Trustlook Says App Auditing Tool Can Help Protect Facebook Users

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The Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal has forced Facebook to take significant steps to protect its users’ privacy. App developers are no longer permitted to access as much data about Facebook users as they once could. In addition, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company will “audit” thousands of apps and “investigate all apps that had access to large amounts” of data in the past.

What that means exactly is unclear, asserts the team at Trustlook in their media release this week.

Does Facebook have the expertise to review the thousands of apps out there operating under the “old rules,” siphoning user’s (and their friends’) data surreptitiously? Can it do it at scale? That remains to be seen, but it’s clear the company needs better visibility into how user information is being handled by third-party apps.

Trustlook, a cybersecurity company based in San Jose, has a product called SECUREai App Insights that can already do what Facebook is promising to do, a provided statement reads. In fact, the product is currently securing three of the top five app stores in the world.

So how does it work?

SECUREai App Insights provides detailed information about mobile applications. It offers more than 80 pieces of information for each app, including permissions, libraries, risky API calls, network activity, and a risk score. All the information is presented in an easy-to-use, actionable format so that app store owners, app developers, researchers, and companies such as Facebook can make informed decisions.

Most importantly for Facebook, Trustlook’s technology can determine if apps that are using Facebook Login, the feature which is the main avenue through which app developers collect data, are doing so properly, or if they are abusing permissions or mishandling user data in any way.

When people use Facebook Login, they grant the app’s developer a range of information from their Facebook profile—things such as their name, location, email or friends list. Back in 2015, Facebook also allowed developers to collect some information from the friend networks of people who used Facebook Login. That means that while a single user may have agreed to hand over their data, developers could also access some data about their friends. Needless to say, this realization among Facebook users has caused a huge backlash.

“Our technology can make the Facebook ecosystem much safer,” said Allan Zhang, co-founder and CEO of Trustlook. “Facebook’s growth has made them a target for malicious developers, so this extra security layer is critical for them and would be a great benefit to their users.”

Facebook is not the only company offering a sign in feature. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and Yahoo have similar features. All of these companies need to remain diligent about what user information is being granted to apps, Zhang said.

For more information on Trustlook and SECUREai App Insights, click here.

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Augmented Reality is Here to Stay: Key Considerations for Marketers

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Valassis, a leader in activating consumers through intelligent media delivery, is out with a new report sharing key considerations for marketers and retailers as they look to leverage augmented reality (AR) technology in their campaigns.

RetailMeNot reports that nearly all (99 percent) of retailers wish to improve the shopping experience to better engage and convert customers. AR could be a valuable asset to do so.

The past year served as a major turning point for mainstream AR adoption, the report explains, with Apple launching ARKit and Google following suit, unveiling ARCore at last month’s Mobile World Congress. With worldwide spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) expected to reach $ 17.8 billion in 2018, more innovation and opportunity are anticipated in this space.

“The rapid, mainstream growth of augmented reality presents a prime opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition,” said Pehr Luedtke, Senior Vice President, Marketing and International, Valassis Digital. “However, before companies dive head-first into this market, it’s important for them to identify how the technology can be applied in smart, relevant ways. Ultimately, AR should serve as another opportunity to enhance the customer experience in a unique way.”

Brands should keep the following in mind when considering the deployment of AR technologies and strategies:

  • The consumer research and planning phase is crucial: According to Valassis research, over 90 percent of consumers create a list before visiting a store, showing the prominence of pre-shopping research and planning. While product information was previously gathered through online reviews and word-of-mouth, AR is taking the research phase one step further, allowing individuals to truly visualize an item before making a purchase decision. For example, from the convenience of their phone, a consumer can see an image of a furniture item in their home, helping determine whether it fits in their respective space so they can make an informed buying decision. AR is providing an innovative “try before you buy” shopping model.
  • AR doesn’t stand on its own: While AR is a newer touchpoint for consumers, it should be incorporated into a broader, integrated marketing strategy. It may fit in and serve a purpose, however AR should be used in combination with other engagement strategies – including social media, email and direct mail.
  • Print and digital are an AR match made in heaven: To date, much of the AR focus has been placed on digital, although print plays a critical role in connecting brands and consumers – and AR technology further elevates that experience. More and more marketers are placing codes and images on print materials, which readers can scan with their mobile devices. For example, retailers can implement AR functionalities that allow consumers to scan an item, such as a furniture piece, in a magazine or direct mail print ad and view a 3D visual of the item. Through this AR data feed, consumers can also see relevant details including price, color/texture options, purchase locations and more. The inclusion of AR delivers an immersive and engaging shopping experience – all that’s needed is a print image and mobile device.

It’s important for brands to strike a balance between new innovations such as AR and tried-and-true tactics, the announcement concludes. This will ensure they’re effectively meeting their target audience when and where it matters most.

To learn more about how Valassis is helping brands drive results with integrated campaigns, visit its website.

 

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Vibes Comments on D.C. Circuit Overturning Restrictive Mobile Marketing Rules

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Last week, in the federal case ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned key elements of a 2015 ruling that handcuffed mobile-first brands. As the only mobile engagement solution leader who petitioned for the appeal, Vibes is pleased with the court’s decision and expects that innovation in mobile marketing will surge as a result.

In 2015, the FCC released an omnibus order that attempted to clarify some rules of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In practice however, the clarifications created even more confusion, and over-reached in areas that significantly impacted mobile marketing innovation. The FCC order exposed mobile-first brands to huge penalties, even when making opt-in marketing or business calls and texts that consumers valued and requested.

“This is a big win for mobile marketers who are legitimately obtaining consent and providing wanted communication to their customers,” said Jack Philbin, co-founder and CEO of Vibes and Chair Emeritus of the Mobile Marketing Association. “We appreciate the response and support from the D.C. Circuit of Appeals, which maintains a realistic view of today’s business landscape where consumers want to hear from and interact with their favorite brands – not to mention their bank, their insurance provider, their gym, etc. – all on their mobile phone.”

Vibes, a leading mobile engagement platform company, appreciates FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s support of this decision, as well as the support of Commissioner Michael O’Reilly and Commissioner Brendan Carr. Vibes would also like to thank the National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, National Association of Drug Stores, and CTIA – The Wireless Association for submitting written support to the court.

On April 26, 2018, at 1pm CT, the Vibes team and Jennifer P. Bagg, expert TCPA attorney from Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP, will host a webinar to provide thoughts on the impact of this decision on mobile marketing programs. Click here to sign up for the webinar.

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Op-Ed: 3 Ways Retail Stores Can Survive In The Age Of Amazon & E-Commerce

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The following is a guest contributed post from Larry Light, a global brand revitalization expert, is the Chief Executive Officer of Arcature (www.arcature.com), a marketing consulting company that has advised a variety of marketers in packaged goods, technology, retail, hospitality, automotive, corporate and business-to-business, as well as not-for-profit organizations.

The business news is full of bleak outlooks or bankruptcies for a number of big retail stores, with iconic Toys ‘R’ Us one of the latest casualties.

The crumbling of several brick-and-mortar giants continues during the rise of e-commerce, led by Amazon. Some of those still in business are attempting to improve their online capabilities as a way to compete better in the changing landscape. Walmart, for example, plans to open fewer stores so it can focus on e-commerce while enhancing existing stores. Target has been building out its digital offerings, with same- and next-day delivery services being tested.

Such online upgrading illustrates a shifting business model for some long-time retail titans. But Larry Light, a global brand revitalization expert, says to know where they’re going, they can’t forget where they came from. Their survival, he says, will likely depend on how they blend their retail brand strengths with new online know-how.

“Retail giants are feeling the ‘Amazon effect,’ ” says Light (www.arcature.com), co-author with Joan Kiddon of The Paradox Planet – Creating Brand Experiences for The Age of I. “Struggling retailers are focusing on catching up in the online space and giving up on investing in sociability and sensory aspects of creating a special in-store experience.

“The challenge is how to provide the best combination of both online and retail. This is the big opportunity space that traditional retailers seem to be ignoring.”

Light suggest three ways that retailers can adapt and survive in the e-commerce era:

  • Re-establish the emotional store connection. One reason people consistently shopped at a brand retail store, Light notes, was the way they felt connected with the brand and the store experience. “Connecting with customers’ emotions is the way to find success in the age of online shopping,” Light says. “No matter how much we appreciate the ease and speed of online shopping, we crave the joy of seeing and touching the product. A computer cannot match that human experience.” So increase the emotional rewards, Light says, by enhancing the shopping environment, making it more relevant and distinctive.
  • Translate data to identify shopper behaviors. According to a Forbes article, retailers need to analyze a wide variety of metrics to better understand their customers and what impacts their purchasing decisions.  “There are many variables to the in-person shopping experience,” Light says. “Detecting these variables and how they impact customers can bring solutions on how to optimize the shopping space.”
  • Don’t have an identity crisis. A brand has a distinguishing character, and Light says it’s vital to avoid losing it in the midst of change. “IKEA, Walmart and other retailers are struggling to catch up with online venues, focusing on creating a brand experience that has less to do with the legacy retail environment and more to do with virtual environments,” Light says. “You walk in a Sears and see an abandoned brand.”

“A brand is more than the promise of features and functions,” Light says. “It’s a special feeling for the customer. The retail experience and online enhancements can make it more powerful.”

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Tapad Partners with Flashtalking to Create ‘Impactful Attribution Modeling Strategy’

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Tapad, a company reinventing personalization for the modern marketer, announced this week the “impactful results” of its strategic partnership with Flashtalking, the leading global independent platform for ad delivery, unification and insights.

From the official announcement:

Flashtalking is one of Tapad’s most engaged partners, using the Tapad Graph to unify cross-device engagement and identity-driven consumer behaviors for attribution modeling. The company leverages a unique identifier that, in conjunction with Tapad’s Graph, provides robust multi-touch attribution solution for its clients.

This partnership has resulted in above-industry match and bridge rates for Flashtalking and its customers. Overall, the Tapad Graph yielded a 71 percent match rate with 41 percent of converters engaging on multiple devices, highlighting the importance of cross-device measurement.

Tapad’s identity solutions provide Flashtalking with a more holistic view of global engagement. Flashtalking marries ad server log file data with the Tapad Graph to connect all interactions in the consumer journey. This enables Flashtalking to provide more accurate and impactful cross-device attribution, which ultimately enables better optimization. These achievements have led to recognition of Tapad and Flashtalking’s work by the I-COM Global Forum for Marketing, Data and Measurement.

“Tapad allows us to understand user engagement across devices and platforms at both the household or individual user level, which is extremely beneficial when providing marketers with true path to conversion and attribution,” said Steve Latham, global head of analytics at Flashtalking. “Since our relationship began, we’ve successfully leveraged Tapad data to provide more accurate, actionable insights that have helped numerous brands achieve substantial gains in media effectiveness.”

To learn more about Tapad’s identity services, click here.

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CleverTap Sets Sights on Best-of-Breed Mobile Marketing Solutions

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Source: Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/bag-electronics-girl-hands-359757/CleverTap, an intelligent mobile marketing automation solution, announced this week that it is expanding its Partner Ecosystem.

According to a statement emailed to MMW, partners will benefit by joining forces with the best solution providers in the space, globally, and unearth new opportunities for monetization and knowledge sharing.

As part of the CleverTap Partner Ecosystem, partners can expand their mobile offerings and provide differentiated value to their customers. The ecosystem enables partners to amplify brand presence, expand target market, and drive revenue by acquiring users from new markets.

With a partner ecosystem comprised of download attribution, email and SMS message delivery, customer CRMs, marketing agencies, and more, marketers will have a lot of data available to solve holistic problems. By building a favorable and supportive breed of mobile offerings, CleverTap strives to enable personalized omnichannel marketing strategies across the entire user lifecycle.

“At CleverTap we aim to empower mobile marketers to craft incredible customer experiences for their users,” says Almitra Karnik, Head of Marketing at CleverTap. “A connected marketing stack is key to creating omnichannel experiences across each stage of the user adoption curve. With this ecosystem of mobile solutions, we want to set marketers up for success — from attribution and onboarding to engagement and monetization to reducing churn.”

CleverTap is confident that by working together, its Partner Ecosystem can solve the complex challenges that modern marketers experience every day.

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Nick Kohlschreiber Predicts Smart Apps to Lead Advertisement Sales in 2018

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It is no surprise that the amount of digital media consumed by shoppers and individuals has skyrocketed in the past few years, and this is a key time for advertisers to take advantage of pushing the bulk of sales through apps.

In addition, custom send times for these notifications based on when the user is most active raised retention rates by over 400%.

Modern marketing expert Nick Kohlschreiber predicts that as developers continue to understand how customers interact with their favorite apps and integrate more automation tools using artificial intelligence, these “Smart Apps” will come to define mobile advertising strategies.

Driven by new marketing centric technologies including chatbots, predictive analytics, and intelligent automation, these innovative applications are creating a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with their mobile devices.

Modern apps already have the ability to personalize content down to the individual user, as opposed to broader segments. With advanced predictive analytics, a customer’s desires will soon be anticipated before they are even expressed.

Thanks to complex algorithms of previous user choices and interactions, Kohlschreiber predicts that smart apps will soon be able to suggest relevant content at the precise time the consumer is most likely to engage.

According to Kohlschreiber, customization – backed by powerful data – has the potential to touch every key mobile marketing metric. Launching personalized campaigns with approachable content will improve user conversions, reduce acquisition spending, and drive ROI across the board.

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InMobi, GeoEdge to Regulate Ad Quality Standards and Improve User Experience

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InMobi, a global independent mobile advertising platform, recently confirmed a partnership with GeoEdge, a leading provider of ad security and verification solutions for the mobile advertising ecosystem.

Together, the partners will work “to ensure high ad quality and a clean marketplace that offers a safe and engaging user experience.”

The mobile advertising industry is battling several challenges around ad quality with a rise in auto-redirect, auto pop-up and other malicious ads appearing over the past year. InMobi and GeoEdge have independently worked tirelessly to ensure the mobile apps are safe and free of malicious ads that may otherwise damage the user experience, or negatively impact the trust between publishers and their audiences.

This partnership emphasizes InMobi’s continued investment in its machine learning based real-time solutions with partners such as GeoEdge, with its rapid independent review, to bolster all defenses against ad quality issues.

GeoEdge’s technology is integrated with InMobi to ensure that every single creative meets the ad quality guidelines established by the publishers, removing any that don’t, and to guarantee a positive end user experience.

“InMobi has a reputation of creating award-winning ads that users want to see, and we have invested heavily in this area to create a seamless user experience that will also benefit our publisher partners,” said Abhay Singhal, co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at InMobi. “While every player in the industry is eager to ensure buyers are shielded from the sell side fraud, we don’t want to forget our trusted partners on the sell side. By deploying GeoEdge, we are fully committed to solving this trust-eroding issue that affects the whole ecosystem.”

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4 Reasons Electric Cars Will Create A Buzz In The Next Decade

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The following is a guest contributed post by Ted Annis, the manager and co-founder of Transducing Energy Devices, LLC.

As automakers try to plug into consumers’ future needs, electric cars are stirring boardroom curiosity – but not a lot of sales.

Some car manufacturers are banking on a different story in the future, though.

Electric cars comprise less than 1 percent of U.S. auto sales, yet some major automakers are planning to manufacture many more electric models in the near future. According to an article on Bloomberg.com, General Motors plans to roll out 20 models by 2023 and Toyota 10 by early in the next decade. Researcher LMC Automotive predicts 75 electric models will be produced in the U.S. over the next five years.

“The 21st century will see the return of electric cars, as we are witnessing with Tesla, Porsche, GM, Ford, and others,” says Ted Annis, manager and co-founder of Transducing Energy Devices, LLC (www.tedmagnetics.com) in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Environmental, economical and market factors will meet to make the electric car prominent in the American culture.”

LMC forecasts gasoline-powered engines will still make up about 85 percent of U.S. new car sales in 2025, but that electric cars’ market share will continue to accelerate. Bloomsberg New Energy Finance’s Electric Vehicle Outlook 2017 projects electric cars will comprise over 50 percent in sales of new light-duty vehicles by 2035.

Annis gives four advantages of an electric car that will increase its popularity:

  • Fuel cost savings. Electric cars are entirely charged by the electricity you provide, meaning you don’t need to buy any gas ever again. An average American spends $ 2,000 to $ 4,000 on gas each year. “From the gas standpoint alone, the electric car makes a lot of sense,” Annis says. “Keeping these cars charged isn’t free, but overall the electric car is far cheaper in operating costs.”
  • Environmentally-friendly. Cars and trucks are responsible for roughly 24 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, according to Scientific American. With no emissions, electric cars are eco-friendly as they run on electrically powered engines. “The growing popularity of these cars is partly an outgrowth of our global environmental concerns,” Annis says. “You’ll be contributing to a green climate. And some manufacturers will offer incentives through the government for going green.”
  • Low maintenance. No more oil changes, spark-plug replacements, or the many repair possibilities associated with an internal combustion engine and transmission. The electric car motor has far fewer moving parts. Brakes on electric cars receive less wear and tear. “Expensive engine work is a thing of past,” Annis says.
  • Quiet. Engines of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles contribute to noise pollution, which is harmful to health. A study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reported that nearly 100 million Americans had annual exposures to traffic noise that were high enough to be harmful. Electric vehicles are extremely quiet.

“The advantages are many,” Annis says. “Technology tailored to a changing consumer base is steadily making improvements in electric cars, and in the next decade the roads will be filled with them.”

About Ted Annis

Ted Annis (www.tedmagnetics.com) is the manager and co-founder of Transducing  Energy Devices, LLC, which is engaged in the research and  development of a fuel-less electricity energy device. He received a BS in physics and an MBA at Xavier University. He formerly was with Ford Motor Company and was CEO and co-founder of SupplyTech, Inc.

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Maritz Motivation Solutions, Harvard Researchers Find Transparency in Ad Targeting Benefits Engagement

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Maritz Motivation Solutions, a leader in providing consumer and channel loyalty, employee engagement and sales incentive programs to U.S. and global companies, partnered with researchers at Harvard Business School for an academic study published in the Harvard Business Review.

The study found that when marketers are transparent in communicating how they have used customer data to target advertising messages, customer engagement and purchasing increases.

People are increasingly concerned about how their data is being used by marketers – especially in the online environment. In Ads That Don’t Overstep, Harvard Business Review authors Leslie K. John, Tami Kim and Kate Barasz examined consumer reactions to marketers’ use of personal data for ad targeting, and offered guidelines for marketers on effective targeting based on what customers consider acceptable. For the study, Maritz Motivation Solutions provided the field data for two tests focused on transparency conducted on RewardSphere, the company’s online rewards site.

The two experiments varied the language on the product detail page. In the first one, half the audience saw “recommended” items, while the language for the other visitors was more transparent saying, “recommended based on your clicks on our site.” With this language, visitors were 11% more likely to select and click on items and spent 34% more time on the recommended products page. They also spent 38% more on recommended items.

This experiment demonstrates that customers feel more comfortable and are more engaged when they know that recommendations are based on information related to their behavior on a website they trust – rather than having that information come from other, less trusted or unknown sources.

The second experiment was similar but used different language. Like the first experiment, half the audience saw “recommended” items, but the language for the other visitors was “recommended based on what you’ve shared with us.”

The more transparent language highlighted that recommendations were based on information visitors had explicitly provided about themselves – with the result being that they were 40% more likely to select and click on items, and spent 31% more time on the recommended products page.

The Maritz Motivation Solutions experiments spotlight the benefits companies can realize by increasing transparency in an environment where trust is already high, such as a customer loyalty or employee engagement program.

For more insight, check out this case study about the experiment.

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