IGTV: THE PROMISED LAND FOR ONLINE MARKETERS & BRANDS

Vertical videos do not give the shivers to marketers and users anymore –  what do they give then? The rise in the format’s popularity has recently given birth to IGTV! We’ve decided to dig into the ins and outs of the newly emerged Instagram’s vertical video platform.

What’s the Deal with IGTV?

Instagram knows that most of its users (one billion, to be exact) come from mobile. Since mobile devices snag 60% of all worldwide video views, seeing Instagram jump in on vertical video is no surprise.

Instagram’s move to create IGTV becomes even more apparent with Facebook saying that vertical video is the format of choice for 79% of novice consumers. Facebook also claims that vertical video has a huge potential: with this format, you can “direct people’s eyes by panning up and down and utilizing the height of the vertical space.”

Although some argue that IGTV is Instagram’s attempt to challenge YouTube’s video supremacy, we cannot throw its competitor, Snapchat – a big supporter of vertical video, which has seen a 400% increase in video views in recent years – out of the window. IGTV looks a lot like Snapchat’s Discovery section where you can play various types of videos in a loop.

What Can IGTV Offer Online Marketers and Brands?

  1. Influencer marketing – As the land of influencers, IGTV presents an opportunity for marketers and brands to tap into influencer marketing. Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, revealed to The New York Times that “teens might be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online. Influencer community members are starting to lean towards video content on Instagram. Case in point, Victoria’s Secret model Romee Strijd has already posted videos of her daily morning makeup routine. Since IGTV’s videos aren’t limited to a minute, influencers can turn their videos into actual TV shows. This form of influencer marketing is a new avenue to walk on, with a massive potential of reaching users on a global scale and diversifying your consumer pool by letting users truly dive into the experiences of others with your brand.
  2. Deepening interactions with users – With IGTV, brands can engage with users at a deeper level, especially when users are hunting and opting for a more comprehensive, thorough viewing experience.
  3. Telling stories as they are – Online marketers and brands should seize the opportunity to communicate the tiny details about their brand to consumers and tell engaging stories by displaying long-form video content, both live-streamed and repurposed, in front of new audience segments. As the head of programming operations at Tastemade UK said: “[IGTV] is a chance to tell a story in the way it was meant to be — no segmentation, no breaks. It feels like an intuitive on-the-go way of consuming longer content. It’s true to the mobile experience in 2018.”
  4. Breathing innovation – There is no way to monetize videos on IGTV yet – and it will probably take time until Instagram finds the optimal way for brands to do it. With that, IGTV presents an opportunity for brands to show the world how innovative they are. It is a great way to boost brand awareness, visibility and solidify your brand’s reputation as a forward-thinking leader in the online industry.

What Lies Ahead

Brands and online marketers may find it challenging not to turn IGTV into a junkyard full of long-form video content. Here are a few of IGTV marketing tips:

  1. Forget horizontal – Since IGTV is a vertical video platform, it’s wise to put horizontal video best practices on the shelf and concentrate on everything that you know about vertical video shooting.
  2. Early birds get the worm – IGTV is a yet unexplored ground, which means that many of its features are yet to be discovered by users. Many of them may not realize that your brand’s video has a description or that there’s a link to click on, so make sure your calls-to-action appear as early as possible.
  3. Length still matters – It’s true that IGTV advocates for long-form video content, but it does not mean brands should go for it no matter the cost. Unless you have a very captivating story to tell, refrain from posting minutes and minutes of video content and stick to the length of up to two or three minutes tops.
  4. #Hashtags – have always been one of Instagram’s weapons for promoting content. Their popularity is likely to be seen on IGTV as well. However, don’t overdo it with hashtags. It’s best to keep it at around five relevant hashtags per a piece of content.

Marketers and brands should not carry the cross alone.

It seems that one of the first steps towards ensuring content quality has already been done. Here’s the handbook that Instagram released for partners and publishers who want to capitalize on IGTV.

Bottom Line

There couldn’t have been better timing for IGTV: users have become more demanding and curious to find new ways to consume content.

If you want to reach, engage and acquire relevant, paying users – contact us.

 

 

THE GROWTH OF ROBO-ADVISORS: A TRUE TRANSFORMATION OF BANKING & WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Fintech revolution is already here. What’s next? Robo-advisors – a second revolution in banking.

The Rapid Growth of Robo-Advisors

First ever robo-advisors
The first ever robo-advisors appeared when the financial crisis hit in 2008. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in the development of robotic wealth management solutions. Nowadays, the robo-advisory market is full of sophisticated robo-advisors ready to cover a wide variety of customer needs. Here’s a great article covering the best robo-advisors on the market.

It’s not just about the evolution of robo-advisors as tools, though; it goes much deeper as robo-advisors penetrate banking services.

Robo-Advisors Redefining Finance & Banking

Robo-advisors in finance and banking
A global consumer survey has revealed that transparency, low-priced accessibility, and web-based experiences are in demand when it comes to the financial sphere. Enter robo-advisors – a self-service technology that has what it takes to satisfy those growing customer needs.

Robo-advisors force banks to start reevaluating the design of their frontline services as well as the journeys of their customers looking for financial advice, but it’s not just that – they carry a massive package of benefits for the banks and their clients.

Robo-advisors come in handy in a wide range of financial advisory services – from payment advice and automated investments to mortgage, loan advice, and much more. When compared to financial advisors, robo-advisors provide as good of financial guidance as do human-like advisors, and they are more affordable.

Widespread Adoption

From the looks of it, every industry player wants to get in – and it goes beyond banks.

For example, Wealthfront, a Silicon Valley-based robo-advisor, is considering to add both checking and savings accounts to its services, delivering faster, more convenient money transactions to its customers.

Citizens Bank, in cooperation with SigFig, a wealth management technology provider, announced that it’s launching a digital advice solution for its customers; and Webster Bank said it would provide its customers a digital advice platform.

Apps want a piece of the pie as well. For instance, a micro-investing app, Acorns, now offers a debit card to its users. Its competitor, Stash, which made its way into the digital banking market in April 2018, is launching a banking app.

Why Blend Robo-Advice with Banking?

  1. Customer demand for “platformafication” – it’s no secret that customers prefer to have it all in one platform, both investments and banking – and a Novantas’ report is the proof. The report revealed that 45% of consumers prefer not to leave their primary bank when it comes to investments.
  2. Maximum returns – As observers put it: it’s one of the ultimate ways to “control clients’ free cash [which is] often critical to both locking in the client relationship and even gaining more share of wallet from said clients.”
  3. Scalability – Robo-advisors are great for providing account support at scale. It’s an excellent tool for reaching out to thousands of customers just before they would have enough assets to be eligible for full-service advice.
  4. Banks have changedbanks aren’t what they used to be: ponderous institutions built on inflexible, old infrastructure; they are going digital.

growth of robo-advice assets
With Novantas’ report revealing that robo-advice is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in assets by 2020 – the largest chunk of which will come from Millennial investors – there’s one more reason to capitalize on one of the latest trends in financial services.

Robo-Advisors with a Human Touch

Robo-advisors with a human touch
MyPrivateBanking survey showed that wealthy Millennials are willing to use robo-advisors as long as there’s some form of human interaction – that’s something that academics strongly support as well: when it comes to robotics in service, it’s better to have a human-like backup since that way it’s easier to manage unexpected occurrences.

Many financial institutions and companies are trying to find that golden middle between algorithmic interactions and a human touch. For instance, Betterment, a robo-advisor, offers account holders an option to send a message to human advisors on top of automated portfolio management services.

By injecting personalization into robo-advisors, companies can boost transactions and sales as well as customer loyalty and satisfaction. It very well may be that soon we’ll witness the emergence of robo-advisors that provide a wide variety of banking services and can analyze user intent to offer clients both personalization and human-like customer service in real time.

It’s AI-Driven

2018 marks ten years of robo-advisors in financial advice. Nowadays, robo-advisors are on the path of becoming multi-functional wealth management engines based on machine and deep learning, language processing, and data mining methodologies. It’s those methodologies that can make the most of customer data to offer personalized advice.

You can find out more about robo-advisors and if they are worth it from a complete guide on moneyunder30.

Our personal finance websites provide accurate, consistent and dependable information on leading financial brands and services to consumers, helping them make the best buying decision and, in turn, drive quality traffic to global businesses and mobile apps. Contact us to see how we can grow your business.

 

5 PPC CAMPAIGN PERSONALIZATION TIPS: GIVE YOUR ADWORDS ADS THE WOW FACTOR

PPC campaign personalization is by no means a new game to play. Jaws no longer drop when people see an ad of a superstore that’s just one-minute walk from where they are located. Seeing ads like this is almost expected. In fact, by 2020 consumers want businesses to learn to better anticipate their needs before making contact; and marketers realize the importance of personalization as well.

With paid ads, personalization can get tricky, especially when you are playing in the same sandbox as your competitors, spending hours to write hundreds of appealing ads.

Thankfully, these 5 PPC campaign personalization tips can help your AdWords ads stand out, giving them the wow factor.

PPC Campaign Personalization Tip #1 – Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI)

AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion

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Traditionally, to make sure your ad fits user’s intent like a glove, you would need to write tons of ad variations and tweak their copy. Not to mention, you would need to keep tabs on every campaign. Not with DKI. The keywords in your ad copy are customized continuously to ensure there’s chemistry between the ads and your audience’s intent.

All you need to do is write a generic ad that encompasses the DKI formula. Google will swap the formula in your ad for the keyword that’s set the auction in motion. It’s important to bid on keywords relevant to your business and manage your negative keywords list wisely; otherwise, you may find yourself in hot water. It’s best to have a closer look at your keyword lists and assess their appropriateness and suitability.

If approached correctly, DKI is a fast way to deliver content that matches user preferences, meeting the demands of thousands of searches.

PPC Campaign Personalization Tip #2 – RLSA’s

Google AdWords RLSAs

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Our experts say that one of the best ways to conquer remarketing is with RLSA’s (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads). With RLSA’s, your ads will appear as Google search ads rather than regular display banners or sidebar ads.

It all starts with a remarketing list in AdWords. Make sure you have your remarketing list selected as your target audience for your “search network only” campaign.

You have a more qualified audience from the get-go, which means you should not be afraid to bid on more generic keywords. For instance, instead of targeting keywords like ‘flower print blouse for women’ you can bid on terms like ‘blouse’ or ‘women’s blouse.’ You can group these keywords separately and apply remarketing lists to ensure that the ads are shown only when a user searching for the terms is on those lists. It is a great way to create more personalized search experiences based on your prior knowledge of audience preferences.

PPC Campaign Personalization Tip #3 – Google’s Customer Match

Google Customer Match

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So, both Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Targeted Audiences allow you to upload a list of contacts to the ad platform and serve ads to those on the list. Did you know you can do the same with Google’s Customer Match? Imagine you had a list of meetup attendees. With Google’s Customer Match, you can serve meetup related ads while keeping your images and copy in line with user needs and preferences.

PPC Campaign Personalization Tip #4 – IFs

If Functions Google AdWords

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Another useful AdWords personalization trick to add to your toolbox is IF functions. These guys work similarly to Dynamic Keyword Insertion, allowing you to save brain power and time, writing hundreds of ads for you.

It’s all about the magic of simple IF-THEN protocols that match offers and content to the relevant user’s medium. Here’s an example: IF device = mobile, THEN show “30% discount when ordering via mobile!” The beauty is, you can craft compelling messages fast and at scale.

PPC Campaign Personalization Tip #5 – Speaking to Users

Speaking to Users with AdWords Ads

This PPC campaign personalization tip may seem a bit mind-numbingly obvious, but many marketers continue to look past it. Consumers don’t really care about your services being the best out there; they want to know how exactly your services can help them solve their problems.

Remember that your message should be tailored to what will spark that interest. Try to put your business ego aside and make your content meaningful – the kind of content that can move people and trigger a response. Here at Webpals Group, we like to use the strategy of guiding users with our content to help them make the best purchase decision. Guiding with content allows users to see your business as a solution to quite a few of their problems.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Creating ads on AdWords can be a very cumbersome task: value propositions, high-converting calls-to-action, and offers – all must find a home in a 30-character headline and an 80-character description. The worst part is, you can end up neglecting one of the critical elements of a successful PPC campaign – personalization, which itself can become quite a burden. Capitalize on these 5 PPC campaign personalization tips to smooth things out.

Our user acquisition experts can provide you with more than just a few very successful tips on how to personalize AdWords campaigns. Contact us so we can talk about how we can empower your business by matching the intent of high-value users with your brand.

 

THE WINNERS OF 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP

2018 FIFA World Cup is here! More than 3.2 billion people are watching the games waiting to see which group will take home the trophy, wondering who will be the goal scorer of this World Cup and cheering for their favorite group.

According to the media agency Zenith, the 2018 World Cup will drive $2.4 billion increase in ad spending worldwide. As mobile becomes increasingly integral to fan’s World Cup experience, in-app advertising is slated for a surge in spending- and, if done right, user conversions.

World Cup of Mobile

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was very popular on social media while the current tournament in Russia is set to be the World Cup of Mobile or “The Mobile Cup.” While global Internet penetration was only 42.3% four years ago, it now stands at 54.5%, according to data compiled by App Annie. And while 70% of World Cup content was consumed via desktop in 2014, mobile now accounts for 73% of Internet consumption, the firm notes.

Broader survey data offers a look at how fans spend their time on mobile during major sporting events: 30% of users say they use their phones to stream games, while 80% look up player information and replay key moments from their mobile devices. Nearly a quarter of prospective World Cup viewers say that their mobile phones will serve as their primary gateway to supplemental information about the tournament. This trend toward “second screening” underscores why mobile advertisers are seeking to get in on the action.

Which App will Gain from This World Cup?

We expect several app categories to grow, with their popularity experiencing a significant increase during World Cup 2018:

  • Live Streaming Apps We expect video streaming of live matches in mobile apps to increase, which is going to be the most direct impact on mobile. 30% of fans stream sporting events on their mobile devices because it allows them to watch games and events “on their own terms.” Second screening in live sports is also huge: 80% of viewers use their mobile devices to search for player stats and replay videos of key plays.
  • Food Delivery Apps Another category that is likely to get a significant boost because of the World Cup is “Food and Drink.” On average, take away orders increase 20% to 30% during major sporting events.
  • E-Commerce Apps People will go on a World Cup-fueled shopping spree, looking for electronic devices, such as big screen TVs, 4K TVs, loudspeakers, etc. For example, Sony expects the World Cup to boost its sales by 20%.
  • Sports Apps Fans use sports apps to find out more about their favorite teams and players throughout the tournament, both during and between games.
  • Gaming Apps All sorts of football games – from quizzes to multiplayer football simulations – will see increased usage as consumers seek to emulate their heroes and keep the excitement of the tournament alive.

How to Be the Winner of this World Cup?

Since the FIFA World Cup is such a large event that draws the attention of a wide selection of international audiences, it opens a lot of opportunities for participating advertisers. Since so much of the World Cup’s viewership comes from mobile, all mobile-driven brands, such as food delivery apps, shopping apps, sports apps, and rideshare apps, have unique opportunities during the event.

Here are a few tips for winning campaigns:

  • Get Local FIFA World Cup 2018 is the biggest sporting event in the world with a massive global audience; an event with global engagement still requires local planning. With such a vast audience base, it is crucial to develop programmatic methods to target people in different time zones, locations, etc. Pay particular attention to reaching a location-based audience using Geofencing. Capturing the moment of content consumption will be critical for smart marketers.
  • Stay Relevant Your ads must be relevant to both the individual consumer and the unique nature of the World Cup. Be a resource to fans by keeping them alert of when games are on, scores, and player/team stats. Keep in mind that your audience is overloaded with media ads and only the relevant, actual and unique ads will gain attention.
  • Target Women A different campaign strategy is to target an audience that is not the mainstream audience of the World Cup. For instance, e-commerce apps can target a large audience of women. Most likely that women might be more available during the actual games hours and with the intent to spend money on e-commerce. In this case, the bid will be lower because it’s reaching a less targeted audience.
  • High Costs = Improved Results Don’t be afraid of the high costs that the World Cup brings. Remember that if you are working right, the results will be significantly better. With the right forward-thinking strategy, mobile marketers can retain app users – and retention will be cheaper in the long run.

Webpals Mobile works closely with all genres of mobile apps, effectively helping them with their growth strategy by offering full-service campaign management, creative solutions, and data-driven methodologies across Facebook, Google, media buying and exclusive websites and apps.

Contact us if you’d like to speak with our experts about growing your mobile app.

HERE ARE 7 TOP FINTECH TRENDS 2018 YOU’VE PROBABLY MISSED

Many of us look at the Fintech sector as the beacon of global innovation; as the technology that’s re-imagining the capital markets.

In 2017, we saw investments in Fintech rise to $12.85 billion. We heard buzzwords like artificial intelligence and blockchain all around the financial sphere. We witnessed technological advancements and the appearance of regulatory guidelines. We understood that consumers crave on-demand finance and are more willing to manage their money online, running away from mind-boggling bureaucracy, long queues and occasionally glacial pace of different financial services. So far so good, but what are the biggest Fintech trends 2018?

While we still feel the presence of Fintech trends in 2017, 2018 adds a little extra.

1) More Interest in Artificial Intelligence

AI in FinTech

As 2018 unfolds, the act of leveraging advanced cognitive AI solutions to decrease costs and overheads will become more popular. Investment in AI will be crucial for Fintech companies that want to gain a competitive edge over their rivals.

As far as top Fintech trends 2018 go, Artificial Intelligence will be at the center stage of fraud detection, customer analytics, and anti-money laundering solutions. However, how productive AI will be in those spheres remains to be seen.

2) FinTech Growing in Asia

FinTech in Asia

By 2020, FinTech industry in APAC will amount to $72 billion. Such exponential growth is attributed to the increased development of digital and cashless payments by SMBs in the region.

What’s more, Asian consumers seem to be increasingly aware of various P2P payment solutions and crowdfunding methods with Blockchain at their core, which is likely to cause growth both in personal and business financing segments.

We can expect many innovative Fintech players around the world to learn from Fintech’s successes in APAC and take it to the next level in their regions, with adaptations to the local culture. That was precisely the case for Turkish Akbank. Akbank wanted to significantly boost its banking app’ growth and attract more high-intent users. That’s where our mobile app promotion experts stepped in, and it did not take long to see phenomenal results.

3) Regulatory Diversity

Top FinTech trends 2018 regulation

More regulators are actively looking to identify new ways in which they can become part of the Blockchain revolution. Regulatory guidelines, also known as regulatory sandboxes, are gaining popularity – and it’s starting to spread on Uncle Sam’s turf. In March this year, Arizona became the first U.S. state to introduce a regulatory sandbox for Fintech.

With that, regulators are still taking more of a “Bystander approach,” giving Fintech innovators more freedom to act. The challenge of finding the golden middle between innovation, risks, and controls is still out there.

If cards are played right, the growing number of regulatory bodies will lead the Fintech industry towards becoming more powerful and secure, boosting consumer confidence which in turn will further solidify and increase Fintech’s popularity – so it’s a win-win situation.

4) Top FinTech Trends 2018 Chart Includes Mobile

Top FinTech trends 2018 mobile

Fintech is already being driven by mobile: people seem to keep Fintech mobile apps among their favorites, and there’s a reason for that. Our experts were right: the simplicity and convenience of Fintech mobile apps act as a magnet for consumers and are shaping the industry to become more customer-centric.

Mobile seems to dominate the important trends in the Fintech space this year as well. Lending Times mentions that 2019 will be the year when mobile banking and payments will rise to $92 billion.

5) More Financial Startups, Solutions & ICOs

More FinTech startups

Fintech is still on everybody’s mind. Big-shot corporations and globally recognized startups are utilizing the reality to pour money into newly emerging, young Fintech companies, many of which prefer Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as their funding channel rather than going for traditional forms of funding.

Existing companies are also taking aggressive action when it comes to figuring out how to make the most of Fintech within their ecosystems. In a sense, many of them have become venture capitalists and are pushing their intracompany Fintech projects.

6) It’s All About the Money – but What Kind?

Fintech digital vs paper currency

Not to say that paper money is to lose its power this year, but digital currencies – think Bitcoin – are getting more attention. A new Bitcoin ATM opened in Las Vegas in February 2018, which is the next step towards making digital currency widely acceptable. It will be interesting to see where the wind will take digital currencies and whether new competitors will appear on the horizon.

7) Blockchain Getting Stronger

Blockchain getting stronger

The growing market interest and value of Blockchain seem to get us closer to the day when Blockchain receives the recognition it deserves.

Global Fintech survey results show that by 2020 77% of global companies in the financial sector plan to take Blockchain into live production. Before you know it, Blockchain will be taken to new fields to become the solution to much more complicated challenges.

Major credit card companies like Mastercard are continuing their work on developing and perfecting Blockchain-based payment systems. There’s also talk about Blockchain penetrating debt syndication, mortgage processing, and trade finance.

So, there it is! Your list of the biggest FinTech trends 2018 to go to when you feel like you need to take a step forward in the FinTech game. Sometimes it may require more than staying on top of FinTech trends, though; it also calls for advanced, AI-based technology; vast industry knowledge and experience.

If you need assistance promoting your FinTech mobile apps or you want to get your brand in front of the eyes of high-intent users, we can help. Contact us for details!

MOBILE BANKING – ARE YOU IN OR OUT?

Managing finances has become increasingly complex as there are many different financial services to choose from: credit cards, bank transfers, payments, investing, and more. We are all looking for a quick, easy and accessible solution when it comes to handling our money. More mobile-first companies are creating apps that can assist customers to manage their banking, while simultaneously banking intuitions are expanding their mobile platforms.

The largest financial banking institutions have seen a significant decline in the last five years, with over 1,700 U.S. bank branches closing at a steady pace since June 2017; this is primarily due to the adoption of mobile banking by consumers. As of January 2018, 67% of customers globally have adopted digital banking platforms, and 515 million customers have opened a bank account with a mobile bank in the last three years.

This blog will provide insights into the mobile banking revolution: its adoption, growth potential, perks and pitfalls, and lastly our predictions for the latest Fintech revolution.

The Adoption of Mobile Banking

97% of adults in Asia – specifically China – are using mobile banking services, making China one of the early adopters of mobile banking. The statistic can be directly compared to 62% of Americans who use a mobile banking app and are more apprehensive to hand over their confidential information to a banking system with a branchless bank.

This global trend can be seen in several different continents, such as Indonesia, Southeast Asia, China in Asia, India, Brazil, and most of Europe. We will highlight the key mobile banking players in Europe and the U.S. specifically.

Key Players

There are several types of mobile banking solutions. The first is the traditional banks, such as JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citi Group and others who have an app as an additional platform where customers can view their account and make different banking transactions. The second type is a traditional bank that offers a separate brand usually targeted toward a niche target market, for example, students or Millennials. The third type is the mobile-first and branchless banks that are revolutionizing the banking industry while providing banking services via their app only.

Here are a few examples of rising stars in the mobile banking vertical that are offering innovative branchless solutions in different countries in Europe and the U.S., and we expect them to produce headlines in the upcoming year:

  • N26 – the German banking app, has reached one million customers in just three years. N26 has no physical branches and offers a free bank account and a black Mastercard when signing up. As Maik Koltz, the senior consultant at N26 describes, “Smartphone users, Millennials, and digital natives” are the primary target audience.
  • Orange – one of the largest telecom operators in France, launched its digital lending banking system in October 2017. It is targeting to reach 10 million users within ten years – which is roughly 2.5% of the entire French market. It has even started launching its banking solution in West Africa and making banking available to countries without that privilege.
  • Monzo Bank – providing you a complete banking solution with a physical card that comes with an app with benefits and no international fees. The app is not connected to any bank account but provides a pre-paid MasterCard debit card. You can load the card with cash and use it at an ATM, in store, and even online. The lack of international fees makes the card attractive for travel and for uploading receipts to keep track of finances.
  • Revolut – the London-based mobile bank started as a mobile app that allowed users to send and receive money and exchange over 28 currencies at a real rate. Revolut has been built for the mobile age and offers an option for both a free and paid premium plan. This mobile banking giant has recently raised over $83 million total in funding.
  • Simple – an online bank that helps people reach their savings goals by tracking spending habits and allows users to get a free payment card.
  • Starling – provides their users with a smart way to lead a healthier financial life. There is the added benefit of zero transaction fees, numerous services, and smart spending insights.
  • ATOM – one of the fastest growing mobile banks in the U.K. It helps small and medium businesses with mortgage rates, fixed accounts, and service loans.

Perks and Pitfalls

The Millennial generation will become mobile banking’s target audience in the next ten years, which means mobile banking will gain popularity.

Mobile banking has its perks and pitfalls, like any revolutionary concept. As far as perks go, thanks to their fresh and trendy look and feel, mobile banks can quickly be adopted by the Millennial generation. Mobile banks are branchless –  you don’t have to visit in person. They offer better and more competitive exchange rates, and, overall, a smarter and faster way to access finances.

With that, there are some pitfalls to overcome. One of the main mobile-only banking pitfalls, besides the difficulty of the transition for the older generation and the stability of a “startup bank,” is the area of fraud. Most consumers of not understanding the technology their bank is using, which hurts their trust in mobile banking experience. Even though mobile banking apps are adding features such as multi-factor authentication, mobile-only banks still need to address the issues with consumer security and trust.

What Does the Future Hold for This Vertical?

Mobile-first banking companies are growing faster than ever in 2018, and the future for this vertical is only expected to expand even more. Here is what we anticipate happening:

  • Mobile banking goes mainstream – Mobile banking adoption is only likely to increase and grow. It’s not just Millennials who’ll adopt it, but also older age groups.
  • Mobile banks and Fintech startups funding – There will be a significant funding boost for both existing as well as new players in the ecosystem. It’ll allow them to expand into new markets, hire tech talent and extend their product offering.
  • Traditional banks are shifting to mobile to stay relevant – Traditional banks will need to advance their mobile products and improve the overall user experience to compete with innovative mobile-first banks. If they do not innovate, they will lose market share.
  • Traditional banks are buying Fintech – The classic ‘Make or Buy’ dilemma. Traditional banks will become more innovative via the acquisition of disruptive mobile banks or alternative personal finance apps. By doing this, traditional banks will hold on to their competitive edge and will be able to offer more to their customers.
  • Mobile banks are expanding digital presence and focusing on growth – Companies have already started developing their digital footprint on social media – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and additional platforms – both organically as well as by using paid promotions. Aggressive and fast growth will be the focus in 2018.

We believe 2018 will be the year of remarkable growth for mobile banking and Fintech startups, and we are looking forward to seeing more innovation and disruption in the industry.

Webpals Mobile works closely with Fintech startups and personal finance apps, effectively helping them with their growth strategy by offering full-service campaign management, creative solutions, and data-driven methodologies across Facebook, Google, media buying and exclusive websites and apps.

Contact us if you’d like to speak with our experts about growing your finance app.

OK GOOGLE, LET’S ADDRESS MAJOR CHANGES IN RETAIL AND ECOMMERCE

In the age of the Internet and technologies, changes in retail and eCommerce are inevitable. They tend to modify consumer behaviors and, consequently, call for a shift in marketing strategies to ensure you catch the attention of the most profitable, high-intent customers.

Google & ‘Shopping Actions’

Google & Shopping Actions

Google has recently attempted to mobilize an army of major retailers in the U.S. (Walmart, Costco, Target, etc.) to combat the mighty power of Amazon. It’s called ‘Shopping Actions.’  How does it change the eCommerce and retail industries? ‘Shopping Actions’ is all about “relevant, meaningful content, and immediate assistance in completing [your] day-to-day shopping,” and from more than one vendor. So, in a sense, eCommerce is being influenced by the remarkable phenomenon of the digital world: the desire to serve users the most relevant content at intent-driven moments.

Google Going RevShare

Google going RevShare

Retailers will split the profits made using “Shopping Actions” with Google, which is different from the usual payments per ad.

Just as we’ve predicted, the performance marketing business model is penetrating more industries. In this case, in the form of RevShare, which is “the highest form of performance marketing, because you pay only out of the actual dollars you make” – as our CEO, Inbal Lavi, explains.

IOT in eCommerce & Retail

IOT in eCommerce and retail

With Google Assistant’s help, retailers will be able to connect and understand a broad spectrum of data, predicting patterns and forecasting sales opportunities both online and offline. The result? Retailers will start diverting products where they are most needed while using location information to pinpoint the right place and time.

What’s more, the data from the Google Assistant can be transmitted to any device connected to your Google account. Get ready; the next time you check your smart fridge, it can suggest you buy more cucumbers, for example.

Voice Search as One of the Changes in Retail and eCommerce

voice search as a major change in retail and eCommerce

Google Assistant means IOT, data, and…voice search – or as Reuters called it: “the next frontier for eCommerce.” That’s no surprise, according to ComScore, by 2020 half of all searches will be voice-activated. What’s more, voice searches stand at over one billion searches per month, according to Alpine.AI’s statistics for January 2018.

Google seems to be up-to-date with the stats. The rumor is that it has brought “Shopping Actions” to life to optimize for Google Home Assistant.

While the effects of voice search on SEO are yet to be uncovered, our experts recommend thinking about the way people would use voice search, for example.

Voice search is not the same as typing: you would not say “best vacation deals” out loud; you’re more likely to say: “find me the best vacation deals,” using a more natural language. This thinking about voice search also allows businesses to understand their customers better and get into their psyche.

Craving for More Gadgets When Shopping Offline

People want more gadgets for in-store shopping

Reuters reports that, according to a new study, people prefer gadgets over real employees when they shop in-store. Many times, customers don’t want any additional information or details about a recent sale; they want to check an item’s price, for instance. Such preferences can easily be extended to places like hotels and airports, for example.

It seems that IBM has made the most out of the study. The company rolled out its new Watson Assistant in March. It’s not like Alexa or Google Home Assistant; it’s “the brains of hundreds of new digital helpers made by a variety of businesses for…stores, hotels, and airports.” You can already use it at the Munich Airport when asking a robot to direct you to your gate.

Same goes for Walmart. A few weeks back, the big retail chain filed a host of patents, including a patent for drones “that would assist customers shopping in-store.” The drones are to be connected to a mobile device as well, so that every time a customer needs help, drones will come to the rescue!

Bottom Line

Nowadays, it’s not the question of who catches the attention of as many consumers as possible; it’s about attracting the most valuable, paying consumers at the right moment. Easier said than done: it requires experience and a broad knowledge of the industry as well as innovative, AI-based algorithms.

As a leading company that specializes in driving high-value customers to global businesses, we’ll provide you that experience, knowledge, and technology to deliver high-paying customers to your business. Contact us for details!

FINTECH VS. BANKING: WHAT IS IT ABOUT FINTECH MOBILE APPS THAT KEEPS BANKS ON THEIR TOES?

Ever since the establishment of the first commercial bank in the United States in 1781, banks have been backed up by governments and quickly received the status of organizations specializing in mortgage lending and credit. As the lifeblood of the world’s economy, banks have also faced burdensome regulation.

Given this reality, Bill Gate’s referral to banks as ‘dinosaurs’ is not surprising; but today, with FinTech gaining momentum, we seem to be witnessing a real fight – FinTech versus banking – in which banks’ fortifications and resistance to technology seem to be getting weaker.

What’s the impact of FinTech on banks? What does the future hold for FinTech and banking? What is it that makes FinTech so successful, especially FinTech mobile apps – which saw an uptick in the number of users, according to App Annie’s 2017 report?

As a company that successfully operates top-ranked financial websites and utilizes smart technology and statistical modeling to promote mobile finance apps, it seemed unreasonable for us to stand by quietly, without figuring out the answers to everything related to the FinTech versus banking fight.

FinTech is Changing the Finance Playground

Finance and payment services are no longer banks’ prerogative; companies utilizing technology to provide financial services to consumers – FinTech companies – are on the rise. With the total venture capital invested in FinTech in 2017 amounting to $12.85 billion, FinTech revolution has been called ‘the most profound transformation in history.’ FinTech apps growth rate stands at 30% a year and, as of January 2018, FinTech apps comprise around 10% of all mobile apps in the Apple Store.

FinTech is Conquering the World

FinTech conquering the world

Sweden

Sweden is said to lead the pack in redefining the finance industry for the rest of us. It’s evident in Sweden’s initiative to become cashless, for starters. Sweden’s government, together with Swedish tech-friendly infrastructure, have played a significant role in FinTech’s rapid spreading causing the emergence of a highly entrepreneurial environment full of resources. The question is: “Will the planned European Commission’s regulations change it, or will they empower it to spread across the EU, as they say?”

Chances are you’ve heard about EU’s new regulations regarding Fintech. In February 2018, the European Commission was to reveal a set of recommendations, focusing on online security, the blockchain, and cloud data services. However, possibly to avoid sector’s over-regulation, the latest news exposes that the European Commission is taking a step back from announcing new regulation laws for the industry.

China

With people getting full of ideas that needed to be released, FinTech has spread naturally in China. Given Chinese society’s accumulated wealth, investments were necessary to be made and banks – although they tried – couldn’t catch up with such a high-speed economy.

Today, China is considered to be one of the biggest markets for FinTech, with one of the largest Chinese FinTech companies valued at around $60 billion.

FinTech versus Banking Apps

The effect of Fintech on banking is grandiose: banks have started to make banking apps – as evident by banking apps’ sudden take off in 2015 – but FinTech has no intention of holding its horses.

FinTech’s continuous innovation is seen in the frequent emergence of FinTech mobile apps – everything from mobile payments (the most popular sector to date) to managing cryptocurrencies.  So, what is it that makes FinTech mobile apps so successful?

1) Putting Customers First

FinTech apps are customer-centric

FinTech apps focus on the customer. This is not to say that customers aren’t important to banks (most of our financial activity is still associated with banks, and they still have the power to navigate the economy), but FinTech apps know how to put customers in the center. When you look at FinTech mobile apps, the user experience is often at its finest; the apps are simple and convenient.

Unfortunately, banks still have a long way to go in that department: most of us drown in the sea of text, complex transitions and other features of banking apps – something that often pushes us away.

Lots of banking apps are feature-rich, that’s true. However, many of the features never get discovered. FinTech mobile apps are another story: they are fixated on engagement and, unlike banking apps, are made to provide solutions to particular challenges in the most efficient manner.

Many keep on advising banks to talk more to their customers and analyze their behavior, collecting valuable feedback on the way to ensure the improvement of their products and service, especially with the growing number of Millennials who crave digital and are open to options when it comes to new financial service providers.

2) The Secrets of User Acquisition

User acquisition FinTech apps

To be successful, you must develop a product that people want, and, for banking apps, it’s harder than it looks – they are directly associated with banks and not personal finance.

Let’s face it; banks aren’t the kind of establishments you’d be eager to visit. Banks are the kind of establishments people can even get scared of: how do you feel when a bank representative calls you about your mortgage? It’s hard to communicate value when people feel uneasy around you.

When it comes to FinTech and personal finance mobile apps, they are experts in user acquisition. The apps are known for their expertise at communicating their value to users in a clear-cut manner from the very first user experience. FinTech mobile apps customer offerings are often sharp and direct, look at apps like Credit Karma.

Many personal finance apps aim to act as users’ own financial advisor, documenting their every transaction, managing their budget, etc. Who wouldn’t want that, considering the chaotic world we live in?

3) No Legacy

FinTech mobile apps are legacy-free. That is, they don’t have any old infrastructure, decayed processes, heritage or history – all of which make a fruitful ground for the creation of conservative operational models that can cause the apps to move at a glacial pace. Hence, acting in innovative ways is something that comes naturally to FinTech mobile apps in comparison to banking apps.

For user acquisition, history can also be viewed as one’s strength since building trust over time is one of user acquisition’s critical components. However, not when an institution takes a hit which is quite hard to recover from – the financial crisis of 2008.

4) FinTech Mobile Apps Breathe Innovation

The reason? FinTech apps are powered by the latest, cutting-edge technologies like Blockchain which, among all, is said to revolutionize global payments, as well as the way businesses, are being run. Meaning? FinTech mobile apps’ hunger for innovation lies not only in the tech they use but also in the way they approach business.

And while we are on the topic of innovation, as FinTech moves towards API integrations, biometric security, etc., we’ll hear more about how deep-rooted innovation is in FinTech.

5) Mobile-First/-Only

FinTech is mobile-first

Mobile phones are FinTech’s primary medium. Some of FinTech mobile apps are even mobile-only, in contrast to banking apps: you don’t necessarily need a banking app to enjoy banks’ services.

Take Revolut, for example – the so-called ‘money without borders’ app. Even when you visit Revolut’s website, the first thing you’re asked to do is to enter your mobile phone number. Smartphones – which have become omnipresent – enable this new paradigm.

How are Banks Responding to FinTech Apps Success?

Despite the immense impact of FinTech on banks, there’s no doubt that banks need to fight back, and some steps have been taken already.

Banks’ total IT spend has increased: they are investing heavily in digital, hence, the development of banking apps. Moreover, we’re witnessing a rise in accelerators: more and more bank CEO’s see themselves as IT providers, investing in startup programs to incubate FinTech companies.

Some banks, like DBS bank in Singapore, have also decided to ‘innovate’ from within, promoting a “digital mindset” among their employees.

Although this approach is excellent, banks are advised to re-evaluate it to the point of starting from square one, answering fundamental questions like why innovate in the first place and what path to take when innovating. Banks can’t just start shouting: “We’re innovating!” It cannot be stressed enough: banking institutions should analyze data and be more attentive to their audiences.

What’s more, there are fields in which FinTech companies have yet to excel such as regulatory compliance. Banks can utilize their success in the field to their advantage and offer their customers credibility and better protection of personal/financial interests.

Bottom Line

FinTech mobile apps are having a moment, and innovation is flowing through them. Expect to see more FinTech mobile apps emerging in the future.

As for banks, they should start acting faster, developing and growing their apps to get closer to consumers.

Time will pass until FinTech and banks will be regarded as equals power-wise. Although, whether or not the two should be seen as equals is a different story.

Contact us to maximize your app’s performance and boost user acquisition.

QUALITY MATTERS IN MOBILE APP MARKETING: THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE & HOW TO PREDICT IT

When it comes to mobile app marketing, the importance of customer lifetime value (LTV) cannot be underestimated. Imagine you could reach users that are more likely to perform meaningful actions within your app such as completing registrations, tutorials or, ideally – making in-app purchases.

The advantages of forecasting customer lifetime value go beyond just being able to build your customer acquisition budget and funnel accurately. It lets you sharpen your marketing strategy and adjust it according to a channel, medium, GEO, creative, et cetera.

Let the Numbers Talk

mobile app industry statistics

It’s no news that the mobile app industry is fierce: there are more than 6.5 million apps out there, and most of them are never even discovered.

Whether your app succeeds or fails is in the hands of your end users. Research shows, 90% of mobile apps fail within the first three months. The plot thickens when you hear the following statistics:

  • 77% of daily active app users are lost in the three days after the install
  • There’s a drastic decline in numbers when you look further down the funnel: actual in-app purchases stand at only about 2%

Marketers must understand that not all customers are created equal to ensure app longevity and success.

customer lifetime value graph

The Time to Focus on Quality is Now

More and more industry players understand that to achieve scalable and sustainable growth and success they need to measure everything to be able to forecast yield per user.

The current economy – which has urged businesses to become more customer-centric – together with the latest developments in the mobile industry, are pushing digital marketers and app developers to put more value on quality rather than quantity.

Look at Facebook and Google, for example – the two companies that have already recognized the importance of customer lifetime value. Facebook now allows you to create value-based lookalike audiences, pinpointing users with the highest value for you (those that are likely to download your game app, for instance) to maximize your campaigns worth.

As for Google, it has recently rolled out Universal App Campaigns (UACs), which are all about using machine learning algorithms to locate customers that have the highest possibility of downloading and interacting with your mobile app.

The secret lies in the correct understanding of user behavior and capability to predict it.

Customer Lifetime Value in Action

Customer Lifetime Value Process

Let’s face it: there’s a short window of time for catching the user and understanding their intent: what stage are they at in the funnel – is it someone who is looking for information or someone who wants to make a purchase? As a marketer, you’d want to make sure that user sees the right ad at the right time.

  • Audience segmentation – when predicting LTV, it’s best to, first and foremost, look at your audience segments: everything from user demographics to the type of browser they use. When done correctly, user segmentation lets you create buyer personas relevant to your business as well as for each step of the marketing funnel.
  • Modeling – The next step would be to turn to quantitative prediction models, which analyze your audience segments to determine the kind of creative/offer that your audiences would find most engaging.

Machine learning and data mining algorithms empower the most common prediction models, which need to be tweaked and sometimes customized to ensure they match the business situation at hand.

There are also probabilistic approaches to modeling, the most common of which is the Pareto/NBD model. The model works on the principle of ‘a coin and a dice’: it uses purchase history to understand whether a customer is to churn (coin) and then tries to find a pattern using the Pareto distribution. The dice principle is used to examine the purchase rate and determine the number of orders a customer can make. Then, the Pascal distribution is used to model the dice.

When checked over time, both machine learning and probabilistic approaches tend to generate outcomes of similar quality.

Here’s a detailed example our CEO, Inbal Lavi, gave at The Marker’s Digital Conference:

 

  • Automation – this stage entails integrating prediction models and user targeting methodologies into a system that would use A/B testing to run your campaign most efficiently: knowing exactly when to launch or stop it or deducing what kind of relevant creatives/offers should be served to users to reach maximum ROI.

Bottom Line

Today, smart digital marketing comes down to knowing when, where, why (users’ intent) and what kind of content you need to target high paying customers and ensure your app durability.

Here at Webpals Group, we exclusively operate thousands of top-ranking sites and use our SEO, SEM, social, mobile, native advertising know-how and proprietary technology to deliver high-value end users to global businesses and promote their mobile apps. We do all that in various verticals like e-Commerce, food delivery, finance, gaming, live streaming, and more.

We can track and analyze the behavior of different audiences anywhere. Using statistical models and AI-based technology, we pinpoint homogeneous audiences with specific intent and target their lookalikes on a diversity of digital platforms.

It’s the uniqueness and quality of the seed audience that drives a much better eCPA to our partners and allows us to successfully operate on a performance-based marketing business model even when it comes to mobile app promotion.

Contact us, and we’ll make your mobile app the fittest to survive in the ever-changing, hungry-for-innovation marketing world.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS – COUNTS: 4 KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM AFFILIATE SUMMIT WEST 2018

Industry experts and digital marketers from over 70 countries met in January at Affiliate Summit West 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada for three very productive days of networking, discovery, and knowledge sharing.

The participants were eager to explore new ways to boost user acquisition, discuss the latest trends and industry guidelines, find new partnerships, and grow their business. We attended entertaining sessions and met distinguished industry leaders and high-level decision makers. Here is our comprehensive Affiliate Summit West 2018 review with four valuable takeaways:

1) SEO is Essential

Partners and conference attendees clearly said that SEO is a powerful and vital source of traffic, and it goes beyond the acquisition level. Marketers see it as an excellent way to get the desired recognition, make their sites more trustworthy, and reduce costs.

The growing awareness of search and social media platforms changes brought an extraordinary increase in demand for SEO. Many marketers find very challenging to run paid search campaigns effectively. They shared the concern regarding what happens if, and when the changes occur.
Case in point: Google AdWords T&C revision – an excellent example of such a change from back in the fall of 2017.

Another good example is Facebook’s plan to alternate its News Feed. Facebook wants to put more emphasis on the quality of interactions on the platform.

2) Demand for Diversified Traffic Sources

360 advertising approach webpals group

The changes in the advertising industry cause more and more brands to realize the need for diversity when it comes to their acquisition funnel, a new approach to obtaining large volumes of quality traffic. Brands want to build strong connections with partners that offer multiple traffic sources.

At Webpals Group, we refer to it as our “360 approach.” The approach ensures our partners take full advantage of the plethora of capabilities we offer: high-intent traffic from exclusively operated websites such as Greedyrates.ca, SEO, SEM, social, mobile apps, and native advertising. No matter the advertising channel, we tailor every one of our campaigns to a given partner or brand specifications.

3) Trending Products at Affiliate Summit West 2018

  • Travel – A considerable number of travel products were represented at the conference, all looking to establish long-lasting relationships with a large pool of customers in many methods and forms.
    When it comes to travel in 2018, we’re expecting online reviews to have an even more significant impact on the number of online bookings. Note, 95% of travelers trust third-party review sites.
  • VPNs everywhere! Judging by the number of VPN brands that attended Affiliate Summit West 2018, privacy concerns have yet to be solved. A recent IDC survey revealed that 84% of U.S. consumers worry about their security and 70% of them shared that their security concerns have increased in comparison to what they felt just a few years ago. For more information on this subject, you are welcome to visit Securethoughts.com – one of many authority sites we operate.

4) New Guidelines and Regulations

New PMA (Performance Marketing Association) ad fraud guidelines and the ways they impact the industry’s future received a significant amount of attention.

Gone are the days when brands could craft a generic disclaimer message. Nowadays one must dig deeper, disclosing payment method details and ways businesses make money to ensure users and potential partners understand all the nuances.

Summary

As a leading performance marketing company with hundreds of strategic partnerships and a vast network of exclusively operated, content-rich websites, we were thrilled to attend Affiliate Summit West 2018 and establish promising business relationships.

It was a great way to start 2018! We’d like to thank the organizers, people we met, and every one of our new partners!

If you have a business opportunity on your mind and would like to talk it over – feel free to contact us!

See you next time!

 

A SEISMIC SHIFT IN DIGITAL MARKETING? IT’S ALL THANKS TO THESE 6 POWERS OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

The technology that can drastically change digital marketing has arrived. It’s not social media, robotics or big data – it’s Blockchain – the technology that brings Bitcoin to life.

Blockchain – a decentralized digital ledger of secure web transactions. An article in Secure Thoughts digs deeper into what Blockchain technology is. The question we address here is: how will Blockchain affect digital marketing?

Given our close ties to the industry and our strive to deliver high-intent users to businesses worldwide, we couldn’t just bypass the topic. We exclusively operate over 2000 top-ranking sites, many of which are connected to finance like MoneyUnder30, Greedy Rates, for example.

We’ve already discussed artificial intelligence, and how it’s shifting the way marketers approach business, now it’s time to give Blockchain technology the deserved attention.

Long story short, here are 6 ways Blockchain technology is to disrupt digital marketing:

 1) Blockchain Technology is Demolishing Ad-Fraud

Blockchain Technology Demolishing Ad Fraud

$16.4 billion – that’s how much money ad-fraud cost businesses in 2017.

Because of Blockchain’s transparent, decentralized nature, advertisers would be able to disregard 100% fraudulent traffic and have greater confidence their ads are shown to humans, not bots.

With the cost of ad delivery auditing reaching the sky, Blockchain comes in as a practical substitute – decentralized ad auditing. Blockchain saves every event, so it would be easier to validate ad impressions and uncover the source of the fraud.

What Blockchain could do is extract ad deliveries from the server and then perform fraud analysis. For example, it would look for indicators like non-live browsers to identify whether the ad delivery is real. You’d be able to figure out which domain the impression came from by examining the referring URL, for example.

That’s just step number one for Blockchain. Step two would be to catch and prevent fraudulent traffic in real time.

Ad spend would decrease, giving marketers the ability to manage it more efficiently.

All in all, the advertising industry would become more accountable, if you will.

2) Improving Data Security

Blockchain technology is famous for its immutability. Each of the transactions is encrypted and gets time-stamped. Not to mention, every transaction block goes through an in-depth verification process involving multiple users, meaning it is impossible for a single user to manipulate data without it getting approved by others that own that same block – this enhances data security and allows to work in a more transparent manner using smart contracts.

Smart contracts consist of terms that are registered, verified and executed on Blockchain. As such, these contracts can only be annulled once a new contract is presented. They foster a conflict-free work environment, which does not include any third-party representatives like lawyers.

3) It Ensures Accurate Segmentation & Tracking

Blockchain Technology User Segmentation

Marketers know the disappointment of not having the right data at the right time. Changing this reality is like a never-ending pursuit of happiness.

Blockchain tech would take the guessing about whether your ad has reached its audience out of the picture, providing multiple data points, all of which are stored in special blocks – hence the name.

At large, what this means is businesses would have access to the complete history of client preferences: patterns, tendencies, likes, et cetera. The beauty is that this would be valid for any targeted audience, platform or channel.

Blockchain’s influence would also be felt in the way segmented audiences are tracked. With Blockchain, you could start tracking users more accurately when they visit a specific page or read a content piece.

4) Blockchain Improving Analytics

Marketing analytics would get a facelift. Marketers would be able to make more informed decisions based on real-time feedback on all things related to users and their journeys. Because of Blockchain’s global nature, boundaries between organizations and decision makers would be erased, which means that your US branch and your branch in Asia could make business decisions together.

5) Solving Privacy Concerns

Privacy concerns over search engines’ data collection methods are reaching their top. At the same time, more and more people are becoming frustrated with the ways big corporations collect data and are advocating for more control.

Because Blockchain technology is decentralized, auditable, and transparent, it can give users the so long wanted control over their data, including what data to share and whom to share it with. It would make it easier for marketers to ensure regulatory compliance with the GDPR requirements (introduced in all major markets), which, among all, focus on marketers taking consent from their users.

6) Cutting Out the Middleman

Blockchain technology promises a more honest relationship between businesses, without third-party intermediaries. Take Google, for example. In 2017, Google made almost $74 billion in digital advertising. When it comes to Display Advertising, Google’s Display Network turns it into the middleman between publishers and advertisers. Google acts as a trustworthy institution and makes sure publishers follow the rules and don’t amplify their ROI at advertisers’ cost.

In the world of Blockchain, all the heavy lifting of bringing legitimate traffic and verified clicks would fall into Blockchain’s hands. Data exchange between parties would become direct, with publishers and advertisers entirely relying on each other. Plus, there would be no need to pay a share of the profits to the middleman.

Here’s a video explaining Blockchain and the middleman in more detail:


Bottom Line

It’s true; these would only be possible once the Blockchain technology has been widely recognized by marketers on both sides: demand and supply – which is yet to happen. While the question of global acceptance can be viewed as the question of time, some argue that there are other obstacles like the knowledge gap and the problem of scaling.

For now, it remains unknown when every industry player will decide to adopt Blockchain. With that, it does not mean you can’t prepare in advance and be ready when Blockchain becomes a hit.

 

 

BIKE-SHARING: RETHINKING THE WAY YOU RIDE

We keep reading about the bike-sharing phenomenon spreading globally. We decided to shed some light on bike-sharing: how it all started, who are the big players in the industry, the opportunities, challenges and how we see this industry developing in 2018.

Why It All Started

Two leading Chinese based companies first introduced the bike-sharing phenomenon, Ofo, and Mobike in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Bike-sharing has enabled riders to reach their destinations in a fast, cost-effective, and fun way. Despite the modernization of major cities, increased income for consumer spending, and an increase in car ownership by many Chinese citizens, traffic jams and congestion on roads have proven to be reason enough to enable the adoption of biking trends for millions of individuals. Since its inception, bike-sharing has become the primary way to commute to work, visit friends and participate in other outdoor leisure activities.

The First Entrants & Key Players

Ofo – first introduced at Peking University as a means for college students to get around more efficiently. Founded in 2014, Ofo currently stands at more than 10 million bikes, 5.1 daily million users in 250 cities with a presence in over 20 countries. Also, Ofo has expanded rapidly in North America making its presence felt in 12 U.S. cities – the number that’s estimated to grow to 100 by next year.

Mobike – founded in January 2015, initially serving the Chinese market has then expanded as a service to new markets with 200 million registered users across 180 cities and over 4.9 million active users.

These two companies currently represent 95% of the Chinese bike-sharing market, each backed by more than half a billion dollar investment by two giant Chinese conglomerates, Tencent and Alibaba; ultimately setting their goals to expand into the international market. With a considerable hype, the bike-sharing sector in total has attracted more than 2 billion dollars in venture funding over the past 18 months and is expected to continue producing new companies and innovation.z

How Bike-Sharing Works

The bikes are genuinely dockless, meaning that they can be dropped off and picked up at any location with a GPS tracker in each bike. The bike is located and released by downloading and registering in an app where a QR code is scanned with a user’s phone unlocking the bike and riding to their destination.

Being economical and efficient are just two of the main reasons why individuals cannot get enough of bike-sharing. These bikes cost roughly $0.14 (0.5 Yuan) for half an hour, typically cheaper than any train fare, which costs approximately $1-$3 for a 30-minute ride. Thousands of bikes are at the ready in any major city, helping commuters not have to travel very far from where they are located to pick up a bike and start commuting.

Not a Rose Garden

While the dockless bike phenomenon offers many opportunities ranging from efficiency to the reliability of these bikes, there are some possible challenges to overcome – the main one being the oversupply of bikes with users dumping broken bikes into piles on the street; many bikes get misused.

In China alone, bikes are left on sidewalks. You can even see bikes piling up on top of each other, creating what China calls the “bike graveyard.”Australian riders have similar habits as well with authorities finding these bikes snapped in half and even left floating in various rivers when users are finished with them. Secondly, city regulations have posed challenges as well with companies having to register with the municipality to approve the outpour of shared bikes in the city.

Lastly, smaller companies trying to penetrate this vertical have run into problems of having to invest a hefty sum of money. Shared bikes are labor intensive with parts having to be fixed due to the lack of rider’s responsibly and of course the production of bikes themselves. Just as fast as the project ramps up, that’s how quickly the company seems to fizzle out.

So, What Do We Think Will Happen This Year in Bike-Sharing?

  • Further Global Expansion – The expansion of bike-sharing apps into new cities and countries has already started and is expected to increase even more in the coming year. Such development is anticipated to continue by the leading companies, Ofo and Mobike, in addition to new entrants. This expansion will have a global reach – from North America, South America and Latin America to Southeast Asia.
  • Market Correction & Consolidation – With the two big, experienced and heavily invested companies on the market, it does not leave much room for other smaller services to grab hold of the saturated market at hand, resulting in companies currently shutting down, laying off hundreds of employees in the process.

This trend is expected to continue in 2018. The competition between Mobike and Ofo in the coming year will become even more fierce with the key players edging out layers for more refined operations and maintenance while expanding overseas to low-tier markets, offering strategy and advanced products.

  • Ride-Hailing + Bike-Sharing – The integration of bike-sharing apps and ride-hailing allows for collaboration between the two; enabling users to book a taxi or locate a bike on one platform. Chinese ride-hailing giant, Didi Chuxing, has already begun integrating Ofo into their product and is looking to launch its own branded service soon. Uber, Lyft, and other international companies are prime candidates to incorporate bike-sharing into their already existing client base. The Indian Ola has already added Ola Pedal as an added feature to their ride-hailing app.

We expect the bike-sharing vertical to continue making headlines highlighting new product innovation, investor interest, and global expansion in 2018.

If you would like to hear more about this fascinating trend, contact us.

MASTERING VIDEO SEO CONTENT: 11 INGREDIENTS OF A SUPER SUCCESSFUL SEO STRATEGY

Video SEO content – videos and SEO have always been friends. The relationship deepened though on the day Google rolled out “Universal Search.”

Aside from turning into an essential marketing tactic, video content is also a web traffic magnet: companies that take advantage of video content report a 41% increase in web traffic from search.

The added value of video is recognized by users and search engines, but to get the ranking your business deserves, you need to have a proper video SEO strategy up your sleeve – at least that’s how video production specialists and over 85 SEO experts approach it at Webpals Group. Over the years, both teams have grown exponentially and have helped Webpals Group to realize the SEO potential of video successfully. The video production crew provides full support for the SEO experts, creating videos for global businesses that drive high-value audiences.

Given that, it seemed fitting to ask them to join forces and reveal the most successful video marketing SEO tricks.  So, here it comes – your video SEO content strategy guide! Next time you need to rise to the top of search results, these 11 video SEO tips, and video marketing SEO best practices will serve you well.

1. Video SEO Content Starts with a Video Sitemap

Because Google crawlers can’t speak Flash that well, most of the videos remain invisible to them. Google ranks pages, not videos. Given this, a Google Webmaster Tool – Video Sitemapis your best bet if you want to increase your chances of appearing first in Google. It works on the same principle as an XML sitemap but is dedicated to video.

2. It’s All in the Metas

Google trusts meta titles and descriptions when recognizing video content, so you can take advantage of anything to convey your message: presentation slides, slideshows, screenshots, animations, etc. Just make sure to change the meta titles and descriptions accordingly. For that reason, you don’t have the problem of duplicate content with video.

YouTube has been named one of the top companies owned by Google, so even if your site does not get first-page rankings in Google, your video content can. But your videos won’t get there on its own; you’ll have to do a little dance. So, what do you do exactly?

3. Put Your Focus Keyword Up Front

Everyone knows that using keywords in your YouTube videos title is a must. However, you may not know that it’s important to start with your keyword since YouTube puts more value on it, and usually, it’s the first 3-4 words that matter.

Let’s say your video is about choosing the best Christmas gifts. There’s nothing wrong with the title: ‘My X tips for choosing the best Christmas gifts,’ but the title ‘Best Christmas gift tips: Choose wisely’ is better.

Good video seo content title

This might sound obvious but when coming up with a headline, make sure it reflects the content of your video. Try to find balance, don’t under- or over-promise. Otherwise, people won’t spend time watching your videos.

4. Don’t Use Video Tags Blindly

YouTube and Google use video tags to understand what your video is about. If you throw a lot of information at once, it’s likely that both will get confused. So, the key is to convey a lot of information with a few tags.

Let’s go back to our ‘Best Christmas gift tips’ video. If put tags like Holiday Tips, Gift Tips, Best Christmas Tips, Holidays, Holiday Season, What to Buy, Shopping List chances are that nor YouTube neither Google will not have a clue as to what you’re talking about. And, your video won’t get the ranking it deserves.

The best way to go is to use this strategy:

  • Turn your focus keyword into a tag, i.e., Best Christmas Gifts Tips
  • Find some secondary keywords: Best Christmas Gifts to Buy, Finding the Best Christmas Gifts
  • Use one-word keywords: Christmas, Gifts

Using Tags Correctly Video SEO Content

5. Invest in Engagement

Regarding engagement, YouTube comments have lots of power. The more comments your video has, the more interest there is. YouTube thinks: “It must be an interesting video! I will bump it up in search results.”

How do you get the most out of this? By using calls-to-action at the end of your videos; better yet – specific calls-to-action. Don’t just go for ‘Share your opinion below!’, but for ‘Share which one of these strategies you found the most effective!’

6. Think of Your Video Thumbnail

Your video thumbnail is the first thing users see. Knowing that, the higher the CTR your thumbnails generate, the higher your videos will rank in search results.

To get more clicks, ensure your thumbnail stands out:

  • Use contrasting colors
  • Use easy-to-read fonts

 

Video SEO Content Thumbnails

Image Source

7. Don’t Disregard Video Descriptions

You have 5000 words to play with here. With that, only about 150 words will be seen to potential viewers, so use them wisely. It’s a great place to add keywords (don’t stuff with keywords, though), links to your site or a landing page.
You don’t have to have 2000 words, but make sure to provide enough details without dropping important information or spilling it all out in your description, leaving no incentive to watch your video.

8. View Density Matters

It’s simple: the more views your videos get, the higher the chances of your videos getting to the top of search results. If your ‘The best Christmas gifts’ video gets a lot of views in a short period, you can be sure it will rank high. To increase the number of views, you can leverage links to your videos by using sites like Quora and Reddit, for example.

9. Watch Time Counts Too

YuTube has introduced an algorithm that rewards videos with greater watch time. It considers them interesting and bumps them up in search results. Following this logic, it’s more likely that longer videos will have more success at ranking higher.

10. Getting Attention

The question is, how do you get people hooked on your video? Try using the PSP formula. Here’s how it goes:

  • Problem – show that you know there’s a problem. Going back to our ‘Best Christmas gift’ video, you can start it by saying something like: “Lots of gifts out there! How do you get your loved ones the one gift they will truly love?”
  • Solution – provide an answer: “I got X best Christmas gifts tips that will take the load off you.”
  • Proof – show that you’ve got proof: research you’ve done, your own expertise, facts, etc.

Getting attention with video content formula

To increase watch time, what you can also do is ensure your videos are in HD quality. Let’s face it, low-quality videos won’t get anyone excited. Chances are people will not watch them for too long.

11. Make Your Video Content Trendy

Try including the current year in your video title. That way you’ll show your potential viewers that you follow the latest trends and that your video content can come in handy today. A good example would be: “The best Christmas gifts [2018]: Choose wisely”. Having brackets also helps you stand out.

Over to You

Are you ready to give these video marketing SEO tips a try? If you have any other video SEO content tricks up your sleeve and you have always dreamt of working in SEO, join our team of SEO champions! There are many fantastic career opportunitiesavailable!

AI FOR BUSINESS: HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE REVOLUTIONIZES DECISION-MAKING

So, what’s the story with AI for business?

Back in 2011, Computerworld claimed that we have “enough data to fill a stack of DVDs to the moon (and back)”  – while there is no doubt this was true in 2011, nowadays we probably can make two stacks of DVDs (if not more).

With all that data, it’s not surprising that Business Intelligence (BI) tools – still doing a pretty good job at transforming the data into visualizations, by the way – are insufficient for more far-reaching business decisions. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in and becomes BI’s companion.

How exactly can Artificial Intelligence drive better business decisions? We asked our technology experts to shed light on the topic, and they shared some stimulating ideas.

1) Lowering the Cost of Prediction

Every technological change usually tends to make some important activity cheaper and easier – information search, for instance. Essentially, Artificial Intelligence is prediction technology, so we should expect prediction costs to drop. As business decision-making becomes automated, it would take much fewer resources (money, time, etc.) to make business decisions.

2) New Interpretations of Data

AI helps discover new data patterns that may not be visible to the naked eye. It finds the best and most efficient way to structure data to meet your business objectives automatically.

3) AI Drives More Accurate Business Decisions

That’s where artificial neural networks (ANNs) come into play, allowing for learning at multiple levels. With ANNs, technologies do not just operate on a task-based system but learn to interpret the ways data is presented accurately.

Deep learning algorithms can be your best bet when it comes to campaign analytics and practical applications of AI: they look at data patterns in your analytics to predict the best course of action, not just mere numbers. This process is known to leave less room for errors.

And it’s more than just about predicting the future; it’s about using existing data to generate data that are missing. For example, utilizing KPIs data from previous campaigns to understand whether your next campaign would drive higher ROI – and all this happens before you launch your campaign.

Take campaign managers, for example. They juggle tons of data every day to dig deeper into user behavior and get the best campaign performance: geolocation, device type, the kind of creatives users like their language and browser preferences, the sites they visited, etc.

There are just way too many factors to consider for the human mind. Most of them are very complex, high-correlated and confusing, which turns data measurement into an overwhelming process for campaign managers and poses challenges when it comes to measuring future campaign or business success.

Predictive analytics use machine learning techniques to help foresee market changes, user behavior, and business outcomes. When combined with propensity modeling, which is used to find patterns in previous behavior to forecast future behavior, Artificial Intelligence algorithms turn into a real lifesaver for marketers.

So far so good, but what’s the bottom line?

The benefits of AI for Business

AI for Business – What to Do?

With so many options out there, what’s the best way to go about implementing AI into your business strategy? Here are the steps we like to follow at Webpals Group:

The base of any prediction technology is data – and the more, the merrier; but, it’s not just any data. Data comes in various forms and sizes, so it’s best to do some thorough data cleansing, making sure your data is relevant and reliable, before turning to AI for business.

Another element our experts recommend considering is your needs and the value you want your data to create. Since no objective is the same, the AI system is best to fit your business goals and values.

Last, but far from least, it’s essential to find the right AI for business; the one that provides the most efficient solutions for your questions while making the most out of the data you have. This can be trickier than it sounds; it requires lots of testing, know-how, and the drive to improve continuously.

Remember, you don’t have to go for the most complicated AI system out there, just because it’s a hit right now. Before choosing an AI for your business, ask yourself whether the challenges you want to solve require Artificial Intelligence – not all of them do. And of course, don’t forget to run proper simulations and tests before giving it a ‘go.’

The do's and don'ts of AI for Business

Thanks to the above methods, we could successfully put the accumulated data to use at Webpals Group. Client Success Managers, Sales, and BizDev Managers and media buying experts will be able to fully benefit from the extensive AI system features that are to be implemented in our business strategy, spending less time on dealing with challenges that can be solved by Artificial Intelligence.

AI for Business – What’s Next?

Artificial Intelligence has made a long way to get to where it is today. Just a few years back, in 1956, it was first introduced as an academic discipline. Nowadays, we see Artificial Intelligence appearing in our daily lives as the ‘new normal’.

We can expect Artificial Intelligence to set new standards for e-commerce, personalizing online experiences. E-commerce businesses will be able to offer uniquely suited goods to shoppers using micro-moment marketing. Artificial Intelligence will make it easy to pinpoint these micro-moments and even predict the kind of products these potential customers may need in the future, allowing businesses to drive more high-intent audiences.

With AI gaining stream, you’ll probably see the value of human prediction skills falling, but, contrary to what many may think, this is not ‘the end of days’ for “human jobs.” Artificial Intelligence systems will become the greatest ally of the human mind and enhance performance, but humans will still have the final say.

As far as performance marketing goes, AI will further transform media buying, making more effective while maximizing performance.

The future of AI for Business

If you’re fascinated by AI as much as we are and want to develop cutting-edge technologies, our Tech Department has a lot of job opportunities to offer.

PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE MARKETING: WEBPALS GROUP’S CEO ON WHY IT’S THE NEXT STEP IN DIGITAL EVOLUTION

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” – ever since John Wanamaker, a very successful marketing pioneer, said that it’s been on every businessman’s list to turn marketing into an accountable industry. More than a century had passed before the online world united with the powers of technology to enable and perfect a marketing approach that makes it possible – pay-for-performance marketing business model.

Nowadays, it’s called “the new normal,” with businesses putting their money on the table only when the results are in. With that, it’s still walking alongside the traditional agency business model, in which fees are paid up front and do not depend on marketing success.

A recent conversation with our CEO, Inbal Lavi, sets the two side by side and sheds light on why pay for performance marketing model is the way to approach business in digital.

From a client’s perspective, post-result payment is the main benefit of the pay-for-performance marketing business model, any others you can see?

There are others, for sure. Since you pay-on-results, businesses are more trustworthy in the eyes of clients. The interests are aligned, and the relationship is deeper: the two become partners.

As a client, you can get a higher ROI. This is because you pay only after you get the desired results, so there’s no precious time – or potentially, even budget – wasted on various business decisions, like whether to switch to another traditional marketing agency, if the one you worked with before did not live up to your expectations.

Also, by choosing to partner with a performance-based marketing company, you can get higher margins in a shorter period.

And what about a company’s perspective?

I’d say, you’re not just a business-to-hire, which can be easily replaced one morning by some other business capable of doing the same thing. There’s also a question of expertise, but still, from the company’s perspective, the switching cost is much higher.

Plus, margins are higher too. If we’re talking a traditional agency-based business, then your margins can be about 15% of the budget, for example. As far as pay for performance marketing business model goes, the margins can come up to 50% of your revenue minus the marketing cost, for instance, given you have the right amount of capital, of course.

All in all, it’s important to remember that the better you are at optimizing your campaigns, the more money you’ll make.

ay-for-performance marketing benefits

If our readers want to start running businesses based on the pay-for-performance marketing model, what should they bear in mind or get ready for?

It all starts with a change in the way you and your employees think: all should have a very results-oriented mindset. Remember, it’s not just about ‘how to spend more,’ but also about ‘how to get the highest ROI.’

When asking yourself all the above, keep in mind that you need to be prepared to take risks, as you’d be investing your own capital. The risks are higher than those of the traditional agency model, it’s true. However, it’s important to be careful and to increase your digital spend gradually, taking baby steps, without throwing money away.

While you do that, don’t forget to allocate resources for the development of relevant tools and know-how.

Pay-for-performance marketing where to start

What do you mean by ‘relevant tools and know-how’?

The technology that’s allowing to track your user funnel and post-action activities fully. You need to have the best tech and algorithms to be able to set automatic rules to target the most relevant potential users, activate a ‘stop-loss’ when required, find other interesting funnels or perform A/B tests in the best way possible. I believe technology is key to making profits and reaching high ROI.

Do you think a performance-based business model fits any business or product?

Given the ever-changing digital industry – yes, but again, it all depends on whether the product/service you’ve got has proper tracking, including the tracking of the revenue resulting from a specific user or campaign (if you are on rev share).

Webpals Group, for example, has succeeded in taking the pay for performance marketing model to the world of mobile applications and games, evident in the acquisition of Clicksmob and its merger with DAU UP to form DAU UP Clicksmob this year. The customers that work with us based on this model understand that we have more of a partnership rather than ‘we-give-service-for-your-money’ relationship, with absolutely no conflict of interest.

Apropos Webpals Group, what did the company learn running on this model?

One of the biggest lessons learned: the continuous evolution of the digital industry makes performance-based marketing more relevant to businesses. It’s not just about bringing more users or installs quantity-wise, it’s about getting results and succeeding, with an emphasis on quality.

Do you think the performance-based business model influences your company’s culture?

For sure. I believe – and I see it every day – drive for results is something that’s in the DNA of every employee here. They see nothing, but ROI as their target, which works in sync with the two of our core values: results-driven and financially-led business. It’s all about us making sure that we get the required results from anything we touch and do – and it’s true across the entire group.

Where do you see the model in the future in comparison to the traditional agency one?

I think the pay-on-results marketing is set towards penetrating more industries and mobile is a good example. I think we’ll see customers that used to work on ‘lighter’ pay-for-performance models like CPI shifting towards more advanced performance-oriented models like CPE / CPA or, ultimately, Rev Share – the highest form of performance marketing because you pay only out of the actual dollars you make.

As for the traditional agency business model, it may evolve into being even more KPI-oriented or evolve into performance marketing.

To me, the performance marketing business model is a guarantee of money for clients and the way for businesses to get the best ROI in the long-run.

NEXT CASE 2017: YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR INSIGHTS FROM TOP DIGITAL MARKETERS

Trial and error is a major part of digital marketing. That’s exactly why learning from the experiences of other marketers can be so valuable: before trying out an idea, you can track others who had already tried it and see the results it brought. It’s a great way to get professional insights, understand what worked well and what worked less, guaranteeing the best results possible with an enhanced version of your idea.

This is the approach we prefer at Webpals Group, and it’s rooted deeply in our company culture. We believe that knowledge sharing opens new horizons and are thrilled to share our digital marketing know-how, be it through our employee training or by participating in different widely recognized conferences.

Next Case 2017, coming up on 6 of December 2017, is the perfect opportunity for us to do just that. This is one of Israel’s largest digital marketing events, focusing solely on case studies presented by leading marketing experts both from Israeli and international companies. It is the place where experiences are shared, new tools are introduced, and insights from various marketing strategies are provided.

Next Case has been taking place annually since 2013, and this year’s event will be its 4th edition. It was initially conceptualized by Pavel Israelsky, CEO of the digital agency Angora Media Group, who is also well-known for his digital marketing blog – AskPavel.

Unique Case Studies at Next Case 2017

Next Case 2017 conference view

The event will feature 18 unique case studies, each of them 20 minutes long. The case studies cover a variety of digital marketing aspects: SEO, performance marketing, content marketing, big data, influencer marketing, analytics, growth hacking and more.

Since the audience at Next Case is diverse – from marketing managers and SEOs to business owners, entrepreneurs and students in the field – the case studies are divided into two parallel tracks:

  • The Strategic Track – focuses on marketing strategies, intended for marketing managers as well as business owners who do their own marketing.
  • The Technical Track – focuses on technical, advanced aspects of marketing, intended for experienced SEOs.

Everyone attending the event can choose whichever track they prefer, and switch between them throughout the day, according to the case studies they find most appealing.

Next Case 2017 boasts a top-notch team of speakers, and Webpals Group is on this list!

Matthew Tenney – How Deleting Over 1000 Pages Boosted Our SEO

Matthew Tenney is one of Webpals Group’ top SEO experts with vast experience in the field.  His case study outlines one of the most successful SEO strategies at Webpals Group, incorporates insights of Google specialists, and shows you the exact steps to take before deleting website pages. Conference participants will get a chance to uncover specific SEO tactics and learn about time-tested SEO tools, with a dedicated session for questions at the end.

Here’s more about Matthew and his SEO experience.

Interested in the conference’s full agenda and other participants? Here it is.

Get a Special Discount!

Webpals Group’ blog readers get a special 15% discount on the tickets! All there’s to do is to register using this coupon: webpals15

We recommend you register ASAP since prices are going up next week!

See you there!

FINCON 2017: JUST 4 DAYS AND SO MUCH TO DISCOVER

FinCon is one of the biggest annual events for personal finance and investing brands and fans!

So, we took one of the top personal finance blogs we operate (moneyunder30.com) with over 11 million visits a year in one hand; a team of financial experts in the other, and headed towards FinCon 2017.

For the sake of those who missed out on it, or those who felt a bit dazzled by its greatness, here are a few insights and FinCon 2017 favorites from our team:

Getting Bigger

FinCon has been the destination for all new media fans (bloggers, social, etc.) and finance (personal finance, money, coupons, investing, etc.) for about 7 years now. This year, the financial world conference grew to nearly 1700 attendees from all over the world. It seems unreal that, when it just started, there were only 160 participants.

The sessions have gotten better over the years too, as well as more geared toward finance and media fans at different skill levels.

CardCon at FinCon 2017

FinCon has grown so much that nowadays it incorporates other events in the financial industry. CardCon – the conference for card-centric media, premiered this year at FinCon.

It was there that our team met with The Points Guy and picked up a few financial content writing secrets. Although Moneyunder30 is backed up by hundreds of financial content experts, and it’s listed in Forbes as one of the 25 best easy-to-digest personal finance and retirement blogs, we always strive to learn more.

FinCon 2017 Webpals Group's team
Webpals Group’s winning team at FinCon 2017

And the Award Goes To…

FinCon 17 organizers haven’t forgotten about the Annual Plutus Awards Ceremony as well. We’re thrilled Moneyunder30  had the chance to get recognized as one of the “Best Generational Personal Finance Blogs” as well as present the finalists under the “Best Investing Blog” category.

FinCon – a Community Like No Other

While no one can argue with the scope of this financial conference, “the best part of FinCon is the community” – it was among the first things our team noticed.

The motto is “collaboration over competition” – a view highly influenced by FinCon community pioneers. As the story reveals: the “big guys” at the time were always happy to help, and others have kept paying it forward.

Talking about a great community, we got to see financial bloggers with worldwide recognition like Mrs. Adventure Rich, Miss Mazuma, and Guy on Fire and financial services companies like Ally.

Tendencies Spotted

FinCon 2017 conference

The powers of big data, combined with smart user targeting and segmentation have spread into the finance world, and are influencing the way people make financial decisions. Brands and different financial services are now capable of tracking user’s location and, based on the data about that user’s behavior and preferences, can display more relevant offers, which ultimately translates to higher ROI.

For example, it can be an app that sends coupons to your phone based on your GPS location or uses “big data” to help you make better financial decisions, knowing you usually only spend $10 during lunch.

Mobile coupons

Image source: funmobility.com

This serves as proof that brands are looking to target quality users precisely at the point of need. It was great news for us as the company that has the relevant user segmentation and targeting technology as well as the know-how to support the trend.

After everything that’s been said…

As a player with a firm hold in the world of finance in the US, we believe that it’s conferences like FinCon that help reinvent the finance industry and establish long-term relationships between finance fans around the world.

We’ll be packing our bags to Orlando, Florida in 2018! See you there!

HERE’S YOUR GO-TO A/B TESTING BEST PRACTICES GUIDE

It’s a known fact that A/B testing is the way to increase conversion rate and gain insights into users’ behavior. And yet, many website owners and marketers are still on the hunt for A/B testing best practices and the next A/B test, which will bring maximum results.

Consider this blog post your own GPS in the world of A/B testing. Ready? Set? Read!

1. A/B Testing Best Practices Start with a Hypothesis

And where does this hypothesis come from? Data collection is a big part of it.

Aside from Google Analytics, heat-maps and user recordings can help – all these amplify the effectiveness of your hypotheses. After all, data, combined with usability testing can push for more logical conclusions.

Brainstorming and pitching in ideas is another way to come up with a hypothesis, whether data-driven or not. The ideas can come from anyone in your company, not necessarily your site performance managers or analysts.

What kind of ideas? Anything goes. From small color tweaks to large-scale funnel changes.

CTA test A/B testing best practices

Need inspiration? Use these sites to find interesting ideas and data analysis techniques:

  • Online Behavior – pretty much speaks for itself; great if you want to dig deeper into users’ behavior.
  • Marketing Experiments – insights from the first Web-based research lab for marketing and sales.
  • Behave – everything you need to know about conversion; has tons of conversion resources and exciting reads.

We believe that the synergy between data analysis and creative brainstorming, which includes putting yourself in the users’ shoes, is the secret sauce for improving site conversions and reaching business goals.

After you’re all set with the above, it’s time to decide on the KPIs, which will affirm or deny your hypothesis. When you do that, it’s best to remember the following:

  • Set realistic KPIs – not every change will generate a 100% uplift
  • There can be more than one KPI per test. Your KPIs can be, for example, number of leads, number of qualified sales, number of abandoned shopping carts, and so on – all depends on the objectives of your business.

You can even assign different values to them, setting major and minor KPIs.

So far so good, but what if your site does not drive enough traffic?

It is a pickle! It will be hard for you to run A/B tests, although not completely impossible. You’re probably wondering what’s the ‘right amount of traffic’?

Check it regarding conversions – some recommend sticking to a minimum of 400 conversions per variation or use A/B test calculators. If you’re going with the latter, our experts advise using Evan Miller’s calculator. Whichever option you pick, it’s going to be quite helpful in giving you the sample size estimation needed for your test.

Since there’s no magic number regarding the amount of traffic that can be qualified for A/B testing, it is always better to test on as many relevant users as you can, and for that, you need to learn to adjust.

How? In the case of small-scale websites, we suggest running tests on aggregated pages with the same layout and purpose as well as consider the scope of the effect a change is to have on a site.

2. You’ve Gathered All Your Data & Ideas. It’s Time to Prioritize

You’ll probably have an extensive list of A/B testing ideas on your table.

Find a prioritization methodology that’s going to work best for you. We use the PIE model:

  • Potential – what’s the possible improvement for the pages? If you reached this stage, all pages you’re thinking to test have potential, but because you can’t just go A/B testing left and right – assess the potential to identify the most effective growth paths.
  • Importance/Impact – What’s going to be the impact if your A/B test works?
  • Ease – or the logistics of your A/B testing process: how difficult/easy it is to get your test running; Who are the people involved? What kind of resources do you need?

It’s best to assign scores to each of your A/B testing ideas for each of the above elements. You can rate it from 1 to 10: 1 – the idea with the most potential/importance / the easiest; 10 – the other way around. That way, it will be easier to decide on the A/B testing order.

Before running a test, make sure you pick an A/B testing platform that will be the best and easiest to operate for you. Here are the top three A/B testing platforms we recommend using:

3. When Running a Test

  • Never stop the test until your results are finalized, and try not to make assumptions about which direction the test is going to go.
  • Don’t make drastic changes to the page you’re testing, as it will affect user experience and users’ decision making.
  • Keep relevant stakeholders in the loop – this is a great tactic we like to follow at Webpals Group. Doing this will leave less room for uncertainties, and more people are following the process.
  • Don’t forget about statistical significance – for example, for each test performed at Webpals Group; we aim to have a small margin for mistakes. Therefore, we set the statistical significance to be at 95%, no matter the size of a site.

4. So, the Test is Completed, Now What?

It’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor and thoroughly analyze your results.

In case your A/B test has proved to be a success, update the website with the desired variation and go live! And, continue keeping your stakeholders in the loop to guarantee even more collaboration when you run more tests in the future.

If we were to put the entire A/B testing cycle into an infographic, it would look something like this:

infographic about A/B Testing Best Practices

You want your A/B tests to be successful. So, what’s a good test?

In the words of one of our marketing analysts: A good test is the one that inspires you to run more tests, emphasizes your value proposition, improves your understanding of users’ behavior and achieves your company’s objectives.”

That’s what we do with A/B testing – improve and get ahead, and given the fact that you’re reading this – we’re on the same page:)

Now that you got to the end of the blog post, it’s time to put these methods to the test! If you are up for running tests at Webpals Group, we got lots of job opportunities! Good luck!

YOUR CAREER IN DIGITAL: 6 EYE-OPENING STRATEGIES TO HIT A HOME RUN

A career in digital – this is the way you’ve decided to go. Awesome! But are you on the path to true success?

Here are 6 career development strategies in digital that our HR team and a few other Webpalers suggest to consider. Check if you’re going in the right direction!

1. Join a Growing Company

Join a growing company webpals group

It’s not enough to work at a digital company; it should be a company that’s expanding. Is a company making acquisitions? Spreading into new markets? Expanding its influence? All these are good indications of a growing company.

“A growing company opens more opportunities for employees, allowing them to show their skills at levels they might not have known before.” – said one of our HR managers.

Just like with the ever-changing digital world, a growing company never stops moving. Joining it would also give you a chance to keep up with the latest industry trends and best practices.

2. A Stable, Big & Flexible Company Goes a Long Way

Working for a growing company is just part of the deal; you may want to consider looking for a stable, big and flexible one. These may sound like somewhat contradicting adjectives, but a company with many different departments in which there’s no high staff turnover can be a gold mine for building your career in digital. After all, climbing your career ladder is hard if people around you are coming and going left and right.

To illustrate the point even further, say you come in as an SEO Manager, but after a short time, you realize that you’ve fallen in love with campaign management, and are more fit for the role. It would be great if the company can help you make the transition between the departments hassle-free.

3. Your Managers Play a Major Role

Career in digital managers

How would you describe a great manager? Nowadays, great managers are defined by their coaching abilities.

“Managers should understand that each of the employees has their own career development path. At Webpals Group, the managers often use weekly employee meetings not only to discuss tasks but future personal growth, sending different resources and reading materials to their employees.” – tells our HR department.

To encourage better manager-employee communication even further, successful companies offer relevant on-the-job training and tools for managers as well.  Role rotations within a team is an excellent example of a career development tool many Webpals Group managers use.

But, a career in digital is a two-way street, meaning sending signals about your career development plans to your manager is crucial. After all, even if your manager is very dedicated to helping you climb the digital career ladder, giving hints is a very sound tactic. This brings me to my next point:)

4. Your Career in Digital is You

career in digital ask the right questions

It’s true that many factors can influence your digital career path development, but most of it should come from you; you should want a digital career. The key is to assess yourself and continue to ask questions like continually:

  • What skills and expertise do I need to move further?
  • What courses can I take?
  • Are there any new projects that can help me?
  • Are there any professional communities or groups that are worth to participate in?
  • How can I scale-up my current activities?
  • How can I initiate activities in new fields, cooperate with other team members or other teams for mutual benefit?
  • Where can I follow relevant industry influencers to ensure I’m on top of trends and to boost my recent achievements?

Being proactive and coming up with ideas can help you seal the deal when it comes to building an effective career development strategy. And most importantly, even if your idea does not get accepted, it’s not a reason to leave all your hopes behind; the right opportunity will come along.

Our VP of Core Products reveals his successful digital career development path:

“I’ve been at Webpals Group for over 6 years now. I started as a team leader, but I always knew two things: I want more from my career, and I can do it at a stable company that encourages new ideas and follows its promises– the vibe I got from Webpals Group. In the dynamic digital industry, the secret sauce is to take the initiative and keep trying to get your ideas in, without waiting for tasks.”

5. Work at a Company That Knows Employees’ Worth

Company employees webpals group

It’s much more career-rewarding to join a company that values its employees and strives to be the expert in the industry, and here’s why:

  • You have various career development programs to participate in
  • It’s easier to pitch your ideas
  • You can learn a lot from expert co-workers
  • There’s a good work-life balance

Here’s a story from our SEO team:

“There’s a company-sponsored course every new employee takes once they join our ranks. Even after the course, we keep on learning from each other because you never know when a trend-setting idea can come along, or from whom. The beauty is, you don’t need to fixate only on SEO; you got other courses too, like Angular 2. There are plenty of extra things to add to your resume.”

6. A Career in Digital is a Process

Can do attitude career in digital

You may have all the ‘can-do’ attitude in the world, but keep in mind that your digital career path development is a process. To be able to really see your next job in digital and achieve your career development goals in the best way possible, take your time and truly dig into all the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s.’

As one of the Webpalers discloses: “A career in digital is more dynamic than a career in other industries. Digital is easier to measure and analyze. It’s where the world is going, and it’s important to catch the wave.”

While these career development tips can help you get a move on with your career in digital, everything starts with a company’s open positions. Here are our open positions.

DESIGNER-DEVELOPER COMMUNICATION: HOW ONE TOOL REDEFINED IT FOR GOOD

Designer-developer communication has been one of the most pressing issues in digital. Sometimes, it seems hard to draw a distinct line between the work of designers and that of developers.
Since we are a leading player in online and mobile performance marketing and traffic monetization, the issue didn’t bypass our family either, so we’ve decided to put it to rest.

Our approach is: each of the teams – be it designers or developers – should receive the right tools, enabling them to show their talents at the highest level while working together effectively and in unison.

Designer-Developer Communication: The Challenge

Both teams work hard daily, updating the big ‘website factory’ under our operation, but we never stopped improving the collaboration between our designers and developers.

“Sometimes, after the design’s initial implementation, it would be misaligned with the current code and would need extra work, leading to more ping-pongs.”– explained our front-end developer, Liorit Mirman.

At the same time, one of our designers, Nir Green, noted: “Designing a new look and feel for a site, which is part of a big “website factory” such as ours, can be tricky: the new design should fit the site’s line of business, its potential audiences, UI/UX, and every site element has to speak the same design language.”

Nir also added:

“In case coding knowledge isn’t something that’s in your toolkit, you turn to tons of old PSD files, which take time to update. What’s more, you can’t see how each website element interacts with the design in the ‘live’ mode.”

So, the teams got together to understand the challenges each side faces and develop a tool to enhance designer-developer collaboration. It should:

• Allow each team to focus on what they do best
• Save time for both sides
• Ensure flawless end-product delivery

The Solution

As a result of the joint effort, a unique website skin add-on tool was created.

How does it work?

Running on the background of a site, the tool allows designers to play with different color palettes and see the results live, without getting into coding and working with gigabytes of PSD files.

Showing the elements each site design is made of (buttons, tables, widgets, etc.), the tool can be used to tweak, test and change every site element’s color.

how designer-developer communication tool works

Designers can also view how the new site design looks on different pages by merely going to a specific page with the tool running on the background and save or reset the color palette entirely, which makes the tool quite flexible and easy-to-use when showing new site design mock-ups to our clients.

features of the designer-developer communication tool webpals group

If designers want to get inspired or look at some of the past work, there’s a possibility to view site skins already designed.

Nir Green noted: “The tool is truly a game changer! In the past, website design took somewhere between 2-3 days, with a few more days on the front-end side. Nowadays, the design work is reduced to mere hours.”
He revealed that they even went further and documented the entire skin design/change process which, together with the tool, allows for minimum surprises and mistakes.

A lot of hard work has been put into developing this tool. Having such technology in-house allows us to work faster while keeping up with the highest industry standards. “This tool really improved the work process, and we hope to develop more tools in the future.” – said Liorit.

The Results

As you can see, every time a challenge arises, we prefer to turn to our own technology and knowledge to find the perfect solution.

The designer-developer collaboration process is much more comfortable and straightforward (at least for us:)), with new sites ‘coming to life’ faster. Of course, no one says goodbye to Photoshop, but the add-on reduces the amount of time one needs to use it while decreasing the number of mistakes made along the way.

“It’s a great way to fill the gaps!” – revealed both sides involved.

And that’s it! Hopefully, we gave you an idea about how to improve the relationship between designers and developers. You can also improve it by joining our awesome family:) We’re actually looking for a Front-End Developer, and have many other interesting open positions. Check them out; surely you can find a job matching your skills!

NEW YEAR, NEW DREAMS: WEBPALS GROUP’S CEO ROSH HASHANAH CONFESSIONS

How would you describe a person who’s calling the shots for a global online and mobile traffic monetization company with over 350 people in it? During my interview with Webpals Group’s CEO, Inbal Lavi, I’ve discovered many fascinating facts about her and her firm beliefs that are guiding the company – and you wouldn’t expect anything less from such a successful CEO.

Employees at Webpals Group

 The People are the Company’s DNA

She revealed that she believes in open communication between all the employees and actively takes part in the company’s life herself. In her own words:

“It’s the openness of the people and their warm and casual approach that give Webpals Group its family-like qualities, despite the company’s big size.”

For Inbal Lavi, it’s also the people who help this company move forward with their drive to achieve phenomenal results and constantly come up with and implement new, creative ideas while working together, despite their diverse backgrounds. What’s more, all of them are encouraged to do so.

“It’s not a coincidence our slogan is ‘be ahead together,’ and it’s very important to me.” – she added.

The company’s employees are key to continuing its expansion into new verticals and markets. They are the ones fulfilling the company’s vision on a daily basis: creating value out of online and mobile traffic wherever and whenever significant potential exists.

Working Webpals Group

 “It’s been proven that once we decide to conquer new business opportunities, we do it fast, creating high value and profits. The fact that our industry is ever-changing, without any certainty for tomorrow, only sharpens our objectives and makes us stronger as a group.” – said Inbal.

Also, Inbal regards the employees as the glue that holds the two major company values together: mature and structured organization with a young and dynamic spirit.

“The employees bring all their creativity and dynamic thinking to the table, which should exist to make the necessary adjustments in the ever-changing digital world. They are also building and using the stable infrastructure, with which it’s much easier to achieve goals for such a big company.”

The Importance of Giving Back

It turns out Webpalers don’t just work together to get results, supporting the company’s well-organized infrastructure while keeping its spirit young and dynamic; they are also ready to roll up their sleeves to help the community.

“Social responsibility is very important for such a big company – that’s the reason we’ve been focusing on it and created a unique action plan.” – said Inbal.

One of the very successful social responsibility initiatives was our collaboration with Hinuch LePsagot – a program for outstanding students – to teach children the fundamentals of the digital marketing world.

“Many Webpalers take volunteering personally because they actually get to pass on their knowledge, empowering the community. They don’t just work for results, but for self-fulfillment, trying to open new horizons for others, who wouldn’t necessarily get this opportunity otherwise.” – revealed Inbal.

At work at Webpals Group

How to Become a Successful Webpaler?

After discussing the company’s culture and its people with Inbal Lavi, I asked her what it takes to succeed at Webpals Group. With a friendly smile, she answered:

“You need to learn a lot about the way we approach online marketing. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to master it and make a difference. Don’t forget to constantly think about ways to bring new ideas and deliver results – that’s the recipe for true professional growth at Webpals Group. We like to promote from within.”

Who is Webpals Group’s CEO?

While Webpals Group is a big part of who Inbal Lavi is, there’s a lot one can learn from her character and personal life. With a Masters’ degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University, she had to take her career into her own hands.

“I wrote a thesis about Machine Learning and Data Mining, which wasn’t very popular back then. There weren’t many companies who had positions relevant to my academic background.” – said Inbal.

Nevertheless, she continued to believe that the perfect opportunity is yet to come along – and it did.

“The turning point in my career was when I joined 888 and started working there in Data Mining. The position introduced me to the online world.” – explained Inbal.

“I was able to move up the career ladder, joining 888’s B2C division, which generated 80% of the company’s revenue. I learned a lot, advising the head of the division as to which course of action to pursue.  With time, I got to a business leadership position, taking over the management of the 888’s Poker business unit. That’s when I knew business management is the direction I want to go, and now I’m Webpals Group CEO” – she revealed.

For Inbal, assessing yourself as a person and understanding what you can do is key to getting where you want to be. She likes to push herself forward and reach new horizons, overdelivering every step of the way.

“I don’t see any specific person as a role model. I look more at what I want to achieve or where I think I want to be as a person and as a manager, and this is what I focus on.” – she said.

But when one does get to where they want to be – at least career-wise – how does one manage the work-life balance, especially Inbal Lavi, who said she doesn’t see herself doing any other job but that of a CEO.

Her tip is to be able to try and make the separation during the precious time you have with your family. “I do have 3 kids, so whenever I’m home with them, I try to give them all the attention. They are very demanding, by the way.” – she said, laughing.

Whenever she’s not with her family or at work, she likes to exercise or dance – a great way to combat stress, refocus and clear the head.

What’s the Road Ahead?

Learning how determined Inbal is, it seemed fitting to find out what she thinks the future holds for Webpals Group.

“We’ll continue to uphold our reputation as a leading performance marketing player. The road won’t be without challenges, as the competition is fierce, but we’ll be ready for new business opportunities, expanding into new markets while becoming smarter and agiler. I believe we’ll have the technology and the required infrastructure to support us every time we jump forward.” – confidently said Inbal.

“Our leading position and the phenomenal results stem from the hard work done by all the employees. I wish all of you to be happy and succeed in everything you do, whether it’s professional or personal life. I’m very hopeful we’ll reach new heights and continue to be ahead together.

Happy Rosh HaShanah!”

WHY SCANDINAVIAN GRAPHIC DESIGN WORKS: THE MAGICAL STORY OF MINIMALISM

What comes up in your head when you hear the words ‘Scandinavian graphic design’? It’s true that the bright colors of Ikea jump to mind right away, but I refused to believe that Ikea alone can define such a big design concept.

Who better to ask about the Scandinavian graphic design than our in-house creative studio? As it turns out, Ikea serves as a great representation for it (and Scandinavian design in general), but there’s much more:)

Here’s your personal guide to Scandinavian graphic design with top graphic design tips, so you’ll know what works best and can drive more conversions, just in case you feel like a Viking:)

The Scandinavian Graphic Design is the Baby of History

It wasn’t born out of the blue; it’s the spur of a special mood in history: a combination of the changing social views and the materials available.

Some call Scandinavian design ‘democratic design,’ and there’s a reason for it. In Scandinavia, people believed that useful products shouldn’t be a privilege of those with deeper pockets, but should be available and affordable to everyone in need – with an emphasis on the word ‘need.’

The design does not have to scream at you in different shapes; it’s the minimalist functionalism that counts and can be turned into true art. Here’s what I mean:

clear-cut Scandinavian graphic design

This idea spread all around Scandinavia and beyond, a lot with the help of dedicated institutions like Svensk form (a.k.a The Swedish Society of Industrial Design).

With time, the concept of mere need and functionalism got mixed with emotions, which really transformed Scandinavian design and moved it closer to peoples’ lives, giving it more of a human touch.

From Furniture Design to Digital

Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Wanders – all of these great minds have had their say in the Scandinavian design, but today, it is not just about furniture. Scandinavian design has moved to the digital space, but its characteristics haven’t evaporated.

Graphic designers like Tom Emil OlsEn, and many others who picked Nordic motives as their muse, argue that Scandinavian graphic design style still has a “clean and simple expression.”

But is it just the clear-cut design that can help you drive more conversions, or is it something else as well?

There are at least 3 more Scandinavian <graphic> design principles to discuss:

1) Colors and High Contrast

Thanks to the Nordic nature and it’s grayish tones, calm, pastel colors get an evident voice in Scandinavian graphic design.

Scandinavian graphic design pastel colors

On the other hand, the dark Nordic weather conditions pushed graphic designers to pay a lot of attention to high contrast. When seeing the sun outside is less of an option, Scandinavian graphic designers start searching for more creative ways to bring colors to life. This banner is a great example:

Scandinavian graphic design shapes

2) Typography

Aside from having graphic representation, Scandinavian design has its own typeface. Can a font represent the whole country? It can. Sweden Sans “a modern, but edgy typeface with some local tweaks” has been selected as one of the national fonts by the Swedish government.

Many of its elements are taken from the Swedish lifestyle and small, nation-specific pieces like street signs. When you look at Sweden Sans, the shapes are simple; there’s just the right amount of symbols. The general feeling is as if the letters are flowing in the air, with lots of white space.

Swedish sans font Scandinavian graphic design

[Image Source: sweden.identitytool.com]

But there’s more than just one font. Helvetica – one of the most common typefaces used, was developed by a Swiss, Max Miedinger, in 1957. Designed to have a neutral feel without any additional meaning, the font is a portrayal of a desire for a change.

Helvetica supports minimalism with its sleek curves, saying ‘no’ to all the old, flashy fonts we are used to seeing in so many advertisements.

font Scandinavian graphic design

3) Handcraft and Art Influence

It was the lack of materials in the past and the nation’s isolation that led Scandinavian designers to use the natural resources available.

What’s more, movements like Romanticism with its loyalty to traditions, German Bauhaus school – well-known for mixing technology with fine arts, and the belated Scandinavian industrial revolution – all had their impact on how Scandinavian design looks today.

Given that, it’s no wonder that the style of Scandinavian graphic design (even in the digital world) puts more focus on every pip of creative detail, mixing what at first look like contradictory concepts.

Scandinavian graphic design handcraft
[By Saana Ja Olli, Source: Canva Learn – designschool.canva.com]

Scandinavian graphic design drives more conversions

The Scandinavian graphic design may be your best bet when you want to catch audiences, increasing performance and conversions in the world in which human attention span stands at just a few seconds.

It’s this kind of design that presents a very straightforward path for users, letting them focus on the message without any unwanted content and graphics around, without kitschy fonts and colors, without overwhelming with information.

Key Takeaways

If you are captivated by this kind of graphic design as much as we are, there are just a few key takeaways to keep in mind and avoid making mistakes:

  • Use light fonts
  • Focus on the details
  • Don’t forget about white space
  • Work with the right colors – if you’re in the performance marketing industry, experiment more with high contrast, but don’t go crazy in order not to fall victim to chaotic color mixes
  • Take advantage of grids – working with grids allows for structure. This way you can design in a more methodical, controlled and precise manner rather than letting your mouse fly all over your screen.

In case you don’t feel 100% about working with Scandinavian design creatives yourself, we can help! We believe that with the right approach and in-house technologies every creative can be turned into a money-making art that brings you phenomenal results – learn more about our media capabilities.

HIGH-QUALITY VIDEO INVENTORY EXISTS: 9 TIPS TO PICK IT RIGHT

By now, you’ll rarely hear businesses doubting the attention-grabbing powers of digital video. Revenue growth, user engagement – studies have concluded that these and other KPIs are much higher with video than with any other ad format. But, there are still questions when it comes to quality ad placements for your videos, with 40% of media agencies and 27% of advertisers expressing their concerns about the lack of quality video inventory.

Knowing that not all ad inventories are created equal, how do you choose a quality home for your video ads?
Here are 9 tips and tricks you can use to pick high-quality video inventory the right way:

Video inventory

1) Look at the Anti-Fraud Tools & IVT Percentage

If your video ad does not reach a real person – that’s a real problem. Having high IVT percentage contributes to more digital waste and fosters distrust between publishers and advertisers, hurting important KPIs on the way.

Before committing to work with a publisher, always ask what kind of anti-fraud tools they use and what their IVT score is. High-caliber anti-fraud tools and low IVT score is the answer to look for, which brings me to my second point.

2) Seek First-Party Data

Knowing how ‘human’ your traffic is increases data transparency. However, it isn’t enough, and you have to dig deeper.

Traffic accompanied by a first-party audience, video player and domain data is what separates high-quality ad spaces from the questionable ones – this combo is what you should aim for when hunting for high-quality video inventory.

3) Go for High Viewability Rates

It may sound trivial, but when talking about high-quality traffic, the words ‘being in the right place’ matter. Your publisher needs to guarantee an ad space that is prominently shown and placed. But, placing your video in the most visible place is only half the story, and that’s what I’m going to elaborate on further.

4) “Click-to-Play” Goes a Long Way

Does audibility give new meaning to high viewability?

If your ad makes too much noise, even above-the-fold placement won’t save you; users are likely to close the site.

With user experience in mind, check whether publishers can prioritize click-to-play placements. This way you can kill 3 birds with one stone: you get increased engagement and video interaction rates while boosting ad viewability.

Most importantly, publishers don’t need to worry about disturbing valuable user experience, and advertisers can stop throwing money away on mute ads.

5) Hunt for Lower Session Depth

Session depth should be another factor for evaluating ad viewability and video inventory – the lower the session depth (earlier impressions), the more valuable the inventory. It’s true that earlier sessions inventory requires to have deeper pockets, but ultimately it covers every critical KPI in the best way possible.

6) Watch Out for the Right Context

A hunch to act does not just come out of nowhere but is the result of many psychological triggers at play. It’s best if it’s not just any context – a comfortable running shoes video ad placed near an article or inside a vlog from a known publication/influencer about how crucial it is to choose the right shoes when running will be the winner.
The relevant context surrounding your video ad plays a significant role, giving viewers more incentives to visit, click, buy, etc.

7) Keep Tabs on User Targeting

High-quality video inventory cannot be considered such if publishers can’t promise you that your video ads will reach popular audiences.

Aside from targeting the audiences, you need (demographics, region, etc.), publishers with high-quality video inventory can understand your video campaign requirements, matching between your targeted audiences and the campaigns you run. To get the most out of your video ads though, it’s best you find out more about the video content publishers offer beforehand.

8) Understand Traffic Flows

Although we’ve discussed user experience already, it’s impossible to talk about high-quality publisher inventory without throwing a word or two about clear-cut traffic flow maps, which are tied closely to user journeys.

When you deal with high-quality inventory, it’s a lot easier to understand these flows. Case in point, you’ll know your video ad won’t be displayed too often to the same user, hurting the image of your brand.

9) Pay Attention to Long-Form Content

Publishers offering high-quality video inventory know that when it comes to watching video ads, long-form content is more effective. With longer content, users become more fixated on the content and tolerate ads with ease, which allows you to place adverts pre- mid- and post- the content, bringing you higher video completion rates.

When looking for high-quality video inventory, pay attention to more engaging, content, with high time spent per page.

So, what’s the moral of the story?

In today’s world, high-quality video inventory cannot be defined merely by cost terms. The meaning goes much more profound, with many factors at play, defined by two sides: the brand (its goals) and the viewer. With that in mind, advertisers wishing to find high-quality inventory should take all of it into account.

In case we haven’t met

Webpals Group is a leading online performance marketing player, working with premium demand partners in a fully transparent manner. We have over 2000 exclusively operated, content-rich sites for brands to run their video campaigns on. With IVT below 1%, more than 75% completion rate and 10B monthly ad opportunities, we use the technology at hand to target users right at the point of need.

Will you be at Dmexco, Cologne this year? We’d be happy to discuss our unique video advertising solutions further.

5 MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM AFFILIATE SUMMIT EAST 2017

It’s “the performance marketing industry’s premier global event,” as the Summit organizers have put it. Every time our team gets there, there’s always something new to discover. Here are 5 major highlights from Affiliate Summit East 2017:

1. Brands Don’t Jump the Gun

While brands still want to make more deals and build more bridges, they started to use tweezers when picking who to work with, being way more careful than before.

Brands have lifted their partnership threshold level if you will; they are on the hunt for more serious collaborations and not just those with a zest. Brands don’t just want you to throw all the different advertising solutions you’ve got at them; it’s the digital properties you can provide them with to run their offers on that matter.

2. Brand User Acquisition Needs Have Evolved

Once upon a time brands’ main requirement was to drive as many users as possible. Then, there was a shift towards finding quality users who have performed a certain action. Nowadays, however, the picture is more complicated.

Today, brands want to utilize the smart technology and algorithms available to target existing quality users exactly at the point when they need certain services, even if it’s in the future. That way, brands can get users with high lifetime value.

How Brands' User Targeting Has Evolved

Here’s a great example:

There’s someone named Jack whom you’ve been targeting for a while. He’s been a loyal ride service app user for quite some time now, ordering rides whenever he needs. You notice he’s looking at a travel website, choosing the best deal for his next trip.

So, you know Jack wants to travel, and he has a ride service app.

What’s the next step?

You can offer him a specific deal for a ride to the airport. You know he’s more likely to check it out because it comes exactly at the point of need.
That’s the smart user retargeting and retention tactics brands want publishers to provide them with.

3. Chasing Direct Connections

Brands want to promote their content directly on publisher websites, preferably content-rich sites – sites with lots of traffic and good, time-tested reputation. That’s exactly where the online performance marketing world is going towards, and Affiliate Summit East 2017 has shown this in full.

4. Mergers All Over (Even Affiliate & Influencer Marketing are Bonding)

Evgenii “Geno” Prussakov – an award-winning affiliate marketing expert and educator, visited the Summit as one of the speakers. His two sessions focused, among all, on two significant trends:

•Mergers among companies
• The fusion of affiliate and influencer marketing

In a nutshell, as the ever-changing market becomes more competitive, companies find it beneficial to merge with and acquire other companies –  Awin’s (an Axel Springer SE company) recent acquisition of ShareASale is a great example.

For the same reason, you see more and more affiliate marketers shaking hands with major digital influencers. They are the ones who know exactly how to give you the coverage and the right targeting for your campaigns.

5. Video at Affiliate Summit East 2017?

Seeing video companies at affiliate marketing conferences isn’t something one would expect, but Affiliate Summit East 2017 can be regarded as a contradiction to the statement. Dozens of video companies attended the Summit – something that serves as a strong proof of how hot of a trend video has become.

What’s more, seeing video companies at affiliate marketing conferences shows that BrandFormance is gaining momentum in digital advertising, with brands longing to target high lifetime value users.

EndNote

At the Summit, our mobile, display, social, search and video experts showed brands that with over 2000 exclusively managed, content-rich websites, covering verticals like Finance, Software and more, they can run their offers across channels while utilizing the smart algorithms we have to accurately determine user intent on a website, driving users with high lifetime value.

Webpals Group – a leading player in the online performance industry (AIM: XLM), picked up on lots of lessons and trends at Affiliate Summit East 2017, but there’s always room for more! Dmexco in Cologne, Germany is our team’s next destination!

We’d like to thank every one of our new partners and the people we met at the Summit.
We hope to see you next time (maybe even in Cologne:))!

GOOGLE UAC – IT’S HERE! ARE YOU READY?

Google announced yesterday that Universal App Campaign (UAC) would become the single and exclusive platform for optimal app install advertising.

We are very excited to be a part of this new chapter in global app marketing and are looking forward to leveraging this ever-changing product for the scalable growth of our app partners.

In the last year, we have paid special attention to the evolution of UAC and have allocated resources – we sharpened our expertise, knowledge, data science and technology, and achieved success in a belief that UAC will continue to develop and become an even more prominent tool.

Our expertise in finding the right user at the prime purchasing time together with our buying technology, which focuses on revenue maximization and LTV optimization, works hand in hand with Google’s UAC. Ultimately our partnership with Google will drive growth to our partners’ mobile app businesses, along with revenue maximization and the best user experience.

We hope that after reading our blog about Google’s UAC, along with Google’s announcement, you will only strengthen your assurance in our continued dedication to our partners. We are happy to guide you through the transition process to the UAC platform and explain how to build future campaigns effectively. Feel free to reach out to our UAC expert team with any additional questions.

Webpals Mobile is a world leader in mobile user acquisition and revenue maximization and operates globally from Seoul, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv. We are also a part of XL Media PLC (AIM: XLM), a leading provider of digital marketing services.

Contact us to see how we can grow your app!

 

PAGESPEED INSIGHTS SCORE: 5 PROVEN WAYS TO BOOST IT FOR WORDPRESS SITES

After determining what website performance is (and how we measure it), it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get on with improving our websites performance. In this post, we will focus on enhancing WordPress sites’ PageSpeed Insights score in just a few simple steps.

First, a short reminder:

PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool that helps website owners improve their site’s speed. It does not automatically measure all pages on your website, nor does it continuously monitor it. It does, however, analyze a given web page and gives it a score from 0 to 100, according to the page’s current implementation of Google’s performance best practices.

By improving the PageSpeed Insights score, you actually do two things:

  • The higher the score, the more likely it is that your users will enjoy a smooth, frictionless experience.
  • PageSpeed Insights gives us a hint as to how Google views our site’s performance. Since performance is correlated with your Google ranking, you should care about this parameter for SEO purposes.

How to Generate a PageSpeed Insights Report?

  1. Go to the PageSpeed Insights website
  2. Enter your site’s URL
  3. Look at the results
    The report contains different issues regarding your website’s performance, sorted by their severity from top to bottom.

 

PageSpeed Insights score

 

If your score is above 85, you’re doing great. If you have anything less than that, you should improve your score by fixing the issues in the report, one-by-one, from top to bottom.

How to Improve PageSpeed Insights Score on WordPress sites

In the rest of this post, we will briefly discuss common PageSpeed Insights recommendations, and how to fix them on WordPress sites.

Reduce Server Response Time

What does it mean?

Server Response Time measures the time it took your server to send the initial HTML necessary for rendering the web page. The ideal server response time is less than 0.2 seconds. If your server response time is above that, it may mean many things, for example:

  • Slow or inadequate hardware
  • Inefficient code
  • Slow database queries
  • Other cause affecting your server performance

How to fix it?

On WordPress sites, the most efficient method to fix this issue is to install a good Caching plugin.

A few common plugins are:

  • WP Super Cache – a very fast and reliable caching plugin.
  • W3 Total Cache – a comprehensive performance plugin that can be used to improve many other performance factors.
  • WP Rocket – a popular caching plugin. Its main disadvantage is that it isn’t free.

Enable Compression

What does it mean?

To reduce the amount of data sent between the server and the browser, HTML and files should be compressed using gzip compression. If your server is not configured to use gzip compression, PageSpeed Insights will show you this error.

How to fix it?

There are a few ways to fix this error:

  • Gzip can be enabled by editing the htaccess file. This method is simple, but be advised that the editing process of the htaccess file is sensitive. Here are the instructions for editing the htaccess file.
  • Many hosting companies configure their servers to provide gzip compression. This solution is often the most effective one.
  • Some WordPress plugins can also add gzip compressions, but with the simplicity of the two methods above, it’s advised not to bother with such plugins.

Optimize Images

What does it mean?

Images take up much of the bandwidth required to display a web page. In some cases, more than half the bandwidth consists of images. Although having too many images may be a problem, Google is not expecting you to cut down on images at all. It does, however, expect you to optimize all your images:

  • Upload images in the dimensions they are displayed in (pixels)
  • Compress images before uploading (in Kb)

How to fix it?

To resize images, all you need is a simple editing tool such as MS paint. Just understand what the exact dimensions an image needs to have, open the image editing tool and resize it to the correct dimensions are. Then re-upload the image, and you’re good to go.

To compress an image, I recommend the tinyPNG online compression tool. It’s simple, free, and reliable.
Alternatively, you can install EWWW Image Optimizer – a free, standalone, WordPress plugin, and have it automatically optimize all the images on your website.
EWWW’s only disadvantage is that the free version uses a slightly less effective compression algorithm (lossless) than that of tinyPNG’s (lossy). However, EWWW’s paid version uses the same algorithm as tinyPNG, so if you don’t mind paying a few dollars – this is a good option.

Minify JavaScript

What does it mean?

A typical JavaScript file contains many spaces, line breaks and tabs. All these waste precious bandwidths and Google reduces the PageSpeed Insights score for ignoring this fact.

How to fix it?

Install a simple minify plugin. The most common ones are:

  • W3 Total Cache (also recommended above) – a comprehensive performance solution that takes care of minification in addition to other problems such as reducing server response time.
  • Autoptimize – a popular plugin that minifies both JavaScript and CSS.

Leverage Browser Caching

What does it mean?

A typical web page contains many assets: images, CSS files, JS files, etc. On most websites, many of those assets are common to all pages on the site. For example, the site’s logo and its style-sheet are usually the same on all the pages.

Servers need to specify to browsers which assets can be reused across the site. If the server is not configured to do so, PageSpeed Insights score gets reduced.

How to fix it?

There are a few methods to fix this error:

  • Browser caching can be configured through the htaccess file. As with gzip (see above), this method simple, but the htaccess file is sensitive. You can find instructions for configuring htaccess to leverage browser caching here.
  • Alternatively, you can talk to your hosting company and have them set it up for you. It should be a simple task for them.

There are many other recommendations in Google’s PageSpeed Insights report, but the above are among the most common and are the easiest to fix without having to involve web developers or getting into complicated configurations.

There you have it! Your own guide that, hopefully, boosted your PageSpeed Insights knowledge, and you found it useful for improving your sites’ score.
If you think other website owners would like this blog too, I’d love you to share it. Thanks!

Got website performance optimization and SEO skills? We’d love to have you on board! Check out our open positions and send us your CV!

GOOGLE UAC – IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING…

Back in May 2015, Google introduced UAC – Universal App Campaign – which essentially creates one unified campaign that allows developers to promote their apps across Google’s top properties – Search, GDN, AdMob, YouTube and Google Play. I assume you are thinking to yourself: “With such an easy, intuitive and smart platform – what does it mean for me?”

As marketers who are used to performing various optimizations, bid adjustments, and different A/B tests, what creativity does UAC leave us with? Is there any skill required? Well, I have news for you… Yes.

With UAC, Google is bringing machine learning and “auto-pilot” to center stage with the idea that Google’s algorithms will know best what to do based on the target CPI, budgets, creatives, and in-app events defined. But, despite UAC being super clever, there is still a lot of room for skill, knowledge, and creativity.

I have gathered several winning tips from our experts as well as from our partners @ Google by implementing which, you can be on your way to success with UAC and reach optimal performance at scale:

  • Patience is a Virtue – it is highly recommended not to adjust the campaign and let “the machine” do its magic for at least 2-4 weeks. That way, UAC will be able to optimize towards the desired CPI goals and increase the likelihood of success.
  • Understand Your Metrics – knowing which in-app events are those that indicate the quality of the user and drive post-install engagements and, ultimately, in-app purchases is key. Make sure you define these in-app actions early in the funnel, get the data from 3rd party attribution partners and optimize the campaign based on these actions. UAC will need at least 10 conversions per day per event to optimize effectively.
  • Budgeting is Important – there are a few do’s and don’ts in the UAC world. Google recommends setting a daily budget which is at least 50 times larger than your target CPI (tCPI). The larger the daily budget, the easier it will be for the machine to gather data, learn and perform. Do it. At the same time, if you decide to adjust the bids, be sure to do it gradually – a maximum change of 20% per week.
  • Be Creative – the more creative variations you upload, the better! Be sure to upload at least 10 images and 5 videos in different formats and orientations. Creative videos can really make a difference. Beautiful videos with clear and prompt call-to-actions will help you win. “Vanilla” static images will not be enough.

I expect UAC to become an even stronger, effective and transparent platform for marketers to manage more app install campaigns. I believe this is only the beginning for this product, with new upcoming features on the way, which will allow this intelligent machine to perform state-of-the-art KPI optimizations, creative optimizations and produce advanced reports. Google’s expansive network of assets, combined with sophisticated technology, will provide a practical, scalable and global growth channel for global apps.

Webpals Mobile is a certified Google Partner. We leverage the powerful tools of Google to deliver high-performance results to our advertisers. By leveraging years of experience in budgeting, bidding, modeling, and creative work and combining them with our proprietary technology and methodologies, we drive in-app revenues to the best-o- breed mobile apps on a global scale.

LET’S TWIST AHEAD: ONLY A WEBPALER COULD’VE HAD A SUMMER PARTY LIKE THIS

“Come on, twist again, like we did last summer…Let’s twist again, like we did last year!” It’s Chubby Checkers’ famous song “Let’s Twist Again” that we took as an inspiration for this year’s big Wepbals Group’s summer party, which has already become an annual tradition for the employees and their families.

Where can you cool down on a hot summer day? There’s nothing better than water! So, without thinking twice, we headed towards spacious Hamei Ga’ash pools (and by “we” I mean around 500 people).

Webpals summer party 2017

If you had a chance to travel back, which time period would you choose? As Webpalers, we love to be ahead together and look into the future, but that day we were able to literally dive in back to the 70s.

Everything around us screamed retro: vintage ice cream and beer trucks, old-style PAC-MAN, Tetris and Super Mario game machines, vintage quick-photo car, and of course – the music. I would be lying if I said that everything happening at Hamei Ga’ash wasn’t exciting.

Webpals summer party 2017

So, what exactly did we do?

We tested our creativity and balance participating in entertaining workshops, painting mugs (we got to take them home) while doing our best during ground-based SUP boards training; but what really got our taste buds working is the tasting during 3 beer workshops:)

Webpalers at the summer party 2017

Aside from drinking beer, we enjoyed what seemed to be an infinite amount of food during breakfast and dinner as well as sweets, shakes and other tasty goodies.
Those Webpalers and their loved ones who really needed a kick to relax even more got calming massage treatments.

What Webpalers did at the party 2017

While the adults appreciated all the games, entertainment and rocked it mingling, the kids had fun of their own – and who wouldn’t? All the huge soap bubbles flying around, tons of toys in the pool, and the puppets theater show got the job done.

Doll theater summer party webpals 2017

I looked left and right and I saw happy kids everywhere. Toddlers seemed to really dig the Gymboree playground; older kids participated in speedboat racing tournaments, built castles from kinetic sand, jumped off water-slides, made cakes, whirligigs and even got matching tattoos with their parents.

Webpalers having fun at the summer party

Yes, we all spent a lot of time in the water, but closer to noon everyone was thrilled to see the Circus Show – a colorful acrobatic show, full of activities for kids.

Circus summer party webpals

Towards the end of the event, we all got together to hear the heartfelt speech of our CEO, Inbal Lavi, congratulating the families whose kids are to celebrate Bar / Bat Mitzvahs or move up to the first grade this year. Nothing beats the smiles I saw on the kids’ faces when they got gift cards and personalized first-grader kits as special giveaways. Little did I know that adults get presents as well:)

Inbal Lavi Webpals Group CEO summer party 2017

But the summer event wasn’t so much about the presents (although we never say no:)) as it was about coming together with our families, cooling down on a really hot summer day and having lots of fun after a hard week of work.

Looking forward to the summer party next year (and I’m sure that I’m not the only one)!

Webpals Group summer party 2017

SPOTLIGHT: E-COMMERCE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

The e-commerce space is rapidly evolving worldwide, with more shopping happening on digital platforms and retailers crossing from offline to online channels. In the recent year, this trend is picking up in the Middle East as well.

Because of a large population in this region, growing smartphone penetration and the change of buying habits, the Middle East e-commerce market is set to show exceptional growth and become one of the world’s fastest growing online markets.

E-commerce in this region is gaining traction thanks to the Amazon-Souq deal, referred to as the most prominent technology M&A transaction in the Arab world in recent years. Last month’s 650-million-dollar acquisition provides a glance to the BIG potential of the region.

With a vibrant technology scene and improving infrastructures, UAE’s ecosystem has shaped up as a business center for the area, attracting investors and entrepreneurs from around the world. Regarded as the tech and financial hub of the region, UAE is taking center stage for e-commerce growth and start-up boom that drives the economy and the digitization process.

Thanks to the high smartphone penetration rate, mobile has a significant role in this e-commerce trend. Consumers are shifting to making purchases via their smartphones instead of desktop computers, and all the biggest companies have developed their own apps to attract high-value customers. , smartphone adoption in UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain is even higher than in the United States (100% vs. 80%). Other countries in the region still have a relatively low smartphone penetration rate and present a significant growth opportunity within the digital and mobile commerce space.

So, What Does the Future Hold?

According to some studies, the GCC (Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia) e-commerce market could almost quadruple and reach $20 billion by 2020.

The biggest challenges for the e-commerce business are deliveries, infrastructures and the availability of secured online payments. We will likely see the emergence of logistics and Fintech technology companies in this region, which will contribute to the enhancement of customer experience and enable growth.

Retailers in the Middle East will accelerate efforts to compete in the digital space, while other international companies will seek to make a footprint in the area as their core markets mature.

The region will become more crowded, especially with the expected arrival of yet another new e-commerce venture, Noon.com. Small companies will have to step up their game to stay competitive and relevant. We will likely see a consolidation process and possibly more M&A activities.

Overall, the next few years will be exciting with e-commerce continuing to evolve and expand to mainstream and niche categories. More companies will recognize this potential and e-commerce will lead the innovation and digitization in the region.

 

If you’d like to hear more about Webpals Mobile user acquisition solutions and how we can help you grow your app – contact us.

WEBPALS MOBILE JOINS INSTAGRAM PARTNERS PROGRAM

We couldn’t be more excited to share the news! Webpals Mobile has been recognized as a member of Instagram Partners Program, specializing in Ad Tech.

The Instagram Partners Program has recognized Webpals Mobile for its leading position in mobile user acquisition and its ability to deliver excellent performance to its partners on Instagram.

Instagram established its Instagram Partners Program to help advertisers find best-in-class partners they need to optimize results on the Instagram platform, providing access to leading technologies and expertise.

Since the early integration of Webpals Mobile’s technology with Instagram Ads’ API, we’ve been enabling the world’s leading advertisers to maximize their investments on Instagram as well as Facebook and Google. The Instagram Partners Program is essential for further innovation in mobile advertising, and we’re happy to be a part of it.

Webpals Mobile’s technology gives mobile advertisers an ability to reach the top-value users from a diverse and highly engaged Instagram’s 500-million community. Our targeting excellence, combined with our platform’s capabilities and automated optimization, allows us to acquire premium mobile users with the highest monetization value.

While technology sits at the center of Webpals Mobile offering; it’s just a part of the success formula for app developers who partner with Webpals Mobile to advertise on Instagram. The real game changer is the creatives we offer, and this is where Webpals Mobile’s in-house creative studio takes the stage to empower ads with beautiful and compelling images and videos that drive the highest engagement and immediate response.

As an Instagram Partner, we can provide our partners with an early access to new and interesting offerings from Instagram, new features, and beta programs. They can also expect to see us continue to innovate in this area with better conclusions, smarter iterations, and improved results.

Contact us for further information on how you can maximize your advertising on Instagram.

WE WELCOME CLICKSMOB TO OUR TEAM

We are so excited to welcome ClicksMob, a leading mobile performance platform, into our family.

The new DAU-UP ClicksMob will serve as an enhanced Webpals Group’s Mobile Business Unit and enable us to provide our clients with the best in breed mobile user acquisition services.

DAU-UP ClicksMob is fully equipped to deliver unparalleled mobile user acquisition solutions across territories and channels worldwide.

Moreover, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to leverage ClicksMob’s proprietary technologies, such as audience matching, engine optimization, and fraud-fighting tools.

We look forward to having even more buzz and creativity around our office as we take another significant step towards achieving our vision of being a global leader in online traffic monetization, anywhere!

Exciting times are ahead for us as we strive to reach new heights together.

WHAT IS WEBSITE PERFORMANCE?

As website owners, we all know intuitively that our websites need to be fast. That’s not just an intuition, as it has been proven time and again that a fast website is good for business.

According to a test done by Kissmetrics, a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Moreover, 79% of users who aren’t pleased by a website’s performance say that they will not return to that site.

The issue is even more pronounced with mobile users who not only have a slower internet connection and weaker computing power, they are also less patient than desktop users.

In addition, website performance is a ranking factor for Google, which favors fast websites in their search results.

Just How Fast Does a Website Have to Be?

OK, so a site needs to be fast; but just how fast? How do we measure its performance?

The usual answer to this question would be to measure the “load time”, but that can sometimes be tricky because there are different approaches to doing so:

We could measure the time until a page is fully loaded with all its assets, images, and scripts – but do we really care if a script is loaded “behind the scenes” or an image is loaded below the fold?

  • We could measure the time until just the “above-the-fold” content is loaded – but fold location varies per device…
  • We could measure the time it takes for the browser to start receiving its HTML (time till the first byte), but this fails to illustrate how users actually see our website…

In short, there is no single way to measure load time.

An alternative method for measuring load time is to measure a website’s implementation of performance best practices. There are various tools that scan a website and evaluate it against a predefined set of performance best practices. While this approach is good for pinpointing underlying performance problems, some of the tools that utilize this approach give too much importance to things that have no effect on the user experience – and thus can be inaccurate.

Webpals’ Hybrid Approach to Measuring Website Performance

In evaluating website performance here at Webpals, we take a two-sided approach:

  • On one hand, we use a page-load measuring tool to get a single result for the entire site’s page load time
  • On the other hand, we complement it with another tool that measures performance best-practices

Our studies show that although the two metrics don’t have a 100% correlation, trying to optimize our websites for those two KPIs together can increase performance for almost all users, whether they’re using desktop computers or mobile devices, and whether they’re human or, alternatively, search engine crawlers.

Our Methodology

To measure page load, we use a Real User Monitoring (RUM) tool. RUM tools, unlike tools that can ping our site every hour, measure the actual load time (in milliseconds) of each and every user. Using RUM tools, we can also segment the data by device types, geo locations, or gain additional insights on performance by splitting the load time to its states (backend time, network time, and frontend time). To obtain a statistically significant result, for each site we take the median page-load time for a time span of at least one day.

To measure the best-practices element, we use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool receives a URL of a webpage, analyzes the page in terms of performance best-practices, and issues performance scores for mobile and desktop. In addition to getting a breakdown of the underlying problems that led to this score, this tool also has some SEO value because it gives us an indication of how Google views our website in terms of performance.

Conclusion

Now we have a general idea of what website performance is. We’ve also outlined how we measure the performance of our 2,000+ websites here at Webpals.

In the next article in this series, we’ll talk about how we were able to speed up the majority of those sites using PageSpeed Insights, examining the errors this tool can display and how exactly you can fix them.

SECOND ANNUAL WEBPALS SEO CONFERENCE RECAP

For the second consecutive year, Webpals was proud to partner with SEO Simple to put together a first-rate SEO conference. Hundreds of SEO professionals gathered at Tel Aviv’s ZOA building for a full day of learning from a variety of experts about the latest trends in search engine optimization.

In contrast to last year’s inaugural conference, which featured Webpals’  speakers almost exclusively, this year we broadened the conference’s appeal by inviting speakers from a variety of SEO agencies to join us.

Webpals SEO conference 2016

Speakers at this year’s event included – in order of appearance – Webpals CEO Inbal Lavi, SEO Simple Founder Jacki Soikis, Webpals SEO Team Leader Chen Guttman, A-2-Z International Internet Marketing CEO Alon Zakai, and Sorezki Labs Founder Roi Sorezki.

The speakers shared a number of successful SEO strategies and tips on topics ranging from mobile-first indexing to online reputation management to website accessibility, and more

In addition, a number of new and interesting tools that have proven to be quite useful at achieving top search engine rankings were reviewed in depth.

Webpals Knows SEO

As Webpals CEO Inbal Lavi illustrated in her opening remarks, Webpals Group has grown into a multinational publicly-traded company from a small start-up largely due to our SEO efforts. While we’ve expanded far beyond the confines of SEO into a media and publishing powerhouse with over 2,000 websites, SEOs still make up quite a significant percentage of our 250+ employees.

Inbal Lavi Webpals CEO

As we continue to expand our operations into even more markets around the world, we’re constantly on the lookout for top SEO experts to join us.

Beyond the Lectures

As with any top-tier conference, attendees utilized the breaks in between speakers to network with fellow professionals. Numerous Webpals Group’s SEOs were in attendance as well and many of them were approached repeatedly with questions about what it’s like to work at our company.

Webpals SEO conference 2016 reception

Aside from the informal kibitzing, Webpals had a proper booth set up where interested parties could register to inquire about open positions and, indeed, dozens upon dozens of people had left their contact details by the end of the day.

As successful as our second annual conference was, we know that our third annual SEO conference will be even better!

THE MOST IMPORTANT GOOGLE SEARCH TREND OF 2017 WILL BE…?

With 2016 drawing to a close, we surveyed a number of SEO experts here at Webpals, asking them what they felt the top Google Search trend would be in the coming year.

When it comes to search engine optimization, webmasters are constantly on the lookout for the newest trends and potential algorithm tweaks that will shuffle up page rankings. Being on the cutting edge of change gives you the best shot at superseding your organic search competitors.

What Our Experts Had To Say

Many of our experts answered with mobile in mind. With more people accessing the internet on the go for longer periods of time, mobile traffic is asserting its dominance. Noting this, Google seems to be indicating that it will attribute even more weight to a site’s mobile signals, graphical elements, and user experience. This is already starting to be reflected in the different results that appear when searching for the same keyword on desktops versus mobile devices.

Google has also started testing mobile-first indexing as of late, and indicated that eventually mobile signals, such as site responsiveness and structured data, will be of primary importance in the future.

Other Webpals team leaders were of the opinion that rich content will alter the way that search results for news and world events will appear. This could perhaps be patterned after Google Trends, which is now more visual-oriented.

Still, other experts were convinced that the most important Google Search trend would be richer results on rankings pages themselves. In other words, more elements will continue appearing in the organic SERPs. The trend makes sense (and, of course, it’s in Google’s interest) as it presents more information without forcing visitors to go to numerous other websites.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to get a clear consensus with regard to what will likely be the most important Google Search trend of 2017. There are different schools of thought, all with legitimate claims and reasonings.

What IS clear, however, is the importance of paying attention to the latest SEO news and industry developments. In the Information Age, change is rapid and continuous. Webmasters can’t allow their sites to be caught unprepared for algorithm adjustments; otherwise, they risk losing the steady stream of traffic they’ve worked so hard to obtain.

At the very least, it’s critical to always be monitoring the Google Search landscape and have strategies in place for optimizing your sites to rank well for the long haul.

WEBPALS MAKES EVERY STEP COUNT AT THE 2016 TEL AVIV NIGHT RUN

Webpals Group promotes physical fitness. Many of us quite literally jumped at the opportunity to represent Webpals for a second time at the annual Tel Aviv Night Run.

I love running. It’s been my go-to physical activity for years, ever since college. I find it to be the best way to relieve stress, help me focus my thoughts, and – of course – it’s always good to stay in shape.  I’ve developed some really great friendships over the years in the offices, and every so often we get together to run or jog after work hours as well.

Webpalers Tel Aviv Night Run 2016

Over three dozen of us suited up alongside 25,000 other runners to provide a boost of energy to the Big Orange. After training together for the prior couple of weeks, our group sure made each step count along the 10km route.

At the event site, we were greeted by a festival-like atmosphere. The first-timers among us couldn’t stop raving about how amazing it was to be in the midst of the sea of color, arms and legs waving, the scent of youthful exuberance wafting through the air. Music carried us through the race, with numerous loudspeakers stationed along the route playing the hits.

It was such a great experience, not only to run but also to be a part of such a high-energy group. This was my second time participating in the Tel Aviv Night Run and I was proud to finish the 10km course quicker than last year.

What enhanced our experience, even more, was that our running helped raised 19,000 NIS to help support the Sunrise Israel organization, a charity that operates extracurricular activities for children with cancer.

Webpals Tel Aviv Night Run 2016

After I finish my regular running route, I’m always gripped with adrenaline, the exercise giving me a great boost of energy. That feeling was amplified by seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces at the Tel Aviv Night Run finish line.

Webpalers Tel Aviv Night Run 2016

 

CASUAL CONNECT TLV 2016: ALL MARKETING, USER ACQUISITION AND ASO

In early November, Webpals Mobile hosted a panel at Casual Connect Tel Aviv with key players in the world of social games: Playtika, Murka, and Google. I was honored to moderate the discussion on innovations in marketing as well as new trends. We touched on various aspects of marketing strategy and tactics, user acquisition, and ASO.

In this article, I will give a brief overview of the discussion and strongly encourage you to watch the video for a more detailed picture.

Innovation: Does Company Size Make a Difference?

It does; there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

When it comes to the environment in which innovation blooms, agility is easier to achieve with smaller-sized companies. However, when we are talking about the scale of innovation, resources are usually easier to find in large companies.

Besides the innovation-fostering environment, the super dynamic and continuously changing mobile world requires us to move quickly, to iterate on the product side, to test and sustain a perfect mix on the marketing side and to be flexible in the approaches you apply.

Audiences, Generations, Genres

According to SuperData Research, a typical smartphone social game player in the US is a woman of 36+ with an average personal income of $63K.

Smartphone mobile statistics

I raised the question with our panelists to see if the landscape is the same for them. And it turned out that it’s not. The ratio is different for different genres, and, even within the same genre, the circumstances are continually shifting.

What’s most important when targeting players is that you must always be on top of things and try to find out through experimentation what is the most profitable segment for your game.

Murka, for example, was initially more male-oriented in their attempt to find their niche in the highly competitive landscape of games.  And they found success in it; sharing that their audience currently has an exact 50/50 female/male split. And the audience is pretty young – mostly Millennial players. By introducing new, innovative mechanics (in Murka’s case, it’s RPG elements), they appealed to the younger audience (20-25 years old).

From Google’s perspective, there’s not much of a difference if it’s a male or a female. Rather than targeting specific sex and/or generation, they focus on spenders as a segment.

The overall recommendation from all the panelists when it comes to audiences is to start as broad as possible and find out through the UA process which player is the right player for your game.

Early Adoption: Google Beta Program

In the past year and a half, Google has changed their game plan quite a bit – and they did it successfully. Now, many game developers see success with Google’s platform if they are accepted to the Google Beta program.

When evaluating the UA channel, Playtika shared that they are looking for 3 things:

  1. Quality
  2. Scalability
  3. How willing the channel is to work closely with Playtika

And Google meets all the 3 criteria.

While the program is still limited only to those companies accepted by Google; as a game developer, you need to meet specific requirements to get endorsed. And these are continually changing. For example, in August, Google introduced a new requirement that you need to have exhibited a strong history of complying with Google’s policy for the past 6 months. And it’s not only in AdWords, AdMob, AdSense, and Google Play that history is also taken into consideration.

No links to real money gaming is another essential requirement as well as the absence of any physical reward (i.e. a ticket to the cinema, a free flyer to a restaurant, etc.).

The rest of the requirements can be found here.

Now, as Google shared with us, they made the Beta program available for APAC with the addition of 6 countries (Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand) that can now submit their applications.

Webpals Mobile has been within the Google Beta program since day 1. And we’ve been facilitating game developers, such as Murka, to get accepted to the program using our years of experience and close relationship with Google (Webpals Mobile is a certified Google Partner). And since Murka’s acceptance, they’ve managed to scale their ad spend with Google several times, with Webpals Mobile managing most of the activity.

2016: Trends, Platforms, Ad Types

We are in an incredibly fast-moving industry, and 2016 has been quite epic for mobile.

Among the most important things our panelists tried and were proved successful include the following:

  1. A significant shift from static creatives to video (rewarded video, vertical video)
  2. Playable Ads
  3. Search Ads

To learn more about Search Ads on Google Play and Apple App Store, check out the full video below.

Key Takeaways

  • Constant testing and experimenting (on every level) is a key to effective user acquisition.
  • Using ad formats (videos, carousel ads, etc.) that allow marketers to tell a story about the product enable you to win valuable users.
  • While tier-1 markets receive the majority of advertiser ad spend, tier-2 countries have high potential due to lower CPI as well as strong LTV. Creatives need to be localized, “culturalized” and well-tested.

Webpals Mobile is an expert in user acquisition for social games. With over 5 years’ experience, we enabled the growth of such companies as Playtika, Murka, Product Madness, Zynga, and many others.

Our in-house creative studio offers all types of ad formats, localization, A/B testing, constant refreshing, and superior quality. This, combined with our proprietary technology and close relationship with all the main media channels, allows us to be among the first to adopt new ad products, get access to beta programs and get insights directly from the media.

Contact us today for further insights about how we can help you level UP your user acquisition in 2017.

4 REASONS TO ADVERTISE WITH A CERTIFIED GOOGLE PARTNER

Mobile app advertisers have been increasing their spending on Google. Webpals Mobile, as a certified Google Partner, has been offering to advertise on Google, alongside advertising on Facebook and Webpals Mobile Network, as an integral part of our full mobile media solution from the moment Google launched ad units for mobile app installs.

Google’s activity is a big part of our business and it consistently grows as our clients see strong performance from Google campaigns. We have touched on this topic during our, where 4 leading players in the social gaming space, namely Big Fish Games, GSN Games, and Product Madness, shared the fact that Google is becoming a larger source of inventory for them and the marketing spend continues to grow on this platform.

As a result, according to AppsFlyer’s Performance Index, Google jumped into the No.1 position in global gaming retention for users on Android, leaving Facebook and Twitter behind. By significantly increasing the volume of app installs over the past year, Google also has risen in the charts for iOS.

The data from the latest reports are backward-looking and don’t include data from the latest ad offerings announced in May at Google I/O. Consequently, it’s possible that we will see Google strengthen its position even more in the coming months.

While Google offers a handful of instruments to run user acquisition campaigns on your own, we are often asked what do advertisers win from working with a certified Google Partner?

So, here’s the answer:

1. Highest Standard of Performance

Certified Google Partners must meet certain performance requirements, which include criteria such as client revenue growth and client performance. Every qualified partner must prove that it delivers solid revenue and growth to its clients as well as manages to maintain and consistently grow their client base.

What it means for you is that you can expect higher standards of performance when working with a Google Partner.

2. Ability to Scale Quickly and Optimize Effectively

During the certification process, Google evaluates the spend levels of the assessed company, which must score high to be granted a badge.

Therefore, if you are looking to launch a large user acquisition campaign with a big investment, you want to work with a trusted partner who has experience in managing large-budget mobile app install campaigns in Google and can drive real results.

3. Early Access to the Newest Ad Products and Programs

Being part of the beta testing of future products allows you to access successful new initiatives early on and stay ahead of the game in an increasingly competitive field. Working with a Google Partner helps you tap into all Google’s ad formats and programs available only to a close group of select partners.

4. Close Relationship & Exceptional Support

Google Partners receive a high level of support from Google and benefit from a close relationship with its ad products team. This helps Webpals Mobile improve our technology by integrating new tools and features faster to optimize effectively.

Google also provides training to Partners’ teams, meaning that you benefit from working with experts who have their fingers on the pulse of the latest best practices.

So, if you are looking for a proven, long-term partner that can help you maximize your return on large ad spend and reach your marketing goals, you should consider a certified Google Partner. Contact us to see how Webpals Mobile can help you leverage your app’s potential to reach new, high LTV users in Google.

 

 

5 TECHNIQUES TO MASTER TWITTER AS A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Twitter is the #1 social media platform when it comes to news consumption. As such, many companies have focused their efforts on growing their social presence and promoting their products/brands on this highly innovative, fast-growing platform. Social Media Managers thus need to keep a few important techniques in mind if they’re set on mastering Twitter.

Here’s our list of the 5 main ones:

1. Content Is King

The first thing any budding social media manager should understand is that Twitter’s wheels spin furiously to the tune of great content. This means initially outlining a detailed plan of action for the page in question. This ranges from picking the right Twitter handle to streaming the content of the page through “post testing” and some trial and error practices.

In doing so, any growing Twitter account will distinguish its community interests within the context of its product as well as the content that corresponds to the page.

2. Define Your Audience

The crucial element of defining your audience is making sure that your social target audience directly corresponds to the target audience of your product.

This will best allow you to target potential customers in and around an exciting and active Twitter page. A top tip here would be to keep a keen eye on your Twitter demographics section, which allows users to monitor their community’s interests. Twitter also goes a step further by allowing admins to see what their followers’ biggest fields of interests are in terms of grouped percentage rates; i.e. Sports, Entertainment, etc.

 3. Consistency Is Key

Twitter penalizes page rankings when posts are released either too sporadically or close together. So it is important to gain some sort of understanding as to what the “right times”, “wrong times” and “best times” are to post tweets.

This can only be done via testing the water and posting different content at different times. The important thing here is reacting to the response of your tweets via an in-depth understanding of Twitter Analytics, which should become your new best friend (as you’ll see below).

4. Master Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics should become an integral part of any social media manger’s daily utensils for success. It allows admins to access all the necessary information that can determine the ultimate destiny of the page.

Some social media managers get too bogged down on Retweets and Likes, but the key to real analytics success is twofold:

  • Calculating the page’s engagement rate in percentage form. This is done by dividing the page’s impressions by the page’s engagements for a given amount of tweets. This provides admins with an average rate of engagement. A respectable industry standard lies at about 4-6%, and this can give any social media manager the indication that the page is moving in the right direction.
  • Monitoring the number of mentions, @s, and click-throughs to your company’s website. This gives the all-important indication that your branding is working and that your social media activity is having a direct impact on your company’s product and thus revenue.

5. The Power of Imagery & Captions

They say “a picture is worth 1,000 words”…  Well, guess how many words a video represents? The answer is a lot!

Twitter studies have shown that multimedia-rich posts receive a whopping 94% more engagement if compelling visual elements, such as videos, pictures, or graphics are added to tweets. Here are some more figures for you to digest:

  • Use of visual content in Twitter campaigns can lead to 65% more engagement per month.
  • A clickable caption above an image can lead to 73% more engagement across social media platforms.

So a picture really is worth 1,000 words and a whole lot more engagement.

Conclusion

The key to all of the aforementioned points about Twitter is to take all advice with a pinch of salt. Immerse yourself in the platform, as every page and every community is an animal in itself. We’ve listed five great general guidelines that can help you achieve success, but the ultimate goal is for you to find the added value that can ultimately distinguish your Twitter page from all the others.

4 PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESSFULLY MAINTAINING WEBSITE UPTIME

Have you ever visited your favorite website, only to find that it was down? If so, you surely understand the importance of website uptime. In this article, we will examine four of the most important principles of successfully maintaining website uptime, namely: uptime monitoring, data backups, data redundancy, and failover.

Why is Uptime so Important?

  • Protects your business reputation
  • Keeps your customers happy
  • Prevents lost sales
  • Poor server uptime can impact your search ranking

 Uptime Monitoring

Server and Application monitoring proactively track website and server health (such as HTTP, Memory, Disk, CPU, Network, and Load Time), alerting you in case of any critical failure so that you can react as fast as possible.

Monitoring domain expiration, blacklist status, malware detection, and many other custom checks expand the capabilities of performance indicators. It also allows you to regularly review your monitoring data, be able to detect long-time trends, and continuously improve websites performance.

As part of uptime management, it is important to integrate a tiered support structure into the 24/7 Network Operation Center (NOC) service by detecting, prioritizing, escalating, and immediately and efficiently resolving incidents. This helps optimize the cloud-based IT operation, tackle system downtime and, ultimately, guarantee operational peace of mind.

24/7 NOC Service benefits include:

  • Alerting – immediate notification of problems (Email, SMS, Phone)
  • Analyzing – quick and accurate diagnosis of problems when they do occur
  • Trouble-ticketing documentation
  • Coordination and escalation
  • Predefined protocol enhancement

 Data Backups

Backups are very important to ensure that your website maintains consistent operations. If something goes wrong, your data has been corrupted, or an upgrade does not go smoothly, a data backup will allow you to get your website back online quickly.

 Data Redundancy

One way to increase backup reliability is to combine redundancy into your backup solution. Data redundancy will copy your website data over to a backup server, which is designed to come online if a production server fails. Therefore, when a production server goes down, a different (backup) one can temporarily pick up the slack. The backup server is constantly synchronized and is provisioned to take over the primary production server at any time.

 Failover

Based on data redundancy implementation, automatic DNS failover and monitoring solutions can guarantee that as soon as a website goes down, all traffic will be automatically pointed to a backup server. Once the solution detects that the primary production server is running again, traffic will then automatically be diverted back there. DNS failover is able to provide an effective primary defense solution against downtime caused by infrastructure failures.

 Conclusion

It’s clear that if your website is down, it will have detrimental effects on your business, your traffic, and your reputation. Thus, measures should be taken to ensure as little website downtime as possible. As illustrated above, following the four primary principles elaborated upon will serve you well in this respect.

 

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SEO

SEO managers are always looking for tips, tricks, and quick wins. Here are 5 useful tips from our SEO experts you can add to your toolbox to boost your rankings.

Tip #1 – Provide the Best Result

One of our SEO experts tells a personal story. One night, while at a party with friends, he is asked to play the guitar. The guitar is out of tune, and he turns to Google for help. The first three results are not helpful. So, he decides to build a site that actually helps people tune a guitar on the go. In no time, the site is ranking, being used correctly (see heatmap slide) and eventually becomes the #1 result for people searching for “tuning a guitar.”

This example illustrates the importance of providing something valuable, something that others can’t provide. This is a major principle in SEO and should always be the starting point when launching a site or a new page. Basically, be the #1 result, both in ranking and in content for desired search queries.

Tip #2 – Base Keyword Research on Competitors

Researching keywords can be a daunting task. Our SEO experts simplify the process and explain what to focus on. While researching keywords, factors such as search volume, relevancy, and trends (rankings and search volume) are crucial. The experts stress the importance of focusing on competitor keywords. These are the keywords that can help fine tune your approach to keyword research.

Use the SEMRush tool to export all keywords that competitors are ranking for. This data allows you to identify new keywords with significant search volume. Another helpful point: if a competitor ranks for too many keywords, filter the list by focusing only on your main keyword or topic.

 Tip #3 – Get Natural Links From Competitors

This is not an easy thing to do. One strategy we recommend is first to identify your competitors. Then, write an article that highlights those competitors. For example, if you own bed and breakfast, seek out your competitors and write an article about the best bed and breakfasts in that area.
After the article is published, notify your competitors using any means necessary (e.g., social media, email, contact form, etc.) There is a good chance they will share or even link to the article from their website.

 Tip #4 – Identify New Keyword Opportunities

Identifying new keyword opportunities is tricky, but very rewarding. Our experts say one should start by exporting all search analytics stats from Search Console. After the export, filter the keywords with the average position of 4–10. These are the keywords that with a little push will have a big impact. It’s important to remind the audience of the benefits of ranking in positions 1–3.
After the position filter, sort by impressions, which represent the search volume.

 Tip #5 – Use the “Broken Links Tactic.”

Start by searching in Google the following, site:Wikipedia.org keyword “dead link.” Replace keyword with the niche of your business or website. This search will lead to pages on Wikipedia with broken references. Scroll to the bottom or use the Find tool to locate the dead links on that page. These links existed at some point, and since they are broken, you can turn it into a win.
First, try to visit the link and see what happens. Then, search the broken link using archive.org to see the content. Now is the time to rewrite the broken article and repurpose it for your site. After it’s live, it can now be submitted to Wikipedia.

Another great strategy we recommend is to see if the broken link has any backlinks. If it does, reach out to those sites, inform them of the broken link (bad for SEO) and send them your article. This will hopefully drive traffic from Wikipedia as well as help strengthen your backlink profile at the same time.

These 5 tips help with everything from keyword implementation to enhancing your backlink strategy. There are many ways to boost your SEO and staying on top of your game is what matters most.

 

ASK NOT WHAT AN INFLUENCER CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR AN INFLUENCER

In the perpetual search for increased website traffic, one source marketers love to tap into is social media, influencers in particular. When someone with a large audience – on Twitter, for example – broadcasts a message out there into the world, their followers listen. Thus, getting an influencer to tweet out a link to your website has much intrinsic value.

What’s in It for Jerry?

The thing is that it’s tough to truly reach celebrities and industry influencers. Sure, anyone can type in @JerrySeinfeld in front of a tweet and ask him for an RT; that accessibility is part of the beauty of Twitter. Almost 100% of the time, however, that will simply not work. There are many obvious reasons why, but one stands out among the rest: what’s in it for Jerry?

Indeed, too many marketers fall into the trap of drinking their own Kool-Aid, as it were, believing “hey, we’re awesome; why wouldn’t a big celebrity or influencer spread the word about us?” Too often, we fail to realize that not everyone in the world – especially celebrities and influencers – cares about our products and websites as much as we do; or at all, for that matter.

Strike Up a Friendship

The trick, then, is to get influencers to care in the first place. Rather than immediately go for the hard sell, asking an influencer to “do for you,” the more optimal strategy is to slowly but surely build a relationship with the said influencer. Get them to care about you, your site, and/or your product by focusing your general outreach on why you/your site/your product are great – and why that ought to matter to the influencers.

Think about it from Jerry’s perspective; he must get approached all the time by people and companies begging for his endorsement. In all likelihood, he wouldn’t give the time of day to someone pushing any “random” product out there. However, if he used the product in the first place – or at least had some passing familiarity with it – then perhaps he’d at least dedicate some time to investigating whether the product was worth his time upon being pitched to.

Moreover, if you think about what drives your impulses to try things, often it’s a recommendation from a trusted source, like a friend. Even the great Jerry Seinfeld is 1,000x more likely to try a new bar of soap if it was recommended to him by a friend rather than some Marketing Director from a multinational soap company.

Build Relationships Organically

If you, your website, and your product truly are worth paying attention to, then building an audience of followers will happen organically. That is to say, the more that people begin hearing about it, the larger your fan base will grow. One must engage with this fan base, develop real relationships and corral as many social influencers into it as possible. The key to unlocking influencer success, then, is by becoming friendly with them. You want to be that person who has Jerry’s ear when he starts making jokes about the poor quality of his existing bar of soap.

Of course, the way to become anyone’s friend is not to start pitching and selling to them the first time you meet them. Rather, you’d naturally take an interest in their lives and what they do. You’d strike up casual conversations with them. You’d engage with them in the same way you would with any friend you’ve ever had in life.

In It for the Long Run

Getting social media influencers on the side of your brand is not a short-term strategy, nor is there a way to cut corners so as to gather influencers at a lightning-quick pace. It’s something that you and your colleagues need to be fully invested in for the long haul. Some of the greatest advocates for your brand will be those who value what it brings to the table.

If you can successfully employ this strategy, then when the time comes for you to broadcast your message to the masses and attract visitors to your website, you won’t even need to turn to your influencers directly for help… because they’ll already care and be more than happy to help you spread your message… as your friends.

 

AGILE AS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD CONTINUOUS DELIVERY

Agile is a set of software development methods that aims to address not knowing what challenges will occur in the future by focusing on the known and important rather than attempting to plan the unplannable and address features that may never be implemented.

What is the Agile Process?

Agile is an incremental, iterative development process taking place in short development cycles – known as sprints. Each sprint has a committed scope of the “top important requirements” prioritized by the Product Owner.

The “Agile team” is an organic cross-functional team that can independently take a customer need from an idea to a working production feature.

Who Uses Agile at Webpals?

All Webpals products are being developed via Agile, with Scrum and Kanban being two of the most popular Agile methods.

In Scrum we have a start day and delivery day; both are fixed. The Agile team is committed to delivering the agreed scope to production at the end of the sprint, as stable, production-ready software.

In Kanban there are no sprints, nor is there a delivery scope. There is a backlog of requirements/tasks that need to be executed efficiently according to their priorities.

 Key Agile Principles

  • Interaction among individuals that encourages teamwork and collaboration is the key factor in getting things done.
  • Working software is more important than great documentation.
  • Customer collaboration and the product owner’s daily interaction with the development team is essential for a great product and high customer satisfaction.
  • Quick response to changes in both requirements and priorities as features are continuously developed and deployed.

 Step-By-Step 60-Second Illustration of Agile

  • Product owner creates a detailed list of customer/product requirements.
  • Product owner prioritizes the requirements not by “high, medium, low” but via a list, ordered by importance.
  • The Agile team gives a general effort estimation as a single number, called “story points”, which reflect the complexity and total effort required to complete the feature.
  • The team estimates, based on previous sprint experience, the number of story points they can complete within the sprint – and commit to the partial doable list.
  • Greenlight! We start executing the sprint scope. With a 10-day countdown, we do 8 development days, where we rapidly develop, pack, and test the features, followed by a 2-day sanity test where we ensure product functionality.
  • The final result of the sprint is a new product version that contains only the fully tested features that are ready for production deployment.
  • Finally, we deploy the new software to production and start the next sprint, with new features, new challenges, known delivery date, and quality standards.

 

 

WRITE FOR PEOPLE, NOT GOOGLE; BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, NOT LINKS

Content marketing is a relatively new field and “how to do it right” is something that’s still being figured out amongst those working in the industry. Nonetheless, one thing that can be universally agreed upon by all content marketers is that it is not “the Internet” or “Google” that we market to, but rather it is people who we are targeting.

Over the years, search engine optimization (SEO) has proven to be one of the most – if not THE most – reliable methods for online traffic acquisition. For close to two decades, SEOs have racked their brains working to try and crack Google’s algorithm and rank at or near the top for particular search terms. Indeed, as the world’s largest search engine, Google can be relied upon to drive traffic from people looking for answers (in the form of keywords and phrases).

One method SEOs commonly use to strengthen websites and improve their ranking on search engine results pages is link acquisition; in other words, getting other sites to link to your sites. Often, lots of money will be invested in pursuing this strategy in order to ensure that your sites have a broad and diverse backlink profile from as many authority sites as possible.

While there’s no doubting the importance of SEO, at the end of the day, websites are built for their content to be consumed by people; not Google’s crawlers. Even the most “technically perfect” article or Web page won’t be of any value to a person if its content was compiled by someone whose only job is to ensure that a checklist of terms and keywords were included.

When producing content, the goal should be to give value to the consumer. In other words, beyond crafting catchy titles to initially get a potential reader to click, a writer needs to have the goal of leaving the reader with more information, knowledge, etc. about a particular topic. With that as a goal, more often than not, all those critical keywords and search phrases end up getting included in the text anyway. More importantly, however, the consumer is far more likely to share the content (e.g., via social media), thus providing it with added reach. Articles don’t go viral because they happen to be ranked #1 on Google for a particular keyword. They go viral when enough people gain from it and feel as though it’s worth sharing with others.

By the same token, having great content is one critical component of obtaining a link, but getting the right people to be exposed to it is the other piece of that puzzle. Getting other websites to discuss and give overage to your content is every marketer’s dream. Remember that behind those other websites sit people, just like you. Those people are far more likely to listen to what you have to say if they already know you, even if you’ve never met face-to-face. When you invest the time in establishing relationships with people like webmasters, writers, and editors, you’ll have a captive audience of influencers ready to listen to what you have to say when you let them know that you’ve just published some great content. More often than not, they’ll be happy to link to your content… and it won’t have cost you a dime.

The Internet is not a standalone entity. People “make the Internet happen”. If the content you produce is geared towards people and marketed to people with whom you’ve built relationships over time, you’re guaranteed to have an audience that will constantly be eager to see what you have to publish next.

15 QUICK TIPS ON IMPROVING YOUR SITES SEO

With hundreds of ranking signals, it’s very easy to overlook SEO issues. That’s why, from time to time, it’s important to look at some real-life examples; a friendly audit, if you will. To help identify common issues, the list below covers many aspects of SEO.

Examples of SEO Issues on Popular Sites

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – www.macklemore.com

  1. Two versions of the site exist, www.macklemore.com/ and macklemore.com/ (missing www).
    a. This is an issue because Google indexes the site without a www. Someone who visits www.macklemore.com/ should redirect to the version without www.
  2. The link to macklemore.com/shows from the homepage redirects to macklemore.com/shows/ (slash at end of URL). Therefore, the link in the code should be with a slash at the end too.
    a. Google should easily find pages on the site. The more redirects or broken links, the harder Google needs to work.
  3. Both the homepage and macklemore.com/shows have an h1 in the code, but that text does not appear on the page.
    a. This is considered hidden content, which is a bad practice and can get a site punished.
  4. According to ahrefs.com, this link has the third-most referring domains linking to it, macklemore.com/post/86276707372/family-friends-and-fans-alike-who-know-me-well. Unfortunately, the page does not exist anymore.
    a. Since rankings are influenced by link juice (referring domains) it’s a good idea to redirect this page to another relevant one or re-publish it with the same URL.
  5. Add more text on pages, and more pages in general.
    a. This will give the site a chance to get traffic from related search terms, not just brand related terms. For example, adding content about awards, bio, or discography will allow the site to gain many more visitors.

 

World Health Organization – www.who.int/en

  1. The homepage will benefit from another paragraph of branded content.
    a. An explanation of the World Health Organization can help the page rank for major keywords related to health or WHO initiatives.
  2. Deindex duplicate pages that contain a ? within the URL. For example, http://www.who.int/en/?zoom_highlight=language; just like the homepage.
    a. A Google search of “site:www.who.int/en” shows all indexed pages within that directory. Fix this by adding disallow parameters in http://www.who.int/robots.txt.
  3. Add the sitemap to the robots.txt file.
  4. Improve title tags on internal pages.
    a. All title tags on nearly every page start with WHO. This isn’t necessary, as the homepage only needs to rank for people searching for WHO.
    b. Many title tags are too long. They should fit 512 pixels. It’s useless to have title tags that get cut off, and Google doesn’t like it either.
  5. According to PageSpeed Insights, the mobile version is slow and there can be a number of issues fixed.

 

Hojtar – www.hotjar.com

  1. The homepage title tag is too long and over optimized.
  2. Many sites link to http://www.hotjar.com. Contact those sites to switch to https.
  3. hotjar.com/heatmaps has icons that display text when hovering over them. Some words spill over into a second line; e.g., “Heatmaps” (in the “Click and Tap Heatmaps” section).
  4. Add a sitemap to hotjar.com/robots.txt.
  5. Images are either missing alt and title tags or they are duplicate.