How would search engine evolve in the next 10 years? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Haifeng Wang, VP at Baidu, on Quora:

When we talk about search engines today, search boxes and search results come to our minds. What might future search engines look like? We are not sure. But we would be happy to have a much more powerful search engine that we may see, hear and even feel in different scenarios, different products or different interfaces. Search will be everywhere.

Firstly, deeper understanding of user’s intent, deeper understanding of content and more accurate matching of intent and content would empower the search engine. The understanding of user’s intent will depend not only on a single query, but also on more comprehensive search contexts, including query sessions, time, location, device, and the user’s personalization features.

The understanding of the content, on the other hand, will also go much further, and will be a better understanding of semantic, context, opinions, as well as other aspects of each piece of content and knowledge will be extracted from the content. The matching from intent to content will take all the above-mentioned factors into consideration so as to provide the best results for each individual under any specific context. In addition, the search engine will become more like an “answering engine” and an “execution engine”. A large proportion of the user queries will be directly answered or performed.

Secondly, the search interface will have many innovative changes. Besides the keyboard, other input methods like voice and image will become much more widely used. Users would enjoy the highly efficient and convenient multi-modal search with more practical technologies of speech and image and so on. Especially, natural language interaction which will become the mainstream way of interacting with search engines. Users can “talk” with the search engine, telling it what they want, which is absolutely much easier and more natural than first turning their requests into keyword-based queries and then inputting the queries into the search engine. Users could also interact with the search engine using multi-turn dialogue. Baidu search has been an early bird practicing such new interface to improve user experience.

Thirdly, search would go beyond search engines. It will be embedded in all kinds of products. For example, search is one of the essential features in AI hardware. In the future, search will be everywhere, all round us. Accordingly, we will redefine what can be searched. In addition to the contents already indexed by current search engines, more services, objects, devices and data can be indexed and searchable in the future.

Search engines have long played a vital role in everyone’s daily life. People’s need determines what direction search engines evolve and the technology advancements decide how far search engines evolve.

source : forbes.com

Categorized in Search Engine

In recent years search engines have been optimized around users needs and their search experience. Google has evolved in rewarding content that is valuable and relevant to readers.

Modern-day SEO is all about user intent, and you can improve your online presence by focusing on several key psychological principles to entice your readers, rank well in the search rankings and ultimately, help grow your business.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can understand your audience and the steps needed to create content that gets found in Google.

Customer Personas Should Direct SEO

Online marketers love to get into the heads of their customers. We do this with A/B testing, analytics, and other methods to understand what our audience does when they consume our content. One tool to understand the mind of your target audience is to build customer personas.

You can use customer personas as a sort of blueprint to help articulate details about your audience. Customer personas assist you in identifying areas that you can fill with quality content aimed at addressing and solving their problems.

You can start the process of building customer personas by talking to people you have done business with in the past, or individuals who represent your ideal client.

Some questions you can ask to get more information about how your products and services can solve their problems include:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What products or services have they used in the past?
  • Why do they continue to use those goods and services, or why did they cease using them?
  • What types of solutions will they not use?

Customer personas help you align your content with the qualities of your readers.

For example, your content will look, read, and position itself differently depending on if your target audience is a middle-aged man or a pre-teen female. You need to create content with specific qualities based on your audience if you want that content to resonate and lead to online conversions and sales.

Today’s search engines work to connect relevant content with searchers based on the questions in each search query. While search engines in the past were pretty clunky, modern-day search engines are powered by behavioral learning algorithms and LSI keywords to increase the quality and relevancy of search results.

Each time someone searches for something on Google, searchers are asking a question. You can optimize content for your users once you understand that they are asking questions when they visit Google.

Questions reflect the intent of your users, so you should create content that addresses the core questions of your customers.

Position your content around the needs of your audience from your customer personas. How you do this will look different based on your business and industry, but here are a few examples to get you started:

  • “Restaurant near me” means “I am hungry, don’t want to cook, and want to eat somewhere now.”
  • “Best barber for men” means “I am a man and what is the most trusted barber for me?”
  • “U.S. presidential information” means “I am interested in U.S. politics and what is some information about President nominees?”

The purpose behind a search will vary from person to person even when the same search query is used. This is why you should produce specific content for specific personas. Once you figure out what your customers are after, you can create engaging content that drives them towards a conversion.

User Intent and Keyword Research

If your business wants to grow its online presence and attract new customers, then you need to focus on the intent and needs of your users. The way user intent translates to the digital marketing world is through keywords and search terms used by users who are looking for a particular product or service.

Every search query put into Google is a question.

People go to Google to ask specific issues with the goal of finding specific answers. Through various algorithm changes, Google has shown that their primary interest is to deliver relevant content to users. For Google, this ensures people keep coming back to their service, and their end-users build brand loyalty with Google’s product suite.

Although keyword research remains an essential component of semantic SEO, your business needs to change the way it conducts and implements keywords.

Creating content around keywords will bring your content closer to user intent and its variations. Here are a few points to consider when creating more user-focused keywords for your business content.

Semantic SEO and Search Engines

Semantic search is the newest focus by Google and other search engines that focus on how each word is situated in a search query and the relationship between those words.

Integrating semantic search terms enriches your content and makes your online content more readable for your readers. This approach also helps prevent repeating keywords too many times, and it improves how search engines read your content in several ways, including:

  • Introduces various sets of keywords that are directly related to your original set of keywords.
  • An active secondary set of keywords helps build rich context for search engines to understand your content and deliver better results to your customers.

By focusing on what each user types into the search bar, Google can understand what the user is looking for on a deeper level compared to only looking at keywords. In a sense, semantic SEO takes the entire search query into account and uses past searches by the user and similar searches to intelligently find the meaning and intent of the user’s expectations.

How to Perform Semantic SEO Keyword Research

As your business builds content around semantic keywords, you will want to begin by looking at your customer personas and your target audience. Since semantic SEO is meant to deliver more relevant content to your audience, you need to work on the requirements and desires of your audience.

Once you identify the problems and questions your customers are looking for through Google search queries, you will be able to build valuable content. However, there is some research needed to ensure you create your content efficiently.

Before writing a single blog post or putting together a stellar infographic, you will want to create a simple spreadsheet outlining the topics, concepts, and keywords to cover. Here is an example of the spreadsheet your business can make in about 10 minutes to save you a lot of time and money.

Let’s take a look at the exact steps and tools your business can use to create the above spreadsheet. As you see, the spreadsheet covers essential elements of semantic SEO keywords, including:

  • Topic
  • Concepts
  • Keywords

 

1. Topic

Begin thinking about your content based on your user personas. Figure out what your readers are looking for and how you can tie those searches back to your business. You can start this step by looking through real-world questions your customers are asking. Some places to consider include:

  • Your customer service records and calls
  • Reddit
  • Quora

 

Once you know what your customers are searching for, you will be able to identify the base topics to cover. For this example, I will use the search topic of “Semantic Search” since that is what I am writing about right now.

2. Concepts

The next step is to identify your core set of ideas based around your core topics. These concepts will be the root of all keywords and will be the base of your content.

As you begin to think about what your customers are asking for the topics listed above, you will be able to find key points to create content around. These concepts should be connected to the problems (or questions) your customers ask and connect them back to your business.

SEMRush is the primary tool I use for this stage of semantic SEO keyword research. The free version works fine for me, and here is a screenshot of findings with notes on the important elements to pay attention to.

3. Keywords

Finally, you will build a list of keywords related to the core concepts and topics that your customers are searching for. These keywords, phrases, and search terms should be relevant to your main topic and supporting ideas.

These keywords should be unique from your concepts and main issue but connect based on how the words and ideas work together. The best free tool I use for this stage of semantic SEO keyword research is LSIGraph.com. Below is a screenshot of some keywords I chose based on my research of LSIGraph.com

Conclusion

Since your business is working to acquire market share and retain your customers, you need to make sure that all your content is relevant to your readers and easily found in search engines.

Semantic SEO keyword research makes it possible for you to save time and money when creating content. The future of SEO strategies need to focus on the intent of users and the quality of your content.

You can use the above tools and processes to deliver the content your customers are looking for so you can drive more traffic and close more sales through your online business!

Author: Chris Giarratana
Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/user-intent-future-seo/184217

 

Categorized in Search Engine

Back in 1995, everyone’s favourite astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, published a book called The Demon-Haunted World, which warned against the dangers of pseudoscience and scientific illiteracy, and encouraged its readers to learn critical and skeptical thinking.

Pretty standard stuff for a socially conscious scientist, but one passage in particular has been blowing up on Twitter this week, and it’s not hard to see why. 

Somehow, (we’re not saying time machine, but probably time machine) Sagan managed to predict the state of things as they are today - and it’s unnervingly accurate.

We’re talking the decline in manufacturing jobs; people feeling hopeless about politics; politicians refusing or unable to represent the public interest; and brilliant, revolutionary technologies that never seem to change the lives of anyone but the 1 percent.

The result? Sagan predicts people will opt for superstition and pseudoscience over reality - and even more concerning, he says the public will be intellectually incapable of distinguishing between what makes us feel good, and what’s actually true. Fake news, anyone?

Yep, this passage has got it all:

View image on Twitter 

So did Sagan somehow know enough about society in 1995 that he could accurately predict what life would be like in a couple of generations, or are we all reading too much into it?

Oddly enough, the way we interpret this kind of prediction actually has a lot to do with how we interpret horoscopes - one of Sagan’s biggest bugbears. 

Horoscopes have nothing to do with reality, but they owe their enormous success to the fact that humans tend to see what they want to see.

So while we can be pessimistic about the future of society as a whole, humans are generally pretty optimistic about their individual future prospects - a concept known as optimism bias.

It's actually an evolutionary survival tactic - and that's something horoscopes directly tap into.

As Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist from University College London, explains for TIME:

"You might expect optimism to erode under the tide of news about violent conflicts, high unemployment, tornadoes and floods and all the threats and failures that shape human life. Collectively we can grow pessimistic - about the direction of our country or the ability of our leaders to improve education and reduce crime. But private optimism, about our personal future, remains incredibly resilient."

Thanks to humanity's optimism bias, you could show someone all the statistics related to divorce, cancer, and average lifespan, and more often than not, they'll choose to believe that those negative experiences won't happen to them.

So when we see horoscopes that tell us we're going to meet our soulmate or get a big promotion this month, we choose to believe it, and don't tend to go back and fact-check it - the horoscope has already done its job by making us feel good.

A similar thing goes on when we're presented with a spookily accurate prediction of the future - part of the cognitive bias that's wired into all humans is that we are drawn to details that confirm our existing beliefs.

As Matt Novak points out over at Gizmodo: "[I]t’s important to remember that the 'accuracy' of predictions is often a Rorschach test. An interpretation of a particular prediction’s accuracy usually says a lot about the people interpreting them, and their own hopes or fears for the future."

We also need to put these predictions into context, because once you read past the viral passage, you'll see that Sagan is kinda trying to blame the state of things in the future on... Beavis and Butthead?

"The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

As I write, the number one video cassette rental in America is the movie Dumb and Dumber. Beavis and Butthead remains popular (and influential) with young TV viewers. The plain lesson is that study and learning - not just of science, but of anything - are avoidable, even undesirable."

How delighted Sagan would be to know that in 2016, more young people were watching David Attenborough than The X Factor. Mind-numbing television is actually the least of our problems right now.

But even with all that said, we do have to give props to Sagan for coming up with a really cracking prediction for the beginning of 2017. Let's hope for better things to come in the months and years ahead.

Author : BEC CREW

Source : http://www.sciencealert.com/the-internet-is-freaking-out-over-this-spooky-prediction-by-carl-sagan-about-the-future

Categorized in Others

Industry experts and influencers provide impactful and action-oriented information all year long via blogs, video and social media. To start the new year off right we asked 17 of them to give us their number one tip as we’re heading into 2017.

Each insight will help you as you plan your digital marketing strategy for the coming year. Step out of your comfort zone and start 2017 off with these awesome insights.

Expert Insights into 2017 from the Pros You Know

1. Look Mom, No Hands!

Voice Search will take a huge leap in the search marketing industry in 2017. Search engines are getting smarter, and consumers are relying on speaking over typing – especially when we need to be hands-free. Major brands such as Google and Amazon have taken advantage of the evolution of voice search, why shouldn’t you? ~ Lance Bachmann

2. Personalize the Customer Experience

2017 is going to be a cutthroat year in business. The key to standing out this year, I think, is to personalize the customer experience as much as possible. This means more marketing automation, more personalized content and a better integration of all your different channels. This will help make more conversions, improve loyalty and increase your sales. ~ Lilach Bullock

3. Avoid Bright, Shiny Objects

The key to success in any endeavor is focus. Stay focused on those top 3–5 priorities critical to reaching your goals. Avoid distractions that could derail your efforts to achieve success. ~ John Carroll

4. 2017 Will Be More Mobile and Local Than Ever!

Mobile, local search and smart technology make up the digital trifecta for 2017. Opportunity is still expanding so join the race! A healthy digital marketing strategy means ensuring accurate online citations, monitoring reputation and interacting with customers. Start with a free visibility report to reveal where a business stands in local search results, then take it from there! ~ Bernadette Coleman

5. Rock Your Wrap-Up & Your Roll-Out

A little planning can go a long way toward a successful year-end wrap up & new year roll-out. Back up your files. Order the supplies you’ll need for the new year (yes, that old chair that makes your back hurt needs to go!). Give yourself the gift of self-care, for it will help you to be able to help others. Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016 wrap-up & a stellar 2017! ~ Laura Darkstar

6. Connection. Collaboration. Conversion.

2017 is the year you can soar to success! You don’t need a mantra, you just need a mission! Focus on creating the right connections, which can turn into collaboration, and you’ll get more conversions.

What’s the secret? Put yourself in the right place at the right time! This means get out of the office (or the easy chair) and get to events to mingle with the movers and shakers in your niche! Don’t be a stalker, be a resource. ~ Patty Farmer

7. Mobile Will Continue to Thrive in Search

When it comes to search, think mobile. For 2017, we will continue to see more searches performed from mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. So, if 2016 was the year of the mobile device, it will be even bigger in 2017. That said, we need to optimize websites for mobile devices first—which means speeding up the load of your web pages, as well as making sure your site is mobile friendly. If you publish content, then make sure that you are set up to deliver your content in AMP. HTTPs, alongside mobile, will also be necessary—which means that if you haven’t secured your website, your search engine rankings could suffer. ~ Bill Hartzer

8. Be Progress

Strategize and commit to a progress based video-centric digital marketing plan and then show patience and persistence. Remember, prospects want progress, not mere change. Make sure each digital impression in your digital footprint offers the promise of progress. ~ Dean Lindsay

9. Learn to Leverage Immersive Video Content in 2017!

Mobile-first immersive 360-degree content is set to explode in 2017! Marketers who embrace live streaming and a focus on short form video content will be able to exploit the shift to 5G wireless which will see record numbers of users consuming video content than ever before. Pay particular attention to brands creating live content at industry events specifically for mobile distribution. ~ Casey Markee

10. Don’t Write for Search Engines: Write for the Answer Engine

Use Google Search Console and the Search Analytics to identify searches that are in the form of a question? “How do I…”, “Why is it…” and “My… is broken”? then create content based on these searches.

With the increase  in mobile usage and the use of voice search, these searches are becoming even more important. Ultimately the goal is to increase leads to new customers finding us over our competition. ~ John Nosal

11. Don’t Stop, Won’t Stop

2017 should be the year we all throw out the old, literally. Old ideas, old strategies, old ads, EVERYTHING! Let’s all put our energy into being more creative and willing to push the envelope like never before. What successes can you find in 2017? Only you can answer that! So my best tip is to go out looking for all new ideas and new strategies you’ve never tried before. BE RELENTLESS in 2017! ~ Roxanne Roark

12. Wanna Succeed in 2017? Open Your Eyes and Ears!

Open your eyes and listen up – to new and different people. Read/follow more people you respect for unique perspectives. Visit marketing and advertising websites you haven’t seen before. Mix new tactics into client proposals to shake things up. This is what I’ll be doing in 2017. What about you? ~ Harley David Rubin

13. Update Your Business in Local Search Listings

Make sure the local search listings have the most up-to-date information on you and your business in 2017. Optimizing submissions to local search listings will quickly build links that search engines can see so others can find your business. For quick and easy ways to do this & other terrific tips, check out “365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great At NETWORKING!”. ~ John Sparks

14. Get Back to the Basics

To compete in 2017 businesses must get their website architecture right first. It’s IT, identity and then marketing. Website technology is improving with component development and new code languages, everything is now on Git and we have absolute version control and collaboration for code and content.

Focus on leveraging hosting solutions that provide control and log file access. Loading a bloated theme on cPanel is simply not enough these days. Does your website load in 1 sec or less? A site that loads fast and renders based on the user requirements, device and browser doesn’t have to worry about Google’s next big change. It is already efficient. These kinds of sites are ready for whatever is thrown at them. ~ Mike Stewart

15. Get Live with Vid 2017!

Customers watch streaming video 300% longer than recorded video, mobile devices and mobile networks have progressed to the point that streaming video from your phone is near professional quality, and social platforms themselves are making major pushes into streaming video with Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram, YouTube, and more. It seems that whether or not companies want to get involved in streaming video, many more brands will be using it, and customers will be more likely to expect it. It offers an unscripted, behind-the-scenes look at your company, perhaps Q&A with experts, tips from your top users, or product announcements and feedback. Streaming video allows for a two-way conversation that has not existed before. ~ Eric T. Tung

16. Increase Your Value to Your Employer, Your Clients, & Yourself in 2017

No matter your digital marketing job title, you must understand all the moving parts. DFWSEM brings you the TED speakers of digital marketing. The thinkers, doers, and idea generators. Increase your value to your employer, your clients, and most importantly to yourself. Out-of-town conference value, at a stay-at-home-price. I plan to be there. You should too. ~ Scott Vann

17. Year of the Human and Bot Recommendations

This is the year that bots and humans recommending content to friends and family that seek it will start to take over from traditional search and display advertising. Facebook’s ‘Recommendations’ is only the beginning. Focus on Word of Mouth campaigns and anticipate Facebook Recommendations to add a paid unit by end of year. ~ Joe Youngblood

These are important insights and get me excited about 2017! Did you notice a common theme here? I know all of these will help you improve and connect with your audience throughout 2017.

And yes, reading through this need-to-know info once again fires me up to share my own observation! It is…

New Social Media Tech Brings Customers Closer Than Ever

Technology? It never sleeps! The social media giants continue to tweak and improve their offerings (even as we speak). Check out virtual reality, live streaming video – and the ability to offer video through private chat! These game changers will grow social media as a customer service interface. Get on board with these exciting trends to bring benefits to users and business in 2017!

Stay up-to-date and get more great tips by subscribing to Rocks Digital all year long.

Author: Lissa Duty
Source: http://rocksdigital.com/new-year-insights-pros

Categorized in Future Trends

If you're looking forward to 2017, you can stop right now. Things will only get worse.

In fact, it's no exaggeration to suggest that the welcome death of 2016 – miserable troll of a year that it was – might usher in unimagined levels of worst-ness to the world.

Over the past year, we lost Leonard Cohen and gained President Donald Trump. World markets have been less reliable than a Kanye concert. And the American election was hacked by Russian cyber-spies. Overall, 2016 was as twisted as a David Cronenberg film. But compared to what lies ahead, it will seem like a Disney musical.   

Here are just four reasons to despair about 2017.    

Trump

President Trump

Since November 8, it's been fashionable to treat Trump with the authority and deference normally owed to the incoming leader of the free world. We are told that the presidency will change him. We are asked to give him a chance. We hear that he's taking advice from Barack Obama.

Nuts to all of that.

Nothing about Trump's conduct since winning inspires the slightest confidence. His Twitter tantrums continue – only now he spends as much time badmouthing foreign capitals as he does Alec Baldwin. He regularly refuses intelligence briefings, finding the detail of keeping the world secure to be dull work.

And for a cabinet, he's selected advisors who impressively combine Bond villain mega-wealth with ideological hostility. Veteran observers insist that the institutions of government will hem Trump in and curb disastrous outbursts. But there is exactly zero reason to believe this of a man who has based his public appeal on disavowal of those same institutions. Rookies make rookie mistakes. And the world is about to be led by the most powerful, uncoachable rookie of all time.  

Global Economy

After fuelling global economic growth for years, China is experiencing the lowest GDP outlook in a generation. To help ease domestic pain, Beijing has been selling U.S. treasuries and devaluing its own yuan. But America needs Chinese buyers for its debt. Guess how much it helps when the new president-elect trash talks the yuan on social media? All I want for Christmas is a currency war.

The new year will also see Brexit's chickens come home to roost, disrupting trade, jobs and growth in the world's largest single market. Meanwhile, central banks, after eight years of quantitative easing sleight of hand, are nearly out of magic tricks and the Fed is beginning to raise rates. Here at home, Trump's plan to tear up NAFTA should nicely impact our 1.1 per cent rate of growth.

Machzikei Hadas synagogue Ottawa swastika racist Nov. 17 2016

Prejudice

What a bull run the bigots are having. White supremacists are coming into the mainstream in ways unseen since desegregation of the American south. In France, Marine Le Pen is a legitimate contender to be president. In America, Trump's pick for attorney general was once denied a judgeship for a history of racially charged comments.

On our side of the border, it's been suggested that we should subject newcomers to a "values test" to scorecard their patriotic purity. Here's a good rule of thumb: when David Duke, one-time Imperial Wizard of the KKK is delighted with the way of the world, the way is wrong.

Journalism

You can't pick up a newspaper these days without reading about fake news and its apparent conquest of all media. Actually, you can hardly pick up a newspaper at all: they're gradually disappearing. In Canada, media organizations like Postmedia are choking on a fatal blend of falling ad revenues and rising debt charges. Professional journalists everywhere are heading for the exits, taking buyouts and leaving behind a legion of social media-inspired "citizen journalists." We're also told that we live in a post-factual world. These things are not unrelated. Sadly, 2017 will see traditional, professional media shrink more and matter less. And with it goes an enormous instrument of accountability, ethics and transparency.

It's not a very rosy outlook and human nature runs contrary to much of this analysis. We're wired to look ahead with hope, to dismiss the naysayers and expect that things will somehow work out for the best. But reason tells us that can't always be so. Now and then, the outlook is every bit as grim as it appears.  

Happy New Year.

Author: Scott Reid
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/despair-for-2017-1.3913984

Categorized in Future Trends

2016 has been a good year for the digital economy, but there is still a way to go on the journey toward digital transformation

1. Achieving digital transformation means being ‘glocal’

At its heart, digital transformation is about taking offline, manual or paper-based processes, making them digital and having the ability to scale them across not just an organisation but also any place an organization does business.

This ability to scale globally while keeping a local lens is especially important when it comes to regulatory compliance and data privacy. As companies move transactions online and begin to service global markets, regional regulations (e.g. eIDAS) and laws (e.g. data privacy) remain in play.

Doing business digitally also enables 24/7 transacting, which makes it more important than ever that mission-critical systems are backed up within and across multiple regions and readily available in case of crisis. This is especially so in light of increasing data breaches, global weather incidents and DDoS attacks like last October’s that took down a number of popular websites.

2. Security will play a pivotal role in digital transformation

With recent data breaches and hacking incidents like October’s DDoS attack, organisations are becoming more aware of where their weaknesses lie, namely around security.

Companies need to consider the security around each process or transaction they are taking digital. While digital transformation can seem overwhelming, especially with regard to securing digital transformation initiatives, an easy place to start with is with data protection, integrity and availability.

The next big frontier for security will be cloud app and software providers needing to work harder to ensure the availability of their service.

3. Starting small to go big is key to digital transformation

Digital transformation implies that an organisation needs to undertake a massive project, which can be intimidating and a potential roadblock to starting the digital transformation process.

However, it doesn’t have to be so complicated – digital transformation can be as simple as digitising one process or transaction across one line of business.

The best thing businesses can do is choose technology for digital transformation initiatives that can be built as enterprise solutions and reused across all lines of business and processes, essentially a “build once, deploy anywhere” model.

This simplified approach allows businesses to take on digital transformation at a pace that works for them.

4. Security in the digital world will be based on the ‘digital trust chain’

October’s DDoS attack highlighted how fragile digital transacting can be, with security often added after a hack or breach rather than upfront.

As a result, we are going to see a shift in how digital transformation is conceptualised to become rooted in transaction security. In the future, the concept of a digital trust chain that links technologies together to provide a secure transaction from end-to-end will be at the heart of digital transformation.

Author:  Ben Rossi

Source:  http://www.information-age.com/5-factors-driving-digital-transformation-123463707

Categorized in Future Trends

There are so many wonderful websites around, and it is difficult to know each and every one of them. The below list provides some of those websites that I find particularly helpful, even though they are not as famous or as prevalent as some of the big names out there.

1. BugMeNot

Are you bugged constantly to sign up for websites, even though you do not wish to share your email? If yes, then BugMeNot is for you. Instead of creating new logins, BugMeNot has shared logins across thousands of websites which can be used.

BugMeNot

2. Get Notify

This nifty little website tracks whether the emails sent by you were opened and read by the receiver. Moreover, it also provides the recipient’s IP Address, location, browser details, and more.

getNotify

3. Zero Dollar Movies

 

If you are on a constant lookout of free full length movies, then Zero Dollar movies provides a collection of over 15,000 movies in multiple languages that are available to watch for free on Youtube. It indexes only full length movies and no trailers, or partial uploads. In addition, it has a clean interface, contributing to a good movie watching experience.

ZeroDollarMovie

4. Livestream

Livestream allows you to watch and broadcast events live to viewers on any platform. For the next time when you want to share your company’s annual CEO speech live to employees who are on remote locations, Livestream serves as a perfect platform.

LiveStream

5. scr.im

scr.im converts your email address into a short custom URLs, that can be shared on public websites. This prevents your email id from getting picked up by spam robots, and email harvesters who are on a constant lookout from your email id.

Scrim

6. TinEye

TinEye is a Reverse Image search tool which is as accurate as Google’s Reverse Image search tool. As opposed to Google, TinEye provides a set of APIs that can be used for personal and commercial purposes, which makes it very useful for developers.

TinEye

7. Fax Zero

Fax Zero allows you to send faxes to US and Canada for free. Additionally, it enables you to send faxes to countries outside North America at a fixed pay per use cost.

FaxZero

8. Snopes

Do you believe that fingernails and hair continue to grow after death? Why don’t you check out if this is true, along with thousands of other urban folklore out there, at Snopes?

Snopes

9. Stickk

Is it difficult for you to stick to goals ? If yes, then let Stickk help you reach your goals. It makes use of commitment contracts to empower you to better your lifestyle.

Stickk

10. Boxoh

Boxoh can track the status of any shipment package on Google Maps.

BoxOH

11. PicMonkey

 

PicMonkey is an online Image editor, that allows you to touch up your images. Also, you can apply different effects, fonts, and designs to your images. It is a perfect tool to create pins for Pinterest and  awesome looking Facebook covers.

PicMonkey

12. Trello

Trello is a great online tool for organizing just about anything using Kanban style cards. It provides a highly visual way for Online Collaboration, and is a simple free tool for Task and Project Management.

Trello

13. Short Reckonings

Short Reckonings is an online tool to keep track of shared expenses. It is deceptively simple, easy to use, and allows you to enter expenses with the fewest possible clicks. A clean, ad-free interface adds to the charm of this simple website.

ShortReck

14. Memrise

Do you fancy learning new things in small byte sized packages? If yes, then Memrise is for you. The additive nature of gaming combined with memory improvement makes this an excellent resource.

memrise

15. Instructables

Instructables provides instructions to help you build just about anything you can imagine. It provides a platform for people to explore, document, and share their creations.

instructable

16. join.me

In today’s world, where collaboration across multiple stakeholders is key, join.me provides an online platform to share desktop screens. Record audio for meetings conducted with participants not in the same room. In addition, it is a simple tool to share your screen with just about anybody on the web.

JOIN.ME

17. Sync.in

 

Sync.in allows multiple people to edit documents and notes in real time. It is a great tool for online collaboration.

syncin

18. Privnote

Do you wish to share notes and information that self destructs immediately after it is read ? Privnote does exactly that.

PrivNote

19. ScribbleMaps

Have you ever wanted to place your personal markers, shapes, and scribbles on Google Maps? Even though Google Maps does not allow that, ScribbleMaps does, and it does a great job at it.

ScribbleMaps

20. TripIt

TripIt is a painless way to organize all the details of your vacation or business trip. Forget your flight time? Can’t find the e-mail with your hotel’s address? That won’t happen with TripIt, which keeps your itinerary in one place.

tripIt

21. Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site, providing instant online comparisons for millions of flights on over a thousand airlines, as well as car hire and hotels.

 

Skyscanner

22. Hostel Bookers

Hostel Bookers is one of the best search engines to search for cheap hostels and hotels while backpacking or traveling around the globe.

hostelbookers

23. Fitday

Fitday allows you to track you diet and weight loss through its journal. The personal dietician and free articles on nutrition and weight loss on their site are a great bonus.

fitday

24. Endomondo

Endomondo is a mobile app that allows you to track your workouts. The website allows detailed analysis of your training, that makes it a valuable tool to understand and plan your workouts.

endomondo

25. My Fitness Pal

If counting calories is your main goal, then My Fitness Pal is the best web and mobile application out there. The service has a massive database of meals and exercises to make it easy to accurately count calories.

My Fitness Pal

26. Fuelly

Fuelly tracks the gas mileage for your cars and helps you to analyze, share, and compare your vehicles fuel consumption.

fuelly

27. 3-Minute Journal

3 Minute Journal is different than most other Journals out there. This application allows you to track your moods, achievements, failures, and moments of gratitude. In addition, it does great analysis over these parameters.

3minJournal

28. 750 Words

750 Words is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; that advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

750 words

29. Kiva

Kiva is a micro finance website, that attempts to leverage the Internet and a worldwide distribution of micro-finance institutions. It alleviates poverty by connecting lenders to people in need.

Kiva

 

Do you have other favorite sites that you find incredibly useful?

Author:  Devashish Patel

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/30-incredibly-useful-websites-you-wish-you-knew-earlier.html

Categorized in Future Trends

Do you think 2017 will be the year of video? Again? If so, you’re in good company.

In fact, if I were forced to TLDR this post, the big social media trends for 2017 could be boiled down to this:

  1. Video (live, recorded, and 360-degree)
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Bots

But there is much more you can and should do in 2017 to be successful on the top social media platforms.

One of those things mentioned by a few of our experts may seem a bit obvious, but it could be the most crucial: you must understand your audience!

Tactics are great. Understanding all the big social networks where people hang out is also great. Data is also super important.

But really, if you want to drive more engagement and ROI from social media, you need to know – and be responsive to – your customers. Maybe this isn’t so much a trend as a proven principle of good old-fashioned marketing, but it’s especially in social media: make it personal! Put a little more humanity in your 2017 social media strategy.

Here’s what 26 of the top marketing experts say will be the biggest trends in social media in 2017 – and beyond.

We’ve gathered insights from these social media pros:


 

Heidi Besik, Group Product Marketing Manager, Adobe

 

Heidi Besik

 

The biggest trends in social media in 2017:

Video

In 2016, the biggest takeaway from the success of video is that platforms like Facebook are beginning to challenge traditional media for ad dollars. What we used to know as big television events are now consumed through snackable clips.

Next year, the continued importance and consumer appetite for video will drive further refinement. Social media platforms will introduce easier ways for users to access video, as well as better tools for creators.

At the same time, we will see brand advertisers begin talking about platforms like Twitter and Facebook as a new form of television. And as consumers get increasingly more comfortable (and familliar) with video, we will see a shift in organic content where brands beginning building out dedicated video teams and putting together an infrastructure that decreases turnaround times and gets content out faster.

Measurement

Social networks have matured into some of the most targeted ad channels around. As a result, it’s put a bigger spotlight on justifying ROI.

Advertisers need robust data in the same way they have for existing channels like desktop Web and broadcast TV. This will be top of mind in the new year, as we see social networks work to deliver on comparable metrics and certain advertisers advocating for more third-party auditing.

We will also see more measurement conversations within organic content. Despite continued calls for the “death of organic content”, it will continue to occupy a big role in a brand’s communication strategy.

What we will see are social teams tapping into some of the analytics disciplines in other channels like desktop web – becoming much more diligent in measuring what works and adjusting in real-time. The practice overall will become increasingly more data-driven to drive ROI, as they compete with paid and earned.

Internal Collaboration

We are moving toward the year of integration for social media, where it impacts all stages of the customer journey and has become a standard, integral part of the marketing mix. Social strategists will need to better integrate with existing digital programs across web, ecommerce and mobile. As the roles of content marketing and social marketing become more intertwined, we’ve seen this need accelerate through 2016 and think it will continue to be an area of focus for marketers moving through 2017.

Customers expect brands to deliver a consistent, personalized experience across touch points. Yet most social marketers are still using up to 7 different, disconnected tools to manage social activities.

Disconnected data, content, workflows and teams are leading to poor customer experiences. Tool consolidation that facilitates integrated content, workflows and data will be critical to leveraging the power of social to drive better more consistent omnichannel digital experiences.


 

Kendall Bird, Associate Social Media Manager, Collegis Education

 

Kendall Bird

As we move into 2017, there are major trends that we are already seeing transpire within the social media space including live and recorded video that create immersive social media experiences and organic reach continuing to decline. The two trends go hand-in-hand as video is prioritized within organic social and is seen as an authentic way to connect with followers. With that said, social marketers continue to need to keep their head on a swivel and stay creative in their strategy plans.

Within the broader social media community we are seeing platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram moving toward live, real-time video. These platforms have products that enable marketers to connect with their followers in a completely different light than they are used to experiencing.

Video presents the opportunity to create more candid experiences for your followers. Social media users will continue to demand to live vicariously through social media content put out by brands and influencers. The question is how will you make genuine real-time experiences that make your followers feel as though they are there?

Several brands are already doing this right including Birchbox, Sweetgreen and Inspiralized. Each one of these brands showcases their products in an authentic, creative and interesting manner.

  • Birchbox‘s Facebook Live experience is one of my favorites to watch because they unbox their product (Birchbox, for those who don’t know, is a curated, monthly subscription box for men and women) and show what the product is and how to use it.
  • Sweetgreen (an East Coast fast-casual restaurant) is the most creative when it comes to Snapchat. Recently, one of their Stories, was introducing a Sweetgreen customer sharing their favorite salad bowl. They snapped the story from the lens of the customer and through the chef’s perspective with Snapchat Spectacles.
  • Inspiralized is one of my favorite food bloggers (small bias!), but Ali really does a wonderful job maintaining her social media accounts and really focuses in on what her followers are interested in and what the channels are about. Inspiralized uses Instagram Stories to focus more on the personal side of her life and business, whereas Snapchat is focused more on tutorials and product.

As you envision your social media strategies for 2017, be thoughtful about each platform and your followers. Why are they watching Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories? Are you differentiating your accounts to fit what your followers are interested in? Why are they following you?

Consider conducting an competitor analysis of what they are doing on these platforms products, focusing on what is successful for them and how you can better those efforts for the brands you are managing. Always remember, you are building a community – would you want to be part of it?


 

Lisa Buyer, Speaker, Author & Consultant, The Buyer Group

 

Lisa Buyer

 

In 2017 social media marketers and brands will be expected to do more in less time; short of performing social media miracles. I see the start of a new condition called Social Media Stress Syndrome.

Everyone is chasing the ROI and trying to stay on top of the constant change and introduction of new platforms, tactics and tools. Live video, Snapchat (aka Crackchat), the increasing complexities of Facebook and the unknowns behind augmented and virtual reality will be keeping social media marketers awake at night.

Prioritization

Brands will need to fine tune focus on the platforms that are most important to their audience and figure out how to make the most of them. Do an audit of best performers and eliminate the time suckers.

Better content

In 2017 content is no longer king. Social media marketers will need to step up the game and only the brands investing in talented journalistic style writers will survive.

Distributed Content Management Systems (DCMS)

Creating, reaching and publishing is going beyond WordPress with platforms such as RebelMouse introducing the first DCMS.

Creativity

With platforms such as CanvaAdobe Spark and Buffer’s Pablo, visuals are spoonfed to social media marketers. Brands will be expected to take canned visuals to the next level in 2017. Standing out in the newsfeed’s visual competition will require more than just using stock visuals.

AR/VR/MR/PR

Augmented reality (AR) virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) are the latest public relations (PR) buzzwords turning heads. Social media marketers will be faced with figuring out how to make sense of this new technology. Follow sources such as Cathy Hackl, Robert Scoble and VR Scout.

Productivity & Reporting

This is where the Social Media Stress Syndrome will come into play. Social media marketers will need to reinvent the meaning of productivity and fine tune the social media management aspects by investing in social media management dashboards with excellent reporting features such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Agorapulse, or Sprout Social.

Balance

In 2017, avoiding Social Media Stress Syndrome and maintaining digital work/life balance should be a priority in order to keep your sanity. Staying ahead of the social media marketing industry gets tougher each year and more complex.

In order to avoid being “taken down” by social media, marketers will need to find ways to reset and restore in order to stay fresh and creative without getting burned out. Apps such as Buddhify, integrating yoga into your weekly routine, and going offline for a walk at lunch are great ways begin finding balance in 2017. I’m writing my next book, “Digital Detox Secrets”, to help digital marketers find space for balance, opportunity, and productivity happiness.


 

Mel Carson, Founder, CEO & Principal Strategist, Delightful Communications

Mel Carson

Putting people first will be one of the trends we’ll see in social media in 2017.

Elections on both sides of the pond have proved that no matter how much data you have to suggest one outcome is imminent; unless you sit down with your target audience and ask them for their thoughts and opinions on whatever product or service you are trying to sell you might be barking up the wrong alley.

Also, our personal branding consulting business has tripled in the last 12 months which shows professionals increasingly see the benefit in having their wisdom and experience be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable across social networks, which is why I’ll be watching the Microsoft/LinkedIn integration with a keen eye!


 

Ashley Carlisle, Brand Relationship Strategist, Fractl

 

Ashley Carlisle

In 2016 we saw a huge surge in influencer marketing, which will no doubt continue into 2017 – but inevitably it will evolve as all trends do. The new year will see an increased emphasis on authenticity and transparency among influencers as they become more commonly integrated into social strategies.

Typically when we think of influencer marketing, we think of a product placement posted on a major celebrity’s Instagram account to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers, but it goes beyond that. It can also include hashtag campaigns to encourage a genuine conversation among followers or account takeovers to help build a following. The latter examples, along with other creative, more organic ideas, will likely grow in popularity in 2017 as they emphasize authenticity and encourage engagement.

While the spotlight this year was primarily on pop culture celebrities promoting products falling into the discretionary consumer goods category (think apparel, beauty, alcohol, etc.), other brands will start looking into incorporating influencers in their 2017 social strategy.

As more research is becoming available to prove influencer marketing’s ROI, B2B and other types of B2C companies will likely join. These brands especially better work with powerful middle- and micro-influencers as they often have more influence over a more intimate, targeted audience – which also translates to more engagement.

As far as the networks themselves, Snapchat and Instagram were the networks of choice. While Snapchat has grown exponentially, Instagram will likely continue to take the lead when it comes to engagement into 2017, given its more diverse user base. Some even argue while Vine is officially dead, influencers could save Twitter with the help of livestreaming and Twitter Moments.

Even with the algorithm changes and crackdown on compliance with the FTC guidelines, influencers on social media will continue to prove their value into 2017.


 

Geoffrey Colon, Communications Designer, Microsoft

 

Geoffrey Colon

Two things for social media marketers to watch:

1. CRM

CRM via social has existed forever but now it’s a form of marketing. The better you do it, the better the word of mouth about your company, product, service spreads to others.

Reputation economics is only getting more influential on how people choose what company to use. Many companies have ignored this and as a result will pay a steep price in 2017 with either more customer churn or loss of potential new customers altogether.

2. Bots

Because of the volume of conversations that may exist in these channels, conversation bots are key.

The best companies will program and experiment with these in 2017 as they will only become more influential and allow companies who may have small staffs to handle mass quantities of inquiries through channels like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Skype.

 


 

Brent Csutoras, Founder & CEO, Pixel Road Designs

Brent Csutoras

If you look at the success of Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram, it’s clear there is a real shift in social media storytelling. It has been something optional for most businesses up until now, but I think in 2017 companies need to really give some serious thought and strategy to how they can incorporate more visual storytelling in their social media marketing plans.

Where possible, I also think it is going to be important for companies to start thinking about how they can incorporate beacon or location-based marketing efforts into their strategy as well. Virtually every app I’ve seen or been pitched this last year has had some beacon or location-based feature, so companies are going to have to start looking into incorporating this as well.

Over the past two years we’ve been building toward a significant shift in how we tell our stories through social media. In 2017 it’s time to get with the times and start embracing this shift – like now!

 


 

Melissa Fach, Social Community Manager, Pubcon

Melissa Fach

Customer service via social is huge already, but I believe it will grow in 2017. People prefer to do as much as possible via their phones, and we also know people go straight to their phones to complain about things on social media networks while they are on the go.

So, all businesses need to come up with more defined plans on how they are going to handle customer service issues via social media for 2017. Not handling complaints the right way, quickly, can result in terrible PR for any company. For example:

comcastcares unhappy customers

Some things to cover:

  • Availability hours & response times: Facebook is already giving badges for good response times and both Facebook and Twitter allow you to set availability hours & auto-respond to messages. I recommend all businesses learn about the customer service options available on both Twitter and Facebook.
  • Staff: Choosing staff is critical. Who has the temperament/self-control to handle potential and current customers the right way? Say the wrong thing and you will end up on the news.
  • Create protocols for all situations: Support, Q&A, Requests, Billing, Complaints, User Error, Crisis Management and Trolls.
  • Education: Make upper level management understand how critical social media customer service is and why resources and money are needed.

Another thing that will grow via social in 2017, video – every major social media network has focused on enhancing video options. Businesses of all sizes need to find creative ways to utilize video and to reach their targeted audiences.

Boring video just will not do. I am sure that we are going to be overrun with video, as we have been with content, soon enough. To stand out and be remembered businesses will need to go the extra mile.


 

Nikki Fica, Founder & CEO, Social Media Facelift

 

Nikki Fica

Smart brands and businesses should focus on the power of influencer marketing in 2017 for great social media success. They shouldunderstand what makes an influencer in their niche and take micro influencers into consideration.

Brands and businesses should also explore more live video options. With the rollout of Instagram’s live videos at the end of 2016 and Twitter’s livestreaming without Periscope, platforms are looking for you to share your authenticity on their platform. Show your “why” and make people fall in love with not only your product, but the brand and who is behind the brand itself.

As an avid “Shark Tank” viewer, the backstory of the entrepreneur is often reflected during the episode; where they came from, what their passions are, etc. Things that others can relate to. If a brand on social media plays a similar role and can relate to the consumer (the use of livestreaming can help tremendously), it may influence stronger.

Consumers may be more likely to purchase over a bland brand with a similar product who only talks about the product itself. Humanize your brand in 2017!


 Kat Haselkorn, Director of Content, Go Fish Digital

 

Kat Haselkorn

Measure everything. In social, it can sometimes be tricky to keep track of what works and what doesn’t across multiple platforms, but when you can show changes over time, that’s when you have something that plays into a more holistic marketing strategy.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from business owners about Snapchat is the lack of metrics the platform offers its users. Their feeling is, If I’m investing all this time and energy into creating content, putting together stories, and building a following, I need to be able to prove its worth. That’s a totally fair criticism of the app.

Luckily, there have been whispers that Snapchat is unveiling more detailed reporting over the coming months and other platforms (and social media management tools like Sprout Social) seem to be headed down that path as well.

The more time you spend tracking and evaluating posts, the better your social presence will be. I can’t stress it enough: Don’t just throw something out there and see what sticks. Measure everything and use the data to adjust your social media strategy accordingly.


 Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor, Search Engine Journal

 

Kelsey Jones

Here are three social media trends you need to know in 2017:

Live Video

With the introduction of live video for Instagram, and the continuation of Facebook’s preference for live video in the newsfeed, businesses should continue to develop live video strategies and consider how it can tie into their existing marketing efforts. What events, learning opportunities, or internal team happenings are going on in the new year that could be translated into live video?

360-Degree Photos & Videos

Mark my words: this is going to blow up, due to Facebook’s acceptance of it and VR headsets. Soon you are going to be seeing brands and people posting tons of 360-degree media. Take advantage of it now by buying yourself a $100-200 camera that shoots these types of images (this is the one I have*) and beat your competitors to the punch.

Take Advantage of Your Data

I’m always amazed at the data we have at our fingertips when it comes to Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, as well as Twitter analytics. Instead of glancing over it each month to see how many new likes your pages or profiles got, really buckle down and look at what types and topics of posts do best. Dedicate yourself to taking more action based on data, and your social media presence will only continue to grow.

*Disclosure: This is an SEJ affiliate link


 Jordan Kasteler, Marketing Consultant & Entrepreneur

 

Jordan Kasteler

2017 is sure to bring about many new social media trends. There may even be new, hot social networks that spring up and give currently dominate social networks a run for their money.

However, before getting involved with any new trend or site be sure that it’s a right fit for your audience. If not, you may be wasting your time drawing people toward you that aren’t interested in your product or service.

As for big trends to focus on, here are four:

Ephemeral Social Media

In other words, Instagram and Snapchat Stories are content that disappears within a limited amount of time. As this is the new rage, it keeps people coming back to these social networks to view daily content before it disappears. Use ephermal social media wisely but posting timely content, gifts for your audience, contests, show behind the scenes, etc.

Live Video

This is another trend social networks are allowing users to take advantage of. Instagram now has a live video option. This is another opportunity to take your users behind the scenes and provide real-time content.

Paid Social

More social networks are moving toward a pay-to-play landscape. As organic reach declines, it’s more important to pay for visibility. Social networks will continue to grow their abilities for businesses to narrowly target their users by demographic, psychographic, and technographics.

Mobile

With social traffic referring from mobile over desktop, it’s important that your content is speedy and provides a good user-experience on a smartphone with 4G bandwidth.


 Katy Katz, Senior Consultant, SmartBug Media

 

Katy Katz

Social media platforms are continually searching for ways to artificially reproduce the sentiments of real human interaction within a platform that is inherently non-human. This is why images are more popular than text, videos are more effective than stills, and live video is starting to gain traction.

This race to replicate human contact is only going to continue in 2017 and beyond; especially as 360 technology and virtual reality start to penetrate the market more deeply.

Brands should be thinking about ways to increase consumer access to that human factor – through strategic campaigns as well as organic interactions. That will be the best way for companies to improve their social performance in 2017.


 Jabez LeBret, CMO, GNGF

 

Jabez LeBret

We are about to see a move towards live video for brands. This will take two main forms including brand events and non-brand sponsored content.

For non-brand sponsored events the customer will become the promoter and producer. This user-generated content will be scary for many brands.

Years ago I wrote an article on Forbes comparing brand marketing to an API. Regardless of if brands are interested in letting the customer market the brand, they do not have a choice.

This means companies should be more proactive in engaging users to submit content. Instead of fighting the trend, get ahead of issues by facilitating the messaging and delivery. This will require companies to become proficient at creating live video content.

It would be wise to test various methods of encouraging your customers to create content on behalf of your brand. We are entering a new era of social media marketing and it is both scary yet exciting at the same time!


 Debbie Miller, President, Social Hospitality

 

Debbie Miller

Social video will continue to be a key trend in 2017. Between Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Video, the options are becoming more vast and are constantly evolving.

It will be critical for brands to formulate how to best optimize their video strategy for maximum impact. It’s easy to get bogged down in scheduling written copy and photos, but video is a field that should be given more time and consideration moving forward.

With the rise in video comes the lure of real-time content. Both Instagram and Facebook are leveraging their live streaming components and businesses are able to connect with their audiences in unprecedented ways as a result. Businesses should consider the best routes for optimizing live video content, whether it be interviews, behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive announcements, etc.

One important thing to remember is that the social media world is constantly evolving, and the pace seems to be constantly becoming more rapid. It’s important to stay on top of current trends and changes so that you’re not left behind. It’ll be beneficial for companies to adopt more training and development of their teams to ensure comfortability in the space across your organization.


 

Merry Morud, Senior Creative Strategist, aimClear

 

Merry Morud

 

No longer will social marketers be considered the scrappy rebel force, existing on the fringe of marketing and pointing to false idol metrics. Social media marketers must integrate into the greater multi-touch nurture marketing ecosystem – digital and otherwise – to not only survive but become an undeniable force in 2017.

And BTW, it’s social’s job to integrate, not everyone else’s, for the greater marketing good.

Social marketers will be responsible for making money in a multi-touch environment. One or two-touch conversions in any channel are a finite asset after that brands need to (still) nurture with content.

Social will become a more powerful ROI-positive machine as marketers tap even more consumers further down the funnel with lookalike modeling and clean up retargeting rebounds from other performance marketers by layering on psychographic filters and promoting content that solves problems, demystifies, answers questions, explains benefits, empowers users and removes barriers to purchase.

Filtered performance retargeting has the potential to radically redefine how higher level marketers view social. So social marketers seeking to stay relevant should take heed.

If you didn’t notice, 2016 has been a wake-up call for, well, just about everyone as it peeled back the veil on just how insidious social, “news,” and search truly are. Social drives news. News drives search. And perception is reality. Social propagation is that which can create or cause cultural shifts and the goal of branding is a cultural shift.


 Rebecca Murtagh, Founder & Chief Strategist, Karner Blue Marketing

 

Rebecca Murtagh

In 2017, the race for social media fans, followers, likes, etc. will be overshadowed by a paradigm shift toward relationship cultivation. And, in case you haven’t noticed, this shift has already begun in a big way.

Relationships are the future of social media. Here are five reasons why:

1. Aggregation is So 2016

In 2017 In-tune marketers will shift the focus of social media from vanity metrics (followers, fans, likes, etc.) to relationships. The longer the relationship, the greater the return on investment, and lower cost of acquisition. The follower, fan or connection that has never been touched by the brand has zero value.

As attractive as it may be to report growth of the audience, sustainability of the brand will be determined by revenue. Winning hearts and minds is more important than ever to brands seeking to cultivate leads, customers, and champions. And, it will take a lot more than personalized website pages and emails.

2. Social Media Offers So Much More Than Mass Media

To make social media manageable, marketers have largely reduced social media into a new form of mass media. Broadcasting messaging without leveraging the social aspect of the channel leaves most of the unique potential of social platforms untapped.

Audience aggregation merely reflects the first introduction, a handshake if you will. Today’s consumer wants to do business with brands they trust. Trust has been redefined from just offering a quality product or service, to meeting the expectations of audiences in a transparent, ethical manner.

This is especially true with millennials, who will be between the ages of 20-37 years old in 2017. The good news is that millennials are willing to reward brands they trust.

Millennials are seven times more likely to give personal information to a trusted brand. In fact, 46 percent of surveyed millennials said they would share personal data if in exchange they received a more consistent, relevant, personalized experience, complemented by free perks, discounts and better customer service, across all platforms.

3. It’s a New Era

Millennials have, and will continue to, yield tremendous influence over consumer and B2B purchases. No longer youngsters, millennials will not only make purchase decisions differently than previous generations, as a “digital-first” generation, they will influence the decisions of Gen Y and Baby Boomers for years to come.

Millennials expect reciprocity; a two-way, mutual relationship with companies and their brands, and they consider a brand’s social, environmental or philanthropic efforts when making purchase decisions.

4. Social is Part of the Omnichannel Experience

More than 85 percent of millennials and 75 percent of baby boomers are ready for omnichannel interactions. Brands may not fully understand how broad this expectation is.

Omnichannel is often referred to as seamless integration between on and offline customer experiences. We have seen studies and surveys over the years reveal how consumers use multiple devices, across multiple channels, and across media channels for news, social interaction, job searches, shopping, and solutions for work, business and life.

The social experience is as important as the in-store, face-to-face, or website interaction with the brand. In addition to seek a “a hassle free, omnichannel, client experience personalized to their needs”, according to an IBM report.

Engagement requires much more effort than merely broadcasting to the masses. This is a tough pill for many brands to swallow.

Many have not kept up with the expectations of their audiences. And, in doing so, these brands have essentially begun the spiral into self-imposed obsolescence and extinction.

5. Tribes, Community & Crowds

There is untapped potential inherent to social media that can help brands connect with member of the audience, while connecting audiences to one another.

People don’t want to just do business with a business. They want to be connected with the people behind the business, and they want know how the business interacts with customers like them.

This is why review websites, social sharing of content, crowdfunding, etc. have been so effective. The power of tribes, community, and crowds have only begun to realize their potential.

The next generation of social media will promote greater access and transparency between brands and their fans, creating the sense of belonging and community the next generation craves.

Brands that embrace this new normal and invest in building relationships will be the winners in 2017.


 

Maddy Osman, SEO Copywriter & Founder, The Blogsmith

 

Maddy Osman

Here are two big social media marketing trends for 2017:

1. Instagram

Instagram will become a major player of the top social networks, thanks in part to tactics that effectively take a direct attack on Snapchat (like Instagram’s own “Stories”). Once their new Shopping feature is released to all brands, more clickable links will mean more conversions for retailers.

Facebook owns Instagram, so that means the Instagram ad platform will continue to evolve in the right direction. In my opinion, Instagram’s ad platform has yet to peak (in terms of saturation), and there are still plenty of opportunities for brands to stand out and accomplish specific goals.

2. Video

Video will continue to be important in 2017, but brands will need to keep innovating in the way it’s presented. You still don’t necessarily need high production tactics to be effective, but you should experiment with new technologies, like 360 Video.

Make sure to keep in mind the role sound plays, or doesn’t play in many cases. Many people watch video without sound, so make sure captions are enabled, and that you include the video’s title in the first frames of the video.


 

Erik Qualman, Bestselling Author & Motivational Speaker

 

Erik Qualman

 

Video killed the social media photo. While it seems obvious, the obvious isn’t always easy to execute.

2017 is the year that social goes truly video. Brands will need to invest in both beautifully produced video as well as more organic video adaptations.

There will be a window of time where quality video will be able to help separate your business/brand. However, that window will shrink as advances in technology make artistic video common place.


 

Michelle Stinson Ross, VP of Marketing & Client Relations, K’nechtology

 

Michelle Stinson Ross

Two trends and one time-tested principle. First for the trends.

Live Video

As each year goes by more options on more devices lead to a lot of noise. What can brands big and small do to cut through that noise?

Video has always been key, especially for reaching an audience on mobile devices. Live video broadcasting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are indicators that authentic interactive moments are here to stay.

Live video gives small brands an option to level the playing field without having to spend big production budgets. Live interactions also give brands a chance to test video content with instant and real feedback from their established communities.

But with live video broadcasting comes the necessity to have a quality brand spokesperson. That spokesperson must be able to talk both fluidly and fluently about the brand and it’s products/services. That spokesperson also needs to be someone who is relevant and relatable to a brand’s potential customers.

Yeah, you’re CEO may not be the best choice here. Save them to be interviewed by the spokesperson as a subject matter expert instead.

Influencer Marketing

Another way to cut through the noise in social media is to partner with influential users. It’s important to put just as much commitment to time an energy cultivating influencers (movers and shakers) as it is your customer base.

Getting the attention of someone that’s never heard of your brand before gets more and more difficult every year. Securing influential advocates to share is critical to that top of funnel awareness.

But don’t count on your free samples to be enough to entice influencers to shout your praises. You are going to have to market the value of a business partnership to them just like you are marketing your product/service to your customers.

A Time-Tested Principle

Make marketing a priority and not an afterthought. One of the issues we see consistently with new clients is the dawning realization that they need marketing.

Too many startups focus every resource on developing their ideas without considering how they are going to attract investors and customers. Struggling businesses tend to cut marketing budgets first.

The businesses large and small that move marketing up the priority list from luxury to necessity will always come out ahead of those that don’t. Just because there are a lot of self-serve DIY marketing options available doesn’t mean that brand’s can skimp on marketing budgets. If anything, it requires more time and attention to resources, personnel and media spend.

Commit to marketing and know when to hire, either in-house or a consultant/agency.


 

Jes Stiles, CMO Emerging Markets, Ringier AG

Jes Stiles

Building your own chatbot to distribute your content (ideally for Facebook Messenger). Why?

Traditional social media is fraught by algorithms and ads. More and more, we see not only millennials, but now also the other generations, moving away from broadcasting focused social media posting and towards narrowcasting in smaller message groups or 1-1.

A messenger bot can allow you to have personalized 1-1 conversations at scale, opening up a whole new audience who does not wish to connect with brand over email or download an app. Moreover, when built in a user-friendly manner, chatbots can actually provide a better experience than a human for common use cases with faster response times (no matter what time or day of the week) and greater personalization of content.

For examples of good bots in action, check out TechCrunch or eBay Messenger bots.


 

Bas van den Beld, Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Trainer

 

Bas van den Beld

With the “fake news” discussion in 2016, the overflowing amount of posts on social media and the changing algorithms, things are about to change in 2017.

What is bound to happen is a trend in which brands and businesses have to “prove” they are legit. That they know what they are talking about and that they (will) do a good job.

This means more focus on helping clients and consumers. Customer service through social media will be more important than ever. If there is any trend businesses should focus on, it’s getting their business ready for that.


 

Ashley Ward, Director of Marketing, Madhouse Matters

Ashley Ward

Video. Video has already taken over social media in 2016 and has helped social media pages increase their engagement, conversions, and exposure for brands. In 2017, I predict an even larger increase in video posts from brands and businesses.

I’m not just talking about Facebook and Instagram, either. Facebook Live is helping brands create more organic videos and less production-heavy, which has been enjoyable for users.

But, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are great resources to show customers an “insider’s view”, give product demonstrations, and tours through video. You can then reuse this video content on other social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Unlike images, which one single image shouldn’t be used multiple times due to image fatigue, one video can be clipped into multiple 5-, 30-, and 60-second clips and then shared on different social media outlets to provide followers with unique content.

If you haven’t already started thinking about adding more video content in 2017, start now.


 

Tessa Wegert, Freelance Journalist & Branded Content Developer

Tessa Wegert

 

The single biggest social media trend coming our way has got to be live streaming video. We’ve seen the live video market grow with Meerkat and Periscope, but now that Facebook is putting all its weight behind Facebook Live

Consumers are becoming more accustomed to seeing – and seeking – live video content. Brands can continue to push the boundaries and provide exciting live experiences for their customers and fans.

With live video, companies can take consumers behind the scenes in real-time, and consumers dig that kind of authenticity. I think we’re going to see some pushback against all of those staged, polished, and over-filtered Instagram posts brands have been investing in as consumers become disenchanted with social media marketing that feels as forced as the TV commercials and print ads of yesterday.

Live video is the cure for synthetic content, and brands that embrace the opportunity to take consumers inside their factories and test kitchens, to their photo shoots and runway shows, and backstage at the concerts and events they’ve been sponsoring for years will be rewarded with increased loyalty and affinity.


 

Dennis Yu, Chief Technology Officer, BlitzMetrics

Dennis Yu

Instead of trying to crank out endless content to distribute on a growing number of channels– a challenge for the modern day Sisyphus– get your customers to do the work for you. Here’s how to specifically do this, even if you have a tiny team and tiny budget.

1. Can I quote you on that?

Say this to anyone who has something nice to say about you – especially if on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other sites. But often, these comments are coming through in direct mail, in store, at conferences, or when your customers are getting serviced. When you ask this question, they almost always say YES.

2. Place that quote in a spreadsheet.

Have columns for who said it, the category of customer, the type of comment (value, great quality, great service – however you bucket pain points), source, headshot of the person, and permission flag.

3. Make a Facebook organic post.

Do multiple images in a carousel and boost to lookalike audiences or custom audiences, depending on what stage in the funnel. The key is to have 10-15 of these posts. Test carousel versus not. You may find that video performs best, in carousel or not, as video view objective or for website clicks. Test it.

To go further in how to boost Facebook posts, see Digital Marketer’s most popular podcast episode of all time here.


 

Ashley Zeckman, Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing

 

Ashley Zeckman

Many brands today (even some of the best ones) are still struggling with one key element that leads to social media marketing success: understanding the people that they want to interact with.

In 2017, I think that smart brands will shift their focus from pushing messages out, to personalizing communications for a more meaningful interaction. That means it will be less about the on-page interactions and more about personal exchanges with prospects, customers, and influencers.

The rise of influencer marketing will make this shift even more imperative for brands that want to get on the radar of busy experts. There are a variety of tools that exist today, and many that I’m sure will be developed in the coming years that provide helpful insights into the habits and minds of your social media audience.

It’s our job as marketers to use that data to create a more inclusive, one-to-one experience in an environment that everyone is engaged with; social media platforms.


 

OK – the experts have spoken. Your turn! What do you think will be the biggest social media trends in 2017?

Author:  Danny Goodwin

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media-trends-2017/181768

Categorized in Future Trends

3D Systems Corp. (DDD), the additive manufacturing pioneer, believes the industry is on the verge of an inflection point in which it will generate volume and profits by “connecting prototyping to manufacturing.” Brean Capital’s Ananda Baruah, who has a hold rating on the tech company’s stock, highlights 3D Systems’ healthcare business as a market differentiator and driver of growth moving forward, reports Benziga.

Healthcare as a Successful Vertical

After a healthcare event hosted by the Rock Hill, S.C.-based company, the Brean analyst noted that 3D Systems’ healthcare business accounts for 27% of the firm’s overall sales, with an organic growth rate of 10% to 20% throughout 2015.Wrote Baruah in an analyst note: “We came away understanding 1) that the HC business itself could be in the process of growing into a legitimately material business on its own, and 2) more fully grasping DDD's strategy of leveraging the holistic platform capabilities of the HC vertical by applying it to the other target verticals of aerospace, automotive, and general industrial.”

Analyst: 3D 'Better Positioned Than Market Estimates'

After the 3D-printing industry boomed a few years back, 3D Systems and long-time rival Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) experienced a significant slump and lack demand in the consumer segment. The current 3D-printing industry revival has been supercharged by the entrance of larger firms HP Inc. (HPQ) and General Electric Co. (GE) as the industry moves towards 3D printing for industrial manufacturing.

Baruah believes that 3D Systems is better positioned to gain amid this large-scale industry transition than the market estimates, as the firm works on developing “end-to-end solutions and ecosystems across verticals.” The analyst indicates that 3D Systems’ healthcare vertical is a prime example of how the firm can cultivate a vertical businesses and apply the platform to other key verticals moving forward, such as aerospace, automotive, defense and general industrial.

 

Author:  Shoshanna Delventhal

Source:  http://www.investopedia.com/news/brean-capital-sees-bright-future-3d-systems-healthcare

Categorized in Science & Tech

It's been hard to miss all the ink and pixels declaring 2016 the year of humanity's discontent. That judgment's tough to deny in the realm of geopolitics, given awful conflicts in places like Syria, acts of terror worldwide and contentious elections in the UK and US.

But the world went on, and so did important work in science and innovation. If you sweep the ugly parts of 2016 under the rug and then check the place out, it's not too shabby. What really makes 2016, though, is the view. The future, in many ways, is much brighter and more exciting than it appeared 12 months ago.

Here are five areas in which the events of 2016 will likely have a lasting positive impact five, 10 and even 100 years into the future

80 is the new 60

Crispr/Cas9, a means of editing genes so relatively simple you can do it at home with a $150 kit, was much celebrated in 2016.

Former Apple CEO John Sculley

John Sculley, former Apple CEO turned health tech investor and entrepreneur, told me the combination of developments like Crispr, machine learning and precision medicine spell the end for maladies like cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia in the coming decades.

"Cancer will probably be solved in the next 10 to 15 years," Sculley told me in October. Once cancer falls, he sees research and development resources freed up to go after things like dementia. "I think there's a high probability we solve that by midcentury."

Sculley says it's not crazy to think today's schoolchildren could live to see the year 2125 or later.

"The possibility of regenerating organs, finding ways blind people can see, deaf people can hear -- all of those types of problems will be increasingly solvable," he said.

In November, not long after that conversation, researchers at the Salk Institute announced they had used gene-editing techniques to restore vision in blind animals.

Star Trek suddenly seems a little less far out

Nobody is signing up for Starfleet yet, but our understanding of the universe continued to expand this year. We saw the biggest new planet discovery in decades: Proxima b, our closest possible exoplanet neighbor, orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, could be habitable. Multiple efforts aim to study and even send a tiny spacecraft to Proxima b as soon as possible. But that's not even close to the most ambitious space exploration plan announced in 2016. In September, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled his grand vision to build a colony, 1 million humans strong, on Mars by the end of the century.

"History suggests there will be some doomsday event, and I would hope you would agree that becoming a multiplanetary species would be the right way to go," Musk said in his pitch.

Sounds crazy, but 2016 saw even greater space-faring outlandishness. NASA's physics-defying electromagnetic drive, which could lay the foundation for something like the warp technology from "Star Trek," continues to be an actual thing, apparently. We first heard about EmDrive in 2015 when it seemed like the kind of fake news story that also became more mainstream this year. But 2016 saw the technically impossible engine pass peer review and move toward actual testing in space.

On Earth, it's 'Jetsons' time

Leave it to the king of the unicorns to finally bring us flying cars. Uber revealed its plan for commuting via self-flying ride-sharing vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) in 2016.

"In the long-term, VTOLs will be an affordable form of daily transportation for the masses, even less expensive than owning a car," Uber's Jeff Holden wrote in a detailed white paper (PDF).

If you prefer to stay grounded, self-driving cars went from a crazy Google side project to everyone's project that's as simple to implement as a software update for Teslas on the road now. Uber already has its own self-driving cars and big rigs on the road.

Finally, one other mode of transportation went from the drawing board to the testing grounds this year as Elon Musk's Hyperloop design spawned all kinds of plans for cargo and human transport worldwide. This year definitely turned out to be one in which we got moving in all kinds of new ways.

Machines doing more than driving

Robots and sensors of all shapes and sizes continued to impress (and terrify) in 2016 -- little ones with ninja moves, bigger ones we'll wish we were nicer toward during development, and really tiny ones that can now be implanted in our bodies equipped with their own wireless signals.

There's no stopping Skynet, because it's already here in the form of the internet of things, which will continue to expand with the help of burgeoning tech like blockchain, a secure database technology first used to power Bitcoin.

"Blockchain is big," Sculley told me. "It's going to touch finance, health care and every industry...it could be the foundation for a different parallel internet."

Sure sounds like Skynet. While the idea might seem scary at first, it could also be the cure for many problems when combined with increasingly small machines like the atomic "nanocars" tested in the open air this year. And there lies the potential for a revolution in ground-up manufacturing. If you thought 3D printers were cool, just wait. The combination of robotics and nanotechnology just now coming into its own could finally give us another Star Trek gadget that will change everything: the replicator.

Machines that think and understand like we do (only better) continued to be both technological savior and bogeyman in 2016. The year started with Google's AlphaGo program beating a human champ at the ancient strategy game of Go and ended with HBO's "Westworld" again prodding us to consider the possibilities and implications of synthetic minds created by organic minds.

In some way, artificial intelligence at its more basic levels, like machine learning, powers just about every technology or discovery mentioned here. But it can go much further. Just imagine any problem, and AI has the potential to either solve it completely or tackle it in a much more efficient manner. So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that just about everyone with the means is working on AI -- even those like Elon Musk who like to sound the warning bells.

The potential for AI strains the human imagination because frankly, we're not sure what an artificial intelligence with its own imagination could come up with. For some insight, perhaps we should turn to AI -- 2016 saw the creation of one system capable of predicting the future. Maybe next year it will be the one writing this article while I'm relaxing in the back of a self-driving Uber on the way to a ski lift somewhere.

Author:  Eric Mack

Source:  https://www.cnet.com/news/2016-space-nasa-crispr-robots-artificial-intelligence-self-driving-cars

Categorized in News & Politics
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