Epic Games wins a victory against Apple, Fitbit announces a new smartwatch and Microsoft Word adds a transcription feature. This is your Daily Crunch for August 25, 2020.
The big story: Judge says Apple can’t block Unreal Engine
U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers weighed in on the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple with a mixed verdict. She denied Epic’s motion to restore the popular game Fortnite to Apple’s App Store, but also ordered Apple not to block Epic’s developer accounts or to restrict developers on Apple platforms from accessing Epic’s Unreal Engine tools.
“Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem,” Rogers said.
A full hearing on the dispute is scheduled for September 28.
The tech giants
Fitbit launches a $ 330 Apple Watch competitor — The Sense is designed to be a premium alternative to the Versa line, described by the company as its most advanced health smartwatch.
Facebook is bringing a Shop section to its app, while Instagram expands Live Shopping — Facebook Shop doesn’t sound too different from the similarly named Instagram Shop, where users can browse products from their favorite brands and businesses.
Microsoft brings transcriptions to Word — This new feature lets you transcribe conversations, both live and pre-recorded, and then edit those transcripts right inside of Word.
Startups, funding and venture capital
YC’s most anticipated startup raised $ 16M from a16z before Demo Day — Trove sells a suite of internal compensation tools to other startups.
Self-charging, thousand-year battery startup NDB aces key tests and lands first beta customers — NDB has created a new, proprietary nano diamond treatment that allows for more efficient extraction of electric charge from the diamond used in the creation of the battery.
Instacart workers are demanding disaster relief amid CA wildfires — Gig Workers Collective, a gig worker-activist group led by Instacart shoppers, is asking Instacart to provide disaster relief to workers impacted by natural disasters.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
How to establish a startup and draw up your first contract — We invited James Alonso from Magnolia Law and Adam Zagaris from Moonshot Legal to join us at TechCrunch Early Stage to give us a 360 overview of the legal side of running a startup.
Unity, JFrog, Asana, Snowflake and Sumo Logic file for IPOs in rapid-fire fashion — Alex Wilhelm does a big roundup of new IPO filings.
As DevOps takes off, site reliability engineers are flying high — The emergence of site reliability engineers is not a new trend, but one closely coupled with the theme of DevOps over the last decade.
(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
Netflix’s ‘Emily’s Wonder Lab’ is smart, interactive science TV for kids — TV science host (and former TechCrunch contributor) Emily Calandrelli told us that “Wonder Lab” is the realization of a concept that she’s been pitching for years.
Porsche experiments with subscription pricing, expands to Los Angeles — Porsche now has three tiers under its newly rebranded Porsche Drive vehicle subscription program.
Meet the Disrupt 2020 ‘TC10’ — The TC10 is a group of entrepreneurs, investors, etc. who have been a staple of our Disrupt conference over the past decade. And they’re all coming back!
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
The internet has transformed the way we view and experience the world. Nowadays, we use it for virtually everything, from making a phone call to paying off our credit card bill. Smartphones have revolutionized how we shop and do business. With them, we can interact and socialize with people from around the world using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on.
From personal experience, I can tell you that I would have never guessed that my smartphone would become a priority for me. I remember thinking that Blackberry pin-to-pin messaging was a disease. Now, I can spend hours upon hours browsing idly through my Instagram feed. Well, the joke’s on me, right?
The same goes for businesses. Most were limited to operating from a storefront or office, and they could only rely on printed or TV ads, and local networking to get customers. Today, however, the world is any business’ oyster. And digital marketing is the magic wand that makes it possible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
Digital marketers are facing new challenges every year. The interaction between businesses and prospects or customers is evolving as new devices, apps, and social media platforms become available.
The end of the decade brought the time, to sum up, what this ever-changing industry has in store for 2020.
Here are three marketing trends to keep an eye on this year.
1. Paid voice search
Voice search advertising has been on most marketers’ radars for a while now. However, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants has gained momentum in the last couple of years.
So, adopting digital marketing strategies to increase your businesses’ presence in voice searches will soon become a necessity:
- In 2019, Amazon claimed to have sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, while Google predicts that Google Assistant will soon reach one billion devices.
- At least 20% of mobile searches are made using voice assistants.
- It’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice-based this year.
And don’t forget about the benefits of paid voice search for local businesses and ecommerce sites:
- 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business weekly and 53% of them do it every day.
- More than 20% of voice-based orders are for groceries.
- Voice-based purchases are expected to increment to $ 40 billion in 2022.
Source for the above-mentioned stats: QuoraCreative
But how can your business take advantage of this new advertising niche?
By establishing a solid strategy for voice engine optimization. To get ahead of the game, you need to understand how your audience asks questions. Check out the details below.
- Adapt the tone of your written content: Question words are widespread among search queries. That is, How, When, Who, Where, When, and Why. Most people use question-based keywords when implementing voice search. So, adding these words to your written content can put you in the spotlight quickly.
- Focus on long-tail keywords: When asking smart speakers and voice assistant questions, users tend to speak naturally. That’s why voice searches tend to be more specific. Instead of using “cheap hotel in Vermont,” a person would search for “What is the cheapest four-star hotel in Vermont?” – using long-tail keywords will allow you to rank better for voice searches.
- Use Schema Markup: This lets you contextualize your content and helps search engines understand exactly what your content is about.
Guy Sheetrit, CEO and Co-founder of Over the Top SEO, predicted the increasing importance of voice searches last year.
When asked about SEO trends for the near future in an interview for Brandwatch, he mentioned that,
“The combined growth of voice search and the ability of Google to deliver a specific answer to a search query… is going to have a significant impact on how much exposure your website gets.”
This has been slowly but surely turned into a reality. And the ever-growing popularity of smart speakers will just make it more prevalent as time goes by.
2. Interactive content
We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”. And yes, informative blog posts, killer copy, or social media posts should continue to be key parts of your content marketing strategy. However, they are slowly being outpaced by interactive content. And it makes sense.
In a world where we are bombarded by information right, left, and center, audiences have become more and more demanding about the type of content they’re willing to consume. They expect content to be engaging, relevant, and accessible via any device they use. And they expect this 100% of the time.
I asked Shreetit about the impact of interactive content to which he said,
“If you’re not optimizing your digital marketing strategy with interactive content, then you’re already losing customers.”
“For any business to succeed in 2020, it needs to keep up with what users are craving. And interactive content is one of the most innovative ways to consume information.”
We’ve been using interactive content for a while. Think about online quizzes, surveys, and social games.
However, as technology advances, so does the way users want to experience the world. Investing time and money on incorporating interactive formats to your digital marketing strategy can have tremendous payoffs. To do so, include some interactive infographics, white papers, case studies, or ebooks.
But why is interactive content a trend for the start of the new decade? Why should you invest in interactive content now?
- For starters, it’s proven to positively impact KPIs. Interactive content helps increase brand awareness and its connection with users by way of branded experiences.
- Because it is immersive. Prospects engaging with a brand through interactive content tend to spend more time on a business’s website.
- It also increases page views, boosting engaging metrics, increasing time on site, and decreasing bounce rates.
Not sold on it just yet? Check out these figures:
- Interactive content generates double the conversions when compared to passive content.
- Over 90% of B2B prospects prefer interactive content over static content.
- It is 93% more effective than static content.
In the era 2.0, where the average users’ attention span is eight seconds or less, keeping potential customers engaged may seem like a herculean task. Consumers are exposed to so much branded content that it can be nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Planning and implementing an interactive content strategy can help you cross that bridge, effectively closing the gap between traffic to your site and conversions.
3. TikTok advertising
TikTok is not new. However, its increasing popularity is. It was launched into the international market in 2017 and last year it took over musical.ly. A smart move that eased its way into the American teen and tween market.
But what exactly is this social app about?
The concept is rather simple. Users can create short videos and edit them to add filters, effects, and other features. They can then share them on TikTok’s platform or other social media.
And believe me, this single concept has taken the social-media-sphere by storm:
- In October 2018, it was the most downloaded app on both Apple and Google’s app stores, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube worldwide.
- It was downloaded by 188 Million users globally in the first quarter of 2019. This represents a 70% growth from the previous year.
- It currently has over 500 million active users worldwide.
- 66% of users are under 30 years old and 40% of them are between 25 and 30.
- It’s available in 75 languages and 150 countries.
The outreach potential for this app is enormous. If you want to benefit from what TikTok has to offer, I suggest you consider the following tactics.
Create a brand TikTok account
If you create a brand account, you can take advantage of hashtag challenges. These are hugely popular within the platform and will give you a chance to leverage user-generated content. This type of content has become invaluable in today’s marketing world and it’s a nearly foolproof way to reach your audience. Not to mention TikTok’s format has a huge potential for virality. Another way to increase your brand’s presence is by utilizing branded lenses. They are the equivalent of Snapchat or Instagram’s 3D filters. With TikTok, your brand can also create posts with 2D and Augmented Reality (AR). These filters bring a significant level of user engagement by letting your audience actively interact with your products.
Partner with an influencer – someone who already has an established audience
In this case, you need to make sure their demographic and type of content coincide with your target audience and brand. You also must evaluate their engagement metrics to ensure a successful partnership.
Use its paid advertising features
TikTok introduced its biddable ads feature earlier this year and it currently only has one ad type – the in-feed video ad. The platform allows you to target these ads by age, gender, and geographic location (to state level). And, the developer has stated that more granular segmentation will be available soon. You can also create customized audiences by manually adding a CRM list, and whitelist or blacklist specific audiences as well.“As soon as I realized the potential TikTok had, I knew it was an app that could add enormous value to any marketing strategy” Shared Guy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok changes the digital marketing world entirely and end ups displacing Snapchat.”He also said it was a sure-shot way to gain some track within the teenager and college-age demographic. If they’re your target audience, this is your shortcut to boost your exposure.
To sum it all up…
Keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing industry is no easy feat. Things tend to change at the drop of a hat. However, if you stay up-to-date with trends and follow what the experts are buzzing about, you can stay on top of your business’ digital marketing strategy. Adapting it to the shifting online environment to benefit your brand is key to stay ahead of your competitors.
The post Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most popular traffic analytics tools for websites, but it can have serious drawbacks for anyone looking to measure content performance.
The problem is systemic: Analytics was built to track traffic for ecommerce and content sites, with the structure of its reports built around pageviews. It can provide some sophisticated data around those views – what kinds of audience members are behind them, how they might have arrived, what they did next, and other such questions – but today’s content marketers need the ability to measure and understand much more than that.
How do people interact with your content when they’re viewing an individual landing page? How do they feel about your brand after having been exposed to it on other media channels? Where are they running into conversion roadblocks? What are the content assets across touchpoints that people are consuming most on their paths to conversion? What assets are most compelling to your most qualified individual leads?
GA can hint at some of the answers to these types of questions, but to truly understand these aspects of your content marketing performance, you’ll need to turn elsewhere.
Here are a few of the biggest ways that Google Analytics can’t measure your content performance properly, along with some tips for overcoming these shortcomings.
1. On-page behavior
Google Analytics only tracks page views and movement within your site. Unless you manually add layers of event tracking, it can’t reveal what people do within specific pages. You’ll never know if visitors get two lines into your content and then get distracted by an interesting link.
This is the value of heatmaps, which are remarkably effective at showing user behavior. They map out which areas of the page get the most view time and the most clicks, and where the mouse rests.
A heatmap shows areas that get the most attention in red, shading to blue for those that get the least. It reveals whether the visitor engaged and interacted with the page, or left it open and unread for hours. With a heatmap, you can discover the most popular parts of your pages, the navigation links people click on most, and whether key elements below the fold are going unseen.
To get started experimenting with heatmaps, you can try using Hotjar, Lucky Orange or CrazyEgg.
2. Brand sentiment lift
Google Analytics is limited to tracking page views on your own website. It can’t tell you anything about the impact of your content on earned or shared media channels, where you don’t have the ability to install its tracking pixel. And even if you could use it track content views on all channels, you still wouldn’t know much about the impact that the content has on brand sentiment, or your share of voice in the general market.
Instead, use a social listening tool to track what people think about your brand. Social listening tools track social media shares, comments, reactions and mentions. This information has many key use cases, one of which is gaining a holistic view of brand sentiment.
The better platforms track far more than the number of brand mentions on social media, using semantic text analysis to reveal the emotions behind the posts and comparing these signals to those of your competitors. Merge these trends with your timeline of content marketing achievements, and correlations will start to emerge.
To get started experimenting with social listening for brand sentiment tracking, you can try using Awario, Mention or Talkwalker.
3. Friction points on forms
If a visitor tries to complete an online form and gives up in frustration, Google Analytics will never let you know. The best it can do is to show you how much time all visitors spent on the page. (Even this information can be extremely misleading since GA measures page view durations starting from the moment given page loads to the moment the next internal page loads. If your visitor stays for 10 minutes, reads your article from top to bottom, shares it, and then closes the tab without browsing any further within your site, GA will register ‘zero’ time on page.)
When it comes to lead capture forms, contact forms, and sales checkout forms, it can be hard to tell how many fields you’re best off including. The fewer fields your forms have, the lesser friction people will have opting in, which makes for more conversions.
On the other hand, the more fields you include, the more data you’ll have to work with when people do complete and submit forms, which is useful for identifying personas when executing segmented nurture sequences. You’ll also learn more about your audience, and you’ll be in the best possible position for determining the relevance of your leads. And there’s something to be said for asking a lot of your audience, as it helps to filter out people who are “just curious” about your lead magnet and will never actually do business with you.
To really understand the extent to which form fields are serving as roadblocks on the path to conversion, turn to your form builder tool’s analytics. The better platforms will reveal partial submissions, and how far a user gets through a form before abandoning it, so you can see if any single field is too long or question too confusing.
To get started experimenting with form conversion optimization, I recommend Formstack, Formismo or Jotform.
4. The identity of every visitor
One of GA’s biggest weaknesses is its inability to give context to visitor behavior. It can’t show you much about the identity of your visitors – at best, you can segment data about your entire pool of visitors according to their physical locations, devices, referrers, rough demographics and points of entry to your site.
What’s more, Google Analytics only uses a sample of your visitors, so that even if you tinker with your report settings to reveal the IP addresses of individual sessions, you can’t rely on this information as a comprehensive source of individual user insights.
Instead of GA, use audience intelligence tools that provide information about the interests, behavior, personal data (in a GDPR-compliant manner, of course.) and historic activity of every user, so that you can gain a deeper understanding of your visitors. This allows you to fine-tune your content to appeal to your audience, and it also reveals opportunities for account-based marketing.
To get started with audience intelligence, try Albacross, LinkedIn Website Demographics or Visitor Queue.
5. Funnel analytics
It is possible to use Google Analytics to track users through your funnel and measure its effectiveness. However, setting this all up can be highly complicated. You have to build a confusing series of filters and a dedicated URL structure that allows GA to correlate content pages with each stage of the funnel.
It’s much better to use a single tool that follows users through your funnel. Pick one that logs abandonment points and the cumulative impact of your various key funnel touchpoints. You’ll also need a good way to track the activity of returning visitors, which is another weak point for GA, thanks to uncertainty about cookies, lack of reliability when tracking visitors across devices, and the aforementioned notorious data sampling issue.
And if you integrate a funnel analytics tool with your CRM, logging each lead’s engagement activity on your website, you’ll be in great shape to set up a smart lead scoring system for identifying sales-readiness levels.
To get started with funnel analytics, check out Kissmetrics, Woopra or Yandex Metrica.
6. Off-site interactions
Google Analytics only measures interactions with the content on your own site. It’s not something you can use to measure the impact of content on shared, paid or earned media. So that guest post you recently published on someone else’s blog, or your LinkedIn Publisher articles, for example, will be blind spots for you.
GA can show you information about some of the visits you acquired via clickthroughs from these media presences, but that’s about it.
You’ll get better results from a multi-channel dashboard tool that pulls together user analytics from all channels, including email marketing, advertising tools, and social media. This type of solution can’t show you how people found your content on these properties, nor where they went next if they didn’t end up on your website, but it will help you consolidate all your metrics into one centralized dashboard for a more holistic analysis.
What’s more, if you combine data relating to engagement on all touchpoints into one timeline, you’ll start to see correlations between spikes on certain channels and website conversions, which can point you in the right direction for further drill-downs
To get started with multi-channel dashboards, try Klipfolio, Databox or Geckoboard.
Google Analytics isn’t a magic button
Google Analytics is hugely popular, but it can’t do everything, especially if you’re concerned about content performance. Fortunately, there are other tools that fill the gaps GA leaves behind, giving you a much clearer understanding of your content marketing success.
The post Six key content performance aspects that Google Analytics can’t measure appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
There’s a reason why our team thinks we are a great place to work and no, its not because we have a ping pong table set up. See more about Hanapin’s latest certification + we’ll let you in on a little secret!
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At Hero Conf London, 23-25 October, we’ve created a schedule that can be tailored to any PPC role. In-depth, actionable sessions for the PPC Specialist and high-level strategies and tactics for the Marketing Manager looking to generate new opportunities.
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We’re often told that the web is increasingly mobile, and that it is imperative for businesses to adapt their marketing strategies to be ‘mobile-first’ in order to capitalize on this shift in internet behavior.
But just how mobile is the web in 2017, and what does this mean for search?
SEO and performance marketing agency BrightEdge today released a new report which sheds light on this question, and on the steadily widening gap between mobile and desktop search.
I spoke to Erik Newton, VP of Customer Marketing and Head of SEO at BrightEdge, about the report’s findings, Google’s mobile-first index tests, and how SEOs can adapt their strategy to account for the increasing divergence between desktop and mobile.
Majority mobile: 57% of web traffic is now mobile & tablet devices
In one of the key findings of the research, BrightEdge reports that 57% of web traffic now originates from mobile and tablet devices – meaning that close to 6 out of every 10 consumers are using a mobile device. Businesses who still aren’t optimizing for mobile, therefore, are ignoring a decisive majority of potential customers.
Even more noteworthy is the finding that the same query on the same search engine generates a different rank on mobile and desktop 79% of the time.
Among the top 20 ranked results, the gap is less pronounced, with 47% of queries differing between devices – but this still means that close to half of rankings differ.
And 35% – more than a third – of the time, the first page that ranked for any given domain was different between mobile and desktop SERPs.
In a press release about the research, BrightEdge commented that these figures indicate a “significant shift to a new mobile-first index”. I asked Erik Newton whether this means that BrightEdge believes Google’s mobile-first index is already being rolled out. Most SEOs believe we are still awaiting the official launch of the new index, but is BrightEdge seeing otherwise?
“We are seeing a divergence of rank and content between the two devices, and we have seen the data move in both directions over the last few months,” says Newton. “We believe that Google is testing and calibrating, as they have with other major shifts, to prepare for the separate mobile index.”
This fits with Google’s usual M.O. around big algorithm updates, but it also means that whatever strategies SEOs are planning to deploy when the mobile-first index finally rolls around, now might be the time to start testing them.
And for those who are still biding their time, they may already be losing out.
How are businesses really doing on mobile?
In the marketing industry, we’ve been talking for what feels like years, with increasing urgency, about the need for our campaigns and our web presences to be mobile-friendly. Or mobile-responsive. Or mobile-first.
But how are businesses really doing with this? Are marketers doing enough, even in 2017, to optimize for mobile?
“For most of the businesses that grew up on desktop, we see them using a desktop frame of reference,” observes Erik Newton. “We see evidence of this tendency in web design, page performance, analytics, and keyword tracking.
“We believe that Google gives the market signals to move forward and toward mobile faster. This is one of those times to push harder on mobile.
“Some of the newer companies, however, are mobile-first and even mobile-only. They are more likely to be app-based, and have always had majority mobile share.”
As we’ve seen from the figures cited in the previous section, using desktop as a frame of reference is increasingly short-sighted given the widening gap between desktop and mobile rankings. But how, then, should marketers plan their search strategy to cater to an increasing disparity between the two?
Should they go so far as to split their SEO efforts and cater to each separately? Or is there a way to kill two birds with one stone?
“The research report has some specific recommendations,” says Newton.
“One – Identify and differentiate mobile versus desktop demand.
“Two, design and optimize websites for speed and mobile-friendliness. Three, use a responsive site unless your business is app-based and large enough to build traffic through app distribution.
“Four, understand different online consumer intent signals across desktop and mobile devices. Five, produce separate mobile and desktop content that resonates on multiple device types.
“Six: focus on optimizing mobile content and mobile pages to improve conversions. Seven: track, compare, and report mobile and desktop share of traffic continuously.
“Eight, measure and optimize the page load speed of the mobile and desktop sites separately. And nine, track your organic search rank for mobile and desktop separately.
“The first challenge is to be even equally attentive to both mobile and desktop. We find that many brands are not acutely aware of the basic stat of mobile share of traffic.
“Additionally, brands can analyze the mobile share among new visitors, or non-customers, to see what kind of a different role it can play for people at different stages of the customer journey. For example, my mobile traffic is 32% higher among new visitors than overall visitors, and my mobile-blog-non-customer is 58% higher. That’s a place I should be leaning in on mobile when communicating to non-customers.
“Brands do not need to split their SEO efforts, but they do need to decide that some content efforts be mobile-first to be competitive.”
It can be difficult for brands who have traditionally catered to desktop users and who are still seeing success from a desktop-focused strategy to break away from this mindset and take a gamble on mobile. However, the figures are convincing.
What’s most evident is that it isn’t enough for SEOs and marketers to wait around for the launch of Google’s mobile-first index: it’s already being tested, and when combined with the growing proportion of mobile web traffic, brands who wait to develop a mobile-first strategy are increasingly likely to miss out.
If you know you wanna go, and simply need the stats to back it up, visit our website now to Justify Your Trip. Still looking for more? Read on for more details about how Hero Conf is impacting the PPC industry.
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Google has been working with hundreds of carriers around the world to bring the text message into the 21st century. The post Android Can’t Compete With iMessage. Google Is Changing That appeared first on WIRED.
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