Is app-free mobile loyalty the way of the future?

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Mobile Minutes: Store data helps mobile ads; Apple’s hotspot twist; PayPal’s mobile payments battle; Competing with Uber


Google says new store data help mobile ads
Google Inc. says it is doing a better job linking the ads consumers see on
their smartphones to what they buy in stores, prompting some advertisers to
boost their spending on mobile ads.

Read more on Wall Street Journal

Apple patent application shows new twist on mobile

Apple’s patent application, filed in 2013 but not published till Thursday,
describes a new-look cellular hotspot that would capture a wireless carrier’s
cell signal, convert it to Wi-Fi and cast it out to wireless devices so they
could connect to the Internet.

Read more on CNET

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Incoming PayPal CEO ready to do battle in mobile payments
Incoming PayPal CEO Dan Schulman is ready to take the company independent, and
he’s brought out the footwear to do it.

Read more on Forbes

Chinese car-hailing app gives away free rides to fend off

Chinese car-hailing app operator Didi Kuaidi will give away 1 billion yuan
($161 million) worth of rides to commuters starting next week to promote its
new chauffeur service.

Read more on Bloomberg

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Jack Rogers slings summer excitement to Instagram for countdown-themed giveaway

jack rogers

Jack Rogers is increasing its social media efforts

Women’s shoe designer Jack Rogers ramped up excitement
for summer, a big sales season for the brand known for its classic sandals, by
leveraging a countdown-themed giveaway on Instagram that offered users a chance
to win one pair of its most popular styles each day, proving that social
media-enabled contests are still potent with consumers.

The brand took advantage of the retail hype surrounding
Memorial Day weekend by giving away a pair of sandals each day on the week
leading up to May 25, tapping the holiday as the unofficial start of summer and
getting consumers excited about breaking out their warm weather footwear. Jack
Rogers has recently been ramping up its customer outreach on social media, with
a slew of flash sales and designated hashtags for users to share their branded
style moments.

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“According to research from Forrester, 87 percent of
Instagram users are under the age of 35 and 55 percent are female,” said Ken
Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners, Boston, MA. “Jack Rogers’ lines of
sandals specifically for college and sorority colors are a perfect fit for the
younger female demographics of Instagram.

“Leveraging Instagram for the countdown to summer
giveaway will create excitement among Jack Rogers’ customers and should inspire
social shopping,” he said. “Jack Rogers is also promoting this campaign on Facebook,
however, extending the promotion to its Web site and other the social media
platforms may help create greater participation from its customer base,
especially anyone that is not an active Instagram user.

“Another added benefit for Jack Rogers would be to
direct customers where to buy their product, as this is not simply an ecommerce
play but also a bricks-and-mortar play.”

brand, which has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, engaged in a social media
blitz last week to promote the giveaway, as well as its Memorial Day sales
taking place in-store and online. Beginning last Monday, it posted a daily
photo of one of its classic-style sandals that consumers had the opportunity to
win, with instructions to visit its profile for a link to enter.

After customers clicked the link, they were taken to a
microsite where they needed to input their email to enter the giveaway and
subscribe to the newsletter, if they wished. Quick links to Jack Rogers’ other
social media pages were also available, displaying the brand’s desire to place
a higher focus on social channels.

The #CountdownToSummerGiveaway2015 hashtag also has consumers uploading personal photos

After users entered with their email, they also
received additional entries for referring a friend to the contest.

Consumers are also asked to upload photos of themselves
wearing their Jack Rogers shoes onto Instagram using the #lovemyjacks hashtag.
The brand occasionally selects random users’ photos to repost on its own
account, which offers a personal touch to its marketing efforts and also
provides exposure for the lucky customer.

However, some experts believe the brand would be better
off showcasing original imagery on Instagram to catch users’ interest.

“A classic example of great Instagram use by a brand is
Mercedes-Benz,” said James McNally, director of business development, Fuzz
, Brooklyn, NY. “Looking through their feed shows posts that are
well-composed and have true artistic merit. 

“Producing content like that is quite difficult -
however, it looks like Jack Rogers has repurposed basic catalog imagery for
this campaign. Seeing catalog content on Instagram is a major turnoff for most
people – a certain degree of artistic value is the price of relevancy on that
platform – which is difficult for brands to understand and achieve.”

Jack Rogers also offers monogram and custom sandals in
addition to its other items, and may be found in department stores such as
Nordstrom and Lord and Taylor, as well as a flagship store in New York City.

sales on social
brand has also been leveraging Instagram and its mobile-optimized Web site for
a slew of flash sales this year (see story). Typical posts showcase a pair of
shoes with the hashtags #FlashSale and #lovemyjacks, alongside the promotion.

Those who are interested in purchasing the sale items
may also visit the link in its Instagram profile to shop, proving that the
social media application continues to become an avenue for driving sales. 

the popularity of mobile-equipped solutions such as Like2Buy, an increasing
amount of brands are making their Instagram posts shoppable to ensure that
users receive easy access to the products and do not have to waste time
searching or sorting through items on the Web site.

Popular sandals styles were showcased each day last week

It is a smart tactic for shoe brands, among other
retail-oriented marketers, to tap upcoming holidays or seasons to drive
awareness on social media and forge personal connections with customers.

“Social media is a great vehicle to promote contests,” Boston
Retail Partners’ Mr. Morris said. “Instagram is the most popular network for
sharing images and is a great forum to promote products that are visually appealing
like Jack Rogers sandals.

research indicates that Instagram posts generate 100 times more engagement per
follower than Twitter and 50 times more than Facebook,” he said. “In addition
to promotions on Instagram, Jack Rogers should consider other image related
social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat.

“They should also consider linking to the Web sites of
their wholesale vendors.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Responsive Web design essential in Asia-Pacific’s content cocktail: study

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Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

Related content: Software and technology, Ken Wisnefski, Webimax, mobile, mobile commerce, mobile marketing, Waggener Edstrom Communications

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American Girl’s foray into digital play overlooks mobile optimization

american girl

American Girl is the latest toy marketer dipping into the digital pond

Mattel Inc.’s American Girl brand is foraying digital play experiences with the launch of a mobile application that
enables users to make virtual friendship bracelets as well as a microsite
designed to coincide with its new Truly Me doll and accessories line, but the effort misses the mark by not having the site mobile-optimized for consumers who may
access it through their own or parents’ devices.

While American Girl has always been synonymous with the
classic dolls and their book accompaniments, the brand is branching out to
include more digital platforms to cater to a growing customer base that
prefers to consume content on mobile. It now offers a section of its site entirely
dedicated to mobile apps and digital games, and is also holding a social media
campaign to celebrate the Truly Me line.

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“American Girl’s digital play experience empowers the
brand to create a story behind its product,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing
director at Ping Mobile, New York. “Instead of just giving consumers a plastic
toy, the brand works to turn each doll into a unique character with her own
accessories, interests, talents, and experiences.

“The brand also gives children opportunities to
customize their dolls so that they can really identify with their toys,” she
said. “Children often play computer games; American Girl is strategically
leveraging that activity to provide a meaningful brand experience.”

step forward
Girl is dipping its toes into a digital play experience by rolling out the new
section of its site, which can be found at
Consumers on desktop can easily toggle between the various sections, activities
and eCards.

This speaks to the brand’s desire to branch out from solely
non-digital toys, as more children are using their parents’ personal devices or
receiving ones of their own.

American Girl fans will be able to explore the new
Truly Me line with videos, how-to guides and quizzes, as well as access content
similar to its eponymous magazine and play a variety of computer games.

Fans of the dolls can explore content that is refreshed daily

However, while users may access the site on their mobile
or tablet devices, the format remains the same as that of the desktop site.
This could be bolstered by designing a mobile-optimized site, so that users may
be retained.

“One of the oversights of the campaign is that the
digital play microsite is not mobile-optimized,” Ms. Lowy said. “The majority
of consumers who come to a site that isn’t mobile-optimized on their phone will
immediately leave it.

“Even if American Girl’s target audience may not have
their own cell phones they could be accessing the content through iPods or
through their parents’ phones. A mobile experience is therefore important.”

going mobile
toy marketers are releasing complementary mobile apps for their products to
boost customer engagement.

“On one level, it’s easy to sit back in a curmudgeonly
way and say ‘They should play with tangible, real things’ but the truth is, we
live in a digital society,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail
Systems Research
, Miami, FL. “In the final analysis, is having doll costumes ‘printed’
a whole lot different than the paper doll crazes of days gone by?

“For better or worse, this is part of today’s childhood

American Girl is enhancing its Truly Me world with the
Friendship Ties app, which enables girls to create virtual friendship bracelets
to save onto their devices and share with friends. The app, which is currently
only available for iOS users, teaches customers the basics of bracelet-making
and allows them to save their chosen pattern in the event they would like to make a
real-life version.

Users can create and save virtual friendship bracelets within the app

The brand is also rolling out a social media component
to the Truly Me experience, asking mothers and family members to share photos
depicting what makes their girl irreplaceable across social media channels via
the #TrulyMe hashtag.

“The traction which of #TrulyMe will depend in part on
how American Girl promotes the hashtag,” Ping Mobile’s Ms. Lowy said. “The more
visibility it gets, the more likely it is to be adopted.

“Many of the girls that the doll brand caters to are
slightly below the age of when kids start becoming active participants in
social media. The age of the product users may present a challenge in achieving
traction with the #TrulyMe social media campaign.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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