Tag Archives: Digital

How Adopting Cryptocurrencies Could Benefit Your Business

Bitcoin-Trading-featured-898x463Are you missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in on a currency that could continue to dramatically increase in value over time?

Whether or not the recent surge in value of Bitcoin is a fluke, many agree the idea of cryptocurrency is here to stay. With physical cash having already taken a backseat to credit cards, does it stand to reason that digital currencies will become more prominent in the years to come? Many people are betting big on the answer to that question being yes.

Last week, we explored an overview of cryptocurrencies. For businesses with their eyes on the bottom line, the question becomes: Should you accept cryptocurrencies?

Here are the major factors to consider in making your decision of whether or not to accept cryptocurrencies:

THE POSITIVES:

FRAUD PROTECTION

One of the biggest pros of cryptocurrency is the way in which it protects your business from the risk of fraud. When payments are made through credit cards and PayPal, merchants risk these charges later being reversed if they are deemed a fraudulent purchase. With Bitcoin, payments are irreversible, so the bill for fraud is no longer footed by merchants.

INSTANT INTERNATIONAL PAYMENTS

The internet enables the sending of cryptocurrencies overseas to be as easy as sending them across the street. With no central authority to verify transactions, not only do international payments come with no additional cost, they are instant. Cryptocurrencies offer international payments with no extra fees, 0 business days to transfer, and no minimum or maximum transaction amounts, making them an excellent payment option for businesses looking to expand to far-reaching markets.

CHOOSE YOUR OWN TRANSACTION FEES

Instead of paying fees per transaction, cryptocurrencies allow you to pay fees that determine the speed at which money is received. The processing power required to process transactions is distributed across computers on the internet. Network owners make money by allowing merchants and users to use their systems to process transactions. Thus, users can choose their fees based on how fast they require their payments to be sent.

NO PCI-COMPLIANCE NECESSARY

While accepting credit cards online typically requires PCI-Compliance to ensure credit card information is stored safely, cryptocurrencies require businesses to secure their wallets without necessitating the federally-imposed fees that come with processing sensitive information like credit cards. Blockchain technology ensures that cryptocurrencies are secure and that security is cheaper to maintain.

ACCESS A NEW CROWD

As an emerging market with niche followers, the cryptocurrency audience is known for their fervor for all things related to their passion. By adopting cryptocurrencies at an early stage in their development, a business can set itself apart and expand their market to receive visibility from the avid cryptocurrency crowd that has invested in cryptocurrencies at this early stage.

THE NEGATIVES:

MARKET VOLATILITY

Perhaps the greatest detriment to the cryptocurrency movement is the erratic nature of the value of the currency. Bitcoin is the staple cryptocurrency and with its value fluctuating wildly from day-to-day, most cryptocurrency owners would rather save their Bitcoin in hope that its value continues to spike than spend it on consumer goods.

What’s more, retailers may be afraid of accepting something that could lose value fast. When Square announced it was piloting a program to buy and sell Bitcoin through its app, Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed. If a major retailer like Amazon or Target were to elect to accept Bitcoin at their locations, no doubt Bitcoin’s value would spike once again. Thus, the silver lining of the market volatility is if a retailer does begin to accept it early, they could potentially make a large return on their initial investment.

REGULATORY LANDSCAPE

Another major issue for merchants to consider is forthcoming regulations and potential litigation relating to the cryptocurrency markets. With cryptocurrencies still in their infancy, lawmakers are working to enact regulations to govern and tax them. As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, merchants that accept cryptocurrencies will have to be adaptable to periodic changes in the laws which govern cryptocurrency.

BOTTOM LINE

While there are some risks in accepting cryptocurrencies, there are potentially massive rewards. Becoming an early adopter of major cryptocurrencies when they are low in value is an investment that could pay off big time if the value of the currencies continues to rise. For forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are ready to adapt to their business environment, the decision to accept cryptocurrency is an easy one. As they say: the early bird gets the worm.

How Artificial Intelligence Has Revolutionized Digital Marketing

Last week, we explored the real power of Artificial Intelligence. AI’s ability to comprehend complex data sets and form patterns enables infinite new possibilities for personalization through the analysis of digital activity. Within the digital marketing industry, AI has been nothing short of a revolution. Here are the top ways in which Artificial Intelligence is impacting digital marketing:

NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field that focuses on the ability for computers to process human language to the point where it can generate replies based on inferred meaning. Machine Learning has sharply increased the ability for machines to generate sentiments designed to not only seem as if they were written by a human, but that are optimized based on data to elicit a specific action or emotional response.

Digital marketers fret over when to reach out, what to say, and what channel is most appropriate. AI’s NLP abilities mean that the guessing game has come to an end. AI can analyze big data to decide upon what the best method, channel, and timing will be in order to foster growth, engagement, and sales.

NLP as a trend is on the rise. Angel.co recently valued the average NLP start-up at $4.8 million.

SEARCH FILTERING

In days of yore, Google search rankings were determined by human-created metrics and social media feeds showed posts in chronological order. Now, programs like RankBrain are vital to deciding the criteria for Google’s search rankings while Facebook’s DeepText creates your newsfeed.

ADVERTISING

Artificial Intelligence drives programmatic purchasing, which is when AI determines who to show ads to and when to show them. Removing the burden of purchasing analysis leaves marketers room to focus on crafting powerful messages.

NLP enables AI to understand (through numbers and sentiment analysis) the abstract criterion of “context” and to match individuals with ads based on context to maximize the chances of generating a click or purchase.

According to Ad Exchange, programmatic purchasing accounted for 67% of all global display ads in 2017.

PSYCHOGRAPHIC PROFILES

Perhaps the most anxiety-inducing example of Artificial Intelligence impacts not only digital marketing, but politics.

Psychographic profiles are data-driven psychological profiles of consumers designed to shed light on why they do what they do. Firms like CaliberMind and Cambridge Analytica have turned this into a multi-million dollar industry. Insights gleaned from psychographic profiles are intended to optimize the messaging of both political and commercial ads to induce a desired action from the viewer.

Cambridge Analytica has taken credit for influencing both the Brexit vote and the 2016 presidential election; however, many (including the New York Times) cast a shadow of doubt over the extent of their impact. Regardless, as long as there are insights to be gleaned from digital activity, psychographic profiles will only continue to develop.

SELF-DESIGNING WEBSITES

That’s right, AI has become adept enough to design websites based on data. Wix ADI created this personal trainer’s website and Grid has been designing websites since 2014.

CONCLUSION

Every application of artificial intelligence in digital marketing is relatively new. While these applications are increasing in popularity, expect them to also increase in efficiency and effectiveness as technology continuously advances.

SEO Pro Tips: Best Practices for Meta Descriptions

Last week, we explored the art of perfecting title tags for SEO dominance. This week, we’ll explore another vital meta tag: the meta description.

The meta description is the text that appears below the link in SERPs, as below:

Meta descriptions should be about 135 – 160 characters long, although Google has tested longer snippets. Any time quotes are used in the meta description, Google cuts the text off. To prevent meta descriptions from being cut off, it’s best to remove all non-alphanumeric characters.

Google uses meta descriptions to pull preview snippets on SERPs and return results when searchers use advanced search operators to match meta tag content, but unlike title tags, meta descriptions do not directly influence Google’s ranking algorithms for normal web search since meta description keywords are not ranked.

While meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, they do indirectly impact it. The prominence of meta descriptions in SERPs makes them a very valuable UX component and a tool for enticing searchers. While keywords do not affect ranking, they are bolded in the meta-description, which attracts the eye and can help influence a searcher’s decision to click. Thus the use of keywords in meta descriptions can be beneficial to increasing Click Through Rate (CTR). The Click-Through-Rate is the ratio of searchers who click on a page compared to how many searchers see it. CTR is highly valued in search rankings. Since meta descriptions are one of the first things that a searcher will see, they can influence them to click, increasing CTR and boosting SEO.

The ideal meta description articulates the value proposition which a company or web page offers in a precise way while taking into consideration the competition that the page is up against in SERPs. It assumes an active voice and includes a call to action. Web developers can enrich a meta description by using schema markups like star ratings, customer ratings, or product information, to increase the appeal. See below for example:

Image via Google Support

Sometimes meta descriptions are unnecessary. Moz advises if a page is targeting between one and three high volume search terms or phrases, it’s best to write a meta description targeting users performing those searches. If the web page is targeting long-tail traffic (three or more keywords, like a blog with hundreds of entries), it may be best to let the search engines extract the relevant text from the site since they will pull text specifically targeting the user’s search. A blog might be targeting one audience in their keywords, but have content on so many topics, they can be found through any number of search terms. A meta description specified for a page with a lot of content may detract from the relevance that the search engine can create organically by pulling a text description from the page which is relevant to the specific search.

Like title tags, repeating meta descriptions or making them incomprehensible will result in penalization from Google. Meta descriptions can be tricky since they are longer and a bad meta description can be worse than none at all. With the right title tags and website content, meta descriptions can be a major UX tool to drive traffic to a web page.

SEO Pro Tips: Perfecting the Title Tag

Over 100 billion searches per month are made on Google worldwide. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) has become one of the top marketing disciplines for anyone trying to drive web page traffic and digital revenue.

Title tags are one of the most important facets of SEO. Title tags are the titles of web pages that display in search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the clickable headline for a given result. They are the most obvious element in a search result and are pulled to the forefront of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). They display as below:

Social networks use title tags to determine what to display in the link preview when you share a page:

Title tags are extremely important for SEO, social sharing, and UX. They are one of the major on-page SEO elements. Keywords in title tags will factor heavily into a web page’s rank in any keyword-based search query.

Below find some of the best practices for crafting the perfect title tag.

KEYWORD EFFECTIVELY: Since title tags have a direct affect on SEO, effective keywording is crucial. Putting important keywords in the front of the title tag will increase SEO rankings, while keywords and search phrases at the end of the title tag will be less of a factor. For this very reason, it is best to put a company or website name at the end of the title tag, unless that name is an important keyword phrase. Keyword stuffing, or overloading keywords without making sense, will result in penalization. Ultimately, keywording effectively means writing clearly to an intended audience while factoring in important search phrases.

OPTIMIZING LENGTH: Title tags are not measured by length, but by a 600-pixel limit. Pixels do not equate to characters since certain letters require more pixels to compose than others. 600 pixels generally equate to about 50-60 characters. Measuring pixels can be made easy with this pixel length measurement tool by Search Wilderness.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: Statistics show 48% of marketers worldwide identified keyword/phrase research as the most effective SEO tactic. Effective research means honing in on your audience and enacting relevant keyword searches to observe the organic search competition. It is also important to note the inorganic competition: promoted ads for web pages that are boosted to the top of searches by Google AdWords.

Having a solid understanding of what a web page is up against in search engines helps web developers optimize their pages to stand out in the face of the competition. Since the competition and search rankings are constantly changing, research is an ongoing process. 34% of marketers cite frequent website updates as a key to their success.

PIPES “|”: Pipes can be used to punctuate and divide sentiments while minimizing punctuation and word count. See below for an example:

As with any copywriting, writing for an audience is crucial. Since the Title Tag is often the first thing a search user will see about your website, it is ultimately very important that it clearly communicates the subject of the web page and entices the intended searcher. Effective title tags are the first step on the way to SEO dominance.

Stay tuned for next time when we explore how to write an effective meta description!

How Mobile Commerce Is Changing Retail Sales

Smartphones have brought about unparalleled convenience in our daily lives. We are constantly connected to our rolodex of contacts with a variety of methods of communication. We can access all the information available on the world wide web anytime. Consumers looking to make purchases on the go can find the nearest store with ease. For businesses, the mobile platform represents not only a major avenue for advertising, but an opportunity to give customers the ultimate convenience when purchasing products.

According to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce represents 30% of all US e-commerce and rose by 38.7% from 2014 to 2015. Mobile commerce drives sales, and businesses lacking a mobile strategy are missing out on a major opportunity to increase revenue. Here are the top mobile commerce trends for 2016:

INTEGRATING PHYSICAL WITH DIGITAL

Although the digital world is virtually omnipresent in households, the appeal of immediately receiving one’s purchases by shopping in store remains attractive. Retailers are increasingly offering a variety of online + in-store options to capitalize on the convenience of digital and the immediacy of making a physical purchase.

Apps like Curbside have partnered with Target & Kroger’s to enable customers to reserve their purchases and skip the line when picking up products.

Beacon-enabled features like geo-targeted offers and loyalty rewards are becoming more and more popular. Geo-targeted offers can drive in-store traffic when delivered effectively. According to Target Marketing Magazine, 85 of the top 100 retailers are planning to adopt beacon technology by the end of 2016. Business Insider has predicted beacons will directly influence over $44 billion in US retail sales in 2016.

PERSONALIZED MOBILE PAYMENTS DRIVE LOYALTY

Although services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay were once hailed as the future, they have had a hard time receiving mass adoption. While mobile payment services haven’t gained popularity, the mobile wallet has made a major impact on commerce. Starbucks drives 16% of transactions through its mobile app. Walmart Pay arrived in December 2015, and now Target is next in line to develop their own payment app.

WEARABLES ON THE RISE

According to Arc, there will be a 61% growth in wearable ownership in 2016. App developers and retailers are still plotting on how to capitalize on wearables. Many anticipate a hands-free shopping experience in which one can simply walk out with their purchases and have automatic charges through wearable devices. Malls and large stores like Walmart may use wearables to make it easier for consumers to navigate stores. Wearables represent a major avenue for retailers to create innovative strategies and dictate trends to come.

THE MOBILE WEB DRIVES PURCHASES

While about 85% of time spent on mobile devices occurs in apps, the mobile web has actually proven to be a more successful in driving website traffic. While app usage is prevalent, consumers spend 80% of their app time on their top 3 apps. The mobile web drives twice the amount of site traffic than mobile apps. With 82% of smartphone users looking to their phones in stores when deciding what to buy, many anticipate the mobile web to surpass apps as the largest revenue driver in the next few years.

HOW CAN MOBILE COMMERCE HELP YOUR BUSINESS?

With technology in constant flux, the potential to drive revenue with a refined mobile strategy is constantly growing. Mobile strategies must be created, enacted and reevaluated with every new OS and device. Mobile is an ongoing investment. Understanding the value of a mobile strategy and how each device can enrich a customer’s interaction with your business will lead to long-term revenue growth.

Cashing Out the Smartphone: How Mobile Commerce Is Changing Retail

This week, we wrap up our five-part series on Top App Development Trends for 2016 with an article on mobile commerce! For a recap, take a moment to review our last four articles on cross-platform app development, cloud integration, mobile security and IoT.

Smartphones have brought about unparalleled convenience in our daily lives. We are constantly connected to our rolodex of contacts with a variety of methods of communication. We can access all the information available on the world wide web anytime. We can find the nearest store of choice anywhere we go. For businesses, the mobile platform represents not only a major avenue for advertising, but an opportunity to give customers the ultimate convenience when purchasing products.

According to Internet Retailer, mobile commerce represents 30% of all US e-commerce and rose by 38.7% from 2014 to 2015. According to The Mobile Playbook, the absence of a mobile presence is the financial equivalent of closing a store for one day a week. Suffice to say, mobile commerce is only on the rise in the coming years. Here are the top mobile commerce trends for 2016:

INTEGRATING PHYSICAL WITH DIGITAL

Although the digital world is virtually omnipresent in households, the appeal of immediately receiving one’s purchases remains attractive. Retailers are offering an increasing variety of online + in-store options. Apps like Curbside have partnered with Target & Kroger’s to enable customers to skip the line when picking up their purchases.

PERSONALIZED MOBILE PAYMENTS DRIVE LOYALTY

Although services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay were once hailed as the future, they have had a hard time receiving mass adoption. This hasn’t stopped the impact of the mobile wallet on commerce. Starbucks drives 16% of transactions through its mobile app. Walmart Pay arrived in December 2015, and now Target is next in line to develop their own payment app.

WEARABLES ON THE RISE

According to Arc, there will be a 61% growth in wearable ownership in 2016. App developers and retailers are still plotting on how to capitalize on wearables. Many anticipate a hands-free shopping experience in which one can simply walk out with their purchases and have automatic charges through wearable devices. Wearables represent a major avenue for retailers to create innovative strategies and dictate trends to come.

MOBILE WEB DRIVES PURCHASES

While about 85% of time spent on mobile devices occurs in apps, the mobile web has actually proven to be a more successful in driving website traffic. Consumers spend 80% of their app time on their top 3 apps. The mobile web drives twice the amount of site traffic than mobile apps. With 82% of smartphone users looking to their phones in stores when deciding what to buy, many anticipate the mobile web to surpass apps as the largest revenue driver in the next few years.

This concludes our five-part series on Top App Development Trends for 2016! Follow the Mystic Media Blog for more awesome articles on app development, website design, strategic marketing and more!

Not Too Pushy: 5 Rules for Pushing App Notifications Without Annoying the User

An application can do great things for a business. It’s a gateway into a digital experience catered to a brand, an opportunity to ingrain a brand into the user’s daily life. Push notifications allow applications to send messages with pertinent information to the user. Some are silent and simply light up the phone screen with a notification, while others vibrate to physically notify the user of more important, time-sensitive information.

The problem is: push notifications are… well… pushy. They can be annoying. It takes a mere Twitter search to prove that when users get annoyed, they take to social media, which is bad for business.

And yet, studies show when push notifications are turned on, they average 88% more launches than those with push notifications disabled. Some studies show up to a 540% increase in daily app opens.

Thus the conundrum becomes: how does one balance between being overly pushy, and not pushy enough? Although each case is subjective, we put together some guidelines for app developers and businesses looking to boost app usage without alienating customers.

1. Make Them Customizable

This is easily the cardinal rule. Do not push your push notifications on the user. Allow them to choose both whether and which push notifications to receive. Give the user options for how frequently they wish to receive notifications and/or what prompts them. There’s no excuse for an overly pushy app and it will be uninstalled.

2. Silent Notifications Work Too

Silent push notifications light up the phone screen with neither a sound nor a vibration. They are great for games, a tempting little offer which may catch the user’s eye when it lights up and lingers on the screen until the smartphone is next unlocked. Diversifying your notifications only makes for a more tolerable digital experience.

3. Analyze Customer Data

App developers have a host of awesome data at their disposal which ought to be utilized in tweaking their apps. If you notice customers often opting out of certain types of notifications, do them a favor and get rid of them. Or make them sign-up for them rather than giving them the work of having to opt-out. As they say, the customer is always right.

4. Geo Detection Is Your Friend

Geo Detection technology allows retailers to detect when a customer last visited their store or when a customer is nearby. Retailers can use Geo Detection technology to put out blasts to all customers in the area of special offers and coupons. For more information on Geo Detection notifications, check out this awesome article.

5. Offer Value

Seamless and GrubHub offer silent push notifications which, when swiped, give the user a discount on their order. Customers are more likely to read push notifications if they know there’s something in it for them. Push notifications are your friend, make sure they are your customer’s too.

Mystic Media is a web and software development company with expertise in iOS and Android application development and strategic marketing. Follow us today on Twitter (@mysticmediasoft), like us on Facebook, and contact us with any questions by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815

Android Payment Technologies – The Death of Physical Cash Seems Eminent

One of the major points which consistently arises in evaluating the perks of the Android platform is its superiority as a mobile payment device. Mobile payment is the future. Of what use is a credit card or even cash when it’s purpose can just as easily be served on a smartphone with additional convenience? As mobile payment technologies continue to evolve, the death of physical cash seems eminent.

 Google Wallet, first released in 2011, is the major mobile payment technology used for Android. Google Wallet supports all major credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. By storing all of the user’s credit card information on the cloud, Google Wallet makes it easy to pay for anything whether in-store or online.

Most Android payment technologies utilize NFC, or Near Field Communications, a set of standards for smartphones which allows communications by touching or putting the devices in close proximity. NFC allows you to pay for purchases through your smartphone without the hassle of paper or signage, all one needs to do to make a purchase is either tap the smartphone against a NFC compatible device or have it in proximity.

The major critique of NFC technology is the lack of security and cost of implementing the technology. Recent advancements have brought upon the development of Host Card Emulation, which makes it cheaper for merchants to install NFC technology into their organization and allows for secure transactions wherever the user pleases.

While Android remains the leader in mobile payment technologies, Samsung is currently giving them a run for their money with the Galaxy S5. The S5 is the first smartphone to utilize fingerprint technology to authorize payments. Fingerprint technology eliminates the need for passwords or PINs, not only making payments more secure, but protecting the user’s other accounts which often utilize the same complex password or PIN.

The numerous competitors in the mobile payment technologies market only goes to show the demand for mobile payment solutions. If your business expects to compete in any given market, it’s vital to eliminate any and all stresses in the process of purchasing. More to come shortly… Stay Tuned!