Commentary

Navigating the In-App Ecosystem

Left to right: Jason Blake, CMO, Newhouse; John Caruso, Co-Founder, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, MCD Partners; Jesse Hurwitz, Senior Director Of Monetization and User Acquisition, Jump Ramp Games.

The opening panel discussion at today's Marketing In App conference in New York helped focus thoughts on whether advancements in technology create negative experiences for users of apps, with panelists talking largely about their families' experience.

It's a tricky question, said John Caruso, Co-Founder, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, MCD Partners, telling moderator Persephoné Kazl, VP, Associate Media Director, MullenLowe Mediahub, that she was asking "Are we being productive with our technology or not.

"You must have met my wife. She buys every book on the dangers of technology and leaves them all over the house. Yes, there are some serious arguments being made. Technology is advancing so fast, sometimes we're not able to adapt to it. But in explaining the good old days to your children, you realize how much time we used to waste. I'm so much more productive with this device.

"Remember getting lost? My kids are, like, that's so stupid. I don't miss getting lost. How about searching for something? [Apps are a way] to organize time and energy. There are serious questions but from a productivity standpoint, I'd me a mess without technology."

"My son can't live without his Amazon app," said Jason Blake, CMO, Newhouse. "I was worried at first but there was a big lightbulb that went off in our heads when he was trying to find something for school on Amazon and couldn't find it. And [later] he said, 'Did you know you can also buy something on Staples.com?'

"We had this fear that we're not teaching them to be as resourceful as we were with unpaved roads and no running water," he said, to the audience's amusement. 

"Other people's loss of productivity is good for me," said Jesse Hurwitz, Senior Director Of Monetization and User Acquisition, Jump Ramp Games. "Games, whether for the hyper-casual or casual player, are meant to give you escape and enjoyment. But, let's face it, all games are developed to get you to do more. We all talk about our kids and the mobile game industry. There's a push and pull, regulate it, be careful on how much we expose out on those unpaved roads where they can be fully active. 

"There are potential underlying brain-changing moments," he admitted, "but it's how you use them, how you enjoy them. There's a way to do so responsibly. Don't be concerned, be aware."

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