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Monthly Archives: March 2021

Daily Crunch: YouTube’s TikTok rival launches in the US

March 23, 2021 No Comments

YouTube Shorts comes to the U.S., Amazon starts testing electric delivery vans in San Francisco and new data suggests the impact of Google Play’s recent changes. This is your Daily Crunch for March 18, 2021.

The big story: YouTube’s TikTok rival launches in the US

The YouTube Shorts product allows users to record, edit and share videos of 60 seconds or less, which can be accompanied by licensed music from a variety of industry partners. The company has been testing the feature in India while making Shorts viewable internationally — but until today, U.S. viewers couldn’t actually create short videos of their own.

Sarah Perez took an in-depth look at the Shorts experience, noting that it’s pretty similar to TikTok while lacking some key features, such as intelligent sound syncing.

The tech giants

Amazon begins testing its Rivian electric delivery vans in San Francisco — This makes SF the second of 16 total cities that Amazon expects to bring its Rivian-sourced EVs to in 2021.

Data shows how few Google Play developers will pay the higher 30% commission after policy change — As regular Daily Crunch readers will remember, Google recently announced that it’s cutting the commissions it charges developers on Google Play.

Twitter begins testing a way to watch YouTube videos from the home timeline on iOS — Shortly after Twitter announced it would begin testing a better way to display images on its app, it’s now doing the same for YouTube videos.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Substack faces backlash over the writers it supports with big advances — The startup has lured some of its most high-profile (and controversial) writers with sizable payments.

Homebrew backs Higo’s effort to become the ‘Venmo for B2B payments’ in LatAm — Rodolfo Corcuera, Juan José Fernández and Daniel Tamayo founded the company in January 2020, recognizing that the process of paying vendors for business owners is largely “manual and cumbersome.”

NFT marketplace OpenSea raises $ 23M from a16z — OpenSea has been one of a handful of NFT marketplaces to explode in popularity in recent weeks.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

MaaS transit: The business of mobility as a service — Amid declining ridership, transportation agencies find new software partners.

Three steps to ease the transition to a no-code company — Despite the many benefits, adopting a no-code platform won’t suddenly turn you into a no-code company.

Snowflake gave up its dual-class shares. Should you? — The mechanism can enable founders to maintain control despite later dilution and may sometimes even grant ironclad control in perpetuity.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Tech companies should oppose the new wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation — TechNet’s David Edmondson puts the spotlight on a number of states that are currently considering anti-LGBT legislation.

Talking robots with Ford — We interview Ford’s Technical Expert Mario Santillo about its new robotics initiatives.

Startups, get your bug bounty crash course at Early Stage 2021 — Katie Moussouris, founder and chief executive at Luta Security, will give a crash course in bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure programs at TC Early Stage 2021.

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


B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn: The Whats, Whys, and Hows

March 22, 2021 No Comments

LinkedIn is the social network for B2B marketing. However, getting the results you want from the platform is not as easy or straightforward as you’d think.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Four ways to use your website data to discover missed sales opportunities

March 22, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Analyzing and understanding website data helps enhance potential sales and conversions
  • Google Analytics records the exit rate of specific website pages, helping you pinpoint exactly where users abandon your sales filter
  • Google Tag Manager can help identify if users are leaving forms uncompleted, leaving you tantalizingly close to conversion without sticking the landing
  • Recording and analyzing common user search terms on a website will reveal if consumers are seeking services they are willing to pay for but you do not provide
  • Search analysis tools will shine a light on any underutilized and under-monetized website pages, helping you make the most of your PPC budget

In the age of online marketing and data intelligence, every click matters. Traffic is a great metric for the potential success of your business, after all. Alas, traffic means little without conversions. A brick-and-mortar store that sees plenty of footfall but fails to make sufficient sales will be considered a failed business model. The online world is no different. Without conversions, a website is just an expensive – and ultimately unsuccessful – advertising campaign.

A conversion is the completion of any pre-determined action on a website. This could be downloading free content in exchange for joining a mailing list or interacting with the site through social media or a contact form. The gold standard of conversions will always be sales, though. If your product or service is not turning a profit, something needs to change.

By studying and understanding website data, you can pinpoint missed opportunities for sales on your site. Utilizing tools and software, you’ll understand what visitors are looking for and why they bounce without converting.

Data to review

Here are four core KPIs that should be studied to understand why visitors leave your site without making a conversion. By mastering and understanding this data, you can make any necessary adjustments to your website and marketing strategy – potentially reaping financial rewards.

1. Google Analytics exit pages

The exit page of a website, which is tracked on Google Analytics, is the last interaction a user has with your website before terminating a session. Google Analytics records exit pages as a percentage, referring to this as an exit rate.

In an ideal world, the most popular exit page on any website will be the thank you page after completing a conversion. At this stage, the user has concluded their business to the satisfaction of all parties.

If you notice a high exit rate on a different page, it merits investigation. Something about this page is deterring visitors from converting. Ergo, this exit page is potentially responsible for missed sales.

Be aware that an exit rate is not the same as a bounce rate. Bounce rate relates to users that leave a site without any interaction. Exit pages are recorded when users begin the journey toward conversion but fail to complete the process.

By understanding which pages on your website have the highest exit rate, you can improve your sales. Take a look at this page and consider why users are not completing a conversion. Potential explanations include:

  • An unclear or weak call to action
  • A lengthy sales funnel with too many steps
  • Insufficient information about your product or service, failing to convince the user to convert – or too much data, confusing a user and causing them to lose interest
  • Lack of preferred payment options (that is, ewallets – not everybody likes to use their credit card online)

Tweak this exit page to improve user experience and convince users to conclude a conversion. This is easier if one page of your website, in particular, has a high exit rate. If exit pages are equally spread throughout your site, it may be worth considering a complete overhaul and refresh of the content.

2. Google Tag Manager

The internet has brought a lot of good to the world, but enhancing patience is not among these benefits. With so much competition out there, users are unlikely to tolerate any kind of interface issues when attempting to complete a conversion. You can use Google Tag Manager to identify these issues.

Form completion is arguably the best use of GTM. If you study the analytics of a form and find that it is frequently being abandoned before completion, something is amiss. You had the user on the end of your hook – they would not have started to fill in the form otherwise. Unfortunately, something made them change their mind and you missed out on a sale.

Use the GTM debugging mode to ensure that a technical hitch was not to blame. If this is the case, it’s time to look inward. Some of the common reasons for users to abandon forms before completion include:

  • The form is just too long and cumbersome! Slow and steady may win a race, but it bores the life out of online consumers
  • Unnecessary questions. If you’re not selling age-restricted products or services, don’t ask for a user’s date of birth. Unless it’s relevant to the product, do not ask for clarification of gender or race
  • Pop-up advertising. Unfortunately, you may be standing trial for the sins of other sites here – previous experiences elsewhere may tarnish a user’s view of all online forms
  • Lack of assurance about the safety and security of any data that will be provided. Make it clear that you are not in the business is selling personal information to other businesses
  • Lack of mobile device compatibility. Over half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. Ensure your form is not fiddly and persnickety to complete on such a device

Using Google Tag Manager to understand your website data and fix missed conversion opportunities

Source: Google Tag Manager

Using GTM to gain insights into why forms remain uncompleted can be an easy fix, and potentially turn half-completed questionnaires into successful conversions. Don’t miss out on a possible sale for something as prosaic as a needlessly complicated sign-up process.

3. Search records

As we touched upon previously, consumers want to feel understood by a business. The modern visitor to a website will ideally not wish to search to find what they’re looking for. Visitors want to find everything they need before their eyes and to see that your product or service will resolve a particular pain point.

If users are making use of the search function, configure the site to record search terms. This provides the perfect opportunity to study what your potential customers are seeking – and presumably not finding – on your site. If they located what they were looking for, they would likely have completed a conversion.

Understanding what users are searching for means that you can improve and enhance your offering to apply these missing services. Alternatively, it may just reveal that your copy needs a little updating. Check whether users are using terminology that does not match up with keywords used on your site. This is an easy fix with a content refresh and reduces the frustration of being so near but yet so far from a conversion.

This will also have a welcome side-effect of potentially bolstering your SERP standing. Google is moving toward a model of enhanced search equity, which makes your use of copy all the more important. It will be very welcome for a website’s page ranking – and conversion potential – to stand or fall on quality and relevance of content, as opposed to restrictive technical obstacles.

4. Traffic value

To paraphrase George Orwell, “all website traffic is equal, but some traffic is more equal than others.” Some pages on your website will inevitably demonstrate greater potential for sales and conversions. Investing in a search analysis tool can aid you in identifying these pages so you can focus your financial outlay on them. Google Trends can also be an invaluable ally here.

Your website will likely utilize at least one cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads. You may be using several, with Facebook Ads (which includes Instagram Ads) and even Microsoft Advertising providing plentiful leads to conversions. While PPC business models are constantly evolving, some tactics are evergreen.

Perhaps the most critical of these is identifying which pages on your site have potential that is not being maximized. By undertaking SEO analysis, you will gain a greater understanding of what users are looking for online. In learning this, you may realize that you are placing too much of a marketing budget on one page when judicious use of keywords on another may yield greater results.

For example, it’s always tempting to place all of your financial muscle on a completion page. We have discussed already how users are looking for a brief and practical conversion funnel. Do not overlook the potential to educate and entertain before pushing for conversion, though. If you embrace – and more importantly, perfect content marketing, you will convince users to click through to a conversion page after learning more about your offering. This enhances your traffic stats, potentially building brand loyalty in the process.

What next?

Now that you are aware of these metrics, use them to calculate your conversions. That’s easily done – just divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors, then multiply the total by 100. How does that number look to you?

If you feel that your conversion rate is lacking in any of these metrics, there are steps that you can take to improve it. These include:

  • Simplifying any forms and streamlining your sales filter
  • Improve and simplify the copy on pages with a high exit rate
  • Considering adding a pop-up with a renewed CTA – or even the promise of a discount or freebie – when a user tries to close a common exit page
  • Review your search records and ensure your offering matches consumer needs and expectations
  • Keep up to date with search trends and ensure you are monetizing the right pages on your website

Follow these steps and you’ll potentially see your conversions soar. Few things are more frustrating than missing out on a sale that came enticingly close. These minor improvements will not take much work but could make a real difference to your bottom line.

FAQ

What is a website conversion?

Any website will contain a range of actions for visitors to complete. This could be signing up for a newsletter mailing list, sharing a post on personal social media channels, making a query through a contact form, or ideally making a purchase. If a visitor to your website completes this action, it is considered a conversion. The number of people that do so compared to your traffic quantity is referred to as a conversion rate.

What is a good conversion rate for a website?

This depends on a range of factors, including your industry and your anticipated return on investment. A website that operates on a cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads, needs a higher conversion rate to turn a substantial profit. The average conversion rate on this platform is circa three percent. What matters most is that you are seeing a return on your investment – and that your conversion rate continues to grow, not shrink.

How to increase the conversion rate on a website?

The most effective way to increase a conversion rate is to make the process as fast and simple as possible for consumers. Create a superior user experience by making it obvious what a visitor needs to do to convert, and by removing any unnecessary steps from the resulting filter. Every additional action you ask of a user gives them another opportunity to lose patience and walk away.

How to calculate a website conversion rate?

There is a simple formula for calculating the conversion rate of your website. Track your conversions over a set period, divide this by the number of visits to the website in this time, then multiple the total by 100. For example, a website that enjoys 700 conversions from 12,500 visitors over 30 days has a monthly conversion rate of 5.6%.

How to set up conversion rate tracking on your website?

Any website must track conversions to ensure optimum efficiency and return on investment. Major platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads have in-built tracking facilities. Learn how to utilize these tools and turn the data to your advantage.

Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK.

The post Four ways to use your website data to discover missed sales opportunities appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


On-page SEO: a handy checklist to tick off in 2021 and beyond

March 21, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages and content for search engine crawlers
  • It involves a lot of moving parts, so it’s easy to forget some elements or tweak them incorrectly
  • This quick checklist will help you keep all the various on-page SEO elements on track

On-page SEO is basically a set of techniques and best practices for your web pages to make them more search-engine friendly and thus, boost your rankings.

Now, as you know, keywords are at the heart of nearly everything on-page SEO. But on-page optimization involves a lot of elements — not just keywords — so it’s easy to overlook some of them.

To make it easy for you to ensure all your pages are correctly optimized for the best possible rankings, here’s a handy checklist to tick off.

URLs

Review the URLs of all pages on your site to ensure they’re concise rather than long and complex. Shorter URLs tend to have better click-through rates and are more easily understood by search engine crawlers.

Include your page’s primary keyword in the URL, remove filler (aka stop) words like “the”, “for”, and “to”, and keep it under 60 characters.

Images

Your website is likely brimming with images, and that’s a good thing as images contribute significantly to improving both user experience and rankings. They make your content more easy-to-consume, engaging, and memorable, and when optimized correctly, help you drive more traffic to your website.

To optimize your images for on-page SEO, here are a couple of things to ensure:

Image filename and alt text

Google bots can’t “see” images like humans. They need accompanying text to understand what the image is about. So, write a descriptive filename (“blue-running-shoes.jpg” instead of “82596173.jpg”) and alt text (which helps in case the image fails to load for some reason) for every image on your site, including keywords in both.

Alt text also helps make your website more accessible, as screen readers use the alt text to describe images to visually-challenged users. In fact, it’s prudent to test your website’s accessibility to ensure you don’t ever have to cough up big bucks for ADA lawsuit settlements.

Image file size

Page speed is a major ranking signal for both desktop and mobile searches, and bulky images slow down your site’s load speed. So make sure to compress all images to reduce their size — ideally under 70 kb.

Titles and meta descriptions

See to it that you’ve included your main keywords in the front of the title tags of all pages. Ensure the length of your title tags is under 60-65 characters and no longer than 70 characters, otherwise, it may get truncated in the SERPs.

Also, the title should be the only element wrapped in the H1 heading tag. In other words, only one H1 tag per page that’s reserved for the title.

For meta descriptions, just ensure you have written a keyword-rich and inviting meta description that is relevant to your user’s search intent. Keep it under 160 characters for all your pages. If you don’t, Google will pick some relevant text from the page and display it as the meta description in the SERP, which isn’t ideal for SEO.

Page load speed

Speed is a major ranking factor you just can’t afford to overlook. If your pages take anything over two to three seconds to load, your visitors will bounce to a competitor, and achieving first page rankings will remain a dream.

Thus, verify that:

  • Code is optimized with minified CSS and JS
  • There are no unnecessary redirects
  • You have compressed all images
  • You’ve enabled file compression and browser caching
  • Server response time is optimal

Regularly review your site speed using PageSpeed Insights to find out the exact areas that can be improved.

Links – internal and external

Ensure you have a proper linking strategy that you always follow. Both internal and external links play a role in your on-page SEO.

External links

Citing external sources and having outbound links is crucial for building credibility in the eyes of both Google crawlers and human visitors. However, make sure that you’re only linking back to high-quality websites and reliable sources.

Plus, ensure there are no broken (“404 not found”) links, as they hurt SEO and user experience. In case you may have a lot of site pages, it is best advised to create an engaging and easy-to-navigate 404 error page. This will help you retain site visitors and help them find relevant content/actions.

Internal links

Make sure to strategically interlink pages and content on your website. This helps crawlers to better understand and rank your content for the right keywords.

Internal linking also helps to guide visitors to relevant pages and keep them engaged.

Content

All your blog posts and website copy play a pivotal role in on-page optimization. Besides ensuring your target keywords are sprinkled judiciously and naturally throughout your content title, URL, subheadings, and paras. Here are a couple of things to get right.

Structure and readability

Verify the structure of content on all pages. Make sure you’ve used keyword-optimized headings and subheadings – H1, H2, H3, and so on, to build a logical hierarchy, which improves the readability and crawlability of your content.

Comprehensiveness

Studies suggest that longer, in-depth posts perform better than shorter ones when it comes to Google rankings. So, strive to have a word count of 2,000+ words in every piece of content.

Comprehensive, long-form content will also serve your audience better as it likely answers all their questions about the topic so they don’t have to look for more reading resources.

Over to you

With each new update to its core algorithm, Google is fast shifting its focus on rewarding websites with the best user experience.

But nailing your on-page optimization which ties closely with UX will continue to help you achieve top rankings and stay there. And so, keep this checklist handy as you work on your SEO in 2021 and beyond.

Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He can be found on Twitter @belanigaurav.

The post On-page SEO: a handy checklist to tick off in 2021 and beyond appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to Use Apple Music, TV, and iCloud on Non-Apple Devices

March 21, 2021 No Comments

Using Windows or Android no longer shuts you out from Apple services—here’s how to access them.
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Simplified Checkouts and Handheld Campaigns: How Marketers Are Addressing The Gulf Between Mobile Traffic and Sales

March 21, 2021 No Comments

Although eCommerce rates are demonstrating growth across both desktop and mobile, any expected rise in sales hasn’t followed suit.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021

March 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Data storytelling is the process of combining graphics and narratives to help audiences understand complex data
  • There are eight types of graphs and charts that marketers can use to tell data stories
  • This guide will help you understand why data storytelling is important and what best practices you should follow

We’re seeing the growing importance of storytelling with data in 2021—primarily because of the amount of data being shared with audiences over the past year.

But data needs to make sense to people if it’s to lead to better engagement and increased conversions. That’s where visualization comes in.

According to Venngage’s recent study, data storytelling has become a popular tool in an organization’s arsenal, with 48 percent of marketers creating data visualizations weekly.

Source: Venngage

In this article, we will share why businesses are turning to data storytelling to tell their brand stories and to capture the imagination of their customers.

Why is storytelling with data important?

Data-driven storytelling combines data and graphics to tell a compelling story. It also gives the data more context so audiences can understand it better.

The visual representation of data lies can show readers patterns and connections they may not have deduced on their own.

That’s what makes them such a necessary tool in a small business’ arsenal—data graphics can help businesses track their performance and set goals.

Kinds of data visualizations for storytelling

There are numerous visual tools available to render data—they highlight why data visualization is important.

Some of the kinds of data visualizations for storytelling include:

  • Bar Graphs
  • Bubble Charts
  • Histograms
  • Infographics
  • Line Charts
  • Maps
  • Pie Charts
  • Scatter Plots

Each visualization technique serves a purpose. Bar graphs and charts are ideal for creating comparisons, whereas line charts show linear relationships.

Maps show geographical data, like this example about the languages of the world.

Languages in the world

Source

Pie charts share data according to set categories, while scatter plots show relationships between multiple variables.

To understand which charts and graphs to use to tell your data story, you can refer to the below infographic.

Infographic chart on data storytelling

Source: Venngage

Five advantages of data storytelling

What advantages can businesses expect when storytelling through data?

These are the questions that marketers and designers ask themselves before undertaking such a design-heavy project.

But there are several uses for data graphics that make them worth investing time and effort into.

1. Provides deeper analysis into information

If you look at the types of visualizations described above, you can see how they provide greater insight into information.

A text post or report can do the same work but will require much more labor from the reader—increasing the chances of them leaving your page for shorter content

A graphic, on the other hand, tells the reader the same information in a much shorter time. This improves engagement rates and conversions.

Visuals can also convey patterns easily allowing the reader to analyze information quickly by connecting the dots themselves.

2. Promotes problem-solving

Data stories are succinct materials that boost the problem-solving process and improve productivity.

This is because decision-makers don’t have to read reams of text or sift through information on their own—the graphics do the work for them and speed up problem-solving.

3. Engages internal and external audiences

Content marketing is geared toward engagement—and that’s why strong visuals that catch the eye are so important. 

Visuals are more attractive than blocks of text—and data graphics that are well-made even more so than others.

This is because a data story is compelling in itself—numbers, percentages, relationships, and connections are all reasons for a reader to stop what they’re doing and look at your graphic.

As a result, you increase traffic and views to your content and your website, all while promoting a favorable impression of your brand. 

4. Improves reporting abilities

Reports are part and parcel of business life. A great data story is key to a memorable and powerful analysis, like this simple but elegant finance infographic template.

Data storytelling improves reporting capabilities

Source: Venngage

There is so much data involved in creating reports—if they are articulated through numbers and tables, your audience will be lost, and worse, bored.

That is why great data storytelling is so important in report-making, not just to keep people interested but to tell a good story.

5. Wide reach

Graphics can be repurposed in multiple ways and for a variety of channels. Social media platforms like Twitter, which are chockful of information, require a strong visual to get attention.

That attention can be generated through data storytelling. Bite-sized visuals arrest the viewer as they’re scrolling through their feed—they’re also easy to absorb and more shareable.

Visualized data makes for great content whether for social channels, newsletters, blog posts, or website landing pages.

A great graphic has the potential to go viral, widening the reach of your content and influence.

Data storytelling best practices

Paying heed to the importance of visualizing data means following a few best practices. You can’t create visuals without having a goal. 

You also need to understand the subject matter and the needs of your audience so your data tells the story you want it to and engages your readers.

Here are the six best practices for creating visualizations that will boost customer retention.

Create visual hierarchies

Hierarchies are necessary for people to read and interpret your data. Visual hierarchies are a key component of data storytelling because they help readers create context and patterns.

Since you don’t want to write too much text to explain your graphic, hierarchies are the best way to convey context. Here are the best ways to build visual hierarchies and context:

  • Placement of elements from top to bottom
  • Grouped elements
  • Varying colors
  • Varied visual styles
  • Increasing font sizes

Users will be able to deduce the relationship between data and elements using the above methods.

Build trust into data visuals

The benefits of visualization are completely lost if you can’t elicit trust in the people viewing your information.

When we put statistics together for studies at Venngage, we survey hundreds, if not thousands, of respondents before beginning the design process.

This is necessary to avoid cherry-picking data, which can be misleading, as this graph shows, and accidentally designing bad infographics.

Build trust with data storytelling

Source: Venngage

It is always best to compile data from trusted sources that are unbiased. Verify that data with at least two other sources so you know that the data is representative of the information.

Only then should you move into the design phase. When creating your visuals, avoid distortion as much as possible by following these methods:

  • Choose charts and graphs that suit your data
  • Your visual should include a scale to give context to the data
  • Baselines for data should always start at zero
  • Both axes should appear in the graphic and be equal in size
  • Use all relevant data in the visual; don’t leave important data out

Size plays a major factor in trust-building—use similar-sized visual elements, like icons, that can be scaled on a graph. 

Show changes in data through size and space but both should be equal between all visual elements.

Keep visualizations simple

Pulling together data requires a great deal of time and effort. It can be tempting to design visuals that express as much information as possible.

But that mindset can negate the effectiveness of visually representing data, and overwhelm your audience.

Visualizations should be simple and easy to understand—not only is this a brand design trend in 2021, but it keeps readers more engaged, like this chart we created.

Keep visuals simple

Source: Venngage

While a complex visualization may look sophisticated and interesting, if your audience spends too much time trying to understand it, they’re going to eventually give up and move on.

A badly-designed graphic, like the one below, will also give readers a negative impression of your brand and product, losing you more potential customers.

Bad example

Source

Data graphics should be simple enough to understand at a glance—that’s all the time you have to get users’ attention.

Don’t overuse text

If your data story needs more text to understand it, the visual isn’t well-designed. While there needs to be some text in the graphic, it shouldn’t dominate the image.

You can always write a blog or social media post around your findings, but your readers shouldn’t be lost without the context.

The benefits of data-driven storytelling lie in the fact that your information can be communicated through the visual medium.

If you’re relying on text to do all the talking, your graphic is lacking. Use graphic elements like icons and shapes, and break your data down into bite-sized portions so it’s easy to convey.

Use colors wisely in visualizations

Colors have a lot to do with the importance of data visualization storytelling—they can be used to highlight key information in a graphic and augment the data story you are trying to tell.

But that doesn’t mean you use all the colors in the palette in your graphic. Again, too many colors, like too much information, can overwhelm the audience.

On the flip side, by using too few colors, you can mistakenly create connections between data that aren’t correct.

Use your brand colors in your visualizations, and augment them with two or three colors. Try not to exceed five colors or five hues of a single color. 

If you’re wondering what kinds of colors work together, you can use this list to choose color combinations.

Use muted colors in your graphics, instead of bold ones, as that is what is on-trend at the moment and will make your visuals more relevant to audiences.

Highlight data in visuals

As much as you want users to understand the data as you present it to them in a visual, you aim to capture their attention as quickly as possible.

Even the simplest visuals need some highlights to draw the eye and it’s a great way to maintain the integrity of your data story.

Use a highlight color to make relevant data stand out or increase the font size or icon size to do the same.

By spotlighting the most important information, you will be more successful in attracting attention to your visual and telling your data story. 

Businesses can leverage the importance of data storytelling

We’ve highlighted how data storytelling can make a difference in business growth in 2021.

Graphics share insights and correlations that audiences may have overlooked, while still being compelling tools that engage and convert customers.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, design, and small businesses.

The post Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


It’s time to abandon business intelligence tools

March 20, 2021 No Comments

Organizations spend ungodly amounts of money — millions of dollars — on business intelligence (BI) tools. Yet, adoption rates are still below 30%. Why is this the case? Because BI has failed businesses.

Logi Analytics’ 2021 State of Analytics: Why Users Demand Better survey showed that knowledge workers spend more than five hours a day in analytics, and more than 99% consider analytics very to extremely valuable when making critical decisions. Unfortunately, many are dissatisfied with their current tools due to the loss of productivity, multiple “sources of truth,” and the lack of integration with their current tools and systems.

A gap exists between the functionalities provided by current BI and data discovery tools and what users want and need.

Throughout my career, I’ve spoken with many executives who wonder why BI continues to fail them, especially when data discovery tools like Qlik and Tableau have gained such momentum. The reality is, these tools are great for a very limited set of use cases among a limited audience of users — and the adoption rates reflect that reality.

Data discovery applications allow analysts to link with data sources and perform self-service analysis, but still come with major pitfalls. Lack of self-service customization, the inability to integrate into workflows with other applications, and an overall lack of flexibility seriously impacts the ability for most users (who aren’t data analysts) to derive meaningful information from these tools.

BI platforms and data discovery applications are supposed to launch insight into action, informing decisions at every level of the organization. But many are instead left with costly investments that actually create inefficiencies, hinder workflows and exclude the vast majority of employees who could benefit from those operational insights. Now that’s what I like to call a lack of ROI.

Business leaders across a variety of industries — including “legacy” sectors like manufacturing, healthcare and financial services — are demanding better and, in my opinion, they should have gotten it long ago.

It’s time to abandon BI — at least as we currently know it.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about why traditional BI platforms and newer tools like data discovery applications fail and what I’ve gathered from companies that moved away from them.

The inefficiency breakdown is killing your company

Traditional BI platforms and data discovery applications require users to exit their workflow to attempt data collection. And, as you can guess, stalling teams in the middle of their workflow creates massive inefficiencies. Instead of having the data you need to make a decision readily available to you, instead, you have to exit the application, enter another application, secure the data and then reenter the original application.

According to the 2021 State of Analytics report, 99% of knowledge workers had to spend additional time searching for information they couldn’t easily locate in their analytics solution.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Where do you take your marketing strategy from here?

March 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers agree that creating content is a core business strategy
  • SEO can help you capitalize on the content you’ve created and see lasting results
  • Create content around common sales objections to improve the sales process
  • Instead of going all-in on the best-case scenario of in-person events being able to happen in 2021, create a plan based on what you know works now and could continue to work into the future as well

With 2020 pulling the rug out from under pretty much everyone, it’s no surprise that marketing has had to shift over the past year. Where the focus for many organizations was once in-person meetings and events like trade shows and conventions, it’s now mostly shifted to tactics that can be deployed remotely.

The biggest winner out of all this change has, without a doubt, been content marketing. In the summer of 2020, I surveyed 49 B2B companies to see how they are approaching marketing, and more than 80 percent of them agreed that content is now considered a core business strategy.

Content marketing is a strategy that doesn’t require any physical contact to connect with people, and content can be shared widely and consistently, regardless of where people are in the world. It can help current clients better understand the value of a company and even act as a way to bring new customers into the fold.

While the strategy owes much of its popularity to the pandemic, content marketing’s recent dominance is unlikely to go away once the pandemic subsides. Before 2020, many marketers had already been pushing for a more content-focused strategy. In many ways, this past year has simply created the opportunity for them to prove the strategy’s true worth.

How to plan a marketing strategy around whatever 2021 may bring

These past few months have been a time of experimentation for marketers, full of successes and failures. For some companies, weaknesses in this strategy, like poor SEO and a lack of budget for content development, have been exposed, even as the potential of content marketing has been proven. Now, the question for marketers is how to bring a content strategy into the next year and successfully meld it with a plan for a world beyond the current health crisis.

1. Focus on SEO

All the high-quality content in the world can’t help you if no one can find it. Make better SEO a key goal if you want to capitalize on everything you’ve done this past year. Perform a technical website audit to ensure your website is set up to be found by search engines and a keyword audit to ensure your content aligns with your target audience’s queries. Not only should your keyword research guide your content for the future, but it should also steer your updates of older content to maintain its relevance. Updating old content is often the most efficient strategy you can employ.

Don’t just stop at keywords, though. Perform a deep dive into your audience’s behavior to figure out exactly what they’re looking for to increase your chances of turning visits into conversions. After all, what you think you know about user behavior and what is actually true can turn out to be wildly different. For example, according to HubSpot, popups are the most-used form for sign-ups, but they only succeed in converting three percent of visitors. Landing pages, meanwhile, have the highest conversion rate, despite being the least popular version of sign-up form.

2. Develop more sales enablement content

Effective content can be useful for more than just marketing. Sales reps can also use it to better communicate with potential customers.

Listen to sales calls to figure out which questions are the most common and which are the most difficult for your sales team to answer. From there, you can create sales enablement content, such as blog posts and infographics, that the team can refer to and pass on to prospects. You can also use the biggest client successes as case studies that can help potential clients better understand your value. This will not only help sell customers, but it can also help with securing internal buy-in for a content-focused strategy.

3. Don’t bet on in-person events in 2021

Over 90 percent of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events next year. Even if everything goes perfectly over the next few months and things can begin moving toward some level of normalcy by summer or fall, don’t count on big in-person conventions and trade shows to come roaring back and take over your marketing strategy. That’s why a majority of marketers are creating strategies that can work for both virtual events and in-person events over the next year.

Content will still be just as effective when the pandemic is over, but what in-person events will look like is still up in the air. Don’t bet on an imaginary best-case scenario, create a plan based on what you know works right now and could continue to work into the future.

While 2020 might have thrown everyone for a loop, the lessons learned this year can be applied in 2021, even if we’re unsure of what the coming year will truly bring. By focusing more on a content-first strategy, you can ensure your marketing plans don’t go to waste both in best-case and worst-case scenarios.

Cherish Grimm is VP at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps its clients achieve measurable business results through content marketing.

The post Where do you take your marketing strategy from here? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Daily Crunch: Facebook shows off a wrist-based interface

March 20, 2021 No Comments

Facebook develops a new way to interact with AR, Uber’s facial recognition policy faces scrutiny and SpaceX’s Starship rocket booster hits a major milestone. This is your Daily Crunch for March 19, 2021.

The big story: Facebook shows off wrist-based interface

This project comes out of Facebook Reality Labs and is supposed to present an alternative computer interface on your wrist, with electromyography sensors to interpret motor nerve signals.

In a blog post, Facebook said a wrist-based device “could reasonably fit into everyday life and social contexts,” while allowing the company to “bring the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful and satisfying interaction.”

Facebook identifies this as a research prototype, so don’t expect it to turn into a commercial product anytime soon. But it’s still suggestive, particularly given the company’s sometimes-surprising hardware strategy and rumors that it might be working on an Apple Watch competitor.

The tech giants

India asks court to block WhatsApp’s policy update, says new change violates laws — The Indian government alleged on Friday that WhatsApp’s planned privacy update violates local laws on several counts.

Uber under pressure over facial recognition checks for drivers — Uber’s use of facial recognition technology for a driver identity system is being challenged in the U.K.

Instagram and WhatsApp hit by outage — The outage began around 1:40 p.m. ET and lasted for more than half an hour.

Startups, funding and venture capital

SpaceX nears final assembly of its first massive testing rocket booster for Starship — SpaceX has completed what’s known as the “stacking” of its first Super Heavy prototype.

Brazilian startup Tractian gets the Y Combinator seal of approval for its equipment monitoring tech — Throughout their lives, the founders had heard their parents complain about the sorry state of maintenance and heavy equipment in their factories.

Superpedestrian positions itself as the go-to partner for cities with new e-scooter safety upgrades — Superpedestrian is considered an up-and-coming player in the micromobility world because of how it handles safety issues.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

It’s time to abandon business intelligence tools — Organizations spend ungodly amounts of money on business intelligence tools, but adoption rates are still below 30%.

The lightning-fast Series A (that was 3 years in the making) — Sounding Board’s Christine Tao discusses raising her Series A on the How I Raised It podcast.

Survey: Share feedback on Extra Crunch — Tell us what you think about Extra Crunch!

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Cloud infrastructure spending passed on-prem data centers in 2020 — That’s according to new research from Sydney Research Group.

Five trends in the boardrooms of high-growth private companies — Just as countless aspects of corporate life have been reshaped over the course of the last year, boards of directors are undergoing significant and lasting transformation.

Attend Disrupt 2021 for less than $ 100 — If three jam-packed days of TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 wasn’t enough to get your startup motor running, listen up.

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.


Social – TechCrunch