TechCrunch has spilled much digital ink tracking the fate of VMware since it was brought to Dell’s orbit thanks to the latter company’s epic purchase of EMC in 2016 for $ 58 billion. That transaction saddled the well-known Texas tech company with heavy debts. Because the deal left VMware a public company, albeit one controlled by Dell, how it might be used to pay down some of its parent company’s arrears was a constant question.
Dell made its move earlier this week, agreeing to spin out VMware in exchange for a huge one-time dividend, a five-year commercial partnership agreement, lots of stock for existing Dell shareholders and Michael Dell retaining his role as chairman of its board.
So, where does the deal leave VMware in terms of independence, and in terms of Dell influence? Dell no longer will hold formal control over VMware as part of the deal, though its shareholders will retain a large stake in the virtualization giant. And with Michael Dell staying on VMware’s board, it will retain influence.
Here’s how VMware described it to shareholders in a presentation this week. The graphic shows that under the new agreement, VMware is no longer a subsidiary of Dell and will now be an independent company.
But with VMware tipped to become independent once again, it could become something of a takeover target. When Dell controlled VMware thanks to majority ownership, a hostile takeover felt out of the question. Now, VMware is a more possible target to the right company with the right offer — provided that the Dell spinout works as planned.
Buying VMware would be an expensive effort, however. It’s worth around $ 67 billion today. Presuming a large premium would be needed to take this particular technology chess piece off the competitive board, it could cost $ 100 billion or more to snag VMware from the public markets.
So VMware will soon be more free to pursue a transaction that might be favorable to its shareholders — which will still include every Dell shareholder, because they are receiving stock in VMware as part of its spinout — without worrying about its parent company simply saying no.
SailPoint, an identity management company that went public in 2017, announced it was going to be acquiring Intello, an early-stage SaaS management startup. The two companies did not share the purchase price.
SailPoint believes that by helping its customers locate all of the SaaS tools being used inside a company, it can help IT make the company safer. Part of the problem is that it’s so easy for employees to deploy SaaS tools without IT’s knowledge, and Intello gives them more visibility and control.
In fact, the term “shadow IT” developed over the last decade to describe this ability to deploy software outside of the purview of IT pros. With a tool like Intello, they can now find all of the SaaS tools and point the employees to sanctioned ones, while shutting down services the security pros might not want folks using.
Grady Summers, EVP of product at SailPoint, says that this problem has become even more pronounced during the pandemic as many companies have gone remote, making it even more challenging for IT to understand what SaaS tools employees might be using.
“This has led to a sharp rise in ungoverned SaaS sprawl and unprotected data that is being stored and shared within these apps. With little to no visibility into what shadow access exists within their organization, IT teams are further challenged to protect from the cyber risks that have increased over the past year,” Summers explained in a statement. He believes that with Intello in the fold, it will help root out that unsanctioned usage and make companies safer, while also helping them understand their SaaS spend better.
Intello has always seen itself as a way to increase security and compliance and has partnered in the past with other identity management tools like Okta and OneLogin. The company was founded in 2017 and raised $ 5.8 million according to Crunchbase data. That included a $ 2.5 million extended seed in May 2019.
Yesterday, another SaaS management tool, Torii, announced a $ 10 million Series A. Other players in the SaaS management space include BetterCloud and Blissfully, among others.
- Due to the rise of online shopping and the amount of time people spend on social media, social media impacts consumer buying decisions.
- Consumers who are influenced by social media are four times more likely to spend more on purchases.
- There are four ways in which social media has a direct influence on purchase decisions.
- Social media and online shopping shortened the customer journey.
- Social media amplified the impact of social proof or word-of-mouth.
- Social media influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience.
- Stories and ephemeral content are a new way to connect to your audience.
- Every social media platform is different and can be useful for different goals.
A large share of purchases are made online nowadays and in 2020 this number has grown significantly thanks to the lockdown. As the number of internet users increases and tech companies develop more ways to integrate the online world into shopping, online retail is expected to grow exponentially. Logically, many consumer buying decisions are made online as well, and where do people spend most of their online time — on social media.
According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social media users use social media to research products and 71% are more likely to purchase products and services based on social media referrals. I bet you yourself made a purchase decision based on what you saw in your feed at least once, be it a post from a friend or an ad that convinced you.
It’s hard to say exactly how much social media influences customers, not just what they buy, but their consumer habits in general. Social networks changed the way we promote products and even gave us new ways to advertise. Let’s talk about some factors that impact customers nowadays.
How social media influences consumer buying decisions
1. The shortened customer journey
The first thing that you notice when it comes to customers on social media is the shortened customer journey. It used to be that people found out about a product, saw an ad on TV multiple times, and next week they may have gone shopping and finally bought the product. Now, this process can take minutes.
According to the Deloitte report, 29% of social media users are more likely to make a purchase on the same day of using social media. That means that once they see a product, they simply click on the link and buy it: there’s no need to wait before they go shopping. Moreover, the same report states that consumers who are influenced by social media are four times more likely to spend more on purchases.
The customer journey is not just shorter but it’s also more complicated now. Social media has made product research more accessible to users. For example, if your customer sees a product on Instagram, they can immediately search the hashtag to look up other reviews and decide whether they should buy it or not. As a result, customers spend more time on research and check more sources for reviews.
62% of customers say they share bad customer experiences with other people. Thus it’s extremely important to keep an eye on your online reputation and seek out reviews on social media. Remember that every review on social media is important — and that fits nicely with my next point.
2. The influence of social proof
Admittedly, social proof is not a new concept: man is a social animal, and we’ve been giving each other recommendations for centuries. The thing is, these recommendations and anti-recommendations can now be heard by hundreds of people.
Every time you tweet or post about this amazing cafe or the shampoo that did wonders to your hair, your social media followers see it and might be moved to try it as well. The same goes for negative opinions and rants. As per Forbes, 81% of consumers’ purchasing choices are influenced by their friends’ posts on social media.
Moreover, people proactively ask for recommendations on social media (and brands unfortunately often ignore them). According to this study by Awario, only 9% of brand conversations are answers to customer questions, however, depending on the industry, there can be more than 100 people asking for recommendations on social media in one month.
As I mentioned above, social proof mostly impacts your friends and the people you know. But more and more people on social media don’t just follow their friends — they also follow influencers. That’s where influencer marketing comes into play.
3. The power of influencers on consumer buying decisions
Influencers are the social media users that have a robust loyal audience that often shares the same interests. Their opinions are naturally seen by a bigger number of people, people that trust them.
According to a study by the Influencer Marketing Hub, almost 50% of Twitter users have made purchases as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer.
Micro-Influencers are especially effective in persuading their audience since they are usually experts in some niche and specific topic, which makes them a natural source of recommendations for this topic. If you’re selling a niche product, finding social media influencers in your niche — Instagram bloggers, vloggers, TikTokers, or Facebook group admins — is a great way to reach your audience.
Gen Z and Millenials are more likely to be influenced, with 84% of millennials saying user-generated content from strangers has at least some influence on how they spend their money.
The influence of Stories on consumer buying decisions
Ephemeral content is a relatively recent trend but it’s already winning over social media users and brands alike. Snapchat was the first to use Stories as a format, but it’s Instagram that popularized it and now boasts more than 500 million daily active users.
The content shared via Instagram Stories is typically more raw and unfiltered, which allows brands to create a more genuine image. It enables companies to take people behind the scenes and show how they operate, their work culture, and the team behind the products. All this helps to foster an authentic connection to a brand.
So these are the features exclusive to social media that shape customer behavior today. But as you probably know, every social media platform is a little different. Oftentimes, brands wonder which social media platform they should focus on. Let’s go through a list of most popular platforms and see what differentiates them from one another.
Most popular social media platforms
Facebook remains the biggest social media platform in the world (with almost 1.7 billion users), even though it had its fair share of scandals and controversies in recent years.
The sheer size of the network means that you’ll be able to reach more people on there but be careful — Facebook is not as popular as it used to be. Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study from early 2019 showed that 62% of U.S. 12–34 year-olds are Facebook users, down from 67% in 2018 and 79% in 2017. This decrease is particularly notable as 35–54 and 55+ age group usage has been constant or even increased.
Still, Facebook accounts for 50% of total social referrals and a further 64% of overall social revenue, shows Business Insider.
In 2015, Facebook was responsible for influencing more than half, 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases, shows DigitasLBi Commerce.
Lately, the company has been trying to fix its reputation by introducing more control over advertising and data management.
Instagram is an amazing platform for brands since it gives you so many opportunities to show off your product: photos, videos, Stories, galleries, filters, and more. It now boasts more than one billion monthly active users.
What’s great about the platform is that it’s popular among all generations in all countries. 80% of Instagram users follow a business account. 73% of U.S. teens say Instagram is the best way for brands to reach them with new products or promotions.
Moreover, the platform itself facilitates shopping by adding shopping tags and checkout options to the posts. 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.
Although TikTok is a relatively new platform, its rapid growth made it an important source of brand awareness for social media users, especially Gen Z.
TikTok now has 800 million active users worldwide, and 41 percent of these users are aged between 16 and 24. So, if you want to reach a younger audience, TikTok is the place to be.
TikTok’s algorithm is also amazing for niche and specific products since it curates your feed based on your interests. It makes your job of finding new followers easier — the algorithm will push your content into the feeds of your potential audience.
Moreover, TikTok recently launched new ways to advertise on the app, giving brands more opportunities to attract customers.
According to Hubspot, Twitter is a source of product discoveries for many people.
Because of its quick nature and ability to connect to basically anyone, it’s a perfect place to ask for recommendations. SproutSocial shows that 53% of consumers recommend businesses or products in tweets while a further 48% follow through to purchase those products or services.
There’s a debate on whether YouTube is actually a social media platform or more of a streaming platform or content platform. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most popular platforms out there.
More and more people are looking up product reviews on the platform. Keep in mind that 80% of people who said that they watched a YouTube video related to a product they want to buy said that they did so at the beginning of their buying process.
If you’re ready to invest your time in creating content for YouTube, it can be a highly rewarding task. Just look at the BonAppetit channel that belongs to the magazine of the same name. It has almost 6 million subscribers and more than 1,3 billion views when the total circulation for the magazine doesn’t exceed 1,600,000 copies in a year.
As you see, the data and our daily experience on the Internet show that it’s hard to argue that social media influence purchase decisions. The impact of social media on customer purchase decisions can be explained by many factors: social proof, the penetration of social media, and the availability of online retail.
However, it’s getting more and more difficult to make your brand stand out on social media. Focusing on the right platform, building creative social media marketing campaigns, and using up-to-date technologies will help you with that.
The post How social media influence 71% consumer buying decisions appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
There’s a science behind what engages shoppers and gets them to purchase and new visual search tech implementations promise to exploit that and reinvent ecommerce as we know it.
A shopper’s decision to buy products is more influenced by the primal brain areas and less from the analytical side. Us humans are hard-wired to our emotions which spring from the same areas of the brain, the right side, that processes and reacts to visual stimulation. In the early days of mankind, it’s largely how our ancient ancestors survived in the wild.
Similar to Facebook’s emoticons it rolled out as “reactions” in 2016, our modern emotions emerge from four core feelings, happy, sad, afraid/surprised (“wow”), and angry/disgusted, based on research conducted by the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow.
Smart marketers can appeal to our right brains that communicate in feelings and respond to images that increase conversions and sales because people tend to act based on emotions. Most of the purchase decisions people make are emotional, not practical. Retail shopping therapy is, perhaps, an offshoot of this science-based truth.
When it comes to shopping, decision-making, and conversions, another experiment conducted by the George Washington University and UCLA, found that playing to the emotional side of our brains is a far better strategy than using too many facts and figures that appeal to the decision-making areas of the brain.
The researchers found that ads that use logical persuasion (for example, “this car gets 42 miles to the gallon”) scored lower for conversions than those that “seduced” people by circumventing “consumers’ conscious awareness by depicting a fun, vague or sexy scene”.
Visual search will revolutionize ecommerce and SEO
The rise of visual search is powered, in part, by people’s desire to discover products and brands, and it’s playing out now in the new trend of shopping on social media channels such as Instagram and Pinterest that’s spreading most quickly amongst millennials as the next big thing.
Yet, “creating technology that can understand images as quickly and effectively as the human mind is a huge undertaking”, wrote Adam Stetzer in a trend piece on visual search last year. “Visual identification is a natural ability made possible through a wonder of nerves, neurons and synapses. We can look at a picture, and in 13 milliseconds or less, know exactly what we’re seeing”.
Google is making rapid advancements tied to the increasingly visual nature of the search for ecommerce. For example, in early March it rolled out a new pilot program to digitally connect retailers and consumers, who can now make purchases from results of Google Image searches.
For the pilot’s launch, Google cited a figure that 50 percent of online shoppers said images of the product inspired them to purchase. Google is currently testing its “Showcase Shopping” ads on what it calls “a small percentage” of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries such as “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”.
Certainly, the visual search trend will impact the programmatic ad industry’s innovations for future offerings. Advanced AI and computer imaging will be two core technologies that power dynamic personalization and highly customized ads that boost campaign performance tied to consumer’s visual search behaviors. For instance, it enables offering up winter jackets in the shopper’s favorite colors as fall approaches, or quickly serves up visually or stylistically complementary dining sets to match a new dining table or tablecloth search or purchase.
Adtech leaders’ R&D programs have already begun to focus on new AI-powered marketing innovations, including research and development from Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, and new strategic partnerships such as the one announced by Amazon and Snap last year.
Shoppable visual ads take off on social media platforms
The powerful combination of influencer marketing, using emotional buying triggers we’re hard-wired to respond to, and the highly visual nature of popular social channels such as Instagram and Pinterest have sparked the fast growth of shoppable ads on social media platforms.
Many industry watchers are betting that Instagram and Facebook will lead the pack here. Late last year, Salesforce predicted that Instagram will grow 3X faster than overall social-traffic boosts, citing data from Cowen & Company that 30 percent of internet users reported purchasing a product they discovered on Facebook or Instagram.
The overall trend of social media’s impact on purchase behavior is well-documented. As many as 76 percents of consumers have purchased a product they’ve seen in a brand’s social media post, per data from Curalate.
Influencer marketing and consumers’ purchase of products, as a result, is nothing new. For example, many kids who grew up in the 1970s and their parents bought Wheaties back then based on the cereal’s “Breakfast of Champions” campaign because they were inspired to be like Bruce Jenner after his decathlon triumph at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
While the mediums have changed, and we can now click on ads and have products delivered within the same day, and be much more granular in terms of micro-influencers’ campaigns that pinpoint targets and conserve campaign budgets, the psychology of why it works is the same.
New platforms such as Shopify make it easy for brands and merchants of all kinds to create engaging, highly connected sites that are helping to energize the social aspects of the web.
Large companies such as Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram have done an excellent job of figuring out consumer sentiment, emotions, and online behaviors. We’re getting much closer to narrowing down to a “segment of one“, a trend that many retailers today are focused on in order to increase the personalization of advertising and improve the experience for consumers so that promotional offers to purchase products become more like a personal shopper catering to them instead of a pushy salesperson who annoys them to the point of departing the store.
And if Pinterest is any indication with more than 600 million visual searches each month, and fact that image-based Pinterest ads have an 8.5 percent conversion rate, the role of visual search in helping to capture our attention, personalize the advertising experience, and seduce us to buy is here to stay as ecommerce and SEO evolve around it.
Gary Burtka is Vice President of U.S. operations at RTB House, a global company that provides retargeting technology for global brands worldwide. He can be found on Twitter @gary_burtka.
The post New visual search innovations tap human emotions and biological buying triggers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The purchase price was $ 35 a share, a $ 5.19 premium over yesterday’s close of $ 29.81 a share. Cray was founded in the 1970s and for a time represented the cutting edge of super computing in the United States, but times have changed, and as the market has shifted, a deal like this makes sense.
Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says this is about consolidation at the high end of the market. “This is a smart acquisition for HPE. Cray has been losing money for some time but had a great portfolio of IP and patents that is key for the quantum era,” he told TechCrunch.
While HPE’s president and CEO Antonio Neri didn’t see it in those terms, he did see an opportunity in combining the two organizations. “By combining our world-class teams and technology, we will have the opportunity to drive the next generation of high performance computing and play an important part in advancing the way people live and work,” he said in a statement.
Cray CEO and president Peter Ungaro agreed. “We believe that the combination of Cray and HPE creates an industry leader in the fast-growing High-Performance Computing (HPC) and AI markets and creates a number of opportunities that neither company would likely be able to capture on their own,” he wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy says HPC is one of the fastest growing markets and HPE has indicated it wants to stake a claim there. “I’m not surprised by the deal. Its degree of success will be determined by the integration of the two companies. HPE brings increased scale and some unique consumption models and Cray brings expertise and unique connectivity IP,” Moorhead explained.
While it’s not clear how this will work over time, this type of consolidation usually involves some job loss on the operations side of the house as the two companies become one. It is also unclear how this will affect Cray’s customers as it moves to become part of HPE, but HPE has plans to create a high-performance computing product family using its new assets in combination with the new Cray products.
HPE was formed when HP split into two companies in 2014. HP Inc. is the printer division, while HPE is the enterprise side.
The deal is subject to the typical regulatory oversight, but if all goes well, it is expected to close in HPE’s fiscal Q1 2020.
If you want to keep pace with the way the modern consumer likes to buy, then you need to be able to meet them wherever they are on your website and in the sales funnel. Cue chatbots…These are an excellent intermediary to help curate customized experiences, lower friction and get buyers the answers they need at the speed of a pop-up window.
Read more at PPCHero.com
HipChat, the workplace chat app that held the throne before Slack was Slack, is being discontinued. Also being discontinued is Atlassian’s own would-be HipChat replacement, Stride.
News of the discontinuation comes first not from Atlassian, but instead from a somewhat surprising source: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. In a series of tweets, Butterfield says that Slack is purchasing the IP for both products to “better support those users who choose to migrate” to its platform.
Butterfield also notes that Atlassian will be making a “small but symbolically important investment” in Slack — likely a good move, given that rumors of a Slack IPO have been swirling (though Butterfield says it won’t happen this year). Getting a pre-IPO investment into Slack might end up paying off for Atlassian better than trying to continue competing.
The deal we’re announcing today with Atlassian is pretty amazing. Indeed, I tried to fit it all in one (280 character) tweet but I just couldn’t do it. So, I’ll lay it out in a few. But first, I wanted to thank Scott, Mike, Jay and the team: incredible to work with you.
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) July 26, 2018
Details: • Atlassian is discontinuing Hipchat/Stride • Slack is purchasing the IP to better support those users who choose to migrate • We’re both working closely together to make sure that’s as simple and painless a process as possible …
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) July 26, 2018
Atlassian VP of Product Management, Joff Redfern, confirmed the news in a blog post, calling it the “best way forward” for its existing customers. It’s about as real of an example of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” as you can get; even Atlassian’s own employees will be moved over to using Slack.
According to an FAQ about the change, Stride and HipChat’s last day will be February 15th, 2019 — or a bit shy of seven months from the date of the announcement. So if you’re a customer on either one of those platforms, you’ve got time to figure things out.
It doesn’t sound like any of Atlassian’s other products will be affected here; Bitbucket, Jira, etc. will carry on, with only the company’s real-time communications platforms being shuttered.
Hipchat was launched in beta form back in 2009, long before Slack’s debut in 2013. It mostly ruled its space in the time in between, leading Atlassian to acquire it in March of 2012. Slack quickly outgrew it in popularity though, for myriad reasons — be it a bigger suite of third-party integrations, a better reputation for uptime, or… well, better marketing. By September of 2017, Atlassian overhauled its chat platform and rebranded it as as “Stride”, but it was never able to quite catch up with Slack’s momentum.
You can now buy game and concert tickets from teams and musicians within Snapchat, thanks to an integration with SeatGeek .
While Snapchat has started testing e-commerce features in the past few months, SeatGeek says this is the first ticket-buying experience built into the Snapchat app.
The Los Angeles Football Club was the first team to sell tickets through this integration, by posting a Snapchat Story (and a Snapcode on the team website) that allowed users to swipe up to buy tickets to the May 26 game. The full purchase experience takes place without leaving the app.
“We’re always looking to reach our fans in innovative ways, and selling tickets directly to our followers on Snapchat gives us an incredible opportunity to connect with our most dedicated supporters,” said Los Angeles Football Club President and co-owner Tom Penn in the announcement.
SeatGeek co-founder Russ D’Souza said that as “the pipe gets solidified,” you’ll start seeing more Snapchat/SeatGeek ticket sales. He added that this the kind of integration he was hoping for when the company launched the SeatGeek Open platform a couple of years ago, allowing teams, musicians and other rightsholders to sell tickets directly through SeatGeek. (The platform also supports ticket sales through Facebook.)
“For too long, the legacy ticketing approach has been to make it difficult for teams to sell tickets in lots of places,” D’Souza said. “Teams should want to sell their tickets in as many places as possible.”
And it sounds there are additional deals in the works: “What we’re excited about over the next few months is beating the drumbeat of openness with new partnerships … We want to drive the whole industry forward and create more tangible results that cause the industry to open up.”
The U.S. government isn’t the only one feeling skittish about Kaspersky Lab. On Friday, the Russian security firm’s founder Eugene Kaspersky confronted Twitter’s apparent ban on advertising from the company, a decision it quietly issued in January.
— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) April 20, 2018
“In a short letter from an unnamed Twitter employee, we were told that our company ‘operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,’” Kaspersky wrote.
“One thing I can say for sure is this: we haven’t violated any written – or unwritten – rules, and our business model is quite simply the same template business model that’s used throughout the whole cybersecurity industry: We provide users with products and services, and they pay us for them.”
He noted that the company has spent around than €75,000 ($ 93,000 USD) to promote its content on Twitter in 2017.
Kaspersky called for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to specify the motivation behind the ban after failing to respond to an official February 6 letter from his company.
More than two months have passed since then, and the only reply we received from Twitter was the copy of the same boilerplate text. Accordingly, I’m forced to rely on another (less subtle but nevertheless oft and loudly declared) principle of Twitter’s – speaking truth to power – to share details of the matter with interested users and to publicly ask that you, dear Twitter executives, kindly be specific as to the reasoning behind this ban; fully explain the decision to switch off our advertising capability, and to reveal what other cybersecurity companies need to do in order to avoid similar situations.
In a statement about the incident, Twitter reiterated that Kaspersky Lab’s business model “inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices.” In a statement to CyberScoop, Twitter pointed to the late 2017 Department of Homeland Security directive to eliminate Kaspersky software from Executive Branch systems due to the company’s relationship with Russian intelligence.
“The Department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies, and requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications transiting Russian networks,” DHS asserted in the directive at the time.
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