AusTech

Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Month: January 2018

How Blockchain is Changing the Face of Digital Marketing in 2018

Let’s face it. 2017 was a year of victories for the dark web. The number of hacks, breaches and leaks faced last year have made data and privacy a top concern, and brand-safety has become a number one priority for advertisers as people become more guarded about the information they share online.

And this is where blockchain comes in. Blockchain technology promises to delivery transparency and unprecedent security to any form of data transaction, and more and more industries are adopting it and the digital advertising industry is no exception.

Obviously, the big names in the advertising space have already started experimenting with blockchain technology. But some smaller companies have also been preaching the benefits, Australian based digital media agency One Stop Media jumped on the blockchain bandwagon early in the game, along with the new ideas that came with it.

Here are three of the ways blockchain is set to shake up marketing in 2018.

Getting rid of the middle man

Companies may eventually be able to skip the ad process completely. Previously advertisers had to rely on separate sources to gain information about their audiences. However, using blockchain, they can build their own customer profiles and track their own metrics from the data shared willingly by the consumer. This means businesses will get cheaper access to their customers and provide them with customized advertisements that take into consideration everything from their local outlets to their browsing history.

Ad Fraud

Digital advertising has long been plagued by ad fraud, from phantom ads maliciously installing software onto user’s computers, to the Methbot scheme which cost advertisers billions in 2016. In the context of digital advertising, the blockchain ledger is a database of information relating to an online advertising campaign. The database is shared among parties in an ad campaign, storing all the relevant data from impressions to audience segments. A brand or retailer buys these impressions through a real-time platform that finds the target audiences. The impressions are then encrypted and broadcast to each participant within the blockchain, who approve it before it becomes part of the permanent ledger and is verified. What this means is that when a fraudulent impression is made, there is a clear record of where it came from and who made it. If blockchain can provide a way to identify fraud, it could save the industry big money.

Transparency

One of the most valuable things that blockchain brings to the marketing table is transparency. Blockchain can be used by companies to show consumers who they are selling their data too, and since this information can’t be copied or changed in anyway, customers can rest assured their data is secure, and won’t be tampered with. This also means companies can’t manipulate data either, allowing customers the peace of mind that the information they’re viewing is accurate and based on real data, not made up figures.

There’s no question that the ideas behind blockchain and it’s uses are powerful forces for change. The technology has the potential to redefine the user experience, and impact digital marketing to the industries benefit.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Online subscriptions are the blind-spot in financial management

 

It is a common myth that financial planning is meant for those who are well-settled in their careers. In reality, planning the finances is perhaps even more important for students or freshers at the beginning of their careers. Admittedly, the rigours of student life or early working life, with limited finances as well as spare time, usually results in financial planning being relegated to the background.

Nonetheless, the magnitude of the student loan crisis in the USA- bigger than the GDP of Australia- suggests that there are millions of students out there who will begin their careers with a crushing debt burden. Under the circumstances, financial planning is not just essential, it is indispensable. Naturally, controlling expenses is an essential part of that plan. One oft neglected component of overall expenditure is on subscriptions. Fortunately, TrackMySubs- a pioneer in this field- is at hand to help you manage your subscriptions.

Founded by Australian entrepreneur Gabe Alves, TrackMySubs empowers subscribers to keep a tab on their active subscriptions, due dates for renewal and total expenditure using the combination of an easy to understand interface and an automated alert system. In addition, it offers slab-wise payment plans, based on the number of subscriptions, thereby ensuring affordability. 

If an app to manage your subscriptions sounds trivial, the facts suggest otherwise. Knowingly or unknowingly, we use several subscriptions every single day. For instance, an average individual would typically be using an office suite like MS office, anti- malware programmes, access to e-commerce portals, news websites, research portals (especially in the case of students), video sharing (Netflix, Prime Videos), etc on a periodic subscription basis. Given the fact that there could be multiple subscriptions under the same category, that’s a substantial number to keep track of.

Imagine you take a subscription for six months on a trial basis, which usually requires entering your bank or credit credit card details. At the end of the subscription period you forget about the expiry of the trail and suddenly you find that a huge amount has been debited to your bank balance. It’s a common enough occurrence that has happened to most of us at some point in time. It was a similar experience that motivated TrackMySubs founder Gabe Alves to develop the app.

Statistically, the average TrackMySubs user has no less than 13.6 subscriptions- nearly double the number of items the human mind can process at one time- which goes to show how easily one can lost sight of existing subscriptions. The monthly subscriptions (6.5 per user at an average cost of AUD 94.14 each) cost over AUD 600 per month- a significant amount for a student or a fresher at the beginning of his or her career.

With the global subscription economy growing at an estimated 15.1 percent per annum, there is no doubt that the number of subscriptions and the related expenditure is only going to increase over time. An app to manage that expenditure is surely going to grow in importance in the years to follow.

 

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Going Green in the Digital Age

As everything begins to rapidly convert from analog to digital, we are given the opportunity as a society to really think about how we can take action towards helping our environment. The growth of the internet as well as modern technology has undeniably expedited our transition and they both continue to be a method of going green at a time when our planet needs it the most. Moving towards a greener society might seem difficult, but every day brings a new opportunity to make a change in your lifestyle habits. Here are a few things you can change in your routine to make a rewarding difference.

Work From Home

A great way to decrease the emission of pollutants is to either find a job that is predominantly remote or ask your employer if your current job can be done from home. With the increased use of computers at most – if not all – offices this is not a completely ridiculous request. Spending your days working from home or out of a local coffee shop saves you money as much as it does fuel for public transit or gas for your car.

Tucking yourself into a home office, furnished to your liking and in close proximity of your kitchen is an easy way to reduce waste and help you attempt eating a bit better during a long day, while still remaining in communication with coworkers. Online services such as Skype and email can keep you in touch even when on your couch.

Store Your Documents Online

It’s easy to forget or even disregard the amount of space physical documents take up in a home or office, not to mention the money they cost in printing ink to only be tossed away when they aren’t needed or stored in a cupboard to never be looked at again. The internet is proving itself useful with regards to this by providing storage platforms known as virtual data rooms that help save physical space and the environment.

Virtual data rooms allow you the comfort of keeping your important and confidential documents secure and in your control for the duration of your payment plan. With a VDR you can invite users to view these documents and enable download and print functions (if necessary), all from the comfort of your home or office. Certain providers also offer a feature that allows you to view the room and documents on your mobile device, making this platform available to you at any moment during the day. Whether you’re working from home or are on a long commute to work, you can stay involved and in control of your projects.

Read Digitally

Many would agree that one of the most enjoyable and entertaining pass times is reading. The feeling of cracking open a new book and curling up on the couch or in the bath has been romanticized endlessly, making it evident why this activity transcends generations. However, despite the ease and seeming harmlessness of reading, it’s important to recognize the effect the production of physical books has on the environment.

These days, paperbacks and hard copies are being replaced with the adjustable screen of tablets and for good reason. Much like the virtual data rooms, they save on the production of paper and the amount of space they take to store. Having a virtual bookshelf is a much greener alternative to wall full of books that you might only ever read once.

Take Advantage of Your Phone

Almost everyone in the western world seems to be walking around with a smart phone in their pockets, but not always using them to their full potential. For some, their phones have taken over the use for their computers, so they opt to conduct business and their lives from the screens of their mobile device. This isn’t surprising considering they easily fit into the palm of your hand as well as provide tools to be used on a daily basis, such as shareable calendars and notepads, foregoing the need for physical stationary. This device alone has been a game changer to the green movement, assuming all its capabilities are being used and it’s disposed of properly when replaced with a newer model.

Lifestyle changes, whether big or small, all have the opportunity of creating a greener planet. Our vigilance and determination to make alterations, such as those listed above, will undoubtedly have positive effects on our society and our environment.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Public Wifi connection security, is your data secured?

The first thing anyone does upon reaching a new destination is hunt for a free wireless connection to connect to, or seek out someone who is able to provide the password. We do this at our friend’s house, when we are at our relatives but most of all, we do it when we are out in public. Airports, cafes and hotels, all of which are hotspots for hackers and snoopers. Here’s how to keep yourself safe.

  1. Secure your connection

Before you connect to the first available network, check to make sure that it is legitimate. You can do that by clarifying the name of the network with the host and this is done to dissuade from falling into ‘honeypots’. Generally set up by data thieves or hijackers who hack into your internet session and steals your cookies which, allows them to pass off as you on various websites.

  1. Connect through a VPN

Unless you are only planning to read the news and not intending to key in any sensitive information whilst connected to a public wifi, use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks encrypt your data much like putting a two-way mirror up between you and the world. You being behind the clear side. Even if a hacker manages to get into your open session, the data they steal would be encrypted and scrambled.

  1. Use encrypted websites

Regardless whether you are able to ascertain your wifi security, always connect through encrypted websites especially when sending sensitive data. Login information and other such data. To check whether the website is encrypted, look at the URL bar of the browser and there should be ‘https’ rather than just ‘http’.

However, be wary that there are website which look extremely similar to verified sites such as ‘bankfamerica.com’ that has managed to obtain the certificate. Therefore, always make sure the URL in your web browser is spelt accurately.

  1. Be cautious

Don’t ever think that it will not happen to you, as what a journalist onboard a plane thought when his emails were hacked and the details repeated to him verbally after the flight. The hacker told the journalist, Steven Petrow, that he has hacked into the emails of everyone onboard but wanted relay this information to him as he gleaned that he is a journalist. His parting words being, “That’s why this story is so important to everyone. It’s about everyone’s privacy.”

  1. Turn no two-way authentication

Wherever possible, take the extra precaution of having a two-way authentication. This way, even if some hacker managed to obtain your login credentials, they would not be able to log on without access to the secondary code usually sent to your phone number or email.

Bear in mind that no matter how well you keep yourself invulnerable, do not assume for one moment that if someone really wanted to steal your data that they are on a fool’s errand, for that is the day you stop being careful. Always keep your security measures updated and constant vigilance.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

Top 5 reasons why startups fail even when they are well-funded

If you are aspiring to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing you have to know is that only a few startups are successful. The internet is flooded with postmortem commentaries on failed startups that include entrepreneurs recalling mistakes that proved fatal to the company. You may have heard that failures are the stepping stones to success but isn’t is preferable to learn from other’s mistakes than make your own?

Although lack of funds are responsible for shut-downs, it is not the only reason. The following are the top five reasons why startups fail even when they are well-funded. The good news is, knowing is half the battle.

  1. Lack of demand for the product

According to a research, the top reason why a startup is unable to succeed is because there is lack of need for the product/service in the market. Even a great marketing plan cannot force people to buy a product they have no use for. The best way to get around the problem is to have a realistic understanding and judgement about market conditions before launching the product. If market research is not your forte, then outsource the task to professionals who can take care of the whole process, right from survey design to data analysis.

  1. Absence of the right team

The second biggest reason for unsuccessful startups is the inability of the founder to bring together the right people for the job. It is not enough to just hire a bunch of smart people with fancy alma mater. Members of a good team should be able to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses, while pursuing a clear common objective. Correspondingly, even a good team can fail to deliver in absence of efficient leadership.

  1. Not gauging the competition properly

This is another area where a good market research plan can save a budding company. Many startups fail because they don’t have a good answer to the question-What are we doing so differently that we can win the market? It is important to monitor your competition, not only for valuable inputs about the market, but also to identify holes in your own business model that can be plugged before it is too late.

  1. Pricing

You may have developed a great product, but it is important to know how much the market is willing to pay for the product and to what extent that pricing will sustain your business. Whether you price it too high or too low, you will struggle to generate revenue in both cases. Also keep in mind that when the company fails to live upto the expectations of paying customers, it constitutes to charging a high price for an average product. Bad pricing strategy doesn’t take long to sink a company.

  1. Ignoring customer feedback

Being unmindful of feedback can only lead to failure of the product and company. In this digital era, when collecting user data has become so easy, hearing what the customer has to say is as important as rolling out a great product. Customer feedback will help you in adapting to demand and stay competitive.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

How Product Reviews Are Defining Ecommerce

 

Data suggests most consumers read online reviews before making a purchase online, even if it is an “impulse” purchase; a consumer will still dive into reading reviews. A study reveals, most consumers actually give the reviews the same weight as the recommendations of friends or family. Personally, I am big on product reviews and take them very seriously before buying a specific product or using a service.

The setback of a negative review can be profound for business owners. Researchers at the Harvard Business School found that an extra star on Yelp is usually an increase in sales by 5 to 9 percent.

“Product reviews have become a part of our everyday life, as many of us are constantly shopping online”, says Matt Stathis of product review site Lodlois.com. These reviews can vary from a tangible product such as a book or a service such as AirBnb.

When consumers browse and read through reviews, most of the time they look for consensus. Naturally if you find a group of people saying the same thing, it probably indicates they are onto something. When you are on an unfamiliar website, with few reviews to read from, it might be harder to trust the product and the website itself – is it trustworthy and reliable?

I believe as a consumer it is important to write your own review for the product. Reviews should not take up too much of your time; they should be designed to be helpful for other consumers. Even if you did not like the service you received or the product you received, your review should not be a banter, that is not the purpose of the review – take your complaints to customer service feedback instead, which should be better equipped to resolve your problem. Your job is not to humiliate the seller or service provider; your job is merely to help other consumers.

When writing your review, try to be precise specific. Remember you are trying to be helpful to your fellow consumers. Tell them the length of the pants was longer than you expected or described, or if a colour of a shoe was slightly brighter than the image posted. Include information that will be relevant to other shoppers.

If you disliked the running shoe you purchased from Puma and realized you should have purchased a Nike shoe instead and you write that as banter for your review, most likely that information will be unhelpful detail for the next shopper who really just wants a decent pair Puma shoes.

I am a frequent traveller so I am always on travel hotel websites; I read many reviews all the time. Many times people will write things such as; “The Street facing the hotel was very loud, many drunk people walking around do not stay at this establishment.” This review is not really useful for the consumer and it is negatively impacting the hotels image for absolute no reason. Instead you can write that the location of the hotel was not suitable for you, instead of negatively stating irrelevant facts that have nothing to do with the establishment itself.

Online reviews will never be flawless; either they will be fake or there will always be people who will rant about the product or service. At the same time, we can be honest and relevant with our reviews and persuasive enough to steer consumers toward the good things in life, reputable businesses that try to make the best product or experience.

To contribute an article, please pitch your idea via email.

© 2018 AusTech

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar