Recap: Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) 2017

Written by: on September 28, 2017

Key Themes & Trends We Heard at MWCA 2017

Mobile World Congress took the event to America this year, specifically to the Golden City. The venue’s floor was full of new products, startup services, and a slew of conversations around technology and mobile. We mostly enjoyed attending MWCA’s partner sessions, especially those hosted by Bottle Rocket and The Mobile Growth House.

“Mobile Product Owners Guide to the Universe” by Bottle Rocket

Bottle Rocket, a fellow WPP mobile studio, hosted an all-day thought leadership session, “Mobile Product Owner’s Guide to the Universe.” The event had high attendance, featured an amazing lineup of speakers, and covered some engaging topics that left attendees with a few key takeaways.

How to Build an App? Before you begin building an app, make sure you really understand the brand and how customers engage with it. What you’re about to build should add value to the customer journey, otherwise, why build it? It’s also crucial to consider the most important features to release with, and then where to take the app from there. Start with something simple that works, and iterate on that later. You’ll first need to build awareness and identify your most valuable customers before creating more complex experiences. Be sure to also consider these problems that your app’s architecture should solve.

Augmented Reality: With the release of iOS 11 and Apple’s commitment to AR on iPhone, and with Google’s upcoming ARCore for Android, now is the time to investigate if an AR experience is good for your brand. Even minor investments can garner attention because this is such newsworthy technology right now. One of the most successful examples is IKEA’s new AR app that allows you to place furniture in your room before you buy. As with all things mobile, make sure you have a compelling-enough story before committing budget to AR.

POSSIBLE Mobile is especially excited about AR and building apps with ARKit. While starting to experiment early, we created a POC for our client, the PGA TOUR, and are looking forward to getting products to market. Check out the demo we built of a 3D golf course model here.

App Search Optimization (ASO): It’s time to jump all over Apple’s documentation for iOS 11. If you haven’t done this yet, you’re behind. In the new App Store with iOS 11, there are now opportunities to be featured in editorial. Apple’s App Store redesign will make it much easier for users to discover and download your app. Even with App Store changes, it remains important to support your app with other marketing channels, and to have a clear vision on the value you provide to your users.

If you’re a marketer and are wondering how the new App Store is going to affect you and your brand, check out this article by POSSIBLE Mobile’s Senior Strategist, Jeff Hasen.

RCS, Does it Matter? Rich Communication Services (RCS) creates an interactive experience that integrates text, video, graphics, and buttons into an SMS inbox. While some may think that RCS is going to replace apps, it’s actually going to be complementary, enabling brands to reach consumers even more with rich content, without asking them to download an app. This experience will be appropriate in some contexts—for example, with RCS, brands can directly deliver tickets and vouchers, boarding passes, terminal maps, visual status updates for flights, instruction videos from customer service teams, and more.

BottleRocket’s full-day event was a hit at this year’s MWCA. We enjoyed listening to several thought leaders discuss industry trends and we’re already excited for what’s in store at next year’s MWCA.

“Aha Moments in App Marketing” by The Mobile Growth House

The Mobile Growth House also hosted a half-day event called “Aha Moments in App Marketing.” The session featured several leaders from the app marketing industry, including a few of POSSIBLE Mobile partners like Urban Airship.

How Product-Led Companies are Taking Over the World: The first session, hosted by Amplitude, featured a fireside chat between Sandhya Hegde, Director of Product at Amplitude, and Katherine Kornas, Group Project Manager at Pandora. The session’s discussion focused on how product-led, and customer experience-centered companies such as Pandora are taking over the world by investing in mobile and 2nd-generation web applications. Sandhya recommends making sure you look beyond the features and ship end-to-end customer experiences, give your teams and tools the power they need to move fast, always measure your success, and communicate that success across your entire organization so the progress towards goals is transparent.

What’s Driving Mobile Growth Today? Next we listened to Alyssa Meritt, Head of Strategic Consulting at Urban Airship, lead a panel with Lisa Ajdini, Director of Mobile Strategy at Caesars Entertainment, and Shannon McKenzie, Director of Product Development at NBC Sports. They discussed best practices in mobile marketing, beginning with strategies for getting users to keep an app on their phone. Their advice: stay with the user. Keep the content relevant and personable. While sending relevant content to the user at specific times throughout their day is key, users also have an emotional connection to stories. If you can figure out how to weave stories into the app experience, it can be powerful for user retention rates. The panelists also recommend finding ways to entice your users to come back into your app themselves, instead of constantly trying to interact with them. 

Lisa and Shannon also discussed how to retain ongoing engagement past a certain point of interest (a sporting event, a vacation, etc.). They advised offering up a parallel interest—what else would your users be interested in if they’re interested in X? Curate the experience for your user, and don’t tell them things they already know.

Lastly, the panel covered best approaches for narrowing down your app’s focus. Monitoring Twitter feeds, support channels, and app store reviews to see where your app isn’t serving your customers can be extremely valuable when it comes to improving customer satisfaction. Users will tell you very quickly if you app isn’t performing well. Take these critiques, prioritize them, and put them on your product roadmap.

Thank you to Bottle Rocket, TMGA, and all of the people involved in these sessions at MWCA 2017. We were impressed with the content, and are looking forward to Mobile World Congress Barcelona in 2018. We hope to see you there.

Interested in chatting with a mobile expert on how you can improve your app strategy? Please email, we’d be happy to help.

Alex Austin

Alex Austin

Alex Austin is a Content Strategist at POSSIBLE Mobile, a leading mobile app agency. Alex has experience with social media marketing, writing strategic content, and helping to lead new business efforts. When not working, you can find Alex on the mountain or enjoying a good book.

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