Best Business Search

Monthly Archives: January 2019

Facebook plans new products as Instagram Stories hits 500M users/day

January 31, 2019 No Comments

Roughly half of Instagram’s users 1 billion users now use Instagram Stories every day. That 500 million daily user count is up from 400 million in June 2018. 2 million advertisers are now buying Stories ads across Facebook’s properties.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Stories the last big game-changing feature from Facebook, but after concentrating on security last year, it plans to ship more products that make “major improvements” in people’s lives.

During today’s Q4 2018 earnings call, Zuckerberg outlined several areas where Facebook will push new products this year:

  • Encryption and ephemerality will be added to more features for security and privacy
  • Messaging features will make Messenger and WhatsApp “the center of [your] social experiences”
  • WhatsApp payments will expand to more countries
  • Stories will gain new private sharing options
  • Groups will become an organizing function of Facebook on par with friends & family
  • Facebook Watch will become mainstream this year as video is moved there from the News Feed, Zuckerberg expects
  • Augmented and virtual reality will be improved, and Oculus Quest will ship this spring
  • Instagram commerce and shopping will get new features

Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook’s plan to unify the infrastructure to allow encrypted cross-app messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, as first reported by NYT’s Mike Isaac. Zuckerberg explained that the plan wasn’t about a business benefit, but supposedly to improve the user experience. Specifically, it would allow Marketplace buyers and sellers in countries where WhatsApp dominates messaging to use that app to chat instead of Messenger. And for Android users who use Messenger as their SMS client, the unification would allow those messages to be sent with encryption too. He sees expanding encryption here as a way to decentralize Facebook and keep users’ data safe by never having it on the company’s servers. However, Zuckerberg says this will take time and could be a “2020 thing”.

Facebook says it now has 2.7 billion monthly users across the Facebook family of apps: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. However, Facebook CFO David Wehner says “Over time we expect family metrics to play the primary role in how we talk about our company and we will eventually phase out Facebook-only community metrics.” That shows Facebook is self-conscious about how its user base is shifting away from its classic social network and towards Instagram and its messaging apps. Family-only metrics could mask how teens are slipping away.


Social – TechCrunch


Facebook plans new products as Instagram Stories hits 500M users/day

January 31, 2019 No Comments

Roughly half of Instagram’s users 1 billion users now use Instagram Stories every day. That 500 million daily user count is up from 400 million in June 2018. 2 million advertisers are now buying Stories ads across Facebook’s properties.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Stories the last big game-changing feature from Facebook, but after concentrating on security last year, it plans to ship more products that make “major improvements” in people’s lives.

During today’s Q4 2018 earnings call, Zuckerberg outlined several areas where Facebook will push new products this year:

  • Encryption and ephemerality will be added to more features for security and privacy
  • Messaging features will make Messenger and WhatsApp “the center of [your] social experiences”
  • WhatsApp payments will expand to more countries
  • Stories will gain new private sharing options
  • Groups will become an organizing function of Facebook on par with friends & family
  • Facebook Watch will become mainstream this year as video is moved there from the News Feed, Zuckerberg expects
  • Augmented and virtual reality will be improved, and Oculus Quest will ship this spring
  • Instagram commerce and shopping will get new features

Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook’s plan to unify the infrastructure to allow encrypted cross-app messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, as first reported by NYT’s Mike Isaac. Zuckerberg explained that the plan wasn’t about a business benefit, but supposedly to improve the user experience. Specifically, it would allow Marketplace buyers and sellers in countries where WhatsApp dominates messaging to use that app to chat instead of Messenger. And for Android users who use Messenger as their SMS client, the unification would allow those messages to be sent with encryption too. He sees expanding encryption here as a way to decentralize Facebook and keep users’ data safe by never having it on the company’s servers. However, Zuckerberg says this will take time and could be a “2020 thing”.

Facebook says it now has 2.7 billion monthly users across the Facebook family of apps: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. However, Facebook CFO David Wehner says “Over time we expect family metrics to play the primary role in how we talk about our company and we will eventually phase out Facebook-only community metrics.” That shows Facebook is self-conscious about how its user base is shifting away from its classic social network and towards Instagram and its messaging apps. Family-only metrics could mask how teens are slipping away.


Social – TechCrunch


Meet the 20 startups in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program

January 31, 2019 No Comments

At the end of last year, Grand Central Tech announced plans to work with the Milstein real estate family to transform a midtown Manhattan high-rise into a tech hub called Company. And startups remain an important part of the mix — in fact, Company is unveiling a list of 20 startups participating in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program.

What does Startup-in-Residence mean? Well, Company CEO Matthew Harrigan said the program will continue to offer what it’s always offered — desk space, as well as access to events and amenities, for a select group of early-stage entrepreneurs. And participants don’t have to give up equity or pay rent.

The deal might seem too good to be true, but Harrigan argued that the startups make Company more appealing to its enterprise tenants: “We are retrofitting this building to look and feel and operate like a brand new building … but the one amenity that cannot be simply rolled out is people.”

He also said the program is only taking up 15,000 square feet of the building’s 150,000 total square feet.

“It sounds like an exceptionally generous offering and it isn’t,” he said. “It sounds like it doesn’t make a ton of business sense but that’s actually wrong … Fifteen thousand square feet of space to great early-stage founders helps establish a truly remarkable program and campus in New York City. Those resources are well spent.”

In the past, we’ve written about Grand Central Tech as an accelerator program, but Harrigan said, “We weren’t and aren’t an accelerator” — it just used “the nomenclature that’s known.” Now the program is taking on a more fitting name, though it sounds like the operations won’t be changing too dramatically.

“We typically have very sophisticated founding teams, giving them an ideal environment in which to work,” Harrigan said. “By and large, our companies are left to their own devices — we don’t presume to create a curriculum or some series of programming. It’s a somewhat passive approach, but we make sure all people in the community are linked up with each other.”

Also worth noting: This year’s class consists of 40 percent women founders and CEOs, and it covers industries like energy, mental health, e-commerce, biotech, adtech and food.

Here’s a list of the companies, with descriptions provided by Company (and edited by me for clarity and length). We’ve also written about a number of them before, so I’m including links to past coverage when possible.

  • Octave​ ​is a full-stack mental health provider, purpose-built to capitalize on evolving consumer habits and a new wave of interest in the space.
  • Vowel ​is a multi-user enterprise voice platform operating in stealth. The company enables businesses to analyze, manage and drive actionable insights from audio data generated in the workplace/meetings.
  • Nara Organics​ ​is a natural baby food company that is manufacturing the first biodynamic infant formula in the U.S.
  • Twine Labs​ ​is a workforce analytics platform that’s creating a single source of truth on employee data across various disaggregated internal corporate databases. Data is then benchmarked against industry standards to help chief people officers gain vital, previously unavailable perspective.
  • Taskade​ ​is a new workplace collaboration platform that enables more efficient team management and product workflows.
  • Oova​ is a biomedical technology company for women’s health that uses smart connected devices to actively monitor hormone levels and help manage women’s fertility health. The company is a spin-out of Mt. Sinai.
  • Summer​ ​is a next-generation student loan management and repayment platform providing users with a comprehensive view of their debt and targeted recommendations on how to alleviate it, which evolves based on their current life circumstances.
  • Chartable​ ​is creating a new enterprise adtech and analytics platform for audio. It’s aiming to do something similar to what DoubleClick, App Annie, Flurry and others did when apps were first introduced.
  • Particle Health​ ​is creating a new medical record data company, leveraging blockchain technology to enable a single health record tying together previously disparate information from a patient’s various doctors, and yielding valuable data insights in the process.
  • Project OTC ​is a holistic new consumer brand targeting outdated over-the-counter brands and products such as antacids, Vitamin C/immunity support and headache relief. The company is operating in stealth.

Moved team

  • Moved​ ​is building a new concierge layer on top of the disorganized, disaggregated moving services supply chain. A user calls Moved, shares details and is given a concierge who manages the move and coordinates across all the various service providers, including the landlord or real estate owner.
  • Hydra​ ​is a ​new network of membership-based wellness spaces in metropolitan areas that complements the growth of small format fitness classes and provides its members areas to refresh, regroup and recharge.
  • GoodTalk​ ​is a new consumer app meant to distill and amplify one of the primary aspects of social platforms. For example, five experts on a given topic can form a chat thread, which other users of the app can view but not comment on.
  • Otis​ is building a new investment platform to enable distributed ownership in fine art and collectibles.
  • Snackable​ ​uses natural language processing to intelligently digest podcasts into “snackable” 30-60 second moments to enable easier social sharing of podcast content — something that has plagued the burgeoning podcast space.

Lolli allows users to receive Bitcoin for their online purchases

  • Lolli​ ​is building a new e-commerce platform that allows customers to accumulate Bitcoin rewards through simple brand and retail purchases by capturing the rebate/coupon value already broadly distributed throughout e-commerce.
  • RaisedByUs​ ​is a nonprofit workplace social good program for companies that already includes Casper, Squarespace, Shutterstock, Seatgeek, Sailthru, Birchbox, MongoDB and DigitalOcean among others. RaisedByUs helps teams do meaningful, team-building, vetted volunteer work easily.
  • Nesterly​ ​i​s a home-sharing platform that is working to bring affordable housing to the next generation by allowing senior homeowners to easily rent out their extra space.
  • Bokksu​ ​is a subscription-based food company that curates exclusive artisan snacks in local markets and uses video and written storytelling to detail origin stories through an immersive customer experience.


Startups – TechCrunch


Meet the 20 startups in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program

January 31, 2019 No Comments

At the end of last year, Grand Central Tech announced plans to work with the Milstein real estate family to transform a midtown Manhattan high-rise into a tech hub called Company. And startups remain an important part of the mix — in fact, Company is unveiling a list of 20 startups participating in this year’s GCT Startup-in-Residence program.

What does Startup-in-Residence mean? Well, Company CEO Matthew Harrigan said the program will continue to offer what it’s always offered — desk space, as well as access to events and amenities, for a select group of early-stage entrepreneurs. And participants don’t have to give up equity or pay rent.

The deal might seem too good to be true, but Harrigan argued that the startups make Company more appealing to its enterprise tenants: “We are retrofitting this building to look and feel and operate like a brand new building … but the one amenity that cannot be simply rolled out is people.”

He also said the program is only taking up 15,000 square feet of the building’s 150,000 total square feet.

“It sounds like an exceptionally generous offering and it isn’t,” he said. “It sounds like it doesn’t make a ton of business sense but that’s actually wrong … Fifteen thousand square feet of space to great early-stage founders helps establish a truly remarkable program and campus in New York City. Those resources are well spent.”

In the past, we’ve written about Grand Central Tech as an accelerator program, but Harrigan said, “We weren’t and aren’t an accelerator” — it just used “the nomenclature that’s known.” Now the program is taking on a more fitting name, though it sounds like the operations won’t be changing too dramatically.

“We typically have very sophisticated founding teams, giving them an ideal environment in which to work,” Harrigan said. “By and large, our companies are left to their own devices — we don’t presume to create a curriculum or some series of programming. It’s a somewhat passive approach, but we make sure all people in the community are linked up with each other.”

Also worth noting: This year’s class consists of 40 percent women founders and CEOs, and it covers industries like energy, mental health, e-commerce, biotech, adtech and food.

Here’s a list of the companies, with descriptions provided by Company (and edited by me for clarity and length). We’ve also written about a number of them before, so I’m including links to past coverage when possible.

  • Octave​ ​is a full-stack mental health provider, purpose-built to capitalize on evolving consumer habits and a new wave of interest in the space.
  • Vowel ​is a multi-user enterprise voice platform operating in stealth. The company enables businesses to analyze, manage and drive actionable insights from audio data generated in the workplace/meetings.
  • Nara Organics​ ​is a natural baby food company that is manufacturing the first biodynamic infant formula in the U.S.
  • Twine Labs​ ​is a workforce analytics platform that’s creating a single source of truth on employee data across various disaggregated internal corporate databases. Data is then benchmarked against industry standards to help chief people officers gain vital, previously unavailable perspective.
  • Taskade​ ​is a new workplace collaboration platform that enables more efficient team management and product workflows.
  • Oova​ is a biomedical technology company for women’s health that uses smart connected devices to actively monitor hormone levels and help manage women’s fertility health. The company is a spin-out of Mt. Sinai.
  • Summer​ ​is a next-generation student loan management and repayment platform providing users with a comprehensive view of their debt and targeted recommendations on how to alleviate it, which evolves based on their current life circumstances.
  • Chartable​ ​is creating a new enterprise adtech and analytics platform for audio. It’s aiming to do something similar to what DoubleClick, App Annie, Flurry and others did when apps were first introduced.
  • Particle Health​ ​is creating a new medical record data company, leveraging blockchain technology to enable a single health record tying together previously disparate information from a patient’s various doctors, and yielding valuable data insights in the process.
  • Project OTC ​is a holistic new consumer brand targeting outdated over-the-counter brands and products such as antacids, Vitamin C/immunity support and headache relief. The company is operating in stealth.

Moved team

  • Moved​ ​is building a new concierge layer on top of the disorganized, disaggregated moving services supply chain. A user calls Moved, shares details and is given a concierge who manages the move and coordinates across all the various service providers, including the landlord or real estate owner.
  • Hydra​ ​is a ​new network of membership-based wellness spaces in metropolitan areas that complements the growth of small format fitness classes and provides its members areas to refresh, regroup and recharge.
  • GoodTalk​ ​is a new consumer app meant to distill and amplify one of the primary aspects of social platforms. For example, five experts on a given topic can form a chat thread, which other users of the app can view but not comment on.
  • Otis​ is building a new investment platform to enable distributed ownership in fine art and collectibles.
  • Snackable​ ​uses natural language processing to intelligently digest podcasts into “snackable” 30-60 second moments to enable easier social sharing of podcast content — something that has plagued the burgeoning podcast space.

Lolli allows users to receive Bitcoin for their online purchases

  • Lolli​ ​is building a new e-commerce platform that allows customers to accumulate Bitcoin rewards through simple brand and retail purchases by capturing the rebate/coupon value already broadly distributed throughout e-commerce.
  • RaisedByUs​ ​is a nonprofit workplace social good program for companies that already includes Casper, Squarespace, Shutterstock, Seatgeek, Sailthru, Birchbox, MongoDB and DigitalOcean among others. RaisedByUs helps teams do meaningful, team-building, vetted volunteer work easily.
  • Nesterly​ ​i​s a home-sharing platform that is working to bring affordable housing to the next generation by allowing senior homeowners to easily rent out their extra space.
  • Bokksu​ ​is a subscription-based food company that curates exclusive artisan snacks in local markets and uses video and written storytelling to detail origin stories through an immersive customer experience.


Startups – TechCrunch


SAP job cuts prove harsh realities of enterprise transformation

January 29, 2019 No Comments

As traditional enterprise companies like IBM, Oracle and SAP try to transform into more modern cloud companies, they are finding that making that transition, while absolutely necessary, could require difficult adjustments along the way. Just this morning, SAP announced that it was restructuring in order to save between $ 750 million and 800 million euro (between approximately $ 856 million an $ 914 million).

While the company tried to put as positive a spin on the announcement as possible, it could involve up to 4000 job cuts as SAP shifts into more modern technologies. “We are going to move our people and our focus to the areas where the new economy needs SAP the most: artificial intelligence, deep machine learning, IoT, blockchain and quantum computing,” CEO Bill McDermott told a post-earnings press conference.

If that sounds familiar, it should. It is precisely the areas that IBM has been trying to concentrate on its transformation over the last several years. IBM has struggled to make this change and has also framed workforce reduction as moving to modern skill sets. It’s worth pointing out that SAP’s financial picture has been more positive than IBM’s.

CFO Luca Mucic tried to stress this was not about cost cutting, so much as ensuring the long-term health of the company, but did admit it did involve job cuts. These could include early retirement and other incentives to leave the company voluntarily. “We still expect that there will be a number probably slightly higher than what we saw in the 2015 program where we had around 3000 employees leave the company, where at the end of this process will leave SAP,” he said.

The company believes that in spite of these cuts, it will actually have more employees by this time next year than it has now, but they will be shifted to these new technology areas. “This is a growth company move, not a cost cutting move every dollar that we gain from a restructuring initiative will be invested back into headcount and more jobs,” McDermott said. SAP kept stressing that cloud revenue will reach $ 35 billion in revenue by 2023.

Holger Mueller, an analyst who watches enterprise companies like SAP for Constellation Research, says the company is doing what it has to do in terms of transformation. “SAP is in the midst of upgrading its product portfolio to the 21st century demands of its customer base,” Mueller told TechCrunch. He added that this is not easy to pull off, and it requires new skill sets to build, operate and sell the new technologies.

McDermott stressed that the company would be offering a generous severance package to any employee leaving the company as a result of today’s announcement.

Today’s announcement comes after the company made two multi-billion dollar acquisitions to help in this transition in 2018, paying $ 8 billion for Qualtrics and $ 2.4 billion for CallidusCloud.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


SAP job cuts prove harsh realities of enterprise transformation

January 29, 2019 No Comments

As traditional enterprise companies like IBM, Oracle and SAP try to transform into more modern cloud companies, they are finding that making that transition, while absolutely necessary, could require difficult adjustments along the way. Just this morning, SAP announced that it was restructuring in order to save between $ 750 million and 800 million euro (between approximately $ 856 million an $ 914 million).

While the company tried to put as positive a spin on the announcement as possible, it could involve up to 4000 job cuts as SAP shifts into more modern technologies. “We are going to move our people and our focus to the areas where the new economy needs SAP the most: artificial intelligence, deep machine learning, IoT, blockchain and quantum computing,” CEO Bill McDermott told a post-earnings press conference.

If that sounds familiar, it should. It is precisely the areas that IBM has been trying to concentrate on its transformation over the last several years. IBM has struggled to make this change and has also framed workforce reduction as moving to modern skill sets. It’s worth pointing out that SAP’s financial picture has been more positive than IBM’s.

CFO Luca Mucic tried to stress this was not about cost cutting, so much as ensuring the long-term health of the company, but did admit it did involve job cuts. These could include early retirement and other incentives to leave the company voluntarily. “We still expect that there will be a number probably slightly higher than what we saw in the 2015 program where we had around 3000 employees leave the company, where at the end of this process will leave SAP,” he said.

The company believes that in spite of these cuts, it will actually have more employees by this time next year than it has now, but they will be shifted to these new technology areas. “This is a growth company move, not a cost cutting move every dollar that we gain from a restructuring initiative will be invested back into headcount and more jobs,” McDermott said. SAP kept stressing that cloud revenue will reach $ 35 billion in revenue by 2023.

Holger Mueller, an analyst who watches enterprise companies like SAP for Constellation Research, says the company is doing what it has to do in terms of transformation. “SAP is in the midst of upgrading its product portfolio to the 21st century demands of its customer base,” Mueller told TechCrunch. He added that this is not easy to pull off, and it requires new skill sets to build, operate and sell the new technologies.

McDermott stressed that the company would be offering a generous severance package to any employee leaving the company as a result of today’s announcement.

Today’s announcement comes after the company made two multi-billion dollar acquisitions to help in this transition in 2018, paying $ 8 billion for Qualtrics and $ 2.4 billion for CallidusCloud.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


How To Build An Ad Copy Proposal Template In Excel

January 29, 2019 No Comments

Explore how to build an ad copy template in Excel that will save you time formatting and organizing proposals for your clients or boss!

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


How To Build An Ad Copy Proposal Template In Excel

January 29, 2019 No Comments

Explore how to build an ad copy template in Excel that will save you time formatting and organizing proposals for your clients or boss!

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


What will the SERP of tomorrow look like? Four changes to prepare for today

January 29, 2019 No Comments

Over the last several years, we’ve seen the typical search engine results page (SERP) change a great deal.

It was once primarily a list of blue links.

To that, we’ve seen direct answers added — sometimes replacing a list of links entirely.

We’ve seen video answers added, we’ve seen the advent of the local pack, the knowledge graph, and tools built directly into the top of the page (e.g., calculators).

And while it’s important to evolve for the changes we’re seeing today, what we really need to do is focus on what’s coming next.

The common thread that runs through all of these consumer options is data. The public-facing information about your business, website, products, services, and people within your company.

You need to identify all these points of data (sometimes also referred to as entities), catalog them, and mark them up so the engines and services can easily identify, consume, and trust the information they provide.

If you want to remain on the radar with consumers, this should be a critical focus moving forward.

Here are some of the changes we can expect to influence the SERP of tomorrow: in the immediate and not-to-distant horizon

1. Voice assistants and companion apps

In a very real way, this is our here and now.

This category can be best thought of as “voice and…” since it’s not only about voice assistants — and there is a less-than-clear path to ranking in voice search.

Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are being built into any number of third-party products, and it’s become increasingly important to figure out how to optimize to rank as the spoken answer.

You may not be focused on it right now, but consumers are focusing on it more and more every day, and there’s an opportunity for early marketing adopters to set the trends.

The biggest issue when optimizing for voice is that it’s a true black box. Every query teaches the system something new, which is then applied to the next query, and so on.

With none of the popular systems sharing any inside data with marketers at any depth, it’s tough to really understand the levers that move the needles in voice search.

Still, you need to dig in here and invest as consumers are becoming more comfortable with voice search and are turning to it with greater frequency.

What can you do today?

Research how you appear in voice search.

Buy a smart speaker and use it.

Get comfortable using the device so you can experience what consumers experience.

Use it to perform competitive analysis of how other businesses are included in answers. Learn what kinds of answers come back in instances relevant to your business.

Read also: Voice search optimization guide: Six steps for 2019.

2. Visual search

We saw several new devices come to market for the holiday shopping season, with both Google and Amazon offering stand-alone voice assistants with devices featuring screens.

Facebook has a standalone product as well, though its initial focus is more on connecting people and conversations, as opposed to search and discovery.

(One easy prediction here is that, at some point, Messenger may be integrated to enable chatbots to join conversations, opening marketing opportunities for businesses.)

Ranking in visual search results will follow a similar path to ranking for voice search. These devices are essentially expanded footprints for showcasing answers.

But as consumer adoption grows, new opportunities will present themselves.

Right now, the surest path to being showcased in visual search is by building, as best you can, a robust presence in voice search — by effectively managing your data.

What can you do today?

Buy a device that has a screen and search for your business and your competitors and their products. In fact, you could skip the smart speaker and just start with one of these devices.

The work, results, and lessons will be the same.

3. Augmented reality

Useful data, layered visually on top of our everyday view of the world around us — this space has been around for a while, and is poised for rapid growth as younger consumers find the newest apps and devices that utilize this technology.

To be included in augmented reality, your foundation must be good data.

All the data about your business, no matter how small, will need to be marked up. This allows services to consume it and overlay it in an augmented reality interface.

This could have a large impact on customer foot traffic, as all the information they need to make purchase decisions could be overlaid, for example, on a street-view map. (This enables them to know, say, which businesses are actually open, are having sales right now, currently have long wait times, and so on.)

Managing your business data in this space will be critical for success. Inclusion here is almost guaranteed, success will come from managing your data well.

What can you do today?

Grab your smart phone and try some of the apps in this article.

While you’re doing this, think about the impact of having your business data overlaid in that view you see.

Understand that managing your data is step one in being included in AR scenarios.

4. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a bit further out.

We will get there as companies like Oculus are working to bring more accessible products to market, hopefully broadening adoption.

As content options expand, so will search results within the experiences — and advertising opportunities along with them.

Currently, this remains firmly in ‘testing’ territory, meaning you should be watching the space and testing different devices.

Develop a good understanding of the consumer experience, and spot ways to potentially integrate your products and services.

What can you do today?

VR is a more expensive space, and still at such an early stage, so it’s tougher to create an action here.

Reading and understanding the industry remains important to watch for growth, but experiencing VR yourself is also key.

Find a demo at a local store, at least, or step up to something like the Oculus Go to explore this technology and discover opportunities.

Conclusion

The SERP of tomorrow will have many interfaces.

There are a lot of changes in front of us, and it’s easy to be discouraged or feel overwhelmed.

The good news is that all the work you’ve done to this point has prepared you for the next few steps needed to remain relevant and thrive.

Just keep an eye on how consumer trends are shifting, as that will tell you how fast you need to move.

Your first action, above all others, however, is to manage your business data.

No amount of research will make you more successful if you don’t take this action.

Create a list of all your digital entities and learn how to control them. Make a plan to execute on maintaining the accuracy of all that data. And finally, create workflows inside your business for maintenance work of that data.

Knowledge can be wasted through inaction.

Duane Forrester is VP of Industry Insights at Yext.

The post What will the SERP of tomorrow look like? Four changes to prepare for today appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


What will the SERP of tomorrow look like? Four changes to prepare for today

January 29, 2019 No Comments

Over the last several years, we’ve seen the typical search engine results page (SERP) change a great deal.

It was once primarily a list of blue links.

To that, we’ve seen direct answers added — sometimes replacing a list of links entirely.

We’ve seen video answers added, we’ve seen the advent of the local pack, the knowledge graph, and tools built directly into the top of the page (e.g., calculators).

And while it’s important to evolve for the changes we’re seeing today, what we really need to do is focus on what’s coming next.

The common thread that runs through all of these consumer options is data. The public-facing information about your business, website, products, services, and people within your company.

You need to identify all these points of data (sometimes also referred to as entities), catalog them, and mark them up so the engines and services can easily identify, consume, and trust the information they provide.

If you want to remain on the radar with consumers, this should be a critical focus moving forward.

Here are some of the changes we can expect to influence the SERP of tomorrow: in the immediate and not-to-distant horizon

1. Voice assistants and companion apps

In a very real way, this is our here and now.

This category can be best thought of as “voice and…” since it’s not only about voice assistants — and there is a less-than-clear path to ranking in voice search.

Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are being built into any number of third-party products, and it’s become increasingly important to figure out how to optimize to rank as the spoken answer.

You may not be focused on it right now, but consumers are focusing on it more and more every day, and there’s an opportunity for early marketing adopters to set the trends.

The biggest issue when optimizing for voice is that it’s a true black box. Every query teaches the system something new, which is then applied to the next query, and so on.

With none of the popular systems sharing any inside data with marketers at any depth, it’s tough to really understand the levers that move the needles in voice search.

Still, you need to dig in here and invest as consumers are becoming more comfortable with voice search and are turning to it with greater frequency.

What can you do today?

Research how you appear in voice search.

Buy a smart speaker and use it.

Get comfortable using the device so you can experience what consumers experience.

Use it to perform competitive analysis of how other businesses are included in answers. Learn what kinds of answers come back in instances relevant to your business.

Read also: Voice search optimization guide: Six steps for 2019.

2. Visual search

We saw several new devices come to market for the holiday shopping season, with both Google and Amazon offering stand-alone voice assistants with devices featuring screens.

Facebook has a standalone product as well, though its initial focus is more on connecting people and conversations, as opposed to search and discovery.

(One easy prediction here is that, at some point, Messenger may be integrated to enable chatbots to join conversations, opening marketing opportunities for businesses.)

Ranking in visual search results will follow a similar path to ranking for voice search. These devices are essentially expanded footprints for showcasing answers.

But as consumer adoption grows, new opportunities will present themselves.

Right now, the surest path to being showcased in visual search is by building, as best you can, a robust presence in voice search — by effectively managing your data.

What can you do today?

Buy a device that has a screen and search for your business and your competitors and their products. In fact, you could skip the smart speaker and just start with one of these devices.

The work, results, and lessons will be the same.

3. Augmented reality

Useful data, layered visually on top of our everyday view of the world around us — this space has been around for a while, and is poised for rapid growth as younger consumers find the newest apps and devices that utilize this technology.

To be included in augmented reality, your foundation must be good data.

All the data about your business, no matter how small, will need to be marked up. This allows services to consume it and overlay it in an augmented reality interface.

This could have a large impact on customer foot traffic, as all the information they need to make purchase decisions could be overlaid, for example, on a street-view map. (This enables them to know, say, which businesses are actually open, are having sales right now, currently have long wait times, and so on.)

Managing your business data in this space will be critical for success. Inclusion here is almost guaranteed, success will come from managing your data well.

What can you do today?

Grab your smart phone and try some of the apps in this article.

While you’re doing this, think about the impact of having your business data overlaid in that view you see.

Understand that managing your data is step one in being included in AR scenarios.

4. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a bit further out.

We will get there as companies like Oculus are working to bring more accessible products to market, hopefully broadening adoption.

As content options expand, so will search results within the experiences — and advertising opportunities along with them.

Currently, this remains firmly in ‘testing’ territory, meaning you should be watching the space and testing different devices.

Develop a good understanding of the consumer experience, and spot ways to potentially integrate your products and services.

What can you do today?

VR is a more expensive space, and still at such an early stage, so it’s tougher to create an action here.

Reading and understanding the industry remains important to watch for growth, but experiencing VR yourself is also key.

Find a demo at a local store, at least, or step up to something like the Oculus Go to explore this technology and discover opportunities.

Conclusion

The SERP of tomorrow will have many interfaces.

There are a lot of changes in front of us, and it’s easy to be discouraged or feel overwhelmed.

The good news is that all the work you’ve done to this point has prepared you for the next few steps needed to remain relevant and thrive.

Just keep an eye on how consumer trends are shifting, as that will tell you how fast you need to move.

Your first action, above all others, however, is to manage your business data.

No amount of research will make you more successful if you don’t take this action.

Create a list of all your digital entities and learn how to control them. Make a plan to execute on maintaining the accuracy of all that data. And finally, create workflows inside your business for maintenance work of that data.

Knowledge can be wasted through inaction.

Duane Forrester is VP of Industry Insights at Yext.

The post What will the SERP of tomorrow look like? Four changes to prepare for today appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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