David Williams, ATTi VP of mobile products, tells me the new app is a complete redesign from the previous version. The new UI is immediately apparent but the app is also functionally overhauled, including personalization features and an emphasis on deals.
— “Deals” section to browse nearby coupons, specials, and discounts across a variety of categories
— Location-aware home screen that displays local weather and can be personalized to show nearby deals, local events
— Ability to save deals, favorite businesses, and events to “My Stuff” for easy access.
— Location detection that automatically pinpoints a users’ location down to the street address.
The “carousel” and personalization features also stand out. The scrolling carousel atop the main navigation screen was inspired by YPMobile’s iPad app, says Williams. And personalization lets users add custom search categories that scroll along the bottom of the app.
As for deals, these surface from local ad bundles sold by AT&T Advertising and Publishing (Yellow Pages), as well as third parties it works with like Valpak. This includes a broader set of deals than “daily deals” says Williams, including all forms of nearby coupons and promotions.
Deals are able to be redeemed right away or saved for later (in “my stuff”). In either case, lots of interesting data are hoped to emerge to track demand for local deals in various categories. It also means a clearer ROI for advertisers.
On that note, Williams tells me that AT&T is now selling mobile ads (sponsored listings) separately. This is a big step, as most YP publishers have erstwhile just bundled in mobile as an enticement for a digital package (exception). But mobile’s recent demand has changed things a bit.
“Our growth in this area has allowed us to begin to sell mobile to advertisers as a separate product,” he says. “Engagement is deep and coverage continues to increase.”
To his point, AT&T mentioned in its Q4 earnings call that YPMobile search volume more than doubled in 2010. The new UI, feature set and emphasis on deals are congruent with broader market demand, and should accelerate this growth rate in 2011.
The new app architecture also interestingly has lots of room for growth, says Williams. This includes all of the things he can’t talk about just yet, but will be core features to ATTi’s overall mobile product strategy. That means both consumer facing features and how they tie in to monetization.
“This is a foundation for lots of things we plan to do in the next year,” he says.