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5 of the Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

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There has never been a more challenging, or more exciting time to be in Digital Marketing. This industry is going through a transformation at breakneck speed driven mostly by technological advancement, innovation and disruption. This transformation is creating copious opportunities for those who are able to keep up. However, coping up with this transformation while still paying attention to the current business can be a struggle for the digital marketers. It’s a new reality we must adapt to. We have to accept that in the world of digital advertising, change is the only true constant. And only way to get ahead of the curve and stay on top of the changes is to understand the digital marketing trends.

Let’s explore 5 Digital Marketing trends to watch in 2019.

#1 – Voice Assistant

Amazon Echo, an Alexa-enabled speaker, kicked off the smart speaker trend a few years ago. Today, not only Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, other tech giants and startups are developing, testing, and implementing voice assistants. The global market for these devices grew 187% in the second quarter of 2018. But what does it mean for you, the Digital Marketer? Voice-enabled apps are going to be a prevalent part of consumers’ lives, changing the way brands and consumers interact. That’s why your brand needs a voice strategy now. As more and more people invite assistive technology into their lives and integrate it into their homes, it’s high time Digital Marketers embraced the opportunity to capitalize the trends. If you are still not convinced, brands like Domino’s Pizza, Patron Tequila, Ocado, Whirlpool, Paypal, Burger King, Johnnie Walker and Uber have already started leveraging the voice assistant technology.

#2 – Shorter Video Ads

Social media’s focus has been slowly morphing from images to video. With digital video viewing on the rise, consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices due to ease of access and a rise in internet speeds. However, attention is changing in the digital age. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. And a recent research done by Nielsen reveals that 23% of brand awareness, 38% of brand recall, and 25% of purchase intent is driven by video impressions shorter than 2 seconds. That’s why Facebook now recently said “mobile video works best when it’s 15 seconds or less.” Facebook has already been telling its video advertisers to hit people with faster messages. On the other hand, YouTube has become a commercial advertising powerhouse in recent years. In 2016, YouTube unveiled a new ad format to brands: the unskippable, six second “bumper” ad. The ad format, which gained in popularity in the latter half of 2017, now accounts for 2.8% of all video ads, up from only 0.4% in Q1 of 2017.

The beauty of the six-second pre-roll ad is that it engages viewers without testing their patience. And the popularity of shorter video ads is expected to continue in 2019 as well. But the challenge is that you have to ensure that your campaign meet Estimated Ad Recall Rate. So, you must understand how does human brain process and preserve information. For an example, if you ask any Marvel fan to list marvel characters and their powers, most of them can do it within a few minutes. But if you ask them who the Marvel Comics’ primary creative leader is, they might get lost. Interestingly, this is only true before 12 November, 2018. When Stan Lee died on 12th November, 2018 at the age of 95, according to deadorkicking.com, almost every marvel fan mourned the loss of this man known for creating superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and X-Men. Fans have emerged on social media to share tributes about how his characters helped to shape their childhood. Now they know the name! As a digital marketer you have to deal with this Mystery of Memory.

#3 – Programmatic Marketing

The last few years was all about the technology, programmatic, and automation. Digital Marketers are constantly looking for mechanism that enables them to run more sophisticated and targeted campaigns. Here comes Programmatic buying, the next big thing in Digital Media. Programmatic advertising optimizes demand and supply by targeting specific audiences and demographics. To reach consumers, digital marketers increasingly rely on programmatic marketing to deliver highly contextual, effective, and measurable ads. The programmatic revolution has focused on combining data, machine learning, and automation to boost customer engagement by delivering more relevant ad experiences. Google suggests a 5-step process to strategize and execute any programmatic marketing campaign: organizing audience insights, designing compelling creative, executing with integrated technology, reaching audiences across screens and measuring the impact.

Organizing audience insights

Organizing audience insights and using customer data effectively is the key to success in digital marketing. Without data-driven, well organized audience insights, brands are in the dark. That’s why customer centric marketers use all kinds of tools to get a better understanding of their customers.

Designing compelling creative

Creative elements form the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. Today’s users move frequently between devices and platforms and expect a seamless, engaging and entertaining experience. Compelling yet relevant creative is the key to capture their attention.

Executing with integrated technology

Integrated technology platforms enable companies to deliver brand messages through programmatic buying in an efficient way. One of the most important benefits of using Integrated technology platform is that it helps brands evaluate, purchase, activate, and measure media efficiently.

Reaching audiences across screens

Cross-screen engagement is consumer engagement across a variety of screens, often simultaneously. Certainly multi-screen targeting is easier said than done. There are more screens to compete with today than ever before and it can be difficult to optimize content. They beauty of programmatic marketing is that it creates real opportunity to develop unified digital creative experiences across all screens.

Measuring the impact

You can’t manage what you can’t measure and digital media have been called ‘the most measurable ever’. Knowing how to measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns will save you from a lot of stress down the road. Digital Marketers have been using various tools and platforms to evaluate their campaign success and optimize existing ones when needed. Programmatic buying and integrated platforms have brought new levels of speed and more efficient way to measure your campaign results.

#4 – Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is not new and niche anymore. However, the landscape has evolved quite a bit over the past few years. Use of Influencer marketing in digital arena is recently getting the momentum. In 2017, brands spent over $1 billion dollars on influencer marketing on Instagram alone. It continued to grow this year and 2018 has been a huge year for influencer marketing. Predictions for are 2019 will be no different. With self-educating buyers increasingly relying on friends, family and other trusted sources as they weigh their purchase options, more and more digital marketers are harnessing the power of influencer marketing. Now let’s explore the most effective digital marketing platforms for Influencer Marketing.

Instagram is predominantly the most used marketing channel for Influencer Marketing. This will continue in 2019 as well. You may wonder – why Instagram? It’s attention span again! Even though the platform has a much smaller audience than its parent Facebook, Instagram users are much more engaged. That’s why Digital Marketers around the globe find it the most effective as a platform for Influential Marketing. And don’t forget that Instagram is currently the second most popular social media network in the world, next to Facebook, and digital marketers are falling more in love with the platform. Another reason Digital Marketers prefer Instagram over any other social media is that celebrities themselves prefer using Instagram than other media.

Another great platform for Influencer Marketing is Facebook. Influencer marketing on Facebook is becoming increasingly popular with brands as organic reach on the platform declines. In July, 2018 Facebook acknowledged the importance of influencer marketing on the future sustainability of the platform itself. Facebook let’s Digital Marketers find Influencers who can reach their target audience in an authentic way, while offering these influencers a path to monetizing their Facebook content and fan base.

According to a Bloglovin study, Facebook is the second most preferred platform among influencers themselves. So the time to engage with Facebook influencers is now, and don’t delay. In 2019, “connect” with your influencers and get to creating “meaningful interactions” pronto.

#5 – Immersive content

In recent years, increased competition and clutter on digital media have caused the entire landscape to change drastically for anyone using it to promote their products or services. That’s why providing an experience is not enough to stand out. Now is the time to get one step further and provide your target audience with an immersive experience. That’s why Digital Marketers have been exploring the technologies they can add to their creative armory and examine what value these technology can add to the immersive contents they create. A new research done by Kaizen indicates that immersive contents developed using augmented and virtual reality will make up a large proportion of content marketing in 2019. Let’s demystify them.

Augmented Reality

AR allows digital marketers to transform a static object, such as a newspaper advertisement or hard-copy magazine cover into an immersive 3 dimensional experience and make it more engaging for their target audiences. However, not only is AR advertising more engaging, it comes with increased capability of meeting the specific needs of today’s consumer.

Virtual Reality

On the other hand, almost 75% of the biggest brands in the world have integrated VR, an immersive form of digital entertainment, into their marketing strategy to date. Though the gaming industry has been completely revolutionized with the emergence of virtual reality, the future of virtual reality as a tool for digital marketing seems a bit uncertain. One of the main reasons is that it requires a head-mounted display which makes it much harder to reach potential customers.

The move into 2019 also comes with a shift in digital marketing. The New Year is full of new opportunities to tap into trends, find what your audience is looking for, and explore unexpected ways to reach new people.

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7 Ideas and Benefits for Using Machine Learning for Your Business

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Machine learning technology has made major advances in the last decade.

Highly adaptable new AI is changing the way businesses make decisions.

Aside from the smart technology you might be seeing and using today, there are plenty of new and creative technology innovations making waves daily. Everything from smart chatbots, software creation, customer support, and diagnosing business and marketing trends — all with the sole purpose of accomplishing more, and removing the ‘human’ aspect and cost from the business.

These advancements in technology are allowing business to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and automate processes that previously required employees — and sometimes included  weeks or months of additional training before actively taking on a new job. Machine learning also removes high-cost areas for business, such as employee insurance, human resources, and office space.

We’ve put together a list of the top seven benefits of machine learning to show you how your business can use AI.

1. Replaces Manual Data Entry

Filling out standard forms is an important rote task companies must complete. Small business AI is able to instantly fill them out with a high degree of accuracy.

This saves you money on data entry clerks and speeds things up. Data entry will always be needed, making it an automated process is a great way to upgrade.

2. Detects Spam

Small business owners have a lot of hats to fill. Wasting time sorting useless emails from important ones shouldn’t be one of them.

Machine learning tools are great at filtering out previously identified spam emails. They can also use context cues to block new ones.

3. Improve Cyber Security

Machine learning is tailor-made for identifying patterns. When properly directed they can process huge amounts of information and find commonalities between network intrusions.

This makes it easier to prevent them in the future. You can also use AI to help develop new strategies for defending against attacks.

4. Upgrade Your Customer Service

One of the best ways you can use AI for small business is to improve your responsiveness to customer needs. Machine learning algorithms can analyze past interactions and help you better understand what they want.

Not only does this keep your customers happy, but it also lowers your cost to do so. It can make suggestions about their future needs and help you cross-sell other products to them.

5. Analyze Your Financials

Major accounting teams are expensive and take a long time to run through things. Identifying fraud requires a line by line examination of thousands of transactions.

Machine learning tools can quickly scan massive volumes of transactions. It eliminates much of the grunt work involved and lets specialists focus on possible incidents. When properly calibrated it can even predict situations that will create a high potential for fraud.

6. Identify Existing Tools

One of the most interesting features of machine learning systems is their ability to make recommendations. They can process your existing business needs and identify other tools that will help you.

These can include financial tools, databasing tools, and many others.

7. Benefits of Machine Learning Education

If you want to experience all the benefits of AI in your business you have to properly train your staff. Just having data is nothing if you can’t process it.

Make sure your analyst works to learn more about using machine learning tools. This allows them to pick out the best tools available and customize things for your needs.

Leverage Your Existing Assets

The benefits of machine learning speak for themselves. AI can save you money, streamline your operations, and help with your marketing efforts. Make sure your competition doesn’t leave you behind.

If you liked what you saw here, read some of our other articles on entrepreneurship and business planning

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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Cloud Computing Management

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Cloud computing is the future. In fact, it’s already here! Millions of people depend on cloud computing technologies to back up their important data. Big data is the force that is driving this need, and it looks to be a technology that will be with us for a very long time.

Everyone from beginning online business owners to multi-million dollar corporations need to utilize cloud computing technology. The reason so many people rely on this technology is that you cannot afford to rely on only one storage method such as one computer or an external drive. If these drives or computers crash, you will lose all of your essential data.

For business owners, it is even more important to have this kind of backup. When you are an online site owner or manager, you are not only responsible for your data. You are also responsible for your customers’ data. This creates more liability for you and can make you suffer a loss of credibility if the data is compromised.

From Device to the Cloud

Cloud computing involves more than just managing and maintaining the data in the cloud. It also involves the data that is on your mobile devices or desktop computers and servers. Companies need to know what is coming in and going out of these devices as they are legally responsible for the security of this data as well.

For the site manager or business owner, this becomes a bigger challenge since so many people are responsible for their devices. This makes the task of monitoring what each is doing on their devices almost impossible.

This makes it necessary to put a platform and solution in place that will allow for cloud management across the various devices and platforms to avoid lack of consistency and functionality. At the same time, you must ensure that it is safe and that your networks are secure.

Too Many Devices, So Little Time

Another important challenge that online business owners face today is that employees, business partners, collaborators, and others involved in projects with your company all want to maintain the control they have over their devices. They also tend to utilize a large number of devices due to other needs or interests they have that involve their specific job titles or responsibilities.

This means you have to allow for variation in platforms, device types, and integration of a multitude of devices to keep the flow of information going and keep projects coordinated.

This puts a pretty large burden on the IT department since they are still responsible for many of the issues across multiple devices in which they are all connected to a centralized server. The IT provider must handle the individual issues on the devices as well as the data in the cloud and the software and hardware issues.

Colocation of Services

Today, with the help of “the cloud,” and other services, workers and project collaborators can log into a central server from the device of their choice and collaborate on a wide variety of projects and activities no matter where they are. This increases accessibility as well as productivity and workflow. However, you will need to update some software manually for each device to be in compliance with software licenses and to tweak individual devices to work correctly.

Tools in the Cloud

Just as much of the work we now do as business owners is “in the cloud” these days, so are the tools that we need to increase our efficiency and productivity levels. Gone are the days of needing to download or install software based on the different computers or laptops you might have. We are now in the next phase of website and data hosting and storing important data in the cloud. With all of this in mind, it’s important to be able to access such tools due to the need to keep software updated on all devices that are connected to the cloud.

If you can set up platforms that allow you to disperse critical software and security patches and updates from the cloud to all devices on the network, you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the IT and security department by avoiding having to install them manually.

When you work on things “from the cloud,” you are working remotely. This means a lot of added convenience for collaborators and managers, but it also requires more coordination and logistics management so that all systems are working properly across the board.

Smart AI Technology

One thing about cloud computing is that is it heavily immersed in AI. Companies such as nVidia.com and others have had a sudden rise in stock lately. This is because investors realize they are offering many more AI solutions to the technology world than other companies are doing. This includes cloud computing and big data management.

The smarter the technology gets in the future, the fewer business owners will have to do manually. Self-learning AI programs can correct problems as they go and even develop new solutions, rather than having to have engineers continuously check on how they are doing and ensuring that the data is safe.

With this innovation also comes more automation and less worry for the cloud computing IT manager as well as the business owner.

Storage Solutions in the Cloud

Cloud storage is one of the most important aspects of cloud computing. You can store mind-boggling amounts of data in the cloud which allows you to expand on your potential as a business owner in ways never before imagined. If you are a digital media producer, you can create endless videos, podcasts, and other digital assets and upload them to cloud storage without the worry of running out of space.

With so much storage available on most drives such as Google Drive, DropBox, and others, one wonders if someday we will all have illimitable space open. Google Drive allows you to purchase 2 TB of space for only $9.99 per month. This gives you an idea of just how cheap the cloud is when you need more space for storage.

Cloud management platforms like Cloud Management Suite understand the importance of having a cloud computing system in place. For example, Cloud Management Suite offers a wide variety of cloud services from security to data management. It’s primary features include patch tracking, remote control, software distribution, inventory discovery and history & reporting. With businesses relying on the cloud, it’s important to not only provide a cloud based solution, but also one that can scale and grow based on the needs of the end user.

The same holds true with other solutions, as it’s always important to offer excellent business phone services with a multitude of services that you can use for your business. All of this is in place, while also taking advantage of cloud computing, and catering to the end needs of the client.

Why use cloud storage?

Any online business (or offline business who needs storage solutions) should consider utilizing cloud storage today. The benefits are too numerous to mention. But basically, you’ll be covered if something happens and you lose your data or important projects on a physical drive or computer.

You don’t have to worry about system crashes or computer malfunction eating your data. If you have ever mourned the loss of files that you thought you would never retrieve, you can understand the need for cloud storage. If you lose your data on your physical drives, all you have to do is go “to the cloud” to retrieve and replace them.

As a business owner, this also increases your credibility and integrity with clients when you tell them you have cloud storage because they know that their data will never truly be lost.

Some companies that set up an “emergency plan” for loss due to fire, floods, or other natural disasters even include a cloud-based storage system as one of the factors in securing their business and often report this to insurance companies to get their rates down.

This shows the importance of using cloud storage to keep your data safe.

Grow Your Business with Cloud Computing

Additionally, you need cloud storage to grow and maintain your business. You never know how large your online company may grow over the years. Having cloud computer storage allows you to grow and expand to whatever level you can handle as you increase your storage space and online collaboration capabilities “in the cloud.”

When you depend on cloud storage as well as your offline tools, you have more security in what you do, and you can feel free to focus on your goals within your business and less worrying time about your security issues and loss of data. To learn more about each of these concepts and how cloud computing can improve your business, download this free ebook on the top ten security tips for IT managers.

Using cloud computing solutions also allows you to cut down on the amount of money you have to dedicate to your business infrastructure and on-site or in-house maintenance. Upgrades are often done automatically, and you can “set it and forget it.”

Cloud storage and computing options also allow you to put your business on automation in many ways while using the remote tools and accessibility that is necessary to expand without the worry of logistics.

Summary

Cloud computing is still a relatively new innovation that allows you to work from anywhere, have full access to your data, and keep your clients’ important data secure. Managing your cloud computing network is not difficult, but it helps to have tools that help you organize everything.

No matter what type of business or brand you are running, there are always going to be ways to make improvements and have better control over your customer data and day to day operation. Cloud computing can help you get there.

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The Importance of Data Protection in the Workplace

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What happens at work, stays at work — well, not so much. This is especially true when it comes to not just your personal data, but also those of clients, employees, advertisers and much more. With more data leaks and hacker attacks happening daily, it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ your data will be lost and sold on the darknet. It’s simply a matter of ‘when’ and what you are going to do about it.

With all of this in mind, do you know why data protection matters at your workplace?

Data protection in the workplace can no longer be an afterthought. In today’s world, many businesses have an online presence and store information digitally. No matter what you’re selling, you store data digitally, and that’s why data breaches have hit record numbers in recent years.

Even small businesses can be targets for data breaches. In fact, small businesses are more commonly targeted sometimes, because they often don’t have as many security measures in place for their data.

Don’t get caught off guard by hackers. Instead, keep reading to learn why data protection matters, and what you can do to protect your valuable data.

1. Human Errors Happen

It’s tempting to think that as long as you have the right company guidelines, you won’t need data protection. You know your employees would never break the rules and make data available to people who shouldn’t have it. But has it occurred to you that they might accidentally create a data breach?

Everyone can make mistakes, even your most experienced employees. And the consequences of human error while handling data can be dire. What happens when a personal phone used for some business purposes gets stolen? How about when someone accidentally posts a password on their social media account?

Human error can take many different forms. You should definitely educate your employees on how to avoid security breaches. This includes guiding them on best practices, password protection, and more. But this won’t eliminate the room for mistakes.

Have a layered system of protection measures, so a single mistake can’t make your data completely available to the world. That way, human errors won’t create massive problems.

2. It Could Be Legally Required

Did you know that legally, you must protect your data in certain areas?

According to the European Data Protection Act, you have to take certain steps to keep people’s data safe. This means, among other things, that you can only use data in approved ways, that you can’t store it longer than you need it, and that you have to keep it secure.

Of course, the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply everywhere. But many governments have laws regarding the use of data, and you can also be held liable for data breaches. Even if data protection isn’t required by law, you don’t want to get sued in the event of a breach.

3. Employees Can Use Data for Revenge

The bigger and broader your team of employees, the greater the chances that one of them will break the rules in a serious way. No matter how much you trust your team, though, you should keep in mind that a dissatisfied employee with access to data is a huge liability.

No matter how great your company culture is, there can still be that one employee who has issues. Maybe their problem is with their job description, or a specific person they work with. No matter what the reason is, you don’t want to give a revenge-seeking employee the power to use data against you.

An angry employee with access to data might deliberately share it or use it in ways to harm your business. For some small businesses, a data breach can spell the end.

Make sure to keep employee account privileges tightly controlled, so no one has more access than they need. This helps reduce the chances of a deliberate breach. If an employee is no longer working for you, be sure that their account privileges get shut down right away.

4. Your Reputation Can Suffer

Even minor data breaches can have a huge impact on a brand’s reputation.

If your customers’ data has been compromised — even if it doesn’t lead to anything bad happening — they’ll feel like they can’t trust you. As the word spreads, your company will become known as the one that doesn’t handle customer information with care. It’s very hard to get your reputation back after an event like this.

5. Data Must Be Kept Accurate

Without data protection, inaccuracies in the data can start to create problems. Even if there’s never a data breach, you might find yourself working with outdated, inaccurate information because you didn’t effectively protect what you had.

You need complete data that’s reliable and accurate. One way to achieve this is to always have backups of your data, so replication won’t leave you working with data that’s different from the original. Lost data can also be a huge liability — click here to discover more about data protection.

6. Employees Might Use Their Own Devices

Does your company allow employees to “bring your own device,” or BYOD? Then you definitely need more security measures.

Today, it often makes sense to allow BYOD. You don’t have to buy computers and smartphones for business purposes when people can use their own. Employees can often work faster on the devices they’re familiar with, too.

However, the risk is that sensitive data that’s used on these devices can easily get compromised. To avoid this, you’ll want to set some BYOD standards. For example, you can require employees to put a password protection on any device they’ll use for work purposes. That way, if it’s lost or stolen, other people can’t access the information.

Implementing Data Protection in the Workplace

Now that you can see why it’s important, you need to decide what kinds of data protection in the workplace is right for your company.

The best data safety strategies will vary depending on your industry, the size of your business, and more. But a carefully planned out data protection strategy is always necessary, in all industries, and in all business sizes.

Need to build a site that will keep sensitive information safe? I can help — learn more about my web and site development services here.

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