Ahead of the weekend, the GSMA announced the first details of the 2018 Mobile World Congress, including exhibitors, sponsors, programs and activities taking place at the annual mobile industry event.

Under the theme “Creating a Better Future”, Mobile World Congress will be held 26 February – 1 March 2018 at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, with events also taking place at Fira Montjuïc.

According to the GSMA’s official word, event organizers expect that more than 108,000 professionals from across the mobile industry and adjacent industry sectors will attend Mobile World Congress 2018.

“With more than 5 billion unique subscribers, mobile now connects over two-thirds of the world’s population. It is fuelling innovation, revolutionizing industries and spurring exciting new opportunities, across both developed and developing markets,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer. “Mobile provides access to life-enhancing and, in some cases, life-changing services. Reinforcing our industry’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, mobile is providing lifelines to hope, reducing inequalities and preserving our world’s resources. We look forward to Mobile World Congress 2018 and showing how mobile is creating a better future – today.”

The post GSMA Announces First Details for MWC 2018 appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Mobile-MarketingIn case you missed it, here are some of the top stories in mobile marketing and advertising we’ve been following this week.

Gold, Silver Go to inMarket at the Best in Biz International Awards
MMW learned Wednesday that inMarket, a beacon proximity giant delivering contextual content to consumers in the retail and nightlife spaces, has claimed top honors at this year’s Best in Biz International Awards.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Overlook Emojis in Marketing
The following is a guest contributed post by Sophie Vu, CMO at Vibes Since becoming an official entry in the dictionary in 2013, emojis have skyrocketed in popularity.

Swrve Launches Premium Analytics to Help Drive Successful Mobile Marketing
MMW learned today that Swrve — a leader in mobile marketing engagement — has just announced the availability of its new Premium Analytics offering — an add-on to the existing Swrve Mobile Engagement Platform.

Falcon.io Says New Instagram Measurement Offering Can Enhance Content Strategy
MMW learned Tuesday that Falcon.io — a social media management and customer experience (CX) platform — now allows customers to grow their business and guide social engagement strategy through new Instagram Measurement reports.

Why Online Businesses Should Use Video to Nourish Leads
The following is a guest contributed post by Ronen Menipaz. Days of old fashioned TV-style “spray and pray” approach to advertising are long gone now and what the modern day advertisers need today is a complete overhaul of this philosophy which has become too…

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The post Mobile Marketing: Here’s What Happened This Week appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Cross Audience announced ahead of the weekend the launch of its mobile DSP (Demand Side Platform).

In addition to IAB standard ad formats, Cross Audience’s platform is equipped to serve engaging rich media, native and video formats (including pre-roll, MRAID and VPAID).

The announcement marks an important expansion for the company, which provides a full range of mobile marketing services aimed at driving measurable results for mid- and large-sized companies.

“The new mobile DSP will offer both self-service and full-service options to accommodate any size marketing budget,” a provided statement reads. “Full-service clients will be supported by Cross Audience’s client services team and will receive white glove service at every stage of their campaign, from asset creation through analytics and optimization. Self-service clients will have access to Cross Audience’s robust support site, with available support from the client services team.”

Companies who advertise via the mobile DSP at either service level will be able to leverage Cross Audience’s premium publisher relationships, as well as their troves of high-quality first- and third-party data.

“Our mobile DSP will give advertisers access to some of the most trusted names in digital publishing, as well as the premium audiences they’ve been struggling to reach through other partners – particularly if they don’t have a Fortune 500-sized budget,” says Jeffrey Kamikow, CEO of Cross Audience. “Whether they’re aiming to drive app downloads or sales, we’re offering scalable, data-driven, programmatic advertising that many mid-sized companies haven’t been able to take advantage of previously.”

The post Cross Audience Touts Launch of Mobile DSP appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

The following is a guest contributed post by Sophie Vu, CMO at Vibes

Since becoming an official entry in the dictionary in 2013, emojis have skyrocketed in popularity. We’ve seen the debut of Facebook’s emoji-inspired reactions, the rise of World Emoji Day on July 17, and the arrival of “The Emoji Movie,” now playing at a movie theater near you.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed in marketing circles. According to an Appboy survey, the number of active brand campaigns containing emojis has increased by 557 percent over the last two years. Why? It’s not just because they’re fun. Believe it or not, there is a strong business case for brands’ use of emojis.

The ubiquity of mobile wallets and mobile marketing has created a new frontier in communications for savvy brands, one that is showing an unprecedented level of growth. Here are reasons why emojis should factor into your marketing efforts:

  1. If you’re a brand that cares about marketing and consumer engagement, you’ll need to engage your consumers how they engage on mobile; and emojis are a huge part of that. Emoji-enabled content generates click-through rates 20x higher than the industry standard. In addition, campaigns that leverage emotional content perform twice as well as those with rational content.  That’s a decent place to start. Emojis allow you to connect across a global sphere by using a new sort of “language” that resonates with consumers who live in any part of the world. Emojis are also a valuable source of data that help brands better understand how their consumers feel about their content.
  2. You’re behind if you’re not already using emojis in brand marketing and messaging. According to Signal, brands have increased their usage of emojis by 777 percent since January 2015, and the inclusion of emojis in marketing messages has grown by 20 percent month-over-month since the start of 2016. There are no other marketing metrics that have seen this kind of growth year over year in the past five years.
  3. There is ROI to be had from SMS and mobile’s use of emojis in marketing tactics — it just doesn’t exist yet. Two years ago, brands were trying to justify the need for utilizing emojis in email marketing and other mobile marketing techniques. There isn’t a ton of data on SMS practices and emoji usage right now, but this is something we’re hoping to bridge and requires consistent brand engagement and smart tracking in order to showcase beneficial results. The more that brands engage in this practice, the more data the industry will have and share about best practices, bridging a huge gap in mobile marketing metrics.
  4. Emojis are not just for brands like Taco Bell, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Burger King — they’re becoming big business for celebrities and influential figures who want to allow consumers to feel more connected to their brand. Take Kim Kardashian West’s “Kimoji.” She once made over $1 million in sales per minute for the “Kimoji” app in one day. This isn’t just because her fans love her, but it’s also because she’s tapping into a huge space where the majority of her consumers live — mobile.
  5. Emojis allow real-time, visual and emotional connections between your brand and your consumers, allowing you to receive instant feedback on how consumers feel about your content. Facebook has bridged a big gap here by extending reactions outside of the “Like” button to also include love, sad, angry, angry, etc.  When users react to your content with emojis, it gives you instant feedback into how well that message is performing and what your consumers want to continue seeing and hearing from you. Take advantage of that engagement and adjust your content moving forward based on performance.

Emojis aren’t a silver bullet. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to use emojis in a way that aligns with your brand. Consumers can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, so overusing emojis or using them because everyone else is can backfire on your brand. The surefire way to succeed is to make sure you know your audience and use emojis to enable personalized conversations.

Sophie Vu leads worldwide marketing for Vibes, a mobile marketing company that empowers brands to engage personally with today’s hyper-connected consumers at scale. Follow her on Twitter @SophieVu415 and Vibes @Vibes.

The post 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Overlook Emojis in Marketing appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Last year, we introduced MMW readers to Neil Lassen, who was appropriately billed by us as one of the most interesting — and brilliant — entrepreneurs we’ve ever featured.

As you may recall, Neil went from pushing carts at Target to pulling down six-figures a year through his entrepreneurial efforts (covered by CNBC).

How did he do it? In late 2015, Amazon launched a new platform for designers to create and publish high-quality shirts for purchase — Merch By Amazon.

In response, Lassen created what has since become one of the most invaluable tools for Merch By Amazon designers — Merch Informer.

This week, MMW once again caught up with Neil, who has been hard at work on making Merch Informer even more helpful than it already is. We had a chance to pick his brain about the enormous opportunities ahead for the online retail scene in Q4 and what Merch By Amazon sellers can do to make the most of this vitally important prep-time.

Check out our exclusive Q&A below.

MMW: In your experience, what’s the smartest and fastest way for lower tiered sellers (10 and 100 tiers) to fill more slots and tier up faster today?

Neil: Filling slots for lower tiered sellers can often be a huge headache because they are not natural born designers. The good news is that the majority of us have no idea how to design ourselves! I find the best solution to be to download photoshop or even a free program like GIMP and then watch some YouTube videos to teach you how to use these programs to create text based designs. If you have a little bit of money to work with, I would highly suggest looking at outsourcing on sites like Upwork but you can easily teach yourself enough skills to get yourself out of the lower tiers.

After you have the designs uploaded, you need sales on them to tier up. The absolute easiest way to get out of these lower tiers is NOT sitting around hoping for a sale. The first thing people should be doing is looking at the competition and optimizing their listings to stand the best chance at organic sales. Once that is done, people should be marketing their shirt designs! There are so many free options available there is no perfect place to start. If I were to recommend somewhere though, I would say to take a look at Pinterest and Reddit as social platforms where people might be interested in what you have created.

MMW: Last December, MBA was beleaguered and over-burdened to the point of limiting orders, tshirt colors and sizes, etc. What steps can sellers and designers take in preparation of Q4 this year to protect their products from falling victim to the consequences of another potential overwhelmed MBA platform?

Neil: One of my good friends Ken Reil actually made it out from all of these issues last year by simply uploading his designs on both Anvil and the premium option (now BELLA CANVAS). Doing this, he was able to capitalize on all the orders he would have missed if the other t-shirt was out of stock so this is something for every designer to consider if they have the slots.

It has been almost a year since all of those problems occurred and since then Amazon has been busy expanding so while there may be some issues, I do not expect them to be nearly as bad as the year previous. That being said, if you do not want to play with the premium shirts and want to stick with Anvil, I would recommend simply taking your chances on the MBA platform but also uploading all your designs to other platforms. If you really want to get ahead of the curve, you could take advantage of the shopify integration with Amazon (https://merchinformer.com/shopify-amazon-merch-no-inventory-integration-guide/) but know that you will not be prime eligible with this option.

MMW: In the age-old Anvil vs. Premium debate, which do you advocate using for lower-tiered sellers as they focus on filling all of their slots in time for Q4?

Neil: This is almost a double edged sword. Last year during Q4, Amazon ran out of black Anvil shirts for many sellers. This hurt a LOT but the massive traffic Amazon was able to deliver almost made up for it. As for me, I only sell Anvil shirts. They give me the highest margin and I think a lot of the customers (most) actually are completely blind to the premium shirts. Not only that, but the anvil shirts are super soft and a lot of people love to wear them. I always just make sure to mention in my listings that they do fit a bit strange, so order a size up if you want a looser fit. This seems to get rid of some of the bad reviews I was reciving previous when they would order an Anvil shirt and then complain about the sizing.

MMW: What’s the single biggest keyword strategy mistake MBA sellers make and how can Merch Informer empower them to stop making that mistake?

Neil: The single biggest keyword mistake that I see time and time again is completely ignoring keywords or at least not taking the time to actually focus on WHAT keywords specifically customers are using to search out products. Now, Amazon does not give keyword data of what keywords customers are searching for specifically or how many searches per month those keywords get. What information sellers do have is what exactly is ranking and selling well in those specific niches. You can use Merch Informer to quickly let you know what shirts are selling in what niches, and then data mine those listings for the keywords that got them into that position.

It does not matter if you have the best design in the world if no one is looking at it. I see it time and time again where a designer or Merch entrepreneur has a great design, but they do not take the time to see what keywords their competitors are using. If you can use similar keywords with a few synonyms thrown in along with a better design, you have the formula for a winning shirt.

MMW: For sellers with limited slots, is now the time to design for seasonal trends (Halloween, Christmas, etc.) or is evergreen a better bet going into Q4?

Neil: I really think it depends on how many slots you have available. If you are the 10, 25, or even 100 tier, your entire goal should be tiering up as quick as possible. For most people, November/December is where they are going to make the most money no matter if they focus on seasonal designs or evergreen designs simply because the traffic on Amazon spikes with people buying gifts for friends and family. You need as many shirts live during this time as possible.

Focusing on upcoming holidays now might be a good idea if you can get some traction. The best way to do this is creating original designs in the niche and then play around with keywords and pricing. I would put these designs up about 45 days before the actual holiday hits in order to make sure that Amazon is indexing the listings. You will have more competition going after these niches, so if this is not up your alley, focus on evergreen designs in niches where customers are actively buying. You do this by looking at BSR in those niches and seeing how many designs there are for sale in any given niche.

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