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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 23, 2012

3 Questions with Constant Contact's Kevin O'Brien

With the number of mobile devices steadily growing, it's no wonder advertising platforms are incorporating more mobile tools. Take the AppConnect Program at Constant Contact, a program that helps software providers and app developers integrate their mobile offerings with the Constant Contact suite of tools.

by Kristina Knight

I recently chatted with Kevin O'Brien about the program and what it means for developers.

Kristina: Tell me about the AppConnect Program?

Kevin O'Brien, Senior Director, AppConnect Program, Constant Contact: As customers continue to adopt more applications in the cloud, they require that the applications work well together, and that the data that exists in multiple places be easily accessible. The program comes with easy-to-use APIs and top notch development tools for easy integration with our products. We also offer a high level of developer support that matches the award winning experience our customers get within the product today.

Constant Contact has more than a half million customers who are already paying for services in the cloud and looking for new ways to grow their business. We list all of the apps and integrations in our MarketPlace - an online resource where small businesses can find apps, integrations and services provided by our trusted partners - for their integrations and apps so they can reach an audience eager for new tools. This ensures our developers are able to monetize their efforts and help provide useful tools to small businesses.

Kristina: Q4 2011 saw a rather rapid adoption of tablets, ereaders and mobile devices...what impact is that having on the mobile space?

Kevin: With the rapid rise in mobile technologies, it is becoming increasingly important for small businesses to engage with their customers on these devices. Small businesses just can't ignore mobile, because consumers are more and more connected to their mobile devices - they use mobile devices to find information, look for deals where they are and even make purchases. If 2011 was the year of social media for small businesses, 2012 will be the year of mobile.

To address this customer need, we acquired CardStar in January, the leading loyalty platform that connects merchants and consumers through mobile applications that perpetuate the use of loyalty cards and mobile coupons. The acquisition expands our position in three key growth areas that are important to our small business customers - mobile, loyalty and consumer. The CardStar loyalty platform takes advantage of the anytime, anywhere nature of mobile - making it an excellent complement to our growing suite of engagement marketing tools for small businesses.

Kristina: What trends are you seeing in the app space?

Kevin: We recently looked at what types of apps and integrations are important to small businesses and organizations (comparing 2010 to 2011). What we found is that the use of apps has experienced incredible growth in only one year. In 2010, the use of mobile apps grew from 31,000 customers to 64,000 customers in 2011, an increase of 106%.

What was most interesting was the growth in customer usage of social media apps. In 2010, 27,000 customers used social media apps and that number ballooned to 72,000 customers in 2011. That's an incredible growth of 160% in just one year. These numbers clearly indicate that the use of apps to add value to marketing campaigns is important to small businesses and organizations. We fully expect those numbers to continue to rise as we move forward in 2012.

Tags: app development tools, app development trends, Constant Contact, email marketing, Kevin O'Brien, mobile marketing

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