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Mobile

Instagram Beats Twitter in Mobile Engagement

Hey, it made our apple look pretty cool.

Today’s social media engagement analysis by ComScore makes us think that Facebook’s Instagram purchase may have been far smarter than many thought at the time.

Turns out that American smartphone owners used Instagram more often, and for longer periods of time, than they used Twitter last month. What does this finding mean?

Well, it makes Instagram much more attractive to advertisers, because greater engagement means users are more likely to see ads—and pay attention to them. Instagram is currently “focused mainly on product development” and is “not pursuing marketing or advertising opportunities” at the time, but “this may change” soon. In light of this new report, advertisers will be lining up to hawk their wares on the photo app.

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Online and Mobile Dependence Reach New Extremes

Unlike SoHo in New York City and SoMa in San Francisco, NoMo and FoMo aren’t popular urban neighborhoods. They’re being used to describe phobias related to widespread reliance on mobile and social media. NoMoPhobia is the fear of being without mobile devices and FoMo is fear of missing out.

A recent New York Times article focused on ‘internet use disorder,’ defined as those who are unable to disengage from online activity. While this hasn’t officially been classified yet as a mental condition, it’s being studied further.

In the meantime, media and tech companies have conducted their own studies and are using the results to coin unofficial terms for the public’s electronic addictions.

NoMoPhobia/Fear of being out of mobile contact. Being separated from one’s mobile device is a well chronicled domestic and international concern, as evidenced by different surveys conducted in the U.S. and the U.K.

In a recent T-Mobile survey, U.S. respondents were given the choice of going without mobile phones or other critical belongings. For many, mobile phones won out. Specifically, rather than being without their cell phones, 29 percent would rather be without cash and 25 percent would rather be without their credit cards. (These numbers will likely increase as more mobile apps enable financial transactions.) Interestingly, eleven percent would rather leave home without their pants than their mobile phones.

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Pitching Pointers from Mobile Media Mavens

As mobile’s momentum continues, the pace of articles, conferences and new apps has intensified. At PCNY’s event on Tuesday, panelists discussed the maze of mobile options. Editors and reporters covering the mobile beat at GigaOM, Mashable, TechCrunch, SAI Tools (Silicon Valley Insider), and Ad Age offered pitching guidance and brand overviews, since most have undergone major changes recently.

Company size, funding, marketing budgets, Silicon Valley vs. Alley location, and product uniqueness all matter for mobile stories. Startups often don’t make the cut unless they’re well funded, and it’s a tough sell if you’re just another app.

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‘Skepticism’ Is One of RIM’s Many Problems

Research in Motion has got 99 problems and satisfying demand ain’t one. (Ha… groan.) Bloomberg reports that weak sales are leaving BlackBerrys and PlayBook tablets in warehouses to collect dust, the value of that inventory reaching $1 billion last quarter. Layoffs are in the offing. Losses are coming. They’ve hired JPMorgan and Royal Bank of Canada to reassess its strategy. Maybe they can do something about this.

Yesterday, trading on RIM stock was halted while CEO Thorsten Heins delivered some bad news. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that RIM is having a very hard time keeping up with Apple and the other competition.  The company is promising a new strategy, but an underlying issue the company has to overcome may be more insidious than the already huge business obstacles: “skepticism.”

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T-Mobile Gets Racy With Its Spokeswoman

Since her debut in 2010, we’ve gotten to know T-Mobile’s spokeswoman Carly Foulkes as the effervescent, pink-wearing promoter of T-Mobile goodness. For the latest ads, T-Mobile has turned her into a biker chick, doing away with the floaty dresses and putting her in a leather outfit and helmet.

T-Mobile’s SVP of brand, advertising, and comms tells Mashable that the ad is meant to convey the company’s status as a “challenger brand.”

“The makeover from the girl-next-door to an edgier, more tech-savvy and spirited Carly is synonymous with the evolution of the T-Mobile brand,” he says.

Jezebel, who isn’t a fan of the Foulkes to begin with, isn’t buying it.

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Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition Opens Doors in Mobile

According to GigaOm (a story that was mentioned during our chat with GalleyCat’s Jason Boog this morning), bringing the two companies together is sending some people elsewhere. But for the most part, this acquisition was a way for both Facebook and Instagram to add to their dominance.

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Three Tips for Getting Your Mobile Promotions Started

The world has gone mobile and the worlds of PR and marketing are racing to do a bit of catching up. As the lines between marketing disciplines blur, so do the lines between when and how people are logging on to the Web. They’re on their computers and watching TV at the same time. Or watching TV and tweeting from their mobile devices during the commercials.

In today’s guest post, Zach Hoffman, founder and CEO of Internet marketing company exults talks about how marketers and PR pros can make their mobile campaigns resonate with an ever-growing audience. Exults was rebranded this year, and Hoffman has more than 15 years of experience in the Internet marketing space.

According to Hoffman, by taking three basic factors into account, you can jump start your mobile efforts.

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Verizon Fee Goes Bye-Bye

We wondered how long this would last. Answer: about 24 hours.

That’s how long it took Verizon to back down from its absurd plan to charge wireless customers $2 for each one-time payment made online or over the phone, a.k.a, in Verizon parlance, the “convenience fee.”

The announcement was made in a press release on the Verizon website. According to the statement, they’re dumping the fee following “customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions.” In other words, the company was being skewered on social media and in the press and decided the $2 wasn’t worth the bad buzz and negative business consequences. Sounds very familiar.

According to The Huffington Post, there was online outcry, petitions, and even talk of an FCC investigation. Rather than charging the fee, the company says it will encourage customers to use one of the existing payment options. The fee was meant to go into effect in January.

AT&T Eyeballing Smaller Wireless Companies

Because there hasn’t been enough weirdness in wireless news, it’s being reported that analysts predict Leap and Metro PCS may be taken over by one of the monolithic carriers.

Businessweek says AT&T and T-Mobile USA are eyeing the smaller pay-as-you-go wireless companies because the AT&T/T-Mobile merger fell through this month amid antitrust problems. Vision2mobile.com also writes that the deal would be more likely to get approval. Metro PCS, based in Texas, has 9 million subscribers and Leap, 5.7 million. T-Mobile, by comparison, is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with 33 million subscribers.

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Verizon Learned Nothing from BofA, Will Charge ‘Convenience Fee’

A leaked memo posted on Engadget reveals Verizon’s plan to start charging customers $2 for each one-time online payment or bill payment over the phone on January 15. Verizon confirms this ridiculous plan. And they’re calling it a “convenience fee.”

Remember the uproar when Bank of America tried to charge $5 for debit card purchases? Apparently, Verizon doesn’t. Ultimately, BofA had to dump the plan because of the backlash and other banks, taking a hint, decided to dump theirs as well.

Both Engadget and CNET suggest alternatives to charging a fee, such as stiffer late fee penalties and (gasp!) a reward for loyal customers who sign up for an automatic bill pay.

Charging people more when they’re recovering from holiday spending during a tough economic period is simply wrong-headed. It’s made even more so when telecom companies were among those on a “most-hated” list published just a couple of months ago. Folks on Twitter and on blogs are already complaining. Moreover, this is happening while service outages are a problem. Let’s see how long this lasts.

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