Egypt Yellow Pages Launches Mobile Apps For iPhone, Android and Windows 8.1

Egypt Yellow Pages Mobile App

Yellow Pages has launched 3 new apps aiming at making its service easier to use and accessible to a wide range of users in Egypt.

First up, there is a new Yellow Pages iPhone app available on App Store. The app is more than just a re-skin that is iOS 7 compatible, the app user experience is designed to help the users find what they are looking for on the go through a smart single search box where you don’t need to type the location and the app is smart enough to detect your location and show the results near you.

The app is practically a directory and a map with over 330,000 business listings and venues in Egypt that users can carry in their pockets. Taping on one of the home category icons will effectively help the users discover and explore local stores and venues near them. This is good news for businesses that want to acquire more customers from their neighbourhood, or passing by customers that happens to be in this location at that specific time and need to buy a product or a quick access to a service.

Yellow Pages New iPhone App

4 new updates have been released to the app in the past 2 months, each single update of them received a stunningly 5 stars rating from the users. The old English and Arabic apps are now merged into a single universal app in which users can switch between the 2 languages; much better for the user experience.

Yellow Pages iPhone App Review

Android users now finally can download the long-awaited Yellow Pages Android app on Google Play store. The app is accessible to over 3,835 Android devices worldwide. The app is optimised for high end Android devices such as Samsung S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but it also works well with low end Android handsets such as the Galaxy Ace and Duos, also works great with 7 and 10 inch tablets.

Integration is done nicely with Google maps, which makes it very easy for the users to use turn-by-turn voice navigation available in Egypt through Google Maps. The Android app has received very positive feedback from the users, over 680 users rated the app and over 82% of them rated 4 or 5 starts for it. Exceptional for an Android app to satisfy equally for both high and low end device owners.

Yellow Pages Android AppWindows 8 is often criticised for its shallow  apps catalog, Egypt is no exception, but this is changing overtime with more apps being launched and push by Microsoft and its partner Linkdotnet in Egypt. Egypt Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 app is available for download on the Windows Store as one of the leading apps in the the Egyptian market, only a few apps came before like EgyptAir Windows App and Egyptian eGovernment maps app which is also powered by Yellow Pages data.

Yellow Pages Windows 8.1 AppThe new apps have received hundreds of thousands of downloads and continue to grow rapidly. Yellow Media has announced its intent to launch a new context-based relevant in stream mobile ads as an innovative way of mobile advertising that has a positive value on the user experience based on their interests rather than traditional mobile banner advertising.

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Interview with Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform, YPG

Mattieu Houle:  Director, Mobile & Platform,  Yellow Pages Group in Canada (YPG)

Matthieu Houle: Director, Mobile & Platform, Yellow Pages Group in Canada (YPG)

Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform at YPG gives us insights about the mobile local search industry in Canada, and expectations about where this industry is going and how the mobile usage of  YPG products will surpass web usage by 2014.

Mohamed Salah: Tell us a brief introduction about yourself

Matthieu Houle: I am Matthieu Houle, Director, Mobile & Platform at Yellow Pages GroupTM in Canada (YPG), responsible for its mobile properties, with more than 3 million downloads to date and representing 30% of our search traffic (www.yellowpages.ca/mobile). I am also responsible for YPG’s Developer Platform, YellowAPI.com which now has more than 1,000 developers signed-up.

With 15 years of experience in local search, media and advertising, I joined YPG in 2000 where I held various positions in Marketing, Business Development and Operations.

I began my career inCosta Rica where I lived for six years and co-founded a design agency and two quarterly publications: a local surf magazine and a golf magazine.

Mohamed: 30% of all YellowPages.ca online searches come from your mobile apps. How did you achieve these numbers and when do you think the mobile searches will surpass the web searches?

Matthieu: Part of our success was the early adoption of the mobile platform. Our executives saw the strategic fit and as of 2009, we’ve invested significantly in mobile development in terms of resources and created a director role dedicated to mobile – which I currently hold. We launched this initiative in 2010 with a mass media campaign, that really kick-started our presence on mobile.

Moreover, there is a natural fit between our service and the context of mobile users. I often say that Yellow Pages Group is “built for mobile”. For instance, Smartphones are the ultimate tool to discovering local merchants.

And finally, we have excelled at execution. Making the apps fast and simple to use was ultimately the key to our success and what drives our thinking moving forward. We have the right internal and external partners to achieve our strategy.

I refer to Mary Meeker’s forecast indicating that mobile usage will be equal to online usage by 2014. In my opinion, that forecast for local search is on the conservative side.

“Mobile usage will be equal to online usage by 2014. That forecast for local search is on the conservative side.”

Mohamed: How is the traffic usage divided between your mobile apps (iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, WP7, Mobile Web, SMS Search)? Did you think about developing a Nokia app?

Matthieu: Applications represent roughly 75% of our mobile searches while the remainder is mobile web. Out of the app traffic, 70% comes from the iOS platforms and in large majority from iPhones.

“Out of the app traffic, 70% comes from the iOS platforms and in large majority from iPhones”

InCanada, Nokia doesn’t have a strong penetration as it has in other parts of the world so we have not yet create an app for this platform. Moreover, SMS search numbers are negligible.

Mohamed: How do you interact with your mobile users? How did their feedback shape your applications the way they are today?

Matthieu: User feedback is a critical input when we plan our releases. We acquire feedback from many different channels, including social media, customer service calls and emails, and even from employees. In my opinion, the most valuable feedback is derived from reading the reviews section on the app stores which is an excellent source of feedback. You know that if someone takes the time to write a review, it’s very likely that at least 100 people are thinking the same thing.

Furthermore, we also follow a more formal user testing protocol when we launch major updates but I find that the value added through this process is a validation of ideas and our execution…

Mohamed: What is YellowAPI all about?

Matthieu: The essence of YellowAPI is to create more value for our advertisers by allowing virtually anyone to create amazing local experiences.  Developers are building new applications and experiences right now, in areas that we would not have imagined or we would not have taken the time to develop.

YellowAPI is all about contributing to the eco-system in a way that contributes to our business model. Overall, it is about enabling developers to tap into our curated data without having to pay for it. We believe it’s a win-win for everyone.

Mohamed: It is well known that the most valuable asset for Yellow Pages is its data. Have you faced any challenges about the idea of exposing the Yellow Pages data to third parties through the API?

Matthieu: Exposing our data is very different than giving it away. The key reasoning behind this is that each time a business profile is exposed through a partner’s app, we can report that value back to our advertisers.

Mohamed: How many partners are using YellowAPI today? What’s your monetization model for the API?

Matthieu: We have more than 1,000 developers that have signed-up on the API in less than a year, representing about 30 apps and websites.

The monetization model for the API is quite simple: by adding more value to our advertisers, we support our product value proposition. Although we don’t sell pay-per-performance, once you have a good understanding of the ROI-to-Revenue relationship, you can pay partners based on performance in a way that makes sense for both parties.

Mohamed: What are you working on right now? What’s in the pipeline?

Matthieu: We’re always improving our flagship apps. That’s a big part of the pipeline. Expect more social features and more content in the next few releases of 2011.We’re also working on a new app that will hit the iTunes app store in Q4… Which I think will have a tremendous success. Stay Tuned!

On the YellowAPI side, it’s all about adding more data and more tools to help developers come up with the best apps possible!

Mohamed: What is the most valuable thing you have learned so far being in the local search, media and advertising industry for the past 15 years?

Matthieu: I believe that if you focus on making things simpler and more useful, for consumers and advertisers, great things will happen. In the end, our role is to add value to both sides. Try to avoid PowerPoint Ivory Tower syndrome and recognize it when it happens and go back to the basics.

Mohamed: A few years ago, everyone said that going mobile is the next big thing. Today, what do you think is the next big thing?

Matthieu: I would say that the next big thing is still mobile. But not exclusively with “branded” applications. I see an explosion of hyper local, vertical, social mashups that will give consumers the best tools to make the best shopping decisions. Imagine a developer with the next big “local” idea, building the app with the content from Yellow Pages companies across the world…That’s where I want to be!

 I see an explosion of hyper local, vertical, social mashups that will give consumers the best tools to make the best shopping decisions”

Twitter: @matthieuhoule

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthieuhoule

Learn more about Yellow Pages GroupTM in Canada (YPG)

YPG

Learn more about YellowAPI

YellowAPI

Android on fire, Windows Phone 7 under fire!

Stephen Elop Nokia’s CEO is probably one of the most unlucky guys today, he probably choose the worst time ever to kill the symbianOS and replace it with Microsoft Windows Phone 7, a choice that many people criticized and said it would rather be much better for Nokia to partner with Google and use Android.

comScore has announced that Android, the 2 years old platform, is now the most popular operating system on smart phones in the US, having just surpassed BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 (WP7),  having now a market share of 31.2%.

The irony here for Nokia  is not just the lost opportunity to catch up the leading mobile operating system but also the loss  of market shares of the new partner Microsoft which has down to only 8%. This must be very frustrating for Microsoft, they launched their new WP7 last October aiming at competing Android and iPhone, what you typically expect is that their market share would grow due to this new product or at least stabilize but not fall down.

Smart Phone Market Share, Jan 2011

Smart Phone Market Share, Jan 2011

 

A good question to ask here, was Stephen Elop’s choice of Microsoft as a partner influenced by being an ex Microsoft executive or by believing so much in Microsoft products? Somebody has to answer this.

Smart Phone market share numbers in January 2011
Smart Phone market share numbers in January 2011

 

Nokia must now share Microsoft’s frustration, apple must be happy that they didn’t loose any ground against Google’s Android but rather Android took from the market shares of the other market players especially BlackBerry…

I wonder if the same market dominance will be possessed by Android on other markets worldwide.

iPhone Beats Nokia and Others!

A couple of days ago i made a post about how Egypt Yellow Pages iPhone application traffic is 60% more than the rest of the Mobile Yellow Pages traffic combined…

Today i will explain this more, we should be actually looking at the smartphone traffic share rather than the sales share. According to October statistics published by AdMob, iPhone smart traffic share represents about 50% of all the smartphone devices including Symbian, RIM, Windows Mobile, Android, Palm, …

Smartphones Worldwide Traffic Shares

So how did we reach this situation? It was just a step by step… Traffic share for iPhone:

  • Feb 09: 33% share
  • Aug 09: 40% share
  • Oct 09: 50% share

Traffic share for Symbian:

  • Feb 09: 43%
  • Aug 09: 34%
  • Oct 09: 25%

Android looks also promising, from 2% in February to 11% in October

Mobile Yellow Pages traffic gets a boost

I’m sitting now looking at the statistics for Egypt Yellow Pages mobile portal and iPhone application. I still can’t believe that the iPhone hits surpassed the mobile portal hits almost by 60%.

In the past 90 days, mobile portal pages views reached 100k whereas iPhone hits exceeded 160k. These reports are generated by admob, the mobile ad platform that has been especially popular on the iPhone, which was acquired by google this month for $750 million in stock.

If you look at the global smart phone market share you will know why i am surprised, apple is no more than 14% of the global market share with probably even less percentage in Egypt, as opposed to Symbian OS market share (Nokia and Others), which is more than half the market share.

Mobile Handsets Market Share

Mobile Handsets Market Share

I believe that the reason behind this mystery is that almost all iPhone users connect to the internet, download and use new applications each day. The iPhone is pretty much useless device if you are disconnected. Moreover, since its launch, Egypt Yellow Pages iPhone application has been a great success, one of the top free apps in Apple AppStore.

Download Egypt Yellow Pages iPhone application

Learn more about Mobile Yellow Pages