Archive for the ‘Compete’ tag
Sales people are an incredibly important resource, but how do you motivate them to close more deals without being an aggressive, insulting prig? LevelEleven believes its flagship app that gamifies the sales process is the answer to that problem.
Detroit-based LevelEleven recently caught our eye when it raised $500,000 in additional seed funding from Detroit Venture Partners and others. The company’s flagship application encourages sales people to meet certain goals like following up on leads, increasing numbers of face-to-face meetings, making calls, and logging events.
Now the company has rebranded the flagship app from the name Contest Builder to (fittingly) Compete. LevelEleven CEO Bob Marsh told VentureBeat that the name change was important because the core product was more about creating competitions than creating contests.
“One of the most frustrating things of sales is having so much data but still finding it hard to motivate sales people,” Marsh said. “I call it the ‘sales manager challenge.’ … But it’s a pretty powerful motivator when your name is up in lights on a leaderboard. It can be very emotionally compelling.”
On top of the name change, the app has been redesigned to simplify the user experience and modernize the look. LevelEleven will also soon add new pricing options so customers can make a month-to-month arrangement for the service instead of just a one-year commitment.
The Compete app is built on top of Salesforce’s CRM platform, and claims to be “the number one gamification app” in the Salesforce AppExchange. Marsh said that the company has considered building a standalone app that doesn’t rely on Salesforce, but it will focus on its app for Salesforce for the near future because it has more than 100,000 potential customers that use the platform.
LevelEleven now has about 80 customers, a substantial increase over the 25 it had just six months ago. It has raised a total of $1.5 million in seed funding to date and has 10 employees. Marsh also noted he’s proud of the company’s placement among the emerging Detroit tech scene.
Photo via LevelEleven
Filed under: Business
Finally, the ability to type quickly with two thumbs is paying off, or rather it could pay off for one of the 11 finalists at the 6th annual LG U.S. National Texting Competition. Today at noon, the players will face off in New York City’s Times Square for a shot at $50,000.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Typically, when you hear the phrase ‘white label video hosting’ you think of services like Brightcove and Ooyala, but Dailymotion is hoping to make their white label service, Dailymotion Cloud, one of the big names as well. To this end, today they have announced a number of new features including improvements in live streaming, DRM support, syndication with Dailymotion.com and Facebook, and additional money-making services.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Google is still by far the most dominant search engine in the U.S., but in the last year it actually lost some momentum while Yahoo and especially Microsoft’s Bing both saw increases, according to figures out today from Experian Hitwise, and bolstered by separate numbers released yesterday by Compete, with both calculating searches between May 2012 and May 2011.
According to Hitwise’s figures, Google accounted for 65.02 percent of all U.S. searches conducted in the four weeks ending June 2, 2012, compared to 68.11 percent in the same period in 2011 — down by 3.09 percent, or a percentage change of negative 5 percent.
Meanwhile Bing-powered searches accounted or 28.12 percent of all searches for the last month, up 1.33 percentage points or a rise of 5 percent. Yahoo’s share was 14.95 percent and and direct Bing searches were at 13.17 percent, increases of 3 percent and 7 percent, although in real terms about .5 percent for Yahoo and nearly 1 percent for Bing.
In a sign of yet more consolidation among those three players — AOL for example does not get singled out — Hitwise says that there are another 65 search engines that it ranks, but that they only accounted collectively for 6.86 percent of U.S. searches.
Compete’s figures as you can see below actually give Google a slightly higher market share for the last month, with 65.5 percent of all searches, but its calculations also indicate that it is actually dropped by more over the last year — 3.9 percentage points for Google-powered sites, and 3.7 percentage points for Google-direct searches. (Hitwise doesn’t single out Google-powered.)
Compete also still details AOL in its list: it accounted for a mere 0.8 percent of all searches — flat on the previous month but down slightly on one year ago.
Neither Compete nor Hitwise offered an explanation as to why Google’s seen a decline but for Microsoft and Yahoo’s parts, the two have been working hard to make sure they do not give any more way to Google. Microsoft, for example, has been creating special programs, such as its TangoCard rewards, trying to work loyalty into the process of getting people to return to their site instead of another for the next time that they want to find news, strange pictures of cats or whatever else they like to find.
One other interesting detail: Hitwise is noting that one-word searches are way up on longer strings — they saw a 19 percent increase while all others went down. The influence of Twitter? Or perhaps search engines just getting that much more sophisticated.
Before Brightcove, Ooyala, or KIT Digital, there was thePlatform: The online video platform was founded in 2000, long before online video was a thing. Since then, thePlatform has been mainly focused on the upper end of the market, helping cable companies, television networks, and other large media players to get their content online and on a number of connected devices.
To do that, thePlatform has built out its mpx platform, which is basically a content management system for video distribution. It provides more or less everything a client might need, including video ingest, transcoding, storage, authentication, and monetization capabilities. The idea is that publishers can upload their video assets once and have them sent all over the place, based on the platforms, devices, and apps that a content owner might own, or syndication partners that they might have. Now thePlatform is looking to make many features of that platform available to those on smaller budgets, and hopefully to steal some share from competitors Brightcove and Ooyala.
Starting at $499 a month, thePlatform’s mpx Essentials offering gives enterprise customers all they need to get up and running and serving video without uploading those videos online. It’s actually rolling out two new products for mid-market customers: The $499 plan includes 500 videos and 500 GB of storage, 4,200 GB of streaming bandwidth per year, and features that include auto-transcoding, video clipping and scheduling, geo-restriction, delivery via Akamai, social sharing and YouTube integration.
Those who need a more robust product can pay $1,500 a month for 2,000 videos (2,000 GB) of storage, 18,000 GB of data transferred per years, and all the same features as the starter package. They also receive custom media panels, a player development kit, ad policy support, and more advanced access restrictions, among other features.
So this is a bit of a departure for thePlatform. It’s been an independent subsidiary of Comcast since 2006, but most of its clients read like an A-List of the digital media elite: It counts its own parent company, as well as Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision, Liberty Global, Rogers, NBC Local Media, A&E Networks, PBS, Travel Channel, and E!, as customers.
But at the same time, it’s not clear exactly how big the middle market is, in terms of revenue. Brightcove, for instance, had more than 4,200 customers at the end of the first quarter, but less than $20 million in sales during those three months. And Brightcove’s “Express” product — aimed at the small- and medium-sized business market — starts at just $99 a month.
In the grand scheme of things, and in the short term, it’s not a huge market. But thePlatform sees a huge opportunity as online video becomes even more ubiquitous than it already is. And it’s betting that there are a ton of big brands, media agencies, and the like who want to control distribution of their videos beyond just uploading them to YouTube.
Pinterest has been on a hot streak this year. Or should we say hype streak?
In February, comScore reported that the site had passed 10 million monthly unique users faster than any standalone site ever. Then we started to hear from sources on Sand Hill that the company has attracted interest at a $1 billion valuation. But numbers from third-party sources like Facebook app tracking service, AppData, are pinning a slightly different picture on the image and link-sharing site.
Pinterest’s monthly active users on Facebook — or the number that has connected to Facebook over the past thirty days — have dropped to 8.3 million, from around 12.2 million a month ago when the site did a major redesign. Daily Active Users are also down but not by as much: on April 21 they were 930,000, from 1.1 million on March 22.
The highest-ever number of DAUs on Pinterest was on March 18, when the site had 4.4 million unique visitors, according to AppData. That’s two days after Pinterest did a redesign that evidently irked many users.
A couple other sources including Google search trends, Compete and mobile app tracker App Annie are also showing a picture of decelerating growth. App Annie reports a dip in download rankings for Pinterest’s mobile app.
Figures from Compete note that Pinterest had over 18 million unique visitors in March but that growth appears to be slowing.
Now all of these data sources are flawed in their own way. They’re not perfect. AppData only shows users connected to Facebook and Pinterest accounts may only touch the Facebook platform when users sign-up or post something to the social network. So it’s more of a proxy for sign-ups than a good barometer of daily engagement. Then Compete is often inaccurate in terms of raw numbers. Then Google search trends just shows the number of people looking for Pinterest, not the number of Pinterest users.
But taken together, they do paint a portrait of a site that is cooling.
So what gives?
1) The redesign really did turn users off.
2) There was an iPhone app update that apparently gave some users trouble while logging in through Facebook. Another update apparently fixed it three days ago on April 18.
3) The drop in active users may simply be a correction for the some of the meteoric rise in attention that we’ve seen for the site: that is, people propelled by all the coverage Pinterest has gotten who have registered in the last couple of months, but who aren’t actually using it much, if at all.
4) People may be logging in and signing up less through Facebook: AppData measures MAUs and DAUs on Facebook log-ins, but you can also sign up and sign in using your email or Twitter account. Perhaps usage numbers from those two other channels have still been climbing, and Facebook is getting used less (that begs the question of why the turn away from Facebook).
There is also that issue of spam and copyright questions: two no-nos for the mostly-over-36, female audience that uses the site. We have reached out to Pinterest for a comment on these numbers and will update with its response.
Curious how consumers are making decisions regarding which cell phone to buy? Google teamed up with Compete on a study examining how the online consumer shops for a wireless device and we have the results of the survey and study exclusively. Google and Compete tracked consumers online and searching patterns, analyzed the behavior of those purchasing cell phones by tracking their behavior backward from the point of purchase, and surveyed buyers as well.
Some of the results aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, it is interesting to see what factors drive in-store purchases. For example, Google says that 72% of mobile researchers purchased their phone in store (vs. 55% of non-mobile researchers).
Watching video reviews and features on phones also helps drive purchases— 39% of shoppers used video while researching; 77% watched for more than 10 minutes. And 63% of wireless shoppers use search portals throughout purchase process. After viewing smartphone product videos, 64% became interested in specific smartphone models, 44% were introduced to smartphone brands not previously considered and 36% heard about the smartphone product for the first time.
Network reliability, cost of data plans and the actual phone itself all topped consumers’ most important considerations when buying a cell phone. For the most part, upgrades and the want for the latest gadget tend to drive purchases, with 48 percent of phone buyers available for an upgrade and 31 percent purchasing because they wanted the latest phone.
Basically, 45 percent of cell phone sales were completed in-store but online research heavily influences decision-making, says Google. And users tend to research for around 3 weeks before making a purchase. More than half of shoppers visited five sites for research, and were mostly considering two different devices when making a purchasing decision.
In terms of advertising, TV ads lead to the highest recall among smartphone shoppers, followed by online ads, email advertisements and search engine listings. When examining online resources exclusively, reseller websites, online reviews, search engines and social networks all drove purchases.
Kyle Keogh, Google’s tech industry director, tell us that while carriers account for a big portion of visits for research, users tend to buy their phones elsewhere. Essentially, carriers need to do a better job with closing sales, especially online.
Hip music startup Turntable.fm got a dose of legitimacy today, with the announcement that it has signed licensing deals with the four biggest music labels: Warner, Universal, Sony, and EMI.
Turntable.fm CEO Seth Goldstein announced the deals during a panel at the South by Southwest festival today, but he couldn’t help but share the news with Twitter as well. With the official support of major labels, Turntable.fm now seems slightly less dangerous than when it first hit the scene last summer — scoring 140,000 users in one month.
The music site racked up a ton of hype last year because it offered something completely new and fresh: true social DJing. Turntable.fm lets up to five people share their playlists in virtual rooms, but only 200 people can enter to enjoy the curated tunes. For many, it’s an easy way to discover and share new music. But more importantly, Turntable.fm was just incredibly fun to use — so much so that it didn’t seem exactly legal, especially since you can upload your own songs to the service.
“This feels like an all-time record speed launch – when we launched we really didn’t come at this from the music industry, it was all new to us,” Goldstein told Billboard.biz in an interview prior to the announcement. “Our model is unique – we’re not a radio service, not an on-demand service. We have interesting aspects that really require some out-of-the-box thinking. We felt that from the get-go the labels were absolutely different from what I’d been led to believe. They gave us a lot of time and attention. Compared to their user base, we’re a tiny service in the broad scheme of things.”
Turntable.fm has seen its traffic fall dramatically since its initial rush of popularity. It’s gone down from over 200,000 monthly unique visitors at its peak last July, to around 50,000 visitors for the last few months, according to the traffic comparison site Compete. That’s led some to speculate that the service should consider pivoting once again (it spawned from the QR code sticker company StickyBits). But by snagging deals with the major labels, Turntable.fm seems prepared to push forward with its current goal of socializing music listening.
The site also launched an iPhone app in September, which has been steadily improved over the past few months. Part of its traffic decline could be explained by the iPhone app, which doesn’t count toward Compete’s numbers.
New York City-based Turntable.fm landed $7.5 million in funding last summer from Union Square Ventures, which valued the company at around $37.5 million.
Today’s guest post is written by Andy Crestodina.
I’m a capitalist, so I love the concept of competition.
I’m in a very “competitive” industry, but I’ve often said I don’t really have competitors.
What I mean is everyone is a potential partner. If you think you’re competing with someone, you just don’t know them well enough yet.
I recently realized many of the people who agree with this philosophy are also doing content marketing.
I began to wonder, do content marketers compete?
My answer is no.
Why not just ignore the competition?
Or better yet, why not collaborate with them?
Be Original, Just Like Them
In marketing, you may have the same goals as other companies, but if you’re doing content marketing, you really aren’t trying to win the same race. You’re focused on finding your voice, telling your story, and teaching. If we’re all out there being original, when do we meet on the battlefield? If we’re all running in our own directions, is it really a race?
Think about it. You and your “competitor” are both focused on truly knowing yourselves and what makes you different. You’re producing original content, in a genuine voice. You never hear people say, “Hey! They’re unique in the way I’m unique!” If it’s true, than neither of you are unique, and you’re not doing it right.
Collaborate, Cooperate, Compete?
The real victories in web marketing are borne out of collaboration. All the best techniques – guest blogging, sharing, commenting, networking, even speaking on panels – are all so cooperative, anyone who wanted direct competition would soon find themselves sitting out of the game completely.
The dominant culture in social media is positive. Advice is given freely and thank yous are the norm. Negativity directed at competitors in social media is very rare, probably because it would backfire quickly.
Inbound Means Ignoring Competitors?
Inbound marketing is called such because the potential customers come to you. Companies who use inbound typically don’t know who else the potential client is talking to.
And if you’re practicing the true virtues of inbound marketing (“out-teach the competition”) you actually don’t care who you’re competing with. You’re just trying to help the person you’re talking to, and if they hire you, great! If not, no problem. As in, “Oh you’re talking to other companies? Good idea.”
So I don’t recommend competing, or even thinking about the so-called competition. If you meet someone who considers themselves your competitor, it may be awkward at first, but if you keep the conversation going, you’re sure to find they have different specialties, approaches, pricing or timeframes. I would try to help them too.
As you read this, a giant robot (Google) is giving someone a top 10 list of companies (a search engine results page) for the service you provide (your top keyphrase). This is the ultimate competition.
Search engine rankings are insanely visible, and extremely valuable. It’s a brutal, to-the-death contest of wills and endurance. Are you in the top 10? The top three?
If you want to compete, compete for rankings. Be ruthless. Never surrender in search!
Andy Crestodina is a 12-year veteran in web marketing and the strategic director of Orbit Media, a Chicago web development firm where he collaborates on content marketing with anyone who is interested. You can find Andy on Google+ and Twitter.
The eye-popping figure comes by way of statistics portal Statista. The company pulled data from comScore, Compete and Google Ad Planner on social network usage in the U.S. The infographic included below, made exclusively for VentureBeat, vividly depicts how Facebook is far and away the most dominate social network stateside.
Facebook attracts 167 million unique U.S. visitors per month who spend, on average, 6 hours, 33 minutes on the social network each month. Twitter, Tumblr, and the up-and-coming digital pin-board site Pinterest, may all be growing in popularity, but they clearly can’t compete with Facebook in terms of attention and engagement.
Ignoring Facebook for a second, Pinterest and Tumblr are standouts when it comes to average time spent on site. Tumblr is the second most-engaging social site as members spend an average of 1 hour, 38 minutes using the community-centric blogging tool each moth. And Pinterest isn’t far behind; users average 1 hour, 17 minutes of Pinterest activity per month. No other social network — Twitter and LinkedIn included — comes close to approaching these striking engagement figures.
A look at the graphic also shows that nascent Google+ already commands a commendable 18 million unique U.S. visitors per month. The traffic figure seems impressive until you notice that the average American visitor spends a total of 6 minutes on the social network each month. In fact, in terms of engagement, Google+ trails all the social networks depicted, including the forlorn (but possibly recovering?) MySpace.
For some additional perspective, consider that the time Americans spend on Facebook each month is more than 600 times the time they spend on Google+, according to Statista’s calculations.
Photo credit: Michell Zappa/Flickr