Cyber Security

 

Equifax is living out a nightmare that illustrates what can happen to a business when it drops the ball on cybersecurity. Following an internal security breach in September that exposed more than 143 million Americans’ data to hackers, the company’s public image took a significant nosedive. In fact, its Buzz score dropped a record 33 points in 10 days, worse than any other brand has experienced following a similar attack.

 

Furthermore, surveys indicate more than half of all Americans believe Equifax should shut its doors, while the city of San Francisco has already filed a lawsuit against the consumer credit reporting agency. Meantime, Congress is in the process of investigating the company, whose CEO has since resigned from the fallout.

 

The woes of Equifax serve to underscore how potentially devastating a cybersecurity attack can be to a brand’s reputation. Here are three reasons why it’s essential to implement effective cybersecurity measures in order to deliver a favorable customer experience and maintain brand loyalty.

 

1. Consumer Confidence


Maintaining consumer confidence is one of the main reasons investing in cybersecurity is so important. After all, when customers aren’t confident about giving up their personal and financial information, your business is effectively dead. Case in point: An estimated 76 percent of consumers say they would take their business elsewhere when a company is found to have engaged in negligent data practices.

 

But it’s not all bad news. Conversely, when customers know your business takes strong measures to protect their identity and security, their confidence goes up. For example, 91 percent of consumers say they prefer doing business with an online service provider that makes security visible to them, according to the RSA 2017 Consumer Cybersecurity Confidence Index.

 

Still, one of the most visible security measures you can take is adopting HTTPS authentication for your website, which is displayed in your URL and lets search engines and your customers know you prioritize security. Beyond that, advising customers how you will use their data, alerting them when you plan to share said data with a third party, and reminding or requiring customers to use strong passwords are other ways to build consumer confidence.

 

Furthermore, the FCC recommends taking a number of additional measures to protect important business data. In an age of prevalent ransomware, one of the most crucial measures your business can take is regularly running automated backups of vital data to prevent security breaches. Experts point to using a cloud backup service that employs military-grade encryption.

 

Best of all? These services can help quickly recover customer data if a breach occurs, allowing your company to refrain from publicizing that customer information has been lost or compromised. Talk about a potential PR nightmare that can be avoided altogether.

 

2. Customer Satisfaction


Cybersecurity can also have an impact on customer satisfaction. Indeed, how well your security measures promote consumer confidence largely depends on how much effort you make to balance security with usability. For example, if your e-commerce site’s authentication process becomes too complex, customers will become frustrated and choose to do business elsewhere.

Thus, instituting an authentication process that customers find to be straightforward can generate 10 percent to 20 percent more sales on your e-commerce site compared to ones they find more difficult to navigate, according to McKinsey. However, failure to not provide authentication protocols can ultimately drive down consumer confidence.

 

But one way to balance security with usability is by tailoring security options to user preferences. For instance, allow your e-commerce site to ask customers whether they want their personal and/or financial information to be remembered each time they visit your site. Additionally, you can ask customers whether they want your internal systems (i.e. cookies) to determine which devices they use when accessing your site.

 

Ultimately, this will give your customers more control about how they’d like to protect their information

 

3. Brand Reputation


As Equifax’s case illustrates, maintaining a dependable cybersecurity presence directly impacts your brand’s reputation. Of course, experiencing poor customer service and support after a cybersecurity breach can spread like wildfire, ultimately impacting referrals, generating negative publicity, and potentially prompting legal and regulatory action.

 

To maintain your brand reputation in the wake of a security breach, companies must demonstrate resiliency against future attacks. Ultimately, whether they like it or not, all companies should assume they will one day experience a cyberattack. With that in mind, develop a cybersecurity strategy that includes the recovery steps you will take in the event of a breach.

 

In the end, acting proactively in response to a cyberattack will help preserve your brand’s reputation by letting your customers know you’re taking steps to protect them.

Smart Technology Web Advantage

 

Online sales have been growing at ten times the rate of offline sales since 2017. As such, it’s no surprise that more and more of us are launching websites – such as eCommerce stores – to advertise our products.

 

Whereas brick and mortar stores back in the day didn’t have to deal with technology, modern online stores do, if they want to be successful. And if you get smart about it, you can really use technology to help grow your business.

 

But why would your website need technology? The same reason why you and all the rest of us need technology in general: To make life easier!

 

Marketers, web designers and eCommerce store owners rely on technology to improve user experience, boost the appeal of their website, and even automate their work. Let’s take a look at how the smart use of technology plays to your websites advantage.

 

 

Websites That Design Themselves


Ten years ago, it seemed like we were all at the frontier of web design: Thanks to free website builders like Wix, anyone of any skill set could design their own website. This meant you, I and even our grandmothers could create an awesome-looking website in less than an hour.

 

Fast forward to 2017, technology has advanced so much that pretty soon there will be websites that design themselves.

 

This was Grid’s mission when it first went into beta in 2014. It caused a stir by proclaiming to be an Artificial Intelligence website builder. Which it was – and is. But what does that mean?

 

The Grid

 

It means that the website essentially designs itself. The Grid will use all the common elements that web designers have in their tool box, from layouts and pictures, to craft a website that requires little to no human intervention.

 

Grid is still in beta, but once it officially launches, it will negate that most pesky and tedious of chores for many small business owners – web design. Until then, though, you are better of hiring professional web designers to do the work for you.

 

Bots That Talk


Bots have been getting a bad reputation for themselves recently, after Instagram cracked down on follow bots that were helping businesses grow their following. But bots still have plenty of uses, and are a smart piece of tech that you really should be using more of.

 

Chatbots in particular are playing a greater role in conversational commerce. These chatbots are able to mimic humans by interacting with customers on your website, both via text and – incredibly – via voice, too.


A site visitor can interact with a chatbot about whatever you like, from the weather to your products.

 

Chatbots are super useful, because they help to keep visitors on your page. Look at it like this: When a customer visits your page and really needs assistance with something, you’re not always going to be around to give it. Unable to get the information they need, the prospect leaves. Darn.

 

Enter chatbots, who are always available. Moreover, thanks to the amazing advances in Artificial Intelligence, these chatbots know more about your individual customers than you ever could. Intuitive and helpful, chatbots can solve customers problems, ensuring they – and you – get what they want.

 

A chatbot is nothing more than a smart robot that automates your websites customer service, improving the customer experience.

Apps and Plugins


If you own a website, it really is time to start making the most of apps and plugins. It’s not hard to do. For instance if you use Shopify the eCommerce platform, you may not be aware that they have lots of amazing apps and add-ons that are waiting to be used. There are super easy to use because they integrate with its awesome themes.

 

Still unsure about apps? Well, how does an app that builds an awesome loyalty program for you sound? Such apps reward your customers, therefore encouraging them to return after they’ve made a purchase. Loyalty Reward Points is one such app. There are over ten ways you can reward your customers, and it also helps you to turn your customers into referrals.

 

Or, if you want to build your own app using the CMS WordPress, you can do so with the help of plugins. Using Plugins for WordPress, can also be a great way to grow your business. Yoast SEO, for example, is a comprehensive solution for all of your on-site SEO needs and therefore is a helping factor to get your website ranked in Google for certain keywords.

 

Not only are there lots of great apps and plugins available that plays to your websites advantage – these apps are also super easy to add and use. Often, it’s just a case of dragging and dropping or downloading and installing.

 

Responsive Themes


A cool theme is nothing if it isn’t responsive. To make sure that you use technology to your advantage, you need to make sure the theme you use for your website is responsive.

 

Why? Because more and more of us are visiting websites from our mobile phones and other devices. If your pages aren’t mobile-friendly, they’ll look rather messy. The font might be too small, text will be flying off the page, and images will be scattered all over the place like a puzzle.

 

And when a website look messy, customers will quickly leave. This means you lose out. Which is a huge shame if your theme is awesome.

 

In times to come, responsive design will have become standard. For now, it’s up to you to do it yourself. Fortunately, making your themes responsive is super easy. You can buy a theme that’s already been made or have a digital agency create a custom one.

 

Analytics


Analytics help you to understand more about your customers and their behavior, so that you can tailor your website according to their needs.

 

Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tool. It makes it possible to track how long visitors stayed on your website, how they got there and even what type of content and keywords kept them there.

 

Bounce rate is one of the most important pieces of data. If a large amount of visitors leaving your website after only viewing one page, then there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. This can be fixed by optimizing the page with better call-to-actions, for example.

 

It’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by all of this information, though. Hire an outside professional if you must, as without analytics, you simply won’t know what’s working and what isn’t.

 

These are a few ways that the smart use of technology will improve your website. From metrics to AI, it might sound like an awful lot of hard work. But once you’ve started working with tech, tech will work for you!

 

Author

Michelle Deery is a team member of Heroic Search Tulsa based. She specializes in writing about eCommerce and digital marketing for over five years. Follow her on Twitter @MichWriting.

Free Online Marketing Tools
 
For every small business owner, there is a perfect tool that can help in the marketing campaigns. Entrepreneurs don’t have to spend a fortune in tools that are for enterprise-level businesses.

 

Screaming Frog


sreaming frog

 

For most of everyone in the industry, the Screaming Frog is the go-to crawl tool. Screaming Frog has a paid version as well as a free version. You can crawl up to 500 pages for free.  For most of the small businesses, this is great news. The tool does excellently in finding broken links, auditing redirects, finding duplicate content at a URL level, and finding pages that are missing metadata.

 

Siteliner


 

Siteliner
 
A dream come true for entrepreneurs, Siteliner is your quick and dirty tool for duplicate content analysis. The free version only has a limited number of pages you can crawl, but most likely, you’ll do fine with the free version. All you have to do is to place your URL in the search bar and click go. Some of the actionable data you can acquire are
 

  • Duplicate content
  • Common content
  • Unique content
  • Average page size
  • Average page load time
  • Number of words per page
  • Internal links
  • External links
  • Text-to-HTML ratio

 

Portent’s Title Generator


Portents Title Generator

 

You’ll never have another writer’s block with this tool. Portent’s Title Generator helps you come up with highly shareable content ideas. One press of a button gives you results of a variety of title ideas. You’ll surely have fun with it. It will help you find the perfect title for your content and will get your creative juices flowing.

 

Answer The Public


Answer the Public

 

A completely free tool, Answer The Public can be an integral part of your content strategy. The tool can be used to ascertain particular questions and topics that surround primary keywords that you may want to rank for. After that, you can try to answer as many questions as you can with your content. It is in this way that when Google is looking at the websites for the best information about a certain topic, your content will most likely rank well. It will also most likely convert your visitors because you have answered their most important questions in your content.

 

Open Site Explorer


Open Site Explorer
 
One main factor in successfully building your Domain Authority is understanding your link profile and your competitor’s. In Open Site Explorer, you can copy and paste your competitor’s URL. The result you will see will be the sites that link to your competitors but not to you. You can then work from there.

 

Google Keyword Planner


Google Keyword Planner
 
For businesses that want to launch a pay-per-click campaign, a great resource is the Google Keyword Planner. With this tool, you can enter and search a keyword and see how many people for it by the month for the past year. After that, it can be layered with location targeting. You can get an estimate of the monthly impressions you can get for a certain keyword in an area.  Other than search volume metrics, you can also check the competition level and even suggest a bid for any keyword you choose.

 

Moz Local: Check Listing


Moz Local Check Listing
 
Local businesses would want to show up in search engines like Google, Facebook, and Yellowpages where there will be a consistent result of their name, address, and phone numbers (NAP). In Moz Local, business owners will be given a way to audit their NAP and to easily fix it. There is also an option where you can pay them to do it for you. Whichever way you choose, this tool is great for quick analysis and further improvement.

 

Pablo by Buffer


Pablo by Buffer
 
How about going from a Photoshop newbie to a social media design pro, you can take advantage of Buffer’s free social media tool. With this tool, you can have access to over 600,000 images and all the tools you’ll ever need to be a social image pro. You can do this by first selecting an image, overlay that with text, choose your preferred sizes, select desired filters and logos, and after all that, you can download it or share it on your social media.

 

Followerwonk


Followerwonk
 
Followerwonk is an amazing tool for a quick and easy analysis of your Twitter followers. It can be used to gather information to use for your brand. You can search Twitter bios, see who people are following, identifying influencers, and comparing accounts for overlap.

 

Keyword.io


Keyword.io
 
In small business’ SEO campaign, keyword research is an important aspect. With Keyword.io, you can get keyword ideas from search engines like Google to Fiverr. It will help you to understand the keywords you should target and the topics to create your content. However, in the free version, you won’t be able to get the important metrics such as search volume or keyword competitiveness.

 

Facebook Audience Insights


Facebook Audience Insights
 
Our last free tool is the Facebook Audience Insights. It is a great tool for your market and content research. You can toggle through the options and examine different demographic information about your target audience and learn from that. Another excellent way to use this tool is to let it help you in creating content that your audience will surely love. You can do this by toggling the advanced option at the bottom of the left column. Select Home, from there you can start learning about what the people in your area are interested in.

 

Takeaway


With all these available online marketing tools, there’s no excuse for the small business owners out there to push their marketing campaigns further. Since the tools have a free version, there’s no need to spend a fortune. However, if the business owners feel that they’ll be needing more features than what the free version can offer, then the paid versions are available as well. You can try all of these tools and see which ones fit your needs best.

 

Author Bio

Nicolas Finet is a web marketer and the Co-founder of http://www.sort-list.co.uk. He attended Solvay Business school where he earned his degree in Business Engineering ( Management ) with a Major in Marketing.

Secured Data

 

After the Snowden revelations, the amount of websites that have become encrypted has doubled. There is still a long way to go before the entire web is encrypted, but the number of websites that use encryption might increase further as a result of Google favoring websites that are encrypted. Currently, whether the content is secured is a lightweight signal when compared to other signals, such as whether the website has high-quality content. It only affects 1% of search queries. However, this is likely to become a more important signal in the future.

 

Websites that use the HTTPS prefix are much more likely to receive a higher ranking from Google. This is because the HTTPS prefix is more secure than the HTTP prefix. Google has told webmasters for years that it is safe to switch from HTTP to HTTPS and to add an SSL certificate to your website. It is very rare that Google will specifically state that an aspect of a website is a signal, but Google has been explicit about this signal because they have been trying to improve the security of the Internet for years.

 

Selecting A Certificate


When adding a certificate to your website, you will need to determine whether you need a single, multi-domain or wildcard certificate. The single certificate is ideal for small business owners and bloggers. Multi-domain SSL is ideal for businesses that must own multiple domains. A wildcard SSL is ideal for if you will have a very large domain and are concerned with securing subdomains.

 

Why SSL?


An SSL certificate is needed because SSL is used to secure data transfers for actions such as credit card transactions. Your website will not encrypt the website itself, but will instead encrypt the data that is sent by your website. An SSL certificate is the most reliable way to show your customers that their data will be secure. Visual trust indicators make it easy for visitors to know that the website is safe.


You will want to use 2048-bit key certificates. Use relative URLs for the resources that are found on the same domain. Then, a protocol relative URL should be used for everything else. Also, do not forget to make sure that your HTTPS website is not blocking bots from crawling your website.

 

Moving Your Website


Since you will be moving your website from an HTTP to HTTPS prefix, you will need to properly remove your website to avoid being penalized for duplicate content. You will want to prepare the new site and test it properly. Then, you will want to prepare URL mapping from the current URLs to their new format. Next, configure the server to redirect from the old URL to the new HTTPS one.

 

Other Ways To Secure Your Content


Making your content more secure by moderating spam can secure your content and improve your search engine results. This can be automated to a large extent through various plugins. Another approach is to disable links entirely. Also, consider disabling anonymous posting and requiring that visitors enter CAPTCHAs before they post to prevent spambots from posting.

 

Also, make sure to have your website regularly scanned for malware. When Google discovers that your website has become infected, it will include the message “this website may be hacked” in your search engine results and will also penalize your website until this is corrected.

 

Having Your Website Secured By Professionals


To make sure that your websites are encrypted, the best approach is to use the service of companies such as Blue Coat Systems or even Symantec. You will need to safeguard your business from many angles and this will best be handled by experts. Given that these changes can be made relatively quickly, Blue Coat or other companies are a great way to give your website a quick boost in its search engine rankings.

 

Internet Kill Switch

 

As is often the case in the tech world, businesses got the good tech first. Large corporations were the first to use VPNs, powerful privacy and encryption tools, many years before everyone else to better secure their data transfers.

 

While VPNs, which are much more widely available to any business of any size, are a great tool they are not 100% foolproof.When you’re vetting a VPN for our business, take the time to look at whether it has a feature called one of the following:

 

  • VPN kill switch
  • Internet kill switch
  • Secure IP Bind

 

Or something of that nature which is designed to protect you if VPN server connections are dropped.

 

What do you use a kill switch for?


The best VPN clients all have a kill switch feature built into them. It’s job is to monitor your IP address and immediately cut your entire access to the Internet when the IP address changes suddenly. Why? Because a sudden IP address change indicates a lost connection to a VPN server, and the exposure of your personal information.

 

This means that while you’re connected to the VPN, everything was going fine. Then, unfortunately, for any number of reasons, the connection dropped. If the file transfer you were doing, of confidential data, were to continue you data would be exposed. A kill switch completely disables all Internet traffic coming from your computer. This protects your data.

 

Examples of VPN kill switches

 

There are two ways to go about getting a VPN kill switch. The most difficult way, and one which could prove difficult for your remote workers who need it, is called ‘rolling your own.’ It involves downloading a script, executing it on your computer, and then connecting your VPN through it. Impossible? No. More work than it needs to be? Yes.

 

Your other alternative it to use a VPN which simply has this feature already built into it. An example would be IPVanish’s kill switch, which you simply have to select with a checkmark to turn on in the settings tab:

 

Or even Hide My Ass who have theirs in a similar tab, but call it ‘Secure IP Bind.’ If I were you, I’d make sure that a VPN kill switch was part of the VPN I was purchasing. This makes installing it, and instructing your employees and co workers on its use, much easier.

 

Remember that not everyone you work with is a tech wiz. Choosing a tool which eliminates a step in your digital security will make it much more likely to be used properly, and successfully.

 

When would you even want to use a kill switch?

 

There are still many in the business industry who don’t see the point of having a VPN, let alone a kill switch. They fail to see that your data is at its most vulnerable when it’s being transferred across public network (which, again, we call The Internet). This includes everything from files you’re emailing, to Google Docs you’re sharing.

 

The most important times to have a VPN with a kill switch includes:

 

  • Transfers between offices: The very first VPNs were created exactly for this purpose. You have another office, you want to send them data, but you can’t create a private network with your own infrastructure. So you use a VPN over the public infrastructure, and have a kill switch ready incase anything goes wrong.
  • Conventions: You send your employees to meet with other businesses, and get them to pull up data from the home servers as part of their presentations. Great, good luck getting that business! But do you know that places like this a rife with corporate espionage from competitors looking to steal a few files, or hackers trying to steal password keys and customer data? The VPN encrypts it, the kill switch is the backup in case of failure.
  • Informal connections: Every Friday the company has a meeting at the local Starbucks. Tasty. Order me a chai latte and a pumpkin scone. So you pull up some data on your tablet from the work servers to discuss with the team …but do you know for sure that your connection is secure? Is the patron using inferior encryption, like WEP, which is easy to hack? Of course you don’t, but a VPN will have high encryption standards like 256-bit government standard encryption, with the VPN there to once again save you if the connection drops.

 

I am certain that at one point or another your company has been in one of these positions. Without reliable encryption your data was exposed, and you’ll never know who came across it.

 

Give your employees the right tools to protect your business


The weakest point in any digital security plan is people. If you give people the right tools, and make them easy to use, the chances are much greater that they’ll use them, and use them correctly.

 

A VPN with strong encryption to protect you while it’s working, and a kill switch to protect you when it’s not, is a sure way to set your employees and coworker up for success. With hackers everywhere looking for one weak spot, you need to take greater precautions with your data, and secure it as well as you can at all times.

 

Author:

 

Marcus is the online and digital security writer for his website: Best VPN Provider.co. His blog there has been going strong for years, and offers lots of additional information on how you can better secure your digitally stored data, use VPNs, and beat location based censorship. Stop by every wednesday to read the latest, or follow @BestVPNs on Twitter for updates all day long.

Moving a Website

 

Moving a website isn’t as easy as clicking copy/paste on your source code and moving it to a different hosting service. By following a few simple steps, as provided by Google, you can move your website without losing all of your existing information and website traffic.

 

Google provides these steps on how to move website.

 

1. Setup new hosting

2. Start the site move

3. Monitor Traffic

4. Shut down old hosting

 


 

What is a Site Move? 


 

Sometimes, you may find that you need to move your website.  Maybe your hosting service is going out of business, or perhaps you found a better deal somewhere else.  Moving your site is not something that should be taken lightly, though. You need to determine if you need to change your site’s URL in order to move to the new hosting service, and your move should be timed to coincide with your site’s lowest traffic periods. If your site goes down without any explanation, you are liable to lose site visitors.

 

URL Modifications


 

Changing your URL doesn’t have to mean that you change the name of your website.  It can be as simple as changing the protocol, like changing http:// to https://. You could also change the domain and move your URL from .com to .net, or vice versa. The only other thing to consider is your mobile site traffic, because the URL modifications may be different for the mobile websites.  These changes would need to be discussed with your new hosting service, because they are the only ones who are going to be able to give you definitive answers on this topic.

 

Without URL Changes


 

Moving your site without having to change your URL is a fairly straightforward endeavor. The first thing that you need to do is set up your new infrastructure. Once that is accomplished, all you need to do is begin your website migration.  It is important to monitor your traffic during the move, because you can lose views during a move due to the site being inaccessible.  Once the move is complete, you simply need to shut down your old hosting service, and the move will be complete.

 

With URL Changes  


If your URL needs to be altered to fit into a new hosting service, the website migration process is a little more complicated. The first step is the same in that you need to set up a new website infrastructure. In this case, you need to set up a URL mapping that will lead visitors from the old URL to the new one.  There may not be many changes to the URL itself, but it is often enough to lead a visitor to an entirely different website. Once you’ve done that, the remaining steps are the same.  You simply need to monitor the traffic, and when the migration is finished, you shut down your old site hosting.

 

While there are more than a few steps to follow to make sure that moving a website is successful, it is not as complicated as you might think.  Spending a little time reading up on the Google steps can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Data KPI

 

The KPI dashboard for marketers is always changing. Your boss wants to know what marketing strategies you’re implementing and how successful they are. But how do you decide what KPIs your marketing team needs to track and analyze? Below are just some of the KPIs that are shaping the marketing landscape in 2014.

 

1. Online Marketing ROI


 

While online marketing is certainly more important than ever, companies need to be smarter about how they spend their marketing dollars online. This is why online marketing ROI is so important. A company needs to have software that can efficiently analyze data regarding what online marketing strategies actually produce conversions and at what cost for your bottom line. The buzzword in the digital marketing has been “big data,” which refers to all the data and analytics available at our fingertips. The problem with big data is information overload. We have a world of data available to us, but how do we make it useful?

You can start by tracking your site’s conversions via Google analytics. A conversion is when a customer comes to your site and buys a product, signs up for an email newsletter, or becomes a fan of one of your social media channels. Conversions are a great way to test the success of specific marketing efforts.

 

2. The Lead Ratio of Your Site’s Traffic


 

You need to be able to break down the information further for it to be the most useful to you. This requires producing the lead ratio for your website’s traffic. To produce this you need to know the number of unique visitors, marketing qualified leads (MQLS), as well as the number of conversions by both site and source. This information should then be broken down into different ad campaigns to produce the most useful comparisons. Understand where your conversions are coming from can help you lock into which marketing campaigns are attracting customers.

 

3. Mobile Traffic


 

Gone are the days when most people used home computers to visit websites. In 2014, you need to be aware of how successful your campaigns are with smart phone customers and other mobile devices. You certainly need to have the tools to allow you to record the amount of mobile traffic you receive as well as the amount of actual conversions that are produced from those visitors. Google Analytics is a great way to track mobile data. However, if you’re looking for more specific data to analyze your mobile customers, it’s wise to invest in a business intelligence software that offers a customizable dashboard. Customizable dashboards allow CMOs access to all the specific data they need in one central place.

 

4. Search Engine Marketing


 

You also need to keep tabs on the organic search results that people use to find your website. The kinds of information you should make sure to record and analyze include the number of leads that are produced through search engine results, the percentage of leads that come from those organic searches as well as the keywords that are used to find you. Search engine optimization is still a very important part of any online marketing strategy and can be tracked through Google Analytics.

 

5. Social Media Influence and Conversions


 

Lastly, you need to have the ability to successfully analyze your marketing strategies geared towards social media. Obviously, a lot of emphasis is placed on social media marketing, but you need to know what your actual ROI is on your company’s social media based initiatives. In a recent study by Domo, about 3 out of 4 marketers are unable to calculate their ROI for social media marketing. While it’s important to know how many followers your company gains from specific marketing efforts on sites like Facebook and Instagram, it’s even more useful to know just how many actual click-throughs and conversions are produced from your postings on those social media platforms.

If you’re a CMO in 2014, you must adjust your KPIs to fit digital marketing advancements. Make sure your KPIs are accounting for all your digital marketing efforts and conversion rates.

Big Data

The value of big data was demonstrated for a worldwide audience during the recent U.S. Open competition at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. Tennis fans enjoyed unparalleled degrees of information regarding the matches played, the weather conditions and the players who participated in the U.S. Open thanks in large part to big data implementations that collated and analyzed available information to create comprehensive data streams for mobile users and fans watching at home.

The Two-Screen Experience

Most U.S. and European viewers have already had some experience with the two-screen interactive strategy; many television programs offer simultaneous social media interactions or added information that can enhance the programming and create additional buzz in the entertainment field. During the 2013 U.S. Open, that two-screen experience was made even more useful and insightful by the addition of big data input that provided a wide range of information at the touch of a fingertip or the click of a computer mouse. This added data allowed fans to enjoy the game with greater insight into the challenges of each match, the abilities and weaknesses of the players competing and the overall course of play throughout the tournament.

A Triumph for Big Data

The power of big data predictive analytics was displayed to considerable effect in the Keys to the Match online programming provided by the U.S. Open tech team. By compiling more than 41 million separate points of data comprising eight full years of tournament play, the U.S. Open was able to provide fans with three critical keys to victory for each of the players in each of their matches. This tour-de-force technical performance allowed fans to identify the most important factors that influenced the outcome of each match more effectively, adding to their enjoyment of the entire U.S. Open tournament. Big data analytics made these predictions possible and provided an enhanced experience for viewers around the world.

Big Data Gets Results

The success of this big data project is undisputed. The U.S. Open organization experienced the highest amount of traffic to its website ever, with nearly 54 million visits. The site also recorded 419 million page views and boosted the number of mobile users by 64 percent over 2012. There were an estimated 41.7 million views from tablet computing devices, which constitutes an increase of 54 percent over the 2012 U.S. Open tournament event. These figures represent an exceptional achievement both by the U.S. Open technical team and the big data specialists who performed the analytics necessary to make these major gains possible.

Creating a Global Conversation

Tennis fans from around the world communicated and expressed their opinions through the U.S. Open Social Wall. This Twitter-powered communications tool allowed social media users from different cultures and different parts of the world to interact with others and build connections in conjunction with the tournament. Big data analytics were also in play in this venue, allowing U.S. Open officials to determine the shifting popularity of various competitors and the number of tweets being composed before, during and after each match. This information could be put to use on the fly to provide added coverage and data points for the most popular matches and to cater specifically to the ongoing needs of fans in the U.S. and in locations around the world.

Big data analytics consulting firms can provide similar results in a wide range of industries and entertainment venues. By extracting relevant data points and compiling them into cohesive reports and information resources, these firms can produce exceptional insights into the needs of consumers, the ongoing operational goals of the company and the right moves in the competitive marketplace. Enlisting the help and expertise of data analytics consulting firms can provide actionable business intelligence in a usable form, allowing companies to achieve a greater degree of success in their chosen fields.

About Author

Jim McCann is the Information Insights Practice Lead for Paragon Solutions. Paragon Solutions is an advisory consulting and systems integration firm specializing in various industries. For more information on Paragon’s business intelligence systems and solutions, contact marketing@consultparagon.com.

 

Internet Landscape

In the last almost two decades, the internet has grown from being a predominately text based medium to a visually rich platform. This change has been spurred by consumer demand and technological advancements. As more and more people are accessing the internet from mobile devices, it’s easier and more convenient to have image rich content as opposed to text that can be cumbersome to scroll through on the go.

This trend is worth taking note of for anyone creating content for the web, looking to increase their audience or creating apps. You don’t need to go far to find examples of successful apps or sites that have capitalized on this trend. Two of the most popular apps on the market right now, Instagram and Pinterest, are based solely images, with users scrolling through images and liking or repinning images to their profile.

Another recent example is Imgur, founded in 2009, which serves as an image hosting service that also currently supports more than a billion image views a day. Imgur also provides an image generating tool that is widely used and very popular, allowing users to create their own visuals to share and post online.This move to a visual web doesn’t seem to be slowing down. As mobile internet use keeps growing, consumers will continue to demand quality image rich content.

Some of the history, current state and future for the visual web is outlined below. Check out the infographic below, by on.com to learn more.

Live Chat

Online marketing is taking a new turn since its rise to popularity. Online marketing is no longer as simple as initially thought because there are so many concepts available in the market to help enhance your position on the digital platform like Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing and so on and so forth. One trend is picking up the pace and has helped many online retailers significantly and that is live chat support.

Live chat can help your website in so many different ways. Once those areas are identified, we will move on to see why online support chat is preferred.

Live Chat Support and its Benefits

Online support chat has helped online retailers provide incredible levels of customer service because it gives customer the same level of assistance as they would get once they walk into any retail store. Live chat helps guide consumers through every point of the website as the live chat operator is present to help out the visitor. The live chat operator or also known as web greeter provide online customer support to website visitors in real-time, removing the inconvenience of long queues on helplines or even long feedback times via email. Live chat is the new way to go about online customer service, ensuring your customer comes back to you when he needs any help, also bringing in new customers simultaneously.

Here are some benefits of live chat:

  • Maximize your return on investment by a significant percentage
  • Help to come up with new measurement mechanisms and performance monitoring
  • Increase sales from line tools
  • Identify new openings in the market
  • Monitor consumer behavior and look for more opportunities

Why Is Live Chat Preferred?

There are many reasons why live chat is preferred by many businesses. Let’s look into some of the main reasons for its preference:

  • Live chat is a fast and instant solution to problems consumers may be facing on the internet. It’s a lot easier and feasible than setting up contact centers or email responses
  • Live chat for website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means the online customer service will always be available to help you out at any point
  • If you need a quick and precise solution and resolution, then live chat is exactly what you need. If customer queries are answered with quick turnaround times and accuracy, customers will be extremely happy
  • Customers won’t be constrained by anything because they will be able to multi-task like comparing products

Author Bio

Noe Legaspi is a marketing executive at Live Admins JLT. Live Admins was established in 2002 and since then has transformed how online businesses carry out customer service through Live Chat Support. By Online Support Chat, e-commerce websites can increase more profit and sales revenue.