In-app purchases have become the predominant way that mobile developers monetize their work, with the bulk of iOS’s top 25 grossing apps being free-to-play. One company, the U.K.’s NaturalMotion, even made $12 million through in-app purchases on iOS in a single month for CSR Racing, so these microtransactions are starting to add up in a big way for venture-backed mobile startups.
Analytics company Apsalar took a deeper look into factors that predict spending inside mobile apps and more specifically, how the quantity of apps a user has affects their spending habits.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, users with a greater percentage of paid apps tend to spend less inside free ones. Apsalar speculates this is because consumers have a limited budget and paid apps serve as an economic substitute for in-app purchases.
Now while it might be hard for an individual developer to know how exactly many apps a customer has, developers can decide where and how to cross-promote their work in other games or apps. So a game developer might choose not to cross-promote their free app in another paid game if it means that there’s a lower chance that the end-user will pay for virtual currency.
Then somewhat unsurprisingly, the more apps a consumer has, the more likely they’ll spend inside one. If they are invested enough in downloading tons of apps, they might be likely to spend more inside of them as well. More than half of users who have more than six apps will go on to make an in-app purchase, compared to 6 percent of those who only have one app. (Of course, it’s kind of hard to imagine someone with fewer than five apps on their smartphone.)
Similarly, the more games they have, the more likely they are to make an in-app purchase.
There’s a flipside to this trend though. The more apps a user has, the less time they spend on average in each individual app. Logically, it makes sense if a user has dozens of apps, they’re not going to have enough free time to spend above a certain amount in each of them.
The stats above are from 250 million unique mobile devices on and over 100 billion user actions in Apsalar’s network. The company, which is backed by more than $5.8 million in funding from Thomvest and Battery Ventures, recently launched an engagement service for app developers who want to target users with promotions based on their previous behavior.
Let’s talk mobile apps. Chances are good that you need one, and chances are better that the technology, price or requirements to build them have driven you away. Sure, you could use any of the copy/paste, drag and drop mobile “app” creators out there, but what you’re doing is building a Web page wrapped in native code that you can’t touch. Serious limitations abound. That is until MobileIgniter.
MobileIgniter is a software-as-a-service that allows anyone to build high-quality, content-driven mobile apps using a simple and beautiful UI, then publish them to the App Store or Google Play.
Pull in your Webpage, your Twitter stream or your YouTube videos, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that simple tasks like these are all you can do. The beauty of the platform is that it’s positively unlimited. Instead of having only a pre-set number of options and capabilities from which you can choose, MobileIgniter lets any Web developer create modules for content that’s truly important to your company. Appointment scheduling, photo sharing, enterprise-class service connections? They’re all possible with MobileIgniter and that’s just one feature that sets it apart.
The team of Dominic DiMarco and Tim Nott isn’t too uncommon in tech. They’re a couple of friends who have known each other for almost 20 years. DiMarco was a Hackstar for TechStars in the 2011 Boulder class, and Nott went through the accelerator’s Boston program as part of the team with SpillNow. The idea for MobileIgniter was actually born in TechStars, as the two found an excessive number of companies that needed mobile apps that were easy to build and manage, without looking generic. In fact, TechStars even chose MobileIgniter to power its own app.
Fast forward through TechStars and the team realized that they needed some help to get MobileIgniter off the ground. They had a minimum-viable product at the end of August last year, but there was still a lot of work to be done. By December they had nailed down a small seed round and applied to the Gener8tor accelerator in Wisconsin. They were accepted into the program in May and moved into the offices in June. Now, as Gener8tor holds its Demo Day on August 23rd, the team is ready to break out of its shell.
Oh, and once a module is built, there’s a marketplace where they can be sold to other MobileIgniter users, adding another potential revenue stream for companies. DiMarco likes to refer to MobileIgniter as a WordPress for mobile apps, and it’s clear why this description is fitting.
We will most definitely be keeping an eye on MobileIgniter as it moves forward. For now, if you need a mobile app and want to give it a try, it’s completely free for 7 days. If you build something you want to publish, you can move up the pricing tiers to get additional features such as direct support via email and analytics. Want a white-label option? You got it, for a mere $2500 per year. That’s some serious ignition in the mobile apps development space.
Image: wwarby via Flickr
Go here to read the rest: MobileIgniter: Your Web developer can now build a fully-custom mobile app, additional revenue included
Swedish mobile payments company iZettle is moving quickly to launch in more regions and develop new products as chief rival Square is preparing to make its way to Europe. iZettle is today debuting an Android app in its home country Sweden after testing it with Samsung.
iZettle for Android is free and compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S II, S II LTE, S III and the Galaxy Note – it can be downloaded from Samsung Apps.
The company promises that the Android app will be compatible with other Android phones “during the next couple of months”.
Swedish users can currently order the iZettle for Android reader in Telia (part of TeliaSonera) stores nationwide or buy it on the company’s website.
Already available for iPhone and iPad, the all-new Android app will eventually allow anyone to take credit or debit card payments in the Nordics and the UK, whether this is done with or without iZettle’s custom mini chip-card reader.
iZettle for Android has the same features as the iOS version, but plugs into the device’s audio jack.
Also worth noting: where Square makes use of the magnetic strips on payment cards, iZettle’s focus is on the chip-and-signature system, which is more common in Europe.
iZettle charges a percentage of the transaction amount rather than fixed service fees. The company’s service is EMV (Europay, MasterCard and VISA) approved, and compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Meanwhile, the company still hasn’t resolved its issues with Visa Europe. You may remember that iZettle was forced to withdraw support for Visa card payments in Denmark, Finland and Norway at the end of July 2012.
It’s important to note that the blockade doesn’t apply in Sweden, but a spokesperson did confirm to me that iZettle doesn’t have anything to announce regards to the situation in the other Nordic countries yet.
Founded in 2010, iZettle is based in Stockholm and recently picked up $31.4 million in funding from Greylock Partners, Northzone, MasterCard and others to bankroll its ambitious expansion plans.
With Thursday’s Twitter API changes, App.net could not have gotten better news. Suddenly, Dalton Caldwell’s vision of a subscription-based Twitter clone seems quite clever.
Yet, when it comes to creating a competitor to such an ubiquitous service, App.net now has to face many challenges. Most of them will be very hard to overcome — even harder than reaching its $500,000 funding goal.
Even though Twitter tags itself as a real-time information network, at first it is still a social network with a social graph, conversations and profiles. Paying $50 a year for App.net is not a small decision when it only has around 12,000 users.
Over the years, Twitter has become more useful with the regular addition of new users. App.net is not different, and its priority should now be to attract as many users as possible. Therefore, it should drastically reduce its price because the service has to catch on when the hype is still fresh. It will be better for long-term growth.
A directory of third-party apps is now available, but that is not how users want to use App.net. Most — if not all — of them already have one or multiple Twitter accounts.
In the now-defunct Tweetie for example, you could set a custom API root. It means that the popular iPhone app could work with other services. For example, you could add an Identi.ca account in Tweetie by pointing the client to Identi.ca’s API.
Yet, convincing third-party developers of popular Twitter clients won’t be a small feat but seems like a necessary step to grow usage. In the example above, Identi.ca’s API had to replicate the interactions of the Twitter API. Therefore, if App.net wants to make it as frictionless as possible for third-party developers, it should replicate Twitter API and convince Twitter developers who feel threatened after Thursday’s news.
Down the road, if App.net is successful enough to attract the attention of content websites and other web services, App.net will have to match Twitter’s tools. Tweet buttons have been a good growth engine for the platform.
App.net users that will only see a Tweet button at the top of an article won’t be enticed to share this article on App.net. Conversely, seducing content websites is no use without many users.
While Twitter is now deeply integrated into iOS and OS X, it does not prevent App.net from creating its version of Sign in with Twitter. Maybe some geeky websites will integrate it next to Facebook Connect and Sign in with Twitter as another way to sign into the service.
App.net needs to be on par with Twitter when it comes to features. A natural advantage of App.net is that spam will be very limited. For example, paid bookmarking site Pinboard only had to shut down three accounts for spam over three years. But the no-nonsense API policy and the no-ad stance are not enough.
App.net is still in alpha and has implemented a waiting list for new users. The last time a major social network required to wait before being invited, it was Google Wave. A year after being announced, it was shut down by Google.
App.net users are willing to make it succeed, but it has to let new users in right now. It should not be considered as an Alpha, people want to use App.net.
Twitter is the world’s biggest Twitter-style network (ha!). That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For example, Hacker News thrives even though the vote-based news website does not cover mainstream topics like Digg or Reddit do.
Of course, when you read “we will require you to work with us directly” or “there may also be additional changes to the Rules of the Road” in Michael Sippey’s “Changes coming in Version 1.1 of the Twitter API” post, it does not look promising for developers. If you read carefully between the lines, those Rules of the Road are mainly that Twitter is now in charge, and that if your third-party service or app competes too much with Twitter’s core business, you will either have to agree or to forget about your app.
Geeks want App.net to succeed because the Twitter ecosystem has been very innovative for a few years. Yet, it’s now up to App.net to prove us that we are right to believe in that utopia. They will have to make it happen and they should not rely on bittersweet news from Twitter.
Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Hooked: How to Drive Engagement by Creating User Habits”. Follow him on Twitter @nireyal.
A few years ago, everyone was clicking. Today, we’re all scrolling. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and as of this week, Instagram and Medium – it seems everyone is getting on the infinite scroll bus. What is it about this magical design pattern that has so many consumer web companies using it?
Not too long ago, users were forced to reload pages to progress from one piece of content to the next. Web designers were advised against creating websites with information appearing “below the fold”, the portion of the page underneath what is displayed on the screen. As mobile phones and tablets gained wider adoption, it looked like the swipe might become standard fare. But that’s all changed now. Today, designers are dumping the click and flick and opting for the scroll for one simple reason – it works.
The infinite scroll is interaction design’s answer to our penchant for endlessly searching for novelty. Certainly, there are technical reasons for the scroll’s increasing ubiquity. The rise of dynamic content, like a new comment entering the feed, necessitated a better solution than pagination built for static content. But to really understand why the scroll works so well requires a brief trip inside the mind and back in time.
Our brains evolved through the millennia into incredible prediction machines, designed to help us make sense of our environment. Our species benefited from our ability to make good decisions based on what we know is likely to happen in the future, thus, keeping us alive long enough to make babies and spread our genes.
To make correct predictions, the brain accesses memories, which allow us to deduce what’s coming next in an nearly instantaneous process of pattern recognition. The ability to learn is simply the conditioning of the brain to recognize cause and (blank).
You were expecting “effect” weren’t you? Of course you were. That’s because your brain has learned that these two words, “cause” and “effect”, tend to go together.
It’s this conditioning that creates cognitive shortcuts and habits, allowing us to process tremendous amounts of information all at once. Our brains move known causal patterns to long-term storage so that our attention can be devoted to learning new things.
And nothing holds our attention better than the unknown. The things that captivate, engross, and entertain us, all have an element of surprise. Our brains can’t get enough of trying to predict what’s next and our dopamine system kicks into high-gear when we’re waiting to know if our team will make the field goal, how the dice will land, or how the movie plot ends. Like a loose slot machine, the infinite scroll gives users fast access to variable rewards.
Interestingly, our brain isn’t wired to seek pleasure alone. In fact, much of our motivation comes from alleviating the pain of desire. Dopamine levels spike when we’re just about to find reward and plummet after we receive it. To get us to do just about anything, evolution uses this chemical cascade to induce anticipation, motivation, and finally pain alleviation. Somehow we call this endless merry-go-round “fun.”
Few other methods for displaying information produce the curiosity to see what’s next like the infinite scroll. Like coffee and chocolate, the infinite scroll pairs particularly well with another increasingly-used design pattern, the masonry grid layout made famous by Pinterest. Cliff Kuang, editor of Co.Design, wrote, “… the Pinterest-style grid forces the eye to zig-zag through content, slowing down your scrolling but packing more images onto the screen at any given point.”
The barrage of enticing content speeds users up, enticing them to scroll, while the grid slows them down, retaining their attention and moderating their thirst for more and more stimulation. The visual tension is mesmerizing and addictive. Don’t believe me? I dare you to go to the Pinterest homepage and not feel tempted to scroll just once. It’s like opening a can of digital Pringles.
The infinite scroll has benefited both mobile and web interfaces as designers seize the opportunity to make consistent experiences across both versions of their products. Once users learn how to use a product, they form habits related to their expectations of how the service works. It is here that design becomes a competitive advantage as users find it difficult to switch to a competitor’s product because it “feels weird” even if its functionally works just as well.
Recently, the tail wags the dog as the constraints of the mobile experience influence the design of websites accessed on large screens. Creating an interface optimized for mobile and porting these interface decisions to the web, makes good sense given the projections that mobile is becoming the primary way people access the Internet. While certainly not perfect for every scenario, its efficient use of the mobile screen, ability to load dynamic content, and addictive characteristics, means we’ll all be doing a lot more scrolling.
Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos
Here is the original post: Infinite Scroll: The Web’s Slot Machine