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03/30/2015 - 04/01/2015 Amelia Island FL

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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… 

IDC Introduces Russia ICT Market Outlook

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 IDC Introduces Russia ICT Market Outlook

IDC launched Russia ICT Market Outlook, a new quarterly service tracking the supply and consumption of IСT products and services in the country in the context of recent dramatic economic and political events.

Since the 1990s, suppliers to Russia have had to deal with several periods of instability. However, market declines have always reversed quickly, and it became rather easy to take a stoic view of Russia’s volatility. The situation changed in 2014: The Russian economy, and subsequent IT demand, are now in what looks like a lengthy period of contraction. According to the latest IDC data, the overall IT market in Russia declined 16% in 2014 and an even more dramatic decline is forecast for 2015.

In 2015, Russian ICT consumers will be forced to readjust their spending in the light of the new economic reality. Business customers will be reviewing all aspects of their current spending, including supplier contracts, choice of supplier, and IT consumption models. In the state and state-owned sectors of the economy, additional regulations covering IT procurement and measures favoring local suppliers can be expected.

“Commerce has become politicized, and it’s clear that both market structure and the potential value of deals have been negatively impacted,” says Robert Farish, Vice President of IDC Russia/CIS. “For the last two decades, suppliers to Russia have had to deal with many operational challenges but this has always been within the context of a growing and modernizing economy gradually opening and integrating with the rest of the world,but from 2014, it looks like these long-term processes are stalling or even beginning to reverse.”

With this in mind, IDC today introduced its Russia ICT Market Outlook, designed to address challenges faced by ICT suppliers in re-assessing the situation in Russia and quantifying how ongoing changes are likely to impact demand in the coming quarters. The new service covers the key developments that strongly influence the outlook for Russia in the short and medium terms, including:

• The impact of sanctions against Russia in terms of IT investment

• New government polices introduced as a response to these sanctions

• Currency devaluation and what the overall financial turbulence means for IT demand

• What to expect in different customer segments in 2015

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… 

Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying

AdAge

Millennial influence within b-to-b buying decision groups is growing rapidly, according to a new study by Google and the research house Millward BrownDigital.

According to the study, 46% of potential buyers researching b-to-b products are millennials today, up from 27% in 2012. They’re now the biggest generational group researching b-to-b products for potential purchase. “We saw a big shift in a two-year time span in the number of millennials that are in the b-to-b purchase path,” said Mike Miller, Google’s director of business and industrial markets.

 Google Says Millennial Influence on the Rise in B2B Buying

The data comes from more than 3,000 interviews conducted in 2014 and Millward Brown’s multi-million person panel of internet users who allow the collection of their browsing behavior. Mr. Miller said he believes millennial influence is growing as the baby boomer generation moves toward retirement age. He also cited overall economic growth as a factor bringing more millennials into b-to-b businesses.

Digital Signals
Google also studied the digital behaviors of those participating in b-to-b buying decisions and found a big shift in mobile usage. Thirty-four percent of people involved in the b-to-b buying decisions in 2014 used their mobile devices across each stage of the purchase. In 2012, the number was 18%. Mr. Miller said he believes the increase indicates more b-to-b marketers are buying on mobile devices, as opposed to just researching there.

Continue Reading… 

IDG’s Chief Content Officer: Separate Content Marketing From Marketing

Huffington Post

Since our first CXOTalk show launched in 2013 with Guy Kawasaki, I have interviewed 12 startup founders/CEOs, 15 Fortune 250 executives, 28 Chief Information Officers, 10 technology analysts including Group Vice Presidents from Gartner and IDC, seven venture capitalists, six bestselling authors, one Emmy award winner, one Brigadier General and one NBA team owner. After hosting our 100th episode last week, we can now add to that impressive guest roster, our first Chief Content Officer, John Gallant of IDG Communications.

2015 03 07 1425738085 6610421 123north thumb IDGs Chief Content Officer: Separate Content Marketing From Marketing
John Gallant, Chief Content Officer – IDG Media US

As Chief Content Officer for the largest technology publishing company in the world (IDG literally publishes in every continent), Gallant (Twitter: @JohnGallant1) works with editorial teams to set content strategy and figure out how to leverage social and mobile as he determines the overall content strategy that drives the business of IDG in the U.S. The print industry has been completely re-vamped by digital transformation. With just one print publication left today, CIO Magazine, IDG has reinvented itself and continues to serve their audience using a rich array of media such as web-based tools, social media, podcasts and events.

Content is so important, not just to marketing, but to all businesses looking to drive successful outcomes. More and more companies are realizing the importance of quality content and the role it plays in building that ongoing relationship with their customers, however when you look across the technology landscape, there are a lot of people covering a lot of similar technologies. IDG differentiates their brand by focusing on delivering high-value content targeted for specific audiences that is not being delivered by another brand in the market.

Read More… 

Getting Maximum Value from Data Marketing

IDG Connect 0811 Getting Maximum Value from Data Marketing

A social media expert with over 15 years’ experience in digital, Christian works with some of the biggest platforms and programmes on TV, taking social media data and making it into relevant, interesting and engaging content. He currently works at performance marketing agency Albion Cell, delivering data-driven social media strategies for clients including King.com, Jose Cuervo and Ubuntu.

Marketers are often unduly daunted by the prospect of big data, possibly because the sky really is the limit when it comes to what can be done and how much can be collected. There is also a problem in that despite it being a ‘hot topic’ for so long, most businesses still aren’t leveraging new data technologies and techniques nearly enough.

Data presents an enormous opportunity to better understand your customers and their purchase behaviour, and then hone your marketing based on these insights.

Even if you are planning to outsource your data efforts to a consultant or agency, it’s a good idea for any marketer to have a basic, practical understanding of the key aspects involved. The more intelligently targeted your marketing is, the more efficient it will be.

1) Choose the right data storage for your business

There are effectively two types of data storage: on-premise or off-premise. While off-premise is more cost effective (and used successfully by online-only businesses like ASOS and Amazon, which have been able to create their systems from scratch entirely in the cloud), there are always issues of access and privacy or security. On-premise is more expensive due to high server costs, but gives businesses full control over the data – banks, for example, use data warehouses to minimise risk. When you’re deciding which system to use, consider your priorities and choose accordingly.

It should be noted that some businesses do a hybrid approach, but the challenge here comes when you want to combine your cloud data with any on-premise data to do deeper, more thorough marketing. Lloyds Bank has successfully built a very sophisticated hybrid system but there currently isn’t a way of combining on and off-premise data very easily or efficiently.

2) Only store what you need

The key point you should think about is what, from the enormous volumes of data you can collect, you actually need to collect and store. If you store only the relevant data you can be far more efficient.

Read More Here…

The Most Powerful Player in Media You’ve Never Heard Of

Wall Street Journal

Across the media landscape, high-stakes battles are raging over measurement.

In the online world, there’s controversy over how to measure the “viewability” of ads – proof that a person is able to actually see them. In the TV world, networks say traditional ratings aren’t adequately measuring viewing on digital platforms.

At the center of the storm is a body few in the media industry pay attention to: the Media Rating Council.

The little-known New York-based outfit, a non-profit founded in the 1960s, is the lone organization setting the rules for how media consumption is tracked. It is charged with accrediting and auditing the Nielsens and Rentraks of the world, putting it in position to influence the flows of billions of advertising dollars in television and online in coming years.

“People don’t even know we exist,” said George Ivie, the MRC’s chief executive.

In the digital advertising world, though, MRC has lately come into the spotlight as the debate heats up over viewability. For years, media companies charged advertisers every time an ad was “served” on a Web page. But there are many occasions when users can’t possibly see those ads, because they scroll past them or because they’re on part of a page that isn’t visible.

About four years ago, several of the ad industry’s largest trade organizations launched an initiative to move the industry toward a “viewability” model in which marketers pay for ads that are actually able to be seen, not just served. The MRC was tapped to serve as the standard setter and quasi-referee.

After an exhaustive process, last year the MRC–in conjunction with the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Interactive Advertising Bureau–released its standard: an ad is viewable as long as 50% of it appears on a person’s screen for one second, and two seconds for video ads. The organization has accredited 16 different companies to track viewability for display ads, and six for video ads—a total of 18 companies.

The early reviews of MRC’s work are harsh in some corners of the digital advertising industry. Publishers say complying with the viewability standard is a nightmare, because all of the accredited companies have different methods and technologies to measure viewability and arrive at conflicting results. That has caused messy and heated negotiations between advertisers and publishers.

Read More…