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Top 10 ways your brand’s app can thrive in the iOS app ecosystem

(Tech News) With mobile app use on the rise, is your brand jumping in? Here are 10 ways to make sure your iOS app thrives.

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Your app and Apple’s App Store: Top 10 dos and don’ts

No matter the size of your brand, you may be considering creating or relaunching an app for Apple’s operating system to meet your consumers where they are. You know technology is important, and that app use continues to rise, in fact, Audiobooks CEO Sanjay Singhal points out that as of 2014, 86 percent of time spent on a smartphone is devoted to app use as mobile web browsing continues to fall.

Singhal notes, “Looking to cash in on the historically high popularity of apps, many companies are developing and launching apps with the hope of gaining valuable real estate on their customers’ screens and driving revenue.”

But there’s a catch – there are over a million apps already in Apple’s App Store, with over 75 million downloads, and Singhal opines that the competition for consumer mind share is fierce.

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Singhal offers the following tips to best position your app for success, in his own words:

1. DO make sure users can find your app.

Your app can’t make a splash if users don’t know about it, so create a keyword strategy that lets users easily find your app in the App Store or via search engines. Craft a compelling description of your app, highlighting the value it delivers to users so they’ll wonder how they ever lived without it.

2. DO link directly to your app in your Google AdWords campaign.

Google AdWords are a great way to reach millions of potential users, but it’s important to make sure you take full advantage of available site links. Add a link that takes users directly to your app download page. Make it as easy as possible for people to access your app.

3. DO use enticing screen shots.

Keep in mind that your app download page has to sell your app to potential users. It’s a marketing document, so you’ll need to position your app as fun and relevant to the user’s everyday life. Compelling screen shots that highlight the value your app delivers are essential to completing the sale.

4. DO update your app regularly and minimize permissions.

Keep your app fresh with regular updates, which drive additional downloads. The App Store doesn’t like stale apps, and updates indicate continuous improvement. Updates also offer an opportunity for users who had previously rated your app lower to leave a new higher rating and better review. Also make sure you require the bare minimum of permissions for the app. Asking users to share their personal data can scare them off and reduce downloads.

5. DO promote your app outside the App Store.

Some users will find your app via ad campaigns and searches, but you can expand your pool of potential downloaders with a robust promotion campaign. Place your app in directories. Generate buzz via blogs and online news websites. Issue press releases. The more people hear about your app, the better its chances of success.

6. Do minimize clicks with a direct path to the App Store.

When promoting your app on blogs, on your site, at online news outlets, in press releases and via other digital pathways, make sure you always include a clear path to the App Store download page. It’s never a good idea to make potential users search for a download opportunity – they might find a competitor’s app first.

7. DON’T use pay-per-download and pay-per-review app promotion schemes.

The App Store favors apps that generate organic growth and frowns on those that use paid download and review techniques. It’s widely known that App Store rankings include factors other than the number of downloads, and developers who pursue a pay-per-install strategy may find that their app lags in rankings or is rejected outright.

8. DON’T rush a release.

In the run-up to a launch, issues inevitably crop up in the development cycle that may affect the deadline. It’s important to stay on track, but it’s even more crucial to get the app functionality just right before releasing it. If you need more time to tweak your app, take it. It’s easier to push back a deadline than to deal with disgruntled users.

9. DON’T make users jump through hoops to gain functionalities.

Some apps lock up functionalities until a user performs a specific action or gains access via incentives. Incentive-based downloads and functionalities were a popular idea a few years ago, but the strategy has waned for a simple reason: it doesn’t work.

10. DON’T ignore negative reviews from users.

If a user leaves a negative review for your app, look at it as an opportunity to improve. It’s important to stay connected to your user base and to continuously improve your app. Carefully evaluate critiques, and if they have some validity, make the necessary changes.

“Apps are a terrific way to gain customer mind share and extend your product reach to wherever users go with their mobile devices,” Singhal concludes, “But the app market is a highly competitive space. By following these tips, you can dramatically improve your chances of success.”

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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Tech News

Facebook deletes developer over ironic browser extension invention

(TECHNOLOGY) Think a muted week for a nipple shadow is bad? Facebook just permabanned this inventor for…helping others to use the platform less.

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African American hand holding iphone on Facebook's login page.

It must be true that corporations are people because Facebook is pulling some seriously petulant moves.

In a stunt that goes beyond 24hr bans for harmless hyperbole, and chopping away at organic reach (still bitter from my stint in social media management), Facebook straight up permanently banned one of their users for the high crime of…aiming to get people to use the platform a little less.

Developer Louis Barclay came up with Unfollow Everything, an extension that basically instantly deleted your feed without having you unfriend anyone or unlike anything. Rather than have users manually go through and opt out of seeing posts, they’d now opt IN to keeping who they wanted front and center.

In his own words on Slate: “I still remember the feeling of unfollowing everything for the first time. It was near-miraculous. I had lost nothing, since I could still see my favorite friends and groups by going to them directly. But I had gained a staggering amount of control. I was no longer tempted to scroll down an infinite feed of content. The time I spent on Facebook decreased dramatically. Overnight, my Facebook addiction became manageable.”

Since more time spent on Facebook means more ads that you’re exposed to, means more you spend, the add-on started slowly making headway. I myself pretend to be a ranch owner to keep ads as irrelevant to me as possible (though my new addiction to hoof trimming videos is all too real), and Unfollow Everything probably would have been a great find for me if it hadn’t been killed by a cease and desist.

Law firm Perkins Coie, representing the internet giant, let Barclay know in their notice that Unfollow Everything violated the site’s rules on automated collection of user content, and was muscling in on Facebook trademarked IP.

They also added, in what I can only assume was a grade-school narc voice, that the add-on was “encouraging others to break Facebook’s rules.”

Barclay, not having the resources to fight a company with the finances of a small country, promptly ceased and desisted. Practical.

Officially speaking, Facebook might have actually have some ground to stand on vis-à-vis its Terms Of Service. The letter and legal team may have been warranted, not that we’ll ever truly know, since who’s taking Facebook to court? But then they followed up with a ‘neener neener’ deletion of Barclay’s 15 year old account – which was still very much in use.

Look, Facebook is the only way I connect with some of my friends. I don’t take enough pictures to make full use of Instagram, I fully hate Twitter, my Tumblr is inundated with R-rated fanfiction, and any other social media platform I’m happy to admit I’m too haggish and calcified to learn to use. So a complete WIPE of everything there with no notice would be pretty devastating to me. I can only imagine how Barclay felt.

And in light of the fact that the browser extension wasn’t hurting anyone, taking money, or spewing hateful rhetoric, there’s really only one thing to say about Facebook’s actions…they’re petty.

Sure, they may have the legal right to do what they did. It’s just that when you notice every fifth post is an unvetted advertisement, their high ground starts to sink a little. I mean nothing says ‘We’re being totally responsible with user information’ like the number of add ons and user tactics popping up to avoid seeing the unnecessary. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Facebook put up a fight against losing ad traffic.

We all know all those stores with amazing deals aren’t actually going out of business, or even using their own photos right? Right?

Barclay added in his article, “Facebook’s behavior isn’t just anti-competitive; it’s anti-consumer. We are being locked into platforms by virtue of their undeniable usefulness, and then prevented from making legitimate choices over how we use them—not just through the squashing of tools like Unfollow Everything, but through the highly manipulative designs and features platforms adopt in the first place. The loser here is the user, and the cost is counted in billions of wasted hours spent on Facebook.”

Agreed, Mr. Barclay.

Now I’m off to refresh my feed. Again.

 

Graffiti wall with image of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with the saying "You've been Zucked."

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Tech News

Glowbom: Create a website, using just your voice

(TECH NEWS) Talk about futuristic! This app allows you to create quizzes, surveys, an online store, and even a website in minutes–without typing.

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Colleagues looking at Glowbom website homepage

In the past, we’ve discussed things like simplified coding and no-code app creation. Now, a San Francisco startup has taken the process a step further with no-type app creation.

Glowbom is a voice app that allows you to dictate steps to an AI – from adding information all the way to exporting code–in order to create a simple app, survey, or game. While the built-in options for now are limited to four simple categories, the power of the app itself is impressive: By asking the Glowbom AI to complete tasks, one is able to dictate an entire (if small) program.

It’s an impressive idea, and an even more impressive product. Glowbom founder and CEO Jacob Ilin showcases the power of Glowbom in a short demonstration video, and while he only uses it to create a simple survey, the entire process–up to and including the exportation of the API–is accomplished via voice commands.

Furthermore, Glowbom appears to process natural inputs–such as phrases like “Let’s get started”–in the context of an actual command rather than the colloquial disconnect one tends to expect in AI. This means that users won’t need to read a 700-page manual on phrases and buzzwords to use before jumping on board–something the Glowbom user base was probably hoping to avoid anyway.

As of now, the options one can use Glowbom to create include a quiz, a survey, an online store, and a website. It seems reasonable to expect that, as support for the app grows, those categories will expand to comprise a larger library.

Glowbom certainly opens a few doors for people looking to take their businesses or ideas from an offline medium into the digital marketplace. As coding becomes less centralized in computer language and more contingent on processes such as this, we can expect to see more products from folks who may have missed the coding boat.

Perhaps more importantly, Glowbom and products like it make coding more accessible to a wider base of disabled users, thus taking a notable step toward evening the playing field for a marginalized demographic. It’s not true equality, but it’s a start.

This story was first published here in October 2020.

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Tech News

4 ways startups prove their investment in upcoming technology trends

(TECH NEWS) Want to see into the future? Just take a look at what technology the tech field is exploring and investing in today — that’s the stuff that will make up the world of tomorrow.

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Woman testing VR technology

Big companies scout like for small ones that have proven ideas and prototypes, rather than take the initial risk on themselves. So startups have to stay ahead of technology by their very nature, in order to be stand-out candidates when selling their ideas to investors.

Innovation Leader, in partnership with KPMG LLP, recently conducted a study that sheds light onto the bleeding edge of tech: The technologies that the biggest companies are most interested in building right now.

The study asked its respondents to group 16 technologies into four categorical buckets, which Innovation Leader CEO Scott Kirsner refers to as “commitment level.”

The highest commitment level, “in-market or accelerating investment,” basically means that technology is already mainstream. For optimum tech-clairvoyance, keep your eyes on the technologies which land in the middle of the ranking.

“Investing or piloting” represents the second-highest commitment level – that means they have offerings that are approaching market-readiness.

The standout in this category is Advanced Analytics. That’s a pretty vague title, but it generally refers to the automated interpretation and prediction on data sets, and has overlap with Machine learning.

Wearables, on the other hand, are self explanatory. From smart watches to location trackers for children, these devices often pick up on input from the body, such heart rate.

The “Internet of Things” is finding new and improved ways to embed sensor and network capabilities into objects within the home, the workplace, and the world at large. (Hopefully that doesn’t mean anyone’s out there trying to reinvent Juicero, though.)

Collaboration tools and cloud computing also land on this list. That’s no shock, given the continuous pandemic.

The next tier is “learning and exploring”— that represents lower commitment, but a high level of curiosity. These technologies will take a longer time to become common, but only because they have an abundance of unexplored potential.

Blockchain was the highest ranked under this category. Not surprising, considering it’s the OG of making people go “wait, what?”

Augmented & virtual reality has been hyped up particularly hard recently and is in high demand (again, due to the pandemic forcing us to seek new ways to interact without human contact.)

And notably, AI & machine learning appears on rankings for both second and third commitment levels, indicating it’s possibly in transition between these categories.

The lowest level is “not exploring or investing,” which represents little to no interest.

Quantum computing is the standout selection for this category of technology. But there’s reason to believe that it, too, is just waiting for the right breakthroughs to happen.

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