Blog

May 3rd, 2016

2016May3_BusinessIntelligence_BWhen it comes to marketing, it can be tough to determine the most effective strategies. There are so many different ways you can try to lure customers to your brand: a free ebook, email marketing and press releases are few strategies often used. But how do you know what’s most effective? It all comes down to looking at data to see what works best. We’ve done some legwork for you to show how this old school marketing tactic is still influencing customers as much today as it did decades ago.

What is one thing every consumer has in common? They all love to save money. This is why the marketing technique of offering coupons is still as effective today as it was decades ago. Shocked? Don’t believe this is true? Well, let’s explore some statistics.

A recent report by Valassis, a large marketing firm that serves clients across the globe, provided some enlightening information on the effectiveness of coupons. Here’s what they discovered in terms of how coupons influence consumers.

  • 82% of all consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they wouldn’t normally because of a coupon
  • 85% are influenced to try a new product because of a coupon
  • 84% are more likely to switch brands because of the weekly specials on offer
  • 24% choose to shop at another brand’s store over their preferred because of better advertised bargains
This same report also uncovers some interesting data about brand loyalists, revealing that 78% are more likely to buy from a brand they wouldn’t normally patronize, due to a coupon. While this number is surprising close to the amount of total consumers influenced by coupons (as mentioned in the first bullet point above) this next bit of data may come as more of a surprise: 43% of brand loyalists have a more positive view of a company that offers coupons over those who don’t.

While this recent report goes a long way to revealing the benefits of coupons, how do they compare to another common marketing offer used today: free information products?

The appeal of coupons over information products

According to one marketing firm based in Waterford, Connecticut, a coupon was chosen 9 out of 10 times over an ebook when offered simultaneously. This raises an interesting question: why would a coupon be more effective than a free ebook or other information product? Let’s look at some common psychology triggers at play here.

Broad appeal - simply put, coupons have mass appeal. While information products are likely to be seen as more valuable to those with a higher education, a coupon can appeal to all income brackets - from the very wealthy to the very poor.

Instant value - to gain results from an information product requires a time investment and action. For example, if a customer receives a free 30 page ebook that explains how to get the best discounts on electronic equipment, he or she needs to read the book and then take action (and possibly create a plan) to gain the rewards of that time investment. Many consumers would rather spend their time doing something else, but a coupon on the other hand offers immediate value. Simply hand it over to the service provider, and you save money instantly. What’s not to love about that?

Uniqueness - the online marketplace is flooded with free information products. While they’re still an effective tool to gain a prospect’s email address, far fewer businesses offer coupons on their website, especially in the small business sector. By offering a coupon, you provide a free offer that immediately separates you from the pack.

The point here is that just because a marketing tool is popular doesn't mean it’s the most effective. This is why we encourage you to review data and statistics before implementing any marketing technique in your business. It can save you a whole lot of time and also make your business stand out.

Want more valuable business information that can help you connect better with your customers? Curious to learn how IT can help collect data more easily? Call us today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Business
April 28th, 2016

2016Apr28_Security_BHackers come in all shapes and sizes. From kids trying to gain notoriety on the Internet to political groups trying to send a message, the motives for a cyber attack vary widely. So how can you protect yourself? It all starts with getting to know your enemy a little better. Here’s a profile of four different types of hackers.

Script Kiddies

When it comes to skill level, Script Kiddies are at the bottom of the totem pole and often use scripts or other automated tools they did not write themselves - hence the name. With only an elementary level of technical knowhow, Script Kiddies usually don’t cause much damage...usually. The Script Kiddy virus known as the Love Bug which sent out an email with the subject-line “I LOVE YOU” fooled millions of people, including some in the Pentagon, in the early 2000’s. The virus reportedly caused around 10 billion in lost productivity and digital damage.

So who is a Script Kiddie? Most of the time they’re simply bored youth looking for a thrill or notoriety. Many never evolve into a full-time hacker, and instead just use their skills as a hobby. Oddly enough, many Script Kiddies find a career later on working in the security industry.

Hacktivist

If you’ve heard of Anonymous, LulzSec or AntiSec, then you’re familiar with Hacktivists. These groups are made up of members of varying skill levels, all the way from Script Kiddies to some of the most talented hackers in the world. Their mission is largely politically motivated as they aim to embarrass their targets or disrupt their operations, whether that be a business or government body. Two of the most common ways they attack their target are by stealing sensitive information and exposing it or denial of service (DDoS) where a server is overloaded till it finally crashes.

As a small or medium-sized business owner you are not necessarily immune to Hacktivist disruption. If your business or a company you’re associated/partnered with participates or provides services that can be seen as unethical, such as Ashley Madison (who fell victim of a major Hacktivist attack last year), then you too may be targeted by Hacktivists.

Cyber Criminals

Often talked about in the media and well-known by most SMBs, cyber criminals are after one thing: money. Their targets run the gamut, including everyone from individuals to small businesses to large enterprises and banks. But what do these targets usually have in common? They either have a very valuable resource to steal or their security is easy to exploit...or a combination of both of these. Cyber criminals can attack in a number of ways including using social engineering to trick users into providing sensitive information, infecting an organization/individual with ransomware or another form or malware, or exploiting weaknesses in a network.

Insiders

Perhaps the scariest type of hackers are the ones that lurk within your own organization. Insiders are made up of disgruntled employees, whistleblowers or contractors. Oftentimes their mission is payback; they want to right a wrong they believe a company has perpetrated toward them, so they’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization somehow. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked his own organization - the US government.

Now that you know what motivates your enemy, you’ll hopefully have a bit of an idea as to whether or not you’re a target. To learn more about how to secure your business from these types of hackers, get in touch with our experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
April 26th, 2016

Bill was born on a military base in Germany and grew up all over the place. During his high school years he settled in Bentonville, AR, and joined the Marine Corps upon graduation. Bill was release from the Corps just a few months prior to Desert Storm. From there he went to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas where he got his Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems. After college he went to work for Wal-Mart’s home office while they were in the midst of explosive growth and was able to cut his teeth on a multitude of leading-edge technologies for the next four years.

After Wal-Mart he went to work for a global IT company called Paranet, where he was the Branch Technical Manager in Tulsa for three years. Paranet eventually got acquired by Sprint, which is why he eventually moved to Kansas City.

Bill was Sprint’s Regional Consultant Manager for the entire central United States and spent most of his time in an airplane. After he’d had enough of the travelling, he decided to leave Sprint for a much smaller company named Global Manage. Working for a smaller company was a good fit for Bill, and he stayed there as Operations Director for seven years. Unfortunately, the owner of the company became a victim of the housing bubble of 2008 and had to close the business.

Bill then moved on to VisionPace, another small company where he could continue to do what he loved…helping small business owners solve technical problems. When RESULTS merged with VisionPace last year Bill was Operations Manager. He has held various roles with RESULTS and is currently working as an Account Manager for several of our clients.

Bill is a rabid Cubs fan and would love to someday rent an RV and just follow them through an entire season. He has always loved baseball but blames his obsession with the Cubs rather than the Royals on his wife and her family.

Outside of work Bill likes the quiet of the country and enjoys sitting on his deck in Louisburg and watching the sunset. He has a woodworking shop at home and sometimes makes furniture. He is married and has a son in high school and a daughter in college.

Bill can juggle, hates all household chores, and addresses everyone he encounters with “yes ma’am” and “yes sir”…a habit from his days in the Corps. When asked what he likes most about working at RESULTS he replied, “When I first came here, everyone really went out of their way to welcome me. The people here are very impressive.”

Topic Articles, General
April 20th, 2016

2016Apr20_Web_BThese days, it’s almost impossible to see a business that does not have a website. Even small businesses have taken to the Internet to find more customers and create an online presence. The problem is, with so many companies creating their own websites, yours can get lost in the shuffle. Luckily, a great web design can make a big difference. Here are five web design trends that could help increase your web traffic.

Scrolling

Scrolling is a convenient method for traversing a website. Instead of navigating through confusing menus and drop-down tabs, a scrolling one-page site has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive for the user. This web design style is definitely more important today, now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages call to actions. The next time you revamp your company website, consider the appropriate scrolling element for your page.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that gives an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more efficiently. The company added flat design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allowed the logo to load faster and made it was easier to read as well.

Animations

One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by including customized animations to their pages. Now this doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add an animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page when your visitors decide to register or login to a website, you are welcomed by a full-screen form without leaving the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Businesses who exhibit their own photography on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it will end up looking very messy. The best way to approach these web design trends is by making sure that the design fits your target audience. You won’t exactly have mouse over animations for a website that doesn’t have very many images. Use the trends that are best for your company.

If you want to learn more about current web design trends, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
April 18th, 2016

2016Apr18_Productivity_BThere’s a lot of talk about BYOD policies these days. While most companies are more concerned with the security risks that go along with bringing your own device, far fewer business owners forget the productivity risks. Believe it or not, a poor BYOD policy (or lack thereof) can actually hurt your staff’s productivity. Here are some ideas to avoid this pitfall when utilizing mobile devices in the workplace.

Use the right tool

Some work tasks just aren’t cut out for mobile use. While using a mobile phone or tablet to send emails is an effective way to work on the go, trying to write long form reports on these same devices is a bad idea. As a general guideline, small tasks such as email, viewing documents, using search engines and project management apps are good for mobile work. Anything that is too detailed is probably better suited for a computer or laptop. Lastly, only train your employees to use and learn the mobile devices and programs that make sense for their role. If you want them to be most efficient, you don’t want to overwhelm them with every mobile tool your business uses.

Communicate face-to-face

Email is undoubtedly a valuable communication tool. But it’s also become the bane of existence for many of today’s employees and business owners. Too many emails kills your employees productivity, overwhelming them. And unfortunately, many times email is simply unnecessary. Instead of sending that email about a question concerning an upcoming meeting, simply go and ask in-person. You’ll likely get a response much quicker and you avoid adding yet another message to the email overflow.

Consider adding a face-first policy in your office. This means that every time your employees consider writing an email, they should question if it’s easier to just go talk with that person directly. If that person is located a quick walk away, then the conversation should take place in-person. This especially makes sense if your employee needs an answer within a few hours, as sometimes emails go unanswered for much longer than this. By enforcing an email policy, your employees’ inboxes are less likely to be overflowing and your communication will take place in a more timely manner.

Set boundaries

There’s no question that mobile tech can help productivity, but it can also hinder it. The problem is that many employees who utilize it have difficulty “switching off”. The lines between work and personal life begin to blur as completing work tasks is always right at their fingertips. While on the surface more work output from your employees may sound like a good thing, in reality it’s far from it. Being “always on” can quickly lead to burnout. And even if it doesn’t, if your employees don’t take time to break and recharge, their productivity will suffer. To demonstrate just how many employees fall into this trap of overworking, the 2015 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index surveyed 2,602 employees and found that a quarter of them regularly worked after standard business hours, and four out of ten worked on at least one weekend a month.

So how can you resolve this issue as an employer? Simply set boundaries. Create time frames for when work platforms and applications can be utilized and for when emails can be sent and responded to. Also, don’t encourage employees to work on off-hours by sending emails during the weekend. If your concern isn’t urgent, then by all means wait till Monday to send it out.

Be flexible

While it may sound a bit contradictory to the last point, being flexible in your work policy can be a smart decision to boost productivity. By being flexible, we mean the ability for your employees to work at hours and locations of their choosing. Most people work better and quicker at certain hours as they are more focused at specific times of the day. And some people will work better remotely than they do at an office space as there can be less distractions. The Staples survey supported this fact as 59% of the employees surveyed said that flexible schedules had a positive effect on productivity.

Cloud tools like Office 365 and Google Apps can help encourage a flexible workplace. But regardless of how flexible your office becomes, be conscious that parameters on work, mentioned in the last section, should still be in place to prevent employee burnout.

Mobile devices in the workplace can go a long way towards making your business more efficient and employees happy. If you’d like to learn more about utilizing mobile devices in the workplace or how you can leverage technology to make your business more productive, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Business
April 13th, 2016

2016Apr13_Security_BTaking work home, or practically anywhere else, has never been easier. With personal mobile devices, your employees can access company files wherever they are. Bringing your own device (BYOD) has become a popular strategy for many businesses to conduct work more efficiently and flexibly. But this strategy is not without its problems. BYOD, if not implemented correctly, can make your system susceptible to a number of risks. So what security risks do you have to account for? Here are a few security implications you should keep a close eye on.

Data leakage

The biggest reason why businesses are weary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can potentially leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and systems. There is also a chance that an employee will take work with them, where they are not using the same encrypted servers that your company is using, leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.

Lost devices

Another risk your company has to deal with, is the possibility of your employees losing their personal devices. When devices with sensitive business information are lost, there is a chance that this could end up falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, if an employee forgets to use a four digit PIN code to lock their smartphone or tablet, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored on that particular device. Therefore, your company should consider countermeasures for lost devices like completely wiping the device of information as soon as an employee reports a missing or stolen phone.

Hackers can infiltrate your system

Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep people from snooping. This along with the fact that your employees might not have updated their devices can allow hackers to infiltrate your IT infrastructure.

Connecting to open Wifi spots makes your company more susceptible to hackers. Open wireless points in public places can put device owners at risk because there is a chance that hackers may have created that hotspot to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected, attackers can simply surveil web activity and gain access to your company’s accounts.

Vulnerable to malware

Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies into your business. Using personal devices means your employees can access whatever sites or download any mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.

Jailbreaking or rooting a device also puts your systems at risk because it removes limitations imposed by the manufacturer to keep the mobile software updated and protected against external threats. It’s best to understand that as your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies to your business, prepare your IT department for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.

So you might be thinking that it would probably be best to just avoid implementing a BYOD strategy in the first place. However, BYOD will help your business grow and adapt to the modern workplace, and should not be dismissed as a legitimate IT solution. It’s just important to educate your company about these risks so that problems won’t occur for your business down the line.

If you need some help implementing IT security solutions for your company, or if you have any concerns regarding IT, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
April 4th, 2016

2016Apr4_BusinessValue_BFor many business owners, calculating the return on investment of a new technology purchase can be tricky. Some may not even see the value of calculating it, and therefore skip this step. This, however, can be a costly mistake to your business because if your technology isn’t saving you money, it’s costing you. Here are some tips to help you understand technology ROI and how to calculate it.

ROI basics

What does it mean to have a positive return on investment? It’s pretty simple. A positive ROI means the results a technology produces are greater than or equal to the amount of time and money invested. Obviously you want a positive ROI, but when is the right time to consider it? Should it be before or after you make a technology purchase? The answer is both. Before purchasing, you want to carefully consider whether a technology service or product is worth your money. Then months after you’ve implemented it, you should analyze whether or not you made a good investment. Doing this enables you to learn from your mistakes (if you made one) and make a wiser technology purchase next time.

Also, don’t forget to look at your technology currently in use. Ask yourself, is your technology simply keeping the lights on? Or is it providing a solid foundation for your business to grow? If the answer is the former, there are likely better options out there worth trying.

How to calculate ROI

When calculating ROI, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Here is a simple formula to get you started.

ROI = net gain/cost Example: You spend $100 and make $150. Your net gain is $50 ROI = 50/100 = 50%

If you’ve yet to purchase a service or new equipment, you obviously don’t know how much profit it will generate. So you’ll have to do a bit of guesswork and estimation. It’s also important to consider some intangibles. Think about the productivity costs of staff time, disruption, and frustration (because most of us don’t work effectively when frustrated). Let’s take staff time for example. How much time will your staff save if you implement a Managed Services solution? With your employees no longer having to put out IT fires daily, what if your entire staff saves 50 hours a week because of it? How much does that add up to in saved salary expense? It’s important here not just to think about the savings in time, but also what your staff could be doing with those extra 50 hours. They could put those hours towards marketing or growing your business. And that alone could make up for the costs of the technology investment itself.

Intangibles don’t just apply to saving time, frustration and disruptions, but also the costs of implementing the new technology. For example, how much time will be required to train your staff on the new technology? What’s the cost of that? Also, how much time will it take to migrate from your old system to the new one? You should consider all of these when estimating your ROI.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider the unique circumstance of subscription purchases. Since you are usually paying these on a monthly basis, it can be a bit tricky to add up real costs. That’s why it’s important to use a timeline for these. For example, if you subscribe to software as a service, what’s the cost of that plan over the course of one year or five? How much money will you save over that time span?

What’s the benefit?

Besides the staffing example mentioned above, consider how a technology investment can create new revenue streams. For example, an investment in VoIP opens up an opportunity to offer video consulting to clients in parts of the country (or even world) that would normally be out of reach. This obviously leads to a new revenue stream and increased profits. So ask yourself, can the technology you’re considering create new revenue streams?

Next steps

Before making a technology purchase, it’s wise to talk with both management and end users about your decision. If you fail to consult your end users before implementation, they may disagree with your decision and therefore take longer to adapt or even rebel against it. Checking with them beforehand gives them a chance to offer valuable feedback on how it will be used in the trenches, and will get them onboard with the technology if you implement it. As for your management team, they can be a valuable resource to bounce ideas off of and gain insights about the technology you may have overlooked.

Lastly, ROI does not need to be calculated for every purchase. If you need to buy something small, like a new keyboard, just go and buy it. Save your ROI calculations for much larger investments that can have a dramatic impact on your business.

If you need help determining the ROI of a potential technology investment, feel free to give us a call for a chat. Our experts can help you determine the true benefits of a given technology and help you make a wise investment.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Business
March 29th, 2016

2016Mar29_Security_BHas your computer been running slow lately? Are you getting a bunch of unwanted pop-ups? Then it’s possible your system’s security has been breached. Being able to identify whether or not your computer is infected with malware will allow you to quickly come up with antivirus solutions to protect your system. This means you’ll be saving time and money from doing a fresh reinstall of your operating system. Here is a list of possible symptoms you may encounter if your computer has a malware infection.

Slow computer

The most common symptom of a malware infection is a slow running computer. Are your operating systems and programs taking a while to start up? Is your data bandwidth suspiciously slow? If so, your computer may potentially have a virus.

However, before you immediately assume your computer has a virus, you should check if there are other causes to your computer slowing down. Check if you’re running out of RAM. For Windows, open task manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and go to the Performance tab and check how many gigabytes of RAM you are using under the Memory section. For Mac OS users, you can open the Activity Monitor app and under System Memory you should be able to find out your RAM usage.

Other causes of a slow system include a lack of space on your hard drive and damaged hardware. Once you’ve ruled out the other potential causes, then a virus may have infected your device.

Blue screen of death (BSOD)

If your PC crashes regularly, it’s usually either a technical problem with your system or a malware infection. You might not have installed the latest drivers for your device or the programs you’re running could possibly be incompatible with your hardware. If none of these problems are apparent in your PC then the virus could be conflicting with other programs causing your crashes. To check what caused your last BSOD go to Control Panel> System and Security> Administrative Tools> Event Viewer and select Windows Logs. Those marked with an “error” are your recorded crashes. For troubleshooting solutions, consult forums or your IT department to figure out what to do next.

Programs opening and closing automatically

Malware can also be present when your programs are opening and closing automatically. However, do check if some programs are meant to behave this way or if they are simply incompatible to run with your hardware first before coming to the conclusion that your computer has a virus.

Lack of storage space

There are several types of malware that can manipulate the files saved on your computer. Most tend to fill up your hard drive with suspicious files. If you find any unknown programs that you have never installed before, don’t open the application, search up the program’s name over the Internet and use antivirus protections once you’re certain that it’s malware.

Suspicious modem and hard drive activity

Combined with the other warning signs, if your hard disk is working excessively while no programs are currently running or if you notice that your external modem is always lit then you should scan your computer for viruses.

Pop-ups, websites, toolbars and other unwanted programs

These are irritating signs that your computer has a virus. Pop-ups come from clicking on suspicious pages, answering survey questions to access a website’s service or installing free applications. Don’t click on ads where Jane says she earned $8000 a month staying at home. When you get pop-ups appearing out of the blue, refrain from clicking anywhere on the pop-up page and just close out of the window and use your anti-malware tool immediately.

Equally, free applications allow you to download their service for free but the installation process can be riddled with malware. When you’re installing a program from the Internet it’s easy to just skim over the terms and conditions page and repeatedly press next. This is where they get you. In the process of skipping over certain installation steps, you might have agreed to accepting a new default browser, opening unwanted websites and other programs filled with viruses. Just be cautious the next time you download something for free. It’s best to try avoiding any of these practices when you can in order to protect your computer.

You’re sending out spam

If your friends are telling you that you’ve been offering them suspicious messages and links over social media or email, you might be a victim of spyware. These may be caused from setting weak passwords to your accounts or forgetting to logout of them.

In the end, it’s best to know how malicious software affects your computer so you can take steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Regardless of whether or not your system has experienced these symptoms, it’s always smart to perform regular malware scans to ensure your business is safe. To find out more about malware and IT security, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
March 29th, 2016

Robert Headrick is RESULTS’ Senior Account Executive in the Lenexa office and has been with RESULTS since the beginning.

Robert was born and raised in Offerle, Kansas (population 177) and immediately moved to Kansas City upon graduation to attend DeVry University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering Technology in the late 1980s. He has been working in technology ever since. He began his career in 1993 selling hardware and services at Logistical Solutions in Lenexa. In 1999, he went to ComputerSource which in 2004 became RESULTS Technology.

Like only 1% of the population, Robert is ambidextrous. He eats, writes and hunts with his right hand. He plays golf, tennis and baseball with his left. Ambidextrous people are often known for being “out-of-the-box” thinkers. If you’ve ever worked with him to solve a technical problem, you’ll agree that fits him to a tee. Maybe that’s why when asked what his favorite part of working at RESULTS was, he replied, “helping clients solve problems.”

When he’s not at work, Robert enjoys hunting, fishing, gaming, and NASCAR. He is also RESULTS’ resident weatherman as the farming tendencies never go away.

March 28th, 2016

2016Mar28_Browsers_BYou may have mixed feelings about ad blockers. On one hand, you may love that they create a smoother browsing experience. And on the other, you may cringe knowing that other Internet users are likely blocking ads your business is creating. So with the upcoming release of Opera’s native ad blocker, business owners are likely to have mixed feelings. Here’s what you need to know about this new feature, and some thoughts on how it may affect your business.

How it works

When Opera’s new ad blocking feature becomes live, it will be switched off by default. However, when an ad is causing a web page to slow down, the user will be prompted to turn it on. If you’re an Opera user who’d like to do this for yourself, simply click the shield icon in the upper right hand corner of your browser. For whatever reason, if you don’t want to block ads for a specific website, you’ll also have that option, which can be adjusted in the browser’s settings.

Why is Opera doing this?

One spokeswoman for Opera remarked, "Ad-blocking technology is an opportunity and a wake-up call to the advertising industry to pay attention to what consumers are actually saying." In other words, consumers are annoyed with intrusive ads that are irrelevant, and Opera believes this is an opportunity for advertisers to create better, more engaging ads. When that happens, ad blocking will become less of an issue.

How will this affect your business?

Ad blocking is not new, as other browsers provide a similar service. The only difference is that competitors like Google Chrome and Firefox use extensions to enable this feature. However, Opera has said that with the use of their native ad blocker, their browser on average runs 45% faster than using Google Chrome with the AdBlock Plus extension and 21% faster than using Firefox with that same extension. In today’s browser competition, and really the world in general, speed is currency. And this could cause users to abandon their current browser and flock to Opera.

You should bear in mind that right now, Opera isn’t an incredibly popular browser. According to the online statistics service W3Counter, Opera was only used by 3% of all Internet users this past February, while Google Chrome was used by 47.5%. With that said, many of Opera’s technological advances have later caught on with other major browsers. For example, Opera pioneered both pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing, which are now the norm for major browsers.

So if your business heavily relies on online advertisements, should you be worried? Unfortunately only time will tell. With that said, it’s likely not time to panic just yet.

What can your business do?

Some companies, like Forbes and New York Times, are already taking action, and experimenting with preventing ad blocking users to access their site. While this probably isn’t an option for you just yet, there are other marketing avenues you can explore. For example, businesses that rely on inbound marketing, which drives users to your business by providing free valuable content, will see little effect (if any) by Opera’s new ad blocking feature. Also, it should be noted that Opera’s ad blocker will not block all ads. It is predominantly focusing on those that are intrusive to users and cause browsing slow down. So if you’re a big on those pesky flash ads that many Internet users despise, it’s likely wise to shift focus to creating leaner, more engaging ads. They’re much less likely to be blocked.

Want to learn more about ad blocking, browsers or cloud technology? Send us a message. We’re happy to help in anyway we can.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud