The Artwork Behind Building Recommendation Engines with Big Data

first_imgAI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… We live in a “long tail” world. That means that mass-market products are no longer able to satisfy consumers who ask for tailor-made solutions. This trend has emerged from online retail, specifically Jeff Bezos’ idea of having a million different shops for a million different consumers. In essence, it all boils down to building the perfect recommendation engine. There are various methods to create such a tool, which we will discuss shortly, but all of them have a common denominator: big data.“Hey, you can have any color you want — as long as it’s black.” –Henry FordThe days of Henry Ford and “any color you want as long as it is black” are long gone. Other things that are going out of fashion fast are website filters and asking questions to narrow down options. Modern customers hope to get exactly what they dream about presented to them as soon as they open a website. On the home page slider, if possible.This trend is also evident in the home entertainment sector. Just imagine if you would have to sort through thousands of movies before finding the one you like. Not the most successful business model, isn’t, it? Yet, a movie recommendation engine, like the one powering Netflix and other similar streaming services, can take hints from what you have previously selected and suggest what you might want to watch next.How are “they” making a selection for you?There are three ways to build a great recommendation engine, each with a different approach to solve the same problem.Clustering recommendation engines.To understand the way clustering recommendation engines work, you should think about product packages or product layouts on the shelves. Clustering takes into consideration their functionality and recommends items that are complementary. For example, a clustering engine would show you a toothpaste if you have already added a toothbrush to your cart.These engines don’t consider your customers’ particular preferences or what other users have bought, so you could build an engine like this even without the help of big data, just using logic and common sense in addition to simple out-of-the-box tools. The only problem with building a recommendation engine in this manner is that it becomes almost unmanageable if you have hundreds or thousands of products.In these cases of many thousands of products, clustering them would be too effort-intensive, so an algorithm should come in handy. Big data can help by making the necessary associations automatically.Content-based recommendation engines.The next way to get an active recommendation engine is to start with what customers already like. Coming back to the Netflix example, if they have already watched two Lord of The Rings movies, most likely they would be interested in the third as well.Here, big data is more useful, as the algorithm gathers numerous data points and computes the relevance between them. For example, it looks at the movie genre, the actors, the director, the soundtrack and even filming locations. Next, it scans the database to find items which are similar to the information discovered. This type of recommendation engines takes into consideration a customer’s personal history of interacting with the service and makes truly contextual suggestions.Collaborative recommendation engines.What if you have just installed Netflix or are on the Amazon page for the first time? Your recommendation feed is not empty. In fact, you might see some good ideas right from the beginning. These are offered based on the preferences of existing users.Once you start using the platform and the algorithm learns more about you, the recommendations will get better because you are automatically assigned to a cluster with similar customers.The advantage of collaborative engines is that it can be used for predictions based on customers’ real-life preferences. The downside is that it works on the assumption that if similar users liked similar things in the past, they would continue to do the same in the future, which is a bit unrealistic.Steps to build a recommendation engine.Before you can select any of the previously discussed methods, you need data to feed the algorithm. Since any big data endeavor is a problem of ‘garbage in garbage out,’ you also need to make sure that the data you have is high-quality and genuine.The first step is to collect the right data. The challenge here is that the most useful information is implicit, coming from a user’s behavior. Although collecting data in online logs is straightforward, filtering just the right information is almost art. The difficulty here is to assign proper importance to each item. For example, in the case of a movie recommendation engine, is the genre or the main actor more critical? Depending on the viewer, answers might be very different.Next, you need to make sure you store the data in a way that allows you to access it fast and the algorithm to learn from it continuously. A NoSQL database offers the necessary flexibility and scalability for such projects which usually grow exponentially. Such a way of storage is possible by spreading the data over hundreds of distributed servers in the cloud.The advantage of a NoSQL database is that it offers the opportunity to store any data, including unstructured ones like comments, reviews, and opinions. Most of the times, these are far more valuable than ratings by numbers since you get an insight into more subtle preferences.To create a great recommendation engine, the most critical step is to analyze data and identify patterns. Some of the best-performing systems work in real time or almost in real time, refreshing every few seconds. The least performant but still usable solution is a batch analysis, which is mostly used in retail for looking at daily or weekly sales.Future trends.We can expect that recommendation engines will become so high performing that they will eliminate the need for search, entirely. The danger and downside of this approach is that each customer will live in a comfortable bubble, enjoying the same kind of content with little chance of discovering something beyond that. We are already witnessing this phenomenon happening on our social media feeds — much to our personal and collective danger — and we also see our very own bubbles happening in the automatically generated playlists on YouTube. Sophia Brooke Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Sophia Brooke is a Project Manager with over 10 years’ experience and a proven track record in project management and delivery for a variety of industry sectors: Retail, Software, Construction, Education and Financial services. Tags:#Big Data#big data recommendations#build a recommendation engine#content-based recommendations#marketing#Recommendation Engines#sales Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Will Getting Dugg on Digg.com Improve Your Grades?

first_img Originally published Jun 7, 2007 5:30:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 So, back to the original question: Does getting a bunch of articles on the digg front page improve your grade? The answer is: Yes, but not directly. Since this is a new feature, it is not incorporated into the algorithm that calculates the final grade yet. We may change this later. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Digg.com is a social content site. Users submit articles that they like and find interesting and other users can then “digg” these articles. With enough diggs, an article can make it to the front page of digg.com (and as a result, a lot of server-crushing traffic ensues). Here’s the information we currently grab and show: Last night, a new feature was added to Website Grader 3. How many of these articles made it to the digg popular page?last_img read more

A Domain By Any Other Name Would Not Rank As Well

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack SEO Topics: Originally published Jun 22, 2007 11:55:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 JULIET:         ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;         Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.         What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,         Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part         Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!         What’s in a name? That which we call a rose         By any other name would smell as sweet;         So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,         Retain that dear perfection which he owes         Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,         And for that name which is no part of thee         Take all myself. I will leave to Juliet any thoughts about how appealing Romeo would be if he had a different name.  But what I can tell you is that your domain name has a big effect on your ranking in Google and other search engines.  Here are some of the reasons to look into buying a premium domain name.1) Look bigger than you are.  Even a small business can look big on the Internet if you have the right domain name.  If you are a local marketing firm, you look like you know what you are doing if your URL is www. LeadMarketing .com instead of www. MyCambridgeMarketing-Online .net  And, usually a premium domain is far less expensive than many other marketing activities.2) Get more traffic.  With the right domain name, you can get more traffic to your website in two ways.  First, some people will just type in your domain into the browser address bar and see what happens.  If you own the domain, your website will be what comes up!  Second, if you have good keywords in your domain, it is much easier to get ranked on the first page of search results, driving more traffic to your website.  Google and other search engines assume that if you have keywords for a search in your domain, then that website is a good search result that has relevant content, and that means you get ranked higher.3) Upstage your competition.  What better way to stand out from your competition than to have a website with the best URL for your industry?  How would you feel if your competitor all a sudden ended up with the perfect domain name?4) Acquire an asset.  Most marketing expenses are impossible to recover any portion of the cost.  The nice thing about premium domains is that they are an asset you can always sell later.  And recently, most domains have been increasing in value, so you might even end up making money on your investment.  Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results.Now that we have covered some of the ways that a premium domain can benefit your business, let’s discuss how you can evaluate a domain to decide how valuable it will be.  Here are some of the things to think about so you can choose the best name for your company.1) Generic keywords are good.  Most businesses really can’t spend the money to build a brand around their company name, this is especially true for small businesses.  So, if you can buy www. computers .com, you should do it, since it will be better for you than www. gateway .com.2) Avoid punctuation and extraneous words.  Adding a dash into a URL makes it harder to type and look less professional, so avoid it if possible.  Also, adding generic words like “my” or “best” or “the” or “online” to the start or end of your URL is not a good idea.  They don’t add any value.3) Try to get a .com domain.  Unless you are a nonprofit or outside the US, most people assume your business will have a .com domain extension and will usually have trouble remembering your URL if it ends in .net or something else.  Domains ending in .com have always been in higher demand and command higher prices than any others.Now that you understand the value in having a premium domain and how to pick a good domain, maybe you should think about buying one?  If you are interested in buying a premium domain, there are a number of services to do so.  At HubSpot we have used BuyDomains.com before and we have found BuyDomains to be a great place to buy a premium domain.Have you bought a premium domain?  Have you found it to be a useful tool for your business?  Leave a comment below and let me know. last_img read more

5 Tips to Write a Really Quick Blog Article

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you blog you have probably gotten to the point where you needed an article last minute to keep up the pace of your content publishing.  Here are 5 tips that might help you put together an article really quickly (like I did with this one).Write an article that is a list of 5 ideas.  People love lists and tips, especially in blogs.  They are easy to scan and easy to digest.  Perfect for web surfing or scanning your RSS reader.  This article is an example.Publish a list of links.  Linking is the currency of the blogosphere, and if you link to other bloggers, they will notice (good ones should anyway, except for the really big/famous ones who get tons of traffic) and you might get a link or comment back.  Here is an example of a list of links article.Take a recent experience and share it.  Has something interesting happened to you?  Was it at all related to your blog subject?  Write a blog article about a recent experience, like this blog article I wrote about a spam email sent to me.Answer questions you have received recently.  We all get questions by phone or email from clients and prospects in our area of expertise.  Collect a few of them and then publish a blog article answering them.  Here is an example of a blog article that answers some questions.  A great tip is to start with the actual email question you received and the email answer you sent, and then just edit it so it is more general and not client specific.Comment on other blog articles.  Need ideas?  Read other blogs in your industry, and then provide your own point of view on the issue at hand.  Here is an example of a blog article that is responding to another blog article.Have other tips on how to get a blog article out quickly?  Share them by leaving a comment below. Originally published Dec 19, 2007 12:12:00 PM, updated October 01 2019last_img read more

Doing a Website Redesign with Search Engine Optimization in Mind

first_imgSo, you’re doing a website redesign ?”Why?” is the question I always ask. Unfortunately, I usually get the wrong answer. However, if you’re doing a website redesign in order to increase traffic and generate more leads and sales from your internet marketing activities , than you should continue reading.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignThe other day I argued that most web design firms don’t design and develop websites with business goals in mind . The biggest area where these firms *generally* lack know-how is how to do a website redesign with SEO in mind. If done wrong, here’s what happens:You could lose your rank for keywords you are already ranking for. Whether you’ve put much effort into SEO already or not, most websites generate a good portion of their traffic from their organic search listings. Don’t screw it up.You could be rewriting content for no strategic reason. If you have an existing website, chances are that you’re *almost* ranking for at least a handful of relevant keywords. When you’re rewriting content, you should find out what those keywords are and then use them to guide your content creation.You could lose the value of your inbound links. Existing links from other sites usually point to different pages on your site. They drive direct traffic and support your SEO. Make sure you map and redirect old pages to new ones.You could do a lot of things that need to be redone again. SEO affects how you organize the pages on your site, your navigation, the words you use to name your pages and many more things that are more expensive and time consuming to change after you build your site.  So, if you’re a marketing manager or a business owner relaunching your website, it’s important for you to understand this process. Since this process requires thorough keyword research and since keyword research requires knowledge of the business, this should be a very collaborative process.The company you hire should have these skills and collaborate with you, or you should find someone that will.As I mentioned in my last post, there are parts of your internet marketing strategy where you need to be intimately involved . This is one of them.   Topics: Originally published May 7, 2008 8:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Website Redesignlast_img read more

6 Ways To Brand Your Business With Content

first_img When companies spend thousands of dollars developing a specific brand name or logo, they do so for a reason. This simple personification of the company’s image is often the one shot that businesses have to give their potential customers a quick and simple view into their business practices, goals and services. A company brand builds trust and credibility as well as focuses on specific demographics to drive traffic. Date and time: Never forget that the words you use to express your company are your portal to a prospective customer’s world. You must show them how you can make their life easier, more profitable, happier and more productive. If you can convey this message in all aspects of your content-driven marketing campaign, you can be successful in convincing your customers of how valuable you are to them. More than anything, treat your content with great care. The value of your content to your consumers can create a brand that people want. However, if your content is produced poorly, it could spiral your business into mediocrity. ‘t quite as easy with content. You must use your content to express yourself to your chosen demographic in a way that they will understand. Our online order form takes mere seconds to fill out. What are the distinguishing features of your services? What do you offer that your competitors cannot match? Are you a small business that can treat clients with personality or are you a super-business that prides itself on speed? Nail down the unique aspects of your business and your brand can be created with effective and interesting content. Have someone else read your work. It is best to use a professional editor. However, having a few employees or friends read your work can bring some hidden errors to the surface. Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 12:30pm EST  Your Credentials Product or Service Selection Consider whether this is a true statement. If you have multiple fields requesting payment information and order confirmation, this statement is probably not true. It may seem like a very small detail; however, honesty and clarity are always better than sales pitches. Tell your potential customers what information they will need before ordering. Take the image that you want to present to the public seriously, no matter what that image may be. When you talk to another person face-to-face, you have a distinct advantage. You can exchange ideas, ask questions, receive feedback and formulate your pitch based on what you know they want. A Originally published Apr 14, 2010 10:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 . You can also follow Corry on Your Resources 1. Avoid Hyperbole In Your Business Content BrandSome hyperbole is fairly obvious when it creeps from casual conversation into web site content. However, hyperbole can also creep into business content without you knowing it. These are broad statements that any company with a solid business plan could use to promote their services. They may not be as obvious as statements like “I could sleep for a century” or “Making this web site will kill me.” However, they can often be just as detrimental. Consider some examples: 3. Make Your Content Match Your Brand Use lists and short paragraphs. Readers will most likely be scanning your content to get the main ideas. Use these ideas as your headers and create content that can be easily summarized. Image:Depending on the strength and focus of your content, you might find that consumers begin to associate specific attributes with your business. By focusing on your image, you can quickly delegate your competition into a category that most people would consider bland. Suppose that you are a business that sells surfboards primarily to an 18-24 college student demographic. Beyond taking social media seriously, your content should be designed to grab their attention and convince them that you are their best choice. Try doing the following in this market: Reserve your spot now We offer quick and easy customer service that is accessible to everyone. 5. Focus on Your Company’s ImageTake into account how you want your visitors to view you as a company as well as how you are currently viewed in the industry. Every piece of content on your web site needs to define who your company is and what you offer that caters to your market’s individual needs. Some key talking points could include: 6. Leverage Your Key Content Branding ApproachesChoose some aspects of your business that you can use to create a specific vision of how your company values certain fundamentals of good business. Try choosing from the following when drafting content: Why should content be any different? In fact, branding your business with content is a way to show your web site visitors that you are the only solution to their problem. If you are in a competitive market saturated with “only solutions,” you need to, at the very least, use content to show your New Media thought leader, Brian Solis, will share how to implement and manage a Social Media Optimization (SMO) program. isn Personality:Try to highlight the aspects of your business that make you human. Many companies use pictures of their employees to reveal personality. However, it might be a good idea to use content in the same way. Try including personal profiles written in the first person. You can also include quotes from your employees to highlight what they enjoy about working with your company. copywriters. For more great information about improving the quality of your web content, visit Corry’s Content Writing Blog potential customer Character:Who are you? Where do you come from? What are your stances? Be honest and authentic. One wrong move in trying to be something that you are not could destroy your company image. Check your content for spelling and duplicates. Don’t simply rely on a spell checker. Read your content several times over a period of a few days to catch every error that you can find.center_img Content Marketing cliff1066™ However, this SEO 2. Discover the Strengths of Your Business and Use ThemAbove all, the content on your web site should have a purpose and it should drive home the reasons why potential customers should buy from you. Perform some research and discover what your business does best. More often than not, such research reveals regional strengths. Without knowing it, you might be the only business in the area that sells a specific product. This could set you up to offer same-day delivery to your region. That is a selling point that sets you apart from your competition. Your content should highlight that aspect of your business. Customer Service Value Outsource your content. Sometimes it’s better to admit that you are not a writer and trust a professional writer to handle your content. If you have the funds in your budget and value the image of your company, it is best to make sure that your content brand is written well the first time. Knowledge that You Bring to the Table Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Use clever and humorous language designed to grab the attention of your audience. Topics: Use simple sales pitches to which college students can relate.  Region From Which You Operate can more easily decide whether they trust you or not when they are actually looking you in the eyes. why you are their very best solution. Avoid listing too many facts and statistics. These will often turn your demographic off. Technology that You Use Live Webinar: Social Media Optimization Is The New SEO With Brian Solis Twitter. Photo Credit: 4. Create Flawless ContentNothing turns web readers off faster than content saturated with spelling or grammatical errors. Such mistakes show that you did not feel the need to invest much time or money into the face of your business. This can have a detrimental effect on the image of your company’s reliability and credibility. Check and recheck your content for errors and make sure that it stays focused and centered on your main ideas. Follow these steps for error-free and professional content: Speed of Your Service Do a prewrite. What information will you include in your content? How will you structure your words to be the most effective? What research materials will you use? potential customers Corry Cummings is the owner of Content Customs, which is a professional team of How? This statement is nowhere near specific enough to brand your business with content. Almost every business could make this claim – and many do. Exactly what about your customer service makes you special? Can you post any specific testimonials or statistics about your service?  to increase your visibility in social media! Include personal statements about your experiences with a product. Tools Available to You The following is a guest post by Corry Cummings, owner of Content Customs. Your Business Experiencelast_img read more

6 Social Media Measurement Questions You’ve Been Asking

first_img Topics: closed-loop marketing 1. Should you be measuring all of social media? Radian6 : is invaluable and is something you can do with HubSpot.   In yesterday’s One way to go about calculating this is to start backwards: instead of thinking how much a Twitter follower is worth, think about how much a lead is worth and take into account your average visitor-to-lead conversion rate.   ?   Some of the social media monitoring tools we mentioned during the webinar include “The goal is not to be good at social media,” Jay said. “The goal is to be good at business because of social media.” While the size of your reach on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is definitely important, it is more critical to see if the people on these channels are behaving in a way that brings you business. One way you can start evaluating the behavior of your prospects is by looking into all the touch points along the sales funnel. In most cases, people are in a research and information-gathering mode, which means they are willing to download reports, view videos and sign up for webinars; they are not going to make a purchase.   why 3. How do you evaluate , ,  Twitter Grader A singular data point, such as number of Facebook likes, is not contextual or demonstrative of success. You should know As a marketer, you want to identify the value of each conversion event—for instance, someone who came from Twitter, downloaded your ebook and ultimately became a customer. This type of Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Just because one social media channel works for someone doesn’t mean it is the right platform for you. If your customers are not really on Twitter, maybe you should focus your efforts elsewhere. As Amber said, you need a strategy that is “tool-agnostic.” Make sure your mechanisms are flexible enough to let you adapt to new tools. social.   , 2. What success metrics should you be worried about? “No,” said Jay Baer, “because it is not about how many things you are measuring. It is about measuring the right things: the things that make you money, save you money, or both.” Our panelists pointed out that businesses shouldn’t overembrace social media measurement because that might present more conflicting points and stir further questions in an nonconstructive way. So Social Media Measurement webinar and , we addressed the numbers as well as a range of questions submitted by our audience. In this blog post we highlighted the top six questions for those of you who won’t have time to watch the entire 4. Should I be present on all platforms? HubSpot pick the right metric , Originally published Apr 20, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Authority Labs these people matter and what they are doing for your company. So stop obsessing over your number of fans and followers; start measuring behavior through referrals and conversions. , PostRank Did you have any other social media measurement questions we should discuss? Post them in the comments section below! Be social, don’t just 6. What are some of your favorite social media monitoring tools?   .   —which could be traffic, leads, engagement—and design your strategy based on that. Argyle on-demand webinar Social Mention 5. What about the value of a Facebook like or a Twitter follower?   do How do you determine the value of your connections on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn? This is a question many marketers are now posing. When you start experimenting with it, make sure your data is not just anecdotal and is based on long-term measurement. You will need to use a statistical significant data size to determine that number. “You have got to marinate these numbers for a little while,” said Amber. From a business decision perspective, you need to look at things deeper and measure overtime.   Social Media behaviorlast_img read more