Showing posts tagged Ask for iPhone
Let’s face it. Some questions aren’t meant to be answered by a machine. That’s why you’ll see some changes to Ask.com today that involve you, our valued community of experts on all sorts of topics. Ask opened up its community portion of the site, previously in limited beta, to everyone – yup, all 63 million of you – so you can get answers from real people to subjective questions.
In addition, you’ll also probably notice a new look and feel that reflects what we’ve learned about how search and social intersect to offer the best Q&A experience. The new design helps users find the best answer to their question – whether that answer comes from a traditional Web search or from the community.
- Flexibility and Choice – With a new tabbed interface on the homepage, users can choose which experience makes sense for their question: searching the Web for a published answer immediately, or tapping a community of users for personal answers and recommendations.
- Ask People – The ability to join Ask People and exchange questions and answers with others is now available to all Ask.com users. Answers with positive user feedback are indexed and will surface in response to relevant searches conducted in the Search the Web tab. Ask People also includes the ability to browse Q&A content by social connections or topic areas.
- Web Search tailored for Q&A – Ask.com’s Q&A focused algorithms go beyond page rank and link counts to actually match queries with real answers. A search on Ask.com benefits from a number of these technologies working in the background, including Ask-curated Smart Answers and a database of more than 700 million Q&A pairs, to produce a real answer at the top of the page instead of ten blue links.
- User Q&A Content Front and Center – A new, streamlined design showcases more user-generated Q&A throughout the homepage and overall site via “People Are Asking” and “Related Q&A” sections.
- Improved Sharing & Social Features – Users can now share questions and answers of interest across multiple social platforms.
The Wall Street Journal wrote on the news this morning, check it out here. Also, check out screenshots below.
We recently surveyed users of both our web-based beta Q&A community and our iPhone app and wanted to share some key findings and differences between how the two groups (web + mobile) engage with our Q&A service.
We launched the beta of our user-powered Q&A community last summer, and while it is only accessible to about a third of our user base (scaling more widely soon!), we had a tremendous response to our survey. Among the key learnings about web users:
- Respondents claimed the primary motivators for using the Ask.com Q&A community online were getting answers and information (88 percent) and learning something new (57 percent).
- The bulk of respondents were older adults (65 percent were age 45+), yet respondents age 34 and under led all UGC activities including answering, commenting and voting.
- Half of survey respondents said they engage with the Ask community at least once a week.
As for our app users, here’s what we learned:
- The most common use of the Ask for iPhone app is browsing Q&A content, followed by web search, then asking real people questions. In fact, mobile community users were more likely than web community users to say they’re motivated to use the app because they have fun seeing what other people are asking and answering.
- Teens were the leading age group for browsing and answering questions.
- Sixty-five percent of respondents said they engaged with the mobile app at least once a week. This claimed usage dovetails nicely with internal (non-survey) data showing 43 percent of visits to the iPhone app are from users who return more than 8x per month. Collectively, this indicates a higher level of mobile engagement than what we see with site users.
One of the biggest take-aways about the two groups is the disconnect between them — and the big opportunity that holds for Ask. More than half of the respondents for the site survey had no idea that our Ask for iPhone app existed. As for iPhone users…well, nearly 40 percent of them exclusively use the app and never make it to the website. So there is a big opportunity here for us to connect the dots, which we’re excited about, especially as we look to expand on more mobile platforms in the coming weeks.
Check out more survey analysis in the DigiDay article that hit today featuring my colleague Jason Rupp and me. A big thank you to all who participated in our survey – your feedback is critical!
Ann Semeraro, Director, Consumer Insights
We’re excited to share that the Ask.com “Skip the Line” trivia game has officially arrived to kick off the summer season for the guests of Six Flags Parks! Check out today’s ClickZ coverage of the news.
The Ask for iPhone app was updated late last week to detect users within the vicinity of Six Flags parks in 10 major cities across the country. Based on that location, the app will now launch the Six Flags “Skip the Line” game where users earn points for answering trivia questions correctly. For every correct answer, guests increase their chances of winning a ticket to the front of the ride line.
Location-based rewards and offers are clearly huge right now, and we see questions and answers as a natural tie-in to this model. Prior to launching the iPhone app last fall, we actually tested an SMS-based trivia game and “skip the line” incentive with Six Flags across three major markets and saw some encouraging results: 9 percent of guests engaged in the game, generating 90,000 texts, with 65% of those folks engaging multiple times. Naturally, the question with the most engagement was “How old is Justin Bieber?” Are you surprised? It was the year of Bieber fever, after all!
Time will tell which question will entice park goers most this year, but one thing we know for sure is that a growing number of park guests own smart phones, which means this year’s promotion should produce similarly successful results. With a location-aware trigger and new features like a player scoreboard and posting scores on Facebook, the in-app “Skip the Line” Q&A trivia game is well-positioned to create a fun mobile experience for guests as they wait for their favorite attractions.
For Ask, this campaign is exciting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is discovering how users receive and engage with location-based games and offers within our app. This will help us determine not only new features, but potentially new ways we can engage brands in using our platform to power their own offers down the road.
So download the app nowif you haven’t already, and get to a Six Flags park this month to play & win & scream!
Robbie Waeschenfelder, Director, Brand Marketing
The latest version of our popular flagship mobile app, Ask for iPhone, is now live! Download it from iTunes here.
Since its initial launch last November, we’ve had a tremendous response and more than 500,000 people have downloaded the app. Now it just got better.
We made big strides in making this version more personal and social by allowing users to “follow” each other and browse by personal connections. Now, users can pinpoint people with specific expertise or knowledge, follow them and sort by their content – all from a mobile device. This is one step in our overall strategy to give users more control over their Q&A experience on the mobile device, so they can tailor results to reflect only the most trustworthy content.
In addition, general app updates include:
— A retooled results page, including answers from both search results and real people more tightly integrated into a single experience
— The ability to modify a question after its asked to better focus responses
— Spelling suggestions for questions
— Increased answer speed
— Log-in with Facebook or LinkedIn
This news coincides with another big Ask.com initiative for smart phone users: mobile-friendly changes (coming soon) to the Ask.com site. We’ve noticed that, in addition to embracing the iPhone app, users are increasingly seeking Ask.com via the mobile web; recently we’ve seen a major uptick in traffic from mobile devices to our web page. In fact, over the last two quarters there’s been close to 100 percent growth in visits to Ask.com from mobile devices, and a 50% spike in iPhone alone. As such, we’ve slated in a bunch of new updates for those browsing Ask on a mobile device, including increased performance, cleaner design, and a user log-in better optimized for the mobile experience.
As always, we want to hear from you. Test-drive the latest features and let us know what you think, right here on the blog.
Jason Rupp, Senior Director, Product Management