Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital up 18.7% for year: source

BlueMountain names slate for PG&E board

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) – Hedge fund manager David Einhorn, whose hedge fund Greenlight Capital suffered double digit losses, is up nearly 19 percent in the first four months of 2019, a person familiar with the numbers said on Tuesday.

Greenlight gained 6.6 percent in April and is up 18.7 percent for the year, said the person who is not permitted to discuss the private fund publicly. A spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Sandra Maler

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Reddit US ad revenues could top $100M this year amid added focus on ad products

Reddit US ad revenues could top $100M this year amid added focus on ad products

Over the past year, social community site Reddit has aggressively rolled out improvements to its ad offerings — introducing native promoted posts in its mobile apps, native autoplay video ads, calls to action in adsperformance-based ad units and app install ads. Now, new figures from eMarketer indicate the efforts are paying off, with the site expected to bring in $119 million in ad revenues in 2019, up from $77 million in 2018. That number is expected to double by 2021, when the research firm predicts Reddit will take in $262 million in ad revenue.

“Reddit’s users are tech-savvy and highly engaged, making them attractive to advertisers,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “A large portion are unique users, meaning they don’t use other social platforms. That means advertisers have the potential to reach new audiences in a highly targeted way.”

User numbers rising steadily. In addition to benefiting from the retooling of its ad ecosystem, Reddit is gaining from its major redesign roll-out last year. It has boosted views by building capabilities to host images and videos on the site itself — previously, users had to link out to include media in their posts.

Reddit may also be winning users due to increasing disaffection with Facebook and the privacy implications of its ad system. By contrast, Reddit’s users are anonymous, with accounts linked to usernames instead of real names, and the platform allows viewing by non-logged in users.

While eMarketer expects the number of U.S. logged-in user growth to slow after this year, the overall U.S. audience is expected to continue growing. By 2023 Reddit’s logged-in audience is expected to account for nearly 12 percent of all U.S. internet users.

Though Reddit ads are targeted by locations, interests, communities, devices and time of day, rather than by the more granular categories offered by Facebook, some advertisers are achieving results significant enough to bring them back.

Still, Reddit isn’t about to become one of the major internet ad players. eMarketers’s estimates give it just a 0.1 percent share of the U.S. digital ad market, and that dramatic doubling in revenues by 2021 still brings it only to 0.2 percent of the total.

eMarketer cites the site’s slow development of mobile apps — it only launched official iOS and Android apps in 2016 — as one reason it lags most other sites in mobile ad revenue. This year, mobile will account for 57.0 percent of Reddit’s ad revenues ($67.8 million), the research firm said.

Reddit’s other challenge is its free-for-all, often NSFW content, which some advertisers shy from.

“As a mix of forum and trending news site with a bit of social network, Reddit has operated on an ‘open internet’ ethos,” Peart said. “While that has yielded organic growth among a hard-to-reach audience, it has also meant a reality where controversial content is the norm. And in a news climate where missteps can tarnish results, that makes some digital advertisers nervous.”

Why you should care. Reddit may offer you the opportunity to reach a unique and hard-to-reach audience in an environment with less competition than other platforms. One other development to note is that Reddit in January brought aboard a new VP of ad products and engineering,  Shariq Rizvi, and, the company’s blog in late January stated its 2019 plans as including, “broadening our advertising tools and building even more comprehensive marketplace capabilities with performance advertising….” Worth keeping an eye on, for sure.


About The Author

Pamela Parker is Content Manager at Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Search Engine Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ, and worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing.

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Equity funds see biggest weekly inflows in a year: BAML

BlueMountain names slate for PG&E board

LONDON (Reuters) – Investors plowed $14.2 billion into global equity funds this week, the largest amount in a year as investors jumped on to 2019’s stock market rally, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday, citing flow data provider EPFR.

An index of global stocks is up more than 16 percent since the end of 2018 as falling market volatility and a renewed dovishness from global central banks, led by the U.S. Federal Reserve has boosted risk appetite across the board.

BAML said most of the inflows went into exchange traded funds while mutual funds saw net outflows.

U.S. equity funds were the biggest beneficiaries with net inflows of $25.5 billion while emerging markets saw net outflows.

European funds also saw $4.6 billion of outflows after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts and signaled a cautious economic outlook at its latest policy meeting.

The appetite for risk spilled over into bond markets as well with investment grade debt notching up the eighth consecutive week of inflows.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Tommy Wilkes

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Worst start to year for equity flows since 2008: BAML

Worst start to year for equity flows since 2008: BAML

LONDON (Reuters) – A $10 billion wipeout over the last week has compounded the worst start to a year for equity flows since 2008, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said on Friday.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Citing data from flow-tracker EPFR, BAML’s analysts calculated that just over $60 billion has now been yanked out of equities this year. Almost $80 billion has been pulled from developed markets, while $18.5 billion has gone into emerging markets.

They added that last week also saw the fourth-biggest inflow on record into ‘investment grade’ bonds at $9.5 billion and that “Europe = Japan” – a reference to long-term aneamic growth and low interest rates – was now the most consensus trade in the world by their calculations.

“Europe = Japan is correct and consensus,” they said, though they also reckon European assets will outperform in the second quarter now that the European Central Bank has shifted back towards stimulus and there are signs of renewed growth emerging from China.

For many, the monster outflows from stocks will appear at odds with what has been a red-hot start to the year for equity markets.

Despite a wobble this week, MSCI’s main world share index has seen one of its best ever starts to a year thanks to surges of 20 percent or more for the likes of Wall Street’s S&P 500 and China’s main indexes.

The apparent disconnect could be explained by the fact that EPFR data captures only a portion of investment funds but also that firms themselves have been buying up their own shares this year after they became much cheaper last year.

Recent data from Biryinyi associates showed that U.S. companies had already announced plans to buy back nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars of their own stock by the end of February, which was up 7 percent on the same time a year ago.

BAML’s analysts noted separately meanwhile that this weekend marks 10 years since the post-financial crisis global equity bull run started.

During that time the value, or market capitalization, of U.S. stocks has surged by $21.3 trillion which is three times the $6.5 trillion overall rise in annual economic output of the U.S. economy.

The top three performers in the Dow Jones index have been plane maker Boeing, iPhone giant Apple and Unitedhealth Group, while the worst performers have been Walgreen, oil firm Exxon, and IT firm IBM.

Annualized total return since the March 2009 low have been 17.5 percent for the S&P 500, versus 13.8 percent by Japan’s Nikkei 225 and 9.3 percent for Europe’s STOXX 600.

“Ten years after Global Financial Crisis, Eurozone trapped in deflationary “Japanification” of growth & interest rates; EU rates unlikely to rise, EU equities in ‘value trap’” BAML’s analysts said.

Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Helen Reid

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Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

Year in review: Our top 9 experimentation articles and news of 2018

2018 was a year of rapid change for many organizations.

That’s because experimentation is becoming an essential business practice.

Over the course of the year, we witnessed organizations go from stage one to stage three on our experimentation maturity scale in just a few short months.

Once they had buy-in from the top and a will to galvanize support across departments, they were able to introduce experimentation to multiple departments.

But even if you just got started with experimentation this year, surpassing the inertia and running your first few experiments has already transformed your business.

And because we are in the business of experimentation, because testing is our livelihood, we’ve also had an incredible year.

Looking back over the past twelve months, I’ve compiled our top nine experimentation articles and news:

1. Matt Wright’s “How Thick Data Helps You Build Emotional Connections With Customers” on CMSWire

This past June, Matt authored the CMSWire article, “How Thick Data Helps You Build Emotional Connections with Customers,” to dive into the process of generating thick data about what makes your customers tick.

WiderFunnel experimentation articles thick data
Matt Wright, Head of UX Research, dove into how to leverage your thick data to create emotional connections with your customers.

In today’s data-driven world, marketers amass immense amounts of customer information through numerous sources such as analytics, CRMs and loyalty programs — all of which provide plenty of quantitative data about customers. This type of data offers the when, where, what and how of your customers’ interactions with your experiences. But critically, it does not provide the why.

Matt Wright

Head of UX Research

Matt’s thought leadership in this article provides a glimpse into his work on WiderFunnel’s MotivationLab, the deep-dive research that provides insights about customers’ emotional needs and states for more impactful experimentation programs.

But what’s more, he shows you the secret to creating delightful customer experiences that increase wallet share and loyalty for years to come.

2. Experimentation in product development: How to maximize the customer experience

Innovative marketers have been doing website optimization for years. So what’s next?

Product experimentation is top-of-mind when it comes to scaling an experimentation program internally. That’s because there are more opportunities to maximize the customer experience.

I talked to several champions of product experimentation about their programs:

  • Hila Qu, Vice President of Growth at Acorns;
  • Meg Watson, Product Manager at Stitch Fix;
  • Martijn Scheijbeler, Vice President of Marketing at RVShare;
  • And Giannis Psaroudakis, Director, Product at Optimizely.

And the resulting post, “Experimentation in product development: How to maximize the customer experience” provides real-world success stories and examples of potential opportunities that can inspire you to get started.

3. Techvibes’ Spotlight article “Data & Design: How WiderFunnel Cracked the Code”

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt odynski
Techvibes’ Matt Odynski came by in January to do a tour and photo shoot of our new office design.

In January, Matt Odynski of TechVibes stopped by our office for a photo shoot and tour of our new space in downtown Vancouver.

The resulting Spotlight article, “Data & Design: How WiderFunnel Cracked the Code,” written by Max Greenwood, provided an insightful overview of WiderFunnel’s services, culture, and people.

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt Odynski
A shot of the Burrard Inlet from our downtown Vancouver office windows. Credit: Matt Odynski

WiderFunnel works with some of the world’s biggest brands—such as Mark’s, SportChek, IBM, Square, and H&R Block—to help them gain unique insights into their customers. WiderFunnel can then validate those insights through experimentation in the real world, perfectly mixing both the creative side of a typical advertising agency while also embracing the data and scientific elements needed to deeply innovate the industry.

Max Greenwood

Staff Writer at Techvibes

WiderFunnel Office Design Techvibes Matt Odynski
A shot of the Townhall area, a place for team gathering. Credit: Matt Odynski

3. The 5 pillars of digital transformation strategy at Mark’s: An interview with changemaker, Johnny Russo

Mark’s (formerly Mark’s Workwear House) is a retailer under the Canadian Tire umbrella that has risen to the top in recent years. Not only do their marketing teams receive nomination after nomination for their e-commerce experience, but the company is also leading the charge when it comes to digital transformation.

WiderFunnel Digital Transformation Strategy Mark's
Mark’s is undergoing a digital transformation, empowering every level of business to make data-driven decisions.

In this interview with Johnny Russo, Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing and E-commerce, we get an in-depth look at the five pillars of their digital transformation strategy that has fuelled their growth over the past few years: People, Partners, Culture, Education, and Change Management.

Johnny Russo is a true changemaker. He is passionate about digital transformation strategy and he is a definite thought leader in the e-commerce and retail space.

Having partnered with Mark’s for numerous years, Johnny also outlines how experimentation has underpinned their whole strategy. Testing is now how the team at Mark’s make decisions.

As marketers, we think we know it all. But testing actually confirms that we don’t. If we have an A/B test, one of them might be wrong. And we’re actually telling our senior executives, by doing this, we don’t know which one will win. We think we know, but at the end of the day, it’s based on data and customer experience and what customers want. It supersedes what our thought process is.

Johnny Russo

AVP of Digital Marketing and E-commerce at Mark’s

Read the full post, “The 5 pillars of digital transformation strategy at Mark’s: An interview with changemaker, Johnny Russo.”

4. Winning Optimizely’s “Innovation Partner of the Year” award at Opticon

While in Las Vegas for Optimizely’s annual experimentation conference, Opticon, we were awarded their prestigious Innovation Partner of the Year award and we were ecstatic.

WiderFunnel Experimentation Articles Optimizely's Innovation Partner of the Year
The WiderFunnel team was jazzed about winning the Innovation Partner of the Year for our thought leadership and technical talent.

We were especially honored to be chosen by our colleagues at Optimizely for this award because of our early adoption of FullStack, their server-side experimentation platform.

They also praised our thought leadership in the world of experimentation, including our content, case studies, best practices, and of course, our “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report, that we co-created.

5. The “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report

With Optimizely, we surveyed marketers, product managers, and growth strategists at some of North America’s leading brands like Nike, United Airlines, Showtime, American Express, Hotwire.com, MailChimp and many more to create the “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018″ original research report.

We also interviewed dozens of Optimization Champions throughout our research to understand their opportunities, their pain points, and their efforts to scale their programs cross-organizationally.

WiderFunnel Experimentation Maturity Research Report
Our State of Experimentation Maturity 2018 was one of our top highlights of the year. That’s because it was all about the work you are doing!

We wanted to know what the most successful organizations were doing right, how they were scaling their experimentation program, and how they were integrating experimentation into their overarching business strategy.

We highlighted the most illuminating findings in our post, “6 Key Insights from the “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report. And we even got interest from some press:

If your marketing experimentation program consists of A/B testing email subject lines or landing pages, you have a long way to go. But here’s some good news: you aren’t the only one just getting started.

Natasha Wahid, Marketing Lead at WiderFunnel, who spearheaded the research project, also conducted a GrowthHackers AMA in June, diving into the research process and data analysis.

WiderFunnel GrowthHackers AMA with Natasha Wahid
Natasha Wahid, Marketing Lead, hosted a GrowthHackers AMA, which was a must-read in their weekly round-up email.

And our conversations and insights fuelled our content for months afterward. Posts like…

6. Evangelizing experimentation: A strategy for scaling your organization’s test and learn culture

After our research report, one topic that invigorated our marketing team was how to evangelize experimentation at an organization.

After talking to numerous Optimization Champions, we realized that most companies wanted to strategically communicate the value of their experimentation programs internally to incite organizational buy-in from other departments and the Executive team.

It was an interesting take on building a culture of experimentation, a topic that has quickly accelerated over the year.

For this post, we gained insights from leaders in the field including:

  • Alex Birkett, then Growth Marketing Manager and recently promoted to Senior Growth Marketing Manager, User Acquisition at Hubspot
  • Andrew Capland, then Director of Growth and now Director of Marketing at Wistia;
  • Ralph Chochlac, Former Director of Product Management at Student Brands;
  • and Lauren Schuman, Director of Growth at MailChimp.

This comprehensive guide to strategic communications for your experimentation program provides best practices and tactics for scaling your test-and-learn culture.

Read the full post, “Evangelizing experimentation: A strategy for scaling your organization’s test and learn culture.”

7. A tactical guide to creating emotional connections with your customers

We talked a lot about emotional marketing in the last couple of years, but we still saw ambiguity in what creates an emotional connection with customers, especially within a digital experience.

So, we set out to break it down for our readers. We took a real-world example (the WealthSimple website) and analyzed everything from color choices to messaging, from storytelling to animations.

And we also talked to emotional marketing experts, like:

  • Roger Dooley, author and podcast host of Brainfluence;
  • Nick Kolenda, expert and author of numerous specialized guides in psychology and marketing;
  • And Nathalie Nahai, web psychologist, speaker and author of Webs of Influence: The Secret Strategies That Make Us Click.

And it’s one of our most read and shared posts of the year.

Read “A tactical guide to creating emotional connections with your customers.”

8. BCBusiness’ “Office Space: WiderFunnel Embraces Team Spirit”

In July, the WiderFunnel were excited to get the print and web editions of BCBusiness, featuring our new office space. We moved in August 2017 and this year we’ve been featured in numerous publications, including the Vancouver Sun.

Editor Felicity Stone came to do a tour of our space with intern Aleena Deandra and the resulting article showcased exactly what makes the WiderFunnel office so special.

WiderFunnel BC Business Culture
Office Space: WiderFunnel embraces team spirit, via BC Business.

The Vancouver-based company leased a space with spectacular views of downtown and Burrard Inlet, then surveyed staff about what they needed to be productive and creative. The result is a workplace that accommodates various working styles, thanks to wireless technology, so team members can change locations throughout the day. Since employees moved in last August, their happiness scores have increased by 51 percent.

Aleena Deandra and Felicity Stone

BCBusiness

Especially interesting to note is that we recently expanded our office by an additional 1600 square feet this past fall!

9. Reaching #21 on Business in Vancouver’s Fastest Growing Companies in BC

At WiderFunnel, 2018 was a year of growth. We nearly doubled our employee count. We expanded our office space. And we worked with more and more Optimization Champions to scale their experimentations programs across their entire organizations.

And it’s probably a big reason why we reached #21 on Business in Vancouver’s list of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in British Columbia.

WiderFunnel Business in Vancouver Fastest Growing Companies in BC
Last year, we were #43 on Business in Vancouver’s list of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in BC. This year, we were #21!

For context, we were delighted by our #43 standing in 2017, so when we saw our 2018 results we were astonished.

But we’re not done yet. Stay tuned in 2019 for more exciting developments in the world of experimentation.

Get ready for 2019.

The world of business is changing quickly.

Instead of backtracking on failed strategies and tactics, organizations can pave their way to success, proving they are on the right path through experimentation.

We touched upon the upcoming advancements in “The future of digital customer experience: 6 Experimentation trends for disruptive businesses in 2019” and “6 Marketing trends set to take off in 2019.”

As business leaders, we are the cusp of even more transformation in 2019. Because those organizations, that are able to gather insights and spread those insights throughout their organization will change at a pace far greater than they have in the past.

Get ready.

What do business leaders need to consider as they plan for 2019? We’d love to hear your perspective!

Author

Lindsay Kwan

Marketing Communications Specialist

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