Archive for the ‘play’ tag
Games dominate the mobile app ecosystem. Seriously.
It’s easy to forget that as we all search for the next big, hype-worthy app of the moment, but it’s the truth. Eight out of the ten most purchased apps last year were games. Nine of the ten highest grossing apps in the App Store last year, all games.
Combine this with the fact that Apple’s Game Center was launched almost 2.5 years ago, and it’s a bit strange that Google has yet to launch a Game Center-esque hub of their own for Android.
If a string of recent leaks hold true, they’re finally getting around to it.
The guys over at AndroidPolice tore apart a just-released APK for “Play Services” — the behind-the-scenes grunt app that handles things like app updates — and have unearthed a host of details suggesting that Google is on the verge of launching a centralized gaming hub for Android that’ll handle everything from game invites to leaderboards.
In the absence of anything more official, the hub is tentatively being referred to as “Google Play Games”.
Could this be part of the reason why Google hired gaming industry vet Noah Falstein?
While it’s not clear exactly which features will be ready to go on day one, there are breadcrumb trails for all sorts of different functionality. Here’s what Play Games appears to be able to do:
- Game invites. For now, it seems that the invite system is pretty closely tied to Google+.
- Save syncing (to maintain your game saves between devices and installs)
- There’s some stuff in there for both real-time and turnbased multiplayer, suggesting that Google might be taking some of the weight of making a multiplayer game off the developer.
- In-Game chat
None of this stuff works at the moment, as the hacked-apart APK only contains a small chunk of the puzzle. With Google I/O just days away, however, you can almost certainly expect to hear more about this next week.
Android: XBMC was announced for Android back in July, with the caveat that the software would not be available in the Google Play store until it was stable across a wide range of devices. However, if you don’t mind doing a little tinkering with your Android device, nightly builds are now available in the XDA Developers forums. More »
YouTube is likely to be saved from the Google’s latest search alteration that punishes websites in its search results for having too many DMCA take-down requests. Why? The video-sharing site may not actually have that many DMCA notices, says SearchEngineLand.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is tweaking its search algorithm to take into account the amount of DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) take-down notices a website has received. These notices are used to tell a website that there is copyrighted material that is being infringed somewhere on the site and that the copyright owner would like it taken off. So where does Google come into play? The company, whose highly-ranked search engine results drive tons of traffic to websites every day, will push websites with too many DMCA take-down noticed lower in that rank.
You can see which sites have the most DMCA take-down requests in Google’s Transparency Report.
Google told SearchEngineLand that the new algorithm will take YouTube into account just like any other website saying:
“We’re treating YouTube like any other site in search rankings. That said, we don’t expect this change to demote results for popular user-generated content sites.”
The difference is in the take-down notice system. YouTube has its own request form that is not connected to DMCA requests. If your content was stolen and posted to YouTube, you can go to this link and YouTube Copyright Center, choose whether you are a content owner or a regular YouTube user and file a complaint there. The center also provides copyright educational materials.
Because this exists, the number of DMCA requests associated with YouTube are skewed. Google is more than likely not taking into consideration the number of take-down requests it receives internally, thus YouTube narrowly escapes taking a beating from this new rule.
Filed under: search
So the Mitt Romney VP-prediction app is now available. Yee-haw.
It’s all very exciting, I’m sure … checking which potential candidates have the most Wikipedia edits, assuming that their public profile is being cleaned up and groomed by armies of handlers, and making a prediction.
But I’m a little Romney’d out. I mean, just pick someone already. Chris, Condy, Petraeus, Marco. Flip a coin. Toss a dart.
Romney already has his own “Mitt’s VP” app out on iTunes, which performs the singularly un-useful and uninteresting function of informing you who he’s picking for veep about three seconds before the rest of the world.
I mean, this is why we have computers that fit in the palm of your hand and networks that connect us at nearly the speed of light?
It’s more fun than watching Olympics. More electrifying than Usain Bolt. Or at least better than the magnetic stage presence of that masterful public orator, IOC president Jaques Rogge.
Tugs at my heart-strings too. The app informs me that I could be the second one to know … just after the presidential candidate’s wife, Ann. (I think they may have forgotten about the VP candidate him or herself.)
Apple, isn’t there an app review process in Cupertino anymore? Can’t we just swap this out for yet another fart app?
It all reminds me of Lebron James leaving Cleveland.
Staged, managed, built up for maximum effect, milked for every ounce of publicity that can possibly be squeezed out of the utterly mundane process of picking a stooge for possibly the least powerful position in U.S. government.
Guess it worked again.
Image credit: Paul Fleet/ShutterStock
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First up is Mobile Ads for Apps. Finding a way to monetize Facebook Mobile has been a problem but this sounds like the perfect solution.
This new ad unit takes advantage of the natural connection between mobile and apps. Facebook users will see an ad with a list of suggested apps. Click through and you’re taken directly to the App Store or Google Play where you can download the app instantly.
The app dashboard allows you to target users based on region, age and gender. Set your budget and go.
Currently, the ads are only available to select partners but you can sign up to be a beta tester right here.
Today, Facebook opened up subscriptions to all app developers. The system allows the app to charge a recurring fee for in-app services. For example, Gardens of Time subscribers will receive 70 Gold points, an exclusive virtual item, expanded energy meter, bonus time crystals and an ad-free experience, all for $15 a month.
This is an excellent option that should help lift the monthly spend on virtual goods. Payments can be made by credit card or Paypal in a variety of local currencies.
I’m not a big fan of Facebook advertising, but I think both of these options are worth looking into if you’re an app developer. The mobile ad unit is such a natural and intuitive link, I simply can’t see any bad there. As for subscriptions, it’s the perfect way to balance out the monthly cash flow. For gamers, it’s a one time decision to spend instead of dozens of decisions every time they play and once they’re in, they’ll stay in as long as they keep getting the goods.
Facebook, today, I tip my hat to you. Good job.
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Today there are more than 300 million websites on the internet fighting for consumers’ attention. Driving customers to your site with online ads, email, and social media is one thing; keeping them there is another, and generating multiple visits is the ultimate challenge of a customer-focused strategy. So, how do you drive a visitor to your site and keep him loyal to your brand? Create content that is relevant, informative, and strategically placed.
After you attract visitors to your site, you need to grab their attention — quickly. Visitors have short attention spans, so relevant, real-time content makes the difference between a consumer leaving within seconds and staying on your site to place a purchase. Video is a great way to provide consumers with the content they demand. With smart video technology, online brands can create engaging videos that provide each consumer with a personalized experience. Videos maximize the experience with your brand, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. However, in order to take full advantage of videos, consumers need the ability to see information with little effort. Placement of a video is just as critical as its content.
Following are video placement best practices:
On-page video placement
Front and center: Video can be the most engaging online asset you have, so make sure consumers see it and view it. The video should be visible when the page loads. Placing videos below the fold and requiring consumers to scroll down will not offer any benefits to your brand or to the consumer. In addition, the call-to-action should be prominent, such as “Click here to view a video about…” or a “Play” button displayed. Below is an example of above-the-fold video placement on Coca-Cola’s homepage.
To auto-play or not to auto-play: This depends on the page on which you are placing the video. If you place video on a dedicated landing page where the consumer expects to see a video, we recommend auto-play. Otherwise, let the viewer choose when to start. Apple’s iPad landing page is a prime example of both options at work. The viewer automatically views a 30-second preview of the product and then has the option to view three other product-related videos.
Maximize the play experience: Videos should play embedded on the web page or in a lightbox player. The method that you choose depends on the type of video, target audience, and desired action. A lightbox approach guarantees that viewers are focused only on the video by opening a layer on top of the page that plays the video, such as the Tiger Direct product video featured below. That said, the layer will block access to everything else on the page, so multitaskers may not appreciate this approach.
Email and landing page placement
When incorporating video into email, it is a best practice to have a play button automatically direct consumers to a landing page to view the entire video.
Subject line lifts open rates: It’s critical to leverage the subject line accordingly, letting the consumer know that the email includes a link to a video. When the subject line sets the right expectation, we’ve seen open rates double, between 30 and 60 percent depending on the use case.
Placement above the email fold: The link to the video should be visible when the email opens. Again, do not place the link below the fold, which requires consumers to scroll down.
Thumbnail preview is key: Use a thumbnail for the video link. Better yet, use a thumbnail that is showing a part of the video. This works well with personalized videos. In the example below, the company sends an email to encourage customers to view video content with a thumbnail that includes a scene from the video itself. Some organizations take this approach a step further by showing a personalized preview, such as a screenshot of a scene that includes the customer’s name.
To auto-play or not to auto-play: If the consumer clicks a link to see a video and reaches a landing or a product page, auto-play is the way to go, as this expectation was set by the company in the email by presenting a clickable thumbnail to view the video (similar to the strategy for effective on-page placement).
Video is one of the best customer-engagement tools, so make sure your customers see what you have to offer. Whether you are using video in email campaigns or on a web page, ensure your video is highly visible so that your customers can take advantage of it.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“Conceptual image of a generic smartphone” image via Shutterstock.
Facebook’s mobile risk has turned into an opportunity for application developers. Today, the social network has unveiled a mobile ad unit designed specifically for application makers looking to promote their creations to the 543 million people who access Facebook on mobile each month.
Still currently in testing, the units are called “mobile ads for apps,” and they allow application makers to buy prominent exposure for their apps in the mobile News Feed.
The promoted applications appear alongside organically surfaced app recommendations in a suggested applications box. A click directs people to Google Play or the Apple App Store for download. The units run on a CPC model, so app developers can set a daily budget and bid for clicks through to Apple’s App Store or Google Play. App makers can also specify ad targeting preferences such as region, gender, and age.
Once the new unit is more widely released, it can help Facebook tackle its stock-crumbling problems; shares closed down Tuesday at $20.72. For starters, mobile ads for apps make Facebook far less constrained on the mobile ad front.
The company, which can pretty much only place ads in the mobile News Feed, now has a mobile ad unit that looks nothing like a Sponsored Story — or an ad, for that matter. In fact, the units, sandwiched next to suggested apps, are partially disguised as app recommendations, which means users might not process them like ads and may be more open to seeing them more frequently than Sponsored Stories.
Plus, Facebook is targeting a completely different buyer, which greatly expands the audience who might be interested in paying for exposure on the social network.
The net effect may be that Facebook can serve double or triple the number of ads it shows to each mobile user, and that’s a pretty big deal. In the theory, the social network could jump from making roughly $500,000 a day from mobile ads to making $1 million a day or more by the end of the third quarter. While the additional mobile revenue won’t be enough to magically return the company to a valuation of $100 billion or more, it should provide investors with some proof that Facebook can still make a buck or two from members that skip the web version.
Filed under: social
Funium, a Provo-based startup that’s merging personal ancestry research with virtual worlds in its new game “Family Village,” has raised an additional $1.8 million in seed funding, the company is announcing today. This new investment is on top of the $1.2 million it raised in February 2011. The round was led by Family Odyssey, a company owned by early Ancestry.com investor and GeneTree co-founder, Jim Sorenson. A number of undisclosed angel investors also participated.
The idea for Funium’s flagship property Family Village occurred to CEO Jeff Wells around four years ago, when he began to research his own personal ancestry online. “I started at about 10 o’clock at night by joining Ancestry.com, and then literally, at 4 o’clock in the morning I was still red-eyed, and very excited about all the documents I was finding about my family members as I continued to research name after name.”
But even though he was enjoying the discoveries Ancestry.com produced, Wells felt that the overall process could use some improvement. “I noticed that I was interested in it because I liked the outcome, but the work was hard. It was like doing taxes or doing research,” he said of using the website. That’s when he had the idea: why don’t I make this process fun?
With the Facebook game Family Village, Wells is doing just that by combining the research process with something enjoyable – that is, social gaming. The game resembles something like Zynga’s The Ville or Sim City, but instead of just creating random avatars and having them interact, users create avatars who actually represent individual members of their own family, dating back through the ages.
Players can customize those avatars by dressing them in the style of clothing they would have worn during the time they were alive and can even tweak their features to resemble old photos or descriptions. As the game continues, the quests will be directly related to who that person was and what they may have been doing during their lifetime. For example, a Civil War era great-great grandfather may go to work as a soldier, which then generates in-game points. As players progress, they can collect awards, not in the form of meaningless virtual content, but in the form of actual historical documents.
The documents are housed in a “museum” in the game, where each ancestor gets his or her own room which includes things like old photos, files, and maps of where they lived, worked or traveled. The documents come from a variety of sources, including those created in-house, or through partnerships with other companies, like AncestorSync or NewspaperArchive.com, for example.
The benefit to merging something with real-world value with the virtual world, is that the game maintains a sort of stickiness for its players. A typical social game has a short life span, explains Wells. “People play it, get bored and move onto something else,” he says. “With this game here, the further you get into it, the more deep it becomes, the more likely that documents will be pulled up and ancestral connections will be made.”
This translates into longer play times, he notes, stating that players are generally engaging with the game for over 14 minutes their first time, when many games tend to think 3 to 5 minutes is a good first run. He says that re-engagement numbers on day one, seven and thirty are good as well, but declined to reveal specifics as the game has not yet had its public debut. Today, Family Village has around 22,000 to 23, 000 monthly active users and between 2,000 and 2,500 daily active users during its quite testing period. Although it has not yet had its “official” debut, Family Village is live now on Facebook here.
Met de Play it Right app ben je direct en overal op de hoogte van alle officiële sport- en spelregels. Jochem van Rijn, mede-initiatiefnemer van de app, vertelt. Lees meer