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'Net Features



Discover recent digital developments and practical expert guidance in the Website Magazine Net Features weblog.



 



Time to Reallocate Budget to Programmatic?

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:15:00 GMT

Marketers and advertisers that double their investment in programmatic could achieve as much as a 6 percent increase in sales and a 22 percent increase in marketing return on investment according to a recently released study from Rubicon Project and TFQ Strategy. 


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The study explores the impact of data-enabled buying (e.g., programmatic) on brand sales and suggests that in order to advertisers to achive optimal sales and MROI, programmatic should comprise, on average, 10 percent of total media spend.

One of the more interesting findings from the study was that brands looking to reach younger consumers should allocate, on average, 30 percent of their total marketing spend to digital and programmatic, and half of that spend should be allocated to mobile.

“This study of some of the largest brands in the world very clearly showcases that advertisers who are underinvested in programmatic will miss out on significant revenue opportunities,” said Harry Patz, Chief Revenue Officer at Rubicon Project. 

“By reallocating advertising budgets to double investment in programmatic, our data shows that brands will see a significant uptick in increased sales and marketing ROI, compared to those who do not. This is not about spending more, it’s about spending smarter -- having the right mix of programmatic and digital ad spending is key to a balanced portfolio in today’s environment.”

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Manage Multiple WordPress Sites at GoDaddy

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:50:00 GMT

GoDaddy is launching a new feature within its Pro offering that will enable developers and administrators to manage multiple WordPress sites regardless of the host. 


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The development stems from GoDaddy's acquisition of ManageWP in September 2016.  The new offering will allow Web professionals to execute bulk updates for plugins and themes, perform security scans, monitor performance and uptime, and generate branded client reporting from a single dashboard.

"More than 50 percent of small businesses hire a web professional to build or maintain their websites every year, and this is true for many of our 14 million customers," said Jeff King, SVP of Hosting at GoDaddy. "We continue to strengthen our partnerships with web pros globally, especially through our world class platform and Pro Program that provides innovative tools and great economic benefits."

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4 Design Tips to Working with Typefaces

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:25:00 GMT

There are so many important elements that go into creating a successful, high-converting website or app that it’s easy to forget about something like the simple question of what typeface to use.  SUBSCRIBE to Website Magazine & Accelerate 'Net Success Most designers are focused on bigger problems like navigation, functionality, and optimizing conversion funnels to bring in greater revenue for their employer. Yet typefaces are crucial design elements. After all, they are the vehicle that carries the meaning of your business’s propositions. They are the words that let consumers know what they could be buying. In today’s world, there are many design typefaces to choose from, and picking the right one can be a complicated issue. Here are 4 design tips to working with typefaces to keep in mind during the design process. 1. Prioritize legibility If someone can’t read your content because of the typeface, then all of your design work is undone. So how can you ensure legibility? One simple rule is using different typefaces depending on the length of the content in question. If someone is reading a lot and the type is small, a simpler typeface will be easier to read than a complicated one. Be careful of the color contrast with your typeface too. Use colors that contrast well together to make your typeface stand out against the background, and be careful not to use fonts that are too thin. Thin fonts look good aesthetically, but they can be much harder to read, especially on mobile devices where the print is smaller than it is on a desktop. 2. Utilize hierarchy When picking out a typeface, keep in mind that many typefaces belong to a family, in which there are several variations of the same font. It’s often a good idea to pick one with a large family in order to create a font hierarchy to better convey structure and meaning to the consumer. These hierarchies are often made in three levels, with each level using a distinct font size and a variation within the font family. Including a hierarchy in your design is an easy way to help you order and structure your content. For example, headlines use one level of the font hierarchy, subheaders another, and larger paragraphs the third. Using a single hierarchy and typeface family will give your company’s online presence a consistent aesthetic while also guiding consumers to the information they are looking for. 3. Don’t overcrowd Many designers have a tendency to pick a more elaborate typeface, the logic being that the more exotic a typeface is, the more memorable it will be to consumers. However, more isn’t better. White space is crucial to good design, and this is true for typefaces too. Be sure to use the right leading size (the space between lines of text) to create easy reading and an aesthetically pleasing look. Experts suggest that leading size should be 20 percent larger than font size. Keep an eye on the spacing between letters as well (called kerning) to ensure that your typeface is spaced evenly and looks good on a more micro level. The easier it is for a consumer to read and understand your text, the closer you are to converting that consumer into a paying customer. 4. Get rid of lorem ipsum Utilizing lorem ipsum is a good way to flesh out your overall design structure, but as soon as you can, replace lorem ipsum with the actual text that will be published online. Getting the actual content into your design early will help you understand what hierarchy you need to use as well as give you a better feel for whether a specific typeface actually looks good with what message you want to convey. A more ornate serif typeface may look good in Latin, but if you’re selling a product for children, a simpler sans-serif font may be the better choice. Get your real content in early to ensure that you pick the right typeface for your business. Do you have any design experience working with typefaces? Share your advice below! Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Chan[...]



Translate Support Tickets From Your Desk.com

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:00:00 GMT

Translation and localization platform Translate.com is now available for integration with Salesforce's customer support app Desk.com.

The integration will allow users to render free machine translations of foreign language customer tickets, and offer an option to place a "human translation" order from within their account for their response with one of Translate's linguists.


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The integration with Salesforce's Desk.com marks Translate.com’s fourth customer support solution, including Zendesk and Help Scout, bringing the platform’s total count to 34.

“The Desk.com connection is a milestone on Translate.com’s path to providing a multi-platform customer support solution for companies looking to manage the demands of a growing global presence,” said Translate.com CEO, Anthos Chrysanthou. “Translate.com’s integration with Desk.com equips agents with the ability to reduce language barriers for over 90 language pairings while expanding bandwidth of in-house, multilingual agents”.

 

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Welcome the #Yelfie & More From Yelp

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 20:15:00 GMT

Yelp continues to roll out some rather interesting and somewhat innovative features.


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The platform introduced three new features that will let users check-in with a photo, modifies the manner in which business images are displayed, and lets users share their bookmark collections. Let's take a closer look.

Yelfie
When checking-in to a business on Yelp, users now have an opportunity to take a check-in photo. The camera then flips or reverses so the user can take their own photo. This information, along with the business name and the user's rating of that business can be shared on social media. See a few examples of Yelfies below.

AI-Driven Business Images
Yelp indicated that more than 100,000 photos are being uploaded to Yelp every day, and as a result, Yelp is leveraging AI and machine learning to help it identify the best photos to appear on business page. “Last year, we started by training a neural network to categorize photos,” according to Yelp. “Over the past year, we’ve done extensive evaluation and analysis to improve the quality of the photos shown at the top of each business page.”

Shareable Bookmark Collections
Yelp introduced bookmark collections back in October of 2016 which enables users to curate and organize their own lists of businesses on the platform. Yelp is now allowing users to share these bookmark collections with other users by tapping the “share” icon.

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Why 'Reduce Clicks’ Needs to be Your E-Commerce Mantra

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:55:00 GMT

:: By Chris Bryson, Unata :: Our daily interactions with our digital devices are evolving every year, constantly making it faster and easier to interact with technology, whether it’s the ability to unlock your iPhone with your fingerprint, order on Amazon with 1-click or instantly sign up for an app or website using your Facebook account. The evolution of the technology-driven experience is consistent with the simplification of the user experience.  Most grocery retailers understand the importance of "quick and easy" when it comes to their own digital customer experience; however, few get it right. To be fair, few companies outside of grocery retail get it right; e-commerce is rife with terrible user experiences where shoppers are forced to go in circles to find what they’re looking for. However, getting it right can be the key to sales and customer loyalty, as consumers will flock to the experiences that align with their expectations.  Looking at the examples listed above -- Facebook-assisted sign-up, fingerprint unlocking, 1-click ordering -- you can see that the user only has to click, swipe or press one time to accomplish the desired behavior. The less the user has to do, the happier they are and the more likely they are to return to that experience. That’s exactly why our mantra is to reduce clicks as much as possible in every part of the digital shopping experience, and it should be yours as well -- from sign up, to navigation, to check out. This is extra critical in a digital grocery experience where there are tens of thousands of products available and often many items going into a cart at once. Too many clicks to find the products you’re looking for is an alienating experience.  Here is how you can embrace the reduce clicks mantra for your digital grocery experience and improve the customer experience ten-fold:  1 - Ensure your shoppers can get to products in two clicks or less: There’s nothing worse in an e-commerce experience when browsing the catalogue than having to click through a half-dozen categories and sub-categories to finally find products. Instead, present your products as soon as your shoppers reach the second level of your category tree, even if your category tree goes deeper. You can still present those lower level categories to allow the shopper to refine their results, but this will allow the shopper to pick items quickly across multiple sub-categories. More importantly, this ensures your shoppers see products within two clicks.  2 - Ensure your shoppers can get to major features in one click: Major features such as the catalogue, previous purchases, the shopping cart and coupons should always be accessible at all times through your website header. That way, from the start to the end of shopping journey, the shopper can always get to these features in one click.  3 - Keep your shopper moving forward:  In a physical supermarket shoppers move forward through aisles, rarely needing to go back over their journey to find products. Your online experience should mirror that, meaning that your user experience should avoid, whenever possible, the need for a “back” button. For example, when browsing the product catalogue in most e-commerce experiences, once a shopper has reviewed all of the items in a category, they need to click “back” and then select the next category. Instead, place a link at the bottom of each section, providing 1-click access to the next section. This approach would reduce the number of clicks to browse the full catalogue by 50 percent, not to mention the time it would save! More importantly, it keeps the shopper moving forward, and keeps the experience feeling “light”.  The digital retail experience is a difficult one to make simple, given the inherent complexity of the industry, assortment, specials and so on. Even so, that doesn&rs[...]



Content Keywords Feature Dropped from Search Console

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:35:00 GMT

Google announced this week that it was removing the Content Keywords feature from Search Console.


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In years past, when Search Console was still called Webmaster Tools, the feature was once one of the only ways for webmasters (and search engine optimization professionals) to see how the search engine determined what a page/site was about (as it showed the most significant - popular - keywords and keyword variants). It also provided an indication of whether a site was hacked or not (or if it was being spammed).

Google suggests that site owners use the Fetch as Googlebot to verify keywords on a page or to use Search Analytics to check for keywords that are bringing searchers to the site. The removal of the feature should not really concern anyone as the Search Analytics report is a far more robust offering anyway as it shows how search traffic changes over time, where traffic comes from and what search queries are most likely to show the your site. The report even shows which pages have the highest and lowest click-through rate from Google's search results.

Google reiterated that it still believes keywords are still important for its understanding of pages and while its systems have gotten better, they can't read webmasters minds (at least not yet), suggesting that websites remain focused on being clear about what their site is about and what they want it found for - indicating to visitors what makes their products and services special.

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7 Last-Minute Steps to Make Your E-Commerce Site Shine This Holiday Season

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 19:15:00 GMT

:: By Jason Cohen, WP Engine ::  The holiday season is officially upon us. While some savvy surfers start Googling “Christmas gift ideas” as early as August, there’s still time to make some relatively quick but impactful updates to your e-commerce website in order to attract visitors, boosts sales and earn customer loyalty.  Whether you’re just learning the ropes or as much of a veteran as Santa’s elves, read on for top seven steps e-retailers should take to make their online store shine bright this holiday season. 1. DETECT WHAT COULD BE SLOWING YOUR SITE DOWN It’s simple: a faster site reduces bounce rate and helps search engine rankings; a slow site results in poor user experience and lost sales and conversions. Many studies say just a two second lag is enough to turn away visitors. Try running a speed test to determine how fast certain pages of your site load; there are many helpful tools available, like Webpagetest.org for example (see image). Things like caching, optimizing images and using a content delivery network (CDN) can all help you attain faster page loads times and are well worth the investment. If you work in WordPress or other shared environments, there are plugins to combine with a CDN to meet your needs, as well. 2. COMBAT THE CAUSES OF SHOPPING CART ABANDONMENT Potential customers abandon the selected products in their shopping cart at a rate of about 68 percent. Many factors can lead to an abandoned cart, but most can be avoided if you follow this list and check it twice: • When it comes to the checkout process, strive for simplicity and an easy-to-navigate interface. • Don’t make users create an account before the purchase.  • Don’t surprise users with unexpected shipping fees.  • Don’t make the shopping cart hard to find, or make users have to backtrack to alter their cart.  3. ENSURE YOUR SITE CAN HANDLE LARGE AMOUNTS OF TRAFFIC A down website doesn’t just mean missed sales opportunities, it can mean more support tickets, bad reviews and loss of loyalty. Don’t go into the holidays blind to your traffic threshold. Free sites like Loadstorm.com make it easy to test your site’s scalability, and can help decide when it may be time to upgrade your website infrastructure and explore managed hosting providers to support the impending boost in business.  4. HARDEN YOUR SITE’S SECURITY The holidays can bring a high risk of credit card fraud so it’s important to take additional security precautions so your store is safe from Grinches and trusted by shoppers. These actions are critical:  • Are you SSL certificates up to date? With Google flagging non-encrypted websites and pushing them down in search results, it has never been more important to use the HTTPS security protocol. Have a WordPress site? Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated and open certificate authority makes it easy to get certified.  • The perceived security of your e-commerce site matters. Adding a trust and/or SSL seal to checkout pages puts shoppers at ease when buying online.   • You should change your password periodically and enforce it to be strong. Brute force attacks by hackers can guess an easy password, store it and not use it for some time. Don’t give them the opportunity to use it.  • Whether WordPress, Drupal or proprietary software, update outdated components of your site as soon as a new version is released.  5. REFINE PRODUCT PAGES Going the extra mile to optimize content across your product pages will make a huge impact on user experience and sales during the busy season.  • Consider adding social share buttons to products to can help your products reach a larger audience through a multichannel platform. • Product shots should be clear[...]



Mobile App Loyalty Increasing

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:55:00 GMT

Data from Opera Mediaworks reveals that the share of time consumers are spending in-app is growing - and by most measures, growing dramatically.


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The study found that in Q3 2016, users spent around 37 minutes each day in the top 100 apps - an increase of 21 percent since Q1 2016 when users spend 30 minutes each day. What's more is session times are longer, lasting an average of nine minutes, up 8 percent from the five-minute average session reported in Q1 2016. App sessions are also up, increasing from 3.6 sessions each day to just over four.

What's the reason for these increases? Many are suggested that the increased attention and loyalty is due to developers increasing adoption of engagement tactics such as push notifications and in-app messaging.

On the whole this is a positive development for mobile-app makers and content creators (at least those in the top 100 apps) who have long struggled to capture consumer attention in the overly crowded app market.

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Affirm Brings Financing to Four More E-Commerce Platforms

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:35:00 GMT

Retailers using e-commerce platforms including Kibo Commerce, BigCommerce, AspDotNetStorefront and Zen-Cart can now provide their users the ability to purchase goods and services and break up payments over multiple months.


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Affirm already has native support for Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware), Magento 1.x and 2.0 and both Shopify and Shopify Plus.

What's unique about Affirm is that there is really very little risk to retailers in offering the this type of financing to shoppers because Affirm pays merchants in full at the time of settlement. The company suggests that its offerings can lift conversion rates by as much as 25 percent and increase average order values by more than 80 percent.

“With this new set of e-commerce platform partners in place, Affirm is able to accommodate hundreds of additional retail partners looking to make their products more accessible and affordable to shoppers," said Affirm founder Max Levchin (and former PayPayl co-founder). "We look forward to continued support and expansion throughout 2017 and beyond.”

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Could You Be More Productive?

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:15:00 GMT

Automation technologies will have a major impact on the workplace in the coming years and the result will likely be far more productive employees.


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Research from Konica Minolta, in partnership with research firm Future Workplace, found that HR (Human Resource) decision makers expect a greater than 10 percent increase in productivity through automation technologies.

The study suggests that generational changes are driving an evolution of the workplace experience both in the physical space and in the tools and technologies that are being used (including visitor management systems, robotic video conferencing and conference room booking systems, IoT applications and virtual desktops.)

"New Workplace of the Future technologies will increase employees' productivity and will create new jobs that we can't even predict yet," said Rick Taylor, president and chief executive officer, Konica Minolta. "We know that Millennials and Generation Z want to work in a state-of-the-art office with the modern technologies that they are used to using in their personal lives. Companies that employ a Workplace of the Future strategy will be able to attract the best talent and gain the most productivity."

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Digital Transformation Without CEO Support?

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:43:00 GMT

The promise of “digital transformation” is everywhere these days, but new research indicates it’s just lip service in many organizations. 

In its 2016 CMO Digital Benchmark Study, Leapfrog Marketing Institute found chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) feel their chief executive officers (CEOs) lack a “strong commitment to digital transformation.” Only 1/3 of executives reported that the C-suite is “highly committed” to digital transformation, yet about 1/4 of executives stated the C-suite views customer-centric strategies as “extremely important.” Can catering to consumers happen without digital transformation? The chances are slim especially considering the needs of consumers are not being met, particularly on mobile. 

According to survey respondents, mobile continues to be the weakest sales channel (55 percent). The responses are similar to other research, like that from Adobe. For example, for the first time, Adobe predicts mobile will exceed desktop shopping visits for the full holiday season (53 percent) this year, yet mobile will only contribute to 34 percent of online sales (a 19 percent gap between visits). 

Likewise, Leapfrog Marketing Institute’s survey found marketers’ satisfaction level is lower than technology executives in using digital and mobile channels to drive sales (38 percent versus 62 percent). This could speak to the difference in delivering a function versus delivering business outcomes.

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Chat with Users From the Search Results

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:28:00 GMT

Both Google and Bing want enterprises to chat with prospective visitors from their search results pages. 

Google My Business posted about a new pilot program that will allow businesses to chat with customers through their own knowledge graph panel, and Bing introduced a feature to local business search results that will also allow searchers to chat with businesses.

In the case of Google, a new message button will be added to a local listing (see an example of that below). When users select the message button, they will initiate a chat with the business with the message apparently going through the businesses’ SMS number or via Google Allo.

Unlike Google which uses its own technology, Bing's messaging capabilities seem to take advantage of whatever feature the business is currently using. 

It appears that neither company has formally announced the program but it does show that both search engines are interested in keeping users longer on the search results page and are using whatever means necessary to do so. 


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Holiday E-Commerce: As Excuses Run Out, Preparation is Key to Success

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:05:00 GMT

:: By Mehdi Daoudi, Catchpoint Systems :: The potential for record-breaking revenue opportunities looms large with each holiday e-commerce shopping season. This makes any performance glitch during the holidays – a sluggish or unreliable website, mobile site or app - increasingly unpalatable.  The Black Friday/Cyber Monday long weekend may be a small window of time, but it can make or break online retailers’ revenues for the year. Still, e-commerce brands large and small have a history of crumbling under the flood of holiday traffic. This year, it was Macy’s that captured headlines – they were so inundated with traffic to their desktop website on Black Friday that they were forced to put shoppers in a queue, followed by eight hours of downtime for their mobile site the very next day. Old Navy also experienced intermittent outages throughout Cyber Monday – the worst possible timing. In 2015, major brand names like Neiman-Marcus and Target were among those to go down, while Best Buy made headlines for its outage in 2014.  (Image Source) Downtime or poor performance is sometimes unavoidable. No one could have foreseen the Dyn DNS outage a few weeks ago, which brought down many of the world’s leading websites. But those rare attacks aside, there are really no excuses for a major retailer to go down or go slow this year. Most performance problems under heavy load can be avoided, with the right planning. Here are several tips for optimizing performance and making it through the holiday e-commerce season unscathed: Focus on Mobile Preparing for a massive event like the holidays is a matter of evaluating all opportunities for optimization, and then capitalizing on those that will have the biggest positive impact on the customer experience. That opportunity is likely to involve mobile. ComScore research reported a total of $12.7 billion was spent via mobile devices during the months of November and December 2015 – a 59 percent jump from the year prior. Adobe believes mobile devices will see more shopping visits than desktop sites this year. Success in mobile requires keeping sites as slim as possible. The webpage load time (e.g., the time it takes for enough page elements to load in order for a user to begin interacting with the page) for many e-commerce sites tends to increase in the run-up to the holidays, due to pages growing heavier with marketing content or product images. According to a recent analysis of mobile retail site performance, in Q3 2016, these sites were already showing slower speeds than Q4 2015. This is a dangerous trajectory, and e-commerce companies must realize that site performance trumps feature-richness when it comes to ensuring happy, satisfied customers. When conducting commerce on mobile devices, customers tend to not care about having many bells and whistles. They care more about getting into and out of the site and making their purchases quickly. For Both Desktop and Mobile, Optimize Your Images While heavy pages can have an especially negative impact on mobile site performance (given congested, constrained mobile networks), the same directive to “lighten up” is equally applicable to desktop sites. Marketing teams often blanket sites with excessive images and graphics to promote products or sales. Big beautiful images may be appealing to the eye at first glance, but if these impede a site’s speed or reliability, customers won’t be impressed for long.  Using fewer images, and ensuring those remaining are lightweight and compressed, can keep webpage load times down and customer satisfaction up. If reducing the number of graphics simply isn’t an option, then enlisting [...]



Programmatic is Where It's At for Advertisers

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 18:33:00 GMT

Despite fears that programmatic advertising drives low-quality impressions, the tactic is being adopted at break-neck speed by advertisers.

In fact, according to Zenith’s “Programmatic Marketing Forecasts” report published this week, programmatic advertising will grow 31 percent in 2017 -- faster than all other digital media channels.


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The report estimates that programmatic will grow faster than social media (25 percent) and online video (20 percent), and suggests that an increasing proportion of these other channels will be traded programmatically in the very near future.  In fact, the report finds that programmatic will become the principal method of trading digital display in 2016 — accounting for 51 percent of expenditure — and will rise to 58 percent of expenditure in 2017.

Zenith' report also revealed that the U.S. is the largest programmatic ad market — valued at $24.0 billion in 2016 and accounting for 62 percent of total global programmatic ad spend. The U.S. programmatic ad market is followed by the U.K., valued at $3.3 billion, and China comes in third at $2.6 billion. Programmatic trading accounts for 70 percent of display advertising in the U.S. and the U.K, but just 23 percent in China. 

While programmatic advertising has often been used to reach target audiences as cheaply as possible with little regard for the quality of the sites in which the ads appeared, it is now being used in conjunction with data segments to target individuals in far more intelligent and creative ways, identifying those who are most likely to be receptive to an advertisers' messages.

Programmatic advertising has also begun to dominate the digital display market. Zenith indicated that while it accounted for just 13 percent of display ad spend ($5 billion) in 2012, in the U.S., it grew to $39 billion in 2016, at an average rate of 71 percent a year. The report noted that growth is slowing, however, as programmatic consolidates its dominance in the display market but the company suggests it will continue to grow at an average of 28 percent a year to 2018, when it will reach $64 billion.

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