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business Data and Security Hack Internet of Things IoT Mobile ReadWrite Software software security

Why Your Business Needs Non-Stop Software Security

software security

Have you ever lost 30 minutes of creative works on your computer? Or has it suddenly occurred to you that you have a great piece of data that will augment a business proposal, only to discover that the data is missing? Oh – how frustrating!

Data loss occurs for various reasons

  • 78 percent – Hardware or system malfunction
  • 11 percent – Human error
  • 7 percent – Software corruption or program malfunction
  • 2 percent – Computer viruses
  • 1 percent – Natural disasters
  • 1 percent – Other acts.

Impact of critical data loss across global enterprises

Meanwhile, research reveals that global enterprises lose a whopping sum of 1.7 Trillion dollars due to data loss and downtime. And this excludes disruption of business activities, the loss of productivity, the diminished customers’ loyalty, the break of investor’s confidence, the cost of time spent on reconfiguration, and lots more.

While it may be difficult to establish a precise impact of data loss and downtime on organizations, it’s obvious that it would, sure, have a radical negative effect.

With a seamless increase in web adoption and constant acceptance of new technologies, both small and large scale businesses have been able to share important data as regards their products and services — using the web-as-a-service, Waas.

Hackers can compromise corporate networks

Meanwhile, hackers are seriously looking for ways to compromise the corporate network of several industries. As a matter of fact, the Verizon Data Breach Report reveals that 15.4 percent of reported incidents were related to malware and web application attacks.

Also, many of the most fatal breaches that covered the media in the past few years were caused by web-application and software security vulnerabilities. A very good example is the Equifax breach.

Simply put, “business websites possess the greatest threat to organizational security.�

Watch your data loss due to website and software patches

A sizable number of business sectors have experienced (or will experience) data loss due to website and software patches. This has reduced the efficiency and productivity of these organizations to the barest minimum. Little wonder why 70 percent of firms that experience data loss run out of business within one year of the attack. (DTI)

You may not know when the next attack could occur, but taking proper precautions can hamper or completely abolish a hacker’s attempt at gaining access to your business website.

Why your business website needs software security programs

1. Monitoring and detection

How satisfying will it be to have effective and efficient protection of your business website against the worst threat ever?

Using a software security program means your business web is on the watch, and any single vulnerability will be detected on the spot.

Software security companies provide website security scanners that check your website at predetermined intervals to detect any malicious action. You can rest assured that you’ll receive an alert as well as the next line of action when this happens.

Not only does website security monitoring protect you and your customers, but it protects your website’s rankings by checking a variety of different blacklists, and notifying you if you have been placed on one.

2. Performance optimization

Do you know that Google, Bing, and other search engines, use site speed as a ranking factor?

We live in a world where nobody is ready to wait for anything. We have become accustomed to business websites and apps working instantly and perfectly. As a matter of fact, a study reveals that 47 percent of customers abandon business websites that take more than 3 seconds to load!

Performance optimization is a major reason why your business website needs software security programs. Besides SEO, a site performance typically revolves around reducing the overall size of web pages. This includes the size of the files and perhaps, more importantly, the number of them.

3. Fast disaster or data recovery

In an age where data is king, the idea that data can be lost so easily should be enough to encourage businesses to take steps to protect it.

The U.S National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of companies are unable to sustain their businesses over six months after a data breach.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average price for small businesses to clean up after their businesses have been hacked stands at $690,000; and, for mid-sized businesses, it’s over $1 million.

Recent events have proven that nobody is safe from the threat of data breach — not large corporations, small businesses, startups, government agencies or even presidential candidates.

When a crisis occurs, there would be one of the two scenarios:

  1. You run a licensed app/piece of software and the vendor is responsible enough to issue an update/patch when issues are reported.
  1. You run a custom software delivered by your software development company and you ask for the software to be enhanced. That is going to take just as little time but chances are your custom software will ever be hacked is drastically lower. Just because the hacker would need to spend even more time looking for vulnerabilities than the AQ department of your software developer.

Even if your website is secure, a misconfiguration or simple mistake can lead to data loss. Only a sure backup plan can save you if your custom files are overwritten or tampered with.

A website security provider can offer secure remote storage, automatic backup scheduling, and an easy recovery process without disturbing your workflow. Decent software companies offer a fast and easy way to recover all the files you need in a very short time.

4. Regular software update

A software update, also known as a service pack is a periodically released update to software from a manufacturer, consisting of requested enhancements and fixes for known bugs. A software update is mainly to present security vulnerabilities in their existing items.

You may think that you do not have anything to protect on your business website but the reality is that security software gives protection for your data. Data is valuable for the sustenance of your business. Top software security programs keep your data secure by providing regular updates to keep you safe from malicious attempts.

Summing It Up:

Since 60 percent of businesses that are affected by a breach in business websites or data will shut down in 6 months, cybersecurity experts, thereby, recommend that you have an effective software security program to save yourself and your business from this calamity.

The post Why Your Business Needs Non-Stop Software Security appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Branding design effectivness Mobile SEO UX web design

How Does Web Design Affect Your SEO and UX

seo ux

It takes just 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about a website. Fail to make a positive impression and visitors will quickly hit the back button. It’s clear that aesthetics have a strong impact on how users judge a website. But there are two other aspects you shouldn’t overlook — SEO and UX. But how does web design affect your SEO and UX?

People turn to search engines like Google for answers, which is why optimizing for SEO is important. SEO helps your site get found for queries that are relevant to your business.

At the same time, website design goes beyond aesthetics. A site with poor UX not only makes it frustrating for users to navigate your site; it also impacts your search engine rankings.

Here we’ll look at different aspects of web design and how they affect SEO and UX.

Mobile Friendliness

Smartphone usage has become so ubiquitous that you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a mobile device. There are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users and that figure is only expected to increase.

bar-graph-smartphone-users-2016-2021-expected

(Image Source)

More people are accessing the web from their mobile devices.

In fact, Google announced mobile-first indexing for the entire web. This means that Google will use the mobile version of your site in the search results.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your rankings will likely be impacted as a result. Online users today are also less tolerant of sites that aren’t optimized for their devices.

Ensuring that your site works across all devices needs to be a priority if it isn’t already.

Site Speed

No matter how well-designed your site is, it won’t matter if it doesn’t load quickly.

Online users may have been tolerant of slow sites in the past. But expectations have changed and people today want to be able to find answers fast.

If your site doesn’t load quickly, don’t expect your visitors to stick around and wait. Most will simply click the back button and click through to another search result.

Google has even released an update called the Speed Update that makes loading times a ranking factor. All other factors being equal, a site that loads faster than yours will rank higher in the search results.

What can you do to make your site faster?

Start with the obvious. Large images that aren’t optimized are one of the biggest culprits of slow loading time.

Use photo editing software like Photoshop to compress your images before you upload them to your pages. If you use WordPress, there are also many plugins you can install that automatically do this for you.

Other ways to speed up your site include enabling compression, leveraging browsing caching, minifying CSS, JavaScript, HTML files, and using a content distribution network.

Typography

Typography is another aspect of web design that affects SEO and UX.

Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a site only to find that text is too small. You have to zoom in from your device just to read the content.

Most users will simply leave the page if they’re not able to read the text. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors aren’t finding your site useful or relevant.

There’s even some correlation between bounce rates and organic rankings:

bounce-rate-vs-organic-position-graph-for-seo-and-ux

(Image Source)

While having a professional design is important, it’s also a good idea to improve your content’s readability. Use a legible font and size to ensure that users can easily read the text.

Ensure that your content is legible across all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

Navigation

A crucial aspect of web design is navigation.

Navigation links help orient your visitors as they explore your site. If visitors cannot easily navigate your site or find what they’re looking for, they may feel confused or frustrated.

Organize your navigation menu into categories and subcategories that users can click through to find the right page. Optimize those links with keywords to improve their visibility, and keep in mind SEO and UX.

Here’s an example of how the main navigation bar looks on Hacker Noon:

hackernoon-navigation-bar-on-seo-and-ux-importance

(Image Source)

Generally, you want to put your navigation bar in a place where visitors expect to find it, such as at the top or to the side.

Use clear text for each of your navigation links to avoid any misunderstandings. There’s a reason why most websites use “Contactâ€� for the contact page and “About Usâ€� for the about page.

Color Schemes

Color schemes can affect how visitors perceive your business. For example, you can use brighter colors to convey a playful tone. On the other hand, you can use darker colors like black to convey luxury.

The color schemes you choose for your site should ideally match the services that your business offers. For example, if you were a cleaning company, you would probably use green colors to indicate freshness instead of color like brown or black.

White space is another important element of web design. It’s essentially the empty space around your content, giving them room to breathe.

4 out of 5 participants rated the design on the left more favorably over the design on the right even though both companies offer similar prices and products.

web-design-and-seo-on-two-pages

(Image Source)

Playful colors combined with white space make the design from BoxGreen more visually appealing than its competitor. In contrast, the design from Guilt-Free looks more cluttered and not as attractive.

When comparing the two options above, it’s clear that design was ultimately the deciding factor on the participants’ ratings. In many cases, it can mean the difference between a customer shopping at your site or a competitors’.

Usability

Usability refers to how easy or difficult it is for visitors to navigate your site. In other words, are visitors able to find what they’re looking for?

Poor web design doesn’t just affect SEO. It also affects your site’s usability and whether users can achieve what they set out to do.

If you want visitors to have a positive impression of your brand, it’s important to optimize for usability. Start with a clear visual hierarchy with design elements in order of importance.

You can use design elements like scale and spacing to indicate which pieces of content are important and where you want users to pay attention to.

Here’s an example of a homepage with a good visual hierarchy:

fullstory-visual-heirarchy-on-web-design-and-seo

(Image Source)

There’s a clear “flowâ€� to the page and all the elements are laid out intuitively. The copy on the page is written well, and there’s even a call to action that tells visitors exactly what to do (get a demo).

Similarly, your web design should make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for right away.

Conclusion

Web design and SEO go hand-in-hand.

Even with a professional-looking site, visitors are likely to bounce if it’s frustrating to navigate or not optimize their device. Those signals tell Google that users aren’t finding your site useful, which can impact your rankings.

On the other hand, ranking at the top of Google won’t help either if you have a poor design that doesn’t instill trust. That’s why it’s important to incorporate both SEO and UX into your web design right from the start.

Top Image Credit: bongkarn thanyaki; pexels

The post How Does Web Design Affect Your SEO and UX appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Apps customer journey Mobile

How to Use Mobile App Analytics to Clearly Understand Your Customers’ Needs

mobile app analytics

Do you know what your mobile customers want and need? Today’s customers are more impatient and less tolerant of anything that gets in the way of their buying experience. Companies’ rapid increase in developing mobile apps is for their consumers — to provide a seamless customer journey. Here is how to use mobile app analytics to understand your customer’s needs.

Downloading your app is only the first step users take and it doesn’t necessarily mean more business for your company.

Focusing on providing a positive and seamless buyer journey is the key to more conversions and higher sales. If you want consumers to use your app, be sure it addresses their concerns or needs. Use mobile app analytics to optimize your customers’ experience.

Customers expect convenience and faster access to information than ever before. They demand instant access as well as the ability to explore options from wherever they are. Companies must design smarter apps to provide the data necessary to understand user behaviors and optimize processes.

To meet these needs, the fields of mobile and web development are growing rapidly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor has forecast that the developers’ job market will increase by 15% by 2026. If you need to hire someone to create your app, you might want to start searching for a good dev now.

What Defines a Successful Mobile App?

The number of installs, clicks, and ratings play a significant role in your app’s success. However, it is more critical than users clearly understand your apps’ main value proposition.

For example, fintech stocks have become extremely popular during COVID-19, as many people turn to day trading or various forms of online trading to supplement their income. To do that, they need a mobile trading app. If you want your app to be successful, it must be clear how it is superior to all the other competitors.

Look for indications that potential users are arriving from comparison posts like this one or online reviews. Also, look for visitors who exit to visit comparisons or reviews. If this type of content impacts your app’s success, you may need to focus on improving your app’s online presence.

You can do this by contacting the authors and giving them additional information about your app, making it easier for users to review it or encourage other content to be written.

Another example is the use of apps in the healthcare industry. During the pandemic, patients can communicate with and even have telehealth visits through mobile apps.

Both these examples require strong trust signals and security options, or people will not use them. Use your mobile app analytics to improve if you see indications that people are abandoning your app over trust issues.

What is Mobile App Analytics?

The process by which data is analyzed and measured about users to gain insights into how they behave is known as analytics. Mobile app analytics refers to the same process, except the experience takes place on a mobile device. They play a crucial role in helping brands understand how their mobile app is working for prospective customers.

Also, mobile web analytics can help you identify areas or steps that need improvement. The buyers’ journey consists of multiple data points that can be examined to determine where users interact with your app.

Review app analytics

Review your app analytics to find the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the total number of users who download the app?
  • Of those who download your app, how many are currently active users?
  • How many new or active users engage and interact with your app?
  • Of all the features of your app, which are used the most and used the least?
  • What parts of your app do users have the most issues with, such as UX glitches and technical issues?
  • Which channel generates the most valuable and maximum number of users?

Why Use Mobile App Analytics?

Creating an app requires you to spend a lot of time and resources. If you think users will immediately find your app, download it, and start making purchases, you are kidding yourself. Without mobile analytics to understand how consumers interact with your app, you are just guessing or assuming you know what potential customers want, need, and expect.

Reviewing analytics provides invaluable insights to make the necessary improvements to your app. Use the information you gather to devise actionable steps such as adding, removing, or improving an existing feature and changing the app’s flow if the data you collect supports it.

Mobile analytics will also enable you to audit your advertising campaigns and identify which metrics provide the most success.

Which Metrics are Useful?

You can use several metrics to improve the user experience and your app’s performance. Therefore, it is critical to identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) to know which metrics should be your focus.

Single metrics can be combined with others to get more information about the customer journey. Below we will focus on specific metrics and what you can learn from them.

There are four main types of trackable mobile app metrics that we will describe in more detail below:

  • Acquisition
  • Engagement
  • Performance
  • Satisfaction

Mobile App User Acquisition Analysis

The first step in an app user’s buyer journey is to download it. The data derived from user acquisition analytics gives you information about how users find your app, the most popular operating systems, devices used, and the total number of new users.

Below are specific metrics that measure user acquisition.

App Attribution Metric

See how you acquired your users and whether they found you organically or through paid advertising. The attribution metric lets you track the sources that lead users to your app.

Measure how your campaigns are performing to determine which are worth investing in and which are not.

For example, set up a link to a campaign you are running to track who:

  • Sees your app
  • Taps on it
  • Installs the app
  • Purchases your app

where users interact with your app.

Use the data gathered to see which channels and campaigns provide the best returns and deliver the worst. Focus your resources and time on the marketing initiatives that are bringing in the best results.

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

This metric shows you the amount of revenue, on average, generated for each active app user. Use it to measure how close you are to hitting your target revenue.

To calculate ARPU, divide the total revenue generated in a specific time, such as a week, month, or quarter, by the total number of active users during the same time frame.

For example, if your app generated $600 last month and you had 6000 active users, the ARPU would be $.10. This metric’s value is to help determine the ROI of your campaigns and calculate the lifetime value of your users.

Look at the ARPU trends over time to evaluate your pricing structure and adjust it up or down depending upon the data you collect.

Be sure to track ARPU in conjunction with other metrics such as total revenue and the ratio of Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to get more reliable results.

If you have a subscription app with no other in-app purchases, there is no need to calculate the ARPU because the subscription price predetermines it.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

See how much money you spend to acquire a new customer from getting their attention to getting them to make a purchase. Calculate CAC by dividing the total cost of a campaign by how many buyers it brought in.

This metric lets you calculate ROI. It is critical because it enables you to identify the best performing and most cost-effective methods of acquiring new users.

If you see a reduction in new customers, you should use this metric to track and optimize your ROI. Spend more time and resources on the campaigns with the lowest acquisition costs.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

LTV refers to how much you expect a user to spend before they stop using your app. It is also known as churn or attrition rate.

This information is vital because it lets you know long a user needs to remain active before they generate their maximum revenue.

You will also get an idea of how much you can expect to make from your app. Focus on optimizing the user experience to identify where and why people stop using your app to increase LTV.

Metrics for User Engagement

There is not a single metric to measure app user engagement. How users engage with your app and what activities they perform determines the success rate. Below are the most critical measurements to assess user engagement.

The Number of Downloads and Installs

Getting a substantial number of downloads plays a significant role in your app’s success and is the first step in the buyers’ journey.

However, keep in mind that just because someone downloads your app does not mean they will install or use it.

The more downloads you get, the better chance of broadening your active users’ base, so this is still considered an important metric.

Tracking and understanding installs’ source enables you to evaluate your advertising channels’ effectiveness and your marketing campaigns’ efficiency.

Event Tracking

Event tracking provides insight into each user’s in-app experience. Use the analytics to see exactly what each user is doing while they are using your app.

For example, you will see which button users click on each step of your funnel. Use the information you collect to obtain actionable data to improve your app’s performance and user experience.

Some of the critical in-app behaviors to measure include:

  • Which pages or steps they visit
  • What they purchase
  • Which stage of your funnel leads to a sale
  • How often a user adds an item to their cart
  • Whether users complete their purchase or abandon their cart

Understanding how users interact with each stage of your funnel will identify which steps are losing users and which need to be optimized for less attrition.

Tracking Sessions

A session is when a user installs, opens, and engages with your app. The session data lets you know how often users open your app and their progression through your funnel.

Look at the sessions by location, time, and device. These metrics will show you when, how, and from where users access your app.

Get an idea of how many sessions, on average, it takes for a user to complete a purchase.

Churn Rate

When a customer or subscriber does not renew, cancels, or stops using your product, it is referred to as customer churn. The churn rate shows you how many of your users have abandoned your app. It could be that they are no longer using it or uninstalled it. The app churn rate is a vital metric that enables you to determine LTV. It also allows you to identify the funnel’s reasons nd steps where users lost interest in your app.

For example, if you see a high churn rate occurring after installation, your onboarding process could be cumbersome, or there might be a technical issue you need to address.

High churn rates might also indicate that your outreach and marketing initiatives are not attracting the right audience. If you find that users are dropping out after using your app frequently, try to re-engage them with incentives and other personalized messaging.

Retention Rate

The app retention rate is a companion metric to churn. It measures how many users continue engaging with and returning to your app. Higher retention rates equal more revenue. The longer your users stay, the more value they add to your business.

The average consumer has numerous apps installed on their phone. The number and usage of apps are increasing at a rapid rate, as seen in the statistics below:

app usage

The longer consumers use your app, the more opportunity there is for it to be successful. Therefore, retention is a crucial metric. Your app must be more than intuitive and usable. It needs to offer users what they want and need. Use analytics to identify where users drop off.

Look at daily, weekly, and monthly tracking data and compare it to the marketing campaigns running simultaneously—track user retention metrics to identify precisely where users are dropping off in the buyers’ journey.

App Performance Metrics

To grow and be successful, use your mobile app analytics to gain valuable feedback and insights. How your app performs from a technical and marketing perspective relies heavily on metrics and analytics.

Use these metrics to identify any roadblocks that interfere with the quality of the user experience.

Load Speed

Everyone today is in a hurry, and no one wants to wait, especially for a slow application to load. Test your app to ensure it only takes a few seconds or risk users abandoning or uninstalling it.

Screen Resolution

The screen resolution metric is more useful for Android apps than iPhones because they come in various resolutions and sizes. iPhones have a limited number of models.

When you know which resolutions are more popular amongst your users, you can focus more on quality assurance for that resolution.

App Crashes

Crashes measure how often your app abruptly closes while a customer is using it. Ideally, it is best to test during the development process to identify issues before you go live.

Study your crash reports to see exactly at which point the app crashed and what caused the problem. These reports are essential for identifying technical issues, testing, and fixing your app.

Operating Systems and Devices

See which devices and operating systems your target market uses. You can use this data to offer more personalized offers.

App Latency

The time it takes your app to request and receive a response from an API is called app latency. It is as important as speed and requires regular monitoring to ensure short wait times on multiple operating systems versions.

Be sure that your APIs are optimized and follow best practices on the server-side.

User Satisfaction Metrics

Satisfied and happy customers stay, but more often, and make recommendations to friends and family. Below are several metrics to identify your users’ level of satisfaction.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps will show you which areas of your app funnel are getting the most interactions and which are getting the least. Use this information to add features that are more engaging to the area receiving less traction.

App Reviews and Ratings

App ratings and reviews are the easiest and quickest method to get feedback from your users. Many consumers look at how others rate an app before deciding to download it.

Reviews play a critical role in how your app is ranked. Keep in mind that people are more likely to share negative feedback than positive ones. It is just human nature.

However, even negative feedback can be a source of learning by improving your app and user experience. Do you best to keep your users satisfied and happy by providing a seamless customer experience.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS metric is a scoring system that quantifies how much a user likes or dislikes your app. Responses are usually graded on an 11-point scale from 0 (not likely) to 10 (extremely likely). It is also a customer loyalty metric. NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend your company to a friend or family member.

You can use the data you collect from the NPS to direct your marketing campaigns, improve your app’s performance, and increase customer satisfaction.

In-App Feedback

In-app surveys can provide crucial data about your users without the need for them to leave your app. There are several ways to collect feedback from your users, including contact forms and surveys.

Use Mobile App Analytics to Your Advantage and Follow Best Practices

Both large and small companies benefit greatly from creating a mobile app. There are plenty of mobile app-making software options if you want to create your own.

Your business will reap the rewards of creating a mobile app for your customers by:

  • Providing your customers with more value
  • Connecting better with your customers
  • Building a stronger bond
  • Boosting profits

Get a better understanding of your app user’s journey from the metrics discussed above. Use the data you collect to make informed decisions to improve the customer journey and generate more revenue.

Below are some mobile app analytics best practices:

  • Test on as many devices as possible
  • Give priority to the app onboarding experience.
  • Use the data from your app analytics to try new initiatives.
  • Improve conversion rates by using A/B testing

Do not waste your time on metrics that do not matter to your goals. Identify the measurements most aligned with your business objectives.

Use the data-driven analytics you capture to understand customer behavior, predict likely market trends, and align your marketing initiatives with your customers’ expectations.

The post How to Use Mobile App Analytics to Clearly Understand Your Customers’ Needs appeared first on ReadWrite.

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5G American Tower Ciena Connected Devices investing Micron Mobile Qorvo stocks Tech

How to Invest in 5G – The Definitive List of Stocks

invest in 5G

One of the newer investing themes some are diving into is 5G stocks, but many pick from. Most 5G stocks are about more than just 5G, so it’s important to look at what other themes they represent. Some 5G stocks are also a bet on the Internet of Things, while others are mobile carriers with exposure to the telecommunications market. Here is how to invest in 5G and the definitive list of stocks.

If you look at any list of the top 5G stocks, you’ll see a variety of different approaches to selection.

The key to identifying the best 5G stocks goes beyond looking at which ones have exposure to 5G technology.

Some stocks are obvious, like Apple, Verizon or T-Mobile. However, these stocks have even greater exposure to other things than 5G. In fact, it could be argued that they aren’t really 5G stocks at all because their exposure to other markets is much greater than their exposure to 5G technology. In fact, their 5G exposure is more incidental rather than a core part of their valuations.

Thus, it’s best to dig deeper when picking out some 5G stocks to invest in. Some common 5G-related themes to look at include chip makers and telecommunications infrastructure providers. When trying to choose stocks, you should consider these other themes, which are why the companies’ exposure to 5G technology.

Let’s take a look at some 5G stocks you might not have even thought of.

Micron

This may be a contrarian play because CNBC’s Jim Cramer called Micron the one chip maker everyone hates. He’s actually wrong about everyone hating Micron because well-known hedge fund manager Monish Pabrai actually loves it. In fact, Micron may very well be his favorite tech stock.

Pabrai hasn’t talked about his thesis for Micron, so it’s unclear whether he likes it as a 5G play. However, it’s clear from the company’s website how important 5G is to it, and the good news is that it’s not only a bet on 5G but also the Internet of Things.

Micron’s exposure to 5G technology comes in two areas: low-power-consumption DRAM and multi-chip packages designed for specific applications. The company said it takes a holistic approach to 5G, which makes it unique. Micron specializes in memory for devices, providing vast exposure to 5G technology.

Not only does Micron produce low-power DRAM that’s used in thousands of devices, but it also produces automotive-grade memory, which gives the company exposure to the autonomous vehicle market as well. This is a nice bonus that makes Micron one well-rounded 5G stock.

Qualcomm

Another way to approach 5G from the internal components of devices is with Qualcomm, which modems for mobile devices. Qualcomm is benefitting from the growing number of smartphones that are equipped with 5G technology.

In their second-quarter earnings report, the company’s management said that they expect 175 million to 225 million 5G smartphones to be shipped this year. A significant number of those smartphones will ship with Qualcomm modems inside.

One bad thing about Qualcomm is that there could be less upside to its shares than with some of the other stocks on this list. The median price target for Qualcomm stock is $121, and the shares trade above $110.

However, if you look at Qualcomm in a long-term investing horizon, there is still plenty of time for its stock to increase, thanks to the long runway on 5G growth.

Skyworks Solutions

If you like Apple for its 5G-equipped iPhones, you will probably want to look at Skyworks Solutions, which provides 5G chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads. About half of the company’s revenues come from Apple, so the more iPhones and iPads selling, the better off Skyworks Solutions and its investors will do.

One other reason to like Skyworks Solutions is that it should benefit from ongoing trade tensions with China. The U.S. has banned 5G devices from China, which means good things for Apple because it eliminates all China’s competition.

Skyworks Solutions is also an Internet of Things play through its Sky5 platform, which supports 5G network infrastructure and user equipment.

Broadcom

Another chipmaker that’s commonly named as a 5G stock is Broadcom. Unlike Qualcomm, Broadcom doesn’t sell standalone cellular modems, but it manufactures many chips that play a role in 5G technology.

The company won a contract to provide 5G chips to Nokia, although that isn’t its only customer. Apple has bought Broadcom chips as well. Broadcom doesn’t advertise its 5G technology as much as Qualcomm, Micron, and Skyworks Solutions do — but it clearly is benefitting from the transition to 5G.

Broadcom should benefit from 5G for many years because as the 5G standards become more and more advanced, the company will have to update its chips, and its customers will keep buying the newer chips to keep up with their competition.

Nokia

Looking beyond internal components for 5G devices, we start to look at names like Nokia. Most consumers think of Nokia as a now virtually defunct handset maker, but the company doesn’t make its big money in handsets anymore. Nokia’s big business is in mobile infrastructure equipment.

In fact, the company said in a press release earlier this year that it had 63 commercial 5G contracts worldwide. It also says that it is the only network supplier whose 5G technology contracted by all four major mobile carriers in the U.S., all three of South Korea’s carriers, and three of Japan’s nationwide carriers.

Nokia also said it’s the only vendor with a “globally available end-to-end product portfolio” covering all 5G network elements, from radio, core, cloud, and transport to management, automation, and security.

While Nokia stock does look rather cheap than some of the other 5G stocks on this list, it’s also interesting that a battle is starting to break out over the stock. Bloomberg reported this month that the Finnish government is buying shares of Nokia to demonstrate that wants to protect the Finnish company when the U.S. has also expressed an interest in taking up an ownership stake in it.

Ericsson

Nokia isn’t the only way to play the infrastructure part of 5G technology. Ericsson also makes 5G infrastructure equipment. The company advertises itself as the first company to launch live commercial 5G networks on four continents.

Ericsson said its Core solutions support 2.5 billion subscribers from 2G to 5G, amounting to one-third of the world’s population. The company’s network features interoperability with six major chipset vendors, so a wide variety of 5G devices can use it. It collects $5 per phone in royalties from smartphone manufacturers due to the patents it holds, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Ericsson is also a less expensive stock compared to some of the other 5G stocks on this list. Some have been concerned that the coronavirus pandemic would cause mobile carriers to delay their spending on 5G equipment. Still, so far, that hasn’t been the case for Ericsson, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings report.

Crown Castle

Another mobile infrastructure provider that will benefit from the 5G transition is Crown Castle, the biggest provider of communications infrastructure in the U.S. The company provides cell towers and other equipment for mobile infrastructure. The company provides fiber technology and solutions, making it more than just a 5G play.

Crown Castle said earlier this year that it expected to see a strong ramp in 5G mobile infrastructure spending during the second half of the year. The company also said it didn’t see any impacts on its business from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, its CEO also said that they were preparing to deploy 10,000 small cell nodes this year alone. He said it takes about 18 to 36 months to get small cell nodes on air due to negotiations with utilities and municipalities.

Crown Castle is on the expensive side of 5G stocks, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good investment. The shares have been range-bound since the second half of May. Other than a deep dive in March during the market selloff, Crown Castle shares have been fairly steady. One other thing to note about Crown Castle is that it’s also a real estate play via its cell phone towers. Additionally, the company pays a dividend, and some investors specifically seek out dividend-paying stocks.

American Tower

This company is a competitor to Crown Castle, and it also is paying a dividend to its investors.  The stock is also on the expensive side, and it’s also been range-bound since the second half of May. Also, like Crown Castle, it’s a real estate play because of its cell phone towers. Both companies are structured as real estate investment trusts.

One thing American Tower highlights more than other companies is its solutions for providing good 5G connections inside buildings. The company says 80% of 5G data is consumed indoors, so it’s important to provide strong 5G connections inside buildings. Building owners must also keep in mind that customers a variety of different mobile carriers. Therefore, owners have to support each carrier inside their venue.

The company also markets its technology for use in the Internet of Things, especially its fiber technology, so there is additional technology exposure. Further, American Tower’s CEO said 5G would require cell towers to be closer together, which means more business for American Tower and Crown Castle. American Tower should also benefit from DISH Network’s mobile network’s build-out to position it as a fifth major carrier in the U.S.

Qorvo

One chip maker that doesn’t get a lot of attention is Qorvo, a U.S.-based chipmaker that provides radio-frequency systems for wireless and mobile data connections. One interesting thing about the company is that it doesn’t just make chips for mobile devices. It also provides chips to base station manufacturers, meaning exposure to mobile devices and the infrastructure side of 5G.

Among the infrastructure products offered by the company are front end modules, digital step attenuators, discrete switches, driver amplifiers, gain block amplifiers, gaN HEMTs, high-frequency amplifiers, infrastructure power amplifier modules, low noise amplifiers, phase shifters, power amplifiers, RF filters, switch LNA modules and voltage controlled attenuators.

Qorvo’s products for mobile devices focus on radio frequency solutions for 5G. The company recently boosted its guidance because the demand for its 4G and 5G mobile products came in better than expected. The company also has exposure to the Internet of Things through its wireless products.

Qorvo stock surged after the chipmaker said it expects to see up to $1.03 billion in revenue, up from their previous high-end guidance of $955 million. Other chipmakers’ stocks also surged on the guidance news from Qorvo.

Ciena

Another company that isn’t mentioned much in the 5G conversation is Ciena, which provides equipment and software solutions. The software connection is what makes this company different from all the others on this list.

Ciena’s 5G software solutions are designed to reduce network complexity and drive the migration from 4G to 5G for network operators. The software is used in radios, data centers, and “everything in between.” The company utilizes “intelligent automation, next-generation routing platforms, advanced professional services to support the delivery of differentiated 5G services… and ultra-reliable Low-Latency Communications.”

One negative about Ciena’s stock is its recent guidance is weak compared to other companies with exposure to 5G. Unlike other 5G plays, Ciena has noticed an impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on its sales.

Ciena’s peer Infinera also saw its stock fall as a result of Ciena’s weak guidance. Ciena guided its revenue to fall by 13% to 17% year over year during the fourth quarter. The firm is warning investors of “limited visibility” for the foreseeable future.

Other 5G stocks

The number of companies that benefit from the 5G revolution is pervasive, but those named here maybe some of the best bets. Some other companies could benefit, such as chipmaker Analog Devices. Other companies like Marvell Technology Group could also see some benefit, but they have broader exposure to other technology areas beyond 5G.

When it comes to investing in 5G, there is a lot to think about. Investors should consider how well-exposed companies are to the 5G transition and what other areas of exposure they offer. Many companies are benefiting from the shift to 5G, so this is one area where there will be many winners and many opportunities for investors to make money.

Disclosure: I have no position in any stocks mentioned or any other equities in the sector.

Image Credit: christina morillo; pexels

The post How to Invest in 5G – The Definitive List of Stocks appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Connected Devices Customer Service India India and iPhone Mobile ReadWrite The India iPhone market

Why Apple’s iPhone Struggles in India and Why it Matters

apple iphone in india

Apple, the world’s most profitable company, has one of the most valuable products, the iPhone, which accounts for 60 percent of Apple’s yearly revenue. The iPhone and its entire ecosystem have experienced a lot of success in many countries across the globe with iPhone sales growing from a million dollars in 2007 to a staggering 231 million in 2015.

iPhone Sales

In the last couple of years, iPhone sales have been flat, and they haven’t been much of an exception, general smartphone sales have been on the decline due to smartphone saturation; where the average person has a smartphone leaving manufacturers with no one to sell to.

Apple being a public company cannot thrive on plateauing iPhone sales as it has demands to meet, iPhone sales need to grow yearly to keep shareholders happy.

Apple could sell new iPhones either by providing users with their very first-ever smartphone, switching users over from competing brands or by getting current iPhone users to upgrade their smartphones.

The last strategy of making users upgrade hasn’t been successful in recent times, because the quality of iPhones have improved over time that they tend to last longer, making users more reluctant to upgrade.

The other two methods Apple can use to curb slowing smartphone sales; acquiring new smartphone users, or switching users over from competing brands have been more successful.

The number of people on the planet is limited, so Apple has to look for new customers in developing countries with growing economies and citizens in need of smartphones; countries like India, which as been a major concern for Apple in recent years.

The iPhone in India

India, home to 1.3 billion people, is on track to beat China and become the most populous country on the planet by the year 2024.

India’s economy is one bubbling with potential, her GDP is among the fastest-growing in the world and about 44 Indians get out of extreme poverty every minute.

The trajectory of people coming out of poverty has got American companies like Google, Uber, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon excited. India can now provide these companies with 1.3 billion potential customers; many of which are using the internet and computers for the first time.

Apple expansion

Apple has been fairly successful in its plans to expand to emerging markets like China, but even with India being one of the few regions which isn’t experiencing smartphone saturation, Apple hasn’t been doing so well.

In 2018, Apple lost 3 key Indian executives, failed to meet its annual revenue target in the region, and was hit by India’s high smartphone tariffs, it is clear that Apple has been struggling in the region and for some reasons.

The iPhone’s high price

In 2016, Apple’s brand new iPhone 7 started at $650, about a year later, the iPhone X’s starting price was $1000, a $350 price increase from the last year’s model.

Apple’s 2020 ‘budget’ smartphone, the iPhone 11 costs $50 more than the 2016 flagship iPhone 7.

Due to the drastic surge in the price of the iPhone, Apple has recorded an increase in profit, making up for slowing unit sales, but in India; a price-sensitive country, this strategy is backfiring.

75% of all smartphones sold in the region cost less than $250 and 95% cost less than 500, (according to intoindia blog dot com), thus putting Apple’s flagship phones in the ultra-premium, which Apple normally operates in. The premium smartphone market in the region is less than 5% of the total smartphone market, which just isn’t enough for Apple, as Oneplus was the best selling premium smartphone in India, in 2019.

Most smartphones that are sold in India are sold for about $200. Other popular smartphone brands have adapted, with Samsung launching its budget series Samsung Galaxy A and M series, and Xiaomi its Redmii series, both starting at as low as $150.

Because of this, Samsung, Vivo, and Xiaomi accounted for the majority of Indian smartphone sales garnering 16%, 17%, and 30% respectively, with Apple only owning about 2%.

Combining the high price of the iPhone with a GDP per capita of $2,171, its easy to see why Indians aren’t willing to pay so much for a phone that costs above a thousand dollars.

High import tariffs

Apple has a specific disadvantage in the Indian market because of the local regulations. There is a very high import duty on phones that are not manufactured locally in India. Because of tariffs and duty, most smartphone producers tend to produce their smartphones locally so they don’t have to pay that high import duty.

The Indian government puts a 20% tariff on smartphones manufactured in other parts of the world, this is to incentivize more foreign companies to manufacture domestically, help employ their large population, and boost their economy. Due to Indian tariffs, the $1000 iPhone X started at about $1400 and the $700 iPhone 11 at $852 in India.

Tim Cook’s visit to India

Despite Tim Cook’s visit to India seeking tariff reductions and promising to manufacture at some point in the future if allowed to sell in India, the Indian government not only refused the offer but also made it more difficult for Apple to sell in India.

Smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Samsung have either opened or invested in smartphone manufacturing plants in India to produce low-cost smartphones specifically tailored to the Indian market.

Apple is yet to do the same, as it only manufactures its lower-cost iPhone 6s and SE (2016).

The iPhones subpar software experience

The iPhone software experience still isn’t as good in India as it is in places like the US. The user software lacks a robust software experience, services like Apple Pay haven’t been launched in India. The user experience is still subpar, though Samsung Pay and Google Pay have been operating in the region for a while now.

Apple Maps has been lacking for the most part and just introduced turn by turn navigation in 2019. Siri has always had problems in the west, but it is worse in India. In India, maps has an extremely hard time understanding Indian accents. Well, boo-hoo — figure it out — or have Siri and Alexa figure it out for you?!

Why can Apple not see the potential of programming and updating software to bring satisfaction to billions of users in other countries? This point brings up an essential question. Why would Indian users pay higher for a product that lacks basic features that many of its competitors offer at a much lower price?

Lack of an official retail store

Also, there are no Apple stores in India, retail or online. Only authorized resellers are in India — that means it is impossible to buy directly if you live in India, and Indians who wish to purchase an Apple device are directed to a “where to buy” page on the Indian website. (Double-pay-middleman).

Apple simply can’t start building their retail store in India to sell the iPhone because they are limited by government restrictions that require foreign retailers to buy at least 30% of their materials from Indian vendors. Since Apple buys many of its components from other places in Asia — it doesn’t meet the requirements to open retail stores in India.

In India, most smartphones are sold in small roadside shops where the vendors don’t know the many advantages the iPhone has over its competitors. Roadside shops can’t educate customers looking for a new smartphone on the advantages the iPhone has over its competitors.

How Apple can fix the very real issues

Apple has always prioritized profit over market share, owning the largest slice of the market share has never been its goal. In India, where its market share is only two percent, Apple should be alarmed as it is losing out on millions, if not billions, of potential customers.

Acquiring brand new smartphone users is essential for Apple’s growth as existing users are more valuable in more ways than one. Customers purchase accessories like the Airpods, Apple Watch, and soon Apple AR glasses that boost all services. Any Apple product seeks to grow users by having them subscribe to Apple Music, iCloud, and Apple TV.

In order for Apple to increase the number of Indian users, it has to adapt to the region, it needs to open its stores, where it can educate customers on the features of the iPhone and advantages it has over other competitors.

To further boost sales, Apple can only get approval for its official retail stores by establishing a large manufacturing presence and sourcing as much of its hardware components from the region.

Apple also has to create a true budget smartphone tailored for the Indian market, that would be manufactured in India and sold only to developing countries with lower price points.

Apple recently tried this strategy with the $400 2020 iPhone SE, which is priced at 42,500 Rupees or about $560 in the region. However, this price is still higher than the majority of smartphones sold in the region — and Apple needs to build its brand in the region.

There are more issues than an iPhone

Apart from hardware, there are other things Apple needs to consider. The Apple software is mostly lacking in India so Apple will need to improve other services in the region, such as its Maps services, Virtual Assistant; Siri, launch, and Apple Pay. The Indian market is well versed in the software aspect, so Apple may want to include software designed specifically for the Indian market.

Conclusion

In order for Apple to expand into the Indian market, it needs to change its strategy and tailor it for the Indian market. Apple will want to produce locally manufactured devices sold at an affordable price tag — with improved features.

Until they do so, their competitors will continue to make more useful and appealing devices, with features and a cheaper price point.

The post Why Apple’s iPhone Struggles in India and Why it Matters appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Connected Devices Entrepreneurs Mobile repair your device save environment by repair eletronics Startups

Repair VS. Recycle: Key Factors to Consider

repair vs recycle phone

As the pandemic has left many consumers with less disposable income and more time on their hands, interest in refurbishing or repairing electronics has gained new momentum.

When presented with their options, however, many consumers aren’t sure what action to take moving forward. Should you repair or recycle your broken electronics? Carefully considering each approach can make it easier for you to move forward confidently. 

Reasons to Repair 

Whether it’s been broken for years or you just dropped it today, there are several reasons you may want to repair your device:

Access Data

For many, the data is more important than the device itself. Losing personal photos, work data or school documents can cause heartbreak and stress.

Despite this risk, many still do not use cloud-based backup services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud.

Luckily, the most common damage to electronics (cracked screens, broken charging ports, and liquid damage) usually does not affect the memory of the device, meaning a repair will give you access to the data again.

Some repair shops even offer data recovery services, often saving you money and giving you access to your data without having to fully repair the device.

Financed Device

How we purchase and use cell phones and technology has changed significantly over the years. What used to be a once every two-year purchase of a few hundred dollars can now easily exceed $1000.

Furthermore, these purchases are often made on payment plans, stretching out years. Even if you break the device, you’ll have to keep making those monthly payments, and in most cases, purchasing a new device will simply add additional payments to your plan.

Many people find that it’s worth making repairs to their device to avoid making additional payments for a device that isn’t yet paid off. 

Familiarity 

Upgrading is exciting but can often be a lot of work and have unexpected costs.

When you choose to simply repair your existing device, you can continue to use the same accessories you’ve already purchased, including the charger, the case, and any other accessories you’ve added to it.

Choosing to replace your device, on the other hand, doesn’t just mean that you’ll face the cost of a new device, but that you’ll find yourself paying for new accessories and possibly having to replace every charger in your home, car and office.

Environmental Impact

Repairing electronics and keeping them around for as long as possible is the first line of defense to preventing e-waste and reducing your environmental impact.

In fact, 85% of the emissions impact of a smartphone comes from its production.

Opting to repair your smartphone means it holds on to all the energy and materials it uses during manufacturing and helps prevent e-waste from ending up in landfills.

Spend Local

Many electronic repair shops are locally owned and operated, whereas most electronic manufacturers and retailers are big businesses often with overseas production.

Making repairs to your existing device allows you to support those members of the local community, which is particularly important during times of economic uncertainty.

A lot of these repair shops have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering curbside service, mail-in repairs and home pick up and drop off. 

Reasons to Recycle 

Sometimes, as a consumer, you might want to choose not to try to repair your device. Recycling can also present a great option.

Frequently, the device can still be repaired and sold or donated. In other cases, recycling your devices can help cut down on overall waste.

Are you ready to upgrade to a new device, rather than holding on to the old one? Consider these reasons to recycle:

New Technology

Every year, new advances in cell phone and electronics technology become available.

Upgrading could mean a higher resolution camera, improved battery life, or access to faster data speeds with 5G.

In some cases, if you’re working with an older device, you may find that certain apps are no longer supported on your current device. For example, many older Mac computers don’t have the compatibility to run essential applications such as the new Microsoft office. 

Help Support those in Need

You can help someone less fortunate by recycling for charity. Many charities, including women’s shelters, will provide individuals in need with old devices.

These devices can allow people in need to contact friends and family members or gain access to the internet to help with job searches. And, yes, you can find help to wipe all information, or factory reset your devices for data protection.

Other cell phone recyclers also support nonprofit charities by using the proceeds from your recycled device. Choosing to recycle your device for charity can offer enormous benefits to those in need. 

Cost

Many newer models of smartphones are incredibly difficult to repair, meaning it might not be worth the cost.

Apple’s screen repair costs jumped considerably with the arrival of the iPhone X and the use of OLED displays.

Currently, it costs between $279 and $399 to replace broken screens at most repair shops, including the Apple store.

The situation is the same with Samsung Galaxy smartphones – replacing a cracked screen on most newer models starts around $300.  

Quality

Not all replacement cell phone parts are created equal. When repair shops buy replacement parts, such as screens, there are numerous qualities or grades to choose from. 

Furthermore, there is no universal standard for part quality, meaning that one repair shop’s ‘A Grade’ may be comparable to another shop’s ‘A++ Grade’.

Many of these parts will work the same or similar to the original but quality may differ. It’s important to know what you’re paying for ahead of time. 

Device Downtime

Repairs can lead to considerable downtime. Many people rely on their devices to stay connected, and in the midst of COVID-19 quarantines.

Our connectivity is more important than ever.

You may need your device to access schoolwork, stay on top of work, or check-in with friends and family members that you can’t see in person.

Between ordering parts and often time-consuming repairs, it can take several days to get a working device back in your hands. Let’s be honest, many people cannot afford that much time without their device.

You must also consider the opportunity cost as the cost of the repairs themselves: for example, if not having your phone prevents you from working, you may face several days’ lost income while you wait for repairs. 

Risk Further Damage

DIY repairs risk causing further damage. Sure, there’s a YouTube video out there that can allow you to see firsthand how to take on almost any repair job, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Many repairs require specialized tools, for example, newer iPhone models require the replacement screen to be “programmed” to function properly. Others need a steady hand in order to reduce the risk of further errors.

Simply opening the phone on your own can also void your manufacturer’s warranty, which means that the manufacturer won’t take on any responsibility for future repairs and defects.

The decision to repair or recycle always rests with you, and it may be different depending on your immediate circumstances.

Is it better to repair or recycle your device? Carefully consider all these criteria before making a decision, or talk to your local repair shop or recycler to learn more about your options. 

Image Credit: picjumbo; Pexels

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Branding ecommerce Marketing Mobile Platforms Sales sales advice

5 Reasons Your Own Website is Killing Your Sales

website killing sales

More people than ever are shopping online. In 2019, e-commerce retail sales equated to 14.1% of global sales and by 2040, 95% of purchases are expected to come from e-commerce. Here are five reasons your own website is killing your sales.

Clearly, there’s never been a better time to sell online.

However, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to actually making sales. Having a brand website is important, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a successful business.

Your website is potentially the first impression consumers have of your brand. It showcases your back story, your vision, and your overall product line. But, if your sales aren’t exactly setting the e-commerce industry on fire, it might be time to make a few changes.

Not getting as many sales as you’d hoped? Here are 5 reasons why your website may be having a negative impact.

Your website isn’t mobile responsive

61.51% of the world’s population own a mobile phone — that’s around 4.78 billion people. By 2021, purchases made via mobile are predicted to be worth $3.56 trillion.

With more consumers using their phone to research products, learn about businesses, and make purchases, your website needs to deliver it’s A-game, and deliver a great user experience.

Let’s say you’re interested in buying a set of golf clubs. You head to Google using your phone, find a store selling your perfect set, but the website doesn’t conform to mobile screens.

What are you going to do? My best bet is that you’re going to click off pretty sharpish.

To prevent losing potential customers, your website should be responsive to screen size, load quickly, and provide a good user experience.

How to fix:

  1. Shift to a responsive design, based on a fluid/stackable grid pattern. This will ensure your content resizes no matter what screen size is used.
  2. Consider image sizing in your CSS. Alternatively, if you’re using a different URL for mobile, upload smaller product images instead.
  3. Contemplate touch screen elements for tablet and smartphone devices.

Your website is too slow

Nobody likes to wait. In fact, 40% of people abandon a website if it takes 3 seconds or more to load.

It’s not only customers a slow website can have an impact on. According to a speed study by Google, your bounce rate declines for every second your website takes to load.

Did you know that slow web pages affect your search ranking and the cost per click of your Google ads? So, how can you win over customers and search engines by improving your site speed?

How to fix:

  1. Use fast hosting. Quick, reliable hosting is imperative for any e-commerce site, especially if you’re experiencing high traffic or transactions. Look at limitations on bandwidth and memory when you choose a host.
  2. Minimize HTTP requests. The more components a site has, like images and scripts, the more HTTP requests are made, making your website take longer to load.
  3. Combine your files. While CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files are important, minifying them to eliminate unnecessary code and whitespace will reduce their size to make your website faster.

Your SEO is lacking

Not getting many people visiting your store? Perhaps SEO is having an impact. Good SEO techniques put you further up in search engine results, sending more users to your website.

SEO can take time to implement so don’t expect changes to happen overnight. However, with the correct techniques, you may need to rely less on paid advertising.

How to fix:

  1. Be clever with keywords. Do your research to discover what potential customers are searching for. Remember, when implementing keywords into content, avoid stuffing them into text.
  2. Target local SEO. If you’re a small business, local SEO is essential. Use local keywords and sign up for a Google My Business account.
  3. Use on-page SEO techniques. Take advantage of optimizing meta titles and headings with keywords. Optimize your URLs with your most important keywords.

Your site isn’t secure

Making sure your website is secure increases trust and credibility as a reputable business. After all, you want your customers to keep coming back to you, and spread good reviews about you via word of mouth.

What can you do if your store is lacking the security it needs?

How to fix:

  1. Get an SSL certificate. An extended validation certificate (EV SSL) is the most effective type recommended for a high level of security, especially when you’re processing payments and obtaining sensitive data from customers. Make sure you monitor your certificate and not have it expire on you, letting your website exposed. You can use Sematext to track this for free.
  2. State your refund policy to enhance trust. A clear refund policy not only encourages users to trust your company, but it can also improve sales by increasing customer confidence in your brand.
  3. Display your contact information. You may not have a physical store, but customers still need to know how to contact you for inquiries or complaints. Make it easy for them by using a specific contact form, email address, or phone number.

Your site is hard to navigate

A visually pleasing design isn’t everything, but it does form the first impressions of your business and enhance user experience. It only takes 0.05 seconds for a user to decide if they’re going to stay on your website or not.

If you want people to stick around on your website long enough to browse your products or services, then you have to improve your user experience.

How to fix:

  1. Use clear navigation with a search bar. Avoid confusion by placing the most important links at the beginning and end of your navigation to make it easier for people to spot them. Organize your offerings in categories so users can easily find what they’re searching for.
  2. Use clear product images. Not only will you enhance trust, but you’ll increase conversions too!
  3. Optimize your landing page. Consider where users are coming from and tailor it to them. For instance, if you’re running a Facebook ad with a 20% off coupon, make sure your landing page mentions the discount. It’s also important to regularly test your landing page to improve conversions.

Improve your conversions by continually analyzing your website

If you’re struggling to make sales, don’t sit around waiting for things to change.

Getting your e-commerce website to where you want it to takes time. But, by using the correct methods, you can significantly increase sales.

Use our tips as a starting point and evaluate your website on a continual basis to keep making improvements along the way.

Image Credit: charles deluvio; unsplash

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Cloud Connected Devices Mobile next generation of smartphones

What the Next Generation of Smartphones Look Like

next generation of smartphones

If you ask a computer hardware specialist, “What is the future of computer hardware?” the answer for the half century past has been Moore’s Law. But what does the next generation of smartphones look like?

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every two years.

Devices that have occupied all our daily life. With no doubts, talking about the next generation of smartphones requires considering both hardware and software.

In simpler words, every two years you can pack two times more processing power in a square inch of a processor. This is all good news for smartphones because smartphones are smaller and lighter.

Meaning that you can have faster and more powerful smartphones (two times faster in fact) every 2 years. Comparing to a supercomputer the size of a room 30 years ago, your smartphone is really smarter.

But, as they say, nothing lasts forever. Actually, Moore’s law has been a prediction, not a law of the universe. He was a genius who well thought out about this and it happened over the last 50 years.

Recently, the rate of our processing power being doubled slowed down to once every 2.5 years. Insights do not show an exception for going back to the 2 years rate again.

It’s all about the possibility limit. The current way of creating processors has come to a limit and it’s time for something new such as quantum computers.

Old phones and current smartphones 

Going back to the days when phones were only being used for contacting other people doesn’t need you to be an aged person. I can still remember those days when we had those kinds of phones.

Nokia first generations had a keyboard full of buttons both numbers and arrows. Having a phone was considered a sign of being a wealthy person those days. You had the ability to contact almost everybody who had a phone wherever you are.

As time passed more and more companies started producing mobile phones and the prices started falling down. On the other hand, the rate in which the technology of those mobile phones advanced, started to get a pace.

More and more engineers started working on mobile devices so we could have more and more functionalities aka features.

Below you see a list the things that have changed during the evolution of phones in the last 20 years:

  •   Weight
  •   Size
  •   Thickness
  •   Screen size
  •   Screen resolution
  •   No of buttons
  •   Touch technologies
  •   Sensors being used in the phone
  •   Internet generation (3G, 4G, 5G)
  •   Connectivity to other devices (Bluetooth, Infrared)
  •   Battery capacity
  •   Charging speed
  •   Cameras (revolutionary)
  •   Storage
  •   Sound volume and quality
  •   Operating System
  •   Software-wise

What about the latest changes?

If you follow the mobile industry and watch what the flagship phones have inside, you’ll notice a different strategy compared to the past. There is no more revolutionary thing inside new phones.

  •   You see the new camera is 5x better than the previous one.
  •   You see the new screen has more pixels per inch.
  •   You see the new battery power improved by 20%.
  •   You see the new internet generation (5G) support being integrated.
  •   You see the new OS being more powerful than before.

Okay, I know, you are not expecting a brand-new thing to appear in the phones anymore compared to 5 years ago. You guess that this is all we can have or in fact we currently need to have in a smartphone. But you are always expecting the OS or software inside to be improved over time. 

Let’s just compare the new iPhone 11 Pro with its preview generation iPhone X.

If you read the specifications, you’ll see that the differences are as below:

  •   A little bit bigger than iPhone X
  •   Newer CPU
  •   More RAM
  •   Enhanced brand-new camera
  •   Better front camera
  •   12% more battery capacity
  •   More water resistance

This is all the things you’ll get if you buy an iPhone 11 Pro. You see the changes are not noticeable and if you work with them, you’ll literally feel nothing except the camera. What I believe is that the revolution for smartphones has just stopped and here we are with only tiny improvements from time to time.

But what is going to happen? Are we going to be happy with just tiny improvements? Did it stop going further? I believe there is going to be a revolutionary thing in the near future and I guess it’s what I’m going to tell you now.

The next generation of smartphones

The next generation of mobile phones is at first about the hardware then only about the software in the long run. What do I mean by this then?

Let’s consider the current buying behavior of people closely.

  1. Samsung/ Apple introduces its new device.
  2. There is a long queue waiting to be the first people to own that device.
  3. People sell their old devices and buy the new device.
  4. They keep each phone for a few years then buy a new one.

This is what the mobile producers want you to do. They need to sell more and more devices so they introduce new phones each year even if there is nothing extraordinary about it.

Even if it fails or explodes after a few months. It’s all about making more money. I’m not against making more money. I’m a fan of it in fact. What I believe is that there is not going to be a breakthrough technology in smartphones so that we need to change our phones every year.

The current revolutions are more on software than hardware.

Possibility limit of hardware

The hardware industry still has a lot to go but it’ll end soon. I mean we’ll get to the finest particle size used in a CPU or capacity in a battery. Hardware will block us one day.

It’s the matter of possibility. It might not be possible to go deeper from a point; it might not be possible to create smaller cells from a point and that point is not far from current situations. Let me give you an example: If we want to have more storage in our phones, we should go create smaller storage blocks so that we can put more blocks in the same space and have more capacity.

But there is a possibility limit, we can’t go smaller than a cell, can we? Now expand this example to other aspects of a phone. There is finally a possibility limit on our way.

Businesses life cycle has 4 phases (introduction, growth, maturity, decline) as they grow. Some of the technologies inside smartphones might have come to their growth phase.

For example, CPUs. They have passed the era of experience of doubling the processing power in the same space and it’s their maturity phase now. Usually businesses that reach their maturity level will fall into the decline phase if do not make new decisions specially innovations.

Innovations are one rescue for businesses in the decline phase. Maybe the innovation for the next generation of CPUs are quantum processors.

I don’t know how early it could happen but it is going to be the basis of new generation of smartphones that revolutionizes the current devices. This is how this we can overtake this possibility limit theory. 

The need for a new smartphone

Another topic to consider is the real need of people for having a phone with more capacity. Having a phone with more calculation power. Having a phone with more battery power.

Even though it’s great to have more of everything as a human (we are never satisfied with having more of a thing), do we really need it? Just look at your way of using your new iPhone 11 Pro. Do you use all its performance power?

Do you feel a difference in the camera? Researchers say that our eyes are equal to a 10-megapixel camera. This means that we cannot understand the difference between a 10 and a 20-megapixel camera by our eyes. Do you really need wide cameras?

Repeating, it’s great to have a better camera but the previous one is also great for me. This is more of a business thing because those brands create the demand even if there is no need for it.

We are just part of a game. The game of seeing a new thing, thinking we need it and buying it eventually.

next generation of smartphones

What are the next generation of smartphones?

The next generation of smartphones will likely look like this:

” You go to a store, buy a white labeled phone with satisfying hardware without any OS on it. You then go home and buy your desired OS and install it on the device.”

Possibly you’ll no longer pay for a brand-new device — but you’ll just order your desired OS and enjoy the software functionalities created for you by the OS. 

There might be several questions in your head about cameras, storage, RAM, processors, etc. Let’s see what happens to each of them in this new world.

Cameras in next generations of smartphones

We know that having a good photo quality is not just about the hardware. Software matters too. Processors do a lot on the photo taken by a camera to make it better.

In the new generation software owns more accountability for the quality than the hardware. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, we’ll be able to improve image quality in a matter of a second.

That’s why we don’t always need to upgrade our camera hardware. Software can do it all for us. Meaning that you have a normal camera but the photo quality is way more than the ability of that hardware because AI is working on it.

The same goes for video. We talked about how mobile phones can help you do better photography with a phone which might be interesting for you.

 AI and cameras in next generation of smartphones

AI is the new buzzword not only in photography but also in every sector of the tech industry that has a software related part. Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. You might not know but without doubts one of your applications on your smartphone is using AI in such a way.

Maybe the AI is the camera, maybe your voice assistant, maybe your anti-virus, etc. For example, when you are taking a photo and it detects the faces in your photo, this is what AI is understanding. Or when you are talking to Siri on your iPhone, it’s an intensive use of AI that can handle your requests.

Also, when you are typing and the keyboard is suggesting words to complete your sentences, it’s AI that understands, interprets and predicts the rest of your sentence. Believe it or not AI is everywhere in your smartphone now. Cameras are also no exception and they are already using it a lot.

Another example of using AI in photos is the photo editing tools that help you edit extensively. You can easily repair skin colors/ shadows, replace colors, remove backgrounds and so many other things by just using an application.

A good reason for using AI in the next generation of smartphones is the hardware gap.

Not all the cameras on smartphones have several lenses, not all of them have zoom lenses. That’s where you need a software to handle the zooming. “Software is becoming more and more important for smartphones because they have a physical lack of optics, so we’ve seen the rise of computational photography that tries to replicate an optical zoom,� says imaging analyst Arun Gill, Senior Market Analyst at Future Source Consulting.

“One of the examples is Google Pixel 3 which uses a single camera lens with huge computational photography in order to replicate an optical zoom and also adds various effects. To let you know more, AI has a lot to offer not just in photography but also in improving user experience.

Storage in next generation of smartphones

Everybody has heard about Google drive or iCloud. These guys have been around for a while and more and more people are using them nowadays compared to a few years ago when everybody needed to have all his files, photos and videos on their device.

Going beyond the personal files, comes the applications. We are using a lot of applications in the cloud every day and we are getting used to it. Meaning that we no longer need to have all the applications installed in our smartphones.

We just open the URL and boom, it’s there. This decreases the need for a big storage on our devices. So, the new devices come with small storage because you are going to have everything on a cloud somewhere in the world.

This is all because of cloud technology which is becoming cheaper and cheaper every day. More and more companies and products are fully migrating to clouds or connected to clouds.

 A major advantage of cloud storage is the ability to access your files on any device and not needing to transfer them manually every time you switch to a new phone.

You just upload once and every time you get a new phone or go on a new device regardless of being a smartphone or personal computer, you’ll have all the files there in a second.

There are some smartphones that offer cloud storage as you buy them. Google Pixel is one of the few smartphones that benefit from cloud storage by default.

It offers just 32GB internal storage and it doesn’t have a micro card slot. Google Pixel offers unlimited storage on Google Drive for high-resolution photos and videos for free.

It has already started being the next generation of smartphones where you are migrating to cloud faster than other phones.

RAM in next generation of smartphones

Application of a RAM is to keep enough data you need handy when opening an application on your phone. This means that if you want to have more applications working at the same time and you don’t want to experience lag in your device, you need more RAM.

Now let’s think about having all your applications on clouds. You no longer need to have a big RAM. You just need enough RAM to launch your OS. That’s why the next generation of phones do not need a huge RAM. Thanks to cloud technology again and again.

Right now, there are a number of smartphones that have 8GB of RAM inside. In fact, 8GB of RAM is not vital for a smartphone. This much RAM is more than enough for almost all computing tasks on a standard work machine.

There aren’t enough tasks you can put into your smartphone to make the most use of all 8GB.

Maybe you are thinking about future proofing your device with this 8GB of RAM, but unfortunately smartphone hardware degrades pretty quickly. So never try to buy a smartphone with 8GB of RAM solely for that purpose.

 There are smartphones with 12GB of RAM such as Samsung Galaxy S20. But tests have shown that phones with more RAM do not necessarily perform better than those with lower RAM.

For example, Apple’s iPhones have 4GB of RAM and perform very well compared to their competitors.

Therefore, it is not a big deal to have more RAM on your device. In the next generations of smartphones, you’ll have the required amount of RAM in your hardware and leave the rest to software to handle it perfectly.

Processors in next generation of smartphones

Processors are not an exception. When you don’t have any applications on your phone, processing is not a big deal because you are leaving all the processes to the cloud.You no longer own a processing unit. All the processes are done in the cloud because all your data is there and all your applications are launched there.

One thing I know based on my research is that we are not using all the power inside the CPU of our smartphone and there is still a lot to do with them. This doesn’t mean the improvement and advancement in CPU technologies would stop while it means software has a lot to consume yet.

With more powerful CPUs, applications are able to perform better and do more complex tasks. Improvement of CPUs creates the space for artificial intelligence works to be done by applications on smartphones.

Also, there is a direct connection between type of CPU and 5G internet. Not all CPUs are able to support 5G at the moment and they should gradually adapt to the new conditions.

The idea of having all our data and applications on the cloud requires a big support of internet bandwidth and computational power which are achievable through a cutting-edge CPU.

A CPU that supports them both. Considering the next generation smartphones have one of those CPUs with minimum functionality of supporting both 5G and enough computational power for the times there are calculations and computations needed to be run on the device locally.

Ports in next generation of smartphones

One thing we always had in mind when buying a new device was connectivity functionality. What I mean by that is how many other devices can be connected to this computer or laptop? This also used to be an important matter when buying a new phone until smartphones came by.

The good point about them is that you can connect almost anything via Bluetooth and Wifi. Apple has its own Airdrop which enables you to connect to all Apple devices and share files with them. You can connect Bluetooth handsfree, Bluetooth speakers, external hard drives, selfie sticks, etc. to your smartphone.

Some phones are now supporting wireless charging and you no longer need to connect a cable for charging your phone. This means that we no longer need the charger hole beneath our smartphones because we can just do it wirelessly.

Recently Apple announced that there would be no charger and ear pods in the iPhone package for the next iPhones anymore. I believe it’s the beginning of removing the current charger port as well. The same as they did with the 3.5mm jack for handsfree.

But what about the next generation of smartphones? I can guess that there wouldn’t be any ports anymore because everything could be done wirelessly through different technologies. Therefore, do not expect a hole in your next generation of smartphone.

Trends of purchasing new smartphones

Apple and other smartphone makers have attributed falling revenues to customers not upgrading their handsets. That’s a growing problem for the industry, but it’s felt more acutely in some regions than others.

In the U.S. and Europe, especially, the life cycle of a smartphone has been steadily increasing, according to data from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

This means that people are keeping their old phones more than before. In 2016, American smartphone owners used their phones for 22.7 months on average before upgrading. By 2018, that number had increased to 24.7.

Users in five European countries tracked by Kantar Worldpanel — France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain — are keeping their phones for even longer. From 2016 to 2018, the life cycle of a smartphone was extended by nearly three months, from 23.4 to 26.2.

Users in Great Britain logged the longest average of 27.7 months in 2018. This change in behavior is not only due to price-related matters (majority of smartphones prices has increased over the last years) but also due to the fact that people are satisfied with their smartphones and new phones do not have something special to offer.

Conclusion 

In the next generation of smartphones, you won’t go and buy a branded phone. You’ll only buy a white label hardware then choose your desired OS software to install on that hardware.

” You go to a store, buy a white labeled phone with satisfying hardware without any OS on it. You then go home and buy your desired OS and install it on the device.”

The key here is advancement of technologies in the internet (5G), cloud computing, cloud storage and artificial intelligence which are all revolutionizing the tech industry.

We are at a point in history when infrastructure is no big deal anymore and everything is going to rely on software because there is not going to be any limitations in terms of hardware. Phones became smartphones and the next generation would be intelligent phones.

The phones that form based on your requirements, based on your way of using it, based on your situation, based on your budget and based on your profession all with the help of artificial intelligence and clouds. Those smartphones would be fully personalized for you because they are intelligent.

The post What the Next Generation of Smartphones Look Like appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Airdrop Data and Security dating Lifestyle Mobile online dating Platforms social apps Tinder

The Curious Case of Using Airdrop as a Tinder Alternative

airdrop as tinder alternative

Back in 2011, Apple engineers masterminded an awesome feature called AirDrop. It’s intended to facilitate file transfers among supported devices. The process is amazingly simple and doesn’t require device pairing at all — it works out of the box and only takes a few clicks or taps to complete a file exchange. Here is the curious case of using Airdrop as a Tinder alternative.

AirDrop uses a combo of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols so the data transfer speeds are huge.

Interestingly, some tricks may allow you to extend the use of this feature beyond simply sending files.

For example, you can find out the phone number of another person who is in the same subway car with you. I’ve been recently using this feature to meet new people on my way to work, in public transport, and all kinds of diners.

Sometimes I walk out of the subway with a new friend. Intrigued? Here are ins and outs I’ve found of using the unorthodox way of using AirDrop.

How AirDrop works

AirDrop is a service for data transfers within a peer-to-peer network. It can function via a classic local network and over the air between any Apple devices. I’m going to dwell on the latter scenario, where two nearby devices don’t have to be connected to the same network.

For instance, two people are riding the subway and their smartphones aren’t connected to the same public Wi-Fi.

To start a data transfer session via AirDrop, the sender’s smartphone broadcasts a BLE (Bluetooth low energy) advertising packet that contains hashed information about the sender’s iCloud account and telephone number.

The packet then requests a connection via AWDL (Apple Wireless Direct Link), which is reminiscent of Android’s Wi-Fi Direct.

On the receiving side, the status of the AirDrop feature can be one of the following:

  • Receiving Off — the device cannot be detected at all.
  • Contacts Only — it can only receive files from the user’s contacts. For the record, a contact is a phone number or email tied to your iCloud account.
  • Everyone — the device can receive files from any users nearby.

Depending on the privacy preferences, the phone will either accept the AWDL connection or it will simply ignore the BLE advertising packet.

If the “Everyoneâ€� option is selected in your privacy settings — then the devices will get connected via AWDS at the next stage. Then, they will form an IPv6 network connection with each other.

AirDrop will be operating within this network as an applied protocol using mDNS (multicast DNS) via standard IP communication.

How to meet new people using AirDrop

You’ve had enough of boring theory, so let’s now move on to practice. Although online dating is very popular, you can grab your smartphone and go hook up with someone offline using modern technology. But first, keep the following nuances in mind:

  • The trick only works if the receiving smartphone is unlocked at the moment.

    Ideally, your target should be gazing at their device. People are mostly looking at their devices places where they are bored — like the subway — or any other place you have to sit there and wait.

  • Take your time.

    A successful “conversion� usually occurs after you send a couple of pics, therefore you need to stay at the same spot for at least five minutes.

    I think of a successful “conversion� as a moment when you negotiate over AirDrop to continue chatting in the messenger. The connection is sometimes hard to do on the go because it could be problematic to figure out right away who has accepted your payload.

    Your target may walk away before you get the chance to settle on further communication.

  • Personalized files work better

    The best payload seems to be an eye-catching piece of media content you’re sending via AirDrop. A vanilla image with a meme in it probably won’t do the trick.

    The content should be aligned with the situation and imply a clear-cut call to action.

The classic method – nothing but the smartphone

This one is suitable for everyone who owns an iPhone, and it doesn’t require any particular skills except the ability to socialize. Turn on the “Everyone� mode in AirDrop settings and head to the subway.

According to my observations, almost all iDevices broadcast the owner’s name, which allows you to easily determine their gender and prep the appropriate payload.

The payload

As previously mentioned, a unique payload is more effective. Ideally, the pic should include the owner’s name. The fun part is that this image used to be shown right on the victim’s display without any extra actions on their end.

The person didn’t even have to tap “Accept� or anything like that, so you could instantly see the reaction.

I mostly created these images using the graphics editing component built into the Notes app, plus a crude version of the mobile Photoshop tool. As a result, I would often have to walk out of the subway car before the right image was ready.

While I was refining my drawing skills, iOS 13 was released. One of the changes introduced in this version is that images received from unfamiliar users are no longer displayed on the screen. Instead of the graphical preview, the person only sees the sender’s name.

In other words, the only way to address the target by name in iOS 13 onward is to specify it in your iPhone settings. For instance, you can rename your device as “Hi Emily!� Speaking of which, here’s a quick tip: you can include emoji in your gadget’s name.

Of course, this technique isn’t nearly as impressive as sending a custom image, but it still increases the odds of the target tapping the “Accept� button.

Further actions are a matter of your creativity and sense of humor. There’s one thing I can say for sure: those who join this game and start replying with images or send you notes are usually very easy-going and interesting people.

On the other hand, those who don’t reply or simply reject your message tend to be snobs who think too highly of themselves. Also, the fear factor plays a role in some cases: shy and oversensitive people are afraid to interact with a pushy stranger.

The bottom line

Your new Airdrop hobby is the perfect way to have fun in the subway. It’s got a wow effect that lures curious people. I bet some of your new acquaintances won’t mind playing along.

Some people might even change their plans and exit the subway at your station to have a coffee together. I’ve met a lot of new people in a year’s time and continue to communicate with some of them.

Unfortunately, not all tricks targeting Apple devices are as harmless as this one. Malicious actors are increasingly infecting Mac computers and iPhones with malware these days, and many of these campaigns also have a flavor of social engineering.

An example is the ongoing adware distribution stratagem that relies on deceptive pop-up alerts stating that your Adobe Flash Player is out of date. Instead of installing the purported update, though, these ads promote browser hijackers and scareware.

To keep your Apple devices safe, avoid application bundles that may conceal malicious code under the guise of benign software. Be sure to keep your operating system and third-party apps up to date – this will address all recently discovered vulnerabilities and harden the overall security of your iOS or macOS device.

Furthermore, refrain from clicking on links received from strangers as they might lead to malware downloads and phishing sites.

It’s a good idea to audit the privacy settings of your most-used apps. In particular, make sure they don’t have access to sensitive data such as your location unless they really need it to work right. Also, keep your devices locked when not in use and specify strong passwords to prevent unauthorized access.

The post The Curious Case of Using Airdrop as a Tinder Alternative appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Branding Digital Marketing e-commerce eCommerce marketing Marketing Mobile ReadWrite SMS

What is the Future of SMS Marketing?

future of sms marketing

Over the past two decades, SMS marketing has become so ingrained in our lives that we don’t even pause to consider what life was like without it. Despite that, marketers still don’t regard the platform as highly as email or social media marketing. What a mistake. Here is what the future of SMS marketing is all about.

Fundamental channels for digital marketing.

While email has long been a fundamental channel for digital marketing campaigns. The hype around social media marketing is well deserved, if only for its powerful targeting and personalization capabilities.

SMS marketing, on the other hand, offers equally valuable yet unsung benefits for marketing communications. If you’ve hesitated to adopt text messaging as a marketing channel, perhaps it’s the best time to reconsider.

Why It’s the Best Time to Adopt SMS Marketing

Although SMS is now considered as a powerful addition to an omnichannel strategy, it wasn’t always an attractive digital marketing platform. It was too expensive for marketers to take it seriously. Plus, it lacked any semblance of a playbook, which email already had.

Today’s digital landscape, however, has paved the way for text messaging to be a marketing platform that’s not just viable but actually worthwhile. In particular, these changes have driven its success as a medium for marketing:

Peak Mobile Penetration

The first SMS-ready mobile phone was introduced to the market in 1993. But, the rapid adoption of mobile phones came towards the late 90s as cellular networks became more stable and even allowed cross-network messaging.

By 2000, 12% of the world’s population had mobile phones, and that number has consistently increased since then.

Today, there are over five billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. The stat means over 65% of people all over the world have a mobile device of some kind.

Although the number of smartphone users is increasing steadily, approximately 30% of mobile subscribers don’t have a smartphone with internet access. But, each one is capable of receiving text messages.

SMS examples
SMS examples with different country codes.

Development of Regulations

In the early days of SMS marketing, there were barely any regulations to guide marketers in using it appropriately. It was essentially a free-for-all platform for any business that could afford to use it. Spam was prevalent and branded text messages were considered a nuisance.

Data Privacy Regulations

Several regulations have already been developed and widely accepted across the world to encourage not only respectful practices but also data privacy protection.

These regulations have made people more open to receiving promotional text messages. In fact, nowadays, 75% of consumers say they don’t mind getting texts from brands for as long as they opt in.

Lower Costs

In the early 2000s, a single SMS could cost anywhere from ten to twenty cents, depending on the operator. For businesses engaged in mass texting, the costs quickly piled up. But, over time, costs were driven down by several factors. Not the least of which was the popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and instant messaging software like Viber and Messenger.

Nowadays, there are innumerable marketing packages that make SMS a cost-effective platform. Some of them could even bring costs down to one cent per text. Keywords and shortcodes involve additional costs.

Keywords are unique phrases that your customers can use to interact with your company while shortcodes are the numbers to which those keywords are sent. In the text “Send HELP to 66586,� HELP is the keyword and 66586 is the shortcode.

In the past, a business looking to seriously engage in SMS marketing would need to make use of dedicated shortcodes, which allow for unlimited use of keywords. Those could cost anywhere from fifteen to thirty thousand dollars per year. Nowadays, there are mobile marketing firms that share shortcodes across multiple businesses through a keyword rental model. Each keyword rental could cost anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars per month.

Software Advancements

Earlier, the SMS gateways that enabled computers to send, receive, and manage text messages were physical appliances that merely allowed marketers to ramp up their text messaging efficiency. Nowadays, SMS gateway applications allow you to do all that without the cost of procuring specialized hardware.

Advancements in marketing applications have also led to the wide acceptance of SMS as a marketing medium. While there are SMS-specific apps for businesses with limited needs, there is also powerful software that allows you to manage entire marketing campaigns across multiple channels, all using a single platform. Using such applications, you can use SMS as part of an omnichannel strategy alongside email, social media, and search advertising.

Omnichannel Adoption

In recent years, consumers have shown a clear preference for omnichannel brand communications. Not only are purchase rates higher for companies that use three or more channels, but retention rates are also much higher. While businesses available on only a single channel keep approximately 33% of their customers, retention rates are as high as 89% for companies with omnichannel engagement.

There’s no denying that a large part of the success of omnichannel campaigns is the proper use of SMS marketing. Not only are consumers more willing to receive text messages from businesses, but those who opt into SMS along with other channels are much more likely to convert. This rapid adoption and undeniably positive acceptance of omnichannel marketing make the future of SMS even more exciting.

The Benefits of SMS Marketing

Advancements in the digital marketing landscape have definitely paved the way for SMS to be a valuable marketing platform. To brands and marketers, these are the most significant benefits that are unique to the medium:

It Doesn’t Require an Internet Connection

Unlike email, it doesn’t take an internet connection or even a smartphone to receive text messages. That means your customers will receive your message no matter where they are and what kind of phone they’re using. In the US, that gives you access to 96% of the total adult population.

It is a Widely Accepted Medium

A vast majority of digital consumers are eighteen to forty-nine years old. Of them, 99% have access to SMS-enabled mobile devices. But, the success of SMS marketing is not only because of cellphone penetration but also the acceptance of texting as a natural means of communication. In fact, among Americans younger than fifty, text messaging is the most popular form of communication.

It is Always Within Reach

According to research by Morgan Stanley, 91% of adults keep their mobile devices within reach at all times. In fact, Americans check their phones every 12 minutes while they’re awake. That means the average American engages with their cellphone about 80 times a day.

It is Easy to Consume

Since phones are always within reach and text messages are typically around 160 characters long, marketing messages on SMS are easily consumed. That is probably the reason why it enjoys open rates of over 98%. In contrast, email open rates average 14% across all industries. Additionally, about 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes of receipt.

SMS statistics

SMS Messaging Encourages Quick Responses

Because text messages are easy to consume, recipients are also more likely to respond. In fact, the average response rate for SMS is 45% while email response is only 6%.

SMS is also the preferred means of receiving coupons intended for both online and in-store redemption because of its convenience. In fact, redemption rates for SMS-based coupons are ten times higher than printed versions.

The Benefits of Combining SMS With Other Channels

Email has been the long-established medium for digital marketing. It isn’t going anywhere, no matter how prevalent SMS marketing becomes. But, text messages differ vastly from emails not only in format but also in how they are consumed. For that reason, SMS undoubtedly has its own role to play in a truly omnichannel marketing campaign.

While email excels because of its ability to communicate extensive and dynamic content, it can’t beat the timeliness of SMS. That makes text messaging the perfect complement to email. Time-sensitive offers, for example, perform best on SMS. Text messaging is also an effective way to drive your audiences to your email content.

SMS and email make up the critical platforms of an omnichannel campaign. But, it doesn’t really end there. Depending on the nature of your business and the needs of your audience, using these two platforms alongside others like push notifications, social media, search advertising allows you to be truly omnipresent without being invasive.

By combining available platforms and allowing each one to play their own roles, you’re able to provide seamless customer experiences that enhance both sales and brand affinity.

SMS Marketing is Bound to Become More Valuable

Though SMS has undoubtedly proven its worth as a marketing channel, changes and improvements that will inevitably come will make it an even more effective channel. Some of them might include:

Improvements in Personalization

As it integrates more seamlessly with other channels and becomes ingrained in more business processes, SMS marketing will enjoy a broader scope of data. Add to that the inevitable advancements in artificial intelligence and marketers will clamor over SMS for the extent to which they can personalize messages.

More data and targeting options also mean better automation capabilities. Marketers will be able to set more specific triggers, and machine learning capabilities can lead to even more personalized campaigns. With SMS’ current performance as a marketing medium, these advancements in personalization and automation will undoubtedly lead to even more improved engagement rates and, ultimately, better sales.

Developments as a Primary Support Channel

Through AI-driven enhancements, SMS could become the primary means by which customers can access support. Today, chatbots can already accurately answer frequently asked questions. As they become more informed and more intuitive, they could be integrated into more business processes that will inevitably enhance customer experiences.

Imagine entering a busy boutique and finding a top you like but not in the size you wear. Instead of waiting for your turn to ask the sales associate to check for your size, you could simply send a text message and receive a response in an instant. As SMS bots become even more integrated into business processes, they could even instruct sales associates to pull out the item you asked for, track you down within the store, and assist you through the rest of the buying process.

Usefulness in Various Industries

SMS marketing is currently most beneficial to ecommerce businesses. But, innovative marketers are quickly finding new applications for it and open up possibilities to harness its power in non-traditional ways.

Pretty soon, its benefits as a medium will encourage more and more industries to adopt it. That, in turn, will further contribute to its wide acceptance and performance as a marketing platform.

Integration With More Channels

The most common way to use SMS is to complement email campaigns. With thoughtful planning and preparation, some of the more advanced marketers also successfully use it alongside other channels like push notifications, instant messaging, social media, and search.

However, through data-driven insights and advancements in software, SMS should soon integrate more seamlessly with a wider variety of channels in order to provide a truly personal and cohesive experience that’s consistent across all platforms.

Today, some of the most powerful marketing software are already making some of these scenarios possible. Nevertheless, apps will continue improving and further increase SMS’ value.

Best Use of SMS Marketing

Businesses have adopted SMS for a wide variety of applications. Here are some of the best ways to use text messaging effectively:

  • Post-Purchase Notifications: The period after a shopper completes a purchase is crucial to customer retention. Apart from a comprehensive confirmation email, send them SMS alerts as you process their order, ship their item, and confirm that they have received their package. Doing so will make a second purchase much more likely.
  • Time-Sensitive Alerts: The short format of text messages and the proximity of mobile phones to its users make it the perfect medium for time-sensitive information that you want your audiences to act on right away. These include product launches, sales promotions, and other limited-time offers or events.
  • Gift Distribution: Impressive redemption rates make SMS an ideal platform for distributing digital coupons and virtual gifts. With marketing automation platforms, you can even send gifts automatically through relevant triggers like birthday and purchase milestones.
  • Customer Support: The quick and direct nature of SMS makes it an excellent option for providing fantastic customer service. SMS bots can receive and answer basic questions and then escalate more complex or sensitive concerns to a highly trained support team. That allows support teams to focus only on critical issues while giving all customers access to timely assistance.
  • Accessing Information: Apart from providing assistance, you can use SMS to offer quick and easy access to information. Practical applications include confirming availability, providing store locations, and offering product recommendations.
  • Drive to Site: Through SMS, you can drive your customers to your site to boost traffic, promote new content, or get them to re-engage. This is especially useful for users that haven’t visited in a long time and have stopped opening emails.
  • Order Placements: If you have limited SKUs, SMS could be a good way to accept orders. When fully automated, this could provide an effortless ordering experience to your customers, which could lead to better retention and more sales.
  • Appointment Setting & Reminders: Businesses can allow their customers to book appointments via SMS. You can use the same platform to automatically send appointment reminders.
  • Identity Verification Processes: Two-factor authorization via SMS is not a new concept. But, as data privacy and security becomes more imperative to the success of businesses, more industries will surely adopt text messaging for identity verification.
  • Feedback Gathering: Remarkable SMS response rates also make it an excellent platform for feedback gathering. Through text messages, you can ask your customers to answer simple surveys. You can even use SMS bots to ask questions as a human market researcher would.

Conclusion

The current success of SMS marketing shows that it is here to stay. As brands’ innovative use of the channel drives its growth and wide acceptance, it should become even more valuable. Ultimately, it will take its rightful place alongside email as an indispensable medium for marketing communications.

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