The latest 2018 paid search benchmarks

Mobile vs Desktop average CTR

Knowing what device your potential audience is using for their search query is important. you need to make sure your desired landing pages are optimized for mobile use (not that it shouldn’t be anyway), but if you’re paying for a user’s click you want to be getting their conversion too. Mobile CTR was far higher in Q4 2017 than desktop averaging 10% CTR.

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Next year, people will spend more time online than they will watching TV. That’s a first.

It’s finally happening: Next year, people around the world will spend more time online than they do watching TV, according to new data from measurement company Zenith.

In 2019, people are expected to spend an average of 170.6 minutes each day on online activities like watching videos on YouTube, sharing photos on Facebook and shopping on Amazon. They’ll spend slightly less time — 170.3 minutes —watching TV.

The global transition from TV to internet as the main entertainment medium was a long time coming, but it also happened faster than expected. Last year, Zenith predicted that TV would still be more popular in 2019 but has since revised its estimates.

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Netflix is now worth more than Comcast

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 8.30.05 AMNetflix’s market value increased to about $150 billion today; it is now worth more than Comcast.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, has been losing video subscribers as people cut the cord and move to streaming services … such as Netflix. Comcast had 22.3 million pay TV subscribers in the first quarter of 2018, down from 22.6 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Netflix has been gaining streaming users, adding more than seven million subscribers in the first quarter.

Of course, Comcast and Netflix have completely different businesses. Comcast owns a sizable broadband company in addition to cable. It also owns NBC and Dreamworks. It’s also planning on bidding on Fox’s movie and TV studios, cable networks and even a stake in Netflix competitor Hulu.

And most of Netflix’s growth is coming from its international expansion.

But the symbolism is hard to resist.

Starbucks’s mobile payments system is so popular in the U.S., it has more users than Apple’s or Google’s

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 5.51.38 AMBy the end of this year, a quarter of U.S. smartphone users — 55 million people — over the age of 14 will make an in-store mobile payment. More than 40 percent of those people will have done so through Starbucks’s mobile payments app, according to new data from research firm eMarketer.

The Starbucks app, which launched before the other three top payments apps — Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay — has long been the most successful payments app. It’s likely going to maintain that lead over the next few years.

The Starbucks app lets users pay with their phones and earn credits toward future purchases. That usage is significant: Starbucks said its mobile order-and-pay system accounted for 12 percent of all U.S. transactions in the quarter ended April 1.

By year’s end, Starbucks will have 23.4 million users in the U.S. who have made an in-store mobile payment in the previous six months, according to eMarketer’s estimates. That number is higher than the 14.9 million customers who are part of Starbucks’s rewards program, which only counts monthly active users; customers also don’t have to be rewards members to make purchases using the app.

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A practical guide to the European Union’s GDPR for American businesses

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect next week, on May 25, 2018. The GDPR’s impact extends far beyond existing data protection measures and affects business of all sizes — from solopreneurs to the largest corporations.

A recent survey conducted by Sage found that 91 percent of American businesses lack awareness surrounding the details of the GDPR, while 84 percent don’t understand the GDPR’s implications for their specific business. American businesses operating or serving customers in the EU need to understand what they need to do to prepare for a new reality.

The fact that the GDPR will impact companies far beyond the borders of the EU calls for greater understanding of how the regulation — and related protection of personal data — applies to organizations based outside the EU. In fact, the GDPR has direct implications for a massive amount of businesses worldwide, due to the EU’s vast trading partner roster. From May 25 on, the EU will effectively require all businesses to be compliant if they wish to operate in EU member states and serve individuals in the EU — either directly, or as a third party (read: at all).

Here are a few things American businesses should keep in mind leading up to, and through, the GDPR’s implementation:

Does the GDPR apply to every business with EU ties?

It depends. The GDPR will affect all companies, individuals, corporations, public authorities or other entities that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU or that monitor their behavior there. For example, the GDPR applies to an American company whose website is made available to people in the EU, or a Boston-based HR manager in an international organization that collects data centrally from EU-based applicants and employees. The GDPR even applies to charities and nonprofit organizations that collect information from individuals in the EU.

Will compliance to the GDPR be closely monitored?

Yes. Noncompliance can result in massive fines. In fact, if a company is not compliant with the GDPR by the May 25 deadline, it could face penalties as big as 20 million euros (around $24 million), or 4 percent of annual global turnover — whichever is a higheramount of money. Supervisory Authorities within the EU have “investigative and corrective powers” to monitor and impose these administrative fines. The Supervisory Authorities’ job is to closely observe corporate data practices and strictly enforce punishment if GDPR requirements are not met on May 25 — or any day thereafter.

How will the GDPR impact enterprise data collection and processing?

The GDPR will require organizations with any ties to the personal data of individuals in the EU to examine — and potentially change — how they collect, store and process the information for business operations. Chiefly, however, the law will set a new global precedent around the importance of personal information ownership and consumer protection. Ensuring the integrity of personal data for individuals — not organizations — is a top priority for the GDPR.

What can businesses do to prepare customers or users for the GDPR?

Communicate. Organizations should use all available channels — from websites to social media to email — to tell all customers and users that the organization is taking steps to improve consumer data practices in accordance with the GDPR. Emphasize the company’s commitment to compliance with the GDPR — and the integrity of customer data. Update privacy policies and put together a simple, easy-to-find online FAQ about what the GDPR means for customer data to cover bases.

What can businesses do to ensure that staff members around the world are compliant?

It is crucial for enterprises to review their methods of collecting personal data and their data processing systems in order to confirm compliance with the GDPR’s requirements. That requires the participation of staff across departments. It’s equally important to think about how outdated and irrelevant data will be disposed of, and how to safeguard the critical information that is still needed. A company-wide system for protecting personal data needs to be established and understood by every staff member. At Sage, we introduced a comprehensive GDPR training program for our employees to learn the basics of data protection law and to help our people understand the importance of safeguarding personal information.

Are there any other measures businesses can take to be GDPR-ready by May 25?

In addition to the internal actions profiled above, organizations should consider devoting resources to the following preparation activities: independent audits of all data processes across departments; modifications to current data operations such as the establishment of staff retraining programs and procurement of more compliant information technology platforms; appointing and training someone responsible for data protection matters, possibly a Data Protection Officer; and launching documentation processes that demonstrate ongoing compliance with the GDPR.