Microsoft One-Ups Apple and Gets a Big(ger) Data Game

2014-31-October-Rollerblader.jpgYou have to love Satya Nadella’s Microsoft. He announces a vision and the company delivers, Bada Bing, Bada Band.

Nope, “Band” isn’t a typo — we’re talking about the Microsoft Band. It went on sale yesterday and, get this, it sold out online almost immediately. A few Microsoft retail stores (that no one knows about) may still have one, at least until the mall rats start telling everyone that a new store just opened.

For now the Band is being branded as a fitness tool (we’ll get to features in a moment) but it’s really about productivity, machine learning, Cortana and data.

This baby is going to have your number(s) and has the potential to run your life.

Read full story...

Facebook drives more referral traffic, but who is number two?

Halloween might be filled with surprises but this isn’t one of them: Facebook sends more referral traffic to websites than any other social media network. This past June, almost a quarter of all referral traffic came from Facebook and the site sent 4x more traffic than the closest competitor.

That’s where the story gets interesting.

Shareaholic Oct Traffic

The 3rd Quarter 2014 edition of the Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report compares the referral traffic from 8 major social media networks. The data comes from a wide variety of sites including blogs, commerce sites, different sizes, different categories, etc.

There are two data sets of note. First we have the percentage of traffic. There’s Facebook up on high, then we drop down to Pinterest with 5.52% share. What’s really incredible is that as untouchable as Facebook is, Pinterest is also pretty untouchable for those below.

My favorite site, Twitter is not only number three, it’s slowly sinking leaving plenty of room for others to catch up.

The other data set we need to consider is the percentage of change. This is where it gets really wild. Only two networks drove more traffic by the end of Q3 than they did by the end of Q2; Google+ and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn doesn’t surprise me. They’ve been on a mad campaign to not only bring more people on to the site but to keep people more engaged when they get there. Looks like their new emphasis on content is resulting in an uptick in people clicking through to the source. At this rate, I could see LinkedIn moving up to knock Google+ out by next year.

Before you jump on me for bashing Google+, here’s a few kudos for their rise in the last quarter. After a small dip in July, they bounced back stronger in August and September. Does anyone know why that might have been?

The biggest surprise on this chart is YouTube dropping from 5th place down to 7th with LinkedIn. YouTube has been running TV commercials, several YouTube stars are appearing on TV shows right now but all this publicity isn’t doing content owners any good. Remember, these are referral traffic numbers, which means YouTube could be raking in the viewers but they’re not doing a good job sending those viewers out to the content owner websites.

Can’t be too hard on YouTube, though, seeing as almost everyone else tanked this past quarter, too. Onward to the 4th quarter and hopefully, less red and more blue.


Social Media Jobs: United Nations Foundation, Lionbridge, WellPoint

This week, the United Nations Foundation is hiring a senior producer for digital and social media, while Lionbridge needs a social media internet assessor. WellPoint is seeking an online social media manager, and Manifest New York is on the hunt for a PR and social media account director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional social media jobs on Mediabistro.


Find more great social media jobs on our job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented AllTwitter pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Musician Trent Reznor working on secret music delivery project at Apple

Calling it "challenging" and "unfamiliar," Nine Inch Nails rocker and film composer Trent Reznor has revealed he is deeply involved in a secretive music delivery product in the works at Apple.

‘Costume Quest 2′ is a wild goose chase to save Halloween


Candy binges. Pumpkin carving. Horror movie marathons. These are our Halloween staples — traditions people look forward to year after year

And then there's a tradition of games designer Tim Schafer: watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

"I grew up in California, where the seasons don't change, so the Charlie Brown special represented what fall was supposed to feel like to me," Schafer says. "Hearing that music, seeing the leaves blowing, it brings back great childhood memories."

It's an association he felt while testing Costume Quest, a Halloween-themed game produced by Schafer's studio Double Fine. Though Schafer leads production on most games from Double Fine, this was the first time he took a backseat. Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, and Double Fine

Money flies onto interstate, motorists freak out


When cash starts flying (literally), people go crazy.

Motorists driving along I-270 near Urbana, Maryland, lost their minds Friday morning when they witnessed what many people dream of: money flying everywhere

At approximately 8 a.m. ET, a malfunctioning door of an armored vehicle owned by Canada-based company GardaWorld led to a bag of cash falling onto the highway, the Washington Post reported. Initially, the incident was thought to be a crash that involved an armored vehicle.


Flying money has a tendency to impair people's judgement, and many motorists stopped their vehicles to collect the cash. Police said that so many vehicles stopped to collect the dough that traffic in the northbound lanes was at a standstill Read more...

More about Money, Us, Watercooler, Conversations, and Weird News

Global E-Commerce Survey: Australians Most Likely To Cross Borders When Shopping Online

In a survey polling 1,000 respondents from 12 different countries, Pitney Bowes discovered online shoppers from Australia (63 percent), Canada and Russia (54 percent each) are the most likely to cross borders when buying online. According to the survey results, the U.S. was “by far” the...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

New video shows Android 5.0 running on the Samsung Galaxy S5


If you cast your mind back to September, you may remember that the folks over at SamMobile managed to get their mitts on an exclusive preview of Lollipop running on a Galaxy S5, but as Samsung was still working on a strategy to make TouchWiz compatible with Google’s Material Design guidelines, the firmware was rather buggy and a number of inconsistencies could be spotted throughout the user interface.

Now, however, the online publication is in possession of a new internal Android Lollipop preview. This time it’s the latest build of Android 5.0 (LRX02E) and at first glance it looks to be miles better than the version previously demoed. It’s a lot smoother for starters, and there’s a truckload of additional features. Us naming the changes is all well and good, but wouldn’t you rather see them in action?

If your answer to the question is yes — hit the break to watch the new leaked Android 5.0 firmware running on a Galaxy S5.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If your answer is no, the full list of changes, summarised by SamMobile, can be seen below:

  • New Note 4 fingerprint lock screen
  • New system-wide font — similar to the original one, but a tad thinner.
  • New animations, much smoother than before — there’s a screen off animation present as well.
  • Google Search bar in recents menu
  • Brightness slider in notification centre has a new yellow colour — while changing the brightness, the notification centre disappears and allows the user to view the content beneath it.
  • Removed “Interruptions” from Sound settings
  • Gallery: Media can be sorted using new filters including Pets, Events, Scenery, Documents, Food, Vehicles and Flowers.
  • Music: Improved UI
  • Clock: Navigation bar icons are now accompanied by text
  • Calculator: Removed square grids which surrounded the numbers and symbols
  • Contacts: New search box
  • Stock Material Design inspired applications receive colored status bar
  • Android Lollipop theme’s core green elements replaced with Samsung’s blue colour
  • Settings: Improved UI, new icon colours
  • New UI for setting wallpaper from home screen
  • Better spacing between options in power off dialog

Source: SamMobile


Come comment on this article: New video shows Android 5.0 running on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Happy Halloween!!

Some real characters showed up to enter our Halloween costume contest. Solutions Consultant Joe Devine, featured first, ultimately took the trophy! 

LinkedIn had one of the first data science teams. Now it’s breaking up the band

LinkedIn had one of the first data science teams. Now it’s breaking up the band

Above: LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — LinkedIn has divvied up its respected data science team, which created features like skills, endorsements, “people you may know,” “people also viewed,” “jobs you may be interested in,” and “who’s viewed your profile,” VentureBeat has learned.

The shift, which occurred around five months ago, split up a team that had for years worked together in the company’s product division, sources familiar with the shake-up told VentureBeat.

Over the past few years, the data science team contained two subsections: the product data science team, where people came up with innovative new data-powered features that give off new data for analysis, and the decision sciences team, which analyzed key product metrics and explored usage data.

Now the social networking company has divided the subsections and stuck them in separate departments. The decision sciences team now reports to the office of the company’s chief financial officer, while the product data science team is now part of engineering.

“It was just really clear that there was just a lack of clarity around rules and responsibilities, which was frustrating for people on the team, as well as people who had to work with them,” said Laura Dholakia, the head of LinkedIn’s business operations and analytics team and leader of the former decision sciences team, in an interview with VentureBeat.

The company’s data scientists — numbering close to 150 now — had the option to go with one group or the other. But for the most part, their day-to-day work consists of the same types of tasks.

If anything, the reorg pairs up the analytics people, who focus on paid products like recruiting tools, with the data scientists, who look into the ways people use LinkedIn’s free “consumer” service for connecting with others. As for the product data scientists, working with the engineering staff reduces the potential for redundancy.

What’s more, the dispersal of the data science teams reflects the importance of analytics as a standalone process as the company matures.

Because LinkedIn employees need high-quality information on subjects like engagement, user growth, and revenue sources, it’s probably understandable that analytics shouldn’t be one more task for product-making data scientists.

“A lot of individuals depend on that business intelligence to be done super well,” Igor Perisic, vice president of engineering and the leader of the former product data science group, told VentureBeat. “I need to drill into lots of segments to figure out how a product is doing. That’s a full-time job. It’s not a part-time job. Now you need to choose between these two things.”

Despite the advantages Perisic and Dholakia spoke of, several data scientists have left the company in the wake of the changes.

While this division doesn’t signal the end of some sort of golden age for LinkedIn or for data science, the move does carry a touch of symbolism: One of the first data science groups in the world no longer stands out on the org chart as a standalone unit. Instead, data scientists there now play a more integrated role than ever before.

“It’s become more of a role at LinkedIn instead of a team,” one source told VentureBeat.

Changes through the years make sense

The recent changes follow years of adjustments to what data scientists do at the company.

Under the leadership of DJ Patil — one of those credited with coining the term “data scientist” and LinkedIn’s former head of data products — data scientists came up with entire applications and features. It was an era of experimentation with the feel of a startup.

But after Patil left in 2011, collaboration across divisions became increasingly common.

Along the way, a few high-profile data scientists at the company left. Last year Monica Rogati went to wearable-device company Jawbone, and Pete Skomoroch became an advisor at venture capital firm Data Collective. This year, Joseph Adler left to become director of product management at data analytics startup Interana.

Then came the official bifurcation of the decision sciences and product data science groups in the middle of this year.

Several people who know about the changes believe they make sense. It does seem reasonable to integrate people who think up products with people who build, maintain, and change LinkedIn’s code base, while pulling together the analyst types into one department, where they can then explore data for sales, marketing, human resources, finance, and other purposes.

But not everyone’s happy

Even so, data scientists Ahmet Bugdayci, Vitaly Gordon, Ali Imam, Gloria Lau, Leah McGuire, Patrick Philips, and Satpreet Singh have all exited since the rearrangement. So has Deep Nishar, who headed up product and user experience.

It could be that some of the data scientists preferred working closely with and learning from many other data scientists or that they simply didn’t like the work they were tasked with in the new order.

Maybe some people trained in statistics and domain-specific knowledge didn’t want to spend even a little bit of their time generating dashboards for executives or running A/B tests. In the past, data science leaders succeeded in recruiting new talent by promising a sort of oasis — a team of data-first product creation, a source told VentureBeat. The current structure might not lived up to that promise for some of the data scientists.

But the reorg did aim to play to people’s strengths. The idea was “to create a structure that allows people to specialize in doing what they’re good at,” Dholakia said.

Then again, the turnover could merely be a function of the company growing larger in the past three years.

LinkedIn had 990 employees at the end of 2010, a few months before its IPO. On June 30 of this year, the headcount sat at 5,758. Many characteristics evolve when a company undergoes that kind of expansion; a typical employee doesn’t have the sway he or she would have at an early stage startup.

And some people who’ve seen the company grow were already planning to leave.

“Some of it also overlaps with the tour of duty of four years,” Perisic said.

The reorg, with its implications for supervisors and responsibilities, might also just have presented the right circumstances for some data scientists to leave.

“For most people, it’s a natural time to start looking,” a source told VentureBeat.

LinkedIn’s website shows that the company is now looking to hire new data scientists for a variety of purposes.

Stay tuned to VentureBeat to learn about how data scientists currently work under the new arrangement and how it compares with the structures in place at other companies with many data scientists on staff.

VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, with more than 259 million members worldwide, including executives from Fortune 500 companies. Founded on May 5, 2003, by Reid Hoffman and founding team members f... read more »

DJ Patil is the VP of Product at RelateIQ. He coined the term “Data Scientist”. Previously he was the Chief Data Scientist at Greylock Partners and before that he was the Chief Product Officer of Color Labs. He previously worked fo... read more »

News Frights: Getting Social, Embarrassed and … Scared

The latest in self-service, simplicity, the ties that bind, postscripts and things that go bump in the night from Hong Kong on the Hudson, the City that Knows How and the Fair City, Venice of the North and the Colonial Capital.

Read full story...

SpaceShipTwo Lost During Test Flight

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo experienced "an in-flight anomaly" while testing a new rocket motor on Friday. The status of the pilots is unknown.

Facebook Accounts for Nearly 60% of Social Logins [Infographic]

Gigya, a provider of social identity management tools, released it’s Q3 2014 social logins report this week and the results weren’t all that surprising. Facebook is still dominating social logins, Yahoo is still declining and Google actually dropped a few points for the first time in over a year.

Facebook is still responsible for nearly 60 percent of all social logins, and it accounts for more than three-quarters of social logins in the non-profit and education sectors. According to Victor White, director of marketing communications at Gigya, Facebook has worked hard to to improve consumer trust.

“Facebook’s continued climb as an identity provider is likely a result of many factors but its efforts to give users more control over their data is playing a significant role,” White told SocialTimes via email.

On the other side of the equation, White said Yahoo continues to fall because it simply isn’t providing users with any real value. Users who authenticate with Facebook, LinkedIn or Google know what they’re getting, and see how those profiles relate to who they are online. But Yahoo hasn’t made any such effort, he said.

“[Yahoo] hasn’t tied Yahoo ID to users’ social graphs, to payments or to any meaningful personalization, so it’s hard to see the trend — Yahoo’s plummet as an identity provider — changing significantly.”

Check out the infographic below for the latest social login data from Gigya.

social logins

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Why Can’t Enterprises Get User Experience Right?

2014-31-October-Ford-Factory.jpgA leading analyst recently said to me, “If enterprises cared about the user experience, SAP and Oracle might not still be in business.” Not to pick on those vendors — they produce technologies that drive value in the enterprise — but it’s no secret that the enterprise has lagged far behind the consumer world in terms of the user experience (UX). It’s bad. In enterprises we’re usually asking workers to accomplish tasks that are significantly more complicated than just booking an airline ticket. Arguably, those tasks drive greater revenue — or cost savings — than ticket booking for that travel website.

Each of us can chronicle bad experiences with the technology tools we use every day — and if you’re in the enterprise, your pain may be even more excruciating than consumers. Not only are the experiences worse for you, but they are often ones that you do repetitively, so that pain piles up into long-term frustration and general dread. (Are you familiar with the term “Sunday blues”?)

Read full story...

LG G3 Dual-LTE set to launch in Russia within the next couple of weeks

LG G3 Dual LTE

LG has today announced its plans to launch a dual-SIM variant of its flagship smartphone, the G3, in Russia. The handset will be available in both Metallic Black and Silky White colorways and is set to go on sale within the next couple of weeks for RUB 26,990 — approximately $630.

This is the exact same “Dual-LTE” model of the G3 that LG launched in China and Hong Kong back in September. The device packs a 5.5-inch True HD display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, a Snapdragon 801 chipset with a quad-core 2.5GHz CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 32GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card).

For those of you out there who may be thinking that the phone features two LTE SIM slots. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Only the first SIM slot supports 4G LTE, whilst the second is restricted to standard GSM connectivity.

Out of the box, the G3 Dual-LTE will run the latest build of Android 4.4.4 KitKat with the South Korean company’s Optimus user interface plastered over the top. The device is, however, expected to be one of the first on the market to receive the much-anticipated Lollipop update when it’s distributed later this year.

If you’re based in Russia and want to find out more about the handset — click the source link below.

Source: LG

Come comment on this article: LG G3 Dual-LTE set to launch in Russia within the next couple of weeks

A Trip To Turn 10, A Studio Merging Car Culture With Games

Inside the company behind the brilliant 'Forza Motorsport' franchise.

The Biggest Ship In The World

It’s called Prelude, and it’s bigger than big. More than 530 yards long and 80 yards wide, it was constructed with 260,000 metric tons of steel, more than was used in the entire original World Trade Center complex, and it’s expected to displace 600,000 metric tons of water, or as much as six aircraft carriers.

Following Germany’s Lead Spain Passes Misguided “Google Tax” Anti-Piracy Law

Given the saga of Germany’s ill-conceived and poorly implemented “ancillary copyright law” one would have thought that another European government wouldn’t immediately duplicate the mistake. But that’s exactly what’s happened in Spain. Spanish...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How Facebook made News Feed 50 percent faster on iOS


Have you noticed a faster experience, iOS users? Facebook’s engineering team explained how switching from HTML5 to native iOS code improved the speed of the News Feed.

Facebook also rewrote the code for timeline, groups, pages, search and more, but noticed that News Feed got slower with each release.

Facebook’s Adam Ernst, in a detailed blog post, explained that the problem was in the data model layer:

First, let’s talk about how News Feed was designed to work on iOS. The Facebook APIs we use serve as a JSON representation of the stories in your News Feed. Because we didn’t want UIViews to consume JSON directly — there are no type safety or hints about what fields you can expect to get from the server — we create intermediate data models from JSON and used those to power the user interface. Like most iOS apps, we chose to use the system default framework for managing data models: Core Data. Already built into iOS and very well documented, it allowed us to get the native rewrite out the door without reinventing the wheel.

Returning to our performance problems, though, we found that Core Data had a quirk. As we ported more features, our Core Data database slowed down. We started with only a few dozen entities in Core Data, but this had ballooned to hundreds. Some of those entities had a lot of fields — Pages, for example, had more than 100!

Under the hood, Apple’s Core Data framework uses SQLite to store data. As we added more entities and more fields, the number of tables, columns, and indexes grew. Core Data stores data in a fully normalized format, so each time we encountered a Pages object in JSON, we would have to perform a fetch-or-create in Core Data and then update the page. Saving would touch dozens of indexes in SQLite, thanks to an enormous number of relationships (i.e., how many things reference people or Pages objects on Facebook).

Readers: What else do you want to see in the iOS app?

Four Ways for Pages to Prepare for Facebook’s Nov. 5 Like-Gate Ban

OldOpenGate650By now, you’ve surely heard about the Facebook like-gate ban that will go into effect Nov. 5.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Despite Android TV push, Google Play Movies & TV app comes to Roku set-top boxes

Despite Android TV push, Google Play Movies & TV app comes to Roku set-top boxes
Image Credit: Roku

The latest app making its debut in the Roku Channel store today is Google Play Movies & TV, which is the search giant’s digital media store for buying and renting videos.

The move is a tad interesting because Google is currently in the middle of a big promotional push for its own Android TV operating system, which powers several set-top boxes made by a variety of hardware manufacturers.

You’d expect that Google wouldn’t want to do anything to take attention away from its new Nexus Player by allowing people to gain access to its video services on rival devices. However, this actually makes sense when you consider that most people probably aren’t using Google Play to buy movies and TV shows, and its unlikely that this will change if consumers can’t gain access to the Google Play Movies & TV show service on the most popular devices.



VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.

Report: Mobile Grabbed One-Third Of Global Search Spend In Q3

A third of all paid search spend went to mobile in the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 180 percent year-over-year. Mobile search volume rose 120 percent. That’s according to Covario’s quarterly analysis, which covers clients in high tech, consumer electronics and retail. Search...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Pirate Bay cofounder sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for hacking


Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the founders of the notorious file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for hacking on Friday.

On Thursday, a Danish court had found Svartholm Warg, 30, and a 21-year-old Dane only known as "JKT" guilty of breaking into the servers of the Danish branch of IT service provider CSC in 2012 and accessing more than 91,000 social security numbers, driver's license numbers and police records of high-profile people in Europe.

"That the attack was systematic and long-term weighed heavily on our decision," Kari Sørensen, the presiding judge in the case, said, according to The Copenhagen Post. "And we have focused on the downloading of a large amount of personal information that can potentially be damaging." Read more...

More about Pirate Bay, Hacking, The Pirate Bay, Hackers, and Cybercrime

9 Scary YA Books for Halloween Fans Too Old to Trick-or-Treat


With Halloween, comes a craving for mini Snickers and scary stories

While you can't relive your childhood by trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, you can enjoy a young adult book any time. For those who'd rather curl up on the couch than party in a costume all night, this is for you.

Since there are only so many times you can re-watch Nightmare on Elm Street (or if that's not your speed, Hocus Pocus), try reading your new favorite creepy Halloween tale Read more...

More about Books, Lists, Halloween, Watercooler, and Pics

Philips Hue connected bulbs now supported by over 200 third-party iOS apps

The popular Philips Hue connected LED lightbulbs reached a new milestone this week, with more than 200 third-party applications for iOS now compatible with the smart home accessory.

Five Predictions for How Data Will Change TV This Season

Big Data has infiltrated almost every facet of marketing. The idea that marketers can target specific consumers with tailored messages isn't new, but in traditional media like TV, it's taking longer to ignite.

Addressable TV isn't a new idea, but some are taking longer than others to take it up. Many still rely on one-size-fits all TV campaigns, but for others, it has been a high priority over the past decade to increase the sophistication of these programs. In fact, some industry verticals are well-practiced in the art of targeting consumers through the set-top box. Automotive and insurance brands, who tend to rely heavily on traditional media, have often been early adopters for addressable TV. Today, they are now focused on expanding their targeted TV campaigns across digital channels.

TV still enjoys the biggest slice of most advertisers' budgets -- but now is the time for data to change the way TV advertising is bought and sold across all industry verticals. TV advertisers need to prepare for five major shifts in the year ahead:

Continue reading at

Brake Failure At 154mph

Driver Tim Bell experienced a high-speed brake failure during the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and slammed into a barrier. Luckily, all the safety equipment worked optimally and he was unharmed.

Facebook Tests Onion URL for Tor Users

TorLogo650Facebook is experimenting with ways for security-conscious users to access the social network via Tor, and Alec Muffett, a software engineer for security infrastructure in the company’s London office, described the process in a note on the Protect the Graph page.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

HTC Dot View trick shows up just in time for Halloween


If you are the owner of an HTC One (M8) and have a Dot View case, you may find yourself treated to a little trick courtesy of HTC. When HTC updated the Dot View app recently, they snuck in some surprises for users. During the day today, Halloween, users are discovering that the Dot View wallpaper that is displayed has been changed from their selection to a custom Jack-O’-Lantern theme.

In addition to the static Jack-O’-Lantern wallpaper, an animation shows up when notifications are created. Users are greeted by a moving skeleton and some bats flying around. Sources have started testing the device a bit more by changing the date and have discovered that a special surprise is waiting for users when Christmas arrives.

source: HTC Source

Come comment on this article: HTC Dot View trick shows up just in time for Halloween

Why Scratching An Itch Only Makes It Worse

Scratching an itch only gives temporary respite before making it worse – we now know why.

You Could Be Fired In 29 States Just For Saying You’re Gay

Congressional inaction has resulted in a patchwork of state legislation that’s left big gaps across the country where being LGBT can be cause for termination.

How Much Is Taylor Swift Worth?

Because Taylor doesn't readily explain how and where she earns her money, here's our best guess as to how her monetary worth all shakes out.

‘Colbert Report’ Sets Date For Final Show

Stephen Colbert has announced when he'll be signing off "The Colbert Report."

IBM’s Tencent Deal Could Best Twitter Partnership


IBM announced today that it has partnered with the Chinese Internet Services Provider (ISP) Tencent Holdings — a deal that has the potential to be a lot more lucrative than its recently announced partnership with Twitter.

IBM is trumpeting this one as a major step into the Chinese market that it has been targeting for a long time. What’s really interesting is that the agreement between the two is for the provision of public cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions in China. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Read full story...

Start the Season Off Right With These Holiday Marketing Tips

Start the Season Off Right With These Holiday Marketing Tips

Consumers might not be ready for aisles of festive wintery decorations inside of their favorite stores, but believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is almost here. So while you’re putting some finishing touches on your Halloween costume, you should also be thinking about your holiday marketing campaigns.

New data from Marin Software has shown that while brands traditionally go heavy on advertising in December, you’ll see a more significant return on investment two weeks before Thanksgiving. Consumers are starting their shopping earlier and earlier every year. Is your marketing strategy ready? Here are some holiday marketing tips to consider before launch.

Review Last Season

According to an AOL Advertising survey of holiday shoppers, more than half admitted that advertising impacted their decision-making processes. In fact, 30 percent said advertising reminded them to purchase holiday items, while 18 percent said it made them more likely to purchase because of an advertised deal.

Research clearly shows that creative advertising is critical to a successful campaign. But if you’re looking to go above and beyond last year’s returns, there’s no better place to start than by reviewing previous holiday strategies. After all, your last holiday campaign could be the key to success this year. Nanigans recommends that you ask yourself the following:

  • What were your goals?
  • What were your results?
  • What worked well?
  • What were the pain points?
  • How can you improve this year’s outcomes?

Apply what you learned last year to your upcoming holiday campaign. Even a few small tweaks could have a major impact on this year’s results.

Brush Up on New Social Tools and Updates

Social media platforms are constantly evolving and, as a result, so are their features and guidelines. This year you might have a new feature pool to choose from, updated image sizes to adhere to, or an entirely new social network or app to utilize. As marketers, you need to be aware of these changes and understand how they contribute to your upcoming holiday campaigns.

In addition to our always up-to-date social media image sizes guide, here are some of 2014’s social network highlights and guides.





Be Ready for Mobile

Last year’s biggest piece of holiday marketing advice encouraged brands to “go mobile.” This came from Facebook, which also reported that more than 100 million people access the social network from mobile every day in the U.S. alone. That number has since grown to 654 million as of June 2014, which only strengthens the importance of this tip for the upcoming season.

According to Google, 52 percent of online smartphone shoppers used their phones throughout the shopping process during the 2013 holiday season. As marketers, the biggest mistake you can make this holiday season is not optimizing your campaign for mobile. This includes everything from your website and email newsletter to the content and ads you share across social networks.

Whether you’re directing shoppers back to your website, landing page, or social profile, make sure that every click is optimized for mobile. More importantly, don’t send your customers on a digital scavenger hunt in order to access critical details like price and availability. From Buy buttons to Rich Pins, social networks are giving marketers better tools to engage shoppers across devices and it’s time to start using them.

Keep Your Focus on Customers

The holidays can be a crazy time for businesses both big and small, but they don’t have to be. Even if you don’t have a global brand bandwidth or budget, there is still plenty of opportunity to go big this holiday season. Whether you’re launching ad campaigns or engaging in a themed social conversation, everything you do comes back to customer care.

Start the Season Off Right With These Holiday Marketing Tips

Join Sprout Social on Tuesday, November 11th at 10 a.m. PST for our Effective Social Customer Care for the Holidays webinar. Click here to sign up. We’ve teamed up with Twitter and the Google Small Business Community to deliver tips on writing and delivering content that drives engagement, in addition to helpful hints on how to manage responses, resolve issues, and delight customers during this critical time of year.

The post Start the Season Off Right With These Holiday Marketing Tips appeared first on Sprout Social.

New Halloween images show low light capabilities of Nexus 6


As Google prepares to unleash the Nexus 6 on the world, one of the changes we will see with this device is Google’s move to position it against competitor’s flagship devices. Along with more of an effort to load the device up with top of the line hardware, buyers will also pay a higher cost to get the Nexus 6. This means users will be expecting better performance from the smartphone including one feature that has not been a strong suit for the Nexus line, the camera. When Google’s own Matias Duarte decided to post some Halloween jack-o-lantern pics taken with the Nexus 6, we definitely wanted to check them out.

For the Nexus 6, Motorola went with the same Sony 13MP sensor used in the Moto X (2014). This same sensor is also used by LG in both the LG G3 and the LG G2 and by Samsung in the Galaxy S4. Performance should be comparable to those devices in both daylight and low light settings.

Duarte, via his Google+ page, posted a couple pics of the carved pumpkins waiting at his house when he returned from some recent travels. This is a pretty typical activity we could expect to see from smartphone users, so the resulting pics may give us a good idea of what to expect from the Nexus 6. The images appear to be pretty good quality, picking up lots of detail in the lit areas, including surface details where the light from the jack-o-lanterns reflect off the sidewalk. One of the images has some brighter indoor light intruding into the frame and can see the sensor did a pretty good job of handling the different levels across the scene.

What do you think of the images?


source: +Matias Duarte

Come comment on this article: New Halloween images show low light capabilities of Nexus 6

How to Make “Free Shipping” Profitable

Offering free shipping will improve your conversion rate. Guaranteed! But, it also can kill your profit margins if you’re not careful.

So, how do you make free shipping profitable?

In this article, I’ll review four simple tests that any e-commerce store owner can run to maximize profits on a free shipping offer. If you do this right, you can see 15-30% improvement in net profit (not just conversion). The steps are:

  • Establish a Baseline: Compare conversion with and without a free shipping offer.
  • Create Thresholds: Increase the minimum order value required for free shipping, and test the improvement in margin.
  • Set Restrictions: See what kind of improvement you’ll get by offering free shipping only on select products where it is profitable.
  • Enact Price Increases: Increase all your product prices to compensate for the loss you take on free shipping, and see how your profit compares.

We’ll use real data from an e-commerce site that ran these experiments. To maintain client confidentiality, I’ve drafted some sample screenshots using a generic logo rather than the company specific page. The tests and data, though, are real.

Let’s dive in!

Why You Should Offer Free Shipping

Adding free shipping to e-commerce sites is a surefire way to improve your conversion rate. Do a quick search on “Free Shipping Conversion Rate” and you’ll find plenty of case studies:

Any e-commerce owner is going to be thrilled to raise orders/sales by this much. However, unless repeat purchases drive a large portion of your sales, offering free shipping may not be profitable. It’s not worth offering free shipping unless you can make the offer profitable.

Many store owners have tried free shipping in the past, gotten burned by low profit margins, and simply refuse to do any further testing. This is a common objection, and I want to review how you can overcome this to truly maximize your site.

How to Set Up Your Tests

Before you do any type of A/B testing, you have to be clear on what you are optimizing for. In e-commerce this is particularly important, as there are tradeoffs between optimizing for net margin versus optimizing for lifetime value.

For the tests below, I strongly recommend optimizing for net profit per visitor. While both Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely make optimizing for revenue easy, optimizing for net profit per visitor is more difficult because you need to actually track what products are purchased in order to understand your margins on each product.

To optimize for net profit, you should create two different site versions and do a split URL test rather than a standard A/B test using CSS overrides. This will make the net profit calculations much easier.

Here’s what I mean:

split url test

css override

You could do a “hack” and do a simple CSS override where you change the prices on the front-end, but not on the back-end. But, that’s kind of a bad customer experience, so it’s much better (at least I think) to create two separate site versions.

OK, now the actual tests:

1. Establish Your Baseline

Before even worrying about whether you can make free shipping profitable, you need to test how much making the offer will lift your conversion rate in the first place. If offering free shipping won’t raise conversion, why go through all the trouble?

First, you should A/B test your conversion rate with and without the free shipping offer. Here’s an example test:

Original Header


Test Header – Free Shipping Added


This test is easy to implement visually. You simply need to make a free shipping offer in the header. But, to be able to offer this, I’d recommend coding up two different versions of the site so that you can more easily track which orders you offer shipping on and which you don’t.

Here are the results:

  • Conversion Improvement: +26%
  • Average Order Value: +5%
  • Net Margin/Order: -32%

Total Improvement in Profit = (1.26) * (1.05) * (0.68) = -10%

This is what I label your “baseline improvement” in conversion. It shows you how much “potential” you have to boost conversion rate/profit. Looking at the numbers above, we know we have a big opportunity. A 26% lift in conversion is huge! Now, it’s just a matter of running a few more tests to see if we can get profits up at the same time.

(Boosting conversion at the expense of profit may not be a bad thing if you are looking to optimize toward customer LTV. For example, if repeat business is a large portion of your sales, it’s worth taking a lower upfront profit to get new customers, and maybe you could even dynamically offer free shipping depending on whether someone is an existing or new customer. But, to keep things simple, we’ll assume that net profit is the goal.)

Here’s what you do next:

2. Shipping Thresholds

The most obvious way for you to save your margins while offering free shipping is to raise your threshold. This “forces” customers to spend more to get free shipping and helps to raise your margins.

For example, this store originally offered free shipping on orders over $100, but what if you offered:

  • Free shipping over $125
  • Free shipping over $150

Setting up an experiment for this is simple. Just change out the header values and edit the code to change the price at which free shipping is offered. Here are screenshots to illustrate this:

Test Headers – A and B

Free Shipping Over $125 – A


Free Shipping Over $150 – B


Here are the results:

Version A – $125

  • Conversion Improvement: +20%
  • Average Order Value: +10%
  • Net Margin/Order: -13%

Total Improvement in Net Profit/Visitor = 15%

Version B – $150

  • Conversion Improvement: +8%
  • Average Order Value: +8%
  • Net Margin/Order: -5%

Total Improvement in Net Profit/Visitor = 11%

Yes! Adding thresholds beats the original Free Shipping Over $100, with a lower threshold actually performing better on net profit and conversion improvement.

This type of “tipping point” is common when testing thresholds. If you ask customers to make too high an investment, you scare them away; too low and you don’t have enough margin. The name of the game is to figure out the exact price at which to offer free shipping in order to get your best threshold.

You can imagine limitless possibilities here for prices, but I strongly recommend keeping things simple. Offers like “Free Shipping Over $105!” tend to confuse consumers as it’s not a standard price.

At this point, you could stop testing and use Free Shipping Over $125 as the winner. But, with a “test everything” attitude, there still are two other things you should try in order to get your highest total profit:

3. Restricted Shipping

A third easy way for you to make free shipping offers work for you is to offer them only on products where you know the shipping cost is low. Here’s an example:

Restriction – Shoes Only


This type of offer is “safe” because you know you can afford to make this type of offer long-term. It’s also easy to implement. Again, simply a visual change in the header, and then some coding in the cart to be sure you’re offering free shipping only on orders with shoes.

Here are the results:

  • Conversion Improvement: +8%
  • Average Order Value: +2%
  • Net Margin/Order: -2%

Total Improvement in Net Margin = 8%

A restriction worked better than the original free shipping offer in this case simply because it didn’t cut into margin. But, it stinks when compared with the threshold. It’s also interesting to note that in this test, sales of shoes compared with the other product lines remained flat.

Restrictions generally work best when you have one type of product that dominates your sales and has low shipping cost. For example, if most customers are coming to your site to buy shoes, then of course offering free shipping on shoes is going to appeal to a large number of your customers. If, on the other hand, you have a variety of products, then you shouldn’t expect a huge improvement from offering shipping only on one product.

Once you’ve reached this point, you’ve got one test left:

4. Test Higher Product Prices

The last “trick” in your bag is to try combining higher product prices with an offer of free shipping.

Generally, increasing prices will lower conversion, but the key here is the total combined net effect of the price increase with the conversion decrease.

Enough theory, here’s an example:



Test – Higher Prices and Free Shipping


The store increased prices on all items in the test version with free shipping by ~10%. (The higher prices were to offset the shipping costs.) Note that you absolutely must design two different versions of your site to truly implement this test. It’s much easier to create two different versions of the site and test them against each other in a split URL test than to do a “hack” with standard A/B testing software.

Here are the results:

  • Conversion Improvement: +18%
  • Average Order Value: +15%
  • Net Margin/Order: -5%

Total Net Improvement = (1.18) * (1.15) * (.95) = 26% Improvement in Net Margin


Doing a simple price increase across the board decreased conversion rate improvement but raised average order value and net margin per order enough to make up for this. This test crushed the previous baseline and showed a 26% improvement in net margin. Winner!

Will this work for you? It depends on how competitive your niche is:

  • Unique, Non-Competitive Niche: You likely can combine free shipping with a price improvement and see a total net improvement in margin. This is because customers aren’t “price shopping” and you have some leverage with your product.
  • Commodity/Competitive Niches: If you’re selling used laptops, car parts, etc., then this strategy may not work as well for you, although it’s still worth testing. Consumers aren’t always rational when making a purchase. And, if your competitors are not offering free shipping, it’s worth trying it out.

Again, because price testing requires a bit of coding work, it’s best to leave these tests to the end. But with results like this, it’s well worth the effort.


Don’t stop at free shipping alone! Once you’ve determined how much free shipping lifts your conversion rate, try adjusting your thresholds, using restrictions, and increasing your prices to squeeze some additional profits from your free shipping offer. See if you can find the ideal combination of higher conversion rate and profits that give you a profit boost and new additional acquired customers.

About the Author: Andy Hunt is the lead optimizer at Uplift, where he oversees all optimization challenges. For more CRO tips, you can follow him on Twitter @upliftroi.

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger: The Future of Big Data

2014-31-October-Big-Foot-Bionic-Man.jpg[W]e can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.

One of the most popular TV shows in the mid ’70s was the Six Million Dollar Man, which told the story of astronaut Steve Austin, who after an accident was rebuilt as a superhuman cyborg, combining the best of the human mind and robotic enhancements. This "Better. Stronger. Faster." has become a foundational theme in describing the benefits of technology. Whether you prefer the wording of the 1970’s version or the 2007 Daft Punk "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," the basic themes resonate with organizations that want to improve the value and power of their technologies.

Big data is no exception. Although we have used the three Vs of Volume, Variety and Velocity as a basis for defining big data for over a decade, the truth is that each of these Vs is solved through different technologies — there is no one solution to solve all of these problems. This conflation of big data characteristics has only become confusing since the phrase "big data" truly took off in 2011.

Read full story...

Chelsea Handler calls Instagram sexist for taking down her topless photo


Warning: the following article contains content that may be considered not safe for work.

People love Chelsea Handler's outrageously crude and crass brand of humor — unless those people work at Instagram.

On Thursday night, Handler posted a picture of herself on her Instagram page mocking Russian president and bear-hating, horseback riding outdoorsman Vladimir Putin. Authentic to the original picture of Putin, Handler appeared completely topless.


Soon after Handler posted the racy picture, Instagram quickly removed it from her page, as per their community guidelines. Toplessness, at least for women, is against the rules on the social media network. Read more...

More about Social Media, Womens Rights, Instagram, Tv, and Facebook

How Facebook Sped Up News Feed on iOS

NewsFeediPad650News Feed is the starting point for most Facebook users’ journeys through the social network, but it began slowing down on the flagship iOS application due to steps that were taken to speed up other components of the app. iOS developer Adam Ernst explained what steps were taken to quicken the loading of News Feed in a post on the Facebook engineering blog.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Friday Morning Laughs: Radcliffe Raps, Reporter Forgets About Mic

Happy Halloween! How cool is it that it FINALLY lands on a Friday? We’ve got a variety today, a mix of spooky and funny. Well, more funny and cute, really. Hope you enjoy and don’t get into too much mischief tonight.

Wedding Fireball Cam

Who doesn’t like a little Fireball with their GoPro? Wedding guests got creative at a wedding for Brian and Allie … the video descriptor was simply, “Congrats Brian and Allie!” Yes, congrats, guys. Cheers!


Want to Become Your Own Specter Spy?

If you want to unleash your inner ghost hunter tonight, check out Specter Spy. This app literally turns your smartphone into a paranormal investigator. Spooky, right?


Never Forget About the Mic

Reporter Ginger Chan of KTLA 5 in Los Angeles called co-worker Sam Rubin “fat” on-air. Her reaction to realizing her mic was on while she said it is priceless. Apparently, they hugged it out afterward.


Harry Potter Raps

Color me impressed. Harry Potter’s got skills. Watch Daniel Radcliffe kill Blackalicious’ Alphabet Aerobics. Wow.


Pets in Costumes

OMG, pets in costumes. Not so much scary as it is a cuteness overload.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

How to Increase Engagement on Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Increase Engagement on Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those without?


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Why People Leave Your Website [Infographic]

lonely-child-sitting-in-cornerAttracting visitors to your website is only the first step -- once they get there, you want to make sure they hang around.

What's more, you want them to click through to other pages on your website, whether that means reading a blog post, filling out a landing page form, or (hallelujah!) actually buying READ MORE »

Starbucks will offer delivery through its app, and a ‘Starbucks for Life’ contest


Starbucks said Thursday that it will offer a delivery option on its mobile app in select areas of the U.S. starting next year.

The company declined to provide more details, but has been pushing to get people to use its app as a way to build customer loyalty. It also previously said it plans to let customers across the country place orders ahead of time on their smartphone by next year, an option intended to get people in and out of stores quicker.

In addition, the chain will run a contest in December offering 10 lucky winners "Starbucks for Life" — although the prize is really just for 30 years. There weren't many details yet, but customers will be able to enter by using the Starbucks app or a loyalty card. Read more...

More about Starbucks, Mobile Payments, Business, and Marketing

Amazon exec admits Fire Phone pricing was too high, but it was more than that


The Amazon Fire Phone was a dud based on the fact that company took a $170 million hit because of it. Pricing was probably the biggest complaint of the phone, which was $199 (32 GB) on a two year contract. Senior Vice President of Devices David Limp told Fortune, “We didn’t get the price right. I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected.” That correction came in September, when the price came down to 0.99 cents on the same two year contract.

Sales did increase, but seriously? The Fire Phone was never going to be a success because it offered nothing compelling. Amazon has done well with tablets, but they aren’t as personal as a smartphone is. When people buy a smartphone on contract, they want to buy something from a reputable company. Amazon is a reputable company, but not for smartphones.

Let’s just hope that we never see a Fire Phone 2. Stick to what you do best Amazon and that is offer merchandise at a great price with fast delivery.

source: Fortune

Come comment on this article: Amazon exec admits Fire Phone pricing was too high, but it was more than that

4 ways to prepare your business for Facebook’s like gate ban


By now, you’ve surely heard about Facebook’s like gate ban that will go into effect on Nov. 5.

If you somehow missed it, here’s a quick rundown.

In August, Facebook announced that they would no longer allow businesses pages to like-gate or fan-gate their content. In essence this means businesses can longer withhold information or materials from their fans in exchange for “liking” their page. This announcement affected custom Facebook page apps, which are also known as tabs, or as we like to call them, campaigns.

Well, the November 5 deadline is quickly approaching so now’s the time to make sure your Facebook efforts won’t be negatively affected by this change.

Here are 4 ways to prepare your business for Facebook’s like gate ban:

1. Remove Any Active Like-Gate Campaigns You Have Published

Are you currently running a like-gated Facebook campaign? If so, you’ll want to adjust your campaigns to fit the new guidelines so that going forward your fans will see the content you want them to see.

Starting November 5, Facebook’s new API will mean all fans will see the same content.

This change will affect businesses differently depending on which third-party platform they are using to build their Facebook campaigns. The recommended best practice is for businesses to simply remove any like-gates and make the same content available to everyone.

2. Update Your “Gates”

Growing Facebook Likes is really just a small part of the social media picture but if it’s one of your goals, it’s still possible to do, even without like-gating. Want an example? Read about Great Lakes, a student loan service that recently grew their Facebook fans by 200 percent without like-gating.

If you were like-gating content, there are ways you can still gate that content in order to collect something valuable from your followers. We call it action-gating.

Action-gating is a function that lets you ask users for the information you need — e.g., an email address, phone number or location, in exchange for access to your Campaigns — to strengthen your marketing efforts.

Removing the “force” of a like-gate should result in higher quality fans.

Here’s an example showing how Ocado, an online supermarket, action-gated their campaign to learn more about the type of restaurants their shoppers would be interested in opening.


3. Ask For a Like

Just because you won’t be able to force people to like your page, doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them to do so. There are a few ways you can go about asking for a like, here are some examples.

Great Lakes listed a few benefits their fans would get if they liked the Great Lakes Facebook Page, such as updates on sweepstakes and helpful information about student loans.

likegate2Another company included a “Like Our Page” link at the bottom of their form so when entrants finish filling in their information they’re directed back to the brand’s Facebook page where they can then like the page.


 4. Brainstorm Other Places to Host Campaigns

Facebook’s like-gating ban opens up opportunities to expand beyond Facebook, to work on establishing a presence on other social networks, and to think beyond collecting likes. For instance, you might be interested in collecting email addresses or demographic information.

We recently surveyed social media marketers on what their top business goals were for their social media strategies and our users were interested in the following:


The survey showed us that businesses are already thinking beyond likes and focusing on other valuable goals that will bring more customers, engagement and leads to their business.

Once you’ve determined what your new goals are, consider how additional social networks can help you achieve them.

If your goal is to collect leads from your audience, you can now collect those leads from your entire online audience by publishing your campaign to the web, instead of to (or in addition to) Facebook.

By placing your campaign on the web you can increase the volume of information you’ll gather, and also increase the quality of that information. You’ll have the ability to easily drive traffic from Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your blog and your website directly to your campaign without any hassle.

This policy change is a sign that even Facebook recognizes that there is information much more valuable than likes.

If marketers can begin to shift their thinking to align with Facebook’s, I believe they’ll see better results from their efforts. And, with a few tweaks you can have your business page ready for the upcoming changes.

If you have any questions about the upcoming like-gate changes, feel free to tweet us @shortstacklab.

Jim Belosic is co-founder and CEO of ShortStacka self-service custom application-design tool used to create apps for Facebook pages, websites, and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies, and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines, and more

Inside Wikileaks’s Servers

One hundred and fifteen feet deep under ground, inside a mountain on the Southside in central Stockholm, behind huge doors that look like a gateway to the future, lies one of the world’s coolest offices.

Women With More Children Are More Productive At Work

A word of encouragement for my working moms: You are actually more productive than your childless peers.

Got a Question for Mark Zuckerberg?

MarkZuckerbergEmployeeQA650Friday is question-and-answer day at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., as co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosts a weekly Q&A where employees can ask him questions on any topic. Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post that since all of the social network’s users can’t come to Menlo Park, he is bring Menlo Park to the users by hosting a community Q&A on Facebook.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

OnePlus One dressed in Kevlar pictured


Pictured above appears to be a OnePlus One with a StyleSwap cover made of Kevlar. In fact, it looks a lot like the DROID Turbo’s ballistic nylon that features Kevlar underneath.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will ever see this option since OnePlus put the kibosh on StyleSwap covers until probably the next  generation phone. However, this cover isn’t all that surprising since they did say they would offer a variety of StyleSwap textures such as silk, sandstone, denim, and yes, Kevlar. So this is likely a prototype cover that will never get released, at least for the OnePlus One.

One more pic after the break.


source: Weibo
via: G4Games

Come comment on this article: OnePlus One dressed in Kevlar pictured

Funding Daily: Today’s biggest tech funding news, in one place

Funding Daily: Today’s biggest tech funding news, in one place
Image Credit: Miran Rijavec

Get all the tech funding news of the day delivered straight to your mailbox! Sign up for Funding Daily and never miss a deal.

Here’s a list of today’s tech funding stories, updated as the day unfolds. Tip us here if you have a deal to share.

Slack raises $120M from Google & Kleiner Perkins at $1.12B valuation

Corporate messaging tool Slack announced today that it has closed a $120 million round led by Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. The new round values the company at $1.12 billion, post funding — a massive valuation for an eight-month-old company. San Francisco-based Slack was quick to point this out in its press release: “Having just launched in February, this milestone marks Slack as the fastest growing SaaS company ever.”

Read more

Cloud provider Joyent bets the farm on containers, adds $15M

Joyent, a provider of public-cloud infrastructure and software companies can use to create clouds in their own data centers, is announcing today that it’s brought in $15 million in new funding. Existing investors El Dorado Ventures, EPIC Ventures, Intel Capital, LGI Ventures, and Orascom TMT Investments participated in the round among others. There were no new investors.

Read more

This list will be updated with breaking funding news all day. Check back for more.

The Weekly Measure: Social Media Blunder, Ecommerce Content Resources, & PPC Certification

The Internet marketing world is constantly churning out new ideas and innovative strategies for promoting clients and reaching customers. Each week, Vertical Measures will be collecting the best of the best from around the web, compiling all of the finest into The Weekly Measure. We’ll be on the lookout for great new articles, covering content marketing, paid search, social media, SEO and link building, as well as highlights of upcoming internet marketing conferences and webinars, and we look forward to reading your work, posting the best, and helping you stay connected every week.


40+ Ecommerce Content Marketing Resources

Kaila Strong wrote an article on the Vertical Measures blog sharing an extensive list of Ecommerce content marketing resources. In her article, she draws together resources published in the last twelve months by some of the industry’s greats that demonstrate the importance of content marketing for Ecommerce companies.

How to Turn Research Into Content Marketing Strategy AND Tactics

turn-research-into-content-strategyAndrea Serrette posted to Content Marketing Institute discussing how to utilize research in a content marketing strategy. Serette writes on how surveys can be effective research tools in understanding one’s audience. She then provides seven steps for creating a survey and how to leverage research results as part of a content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Lagging? Avoid These 4 Mistakes

content-marketing-mistakesNicole Fallon posted an article on Business News Daily about common mistakes made in content marketing. In her article, Fallon discusses four specific content marketing mistakes and what can be done to avoid them.


The Importance of PPC Industry Certification

Eric Couch published an article on PPC Hero about the importance of PPC industry certification. In his article, Couch provides information on two of the most common industry certification programs, Bing and Google.

Are You Avoiding These 3 Trouble Areas in International PPC?

paid-advertising-b2b-content-marketers In an article on Search Engine Watch, Pauline Jakober discusses troubles international brands face when managing paid search abroad. Jakober identifies three common major trouble areas including branding, lack of communication, and clambering for a budget.


What Gets Most Exposure: YouTube Links Or Facebook Video?

On Social Media Today, Emile Cole looked at YouTube and Facebook video services to decide which is best to get the most exposure for content. Cole identifies Facebook’s new video features, video view counts and in-picture links to related video, and how they relate to recent changes in the site’s algorithm that aid in video exposure. He goes on to compare Facebook’s video service with YouTube discussing the different types of exposure each site offers.

How to Correct a Social Media Blunder

correct-social-media-blunder In an article posted on The Next Web, Mackensie Smith discusses how to correct a social media blunder. She goes over specific steps that can be taken in an attempt to minimize the damage of a social media mistake including owning the conversation through tools such as uberVU, not being overly defensive or aggressive in responses to negative backlash, and offering an honest apology. Additionally, she offers six rules to help a company move on after damage control steps have been taken.


SEO Must Be About More Than Your Website

Casie Gillette posted to Search Engine Land discussing how SEO should be about more than a company’s website and utilize other channels to optimize for search. She explains how offline, social and email channels can be used for effective SEO.

3 Ways to Form More Integrated Social and SEO Teams

ways-to-form-more-integrated-social-and-seo-teamsOn Search Engine Watch, Brittney Sheffield wrote about forming more integrated social and SEO teams. She shares three ways social and SEO teams can work together to form a mututally beneficial relationship that can provide a better experience for a company’s target audience.


Link Building Post-Penguin 3.0: 6 Ways to Earn High Quality Links

Jayson DeMers wrote an article on Forbes about link building post-Penguin 3.0. DeMers shares six methods of earning high-quality links through content strategy including guest blogging and infographics that will not lead to penalties from Google.

Surviving Link Building in 2014

surviving-link-building-2014Tiny DiSerafino published an article on Business 2 Community about surviving link building in 2014. He discusses what link building is and how it can be an effective SEO tool. He then discusses three strong strategies for link building in 2014 including establishing personal connections, building links that are relevant to content, and quality over quantity.


November 3-6, 2014: ClickZ Live Chicago, IL

November 11-13, 2014: Internet Summit Raleigh, NC

November 13-14, 2014: SMX Milan Milan, Italy

November 17-19, 2014: Content Strategy Applied USA San Jose, CA

November 19-20, 2014: SMX Social Las Vegas, NV

December 9-10, 2014: Dallas Digital Summit Dallas, TX

Cloud provider Joyent bets the farm on containers, adds $15M

Cloud provider Joyent bets the farm on containers, adds $15M
Image Credit: Joyent

Joyent, a provider of public-cloud infrastructure and software that companies can use to create clouds in their own data centers, is announcing today that it’s brought in $15 million in new funding.

The deal shows investors believe there’s still room for cloud providers other than the big three — Amazon, Google, and Microsoft — even as they become more and more appealing to companies with new features and price cuts. But the new funding also points to the wisdom of the low-level technology Joyent has long used to run multiple applications efficiently on each physical server.

Joyent has primarily focused on pushing a SmartOS operating system that uses “zones” for securely running applications, based on Sun’s once-open-source operating system, Solaris. SmartOS skips the sort of virtualization technology that enterprise software company VMware made popular, which uses a hypervisor to create multiple virtual machines for running applications on each server.

But while Joyent may have gotten to this solution first, Docker has gotten credit for inventing “container” technology, which packages up application code and can be moved from one server environment to another without tinkering with code.

Over the past year and a half, Docker “sort of made containers what all the cool kids were doing,” Joyent chief executive Scott Hammond told VentureBeat.

Now Joyent wants to emphasize its ability to run applications inside zones or, well, containers, which it has talked about since as early as 2006, long before Docker made containers a buzzword in cloud-computing circles.

Hammond has focused on containers since joining Joyent in July, after talking with employees and customers. He came away from those talks, he said, “with the conviction that we now have a path to connect what Joyent does to the Docker community and to compete in what I see as a runtime infrastructure layer for these sort of application containers that people like Docker have really popularized.”

So Joyent is taking more money “to build and scale container-driven cloud infrastructure,” according to a statement.

Hammond said Joyent won’t try to compete with the biggest public clouds on price.

“Today we emphasize value of the services, and we will always do that,” Hammond said. “I think trying to be in a price war with Amazon or Google is a death march. We’ll continue to focus on the differentiation we get from underlying technology.”

The trouble is, VMware, IBM, Microsoft, and Red Hat, among others, have also seen the light about containers in different ways.

“I think the next step now is for companies like Joyent to position themselves as the best, highly differentiated runtime environment for Docker containers,” Hammond said.

San Francisco-based Joyent started in 2004. It most recently announced funding — an $85 million round — in January 2012. Cofounder Jason Hoffman left his position as chief technology officer in September 2013.

Existing investors El Dorado Ventures, EPIC Ventures, Intel Capital, LGI Ventures, and Orascom TMT Investments participated in the round, among others. There were no new investors.

Much of Joyent’s revenue comes from the public cloud, Hammond said, with that part of the business carrying a 10 percent quarter-over-quarter growth rate. The newer private-cloud software business, he said, has a 35 percent growth rate.

A spokeswoman said Joyent’s number of “unique customers” has gone up 45 percent year over year. Customers include Nerve, Nodejitsu, Quizlet, and Wanelo.

Joyent is the high-performance cloud infrastructure company, offering the only solution specifically built to power real-time web and mobile applications. Joyent’s streamlined stack and unique cloud analytics enable companies to a... read more »

How to Create Content That Drives Lots of Organic Traffic

Have you ever wondered why some types of content generate lots of search traffic and others don't? I too was wondering about that, so I started to look for patterns and analyze competing blogs. What I found was interesting - so interesting that I decided to create an infographic to illustrate my findings. If you want to generate more organic traffic from your content marketing efforts, follow the steps in the infographic below. Read More

Microsoft says public beta of new Office for Mac coming in first half of 2015

In releasing a new version of Outlook for Mac on Friday, Microsoft also revealed will launch an update to its Office suite for Mac next year, allowing users to test it in the first half of 2015 before a launch sometime in the second half of the year.

Fake Twitter Profile Reveals Consumer Engagement Levels [Study]

Using a fictional fashion brand's Twitter profile as a case study, Isobar found consumers' perceptions of the brand were altered by number of followers and tone of voice.

100 rejected pumpkins vs. 1 massive snow blower


After Halloween is said and done, all of the lonely pumpkins unworthy of carving are left to rot.

Instead of letting 100 perfectly ugly pumpkins go to waste, Ventrac, a company that produces compact tractors, decided to see if one of its snow blowers could effectively smash and launch them

Take a look for yourself, above.

More about Viral Videos, Pumpkins, Watercooler, and Videos

New Google AdWords “Automated Extensions” Report Rolling Out

First, what are “automated extensions”? This is the new term for what were once known as “annotations” — Consumer Ratings and Seller Ratings which automatically populate in AdWords ads. Google said it is retiring the use of “annotations” and replacing it...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Massive drill bit nearly skewers New Yorkers in packed subway car


We're adding this one to our list of the many ways New York City is trying to kill us.

A massive drill nearly tore through a packed F train on Thursday afternoon in what one Metropolitan Transportation Authority supervisor is calling "a near miss."

“Oh my God! If it had hit the train, you could forget about it! Of course we are concerned," the supervisor said.

Photos show how close construction drill bit was to cutting into top of occupied #F train

— John Lauinger (@jmlauinger) October 30, 2014

More about New York City, Us World, Us, and Subways

‘Historical implications’ made Apple Watch more difficult to design than original iPhone, Jony Ive says

Speaking at a live event this week, Apple's chief designer Jony Ive said creating the forthcoming Apple Watch was a "humbling" experience that presented an even greater challenge than designing the iPhone, due to the legacy of traditional wrist watches.

The Millennial Future: How Marketers Are Coming Of Age

Contributor Liane Dietrich shares tips on how brands are successfully tapping into the millennial market. The post The Millennial Future: How Marketers Are Coming Of Age appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Facebook is now available through Tor for ramped-up privacy


The "deep web" is not only home to shady online drug bazaars where you can exchange bitcoins for drugs, but also portals where whistleblowers can safely pass sensitive documents to journalists.

Now, it's also also home to Facebook.

The social network announced on Friday that it is now hosted directly on the Tor network to allow for an even more secure and private way to connect to Facebook.

People using Tor, software that allows for safe and anonymous web browsing, can now connect directly to Facebook using its new onion address (https://facebookcorewwwi.onion/), also known as a hidden service. Read more...

More about Facebook, Tor, Social Media, Us, and World

Call Mobile Rehab: U.S. Adults Are Serious App-aholics

In just the past year, they added 20 minutes a day to their mobile app habits.

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: November 2014

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for almost seven years now1, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

This post features free desktop wallpapers created by artists across the globe for November 2014. Both versions with a calendar and without a calendar can be downloaded for free. It’s time to freshen up your wallpaper!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • You can feature your work in our magazine2 by taking part in our Desktop Wallpaper Calendars series. We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists to be featured on Smashing Magazine. Are you one of them?

On The Edge Of Forever

“November has always reminded me of famous Guns N’ Roses song, so I’ve decided to look at it’s meaning from a different perspective. The story in my picture takes place somewhere in space, where a young guy beholds a majestic meteor shower and wonders about mysteries of the Universe.” — Designed by Aliona Voitenko3 from Ukraine.

On The Edge of Forever4

Hello World, Happy November!

“I often read messages at Smashingmagazine from the people in the southern hemisphere ‘it’s spring, no autumn!’ so I ‘d liked to design a wallpaper for the northern and southern hemisphere. Here it is, northerners and southerns, hope you like it!” — Designed by Agnes Swart46 from the Netherlands.

Hello world, happy November!47

My First Fall

Designed by Think Tifferent87 from Seattle, WA.

My First Fall88

Rainy Days

Designed by Alexandra Santos120 from Portugal.

Rainy Days121

A Gentleman’s November

Designed by Cedric Bloem163 from Belgium.

A Gentleman's November164

Movember 2k14

“My support for the movember charity event!” — Designed by Niels Meulders206 from Belgium.

Movember 2k14207


“Why say no when you can say yes? This month has a lot of cool days to celebrate and set the mood for an awesome end of the year! Enjoy!” — Designed by Printsome249 from United Kingdom.


Collect Good People

“The most important thing to enjoy your life is to be surrounded by good people. So, do it!” — Designed by Monk Software294 from Italy.

Collect Good People295

November Ingredients

“Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, there’s certain things that always make the harvest season special. As a Floridian, I’m a big fan of any signs that the weather might be cooling down soon, too!” — Designed by Dorothy Timmer307 from Central Florida, USA.

November Ingredients308


“The design of trees has always fascinated me. Each one has it’s own unique entanglement of branches. With or without leaves they are always intriguing. Take some time to enjoy the trees around you – and the one on this wallpaper if you’d like!” — Designed by Rachel Litzinger350 from Chiang Rai, Thailand.


Simple Leaves

Designed by Nicky Somers371 from Belgium.

Simple leaves372

All Lines Point To November

“November often means rain and cold temps, but there’s beauty to be found in that as I found in this moment – the wet lines lead the way.” — Designed by Aisha Souto-Maior386 from Paris based, NY bred.

All lines point to November387

The Rain Through My Window

“I love watching the rain through the window when I stay at home. I like November, cold, rain, walnuts and chestnuts. I think that the Autumn is wonderful!” — Designed by Veronica Valenzuela417 from Spain.

I love the rain through my window!418

November Bird

Designed by Arnold Skawinski438 from Poland.

November bird439

The Family Owl

Designed by Brent Schuddinck477 from Belgium.

The family Owl478


“It’s cold in november, so you have to stay closer. Also: Inktober and American Horror Story” — Designed by Anja Sturm520 from Germany.

November 521

Smells Like Winter

“The last month of autumn, but the beginning of a new adventure” — Designed by Design19565 from Romania.

Smells like winter 566

Join In Next Month!

Please note that we respect and carefully consider the ideas and motivation behind each and every artist’s work. This is why we give all artists the full freedom to explore their creativity and express emotions and experience throughout their works. This is also why the themes of the wallpapers weren’t anyhow influenced by us, but rather designed from scratch by the artists themselves.

A big thank you to all designers for their participation. Join in next month620!

What’s Your Favorite?

What’s your favorite theme or wallpaper for this month? Please let us know in the comment section below.



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The post Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: November 2014 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Search In Pics: World Series Game, Penguin Office & Halloween At Google

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. The Google Penguin Office: Source: Google+ Google’s Timothy Jordan...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Creative Polite Banners Corner Best Click Rates for Luxury Ads

Creative Polite Banners Corner Best Click Rates for Luxury Ads 300x168 Creative Polite Banners Corner Best Click Rates for Luxury AdsPerhaps it says as much about the general state of the economy as advertising, but when it comes to click rates for polite banner ads served up Sizmek, the luxury ads are the winners.

“The average clickthrough rate (CTR) for any polite banner ad served on the Sizmek MDX platform in H1 2014 was just 0.13 percent,” according to eMarketer. “But for luxury ads of the same format, CTRs rose to 0.37 percent — and interaction rates on the same types of ads rose from 1.32 percent for the average advertisers to 2.55 percent for luxury brands.”

Those luxury brands additionally boasted a higher-than-average dwell rate. Dwell rate is a measure of interaction with digital advertisements originally developed by Sizmek (when the company was known as DG MediaMind).

“Polite banners can really draw users in with beautiful creative,” said Michael Froggatt, principal research analyst at Sizmek. “And for web users, they aren’t as intrusive” as other formats can be. Beautiful creative is often the hallmark of luxury advertising, so it’s unsurprising that the format does particularly well with these brands. The addition to rich media of video — also in a polite format –likewise worked well for luxury advertisers on the Sizmek platform.”

As for HTML5 formats, both expandable and polite formats performed better for luxury brands than average in terms of CTRs. The company said expandable banners performed nearly twice as well for luxury brands as for the average advertiser.

5c85be84cb2a43c8ab4d0071fcec514e Creative Polite Banners Corner Best Click Rates for Luxury Ads Creative Polite Banners Corner Best Click Rates for Luxury Ads

Quarterly Global Smartphone Shipments Top 300 Million Units… Again

Quarterly Global Smartphone Shipments Top 300 Million Units... Again 300x285 Quarterly Global Smartphone Shipments Top 300 Million Units... AgainGlobal smartphone shipments soared in the third quarter of this year.

Thanks to a bounty of hot new smartphone releases and an increased emphasis on emerging markets, global smartphone shipments exploded above 300 million units for the second consecutive quarter.

The latest data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that vendors shipped a total of 327.6 million units during the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14) (and 25.2% growth vs. Q3 of 2013).

“Despite rumors of a slowing market, smartphone shipments continue to see record-setting volumes,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“We’ve finally reached a point where most developed markets are experiencing single-digit growth while emerging markets are still growing at more than 30% collectively,” Reith adds. “In these markets, smartphone price points are making mobile computing possible where we once expected feature phones to remain dominant. This is great news for overall volumes, but the challenge has now become how to make money on devices that are quickly becoming commodity products. Outside of Apple, many are struggling to do this.”

5c85be84cb2a43c8ab4d0071fcec514e Quarterly Global Smartphone Shipments Top 300 Million Units... Again Quarterly Global Smartphone Shipments Top 300 Million Units... Again

Colbert Uses ‘Star Trek’ To Explain The Midterms

We've never been more bored with the midterms, and the midterms have never been more expensive. What better time for an obscure "Star Trek" reference?

‘The Daily Show’ Tries To Find Out Just How Weird Austin Is

Austin is known as the single liberal haven in an otherwise Republican state. But why are most of their congressional representatives conservative? A lizard-man explains.

Slack Is Now Worth More Than $1 Billion

Slack, the workplace collaboration tool, raised $120 million in a new funding round that values it at $1.12 billion.

Uncovering A Killer

How Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s life spiralled from privilege to petty crime and drugs to, eventually, deadly extremism. The story of a desperate madman.

Google Enables Multiple AdWords Account Logins

Hear that? That is the communal sigh of relief echoing throughout the paid search world. The days of having several browsers open in order to manage multiple AdWords accounts simultaneously are finally over. Google announced a new workflow that allows you to switch between Google accounts without...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Newbie Growth Hacker Series: Ads that Convert [Part 1 of 3]

Expert growth hackers set up lean, scalable online sales funnels that get loads of quality traffic and convert prospects into paying customers.

It’s no wonder companies are dying to get their hands on these people: They can scale their product sales online at previously unheard of rates, and keep the ROI steady.

But this quality traffic has to come from somewhere, and when there’s no pre-existing stream of visits coming to a landing page, growth hackers use ads.

But what if you’re not an expert growth hacker?

It’s nothing to worry about: growth hacking ad techniques are easy enough to implement once you understand the mentality behind them.

The first thing we’re going to talk about in this growth hacking series for newbies is ads. They’re the top of any online sales funnel and have the power to separate high-intent traffic from casual browsers, making a true impact on your bottom line.

Once you get your ads in place, we’ll publish parts two and three of this series to help you optimize your landing pages and CTA forms with growth-hacking expertise.

growth hacker guide to ads

Ads: The Top of the Funnel

According to PewResearch, 91% of people use search engines to answer their questions or shop. And since 83% of those searching use Google, AdWords makes sense as the best place to start running ads.

If you’ve got perfect SEO and are within the first few spots for each of you’re desired search terms, you’re golden and probably won’t have to worry about ads.

But if you’re in the same boat of the vast majority of businesses, you need a little boost, and ads are what can get you there.

First Things First: Get ATTENTION!

Just don’t use all caps an exclamation marks—it looks spammy and is frowned upon by Google.

But you get the idea: There’s so much information out there vying for audience attention, it can be daunting to figure out how to separate yourself from your competitors.

The truth is, anyone can talk about a product’s benefits. That’s the easy part. The internet is flooded with people trying to sell you product A that has functionalities B and C and special feature F that their competition doesn’t include.

This works, but it’s not the most effective way to get your traffic excited about what you have to offer, because, at the end of the day, what you’re saying really isn’t any different from what everyone else is saying.

text ad examples

In my search to buy a new computer, there’s no real winner.


Finding a way to tell a story with your ad text is a true talent, but with dedicated practice anyone can cultivate it.

In fact, one of the best ads ever written is actually a short story by Ernest Hemingway. It’s so direct, many people also refer to it as a six-word novel.

Ernest Hemingway baby shoes ad

It’s succinct and gets the point across in a way the words “Brand new baby shoes for sale” never could.


Though it was written long before the days of Google Ads, it’s both an enticing advertisement and a powerful story.

It’s a somber example, but you can keep your ads upbeat and still tell a good story.

storytelling ad example

Rather than selling me tasty, fast food, the text of this Facebook ad takes a storytelling approach and whisks my mind away to Italy, making their product much more enticing.

Find more tips in these Crazy Egg articles:

Google AdWords – 6 Stealthy Hacks

Now that you’ve got an idea of what kind of ads work the best for attention-getting and quality traffic, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details of the lesser-known hacks in the backend of Google AdWords.

Avoiding easier-to-find advice about good practices like integrating keywords in ads and landing pages together for a higher quality score, adding negative keywords to your campaign lists, and favoring long-tail keywords over short basic ones, we’ll delve straight into the heart of the things experienced growth hackers do to make an instant difference in the ad campaigns they manage.

1. Analyze Search Terms

Check the actual search terms people are using when click on your ads.

You can find this in your AdWords dashboard by going to your campaign, selecting the keywords you want to check, then clicking on Details > Search Terms > Selected.

In setting up a campaign, you can get a fair amount of negative keywords and time and location targeting done using educated guesses, keyword research, and common sense. But you can never fully prepare a perfect campaign without testing it.

Looking over the search terms people use to get to your ads and analyzing the intent behind them will give you a gold mine of information to trim your campaigns, making them even more lean and effective.

You’ll uncover negative keywords you never guessed before, and information about your target audience that even the most well-designed survey couldn’t tell you.

To keep a lean, effective, and growing campaign running, check these terms at least once per week.

2. Treat High Intent Like Gold

When you begin to see which keywords and phrases offer the highest intent, treat them like gold.

For example, “where to buy a good camera” clearly comes from a person with more intent to spend money now than “good cameras.”

Realize the difference between research-based keywords and buy-based keywords. There’s nothing wrong with using researched-based keywords to send people to your blog, free resources or landing pages, but realize that they won’t provide the same ROI as buy-based keywords.

Allocating more of your budget to buy-based keywords over researched-based keywords is essential to growing your bottom line.

3. Location, Location, Location

Localizing your advertising efforts is a quick and easy way to grow trust. It’s a shame more online businesses don’t put effort into creating location-based ad and keyword groups, because doing so provides a significant increase in conversions.

This is especially true for running mobile ads.

According to Search Engine Watch, 50% of people who do a search for a product or service on their mobile device end up acting on the results within 24 hours.

And it’s easy to do.

All you have to do is take a target keyword and add “in [city/state]” or “near [city/state]” or “for [city/state].” You get the drift. Also, adding two or three more words for the location makes the keyword even more long-tail, and most of the time these CPCs are far cheaper.

So localizing your ads give you a double whammy: saving money on clicks and getting more qualified leads because the location factor works wonders in increasing trust and loyalty.

location-based ads

Even though CarMax is a nationwide business, they nailed the localization goal by creating location-specific ads to increase their business in Charlotte.


4. Divide and Conquer

Good growth hackers don’t wimp out when it comes to dividing and subdividing their ad campaigns. Even though it takes time, they go full force because they know how well it works.


Grouping a lot of ads and keywords together under generic categories might save you time now, but the time investment pales in comparison to how much it can save your budget and increase your bottom line on your different product offerings.

For example, say you’re selling watches on a jewelry site. Your silver watches are your best sellers in comparison to your gold watches, but your gold watch sales make you a lot more money. Starting your campaign, you categorize both types under “Watches” because it’s easy and it makes sense.

However, Google sees that within that group, your silver watch ads are doing better simply because more people search for them and click on them. When this happens, your silver watch ads get favored over your gold watch ads, and you miss out on potential gold watch sales.

If you separate your ads into their own separate groups with their own separate budget allocations, you don’t have to worry about this happening.

5. Automated Rules

Being a successful growth hacker is busy and hectic, especially when you’re working around the clock to set up a new sales funnel. But even with the most careful planning and attention to detail, unexpected things happen.

One of the worst nightmares of a growth hacker, especially one who is on a tight budget, is to waste precious dollars from the advertising launch because he was busy working on something else and didn’t notice something going amiss.

To combat this from the start, you can set automated rules to correct red-flag behavior within the AdWords dashboard so you can keep working without constantly scouring your dashboard for shady activity.

To set a rule, click on “Automate” from within you Keywords, Ads, Ad Groups, or Campaigns Tab. Select one of the rules you want to set in place and enter the parameter criteria. For example, you can automatically raise bids every time you drop below first page results, or pause ads that aren’t giving any ROI.

6. Ignoring Google’s Success Metrics

Metrics like cost per click provided by Google are decent tools to help you manage and predict your budget and ROI, but they’re more of a reflection of Google’s money-making goals than they are of your success.

Google makes boatloads of money from advertising, so bolster your bottom line by creating a healthy disconnect from how they skew your view to rank ads and quality scores in their favor.

Think about it: CPC really doesn’t have anything to do with your ultimate goals—it’s a direct reflection of how AdWords is structured to cash in every time someone clicks on something.

Growth hackers know saving money on precious clicks and quality traffic is important, so they do what they can to increase the quality score. But that’s not their end-all, be-all goal. Instead, they look more at the CPA (cost per action).

For example, if you’ve got a slightly higher CPC that results in fewer clicks (and less money for Google), but those fewer clicks make you more money in the end, that’s the ad you need to favor, even if it means moving down a few notches in what Google sees as a quality campaign.

More Hacking Tools

Beyond the six hacks above, there are a few tools from Google that come in handy when you’re trying to get traffic and grow your bottom line fast.

Google Trends

While you’re brainstorming, planning and setting up each campaign, use Google Trends to find out what the popular searches are in your niche and if there’s anything people are searching for that you desperately need to take advantage of.

Once the campaign is set up and running, expert growth hackers sign up for alert emails for new or changing information and plan accordingly.

how to use Google Trends

For example, this map shows the cities where the search term “lose weight” is the most popular. If you’re advertising for a new weight loss product or program, this can help you immensely with location targeting.


Impressions Share Report

While a/b testing is a powerful strategy, growth hackers hired to make a product sell now use Impressions Share Report to help them bypass the 60-day mark often required to properly measure which bidding strategy works the best.

This report tells you how many more impressions your ads and keywords would get if you placed higher bids on them. From that projection, you can look at how many impressions a keyword is getting now and their rate of return to calculate whether or not a raise in the bid limit is worth the investment.

Bid Simulator

Many growth hackers get hired to work with existing campaigns rather than starting new ones from scratch. If this is your case, you can take a look back at how your campaign’s budget was managed and think about alternative ways you could have managed it.

After inserting your prospective data for what you would have done differently, Bid Simulator gives you projections on how the campaign would have performed.

Testing, Improving, Moving Forward

Growth hacking an online sales funnel is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, detailed attention, dedication, and long hours.

Many hacks for creating stellar ad campaigns that get quality traffic and convert well are irreplaceable in getting started, but carrying a successful campaign forward into further success requires repeated, non-stop a/b testing and tweaks.

In your experience with using ads to grow traffic, what are the tactics you’ve found most effective for getting quality traffic and conversions quickly?

Do you have any advice to add for newbie growth hackers, or examples of how you’d improve some of the examples shown above? Or is there anything specific you’d like to know about growth hacking landing pages and CTA forms?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Chelsea Baldwin.

The post Newbie Growth Hacker Series: Ads that Convert [Part 1 of 3] appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Fast SEO Competitive Analysis Part 2: Competing Content Comparison

In part two of this series on fast SEO competitive analysis, we will look at understanding search behavior and choosing target keyword categories as well as competing content comparison.

Recharge Your Remarketing With 5 Tips For Q4

Columnist Eric Couch discusses his love of remarketing, complete with tips to improve your own performance this holiday season. The post Recharge Your Remarketing With 5 Tips For Q4 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Will NFC Kill Your Car Keys?

Will NFC Kill Your Car Keys Will NFC Kill Your Car Keys?Are car keys a thing of the past? If the team at NXP Semiconductors is correct in their vision, mobile devices will soon be the mechanism through which automobiles are unlocked and perhaps even started.

According to a new report from Reuters, Apple’s adoption of Near Field Communications technology is a game-changer for the future of NFC.

“Once they saw these announcements in September they kind of realized there was no going back on this technology so they better get moving and be quick on it,” Drue Freeman, Senior Vice President for global automotive sales and marketing at NXP, is quoted by Reuters.

It’s no coincidence that the company has just introduced a new lineup of NFC components made just for automobiles.

For now, Freeman won’t confirm which car makers might be among the first to integrate the technology, but European luxury car makers could roll out the first wave of NFC-ready rides in under two years.

5c85be84cb2a43c8ab4d0071fcec514e Will NFC Kill Your Car Keys? Will NFC Kill Your Car Keys?

After leaking company data, Slack raises $120M from Google & Kleiner Perkins at $1.12B valuation

Today corporate messaging tool Slack announced it has closed a $120 million round from Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.

The new round values the company at $1.12 billion, post funding — a massive valuation for an eight-month-old company. Slack was quick to point this out in its press release: “Having just launched in February, this milestone marks Slack as the fastest growing SaaS company ever.”

Slack reports that it now has “30,000+ active teams using Slack.” The company has raised a total of $180 million to date.

More to follow.

VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.

BBM updated with timed messages, the ability to retract messages, HD picture transfer, and more

BBM updated with timed messages, the ability to retract messages, HD picture transfer, and more

Above: BBM for iOS/Android, now beefed up with Voice and Channels

Image Credit: BlackBerry

BlackBerry today released a new version of BBM, adding timed messages, message retraction, HD picture transfer, among other features. If you don’t see the update just yet, you should note the company says it “may take 24 hours or more” for it to appear in your app store “depending on your mobile platform and region.”

First up, you now have a lot more control over your communications. Before you send messages and pictures, you can set how long your contacts have access to them in a chat. After you send messages and pictures, you can also “retract” them from your BBM chat.


More to follow.

Research In Motion, Ltd., is a provider of wireless solutions for the mobile communications market. The company is the designer and manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphone brand, and also creates touchscreen and mobile keyboard techn... read more »

Does the European Google Antitrust Case Have Any Merit?

Since 2009, Google has been the subject of antitrust lawsuits from almost 20 companies across Europe. Although the plaintiffs in these cases come from different sectors of the tech industry, their complaints are universal – that Google is too big, too powerful, and isn’t playing fair.

At the heart of the matter lies Google’s dominance in the European search market, and its engagement in business practices that other tech companies operating in the sector perceive as unfair.

Although Google already settled in several cases, and relented to provide more real estate to competing businesses in European SERPs, the appointment of a new European competition commissioner could reignite the debate all over again. Margrethe Vestager, who formally takes office tomorrow, could levy additional charges against Google, a move that could cost the search giant billions of dollars.

Google antitrust European Union flag

Image via Mac Observer

Unfortunately for Microsoft and the rest of the plaintiffs, their case has no merit.

Sore Losers

The biggest, and most frequently vocal, opponent to Google in Europe is Microsoft - ironic, for those who remember the FTC's investigation of Microsoft in the early 1990s and the subsequent legal battle that unfolded.

Google currently enjoys as much as 96% of the search industry market share in Europe, with Bing carving out just 3%. Against such overwhelming opposition, it’s easy to see why Microsoft would rather take its chances in the European courts than accept the fact that Google has such a deep market penetration simply by virtue of offering a superior, more popular product.

However, it’s the smaller companies that have even less of a case against Google.

In an interview with NPR, Shivaun Raff, founder of price comparison service Foundem, said that her business has “suffered” due to shady, underhanded tactics by Google.

“Google is manipulating its search results to increase its profits,” Raff told the news source.

The point Raff – and many others – seem to be missing is that this is Google’s right as a business.

Google is NOT a Public Service

I’m not against antitrust suits on principle. I believe that, at times, some wider regulatory oversight is required to ensure a level playing field. The proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which would significantly weaken net neutrality, is a prime example.

Google antitrust Comcast monopoly map

However, these cases differ in that internet access can – and should – be considered a public utility. Twenty years ago, when the web as we now know it was in its infancy, internet access was considered a luxury, and was far from essential to most households. However, times have changed, and now internet access drives much of society, necessitating an alternate approach to how the telecoms industry is regulated.

Google, on the other hand, is NOT a public service. Despite its ubiquity (particularly in Europe), Google has always been a business first and foremost. As we’ve discussed at length in the past, the majority of Google’s considerable revenues comes from its advertising business, and everything Google does – from changes to the SERPs to adjustment of its algorithms – is designed to increase profit by offering users a superior search engine.

Google antitrust Shopping ads

The question is not why should Google be allowed to prioritize its own commercial services, such as Google Shopping, but why shouldn’t it?

Popularity Contests

Speaking frankly, sites such as Foundem will never be able to compete with Google, and it’s got nothing to do with how Google prioritizes its own Shopping results in the SERPs. The reason that companies such as Foundem are virtually guaranteed to fail is that they have chosen to compete against one of the largest, most well-funded companies on the planet.

Google antitrust Monopoly board

Now, before you say it, yes – competition is a good thing for consumers, and monopolies genuinely reduce consumer choice and stifle innovation. However, what happens when consumers actively choose services offered by the biggest and best in the business?

Nobody is forced to use Google, and there are plenty of smaller search engines that offer excellent services. Duck Duck Go, for example, is an excellent search engine that offers not only relevant results, but a secure, (relatively) anonymous search experience. Best of all? Duck Duck Go was created by one man, Gabriel Weinberg, and his small startup is still based in Paoli, a tiny suburb of Philadelphia.

Industry insiders frequently cite Duck Duck Go as one of Google’s most serious competitors, proving that superior products and services are the best way to tip the balance of power from the supposedly evil giants like Google.

Google antitrust Duck Duck Go Founder Gabriel Weinberg

Duck Duck Go Founder Gabriel Weinberg. Photo via Fast Company.

Innovate, Don’t Litigate

It’s true that Google seems to have strayed far from its former motto of “Don’t Be Evil.” Its complicity in the recent NSA domestic surveillance revelations and its apparent leniency toward larger, wealthier advertisers with regard to black-hat SEO have all (rightfully) drawn fierce criticism.

It’s also true that many small businesses are forced to play by the unspoken rules of a game with only one referee – Google – and that sometimes, the little guys don’t always win. This isn’t fair, and in a utopian world, there would be another way. For now, Google holds all the cards. If businesses don’t like it, nobody’s forcing them to play.

Google antitrust European court

The answer in Europe is not going to be found in the courts. Microsoft and the other plaintiffs in the ongoing antitrust case should focus on delivering the type of experience users have come to expect. Innovation, not litigation, is what will win the battle against Google’s dominance.

The sooner everybody realizes this, stops crying foul, and starts focusing on improving their products, the better.

WordStream’s Best of the Month: October

Shhhh – be very quiet. Don’t move. Stay exactly where you are – they might see you.

Okay, I think they’re gone. No, I don’t just mean the shambling corpses wandering past the window, I mean the most popular posts from the WordStream blog in October. Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of “The Walking Dead” lately, and I rarely get the opportunity to work zombies into posts about marketing strategies.

WordStream best of the month October Walking Dead meme

Whether you’re preparing to be besieged by trick-or-treaters later tonight or have grand plans for a night on the town in your best “murderous hobo” costume, read our round-up of October’s most popular posts from October – before they find their way in.

1. Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action: In our most popular post of the month, Billy McCaffrey gives you seven tips to improve your calls-to-action, get your prospects excited about what you’re selling, and increase conversions. This post is so good, it’s scary! Sorry, I promise I’ll stop with the Halloween jokes now.

2. 3 AdWords Reports to Help You Make PPC Decisions Faster: Randi Lucius’ post about the three AdWords reports you’re probably not using was our second most popular post of October, and for good reason – there’s a lot of valuable information in here. Check it out to see where you’re going wrong.

3. How to Be a Data Scientist: An Interview with Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz: Earlier this month, Elisa Gabbert interviewed the one and only Dr. Pete of Moz. Read the interview to gain some great insights into how Moz’s resident data scientist wrangles vast swaths of data into the blog posts and reports that Moz is known and loved for.

4. AdWords Quietly Launches New Demographic Targeting Tab: In this post, WordStream’s own resident data expert Mark Irvine gives you the lowdown on Google’s new Demographic targeting tab, and what this means for PPC advertisers.

5. 22 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses with Limited Budgets: As the saying goes, small is beautiful – but this doesn’t always apply, especially if you’re trying to get the word out about your business with a tiny budget. Fortunately, Megan’s got your back in this post, in which she outlines 22 creative ideas for marketing with a limited budget.

6. Busted for Buying Links, Offers Weak Apology: Larry takes aim at in this post for being caught in the act of buying links. Why would one of the world’s largest hospitality brands stoop to buying links? Did they get away with it? How common is this practice among big brands? Read on to find out.

7. 11 Kick-Ass Call to Action Examples and Why They Work: October was a popular month for CTA posts here at WordStream. In case Billy’s post on how to create great calls-to-action wasn’t enough for you, I wrote about 11 businesses with kick-ass CTAs and what makes them so effective.

8. 5 Seriously Powerful but Underused Google AdWords Features: For my money, nobody knows PPC like WordStream’s very own Larry Kim. In this post, Larry walks you through five remarkably powerful tools available within AdWords that you’re probably not using, and what these underused tools can do for your paid search campaigns.

9. AdWords Competition Guide: 4 Tools to Help You Analyze & Beat Your Competitors: PPC can be tough, which is why it’s so important to not only know what your competitors are up to, but how you can gain that crucial edge. In this post, Helen Edwards offers some tips on how you can see what’s working for your competitors, and how to beat them at their own game.

10. 24 Best Social Media Promotion Tools: In our final post of this month’s round-up, Megan shows you the 24 best tools for promoting your content on social media. Chances are you’re using at least one or two of them already, but why stop there? Spread the word about your awesome content and watch the traffic roll in.

How Offline Became The Next Big Digital Thing (Hint: It Involves Your Smartphone)

Columnist Bill Dinan offers insights into how mobile is helping to drive offline conversions, and how you can harness it to best effect. The post How Offline Became The Next Big Digital Thing (Hint: It Involves Your Smartphone) appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Twitter Demotes Product Chief (After Just 6 Months on the Job)

Twitter Demotes Product Chief (After Just 6 Months on the Job)

Twitter is replacing its head of product, Daniel Graf, just six months after his highly publicised move from Google.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Your November Holiday Marketing Checklist

As we turn the page on October and say “hello” to November, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. With it comes the 1-2-3 punch of BlackYour November Holiday Marketing Checklist Friday (Nov. 28), Small Business Saturday (Nov. 29), and Cyber Monday (Dec. 1). For many of us, this time of year determines whether we’ll be in the red or in the black come 2015, but the key to making sure your business has a successful November is getting ahead of the competition and promoting early.

If you haven’t already prepared your holiday marketing calendar, here’s a helpful checklist of tips and to-dos for November.

Week 1: November 2– 8

Choose a Promotional Opportunity Ahead of Time
There are many holiday promos to choose from, but some are probably more relevant to your business than others. For example, Black Friday is a classic choice for retailers, but for online businesses, Cyber Monday may be a better fit. Regardless of your industry, promoting Small Business Saturday is a great way to boost business in November while competing with the big guys. Whichever you prefer, pick one early and run with it!

Inform Customers about Increased Email Frequency
If you plan on increasing your email frequency in November (hint: you should!), you may risk more opt-outs. But, if you provide value to your subscribers via these increased mailings you’ll keep your recipients opening and engaging. To proactively manage expectations, send a friendly reminder to your subscribers explaining what your holiday email schedule will be (e.g. Monday-Wednesday-Friday), when it ends and what they can expect. Then, stick to it.

Segment Your Lists for the Holidays
Get your email list ready for the holidays by segmenting your list based on those who opened your recent emails versus those who didn’t. It’s a good bet that those who did will be more receptive to increased holiday communications from you. You can also segment based on location or demographic or past purchases. Doing so will allow you to send highly targeted, relevant content that’s more likely to be opened, read and acted upon.

Week 2: November 9 – 15

Send a Thank You Email
Nothing gives customers that warm, fuzzy feeling more than a sincere email thanking them for their business. If you really want to show them gratitude, try sending a special to your most engaged subscribers. Alternatively, you can send a “thank you” promo to all your customers to cast a wider net. Either way, they’ll appreciate it!

Week 3: November 16 – 21Your November Holiday Marketing Checklist

Holiday Countdown to the Big Four
Consider sending an informative email to your customers this week counting down the days for all the major November shopping events. Use this chance to remind them of your specials, provide gift guides or invitations to special events you’re hosting:

  • Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 27
  • Black Friday – Friday, November 28
  • Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 29
  • Cyber Monday – Monday, December 1

Update and Share Your Holiday Hours
If your business will be changing your hours for the holidays, use this week to send your customers a heads-up email to let them know. Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you market your business online. If your business will remain open during a time when other places typically do not, use this to your advantage!

Week 4: November 22 – 30

Round up Last-Minute Shoppers
Use the final week of November to cater to procrastinators on your email lists and elsewhere on social media with last-minute offers. Use phrasing like “ending soon,” “today only,” and other time-based language to drive home a sense of urgency and get more feet through your door or clicks on your site.

Final Thoughts
With these tips, a little forethought and extra planning, you too can get grab a slice of the $619.9 billion expected to be spent on holiday shopping this year. Get all the holiday marketing resources you need from our Everything Holiday site and in our Complete Guide to Holiday Marketing

Send all your holiday email marketing with VerticalResponse. It’s free! 

© 2014, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Your November Holiday Marketing Checklist appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Behind the Scenes of Hootsuite’s #SocialNotScary Halloween Campaign

Halloween is a big deal at Hootsuite. Of course our employees love the holiday and go all out on costumes (for themselves and their dogs). But we also love Halloween because it lets us get creative and connect with our users in a much more unique way. Last year it was through a zombie video contest with our friends at Zendesk. And this year it took the form of a series of horror movie character portraits we’ve dubbed the #SocialNotScary campaign.

The idea for these portraits came from the notion that many people are scared or intimidated by social media. Whether its hackers and trolls, or the simple complexity of social media, there’s a certain culture of anxiety  attached to these tools that we use and promote every day. We wanted to share the message that social media doesn’t have to be scary in a way that got our point across but was very compelling and shareable.

We settled on the idea of pairing iconic horror movie characters with popular social networks. We cast our own employees to play the part and worked with local photographers and make-up artists to transform them into these infamous characters. Have a look below.

Enter to win a Hootsuite prize pack by sharing your favourite image with the hashtag #SocialNotScary on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

The post Behind the Scenes of Hootsuite’s #SocialNotScary Halloween Campaign appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

Google Losing Longtime Android Veteran Andy Rubin

Google Losing Longtime Android Veteran Andy Rubin 300x225 Google Losing Longtime Android Veteran Andy RubinOn Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that Google is losing one of its all-time greatest innovators.

Andy Rubin, the former frontman of Google’’s Android mobile business and the current head of its robotics aspirations, is set to depart the online search behemoth.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Rubin is “starting an incubator for startups interested in building technology hardware products.”

Google, of course, is trying to shake off the loss and affirm to investors and market watchers alike that Google will still be focused on robotics.

This morning’s report notes that James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google who is already a member of the robotics outfit, has been tapped to replace the departing Rubin.

“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google CEO Larry Page is quoted by the WSJ. “With Android he created something truly remarkable — with a billion-plus happy users. Thank you.”

5c85be84cb2a43c8ab4d0071fcec514e Google Losing Longtime Android Veteran Andy Rubin Google Losing Longtime Android Veteran Andy Rubin

Invasion of the Rotten Emails

Email folklore may not be as popular as the campy stories and urban legends you heard in your younger days, but it’s the kind of stuff that will raise the hair on the neck of any marketer. Unlike some of the typical ghostly tales, however, these grim accounts are based on true experiences that will chill any witch or warlock to the bone.

Don’t believe it?

We’ve summoned a few forbidding tales, so read ahead if you dare…

The Never-Ending Email

The biggest benefit of email is having a guaranteed way to communicate with your customers. But what happens when you own multiple storefronts and have customers from all over?

According to a pet shop retail chain that has store locations along the entire east coast, the answer is to cater to all customers in one shot. The result? The lengthiest email I have ever read. The events section alone listed 43 events in the tri-state area. That’s right, 43 events — each containing a one to two sentence description of what it entailed. Talk about overkill.

The Lesson

While it can be difficult to determine what you should share with customers in an email, it’s imperative that you do so to avoid overwhelming your readers. It also makes it easier for them to consume your content in the short period of time that they’ll actually spend reading your email.

In this particular case, the pet store could have taken a couple of different approaches. For one, they might want to consider segmenting their email lists based on geographical location, such as city and state, to ensure that subscribers only receive information about events in their home towns.

They might also want to feature a few main events and include links to an events web page that lists every occasion in greater detail.

The Email With No Purpose

There are certain fundamental elements that one would expect to see in any given email. Actual content, for example, being one of them. Content that provides value, being another.

However, there are those that completely skip out on both of these:

While I appreciate the well wishes, I have trouble justifying the purpose of this email (something every small business owner and marketer should consider before sending a message to subscribers). If the intention was to encourage engagement with the sender, they failed at providing me with a good reason to do so. There are no coupons, no compelling information for me to mentally chew on, nothing.

While they did include a call to action (“Have a health question? See a doctor now”), they failed at sparking my curiosity and getting me to at least think of something health related that I might want to know more about.

After clicking the call to action button to potentially shed some light on this confusing email, I’m brought to a landing page to sign up for a paid version of the company’s services. Lightbulb. Unfortunately, not many readers are going to even make it this far based on the email content alone.

The Lesson

If the goal of the email was to promote the paid version of the company’s services, they failed to do so because it was unclear in their email message. If you want your subscribers to take a specific action, whether it’s to download a white paper, read your latest blog post, or shop new discounts at your online store, then you must explicitly tell them.

This company also missed a huge opportunity to reconnect with a subscriber who has not engaged with their site in over a year. If they had shared common user questions and answers, for example, that might have prompted me to click to find out more. To re-engage your subscribers, include valuable content such as tips, questions, or even recent news that readers might want to learn more about.

The best way to make yourself relevant again to your inactive subscribers is by bringing value to them — end of story!

The Chaotic Email

When it comes to email content, less is more (unless you’re like our friends in the previous example who included nothing at all). But that isn’t always easy to do when you have a lot to say and not enough email space to say it.

I recently received an email that contained 10 hyperlinks and had information in both the middle and sidebar sections of the email. Needless to say, there was too much information and no visual direction on how to consume it.

The Lesson

To make things a little less cluttered and a little more clear, the email sender might want to focus more on layout. If you want to include a message, feature past events, and showcase upcoming ones, keep it visually organized. Email content should flow in a logical manner. It should not compete with other content.

Visual images and line dividers can also help organize your emails so they’re easier on the eyes. And as far as the sidebar goes, it’s probably best to eliminate placing content there altogether.

The Deja Vu Email

Email and consistency go hand in hand. People love knowing when they can expect messages from different businesses, which ultimately builds a level of trust and dependency on your brand. Sticking with the same template is also a good habit to get into, as it makes it easy for your subscribers to know where to find specific information.

However, sending the same email template and the same email contents are two totally different things.

One e-commerce site regularly sends emails with 20 or so pictures of a variety of products, from women’s fashion and accessories to home decor items. While we encourage the use of visuals in your email marketing efforts, there is a balance that’s important to maintain. For one, don’t rely on images alone.

While the pictures are visually intriguing, there are no product descriptions, no mention of whether or not these products are popular, or if people are?buying them. After a while, all emails begin to blend together.

The Lesson

To make their emails stand out from one another, they might want to start featuring less products with more details. By including product descriptions, designer names, and items that are customer favorites, readers might be more encouraged to check out an item.

Organizing product images by category would also help visually organize the email, so loyal readers can easily find what they’re looking for, or simply browse with little confusion.

If you don’t have any products to feature or sell, you can freshen up your emails with new published content (e.g. blog post, white paper), curated industry-related content, or even a ‘tip from the pros’ to provide exclusive actionable advice for your readers. As long as you keep your message from going stale, you’ll be golden.

Do you have any tips for creating great emails? Share with us in the comments below!

If you haven’t noticed, Facebook’s News Feed is 50% faster on iOS


You might have noticed that your Facebook News Feed is faster than it used to be on your iPhone or iPad. You're not crazy.

Facebook has made the News Feed operate 50% faster than the previous version in the iOS app, according to the company.

About two years ago, Facebook switched from HTML5 to native iOS code to make the app perform as smoothly as possible. But the developers noticed something strange: Each time the app updated, it would take longer for the News Feed to load. And gradually, users started noticing, too.

"As we added more and more features to the app, every part of the app got slower," Adam Ernst, a software engineer at Facebook's New York office, told Mashable. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Html, Ios, and Coding

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Users report slow Wi-Fi, dropped connections after upgrading to Apple’s OS X Yosemite

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One-day sale knocks $75 off two-dozen Apple iMac with Retina 5K display configurations

In the spirit of Halloween, AI has teamed up with one of Apple's leading Authorized Resellers to offer a "spooktacular" $75 in instant savings on two dozen different configurations of Apple's brand new iMac with Retina 5K display, joining an earlier offer that knocks $150 off the baseline retail model.

How Businesses Can Size-Up Subreddits for Promotion

Even with reddit climbing its way to the 10th most popular and trafficked website in the U.S. (43rd in the world), many businesses remain stagnant when it comes to interacting and contributing to the communities on reddit. Some companies simply don’t see the value or may feel confused/intimidated by the strange social mannerisms and passionately […]

Author information

Jesse Aaron

This monthly Reddit column is contributed by Jesse Aaron. Jesse is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing. In his spare time Jesse enjoys redditting, brewing beer (as you may have guessed), slowly learning Python, and reading (currently reading Infinite Jest). His biggest inspiration is the satisfaction of building something from scratch. While challenging and time consuming, the rewards are unmatched. +Jesse Aaron

How Businesses Can Size-Up Subreddits for Promotion by Jesse Aaron -Maximize Social Business


Okay, Kids: ‘L’ Is For Licorice — And Also For Lead

It’s almost Halloween, and millions of kids will be out trick-or-treating. Anxious parents may worry that their kids will get cavities or eat too much sugar, but right now there’s another more potent risk: traces of the powerful neurotoxin lead that can be found in licorice.

Starbucks To Start Delivering Coffee

Attention java junkies: Starbucks wants to put you one step closer to your morning fix. The coffee retailer is planning to launch a food and beverage delivery service in select markets during the second half of next year.

Reflections On Six Months As An NFL Rookie

My first six months as an NFL player have been full of surprises.

Read These Previously Unreleased Handwritten Poems By A 17-Year-Old Tupac Shakur

Noisey was provided previously unreleased handwritten poetry through our friends Citizens of Humanity by his first manager, Leila Steinberg. The poems, written over a three year period starting when the rapper was 17, offer a glimpse of Tupac before many people knew him.

Optimizing Your Tweets for Search

Optimizing Your Tweets for Search written by Guest Post read more at Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Daniel Page– Enjoy!

Optimizing Your Tweets for Search

photo credit: Flickr

Twitter’s among the most powerful social networks in the world for brand awareness – which is why it’s of the utmost importance that you know how to tap into it.

Twitter’s been around for several years now, and there still appears to be a distressing number of organizations who don’t quite know what to make of it. That’s  rather unfortunate, as those organizations don’t understand enough to know what they’re missing out on. In the right hands, Twitter may well be among the most powerful social networks in the world.

I suspect this is tied to the nature of the social network. Twitter is something people use when they’re in transit. It’s a site they browse when they’re waiting for the train, sitting in the bathroom, or stuck in traffic.  It’s a social network they go to in order to share and discover new content; in order to share their stream of thought with the world.

Connect with a user on here, and they’re bound to spread whatever message you’re putting forward like wildfire.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Optimized First

Before you even think of tweaking any of your tweets, you need to have a look at your profile. Do you have a decent profile picture? Does your tagline flow naturally while still incorporating a few keywords related to your brand? Is your profile named after your brand (or something people would associate with it?)

If you answered no to any of those questions, then you’ve some work to do before going forward.

Tailor Your Tweets To Grab Attention – And Make Sure You Have A Voice

While I don’t deny that each and every tweet should have a headline, and that most should include a link along with a hashtag or two, I nevertheless maintain that your ‘voice’ is the most important part of your Twitter presence. It’s how you present yourself to your peers and followers, after all; just like a sleazy used car salesman is likelier to drive people away from his lot than sell them a Prius, tweets that appear mechanical, spammy, or boring will cause nothing but harm.

Let your personality shine through – keep it professional, but demonstrate that you are a real human being.

Time Your Tweets

There are certain dates and times when a tweet is likeliest to receive attention, but it tends to vary by region and demographic. If you know anything about your target audience, try tracking a few of them down on Twitter. Watch their habits – when are they tweeting, and how often? Working out what time most of their tweets were sent could give you a good idea of when would be the best time to make yourself heard.

Create A Keyword List

Although I’ve always been a proponent of a more organic form of SEO, it could be worthwhile to put together a list of all the major keywords you intend to use on Twitter. Keep them close-by, and don’t be afraid to occasionally drop one or two into one of your tweets (either into the body or as a hashtag).

Use Hashtags Whenever Possible (And Appropriate)

Speaking of hashtags…learn about them. Learn how they work. Learn what makes them tick. The most important thing here is that you don’t overuse them. You should never have more than three in a single tweet, and even then three could be two too many. Never start a tweet with a hashtag.

In order to figure out what hashtags you should be using, simply do a search on terms related to your brand (or to the tweet you’re planning to send). Note the terms that seem to be the most popular; these are your hashtags.

Understand The Concepts of Favorites And Retweets

While you should go out of your way to avoid pestering your fellow users, it can’t hurt to occasionally ask for a retweet when you’re sharing something particularly vital. Don’t forget to retweet a few things yourself, as well, in order to augment your own content.

Tweet Frequently

Last but not least, tweet with some degree of frequency and consistency. You might want to consider using some sort of management tool or setting up a tweet scheduler of some kind. Personally, I use Twuffer, but it’s up to you what you ultimately want to go with.

daniel pageAbout Daniel Page — Daniel is the Director of Business Development for Ahosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting. Follow Ahosting on Twitter at @ahostingdotnet,  Like them on Facebook, and check out all the services they offer on


A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Robust Content for the Holiday Season

While search marketers make it a point to continuously monitor the performance of their keywords and modify their PPC marketing bids, the process of modifying content marketing to suit seasonal changes is only just catching on.

Halloween Google Logos: Doodle Team Scares Up Six Different Designs For Today’s Homepage

Today’s Google homepage is ready for Halloween, dressed up with six different GIFs to mark the holiday. Also known as All Hallows Eve and All Saints Eve, Halloween has been around throughout the ages, with its beginnings often credited to the Celts who celebrated the day to mark the end of...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.