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Your Best Marketing Data Provider May Be Right Underneath Your Nose

Integrate

By  Scott Vaughan

Data is today’s marketing currency. We harvest it wherever we can – via paid, owned and earned media. And this harvesting is facilitated by numerous tech and services providers: known-data appending plug-ins like Dun & Bradstreet and Social123; anonymous data marketplaces such as (Oracle) BlueKai; and currently the hottest of the data sources, predictive analytics providers such as Lattice Engines and 6Sense.

But what’s almost always neglected in the marketing data discourse: the media companies that have been generating traffic, prospects and customers for marketing clients for years.

Marketers shouldn’t neglect these sources and their evolving capabilities. Top-tier media companies aren’t the “lead-gen sources” of old – they’re the “data-gen providers” of tomorrow.

We’re slowly seeing B2B media companies evolve. They’re leveraging new technologies and long-held expertise to grow into sophisticated data repositories for their clients. This is great news for marketers.

The optimism stems from the wealth of data types available today – big, small, prospect, intent, behavior and account intelligence. And, it appears more is on the way.

Having spent a chunk of my career working within a B2B media company, and now both partnering with and serving these organizations as customers, I can say the definition of “media company” is clearly changing.  This includes traditional web and print publishers, digital lead-generation providers, and advertising technology companies offering solutions to better deliver audience and leads.

These shifts are part survival and part opportunity. It’s survival in that media companies are shedding expensive print and eyeball-generating web operations. And opportunity in that they’re emerging as data-source experts to serve marketers’ seemingly endless appetite for highly specific customer and prospect information.

Behind closed doors, media executives are debating and plotting to answer one question: “What’s the core business we’ll be in a year from now?”  The consensus – DATA marketing solutions.

To make this a reality, media executives are NOT JUST thinking about traffic, impressions or lead generation. Progressive, next-generation media organizations are investing to deliver high-quality prospect and performance (e.g., content performance) data to their marketing customers. All this to arm marketers with intelligent prospect info and marketing intelligence to put their marketing technology systems and content to work – to create new customers.

Data as the New Media AND Marketing Currency

B2B media executives are still in the thick of it, but they also understand “monetizing traffic” or trying to squeeze “every ounce out of their databases” isn’t a long-term success formula. Rather, new-era media companies realize that data is the invaluable asset they can provide to their paying marketing customers.

Data that informs how and with what to capture prospect interest. Media companies use this data in concert with both their own content and their customers’ marketing assets.

Just as importantly, they wield data about their visitors, subscribers, and attendees, that can be packaged and made actionable for marketers’ demand generation and customer acquisition efforts.

Let’s dive deeper into a few types of emerging data sets that are becoming the lifeblood for progressive media companies to better serve their customers. We’ll discuss what BOTH media companies and the marketers they serve can do about it.

Behavioral Prospect Data to Signal Intent

Based on a user’s behaviors, media companies have a unique grasp on what buyers or targeted companies may be interested in. Using data science, this intent-based data can be collected and shared about an individual’s online activities. Most importantly, specific areas of content interest can also be gathered, which often signals research around an upcoming purchase. The media company can also provide precise, additional targeting by serving ads or emailing offers, for example.

Marketers use this data to score leads based on specific activity and increased interactions. They can also prioritize and fast track the best opportunities immediately by nurturing prospects in a more targeted program or sending to sales for immediate follow-up.

A few examples in this area: TechTarget’s Activity Intelligence platform and Bombora (formerly Madison Logic Data) are media companies providing this type of service today.

Company Content Consumption Data for Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing is all the rage today, and for good reason. The focus is on the ability to identify and target specific companies that B2B marketers and sales chiefs have earmarked as ideal prospects for their product or service.

Media companies use digital tactics, demand generation, and data solutions to help marketers identify purchasing intent with a specific list of target companies. Using company IP addresses and domain intelligence, for example, they can share this activity data when target companies (“accounts”) are viewing or engaging with their content and retarget them immediately with additional information and offers.

Demandbase and IDG Communications – among many others – provide advanced offerings in this area, leading with their data.

The media company transformation to “data-gen providers” is still in its early stages. They’re just starting to team up with marketers to use data science for advanced targeting and sophisticated data generation. So, what can marketers do to tap into the wealth of prospect and customer data intelligence?

Continue Reading…

The Web is Getting Slower

 

Source: CNN Money

The spinning wheel of death never seems to stop turning these days.

It’s not you. Web pages really are loading slower.

The average site is now 2.1 MB in size — two times larger than the average site from three years ago, according to data tracked by HTTP Archive.

There are a few reasons for this added weight.

Websites are adding more attention-attracting videos, images, interactivity plug-ins (comments and feeds) and other code and script-heavy features that clog up broadband pipes and wireless spectrum.

Sites also have ramped up their usage of tracking and analysis tools to learn more about their visitors. Inserting third-party data trackers not only increases a website’s weight, but also the number of separate data fetching tasks, which leads to slower load times as well.

Photos and videos continue to be the bulkiest part of websites, making up almost three-fourths their size. That proportion has stayed relatively constant over the past three years, even as the total size of websites has grown.

But as more smartphones, tablets, watches and other gizmos are built to go online, developers have to create even more versions of websites and Web components to fit evermore formats. Some websites, for example, have more than 50 different image sizes which can be called upon to load depending on device. This additional complexity requires more code to run, and adds to a website’s bulk.

“The shift from desktop to mobile requests and consumption have had the biggest impact on website performance,” said Craig Adams, VP of Web experience products at Akamai, a content delivery network that services 15% to 30% of all online traffic daily.

On top of all this, websites are using stronger encryption to make themselves more secure. Shielding themselves behind secured protocols requires more code and data crunching power, too.

Continue Reading…

Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

Source: Buffer Social

I love to see new stats and research about how to best share to social media.

If it’s research-backed or numbers-driven, sign me up. These actionable tips are what drive a lot of our experiments at Buffer as we’re keen to see if the best advice from these studies meshes with our experience, too.

And there’s a lot of new info to go off of.

I’ve collected 10 of the latest surprising, revealing studies on social media here in this post, with takeaways and insight into social media timing, Instagram sharing, Facebook users, and more. If you’ve seen a recent study worth mentioning, I’d love to hear from you!

Social Media research 800x400 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

1. The peak performance of social sharing

Late afternoon to nighttime is the best time to reach people on social

Social traffic substantially underperforms overall traffic from about 5 a.m. to noon, and social substantially overperforms overall traffic from about 3 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Chartbeat reported on the data of the sites it tracks, looking at how social media sharing corresponds to site traffic. The general trend seemed to follow: Traffic and social sharing both increase throughout the early morning, peak midday, then lessen into the evening.

The unique finding here was in the subtle difference in exactly where each metric peaks.

Social traffic outperforms website traffic from 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time to 1:00 a.m.

Chartbeat social trfafic web traffic research 800x533 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

2. What the average Facebook user looks like

The very male, college-educated, heavily IT, somewhat liberal demographic

Only two publishers–BuzzFeed and Yahoo!–have more women than men in their audiences at 51% and 56% respectively.

Only two publishers–Forbes and Wired–exceed a 10% likelihood in their audiences working at management level.

Fractl and BuzzStream collaborated on a study of 20 publishers’s Facebook audiences, looking at the Audience Insights for publishers like The Guardian, Wired, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and more.

In the case of these audiences, the results skewed heavily in a few directions:

  • 18 of the 20 publishers had an audience that was more male than female.
  • The majority of active users on these pages has graduated from college.
  • All but one publisher had an audience makeup of more IT workers than the U.S. Facebook average.

Facebook Audience Insights for 20 major publishers 800x586 Why You Should Share to Social Media in the Afternoon

Comparisons might be a little tricky to draw between these pages and yours, though the research does point to the value of understanding your audience. My best guess at the demographics of some of these publishers would be that the audience was more female (I was wrong) and perhaps not as IT focused.

 

Continue Reading…

What Google’s Mobile-First Rules Mean For Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing Land

The news that Google was rolling out a mobile-friendly algorithm should have come as no surprise. As the search giant revealed yesterday, mobile search queries on smartphones now outnumber those on tablets and desktops.

Nonetheless, the announcement was unprecedented in one respect: Google ostensibly manages some 200 algorithms that govern how websites are ranked in its search engine, but changes or adjustments rarely, if ever, trigger public notice. This time, Google announced the change in mobile search months ahead to give companies time to optimize websites for mobile users.

It’s a clear signal. We now live in a world in which mobile increasingly comes first — and that means marketers need to deliver mobile-friendly experiences.

Google Redefines Mobile-Friendly

What’s at stake? Portent, a market-research firm, ran tests based on the new rules and found that, “40% of the leading sites failed Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ test and may be down-ranked in search.”

Under the new mobile rules, Google will be giving preferential search rankings to sites optimized for mobile. Or, as Google said, “This test will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.” The change will affect mobile searches in all languages, Google says, and have a “significant impact on search results.”

Google defines “mobile friendly” as sites featuring readable text without zooming, content sized to a smartphone screen (no horizontal scrolling required), easy use of links and the absence of applications not customary in mobile like Flash. Sites not meeting this standard will likely fall in search rankings, although strong content will continue to be rewarded.

At this point, the rules relate to searches on smartphones, but it’s likely only a matter of time until tablets are added.

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Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure Market Growth Expected to Accelerate to 21% in 2015, Driven by Public Cloud Datacenter Expansion

IDC

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, total cloud IT infrastructure spending (server, disk storage, and ethernet switch) will grow by 21% year over year to $32 billion in 2015, accounting for approximately 33% of all IT infrastructure spending, which will be up from about 28% in 2014.

Private cloud IT infrastructure spending will grow by 16% year over year to $12 billion, while public cloud IT infrastructure spending will grow by 25% in 2015 to $21 billion.

For the full year 2014, cloud IT infrastructure spending totaled $26.4 billion, up 18.7% year over year from $22.3 billion; private cloud spending was just under $10.0 billion, up 20.7% year over year, while public cloud spending was $16.5 billion, up 17.5% year over year.

For this second quarterly release of IDC’s Cloud IT market forecast, IDC has expanded its worldwide coverage to include detail for eight regions: Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Canada, Central & Eastern Europe, Japan, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, USA, and Western Europe. In 2015, Western Europe is expected to have the highest growth in cloud IT infrastructure spending at 32%, followed by Latin America (23%), Japan (22%), and the US (21%).

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The State of Digital Marketing

Sitecore

Approaches to digital marketing in the Benelux

IDG Connect surveyed 53 people based in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands identifying themselves as marketing directors or mangers, chief marketing officers and vice presidents of marketing marketers, roughly of half of whom work at companies employing 1,000 or more people.

You can find the Infographic below, on this page and download the white paper that analyzes the survey results in detail.

Information technology never stands still, and whilst the pace of its evolution presents marketers with significant challenges it also opens up a wealth of opportunity for companies willing and able to exploit new information consumption trends and software tools to get targeted messages in front of their customers.

Digital marketing strategies can include disciplines as diverse as display and search ads, email marketing, SMS messages, digital events, company websites, search engine optimisation, mobile web and web applications, and social media marketing tools, the combination of which offers unparalleled scope to personalise content to attract new customers, keep old ones and improve conversion rates with timely and relevant offers.

Screen Shot 2015 04 27 at 1.54.14 PM The State of Digital Marketing

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Emerging Technological Trends

 Emerging Technological Trends

Business is evolving. The explosion of new tech is driving new demands on the enterprise and IT has the integral role of determining the appropriate tech adoptions and investments to drive business objectives. Our infographic, “Emerging Technologies Transforming Enterprise IT: Adoption, Integration, and Investments,” highlights Network World research on enterprise network IT and how they are responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by transformative technologies such as Internet of Things, Software-Defined Networking, and more.

Screen Shot 2015 04 27 at 12.48.30 PM Emerging Technological Trends

Download a full version of the infographic here

For additional information from the research studies featured in this infographic, check out:

Network World State of the Network Study, 2015

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IDG Ventures sell stakes in Flipkart

The Economic Times

BENGALURU: Investment firms Helion Venture Partners and IDG Ventures India have sold stakes in Flipkart in deals that value India’s largest online retailer at $12.5 billion (Rs 77,000 crore), according to two people involved in the deals.

Helion, which got a stake in the Bengaluru-based company by virtue of its investment in online electronics retailer LetsBuy that was acquired by Flipkart in 2012, has sold its entire stake of 0.2 per cent, estimated to be worth Rs 156 crore. IDG Ventures, which entered Flipkart through fashion portal Myntra that was bought last year, has shed a portion of its holding of 1 per cent by selling stake worth nearly Rs 940 crore last month. IDG still holds about 0.9 per cent stake in Flipkart.

ET could not independently ascertain the buyers in both these transactions. Last month, ET was the first to report that Flipkart was seeking a valuation of $15 billion as it prepares the ground for a fresh round of fund-raising led by its largest investor Tiger Global.

Helion declined comment on the developments while IDG Ventures and Flipkart did not respond to email queries.

Industry experts are of the view that the stake sales are happening at a time funding cycles are expected to taper off in India’s redhot ecommerce sector, where the top three firms mopped up nearly Rs 31,000 crore ($5 billion) of funding in 2014.

Flipkart, founded by former Amazon employees Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, saw its valuation leapfrog from Rs 16,120 crore ($2.6 billion) in May 2014 to about Rs 68,000 crore ($11 billion) by December when it raised $700 million led by Steadview Capital. It is now aiming to raise Rs 10,500 crore ($1.7 billion) through this year, with Tiger Global expected to lead the investment.

The company is aiming to sell goods worth $8 billion in 2014-15 and competes against Amazon and Snapdeal.

“Valuations aren’t going in those crazy multiples anymore,” said one person directly involved in the stake sale.

Continue Reading… 

Not All Social Media Platforms are Equal – How to Pick the Ones That Work for You

Soshable

Launching a new business? Or promoting an existing one? Either way, my guess is that social media figures pretty high on your priority list when it comes to marketing your brand.

Over 70% of all online adults in the United States have a Facebook account. For the first time ever, 56% of senior citizens are on social media. That figure stands at 89% for young ’uns, or users from 18 to 29 years of age. The millennial generation, consisting of young adults born between 1980 to 2000 and accounting for nearly 30% of the US population, see social media as their primary means of connecting with brands. Over half of them claim that “social opinions” directly influence their purchase decisions.

So we all agree that being on social media is unavoidable if you want to be relevant to today’s consumer.

With the explosion of social media platforms, the question now arises, “which social media platforms will give me actual results?” And this, my friends, is the most sensible place to begin your social media journey.

Research Your Options

The first step to social media success lies in being active on the right platforms and engaging with your target audience in the form that they prefer best. But before you make a choice of which platform would work for your business, you need to first figure out what each platform has to offer you and then proceed by eliminating the least attractive ones.

Before we analyze each platform’s pros and cons, let’s see where they all stand with respect to each other.

The data above clearly shows Facebook as the leader in terms of number of users, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – in that order. This data also shows us how in a matter of a couple of years, Twitter has gone from being the third largest network to a lowly number five. At the same time, we see Facebook stagnating in its usage figures in the last year with a barely-there upward blip in 2013.

Let’s arm ourselves with some more facts about the top five social networks before we decide which ones work best for our business.

Facebook offers brands the widest possible reach – with 1.34 billion active users per month, Facebook is light-years ahead of competition. As a platform it is marginally more popular with women than men, it’s also more popular among Hispanics and Whites as compared to African Americans. A trend that has been accelerating in recent years is the exodus of teens from the site with 3 million teens dropping off in the last three years.

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5 innovative ideas for digital journalism from Build The News

Journalism.co.uk

The third edition of Build The News, a two-day hackathon organised by The Times and Sunday Times, took place last weekend at the News UK offices in London. Around a hundred talented developers and student journalists brought innovative ideas and prototypes to the table, competing for both the student and staff categories.

The three topics proposed by the organisers before the event were: interaction – if news organisations are getting rid of comments, how can readers be engaged?; social sources – how to ensure UGC is fairly credited; and context – how to explain to readers the wider situation and context around a certain story.

Participating teams tackled not only these categories, but many others. Here are five ideas developed and presented at Build The News:

Interactive Debate

May’s General Election is fast approaching and news organisations are looking for creative and interactive ways of engaging their audiences. The hackathon’s winning team developed a tool that can be easily applied to this particular event, but also to other types of video interviews.

Once given a video, the system generates a transcription, identifies the speakers and provides a written summary of the keywords and main topics discussed. Interactive Debate also uses natural language processing and sentiment analysis software to identify the emotional charge of the participants.

The tool can also serve journalists by providing an analytics dashboard of viewers’ engagement with the content, from most viewed to most shared or commented on.

“I have a long-standing interest in working with transcriptions”, said Pietro Passarelli, one of the team members and current MSc Computer Science student at University College London. “Having worked in the media industry on broadcast documentaries, I am always considering ways in which to make the process easier, faster and more insightful”.

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