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Monthly Archives: October 2020

Daily Crunch: Apple introduces the iPhone 12

October 14, 2020 No Comments

Apple embraces 5G, Facebook Messenger gets better integrated with Instagram and Kahoot raises $ 215 million. This is your Daily Crunch for October 13, 2020.

The big story: Apple introduces the iPhone 12

Apple’s big event today kicked off with the announcement of the HomePod Mini, but the real focus was on the iPhone — specifically, the iPhone 12.

Pricing for the new iPhone starts at $ 799. New features include 5G, a magnetic adapter for various accessories (including wireless chargers) and a more durable Corning glass display.

There are four models, so if you’re trying to decide which one you want, we’ve even created a handy chart to keep them all straight.

The tech giants

Alphabet’s latest moonshot is a field-roving, plant-inspecting robo-buggy — Announced with little fanfare in a blog post and site, the Mineral project is still very much in the experimental phase.

Messenger’s latest update brings new features, cross-app communication with Instagram – The changes are a part of Facebook’s overhauled messaging platform, announced in late September, which introduced the ability for Instagram users to communicate with people on Facebook.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Kahoot picks up $ 215M from SoftBank for its user-generated, gamified e-learning platform — After announcing a modest $ 28 million raise earlier this year, the user-generated gamified e-learning platform revealed a much bigger round today.

Astroscale raises $ 51M in Series E funding to fuel its orbital sustainability ambitions — The Japan-based company has been focused on delivering new solutions for orbital end-of-life.

Caliber, with $ 2.2M in seed funding, launches a fitness coaching platform — The company says it brings on about five of every 100 applications for coaches on the platform, accepting only the very best trainers.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Is the Twilio-Segment deal expensive? — A quick look at the deal’s historical analogs and what we can tell from the numbers.

Should you replace your developer portal with a hybrid integration platform? — Changing your integration approach can reduce time to market and boost revenue.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Walt Disney announces reorganization to focus on streaming — Disney’s media businesses, ads and distribution and Disney+ will now operate under the same business unit.

Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Enola Holmes’ is thoroughly mediocre — I did not enjoy this movie.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

Mobile – TechCrunch


DroneDeploy teams with Boston Dynamics to deliver inside-outside view of job site

October 13, 2020 No Comments

DroneDeploy, a cloud software company that uses drone footage to help industries like agriculture, oil and gas and construction get a birds-eye view of a site to build a 3D picture, announced a new initiative today that combines drone photos with cameras on the ground or even ground robots from a company like Boston Dynamics for what it is calling a 360 Walkthrough.

Up until today’s announcement, DroneDeploy could use drone footage from any drone to get a picture of what a site looked like outside, uploading those photos and stitching them together into a 3D model that is accurate within an inch, according to DroneDeploy CEO Mike Winn.

Winn says that while there is great value in getting this type of view of the outside of a job site, customers were hungry for a total picture that included inside and out, and the platform which is simply processing photos transmitted from drones could be adapted fairly easily to accommodate photos coming from cameras on other devices.

“Our customers are also looking to get data from the interiors, and they’re looking for one digital twin, one digital reconstruction of their entire site to understand what’s going on to share across their company with the safety team and with executives that this is the status of the job site today,” Winn explained.

He adds that this is even more important during COVID when access to job sites has been limited, making it even more important to understand the state of the site on a regular basis.

“They want fewer people on those job sites, only the essential workers doing the work. So for anyone who needs information about the site, if they can get that information from a desktop or the 3D model or a kind of street view of the job site, it can really help in this COVID environment, but it also makes it much more efficient,” Winn said.

He said that while companies could combine this capability with fixed cameras on the inside of a site, they don’t give the kind of coverage a ground robot could, and the Boston Dynamics robot is capable of moving around a rough job site with debris scattered around.

DroneDeploy bird's eye view of job site showing path taken through the site.

Image Credits: DroneDeploy

While Winn sees the use of the Boston Dynamics robot as more of an end goal, he says that more likely for the immediate future, you will have a human walking through the job site with a camera to capture the footage to complete the inside-outside picture for the DroneDeploy software.

“All customers already want to adopt robots to collect this data, and you can imagine a Boston Dynamics robot [doing this], but that’s the end state of course. Today we’re supporting the human walk-through as well, a person with a 360 camera walking through the job site, probably doing it once a week to documents the status of the job sites,” he said.

DroneDeploy launched in 2013 and has raised over $ 100 million, according to Winn. He reports his company has over 5000 customers with drone flight time increasing by 2.5x YoY this year as more companies adopt drones as a way to cope with COVID.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert

October 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now and attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge with more and more content being available online now.
  • Agile marketers are paving the path forward combining technology and talent.
  • You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.
  • Venngage’s Content Marketer, Ronita Mohan shares a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now. Attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge—the world is more online, but that also means that there is more content available.

Rising above the noise to draw in the right leads can seem like an impossible task. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.

While designing white papers from scratch can be tricky, there are online resources to create attractive white paper designs that boost brand awareness and increase conversions.

So, how do you create white papers that convert? We share a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

1. Target agency lead generation audiences

Before you design a white paper, you need to define the audiences who will read it.

While your agency may have a diverse set of clients, when you’re trying to generate leads, you need to narrow down your focus.

You don’t want to create content that aims to please everyone—the chances are, you will end up attracting no one.

Generic content is easier to create—there’s a proliferation of it online. But you want your content to stand out in the crowd. That is how prospective clients will notice your agency.

To do this, you should study your market segments and answer these questions:

  • What pain points do your clients have?
  • How can your agency resolve those issues?
  • Is your current market large enough for your service?
  • Are there market gaps that you should explore?
  • What kind of content has already been successful?

Following this process will help you understand your audience’s needs better. This will make it easier to choose topics and designs for your white paper and boost conversions.

2. Define topics for agency lead generation white papers

Now that you’ve defined your audience—and you know your goal is agency lead generation—you need to pick a topic that is suitable for your prospects.

Remember, your aim with your content is to provide solutions to your clients’ pain points—that should be the driving factor behind creating any kind of content.

There are a few ways to find topics of interest for your prospects.

One method is to send survey questions to your existing clients asking them what kind of content they would like to see from you.

You can also look at content that has already done well on social media, past white papers, and blog posts. This will help you decide which topics attract the most views.

Consider searching online for keywords related to your clients. Google’s longtail keyword suggestions are a great place to find new content ideas.

Plus, SERP results give you an idea of what content is being searched for and why.

It is best to get granular with your white paper topics. Instead of creating a paper on the wider topic of brand awareness, the below example focuses on brand positioning.

defining topics for your agency lead generation white paperSource: Venngage

If you’re writing about email marketing—which is a broad topic—consider focusing on something narrower.

Write about incorporating user-generated content in emails, or how email marketing can be used to improve hiring rates.

You can also focus on specific aspects of your industry, such as the impact of phishing scams on company cybersecurity, or how to outsource IT departments.

The more targeted your topics are for your audience, the more likely they are to engage with your content.

3. Agency lead generation content creation

When you’re creating content designed for agency lead generation, your mind is on sales and conversions.

However, that shouldn’t be the primary thrust of your content. If you create white papers solely to sell your agency to leads, you might end up losing them instead of converting them.

Nobody wants to be sold to—especially when they’re investing time and energy into reading a white paper.

Additionally, white papers are gated content—they require interested parties to fill up a form to obtain access to the paper.

You can’t ask prospects to put in that much effort to get a piece of content that doesn’t enrich their lives or educate them about a topic.

But you do still need to convert prospects into clients. How can you do that?

Your white papers should be educational and informative about the subject matter, like in this example about employee engagement.

content creation for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Do original research into the topic and include data that backs up your assertions.

Share case studies and illustrated use cases from your agency. Not only do case studies make for interesting content but they also act as testimonials for your work.

The process of attracting prospects should be organic—encourage them with well-researched and well-written white papers.

4. Designing white papers for agency lead generation

Your white paper needs to be interesting and engaging, but it also should be attractive to prospects.

You could create a Word document, export it as a PDF, and share that with your audience. But is that going to get prospects’ attention like this example below?

Neon Digital Hiring Strategy White Paper_Venngaeg

Source: Venngage

It is possible to design a white paper that is colorful and detailed with templates and even from scratch.

We outline how to design great white papers to improve your agency lead generation efforts.

Be on-trend with your agency lead generation white paper design

Your white paper needs to follow present graphic design trends. This is important because, while you want to stand out from a crowd, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

In the foreseeable future, these are some of the design trends agency marketers need to be aware of:

  • Muted colors, not bold or neon colors
  • Flat icons and illustrations, as opposed to 3D icons
  • Geometric shapes, instead of the abstract, flowing shapes of 2019
  • Classic Serif fonts, which are coming back into fashion

All these design elements will influence how you create your white paper and how successfully they draw in prospective clients.

Use visuals to design attractive lead-generating white papers

Visual communication has become one of the pillars of content marketing—which is why visuals need to be incorporated into your white paper design.

Start by designing an attractive cover page for your paper. 

Similar to book covers, the top page of your paper has the power to draw people to read further, like in this example.

using visuals for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Your cover page should also convey what leads will find within the pages of the paper—don’t mislead them with visuals that are attractive but irrelevant.

Though papers are largely text-based, that doesn’t mean that visuals don’t help engage readers further.

You can use visuals like icons, illustrations, photos, and charts to add depth to your white paper. They also make the content more readable and scannable.

When using photos, look for imagery that reflects your target audience—that will make the white paper feel more relevant to your readers.

Structuring your agency lead generation white paper

We have already mentioned the importance of having a cover page for your paper. But you also need to include an index that outlines the chapters of the paper.

To make the process easier, always include page numbers in your white papers. 

Readers will be able to return to sections they are interested in if they have an index to refer to, like in this example.

structuring your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

When you can, try to include quotes from experts in your field—this will give your paper more gravitas. Quotes should be highlighted with a bigger font size to vary the design.

In the same vein, include tables and text boxes that focus readers’ attention on specific facts and data.

Highlight key takeaways in the summary section of your paper—it is best to summarize your findings only after the paper is written.

Add a CTA in your agency lead generation white papers

What is the purpose of your paper? You want your prospects to perform some action.

That is why you need to include a call-to-action in your white paper—so that you can convert prospects into leads, and eventually into clients.

Here are some calls-to-action you can add to your papers:

  • Subscribing to your newsletter
  • Trying out your service
  • Scheduling a call
  • Learning more about your business

Ensure your CTA is visible and stands out on your page—this will encourage leads to click on it and travel further through your sales pipeline. 

Repurpose content into agency lead generation white papers

Creating content for agency lead generation can be a tough task—especially when you have to build content from scratch.

But there is a workaround for agency marketing teams—repurposing existing content. Instead of creating the text and visuals for papers, breathe new life into what you already have.

For example, your company blog may have multiple posts around one topic. These can be collated into chapters for a paper. 

Similarly, a webinar can be used to create a white paper, or a long eBook can be broken down into several white papers.

The possibilities for repurposing content are endless—keep an open mind and you can create papers that will generate more leads. 

5. Agency lead generation white paper promotion

Congratulations, you’ve created a white paper! Now, what do you do?

Leads aren’t going to find your paper on their own. You need to actively promote your content.

There are numerous ways to get eyeballs on your paper. Here are a few promotion methods to follow:

Blog posts

Create blog posts around your white paper content and include a call-to-action to download the paper, like in this example.

using blog posts to market your white paper for agency lead generation

Source: Pardot

Leads are more likely to access gated content if it has some context around it.

Email marketing

Promoting your white paper through an email campaign can boost downloads.

Share previews, statistics, or facts from the paper to entice your email list to click through to your paper’s landing page.

Write a follow-up email to everyone who downloads the paper to continue a conversation—this will increase conversions. 

Social media marketing (SMM)

Leads use social media to find content and future partners all the time. Sharing white papers on your channels will increase visibility for your content and your brand.

Use social media tools to schedule posts about your white paper at relevant times to your audience.

Website marketing

You can build a landing page for your paper that includes a summary and key learnings—enough information to encourage leads to download your content. 

Your page should include a simple form that prospective clients can fill in to access the paper—don’t ask for too much information, or they may be deterred from filling the form.

Promoting your content is a necessary step if you want to create agency lead generation strategies that convert.

Key takeaways: Prioritize audience needs to boost agency lead generation

Creating a white paper is a long process but a fruitful one that brings in more clients. To be successful, you need to follow a few crucial steps:

  • Target your white paper audience
  • Choose topics that are relevant to your leads
  • Create content that will encourage leads to partner with you
  • Design the white paper to attract leads
  • Promote your content on multiple platforms

These steps will help you create white papers that will boost your agency lead generation efforts.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.

The post Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How To Create State-of-the-Art Campaign Proposals

October 13, 2020 No Comments

One Paid Media Strategist shares how to create an in-depth campaign strategy proposal for a boss or client.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Bursty Fresh and Local Featured Snippet Answers at Google

October 13, 2020 No Comments

Featured Snippet Answers Based on Context

Last month I wrote about answer passages when Google decides what answers to show in response to queries that are asking questions, in the post, Featured Snippet Answer Scores Ranking Signals. In that post, I wrote about an updated patent which made it clear that passages that might be shown in response to a query are given answer scores that are based on both query dependent and query independent signals.

A query dependent signal is one that includes relevance of a term in the query to some aspect of candidate featured snippet answers. A query independent signal doesn’t rely upon the terms in a query, and their relevance to terms in an answer passage, but could look at other aspects of answers, such as whether an answer is written in complete sentences or other query independent aspects of those answers.

At the end of September, Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search at Google, posted on the Google Keyword Blog about some recent queries that were performed on Google that contained questions about smoke-related to wildfires in California. One frequent query in the area was, “why is the sky orange?” The blog post told us about how Google might use contextual information about location and freshness of content in featured snippet answers.

You may notice that the location of searchers is not expressly identified in the query, much like a search for different business types, such as restaurants or places to shop. The article about these queries is in the post at:

Why is the sky orange? How Google gave people the right info

Danny tells us about how Google might respond to these queries:

Well, language understanding is at the core of Search, but it’s not just about the words. Critical context, like time and place, also helps us understand what you’re really looking for. This is particularly true for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages that our systems determine are likely a great match for your search. We’ve made improvements to better understand when fresh or local information — or both — is key to delivering relevant results to your search.

So this is pointing out that Google has worked on improving answers for questions that are asking about fresh or local information (Or both). The snippet from the post refers to critical context, and how Google may understand the context of a question is essential to how helpful it can be in answering questions.

Google tells us that “Our freshness indicators identified a rush of new content was being produced on this topic that was both locally relevant and different from the more evergreen content that existed.”

Since Google actively is engaged in indexing content on the web, they can notice bursty behavior about different topics, and where it is from. That reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2008 called How Search Query Burstiness Could Increase Page Rankings. So Google can tell what people are searching for and where they are searching from, by keeping an eye on their log files, and Google can tell what people are creating content about when it indexes new and updated webpages.

I liked this statement from the Google post, too:

Put simply, instead of surfacing general information on what causes a sunset, when people searched for “why is the sky orange” during this time period, our systems automatically pulled in current, location-based information to help people find the timely results they were searching for.

Danny also points out a query that sometimes surfaces from searchers in places such as New York City, or Boston: “Why is it Hazy?” to show that Google can use local context in those areas to provide relevant results for people searching from there.

We are told that this Google blog post provided information about a couple of queries specific to certain locations, but Google receives billions of queries a day, and they provide fresh and relevant results to all of those queries when they receive them.

Understanding the context of questions that people perform on different topics and from different places can help people receive answers to what they want to learn more about. The Google Blog post from Danny is worth reading and thinking about if you haven’t seen it


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Why dark mode web designs are gaining popularity

October 12, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The popularity of dark mode web design and its adoption by leading tech giants.
  • How coders and web developers became influencers for this change.
  • The impact of dark mode web design on users and their eyes.
  • How dark mode web design leads to less battery consumption.
  • Various guidelines available online to adopt this new theme.
  • Search engines do not mind the change and thus it doesn’t affect your SEO adversely.
  • User preferences, mood changer, and why adding space matters.

In recent times dark viewing mode for websites has gained a lot of popularity from users worldwide. The followership is so strong that Google right now offers you the ‘Night Eye’ feature where you can apply dark mode on any website as long as you’re using Google Chrome as your browser.

However, the popularity is further augmented with many applications and web designs exclusively adopting this new design feature to make users enjoy the experience that is different from conventional web designs.

According to a recent report by Built With, around 1,028 websites have used Dark Theme to attract customers, out of which 340 are live websites while 688 sites have used Dark Theme historically. Furthermore, Get Polarized conducted recent surveys on various social media platforms to comprehend users’ preferences when it comes to the dark mode or dark theme user interfaces.

It turns out that the majority of users gave an overwhelming response agreeing that the shift was appreciable.

In light of this information, let us take a quick look at some of the prominent reasons as to why dark mode web designs are gaining popularity.

1. Adopted by tech giants

Source: TechCrunch

To consider Google as the progenitor of dark mode would be too biased. In fact, many early home computers that used monochrome CRT monitors used to display greenish text on black screens, in recent times however it was Windows Phone 7 in 2010 that reintroduced dark-colored themes and backgrounds.

Right now, we have major tech giants and popular domains that have actively adopted the so-called ‘Night Mode’ and are offering customers and their users with the ability to shift their viewing preferences as per their choice.

These include big names like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Samsung’s One UI, Apple’s iPad and iOS 13, and Android 10 shadow mode, to name a few who are offering dark mode for users.

Together these online platforms and companies cater to the majority of the urban-tech population of the planet. Hence there is no doubt that night mode became a popular option for internet and smartphone users.

2. Influenced by developers and coders

dark mode web designs

Source: Omg! Ubuntu!

While the dark mode is gaining popularity by users in recent times, seldom do people realize that for program developers and coders who design UI apart from other things, have been working on this theme for a very long time.

In fact, this dark mode theme has been the default look from most coding text editors out there. In fact, some of the most popular coding text editors, including Atom, Sublime Text, Brackets, and Visual Studio Code, all use dark themes.

Hence, it becomes quite easy to understand why coders and developers might influence this transformation when you look at this perspective. Furthermore, according to a recent study published by Medium.com, over 70% of software engineers use Dark Theme IDEs, and dark theme downloads are almost always within the top 10 themes as per popular demand.

3. Friendly to users’ eyes

dark mode web designs is friendly for the eyes

Source: PhoneArena

It seems like biology is involved when dark theme preferences are further studied according to their impact on users and their eyes. The mechanics are simple. Seeing light text on a dark screen allows the iris in our eyes to be more burdened. It has to widen much more than it does in case of a white screen.

Hence, in dark viewing mode, our eyes’ pupil grows in size, thus requiring more effort to focus on things.

This is further backed by statistics regarding astigmatism, a condition that affects almost 33% of the US population. However, at the same time, dark mode is preferable when the reader on any device has low-light conditions and doesn’t prefer to read long chunks of text.

4. The boldness of text or just mood

Source: Facebook

While the argument for using dark text on light backgrounds is fairly strong, however, the argument that it makes the experience aggravating for some also holds true. This is because the majority of users spend their days staring at bright white screens that can result in digital eye strain.

Digital eye strain is defined as a group of vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of cell phone, computer, e-reader, or tablet, to name a few. Many users thus consider the change as much more acceptable and agreeable. This allows them to sink into the darkness and cocoon themselves from bright white light that makes people feel as if they are staring directly into the sun.

While the dark theme does not make the text bold, it happens to create the opposite reaction where letters bleed, dark mode is more of a mood rather than just a feature. According to the recent survey findings on Medium, around 82.7% of participants stated that they prefer to use dark mode on their devices.

5. Less battery consumption

TechSpot

Source: TechSpot

At the 2018 Android Dev Summit, one of Google’s solutions to developers to reduce battery consumption was the introduction of dark UI. Researchers at Google proclaimed that night mode could save battery life.

This finding is shared through a story published by XDA Developers, where it is stated that a dark theme can reduce battery usage up to 63% on AMOLED displays even with max brightness. Furthermore, one also has to consider the fact that white pixels are indeed more power-hungry and that brightness affects both power usage and battery life in a linear fashion.

6. Plenty of guides online

With dark mode becoming a prevalent theme across users, no wonder today, you can find various online guides to make any application and software on your smartphone or browser change the interface. This also adds as well as goes to show just how fanatic people can be at times when a trend hits them.

7. Search engines don’t mind it

Source: 9to5Google

To understand the impact of the dark theme on SEO, we have to consider the user experience. This is due to the fact that users and the usability of your website play a huge role these days when it comes to search engine rankings. Hence if you are planning to go dark mode, then it has to be done right.

The short answer to the question of whether dark mode affects your SEO or not? The answer is NO, but that doesn’t mean that we can neglect users and not provide them with a user-friendly experience.

Hence using a dark theme doesn’t mean that search engines like Google will penalize you for it. It does, however, matter if you are adversely affecting the user experience in some way.

8. User preferences

dark mode web designs - User preference

Source: Reddit

We all are pretty aware of the fact that the majority of the audiences seldom read texts online as the most viewed and popular forms of media are visuals that can be either categorized into videos or images. Hence user preferences do come into play when it comes to the popularity of dark-themed websites.

According to a recent study by Smart Insights®, 92% of marketers are using videos as an important part of their marketing strategy. Furthermore, it is estimated that on average people will spend as much as 100 minutes every day watching online videos in 2021.

This is also supported by the findings of Statista.com, where online video consumption is considered as one of the most popular forms of internet activities worldwide. Hence when taking these studies into perspective, it is definite that dark theme works well with online video streaming sites.

No wonder YouTube and Netflix have become dominant in the usage of these dark tones for the most part.

9. Adding space matters

Lastly, I would like to add that reading or viewing media closely hinged together in a night mode theme website can be more difficult than with a more traditional white background website. Hence a strong word of advice, consider using more space between visual elements and texts when designing a dark themed website.

Conclusion

While laws of science and medicine state; otherwise, the dark mode has become instantly popular amongst the masses. I preferably define dark mode as more of a mood inkling rather than something more profound.

I hope this post was able to offer you some delightful insights regarding why dark mode web designs have gained popularity amongst users. For more questions regarding the topic, please feel free to share your feedback in the comment section below.

Amanda Jerelyn currently works as a Marketing Manager at Dissertation Assistance, a perfect place for students to buy academic writing services from expert dissertation writers UK.  During her free time, she likes to practice mindful yoga to keep herself fit and healthy.

The post Why dark mode web designs are gaining popularity appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot

October 12, 2020 No Comments

Researchers found they could stop a Tesla by flashing a few frames of a stop sign for less than half a second on an internet-connected billboard.
Feed: All Latest


How to Find Missing Search Terms for Google Ads

October 11, 2020 No Comments

Google Ads reduced visibility for search terms in September 2020. Learn how to find the missing search terms in Google Analytics.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Bursty Fresh and Local Featured Snippet Answers at Google

October 11, 2020 No Comments

Featured Snippet Answers Based on Context

Last month I wrote about answer passages when Google decides what answers to show in response to queries that are asking questions, in the post, Featured Snippet Answer Scores Ranking Signals. In that post, I wrote about an updated patent which made it clear that passages that might be shown in response to a query are given answer scores that are based on both query dependent and query independent signals.

A query dependent signal is one that includes relevance of a term in the query to some aspect of candidate featured snippet answers. A query independent signal doesn’t rely upon the terms in a query, and their relevance to terms in an answer passage, but could look at other aspects of answers, such as whether an answer is written in complete sentences or other query independent aspects of those answers.

At the end of September, Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search at Google, posted on the Google Keyword Blog about some recent queries that were performed on Google that contained questions about smoke-related to wildfires in California. One frequent query in the area was, “why is the sky orange?” The blog post told us about how Google might use contextual information about location and freshness of content in featured snippet answers.

You may notice that the location of searchers is not expressly identified in the query, much like a search for different business types, such as restaurants or places to shop. The article about these queries is in the post at:

Why is the sky orange? How Google gave people the right info

Danny tells us about how Google might respond to these queries:

Well, language understanding is at the core of Search, but it’s not just about the words. Critical context, like time and place, also helps us understand what you’re really looking for. This is particularly true for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages that our systems determine are likely a great match for your search. We’ve made improvements to better understand when fresh or local information — or both — is key to delivering relevant results to your search.

So this is pointing out that Google has worked on improving answers for questions that are asking about fresh or local information (Or both). The snippet from the post refers to critical context, and how Google may understand the context of a question is essential to how helpful it can be in answering questions.

Google tells us that “Our freshness indicators identified a rush of new content was being produced on this topic that was both locally relevant and different from the more evergreen content that existed.”

Since Google actively is engaged in indexing content on the web, they can notice bursty behavior about different topics, and where it is from. That reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2008 called How Search Query Burstiness Could Increase Page Rankings. So Google can tell what people are searching for and where they are searching from, by keeping an eye on their log files, and Google can tell what people are creating content about when it indexes new and updated webpages.

I liked this statement from the Google post, too:

Put simply, instead of surfacing general information on what causes a sunset, when people searched for “why is the sky orange” during this time period, our systems automatically pulled in current, location-based information to help people find the timely results they were searching for.

Danny also points out a query that sometimes surfaces from searchers in places such as New York City, or Boston: “Why is it Hazy?” to show that Google can use local context in those areas to provide relevant results for people searching from there.

We are told that this Google blog post provided information about a couple of queries specific to certain locations, but Google receives billions of queries a day, and they provide fresh and relevant results to all of those queries when they receive them.

Understanding the context of questions that people perform on different topics and from different places can help people receive answers to what they want to learn more about. The Google Blog post from Danny is worth reading and thinking about if you haven’t seen it


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BrightEdge launches market insights and shares updates on new purchasing behaviors

October 10, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • BrightEdge is bringing together search and business intelligence with major new innovations.
  • Marketers are looking for a robust view of their macro market and to act on micro opportunities.
  • Consumer emotions are a major driver in market shifts.
  • Holiday shopping insights show how people are buying specific items.
  • Improving the brand’s ability to monitor, analyze, and activate data is vital to 2020 success.

As the traditional customer journey continues to be radically altered in many industry sectors of the economy, many companies struggle to align their search and digital strategies in line with macro market shifts and conditions. Recently at Share20, BrightEdge launched Market Insights to allow marketers to combine Business Intelligence (BI) with search intelligence for the first time in our industry.

According to their COO Krish Kumar,

“Marketers need platforms that leverage big data on a massive scale that can scan the entire marketing landscape but also quickly pivot to dive deep to find opportunities and understand rapidly shifting search patterns. Old models don’t always fit the new reality. Recent times have upended markets, and marketers increasingly need a robust unified platform with agility, breadth and depth, and execution speed with high precision. Our announcements show where our industry is really heading.”

BrightEdge Market Insights provides customizable macro-market trends for strategic planning and reveals prescriptive opportunities. Combined with the newly released BrightEdge Intelligent Log Analyzer, the company integrates massive data, powerful analytics, BI, and web infrastructure optimization in one platform.

This year more than ever, marketers need a robust view of their market and opportunities comprised of as much relevant, real-time consumer data as possible.

Consumer emotions a major driver in market shifts

According to Deloitte’s most recent Global Anxiety Index Survey, 50% of U.S. consumers are concerned about their health, and 61% are worried about the health of others. Thirty-eight percent are delaying large purchases, and for 26%, the ability to meet upcoming financial obligations and make payments is a real concern.

Anxiety isn’t the only emotion driving massive shifts in consumer spending behavior. BrightEdge research into search volume in the first six months of the Coronavirus pandemic shows that demand in segments including home office, garden and patio, cooking, and food delivery remains higher than in 2019. Their COVID Impact Index shows that initial spikes in search interest for pet goods, exercise goods, gaming equipment, and grocery have leveled out, although demand remains higher than pre-COVID.

Rebounding interest in verticals typically associated with discretionary spendings such as apparel, footwear, and beauty/cosmetics indicates that consumers may be returning to at least some of their pre-pandemic shopping habits.

In the early days of the pandemic, few could have imagined it would persist as long as it has, and with no end yet in sight. Having no context from previous experience in our lifetimes, it seemed impossible that life would be upturned worldwide as indeed it has been. Given the ongoing risk and the unusual longevity of the crisis, many consumers are now searching for ways to feel better—to self-care, to have the company of a pet at home, to improve their physical health, and have entertaining ways to pass more time at home.

Why marketers need to combine search and business intelligence

The Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed consumer behavior and shopping behavior in a multitude of ways. What’s more, the scale of this crisis has proven that we, as a business community, are perhaps more vulnerable to large-scale, long-lasting economic interruption than previously thought.

Consumers are reevaluating their careers, rethinking their lifestyles, and seeking meaning in their spending decisions. The way forward requires that brands simplify complex data analysis and understand key market drivers in real-time, across millions or billions of data points. And indeed, one of the most direct expressions of that intent is through search.

Real-time search data provides a much more holistic view of consumers’ interest not only in the brand itself but in the market as a whole. Broad market shifts become evident alongside localized opportunities, and comparison against competitor performance becomes possible. Search insights give brands a high-level view of the entire marketing landscape, but also the granularity to find specific localized opportunities and to understand the intent behind the trends.

Activating your search data and digital strategies for Q4 and beyond

Heading into the holiday shopping season, BrightEdge, holiday planning research, suggests that shoppers shifted purchasing behaviors online during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic and are more keenly aware of their budgets – refraining from placing big-ticket purchases online while stocking up on more essential goods or affordable luxuries. Shoppers browse more frequently, leading to more purchases and overall revenue, though they are smaller in value.

Conclusion

Improving your brand’s ability to monitor and gather and analyze and activate data is a vital part of digital marketing strategy. Organizations that implement changes based on data analytics can expect to see sales margins increase between 8 and 25%.

In 2020 it will be mission-critical for marketers to keep a finger on the pulse of changing consumer needs and behaviors. Innovations from BrightEdge are helping both customers and the community as part of their mission to inspire and deliver the best performance for their customers by becoming an integral part of the digital experience.

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