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.

21 Sep

Claim your business on Facebook Places

Facebook Places

Facebook Places

I have already been asked a few times about Facebook Places, so it’s time to show everyone what it’s all about and the easiest way is to demonstrate using the new service that launched in the UK last week.

So what is Facebook Places exactly? Places is Facebook’s equivalent of Foursquare or Rummble, that allows you to see where your friends may be and to share your location with them. You can see if your friends are nearby and connect with them easily and serendipitously. However you do have control over your visibility so you shouldn’t be too alarmed by the potential risks that location based services provide.

Facebook Places

Click to enlarge

Firstly, you will need a smartphone (iPhone using the Facebook for iPhone app or Other web-enabled mobile device using http://touch.facebook.com/) in order to be able to check-in at locations as this is a mobile application after all. Click the ‘Places’ icon (it looks like the one on the top right of this blog entry) on the app’s dashboard and you will be presented with a screen showing your own location and those of your friends who are using Places.

Then click on ‘Check In’ to see any listed ‘Nearby Places’. If your business is listed you can select it and check-in to the location, which will update your Facebook status to show that you are out and about and where your friends might be able to find you.

If you don’t see your business you should add it so that you can check-in and others can find you when they search locally. Click the + sign and you can create a new Facebook Place. And once when your business sets off and rises in the ranks, you could visit this page to understand what it takes to manage them.

Facebook Places - claim your business

Click to enlarge

If this is your own business and you can prove it, you can then claim it as such (firstly check-in and tell everyone what you are up to) and go to Facebook on your desktop computer. There you will have to prove that you are legitimately claiming the location by selecting the Place in your status and then selecting ‘Is this your business’ at the bottom of the page (see below).

You will then be asked if you are the official representative and you will need to prove this by uploading a phone bill and associating an email with your Facebook account that ties you to the Place (a domain that is related, such as hugopickering.com in the example I have shown here).

Once you have claimed your Facebook Place as your own you can really get a community started, allowing your friends, customers and community to tag your location and meet each other there.

Facebook Places claim

Facebook Places claim page

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.

21 Jan

Apple does it again with iPhone update

Yes, they just can’t help themselves at Apple. With the latest grin-inducing release of updated software and firmware for the iPhone, we now get wobbly icons to move them around on screen!

Oh yes, and the ability to send text messages to multiple recipients plugs a hole that was gaping for far too long.

Well done Apple…again!