A roadmap is a vital strategic tool that product managers use to fine-tune their product idea. After that, they convey it to colleagues, management and customers, and other stakeholders.
A well-structured roadmap often spells the difference between creating a successful product with a truly user-centric approach and producing a humdrum piece of software that consumers criticize.
Today, a quality roadmap is more crucial than ever before in this age of agile product development.
As a result, it’s critical to ensure that you’ve created a roadmap that reflects the consumers’ requirements.
Fo that reason, here are the best tips on crafting the perfect product roadmap!
Get Acquainted With Types of Product Roadmaps
A product roadmap is used by each workgroup for different goals. At the same time, this material can significantly help team members.
For example, developers plan new features and releases while sales managers prepare everything needed to launch a product or update its version.
Whatever form of roadmap you establish should focus on the big picture and the difficulties that need to be solved.
We may identify the different types of product roadmaps. The main criteria are the audience the product is aimed at, as well as its elements and production purpose.
One can distinguish between:
- Strategy roadmap. Focuses on high-level efforts and market conditions, and it provides information on how product development milestones connect to overall business strategy.
- Technology roadmap. This is a visual representation of the company’s technology strategy, which allows for decisions on the IT infrastructure required to accomplish business goals.
- Features roadmap. It is a strategy for adding new features to a product. It can be implemented as a simple action sequence or with the help of a timeline.
- Release roadmap. The document outlines a series of tasks that must be completed in order to bring a product to market. It can help organize the activities of cross-functional teams by displaying what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and to who each task is assigned.
- Platform roadmap. You can use it for product releases that are available on numerous platforms (iOS, Android, or Web).
- Portfolio roadmap. It depicts the scheduled releases of numerous products from the same ecosystem group in one diagram, as well as how they relate to one another.
- Internal roadmaps. They are intended for a certain company team or department. Figures, precise information on objectives, timelines, and other related information are included.
- External roadmaps. This is a “light” form of the main document intended for external stakeholders such as investors, partners, or new clients.
How to Create a Quality Product Roadmap
Define the strategy
Stakeholders need to understand what business goals your product will fulfill in order for your organization to invest in its development.
They also want you to respond to inquiries like: Who will use the product? What issues will the product resolve?
You should also add important product unique features that distinguish this product from similar products already on the market.
To do this effectively, use a Product Requirements Document – it will be of great help when communicating with your stakeholders.
Define your main goals
To answer the question “what will you develop?” provide a clear picture of the future product.
At the same time, it’s advisable to set a time restriction, such as a few quarters or months, because no one knows how the market will develop over time.
Align with your internal teams and stakeholders
A product roadmap is a collaborative process. The paper will be used by several departments for both internal and external purposes.
To minimize misunderstandings, you should discuss and agree on specific topics during the creation process.
Rather than being static, your roadmap should act as a reader board, providing an up-to-date snapshot of project progress.
Track metrics and product goals
On a daily basis, you should focus on tracking your progress and your product manager metrics.
This is a tried-and-true method for assisting your team in making more consistent development and pursuing continuous improvement.
Define all the features and requirements
Once you figure out the stuff you have to do, you need to ask yourself what you need to accomplish it.
Make a list of the features you’ll be implementing. You’ll need to write user stories and descriptions with specific needs required for giving development teams the context they need.
Enhance your customers’ journey
Be sure to offer helpful and interesting content throughout your site that does more than strictly sell your product.
Thoughtfully designed non-product pages will add value to the customer’s journey, communicate your brand story, and assist in winning the sale.
Present a visual roadmap
A good product roadmap will also show you a simple, accurate visualization of your ideas and how they relate to the company’s objectives.
In addition, your roadmap should be simple to follow and appealing. There are numerous popular software alternatives that make it easier to generate visually engaging product roadmaps, in addition to PowerPoint and spreadsheets.
Have different versions
If a sales team and a development team share the same roadmap, Sales may commit to a feature to seal a contract without consulting the developers.
This is only one of many issues that might arise if only one party is making modifications or if there is no method to monitor who is making changes.
Create a flexible roadmap
All product roadmaps should include the phrase “SUBJECT TO CHANGE.” Maintaining flexibility in your timetable and goals will allow your team to respond to setbacks productively and modify your plan to new requirements.
Take into account, however, that a product roadmap should have a single owner.
Categorize tasks into epics
The next step is agreeing on a timeframe and dividing down activities into smaller, more manageable epics.
This phase can be completed with the help of an excel sheet or any similar tool. Putting the final plan together into a sheet entails grouping all of the epics into a chronology.
Large projects may require an advanced story mapping tool, enabling you to understand user needs, and prioritize the right ideas. For smaller projects, however, three tiers are frequently sufficient.
Make your decision based on the product’s maturity and size.
Set up your SaaS growth correctly
When it comes to SaaS analytics, precise retention data takes years to collect, and you can’t wait for the results to see how well your product is doing.
You don’t have a lot of time to study. To demonstrate that you have product-market fit (PMF) that is ready to scale, you must develop quickly. You must consider your customers and their overall experience carefully.
Web-based Tools to Help You Create a Product Roadmap
While you can absolutely build a physical product roadmap that specifies your product’s goals, there are a number of online tools that help make the process go more smoothly.
Online tools could save time and improve productivity in a variety of ways.
For example, live, shareable documents enable collaboration while also making history and versioning easy to follow. Many programs also come with pre-built templates. Therefore, you can use pre-defined templates that can be immediately popped-up on your website or inside your product.
Here’s an overview of some of the most widely used roadmapping software:
- Aha! – offers a number of features to assist you in managing a product’s lifecycle.
- Craft assists in the creation of epics and stories, as well as their translation into a visual roadmap.
- With a simple user interface, Lucidchart allows for real-time collaboration.
- Onedesk aids in the identification and prioritization of requirements.
- Drag and drop features in ProductPlan allow you to explore many roadmaps in a master plan.
- Shipyard – a platform for data engineers to orchestrate the creation of a reliable data infrastructure.
- TrendsRadius analyzes gathered customer data from many channels before turning it into useful insights.
- Smartsheet includes a Gantt chart with several views, color and symbol customization, and real-time cooperation.
When you use a product roadmap to represent the intended development process, all stakeholders will have quick and easy access to critical strategic insights.
With the help of our blog, you can create effective roadmaps that explain your visions and assist your company and customers in achieving their objectives.
The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them
Ad fraud is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest data indicates that it will cost businesses a colossal €120 billion by 2023. But even more worrying is that fraudsters’ tactics are becoming so sophisticated that even big-name companies such as Uber, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon have been victims of ad fraud in recent years.
So what does this mean for the rest of the industry? The answer is simple: every ad company, no matter their size or budget is just as at risk as the big guns – if not more.
In this article, I summarize some of the biggest and most shocking cases of ad fraud we’ve witnessed over recent years and notably, what vital lessons marketers and advertisers can learn from them to avoid wasting their own budgets.
The biggest ad fraud cases in recent years
Let’s take a look at some of the most high-profile and harmful ad fraud cases of recent years that have impacted some of the most well-known brands around the world.
Methbot: $5 million a day lost through fake video views
In 2016, Aleksandr Zhukov, the self-proclaimed “King of Fraud”, and his group of fraudsters were discovered to have been making between $3 and $5 million a day by executing fake clicks on video advertisements.
Oft-cited as the biggest digital ad fraud operation ever uncovered, “Methbot” was a sophisticated botnet scheme that involved defrauding brands by enabling countless bots to watch 300 million video ads per day on over 6000 spoofed websites.
Due to the relatively high cost-per-mille (CPM) for video ads, Aleksandr and his group were able to steal millions of dollars a day by targeting high-value marketplaces. Some of the victims of the Methbot fraud ring include The New York Times, The New York Post, Comcast, and Nestle.
In late 2021, Aleksandr Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $3.8 million in restitution.
Uber: $100 million wasted in ad spend
In another high-profile case, transportation giant Uber filed a lawsuit against five ad networks in 2019 – Fetch, BidMotion, Taptica, YouAppi, and AdAction Interactive – and won.
Uber claimed that its ads were not converting, and ultimately discovered that roughly two-thirds of its ad budget ($100 million) wasn’t needed. This was on account of ad retargeting companies that were abusing the system by creating fraudulent traffic.
The extent of the ad fraud was discovered when the company cut $100 million in ad spend and saw no change in the number of rider app installs.
In 2020, Uber also won another lawsuit against Phunware Inc. when they discovered that the majority of Uber app installations that the company claimed to have delivered were produced by the act of click flooding.
Criteo: Claims sues competitor for allegedly running a damaging counterfeit click fraud scheme
In 2016, Criteo, a retargeting and display advertising network, claimed that competitor Steelhouse (now known as MNTM) ran a click fraud scheme against Criteo in a bid to damage the company’s reputation and to fraudulently take credit for user visits to retailers’ web pages.
Criteo filed a lawsuit claiming that due to Steelhouse’s alleged actions — the use of bots and other automated methods to generate fake clicks on shoe retailer TOMS’ ads — Criteo ultimately lost TOMS as a client. Criteo has accused Steelhouse of carrying out this type of ad fraud in a bid to prove that Steelhouse provided a more effective service than its own.
Twitter: Elon Musk claims that the platform hosts a high number of inauthentic accounts
In one of the biggest and most tangled tech deals in recent history, the Elon Musk and Twitter saga doesn’t end with Twitter taking Musk to court for backing out of an agreement to buy the social media giant for $44 billion.
In yet another twist, Musk has also claimed that Twitter hid the real number of bots and fake accounts on its platform. He has also accused the company of fraud by alleging that these accounts make up around 10% of Twitter’s daily active users who see ads, essentially meaning that 65 million of Twitter’s 229 million daily active users are not seeing them at all.
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6 Lessons marketers can learn from these high-profile ad fraud cases
All of these cases demonstrate that ad fraud is a pervasive and ubiquitous practice that has incredibly damaging and long-lasting effects on even the most well-known brands around the world.
The bottom line is this: Marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore ad fraud if they’re serious about reaching their goals and objectives. Here are some of the most important lessons and takeaways from these high-profile cases.
- No one is safe from ad fraud
Everyone — from small businesses to large corporations like Uber — is affected by ad fraud. Plus, fraudsters have no qualms over location: no matter where in the world you operate, you are susceptible to the consequences of ad fraud.
- Ad fraud is incredibly hard to detect using manual methods
Fraudsters use a huge variety of sneaky techniques and channels to scam and defraud advertisers, which means ad fraud is incredibly difficult to detect manually. This is especially true if organizations don’t have the right suggestions and individuals dedicated to tracking and monitoring the presence of ad fraud.
Even worse, when organizations do have teams in place monitoring ad fraud, they are rarely experts, and cannot properly pore through the sheer amount of data that each campaign produces to accurately pinpoint it.
- Ad fraud wastes your budget, distorts your data, and prevents you from reaching your goals
Ad fraud drains your budget significantly, which is a huge burden for any company. However, there are also other ways it impacts your ability to deliver results.
For example, fake clicks and click bots lead to skewed analytics, which means that when you assess advertising channels and campaigns based on the traffic and engagement they receive, you’re actually relying on flawed data to make future strategic decisions.
Finally – and as a result of stolen budgets and a reliance on flawed data – your ability to reach your goals is highly compromised.
- You’re likely being affected by ad fraud already, even if you don’t know it yet
As seen in many of these cases, massive amounts of damage were caused because the brands weren’t aware that they were being targeted by fraudsters. Plus, due to the lack of awareness surrounding ad fraud in general, it’s highly likely that you’re being affected by ad fraud already.
- You have options to fight the effects of ad fraud
Luckily, as demonstrated by these cases, there are some options available to counteract the impact and losses caused by ad fraud, such as requesting a refund or even making a case to sue. In such cases, ad fraud detection solutions are extremely useful to uncover ad fraud and gather evidence.
- But the best option is to prevent ad fraud from the get-go
The best ad fraud protection is ad fraud prevention. The only surefire way to stop fraudsters from employing sophisticated fraud schemes and attacking your campaigns is by implementing equally sophisticated solutions. Anti-ad fraud software solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence help you keep fraud at bay, enabling you to focus on what matters: optimizing your campaigns and hitting your goals.
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