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Home > Blogs > 3 Digital Marketing Gurus to Follow for Staying Up-to-date
3 Digital Marketing Gurus to Follow for Staying Up-to-date
By Kamal Jacob
“They know enough who know how to learn. – Henry Adams”
And what better way to become the top player in the field of digital marketing than learning from the experts. When you follow the right people from the start, it not only gives you a wealth of information to tap into but will also keep you updated with the ever-changing trends of digital marketing.
In this article, we have covered the top 3 digital marketing gurus to follow. Trust me, these people are ingenious in the domain of Digital Marketing.
Commonly known as Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the world’s best influencer in the field of digital marketing. Donning many hats including that of a bestselling author, a successful entrepreneur, and a motivational speaker, Gary is what we can truly call as a modern day’s digital marketing ‘Guru’.
What makes him different from his peers is his capability to foresee technological trends and their early adaption. He learned and used the power of online marketing in the 90s when not many people were aware of it. Through the early adaption of digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, he was successful in converting his parent’s wine business into a multimillion dollar company.
Just like at the beginning of his career, Vaynerchuk still believes in the pattern of early adaption and experimentation and abides by it. It is the habit of staying at the leading edge of digital trends that have made his company VaynerMedia, one of the most powerful ad agency.
Companies Gary Founded
Gary founded VaynerMedia in 2009 with his brother A J Vaynerchuk. It provides social media services to Fortune 500 companies like General Electric, Anheuser-Busch, Mondelez, and PepsiCo and crossed $100 million in revenue in 2016. He is also the founder and CEO of the modern day athlete agency VaynerSports
Going by his ability to see success ahead, he became an early investor in some of the biggest companies around today, including Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, and Venmo. In 2017, Gary formed a new company ‘The Gallery’ that houses PureWow post its acquisition by VaynerMedia.
Also, Gary has a daily newsletter called the Hustler’s Digest where he sends latest digital marketing trends and other tips to make most of your online presence.
Work by Gary, You Must Follow
Gary is not just a digital marketing professional but is a consistent face on Social Media as well with many innovative and ground-breaking shows to his credit
DailyVee – Started in 2015, it was a daily, video-documentary series on YouTube that broadcast meetings, sessions, strategy, planning, etc’s live recording from VaynerMedia. It documented Gray’s life as a businessman and discussed social-media strategies
The #AskGaryVee Show – This show was launched on YouTube by his personal content production team where Gray answered questions asked by users on Twitter and Instagram. Show questions, most commonly on entrepreneurship, family and business topics and it inspired Vaynerchuk's fourth book, AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness.
Social Media Presence
Gary is heavily present and active on most of the social media websites. his podcast “Ask Gary V is very popular among marketers and sales professionals. He has whooping 1.89million followers on Twitter and 2 million subscribers on Twitter. Here are links to his social media handles
1) Instagram -- 5.7 Million Followers
2) YouTube – 2 Million Subscribers
3) Twitter – 1.89 Million Followers
4) Medium – 295K Followers
5) Linkedin- 2.87 Million Followers
1) Highly sought after public speaker
2) 5 times New York Times bestselling author of several Digital Marketing books.
3) Angel Investor
4) Public figure and Media personality
This name is not new for a person with even the slightest of interest in digital marketing. Neil Patel is one of the most renowned digital marketing experts from the past several years and continues to be one today as well. He is a full-fledged digital marketer, entrepreneur, angel investor, and digital influencer.
He has worked with big names like Amazon, Microsoft, Airbnb, Google, Thomson Reuters, Viacom, NBC, Intuit, Zappos, American Greetings, General Motors, and Sales Force to help them achieve their marketing goals.
Coming from a family of businessmen, Neil Patel had an entrepreneurial bug from a very young age. He used to sell CDs while in school to earn some extra cash for pocket money. His first quest at the online business was a job board called Advice Money, which didn’t work out. However, that never stopped Neil from following his dream and he went ahead and found a software app called Crazy Egg, which tracks user engagement by mapping ‘where’ on a web page users click the most.
The app was a huge success and went on to become a million dollar online business. Post the success of Crazy Egg, Neil took his next step in Digital Marketing by founding Kissmetrics, which took web analytics deeper for use in digital marketing.
Companies Neil Founded
Neil offers blog consulting and helps blog increase traffic and conversion through his website Quick Sprout that get millions of unique visitors every year.
Quite recently Neil has also launched https://neilpatel.com/, where he gives tips on how to make your website SEO friendly. He posts tips and tricks on how to beat the online competition and write blogs and articles that help you learn about internet marketing, SEO and building your online brand.
Social Media Presence
Neil has a collective social media following of over one million. Neil is very active in all his social media accounts and regularly connects and often interacts with his millions of followers.
As mentioned in his LinkedIn profile bio –
“My blog about marketing generates 3 million visitors per month (51% of them spend money on paid ads), my Marketing School podcast generates over 1 million listens per month, my YouTube channel about marketing has over 10 million views, I have 900,000 Facebook fans and I have over 300,000 Twitter followers.”
Details of his social media accounts are as follows:
1. Marketing School Podcast with 1M+ Downloads every month.
2. Twitter– 323k Followers
3. Facebook– 955k followers
4. YouTube – 340k Subscribers
5. Linkedin- 371k followers
1. Named as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 by former President Barack Obama.
2. Named as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations
3. Named as a top influencer on the web by Wall Street Journal
4. Ranked as one of the top 10 marketers by Forbes
5. Entrepreneur Magazine named his company as one of the 100 most brilliant companies.
6. A New York bestselling author
7. Spoken at over 310 conferences and companies
Widely known as the co-founder of the SEO marketing software Moz, Rand Fishkin is an SEO and digital marketing expert whose professional life is all about helping people do better marketing for seamless search. He left Moz in 2018 and is now completely dedicated to his new venture SparkToro.
Rand regularly interacts with his social media followers and help them learn marketing through the Whiteboard Friday video series, his blog, and his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.
Rand along with Dharmesh Shah is also the founder of Inbound.org, a site dedicated to sharing articles about marketing from across the web. Inbound.org was sold to hubspot.org in 2014.
Early Life and Companies Rand Founded
Rand dropped out from University of Washington in 2000 to work as a web designer in his mother’s marketing firm. In his free time, he created a blog called SEOmoz, which went on to become highly popular because of its insightful content related to SEO.
Inspired by the success of the blog, he founded SEOmoz, a software company with his mom. He held the position of CEO at SEOmoz and grew its revenue from $800K to $29.3mm, and traffic from 1 to 30mm annual visitors. He raised two rounds of funding ($1.1mm in 2007 and $18.1mm in 2012), led three acquisitions, and, in 2013, re-branded the company from SEOmoz to Moz
Rand blogs are highly popular, especially his recent blog https://sparktoro.com/blog/ where he gives insightful tips on how to rank high in Google search results.
Rand is a frequent keynote speaker at marketing conferences around the world, and also makes 30-40 speaking appearances every year
Along with his book Lost and Found, Rand co-authored two books: Art of SEO, and Inbound Marketing & SEO
Rand’s Work You Must Follow
1. His Whiteboard Friday series is watched by tens of thousands of marketers each week.
2. Web Summit 2017
3. INBOUND Boston 2017
4. Turing Fest 2016
5. WooConf 2017
6. All of Rand’s slides 2012-2019 on Slideshare
Social Media Following
Quite naturally, Rand has a huge social media following. In addition to his daily video series, he also interacts with his followers through social media and gives them some awesome tips and tricks in the field of digital marketing, SEO and web analytics. Here are the social media handles of Rand
1. Twitter – 423k Followers
2. Pocket – 283k Followers
3. Slideshare – 11.2k Followers
4. Facebook – 31.1k Followers
5. LinkedIn – 93k followers
Awards and Accolades
1. Profile featured in the Seattle Times.
2. Featured in Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40,
3. Featured in BusinessWeek’s 30 Under 30,
5. Appeared in Geraldine’s first book, All Over the Place
Without a doubt, these marketing gurus are a pioneer in their field who regularly writes about digital marketing. In addition to this, there are plenty of digital marketing content, tutorials and video to help you out. However, the random reading never stops and it can never give you a systematic approach to learning digital marketing. This is where integrated courses like Digital Marketing Training, Social Media Marketing Training from Manipal Pro Learn helps. Integrated courses like these help you learn Digital Marketing in a stepwise manner - from fundamentals to deep dive and also assist in building a strong portfolio that will help you get hired in any leading/creative digital marketing firm.
We hope this article helped you find your Digital Marketing Guru - to get you started and be consistent.
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Home > Blogs > 5 Spheres of Digital Marketing: What's Best for You
5 Spheres of Digital Marketing: What's Best for You
By Kamal Jacob
At this point, no one needs to tell you that Digital Marketing is a broad domain. Even when you specify your purpose, there are a few areas to choose from. So, when you are setting out to learn Digital Marketing, you will have to pick something from the table — from SEO, PPC, SMM, Email or Content Marketing to be exact.
However, before you pick one of these spheres and become an expert, you’ve to understand what these spheres are capable of. The last time we checked, you can’t simply replace SEO with SMM or Email Marketing with PPC. So, in this article, we will be talking about the best, better and worst of all these marketing spheres.
As we said, we will be comparing five spheres — SEO, PPC, SMM, Email and Content Marketing.
SEO — Search Engine Optimization
SEO has been perhaps the most important sphere of Digital Marketing and it’s still holding the primary position.
What Is it?
SEO means optimizing your website, business profile or Google Business listing for maximum visibility. When your prospective customer searches for something — not necessarily the name of your brand —, your website/listing should appear. To make this possible, you have to follow on-page and off-page optimization tools.
You don’t necessarily have to pay money to do SEO. It basically deals with how you optimize your website design, content, and backlinks for maximum exposure. That having said, despite the primary effort, making conversions via SEO would not cost you anything. Once it’s done, traffic starts flowing.
However, there are some extra components such as Keyword Research tools and SEO Analysis platforms. You may have to pay a monthly subscription for these tools. Just so you know, though, there are people who do SEO without such premium tools. Some popular tools used in the link building aspect of SEO are MOZ, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, Buzzsumo, Buzzstream, Semrush, etc. Check out the complete list of SEO tools here.
It’s a relative question, due to the increasing competition. Even if you tone things down to a particular keyword, there are thousands of people competing for it. So, you will need a sufficient amount of experience to rank a particular keyword on a SERP.
We wouldn’t say SEO is tough, but it requires a lot of time and patience.
Who Is It For?
If you want to build consistent traffic to your website, on a regular basis, SEO is the best shot. Though it needs (a lot of) time and patience, you won’t have to pay later.
PPC — Pay Per Click Marketing
Pay Per Click, commonly referred to as PPC, is relatively new and it has been a great pick for many businesses so far.
What Is It?
PPC is often known as paid traffic via Google, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. This is because you are paying these platforms to display your website on top when someone searches with a particular keyword. It means an advertisement will be displayed on top of all the organic search results. If you didn’t guess that yet, yes, you have to pay for each click.
Yes, PPC is really really expensive. However, if you know how to strategize your ad campaign, you can make everything worth your while. So, every time someone has clicked on your advertisement on a SERP, you will have to pay Google or the company. And yes, the company does not charge for impressions.
Once again, there are a few extra expenses. You will have to spend a lot of time doing keyword research and finding the right keyword to focus. Here, you’ll need some additional tools. While this is optional, PPC just gets expensive — not the other way around.
Understanding the market trends and choosing the right keyword to focus on is so important in PPC Marketing. If you focus on the wrong keyword, your ROI will go down pathetically. Also, you have to design your advertisement in such a way that a user would click on it.
It’s kinda tough, but it takes less time and requires less patience.
Who Is It For?
If you want to build traffic but can’t wait till an organic SEO campaign succeeds, it makes sense to go for PPC Marketing. If you’re into Affiliate Marketing, you’d find it pretty useful.
SMM — Social Media Marketing
Social Media is yet another great way to reach out to your audience. And, you don’t want to miss it in Digital Marketing.
What Is It?
SMM refers to the process of using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. to attract more customers/traffic into your business. It is also done for improving your brand reputation, by establishing a better relationship with customers.
You can do Social Media Marketing in two ways: without paying and by paying. For instance, if we take the case of Facebook, it allows you to run Facebook Ads, which will be promoting your page/posts among the potential customers. This would, of course, cost you an amount.
There is also a way to run SMM campaigns without paying. In this case, however, you have to face fierce competition. In addition to all these, there are a few extra expenses regarding content creation, poster designs, and strategy planning. Still, if compared to the ROI, the expenses are minimal.
Many people say SMM is easy, but that’s only when you have a knack for launching impressive ads. You get one shot and it should impress your potential customer. It’s also about brand building and you have to take care of the psychological and emotional side of the customer.
Customer understanding is imperative here.
Who Is It For?
If you want to focus on potential customers who are likely to convert, SMM is the best place to start. It offers more control and a personal approach.
Email Marketing is often dubbed as the most personal way to reach the customer. It is because you are reaching out to their personal inbox.
What Is It?
Email Marketing refers to the process of sending frequent newsletters to customers and subscribers who have opted in for communication. Because you are talking to people who are already interested, the conversion rates are very high. This type of marketing is done to improve brand value and better customer relations.
You cannot simply send hundreds or thousands of newsletters from your Gmail or Outlook account. So, you would have to subscribe to an email marketing software. It costs a bit, depending on the number of subscribers and the features you want. In addition to simply sending bulk emails, there are a few features too.
There may be a few ways to send bulk emails without paying anything. However, it is not really recommended. If you choose those ways, your emails would end up in a Spam folder, which isn’t really great. So, yes, you would have to pay something to keep an email marketing campaign running.
Email Marketing may seem like the easiest form of marketing. However, that is until you start looking at the conversion rates. You have to work harder in order to make your emails look convincing and convertible. You may also make use of tech such as A/B Testing and Multivariate testing.
Once again, you should know the customer you are addressing.
Who Is It For?
If you are looking for a medium to personally keep in touch with your customers, Email Marketing is the best shot.
Content Marketing is probably the newest sphere in the world of digital marketing. It has, however, attracted a lot of attention in a shorter span.
What Is It?
Content Marketing refers to the process of creating and publishing valuable content that can attract a refined group of customers. You design the strategy in an effective way that people who are interested in your service/product are likely to read the content and convert.
Depending on the size of the campaign that you are planning, Content Marketing can be really expensive. After all, if you want great content, you will have to pay for it, right? There are some additional costs too. In order to make sure that your posts rank, you will need proper SEO.
That having said, you can start a minimal content marketing campaign too. In both cases, however, it would be great if you can master Content Marketing through an online course or experience. In this case, every word counts (pun intended) and you will have to pay for it.
The success rate in Content Marketing really depends upon the competition for services or products that you are targeting. Even that said, you won’t have trouble in learning the basics of content marketing and writing a fine piece of write-up that can convert customers.
It’s kinda not expensive, but it could be.
Who Is It For?
Content Marketing is indeed long-term. You may have to wait for a long time to see the actual results, but the conversion rates would be off the charts, for sure.
The Bottom Line
We have tried to draw the distinction-line between the major five spheres of Digital Marketing here. We have also mentioned the various characteristics. For instance, in the case of Content Marketing and Email Marketing, you have to wait for results, while PPC and SMM are almost instant. Choosing one of them, however, depends on what you and your organization have in its mind.
So, that’s a wrap. In case you are looking forward to mastering any of these spheres, you would surely find our Digital Marketing courses helpful. See if we’ve common things to offer and receive!
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Home > Blogs > Will Serverless Computing Eradicate Cloud Computing?
Will Serverless Computing Eradicate Cloud Computing?
By Kamal Jacob
In today's dynamically evolving and inventive technology industry if we say that we completely understand cloud computing, we could be mistaken as there some of the pioneering concepts we might not be accustomed to, one of them is Serverless. Since this concept of serverless computing is relatively new, hence it is earning much popularity in the technology industry and buzzing amongst various organizations that are eager to adopt this and it is also on the minds of every developer these days. In this post, we will explore what is Serverless computing, how it is related to the “normal” cloud computing, and how they differ from each other.
Difference between Cloud & Serverless computing
If we go by the layman’s definition of “the cloud”, it’s moderately close to that of the Serverless computing and so sometimes we are puzzled and wonder as to why there are two separate terms coined for the same thing. So what exactly is serverless? If we look for a proper definition, we will get different answers and eventually all of them are correct. It is a buzzword that has been used to a certain extent that it might mean very different things to different people working on it.
Cloud Computing is primarily some computing services such as servers, storage, databases, software, networking, analytics, intelligence, and other useful services that are delivered to us over the internet and we pay for what we use. It offers faster innovation by scaling economically as per business requirements and flexible resources that help both lowering the operating costs and running the infrastructure efficiently.
There are usually three types of cloud computing stack that we hear and use more often i.e. PaaS or Platform as a Service, IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service and SaaS or Software as a Service. But to add to our knowledge there is a fourth one and recently most prevalent and talked about as well i.e. Function as a Service (FaaS) or as it is popularly known as Serverless.
So, finally, we know that Serverless is a type of cloud architectural style and the latest incarnation of the cloud. In simple terms, Cloud computing is a superset of Serverless that is most simply defined rolling up our new resources with only incremental investment.
Defining Serverless Computing
Serverless is basically abstracting the application away from the underlying infrastructure and let it manage the operating system and scale automatically for us. We don’t have to care about the security patches, server artifacts, or anything of that sort.
Serverless, by its name, is a bit of misnomer or simply put it is rather a misleading label since it does not actually mean to run the code without servers. The name serverless is used because we or any business that owns the system does not have to worry about purchasing or provisioning any of the servers or virtual machine for our source code to run on, somewhere around the globe there are actual servers that are powering our Serverless computing.
The point that makes the serverless so innovative is that it refrains us from considering the server at all. So, altogether, it is “serverless,” though not technically or literally but that is how the term is coined. All the setup, capacity planning, configuration and server management are hidden from us because the cloud provider handles them.
This state of art serverless technology is extremely appealing and widely chosen by most of the developers today. There are many reasons from for the same and we should be aware of what makes this stand out from other cloud computing stacks.
Imagine a scenario where an organization is following the traditional IT architectural approach. For a developer, working on a new application or website there is at all times quite a bit of additional work that must be done to set up and maintain a server. This deviates the developer from the focusing on this application code and the process can be sometimes annoying, mundane, and time-consuming. Furthermore, if we make a mistake in configuring some of the configurations incorrectly, it may lead to uninvited consequences like a downtime, serious security breach and even result in inefficient utilization of resources and thus we may end paying more than we actually planned.
The property that makes the Serverless prominent and interesting is that it takes care of everything and provides us a peace of mind. All server related concerns are taken off from us and handled by the Serverless cloud architecture. We are relieved from the burden of provisioning and making sure everything is secure, updated, and optimized.
The normal cloud computing definitely assures us that we are only paying for what we use. So, today if an organization decides to use IaaS type of cloud architecture for its application it is only paying for the server resources it initially asked for form the cloud provider, but actually, it also ends up paying more for the extra memory whether or not it is used by the application at that moment. The Serverless literally delivers a bit more on that promise i.e. we pay only for the exact amount of resources it takes to perform a function.
Challenges with Serverless Computing
The developers and architects today are reaping myriad benefits with the emergence of various serverless computing services such as AWS Lambda, Azure and Google function. Since these benefits are developer-centric, they allow them to focus more on product innovation and worry less about the infrastructure and admin tasks. Some of these include improved automation, effortless scaling, and less burden to manage the backend. This makes the serverless computing a good fit for event-driven applications
Nevertheless, it is not necessary that we should always opt for serverless in every situation. There are many cases where these serverless computing benefits are not compelling or well suited and we might need to deal with some of the challenges associated with it. This doesn't mean that these are encounters are insuperable but ideally, we should be aware of them in order to utilize its true essence in the software development industry.
There is no doubt that the scaling process offered by the serverless architecture is seamless and automatic. This feature of automatic scaling for our applications is definitely great but then it brings with an entire absence of control sometimes which makes it difficult to not be able to take care and mitigate errors related to new serverless instances.
In case of Serverless architectural style, the developer is accountable for coding the server-side logic, but unlike traditional architectures, the application runs in some stateless compute containers that are event triggered functions and are fully managed and controlled by the cloud provider. Some of these events even last for only one invocation i.e. they are ephemeral in nature. The FaaS platform takes some time to initialize an instance of these function before executing each event. Now if the function is complex enough this delay or better the startup latency may vary significantly even for a single function. This obliviously isn’t sound good as this latency may range anywhere from a few milliseconds to several seconds.
Generally, the initialization of these function is either a “warm start” i.e. it reuses the instance of a function from its previously executed event, or a "cold start" i.e. it creates a new container instance every time a function is executed and starts the function host process. Here the cold start of the functions are the ones that cause the startup latency and is the most concerning and causes challenges in our architectural approach.
This simply means that the FaaS functions are sometimes not suitable for some of the long-lived tasks and needs breaking down of these functions into several different coordinating FaaS functions, whereas in a traditional environment we can always have one long-duration task that performs both coordination and execution.
The serverless has undergone a huge advancement over the traditional servers because of its pay per execution property. It provides a huge advantage when setting up different environments and makes it as easy as if we are setting a single environment. Hence its hosting offers some unique benefits and reduces the burden of setting up different servers for development, testing, and production. This out of the box features of serverless over the normal cloud computing makes it an attractive option for many businesses. Regardless of the advent of serverless computing, there will always be a market for more conventional cloud computing services. However, there are still certain applications that may never migrate to a serverless architecture as serverless computing isn't right for every solution, it also has various challenges to be dealt with. The corporations that place much value on anticipated budgets may be a better fit for other cloud hosting options. Furthermore, we should try to understand the true essence of serverless before taking a plunge to replace our existing architectures. It is also essential to focus more on optimizing our resources by considering other cloud computing options available in the market when developing new systems.
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Home > Blogs > How subtle changes to the cloud can save companies millions a year?
How subtle changes to the cloud can save companies millions a year?
By Kamal Jacob
Cloud technologies have changed the IT landscape in the last decade and opened the doors not only for large organizations but for small businesses as well. Lots of small businesses have been able to scale up on par or even go on top of the leading businesses in the industry. Cloud helps businesses offload a lot of their burden and focus on expediting the growth of the business. Given the success stories with cloud implementations around the world, most business owners are well aware of the benefits that the cloud offers to the business.
Below are the top 5 benefits the cloud has to offer the businesses and how leading organizations save $$$ every year on their costs by implementing cloud technologies.
With the cloud, data sharing is effortless with anytime access to data from anywhere. When on the move, all you need is an internet connection to access the data. Cloud increases collaboration especially across diverse teams where people want to share content and work on it simultaneously. It’s as simple as uploading the content to the cloud and sharing a link, which the remote team can access the content. This eliminates the need for sending data through email or storing them on physical storages.
Rackspace, the world’s leading managed cloud services provider took advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365 to achieve collaboration among 6,000 employees across diverse locations and business units. Prior to this implementation, the employees used different collaboration tools. They retired all the collaboration tools and opted for Microsoft’s enterprise-grade offering – Office 365. As a result of this implementation, in addition to time savings, Rackspace saved almost $411,000 in annual licensing costs. The team at Rackspace moved 11 million files consisting of 27 terabytes of data into OneDrive, and also use SharePoint and Exchange Online for collaboration.
Reduced Hardware, Labour and Maintenance Costs
Moving workload to the cloud means companies only need very few on-premise servers. This means lesser hardware to maintain, lesser firmware and patch upgrades, costs saved on software licensing and upgrades, and fewer IT staff needed to manage the operations. This gives the business the opportunity to move the remaining workforce to other verticals in the organization that will improve the organization’s growth and business. Though you still need to pay the cloud vendor for the services offered, costs accrued are definitely smaller than the costs in setting up an in-house infrastructure.
Cloud helps Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) with an increased budget as they can opt for subscription periods at their convenience (monthly, annual or pay-as-you-go). This also gives the businesses the ability to scale their workloads when demand increases, and later scale down during the lean periods.
Dow Jones, the New-York based global provider of news and content across different mediums like newspapers, websites, apps, radio and so on, migrated their workloads to AWS in an effort to build more applications and generate more revenue and reduce data center maintenance costs. Dow Jones migrated almost 75% of their workloads from the local facility to AWS, leaving them with just 6 data centers. As a result of this migration, Dow Jones’ rate of product development has increased by about 30%. Dow Jones also realizes a cost savings of 25% (almost more than $40,000) per year.
Increased Workforce Productivity
With workloads in the cloud, software deployment times are faster than conventional IT software installations. Within a matter of a few hours, deployments can be completed on to a cloud platform. This saves valuable time of the engineers. Faster deployments, driving better results and reduced expense delivers the much needed competitive advantage for your business and increased revenue.
With modern cloud vendors offering five 9’s availability, businesses need not worry about the server uptime as it’s the responsibility of the cloud vendors. Moreover, with the data in the cloud available anytime, employees can easily access the data even if they are on the move between different workplaces.
Advocate Health Care, Illinois wanted to introduce the best technology to help their team deliver the best patient care and promote better teamwork and efficiency amongst the staff. Their obvious choice was to adopt Microsoft’s Office 365. After the implementation of the Office 365 subscription, Advocate Health Care enjoy a 3-year, risk adjusted ROI of 63 percent. This saves them the U.S. $53.8 million from their information worker productivity gains alone and saves two million worker hours over three years. Office 365 has made it easier for the team to work together and efficiently. Physicians no longer have to travel to see their patients – with Skype for Business, things have become easier for the staff. On the whole, Office 365 sets a high standard of care at Advocate Health Care and fosters improved patient care.
Improved Data Security and Backup
Security is the most key aspect in every business owner’s mind when migrating to the cloud. With data on the cloud, businesses no longer have to worry about manual backups as everything is automated and can rest assured about the safety of their data. In case of any disaster or mishaps, the latest versions of the data can be easily retrieved from the cloud and the business can continue to be functional without any disruptions.
It’s important for businesses to choose the right cloud vendor who can assure the safety of the data in a remote data center or, even better, a geo-redundant backup that will save your data across multiple data centers in different geographical locations. This automatically improves the security of critical business data.
Orbis Financial, the Indian based finance services vendor, offers customers with customized reports about their investments. The management at Orbis Financial wanted to improve the performance of their IT infrastructure and also reduce the costs in backing up and archiving data from UAT to secondary on-premises. Orbis moved their UAT and data backups to AWS cloud since it offered them the highest level of data security for their data. The UAT application runs on Amazon EC2 while the client data is stored in the Amazon RDS. Regular backup of the UAT environment is taken to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). By switching to the cloud, Orbis Financial has reduced the amount spent for backup and archival per gigabyte by almost 70 percent.
The shift from a CapEx to an OpEx model
Cloud offers tremendous flexibility for businesses to switch from the traditional Capital Expense (CapEx) to a more suitable Operating Expense (OpEx) model. Since the cloud vendor takes care of providing the hardware and maintaining it, businesses save $$$ from investing in on-premise real-estate, buying the necessary hardware, and the cost of maintaining the setup. On the other hand, companies don’t have to buy software or are forced to pay high licensing costs. The cloud takes away all these expenses and businesses have to pay only for what they use in the cloud infrastructure. Another huge advantage with the cloud is that businesses can opt to scale up or scale down at their convenience based on the demand.
Global Blue is a travel-service used by over 55,000 travelers and has been in the business for over three decades. Global Blue wanted to have an efficient way to track the transactions between travelers, merchants and the banks to develop more Business Intelligence and grow their business. They chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) which increased their scalability for multiple workloads. As a part of the cloud migration strategy, Global Blue also reduced almost $800,000 as CapEx costs and $78,000 as OpEx costs.
Cloud computing has invariably become the choice of technology for businesses of different sizes. Moving to the cloud encourages businesses to free themselves from unwanted costs of maintaining an on-premise data center, and also focus on growing the business. While the above examples show how businesses realized savings by moving to the cloud, it doesn’t stop with these specific industries. Both large and small businesses and even government agencies are taking the step forward to migrate to the cloud and take advantage of the offerings. Want to learn how AWS can help you to provision your IT services in a cost-effective fashion and use the different AWS services? Check out our Cloud Computing with AWS Certification training program to become a skilled cloud professional.
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Home > Blogs > Big Data – A Game Changer in the Fashion Industry
Big Data – A Game Changer in the Fashion Industry
By Kamal Jacob
Fashion changes with the blink of an eye. A movie star makes a powerful red carpet or Met Gala appearance and the entire dynamics of the fashion industry changes overnight. To keep up with the demands of the ‘fast fashion changes’ and to reduce the ‘turnaround time’ from ramp to stores, fashion retailers are increasingly turning to ‘big data’. Big Data is touching every aspect of the fashion industry from design to demand, resale, as well as operations.
The fashion industry is one of the latest sector to aggressively embrace data analytics, probably because of its proven result. Extremely large sets of data are segregated into groups and analyzed to reveal patterns, associations, and define the latest trends in the fashion industry. Big data helps designers come to startling conclusions about their designs and help them create a product line that will sell.
Here is how big data analytics play a crucial role in helping everyone from designers to manufacturers, retailers, resellers, and models stay abreast with the ever-evolving shifts and stay on the top of the fashion game:
Big Data Allows You to Harness the Power of ‘Social Media Data’
Fashion has a deep relation with social status. Quite naturally, social media plays a pivotal role in the fashion industry. User engagement on posts, Instagram trends, Twitter hashtags, likes/reactions on popular celebrities, celebrity fashion styles, reactions on posts of popular fashion bloggers, etc provide us with a vast collection of rich insightful data.
Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are sources for raw and uncensored public opinion. Sentiment analysis is used to get insights from public opinion. The volume of this data from public opinion is huge and mostly unstructured, which needs to be cleaned and transformed. If harnessed properly, this data has a lot of potential to give insightful data.
Many companies now initially release photos of a new collection on social media and study the general public reaction and comment to make changes before a large scale launch of the collection. It helps the manufacturers know their audience and their likings on a real-time basis. And it is also beneficial from the perspective that designers can provide the product as desired by their customers.
Fashion has now become an experience and industry leaders are now using the power of social media to convert this experience into a well-defined data set to devise their next fashion trends.
Big Data Help Reduce the Time Elapse between Order and Distribution
We all know Zara is one of the biggest fashion brands and key retailers with hundreds of stores across the globe. Until a few years ago, most Zara stores faced the problem of limited supply. Retail stores used to wait for the stock to finish before placing their order and hence there was mostly a time gap between order and distribution leading to supply crunch.
Zara created an adaptive, data-driven supply chain management to deal with the problem. Unlike traditional retailers who order ‘bulk clothes’ for the entire season, Zara orders only a small amount of merchandise. Once a given product line hits the store, Zara keeps a track of its sales data and analyzes its sales against supply for a particular SKU. In addition, Zara also analyses the sales data of each SKU to identify the sales trend in that area. For example, they might find that in a particular country, slim fit pants sell better than loose fit or a given coloured clothes is given preference. Zara then uses all these insights and data to guide their following order. This ensures that the product is stocked again on time based on sales trends.
With the use of data analytics and big data, Zara has now adopted the concept of ‘fast fashion’ where the entire process of designing a collection to putting it for sale in stores takes a maximum of 21 days.
Image source - https://www.kdnuggets.com/2018/03/data-science-fashion.html
Big Data and Fashion Quality Control
‘Replica fashionwear’ or ‘Pirated merchandise’ is one of the biggest problems that has plagued the fashion industry. As per the report released by the office of the US Trade Representatives in its annual Notorious Markets List, pirated merchandise imports are estimated at nearly half a trillion dollars or around 2.5% of global imports.
From replica Gucci apparel to fake Rolex watches, from counterfeit ‘Victoria Secret’ lingerie to even replica ‘L’Oréal make-up’, anything and everything is now being pirated. And with the latest technology available, now it is possible to replicate even the minute details, which makes it difficult to differentiate between the two. Also, e-commerce giants like eBay, Amazon, and Flipkart have made it easier to sell and buy pirated products. While counterfeiting has been there for ages, it is only recently that is has started having such huge scale impact on the fashion industry.
The huge numbers have garnered the attention of industry leaders who are now using big data to solve the problem of counterfeit merchandise. Companies are now using pattern recognition coupled with big data to protect the integrity of their company. For example, a designer can create a new design and can use pattern recognition to find if something of a similar nature has ever been created. Cognitive Prints, a suite of AI tools can be used for pattern recognition where it will scan through huge amounts of data looking for similarities.
This in addition to fighting piracy helps in building a brand exclusivity and recognition. Also, if a designer wants to include some patterns from a given era in his designs, big data will help him/her achieve that.
Continuous Feedback Loop Analyzation Helps Creating In-demand Product Line
The popular fashion rental service Le Tote collects data about its customers’ style preference. They keep a close track of every signed up customer’s favourite clothing options and their buying trends and analyze their choices. These preferences are then sent to designers who create clothes that are both in demand and affordable. In addition, machine learning is used by Le Tote to analyze the huge volume of written feedback submitted by customers in the store.
This is just one example of how data science can be used by fashion companies to forecast trends based on customer preference. This saves a lot of time, money and effort for both companies and designers and helps them create a product line that is almost sure to sell. This process is way better, efficient and pocket-friendly when compared to the traditional process of making the products and sending them to retailers hoping that it will be well-received.
Dealing Competition with Data
One of the biggest concerns of most fashion retailers is to understand their competitor's strategy and to be ready to outshine them. With appropriate big data tools, fashion retailers can get real-time insights on what their competitors are creating and how their campaign is performing. Armed with these insights, they can strategize their campaigns better than their peers. Your competitor is planning to launch a sporting cloth line? You can introduce a new clothing line of ‘athleisure’ and appeal to both sporty and non-sporty people. Big data can help fashion retailers be on the top of the game and launch the right products, at the right time and in the right way.
Analyzing what is the next breakthrough in the fashion world is just what you need to make it big in the fashion business. In order to stay relevant amidst growing competition, it is important for fashion designers to come up with unique products. However, trends are hard to analyze using traditional monitoring techniques. By integrating big data with AI and ML, retailers can use live insights to create the most innovative fashion trends. Big data will also help you analyze customer behaviour to suggest a product price that will ignite demand while locking a rise in overall profits.
If you own a fashion brand and could use data science training to consistently create winning products, wouldn’t you do it? Most definitely yes! So engage the loyal customer, create new customers, be a trendsetter and most importantly break a brand perception by adopting big data and data science at the earliest.
And that’s a wrap! Hope this blog post proves to be insightful for you! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section! Also, If you seek to upskill your Data Science skills, feel free to check out our Data Science Courses here. Manipal Prolearn Data Analysis and Visualization course equip you with sound knowledge of Data Analysis and Visualization and their importance by covering all the essential concepts in the domains. By learning about Exploratory Data Analysis, you will gain an in-depth understanding of which ML algorithm to implement for particular data sets and a lot more.
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Home > Blogs > How AI can help game developers develop Ethical Hooks?
How AI can help game developers develop Ethical Hooks?
By Kamal Jacob
Can AI help make Online Gaming more ethical for the youth? Undoubtedly a yes. According to the 2018 Global Games Market Report released by Newzoo, the online gaming industry is expected to touch revenues of $151.9 billion for the year 2019, up from $137.9 billion in 2018. While the total number of gamers across the globe stood at 2.34 billion in 2018, this number is likely to grow to 2.725 billion by the year 2021. Among other critical industry statistic, game players in the age group of 10 to 20 years make up 22% of all players.
Be it video games or online gaming, an increasing number of young adults increasingly find them being addicted to playing computer games on a daily basis as a means to escape from the challenges of the real world or as an emotional coping mechanism. Some of the common addiction symptoms among young adults include anger or depression (when not allowed to play daily), improper eating habits, lack of interest in other activities, and overspending on gaming activities.
With the rapid growth of online gamers around the world, the question is how can online gaming be used to encourage positive behavior among younger gamers? While technologies such as artificial intelligence (or AI) and machine learning have been used to improve game design and entice more users, can the same technology be used as an “ethical hook” to promote better user behaviour and encourage positive human traits?
Game Developers and Ethics
Since the origin of online gaming, game developers have utilized their skills to design and build fun games that can captivate and engage with gaming players. When visualizing about successful games, online gaming players come across a mix of fast technology, a captivating game theme, and settings, along with brilliant game design, all of which contribute towards hooking the player. Knowledge of human behavioural traits like attention span, reward-based motivation, and habit-forming have been generally used by game developers to develop user interest and promote the gaming platform.
While gaming technology including artificial intelligence cannot be considered as morally unethical, how this technology is applied can have both moral and ethical consequences. For example, in the“Moral Machine” game that features a self-driving vehicle with failed brakes, the gamer has to take the moral decision of either crashing (that will kill the passengers in the car) or hitting innocent pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.
Valuable data insights from such games can help self-driving car companies on how to use AI in real-life situations. Should the technology remain passive or actively intervene to save lives? This form of playtime behaviour teaches the player’s mind on how to manage risky situations without actually being in one. The latest research concludes that our brain can integrate new knowledge and learnings when exposed to new experiences in play and rewire itself into a learned and long-term behaviour pattern.
As a game developer, you can use these neurological traits to enrich the game or benefit the game players by making the goal of the game more transparent. The following sections discuss 5 socially responsible games and how they have been successful in uplifting human wellbeing and enabling players to become more responsible in the social sphere.
Why not use gaming technology to change the world? This 10-week interactive game is aimed at young people coming up with innovative solutions to some common social problems through gameplay. Be it through social mentorship, seed funds, or scholarships, the game players are encouraged to become social innovators and to try and save the world by tackling real problems such as water scarcity, food security, poverty, and human rights.
This online game motivates the players to tap into various skills like collaboration, human courage, entrepreneurship, and resourcefulness to solve the various problems.
How does it feel to be completely in the control of another player? Designed by Brodie Atwater, Power Button is an AI-powered role-playing game that was inspired by the 2013 movie, “Her” where the main character, Theodore plays a lonely man who finds his companionship with an AI robot. Power Button is designed around building emotional connections between players with one of them enjoying significant control over the other’s emotions. 50% of the players in Power Button are in a state of powerlessness as they are trying to build relationships with other players who may decide to break them.
Through the personal experiences of helplessness, fear, and rejection, Power Button players are looking for powerful emotional experiences that can work as a social tool to maximize the player’s interest and investment in the game. Power Button also uses artificial intelligence to explore human conditions and how we may relate with robots in the future world.
Image Source: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/images/7293/220521.png
Inspired by a “Star Wars” episode, Factory Reset is another AI-powered role-play game that explores the implications of robots whose memories are wiped out every 6 months. The game’s setting recommends a memory reset for each of the 9-12 playing robots to avoid their brains for becoming too complex. Many of the playing robots are shown to be angry or frustrated about the idea of losing their memories but cannot escape or protest against the eventuality.
The game design ensures that each robotic character has a unique experience interacting with their human creators and encourages them to share these experiences before they are erased from memory.
Designed for promoting good health for diabetics, this game encourages them to improve their lifestyle in small increments and be rewarded for them. This “good health” game focuses on providing instant gratification to the players instead of setting long-term health goals that may not be achieved.
With a simple yet attractive design, Healthseeker allows its players to select:
a) Lifestyle goals that measure the overall progress made by the player
b) Missions that comprise of simple health-related actions to perform on a daily basis.
With each completed mission, the players are taken to the next game level where they can attempt a fresh set of missions and actions. Through instant gratification in the form of experience points and badges, players are motivated to invite or sponsor friends to the game, send public messages, and record their health progress.
Better Living through Robotics is another action-based role-playing game comprising of 10 characters (4 robots and 6 humans) set in a post-apocalyptic world of BioDome that is considered as the last post for human civilization. Based on the Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, each character in this game (including the robots and the humans) possess a lot of secrets that they must hide and in the process, select the human who will manage the BioDome following the stepping down of its creator.
The game explores through various attitudes such as sexual relationships, racism, bigotry, autonomy for robots, and personal biases. The game design encourages players to identify their own prejudices and develop their own sense of morality.
Online games are best equipped to tap into our most inert urges and emotions and motivate game players into action. The adverse effects of game addiction is now forcing game developers to explore the ethical implications of online gaming. While technology on its own is morally neutral, game developers need to be more transparent about the intentions of games for its impact on human emotions.
Along with focusing on the commercial aspects, game developers must also be responsible for the player’s well-being and boost positive traits like human collaboration, human behaviour, and social responsibility.
On that note, we complete our views about how artificial intelligence can be used to develop ethical games like the five games discussed in this article. Do you agree that gaming companies must use technology to build more ethical games for our young people? We would love to hear if you agree or disagree with us. Leave us a note in the Comments section below. If you are interested in deep learning projects, be sure to check out our artificial intelligence courses.
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Home > Blogs > 3 Data Science Theorems every programmer should know
3 Data Science Theorems every programmer should know
By Kamal Jacob
If you are aspiring towards data science career, three points below will bring a smile on your face, for sure:
a) Harvard Business review has declared data scientist job as the sexiest job of the 21st century.
b) IBM predicts demand for data scientists will soar 28% by 2020.
c) Glassdoor lists data scientist job as the #1 job in the U.S, with a median salary of around $1,08,000, and a satisfaction rate of 4.3 out of 5.
Data science career potential undoubtedly is promising.
In the same context, I would like to ask an important question. What do you think, apart from programming (Python, R, or SAS), what skill will you need the most to become a data scientist?
Yes! You got it right, it’s math and statistics. (Don’t worry if you suck at math. There are absolutely creative tutorials available to upskill you in math). Fundamentally, Mathematics is the base of all contemporary discipline of science and data science is not an exception too. Almost all the techniques of modern data science, including machine learning, carry some deep mathematical and statistical concepts as their supporting structure.
But, what does it mean when we say mathematics and statistics are essential skills to pursue a career in data science or AI? Should our youth, to prepare for a data-driven career, be spending their days deep in the fundamentals of a probability distribution, regression, and differential calculus?
No, it’s not like that but you need to have a basic understanding of underlying principles as well as statistics theorems, useful in creating data science and machine learning models.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss three data science theorems, in-depth with an example, every programmer should know to derive accurate result in an AI system.
Alright. This is going to be super interesting and fun!
1. Bayes Theorem: In front of the incredible powers of machine learning, we have become unfaithful to statistics, isn’t it true? But, can you imagine a career in the field of data science and ML, without prior knowledge of statistics especially probability theory.
image credit: https://www.analyticsvidhya.com
That is why I choose to discuss Bayes theorem in this blog post. So let’s get started.
Think of it and there is no chance that you never heard of this theorem before. Bayes’ theorem is the most important rules of probability theory hence also found its way in AI & machine learning, to form one of the highly decorated ML algorithms, named Naïve Bayes algorithm.
This theorem provides us the way to examine the probability of an event based on the prior knowledge of any event, related to the former one. Following equation gives the basic representation of the Bayes’ theorem, considering A and B are two related events:
Image credit: Wikipedia
P(A|B): the conditional probability or the probability of event A to occur given that B occurred. This is also called the posterior probability.
P(B|A): the probability of event B to occur given that A occurred.
P(A), P(B): the probability of event A or B to occur. It is also called prior probability.
Let’s take a simple example to get more insight into Bayes’ theorem.
Suppose you asked to pick a single card from a deck of playing cards. The probability that the card is a Jack is 4/52 as there are 4 jacks in a deck of 52 playing cards. In other words, we can say that the prior probability P(Jack) = 4/52 = 1/13
But, what if the evidence is provided, say someone looks at the card, that the picked card is a face card. In this case, the posterior probability i.e. P(Jack |Face) can be calculated using Bayes’ theorem:
P(Jack | Face) = (P(Face | Jack))/(P(Face)) * P(Jack)
P(Face | Jack) will be 1 because every jack is also a face card.
P(Face | Jack), the probability of a face card will be 3/13 because there are three face cards(Jack, Queen, and King) in each suit.
From these values, the likelihood ratio i.e. (P(Face | Jack))/(P(Face)) will be 13/3.
Now, after putting all the values, Bayes’ theorem gives P(Jack | Face) = 1/3.
Still wondering how Bayes’ theorem suits well to the purpose of Machine Learning? Well, let’s take the simplest ML model, where we need to make our model learn from a given set of attributes and then form a hypothesis to a response variable. Further, we use this hypothesis to predict a response, given a new set of a new instance. Here, Bayes’s theorem makes this possible for machine learning.
Moreover, if we talk about applications of Bayes’ Theorem then it is the base of spam filtering.
2. Central Limit Theorem: Although Abraham de Moivre, a French-born mathematician, suggested central limit theorem (CLT) several centuries back, it continues to be applied to a great extent, especially in data science and machine learning algorithms.
Nuts & Bolts of Central Limit Theorem:
Before diving into its formal definition, let’s understand CLT and its working, with the help of an example.
Suppose, the total number of students in a school is 2500 and your task is to calculate the average height of all the students. How you can do this?
The most obvious approach we get from aspiring data scientist is to simply calculate the average:
a) First, measure the height of all, 2500 students.
b) Add the height.
c) Finally, divide the total sum of heights with the total number of students and all done, we will get the average.
Don’t you think measuring the height of all the students is going to be a very tiresome and long process? So, is there any alternate approach? Yes, let’s have a look:
a) First, draw the random group of students from school and call this a sample. Draw multiple samples, each consisting of 30 or more students.
Image credit: https://research-methodology.net
b) Now, calculate the individual mean of all these samples.
c) Next, calculate the mean of these sample means.
d) The value we got here is the approximate mean height of the students in the school.
e) Graphically, the sample mean height of students will be a bell-shaped curve i.e. normal distribution.
To make a long story short, this is what the Central Limit Theorem is all about. Interesting? So, let’s go further and put a formal definition to CLT:
The Central Limit Theorem, a key concept in probability, states that with large sample size, the sampling distribution of the samples means approaches a normal distribution -- no matter what the shape of the original population distribution.
It’ simply saying, as you take more samples, especially large ones, the graph of the sample means will take a bell-shaped curve i.e. to look like a normal distribution as shown below:
Image credit: https://www.thoughtco.com
Above fact holds especially true for the sample sizes over 30.
Mathematically, we can define CLT with the help of following formula:
µ = Population means
σ = Population standard deviation
µx = Sample mean
σx = Sample standard deviation
n = Sample size
The most important implication of CLT in machine learning is to inform the solution to linear algorithms such as linear regression.
3. No-Free-Lunch (NFL) Theorem: Can we have a machine learning algorithm that works well with any kind of data? The answer is No, we can’t. The reason behind this is the theorem called No-Free-Lunch theorem.
It says, there is no one ML algorithm that works best for every problem. That is why in machine learning, we try multiple models and choose one that works best for a problem.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing like free lunch!
Image Credit: https://www.thedailymeal.com
We can get more insight into no-free-lunch theorem with the help of following the simple example. Suppose we are asked to predict the next number from the sequence below:
A = 1,3,9,…
By assuming, the sequence at each time step is being generated by At = 3At-1, most of us would probably predict 27 at the next place in the sequence.
On the other hand, there is no such reason to not believe the hypothesis that this sequence is simply the output of a random number generator. And if you think it as the other way, we cannot disapprove this hypothesis without seeing all the data points. Agreed?
That’s all for now, readers! Hope this blog post proves to be insightful for you! We would love to hear your thoughts too. Don’t hesitate to leave your comments in the section below. If you would like a career in Data Science, then our comprehensive course with live sessions, assessments, and placement assistant might be your best bet
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Home > Blogs > 6 social media features that can be improved using Data
6 social media features that can be improved using Data
By Kamal Jacob
A survey conducted by Pew Research Centre concludes that around a majority of American adults continue to use Facebook and YouTube in the year 2018. This comprises of 73% of Americans for YouTube and 68% for Facebook. Other social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are particularly popular among younger adults between the age of 18-24 years.
The growing number of social media users across the globe is an indicator for social media companies like Twitter and Instagram and product (or service) companies to effectively use this platform to reach out to and engage with a wider audience. The Data analysis of how social media users behave or interact with the platform can provide indications of:
a) What they are looking for on the social networking platforms?
b) What actions do they perform on the platform?
c) The source of the web traffic or where are the users coming from?
d) Type of content pieces (videos, infographics, listicles) that are attracting more user traction.
e) How users interact with your platform (clicks, shares, or page scroll)
f) What is their intent? Buying? Selling or gaining rewards (satisfaction of knowing more, reward from the tribe in the form of likes, comments, etc.)
Through the use of data science technologies and data insights gained from user behaviour, social media platforms have incorporated a wide variety of product features that has improved the overall user experience and also maximized their ROI. Among its best features, Facebook Live allows its users to live stream an event from their smartphone or personal tablet. Similarly, for its Android users, the Snapchat lenses feature allows its users to apply face lenses after clicking your photo. With over 400 million active users, Instagram also has added a host of innovative features that are engaging with its users. This includes its popular Instagram stories, face filters, and the use of the Instagram app in offline mode.
However, despite the proliferation of new product features, social media platforms are still missing out on many features that would increase its adoption among new-age Internet users.
Let’s look at some desirable features that are currently missing in each of the popular social media platforms.
Among the desirable features that are currently missing in the Facebook, is the “Profile View” feature or the ability to view other Facebook users who have recently visited your profile page. While LinkedIn already offers this feature, Facebook should add this functionality along with the ability to see the name of the profile visitor and the number of times your profile has been visited.
Another feature that would be most welcome in Facebook is the option to disable user comments, shares, or likes on posts in your personal timeline. This can save Facebook users from unnecessary debates or comments on your personal posts along with endless notifications.
Have you ever felt like unfriending a Facebook friend just to escape from their endless posts or constant comments on other posts that don’t interest you? While unfriending them may be a bit too harsh, an option of muting them on a temporary basis would be a great feature to have on Facebook.
Among the largest social networks currently in operation, Instagram has its share of useful hacks that third-party developers have developed to improve your overall experience. However, we would surely like to see these hacks incorporated into the product instead of having to use external tools. This includes the ability to create a collage of all your posted photos and videos with the most likes and shares. Instagram does offer the Layouts feature for collage making but is not as convenient as some third-party tools like the Top Nine app.
Want to post an Instagram story or video longer than 15 seconds? This is not currently supported due to Instagram’s 15-second limit. Third-party tools like Story Cutter and CutStory splits videos (longer than 15 seconds) into 15-second clips that can be played one after the other to complete the story. However, instead of using these hacks, users would definitely want to post longer stories and videos on Instagram.
Any other missing features that can be deployed? Yes, the reintroduction of the Instagram Maps feature that lets Instagram users browse photos based on the location where they were clicked.
Also popularly known as “Subscriber ghosting,” many YouTube users are left out from being notified to new videos uploaded by YouTube creators or channels that they are subscribed to. While active subscribers always receive timely notifications of live events and new uploads, users (who are simply channel subscribers but do not press the channel bell icon) only receive occasional notifications from YouTube. This is one feature that YouTube creators would like YouTube to fix.
Any more features that users would like to see in YouTube Music? Yes, what’s missing is the “Fill screen” mode for YouTube music videos, integration with Google Home, and gapless playback of YouTube music.
Image Source: https://www.snapchat.com/
With the roll-out of its augmented reality tool, Scan and its multiplayer gaming platform this year, Snapchat continues to reinvent itself even as it continues to lose market share among teenage users to Instagram. This is primarily because of the poor performance and issues with its Android app that resulted in the loss of around 2 million users in 2018.
Although it continues to be popular among Apple iOS users, Snapchat’s future growth (or even survival) is dependent on the features and performance of this app on Android users.
So, what are the primary features that Android users want from the Snapchat app?
Android users are looking for faster loading of the “Snapchat Lenses” and the “Snapchat stories” features along with smoother swiping and improved image quality. Features such as the Snapchat Charms are also currently supported only on Apple iOS. The Snapchat Android app has also faced basic issues like app freezing or crashing that needs to be fixed in its revamped version.
While direct messaging has been an integral part of the Twitter social media app for some time, Twitter has introduced the “read receipt” check mark that shows that direct messages (DMs) have been read by the recipient (much like the “blue” check mark in WhatsApp). While some Twitter users may approve of this feature, there are others who would prefer to not show that they have read some DMs sent by other users. While you can disable this feature in your Twitter account settings, it will also disable you from seeing the “read receipt” check mark on DMs sent by you. Here’s wishing that Twitter had not added this feature in the first place.
Twitter also does not notify its users when they are unfollowed by other users. This is one feature that is desired by most Twitter users.
With over a billion users, WhatsApp is clearly the market leader in instant messaging apps. Despite its market dominance, WhatsApp has its share of missing features that are mostly included in its rival apps like Facebook Messenger and Hike.
One such missing feature in WhatsApp is the use of Stickers that is gradually replacing the use of emoticons in instant messages. While group chat is an important feature of instant messaging, WhatsApp limits the size of its group to a maximum of 250 participants, which definitely needs to be expanded.
Want to use your instant messenger as a payment app? While Hike has already launched its payment wallet feature, WhatsApp users are currently unable to make bank transfers even to other users on WhatsApp.
With the rapid growth of its users, social media apps like Facebook and Instagram are responding to user behaviour by adding new and innovative features that are delighting online customers and creating a rich online experience for them. However, due to the fast pace of changing customer expectations, social media apps also have a host of missing features that must be included in the apps at the earliest.
Through this article, we compiled some of the essential features that we think should be added to improve the functionality of social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. What do you think of our evaluation? Have we missed out on any features that you think should be added to your favourite app? We would love to hear your comments. You can also check out some of our training courses in user experience and interaction design here.
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Home > Blogs > Improve Conversion with Stellar User Experience (UX) of Landing Pages
Improve Conversion with Stellar User Experience (UX) of Landing Pages
By Kamal Jacob
Imagine you come across a creative ad to a website selling a product you definitely want to try, but guess what – you end up wasting minutes just to find the product’s description and few photographs. You get disinterested and strike that product off your wishlist forever!
We all have been there and swore to not visit such websites, uninstalled such apps only because our experience as a user was not apt enough.
Honestly, a poor user experience only costs us a few minutes as users but costs the owners of those websites or apps some serious business. A poor user experience (UX) results in:
i) Increase in their bounce rates
ii) Reduction in their retention
iii) Reduction in customer lifetime value (CLTV)
Importantly, it hurts a business significantly as a poor UX wastes the budget you spent in digital marketing!
Story of Conversion – Digital Marketing -> Landing Page -> Conversion
Before we dive into discussing how the landing page helps with conversion, let’s understand the primary goal of digital marketing. To put simply, digital marketing expands the visibility of your brand, services and products over digital channels such as blogs, advertisements, news feeds, sponsored content, videos, podcasts, etc.
It draws prospects to the first touchpoint with your business, that is your landing page. In an ideal scenario, a great digital marketing campaign should be complemented with an equally great landing page. In effect, a user brought to your landing page via digital marketing is now becoming a paying customer. This is the story of a successful conversion. Conversion is a phenomenon and a metric every business works towards achieving as much as possible.
Clearly, as the landing page is a prospect’s gateway to your business, you want to make sure that it is usable, easy to navigate, easy to understand and most importantly, does a great job of facilitating conversions.
How to Create a Great Landing Page?
In order that your landing page helps you reap the benefits of digital marketing, there are multiple elements that need to be optimized. Let’s discuss them here:
A Catchy Headline
A great headline is the topmost element of a landing page that compels users to go through the page. Not only should it be able to engage a reader, but also should tell the user what the page/product/service is about. An important consideration is to keep it short and easy to understand, following the KISS (Keep it Simple & Silly) principle.
Below are some examples of absolutely seamless headlines:
Image source: https://slack.com/intl/en-in/
Image source: https://www.intercom.com/
Image source: https://www.hubspot.com/
A Great Subheading
An impactful subheading can complement a short yet catchy headline by including persuasive details about the subject. While it should serve as a teaser of the whole page, it should also be persuasive enough that makes the reader want to learn more. Combined with an attention-grabbing headline, subheads could be your best place to make an impact on your readers’ minds.
Visual Imagery and Pictures
“A picture speaks a thousand words” holds true every single time when it comes to keeping your readers engaged while telling them a story. Coupled with the right text, images engage left as well as the right parts of the readers’ brains. However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind while selecting and placing images on your landing page:
- Pictures should be appropriately sized. They should be large enough to ensure that a reader doesn’t miss viewing them.
- The relevance of the pictures is a top priority while selecting them. In case you’re selling a product, the page should include an image of the product being sold.
- Pages meant to sell services should include a demonstration of the services’ relevance to the readers.
- Quality and resolution of pages should be high enough but at the same time, a very large image shouldn’t increase the load time of the page.
Example: On mixpanel.com, a great combination of headline, subhead and an animated image of their product appears quite engaging. A visitor interested in buying a user behavior analysis product is likely to respond positively to their call to action.
Image Source: https://mixpanel.com/
Talk about the Pain Points
In the body of your landing page, including ‘what they might lose if they didn’t take an action’ is an important message to put across. According to the theory of loss aversion, humans are wired to try harder to avoid pains as compared to gaining pleasure. While trying to increase the conversion, capitalizing on this common psychological trait can be a very effective weapon. Use to lead the readers to progress to the next sections and thus, increase your impact on their minds.
Resolve Pains and Offer Pleasure
While talking about their pains, it’s vital to offer them the solution to their pains using your product and/or services. In addition to resolving their pains, it’s also equally important to offer them a feeling of pleasure and delight. There can be readers who don’t suffer from a pain you’re resolving but are potentially looking to enjoy the pleasure your product or services promise them. As humans, we don’t just want to avoid pains, but we also seek pleasure and we spend time and money for it!
Provide the Information that Helps Convert
As a potential buyer of a product, your readers should know the specifics of the product, ratings, pricing, various plans, warranty information, service and support mechanism, etc. If you think all this is too much content to put on a landing page, fair point! You should create visible links to various other sections that clearly offer these pieces of information and the navigation from the landing page to those pages and then, to finalize a conversion must be a smooth ride for them.
Image Source: https://www.drift.com
Example: On Drift, you can see a comparison, a great heading along with a subhead – everything that makes a great landing page. If you scroll further down, you have all the information that persuades a visitor to try the app, almost instantaneously.
Image Source: https://www.socialpilot.co/
Ensure a prominent Call To Action (CTA)
Call to Action is the point on your landing page which leads to the final conversion. This should be humane, clear, prominently positioned and must not lead to too many steps thereafter.
Example: on Later, their first step to conversion is to allow prospects to create a free account.
Image Source: https://later.com/
Go Interactive and Social with Youtube and Social Feeds
An associated Youtube channel and connected accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram help you build another channel of communication between you and your users. You can use these channels to spread awareness about your products and services, educate the visitors on the usage of your products, and even, receive feedback from them.
Having a well-curated video channel and a well-subscribed and followed social feed instills a sense of trust about your brand among your potential readers. They know that they are dealing with a brand that cares to listen to them and empathizes with their customers’ needs.
How to Validate That You Got Your Landing Page Right?
An important aspect of making a great landing page is to validate that it’s serving its purpose. It goes without saying that if you rely on facts and data about the traffic and user engagement, you can be more confident in your creation. Challenge is, how you get such data!
You can create few versions of the landing page with various combinations of images, colours, placements of CTAs and body text. Next step is to perform A/B tests and multi-variate tests (MVT) on those versions to identify the elements that work best for defined groups of visitors. These tests will give you enough data to make a confident decision about the success of your landing page.
And that’s a wrap. Hope you enjoyed reading the article and got some insights on how to create a killer landing page that can drive conversions. However, if you want to learn the in and out of how to create the best user experience, you can go for User Experience and User Interaction Design Training by Manipal Pro Learn. This training will give you an in-depth view and 360-degree knowledge related to the field
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Home > Blogs > 7 industries that will blossom due to advanced cloud computing
7 industries that will blossom due to advanced cloud computing
By Kamal Jacob
There is so much happening around the growth of cloud computing and the popularity it has been gaining across different industries. Businesses have started to realize that if they have to be a step ahead of their competitors or on-par in the marketplace, embracing the cloud is the way forward. Failing to embrace the cloud can leave businesses left out from the business race. However, every industry has its own pace of cloud adoption. For example, banking becoming completely digital and moving away from branches, and e-Commerce industries taking over retail stores. These business industries have a faster rate of adoption of cloud technologies when compared to retail and manufacturing industries. In this article, let’s take a look at 7 different industries that will reap humongous benefits of cloud computing –
The retail industry is amidst a transformation phase where the focus is shifting from the retailer to the customer. In order to be competitive, retail merchants are forced to deliver new and innovative business techniques to survive the competition.
According to a recent study by Markets and Markets, the retail cloud market is expected to grow from $11.06 Billion in 2016 to $28 Billion by the year 2021. For merchants, the cloud offers the following benefits – lesser cost and time, scalability and flexibility, ability to access customer data from anywhere and anytime, gather analytics to understand customer shopping behavior and targeting the right customer with special discounts, and so on.
Chai Point, India’s largest chai retailer with ~ 100 retail stores and on-demand chai delivery services runs its infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The reliable and scalable AWS infrastructure – comprising of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) – helped Chai Point to scale and deliver more than 150,000 cups of tea every day.
Talk about the healthcare industry and the challenges it presents to migrate to new technology – the number of legacy systems, sensitive patient data and the number of integrations. Security plays a pivotal role in managing this information and healthcare data management systems are qualified enough to maintain security. According to the recent BCC Research Report, the value of global healthcare cloud computing was $20.2 Billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $35 Billion by 2022.
Moving to the cloud helps healthcare organizations to store more data at lower costs. In compliance with the healthcare regulations, one of the key requirements of the healthcare industry is “Collaboration” and the cloud gives professionals the perfect platform to share medical records and access them from anywhere without any delay to deliver the best care.
Apollo Hospitals, one of the largest hospital chains in India, uses the Power BI capability of Microsoft Azure for efficient management of their real-time remote site data from multiple clinics. The post clinic inspection survey results are used in Kaizala to perform a virtual inspection to make sure the clinics are clean and tidy.
One other industry that depends on large customer data is the banking industry. Given the complexities involved with banking in terms of security, cloud technology is the best transformation solution for the business that delivers security to the data and becomes scalable to handle the customer data. In 2018, IDC predicted the banking industry to spend $16.7 Billion and to be among the top industries with the fastest spending growth of an aggregate of 23% over the five-year forecasted period.
When implemented in the right way, the cloud helps banks to become flexible to meet the volatile consumer market needs with ease. Cloud also improves operational efficiency by allowing them to integrate with other technologies to increase their productivity. Overall, cloud implementation helps the bank to focus towards delivering better and customized customer service.
ABN Amro Bank took advantage of Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Migration Service (ADMS) migration technique to migrate user accounts to a single Active Directory domain. With the help of Microsoft Enterprise Services, ABN Amro was able to perform the migration without any risks.
4. Entertainment and Media
Similar to the healthcare industry, the entertainment industry is on the slower side to embrace cloud technologies given the concerns over security and privacy of the content. On the flip side, media businesses are also facing the push to be competitive in the industry and increase their profits. Overall, cloud computing can deliver benefits for media businesses both in terms of security as well as scalability without any compromise on the safety of the data. Media companies can embrace cloud to deliver enhanced user experience in terms of quality of content when there is peak demand, and later scale down during the normal period.
The best example is Netflix and their migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure scalability to meet the increasing data volumes. By opting for cloud infrastructure, Netflix managed to create a Microservice architecture which made them become more agile and as well, build a diverse ecosystem of tools faster.
As the supply chain becomes more complex and longer in terms of process, logistics companies are forced to deploy software systems that can cope up and continue to deliver end-to-end visibility. According to Logistics Management, results of the survey indicate that about 48% of the people are planning to evaluate cloud systems for their LMS, slotting and order management, TMS/WMS and so on, while 38% prefer to use cloud for monitoring of unexpected failures, and 28% prefer to use cloud to collect and manage data about their truck fleets.
Logistics is a highly volatile industry and businesses have to be predictive as well as responsive to stay in the competition. With a cloud architecture in place, logistics businesses can take advantage of rich dashboards, get end-to-end real-time visibility of the system and view analytical data if something goes wrong.
Alpega is one of the leading experts in transportation management software solutions and services. By implementing real-time processing on Google Cloud Platform, Alpega reduced their processing time by almost 90% using Google BigQuery. A year of detailed data is available in less than 10 seconds instead of a minute. Another example of a leading logistics company is Lufthansa which uses robust tech stack for seamless freight forwarding services.
The education industry also has its fair share of transformation thanks to the cloud computing technologies. From online learning portals to the information systems of students in schools and colleges, cloud computing is widely used in the field of education. The cloud ensures that both students and their guardians, and the staff have access to the data anytime. Statistics say that more than 75 percent of institutions have moved to the cloud and decreased their infrastructure costs significantly. Institutions can get away from costly textbooks for students to have online cloud-based textbooks that reduce the cost of procuring the textbooks.
For instance, the Canberra Public Schools in Australia have embraced the G Suite and Chromebook for their students and staff to foster increased collaboration. With over 50,000 students and teachers in the institution, Google Cloud brings in a competitive and collaborative environment among the students and helps them to improve their performance. Moving to the cloud also means potential cost savings and a shift from the CAPEX to an OPEX model where institutions only have to pay for what they use.
With manufacturers global spending on cloud computing platforms predicted to reach $5.18 Billion by the end of 2018 by IDC, the manufacturing industry is also seeing the growth with the aid of cloud computing. With the cloud technology, businesses bring in the speed, accuracy and scalability capabilities into their operations. At the management level, the cloud helps businesses make more informed decisions, improve on the product quality and deliver the best to customers.
With the cloud infrastructure, Information from multiple sources in the organization can be brought together and visualized in a single dashboard with real-time tracking. With greater insights instantly available, manufacturing cycle times can be reduced which makes the manufacturer more competitive in the business.
While this article covers the top 7 industries that will see the growth due to cloud computing, this is not the end of the list. Cloud has the capability to offer flexibility and the capability for the business to scale and adapt based on the market demands. However, the rate of adoption varies across different industries and primarily depends on security and the features required.
Feel free to let us know your thoughts on how the cloud will impact the other major industries. Also, if you are interested to pursue a career in this field, make sure you check out our Post Graduate Certificate Program in Cloud Computing course.
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