Pinterest aims for products from the store down your street as its next big ad business

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Pinterest is known for having, and promoting, a lot of business content. It’s actually a majority of the content, and it’s usually from some of the most well-known brands that feed into the kinds of sometimes dream-level wants and needs of its users.

And while a majority of Pinterest’s potential is locked up there, the company has increasingly turned its gaze toward smaller and smaller businesses to try to entice users with local content — including that clothing store right down your street. That’s part of the reasoning behind Pinterest’s Propel program, which it started a year ago to work with small businesses that really either didn’t know what they were doing, or had just never done it before. In another step toward that goal, Pinterest has hired Matt Hogle to be the global head of small business.

Hogle spent 9 years at Facebook, working with small businesses and will be part of the effort for the company to try to find the right set of tools and strategies in place to appeal to small businesses as it starts to ramp it into a significant portion of its revenue. The number of small businesses advertisers on Pinterest has increased by around 50% year-over-year, the company said, and it looks to continue to refine a kind of hybrid strategy that mixes platforms and interactions with real people in order to entice those businesses. That’s important for, say, a local clothing store that only has one store and a limited online shop, but has products that would perform well on their own as content on Pinterest — and could quickly add revenue if they started advertising on it.

“We, as an ads business, know what customers’ business objectives are, and we capture that at the early stages,” Pinterest head of global sales Jon Kaplan said. “We know what they’re targeting, how they’re targeting, who, and we know the creative best practices. We should be able in the very near future to take all these elements and say, oh this is your objective, we’ll obfuscate all this complexity and hit a target [return on ad spend] you have. We’re not far. We’ve obfuscated a lot of the levers one can pull in Propel.”

Propel, for now, is adopting an increasingly popular human/digital approach for smaller businesses that are looking to advertise for the first time on Pinterest. If they have no experience whatsoever, or don’t even know what to do, Pinterest’s goal is to serve as a resource for best practices when it comes to creative content down to where to target it. Pinterest is increasingly rolling out more self-serve tools with more robust targeting and tracking, but the kind of small businesses — the sum of which could eventually account for a big chunk of its revenue — that Facebook has snapped up with the prospect of getting in front of the exact right people at the right time. The company says it will be rolling out the “promote” button, which allows advertisers to click a button on a pin to quickly spin up a campaign, to Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK in the next coming weeks.

In the end, Pinterest still has 200 million monthly active users, which is absolutely dwarfed by Facebook’s billions of users. But at the same time, Pinterest may be able to capitalize on the good will that Facebook has torched in light of its massive privacy scandal in which information on as many as 87 million users ended up in the hands of a research firm without authorization or permission. Facebook can prove a return on spend, but it can’t at the moment prove that it’ll be able to keep doing the same things that get that return on spend now that the Internet is revolting against Facebook for its massive breach of trust. (Hogle, to be clear, joined before details on the Cambridge Analytica scandal began pouring in.)

Pinterest’s value to advertisers is that it’s able to capture a potential customer when they are just a user clicking (or tapping) around Pinterest looking for ideas. Whether planning life events or just looking for wardrobe suggestions, Pinterest is able to go to advertisers and say they can catch them in those discovery stages and then stick the right ad in front of them to get their attention. Then, the service can follow the user all the way from when they are actually interested in doing something, searching for what to do, and eventually saving that product — or buying it.

It’s that potential value for advertisers that’s taken it to a $ 12.5 billion valuation in its most recent financing round. But while Pinterest is probably still a sort of curiosity buy for larger advertisers and brands, the challenge has been to chase down the businesses that don’t have huge marketing budgets and might not even be considering Pinterest as a potential advertising platform. After all, the playbook for Facebook is robust and there are plenty of success stories, and the same is true for Google. But at the same time, that bespoke coffee shop down on Valencia Street in San Francisco may have products that line up perfectly for a Pinterest user that’s looking for a holiday gift down the line.

“Over the coming nine months, into 2019, I think we’re gonna continue to invest in ways that make it easy for our small businesses to grow with us,” Hogle said. “Small businesses are unique in the sense that they don’t have the time or energy or resources — the CEO might also be the HR person and the marketing person, and so on. We need to make it extremely lightweight and seamless. At the end of the day, if we can’t provide value and deliver on the money they spend with us and demonstrate the value that’s created there — sales being that number one performance indicator for these companies — then we’re failing. The things we’re gonna continue to build are ways to make that process as easy and seamless.”

“Small businesses add disproportionate value to Pinners and our ad ecosystem,” Hogle said. “I truly believe that small businesses are part of the fabric of every community, they’re the engine that drives every economy around the world. Their relevancy, category or vertical, or proximity to consumers creates disproportionate organic value to Pinners and also creates disproportionate commercial value. Our goal is to show the people the most relevant ad they possibly can based on what they’re trying to accomplish. We can’t do that if we do not meet the needs of the vast majority of businesses that exist. It is a strategic decision, but it’s not just one that goes into paid ads, it creates disproportionate value for the entire platform and ecosystem.”

Hogle’s conversations started mid last year with Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s former president who left in November last year. What started as an exchange of ideas turned, as these conversations often do, it discussions about a potential job at Pinterest, and finally months later he ended up joining to start helping with the company’s small business efforts. Pinterest is increasingly looking to staff up with a suite of executives that will help it get its business in order ahead of a potential IPO. That includes a new COO, Francoise Brougher, who joined in February from Square.

But if Pinterest is going to eventually go public, and get its employees and investors paid out for their efforts, it needs to show that it can be a business that’s beyond just a curiosity budget for a big brand. Getting small businesses on board, like the ones Hogle looks to capture that are right down the street, are a big part of what the company hopes will eventually show that it has a diversified revenue stream and not beholden to just the big and potentially fickle budgets of larger brands.

“Our ad platform is not very old by industry standards, but the rate of development on our self serve tools and the rate of development on interfaces for our small customers is moving at a pace where I’m really pleased,” Hogle said. “The ability to carve out opportunity for advertisers is something that’s moving really quickly. Is it where it needs to be long term, of course not, but we’re gonna continue to invest. One of the reasons I joined was it was very clear to me that small businesses were a priority. We are going to invest in products and we’re also going to invest in educational programs. We’re gonna invest and provide the necessary resources.”

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Apple Patent Application Aims to Put VR Systems in Autonomous Cars

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Apple’s patents might not be a clear indicator of what’s actually going to be a product anytime soon, but it does at least present a clear look at some of Apple’s lofty ideas. Continue reading
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Meeting tomorrow aims to combine 59 iPhone throttling lawsuits into one class action case

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The interval between Apple being accused of wrong-doing and the first lawsuit is never very long, but the revelation that the company was deliberately slowing older iPhones appears to have resulted in a record number of cases.

Last time we counted, there were 30 separate cases, and that number has now almost doubled. However, a meeting tomorrow aims to combine all the US cases into a single class action lawsuit …

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Tapas Media aims to turn digital comics into the next big entertainment franchise

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Tapas Media has its own platform for digital comics — but like a lot of publishers, CEO Chang Kim has ambitions beyond the comics world.

Comixology is the big name in digital comics. The company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2014, is focused on selling print comics from major publishers in web- and mobile-friendly formats. (It’s also working with publishers like Marvel to create exclusively digital content.)

That’s a very different approach from Tapas, which Kim compared to YouTube — it allows individual creators to publish their work and (hopefully) reach an audience. And unlike the superhero-dominated world of American comics, the most popular titles on Tapas seem to be more romance and fantasy themed, and are usually drawn in a style that’s closer to Japanese manga.

Tapas was founded in 2013, and it now says the platform has more than 32,000 creators who have created more than 48,000 titles. And it’s reaching an audience of 2.1 million monthly visitors.

The comics themselves are monetized through micropayments. Usually, the first few chapters of a title are free, then you have to pay to keep going.

Chang said his team is also working with some of the most popular creators on the platform to develop new intellectual property, which could be translated into movies or TV or other media. Eventually, he said he’s hoping that Tapas could launch the next Harry Potter.

Dungeon Construction Co game

That level of success is a long way off, but Tapas is already exploring ways to adapt its IP. For example, it’s announcing a partnership with Red Kraken Apps to develop a mobile puzzle game based on its Dungeon Construction Co. comic.

In addition, the company has partnered with Hachette Book Group and Ten Speed Press on titles, and it’s signed distribution deals with Tencent and Kakao.

Tapas announced earlier this month that it has raised $ 5 million in additional Series A funding. (The company has raised $ 10.8 million total.) Now it’s revealing more details about the round, which comes from ID Ventures, SBI Investment Korea, Medici Investment and EN Investment. Sean Park of ID Ventures is joining the board of directors.

“ID Ventures invested in Tapas Media because we believe in the impact their platform has on the digital and mobile publishing industries,” Park said in a statement. “Their remarkable extension into licensed content and co-development will see their continued dominance, as ID Ventures’ investment looks to help Tapas Media capitalize on their platform’s adoption and innovation as well.”

Mobile – TechCrunch

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HPE aims new portfolio at enterprise AI deployments

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HPE, the hardware, software and IT services company, has revealed a number of new products and services that it hopes will help organizations across different industry sectors deploy artificial intelligence (AI).

NEWSBYTE: Enterprise technology and IT services company HPE has revealed a new product and service portfolio that it hopes will help organisations across different sectors deploy artificial intelligence (AI).

The company said it wants to help businesses exploit AI by making existing business processes more efficient.

“Global tech giants are investing heavily in AI, but the majority of enterprises are struggling, both with finding viable AI use cases and with building technology environments that support their AI workloads,” said Beena Ammanath, global VP for artificial intelligence at HPE Pointnext.

“As a result, the gap between leaders and laggards is widening.”

Read more: Dell: UK lagging well behind Europe on IoT, AI, digital

HPE Digital Prescriptive Maintenance Services, delivered by HPE Pointnext, is a product that prescribes and automates actions, with the aim of preventing industrial equipment from failing, as well as optimising productivity. It aims to capture all relevant data sources in the enterprise, including real-time and batch data from IoT devices, data centres, and the cloud.

Meanwhile, HPE has put together an Artificial Intelligence Transformation Workshop, a one-day initiative that aims to help enterprises begin their AI journey by identifying AI use cases that are tailored to their business needs.

HPE Pointnext AI experts will work with business and technology leaders to formulate a plan to help businesses move from exploring AI to implementing it.

In addition to these services, HPE is also releasing the Apollo 6500 Gen10 System hardware platform –  with support for up to eight NVIDIA Tesla v100 GPUs – to aid organisations in training deep learning models.

HPE said that this enables the system to deliver three times faster model training than previous generations of hardware.

In addition, HPE has embedded NVIDIA’s high-bandwidth NVLink 2.0 interconnect to increase the speed of communication between GPUs in the system – with up to 10 times faster data-sharing rates than traditional, PCIe Gen3 interconnects, said HPE.

• IBM recently unveiled a new data science platform which it hopes will also accelerate AI adoption.

Read more: Crypto mining: Why IoT users should worry about NVIDIA’s stock price

 

 

The post HPE aims new portfolio at enterprise AI deployments appeared first on Internet of Business.

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YouTube Aims to Put the Brakes on Online Conspiracies

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YouTube intends to ramp up its efforts to combat conspiracy mongers, perhaps in response to the rash of conspiracy videos that trended following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among other things, YouTube will supply links to relevant Wikipedia pages and other credible websites to provide viewers with a counter narrative, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki, who revealed the plans earlier this week during a panel discussion at SXSW. YouTube plans to roll out additional features over the next few months.
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Cloudflare aims to create a “third place” for computing jobs

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Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince. Image courtesy of the company.

This week, Cloudflare introduced its Workers platform to the world as a new form of edge computing. The news is worth taking a closer look at given all the intense focus on edge computing today. For example, the telcos are all pushing forward with their version of edge computing, contained on servers at the edge of their cellular networks.

And not a week goes by without some startup claiming it has a new edge computing platform or tool. Part of the ubiquity of the phrase “edge computing” comes from the fact that every player in the IoT thinks of the edge in a different way.

Sensor companies think of the edge as tiny, battery-powered devices that gather data, while industrial manufacturers consider it a computer on a machine that gathers data from multiple sensors. Intel and Dell think of the edge as a gateway, or as servers on a factory floor. While the telcos — along with content delivery and internet security provider Cloudflare — view the edge as the limits of their own networks.

For Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, the edge touted by industrialists and sensor folks will eventually disappear. “Any on-premise devices are going away,” he says. Instead, he sees a future where there is device-side computing, back-end computing in the cloud, and what he calls the “third place” of computing, which happens in between those two.

The benefits of such an architecture are that a company can take advantage of computing power that’s geographically closer to the device, and build devices at the edge that are cheaper because they have no need for big CPUs. As an added bonus, because those devices connect through Cloudflare’s network, they aren’t directly on the public internet and as such, have some security protection. The downside to this architecture is that when the internet fails, so do all the programs you have running in the cloud. Basically one might make the trade-off of putting expensive compute chips in an edge device to putting in dual forms of connectivity.

I’m not sure all on-premise devices will go away, especially not in the next five to 10 years, but I do think the idea of having a third place for computing makes sense. Some of the examples Prince offered by way of customer stories really resonate. For example, a company building an edge device designed to take in constant data, such as a thermometer, could send the data to a Cloudflare Worker program that aggregates it and then sends a sample to the cloud for storage or for processing later on. But if the temperature data spikes, the Worker program can take action and send an alert to the end user.

And ideally, that alert would take less time to reach the end user and would be more resilient than a function hosted on the cloud that’s dependent on a single data center location. Another advantage of this approach is that it makes managing the equipment a bit easier. In the temperature sensing example, for instance, the end user just has to buy the sensors tied to the Cloudflare Worker program and put them in his or her location.

As those sensors age, they can be updated remotely and even replaced without having to futz with a gateway box. One of the more challenging aspects of deploying IoT offerings is that provisioning connected devices can be a nightmare of typing in passwords or snapping pictures of QR codes. In this case, devices can arrive pre- provisioned.

What I’d like to see is a robust discussion of the merits of each approach and a clear understanding of their related trade-offs. There’s obviously an opportunity for this version of edge computing with some connected devices, especially those that need to be cheap and easily deployed.

Currently, Cloudflare Workers can be written in Javascript, but support for more languages will be coming. And Prince is also thinking about how to add the concept of state to his edge computing network via some kind of distributed and reliable data store. “That’s what we’ll be talking about next year,” he says.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

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New Apple Patent Aims To Keep Liquid, Debris Out Of Mac Keyboards

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A new Apple patent dubbed “ingress prevention” aims to prevent things like liquid and debris from damaging a keyboard, effectively preventing the keys from moving freely.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Boelter Aims to Simplify Restaurant Marketing

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The Boelter Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s leading food service design, equipment and supply companies, announced this week the launch of Boelter Blue, a custom mobile app that simplifies restaurant marketing.

The app, designed to help independent restaurants drive customer engagement and traffic, builds on mobile application technology Boelter gained when it acquired Anchor 5 Digital last year. Boelter will introduce the app at next week’s Midwest Foodservice Expo.

“We’re not just providing our customers digital marketing technology, but also decades of Boelter foodservice expertise,” said Eric Boelter, president of the Boelter Companies. “With Boelter Blue, we’ve made it easy for restaurants to reach and engage customers so they can focus on what they do best – preparing great food and entertaining guests.”

Boelter Blue customizes and sets up each restaurant’s app. Then with just a few clicks, Boelter Blue customers can pre-set or send on-the-go messages and photos directly to customers’ phones and connect customers to existing online services including reservations, menus, ordering, delivery, and loyalty programs. The app includes an easy-to-navigate dashboard so restaurants can measure real time results and trends to see how they’re doing.

“What sets this apart is our service extends well beyond launching the app,” said Dan Holen, co-founder, Boelter Blue. “To help our customers stay top-of-mind, it’s important we help them deliver the right marketing content, at the right time, to further entice customers through the doors.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly a third of consumers say technology influences their decision on where to dine out or order delivery/take-out. It’s certainly made a difference for some of Boelter Blue’s initial users.

The post Boelter Aims to Simplify Restaurant Marketing appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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New survey aims to show how many people will upgrade to a new iPhone this fall

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A new survey from Loup Ventures aims to offer color on what percentage of Apple’s current iPhone users plan to upgrade to this year’s yet-to-be-announced models. The survey ultimately indicates that the iPhone is “settling into a lower growth, more predictable rhythm.”

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