Agile Enterprise. Concepts and Some Results of Research
Poznan University of Technology and IEA Press 2007

The Search for Opportunities in the Internet Using Internet Marketing Mechanisms

Frontczak T., Trzcieliński S., “The Search for Opportunities in the Internet Using Internet Marketing Mechanisms”, [in:] Agile Enterprise. Concepts and Some Results of Research, Poznan University of Technology and IEA Press, Poznan 2007, pp. 64-75

MaxROY.com - Search Engine Marketing Consulting

2.2.3. The Search for Opportunities in the Internet Using Internet Marketing Mechanisms

Tomasz Frontczak
Stefan Trzcieliński
Poznan University of Technology

2.2.3.1. Introduction

 

The internet is often called a “universal medium for business interaction” (Preiss et al., 1996, p. 86). The internet enables providers to interact with potential and actual consumers as well as enabling intra-customer communications in real time (Harridge-March S., 2004). The appearance and the interaction between an entrepreneur and a consumer, is conditioned by marketing activities. A notable implication for  marketers is the potential shift from a non-virtual marketplace to  a  market-space instead, incorporating virtual transaction/distribution spaces (Lockett and Blackman, 2001). The ability of a website to  establish contact with and subsequently serve customers has been hailed by many as a  cost-reducing way of distributing goods/services direct from the provider to the  consumer (Harridge-March S., 2004). Potential of the Internet has been seen to be exciting and, for  some, the opportunity to  enter new markets which had previously been inaccessible to them (Allan, S., Chudry, F., 2000).
The global range of the internet makes the satisfaction of individual and unique needs possible. The consumer is not limited in the choice of  local suppliers, the physical distance is less and less important  or has no any meaning (for products and services which can be bought in the digital form). Finite shelf space, broadcast channels, and column inches have been replaced by infinite product supply and infinite findability (Levin M., 2007).
The internet became  the mass-medium, quickly adapting itself to individual consumer needs. The direction of the internet marketing development is  the enlightening on the user who expresses his/her own needs and awaits his/her  preferences to be accepted (Sharma And., Sheth JN., 2004). There is an opinion (Tapp A., Hughes T., 2004) that the development and the popularization of the internet technologies change the word “marketing”, making interactions possible on a level not known up to now.

Trends in the Internet Marketing

The latest research conducted by Piper Jaffray & Co shows  that the internet becomes mass-medium. Here are some of the main trends indicated by the authors of the research (Piper Jaffray Investment Research, 2007):

The range of the internet in Poland grows quickly all the time. According to the NetTrack research of the company Millward Brown SMG/KRC in the latter part the year 2006 there were already 11,5 million of Internet users  aged above 15 years. This information helps to estimate the number of Internet users  aged above 7 years on 13,1 million. The dynamics of the spending spree on the adverts in the internet in 2006 in Poland carried out 59,3 % (IAB Poland, 2007). 

Search

            PiperJaffray pays attention how important search in the internet is: “Search is the second most commonly used application on  the Web with 550 million searches daily in the United States, and search marketing is a $15.8 billion global industry growing to $44.5 billion over the next five years. The key trends in the search industry are as follows: 1) Search is the new portal; 2) Search is becoming a branding tool; 3) Goggle’s dominance is increasing;” (Piper Jaffray Investment Research, 2007).
Search is also very popular in Poland. In 2006 Google overcame  Onet portal and took (from February 2006) the first place  in the ranking of visiting all web services in Poland (IAB Poland, 2007).  This fact influences rising of advertisers’  interest in  search engine. The huge popularity of searching is one of the factors rising the interest . The second factor is the lowest average cost of getting a  consumer comparing to other marketing channels , what  is clearly shown at  Fig. 2.2.3.1.


Fig. 2.2.3.1. Approximate Customer Acquisition Costs Across Various Channels
Source: Battelle J., 2005.

The Database of Intentions

Traditional advertising  means giving content to the potential customer (receiver) and trying to convince the customer about the product.  Internet search engines  act in reverse. Hitherto existing receivers become senders, actively informing, what they  need. The difference is huge, because the initiative and the first announcement come from the receiver. Danny Sullivan, a well-known journalist and observer of the search engine  market, likened search engines to being a "reverse broadcast network"  (Da Vanzo P., 2003).
Search engines became enormously popular in a short time. Millions of customers speak milliards times what they need. The search became an universal method of the navigation in the internet (Frontczak T., 2006).  Search engines, gathering data about every query and  click, build a huge database which John Batelle calls “the Database of Intentions”. He writes: “Taken together, this information represents a real-time history of post – Web culture - and massive clickstream database of desires,  needs, wants, and preferences that can be discovered, subpoenaed, archived, tracked and exploited for all sorts of ends”   (Battelle J., 2005).
The Database of Intentions, for its own content, becomes an essential source of opportunity research. Users of search engines first get over with the announcement (with their own intention), then it is  possible that this intention becomes an opportunity which finds an enterprise (the producer). 
There are unique intentions described by users. Some of them are needs which become demand on products or services. Unique needs have existed up to now but only the internet era made their description possible through entities representing demand and their satisfaction by entrepreneurs  representing supply. In the past, unique need was not an opportunity for an entrepreneur, because there was not  any possibility of its identification. Too small scale of need occurrence could be an obstacle  at the market  accessible for the enterprise. The internet removed these obstacles. Unique intentions create  so called long tail which is a band  of  opportunities for the enterprise.

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, introduced the expression “the long tail” into the business dictionary. He shows in his book that  for many undertakings, particularly in the  internet,  the rule Pareto distribution does not work. One of examples, which Anderson quotes, is the comparison of the traditional network of bookshops Barnes & Nobles with the internet bookshop Amazon.com. Barnes & Nobles offers about 130 000 titles and Amazon 3,7 million. 25% of  Amazon revenue  is generated by the titles which are never  found in the traditional bookshops - and which become a completely not open market for  traditional salesmen. A more clear picture of the  lack of regularities based on Pareto principle can be seen on  the music  market.  The internet service Rhapsody offers 1,5 million pieces of music in stock. 40%  of the entire Rhapsody sale comes from titles which cannot be purchased even in the biggest supermarkets (Anderson C., 2006).
            The idea of the long tail is characteristic for internet search engines  which are driven by infinite combination of words and numbers.  Joe Kraus, the co-owner of the Excite.com service (one of first internet search engines) in his  blog gives exact data showing the existence of the long tail. “ In Excite′s heyday, we were handling millions of searches a day. The top 10 searches were thousands of times more popular than the average search, these top-10 searches represented only 3% of our total volume. 97% of our traffic came from the “long tail” - queries asked a little over once a day” (Kraus. J., 2005). This is  illustrated at Fig 2.2.3.2. Kraus also notices that Excite,  which suffered on the internet market slump in 2001 and never rebuilt its  market position, did not know how to create business based on  97%  of traffic generated in the service. Kraus adds that Google knew, creating  effective ad  market  for advertisers,  getting to small  groups of receivers.

 
Fig. 2.2.3.2. Excite Query Distribution
Source: http://bnoopy.typepadsss.com/bnoopy/2005/03/the_long_tail_o.html
(Accessed 25 April 2007)

Google is the evidence of the long tail existence  even more clearly: “50 percent of the searches coming in one any given day - more than 1000 million - are unique” (Batelle, J., 2005). Here are shown not only  varieties of human needs, but also marketing potential and the power of the ads model in search engines, being simple a  precise control of the marketing transmission. It means that millions of  keywords can have economic value, if their ad  is shown. Mutt Cuts, the Google engineer, presents his opinion on promotion of keywords from the long tail: “ There are so many people who think if I  ranked number one for my trophy phase I win and my life will be good. When, in fact, numerous people demonstrated that if you chase after the long tail and make a good site that can match many different user’s queries you might end up with more traffic than if you had that trophy phrase“ (Hotchkiss G., 2007).

 

2.2.3.2. Four Dimensions of Agility and Internet Marketing

Goldman et al. (1995) identified four strategic dimensions of agile manufacturing which are applicable, also, is non-manufacturing enterprises:

McGaughey (1999) showed, how internet technology contributes to agility. Here are some chosen aspects:

The internet is a difficult to  foresee  and stormy environment, being simultaneously full of not discovered market opportunities (Frontczak T., 2006), which exist  only thanks to general access to entrepreneurs  and their customers’  internet technologies. The internet is a medium of  communication between the customer and entrepreneurs. It  delivers information about need and lets on its  transformation  into  opportunity.
The enterprise, which can use internet marketing mechanisms  skilfully,  is able to be find by opportunity. Using data from the intention base helps to understand the customer better and to adjust to his needs quickly. Global range and automation of marketing tools in the internet  influence positively  enlarging  the cooperation between entities who want to advertise in the network with entities who are the owners of the ads surface.
The internet measurability,  the biggest  of all  media,  becomes the measurability of marketing activities in the internet and their verification. It is also a possibility of tracking customer  behaviours and adjusting to his/her expectations, e.g. by individualized marketing transmission directly answering the intention or even remaining ahead of it. 

2.2.3.3. Opportunity Oriented Marketing in the Internet

 

Marketing in internet search engines means  immediate use of database of intentions. An advertiser  has a possibility of searching the database and broadcasting the ads for selected words (database search  can be used at the stage of researching customer expectations, not only as ads tool). The results given by search engines can be  divided into two groups:  created on the bases of algorithm evaluating  service quality and dependent on charges carried by the advertiser. The first ones are called “organic ” or “natural” results,  their position depends on  the quality of work performed over the service and verified by the algorithm. Besides organic results there are so called paid placement listings, which most often can be  found on the right side and/or at the top of returned information (Fig. 2.2.3.3). The entrepreneur  can enlarge the precision of the ads targeting, by ads  emission only to the internet users from the definite geographic area or selecting the emission  hours. 

 


Fig. 2.2.3.3.  Natural and sponsored results (upper and right side) in the search engine Google Source: google.com.

The owners of the internet search engines  (three firms: Google, Yahoo and Microsoft dominate on the market ) created platforms of the internet marketing  which make possible the management  of ads emission on the global scale. Apart from search engines, entrepreneurs using  these platforms have a possibility to locate the ads  on partners web services. The total range of platforms ( almost immediate access to milliards of users from one place) means that they become an essential intermediary element between an entrepreneur  and a customer in the internet communication.  They  allow demand to meet  supply.
Mechanisms of marketing consist of the following elements:  methods of ads targeting, the payment model with advertiser and the ads forms. Knowing these elements, he/she  can fully characterize the internet ads (Frontczak T., 2006). The entrepreneur  using internet marketing platforms, using accessible tools, takes decisions how  the  offered mechanisms will be used. Knowledge  about them and the use  of tools can have the essential influence on the agility of the enterprise.
 
Methods of the Ads Targeting

            There are many methods of ads targeting. We will focus on the most characteristic, enlarging the probability of finding  an enterprise by opportunity.

 

Search engine advertising

The ad in search engines is shown on the basis of a question given by the user. The advertiser  chooses key search words and creates the ads transmission. The method allows such transmission ad adjustment  so it is compatible  with the intentions of the search engine user.

Location-based advertising

The ad is directed to the receiver of a definite location. Geolocation systems can with a small or big degree identify the physical position of the user. This type of targeting comes true especially in the case of  ads of local firms or local departments.

Contextual advertising

Contextually targeted ads are  shown on a given internet site on the basis  of page content analysis. Special algorithms analyze the content of every  service subpage and place ads there if the ads transmission is related with its content. Thanks to this it  is possible to direct promotion contents to the narrow receivers’  group interested in  a specific subject. Advertisers, using this type of systems, describe their own ads  by key words. For these key words pages with similar subject  are  sought. Therefore, it is possible, using complicated phrases, to direct very narrowly  ads transmission.
            Firms offering systems to service context ads, have a very big superiority over traditional ads networks, which also assemble independent services and through their mediation publish ads there. This superiority is so  called -scale effect – a possibility of gathering  a considerably greater amount of ad publishers (i.e. internet services where  ads can be placed including small, niche vortals) and advertisers (also these with low budgets). It is possible, thanks to the impersonal service of contacts between the ad publisher and  the advertiser, what considerably cuts transactional costs. This is a new cooperation dimension -  the virtual cooperation with no contact (also virtual) between the advertiser and the service owner where the ads will appear.
                             
Behavioural advertising
Behavioural targeting consists of  ads transferring to the group of users who are selected on the basis of  a certain behaviour. For example, it can be  a repeated activity of browsing some texts connected with travelling across Europe. They will be shown an ad of cheap flights in Europe. The ad about cheap flights will be presented on many subpages which can be analyzed by a selected users group. The advanced behavioural targeting allows to keep ahead customers intentions. Frequently, the mentioned methods of ad targeting can exist side by side cumulatively.

Payment Models for the Internet Advertising

Payment models for the ads evolve from payment based on the transmission quantity ( these solutions are  transferred from traditional media such as radio and television) to reflecting a given action performed by the ads receiver. Models which are based on payment for  a desired  action help the effective resources allocation assigned to marketing. Three such models are characterized below:
Pay Per Click (CPC) is a model of payment  in which every click into the ads is paid.  This model dominated  promotion in search engines and partly context ads. The  Google success is a result of a combination of this model with  the method directing the ad to a question asked by the user. It happened in 2002 (Battelle J., 2005) and assured Google the prevailing position on the internet marketing  which was reflected in the company  stock pricing exceeding $140 billion in 2006 (Laffey D., 2007).
Pay Per Performance - all the time being under development a way of payment between the advertiser and ads receiver (a service  owner where the ad is placed).The payment includes a specific activity, undertaken by the internet user (most often purchase, but it can also be the filling in the survey, giving some personal data etc.).
CPM - cost per thousand is the cost of thousand showings of a given ads (the letter M stands for Roman number 1000).  This model is mostly used in banner ads (the cost for 1000 banner showings). 

Internet Ads Formats

A classical internet banner, presented for the first time in 1994, has been used up to now. The ads evolved in different directions - from vociferous graphic forms  up to ascetic sponsored  links  (Frontczak T., 2006). The development of internet technologies makes creating various forms of ads possible , combining   text, graphics, video and sound. It is possible for the advertiser to meet the receiver   expectations and to enrich interactions with them.  The high popularity of sponsored lines and efficiency of minimalist ads form show however, that the greatest development takes place on the ground  not visible to the user i.e. within the methods of ads direction and payment methods.

2.2.3.4. Internet Marketing Tools and Platforms

 

            There are many widely accessible internet tools, which can be used for the enlargement of the enterprise accessibility to opportunity, and consequently for the enlargement of its agility (Trzcieliński, 2006).

Keyword Tools - Direct Access to the Database of Intentions

The owners of search engines offer their customers, i.e. advertisers, access to tools making possible the partial data search gathered by themselves. Tools of this type, through the  research of keywords enable deepening in the database of intention. A basic tool of this type is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Writing  a key word  the tool prompts other words related, e.g. for the phrase  “lean management ” we get about 200 prompts (Fig. 2.2.3.4.). Specific needs are behind these words. Analysing the obtained data one can examine users’ intentions and then  adapt a given  offer, with the possibility of concentration on a chosen market  segment. For example for “lean management” a chosen segment can be “lean management in healthcare”. Besides, the tool can be used for searching words which the competition does not advertise, and which are  directly related with the enterprise activity. The cost of the advertising transmission  for such words will be low.


Fig. 2.2.3.4. Google Keyword Tool
Source: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal (Accessed 25 April 2007)

Trends

            In 2006 Google opened for internet users Google Trends - the tool visualizing  their base of intention. By means of Google Trends one can observe global or local trends. On Fig. 2.2.3.5.  a trend of search words “snowboard” and “skateboard” in Great Britain is shown. It is clearly seen when we deal with the greatest interest in winter sport. Besides, it  can be seen that the interest in  skateboard gradually comes down. 
 

Fig. 2.2.3.5. Google Trends
Source: http://www.google.com/trends (Accessed 25 April 2007)

            The potential of this tool seems to be confirmed by successful attempts of foreseeing the future, mainly presenting the winners of the amateur singer contest American Idol. The owner of boutique chain admits, in  one  of his internet blogs, that  decisions about the orders quantity  of different brands are undertaken  with the help  of Google Trends (Leonhardt D., 2006).

Analytic Tools

            The internet marketing in search engines is characterized among other things by a possibility of  the exact measurement of the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. The aims of advertising campaigns are often  reached only in the advertiser service , therefore, it is necessary to  measure what happens after the click (Goodman A., 2005). The development of internet analytic tools makes possible the exact verification of marketing activities . One of the most popular and most powerful analytic tools is Google Analytics, accessible free of charge for everyone interested in  tracking the effectiveness. For the entrepreneur  who is the owner of  the internet service , the accessibility of analytic tools helps getting the data needed for taking well-founded decisions about resource allocations for marketing. If there are no desired effects, one resigns from given activities; if they are-  managers think  what to do to maximize them.
            Search engines are a wonderful source of traffic on the web page, but the traffic is meaningless, if a visitor is not well served after arriving at a site (Frontczak T., Chmieliński P., 2003).  Analytic tools create a possibility of getting data signalling the improvement  necessity of enterprise internet service what is reflected in greater adapting to customers  needs and expectations. 

Internet Advertising Platforms

            Firms working on the search engines market based their business model on ads incomes. Platforms were  built which display ads and manage the  internet campaigns. From the beginning these platforms were based on impersonal service (the adviser does not have to contact the consultant). Such an approach created a possibility of cost reduction in service staff  and what is more - small advisors also became  attractive (service cost thanks to automation is very small). For example,  Google introduced simultaneously its advertising-system on tens locally national markets, what  resulted  in reaching a dominant position often without any  office in a given country (Frontczak T., 2006). 
Systems, such as Google AdWords, Miscrosoft AdCenter or Panama Yahoo become  specific advertising-platforms, because they create a possibility of reaching unlimited advertising space. Today it is considerably more easily and cheaper to run marketing in the net, they get millions of users in any place in the world, without any contact with mediators or service owners. There are no obstacles (and often such situations are met), for a marketer from Poland to work for Chinese  firm introducing its own products on the market in Great Britain.
The main features characterizing  modern advertising-platforms are the following:

            Niche services can become Google partners (thanks to the fact that the platform is automated), and then advertisers  have a possibility of reaching them immediately. Advertising in such services (because of  the niche character and often narrow thematic field of these services) can be very well targeted, and thanks to the omission of agents the purchase price of 1000 showings can be much more cheaper than in traditional channels. Platforms usage gives entrepreneurs a possibility of immediate response to  changes in the environment.

2.2.3.5. Case Studies

 

            Below we present four case studies which well illustrate the possibilities offered by  internet marketing mechanisms and tools  in the area of opportunity search.

The Tail Is Bigger Than Head

Budapest Accommodation Service is a small, Hungarian family business firm operating  on the tourist service market. It has several internet services , one of them is 8-language service which presents flats for rent in Budapest. This service is promoted  in search engines (organic results)  for a dozen English-speaking keywords, directly connected with the profile of the firm activity. In spite of the main promotion for a dozen or words, the service was constructed in such a way to assemble also entries for niche words. Thus in the second half of the year 2006, internet users  used 6570 combinations of key words in search engines, then went to  the service (it had a high rank in the searching). As it is shown at Fig. 2.2.3.6., the existence of the long tail,  the first 10 most popular phrases generated together 15,75% of the traffic, was clearly confirmed. The rest originated from the long tail words. The initial analysis conducted by us  shows that conversion rate (the coefficient of desirable actions in the service to the quantity of visits) is higher for the long tail words. Apart from the bigger quantity of visits in the service, entries from the long tail generate more reservations and offer questions.
            The firm undertook also the decision about the promotion for words written with mistakes. For a lot of time these words were outside the competitors interest. For  half a year the phrase written with the mistake by users of search engines (the word “accomodation”) generated about 88% more entries  than  properly written (“ accommodation”).  Positions in search engines for both phrases were very close (top  4).


Fig. 2.2.3.6. The long tails in tourist’s web service
Source: BudapestRooms.com Stats (Accessed 25 April 2007)

            This example confirms  that directing ads to niche words is a way which transforms question and customer intention into opportunity. It, in turn, very precisely finds the producer (the firm which can satisfy the customer needs).

Budapest Accommodation Service and a New Service Added to the Offer

            At the beginning of 2005 the marketing consultant serving of the above-mentioned  firm from Budapest conducted research on key words. He used among other things the tool Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Examining potential key words which can be used by persons seeking information on Budapest, he noticed that people often used words “budapest” and “airport” in different combinations to create a query. Data presented in the Google AdWOrds Keyword Tool showed that these phrases  were seldom used by competitive advertising-firms. It  means that the competition on the internet ad market directed to these words is low. Therefore, a subpage in the service of Budapest Accommodation Service, which gave some basic information on the airport in Budapest, was created. It was created on the basis of search engine optimization rule so visits started to appear. After analysing these entries the following combinations of words were found: budapest airport transfers, budapest airport transfer, budapest cheap airport transfer, budapest taxi airport transfer etc. They precisely  showed which service was needed by  potential customers - the transfer from the airport to the centre of the Hungarian capital. The owner of the firm Budapest Accommodation Service undertook quick activities in order to use appearing opportunity. He started cooperation with a firm offering a  motor transportation and began to offer service as the agent. Moreover, he  widened his scope of services. Core business customers of the firm who were interested in renting private flats, obtained the possibility of getting more complex tourist service. In turn, new customers who found the firm seeking the transport  service from the airport, received the accommodation  offer.
            The above example illustrates the case, when  the opportunity “seeks” enterprises; persons visiting pages said what was needed , although it was not offered by the firm. It  was a subjective opportunity  which became conscious thanks to suitable use of knowledge resources gained through data analysis. It was  obtained using tools of the internet marketing, which help researching key words and the analysis  of movement  statistics on the internet site.

Low CPM Rate

            The Polish  firm operating on the  GSM market (it is called here Firm X), advertisers in the internet. One of the main defined aims is the improvement of the image cohesion of  some brands. In order to realize the aim a campaign, building the image of particular brands, was created with a plan of  displaying in branch services. This type of add is bought according to model CPM i.e. paying for 1000 showings.
            To show the ad  in a chosen service of portal Onet.pl (the biggest portal in Poland), one ought to pay about 10 Euro for 1000 showings (Onet.pl, 2007). Such a  chosen service could  be the service about the mobile phone, being a part of Onet. pl. The firm X decided, however, to seek another channel. One reached, through platform Google AdWords, about 20 services dealing with GSM topic not being a part of large portals and being platform Google partners. Finally, during one  week the ad was displayed over 500 000 times, at the average cost 0,185 Euro for thousand showings. The difference in price exceeds  5000%. Ad showings in chosen services were effective, because apart from image building (the hidden effect ,  difficult to  measure), they were put directly to entries on  the Firm X service (the result is better than the average for branding campaigns). The Google AdWords platform increased  the possibility of finding the Firm X through opportunity and,  moreover, it  enormously lowered the cost of this operation.

Clients′ Intentions Were to Buy in China, We Changed It

            The consultant serving the Firm X, researching the key words noticed that a certain group of customers in Europe was interested in a wholesale-purchase of goods from partners from China, which also were offered by the Firm X. One grouped the key phrases, indicating the purchase  intention of goods in China. The persuasion ads were created and displayed for these phrases  encouraging to  buy in Europe.  The ad transmission was constructed in a way it was distinguished above the competition ad. The results of these activities are all the time received  inquires from customers, whose original intention was cooperation with Chinese firms. The firm X enlarged the probability that it would be found by opportunities expressed by an intention of the wholesale-purchase of goods by European customers.

2.2.3.6. Conclusions

 

            The internet is a popular medium of total communication. The internet users through this channel express their unique intentions which can be specific needs. They form so called “long tail”. The internet changed many needs (which often existed long before the internet era) into opportunities. It happened thanks to internet marketing  platforms,  which  mediate in the communication between the entrepreneur and the customer.  This communication often would not be possible  without platforms.
Firms which are internet search engines owners possess global database of intentions of all internet users. They open marketing platforms to entrepreneurs  and through offered tools make the use of the internet marketing mechanisms possible. The entrepreneur  has a possibility of precise reaching the ads transmission adjusting it to the entity’s behaviours representing demand. The precision of reaching, the analysis of accessible information and the  reaction speed to changes enlarges the probability of finding the enterprise through opportunity. 

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Eric Schmidt, Google management director  says about marketing budgets of American corporations: “The last bastion of unaccountable spending in corporate America” (Frontczak T., 2006). Google strategy is helping entrepreneurs to locate marketing budgets better with simultaneous dependence on their tools (Google Analytics for free).

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