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Omnichannel strategy boosts fashion company

Recognizing the evolution of customer preferences and the rising use of mobile platforms, the management team at a leading fashion player in the Asia-Pacific region sought support from Bain in developing its omnichannel strategy and mobile business model. With Bain’s help, the company developed an integrated strategy that ensured it could meet and exceed the expectations of its customers, contributing to a five-fold increase in mobile revenue in less than one year.

  • 3 min read

At a Glance

  • 10xIncrease in accumulated app downloads within one year
  • 5xIncrease in mobile revenue within one year

The Full Story

The Situation

An effective omnichannel strategy presents retailers with a significant opportunity as they seek to engage with an ever-evolving customer base. The marriage of the digital world and the physical one are creating wholly new sources of value, a phenomenon we call DigicalSM, and FashionCo* recognized it needed the right strategy to succeed in this environment.

Prior to their engagement with Bain, FashionCo’s success was due in large part to sales from their brick-and-mortar stores. The company maintained e-commerce channels, but sales accounted for just 10% of its total revenue and those channels only offered discounted, off-season products. Compounding matters, the company lacked an integrated omnichannel strategy which created a varied customer experience across channels, with disjointed back-end operations and pricing inconsistencies.

Omnichannel strategy boosts fashion company

Our Approach

Bain worked with the FashionCo management team to tackle the key questions related to the company’s omnichannel strategy and mobile opportunity, including:

  • How should the price and assortment of FashionCo’s online channel compare to its offline channel?
  • What should FashionCo do to reach full potential in their omnichannel efforts?

The teams organized with two primary objectives in mind: to expand FashionCo’s mobile channel and to develop stronger support for both online and offline sales. More specifically, Bain sought to help FashionCo develop a comprehensive mobile strategy and to create a seamless customer experience with an improved operating model that integrated its online, offline and mobile channels.

Our Recommendations

Bain and FashionCo collaborated to create FashionCo’s holistic strategy for mobile and omnichannel, developing a number of key recommendations:
  • Defined where to play and how to win: In an effort to increase the loyalty of their customers, raise the number of omnichannel buyers and promote brand awareness and trials, the teams determined FashionCo’s key points of differentiation on mobile based on their competitive advantages in store connectivity, content curation and product assortment.
  • Developed mobile channel: Designed to attract traffic and encourage purchasing, the mobile channel emphasized the right content and in-season products.
  • Price promotion: The teams addressed the potential conflicts in price promotion across offline, online and mobile channels by establishing benchmarks and clarifying decision roles
  • Customer service: By aligning incentives, processes and systems the teams created an environment where employees could focus on customer needs and resolved out-of-stock issues.

The Results

With Bain’s help, FashionCo’s investment in mobile generated bottom line results and also enabled the organization to succeed with an omnichannel channel approach that met the expectations of its customers. Within one year, mobile engagement, users and revenue increased at FashionCo and it stands ready to continue to capitalize with the appropriate systems and processes in place.

In one year, FashionCo’s omnichannel efforts contributed to increased mobile engagement, users and revenue:

https://www.bain.com/client-results/omnichannel-strategy-boosts-fashion-company/

Categories
Marketing Marketing & Verkauf pro-e-motion theinfluenceracademy ueberfrei

Omnichannel strategy boosts fashion company

Recognizing the evolution of customer preferences and the rising use of mobile platforms, the management team at a leading fashion player in the Asia-Pacific region sought support from Bain in developing its omnichannel strategy and mobile business model. With Bain’s help, the company developed an integrated strategy that ensured it could meet and exceed the expectations of its customers, contributing to a five-fold increase in mobile revenue in less than one year.

At a Glance

  • 10xIncrease in accumulated app downloads within one year
  • 5xIncrease in mobile revenue within one year

The Full Story

The Situation

An effective omnichannel strategy presents retailers with a significant opportunity as they seek to engage with an ever-evolving customer base. The marriage of the digital world and the physical one are creating wholly new sources of value, a phenomenon we call DigicalSM, and FashionCo* recognized it needed the right strategy to succeed in this environment.

Prior to their engagement with Bain, FashionCo’s success was due in large part to sales from their brick-and-mortar stores. The company maintained e-commerce channels, but sales accounted for just 10% of its total revenue and those channels only offered discounted, off-season products. Compounding matters, the company lacked an integrated omnichannel strategy which created a varied customer experience across channels, with disjointed back-end operations and pricing inconsistencies.

Omnichannel strategy boosts fashion company

Our Approach

Bain worked with the FashionCo management team to tackle the key questions related to the company’s omnichannel strategy and mobile opportunity, including:

  • How should the price and assortment of FashionCo’s online channel compare to its offline channel?
  • What should FashionCo do to reach full potential in their omnichannel efforts?

The teams organized with two primary objectives in mind: to expand FashionCo’s mobile channel and to develop stronger support for both online and offline sales. More specifically, Bain sought to help FashionCo develop a comprehensive mobile strategy and to create a seamless customer experience with an improved operating model that integrated its online, offline and mobile channels.

Our Recommendations

Bain and FashionCo collaborated to create FashionCo’s holistic strategy for mobile and omnichannel, developing a number of key recommendations:
  • Defined where to play and how to win: In an effort to increase the loyalty of their customers, raise the number of omnichannel buyers and promote brand awareness and trials, the teams determined FashionCo’s key points of differentiation on mobile based on their competitive advantages in store connectivity, content curation and product assortment.
  • Developed mobile channel: Designed to attract traffic and encourage purchasing, the mobile channel emphasized the right content and in-season products.
  • Price promotion: The teams addressed the potential conflicts in price promotion across offline, online and mobile channels by establishing benchmarks and clarifying decision roles
  • Customer service: By aligning incentives, processes and systems the teams created an environment where employees could focus on customer needs and resolved out-of-stock issues.

The Results

With Bain’s help, FashionCo’s investment in mobile generated bottom line results and also enabled the organization to succeed with an omnichannel channel approach that met the expectations of its customers. Within one year, mobile engagement, users and revenue increased at FashionCo and it stands ready to continue to capitalize with the appropriate systems and processes in place.

In one year, FashionCo’s omnichannel efforts contributed to increased mobile engagement, users and revenue:

https://www.bain.com/client-results/omnichannel-strategy-boosts-fashion-company/

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Marketing Marketing & Verkauf pro-e-motion theinfluenceracademy ueberfrei

‘We’re binge-eating chips not quinoa’: How in fluencers have pivoted in generation lockdown

PUBLISHED TUE, APR 21 2020

Lucy Handley

A young woman filming content for social media posts

HRAUN | Getty Images

What’s the future for influencers who are used to filling their social media feeds with images of their luxury trips, shopping hauls or new cars when they are now staying at home under lockdown?

“The premise that influencer marketing is largely based on — aspiration — is now fundamentally flawed. No one can aspire to a perfect life anymore. There are no more yoga or spin classes after the school run, no more matcha lattes, Botox appointments are on hold, and whole families are living in close, often messy, quarters. We’re binge-eating chips not quinoa,” stated Sarah Baumann, managing director of marketing agency VaynerMedia in London, in an email to CNBC.

Influencers earn money from brands for posting sponsored content. A “micro” influencer, with around 10,000 followers can make $250 per post, with figures going up to about $250,000 for someone with more than a million. That’s according to a report by cybersecurity company Cheq that was published pre-pandemic.

For some, influencers’ “aspirational” content has been a step too far during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ricky Gervais, creator of “The Office,” highlighted the gap between medics’ lives and some celebrities in an interview. “These people are doing 14-hour shifts and not complaining. Wearing masks, and being left with sores, after risking their own health and their families’ health selflessly. But then I see someone complaining about being in a mansion with a swimming pool. And, you know, honestly, I just don’t want to hear it,” he told U.K. publication The Sun last week.

“There have been some instances of people basically being really stupid and not realizing that they are in the limelight. That being said, I think … there’s a lot of influencers who have actually risen up to the occasion,” according to Rahul Titus, head of influence at ad agency Ogvily. Titus cited Finland, where the government has classified influencers as essential “critical operators,” during the crisis, along with medical workers and bus drivers.

″(It) sounds hilarious, but it makes perfect sense … These are people who’ve got direct access to a community of fans instantly. And if you want to get a message out, especially with a younger generation, actually influencers are the right way to get there,” Titus told CNBC by phone.

The World Health Organization is using influencers to source donations to its Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. It is even working with digital avatar Knox Frost, who posted details of how to give money to the WHO to his 1 million Instagram followers earlier this month.

Baumann praised other influencers for their positive actions, including Joe Wicks, a fitness instructor who is posting daily workouts for schoolchildren on YouTube, and author David Walliams who released the copyright for his kids’ books so teachers can use them in home-schooling videos.

Charity content

Bonnie Rakhit, a former fashion magazine editor who now runs fashion blog The Style Traveller, has encouraged her Instagram followers to become community volunteers via non-profit the British Red Cross and to “Clap for our Carers,” where people in the U.K. cheer medics from their homes each week.

And while she usually promotes fashion labels and reviews luxury hotels, Rakit is now being approached by businesses in sectors such as beauty, kitchen appliances and home furnishings. Rakhit’s advice on how to get posts right at this time? “There are some really serious issues out there right now, lots of uncertainty and people are scared. There’s no need to add to the negativity. It’s important to keep a positive or educational narrative … It’s not a time to brag or be ostentatious — instead spread messages of hope, love and kindness,” she said in an email to CNBC.

Some brands are just switching the message they put out through sponsored posts. Among nutritionist Madeleine Shaw’s Instagram pictures of homemade vegan stews and hot cross buns are posts sponsored by U.K. drugstore chain Boots, with Shaw giving advice on indoor exercises and daily planning. “A lot of the content that (influencers) are producing right now, it’s not about selling products, it’s about helping the community … be sane and be OK,” Titus at Ogilvy said.

Influencers are also working out whether to post about the coronavirus overtly. “It’s really important to not be seen as ‘jumping on’ to what is a sensitive topic for commercial or popularity gain,” according to Sarah Penny, head of content at data platform Influencer Intelligence, in an email to CNBC.

Companies aren’t currently measuring the success of sponsored posts by how many products they sell and instead are looking at whether people who see those posts are simply aware of those brands, according to Penny.

Post-pandemic, we can expect influencers to show off a little less, according to Angela Seits, a senior director of consumer insights and engagement strategy at agency PMG. “Some of the celebrity backlash that we saw … will also translate to influencer campaigns … where there is a little bit less of an audience interest in some of that high profile aspirational type of content,” she told CNBC by phone.

Conor Begley, co-founder and president of influencer measurement company Tribe Dynamics, has been tracking how its database of around 50,000 U.S. celebrities and influencers have been using social media during the pandemic. It focuses on the fashion and beauty sectors and found that posts mentioning brands on Instagram have gone down slightly from the start of February until April 10, while those on YouTube have gone up.

For Begley, platforms like TikTok will keep growing — and are likely to reach new audiences. “You won’t see the influencer space going away. Frankly, it will probably grow in the long run just because, you know, my wife’s mother never would have spent any time on TikTok before and (now) she actually watches it every night.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/21/how-influencers-have-adapted-to-the-coronavirus-lockdown.html

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8 Digital Strategy Updates That Brands Should Make Right Now

Apr 30, 2020, Sara Bliss
Young woman pushing maroon portal on white sand dunes at desert
… [+]GETTY

With business moving online overnight, retail locations shuttered, and entire industries on pause due to COVID-19, many companies have had to quickly pivot their marketing and social media in order to move forward, stay in business, and be relevant in a new world. Brands and small businesses that have tried to stay the course without acknowledging the different landscape, are often branded as tone deaf or out of touch by frustrated consumers.

So what do you say to your clients and buyers when the world has radically changed? I spoke to 5 entrepreneurs and business owners large and small in real estate, wellness, furniture, beauty, and fashion. They shared how they’ve updated their businesses, changed their marketing strategies, and reinvented their social feeds to reflect the current moment. Here are eight things you can do right now to refresh your own brand.

Create community

What resonated with buyers a few months ago, may hold little interest now. Entrepreneur Bobbi Brown who founded her wellness brand Evolution_18 and lifestyle website justBobbi after leaving her eponymous makeup line in 2017, believes that brands should focus on building an interactive community. “People are looking for a connection. People are looking for answers and certainly things they can do themselves. I do think it’s an opportunity for all brands to be able to really listen to what people are feeling and what they really want,” says Brown. “The truth is we all want the simple things—not just during this pandemic, but always. We all want to be loved, be safe, we want to be comfortable and we want to take things down a notch and be more real and authentic.”

Brown has been connecting with her audience regularly through her personal Facebook and Instagram live sessions where she talks from her living room couch about positivity and health during the pandemic. “It’s not product focused at all,” says Brown. “It’s about building and strengthening community. I also see it as giving back.” For Brown, doing chats from quarantine also means letting go of high expectations about how her video will look. Explains Brown: “We’re not doing slick videos. My hair is probably a mess in some, which is fine. In the long run it will help the brand because people will see me as normal and not perfect.” That attitude taps into Brown’s belief that more than ever buyers want the brands they interact with to be real.

Share your wisdom and expertise

What do you do when your industry is on hold? With the real estate industry almost completely shut down due to the quarantine, Manhattan-based Corcoran real estate broker Cary Tamura experienced an immediate halt to his business. Posting images of gorgeous apartments that he could no longer show, seemed like an exercise in futility. A flood of calls from panicked buyers and sellers inspired him to start using his social platforms in a new way. “I found myself in constant contact with my clients updating them on what was going on with pricing, mortgages, and what I was hearing about the industry,” says Tamura. “I realized that there were probably a lot of other buyers and sellers out there who would be interested in knowing what I was learning.” Tamura began posting short videos sharing his insights and advice on the real estate market from his living room to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. “I thought, where do you turn to hear about the real estate market in NYC? Even in my small way, I wanted to provide a channel for that.”

8 Digital Strategy Updates That Brands Should Make Right Now

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Deutsche Unicorns fordern Geld von Google zurück

News. Ihre Einnahmen sind auf null, doch die Werbekosten bei Google laufen weiter. Reise-Startups wie Flixbus wollen das nicht hinnehmen und wenden sich per offenem Brief an den Tech-Riesen.
30. April 2020 | Sarah Heuberger

Die Gründer von Flixbus (o.), Getyourguide (u.l.) und Tourlane (u.r.) sind Mitunterzeichner des offenen Briefs an Google.

Travel-Firmen wie Getyourguide oder Flixbus galten als große Hoffnungsträger der deutschen Startup-Szene, jetzt bangen sie ums Überleben. Die Umsätze sind auf null gesunken, die hohen Werbeausgaben liefen indes weiter, etwa für Anzeigen bei Google. Acht Vertreter der Branche haben dem Tech-Konzern deswegen nun zusammen mit dem Bundesverband Deutsche Startups einen offenen Brief geschrieben. Allein im ersten Quartal 2020 wollen sie ingesamt 75 Millionen Euro für Werbeanzeigen an die Suchmaschine überwiesen haben.

ANZEIGE

Das Schreiben ist an Googles obersten Vertriebschef Philipp Schindler adressiert. Die Gründer bitten ihn um eine gerechtere Verteilung der Last. Unterzeichnet wurde der Brief vom Investor und Verbandsvorsitzenden Christian Miele sowie von den Gründern von Dreamlines, Flixbus, Getyourguide, Homelike, Hometogo, Omio, Tourlane und Trivago.

Sie schlagen Google vor, die Zahlungsforderungen an Firmen zu pausieren, die staatliche Unterstützung erhalten. Getyourguide-Gründer Johannes Reck sagte dazu gegenüber Media Pioneer: „Viele von uns brauchen die staatlichen Hilfsgelder jetzt, um solvent zu bleiben. Es kann nicht sein, dass wir das Steuerzahlergeld direkt durchreichen nach Mountain View.“ Bei Getyourguide befinden sich aktuell rund drei Viertel aller Angestellten in Kurzarbeit.

Der CDU-Politiker Ruprecht Polenz postete den Brief in voller Länge auf Twitter:

Die Gründer bitten außerdem um eine flexible Regelung bei Werbedienstleistungen für Produkte, die wegen Corona nun nicht mehr genutzt werden können. Die Zahlungen hierfür könnten beispielsweise zurückerstattet oder gutgeschrieben werden. Falls Google sich nicht flexibler zeige, müssten viele seiner Werbepartner die staatlichen Fördermittel nutzen, um ihre Schulden bei Google zu begleichen, warnen die Unterzeichner: „Dringend benötigtes Funding würde in Googles Kassen fließen zulasten der Steuerzahler in Deutschland und überall auf der Welt.“

Update (30.04.2020, 18:15 Uhr): Auf Nachfrage von Gründerszene schickte Google ein knappes Statement zu dem offenen Brief: „Wir sind entschlossen mehr zu tun, um unseren Nutzern und Kunden in dieser Krise zu helfen“, heißt es darin. Man stehe dazu im ständigen Austausch mit seinen Geschäftspartnern, einschließlich der Reisebranche.

Deutsche Unicorns fordern Geld von Google zurück

Deutsche Unicorns fordern Geld von Google zurück

Ihre Einnahmen sind auf null, doch die Werbekosten bei Google laufen weiter. Reise-Startups wie Flixbus wollen d…

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Four Tips For Revising Your Digital Marketing Strategy During A Crisis

Apr 30, 2020, Scott Hirsch
Scott Hirsch, CEO of Media Direct, is an internet marketing pioneer widely recognized as an expert in e-commerce and the online marketplace.

Photo:

Photo: GETTY

With more people being instructed to shelter at home, work from home and stay in to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, there has been a huge surge in internet traffic.

But during these times of uncertainty, it can be difficult for marketers to navigate the digital landscape. Being empathetic toward your audience and maintaining the integrity of your brand is essential. As the founder and CEO of a media solutions provider, I’ve outlined four tips to help you find this balance:

Stay the course.

When facing a crisis, it might feel like the sky is falling, but stick to your plans. Stay consistent. You might need to revise your digital media plan, but don’t pause or interrupt it. Remain focused on customer acquisition and retention.

Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it if you’re able: email marketing, direct mail, mobile marketing, data appending, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, customer profiling and analytics, etc. If your organization has created and rolled out interactive marketing and highly targeted data campaigns, don’t let them languish.

Revise your messaging.

From my perspective, one of the many challenging things about the coronavirus is the uncertainty. No one knows what’s next; every step might feel like you’re walking a bit further into the unknown. This is why I believe it’s important to revise your messaging. Ensure all of the content you’re sharing is authentic and sensitive to what your audience is going through. Additionally, provide your audience with all of the information they need to continue interacting with your business. Keep them updated as to:

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• How your operating hours or in-store policies have changed.

• What effect the crisis is having on special offers, discounts, product/services rollouts, etc. Let your audience know, and update this information regularly.

• Whether your services have been adjusted. For example, delivery and streaming are seeing exponential expansion right now, so if this applies to your enterprise, make sure it’s core to your messaging.

• How your staffing has changed and the best way to reach your organization if you’ve reduced staff. Again, update this information regularly.

Provide useful news.

Right now, everyone is dog-paddling in a rising whirlpool of news, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use your digital marketing campaign to make a meaningful, useful contribution that provides helpful information to your audience.

Reach out by assisting customers during a crisis. Share essential information from reputable sources, such as health advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which are regularly updated), as well as contact information for emergency services and information regarding assistance in your community; closures of public spaces, etc.

Given the severity of the crisis, this can also be a time to share good news. For example, if you have someone on your team who has been volunteering, share it. This is another way to keep in regular contact with your audience while doing something positive for your customers and potential customers. If you can give them some hope, then that’s how they might remember your brand.

Keep an eye on the future.

In The Dark Knight, character Harvey Dent said, “The night is darkest just before dawn, and I promise you the dawn is coming.” This quote resonates with me because I believe there is a dawn coming for all of us. The digital marketing landscape might be altered, but keep in mind that if any of your plans were delayed by the coronavirus, you still might be able to put them into play.

Don’t stop working toward your organization’s future goals. It’s the best thing you can do for the organization. Staying proactive and focused on the future is entrepreneurial and gives your team and your customers a message of hope. Work hard, and know that this is as good of a time to work toward your goals as any.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/04/30/four-tips-for-revising-your-digital-marketing-strategy-during-a-crisis/#69c997645204

 

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The Zoom social etiquette guide

By Bryan Lufkin, 29th April 2020

From online parties to happy hour with colleagues, here are the coronavirus-era social faux pas to avoid.

It’s Saturday night, your cocktails are ready and you’re about to throw a party with a couple dozen friends. It’s also your seventh straight week in mandatory lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

That means you’re throwing the party virtually on Zoom ­– and it’s going great until you realise people keep talking over each other, others feel ignored and start scrolling on their phones, half the guests don’t know each other and the other half have loud housemates clanging dishes in the background.

Video chat is now the go-to outlet for many social distancers craving social interaction. But having a successful fête isn’t only a question of hopping on camera with friends and kicking off. Social grace is a big part of a successful virtual party – and etiquette doesn’t go out the door just because you’re in your pyjamas in front of a webcam.

Introduce everyone; ignore no one

The most noticeable difference between in-person socialising and the video calls we’ve had to rapidly adjust to overnight? Just how jarring the whole transition is.

Gone are the days during which you can mingle or bounce between different groups, or introduce yourself to new people at your leisure. Instead, the second you click ‘Join Meeting’, you’re abruptly thrust in front of potentially dozens of faces staring straight at you, Brady Bunch-style.

“A lot of times [in
person], you will float between one table or booth to the next and talk to one or two people at a time,” says Carla Bevins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the US city of Pittsburgh, who specialises in business communication. “All of a sudden, it flattens out when you’re on a Zoom happy hour. You have your Zoom-tinis going, and everybody’s looking at you all at once. It’s a whole different dynamic.”

Birthday parties, like the one seen here in California this month, have largely taken to video chats as much of the planet shelters in place (Credit: Getty Images)

This is particularly problematic if not everyone on the call knows each other – Zoom itself recommends short ice-breaking sessions for everyone to introduce themselves on so-called “mega meetings” of 20 people or more. Which leads to something that’s social etiquette 101: be sure to introduce everyone individually to the group.

Luckily, Zoom makes it easy for you to do this each time someone new joins the event.

“I like to utilise the wait room,” says Tamiko Zablith, founder and principal consultant of Minding Manners International, a division of the International Etiquette and Protocol Academy of London. “For security reasons, first of all – it means outsiders don’t come crashing into your meeting.” (Which is good, considering the recent scrutiny over security issues on Zoom.) But also, “you can let people come in one at a time, and then you can take that time to introduce them to the group as well. One of the faux pas I find is that a lot of people are not doing that: you end up having 45 people on a call and you have no idea who row 3, square 7 is, because they haven’t been properly introduced”.

It’s absolutely crucial to be extra considerate of the time of others – be it your BFF or your boss

“As each person pops on, I will name them,” says Bevins. “’Hi Bryan, it’s good see you. How are things going?”

And, host or not, be sure to give personal attention when it’s time to leave, too.

“Take as much time when you leave a group as you did when you joined the group. Just don’t say, ‘Oh, I’m out now’ and click ‘End Meeting’,” says Zablith. “Take a minute to say: ‘Jennifer, John’ – so I’m finding John on the screen – ‘John, it’s been really nice chatting with you. Robert, down there – really great to have met you’. That way you leave them feeling recognised, but it makes you look a bit more distinguished as well.”

Learn the art of the pause

Another wildly disorienting thing about Zoom parties: everyone has to talk one at a time. There’s no chance for small groups to organically form, for ambient banter to fill a room, or for guests to talk simultaneously and asynchronously. The whole group, no matter how large, can only listen to one person at a time.

Be aware of this and be comfortable with it. “It’s okay to have those quiet spaces,” says Bevins. “Other [guests] may just sit and listen for a while. It’s a whole different dynamic from everybody being ‘on’.”

That’s why putting pauses in your speech is critical, especially since lagging internet speeds or weird audio may mean it’s easy for someone to talk over someone else, drowning out what they have to say to the group.

“If the internet is a bit dodgy, you have those intermittent signals. If I keep rambling, and the other person starts, there’s that delay,” says Zablith. “Work those pauses into your conversation.”

If you find yourself in a politeness contest with someone who’s speaking at the same time as you – “no, you go ahead” – try using Zoom’s “raise hand” function, or try using that side chat again.

“If you start talking over someone and it gets into a politeness war, put a note in the chat that the other person can go ahead with their ideas,” says Bevins. “You can then write your idea in the chat, so your train of thought is not lost. The moderator can come back to your point and ensure that your ideas are heard.”

A virtual dinner party in France last month. Experts say basic social etiquette transfers to this new era of socialising, too (Credit: Getty Images)

Take conversations to the side

At parties in real life, you may be someone’s plus one and you might not know the vast majority of people at the party – and you definitely won’t know all the awkward nuances, like who recently broke up with whom, or which topics are taboo. Ideally, your companion would fill you in ahead of time, or they’d whisper it to you the next time you made a break for the snack table. You can’t have those quick side-confabs online.

Or can you? In these delicate intel-gathering social scenarios, Zoom could be a boon: it has that text chat feature where you can send a direct message to the host or one of your friends. Telepathy unfortunately does not exist, so the chat tool comes in as a handy option if you have something private to say. (Just quadruple or even quintuple-check you’re sending a private message and not one to the whole party.)

“Use the chat and chat with each other on the side. ‘Hey, it’s so good to see you. I saw you had your friends on, too. Who are they, what do I need to know, are there topics that are off limits?’” Bevins says. “Have that side conversation through the technology.”

Know when to change backgrounds

We all know Zoom’s backgrounds that make you seem like you’re in outer space or floating above the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just adding some goofy flair to a Zoom party, it can actually be a courtesy to eliminate distractions behind you.

Hiding those dirty dishes or pizza boxes, or obscuring other members of the household coming and going, eliminates distractions and makes the other people feel like they’re getting your full attention. That even applies to chat etiquette in a work context: these frivolous-seeming add-ons can actually be part of being polite as long as they’re not wacky.

Gone are the days during which you can mingle or bounce between different groups, or introduce yourself to new people at your leisure

“Wouldn’t it be better if that distraction just wasn’t there?” Zablith says, pointing to the advantage of virtual backgrounds being able to hide anything unsightly behind you. For Bevins, virtual backgrounds can also provide a sense of comfort or normalcy to the audience – she uses images of the Carnegie Mellon campus when she’s on a call with her students, even though the university has been shut down due to the pandemic.

Practice punctuality

It’s good practice, of course – your friends get annoyed when you’re late for a movie in person, and the same applies on Zoom. But it applies to social settings, too. To avoid being late (even if you’re at your computer on time), take a few minutes ahead of the call or party (especially if you’re the host) to test your settings and re-check your internet.

Just as video calls for work have become the norm for many of us, so too have they now defined social interactions with friends and family (Credit: Getty Images)

Plus, in the age of Covid-19, many people often have several back-to-back social calls with close family members or friends flung miles and miles apart from each other across time zones and potentially continents. So, it’s absolutely crucial to be extra considerate of the time of others – be it your BFF or your boss.

“We are on so many more Zoom calls right now,” says Bevins. “We have to respect our time.”

More tricks of the trade

All the other social basics apply as much online as they do offline. For example, Zablith describes the “tennis match rule”, in which you make sure you keep returning the “tennis ball” of conversation back to the other person regularly. Also, don’t forget other crucial pieces of how to look good on Zoom: give yourself lots of flattering, head-on natural lighting, and make sure your webcam is eye level or higher.

Remember, even with all of the technology available to us to stay social in unprecedented isolation, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed and despondent. But if you remember to be respectful, polite and inclusive on video calls, no matter how casual the setting, you’ll really get the most out of these valuable social interactions in the era of a pandemic.

“If you can collect that good energy, and save it for later – because, let’s face it, we’re going to have good days and we’re going to have not so good days” as we navigate life in the pandemic, Bevins says. It could make all the difference. “You hold that positive feeling, energy, whatever you want to call it, so when you’re not feeling so hot – that can help.”

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200428-the-zoom-social-etiquette-guide

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Wichtigste Rankingfaktoren für Google: Neue Studie zeigt Korrelationen

Christian Kunz, 29. April 2020

Welches sind die wichtigsten Rankingfaktoren für Google, und welche Kriterien fallen weniger ins Gewicht? Mit dieser Frage hat sich eine neue Studie beschäftigt und die Faktoren mit den höchsten Korrelationen zu den Rankings identifiziert.

In der aktuellen Studie von Backlinko wurden 11,8 Millionen Suchergebnisse untersucht. Ziel war es, die wichtigsten Rankingfaktoren zu identifizieren. Dabei ergaben sich diese Erkenntnisse:

We Analyzed 11.8 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned A…

A large-scale analysis of 11 million Google search results. We look a how content, backlinks and several other f…

1. Die gesamte Link Authority einer Website (gemäß dem SEO-Tool Ahrefs) weist eine starke Korrelation mit besseren Rankings auf.

2. Seiten mit vielen Backlinks ranken über Seiten mit weniger Backlinks. Im Schnitt besitzt die Seite auf Position eins 3,8mal mehr Backlinks als die Seiten auf den Positionen zwei bis zehn.

3. Auch die Content-Tiefe spielt eine wichtige Rolle. Es kommt darauf an, Themen möglichst umfassend zu behandeln.

4. Keine Korrelation wurde dagegen gefunden zwischen der Ladezeit und den Rankings auf der ersten Seite.

5. Es scheint wichtig zu sein, Backlinks von vielen unterschiedlichen Websites zu erhalten. Die Zahl der Domains, die auf eine Seite linken, wies eine Korrelation mit den Rankings auf.

6. Die große Mehrheit der Title-Tags entsprach tatsächlich den Keywords, für welche eine Seite rankte.

7. Die Page Authority (gemäß Ahrefs) zeigte nur eine geringe Korrelation zu den Rankings.

8. Die Anzahl der Wörter war zwischen den Top-10-Ergebnissen gleich verteilt. Die durchschnittliche Wortanzahl für Ergebnisse auf der ersten Suchergebnisseite lag bei 1447.

9. Keine Korrelation zeigte sich zwischen dem Umfang des HTML-Codes und den Rankings. Das bedeutet: Auch Seiten mit einem größeren Datenvolumen haben gute Rankingchancen.

10. Eine geringe Korrelation wurde gefunden zwischen der Länge der URLs und den Rankings. Kurze URLs scheinen leichte Vorteile gegenüber längeren URLs zu besitzen, wenn es um die Rankings geht.

11. Zwischen der Verwendung strukturierter Daten und den Rankings wurde keine Korrelation festgestellt. Dazu muss gesagt werden, dass Google immer wieder betont hat, dass sich strukturierte Daten nicht auf die Rankings auswirken. Es geht hier vor allem darum, durch die Anzeige von Rich Snippets präsenter in der Suche zu sein und Google dabei zu helfen, die Inhalte einer Seite zu verstehen, damit sie für die richtigen Suchanfragen angezeigt wird.

12. Websites mit einer überdurchschnittlichen Verweildauer der Nutzer verfügen tendenziell über bessere Rankings. Eine Steigerung der Verweildauer um drei Sekunden entspricht dabei der Verbesserung um eine Position in den Suchergebnissen.

Auch wenn es sich bei den Ergebnissen lediglich um Korrelationen handelt und daraus nicht automatisch kausale Zusammenhänge abgeleitet werden können, sind die Daten durchaus interessant und zeigen mögliche Optimierungsansätze.

Dabei sollten aber keine voreiligen Schlüsse gezogen werden. Selbst wenn sich zum Beispiel ein Kriterium laut Studie nicht auf die Rankings auswirkt, kann es dennoch positive Auswirkungen für die Nutzer haben und sich damit zumindest indirekt positiv auf die Rankings auswirken – etwa dadurch, dass die Nutzer dann eher geneigt sind, einen Link auf die Seite zu setzen.

https://www.seo-suedwest.de/5782-wichtigste-rankingfaktoren-fuer-google-neue-studie-zeigt-korrelationen.html

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Videotelefonie Google bläst zur Attacke auf Zoom

So manche Tech-Firma blickt neidisch auf den plötzlichen Erfolg von Zoom. Doch noch ist Bewegung im Markt der Videokonferenz-Apps: Durch Anpassungen will Google nun seinen Dienst Google Meet voranbringen.

29.04.2020, 16.21 Uhr

Startseite von Google Meet: Eine Alternative zu Zoom

Startseite von Google Meet: Eine Alternative zu Zoom

Google

Ähnlich wie schon Facebook will jetzt auch Google den überraschenden Erfolg des Videokonferenz-Dienstes Zoom kontern. Der Internetkonzern macht dafür eines seiner bisherigen Angebote attraktiver und stellt seinen Premium-Dienst Google Meet fortan allen interessierten Nutzern kostenfrei zur Verfügung. Bislang zielte Google Meet vor allem auf Firmenkunden und Schulen. Für jeden nutzbar sein soll der Dienst nun ab Anfang Mai. Die einzige größere Zugangshürde: Man braucht zwingend einen Google-Account, um Meet gratis verwenden zu können.

Zoom war mit seinem ursprünglich für Unternehmen gedachten Videokonferenz-Service zum Überflieger der Coronakrise avanciert, nachdem die Firma Einschränkungen für Privatkunden aufgehoben hatte. Die Zahl täglicher Meeting-Teilnehmer stieg zuletzt auf 300 Millionen. Zoom wurde damit zur wohl am schnellsten wachsenden Kommunikationsplattform, obwohl die etablierten Internetunternehmen Videochat-Angebote mit einem Kundenstamm von theoretisch vielen hundert Millionen Nutzern haben. Google Meet kommt nach jüngsten Angaben auf 100 Millionen Nutzer täglich.

In der Gratis-Version von Google Meet ist eine Videokonferenz eigentlich auf 60 Minuten begrenzt – bis Ende September ist diese Einschränkung aber aufgehoben, wie Google am Mittwoch mitteilte. Bei Zoom sind in der Gratis-Version maximal 40 Minuten Konferenzdauer vorgesehen. Genauso wie bei Zoom können in Meet bis zu 100 Gratis-Nutzer an einem Videochat teilnehmen. Bei Facebooks vergangene Woche vorgestelltem Konkurrent-Angebot Messenger Rooms sollen es bald 50 sein – zunächst sind es rund 20.

Beitritt per Link möglich

Meet-Videochats beitreten kann man wie auch bei anderen Diensten unter anderem über Weblinks. Bei Zoom sorgte dieses Verfahren bei der breiten Nutzung außerhalb von Unternehmen für akute Probleme. Beim sogenannten Zoombombing störten immer wieder Fremde Videokonferenzen: Dritte konnten Zoom-Meetings aufrufen, wenn der Link öffentlich bekannt wurde oder sie die Konferenz-ID errieten. Zoom steuerte inzwischen unter anderem mit der Empfehlung gegen, Konferenzen mit einem Passwort zu schützen.

Google-Manager Serge Lachapelle sagt, Meet setze zum Vermeiden solcher Vorfälle zum einen auf komplexe IDs, die man nicht erraten könne. Zum anderen könne man unbekannten Teilnehmern den Zutritt zum Videochat verwehren. Auf Passwörter verzichte Meet deshalb zunächst. Meet läuft in Googles Webbrowser Chrome, ohne weitere Plug-Ins, was den Dienst ebenfalls sicherer machen soll.

Google will außerdem mit seiner Stärke bei maschinellem Lernen punkten: Algorithmen sollen das Bild bei schlechten Lichtverhältnissen aufbessern und störende Geräusche im Hintergrund herausfiltern. Den bisherigen Markennamen Hangouts für seine Videochat-Produkte gibt Google mit dem Ausbau von Meet auf, sagte Serge Lachapelle.

mbö/dpa

https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/apps/google-meet-google-blaest-zur-attacke-auf-zoom-a-6d41495b-e3d0-4b08-8829-7076edf5abf6

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Pity the out-of-work influencers

Don’t mock their empty and decadent jobs: the Instagrammers were only trying to forge a new path
BY JAMES BLOODWORTH, 29. April 2020

Bearing a grudge against people who enjoy their jobs is a very British trait. Just look at the way we talk about professional footballers. They earn a great deal of money and so a degree of envy is understandable; yet considering the entertainment they provide, they seem to get it in the neck a good deal more than other high earners (ones probably more deserving of opprobrium).

Last week, the plight of an another maligned group — Instagram ‘influencers’ — made the news. “Influencers’ glossy lifestyles lose their shine”, reported the BBC. The story was received with a mixture of schadenfreude and undisguised glee. “Hahaha time for social media ‘influencers’ to get a real fucking job like the rest of us,” read one not atypical tweet.

These influencers have gained enormous sway over the past years. Their greatest asset is a large social media following, which they use to promote certain products and get paid for doing so. It’s a similar sort of thing to sports stars being paid to wear a certain pair of boots or use a certain bat. But with Covid-19 hobbling many ‘lifestyle’ companies and international travel coming to a standstill, content sponsorship is drying up and marketing budgets are dwindling. And so the sun is setting on the influencer grift and everyone — everyone who isn’t an influencer, that is – is ecstatic.

My own feelings towards influencers are mixed. It’s true, the superficiality of Instagram culture can be wearing. The platform presents people as having perfect lives while the personalities that dominate it thirst for round-the-clock validation and elevate the moral value of ostentatious wealth. Men with chiselled bodies lounge around infinity pools surrounded by a bevy of young and gorgeous women. It purports to be aspirational yet it is a filtered and photoshopped world that is unattainable to the majority of people.

And yet I cannot bring myself to celebrate thousands of (predominantly young) influencers losing their incomes almost overnight. All the jeering last week that they should ‘get a proper job’ doesn’t exactly feel like it comes from a wholesome place. And what is a ‘real job’, anyway? Must it be poorly paid and gruelling? I’m temperamentally inclined to admire those who’ve worked out a way to get paid for travelling around the world looking good.

Indeed, there is an attitude in this country that, as David Graeber wrote in his 2017 book Bullshit Jobs, “If you’re not destroying your mind and body via paid work, you’re not living right.” Get a real job is code for: get a job that makes you as miserable as I am. It’s a bit like the annoying auntie whose own marriage is the worst possible advert for the convention yet who constantly implores you to get married.

But of course, aspiration and envy are bedfellows. When the relationship between work and reward seems to break down, the scale tips towards envy. Many Instagrammers make themselves easy targets. It isn’t hard to hate those who implore us to #hustleand #grind as they do, when most of us know that the infinity pool and the $200,000 Birkin bag is always going to remain out of reach.

This was true before Covid-19; yet the decadent and glamorous lifestyles promoted by many influencers feel hopelessly out of kilter with the new reality of lockdown. We are heading into the mother of all recessions; death is everywhere; we are shuttered behind closed doors in our pyjamas eating comfort food and getting ever doughier. The last thing we want to look at is photoshopped fakery and motivational uplift, presented with a side order of avocado toast. Each day is a struggle; nobody is a failure for not doing 100 push-ups and reading three pop-science books before breakfast.

The trouble is, as well as all the pouting models posting provocative snaps for an army of thirsty men, influence culture is dominated by self-help ‘gurus’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ who promote a value system where failure is a consequence of one not working one’s fingers to the bone. A quick search of the popular Instagram #hustle hashtag throws up thousands of representative memes: ‘Nobody cares about your degree when you drive a Lamborghini’; Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him’; ‘You will never see this view [another Lamborghini] by working from 9-5’.

This sort of pseudo-profundity is the digital equivalent of the ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ tat that hangs from the walls of some lower middle class homes, albeit with a neo-liberal slant. Materialism — fast cars, cartoonishly-sculpted women, jet-setting and bottle service — is the supreme value. It’s a value system that looks incongruent and rather perverse at a time when solidarity, compassion and collectivism are required to deal with a global pandemic. The perfect life was always unattainable. Now it is plain obnoxious.

Much of the online self-help genre had already come to resemble the old communist bloc billboards exhorting the proletariat to work harder for the rewards that were always just over the horizon. It encourages us to believe in the “imaginary universe” that the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu held up as an ideological tenet of neoliberalism, a world of “perfect competition or perfect equality of opportunity, a world in which… every prize can be attained, instantaneously, by everyone, so that at each moment anyone can become anything”. It is yet another incarnation of the meritocratic illusion that keeps the system going — and keeps you working yourself into an early grave.

Despite the glamorous image and ubiquitous capitalist uplift of the influencers, YouTubers and podcasters, this is a precarious world in which one’s income can quickly dry up. It is also a world in which influencers are frequently exploited by the big digital platforms. The fitness personality Joe Delaney — someone whose entertaining and informative content has helped a large number of people to get fit — recently detailed how he received just £4,697, over many months, for a YouTube video which clocked up over 4.2 million views.

The gig-slash-digital economy has repackaged older forms of exploitation — while in the media it has created a landscape that is more hospitable to fake news and demagogues. But it has given more people than ever an opportunity to follow their dreams. I’m an example of that myself: were it not for blogging I would almost certainly not be a writer.

Part of the appeal of the digital economy lies in the way it has undercut the power of stuffy establishment gatekeepers. Uber was embraced by cab drivers — despite its exploitative business model — because the algorithm does not discriminate (at least in theory). There isn’t the same degree of favouritism at any rate. As one private hire driver phrased it to me, under the old way of doing things if a [taxi] controller didn’t like your face or the sound of your voice “you wouldn’t eat that week”. Apps such as Instagram, along with other social media channels, have diversified the route to fame and recognition; nepotistic gatekeepers have been swept aside.

The era in which the baby boomers grew up has an obvious and lingering appeal: free education and healthcare, plentiful jobs, good pensions. But many younger people have looked at the lives of their parents — broken by fruitless toil in office cubicles and worn down by loveless marriages they got tangled up in far too young — and thought: no thanks. One manifestation of this is people forging their own path through the new social media platforms that have sprung up over recent years.

There is quite a lot that is wrong with the superficiality and validation-seeking that is ubiquitous on Instagram. Indeed, the lockdown has provided many of us with the impetus to take a much-needed digital detox. But those glibly celebrating the possibility that Instagram influencers will have to go back, cap in hand, to traditional employers are betraying their own limited horizons. Instagram’s hyper-capitalist porn may leave a bad taste in the mouth. But then, so does begrudging someone making a living doing something they enjoy.

https://unherd.com/2020/04/pity-the-out-of-work-influencers/