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Monthly Archives: April 2021

6 Backlinking Strategies to Boost Your Traffic and Domain Authority in 2021

April 30, 2021 No Comments

80% of SEO professionals agree that link-building is a highly effective tactic. Learn the most effective backlinking strategies and how to use them in 2021.

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Cloud infrastructure market keeps rolling in Q1 with almost $40B in revenue

April 30, 2021 No Comments

Conventional wisdom over the last year has suggested that the pandemic has driven companies to the cloud much faster than they ever would have gone without that forcing event with some suggesting it has compressed years of transformation into months. This quarter’s cloud infrastructure revenue numbers appear to be proving that thesis correct.

With The Big Three — Amazon, Microsoft and Google — all reporting this week, the market generated almost $ 40 billion in revenue, according to Synergy Research data. That’s up $ 2 billion from last quarter and up 37% over the same period last year. Canalys’s numbers were slightly higher at $ 42 billion.

As you might expect if you follow this market, AWS led the way with $ 13.5 billion for the quarter up 32% year over year. That’s a run rate of $ 54 billion. While that is an eye-popping number, what’s really remarkable is the yearly revenue growth, especially for a company the size and maturity of Amazon. The law of large numbers would suggest this isn’t sustainable, but the pie keeps growing and Amazon continues to take a substantial chunk.

Overall AWS held steady with 32% market share. While the revenue numbers keep going up, Amazon’s market share has remained firm for years at around this number. It’s the other companies down market that are gaining share over time, most notably Microsoft which is now at around 20% share good for about $ 7.8 billion this quarter.

Google continues to show signs of promise under Thomas Kurian, hitting $ 3.5 billion good for 9% as it makes a steady march towards double digits. Even IBM had a positive quarter, led by Red Hat and cloud revenue good for 5% or about $ 2 billion overall.

Synergy Research cloud infrastructure bubble map for Q1 2021. AWS is leader, followed by Microsoft and Google.

Image Credits: Synergy Research

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy says that even though AWS and Microsoft have firm control of the market, that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made by the companies playing behind them.

“These two don’t have to spend too much time looking in their rearview mirrors and worrying about the competition. However, that is not to say that there aren’t some excellent opportunities for other players. Taking Amazon and Microsoft out of the picture, the remaining market is generating over $ 18 billion in quarterly revenues and growing at over 30% per year. Cloud providers that focus on specific regions, services or user groups can target several years of strong growth,” Dinsdale said in a statement.

Canalys, another firm that watches the same market as Synergy had similar findings with slight variations, certainly close enough to confirm one another’s findings. They have AWS with 32%, Microsoft 19%, and Google with 7%.

Canalys market share chart with Amazon with 32%, Microsoft 19% and Google 7%

Image Credits: Canalys

Canalys analyst Blake Murray says that there is still plenty of room for growth, and we will likely continue to see big numbers in this market for several years. “Though 2020 saw large-scale cloud infrastructure spending, most enterprise workloads have not yet transitioned to the cloud. Migration and cloud spend will continue as customer confidence rises during 2021. Large projects that were postponed last year will resurface, while new use cases will expand the addressable market,” he said.

The numbers we see are hardly a surprise anymore, and as companies push more workloads into the cloud, the numbers will continue to impress. The only question now is if Microsoft can continue to close the market share gap with Amazon.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


A Wildlife Photographer Critiqued Our New Pokémon Snap Photos

April 30, 2021 No Comments

WIRED asked Melissa Groo, an acclaimed conservation photographer and author, to judge our snapshots of wild Pichus and Torchics. It didn’t go well.
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Seven first-party data capturing opportunities your business is missing out on

April 30, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Third-party data is being phased out by big tech, making first-party data indispensable
  • First-party data is willingly provided by users, helping you build a consumer profile
  • Internet users are cautious about providing their data but will do if rewarded
  • Tracking pixels, CRM platforms, surveys, and encouraging interaction and registrations are all effective ways to capture first-party data
  • First-party data must be used responsibly, repaying the trust placed in a business by consumers

When doing business online, data is arguably the greatest currency of all. By obtaining reliable data about your target audience, an effective and bespoke marketing plan can be devised. This will convince customers that you understand their unique needs, desires, and pain points.

Alas, not all data is created equal. As the influence of the internet grows, and the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to reverberate, consumer privacy is more important than ever. Any online business needs to build a consumer profile in an ethical, reliable manner. This makes the collection of first-party data critical.

What is first-party data?

First-party data is consumer information collated directly by your business, based on user behavior. This data can be used to build a profile of your target audience, tailoring your marketing and user experience accordingly.

What is the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data?

As discussed, first-party data is user information collated directly from your website. We will discuss how you can obtain first-party data shortly. Let’s clarify the difference between this approach and second- or third-party data, though.

Second-party data is essentially the first-party data collated by another business. This may be shared between two websites for an agreed common good. However, second-party data remains private. It will not be made available to the public and cannot be purchased.

Third-party data is that which you purchase, usually from a data management platform (DMP) or consumer data platform (CDP). These platforms harvest data from users based on their online habits. These are known as tracking cookies. It is important to note that third-party data is not gained through any personal relationship with consumers.

The use of third-party data is slowly being phased out. Internet users are growingly increasingly security-conscious and are looking to shape online privacy policies. Google has announced that they will be removing third-party cookies from 2022, while the Firefox and Safari browsers have all already done so. With Google Chrome accounting for some 65 percent of global web browser traffic, the impact of this will be keenly felt.

In essence, third-party data is a dying art, and second-party data ultimately belongs to somebody else. This means that first-party data collation should be a priority for any online business, now and in the future.

How does first-party data help a business?

As intimated previously, first-party data is used to build a consumer profile. Think of this as market research straight from the horse’s mouth. By monitoring how users interact with your web presence, you can offer them more of what they want – and less of what will not interest, or even alienate, them. After all, there is little to gain by marketing a steakhouse restaurant to somebody that exclusively shows interest in a vegan lifestyle.

Perhaps the most effective example of marketing through first-party data is Amazon. We’ve likely all purchased something from Jeff Bezos’ empire at one time or other. Even if a conversion was not completed, you may have browsed the products on offer. Amazon uses this data to build personalized recommendations on your next visit.

It’s not just a tool for direct interaction on a website, though. First-party data is also invaluable for advertising. By learning about the habits of a user, tailored marketing can reach them on social media. This is a powerful form of inbound marketing that piques consumer interest.

Consumers that have previously been exclusively interested in red circles may be tempted to experiment with a blue triangle, but they are likelier to stick to type. By embracing first-party data, you can meet customer needs before they ask. This is a cornerstone of success, especially in the competitive world of online commerce. After all, 63 percent of customers now expect at least some measure of personalization from any service provider.

Creative ways to capture first-party data

Capturing first-party data is a delicate art. With consumers wary about how much the tech industry knows about them, this data may not be provided freely. You’ll need to offer something in return. 90 percent of consumers will willingly offer first-party data if you make it worth their while.

Most importantly, you’ll need to be transparent about how first-party data is captured and used. Consumers are wary by default, and you’ll need to earn their trust. An open acknowledgment of the data you collect, and how it will be used, is the first step to achieving this faith.

Seven great opportunities to capture first-party data

Let’s discuss some ways to help your business obtain first-party data that will help elevate your business to the next level.

1. Add tracking pixels to a website

Tracking pixels are tiny – usually no bigger than 1 x 1 – pixels that users rarely notice. These are installed in websites through coding and collate first-party data about user habits.

This could include what pages are viewed, the adverts that garner interest, and personal information such as whether the user browses through a mobile or desktop appliance.

This all sounds like cookies, but there is a crucial difference. Cookies can be disabled or cleared, as they are saved within the browser of the server. A tracking pixel is native to your website, so it will capture data from every visit, regardless of what settings the user enables.

2. Use a CRM platform

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is growing increasingly popular with online businesses. Chatbots are perhaps the best example of this. Chatbots are not for everybody – many consumers still prefer to interact with a human – but 90 percent of businesses claim that chatbots have enhanced the speed and efficiency of problem resolution.

What’s more, chatbots effortlessly capture first-party data. If a user has an issue or concern, they may grow weary of waiting on hold on the phone for 15 minutes and hang up. That lead is now potentially lost forever, and you’ll never know what they were looking for. Even if a chatbot cannot encourage a user to convert, you’ll have an idea of what they were interested in. This will aid in targeted marketing and user personalization in the future.

3. Reward users for sharing their data with you

As mentioned previously, customers want to be rewarded for their exchange of data. Ideally, this will be an immediate, tangible reward such as a discount. At the very least, provide evidence that you are personalizing your service to unique consumer needs.

Not every business will be able to offer immediate fiscal motivation to every user. There are other ways to reward consumers, though. Monthly giveaways are a good example, especially when advertised and managed through social media. Encourage people to like and share a post, promising to provide an incentive to one lucky winner at the end of the month.

This is easily dismissed as a cynical marketing ploy, so you’ll need to follow through on your promise. More importantly, you’ll need to make it clear that you have done so. If consumers believe that they are in with a shot of something for nothing, though, they are likelier to consider the use of their data a fair exchange.

4. Encourage interaction

Buzzfeed may not the first place many look for hard-hitting journalism, but it enjoyed stellar traffic for many years. Why? Because it encouraged interaction through goofy online quizzes that offered easy ways to harvest consumer data.

This isn’t necessarily a model for every website to follow. You need to protect your brand reputation. Inviting people to learn which pizza topping defines them best may do more harm than good. Similar exercises surrounding your business may encourage interaction though. A quiz about your business sector, promising a reward for completion, will attract interest.

Any competent SEO services agency will tell you that quizzes and other interactive elements on a page can also have the bonus of helping with SEO. This is because an important metric for Google when evaluating the quality of your website is “time spent on page”. If Google can see that your visitors are spending several minutes looking at a page, then this is a positive signal that the page is engaging and interesting to visitors.

Another strategy could be unlockable social media posts. Consumers will be intrigued about what you are offering behind a shield. Paywalls are likely to deter, but promising content-centric rewards if people share their data can be effective – if the result is worth the sacrifice.

5. Conduct surveys

The march of technology ensures that all consumers now have a voice. They expect this to be heard. Never lose sight of the fact that consumers hold the power in the 21st Century. Negative reviews of products and services can cost a business up to 80 percent of potential conversions.

The simplest way to achieve this is by issuing surveys to your existing customers, and even potential leads. Do not expect a 100% return rate, especially if you do not offer a reward for the time of consumers. Some will leap at the chance to express their opinions though, providing you with valuable first-party insights.

6. Encourage registration

If you run an ecommerce website, conversions are the most important bottom line of all. This means that many businesses will, understandably, offer services that increase the likelihood of making a sale. This could include guest checkout, a policy preferred by half of all online consumers.

The issue with guest checkout is that it captures less data than signing a customer up. Many consumers choose guest checkout as it’s faster, provides more privacy (especially when paying with an e-wallet rather than a credit card), and – theoretically – protects their inbox from unwanted marketing communication.

As we have established though, many consumers will provide data if you offer something in return. The most popular example of this is a discount on the first purchase. Couple this with a promise of personalized offers and an enhanced shopping experience and you’re likelier to see more sign-ups.

Just be careful about what data you are asking for. Be sure to explain why information is important. Unless a credit check is necessary, for example, many customers may be reluctant to share their date of birth. If you promise to offer exclusive offers around their birthday, however, your argument will be much more persuasive.

7. Host events

Younger consumers value experience over results. The days of gaining unstinting loyalty through providing goods or services at an affordable price are over. The rise of social media, and its omnipresence in the lives of Millennials and Generation Z, means that a personal connection is required.

Live events can provide this. Host an AMA, whereby a senior figure of your business answers questions about your practices. This can also be a great way to reassure consumers that you operate in a sustainable, socially conscious manner – something hugely important to many modern consumers. A live product launch can be another way to attract users.

How does this benefit first-party data? Attending the event will require registration. Even if the number of sign-ups is not mirrored by the eventual attendees, you have gained valuable data. You will also capture insights from those that do attend the event, especially if you encourage interaction.

Mistakes to avoid when capturing first-party data

As we have been at pains to point out, consumer data is a sensitive subject. First-party data is invaluable, but it must be obtained without betraying the trust of consumers. Here are some key pitfalls to avoid in your data collection strategy.

  • Do not ask for something for nothing. Data sharing needs to be a quid pro quo exchange
  • Avoid getting too personal – only seek data that is relevant to your business model
  • Be clear about how the data will be used, offering consumers the opportunity to opt-out if this is their preference
  • Shout from the rooftops about your privacy policies. Users can never be made to feel too safe
  • Use the data responsibly, offering value to consumers and not abusing the information you have gained. Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. As Google discovered, unethical use of data that breaches trust can also be very costly

Is your website making the best use of first-party data? Do you have any additional creative suggestions of how this information can be ethically sourced? These are the questions that will define the success of your business going forward. Be sure to hop onto the first-party data train now. It has already left the station and is rapidly picking up speed.

Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

The post Seven first-party data capturing opportunities your business is missing out on appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Healthcare is the next wave of data liberation

April 29, 2021 No Comments

Why can we see all our bank, credit card and brokerage data on our phones instantaneously in one app, yet walk into a doctor’s office blind to our healthcare records, diagnoses and prescriptions? Our health status should be as accessible as our checking account balance.

The liberation of financial data enabled by startups like Plaid is beginning to happen with healthcare data, which will have an even more profound impact on society; it will save and extend lives. This accessibility is quickly approaching.

As early investors in Quovo and PatientPing, two pioneering companies in financial and healthcare data, respectively, it’s evident to us the winners of the healthcare data transformation will look different than they did with financial data, even as we head toward a similar end state.

For over a decade, government agencies and consumers have pushed for this liberation.

This push for greater data liquidity coincides with demand from consumers for better information about cost and quality.

In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) gave the first big industry push, catalyzing a wave of digitization through electronic health records (EHR). Today, over 98% of medical records are digitized. This market is dominated by multibillion‐dollar vendors like Epic, Cerner and Allscripts, which control 70% of patient records. However, these giant vendors have yet to make these records easily accessible.

A second wave of regulation has begun to address the problem of trapped data to make EHRs more interoperable and valuable. Agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services have mandated data sharing among payers and providers using a common standard, the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) protocol.

Image Credits: F-Prime Capital

This push for greater data liquidity coincides with demand from consumers for better information about cost and quality. Employers have been steadily shifting a greater share of healthcare expenses to consumers through high-deductible health plans — from 30% in 2012 to 51% in 2018. As consumers pay for more of the costs, they care more about the value of different health options, yet are unable to make those decisions without real-time access to cost and clinical data.

Image Credits: F-Prime Capital

Tech startups have an opportunity to ease the transmission of healthcare data and address the push of regulation and consumer demands. The lessons from fintech make it tempting to assume that a Plaid for healthcare data would be enough to address all of the challenges within healthcare, but it is not the right model. Plaid’s aggregator model benefited from a relatively high concentration of banks, a limited number of data types and low barriers to data access.

By contrast, healthcare data is scattered across tens of thousands of healthcare providers, stored in multiple data formats and systems per provider, and is rarely accessed by patients directly. Many people log into their bank apps frequently, but few log into their healthcare provider portals, if they even know one exists.

HIPPA regulations and strict patient consent requirements also meaningfully increase friction to data access and sharing. Financial data serves mostly one-to-one use cases, while healthcare data is a many-to-many problem. A single patient’s data is spread across many doctors and facilities and is needed by just as many for care coordination.

Because of this landscape, winning healthcare technology companies will need to build around four propositions:


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Facebook hid posts calling for PM Modi’s resignation in India ‘by mistake’

April 29, 2021 No Comments

Updated at 1.17am IST, Thursday: Facebook comms Andy Stone said the company has restored the posts and is “looking into what happened.”

Updated at 5.50am IST, Thursday: Facebook says it temporarily blocked the hashtag by “mistake” and “not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it.”

Original story follows.

Facebook has temporarily hidden all posts with the hashtag “ResignModi” in India, days after the U.S. social juggernaut — along with Twitter — complied with an order from New Delhi to censor some posts critical of Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

On its website, Facebook said it had hidden posts with the “ResignModi” hashtag because some of those violated its community standards — and not because of any legal order. (A search for “ResignModi” is currently returning some results for users in the U.S.)

Tweets with “#ResignModi”, at the time of publication, were visible in India. With over 450 million WhatsApp users and nearly 400 million Facebook users, India is the largest market for the social company by the size of userbase.

COVID cases have surged in the South Asian nation in recent days, prompting many citizens to air their frustrations at the government on social channels as they struggle to find empty beds, oxygen supplies and medicines in hospitals. India reported over 360,000 new infection cases on Wednesday.

Image Credits: Screengrab by TechCrunch

Facebook, which didn’t respond to a request for comment over censorship of posts in India over the weekend, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.


Social – TechCrunch


Why Startups Need Diversification In Digital Marketing

April 29, 2021 No Comments

If there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification…  and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.

Set Realistic Expectations:

As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!

Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:

It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.

  • Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
    • Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
    • More continuous visibility.
    • Expectations are set to branding only.
  • Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
    • Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
    • High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
    • Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.

Monetize Everything

This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.

In Conclusion:

Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.

The post Why Startups Need Diversification In Digital Marketing appeared first on .



DigitalOcean says customer billing data accessed in data breach

April 29, 2021 No Comments

DigitalOcean has emailed customers warning of a data breach involving customers’ billing data, TechCrunch has learned.

The cloud infrastructure giant told customers in an email on Wednesday, obtained by TechCrunch, that it has “confirmed an unauthorized exposure of details associated with the billing profile on your DigitalOcean account.” The company said the person “gained access to some of your billing account details through a flaw that has been fixed” over a two-week window between April 9 and April 22.

The email said customer billing names and addresses were accessed, as well as the last four digits of the payment card, its expiry date and the name of the card-issuing bank. The company said that customers’ DigitalOcean accounts were “not accessed,” and passwords and account tokens were “not involved” in this breach.

“To be extra careful, we have implemented additional security monitoring on your account. We are expanding our security measures to reduce the likelihood of this kind of flaw occuring [sic] in the future,” the email said.

DigitalOcean said it fixed the flaw and notified data protection authorities, but it’s not clear what the apparent flaw was that put customer billing information at risk.

In a statement, DigitalOcean’s security chief Tyler Healy said 1% of billing profiles were affected by the breach, but declined to address our specific questions, including how the vulnerability was discovered and which authorities have been informed.

Companies with customers in Europe are subject to GDPR and can face fines of up to 4% of their global annual revenue.

Last year, the cloud company raised $ 100 million in new debt, followed by another $ 50 million round, months after laying off dozens of staff amid concerns about the company’s financial health. In March, the company went public, raising about $ 775 million in its initial public offering. 


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Boasting a pedigree in business intelligence, Sweep launches a new carbon accounting and offset tool

April 29, 2021 No Comments

If businesses are going to meet their increasingly aggressive targets for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations, they’re going to have to have an accurate picture of just what those emissions look like. To get that picture, companies are increasingly turning to businesses like Sweep, which announced its commercial launch today.

The Parisian company boasts a founding team with an impeccable pedigree in enterprise software. Co-founders Rachel Delacour and Nicolas Raspal were the co-founders of BIME Analytics, which was acquired by Zendesk. And together with Zendesk colleagues Raphael Güller and Yannick Chaze, and the founder of the Net Zero Initiative, Renaud Bettin, they’ve created a software toolkit that gives companies a visually elegant view into not just a company’s own carbon emissions, but those of their suppliers as well.

It’s the background of the team that first attracted investors like Pia d’Iribarne, co-founder and managing partner, New Wave, which made their first climate-focused investment into the software developer. 

We decided to invest before we even closed the fund,” d’Iribarne said of the investment in Sweep. “We officially invested in December or January.”

New Wave wasn’t the only investor wowed by the company’s prospects. The new European climate-focused investment firm 2050, and La Famiglia, a fund with strong ties to big European industrial companies, also participated alongside several undisclosed angel investors from the Bay Area. In all Sweep raked in $ 5 million for its product before it had even launched a beta.

Sweep offers users the ability to visualize each location of a company’s business by brand, location, product or division and see how those different granular operations contribute to a company’s overall carbon footprint. Users can also link those nodes to external suppliers and distributors to share carbon data. 

The effects of climate change are increasing, and companies across industries are motivated to do their part. But today’s carbon reduction efforts are being stalled by complex tools and resources that can’t match the urgency of the threat. By putting automation, connectivity and collaboration at the heart of the platform, Sweep is the first to offer companies an efficient mechanism to tackle their indirect Scope 3 emissions, and turn net zero from a buzzword into a reality. 

Like the other companies that have come on the market with carbon monitoring and management solutions, Sweep also offers the ability to finance offset projects directly from its platform. And, like those other companies, Sweep’s offsets are primarily in the forestry space.   

“Around the world, companies are under pressure from customers, investors and regulators to take action to reduce their emissions,” said Pia d’Iribarne in a statement. “As a result, we’re seeing unprecedented growth in the climate technology market and we expect it to continue to explode. What used to be an issue confined to a company’s sustainability team is now a front-and-center business objective that has the commitment of the CEO. We invested in Sweep because of their world-class expertise in sustainability and their success in developing state-of-the-art, end-to-end SaaS platforms. It’s the right team and the right product at the right time.”


Startups – TechCrunch


5 Ways To Lower Your Facebook Ads CPC

April 27, 2021 No Comments

Facts you should know about how Facebook Ads work and five effective ways to lower the CPC rates and gain more profit in your online business.

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