategy includes app development as well.


An app is different than a mobile website in that it can interact with a cell phone's functionality.  

Example:  the Facebook App uses GPS in a phone to automatically add a user's location to a status update.

If you want a closer look at the differences between a Mobile Website and a Mobile App, check out our Internet 101 blog post.

Establish Your Goals


The key to a successful app is one that enables your users to do something related to your brand quickly and easily.  
When creating your Mobile Strategy, ask yourself what process you can simplify by allowing users to connect to their cell phone's functionality.  No matter the brand of phone, there are a number of functions that are shared by all.  Let's discuss them and how they can be used as part of an effective app.

GPS


Check out the MyCadillac app for a great example of integrating an app with GPS functionality. The MyCadillac app will remember where you parked the car and if it's time to add money to the meter.  Also, when it's time for service, you can search for the nearest dealer by your current location.

There is no need to stop just at GPS integration, however.  Note that, in addition to these GPS-related features, the app also contains relevant information for the user, such as the car's owner's manual, a lights and indicators guide, and access to their OnStar service.

The takeaway:

Cadillac created an app that would make life easier for their drivers.  By recalling parking locations and finding a service dealer, the app is entirely appropriate and usable.


Touch


While virtually all apps incorporate touch to navigate, few harness the power of touch like Tiffany & Co.  Tiffany noticed the growing numbers of mobile sales coming through their online story.  Their reaction to it was to create a beautiful, robust tool to help in the engagement ring selection process.

In an effort to help obtain accurate ring-size, users can place an actual ring directly on the screen and align it with the correct circle in the guide.  In addition, the rings are shown true-to-size and can be rotated, zoomed in on and swapped out with different carat sizes.

The takeaway:

Tiffany & Co. worked to bring the experience of shopping in-store for an engagement ring to users' cell phones.  The design of the app exudes Tiffany's quality and eye for design.  Finally, the app solves a major problem of shopping online--obtaining an accurate ring size.  They made shopping simple and easy.

Audio/Visual


The Walgreens app is a robust little creation that has more tools than a Swiss Army knife.  We noticed that Walgreens took the opportunity to provide better service to two major functions of their store with their app:  the pharmacy and photo processing.

App users can scan the bar codes of their prescriptions to order refills or transfer their script to a Walgreens store.  In addition, photo processing is made a painless process.  Photos on a phone can be enhanced through their photo filters and then added to the cart and ordered to be printed at the nearest Walgreens store.  All of these actions are made possible by the phone's camera.

The takeaway:

The app has some additional features as well, but the takeaway here is how Walgreens has taken two of their core business functions and made them easy for their customers.  The app looks to save the amount of time a person would have to spend physically in the store.


Contacts


Google Voice allows you to read voicemail like a text message, which can be handy when you're trying to be discreet.  Also, you can send text messages and create custom greetings based on who is calling you.

Google Voice connects with your contacts to seamlessly create a Google-fied phone experience.

The takeaway:

Using existing contact data, Google creates a bigger, smarter experience on a user's cell phone.

Portability


For better or worse, our cell phones are with us wherever we go--the store, the bedroom and the bathroom even!  These devices are also conveniently with us throughout the entire buying process--as we ponder, weigh, analyze and, eventually, purchase any item.

Target looks to assist buyers at varying places within the buying process.  From a Daily Deals alert service, to a baby registry, barcode scanner, and shopping list creator, they've made a user's phone an essential asset throughout the buying process.

The takeaway:

Target worked to meet buyers where they are at throughout the buying process.  Whether they're interested in deals, creating lists or wish lists, there's an app for each need.


Creating Your To-Do List


It's time to set out to create a great-app that will benefit your brand and your customers.
A great app will:
  • make life easier
  • be appropriate and usable 
  • bring the experience of shopping in-store to users' cell phones
  • take core business functions and make them easy for their customers
  • create bigger, smarter experience 
  • meet buyers where they are at


  • For your mobile strategy, strive to do one central thing and make it easy for your users.
    • What need can you satisfy?  
    • What process can you simplify?  
    • What aspect can you enhance?  
    • What information are your customers looking for?
    The examples above merely scratch the surface of app integration.  Remember to be creative and put yourself in your customer's shoes.  Happy Apping!

    - Comments

    10 Best Apps for Business


    Jan. 22, 2013 3:46 pm

    As we focus on mobile browsing this month, we'd also like to highlight some of the business apps we love and some we've newly discovered.

    1.  Evernote - 

    When an idea strikes and pen and paper are lacking, you can use your phone to help keep you organized.  Whether it's a voice memo or a typed note, Evernote will become a valuable resource when you're on-the-go.

    Availability:  Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm webOS and Windows Mobile


    2.  Bump 


    Use bump to store your business card contact info.  Then, when you want to swap business cards, simply touch your cellphone to your business contact's and the contact info is automatically transferred! Show 'em that you're tech savvy and try Bump!

    Availability:  Android and iPhone



    3.  Apple's iWork Suite


    When you're on the go, the work still needs to get done.  Having the iWork Suite on your iPad will help you to be productive while you're away.  Apple has taken some care in ensuring the word processing, charts and graphs and presentation software are each intuitive and easy-to-use on the iPad.

    Availability: iPad 


    4.  Dropbox


    When you need to share a large file or simply back up some data, dropbox is easy-to-use and quick to setup.  The first 2GB are free, however there is an option to pay for additional storage.  Whether for business or personal use, we use dropbox all the time!

    Availability: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, iPad


    5.  TweetDeck

    The beauty of Twitter is sharing on the fly.  When you're away from your computer, take TweetDeck with you to keep in touch with your followers.  If you're tweeting on behalf of a corporate account, it's all the more important that you're able to respond to tweets in a timely manner.  TweetDeck will help you do just that.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry

    6.  PrintCentral

    If you are a frequent user of an iPad, the time will come when you want (need) to print something.  PrintCentral will allow you to print almost anything!  It's a paid app that comes with some additional features.  But, for just under $15, the ability to print is well worth the price.

    Availability:  iPad


    7.  Square


    If you're a small business that needs to begin accepting credit cards, Square is a great option.  The app and the card reader are free.  Instead you are charged a percent of each transaction.  Square offers a great first step for those that are new to accepting credit cards.

    Availability:  iPhone and Android

    8.  Tripit


    Keep track of business travel with ease.  Tripit will store flights, car rentals and hotel reservations to make business travel a breeze.  The basic app is free, or if you want to track frequent flier miles, you can upgrade.

    Availability:  iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry


    9.  Facebook


    Love it or hate it Facebook is a part of business.  Facebook for mobile is easy to use and will help you stay connected wherever you are.  The same rule of timely responses applies on Facebook as we mentioned on Twitter.  If someone comments on your brand's timeline, giving no response or a response 3-days later is a social networking pitfall you'll want to avoid.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Kindle

    10.  The Walking Dead: The Game

    Look, we all know you're an overachiever that's working hard well after 5 PM.  Take a timeout and slay some zombies.  Call it multitasking; a bit of work and a bit of play.  We won't tell anyone.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone/iPad

    --

    Checkout some other resources for the "best of" business apps.

    Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Business Apps  by PC World

    The Best Mobile Apps for Business by Entrepreneur

    20 Best iPad Apps for Business by Business Insider

    5 Best Apps for Business by CNN Money

    - Comments

    Internet 101 - Mobile App vs. Mobile Website


    Oct. 2, 2012 2:07 pm

    This post is the first in a series of Internet 101 information topics. As always, when class is dismissed, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions or would like any additional information. If you don't feel at the head of your class, don't worry, we took notes.

    Do you need an app for that? Apps get all the love these days, but what is an app and do you need one for your website? First, we'll ask Mr. Webster:

    Mobile App - An app is a program that is downloaded from an app store onto a user's phone. Apps are typically focused on one task (customer service, social media, entertainment, training, or informational).
    Mobile Website - A mobile website resides on the internet and your audience can navigate to it through a browser. It is a streamlined for efficient loading and viewing from mobile devices.
    Here's a side-by-side comparison:



    It can be difficult to determine if an app or a mobile website is best suited for your business needs. Each application has unique qualities that can grant your idea success.

    In a majority of cases, a mobile website is the best bet for business. However, apps are extremely powerful when used in the proper cases. Just take a gander at the 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2012 by TIME magazine.

    Are you brainstorming an app or mobile website?  We'd love to chat with you about your options!
    --

    Here are a few apps we can't live without:

    Angry Birds 
    of course

    Google Sky Map
    we star-gaze as well as naval-gaze

    Flashlight
    this one is just fun

    WebMD 
    should I bring my son to the doctor or not...

    Scramble
    keeps copywriting sharp

    Evernote
    a true genius takes copious notes

    Kindle
    the ultimate in multitasking

    Packers
    home or away? who's out of the game? 

    Netflix
    long wait at the doctor? why not watch a movie?

    Baby Rattle
    don't you dare judge us...we love technology and teach our babies to, too

    Mobile websites that are frequent stops:

    m.cnn.com
    daily news stop

    m.amazon.com
    book fettish

    m.packers.com
    football fettish

    m.dominos.com
    pizza fettish

    m.packersproshop.com
    fan apparel fettish

    What's on your phone?

    - Comments

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