Mobile Apps: Advice from the Pros

In Banff, there are good sessions, there are great sessions and then, there are amazing sessions.  Building and Marketing Mobile Apps was definitely one of the latter.    The Banff Festival’s delegates who showed up for this session had the privilege to hear a panel of outstanding experts share – with enthusiasm and transparency –  their extensive experience on building and marketing mobile apps.  Gary Yentin (App-Promo!) moderated this exceptional moment with Steve Masur (MasurLaw), Natalie Farsi (Warner Bros), Pete Watson (RIM) and David Jones (Shazam Entertainment).

Here are some of the valuable insights heard during the conference:

What you should think about before building a mobile app:

–       Be sure you have the rights for ALL the components of your mobile app (including logos, pictures, video excerpts);

–       App stores (especially the iTunes store) has a strict DRM (Digital Rights Management) policy for their Apps Store – rest assured your project will be carefully monitored before being ingested to the Apps Store;

–       Stay apprised of all new development in the industry, especially in video.

–       Sign good contracts with your developers and be sure to request their credentials – find out how much they really know about the Apps stores procedures and policies;

–       Do a lot of testing on your app before you release it on an App Store.  You don’t want to kick off with a bunch of bad reviews;

–       Know what could be frightening to your partners (brand, TV network, app store) and address those issues before they come up;

–       When pitching a mobile app idea to a partner (be it a co-producer, a TV network or a brand), “bring the horse to the water” and explain clearly how the app can leverage the show or the brand.

You’ve done your homework? You’ve built a great mobile app and are ready to market it?

–       Be sure to choose a business model (paid app, freemium, affiliated monetization, in-app purchase model, etc) adapted to your type of content;

–       Promote your app: many tools are available within the App store.  For instance, Apple has developed i-Ad and other promotional strategies that you can use within their platform;

–       Leverage social media (Facebook, Twitter);

–       Track performance – be sure you choose App stores or retail vendors that are able to report back on the performance of your app, both in terms of transactions and usage;

Other things you might want to remember about the Mobile Apps universe:

–       To leverage your development costs, plan from the start your production on a variety of platforms (online, smartphones, e-tablets);

–       Today, there are numerous technical challenges when integrating live video streaming on mobile (through an app), amongst which DRM and network capabilities;

–       Just like the rest of the online environment, the mobile app market has become highly competitive.  “Entering an app store is just like entering a Wal-Mart warehouse.”

–      Take a look at W3C’s Mobile Apps Best Practices Guide.

What’s your story?

We would love to hear from your experience and get your advice on how to successfully build and market a mobile app… leave a comment!

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