GMT NewYork London Moscow Tokyo Sydney

Jun

3

2017

65 Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts to Help You Photoshop Like a Pro

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Design | Comments are closed

photoshop-shortcuts-compressor.jpg

Have you ever accidentally wasted an entire day in Photoshop?

I have. It’s not like you start out aimlessly. You have a simple goal in mind, like cropping a photo, improving the resolution, or changing the size of the canvas. But then, you look at how many options there are — and trying to figure out which buttons to press to execute a single task suddenly turns into an attempt to solve The Riddle of the Sphinx.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just press a button, and magically, do what you wanted to do? Well, we’ve got good news for you: It turns out there are a wealth of Photoshop shortcuts that pretty much work just that way. New Call-to-action

By pressing a few keys on your computer keyboard at the same time, you can select tools, manipulate images and layers, and even make adjustments to your project’s canvas. But if we’re being honest, if you’re just starting out with the software, there might be far too many Photoshop shortcuts to remember them all. That’s why we created this guide — for you to bookmark and return to next time your design project leaves you stumped.

Note: All of these shortcuts can be accessed on PC and Mac, but sometimes, they’re different on each operating system. We’ve included both types below, and in the cases where they might be different, Mac instructions appear in italicized parentheses. Also, in these formulas, the plus sign (+) is present only to represent the combination of key commands. On occasion, it might be part of the command itself, like when you press the plus sign to zoom into a part of an image, but otherwise, don’t press the plus sign between commands.

65 Photoshop Shortcuts to Save You Time

Got something specific in mind? Click on a section below to jump to that section.

Getting Set Up

You’d think setting up your content in Photoshop would be second nature. But sometimes, the shortcuts to change the background size, or zoom into your project aren’t what you think. Here are some of the most crucial fundamental shortcuts to know:

1) Control + Alt + i (Command + Option + i ) = Change the image size.

2) Control + Alt + c (Command + Option + c ) = Change canvas size.

3) Control + + (Command + + ) = Zoom in.

4) Control + – (Command +) = Zoom out.

Control + ‘ (Command + ) = Show or hide the grid, the automatically-generated horizontal and vertical lines that help align objects to the canvas.

Choosing the Right Tools

These shortcuts will activate different groups of tools, like “Lasso,” “Brush,” or “Spot Healing Brush.” Within these tools, though, there are different functions. Under the “Magic Wand” tool group, for example, you have the option to execute a new selection or add and subtract from a current one.

Each one of these tools has a keyboard shortcut, and we’ve outlined some of them below.

5) v = Pointer, a.k.a. Move Tool pointer-tool.png 

6) w = Magic Wand magic-wand-tool.png

7) m = Rectangular Marquee, a.k.a. the Select Tool marquee-tool-1.png

8) l = Lasso lasso-tool.png

9) i = Eyedropper eyedropper-tool.png

10) c = Crop Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.09.20 PM.png

11) e = Eraser Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.21.32 PM.png

12) u = Rectangle rectangle-tool.png

13) t = Horizontal Type text-tool.png

14) b = Brush Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.15.15 PM.png

15) y = History Brush history-brush-tool.png

16) j = Spot Healing Brush spot-healing-tool.png

17) g = Gradient Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.14.32 PM.png

18) a = Path Selection path-selection-tool.png

19) h = Hand hand-tool.png

20) r = Rotate View rotate-view-tool.png

21) p = Pen pen-tool.png

22) s = Clone Stamp clone-stamp-tool.png

23) o = Dodge Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.16.48 PM.png

24) z = Zoom Tool zoom-tool.png

25) d = Default Foreground and Background Colors Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.23.24 PM.png

26) x = Switch Foreground and Background Colors Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.25.24 PM.png

27) q = Edit in Quick Mask Mode Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.26.26 PM.png

28) x = Change Screen Mode Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 12.27.48 PM.png

Using the Brush Tool

With the brush settings, you can change the size, shape, and transparency of your brush strokes to achieve a number of different visual effects. To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Brush tool by pressing b. brush-tool.png

29) , or . = Select previous or next brush style.

30) Shift + , or . = Select first or last brush style used.

31) Caps Lock or Shift + Caps Lock (Caps Lock) = Display precise crosshair for brushes.

32) Shift + Alt + p (Shift + Option + p) = Toggle airbrush option.

Using the Marquee Tool (for Slicing/Selecting)

When used correctly, the marquee tool will let you select individual elements, entire graphics, and determine what is copied, cut, and pasted into your graphics.

To use these keyboard shortcuts, first select the Marquee tool by pressing m. marquee-tool-2.png

33) Control (Command) = Toggle between Slice tool and Slice Selection tool.

34) Shift + drag = Draw square slice.

35) Alt + drag (Option + drag) = Draw from center outward.

36) Shift + alt + drag (Shift + option + drag) = Draw square slice from center outward.

37) Spacebar + drag = Reposition the slice while creating the slice.

Using Different Blending Options

Blending options include a number of features to enhance the look of your graphic. You can always choose a blending option by going to the top menu bar, under Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Or, you can double-click any layer to bring up the options for that particular layer.

Once you open blending options, you can use keyboard shortcuts to select them without moving your mouse. To use the shortcuts, select the Move tool (“v“), and then select the layer you’d like to use the blending options on. Below are some of the most popular modes.

38) Shift + + or= Cycle through blending modes.

39) Shift + Alt + n (Shift + Option + n) = Normal mode

40) Shift + Alt + i (Shift + Option + i) = Dissolve

41) Shift + Alt + k (Shift + Option + k) = Darken

42) Shift + Alt + g (Shift + Option + g) = Lighten

43) Shift + Alt + m (Shift + Option + m) = Multiply

44) Shift + Alt + o (Shift + Option + o) = Overlay

45) Shift + Alt + u (Shift + Option + u) = Hue

46) Shift + Alt + t (Shift + Option + t) = Saturation

47) Shift + Alt + y (Shift + Option + y) = Luminosity

For more niche blending shortcuts, check out these tips from Adobe.

Manipulating Layers & Objects

If you want to modify an object or get complex with multiple layers, here are some shortcuts you might like to know:

48) Control + a (Command + a ) = Select all objects

49) Control + d (Command + d ) = Deselect all objects

50) Shift + Control + i (Shift + Command + i ) = Select the inverse of the selected objects

51) Control + Alt + a (Command + Option + a) = Select all layers

52) Control + Shift + E (Command + Shift + e) = Merge all layers

53) Alt + . (Option + .) = Select top layer

54) Alt + , (Option + ,) = Select bottom layer

Note: In shortcuts 55-57, the brackets ([ ]) are the keystrokes in the command, and “OR” refers to the actual word — as in, press one bracket OR the other, not the letters “o” and “r.”

55) Alt + [ OR ] (Option + [ OR ]) = Select next layer down or up

56) Control + [ OR ] (Command + [ OR ]) = Move target layer down or up

57) Control + Shift + [ OR ] (Command + Shift + [ OR ]) = Move layer to the bottom or top

58) Shift + Control + n (Shift + Command + n) = Create a new layer

59) Control + g (Command + g) = Group selected layers

60) Control + Shift + g (Command + Shift + g) = Ungroup selected layers

61) Control + e (Command + e) = Merge and flatten selected layers

62) Control + Shift + Alt + e (Command + Shift + Option + e) = Combine all layers into a new layer on top of the other layers. Note: This step gets you one, combined layer, with all elements of that layer in separate layers below — which is different than a traditional merge-and-flatten layers command.

63) Control + t (Command + t) = Transform your object, which includes resizing and rotating

And Finally — Save Your Work for Later

Congratulations — you’ve finished working on your project, and now, you want to share it with the world. Save time saving your project by using these simple shortcuts:

64) Control + Shift + s (Command + Shift + s) = Save your work as …

65) Control + Shift + Alt + s (Command + Shift + Option + s) = Save for web and devices

Which Photoshop shortcuts can’t you live without? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

download 50 examples of brilliant homepage design

Powered by WPeMatico

May

10

2017

How to Use Facebook Live: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Canonical, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

facebook_live_guide_compressed.jpg

In April 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service that lets anyone broadcast from their mobile devices straight to their Facebook News Feed.

Since its launch, live streaming video has grown in popularity, with 16% of marketers broadcasting it in 2016. Facebook Live is particularly popular — videos see 3X the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platforms, and millions of users live stream on Facebook around the world.

Why are marketers getting so excited about Facebook Live? Because it’s a fun and simple way for them to use the power of video to communicate their brand stories and build authentic relationships with fans and followers — in real time.

However, for such a simple concept, Facebook Live has a lot of little nuances that marketers will need to learn if they want to get the most out of the platform. This guide will help you learn the best tricks and tricks that can make a big, big difference in how many people see your live broadcast, how they engage with it, and how it performs.

Download our Facebook Live guide to learn how to increase your social  following and brand awareness through live video.  

In this post, we’ll walk through how to broadcast on Facebook Live, how to analyze your live video’s performance, and several tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform. (Click here to skip down to the tips.)

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live

Facebook Live started as a mobile-only broadcasting feature, but now, Facebook Pages can broadcast from either mobile devices or desktop computers. We’ll go over how to broadcast from mobile and desktop devices in the sections below.

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Mobile

To get started, get out your mobile device and open up the Facebook app.

Step 1: Go to the News Feed, and tap the “Live” option denoted by the FB_Live_NewsFeed.png icon.

FB live newsfeed_1.png

You can also go live from your own Facebook profile. Open up the status bar by tapping the text that reads “What’s on your mind?” Then, select the “Live Video” option from the menu.

live_video_status.png

Step 2: Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted.

You’ll stop receiving these prompts after the first time you use it.   camera_permission.png

Step 3: Choose your privacy setting.

If you’re posting for a brand, you’ll probably want to make it public. If you’re posting as yourself, you might want to reserve your broadcast for friends. But if you’re new to Facebook Live and want to test it out first, or want to see what something will look like, then switch the privacy setting to “Only Me.” You can find the “Only Me” option by clicking “More” and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

fb privacy settings.pngprivacysettings2.png

Step 4: Write a compelling description.

Give your broadcast a description, which will show up on people’s News Feeds like a status update above the video. To get people to tune in, write an attention-grabbing headline and help them understand what your broadcast is about. Check out the example below from The White House’s live broadcast.

FBlivedescription.pngwhite-house-facebook-live-description.jpg

Image Credit: Facebook

Step 5: Tag friends, choose your location, or add an activity.

Tap the icons at the bottom of your screen to tag people who are in the Facebook Live video, add the location from where you’re shooting, or share what you’re doing in the broadcast. These touches can add more personalization to your video, increase discoverability, and make people want to tune in.

personalizationFBlive.png

Step 6: Set up your camera view.

Before you click “Go Live,” be sure your camera’s pointing in the direction you want it to. The background of your setup screen will show you what your camera sees. If you want to change the camera view to selfie or vice versa, simply click the rotating arrows icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

camera view.png

The video will be a square, so it doesn’t matter whether you hold your mobile device vertically or horizontally.

Pro tip: You can choose if you want the image to be horizontally or vertically mirrored, too. Tap the magic wand icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, then tap the tools icon at the bottom of your screen to film from a different view or to adjust the video’s brightness.

toolbox-1.png

Step 7: Add lenses, filters, or writing and drawing to your video.

Tap the magicwand.png icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, and choose if you want to add lenses to your face, change the filter of the camera, or write or draw to make the video more whimsical.

lenses_FBlive.png

filters_FBlive.png

drawingFBlive.png

Step 8: Click the blue “Go Live” button to start broadcasting.

Once you click it, Facebook will give you a countdown — “3, 2, 1 …” — and then you’ll be live. As soon as you start streaming, your live video will appear in your News Feed — and others’ News Feeds — just like any other post.

Go Live button.png

Your broadcast can be up to 90 minutes long. Keep in mind that the longer you broadcast, the more people who are scrolling through their News Feeds on Facebook will stumble upon your post.

Step 9: Interact with viewers and commenters.

To keep your viewers engaged, encourage them to interact with your live video (which will help your ranking in others’ News Feeds). You can also interact with them both by speaking directly to them in your video and, if you want, by having someone else respond to comments from a desktop computer elsewhere.

Where can you see these comments? While you’re broadcasting, you’ll see the time elapsed on the top left along with the number of viewers, and comments will show up live on the bottom of your feed. They’ll appear in reverse chronological order, like on Twitter, so keep in mind that the earlier ones may be farther down.

Facebook_Live_Comments.png

Image Credit: Facebook Newsroom

Note: You can also block viewers during a live broadcast by tapping the profile picture next to a viewer’s comment and then tapping “Block.” You can unblock someone you’ve previously blocked, too.

Step 10: Click “Finish” to end the broadcast.

Once you do this, the video will stay on your Timeline or Page like any other video post.

Step 11: Post your reply and save the video to your camera roll.

Once you finish your broadcast, you’ll be met with a screen similar to the one I’ve screenshot below. If you want to post it, that will enable others to view your video once you’ve stopped broadcasting. Then, tap the download button to save the video to your camera roll so you have a copy of the original for safekeeping.

FBlivepostreplay.png

Step 12: You’re done.

You can always go back to the post on your Timeline or Page and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

FBlive_post.png

How to Broadcast on Facebook Live via Desktop

If you’re an admin or editor of a Facebook Page for your brand, you can also broadcast live from a desktop computer. This isn’t as spontaneous as broadcasting from a mobile device (and, obviously, isn’t as mobile), but this could be a good option for filming more static broadcasts. For example, we recently broadcast a Facebook Live panel in celebration of International Women’s Day. The panelists and interviewer sat in place the entire time, an example of when broadcasting from a steadier device could be more effective.

Step 1: Go to your Page and tap the “Write something” box, as if you’re writing a new post.

FB_live_desktop_see all.png

Tap the menu option to “See All,” and click on “Start a Live Video.”

FB_live_desktop_1.png

Step 2: Write a compelling description of your video that will appear on your Page’s Timeline and in the News Feed.

Choose a descriptive and enticing summary to draw viewers in and make them unmute your Facebook Live to start watching.

FB_live_desktop_2.png

Then, click “Next.”

Step 3: Give Facebook permission to use your computer’s camera and microphone.

You won’t be prompted for this again once you do it for the first time.

fb_live_desktop_3.png

Step 4: Check to make sure your description and video view are final before starting your broadcast.

fb_live_desktop_5.png

From here, you also have the option to share live video from an external device, such as a video camera or other recording device. Tap “click here” to set up that connection.

Step 5: Press “Go Live” to start your broadcast.

Facebook will give you a “3, 2, 1 … ” countdown before going live. Tap “Finish” when you’re ready to end the broadcast.

Step 6: The broadcast will appear in the News Feed and on your Page’s Timeline, where you can edit it by tapping the drop-down arrow in the upper right-hand corner.

From here, you can change the description, change the date of posting, or create a new Facebook post featuring the broadcast. If you want a video to garner more engagement, you can also pin it to the top of your brand’s Page so it’s the first post visitors see when they visit.

hubspot fb live.png

Now that you know how to broadcast from all devices, let’s dive into how to analyze Facebook Live videos.

How to Analyze Your Live Video’s Performance

How to Access Video Analytics on a Facebook Business Page

To get started analyzing your Facebook Live broadcasts, head to the “Insights” tab at the top of your brand’s Facebook Page:

Facebook Insights tab.png

Then, head to the “Videos” section of your analytics on the left-hand side of the screen.

facebook insights video.png

From there, scroll down to the “Top Videos” section, and either choose a video from that menu to look into, or tap “Video Library” to look at all of the videos your Page has ever posted.

hubspot top videos insights.png

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

The performance analytics available for Facebook Live videos are similar to those of normal videos on Facebook, with some neat additions.

  • For Pre-recorded videos: Facebook lets you analyze minutes viewed, unique viewers, video views, 10-second views, average % completion, and a breakdown of reactions, comments, and shares.
  • For Facebook Live videos: Facebook lets you analyze all the metrics listed above, plus peak live viewers, total views, average watch time, people reached, and the demographics of who watched your video.

FBLIve_analytics1.png

In addition to all of these static numbers, you can click in to each metric to see how it changed over time when the video was live. For example, if we click into “Peak Live Viewers,” we’ll see this interactive graph of video viewers over time:

FBlive_peakviewers.png

You can even see who your typical viewer was during your broadcast, based on their Facebook profile information:

fblive_demographics.png

Now that you’ve got the steps down, let’s get into some tips and tricks.

14 Tips & Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Facebook Live

There are a lot of little things you can do to squeeze the most out of your Facebook Live videos. Below is an example of one of the earliest Facebook Live videos from Refinery29. This was the first video of a five-part live video series called “Chasing Daylight,” showcasing a typical night out for women in five different cities around the world. My colleague, HubSpot Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich, tracked this one down, and we refer to it in some of the tips below.

Warning: Some NSFW language.

1) Test out live video using the “Only Me” privacy setting.

If you want to play around with live broadcasting without actually sharing it with anyone else, you can change the privacy setting so you’re the only one who can see it — just like with any other Facebook post.

To switch the privacy setting to “Only Me,” follow steps 1–4 in the instructions above.

fb privacy settings-1.pngFBliveonlyme.png

2) Space out live videos with other Facebook posts.

Here’s a tip from HubSpot’s Social Video Manager Chelsea Hunersen. Because Facebook ranks Live videos higher than other videos and other types of posts, Hunersen recommends spacing out your Facebook Live videos with other Facebook content you post.

“Wait at least two hours before or after you post a Facebook live video,” she says. “Otherwise, your Facebook Live video may cannibalize additional traffic.”

3) Keep reintroducing yourself.

When you first start the video, take a minute to introduce yourself and what the video’s about. But keep in mind that when you first start live streaming, you may have zero people watching. Even a few seconds in, you could only have a handful of viewers. As people find your video on their News Feeds, they’ll join in — but that means you’ll want to reintroduce yourself a second, third, and even a fourth time to catch people up.

For example, in the Refinery29 video above, the host Lucie Fink introduces herself three times in the first few minutes, and several more times after that.

One second in:

Hello, Facebook Live! Hey! Lucie Fink here. I don’t know if we have anyone on the broadcast yet, so I’m going to wait about one minute to see who joins us.”

One minute in:

Hello to the 309 viewers in here right now. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29. Just to recap what’s happening right now, this is Episode One of Refinery29’s new global initiative, ‘Chasing Daylight.'”

A few minutes in:

Just to give a quick recap on who I am, in case you guys don’t know — I’m Lucie Fink. I work at Refinery 29. Today, I’m doing this whole new series, and this is essentially giving you guys a glimpse into the lives of women all over the world.”

15 minutes in:

So now that we have 3.5 thousand people in this broadcast, let me just start from the top because some of you might not know what is happening. I’m Lucie Fink from Refinery29, and you might know me from some videos, you might not. Either way, it is nice to meet you. Today, we are starting a new video series on Refinery’s Facebook Live platform. It’s called ‘Chasing Daylight,’ and it’s gonna be on every night this week.”

25 minutes in:

That’s what I think is so cool about ‘Chasing Daylight.’ For the people who are new and don’t really get why I’m sitting on my toilet, the answer is, I am Lucie Fink, and [this is] Episode One, the New York version of ‘Chasing Daylight,’ which is Refinery29’s new live Facebook series that’s starting right now.”

4) Make the video visually engaging.

Although all videos on Facebook auto-play in people’s News Feeds, they’re on mute until the viewer manually turns the volume on. That means you have to be visually engaging — not just at the very beginning of your broadcast (although that’ll be important for when folks view the video later), but throughout the video as more and more people join in.

The more visually engaging you can be, the more you can entice people to stick around. That means keeping the camera moving and not just sitting in one place — something Lucie did really well in that Refinery29 video.

Not only will you get more viewers this way, but you’ll also get your broadcast ranked higher in other people’s News Feeds. Facebook started monitoring signals of video engagement — like turning on the audio, switching to full-screen mode, or enabling high definition — interpreting that as users enjoying the video. As a result, they’ve tweaked the algorithm so videos that are engaged with in these ways will appear higher up on the feed.

5) Make it spontaneous.

What makes a live video special? The spontaneous, interactive nature of it.

“People love the ability to interact,” says Hunersen. “They love the novelty of viewing someone in a live moment when anything could happen. It’s the new reality TV.”

A big part of what makes Refinery29’s live video so great is how much Lucie and her friends embrace the “live,” spontaneous nature of it. For example, at one point, Lucie calls on her friends to reenact a scene from the Broadway show Hamilton. It was scrappy, unrehearsed, and really funny. Her other friends were laughing at her. It reminded me of a fun night with my own friends. “This is literally what we do at the office,” Lucie said about the performance through laughs.

These moments are what make live video special, and they’re exactly what differentiates it from scripted, edited, or otherwise pre-recorded videos. Embrace the platform. Banter is always, always good.

6) Don’t worry about mistakes or stutters.

Spontaneity works — even if your Facebook Live doesn’t go according to plan.

Let’s face it, we’re all human. And when humans and technology mix, there can sometimes be technical difficulties.

If you’re recording a live video, things might go wrong — your equipment could malfunction, you could lose your train of thought, or you could get photobombed by a random passerby. You can’t call “cut” if things happen — you have to roll with them and keep filming and talking.

The good news? These things help keep your broadcast human and real. If you wobble your phone while filming, laugh and call it out. If you forget what you were saying, make a joke. The key is to keep the broadcast like a fun conversation, so if mistakes happen, keep it light and keep the lines of communication open with your viewers.

For example, if you make a mistake during your Facebook Live, ask viewers to write in the comments if they’ve made the same mistake, too.

7) Encourage viewers to Like and share the video.

One of the primary ways Facebook’s algorithm ranks a post is by how many people Like and share it. The more people who Like and share your live broadcast, the more it’ll show up in people’s News Feeds.

But when people are watching a video, they may be more distracted from Liking and sharing it than they would a text or photo post. (That’s something the folks at Facebook noticed about video content early on, which is why they began monitoring other video engagement signals as well, like turning on the volume.)

In Refinery29’s video, you’ll notice Lucie explicitly asks viewers to Like and share the video many times throughout. Here are a few examples:

  • “If you like this broadcast and share it right now, you guys will be part of this brand new series that’s starting right now on Refinery29.”
  • “If you guys share this broadcast, you’ll be part of history. And what’s better than being part of history?”
  • “Thumbs up if you like Hamilton.”
  • “Thank you guys for all these Likes. My screen is absurdly blue right now because I’m getting tons of thumbs up.”
  • “Share this with your best girlfriend who you think is strong and powerful.”

I like the last example the best because she’s asking viewers to share it with a specific type of person — in this case, a best girlfriend. This might prompt viewers to think, “Hey, she’s right, my friend Stacy might like this” and then share it with that specific friend.

8) Engage with commenters, and call them out by name.

The number of comments on your broadcast is another way to get Facebook to give it a higher relevancy score, making it more likely to show up on people’s News Feeds. So encourage your viewers to comment, and engage with people who are commenting by answering their questions and calling them out by name. Not only will it get more people to comment, but it’s also a fun way to include your viewers in the live experience, which could make them stick around longer.

“Your audience will be thrilled to hear you mention their name and answer their questions when you are live,” says Hunersen.

In the Refinery29 video, Lucie was constantly engaging with viewers and commenters. At one point, for example, she said, “We’re so excited to see you guys! Do you have any questions for someone who lives in New York City?” Then, she read a few of the comments that came in and responded to them — using commenters’ first names.

We do this here at HubSpot with our Facebook Live broadcasts, too. Check out all the chatter in the comments — we used those questions to keep our discussion going.

9) Have someone else watching and responding to comments from a desktop computer.

When you’re the one holding the camera for a Facebook Live video, it’s really hard to see the comments popping up on the mobile screen. If the comments are coming in fast, it’s especially easy to lose sight of them as they disappear below the fold. Plus, you’re probably occupied by recording and entertaining viewers.

Because of this, it’s always a good idea to have an additional person logged into the primary account to monitor the comments on a desktop computer. That way, they can take care of responding so the person recording the video can concentrate on creating a great experience.

10) Subtitle your broadcast in the comments section.

Your viewers may be tuning in and out to watch your video during the work day, or they might simply be watching your video without sound. Either way, periodically subtitling the video in the comments section is a great way to keep people engaged. This also allows people who are tuning in late to catch up on what’s going on.

Take some inspiration from Refinery29 — it captioned the video with some of the most snackable one-liners and quotes from the broadcast in the comments section:

FBliverefinery29comments.png

11) Ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications.

In addition to asking for Likes, shares, and comments, ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications. To do that, all viewers have to do is click the small, downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the live video post, and choose “Turn On Notifications.”

You can also ask them to Like your brand on Facebook, which will make it more likely that they’ll be notified of your next live broadcast. Lucie does this in the Refinery29 video.

12) Broadcast for at least 10 minutes.

As soon as you begin recording your live video, you’ll start slowly but surely showing up in people’s News Feeds. The longer you broadcast — especially as Likes, comments, and shares start coming in — the more likely people are to discover your video and share it with their friends.

Because timing is such an important factor for engagement in these live videos, we recommend that you go live for at least 10 minutes, although you can stay live for up to 90 minutes for a given video.

13) Say goodbye before you wrap up.

Before you end your live broadcast, be sure to finish with a closing line, like “Thanks for watching” or “I’ll be going live again soon.”

Lucie from Refinery29 checked a few other engagement requests off the list at the end of her broadcast:

So, we are about to sign off. It’s been such an amazing first episode of ‘Chasing Daylight.’ . . . Don’t forget to share this to your friends right now so you can always find this series and go back to it. . . . We’re so happy that you tuned into our episode in New York. . . . Goodnight from New York City!”

14) Add a link to the description later.

Once you’ve finished the live broadcast, you can always go back and edit the description, change the privacy settings, or delete the video, just like you would any other post.

Here’s where you can add a trackable link to the description in the post, which can direct future viewers to your live video series page, the site of whatever campaign you’re using the video to promote, or somewhere else.

To edit the description of a video: Find the video on your Timeline or Page and click the downward-facing arrow in the top right-hand corner of the post. Choose “Edit Post” from the dropdown menu, and edit the description accordingly.

fb live edit post-1.png

We hope this has been a helpful guide. We’ll keep you posted with any new developments and tips for connecting with your audience in more cool ways.

What strategies have brought you greatest success using Facebook Live? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free facebook marketing assessment


Facebook Live Guide

Powered by WPeMatico

May

6

2017

20 of the Best Website Homepage Design Examples

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Design | Comments are closed

chipotle-homepage-design-compressed.png

You never get a second chance to make a first impression — that’s why your homepage is undoubtedly one of the most important web pages on your website.

For any given company, the homepage is its virtual front door. If a new visitor doesn’t like what they see, their knee-jerk reaction is to hit the “back” button.

That’s right — unfortunately, a lot of people still judge a book by its cover.

What makes a website’s homepage design brilliant instead of blah? Well, it takes more than looks alone — it also has to work well. That’s why the most brilliant homepages on this list don’t just score high in beauty, but also in brains.New Call-to-action

But before we dive into the examples, let’s dissect some of the best practices of homepage design.

What Makes a Good Website Homepage Design

All of the homepage designs shown here utilize a combination of the following elements. Not every page is perfect, but the best homepage designs get many of these right:

1) The design clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”

If you’re a well-known brand or company (i.e., Coca-Cola) you may be able to get away with not having to describe who you are and what you do; but the reality is, most businesses still need to answer these questions so that each visitor knows they are in the “right place.”

Steven Krugg sums it up best in his best-selling book, Don’t Make Me Think: If visitors can’t identify what it is you do within seconds, they won’t stick around long.

2) The design resonates with the target audience.

A homepage needs to be narrowly focused — speaking to the right people in their language. The best homepages avoid “corporate gobbledygook,” and eliminate the fluff.

3) The design communicates a compelling value proposition.

When a visitor arrives on your homepage, it needs to compel them to stick around. The homepage is the best place to nail your value proposition so that prospects choose to stay on your website and not navigate to your competitors’.

4) The design is optimized for multiple devices.

All the homepages listed here are highly usable, meaning they are easy to navigate and there aren’t “flashy” objects that get in the way of browsing, such as flash banners, animations, pop-ups, or overly-complicated and unnecessary elements. Many are also mobile-optimized, which is an incredibly important must-have in today’s mobile world.

5) The design includes calls-to-action (CTAs).

Every homepage listed here effectively uses primary and secondary calls-to-action to direct visitors to the next logical step. Examples include “Free Trial,” “Schedule a Demo,” “Buy Now,” or “Learn More.”

Remember, the goal of the homepage is to compel visitors to dig deeper into your website and move them further down the funnel. CTAs tell them what to do next so they don’t get overwhelmed or lost. More importantly, CTAs turn your homepage into a sales or lead-generation engine, and not just brochure-wear.

6) The design is always changing.

The best homepages aren’t always static. Some of them are constantly changing to reflect the needs, problems, and questions of their visitors. Some homepages also change from A/B testing or dynamic content.

7) The design is effective.

A well-designed page is important to building trust, communicating value, and navigating visitors to the next step. As such, these homepages effectively use layout, CTA placement, whitespace, colors, fonts, and other supporting elements.

Now, get ready to learn about excellent homepage design through the following 16 real-life examples.

Website Design Inspiration: 20 of the Best Homepage Designs

1) FreshBooks

freshbooks-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s easy to consume. There is much debate on whether short or long homepages work better. If you choose to do the latter, you need to make it easy to scroll and read — and that’s exactly what this site does. It almost acts like a story.
  • There’s great use of contrast and positioning with the primary calls-to-action — it’s clear what the company wants you to convert on when you arrive.
  • The copy used in the calls-to-action “Get Started for Free” is very compelling.
  • FreshBooks uses customer testimonials on the homepage to tell real-world stories of why to use the product.
  • The sub-headline is also great: “Join over 10 million small business owners using FreshBooks.” FreshBooks expertly employs social proof — 10 million is a big number — to compel its target audience to join their peers and try the tool.

2) Airbnb

airbnb-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It includes the destination and date search form that most visitors come looking for, right up front, guiding visitors to the logical next step.
  • The search form is “smart,” meaning it’ll auto-fill the user’s last search if they’re logged in.
  • The primary call-to-action (“Search”) contrasts with the background and stands out; but the secondary call-to-action for hosts is visible above the fold, too.
  • It offers suggestions for excursions and getaways Airbnb users can book on the same site as their lodgings to get visitors more excited about booking their trip on the site. It also shows which of these offerings are most popular among other users.

3) Mint

mint-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s a super simple design with a strong, no-jargon headline and sub-headline.
  • The homepage gives off a secure but easy-going vibe, which is important for a product that handles financial information.
  • It also contains simple, direct, and compelling call-to-action copy: “Sign up free.” The CTA design is also brilliant — the secured lock icon hits home the safety message once again.

4) Dropbox (Business)

dropbox-business-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Dropbox carries over its simple design and branding. It includes only what is important: A large, relevant image with supporting copy, and a “Try free for 30 days” call-to-action button
  • Dropbox’s homepage and website is the ultimate example of simplicity. It limits its use of copy and visuals and embraces whitespace.
  • Its sub-headline is simple, yet powerful: “The secure file sharing and storage solution that employees and IT admins trust.” No need to decode jargon to figure out what Dropbox really does.

5) 4 Rivers Smokehouse

4 rivers-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Drool. That’s what I think when I arrive at the website for 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Combined with great photography, the headline “Brisket. 18 years to master. Yours to savor.” sounds like an experience worth trying.
  • The parallax scrolling guides you on a tour through the services, menu, and people having a great time — a great use of this popular design trend.
  • The only negative? I don’t live close enough to this place. Boo.

6) Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services

cobb-pediatric-therapy-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The headline and sub-headline appeal to the visitors’ emotional side: “Work With a Company That Gets It”; “Trust us. We’ve been there too! We’ll find jobs where you can thrive.” That value proposition is unique and compelling.
  • It’s hard to tell from the screenshot above, but the headline is on a rotating carousel that caters to specific personas, from job applicants to people searching for a therapist for their schools.
  • There are several pathways visitors can take when they arrive on the page, but the calls-to-action are positioned well, worded simply, and contrast with the rest of the page.

7) Jill Konrath

jill-konrath-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • It’s simple and gets straight to the point. From the headline and sub-headline, it’s clear exactly what Jill Konrath does (and how she can help your business).
  • It also gives easy access to Jill’s thought leadership materials, which is important to establishing her credibility as a keynote speaker.
  • It’s easy to subscribe to the newsletter and get in touch — two of her primary calls-to-action.
  • The pop-up subscription CTA uses social proof to get you to join her thousands of other fans.
  • It includes news outlet logos and testimonials as social proof.

8) Evernote

Evernote-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Over the years, Evernote has turned from a simple note-saving app into a suite of business products. This isn’t always easy to convey on a homepage, but Evernote does a nice job packaging many potential messages into a few key benefits.
  • This homepage uses a combination of rich, muted colors in the video and its signature bright green and white highlights to make conversion paths stand out.
  • Following a simple headline (“Remember Everything”), the eye path then leads you to its call-to-action, “Sign Up For Free.”
  • Evernote also offers a one-click signup process through Google to help visitors save even more time.

9) Telerik by Progress

telerik-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Stuffy enterprise” isn’t the feeling you get when you arrive at Telerik’s website. For a company that offers many technology products, its bold colors, fun designs, and videography give off a Google-like vibe. Just one important aspect to making visitors feel welcome and letting them know they’re dealing with real people.
  • I love the simple, high-level overview of its six product offers. It’s very clear way of communicating what the company does and how people can learn more.
  • The copy is lightweight and easy to read. It speaks the language of its customers.

10) eWedding

ewedding-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • For those love birds planning their big day, eWedding is a great destination to building a custom wedding website. The homepage isn’t cluttered and only includes the necessary elements to get people to starting building their websites.
  • The sub-headline “Over 800,000 wedding websites built!” is great social proof.
  • It’s included excellent product visuals, a great headline, and a call-to-action that reduces friction with the copy, “Start website.”

11) Basecamp

basecamp-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • For a long time, Basecamp has had brilliant homepages, and here you can see why. It often features awesome headlines and clever cartoons.
  • The call-to-action is bold and above the fold.
  • In this example, the company chose a more blog-like homepage (or single page site approach), which provides much more information on the product.
  • The customer quote is a bold and emphatic testimonial speaking to the benefits and results of using the product.

12) charity: water

charity water-homepage-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • This isn’t your typical non-profit website. Lots of visuals, creative copy, and use of interactive web design make this stand out.
  • The animated header image is a great way to capture attention.
  • It employs great uses of video and photography, particularly in capturing emotion that causes action.

12) TechValidate

tech-validate-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • This homepage is beautifully designed. I particularly love the use of whitespace, contrasting colors, and customer-centric design.
  • The headline is clear and compelling, as are the calls-to-action.
  • There’s also a great information hierarchy, making it easy to scan and understand the page quickly.

13) Chipotle

chipotle-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The homepage is a great example of agility and constant change. Chipotle’s current homepage is all about the forthcoming holiday, which it uses as a unique value proposition to get you to start clicking through your site. When I think Chipotle, I don’t necessarily think about catering, but the site is a great reminder to consider different uses for the burritos you already know and love.
  • The food photography is detailed and beautiful, and it actually makes me hungry looking at it. Now that’s an effective use of visuals.

14) Medium

medium-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • This is perhaps one of the best uses of whitespace I’ve seen. It allows Medium’s app tagline and photo to take center stage while still drawing your eye to the darker section titles on the site.
  • Medium makes it easy to sign up — on the site, or with a simple text message to your mobile phone. I’m much more responsive to a text than an email, so this is a great strategy to keep people engaged in the signup process.
  • The homepage uses social proof to get visitors to start clicking around: The “Popular on Medium” and “Staff Picks” sections let me know where to find high-quality content.

15) Digiday

digiday-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • Unlike other online news publications that inundate homepages with as many headlines and images as possible, Digiday’s first section showcases just one article. Its featured image (in this case, a scary one) is eye-catching, and the headline is just asking to be clicked now that the visitor has an idea of what they’re going to read.
  • The top of the homepage, where websites normally showcase a ton of different sections and options to click through, only has one icon to click — which leads you to a subscription page.

16) KIND Snacks

kind-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The bold colors produce contrast, making the words and images stand out on the page.
  • The CTA — “Shop KIND” — is clever. It urges the visitor to click to learn more while making a play on the word “kind” — implying that it’s a good choice to shop there.
  • KIND Snacks’ tagline is straight up brilliant — when I read it, the message immediately resonated and made me want to read the snack bar’s label.

17) Ahrefs

Ahrefs-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The color contrast between the blue, white, and orange colors is eye-catching and makes the headline and CTA pop.
  • The sub-headline and CTA are a compelling pair: To be able to start tracking and outranking competitors for free is a great offer.
  • The homepage presents a multitude of options for the visitor, but it isn’t cluttered thanks to the solid background and simple typography.

18) A24 Films

a24-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • The film company’s homepage is made up of only trailers for its new films. We know video content is format audiences want to see more of, and this is a great strategy to showcase A24’s work in a highly engaging way.
  • At the top of the homepage, A24 immediately offers a myriad of ways to get in touch via social media and email — something I appreciate as a visitor when so many other sites bury contact information at the bottom of the page.

19) Ellevest

ellevest-homepage-design.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant

  • “Invest Like a Woman: Because money is power.” These headlines are powerful and make me want to learn more about the product — both as a woman, and as someone interested in making smart financial choices.
  • The images show, rather than tell, one of the company’s value propositions: a desktop site and mobile app that move with you.
  • “Get Started” is a great CTA — in fact, we use it ourselves here at HubSpot. When clicked, it takes visitors through a few simple steps to set up a profile and start investing.

20) HubSpot

hubspot-homepage-design-update.png

VIEW ENTIRE HOMEPAGE

Why It’s Brilliant (If We Do Say So Ourselves)

  • The LEGO characters catch your attention (because they’re cute), then they cleverly illustrate and reinforce the messaging in the headline and sub-headline.
  • It bears another eye-catching “Get Started” CTA — with bonus microcopy detailing our free versions users can choose to upgrade in the future.
  • Throughout the homepage, our bright blue and orange color themes keep returning to draw your eye to links and CTAs.

What do you think of these homepages? Which are your favorites? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

get a free inbound marketing assessment


download 50 examples of brilliant homepage designs

Powered by WPeMatico

May

4

2017

32 Free Online Marketing Classes to Master Your Marketing Skills

Published by in category Canonical, Education | Comments are closed

I don’t know about you, but I miss going to school. I miss taking notes, studying, and most of all, learning a ton of new skills.

That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot on the job here at HubSpot — because I absolutely do. But sometimes, there’s nothing quite like listening to a lecture, taking notes, and doing homework.

Given the frequency at which new technologies and software are developed, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up your knowledge by only reading blog posts and ebooks. That’s where self-paced online learning comes in.

I’ve taken a few awesome courses and certifications through HubSpot Academy, including an inbound marketing certification and a content marketing certification. These classes helped me be better at my job, so I started making a list of other classes I could take to learn more skills. When I finished the list, I realized that you, dear readers, might have similar skill gaps, so I wanted to share it in a blog post.

Below are 32 free online courses you can take to beef up your skill set. These offerings vary in time commitment, but many are self-paced so you can work on your own schedule. We’ll fill you in on the details below, or you can also skip ahead to check out classes in the following categories:

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Social Media
  4. SEO
  5. Coding, Design & Other Technical Skills

A brief explanation of each course creator accompanies their first mention on the list.

32 Free Marketing Courses to Take in 2017

Content Marketing

HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers certification and training courses to teach people how inbound marketing and HubSpot software work. Classes are often taught by marketers at HubSpot and are made up of video lessons, quizzes, and tests. Most HubSpot Academy classes are available free of charge, and if you pass the certifications, such as the two below, you get a nifty certificate and badge to share on your social media profiles. Check out mine on LinkedIn:

hubspot certifications.png

1) HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

2) HubSpot Content Marketing Certification

Copyblogger

Copyblogger is a content marketing company that creates content about content (so meta). Its blog provides a ton of great resources about digital marketing, and this class, “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” is made up of ebooks and emailed lessons and other course materials. Copyblogger espouses four pillars of content marketing success, which it delves into over the course of this class.

3) Internet Marketing for Smart People

Coursera

Coursera offers MOOCs (massive online open courses) created and taught online by universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California system. These courses start at various times throughout the year, so browse the catalog to see when one lines up with your schedule. Below are a couple courses that are perfect for content marketers — here’s what a module for #4 looks like:

coursera course module.png

4) Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

5) The Strategy of Content Marketing

Udemy

Udemy is another online learning platform that focuses specifically on courses related to skill building for working professionals. One thing to note about Udemy: The classes we’ve highlighted are free, but it offers a myriad of other paid options for as little as $10, in some cases. If you have a good experience with a free course, it could be worth a small investment to deepen your skills, too.

Here are a few all content marketers will find useful:

6) Copywriting Blunders: Do You Make these 10 Common Mistakes?

7) Blogging: Generate 100s of Blog Topics and Headlines

8) Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises

QuickSprout

QuickSprout is Neil Patel’s content and business marketing blog, and QuickSprout University features a ton of helpful videos breaking down and explaining a myriad of concepts and best practices. Each video also includes a transcript in case reading is more your learning style than watching a video. Here’s what one course video looks like:

quicksprout-1.png

9) Content Marketing

Email Marketing

HubSpot Academy

10) HubSpot Email Marketing Certification

QuickSprout

11) Email Marketing

Social Media

QuickSprout

12) Social Media

13) Paid Advertising

Wordstream

Wordstream is a search engine and social media marketing software company that helps marketers drive the greatest ROI from their paid search and social media campaigns. These free guides and ebooks distill learnings and best practices for users with varying levels of expertise running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Here are some of its topics and offerings:

PPCuniversity.png

14) Wordstream PPC University

edX

edX is another MOOC provider that features courses offered by top-tier universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University. Like Coursera, classes are taught online and start at specific times throughout the year. Here’s a class we think you’ll find valuable:

15) Social Media Marketing

ALISON

ALISON offers free online classes in various professional skills users can take at their own pace. In the Diploma in Social Media Marketing course below, students can get into the nitty-gritty and big picture views of different skills of different topics — just check out one of the many modules:

alisontopiclist.png

16) Diploma in Social Media Marketing

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that offers free trainings (plus a paid certification course) to help marketers beef up their social media skill set. Hootsuite Academy offers courses at varying skill levels and features video lessons and step-by-step breakdowns of how to use different software.

hootsuite academy.png

17) Social Marketing Training

Facebook

At this point, you probably already know what Facebook is and what it does. What you might not know? It has a training and certification program. Facebook Blueprint offers self-paced and live e-learning courses for marketers seeking to grow their organizations using Facebook. Blueprint offers classes in different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram — here’s a peek at the course catalog.

facebookblueprint.png

18) Facebook Blueprint

quintly

quintly is a social media analytics tool that offers courses through quintly Academy. The self-paced course provides an overview of social media analytics, benchmarking, and goaling using downloadable written materials and video lessons.

19) Social Media Analytics

Buffer

Buffer’s Social Media Week of Webinars isn’t exactly a course — it’s a series of live webinar recordings on YouTube — but the videos are chock-full of current and valuable information for social media marketers from the experts. Topics include Instagram and Facebook marketing and how to do public relations on social media.

20) Social Media Week of Webinars

SEO

Google

Google is another company you’ve probably heard of before, and its digital marketing course offers a ton of valuable information if you plan to advertise and rank on the search engine. You can even take a Google AdWords certification at the end of the process that helps you beef up your resume (and your Google+ profile).

21) Google Digital Marketing Course

Udemy

22) SEO Training Course by Moz

23) Advanced SEO: Tactics and Strategy

QuickSprout

24) SEO

Coding, Design & Other Technical Skills

HubSpot Academy

25) HubSpot Growth-Driven Design Certification

Codeacademy

Codeacademy offers free, interactive coding classes that take you from lesson one to building a fully-functioning website. The courses we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the courses; Codeacademy offers many more, depending on your organization’s needs. Codeacademy classes feature lectures and a workspace in the same browser window so you can see the effect of your work live, as it’s created.

Check it out:

codecademy-learning-environment-3.png

Source: The Next Web

26) Make a Website

27) Learn Javascript

28) Learn Ruby

29) Learn Python

30) Learn HTML & CSS

General Assembly

General Assembly offers live and online paid and free courses for a variety of technical skills and disciplines. General Assembly’s Dash offers a free online coding class that teaches the fundamentals of HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript — watch the course overview below:

 

 

31) Learn to Code Awesome Websites

Canva

Canva helps people easily make beautiful images for web design, and Canva Learn offers design courses that are valuable for any kind of storyteller. The Creativity course explores the challenges of constant creation and innovation and how to do it well — with visuals, of course.

32) Creativity

Have you taken an awesome online marketing class that we missed? Share with us in the comments below. 

Pre-register for HubSpot Academy's all-new Content Marketing Certification Course

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

28

2017

6 Cover Letter Examples That Got Something Right

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

Let’s face it: A job search is, typically, anything but fun.

It’s almost as if it carries its own stages of grief. At first, there’s denial of its demoralizing nature. Then comes the anger over either radio silence or rejection from prospective employers. Of course, there’s bargaining — “I promise to never complain about work again, if I can find a new job!” That’s often followed by depression, and the idea that one is simply just unhireable. Then, there’s acceptance: “This is awful, but I have to keep trying, anyway.”

But we have good news. It is possible to have a little fun with your job search — and maybe even make yourself a better candidate in the process. The magic, it turns out, could be in your cover letter.

It may be true that 63% of recruiters have deemed cover letters “unimportant,” but that doesn’t mean yours has to contribute to that statistic. In fact, it might be that cover letters are deemed insignificant because so few of them stand out. Here’s an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity at the earliest stage of the recruitment process. Personalization, after all, goes beyond replacing the title and company name in each letter you send to recruiters. Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

What does that look like in practice, and how can you make your cover letter stand out? We found six examples from job seekers who decided to do things a bit differently.

Note: Some of these contain NSFW language.

6 Cover Letter Examples That Nailed It

1) The Short-and-Sweet Model

In 2009, David Silverman penned an article for Harvard Business Review titled, “The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received.” That letter contained three complete sentences, as follows:

short-and-sweet.pngSource: Harvard Business Review

One might argue that this particular letter is less than outstanding. It’s brief, to say the least, and the author doesn’t go into a ton of detail about what makes him or her qualified for the job in question. But that’s what Silverman likes about it — the fact that the applicant only included the pieces of information that would matter the most to the recipient.

“The writer of this letter took the time to think through what would be relevant to me,” writes Silverman. “Instead of scattering lots of facts in hopes that one was relevant, the candidate offered up an opinion as to which experiences I should focus on.”

When you apply for a job, start by determining two things:

  1. Who might oversee the role — that’s often included in the description, under “reports to.” Address your letter to that individual.
  2. Figure out what problems this role is meant to solve for that person. Then, concisely phrase in your cover letter how and why your experience can and will resolve those problems.

The key here is research — by looking into who you’ll be reporting to and learning more about that person’s leadership style, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your cover letter to focus on how you provide solutions for her. Not sure how to learn more about a leader’s personality? Check out any content she shares on social media, or use Growthbot’s Personality Profile feature.

2) The Brutally Honest Approach

Then, there are the occasions when your future boss might appreciate honesty — in its purest form. Livestream CEO Jesse Hertzberg, by his own admission, is one of those people, which might be why he called this example “the best cover letter” (which he received while he was with Squarespace):

Brutally honest.pngSource: Title Needed

As Hertzberg says in the blog post elaborating on this excerpt — it’s not appropriate for every job or company. But if you happen to be sure that the corporate culture of this prospective employer gets a kick out of a complete lack of filter, then there’s a chance that the hiring manager might appreciate your candor.

“Remember that I’m reading these all day long,” Hertzberg writes. “You need to quickly convince me I should keep reading. You need to stand out.”

3) The One That Says “Why,” Not Just “How”

We’ve already covered the importance of addressing how you’ll best execute a certain role in your cover letter. But there’s another question you might want to answer: Why the heck do you want to work here?

The Muse, a career guidance site, says that it’s often best to lead with the why — especially if it makes a good story. We advise against blathering on and on, but a brief tale that illuminates your desire to work for that particular employer can really make you stand out.

Why Example.pngSource: The Muse

Here’s another instance of the power of personalization. The author of this cover letter clearly has a passion for this prospective employer — the Chicago Cubs — and if she’s lying about it, well, that probably would eventually be revealed in an interview. Make sure your story is nonfiction, and relatable according to each job. While we love a good tale of childhood baseball games, an introduction like this one probably wouldn’t be fitting in a cover letter for, say, a software company. But a story of how the hours you spent playing with DOS games as a kid led to your passion for coding? Sure, we’d find that fitting.

If you’re really passionate about a particular job opening, think about where that deep interest is rooted. Then, tell your hiring manager about it in a few sentences.

4) The Straw (Wo)man

When I was in the throes of my own job search and reached one of the later stages, a friend said to me, “For the next job you apply for, you should just submit a picture of yourself a stick figure that somehow represents you working there.”

Et voilà:

AZWstrawCoverLetter.jpg

I never did end up working for the recipient of this particular piece of art, but it did result in an interview. Again, be careful where you send a cover letter like this one — if it doesn’t match the company’s culture, it might be interpreted as you not taking the opportunity seriously. Be sure to pair it with a little bit of explanatory text, too. For example, when I submitted this picture-as-a-cover letter, I also wrote, “Perhaps I took the ‘sense of humor’ alluded to in your job description a bit too seriously.”

5) The Exercise in Overconfidence

I’ll admit that I considered leaving out this example. It’s rife with profanity, vanity, and arrogance. But maybe, in some settings, that’s the right way to do a cover letter.

A few years ago, Huffington Post published this note as an example of how to “get noticed” and “get hired for your dream job”:

THE-EPIC-COVER-LETTER.jpgSource: Huffington Post

Here’s the thing — if the Aviary cited in this letter is the same Aviary I researched upon discovering it, then, well, I’m not sure this tone was the best approach. I read the company’s blog and looked at the careers site, and neither one indicates that the culture encourages … this.

However, Aviary was acquired by Adobe in 2014, and this letter was written in 2011. So while it’s possible that the brand was a bit more relaxed at that time, we wouldn’t suggest submitting a letter with that tone to the company today. That’s not to say it would go unappreciated elsewhere — Doug Kessler frequently discusses the marketers and brands that value colorful language, for example.

The point is, this example further illustrates the importance of research. Make sure you understand the culture of the company to which you’re applying before you send a completely unfiltered cover letter — if you don’t, there’s a good chance it’ll completely miss the mark.

6) The Interactive Cover Letter

When designer Rachel McBee applied for a job with the Denver Broncos, she didn’t just write a personalized cover letter — she designed an entire digital, interactive microsite:

Source: Rachel McBee

This cover letter — if you can even call it that — checks off all of the boxes we’ve discussed here, in a remarkably unique way. It concisely addresses and organizes what many hiring managers hope to see in any cover letter: how her skills lend themselves to the role, why she wants the job, and how to contact her. She even includes a “traditional” body of text at the bottom, with a form that allows the reader to easily get in touch with her.

Take Cover

We’d like to add a sixth stage to the job search: Experimentation.

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s so easy to feel defeated, less-than-good-enough, or like giving up your job search. But don’t let the process become so monotonous. Have fun discovering the qualitative data we’ve discussed here — then, have even more by getting creative with your cover letter composition.

We certainly can’t guarantee that every prospective employer will respond positively — or at all — to even the most unique, compelling cover letter. But the one that’s right for you will. That’s why it’s important not to copy these examples. That defeats the purpose of personalization.

So get creative. And, by the way — we’re hiring.

What are some of the best cover letters you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

 
free marketing job description templates

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

26

2017

The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More

Published by in category Blog, Canonical, Content Marketing, Daily, SEO, Social Media | Comments are closed

ContentLength-compressor.jpg

When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.

For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place. Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.

The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet

1) Blog Posts

1-6nX_PYNpn0Ajc0tardzIkg.pngSource: Medium

Quick reference:

  • Post length: 2100 words
  • Title: Under 60 characters
  • Meta Description: Under 155 characters

Post Body

When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:

  • According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.
  • The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.
  • At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.
  • That aligns with research previously conducted by serpIQ, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.

That means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.

word-count-vs-organic-traffic.png

But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.

Title

The length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.

Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.

zZnBTOG2Fc-iloveimg-compressed.gif

Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.

headline-length-vs-social-shares.png

Meta Description

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 12.22.10 PM.png

Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.

Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.

sejvREM3G7-iloveimg-compressed (1).gif

2) Facebook

Quick reference:

  • Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
  • Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes

Status Updates

Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.

But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.

“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.

Video

While Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.

According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”

b3c077ee5e1cad372628b599fceca8c7717cd4ba.jpgSource: Wistia

However, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.

Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.

3) Twitter

Quick reference:

  • Tweets: 140-character maximum
    • Does not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweets
    • Ideal length is 120-130 characters
  • Hashtags: No more than two
  • Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds

Length of Tweets

Marketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.

Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment.

LeiQz3vJLI-iloveimg-compressed.gif 

Ideal Length Overall

Like so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):

Screen-Shot-2013-08-16-at-10.51.12-AM.pngSource: Buffer

The same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.

Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-06-at-6.45.50-AM.pngSource: Buffer

Videos

You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.

4) LinkedIn

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.39.48 PM.png

Profiles

Here’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:

  • Professional headline: 120
  • Summary: 2,000
  • Position title: 100
  • Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)
  • Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.”

Original Content

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:

  • Post headline: 100
  • Post body: 40,000

5) Instagram

Quick reference:

  • Bio: 150-character maximum
  • Hashtags: Maximum of 30
  • Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.

Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:

Captions

While Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

6) Snapchat

Quick reference:

  • Character limit: 80 per post

Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:

7) YouTube

Here we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.

That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 2.57.09 PM-1.png

In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.

Show Your Character

As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.

Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.

How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Learn more about HubSpot Classroom Training!


free social media content calendar template

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

15

2017

Easter Eggs: 10 of the Internet's Best Hidden Gems

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Design | Comments are closed

Internet-Easter-Eggs-compressor.jpg

Sometimes, it seems like the internet is full of tedium — waiting for a page to load, juggling different passwords, and trying to find the perfect GIF image to describe your mood. But luckily, it’s also full of really cool nuggets, thanks to the clever developers who make it their mission to put the curiosity and fun back into our daily routines. What’s another name for those? Easter eggs.

Easter eggs are hidden gems, features, or moments of surprise buried within software and throughout the internet. They’re designed to catch you off guard and make you smile — if you can find them.

But why would you hide these fun, delightful gems? And since Easter eggs typically don’t add much functionally to the software or site, why bother taking the time to code them in? A few years ago, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, Meghan Anderson, asked a few of our colleagues for their opinions on the matter. And while she found that you’ll get a different answer from every person you ask, most answers boil down to the same motive: “for the fun of it.”

Mike Champion, Tech Lead at HubSpot

Follow @graysky

AjhWxSlN_400x400.jpeg“Adding an Easter egg can be a fun diversion when writing challenging code … and it’ll hopefully amuse some people, too.”

 

Eric Peters, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot Academy

Follow @EricPeters0

OuQkiyWe.jpg“Easter eggs are fun to build and fun to find, because they reward users that care enough to find and get excited about them. They create this feeling of being an insider with the application or company, which can be incredibly valuable in terms of brand loyalty and engagement.”

Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist at HubSpot

Follow @pistachio

PistachioHS.jpg“I feel like Easter eggs are part of the ‘developer’ personality. These are very smart people who love solving puzzles, and the intricacies of their work isn’t ever fully appreciated by most of the customers using their product. So by hiding an Easter egg, they can reward the customers who do take that extra initiative to really dig in and appreciate the software — and what goes into making it.”

Go No Further if You Like Surprises

Sharing these gems feels a bit like revealing the secret to a magic trick. After all, half the fun surrounding Easter eggs comes from the hunt for them. So, if you like to be caught off guard, it’s completely okay to stop reading now. Instead, you might want to watch this video of three dogs playing. After all, we don’t want to leave you empty-handed.

10 of the Internet’s Best Easter Eggs

Easter egg hunting is a little easier if you’ve got a map. With some help from co-workers, Reddit, Little Big Details, Quora, and other sites, I’ve compiled a starter map for you, complete with some of the best hidden features out there.

1) BuzzFeed

Truth be told, I actually enjoy the occasional quiz that determines, say, which generation I belong to based on my favorite pizza toppings. It’s the type of content for which BuzzFeed has earned a reputation, though it does also feature some legitimate news items and narrative journalism.

But scrolling through BuzzFeed’s home page sometimes feels like falling through a bottomless well — except, there is an end. And if you make it there, you’re in for a little treat:

It’s the music video for the 1991 hit single “End of the Road,” by Boyz II Men. It’s linguistically fitting — after all, you have reached the end of the proverbial BuzzFeed road by making it all the way to the bottom of the homepage. Plus, it’s a particularly fun surprise for those of us with an affinity for 90s music.

2) Google

It’s been a long time since Google was “just” a search engine. But for those who want to have a bit of fun with its search feature, you’re in luck — Google’s developers have a sense of humor.

To start, look at what happens when you enter the query, ““:

The word “blink” actually blinks in all of the search results. It’s a sneaky, cheap thrill for those of us who are easily amused.

3) Google Maps

Google’s antics hardly end there. And while it didn’t take long for this easter egg to become discovered (and widely talked about), it’s still a pretty cool online treat. For April Fool’s Day 2017, Google Maps allowed users to turn its maps platform into a game of Ms. PAC-MAN:

While the feature may have been intended as an April Fool’s joke, as of the following Monday, it was still present on Google Maps — and the top search results for “Google Maps Ms. PAC-MAN” mostly covered ways to remove it. Full disclosure: This marketer, personally, quite loves the feature, and plans to waste plenty of her free time on it.

4) Google Chrome

Does this dinosaur look familiar?

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 9.22.38 AM.png

Chrome browser users might recognize him from a lack of internet connection. But now, there’s actually reason to rejoice when Chrome can’t connect. Even if you’re offline, when you land on that screen, watch what happens when you press the spacebar:

Well, I know what I’m doing next time the in-flight Wi-Fi isn’t working. And, good news for those who need more reason to procrastinate: Someone took the liberty to create the T-Rex Runner game page, so you can play any time. Plus, Android users can download the game here.

5) Spotify

There are some pieces of pop culture that, it seems, will never fade away. Many of them fall into the realm of science fiction films, like the Star Wars franchise. These days, whenever a new film in the series is released, it seems like everyone wants to be a part of it.

That includes the music streaming app Spotify. Watch what happens to the play bar at the bottom when The Force Awakens soundtrack begins playing:

It turns into a famed lightsaber — the laser sword used by many Star Wars characters. May the force be with you, indeed.

6) Facebook

Here’s a good one for those of us who are nostalgic for the earliest days of internet chat. In your Facebook language settings, there’s a bevy of options — everything from English to Svenska. And at first glance, it looks like Facebook seems to have done away with such non-sequiturs as “upside-down” and “pirate.” But those options are actually just masked as alternative “English” variations. Have a look:

And what’s not shown here is the search bar, which when set to “pirate” displays the text, “Scour fer scallywags ports ‘n’ various sundries.”

Also mixed into the global options is Leet, which is defined by Google as “an informal language or code used on the Internet, in which standard letters are often replaced by numerals or special characters.” 4w350m3 — that’s Leet for, “Awesome.”

7) Google (Again)

If you’re familiar with the Muppets, chances are you’ve at least heard of the Swedish Chef character, who’s known to end his intro song with the words, “Bork, bork, bork!” Google has taken that phenomenon and incorporated it into its own language settings. Yes — “Bork, bork, bork!” is a language option. Here’s what Google’s homepage looks like after selecting that as your preferred language:

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 10.50.36 AM.png

Feloong loocky? Excellent. Try your hand at Google’s other language options, which — like Facebook — include Pirate and Klingon.

8) Black Acre Brewing

Are you the type of person who loves the randomness of the internet more than anything else? If that’s the case, visit Black Acre Brewing’s website, and click “I am under 21.”

Um. Okay. If you’re not old enough to drink, you are old enough to watch He-Man sing the 1992 4 Non Blondes hit single “What’s Up?”

9) HEMA

To some of us, there are fewer things more fun than online shopping. The only thing that might make it more entertaining might be watching the catalogue items come to life and interact with each other. In fact, the folks behind Dutch retail site HEMA had the same thought, and created a trick product page for that very purpose. Bump the mug, and watch the catastrophe that ensues:

Oops.

10) Google (Last Time, We Promise)

I’ll admit it — I’ve never quite bothered with Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button below the search bar because, well, I always seem to forget that it’s there. But it seems that I’ve been missing out on a little trick. If you hover your mouse over the button — without typing anything into the search box first — the text will spin like a slot machine into other options, like “I’m Feeling Hungry,” or “I’m Feeling Stellar.” Clicking on one will bring you to a topic-specific page:

Happy Hunting

For the sake of my productivity — and your own — I’ll stop there. But that’s hardly a comprehensive list of the internet’s Easter eggs. There are countless more out there to find, so we’ll leave the rest of the hunt up to you. Let the search begin.

What are some of the best internet Easter eggs you’ve found? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

13

2017

The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Outsmart the Algorithm

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

If you’ve been managing a Facebook Page over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a drop in how many of your fans have been viewing and interacting with your organic posts. This decline in organic Facebook reach came to a head in 2014, when marketers started picking up on (and complaining about) the situation in droves, prompting a response from Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland.

“Over the past few months, I’ve read articles and answered questions from many people who are concerned about declines in organic reach for their Facebook Pages,” Boland wrote in June of 2014.

He continued, “My colleagues and I at Facebook understand that this has been a pain point for many businesses, and we’re committed to helping you understand what’s driving this change … “

The two main reasons Boland cited for the organic reach decline? First, there’s simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. Second, Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the content available.

The good news in all of this is that there’s a lot you can do to counteract these changes, like being more selective about what you publish, paying attention to when you publish, and putting money behind your posts (a.k.a. “boosting” them).

Download our free Facebook guide here for more tips on maximizing your Facebook reach.

Before we dive deeper into how you can improve your Facebook Page’s organic reach, let’s explore exactly what happened during the Great Organic Reach Decline of 2014, and how Facebook decides what content gets surfaced nowadays.

How (And Why) Facebook Reach Has Declined Over Time

Facebook defines organic reachas “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.” Prior to 2012, that number used to be much, much higher than it is now.

From the moment “Fan Pages” launched in 2007, anyone could create a Page for their company or organization, start collecting fans, and post unlimited messages to their fan bases with the assumption that they would see those messages. But when 2012 rolled around, Page managers learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average — were seeing their Page posts in their News Feeds. And that fraction has only gotten smaller and smaller since.

A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Research from Social@Ogilvy, meanwhile, suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%.

Based on the figures above, that means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds. For a Page with 1 million fans, about 20,000 would end up seeing posts (based on the 2% figure).

SocialFlow analyzed over 3,000 posts by publishers on Facebook and found that organic reach dropped 42% between January and May 2016.

Then, later in 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm again — to further prioritize content from friends and family over Pages. In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that Pages could anticipate a dip in organic reach — which could leave reach lower than that earlier 2% estimate, in some cases.

After this algorithm adjustment, SocialFlow adjusted the decline in organic reach — which had dropped further. Between January and July 2016, publishers saw a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook.

Fewer people seeing your Page’s organic posts on Facebook means fewer clicks, comments, and shares. And having fewer of those interactions means fewer conversions, leads, and customers. Understandably, this has annoyed the crap out of many a Facebook Page manager. So why would Facebook decide to decrease organic post visibility in the first place?

We already touched on Facebook’s official response to this question in the introduction: There are simply too many Pages producing too much content for too many fans, which means competition for visibility on the News Feed is high. What’s more, Facebook is trying to make sure people are only seeing the best content — the stuff that is relevant to them.

Some publishers have cracked the code when it comes to engagement on Facebook: by publishing and broadcasting video. (And we’ll get into that later in the post.) But many in the marketing world suspect that Facebook had (and still has) an ulterior motive: to get people to start spending more on ads.

More Money = More Reach

As Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one, Page managers are realizing they’re now expected to pay for ads yet again to reach those newly acquired Fans, even if those Fans have seemingly elected to see a brand’s posts by liking their Page in the first place.

In a 2014 interview with Digiday, James Del (who was the head of now-defunct Gawker’s content studio at the time) summed up the general sentiment:

Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

Of course, Facebook has denied that this is the case. Boland even had a section in his 2014 organic reach update post titled, “Is organic reach dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money?” Boland’s response:

No. Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people that use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses.”

From Facebook’s perspective, it’s simply not an ideal user experience to flood the News Feed with posts just because a Page has lots of Likes and is publishing prolifically.

Nowadays, Facebook is encouraging marketers to look at their fan bases as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel. Additionally, Facebook says you should assume organic reach will eventually arrive at zero. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to supplement your organic efforts with some paid advertising.

Additionally, Facebook advises marketers to expect things to keep changing, and often times for the better. Facebook has never been stagnant in terms of innovation, so no marketer can figure out a formula and then stick with it forever.

That being said, knowing how Facebook currently surfaces organic content in the News Feed can be helpful for understanding the broader Facebook marketing ecosystem.

How Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Works

When Facebook first launched News Feed back in 2006, the algorithm was pretty basic. Different post formats were assigned different point values — so a post with just text might be worth one point, while a post with a link in it might be worth two points, and so on. By multiplying the post format point value by the number of people interacting with a given post, Facebook could generate a ranking system for determining the order in which posts would appear.

As the years rolled on, the News Feed algorithm evolved to factor in the recency of posts, as well as the relationship between the person doing the posting and the person interacting with said post. This iteration of the algorithm was known as EdgeRank. But in 2011, Facebook abandoned EdgeRank for a more complex algorithm that incorporates machine learning.

That machine learning-based algorithm is what’s responsible for surfacing content on your News Feed today. Unlike its predecessors, which assigned generic point values to post formats, the current algorithm adapts to individual user preferences. So, for example, if you never, ever, interact with photos in your News Feed, Facebook’s algorithm will pick up on that and show you fewer photos over time.

On the other side of the coin, Facebook has identified for marketers the content formats that drive engagement and sharing — native and live videos. Facebook ranks live videos higher in the News Feed, as well as videos with higher watch and completion rates and videos that are clicked on or unmuted as signals of viewer interest.

Ultimately, there are thousands of factors that inform Facebook’s algorithm, which range from using trigger words that indicate important events (e.g., “congratulations”) to whether or not you’ve actually clicked a link in a post before liking it.

Facebook’s end goal here is to have its algorithm match News Feed content to the individual needs and interests of each and every user. As Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, told Time in a 2015 interview:

If you could rate everything that happened on Earth today that was published anywhere by any of your friends, any of your family, any news source…and then pick the 10 that were the most meaningful to know today, that would be a really cool service for us to build. That is really what we aspire to have News Feed become.”

How to Deal With Declining Organic Reach

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how Facebook surfaces content, let’s explore some tips for dealing with the decline in organic Page reach.

1) Be more selective about what you post.

Marketers have to switch gears from untargeted, frequent publishing to targeted, selective publishing. The goal is no longer to spray and pray — it’s to get as much interaction from a single post as possible. Each post published to a brand Page can be targeted to a specific audience regardless of whether or not it’s sponsored, which may improve overall interaction with that post among other people who are likely to find it more interesting and relevant.

2) Remind your Fans they can go to Pages Feed on the left sidebar of their News Feed to see content from Pages they’ve Liked.

facebook-pages-feed.png

3) Educate your super fans that they can update their notification settings from your Page.

hubspot_FB_notifications.png

4) Encourage fans to engage with your posts when they do see them, so they see more of them.

This can be as simple as adding a reminder to “Please Like and share” at the end of your posts.

5) Share engaging videos on Facebook.

Videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.

According to a recent study by quintly, native Facebook videos have an 186% higher engagement rate and are shared more than 1000% more than videos linked to from other hosting sites. Take the extra steps to publish videos for the platforms you’re promoting them on for best results — distribute your content on Facebook, YouTube, and other social platforms you’re trying to leverage.

6) Broadcast on Facebook Live.

If you’re not already doing so, start broadcasting on Facebook Live. Users spend 3X more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos on the platform, so start experimenting with live content if you’re concerned about your organic reach. Advertise what you’re doing on different platforms to generate buzz, broadcast for several minutes (at least) to help your broadcast get surfaced in the News Feed, and share authentic, behind-the-scenes content to attract and interest your viewers.

To learn more about Facebook Live broadcasting strategies, check out our free guide.

7) Re-allocate your time and effort toward your owned assets.

Since the only constant with Facebook (and the larger digital media landscape) is change, it’s always safest to focus on the digital channels you entirely own and control — your website and blog. Spend the vast majority of your effort creating content (blog posts and long-form content such as ebooks, case studies, or videos) that will continue to garner inbound traffic, leads, and customers long after they’re first created. If you have time and budget, share those assets to Facebook for additional reach.

8) Start treating Facebook like a paid ad platform.

If you’re going to pay-to-play, get your targeting right. Once you’ve built an audience of relevant fans, focus on advertising the content assets you’ve created — blog posts, ebooks, etc. — and use ads to amplify them to targeted users. Remember: It’s likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now, which brings me to one final recommendation …

9) If you do advertise, go beyond the basics.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities have gotten considerably better over the past few years. You can now pay to reach your ideal persona based on demographics, interests, web behavior, and more. Additionally, there are a bunch of tools and features that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, including:

To learn more about how you can improve your Facebook Page’s reach, check out our free guide: How to Attract Customers with Facebook.

What are your thoughts and experiences with Facebook’s organic reach decline? How have you adjusted your inbound marketing strategy accordingly?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


free ebook: how to maximize your facebook reach

free guide: how to maximize your facebook reach


free ebook: how to maximize your facebook reach

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

13

2017

Clip Art Through the Years: A Nostalgic Look Back

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Design | Comments are closed

Clipart-through-the-years-compressor.jpg

When I was growing up, it was a pretty big deal to have a computer with an operating system other than DOS. If you had an Apple, or even a computer with Windows, your house was the place to be. Not only were you likely to have the coolest games, but also, you probably had access to clip art libraries, which made for hours of entertainment — for me, at least.

Today, it’s hard to imagine a world where you can’t procure an image just by searching for it online. When I was in school, the only way to include a picture in a book report, for example, was with enough luck to find what I was looking for in a magazine. Clip art opened up a whole new world of visuals for academic assignments — not to mention, the newsletters that my childhood, future-writer self liked to put together for fun.

But today, clip art has become a bit of a thing of the past, at least since Microsoft retired its version in 2014. That’s an important distinction — clip art isn’t limited to Microsoft, and actually had several predecessors before it found its way into the likes of Word and PowerPoint. New Call-to-action

And maybe its retirement was for the best — when I think back to some of its more popular images, they would look positively antiquated today. But where did clip art come from, anyway? Today, we’re honoring its legacy with a trip through time.

The History of Clip Art

The 1980s

Toong-Figure-7.jpgSource: Computer History Museum

It all began with the idea to create a digital library of images. That was made possible by a program called VCN ExecuVision, a presentation program created in 1983 for IBM personal computers. Think of it as a primitive version of PowerPoint. But the $400 software didn’t come with these image libraries — instead, they were available on separate floppy disks that had to be purchased for $90 each.

But despite this seemingly trailblazing effort on behalf of IBM, it was really Apple who may have emerged as a leader in the digital image space, at least around the early-to-mid 1980s. That’s partially due to the 1984 development of MacPaint, which was released alongside Apple’s word processing program, MacWrite. As the story goes, they were the only two applications pre-installed on this historic Macintosh 128K.

But what made MacPaint so important was its role as the first program that allowed users to manipulate bitmap images: The “simple line art,” according to The Atlantic, that comprised “early electronic clip art.”

brochure4b.jpgSource: DigiBarn

Not long after that, however, the T/Maker Company collaborated with Apple to develop another word processing program, WriteNow. While it’s not clear if that particular program came equipped with its own image library, the same company began producing and selling groups of bitmap images under a new name: ClickArt.

CLickArt download.pngSource: Vetusware

The 1990s

clip-art-gallery.pngSource: MakeUseOf

By the mid-1990s, T/Maker was the largest distributor of unlicensed images, with a library of roughly half a million in 1995. Microsoft took note of ClickArt’s success, and thought to eliminate the extra step of having to install additional software to access artwork. So in 1996, Microsoft Word 6.0 came equipped with 82 clip art images — a miniscule amount compared to the 120,515 files available on openclipart.org today.

And yet, Microsoft became the brand most strongly identified with the idea of clip art, despite its predecessors having laid much of the groundwork. That could be because its in-app nature — across the entire Microsoft Office Suite — made adding art to documents and presentations a groundbreakingly seamless process.

The Early 2000s

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.06.29 PM.pngSource: Wayback Machine

By August 2000, at least 41% of U.S. households had computers with internet access, indicating that people were using it more and more for consuming information and media. And like so many other things — books, for one — clip art was becoming available for purchase online via sites like clipart.com, which is still in existence, but today looks a bit different than its 1996 counterpart above.

clipartcom2017.png

And while clip art isn’t exactly one of those things that we think of as having suffered “death by download” — like books, music, and movies — the ability to procure images online made something like Microsoft’s in-app feature obsolete.

Clip Art’s (Semi) Retirement

In December 2014, Microsoft announced that it would be doing away with any in-app art libraries.

“The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop,” the statement read.

Instead, users would now have to use either images from their own devices, or those found through Bing Image Search, where they’re now automatically sent when searching for art within Microsoft apps — step-by-step directions can be found here.

The announcement, for many, read as the end of an era. What would become of cartoonish images of urban landscapes, or out-of-date business travelers with flip phones? As it turns out, if that’s what you’re looking for, you might be in luck.

Clip Art in 2017 and Beyond

For those who need a fix of this kind of old-school imagery, not all hope is lost. There are still plenty of resources out there to find these pictures, including the aforementioned sites openclipart.org and clipart.com. Plus, as The Atlantic so astutely points out, if you search Bing images for “clip art,” you might find some of those fittingly nostalgic results:

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.10.05 PM.png

And perhaps this version of clip art isn’t really gone for good — after all, NPR once noted Microsoft’s penchant for revitalizing its older pieces of technology, like Clippy.

In any case, clip art has certainly taken many forms over the years — and we’re curious to see what shape, if any, it takes in the future.

Which clip art images make you the most nostalgic? Let us know in the comments.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

 
download 80 royalty-free stock photos

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

12

2017

6 Websites Every Growth Hacker Should Bookmark

Published by in category Business, Canonical, Daily | Comments are closed

Growth-Hacking-websites-compressor.jpg

I’ll start by saying this: I am officially obsessed with growth hacking these days.

I never thought of myself as a growth marketer, let alone a growth hacker. Maybe that’s because it’s a somewhat new concept — or a new name for a classic concept, at least. But as a content creator, I’ve learned how imperative it is to know how to grow any sort of property, whether it’s a blog, a podcast, or a brand.

That might be what I love the most about the HubSpot Growth Stack, for example. It was built with the idea that every marketer stands to benefit from understanding how growth hacking works. But where do you learn this stuff? Download our free marketing tool that helps you generate more leads and learn  about website visitors.

A Google search for “growth hacking” yields a plethora of results. But as the term gains more popularity, filtering the results for the best resources becomes more difficult. Fear not — we combed through these sites and narrowed them down to six of the most comprehensive resources. So start reading, and get ready to grow.

6 Websites Every Growth Hacker Should Bookmark

1) GrowthHackers

GrowthHackers

Let’s start with the obvious. When you want to learn how to grow, the URL “growthhackers.com” seems like a natural place to start. Its founder and CEO, Sean Ellis, was pretty much a “growth hacker” before that label was really a thing — since 2008, he’s served in interim growth roles at companies like Eventbrite and Dropbox, helping them scale in their early stages.

GrowthHackers is a community of resources and experts that “helps teams unlock their company’s full growth potential.” And it’s within that community section of the site where the greatest wealth of knowledge lives. From a forum of growth-related posts, to a section on growth case studies, to the Growth University, this destination is one of the most comprehensive growth hacking resources available online.

2) KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is one of the leading analytics platforms that marketers use to obtain the data they need to grow. But beyond the product itself, the company provides a plethora of resources for growth hackers; for example, its blog and series of webinars.

The blog might be one of our favorites. Its entries are a mix of tactical content and great stories, like this one about how Calendly pulled off double-digit growth. Plus, if you’re looking for fundamental knowledge about any area of growth, KISSmetrics has organized these types of blog posts into collective academy guides. If you’re just getting started, we recommend checking out this catalogue of entries synthesized for the “The Basics of Analytics.

3) Quick Sprout

Quick Sprout

Quick Sprout is largely the work of Neil Patel — a name with which anyone even remotely involved with digital marketing is familiar. We like to call him a “growth rockstar” — he founded the aforementioned KISSmetrics shortly after graduating from CSU Fullerton.

On Quick Sprout, Patel does growth consulting work and leads an online “university” on growing website traffic. It’s also home to one of his many valuable blogs, where he provides tips on conversion, marketing tech, and more. For a handy growth marketing crash course, check out this post on “How to Become an Innovative Growth Hacker in One Month.

4) Coelevate

Coelevate

Brian Balfour is another growth expert who cut his teeth in the startup sector. In fact, he’s been known to quote the words of investor Paul Graham: “Startups = Growth.” And on Coelevate, he frequently pens essays about many topics under this umbrella, like “10 Reasons Why Companies Fail At Growth” and “Traction vs Growth.”

Balfour speaks with a unique skill set. In addition to serving as the co-founder of startups like Viximo and Boundless Learning — which were both acquired — he also worked in venture capital (VC) as an entrepreneur-in-residence. He views growth from the perspective of both the entrepreneur and the investor. In addition to his words on Coelevate, you can follow his insights on the blog for Reforge, his growth program creation business.

5) Andrewchen.co

andrewchen.co

Since its 2009 founding, one thing has been certain about Uber: It’s experienced unequivocal brand growth. And it’s the kind of growth that can only be achieved with the right scale, which experts like Andrew Chen are brought on board to oversee.

And in addition to serving as Uber’s head of rider growth, Chen continues to share insights on his own website, Andrewchen.co. His knowledge stems from his experience, much like Balfour, as both an entrepreneur-in-residence in the VC sector, and as what he calls an “entrepreneur-out-of-residence” — in both capacities, he’s helped to grow early-stage businesses like Barkbox and Tinder.

6) OkDork

OkDork

Noah Kagan, the person behind growth blog OkDork, is one of those folks who’s so accomplished that we have to ask, “How many lives have you had?” Today, Kagan’s day job is “Chief Sumo” with the Sumo Group, the maker of tools to help companies grow website traffic. It’s the latest in a string of product launches and marketing successes he’s experienced, with brands ranging from Facebook to Mint.

Kagan calls OkDork a guide to “marketing, business musings, online communities and other things to kill time while you are at work.” That community part is key. He invites readers to participate, comment, and exchange thoughts. And since its December 2016 debut, his podcast, “Noah Kagan Presents,” also calls OKDork home. Check out “The 5 am Challenge” — it happens to be one of this early riser’s favorite episodes.

Continual Growth

“Growth” can be a little bit of a big, scary term at first. Building and scaling a product or service from scratch might seem like something that requires the help of an expert, or a large team. But as these sites show — that’s not the case. With the right approach, resources, and amount of experimentation, you can become a self-taught growth hacker.

From online communities to the HubSpot Growth Stack, you’ll be well on your way. But be patient — you might have to use a combination of these resources and go back to them as you work your way through projects. That’s why we suggest you bookmark all of these sites. Growth takes time, but it’s more than possible.

What are your go-to growth hacking websites? Let us know in the comments.

hubspot-growth-stack

 
free introduction to growth-driven web design

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

5

2017

12 Growth Experts to Follow

Published by in category Business, Canonical, Daily | Comments are closed

GrowthExpertsToFollow-compressor.jpg

Growth hacking is one of those topics that remains awe-inspiring. There’s still a bit of elusiveness, but everyone wants to get in on it. After all, who doesn’t — whether holistically as a person, or when speaking of a business — want to grow? And while there might be many definitions surrounding the buzzword, we like growth hacker Aaron Ginn’s summation:

A growth hacker is someone whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology.”

This definition emphasizes how much entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike can learn from the depth of understanding possessed by growth hackers. It’s their abilities to draw connections between how a company is performing and the actions needed to lead to healthy, rapid growth, that improve performance and set a company up for success. Download our free marketing tool that helps you generate more leads and learn  about website visitors.

But who are these growth experts? Where are they, and how can marketers find their insights and learn how to apply them? And since the term’s become so popular, how do you cut through the noise to find the most applicable expertise?

We’ve rounded up some of the top growth experts who have some of the best content and insights on growth hacking on the web. Following each of them will help you discover actionable strategies and best practices, so you might want to bookmark this page as a directory for future reference.

12 Growth Hacking Experts to Follow

1) Brian Balfour

Founder and CEO, Reforge

Follow @bbalfour

brian-balfour-building-a-growth-machine.jpgSource: Heavybit

You can count Brian Balfour as another growth expert who cut his teeth in the startup sector. In fact, he’s been known to quote the words of investor Paul Graham: “Startups = Growth.” But here’s where Balfour’s unique skillset and knowledge comes in — not only was he the co-founder of startups like Viximo and Boundless Learning, both of which were acquired, but he also worked in venture capital (VC) as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

In other words, he’s seen both sides of the coin: The startup, and the investor. That experience lent itself to his previous role as VP of growth at HubSpot, as well as his position back in the business driver’s seat as founder and CEO of Reforge, a creator of growth programs. Follow his insights on his blog, Coelevate, or on the Reforge blog.

2) Andrew Chen

Head of Rider Growth, Uber

Follow @andrewchen

Andrew_Chen_portrait_017.jpgSource: StartCon

Say what you will about Uber, but there’s one thing that most of us can agree on: It’s experienced unequivocal brand growth since its 2009 founding. But growth like that needs to be properly scaled, which is when you bring in an expert — like Andrew Chen.

Like Balfour, Chen has worked as both an entrepreneur-in-residence in the VC sector, and independently as what he calls an “entrepreneur-out-of-residence.” In both capacities, however, he focused on growing early-stage businesses, like Barkbox and Tinder, wearing the hats of both a business owner and an investor. The man loves growth — in fact, he even publicly identifies as the “plus one to” Zendesk’s own growth marketing expert, Brianne Kimmel.

Follow Chen’s insights on his website.

3) Sean Ellis

CEO, GrowthHackers

Follow @seanellis

sean-ellis-text-1024x512-canva-min.pngSource: Popcorn Metrics

It could be said that Sean Ellis was a growth hacker before that term became, well, a thing. In August 2008, he became the “interim growth executive” for Eventbrite — a role that set the tone, it seems, for his career trajectory. Since then, he’s also served in interim growth roles with companies like Dropbox in their earliest stages. In other words, he helped some of the most recognizable names in tech — say it with me — grow.

Formerly the founder and CEO of marketing software company Qualroo, Ellis now has the same title at, quite appropriately, GrowthHackers: A community of resources and experts that “helps teams unlock their company’s full growth potential.” He also shares tips on his blog, Startup Marketing, where he (and we) recommends getting started with this post on “The Startup Pyramid.

4) Nir Eyal

Best-Selling Author, Consultant, and Public Speaker

Follow @nireyal

Nir_Eyal-2-1.jpgSource: Typeform

Nir Eyal’s LinkedIn profile is a visual feast for those who can’t get enough of stories about those who have led emerging companies to profitability and acquisition. It was his experience of that kind with companies like Sunshine Business Development and AdNectar that lent to the expertise that went into his best-selling book, Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products, which answers the question — among others — “How do successful companies create products people can’t put down?”

Aside from the book, Eyal’s tips and insights can be found on his blog. And get this — if you really want to pick his brain, you can even schedule time to chat with Eyal via his website.

5) Noah Kagan

Chief Sumo, Sumo Group

Follow @noahkagan

C7rlXGRXQAAGkA2.jpgSource: Sumo.com

Sometimes, we meet people who have done so much in such a short period of time that it forces us to ask, “How many lives have you had?”

That’s what we think when we look at the experience leading up to Noah Kagan’s role as Chief Sumo with the Sumo Group, the maker of tools to help companies grow website traffic. From Facebook to Mint, Kagan has helped to launch and market several products and services.

Kagan’s blog, OkDork, is what he calls a guide to “marketing, business musings, online communities and other things to kill time while you are at work.” But it’s also a community — he invites readers to participate, comment, and exchange thoughts. And, OkDork now houses the podcast he launched in December 2016, “Noah Kagan Presents.”

6) Brianne Kimmel

Growth Marketing, Zendesk

Follow @briannekimmel

dXiKQuKg.jpgSource: Twitter

Zendesk is one of those SaaS companies that just keeps killing it, despite a constantly-evolving environment. And that’s a big element in successful growth — having the agility to adapt to a changing market.

Within the walls of Zendesk, the aforementioned Brianne Kimmel oversees the marketing and growth strategies to embolden the company’s conversion. It’s not exactly her first rodeo, either — before her role there, she also contributed to the growth of companies like Hotwire and HotelClub, which is now an Orbitz company. And while we have yet to find a personal blog to host her insights — but, cough, we’d love to see one — she does share her expertise and insights as an instructor with General Assembly.

7) Fareed Mosavat

Senior PM, Growth, Slack

Follow @far33d

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAeSAAAAJDM4MmU2YzEzLThhMzYtNGY3Ny05N2YyLWVmNWFiOTUwYzRjYg.jpgSource: LinkedIn

It’s probably fair to count Fareed Mosavat as one of those marketers who mastered growth before it became a buzzword. Looking at his work experience, it’s clear that he’s set foot in a number of big-name, early-stage tech companies and led the growth of major products. From RunKeeper to Instacart, Mosavat knows how to take data and use it to build something significant.

When he wrote about his decision to join Slack on his Medium publication — which we highly recommend for thoughts and insights on growth — he credited the company’s deeply ingrained principles of “playfulness, empathy, diversity, and craftsmanship” with its “endless opportunity for meaningful growth and product work.” So he’s not all about data — he’s someone who also places equal importance on a qualitative, cultural approach to growth.

8) Neil Patel

Co-founder, KISSmetrics and Hello Bar

Follow @neilpatel

neilpatel-blog-post_header-img.jpgSource: Pioneers.io

If you work in the digital marketing space in any capacity, chances are, you’ve at least heard of Neil Patel. He is, for lack of a better word, a bit of a growth rockstar. According to his LinkedIn profile, it wasn’t long after graduating from CSU Fullerton that he founded KISSmetrics, which has become one of the leading, most recognizable analytics platforms.

Today, Patel continues to juggle various outlets as a growth expert. He founded Crazy Egg, which creates a website heat map for marketers to observe which sections of a page get the most engagement. Then, there’s Quick Sprout, where he consults and leads an online “university” on growing website traffic — he also maintains a blog there, where he provides tips on conversion, marketing tech, and more.

As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Patel also keeps his own website up and running, where he has yet another blog full of teachable moments, “from ‘aha’ to ‘oh sh[*]t’.” Plus, he’s got a podcast: “Marketing School.

9) Sujan Patel

Co-founder, Web Profits (among many others)

Follow @sujanpatel

Zz01MGRkZGQzMzdkYzZjZGNjMjRlNWQ3YmYyOGMzZmJmYw==.jpegSource: Infusionsoft

Like everyone else on this list, we imagine that Sujan Patel is rather busy. In addition to his most recent role as the co-founder of growth marketing agency Web Profits, he’s also the co-founder of Mailshake, as well as one of the minds behind LinkTexting.

On top of that, Patel is constantly sharing his ideas and perspectives with the public, both as a regular contributor to Forbes, and through his personal blog. If you’re looking for inspiration, we recommend checking out his roundup of growth marketing underdogs.

10) Eric Peters

Senior Growth Marketing Manager, HubSpot Academy

Follow @EricPeters0

Many marketers are faced with the lofty task of growing a brand or comprehensive strategy from scratch. They might be part of a newly-created marketing department, or building their own presence as an entrepreneur. And for many of them, the first step toward that growth is taking a free certification course in their HubSpot Academy Learning Center. Eric Peters is responsible for driving growth for HubSpot Academy’s free courses, which come with a suite of free marketing and sales tools to apply to what you’re learning in the HubSpot growth stack.

But he’s no stranger to this kind of growth marketing. Before HubSpot, he was tasked with measuring and optimizing how users flowed through the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company he previously worked for. In other words, it was his job to figure out the monetization part of that user movement — from acquisition, to activation, to upgrades. In the tech realm, it’s a path with which many marketers are familiar, or eventually have to master.

Peters often shares his insights with the public on the HubSpot Academy blog, and in videos like the one below.

11) Rebecca Rosenfelt

Product Manager, Airbnb

According to Crunchbase, Rebecca Rosenfelt arrived at Airbnb when it acquired her company, Inhabit Vacations. It was a brand that looked to provide travelers with truly local tastes, by connecting visitors to certain cities with the people who called it home. Today, Airbnb offers a similar service, by offering users curated experiences in a variety of cities.

It’s all part of Airbnb’s global growth strategy, and its efforts to cultivate a recognizable presence, including internationally, for not just home sharing, but also, a truly local experience anywhere in the world. It makes sense that Rosenfelt was picked as the person to initiate and oversee that growth — not only did she have the travel sector experience, but she also has the business chops, from her early work in global consulting to her ownership of a real-estate-focused magazine.

And while we certainly think of Rosenfelt as an expert, it seems as though she might be a bit modest about it — as far as we can tell, she no longer has a Twitter presence or personal blog. However, she does share her insights through a number of speaking engagements, like this one for Traction Conf:

12) Alex Schultz

VP of Growth, Facebook

Follow @alexschultz

140206_Facebook_Internet_02.jpgSource: Wired

At this point, we’d like to assume that the folks at Facebook know a thing or two about growth. In the span of 12 years, it’s gone from a small, academic-only online toy, to a publicly-traded, consistently growing media distribution platform. And since 2007, Alex Schultz has been the person in charge of that growth.

But for all the years he’s been with the company, Schulz was no stranger to tech marketing before his tenure at Facebook. He previously managed affiliate marketing in the U.K. for eBay, and in 1996, he’s said to have launched a website, paperairplanes.co.uk, “to help everyone have more fun with paper airplanes.” Take flight, indeed.

Get Growing

At first, growing something like this from scratch might look to be a daunting task that’s successfully executed by only a select few. But as these experts have shown, it can be done — and they’re more than willing to share their knowledge.

Plus, there’s a plethora of quality resources to help you master your growth, from blogs to HubSpot’s growth stack. As a next step, start to formulate a gradual plan, with manageable actions and benchmarks. And fear not — as this list shows, there’s always someone out there who will be willing to help.

Which growth experts would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

hubspot-growth-stack

 
free introduction to growth-driven web design

Powered by WPeMatico

Apr

4

2017

The Real-Life Artificial Intelligence Movie: 5 Futuristic Film Examples That Have Become a Reality

Published by in category Canonical, Daily | Comments are closed

AImovies-compressor.jpg

I’ll be honest. For someone who writes about artificial intelligence as much as I do, I’m a bit behind on my knowledge of science fiction. As much as my father implored, I could never quite build an enthusiasm for Star Trek. And to the lament of many ex-boyfriends, I was never exactly a Star Wars enthusiast, either. But lately, that’s been changing. My interest in movies about robots has piqued. My guess: It has something to do with many elements of these films permeating our real lives.

Science fiction, as a film genre, has technically been around since the era of silent movies — the 1902 short Voyage Dans La Lune (translation: A Trip to the Moon) is a prime example. But as real-life science progressed, so did that invented by authors, screenwriters, and filmmakers. We went from merely imagining travel to the moon in the previous example, to inventing a world in which someone can fall in love with an artificially intelligent voice with no face or body, like in the 2013 film HerNew Call-to-action

But when it comes to artificial intelligence, there are some movies that are starting to eerily come to life as the science realm is getting better and better at inventing consumable technology that’s, at times, remarkably similar to the kind seen in these films. We picked out the five that stand out most to us, and which of today’s AI technologies best match them.

5 Artificial Intelligence Movies That Have Become a Reality

1) Forbidden Planet

Fiction: Robby the Robot

I won’t lie — there are several moments throughout the week when I think to myself, “I could really go for a donut right now.” It conjures images of the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, in which the Robby the Robot character prepares a meal of donuts for a group of space travelers. How convenient.

Reality: Robochef

In the movie, the robot is able to do that after being “fed” a sample of the food, which is analyzed in an internal lab and can then reproduce. And while today’s real-life cooking chef doesn’t exactly emulate that science, it comes close. The robochef depicted in the video below memorizes human actions by recording the movements of an actual chef via three-dimensional camera, and translates them “into highly precise movements,” according to IFLScience.

2) 2001: A Space Odyssey

Fiction: HAL 9000

The HAL 9000 — or as its peers refer to it, simply “Hal” — is a portrayal of a nightmare artificial intelligence scenario. Basically, a space crew that was merely supposed to be assisted by Hal ends up being outsmarted by it, as per the clip below.

Reality: Siri

It’s hard to imagine that an army of Siris alone could overtake the human race — in fact, she might even be considered a more primitive version of Hal. But like her fictional counterpart, she can engage with humans on a conversational level. And, her snark often matches Hal’s — just look at her response when you ask her an innocent math question.

3) WALL-E

Fiction: WALL-E

This film is named for its hero and main character: A tiny robot named WALL-E. Left all alone on Earth after all humans have abandoned the planet, this artificially intelligent being spends his days essentially cleaning up after what was left behind on the planet, which explains why his name stands for “Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class.” He can see, he can sigh, and he can even befriend a cockroach, which — quite fittingly — he names Hal.

Reality: Cozmo

In the summer of 2016, it was announced that the Anki company would release Cozmo: “A real-life robot like you’ve only seen in movies,” the product description reads, “with a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more you hang out.” Like WALL-E, Cozmo goes through the process of waking up and starting its day, and even shows signs of emotion — like when it gets knocked on its side and begins to emulate frustrated behavior. But don’t feel bad. It also exhibits signs of happiness while playing games.

4) Back to the Future Part II

Fiction: Video Chat, News Drones, and More

It seems that there were so many (at least somewhat) accurate predictions made in Back to the Future Part II, it’s hard to fit them all into a short description. But some of the more notable ones include a video call that the protagonist, Marty, receives from his boss during a flash-forward — something that, at the time of the movie’s release, wasn’t a commodity like it is today with platforms like Skype and FaceTime.

But our favorite scene might be the one with a futuristic, hovering USA Today camera that captured images and footage for the news — without human operation.

Source: Flite Test

Reality: USA Today Drone

USA Today decided that a legacy like this one was too good to not take advantage of it, so the news outlet commissioned the engineers at FliteTest to create a real-life, branded news drone. The result, while still in a somewhat primitive form, was a fully-built news drone complete with flight and 360° video recording capabilities.

5) Ex Machina

Fiction: Ava

There’s quite an extensive history of efforts to build artificially intelligent devices or creatures that can can engage with humans on an emotional level. It began with a computerized chatbot — the 1951 Turing Test, a.k.a., the Imitation Game — which was designed to respond to human inquiries with equally human language. And since then, there have been many fictional representations of eerily life-like (and intelligent) robots that stir deep attachments in their human counterparts. That’s been central to the plotline of movies like the aforementioned Her and, as seen below, Ex Machina.

Reality: Pepper

World, meet Pepper: One of the latest artificial intelligence products from SoftBank Robotics. It almost feels wrong to refer to Pepper as a product, since it’s programmed to interact with humans like, well, another human — so much so that it’s been “adopted” by several families in Japan.

What really sets Pepper apart is its ability to interpret human emotions, and conversationally respond in kind. Some might argue, though, that this robot hardly interacts exactly like a human, since there’s a lag between the human’s question and Pepper’s response during which the input has to be analyzed. Still, unlike many of today’s similar devices, Pepper can shake the hands of new people it meets, answer questions, and offer hugs. As the saying goes — we’re getting there.

Get Real

Of course, some of these examples are coming to life more identically to their fictional counterparts than others — the USA Today instance, for example, is pretty similar.

But when you consider that some of these films were released as recently as 2015, and we’ve come even closer to emulating its featured technologies in the short period of time that’s passed since then, we have little doubt that even the most spectacular of AI inventions will come to fruition. And as reality becomes more remarkable — we can’t wait to see what the SciFi world invents next.

Which AI movies would you like to see come true? Let us know in the comments.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

 
free guide to creating video for social media

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

29

2017

How to Get Better Marketing Talent

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Professional Development | Comments are closed

BestMarketingTalent-compressor.jpg

When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Sure, I knew that I wanted, you know, to be employed. I knew I wanted to put my English degree to good use. And I knew I wanted some aspect of the written word to be involved. But what did that look like?

“I dunno,” would’ve been my honest answer.

It’s not that I received anything less than a great education. In fact, I have almost nothing but good things to say about my undergrad alma mater. It’s just that the school had fallen into the same problem that most universities do — the coursework, while excellent, didn’t address what has turned into a pandemic marketing and sales skills gap.

Granted, that was more years ago than I’d like to admit, before much of the technology essential to marketing and sales jobs was as prevalent as it is today. But according to research conducted by Boston Consulting Group, companies still continue to fall short on the level of digital skills on their marketing teams. And as the consumption of products, services, and information continues to rely more on technology — that’s not good.  Learn how to succeed in your new inbound marketing job with the help of this  free guide.

But what are you supposed to do about it? You’re busy enough trying to do what you can to make up for this skills gap. How could you possibly also resolve how to actually fill it? Well, as it turns out, you have two major options: To build talent, and to buy it. Don’t worry — neither option is as overwhelming or as expensive as it sounds. In fact, both really boil down to providing the right resources for both your current and incoming employees. What do those look like? We’ve got a few ideas.

How to Get Better Marketing Talent

When You’re Buying

Bringing in new hires is not a simple process. There are the measurable variables, like the cost of onboarding — an average of over $4,000 per new employee, for most companies — and expensive employee turnover in a number of industries. So when you’re looking to add someone new to your team, you want to make sure it’s a good decision.

Part of feeling certain of a new hire is understanding what kind of training and experience that person has received, especially when it comes to new graduates. A shortage of internships available undergraduates limits their opportunities for experience. So, how can you be certain that a candidate can fill your marketing team’s needs — especially if the right skills aren’t being taught in the classroom?

That’s where you come in. See, the recruiting process goes both ways — just as you want to make sure a candidate is the right fit, you want to do everything you can to look attractive as an employer. And those efforts could include providing learning resources to prospective employees.

For example, when I was looking for opportunities in business school, I would come across many hiring pages from companies that listed the many reasons why I should work there — great benefits, great culture, and opportunities for growth, to name a few. But there was something missing. Nowhere on these hiring sites were there tips for what I could do to strengthen my candidacy for that particular environment.

So if you really want to attract the best talent, follow the mantra, “Help me help you.” It only requires a few steps.

1) Make a list of desired attributes — beyond the job description.

When I first began to look into working for HubSpot, one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that the company has a Culture Code. It didn’t just teach me about how I would be valued as an employee, but it also illustrated the must-have qualities of people who get hired here. That immediately made me realize how much I wanted to work for a company like this one.

When you begin recruiting talent, ask yourself what your company’s own Culture Code would look like. It might not be for everyone, and that’s okay — you’re trying to get candidates who are the best fit to stick around. Give them the right information to help them know who they are.

2) Collaborate with educational institutions.

This step goes beyond simply signing up for a booth at a career fair. I wouldn’t know anything about planning a higher education curriculum, but I get the impression that it’s not easy — which is why these skills gaps might still exist. However, as a marketer, I have a better idea of what kind of knowledge my own team might be seeking, and I’m happy to share it.

If you’re in the same boat, it could be worthwhile to reach out to the career development departments of nearby colleges and universities to find out what you can do to help bring some of that knowledge to the student body. Mind you, we’re not suggesting that you ask for a teaching position or request to be paid for a special lecture.

Rather, work with the school’s administration to see if you can offer a complimentary workshop on the skills that you’re seeking the most. While you might have them, you’re only one person — so see what you can do to share them. It’s an investment of time and resources, but it doesn’t come without a return. If you brand the opportunity properly, it’s a way to stand out in the minds of future job applicants, who might ultimately apply for work with you, therefore filling those gaps. Plus, it reinforces your own reputation as an expert in that particular area, and now that you’ve helped others build those skills, you’ll be able to recruit the talent necessary to meet resulting demand.

3) Share learning resources with applicants — and educators.

While you might not have the bandwidth to undertake something like teaching a workshop, there are still ways to help bring skills and knowledge to your future hiring pool. That’s why your hiring site should be built with two audiences in mind: The applicants themselves, and the people who will be teaching them.

For applicants

In addition to listing the general skills and characteristics that you seek in your new hires, it might be helpful to direct them to the resources that can help them gain that knowledge and become better candidates.

Free online courses are a great place to begin. Do some research on the ones available for the skill gaps you need to fill the most — for example, this EdX course in Digital Branding and Engagement, or this one on High Level Digital Marketing Strategy For Small Businesses from Udemy. Plus, a pre-existing knowledge of inbound marketing is always helpful, and getting inbound certified is free with HubSpot Academy.

For educators

When it comes to providing resources to educators, sometimes identifying the skills gaps is a big first step. Understanding what your strongest candidates need to know in order to succeed in the digital marketing landscape can help develop the tools for teaching the accompanying skills. Outline what they are, and give examples of the type of job titles and responsibilities that require them.

And just as there are online learning resources for applicants — there are actually some for educators, too, like HubSpot Academy’s Education Partner Program. Its mission is to help educators teach inbound marketing, and to connect their students with opportunities to apply both in the real world. Plus, the criteria for becoming an Education Partner doesn’t really go beyond the scope of what’s already required of most institutions — it’s a college, university, or institute that teaches Inbound with HubSpot Academy’s resources, or uses HubSpot software in their classes.

When You’re Building

Please forgive the cop out, but we’ll tell you right now — the efforts for building the right kind of talent within your current team isn’t really all that different than buying it.

There are many situations when one option might be better than the other one — that all depends on your budget, your scope of work, or your current client and customer demands. But when it comes to the latest and greatest skills in cultivating your current employees, all you really have to do is provide the same resources for them that you would for external applicants.

It won’t look identical. But when you go about building or revamping a hiring page like we described above, look into building an intranet or wiki that provides many of the same learning resources that can help employees build their skills and progress in their careers — without leaving your company. After all, we’ve already gone over the high cost of employee turnover. Helping to build the right internal growth opportunities for your current team can prevent those costs from becoming necessary.

Create a place where your employees can see the types of roles or skills gaps you’re trying to fill, and let them know where they can learn how to fill them. Just as you might provide a list of these resources for external applicants or lead workshops for them, do the same for your current staff. Even if someone isn’t looking into changing roles, digital marketing knowledge can be applied to a broad range of projects.

And if they do progress — well, now you know how to attract the best people to replace them in their former positions.

Talent Show

Trying to ensure that you’ve got the best people to meet your company’s demands is never an easy process. There’s so much to consider, from culture fit to necessary skills. As we said — you want to be certain, and for good reason.

But with the above-outlined steps, it doesn’t have to be quite as daunting as you might think. You can proactively take measures to attract the best talent — whether that’s coming from a pool of recent grads, or from your current team.

What are your preferred ways getting the best marketing talent? Let us know in the comments.

Join the Education Partner Program

 
Join the Education Partner Program

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

28

2017

How to Create a Twitter Moment: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published by in category Canonical, Daily, Social Media | Comments are closed

create_twitter_moments_compressed.jpg

Sometimes an event is so remarkably big that it completely takes over social media for a few hours, or even days. Think back to the last awards show, sporting event, or viral meme — how many tweets about it popped onto your Twitter timeline?

When more than 9,000 tweets are published per second, it can be hard to find great content on the platform. So in 2015, Twitter rolled out Twitter Moments — curated tweets revolving around a single topic or story, all in one place.

Initially, only Twitter and its editorial partners, such as BuzzFeed and The New York Times, could curate Moments. Last year, however, Twitter opened up Moments for all Twitter users. Now, all content creators on the platform can compile groups of tweets. Whether it’s about an event, a campaign, or a pop culture moment, marketers can take advantage of this feature and potentially get discovered by new followers.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the 411 on Twitter Moments, how to create them, and how brands can use them.

What Are Twitter Moments?

Twitter Moments are collections of tweets about a topic or event. They can be tweeted, liked, pinned, and embedded like normal tweets, but when you tap to open a Moment, it shows you a collection of different tweets. Moments are published with a cover photo and introduction, so they’re kind of like a “best of” compilation article.

You can find Twitter Moments via desktop by tapping the lightning bolt icon — it’s in the top-left corner of Twitter on your browser.

twitter_moments_desktop.png

You can access Twitter Moments on mobile by tapping the magnifying glass icon — this will take you to the Explore tab, where you can scroll down past Twitter Trends to find Twitter Moments.

twitter_explore_mobile1.png

When you tap on a Moment to read more, swipe left to begin reading tweets about the topic:

twitter_explore_mobile2.png

Moments are categorized under the following interest areas on a desktop: News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun. Additionally, there is a Today tab that shares the biggest moments of the day on Twitter. Here’s what a Moment looks like embedded on a web page:

LEGO is making a Women of NASA set

And here’s what it looks like when you open it up to read on a desktop:

twitter_moment_example.png

Twitter Moments help Twitter users find more quality content about topics they’re interested in. Moments also help brands and creators get discovered in a different way than relying on the Twitter timeline and retweets alone. Now, let’s dive into how to make Moments across platforms and devices.

How to Create a Twitter Moment

How to Create a Twitter Moment: Desktop

1) Navigate to the Moments tab, and tap “Create new Moment” on the right-hand side of your screen.

create_new_moment_desktop.png

2) Choose a title, description, and cover photo for your Moment.

These will appear as a preview of your Moment on the Moments tab and on the Twitter timeline.

customize_twitter_moment.png

3) Start adding tweets you want to incorporate in your Moment.

You can choose from tweets you’ve liked, review different Twitter accounts to select tweets from a certain brand or individual, or search for tweets by specific keywords and hashtags. You can also enter the URL of a tweet you want to include. You can add tweets to your Moment by tapping the grayed-out check mark next to tweet content.

add_tweets_to_new_moment.png

4) Customize your Twitter Moment by tapping the up and down arrow buttons to arrange the order the tweets will appear in.

You can also remove tweets from your Moment by tapping the gray x button.

adjust_twitter_moment.png

5) Once you’ve added all the tweets you want to your Moment, tap “Finish later” to save a draft, or “Publish” to push it live on Twitter.

publish_twitter_moment.png

Once your Moment is published, you can share it in a tweet, embed it on your website, or share a link to your Moment.

You can also create a new Twitter Moment by tapping the1479344284_1656.pngicon next to a tweet and selecting “Add to new Moment,” which will direct you to the Moment creation dashboard described in Step 2.

addtonewmoment_arrow.png

How to Create a Twitter Moment: iOS

1) Open your Twitter app, tap the “Me” silhouette icon on the lower right-hand side of your screen, and tap the gear icon next to your profile picture. Then, select “Moments.”

moment_IOS_step1.png

create_moments_step2.png

2) Tap the + symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the “My Moments” screen. From there, you’ll reach a dashboard where you can customize your title, description and cover photo.

ios_twitter_moment_step3.png

3) Add tweets to your Moment by tapping the “Add Tweets” button in the bottom center of your screen.

You can choose from your tweets, tweets you’ve liked, and by searching for tweets. Add them by tapping the tweets and then tapping the green “Add 1 Tweet” button.

ios_add_tweets_step4.png

4) Tap the “Reorder” button in the lower left-hand corner of your Moments dashboard to customize your Moment.

reorder_ios_step5.png

5) When you’re done, tap “Finish later” to save a draft, or “Publish” to share your Moment on Twitter.

ios_finishlater_step6.png

You can also create a new Moment by tapping the1479344284_1656-1.pngicon next to a tweet and selecting “Add to Moment,” which will direct you to the Moment dashboard in Step 2.

addtomoment_ios.png

How to Create a Twitter Moment: Android

To create a Twitter Moment on Android devices, the process is virtually the same — except you access the Moments menu by tapping on your profile picture when you open up Twitter:

android-twitter-moments.png

Source: Addictive Tips

How Brands Can Use Twitter Moments

1) Events

Create a Twitter Moment that showcases what’s going on at an event your brand is hosting or participating in. You can share what others are saying about your brand and keep followers up-to-date about what’s going on if they can’t attend the event themselves.

Here’s a Twitter moment published by INBOUND at the kickoff of INBOUND 2016, when Gary Vaynerchuk kicked off the weeklong marketing and sales event with a keynote speech. The Moment compiled various tweets about the speech from different attendees and influencers and provided an inside look at the event for those following along at home.

Gary Vaynerchuk Kicks Off #INBOUND16

2) Tweetstorms

For those times when live-tweeting a series of related tweets is necessary, a Moment can serve to showcase a tweetstorm after it’s happened to bring attention to what a brand or individual is tweeting about.

Here’s an example from Persil UK & Ireland, a laundry detergent brand that created a Twitter Moment tweetstorm to promote its social media conversation, #DirtIsGood, about the importance of kids getting outside:

Kids spend less time outdoors than prisoners

3) Breaking News

Another great use case for Twitter Moments is breaking news. Journalists and publications can produce Twitter Moments to group together tons of tweets about an emerging story. Whether the tweets are all originals from the brand’s account or are a compilation of different voices, the Moment serves to provide Twitter users with as much information as possible.

Here’s a breaking news Twitter Moment from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos:

Thursday at Davos has been all about Brexit

4) Behind-the-scenes

One of the great things about social media is it gives customers a window into brands they love that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Brands can use Moments to create behind-the-scenes looks at products, employees, and events on Twitter.

Here’s Allure’s Moment featuring a behind-the-scenes look at ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell:

This is what it’s like to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange

5) Content Promotion

A multi-channel strategy is key to successfully promoting content you publish on your blog and website, and social media channels are no exception. Try publishing insights and data from your latest blog post or research report in the form of a Twitter Moment.

Here’s an example from the team here at HubSpot. We published a Moment about our annual State of Inbound survey results:

State of Inbound 2016

Now that you’re a pro at creating Twitter Moments, try publishing one today to see how it impacts your Twitter engagement. Don’t let your clever tweets and hashtags go to waste — create a Moment and share content with your audience year-round.

How do you use Twitter Moments? Share with us in the comments below.

free kit for growing followers on Twitter

4) Behind-the-Scenes

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

18

2017

Erin Go Bragh: How St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

Published by in category Canonical, Holiday Marketing | Comments are closed

StPatricksDayMarketing-compressor.jpg

In Boston, just across the river from HubSpot’s headquarters, St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal. There’s a parade. There’s a special breakfast for the who’s-who of local government. There are green bagels. And there’s a lot of beer.

We like to think of that as a very traditionally Bostonian way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. And we’re not alone — in Chicago, for example, they dye the river green. But we’ve got news. That word, “tradition”? We hate to break it to you, but today’s celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day are, well, far from traditional. 

And like so many other holidays, the modern perspective and observance of St. Patrick’s Day was shaped in some part by — you guessed it — marketing. But what did it used to look like, and how did it get to where it is today? Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Grab your four-leaf clover, because you’re in luck. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.) We’re taking you on a trip back in time to figure out just where St. Patrick’s Day began.

How St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

Who Was Saint Patrick, and Why Do We Celebrate Him?

snakes-out-of-england-H.jpegSource: History.com

The Man

To really trace the roots of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s important to understand its name. Yes, it’s named for a person — Saint Patrick himself — who actually wasn’t even of Irish descent. According to History.com, he was actually born in 390 A.D., in Britain to a Christian deacon father. It’s rumored that he assumed that role for its tax incentives, and not for religious reasons. In fact, some speculate that Saint Patrick wasn’t raised with much religion at all.

Interestingly enough, it was being kidnapped in his teen years and held captive by Irish raiders that began Saint Patrick’s journey to, well, sainthood. Much of that captivity was spent in isolation from other people, which allegedly caused Patrick to turn to spiritual thoughts for guidance and comfort. After six years as a prisoner, he escaped back to Britain, and eventually studied to become a priest.

After he was ordained, he was sent on a mission back to Ireland to begin spreading and converting the population to Christianity. And according to National Geographic, it didn’t go so well — “he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors,” and he was “largely forgotten” after his death in 461 A.D., which is estimated to have taken place on March 17, the day observed as St. Patrick’s Day.

The Myth

But later, people started to create folklore around Saint Patrick. It’s not clear when these legends came to fruition, but you might be familiar with some of them — tales of him banishing all snakes from Ireland, for example, which are the stories that eventually led to him being “honored as the patron saint of Ireland” — hence the name, Saint Patrick.

Still, the celebrations of him within that particular nation remained pretty low-key until the 20th century, prior to which March 17th was mostly observed with a mention of it by priests, and a feast enjoyed by families. Plus, there remains conflicting information about his life and the exact dates of its major events.

In fact, the celebrations really began right here — in Boston.

What the Earliest Celebrations Looked Like

Coming to America

According to Time, the inaugural celebration of St. Patrick’s Day took place in 1737, in the form of “a group of elite Irish men” in Boston gathering for a dinner dedicated to “the Irish saint,” who one might assume was Patrick himself. Less than 30 years later, parades began in New York, with Irish-American members of the U.S. military marching to honor Saint Patrick “with Fifes and Drums.”

stpatricksdayparadeunionsquare.pngSource: Ephemeral New York

Both of these events have led many to speculate that how we view St. Patrick’s Day today was largely an American invention, as many of the traditions we still continue to honor — including the New York City parade, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 251 years — were started by Irish-American immigrants. And as Irish immigration increased exponentially during the 1800s, the celebrations grew in kind, in large part to combat stereotypes that this incoming population was “drunken, violent, criminalized, and diseased.”

Irish-Americans wanted a way to illustrate that they were wholesome people — that they paid tribute to their natively religious roots with an observation of the patron saint, but that they also embraced life in America, by creating these traditions on new land. And that population was the most concentrated in Boston, Chicago, and New York — which might be why we today see the grandest celebrations in those cities. That began when Irish-Americans continued to face opposition by others, despite the aforementioned best efforts. The parades got bigger and occupied less localized venues, sending the message, “we’re ‘not going anywhere.'”

Meanwhile, in Ireland …

Eventually, around the 1920s, Ireland began to observe St. Patrick’s Day celebrations beyond church mentions and family meals. Not entirely unlike New York, it started with military parades in Dublin, but they weren’t exactly festive — “the day was rather somber,” writes Mike Cronin, with “mass in the morning [and] the military parade at noon.” And, until the 1960s, there was no drinking — before then, bars in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day.

But in that country, at least, the holiday saw a real turning point in 1996, with the very first instance of the St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin: A four-to-five-day festival (which began as just one day) of music, parades, and other revelry. This year’s edition of the festival just kicked off yesterday and, today, brands across numerous nations — Ireland and the U.S. alike — are capitalizing on the celebration.

GPO_1_Resized.laptop_1040_529_-600x306.jpegSource: St. Patrick’s Festival

We’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s look at how some other St. Patrick’s Day traditions got started.

Why Green?

It all began with a song, “The Wearing of the Green.” It dates back to 1798, when it was said to be written as a tribute to Irish Rebellion fighters, and has been repurposed many times since. The phrase in this post’s title, too, has ties to Irish fighters — “Erin Go Bragh,” which is traditionally spelled “Éirinn go Brách,” means “Ireland forever,” or Ireland “till doomsday.”

The most notable version of “The Wearing of the Green” is thought to be the one written and performed by Dion Boucicault in 1864 for the play Arragh na Pogue, or The Wicklow Wedding. And while there’s some controversy surrounding this theory, many believe that’s where the tradition of wearing (and consuming) all things green on St. Patrick’s Day is rooted — though it’s an act of gross misinterpretation, since the lyrics were actually meant to encourage the wearing of a green shamrock, a symbol of the Holy Trinity. In reality, the original color association with St. Patrick’s Day was blue.

the-wearing-of-the-green.jpgSource: Free Printable Greeting Cards

But what of that shamrock, yet another item that’s come to be so strongly associated with contemporary interpretations of St. Patrick’s Day? Well, that goes back, in part, to “The Wearing of the Green” lyrics. Have a look:

She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”

Those lyrics actually allude to the fact that, during the Irish Rebellion, wearing a shamrock was an offense punishable by death — and doing so came to be seen as a brave act of rebellion and loyalty to one’s Irish roots.

It could be why, today, wearing green on March 17th — often adorned with shamrock shapes — is loosely seen as an act of pride for all things Irish. In fact, you may have heard the phrase, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” which has been largely perpetuated by high-profile Irish brands, like Guinness.

That’s one particularly outstanding example of how St. Patrick’s Day is now highly commercial — it’s not just American brands that are leveraging it for marketing purposes. And believe it or not, there are many indicators that it began with this accidental tradition of “the wearing of the green.”

When It Started to Get Commercial

It’s the Shamrocks, Again

There were several pivotal moments in the history of St. Patrick’s Day that could be pointed to as the beginning of its commercialization — events like the first St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, or the first parade in the U.S. Indeed, it seems that the commercialization did begin stateside in 1952, when Irish ambassador John Joseph Hearne delivered a box of shamrocks intended for then-President Harry Truman. It’s since become an annual tradition.

But it wasn’t just the start of tradition. What used to be a symbol of Irish pride and rebellion was now being gifted to U.S. officials from Irish ones. It signaled the same efforts that Irish immigrants were trying to make when their small, localized St. Patrick’s Day celebrations first began: Honoring native traditions, while also embracing the U.S. by sharing them. It was an effort to establish and strengthen “pro-Western credentials with Washington” — a city where, at the time, there was little observance of St. Patrick’s Day — said Michael Kennedy, executive editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy in an interview with CNN.

In a way, it could be said that Americans embraced this Irish tradition in return — but not without putting its own commercial spin on things. The same year as that unintentionally monumental shamrock delivery, Pan American Airlines promoted its first direct flight from Shannon, Ireland to New York by flying 100,000 native shamrocks to be handed out to those marching in the New York parade.

Troy March 1952.pngSource: Newspapers.com

In other words, at that point, the shamrock had made its way to the U.S., and businesses and consumers alike couldn’t get enough of it. “The marketing of ‘real’ shamrock was…part of the commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day,” writes Cronin in his book The Wearing of the Green. “More frequently, the image or symbol of the shamrock was employed artistically — adorning souvenirs, advertisements, decorations, greeting cards and clothing.”

Most of all, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. now extended far beyond the Irish-American population. With the shamrock’s permeation into popular culture, non-Irish individuals also began to take part in the holiday’s observance, adapting it as their own until it got to where it is today — green rivers, green beer, and a lot of shiny green accessories. As we said, and as is often claimed: “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Today’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

So, what are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Does it involve any of the aforementioned revelry and/or accompanying green adornments? Will you be feasting on corned beef and cabbage — a dish largely unconsumed in Ireland? Now you know how we got here.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve donned my own glittery, shamrock-shaped earrings, or worn beads a shade of metallic green while partaking in a March 17th pub crawl. But now I’m aware that none of this has to do with the person for whom the holiday is named: Saint Patrick. And as a marketer, I can’t be too angry about it — after all, many holidays in the U.S. have evolved in a similarly commercial fashion. Just last month, we discussed how that took place with Valentine’s Day, which was also originally established in observance of a saint.

But we will ask that, as you go forth and consume a green milkshake today, to at least be aware of the history that made it possible. Erin Go Bragh — and as the saying goes, may you have a world of wishes at your command.

How does your brand observe St. Patrick’s Day? Let us know in the comments.

Register for HubSpot's Free Inbound Marketing Course

 
free social media content calendar template

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

17

2017

20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You'll Want to Know About

Published by in category Canonical, Social Media, Video | Comments are closed

youtube_hacks_tricks_compressed.jpg

When people talk about today’s most popular social sharing websites, YouTube often gets left out of the conversation in favor of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But don’t be fooled: YouTube has a lot going for it. Although Facebook might be the largest social networking site, YouTube has the second greatest reach after Facebook in terms of general usage. It’s also the second biggest search engine behind its parent company, Google.

And there are a ton of cool things you can do with YouTube that you might not know about, whether you use YouTube to watch videos, post them, or both. For example, did you know that YouTube automatically creates a written transcript for your videos — and that polishing them can help you get your videos found more easily in search? Or that you can use YouTube to easily create a photo slideshow, and even set it to music using its royalty-free audio library?

New Call-to-action

Mind-blowing stuff, people. To help you make the most out of the still very popular platform, we’ve put together a list of 20 of the lesser-known hacks, tips, and features YouTube has to offer.

20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You’ll Want to Know About

1) You can create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time.

Ever wanted to send someone a YouTube video, but point them to a specific moment? Let’s say, for example, that you’re trying to recruit your friends to learn the dance in Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video with you.

Instead of sending your friends the general YouTube link and instructing them to fast-forward to the 0:50 minute mark, you can actually send them a specific link that starts the video at whatever time you choose. Click here to see what I mean. I’ll wait.

Back? Alright, here’s how to do it.

To create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time: Open up the video and click “Share” underneath the video title. Then, under the first tab (also labeled “Share”), check the box next to “Start at:” and type in the time (in hours:minutes:seconds) you want. Alternatively, you can pause the video at the time you want it to start and that field will autofill.

youtube_share_screenshot.png

After a few moments, you’ll see a tag add itself to the end of the generic YouTube link (in this case, ?t=50s). Simply copy that link and paste it wherever you’d like.

It’s worth noting that you can’t embed a video so it starts at a certain time; you can’t only link to it.

2) You can easily see the written transcripts of people’s videos.

Did you know that YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website? That’s right — and anyone has access to that transcript unless the user manually hides it from viewers.

I can think of a number of different situations where video transcripts can come in handy. For example, maybe you want to write down a quote from a video, but the tedium of pausing-and-typing, pausing-and-typing would drive you up a wall. Or perhaps you need to find a specific section of a video, but don’t want to rewatch the whole thing to find it. With a transcript in hand, you can find information like this without doing it all by hand.

To see a video’s transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the “More” tab underneath the video title. Choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu.

youtube_moretab.png

(If you aren’t seeing this option, it’s because the user chose to hide the transcript.)

The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. In many cases, the user who uploaded the video will not have gone back and manually polished the transcript, so it won’t be perfect. But it’ll certainly save you some time and pain.

youtube_transcript_example.png

3) You can help your video get found in search by editing or uploading a transcript.

Both YouTube and its parent company Google look at a number of factors when ranking videos in search to determine what your video is about, and your transcript is one of them. (An even bigger ranking factor is your video’s description, which is why Digital Marketing Consultant Ryan Stewart suggests that you actually paste your transcript right into the description box, too.)

To add a transcript to your video: Open the video on YouTube, and you’ll see a row of icons just below the play button. Click the icon on the far right for “Subtitles/CC.” (CC stands for “Closed Captions.)

CC_youtube.png

Set your language if you haven’t already. Then, you’ll then be prompted to choose among three different ways to add subtitles or closed captions to your video by …

  1. Uploading a pre-written text transcript or a timed subtitles file. (Learn more about the file types you can upload and more here.)
  2. Pasting in a full transcript of the video, wherein subtitle timings will be set automatically.
  3. Typing them in as you watch the video.

The folks at YouTube have done some great things to make that third option (typing as you watch) as painless as possible. For example, if you check a box next to “Pause video while typing,” it’ll make the whole process a lot faster. Here’s a GIF showing that in action:

youtube-transcribe.gif

4) You can use YouTube to easily get free transcriptions of your videos and audio files.

This is the last one about transcripts, I promise — but I’ll bet you never thought about them this way. As you know from #2, YouTube automatically adds a transcript to every video. But if you’re looking for a one-off transcription of an audio or video file and don’t want to pay for a service, YouTube’s built-in captioning system isn’t a bad place to start. You can always clean it up later.

To get an automated transcription for a video: Simply upload your video to YouTube, open it on YouTube’s website, press the “More” tab underneath the video title, and choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu. The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. If you want to clean it up, follow the steps outlined in #3 for a user-friendly experience.

To get an automated transcription for an audio file: You’ll need to upload your audio recording to YouTube using a service like TunesToTube. It’ll take anywhere between 2–30 minutes for YouTube to upload it. Then, follow the instructions for getting an automated transcription for a video, outlined above.

5) You can create, share, and collaborate on video playlists.

Just like on your other favorite media sharing sites like Spotify and iTunes, you can create a “playlist” on YouTube — which is really just a place to store and organize the videos (your own and others’). You can keep playlists private, make them public, or even share them directly with others.

Playlists are useful for a variety of different types of users, from an individual collecting cooking videos for their upcoming dinner party to a brand segmenting its YouTube video content by topic. For example, Tasty’s YouTube playlists break up recipes by meal type, making it easier for people to browse and find what they’re looking for:

tasty playlists example.png

To create a playlist on desktop: Go to your Playlists page by clicking here or clicking your account icon in the top right, choosing “Creator Studio,” clicking “Video Manager” on the left, and choosing “Playlists.” Then, click “New Playlist” on the top right and choose whether you’d like to keep it private or make it public.

youtube-create-new-playlist.png

To create a playlist on mobile: Click here for instructions explaining how to create new playlists using your iOS or Android mobile devices.

To add a video to a playlist: If you’re adding a video to a playlist while you’re watching it, click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to.

youtube_playlist.png

If you want to add a video to a playlist right from your Playlists page, simply click “Add Video” and either paste in a video URL, choose a video from your uploads, or search for a video on YouTube. Once you find the video you want to add, select the “Add to” menu from that video and add it to the playlist.

Your friends can contribute to your playlists, too. All you have to do is turn on the ability to collaborate on playlists. Once you turn it on, anyone you share a playlist link with can add videos to that playlist. (They can also remove any videos they’ve added, too.)

To add friends to a playlist: Go to your Playlists page again and open the playlist you want to collaborate on. Click “Playlist Settings” and choose the “Collaborate” tag. Toggle on that collaborators can add videos to the playlist, and from there, you can send them a link where they can add videos to the playlist.

youtube-collaborate-playlist.png

Once your friend’s been invited to a playlist, they’ll be able to add new videos to it and remove videos they’ve added in the past. They just have to follow some on-screen instructions first to confirm they want to be a contributor and to save the playlist to their own account.

When you add a video to a playlist you’re collaborating on, your name will appear next to the video in the playlist, and everyone who’s been invited to collaborate on that playlist will get a notification that a new video has been added.

(To learn more about how to manage contributors, stop accepting contributions to a playlist, and so on, read this YouTube Support page.)

6) You can save videos to watch later.

Ever seen YouTube videos you wished you could bookmark for later? Maybe you aren’t able to turn the sound on at the moment, or perhaps you just don’t have time to watch it. Well, YouTube took a page out of Facebook’s … book … by adding something very similar to Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature. On YouTube, you can save videos to a “Watch Later” playlist to access whenever you want.

The “Watch Later” playlist operates just like a normal playlist, so the instructions are identical to the previous step (except you can’t invite others to collaborate on your “Watch Later” playlist).

To add a video to your “Watch Later” playlist: Open the video on YouTube and click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to, just like you did in the previous step. The steps are very similar on mobile, but click here if you want the full instructions from YouTube’s Support page.

To access those videos: Simply go to your YouTube homepage and choose “Watch Later” from the menu on the upper left-hand side of your screen.

youtubewatchlater-1.png

From there, you can watch the videos you were saving, as well as easily remove videos from that list that you’ve already watched.

7) You can create your own custom YouTube URL.

Want to give people an easy-to-remember web address to get to your YouTube channel? You can actually create a custom URL, which you can base on things like your display name, your YouTube username, any current vanity URLs that you have, or the name of your linked website. HubSpot’s, for example, is https://www.youtube.com/hubspot.

Important Note: Before you do this, make sure you’re positive this is the custom URL you want — because once it’s approved, you can’t request to change it, nor can you transfer it to someone else. Keep in mind that it’ll be linked to both your YouTube channel and your Google+ identity, too.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s eligible for a custom URL. To get one, you have to have 100 or more subscribers, be at least 30 days old, have an uploaded photo as channel icon, and have uploaded channel art. If that sounds like you, keep reading.

To claim your custom URL: Open up your YouTube account settings and click “Advanced” in your name section.

overview_youtube_screenshot.png

If you’re eligible for a custom URL, you’ll be prompted to claim yours by clicking a link.

advanced_youtube_settings.png

Select the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service.” Then, once you’re absolutely sure it’s the URL you want since you can’t ever change it, click “Change URL” to make it final.

8) You can add clickable links to your videos.

Want people to not only watch your video, but engage with it, too? On YouTube, you can add clickable links YouTube calls “annotations” to your videos. These annotations work kind of like call-to-action buttons, and you can use them to link people to subscribe to your channel, to link to merchandise or a fundraising campaign, to go to another resource to learn more, and so on.

It’s an easy way to encourage people to actually engage and interact with your videos. (For marketers, it might even be a way to send people back to your website.)

What do these clickable links look like? To see one in action, check out the video below. You’ll see it pop up at the 22-second mark — and if you click on it, you’ll see it pauses the video and opens up a new tab in your browser for you to explore.

Pretty cool, huh? Here’s how you add annotations like that to your own videos.

To add a clickable link/annotation to a video: First, make sure your YouTube account is verified and that you have external linking turned on for your account.

Once you’ve got that set up, open up YouTube and go to your Video Manager by clicking here or clicking “My Channel” and then “Video Manager” near the top of your YouTube home page.

youtube_videomanager.png

Then, find the video you want to add links to and click the arrow next to “Edit.” Choose “End screen and Annotations” (more on end screens later) from the drop-down menu.

add annotation youtube.png

Toggle to “Annotations,” click “Add Annotation” to add a new annotation, and choose from the five annotation types in the pull-down menu: Speech bubble, Note, Title, Spotlight, or Label. For this tutorial, we chose the note option, but there are a variety of options you can experiment with.

add-annotation.png

Once you choose an annotation type, you can then add text, choose your font, size, background color, and transparency. Below the video, you can choose exact start time you want your annotations to start and end.

youtube-annotation-dashboard.png

Here’s the key part: To add a link, tick the checkbox next to “Link” and choose what type of page you’ll link to, like an “Associated Website.” (Pro Tip: Use tracking tokens on the URL to track how many people actually click it.)

When you’re done, click “Apply changes” — and you’re all set. You can always edit your annotations after publishing by going back into the “Edit Annotation” tool and click “Edit existing annotation.”

You can read this article for more thorough instructions on adding annotations to videos.

Note: Annotations appear on standard YouTube players and embedded players, but they don’t appear on YouTube chromeless players, or on mobile, tablet, and TV devices.

9) You can also add an end screen or cards to promote content.

How to Add an End Screen

Do your favorite YouTube creators have a fancy closing screen that encourages you to keep watching their videos? For example, here’s one from Saturday Night Live:

SNL_youtube_end screen.png

You can create a customized end screen, too. They help keep viewers on your channel by suggesting other videos and sites they can check out. Here’s how to do it:

Navigate to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “End screen & Annotations” from the drop-down menu:

endscreen_youtube.png

From there, you’re taken to the End screen creator studio, where you can play around with different templates and background to determine how you want your end screen to appear. Then, click the “Add element” menu to decide where you want to send viewers from your end screen.

addelement_youtube.png

Any YouTube creators can add an end screen to customize their channels. Here’s an explainer article with more details and inspiration ideas.

How to Add a Card

You can use YouTube cards to advertise products used in your videos or links on your website you want to promote. If viewers tap the “i” in the upper-right hand corner of a video, the cards expand, as in the example below:

To add a card to a YouTube video, head to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “Cards” from the drop-down menu.

Then, choose where in the video you want cards to appear, and tap the “Add card” drop-down menu to choose what you want the card to promote. From there, customize the content that will appear to viewers when they tap the “i” while viewing your video:

add_card_youtube.png

10) YouTube has a big library of high-quality, royalty-free sound effects and music you can browse and download.

Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)? YouTube is there for you. It has a whole library of high-quality, 320kbps audio tracks and sound effects that you can download royalty-free and add to your videos. (Or listen to in your free time. We won’t judge.)

To add music or sound effects to your video: Open YouTube’s Audio Library by clicking here or opening your Creator Studio, clicking “Create” in the menu on the left-hand side, and choosing “Audio Library.”

Now, the fun begins. By default, it’ll start you on the “Sound effects” tab. Here, you can search sounds using the search bar, like I did in the screenshot below for motorcycle sounds.

youtube-audio-library.png

You can also toggle by category (everything from human voices to weather sounds) or scroll through favorites that you’ve starred in the past. For easy access in the future, select the star to add the track to your Favorites. The bars next to the songs show how popular a track is.

If you switch over to the “Music” bar, you can browse through all of its royalty-free music. You won’t find the Beatles in here, but you will find some good stuff — like suspenseful music, uplifting music, holiday music, jazz, and more. Instead of toggling by category, you can toggle by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and so on.

(Note: Some of the music files in there may have additional attribution requirements you have to follow, but those are pretty clearly laid out on a song-by-song-basis. You can learn more on YouTube’s Support page here.)

Once you’ve found a track you like, click the arrow to download it and it’ll download directly to your computer as an MP3 file. Then, you can do whatever you want with it.

If you want to source sounds for your videos outside of YouTube, you’ll just have to make sure to you’re following all the rules for sourcing them. Refer to this YouTube Support page for best practices for sourcing audio, and this one to learn YouTube’s music policies.

11) You can easily create photo slideshows and set them to music.

Ever wanted to make one of those cheesy photo slideshows for a birthday or a baby shower or a team party? There’s no need to download software or use an unfamiliar platform — YouTube has a special feature designed just for creating photo slideshows. And it’s really easy to use.

You can upload as many photos and videos as you’d like, and choose from hundreds of movie styles, transitions, and effects to make it look awesome.

Plus, remember YouTube’s Audio Library we just talked about in #10? You can totally source music or sound effects from that and add it to these videos without a hassle.

Here’s how you do it. (Pro Tip: I’d recommend gathering all the photos you want into a single folder on your computer before you start making the slideshow to save time selecting them.)

To create a photo slideshow: Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Create Videos” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Find “Photo slideshow” in that module and click “Create”.

create_slideshow.png

At this point, you’ll be able to choose your photos — either ones you’ve already uploaded to Google+, or photos on your computer. If you followed my advice above and created a folder for the photos you want, then choose the tab “Upload Photos” and add the folder either by searching for it manually, or by dragging-and-dropping like I did below.

youtube-add-photos-1.gif

From there, you’ll be able to rearrange the photos and add more photos if you’d like.

Press “Next” on the bottom right, and it’ll open up the video preview, where YouTube has created the transitions for you based on what’s most popular. The default option actually looks pretty good — but you can always change the slide duration, the slide effect, and the transition. You can still press “Back” if you decide you want to rearrange the photos or add more.

On the right, you’ll see a list of suggested the top ad-free songs from the audio library. Pick from this list, search the library for different ones, or check the box next to “No Audio” to keep it silent.

When you’re all set, click “Upload” on the bottom right and wait for the video to process. This could take a few minutes. While you’re waiting, you can fill out the description, add tags, choose to make it public or private, add it to a playlist, and so on.

Here’s the end result of mine, which took me a total of maybe three minutes after choosing the photos:

12) Play YouTube videos in the background on mobile devices.

Sometimes, your own music playlist just isn’t cutting it. Or maybe you want to listen to your favorite artist’s performance at an awards show.

Either way, if you’ve tried listening to music on YouTube via your mobile device, you may have noticed one thing: You can’t navigate out of the app. You have to keep YouTube open, and you can’t use your phone for anything else, in order to listen to something on YouTube. Kind of frustrating if you’re trying to multitask on your commute home, right?

Now, there are hacks so you can listen to YouTube content in the background while still using your mobile device. Here’s what you do:

How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: iOS

Open Safari on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to watch on https://www.youtube.com. Start playing the video you want to listen to, then tap the Home button to close out of Safari. (I chose Katy Perry.)

youtube_katy1.png

Then, swipe up on your home screen to reveal the Action Center.

Then, swipe left to reveal the second screen on your Action Center. The details of the video you selected on YouTube should appear, and from there, simply tap Play to keep jamming.

youtube_katy2.0.png

youtube_katy2.png

How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: Android

Launch Firefox or Chrome on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to play on https://www.youtube.com. Then, tap the “Settings” menu in the upper right-hand corner (the ellipses) and select “Request Desktop Site.”

turn-to-desktop-android1-1200x800-c.jpg

Source: DigitalTrends

Then, start playing the video on YouTube, and tap the Home button to return to your home screen. The audio will keep playing in the background as you use other apps.

13) You can live stream videos to YouTube.

Live streaming video has been a big topic of conversation for the past few years. It’s seen massive growth, especially in the past few years with the advent of Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram live videos.

Live streaming on YouTube is a little more complex (and confusing) than live streaming using these other platforms, though. On YouTube’s easier streaming option, there’s no simple “start” button; instead, you actually have to download encoding software and set it up to use live streaming at all. Luckily, YouTube has easy-to-follow instructions for how to do just that.

If you’re streaming a live event, though, all you need is a webcam. We’ll get to that in a second.

Live Stream From Your Desktop Computer

Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Live Streaming” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Click “Get Started” in that module.

youtube_live stream.png

Before you go live, YouTube will first confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once that’s all set, you have two options for streaming: “Stream now” and “Live Events.”

Stream Now

Stream Now is the simpler, quicker option for live streaming, which is why it’s YouTube’s default for live streaming. You’ll see a fancy dashboard like the one below when you choose “Live Streaming” on the left-hand Creator Studio menu:

youtube_livestream dashboard.png

Again, you’ll notice there’s no “start” button on the dashboard. This is where you’ll need to open your encoder and start and stop your streaming from there. Here’s YouTube’s Live Streaming FAQ page for more detailed information.

Live Events

Live Events gives you a lot more control over the live stream. You can preview it before it goes live, it’ll give you backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.

Choose “Live Events” from your live streaming dashboard once you’ve enabled it. Here’s what the events dashboard looks like, and you can learn more about it here.

youtube-live-event.png

When you stop streaming, we’ll automatically upload an archive of your live stream to your channel. Note that your completed live stream videos are automatically made public on your channel by default as soon as you’re done recording. To make them disappear from the public eye once you’re done, you can select “Make archive private when complete” in the “Stream Options” section of your live dashboard.

Live Stream From Your Mobile Device

YouTube has also rolled out live streaming from mobile devices for YouTube creators with 10,000 or more subscribers (as of the date of this posting — that will be available to all creators soon, according to YouTube’s blog post).

Live streaming is more intuitive from mobile devices than on desktop computers. Qualified creators can simply open their YouTube app on mobile, tap the camera icon at the top of the screen, and choose “Go Live”.

From there, creators can enter details about the broadcast before immediately recording live for their subscribers, as shown below:

CameoFlow-1.gif

Source: YouTube

For more instruction on how to go live on YouTube across devices, YouTube published a Help article here. Want to see what live videos others are recording on YouTube? You can browse popular YouTube videos that are live right now by clicking here.

14) You can upload and watch 360-degree videos (live and pre-recorded).

YouTube first announced its support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015, and it was a total novelty — not to mention a game changer. Since then, brands, athletes, and other users have created some awesome 360-degree content, like this video from Samsung:

As you can see, the experience as a viewer is really, really cool. On desktop, you can click around the video to see all the different angles while the video plays. On mobile, it’s even cooler: You can move your camera around to change the angle. You can browse the trending 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) videos here.

To actually create a 360-degree video on YouTube yourself, though, you need some serious equipment. Cameras with 360-degree capability that are compatible with YouTube are listed here on YouTube’s Support page, along with how to create and upload a 360-degree video file.

What about live video in 360 degrees? That announcement would come a year after the first one, in April 2016 — the very same week Facebook announced its own design for a 360-degree camera. Luckily for the folks at YouTube, it beat out Facebook by supporting both live video and 360-degree footage all at once.

The Verge called 360 live-streamed videos “the gateway drug to virtual reality” for YouTube. Other than the YouTube website or app, you don’t need any fancy equipment to be able to watch a 360-degree live video and feel like you’re basically there.

15) YouTube ads target you based on an algorithm similar to Google and Facebook.

How does the YouTube algorithm decide which ads play on the videos you watch?

Turns out it works a lot like Google and Facebook ads do. Like on other free sites, the advertisers help fund the YouTube experience in return for exposure to ads. You’ll see certain ads over others because of your demographic groups, your interests (which is judged in part by what you search on Google and YouTube) and the content you’ve viewed before, including whether or not you’ve interacted with the advertiser’s videos, ads, or YouTube channel.

YouTube’s algorithms also try to make sure that people aren’t overloaded with ads while watching videos — so it actually sometimes won’t show ads on monetizable videos, even when there’s a demographic match.

Here are the five ad formats you can expect to see on YouTube, and how they work:

a) Display ads, which show up next to the video and only appear only on desktop and laptop computers. The advertiser gets paid when you see or click on the ad, depending on their selection.

youtube-display-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

b) Overlay ads, which appear across the bottom 20% of the video window and currently only appears only on desktop and laptop computers. You can X out of the ad at any time.

youtube-overlay-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

c) TrueView in-stream, skippable video ads, which are most common ads. These are the ones you can skip after watching for five seconds. Advertisers can put it before, during (yikes!), or after the video plays, and they get paid only if you watch at least 30 seconds of the clip or to the end of the video ad — whichever comes first.

youtube-in-stream-skippable-video-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

d) Non-skippable video ads, which are those longer, 15-or-more-second ads you see before plays and can’t skip after any period of time, no matter how much you shout at your screen.

youtube-non-skippable-video-ads-2.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

e) Midroll ads, which are ads that are only available for videos over 15 minutes long that are spaced within the video like TV commercials. You need to watch the ad before continuing through the video. How the advertiser gets paid depends on the type of ad: If the midroll is a TrueView ad, then you’d have to watch 30 seconds of the end or the entire ad — whichever is shorter. If it’s a CPM-based ad, then you have to watch the entire ad no matter how long it is.

youtube-midroll-ads-1.png

Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy

f) Bumper ads, which are short- non-skippable ads up to six seconds long that play before the video the viewer has selected. Bumper ads are optimized for mobile devices and must be watched in their entirety before viewers can progress to the video they want to view.

bumperad_youtube.png

16) You can remove ads from YouTube videos (and watch videos offline) for 10 bucks a month.

Video ads are the reason you can watch videos for free on YouTube. It’s a fact many of us have come to accept. But with YouTube’s subscription service YouTube Red, that doesn’t necessarily have to be true anymore.

For $9.99 a month, you can watch YouTube videos … without any ads. And, in addition to ad-free videos, you can save videos on your mobile device and watch them in the background and/or offline, and you can use YouTube’s Music App (on iOS and Android) in the background, offline, and/or on audio mode. This is not a drill.

You’d think the lure of ad-free videos would have caused more of an uproar since its launch in late 2015, especially given YouTube’s domination in the music space. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much noise about it. But YouTube hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers (the service reportedly has around 1.5 million subscribers) so it’s hard to tell how well it’s doing. Either way, it’s good to know about — especially if you like collecting songs and music videos like I do, but don’t like when they get broken up by ads.

17) You can use Google Trends to explore and compare popular YouTube search terms over time.

You might already use Google Trends to look at the popularity of specific search terms over time. (It can be a great marketing tool for making smarter keyword choices, for instance.) But did you know you can use it to compare the popularity of YouTube search queries, specifically?

All you have to do is open Google Trends and type a search term into the “Explore topics” search bar at the top. Once that page opens up, click on “Web Search” to open a drop-down menu, and choose “YouTube Search” so it filters by YouTube searches specifically.

youtube_googletrends.png

You might find that, for some search terms, the search trends are very different on Google (above) than on YouTube (below).

youtube_googletrends_2.png

18) There’s a “safer” version of YouTube available for your kids.

Any parent will tell you how scary it is for their kids to theoretically have access to everything public on the internet. But for your younger kids, there are ways to curb that access and have more control of what they’re watching and finding — including a kids’ version of YouTube called YouTube Kids.

The folks at YouTube call YouTube Kids “a safer version of YouTube.” It’s not a wide-open library of online videos like YouTube is; instead, it uses filters powered by algorithms to select videos from YouTube that are safe for kids to watch. It’s also totally free, thanks to ads (which are regulated as carefully as possible).

You can either turn the search feature on or off, depending on whether you’re cool with your kids searching for videos themselves, or if you’d rather they’re limited to a certain set of videos selected by the app, along with those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched already. You can set a timer to limit how much time a child spends on the app, which I imagine is music to many parents’ ears.

The algorithm is darn good — remember, Google is YouTube’s parent company — but, as it warns in its parents’ guide, “no algorithm is perfect.”

19) You can now clear your YouTube History.

For whatever reason, you might want to delete items from your YouTube search or watch history. YouTube lets you completely clear your history, pause your history so it stops recording what you search for and watch from that point forward, or go through your history and delete certain videos.

Here’s how:

On your desktop or mobile device, navigate to the “Watch History” menu. Here’s where it lives on your desktop browser homepage and in your mobile app, respectively:

youtube_history.png

youtube_library.pngyoutube_history_mobile.png

From there, you can “Clear watch history” (permanently delete the record of everything you’ve watched), “Pause watch history” (stop recording the videos you watch going forward), or individually remove videos from your history by tapping the X or ellipses next to videos. Here’s what it looks like on desktop and on mobile below:

youtube_history_delete.png

youtube_delete_history_mobile.png

YouTube published a Help article if you need more instruction for deleting items from your YouTube watch history, too.

20) You can learn about YouTube’s copyrights terms from a cast of ridiculous puppets.

Made it this far? Here’s a little reward: YouTube’s “Copyrights Basics” FAQ page, which is, fittingly a YouTube video — and features a pretty colorful cast of characters. It’s actually super informative, and it looks like YouTube’s video team had a lot of fun making it.

My favorite line is probably, “You know there are links on this webpage, right? You don’t have to watch this.” Although the chorus of gorilla puppets was pretty great, too.

Enjoy.

We hope we’ve opened your eyes to some of the more awesome YouTube hacks, tips, and features out there that you may not have known about. Now log on to YouTube and do some exploring yourself. The platform certainly isn’t going anywhere.

Which YouTube features can you add to the list? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

social media marketing assessment


free guide to creating video for social media

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

16

2017

Good Bots vs. Bad Bots: How to Tell the Difference

Published by in category Canonical, Inbound Marketing, productivity | Comments are closed

Good-Bots-vs.-Bad-Bots-compressor.jpg

Navigating the web these days can make a person feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

There’s so much to be seen here that — until somewhat recently — was fairly unheard of. And we don’t know what’s good or bad. It’s as if we’re constantly coming across a new cast of characters and are forced to ask, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?”

Replace the word “witch” with “bot,” and you might be summing up the modern digital landscape. There’s a lot of talk about AI, but it can be confusing. Is it helpful, or harmful? Is it going to make us better at our jobs, or take them away from us? And these bots of which we’re constantly speaking — which are good, and which are bad? Download our free guide to web design here for more tips on designing a  user-friendly website. 

As it turns out, there are ways of distinguishing them. It requires a bit of a discerning eye, but you certainly don’t need to be an expert — you just need the right information. So, without further ado, allow us to present our tips for distinguishing good bots from bad bots. 

Good Bots vs. Bad Bots

The Good Bots

Copyright Bots

These bots search the web for content that’s potentially been plagiarized. Think: Illegal uploads, copying someone else’s work without proper attribution, or other improper use of proprietary content. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, these bots are commonly used within the realm of social media, especially where original content creation is a major part of the platform’s use. One prime example is YouTube’s Content ID, which is assigned to copyright owners on the network.

Data Bots

According to eZanga, data bots are those that provide up-to-the-minute information on things like news, weather, and currency rates. With that criteria, tools like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Siri could be classified as data bots — especially since eZanga also calls these “media” bots. However, one technology developer, Botler, classifies one of its products as a data bot — “a new way to quickly store and access info that is important.” Its primary use, it appears, is for the academic sector, as it allows course information to be easily shared between students and faculty.

Botler.pngSource: botler

Spider Bots

Think about what a spider does — it crawls. Search engines do the same thing, by crawling the web’s content to produce query results, and using spider bots to do so. Google, for example, has its very own Googlebot, which uses the constantly-evolving Google algorithm to determine which sites to crawl.

These days, spider bots aren’t limited to search engines. The Siemens Robotics Lab, for example, has developed spider-shaped robots that combine the ability to autonomously perform physical tasks with information-crawling capabilities. How does that work, exactly? Siemens Research Scientist Hasan Sinan Bank explains:

The robots use onboard cameras as well as a laser scanner to interpret their immediate environment. Knowing the range of its 3D-printer arm, each robot autonomously works out which part of an area – regardless of whether the area is flat or curved – it can cover, while other robots use the same technique to cover adjacent areas.”

Trader Bots

These bots might be my favorite. They’re the ones that crawl the web to help you find the best deals on something you might be looking to buy online. eZanga notes that these bots are used by consumers and retailers alike — for the latter, the biggest advantage is their ability to “help inch out the competitor by posting a better price.

As for the consumer, these bots come to mind with tools like Honey: A browser extension that automatically presents coupons and discount codes when you’re about to initiate a site’s checkout process. Here’s how it works on Amazon, for example:

HoneyTraderBot.gifSource: botler

The Bad Bots

Click Bots

Each year, Incapsula publishes a Bot Traffic Report, which measures and analyzes the website traffic generated by bots. And in 2016, bad bots accounted for 28.9% of that traffic — outnumbering the good bots by 6%.

One of those bad bots is often found to be the click bot — the kind that fraudulently click on ads, causing data reported to advertisers to be skewed. But not only does that result in misinformation for marketers, but if you’re using pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, those clicks add up to wasted dollars on fake visits that didn’t even come from humans, let alone your audience.

Download Bots

Similar to click bots, download bots also fraudulently game engagement data, but for download counts, instead of website visits. If it sounds familiar, it might be because of a 2012 incident involving Apple, in which many iPhone app developers were using “third-party advertising services guaranteeing top rankings,” according to AdWeek.

Imposter Bots

It’s easy to confuse imposter bots with click bots, since the former work by “masking themselves as legitimate visitors,” according to the Incapsula report. But the intention of imposter bots is much more malicious than generating a false clickcount. Instead, their purpose is to bypass online security measures. And of the aforementioned traffic generated in 2016 by bad bots, imposter bots accounted for over 84% of it. They’re often the culprit behind distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks — in fact, you might recall a day in October 2016 when it seemed like half of the internet, including Twitter, stopped working. That was a DDoS attack, and an imposter bot dubbed Mirai was responsible for it.

bot-report-2016-graph-2.pngSource: Incapsula

Scraper Bots

Web scrapers achieve the opposite effect as copyright bots. Rather than protecting proprietary content, scraper bots are designed to steal and repurpose it elsewhere, often unbeknownst to its owner.

itemeditorimage_55b0075c5aaaa.pngSource: Distil

Spam Bots

You would think that spam bots (often spelled “spambot”) have been around long enough that they would have become a thing of the past, like VCRs and the plague. But it seems that they’re just getting smarter, and finding new ways to permeate our lives.

These are the bots that basically distribute “spammy” content like unwarranted emails, or senseless comments on articles and blog posts. More recently, you’ve probably come across them on social media — one 2015 study found that nearly 8% of Instagram accounts, for example, are actually spambots.

It’s worth noting that in 2014, Instagram made efforts to purge the network of millions of spam accounts — but people were less than thrilled about it. Even if they weren’t “real,” it seems that many Instagram users were upset to see their followings drastically shrink.

instagram.0.0.jpgSource: The Verge

Spy Bots

Have you ever received an email from a complete stranger, and wondered how that person got your contact information? Maybe the sender got it from someone you know, or is just particularly good at research.

But it also might be the work of a spy bot, which is the kind that mines data about individuals (or businesses) and often sells it. There’s a reason, after all, why the HubSpot Email Marketing Software prohibits the use of purchased or third-party lists. Emailing people who didn’t ask or expect to be contacted by you completely contradicts the inbound methodology.

Zombie Bots

Contrary to what the name might suggest, zombie bots don’t try to eat humans. Rather, they’re the kind that find a way to permeate your computer’s security system, but take it a step further than imposter bots — once they gain access, they operate in the background, often using your computer to transmit viruses and other malware.

It might begin with one machine, but often this type of bot activity leads to an “army” of zombie bots — a.k.a. a “botnet” — which Cloudbric describes as “a network of zombified sites [that] receive commands from the head zombie, who is likely a spammer, a hacker, or a mercenary.” Many times, the motivation behind this is financial, as these “head zombies” have been known to sell this type of hacked computer access to others, allowing them to use it for similarly malicious distribution.

But Don’t Be Afraid

As terrifying as some of these bad bots might sound, don’t let them scare you — there are ways to prevent them from encroaching on your content and technology.

First, awareness is a good first step. Now that you’ve reviewed the different types of bots out there, you might be able to more easily recognize any potentially harmful activity. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if you suspect any malicious bot activity, let your network administrator know as soon as possible.

But try to prevent these attacks before they can even start. Always make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date, and learn more about the security protocols available for your iOS, web hosting platform, or internet service provider.

What other bots should marketers be aware of? Let us know in the comments.

25 website must-haves

 
10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

10

2017

The Public Apology Letter: 6 Brands That Nailed It

Published by in category branding, Canonical | Comments are closed

Bestbrandapologies-compressor.jpg

There are some people who just refuse to sincerely apologize. My favorite example of this phenomenon is taken from a U.S. television franchise called “The Real Housewives,” in which the cast members have become notorious for doling out feigned apologies. Instead of simply apologizing for hurting someone’s feelings, for example, it’s more common for them to say something like, “I’m sorry if your feelings were hurt.”

That, my friends, is not how you say, “Sorry.”

I get it — it’s difficult to admit when you’re wrong. There’s been so much conflicting data around the word “sorry.” While it’s something that most parents of young children believe should be taught, there have also been claims that apologizing makes a person look weak. In fact, some companies’ stock prices have fallen following an apology, depending on how it was delivered. There are even browser add-ons to prevent the use of apologetic language in emails. Download our essential guide to branding here for even more tips on branding  your company. 

But to little old me, a sincere apology goes a long way. When I sense genuine remorse, it means a lot to me — perhaps because it’s so rare, at least in my experience. Combined with my nerdy affection for all things marketing, that sentiment applies to brand apologies, too. It’s not so much that I think, “Wow, that means a lot to me,” but more like, “Wow, that company really nailed saying, ‘Sorry.'”

So, who’s done it best? We rounded up some of our favorite brand apologies to inspire you next time you make a mistake — and need to admit your wrongdoing.

But First, Here’s What Not to Do

When I was in business school and searching for an internship, a friend in a creative industry told me to try out a website that was created, supposedly, for people with my skills and background. But when I used the platform to create a profile and upload my credentials, I was turned away with no explanation. A few days later, I received the following email:

HiringSite3.png

Let’s outline what this apology is lacking:

  • Specificity. The message notes that I was turned away — but it doesn’t explain why. When you’ve made a mistake, acknowledge it in full, explaining exactly where you went wrong and why.
  • Remorse. While the email opens with some apology text, that accounts for a minute portion of the email. The majority of the copy is asking me to do something on behalf of the company that wronged me. Think about it — if you immediately ask someone to do you a favor after you apologize for a mistake, how genuinely remorseful will you sound? Not very.
  • Next steps. When you’ve made a mistake, people want to be sure of two things:
    1. That you’re truly sorry for your wrongdoing.
    2. That it’s not going to happen again.

The above email does neither of those things, as per the “remorse point.” It’s also lacking any accountable language to address what it’s going to do to prevent this issue from taking place again, using non-committal language like “I hope.” And if you’re not sure what to do to make it right — ask.

We chose the examples below due to their inclusion of all of these factors and, in some cases, even more.

6 Brands That Brilliantly Apologized

1) Apple

Back in 2015, U.S. pop artist Taylor Swift announced a very public boycott of Apple Music. That was due to the service offering a one-month free trial of its streaming feature — but not paying artists for any of their music that was played during the free period.

To right the situation, Apple enlisted the help of its SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, who went about a slightly unusual way of admitting to the brand’s wrongdoing — via Twitter.

#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period

— Eddy Cue (@cue)
June 22, 2015

We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple

— Eddy Cue (@cue)
June 22, 2015

Not long after this unconventional apology was issued, Swift starred in an Apple commercial, which led some to speculate that the entire incident was an orchestrated publicity campaign. That said, it does illustrate some positive points of how big-name brands can apologize. With two tweets, Apple sent the message, “We hear your grievances, we get it, and here’s what we’re going to do about it.”

2) ZocDoc

It seems like you can use the internet to procure anything these days. From buying specialty products to scheduling meetings, so much can be accomplished and taken care of online.

ZocDoc is one such provider of these services, and provides a platform that connects users with doctors for almost every speciaity in their respective areas. There’s just one problem — sometimes, the doctors don’t accurately update their schedules within ZocDoc, causing users to make appointments for times that aren’t actually available, leading to their subsequent cancellation.

But ZocDoc isn’t one to say, “Not our fault, not our problem.” Instead, it’s constantly striving to gain and use customer feedback to enhance the user experience, like it does with this email:

ZocdocApology.png

Here’s the thing — ZocDoc wasn’t really the one responsible for the cancellation. The doctor’s office was, but despite that, it still negatively impacts the user experience, which ZocDoc acknowledged and offered to make right, by not only asking what went wrong, but offering a gift in exchange for the feedback.

3) Netflix

When Netflix was looking to transition from DVD delivery to a streaming service (yes, we almost forgot about that, too), it had a few missteps along the way.

At first, the company built a system in which its streaming and DVD delivery services would become different entities with separate billing agreements. Before, members had the option of subscribing to both for $10 per month. But the split meant a 60% price increase for current members who wanted both — the new system’s fees were $8 each month solely for the DVD service, plus another $8 per month for streaming. What’s worse, the company didn’t really provide a clear explanation.

But CEO Reed Hastings wanted to shed light on the situation, and did so in an open letter on the company’s blog. He explained why the changes came to be, and noted that Netflix was “done” with pricing changes. But there was a problem — the company wasn’t doing anything to reverse the issue affecting most customers, which was the separation of subscriptions. People enjoyed having the option of signing up for multiple services with one bill. But Hastings didn’t fix that. Instead, he noted that the DVD service would not only remain separate, but would be renamed Qwikster.

NetflixFirstApologySource: Netflix

Qwikster was short-lived, to say the least. Three weeks later, Hastings issued yet another apology. This time, he kept it short and sweet, and essentially sent the message, “Okay, you’re right. Having two billing systems was a bad idea, and we’re doing away with that.” Netflix did suffer some initial damage, with a loss of 800,000 members and a falling stock price. However, the brand has since recovered and currently enjoys healthy financials.

4) Naked Wines

I’ve discovered a pattern to my email-unsubscribing behavior. It typically happens when I’m generally stressed out or overwhelmed, and might snap if I get just one more notification on my phone. The easy answer, of course, would be to turn off my notifications. Instead, I angrily unsubscribe from the well-meaning brand’s newsletters, for which I happily signed up, but didn’t really engage with.

In my case, at least, it’s not the brand’s fault. So if that company sent me a witty, thoughtful email in response to my cancelled subscription, asking what went wrong and what could be done to fix it, I might happily oblige — after I calmed down, of course. And that’s exactly what Naked Wines did with the apologetic email below:

naked_wines.pngSource: Econsultancy

The company openly leads with “sorry,” and acknowledges that the canceled subscription was likely due to something it did. So it asked, “What was it? Let us know, so we can fix it.”

5) Toronto Maple Leafs

If there’s one thing that truly dedicated sports fan would be happy to never hear again, it’s the phrase, “It’s just a game.” And no one, it seems, understood that more than Lawrence M. Tanenbaum — chairman of Maple Leaf Sports — after a devastating loss by the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012.

leafsopenletter_040912.jpgSource: National Hockey League

As a somewhat diehard sports fan myself — go Red Sox — I can understand the desire for accountability from a team’s front office management after a bad season. And with this long, apologetic letter, that’s exactly what Tanenbaum accomplished, with the recognition of not only his team’s poor performance, but also, a public commitment on behalf of ownership to improve things.

6) Airbnb

In December 2015, home-sharing platform Airbnb began to come under fire for racial profiling and discrimination taking place on its site. That month, Harvard researchers released a working paper, which indicated that travelers with “distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names.” That data was only compounded by reports on social media from travelers who experienced that discrimination first-hand, as well as a lawsuit over such actions.

In monitoring the social media dialogue, it seems like the issue isn’t quite completely resolved. However, Airbnb isn’t trying to dodge it, and is actually quite proactively addressing this (big) problem. It began with this email from CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky:

AirbnbApology.png

Chesky addresses the fault of Airbnb early in the message, acknowledging that the brand was far too slow to respond to the issue of discrimination, and apologized for it. Since then, the company has taken several actions to prevent and put an end to it on the platform, which it outlined in a 32-page report authored by Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. The report documented an audit conducted to evaluate where Airbnb was falling short on preventing discrimination, and the resulting measures that would be put in place. Since the report was released, the brand has very publicly campaigned on a platform of inclusion, capped with an ad that aired during the 2017 Super Bowl.

Of course, this series of events presents a much larger issue that isn’t limited to Airbnb and does raise the question, “How much can a corporation really do?” And while that is far from an easy question to answer, Airbnb seems to be continuing to do its part, and acknowledging its role within this landscape.

So, Next Time You Mess Up…

…you know what to do.

Granted, admitting when you’re wrong is still anything but a simple task. And figuring out how you’re going to make it right isn’t a process that can take place overnight. But one thing you can do immediately is to admit your mistake. Ask for feedback. Be transparent. And remember — “I’m sorry” can go a long way.

How does your brand address mistakes? Let us know in the comments.

free guide to social and PR branding


free guide to company branding

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

9

2017

From the Phonograph to Spotify: The History of Streaming Music

Published by in category Canonical, pop culture | Comments are closed

historyofmusicstreaming-compressor.jpg

Introducing “Posts as a Podcast”: Explore something new on your daily commute, at the gym, or from the comfort of your desk. We’re turning our favorite posts into bite-sized podcasts for your listening pleasure. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let us tell you a story.

Once upon a time, in a land that some of us are so lucky to remember, people had to leave the house to buy music. We would count down the days until a new album dropped, and sometimes, we would even line up outside of the record store to make sure we could get our hands on a copy — because, believe it or not, there was a time when albums actually sold out.

Yes — I’m speaking of the era when music wasn’t a downloadable, streaming product.

And it really wasn’t that long ago, either. I remember the days before CDs became a commodity, before I even started buying my own cassettes, when the walls of my childhood home were lined with shelves just crammed with vinyl records. I had a box of my very own 45s. I couldn’t dream of a day when, to get the latest music or even learn about new artists, I wouldn’t have to go out or even turn on the TV. That information would be presented on a computer. Download our full collection of free content marketing templates here. 

But music consumption has a far, far greater history than the days of classic record stores and 45s. It has prehistoric roots that somehow led to an era in which we enjoy multiple online and mobile options for listening to, well, pretty much whatever we want. So, how did we get here? It’s a fascinating tale — with a remarkably fast plot progression.

From Napster to YouTube Music: The History of Internet Radio

Live Performance

Woman_kithara_CdM_581.jpgSource: Brygos Painter Français, via Wikimedia Commons

Historians believe ancient humans created flute-like instruments as part of hunting rituals and primitive cultural gatherings. It’s estimated that this earliest form dates back about 35,000 years.

From there, live music progressed through ancient Greece, where it was an essential part of different celebrations and life events, like weddings, religious ceremonies, and funerals. It’s said that the Greeks of this era were responsible for inventing many of the fundamental elements we use to compose music today, like octaves, as well as terms like “scale” and “diatonic.” Much of that was built upon in ancient Rome, where the Greek fondness of attending and spectating at live events in amphitheater-like settings was shared.

People began recording music by hand — that is, what we today think of as sheet music. Before the sound itself could be captured mechanically, written instructions existed on how to reproduce pieces of music that were previously played. Some estimate that this practice dates back to the Babylonian era, between 1250-1200 B.C.

But many scholars say that our modern traditions of live music truly began in the European middle ages, when churches served as venues for what could be deemed live performance. Sacred melodies like Gregorian chants and the growing presence of pipe organs in houses of worship paved the way for classical composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, whose earliest work was often written and performed in churches.

Eventually, there was a desire or idea to consume music outside of a venue, and to be able to hear it without someone else performing it in front of an audience. That’s where an inventor — who you might have heard of — comes in: Thomas Edison.

Records

The Phonograph

Edison_and_phonograph_edit1.jpgSource: Levin C. Handy, via Wikimedia Commons

Surprisingly, Edison didn’t set out to create the phonograph as a way of consuming music. Rather, its 1877 invention was more of an expansion upon his earlier work on the telegraph (invented by Samuel Morse) and the telephone (invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci). He thought that a spoken message — like a verbal version of a telegraph, but recorded — could be captured and reproduced. As it turns out, it worked, which he found out after testing a rhyme on the earliest prototype.

But when Edison published “The Phonograph and Its Future” in an 1878 issue of the North American Review, he hypothesized, “The phonograph will undoubtedly be liberally devoted to music. A song sung on the phonograph is reproduced with marvelous accuracy and power.”

He was right. Within a year, “pre-recorded cylinders” — what we know as records — were being sold, and as they became more popular, their manufacturing was improving for multiple plays until they were finally made in vinyl — though that format wasn’t available until after World War II.

But not long after these were available for sale — around the 1890s — phonograph parlors were established, were patrons could pay a nickel to listen to a recording. It was a precursor to both the record store and the juke box, and could be called a milestone in the evolution of music consumption.

The Record Store

oldspillerscroppedsmaller3 (1).jpgSource: Spillers

Spillers, a record store in Cardiff, U.K., claims to be “the oldest record shop in the world.” It was founded in 1894, within the era of phonograph parlors, for the “sale of phonographs, wax phonograph cylinders and shellac phonograph discs.” The store still exists, but has since relocated. The oldest U.S. record store, Pennsylvania-based Bernie George’s Song Shop, was established in 1932, and also continues to thrive — it even now boasts two locations.

Some speculate that musical recordings came second to a song’s sheet music. In Vinylmint’s written history of the industry, it’s said that “the music business was dominated not by major record labels, but by song publishers and big vaudeville and theater concerns.” People wanted to reproduce the music to play it themselves, it seems, and listening to a recording of it was almost a consolation prize. But as the record technology improved — and the stores selling them grew in number — they became more popular.

Vinylmint also claims that the contemporary practice of signing artists to labels began in 1904, when an opera singer named Enrico Caruso signed with Victor — today known as RCA, a subsidiary of Sony. The roots of Victor are fuzzy at best, but according to The Fabulous Phonograph, it was founded in 1903 as the Victor Talking Machine Company. But Caruso’s signing was a precursor to the Copyright Act of 1909 that required record sale royalties to be paid to the writers and publishers of songs, but not to the people who performed them. Perhaps it had something to do with the $5 million in sales that Caruso earned for Victor.

But 1909 didn’t see the end of copyright and royalty issues — future digital distributors of music would find themselves in sticky situations because of them, once they came to fruition. It also wouldn’t see the end of financial implications for record producers — thanks, in large part, to the onset of music being played on the radio.

Broadcast Radio

Although radio technology had existed long before, the alleged first commercial American radio station, KDKA, didn’t begin broadcasting until 1920. Within the next six years, five million U.S. families were said to own broadcast radios. Keep in mind that the years prior to KDKA — between 1914-1921 — saw a 2X growth in overall record sales. But by the time music comprised much of what was played on broadcast radio (roughly 66%), record sales were beginning to see a massive decline, especially in 1929. It’s worth noting, however, that the record sales decline might have had something to do with the Great Depression beginning that same year.

IMPACT OF RADIO ON THE RECORD INDUSTRY.pngSource: Stan J. Liebowitz

Eventually, the recording and broadcast industry found a way to work together — otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to listen to music on the radio today. But this history shows that the distribution of music can be tricky, with major implications for both the listener and the businesses behind it.

Music Consumption Formats

Vinyl and Cassettes

CassetteTypes1.jpgSource: Malcolm Tyrrell, via Wikimedia Commons

So, who here remembers the cassette tape? I do. Anyone else remember holding a microphone from a tape recorder to the radio, in order to have your very own copy of the songs broadcasted? Ah, memories.

But before there was the cassette, there was the vinyl record, which was actually the result of limited manufacturing supplies during World War II. Because “shellac supplies were extremely limited,” explains the Record Collectors Guild, and vinyl was generally cheaper and more widely-available, “records were pressed in vinyl instead … for distribution to U.S. troops.”

In the 1960s, the listening medium continued to evolve, with more options being offered, like the Philips compact cassette. It was one of the earliest formats of portable music listening — but the real game-changer may have been the eight-track tape, invented in 1964 by Bill Lear. Soon, tapes could be played in cars — and in 1979, Sony debuted the first major portable cassette player: The Walkman.

Compact Disc

At first glance, 20-30 years might seem like a long timespan. But in the context of technological developments, it’s actually fairly short — and also roughly how long it took for cassettes to cease being the dominant music consumption format. That was due to the introduction of the compact disc, a.k.a., the CD. A major turning point took place in 1981, when ABBA’s The Visitors was the first pop album pressed to CD. By the following decade, economies of scale led to CDs being the primary music consumption format, with similar portable playing options — like in-car players and the Discman — emerging.

Vinyl never went extinct — it’s still a prized possession for many collectors, DJs (since it provides a “direct manipulation of the medium”), and a cultural population called hipsters that’s known for its love of vintage items. Plus, audiophiles have long claimed that the quality of sound from vinyl is simply superior to other formats, especially as record-pressing technology continues to improve.

Record Store Alternatives

Around the era of CD rule, something interesting happened — businesses began offering alternatives to buying music from a record store, or even having to leave the house to obtain it. One of the first developments in that direction was the invention of the now-defunct 1-800-Music-Now, an order-music-by-phone hotline, in 1995. But it didn’t last long, and two years later, it ceased operations. That sequence of events was mentioned in the 1997 Economist article “Tremble, Everyone,” which warned of the internet cannibalizing nearly every industry — music included — by introducing online buying options.

Today, that’s almost eerie to read — perhaps because a world without the option to digitally procure music is difficult for many of us to remember. And four years later, the iPod was born, which may have permanently revolutionized the consumption of music.

The (Permanently) Digital Era

spotify-1360002_960_720.jpgSource: Pixabay

It Started With File Formats

Before the invention of the iPod, there was the late 1980s creation of the MP3 — “a means of compressing a sound sequence into a very small file, to enable digital storage and transmission.” And although it’s far from the only audio file format available today, its introduction prompted a larger conversation about the digital transfer and consumption of music.

That was seen as an opportunity by Shawn Fanning, John Fanning, and Sean Parker — the people who invented Napster: “a simple, free peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing service,” and perhaps the first of its kind to have a household name, which rose to multi-million usership by 2001, the same year the iPod was unveiled. Dann Albright of MakeUseOf hypothesizes that its alignment with the market penetration of MP3 players could be a major factor contributing to Napster’s rise to fame. Plus, it was free. Apple didn’t unveil the iTunes Store until 2003, and even then, each song cost $0.99. Sure, it came with a price tag — but it was legal.

Napster’s practices weren’t. It came under very public fire by the music industry, and despite its effort to promote the brand with a free concert series, it could be argued that the brand never truly recovered. It underwent many changes, but is today alive and somewhat well.

And Then, Radio Came Back

Despite its own instability, Napster set the tone for continued opportunities in the realm of streaming music. The iTunes Store continued to expand its music library, and also began offering paid movie and TV show downloads. But developers and entrepreneurs alike began creating solutions to the problem presented to many by iTunes — the ability to discover new and listen to music digitally, without having to download song files or pay-per-track. Thus, internet radio was born.

Many point to Pandora — a free, personalized online radio app — as the true pioneer in this space, but it came to fruition around the same time (the early 2000s) as a few others offering similar services, like Last.fm. But these apps didn’t just provide a simple service. They were starting to get smart about algorithms — hence the personalization element. By indicating that you liked a particular song or artist, these new services had developed the algorithmic technology to figure out what else you might like, and stream it automatically.

Plus, they were able to monetize — fast. It wasn’t long before Pandora was airing ads between songs, and eventually offered a paid, ad-free option for listeners.

But a lot of progress was being made in the space, and in a short period of time. The 2007 release of the iPhone was even more of a game-changer, with these formerly desktop-only apps offering a mobile option. That made it rival iTunes even more — consumers weren’t beholden to Apple for music download or streaming options. That effect was exacerbated by the premiere of Spotify the following year, which now outranks Pandora. Like the latter, Spotify offers both a free and premium (read: ad-free) version.

More Music, More Money

There’s been some discord among artists as to how profitable Spotify is for them. Some, like major artists, get a significant payout, while others aren’t so sure of their gains. But if for no one else, this digital (r)evolution seems to have been profitable at least for the likes of Spotify, which is even stirring talks of an IPO and valuation in the billions. That’s partially because the revenue isn’t just coming from ads and membership fees anymore. It’s built partnerships with multiple corporations and brands ranging from the New York Times to Starbucks. It’s even co-marketed with the TV show “Mind of a Chef” for a special promotion.

And It’s Only Getting Bigger

Today, streaming music options are hardly limited to Pandora and Spotify. Apple Music entered the landscape in 2015 with its own (paid) radio and subscription options, and YouTube was quick to follow suit with its YouTube Music App (Apple | Android) in 2016. Plus, let’s not forget the often understated Amazon Prime Music.

It’s hard to believe this journey began in a prehistoric era with a flute made of bones. But my, what progress the past few thousand years have shown. Even when I asked my colleagues if they remembered having to beg their parents to drive them to a record store back in the day, it seemed like a celebration of nostalgia. “My first album was ‘Tommy’ by The Who,” said our Art Director. “Mine was the Space Jam soundtrack,” remembered our Senior Video Editor & Animator. And mine? There were too many trips that I begged for to count — though I do recall once disrupting a family vacation with my insistence on finding the latest KoRn album.

My point being, while this mind-blowingly rapid advance of digital music might seem borderline scary, it does bring us that much closer to something by which we’re all influenced: Music. And maybe, with a growing number of ways to experience audio in our day-to-day lives will come a growing number of memories made possible by a particularly great song — old or new.

In any case — we’re listening.

What’s the most remarkable part of the digital music evolution to you? Let us know in the comments.

free guide to podcasting


Download our free guide to content promotion

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

7

2017

YouTube Ads for Beginners: How to Launch & Optimize a YouTube Video Advertising Campaign

Published by in category Advertising, Canonical, marketing agency | Comments are closed

youtube_advertising_campaign_compressed.jpg

You’ve spent months perfecting the script, storyboarding, finding the right talent, shooting, and editing. The end result? A blockbuster brand or product video.

With all that time invested, you can’t stop at just embedding the video on a homepage or sharing it on social media and hoping someone watches.

While great content is bound to be found, it’s also important to be proactive about gaining the attention of and educating prospects and those unfamiliar with your brand. Running a series of YouTube ads is one way to make sure more of your target audience finds the video content you’ve produced. And with new formats and tracking capabilities, you can also use this information to report on its ROI. Download our free guide to learn how to create and utilize video in your  marketing to increase engagement and conversion rates. 

The thing is, advertising on YouTube is very different from running a PPC or paid social campaign. There are specific creative constraints and a ton of options for this platform, and you need a base knowledge before you even scope out your next video project to make the most of the paid possibilities.

What’s New With YouTube Advertising

In January 2017, Google announced it would make changes to AdWords to allow advertisers to reach more viewers on YouTube — especially across mobile devices, where 50% of YouTube views take place. Among the changes it rolled out, possibly the biggest announcement was that advertisers will soon be able to target viewers based on their Google search history, in addition to their viewing behaviors YouTube was already targeting.

Marketers can now target ads at people who recently searched for a certain product or service to target the video ads they’ll be served on the platform. If the content of a video ad is closely related to a search the viewer has been researching, they might be more likely to watch the entire ad or click through the ad to the website.

Keywords are relatively less expensive to target on YouTube than in traditional Google Search: Views cost an average of $0.06 per click on YouTube, compared to the average Google Search cost per click, which is estimated to be between $1-2. When YouTube targeting includes search history, it may be a more cost-effective way to target your audience with a more engaging form of content — video.

The 2 Types of YouTube Video Ads

TrueView ads are the standard video ad type on YouTube. Advertisers only pay for TrueView ads when viewers watch or interact with their ad (for example, by clicking on a call-to-action), and videos can be easily customized to share a variety of content.

Advertisers only pay when a user watches the ad for at least 30 seconds or until the end of the video or if the viewer takes an action, such as clicking on a call-to-action. YouTube requires that skippable TrueView ads be 12-60 seconds in length and that non-skippable TrueView ads be 15-30 seconds in length.

There are two types of TrueView ads:

Video Discovery Ads (Previously Named In-Display Ads)

Video discovery YouTube ads show up on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and as related videos on YouTube video watch pages.

These ads appeared after performing a YouTube search:

youtube_search_results.png

This display ad appears as a related video on the right-hand video sidebar:

in-display-ad.png

Once a user clicks on the ad, the destination video page features a spot on the right-hand column where a companion banner display ad will appear.

video-ad-companion-banner.png

In-Stream Ads

TrueView in-stream ads play before someone watches the video they’ve selected on YouTube. Viewers sometimes have the option to skip the ad after watching it for five seconds. You can also make them play anywhere in the Google Display Network (GDN) — or sites that purchased Google video ad space.

In-stream ads let marketers customize video ads with different CTAs and overlay text, as highlighted in the skippable in-stream ad example below from Grammarly.

youtube_in_stream_ad_example.png

Here’s what another skippable in-stream ad from Wix looks like. In this example, there’s another CTA from Wix on top of the right-hand video menu display:

in-stream ad youtube.png

Some in-stream ads are non-skippable and can play before, mid-roll, or after the main video. Here’s an example of a non-skippable video ad before the main content on YouTube:

videoad_nonskippable.png

There are also non-skippable, mid-roll video ads, which appear midway through a YouTube video that’s 10 minutes or longer in length.

Midroll Ad YouTube.png

Source: PC Daily Tips

With TrueView, advertisers can gain a ton of information about the performance of their ads for optimization and testing purposes. AdWords provides data about completed views, partial views, if the video drives channel subscriptions, clickthrough rates on CTAs, views sourced from a user sharing the content, and views on the brand’s other content that can be attributed to a person initially viewing a video ad. These actions help advertisers better understand the full value of their video ad spend and where to allocate budget to increase results.

How to Set Up & Launch a YouTube Video Advertising Campaign

Once you’ve created a marketing video you want to advertise on YouTube, it’s time to create your video ad campaign. (If you haven’t made a video yet, here’s how to get started with Animoto or Wistia, along with a few great examples.) Then, upload your video to YouTube.

select_video_to_upload.png

Now, you’re ready to set up your advertising campaign. First, go to your Google AdWords account to set up your campaign.

Campaign Type

Tap the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the red “+ Campaign” button on your Google AdWords homepage and select “video.”

launch_new_video_ad.png

Campaign Name

Enter a name for your campaign, and make sure Video has been chosen from the Type drop-down menu.

YouTube_AdWords_Step1.png

Video Ad Format

Select “In-stream or video discovery ads” to ensure your video ad will be in TrueView format (in the style of the examples outlined above).

video_ad_formats_adwords.png

Budget

Set your budget per day. You can also select a delivery method — either the standard delivery, which shows ads evenly during the day, or accelerated delivery, which drives views as quickly as possible. The latter would be useful if you want to capitalize on a trend or news item relevant to your brand’s video.

video-ad-budget-delivery.png

Networks

Decide where you want your ad to appear.

  • YouTube Search: Your video ad will appear in results for searches and will appear on the YouTube home page, channel pages, and video pages.
  • YouTube Videos: This runs TrueView ads that can appear in-display ads or in-stream ads. With this option, you can choose for your video ad to appear before or around videos shown across the Google Display Network.

You should create separate campaigns for YouTube Search and YouTube Video as this will help you to better track performance metrics. These ads are served to people performing very different activities and require a different amount of commitment from the viewer, so it’s best to monitor performance separately.

youtube-networks.png

Locations

Define the location of users whom you want the ad to be shown to. You can also exclude certain locations.

video-location.png

Language, Device & Mobile Bidding

AdWords will let you specify the operating system, device, and carrier for more advanced targeting. This is especially useful for mobile app ads, and there’s an option to increase or decrease your bid based on if the video ad is shown to someone on a mobile device.

youtube_language_ad_adjustment.png

Advanced Settings

With the advanced settings section, you can set begin and end dates for your campaign, create a custom schedule for when your video ad should be shown, and limit the daily impressions and views for users. This all helps you to get the most return for your ad spend.

advanced settings youtube ads.png

Creating the Video Ad Creative

Name your ad group, and then insert the YouTube link for the video you would like to run the ad for. You will then choose whether you want this to run as an in-stream ad or an in-display ad.

video_ad_creative_youtube.png

For in-display, you’ll need to include a title and short description, which is entered on two separate lines. Note: Titles are limited to 25 characters, and the description lines are limited to 35 characters each.

youtube-in-display.png

In-stream ads provide you with the option to overlap a display URL on top of the video. You should use a vanity URL that directs to another final URL to make it more memorable. You can include advanced URL tracking options. In addition, a companion banner made from images from your video will appear on the right side of the video ad.

youtube-instream.png

Bidding

You’ll then determine the max price you will pay for each view, which you can adjust to increase the number of projected views your video may receive.

bidding_video_ad_adwords.png

Targeting

Finally, you can further define the audience you would like the video to be shown — options include gender, age, and parental status. You can also target individuals by their interests, such as beauty mavens, cooking enthusiasts, horror movie fans, etc. Try running multiple campaigns to target different groups of users to discover who is most engaged, rather than including everyone you want to target in one campaign.

video-adwords-interests.png

Advanced Targeting

You can also target individuals by keywords, topics, or websites where you would like your video ad to appear. Keyword targeting with in-display ads can be a powerful tool for finding individuals who are looking for a visual answer to a question. Be sure to do your research, and try testing out different groups of keywords to see which leads to more views, clicks, or conversions.

Additionally, you can use AdWords video ads to remarket to people who have been in contact with your brand already. This can help you to re-engage those who are already familiar with your brand.

narrow-targeting.png

Linking Your Account

You should link your AdWords account to the YouTube channel where the video is hosted if you haven’t already. You can also click “finish” to begin running your video ad campaign.

adwords-linking-account.png

10 Tips for Optimizing Your AdWords for Video Ads

Launching a video ad campaign is a great step, but there are some things you should set up prior to starting to pay for views to make the most of your budget and to see the highest return for your client.

1) Define your metrics and goals.

When analyzing the results, there are four main categories of metrics you can track for each video. These are located under the “column” drop-down in your campaigns interface.

Views

Under the “views” category, you can better understand what percentage of the ad people viewed and understand how the ad drove earned views or views on your brand’s other videos.

views-metrics.png

Audience

This category can be used to track likes and shares for each video ad.

audience-metrics.png

Branding

The view rate should signal if the creative and message are interesting or entertaining enough for people to watch the ad. By increasing your view-through rate (VTR), you will lower your cost per view.

video-branding-metrics.png

Conversions

Conversions will help you better understand if your ad is driving leads and returning a high ROI for your brand.

conversions-metrics.png

Depending on the goals for the brand, you should determine a few goals based on these metrics and formalize a plan for optimizing creative and trying different targeting criteria to improve results. Your goals should also determine the type of content you will feature in the ad — some metrics are better for branding goals and others will drive leads and conversions.

2) Track low performing placements.

If you’re running in-display ads that will appear across the Google Display Network, you can review where the ad has appeared in by navigating to Video Targeting > Placements > Where ads were shown > Display network from your Google AdWords Campaigns dashboard. Review this list to see if any particular sites are contributing to poor performance for your desired metrics. Exclude these sites from your ad campaign moving forward to increase your average CPV.

3) Use a custom thumbnail image.

Design or use a high-quality still image from the video to entice a viewer to click on your video. Remember, this image needs to be legible by users on different devices, including mobile. If your image contains a person, make sure he or she is looking into the camera. If you are featuring a product, make sure the background isn’t distracting. 

4) Drive people to buy with cards.

A YouTube card is teased with a small “i” symbol, which the viewer can click to expand. You can time this appearance so only users engaged with the video and content will see the notification.

With cards, you can feature a product related to or featured in the video to drive product purchases. You can also use cards to drive fundraising donations, traffic to a URL, or traffic to other videos as shown in the example below from Refinery29. Each format will allow you to customize the card with text, images, and other options.

refinery29example.png

5) Create calls-to-actions.

When promoting a video on YouTube, you can include call-to-action overlays that link to a URL. You could link to a landing page, product page, information page, career page … whatever you’d like. You could also send people to a favorable report or interview featuring the brand.

Adobe highlights one of its live videos using a call-to-action overlay:

adobe_youtube_ad_CTA.png

6) Create a YouTube end slate.

Create an end screen to drive subscribers to your channel, promote your social networks, or increase interest in your brand. If someone has watched a video until the end, it’s a good sign they enjoy your content and might be interested in subscribing to your channel for future updates. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon‘s end slate uses this screen to drive subscribers and social media fans while also highlighting other interesting topics its host has featured. Once you build the image, you will be able to annotate the end screen in YouTube’s video editor.

yeahboy_endslate.png

7) Use negative remarketing.

If you are running a campaign for a longer period of time and want to only attract new users to a brand, consider creating a list of people who your ad will not be shown to. When viewing your AdWords Campaign screen, select “Shared library” on the lower left sidebar. Then select “Video remarketing” and “+ Remarketing List”. You can stretch your campaign budget and target only unique users by selecting to not show your video ad to someone who has previously viewed the specific video, who has visited your YouTube channel, or shared, liked, or commented on any of your videos on your channel.

remarketing-adwords.png

8) Use close captioning to cater to viewer’s needs and wants.

This tip applies to all YouTube videos — but it’s a general best practice that’s not followed by many brands. Include a quality video transcription you’ve generated and approved. Only user-uploaded transcriptions are indexed by Google because YouTube’s automatic captioning can be less than reliable. Depending on your target audience, you may also want to include transcriptions in various other languages. You can also offer users the option to download or visit a site page with the full transcription in your video description.

9) Qualify viewers.

Sometimes, your ad will be seen by people who have no interest in your product. Encourage them to skip the ad if the content isn’t relevant so you don’t have to pay for the view and they don’t waste their time watching irrelevant advertising.

10) Consider making your ad longer.

When it comes to TrueView ads, if the ad is under 30 seconds, you pay only if a viewer watches until the end. If the ad is longer than 30 seconds, you pay if the viewer watches it for at least 30 seconds. In both cases, you pay if the viewer interacts with your ad before it’s over. Consider this when you are coming up with ideas for content for the ad. You may want to put messaging at a certain point so uninterested viewers can skip the ad, or you might provide special offers towards the end of the video.

The Future of Video is Bright

We’ve told you before: Video content is a must-have part of your content strategy. This is even truer now that YouTube lets marketers target users based on their search histories. YouTube advertising is more targeted than ever, and it’s less competitive real estate than the world of Google Search because video content is newer to the content scene and less popular than blog posts.

Stay tuned for more from us about how to make great video ads for YouTube and social media, and where we think YouTube is headed next.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free guide to video marketing

Powered by WPeMatico


Below are Sister sites of the Site you are on Powered by: MCC Group
Advertising Pages Exchange Free Traffic Exchange Free Links Directory Free Promotion Forum