Mobile Apps

5 Things Agencies Should Know About Mobile

By: Vince Kattoula

Apps are one of the biggest things in tech. Whatever the technology, it’s almost a requirement that it has a smartphone component. There are over 2 million apps in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. And there’s still room for a phenomenon like Pokémon GO. Since its release a couple of weeks ago, the app has already passed 30M downloads and $35M in revenue.
At jacapps, we understand that the mobile scene can be overwhelming. So, here’s a list of things we think agencies should know about mobile:

  1. Time spent with mobile continues to grow. You probably already know this, but it’s important to reinforce. In 2015, the number of global mobile internet users exceeded half the world’s population. During that year, time spent on mobile devices increased 117% from the previous year. Furthermore, time spent on phablets (larger, tablet-like phones) grew 334% year-over-year, or almost three times the average. For advertisers and marketers the best way to reach your targeted audience is on mobile.
  2. Mobile keeps users engaged. Nowadays, nearly anything you can imagine doing can be done using a mobile device. Ask yourself this question: Is my app integrated into the rest of my audience’s digital life? If your app fails to address how your consumers want to engage with your brand, you’re failing.
  3. There’s revenue to be made. And a lot of it. In fact, by 2020, consumers are projected to spend over $101 billion on mobile apps via app stores. This means that the annual gross revenue from mobile apps may double in just four years. If your client’s brand doesn’t have an app yet, or even worse – has an app that isn’t optimized for monetization, you are missing out on an opportunity to add revenue to your client’s bottom line.

  1. Mobile isn’t just about smartphones anymore. While the phone is still at the center of the mobile ecosystem, there are lots of other devices getting in on the act. Media and marketers need to be thinking about things like the automotive entertainment system, smart TVs, wearables, and the whole universe of devices that make up the Internet of things.
  2. Be picky about choosing your app developer. Many agencies know about mobile only from a user standpoint. And, since many agencies don’t have the necessary resources to develop mobile apps themselves, often times they turn to a third party app developer. Unfortunately, not all mobile app developers are the same, which means that asking the right questions can prove vital. Asking specific questions can definitely help your agency understand whether or not the app developer is a right fit for your organization.

If you want input on your mobile strategy, or want to learn more about monetizing your mobile assets give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email

Mobile Apps

Apple’s “Planet of the Apps” is Actually Happening

By: Vince Kattoula

Apple on Sunday celebrated its App Store’s eighth birthday. While we didn’t know what to expect at the time, we now know one thing – Apps are here, and they’re here to stay!

We learned a few months ago that Apple has been working on an unscripted television show that revolves around mobile apps, specifically app developers. Recording artist and record producer has teamed up with executive producers Ben Silverman and Howard Owens to finally make this a reality. This is the first time that the Cupertino-based tech giant has moved forward with a full-blown series of original content.

The purpose of the show is to discuss with app developers, who have the vision to shape the future, how they can solve real problems and inspire change within our daily lives. Participation in the show is limited to 100 of the world’s most talented app creators. According to the company’s website, Planet of the Apps isn’t just a show, it’s a launch pad and accelerator for exceptional developers. Members of the show will get a chance to receive:

  • Mentorship: Hands-on guidance from some of the world’s best experts in tech and entertainment.
  • Funding: Those who make it to the final round will meet with top-tier VCs investing up to $10m over the course of the season.
  • Marketing and Promotion: Featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show. Also, the potential to reach millions of viewers around the world on Apple platforms.

Online applications are being accepted now through Friday, August 26. A page on the show’s website states that Planet of the Apps will be visiting the tech hubs of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. The inaugural season will take place in Los Angeles and film over a non-consecutive period from late 2016 to early 2017.

If you want input on your mobile strategy, or want to learn more about monetizing your mobile assets give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email

Mobile Apps

Happy Birthday, Dear App Store!

By: Bob Kernen

This past Sunday was the eighth anniversary of Apple’s launch of the App Store. It was originally part of an add-on to iTunes (remember that?) and designed to enable iPhone users to download small pieces of software (apps) that would provide all manner of tools and toys to make their iPhone more useful. Essentially, it did for the iPhone what iTunes had done for music – made it simple and easy to get what you wanted whenever you wanted it.

But the road to apps was circuitous for Apple. The iPhone first came out a year earlier in 2007. While it was a hit, it was not a breakthrough device for Apple. A big sticking point was Steve Jobs’ reluctance to allow third party app developers (like us) to create mobile applications for iPhone. In fact, Forbes contributor, Mark Rogowsky, calls it Jobs’ “biggest blunder.”

In his Steve Jobs biography, Walter Isaacson tells the story of how Apple board member Art Levinson phoned Jobs a dozen times to lobby on behalf of outside developers creating apps for the iPhone. The rest, as they say, is history.

Amazingly, Apple’s App Store launched with just 522 apps. Of those, 80% came with a price tag of at least 99¢. That trend has reversed as most apps now are free. As Statista’s dynamic chart shows, there are now 2 million mobile apps in the App Store. And Apple takes a 30% cut of all revenue produced in these apps.  For them – and for us – apps have turned out to be a pretty scalable business model.

The late Gordie Howe would agree this trajectory is even better than so-called “hockey stick growth.”

Once those apps were out in the world, people fell in love, and before long, Apple was selling its iPhone 3 with a catchy ad campaign pointing out that, “There’s an app for that.” And there was. Things quickly evolved from apps that mimicked the sound of flatulence to ones that told you just how many calories you were burning, or that made the concept of “getting lost” obsolete.

Of course it wasn’t long before Google jumped into the game with its Android platform, and we were off to the app races. Over the past eight years, everything from time spent (almost 41 hours a month) to apps/phone (30+) has grown as we’ve become increasingly addicted to our phones and their many little tools. Today, the Facebook app accounts for the majority of the social network’s traffic, and mobile streaming recently passed desktop streaming in total hours delivered.

jacapps owes its very existence to the existence of the App Store. It was just 100 days after this Apple launch that jacapps was born, after an employee of our sister company Jacobs Media (and an iPhone early adopter), Tim Davis, declared, “We should make apps.”

Those guys saw it coming through their Techsurveys that clearly showed the meteoric rise of smartphones. Of course, jācapps was launched during the worst of the Great Recession, so you have to give the Jacobs Media team kudos for vision and nerve.

And they helped us better understand the public’s addiction to apps in the “Goin’ Mobile” ethnographic study they put together with Arbitron that provided depth, clarity, and human stories to the growing app culture.

So clearly the mobile app is no flash in the pan. Apps are here to stay, and in fact, have influenced the way software tools are delivered everywhere. Beyond smartphones, apps are now ubiquitous (in fact jācapps has addressed this with our App Everywhere℠ program). We develop apps that work in your car, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, on your television (like AppleTV), and even on your wrist (AppleWatch). Apps have thrived because they are efficient little problem solvers, and they keep evolving, and becoming ever more powerful and useful. It seems that today, everything’s an app.

And at any point in time, apps can become a runaway hit. Right now, the Pokémon GO app has an estimated 8 million downloads in the U.S. alone, netting $1.6 million in daily revenue. Yes, Apple (and Google) are collecting a lot of money from this phenomenon that just started a few short days ago but have become buzzworthy and very profitable.

So for us, the conversation of mobile apps is very much rooted in radio.  In the early years, many stations simply bought (or bartered for) the least expensive app they could find just to check off that digital requirement. Today, we’ve learned that a one-dimensional app or one that simply does not feature a great UX (User Experience) is tantamount to not having one at all.

Like everything else in the digital ecosphere, apps require a strategy, a strong connection to the brand, and a plan that includes marketing and revenue generation. With so many apps in both Apple and Google’s respective app stores, the bar has most definitely been raised.

The Apple App Store’s birthday means that jacapps will soon celebrate its 8th birthday, too. During this wild and woolly period, we’ve created more than 1,000 apps, and we’ve learned a ton about the space and what it means to the radio broadcasting industry.

So hats off to Apple for setting us all on this path. Yes, Virginia, there’s an app for that. The only question you have to answer (to quote another popular tech slogan) is: “Where do you want to go today?”

And I’ll be sure to use the Zippo Lighter app when jacapps’ birthday rolls around this fall.

If you want input on your mobile strategy, or want to learn more about monetizing your mobile assets give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email