Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Amazon is gaining on Google in search advertising market share.   

According to a recent analysis done by eMarketer, Amazon’s portion of search ad revenue is expected to grow over the course of two years, while Google’s ad revenue is expected to drop. By the end of 2019, eMarketer predicts that Google will have 73% of the market share, but that the share will drop to 70.5% by 2021. While Amazon’s 2019 market share is predicted to end at 12.9%, their ad business is growing at a much more rapid pace and is expected to grow to 15.9% in the next two years. According to the eMarketer report, product searches are frequently being conducted on Amazon, which is partially responsible for its speedy growth. (Source: Geek Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

As I wrote here, it’s a tough challenge for small businesses trying to figure out how to succeed with online search, particularly when one company completely owns the market. But maybe – just maybe – there are other choices on the way. I’m hoping that Amazon catches up to Google so at least companies like mine can have other choices for search and advertising.

2 — Meetup wants to charge users $2 just to RSVP for events, and some are furious.     

Meetup—an online platform that allows users to search for events to meet people in-person who have similar hobbies or interests—announced this week that they are trying out a payment model that will now charge its users in order to allow them to RSVP for an event they’d like to attend. Up until now, the only users who were charged by Meetup to use their service were the individuals organizing the events—who would pay between $9.99 to $23.99 a month—and would be able to organize no more than three groups with an unlimited amount of participants. With the newest version that Meetup is testing, the subscription cost that the organizer pays will be $2 less per month and, instead, will have every member paying $2 if they want to RSVP to an event through the platform. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

As you can imagine, this news was not met with a very positive response from the meetup community, where countless small businesses belong. Now the company is backtracking and telling the world not to “panic.” Let’s hope this “test” doesn’t go any further or I’m betting many small businesses will be searching for alternatives.

3 — Google Ads introduced two new ways to target users in Google Search.     

Over the next several weeks, Google Ads will be introducing two new ways to reach specific audiences when searching. Advertisers will now be able to target by ‘affinity audiences’ which will assist in raising awareness among a given group who has already expressed an interest in a specific area. Additionally, Google Ads will be rolling out a new seasonal events feature for in-market audiences through their search as well as YouTube. According to Google, both new targeting techniques helped advertisers see a jump in their conversion rates and a drop in cost per conversion. (Source: Search Engine Journal)

Why this is important for your business:

Considering the anti-competitive environment (see above) I’m open to anything from Google that helps my small business do better with search. Not to be outdone, Facebook has introduced two new tools for its small business advertisers this week too.

4 — Brooklyn-based construction robotics startup Toggle received a $3M seed fund.    

Brooklyn-based robotics startup Toggle announced this past week that it received $3 million in seed funding, which will be used to further the development of the startup’s technology. The company—which is made up of 15 people and develops robotics that assemble and fabricate rebar—has already rolled out a soft launch for several projects in the New York City region. Over the next year and a half, Toggle plans to use the funding to hire more engineers for their team to help bolster commercial production and continue development for both their hardware and software. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

This is a great example of a small company using the latest robotics technology to help other small companies do their work faster. According to their website, Toggle’s rebar fabrication assembly promises to multiply labor productivity by two times and increase overall production five times over traditional assembly methods.

5— Zoom rolls out AI-powered transcripts, note-taking features, and more.  

This past week, video conferencing platform Zoom introduced 300 new features at their annual conference. Some of the features introduced include an attendee counter driven by facial recognition, AI-powered meeting notes and transcripts, mixed reality virtual background capabilities, and Zoom for Salesforce which will now incorporate several efficient shortcuts for logging phone calls and tracking activity.. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

Zoom has been a formidable competitor to other video and collaboration services and these new features should make the service even more appealing to customers big and small. According to Venture Beat, all of the new features are aimed to streamline processes, provide more control and flexibility for both hosts and participants, and remove obstacles from the virtual meeting and communicating experience in order to allow individuals and businesses to accomplish more from day-to-day

 



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