What’s new in Basecamp 3.6 on iOS

This feature-packed release of Basecamp for iPhone and iPad is available in the App Store today. Here’s a look at what’s new.Improved attachments and sketchingIt all starts with a redesigned file picker. Tap the paperclip button anywhere in Basecamp to see clear buttons for each kind of thing you can attach. They’re all first-class — especially Sketch which got a big boost in this release. Now, before you upload an image to Basecamp you’ll have the option to draw on it first. It’s great for highlighting and making notes — or just having fun.Pick an image (left), tap ‘Sketch on image’, then add your drawings before uploading to Basecamp.In addition to sketching on images, we’ve also beefed-up the drawing tools. You can now choose the from 3 line weights and 5 colors to add variety and interest to your sketches. Also new: save your Basecamp sketches or share them to other apps.Works great with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, too.Drag and Drop Files on iPadOne of the coolest new features on iOS 11 is drag and drop and it’s now supported in Basecamp. You can now select one (or more) images from the Photos app, for example, and simply drop them into Basecamp! Here’s how it looks:Drag one or multiple files into Basecamp.Easier invitesAwhile back, inviting people to your projects got easier with the introduction of special links you could send to people that would automatically invite them to the project — no need to enter their name and email. On iOS we took that a step further. With one tap you can now share the URL with others via Messages, Email, Airdrop — or any other apps you use on iOS. It’s the easiest way to get people into your projects yet!iOS 11 updatesFinally this release includes several fixes and improvements for iOS 11. The most notable one is for people who were unable to upload images to Basecamp because they were using iOS 11’s new space-saving HEIC format. Now when you upload an HEIC image, Basecamp will automatically convert it to a compatible format (jpg). It all happens automatically and behind-the-scenes so you won’t have to do a thing—it just works!That’s all for now. We’re cooking up more for the next release. Stay tuned!As always, please keep your suggestions, feedback, and bug reports coming our way. We’ve got some neat stuff coming in the next version so if you’re interesting in seeing it before everyone else, we have a few openings in our private beta. Send us an email and we’ll invite you.❤️ The iOS Team at Basecamp, Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.What’s new in Basecamp 3.6 on iOS was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Probably a Good Thing

There is one area of technology that I have very little experience with and that’s AR/VR. It was only recently that I purchased one of the Google Cardboard headsets!
This area of technology is fascinating though and the recent iOS update and the growing number of AR apps in the App Store is fun to play with.

Just messing around.
This is one area of technology that I’m entirely behind the curve on and I think I’m okay with that. I’ve never even put on an Oculus rig yet and although I’ve seen YouTube videos of people’s experiences… it doesn’t excite me to go out and try it.
At some point I will and then I’m sure I’ll write something about it.
But, for now, I don’t mind observing and watching other people get deeply engaged with it. I’m okay with that. Sometimes being an observer is exactly what you’re supposed to do.
And, quite frankly, I don’t have any time (and that’s probably a good thing).
The post Probably a Good Thing appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

What’s new in Basecamp 3.5.4 for iOS

🍂 Fall is here, there’s a new version of iOS, and with it comes a new release to Basecamp for iPhone and iPad. It’s available in the App Store today. Here’s a brief look at what’s new:Quick jumpQuick jump is one of our favorite new things in Basecamp this year and we’re excited to bring it to iOS. It works exactly like the desktop version, especially on iPads with a keyboard attached (either 3rd party keyboards or iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard). Command + J to start. Arrow up/down. Enter to select. Type to filter. It’s just the same.Quick jump to projects, people, or recently visited items.It’s also available on as an experimental feature on iPhone. That’s an atypical approach for us so let me explain. As of today you can quick jump by swiping from the top edge of your iOS device with two fingers. It works pretty well but the gesture makes this feature hard to find on your own, it can be difficult to execute reliably, it gets overridden by a system gesture used by iOS’s Voice Over, and until we hold one in our hands, we’re unsure how well this gesture will hold up on the iPhone X.Quick-jump on iPhone. Swipe-down with two fingers to access recent items. Type to filter.That said we’ve been using it internally for weeks so we know it’s useful. Rather than hold it back until we have a better idea, until we get it perfect, we made the decision to ship it and see how it fares in the wild. To be successful this feature needs to be quickly and easily available anywhere you are in the app and today the best means to accomplish that is with a gesture which can be triggered anytime. We hope with daily use and your feedback, new solutions will present themselves. We’ll continue to evaluate and evolve in upcoming releases.Rich text editingIn our previous release we added support for the new rich Color tool. This time we’ve kept pace by adding support for the new Horizontal Rule tool. We also reversed our decision to match the Basecamp desktop and remove the indent/outdent tools. While normally it makes sense to offer the same tools on all platforms, it’s the tab key that made indent/outdent expendable on desktop. Without a tab key on iOS (unless you have an external keyboard) we left users with no way to indent. This update brings them back.Horizontal Rule, Outdent/Indent.Keyboard ShortcutsIn addition to command + J to quick jump we’ve added shortcuts for quickly opening the Home, Hey!, Activity and Find tabs on iPad.Hold the command key to see available shortcuts on iPad.Finally we included a few fixes for issues with iOS 11.As always, please keep your suggestions, feedback, and found bugs coming our way. We’ve got some neat stuff coming in the next version so if you’re interesting in seeing them before everyone else, we have a few openings in our private beta. Send us an email for details.❤️ The iOS Team at Basecamp, Tara Mann, Dylan Ginsburg, Zach Waugh, and me.What’s new in Basecamp 3.5.4 for iOS was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Look elsewhere

Don’t stare at your industry. Look in the opposite direction.Have you noticed that Instagram has been looking more and more like Snapchat lately (of course you have)? When companies compete, they tend to borrow from each other. It’s one big, paranoid loop.In software, people often turn to Apple for design inspiration. It makes sense — the company is wildly successful, it defines trends, and it pushes envelopes. But copying Apple doesn’t make you a trendsetter or a rule breaker. It makes you a follower. When everyone mimics Apple, everything tends to look the same. Apple’s clean and simple aesthetic is Apple’s — it’s not yours.So here’s my advice: Look outward. Turn away from your industry and venture beyond the business world for inspiration. If you’re about to make software, instead of checking out the Top 10 apps in the App Store, try looking through a book on architecture.Better yet, find a building that moves you and walk through it. Spend time understanding it. How do people flow from one part of the building to another? Is there signage? How do you know where you are in the building? How do you feel when you look at it from across the street? How does that feeling change when you walk inside? How do you feel when you leave?All those experiences and observations relate to designing software. It’s about thinking through an experience, not drawing exact parallels. For example, bronze elevator doors tell you there’s a heft and heaviness and seriousness to the building. They make you feel secure. Contrast that with flimsy elevator doors that shake when they close, which gives you a sense of unease. How does your software make someone feel?When I’m designing software, I try to draw from a variety of influences, including:NatureWant to find colors and patterns and shapes that go well together? Stop looking at catalogs of print designs or stock photos — look at trees and flowers and insects and animals. Their designs have been perfected over millions of years. They have beauty and utility figured out by now.WatchesAt their most basic, they all do the same thing — tell time with just three components: a minute hand, an hour hand, and markers on the dial. It turns out there are thousands of variations to accomplish this simple task, so don’t tell me there are only a few ways to display photos in your app.CarsI love looking at well-designed dashboards, instrument clusters, door handles, switches, and buttons. There’s so much to learn about what feels right and what falls flat. Sounds are telling as well — the engine, the snick of a manual shift, the click of the turn signal, the confident thud of a door that closes snug and tight. Those are all design features.ChairsA chair is such a basic device, but it can take thousands of forms. What does it feel like to sit in a chair that is nailed together, versus one that is seamlessly joined? What does a cotton-webbing seat feel like compared with wicker? Arms at different heights — or no arms at all?The details may be different in software, but the feelings are the same. Other companies may prefer a serious museum look, and there are plenty of products that resemble museum pieces. But if you want something that’s comfortable and welcoming, Basecamp’s going to be more your speed. It has a “come on in and get cozy,” living room feel, not a cold, modern, “don’t touch it or you’ll mess stuff up” vibe.So figure out what objects and places inspire you and immerse yourself in them. Pay attention to those details. Then, instead of imitating competitors, you just might find your voice.This article also appeared in the June 2017 issue of Inc. Magazine.Look elsewhere was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Hybrid integrationis how we give our teams of three superpowers

We just launched a major revamp of the schedule in Basecamp 3. New calendar grid, new day drill-down, new navigation across months. It’s a big change, and we rolled it out simultaneously across five platforms: Web, Windows Desktop, OS X Desktop, iOS, and Android.Three people did the work in less than six weeks.Not because they worked 120 hour weeks. Not because they’re polymath geniuses. Not because they outsourced the work to offshore programming farms.Three people launched a major new feature across five platforms in six weeks because of their hybrid-integrationsuperpowers. Powers derived from using basic web technologies, Rails, Turbolinks, and the Majestic Monolith.These six weeks included all sorts of experimentation, back-and-forth, and trade-offs. It was both research and development. A flexible, fluid spec that we honed as we went along.Can you even imagine trying to do coordinate five different native teams covering all those platforms simultaneously? Or how many people it would take? Or how long the schedule would be?This industry often speaks of the 10x developer, and not a lot about the 10x environment. I think the latter is much more reproducible. And in fact, most people who appear to be 10x developers were simply lucky enough to be working in a 10x environment.Hell, one of the three people on this scheduling team was even our awesome intern, David Newell. And we just had one main designer on the crew as well. So that’s one intern programmer, one senior programmer, and one senior designer delivering this major upgrade in six weeks.We don’t have any proprietary magic at Basecamp. We’re literally giving all these superpowers away for free. Turbolinks is open source. Rails is open source. The Majestic Monolith and Hybrid Development patterns are well publicized. It’s all right there for anyone who wants to be this productive.And sure, you probably could eek out the last few percent of interface fidelity if you went all native everywhere on a feature like this. But the price of going from 95% Good Enough to 100% Verified Native is orders of magnitude. Some times those orders are worth it, but the vast majority of the time, they’re not.Basecamp 3 currently carries a 4.5/5 rating in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play store. Both are hybrid apps powered by Turbolinks and backed by that Majestic Monolith of a Rails app. The results speak for themselves.Going with hybrid integrationhas been absolutely key to how Basecamp gets to stay small and still deliver an ace experience across all the major platforms. And you can do it too, if you dare to reject the dogma of All Native, Microservices, and the dark side of heavy client-side JavaScript MVCs.Hybrid integrationis how we give our teams of three superpowers was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Highrise 3.0 for iOS

For an app that’s been around since 2007, two iterations of its iOS app seems a bit on the light side. We agree. So today we have not just one announcement, but two:Highrise 3.0 for the iPhone is now available to everyone.It has the basics from before. Stay up to date on your team’s activity. Easily search your leads and quickly call, text, or get directions. Plan your day with tasks and follow-ups.And it has some important new features.Search leads by tag. View tags on contacts. See upcoming tasks when viewing a lead.Scroll through all of your tasks. Whether you have 2 or thousands of overdue or upcoming tasks… though we still can’t help you get them done. :)And more… like the ability to enter custom fields and choose from predefined values, dial incorrectly formatted international phone numbers, emoji, saved recent searches.Alas, it doesn’t have everything for everyone yet. Some will notice it doesn’t have Cases or Deals.But, our second announcement is that this is a whole rewrite of our mobile platform using C# and Microsoft’s Xamarin. This allows us to:update more frequentlyadd functionality easilyupdate it in parallel with our Android app. For those of you using the Android app from January, we have the same features headed your way soon!So we can get Deals and Cases added a lot easier now. Please stay tuned if that’s something you need. And if you want to hear more about our choice to use C# and Microsoft’s tools in our mobile development, here’s an interview with Michael Dwan our CTO.Here’s some feedback so far:Just Right (iankennedy) August 7, 2017 The perfect CRM for a small business with multiple offices. We use Highrise to coordinate several offices and hundreds of clients. The mobile app is great for entering quick notes or adding new contacts on the fly when out in the field. Take [conversation] out of email and put them in Highrisebody[data-twttr-rendered="true"] {background-color: transparent;}.twitter-tweet {margin: auto !important;}Lovin' the new @highrise iOS app! Great update! #CRM — @Dan_Agnewfunction notifyResize(height) {height = height ? height : document.documentElement.offsetHeight; var resized = false; if (window.donkey && donkey.resize) {donkey.resize(height); resized = true;}if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var obj = {iframe: window.frameElement, height: height}; parent._resizeIframe(obj); resized = true;}if (window.location && window.location.hash === "#amp=1" && window.parent && window.parent.postMessage) {window.parent.postMessage({sentinel: "amp", type: "embed-size", height: height}, "*");}if (window.webkit && window.webkit.messageHandlers && window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize) {window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize.postMessage(height); resized = true;}return resized;}twttr.events.bind('rendered', function (event) {notifyResize();}); twttr.events.bind('resize', function (event) {notifyResize();});if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var maxWidth = parseInt(window.frameElement.getAttribute("width")); if ( 500 < maxWidth) {window.frameElement.setAttribute("width", "500");}}body[data-twttr-rendered="true"] {background-color: transparent;}.twitter-tweet {margin: auto !important;}The iOS update to @highrise is a huge jump forward. Hope that it allows them to roll out other improvements. — @sphfunction notifyResize(height) {height = height ? height : document.documentElement.offsetHeight; var resized = false; if (window.donkey && donkey.resize) {donkey.resize(height); resized = true;}if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var obj = {iframe: window.frameElement, height: height}; parent._resizeIframe(obj); resized = true;}if (window.location && window.location.hash === "#amp=1" && window.parent && window.parent.postMessage) {window.parent.postMessage({sentinel: "amp", type: "embed-size", height: height}, "*");}if (window.webkit && window.webkit.messageHandlers && window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize) {window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize.postMessage(height); resized = true;}return resized;}twttr.events.bind('rendered', function (event) {notifyResize();}); twttr.events.bind('resize', function (event) {notifyResize();});if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var maxWidth = parseInt(window.frameElement.getAttribute("width")); if ( 500 < maxWidth) {window.frameElement.setAttribute("width", "500");}}If you enjoy it, we’d greatly appreciate a review on the App Store, and if you have any issues or feedback, there’s a Help & Feedback button in the app to send us your info.Download Highrise 3.0 for the iPhone.Highrise 3.0 for iOS was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

Crash Course: VR Design for N00bs

We have a tradition at Viget of experimenting with our own ideas, independent of client work. But, honestly, it’s been too long since we built something pointless. Today, we’re debuting our latest experiment in virtual reality—a WebVR adaptation of the classic circuit-board puzzle Lights Out. It’s a one-player game, with the objective of turning all the “lights” in the grid off.

[vimeo 228851698]

Sure, the final product is neat, but how did we get there?
Jumping into the VR metaverse is overwhelming. I was disappointed to find there are tons of libraries for developers—but very few centralized resources for designers. As creatives, we pride ourselves on our ability to apply design thinking to everything. So, where are all the thought leaders in VR design? There’s little to no consensus around even the most basic design standards—like typography or accessibility.
Basically, VR design is a wild west free-for-all.
However, instead of seeing this as a deterrent, I see it as a call to action. The more we create, the faster we learn. This is an opportunity to define the future web. Here’s a crash course to get started:
1. Know the difference between VR and WebVR
What’s the difference between VR and WebVR? The accessibility of the technology. WebVR doesn’t require any additional (very expensive) equipment to get started. All you need is a laptop, some WebGL chops, and a viewer—like Google Cardboard ($15). We actually did all of our prototyping with a Cardboard and the View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer ($40). WebVR is ideal for applications with light content and short user durations.
Better yet, users don’t even need to visit the app store. With WebVR, you can engage with the experience directly from your smartphone or desktop. Since it lives on the web, not in a native application, all viewers need is a simple hyperlink.

2. Put yourself in a box
Defining constraints in the beginning is essential. Frame them as actionable goals. For Lights Out, we wanted this experiment to be short and sweet. We decided on 3 constraints: we would build this for WebVR, Google Cardboard was our target device, and the project would last 4 weeks.
Aside from all the reasons why WebVR is awesome above, working with simple viewers like Google Cardboard afforded us energy to focus familiarizing ourselves with the basics—like integrating Microcosm with WebGL.
3. Before you sketch, read
Specifically, read Mike Alger’s paper on Visual Design Methods for VR. It’s the most comprehensive resource for volumetric user interfaces. While this paper primarily explores interface design of a VR-based operating system, his theories around content zones (pp. 36-46) were especially insightful for our exploration. If academic papers aren’t your thing, you can also watch his condensed VR Interface Design manifesto.
Leap Motion, a VR product company in San Francisco, also has a fantastic compendium of articles on everything from establishing space and perspective to sound design. This particular article dives into their initial explorations in user interface design.
4. Set up proper art boards
Sometimes the simplest tasks in a new medium are the hardest. I had to Google this. The width of your entire canvas should be 3600 pixels wide by 1800 pixels tall—which cleverly translates to 360° by 180°. Remember that only a portion of this segment is viewable at any given time. The dimension of the UI view is roughly 1,200x600 px. Here's an example of the setup I used for my UI. I denote these spaces as such in my working files:

5. Retina displays are not your friend
As we moved into prototyping, one of the first things we noticed was aliasing. As a result, I had to go back in and amend my designs to account for the low-fidelity output. Details like the fine, crisp lines had to quadruple in width and spacing.

6. Design and export textures in powers of two
If your interface contains any kind of SVG pattern, you’ll need to export them with sides equivalent to the power of 2 for optimization purposes. This is more efficient to store in video memory and easier for WebGL to map within the final geometry. Each side should be: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, or 2048 pixels. Refer to the Mozilla Developer Network for more context on using textures in WebGL.
Finally, accept the fact that whatever you make—it will probably be bad.
Do you remember what websites looked like in 1999? Shudder. No one really knew what they were doing. But that’s how you learn, by trying (and failing). I’m sure we’ll all laugh about the first VR experiences 10 years from now. They’ll be kitschy and nostalgic, like arcade games. Embrace it.

Prayash, the creative developer in this collaboration, is currently working on a WebVR tutorial as a follow-up to this article. Excited? Me too. Tweet @_prayash and tell him you can't wait to see it.
In case you missed it at the top, try Lights Out and tell us what you think. And if you beat level 2 let me know—I still haven't figured it out yet.

Source: VigetInspire

Someone Who Finishes

This is neat little tidbit of news (although it feels “big” for me, personally): Both MNML App and Desk App are featured in the Apps for Writers category in the Mac App Store.
And, as far as I know, I believe I’m the only one to have two apps simultaneously featured in a perennial category like this:

Apps for Writers!
I haven’t done any serious research about that possible fact so I’m probably wayyyyyy off, but regardless I am very grateful and humbled that they would put both of my indie projects in an area that has some very nice visibility.
But I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about a creative dilemma. I want to talk about starting and finishing.
You see, both MNML and Desk were and have been serious labors of love, as they say. My brother asked me the other day what I thought the total amount of time and financial capital has been invested into both projects over the last 4 years+ (I started documenting Desk in November of 2013 and MNML just over a year ago) and my paper-napkin math suggest well over $500k.
This number is mostly likely, actually, much higher, but, it’s really just conjecture, closer to a really, really bad guesstimate at this point in time.
! Featured in the “Journaling and Blogging” area specifically.
And, if I’m honest, I have loved and hated the journey, sometimes at the exact same time. When you build stuff for yourself you are, at the most fundamental level, you’re greatest critic and your biggest fan.
You see, in a strange way, you fall in love with the idea of what you want to build and then you start working on it and realize, at times, that you hate the result that’s been manifested. It’s as if the idea of the product was just simply better as an idea and not a real, moving product.
I’ve mentioned this before but it is the inescapable burden and curse of being a creative, an artist. Everything in your head is perfect and sublime. Everything that your body creates, that your hands form and mold and put together ultimately end up being a really shitty form of what you saw in your mind’s eye.
Every… single… time…
Listen. Know thyself. Learn more. Every single day.
Most folks quit when they realize it (and I don’t believe this is necessarily a bad thing). I think it’s entirely okay to throw away good work to make room for great work.
Something that I’ve conditioned myself to do, over time, is simply finish the job that I started, even if I end the work really badly or poorly. I have not always finished well, but, I am someone who finishes.
Most of the time it goes unnoticed and completely unrewarded, which is good and fine by the way. Some times, rarely, people notice and you get a few more clicks than you had originally anticipated.
This feels good just like a fresh glass of cold water on a hot day feels. It’s temporary and fleeting. Usually, my mind is already somewhere very, very far away and I’m already thinking about the next perfectly sublime idea that I hope, naively, that I won’t entirely fuck up this time.
Ship your art to the world. Give it light and breath.
But that is the artist’s dilemma. It is the question that gnaws at your very soul: Do you start and finish and live with the gross understanding that what we ultimately build and ship to the natural world will never be the supernatural version that we believed it could be?
Or do you start and hide your work, ashamed that it would never be what you thought it could be? I empathize with this, I really do. I understand, but, please realize and understand that building and creating and shipping something publicly is a gift that you can give to the world, in every form, perfect and imperfect.
Continue to ship those special, unique gifts. Be someone who finishes.
The post Someone Who Finishes appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

What’s new in Basecamp for iOS

Basecamp 3.5.1 is now available in the App Store. If you’re already a pro with Basecamp on your iPhone and iPad, you’re going to love this release. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is a great time to start taking advantage of these new time-saving features. While you’re installing the latest update, read this quick look at what’s new…Swipe for your next unreadWhen you’ve got a bunch of unreads on Hey! and you’re cranking through them, it can feel like a chore to tap an unread, read it, then go back and tap the next one. Now you can simply tap an unread and when you’re done reading it, swipe-left to go to the next one! Repeat until you’re done. Here’s how it looks:1. Tap an unread, 2. Tap OK, 3. Swipe-left to load the next one!Search inside BasecampYou probably already know you can swipe-down or swipe-left from the Home screen on your iOS device to search for apps, contacts, events, emails, messages, etc. Now Basecamp Projects, Teams and People also appear in these results. Want to Ping Mark? Just type his name into iOS Search to jump right to his profile card. It’s nice time-saver and handy shortcut to launching Basecamp right to the place you want to go.Find someone in Basecamp and jump right to their profile. You can also search for Projects and Teams to reach them directly.My ScheduleIt’s new on your Home tab in Basecamp under My Stuff. See everything scheduled for you across all of your projects and teams in one place. You can also see this on the iOS Search screen when you enable the Basecamp widget that’s already installed if you have the Basecamp app.My schedule across all projects. Also available in the iOS Widget.Support for iOS 11If you’re running a integrationbuild of iOS 11 or joined the just announced public beta, this release fixes a few issues we discovered. While we can’t offer full support for an unreleased version of iOS, we do our best to keep things working smoothly if at all possible.Basecamp 3 for iOS is made by me, Dylan Ginsburg, Tara Mann, Zach Waugh and the rest of the team at Basecamp. It’s also available on Android, Mac, and Windows — anywhere you’ve got a web browser and an internet connection. You can try Basecamp free for 30 days, it just takes just a minute to sign-up.What’s new in Basecamp for iOS was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

A Year’s Work

Much of my life can be measured by domain registration dates and renewals.
If that hits too close to home… well… then you know what I’m talking about.

So much of my life has been on the internet… building things and creating and viewing and consuming and it’s been the former that’s been a huge part of how I give and extract value.
It’s how I’ve financed a growing family and the many adventures that I’ve had professionally through many, many geographical moves. It’s how I’ve gotten a lot of pleasure in and out of life and I think I’m only getting started.
And I’m reminded of all of this when I get emails in my inbox about the domains and registrations that I’ve made along the way, some of which I continue to keep and some I let go of.
Domain Renewal
A year or so I decided to put together MNML App and so, like many times before, I registered a new domain name and hoped that the transaction and cost would be made up, somehow and some way, in the future.
If you’re like me, most of my domain name purchases have been a total waste of time and money as most of them never see the light of day and my compulsion to purchase the domain name was really the only leg that the project had to stand on.
The ones that make it, though, are the ones that have some history behind the decision and MNML App definitely had history. And, even more so, I was motivated to give the Apple Developer Ecosystem one final shot:
Renewing: Apple Developer Program
So, around the same time, I decided to renew my membership and see if I could put it to good use. I think I’ve come out on top and right now MNML App is enjoying 3 straight weeks of being Featured Worldwide on the Mac App Store.
Not bad… not bad.
It was a year’s work from start to finish… but, you and I both know that it was (and has been) much more than a year’s investment. It was the culmination of my experience, my past, my future ambitions, and a few critical decisions along the way that gave birth to a small indie project.
The outcomes are all luck, by the way… and those are very much secondary. I am happy to have put it out there and I’m honored and humbled that people are not only buying it but also using it to publish their own stories to share with others.
There’s something truly magical about that and it’s why I’m still building, still working on putting together projects of all sizes, small (like MNML and Desk) and then larger (like Pinpoint).
When you’re given an opportunity to help others succeed you should always say “Yes” because life suddenly becomes very, very meaningful when you do.
The post A Year’s Work appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

Google Assistant is Now Going Head to Head with Siri on iOS by @MattGSouthern

Google has officially launched Google Assistant as a standalone app in the iOS app store.The post Google Assistant is Now Going Head to Head with Siri on iOS by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/feed/

New in Basecamp 3 for iOS 3.4.1

You know that with the Android app getting updated so recently, that an update to the iOS app was not far behind. In fact, the iOS team (Jason Z, Tara, Dylan and Zach) launched the latest version last week! It’s got a sweet set of new features I’m excited to share with you.Hey! Who Moved My Pings?In previous versions of the app, Pings were a little harder to find and challenging to start. Now Pings are smartly located in the Hey section, right at the top. You’ll see a row of avatars for your most recent pings. You can quickly start a new one or swipe through previous Pings.You can also quick swipe on items in the Hey menu to mark them as read:Docs and Files List ViewThe team also added a list view for Docs & Files, with new file icons, smoother re-ordering, tap to preview images, and swipe to move and archive.https://medium.com/media/db8b86ef6deee8f9f11c7f1acb5ea7e6/hrefThese updates, along with a batch of the usual speed enhancement fixes, have made the iOS app better than ever! You can get the latest version of Basecamp for iPhone and iPad on the App store. If you like it, please leave a review! If you don’t have Basecamp 3 yet, get started with a 30 day free trial now.New in Basecamp 3 for iOS 3.4.1 was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: 37signals

👋🏼 Teeny Tokyo

I shared recently the release of MNML App which has had the good fortune of being Featured in the Mac App Store, which, of course, is fantastic.
But I also shared in that post that I’ve been in the process of focusing my efforts and time into just a few things now… and when I mean “a few” I’m being quite literal.

Right now my life is centered around my family and my startup. There’s this vlogging project that I’m working on as well but thankfully I’ve managed to create a daily workflow that has reduced the total number of hours per day to just a few, if not less than an hour total.
What I’ve done, essentially, is reduce my own personal expectations of myself which has psychologically reduced the anxiety and stress around this personal creative project and allowed me to just execute against original goal: Produce one video a day.
It was easy, then it became hard, and now it’s become easier again.
But, I’m on a tangent… part of the effort of focusing my time has meant removing all of the indie projects that I’ve been working by either finishing and launching them into the wild (a’la MNML App) or removing them entirely.
An example of this is Teeny Tokyo which I created almost 2 years ago. I was reminded of this with a recent email in my inbox that told me that the domain name was about to expire:

Consequently, I decided to remove the app from the store as part of my efforts to focus my time and energy.
Remove from the App Store
It was a great small indie project and I had fun putting it together. The financial outcome was small, especially compared to Desk App and even MNML App (already) but the point of shipping an independent project is not about fiscal outcomes, at least not for me.
I build because I can. I build to express myself in a specific way. I build because I need something for my own use. I scratch my own itch, as they say.
And then, when the itch is scratched… I can put it away and feel good about the time spent. It was well invested.
So, with that, goodbye Teeny Tokyo.
The Homepage…
Oh.. and the plush doll was pretty amazing, huh?
Teeny Tokyo!
The post 👋🏼 Teeny Tokyo appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

MNML: Featured Worldwide

Yesterday I quietly launched MNML App to the Mac App Store and it was featured in the main carousel worldwide!
Check it out:

Honored and humbled!
And yesterday on the vlog I captured some visceral and candid thoughts about this app and where it sits in the changing seasons of my personal and professional life:

You see, this is how I’m built. I go in and out of seasons where I have a lot going on, project-wise, and then I pare back down to only one singular focus.
Ready for sale!
Right now, I’m ending a creative season of building many different things and have decided to focus all my professional time and energy in my exciting new venture, Pinpoint.
Obviously, I’d love to have you follow along there and I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about it (daily) on my vlog… so, you should subscribe. If anything, it’s just a small window into what it’s like building a company in the heart of the technology world.
Oh, and if you’re interested… here are some of the other Featured Carousel Artwork and Mac App Store screenshots that a friend and I put together for consideration:

I ultimately choose the last one, mostly because it feels like you’re in the city (duh) and I live in a city. Just feels at home, if you know what I’m saying.
Designed specifically for Medium.com.
Tell your story, in your style.
Compose with comfort.
Write, Publish, Share.
Save your posts locally or in the cloud.
The post MNML: Featured Worldwide appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

mnml app: Almost Done

Just a few missing (but important) pieces to put together before this one will be done and shipped and out in the wild.

MNML builds (so far)
It’s been along time coming for mnml app and it’s taken nearly a year to get from the initial concept to something that will ultimately land in the hands of writers and publishers who love Medium.com.
To be honest, version 1.0 would have shipped a lot sooner if life hadn’t gotten completely in the way. Not bad things, of course… just many other things that have taken up the very limited time that I have to put things together.
Waiting for me to finish…
But, very soon, mnml will sit besides Desk in its rightful place in the Mac App Store and it’ll be exciting to see other folks finally be able to use it.
And, of course, I’m excited to start getting a little bit of feedback on it as well.
As far as I can tell, it’ll be the very first dedicated Medium.com desktop client on the Mac App Store, ever.
That’s kind of neat.
Of course, you can stay tuned as I’ll announce the launch more publicly via this blog and my personal email newsletter so I’d love for you to subscribe and be some of the first to know.
The post mnml app: Almost Done appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

A Few Thoughts on Indie Projects

I’ve spoken on the topic of “indie projects” quite a few times on the blog but I’ve never done it via the vlog and so yesterday I thought I’d capture a few candid thoughts.
I mention mnml app (releasing soon) and Desk App (v3.1 was released recently)! This is also the longest vlog that I’ve ever put together, coming in north of 22 minutes. Yikes.

You can read a few of my other thoughts here:
On Being an Indie Developer

The Indie Developer and the Mac App Store

What Type of Apps Do Indie Devs Work On?

Indie Apps and Inspiration

Career Development as an Indie Developer


Full Indie?

The Part-Time Indie…?

Building an Indie App is Work

The post A Few Thoughts on Indie Projects appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

Desk App v3.1

Yup, after a bit of a delay, v3.1 of Desk App has gotten through the App Store Review process and should be available to update worldwide.
What’s neat is that the entire review process, from submission to approval, took less than 24 hours. Unbelievable speed considering the previous time required. Most excellent!

Fast turn-around!
This update brings a few needed changes and fixes from the original v3.0 release:

Left panel was having some issues. Thanks to everyone who identified the issues and submitted tickets!
Publishing and Quick Publish was having some problems for some folks. That sucks, obviously, because this is what the app was meant to do! Should be fixed.
Text Editor was having some issues with tables, images, Markdown, WYSIWYG conversion, shortcuts, and even editor view configs… essentially there was a lot that was broken (but not for everyone) but just took a lot longer to track down than I had originally anticipated. Sorry about that!
Local documents and drafts was acting wonky. So… not anymore.

Appreciate the feedback and support as it means a ton to me. The community of writers in my life have been such a blessing and I’m so grateful to have served them for so long.
Keep on hitting Publish. You can do it.
The post Desk App v3.1 appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/

Lead Generation with Instagram—The Definitive Guide

When you’ve mastered lead generation on Facebook, it feels like you’re firing on all cylinders. You have eBooks, free tools, surveys, all types of lead magnets going out. You have traffic and conversions coming in. Everything is going great — your lead generation is better than ever before.
Then you turn to Instagram, and everything works a little differently.

Suddenly, you can’t push your great new eBook anymore. Instagram is a visual platform, and your text-heavy copy looks clumsy and out of place. Although you want to use Instagram as another lead generation tool, you can’t immediately transfer your Facebook success onto this new platform — until now.
We’ll go through the basics of lead generation on Instagram—all the formal and informal ways you can nudge potential customers from Instagram to your product—and offer some tips to get you started.

What Is Lead Generation and Why Should I Bother?
Lead generation is the generation of customer interest in your product or service. More substantial than just generating brand awareness, you’re trying to entice potential customers into becoming full-fledged customers.
On Facebook or on your website, you probably offer up a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something of value you offer a customer in exchange for their information. Whether you’re offering an eBook, a free tool that will leave the user wanting more, an article, or a discount code, a lead magnet is an incentive. It entices the customer, so they give you an email address, a phone number — any piece of information that can help you to follow up later.
On Instagram, lead generation works differently. You aren’t going to entice users to download your eBook because they’re not on Instagram to read. They just want to keep scrolling through their feed.
Instead, Instagram lead generation is all about creating intrigue and encouraging customers to make the leap from your Instagram ad to a sign-up form, an app download, or your website. Although it might seem daunting, every business can do it.
Let’s Get Started: Setting Up a Campaign
Instagram ads aren’t hard to make, and it takes as little time to set up an Instagram campaign as it does to make a Facebook one.
If you don’t need a refresher on best practices for Instagram ads, then let’s jump right in and focus on how to create ad targets specifically optimized for lead generation.
You start by setting it up as a Facebook campaign.
Step 1: Select Lead Generation as your goal.

Step 2: Proceed as you normally would with Facebook, selecting the Facebook page you want to promote and creating your Target Audience.
Step 3: Next you’ll set your placement to Instagram. You’ll see the options for Facebook as well, but make sure you check Instagram.

Step 4: Set up your budget and be sure to select leads in the “Optimization for Ad Delivery feed.”

Step 5: Select ad format. Depending on your campaign, that could be a video, slideshow, single image or carousel ad.
Note: Carousel ads, which let you showcase multiple images and links in a single ad, are still very new to Instagram. However, they’ve produced some impressive results on Facebook. Advertisers have seen carousel link ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30% lower cost-per-click than single-image ads, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

Step 6: Create your ad text. Tell people what they can expect in exchange for their contact information. Say you were creating an ad for your college radio station. You might generate leads by offering curated weekly playlists, and you’d want to make those playlists the focal point of the copy.

Step 7: Now you make the lead-generating form that works in Instagram. When you create this form, keep the questions short and discrete. You don’t want to leave them open-ended. With our radio station example, we just went for names and email, but notice there’s a custom question, so you can get the exact piece of customer information you need from your ads.

Step 8: Now we’re done! When people finish signing up, they’ll see a “Thank You” page. Don’t underestimate this step—put your website link in here. If someone’s interested in the playlist or discount you’re offering, chances are they want to know more. Use this opportunity to drive people to your website.

Don’t Forget to Test!
Now you’ve seen how easy it is to make a lead generation ad on Instagram, don’t forget to make more than one.
A/B testing your lead generation ads is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. With AdEspresso, in a few minutes you can create thousands of variants of your Instagram Ads with only three clicks.
The basics of split testing for Instagram are the same as the basics of A/B testing for Facebook, but just to refresh here are the most important things to keep in mind:

Be patient. Ads that appear to be doing well in the first days or week of testing might take a sharp drop, and vice versa. Don’t stop running one version of your add as soon as you see a glimmer of a better click through rate on it.
Only change one thing per ad. If you switch up targeting, picture, and CTA on one version of an ad, you’re changing too many things at once. Take it one difference at a time so you can figure out exactly what works.
Choose a metric that defines success before you begin. Do you want the most leads generated? The cheapest? Determine what is going to define the success of your campaign before you set up your ads so you can be decisive about which ones to keep running.

All Kinds of Calls-to-Action
Our example showed a lead generating form with “Sign Up” as the call-to-action. But Instagram lets you get creative with the action button. You can prompt users to “Learn More,” “Contact Us, “Get Directions,” and a variety of other options, depending on what you’re advertising.

For downloadable apps, the “Install Now” action can lead users straight from Instagram to your landing page to the App Store. The roommate and apartment hunting app, Roomiapp, has the “Install Now” action enabled, and also suggests that you tag a friend.
This makes it easy for people to get straight into your product if they like your ad — no need to find a download link in your bio or on your website. If you’re looking to increase downloads, this is definitely the CTA for you.

Make the Most of Embedded Links
Instagram is also home to lots of companies thinking outside the box, beyond email collection and “Sign Up” forms.
Minimalist cosmetic brand Glossier is known for its Insta-friendly aesthetic, and they make great use of the embedded e-commerce options in Instagram posts. Although not direct lead generation, you can definitely capture new customers by having links directly in your content, not just in paid posts.

Glossier lets you know more information about their product, without ever leaving the post. And then they hit you with a CTA: Shop Now.

In the e-commerce ecosystem, embedded links can really set your whole account apart. You’re doing the work of lead generation in all your posts, not just your ads.
#LinkInBio: Sometimes Less Is More
Aside from embedded, e-commerce links, the only other place on Instagram where a link is allowed is in a bio. You can make use of that space by putting a lead-capturing link to your website there.
Here’s a good example: Uniqlo USA has a short and compact bio. They feature the handles of their other social platforms and a link to their website, without being too overwhelming.

On the other hand, Forever 21 has a lot going on. While Instagram is the place for fun emojis and hashtags, it’s hard to tell where all these handles go, or how you could use them. With their direct link all the way down at the bottom, followed by a physical address, this bio isn’t going to be a particularly strong lead generator.

Even if you do it right, referring people to your bio can be limiting because takes your audience out of the context of their feed. Because of this, you might be less likely to get clicks on that link to your website in your bio than if you linked people in a CTA.
However, if people do click out of the ad and into your bio, not only will they find the link to your product or website, but they’ll likely spend some time exploring your Instagram (and hopefully will give you a follow).
Getting Creative With In-Image CTAs
Instagram is a visual platform. Nobody is there for your eye-catching caption text, as good as it is. You want to grab people with your images and stop them mid-scroll with a call-to-action that’s part of the image itself.
This ad from The New Yorker puts the offer right in the ad image. They’re probably targeting at student-age Instagram users, and they’re letting them know: 12 weeks for $6. Pair that with a signature funky cartoon, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

This ad from startup insurance company Lemonade doesn’t put an offer or a dollar amount right in the image, but this geo-targeted video still grabs attention. Live in New York? Got stuff? You’re going to want that covered — click the link.
 Grab Leads With Promotional Contests
Promotional contests are a great way to generate a lot of buzz and a lot of leads. Whether you hype them over Instagram Stories, regular posts or ads, a contest that has a clear call-to-action and any easy way for users to register to win can be great for generating brand awareness and leads.
You don’t want to overcomplicate things. This contest for a free magazine subscription has too many hoops to jump through, and it’s asking for too many things. And savvy users might be turned off, seeing it as a blatant attempt at getting engagement on a million platforms:

(Image Source)
Keep your contests simple and focused on the prize. They can be as low barrier as like-to-win or comment-to-win. But if you’re trying to capture emails through your contest, referring people to the bio is a great way to keep the confusion to a minimum and find some great leads.

The hype here is in the visuals — what kind of Insta-Girl are you? When Sally Hansen has grabbed that attention, they immediately transfer it to their contest and encourage submissions, instead of trying to cram that all into one overcrowded image.
Thinking About Lead Generation In Everything You Do
If you’re thinking that lead generation on Instagram is a lost cause, that everyone’s on mobile and no one will ever fill out your form, and that you’ll never get the hang of Instagram lead generation, think again.
Instagram still sees higher engagement and higher conversion than Facebook or Twitter and, as we’ve just shown, it’s as easy to make an Instagram campaign as a Facebook one — maybe even easier.
But you shouldn’t just be thinking about Instagram lead generation with your ads, your strategy can’t be reduced to just “Sign Up” forms.
Think about it with your posts, with your stories, with your bio, and with your promotional contests — anything that could lead people further along the path to becoming a strong and loyal customer. Focus on that, and people will be clicking on your Instagram ads in no time.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/

How to Bring Digital to a Physical Facility in 4 Steps

On the go? Listen to the podcast discussion here:

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Digital and physical integration is red hot right now, most notably from Amazon’s announcement of their flagship Amazon Go digital grocery store concept.
For the organizations that want to do something similar — introduce a digital component or interface to their physical space — how do you do it? This is the question we’re going to address below.
It’s important to note that designing for a physical space is different from designing websites and mobile apps. A lot of the rules in digital don’t address the nuances involved when designing for specific physical spaces.
As you’ll learn from the story below, it starts with user research, which allows you to design software to best fit your physical space. Below, we walk through four phases of research, prototyping, interviews, and data collection.
What’s the story?
The venerable 300-acre Bronx Zoo was having issues with park navigation. The Bronx Zoo staff wanted to figure out how to help people physically make their way around the park in a more efficient way.
A Viget team led by Kevin Vigneault, Product Design Director at Viget, headed up to New York to begin the project.
Kevin and the team wanted to explore whether digital technology, specifically in this case a mobile application, could supplement what the zoo was doing in the park and perhaps augment the current setup.
Right off the bat, they noticed the facility's standard signage and print maps, but these fell short.
For example, if a restaurant was closing, if an animal was off-exhibit, or if they needed to close a particular ride because of a lightning storm, the staff couldn’t run around the park quick enough to change all the signage or constantly blare announcements on the PA system.
“We wanted to create a digital map to solve the wayfinding problem, but we also wanted to figure out how the live data could integrate with their operations team,” said Kevin.
The system needed to integrate with the operations team such that they could know these things in real time and then use the mobile application to broadcast helpful information out to patrons.
Phase 1: Intercept Interviews
Starting out, the team of three UX designers went up to the park to conduct intercept interviews with 25-30 visitors.
Kevin said, “Our goal was to get an understanding of what they were doing in the park for the day, how they went about their planning, how they were already using their phone and the printed materials in the park.”
How to do an intercept interview
To gather the information, one team member took notes as another UX designer talked to a visitor.
Each intercept interview loosely followed a short script and lasted 5-10 minutes. The questions centered around how people planned and found their way around the park.
(Kevin doesn’t recommend audio recordings because the wind and noise of the outdoors made it difficult to record. So they relied heavily on notes. He does recommend having a staff member of the facility on site when talking with visitors to maintain a professional atmosphere.)
Phase 2: Prototyping
Once you have the raw data from the interviews, it’s time to build real working software. “If you can help it, working software is always better than static screens for a prototype,” Kevin advised.
The team built a browser-based web application using Ruby on Rails. On the front-end, they mocked up interfaces and images in HTML to begin putting together the user interface.
At the same time, Viget engineers wired up basic data on the backend so that while the prototype testing was going on, the Bronx Zoo guest relations team could receive data from representative sessions.
Why web browser over native app
A web browser helped with speed of development. Because the Viget team was quicker and more comfortable working in Ruby on Rails, Javascript, and other web technologies than native iOS and Android, they didn’t have to go through the headache of distributing it through the App Store or Play Store, or other mobile app testing tools.
Kevint recalled how easy it was to tell folks, “You can just pull out your phone and go to this URL.”
“Considering how frequently we were pushing fixes and updates to the server, it made it a lot easier to get something up quickly and manage changes,” said Kevin. “We didn’t have to worry about pushing all that down to the user’s phone in a native app.”
Phase 3: Prototype testing
About a month later, the team returned to the park with a live prototype to do a second round of testing. The team talked with eight groups, totaling 15-20 people, over a 90-minute time period, and observed how they used the prototype on their own phones.
Visitors used the prototype app to do what they would usually do —  go around the park, eat lunch, and visit exhibits.
Kevin and his team used another loose script to try to understand what features were most valuable, such as the digital map and the shuttle schedule, and what functions were used most.
At the end of the day, the team noticed the app was really — as much as it was about providing added value — more about protecting against the downside of frustrating situations.
“You don’t want to go to an exhibit just to find that it’s closed or find the animals not on exhibit, or go to a restaurant to find out it’s closed by the time you get there. So it was about helping people manage their time more efficiently.”
Phase 4: Roll out and data collection
After polishing the prototype into a professional app with a clean user interface, the team prepared for launch.
“After five or six weeks, we had something that was actually launchable,” said Vigneault. “It was fully functioning even though it did a limited set of things.”
The app went live in June and has been operating ever since. View app here: https://app.bronxzoo.com/

What data was collected and what insights were learned?
Every day, the Bronx Zoo managed the back-end while visitors pulled up the app to get maps and information they needed for their trip.
Using Google Analytics, the team could see where people were spending their time in the app and what they were interacting with, as well as target certain features to see how they’d be used.
In addition to the app analytics, Kevin and his team had collected around 150 emails and followed up with a short survey. This generated richer data around what they were finding useful about the app, what was useless, and what problems they encountered. The team used this feedback to put together a list of what to focus on in future iterations.
Other than a zoo, what other facilities or spaces could use this approach?
Any large space where users spend considerable time could benefit from a user-research based approach to digital application development.
“We weren’t dealing with a retail location or something where it’s only a few hundred square feet,” said Kevin. “We were dealing with a few hundred acres.”
He recommended any sort of campus environment, large shopping center, stadium, or college campus.
For example, a university could use a digital application for prospective students as they tour the university or for current students to learn how to get from class to class every semester.
The biggest takeaway
Kevin said the biggest lesson the team learned about bringing a digital application into a physical facility was to address the practical needs first.
While there’s a time and a place to focus on bell-and-whistles ideas (early on, the team discussed features like audio tours, supplemental video content, games, and badges). But when you really dig into the user research, the practical stuff becomes most important.
“The point of going to the zoo is not to pull out your phone and stare at a screen all day.”
As much as they wanted to do some of the more fun content and experiential stuff in the app, what the team realized is that the zoo itself is awesome, said Kevin.
The goal of the app was to be on the side, to serve the practical, important role of making sure visitors have a good experience at the park but not trying to be the experience itself.
Focus on the things that might sound boring but serve very practical needs.
Then, maybe at some point in the future you might come back and layer on the fancier stuff. However, if you start with the fun-to-design features, you’ll find yourself in a position where the app itself is not providing much value and it can get ignored.

Source: VigetInspire

Why You Need To Use Facebook’s New Dynamic Mobile Install Ads Right Now

Even after all the giving of the holiday season is over, there are still consumers on the hunt for new things to buy. Maybe they have cash or gift cards that they’re itching to spend, or maybe they’re trying to give themselves the gifts they didn’t get. After all, who hasn’t hit the post-holiday sales?
Maybe they have cash or gift cards that they’re itching to spend, or maybe they’re trying to give themselves the gifts they didn’t get. After all, who hasn’t hit the post-holiday sales?

But the must lucrative of all these customers might be the people that received new gadgets as gifts — smart watches, phones, tablets — and they’re looking to fill their blank slate with all their new favorite apps.
If you’ve developed an app, you need to be reaching these customers. Their pockets are open and they’re excited about trying new things on their new devices. Keep on reading to learn how!

First of all let’s give a look at the numbers, to prove that this isn’t pure speculation. There’s actually a huge bump in app downloads during the months of December, January, and February.
But during the highest volume of app store traffic in the year, how can you cut through the noise to get to your customers?
Facebook’s dynamic mobile install ads are the key to your success. They allow advertisers to drive better kinds of traffic to their apps, and put ads for apps in front of the people who are actually likely to download and use those apps.
Why dynamic app ads matter
Discovery on the App Store has never been harder than it is today. The number of apps available has grown enormously in the last few years and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.
Unfortunately, the App Store simply isn’t set up well for connecting customers to apps. With no way to get beyond the most popular apps, it is extremely hard for new apps to break into the charts. If your app isn’t listed among the most popular, you have to look at smarter ways to get your app onto your customer’s devices.
You need to know who wants your app, and you need to be hyper-specific about your user base. That’s the only way to grow and build a truly sustainable business as an app developer. That probably means diving into your app analytics and figuring out who your target audience is. Once you’ve got your audience, it’s time to put that information to work.
Dynamic ads can help you through every part of this process.
What are dynamic ads?
In essence, dynamic ads allow advertisers to use Facebook targeting options, re-targeting tools and lookalike audiences to sell products.
The catch is that, before now, these ads couldn’t direct people to the App Store, meaning that they were not an optimal tool for driving customers to your mobile app. But now, Facebook has expanded their dynamic ad service to include app-specific features.
The key here is that you can tailor your ad to direct the customers who are most likely to download your app or make a purchase — straight to your native app.
Finding those customers is not an easy task, but dynamic ads help you identify custom audiences through a couple of special tools.

App event optimization tracks the behaviors of Facebook users to predict who will be a valuable customer. This gets you started with powerful targeting through all the social data that Facebook collects.
View-through attribution helps you identify your most effective ads by tracking the behaviors of people that see your ads. This gives you a more complete understanding of who is driven to download from your campaign, even if they don’t click through when they see an ad.

Let’s take a closer look at how these features can help your campaign.
Dynamic ad perks
#1 – App event optimization
Facebook puts its huge store of data to work for you with app event optimization. They say:
Businesses can… use app event optimization to identify the customers who are more likely to take valuable actions after downloading an app—such as completing a level in a game, booking a trip or making a purchase.
This means that you can drive more valuable customers to your app with dynamic ads. For example, let’s say you have a horseback riding game, mostly played by girls ages 13-18. You know that completing multiple levels of the game is the best indicator of sustained use of the app, and the best indicator that people will make in-app purchases.
With app event optimization, you can target 13-18 year old girls whose past behaviors will indicate they will complete multiple levels of your app. Facebook leverages data from across its platforms (including Instagram) to figure out your audience and helps you get your ad in front of customers who are most likely to use your app.
Hypotheticals are great, but the proof for app event optimization is in the pudding:

Poshmark, a clothing resale app, used Facebook’s app event optimization to find customers who were most likely to make a purchase from their app. They decreased their cost per event by 24%.
Smule, an app company that specializes in music apps and games, worked with app event optimization to improve their revenue per user by 22%.

The fact of the matter is that getting your ads in front of the right audience really pays off.
# 2 – Accurate impact measurements
Dynamic ads also help you understand how your ad campaign works. Understanding which ads work well is one of the best ways to maximize your ad budget. With view-through attribution, you can see when your ads drive a download, even if that user didn’t click on your ad when they saw it.
This means you can work towards making smarter campaigns because you know how many people were influenced by your dynamic ads, not just who downloaded your app by clicking through. For example, Pocket Gems, an app game company, realized that 18% of their installs happened after a user viewed their ad but didn’t click through.
That’s valuable information that will help them accurately assess the impact of a campaign, so they can keep putting the most effective ads out there.
Impact measurements help you get an accurate understanding of what ads are working the best, which allows you to focus your ad budget on only the ads that give you the best results.
Getting started
Dynamic mobile install ads can be set up through your business manager account.
Once you’ve created or are into your account:

Upload your product catalog to showcase your products in your ad
Create your Facebook pixel, which is the key to audience optimization
Make your dynamic template to assemble your eye-catching ads

Although there are more customizable options for seasoned dynamic ad creators, these three steps are all you need to be ready to rumble with your first dynamic ad campaign.
Ads that work for you
Building a mobile app business is hard. You need all systems firing and in tip-top shape, and that includes your advertising.
When you get the right users, your retention and engagement will form a strong foundation for you to build success. To find the right users, you need ads that are focused at people who are most likely to be enthusiastic users of your app.
Dynamic mobile app installs can help kickstart that process for you. It’s not easy to find your best, most targeted audience, or track the impact of all your ads. But with all the tools attached to dynamic ads, you can tap into those best practices from your first ad placement.
And now’s the time of year to do it — right when people are on the hunt for new apps to add to their new devices. There’s truly never been a better time to get started on Facebook ads as an app developer.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/