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Monthly Archives: February 2021

EC roundup: BNPL startups, growth marketing tips, solid state battery market map, more

February 28, 2021 No Comments

When I needed a new sofa several months ago, I was pleased to find a buy now, pay later (BNPL) option during the checkout process. I had prepared myself to make a major financial outlay, but the service fees were well worth the convenience of deferring the entire payment.

Coincidentally, I was siting on said sofa this morning and considering that transaction when Alex Wilhelm submitted a column that compared recent earnings for three BNPL providers: Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna.

I asked him why he decided to dig into the sector with such gusto.


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“What struck me about the concept was that we had just seen earnings from Affirm,” he said. “So we had three BNPL players with known earnings, and I had just covered a startup funding round in the space.”

“Toss in some obvious audience interest, and it was an easy choice to write the piece. Now the question is whether I did a good job and people find value in it.”

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week! Have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

As BNPL startups raise, a look at Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay earnings

Pilot CEO Waseem Daher tears down his company’s $ 60M Series C pitch deck

Smashing brick work with hammer

Image Credits: Colin Hawkins (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

I avoid running Extra Crunch stories that focus on best practices; you can find those anywhere. Instead, we look for “here’s what worked for me” articles that give readers actionable insights.

That’s a much better use of your time and ours.

With that ethos in mind, Lucas Matney interviewed Pilot CEO Waseem Daher to deconstruct the pitch deck that helped his company land a $ 60M Series C round.

“If the Series A was about, ‘Do you have the right ingredients to make this work?’ then the Series B is about, ‘Is this actually working?’” Daher tells TechCrunch.

“And then the Series C is more, ‘Well, show me that the core business is really working and that you have unlocked real drivers to allow the business to continue growing.’”

Can solid state batteries power up for the next generation of EVs?

market-maps-battery-alt

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

A global survey of automobile owners found three hurdles to overcome before consumers will widely embrace electric vehicles:

  • 30-minute charging time
  • 300-mile range
  • $ 36,000 maximum cost

“Theoretically, solid state batteries (SSB) could deliver all three,” but for now, lithium-ion batteries are the go-to for most EVs (along with laptops and phones).

In our latest market map, we’ve plotted the new and established players in the SSB sector and listed many of the investors who are backing them.

Although SSBs are years away from mass production, “we are on the cusp of some pretty incredible discoveries using major improvements in computational science and machine learning algorithms to accelerate that process,” says SSB startup founder Amy Prieto.

 

Dear Sophie: Which immigration options are the fastest?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie:

Help! Our startup needs to hire 50 engineers in artificial intelligence and related fields ASAP. Which visa and green card options are the quickest to get for top immigrant engineers?

And will Biden’s new immigration bill help us?

— Mesmerized in Menlo Park

 

Why F5 spent $ 2.2B on 3 companies to focus on cloud native applications

Dark servers data center room with computers and storage systems

Image Credits: Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

Founded in 1996, F5 has repositioned itself in the networking market several times in its history. In the last two years, however, it spent $ 2.2 billion to acquire Shape Security, Volterra and NGINX.

“As large organizations age, they often need to pivot to stay relevant, and I wanted to explore one of these transformational shifts,” said enterprise reporter Ron Miller.

“I spoke to the CEO of F5 to find out the strategy behind his company’s pivot and how he leveraged three acquisitions to push his organization in a new direction.”

 

DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market

Cloud online storage technology concept. Big data data information exchange available. Magnifying glass with analytics data

Image Credits: Who_I_am (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Cloud hosting company DigitalOcean filed to go public this week, so Ron Miller and Alex Wilhelm unpacked its financials.

“AWS and Microsoft Azure will not be losing too much sleep worrying about DigitalOcean, but it is not trying to compete head-on with them across the full spectrum of cloud infrastructure services,” said John Dinsdale, chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research.

 

Oscar Health’s initial IPO price is so high, it makes me want to swear

I asked Alex Wilhelm to dial back the profanity he used to describe Oscar Health’s proposed valuation, but perhaps I was too conservative.

In March 2018, the insurtech unicorn was valued at around $ 3.2 billion. Today, with the company aiming to debut at $ 32 to $ 34 per share, its fully diluted valuation is closer to $ 7.7 billion.

“The clear takeaway from the first Oscar Health IPO pricing interval is that public investors have lost their minds,” says Alex.

His advice for companies considering an IPO? “Go public now.”

 

If Coinbase is worth $ 100 billion, what’s a fair valuation for Stripe?

Last week, Alex wrote about how cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase was being valued at $ 77 billion in the private markets.

As of Monday, “it’s now $ 100 billion, per Axios’ reporting.”

He reviewed Coinbase’s performance from 2019 through the end of Q3 2020 “to decide whether Coinbase at $ 100 billion makes no sense, a little sense or perfect sense.”

 

Winning enterprise sales teams know how to persuade the Chief Objection Officer

woman hand stop sign on brick wall background

Image Credits: Alla Aramyan (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

A skilled software sales team devotes a lot of resources to pinpointing potential customers.

Poring through LinkedIn and reviewing past speaker lists at industry conferences are good places to find decision-makers, for example.

Despite this detective work, GGV Capital investor Oren Yunger says sales teams still need to identify the deal-blockers who can spike a deal with a single email.

“I call this person the Chief Objection Officer.

 

3 strategies for elevating brand authority in 2021

Young woman standing on top of tall green bar graph against white background

Image Credits: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Every startup wants to raise its profile, but for many early-stage companies, marketing budgets are too small to make a meaningful difference.

Providing real value through content is an excellent way to build authority in the short and long term,” says Amanda Milligan, marketing director at growth agency Fractl.

 

RIBS: The messaging framework for every company and product

Grilled pork ribs with barbecue sauce on wooden background

Image Credits: luchezar (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The most effective marketing uses good storytelling, not persuasion.

According to Caryn Marooney, general partner at Coatue Management, every compelling story is relevant, inevitable, believable and simple.

“Behind most successful companies is a story that checks every one of those boxes,” says Marooney, but “this is a central challenge for every startup.”

 

Ironclad’s Jason Boehmig: The objective of pricing is to become less wrong over time

On a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live, Ironclad founder and CEO Jason Boehmig and Accel partner Steve Loughlin discussed the pitch that brought them together almost four years ago.

Since that $ 8 million Series A, Loughlin joined Ironclad’s board. “Both agree that the work they put in up front had paid off” when it comes to how well they work together, says Jordan Crook.

“We’ve always been up front about the fact that we consider the board a part of the company,” said Boehmig.


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At TC Early Stage, we’ll cover topics like recruiting, sales, legal, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session includes ample time for audience questions and discussion.

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Enterprise – TechCrunch


Storm Ventures promotes Pascale Diaine and Frederik Groce to partners

February 28, 2021 No Comments

Storm Ventures, a venture firm that focuses on early stage B2B enterprise startups, announced this week that it has promoted Pascale Diaine and Frederik Groce to partners at the firm.

The two new partners have worked their way up over the last several years. Groce joined Storm in 2016 and has invested in enterprise SaaS startups like Workato, Splashtop, NextRequest and Camino. Diaine joined a year later and has invested in firms like Sendoso, German Bionic, InEvent and Talkdesk.

Groce, who is also a founder at BLCK VC and helped organize the Black Venture Institute to create a network of Black investors, says that these promotions show that venture needs to be more diverse, and Storm recognizes this.  “If you think about the way our team works, that’s the way I think venture teams will need to work to be able to be successful in the next 40 years. And so the hope is that over time everyone does this and we’re just early to it,” Groce told me.

Unfortunately, right now that’s not the case, not even close. According to research by Crunchbase, just 12% of venture capitalists are women and two-thirds of firms don’t have any female investors. Meanwhile, only about 4% of ventures investors are Black.

Those numbers have an impact on the number of Black and female founders because as Groce points out the lack of founders in underrepresented groups is in part a networking problem. “In a business that’s predicated on networks if you don’t have diversity in the network, or the teams that are driving those networks, you just can’t make sure you’re seeing great talent across all ecosystems,” he said.

Diaine, who is French and started her career by founding Orange Fab, the corporate accelerator of the European Telco Orange, has brought her international business background to Storm where they helped her tune that experience to an investor focus and supported her as she learned the nuances of the investment side of the business.

“I don’t come from the VC world. I come from the innovative corporate world. So they had to train me and spend time getting me up to date. And they did spend so much time making sure I understood everything to make sure I got to this level,” she said.

Both partners bring their own unique views looking beyond Silicon Valley for investment opportunities. Diaine’s investment include a German, Brazilian and Portuguese company, while Groce’s investments include companies in Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle.

The two partners have also developed an algorithm to help find investments based on a number of online signals, something that has become more important during the pandemic when they couldn’t network in person.

“Frederik and I have been working on [an algorithm to find] what are the signals that you can identify online that will tell you this company’s doing well, this company growing.You have to have a nice set of startup search tracking [signals], but what do you track if you can’t just get the revenue in real time, which is impossible. So we’ve developed an algorithm that helps us identify some of these signals and create alerts on which startups we should pay attention to,” Diaine explained.

She says this data-driven approach should be helpful and augment their in-person efforts even after the pandemic is over and increase their overall efficiency in finding and tracking companies in their portfolios.

 


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Three critical PPC trends to watch for in 2021

February 28, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The PPC world is ever-changing. Today’s trends may not be in the picture tomorrow
  • People will start focusing more on the buyer’s journey and use it to its full potential
  • Automation and AI will be a key trend in 2021

Many things have turned topsy-turvy after witnessing a year full of unprecedented situations and multiple coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Companies are shifting to a remote-first culture, people prefer shopping online than going to a retail store, and in-person conversations have turned to video conversations. A lot has changed in the last year, even on the advertising and marketing turf. Marketers have started using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to create data-backed ads. They’ve started understanding the buyer’s journey and making the most of it. Here are three PPC trends that can potentially rock the boat in 2021.   

1. Google’s ad data hub will be a gold mine

Earlier in 2020, Google announced that they’d stop allowing third-party pixel tracking because of security concerns. The reliance on third-party pixels to check YouTube metrics led Google to invest in Ads Data Hub.

It is a custom analysis that aligns data with your specific objectives while maintaining privacy and security. It offers marketers a comprehensive analysis to measure the effectiveness of the ads across different screens. 

PPC trends - Google's data hub

Ads data hub will prove to be a gold mine for the marketers as it gives specific insights about the customer behavior and how they’re interacting with your ads. 

2. Understanding the buyer’s journey

A key aspect of a successful PPC campaign is to know how your customers behave to your ad in each step of your customer’s journey. Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey can help in creating a more effective PPC campaign. 

Here are the five stages of the customer’s buyer’s journey and how can make the most of it by creating PPC campaigns for each stage.  

Stage #1: Awareness

In this stage, customers learn about your business and offerings. People are looking for an answer to their question—there are looking for someone to solve their problem. So, their needs may or may not be well defined. 

How can you help? 

Help them figure out their needs and align your offers according to them. Use branded paid ads to garner their attention. Use keywords they’re using to search in their search queries. When they see your ad, it stirs curiosity in them, and it compels them to know more about your brand. 

Stage #2: Exploration

In this stage, the customer learns more about the answers to their problems. They are sure of their needs and know different ways to cater to them. They also deem you as one of the solution providers and are gauging whether you can solve their problems. They’re checking your company’s USP, reviews, social proof, and previous partnerships. 

How can you help? 

At this stage, you can engage with your customers and build a long-lasting relationship. You can also use Facebook lead ads for addressing your customer’s problems. You can also write a conversational copy having social proof, case study, and previous work. This will inculcate a sense of trust in them, and they’ll love to explore your offerings. 

Stage #3: Comparison

In this stage, the customer compares different offerings and finds the best fit. He now understands the pricing points, their reviews, and ratings. Hence, PPC remarketing ads can prove out to be a great bet here. You can evoke the customer to click on your ad and embed your “cookie.” This keeps your brand in front of your customer. 

Stage #4: Conversion

The customers have realized their needs. They have narrowed down their options and are ready to buy. This is where you can put a strong call to action in your ads to encourage them to purchase from you. A solid CTA will compel your customer to purchase from you. Besides, you can also use remarketing to ensure that the prospects buy only from you. 

Stage #5: Re-engagement

Finally, the prospect has become a customer. So, make efforts in retaining them. But how will you do that? Segment these customers into a new audience list and use remarketing ads to attract their attention for other products and services. 

Understanding each stage of the buyer’s journey will help you create a rock-solid PPC campaign. The more you know your customers, the better you can tailor your campaigns. 

3. Automation will play a crucial role

According to Statista, the market size of automation globally will increase from 71.5% to 83.2% by 2021.

PPC trends - Automation will take charge

Hence, automation is expected to be a game-changing trend in 2021. With AI and machine learning (ML), advertisers can automate labor-intensive tasks of finding the right place to display the ads. Automation will also play a crucial role in testing ads. It’ll be used to optimize ads that include:

  • Finding the best bidding strategy 
  • Creating bids to get maximum conversions 
  • Enhance cost per click by looking for ad auctions 
  • Monitor the ad performance and stop low-performing ads 
  • Prioritize the ads that are generating top results 
  • Generate ads dynamically using user behavior and website content 
  • Generate ad performance reports dynamically 
  • Generate ad data and create ad copies to generate maximum clicks 

As AI learns more about your audience’s behavior and how they interact with the ads, it can accurately create ads to improve your PPC campaign’s performance. 

Wrapping up 

As an advertiser, you must incorporate these PPC trends in your marketing strategy to get the most out of your campaigns. In 2021, AI and automation will take the front seat. People will focus on each stage of the buyer’s journey and use voice search to look for answers to their queries. There will be a surge in VR-enabled video ads. Marketers will also look for alternate PPC campaign platforms such as Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other such platforms to generate better ROI in 2021. Hence, it’s true to say that 2021 has a bunch of whole new things in its bag for you. All the best for taking up your digital marketing strategy a notch up!

Aayush Gupta is Sr. Manager, Brand & Marketing at Uplers.

The post Three critical PPC trends to watch for in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Daily Crunch: Facebook launches rap app

February 28, 2021 No Comments

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February 26, 2021.

The big story: Facebook launches rap app

The new BARS app was created by NPE Team (Facebook’s internal R&D group), allowing rappers to select from professionally created beats, and then create and share their own raps and videos. It includes autotune and will even suggest rhymes as you’re writing the lyrics.

This marks NPE Team’s second musical effort — the first was the music video app Collab. (It could also be seen as another attempt by Facebook to launch a TikTok competitor.) BARS is available in the iOS App Store in the U.S., with Facebook gradually admitting users off a waitlist.

The tech giants

Atlassian is acquiring Chartio to bring data visualization to the platform — Atlassian sees Chartio as a way to really take advantage of the data locked inside its products.

Yelp puts trust and safety in the spotlight — Yelp released its very first trust and safety report this week, with the goal of explaining the work that it does to crack down on fraudulent and otherwise inaccurate or unhelpful content.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Newsela, the replacement for textbooks, raises $ 100M and becomes a unicorn —  If Newsela is doing its job right, its third-party content can replace textbooks within a classroom altogether, while helping teachers provide fresh, personalized material.

Tim Hortons marks two years in China with Tencent investment — The Canadian coffee and doughnut giant has raised a new round of funding for its Chinese venture.

Sources: Lightspeed is close to hiring a new London-based partner to put down further roots in Europe — According to multiple sources, Paul Murphy is being hired away from Northzone.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

In freemium marketing, product analytics are the difference between conversion and confusion — Considering that most freemium providers see fewer than 5% of free users move to paid plans, even a slight improvement in conversion can translate to significant revenue gains.

As BNPL startups raise, a look at Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay earnings — With buy-now-pay-later options, consumers turn a one-time purchase into a limited string of regular payments.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Jamaica’s JamCOVID pulled offline after third security lapse exposed travelers’ data — JamCOVID was set up last year to help the government process travelers arriving on the island.

AT&T is turning DirecTV into a standalone company — AT&T says it will own 70% of the new company, while private equity firm TPG will own 30%.

How to ace the 1-hour, and ever-elusive, pitch presentation at TC Early Stage — Norwest’s Lisa Wu has a message for founders: Think like a VC during your pitch presentation.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

Mobile – TechCrunch


The Importance of Educating Clients in the PPC Marketing Industry

February 27, 2021 No Comments

When a Search Marketing Agency pitches a new client, they may provide them a complimentary audit, initial strategy overview, competitive analysis, etc… However, once the client signs on the dotted line and the work begins, more often than not, overt time the client slips into the dark with regard to the specifics. These specifics consist of the day-to-day “blocking and tackling” of PPC. (keyword matching, search queries, ctr%, quality score, competitive bidding, affiliate hijacking, etc…). When something goes wrong with an account (and is always does), the PPC Marketer/Agency needs to explain the cause and effect and it is that situation where the client needs to know what they hell they are talking about.

In this post, I will discuss some specific instances where it’s in the best interest of both parties to educate one another in order to not only grow the business, but to keep the relationship from turning sour.

Discuss What Metrics Matter Most

Regardless of how seasoned a client/prospect might be with regard to “PPC metric lingo”, it’s in the best interest of both parties to explain which metrics matter the most and why. Sometimes, Adwords metrics such as interactions, engagement rates, etc… are not exactly accurate on measuring success. Success is should identified by conversions. For example, take this scenario.

  • Increased Impressions: In general, one might think this is a good thing but depending on the targeting and platform, absolutely NOT and here’s why.
    • Search Networks: More impressions can reduce the CTR% which in turn lower Quality Score and hence, result in higher costs and worse AVG Position. This also results in additional “irrelevant” traffic that will drive up budgets and lower the overall Cost/Conversion.
    • Display Networks: Depending on the bidding options, (especially CPM) an increase in impressions will only drive up costs. Need to make sure CPC is set to this option.

The Influence of Competitors:

When a company enters the world of PPC Marketing, they will encounter competitors not only bidding on similar keywords, but also their “sacred” brand terms and this can have a detrimental effect on the overall performance of the account. It’s important to keep a watchful eye on this and develop strategies to counteract this problem. Here are some strategies to protect the brand:

  • Make sure the client files their trademark with Google to ensure no one else can use their trademarked term in text Ads.
  • Send an email/letter to all Affiliates and Resellers that they are NOT permitted to bid on the trademarked name in any of their Text/Banner Ads.
  • Contact competitors directly and ask them to stop bidding on their trademark terms. (if they do not oblige, getting legal assistance would be beneficial)

Attribution of other Online or Offline Advertising

Attribution can be a tricky thing to interpret, especially to a client, but it’s imperative to tell a story that makes sense. Understanding attribution varies depending on the life cycle of the client (history, offline advertising, social media presence, etc..). Typically, a new advertiser will have to rely on “non-brand” terms to drive the most relevant traffic to their product or service. Once history as been accumulated and more people get familiar with the brand, consumers will ultimately type in their brand name (Search Engine, Direct/Bookmark) to get to their site.

The client needs to understand that it will take time to grow their brand and that this is a revolving cycles. For example, “non-branded” terms are more costly and do not provide many conversions so we automatically want to pause the campaign. Bad Idea! Quite often, the “non-brand” terms are the first point of contact that introduce the brand. Yes, it costs more money, does not result in an immediate conversion, but over time it’s what generated the customer.

Importance of “After-the-Click”

Perfecting the fundamentals of Quality Score in a campaign is a good thing. Buuuut….. it’s only half the battle. The other half is persuading the customer to take an action and frankly that is the only thing that matters here. Even though the term “after-the-click” is simple in its meaning, execution is another story. It is this strategic obstacle that can be achieved, but requires constant and intelligent testing to ensure maximum effectiveness. Bottom line: The client needs to understand that in order to maximize their Ad dollars, they will need to the invest time and money into these strategies. The following Tactics would include:

  • A/B Landing Page Testing
  • Cart/Form Testing
  • Audience Testing
  • Promotion/Offer Testing

The Trust Factor:

It’s very easy for customers to trust the platform that they are advertising on. There is this “fuzzy / comfortable” feeling that if Google recommends it, then it must be a good strategy. However, I would strongly recommend that any of the Google’s Opportunities  (even though sometimes justified) need to be viewed as a just a suggestion, not an immediate decision. Remember, Google is a lucrative business because they want advertisers to spend more money with them. Increasing traffic and spend may sound good on paper, but they do not come with any guarantees in terms of conversions. When appropriate, clients need to understand the difference.

In Conclusion:

There is a “fine-line” that needs to be met where Agencies need to maintain control the PPC Accounts, while allowing the client to continue to interact and take part in the overall strategy. One way to overcome any potential issues is to educate them on all of the intricacies that may occur throughout the client-agency relationship. Once the client has developed a good rapport with the agency, it becomes easier to properly manage their performance expectations.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


Opinion News Found By Machine Learning at Google

February 27, 2021 No Comments

Opinion News in Top Stories Earlier this year, I wrote a post about news stories that are shown in carousels in Google Top Stories Are Chosen By Importance Scores The patent I wrote about in that post told us that Google may attempt to show opinion pieces related to topics that were being identified as … Read more

The post Opinion News Found By Machine Learning at Google appeared first on SEO by the Sea ⚓.


SEO by the Sea ⚓


Salesforce delivers, Wall Street doubts as stock falls 6.3% post-earnings

February 27, 2021 No Comments

Wall Street investors can be fickle beasts. Take Salesforce as an example. The CRM giant announced a $ 5.82 billion quarter when it reported earnings yesterday. Revenue was up 20% year over year. The company also reported $ 21.25 billion in total revenue for the just-closed FY2021, up 24% YoY. If that wasn’t enough, it raised its FY2022 guidance (its upcoming fiscal year) to over $ 25 billion. What’s not to like?

You want higher quarterly revenue, Salesforce gave you higher revenue. You want high growth and solid projected revenue — check and check. In fact, it’s hard to find anything to complain about in the report. The company is performing and growing at a rate that is remarkable for an organization of its size and maturity — and it is expected to continue to perform and grow.

How did Wall Street react to this stellar report? It punished the stock with the price down over 6%, a pretty dismal day considering the company brought home such a promising report card.

2/6/21 Salesforce stock report with stock down 6.31%

Image Credits: Google

So what is going on here? It could be that investors simply don’t believe the growth is sustainable or that the company overpaid when it bought Slack at the end of last year for over $ 27 billion. It could be it’s just people overreacting to a cooling market this week. But if investors are looking for a high-growth company, Salesforce is delivering that.

While Slack was expensive, it reported revenue over $ 250 million yesterday, pushing it over the $ 1 billion run rate with more than 100 customers paying over $ 1 million in ARR. Those numbers will eventually get added to Salesforce’s bottom line.

Canaccord Genuity analyst David Hynes Jr. wrote that he was baffled by investors’ reaction to this report. Like me, he saw a lot of positives. Yet Wall Street decided to focus on the negative, and see “the glass half empty,” as he put it in his note to investors.

“The stock is clearly in the show-me camp, which means it’s likely to take another couple of quarters for investors to buy into the idea that fundamentals are actually quite solid here, and that Slack was opportunistic (and yes, pricey), but not an attempt to mask suddenly deteriorating growth,” Hynes wrote.

During the call with analysts yesterday, Brad Zelnick from Credit Suisse asked how well the company could accelerate out of the pandemic-induced economic malaise, and Gavin Patterson, Salesforce’s president and chief revenue officer, says the company is ready whenever the world moves past the pandemic.

“And let me reassure you, we are building the capability in terms of the sales force. You’d be delighted to hear that we’re investing significantly in terms of our direct sales force to take advantage of that demand. And I’m very confident we’ll be able to meet it. So I think you’re hearing today a message from us all that the business is strong, the pipeline is strong and we’ve got confidence going into the year,” Patterson said.

While Salesforce execs were clearly pumped up yesterday with good reason, there’s still doubt out in investor land that manifested itself in the stock starting down and staying down all day. It will be, as Hynes suggested, up to Salesforce to keep proving them wrong. As long as they keep producing quarters like the one they had this week, they should be just fine, regardless of what the naysayers on Wall Street may be thinking today.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Data-backed insights on featured snippet optimization

February 27, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Around one-fifth of all keywords trigger a featured snippet
  • 99% of all featured snippets tend to appear within the first organic position and take over 50% of the screen on mobile devices, driving higher-than-average click-through rates (CTR)
  • The key to featured snippet optimization lies in a few specific areas: long-tail- and question-like keyword strategy, date marked content that comes at the right length and format, and a succinct URL structure

Google has always been pretty hazy on any details about winning featured snippets. This was the case when they were first introduced, making them something businesses considered to be the cherry on top of their SEO efforts, which is still largely the case. Having first-hand knowledge about the value and power of featured snippets, Brado teamed up with Semrush to conduct the most comprehensive research around featured snippet optimization to uncover how they really work, and what you can do to win them.

Revealing the highlights from a Featured snippets study that analyzed over a million SERPs with featured snippets present, this post unwraps actionable suggestions on amping up your optimization strategy to finally win that Google prize.

General patterns across the featured snippet landscape

With billions of search queries run through the Google search box each day, our study found that around 19 percent of keywords trigger a featured snippet. Why does this even matter? Featured snippets are known to drive higher CTR – as another study uncovered, they are responsible for over 35 percent of all clicks.

Further proving the immense power of featured snippets, our study showed that they take up over 50 percent of the SERP’s real estate on mobile screens.

Combine this with our findings that 99 percent of the time featured snippets take over the first organic position, and that they are in most cases triggered by long-tail keywords (implying specific user intent), and you’ll get the reason behind incredibly high CTR numbers.

Are some industries more likely to trigger featured snippets?

In the study, we defined industries by keyword categories, discovering that, indeed, featured snippet volume is inconsistent across various segments.

The top industry, seeing a featured snippet in 62 percent of all cases, is Travel and Computer & Electronics, followed by Arts & Entertainment (59 percent), and Science (54 percent), while Real Estate keywords lag behind all the rest with only 11 percent of keywords triggering a featured snippet.

featured snippet optimization insights on keyword categories that trigger

Yet on a domain level, the industry breakdown varies slightly, with Health and News sites having comparable featured snippet volumes.

You can discover the full industry breakdown within the study.

Featured snippets are all about earns, not wins

Just hoping your content will win you a featured snippet isn’t enough – as our study showed, it’s all about hard-earned content optimization results.

Throughout our in-depth featured snippet analysis, we pinpointed the following SEO best practices consistent across all featured snippets we’ve come across:

1. Optimize for long-tail keywords and questions

When it comes to optimization and keywords, employ ‘the more the better’ logic.

Our study found that 55.5 percent of featured snippets were triggered by 10-word keywords, while single-word ones only showed up 4.3 percent of the time.

One thing even better than long-tails is questions. In fact, 29 percent of keywords triggering a featured snippet begin with question words – “why” (78 percent), “can” (72 percent), “do” (67 percent), and in the fewest cases, “where” (19 percent).

featured snippet optimization insights on question keywords that trigger

2. Use the right content length and format

The SERPs we analyzed included four types of featured snippet: paragraphs, lists, tables, and videos:

  • 70 percent of the results showed paragraphs, with an average of 42 words and 249 characters
  • Lists came in as the second-most-frequent featured snippet (19 percent), with an average of 6 item counts and 44 words
  • Tables (6 percent) typically featured five rows and two columns
  • Videos, whose average duration stood at 6:39 mins, showed up in only 4.6 percent of all cases.

Of course, don’t blindly follow this data as the golden rule, rather see it as a good starting point for featured-snippet-minded content optimization.

Plus, keep in mind that content quality always prevails over quantity, so if you have a high-performing piece that features a 10-row table, Google will simply cut it down, showing the blue “More rows” link, which can even enhance your CTR.

3. Don’t overcomplicate your URL structure

As it turns out, URL length matters in Google’s choice of a site that deserves a featured snippet. Try to stick to neat site architecture, with 1-3 subfolders per URL, and you’ll be more likely to win.

Just for reference, here is an example of a URL with three subfolders:

xyz.com/subfolder1/subfolder2/subfolder3

4. Make frequent content updates

In the “to add or not to add a post date” dilemma, based on our featured snippet analysis, we’d suggest that you publish date marked content.

The majority of Google’s featured snippets include an article date, with the following breakdown: 47% of list-type featured snippets come from date-marked content, paragraphs – 44%, videos – 20%, and tables – 19% of the time.

While fresh-out-of-the-oven content can be favored by Google, 70% of all content making it into the featured snippet was anywhere from two to three years old (2018, 2019, 2020), meaning once again that content quality matters more than recency, so you shouldn’t worry that putting a date on it will work against you.

Take a deep-dive into the full Semrush study to learn more about featured snippets and discover the best way to create featured snippet hubs.

A.J. Ghergich is the CTO at Brado.

The post Data-backed insights on featured snippet optimization appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Atlassian is acquiring Chartio to bring data visualization to the platform

February 26, 2021 No Comments

The Atlassian platform is chock full of data about how a company operates and communicates. Atlassian launched a machine learning layer, which relies on data on the platform with the addition of Atlassian Smarts last fall. Today the company announced it was acquiring Chartio to add a new data analysis and visualization component to the Atlassian family of products. The companies did not share a purchase price.

The company plans to incorporate Chartio technology across the platform, starting with Jira. Before being acquired, Chartio has generated its share of data, reporting that 280,000 users have created 10.5 million charts for 540,000 dashboards pulled from over 100,000 data sources.

Atlassian sees Chartio as way to bring that data visualization component to the platform and really take advantage of the data locked inside its products. “Atlassian products are home to a treasure trove of data, and our goal is to unleash the power of this data so our customers can go beyond out-of-the-box reports and truly customize analytics to meet the needs of their organization,” Zoe Ghani, head of product experience at platform at Atlassian wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Chartio co-founder and CEO Dave Fowler wrote in a blog post on his company website that the two companies started discussing a deal late last year, which culminated in today’s announcement. As is often the case in these deals, he is arguing that his company will be better off as part of large organization like Atlassian with its vast resources than it would have been by remaining stand-alone.

“While we’ve been proudly independent for years, the opportunity to team up our technology with Atlassian’s platform and massive reach was incredibly compelling. Their product-led go to market, customer focus and educational marketing have always been aspirational for us,” Fowler wrote.

As for Chartio customers unfortunately, according to a notice on the company website, the product is going to be going away next year, but customers will have plenty of time to export the data to another tool. The notice includes a link to instructions on how to do this.

Chartio was founded in 2010, and participated in the Y Combinator Summer 2010 cohort. It raised a modest $ 8.03 million along the way, according to Pitchbook data.


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Daily Crunch: Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions

February 26, 2021 No Comments

Twitter reveals its move into paid subscriptions, Australia passes its media bargaining law and Coinbase files its S-1. This is your Daily Crunch for February 25, 2021.

The big story: Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions

Twitter announced its first paid product at an investor event today, showing off screenshots of a feature that will allow users to subscribe to their favorite creators in exchange for things like exclusive content, subscriber-only newsletters and a supporter badge.

The company also announced a feature called Communities, which could compete with Facebook Groups and enable Super Follow networks to interact, plus a Safety Mode for auto-blocking and muting abusive accounts. On top of all that, Twitter said it plans to double revenue by 2023.

Not announced: launch dates for any of these features.

The tech giants

After Facebook’s news flex, Australia passes bargaining code for platforms and publishers — This requires platform giants like Facebook and Google to negotiate to remunerate local news publishers for their content.

New Facebook ad campaign extols the benefits of personalized ads — The sentiments are similar to a campaign that Facebook launched last year in opposition to Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Sergey Brin’s airship aims to use world’s biggest mobile hydrogen fuel cell — The Google co-founder’s secretive airship company LTA Research and Exploration is planning to power a huge disaster relief airship with an equally record-breaking hydrogen fuel cell.

Coinbase files to go public in a key listing for the cryptocurrency category — Coinbase’s financials show a company that grew rapidly from 2019 to 2020 while also crossing the threshold into unadjusted profitability.

Boosted by the pandemic, meeting transcription service Otter.ai raises $ 50M — With convenient timing, Otter.ai added Zoom integration back in April 2020.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market — The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DOCN.”

Pilot CEO Waseem Daher tears down his company’s $ 60M Series C pitch deck — For founders aiming to entice investors, the pitch deck remains the best way to communicate their startup’s progress and potential.

Five takeaways from Coinbase’s S-1 — We dig into Coinbase’s user numbers, its asset mix, its growing subscription incomes, its competitive landscape and who owns what in the company.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Paramount+ will cost $ 4.99 per month with ads — The new streaming service launches on March 4.

Register for TC Sessions: Justice for a conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup world — This is just one week away!

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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