My talk was looking at case studies of three mobile apps, two of which we'd done (Puzzler and the Ghost Detector), and one being the mighty Smule (which I've written about before). The main point I was making is that - as I was chuffed to hear Dan mention in his opening talk on day two - "all interesting mobile apps have some sort of social element". That said, this needn't involve all the classic paraphernalia of "social media" - i.e. conversations, contact management, or identity - and assuming that to be doing something social, you have to be building a branded Facebook, or a blogging platform, seems a little... crude. Audiences can be connected in more subtle ways, and as the examples of the league tables we launched for Puzzler, and the opt-in rate for Ghosty both show, these can lead to measurable increases in both uptake and loyalty.
We had fun in the panel session afterwards too, where I got to trot out a theory I've been nurturing around mobile advertising: on the web, the aim of advertising has been to drive users to useful web services, where they can get something useful done. On mobile, applications are a more appropriate destination for advertising.
Why? Mobile web sites tend to be more limited. There are a few really "sticky" ones (itsMy and Flirtomatic, I'm looking at you), but most destinations for mobile advertising are ad-supporting microsites with little long-term value for a visitor. As such, applications are a more natural and worthwhile destination for mobile advertising: give your prospective customers something genuinely useful they can carry with themselves and see value from again and again, rather than expecting them to return to a microsite.
If you're sceptical, I'd encourage you to look at iPhone app store statistics - the average free app is being run 80 times. This might not mean it's a great place to run advertising, but I'll wager that's roughly 80 times more traffic than most mobile microsites get...