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Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., formally filed to go public on Thursday, offering the first official look at how the mobile app’s ad business is doing.

Last year Snap Inc. made $404.5 million, up from $58.7 million in 2015. The large jump has a lot to do with the fact that Snap Inc.’s business, which centers around Snapchat, is still very young.

Snapchat opened its advertising business in October 2014, and that business accounted for 96 percent of its parent company’s total revenue last year. Snap Inc. also made money from sales of its video-recording sunglasses, Spectacles, but said that Spectacles “has not generated signficant revenue.”

Of the revenue that Snap Inc. generated in 2016, $365.0 million was generated directly by the company, and $34.9 million came from partners, like publishers who sell ads to run in their channels within Snapchat’s Discover section and share the revenue with Snap Inc.

Snap Inc.’s revenue has grown at a much steeper rate than its flagship app’s daily user base. By the end of 2016, Snapchat’s revenue had grown by 589 percent while the five-year-old app’s daily user base had grown by 48 percent year-over-year to total 158 million people.

Problematically Snapchat’s quarter-over-quarter daily audience growth has decelerated since the second quarter of 2016. From Q1 to Q2, it increased by 17 percent. But then from Q2 to Q3 it increased by 7 percent, and then from Q3 to Q4 it increased by 3 percent.

While Snapchat’s user base may not be growing as robustly, the amount of money Snap Inc. makes per user is. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Snap Inc. averaged $1.05 for each it user it had around the world, up 239 percent year-over-year from $0.31. And it especially banked off its users in North America, each of whom converted into $2.15 in revenue for the company, up 231 percent year-over-year from $0.65.

The 158 million people who use Snapchat daily typically spend 25 to 30 minutes in the app over the course of the day. Of those daily users, more than 60 percent use it to send private messages to friends, and more than 25 percent post photos or videos to their public Stories.

Confirming popular perception, Snapchat’s younger users use it most often. According to the filing, Snapchat’s daily users who are 25 years old or older check it 12 times a day for a total of 20 minutes, whereas daily users who are under 25 years old check it more than 20 times a day for a total of more than 30 minutes spent in the app.

The post With 158 million daily users, Snapchat’s parent company made $404.5 million in 2016 appeared first on Scott SEO & PPC Services.

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This afternoon e-commerce giant Amazon announced quarterly revenues of $43.74 billion and earnings of $1.54 per share. Earnings beat expectations, however revenues were less than expected and shares are down in after-hours trading.

Fourth quarter income was $749 million. Full-year net sales grew 27 percent to $136 billion. The company announced first quarter guidance of $33.25 billion and $35.75 billion, which also disappointed investors.

Among the business highlights Amazon emphasized were the following:

  • Tens of thousands of developers are using the Alexa Voice Service to integrate Alexa into their products, including Dish DVRs, Ford and Volkswagen vehicles, GE C Lamp, Huawei Mate 9, LG Smart Instaview fridge, and Whirlpool appliances.
  • Alexa-enabled devices were the top-selling products across all categories on Amazon.com this holiday season. Customers purchased and gifted a record-setting number of devices from the Amazon Echo family with sales up over 9x compared to last holiday season.
  • Third-party developers released more than 4,000 new Alexa Skills since October, including ADT, AT&T, CBS, Pizza Hut, and The Wall Street Journal. Tens of thousands of developers are building skills for Alexa.

Investment research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimated that there are more than 8 million US homes with Amazon Echo/Alexa devices. There are also more than 7,000 skills (voice apps) to date.

Separately, Slice Intelligence reported that Amazon properties were responsible for 43 percent of US e-commerce revenue in 2016 and 53 percent of growth. Electronics, housewares and apparel were the leading growth categories. The top-selling electronics and devices were Amazon’s own.

Prime has emerged as a major revenue driver for the site. CIRP reported previously that Amazon Prime has more than 65 million US members, each spending an average of $1,200 per year, roughly 2X what non-prime users spend.

The post Amazon Q4 beats earnings expectations but $43.7 billion in revenues fall short appeared first on Scott SEO & PPC Services.

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How to Avoid Google Penalties

Google constantly updates which websites appear in its results, and penalises sites which don’t meet its increasingly high standards. Google penalties are bad news if you’re running an online business, but fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to protect your website.

Penalties are handed out for various reasons, from duplicate content to poor-quality links. They can cause your ranking and traffic to plummet, so it’s important to bear them in mind and act quickly if your site is handed a penalty.

Websites are penalised for malicious backlink campaigns which their competitors have created to reduce their ranking, and links to websites which Google considers suspicious. Scraped content, bad coding and broken links can also result in a penalty.

Google is uncompromising when deciding which websites appear in its results. Powerful algorithms are regularly run to identify websites that aren’t up to scratch. The search engine’s Panda hands out penalties for bad content, Penguin for bad links and Hummingbird for sites considered unnatural. Google penalties are generated by algorithm updates or manual reviews. They reduce targeted sites’ SEO ranking for a specific page, the entire website or one or more keywords.  Google’s assessment is so far-reaching that protecting your website against penalties has become a challenge, but you can boost your site’s immunity with a few simple steps:

Make Sure Your Content is Up to Scratch

Google penalises for poor-quality or duplicate content, so it’s not worth cutting corners when it comes to the information on your website. Make sure your content is original, well-researched and error-free. Content which has been ‘spun’ by software is vulnerable to Panda, so taking the time to produce new, manually produced content for every section of your site is a smart move.  It’s important to include keywords in your content, but don’t overdo it. Google can react badly to too much of a good thing.

Pay Close Attention to the Quality of Your Links

Links are important if you want to attract visitors to your website, but don’t make the mistake of using poor-quality links. Buying lots of links could leave you particularly vulnerable to Google penalties, and sharing too many links may be seen as an attempt to manipulate results. Make sure your links are clearly visible to your visitors. Hidden links are more likely to be viewed as suspicious. Take the time to monitor your outbound links and remove any which are out-of-date. Broken links worsen users’ experience and increase the likelihood of penalties.

Act Fast to Repair Your Website

Don’t panic if your site is penalised. Most damage caused by Google penalties can be repaired. By addressing problematic links and other flaws on your site, it’s usually possible to restore a penalised site’s ranking, although the damage is sometimes so severe that starting from scratch is the best option. If you’re losing sales because a Google penalty has caused a sudden fall in ranking, Google penalty recovery services could be your best option. An SEO agency with Google penalty repair experience will assess the damage and take fast action to restore your ranking, while protecting your site against further penalties.

The post How to Protect Your Website Against Google Penalties appeared first on Scott SEO & PPC Services.

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