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How a digital publisher monetized 8X more in one month with WordPress scaling strategies

June 11, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The project in a nutshell: A magazine-type website, monetizing programmatic ads.
  • Agency work scope: Build the platform from scratch, utilizing WordPress multisite functionality and RTK.io infrastructure plus numerous ad operation tools, migrate it to new hosting, and secure project scale.
  • Time frame: One month. 
  • Success indicators: Stability to scale to 8+ million user sessions per month with a monetization increased 8.5 times.

The Brand: Digital Publisher in Need of scaling

The project is a digital publishing platform, based on WordPress, utilizing the RTK.io  programmatic infrastructure and ad operations solution (Taboola and Outbrain). The website features authentic content оn popular topics like wellness, technologies, travel, sports, and entertainment. All articles are original and created by the media’s team of writers.  

Since launching in April 2019, the website’s monthly traffic has exceeded 8 Million users per month. Presently the website ranks globally around 23,000 in Alexa. 

How did the project start?

The client has been working with DevriX on a WordPress development retainer plan since July 2018. Initially, the website had an imperfect RTK implementation that dynamically assigned the ad unit slots according to some JavaScript logic. DevriX was hired to support and improve that old custom platform.  

But the owners were not satisfied with the business results – the monetization did not work as expected. While working on the project DevriX got more closely acquainted with the client’s goals and business operations. Both parties became aware of a clear growth opportunity. 

At that time DevriX was endorsed by RTK for building a super-fast and lightweight digital publishing platform for another major media. Soon after that, the client requested to upgrade their site with a similar solution. So at the beginning of March 2019, we started to build the whole platform from scratch, utilizing the Multisite WordPress feature.  

The challenge

Rebuild the whole platform  

When you run a digital publishing platform of this size, literally every second matter to a huge extent. The publishers’ business is very competitive and the margins are small. Every second the site is down thousands of dollars are lost and for every second delay in its performance, the loss is even bigger.  

Here is why when re-building this project, the client needed: 

  • A stable system to allow scaling traffic to several million user sessions per month 
  • Optimal integration of all programmatic platforms 
  • A reliable hosting solution and 24/7 maintenance to never allow downtime 
  • A seamless UX experience to engage and monetize the traffic

The solution

New digital publishing platform 

Just within one month, in April 2019, DevriX launched the new version of the WordPress website, utilizing the RTK.io technology, together with several other third-party native ad integrations. We created a faster and more stable platform, with quality code and technical solutions that enhance performance and monetize higher traffic.   

Here is how DevriX delivered the project to the above requirements: 

1. Build a multisite WordPress platform

We created a multisite network, allowing for the platform – together with all its programmatic implementations – to be multiplied into several digital publishing websites. The network is easily managed by a super admin and its potential growth is practically unlimited.  

Here is our one-month roadmap agreement with the client with a step-by-step description of the work done: 

  • WordPress theme selection
  • Child theme creation and adjusting it to the developed layouts
  • RTK implementation as a basis and ads being available on inserting a shortcode
  • Creation of several page layouts to serve ads
  • Infinite scroll layout
  • Gallery layout
  • Snapchat compatible layout
  • Quizzes pages 
  • Third-party native ads integration (Taboola and Outbrain, to name a few) 

The list of technologies and third-party tools and service integration is long but just to name a few: 

  • Pagely CDN 
  • RTK – for header bidding ads 
  • Amazon A9  
  • Taboola 
  • Outbrain  
  • Ad Lightning – to filter for bad ads 
  • OneSignal – for push notifications 
  • Google Analytics (through Google Tag Manager) – for tracking and statistics 
  • Facebook Pixel – for tracking and statistics 

2. Migrate the website to an upgraded hosting account 

To ensure the success of the project, DevriX partnered with Pagely to migrate the newly developed system to an advanced hosting with an upgraded plan that is a must to ensure scalability. 

We tested several different combinations and recommended the following hosting set-up: dedicated database (M4) on top of VPS-2 plus a larger dedicated database.   

3. Improve the ways the WordPress website was monetized 

DevriX also worked on improving the user experience of the new platform. Monetization was improved by producing optimized layouts for ad serving and an infinite scroll for all archive pages. All development was done with a focus on yield management and ad stack governance on behalf of the business owners. 

Success indicators

A solution that boosts monetization 

The technical solution described above allowed for the scaling of the project in the months to follow, scaling up to 187 million page views monthly and increasing its monetization more than eight times.

Fast and stable performance 

The new build ensured:

  • Increased speed: Currently, the site’s speedby Google PageSpeed tool, is 91/100 for desktop. 
  • Ultimate stability for high traffic: the site’s traffic back in March 2019 before the rebuild was about 1.4 million user sessions while for the second half of 2019 it was scaled up to eight-plus million monthly. 

User engagement and popularity

  • Improved UX solutions to engage users: The platform has an impressively low bounce rate of 7-8%, with an industry average of 15%.
  • Growing popularity: Currently, the platform ranks about 23,000 at Alexa, on a global scale 

That proves the excellent user engagement and content satisfaction, which eventually leads to higher ROI. 

Monetization

Ad-serving optimization is a big contributor to the project. The main success of this project was achieving the initial goal to increase monetization. Within several months the platform’s monetization grew up 8.5 times. 

Wrapping up

This project is a very simple example of how quality development may dramatically improve website performance and monetization. Before and after the build the client used the same combination of a content management system – WordPress – and the RTK programmatic platform. But the business results differ almost ten times. 

Last but not least, the digital publishing platform was created in only four weeks. That would not have been possible without the prior experience of both parties with the technologies and without working in a close partnership within a long-term WordPress development retainer.  

Mario Peshev is the CEO of DevriX, a global WordPress agency serving industries from publishing to automotive and airline. He is also a core contributor to the WordPress project, an Inbound Certified marketer, and a multi-disciplined business owner with a wide scope of skills. He can be found on Twitter @no_fear_inc.

The post How a digital publisher monetized 8X more in one month with WordPress scaling strategies appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website

June 9, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO has evolved to cover a wide range of efforts that contribute to traffic generation. 
  • The easiest way to improve search visibility is to have an arsenal of tactics at your disposal for creating a top-ranking page. 
  • Improving the quality of content and backlinks are prime ranking factors that influence the placement of a page in a search result and can be done in a variety of ways. 
  • Founder of Digital Ducats Inc, shares in detail 10 different advanced SEO tactics to drive traffic by improving the quality of the content you’re publishing for users.

Learn how to drive more traffic to your website and you will have learned how to ensure the growth of your business. Driving more relevant traffic is the overarching goal of every website owner that wants to increase revenue. 

The success of your website relies on the volume of relevant traffic that you’re able to generate on a regular basis. Here are 10 advanced SEO tactics to increase the traffic to your website on a regular basis. 

1. Increase content production

Did you know websites that publish SEO optimized blog posts two-to-four times a week produce the highest number of leads and conversions? Increasing your content production allows your website to expand the range of keywords it targets and provides more answers to the questions people are searching for. 

The frequency of the content you create should align with the goal you’ve created in your overall content strategy. Neil Patel had the goal of increasing his page views to hit 100k. 

When he was publishing once a week his views were at 46k page views. After increasing his content production to twice a week he was able to hit 100k page views in under a year. 

Don’t mistake frequency as the only factor that will improve your website traffic. Learn how to write articles for marketing to build trust and accumulate backlinks.  

Aim to publish informative articles and provide value to your audience. According to Conductor, even a week after reading educational content, people are 48% more likely to buy from the company that educated them. 

Pumping out low-quality blog posts that lack quality will eventually hurt your website. Publish content with the intention of providing solutions to problems and relevant questions. 

2. Cluster your content to drive more traffic

A web page ranking is highly influenced by the topical relevance of the page to a search query. Google favours sites that demonstrate Expertise, Authority & Trust (E.A.T.). This makes establishing topic clusters using pillar page best practices ideal for driving more traffic. 

A topic cluster consists of pillared content (central keyword theme) and clustered content (articles with a narrow focus).  

The pillar pages are typically long-form and cover a broad keyword topic. Pillar pages link to clustered content to go deeper into detail about more specific topics that share the central keyword theme. 

The clustered content links back to the pillar page, lifting the authority of the pillar page which highlights its importance. Clustered content will also link to other clustered content on relevant topics. 

SEO advanced tactics: Pillar page topic cluster

This internal linking strategy strengthens the topical relevance of your pages and contributes to improved ranking, increased traffic and higher click-through rates. 

Tips for creating effective topic clusters

  • Select well-researched keywords to create the most effective topic clusters. Target long-tail keywords in your clustered content to lower competition and drive traffic that is a better match to your website.  
  • Publish 10X content that solves a specific problem to rank highly and be the best solution in a search result. 
  • Perform a content audit to make sure you use existing content to target keywords in your cluster and avoid keyword cannibalization. 

3. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets appear for just about every question that is searched on Google. Drive more traffic using pages on your site that already rank on the first page of Google.  

According to a study by Ahrefs, if your site is featured in the snippet (also referred to as position zero) it adds an additional 8.6% of the available traffic to your site. 

Identify every keyword that your site ranks for on the first page. You can use Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs or any keyword-tracking tool to get a list of your first page appearances. 

Keep in mind that with the new format, if your site is in the number one position, there is some debate on which position is more valuable in terms of traffic. 

Tips to win position zero

  • Duplicate the current snippet’s optimization. 
  • If there’s a paragraph answer, provide a paragraph answer immediately after your featured snippet heading. The sweet spot is between 40-60 words. 
  • If there’s a list featured, use the HTML for an ordered list 
  • Use title tags for the question or title that represents the snippet. 
  • Use title tags for subtitle headings that Google could possibly use as a list. 

4. Add FAQ structured data markup to performing pages 

Google introduced FAQ structured data markup that shows up as a rich result. You can use FAQ schema to increase the click-through rate that your page receives. The rich result displays each of the questions you have listed in an interactive drop-down styled format.

SEO advanced tactics: FAQ Schema

This can be useful to sites for increasing the click-through rate because of the extra space that is being taken up by the SERP result. 

You can use the following markup found on Google’s developer reference page to make your FAQs eligible to show up as a rich result.  

You can also test the markup to make sure it works: 

FAQ schema code test

Tip for adding FAQ schema 

If you’re using Yoast, it has a feature specifically for adding these to your content. It can save you the time of cutting and pasting code to your content. 

  • Target the PAA box by publishing a FAQ page: The PAA box (People Also Ask) requires similar optimization to the featured snippet. The PAA box can drive additional traffic when users click through to your site. Increase the likelihood of being featured by publishing a Frequently Asked Questions page. 
  • Research commonly asked questions: Research the questions that are appearing in the top 3 or 4 spots in the PAA box. Click on any relevant questions that you will use on your FAQ page. Every time you click a question you should get another three or four questions that are added to the bottom of the box.  
  • Optimize your answers: The first paragraph answer you provide should be roughly 50 words in length. Use the Inverted Pyramid style of writing to improve the likelihood of your answer being selected. Give people what they need to know in the first paragraph and what is nice to know afterwards

Advanced SEO tactics: Inverted pyramid

Tips for driving more traffic from the PAA box 

  • Never use one-sentence answers as responses. Make each response to a question detailed enough to be a complete answer.  
  • Provide links to relevant content within your site to promote a higher CTR. 
  • Enhance optimization with jump links at the top of the page. Not only does this improve the UX (user experience) but it also helps search engines locate specific content on your page. 

How to create a jump link

The HTML of a jump link can be implemented using the following code: 

Choose a name to use as the link ID. In this example, the link ID is “jump”. Use the following HTML code to add the link to your questions at the top of your page: 

<a id=”jump”>Question and answer you want to jump to</a> 

Next, you will need to place the code for the linked target before the beginning of your answer in order to take users directly to that spot on your page: 

The HTML code for the linked target is: <a id=”jump”></a> 

Alternatively, you can insert the answer within the code as the linked target: 

<a id=”jump”>ANSWER</a>

5. Repurpose top-performing content

Use the top-performing pages on your site to create new variations of the same content. By creating a new version of popular content you’re guaranteed to spark interest and encourage more traffic. 

Identify the pages that receive the most traffic on your site. You can do this by checking Google Analytics. On the left navigation panel, click on the following: Behaviour > Site Content > Pages. 

Analytics navigation

The report will give you a break down of the volume of page views and the time spent on the most popular pages.  

Select the period of time you want to compare pages (six months to a year).  

Make your decision based on the pages that attracted the most clicks and that people spent the most time on. 

You can take any blog article and create an infographic, video or slide presentation in order to mix things up.  

Use your new multimedia such as a video or slide presentation to post to external sites and social media to generate new streams of traffic. 

6. Guest post on healthy relevant websites

Backlinks fuel the ranking ability of your content. Good content attracts backlinks, however, if you don’t want to wait around for links to appear, you need to take action. 

Use guest posting as a strategy to build links to internal pages on your site to create more entry points for visitors to find your content (referral traffic). 

Building links from high traffic websites earn streams of targeted traffic as well as a boost in authority and credibility by linking to your content. 

The links you receive from guest posting are contextual, which is considered the best type of link. Include links to relevant content on your site within the article to provide your reader with a reference that enhances their experience.  

Tips for guest posting

  • The most ideal sites to guest post on are healthy, authoritative and have high subscribership for referral traffic. 
  • Topical relevance is key in providing the most impact on links you point to your site. Link to content that enhances the user experience. 
  • Create alliances with authors or websites to scale up your efforts. If you include a link in your content to a partner’s site, and they do the same for you-your efforts are doubled with every article you publish. 

7. Build your local presence

Drive more local traffic by brushing up on the essentials of local SEO. Ask clients for reviews, keep your NAP details consistent and your GMB profile updated and accurate. One of the most powerful tactics that will help surface your website in localized searches is acquiring local backlinks.

Apart from the common places to link from, such as structured citations (directories, review sites, profile links, etc.) aim for unstructured citations on local business blogs.  

12 Web Design Trends by Toronto Experts is an example of an infographic that was used in a local outreach campaign. This local SEO strategy combined an expert round-up with an infographic to result in a 63.64% increase in traffic to local landing pages. 

Add the fact that infographics generate 172% more backlinks than your typical blog post, and there’s a pretty convincing argument to incorporate them into your local link building strategy.   

8. Become an expert on Quora

Quora is a site that gets over 300 million unique visitors every single month. There are loads of questions that are asked on a daily basis that fall into your area of expertise. If you consistently answer a few questions a day, you can build a reputation that ultimately leads to referral traffic. 

All links on Quora are no-followed but you can still leverage the opportunity to send people to your site with high quality, in-depth answers. The idea is to go above and beyond the quality of a standard response to get your answer upvoted. 

The answer with the most upvotes will float to the top of the answers. This means when other people search the question, your answer will be the first one they see.  

If it’s really good, it should also be the last one they see. 

9. Use the Barnacle SEO method

Where you can take your traffic generation to another level is to combine Quora’s traffic with the traffic from Google search. There are literally hundreds of thousands of questions that Quora ranks for on the first page of Google.  

Not only can your answer receive thousands of views from Quora, but you’ll also get users to find your answer on Google as well.  

You can use tools like SEMRush to get a list of the keywords Quora ranks for and filter the results to search for your keywords in the top ten organic results.

SEMRush Quora keywords

Tips for getting more referral traffic from Quora 

  • When choosing questions to answer, look for the ones that already have a high number of followers. The number of followers on each question will mean they will be notified every time the question receives a new response. Choose questions with a minimum of 15 followers to guarantee a decent-sized audience as a long-term strategy. 
  • Optimize your profile by including a detailed bio with a link to your website. When users read the answers you’ve provided, they will want to know more about you. Don’t disappoint them by leaving a blank bio with no way of getting to your site. 
  • Too many self-promotional calls to action may put your account at risk. Users get suspended and even banned from Quora for leaving affiliate links or too many links that lead people off-site.  

10. Invite guest authors 

Inviting authors to write an article on your site is a great way to spice up your content with a fresh perspective. Publishing articles from guest authors contribute to increased content production, attract a new audience and backlinks. 

Increased focus on topic coverage

Your content production increases with submissions from guest authors. This can allow you to focus more on the topics your blog is covering and the keywords you’re targeting. The added depth to your content production will contribute to an increase in traffic. 

Attract a new audience

Authors who are publishing regularly share their content with their network. This brings a whole new audience to your site.

Most authors share their published work with their social network or even on their own website. This can be worth a nice addition of new visitors if you have a contributing author with a large network. 

Acquire more backlinks

It’s common practice for a regular blogger to reference a previously published article with a link. If your contributors are publishing regularly on other sites you should inevitably acquire a few links you wouldn’t have received otherwise. 

Create a “write for us” page

Create a page on your site that invites authors to contribute. Use “write for us” in the URL and title. Guest bloggers use that phrase to find sites to contribute articles.  

Define your requirements for posting on your blog to give contributors an idea of what is expected to get an article approved. 

Recruit your writers

Reach out to writers that are regularly publishing content in your niche. Whenever you read a good article on a topic that’s relevant to your site, make the connection and invite them to write for you. Most authors leave a link to their site or social media or website so it isn’t too difficult to make contact. 

Explore, experiment and do what works for you

There are so many ways to drive traffic to a site that it’s worth exploring new options and experimenting with new tactics to see what works for you. 

Whichever advanced SEO strategy you use, make sure you give it a fair shot by seeing the process the whole way through. 

Thre’s a learning curve to every new tactic but you’ll learn the most through personal, hands-on experience. Whenever something works, stick with it and scale-up. You now possess the knowledge of using 10 different strategies to drive more traffic to your website.  

Choose wisely and drive safely. 🙂

Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and the founder of Digital Ducats Inc. He can be found on Twitter @DigitalDucats.

The post 10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


30 Best Memorial Day Sales of 2020: Tech, Headphones, TVs, and More

May 25, 2020 No Comments

This long weekend, you can save on everything from headphones to an iPad.
Feed: All Latest


Facebook’s Workplace, now with 5M paying users, adds drop-in video Rooms and more

May 23, 2020 No Comments

One of the biggest technology takeaways of the last couple of months has been that organizations need confident, wide-ranging digital strategies to stay afloat, and Facebook — in its wider bid to build products to serve businesses — is taking note. In the same week that the social network doubled down on business tools for small and medium enterprises with Shops, it is also sharpening its focus on larger enterprises and how they might use its platform.

Today, Facebook announced a number of new products coming to Workplace, its enterprise-focused chat and video platform, including Workplace versions of Rooms (its Houseparty video drop-in clone), Work Groups (a feature it launched on Facebook itself last October to create informal Groups for co-workers), more tools to make video conversations more interactive and enhanced tools for its Portal video hardware.

Alongside all that, Facebook also announced the general availability of Oculus for Business, an enterprise-focused version of its virtual reality headset and platform that plays on how spatial computing is starting to get adopted in a business setting, particularly in training and collaboration projects. It said that there are now more than 400 independent software vendors contributing products to the effort.

The new products are coming at a time when Facebook is focusing how its platform can be a natural tool for consumers who are already using it, to migrate to use it more for work purposes too.

This is something that Mark Zuckerberg has also been teasing out, with his own announcements and discussion today about moving more of Facebook’s staff to remote work. “This is all about a feeling of presence,” he said during his Live video, aimed at staff but broadcast publicly. “As we use these tools for work as well and eat our own dog food, we’ll advance the technology.”

Facebook is also responding to what is going on in the wider working world. Video conferencing and other communications services for remote teams are booming, a direct result of people having to work from home to fall in line with current COVID-19 social distancing measures.

That shift has led to a huge surge of usage and interest in communications tools like Zoom, Teams and Skype (from Microsoft) and Hangouts and Meet (Google’s video offerings).

Facebook itself has been no stranger to that trend: Workplace now has 5 million paying users (and millions more using it for free) — up by 2 million to the end of March. (For some, but not direct, comparison, Slack says it has 12 million daily users and more than 119,000 paying customers, which include many more individual users; Microsoft’s Teams most recent numbers from March are 44 million daily users, but it doesn’t break out which of those are paying.)

Interestingly, that number doesn’t include April or the first part of May, arguably the peak of measures for people to shelter in place in countries outside of Asia (where many put in measures earlier).

“We will see the impact of COVID-19 a few weeks from now,” Julien Codorniou, VP for Workplace, said in an interview. He added that he doesn’t think that the softened economy, and subsequent layoffs for some large employers, will have had an impact on growth, despite Facebook’s customer list including big players from the hospitality and retail sectors (Walmart, Virgin Atlantic and Booking.com are among its many customers in those sectors).

“Usage has stayed the same,” he said. “They know they will have to go back to work at some point and they have to keep their [employee] community engaged. Workplace became mission-critical overnight.”

The new features getting launched today are interesting in part because they are not necessarily so much about expanding the Workplace ecosystem with more links to outside apps — that was one strategy that Workplace has chased in previous iterations to keep up with Slack and enhance its toolset — as it is about enhancing the Facebook-native set of features that it would like people to use. It might speak to Facebook accepting that its strongest play is to accentuate its social features rather than try to position itself as an all-in-one productivity platform (which might come naturally as a result; or might not).

Work Groups — basically smaller groups you could create on Facebook to chat directly to your colleagues outside of your wider circle of friends — was an odd one to launch outside of Workplace, but Codorniou said it was very intentional: the idea was to give a wider set of Facebook users a taste of how they might use Facebook in a work context, and to hopefully drive more usage of Facebook as a result.

The fact that the Rooms feature is now coming to Workplace itself will be one way to entice more of those users — there are now 20 million (yes, that’s right: the power of Facebook scale) — to migrate their usage to Workplace to take up other tools on offer there. For those on Workplace already, it’s another way to boost engagement on the platform.

Rooms are also an import from the consumer side of the business. Rooms was Facebook’s informal attempt to bring in a bit of the spontaneity of other apps like Houseparty (which is a part of Epic Games), but tapping into the social graph that you already have on Facebook. It’s a relatively new feature, only getting launched at the end of April, so it’s interesting to see it making such a quick appearance on Workplace. (Live took significantly longer to get imported.)

The key element of Rooms that will stand out for Workplace users is that those who are on Workplace already can use it to create links that others can use to drop in, even if they’re not a part of the user’s Workplace group or on Facebook itself. Like Zoom or the others, essentially it’s a URL link that will let anyone with a camera, a microphone, a browser and a connection link in.

The tools that Facebook is adding to enhance how Workplace users are able to work with video, meanwhile, will also potentially improve engagement on the platform, but also more simply, give it needed parity with the other tools that have proven popular — necessary if Facebook hopes to get more traction with its native tools, even as it continues to offer integrations with the likes of Zoom.

Live Producer lets the host of a video live event start polls, share their screens and see “health” metrics to gauge responses to what they are saying. Q&A follows the same idea, a Slide-like system to queue, triage and select questions without the questions being necessarily visible to everyone watching. Lastly, the addition of captions will be especially welcome in international teams when you might not always be speaking to people fluent in whatever language you’re using. It’s starting first with live captions in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and German.


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more get eye-tracking apps from Tobii

May 20, 2020 No Comments

Modern apps and services are a mixed bag when it comes to accessibility, and people with conditions that prevent them from using the usual smartphone or mouse and keyboard don’t often have good alternatives. Eye-tracking tech leader Tobii has engineered a solution with a set of popular apps that are built for navigation through gaze alone.

Working with a third-party developer that specializes in accessibility development, the company’s new suite of apps includes: Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Google Calendar, Google Translate, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, MSN and Android Messages.

These custom apps are for Tobii’s eye-tracking I-Series tablets or Windows PCs using Tobii peripherals and software.

Previously, users would generally have to use the generic web interfaces for those services, or some kind of extra layer on top of the native apps. It can work, but the buttons and menus are generally not designed for use via eye tracking, and may be small or finicky.

The new versions are still based on the web apps, but designed with gaze tracking in mind, with large, clear controls on one side and the app’s normal interface on the right. There are simple directional controls, of course, but also context and app-specific ones, like “genre” when browsing Netflix.

The company highlights one user, Delaina Parrish (in the lead image), who relies on apps like Instagram to build her Fearless Independence brand but has been limited in how easily she could use them due to her cerebral palsy. “These accessible apps have improved my daily productivity, my channels of communicating personally and for business, and my overall independence,” she said in the Tobii press release.

It’s hard to overestimate the difference between a tool or interface that’s “good enough” and able to be used by people with disabilities, and one that’s built with accessibility as a goal from the start. The new apps should be available on compatible devices now.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Five ways to get more product exposure with high powered influencers

May 19, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With marketers and brands alike losing trust in traditional advertising, alternative promotional channels need to be used and the numbers stack up in favour of influencer marketing as the solution for product exposure.
  • We’ll examine the concept of high powered influencers and case study successful influencer promotions.
  • What is influencer marketing and why should your brand rely on it?
  • To adequately take advantage of influencer marketing we’ll go through the best ways to partner with influencers and understudy partnerships that worked and why such collaborations succeeded.

How do you generate brand awareness and product exposure without traditional advertising? Influencers. 

These days trust in advertising is the lowest it has ever been, and for this reason, you need to look beyond regular promotional methods.

stats on product advertising

Source

Influencer marketing can foster goodwill towards your product. But more than that, high-powered influencers can boost traffic, engagement, and awareness. 

Because of how tough it is to get product exposure, you’d want the satisfaction of achieving the feat all by yourself, right? Not just to prove people who had doubts about your ability wrong, but for that feeling of accomplishment that you succeeded alone. It’s truly an enticing thought most entrepreneurs can’t resist. 

Dictating the game and calling the shots is great and all. But at certain stages of your business, you need a helping hand. Your reach has limits. 

By connecting forces with people who have identical goals to yours, you gain their reach and create a symbiotic relationship for mutual growth and potential audience maximization. Your brand and product’s exposure is paramount, and by engaging, interacting and intriguing your target audience alongside individuals with similar ambitions, the possibilities are endless. 

With that said, let’s proceed. 

What are high powered influencers? 

An influencer is someone who turns the heads of your target audience. A person with a social presence so powerful that they can put your product in front of thousands to millions of consumers. 

A great example is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign that used influencers videos to promote its new Impreza with the objective to pull in millennial buyers. One of such videos was Dan Graham, a new YouTube influencer with over five million subscribers using a slip and slide to leap off a 500-foot cliff.

#MeetAnOwner - High powered influencers

While there were no mentions of the facts and figures that make the car great. It simply focused on the emotional aspect of consumers, which was the thrill of adventure consumers would associate with the car as a result of the influencer promoting it.

Influencers majorly achieve such goals as Dan did via social media platforms, which is where they showcase their influence.

But you need to ensure that your chosen influencer is the right fit for your product or brand. 

You may come across a person with millions of followers, but if their goals aren’t identical to yours – for example, using a hip hop artist to recommend your new software – a boost in engagement isn’t a possibility. Defining context is the most crucial aspect you can focus on when choosing an influencer, so ensure that’s the pillar of your decisions. 

Why use an influencer? 

1. Increase in credibility

Influencers increase your brand’s credibility, which naturally extends to your product. By collaborating with people who already have credibility in the industry, you boost your own. 

Sun Peaks, a ski resort, experienced this. In order to raise awareness about their various winter attractions, they involved Instagram influencer and Canada’s leading adventure photographer Callum Snape. 

With amazing Instagram stories, images and short Facebook videos he drove over 200,000 people to Sun Peaks landing pages. Which sparked a huge interest for Sun Peaks from their target audience. 

The consumer’s conclusion was simple – “If Callum Snape loves it, then it’s got to be great. ” 

Callum Snape - High powered influencers

2. Influencers add a new perspective 

Do you know that feeling? The one where you write or talk about the same topic repeatedly, and at some point, you feel redundant. 

Repeating the same thing you’ve always said, to relay the same information from a fresh perspective, and a different sound. 

That’s tough, but if you bring in someone else to speak on the same subject, they’ll have something new to offer. People vary. Each person’s life choices and experiences give them a worldview different from yours, even if they’re in the same industry. 

FIJI water knew this, so they teamed up with influencer Danielle Bernstein and her trainer Eric Johnson.  

FIJI water example of influencer marketing

The idea was to expose their product to their target audience in a subtle way and from a fresh perspective. 

Now, in the post-Bernstein promoted her own brand Bernstein but she reminded her followers about the importance of staying hydrated and included FIJI water bottles. 

This took the attention of forced placements off FIJI water since the post was about promoting her brand. The result was that it appeared to the audience as a reflective recommendation to stay hydrated rather than a promotion of FIJI water.

With high powered influencers, you can present your product from a fresh perspective to your target audience consistently.

3. Influencers offer massive exposure 

In the business world, it’s all about giving and receiving. You scratch my back I scratch yours.  It’s a system that you can’t override because it’s powerful. 

Think about it. Why would a guest blogger pen down a post on your page?  It isn’t because they love your brand so much, they just want to help. All actions in business are for personal intentions. They do it to get access to a bigger audience. Yours.

And in exchange, they pull their audience to your doorstep, and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. With influencers, that’s what you achieve.

Tom’s of Maine, for instance, is a brand that makes toiletries using natural ingredients only. To build exposure for their products, they decided to have influencers compel their followers to make posts about Tom’s of Maine products for a chance to win a gift package. 

The strategy initiated a snowball effect that got across to 4.4 million people in three months of the campaign.

Tom's of Maine - example of high powered influencers

Some high-powered influencers have followings in millions, and a single recommendation of your product can drive an unbelievable number of leads and conversions to your offer. 

They have traffic, exposure, and influence, and you have the cash. So you make a trade, everyone’s happy.

How to find relevant, high powered influencers?

1. Google search for Instagram influencers

A simple Google search can reveal individuals influential in your niche on Instagram. Input a related keyword and pick the top posts. Find out who’s behind them, learn about them, and then reach out. 

You can use the search keyword code: site: platform.com “k followers” niche.

Googl e search for Instagram influencers

2. Buzzsumo

This is such a great tool for locating influencers. All you need to do is enter your keyword or niche related phrase in the search. 

For instance, if your product is a content marketing tool. Type in the keyword “content marketing”, and you’ll see a bunch of buzzing posts will pop up. 

Buzzsumo example

Look up the persons behind the posts. Check out their social media profiles and followership. If they match up with the influencer type you’re gunning for, reach out to them. 

Best ways to partner with high powered influencers 

1. Run a referral program

Remember when we mentioned that the business world is all about mutual benefits? Well, referral programs are a perfect demonstration of that principle. 

During Airbnb’s expansion to Asia for example, a single influencer’s referrals resulted in 5000 signups and hundreds of bookings in the campaign’s first month.  

 

Offer influencers a nice payout, discount or relevant product for them throwing you a few hundred thousand customers isn’t a bad idea. Influencers invested an immense amount of time and effort into gaining those followers and desire to receive rewards for it. 

There are a bunch of tools for automating your referral program, you just need to set and forget. You can even find quality influencers via these tools as they reveal people that are part of your program and are driving the highest traffic to your brand. 

A referral program offers influencers a solid incentive to link people to your brand. The importance of this is even though a top influencer had an excellent experience with your product, without an active nudge they’d most likely not reference your product. And you may never know that someone with such an influence loves your brand. 

2. Gift them

Seen an influencer you like? Perhaps you’ve found that they have a similar passion and you’re convinced they’ll be all in with your brand or product. 

By sending them a product gift, they can test out your product and create exposure by sharing it with their followers. It’d be a good approach to drop them a message before sending over your product to them, as they may not be willing to tell the world about your generosity as you think without a nudge. 

Here’s a great example of what the influencer’s product exposure post would look like: 

Example post of high powered influencers

3. Freebies giveaways contest

The idea behind this is like giving gifts, but instead of giving your product to the blogger themselves with the aim of them promoting it, the blogger runs a contest with your product targeted at the audience. 

It’s a lot more direct in terms of the market of approach. As the influencer’s audience fights for an opportunity to win your product, it spurs a desire to have your offer before they’ve even gotten it. That’s a priceless effect to have on potential customers. 

Check this example out:

Freebies give away contest

Keep in mind that this method works great with influencers who own a blog, as the stats show that 90% of bloggers love to engage their audience in contests. So it might be easier getting a blogger to agree to this method. 

4. Run influencer events

There’s no greater way to empower and educate your Influencer about your product than to host an event that allows you to interact with them in-person.  

Sure you can send the influencer a box of your products and request that they feature it in their subsequent post. But imagine the depth of insight and content they could come up with if you invited them to where you make the magic happen.  

For example, if you run a makeup brand, you can invite beauty/makeup influencers to an event where you show them how everything comes together. You allow them to get their hands involved in the making procedures and walk them through the entire process. 

This is what ecommerce mattress brand Casper did. They got in touch with various Canine influencers that had a combined following of 3.5 million dog lovers to promote their new product for dogs. 

Casper's Pupperazzi campaign

Source 

The influencers were invited to a lunch party in New York, with “pupperazzi”, a green carpet and lots of food. The results were phenomenal. Different positive perspectives of their product at a go and 3.5 million people reached with ease.

You may have to include travel expenses into your budget, depending on your brand’s location. But the result is giving the influencer the ability to produce brilliant imagery that represents everything good about your product.  

It allows the influencer to communicate your product to the audience in the most elaborate way possible. 

5. Social media posts

Instagram sits high on this approach and is an excellent place to locate influencers to partner with. But ensure that you find users that not only have large followings but engagements proportionate to their follower size. The danger signs should go off if you come across an account with 300,000 followers, but only 12 likes per post. 

When you identify the best influencer for you, create a campaign that delivers multiple posts that appeal to various aspects of your target audience. With that approach, one post is bound to stick. You can ask them to try out your product and take a video or snapshot showing the features of your product. 

6. Blogger review

If done right, your influencer’s blog posts can rank on the top search results. Blog posts are an excellent way to boost product exposure. 

Partner with powerful influential bloggers known for their credibility and trustworthiness. You could send them a free product or pay them in exchange for crafting a blog post with an honest review of your offer.  

For example, if a web user is searching for “golf gloves” on Google, your influencers post could show up on the search results and as they visit the page, you’ve got a limitless flow of potential leads

Conclusion 

Influencer marketing is powerful in driving product exposure. You just need to find the right influencers and build a solid relationship with them. Try out various methods, track your performance, and determine the right approach for your brand. 

Raul Galera is the Partner Manager at ReferralCandy, an app that helps ecommerce stores run customer referral programs, boosting their word-of-mouth sales.

The post Five ways to get more product exposure with high powered influencers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Plastiq raises $75M to help small businesses use credit cards more

March 26, 2020 No Comments

When Eliot Buchanan tried to use his credit card to pay his Harvard tuition bill, the payment was rejected because the university said it doesn’t accept credit. Realizing the same problem exists for thousands of different transactions like board, rent and vendor payments, he launched Plastiq. Plastiq helps people use credit cards to pay, or get paid, for anything

Plastiq today announced that it has raised $ 75 million in venture capital in a Series D round led by B Capital Group. Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, Accomplice and Top Tier Capital Partners also participated in the round. The round brings the company’s total known venture capital raised to more than $ 140 million.

To use Plastiq, users enter their credit card information on Plastiq’s platform. In return, Plastiq will charge you a 2.5% fee and get your bills paid. While Plastiq was started with consumers in mind, SMBs have now accounted for 90% of the revenue, according to Buchanan. The new financing round will invest in building out features to give SMBs faster services around payments and processing. 

Plastiq provides a way for SMBs and consumers to pay their bills and make sure they have reliable cash flow. For example, restaurants sometimes have a drop in revenue due to seasonality or, as we’re experiencing now with COVID-19, pandemic lockdowns. Or tourism companies for cities that are struggling to attract visitors. Those companies still need cash flow, and using Plastiq’s service, they can use credit cards to pay suppliers even in an off season. 

There is no shortage of competition from other companies also trying to solve pain points in small-business cash flow. According to Buchanan, Plastiq’s biggest competitors are traditional lenders, as well as companies like Kabbage and Fundbox. Similar claims could be made about Brex, which offers a credit card for startups to access capital faster. 

Kabbage provides funding to SMBs through automated business loans. The SoftBank-backed company landed $ 200 million in a revolving credit line back in July, fresh off of landing strong partnerships with banks and giants like Alibaba to access more customers. Kabbage loans out roughly $ 2-3 billion to SMBs every year. 

Plastiq, according to its release, is also on track to make more than $ 2 billion in transactions. But unlike Kabagge, Plastiq doesn’t issue loans or credit, it just unlocks a payment opportunity.

“SMBs don’t need to be burdened with additional debt or additional loans,” Buchanan said. “So rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, let’s use a behavior they have already earned.” 

Buchanan would not disclose Plastiq’s current valuation or revenue, but he did say that it’s not too far away from $ 100 million in revenue run rate. The company’s revenue has grown 150% from 2018 to 2019. 

The company also noted that it has surpassed “well over 1 million users,” up 150% in unique new users from 2018 to 2019.

In terms of profitability, Buchanan said that “we could be profitable if we wanted to be,” noting that Plastiq’s revenue and margins could lead them toward profitability if they wanted to focus less on growth. But he added they don’t plan to “slow down” the growth engine any time soon — especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because the Series D round closed at the end of 2019, Buchanan said the pandemic did not impact the deal. However, the company had planned to time the announcement with tax season. Now, as small businesses struggle to secure capital and stay afloat due to lockdowns across the country, Plastiq’s new raise feels more fitting. 

“Our customers are more thankful for solutions like ours as traditional sources of lending are drying up and not as easy to access” Buchanan said. “Hopefully, we can measure how many businesses make it through this because of us.” 

The 140-person company is currently hiring across product and engineering roles.


Startups – TechCrunch


Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020

March 4, 2020 No Comments

As we enter 2020, it’s time to leave behind old marketing strategies and adopt new ones. After all, there is a lot of innovation happening. From AI in customer service to influencers taking over social media, a lot has changed in the last year. Digital marketing campaigns now sprawl across different channels, tools, and processes.

While some strategies might remain partially the same, they will get a facelift in 2020. If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level in 2020, we’ve got some tips for you.

Here are some of the best ways to get more out of your marketing campaigns this year:

1. Create more video content

Videos have transformed the content marketing landscape. They have changed the way brands promote their products and create content. And video content is also becoming more popular. Wondering why?

Because people like watching videos.

In fact, 72% of people said that they would like to watch videos to learn about a product or service.

If you haven’t been using video content, you’re losing out on a lot of opportunities to grow your brand. With the evolution of social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, the video content game has changed dramatically. Video content is a versatile tool to increase brand awareness and drive engagement.

So, what kind of videos can brands create for promotion?

There are many different options — educational videos, onboarding videos, meet-the-team videos, customer journey videos, event videos, and more.

Looking for inspiration?

Take a look at the Reebok video marketing campaign

They created a video for their #HonourYourDays campaign which shows a woman’s relationship with running in reverse mentioning that the average human life is about 25,915 days.

While it doesn’t directly promote their products, it does highlight the importance of fitness. It’s a great way to spread awareness without being too promotional.

Source: YouTube

2. Use chatbots to enhance customer experience

With the help of intelligent chatbots, you can also leverage customer data. These virtual assistants are capable of collecting data from customer interactions and giving you insights into how your brand can improve.

For example, if customers are complaining about a specific product, you can dive deep into the issue and understand the problem on a granular level.

Providing a great customer experience can help brands increase lead generation and revenue. What’s more, it can also help you improve your customer experience and lower your customer acquisition cost.

One of the biggest benefits of customer service chatbots is that they are available 24×7 and give quick responses to queries.

Chatbots are also great tools for helping customers keep track of their purchases.

Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger

For example, Mastercard’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger allows its users to ask specific questions. On it, a user can ask how much they’ve spent on food or on Uber.

For each user, the answer is personalized based on their bank statement. Users can also send submit questions to ask for more information about a particular product.

Mastercard's Facebook Messenger chatbot used for digital marketing

Image via Mastercard

3. Focus on personalization

Most content marketers believe that when a prospect customer engages with their brand and makes a purchase, it’s a win.

But what’s next?

A customer journey starts right from when a target customer engages with your brand and it continues through conversion. But it also includes providing customer support and elevating their buyers’ journey to turn them into cheerleaders of your brand.

So, it is essential to reach out to your audience and provide valuable services that are not solely revenue-centric. 76% of consumers believe that it’s easy to switch to a different brand to find an experience that will match their expectations.

So, how can you provide a memorable experience to your customers?

That’s where personalization comes into play. Not only can it improve the customer experience you deliver, but it can also boost your sales.

Providing a personalized experience can significantly impact your relationships with your customers. So, how can you create a more personalized experience for your customers?

Tools like Google Analytics and Cortex can help you get insights into your audience’s behavior. By using that data, you can find out what kind of content your audience is looking for and then optimize your content creation strategy accordingly.

4. Leverage influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown to become a whopping five to ten billion-dollar industry. It has helped marketers reach their target audiences, generate brand awareness, get more leads, and boost sales.

Collaborating with social media influencers has become a great way for brands to promote their products and services. When an influencer endorses your brand or reviews your product, it can get you a lot of publicity.

How?

Take a leaf from Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

To create buzz about their brand, they send their watches to multiple influencers. They encourage those influencers to create posts with the hashtag #DanielWellington to help promote their products.

Daniel Wellington’s digital marketing strategy

Source: Instagram

Another example of great influencer marketing is Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign

In this campaign, the company reached out to influencers from diverse backgrounds. One of the biggest influencers in their campaign was Devin Graham (@devinsupertramp) with over five million YouTube subscribers at the time. He is known for his daredevilry.

By partnering with Devin, Subaru was able to reach out to outdoor adventure junkies. Graham’s sponsored video with Subaru gained around 1.3 million views and 1.1k comments.

Source: YouTube

5. Automate your email marketing campaigns

About 73% of marketers consider email marketing to be crucial to their company’s success.

But it can be a time-consuming strategy. If you’re short on time, there is a way out – automate your email marketing campaigns. Not only can it help you save a ton of time, but it can also help you create more personalized content.

With this strategy, you can ensure that your content is delivered to your customers at the right times.

For instance, if a customer has abandoned their cart, you can send them a reminder to complete the transaction.

Here’s an example of how American technology company, FiftyThree, notifies their customers about abandoned carts with an appealing message.

example of automating email marketing campaigns

Source: Shopify

Marketers often use these emails to encourage their customers to take another step or get closer to a purchase.

Emails also provide you with an opportunity to upsell your products.

For example, an email that includes a section containing products similar to a user’s previous purchases can trigger their engagement.

Amazon's example of using product suggestions via email marketing

Source: Smartrmail

Email automation saves the time and efforts that are otherwise invested into following up with each action of a user. It also reduces the potential for errors such as hitting the send button prematurely when the user might not be ready.

6. Build a community

Building a community around your brand will help you improve your brand awareness, drive higher engagement, and organically boost your SEO.

When users create and share content around your brand, you are likely to get noticed by search engines. Brand mentions, post shares, comments, and likes — all of these help your cause.

Further, having a community of followers also helps strengthen your branding.

When you share valuable content that helps your target audience or aligns with their interests, they tend to associate more with your brand and become loyal customers.

Some companies even have brand ambassadors who regularly create content for them in return for benefits such as free products, invites to product launches or other events.

A great example of a community is GoPro, an action camera company that has solidified its position in the market by building a strong community of sports enthusiasts, photographers, and adventurers across the world.

The brand builds personal relationships with their customers while maintaining a focus on its target audience of sports enthusiasts.

example of GoPro's digital marketing campaign

Source: Instagram

Conclusion

Videos, chatbots, influencer marketing, personalization, and more — there is a lot of innovation happening in the digital marketing space. Anyone, from big brands to mom-and-pop stores, can use these strategies to grow their business. What are you waiting for? It’s time to incorporate these strategies into your marketing plan for 2020.

Have you used any of these strategies before? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments section.

Shane Barker is a Digital Strategist, Brand and Influencer Consultant. He can be found on Twitter @shane_barker.

The post Six great ways to get more out of your digital marketing campaigns in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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WireGuard Gives Linux a Faster, More Secure VPN

March 2, 2020 No Comments

The virtual private network software from security researcher Jason Donenfeld wins fans with its simplicity and ease of auditing.
Feed: All Latest


This Week in Apps: YouTube TV cancels Apple’s rev share, more bad news for mobile voting, WhatsApp hits 2B users

February 16, 2020 No Comments

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s recently released “State of Mobile” annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $ 544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week, we look at YouTube TV’s decision to stop revenue-sharing with Apple, another mobile voting app with serious flaws, new Apple launches in coding and AR, Microsoft’s game-streaming service Project xCloud arrival on iOS and other notable app news and trends, including WhatsApp’s big 2 billion user milestone, and more.

Headlines

YouTube TV fights back against Apple’s cut of in-app subscription revenue

This week, YouTube emailed customers subscribed to its YouTube TV service by way of Apple’s in-app purchases to let them know that this subscription offering will be discontinued starting on March 13, 2020. Current subscribers will have their subscription canceled automatically on their billing date after March 13, the letter said.

This is a pretty severe way for Google to end its subscription revenue-sharing with Apple, however. Most companies that decide to shut off in-app subscriptions still continue to honor those from existing subscribers — they just stop selling to new customers. In YouTube TV’s case, it’s actually ending its relationship with all its customers on Apple devices with the hope they’ll return and resubscribe. That’s quite a risk, given that YouTube TV is not the only streaming TV service out there, and customers getting their subscription canceled may take this opportunity to shop around. The timing is also poorly thought-out, given that YouTube TV just picked up new subs following Sony’s PlayStation Vue shutdown — and now it’s kicking them out.

The move makes Google the latest company to rebel against Apple’s 30% cut of all in-app payments (which drops to 15% in year two). A growing number of app publishers are refusing to share a cut of their revenue with Apple — even saying that Apple’s decision to charge this fee is anti-competitive. For example, Spotify believes Apple’s fee makes it more difficult to compete with Apple’s built-in music service, and has raised the issue repeatedly to regulators. Netflix also stopped paying the “Apple tax” over a year ago.

Mobile voting app Voatz, used by several states, was filled with security flaws

Above: Voatz, via The NYT

Last week, we looked at how a smartphone app meant to tabulate votes from the caucuses really screwed things up in Iowa. This week, MIT researchers took a look at mobile voting app Voatz, which has been used to tally votes for federal elections in parts of West Virginia, Oregon, Utah and Washington as part of various mobile voting pilot programs. The researchers found the app was riddled with security flaws that would let attackers monitor votes or even change ballots or block them without users’ knowledge. Attackers could also create a tainted paper trail, making a reliable audit impossible — despite Voatz’s promise of using blockchain technology to increase security. One security expert, speaking to VICE, called the app “sloppy” and filled with “elementary” mistakes.

Coming on the heels of the Iowa caucus mobile voting disaster, this latest news delivers another huge blow to the promise of mobile voting in the U.S.

Mobile – TechCrunch