23 Aug

New Instagram Features Make it a Must-Have For Brands

As a mobile-only social media platform, the Instagram experience has always been fun but has had an ineloquent marketing voice. That is until Facebook bought the service earlier this year for $1Bn and now they have added greater integration across the two platforms, meaning marketers can really start to use Instagram effectively.  The new Photo Map and easier posting to Facebook are big improvements, allowing better tagging and brand recognition.

A number of brands have been swift to adopt the benefits Instagram can bring, but it’s early days for most. Those with an eye on the future of mobile oriented marketing will be well advised to start their campaign early and build awareness and activity. To find out more about how Instagram could benefit your brand, please get in touch.

22 Jan

10 Billion App Store downloads!

Apple $10,000 giftcard for the 10,000,000,000th appIt might seem incredible but Apple will shortly announce the 10 billionth app download since they started the service in 2008. They are offering a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to the user who downloads the ten billionth app, demonstrating just how successful the service has been in that short time.

Apple allows 70% of revenues from the store to instantly go to the seller of the app, and 30% go to Apple. The average revenue for publishers (for each app) is around £450, so it’s not hard to work out just how profitable the business model is.

For my clients this means an app is a viable proposition for greater visibility and exposure, as well as a useful channel for interaction and new functionality.  It also offers potential for an additional revenue stream (for paid apps). The possibilities are endless: for instance recruiters can use apps for job searches and candidate communication, property clients can provide details of deals and location based services, travel clients can push last minute offers and local authorities can engage more effectively with communities.

The potential for reaching users is increasing all the time – social media being the quickest way to gain exposure for other digital services. the opportunities for free apps has arrived in the form of basic app production services, thereby enabling all types of businesses to get in on the phenomenon.

Get in touch to discuss app production for iOS, BlackBerry or Android.

29 Apr

QR codes now on Google Places

The recently rechristened Google Local as Google Places now offers customised QR codes for users. Once scanned by a customers’ smartphone, the code takes them to your own ‘place’ page in their mobile browser; QR codes can be used on business cards and other marketing materials.

QR Code for hugopickering.com

Capture this QR code to see this page in a mobile browser

Apparently in the USA Google is sending out 50,000 windows stickers to businesses with ‘their’ QR codes on, allowing users to quickly access websites, hopefully optimised for mobile usage. Try the QR code on the right to see what this page looks like when optimised for mobile use.

As a long time advocate of QR codes I am glad to see that they are being pushed by Google – they are one of the most effective ways of attracting and gaining user attention and  driving them to interact with brands, products and services. In Japan (where the QR code was invented) they are used everywhere, but they have taken sometime to catch on in the West – this is a shot in the arm for linking the offline world with the online world.

If you would like to know more about QR codes and how they could benefit your organisation, please get in touch and I would be happy to discuss how they can fit into your digital strategy.

22 Jan

Geolocation tools

I was asked yesterday about geolocation tools and how I go about getting a longitude and latitude for a postcode. Easy I said – just go to Google Maps and search for the postcode. Then click on the RSS icon to display the coordinates.

Google Map

My Location for Google Maps - see the blue dot?

However, since July 2009 Google Maps have provided one better than this – Google’s ‘My Location for Google Maps’.  This is really quite clever, although not always entirely accurate.  It tries to emulate the ‘My Location’ feature in Google Maps for Mobile (you know, the blue dot showing where you are on an iPhone/Android device etc). It looks for a Wi-Fi location or your current IP address and then tries to locate you. Sometimes it’s pretty accurate, but sometimes you can’t see yourself on the map at all. You will need to confirm that you are happy for Google to use your location on its maps, but the information is anonymous.

You can read more about it on Google’s own maps blog.

06 Feb

Google Latitude – too much of a good thing?

The new Google Latitude mobile tracking system may have a lot of really useful applications (emergency location, vehicle tracking, locating a friend etc) but it also gives bosses a Big Brother opportunity that not everyone will be happy about.  Do you want your employer tracking your every move?


This could be the precursor of a contract of employment that stipulates you leave your mobile on at all work times so that you can be traced. Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but I know a lot of people will have something to say about it.  Leave a comment if you are one of those!