The much-rumoured Facebook phone has finally arrived. Officially named Facebook Home, it is a family of apps that put your social network activities front and centre. Download it for free in the Google Play Store.
Based on the number of times she repeats the phrase in her new book Content Strategy for Mobile, it’s clear that Karen McGrane wants you to remember the
following: “If people want to do something on the internet, they will want to do it using their mobile device.” While that might sound obvious, the implications of this statement take up a significant portion of McGrane’s 165-page book. That’s because until recently, mobile meant on the move. In this context, it was thought that users required only short bits of quick hit content. A restaurant’s phone number. The operating hours of a store.
No one believed that people would ever want to read considerable amounts of text on a smartphone, which is how separate mobile sites with truncated content (also known as forking) came to be. But forking is a very bad idea according to McGrane, as it requires separate content updates across multiple sites. It’s also impossible to track the type of content users want from your mobile site unless you provide them with access to all of it in the first place.
Thankfully there is a solution — adaptive content. The key elements of adaptive content include:
The first three aspects might sound familiar, but creating content that is structured to be independent of visual presentation often represents a significant shift in workflow and approach. As McGrane explains, the WYSWIG editor creates content that can only be viewed properly on a desktop computer. Instead of chunking content into various elements such as headline, subhead, short summary, long summary, image, caption, etc., WYSWIG tends to generate a blob of content. If nailing jelly to the wall is difficult, try separating a jar of jelly into discrete sections.
Metadata (information about information) is a big part of creating presentation-independent content. (A good example of metadata is “Granny Smith is a type of apple.”) McGrane quotes Jason Scott, an archivist who once quipped that “metadata is a love note to the future.” Good content accrues value over time, but only if it can be retrieved and rearranged into user-appropriate formats.
McGrane’s plea to eliminate the blob is underscored by Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s new book Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content. The overlap between the two books is significant: both discuss the publishing API created by NPR and Wachter-Boettcher includes a two page Q&A with McGrane.
Wachter-Boettcher provides an even more comprehensive look at structured content, including a fascinating (really!) look at content modeling, using the Epicurious website and app as an example. In short, good content not only provides meaning to users, but determines the priority of different content elements on a given page and the relationships between them.
Wachter-Boettcher offers a clear explanation of semantic markup and reinforces the importance of change management in implementing any type of content strategy. She also uses the nifty word “interdigitating” to explain how to best combine different content modules on a small screen in order to “keep the narrative, persuasive, or informational structure of the content intact.”
After reading either of these books, many companies will be frustrated to discover that leveraging their existing content might not be as easy as they had hoped. Some of the solutions offered, such as creating a private API for content, are impractical from both a cost and business perspective. But the basic principles of adaptive content are easy to implement (better metadata, better structuring), provided you can find someone to tame the unfriendly nature of most Content Management Systems. If you love your content, making it adaptive will be the beginning of a long, beautiful relationship.
NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile payment technology has been around for quite some time now, yet without the support of major financial institutions it has failed to go mainstream. All of this could change in the next few months, however, with Visa recently approving BlackBerry’s (formerly known as RIM) new Secure Element Manager solution for NFC mobile payments. Visa’s approval of the technology, which stores a user’s security credentials on their SIM card, will allow carriers to work with Visa-issuing banks around the world to standardize and manage mobile payments. Until this happens, there are still several options available to people looking to mobilize their preferred method of payment.
Pay on the go
For those of us without NFC-capable devices, there are still several ways to make and receive mobile payments. Square is the most popular, with its Mobile Card Reader enabling anyone with an iOS or Android device to accept credit card payments. From farmers’ markets to pop-up restaurants, merchants of all sizes can offer their customers the convenience of paying by credit card without the excessive fees. Users can also link their debit and credit cards to Square Wallet and use their name to pay at participating retailers.
Another option is Level Up, a new app that lets users pay with their phone. The app generates a unique code when a credit or debit card is linked to a user’s account. Participating retailers can scan the code, which will automatically facilitate the transaction using the linked card and email the user a digital receipt. Discount credits and coupon incentives can also be added to the user’s account.
Cash is king
New developments in mobile payment technologies aren’t just limited to the world of plastic. Start-ups such as PayNearMe allow people to make online purchases offline. When selected as a payment method, users will receive a PayNearMe Card that they can bring to a local 7-Eleven and pay their balance in cash. For people without credit cards, services such as this enable them to enjoy the benefits of shopping online while ensuring they can continue to use their preferred method of payment.
Credit and debit cards aren’t the only things in our wallet getting a digital makeover. Apps like Gyft allow people to store, receive and send gift cards from their smartphones. Further wallet space saving can be achieved with coupon management apps like ShopWise or Checkout51. For those looking to truly shrink their wallets, new digital currencies such as BitCoin could replace piles of loose change and crinkled bills.
Will you be trading in your wallet for a digital version?
EMarketer estimates that nearly 76 percent of the U.S. population, or 239 million people, are online. It’s no question that online has reached mass media status, and more importantly, that consumers are not only used to, but are adept at multi-tasking across various media depending on their need and location. The adoption and growth of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have created an addiction for immediate gratification – let no trivia question go unanswered and let every price point be compared.
According to Google’s “Our Mobile Planet: United States” study done earlier this year, one in three people would rather give up their television than their smartphone. Also, when asked what other media they were simultaneously using, 52 percent indicated they were using mobile Internet while watching television. This consumer adoption across digital platforms has led to a collective acceptance that we’re beyond the necessity to “sell” digital elements in a communications plan or “fight” for budget, but rather are in a world in which they should be a cornerstone in any communications plan.
However, regardless of the growing usage by consumers and increase in overall share of media spend from brands, there’s still a lack of integrated innovation for leveraging open-platform consumer experiences. The time of looking at “screens” or “engagement” exclusively on one medium has come and gone. Today, we must focus on the customer interaction from A to Z and how we can bring them more value beyond the device. We must push forward to explore the customer relationship and ensure there’s an optimal experience across multiple touch points. After all, if consumers are digesting media across multiple platforms so readily, marketers need to acknowledge this and address key issues that have the potential to create dissatisfaction and disruption on the consumer end. Below are a few thought-starters as easy ways that digital can influence and enhance the customer experience across multiple platforms.
There’s no question that digital is an essential part of the customer experience, and who knows – maybe we’re just scratching the surface. As marketers, researchers, and consumers, we have to open our eyes beyond what we hear and see now, and think about what opportunities lay ahead. Digital is shifting the paradigm from not just being an exclusive experience, but becoming part of every experience.
This article was originally published on ClickZ on November 26th.
In June 2011, BBVA launched its first mobile banking application for the iPhone. Nurun took part in the project by launching a website designed as a user assistance portal, publishing related content and centralizing the BBVA mobile banking services.
Since then, more than a year has passed and the world of mobile banking propelled by BBVA has continued to evolve along with the website itself. The application has been updated and adapted to the interests both of the smartphone user and of mobile banking. During this time, the market has witnessed the launch of native applications for Android, iPad, BlackBerrry and WindowsPhone.
Likewise, the website experienced a parallel evolution. New pages have been added to each of the native applications. The site has been a constant reference point for communications, PR, SEO and web traffic campaigns, and in the process has achieved top rankings in searches for terms such as “mobile banking.”
In many cases, the microsites that usually accompany this type of launch, campaign, or marketing action, are destined for oblivion once the original campaign has run its course. They are neither reused nor brought up to date, and in some cases, rather than renewing the domain, are left to expire along with all the results generated by the microsite: back links, web mentions, organic traffic, offline references, etc. Visibility which, left unattended, is all to no avail.
For this reason, we must not forget that every domain, however limited its function, should always be part of our online strategy, whether that means keeping it up to date or redirecting its content towards new domains included in the client’s online strategy.
Speaking of mobile phones, why do we not adapt our communication channels to better suit the needs of our target user? If we already know that their mobile phone runs the Android operating system, why don’t we provide them with a specific version of the website tailored to their requirements?
Another of the developments included in the bbvamovil.es site is the creation of a specific landing page for every mobile version. This makes it possible for us to adapt to the users’ preferred channel and it helps them overcome the obstacles that stand between them and the information they require. This type of action will be more beneficial to us than we imagined. Segment your market and sell.