Facebook is building an incredible moat around the future of social with Messenger and WhatsApp

Here Quartz shows us that Facebook plans to let companies build their messaging app services directly into Messenger, which will potentially give Facebook control. See below for a more extended look on the news.

Facebook, which thoroughly dominates the current era of the online social networking industry, is setting itself up nicely for the next.

Many see messaging apps as the future of social: Lightweight, real-time, personal conversations that can become rich environments for media sharing, entertainment, and even commerce. Facebook is in a particularly luxurious position here.

It now owns the two largest messaging services in the world: No. 1, WhatsApp, which last said it had 700 million monthly active users, and was acquired by Facebook for more than $20 billion. And no. 2, its homegrown Facebook Messenger, which now has 600 million monthly active users.

What’s interesting is how the apps are starting to diverge: Two similar concepts with increasingly different feature sets, philosophies, and strengths.

Facebook’s plans for Messenger are ambitious and complex. At the firm’s F8 developer conference last week, it announced a new Messenger “platform.” Companies can build their services directly into Messenger, ceding some control to Facebook in exchange for (theoretically) massive distribution. The idea is similar to the old Facebook web platform from last decade, which fueled the growth of companies like Zynga, the gaming giant behind FarmVille, and Zong, an early Facebook mobile payments partner, whose founder David Marcus is now running Messenger for Facebook after a stint at PayPal.

Most early examples from the Facebook Messenger platform simply add media to messaging. For example, an ESPN app for Facebook Messenger allows you to send “sports GIFs to make your friends LOL.” Giphy, the “world’s largest GIF search engine,” adds support for fun animations. (Earlier this month, Facebook also added a feature that lets its Messenger users send each other money.)

But it’s easy to see how something like this could expand. It’s long been happening in Asia, where services like WeChat—500 million monthly active users, but mostly in China—offer a variety of services from taxi booking to financial services. Similarly, mobile games—notably missing from Facebook Messenger, so far—have propelled Japan’s most popular messaging app, Line, which has also struggled to catch on globally. Perhaps we can expect more along those lines from Messenger, which already has broad global impact.

Messaging map

Speaking of broad global impact, what about WhatsApp? Where’s itsplatform?

That’s not happening now, and it doesn’t sound like one is coming any time soon. While Facebook Messenger plays the platform game, WhatsApp—the most popular messaging app in the world—is keeping its product simple and focused.

A WhatsApp rep told Quartz that the company—which still runs independently, at an arm’s length from Facebook—is focused on app speed and reliability. And this isn’t a crazy idea, either. WhatsApp gained massive popularity—and drew Facebook’s acquisition offer—by offering people a fast, free alternative to text messaging. A recent chart from the Economist shows how WhatsApp dramatically zoomed past SMS—the global messaging standard—in message traffic. Why mess up a good thing?

That’s not to say that Facebook is impervious. Snapchat is perhaps the best recent example: An “ephemeral” mobile photo-messaging service with a rough user interface that just happened to take off. Now Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world—run by a tycoon who shares some traits with a young Mark Zuckerberg—and is becoming a compelling player in mobile video. Facebook couldn’t buy Snapchat quickly enough, and has failed at cloning its magic several times. YikYak, a gossip app popular on college campuses, is also worth keeping an eye on.

Still, Facebook has positioned itself impressively. Instead of one attempt to keep its hold over the future of social, Facebook can try two separate strategies with massive audiences.

Original article found here

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5 Top Mobile Marketing Tips from Travel and Hospitality Industry Leaders

Here Digital Marketing Blog gives you the top 5 mobile marketing tips for the travel and hospitality industry.

Mobile marketing is today’s emerging trend, and mastering it can make the difference between increased conversion and stagnation. Let’s explore how Travel and Hospitality industry leaders structure their mobile apps and then see what we can learn from some of the most successful brands in the world.

Mobile Marketing Overtake – Are We There Yet?

Two years ago, Gartner, Inc. predicted mobile devices would overtake PCs worldwide by 2015, saying: “In 2015, Smartphone and tablet sales will outsell PCs worldwide. They will become preferred devices to surf the Internet. This is already the case within many emerging markets. The consequence of this phenomenon is that each and every organization needs to re-think its digital strategy.”

It is now 2015, and mobile has indeed overtaken PCs. Mobile phone penetration rates in the West are over 100 percent. 74 percent of people have a smartphone and can receive emails pointing to mobile websites. Since 70 percent of smartphone users are willing to receive push messages, you can push a direct link to mobile apps to 52 percent of the population.

So, have all e-tailers positioned themselves properly on these two aspects of mobile marketing: mobile apps and mobile Web (yes, I’m skipping mobile social, even though it’s big, because it deserves a blog post of its own)?

Hardly. A recent InternetRetailing article on retailer mobile-friendliness quotes SciVisum’s Christmas 2014 eCommerce Mobile Experience Report, reporting that in the run-up to the critical holiday shopping season, 7 of the 10 leading UK e-tailers weren’t mobile-friendly, with two serving desktop-optimized pages to mobile devices. 7 of the 10 took more than 2 seconds to load a page on mobile devices, even with cell signal speed taken out of the equation.

Stats from Greenlight show ‘cheap flights’ was the most popular Google UK flight search term at 17 percent overall and 20 percent of mobile-based searches, yet only half of the top 10 sites returned by that search were responsive.

Tip #1: Increase Mobile Conversion through Responsive Web Design

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According to an eConsultancy report on responsive design in the travel industry, only 1 of the 50 top airlines in the world implemented CSS restyling based on user agent detection. 76 percent had a dedicated mobile site, and 22 percent served PC-optimized pages to mobile devices. According to the report, of the 11 top UK carriers, only 1 had a responsive design, Thomas Cook Airlines, who reported a 30 percent increase in mobile conversion after switching. When Travelocity moved to responsive web design, it saw a 6 to 8 percent increase in mobile bookings.

Tip #2: Mobile Web: Simplicity Pays Off

According to a ForeSee report on mobile user satisfaction, Southwest Airlines leads the travel industry pack at 82 points out of 100 possible. Its nearest airline competitor lagged at 77, and even the highest-rated hotel chains, Choice and Marriott, came in behind at 80 and 79, respectively. The airline’s simple no-frills and no-surprise approach translated into a simple mobile experience that users appreciate.

Expedia’s new app for tablets offers a streamlined user experience, allowing combined flight and hotel searches. They’ve also incorporated Scratchpad so customers can save an itinerary they’ve started putting together, allowing them to return to it later using their tablet or any other Web-capable device.

Another travel brand banking on simplicity, AirBnB simplified its mobile user experience by turning to larger, cleaner images, hoping to entice users to move from browsing to booking.

Tip #3: Make the Customer’s Life Easier

Customers can get irritated by having to laboriously enter information into a mobile app. Sam’s Club’s app is designed to help by snapping a picture of the customer’s credit card and auto-populating the information. Next time, the information is already there.

An eConsultancy report on the perfect mobile travel experience notes that customers need help to feel comfortable pulling the trigger on travel purchases because such purchases tend to have high costs. Sam’s Club customer support helps around-the-clock with any problems or questions, offering the retailer a significant edge.

Travelocity rebuilt its iPhone app to take advantage of iOS 7’s gesture-based features and the ability to capture credit card information using the iPhone camera, similar to the Sam’s Club app, as well as simplifying the user experience in other ways.

Priceline’s app takes advantage of tablet and phone touch-screen feature, letting users define a search area by drawing a circle on an interactive map with their finger.

JetBlue is integrating boarding passes into Apple’s Passbook, and will soon use mobile boarding passes on Android too. They’re certainly not the only ones. Passbook is a hot trend for airlines!

Making your customer’s life easier isn’t limited to the things your own business offers. Hyatt’s app, for example, provides easy access to Uber and car rentals, including estimated price for a trip, confirmation codes, phone numbers, reservation dates and times, etc.

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Tip #4: Provide Valuable Exclusive Offers

Getting consumers to download an app to their phone is hard enough. Getting them to keep using it for the long haul is much harder. If you want users to stick with your app, give them app-exclusive offers, options, or services to make it worth their while. Travelocity, Groupon, and Expedia all said in recent articles that they offer such exclusive offers to their app users.

Tip #5: Geo-targeting – Give to Get

In my recent post, 2 Less-Obvious Ways to Leverage Beacons, the Next Marketing Tsunami, I explored the explosive growth of beacons. Mobile Marketer talked with several marketers, including Rob Murphy, vice president of marketing at Swirl, Boston. This conversation makes it clear that, although consumers hesitate to share information, if brands offer enough value, consumers will give their info to get the offer. As Murphy says, “Seventy-seven percent of consumers said that they would be willing to share their smartphone location information, as long as they receive enough value in return.” Clearly, if you want to overcome consumer hesitation, you have to figure out what offer will seal the deal.

Expedia’s app also uses time and location information to zoom in on the part of the trip that the customer is likely most interested in, the next leg. This includes airport maps, airline locator code, flight status, etc., offered right when needed.

Takeaway

As these Travel and Hospitality industry leaders demonstrate, your website has to be responsive so that a mobile user’s experience isn’t a watered-down version of your PC-optimized site but a full version that’s visually optimized for smaller screens and input-optimized for finger and gesture control.

Your app can’t be a “me-too” version of your website either. If you want your customers to download it and keep using it, it has to offer sufficient value. This can be offers or services available only through the app, an especially simple and smooth user experience, timely personalized offers and services informed by the customer’s name and location, and/or a convenient-to-use interface that takes into account the limitations of smaller screens. Above all, your app has to take advantage of mobile-specific capabilities, such as GPS location, Passbook, credit card imaging, finger and gesture control, geolocation mashup with TripAdvisor and Uber, etc.

Are you already implementing any of these 5 tips? If you are, what results have you seen?

Original article found here

Posted in Mobile Advertising, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Site, Smartphones | Leave a comment

Six useful mobile marketing case studies

Econsultancy is one of the more valuable blogs out there who help show you how your business can incorporate mobile marketing into your business development strategy. Below are 6 great case studies.

Case studies are always hugely popular on the Econsultancy blog because they act as a valuable source of inspiration for marketers.

In this post I’ll roundup six interesting mobile case studies, some of which perhaps lean more towards being about multichannel marketing.

These have mostly been borrowed from the Econsultancy Case Studies Database, which is packed full of useful examples from a range of brand and industries.

Mobile search marketing

US firm Legal Brand Marketing managed to increase click-through rates by 89%, while halving its cost per lead, after switching to a mobile-only lead generation strategy.

The company delivers qualified leads to law firms and DUI attorneys, but found that the search landscape had changed, particularly following Google’s shift towards giving localised results more weight.

In response, LBM developed a new marketing strategy that could deliver a low enough cost per lead, while still returning a profit.

A core secondary objective was to devise an approach which would reach potential leads on the platform they use most. Additionally, LBM was keen to obtain more insight into the success of its phone service.

LBM looked to Webtrends to provide the research, data and strategic insight needed for the development of its new marketing strategy.

After comparing the cost per conversion on desktop and mobile, LBM discovered that targeting people on a mobile platform was 35% more cost effective than its current desktop marketing strategy.

In response LBM created a new strategy including a mobile optimized landing page, a mobile-friendly form and a second opportunity for the visitor to click and call the company’s 24-hour phone service.

Additionally, it placed phone extensions in LBM’s ads and used Google call forwarding to track call time and length.

Results

LBM’s new mobile marketing strategy resulted in an 89% increase in click-through rates and cut the cost per lead by more than 50%.

KLM

Airline KLM had two objectives for its first mobile-only campaign:

  • It wanted to convince customers that mobile booking is simple, fast and reliable. To do this, KLM needed to change attitudes and build trust in booking flight tickets via its mobile site or the KLM app.
  • It needed the initiative to be a test bed for new mobile marketing techniques such as its mobile passbook, location-based notification and the retargeting of visitors across mobile.

During a campaign period of three weeks, KLM offered an incentive of free lounge access to anyone who used its mobile booking engine.

Customers received their lounge access in the form of a mobile coupon within their passbook for Apple users and in their Google wallet for Android users.

These apps then sent a location-based push notification when the customer was in the vicinity of the lounge, so they were reminded to use the coupon.

KLM created a responsive campaign page, which displayed a ticker for how many vouchers had been claimed.

Results

As a result of the campaign, which initially targeted the UK, Netherlands and Germany, KLM saw a 17% increase in visits to its mobile site, which generated 34% more bookings and 38% more mobile revenue.

In terms of traffic drivers for the campaign, its communication channels could be broken down as follows:

  • 46.6% mobile banners.
  • 35.4% social media.
  • 13.1% search engine advertising (SEA).
  • 2.3% newsletters.
  • 2.8% other.

Topshop mobile personalisation

After redesigning its mobile site, which involved a significant change to the navigational structure, Topshop ran a series of tests to optimise the user journey.

Topshop changed its homepage and, using real-time feedback from Qubit’s Visitor Opinion tool, highlighted a number of areas for improvement.

The retailer wanted a way of testing whether several small changes to its product page would have any positive effects and wanted to test these changes before allocating extensive IT resource to it.

A navigational pointer was shown to new mobile users on their first visit, showing for five seconds as they entered the site.

The pointer highlighted where the new menu was, helping visitors navigate to other pages.

Using this data alongside the qualitative feedback, Topshop designed four different search variations, testing both changes in copy and the addition of a border to the search box. The test was split evenly across all users.

Optimisation of the search tool is important as quantitative data found that people using Topshop search typically convert 10 times higher than those who don’t.

The retailer also tested changes to the size selector, the ‘details’ and ‘delivery’ tabs, the ‘added to bag’ confirmation pop-up, and buttons such as the ‘size guide’, the ‘add to bag’, and the ‘check stores’.

Results

The new mobile layer resulted in a 4% increase in products added to baskets, while the search bar generated a 5.8% increase in conversions.

The product page changes generated between 9%-11% increase in conversions.

Asda

British supermarket chain Asda is the UK’s second largest chain by market share, and has more than 500 UK stores.

The retailer’s objective was to meet the growing use of mobile by building an app that made shopping quicker and more convenient for its customers.

More specifically, it wanted to achieve:

  • 10% of grocery online shopping orders through the app.
  • Industry leading usability and functionality.
  • Increased convenience for Asda mums (busiest and most savvy shoppers).

These aligned with Asda’s long-term objective of creating ‘stores without walls’.

Customer feedback showed that customers wanted an app that was simple and easy to use, so the resulting design included a recipe finder, barcode scanner, and a store locator.

The approach was to let customer experience drive the technology, rather than vice versa, and new features have included live petrol prices and merchandised banners.

Results

The app exceeded its objectives:

  • Mobile now accounts for 18% of all grocery home shopping sales – 90% of this from the app.
  • Asda app shoppers are twice as likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
  • Shopping frequency for mobile is 1.8 times higher than desktop.
  • More than 2m downloads.
  • The Asda app won a ‘2013 Mumsnet Best award’, getting a 5-star reviewer rating.
  • The app was Google’s ‘staff pick’ over the Christmas period.

Argos

As part of a wider programme to reinvent Argos as a digital leader, the retailer wanted to deliver a truly multichannel experience, encompassing a website, mobile-optimised site, iPhone app, iPad app, and Android phone and tablet apps.

Across the various channels, the aims were:

  • Mobile proposition – to offer convenience and immediacy to new customers, providing competitive advantage in attracting customers on the move.
  • Stores – refurbishment programme would be designed for the multichannel customer.
  • iPad app – reposition Argos from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-led business.

A three-year investment programme founded on customer research and clear corporate objectives was embedded business-wide.

The multichannel journey capabilities mean that customers can now have 14 combinations of order and fulfilment to suit their needs; they can easily start their journey in one place and pick it up in another.

The new iPad magazine showcases the retailer’s range and inspires new customers.

Results

ROI expectations have been exceeded, achieving ongoing returns:

  • Multichannel sales penetration increased to over 50% of total sales, with Argos.co.uk receiving 440m visitors per year.
  • The internet accounted for 42% of total company sales and ‘Check and Reserve’ was Argos’ fastest growing channel.
  • The iPhone app has been downloaded over 2.5m times, the Android app over 625,000 times and the iPad app over 450,000 times.
  • The iPad app has already exceeded sales targets, achieving more than double the target set at launch and contributing to the 12% of total company sales now accounted for through mobile channels.
  • Search channels continue to grow with SEO achieving non-brand growth of 32%.
  • PPC has grown revenue over 60%.
  • Email visits have grown by 49%.
  • Performance marketing campaigns have supported visit growth of 15%.

Very.co.uk

We’ve written a lot about Very.co.uk recently, including a review of its new iPhone app.

In this case study the retailer worked with Somo to create an integrated, multichannel campaign that aimed to boost sales in the run up to Christmas 2014.

The campaign used:

  • Twitter synced TV advertising.
  • Geo and time-located SMS.
  • Shazam TV/music recognition.
  • Mobile video.

The campaign led to a 45% increase in mobile sales year-on-year and ROI of more than 15:1.

Original article found here

Posted in Mobile Advertising, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Search, Mobile Site, Multi-Screen, Smartphones, Technology | Leave a comment

7-Eleven stirs up beverage purchases with new in-app loyalty platform

Here Mobile Commerce Daily show you how 7-Eleven incorporate a new in-app loyalty program.

7-Eleven is driving purchases of its beverages while simultaneously rewarding customers for their loyalty by rolling out the 7Rewards platform within its mobile application, proving that food and beverage marketers must have a specific loyalty strategy to retain existing consumers.

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The 7Rewards program will enable guests to receive a free beverage for each six cups they purchase, a move that will reward frequent coffee purchasers and likely entice new consumers to become regular customers. The platform will also help drive downloads of the brand’s mobile app, as consumers must be registered users to participate in 7Rewards.

“We know our customers are always looking for choices, and 7Rewards offers more beverage variety than any other rewards program,” said Laura Gordon, vice president of brand innovation and marketing at 7-Eleven, Dallas, TX. “We are hopeful that the convenience and speed at which you can earn a free cup will be exciting for our customers and also attract new guests to our stores.

“We are already seeing positive conversation about this program on social media, and excitement is growing among our customers. People are very happy about the ‘buy 6 get 7′ program, especially Slurpee fans.”

Updated rewards

7-Eleven designed to the program to update its previous system of offering guests rewards cards, with “punches” each time a beverage was purchased. Now, cashiers will simply scan a barcode in the app for a “punch” to appear.

It will be visible to users a star within the 7-Eleven app, six of which are needed to trigger a notification saying “You earned a free cup.” The process will restart after the customer redeems his or her free beverage.

7-Eleven revamped its app in anticipation of the launch of 7Rewards, moving users’ scannable barcades and virtual punch cards to the app home screen for a streamlined, user-friendly interface.

The updated 7-Eleven app easily displays rewards collected

The 7Rewards program enables customers to mix-and-match their drinks. Users can purchase a coffee, Slurpee and Big Gulp all in the same week and have each purchase count.

Customers can also buy six drinks at the same time and receive all six stars. Refills, as well as any size beverage, also count for 7Rewards.

The free beverage may be any size.

“Our customers tell us that 7-Eleven is recognized as a beverage destination, and we have a variety of products (7-Eleven coffee,  Slurpee, Big Gulp and Chillers drinks) that have appeal for any occasion,” Ms. Gordon said. “We designed 7Rewards to provide that convenience.

“Any cup counts to earn your 6 punches and an cup (product/size) can be redeemed for the 7th.  Your way is a signal that any size works as well,” she said.

“We recognize that consumers want different drinks at different times of the day and year, and our platform combined with the convenience of a mobile app serves those needs.”

Social component


7-Eleven is ensuring that it highlights the social component of the loyalty program by placing links to Twitter and Facebook on the home screen of the mobile app. This way, consumers will be able to tell their friends about the rewards they have accumulated.

The brand is also encouraging fans to follow the conversation on Twitter via the #7Rewards hashtag.

Users that would like to participate in 7Rewards may join by downloading the 7-Eleven app from Google Play or the iTunes App Store. They may also text “REWARDS” to 711711, which will send them a link for easy download.

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Consumers can redeem their free drink for the largest size, if desired

As 7-Eleven sees more than 60 percent of its guests buy a beverage with each in-store purchase, 7Rewards is a viable, specific platform that is likely to resonate positively with many of its customers. The brand’s strategy of focusing heavily on its beverages is also a strong tactic.

Its mobile app allows users to leverage the Slurpee Finder to locate their favorite flavors at a nearby bricks-and-mortar location.

While Starbucks may remain the leader of the mobile sector of food and beverage marketers, 7-Eleven’s free drink strategy may help it retain a stronghold in the space. The brand has also been experimenting with beacon technology in Singapore to track runners as they pass by a 7-Eleven location and offer rewards to drive in-store visits (see story).

“Being convenient today means having intuitive and easily accessible mobile platforms and experiences for our customers,” Ms. Gordon said. “The 7-Eleven customer is on the go and mobile by nature, and we are developing products, services and platforms to enable easier interaction and engagement with our brand in-store and online.”

Final Take

Posted in App Design, App Development, Loyalty | Leave a comment

5 Mobile Marketing Mistakes – and How to Fix Them [Infographic]

According to a report from Mobile Media Consumption, consumers today spend nearly 60% of their time on the Internet on their mobile devices, as compared to their desktop or laptop computer, tablet and other devices. These findings support what we as modern marketers already know: Mobile marketing is more important today than ever before.

Unfortunately, many marketers approach mobile marketing as an afterthought, and make costly mistakes that not only add up to lost clicks — but lost customers.

To help, here are the top five most egregious mobile marketing mistakes — and how they can be fixed.

Mistake #1: Not investing in an app or a mobile-optimized site.

Yes, you need a mobile site designed for mobile! Consumers today don’t have patience for poorly functioning mobile sites.

Fortunately, these upgrades pay off: Mobile-optimized redesign results in a nearly 15% increase in unique clicks for mobile users, according to Litmus and MailChimp “The Science of Email Clicks: The Impact of Responsive Design & Inbox Testing.” Not to mention, once customers are on your mobile site, they’re much less likely to look for greener pastures. According to comScore, 46% of shoppers say they are less likely to shop around for other options when they’re using a company’s mobile app.

Mistake #2: Not optimizing for tablet, too.

Don’t forget — there’s more than one kind of mobile device out there. In fact, Gartner projects ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market beyond 2014, with a growth rate of 54 percent. Make sure your mobile site looks as good on tablets of all sizes as it does on the traditional smart phone screen.

Mistake #3: Creating a CTA button that doesn’t grab a user’s attention.

Mobile users who find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop. In fact, 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. But to make this magic happen, users need a clear, easy to find and easy to use call to action button.

Mobile users are on the go, often in a hurry and highly mission oriented. When they grab a smartphone to search, they have a specific intention — whether it’s food, a service appointment or a coupon.

Make it incredibly easy to meet their needs: Create a call to action button that won’t be ignored. Change the color to an attention-grabbing hue, or add some minor animation.

You should also take this opportunity to customize your CTO button. The most popular buttons are “Register” and “Submit,” but the text can also communicate your value proposition. Add specific language that motivates visitors to take action, like “Join the community” or “Click here to save 20%.”

Finally, put some thought to placement. Position your signup form at the top of your landing page, alongside some other engaging content. This strategy will deliver maximum views to your form without requiring page visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

Mistake #4: Not investing in social autofill.

Many consumers struggle to remember the slew of logins and passwords required to function in 2015. Social autofill and has a lot of potential to improve the consumer experience. Not only does it reduce your customers’ time on site —it’s a sanity saver, too. According to consumer research firm Janrain, 64% of users who frequently leave sites due to forgotten login information say social login is an option companies should offer.

Mistake #5: Putting too much content on your mobile site.

According to SuperMonitoring, 57% of users say they will not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. And the quantity of content on your mobile site — and how you display that content — is a big part of the design equation. The amount of space available for website content on a mobile device is often significantly smaller than the space available on a desktop browser. The screens are smaller, it’s harder to scroll, and impossible on many devices to scroll horizontally. With this in mind, make sure your most important content displays in the top few pixels of the page, and reduce your viewers’ need to scroll whenever possible.

The good news is – we can all learn from these mistakes. Fixing even one of these mobile marketing missteps can better position your campaign for more clicks, and more conversions in the future.
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Original article found here

Posted in Mobile Marketing, Mobile Search, Strategic Marketing, Technology | Leave a comment