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Digital News & Analysis

What's Behind Microsoft's MSN Portal Revamp?

2014-9-9 msn redesigned portal.jpgTwo decades after it launched MSN, Microsoft is applying its "mobile-first, cloud-first" direction to the MSN portal, which it claims has over 425 million users daily. The enhanced personalization capabilities will provide advertisers with a single place to buy space that can be synched across devices and audiences.

User Feedback: The Fuel Of The Experience Engine

2014-09-September-Suggestions.jpgUser feedback helps companies deliver the best products and services possible. Identifying needs, incorporating ideas and listening to customers questions are all ways to help solve problems and ensure development efforts remain focused on what really matters. By creating a conversational relationship, a company is able to better understand what it’s customers truly value.

Coveo Offers Free Search for Sitecore Customers #SYMNA

Sitecore clients got more than a bag full of tchotchkes at the company's conference in Las Vegas today as Coveo announced a free version of its enterprise search engine for Sitecore's 4,000 customers.

Officials of the Quebec City, Quebec-based Coveo said the free Sitecore edition will let companies "quickly configure and manage search experiences" on their websites. 

"Search is one of the most powerful drivers of visitor engagement and online conversions,” said JP Provencal, Coveo's senior vice president for alliances. The product will be available to customers by mid-October.

Bring Your Brand to Life with Interactive Storybuilding

2014-08-September-Play.jpgFrom desktop, to mobile, to tablet, to TV, to even over-the-top platforms, consumers are forcing advertisers to scramble in order to keep their media strategy on par with their behavior -- and tell a better story. Because whether it’s a book, a movie or a marketing campaign, great storytelling will always resonate with audiences. However, today’s consumers don’t want to just hear a story, they want to interact with it.

US Impulse Buyers Beware: Twitter Launches 'Buy' Button

Last year, Twitter revealed that followers exposed to promoted tweets buy more in stores. Now it's capitalizing on our insatiable desires for stuff with the introduction of a "buy" button.

In a blog post today, Twitter Group Product Manager Tarun Jain confirmed speculation that has been circulating since July when users started to report “Buy now” buttons in occasional tweets. Jain noted that Twitter is testing "a new way for you to discover and buy products," adding, "For a small percentage of US users (that will grow over time), some Tweets from our test partners will feature a 'Buy' button, letting you buy directly from the Tweet."

Using the Core Model and Top Tasks to Design Better Web Navigation

The essence of the Core Model design process is that you focus primarily on the top tasks of your customers. You make sure they can solve their problem, complete their task. You design inside-out, from the task outwards.

Millennials are - Really! - Growing Up: Is Your Marketing Ready?

2014-8-september-adult-woman-in-a-sandbox.jpg

Everyone has to grow up eventually, even members of the generation pejoratively known for living in their parents’ basements.

Millennials may have enjoyed an extended childhood compared to past generations, but key indicators show they are behaving more like adults these days, said Bryan Melmed, vice president of Insights Services for advertising intelligence provider Exponential Interactive.

The problem is many marketers are still treating them like they’re digging in the sandbox.

Lose Your Customers' Personal Information, Lose Everything

The customer information your organization collects and analyzes can give you incredibly detailed and useful insights. But for all the advantages this storehouse of data can bring, it can also bring significant risks.

Anytime you collect information about your customers, you run the risk of exposing personally identifiable information. That can not only raise your customers' ire, but may cause your organization to run afoul of security breach laws.

How can you protect your organization? Is it enough to have a well-written privacy policy — and try to follow the rules?

What's New in September for Open Source CMS

2014-5-September-Benny-Goodman-1970.jpgThere are plenty of free and open source content management systems (CMS). But no platform is as big or as common as WordPress. WordPress powers more than 12.7 million websites — an astounding 47.38 percent of the World Wide Web, according to BuiltWith, which monitors such things.

And just yesterday, WordPress released Version 4.0, named “Benny” in honor of jazz clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman.

"While 4.0 is just another number for us after 3.9 and before 4.1, we feel we’ve put a little extra polish into it. This release brings you a smoother writing and management experience we think you’ll enjoy," the team at Wordpress stated. It also introduces a redesigned look for its plugin and media library pages.

What's new?

  • A new Details Preview allows users to view their uploads in an "aesthetically pleasing, endless grid"
  • Easier video embedding
  • An editor that expands to fit content as users write, while keeping your formatting tools available
  • Improved plugin resources and search capabilities.

How We Topped YouTube Search Results

2014-04-September-Cat-Balloon-Guess-What-Happens-Next.jpgYouTube processes more than 4 billion searches a month, making it the second largest search engine of today. While you might think of YouTube as a platform for entertaining cat videos, the fact that YouTube videos often make it into Google's natural search results pages makes them an increasingly important part of your marketing strategy. If your videos aim to educate your market about new services or features and provide guidance about how to use them, this channel becomes essential.

It's Time to Adopt Customer Journey Thinking

2014-04-September-Gas-Station-At-Night.jpgMost companies don’t really understand their customers. “Big data” is not the answer. Even if organizations collect piles of data from every customer interaction, they still aren’t getting a full picture of what’s going on. 

What’s the path to deep customer insight? Customer Journey Thinking. Organizations must stop looking at customers through their internal lens of interactions and focus their attention on customers’ overall journey.

If You Build It, Will They Convert? 3 Content Marketing Steps

2014-03-September-Drinking-Tea-Wonka.jpgMarketers spend a lot of time and energy on content marketing initiatives -- understanding our customers, developing content that speaks to their needs, establishes our credibility, and distributing it through multiple channels. Our goals in doing all of this are to drive demand for our products, traffic to our site and leads into our funnel. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, success (or failure) to engage and convert web visitors with content all comes down to relevance and timeliness.

See the Whole Customer to Guide the Decision Journey

2014-02-September-Watermelons.jpgThe basis of the customer decision journey is that the customer follows a decision path that leads to a purchase. Vendors provide small pokes, prods and nudges along the way, often in the form of engaging content that keeps the customer moving toward buying something. The content needs to be highly personalized and based on demographics, individual buying patterns and other aspects of the buying experience.

While “the journey” is a better metaphor than many previous ones used by marketers, especially the militaristic “campaign” or industrial “funnel,” it tends to belie the complexity of the process of turning interest into purchase.

Amazon Widens Its Moat

2014-02-September-Forbidden-City.jpgLast Christmas Eve, Amazon received an early gift in the shape of a patent for "anticipatory package shipping." The patent describes a method for shipping a package of one or more items to an end destination’s geographical area without specifying the delivery address at time of shipment -- the final destination is defined en route. While last Christmas may have been good to Amazon on several fronts, this patent and some other actions it's pursuing indicate how determined Amazon is to expand the already sizable moat between it and other retailers.

Counterproductive Search Engine Optimization

If search engine optimization brings the wrong customers to the wrong pages then everybody loses.

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