Monthly Archives: April 2021
Mmhmm, the software that allows folks to personalize their appearance on video chat, has today announced that it’s introducing usage-based enterprise accounts.
In a conversation with TechCrunch, founder and CEO Phil Libin said this is a natural evolution, remarking that mmhmm has had hundreds of registrations from users all at the same company.
“It was clear that there was a big demand for enterprise accounts,” said Libin. “Not only for central management, to keep it as easy as possible, but also for getting everything on brand. Companies and organizations of all kinds are realizing video is a permanent part of how we’re going to do business and it needs to be on brand.”
The enterprise accounts are priced the same as individual Pro accounts, at $ 10/month or $ 100/year. However, when an organization signs up with an enterprise account, they only pay for the number of users who were active on mmhmm each month, rather than worrying about seats.
Enterprise accounts can also share design system assets built specifically for mmhmm to “stay on brand” as Libin said. Folks who opt in to enterprise can also control employee accounts under one umbrella, invite via link, claim an email domain and enjoy a single bill.
Libin also gave us a glimpse into the financials of the business, explaining that while it’s too early to tell, the conversion rate to Pro accounts is outpacing that of Evernote, one of Libin’s earlier ventures.
He said that, with freemium tools like both mmhmm and Evernote, the likelihood of a user upgrading to premium grows with every month they’re on the platform. At Evernote, it was half a percent after the first month, and then 5% by the end of the first year, and after two years it would jump to 12%.
Obviously, mmhmm doesn’t have 24 months’ worth of data. That said, the product is doing 10x better than Evernote did.
But revenue is not the focus, according to Libin. The company is far more concerned with ensuring the onboarding process is easy for casual users and that they really understand what they can do with the platform. In the spirit of that, mmhmm is launching new interactive tutorial videos on the platform to ensure people are fully aware of the features.
Mmhmm first came on the scene in the summer of last year in a closed beta, and eventually opened up to everyone who has a Mac in November 2020. Alongside the launch of enterprise, mmhmm is also launching a Windows version of the app in open beta.
Libin said that mmhmm is in a growth stage, and that after starting five different companies, he knows the biggest challenge is people.
“I’ve been in some startups now that have been through this hyper growth stage,” said Libin. “The toughest thing at this stage is getting people, keeping people from burning out, and doing career development. This is my fifth startup, so I’m trying to demonstrate some learning behavior and apply lessons learned from previous mistakes. We’ll see how it goes.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that mmhmm was introducing Windows in a closed beta. It has been updated for accuracy.
As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more readily available to larger groups of the U.S. population, Facebook has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch new Facebook profile frames that allow users to share their support for getting vaccinated with their family and friends. The effort follows a similar launch in the U.K. through a partnership with National Health Services (NHS), which has already resulted in a quarter of Facebook users in the U.K. having seen a Facebook friend with the profile frame.
At launch, users in the U.S. can pick between frames which include banners that say either “Let’s Get Vaccinated” or “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine” in English or Spanish. The banner will appear overlaid on the edge of their profile picture next to a blue bubble that reads “We Can Do This.”
Although there were already a variety of vaccine-promoting profile frames to choose from on Facebook, these were all third-party efforts until now. The new frames were created, in part, by Facebook, which will allow the company to better track their usage over time.
In the weeks ahead, Facebook says it will show people a summary in their News Feed of all your friends, family members and people you follow who are using the new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames. For that reason, adopting the first-party frames will be important, if you want to be a part of that list that’s shown to others.
Facebook notes that it’s launching the frames because research shows how social norms can have a major impact on people’s attitude and behavior when it comes to their health — a notable assertion, given that the company wants to otherwise downplay the power its network has when it comes to the spread of disinformation or anti-vax sentiments.
For this effort, Facebook believes, and the research supports, that when people see others who they know and trust getting the vaccine, they’ll be encouraged to do the same. This can be particularly effective when it comes to encouraging those who were otherwise unsure about getting the vaccine.
Leveraging social media to encourage vaccinations has been part of the CDC’s toolkit as well, which is why you likely saw several photos from healthcare workers and essentials workers sharing their vaccination photos and talking about their experience. The CDC had also provided sets of sample social media graphics and messages that could be used by organizations that wanted to promote vaccinations across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The new profile frames are rolling out starting today to Facebook users in the U.S.
Yes, you’ll have to recharge your toothbrush, but these electric models put better oral hygiene within easy reach.
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Consumers expect connected shopping experiences from research to purchase. But their journeys aren’t linear; they move around, visiting—and revisiting—multiple sites and apps, multiple times a day.
This makes it challenging for businesses to deliver a coordinated site experience, especially if they are running an experiment or personalization on their site. How do they make sure that the version of their site someone saw in the morning is the same version they see in the afternoon?
Google Optimize can now understand when a customer has returned to a site they visited before and deliver a consistent site experience. Let’s see how this works.
Imagine you’re a hotel business running a marketing campaign that promotes a 20 percent discount for the upcoming holiday season. When people visit your site in response to the campaign, you want to make sure you offer this discount to them throughout their entire booking experience, even if they come back multiple times before they make a reservation.
One part of your marketing campaign is paid media you buy through Google Ads. In this case, you would use Optimize to create a custom web page featuring the discount and then add the Google Ads rule to ensure this page is shown to people who first arrive to your site from your Google Ads campaign. There are likely many people who click on an ad, explore your site, then come back later to complete the reservation. Now, no matter how many other pages on your site people visit, or how many times they return over 24 hours, Optimize will automatically display that custom page to them each time.
Another way you promote this sale is through email. For this part of your campaign, once you create a custom web page with the discount offer, add a utm_campaign parameter named “holiday-sale” to the URL in the email. Then in Optimize, add a UTM parameter rule for “holiday-sale.” Optimize can now use that parameter to display the correct experience every time people who received the promo email visit your site. In addition to email, you can also use the UTM parameter rule in advertising campaigns managed with Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360, or any other campaigns you are running that support UTM parameters.
Royal Bank of Canada is an Optimize 360 customer that has already begun using UTM parameter rules.
Together with their Google Marketing Platform Partner, Bounteous, they often use Optimize 360 to run personalizations across their entire website. Because most of these personalizations are focused on delivering the right content to the right user from their marketing campaigns, they were excited to start using the UTM parameter rule.
“The customer journey at the Royal Bank of Canada is rarely linear. We need experiments that can react as customers frequently engage and navigate our website. The UTM parameter rule gives us that flexibility, and it is changing the way we approach our campaigns.”
– Arnab Tagore, Senior Manager of Digital Analytics, Royal Bank of Canada
Both the Google Ads rule and UTM parameter rule are already available to use in Optimize and Optimize 360. We encourage you to go into your account and check them out and we look forward to sharing more new features that help you better meet your customers’ expectations and get the most out of your website.
When UIPath filed its S-1 last week, it was a watershed moment for the robotic process automation (RPA) market. The company, which first appeared on our radar for a $ 30 million Series A in 2017, has so far raised an astonishing $ 2 billion while still private. In February, it was valued at $ 35 billion when it raised $ 750 million in its latest round.
RPA and process automation came to the fore during the pandemic as companies took steps to digitally transform. When employees couldn’t be in the same office together, it became crucial to cobble together more automated workflows that required fewer people in the loop.
RPA has enabled executives to provide a level of workflow automation that essentially buys them time to update systems to more modern approaches while reducing the large number of mundane manual tasks that are part of every industry’s workflow.
When UIPath raised money in 2017, RPA was not well known in enterprise software circles even though it had already been around for several years. The category was gaining in popularity by that point because it addressed automation in a legacy context. That meant companies with deep legacy technology — practically everyone not born in the cloud — could automate across older platforms without ripping and replacing, an expensive and risky undertaking that most CEOs would rather not take.
RPA has enabled executives to provide a level of workflow automation, a taste of the modern. It essentially buys them time to update systems to more modern approaches while reducing the large number of mundane manual tasks that are part of just about every industry’s workflow.
While some people point to RPA as job-elimination software, it also provides a way to liberate people from some of the most mind-numbing and mundane chores in the organization. The argument goes that this frees up employees for higher level tasks.
As an example, RPA could take advantage of older workflow technologies like OCR (optical character recognition) to read a number from a form, enter the data in a spreadsheet, generate an invoice, send it for printing and mailing, and generate a Slack message to the accounting department that the task has been completed.
We’re going to take a deep dive into RPA and the larger process automation space — explore the market size and dynamics, look at the key players and the biggest investors, and finally, try to chart out where this market might go in the future.
Meet the vendors
UIPath is clearly an RPA star with a significant market share lead of 27.1%, according to IDC. Automation Anywhere is in second place with 19.4%, and Blue Prism is third with 10.3%, based on data from IDC’s July 2020 report, the last time the firm reported on the market.
Two other players with significant market share worth mentioning are WorkFusion with 6.8%, and NTT with 5%.
- The Mobile Experience is critical for all categories when looking at Core Web Vitals (CWV)
- Image compression seems to be a leading challenge for leading brands
- Pages doing well for CWV tend to be informational in nature
- Retail, in particular, could see significant disruption if second-tier retailers receive a boost
- Across all sectors, there is opportunity and time for improvement and preparation as long as issues are addressed as a business priority
- Enterprise Search and Digital Marketers need to prescribe the right course of action to meet core vital benchmarks
- They must also convince the rest of the organization that the efforts will be worth the results
The long-awaited implementation of mobile-first indexing is now upon us, meaning that content visible only on desktop will be ignored from this point on by the world’s largest search engine. Mobile-first has been a priority of Google’s for years as the beat of the user experience drum has grown to a crescendo.
A few short months from now, the Page Experience update as a whole will roll out, too. Page experience “measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page,” according to Google and consists of five major Search signals.
Hopefully you’re familiar with at least four of these, as they’ve been in play for some time. Mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines have each been rolled out and updated as Google has sought to keep pace with evolving consumer expectations.
So what’s new?
In May, signals from a new metric called Core Web Vitals (CWV) will combine with these existing four signals for one mega-metric called Page Experience. BrightEdge (my company) conducted a study into CWVs preparedness and mobile-first compliance to determine the potential impact on sites in four major industries. But first, it’s important to understand the CWV opportunity and the relationship between this new set of metrics and the mobile-first index.
Demystifying Core Web Vitals
Before we go any further, note that CWVs are not a guideline that could instigate a penalty if not followed. Cloaking is one such example of a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and if you’re caught out at it you run the risk of being penalized by Google.
Core Web Vitals, on the other hand, is an opportunity. If you fail to meet the thresholds for each of the three major areas of focus that make up the CWV signal, you won’t get a penalty. But you will miss out on the rankings boost available to those who meet the standards.
And what are those standards?
Meeting one of two of these goals won’t suffice; Google has confirmed that all three must be met in order to see the rankings boost available via CWV. You can read more about these important metrics here.
Core Web Vitals and mobile-first go hand-in-hand for search UX
Safe browsing, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines are fairly straightforward — you’re either in line with the guidelines or you’re not.
Mobile-first and Core Web Vitals are more complex, consisting of a greater volume of moving parts, and therefore are getting the lion’s share of webmaster attention as the May rollout looms. Hosting, site structure, image optimization, and more can all impact how your site loads on mobile. James Parsons recently shared a 28-point checklist of optimizations to work through as you’re preparing for CWVs that every webmaster and SEO should check out.
Mobile-first has an outsized impact due to its influence on local search experience, as well. Considering that 60 percent of mobile searches have local intent, the vast majority of businesses cannot afford to ignore Google’s emphasis on the mobile index. When local consumers are out in their neighborhoods searching for nearby businesses to meet their needs, it’s imperative that the website loads lightning-fast.
So how are businesses doing at preparing for the Page Experience update? BrightEdge (my company) recently conducted research that compared top sites in different industries to see how vulnerable each is to the May update. We currently have no way to gauge just how impactful the introduction of CWVs to the ranking algorithm will be, and so wanted to both explore preparedness and establish a baseline.
Here’s what we found.
Which sites stand to benefit from the Core Web Vitals boost?
We analyzed over 1,500 URLs across four industries for the purpose of this study:
- Education (253 URLs)
- Finance (328 URLs)
- B2B (302 URLs)
- Retail (689 URLs)
Rather than using the homepage, we selected the URLs responsible for driving organic traffic for each site. For each webpage, we measured Share of Voice for the top 500 keywords in each industry, analyzed mobile page speed performance using the Crux database, and evaluated adherence to Core Web Vitals using the parameters:
- Largest Contentful Paint: Less than 2.5 Seconds
- First Input Delay: Less than .1 Second
- Cumulative Layout Shift: Less than .01
As it turns out, some industries are better prepared than others for the Page Experience update, as reflected in these findings of what percentage of URLs would receive the Core Web Vitals rankings boost if it rolled out today:
- 24 percent of Finance URLs
- 13 percent of B2B URLs
- Five percent of Education URLs
- Less than one percent of Retail URLs
As you can see, there are massive seats at the table for brands that act now to get in line with this impending update. First-movers will enjoy the benefits of this ranking boost when it hits. The full findings can be found here.
- LCP has an impact on user bounce rates and reducing the time to First Contentful Paint can improve conversions by up to 15 percent
- CLS impacts conversion as layout shift annoys users and disrupts their experience
- FID is key in your site’s ability to respond to the action a user wants to take. helps a website respond more quickly to the actions your audiences take
- Enterprise sites built on apps that require a lot of scripts to execute are creating complexity and potentially significant investment to bring in line with CWVs
Here are some of our findings by industry.
- More than 50 percent of pages met all three CWVs criteria on desktop
- Job listings sites like Indeed.com most often met the CWV thresholds
- More than 60 percent of pages met all three CWVs criteria on desktop
- Banking and brokerage sites struggled while informational resources such as Investopedia excelled
- Close to 70 percent of pages met all three CWVs criteria on desktop
- Informational and definition-type pages performed best, while transactional content struggled
- More than 50 percent of pages met all three CWVs criteria on desktop
- Again, informational resources such as Tech Radar and Consumer Reports performed best
It is worth mentioning that in retail, multiple product listings from the same domains dominated share of voice, resulting in a higher proportion of retail URLs being tested. We did not see a single example of major online retailers (Amazon, Target, and the others) winning a share of voice with their homepages – rather, their organic traffic is being fueled by product and category pages.
We hypothesize that page attributes such as hero images of products and promotional pop-ups are driving non-compliance for the largest contentful paint and layout shift.
Core Web Vitals signals and the larger Page Experience set of metrics are sure to be impactful, but they are among many signals that indicate to Google that your webpage offers a safe, positive, and useful experience for the searcher. This is the heart and soul of every update Google makes and should therefore be the driving force in your SEO strategy.
Keep these findings in mind as you prepare for the Page Experience update and implementation of Core Web Vitals as Google ranking signals:
- Mobile experience is impactful and critical to optimize for across all industries.
- Image compression and optimization is proving challenging for many brands, which presents an opportunity for those able to get this right.
- More informational pages meet Core Web Vitals metrics than transactional.
- Retail brands stand to experience major volatility in search results , particularly if second-tier retailers are able to capitalize on Page Experience and receive a rankings boost.
Enterprise digital marketers and SEOs must work now on the right course of action to meet core vital benchmarks, so they are not left behind. How you communicate the potential impact of this upcoming shift to decision-makers to win buy-in is key.
The post Mobile-first and Core Web Vitals: connecting the dots for page experience success appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
ImToken, the blockchain tech startup and crypto wallet developer, announced today it has raised $ 30 million in Series B funding led by Qiming Venture Partners. Participants included returning investor IDG Capital, and new backers Breyer Capital, HashKey, Signum Capital, Longling Capital, SNZ and Liang Xinjun, the co-founder of Fosun International.
Founded in 2016, the startup’s last funding announcement was for its $ 10 million Series A, led by IDG, in May 2018. ImToken says its wallet for Ethereum, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now has 12 million users, and over $ 50 billion in assets are currently stored on its platform, with total transaction value exceeding $ 500 billion.
The company was launched in Hangzhou, China, before moving to it current headquarters to Singapore, and about 70% of its users are in mainland China, followed by markets including South Korea, the United States and Southeast Asia.
ImToken will use its latest funding to build features for “imToken 3.0.” This will include keyless accounts, account recovery and a suite of decentralized finance services. It also plans to expand its research arm for blockchain technology, called imToken Labs and open offices in more countries. It currently has a team of 78 people, based in mainland China, the United States and Singapore, and expects to increase its headcount to 100 this year.
In a press statement, Qiming Venture Partners founding managing partner Duane Kuang said, “In the next ten to twenty years, blockchain will revolutionize the financial industry on a global scale. We believe that imToken is riding this trend, and has strongly positioned itself in the market.”
This July we announceda new property type in Google Analytics that helps you measure across both your app and website in one place. The new App + Web property helps you better understand your customers’ journeys across platforms so you can deliver more unified experiences.
Recently, we’ve introduced enhancements that allow you to measure multiple websites, do even more custom analysis, and get faster insights from your data.
Measure multiple web streams in a single property
App + Web properties now support multiple web streams, including Firebase web apps, in a single property—up to 50 data streams across your apps, websites, and web apps. This allows you to see metrics aggregated across all your related apps and websites, or apply filters to compare them individually. For example, if you were an online retailer with multiple regional stores, you could see your total global sales for the month or compare the sales of each of your regional sites and apps.
More options for custom analysis
In July we introduced the Analysis module in App + Web properties with five techniques to do cross-platform analysis with more flexibility. Now, we’ve added two more techniques to the mix: cohort analysis and user lifetime, as well as an update to the existing pathing technique and a larger window for historical data. These capabilities will become available over the next few weeks.
Cohort analysis helps you compare engagement between groups of similar users with more metric and dimension breakdowns. For example, you can compare revenue between cohorts of users that were acquired at different times to understand the results of a change in your marketing strategy.
User lifetime gives you insight into the lifetime activity of a group of users, based on custom dimensions you choose. For example, see how many lifetime in-app purchases were made by users acquired from a holiday promotion you ran.
Backward pathing allows you to work backwards from a conversion or other key event and analyze the differences, trends, or patterns users took to get there. For example, you can start from a purchase event to see how many users that made a purchase entered the funnel from an email campaign to your website, compared to a search ad that deep-links to your app.
Data retention has now expanded to up to 14 months across all techniques within the Analysis module so you can conduct longer term analyses, like year-over-year. Go to data settings in your property admin to increase data retention.
App and web insights at your fingertips
Automated and custom insights, previously available only for web, are now in App + Web properties.
Automated insights use machine learning to identify key trends and anomalies in your data. For example, if there was an unusual spike in sales yesterday, you will get an alert of the change which you can then investigate. Automated insights get smarter and more relevant to your business over time.
Custom insights give you the control to tell Analytics what metrics you’d like to be alerted about. For example, if you are a retailer and you’ve just released a new product, you may want to track sales specifically for that SKU. You can set up a custom insight to alert you if the product’s sales increased by more than 10% week-over-week. These alerts can now be set up to run hourly, and you can receive email notifications within 5 minutes of a triggered alert.
Instant answers with search
When looking for specific insights in your Web properties you can simply ask a question in the search bar and get a quick answer. Today, we are extending this to App + Web properties, so you can ask questions and get holistic answers across your app and web data.
Ask questions using keywords, such as “users from organic channel last week,” and a relevant answer will appear in the search dropdown. Be specific about the metric, dimension, and time frame to get the best results.
Automated and custom insights, as well as instant answers from the search dropdown, are available in App + Web properties today in English and will soon be available in all languages supported by Google Analytics.
Next steps for App + Web properties
Businesses already see the benefits of bringing more of the customer journey into view. TUI group, a leading integrated tourism group based in Europe, is using App + Web properties to close the gap between their app and web data.
Previously we had been manually stitching together app and web sessions in order to generate customer behaviour insight and value our marketing investments; this release unifies that data to show the full path to conversion.Dan Truman
Global Head of Digital Analytics, TUI Group
If you’re not already using the beta and your business is looking for a more complete view of how your customers engage across app and web, you can get started today by setting up a new property and linking your app and website.
Every tech vendor has to pass security muster with customers, typically a tedious activity involving answering long questionnaires. Kintent, a new startup that wants to automate this process, announced a $ 4 million seed today led by Tola Capital with help from a bunch of tech industry angel investors.
After company co-founder and CEO Sravish Sridhar sold his previous startup Kinvey, which provided backend as a service to mobile app developers, he took a couple of years off while he decided what to do next. The sale to Progress Software in 2017 gave him that luxury.
He knew firsthand from his experience at Kinvey that companies like his had to adhere to a lot of compliance standards, and the idea for the next company began to form in his head. He wanted to create a new startup that could make it easier to figure out how to become compliant with a given standard, measure the current state of compliance and get recommendations on how to improve. He created Kintent to achieve that goal.
“So the big picture idea is can we build a system of record for trust and our first use case is information security and data privacy compliance, specifically if you’re a company that is building a SaaS business and you’re storing customer data or PHI, which is health information,” Sridhar explained.
The company’s product is called Trust Cloud. He says that they begin by looking at the lay of your technology land in terms of systems and the types of information you are storing, looking at how compliant each system is with whatever standard you are trying to adhere to.
Then based on how you classify your data, the Trust Cloud generates a list of best practices to stay in compliance with your desired standard, and finally it provides the means to keep testing to validate what you’ve done and that you are remaining in compliance.
The company launched in 2019, spent the first part of 2020 developing the product and began selling it last October. Today, it has 35 paying customers. “We’re in the high six figures in revenue. We’ve been growing at about 20-30% month-over-month consistently since we launched in October, and the customers are across 11 verticals already,” he said.
With 14 employees and some money in the bank from this funding round, he is thinking ahead to adding people. He says that diversity has to be more than something you just talk about, and he has made it one of the core founding values of the company, and one he takes very seriously.
“I’m very conscious with every hire that we make that we’re really pushing to extend ourselves to [find] people from different walks of life, different statuses and so on,” he said.
The company is also working on a DEI component for the Trust Cloud, which it will be offering for free, which enables companies to provide a set of diversity metrics to measure against and then report on how well you are doing, and how you can improve your numbers.
- Once VMware is free from Dell, who might fancy buying it?
- Facebook faces ‘mass action’ lawsuit in Europe over 2019 breach
- Chinese hardware makers turn to crowdfunding as they look to go global
- Core Web Vitals & Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update
- Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads