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This investment bank presentation breaks down the complicated digital ad industry in 2016 - Business Insider

December 2, 2016
LumaThe investment bank's presentation explains the convergence of the ad tech and martech industries.LUMA Partners

After demystifying the multi-billion digital marketing industry in a presentation last year, the investment bank LUMA Partners has just released its annual State of Digital Marketing presentation.

This year it covers LUMA's views on the market, five industry trends including the rise of artificial intelligence and the future of the ecosystem with a specific focus on digital marketing.

The investment bank has allowed Business Insider to publish its annual presentation, again.

This year you can expect to learn a lot about the convergence of the ad tech (marketing) and martech (technology) industries through a lot of M&A activity.

View As: One Page Slides

2016 Holiday Marketing Checklist for Online Retailers | Practical ... - Practical Ecommerce

September 22, 2016
The 2016 Christmas shopping season will begin in earnest in just the next month. Now is the time to make certain that you have your ecommerce marketing plan ready.

While there are many things you can do to promote your ecommerce business before and during the holiday season, here a few critical items tocheck off of your list.

Seta Holiday Goal

In the United States, holiday ecommerce sales in 2016 may approach $90 billion, which would be roughlya 13 percent increase over 2015 ecommerce sales for the period. That increase and all of those billions of dollars representopportunity.

The question, then, is what does that opportunity mean for your ecommerce business? What do you expect from your operations? How much profit will your company generate?

If you do not set goals for your ecommerce business, you will have no way to tell if your ecommerce marketing actually worked. This is the first checkbox to address. Define holiday ecommerce success now.

Establish aHoliday Marketing Budget

Once you know your businesss holiday goal, set a marketing budget. How much will you invest in marketing and promotion this Christmas season to help achieve your goal?

This is an important question. Invest too little, and you may not get your stores share of the gift buying. Invest too much, and you maynot turn a profit in spite of a significant boost in unit sales.

For example, an online retailer in the northwestern United States recently ran a $2,000 promotion for horse warmer not a typical holiday gift item. The promotion more than tripled the sales volume, but the items were sold at a discount. When all was said and done, profit from the horse warmers increased just$11. It was not worth all of the effort and risk.

Use the data collected from your marketing campaigns throughout the entire year to help set your holiday marketing budget.

Create Free-shipping Offers

Your stores free-shipping offers are an important part of your holiday marketing plan. Depending on thesurvey, something like 47 to 54 percent of all online orders include some form of free shipping.

Whats more, there is strong evidence that shoppers will spend more to get free shipping, perhaps, even 30 percent more.

Will your store offer free shipping on every order? Will you require a minimum purchase? Answer these questions now and have your site ready.

PlanPeak-day Promotions

While sales will grow throughout the holiday season, there are at least five landmark days for Christmas sales.

Thanksgiving Day:November 24, 2016Black Friday:November 25, 2016Cyber Monday:November 28, 2016Green Monday:December 12, 2016Free Shipping Day:December 18, 2016

Each of these days represents a high volume of ecommerce sales. As an example, trend tracking firm comScore reported that desktop ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving Day 2015 were more than $1 billion in the United States. Black Friday and Cyber Monday desktop ecommerce sales were $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively, last year, again according to comScore. Green Monday 2015 had $1.4 billion in desktop ecommerce sales, while Free Shipping Day generated more than $845 million in desktop ecommerce sales.

With so many potential sales at stake, plan now for these peak selling dates. Have ready email campaigns, pay-per-click ads, orother promotional efforts.

Prepare PPC Ads, Keywords

Pay-per-click advertising is a mainstay for holiday ecommerce marketing. Dont wait until that last minute to start placing PPC ads. Have a prepared schedule, with ads ready to go and keywords prepared.

Google helps advertisers optimize or plan campaigns. Try to get a call with one of Googles advisors ahead of the holiday rush.

Consider Rich MediaAds

Ecommerce competition will be fierce during the 2016 Christmas shopping season, especiallyfor PPC advertising. While you should buy PPC ads on search engines, in spite of the competition, consider looking for rich media advertising opportunities too.

As an example, Pandora reaches about 25 percent of the U.S.population. You can advertiseusing audio or video and, also, via display ads that potential customers can click.

Hulu, the video streaming service, is another excellent advertising vehicle, since its users cannot skip ads. An investment in a good video commercial on Hulu can be a powerful way to drive ecommerce sales and profits.

YouTube is another rich media advertising bargain.

All of theseadvertising platforms can help your ecommerce store get attention during the otherwise crowded holiday season.

Start Content Marketing

Now is the time to start publishing 2016 Christmas shopping guides and other helpful content. Ensure that search engines have plenty of time to index your content before shoppers begin Googling for buying guides or product information.

5 Indispensable Strategies To Bolster Your Marketing Campaign - Huffington Post

July 2, 2016
It's no secret that running an e-commerce website or business can be troublesome at the best of times. If your business is lacking -- whether it be in sales, website visits or conversions -- boosting your marketing activity can help to inject life back into daily operations.

Despite there being no magic wand that can implement overnight financial success, there are a few tactics that I've tried and tested with my own business. Below I'll explain five different ways that your business can boost its' marketing activity through various tactics; making your time in the office much more valuable!

1. Potential customers are all over social media; no matter what industry you operate in

The power of social media is immense -- we're all aware of that. But what many businesses tend to lack is the knowledge on how a social media strategy can connect your brand with existing and new customers.

If you're thinking that the industry that your business operates in is too "niche" for social media, you're wrong. 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites and 2.1 billion people are active on social media. There's bound to be someone online looking for your services!

Developing a social media strategy that ticks off your existing marketing objectives isn't too tricky, either. Interact with your customers and build genuine relationships as opposed to publishing harsh, sales-driven posts. Share interesting content that you think customers would like. Become a valuable account and determine authority in your niche.

2. Find appropriate software

If you want to know what your customers are looking for, you'll also have to think as if you're in their shoes. Websites like were designed for marketers to share their tactics and show what's worked for them, but social media can also tell your business what to be doing to attract customers.

A business that is active on Twitter can take advantage of their Analytics feature; which gives detailed insights into what your audience are connecting with. Start by creating a schedule that uses the 70/30 rule (70% of content you share non-promotional; 30% otherwise) and find out which kinds of posts are more likely to engage your audience.

There are also many marketing automation softwares that can handle all of your marketing activity. Selected software can monitor leads and track interaction through your website. This also allows you to view a detailed list of areas that you may need to work on in order to optimize your business' website.

3. Create regular content on a company blog

One of the most important things that your business will need to establish throughout its marketing strategy is trust. Without it, you'll struggle to convert leads into sales and create relationships with loyal customers. Customers should look to you as an expert in your niche, but it can be hard to gain authority - especially in a saturated market.

A proven way to demonstrate your expertise is to share your advice through a company blog. If you are creating a hub of valuable information that's beneficial to your customers, it can help to influence a potential customer, showing them you're an expert, and that you know what you're talking about.

Thinking that your business is 'too boring' or 'too corporate' for blog posts? It's not necessarily true. According to Sam Allcock, founder of Custard Online Marketing, business to business websites can still exploit the benefits of having a company blog. He says "... Whether you're selling to the end consumer or not, your product will affect some aspect of people's lives and that's what you need to exploit".

4. Lead your own events

Event marketing came about way before digital marketing and is often neglected when a strategy is put into place to reach new customers. Creating your own event gives you the chance to provide value to prospective customers, whether it be in the form of information, free samples or exclusive discounts.

Event marketing can also help your business to feel more relatable to customers. Seeing you face-to-face can help customers to store trust in you and believe that you'll provide them with a great service, rather than an anonymous person on the internet who can mask their identity behind a general company email address.

A study by the Event Marketing Institute found that after marketers had marketed their products at an event, 58% of participants bought the product afterwards. Furthermore, 86% of these consumers became regular customers. Doesn't that speak for itself?

5. Don't forget about existing customers

Let's think about the aim of your marketing plan. The chances are, it's to increase your business' exposure and reach a new pool of people that could become potential customers. Whilst this is a great idea for expanding and growing, many business owners often forget that they already have a large customer base at their fingertips.

The phrase "never forget where you came from" has real relevance here. Why plough so much money into advertising your brand and neglect your loyal, existing customers? It's easier to make a sale to an existing customer than to convince a new customer that you're worthy.

Loyal customers deserve to be rewarded. If you've used a service before and been provided with excellent customer service, you may be likely to order from them again. Whilst this already establishes some kind of relationship, nurturing contacts with your customers can help them to feel valued; increasing your chances of receiving another order over a competitor.

Using traditional email marketing tactics to target existing customers can bring many benefits to your business. Transfer some of your budget for targeting new customers into servicing the ones you've already provided a service for. From offering discounts for repeat orders to discounted prices for referrals, keeping your existing customers happy increases the chance of brand loyalty.

How Project Fi killed my Google Voice setup - ZDNet

April 8, 2016
perlow-project-fi.jpg Oh no!: Jason Perlow

Over the last week, I've been engaged in a usability experiment which I've dubbed the Smartphone Survival Test.

Over the course of a month, I'm going to determine if I can use several different inexpensive Android handsets interchangeably as a viable replacement to what I am using now, an Apple iPhone 6S.

During the hardware selection process I received a lot of feedback from readers and peers that it would be a good idea to have the Google LG Nexus 5X as one of the smartphones in the mix.

While the phone normally goes for $349 retail in a 16GB configuration, it is currently being offered for $199 ($249 for the 32GB model) if you try out Google's Project Fi service for a month.

Project Fi is a somewhat different approach to wireless services in that Google is using a combination of public Wi-Fi access points and leveraging Sprint and T-Mobile's cellular networks to provide overall coverage. It also is an international service so if you travel frequently, you don't get charged extra for roaming out of country.

The minimum Project Fi plan you can buy is 1GB of data and unlimited text/voice, which costs $30. So if you plan to terminate after the first month and use your own SIM card on your existing carrier instead, you will have gotten the phone at a $120 discount.

That's not bad at all, in theory. I ordered the 32GB version for $249 and bought the $20 unlimited voice/text plan and the $30 3GB data plan, which you can either ratchet down after the first billing period or terminate service altogether.

If you have any leftover data at the end of the month, it gets refunded at a rate of once cent per megabyte, which is nice. That being said it doesn't seem clear whether it makes sense to buy the $10 for 1GB of data and pay for overages at $10 per gigabyte, or buy the $30 3GB data plan and get refunded on unused data, or if partially unused overages get refunded.

So far I like Google's Project Fi, at least conceptually. However coverage where I live can be spotty. This isn't much of a surprise as Sprint and T-Mobile isn't great in my town to begin with, and why AT&T is my regular carrier.

But if I had known more about what I was getting into, I would have bought the Nexus 5X at full retail at $379 for the 32GB version from Amazon. I will explain why in a bit.

Regardless of the coverage issues, what I don't like most about Fi is that it is not friendly to people who already are Google Voice customers.

Google Voice is a product I have been using since the service was announced in 2009. It provides a universal phone number and visual voicemail inbox with text transcription that can be used with any cellphone, regardless of who your actual wireless carrier is and whose brand of cell phone you have.

It also works with land lines and VOIP phones that are hardware or software-based, such as OOMA/Vonage and Skype for Business.

I have had one New Jersey-based number for seven years. I've kept it even since moving to Florida because it is a convenient way for me to give out a single phone number and for anyone to be able to reach me regardless of what phone I am using at the time. I've had as many as four or five numbers linked to it at a time that it can forward calls and texts to.

To everyone that calls me this setup is completely transparent, I have one phone number, and that's it.

I can also access my call history and create and retrieve SMS texts all from a single app on my smartphone or tablet, or even via a web browser. I also can set number block lists, which is extremely useful when I get marketing and robocalls and no longer wish to be bothered by these callers anymore.

For many of us millions of people that use it, Google Voice is a magical service.

However, Google Voice is also an aging service. Google hasn't put much in terms of investment into it, and the apps haven't been updated in a long time on iOS and Android. It is a given that at some point, Google will turn it off and the service will likely stop working, or we are going to be migrated to something else.

Well, we now know what that service is going to be. It's Project Fi.

Project Fi has many, but not all of the same features as Google Voice. It has call and text forwarding and it has visual voicemail. It doesn't have the same comprehensive call blocking logic yet and the web user interface is limited compared to Google Voice.

These features also do not work yet:

Spam filtering.Call recording.Call switch.Caller ID (incoming). Conference calling on the fly.Text message to email (Text forwarding).Automatic blocking of outgoing caller ID (Anonymous caller ID).

But this is the key issue: It also does not run on just any Android phone or iOS yet. Right now, it only works with the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P. Which is why every Google Voice customer has not been migrated to it yet.

This is the bottom line. As an existing Google Voice user, you're not gonna like it. If you move to Fi on your existing Gmail account -- which is linked to everything you do within Google's ecosystem -- you will lose Google Voice. Period.

There are areas in which this is fairly well-documented, such as here and by our own former ZDNet mobile columnist and current Googler, Kevin Tofel here, almost a year ago. Lots of articles have been written about this since last summer when the service went into limited testing. Tons.

That's all well and good, but in my case, I didn't know about this until the actual damage was done.

I didn't get the memo. Or rather, I got a memo, but it was misinterpreted. And I suspect others far less technical than I are going to misinterpret it as well and then it will be too late.

Part of this is due to how I interacted with the on-boarding process. I decided to sign up with Fi and buy the Nexus 5X from my existing smartphone while I was out to dinner with my wife.

We were waiting for our sushi order and she started looking at Facebook on her iPhone, and I ordered the Nexus. Hey, it happens. After twenty years of marriage, not every dinner out results in engaging conversation with your spouse. Sometimes you're just hungry.

I did not wait until I got home because I wanted to get the order out while Google could process it during regular business hours on the west coast.

During the ordering process. Google Fi asks you if you want to port your existing Google Voice number, or get issued a new number.

Imagine my thought process. "Oh crap, I don't want to port my Google Voice number. I wan't them to leave my Google Voice number the hell alone. I want them to issue me a new number."

Actually I didn't think "hell", I had another word in my head.

What's confusing about this is that you assume your Google Voice number and services will be left intact, just as if you went and bought a new cell phone at a different carrier than the one you are already using.

When you do this at a traditional carrier, they also typically you the option of porting your existing number. If you choose not to do this, they issue you a new number. At which point you can choose to terminate service on your old carrier, or keep paying for it.

Here is the problem -- you can only have one virtual phone number associated with any Google account. Doesn't matter if it is Google Voice, or Google Fi.

One email, one phone number. Period.

So what happened to me? Well, when I got my LG Nexus 5X and the Google Fi SIM in the mail yesterday, I activated my Fi service, and my Google Voice number died.

Gone. Kaput. Nine years of phone number use. Finished. Everyone who knew to contact me through that phone number now no longer can.

Now, it turns out that if this happens to you, and if you act quickly enough, you can contact Google Fi's tech support (which is quite good) and they can move your old Google Voice number to a new Gmail account. Google has to keep the number for 30 days until it has to actually be released.

This is what they are trying to do for me today, and hopefully, they'll be successful.

If you are an existing Google Voice customer, here are the two paths to Fi which I consider the least painful:

1) Have them port your existing Google Voice phone number to Fi. This moves over all your forwards and call history and voicemails to the new system. Yes, you'll miss out on a few features this way, as documented above.

If you pause billing at any point, your universal phone number with phone forwarding will stop working, including texts and voicemail.

This is the least complicated migration path but it isn't cost-free -- keep in mind you can only pause billing for 3 months at a time, per billing cycle..

If you intend to use Fi as a Google Voice replacement, you are also committed to spending $240 a year ($20 a month for basic service.).

Many people might balk at this. I'm not crazy about it, but I'm going to stick with this, because it's convenient for me to have a secondary carrier in FL, as we sometimes have infrastructure disruptions.

2) Sign up for a new GMail address, associate a credit card with it, and buy your phone and Fi service with that.

You can always forward your existing GMail to this address, or vice-versa. This allows you to keep your Google Voice as-is, and if you want to forward Google Voice calls to your Fi number, you can (You can't forward a Fi to a another Fi, or a Fi to a Google Voice, however).

It's clunky, but it works and is the least disruptive and has no cost associated with it. It is the option I personally would have chosen had I not done what I did.

Have you migrated from Google Voice to Google Fi recently? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

How To Rank Higher In Search Engine Results

November 28, 2015
dallas seo services

If you are feeling like you want to improve your website with search engine optimization but aren't sure how, then look no further. The information in this article is here to serve as a great resource for you, if you are ready to begin learning some insightful tips about search engine optimization and how you can succeed with it.

When designing your site for SEO, make sure to include relevant keywords in the title tag. Since these words will show up as the title to your page, it is the single most important place to put the relevant keywords. Make sure your title tag is no more than six to seven words in length, however.

There are limits to what a webmaster should do to optimize search engine indexing. Some strategies for SEO can be pushed too far, resulting in spam-like, content-free web pages. Not only are these kinds of pages not appreciated by visitors, search engines will discount them in results rankings and can even drop a website, entirely, if it appears to use unethical SEO tactics.

When it comes to gaining higher positions in search engine rankings, you have to focus on relevancy. You can only raise your position if the search engines notice that your site is valuable to to visitors. Just solely relying on SEO will not help your ranking, you need to provide great content that will aid your viewers too.

Provide links to other websites and blogs to increase your views. If you have an active linking system, you will improve your search results within the major search engines. Find articles that you like that relate to your content and add links to them. Be sure however to keep your page from becoming just a page of links or you'll lose your viewers.

In search engine optimization every use of a keyword will benefit a website. Savvy webmasters remain aware of this and include keywords everywhere, even in file names and URLs. All of them have some positive effect, although not every keyword use is treated equally by search engines. URLs and file names with keywords contribute their little bit to optimizing search engine results.

Publishing articles is a great way to expand your internet presence. When you publish articles, you increase your search engine visibility, which, in turn, brings more visitors to your site. Additionally, the articles that you publish also help inform your consumers about your products in a way that may get you more buyers in the long run.

When you have determined which popular search engine terms to use, be sure to place them in your HTML title tag. You should do this because search engines give title tag content the most weight out of any of the other elements found on the page. Also use these phrases intitle and tags, and description of your videos that you post on video sharing sites.

Publish content with as little HTML code as possible. Search engines prefer pages that favor actual content seo dallas instead of tons of HTML code. In fact, they consistently rank them higher. So, when writing with SEO in mind, keep the code simple and concentrate on engaging your audience through your words.

There is hardly anything more important than unique content when it comes to search engine optimization. Attracting traffic is accomplished through unique information. If they see unique content on your page, consumers will stick around and come back for more.

It's important to select the best keywords and phrases for your site if you want your site to be highly ranked by the search engines. You want to avoid both overly broad keywords that are used by many sites and overly narrow keywords, that few people will think to search for.

By visiting ".edu" domains and creating backlinks on their blogs and forums, boost your website's SEO. Also search for .edu sites in need of sponsorship. Search engines favor .edu websites and sites with numerous backlinks. Make sure that the comments you leave on these websites are relevant and not a hard sell for your company or product.

Ensure that it's surrounded by text that makes sense if you have a link within your text. Explain what you'll get when you click through to the link so that both your readers and search engine spiders will see the link as being natural and making sense. If they don't know what lies on the other side, people won't click a link!

Use a static URL instead of a dynamic URL to improve your search engine optimization efforts. Dynamic URLs frequently are not indexed by common indexing tools, making it more difficult to gain ranking in search results with a dynamic address. Special characters frequently appear in dynamic addresses as well, which further reduces the likelihood your site will be indexed and ranked.

Don't be afraid to link out to other websites! Other sites will see that you're not stingy and will be more likely to link to you without you even asking, though not only does it make them more likely to link back to you. It also helps your page rank to link to quality websites.

A very shallow directory structure can easily improve your site's ranking on the results pages of major search engines. A shallow directory structure is one that contains only the bare minimum number of sub-folders. Sub-folders decrease the site's efficiency and make it more difficult to search engine spiders to accurately assess your site's relevancy score.

Do not use any pop-up windows to show users any content. These days most people see pop-ups as being an annoyance and a sign of an advertisement or scam. Most of the time they are looked at as bothersome, so it would be best of you did not use them on your site.

You must make sure that each web page has its own unique and specific content. In other words, do not place the same article on more than one web page. The reason for this is that when you have two or more web pages with the same content, you will also have a set of inbound links that point to several pages rather than have the entire set of links point to one page. Since search engines take into account the number of inbound links, you want to consolidate as many of those inbound links into one web page. It is significantly better to have one high ranked web page than several lower ranked web pages.

If you did not already, just how important it is to optimize your site to get the best results from the search engines, by now you should have realized. Knowing how to do so is a key part of running a successful web site. So, be sure to use the tips you've learned to raise your search rank.

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