Ecommerce is an excellent pursuit if you can overcome the substantial challenges inherent to the industry today. Here are five of the most notable challenges.
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Startup Battlefield — the matriarch of all pitch competitions — is the stuff of tech legend. Heck, it even played a role in the HBO show, “Silicon Valley,” and its influence touches early-stage startups around the globe. Under no circumstance will you find a bigger, better platform for launching your startup to the world.
Battlefield has a long history of producing notable names. Need an example? A little startup by the name of Dropbox competed in the Battlefield at TC50 (the precursor to Disrupt) way back in 2008.
TechCrunch is on the hunt for innovative, game-changing startups to take the Startup Battlefield challenge and wrangle with the best-of-the-best at TC Disrupt 2021 in September. Are you game?
Apply to compete in Startup Battlefield before the deadline closes on May 13 11:59 pm (PT).
The stakes: A shot at $ 100,000 in equity-free prize money. Major exposure for all competing startups — think investors eager to find and fund the next big thing, journalists in search of exciting, game-changing startups to cover and potential customers and partners who can help take your business to new levels of success.
The investment: Your time. Yup, that’s it. Appyling to and participating in Startup Battlefield is 100 percent free. No fees, no equity cut. You simply invest your time — all participating founders receive several weeks of training with the Startup Battlefield team. Your demo and presentation will be, well, pitch perfect when you deliver it to panels of top VC judges. And you’ll be thoroughly prepped to handle the Q&A that follows.
The perks: In addition to the massive interest from just about all Disrupt attendees, competing startups get exhibition space in the Startup Alley expo area, free passes to future TechCrunch events, a free membership to Extra Crunch and invitations to private events like the Startup Battlefield reception.
You’ll meet members of the Startup Battlefield alumni community — we’re talking about 922 companies (like Vurb, Mint, Yammer and, yes, Dropbox) that have collectively raised $ 9.5 billion and produced 117 exits. Once Disrupt ends, you’re part of this phenomenal community — just imagine the networking possibilities.
The details: Read more about how Startup Battlefield works.
TC Disrupt 2021 takes place September 21-23. If you’ve got an innovative, game-changing startup, apply to compete in Startup Battlefield. Make sure you submit your completed application before the deadline expires on May 13 11:59 pm (PT).
Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.
In this monthly post, we bring you the latest from all of the major platforms. Google Ads What: Drive Leads with Hotel Property Promotion Ads Details: Property Promotion Ads are now available globally. Previous to this launch, direct participation in property promotion ads was done through an allowlist. They show prominently in search results for […]
Read more at PPCHero.com
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The post On-page SEO: a handy checklist to tick off in 2021 and beyond appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- 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.
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
- Line Charts
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The post Unlocking the secrets of data storytelling in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Wondering how to do app store optimization in 2021? We’ve put together the top 7 ASO tips & tricks that will help you enhance your organic growth strategy.
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- In line with last year’s changes, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year
- 31 percent of customers are more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior
- Cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for valued customers will be a priority for brands
- Donna Tuths, Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer at Sutherland foresees four key trends playing out in 2021
2020 has forced brands to completely transform the way they operate in the wake of the pandemic, and it is evident that some of the changes we are experiencing will be permanent. Brand relationships that were once defined by visiting stores or face-to-face conversations with salespeople are now being reimagined as remote interactions. Mandatory physical distancing around the world, coupled with the rise of digital connectivity, has resulted in many brands transitioning from brick-and-mortar to online.
In line with this change, customers’ behaviors and expectations have also evolved dramatically over the past year. For instance, consumers were 31 percent more likely to purchase online in 2021 than they were just a year prior.
While online or remote interactions are not an entirely new concept, the challenge brands face is cutting through the clutter and creating meaningful experiences for their valued customers. Here are the four key trends I foresee playing out in 2021 to make that a reality.
Customer care will shift to a business driver
Marketers are taking notice. In the battlefield of experience, remote interactions with customers have become key. With the vast majority of them now taking place in the contact center, companies have come to recognize these interactions are gold. With the omnichannel capabilities available today, marketers have terabytes of data generated every day by their interactions with their customers that could be mined to hyper-personalized interactions, wow their customers, and make every contact count.
Investments in employee experience will have a greater impact on customer experience than ever before
Happy employees equal happy customers. The more brands invest in the employee experience, the more the customer benefits. AI-enabled tools used for recruiting can turn the power of data into creating a perfect match between their target consumers and the people they entrust to interact with them day in and day out. Furthermore, AI-enabled tools can enable those humans to provide the support that is frictionless, with less effort.
This year will take brands much closer to getting the human-machine balance right
Rather than replacing humans, machines are elevating what humans do, giving them powers that reach beyond space and time. This delivers benefits to consumers and employees alike. While humans are busy interacting with customers, AI-enabled bots trained on sentiment data analysis and more can scour chat, email, and other channels to identify customers that need help and fast.
2021 may be the year AI-enabled marketing explodes
This would literally give the term “marketing automation” a new meaning. With huge amounts of interaction data available to many companies and advances in machine learning, brands could see next-generation, real-time, AI-enabled marketing where signals are detected and hyper-personalized messages and offers are instantly dispatched without nary a marketer or marketing operations person lifting a finger.
2021: A renewed focus on creating winning experiences
For brands to be more intentional about creating winning experiences across their multiple customer touchpoints, they need to improve on the way they leverage data, deploy aiding technologies and empower their employees to drive these interactions.
It is only by striking the right balance between the three that brands can deliver the kinds of experiences that ensure success in driving increased consumer delight and loyalty.
Donna Tuths is Chief Transformation and Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Sutherland.
The post 2021 Will be the year brands make winning experiences out of remote interactions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- The pandemic has caused major shifts in the way that advertisers operate, making it more critical than ever to be able to prove ROI and make every ad dollar count
- The inability to track reach and frequency is one of the biggest problems with cross-platform ad measurement that marketers face
- As marketers enter the new year, they will need to have measurement solutions in place that account for cross-channel, cookieless, privacy, and walled gardens
- Early adopters of cross-channel measurement, truly cookieless solutions, privacy, and consumer-centric policies, and data collaboration will gain insights needed to ensure future success
Marketers have faced an incredible number of challenges over the past year. The demise of third-party cookies, the loss of device identifiers, and evolving privacy regulations have forced the industry to come up with new solutions for identity. With consumer behavior shifting rapidly and market volatility expected to continue this year, proving ROI with accurate measurement will be more important than ever. Half of U.S. marketers say the inability to track reach and frequency is still one of the biggest problems with cross-channel ad measurement. Better measurement solutions are needed.
Advertisers need to take the time now to evaluate their measurement solutions in order to ensure every dollar spent has a purpose. Marketers should look for solutions that overcome measurement challenges and form a single view of the customer journey. Only then can they truly improve the customer experience by delivering personalized messages and offerings based on insights gleaned. In 2021, measurement solutions will evolve and improve to account for cross-platform, cookieless, consumer transparency, and walled gardens.
Cross-platform measurement will enable flexibility and control for TV and other mediums
Recent trends indicate that consumers are purchasing multiple streaming services and cutting the cord at an alarming rate. As consumer behaviors and viewer fragmentation across a range of digital mediums and streaming platforms accelerate, it’s important for advertisers to measure cross-platform reach and frequency in real-time and adjust course quickly if needed. This is nearly impossible to do using traditional TV metrics.
To determine where and how to best reach the consumer, measurement offerings must capture cross-channel metrics and normalize disparate data sets to better understand the actual viewer. For example, one spouse might be responsible for all the streaming subscriptions in a household while another manages cable and internet. To further confuse the issue, their online and offline purchases might be equally mixed.
With more accurate cross-screen metrics and measurement tools, including impact and reach, advertisers can track spend against specific KPIs to determine true ROI within a set audience. As advertisers and distribution players adopt new measurement solutions in 2021 and report these metrics more accurately, the industry will be forced to embrace flexibility in areas that have traditionally lacked agility and required firm budget commitments.
More accurate measurement gives advertisers key insights that require flexibility for optimizations and the need for more real-time control with TV and premium video. Measurement offerings that capture metrics across OTT and linear and link impact to actual outcomes will take center stage in the new year as advertisers are forced to prove ROI and can no longer rely on traditional TV metrics.
The deprecation of third-party cookies acts as a catalyst to better measurement
With less than a year before Google pulls the plug on third-party cookies and the simultaneous restrictions placed on certain mobile identifiers such as IDFAs, the advertising ecosystem is responding with a flurry of identifiers of their own. Despite this, the industry has yet to establish a standard for a universal way to measure reach without cookies, creating confusion in the marketplace and reinforcing the need for secure, privacy-conscious, and interoperable identity solutions that maintain neutrality.
Campaigns using people-based identifiers rooted in authenticated user data perform better across key metrics such as return on ad spend, cost per view, and cost per mille. In fact, certain types of cookieless solutions make it easier to measure results and prove ROI. Campaigns will be people-based and nearly 100 percent addressable—allowing advertisers and publishers to uncover undervalued inventory and see an improvement in their overall performance.
The industry is working diligently to build a better ecosystem – one with trust and transparency – that isn’t reliant on unstable identifiers like third-party cookies. A stronger, trusted ecosystem will ensure advertisers can measure across all consumer touchpoints long after the third-party cookie disappears. This helps to ensure the most relevant, tailored messages reach customers across channels – which ultimately leads to an increase in brand loyalty that will help strengthen businesses and improve outcomes for marketers and publishers alike in the post-cookie world.
Measurement evolves with privacy at its core
As privacy regulation continues to evolve, our industry faces a complex challenge — regaining consumer trust. There’s a conscious effort and trend towards consumer transparency, and that’s not going away. Thus, in addition to adhering to the law, advertisers are updating their policies to ensure transparency about how consumer data is being used. We need to do a better job of explaining that the data individuals share is part of a mutually beneficial value exchange that’s essential to developing products and services that serve consumers better.
As consumers engage across media — they opt-in, log-in, subscribe — and identify themselves in different ways. This data can be used to build and scale the right audiences and enhance measurement to better under which tactics are moving the needle on business outcomes. Advertisers should only use measurement solutions with privacy at the core to ensure the delivery of a seamless customer experience on the individual’s terms.
One example of where measurement is headed is LiveRamp’s integration with Google’s Ads Data Hub. This approach enables first-party data linkage to Google data within the ADH environment in a privacy-first way. An individual’s data cannot be directly viewed, edited, or manipulated in ADH, but actionable insights can be extracted.
Amazon sets the bar when it comes to understanding and measuring the customer buying journey and then executing against that data. Marketers are looking to create that type of measurement engine, without moving data or comprising privacy, that will form data partnerships to fill in the gaps in their line of sight, leveraging data from outside their four walls to measure the customer journey along with all endpoints.
The industry will embrace data collaboration to improve measurement
Walled gardens offer a prime example of how access to data at every point along the customer journey unlocks measurement of the whole customer experience. Following this example, consumer brands will seek to build a strong data foundation to form a unified view of the customer, then to optimize marketing touchpoints as part of the larger improvement to the customer experience. We’re seeing CPG brands analyzing sales lift by comparing data from retail partners to understand the holistic shopping journey of each customer.
As The Winterberry Group found in their January 2021 report ‘Collaborative Data Solutions’, one of the areas with the greatest adoption today is for insight and analysis. Data collaboration will only become more important as marketers strive to measure results and optimize budgets. With the right privacy-conscious structures in place, data science and analytics teams will be able to work across data sets, accelerate analysis, and forge a level of insight that is deeper than ever before.
After the year we had, evolution in measurement is imminent. In what will likely be another financially-difficult year, proving return on advertising investment will be the driving force behind this progression to more accountable metrics delivered with more speed.
Early adopters of cross-platform measurement, truly cookieless solutions, privacy and consumer-centric policies, and data collaboration will provide customers with the best in class experience today and reveal insights needed to ensure future success.
Matthew Emans is VP of Measurement Products for LiveRamp, and the co-founder/CTO of Data Plus Math, acquired by LiveRamp in 2019.
The post Cross-channel and cookieless: How measurement will evolve in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.