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Web Experience News & Analysis

Digital River and Microsoft's Bumpy E-Commerce Road

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It's been an interesting couple of weeks for Digital River. Its deadline to re-sign Microsoft to an extension of the Microsoft Operations Digital Distribution Agreement, which would continue Digital River provision of Microsoft Store’s e-commerce platform beyond March, 2015 came and went on Dec. 1. While only a handful of people might have noticed, the company made a bigger splash on Dec. 8 when it announced an extension of the negotiation timeframe until Dec. 19.

Digital River's stocks rose and fell with the ups and downs of the announcements, dropping almost 25 percent from its close of $25.51 on Friday, Dec. 5, to $19.71 on Monday, Dec. 8. The stock eventually bottomed at $16.58 on Dec. 11, a drop of 35 percent in less than a week. On the power of yesterday's news the stock closed at $24.08, a 45 percent jump from last week’s low.

Do Analytics Matter for B2B Marketers?

B2B marketers use analytics and gain value from them in their campaigns and marketing programs, a survey released today claims.

But earlier this year, another study claimed otherwise. It found only about a third of organizational projects include marketing analytics. And it further claimed there has been no significant gains for how marketing analytics contribute to a company's overall performance.

Who do you believe? Your call.

Today is ON24's day in the sun. The webinar-based marketing solutions provider based its findings on a survey distributed last month to 221 US-based B2B marketers experienced with marketing analytics. Redshift Research administered the survey and ON24 released the results today.

Design and Refine Your Digital Business in 2015

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User experience was top of mind on Dec. 5, when nearly 150 business people, designers and technologists came together at Idean’s UX Summit in San Francisco. Two questions that I wanted to explore at the event: 1. How can UX design help digital business and customer experience success? and 2. Should all employees apply some design discipline to contribute?

The summit coincided with the 100 year anniversary of the start of Ernest Shackleton and his crew's epic attempt to traverse the continent of Antarctica. I couldn’t help but make a connection between the Endurance story and the challenges modern enterprise teams face with digital business and customer experience initiatives, often times ill-equipped and/or having to dramatically pivot en route, just to survive.

How Google Analytics Can Make Cross Device Marketing Easier

In an early post on tag management systems, I noted how these systems would provide a great flexibility in measuring customer behavior in the growing information anywhere and anytime environment. Laptops with Wi-Fi access have supplanted desktops in sales popularity, while mobile devices are as essential now as a wallet or purse. Consumers can access retailer information anywhere and anytime.

One driver of the growing need for cross device analysis is webrooming and showrooming, both retail-related activities stemming from holiday shopper activity during past few seasons. Webrooming is the retail customer behavior of researching products and services while in a store. It differs from showrooming, an in-store behavior in which customers compare prices and research features, leading to a purchase online.

Both trends signal the need to understand foot traffic that is likely to become web traffic, including traffic from customers researching products in the privacy of a home.

The fact is that it is critical to add an analytics solutions to accurately capture that traffic. And adding a User ID in a Google Analytics script captures the best cross device behavior to enhance a marketing strategy.

Rethink Your Redesign Strategies to Hit Your Targets

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The central message of 2014 for digital marketers couldn't be much clearer:  give customers the information they need on whatever devices they're using.

That theme surfaced again Tuesday in a CMSWire webinar sponsored by Ektron, "Website Redesign: Strategy First, Tactics Second." Two Ektron executives, CEO Bill Rogers and CMO Lou Jordano, provided a roadmap they said will help marketers attract more business from different types of customers. You can watch the webinar here or at the end of this story.

"It's tactics that win marketing battles, but strategy that wins wars," said Jordano, who led the first part of the presentation. "You have to have your website strategy clearly in mind before kicking off any redesign or rebranding project." 

21st Century Fox Buys true[x] for Ad Engagement

Do you think there's a need for better engagement models with digital advertising? 21st Century Fox agrees with you. Today the company announced it is buying true[x] media, a digital advertising company focused on driving more consumer engagement with advertising.

Although the terms of the deal were not announced the Wall Street Journal reported the deal size at $200 million.

The deal shows that despite the plethora of advertising formats and technologies, media markers and consumers are still not fully satisfied with the digital advertising experience. Concerned about the metrics and engagement levels ads are delivering, media companies are looking for better advertising solutions, especially those that can prove more value for their customers. 

Using Benchmark Reporting In Google Analytics

Any coach of a sports team at the start of a season will tell you that he wants his team to reach the championship. Reaching that pinnacle means benchmarking your team’s performance.

In the digital marketing world, managers who use Google Analytics are starting to feel a bit more like a sports coach. In September Google introduced a new benchmark reporting feature for its Google Analytics solution.

This benchmark reporting enhances decision making on analytics results.

Janrain Acquires Real Time Social Experience Provider

Janrain, a customer identity management provider, today announced it acquired a real time social curation and engagement provider that brings "an integrated customer identity and customer engagement solution to the market."

Portland, Ore.-based Janrain scooped up Arktan but did not disclose the terms. Gartner has had its eye on Janrain as a cool social marketing shop, and so have investors: it obtained $20 million of funding about two years ago.

Now Janrain is the investor, putting its faith into a product that adds, according to Janrain CEO Larry Drebes, "dozens of new products for customer engagement, and dramatically expands the amount of customer data we collect, store and manage."

How to Use Twitter to Influence People and Make Sales

Ever wonder what top sales people tweet about? Is it all business all the time — or do they spice up the conversations with tidbits about their personal lives? What information do they share — and why?

If you're eager to know the answers to those questions and more, you can reference a new report called, appropriately enough, How Sales Leaders Engage on Twitter (registration required), a collaboration between Leadtail and Hoovers.

CDOs, CIOs and the Shared Goal of Agile Customer Experience

There’s been quite a bit of discussion lately of the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). In fact, research firm IDC recently made headlines by predicting the CDO would supplant two-thirds of CIOs at global companies by 2020.

The rationale seems to be that CDOs will deliver the technology driven products and services, as well as leverage their experience in setting strategy, spurring innovation and developing relationships. Other than the pure semantic differences – and an attempt at a controversial headline -- there is an important question buried in this research.

How can marketing and technology — or CDOs and CIOs — work in sync to provide the most agile powerful customer experiences?

Is AdRoll on Target About Retargeting and Programmatic?

If you have anything to do with advertising, then you know programmatic is the marketing word of the year. At least that's the conclusion of a recent vote by some 349 members of the 100-year-old Association National Advertisers.

But dig a little deeper and you'll find there are still rumblings beneath the buzz. While one ANA member noted 2014 was the year advertisers "woke up to the potential of programmatic," others conceded everyone is still "scrambling to understand what it means and how it impacts their business.”

And another added, “Everyone is talking about it, trying to see how to measure it, implement and/or define it. But few people get it or do it.”

So what does the data show about marketers’ true adoption of programmatic? Was it just a one-year wonder trend or does it have staying power? 

Can Facebook Crack Search - Without Bing?

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Facebook has quietly stopped including Microsoft Bing search results on its social networking site, Reuters first confirmed. Instead, the social network has revamped its own search offering with a new tool it claims makes it easier for users to filter and search through comments and other information from friends.

On one hand users might find the change limiting. Now, when they use the search bar they are not taken outside of Facebook for results. On the other, the tool is more robust than previous Facebook offerings — and besides, there is always Google for straightforward search.

That, however, may change again as Facebook ramps up its search tool set. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said search is a growth initiative for Facebook. And as the company's push into mobile has shown over the last few years, once Facebook identifies a growth sector it goes after it.

Search, though, is a very different animal than mobile.

Bill Sweetman Explains What's in a (Domain) Name

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You know what they say about a rose by any other name. But Bill Sweetman doesn't believe it. He thinks calling a rose anything but a rose is a major marketing mistake.

Suffice to say Sweetman both knows and enjoys names, especially in the online context. A domain name strategist, he's the president and "lead ninja" at Name Ninja, a Toronto, Ontario-based boutique domain name consulting firm. Besides giving him the opportunity to enjoy a badass title, 18-month-old Name Ninja gives him a chance to indulge a longtime obsession with names and naming.

He said he's amazed at how many companies "still fumble the ball" when it comes to having a coherent domain name strategy ... and "wants to throw up" whenever he sees a big brand promoting itself using a Facebook URL instead of its own domain name.

Honest-to-God, Absolutely True Marketing Predictions for 2015

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The great thing about annual predictions is that we tend to forget about them by the time the next year rolls around. And that explains why every organization on the planet seems willing to gaze into a crystal ball this time of year. 

By this time next year, everyone will forget the predictions that went wrong — and a few lucky folks will have the luxury of basking in the glory of things they actually got right.

With that in mind, we're going to share some of the visions of digital marketing in 2015 that we've encountered in the past few days. Just take all of it with at least a few grains of salt. And be forewarned: we're predicting more stories on predictions in the days ahead.

Format-Based Navigation is a Symptom of Organization-Centricity

Navigation based on formats, tools or systems is a sure sign that an organization is not customer focused. 

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