Is Snapcash a Wise Move for Snapchat?

Earlier this week Snapchat announced ‘Snapcash’, a new feature that’ll enable users to make payments via Square. This will allow users to send money to each other through the messaging app after Snapchat and payment-processing firm Square unveiled their latest partnership. Square already has a similar platform on its app where friends can make payments to each other, and is called ‘Square Cash’. Ah so that’s where the name Snapcash comes from!

The service will initially be available to US users that are over 18, although for me there are two questions that this new feature poses. Firstly, is it secure? And secondly, why has Snapchat introduced this feature before other potential new features.

Snapchat has had security concerns before, such as users data being leaked, so it surprises me that they’ve introduced probably one of the most security sensitive aspects there is in the exchanging of payments. If simple data like your password is getting hacked, who knows what could happen to crucial bank details. I’m personally slightly sceptical, and wouldn’t really feel conformable about firstly exchanging money on Snapchat, and secondly via a mobile app in general. Additionally, with the problem of sexting and inappropriate images being sent between users, the chances of vulnerable under 18’s getting their bank details stolen rises.

Although having Square built into the system will add authenticity and quality to the security element and give the feature much better safely and control. Also it’s quite a bold move by Snapchat which they should be commended for, as not many mobile apps have this feature so early on in their existence.

For me it’s strange that Snapchat has decided to introduce this payments system before any other major improvements. Obviously they’ve developed new features such as Snapchat Stories and Messaging, but there’s no sign of other aspects that might improve the app. These could include having longer snaps that you can save, creating a profile page or having a commercial platform on it. But the nature of Snapchat is to send snaps to your friends, so why not send payments, it’s still the same C2C theory.

So it’ll be interesting to see whether Snapcash takes off in the US, and then internationally. Will people trust it? Will it bring a whole new market and way of paying people? Or will it be a flop or just a basic feature we forget about.

Thanks for reading, please let me know your thoughts on Snapcash.

For more digital marketing and social media news, please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart 

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The Mobile Marketing Mix (MMM)

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We’ve all heard of the traditional marketing mix, but there hasn’t been much work done on a mobile version of this. As a result this blog is going to provide a nice summary of the elements that make up the mobile marketing landscape, and creatively called the ‘Mobile Marketing Mix’, or MMM!

(1) Apps

In the past if you’d said ‘App’ you might think there’s two letters, ‘L’ and ‘E’ missing from it, or that it’s half of a fruit. But it is in fact short for ‘Applications’. Yes, that’s where the word App comes from, who’d have thought it. So an app is a small piece of software that performs a certain action. Whether that’s a social network, a calculator, the news, a game or a map, these apps have an intended purpose, and are either pre-installed on your smartphone or can be downloaded from an App store.

(2) Mobile Advertising

One thing that mobile apps bring is the opportunity for adverts to be displayed on them. Just like ads have appeared on websites, nowadays gaining extra revenue from mobile ads has become not optional but compulsory. The great thing about mobile ads is the company can ‘own’ that small screen. Whereas on a website there might be a few ads popping up, on a mobile ad most likely only one can appear.

Mobile ads can come in four forms:

Mobile banners and displays: graphical images or text that could include rich media

Mobile PPC: ad appears when you search for something in the paid listings

Contextual mobile ads: similar to PPC,but more on websites/apps rather than search listings

Idle screen advertising: ads shown while the user is waiting for a page or app to download

(3) M-Commerce

After the word E-commerce was coined from buying online, the term has been applied to the mobile world. Mobile Commerce is the act of purchasing a product or service through your phone. So that could be anything from purchasing shoes from M&S to train tickets from the Trainline. As long as it’s purchased via a phone device, it can be called M-Commerce.

M-Commerce has revolutionised buying online as you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere. M-Commerce sales are rising rapidly and will more than likely explode over the next few years. Although the security aspect of buying via your phone is still a worry for some.

(4) QR Codes

Known formally as Quick Response Codes or informally as QR Codes, these have become an ever growing aspect of the mobile landscape.  A QR code is a barcode that can appear on paper, a product or a billboard, and can be read using a smartphone or a dedicated QR reading device and contains a URL within it. So once you’ve captured the QR code the link could take you to anything from a website to a message or to a special offer. The mysteries of the QR code!

(5) Mobile Coupons

A mobile coupon is an electronic ticket or message sent to someone’s mobile phone usually via a SMS or MMS text for the person to redeem an offer or gain a discount on a product or service. This is a great way to drive either footfall to your store or traffic to your website. Mobile coupons are usually well targeted as they either know you’d be interested in the offer, or you’re in the local area and could take advantage of it.

For instance, you could receive a SMS text to get a 20% discount off a pizza at the Pizza Express ten minutes away; a fantastic way to solve your dinner problems!

(6) Location Based Mobile Marketing

There are kind of two elements to this. The first is interrelated with the previous point about mobile coupons and being in the right location to redeem them. Targeted advertising using GPS is a fantastic way to reach a vast audience and is growing fast!

The second part combines two aspects, apps or websites with location. The main example of this is Foursquare where the app allows you to post an update of where you are. Additionally, Facebooks ‘Check in’ and other social networks location finders have integrated mobile and location together to enable you to tell the world where you are.

(7) Mobile Payments

Picture the situation, your friend wants to buy something online but has run out of money, or someone owes you money. Instead of waiting ages for the cheque to clear you can now make that payment quickly through your mobile. That’s because by downloading an app money can be transferred into your account instantly through the power of your mobile device. Great! No more waiting needed!

(8) Mobile Websites

The eighth and final aspect of MMM is mobile optimised websites, so now we aren’t talking about apps, but more websites that accommodate mobile. For instance, http://m.bbc.co.uk/news is the BBC News mobile site. If you typed this into a search engine on your mobile then this would be the interface you’d see. The site is more compressed with design, usability and navigation features that enable the site to be viewed from a small screen on a mobile. So although you can download a BBC News app there still must be a mobile website version created just in case you access the site from a search engine or another site.

However, we’ve all been there when there still isn’t a mobile optimised site! Frantically expanding and dragging the page up, down and across! Very annoying!

So there we have it. There’s an overview of the eight main elements of mobile marketing which in some way all interrelate. There’s no question that mobile marketing is increasing and probably by next year this list and the mobile marketing mix would have increased further!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For further digital marketing and social media news please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.