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Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

IDG Connect 0811 Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

Nikhil Govindaraj is Vice President of Product at Moxie where he is responsible for all aspects of product management, product design and strategy. Nikhil has more than 15 years of experience in CRM, enterprise collaboration and multi-channel contact centres.

Nikhil shares his tips on how businesses can harness big data to enhance the customer experience.

For many companies, “big data” has become a must-have strategic tool to win more business and outsmart the competition. In particular, consumer retail businesses rely on the data they have collected about their customers to deliver everything from personalised advertising campaigns to new products that precisely target each individual’s interests.

Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of using big data to solely focus on the “buy” side of the business, but the most successful retailers understand that the overall customer experience is just as important as the sale itself.  These companies leverage big data throughout the customer journey and during every engagement in an effort to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and, yes, purchases.

These are five key ways your company can harness big data to enhance the customer journey.

1. Deliver the In-Store “Human Touch” Online with Digital Cues

Physical stores have one great advantage: Sales staff and customers engage face-to-face. This gives sales associates the opportunity to “read” customers, using visual data cues to make judgments about how best to approach a customer, such as how long someone has been comparing two products. Armed with this information, sales associates tailor their treatment to customers’ needs to best assist them with purchases. And it works—conversion rates for stores range from 10 percent for apparel to 100 percent for groceries, outpacing Internet conversion rates of just 1-3 percent (Deloitte).

When it comes to online stores, companies have focused on driving prospects to their websites, but then letting them wander around the site without any assistance or guidance. It’s one of the main reasons conversion rates have remained abysmally low. Online brands need to emulate the in-store experience by using digital cues to identify when a customer would benefit from attention to complete a transaction. For example, did the customer get an error message when processing a payment? If so, immediately offer a live chat session with an agent to help the customer solve the problem and complete the purchase.

Read More Tips Here… 

12 Breakout Social Media Successes

CITEworld

During the past year, the social media world saw a variety of well-executed ad campaigns, but these 12 standouts, from companies including Coca-Cola, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald’s, are the cream of the crop, according to social media experts.

Screen Shot 2015 03 30 at 12.27.01 PM 12 Breakout Social Media Successes

Ice buckets and IKEA catalogs. Girl power and friendships cemented over soft drinks. The resurrection of a cancelled TV show, and an adorable Pomeranian. These were the stuff of successful social media campaigns from major brands and organizations since the summer of 2014, as selected by the group of social media experts we queried.

The following campaigns succeeded on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other sites because of the fresh thinking and, in some cases, big money and audacious spirit that created them. Without further ado, here are 12 of the most successful social media initiatives of the past year, in alphabetical order. (For examples of earlier successful examples, read “14 Must-See Social Media Marketing Success Stories.”

Read More… 

Is Responsive Design The Right Way To Design?

Medium

Editor’s Note: I’m not a technologist, however I am someone that thinks about mobile frequently from a marketing and product perspective. Below are a few of my thoughts on the role of mobile web and RWD. Comments and criticism are welcome and appreciated.


If you had asked me a few years ago whether all web developers should be building sites with responsive design, my answer would have been an emphatic “yes.”

However, I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought recently, and I think my opinion has changed.

For those of you that need a quick refresher (or for my family and friends, who read these posts despite not understanding a word of them): Responsive design is an approach to web design that attempts to adapt and resize the layout of a website across several device types. In essence, the theory suggests that a mobile and tablet version of a website should match the experience of the desktop version.

One of the biggest arguments to support responsive design is that web visitors are increasingly viewing sites from a number of different devices, and therefore, they shouldn’t have to re-learn how to navigate your site each time.

This argument makes a lot of sense. An increasing share of web consumption is occurring on mobile devices. These users don’t create a distinction between mobile and desktop consumption, so why should publishers? It also doesn’t hurt that designing a responsive site is often cheaper to create and maintain, as it doesn’t require developers to repeat changes across a number of different templates.

However, I’ve started to believe (at least for now) that following this approach may dismiss the nuances of different reading behaviors, and ignores the strengths and weaknesses that each device offers.

Continue Reading… 

Microsoft Proving it is a Software and Services Company

ZDNet

If anyone still had doubts about whether Microsoft has moved from a “devices and services” company to a “productivity and platforms” one, those misgivings should be gone as of today, March 1.

As rumored, Microsoft has struck a deal with Samsung to preload several Microsoft applications and services on the the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Android phone. At least so far, this news looks to overshadow the new low-/mid-range Windows Phone devices expected to be unveiled by Microsoft and its mobile OEM partners at Mobile World Congress this week.

The Galaxy S6 comes with all the key Google apps preinstalled, as one would expect. But it also is preloaded with Microsoft’s OneNote note-taking app and OneDrive cloud storage app/service. Samsung’s spec sheet says the S6 and S6 Edge will offer users 115 GB of free OneDrive storage for two years. From screen shots on various sites, it looks like Skype is preloaded on these new Samsung devices, too, and available via a Microsoft apps folder.

Microsoft’s mobile Office apps for Android are not part of the preload deal, which was originally reported, and later amended, by SamMobile.com. Users who want Office Mobile for Android can download it; updated versions of the mobile Office apps for Android phones are coming at a future date.

In recent months, Microsoft’s interest and ability to build really nice cross-platform applications for iOS and Android has become more evident. OneNote, OneDrive, Skype and the evolving Office universal apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows/ Windows Phone.

But today is the first time (I believe) that Microsoft has struck a deal with a non-Windows/Windows Phone OEM to preload any of its apps and services on its devices. Technically, I guess you could count the Apple-Microsoft deal via which Microsoft’s Bing search is the Web-search fallback for Siri as another example of an OEM preload deal. But to me, today’s Microsoft-Samsung deal is more of a true first in this category.

Continue Reading…

Why Social Media Advertising Is Set To Explode In The Next 3 Years

Marketing Land

Social media advertising has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. When Facebook launched its first advertising option in May 2005, no one could have predicted that social media advertising revenue would be estimated to reach $8.4 billion in 2015, just ten years later.

Online advertising is a natural choice for modern businesses, but after the decline of the banner ad, businesses began searching for alternatives. Paid search is a great online advertising medium for driving visitors to your website based on user intent (i.e. their search query). But what if there are no identifiable (or affordable) keywords you can bid on to drive traffic? And what about those businesses that want to create brand awareness rather than capturing user intent?

Social media advertising helps businesses find new potential clients by using users’ own shared information to identify interest. Rather than reactively targeting users who search a certain term, social media advertising proactively targets relevant users before they even begin their search.

Social networks are a good option for advertisers because of the advanced targeting options, reliable conversion tracking, and prevalence on mobile devices.

Advanced Targeting Options

Because social networks gather such a larger amount of user information, social media advertising is able to target your audience in a wider variety of ways than other online platforms. Stretching beyond general demographic and geographic data, social media advertising has opened the door to deeper interest, behavioral and connection-based targeting methods.

These advanced targeting options increase your ad’s relevance to your users and provide a level of personalization that is not achievable on other advertising channels. Here are four such advanced targeting options:

  • Interest targeting: Reach specific audiences by looking at their self-reported interests, activities, skills, pages/users they have engaged with, etc. Interest targeting is often related to keyword targeting, so some platforms will allow you to enter both. Interests can be as general as an industry (e.g. automotive industry) or as specific as a product (e.g. convertibles). Offered by: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (under “Skill”), Pinterest.

Read More… 

How Google’s Emphasis On Mobile Will Affect You

MediaPost

When it comes to search algorithm changes, Google has gone from making official announcements to a “this is something we do every day so don’t expect to hear from us” attitude. With this in mind, the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm change is a very big deal. As background, here is a high-level history of events:

  • June 11, 2013: Google announced specific recommendations for developing mobile-friendly websites. It listed common configuration mistakes and explicitly called out faulty redirects and smartphone-specific errors (incorrectly served 404s, Googlebot Mobile and unplayable videos).
  • September–October, 2014: Google tested several different mobile-specific indicators, using both mobile-friendly and non-mobile-friendly icons.
  • November 18, 2014: Google officially launched mobile-friendly designations to results in mobile search.
  • February 26, 2015: Google announced that, on April 21, it will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

Google has gotten very serious about mobile search and is taking a primary role in improving the experience. In other words, we’re on notice to clean up our site(s). The good news is that Google is providing instructions and tools to help us do this. Here are the top three things that every website owner needs to do in anticipation of the April 21 deadline:

1)     Make use of Google’s guide to mobile-friendly websites.Google provides a 60+ page guide that discusses why and how to build a mobile-friendly website. There are dedicated guides for several open-source CMS platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), as well as a specific guide to mobile SEO, with special emphasis on avoiding common mistakes.

2)     Test your site using Google’s Tools. Users of Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) are already familiar with Google’s emphasis on mobile, as WMT has been alerting users to “fix mobile usability issues found on site xyz.” Clicking on “View details” brings users to a three-step process: 1) Inspect mobile issues, 2) Follow these guidelines and 3) Fix mobile usability issues. For those just starting out or who don’t have a WMT account, Google provides the ability to test a single page. This report groups all of the errors in one page and links on how to fix the errors, based on how the site was built (I built via CMS, I built myself, I had someone build the site).

Continue Reading… 

Reuters Is The Latest News Organization To Get Blocked In China

TechCrunch

Reuters has joined Bloomberg, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in being blocked in China. Reuters itself reported that its website is not reachable in the country as of today.

The organization said it has suffered partial censorship in China in the past, but this time its English and Chinese sites are both affected. That’s verified by data from internet monitoring site Great Fire.

“Reuters is committed to practicing fair and accurate journalism worldwide. We recognize the great importance of news about China to all our customers, and we hope that our sites will be restored in China soon,” Reuters said in a statement.

The reason for the block is not clear. China’s internet censorship organ often blocks new sites and services without warning, but in cases of media it often follows controversial stories. That was the case for past restrictions imposed on The Guardian,New York Times and Bloomberg — each of which published political exposes prior to being blocked. However Reuters hasn’t recently put out stories that obviously raise red flags or cover sensitive topics.

In related news in China, Great Fire itself has been under fire from a strong DDoS attack over the past few days targeting sites that it mirrors in order to avoid censorship. The organization is being served 2.6 billion requests per hour, that’s hoicked the hosting fees up to $30,000 per day, prompting it to go public with a plea for help.

Read More…

How Important Is Mobile, Anyway?

SocialMediaToday

Mobile optimization has been a ranking factor on Google for some time. But it’s about to matter a whole lot more. According to a recent post on Search Engine Land, “Google said it wants sites to prepare [for mobile optimization].”

If certain pages or sections of your site are not optimized for your mobile audience, Google will take note and demote those pages in the search results for mobile queries. Google plans to roll this out April, 21 2015.

They’ve even provided a tool to test how mobile friendly your website is. Note that they’re apparently working out some kinks so make sure you read this post before testing.

WHAT IS MOBILE OPTIMIZATION?

Optimizing a website for mobile users can mean implementing techniques like responsive design. But adding in some responsive breakpoints for tablets and mobile devices isn’t all it takes.

And sometimes responsive might not be the best approach. There are times when a mobile-only page or website makes more sense. Measurable SEO Founder Chuck Price weighs the pros and cons of mobile-only and responsive design in this useful post.

Whether responsive or mobile-only, you’ll want to factor in speed and usability when optimizing for mobile…

SPEED

Your site speed depends of the server where its hosted and the files the user is required to download. I would recommend hosting your site on a virtual dedicated server or similar. You will pay more for this but its worth it.

Hosting on a shared server where you pay $10 a year for a service pitched by a race car driver is less than ideal. A shared server is one server with a bunch of other sites sharing the server’s resources. The low cost host will load these to capacity for maximum profit. This will slow server speed as more websites are being access – eating up resources.

Read more tips here… 

A New Way To Get Your News

Business Insider

Blendle, an exciting Dutch startup that has attracted 200,000 users in the region to a platform that lets readers make micropayments for individual newspaper and magazine articles rather than having to sign up to monthly digital subscriptions, has just got even more exciting.

The New York Times (which is also an investor in Blendle), The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal have signed up to the platform.

That’s huge. Until now, only Dutch publishers had signed up to Blendle. The company had managed to convince pretty much all the major newspaper and magazine publishers in the Netherlands to come on board, but its chances of scale were limited at best because its content was restricted to the Dutch language.

But now, as Blendle’s founder Alexander Klöpping states in a press release: “It’s a great honor that three of the most important newspapers in the world will start working with us.”

It also shows that major US newspapers are willing to experiment with how they charge readers to access their content online.

Earlier this week, at the Digital Media Strategies conference in London, Klöpping hinted that Blendle is looking to expand in France or Germany next. Blendle’s press release announcing its new partners confirms the platform will be expanding internationally this year.

Here’s how Blendle works: Users register for Blendle and put in their credit-card details just once at the beginning of the process in which they create a newsfeed of stories about the topics in which they are interested. When they click on a headline, the app/website takes a small payment. And — perhaps the most intriguing part of the whole offer — if readers don’t like an article, they can get an instant refund if they provide feedback.

On average articles cost 20 cents each, according to Blendle. The pricing per article is set by the publisher. The revenue split is roughly 30/70 between Blendle and the publisher.