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Apps in better position to gain awareness, usage than mobile

appticity | October 8, 2010

Panelists at CTIA said that smartphone applications are in a better position to gain awareness and usage than the mobile Web is.

Applications can support in-venue, advertising, cataloged consumer goods and other content that brands develop specifically for download for wireless subscribers. Panelists during the “Mobile Applications” session discussed new ideas that are driving mobile interaction.

“Early on, there were feature phones and there was the mobile Web and Java apps,” said Ted Casey, president of Casey Digital Media, New York. “When the iPhone was first launched, the mobile Web was the only option.

“A year later the App Store came along and the App Store gives you some options that are unavailable on the Web site,” he said.

The two options Mr. Casey pointed out are billing and location.

According to Mr. Casey, when applications first came out, they had location-awareness and mobile Web did not.

“Safari is catching up today, but there are several ways apps are in a better position to gain awareness and usage,” Mr. Casey said.

It is important to think about building mobile-optimized capabilitities into the Web site, per Mr. Casey.

There are many brands that have had successful applications such as Tide, Prius and Crest, he said.

Mobile recognition
According to Scott Drake, vice president of CNBC, New York, his company’s application filled a need that consumers have expressed for a long time.

“There was a real sweet spot and the app platform filled that need with a rich experience, interaction and it changed the technology that leverages what the device will be,” Mr. Drake said.

“Brands need to understand the core value propositions,” he said.

For CNBC, the focus is mostly about the core content offerings and to provide consumers with accurate and unbiased information, per Mr. Drake.

CNBC created an iPhone application for its show “Deal or no Deal,” which faced the challenge of validating that every state was in compliance.

Based on a unified law, the company had to take the application down.

The panelists agreed that before companies look into creating their own promotions, they must first engage competent legal council to vet the promotional model in each launch market and advise them on  specific implementation issues such as opting in.

Consumer business
Chintu Parikh, cofounder/CEO of SACHManya, Santa Clara, CA, said that the line between enterprise and consumers is kind of blurry.

“The engagement on mobile is much higher than other mediums,” Mr. Parikh said. “Especially with the click-through rates.

“Mobile devices are personal devices – you’re literally forced to look at the ad,” he said. “All the other engagement opportunities, it could be very beneficial above and beyond what you get with other mediums.

“Looking forward, we’re going to see a plethora of devices – a lot of tablet devices.”

Mobile interaction
According to David Swartz, cofounder and chief communications officer at MEDL Mobile, Los Angeles, it is important to find out who a company’s user is and how it can engage them.

“A lot of times, it’s about shortening the path and giving them what they want,” Mr. Swartz said. “Mobile apps are custom designed for users and user experience.

“With the Web, it’s more free form,” he said. “Apps are much more of a controlled medium and you have to streamline the experience.

“It’s less about the technology and more about the user and what you want to create for that user.”

Closed system
Time and location is why mobile is different, per Greg Carpenter, CEO of Boopsie, San Francisco.

Consumers need mobile now and their device is right there all of the time.

“It’s a new medium,” Mr. Carpenter said. “Everytime a new medium comes up, there’s always excitement.

“Mobile is not that pervasively used where a big brand is going to dump a lot of money on it,” he said.

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