Making Mobile Payments More Popular

accentureAccenture has a interesting new 2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey (pdf) of 4,000 consumers tracking trends in consumer attitudes toward making payments today and in the future. While the report pertains to North America, the conclusions and mobile-specific implications are probably just as applicable to the rest of the World.

A relatively low 18% of consumers make mobile payments regularly. Those who do, tend to be high-income (38%) or millennials (23%). People are using cash, debit cards and cheques at about the same level as last year and, despite Apple and Google mobile payment initiatives, there hasn’t been any significant upswing in usage of digital payments. The few people using digitial payments tend to be using Paypal (16%) or paying via retail mobile payment apps (14%).


I believe the main problem is that people are continuing to use the payment methods they habitually use and more importantly trust. What does this mean for mobile developers incorporating newer payment methods into apps?

It’s all about trust and motivation. As the report mentions, we should be providing assurances that fraud will be covered and keep the buyer informed about account activity, payment and order execution. We should also be considering discount pricing, coupons and rewards points to provide incentives for buyers to switch from their tried and trusted payment methods.

Mobile Ad Revenue is Consuming Revenue on Other Formats

iabThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has a new Internet Advertising Revenue Report (pdf) conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The key headlines are that advertising revenues increased 19% and social advertising increased 51% in 2015 half year. But what about the mobile part? The chart below shows that mobile is taking over a larger share…

The chart below is more striking in that it shows the change in advertising format share over time. Only digital video and mobile are increasing. Mobile looks exponential.


What does this mean for developers? I suppose it depends if you are publishing ads, creating them or somewhere inbetween enabling the ad ecosystem. If you are in-app, ad funded then you can probably rely on an increasing stream of ad inventory. If you are relying on mobile ads to promote your app, product or service you can probably expect more competition for ad placement and increased user acquisition costs. If you are in the middle ground, enabling the ad ecosystem, there are bound to new opportunities.

One such opportunity is advertising analytics that will need to mature to the level achieved by more conventional ad formats. See MobyAffiliates for more insight into this area and a great roundup of the current top mobile advertising analytics and tracking tools.

Who is Doing the Development?

Mike Roger has a great post on LinkedIn on “A Guide to Finding the Best Mobile App Development Company”. I particularly liked the part “Are they a third party company? Or develops apps on own?”

Mike explains…

“When you outsource your app development to any third party company, they further assign the work to the development company with commission added. Besides, you have no idea whom this third party company may outsource your project too – maybe they can get a cheap app development company to your work and you may end up with a total failure or below-standard performing app.”

There’s a lot of this going on and it isn’t new. Read Mike’s article to discover how you can combat this by knowing “about the experience of app developers and designers on board”.

The problem is not just about cost and quality. It’s about communication. I advise you assess the end-developer’s communication skills as much as their technical skills. A long time ago, in the graduate interview for my first job at a large UK software consultancy, I was asked to write a short essay on anything. The key test was if I couldn’t communicate, I wasn’t considered any good for software development. I am not suggesting you ask the end-developer to write an essay. Instead take a look at the tips in my past post on The Importance of Communication and Foresight during App Development.

Security As a Differentiator

blackberryEngadget posted an interesting article today on ‘BlackBerry reveals the lengths it went to make Android Secure’. This is after BlackBerry CEO John Chen previously revealed that BlackBerry could quit the handset business next year if it doesn’t sell enough handsets.

With the new Android Priv device, BlackBerry is trying to use its reputation as a secure device vendor to differentiate itself from the very many other Android vendors.
Security researchers will, no doubt, be eager to test the security claims and hence it remains to be seen if BlackBerry championing a secure Android handset is a wise or foolish endeavour.

This got me thinking about security as a differentiator. This might equally be applied to apps as well as handsets. Consumers are becoming ever wiser to privacy and security concerns and in the right circumstances this might be able to be used to tip the balance in favour of the app you are creating. However, as with BlackBerry (and indeed Snapchat), it really depends on how secure your solution really is.

Mobile Games Having a Tough Time

polygonIt’s well known that, with the exception of a few apps, paid and in-app purchase funded apps tend not to be financially sustainable. The exception is games. However, a new article on Polygon suggests that even games developers are having a tough time.

The article explains how Battlestation: Harbinger, featured by both Apple and Google as one of the best new games in their respective marketplaces, hasn’t been viable. It explains how the majority of people have been conditioned not to want to pay while the remaining few who do pay (actually pay a lot) barely ‘prop up the fun’ for everyone else. Competition between developers has lowered the price to a few dollars a game. The article suggests that consumers and developers must work together to change the industry.

However, I am sceptical that the industry can be changed now. Game developers will probably have to look to other ways to make money, in the same way as non-games developers, via B2B and indirectly selling or promoting other things. One interesting prospect for game developers might be gamification of brands, services and other activities.

London App Contest

smartcitychallengeGot an idea for an app that targets London? Venturespring and Tech London have a new contest sponsored by IBM.

Create an app that solves some of problems faced by today’s cities and you could receive up to £750,000 of investment via Venturespring and £100,000 of business acceleration support. As the contest is sponsored by IBM, the solution needs to use IBM’s Bluemix platform.

There are more details on the Tech.London web site.

Android (and Mobile) Security

universityofcambridgeUniversity of Cambridge’s latest research into Security Metrics for the Android Ecosystem (pdf) has had the technical (and non-technical) media writing about Android security over the last few days.

Most of the research findings were already known. That is, the security of Android “depends on the timely delivery of updates to fix critical vulnerabilities” and “the bottleneck for the delivery of updates in the Android ecosystem rests with the manufacturers”. However, one interesting fact is that, ignoring Nexus devices, LG is the best manufacturer when it comes to updates.

So what are the vulnerabilities? The most serious ones are privilege escalation that allow code to gain more capabilities than were originally granted by the OS. For more information on this, take a look at a recent presentation from HITB GSEC by Ryan Welton and Marco Grassi on the Current State of Android Privilege Escalation (pdf).

Frederic Jacobs has an interesting article on Medium where he says the problem has come about due to manufacturers having no financial incentives to provide updates.

However, we probably need to put this into perspective. As Markus Vervier said today, “100% of Android and 100% of iOS devices are insecure. We just did not find all the bugs yet (and we never will).”

Enterprise Insights

cssinsightCCS Insight has a useful free report (no registration required), Accelerating Business Value, Innovation and Change through Mobility showing mobile best practices that have achieved significant results for three organisations.

The report describes how many companies mobile efforts are the result of the actions of “do it yourself” employees rather than IT departments. I previously wrote how this is often due to companies internally arguing over who and how mobile development should be performed within the organisation.

The reports suggests three best practices:

  • Promote Mobility to the Business by Its Use, Not Its Novelty Factor
  • Smaller, Iterative Steps with Bigger, Longer-Term Commitments
  • Establish One or Two Strategic Partners for Mobility

I think many companies miss out because of not adopting #1. Companies should think about, as CCS says…

“Cost savings, efficiency and productivity gains to improved employee and IT satisfaction levels and enhanced engagement with customers.”

This means measuring things via analytics … both pre (for example what devices end users already use) and post development to refine goals and measure success.