Omega Mobile: Mobile Experience Design Blog
We’re Passionate about Mobile User Interfaces, Experiences, Interactivity, and more!

Archive for January, 2011

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A recent article in Mobile Marketing Watch discussed survey by Knowledge Networks, a research firm, revealing that 86% of iPad users would watch ads for free TV programming or quality magazine content. When I discuss mobile magazines with mobile or advertising industry professionals, they generally aren’t impressed with digital magazine experiences. That made me think about how mobile design could improve the advertising experience innovating iPad magazine ads and content.

Mobile Design for Magazines & Mobile Ads

How many times have you seen a magazine on an iPad and felt the publisher did little more than produce a slideshow with simple navigation? In many cases the mobile ads, as well as the publication’s content, looks like PDF copies of the print version. I think publishers are on the right track in modeling layout of a digital magazine based on its print counterpart. But improvement is needed.

Blend Magazine Layout Design with Website Functionality

The mobile user interface design of an iPad could take a lot of inspiration from layout but the familiarity should stop there. Once you get to the actual features or experience, I recommend looking at what’s working best in your website instead of your print publications. How about taking the best interactive features of your site and making it easier to use? Improve the mobile user experience. Create a friendlier user interface ensuring the magazine is easy to consume.

Including social media features would also improve user experience. Let viewers share articles, excerpts and photos on social networks. Create engagement and conversation with user comments.

Mobile Advertising in Digital Magazines

One of the reasons for low click-through rates online is due to dull advertising. What about taking best of breed online ads like integrating homescreen takeovers and trying them in digital magazines? What if publishers and advertisers produced better interactive ad units using IAB standards? How about serving intelligent ads based on former ads the user has engaged with in your publication?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal’s iPad app introduced an inline video on the front page and sprinkled elsewhere throughout the publication. CNN now has a gorgeous, very attractive layout with scrolling horizontal article teasers (photos and text) and vertical rich mobile ad design columns on the home page. It’s like a kaleidoscope of international, national, entertainment, technical and other news that keeps readers’ eyes glued to each page. Mobile ads are designed carefully blended with news content.

Experiment with Virtual Currency and Mobile Advertising

Creative advertisers and brands could even experiment with virtual currencies to reward readers for watching ads and sharing information. They could give points for “unlocking” and viewing ads, for example, while varying the number of earned points. By employing game mechanics you create deeper engagement that encourages readers to earn more points for additional magazine content.

As a result, advertiser and publisher creativity would improve, exposing readers to superior innovative media.

A recent Mobile Marketer article about MGM Resorts describes how using a well-designed mobile marketing app immediately when launching customer loyalty programs boosts overall results. The app contains a daily sweepstakes, loyalty, concierge directory, games, maps, and even virtual tours.

MGM Mobile Branded App

The first thing I like about the program is how the mobile marketing app was launched in conjunction with the loyalty program. Many marketers, advertisers and brands, when launching a new customer loyalty program, stick to the tried-and-true, leaving a mobile app marketing strategy until later. Companies mail plastic cards and lavish four-color brochures, send emails and launch new web pages describing program benefits.

By providing a branded app along with the launch of a loyalty program, you give interested people an immediate way to take action and get excited. Mobile branded apps, in fact, are one of the most effective ways to stay in touch with customers and encourage interaction with your brand on a regular basis.

Brand Loyalty Improves with Mobile Marketing App Exposure

As MGM discovered, smart phone owners engaged in the MGM brand on a daily basis are drawn to the app through interactive sweepstakes and contests. Apps entice users to seek more information and become familiar with your company. This immediate familiarity makes people feel more comfortable with a brand, and also trains them on how to use the app. It’s also a great fit with the gaming aspect of MGM’s business.

MGM management observed, as smartphones apps have grown, that combining an iPhone and Android app for marketing, coordinated with promotions (sweepstakes, dining, entertainment and events) improves campaign results. That boosted customer loyalty as users segmented themselves by revealing desired services when using the app.

Hospitality, entertainment and other verticals aren’t unique. When mobile marketing app consumers engage on a regular basis with your mobile-branded app, your products, services and image become imprinted in consumers’ minds. This is critical as brands compete for mind share in mobile space.

Mobile Segmentation Boost

It’s interesting to think how mobile users segment themselves as they use mobile apps daily. By choosing specific offers—gaming, lodging, shows or entertainment–mobile app users disclose their interests when interacting with the brand, improving target marketing.

This also offers a competitive advantage to any brand or marketer to “tweak” the app for maximum ROI by engaging audiences in innovative ways.

Building Customer Loyalty through Mobile Apps

In a previous article about MGM and mobile marketing apps, I discussed how brands can use mobile apps to draw people to their resort destinations. It’s good to see brands like MGM continue innovating across the mobile channel. Customers appreciate the additional content and engagement shown by brands using multi-channel approaches.

Customer Loyalty and Retention

Building customer loyalty, retention and company branding is challenging. As more brands and advertisers, like MGM Resorts, leverage the marketing power of mobile apps, consistent messaging in the marketing mix improves campaign results.