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Best tips on Crafting the Perfect Product Roadmap

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Best tips on Crafting the Perfect Product Roadmap

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 roadmapThis 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

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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

1654768436 233 Best tips on Crafting the Perfect Product Roadmap

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

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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

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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

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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.

Happy Roadmapping!

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.

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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