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Blog post covering top learnings from Mobile Unlock Journey Report by Verto Analytics
Firstly Blog

3 Things I Loved From Verto Analytics’ Mobile Unlock Journey Report

By Greg Wester, Chief Marketing Officer

A recent report by Verto Analytics on the Mobile Unlock Journey dared to ask, “What happens after consumers unlock their smartphones?” – and no, the answer wasn’t look at cat pictures and argue with strangers. We were thrilled to see that Verto dubbed Metro by T-Mobile’s metroZONE app, which is powered by our Firstly Mobile content discovery platform, as “The Carrier App That is Built for Unlock Content Discovery.” But that was just the start. The report was full of goodies that will shape the smartphone of tomorrow – aligning with several points we’ve been making over the last year.

Here’s what I loved:

  1. We Beat Facebook – And Everyone Else: Our highlight of Verto’s research was when they compared apps on Unlock Engagement – looking at how often people “stuck” to that app for over 10 seconds vs. dismissing it in less than 3 seconds after finding it at unlock. Or rather, how likely you are to use an app you stumble upon at unlock (normally because it was the last app used). Well, social and messaging apps scored high – but not as high as content apps like metroZONE and SmartNews.A graph that depicts metroZONE outperforming Facebook in smartphone unlock engagement
  2. Push Doesn’t Drive Discovery: For folks thinking that the solution to unlock engagement is push notifications – think again! We’ve long thought that push notifications are going the way of the dinosaur, and this report proves that. Their value is inconsequential for content discovery – less than 2% of unlocks involve consumers engaging in notifications from content/media apps. The on-the-go user doesn’t want to climb through a mountain of push notifications to find something – much like they don’t want to swim through the sea of icons in their launcher. It’s time to make the push notification extinct.Push Notifications Don't Help with Content Discovery - More than Half are from Native Utilities or System Apps
  3. The Smartphone is Broken: The bottom line of the report is that smartphone can, and should, be better. Verto’s analysis shows that 51% of the time, our phone unlocks to a sea of apps we need to swim through.  If that’s not enough, in the other 49% of unlocks, more often than not, our “smart” phone fails to give people something they stick to for more than 10 seconds. In a world increasingly filled with unlocks that occur with no app in mind, our phones should be more adept at providing us something useful!A graph that depicts the distribution of smartphone unlocks and the room for smartphone improvement


So, how does metroZONE create unlock engagement when other content apps fail? It’s through the power of our next-gen content discovery platform, Firstly Mobile. Firstly Mobile has an understanding of when users are in the mood for something interesting. When they are, it engages them with curated content. Otherwise, Firstly Mobile works in the background waiting for those perfect snackable engagement moments. Contact us today to learn more!

Click HERE to read the Mobile Unlock Journey ReportRead more

News and Events

Firstly Mobile App Ranks First In Unlock Engagement

An app powered by Firstly Mobile  – Mobile Posse’s next-gen mobile content discovery platform that turns telecom companies into mobile media leaders – was recently recognized as one of the best apps at engaging users’ attention from the moment a mobile user unlocks their device. Verto Analytics’ report titled The Mobile Unlock Journey described MetroZONE as “the carrier app that’s built for unlock content discovery” – and ranked it higher than many well known social and messaging apps known for user engagement. Read more.




PictureBOOKs: Marvel/Adidas Win By Mixing Mobile Brand Experiences And Optimized Discovery
Firstly Blog

PictureBOOKs: Marvel/Adidas Win By Mixing Mobile Brand Experiences And Optimized Discovery

By Geoff Allen, Chief Content Officer

Firstly Mobile’s main purpose is to super-serve mobile media enthusiasts with frictionless and snackable content goodies. But our next-gen mobile content discovery platform has proven to be just as spectacular for brands looking to engage their target audience. Via our branded pictureBOOK campaigns, brands like Marvel and Adidas have received the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in earned media.  Let’s take a closer look at both.


Marvel at the Difference

Simply put, by optimizing a brand’s creative assets for mobile discovery, pictureBOOK campaigns perform light years above industry averages. As a recent example, Marvel used the campaign to hype their then soon-to-be released Captain Marvel movie.


Page Views Per User Bounce Rate
Industry Average 1.1 80%




6.1 8.5%

The campaign was packaged into pictureBOOK’s immersive format (see below) that profiled the upcoming movie with details about the story and cast. By letting their campaign story speak for itself in a fun, interactive way, users immediately engaged – with bounce rates nearly 10x lower and pageviews 6x higher than industry averages.

PictureBOOKs: Marvel/Adidas Win By Mixing Mobile Brand Experiences And Optimized Discovery

Not “Footing” The Bill

Adidas’ pictureBOOK (see below) was built off its Black History Month campaign, showcasing the “Harlemites” – a team formed in the 1920s when Jim Crow Laws banned African-Americans from playing in “white” professional leagues. The teams dazzled on and off the court, showcasing their creativity. This fun and creative Adidas campaign garnered over 100,000 views a day.

However, the more powerful metric that should have C-level executives salivating is the enormous amount of earned media received. Basing this on industry averages of 0.1% CTR and a conservatively low $1.50 CPM, Adidas netted almost $500K in Earned Media. Marvel’s Captain American campaign yielded just over $400K.

pictureBOOK Campaign Days Run Views Earned Media
Marvel – Captain America is Coming 2 270,000 $405,000
Adidas – Anybody Can Win a Game 3 326,000 $488,000

PictureBOOKs: Marvel/Adidas Win By Mixing Mobile Brand Experiences And Optimized Discovery

HOW pictureBOOKs Work: An Immersive Snackable Format for Brands

Our pictureBOOK campaigns are built to be easily digested by audiences. We use your own campaign creative and put in our immersive format that is highlighted by:

  • Snackable text on each page – simple and impactful
  • Enticing image motion maximizes visual impact
  • Easy image swiping enables seamless navigation

The immersive pictureBOOK format tells your brand story and keeps the audience captive in a fun and engaging way. The campaigns’ snackable lengths ensure they can be enjoyed in the brief periods of time consumers have on the go – and they come away entertained and with a positive brand experience.


WHY pictureBOOKs Work: Over 30 Million Media Enthusiasts + Discovery Intelligence

The value of Firstly Mobile to brands starts with our audience. Those who love Firstly Mobile are those who love great mobile content. They live on the go – but want to stay inspired, connected, and informed when they do have their spare moments. While they might be skeptical of “fake news” and commercial messages, they recognize great content that’s entertaining and informative.

Firstly Mobile’s discovery algorithms intelligently deliver content to our audiences when they’re most receptive. We know that 50% of the time our 30 million daily active users are unlocking their smartphone, they don’t have a specific app in mind. Firstly Mobile targets these times and brings the stuff they love to their fingertips when they have time to spare.


Imagine What It Can Do For Carriers

A recent study by Verto Analytics showed how the smartphone on the average has a very poor unlock rate – with the app first seen at unlock being closed within 10 seconds more than 50% of the time. While social and messaging apps typically have the best engagement at unlock, Firstly Mobile properties, like MetroZONE by T-Mobile, “actually perform better at unlock than Facebook, WhatsApp or Snapchat”. This proves that is a major opportunity for carriers and OEMs to improve the user unlock experience.

These branded pictureBOOK experiences created by for Adidas and Marvel the demonstrate the immense value of Firstly Mobile for brands. Carriers should be taking note and be the next in line to jump on board. Firstly Mobile has been proven to delight their subscribers and provide a mobile ad revenue stream. The icing on the cake is the additional value of putting their brand messages in front of their subscribers at no additional cost – and more effectively than their other ad placements.



illustration Apple News Plus: Rotten at the Core
Firstly Blog

Apple News Plus: Rotten at the Core

By Greg Wester, CMO 

Apple News Plus’ recent announcement spurred some in the industry to refer to it as a “Netflix for magazines”. I beg to differ. Sure, they both cost upwards of a Hamilton a month, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Let’s look at four key points.

  1. Netflix offers great discovery
  2. Netflix offers a path to lowering a consumer’s expenditure via cord-cutting, and therefore
  3. Netflix is a solution for the masses.

None of these three are true for Apple News Plus.

That said, give Apple some credit – at least Apple is brilliantly realizing that they have the opportunity to change content discovery by leveraging the UI/UX of their phones…  which brings me to my fourth key point.

  1. Why are we just talking about Apple? Better content discovery is something that carriers and OEMs alike, should be equally as assertive in exploring.

But I digress.  Let’s get back to picking apples . . . apart.

This Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Apple News Plus is self-serving. There’s been much written about how Apple News Plus is a crappy deal for publishers. Well it’s pretty crappy for consumers as well. Unlike Google, Apple isn’t nearly as big in the mobile ad space, so subscriptions fit better with firm strategy.

But unless you’re content to scrap multiple brick and mortar newspaper and magazine subscriptions, odds are Apple News Plus is solely an incremental expense.  Unlike Netflix, there’s no other cord to cut which would make it a cost saver.

And that’s before we even consider that the consumer experience falls short of what consumers actually want.

Apple Is Making People Pick Their Own Bushel When All We Want Is Some Sweet Sauce

The Netflix UI/UX for content discovery experience is brilliant. Apple News Plus’ discovery interface sucks.  Even though you’ve watched 5 episodes of Game of Thrones the last few nights, when you next turn it on Netflix, it salaciously and tempestuously promotes other compelling content. You may sample and/or save these recommendations or merely continue on with Thrones, but the net result is an endless mental or real Watchlist.

Netflix crushes it because it combines content with unique discovery – making it super easy to find what you didn’t know you wanted. It’s not successful simply because it stuffs more content than you could possibly know what to do with in one place.

It shouldn’t be different with smartphones.  On our phones, half the time we unlock our device, we’re Appnostic– or don’t have a specific app in mind. We don’t want to go-a-hunting, we want something served up.

As one reviewstates:

While the service is great as an all-you-can-read buffet, Apple does very little to help readers maneuver the massive mountain of magazines they now have access to.

This is like choosing bobbing to find an apple in a bucket versus having one hand-picked specifically for you. And besides, when it comes to how we discover content on smartphones, subscribers usually don’t want a massive sit down meal anyway – they want snackable Hors d’oeuvres.

It’s Time For Someone Else To Take A Bite

The success of Apple News, the “non-Plus” version, did show that people are looking for easier and unique ways to find and enjoy the content they love. In today’s increasingly frictionless world, no one has time or patience to dig around for quality (think the success of Facebook), we merely consume what’s convenient.

So why are we just talking about Apple here?  Sure we’ve also been following Google’s advances with Google News and Discover, but where are the large wireless carriers and other global OEMs?  They can create a similar service, not charge the customer a dime (i.e., actually make all users happy), and create a mobile ad revenue opportunity they’ve been yearning for.

My Last Bite

Pardon me carriers and OEMs, but “Wake up.”  It’s time to innovate. New mobile content discovery solutions can make you the apple of your subscriber’s eyes.