Archive for the ‘answer’ tag
From Yahoo! to Facebook to Quora, social sites have long been struggling to leverage the Q&A format successfully. Today Klout officially enters the ‘social answers’ space with a unique proposition, integration with Bing search — outside of the social search bar and into a big…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
In the world of email marketing, several questions are repeatedly asked by those who strive to improve their email campaigns. Collectively they can be lumped together as pertaining to the elusive pursuit of best practices. And if you are prone to jumping to conclusions, you probably think the two words to which I refer in the title are “best practices,” but you’d be wrong. Before I reveal the two most important words in email marketing, let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions concerning best practices:
- What day of the week is the best for launching campaigns?
- What time of day is best for launching campaigns?
- What kind of tests should are the most important to conduct?
- When should a subscriber be labeled “inactive”?
- Is it ok to continue to mail to inactive subscribers?
- How should email campaigns be optimized for mobile devices?
- How important are welcome campaigns?
- What type of content should be dynamically generated?
True believers in best practices are likely to believe that there is a single, definitive answer to each of the questions posed above, and the many more questions not appearing here. According to BusinessDictionary.com, a best practice is, “A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.”
However there is a big of problem with this right out of the gate. If there really were definitive answers to every question involving email, and everyone practiced them, then no one would gain strategic advantage over his or her competition. To gain that advantage one would need to develop better than best practices. These, in turn, would become the new best practices. The result? All commercial email would hit consumer’s mailboxes on the same day and time. Every marketer would test the same thing at the same time. All subscribers would be labeled inactive at the same point in time. You get the idea.
Does this mean there are no immutable truths about email marketing? Of course not:
- New subscribers to your email are more likely to be engaged with you than older subscribers (use that to your advantage)
- Opens and clicks do not represent an accurate measurement of consumer engagement with an email (you’ve probably heard me say this before)
- Upselling and cross-selling via transactional emails it a great way to increase your ROI (lucky strike extra, it is also likely to irk your IT team)
I could go on, but that’s not the point of this article. So it’s time I got to the point. In my opinion, the two most important words in email marketing are “it depends.” It depends?! I know, that’s kind of a let down from the buildup to this point. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t the most important words.
Remember what I said about best practices earlier? If everybody followed best practices, no one would gain a competitive advantage. It all boils down to the fact that there if there is no definitive answer as to which is the best day to launch a campaign, then the best way to start answering that question is to respond “it depends,” because — at that moment — you are now beginning to solve a particular marketer’s unique marketing challenges. For that rather simple sounding question there are many data points to consider:
- It depends upon your product or service category
- It depends on what you are offering at that point in time
- It depends on who you are targeting
- It depends upon the complexity of the desired transaction
- It depends upon the duration of the offer
There are other possible “it depends;” this is just a partial list. And while it might seem very attractive to let the people like me who write about this stuff answer the question for you in a column, it will be much better in the long run for you to do the hard work of thinking through the “it depends,” and then testing some assumptions.
Let’s look at another question, “when should a subscriber be labeled inactive?” There are people like me who would tell you “only if that email address is no longer valid,” but we’re viewed as representing the extreme. For the rest of you, however, once again there are many data points to consider:
- It depends how long they’ve been in the database
- It depends on your ability to attribute offline activity to email campaigns
- It depends on the frequency of purchase of your product or service
- It depends upon your current reputation with the ISPs
I’ve noted in the past that clients of mine saw revenue around campaigns drop when they excluded those they deemed inactive from a mailing. So you want to do more than just follow best practices when addressing this question — you want to get it right!
It’s important to recognize that answering “it depends” to an important email marketing question is an absolute cop-out if you don’t then proceed to determine what the answer does depend upon. It’s one thing for a panelist at a conference to respond “it depends” and leave it at that. It’s an entirely different story if the strategists on your team or at your marketing partner leave it at that. It’s their job to provide you with the guidance and testing plan to arrive at the optimum solution for your particular needs.
The problem has always been that because email marketing is so inexpensive, it is really easy to get away with programs that don’t meet their full potential. With CPMs as low as they are, “good” results are seen as “good enough.” If CPMs were higher, there’d be greater pressure to maximize results. Of course it takes a lot of hard work to optimize your program across the board — and then to successfully integrate that program into your social and mobile channels. To paraphrase from something I read years ago, “Email marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s a lot harder!” But the hard work will always pay you dividends.
Chris Marriot is a data-driven digital marketing consultant.
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The site will be Huffington Post’s answer to news networks like CNN — but with a major twist. Unlike the major news networks, HuffPost Live was created around viewer engagement. This is clear from the site’s design, which prominently features options for users to submit comments, tweets, and video.
HuffPost Live will also prominently feature viewers in its programming, offering them the ability to talk back to hosts and guest in real-time.
In short, it’s network news made created with the Internet generation in mind.
HuffPost Live will initially stream content 12 hours a day, five days a week, though Huffington promises that the site will offer 16 hours of daily content as soon as next year. Eventually, the operation hopes to broadcast twenty-four hours a day — though that day is probably a long way off.
But while the site hopes to herald the next generation of video news, its backend struggled to keep up. Video streaming was spotty during the site’s introductory broadcast, oftentimes dropping out multiple times per minute. Hopefully, these sorts of performance issues get ironed out as time goes on.
Filed under: media
Will Marissa Mayer’s appointment as Yahoo’s new president and CEO impact your long-term local marketing plan? The answer may very well be yes. As Google Employee No. 20, Mayer played an influential role in Google search and launched 100 well-known features and products during her tenure, ranging…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Editor’s note: Jay Jamison is a Partner at BlueRun Ventures where he focuses on early stage mobile and consumer opportunities. You can read more of his analysis on startups and Silicon Valley at his blog jayjamison.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @jay_jamison.
The highest flying of internet high-flyers, Facebook and Zynga, were laid low last week in public markets on weaker than expected guidance on their paths forward. What a difference public market scrutiny and forward-looking forecasts can make. Given the size, scope and importance of these two companies to the broader technology ecosystem, it’s worth analyzing what these reports might mean for industry trends.
According to Wall Street analysts, Zynga had a “dreadful” Q2 report. Several negatives converged to deliver an egg, reported the New York Times:
“A critical new game, the Ville, was delayed. Another new game, Mafia Wars II, just was not very good, executives conceded. The heavily hyped Draw Something, acquired in March, proved more fad than enduring classic. Some old standbys also lost some appeal.”
Zynga’s problems, however, could be characterized as broader than just a weak quarter. Financial analyst, Richard Greenfield of BTIG painted Zynga’s issues as more far-reaching, saying, “Right now, everything is going wrong for Zynga. In a rapidly changing Internet landscape that is moving to mobile, it’s very hard to have confidence these issues are temporary.”
Things weren’t much better for Facebook, which was reporting its earnings to the public for the first time. Given the symbiotic partnership between Zynga and Facebook, anyone paying attention knew Zynga’s weak results spelled trouble for Facebook. And as expected, Wall Street found Facebook’s earnings disappointing.
In coverage, three key themes of concern arose out of Facebook’s report. First, user growth is slowing. This is undeniably true: the growth of two key user metrics, Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU), is slowing. It’s unclear whether this is a useful concern. If the entire Western world is using Facebook, then Facebook probably is not going to showcase much growth in DAU or MAU until it cracks China. The land has been grabbed.
A second growth concern is revenue. Can Facebook convert all its social engagement into monetization? Facebook clearly has more to prove, but it’s a strong start. With a topline of $1.2B for Q2, Facebook beat analyst estimates on revenue. Its 32% Q2 revenue growth was equal to its year-over-year growth in DAUs. This revenue growth map to its DAU growth is where concern centers. On the one hand, having revenue growth equal to DAU growth shows that on a per-user basis, Facebook is monetizing effectively. At the same time, if DAU growth continues to slow, as it inevitably will, the question will be how Facebook can continue to grow it’s topline faster than DAU growth. The answer is not yet clear. Expect much hand-wringing here around the answer to this question.
These concerns around growth and revenue point to the third and most significant concern around Facebook (and Zynga): MOBILE. While we’ve known that mobile is the fastest growing technology wave the world has ever seen, it’s been a challenge to frame truly how important, impactful, and disruptive the mobile wave is. Last week’s reports from Zynga and Facebook make crystal clear the implications of mobile—two leading innovators and upstarts that basically created and drove the social computing wave are facing questions about their future earning streams on the basis of their execution on mobile.
So the broader story of what’s happening in technology is this: Mobile is what’s happening. Here’s one shorthand framework for the technology waves over the last roughly 20 years. Web 1.0 was about web connectivity, the giants of that epoch catalyzed by Netscape were companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Google. Web 2.0 was social, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, Twitter, and newcomer Quora as the foundational creators of the web’s ‘social layer.’ The power and impact of the social layer is difficult to overstate—existing industries and corporate giants (to say nothing of several repressive governmental regimes) have faced huge disruption on the basis of these companies.
Now we’re entering Web 3.0, which is mobile, and we are in the thick of it. The Mobile Web 3.0 has elements that build upon prior eras, but it also has several distinct and different elements from what’s come before. Some of these distinct elements of the Mobile Web 3.0 era include:
- ubiquitous (always connected, always with you)
- location aware
- tailored, smaller screen
- high quality camera and audio
These elements have two key implications for today’s leaders and tomorrow’s disrupters.
Let’s Get Small: Designing for Mobile First.The tailored, smaller screens of the Mobile Web offer new entrants the opportunity to deliver value and experience that differentiates from the existing leaders. Most leading tech companies today, with the exception of Instagram, were created with a PC web-first approach. Designing and building for the PC-centric web services packed increasing amounts of information onto ever growing screen sizes. Take a look at Facebook on your computer’s browser—it’s like a Bloomberg terminal full of fun—birthdates, events, status updates, advertisements, chatting. It’s a cornucopia of information laid out all around the screen.
For any company whose heritage is designing for the PC web, mobile is a big challenge in getting small. Compress a PC-web experience down onto a smartphone screen doesn’t work all that well. You may get the users—Facebook certainly has—but it is easy to overwhelm a user with an experience that packs in too much information into too small a screen size.
The challenge of mobile offers new entrants focused on a mobile-first strategy an opportunity to craft and tailor a user experience that is easier to use and enjoy on mobile. Instagram is the poster child example with its mobile-only, photo-centric social service. Rather than pack more information onto a mobile screen, for Instagram a picture was worth a thousand words (and a billion dollars). Instagram’s mobile-first, photo-sharing service created an alternative social network, and has since grown to over 80M users and its billion dollar acquisition by Facebook. Other mobile-first social services are following—Foursquare, Path, Foodspotting, Banjo, Pulse, and others—and each has an opportunity, through an approach that focuses on getting small to build a new audience and brand that stand out from the PC-web-based incumbents.
Getting Real: Mobile Will Drive MoreReal-World Commerce
Whether they’re a newer mobile-centric startup like a Path or an existing giant like Facebook, the key will be monetizing n a mobile world. Monetizing in mobile will likely evolve in new directions relative to what we’ve seen in the PC-web. Specifically: monetizing in Mobile is about getting even more real and concrete in the value delivered to customers.
Here’s why. In Web 1.0, Google achieved supernova momentum when it introduced its Cost-Per-Click ad model. With a dominatingly high quality search engine for users, Google gained share on search, and in effect knew what people were interested in. This was a break-through for advertisers in terms of measurability. Advertisers could escape the Mad Men world of spending on TV, print, OOH, and banner ads with their fuzzy efficacy and measurability. With Google, advertisers now could place ads in front of people searching on relevant terms. A huge step in terms of measurability, Google’s model had the added benefit of only charging when a user clicked on a specific ad. All combined to deliver a vastly more measurable and as such valuable approach to spending ad dollars.
Web 2.0 ushered in the social wave. Facebook now is showing ads of stuff we might like based on the interests we’ve indicated or based on referrals from friends. This embraces and extends much of the Google model, but provides potentially even more. Facebook knows what we like day to day (Graf Ice Skates, Breaking Bad, Crossfit for me), and what our friends like. Add to this the tremendously detailed demographic data that its users have willingly provided, and the opportunities for advertisers are pretty profound. While Facebook will continue to optimize its appraoch to ads, there should be little question that its current core business of ads is going to continue to grow.
With Mobile Web 3.0, the user experience opens the door for another level of innovation in advertising and promotion. Now technology services have the ability to leverage not just the social graph data from Facebook, but even more real-time / real-world information. Your current location, weather, traffic, local merchants other friends nearby, how often you’ve been to this specific store or location are available (or will be soon). And this in turn provides a whole new level of commerce opportunities for potential advertisers. Mobile brings advertisers and users closer to being able to close a transaction. It’s real-world commerce. Which leads to the question: Why pay for a click when you can get an actual customer? That’s the promise of mobile for advertisers, brands and merchants. The opportunity is huge: both in pure dollar size opportunity and for disruption. The internet advertising models of selling clicks to advertisers will need to evolve.
A few companies to watch in this new world are Waze, ShopKick and Foodspotting, to name just a few. Waze, the social mapping and GPS service, provides free turn-by-turn directions with real-time traffic information and routing to over 20m users. With users depending on Waze to help them find the fastest and least congested routes, Waze now shows offers for the cheapest gas prices along the way. Real value for users translates to real commerce for merchants.
ShopKick is a mobile app that gamifies retail shopping. Users who open ShopKick gain rewards for different tasks or quests they complete on ShopKick. What ShopKick is starting to show retailers is that ShopKick tend to spend more money when they’re in store, because of the interaction and engagement the ShopKick app can drive while the user is at the point of purchase. Again, real value for users leads to real commerce for merchants.
Open Foodspotting, a visual guide to what’s interesting to eat near you, and the app will locate where you are and show you pictures of the best food at restaurants nearby. Over 2m dishes have been submitted to Foodspotting at over half a million restaurants in the US alone. Users can express that they love certain restaurants and dishes. As it has grown its community, Foodspotting can now approach restaurants with promotional offerings for people who are nearby right now, who are fans of their type of food. Real value for users, real commerce for merchants.
So Mobile Web 3.0 is super exciting. But a word of caution: delivering value and driving monetization in the Mobile Web 3.0 era is hard. The answer will not be for web-first properties to scrunch their ad platforms onto mobile. Monetization via mobile advertising will require offerings that do more to close the loop of commerce. Advertisers increasingly will ask of mobile: why buy a click when what I want is a paying customer or user? The services with the best offers here will be big winners in this Mobile Web 3.0.
This guest post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably come across advice to blog every day.
Perhaps you feel that you must blog every day—and you’re reluctant to even start your blog because you know you don’t have that much time.
Or maybe you’re already blogging, and doing your best to get out a post every single day—but you don’t seem to get many comments or tweets.
The good news is that you almost certainly don’t need to blog every day. In fact, you may well find that posting just a couple of times a week works better for you.
But before you dismiss posting daily altogether, here’s why it could be a good idea.
Why posting every day might work for you
Some bloggers do best when they’re in a steady routine—and you might be one of them. If you find that posting once or twice a week quickly ends up as posting once or twice a month, then you might actually find it easier to post every day. That way, you can build a strong writing habit.
Another reason for posting daily is if you’re writing a news-focused blog in a fast-moving niche. One weekly post just isn’t going to work if you want to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening.
There are also some SEO benefits to quickly building up a lot of posts on your site: all else being equal, the more pages you have, the more opportunities a reader has to find you through search engines. (Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that in practice—one high-ranking post will generally bring you much more traffic than five so-so ones.)
If you’re going to post every day:
- Keep your posts short and to the point.
- Plan ahead, so you don’t end up publishing sub-standard content when you’re in a rush.
- Vary your post types: try video posts, or image-heavy ones, for instance.
Why one, two or three posts per week is usually better
Over the past couple of years, there’s been a shift in the blogging world. More and more prominent bloggers-on-blogging are moving away from daily posting—and reassuring their readers that you don’t have to post every day in order to be successful.
Five years ago, there weren’t so many “pro”-style blogs around, and readers were eager for content. Today, with a wealth of blogs to choose from, readers quickly get burnt out.
I once surveyed readers here on ProBlogger about the reasons they unsubscribed from RSS feeds, and the number one answer was “posting too much.” Respondents expressed that they developed “burnout” and would unsubscribe if a blog became too “noisy.” —Darren Rowse, You MUST Post Every Day on Your Blog [Misconceptions New Bloggers Have #2]
As a reader, I much prefer blogs that post once a week or even once every two weeks—but always say something genuinely useful—than blogs that post every day just for the sake of it. If you look at the blogs you read in depth versus the ones you skim, you’ll probably realize that you feel the same way.
As a blogger, posting once or twice a week lets me write in-depth, carefully constructed posts—ones that are more likely to get links and tweets. I also get more comments per post this way, and have the time to engage with readers over several days of commenting.
If you’re only going to post twice a week:
- Look at which content on your blog is most popular, so you can make every single post a successful one.
- Experiment with longer posts, perhaps 1,000+ words.
- Focus on evergreen content, so that each post will stay relevant for years.
Finding your perfect blogging routine
As bloggers, we all have different skills, personalities, and constraints on our time and energy. Don’t force yourself to stick to someone else’s blogging routine—it won’t necessarily work well for you.
Your perfect blogging routine might be one post a week, or one post a day. It might involve writing posts when you’re feeling inspired, or writing posts to a set schedule. You might use a content calendar to help you plan ahead with all or some of your content—or you might have differently themed posts on certain days of the week or month.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to blogging, and what’s important is that you find a routine that you can stick to over the long term—not one that leaves you burnt out after a few weeks.
Don’t worry that readers will get upset if you change your posting frequency. I’ve chopped and changed on different blogs—and I’ve never had a reader complain that they wanted five posts a week, not three, or that they wanted my posts to be on Mondays and Thursdays, not Tuesdays and Fridays.
When you’re experimenting with your blogging routine:
- Don’t change things too abruptly: try going from five posts per week to three posts per week, for instance.
- Consider surveying your readers to find out whether they’d like more or fewer posts.
- Experiment with writing posts ahead of time, or with creating a content calendar.
Blogging shouldn’t be a chore: if posting daily isn’t working out for you, it’s probably not working well for your readers either. Today, take a look at your blogging routine and see whether you want to make any changes—and leave a comment below to let us know what you decide.
Ali Luke will be leading day-long blogging courses in London from September 2012. If you’d like to learn more about blogging, with hands-on exercises and one-to-one support as part of a small group, book your place today. (Numbers limited to 8 people per session.)
Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
As you probably know smartphones and other mobile devices are revolutionizing the way we work, interact with other people and consume information. Just to give you an idea, this semester the number of mobile Internet users surpassed the number of Desktop Internet users in India.
What this means is that we all need to taking the mobile aspect into consideration, whether you are an individual blogger or a manager of a large corporation.
Thinking about that I decided to run a little poll. The goal is to understand what kind of mobile traffic our readers are seeing on their websites (you can discover this on Google Analytics, on the “Devices” section if I am not wrong).
If you want to expand your answer, including your niche, whether or not you have a mobile version of your site and so on feel free to drop a comment.
I’ll publish the results next week.
Original Post: Poll: What Percentage of Your Visitors Are Mobile?
Blizzard’s gaming network, Battle.net, was hacked and user’s email accounts were accessed on Thursday evening. The news was reported by Blizzard in a blog post, and while no financial information was accessed, users are being urged to change their passwords. Other information was accessed as well, including “ryptographically scrambled versions of passwords (not actual passwords), the answer to a personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Divorce, alcoholism, and near worthless stock are the rewards for 12 hour days prepping for a game launch at Zynga, according to one anonymous Quora user who worked there after their company was bought by the gaming giant.
The answer was called “butthurt” by one responder. “Sorry you’re not a millionaire after a year of work on a failed product” said another. Indeed it seems a bit overemotional and worth taking with a grain of salt. Long hours and rewards that might not materialize are part of working at startups.
Still, the answer has received tons upvotes, including some from former Zynga employees, and sources from inside the company say they’ve seen these hardships first hand. So here’s the grim Quora tale of killing yourself to get to an IPO, just to see your $10 shares dive to $3.
[Begin Quora answer from anonymous Zynga employee]
I worked for Zynga for a year when my startup was acquired. Within a few months, we were putting in brisk 10 hour days as we started our new project. Six months in a launch date was handed down from above and we shifted to 11 hour days six days a week.
People willing to play the politics game were given ‘rockstar’ status, quarterly bonuses and promotions. Project direction and goals shifted daily, innovation of any kind was difficult – we were constantly forced to hew our game closer to the Farmville/Cityville playbook. Six weeks before shipping the studio was flown out to San Francisco to launch our game – 12 hour days seven days a week, free of the distraction of friends, wives and girlfriends. I watched alcoholism and substance abuse skyrocket, relationships crumble (including my own), people slept on office couches, two developers got divorced, one nervous breakdown. They attempted to smooth this over with more stock, free food and t-shirts. Free food doesn’t do you much good when you’ve lost fifteen pounds from not eating.
Our game shipped and performed rather dismally, so the bonuses, raises, promotions and rest we were promised didn’t materialize. With a now completely exhausted team, we were expected to work even harder to improve key metrics. Management would divert blame when these unrealistic metrics could not be hit. Our studio manager, possibly the only person who knew how the company was actually performing on a macro level, quit unexpectedly a few weeks after the IPO.
But it was all going to be ok, just hang in there, we’d all be rich in a matter of months.
We were told point blank in one studio-wide meeting that we would IPO “around $20 a share”, and could expect $100 a share within a year if we “launched one or two more successful titles”. A quick analysis of the company fundamentals placed it closer to $10. It now sits at $2.90.
How does it feel? To spend years being worked into the ground, putting your life on hold and being egged along so top brass can cash out millions at $12 a share while the rank and file employees are in a ‘lockout period’?
I’ll second ‘devastating’.
[End of answer]
The last line refers to a previous Quora answer that describes the stock drop as devastating. There’s definitely conflicting opinions, though. One response from a 4-year Zynga employee said the company is “far from perfect” but that this story could be a “gross exaggeration”, and concluded that, “‘Devastated’ is a bit too dramatic…disappointed seems more fitting.” Now Bloomberg reports that Zynga will hand out more stock to employees to compensate them for the flubbed IPO.
Regardless of severity, Zynga’s culture problems may spawn from its inception as a mercenary company. It wasn’t designed to not be evil or make the world more connected like Google or Facebook. It’s a metrics-driven money machine. Yes, it aims to entertain, but also to get players addicted. If you don’t end up with a pot of gold, there’s not as much of a mission to be proud of, and that can lead to spiteful employees. The hard startup lifestyle only works if you love your job.
Check out the original question on Quora and downvote if you think this is bullshit, upvote what you think is right, and give your own account if you actually worked at Zynga.
Pose a fact-based question to Google from your favorite mobile device, be it phone or tablet, and the search leader can now better understand what you want and provide you with a pretty-to-look-at answer posthaste.
“Quick answers,” as they’re called, are Google’s instant search results for queries with answers that the search company can calculate or determine on the fly. Google has long been able to show you the weather forecast, provide you with a stock quote, solve an equation, and do your pounds-to-kilograms conversions on the web, but Thursday it’s updating its handy-dandy instant results and making them more attractive, more engaging, and more readily available on mobile.
“Search has always been about getting you the answers you need as quickly as possible,” Google user experience designer Jeromy Henry said in a blog post. ”Today, when you search on mobile or tablet, you’ll see some more improvements in the way we provide these quick answers, including better understanding what information you need and surfacing the most relevant information for you.”
Check on a friend’s flight status on your phone, for instance, and you’ll now see a progress indicator, along with bigger arrival and departure times so you can better glean the most important information right away.
The update also applies to finance-related queries, currency conversions, unit conversions, dictionary definitions, local time checks, and holiday and sunrise times, the company said.
The changes are currently being rolled out to the English version of Google on mobile devices.
Photo credit: designsstock/Shutterstock