All posts in “mobile”

Things That Don’t Need to Be on TV: Draw Something

Michelle McCudden is a Client Engagement Director on the Client Strategy & Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @mmccudden1

Draw Something took off quickly after its February launch, amassing 50 million downloads in only 50 days post-launch, leading many to call it the “fastest growing mobile game ever”. Its creator, OMGPOP, was sold in March to Zynga for the tune of approximately $200 million based on the strength and popularity of Draw Something. Shortly thereafter, there was a shift. Daily users began to drop. According to AppData, they’re down to just 5 million daily active users, down from 14.6 million at its peak on April 3. This drop continues, despite updates to the gameplay and features.

It’s hard to pinpoint the precise cause of the drop in popularity. Different spectators have attributed it to repetitive gameplay, the ability to “cheat” the system, or simply the novelty wearing off. However, the recent updates have addressed at least a few of those issues (updates included more clues, a new look, the ability to draw from different categories, and notifications), so we may see Draw Something’s numbers rise, though surely not to its highs from this spring.

There’s now a new project in the works, attempting to capitalize on what made it so popular in the first place. CBS recently won rights to a project developed by Sony Pictures Television, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Embassy Row to turn the once immensely popular Draw Something game into a TV show.

Why It Could Work:

  • The conceit of the game was extremely popular, and had broad appeal, a key factor for ratings-based success.
  • Similar shows have seen success. Win, Lose or Draw lasted for three seasons on NBC and in syndication, and attracted some big-name guest stars. (If you don’t remember the show, check out the video below, with guest stars Alan Thicke, Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson. Even if you do remember the show, the vintage Coke commercial and Loni Anderson’s wardrobe are worth a peek.)

Why It Probably Won’t:

  • America had this show, 20 years ago. Has anyone been clamoring for a Win, Lose or Draw revival?
  • There’s a challenge inherent to translating the gameplay of Draw Something to television—to differentiate it from Win, Lose or Draw or Pictionary will mean successfully translating the experience of drawing something on your mobile device to the screen. That’s not an easy task.
  • Please see: $#*! My Dad Says for our last internet phenomenon translated for TV.

Are you still playing Draw Something? Are you interested in following it to TV?

RIM Taking It To The Streets


Patrick Gladney is Director, Research & Insights at Social Media Group. Follow @pgladney.

In Canada, we take pride in companies that that challenge our traditional description of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”   Over the past decade, we’ve been particularly fascinated by Research In Motion.  Unfortunately of late, our fascination with RIM has been more like watching a car crash.

Domestic market share is being dramatically eroded by Apple and Android.  The Playbook has yet to get a foothold in the tablet market. The Blackberry App World languishes in relative obscurity. Co-founders and CEO’s Mike Lazardis and Jim Balsillie are pushed out as the company seeks to alter its trajectory.  Tough times indeed.

But sometimes, desperate times call for dramatic measures.  As proof, witness the marketing stunt pulled by RIM in Sydney last week.  The company simulated a protest outside an Apple store imploring customers inside to “Wake Up.”    There just so happened to be a popular tech-blogger onsite there to record the protest:

It wasn’t abundantly clear at the time who was doing the waking, or what people were being instructed to wake up to.  But the mystery was successful in generating interest and awareness of the event as people speculated who might be responsible for staging such an event. The first suspect was Apple’s most formidable competitor Samsung, who not too long ago created a commercial of their own where characters were lured out of a line up outside of an Apple store in favour of one of their Galaxy phones.

Unwilling to cede credit, RIM finally owned up to the rally.  And then the claws came out.  Bloggers, followed by the traditional media roundly criticized RIM for orchestrating a stunt that “smacks of desperation” and suggested that “insulting the customer base that you’re trying to woo might not be the best marketing strategy.”

In my view, as shared with the Toronto Star, the RIM rally was a success.  The goal for this tactic was nothing more than to create awareness by leveraging  a market leader’s brand equity.  With half a million YouTube views in a week, I’d say not bad.  While the style of execution may seem inelegant to some, RIM clearly needs to disrupt the market inertia that currently plagues Blackberry.  The weakness to this execution is that there was nothing new that RIM could hold up as tangible evidence for consumers to reconsider their products.  It would have been better if this event could have been supported by substantive news like the release of the new operating system (BB10) that’s been in development since the acquisition of QNX in 2010.

What do you think of RIM’s latest gambit?


The Future of Advertising at a Glance

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at
Social Media Group.

No, I’m not talking about Catvertising. The online advertising landscape is changing at a staggering pace. A recent report from mobile analytics company Flurry provides a great visualization that illustrates how long consumers spend consuming TV, Print, Radio, Web, and Mobile media against how much advertisers are actually spending within each media category.

The results are clear. Print advertising is getting a substantial amount of advertising dollars, but consumers are no longer spending much time consuming that type of content.

Mobile and Web categories are where things get interesting, showing huge gaps between advertising spend and consumer time on each medium. Advertisers continue to pour money into traditional mediums, despite the fact that mobile and web platforms offer better engagement opportunities. This trend cannot sustain itself. Sooner or later, all advertisers should understand that their advertising budgets need to be adjusted to compensate for the migration to web, social media, and mobile platforms.

Media Spend vs COnsumer Time on Media

Mobile & Tablets

Mobile is a different advertising beast compared to traditional search and display ad units, and it’s projected that in 2012 mobile ad spend will reach $6.5 billion! The question is not whether your company should invest in mobile advertising, it’s how much should be invested.

Currently, the total amount of mobile ad impressions being served is somewhat limited. This is a result of mobile advertising still being in an infant stage, and also because screen real estate on smartphones and tablets is much smaller than the average computer screen, reducing the amount of total amount of ad impressions per page view. The limitation of available impressions is not necessarily a bad thing, however, since it will motivate advertisers to ensure ads and content are highly relevant to the audience being served.

Marin Software reports that ad clicks coming from smartphones cost 35% less per click, and produce 72% higher click through rates compared to desktop advertising. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story—Marin also reports that computers and tablets produce conversion rates that are 160%, and 145% higher than smartphones, respectively.


Although the gaps in conversion rates are wide, it should be noted that smartphone conversion tracking can be much more difficult to achieve in comparison to standard desktop ads. Leo J. Shapiro and Associates has recently reported that 66% of smartphone owners use their devices to research products while shopping. If customers make their purchase in-store rather than online, this would result in conversions that cannot be tracked back to a mobile ad – essentially lowering mobile ad ROI.

Mobile ads are not just about search either. Neilsen recently released a study which states that Android users spend twice the amount of time in apps compared to the mobile web. This puts even more pressure on brands to ensure their mobile advertising strategy includes 3rd party mobile ad networks such as AdMob or iAd.

My point is that mobile and web advertising is where real growth is happening. It’s essential for advertisers to start exploring new ways to serve ads in mobile search, within apps, and on various social media networks to truly understand what budgets are required to achieve specific campaign goals (be that awareness or conversion). Now, if only those cool cats at the new Catvertising agency could figure out how to use a mobile phones and tablets…

Cat Tablet



Instagram for Android: Love at first download

James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

Follow @jamescooper

I’m at a loss for words to describe how happy I am to finally have the Instagram app for Android. For months, I’ve listened to my iPhone-toting colleagues rave about Instagram. All this time, I have felt alienated while eking out a meagre digital photo existence on my Samsumg Galaxy SII.

No more. Now I have the power of Instagram in my hand.

Instagram app for Android on screen of Samsung Galaxy SII in palm of hand

Instagram in my hand (Photo: Karly Gaffney)

The app is one of the most anticipated releases in Android history. If you use your Android phone as a camera, you should definitely take it for a spin.

After using the app for a couple of days, I must admit that, as Alexia Tsotsis puts it in her TechCrunch post, “the app is pretty simple, and that’s what makes it amazing.”

To summarize my current knowledge of photography:

  1. I know which way to point the camera
  2. I know that lighting matters
  3. I know that cameras should not be used after the first hour of any cocktail party

That said, I think this app has the potential to turn me (and many other Android users) into a hobbyist photographer extraordinaire.

What does Android mean for Instagram?

After only 18 months on the market, Instagram has surpassed 30 million registered users. With Android at 500 million activations and accounting for 50 percent of smartphone market share in the US, the mobile OS has huge implications for Instagram.

As Tsotsis points out, “Facebook took about four years to reach its first 100 million; The idea of Instagram becoming the world’s first formidable, mobile-only social network is extremely compelling.”

What does Instagram mean for brands?

Lindsay Stanford made a case for Instagram as a content machine for brands in a previous SMG blog post. In her post, she provides some great examples of how brands and bands have used Instagram to drive engagement with friends, fans and followers.

Now that Instagram is available on both Android and iOS, I think that marketers, if they’re not doing so already, should put some serious thought into how they might work Instagram into their strategies.

Here’s one of my first Instagrams, which was taken in SMG’s back alley:

Street art graffiti of woman's head on octopus body on brick wall in alley

Armoured Soul street art in SMG's back alley (Photo: James Cooper)

Here’s my Instagram of SMG’s nameplate in our Toronto office:

Social Media Group nameplate with reflection of office in glass

SMG's nameplate with reflection of office in glass (Photo: James Cooper)

Download the app for yourself — it works with Android version 2.2 and higher and it’s free.

What do you think of Instagram for Android?

What is Google+?

Recently I’ve been thinking that social networks are getting a little too messy. I’ve felt it’s time for another big shift in how people communicate, and I’d love to see companies start to pull all the small pieces together – That’s why I’m so interested in the new Google+ project.

Google + image

Google has attempted many things to encourage users to spend more time using Google products doing activities other than searching. While Gmail, Chrome and Android have been very successful, we all remember the flop known Google Wave. On Tuesday, June 26th, Google started a very limited field test for their latest social network project, Google+,and unveiled the first five features: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle.

Please see the video below for a quick tour:


Everyone is saying that the project is Google’s answer to Facebook. However, there are couple of signs showing that it could be much, much more than that. Google+ could be the centerpiece to Google’s entire strategic map to link search, social, and mobile together in a seamless and intuitive package.

Google+ was developed by Google’s internal team, unlike Google Wave, which was outsourced to an Australia-based team in 2009. Google+ is the result of a year-long project led by Google’s SVP of Social, Vic Gundotra, and hundreds of Google engineers. It involves almost EVERY Google product. Google is already showing a very strong commitment to this project.

Google made significant changes to its user interface (UI), likely in order to accommodate Google+.  And remember, historically Google has been really conservative in changing their minimalist webpage, adding a black navigation bar at the top is definitely a big step for them.

Google+ is also a mobile app. By making use of Android’s dominance in the mobile OS market, Google+ has the potential to become an integral part of the Android experience, and will easily end up in the hands of all the existing users.

The key for Google is to figure out how to leverage the huge number of Gmail users. They have to identify and focus on people’s real needs for a social network, while providing the best product experience that links social, search and mobile together.

Here is the question I’ll leave for everyone: Do you think you that you will ‘hang out’ more on Google than Facebook?

P.S. Check out the Google+ virtual tour to see more videos and experience it yourself !