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Mobile Marketing to drive special offers and events seen as essential for brick-and-mortar retailers.

August 22, 2014 Mobile Leave a comment

59 million US smartphone owners will use digital coupons this year. That’s a 37.5% increase over 2013. in addition redeeming digital coupons on a PC still remains the most popular option  with 33% of all PC users redeeming offer codes online.

An additional  27% of these same users made a trip to a store to redeem these  offers retrieved on-line.

For retailers, restaurants and service businesses with brick-and-mortar locations putting a strategic customer engagement plan in place is essential.  We believe the plan should encompass three core elements Mobile, Social and Local. Here are 11 questions to ask.


  1. Are your offers mobile friendly, if a potential customer finds your coupon online can they quickly send it to their phone?
  2. Are you making it easy for consumers to opt in to your future offers via text message or email?
  3. Are the offers easy to redeem in-store with QR codes or short offer codes
  4. Are you giving away too much of your offer to companies like Groupon or Living Social? There are much less expensive ways for getting in front of loyal customers. (see local)


  1. If a customer finds your offer via social media can they quickly share it with friends or send to their phone via text message.
  2. Are you using low-cost highly visual social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to opt in loyal customers for future events and special offers
  3. Are you going beyond just coupons and tying your special offers to events like exclusive tastings or new  product previews
  4. On a long-term customer joins your list  and shares their personal mobile number or email is there any additional incentive for them like text to win contests for free entrées or special event invites?


  1. Did you know your offers could reach local consumers through over 50 mapping directory and social networks with 0% of the offer going to coupon sites like Groupon or Living Social?
  2. Are you taking advantage of new technology like RFID, QR codes, iBeocons to engage  your customers in new and interesting ways?
  3. Do your offers show up on mapping apps for mobile apps like Yelp and Foursquare?

Contact ApolloBravo for a free Mobile, Social, Local  readiness evaluation.

Supporting Forrester Research data via

22 August 2014

NEW YORK: Four in ten US smartphone owners will use that device to redeem a coupon during 2014 according to digital intelligence business eMarketer.

Its estimated that a total of 59.2m US adult smartphone users would do so over the course of the year, representing a 37.5% increase on 2013, and said these mobile coupons were being used for both online and offline shopping.

Separately, Forrester Consulting recently carried out in-depth surveys with 500 digital coupon users for, the digital coupon site, and found that most redeemed a digital coupon code within three days of receiving it, and nearly one-third redeemed it immediately.

The most common method of redeeming digital coupons was by purchasing something on a computer (33%), but over one quarter (27%) made a trip to a store for this purpose. Some 25% used a smartphone and 14% a tablet.

The primary source of coupons was passive receipt via an email from retailers, cited by 57% of respondents, but this was only just ahead of the 55% who actively sought them out using search engines on their smartphones. And around one third relied on coupon-related apps or emails from a coupon company.

apollo bravo creative

Forrester also said that younger shoppers were leading the way, with fully 60% of consumers under 35 ultimately redeeming a coupon on their phone. “This points to a new emerging future of shopping, with mobile at the center of the experience,” said the report.

Customers were also found to be inclined to spend more than anticipated in-store when using coupons, making customer service an important part of the overall process.

“Easy redemption, mobile-formatted coupons, and a balanced marketing plan will drive users to the store and online properties which, in turn, provides opportunities for conversion and increased spend by consumers,” the report concluded. Data sourced from eMarketer, Forrester Consulting; additional content by Warc staff

Phablets going the way of the netbook? Please stop talking into your shoe.

August 21, 2014 Mobile, News Leave a comment

Remember last year when you’d see some folks speaking into their 7 inch phablets?  Phablets defined here as a mobile device with a screen of 7 inches or more.  It sort reminded me of  Steve Carell speaking into his shoe phone in the movie Get Smart.  Or maybe you could add a smartwatch to that Phablet and really get a whole secret agent, superhero thing going on.

As with netbooks a lot of technology fads start and end in Asia.  If you have a Phablet that’s great. just know it looks kind of funny when you hold it up to your ear.

Read more about the Phablet in Asia.

Phablet role challenged in Asia

 21 August 2014  via

SINGAPORE: There are signs that the rise of the phablet in Asia may be short-lived as new data indicates a nascent trend to the use of tablets with cellular voice capabilities.

A year ago, International Data Corporation (IDC) was reporting that sales of phablets in the region had doubled and stood at the same level as tablets – devices with a screen size of seven inches or more – and laptops combined.

But it has now found that tablets which have voice calling built in are taking an increasing share of shipments to Asia Pacific (excluding Japan).

According to its Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker report, some 13.8m tablets were shipped in the region in the second quarter of 2014. Of these, almost 25% included a voice calling option as standard. IDC said that this was equivalent to 60% growth on a year-on-year basis in unit terms for this category of tablets.

The surge in terms of both shipments and vendors since the beginning of this year, has been particularly noteworthy in some markets, including India and Indonesia, where shipments of voice-calling enabled tablets are approaching a 50% share.

The concept is not actually new, noted Avinash K. Sundaram, Senior Market Analyst IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team, as earlier Samsung devices offered the option via a Bluetooth headset.

But he thought the shift being observed presaged a new development, as consumers in emerging markets were increasingly interested in having a single mobile device for all their needs, “be it watching movies and soap operas, taking pictures, texting or making calls, even if the device has a huge 7″ screen on it”.

That raised an image of users almost having to use two hands to hold a device to their face when making a call.

“It also helps that these devices are quite affordable, playing in the entry-to-mainstream price bands in most markets,” Sundaram added.

That combination of addressing a need and offering a competitive price means that IDC believes this trend shift will continue to gain momentum.

A final point to note is that these devices are currently all Android-based. It remains to be seen whether devices based on other operating systems follow this route.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff

The next trend?  The rebirth of the tiny phone.

tiny phone

Mobile payments are inevitable, so can we please make this happen.

August 20, 2014 Mobile Leave a comment

Here’s the deal. Someday I’d like to walk into a store with no money, no credit cards, no shoes in a soaking wet bathing suit and wave my waterproof iPhone at a POS machine and pay for a cold soda. The details of the transaction including the actual name of the store the date time cost and product name would appear instantly on my screen as a receipt that I could save or delete. At the end of the month I would know exactly how much I spent in convenience stores without having to download or look up anything.

The mobile technology is here. The POS machines you can wave things at are everywhere. I was waving my Mobile Speed Pass at gas pumps in 1999.

Can you guys please get together and figure this out. I promise you everyone will benefit, lots of jobs will be created and people will learn to manage their money better.

Also you may want to call the guys over at #uber they have already figured out how to do this in taxicabs.

Thank you.

20 August 2014 via
PHILADELPHIA, PA: Mobile payments will be as unremarkable within ten years as credit card payments are today, according to two leading academics who warned retailers to heed the technology’s increasing popularity among millennials.

Responding to the findings of a PwC study that suggested consumers were reluctant to store money in a mobile wallet because of concerns about security and privacy, Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein argued that this was simply another manifestation of people’s “paranoia to things that are new”.

Consumers were no longer worried about credit card companies knowing what they were buying for example. Similarly, restricting liability to $50 in the event of fraud had alleviated security worries.

“It’s just a matter of people making an adjustment,” Reibstein said. “I think 10 years from now, we’ll look back at it and say, ‘Hasn’t this always been here?’”

His colleague John Zhang highlighted the take-up of mobile payment technology by millennials, who are using mobile wallets to transfer funds between friends and to store tickets for events.

“In fact, you can combine mobile payments with social networks,” he said, with apps such as Venmo enabling peer-to-peer transfers – ideal for splitting the check in restaurants, for example.

For a demographic that has grown up with social media, this is quite natural behaviour. Bloomberg even remarked on how, among the younger age group, Venmo was on the way to becoming a verb – ‘venmo me’ – in the same way that people talk of ‘googling’ or ‘tweeting’.

While consumers generally have been slow to adopt the mobile wallet – partly because of engrained habits, partly because of the confusion of proprietary technologies available and partly because of security – consulting firm Accenture said that it could “mend the seams of consumers’ disjointed omni-channel experiences”.

Apollo Bravo

And with millennials already embracing the technology, the only choice retailers face is effectively one of timing – when do they step up to the plate and offer the service.

As Zhang pointed out: “If you don’t [accept mobile payments], you’re going to be passé. You’re going to lose lots of your [future] customers.”

Data sourced from Knowledgte@Wharton, Bloomberg, Accenture; additional content by Warc staff

What are you doing with your unused marketing real estate?

February 4, 2014 Mobile, Social 1 Comment

Engage customers and add a new dimension to your packaging, POP, vehicles and promotional materials. 

by Brad Beckstrom

What is “marketing real estate”?  Any company that makes a product, or serves customers, has marketing real estate. By real estate, I mean the white space on things like packaging, mailings, point-of-purchase materials, vehicles, uniforms and sales materials.

McDonald’s serves 69 million people per day.  Let’s say that, based on this amazing number, they serve up about 60 million cups per day.  Based on the number, the space on those cups has some very valuable marketing real estate. What is that space worth to Coca-Cola? What would it be worth to Pepsi? How many people see that Coca-Cola logo a year on those cups?  Based on my back of the napkin tabulations, about 22 billion people in 181 countries.  That is some valuable marketing real estate.

So, a few years ago when McDonald’s decided to make their global packaging more consistent and use this space more efficiently, they put a lot of thought into it, including engaging a global advisory board in the process. They wanted packaging that was attractive, but could work in multiple countries and languages with many different types of promotions.

One of the top priorities was the ability to use this packaging to engage and communicate with customers instead of just sharing a logo or a web address.  After successful test case studies around the world, McDonald’s decided to add a third dimension to their packaging globally with a far reaching mobile web strategy —  incorporating QR Codes.


The QR codes drive smartphone users to a McDonald’s mobile website with product information, nutrition information special offers and promotions.  The QR Code destination, mobile websites, promotions and special URLs can be updated digitally without expensive changes to packaging. This helps  large companies avoid waste when packages containing special promotions, product information or nutrition information inevitably change.

Most importantly, it makes efficient use of valuable real estate on every cup, napkin, bag,  placemat, product package, point-of-purchase material in every McDonald’s worldwide.

You don’t have to be McDonald’s to make use of your valuable marketing real estate. QR codes and  mobile short codes can be used by any small business when creatively incorporated into your marketing real estate to engage your customers.  Here is one example of one incorporated into a coaster from Stanley Park Brewery.

Reach out to ApolloBravo for a free mobile marketing strategy consultation and advice on incorporating The Mobile Web, QR Codes and Mobile Short Codes into your valuable marketing real estate.


Brad Beckstrom ApolloBravo

Want to drive safe and foil speed cam fails? Check out the updated and free WAZE app

December 12, 2013 Mobile, Social Leave a comment


My wife and I are not speeders. Unless you call driving 8 to 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit, just to keep up with traffic, – speeding. In the DC Metro area driving at the speed limit can be dangerous. We have both also been “unfairly” nailed by speed cams in DC.

To solve this problem, we recently installed the WAZE app. Wayz in addition to being a solid GPS also allows users to share speed cam, speed trap and driving hazard info. These alerts then show up as icons with warnings. This comes in real handy for avoiding accidents and bad road conditions.

The app recently bought by Google for just over $1 billion dollars, so I think they may be onto something. Google paid 1 billion but you can get it for free here

MasterCard is working with retailers to drive m-commerce via QR codes

November 26, 2013 Mobile, Social Leave a comment

Apollobravo mastercardNew York: MasterCard, in a bid to enhance its positioning in the smart wallet race versus rivals Visa and American Express, has launched a mobile commerce program incorporating QR codes.

QkR A new app currently being tested by MasterCard in the US, Europe, and Australia allows consumers to quickly purchase and pay for products from QkR enabled merchants using a smartphone. Users only need to register their card details to start using the app. QkR Also accepts other major credit and debit cards so consumers can register more than one card.

This year a trial program conducted at New York’s Yankee Stadium demonstrated to MasterCard the demand among baseball fans for acquiring hot dogs, pretzels and other game day goodies via the new technology. Similar tests are underway in Dublin, Ireland and Sydney, Australia.

MasterCard is demonstrating to sports fans and movie theater patrons the advantages of quickly ordering food and merchandise via QR code. These include:

  • No lines, just scan and the food will be delivered to your seat

  • Simple repeat purchase process for – that second beer

  • Never lose a receipt and remember all that food you purchased

  • Option to use debit cards or credit cards

  • A wallet feature in the platform also allows users to also complete and store transactions using rival credit cards Visa and American Express

  • Retailers can tap into MasterCard’s QkR platform to manage transactions

The QkR app also makes transactions more engaging allowing consumers to redeem special offers directly in the app, no coupons or codes necessary.

More info on driving mobile commerce via QR codes

App Info Via MasterCard Engagement Bureau and WARC

10 tips for boosting conversion rates and search engine performance using an Explainer Video

November 13, 2013 Mobile, Social Leave a comment

Do you have a product or service that requires a lot  of explanation?  Sometimes it’s tough to get your message across in three paragraphs on a landing page. Add a one minute Explainer Video to to increase conversion rates and search engine performance by 20 to 75%.

Recent Explainer Video for ASM by ApolloBravo

Here are our tips for creating and using an Explainer Video successfully:

  1. The script is very important. Don’t just do a product demo. Tell a story about how your product or service solves problems.

  2. Keep your message short.  The best length for Explainer Videos is about one minute. Getting your message across in a minute and 10 seconds is okay, but beyond that viewers really drop off.

  3. Use a video host. You can host your video on Vimeo and embed it  in blog posts (like this one), product landing pages, Facebook, slideshare and your homepage. If you’re going to create a great Explainer Video don’t just hide it in one spot.

  4. Distribute, distribute, distribute. There are over 50 major video sites out there beyond YouTube. We really like Vimeo.  Here is a list of 300 more. Pick 10 that best fit your product or service.  Examples: cooking, how-to, technology.

  5. Tag it. Once you embed your video, make sure you include plenty of tags as well as key points in the video description.  To optimize for search, you can also include the entire script.

  6. Make it easy for others to share your video by turning on sharing and including links in the video frame via Vimeo or YouTube. Also allow others to embed your video on their site and share.

  7. Include a call to action. Give the user next steps at the end of your video. You can embed a link or “get started” and contact info.  Sometimes just an simple 800 number works best.

  8. Quality matters. If you’re doing video animation, you want your color scheme to take cues from your branding and logo design. The video should look like it belongs on your homepage. If it’s not an exact match, you can improve it with just the thumbnail displayed at the beginning of the video. Sites like Vimeo allow you to select your thumbnail from any point in the video. This thumbnail will be displayed wherever you share the video.

  9. Keep an eye on your results. Use the analytics features on sites like Vimeo to track all of your embedded views and sharing across all sites, not just your home page.

  10. Think of your video as the perfect pitch for your product that runs 24/7 in hundreds of locations in front of thousands of viewers.  That’s a lot easier than flying around to tradeshows. Keep it fresh and up to date and it will pay dividends for years.


Here are a few Explainer Videos we’ve produced at ApolloBravo.  Take a look and give us a call if we can help you create your perfect pitch in an animated explainer video.

Think random

October 31, 2013 Mobile, Social Leave a comment

Think RandomRandom winner sweepstakes can instantly reward customers from thousands of different points of entry.

Let’s say you want to run a sweepstakes. You want to engage users across multiple devices, print ads, point-of-sale materials and social media. You want to capture all of the entries in one database, regardless of whether they entered via text message, online or responded to a brand representative at retail. Finally, you want to have multiple winners randomly selected from the entire database of entries.

ApolloBravo developed our SocialPromoter platform with just this type of promotion in mind. We use responsive web design to adapt to thousands of different device configurations and drive traffic with mobile tools including Text-2-Win, branded QR codes, interstitial ads and innovative web apps.

ALL Strike out stains

At the Little League World Series, ALL and Snuggle brand representatives engaged visitors and captured entries via tablets and smartphones. Consumers could also enter by scanning a branded QR code. All of the entries were captured in one database with automated random winner selection and confirmation.

Brands also have extensive options to extend contests via social media with sponsored stories on Facebook or twitter. We also offer the ability to accept email addresses and ZIP Codes via text message for text to win promotion extensions.

Reach out to ApolloBravo for a free consultation on sweepstakes strategy, planning and technology.

Mobile store Info searches rise to 73% – Take control of your customers mobile experience.

October 3, 2013 Mobile, Social Leave a comment


By Brad Beckstrom

You’ve seen them. Teens in Best Buy or shoppers at Target madly scrolling through their smartphone, often walking straight into your shopping cart. A new study shows there’s a pretty good chance they’re not on Twitter or Facebook. They are checking competitive prices, product info, reviews, special offers and more.

Consumers who use their smart phones for product pricing and info research at retail has risen from 34% in 2012 to 73% in 2013, according to a recent study by Local Corporation.

An even higher percentage of consumers (79%) use their smartphone to access information about a local store or restaurant they’d like to visit. These same consumers agree that their smartphone is great for accessing special offers and coupons from retailers.

The study included additional stats, but the key numbers in answers to all questions including, product reviews, competitive pricing, checking for sales and specials, and online orders, had engagement levels among mobile consumers, above 60%.

Retailers, restaurants and all small businesses need to put their customers’ mobile experience first. Step one is making sure your mobile website adapts to different devices and loads quickly. Many consumers are in their cars and are often on slower devices or slow networks.  Step two is to get them the information they’re looking for. Having your menu on Yelp next to some flaky customer reviews won’t cut it. You need to start with a well-designed mobile landing page or responsive web site with your business’ basic information.

Once this is in place, you want to make sure all of your business pages on Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, Google+ include your website link with device detection so that mobile users can find you and get the the info they are searching for.

When you have the basics covered, then you can start adding bells and whistles like mobile optimized menus, email and text message opt-ins, social sharing, photos and product information. The goal is to make sure that you’re in control of your customers mobile experience. If you search for your business and Yelp, Twitter or Facebook show up as the first or second results. that means they are most likely controlling your customer experience on mobile.


Over one third of mobile phone owners using the device as their primary means of internet access.

September 18, 2013 Mobile, Social 1 Comment

A 2013 study from PEW Internet found that 63% of  mobile phone owners use their device to access the Internet. More importantly, 34% of those users stated it was their primary means of access to the Internet. Many of these users are following links shared on social media, apps and email (still the most popular app on smartphones).  With the proliferation of free Wi-Fi and all-you-can-eat data plans the average smartphone user has many options for accessing the web and working remotely.  Because 91% of Americans now own a cell phone, this number will only continue to increase. Device manufacturers like Apple and Samsung continually up the game with the quality of the browsing experience and the speed of the device. Apple’s new iPhone 5S is more powerful than many laptops and certainly more convenient for quick access to information.

mobile internet 2013













What to do with this data? Seriously consider taking a mobile first approach to web design, advertising and consumer promotion. Instead of designing a website or digital campaign for traditional browsers consider first what it will look like on a smartphone. Using this approach it’s easier to then make the campaign or website responsive so that it opens up and breathes when viewed on a traditional browser.  Another option is to use mobile redirection for a fully custom experience.

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