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CEO Shishir Mehrotra and investor S. Somasegar reveal what sings in Coda’s pitch doc

June 19, 2021 No Comments

Coda entered the market with an ambitious, but simple, mission. Since launching in 2014, it has seemingly forged a path to realizing its vision with $ 140 million in funding and 25,000 teams across the globe using the platform.

Coda is simple in that its focus is on the document, one of the oldest content formats/tools on the internet, and indeed in the history of software. Its ambition lies in the fact that there are massive incumbents in this space, like Google and Microsoft.

Co-founder and CEO Shishir Mehrotra told TechCrunch that that level of competition wasn’t a hindrance, mainly because the company was very good at communicating its value and building highly effective flywheels for growth.

Mehrotra was generous enough to let us take a look through his pitch doc (not deck!) on a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live, diving not only into the factors that have made Coda successful, but how he communicated those factors to investors.

Coda Pitch Doc

A screenshot from Coda’s pitch doc.

Extra Crunch Live also features the ECL Pitch-off, where founders in the audience come “onstage” to pitch their products to our guests. Mehrotra and his investor, Madrona partner S. Somasegar, gave their live feedback on pitches from the audience, which you can check out in the video (full conversation and pitch-off) below.

As a reminder, Extra Crunch Live takes place every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. Anyone can hang out during the episode (which includes networking with other attendees), but access to past episodes is reserved exclusively for Extra Crunch members. Join here.

The soft circle

Like many investors and founders, Mehrotra and Somasegar met well before Mehrotra was working on his own project. They met when both of them worked at Microsoft and maintained a relationship while Mehrotra was at Google.

In their earliest time together, the conversations centered around advice on the Seattle tech ecosystem or on working with a particular team at Microsoft.

“Many people will tell you building relationships with investors … you want to do it outside of a fundraise as much as possible,” said Mehrotra.

Eventually, Mehrotra got to work on Coda and kept in touch with Somasegar. He even pitched him for Series B fundraising — and ultimately got a no. But the relationship persisted.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Beyond the ad: Conversion Optimization

June 19, 2021 No Comments

Today, using data for driving business decisions has become common practice for most companies, with many having a dedicated analytics team checking the impact of marketing investments, which channels to invest in and effect. But the majority of these activities are focused on optimizing parameters before the audience click the ad. The question is: are you taking the same data driven approach to your website design?

If you don’t use data to optimize your site’s user experience, you risk low conversion rates and lost revenue. A well-designed user interface could increase your website’s conversion rate by up to 200 percent, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400 percent. 

Now take your revenue, check your conversion rate, and calculate what it would be if the conversion rate would increase +200%. The number right there is why the companies that will thrive in the future most likely will be the ones that are data driven in, and focus as much on, both crucial moments during the user journey—before and beyond the ad.

The solution

Building this strength comes down to working with the research methods within conversion optimization and step by step A/B testing your way to a website your customers will love using.

Here are three steps on how to get started:

  1. Find the weak spots on the site. Combine quantitative research in Google Analytics, qualitative research such as user testing (in the Optimize Resource Hub you can find easy instructions) and inspiration from best practices. The Optimize Resource Hub gives you best practice suggestions from Google and a library of test results from other companies

  2. Prioritize the most impactful tests. Give each test idea a score of one to ten according to the uplift you think it will generate, and subtract a score of one to ten depending on the effort the test will require. 

  3. Start testing. You can get started today by setting up Google Optimize—the tool that uses the full power of Google Analytics. A free version is available so you can have a test up and running within a few minutes. 

For more in-depth knowledge around the process of conversion optimization, check out the CRO tips in the Optimize Resource Hub.

Optimize CRO 1

Learn from experts

We have one more treat for you, in the form of a new series of articles that will be published here on the blog: The Optimize CRO Series—Experts share their secrets. In this series, CRO experts from all over the world will give their best advice around these topics:

  • Research methods

  • Prioritizing tests

  • Favorite frameworks for analyzing sites

  • How to do a QA (quality assurance) of an A/B test 

  • The experts’ best tests

  • Learn from the failing tests

Eager to know more? Make sure you start following the Google Analytics products blog through the channel that fits you to get the upcoming guides.


Google Analytics Blog


Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign

June 18, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • To ensure organic visibility for your seasonal pages, start creating, optimizing, and analyzing them now
  • Start creating, organizing, and scheduling seasonal content assets now for a head-start when it’s time to start focusing on driving sales
  • Evaluate your past seasonal content performance to be able to recycle, update, and possibly even expand them into standalone projects
  • Research your competitive tactics to evaluate how they utilize seasonality in their digital marketing strategy
  • Create a detailed editorial calendar to plan out all assignments and deadlines to “catch” the rising interest in seasonal content and deals

Summer is a slow season for many businesses, especially those in a B2B niche. If things are a bit slow for you now, here’s an idea – Use these quiet months to turn your next big season into a huge boost for your business. Here is how you can start preparing for your next big seasonal content marketing campaign now:

1. Check your seasonal rankings now

Do you have a page (or pages) offering seasonal deals, gift ideas, and special offers? The demand for this type of content may be seasonal but its rankings should be permanent. That’s why I always advise against removing these pages or even delinking them throughout the site.

You want those pages to always be accessed by Google for your rankings to be there when the searches start climbing.

If you cannot find your site ranking for your target seasonal queries, it is time to set them up even if the actual season is still months ahead.

Seasonal campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Furthermore, Spyfu offers a comprehensive analysis of all SERP movements for you to identify important patterns and spot a competitor that was doing the best job retaining their organic visibility for seasonal search queries:

SERP analysis of seasonal marketing campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about this feature here.

When it comes to SEO, seasonality can be tricky but it definitely needs to be planned ahead as organic SEO takes time to yield results.

2. Start creating seasonal assets (content and social)

Your high season is going to be a busy time for you and your team, so while planning your upcoming campaigns, start creating (and even scheduling) your content assets beforehand.

When brainstorming seasons content ideas, I always turn to Text Optimizer that does a great job suggesting related concepts and angles to focus on:

Semantic search for seasonal content ideas

Source: Screenshot created by the author

The tool relies on semantic analysis.

Content marketing involves a lot of channels, so the more you are prepared, the easier (and more productive) your seasonal campaign will turn out to be.

Furthermore, there are a few cross-channel content marketing tools that can help create and organize your seasonal content. For example, Boosted by Lightricks allows you to easily create festive videos in multiple formats:

Formats for cross channel marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

This way you can create content assets that will fit all of your channels. There’s also a handy Brand Kit feature allowing you to maintain a consistent visual identity throughout all your assets:

Creating a brand kit for seasonal campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

The app is available on iPhone and Android for free. You can choose to upgrade for $ 4.99 per month. I for one have been using the free tier (and the above screenshots are taken when using the free version of the app).

The platform also offers a list of seasonal content ideas and hashtags to make your campaign even more effective.

There are a few more video creation apps out there but I don’t think any of them let you access so many great features for free.

Another great content creation tool that gives you lots of free features for free is, of course, Canva. I’ve been using Canva for free for as long as I can remember without ever having to upgrade.

Christmas campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Here’s the guide on planning a Christmas marketing campaign.

3. Evaluate your past seasonal campaign performance

If you were publicizing any seasonal content over the years, find all of it to:

  • Explore an opportunity for an update (“Can I reuse this asset this year?” as well as “How can I make it better?”)
  • Evaluate how effective it was in attracting traffic as well as turning those clicks into conversions

Google Analytics offers an easy way to identify landing pages that did the best job attracting traffic during any period:

  • Go to the Acquisition report and select one channel (for example, “social” or “organic search”)
  • Select the date range of your seasonal campaign from the last year
  • (Optionally) Check the box “Compare” and select “Previous year” from the drop-down
  • Click “Landing page” tab in the chart below:

Analyzing past seasonal campaigns' performance in Google AnalyticsSource: Screenshot created by the author

This gives you an at-a-glance report of the highest traffic page from your previous campaigns. You can further narrow it down by using word filters (for example, type “blog” there to see your best performing seasonal content).

To analyze conversions, you can use Google Analytics goals and funnels. Another tool I am using to closely monitor incoming traffic and its conversions is Finteza. Because it makes it incredibly easy to narrow the data down to identify which traffic source is sending traffic and how well it converts as compared to other pages.

Finteza dataSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about Finteza’s conversion funnels here. Finteza costs $ 25 a month and there’s a 30-day trial available for you to play with the tool before committing.

4. Consider starting a tradition

If any of those previous content assets turned particularly successful, consider expanding that idea into a new project! We all remember the overwhelming success of “Elf Yourself”, Ask Santa, and NORAD mini-projects that were able to engage (and convert) thousands of people year over year.

 A separate (single-page) site will be easier to brand and promote without causing any strong associations with your main business. If you need some inspiration, check out Namify:

Start a tradition for your next seasonal campaignSource: Namify

5. Look what your competitors did (or didn’t)

Competitive analysis is important because it motivates a business owner to do more and do it better. Therefore I always include competitive analysis in any of my marketing planning.

There are plenty of ways to research your competitors and what they are doing. My first step is always checking Ahrefs and what other search queries they are ranking for:

competitor analysisSource: Screenshot created by the author

Ahrefs is the only platform in the industry that also offers an estimate of traffic each search query sends. Here’s how they calculate it. Ahrefs lowest tier is $ 99 per month but it is definitely a must-have tool if you are doing SEO.

Similar Web is another nice tool for competitive research. I like looking at their “Referral Traffic” report to identify which sites are sending traffic to my competitors:

Similar WebSource: Similar Web

This basic report is available for free.

It is also a good idea to set up Google Alerts to be modified when your competitors are doing something new.

6. Create your editorial calendar

Every year people seem to start preparing for big holidays earlier. It is not unusual to spot a Holiday-centric social media ad in October. This can actually cause both excitement and irritation.

So the important question remains: When should I start publishing seasonal content?

This may depend from niche to niche, so I always suggest typing your target seasonal search query into Google Trends:

Google search trends on seasonal keywordsSource: Screenshot created by the author

It also helps to compare several of your target search queries. For example, in this niche the demand seems to be pretty consistent over the years:

Google Trends compareSource: Screenshot created by the author

When it comes to organizing and scheduling your content assets, there are a few great calendar plugins to choose from. I mostly use CoSchedule because it allows me to also schedule those updates to your social media channels as well as assign certain content assets to various contributors. 

CoSchedule costs $ 29 per month. It supports scheduling to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. I prefer the tool because it combines on-site content planning (assigning content assets to be written) and social media scheduling. This allows me to create a very well-aligned content marketing campaign and makes it easy to organize editorial workflow across many channels.

Instagram also offers a helpful guide on planning your seasonal content strategy here:

Instagram resource on holiday seasonal marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

Conclusion

Seasonal planning is a great way to make the most of those seasonal interest spikes and build more sales. The earlier you start preparing for your big season, the more time you have to handle an increased amount of sales. Good luck!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

The post Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Some Practical Advice for Living With a Writer

June 18, 2021 No Comments

It’s not always easy, but fantasy author Jane Lindskold’s book Wanderings on Writing provides some honest tips.
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The Delta Variant and Low Vaccine Rates Could Spell Trouble

June 17, 2021 No Comments

Vaccines are effective against the variant, but experts worry about states where fewer people are inoculated.
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What a Post-Pandemic Marketing Strategy Should Look Like

June 16, 2021 No Comments

The world as we emerge from Covid-19 will require marketers to think and act differently, use past learnings and follow current trends to devise new strategies.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Google opens Workspace to everyone

June 15, 2021 No Comments

Google today announced that it is making Workspace, the service formerly known as G Suite (and with a number of new capabilities), available to everyone, including consumers on free Google accounts. The core philosophy behind Workspace is to enable deeper collaboration between users. You can think of it as the same Google productivity apps you’re already familiar with (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, etc.), but with a new wrapper around it and deeper integrations between the different apps.

For individual users who want more from their Workspace, there will also be a new paid offering, though Google isn’t saying how much you’ll have to pay yet. (Update: Google Workspace Individual subscription will be $ 9.99/month, with an introductory price of $ 7.99/month.) With that, users will get access to “premium capabilities, including smart booking services, professional video meetings and personalized email marketing, with much more on the way.” We’ll likely hear more about this later this year. This new paid offering will be available “soon” in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Japan.

Consumers will have to switch from the classic Hangouts experience (RIP) to the new Google Chat to enable it — and with this update, all users will now have access to the new Google Chat, too. Until now, only paying G Suite/Workspace users had access to this new Workspace user experience.

“Collaboration doesn’t stop at the workplace — our products have been optimized for broad participation, sharing and helpfulness since the beginning,” said Javier Soltero, VP and GM, Google Workspace. “Our focus is on delivering consumers, workers, teachers and students alike an equitable approach to collaboration, while still providing flexibility that allows these different subsets of users to take their own approach to communication and collaboration.”

Image Credits: Google

Once enabled, users will encounter quite a few user interface changes. The left rail, for example, will look a little bit like the bottom bar of Gmail on iOS and Android now, with the ability to switch between Mail, Chat, Meet and Spaces (which — yeah — I’m not sure anybody really understands this one, but more about this later). The right rail will continue to bring up various plugins and shortcuts to features like Google Calendar, Tasks and Keep.

A lot of people — especially those who simply want Gmail to be Gmail and don’t care about all of this collaboration stuff in their private lives — will hate this. But at least for the time being, you can still keep the old experience by not switching from Hangouts to the new Google Chat. But for Google, this clearly shows the path Workspace is on.

Image Credits: Google

“Back in October of last year, we announced some very significant updates to our communication and collaboration product line and our business, starting with the new brand and identity that we chose around Google Workspace that’s meant to represent what we believe is the future direction and real opportunity around our product — less around being a suite of individual products and more around being an integrated set of experiences that represent the future of work,” Soltero explained in a press briefing ahead of today’s announcement.

And then there is “Spaces.” Until now, Google Workspace features a tool called “Rooms.” Rooms are now Spaces. I’m not quite sure why, but Google says it is “evolving the Rooms experience in Google Chat into a dedicated place for organizing people, topics, and projects in Google Workspace.”

Best I can tell, these are Slack-like channels where teams can not just have conversations around a given topic but also organize relevant files and upcoming tasks, all with an integrated Google Meet experience and direct access to working on their files. That’s all good and well, but I’m not sure why Google felt the need to change the name. Maybe it just doesn’t want you to confuse Slack rooms with Google rooms. And it’s called Google Workspace, after all, not Workroom. 

New features for Rooms/Spaces include in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions and a collapsible view, Google says.

Both free and paid users will get access to these new Spaces once they launch later this year.

But wait, there’s more. A lot more. Google is also introducing a number of new Workspace features today. Google Meet, for example, is getting a companion mode that is meant to foster “collaboration equity in a hybrid world.” The idea here is to give meeting participants who are in a physical meeting room and are interacting with remote participants a companion experience to use features like screen sharing, polls, in-meeting chat, hand raise and Q&A live captions on their personal devices. Every participant using the companion mode will also get their own video tile. This feature will be available in September.

Image Credits: Google

Also new is an RSVP option that will allow you to select whether you will participate remotely, in a meeting room (or not at all), as well as new moderation controls to allow hosts to prevent the use of in-meeting chat and to mute and unmute individual participants.

On the security side, Google today also announced that it will allow users to bring their own encryption keys. Currently, Google encrypts your data, but it does manage the key for you. To strengthen your security, you may want to bring your own keys to the service, so Google has now partnered with providers like Flowcrypt, Futurex, Thales and Virtru to enable this.

With Client-side encryption, customer data is indecipherable to Google, while users can continue to take advantage of Google’s native web-based collaboration, access content on mobile devices, and share encrypted files externally,” writes Google directors of product management Karthik Lakshminarayanan and Erika Trautman in today’s announcement.

Image Credits: Google

Google is also introducing trust rules for Drive to give admins control over how files can be shared within an organization and externally. And to protect from real phishing threats (not those fake ones your internal security organization sends out every few weeks or so), Google is also now allowing admins to enable the same phishing protections it already offers today to content within an organization to help guard your data against insider threats.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Biden revokes and replaces Trump actions targeting TikTok and WeChat

June 15, 2021 No Comments

President Joe Biden is reducing some uncertainty faced by Chinese tech companies in the United States, erasing parts of the Trump-era legacy. The president signed an executive order revoking actions targeting TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese apps put forward by former President Donald Trump, according to a statement released by the White House on Wednesday.

Instead, President Biden signed a new order requiring the Commerce Department to review apps with ties to “jurisdiction of foreign adversaries” that may pose national security risks.

The Biden order withdraws two orders by former President Trump, one of which was issued in August and sought to block U.S. business transactions with TikTok and WeChat. The other, announced in January, targeted eight Chinese services including WeChat’s payment feature, Tencent’s QQ messenger, and Ant Group’s Alipay wallet.

The orders to ban TikTok and WeChat in the U.S. had been blocked by federal court jurisdictions. Separately, the Trump administration’s attempt to force a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations was also shelved.

The “increased use in the United States of certain connected software applications designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, a foreign adversary,” which the Secretary of Commerce has defined to include China among others, “continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Scrutiny over Chinese tech firms will most likely remain a high priority for U.S. regulators, but policies may be more methodical under the presidency of Joe Biden. Chinese companies coveting the U.S. market will have to be better prepared for data compliance challenges.

The order directs the secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the secretary of State, the secretary of Defense, the attorney general, the secretary of Health and Human Services, the secretary of Homeland Security, the director of National Intelligence, and the heads of other agencies as the secretary of Commerce deems appropriate, to recommend actions to protect Americans’ data on platforms owned or controlled by a “foreign adversary” within 120 days.

It’s no secret that American tech companies like Facebook and Google also collect large amounts of user data, but the “scope and scale” of TikTok’s app’s data collection makes it easier for Chinese spies to answer “all kinds of different intelligence questions” on U.S. nationals, Anne Neuberger, NSA’s director of cybersecurity, told TechCrunch at Disrupt 2020. She said there were “greater concerns on how [China] in particular could use all that information collected against populations other than its own.”

Chinese tech firms have produced a raft of top-ranking apps in the U.S. TikTok, which has been working to make Singapore its beachhead following the U.S. government’s attempted ban, came in second among the free apps on the U.S. App Store as of writing. CapCut, a video-editing app also owned by ByteDance app, has seen a surge in downloads in the U.S. recently. Mobile games from Tencent and smaller studios continue to rack up big bucks in the U.S., and fast-fashion shopping app Shein is outpacing Amazon’s growth in the country.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Tencent and ByteDance could not be immediately reached for comment.

Updated the story with more information on the revocation.


Social – TechCrunch


I Treated My Unhealthy Gaming Obsession … With More Games

June 15, 2021 No Comments

The root issue had less to do with the hobby and more to do with me.
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Macron says G7 countries should work together to tackle toxic online content

June 13, 2021 No Comments

In a press conference at the Élysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his focus on online regulation, and more particularly toxic content. He called for more international cooperation as the Group of Seven (G7) summit is taking place later this week in the U.K.

“The third big topic that could benefit from efficient multilateralism and that we’re going to bring up during this G7 summit is online regulation,” Macron said. “This topic, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again, is essential for our democracies.”

Macron also used that opportunity to sum up France’s efforts on this front. “During the summer of 2017, we launched an initiative to tackle online terrorist content with then Prime Minister Theresa May. At first, and as crazy as it sounds today, we mostly failed. Because of free speech, people told us to mind our own business, more or less.”

In 2019, there was a horrendous mass mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. And you could find multiple copies of the shooting videos on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Macron invited New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, several digital ministers of the G7 and tech companies to Paris.

They all signed a nonbinding pledge called the Christchurch Call. Essentially, tech companies that operate social platforms agreed to increase their efforts when it comes to blocking toxic content — and terrorist content in particular.

Facebook, Twitter, Google (and YouTube), Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies signed the pledge. Seventeen countries and the European Commission also backed the Christchurch Call. There was one notable exception — the U.S. didn’t sign it.

“This strategy led to some concrete results because all online platforms that signed it have followed through,” Macron said. “Evidence of this lies in what happened in France last fall when we faced terrorist attacks.” In October 2020, French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was killed and beheaded by a terrorist.

“Platforms flagged content and removed content within an hour,” he added.

Over time, more countries and online platforms announced their support for the Christchurch Call. In May, President Joe Biden joined the international bid against toxic content. “Given the number of companies incorporated in the U.S., it’s a major step and I welcome it,” Macron said today.

But what comes next after the Christchurch Call? First, Macron wants to convince more countries to back the call — China and Russia aren’t part of the supporters for instance.

“The second thing is that we have to push forward to create a framework for all sorts of online hate speech, racist speech, anti-Semitic speech and everything related to online harassment,” Macron said.

He then briefly referred to French regulation on this front. Last year, French regulation on hate speech on online platforms has been widely deemed as unconstitutional by France’s Constitutional Council, the top authority in charge of ruling whether a new law complies with the constitution.

The list of hate-speech content was long and broad while potential fines were very high. The Constitutional Council feared that online platforms would censor content a bit too quickly.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping Macron from backing new regulation on online content at the European level and at the G7 level.

“It’s the only way to build an efficient framework that we can bring at the G20 summit and that can help us fight against wild behavior in online interactions — and therefore wild behavior in our new world order,” Macron said, using the controversial “wild behavior” metaphor (ensauvagement). That term was first popularized by far-right political figures.

According to him, if world leaders fail to find some common ground when it comes to online regulation, it’ll lead to internet fragmentation. Some countries may choose to block several online services for instance.

And yet, recent events have showed us that this ship has sailed already. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter operations in the country just a few days ago. It’s easy to agree to block terrorist content, but it becomes tedious quite quickly when you want to moderate other content.


Social – TechCrunch