Jun 15th 2012
Leading the charge to make sure all of these products are effectively monetized with our brand advertisers is Head of Monetization for AOL Mobile, Mandar Shinde. AOL is the 4th largest mobile property in the US*, and the work of Mandar and the AOL Mobile team is responsible for that reach, and ensuring AOL capitalizes on the Mobile marketplace.
Why does AOL put such a focus on mobile? Mandar thinks the opportunity and the timing is finally right, which can be seen in its increasing popularity: "There are more than 100 million smartphones in the US already creating more broadband connections on these smartphones than home broadband connections. There are probably 40 to 50 million tablets that are continuously replacing home desktop usage."
Mandar is aware that as users move to these screens, its imperative advertising will move to these screens – at end of the day it's a reach and frequency game, and that will never change. Mobile also provides a new set of tools that will cause both branders and performance buyers to reach this audience and goal themselves differently. Tools that desktop never had like calling, calendaring, and mapping. For example, Mandar knows that Mapquest on desktop is a planning tool while on Mobile it's a navigational utility – each attracting a different set of advertisers (desktop being more CPG/Brand centric before the purchase cycle and Mobile being more local driven to find a local food chain or a local hotel chain).
In his role focused on monetization, it's imperative that products meet the needs of advertisers and marketers as well. "With a personal device that goes with the consumer everywhere, it's just a matter of time before advertisers will find the right mix to reach their audience on the go. Mobile users tend to have a specific purpose (directions, food, etc.) or snacky behaviors (airport, subway, etc.) along with their ability to know their location. Contextual , and emotionally driven advertising becomes a logical fit sooner than later."
What trends should we expect in 2012? Mandar is putting his money on the continued growth of the tablet as a dominant home device. "We can expect close to 125 to 140 million smartphones in the US alone by the end of 2012, and around 75 to 100 million tablets to go with them. I think the release of Windows 8 will make an impact with the amount of developer base they will bring to Mobile and finally put some pressure on iOS and Android."
Along with being intimately involved in the development of AOL's Mobile products, Mandar is an active user of them as well (along with his young son): "I love our Distro and Moviefone Apps for iPad. Distro is awesome. Being a geek and a follower of 'show me the new hottest thing', Distro is awesome for me to download every Friday, and then consume in mass quantities when I am flying up/down the coast. Moviefone on the iPad on the other hand is just a natural tablet design that makes one think if all products could be designed so.... simply! My 3 yea- old has even figured how to get movie trailers to play! We are in the middle of an industrial design change and Apple is really driving it but there will be more players"
As you can see, Mandar's family is extremely important to him. Ask him, and he'll tell you how they inspire him to be better: "I love spending time with my son - observing him learn and grow makes me wiser every day. He just started his pre-K and swimming classes, so there is plenty to keep me very happily busy."
"My wife taught me that one can follow their hobbies keenly while keeping their career path intact (she is an engineer manager by profession but managed to follow her hobby and made it a second career as a stock photography model before our first child). She really put the ball out of the park when she did her first half marathon after our child was born (for someone who hated running). She has taught me that there is always time for personal achievements and work/life balance remains key."
Learn more about the products and services Mandar and the rest of the AOL Mobile team work on at http://mobile.aol.com/.
*comScore Media Metrix - Mobilens, March 2012; based on custom category built by AOL
Feb 16th 2012
Today we've unveiled AOL's brand-new iPad site! We've optimized the entire experience to make it super tablet-friendly. Check it out by going to aol.com on your iPad and then tell us what you think.
This new design provides an easy and fun way to browse through more of AOL's best content including top news, local and entertainment headlines.
- AOL Mail – Tap on the Mail icon at the top of the page to quickly go to your AOL Mail account. Or, sign in to the page itself to get a dedicated mail preview section so that you can see up to 20 previews of your latest unread messages. You can swipe to review your mail, tap on previews to open messages, tap on the compose icon to open compose view, and tap on the header to open your inbox.
- Apps – Tap on the Apps icon at the top of the page to visit our Mobile Desktop Tablets page and view all available AOL Apps and Mobile Web channels. You'll also find AOL Apps promoted further down the page as well.
- Top News – View top news headlines with images. Swipe to see all headlines, tap an item to read the full article, and tap on the header to open Huffington Post Front Page to see all articles.
- Video – Swipe to see featured videos and tap to to play selected videos. Once the video experience is open, you can play that video or tap on additional featured videos below.
- AOL Music MP3 of the Day – Swipe this section to preview the latest 20 days of AOL Music's MP3 of the Day. Tap play to listen to selection. It will play in-line with continuous play of all 20 MP3s.
- Moviefone – Swipe see all listings of movies now playing in theaters. If location is set, you will see movie times for nearest theater and movie trailer.
Learn more about the new site and its features by reading the AOL.com Blog.
Introducing our new iPad site aol.it/xmzP6q- AOL PR (@AOLPR) February 16, 2012
Nov 28th 2011
We're excited to team up with Facebook to bring you the latest in HuffPost Social News: The Huffington Post Social Reader.
The HuffPost Social Reader is a one-stop-shop on Facebook that lets you and your friends easily see and share all of your HuffPost activities, from your favorite stories to the slideshows you're voting on. It's an amazing real-time app that keeps you updated how your community of friends is enjoying HuffPost. And it all happens without ever having to leave Facebook.
The HuffPost Social Reader is the online version of the communal "living room," where sharing and commenting on stories is not only encouraged, but essential to the reading experience. Only now, instead of couches and a fireplace, we're making it possible to share from wherever you are -- and on whatever device. It's never been so easy to debate the news of the day or be the first person in your circle to discover and share those funny, viral articles, videos, songs, pix and more.
For the first time, friends will be able to see what you're doing on HuffPost and engage with you as you're doing it. And don't worry, if you're not comfortable sharing, you can continue experiencing HuffPost without your activities being broadcast on Facebook, since HuffPost Social Reader includes privacy controls that you can set to your own comfort level. After all, it's your living room.
We hope you'll have as much fun experiencing the HuffPost Social Reader as we did making it.
Nov 10th 2011
Become a local, anywhere, with the help of the MapQuest Vibe iPhone app. Available today on iTunes, the free new iPhone app includes the Vibe Score rankings that profile 50,000 neighborhoods, 27,000 cities and 50,000 hotspots across the country so you can find the best of what's in your local surroundings. Making it easier than ever to vote up or down places of interests, hotspots and neighborhoods, the new app expedites and enhances exploration of new and familiar places.
Originally launched as a desktop experience in October 2011, the new MapQuest Vibe iPhone app mirrors the desktop and mobile platforms so users can access and enjoy neighborhood insights regardless of device.
Visit iTunes or mqvibe.com to download the free app. To learn more about the app's features and functionalities,read the official press release here.