More than 1,000 people descended on the San Francisco Design Center last week to take part in the second annual Inside Social Apps event hosted by Justin Smith and MediaBistro’s Inside Network. The event brought together dynamic speakers from dozens of the top social and mobile app developers throughout the industry and led to several fascinating discussions on topics ranging from the latest monetization challenges to the biggest international opportunities for app developers.
We won’t try to recap all that was said. You can already read excellent recaps by writers far more talented than us, such as those by FunSockets’ Tina Tran, Gamezebo’s Joel Brodie, or, of course, Inside Network’s own live blogs.
But we will share with you some of the tidbits that really stood out for us, aside from the fact that the application industry seems to keep building more and more momentum.
As you might imagine, our ears perk up any time we hear people talk about the value and importance of using analytics when designing or improving applications, and the topic was broached many times during the course of the two-day event.
Bill Jackson, the creative director of Zynga Dallas and creative force behind the company’s hit game Castleville (Bill will be speaking on our own panel next month on the Art vs. Science of game development at GDC), spoke about analytics while answering a question from AJ Glasser during the Trends in Social Gaming panel. AJ asked how developers know they’ve hit that “sweet spot of fun” while testing their games, to which Bill responded:
I follow a combination of design and metrics. When we’re designing a game we start with design and then you start collaborating with players to improve the game. It’s a combination of feedback, the data that backs up that feedback and working from that feedback.
Similarly, during the panel on Acquiring Users on iOS and Android, several of the panelists advised the audience to forget about “burst” campaigns and “velocity” when acquiring new users and to instead focus on building a good app, keeping a close eye on the metrics, and then spending intelligently and carefully to acquire users.
Another interesting discussion was the one between Justin Smith and Facebook’s Director of Product Management, Carl Sjogreen. Carl pointed out that half of Facebook’s 845 million users access the social network from their mobile phones, and he pointed out the value prop of HTML5 for game developers, sharing his view that social applications are inherently cross-platform and that at the end of the day users will want to play from a variety of devices. Of course, we share that view as well, which is why we launched support of HTML5 apps back in October.
Overall, it was a enlightening two days, as much for the chance to mix and mingle with the industry’s best as it was to listen in on the sessions being held on the stage. To read more, head over to the Inside Network’s blogs or check out the #isa hashtag on Twitter.
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The Claritics blog offers insights and analysis on the rising social commerce wave and how app developers can leverage social intelligence for their Reach, Retention and Revenue campaigns.