Mobile growth trends, tactics & tools No. 3

With Assistance, please.

Do you remember Day-Timer’s? The binders with all the those cool things that helped us stay productive during the day? I do. I used to race to Staples every year and buy the latest and greatest “devices” with inserts for calendars and bags to hold your keys and to-do lists that you had to manually carry unfinished tasks forward. Those were our personal assistants – a pen, a 3-ring binder and 30 minutes a day. A system that required constant attention and pruning.

Today there is something that has happened to my brain. I forget things easily and rely more and more on the internet to help me remember. Lyrics, appointments, movies, kids names (jokes…not really). They all live somewhere in my head or on a piece of digital paper but it is much faster to access them from my small screen. The data is up there, lurking in the cloud, reconstructing a better, more attentive and thoughtful version of all of us. Just like Day-Timer, companies are trying to help us capture and present the right information at the right time (I use Evernote and Pocket to capture). What Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are doing today is nothing new, the difference is how we contribute – willingly or not – to their end product. That end product? A contextually relevant digital version of you that lives in the cloud.

I interviewed David Lieb, founder of Bump (sold to Google), and he labelled what these big companies are doing as “removing cognitive overload” – a fancy way of saying these services will help us move from the passive act of “thinking” to the active act of “doing” much faster. Today it may be a note that pops up on your smartphone that says you are near a Starbucks but tomorrow it will be never having to set foot in a grocery store. It is also about the only way that non traditional search-based companies like Apple and Microsoft and Amazon can try to slay the search giants in Google (see Google Paid Search Growth Slows Dramatically) and Facebook. It is about intent (see Intent data: Does it live up to the hype?).

Don’t be confused with the reasons behind the sudden influx of digital personal assistants. Siri, Cortana, Google Now*, Alexa and Facebook’s  reported human-driven Moneypenny are here to make our lives better. The more we ask of them, the more they know of us and the more in-context and in-tune they are to our lives. Their goal is very clearly to remove the destination of search and replace it with the fluidity of find. While they each have differing strategies, they are all creating services out of search and using data and context to provide always on search results without us even asking.


ps. These guys came out before Siri – can they compete in an industry they were first to market in?

* Benedict Evans ponders if everything can be built by algorithms or will humans always need to interfere. Worth a read here.

—————————————– posts

Podcast: This Week in Location Based Marketing #242: Go on take the money and run Link

Podcast: Mobile Commerce Minute #524: What shoppers want from a retailer’s mobile app – a checklist Link

Trending: Why you should be where people love or where people hate – with Density founder Andrew Farah Link

Great posts

– Ever wonder what mobile users (read: everyone) place their advertising value at? Does $10.80US per minute sound about right?

– With eBay and PayPal FINALLY splitting up formally, does the new independant PayPal stand a chance against Venmo and their $1.6B Q2

– Do you have an Apple Watch yet? What do you think of the new round of ads? Also, is the Apple Watch misunderstood?

– “On mobile, the average YouTube session is OVER 40 MINUTES!!!” (link)

– I realize that everyone is talking about UBER these days but did you ever wonder why they are buying mapping companies? (link)

Tactics: An App Focus

– Increase App Downloads With a Great Description (link

– Growth hackers talk about how to make your app go viral (link)

– App Indexing & The New Frontier of SEO (link)

– These 10 Mobile Marketing Campaigns Made Millions (link)

CASE STUDY: 6 Strategies for Increasing Conversions in Mobile Food Searches (link)


– Where IoT meets mobile commerce (link)

– McKinsey Global Institute report: The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype (link)

Angry Birds comeback?

One of the benefits (I guess) to being in Canada these days is when companies beta test their apps up here first before launching everywhere else. This seems to be the case with Rovio and their Angry Birds reboot: Under Pigstruction. If you have access to the Canadian Appstore (iOS), search for Pigstruction and you will find the game that isn’t slated to launch until the end of July. Then go brag. 

A question for you

Siri? Cortana? Google Now? Of value or just a novelty. Discuss…

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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