Apple recently released the year end round up of the best apps of 2010 and the iPhone app that took top billing is a personal favorite of mine – Hipstamatic. In fact, there were a number of photo and imaging applications that made the list (including Instagram, Path, and Pocketbooth), but none quite compare to the Hipstamatic app. What is it? An app that makes your ‘new’ photos taken on your iPhone look old.
What’s great about the app is that for those of us that grew up in the age of the original Hipstamatic and Instamatic cameras get to capture today’s memories with our modern devices in a fashion that harkens back to yesteryear. It’s not just me that loves this app – in fact, it’s had such a popular run this year that there are sites and groups popping up across the web dedicated to showcasing the stunning shots taken by everyday people with the camera in their pocket – their phone. Hipstamatic does it’s part by building out a dedicated community and making sharing easy to Facebook and Twitter.
As long as I have an iPhone, this app will be at the top of my home screen…ready to put a creative twist on a special moment in time. I’m no artist, but this app makes even the most average of photographers seem brilliant from time to time as demonstrated by how the Hipstamatic app helped me capture what is likely my favorite image of my young son.
Retrevo just came out with their 2010 Gadget Census and in the latest version of this annual census, they’ve broken down the ‘states’ of the union by ownership of the top 3 smart phones per capita. Oregon – the state I live in, is definitely an Android state. I own and use all three devices, so I guess I am the exception. Order of mindshare for me – Blackberry, iPhone, Android.
With 56% share of consumer consumption between the iPhone and the iPod Touch – it’s very clear that Apple has a stranglehold on the mobile web with their devices. Android has clearly made a big splash in terms of share of devices sold – however Apple is still dominant in consumption of content via handhelds. Data chart – courtesy Quantcast.
As I’ve written before, Starbuck’s is a company that is an active evangelist of the Social Web. Now, they have taken that a bit further and have expanded that to the Mobile Web with the release of two new iPhone apps: myStarbucks and Starbucks Card Mobile. Targeted at coffee drinkers on the go that are hyper-connected with their iPhone or iPod Touch, these apps offer the convenience of loading a Starbucks card through your mobile device and “a groundbreaking mobile payment component that will allow customers in 16 stores to pay using their iPhone or iPod touch mobile device“.
The myStarbucks app “will allow users to build and share their favorite beverages, find store locations anywhere in the world, look up detailed nutritional information for Starbucks food and beverage items, build and store favorite Starbucks® espresso drinks, and learn more about Starbucks rich selection of whole bean coffees.” (via Starbucks Newsroom). Well done Starbucks – identify an opportunity to add convenience to your customer experience and deliver innovation on the mobile front.
Great visual (click image for larger) of the Mobile App landscape this week on the mobile focused site, ismashphone - a daily blog focused on the iPhone covering News, App Reviews, and Tips/Hacks. Some of the more compelling stats from the visual include:
59% of mobile users (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android) download one paid app a month
Over 50% of iPhone and Android users spend more than 30 minutes a day on apps
Total monthly paid application market share is over 200 million dollars
iPod Touch users download the most apps, iPhone users pay for the most apps
What’s the take away here? There is a market for targeting customers in the mobile space. As I wrote earlier this week, at some point this may be a consumer’s only connected device. Those that aren’t interacting with their target audience via this medium are missing a huge opportunity.
What’s the one personal item most people can’t live without? I bet if you ask the average person on the street, the majority would answer ‘My mobile phone’. It’s a connection point to friends and family that is almost always with you. You use it for voice, email, quick text messages, and in some cases (more often outside of the U.S.) it is your only computing device.
Think about the iPhone and the recurring line you hear on most Apple commercials: ”There’s an app for that“. It’s true – the iPhone has quickly become many consumers only ‘connected’ device and because of that, Apple has single handedly made the mobile space relevant to marketers and advertisers. If companies aren’t paying attention to the opportunity mobile provides, they are missing a major piece of their marketing mix. Rachel Pasqua – Director, Mobile Advertising @ iCrossing supports this in her interviewwith eMarketer this week:
“Most major brands, if they take a good, hard look at their site analytics, will see a significant amount of traffic coming from mobile devices—mobile devices that won’t be able to handle their desktop site to the best advantage. I think failing to take those users into account will have serious repercussions.”
Given the fact that mobile advertising is growing at a staggering pace (Magna forecasts the U.S. market for mobile advertising will grow by 36%, rising from $169 million in 2008 to $229 million during 2009) the mobile medium has to be in your marketing mix – not as necessarily as a primary component - rather, as a complementary or ‘companion’ to your more traditional media vehicles (retail, online, television, print, and out of home). Brands and Marketers that recognize the importance of mobile will create new avenues to intersecting their customers and influence their perception of the brand, regardless of their location.
An amazingly simple concept – offer a GREAT service (for free) on a device that everyone wants, make it easy to bookmark their favorite tunes, and offer a path to purchase - people will not only be fans, but they will stray from ‘free’ long enough to pay for the tracks they really care about. While Pandora doesn’t make much from the sale (the two commerce options, iTunes and Amazon, take home the bulk of the profit), it does provide them with an additional revenue steam outside of simply selling advertising through the site. According to TechCrunch:
“Users are buying about a million songs a month now from these affiliate links on Pandora…. Of those, a solid 20% are coming directly from Pandora’s iPhone app.”
Pandora was smart to partner with Apple. In return for adding value to the iPhone through it’s app (most downloaded app in 2008) – the company is gaining customers it might not otherwise have had.
I’ll reiterate the title of this post: Cool Device+Cool Service = Happy Customer+Revenue. I’m a fan and a happy customer of both. I’ll be streaming Pandora in my car as I head out on a roadtrip this weekend – maybe I’ll even buy a track or two along the way…
Apple does it again – setting the bar that will be very difficult to for others to meet as they close in on their 1 Billionth (not sure if that’s a word) download. Rarely can you turn on the TV without seeing an iPod or iPhone commercial, and typically the spot shows off some great app to make your life easier – often generating the ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ emotion in me. The most astonishing part…the App Store has only been up for about 9 months – talk about rapid adoption. Hats off Apple – another job well done.