New Study Reveals Alarming New Trends in Global Screen Time Habits and Addictions

posted on June 8, 2024

We all have a little bit of a problem with screen time addiction. It’s just a fact of modern life, where almost everything we do (and have to do) is mediated through digital technology.

A recent study by Electronics Hub found that the average global citizen looks at a screen for 6 hours and 43 minutes per day, or around 40% of the time they’re awake.

The study took a deep dive into screen time trends worldwide, looking at which countries have the highest average screen time, which are most addicted to TikTok, and which have a growing smartphone addiction problem.

The country with the highest percentage of screen time

South Africans spend a large portion of the day staring into some kind of screen. In fact, more than half (56.80%) of their waking hours pass by in front of a screen; that works out to around 9 hours of screen time every single day—higher than any other nation in the world.

Japan can proudly claim that its citizens spend the least amount of time absorbed by screen time. According to the data, the average Japanese person spends a mere 22% of their waking hours at a screen, which equates to less than 3 hours per day. 

The country that spends the most time on social media

Five of the top ten nations that spend the most time on social media are found in South America. This is largely due to the continent’s demographics. Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico have a younger population compared to regions like Europe and North America. In other words, these nations have more people who have grown up with (and now can’t live without) social media.

Flipping that around, we see why Japan has the world’s lowest social media screen time score (5.11%). A combination of low birth rates and increased life expectancy means Japan has one of the “oldest” populations on the planet. Nearly 29 million people in Japan are over 65. That’s almost a quarter of the country’s entire population—not exactly the ideal target demographic for TikTok videos or viral YouTube content. 

The world’s biggest TikTok addicts

No one watches TikTok more than people in the UK. Here, the average person watches 154 TikTok videos daily.

Despite rumors of a TikTok ban in the USA, its citizens are still loving the platform. They watch an average of 142 videos every day. But that’s not as much as it might sound. TikToks are approximately 34 seconds long. So 142 videos work out to roughly 80 minutes of daily TikTok time.

How much time do people worldwide spend looking at a computer screen?

Whether it’s for work, fun, or an idle few hours browsing, we all spend some parts of our waking hours in front of a computer screen.

But probably not as much as the Russians. They came out as the nationality with the highest percentage of waking hours at a computer screen, averaging 4 hours 29 minutes per day (or 27% of awake hours).

Once again, South Africa appears near the top of the chart. It’s a country where people sit in front of a computer screen for over a quarter of the day.

The most phone-obsessed nations in the world

Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone phobia) is a very modern phenomenon. It defines the anxiety we can experience without the comfort of a mobile device tucked away in our pocket. Nomophobia stems from the smartphone dependency we’ve developed. According to some studies, 50% of people admit to feeling addicted to their phones. Worryingly, that rate is even higher among younger people.

Nomophobia is running wild in countries all over the world, including South Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines. In each case, people living in these nations are on their phones for over 5 hours a day; that’s more than a third of the time humans are usually awake.

Where people spend the most time playing computer games

It’s easy to lose a few hours in front of the PlayStation or Xbox. The games we play are designed to keep us engaged as we try to reach the next level, complete one more mission, or beat our all-time high scores.

However, given video games’ addictive nature, it seems that the vast majority of players have a good handle on their gaming habits.

Saudi Arabia scores highest when examining the data on how much time people around the world spend playing video games. Yet this ‘high’ score was relatively low. Saudi gamers play for around 10% of their ‘awake’ time, meaning the average gamer is in front of a screen for under two hours per day.

The USA watches the most TV

This final part of the study looks at one of the more old-school forms of screen-based entertainment: television. And it found that despite an overall decline in viewership figures, Americans still watch TV for 4 hours and 39 minutes per day. No other country scores higher than that.

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The Rise of Social Commerce: Turning Followers into Customers

posted on June 8, 2024

As you know, social media is used for sharing and posting images, memes, reels, demographics, and diverse stories or statuses. Simultaneously, e-commerce plays an important role as a multi-market place where you can buy many goods in fashion, electronics, academics, and many other categories.

Social media platforms have surpassed their purpose of communication and are now considered market hubs. Brands connect with customers to sell their products/services, termed social commerce. This blend of e-commerce and social networking is a game-changing spin for business and customer communication.

Let’s delve deep into this article to explore the rise, influence, and types of social commerce, its ability to turn followers into customers, and how businesses leverage it.

What is Social Commerce?

It is a branch of e-commerce that utilizes social networks and digital media to bridge a transactional gap between businesses and customers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more already have a feature that enables businesses to create a social brand account and sell their products and services. Through this collaboration of marketing and sales, brands tend to establish more meaningful relationships with customers. Let’s have a short look at the types of social commerce:

Types of Social Commerce

Using social commerce to connect with customers and increase sales is a strategic method that aligns with current practices in social marketing. Also, using the capabilities of social networks that have integrated social commerce tools, brands can enhance stronger connections with their target audience, which leads to improved relationships with customers and better outcomes for businesses.

Let’s explore the platforms that feed social commerce and can be used within social networks as a social commerce strategy:

  • Facebook. Businesses can use a valuable feature, Facebook Shop, on this platform to build highly tailored pages. Similar to e-commerce stores built on Shopify and Amazon, retailers can select products and collections to feature on their sites to sell.
  • Instagram. Mostly, individuals look for products on Instagram. The Instagram Shop enables brands to sell products that customers can directly purchase within the platform. Customers can access Facebook shops from Instagram.
  • Pinterest. As of 2015, this platform has adopted social commerce, which enables customers to purchase products from Pinterest’s business pages through an integrated checkout process.
  • TikTok: It is a third-largest platform integrated with social commerce features and a go-to for brands that need to reach a massive portion of audience. Reports state that +71% of normal TikTok users and 49% of Gen Z shoppers make a purchase from the platform, which clearly shows its close competition with Facebook and Instagram. With TikTok LIVES, users can shop during streaming via in-feed videos, and product display tabs.

Apart from these largest market hubs for social commerce, there are others, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon Live, Weibo, and more.

The Rise of Social Commerce

Estimated sales globally through social media platforms set the figure at $992 billion in 2022. However, this number of sales grows highly in the future through online purchases from social channels. According to statistics, the sales value of social commerce will become $8.5 trillion by 2030.

There’s no doubt social networks have changed people’s routines, such as how they use, spend, and make money. When social media and e-commerce fuse, it is termed social commerce. The Asia-Pacific region pioneered the concept of social commerce, and its adoption has been popular in the U.S. market over the past years. In the middle of 2021-23, the number of US shoppers has accelerated from 97 million to almost 107 million. The research suggests that the GMV of social commerce will reach a number of $150 billion by 2028, ultimately double the figure of 2024.

Leveraging the Power of Social Media to Delivering Personalized Shopping Experience

Alongside delivering flexible customer engagement opportunities for businesses, there are plenty of values social commerce has to offer to customers. After the successful hype of social commerce, customers engage with it through friends and family product/service recommendations who’ve already used or purchased it before they buy. Moreover, direct interaction with a brand by comment section or via Q&A (question and answer) helps customers or shoppers ask relevant questions regarding the purchase of a product. It allows them to seek deeper into brand market insights confidently for better decision-making toward transactions. Social channels deliver an excellent opportunity to customers for an open pre-sale and after-sale interaction with a brand through they’re purchasing.

Many businesses use the data collected from these interactive customer engagements — such as likes, comments, and shares — to deliver personalized experiences based on customers’ picks or favorites. This personalized shopping experience truly cultivates a long-term bond between both the customer and the brand.

Do I Need Customer Engagement Services For My Social Commerce Business?

Customer engagement is the beating heart of your social commerce business. In today’s competitive market, where every interaction is a close chance to seal the deal, customer engagement services play a game-changing role for your brand. They help you convert passive scrollers into long-term sales and interact when an engagement occurs, such as a like, comment, and share on your published posts.

Turning Followers into Customers

In business, turning leads or followers into customers is an art of interactive marketing and sales, so how exactly do brands use social commerce to do it? Let’s explore some key techniques:

Transactional Posts and Product Tags

Showing transactional posts and product tags on your social media brand profiles enhances user flexibility to find and buy products that meet their needs quickly. By maximizing customer experience with this strategy, brands can reduce attrition rates and gain monetization and ROI.

Shopping Events or Product Launches

Creating urgency around your products by hosting live shopping events or product launches on social channels can directly grab the attention of shoppers. It is better to engage with customers in real-time, Q&As, and offer exclusive discounts or promotions to increase the purchase ratio.

Influencer or Brand Collaborations

Connecting with influencers or brand ambassadors to promote your products to their fans or followers gives you an edge. It is recommended that you collaborate with an influencer or a brand that aligns with your goals, values, and target audience. Authentic, captivating, and target-based content is the backbone of better collaboration results between your brand and an influencer or a brand you choose to collaborate with.

User-Generated Content

Must encourage your followers to make and post user-generated content (UGC) such as unboxing, reviews, hacks, or valuable tips featuring your products. This UGC effort converts into your brand’s social credibility and authenticity and is social proof of credibility.

Personalized Recommendations

Use data and analytics to provide customized product recommendations to your followers or customers based on their previous browsing and transactional behaviors. Through targeted ads and email marketing campaigns, re-engage users who have shown interest in your particular products but haven’t finished the transaction.

Navigating the Trust Factor

Fluctuation is a necessary part of nature, even in social commerce as well. Trust is the core aspect of running a successful business, and the key is to maintain it to remain prosperous. Users entrust businesses to protect their financial information and personal data. Further, if any kind of security breach happens or misuse is conducted, the consequences affect the overall business reputation and growth.

Thus, businesses worldwide ensure the layered security patterns to double up the safety measures and proceed with transparent communication. Multi-layered cloud databases, end-to-end encryption, reliable payment gateways, and clear data usage policies are becoming prevalent.

Trust is the key to winning customers; the more you build, the more conversions you will get soon.

In Last…

As we stand in 2024, social commerce has emerged as an emphatic force transforming the digital marketing landscape. It is not a fleeting fad but an effective transition that has truly redefined the way we shop and interact with brands. The blend of social media and e-commerce has enabled businesses to reach a massive audience to enhance sales. Using a smartphone to scroll through captivating visuals and purchase with a single tap has reimagined instant satisfaction. User-generated content, influencer, and brand collaborations have spun the orthodox marketing standard upside-down. It is risky for businesses to rely on the campaign’s results for ROI instead of using social commerce tactics such as UGC and influencer marketing, which offer more value.

Using platforms’ built-in social commerce features to increase sales by reaching the target audience. Social commerce platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and more, offer businesses the opportunity to grow worldwide. Customers need a personalized shopping experience that aligns with their preferences and is transparent when making a purchase. In this case, data analytics and customer behavior history help curate a more personalized shopping experience.

Trust is a prime factor; nothing works without it. Thus, social commerce businesses interact with customers, collecting their personal data and transactional information; it is mandatory to safeguard all of these essential components with the utmost security measures to cultivate a safe business-consumer journey. Otherwise, dire consequences will occur if security does not reach the level of expected customer trust and any hazard happens to their legal property.

Lastly, Social commerce is a blend of technology, customer behavior, and marketing innovation that has thrived in 2024. As per the research, social commerce has the power to turn followers into loyal customers. It is important to consider that social commerce is here to stay and will be deep-rooted in the market additionally in the near future. In this case, stay well-equipped with the necessary tools and strategies to lead the digital marketing landscape and future by cultivating unmatched business growth.

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From RPA to AI: Mastering Intelligent Automation

posted on June 8, 2024

Today’s business-driven software stacks contain intelligent automation to help streamline processes. These intelligent automation platforms leverage multiple technologies, including process mining, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Enterprise Content Management (ECM), and Business Process Management (BPM). Low-code/no-code tools are fueling new ways to rapidly automate back-office processes and customer-facing experiences, but there are considerations to contend with.

The success of digital transformation projects is primarily focused on the core technology and its ability to learn and adapt to the complexities of a business process and the unstructured nature of the data. For example, RPA has led these transformation initiatives, providing connectivity to modern cloud-based and legacy systems where content is stored. Where manual work may have been performed in the past, a human swiveling between applications, RPA bots filled a need to connect systems where integration either did not exist or lacked the functionality required.

Automation Nation

Enterprises are betting big on intelligent automation. However, they must realize that, unlike a patchwork of monitoring tools that can fill observation gaps, intelligent automation requires comprehensive monitoring and management capabilities aligned with business needs. Therefore, to ensure successful, intelligent automation implementations, there are five essential requirements to consider:

  1. Fortified Integration of AI and Automation – AI-driven automation is moving so fast that IT security can’t keep pace. Now is the time for enterprises to fortify the oversight and monitoring of AI automation tools such as RPA, IDP, BPM, ECM, and chatbots. These intelligent automation tools commonly connect and share sensitive data as a solution. If not adequately managed with the proper application monitoring and observability tools, outages within critical processes will happen, company data will be put at risk, and the goals of scaling intelligent automation will be lost.
  2. Secured Bots – The “bot” software that automates repetitive tasks is called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPAs can interface with virtually any system – modern web-based, legacy, and desktop – and automate simple repetitive tasks that a human performs. However, there must be a complete audit trail of all actions beyond simply storing and reviewing the raw RPA log data. The potential risk of bots making mistakes, being granted new access rights, or even employees failing to secure the bot properly is a real problem. 
  3. Bolstered Intelligent Automation Oversight – Bolstering operational oversight of intelligent automation requires providing monitoring and security views into operations. With this visibility, IT operations, security, and Center of Excellence automation teams will all have valuable input. However, monitoring requires having the correct data views into the use of RPA, IDP, and the systems of record (ERP, CRM, ECM) that are core to the processes, and the needs of each team will be different. For example, for the Center of Excellence automation owners, the insight they require is directly connected to processes running smoothly and taking corrective action quickly when failures occur. By contrast, IT security operations want to know if bots have been compromised and if a complete audit trail of these bots’ work is available.
  4. Data-Driven Security Decision-Making Adoption – Data from logs, systems, and process data provides information to be correlated and surfaced within a monitoring and observability tool. In addition, incident intelligence views are formed based on raw audit log data that is further analyzed and triggers alerts to the appropriate people. It’s important to note that a complete audit trail of AI bot activity, human interactions, and other AI data-driven services must be observed to take proactive security measures before a threat or unauthorized bot or human activity becomes a significant problem.
  5. IT Security As A Perpetual Process – Enterprises continue to leverage AI automation across all facets of the business, and with the expanded use comes more complexity in providing insight and observability of the applications and processes involved. IT operations and security teams need to adapt and enhance the security around bots, people, and the use of AI technology that powers applications and processes. With the increasing use of Generative AI, application monitoring tools will become even more essential.

Conclusion

Intelligent automation boosts efficiency and enhances business operations. Maintaining extensive monitoring and oversight of the internal operational experience post-implementation is crucial to ensure the success of automation initiatives. IT security is paramount for a secure digital environment with new software access to business processes. Applying the IT security layer supports risk management and prevents automation projects from being a silo environment that could introduce another attack vector to bad actors. The quality of the internal operational experience (behind the firewall) should match or exceed the customer experience (outside the firewall) to achieve a significant impact and meet business expectations. By following these procedures, organizations can safeguard and insulate their automation processes from internal and external threats.

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Revolutionizing Retail: How AI is Transforming Shopping Experiences and Business Operations

posted on June 8, 2024

The retail industry is experiencing a major transformation, thanks to AI’s growing role in every aspect of its operations. AI is revolutionizing how retailers engage with customers and manage their businesses, from enhancing personalization to enabling autonomous shopping experiences.

AI has significantly improved personalization in retail. In sectors like fashion, beauty, and home goods, AI tailors experience to individual preferences, boosting customer loyalty and conversion rates. This is especially effective in industries where personal taste and style vary widely. Additionally, VR and AR technologies are creating immersive and interactive shopping experiences, blurring the lines between online and physical retail spaces. These technologies allow customers to interact with products in detailed, three-dimensional environments, try items virtually, and enjoy interactive demonstrations, which boosts consumer confidence, reduces returns, and drives sales. Furniture, home improvement, and automotive sectors, where visualization is crucial, benefit greatly from VR/AR technologies.

Predictive analytics is another AI-driven advancement making waves in retail. By analyzing past data, market trends, and consumer behaviors, retailers can forecast supply and demand, optimize inventory management, minimize waste, and enhance operational efficiency. This leads to better profit margins, fewer markdowns, and increased customer satisfaction due to improved product availability. Grocery, consumer electronics, and fast-moving consumer goods sectors find predictive analytics especially useful due to the perishable nature of their products and the need for precise inventory control.

AI-powered visual searches are also changing how customers find products, especially in visually-driven sectors like fashion and home decor. This intuitive shopping tool improves product discoverability and aligns well with customer preferences.

Have you been to a stadium lately? You might have encountered an autonomous store. These stores use AI, computer vision, and sensor technologies to offer a seamless shopping experience. This friction-less shopping not only saves time for consumers but also provides valuable insights into shopping behaviors.

With the rise of AI, ethical usage and consumer data protection are crucial. Retailers must engage in transparent practices, ensuring data is used responsibly and with consent, safeguarding privacy to maintain consumer trust, and upholding their brand integrity.

Retailers looking to leverage AI need to develop a comprehensive data strategy that aligns with their brand values and meets customer needs. AI can enhance every aspect of retail operations, from decision-making to operational efficiency. As AI’s role in retail continues to grow, focusing on hyper-personalization and optimizing the entire customer journey is essential. Retailers must stay alert to new trends and technologies, continuously adapting to meet evolving consumer expectations. AI is not just a technological upgrade—it represents a fundamental shift in retail operations, customer engagement, and the future vision of shopping. As AI evolves, so will the retail landscape, bringing new levels of experience and efficiency for both retailers and their customers.

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7 Benefits of Automating Accounts Payable

posted on June 8, 2024

Managing finances and accounts is a vital part of any business.  Manual handling of accounts may cause risks or human error. To reduce the risks and errors in accounting, many organizations choose automation in accounts payable. 

This article elaborates on what an accounts payable automation is, and the benefits of accounts payable automation. 

What is accounts payable automation? 

Accounts payable is the process of using software or tools to streamline the financial process in a business. It automates processes like invoice generation, tracking, payment approval, making purchases, and so on. It helps the organization streamline the financial and accounting processes and analyze various methods to reduce expenses and increase revenue.  

Automation software provides workflow automation, business process automation, invoice management, automated invoice processing, and so on. This type software along with CRM integration makes workflow processes simple and more efficient. 

Benefits of Accounts Payable Automation 

Accounts payable automation offers several benefits to businesses. 

1. Improved accuracy 

As this accounts payable automation software automates human tasks like data entry, it reduces the chances of human errors. The invoice generation process is automated which improves the accuracy of the business process. Reducing human errors in the financial and accounting processes increases accuracy and customer satisfaction. This automation software enables the scanning of documents instead of entering data manually, it can scan the data and automate the data entry process. This reduces the operational time and human errors which will increase the overall accuracy of the business process. 

2. Reduced delays 

Manual processes, errors, data missing, or miscommunication can cause delays in payment processing. This automation software automates manual tasks like data entry, invoice generation, and so on. As it automates these tasks, it reduces the errors and delays that occur due to these issues. Also, reducing this operational time for the resources enables resources to focus more on complex and innovative tasks.  

Also, it enables interdepartmental communication, which allows other department heads to access and verify the documents for approval. This reduces the waiting time for the customer, which enhances customer satisfaction. 

3. Automated workflows 

It automates the workflow of the accounting processes like data entry, invoice generation, approval, and payment processing. This software reduces the process time by automating all workflows. With streamlined workflows, the process gets quicker approval, and it reaches customers or vendors quicker than the manual process. Also, it provides proper necessary access to the resources who need it. Automated workflows reduce confusion, and they enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the accounting process.  

4. Improved vendor satisfaction 

Organizations need to update stocks by purchasing from their vendors. In this manual purchasing may lead to last-minute corrections, cancellation the orders, or payment delays. By using this software these issues can be rectified. This accounts payable software maintains stock and makes purchase orders properly without any changes required. Also, it provides a streamlined workflow for approval and payment process. So, it reduces processing delays, which may reduce the late payment penalties. All these factors, improve vendor satisfaction. 

5. Greater visibility 

This accounts payable automation software collects data and stores it in a centralized database, which allows all the team members to view and access the data anytime. This provides greater visibility to all the related resources. Also, it has a custom dashboard that shows reports based on various factors, which provides greater visibility of the accounts process. This dashboard provides better visibility to all other departments to make better updates regarding the payment processes. This enables the organization to stay updated and take necessary steps then and there to increase efficiency. 

6. Better analytics 

This software has better analytics features that can be used to analyze market trends. This feature helps the team to make the purchase orders more efficient. This analysis report shows the high-demand products, the current value of the product in the market, and customer feedback regarding the product, and so on. This enhances the productivity and efficiency of the business. This software not only analyzes the current trend of the market but also, can analyze the future market trend by using predictive analytics features. This helps in making better purchasing decisions as per the future market. 

7. Improved efficiency 

This accounts payable automation software improves the efficiency of the business by providing automated tasks, streamlined workflows, reducing human errors, increasing accuracy, reducing operational time and cost, and greater visibility. This enhances the overall efficiency of the business process as it increases customer and vendor satisfaction. Also, it provides current and future market trend analysis which will help the organization to optimize its purchase order. Overall, accounts payable automation helps the organization to enhance the overall efficiency of the business processes. 

Conclusion 

As accounts payable automation provides several benefits over the business processes, here we have explained only the primary advantages. Besides these benefits, it offers numerous advantages that will help the resources and organization enhance the overall productivity and efficiency of the business processes. By leveraging this automation software, organizations can improve both customer and vendor satisfaction. 

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“It’s about who you know.” New Study Unveils the Secret to Landing a Job at the Best US Companies

posted on June 8, 2024

There are three things that can land you a job: skills, experience, or potential.

But as this latest study from Switch On Business shows, you might need one more thing: a connection or hook-up at the company you’re applying to.

That’s because an increasing number of companies are now using referral schemes to hire new staff.

Find out who they are below.

Salesforce recruits the highest percentage of employees through referral schemes

Salesforce loves the employer referral recruitment model. More than 4 out of 10 (41%) of its current staff were referred by another employee. That’s the highest employee referral rate in the entire study.

Salesforce’s high referral rate is not a coincidence. The company actively encourages referrals by offering enticing rewards. Staff members can earn cash rewards and extra days off for recommendations. Referring a friend or former colleague can trigger an annual bonus of $3,000.

The firm also runs regular employee referral social evenings. These are events where staff can bring friends along for an informal mingling event with the Salesforce recruitment team and hiring managers.

Employee referral rates in the Fortune 500 companies

Jobs don’t get much more competitive than the most sought-after roles at companies in the Fortune 500. These companies hire the 1% of the 1%, so applicants need to look for any advantage in this super selective job market.

A killer CV and long list of achievements are prerequisites for these jobs. But the thing that really tilts the odds in your favor is not what you know, but who you know.

The Fortune 500 companies with a high percentage of employee referral rates include Devon Energy, Booz Allen Hamilton, and gaming franchise giant Activision Blizzard. In each case, around a quarter of employees were referred by a friend or family member at one of the firms.

Employed referral rate by different types of buses and industry

Around 11% of all job offers in the USA employment market are made to people who were referred by a current member of staff.

That figure jumps to 17.37% when looking at the amount of referred job offers in US tech companies.

Media is an industry famous for being tight-knit and insular, which explains why 12% of all jobs in the sector were offered to someone who already knew someone at the company.

The industry with the lowest number of employee referrals is retail. Only 6% of retail staff are classified as referred employees.

Employee referral rates at tech companies

Employee referral schemes are very much part of the norm in tech recruitment.

For example, ZoomInfo has an employee referral rate of just over 30%, meaning 3 out of 10 workers at the firm were recommended by a current staff member.

The data shows a similar proportion of referred employees at several other big-name tech companies, including HubSpot, DocuSign, and Splunk.

Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg is infamous for betraying friends in his pursuit of tech greatness. But his firm still loves hiring its staff’s friends. According to the research, one in 5 of Meta’s workforce had a friend, relative, or former colleague who helped them get a foot through the door.

The most employee referrals of any US retail company

Retail isn’t well-known for its employee referral model. However, a few companies buck that trend. 

Electronics retailer Avnet has a generous referral scheme for staff. It’s the main reason why 20% of the firm’s hires came via a family or friend recommendation.

Referring people for jobs in the finance sector

Northern Trust Asset Management is one company where every aspiring finance professional would love to work. Salaries start well into the six-figure range, and bonuses for the best performers can add up to small fortunes.

Most people who send in a CV don’t even get a courtesy ‘no thanks’ email. Instead, the company prioritizes hiring via its referral scheme. And that’s created a tight-knit, family feel where 25% of staff were hired through recommendations.

There’s a similar vibe at crypto exchange Coinbase. The firm is notoriously selective, preferring to hire internally or via recommendations from current staff members.

Jobs for friends and family in the media

Salem Media Group is a Christian content producer that prides itself on promoting family values. And it takes that same family-first approach when hiring. With a score of 25.98%, it’s the media company most likely to hire someone its staff are friends with or related to.

Employee referrals in retail

There are some big names in the retail sector of the industry. But there aren’t many big numbers next to them.

Only 8% of staff at sportswear giant Nike were referred. That figure is even lower at Under Armour (6.11%) and Victoria’s Secret & Co (6.03%).

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Customer Service Metrics That Matter: How to Measure and Improve Customer Service Performance

posted on June 8, 2024

By tracking metrics, you can make sure that your customer service strategy is performing at its best.

Customer service is an integral part of any business. Even the best product in the country can flop if customers have a negative experience, but when your business interacts with high volumes of customers on a regular basis, how is it possible to keep track?

There are several ways to determine whether your customer service strategy is working. Many businesses use services to conduct customer feedback and experience surveys or monitor social media and review app mentions. However, one of the best-regarded techniques is to track metrics and KPIs. 

What’s the Point of KPIs and Metrics?

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”- Peter Druker, Management Consultant

Both metrics and KPIs provide data, which is an indispensable tool for strategy improvement. By tracking KPIs, companies can glean valuable insight into their operations’ success, discover important pain points, and make necessary improvements to their operations. 

KPIs and metrics are related, but they are not the same thing. Metrics are a system of measurement (in this case, customer service success.) KPIs, or key point indicators, are a type of metric. These tools are vital for customer service success as well as other facets of business, like marketing, sales, and HR performance. 

What are the Most Important Metrics in Customer Service?

“Strategies are abstract and metrics make them concrete.” – Ram Srinivasan, Leadership Coach

Every company and department has a different story. These are reflected in their unique set of KPIs. Depending on your strategy, you can determine and track targets unique to your operational needs. Many of these KPIs will be specific to the industry or department of measurement. So, in the case of customer service, KPIs would likely track contact center performance. There are also more general types of KPIs for companies to measure, like overall customer retention rate.

Great customer service can look different from industry to industry, but some aspects are true no matter what. For instance, nobody likes to wait on hold! Those universal customer service truths lend themselves to here are quite a few helpful call center-specific metrics. These include:

  • Call handle time 

Customers don’t contact customer service for a leisurely chat. They’re in touch because they have a problem or question to address. This KPI keeps this pain point in check by measuring the overall time agents spend on the phone with customers.

  • Average length

As the name suggests, this measures an average call center conversation length. This can then be analyzed according to the needs and nature of the specific industry it’s working within. For instance, a medical call center might have a longer call center average than a ticket booking service. 

  • Call center agent sales rate

Many companies integrate a sales strategy into their call center operations. In those cases, it’s typical to measure agent sales rates.

  • Customer effort score/CES 

A great indicator of customer service success is the ease with which client needs are being met. This can be measured through customer feedback sessions and surveys.

  • Net promoter score/NPS 

Most businesses want to know if their customer service was positive enough to elicit customer loyalty and good word-of-mouth marketing. NPS measures this type of customer loyalty through experience surveys and feedback sessions. 

  • Calls blocked/busy 

Unreachable support centers are a common culprit of “bad” customer service. By tracking the rate at which customers experience dropped calls or busy signals, companies can take the necessary measures to ensure better coverage, more straightforward interactions, and fewer disgruntled customers. 

  • First call resolution rate

Call escalations, transfers, and callback sessions can’t be avoided altogether. But for non-complex cases, a first-call resolution is ideal. This KPI tracks how often a case is resolved within one interaction.

Metrics, Technology and the Future

“We let the algorithm find the patterns.”-Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Expert

It feels like the future is here, but of course, that’s not the case. Technology will continue to advance. As it evolves, so does business—including customer service, consumer expectations, metrics, and KPIs. This is crucial to keep this in mind when developing a metrics-measurement strategy. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall behind other, more tech-savvy businesses.

Customer service is a human-led industry. This is why so many people get angry with automated call services and “web chat” features that are actually bots—they don’t understand nuance. Great customer service relies on empathy that only a human can have. However, technology has begun to play an important role in facilitating this type of customer support, including the measurement and tracking of metrics. 

These days, many businesses integrate technology into their strategies to support their call center agents. For example, some companies have utilized “decision tree” algorithms to find gaps in their strategy and determine appropriate KPIs to track. Customer service teams can then use these new, algorithm-based KPIs to develop an up-to-date strategy that meets current demand. This technique utilizes cutting-edge technology in a way that centers customer-agent interactions over an automated fix.

Looking at the “Big Picture”

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”- Goodhart’s Law

Metrics are a fantastic way to track performance and operational success. However, it’s important not to look at them with tunnel vision. When businesses focus too much on tracking metrics, they can lose sight of their company’s actual performance (revenue, anyone?). Talk about missing the forest for the trees! When dealing with metrics, keep in mind that KPIs are indicators of specific performance, not actual results. Fixating on these numbers without the context of actual results can end up harming a business more than boosting its sales.

Need an example? Imagine an online retailer that has a zero-returns policy. Every time a customer calls their contact center to request a return, they are told it’s impossible. All of these inquiries are resolved within one phone call. This means that, when tracking their KPIs, a company would see that their first-call resolution rates are very high—usually considered a good thing. However, these customers are likely pretty unhappy about their customer service experience. This is because the measure became a target, and the end result was not considered. 

The above scenario is easy to avoid, but it takes more work than just monitoring a checklist of KPIs. It requires consideration, strategic thinking, and teamwork. This is why so many businesses choose to outsource their customer service department altogether. Business process outsourcing (or BPO) call center and customer support services typically provide helpful tools for performance measurement that go beyond tickbox metrics. Perhaps most important of all, companies must continue to listen and learn from customer feedback in every form. While it can sometimes be challenging to accept negative feedback, it’s worth the effort in the long run.

References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/04/22/focusing-on-the-most-meaningful-metrics/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-new-metrics-key-shaping-future-work-ram-srinivasan/

https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/the-future-of-strategic-measurement-enhancing-kpis-with-ai/

The post Customer Service Metrics That Matter: How to Measure and Improve Customer Service Performance appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Optimize SEO on Shopify – Tools, Tips & Tricks

posted on June 8, 2024

Shopify SEO: What Marketers Need to Know

Shopify has grown into the world’s dominant ecommerce platform for all businesses including custom phone case companies, phone repair Red Deer shop, and iPhone repair Calgary store. Since its founding in 2006, the ecommerce site builder has poured revenue into feature improvements, a robust API and App Store, plus competitive, accessible pricing that brought nearly 5 million storefronts to the site by 2023. SEO has been a key focus of Shopify’s most recent improvements. With new tools and changes to its Liquid template language, Shopify users can make substantial SEO gains and win valuable positions on the SERP.

More than 80% of global web traffic is generated by organic search. Shopify SEO optimization is the most cost-effective way to capture qualified customers and grow your brand. Here’s how to do it.

How to Improve SEO on Shopify: The Basics

Whether you’re just starting out or a Shopify pro, you need to address the essentials of any successful SEO strategy.

1. Index Your Content

Set up Google Search Console (and Bing Webmaster)

Google Search Console is free, easy to use and easy to verify. Google holds 87-91% of global search traffic, with Microsoft’s Bing a very distant second with 2-4%. These two platforms will allow you to verify that your content is being indexed and that users can naturally find it online. Once you verify your domain with these tools, submit your XML sitemap. Submitting a sitemap is the most impactful way to ensure these search engines index your pages and consistently register new or updated content.

2. Know Your Metrics

Set Up a Google Analytics Account

Marketers can’t afford to guess; when metrics matter, you need a tool to measure every view and click. Google Analytics 4 is free, intuitive and a lynchpin of SEO reporting and decision-making. Once you create your account, you can add your Google Analytics measurement ID to Shopify and track a range of metrics and conversions, such as organic sessions and active users.

3. Get Your SEO Tools

Consider investing in paid SEO tools like Moz or Semrush, or familiarize yourself with free tools like Surfer SEO and Google Trends. For premium Shopify users, there are several SEO apps built into the platform, including Plug-in SEO Optimizer. Optimizer is Shopify’s answer to WordPress’s Yoast SEO tool, and while it’s not quite on the same level, Optimizer covers a lot of SEO basics. These tools can help you understand what queries your site is ranking for, track keyword positions and more!

For experienced marketers rolling their eyes, remember that 4.61 million online stores are using Shopify as of January 2024. Offering Shopify SEO set-ups and content packages is a market unto itself and promises immediate results for most users.

Automated SEO Features on Shopify

Despite claims that Shopify isn’t good for SEO, the platform automates some important SEO best practices that other platforms, including WordPress, don’t.

  • Canonical tags – Shopify automatically generates canonical tags that mitigate the risk of duplicate content. This is especially useful for brands with large product catalogs with frequent photo and description updates.
  • Sitemaps – Shopify automatically generates and updates your XML sitemap. Once you’ve submitted that sitemap to Google Search Console, Shopify takes care of the rest. We recommend auditing your sitemap every 6-12 months to ensure pages are properly indexed.
  • Robots.txt – Shopify also adds pages to your robots.txt file, which prevents site crawlers from Google and Bing. This keeps administrative log-in pages and other content off the SERP.
  • Title tags – While it’s best practice to write custom title tags, Shopify will cook up a unique tag for every page once it’s published because something is always better than nothing.

For premium storefronts, Shopify may offer several additional automations or plug-ins that expand on this list. Check your account or the pricing page to see what else is offered.

Three Shopify for SEO Tips to Swear By

For as much time and budget is captured by paid and social on Shopify sites, there’s still a lot to say about SEO. For Shopify, organic traffic typically generates the most sessions, usually between 60-80% depending on your paid spend. Organic sessions also have a lasting impact compared to paid, which is crucial for younger stores with limited marketing budgets.

If you do anything for your store’s SEO, do these three things.

1. Write click-grabbing title tags and meta descriptions.

We noted that Shopify will automatically generate title tags for new pages; don’t let it. Write custom titles that include relevant product or service information and keyword targets, but keep the user in mind. Search for your product without using the brand or product name and look at the SERP to see what titles the top pages with similar content use – your metadata has to stand out amongst those results. Write something that you would click yourself!

The same goes for meta descriptions, too. It’s okay to include a soft call-to-action (CTA) and a little humor; you’re already in front of the consumer; now you need to stand out!

Keep title tags under 60 characters (or 55, to be safe) and under 155 characters for meta descriptions. We love using this handy tool to check metadata length on-the-fly.

2. Write (great) blogs.

Odds are you’re going to nail your product pages with excellent descriptions, clean page titles and meta descriptions, and stunning photography and videos. However, in SEO, keywords represent the breadth of the conversion. If you’re only talking about product-specific terms, you’ll be left out of much broader discussions in which your audience is actively participating. Writing SEO-rich and industry-relevant blogs adds words to your vocabulary and positions your brand as a participant and leader in those discussions. Target a variety of keyword types like long-tail queries and questions

Conduct a content gap analysis to see what your competitors are talking about, and don’t be afraid to ask your followers on social media what they want to hear from you!

3. Be consistent.

SEO is never done. From creating fresh content, optimizing existing pages, and identifying opportunities to improve with data-driven insight, SEO deserves a dedicated slice of your daily or weekly workload. If there isn’t time in the day to do it all, tag in an outside vendor to help. It might be the best investment your brand makes!

Is Shopify Good for SEO? Yes*

*But it’s only as good as you are. Marketers who leverage Shopify’s built-in SEO tools and put in their own work will enjoy organic success after a few months, with results that last much longer. Consider working with an SEO vendor or a consultant to get started, and let the data and dollars guide your work.

The post How to Optimize SEO on Shopify – Tools, Tips & Tricks appeared first on SiteProNews.

Using POS Integrations to Supercharge Your Retail Operation

posted on June 8, 2024

The retail landscape is undergoing a drastic change, driven by changing consumer behaviors and technology. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are facing unexpected challenges as online shopping continues to gain momentum post COVID-19.

To thrive in this evolving competitive environment, it is essential for retailers to adopt innovation, leveraging advanced technologies like AI, augmented reality, and omnichannel strategies. This helps them improve the customer experience and meet these evolving expectations.

Adaptability, agility, and a customer-centric approach are important for retailers to survive in this new competitive era. This is where convenience, personalization, and seamless integration between physical and digital channels prove useful in achieving success.

One such tool to help retailers bridge the gap is a retail POS system. Modern POS systems enable retailers to do it all: Sell online, improve inventory control, and personalize the shopping experience. Keep reading for a closer look at the evolving tech that’s driving retail transformation.

Why Is a POS Important in Modern Retail?

Point of sale systems play a crucial role in the modern retail sector. Your POS serves as the central hub for managing various aspects of your business. It facilitates transactions, helps you manage inventory, delivers customer data insights, and provides sales data that can help you optimize your product mix.

Essentially, your POS can become your most valuable employee, helping you to be more efficient and reduce costs. For example, with a POS platform, you can manage inventory better.

Say, you have a very busy day in your store. You sell a higher-than-normal volume of top products. A modern POS can alert you of low inventory levels. But not just that, you can set re-order points in the software (or use AI to fine-tune re-order points), and your POS will automatically generate a purchase order.

Manual processes that used to take dozens of hours per week to manage now take just a few minutes of review. This is the power of a modern retail POS system.

What Is a POS System? What Is It’s Role in Retail?

The point-of-sale system is an essential tool used in the retail sector to ease transactions between customers and merchants. It includes hardware and software components.

The software manages data (e.g. recording transaction amounts, tender types, and the product sold). And POS hardware includes connected tools like:

  • Cash register
  • Barcode scanner
  • Touchscreen
  • Smart cash drawer
  • Receipt printer
  • Customer-facing displays

The primary role of POS systems is to accurately process sales, track inventory, and manage customer transactions efficiently. However, POS systems have numerous add-ons or integrations that can improve results.

What Is a POS Integration?

POS integration is a process of connecting a point of sale system with other software applications or systems used in the retail sector. For example, you could connect your POS with a warehouse management tool or accounting software.

Generally, there are two types of integrations: First-party and third-party integrations.

A first-party integration is add-ons created by the POS company. For example, a POS company that offers loyalty software that integrates with the POS.

A third-party integration, on the other hand, refers to software add-ons created by a third-party. In this example, the loyalty software would be created by an independent company and custom code would be needed to connect the POS with the third-party program.

Ultimately, regardless of the type, a POS integration allows seamless communication and data sharing between different components of the retail ecosystem. This helps to streamline routine operations and improve efficiency.

Importance of POS Integrations

There are numerous ways that connecting your POS with other tools can help. But to illustrate, let’s look at a specific integration like a POS QuickBooks integration.

This type of integration would refer to connecting a point of sale system with QuickBooks accounting software. In the past, reconciliation for retailers was a labor- and time-intensive process. An accountant could easily spend several hours or even days per month gathering data and auditing an operation.

With this type of integration, the process becomes much more efficient. Data from the POS would sync to QuickBooks automatically. A user would map accounts and tax data and schedule data syncing (typically about once per day). The accounting process, thusly, can be done in a fraction of the time.

What Does POS Integrations Involve?

POS systems connect with other business software programs through various methods, including APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), webhooks, or direct database integration.

They can also be done manually. Here’s a look at the various types:

  • APIs – APIs allow software applications to communicate with each other by providing rules and protocols for exchanging data.
  • Webhooks – Webhooks allow real-time data transmission by triggering events in one system to initiate actions in another.
  • Database – Direct database integration involves synchronizing databases between different software systems to ensure data consistency and accuracy.

You can use these integrations to connect various platforms. For example, you can create integrations for updating inventory, syncing customer data, and creating financial reports.

Benefits of Point of Sale Integration for Retailers

Here are some ways businesses can benefit from integrating software with their POS:

1. Improved Customer Experience

An integrated point of sale system allows for personalized marketing efforts and faster checkouts, leading to happier customers.

  • Saves Time: Streamlining operations saves time and allows for the execution of core business activities.
  • Faster Checkout: Integrated systems lead to quick and efficient transactions, reducing waiting time for customers.
  • Personalized Marketing: A POS system integration provides valuable customer data for targeted marketing campaigns and helps improve customer engagement.
  • Improved Customer Service: Access to real-time information helps take better-informed decisions and quicker responses to customer inquiries.

2. Optimized Operations and Improved Efficiency

Integration automates processes, reduces errors and maximizes productivity.

  • Improved Inventory Management: Real-time inventory updates prevent stockouts and overstock situations, ensuring optimal inventory levels.
  • Manual Data Entry: Integration eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and saving valuable time.
  • Employee Management: Integrated systems simplify tasks like scheduling, payroll, and performance tracking, improving workforce management.

3. Staying Ahead and Growing

With an integrated pos system in place, retailers can stay competitive, adapt to market changes, and foster growth.

  • Make Customers Happy: Hassle-free shopping experiences, personalized service, and speedy transactions contribute to overall customer satisfaction.
  • Expansion and Adaptation: Integrated systems expand with the business, making expansion and adaptation to new technologies or processes easy.

5 Must-Have POS Integrations for Retailers

  • Payment Processing: Seamless integration with payment processors ensures secure and efficient transactions for retailers.
  • Inventory Management: Real-time inventory updates and automated stock replenishment optimize inventory management.
  • E-commerce Integrations: Integration with e-commerce platforms enables omnichannel sales and unified inventory management.
  • Accounting Software Integrations: Syncing POS data with accounting software streamlines financial reporting and bookkeeping processes.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Integration with CRM systems provide insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling targeted marketing and personalized experiences.

Final Thoughts

POS integration helps retail operations operate smoothly by offering benefits like improved customer experiences, streamlined workflows, and improved efficiency. From personalized marketing to seamless inventory management, integration helps retailers optimize every business aspect promoting growth and success in today’s competitive market. With POS integration, retailers can stay ahead of the curve, delight customers, and achieve their business goals with ease.

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4 Steps to Capturing Media Attention by Writing an Effective Press Release

posted on June 8, 2024

Sending out a press release is easier done today than ever before. Automated press release platforms streamline the entire process, leveraging artificial intelligence to fine-tune releases and automation tools to direct them to relevant targets. When it comes to getting out a release, today’s publicists seem to have everything they need to achieve maximum efficiency.

However, just because a process is efficient doesn’t necessarily mean it is effective. As the myriad challenges involved with getting out press releases have declined, the volume of press releases peppering news outlets has only risen. Statistics show that some journalists receive over a dozen different press releases each day, meaning their chances of finding yours in the ever-expanding flow is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack.

But what if you were able to keep the needle out of the haystack, engineering your press release process in a way that would capture media attention? It would be the best of both worlds: an efficient process that also gets the job done. 

It’s possible to achieve this by following the following four steps.

1. Start by building media relationships

The first step to maximizing the effectiveness of your press releases begins long before you have news to announce and involves taking the time to build relationships with the journalists who cover the news that is relevant to you. This step is an essential part of differentiating yourself — and your press releases — from the general deliveries that will come through journalists’ inboxes.

Without this step, your press release process is essentially no more effective than cold calling. When you have already established a relationship with the journalist, your press releases come from a known commodity, increasing their overall value to the journalist as well as the likelihood they will capture significant attention in the media.

Engaging with the articles a journalist publishes is a great way to nurture a relationship with them. Follow them on Instagram, X, and LinkedIn, comment on the content they post and share, and make sure they know you appreciate their work in keeping people informed about important news.

Once you have a dialogue going, you can offer to provide information via a press release that supports the journalist’s work. If they accept, then you can rest assured that your press release is bound to receive some attention.

2. Craft compelling stories

Press releases are typically thought of as a tool for announcing something newsworthy. But with the flood of press releases flowing into news outlets today, simply being newsworthy is no longer good enough.

To capture media attention, you will need to craft concise and compelling press releases. The first step in making something compelling is making it interesting. If you are a publicist working for a client, the news you promote will be interesting to the client, but your job is to find a way to make it interesting to others.

The second step in making something compelling is making it irresistible. In other words, it must be presented as a story that is too important to be passed up.

One way to make news compelling is to think about the problem (or problems) it solves and the people it serves. For example, one client we recently worked with provides an innovative, fully virtual platform for retirement planning, and while that may be interesting, it’s not exactly compelling news on its own.

We made the client’s story compelling by positioning their platform as the solution for millions of Americans who are behind on their retirement planning and anxious about how they will live when they hit retirement age. By presenting recent stats to support the argument, we make our case that this is timely news that can help people by revealing a more convenient and cost-effective approach to effective retirement planning.

3. Deliver targeted releases

Targeted releases are designed to connect with a particular audience and present content they will find valuable. It’s not a scattergun approach, in which you send out bulk press releases containing general information with the hopes that a few will stick.

Reporters look forward to receiving targeted press releases because they make their job easier by providing something relevant and easy to use. They make it clear why the news is important to the reporter’s readers and provide the details needed to streamline the writing process.

Taking the time to deliver targeted releases also strengthens your relationship with reporters. If they see you consistently delivering releases that are not a waste of their time, they will be all the quicker to pay attention to your messages in the future.

4. Look beyond traditional media outlets

In today’s media landscape press outlets aren’t the only way to get a message out. Social media influencers, for instance, provide the potential to connect with a huge audience. 

Instagram alone has over 2 billion active monthly users. If you are not building relationships with influencers and providing them with targeted press releases when appropriate, you are missing prime opportunities for capturing media attention.

Leveraging the power of press releases continues to be an essential part of a solid public relations strategy, but today’s media landscape requires that they be used in new ways. Releases that provide relevant and valuable information to familiar media contacts will continue to open doors to impactful media coverage.

The post 4 Steps to Capturing Media Attention by Writing an Effective Press Release appeared first on SiteProNews.

Mapping US Innovation: Patent Filing in 2023

posted on June 8, 2024

Innovation is the heartbeat of American industry, driving growth and ushering in technologies that redefine how we live and work.

But where are the main hubs for innovation in the USA? Is it all coming out of Silicon Valley? Which companies are leading the way in next-generation technology? And where are the up-and-coming tech hubs that are flying under the radar?

The latest study by the researchers at OnDeck explored both questions by examining the number of patents filed by major US companies in 2023, as well as the US states and cities with the highest percentage of new patent filings.

Here’s a rundown of the data.

The USA’s most innovative company

Technology giant IBM is officially the most innovative US company, or at least according to the number of patents filed. The firm, which developed the first large-scale calculating computer in the 1940s, filed 3,953 patent applications during 2023.

Around half of those (1,591) are related to AI and machine learning technology.

Although the details of patents are usually kept under wraps, one thing we can expect to see in the near future is smarter (and maybe even emotionally literate) AI language models. In other words, IBM is working on machines that can ‘think’ and ‘feel.’

Patent innovation across the USA

The list of the most innovative US companies is dominated by the biggest names in big tech.

They include Apple, which filed for 2,568 patents in 2023, and Intel, which had 2,236 ideas in 2023 that were unique enough to be patented.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, also made the list, filing for 2,579 patents. Google is notoriously secretive regarding its future projects, which are developed under the umbrella of its R&D division, Google X.

However, its deep research teams are rumored to be working on new AR technologies to integrate more seamlessly into daily life, quantum computing supremacy, and new wearable technologies that monitor health.

And if you fall too far down into the Reddit rabbit hole, you’ll find some rumors and wild speculation that Google is working on (or has already built-in) a time machine. But take that one with a very large pinch of salt.

The USA’s most innovative cities

The OnDeck report also looked at the most innovative cities in the USA, calculated by the number of patents filed per every 10K residents.

On that scale, Palo Alto, California, came out on top. The OnDeck analysis shows 216 patents filed in Palo Alto during 2023 for every 10K residents. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the city. It sits right in the heart of Silicon Valley and is home to Stanford University, one of the world’s top higher learning institutions.

Palo Alto is also a major hub for venture capital in the United States, with many VC firms based there or nearby, funding the growth of numerous tech companies and local inventors responsible for most patent filings.

The remaining four spots in the top five list of innovative US cities for patent filings are also found in the state of California.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the highest-ranking cities outside the Golden State, with 77.6 patent filings per 10K residents. Many of these patents would come from researchers associated with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), located on the northern bank of the Charles River that runs through the city. MIT is an elite institution renowned for producing the world’s most remarkable and widely adopted technologies. They include email, spreadsheet software, GPS technology, and public key cryptography for secure data transmission across the internet.

Patent hubs across the USA

Next up, OnDeck researchers took a more local approach as they went in search of smaller and lesser known areas where innovation is flourishing.

Areas that stood out include Beaverton, a city in Oregon with a population of less than 100,000. But while its population might be small, the people of Beaverton are great at coming up with big ideas. Between them, they’ve filed 60 patents for every 10K residents. But they do have some pretty big footsteps (or at least trainer steps) to follow. Nike, one of the world’s largest sportswear companies, was founded in nearby Eugene and is now headquartered in Beaverton.

Nike’s most famous patent includes the Nike Air Technology, a cushioning system that incorporates pressurized air within a flexible bag to provide more comfort and better performance.

And in 2009, Nike filed Patent No. 8,769,844. It put a unique claim to self-tying shoes that automatically adjust to the wearer’s feet using an internal lacing mechanism.

The most innovative US states for patent filing

Oregon appears again when looking at the data on a state-by-state basis. In 2023, 8.6 patents were filed for every 10K residents living in the state. Only three states scored higher than that. They were Washington (8.7), Massachusetts (11.1), and California (11.8).

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How to Leverage YouTube Shorts for Business Growth?

posted on June 8, 2024

Businesses are increasingly turning to YouTube Shorts as a potent means of boosting their online influence and driving expansion. As it continues to grow in popularity at an unprecedented pace, utilizing this platform for promotional purposes has become pivotal for companies seeking efficient ways of effectively reaching out and engaging with desired audiences. This blog will offer insights into how businesses can capitalize on the extensive potential provided by YouTube Shorts towards achieving robust growth and prosperity.

What are YouTube Shorts?

In order to capture viewers’ attention quickly and deliver engaging content, YouTube Shorts are brief video clips that last no longer than 60 seconds. Like TikTok and Instagram Reels, these vertical videos are often filmed on mobile devices. Dedicated prominently in a Shelf specific for shorts within the YouTube app ensures their discoverability by audiences.

Benefits of YouTube Shorts for Business Growth

For businesses seeking to bolster their online presence and reach out to a broader audience, YouTube Shorts for business come with several advantages.

  1. Increased Visibility: YouTube Shorts are given prominent placement in the Shorts shelf on the YouTube app, resulting in enhanced visibility for users. This strategic positioning offers businesses an exclusive chance to increase their exposure and reach a broader audience base. Since discovering these shorts within the app is effortless, companies can significantly expand their visibility and entice more viewers towards their content.
  2. Engagement: Short-form videos possess inherent engagement, enabling them to promptly seize viewers’ attention. The online audience’s average attention span is shrinking; hence Shorts offer a compact yet influential technique for conveying messages. Through the creation of persuasive and gripping Shorts, businesses can boost their audiences’ involvement and establish deeper bonds with them. Incorporating humor, storytelling or instructive content provides companies with opportunities to build meaningful interactions between themselves and viewers while ensuring repeat visits from interested users.
  3. Brand Awareness: YouTube Shorts provide an exceptional opportunity for businesses to display their brand’s identity and principles in a captivating way, thus raising brand awareness. With interesting visuals and engaging content, companies can maintain their unique image and establish strong connections with the intended audience. Businesses that consistently produce YouTube Shorts aligning with their branding can successfully boost recognition amongst target viewers. By being authentic in all posts, firms gain trust from followers which matures into loyalty thereby strengthening the overall presence of the brand on social media platforms.
  4. Reach New Audiences: With YouTube Shorts, businesses can leverage the power of viral content to reach new audiences beyond their current follower base. As short-form videos are highly shareable and entertaining, they have a tendency to spread rapidly across social media platforms and online communities. By creating captivating Shorts that strike a chord with viewers, companies can captivate new audiences and expand their brand’s footprint exponentially. This wider exposure elevates the chances for attracting more followers, subscribers – culminating in more business growth opportunities as well.

Steps to Get Started with YouTube Shorts

Getting started with YouTube Shorts is fairly simple. Here’s a few steps to help jumpstart your journey.

  1. Create a YouTube Channel: To commence the process, establish a YouTube channel for your enterprise should you haven’t already done it. This will serve as an avenue to publish your Shorts and create a strong brand identity on YouTube.
  2. Access the Shorts Camera: To utilize the Shorts camera, first establish your YouTube channel. Then, launch the YouTube app on your mobile device and locate the “+” symbol typically situated at either the center or lower right-hand section of your screen. Click this icon to enter into Shorts camera functionality.
  3. Record or Upload Your Short: You can either create or add your short video: Once you open the Shorts camera, you can either use it to record a new short video instantly within the app or upload an already existing one from your device’s gallery. Press on the recording button to start making a fresh Short, otherwise choose “Upload” if you would like to pick out a video clip saved in your device.
  4. Edit and Enhance: Once you’ve completed recording or uploading your Short, leverage the editing capabilities found within the Shorts camera to boost visual quality. Refine your footage by trimming unwanted sections, amplify mood with music or sound effects, and polish it up further through filter selection for aesthetic appeal.
  5. Add Title and Description: Importance in Finalizing Your Short Video After finalizing the content of your short video, adding a title and description becomes crucial. To entice viewers to click on your video, create a catchy yet accurate title that immediately captures their interest. Afterwards, write an informative description that provides additional context about the content discussed within it – making sure not only to provide vital information but also optimizing its discoverability through search engines too.
  6. Publish Your Short: Before posting your Short, take a moment to review and confirm that it looks and sounds the way you want. If satisfied, click on the “Publish” or “Post” button so that your Short becomes visible on your YouTube channel. You can increase its visibility by sharing it with other social media platforms or embedding it in your website after publication for better reach and engagement from viewers.

YouTube Shorts Strategy to Get Results

Creating a YouTube Shorts marketing strategy should be next on your to do list, and we’ve got just the thing to help you get the ball rolling.

1. Showcase Products or Services: 

Rather than simply enumerating the advantages, illustrate how your offerings can resolve an issue or boost customers’ lives. Fashion visually stimulating videos that accentuate the primary benefits of what you sell, emphasizing qualities unique from competitors’. Infuse storytelling elements for emotional resonance and establish deeper rapport with viewers. By presenting bite-sized, eye-catching clips highlighting your brand’s special offers in imaginative ways; manage to captivate watchers’ attention garnering interest towards your company’s name.

2. Behind-the-Scenes Content: 

Delve deeper into your business by revealing exclusive, behind-the-scenes content that showcases your organization’s culture, procedures and personnel. Such authentic glimpses break down the barriers between you and audiences resulting in a stronger connection. By providing insights on daily operations or showcasing significant events or breakthroughs while also putting faces to the brand name; trust can be built culminating with loyalty which strengthens credibility both ways.

3. Educational Content: 

Boost brand recognition and appeal to your target audience by distributing enlightening short videos, how-to clips or tutorials that coincide with your respective industry. Increased credibility comes naturally when offering practical advice, hints or tips about common pain points found within these communities. Introduce innovative approaches to complicated concepts while sharing insight in order to make comprehending new material attainable for viewers seeking meaningful instructional content – all while clarifying specific problem areas of interest which solidify client relationships through shared value exchange between both parties involved.

4. User-Generated Content: 

Encourage your audience to create and share their own Shorts showcasing your brand or products, as this user-generated content can boost engagement and enhance social proof for the credibility of your brand. You may also urge customers to provide testimonials, unboxing videos, or reviews about their experiences with your offerings. Offering incentives like contests, giveaways or shout-outs could stimulate users’ interest in creating more related content concerning the brand. By empowering them to become advocates for it on YouTube Shorts platform you exponentially increase its reach. 

Tips and Best Practices

To help you make the most of your YouTube Shirts, we’ve got a few pro tips to help you get started.

  1. Keep it Short: To maintain viewer interest, limit your video to 60 seconds.
  2. Grab Attention Fast: Start with a captivating hook or striking visuals.
  3. Use Trends: Integrate commonly sought-after audio elements and effects to improve visibility.
  4. Experiment: Try different content types and formats to find what works.
  5. Optimize for Mobile: Make sure your Shorts appear visually pleasing on mobile devices.
  6. Be Consistent: Employ a uniform style and branding to ensure recognition.
  7. Tell Stories: Craft compelling narratives to keep viewers engaged by telling stories.
  8. Engage: Interact with your audience by responding to comments.
  9. Promote Across Platforms: To increase your audience reach, promote your short films on various social media platforms.
  10. Stay Persistent: Continuously publish content and remain committed to fostering growth for your channel.

Takeaway Notes

YouTube Shorts serve as a valuable opening for businesses and should form part of their Video Content Distribution Strategy to surge their visibility, deepen engagement and enhance brand awareness. Through the creation of captivating and innovative short-form videos that strike an emotional chord with viewership, enterprises can build meaningful relationships while accelerating growth and success even in cut-throat competition. By adhering to the recommendations contained herein accompanied by effective strategies aligned with best practices, companies could tap into the potency offered by YouTube Shorts towards accomplishing marketing objectives thereby catapulting business advancement strides forward.

The post How to Leverage YouTube Shorts for Business Growth? appeared first on SiteProNews.

Convertible Clicks: How To Gain New Customers

posted on June 8, 2024

You’ve achieved great results with your website—compelling copy, perfect keywords, and eye-catching images. Your digital marketing strategy is also working well!

Now that your site is attracting interested visitors, what’s next? Getting clicks is good, but how do you make sure those visitors stick around and buy from you?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Read on for our top 15 tips on turning clicks into customers.

15 Easy Ways to Turn Clicks Into Customers

1. Pop-ups

The use of pop-ups is extremely effective in turning clicks into sales. These are the ads or offers that appear on your site when someone visits it. They can set up discounts, describe the product in detail or invite readers to sign up to the newsletters. However, do not overuse them, or else, visitors will get irritated.

2. Strong Calls to Action (CTAs)

These are sentences or visuals that tell people what to do next, such as “Buy now” or “Sign up here.” To achieve the highest conversion rates, they should be simple, easily accessible, and employ phrases like “download” or “shop.” ” Place them at the top so that they are seen once the webpage is loaded without the need to scroll down.

3. Crafting Awesome Landing Pages

  • The web page they get upon clicking on your ad or link is known as a landing page. So, keep it short and precise in order to make it work.
  • Keep it direct to your ad’s subject. If it’s a car, let’s talk about the car, not everything else.
  • Keep it brief, and get rid of distractions.
  • Add a clear “call to action” button to encourage the user to move onward.

4. Offering Goodies

Need more people buy? It can either be a discount, free shipping, or a simple thank you note. By doing so, you are actually telling them that they are valued and that you care about their satisfaction. Through this, loyalty is enhanced and revenue increases. Only make sure that what you are offering is actually something that your audience is interested in.

5. Simplify the Buying Process

If a consumer can find your product or service to be of high quality yet difficult to purchase, you will not make any sales. For this reason it is important to provide a shopping experience which is easy for the consumers.

For this reason, you should simplify the buying procedure. Provide clear instructions, allow multiple payment methods, and minimize the number of hurdles to buying. Maybe provide a guest checkout option for someone who doesn’t want to open an account.

6. Keep Engaging After Purchase

After the customer has purchased, make sure to check in with them. Send interesting emails and connect on social media to build value in the long run. Apart from this, you may solicit comments from customers by administering surveys to further enhance future services.

7. Follow Up on Abandoned Carts

When customers leave items in their online cart without buying, it’s a chance to bring them back. Send friendly reminder emails within 24 hours, showing the items they left and encouraging them to complete the purchase.

8. Ensure Mobile-Friendliness

Many people use phones and tablets to browse the web. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could lose customers. Make sure your site works well on all devices, loads quickly, and is easy to use. Otherwise, people might leave before even looking around.

9. Use Eye-Catching Pictures and Videos

Humans like visuals. We remember things better when we can see them. So, it’s smart to use good pictures (and videos!) on your website. These pictures should be related to what you’re offering so that potential customers get it right away.

Also, put these visuals where people can easily see them on your website. You want visitors to notice them right when they land on your page.

10. Earn Trust with Social Proof

A good way to build trust with potential customers is by showing social proof — proving that other people have used and liked your stuff. This could be through customer reviews, testimonials, or media mentions. Suppose you own a Mississauga restaurant, you can ask people to leave a review on your website who come to your place.

Social proof is a big deal in marketing. When people see that others have had a good experience with your business, they’re more likely to try it themselves and become paying customers.

11. Use Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is a kind of online ad that targets people who have already shown interest in what you’re selling. For instance, if someone clicks on your ad but doesn’t buy anything, you can target them with another ad next time they’re online.

Because they already showed interest, they’re more likely to buy. Retargeting is a great way to turn clicks into customers, giving them personalized ads without being too pushy.

12. Keep Your Site Safe

When people visit your site, they want to know their info is safe. They want to be sure their personal data won’t be stolen or used without their say-so. You can do this by making sure your site is properly encrypted and by using safe payment methods.

13. Keep Up with Market Trends

To attract and turn customers into buyers, it’s important to know what’s happening in the market. This helps you create marketing plans that work and make your product or service more appealing to your audience.

Knowing market trends also helps you predict how customers will behave. This way, you can adjust your sales strategies accordingly. To stay ahead of competitors and turn clicks into customers, stay updated on market trends.

14. Reinvest in Successful Marketing

One of the best ways to succeed in marketing is to invest more in what’s already working. Look closely at your campaigns and find the ones that are bringing in clicks and sales.

Once you find these campaigns, put more resources into making them even better. This might mean spending more on ads, changing your messages, or reaching out to a wider audience.

15. Track Your Progress

To see how well you’re turning clicks into customers, use a conversion tracking tool. This tool counts how many clicks visitors make on your site and compares it to the number of people who actually buy something or sign up for your newsletter.

Another way to track progress is by setting goals in Google Analytics. This helps you understand which marketing channels are bringing in the most valuable traffic by seeing how many people visit your site, how long they stay, and which pages they look

The post Convertible Clicks: How To Gain New Customers appeared first on SiteProNews.

A Global Study on Internet Affordability

posted on June 8, 2024

In today’s digital world, access to the internet goes hand in hand with social and economic empowerment.

A huge part of this accessibility comes down to price. In other words, people who can afford to access the internet every day have a massive advantage over those who are priced out of participating in the 21st-century digital economy.

And as this latest study by Electronics Hub reveals, some countries are doing an excellent job of providing affordable internet access, while others continue to struggle with exorbitant costs that prevent widespread connectivity and further increase the disparity between the digital have’s and the digital have-not’s.

The most and least affordable countries for mobile data

The Electronics Hub researchers kicked off the study by looking at the cost of a 10GB mobile data plan relative to the national average income.

And on that scale, it turns out that nobody is getting a better deal on mobile data than those living in Israel. The price of a 10GB per month annual plan equals just 0.01% of the yearly wage for an average Israeli. It’s one of the reasons why Israel is among the best digitally connected countries in the world, with over 90% of the population having daily access to the internet.

Italy and France are two more highly connected nations where access to mobile data costs just a fraction of the average salary. Italians pay just 0.04% of the wage for an annual plan of 10GB per month. The same plan costs just 0.07% of the average salary in France.

There are several more nations where the price of mobile data works out at less than 1% of the average worker’s take-home pay. They include Australia, Finland, Denmark, and Austria.

Zimbabwe has the most expensive 10GB mobile data pack on the planet. Although calling it expensive is a bit of an understatement. Words like outrageous, astronomical, or maybe even extortionate would be more fitting. That’s because 10GB of mobile data in Zimbabwe is ‘worth’ 356% of the national salary. Like we said, an absolutely outrageous price.

And Zimbabwe is by no means the exception. Super-high data package prices are the norm across the African continent. For example, the price of 10GB annual mobile data in the Central African Republic is 334% of the average yearly income. Then there’s Zambia, where locals need to find 156% of the average salary to cover the price of a 10GB mobile deal.

Broadband prices compared to download speeds in every country

Romania isn’t the first country that comes to mind when thinking about digital innovation and connectivity. However, in terms of price per 1Mbps, it’s the best place on the planet for digital connectivity. In Romania, 1Mbps cost just $0.01.

But this will come as no surprise to those who know a little bit about Romania’s recent history and commitment to innovation.

After the fall of communism in 1989, Romania launched a huge and ambitious modernization development project, which included massive investments in telecommunications. By the early 2000s, private companies were rolling out fibre-optic networks, especially in urban areas, catapulting Romania to one of the top countries globally in terms of internet speed and value for money.

Internet access is a little more expensive in Thailand, where locals pay $0.02 per 1Mbps. Other countries in the least expensive broadband list include Moldova ($0.03), Poland ($0.03), and Slovakia ($0.04).

African countries dominate the top 10 list of the most expensive nations for broadband per 1Mbps, once again highlighting the problems (and price) of digital connectivity across the continent.

Just 1Mbps of internet in Eritrea costs $338! And it’s not like you’d even get much for your money. A 1Mbps internet connection has just enough download speeds to perform basic online activities, but your connection will still be relatively slow. And you can forget about streaming your newest favorite Netflix series. Unless you want to spend an hour watching the screen buffer.

Internet affordability around the world

The third and final part of the Electronics Hub analysis focuses on affordability. It compares the price of an annual broadband plan in every country to its national average salary.

Once again, Romania can say it has the most affordable broadband in the entire world. A year’s worth of broadband costs the average Romanian just 0.74% of their salary. In dollar terms, that’s about $60 a year for a super-fast and super-stable broadband connection.

Broadband is eye-wateringly expensive when compared to the national average salary in Burundi. This is a country where a year’s worth of broadband costs 2,935% more than what most people earn in a year. And yes, you did read that right – 2,935%.

That means the average person needs to find 29X their salary to afford broadband. This is why less than 10% of the country’s population has internet access. A 2023 Global Digital Insights report found that over 10 million people living in Burundi have never been online.

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How Data Transparency Can Shape the Future of Your Brand and Your Connection to Customers

posted on June 8, 2024

Google’s rollout of Tracking Protection on January 4 marked a significant milestone toward a future without third-party cookies. This move conclusively demonstrated the tech giant’s dedication to eliminating these tracking mechanisms. It also served as a wake-up call for marketers, underscoring the urgent need to adapt to the evolving digital landscape.  

Historically, the use of third-party cookies has allowed companies to track user behavior online with little to no transparency. This practice is now facing a fundamental shift. Marketers are compelled to rebuild consumer trust by overhauling their data collection methods. In response to these changes, some of the larger companies have initiated mergers and acquisitions with smaller tech firms. This strategy aims to secure alternative data sources, representing a crucial pivot in their approach to gathering consumer insights. This transition challenges marketers to not only seek new methods for data collection but also to ensure these methods align with increasing demands for privacy and transparency. 

The long game  

Understanding that consumers want to protect their data, and knowing many feel uncertain about which companies to trust, presents an opportunity for marketers. Brands that are perceived to offer significant consumer value consistently maintain a competitive advantage over those that do not. When a brand’s value proposition is exceptional, such as Patagonia’s dedication to sustainability and combating the climate crisis, it naturally earns consumer trust

Creating trust stems from repeated, positive interactions over time. It’s also important to recognize that not all consumers are alike; some may be more open to sharing their data early on, while others may need more time to become familiar with your brand. Employing data minimization—to only collect what you need—isn’t easy, as the temptation is to gather everything you might need upfront. However, demonstrating to your customers that you are using their data for something meaningful and offering them a valuable exchange will also increase trust. It’s crucial not to seek all the desired data at once but to employ a progressive data capture strategy to build trust gradually. 

For example, initially, you might request a customer’s email address to send them a newsletter. Once you’ve fulfilled this promise, you could then ask for their mobile number for updated information on a delivery. Success in these initial interactions increases the likelihood of receiving that additional piece of information.   

Data minimization and clarity 

Most data science teams can achieve more with less, thanks to advanced technologies. Therefore, it’s wise to take a scrub brush to your data capture forms. If the information you are asking from your consumers is not critical to your business goals, don’t ask for it. Another way to practice data minimization is to routinely de-identify data. By removing personal identifiers, you demonstrate to consumers that you care about their privacy, which will go a long way in building trust. 

Of course, consumers won’t know about the efforts you’re making to earn their trust if you don’t communicate with them. Bring your creative and legal teams together to craft a clear, consumer-friendly message about your data privacy standards. Trust is built on clear communication. Bank of America exemplifies this principle by offering assistance and advice to their customers, along with clear explanations (why it matters to them) for the data they require. Their email communications are straightforward, using language consumers can understand, which simplifies the process for consumers to place their trust in them. Consumers understand the necessity of providing information in specific situations and rightfully expect to be informed about the reasons behind these requests. 

The phase-out of third-party cookies is inevitable, but this presents an opportunity to emphasize data transparency and foster stronger connections with consumers. By adopting this approach, you can position your brand as a trusted service while gathering sufficient, relevant data to reach your business goals.   

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