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Monthly Archives: December 2018

These 10 enterprise M&A deals totaled over $87 billion this year

December 25, 2018 No Comments

M&A activity was brisk in the enterprise market this year, with 10 high-profile deals totaling almost $ 88 billion. Companies were opening up their wallets and pouring money into mega acquisitions. It’s worth noting that the $ 88 billion figure doesn’t include Dell paying investors more than $ 23 billion for VMware tracking stock to take the company public again or several other deals of over a billion dollars that didn’t make our list.

Last year’s big deals included Intel buying MobileEye for $ 15 billion and Cisco getting AppDynamics for $ 3.7 billion, but there were not as many big ones. Adobe, which made two large acquisitions this year, was mostly quiet last year, only making a minor purchase. Salesforce too was mostly quiet in 2017, only buying a digital creative agency, after an active 2016. SAP also made only one purchase in 2017, paying $ 350 million for Gigya. Microsoft was active buying nine companies, but these were primarily minor. Perhaps everyone was saving their pennies for 2018.

This year, by contrast, was go big or go home, and we saw action across the board from the usual suspects. Large companies looking to change their fortunes or grow their markets went shopping and came home with some expensive trinkets for their collections. Some of the deals are still waiting to pass regulatory hurdles and won’t be closing until 2019. Regardless, it’s too soon to judge whether these big-bucks ventures will pay the dividends that their buyers hope, or if they end up being M&A dust in the wind.

IBM acquires Red Hat for $ 34 billion

By far the biggest and splashiest deal of the year goes to IBM, which bet the farm to acquire Red Hat for a staggering $ 34 billion. IBM sees this acquisition as a way to build out its hybrid cloud business. It’s a huge bet and one that could determine the success of Big Blue as an organization in the coming years.

Broadcom nets CA Technologies for $ 18.5 billion

This deal was unexpected, as Broadcom, a chip maker, spent the second largest amount of money in a year of big spending. What Broadcom got for its many billions was an old-school IT management and software solutions provider. Perhaps Broadcom felt it needed to branch out beyond pure chip making, and CA offered a way to do it, albeit a rather expensive one.

SAP buys Qualtrics for $ 8 billion

While not anywhere close to the money IBM or Broadcom spent, SAP went out and nabbed Qualtrics last month just before the company was about to IPO, still paying a healthy $ 8 billion. The company believes that the new company could help build a bridge between SAP operational data inside its back-end ERP systems and Qualtrics customer data on the front end. Time will tell if they are right.

Microsoft gets GitHub for $ 7.5 billion

In June, Microsoft swooped in and bought GitHub, giving it a key developer code repository. It was a lot of money to pay, and Diane Greene expressed regret that Google hadn’t been able to get it. That’s because cloud companies are working hard to win developer hearts and minds. Microsoft has a chance to push GitHub users toward its products, but it has to tread carefully because they will balk if Microsoft goes too far.

Salesforce snares MuleSoft for $ 6.5 billion

Salesforce wasn’t about to be left out of the party in 2018 and in March, the CRM giant announced it was buying API integration vendor Mulesoft for a cool $ 6.5 billion. It was a big deal for Salesforce, which tends to be acquisitive, but typically on smaller deals. This one was a key purchase though because it gives the company the ability to access data wherever it lives, on premises or in the cloud, and that could be key for them moving forward.

Adobe snags Marketo for $ 4.75 billion

Adobe has built a strong company primarily on the strength of its Creative Cloud, but it has been trying to generate more revenue on the marketing side of the business. To that end, it acquired Marketo for $ 4.75 billion and immediately boosted its marketing business, especially when combined with the $ 1.68 billion Magento purchase earlier in the year.

SAP acquires CallidusCloud for $ 2.4 billion

SAP doesn’t do as many acquisitions as some of its fellow large tech companies mentioned here, but this year it did two. Not only did it buy Qualtrics for $ 8 billion, it also grabbed CallidusCloud for $ 2.4 billion. SAP is best known for managing back-office components with its ERP software, but this adds a cloud-based, front-office sales process piece to the mix.

Cisco grabs Duo Security for $ 2.35 billion

Cisco has been hard at work buying up a variety of software services over the years, and this year it added to its security portfolio when it acquired Duo Security for $ 2.35 billion. The Michigan-based company helps companies secure applications using their own mobile devices and could be a key part of the Cisco security strategy moving forward.

Twilio buys SendGrid for $ 2 billion

Twilio got into the act this year too. While not in the same league as the other large tech companies on this list, it saw a piece it felt would enhance its product set and it was willing to spend big to get it. Twilio, which made its name as a communications API company, saw a kindred spirit in SendGrid, spending $ 2 billion to get the API-based email service.

Vista snares Apttio for $ 1.94 billion

Vista Equity Partners is the only private equity firm on the list, but it’s one with an appetite for enterprise technology. With Apttio, it gets a company that can help companies understand their cloud assets alongside their on-prem ones. The company had been public before Vista bought it for $ 1.94 billion last month.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Crew, a Workplace and Slack messaging rival for shift workers, raises $35M, adds enterprise version

December 25, 2018 No Comments

When it comes to shift workers communicating with each other in the workplace when they are not face-to-face, gone are the days of cork announcement boards. Now, the messaging app is the medium, and today one of the startups tackling that opportunity in a unique way has raised a round of funding to get to the next stage of growth.

Crew, a chat app that specifically targets businesses that employ shift workers who do not typically sit at computers all day, has now raised $ 35 million in Series C funding from DAG Ventures, Tenaya Capital and previous backers Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Harrison Metal Capital and Aspect Ventures. With the funding news, it’s also announcing the launch of a new feature called Crew Enterprise, which helps businesses better manage messaging across large groups of these workers.

The funding and new product come on the heels of the company hitting 25,000 organizations using its service — many of them multi-store retailers with an emphasis in the food industry; household names like Domino’s Pizza and Burger King — with some strong engagement. Its users are together sending some 25 million messages or responses to other messages each week, on average six times per day per user, with more than 55 percent of its whole user base logging in on an average day.

There are quite a lot of messaging apps out in the market today, but the majority of them are aimed at so-called knowledge workers, people who might be using a number of apps throughout their day, who often sit at desks and use computers alongside their phones and tablets. Crew takes a different approach in that it targets the vast swathe of other workers in the job market and their priorities.

As it turns out, co-founder and CEO Danny Leffel tells me that those priorities are focused around a few specific things that are not the same as those for the other employment sector. One is to get the latest shift schedules for work, especially when they are not at work; another is to be able to swap those shifts when they need to; and a third, largely coming from the management end, is to make sure that everything gets communicated to the staff even when they are not in for work to attend a staff meeting.

“Some of the older practices feel like versions of a Rube Goldberg machine,” he said. “The stories we hear are quite insane.” Shift schedules, he said, are an example. “Lots of workplaces have rules, where you can’t call in to check the schedule because it causes employees to come off the floor. One hotel manager told us he couldn’t hold staff meetings with everyone there because he runs a 24/7 workplace so some people would have to come in especially. One store GM from a supermarket chain told us that the whole store has only one email address, so when an announcement goes out, the GM prints that and hands it to everyone. And the problems just compound when you talk to them.”

Crew is by no means the only business internal messaging service that is aiming to provide a product specifically for shift workers. Workplace, Facebook’s own take on enterprise communications, has also positioned itself as a platform for “every worker,” and has snagged a clutch of huge clients such as Walmart (2.2 million employees globally) and Starbucks (254,000) to fill out that vision.

Leffel, however, paints a sightly different picture of how this is playing out, since in many cases even when a company has been “won” as a global customer that hasn’t translated to a global roll out.

“Starbucks is theoretically using Workplace, but it’s been deployed only to managers,” he said. “We have almost 1,000 Starbucks locations using Crew. We knew we had a huge presence there, and we were worried when Facebook won them, but we haven’t seen even a dent in our business so far.”

Leffel has had some previous experience of getting into the ring with Facebook — although it hasn’t ended with him the winner. His previous startup, Yardsellr, positioned itself as the “eBay of Facebook,” working as a layer on top of the big social network for people to sell items. It died in 2013, when Facebook took a less friendly turn to Yardsellr using Facebook’s social graph to grow its own business (it was a time when it was cutting off apps from Zynga for similar reasons). Today, Facebook itself owns the experience of selling on its platform via Marketplace.

Crew seems to have found a strong foothold among enterprises in terms of its usefulness, not just use, which is one sign of how it might have more staying power.

survey it conducted among 50,000 of its users found that 63 percent of leaders who use Crew report fewer missed shifts and 70 percent see increased motivation on their team. Crew worked out that among respondents, it is generating time savings of four or more hours per week for 93 percent of surveyed managers. And because of better communication, people are working faster when handing off things to each other on the front line — a Domino’s Pizza franchisee sped up delivery punctuality by 23 percent as one example. (The company offers services on three tiers, ranging from free for small teams, Pro at $ 10 per month per location and to Enterprise priced on negotiation.)

Crew’s new enterprise tier is aiming to take the company to the next step. Today, Leffel says that a lot of its customers are buying on a location-by-location basis. The idea with Crew Enterprise is that larger organizations will be able to provide a more unified experience across all of those locations (not to mention pay more for the functionality). Managers can use the service to message out details about promotions, and they have a better ability to manage conversations across the platform and also get more feedback from people who are directly interacting with customers. Meanwhile, admins also gain better ability to manage compliance.

If some of this sounds familiar, it’s not just because Workplace is the only one that is also targeting the same users. Dynamic Signal and Zinc (formerly Cotap) are two other startups that are also trying to provide better messaging-based communications to more than just white-collar knowledge workers. Crew will have its work cut out for it, but there is a lot of room for now for multiple players.

“We are seeing a shift in the marketplace, going from ‘absolutely don’t use your phone at work’ to ‘don’t use it when customers are present,’” Leffel said of the opportunity. “Some have started to change the rules to allow workers to use their own phones to perform price checks. We are solving for this evolving workflow.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Salesforce keeps rolling with another banner year in 2018

December 25, 2018 No Comments

The good times kept on rolling this year for Salesforce with all of the requisite ingredients of a highly successful cloud company — the steady revenue growth, the expanding product set and the splashy acquisitions. The company also opened the doors of its shiny new headquarters, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, a testament to its sheer economic power in the city.

Salesforce, which set a revenue goal of $ 10 billion a few years ago is already on its way to $ 20 billion. Yet Salesforce is also proof you can be ruthlessly good at what you do, while trying to do the right thing as an organization.

Make no mistake, Marc Benioff and Keith Block, the company’s co-CEOs, want to make obscene amounts of money, going so far as to tell a group of analysts earlier this year that their goal by 2034 is to be a $ 60 billion company. Salesforce just wants to do it with a hint of compassion as it rakes in those big bucks and keeps well-heeled competitors like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP at bay.

A look at the numbers

In the end, a publicly traded company like Salesforce is going to be judged by how much money it makes, and Salesforce it turns out is pretty good at this, as it showed once again this year. The company grew every quarter by over 24 percent YoY and ended up the year with $ 12.53 billion in revenue. Based on its last quarter of $ 3.39 billion, the company finished the year on a $ 13.56 billion run rate.

This compares with $ 9.92 billion in total revenue for 2017 with a closing run rate of $ 10.72 billion.

Even with this steady growth trajectory, it might be some time before it hits the $ 5 billion-a-quarter mark and checks off the $ 20 billion goal. Keep in mind that it took the company three years to get from $ 1.51 billion in Q12016 to $ 3.1 billion in Q12019.

As for the stock market, it has been highly volatile this year, but Salesforce is still up. Starting the year at $ 102.41, it was sitting at $ 124.06 as of publication, after peaking on October 1 at $ 159.86. The market has been on a wild ride since then and cloud stocks have taken a big hit, warranted or not. On one particularly bad day last month, Salesforce had its worst day since 2016 losing 8.7 percent in value,

Spending big

When you make a lot of money you can afford to spend generously, and the company invested some of those big bucks when it bought Mulesoft for $ 6.5 billion in March, making it the most expensive acquisition it has ever made. With Mulesoft, the company had a missing link between data sitting on-prem in private data centers and Salesforce data in the cloud.

Mulesoft helps customers build access to data wherever it lives via APIs. That includes legacy data sitting in ancient data repositories. As Salesforce turns its eyes toward artificial intelligence and machine learning, it requires oodles of data and Mulesoft was worth opening up the wallet to provide the company with that kind of access to a variety of enterprise data.

Salesforce 2018 acquisitions. Chart: Crunchbase.

But Mulesoft wasn’t the only thing Salesforce bought this year. It made five acquisitions in all. The other significant one came in July when it scooped up Dataorama for a cool $ 800 million, giving it a market intelligence platform.

What could be on board for 2019? If Salesforce sticks to its recent pattern of spending big one year, then regrouping the next, 2019 could be a slower one for acquisitions. Consider that it bought just one company last year after buying a dozen in 2016.

One other way to keep revenue rolling in comes from high-profile partnerships. In the past, Salesforce has partnered with Microsoft and Google, and this year it announced that it was teaming up with Apple. Salesforce also announced another high-profile arrangement with AWS to share data between the two platforms more easily. The hope with these types of cross pollination is that the companies can both increase their business. For Salesforce, that means using these partnerships as a platform to move the revenue needle faster.

Compassionate capitalism

Even while his company has made big bucks, Benioff has been preaching compassionate capitalism using Twitter and the media as his soap box.

He went on record throughout this year supporting Prop C, a referendum question designed to help battle San Francisco’s massive homeless problem by taxing companies with greater than $ 50 million in revenue — companies like Salesforce. Benioff was a vocal proponent of the idea, and it won. He did not find kindred spirits among some of his fellow San Francisco tech CEOs, openly debating Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Twitter.

Speaking about Prop C in an interview with Kara Swisher of Recode in November, Benioff talked in lofty terms about why he believed in the measure even though it would cost his company money.

“You’ve got to really be mindful and think about what it is that you want your company to be for and what you’re doing with your business and here at Salesforce, that’s very important to us,” he told Swisher in the interview.

He also talked about how employees at other tech companies were driving their CEOs to change their tune around social issues, including supporting Prop C, but Benioff had to deal with his own internal insurrection this year when 650 employees signed a petition asking him to rethink Salesforce’s contract with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in light of the current administration’s border policies. Benioff defended the contract, stating that that Salesforce tools were being used internally at CBP for staff recruiting and communication and not to enforce border policy.

Regardless, Salesforce has never lost its focus on meeting lofty revenue goals, and as we approach the new year, there is no reason to think that will change. The company will continue to look for new ways to expand markets and keep their revenue moving ever closer to that $ 20 billion goal, even as it continues to meld its unique form of compassion and capitalism.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


SEO 2019: Nine tips for beginners

December 25, 2018 No Comments

Interested in learning more about SEO in 2019? Here are the key trends you need to follow to improve your search optimization skills.

It’s easy to get confused by the information overload when you’re just starting with SEO. Too many tactics can discourage you from practicing your skills. However, it doesn’t have to be scary to learn more about search engine optimization.

That’s why we’ve analysed the key SEO trends for 2019 and what they mean to someone who’s just getting started with search engine optimization.

1. Start with optimizing your site for mobile devices

Mobile optimization is critical when you’re getting started with SEO. Start by testing your site’s performance and load speed across all devices.

Every delay in browsing may be a missed opportunity to engage a new visitor.

People are spending more time on their phones every year, which means that a new SEO strategy cannot ignore mobile optimization. Moreover, it goes beyond improving e.g. the site speed on your site. SEO in 2019 is about understanding the ‘mobile consumers’ and how their searching habits differ when they are on the go comparing to a desktop user.

Think of your own searching habits when you’re in a rush and you’re looking for a fast answer. Or think of the search result that grabs your attention. Chances are, it’s mobile optimized and it takes into consideration that you’re looking for a clear and quick answer without further delays.

2. Understand how users search 

We tend to assume which keywords will perform better over others. Keyword testing is always a good idea but SEO nowadays is focusing more on understanding the search intent. It’s not enough to find an effective keyword that leads traffic to your site.

A long-term SEO strategy relies on search intent and the reasoning behind every search. Once you start understanding how your target audience is using search engines, then you’re able to optimize your site more successfully.

Searches are becoming more dynamic and it’s not enough to rely on assumptions. Start testing how your optimization can affect your search traffic and start applying more conversational queries to your keyword mix.

3. Write for humans, optimize for search engines

A successful SEO strategy does not ignore the human element when optimizing a site. We are not just picking good keywords to improve our site’s rankings. The goal is to pick the right keywords that your audience would use in a way that the content remains relevant and engaging.

Always start by thinking of your audience when creating your content. Your content should be both interesting and relevant to them so that they want to read more about it. Once you start understanding the content that your readers want from you, it’s time to focus more on its optimization.

It’s not enough to create good content if you don’t get people to read it. That’s why you want to optimize your content to reach higher in the SERPs.

There’s no need to start adding keywords in your content simply to appeal to search engines. Google and the rest have become way too sophisticated to reward such techniques.

On the contrary, the quality of your content and its relevance, for example, can help you increase your search traffic. Find the right balance between quality content and search optimization for the best results.

4. Analyse your existing search traffic

If you’re not sure how to get started and what to test then start by having a closer look at your current search traffic.

What are the best-performing pages? Which keywords is your audience using to access your content?

Analyse your top 10 posts and what they all have in common. Is it the quality of your content? The length of each post? Did you follow the best practices of on-site optimization?

Find the posts that work well as evergreen content and think of new ways to update them. A closer look at your search traffic and current SEO performance can even help you update your content calendar with topics that your audience would appreciate.

5. Stay up-to-date with the latest changes in SEO

If you want to master SEO, you need to follow the latest trends and the algorithm updates that might affect your tactics. As with every new skill, it’s useful to keep reading about it to stay informed about any recent changes.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, it’s still important to keep reading about the latest SEO updates and what they mean to your strategy.

6. Learn the most important ranking factors

As we’ve just mentioned in the previous tip, it’s useful to dedicate some time every month to catch up with the latest SEO updates.

A great starting point is to read more about all the ranking factors that affect your position in the SERPs.

From the relevance and the use of the right keywords to the page speed and the use of backlinks, it’s good to learn how each ranking factor can affect your optimization tactics.

The list may be long, but here are some important ranking factors to help you optimize your page in 2019.

7. Never underestimate UX

User experience is becoming more important for SEO year over year. As Google is evolving, search results are becoming more personalized and the goal is to offer the best experience to the users.

The quality and the relevance of your content are very significant, but you also need to ensure that your site’s UX is appealing enough to encourage people to keep reading.

A good post cannot be engaging if your page is not, for example, optimized for mobile or if it doesn’t facilitate longer reads.

What you need is the right balance between great content and even better user experience. None of the two alone can lead to great SEO success.

Start analyzing your current bounce rate and the time spent on site and see how these compare with your site’s load speed.

Test your site’s performance across different browsers and devices and start improving all the issues that may risk you losing your readers.

8. Discover the link between social media and SEO

Social signals may not be among the ranking factors, but it’s still useful to understand how your social presence can affect your search results.

As social media becomes a bigger part of our lives, it can define a big part of our online presence and authority. The same occurs to all brands with an existing social presence.

Google has started integrating social results to the search answers in an attempt to present a more holistic idea of an online presence. By indexing more content to the search results, users are able to find the right answer to their questions as fast as possible. Thus, it’s good to keep in mind that your online presence and authority are not limited to your search results.

Similarly, social networks are turning into their own search engines where users are still looking for an answer to their questions. YouTube and Pinterest have become very popular visual search engines, while Twitter and Facebook can be helpful for finding more information about a person or a news event.

This means that our searching habits are changing and it’s useful to understand all the different ways someone can find your content on various channels.

9. Understand how voice search works

Voice search will be the biggest trend to shape SEO in 2019 and 2020. It is already seeing a growing adoption rate and more consumers are expected to use voice commands in 2019.

This means that search optimization should change to understand the new kind of search intent. People tend to use longer questions and more conversational queries in voice search. The challenge is to understand which keywords will be more relevant to your audience and how to measure the success of your strategy.

Although the measurement is still at an early stage, it’s still useful to understand the difference between text and voice commands. 

The more we think as consumers, the higher the chances of answering their questions in the most relevant way.

Overview

SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start the new year by boosting your skills to try out new ideas.

One step at a time can help you improve your site’s optimization. The best way to get started is to pay attention to your readers’ online habits.

  • How do they behave on your site?
  • What are your best-performing pages?
  • Which keywords do they use?
  • What can you improve today to boost your SEO strategy?

The post SEO 2019: Nine tips for beginners appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Utilizing Site Search Data to Improve Your Awareness Campaigns

December 24, 2018 No Comments

Explore a few ways to utilize site search data in Google Analytics to give you new strategies to test in your awareness campaigns in Google Ads.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


12 Best Xbox One Games (2019): Sidescrollers, Shooters, and More

December 24, 2018 No Comments

Relive Halo classics, play co-op with friends, or enjoy the mayhem of a battle royale with our favorite Xbox One games.
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How Juul made vaping viral to become worth a dirty $38 billion

December 22, 2018 No Comments

A Juul is not a cigarette. It’s much easier than that. Through devilishly slick product design I’ll discuss here, the startup has massively lowered the barrier to getting hooked on nicotine. Juul has dismantled every deterrent to taking a puff.

The result is both a new $ 38 billion valuation thanks to a $ 12.8 billion investment from Marlboro Cigarettes-maker Altria this week, and an explosion in popularity of vaping amongst teenagers and the rest of the population. Game recognize game, and Altria’s game is nicotine addiction. It knows it’s been one-upped by Juul’s tactics, so it’s hedged its own success by handing the startup over a tenth of the public corporation’s market cap in cash.

Juul argues it can help people switch from obviously dangerous smoking to supposedly healthier vaping. But in reality, the tiny aluminum device helps people switch from nothing to vaping…which can lead some to start smoking the real thing. A study found it causes more people to pick up cigarettes than put them down.

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

How fast has Juul swept the nation? Nielsen says it controls 75 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market up from 27 percent in September last year. In the year since then, the CDC says the percentage of high school students who’ve used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days has grown 75 percent. That’s 3 million teens or roughly 20 percent of all high school kids. CNBC reports that Juul 2018 revenue could be around $ 1.5 billion.

The health consequences aside, Juul makes it radically simple to pick up a lifelong vice. Parents, regulators, and potential vapers need to understand why Juul works so well if they’ll have any hope of suppressing its temptations.

Shareable

It’s tough to try a cigarette for the first time. The heat and smoke burn your throat. The taste is harsh and overwhelming. The smell coats your fingers and clothes, marking you as smoker. There’s pressure to smoke a whole one lest you waste the tobacco. Even if you want to try a friend’s, they have to ignite one first. And unlike bigger box mod vaporizers where you customize the temperature and e-juice, Juul doesn’t make you look like some dorky hardcore vapelord.

Juul is much more gentle on your throat. The taste is more mild and can be masked with flavors. The vapor doesn’t stain you with a smell as quickly. You can try just a single puff from a friend’s at a bar or during a smoking break with no pressure to inhale more. The elegant, discrete form factor doesn’t brand you as a serious vape users. It’s casual. Yet the public gesture and clouds people exhale are still eye catching enough to trigger the questions, “What’s that? Can I try?” There’s a whole other article to be written about how Juul memes and Instagram Stories that glamorized the nicotine dispensers contributed to the device’s spread.

And perhaps most insidiously, vaping seems healthier. A lifetime of anti-smoking ads and warning labels drilled the dangers into our heads. But how much harm could a little vapor do?

A friend who had never smoked tells me they burn through a full Juul pod per day now. Someone got him to try a single puff at a nightclub. Soon he was asking for drag off of strangers’ Juuls. Then he bought one and never looked back. He’d been around cigarettes at parties his whole life but never got into them. Juul made it too effortless to resist.

Concealable

Lighting up a cigarette is a garish activity prohibited in many places. Not so with discretely sipping from a Juul.

Cigarettes often aren’t allowed to be smoked inside. Hiding it is no easy feat and can get you kicked out. You need to have a lighter and play with fire to get one started. They can get crushed or damp in your pocket. The burning tip makes them unruly in tight quarters, and the bud or falling ash can damage clothing and make a mess. You smoke a cigarette because you really want to smoke a cigarette.

Public establishments are still figuring out how to handle Juuls and other vaporizers. Many places that ban smoking don’t explicitly do the same for vaping. The less stinky vapor and more discrete motion makes it easy to hide. Beyond airplanes, you could probably play dumb and say you didn’t know the rules if you did get caught. The metal stick is hard to break. You won’t singe anyone. There’s no mess, need for an ashtray, or holes in your jackets or couches.

As long as your battery is charged, there’s no need for extra equipment and you won’t draw attention like with a lighter. Battery life is a major concern for heavy Juulers that smokers don’t have worry about, but I know people who now carry a giant portable charger just to keep their Juul alive. But there’s also a network effect that’s developing. Similar to iPhone cords, Juuls are becoming common enough that you can often conveniently borrow a battery stick or charger from another user. 

And again, the modular ability to take as few or as many puffs as you want lets you absent-mindedly Juul at any moment. At your desk, on the dance floor, as you drive, or even in bed. A friend’s nieces and nephews say that they see fellow teens Juul in class by concealing it in the cuff of their sleeve. No kid would be so brazen as to try smoke in cigarette in the middle of a math lesson.

Distributable

Gillette pioneered the brilliant razor and blade business model. Buy the sometimes-discounted razor, and you’re compelled to keep buying the expensive proprietary blades. Dollar Shave Club leveled up the strategy by offering a subscription that delivers the consumable blades to your door. Juul combines both with a product that’s physically addictive.

When you finish a pack of cigarettes, you could be done smoking. There’s nothing left. But with Juul you’ve still got the $ 35 battery pack when you finish vaping a pod. There’s a sunk cost fallacy goading you to keep buying the pods to get the most out of your investment and stay locked into the Juul ecosystem.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

One of Juul’s sole virality disadvantages compared to cigarettes is that they’re not as ubiquitously available. Some stores that sells cigs just don’t carry them yet. But more and more shops are picking them up, which will continue with Altria’s help. And Juul offers an “auto-ship” delivery option that knocks $ 2 off the $ 16 pack of four pods so you don’t even have to think about buying more. Catch the urge to quit? Well you’ve got pods on the way so you might as well use them. Whether due to regulation or a lack of innovation, I couldn’t find subscription delivery options for traditional cigarettes.

And for minors that want to buy Juuls or Juul pods illegally, their tiny size makes them easy to smuggle and resell. A recent South Park episode featured warring syndicates of fourth-graders selling Juul pods to even younger kids.

Dishonorable

Juul co-founder James Monsees told the San Jose Mercury News that “The first phase is proving the value and creating a product that makes cigarettes obsolete.” But notice he didn’t say Juul wants to make nicotine obsolete or reduce the number of people addicted to it.

Juul co-founder James Monsees

If Juul actually cared about fighting addiction, it’d offer a regimen for weaning yourself off of nicotine. Yet it doesn’t sell low-dose or no-dose pods that could help people quit entirely. In the US it only sells 5% and 3% nicotine versions. It does make 1.7% pods for foreign markets like Israel where that’s the maximum legal strengths, though refuses to sell them in the States. Along with taking over $ 12 billion from one of the largest cigarette companies, that makes the mission statement ring hollow.

Juul is the death stick business as usual, but strengthened by the product design and virality typically reserved for Apple and Facebook.


Social – TechCrunch


How Juul made vaping viral to become worth a dirty $38 billion

December 22, 2018 No Comments

A Juul is not a cigarette. It’s much easier than that. Through devilishly slick product design I’ll discuss here, the startup has massively lowered the barrier to getting hooked on nicotine. Juul has dismantled every deterrent to taking a puff.

The result is both a new $ 38 billion valuation thanks to a $ 12.8 billion investment from Marlboro Cigarettes-maker Altria this week, and an explosion in popularity of vaping amongst teenagers and the rest of the population. Game recognize game, and Altria’s game is nicotine addiction. It knows it’s been one-upped by Juul’s tactics, so it’s hedged its own success by handing the startup over a tenth of the public corporation’s market cap in cash.

Juul argues it can help people switch from obviously dangerous smoking to supposedly healthier vaping. But in reality, the tiny aluminum device helps people switch from nothing to vaping…which can lead some to start smoking the real thing. A study found it causes more people to pick up cigarettes than put them down.

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

How fast has Juul swept the nation? Nielsen says it controls 75 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market up from 27 percent in September last year. In the year since then, the CDC says the percentage of high school students who’ve used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days has grown 75 percent. That’s 3 million teens or roughly 20 percent of all high school kids. CNBC reports that Juul 2018 revenue could be around $ 1.5 billion.

The health consequences aside, Juul makes it radically simple to pick up a lifelong vice. Parents, regulators, and potential vapers need to understand why Juul works so well if they’ll have any hope of suppressing its temptations.

Shareable

It’s tough to try a cigarette for the first time. The heat and smoke burn your throat. The taste is harsh and overwhelming. The smell coats your fingers and clothes, marking you as smoker. There’s pressure to smoke a whole one lest you waste the tobacco. Even if you want to try a friend’s, they have to ignite one first. And unlike bigger box mod vaporizers where you customize the temperature and e-juice, Juul doesn’t make you look like some dorky hardcore vapelord.

Juul is much more gentle on your throat. The taste is more mild and can be masked with flavors. The vapor doesn’t stain you with a smell as quickly. You can try just a single puff from a friend’s at a bar or during a smoking break with no pressure to inhale more. The elegant, discrete form factor doesn’t brand you as a serious vape users. It’s casual. Yet the public gesture and clouds people exhale are still eye catching enough to trigger the questions, “What’s that? Can I try?” There’s a whole other article to be written about how Juul memes and Instagram Stories that glamorized the nicotine dispensers contributed to the device’s spread.

And perhaps most insidiously, vaping seems healthier. A lifetime of anti-smoking ads and warning labels drilled the dangers into our heads. But how much harm could a little vapor do?

A friend who had never smoked tells me they burn through a full Juul pod per day now. Someone got him to try a single puff at a nightclub. Soon he was asking for drag off of strangers’ Juuls. Then he bought one and never looked back. He’d been around cigarettes at parties his whole life but never got into them. Juul made it too effortless to resist.

Concealable

Lighting up a cigarette is a garish activity prohibited in many places. Not so with discretely sipping from a Juul.

Cigarettes often aren’t allowed to be smoked inside. Hiding it is no easy feat and can get you kicked out. You need to have a lighter and play with fire to get one started. They can get crushed or damp in your pocket. The burning tip makes them unruly in tight quarters, and the bud or falling ash can damage clothing and make a mess. You smoke a cigarette because you really want to smoke a cigarette.

Public establishments are still figuring out how to handle Juuls and other vaporizers. Many places that ban smoking don’t explicitly do the same for vaping. The less stinky vapor and more discrete motion makes it easy to hide. Beyond airplanes, you could probably play dumb and say you didn’t know the rules if you did get caught. The metal stick is hard to break. You won’t singe anyone. There’s no mess, need for an ashtray, or holes in your jackets or couches.

As long as your battery is charged, there’s no need for extra equipment and you won’t draw attention like with a lighter. Battery life is a major concern for heavy Juulers that smokers don’t have worry about, but I know people who now carry a giant portable charger just to keep their Juul alive. But there’s also a network effect that’s developing. Similar to iPhone cords, Juuls are becoming common enough that you can often conveniently borrow a battery stick or charger from another user. 

And again, the modular ability to take as few or as many puffs as you want lets you absent-mindedly Juul at any moment. At your desk, on the dance floor, as you drive, or even in bed. A friend’s nieces and nephews say that they see fellow teens Juul in class by concealing it in the cuff of their sleeve. No kid would be so brazen as to try smoke in cigarette in the middle of a math lesson.

Distributable

Gillette pioneered the brilliant razor and blade business model. Buy the sometimes-discounted razor, and you’re compelled to keep buying the expensive proprietary blades. Dollar Shave Club leveled up the strategy by offering a subscription that delivers the consumable blades to your door. Juul combines both with a product that’s physically addictive.

When you finish a pack of cigarettes, you could be done smoking. There’s nothing left. But with Juul you’ve still got the $ 35 battery pack when you finish vaping a pod. There’s a sunk cost fallacy goading you to keep buying the pods to get the most out of your investment and stay locked into the Juul ecosystem.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

One of Juul’s sole virality disadvantages compared to cigarettes is that they’re not as ubiquitously available. Some stores that sells cigs just don’t carry them yet. But more and more shops are picking them up, which will continue with Altria’s help. And Juul offers an “auto-ship” delivery option that knocks $ 2 off the $ 16 pack of four pods so you don’t even have to think about buying more. Catch the urge to quit? Well you’ve got pods on the way so you might as well use them. Whether due to regulation or a lack of innovation, I couldn’t find subscription delivery options for traditional cigarettes.

And for minors that want to buy Juuls or Juul pods illegally, their tiny size makes them easy to smuggle and resell. A recent South Park episode featured warring syndicates of fourth-graders selling Juul pods to even younger kids.

Dishonorable

Juul co-founder James Monsees told the San Jose Mercury News that “The first phase is proving the value and creating a product that makes cigarettes obsolete.” But notice he didn’t say Juul wants to make nicotine obsolete or reduce the number of people addicted to it.

Juul co-founder James Monsees

If Juul actually cared about fighting addiction, it’d offer a regimen for weaning yourself off of nicotine. Yet it doesn’t sell low-dose or no-dose pods that could help people quit entirely. In the US it only sells 5% and 3% nicotine versions. It does make 1.7% pods for foreign markets like Israel where that’s the maximum legal strengths, though refuses to sell them in the States. Along with taking over $ 12 billion from one of the largest cigarette companies, that makes the mission statement ring hollow.

Juul is the death stick business as usual, but strengthened by the product design and virality typically reserved for Apple and Facebook.


Startups – TechCrunch


Cinven acquires One.com, one of Europe’s biggest hosting providers with 1.5M customers

December 22, 2018 No Comments

One of the biggest providers of domain names and web hosting in Europe is changing hands today. One.com, which has around 1.5 million customers mainly across the north of the region, has been sold by private equity firm Accel-KKR to Cinven, another PE player that focuses on investments in Europe.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but as a rough guide, Cinven once owned and sold another European hosting provider of comparable size: it acquired Host Europe Group in 2013 for $ 668 million and then sold it in 2016 for $ 1.8 billion to GoDaddy two years ago almost to the day. At the time of the sale, Host Europe Group also had about 1.5 million customers.

One.com and its business segment represent a significant, if not wildly evolving, part of the tech landscape: for as long as businesses and consumers continue to use the web, there will be a need for companies who sell and host domain names and provide services around that.

With a catchy domain name of its own, One.com has been riding the wave of that solidity of purpose for several years already. KKR-Accel says that organic growth at the company has been accelerating at a rate of 20 percent and that revenues under its four-year ownership doubled to €60 million ($ 69 million) with profitability growing 50x on a marketing pitch in which it positions itself as the ‘budget’ option to businesses.

“The vision of One.com since its founding has been to deliver value-added and easy-to-use solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses and prosumers,” said Jacob Jensen, Founder and CEO of One.com, in a statement. He is staying on to continue leading the company.

Cinven says it is interested in growth the business by way of acquisition, specifically: “There are opportunities to accelerate the growth of the business organically and through acquisition.”

In other words, expect some consolidation moves in the future where some of the smaller providers in Europe potentially get gobbled up to create a bigger entity with better economies of scale. That’s needed not just because GoDaddy has ramped up its presence here, but because the likes of Amazon has only grown in stature and provides a number of other services to users to make its offerings more sticky.

“We are very excited to invest in One.com alongside Jacob. It is a high quality business with an attractive brand and scalable technology platform, operating in a market with structural growth drivers,” said Thomas Railhac, Partner at Cinven, in a statement. “This is a subsector we know well through Cinven’s successful investment in HEG in Fund 5, continuing to invest in both the organic growth story and targeted acquisitions.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


An SEO’s guide to Google Analytics terms

December 22, 2018 No Comments

We all know Google Analytics is a powerful tool for serving up actionable data. And one of the quickest ways to get that data is to be clear about what all those terms mean.

What does bounce rate mean and is it connected in anyway to exit rate? And how about sessions and page views?

If those questions sounds familiar but you’re not sure of the answers, read on…

Because as soon as you understand all the Google Analytics terms, you can begin to get closer to the actionable data you need, the kind of data you can use to increase visitors, sales, and sign-ups.

Google Analytics can show what pages you need to improve in order to rank higher in organic search. It shows you if your copy needs tweaking, keywords need updating, or meta-descriptions re-writing. It also tells you if your call to action button is converting or not.

See also: A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site.

Bounce rate

What Google Says:

“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”

A user could leave a site because they lost interest, were confused, didn’t find the answer to their query, or did already found the information they were looking for.

The right kind of thinking here is this: What was the person expecting to find after searching for a keyword or key phrase. And does my site provide it?

If the bounce rate is very high, this is an indicator the site has a significant problem. Here are some helpful tips on ways to reduce bounce rate.

Alternatively, if the content is awesome and people spend a long time interacting with it, then that is known as “sticky” content.

If you’re just starting out with GA, here’s something to help get you started:

Clicks

The number of times people click on your link from the search results page is the number of clicks that appears on Google’s SEO report.

Clickthrough-Rate (CTR) is the number of clicks to your site divided by the number of impressions. Impressions are the amount of times your search link is shown to a searcher. So if CTR is high, the meta description is doing its job and converting searchers to visitors. However, if CTR rate is low then it’s worth testing different headlines.

Note that these clicks are not related to Google Ads clicks. These appear in Google Ads reports.

Entrances

If your site has more than one page then it has different entrance points, and Google records those separate entries.

Perhaps a blog post is performing well and bringing in traffic. Great. It might also show pages you want to be traffic-heavy are not performing properly.

Events

Events are certain user actions that happen on the site, and are created in line with KPIs.

For example, a site might offer a free download after pressing a button. So an event gets recorded each time the button is pressed. Now we have an event, we can extract actionable data. We know how many visitors the page had, and we know how many of those people we converted into button pressers.

Exit page

If an entrance page is where people arrive at your site, an exit page is where they leave.

A visitor may click through from the SERP, read the article, click on an internal link to read another article, then leave. Are there weaknesses on the exit page? This is easy to spot if one page stands out with a high leave rate.

Exit rate (% Exit)

The exit rate is calculated by dividing the number of ‘exits’ made from the page by the number of page views. However, a page with a high % exit rate may not necessarily have a high bounce rate.

But — and we said front and center these terms are confusing — a page with low exit rate is more likely to have a low bounce rate. That’s because users are probably heading to other pages on the site rather than exiting.

Hits

A hit is a request made to a web server to show a certain file. This could be a web page, an image or other things.

An event is considered a hit. A page view is a hit. All of these hits are grouped together in what Google calls a session. A session is a group of hits from one user. Google uses hits to determine the interaction between the user and the web page.

If the user takes no action for 30 minutes then Google ends the session.

Impressions

We first spoke of impression when looking at clicks. Impressions occur when your link is served up in the search results.

According to Google’s SEO Reports, impressions do not include impressions by paid Google Ads campaigns, which are recorded separately.

In short, when the user can see your link in the search results, that’s counted as an impression. And as you know, we use impressions and clicks to calculate the CTR.

Landing or entrance page

Both of these terms are used by Google to indicate the very first page a user lands on at the beginning of each session. This means in GA you can check which pages users most arrive at your site.

Page views

Page views are the number of times a visitor lands on any page of your website – these are called screen views on mobile.

Within page views, we first have unique page views. Google does not count multiple views of the same page by the same person in the same session as individual views. Instead, it counts them all as one unique view.

Then we have pages per session, also called ‘Average Page Depth’.

APD is the average number of pages viewed by a each user in one session and inside the analytics it includes repeated views of a single page.

Sessions

We encountered sessions earlier on. You already know that a session is the complete amount of time a visitor spends on your website.

You also know that each action a visitor takes is recorded as a hit. And all those hits are recorded within the session. This means in a 24 hour period you might have 100 sessions and 300 hits. The hits figure is equal to or higher than the sessions number.

There is a time limit on sessions. With standard GA settings, a session is ended after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Average session duration is the average time of a user’s session and the calculation to get this is to divide the session duration by the number of sessions.

Time on page

Time on page is the average amount of time that particular visitor spent on the page. If a page is text-heavy then there’s much more chance of each session producing a greater amount of time on page.

Google records average time on page. This is a simple calculation of dividing time on page by the number of page views, minus the exit number.

Users, visitors, or traffic — which one do you need to know?

Each of these terms describes visitors who access your site. Google uses these terms as and when they want.

There is, of course, a self-evident distinction between a new visitor and a returning visitor. Traffic generally expresses the total volume of people visiting the website. But traffic is split down into categories…

Direct traffic is when someone sends you the full URL to a website and you click on that link to go directly to the site. No search has has taken place. Direct traffic is common when sending out a link to your email list. Each person would directly access the site.

Next, we have organic search traffic. Organic traffic is free and targeted, and comes about from SEO efforts to rank the site as high as possible in those all-important Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If the site is showing little to no organic search, then go back to the drawing board on the keywords in use.

Paid search traffic means the number of people who visited the site via Google Ads.

Lastly we have referral traffic. This means a search engine, another website or social media site has placed a link to your web page on their site and is referring traffic to you.

Further reading

Overview

Reports

Tracking

Analysis

Custom segments

Error pages

Beyond GA

The post An SEO’s guide to Google Analytics terms appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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