Appiness.io blog

27 Sep 2017
by Admin

5 Key Holiday Email Marketing Tips for 2017

5 Key Holiday Email Marketing Tips for 2017 | Social Media TodayEmail Marketing is no longer a ‘batch blast’ marketing strategy tasked to the interns (some email marketers still do so, alas). Come September, email marketers start preparing for one of the most important and busiest quarters of the year – the Holiday season.

Regular strategies used for email campaigns throughout the rest of the year may not be enough to cut through the inbox clutter during the holiday season. This calls for email marketers to define their holiday-specific marketing goals, and create email campaigns that stand out.

At my company, EmailMonks, we recently invited ten of the most well-respected email and digital marketing experts to provide their top tips on how to maximize your email performance for the upcoming holiday period. We’ve collated their full responses into this new, interactive infographic to ensure you have all the best tips to implement this holiday and stay ahead of the competition.

In this post, we’ll provide a summary of the major keys – here are five proven holiday email marketing tips to help boost your campaigns

Tip #1: Plan Smart & Plan Early

Rushed projects never return great results.” – Sam Hurley, Founder of OPTIM-EYEZ.

Most email marketers begin planning their marketing strategies months before the holidays begin, so now is a good time for you to start (if you were still wondering about the right time).

It may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked – one of the best places to begin is from the performance report of the previous year’s holiday emails.

Analyze your best performing emails and try to hone in on the key reasons they succeeded or failed, and use that to inform your decisions.

Tip #2: Don’t just read, interact with emails

Increased interactivity in email is directly linked with improved customer engagement. The more time subscribers spend interacting with your email, the more they learn about your brand, helping build trust.

By using certain interactive elements and keyframe animation, brands have already been using gamification in emails to guide subscribers to their landing page, increasing their conversion possibilities.

As Jaymin Bhuptani, Director of EmailMonks notes:

“Considering subscribers’ cluttered inbox during holidays, you need to keep your subscribers engaged with effective use of animation and interactive elements like GIF, Cinemagraph, Sliders, Rollover effect, etc. However, make sure appropriate fallback is there”.

Tip #3: Segment and Target your Subscribers

Data is everywhere, and the success of all your marketing campaigns will revolve around how well you can leverage it to understand your customers better.

Kara Trivunovic, VP/GM-Client Services, Epsilon says that:

“…delivering the right message, using just the right image and offer, is a very basic practice, and it becomes more manageable for the brand and meaningful for the customer”

There are various ways you can use your customer data for relevant e-mail targeting – segment your audiences based on where they are in your purchase cycle and create customozed offers which appeal to their specific needs. The more personalized you can get, the better.

Tip #4: Create Real-time Content 

In conjunction to segmenting and targeting, most experts believe that emails have progressed to the point that we’ll soon feature email copy that changes in real-time. This could be a significant improvement from the personalization point-of-view, particularly in terms of providing updated information via your email newsletter.

As Ryan Phelan, VP, Marketing Insights from Adestra says:

“Real-time content can let your emails reflect changes in inventory, among other benefits, which is a major concern for holiday shopping.“

Similar to using data for segmentation, real-time, relevant updates can greatly increase the value – and thus responsiveness – of your e-mail efforts.

Tip #5: Go Responsive or Go Home

The most basic, yet important tip which all marketers need to take note of is that your emails need to be responsive and perform well on various devices.

During the holiday season, people will be shopping more on their mobiles, especially last-moment shoppers. If you format your emails with mobile responsiveness in mind, you’re maximizing your potential to reach more users, wherever and whenever they encounter your messaging.

As Dennis Dayman, Chief Privacy Officer at Return Path notes:

“Don’t forget to start with mobile in mind, many of our users are shopping in real-time and with more than 50 % of your subscribers accessing emails on their mobile devices, it makes more sense than ever to make sure that your emails render accurately across all devices”.

Wrapping Up

The Holiday season is coming up fast, and for email marketers, there’s no better time to start planning out and implementing your strategy. As per a report by Campaign Monitor, for every dollar spent on email marketing, an average of $44 return on investment is delivered. Few, if any, brands can afford to ignore potential of that level.

Now is the time to start formulating your holiday email outreach.

Main image via Pexels

26 Sep 2017
by Admin
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Taking Privacy Seriously: Leaving Google Behind

Recently, I made the decision to become a little more secure on the internet. I don’t have much to hide except maybe bank account info, but I was struck by a Glenn Greenwald quote from a TED Talk he gave about privacy.

Over the last 16 months, as I’ve debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, “I don’t really worry about invasions of privacy because I don’t have anything to hide.” I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, “Here’s my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you’re doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you’re not a bad person, if you’re doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide.” Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.

I find myself tired of knowing Google is going through the content of my emails and examining my searches to sell me things.  I also know our new government (not that our old was too much better) is tracking the activities of anyone who is anti-fascist. I don’t trust them to follow the laws that would otherwise keep me secure from illegal search.

So I set out to become more private and that meant leaving Google products and using encrypted, more secure alternatives.

So what I have I found? Well, I have spent the last weeks and months testing products and making decisions on what I would do.

Here is what I found.

The first, maybe the easiest step was changing my browser away from Google’s Chrome browser. I decided to go with Firefox’s nightly builds because they seem to run faster and feel a bit more Chrome like, so the switch wouldn’t be so shocking. With Firefox account syncing options, it wasn’t hard to get my bookmarks synced across a few devices with ease.

I also installed some plugins, thanks to recommendations from PrivacyTools.io, a site you should frequent for tips on internet privacy. I am now running Ublock Origin to block ads and trackers along with Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere.

Alternatively, I run Tor Browser, a Firefox fork if I want an even greater layer of privacy.

Who doesn’t use Google to find things? Sure, we all know that weird friend who uses Yahoo still, or that one guy who still owns a Zune who uses Bing, but Google has it all.

I started with the always popular DuckDuckGo, but I found I didn’t get very good search results and it seemed to load really slow for me. Thankfully, thanks to PrivacyTools, I discovered StartPage.

StartPage anonymizes your searches through Google, so you still get the quality Google results without them seeing you, and without the ads. It easily integrates right into Firefox on desktop and mobile.

When it came to choosing a VPN, I went through many trials. I asked for recommendations and started with the most popular, Private Internet Access, but I didn’t like that they were based in the US, but also found their speeds not all that great. Next I tried NordVPN. The speeds were actually great on my iPhone, but they don’t offer a native Linux app and setting up their different servers was kind of pain.

Finally, I settled on one that was recommended a few times, Mullvad. The price is good ($5/mo), and the speeds are wonderful. I use OpenVPN on my phone, but for my laptop running Linux Mint, and for my media server at home, an old Mac, they offer a native app which makes connecting easy.

I also have a free VPN account with ProtonVPN, and another with RiseUp. These secondary options, which give me okay speeds, allow me backups if something goes wrong with Mullvad.

Communications:

While this wasn’t really part of this move, I wanted to recommend some texting, video, and voice calling apps that are amazing. I am loving Wire, a chat app that has both desktop and mobile clients. Also, the very popular Signal app.

For file sharing, I have installed OnionShare.

This was the last big piece of the puzzle. I have been on Gmail since they launched the first wave of invites. It’s a wonderful web based interface and a good mobile app. Replacing it wasn’t going to be easy. However, I do own my own domain, and figured it was time to use it.

It came down to two providers for me. ProtonMail, makers of ProtonVPN, and Tutanota. Both offer a great service and allow custom domains on their paid accounts. Proton has a much nicer web and mobile interface, but Tutanota has been showing off its beta platform and it’s looking very promising.

Here, it really came down to price for me. ProtonMail is $5/mo or $48 a year, while Tutanota is $12 a year.

Given that Tutanota is open source, and they have a pipeline of amazing products in development, I pulled the trigger and moved my email there.

So what’s left?

Well, first, here is what I am still using from Google:

Gmail: While I have switched, I have nearly a decade of stuff on Gmail and accounts that still point here and important people who have this email address. I will slowly begin to migrate them away and likely end up at the point where I just forward all my mail away from here.

Google Photos: They offer free backup of all my iPhone photos. I have more than 10,000 photos here and don’t have a solid replacement in place yet.

YouTube: I mean, I can’t escape this one.

Google+: Yeah, it’s still a thing. I use it to share articles I have written. It also improves search results for my work.

Google Maps: Anyone have recommendations on a good replacement for this?

I also still use Facebook and Twitter which are privacy nightmares of their own.

I am also still looking for a good Google Docs replacement. I am testing out Dropbox Paper, and I use LibreOffice on Linux, but I’d like something I can use online more. The hunt continues.

What are you using? What recommendations do you have as I continue to improve my privacy journey?

Share in the comments.

Want to help support Dan’s work? Consider donating BitCoin, or signing up through Patreon.

26 Sep 2017
by Admin

How to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for Conversions in 3 Simple Steps

How to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for Conversions in 3 Simple Steps | Social Media TodayIf you’ve read any of my blogs you know that I’m definitely a big fan of Facebook’s advertising offerings. From experience, Facebook Ads have proven to be the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted group of consumers online – used correctly, you can easily drive targeted traffic to your website for less than $0.20 per click.

But while cheap cost-per-click is great, there will also come a time when you need to focus on converting those social media website visits into purchases. You can optimize your Facebook Ad Campaigns for conversions in three simple steps – but before we review the process, it’s important that you have the Facebook Pixel properly installed on your website.

The Facebook Pixel is a little snippet of code that makes conversion tracking, remarketing and ad optimization easier – essentially, this code enables your website and Facebook to better communicate and understand how the traffic generated from Facebook behaves on your site.  

Once your Facebook Pixel is triggered enough, you’ll be able to optimize for conversions – here are three simple steps to do just that.

  1. Navigate to the Ads Manager and select the Conversions Objective for a Facebook Advertising CampaignHow to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for Conversions in 3 Simple Steps.png
  2. In the Conversions section, choose the Facebook Pixel and conversion event that you’d like to optimize for – this is the action you’re telling Facebook to detect and target ads based on. Based on best practice, you should choose a conversion event that happens roughly 15-20 times per week, such as an item purchase or content view – Facebook can then track the users who undertake that action and optimize delivery.
  3. Navigate to the Ad Set level of your Campaign where you can change the Budget and Campaign Schedule. Set your ‘Optimization for Ad Delivery’ to ‘Conversions’. You’ll then want to set your conversion window – Facebook recommends setting it for 7-days as users bounce around a bit before converting

The process of optimizing for conversions is really simple, however there are some other key elements to consider. Here are a few additional conversion tips:

  • Choose Your Conversion Event Wisely – A conversion might not always be a sale or purchase. Sometimes you might want to optimize for a page view if that content is particularly important or if your website isn’t transactional.
  • Collect Enough Data – Facebook needs a certain amount of data to be able to optimize for conversions. Be sure that your conversion event happens frequently on your site (as noted above, roughly 15-25 times per week at a minimum).
  • Be Patient – While Facebook is super smart, their systems still need time to learn. Test ads using the Conversions Objective for a long enough to allow Facebook to react to the data and find other users who are likely to convert. We recommend running a campaign for at least a month.
  • Change the Plan When Needed – If you aren’t happy with your campaign results, try a different Conversion Event. Facebook recommends starting out with a ‘Link Click Optimization’ so that they can optimize for both link clicks and conversions together.

Have you tested Conversion Optimization for your Facebook Ad Campaigns? If so, what did you think?

24 Sep 2017
by Admin

How to Use Your LinkedIn 'Following' List for Marketing Outreach

With LinkedIn’s “Follow” feature, you have a ready-made list of individuals all over the world who have essentially “opted in” to follow all your status updates and articles on the platform.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about people you’re already connected to (1st Level Connections). Rather, I’m talking about people you’re not connected to, but who’ve found you one way or another on LinkedIn, and were so impressed that they decided to follow everything you post and do on the platform.

I don’t know about you, but those are people I want to be talking to.

How To Find Your LinkedIn Followers

Start by going to this link to be taken to your list of LinkedIn followers. 

LinkedIn sorts this list of people based on those who have told the platform they want to “follow” your status updates, articles, etc., but they’re not yet connected to you directly.

Even better, LinkedIn sorts the list from top to bottom, starting with the people who’ve most recently started to follow you – meaning your “warmest” and “newest” leads are right at the top of the screen.

Strategically Connect With Your Followers

The next step is easy – just click on each individual person’s name, and LinkedIn will open a new tab that displays the person’s profile.

Needless to say, you’ll want to reach out and connect with people who:

a) Have a lot of followers, meaning they have a large LinkedIn network themselves, and…

b) Who have the type of job title that makes them an ideal prospect or potential client for you

Once you identify someone who looks like a great lead, just click on his or her name, and LinkedIn will open a new tab with his or her individual profile pulled up.

Use This Script to Connect + Gather Insights

Once you’re ready to connect, invite the person to do so – and importantly, choose “Add a Note” to personalize your invitation.

Here’s the exact script I use for my invites of this type:

Hi [NAME], 

Thanks for following me here on LinkedIn, and would love to connect directly as well. Also, how did you find my profile and information?

Always curious to hear how others come across my info here on LinkedIn.

Cheers and look forward to connecting.

The reason I use this script is to find out what’s working for me in terms of “inbound” lead generation on LinkedIn. Are people finding me via general LinkedIn Searches? Did they come across an article I posted that a friend shared? Was it a status update?

If possible, you want to know how people are finding you on LinkedIn, as this will enable you to do more of what’s working.

LinkedIn Messaging = Lead Generation

Once someone accepts your invite to connect, he or she gets moved directly into your LinkedIn message inbox.

Even better, LinkedIn pulls the text of your personal note into the message, so you now have context for a conversation with that person.

Want More Clients and Customers? Use LinkedIn Messages

I cannot state this with enough emphasis – LinkedIn’s revamped Messaging experience is now the fastest, easiest and most effective way to generate leads and add new clients using the platform.

Your LinkedIn inbox not only gives you the entire history of any messages you’ve exchanged with a person (again, context for your conversations), but it’s also presented in a back-and-forth, rapid-fire style, similar to text messages.

More recently, LinkedIn’s even added a green dot next to a person’s name and face to let you know when he or she was last active on the platform.

Can you see how powerful it is to know – in real-time – if a warm prospect you just connected to is live on LinkedIn, and is available for you to message back-and-forth with?

Best of all, in this instance, you’re connecting with people on LinkedIn who’ve already indicated that they’re interested in the content you create and the updates you share.

Where I come from, we call those “warm” leads, and nothing is more important if you want to sell your products and services to a targeted audience online.

23 Sep 2017
by Admin

How LinkedIn Has Changed the Way Comments are Displayed on Posts (and Why That Matters)

You may not have noticed, but the order of comments on posts within your LinkedIn feed – both long-form posts and updates – has changed this year.

How LinkedIn Has Changed the Way Comments are Displayed on Posts (and Why That Matters) | Social Media TodayIt’s not blatant, but much like their algorithm-fueled feed listing, your LinkedIn comments feed will now also appear out of chronological order (unless you specifically switch it to ‘Recent’).

And there’s good reason for that.

As explained by LinkedIn, back in 2016, they sought to re-order comments to boost engagement. Rather than displaying them in the order in which they’d been posted, LinkedIn prioritized the listing based on engagement – those comments with the most Likes and/or replies appeared first. The idea behind this was that this would surface the most relevant comments – and it did, to a degree.

The problem is, the system was too simplistic:

“…good comments would be buried beneath not-so-good ones because they didn’t yet have enough likes, and early comments on a thread having an unfair advantage because they had more time to accumulate likes and replies.”

To improve on this, LinkedIn’s built a new model which is based on a range of individual factors in order to surface the comments most relevant to each user in order to prompt more engagement.

How LinkedIn Has Changed the Way Comments are Displayed on Posts (and Why That Matters) | Social Media TodayAs you can see, the new system takes into account of personalized factors, including how you’re connected (or not) to the commenter, how many profile views the commenter gets, how many likes and replies their comments have seen in the past, hashtags used within the comment, and many more.

And these, LinkedIn says, are only some of the factors they take into account:

“There are close to 100 features that we capture and use in online ranking. A machine learning (ML) model is used to train these features to predict a member’s comment engagement. For each member, we depend on other ML models to classify and detect spam and low-quality content in comments and pick the ones we know are good to show to the viewer.”

The end result sees LinkedIn display comments in the order most relevant to each user – and this is one of several factors that’s enabled LinkedIn to significantly improve on-platform interaction:

“In 2017, we’ve seen record levels of engagement. Social actions on the feed (likes, shares, comments, etc.) have grown by +60% year-over-year. Members are interacting on the feed more than ever, and the value of conversations on these threads is immense and growing.”

It may seem relatively minor, but this is a key consideration for marketers looking to build their presence on LinkedIn.

For one, simply commenting on posts is likely no longer enough to have any significant effect. It used to be that you could get yourself onto the radar of people you want to connect with by engaging with their posts and updates, and that’s likely still true to a degree. But to truly capitalize on the potential of this option, you now need to have a more all-encompassing LinkedIn presence.

Boosting your profile views and making more relevant comments – which, in themselves, inspire likes and replies – will help improve your visibility to both the individual and their connections, while including relevant hashtags is another key consideration which is being factored into the comment algorithm.

Also worth noting that ‘comment viral updates’ – the updates a selection of your connections receive whenever you comment on a post – generate the greatest engagement of any type of feed notification:

“The number of interactions generated per comment update impression is 2.5x that of connection updates (updates indicating your professional network has new connections), and 1.8x that of viral updates from likes from your connections.”

How LinkedIn Has Changed the Way Comments are Displayed on Posts (and Why That Matters) | Social Media Today

A LinkedIn ‘Comment Viral’ update

That makes it one of the best tools you have for boosting your LinkedIn presence, and staying front of mind among your connections. The stronger your profile and presence on the platform, and the more engaging your comments are on posts, the better chance you’ll have of generating more ‘Comment Viral’ notifications, and thus, generating more engagement.

As noted, on the surface, the update to the way in which comments are displayed on LinkedIn is fairly minor, and fairly logical, in the same way comments with more likes are displayed on Facebook. But the technical details of how this system works hold some important insights for those looking to maximize their presence on LinkedIn, and utilize it to build more effective professional connections.

You can read the full explanation of how LinkedIn’s new comment display architecture works here.

22 Sep 2017
by Admin

How to Improve Your Facebook Organic Reach & Engagement [#SMTLive Recap]

This past Tuesday, September 19th, we held another #SMTLive Twitter chat co-hosted with Lucy Render-Kaplan, Founder of Arkay Marketing & PR. During the chat we asked six questions (shown below) that we believe to be important factors in building your Facebook engagement and reach. Everyone chimed in to ask questions, share their own experiences and best practices dealing with Facebook engagement, content creation, audience targeting and more. 

We have pulled a few of our favorite tweets and shared the best takeaways we saw discussed and shared in the group.

21 Sep 2017
by Admin
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The 7 Problems With Our Phones

The dark truth is that it’s become very hard to find anyone (and certainly anything) more interesting than one’s smartphone. This perplexing and troubling realization has for most of us had huge consequences for our love stories, family lives, work, leisure time and health.This is a text that aims to bring a little sanity to our closest, most intense and possibly most danger-laden technological relationship.

1. Addiction

To say we are addicted to our phones is not merely to point out that we use them a lot. It signals a darker notion: that we use them to keep our own selves at bay. Because of our phones, we may find ourselves incapable of sitting alone in a room with our own thoughts floating freely in our own heads, daring to wander into the past and the future, allowing ourselves to feel pain, desire, regret and excitement. We are addicted to our phones not because we rely on them, but to the extent that we recruit them to a harmful project of self-avoidance.

2. Our phones and our relationships

In principle, we love family life and are very keen on and devoted to relationships. But, obviously, the reality is tricky. The wonderful things are mixed up with a lot that is awkward and frustrating. Our partner isn’t quite as sympathetic as we’d ideally like; our family is more conflicted and challenging than feels fair or reasonable. Our phone, however, is docile, responsive to our touch, always ready to spring to life and willing to do whatever we want. Its malleability provides the perfect excuse for disengagement from the trickier aspects of other people.

It’s so tempting to press the screen when one’s partner launches into an account of their day or their theory of ideal fridge management. The details of their existence and their hopes for our shared domestic life cannot compete with information about the most expensive apartment currently on sale in Manhattan or the diet of Mymains Stewart Gilligan (the largest pet cat in the world).

We can, it seems, hook up so easily. There are millions of people out there. It shouldn’t be hard to find the right one – if only we sign up to the right site. We become monsters of our hopes: any person we have met is judged against those we haven’t ever met. Of course, none of the people we do meet through our phones is in fact ever quite right. So we go back to the search and redouble our efforts.

The task of love can’t be to locate some mythical ‘right person’. Compatibility is an achievement of love, it can’t be its precondition. This is a truth that our phone, as yet, doesn’t want to teach us. It promises to locate someone who likes eating cheese, wants to wear a rubber mask and lives within a ten mile radius of Sevenoaks. But it cannot, as yet, help us with the real challenge of love: which is to extend sympathy and understanding to human frailty.

4. Appreciation

Our phones seem to deliver the world directly to us. Yet (without our noticing) they often limit the things we actually pay attention to. As we look down towards our palms we don’t realize we are forgetting:

  • The soothing sound of traffic in the distance
  • Moss on an old stone wall
  • The pleasure of feeling tired after working hard
  • The excitement of getting up very early on a summer’s morning, in order to have an hour entirely to oneself.
  • A bank of clouds gradually drifting across the sky
  • The shy hesitancy of someone’s smile
  • How nice it is to read in the bath

They are all waiting for a little attention.

Our phones seem to deliver the world directly to us. Yet (without our noticing) they often limit the things we actually pay attention to.

5. Fear Of Missing Out

Thanks to our phone we’re more exposed than ever to the alluring things others do: ‘there was this great bar we all went to …’; ‘she’s getting married in a little country church…’;  the top after-party … amazing views … chic Brooklyn bar that locals love…’ There is so much we’re not doing, not invited to, not part of. Our own lives, it naturally seems, are filled with the Fear Of Missing Out. It’s tempting to get a bit cynical. Maybe the hyped things are not all they’re cracked up to be? It’s more nuanced than this: we do indeed risk missing out.

But there is a rather different list of things we might not get round to enjoying than the one our phones want us to focus on: getting to truly know our parents, learning to cope well with being alone; appreciating the consoling power of trees and clouds; chatting to a seven year old child… It’s not the notion of missing out that is the problem. It’s our ideas of what we might be missing out on that counts – and that our phones unhelpfully skew.

6. The Dream of being ‘liked’

It can feel desperately naive or narcissistic to admit it – but we really like being ‘liked.’ Our momentary excitement when we get a message isn’t shameful or ridiculous. It’s a widely shared, yet secret, pang of hope: that our troubles and joys will be truly understood by another; and that all the messages we wish to send to the world would be received and perfectly understood, at least by someone. We should not be frightened or discomfited by our pervasive loneliness. It isn’t our fault: a degree of distance and mutual incomprehension isn’t a sign that life has gone wrong. It’s what we should expect from the very start. In any case, loneliness makes us more capable of true intimacy if ever better opportunities do come along. It heightens the conversations we have with ourselves, it gives us a character. We don’t repeat what everyone else thinks. We develop a point of view. We might be isolated for now, but we’ll be capable of far closer, more interesting bonds with anyone we do eventually locate. Loneliness is simply a price we may have to pay for holding on to a sincere, ambitious view of what companionship must and could be.

Loneliness is simply a price we may have to pay for holding on to a sincere, ambitious view of what companionship must and could be.

7. Selfies

The problem with selfies is not that we take them, but that we don’t take them seriously enough. We tend to feel the need to be a touch ironic: ‘Here I am eating a sausage!’ ‘Look at me with this cute hat!’  Yet selfies are not inherently silly or self-regarding. They sit in one of the grand traditions of high art: the self-portrait. Although he was hampered by having to use oil paint and brushes, Rembrandt was addicted to making images of himself (more than one hundred across his long career). But he never showed himself winking or making funny hand gestures. Instead he was looking closely at who he was and what he had become: contemplating the sadness that gradually accumulated in his own face, trying to work out what he really made of being alive: what has life done to me? What have I done with my time on earth? He wasn’t seeking the approval of others, he was seeking self-knowledge. When something (like taking selfies) seems a little trivial or silly, it’s tempting to think we should take it less seriously; we should distance ourselves from it and see it in a mocking light. But the wiser move might be to get much more ambitious. The art of a selfie may have a long way to go yet.

We are still so far from inventing the technology we really require for us to flourish. We deserve pity for having been born in such primitive times.  

If you like our articles, visit our website.

21 Sep 2017
by Admin

Snap Inc Adds New Creative Partners, Education Courses to Improve Ads

Snap Inc. knows it has no chance of competing with Facebook on scale. This is the path that Twitter’s been funnelled into over time, and with Facebook now seeing more than 2 billion monthly active users, that comparison is never going to be favorable.

Snap, of course, has known this all along, which is part of the reason why they’ve labeled themselves a camera company, as opposed to a social network. It’s also why they’ve tried to shift the focus to engagement amongst their 173 million userbase, on time spent in-app, as opposed to total users.

The trick with this, though, is that Snap Inc. has to also demonstrate that they can convert that attention into ad dollars. Even if you can show that your audience is more engaged, that’s of little value unless that engagement extends to the ads on the platform too.

This is the impetus behind Snap’s latest announcement – an expansion of their ad partner program to include 14 new providers in order to help brands create more compelling, engaging Snap ad experiences.

Snap Inc Adds New Creative Partners, Education Courses to Improve Ads | Social Media TodaySnap first announced their ad partner program in June last year as a means to make Snap ads more accessible, before the eventual roll-out of their ads management and self-serve ad tools. This new expansion adds a range of additional providers which can help companies create better on-platform experiences, including interactive videos and custom games, while they’re also adding new ways to connect with platform influencers to boost performance.

In addition to this, Snap has also announced a new set of educational courses – called ‘Explore’ – which are also aimed at helping marketers make best use of the platform.

As explained by Snapchat:

“Explore is a series of courses covering everything from using Snapchat yourself, to choosing the right ads to suit your goals, details about our audience and their habits, and even quick instructions for creating ads within your web browser.”

Snap Inc Adds New Creative Partners, Education Courses to Improve Ads | Social Media TodayAs with similar courses offered on other platforms, Explore will cover the basics of how to utilize the various Snapchat tools. There’ll even be a ‘Snapchat Explore Certification’, another trick to add to your LinkedIn profile.

As noted, both of these new initiatives are aimed at improving the quality of Snapchat ads, with a view towards maximizing on-platform engagement, and delivering on the potential of their audience affiliation.

As Snap executives have noted several times (and as is noted on their advertiser page), Snapchat users spend more than 30 minutes per day, on average, in the app. For comparison, Instagram recently announced that users under the age of 25 spend an average of 32 minutes per day in-app, while for those 25 and older, it’s more like 24 minutes.

Clearly, this is a more realistic metric for Snapchat to compete on – but thus far, they’ve not been able to convert that increased attention into expanded revenue potential.

These new initiatives are aimed at addressing this, as Snap works to boost its market position and show that it’s more than just a fad app – one which Facebook is slowly making less relevant by cloning its core features.

Snap Inc. says the Explore courses will be launching over the next couple of months

20 Sep 2017
by Admin

As Twitter's Algorithm Evolves, is it Time to Update Your Tweet Marketing Tactics?

Have you noticed that your referral traffic from Twitter has been slipping of late? You’re not alone – in a recent post, marketing expert Jay Baer noted that the average engagement rate for brands on Twitter is now 0.049%. That’s lower than the average banner ad click-through (0.5%).

Of course, Twitter’s never been a great driver of traffic. Last year, Parse.ly reported that Twitter paled in comparison to Facebook or Google as a traffic source, even being beaten out by Yahoo!

As Twitter's Algorithm Evolves, is it Time to Change Your Tweet Marketing Tactics? | Social Media TodayBut then again, the chart shows that pretty much everyone has been beaten out by the two giants – but additional reporting indicated that LinkedIn referral traffic has actually been rising, as has Pinterest.  

If you’ve noticed a slow decline in your Twitter traffic, one thing that could be impacting it is the shift to an algorithm-defined feed. It’s been around 18 months since Twitter introduced their algorithm, and thus far, the results have been good for the platform, increasing daily active engagement rates and – up till the last quarter at least – helping to increase overall user numbers.

As Twitter's Algorithm Evolves, is it Time to Change Your Tweet Marketing Tactics? | Social Media TodayBut the shift to the algorithm, while definitely a smart move for Twitter, may have also had some impacts on traditional Twitter strategic approaches, particularly in relation to tweet volume and presentation.

It’s hard to say what the impact of this has been, exactly, but we recently published a post about changes to the algorithm and how you can increase visibility by working with the new features.

Those notes included:

  • Liking and re-tweeting your own content – Because Twitter uses Likes and re-tweets as indicators of popularity in the algorithm, you can actually increase your exposure by Liking and re-tweeting your own content
  • Engaging with responses to your tweets and mentions – Again, positive actions can boost exposure – the algorithm’s working to show users more of what they might like, so if you Like a tweet, there’s a higher chance it gets shown to more users

Now, these are not ground-breaking ‘hacks’, it makes sense that more engagement equals more reach, but Twitter’s algorithm, in particular, is sensitive to such actions.

Here’s a good example – here, I’ve been shown this tweet by Jillian Jorgensen, who I don’t follow, but it’s been shown to be because I do follow Mathew Ingram, and he Liked it.

As Twitter's Algorithm Evolves, is it Time to Change Your Tweet Marketing Tactics? | Social Media TodayThat gives you some idea of the extended impacts of the Twitter algorithm.

But another, potentially negative, impact has been that some tweets are being clustered together, because timeliness is no longer the defining factor.

You’ve likely noticed this yourself – when you first log on to Twitter for the day, the algorithm puts together a listing of all the tweets you might have missed, sorted by popularity and relevant to your interests. Because more popular Twitter handles generate a lot of engagement, this often means that you end up seeing several tweets from certain handles in a group, one after the other, rather than being spaced out, as the social manager would have intended.

The potential impact is that users may be becoming blind to these tweets. Sure, the best response would be to ensure everything you tweet is highly relevant, but even taking that into consideration, seeing four to five tweets from the same business at the top of your feed every day can be overwhelming, and could be causing some to flick through those tweets to get to other content, or even unfollow to remove them from their feeds.

This is a key impact of the shift away from timeliness and towards relevance – traditionally, Twitter has been based on real-time, on showing you the latest tweets from those you follow, which meant higher posting frequency was definitely the way to go. The average lifespan of a tweet is around 18 minutes, after that, it’s gone, and as such, brands have been told to tweet more, as it’s the only way to ensure maximum visibility.

But the algorithm changes this, and may force a change in approach. Maybe, with the algorithm working to surface the best tweets, higher volume is no longer the best approach.

It’s not definitive, but you can see how the altered tweet order could be lessening the priority of volume, and may even be causing higher tweet volume to become an issue, rather than being a smart tactic.

This is why it’s important to keep an eye on the latest tweet algorithm changes and updates, and new features being rolled out to improve the feed.

Just this week, Twitter’s rolled out another new feature that could help drive more traffic, with a ‘Popular Articles’ section added to the ‘Explore’ tab on both Android and iOS.

The feature’s almost exactly like Nuzzel, a Twitter-based app which I’ve previously suggested Twitter should acquire or adapt (here, here, here and here). The tool highlights key articles of interest, along with notes on how much they’ve been shared, within your own network and more broadly.

Really, it seems like a no-brainer addition – Nuzzel utilizes Twitter’s social graph to highlight trending news items, either among your own audience or the audience of any other user. This helps you quickly and easily find the key topics of interest, at any time, via tweet discussion, and within dedicated communities of interest.

Twitter’s ‘Popular Articles’ is a version of this – it doesn’t provide the depth of functionality that Nuzzel does, but it’s another way to highlight key topics of interest in your community, and thus, likely of interest to you. It also adds another way for brands and marketers to boost content exposure on the platform.

These smaller details are key for any marketer trying to make best use of Twitter. As noted, Twitter’s never been an amazing driver of referral traffic, but there are many ways you can utilize tweets, tweet data and the opportunities for interaction to benefit your business.

Given these more recent changes, it’s worth analyzing your Twitter approach, and maybe trying out some new tactics if you’re seeing declines. It may also be worth considering what you should be using Twitter for – if it’s not driving traffic, there are other ways you can utilize tweets to generate complimentary engagement, while newer discovery elements in Explore can also facilitate additional opportunities.

Also, as a side note, Twitter has announced a new Twitter handle for Twitter Ads assistance – @TwitterAdsHelp. The new team will be responsive 9am to 5pm PST Monday to Friday for all your Twitter ads questions.

19 Sep 2017
by Admin

Facebook Reveals ‘Messenger Day’ Usage Data as Messenger Climbs to 1.3b MAU

Last week, Facebook finally revealed a user count for their Snapchat-clone within Messenger, called ‘Messenger Day’.

Facebook, after seeing success with Instagram Stories, launched Messenger Day to all users back in March after five months of testing among users in Poland and Australia.

But like Facebook Stories, Messenger Day hasn’t seemed to catch on the same way – and the latest user numbers support this, with Facebook revealing that Messenger Day now has 70 million daily users.

For comparison, Instagram Stories had more than 150 million daily active users at around the six-month mark (and now has 250 million DAU), while WhatsApp Status, another Facebook Stories clone, has 250 million users after seven months of existence. That puts Messenger Day well-behind pace – though still, 70 million users likely makes it a worthy addition, even if it’s only used by a fraction of Messenger’s total users.

The announcement actually came as part of an update on Messenger’s overall user count, which has accelerated to 1.3 billion MAU – up from 1.2 billion in April.

Facebook Reveals ‘Messenger Day’ Usage Data as Messenger Climbs to 1.3b MAU | Social Media TodayThe app’s overall user count puts it on pace with WhatsApp – though WhatsApp also recently reported having 1 billion daily active users, which Messenger hasn’t reached as yet.

But really, the key stat of interest was the Messenger Day user count – as noted, while there’s been speculation and anecdotal discussion about poor take-up of Messenger Day and Facebook Stories, up until now we’ve had no actual usage data. The Messenger Day numbers show why – which likely also suggests Facebook’s seeing similar with Facebook Stories.

So what does that mean for the future of Messenger Day? Should you bother with it, is it worth the time?

As with all social media options, it depends on your audience – just because fewer people use it, that doesn’t mean your audience is not active and interested. But in a general sense, Messenger Day should take on less priority than, say, Instagram Stories, as you’re likely to generate better reach through the latter.

In a sense, the slower take-up of Messenger Day reflects Messenger’s wider challenges in getting users to view it as more than just a messaging app. Facebook’s been working to add new business tools and options to Messenger, including, most notably, Messenger Bots, which Facebook had heralded as the next generation of social customer service.

But thus far, despite there being more than 100,000 monthly active bots on the platform, the option has failed to gain significant traction. That’s not to say they won’t become more relevant in future, but part of the challenge in getting people to adapt to the new options within Messenger seems to be that people still only want to use it for private messaging, nothing more. Despite all the new tricks and options, there remains an inherent challenge in changing habitual behavior. 

The data does, however, show that this is shifting – there are now more than 20 million businesses responding to messages each month, and the creation of so many bots would suggest that there is significant brand interest, even if consumers haven’t caught on just yet. There’s still a good chance that audiences will change their minds – really, it probably only takes one or two good bots that people want to tell their friends about to start the momentum. That tipping point probably will come, but whether that then opens the door wider for other Messenger tools, like Messenger Day, remains to be seen.

Still, 70 million users is nothing to sniff at, and its addition is clearly not slowing overall Messenger adoption. It’s not an essential element, no, but it’s not a total write-off either, and it could still become something more, if audience behaviors shift.

And another interesting Messenger note – Facebook’s been using a new tactic of late to steal some more of Snapchat’s thunder, by partnering with influencers to have them showcase Messenger use at events.

Rather than use Snapchat, Messenger has more uses – and Messenger Day is one of the key elements they’re looking to push with these promotions.

© 2017