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6 Tips to Get TikTok Advertising to the Next Level

February 28, 2022 No Comments

Where do you start with TikTok advertising and marketing? We’ve listed six essential tips to ensure your TikTok advertising reaches the next level. Read on!

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The Golden Ticket Giveaway is here to find its way to our next PPC hero!

January 5, 2022 No Comments

The Golden Ticket Giveaway is here to find its way to our next PPC hero. Enter to win today!

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Fortnite’s mystery ‘superstar’ virtual music tour kicks off next week

August 2, 2021 No Comments

Epic Games is teasing the biggest in-game event since Travis Scott psychedelically stomped through Fortnite’s virtual meadows.

The mysterious new event, which Fortnite-maker Epic is calling the “Rift Tour,” will kick off on Friday, August 6 and run through Sunday, August 8. In the teaser announcement, Epic invites players to “take a musical journey into magical new realities where Fortnite and a record-breaking superstar collide.”

In-game events building up to the mystery show series will run from July 29 through August 8, so players can hop into Fortnite to check out new Rift Tour-themed quests and rewards now. The cotton-candy-colored event will offer a custom loading screen and a fluffy cloud kitty emoticon, among other digital prizes.

The Rift Tour isn’t a one-and-done event. Like the Travis Scott event, Fortnite will host five different show times across three days to make it easier for players to catch. Epic says they’ll have more details to share on Monday, August 2, so Fortnite players will have to wait for more hints or an official announcement about who’s performing.

So … who’s performing? So far, all signs point to Ariana Grande. Leakers have been saying as much for more than a week, and the documents revealed through Epic’s court battle with Apple also detailed plans for in-game events with both Grande and Lady Gaga.

Fortnite Rift Tour

Image Credits: Epic Games

At Forbes, Paul Tassi also connected the dots on how recent leaks point to Grande, including some visual themes from her music videos and a reference to her pet pig Piggy Smalls.

Since Epic is calling its latest virtual event a tour, that suggests Grande won’t be alone, if she is indeed the mystery superstar. A Lady Gaga appearance could also be in the cards, since Epic apparently had plans for Gaga to appear in a December 2020 concert that never materialized. Kanye West is also releasing his newest album on August 6, but it seems less likely that Epic would be willing to partner with West given his myriad recent controversies. And “Donda,” West’s latest album, was originally scheduled for a different date before being delayed.

Whoever it winds up being, we’ll likely know more on Monday. Even if you’re not a Grande fan or a regular gamer, Fortnite’s in-game concerts are some of the most creative and visually exciting virtual events to date.

Everyone should fall through the metaverse with their friends while a skyscraper-sized virtual rapper shoots neon lightning bolts at least once.


Social – TechCrunch


Tiny handheld Playdate preorders open next month for $179, with 24 charming monochrome games to start

July 21, 2021 No Comments

Playdate, app and game designer Panic’s first shot at hardware, finally has a firm price and ship date, as well as a bunch of surprise features cooked up since its announcement in 2019. The tiny handheld gaming console will cost $ 179, ship later this year and come with a 24-game “season” doled out over 12 weeks. But now it also has a cute speaker dock and low-code game creation platform.

We first heard about Playdate more than two years ago, were charmed by its clean look, funky crank control, and black and white display, and have been waiting for news ever since. Panic’s impeccable design credentials combined with Teenage Engineering’s creative hardware chops? It’s bound to be a joy to use, but there wasn’t much more than that to go on.

Now the company has revealed all the important details we were hoping for, and many more, to boot.

The Playdate handheld with a person playing a game on it.

Image Credits: Panic

Originally we were expecting 12 games to be delivered over 12 weeks, but in the intervening period it seems they’ve collected more titles than planned, and that initial “season” of games has expanded to 24. No one knows exactly what to expect from these games except that they’re exclusive to the Playdate and many use the crank mechanic in what appear to be fun and interesting ways: turning a turntable, opening a little door, doing tricks as a surfer, and so on.

The team hasn’t decided how future games will be distributed, though they seem to have some ideas. Another season? One-off releases? Certainly the presence of a new game by one-man indie hit parade Lucas Pope would sell like hotcakes.

Screenshots of the Pulp game creation tool.

Image Credits: Panic

But the debut of a new lo-fi game development platform called Pulp suggests a future where self-publishing may also be an option. This lovely little web-based tool lets anyone put together a game using presets for things like controls and actions, and may prove to be a sort of tiny Twine in time.

A dock accessory was announced as well, something to keep your Playdate front and center on your desk. The speaker-equipped dock, also a lemony yellow, acts as a magnetic charging cradle for the console, activating a sort of stationary mode with a clock and music player (Poolsuite.fm, apparently, with original relaxing tunes). It even has two holes in which to put your pens (and Panic made a special yellow pen just for the purpose as well).

Playdate attached to its little cubical dock.

Image Credits: Panic

The $ 179 price may cause some to balk — after all, it’s considerably more than a Nintendo 3DS and with the dock probably approaches the price of a Switch. But this isn’t meant to be a competitor with mainstream gaming — instead, it’s a sort of anti-establishment system that embraces weirdness and provides something equally unfamiliar and undeniably fun.

The team says that there will be a week’s warning before orders can be placed, and that they don’t plan to shut orders down if inventory runs out, but simply allow people to preorder and cancel at will until they receive their unit. Shipping will begin in late 2021, and if the 20,000 units in the initial run don’t cover it, they’ll make more and ship as they come in.

We hope to get one ourselves to test and review, but since part of the charm of the whole thing is the timed release and social aspect of discovery and sharing, it’s more than likely we’ll be experiencing it along with everyone else.

(This article originally stated Playdate ships next month, but it will actually ship later — preorders begin next month.)

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign

June 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • To ensure organic visibility for your seasonal pages, start creating, optimizing, and analyzing them now
  • Start creating, organizing, and scheduling seasonal content assets now for a head-start when it’s time to start focusing on driving sales
  • Evaluate your past seasonal content performance to be able to recycle, update, and possibly even expand them into standalone projects
  • Research your competitive tactics to evaluate how they utilize seasonality in their digital marketing strategy
  • Create a detailed editorial calendar to plan out all assignments and deadlines to “catch” the rising interest in seasonal content and deals

Summer is a slow season for many businesses, especially those in a B2B niche. If things are a bit slow for you now, here’s an idea – Use these quiet months to turn your next big season into a huge boost for your business. Here is how you can start preparing for your next big seasonal content marketing campaign now:

1. Check your seasonal rankings now

Do you have a page (or pages) offering seasonal deals, gift ideas, and special offers? The demand for this type of content may be seasonal but its rankings should be permanent. That’s why I always advise against removing these pages or even delinking them throughout the site.

You want those pages to always be accessed by Google for your rankings to be there when the searches start climbing.

If you cannot find your site ranking for your target seasonal queries, it is time to set them up even if the actual season is still months ahead.

Seasonal campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Furthermore, Spyfu offers a comprehensive analysis of all SERP movements for you to identify important patterns and spot a competitor that was doing the best job retaining their organic visibility for seasonal search queries:

SERP analysis of seasonal marketing campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about this feature here.

When it comes to SEO, seasonality can be tricky but it definitely needs to be planned ahead as organic SEO takes time to yield results.

2. Start creating seasonal assets (content and social)

Your high season is going to be a busy time for you and your team, so while planning your upcoming campaigns, start creating (and even scheduling) your content assets beforehand.

When brainstorming seasons content ideas, I always turn to Text Optimizer that does a great job suggesting related concepts and angles to focus on:

Semantic search for seasonal content ideas

Source: Screenshot created by the author

The tool relies on semantic analysis.

Content marketing involves a lot of channels, so the more you are prepared, the easier (and more productive) your seasonal campaign will turn out to be.

Furthermore, there are a few cross-channel content marketing tools that can help create and organize your seasonal content. For example, Boosted by Lightricks allows you to easily create festive videos in multiple formats:

Formats for cross channel marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

This way you can create content assets that will fit all of your channels. There’s also a handy Brand Kit feature allowing you to maintain a consistent visual identity throughout all your assets:

Creating a brand kit for seasonal campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

The app is available on iPhone and Android for free. You can choose to upgrade for $ 4.99 per month. I for one have been using the free tier (and the above screenshots are taken when using the free version of the app).

The platform also offers a list of seasonal content ideas and hashtags to make your campaign even more effective.

There are a few more video creation apps out there but I don’t think any of them let you access so many great features for free.

Another great content creation tool that gives you lots of free features for free is, of course, Canva. I’ve been using Canva for free for as long as I can remember without ever having to upgrade.

Christmas campaignsSource: Screenshot created by the author

Here’s the guide on planning a Christmas marketing campaign.

3. Evaluate your past seasonal campaign performance

If you were publicizing any seasonal content over the years, find all of it to:

  • Explore an opportunity for an update (“Can I reuse this asset this year?” as well as “How can I make it better?”)
  • Evaluate how effective it was in attracting traffic as well as turning those clicks into conversions

Google Analytics offers an easy way to identify landing pages that did the best job attracting traffic during any period:

  • Go to the Acquisition report and select one channel (for example, “social” or “organic search”)
  • Select the date range of your seasonal campaign from the last year
  • (Optionally) Check the box “Compare” and select “Previous year” from the drop-down
  • Click “Landing page” tab in the chart below:

Analyzing past seasonal campaigns' performance in Google AnalyticsSource: Screenshot created by the author

This gives you an at-a-glance report of the highest traffic page from your previous campaigns. You can further narrow it down by using word filters (for example, type “blog” there to see your best performing seasonal content).

To analyze conversions, you can use Google Analytics goals and funnels. Another tool I am using to closely monitor incoming traffic and its conversions is Finteza. Because it makes it incredibly easy to narrow the data down to identify which traffic source is sending traffic and how well it converts as compared to other pages.

Finteza dataSource: Screenshot created by the author

Read more about Finteza’s conversion funnels here. Finteza costs $ 25 a month and there’s a 30-day trial available for you to play with the tool before committing.

4. Consider starting a tradition

If any of those previous content assets turned particularly successful, consider expanding that idea into a new project! We all remember the overwhelming success of “Elf Yourself”, Ask Santa, and NORAD mini-projects that were able to engage (and convert) thousands of people year over year.

 A separate (single-page) site will be easier to brand and promote without causing any strong associations with your main business. If you need some inspiration, check out Namify:

Start a tradition for your next seasonal campaignSource: Namify

5. Look what your competitors did (or didn’t)

Competitive analysis is important because it motivates a business owner to do more and do it better. Therefore I always include competitive analysis in any of my marketing planning.

There are plenty of ways to research your competitors and what they are doing. My first step is always checking Ahrefs and what other search queries they are ranking for:

competitor analysisSource: Screenshot created by the author

Ahrefs is the only platform in the industry that also offers an estimate of traffic each search query sends. Here’s how they calculate it. Ahrefs lowest tier is $ 99 per month but it is definitely a must-have tool if you are doing SEO.

Similar Web is another nice tool for competitive research. I like looking at their “Referral Traffic” report to identify which sites are sending traffic to my competitors:

Similar WebSource: Similar Web

This basic report is available for free.

It is also a good idea to set up Google Alerts to be modified when your competitors are doing something new.

6. Create your editorial calendar

Every year people seem to start preparing for big holidays earlier. It is not unusual to spot a Holiday-centric social media ad in October. This can actually cause both excitement and irritation.

So the important question remains: When should I start publishing seasonal content?

This may depend from niche to niche, so I always suggest typing your target seasonal search query into Google Trends:

Google search trends on seasonal keywordsSource: Screenshot created by the author

It also helps to compare several of your target search queries. For example, in this niche the demand seems to be pretty consistent over the years:

Google Trends compareSource: Screenshot created by the author

When it comes to organizing and scheduling your content assets, there are a few great calendar plugins to choose from. I mostly use CoSchedule because it allows me to also schedule those updates to your social media channels as well as assign certain content assets to various contributors. 

CoSchedule costs $ 29 per month. It supports scheduling to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. I prefer the tool because it combines on-site content planning (assigning content assets to be written) and social media scheduling. This allows me to create a very well-aligned content marketing campaign and makes it easy to organize editorial workflow across many channels.

Instagram also offers a helpful guide on planning your seasonal content strategy here:

Instagram resource on holiday seasonal marketingSource: Screenshot created by the author

Conclusion

Seasonal planning is a great way to make the most of those seasonal interest spikes and build more sales. The earlier you start preparing for your big season, the more time you have to handle an increased amount of sales. Good luck!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

The post Here’s how you can master your next seasonal digital marketing campaign appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization in Your Next Marketing Campaign

May 9, 2021 No Comments

Did you know that your SEO and PPC campaigns may compete with each other? Learn how to spot and eliminate keyword cannibalization in this article.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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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


Could Marc Benioff be the next CEO to move to executive chairman?

March 11, 2021 No Comments

Last month Jeff Bezos announced he would step down as CEO of Amazon later this year, moving into the executive chairman role, while passing the baton to AWS CEO Andy Jassy. Could Marc Benioff, co-founder, chairman and CEO at Salesforce be the next big-name executive to make a similar move?

A Reuter’s story published on Monday suggested that could be the case. Citing unnamed sources, the story indicated that Benioff’s CEO exit could happen this year. Further those same sources suggested that current Salesforce president and COO Bret Taylor is the likely heir apparent.

We wrote a story at the end of last year speculating on possible successors to Benioff, were he to step away from the CEO role. There were a number of worthy candidates, several of whom, like Taylor, came to the company via an acquisition. All the same, we thought that Taylor seemed to be the most likely candidate to replace Benioff.

We asked Salesforce for a comment on the Reuter’s story. A company spokesperson told us that the company doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.

While the entire scenario fits firmly in the rumor and speculation column, it is not entirely unlikely either. What would it mean if Benioff stepped away and what if Taylor was truly the next in line? And how would that swap compare with the Bezos decision were it to happen?

Similar yet different

Salesforce and Amazon are both companies founded in the 1990s, each looking to shake up its industry.

For Amazon, it was changing the way goods (starting with books) were bought and sold. And for Benioff the goal was changing the way software was sold. Bezos famously founded his company in his garage. Benioff built his in a rented apartment. From these humble beginnings both have built iconic companies and accumulated enormous wealth. You could understand why either could be ready to step away from the daily grind of running a company after all these years.

Bezos announced that veteran executive Andy Jassy, who runs the company’s cloud arm, would be his replacement when the handoff comes. Jassy knows the organization’s priority mix as he’s been working at the company for more than two decades. He’s locked into the culture and helped take AWS from idea to $ 50 billion juggernaut.

While Benioff hasn’t made any actual firm pronouncement, we have seen Bret Taylor — who joined the company in 2016 when Salesforce purchased his startup Quip for $ 750 million — move quickly up the ladder.

Laurie McCabe, co-founder and analyst at SMB Group, who has been following Salesforce since its earliest days, says that if Benioff were to leave, he would obviously leave big shoes to fill. But she agreed that everything seems to point to Taylor as his successor should that happen.

“Salesforce has been grooming Taylor for awhile. He has some stellar credentials both at Salesforce, his own start-up, Quip, that Salesforce acquired, and at Facebook. There’s no doubt in my mind he can lead Salesforce forward, but he’ll bring a different more low-key style to the role. And I’m sure Benioff will stay very involved […],” McCabe said.

Two different situations

Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials says that while he believes Taylor could be chosen as Benioff’s successor, and would be qualified to lead the company, he’s taken a very different path from Jassy.

“I think Benioff moving on could be different from Bezos in the sense that Jassy has been at Amazon for over 20 years and was there to basically see and be part of most of the story. […] But if Taylor were to succeed Benioff there’s not as much [history] at Salesforce with him not being on board until the Quip acquisition in 2016,” Leary said.

Leary wonders if this relatively short history with the company could create some political friction in the organization if he were chosen to succeed Benioff. “I’m not saying that this would happen, but choosing one of the many possible heirs that have come via a number of high profile acquisitions could possibly lead to high level turnover from those not picked to succeed Benioff,” he said.

But Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research says that if you look at the range of candidates available, he believes that Taylor would be the best choice. “I don’t expect any issue because there is no one with a similar or even better background, which is when there are problems — that or when people are in an open competition as it used to be at GE,” he said.

We don’t know for sure what the final outcome will be, but if Benioff does decide to join Bezos and takes the executive chairman mantle at the company, it makes sense that the person to replace him will be Taylor. But for now, it remains in the realm of speculation, and we’ll just to wait and see if that’s what comes to pass.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


As activist investors loom, what’s next for Box?

March 8, 2021 No Comments

Box could be facing troubled times if a Reuters story from last week is accurate. Activist investor Starboard Value took a 7.9% stake in the storage company in September 2019, and a year ago took three board seats as its involvement in the cloud company deepened. It seemed only a matter of time before another shoe dropped.

Activist investor Starboard Value is reportedly after three additional board seats.

That thunk you just heard could be said shoe as Starboard is reportedly after three additional board seats. Those include current CEO Aaron Levie’s and two independent board members, all of whom have their seats coming up for election in June. If the firm were to obtain three additional seats, it would control six of nine votes and could have its way with Box.

What could the future hold for the company given this development (assuming it’s true)? It seems changes are coming for Box.

Below, we’ll explore how Box got to this point. And if an acquisition is in Box’s future, just who might be in the market for a cloud-native content management company built to scale in the enterprise? There would very likely be multiple suitors.

Box’s fickle financial fate

Starboard may have reason to be frustrated by Box’s performance. The cloud company’s stock price and market cap remain stubbornly low. Its share price is mired around $ 18 a share, not much higher than the price it went public at in 2015 when it was valued at $ 14 per share. Its market cap today is $ 3 billion, which is lacking in comparison to fellow cloud stalwarts like Dropbox at $ 9 billion, Slack at $ 23 billion or Okta at $ 34 billion.

Remember back in March 2014 when Box announced it was going public? It then did something highly unusual, delaying the deed 10 months until January 2015. One thing or another kept the company from pulling the trigger and just doing it. Perhaps it was a sign.

Instead, Box raised $ 150 million more after its S-1 filing received a lackluster response from the market. Looking back, you could argue that the SaaS model was simply less well known in 2014 than it is today. Certainly public investors are more sympathetic to software companies that run deficits in the name of growth than they were back then.

But when Box did file again, finally pricing at $ 14 per share in 2015, it received a strong welcome. The company had priced above its $ 11 to $ 13 per-share IPO range as TechCrunch reported at the time and instantly shot higher. We wrote on its IPO day that the cloud company quickly “surged to over $ 20 a share and [was then] trading at $ 23.67.”

A year later, our continuing coverage had flipped with the share price stuck at $ 10 in January 2016.

When growth won’t come


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Google Cloud launches Apigee X, the next generation of its API management platform

February 4, 2021 No Comments

Google today announced the launch of Apigee X, the next major release of the Apgiee API management platform it acquired back in 2016.

“If you look at what’s happening — especially after the pandemic started in March last year — the volume of digital activities has gone up in every kind of industry, all kinds of use cases are coming up. And one of the things we see is the need for a really high-performance, reliable, global digital transformation platform,” Amit Zavery, Google Cloud’s head of platform, told me.

He noted that the number of API calls has gone up 47 percent from last year and that the platform now handles about 2.2 trillion API calls per year.

At the core of the updates are deeper integrations with Google Cloud’s AI, security and networking tools. In practice, this means Apigee users can now deploy their APIs across 24 Google Cloud regions, for example, and use Google’s caching services in more than 100 edge locations.

Image Credits: Google

In addition, Apigee X now integrates with Google’s Cloud Armor firewall and its Cloud Identity Access Management platform. This also means that Apigee users won’t have to use third-party tools for their firewall and identity management needs.

“We do a lot of AI/ML-based anomaly detection and operations management,” Zavery explained. “We can predict any kind of malicious intent or any other things which might happen to those API calls or your traffic by embedding a lot of those insights into our API platform. I think [that] is a big improvement, as well as new features, especially in operations management, security management, vulnerability management and making those a core capability so that as a business, you don’t have to worry about all these things. It comes with the core capabilities and that is really where the front doors of digital front-ends can shine and customers can focus on that.”

The platform now also makes better use of Google’s AI capabilities to help users identify anomalies or predict traffic for peak seasons. The idea here is to help customers automate a lot of the standards automation tasks and, of course, improve security at the same time.

As Zavery stressed, API management is now about more than just managing traffic between applications. But more than just helping customers manage their digital transformation projects, the Apigee team is now thinking about what it calls ‘digital excellence.’ “That’s how we’re thinking of the journey for customers moving from not just ‘hey, I can have a front end,’ but what about all the excellent things you want to do and how we can do that,” Zavery said.

“During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,” said James Fairweather, Chief Innovation Officer at Pitney Bowes. “By powering APIs with new capabilities like reCAPTCHA Enterprise, Cloud Armor (WAF), and Cloud CDN, Apigee X makes it easy for enterprises like us to scale digital initiatives, and deliver innovative experiences to our customers, employees and partners.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


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