Mobile Messaging Apps

Messenger apps are hot.

Facebook recently released their messenger app as a stand-alone web app, 6 months after pulling the messenger feature of their Facebook app into a standalone mobile app.

Snapchat is charging $100 CPMs.

Tencent (QQMobile) is valued at over $200 billion.

Get to know the top mobile messaging apps by monthly average users in our latest slide deck.

Facebook’s New Analytics for Apps

At f8 2015 , Facebook announced new Facebook app analytics.

Available in their Facebook SDK, Facebook App Analytics includes features that are pretty standard across both free (Flurry, Google Analytics) and paid (Mixpanel, others):

  • tracking custom events
  • creating funnels
  • cohort-based tracking
  • user segments

So far, nothing new here.

Facebook also added a section called “Integrations”

Integrations tracks Facebook related actions like referrals, logins and stories (posts) created from within the app.

This has been available before, but gets a UI refresh and is part of the new analytics launch.

Here is how one app’s “Integrations” data looks:

Analytics for Apps - Facebook Integrations

And you can toggle thru measures of story engagement as well:


Why Facebook as an analytics partner is a potential game-changer

While Google and Flurry can track all of the actions users take in your apps, and supports funnels, segments and cohorts – none can tie users taking specific actions in your app (events) to Facebook data.

If you have ever experimented or run a campaign using Facebook’s ad platform, you know that the ability to target potential users is unlike anything any other platform can provide.

With Analytics for Apps, mobile app publishers gain insights to which demos take specific actions, and allocate advertising spend more intelligently.

Facebook App Analytics - Events

Coming Soon – Attribution

While still in beta, Facebook is also introducing Attribution – so publishers and marketers can marry ad spend and user lifetime value by install source.

The goal here is to answer “How can I better allocate my ad spend?”

Attribution aims to identify the true value of an install source.

There are several companies addressing the issue of “not all installs are equal” – including Tapstream and some of the paid analytics services.

But again – none can connect this data with Facebook’s deep well of demographic data.

Attribution from Facebook is expected to launch with 10 mobile advertising partners for tracking.

Combining Attribution, Events, Cohorts and Segments with Facebook data should make both using Facebook’s SDK and advertising on their platform extremely compelling for most app publishers and marketers.

With Facebook’s aggressive moves into mobile messaging, smarter notifications and app linking – Facebook looks to expand their value to mobile app users and mobile marketers.

Gearing up for the Apple Watch Launch

How cool is the Apple Watch release? Sales are by appointment only. Here are the important dates:

  • WatchKit Tools was released to developers November 18th, 2014
  • Apple Watch pre-orders begin April 10th, 2015 at 12:01am PST (essentially late Thursday night). In-store fittings begin April 10th as well (reservation only!)
  • Available for pick-up in Apple Stores April 24th.  Again – only for those with reservations for fittings or pickups.
  • Starts at $349 and goes as high as $17,000.

Features do not differ by watch regardless of cost. Face size is either 38mm or 42mm. The main driver of price differences are the materials used for the body, display and back. You can read what some of the top tech and Apple bloggers have had to say about the Apple Watch here. To get a sense for how early-adopters will be using their new Apple Watches, take a look at the featured apps.

Apps that seem to offer something new

  • the fitness related apps
  • any platform that utilizes notifications

Could be email, Twitter, airlines, sports scores and breaking news.

Over the long-run – I am not so sure I can see myself or anyone else using their Apple Watch to navigate a Target store. Using your watch to access your room instead of your room key at Starwood Properties – which is already available via their iPhone app – may be good for PR, but solves a very small problem if any at all.

But does utility matter?

The most exciting thing about the Apple Watch is that we do not yet know what it is or will become. Part watch, part computer, and part fashion – the Apple Watch may be the ultimate hub for “smart notifications”. Automatic, real-time, actionable and targeted for user segments that are created dynamically. This is more than buzzwords. The way users interact and what they require – of what is essentially the 1st device – in this new category is yet to be seen. Once the initial shine of the “new” wears off, the utility of these devices is likely to be a better way to stay connected without your eyes glued to your smartphone. And that happens with smarter notifications.

The implications for App Store Optimization

Apple Watch apps share the name, description, keywords and icon with your iPhone App. You can show off your new WatchKit app with 5 WatchKit screenshots – explained below by Apple and found here.

You can upload up to five screenshots of your WatchKit app in addition to five iPhone app screenshots. WatchKit app screenshots used on the App Store are 312 x 390 pixels. Use the full space for the screenshot — do not frame the screenshot in an Apple Watch. 

Aside from opportunities to be featured as an app that supports Apple Watch – there does not appear to be an advantage to releasing an Apple Watch app for the ASO benefit alone.

Latest on Mobile Usage and Ad Spend

Every so often – maybe quarterly – it is good to take a step back and take in a broader perspective of the market.

How are potential customers consuming information? What new tools or social networks are they using? How are organizations spending their ad budgets, what percent is mobile ad spend and what are their development budgets?

Not so much a competitive analysis – but rather a review of some of the latest reports to get a pulse on “what’s happening”.

A few reports were released in the last week that provide some new or updated insights to mobile usage and mobile ad spend.

First – the Pew Research Center released a report “US Smartphone Usage in 2015“.

mobile ad spend

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.

This is up from 35% in 2011.

10% of Americans (adults) own a smartphone but do not have any other form of high-speed internet access at home. 15% report limited access.

19% reported that one of the two conditions applied. This means 30% of American smartphone users, primarily rely on their smartphone for high-speed internet access.

This report includes all sorts of usage patterns by age demo, by income level and more.

Second – eMarketer released an update to their digital media buying report.

US mobile ad spend almost doubled in 2014 over 2013 from $10b to $19b, and is predicted to grow another 50% to $28b in 2015.


$28b in US mobile ad spending would represent 49% of total US digital ad spending, and roughly 15% of total ad spend.

eMarketers goes on to forecast a US mobile ad spend of $65b in 2019, representing 72% of the digital ad spend and 28% of total ad spend.

Below is a breakdown for how this mobile ad spend is allocated. Mentioned in the report but not in this image is ad spend split between mobile web and in-app, with 70%+ going to in-app advertising – for 2014 and thru 2016.

186582 186584

Both of these reports are well worth reviewing as lots more is shared than has been summarized here.

Facebook f8 2015 Mobile Impact

Videos from Facebook’s f8 2015 conference are up and accessible here.

Wow – so much mobile-related goodness!

For mobile app publishers, a few announcements could prove to be game-changers, specifically Messenger and Sharing.

Facebook Messenger (as a platform)

Developer Product Page:  Facebook Messenger

Facebook is opening up Facebook Messenger to developers – who can now add Messenger buttons into their mobile apps.  

When combined with deep links and sharing –  Facebook is offering a huge incentive to build on/with Messenger.

The opportunity is essentially – users of your mobile app can share content from within your app (via Messenger) to someone who does not have your app, with a prompt for the recipient of the message to open this shared content in your app (as a new install/user for your app).


Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) shared his thoughts recently on how important Messenger is for Facebook.  

Messenger Platform: Drive Installs and Engagement through Conversation


Developer Product Page:  Facebook Sharing

Facebook is investing in making it easier to share with a new “Share Sheet”.  Users can share to groups, tag friends or via Messenger.

Like – Share – Send

Natively from within your app.

Grow Your App Organically with Sharing an App Invites


Developer Product Page: App Links

Content in mobile apps have historically been hidden or “locked up” in a sort of an “app silo”.  App metadata was all that could be indexed for web search, which also meant referring to a specific “location” in a mobile app was not easy or impossible.

Deeplinking changes that and enables this:

f8 2015

Alone this is great.  Combined with Messenger and Sharing, could prove to be an explosive mechanism for user acquisition.

Great Experiences with App Links and Mobile App Architecture 

Mobile App Analytics

Developer Product Page:  Analytics for Apps

Events, Funnels, Cohorts, Segments, Facebook specific data and Attribution.

If you have ever run an ad campaign on Facebook, you know how much data they have and make available for targeting, retargeting, segmenting etc..

Mobile app analytics should lead to much better apps and smarter ad spend.  And puts new pressures on Mixpanel and Yahoo’s Flurry.

Build Better Experiences with Facebook Analytics for Apps

Lot’s of exciting developments, as Facebook continues to invest in mobile, mobile apps and a better user experience for users across apps and devices.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing