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Inside Web Development

AdWords Express Now Provides Greater Control & Improved Reporting

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 18:45

Those businesses using Google's AdWords Express program now have several new features worthy of note including call tracking, ad scheduling and map actions.

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The new features include ad scheduling capabilities, which will make it possible for advertisers to indicate what hours of the day they want to run ads ("day parting" as it's known has been available for quite some time in the regular AdWords system). Advertisers will be able to choose custom hours or link their Google My Business to automatically determine what business hours the ads should run.

Google also introduced a way to see how many users viewed an ad then clicked through to to view the business listing on Google Maps, as well as details (time , length, and location) about those customers who clicked the "Call Now" option from their mobile device.

For those unfamiliar with the program, AdWords Express is a simplified version of Google AdWords intended for those businesses that want to get started quickly and easily but have limited time to manage their online advertising initiatives.

Pinterest Pins Hopes on Video Ads

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 18:40

Pinterest is laser-focused on improving its advertising ecosystem and on the heels of introducing a CPC auction earlier this month has just debuted video ads.

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More video has made its way into Pinterest over the past year according to the company so it makes perfect sense for the company to amplify its efforts regarding this type of content. Within the feeds of its 100 million reported users, video use is up an impressive 60 percent from a year prior (with YouTube being the top source of pinned videos).

The promoted or sponsored videos, which will be mixed in with a users personalized feed over the next few months, play sound (videos actually only play short previews without sounds unless a user clicks to view the full version) and link viewers to pins for related products and services. Advertisers will reportedly be able to pair "related" pins to the video ads.

Growing Engagement & Loyalty Through Automation & Moderation

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 18:35

Social loyalty platform Chirpify has added several new components and features to its offerings, which the company hopes will help brands make better use of their participation on networks like Facebook and Twitter.

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Perhaps the most noteworthy addition is that of Reply Rewards, an offering that will enable brands to listen for specific topics or brand sentiment and reward social consumers for their behavior. Chirpify is also introducing its Moderation feature that will enable brands to review and filter social media posts using criteria that would qualify, or disqualify, someone for a reward. A brand moderator, for example, could set up a filter to determine which users included a specific hashtag. The company has also made it possible to have automated social responses be in the consumer's native language.

"These new features give brands the ability to combine a spectrum of approaches to social loyalty, and the flexibility to run campaigns that automate engagement and conversion at scale, or moderate interactions, providing more brand control and personalized engagement," said Chris Teso, CEO at Chirpify. "Consumers are increasingly savvy and more demanding of brands. With the combination of automation, moderation, and surprise and delight that can be dialed to any organization's unique needs, we give marketers the ability to grow engagement, loyalty and spend among even the most demanding of customers."

QUICK HIT: Put Some Pepper In Your WordPress

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 18:30

There's a new version of WordPress (dubbed Pepper) available and it's packed with important performance improvements as well as some very useful new features for those using the popular publishing system.

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Let's take a quick, closer look at some of the new features:

  • One-Page Updates: Installing, updating or deleting plugins and themes can now be done on the same page.
  • Native Fonts: The dashboard now uses fonts already on your device, making it load faster.
  • Broken Link Checker: WordPress now provides a notification when an error has been made. The platform highlights broken links in much the same way it highlights typos.
  • Content Recovery: Now stores content in the browser, making recovery easier should computer or Internet failures happen.

There are numerous other performance related improvements including updates to requests, translations, the meta-registration API and more.

Avoid These UI/UX Mistakes to Improve Mobile App Retention

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 18:25

:: By Ashesh Shah, Fusion Informatics ::

It is hard for marketers to see their app's user retention rate falling with time. The reasons, however, may lay within their app user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) design.

Addressing flaws related to UI, can help enterprises avoid mistakes impacting their overall UX, and sabotaging retention.

1. Permissions scare users away

When you ask for permissions upfront, it could be quite overwhelming for first-time users. Users have just started using your app for the first time, and asking for permissions, allows them to question your credibility. Throwing too many questions, for accessing personal and other account details, allows them to think twice before actually using the app. These app permissions include - getting access to contacts, asking for push notifications, accessing smartphone camera, scanning user location, and more.

Handling the situation

Ask permissions at right time, backed by a proper justified explanation. The best time to do this is asking for permissions at the time of using a feature (like accessing the phone's camera roll to edit a photo or accessing contact list to refer friends). At this point, users clearly understand the need, and hence do not hesitate to grant the permission. App permissions are not a hurdle, as it seems. In fact, app permissions are a great source of providing optimal experience to the users, based on the information they provide. 

2. Providing no hints leave users puzzled

Users are confused at many points within an app. Especially, when no help is available in the form of informative text, captions, or a help manual. It is important to have hints placed at relevant places, on every single app screen.

Handling the situation

Insert a text box, containing text resembling a caption, and providing hints on what to do. This not just educates users regarding functionality, but also act as a source of user-friendliness, when users can do things with ease.

As an example, Lyft asks for permissions, in the form of simplified text, informing users about the consequences (like payment or ordering), if they click on individual call-to-action (CTAs) buttons. This is great because users have a clear idea, whether to click CTAs or not.

3. Missing the repeat value

If your app provides features for an occasional use, then there is a high probability that users will either forget about your app, or not bother to check after days together. Going by statistical facts, most apps lose 90 percent of users within first month, and 95 percent within three months of download.

Handling the situation

Offer features requiring daily signing in from users. Your app should be full of functionalities, forcing users to make it a daily habit. If your app proves to be highly useful personally or professionally, users are lured to open your app on a daily basis.

As an example, Skype has grown professionally rapidly. The first thing people do when they arrive at office, is logging into their Skype account for an internal communication within their peers. On a personal level, people staying far off, prefer to use Skype regularly, for connecting with family and friends.

4. Too many features can be overwhelming

Having over-the-top features slows down your app, and even makes it difficult for users to locate the best suitable features for reaching their goals. It is unnecessary to club all the features in one single app, just because you want to compete with others.

Handling the situation

Just have relevant offerings in place, while omitting the irrelevant functionalities. Try to analyze the needs of your target audience, and accordingly incorporate generic features dealing with all types of user needs. 

5. Long tutorials are tiresome to read

Tutorials guide users to move around within the app. However, when there is too much text to read, information appears overwhelming to digest. Moreover, a long tutorial with in-depth information, gives a wrong impression regarding the complexity of the app, resulting in app UI/UX failure. 

Handling the situation

Self-explanatory user interfaces are always good to go. With such UIs in place, there is no need for separate tutorials. This can be done in the form of captions, tool tips, small blocks of text, and embedded text boxes, leading to an amazing user experience backed by navigational ease.

6. Absence of whitespace makes things clumsy

Every app screen needs breathing space in between elements and components. Having a good amount of whitespace, helps in differentiating things. An absence of whitespace, lets everything appear cluttered, destroying the tidiness of the app. 

Handling the situation

Maintain a proper balance between design and elements. It is the space keeping components aligned with images, text, multimedia, and other things arranged in sections. Do not insert elements just for the sake of keeping them. Let the app breathe with screens appearing clear.

7. Not informing users about their actions

Inform users about the consequences, after execution of a task. If users remain uninformed, even after executing an action, they will not know whether the action has completed or not. This will in turn also confuse them, regarding what to do next.

Handling the situation

Small textual boxes of messages do the trick, informing users in an interactive manner. Say for example, if they fill a form and click submit, you should inform them about the form submission.

8. Social Media is a neglected factor

People love social media. Users do visit social networking websites daily, and they always want shortcuts for logging in to accounts via social credentials. Apps with plain and simple login forms, let users fill long forms without too many details, for registering an account. Long registration forms test users' patience.

Handling the situation

Have social media login options embedded within the sign up/login pages, so that users can sign in the app directly through their social accounts. When people are allowed to enter the app through social media gateway, they are more than happy to register. 

About the Author

Ashesh Shah is the CEO of Fusion Informatics Ltd., and co-founder of Digital Infoware Pvt. Ltd., which are progressive enterprises in the field of Web, software and mobile application development services. 

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A Simple Guide to Decluttering Your Website

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 13:00

:: By Larry Alton, @LarryAlton3 ::

We’ve entered an age of Web design where principles of minimalism rule. However, many websites that were developed prior to this shift are still utilizing outdated layouts that are confusing and cluttered.

In order to enter 2016 and reach customers where they are, it’s important to simplify. 

Ready, Set, Simplify 

A website is your virtual storefront. It’s the portal through which customers view your business and make assessments about your brand. If it’s busy, cluttered, and disorganized, this will reflect poorly on your business. However, if your website is clean and fast, customers will develop positive associations with your brand. Keeping this in mind, here are a few different ways in which you can declutter your website.

1. Separate the Trash from the Treasure

In order to successfully purge your website of unnecessary elements, look at it like a house. Confront each link, page, image, text box and element like an item in a junk closet. When you take this trash vs. treasure mentality, you’ll find it easier to determine whether or not something is worth keeping.

The only things that should be kept are elements that serve a distinct purpose. If you can’t quickly define the purpose of something, then it probably doesn’t belong. Remember, you can always go back and make changes later. For now, err on the side of eliminating superfluous design elements. 

2. Use More Negative Space

“The use of negative space plays a huge role in usability,” says designer Rob Bowen. “Users not only need to be able to comfortably read all of the content on the site, but they also need to be able to easily find what they are looking for. Clutter keeps that from being an easy task.” 

Negative space is your friend. If you look at some of the top websites on the Internet right now, they all prioritize simplicity in the form of white space. This negative space is so valuable because it draws the user’s attention toward the other elements that truly matter. It also puts the user’s mind at ease and actually increases the average amount of time they spend on the site. 

3. Reference the Pareto Principle

Are you familiar with the Pareto Principle – also known as the 80-20 Rule? This principle says that about 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. In other words, the majority of your website’s value is found in just a fraction of the site’s design elements. If you can successfully identify which 20 percent produces 80 percent of the value, you’ll be able to declutter without compromising. 

There are a variety of ways you can identify your 20 percent – but it will take some time and effort on your part. Options include A/B testing, heat map or scroll map tracking, customer interviews, or simple Q&A’s. Play around with different combinations and study the analytics to understand the results.

4. Cut Down on the Number of Pages

Do you really need 10, 15 or 20-plus pages on your website? Could you get away with having just six or seven? Not only do lots of pages slow down your website and require more attention, but they also stress out users. 

When a website features lots of pages, this also means there’s a big menu with dozens of different tabs. When a customer sees this, they’re likely to get overwhelmed and bounce. If they do stick around, they may find it difficult to locate what they’re looking for. Simplify and combine for better results.

Simple is the Word

Modern Web design is all about saying more with less. This means carefully considering each element you include and aiming for simplification and minimalism above all else. Once you strip your cluttered site down and focus on these principles, you’re bound to enjoy lower bounce rates, longer average time on site and higher conversions.

Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Website Migration: A Best Practices Checklist for Before, During and After

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 12:00

:: By Nick Rojas, @NickARojas ::

The decision to migrate your website to a new URL should not be taken lightly. Your current website represents a huge investment - creating the copy, layout, and amplification tactics to improve visibility.  However, sometimes change is simply unavoidable. Whether you are migrating to a new content management platform, changing your domain due to international expansion, or doing an entire website makeover, migrating your website has the potential to create improvements in your bottom line - if done correctly. 

No matter what reason you find yourself needing to migrate your website - be warned that a short-term dip in ranking is likely. But by following a best practice checklist, you can preserve your site’s rankings and domain authority.  Here is a list of best practices to follow during your website migration migration:

Before the Migration

1. Created a detailed site map. There are multiple ways to do this, but make sure that you have created a hierarchical list starting at the home page that includes ALL your assets and pages.  Don’t forget to add URL’s that contain videos, PDF’s and other assets.

2. Put a list together of ALL your current URLs, whether that’s by building a website crawler using PHP, using analytics tools, or exporting from your CMS. Don’t forget to include your Adwords landing pages, or you can wreak havoc on your Adwords account. 

3. Are you keeping all the same URLs? Are you dropping and adding some? Make sure you have a list of TARGET URL’s that will be a part of the new site.

4. Map your pages one to one. Every old URL should be mapped to a new URL.  If the old URL will not be replaced, don’t simply allow it to end at a 404 page. Plan on redirecting it to the most relevant page possible.  

5. Have you checked your rankings? Rank a keyword ranking report so you can see where you currently stand with all of your site’s main keywords. Download a ranking report from SEMrush which includes all the keywords they’ve identified as ranking, not just the ones you track directly.   

6. Download reports from Google Search Console and Google Analytics for the last 30 days. This will help you get an idea of traffic levels, traffic to specific pages, and bounce rates, etc.

7. Register the new domain with Google Search Console.

8. Run a backlink report from Ahrefs so you can get a comprehensive list of your backlinks, as well as what pages they link to. You’ll want to get this ready so you can contact those domains, and ask them to switch out the URL from an old URL to a new one.

9. Generate an XML sitemap for the new domain to be uploaded to Google Search Console.

During the Migration

1. Test every single 301 redirect to ensure they are linking to the proper page. Use a redirect checker, like Link Redirect Trace, to make sure all of your pages are resolving correctly. Make sure all the content you planned for you on your sitemap is present and accessible. 

2. Tell Google your address has changed using the “change of address” within the Google Search console.

3. Crawl the homepage and main category pages using “Fetch as Google” within the Google Search Console  of the new domain. Be sure to “submit to index” once you are done. 

4. Update the URL of your social sharing buttons and on your social pages.

5. Contact affiliates who have links to you and ask them to update their URLs. This way, you avoid needing to use a redirect from these backlinks. 

6. Check your Time to Live variable within your Domain Naming Server. This feature determines how long it takes a computer to propagate your new content. Around the launch, make it as short as a few minutes, otherwise users could end up at the old site.

7. Update meta elements like the title tag and meta description to be sure they match the new domain.

After the Migration

1. Be on the lookout for crawl errors in the Google Search Console for the new domain. You should be checking this routinely, as errors may not appear immediately.

2. Don’t just rely on internal testing of redirects and navigation. Recruit some real users to test your links, navigations, and taxonomy of your new domain. Have them provide feedback and tweak if necessary.

3. Continue to test your 301 redirects from the old URL pages to ensure they are working properly.  

4. Confirm that the indexation of the old domain is going down as the new one goes up. Hopefully, the old domain disappears entirely. To do so, go to Google and search for your domain by adding the site search operator: site:yourdomain.com

5. Compare your new analytics with the analytics for the old domain to make sure you are matching and eventually surpassing those numbers. 

This process will take time, so be patient as Google updates its search rankings and you wait for traffic to resume its normal activity. Carefully pick when you are doing your site migration to make sure you are not hurting a peak traffic season. Whatever reason you have for website migration, don’t let yourself be intimidated by the risk for your SEO. Follow these best practices to ensure a successful migration where you reap nothing but benefits.

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over 20 years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur and other leading industry publications. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

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Making Legacy Apps Modern with Sencha

Website Service Magazine - Thu, 2016-08-18 11:10

Web application platform Sencha wants to make it easier for enterprises to transform their legacy applications into modern Web apps. 

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Sencha, which provides a platform for designing, developing and testing cross-platform Web apps, announced that it is partnering with 4Morphis and leveraging its own Ext JS Javascript framework to help customers migrate Oracle Forms applications into both Web and mobile applications. 

By partnering with 4Morphis, Oracle Forms enterprise apps can now be automatically converted into Sencha Ext JS source files with retained business logic, without having to rewrite code, or discard any existing application investments. Once converted, the Sencha Professional Services team works with the developers to customize the design of the application, compose the Ext JS-based application elements into an enterprise-class web application, and test it to ensure a high-quality experience for customers.

“There are millions of legacy apps out there, and organizations need to make them mobile and modern,” said Sencha CEO Art Landro. “Sencha gives enterprise developers access to the latest advancements in web technology with our Ext JS framework, and now we enable Oracle Forms applications to be transformed into modern, cross-platform web applications in days versus weeks or months. By using our integration with the Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, we can deploy these modernized apps on-premises or in a public, private or hybrid cloud.”

Investment App Builds Its Own Stash

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 21:02

As many times as Internet professionals roll their eyes when they hear of a company that is Uber-like or has Uber-fied an industry, the comparison is sometimes, well, just warranted. Stash Invest is the latest app that has the potential to transform (or "disrupt" if you're still following) an industry and VCs are taking notice.

Stash takes the intimidation out of investing by allowing its app users (so far there is no Web-based user interface) to invest as little as $5 a month and receive recommendations as to where and how to spread their investment (e.g., aggressive vs. moderate, blue chip vs. public works) as well as content to improve their confidence in investing. Stash got a little help of its own today, announcing it has secured $9.25 million in Series A funding, which it plans to use to help accelerate user growth and to build out its technology platform. The round was led by Goodwater Capital, which specializes in early­ stage consumer technology companies, and Valar Ventures. Entree Capital also participated in the round.

“My co­founder Ed and I left our jobs because we believe everyone should have access to financial opportunity," said Brandon Krieg, CEO. "After a combined 30+ years in the business, we know that Wall Street can be fundamentally unfair to smaller investors and makes it hard for the individual investor to accomplish their goals. We want to create real change ­ the kind that transforms the financial literacy gap and narrows the vast division of wealth that plagues our country.”

The benefits of the app are low fees (check out its app page to get full disclosures and costs) and a way for non-investors to be exposed to the market. Users may, however, be turned off by having to enter their social security numbers into an app (of which the majority of apps across categories are downloaded and deleted quickly) as well as bank information but there's no way around it. It's a best practice - as told by Chase.com - to not sign in using banking credentials to any third-party app, however, of which Stash encourages but does not require (routing and account information can be entered instead). Stash may own some of its growing success to apps like Venmo, which millennials are quite comfortable with - accepting and sending money from/to friends through an app that has had its fair share of criticism concerning security

While it's likely that the app's drop-off rate comes around the time where users have to enter very personal information, Stash promises it provides bank-grade security and even weekend customer service while investments are managed by experts like Vanguard, State Street and BlackRock. Of course all investments come with risk (read: you may lose money), but Stash's UI, content, touch ID log-in and more, make it an app to watch especially as more funding rounds no doubt come into play and perhaps the bigger investment firms consider acquiring it to expand their millennial reach. 

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When Social Hurts Search (And How to Avoid the Risk to Rankings and Reputation)

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 17:50

Thanks to smartphones and social channels, people are easily “checking in” to local businesses on Facebook and other digital properties (e.g., Google, Foursqaure) to show off their patronage and share their whereabouts, but these well-meaning customers could be risking the company’s search rankings when they create new listings themselves or the network populates a page based on interest. 

While the problem of “duplicate” local listings have existed for years (as have check-ins), Moz Local Search Evangelist George Freitag says the problem is more prominent today and user-generated content (UGC) is a big reason why (among other reasons like a business moving, being acquired or not communicating internally). Moz has launched a new “duplicates dashboard” within its Moz Local product, which will help enterprises improve and speed up their duplicate resolution process. 

Moz understands this ecosystem very well as its Moz Local offering currently manages about 75,000 business locations for 13,000 companies – tracking more than 1 million duplicate listings. Its new duplicates dashboard is part of its baseline offering for listing distribution – available now – with no separate upgrade. 

Forget One and Done 

Locating, closing and monitoring duplicate listings manually is a tiresome process, of course, for the business with five locations but nearly impossible for the enterprise with 5,000. According to Moz, the average enterprise client has 3,500 duplicates at signup and costs 44 weeks of “person” hours annually to manually manage duplicates for a large brand – not to mention the upkeep of this ongoing process (which Moz automates). The alternative of not doing so, however, is not only the risk to a company’s reputation in the eyes of the consumer (imagine driving to the wrong location) but also the search engines where trust is everything. Freitag says Google looks to directories, websites and other data sources to verify its own info. If it sees two businesses under the same address, Google is not sure which to trust and neither business listing gets presented to users in the local pack – to the detriment of phone calls, website visits and walk-ins. 

Slice and Dice Data

Moz Local users are familiar with its “one-click closure” of duplicate listings but will now find an enhanced backend as well as improved tracking and processing. The new dashboard provides greater transparency and improved workflow for faster closures, shorter review cycles and more. 

The dashboard’s user interface (UI) is quite clean and intuitive. Users can see how many duplicate listings are opened, reviewed, in process of closures and how many have actually been closed. The search function allows for additional filters that can be saved for future/permanent use, which is especially useful for larger agencies or enterprises that, say, only want to look at specific subsections like “California locations” and export that data to share easily. 

Take Next Steps 

Social media can certainly provide a lot of visibility benefits for brands – like extra eyes on content hosted on a website – but local businesses need to do their due diligence to ensure check-ins aren’t hurting their cause by (1) establishing and promoting their official Facebook page and (2) monitoring duplicate listings across directories and networks. While Moz Local doesn’t have direct access to Facebook’s walled garden in particular, it can identify the duplicate listings and take business owners to the “edge” where it then shares the appropriate next-step to close that listing. For all of its partners (like Foursquare, which powers much of the local info being used across the ‘Net, and CitySearch), Moz Local takes care of the duplicates without the marketer ever leaving its UI. 

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Creating Your First Facebook Ad

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 16:52

Facebook continues to limit what people see from brands in their news feeds – leaving many companies to consider how to “pay to play” on the social network since they can't rely on organic reach.

For those businesses that have yet to run a Facebook ad, check out our five-step guide to getting started. 

 

:: Read "Creating Your 1st Facebook Ad" ::

Retailers Slow to Use SMS, Pre- to Post Sale

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 16:30

From interactions with peers to the receipt of personalized promotional offers, SMS is a familiar and easy way to communicate today, yet according to a new OpenMarket mobile messaging report, the large majority of retailers are not using the communication channel to engage with customers.

In fact, compared to traditional channels like email (97 percent), phone (66 percent), social media (82 percent) and mobile apps (32 percent), the results show that SMS was among the least frequently used methods of communication for retailers (29 percent). Brands are, however, open to trying with over half (62 percent) of respondents who don't use SMS seeing the channel as an opportunity to drive revenue or improve customer experience. 

“SMS may not be a new technology, but the utility and capability of mobile messaging is still greatly untapped by many retailers,” said Jay Emmet, general manager for OpenMarket. “The retailers who have already embraced SMS are seeing success in terms of efficiency, reach, and business impact—setting a strong example for others to follow. As the survey results indicate, there is a lot of room for retailers to capitalize on the opportunities SMS provides.”

While SMS can seem obtrusive - smartphones are typically always on-person during waking hours - consumers are open to communicating through SMS with brands. OpenMarket reports that 75 percent of millennials prefer SMS messages for real-time notifications of deliveries, payments, promotions and surveys. SMS is woefully underused within the buying cycle considering the value from pre- to post sale. 

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Is Pokémon A Good Fit For Your Business?

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 15:10

By John Fetto of Hitwise, a division of Connexity

To say that the release of Pokémon Go has been a runaway success is an understatement. The mobile game, which now sits atop both the iTunes and Google Play app stores, resulted a surge of interest by an estimated 10.5 million Americans during the first two weeks of the game’s American release, according to internal analysis. 

Online searches related to the game peaked on Monday July 11 at which point roughly one in every 63 online searches conducted in the United States mentioned the word “Pokémon.” Searches have since declined slightly, but Pokémon is still bigger than online searches for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders…combined! In the words of the Republican presidential nominee, that’s “youge!”

The most common focus of Pokémon searches has been figuring out how to play the game. With very little in the way of instruction or help, players are more or less on their own to figure the game out. In fact, during the week of the launch, almost 10 percent of Pokémon-related searches included “how,” “guide” or “tips.” Last weekend, searches for “server” spiked as players tried to figure out if the infrastructure behind the game had gone down, undoubtedly due to a flood of people playing the game. 

Is Pokémon a good fit for your business?

With reports of players swarming to—and spending money in—businesses near “PokéStops” or “gyms,” key geographic locations in the game, businesses are seeking out ways to ride the Pokémon wave to profit. According to a recent article, some companies are even considering paying employees to play the game with the objective of luring Pokémon to their location—and with them hordes of players.

But before marketers spend money to attract Pokémon fans, they need to understand if they’re the right fit for their business. 

According to our analysis, 47 percent of adults who searched for “Pokémon” since the U.S. launch are under the age of 35 with those ages 18 to 24 being 1.8 times more likely than average to have conducted such a search. Another 19 percent of adults searching for Pokémon are ages 35 to 44. While many of those in this age group are playing for their own enjoyment, many are also playing with their kids who aren’t yet old enough to own their own smartphone—or so we tell ourselves. 

While 54 percent of this audience are men, there are still 4.8 million female Pokémon fans, so don’t ignore these female gamers. Those seeking information about the game tend to be more educated, with 70 percent having at least some college, including a large number who are currently students. The game, which profits from players buying virtual items in the range of a dollar or two, is generally affordable to most. But Pokémon fans have deeper pockets than average with those living in households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 the most likely to be in this group. 

Beyond demographics, we also wanted to see which retailers and restaurants would be the best fit for Pokémon players. In the tables below, you’ll see those companies whose existing customers are the most likely to be interested in Pokémon. The list is essentially a guide to the businesses Pokémon should hit up first in seeking partners for their soon to launch “sponsored locations,” which McDonald’s is rumored to be considering

Companies with high concentrations of millennials and tech-savvy gamers dominate the list of retailers. For instance, consumers who visit Game Stop online are 3.6 times more likely than average to have shown a recent interest in Pokémon. Likewise, those who shop at Hot Topic are 3.2 times more likely to be among the Poké-set. Interestingly, Build-A-Bear, which appeals to a much younger audience segment, is also among the most popular and is likely a prime opportunity because of parents playing with their tweens or younger kids. 

Fast food companies, especially sandwich and burrito shops are top picks for restaurants where you’ll find Pokémon players resting their sore legs and grabbing a bite. Blimpie and Chipotle customers, for instance, are 1.9 times and 1.5 times, respectively, more likely than average to be interested in Pokémon. 

So before you invest marketing dollars in buying virtual incense or egg incubators—or before you jump on any fad, for that matter—take a minute to understand the consumers behind it and then decide if that audience makes sense for your business.

About the Author

A seasoned analyst having worked with a number of Connexity's key marketer, agency and media clients, John Fetto is responsible for converting complex data into clear and concise consumer insights that are consumable and actionable even by non-analysts. Spotting emerging consumer trends and developing rich audience profiles of influential consumer segments are two of his areas of expertise. His insights not only help marketers stay ahead of the curve, they deliver the information needed to reach the right customer through the right channel with the right message.

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Create Captivating Digital Signage Content

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 15:01

:: By Sadiq Khan, doPublicity ::

The most captivating thing to have happened to the advertising industry in a very long time is the advent and subsequent coming of age of digital signage (think rotating event schedules at conferences, airport tickers, menu boards at restaurants and pricing at a local service provider)

The possibilities for this medium are only beginning to be scratched more so with the advent of 4K and its elder brother 8K Ultra-HD displays.

The costs for setting up a digital signage platform for your firm have been steadily going down for the past several years and one study that studied this phenomenon came to the conclusion that between the years 2000 and 2004, the costs for setting up a digital signage display unit went down by 50 percent, that is to say the prices dropped by half. This trend is set to continue and already there are firms who have pivoted in this space and are offering compelling solutions to all categories of businesses. 

Proper Software and Hardware Environment

So, having already set up the proper software and hardware environment for your campaign the only thing remaining is for you to develop content which will communicate the information that you want to convey to your clients in a clear and unambiguous manner. The costs for hiring a specialized digital media content creator can prove prohibitive and sometimes you want to make real time changes to your banner. What do you do in such a scenario? 

Well, there are many options available for you now, thanks to many service providers offering templates, which can number in the thousands to set you off in the proper direction in terms of creating bespoke content for your application. These providers have thousands of such templates categorized into the various segments of industry, such as the retail sector, hotels and restaurants, hospitals and waiting rooms, banks, just to name a few.

If You Can DIY

These templates are designed using the most commonplace office productivity software such as MS Office and Open Office, PDF, Audio and Video content. They are sector specific so that all that you might need to do to use them is to quite simply edit them in putting your details and where appropriate, using the aforementioned software. This means that you will be up and running in little or no time at all. What’s more, you can engage in real time editing, viewing your changes as you go. 

So, here are a few tips which you should bear in mind if you want to create captivating content that will keep your audience engaged with your brand and have them keep coming back for more and more of the same. You need to become a DIY kind of person as this will not only save you a couple of dollars in the bargain, but it will also enable you to make the most out of the free advanced content editing tools which are available online.

• Befriend YouTube – It is always a lot of fun if you can teach yourself a new thing, personally the reward that comes with internalizing a new concept and putting it in practice cannot be metered in words. Having said that, most of the 1,000+ templates that will come bundled with the software will be pretty easy to edit as most will come with a built in editor or you can choose to export them to local and edit them using software installed on your computer.

Ultimately, after you get the hang of things you might want to move to the next level. In this case, you will have to make YouTube your best friend and choose the training videos that will give you more depth in the editing process and as to how you can go about editing the audio, video and text to customize them to your needs. In most cases the digital signage provider will already have helpful videos on the subject on their video channel.

• Befriend Google – If it so happens that the vendor did not have the time to post the video, then you will have to engage in clever Google searches in order to find out the necessary information that exists on how to create and edit and manage your digital content. Additionally, you can find a lot of free templates out there that you can customize to fit in with your circumstances. 

You will also find forums and communities of digital signage enthusiasts who will help to make the learning curve a little less steep for you. In this way, you can come up with a solution that not only makes sense to you, but also you will be well on your way to becoming an expert in the area and even earn a few dollars, while at it. 

• Consult Experts - If you get stumped in your efforts and you are not a DIY bluff, then you should make a point of talking to the vendor of the solution. The best of the pack offer their solutions by email and directly on phone. So, if you want a quick time sensitive answer to your query this remains the best option for you, in this regards. 

Before you do that you might as well go through the website of the service provider’s FAQ section and read the manual you might be pleasantly surprised to note that the particular question has already been comprehensively answered and archived. 

• Practice, Practice and then Practice Some More – Well, since the digital signage unit is ultimately yours, I go back again to point one and two above, it is important that you invest some time in figuring out how it works and the best way to do this is by creating your own content, be it audio, visual, textual or otherwise. Experiment and before you know it you would have become an expert at it. Good luck on your voyage to becoming an expert content creator. 

About the Author

Sadiq Khan is an expert at creating Digital Signage content, an expert of more than 15 years standing in the field. He has a knack for all things digital and runs his digital media studio out of New York City. He blogs constantly about this subject and his blog enjoys a monthly audience of more than 3 million viewers. 

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Benefits of Document Management Software (DMS) for Business

Website Service Magazine - Wed, 2016-08-17 14:44

:: By Benoy Tamang, eFileCabinet ::

More digital files are being created than ever before and enterprises without a proper filing system risk wasting time and money trying to locate or replace files that have been misplaced or downright lost.

From critical business papers to content development and marketing teams have created, there's a need for a document management system (DMS). We've listed the top benefits below:

Storage

Using a paperless system eliminates the need for storage rooms and physical filing cabinets, allowing you to fill expensive office space with workers and equipment that actively bring value to your organization. Not only will you save money on the physical costs of maintaining and storing documents, you will also save on the cost of labor needed to manage the physical storage of documents, which is where the hefty expense really lies. This saves time and frees up your employees to do other revenue generating projects. 

Reduce Print and Copy Costs

The cost of toner, paper, carbon copies, and copy machine and printer maintenance can add up quickly, but is often unnoticed and simply accepted as an unavoidable part of running a business. These expenses, though, are no longer necessary. By eliminating the need for things like making multiple copies of a single document and printing every document, you will save substantially in time as well as the physical costs. There is also a labor cost associated with these tasks that can be saved and allocated to revenue generating projects. 

Workflow

With electronic management, the cost associated with filing, searching and maintaining a physical structure is eliminated. How much time does your company lose in man hours searching for lost or misplaced documents? What about deals lost or sacrificed because documents were filed improperly or misplaced? With DMS all documents can be accessed by all the authorized individuals in an organization no matter where they are located. No need to email, Fed-Ex or fax sensitive documents back and forth and trying to keep track of who has what version and adding corrections and additions to the document. In a DMS all files are accessible from any location over the web, and you can even access through mobile smart devices. 

Speed of Response

Tasks can be completed faster and in a timelier manner through DMS. With automated workflows, files can be instantly passed to the right people, in the right order, for a specific action, and all with a secure portal that is industry compliant. This can also lead to quicker payments from customers and lower purchasing costs from vendors. 

Security

Documents can be locked down and permissions given to the appropriate individuals and departments through Role Based Securities. When an employee is terminated permissions can be immediately changed and locked out. No need to rekey cabinets and offices to protect your valuable data. Permissions can also be applied to individual documents within a cabinet or drawer for individuals or departments. Advanced permission settings can be changed quickly and intuitively, with minimal notice, as each situation dictates.

Disaster Recovery

Electronic document management is perhaps the single most valuable measure to take in protecting your information. With DMS, all of your documents can be located off premise and backed up to geographical safe zones. No need to worry about an onsite theft, natural disaster, fire, flood or whatever worst case scenario you can imagine. Your server went down, and you find out it wasn’t really backing up the way you thought it was? No worries. With the right DMS there is no need to have special disaster recovery options for your paper archives and physical file system. It’s all taken care of for you, so that any potential disaster doesn’t interrupt your ability to conduct business as usual. 

About the Author

Benoy Tamang is the CEO of Lehi, Utah based eFileCabinet, Inc. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet helps SMB’s improve profitability with compliance-focused, paperless document management software that captures, stores, shares and manages data for paper-heavy businesses and departments.

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