The MAZ Blog

Updates and thoughts about technology, media, apps, and entrepreneurship - written by the MAZ team.

Why You Are Wrong About Apple Watch Not Being an Insanely Huge Deal

I literally do not understand how people that lived through Exhibit A: iPhone and Exhibit B: iPad still think the Apple Watch is going to flop.

Not only is it not going to flop, but it is going to create an entirely new market, imitated and sought after from every direction. i.e. change the y, not the x

I know, because when Exhibit B happened and iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, my life completely changed. I had left my job at Apple about a year prior and had been doing some freelance iPhone app design, so I knew a bit about iOS development. Like many, when the iPad was initially unveiled, I was underwhelmed.

We collectively choose to block out all our scathing predictions about the iPad (funny that’s still possible on the internet), but there were a lot. I’m guilty of it too– at first, I thought it seemed silly, redundant, and not that exciting. I was wrong.

I was so wrong that after realizing the err of my ways, I swung hard the other way and started a company called MAZ, a software platform that publishers use to produce apps for, you guessed it, iPad. (and now also for iPhone, Android devices, Kindle Fire, HTML5, etc.)

I, a normal person who had never built a software company before, teamed up with two other normal people, and we created a company from the ground up that has been used to produce over a thousand live apps, serves millions of end users, and generates millions of dollars.

Think about how many other companies were founded around the same time as a result of the iPad. The entire category of tablet just didn’t exist before that. Now 47% of all adults own one. HALF OF ALL GROWNUPS OWN A TABLET AND LESS THAN FIVE YEARS AGO THAT WASN’T A THING.

Say what you will about tablet growth vs. smartphone growth (or should it be vs. PC growth?), but I am just illustrating the point that a new type of device hit the mass consumer market and created a multi-billion dollar industry in a very short period of time. And that industry is not just about selling tablets (although $27.8 billion in iPad sales last year doesn’t exactly suck); it’s also all the app developers, content creators, service providers, and ultimately the people that use and love this amazing thing that didn’t used to exist.

We had seen it before with the iPhone. And we will see it again with the Apple Watch.

I’ve lived through it. A completely new paradigm like this opens up a world of opportunity for completely new ideas, new products, new companies, new ways of thinking about old problems (and creating new problems that will need solving too!). We simply can’t imagine all the ways the world will change in the next five years as a result of the Apple Watch and the shockwaves it will produce.

All I know is that I’m going to try to ride the wave again. I suggest you do too, because you are going to look pretty dumb pulling your phone out of your pocket to read my “I told you so” tweet.

Read original article on Medium.

Paul Canetti is Founder and CEO of MAZ. Follow him on Twitter @paulcanetti.

Tags: Apple, Apps, Devices, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Medium, Publishing, Watch, iOS, iPad, iPhone

Timed Access Increases Conversions, Sales, and Revenue for Publishers Across iOS Apps

We recently released what we call our ‘Timed Access’ feature of the MAZ digital publishing platform. It grants any app users to an all access, unrestricted preview of each issue for a duration of time that each publisher chooses. We replaced what was previously a limited page (usually 10 pages or less) less real estate (about 60% of the screen) crippled (no enhancements made with our links tool in MAZControl) preview version of the content.

With every new feature we release comes the responsibility to measure it’s impact on our publishers and their end users. We have to ask meaningful questions: Does the feature increase engagement with publishers apps? Does the feature increase the number of app users? Is there an increase single issue and subscription sales for our publishers? Is there improvement in app download to issue/subscription sales conversion?

When developing Timed Access, we had several goals for it:

1) Improve the conversion rate of app downloads to content downloads.

Since almost all of the MAZ apps are free, and most of the content/subscriptions in the apps cost money, there will always be a contingency of users who download free apps and are then deterred when faced with a pay wall for content. However, if we could increase the rate of conversion from app download to sales for our publishers through our new fully immersive previewing experiences, then we’d consider it a big win. After taking a long hard look at the numbers, we found that there were 60% more content downloads per app download in January (when a overwhelming majority of users had the ‘Timed Access’ version of the apps on their devices) when compared to October (before we released ‘Timed Access’).

2) Create more individual content sales opportunities for our publishers.

At the end of the Timed Access preview period for a given piece of content, we invite the customer to buy the issue for a special price, and in some cases to purchase a discounted subscription. When we crunched the numbers on how this impacted single issue revenue, again from January to October, we saw a 74% increase! I know what you are thinking, that’s too big from just a single feature being released, but rest assured that % increase is adjusted to reflect the number of iOS apps live in the app store. It’s a very real increase, and is resulting in very real dollars being passed along to the majority of our publishers.

3) Increase in subscription revenue for our publishers.

After all, if our publishers aren’t making money, then we aren’t making money. We took a look at the number of digital subscribers month over month prior-to-and-up-to the market saturation of the Timed Access functionality. When we looked at the numbers from January to October, we saw a 12% increase in subscription revenue.

Overall, we couldn’t be more happy with the results of the Timed Access feature being included in all the iOS MAZ apps. It’s features like this that MAZ is proud of bringing to market for our publishers and really driving the standard for digital publishing platforms into the future. It’s always a calculated risk releasing a new and groundbreaking feature, and we are lucky to have some of the best publishers in the world supporting our platform and putting their trust in the MAZ team and our products. Thank you for sharing the risk and the rewards with us, after all our successes are your success and your successes are ours.

Simon Baumer is a Founder and CIO of MAZ. Follow him @simonbaumer. Carolyn Canetti is Marketing Manager. Follow her @ccanetti.

Tags: Access, Apps, Conversion, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Publishing, Rates, Revenue, Sales, Storefront, Timed, iOS

Entrepreneur’s Deep Link Banners

Check out what Entrepreneur is doing with their storefront banner space: using a call-to-action to lead readers directly to featured content in their magazine and to e-commerce opportunities through web links! Other publishers take note, great user experience can lead to higher paid conversions.

Free Magazine Content With Timed Access:

E-Commerce Opportuntities:

Download on Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon today!

Tags: Ad, Apps, Banners, Content, Deep, Digital, Entrepreneur, Link, MAZ, Magazines, Publishing, iOS

MAZ in 2014: Best Year Yet

2014 was our best year yet in digital publishing. Drawing conclusings from nearly 1,000 apps, we saw that our app + issue downloads tripled and app + issue views doubled since 2013. We also compared the industry average conversion rate and found that our free-to-paid end user conversion rate was four times higher.

We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings for MAZ and the digital publishing industry!

Tags: Apps, Company, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Publishing, Startup, iOS

Happy Employees=Growth

I never quite understood the value of company culture until I started my internship with MAZ. Where else will you find Gordo, arguably the cutest dog in the world, amongst a handful of unique employees who all share a passion for innovation and creativity?

On my first day, Sho, VP of Business Development, caught me snacking on gummy bears. Instead of scolding me, Sho introduced himself and told me not to worry – we are a gummy bear friendly office. He then proceeded to talk with me for one hour on how to align my professional interests with MAZ’s goals. It is this type of open dialogue between employees that has pushed constant innovation in MAZ technology.

Over the duration of my internship, I observed as employees plopped down on the black couch and tossed around their ideas. What surprised me the most was how willing everyone was to stray from the traditional job function in order to develop a growing idea.

The black couches, candy, Gordo, Sho and Carolyn

Within my first few weeks, I was given the opportunity to sit in a brainstorming session with Paul and Simon – the two founders of MAZ. Simon flew in all the way from Hawaii for this serious meeting to discuss future product developement. At my first brainstorm, not only was I able to contribute, but also my suggestions were taken into consideration. How often does a 19 year old get the chance to provide input on the next big iPhone app?

Looking back at my internship, I believe MAZ’s key to success is their growth strategy. Cultivating the perfect environment is crucial to a startup’s growth, and the company has done so by focusing on individual employees. As a MAZ employee, going to work is exciting, and checking emails becomes entertaining because you will never know what will trigger the next GIF-off. This family-type culture has created an environment that encourages innovation, and with the magical speed of the development team in India, ideas really do become implemented into end products.

MAZ has experienced tremendous growth as a company, but what sticks out to me is how MAZ employees help one another grow. After all, employees are the ones who make the company run. I felt that Paul and the others had a vested interest in my professional development.

Maya and the entire MAZ team celebrating the end of 2014

After entering the MAZ family, I was able to go to investor meetings with Paul, learn marketing strategy with Carolyn, and picked up on very interested facts from Mark, who’s brain is like an encyclopedia of sorts. Along the way I have gained unique business skills, consumed way too many gummy bears, and have learned that MAZ will continue to do aMAZing things.

Maya Bakhai is a sophomore at NYU Stern Business School. She is currently on semester abroad in Prague and has a real knack for Pictionary, charades, and Heads Up. Follow her on Twitter @MayaBakhai

Tags: Apps, Company, Culture, Digital, Employees, Gordo, Internship, MAZ, Maya, Stream

2014 Conversion Rates: Industry vs. MAZ

The 2014 industry average conversion rate for turning free downloads into paid content downloads or issue subscriptions is 5%. We calculated our average conversion rate using data from app downloads, content downloads, subscriptions and revenue.

Data showed that entertainment publications on MAZ regularly log a 20% conversion rate or higher. Within entertainment apps, the conversion rate is 3X better than the industry average, and our highest performing MAZ entertainment app has a 40% conversion rate for 2014!

Interested to know more? Stay tuned for more MAZ 2014 data!

Tags: Access, App, Business, Design, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Mobile, Publishing, Startup, Storefront, Tablet, Timed, iOS8

Timed Access Is Here!

Following on the heels of our redesigned storefront, we are excited to introduce Timed Access, a revolutionary new feature that allows users to preview paid content free of charge, for a given period of time.

For most publishers, only a small number of free app downlaods ever convert into paid users. Inspired by other app categories like games that leverage the “freemium” model, our intent is to help publishers convert more of their free downloads into paying customers by giving them another option: to browse for free.

Timed Access is the first of its kind in digital publishing: users can browse paid content, unrestricted, for an allotted period of time selected by the publishers. After the time runs out, users are then promopted to purchase the issue or subscribe in order to continue reading.

Imagine a magazine store in the airport to see the same thing happening offline.

For more information, read our full press release, and make sure to update your iOS devices to check out our new features!

Tags: Access, App, Business, Design, Digital, MAZ, Magazines, Mobile, Publishing, Startup, Storefront, Tablet, Timed, iOS8