A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, CA. It was my second consecutive year attending the event, and I wanted to give the audience something fresh — my talk was going to be about Facebook Messenger.
A few days before the talk, a member of the HubSpot Academy team asked me if I would be using Messenger to educate the audience on Messenger (very meta — I know). I surprisingly hadn’t thought much about it, but since our Academy team is full of smart people who know a thing or two about teaching, I decided they were probably onto something.
So, on the six hour plane ride from Boston to San Francisco, I built a Messenger bot to use during my presentation
Setting Goals: Why Do I Need a Bot During My Presentation?
I started by setting a few goals to ensure my bot would truly serve the objectives of my presentation. Here’s the list of things I decided my bot needed to accomplish:
- Teach the audience about Messenger: The core purpose of my presentation was to educate the audience about Messenger. If my bot wasn’t going to help reach this goal, then there was no reason it create it.
- Engage the audience during the presentation: The bot couldn’t make the presentation more complicated or challenging to follow. It had to contribute to a better audience experience overall.
- Collect NPS after the event: The bot needed to enable audience members to share feedback on the presentation in a fast, friendly, and ultimately simple way.
- Share slides with attendees after the event: Tracking down a speaker to get their slides after a presentation sucks. The bot had to make this experience easier for everyone involved.
- Drive traffic to my personal pages to connect with the audience after the event: The bot had to encourage users to continue the conversation with me.
Once I had the goals and function of the bot firmly established, it was time to build.
Creating and Unleashing the Bot
The first thing I did was build a temporary Facebook page to connect Messenger for the event.
Then, I developed a custom QR code with the event logo for audience members to enter the bot experience.
This is no longer active, FYI.
This QR code was tied to a sequence designed specifically to accomplish my goals for the event.
The first message in the sequence welcomed users into the bot and allowed me to understand the audience’s familiarity with the subject before my presentation.
This gave me a good idea of how I’d need to adapt my presentation to meet my audience’s expertise level and expectations.
About 20 minutes into my talk, I sent another quick message asking for audience questions. Instead of waiting for a prompt at the end of the session when time was running short, the bot enabled audience members to ask questions without needing the floor. It also helped me plan the rest of my talk accordingly.
Once the talk ended, it was time for NPS. I set the bot up to send this 20 minutes after my scheduled talk. The results were great:
Two days after the event ended, I sent the slides to everyone who opted in to my Messenger bot.
Did People Actually Use the Bot?
The results of this mini experiment were great. Here are some quick hits:
- 70 people opted in to the bot, ~50% of the audience members in attendance
- 51% of people responded to the NPS
- 100% of NPS respondents were promoters (woo!)
- Messages sent during the event had open rates of
98.5%, 96.9%, 93.8%, and 93.9% (not too shabby)
- 85% of attendees opened the broadcast message 2 days after the event which included slides from the event
- 25 people clicked to follow me on Twitter, 11 on Medium, and 5 clicked to get their free HubSpot CRM
As you can see, the numbers really speak for themselves.
By using Messenger before, during, and after my talk , I was able to effectively engage the audience and create a lasting, personal connection. Additionally, due to the topic itself being Messenger, I was able to educate the audience on the channel’s capabilities with tangible examples.
If you’re a public speaker, I honestly cannot imagine a reason not to be using Messenger before, during, and after your talks — even if you aren’t discussing Messenger.
The potential of the channel is unmatched. And, if you’re a speaker talking about Messenger, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity!
Today’s B2B buyers rely on digital channels through every stage of their journeys — even long after in-person sales interactions with reps.
As a result, commercial organizations’ efforts to identify, nurture, and pursue opportunities “serially” — first through digital engagement via marketing, followed by a hand-off to sales for in-person interaction — is failing to support the way customers actually buy.
Instead, the best companies must evolve a “parallel” commercial engine, where digital and in-person strategies complement each other at every stage of the buyer’s multi-channel journey.
In other words: We have all worked hard to create for our organization a “seamless view of the customer.” Now, it’s time to build a seamless view of our organizations for customers.
To get there, most suppliers will have to re-think — and ultimately, re-design — their websites, as customers aren’t just buying digitally. They’re relying heavily on suppliers’ websites to do so.
In fact, we found suppliers’ websites to be the most frequently-consulted digital channel for customers at every stage of the purchase process.
And yet, the vast majority of B2B websites aren’t designed to support that kind of buying behavior. Instead, they’re primarily designed to “broadcast.”
Specifically, we’re all seeking to tell the world three things: (1) who we are, (2) what we do, and (3) how we help.
To help buyers buy, however, B2B websites will have to meet three critical — and very different — design principles moving forward.
Build a Better B2B Website in 3 Steps
- Give customers an entry point on their terms.
- Signal your solutions in customers’ language.
- Help customers do what they are on your site to do.
1. Give customers an entry point on their terms.
After reviewing hundreds of B2B websites across every major industry, we found only a handful that purposefully invite customers into a conversation. To do that, suppliers need to stop talking so much about themselves.
Rather, they should provide customers with an opportunity to share something about who they are, and what they’re looking to do — on their terms.
Really, it’s no different than common courtesy at a cocktail party. No one wants to be stuck talking to the person droning on about who they are and what they do. Yet that’s precisely what the vast majority of B2B websites do.
Not only is that kind of self-centered approach disengaging, but it also leaves the buyer wondering, “Do they even know who I am? Or what I actually do?” Or worse, “Do they even care?” It’s impersonal at best, and off-putting at worst — fostering questions rather than connections, and distance rather than assistance.
That said, we found a handful of websites that do, in fact, actively invite customers to engage on their terms. Square, for example, asks customers to identify their business sizes and types as a first step to entering the site. It’s the first — and nearly only — thing a visitor encounters upon landing on the home page. That information allows Square to offer customers what feels like a much more customized web experience.
Another example is vAuto.com. A division of Cox Automotive, vAuto sells enterprise software to auto dealers around world. Among those dealers are both used and new car sellers, along with wholesalers — some franchise-based, and some independent.
Those distinctions matter — not only for finding the appropriate vAuto solution, but they help to identify how that customer thinks about themselves.
vAuto has designed the front page of its website to allow buyers to self-identify along the dimensions most important to them, prior to going any deeper. The customer’s first choice upon landing at vauto.com is declaring, “I’m New Car,” “I’m Used Car,” or “I’m Wholesale.”
Notice that even the pronouns are specifically chosen to position the website as a learning and buying tool for customers, rather than a broadcasting tool for the supplier.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do our customers define themselves?
- In their minds, which aspects of their identity most affect the way they look at suppliers like us?
2. Signal your solutions in customers’ language.
Just as the best websites invite customers into a conversation, they also guide buyers to supplier solutions using the language of customer outcomes — rather than supplier capabilities.
The best companies take the time to understand the specific business objectives customers are seeking to achieve, then organize their sites using language immediately recognizable to customers along those particular outcomes. That way, customers don’t have to translate.
Here’s another place where vAuto excels. The company employs actual customer-articulated business problems as the organizing framework for diving deeper into their broad solution set. It organizaes this information around headings like, “No one’s buying my inventory,” and, “The internet is killing my profits.”
At every step, the goal is to make online learning and buying as easy and as resonant as possible — all through an easy-to-follow path of breadcrumbs leading directly to vAuto’s unique solutions.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What help are customers seeking from a supplier in your category?
- What specific language would best resonate with your customers to describe that help?
3. Help customers do what they are on your site to do.
Finally, the best websites identify and then facilitate the specific tasks that customers come to your website to complete.
Take something like a cost calculator embedded directly into a website. A tool like that enables customers to independently calculate the costs of (in)action, rather than relying on sales reps to make the case for change. It’s a simple, practical idea, but it’s deployed with single-minded purpose: to allow the buyer to easily progress along the journey, while remaining in her preferred channel of choice.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What specific buying tasks are your customers coming to your website to complete?
- How easy is it to find support for those tasks on your site right now?
There’s a great deal to be learned from the handful of world-class websites we found as part of our work. For a more detailed discussion, check out this video, where you’ll also find examples and a practical worksheet to plan next steps.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an evolving science. While some of the core principles may stick around forever, the more nuanced parts of it are subject to continuous change. As a result, many of the “proven” tactics people have used in the past — keyword stuffing, link schemes, and so on — are now the stuff of legend.
In our new guide, 20 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2018, we revisit some of the SEO trends that should continue to guide your strategy through 2018, while also highlighting how the practice has changed over the course of 2017.
Here are two myths to give you an idea of what to expect in the world of organic growth this year:
Myth: ‘Keyword optimization is THE key to SEO.’
Not anymore. Today, a new artificial intelligence (AI) system called RankBrain is helping Google understand the relationships between topics and search terms. What does this mean to you? It’s time to dial back the exact keyword matches — your content may be hitting the wrong audience.
Myth: ‘Local SEO doesn’t matter anymore.’
I’ll just leave this here:
“If you are a local business, having a website isn’t enough to rank well in Google’s local search listings,” says Kristopher Jones of the SEO agency LSEO.com. “If you want to rank well you need to unlock, verify, and optimize a Google+ Businsess Page.”
He’s right. Local SEO couldn’t be more important today, and growing companies are consistently crushing it under local search queries. In fact, national or global companies are advised to stay away from local search terms because they don’t stand a chance against local Google+ business pages.
Unless your organization benefits from a dedicated SEO marketing specialist who can work on this stuff day-in and day-out, keeping up with the latest changes in the world of SEO can be a struggle. But in the end, adjusting your strategy based on search ranking algorithm updates or changes in the way search results are displayed visually can be incredibly impactful on business results.
Check out the SEO Myths PDF to learn more about what changes you’ll need to make with your SEO strategy moving forward.
When people talk about today’s most popular social sharing websites, YouTube often gets left out of the conversation in favor of sites like Facebook and Twitter.
But don’t be fooled: YouTube has a lot going for it. Although Facebook might be the largest social networking site, YouTube has the second greatest reach after Facebook in terms of general usage. It’s also the second biggest search engine behind its parent company, Google.
And there are a ton of cool things you can do with YouTube that you might not know about, whether you use YouTube to watch videos, post them, or both. For example, did you know YouTube has its own virtual reality (VR) setting to view any video in 360 degrees? Or that you can create a YouTube time link that brings viewers to a specific moment in the video?
Mind-blowing stuff, people. To help you make the most out of the still very popular platform, we’ve put together a list of 20 of the lesser-known hacks, tips, and features YouTube has to offer.
20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks, and Features You’ll Want to Know About
1. You can turn any YouTube video into a GIF using the URL.
Everyone loves GIFs, but knowing how to make them isn’t common knowledge. Well, it should be, because all it takes is a little YouTube URL trick.
To create a GIF from a YouTube video: Select a video to watch on YouTube and find the URL at the top of your browser. Add the word “gif” right before the domain name so it reads, “www.gifyoutube.com/[your-video-tag].”
This will bring you to gifs.com, with your video already uploaded and ready for editing. Here, you’ll find a menu of options to the left-hand side with a timeline bar along the bottom of your video. You can set the GIF duration, crop its frame, add captions, and more.
Click “Create GIF” on the top-right and it’ll prompt you for a GIF title and set of tags. Then click “Next,” and you have a handy landing page from which to share your newly minted GIF. Keep in mind you can only download this GIF to an offline file by signing up with gifs.com.
2. You can create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time.
Ever wanted to send someone a YouTube video, but point them to a specific moment? Let’s say you’re trying to recruit your friends to learn the dance in Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video with you.
Instead of sending your friends the general YouTube link and instructing them to fast-forward to the 0:50 minute mark, you can actually send them a specific YouTube time link that starts the video at whichever time you choose. Click here to see what I mean.
Alright, here’s how to do it:
To create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time: Open up the video and click “Share” to the far right of the video title. Then, in the window of options that appears, check the box next to “Start at:” and type in the time (in hours:minutes:seconds) you want. Alternatively, you can pause the video at the time you want it to start and that field will autofill.
After a few moments, you’ll see a tag add itself to the end of the generic YouTube link (in this case, ?t=50s). Simply copy that link and paste it wherever you’d like.
It’s worth noting that you can’t embed a video so it starts at a certain time; you can’t only link to it.
3. You can easily see the written transcripts of people’s videos.
Did you know YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website? That’s right — and anyone has access to that transcript unless the user manually hides it from viewers.
I can think of a number of different situations where video transcripts can come in handy. For example, maybe you want to write down a quote from a video, but the tedium of pausing-and-typing, pausing-and-typing would drive you up a wall. Or perhaps you need to find a specific section of a video, but don’t want to rewatch the whole thing to find it. With a transcript in hand, you can find information like this without doing it all by hand.
To see a video’s transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the “More” tab underneath the video title. Choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu.
(If you aren’t seeing this option, it’s because the user chose to hide the transcript.)
This transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. In many cases, the user who uploaded the video will not have gone back and manually polished the transcript, so it won’t be perfect. But it’ll certainly save you some time and pain.
4. You can help your video get found in search by editing or uploading a transcript.
Both YouTube and its parent company Google look at a number of factors when ranking videos in search to determine what your video is about, and your transcript is one of them. (An even bigger ranking factor is your video’s description, which is why Digital Marketing Consultant Ryan Stewart suggests that you actually paste your transcript right into the description box, too.)
To add a transcript to your video: Open the video on YouTube, and you’ll see a row of icons just below the play button. Click the icon on the far right for “Subtitles/CC.” (CC stands for “Closed Captions.)
Set your language if you haven’t already. Then, you’ll then be prompted to choose among three different ways to add subtitles or closed captions to your video …
- Upload a pre-written text transcript or a timed subtitles file. (Learn more about the file types you can upload and more here.)
- Paste in a full transcript of the video, wherein subtitle timings will be set automatically.
- Type them in as you watch the video.
The folks at YouTube have done some great things to make that third option (typing as you watch) as painless as possible. For example, if you check a box next to “Pause video while typing,” it’ll make the whole process a lot faster. Here’s a GIF showing that in action:
Learn more about optimizing your YouTube videos for search in the below video.
4. You can use YouTube to easily get free transcriptions of your videos and audio files.
This is the last one about transcripts, I promise — but I’ll bet you never thought about them this way. As you know from #2, YouTube automatically adds a transcript to every video. But if you’re looking for a one-off transcription of an audio or video file and don’t want to pay for a service, YouTube’s built-in captioning system isn’t a bad place to start. You can always clean it up later.
To get an automated transcription for a video: Simply upload your video to YouTube, open it on YouTube’s website, press the “More” tab underneath the video title, and choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu. The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. If you want to clean it up, follow the steps outlined in #3 for a user-friendly experience.
To get an automated transcription for an audio file: You’ll need to upload your audio recording to YouTube using a service like TunesToTube. It’ll take anywhere between 2–30 minutes for YouTube to upload it. Then, follow the instructions for getting an automated transcription for a video, outlined above.
5. You can create, share, and collaborate on video playlists.
Just like on your other favorite media sharing sites like Spotify and iTunes, you can create a “playlist” on YouTube — which is really just a place to store and organize the videos (your own and others’). You can keep playlists private, make them public, or even share them directly with others.
Playlists are useful for many different types of users, from an individual collecting cooking videos for their upcoming dinner party to a brand that’s segmenting its YouTube video content by topic. For example, Tasty’s YouTube playlists break up recipes by meal type, making it easier for people to browse and find what they’re looking for:
To create a playlist on desktop: Go to your Playlists page by clicking here or clicking your account icon in the top right, choosing “Creator Studio,” clicking “Video Manager” on the left, and choosing “Playlists.” Then, click “New Playlist” on the top right and choose whether you’d like to keep it private or make it public.
To add a video to a playlist: If you’re adding a video to a playlist while you’re watching it, click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist to which you’d like to add it.
If you want to add a video to a playlist right from your Playlists page, simply click “Add Video” and either paste in a video URL, choose a video from your uploads, or search for a video on YouTube. Once you find the video you want to add, select the “Add to” menu from that video and add it to the playlist.
Your friends can contribute to your playlists, too. All you have to do is turn on the ability to collaborate on playlists. Once you turn it on, anyone you share a playlist link with can add videos to that playlist. (They can also remove any videos they’ve added, too.)
To add friends to a playlist: Go to your Playlists page again and open the playlist you want to collaborate on. Click “Playlist Settings” and choose the “Collaborate” tag. Toggle on the setting that allows collaborators to add videos to the playlist, and from there, you can send them a link where they can add videos to the playlist.
Once your friend’s been invited to a playlist, they’ll be able to add new videos to it and remove videos they’ve added in the past. They just have to follow some on-screen instructions first to confirm they want to be a contributor and to save the playlist to their own account.
When you add a video to a playlist you’re collaborating on, your name will appear next to the video in the playlist, and everyone who’s been invited to collaborate on that playlist will get a notification that a new video has been added.
(To learn more about how to manage contributors, stop accepting contributions to a playlist, and so on, read this YouTube Support page.)
6. You can save videos to watch later.
Ever seen YouTube videos you wished you could bookmark for later? Maybe you aren’t able to turn the sound on at the moment, or perhaps you just don’t have time to watch it. Well, YouTube took a page out of Facebook’s … book … by adding something very similar to Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature. On YouTube, you can save videos to a “Watch Later” playlist to access whenever you want.
The “Watch Later” playlist operates just like a normal playlist, so the instructions are identical to the previous step (except you can’t invite others to collaborate on your “Watch Later” playlist).
To add a video to your “Watch Later” playlist: Open the video on YouTube and click the “Add to” icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you’d like to add it to, just like you did in the previous step. The steps are very similar on mobile, but click here if you want the full instructions from YouTube’s Support page.
To access those videos: Simply go to your YouTube homepage and choose “Watch Later” from the menu on the upper left-hand side of your screen.
From there, you can watch the videos you were saving, as well as easily remove videos from that list that you’ve already watched.
7. You can create your own custom YouTube URL.
Want to give people an easy-to-remember web address to get to your YouTube channel? You can actually create a custom URL, which you can base on things like your display name, your YouTube username, any current vanity URLs that you have, or the name of your linked website. HubSpot’s, for example, is https://www.youtube.com/hubspot.
Important Note: Before you do this, make sure you’re positive this is the custom URL you want — because once it’s approved, you can’t request to change it, nor can you transfer it to someone else. Keep in mind that it’ll be linked to both your YouTube channel and your Google+ identity, too.
Unfortunately, not everyone’s eligible for a custom URL. To get one, you have to have 100 or more subscribers, be at least 30 days old, have an uploaded photo as your channel icon, and have uploaded channel art. If that sounds like you, keep reading.
To claim your custom URL: Open up your YouTube account settings and click “Advanced” in your name section.
If you’re eligible for a custom URL, you’ll be prompted to claim yours by clicking a link.
Select the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service.” Then, once you’re absolutely sure it’s the URL you want (since you can’t ever change it), click “Change URL” to make it final.
8. You can add an end screen or cards to promote content.
In 2008, YouTube began allowing clickable links YouTube called “annotations” that you could insert into your videos. These annotations worked kind of like call-to-action buttons for directing people to subscribe to your channel, see merchandise or a fundraising campaign, visit another resource to learn more, and so on.
In order to make them more natural parts of the viewing experience, YouTube has replaced annotations with end screens, where you can display more visually pleasing call-to-action cards in the last 30 seconds of your content.
How to Add an End Screen
Do your favorite YouTube creators have a fancy closing screen that encourages you to keep watching their videos? For example, here’s one from Saturday Night Live:
You can create a customized end screen, too. They help keep viewers on your channel by suggesting other videos and sites they can check out. Here’s how to do it:
Navigate to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “End screen & Annotations” from the drop-down menu:
From there, you’re taken to the End screen creator studio, where you can play around with different templates and background to determine how you want your end screen to appear. Then, click the “Add element” menu to decide where you want to send viewers from your end screen.
Any YouTube creators can add an end screen to customize their channels. Here’s an explainer article with more details and inspirational ideas.
How to Add a Card
You can use cards to advertise products used in your videos or links on your website you want to market on YouTube. If viewers tap the “i” in the upper-right hand corner of a video, the cards expand, as in the example below:
To add a card to a YouTube video, head to your Video Manager, tap “Edit,” and select “Cards” from the drop-down menu.
Then, choose where in the video you want cards to appear, and tap the “Add card” drop-down menu to choose what you want the card to promote. From there, customize the content that will appear to viewers when they tap the “i” while viewing your video:
9. YouTube has a big library of high-quality, royalty-free sound effects and music you can browse and download.
Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)? YouTube is there for you. It has a whole library of high-quality, 320kbps audio tracks and sound effects that you can download royalty-free and add to your videos. (Or listen to in your free time. We won’t judge.)
To add music or sound effects to your video: Open YouTube’s Audio Library by clicking here or opening your Creator Studio, clicking “Create” in the menu on the left-hand side, and choosing “Audio Library.”
Now, the fun begins. By default, it’ll start you on the “Sound effects” tab. Here, you can search sounds using the search bar, like I did in the screenshot below for motorcycle sounds.
You can also toggle by category (everything from human voices to weather sounds) or scroll through favorites that you’ve starred in the past. For easy access in the future, select the star to add the track to your Favorites. The bars next to the songs show how popular a track is.
If you switch over to the “Music” bar, you can browse through all of its royalty-free music. You won’t find the Beatles in here, but you will find some good stuff — like suspenseful music, uplifting music, holiday music, jazz, and more. Instead of toggling by category, you can toggle by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and so on.
(Note: Some of the music files in there may have additional attribution requirements you have to follow, but those are pretty clearly laid out on a song-by-song-basis. You can learn more on YouTube’s Support page here.)
Once you’ve found a track you like, click the arrow to download it and it’ll download directly to your computer as an MP3 file. Then, you can do whatever you want with it.
If you want to source sounds for your videos outside of YouTube, you’ll just have to make sure to you’re following all the rules for sourcing them. Refer to this YouTube Support page for best practices for sourcing audio, and this one to learn YouTube’s music policies.
10. Add adjustments and creative effects with YouTube Enhancements.
YouTube has faded a number of features it experimented with at one time — including annotations and a not-so-popular slideshow creator — but one editing tool that remains quite handy is Enhancements. Nine effects you’d normally find on third-party video editing software, you can now take advantage of natively through YouTube:
- Auto-fix lighting and color
- Stabilize shaky camera motions
- Apply slow motion
- Apply time lapse
- Trim out parts of your video
- Rotate the view
- Apply filters
- Custom blurring
- Blur faces
To make enhancements to an existing video: Click into your Video Manager and find a video you’d like to edit. Select the drop-down icon next to “Edit” to the right of the video, and select “Enhancements.”
Images via filmora
If you’re editing on a computer, this button will open all nine tools to the right of your video, where you can add various fixes, filters, and blurring effects and see how they change the final product in real time.
Note that not all enhancements are available on mobile devices. On Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, you can only trim, add music, and apply filters. Read this article to learn more about YouTube enhancements.
11. Play YouTube videos in the background on mobile devices.
Sometimes, your own music playlist just isn’t cutting it. Or maybe you want to listen to your favorite artist’s performance at an awards show.
Either way, if you’ve tried listening to music on YouTube via your mobile device, you may have noticed one thing: You can’t navigate out of the app. You have to keep YouTube open, and you can’t use your phone for anything else, in order to listen to something on YouTube. Kind of frustrating if you’re trying to multitask on your commute home, right?
Now, there are hacks so you can listen to YouTube content in the background while still using your mobile device. Here’s what you do:
How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: iOS
Open Safari on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to watch on https://www.youtube.com. Start playing the video you want to listen to, then tap the Home button to close out of Safari. (I chose Katy Perry.)
Then, swipe up on your home screen to reveal the Action Center.
Then, swipe left to reveal the second screen on your Action Center. The details of the video you selected on YouTube should appear, and from there, simply tap Play to keep jamming.
How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: Android
Launch Firefox or Chrome on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to play on https://www.youtube.com. Then, tap the “Settings” menu in the upper right-hand corner (the ellipses) and select “Request Desktop Site.”
Image via DigitalTrends
Then, start playing the video on YouTube, and tap the Home button to return to your home screen. The audio will keep playing in the background as you use other apps.
12. You can live stream videos to YouTube.
Live streaming video has been a big topic of conversation for the past few years. It’s seen massive growth, especially in the past few years with the advent of Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram live videos.
Learning how to go live on YouTube is a little more complex (and confusing) than live streaming using similar platforms. On YouTube’s easier streaming option, there’s no simple “start” button; instead, you actually have to download encoding software and set it up to use live streaming at all. YouTube has identified 13+ encoders that are Live Verified.
If you’re streaming a live event, though, all you need is a webcam. We’ll get to that in a second.
Live Stream From Your Desktop Computer
Log in to YouTube and click the “Upload” button at the top-right of your screen. Normally, this is where you’d upload a pre-existing video — but instead, you’ll want to find the “Live Streaming” module on the right-hand side of your screen. Click “Get Started” in that module.
Before you go live, YouTube will first confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once that’s all set, you have two options for streaming: “Stream now” and “Live Events.”
Stream Now is the simpler, quicker option for live streaming, which is why it’s YouTube’s default for live streaming. You’ll see a fancy dashboard like the one below when you choose “Live Streaming” on the left-hand Creator Studio menu:
Again, you’ll notice there’s no “start” button on the dashboard. This is where you’ll need to open your encoder and start and stop your streaming from there. Here’s YouTube’s Live Streaming FAQ page for more detailed information.
Live Events gives you a lot more control over the live stream. You can preview it before it goes live, it’ll give you backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.
Choose “Live Events” from your live streaming dashboard once you’ve enabled it. Here’s what the events dashboard looks like, and you can learn more about it here.
When you stop streaming, we’ll automatically upload an archive of your live stream to your channel. Note that your completed live stream videos are automatically made public on your channel by default as soon as you’re done recording. To make them disappear from the public eye once you’re done, you can select “Make archive private when complete” in the “Stream Options” section of your live dashboard.
Live Stream From Your Mobile Device
YouTube has also rolled out live streaming from mobile devices for YouTube creators with 10,000 or more subscribers (as of the date of this posting — that will be available to all creators soon, according to YouTube’s blog post).
Live streaming is more intuitive from mobile devices than on desktop computers. Qualified creators can simply open their YouTube app on mobile, tap the camera icon at the top of the screen, and choose “Go Live.”
From there, creators can enter details about the broadcast before immediately recording live for their subscribers, as shown below:
Image via YouTube
For more instruction on how to go live on YouTube across devices, YouTube published a Help article here. Want to see what live videos others are recording on YouTube? You can browse popular YouTube videos that are live right now by clicking here.
13. You can upload and watch 360-degree videos (live and pre-recorded).
YouTube first announced its support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015, and it was a total novelty — not to mention a game-changer. Since then, brands, athletes, and other users have created some awesome 360-degree content, like this video from Samsung:
As you can see, the experience as a viewer is really, really cool. On desktop, you can click around the video to see all the different angles while the video plays. On mobile, it’s even cooler: You can move your camera around to change the angle. You can browse the trending 360-degree and VR videos here.
To actually create a 360-degree video on YouTube yourself, though, you need some serious equipment. Cameras with 360-degree capability that are compatible with YouTube are listed here on YouTube’s Support page, along with how to create and upload a 360-degree video file.
What about live video in 360 degrees? That announcement would come a year after the first one, in April 2016 — the very same week Facebook announced its own design for a 360-degree camera. Luckily for the folks at YouTube, it beat out Facebook by supporting both live video and 360-degree footage all at once.
14. You can use the Cardboard setting on your YouTube mobile app to view any video in VR.
The Verge called 360 live-streamed videos “the gateway drug to virtual reality” for YouTube. Other than the YouTube website or app, you don’t need any fancy equipment to be able to watch a 360-degree live video and feel like you’re basically there.
That doesn’t mean a headset isn’t an option — and an awesome one at that, since YouTube released its Cardboard feature. Cardboard is available on any YouTube video you watch or upload, and works with Google Cardboard (an actual VR headset by Google) and several other VR headsets available today.
To use Cardboard while watching a YouTube video via mobile: Select any video in your YouTube mobile app, then tap the three dots in the upper-right hand corner of the video. In the drop-down, select “View in Cardboard.” You may already see this option visible in the bottom-right of 360-degree videos.
This will prompt you to connect your mobile device to a compatible VR device. Once you do, prepare for a stellar experience, and just imagine what this could mean for the content with which you populate your own YouTube channel.
15. YouTube ads target you based on an algorithm similar to Google and Facebook.
How does the YouTube algorithm decide which ads play on the videos you watch?
Turns out it works a lot like Google and Facebook ads do. Like on other free sites, the advertisers help fund the YouTube experience in return for exposure to ads. You’ll see certain ads over others because of your demographic groups, your interests (which is judged in part by what you search on Google and YouTube) and the content you’ve viewed before, including whether or not you’ve interacted with the advertiser’s videos, ads, or YouTube channel.
YouTube’s algorithms also try to make sure people aren’t overloaded with ads while watching videos — so it actually sometimes won’t show ads on monetizable videos, even when there’s a demographic match.
Here are the five ad formats you can expect to see on YouTube, and how they work:
A. Display ads, which show up next to the video and only appear only on desktop and laptop computers. The advertiser gets paid when you see or click on the ad, depending on their selection.
Image via YouTube’s Creator Academy
B. Overlay ads, which appear across the bottom 20% of the video window and currently only appears only on desktop and laptop computers. You can X out of the ad at any time.
Image via YouTube’s Creator Academy
C. TrueView in-stream, skippable video ads, which are most common ads. These are the ones you can skip after watching for five seconds. Advertisers can put it before, during (yikes!), or after the video plays, and they get paid only if you watch at least 30 seconds of the clip or to the end of the video ad — whichever comes first.
Image via YouTube’s Creator Academy
D. Non-skippable video ads, which are those longer, 15-or-more-second ads you see before plays and can’t skip after any period of time, no matter how much you shout at your screen.
Image via YouTube’s Creator Academy
E. Midroll ads, which are ads that are only available for videos over 15 minutes long that are spaced within the video like TV commercials. You need to watch the ad before continuing through the video. How the advertiser gets paid depends on the type of ad: If the midroll is a TrueView ad, you’d have to watch 30 seconds of the end or the entire ad — whichever is shorter. If it’s a CPM-based ad, you have to watch the entire ad no matter how long it is.
Image Credit: YouTube’s Creator Academy
F. Bumper ads, which are short, non-skippable ads up to six seconds long that play before the video the viewer has selected. Bumper ads are optimized for mobile devices and must be watched in their entirety before viewers can progress to the video they want to view.
16. You can remove ads from YouTube videos (and watch videos offline) for 10 bucks a month.
Video ads are the reason you can watch videos for free on YouTube. It’s a fact many of us have come to accept. But with YouTube’s subscription service YouTube Red, that doesn’t necessarily have to be true anymore.
For $9.99 a month, you can watch YouTube videos … without any ads. And, in addition to ad-free videos, you can save videos on your mobile device and watch them in the background and/or offline, and you can use YouTube’s Music App (on iOS and Android) in the background, offline, and/or on audio mode. This is not a drill.
You’d think the lure of ad-free videos would have caused more of an uproar since its launch in late 2015, especially given YouTube’s domination in the music space. Surprisingly, I haven’t heard much noise about it. But YouTube hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers (the service reportedly has around 1.5 million subscribers) so it’s hard to tell how well it’s doing. Either way, it’s good to know about — especially if you like collecting songs and music videos like I do, but don’t like when they get broken up by ads.
17. You can use Google Trends to explore and compare popular YouTube search terms over time.
You might already use Google Trends to look at the popularity of specific search terms over time. (It can be a great marketing tool for making smarter keyword choices, for instance.) But did you know you can use it to compare the popularity of YouTube search queries, specifically?
All you have to do is open Google Trends and type a search term into the “Explore topics” search bar at the top. Once that page opens up, click on “Web Search” to open a drop-down menu, and choose “YouTube Search” so it filters by YouTube searches specifically.
You might find that, for some search terms, the search trends are very different on Google (above) than on YouTube (below).
18. There’s a “safer” version of YouTube available for your kids.
Any parent will tell you how scary it is for their kids to theoretically have access to everything public on the internet. But for your younger kids, there are ways to curb that access and have more control of what they’re watching and finding — including a kids’ version of YouTube called YouTube Kids.
The folks at YouTube call YouTube Kids “a safer version of YouTube.” It’s not a wide-open library of online videos like YouTube is; instead, it uses filters powered by algorithms to select videos from YouTube that are safe for kids to watch. It’s also totally free, thanks to ads (which are regulated as carefully as possible).
You can either turn the search feature on or off, depending on whether you’re cool with your kids searching for videos themselves — or if you’d rather limit them to a certain set of videos selected by the app, along with those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched already. You can set a timer to limit how much time a child spends on the app, which is music to many parents’ ears.
The algorithm is darn good — remember, Google is YouTube’s parent company — but, as it warns in its parents’ guide, “no algorithm is perfect.”
19. You can now clear your YouTube History.
You might eventually want to delete items from your YouTube search or watch history. YouTube lets you completely clear your history, pause your history so it stops recording what you search for and watch from that point forward, or go through your history and delete certain videos.
To delete your history on your desktop or mobile device: Navigate to the “Watch History” menu. Here’s where it lives on your desktop browser homepage and in your mobile app, respectively:
From there, you can “clear all watch history” (permanently delete the record of everything you’ve watched), “pause watch history” (stop recording the videos you watch going forward), or individually remove videos from your history by tapping the X or ellipses next to videos. Here’s what it looks like on desktop and on mobile, below:
YouTube published a Help article if you need more instruction for deleting items from your YouTube watch history, too.
20. You can learn about YouTube’s copyrights terms from a cast of ridiculous puppets.
Made it this far? Here’s a little reward: YouTube’s “Copyrights Basics” FAQ page, which is, fittingly a YouTube video — and features a pretty colorful cast of characters. It’s actually super informative, and it looks like YouTube’s video team had a lot of fun making it.
My favorite line is probably, “You know there are links on this webpage, right? You don’t have to watch this.” Although the chorus of gorilla puppets was pretty great, too.
We hope we’ve opened your eyes to some of the more awesome YouTube hacks, tips, and features out there that you may not have known about. Now log on to YouTube and do some exploring yourself. The platform certainly isn’t going anywhere.
There’s a popular phrase that I’ve heard quite a bit throughout life: “Don’t get mad. Get even.”
Sure, that makes sense — if you’re a character on a major soap opera or teen drama. But at the workplace, this kind of sentiment can be harmful.
Anger, however — now that, surprisingly, can actually benefit you and your colleagues in the workplace. But only when it’s handled correctly.
No matter how much you love your job, chances are, you experience some semblance of negative thoughts and emotions. That’s part of the challenge, right? And without a challenge, well, what a bore that would be.
But what’s the right way to handle these less-than-positive sentiments?
QuickQuid put together the helpful infographic below to answer just that question. Have a look, and bookmark this post for the next time you find yourself experiencing these thoughts and emotions at work.
Remember that exciting self-driving car news we broke yesterday?
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah — largely known for its roadside assistance services — has partnered with Torc Robotics to develop safety criteria for self-driving cars.
It all started when AAA launched its autonomous vehicle shuttle in Las Vegas back in November — which reportedly got into an accident on its first day of operation.
So when I had the opportunity to go for a spin in one at CES, did I accept it anyway?
And I didn’t stop there. As long as I was in the area, I decided to hop on for a ride in a self-driving Navya taxi, too.
Here’s what it was like — and what I learned.
Here’s What It’s Really Like to Ride in a Self-Driving Car
These Vehicles Aren’t Really Driverless
When I told my friends and colleagues that I would be taking AAA’s driverless shuttle for a spin, it was met with mixed reaction. “I’ll pray for you,” “be safe,” and “that’s exciting” were among the responses.
Regardless, I was excited. Here’s how things started out:
— Amanda Zantal-Wiener (@Amanda_ZW)
January 10, 2018
The first thing I discovered was that most of these autonomous vehicles, at this point, are not entirely driverless. On the shuttle, for instance, riders are joined by a human operator who’s required to have a special class of driver’s license for autonomous vehicles.
So why, then, are these vehicles labeled as “self-driving”? Well, they are. The shuttle moves, brakes, and regulates its speed independently.
But the technology is still new enough that, for safety reasons, it helps to have a human present who can override the system in certain cases. That became necessary, for example, when we made a stop a donut shop and the doors closed before I could capture a photo — and the human operator was able to manually open them for me.
— Amanda Zantal-Wiener (@Amanda_ZW)
January 10, 2018
But these human operators are really present for safety reasons more than they are for photo ops. While I didn’t feel unsafe during the ride — we stopped for humans, traffic lights, and even birds — the Navya taxi, for its part, had trouble moving forward, even once the pigeon that had been in its path flew away. Our human operator was able to override the system to get us going again, and also had the ability to stop the vehicle in the case of an emergency.
The Biggest Selling Point: What You Can Do in the Car
One thing that continually comes up in the conversations at CES about driverless cars is how much time they give back to commuters. Instead of idly sitting in traffic, for example, riders can spend that time on the road doing something else, like catching up on work.
But when I first wrote about the AAA shuttle yesterday, you might recall that I identified autonomous vehicles as a potential new content distribution channel — an area of opportunity that Navya has seized for its fleet of self-driving taxis.
The service works much like most ride-sharing programs like Lyft and Uber do now: You hail a car from your phone, which you also must use to open the vehicle’s door (this is most likely a security play, since there won’t be a human driver to ask riders to identify themselves).
Once you’re in the car, you can play the music of your choice, and use the many screens built into the vehicle to check on your flight status, buy movie tickets, and more.
But if this technology sounds redundant to you — you’re not alone.
For example, many of us (yours truly included) already do these things during rides on our phones. As someone who doesn’t own a car, for example, I already use the time during rides to the airport, for example, to check my flight status, make restaurant reservations, and — well, many of the other things that are built into the Navya taxi’s capabilities.
However, it is a fairly novel concept to those who are often the ones behind the wheel, and lose that time to watching the road instead of executing tasks on their phones. And to me, that’s one of the biggest upsides to self-driving technology on a macro level: the reduction of car ownership, and the added transportation accessibility it provides for aging populations and persons with disabilities.
It All Feels Remarkably Familiar — and That’s a Good Thing
But for all of this innovation, there’s a problem: Only 38% of Americans are enthusiastic about the idea of riding in self-driving vehicles.
Allow me to put those fears to rest. My broad takeaway from my driverless shuttle and taxi ride is that if you’re used to riding on buses and subways — this is anticlimactic.
Maybe riding in a standard, four-person sedan with no driver would feel a bit weirder — an opportunity that Lyft was providing to a lucky few at CES who weren’t met with this message:
But as far as my experience goes, riding in these autonomous vehicles feels like riding on public transportation. And ultimately, I believe that’s a good thing — the sense of familiarity means less of a “learning curve” for passengers, especially in the urban settings where many of these programs are being piloted. It won’t seem as scary or extremely new.
Instead, I anticipate that most riders will have more of a reaction of, “Well, that’s cool,” and then return to their standard public transportation activities of choice, like listening to music or reading a book. For my part, if I had my earbuds on and was simply staring out the window, I’ll be honest: This wouldn’t have felt like a particularly groundbreaking experience.
It takes four hours to charge an @NAVYA_Group taxi, which powers it for 11 hours. The fastest it will be able to go is 55 mph. Why not faster? It’s designed to operate in cities. #ces2018 pic.twitter.com/gnD3jtA9DK
— Amanda Zantal-Wiener (@Amanda_ZW)
January 10, 2018
The human operator element plays a part here, too. Earlier this week, during the LG CES press event, a new feature was announced in which home appliances are able — by way of machine learning, I suspect — to proactively detect and remotely repair mechanical issues, often before the user even knows that there’s a problem.
Self-driving cars, I anticipate, are learning how to do the same thing. But the stakes are much higher for a vehicle than, say, a washing machine — and that’s why, while the machines collect data and learn how to fix themselves, the human presence is both crucial and reassuring.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles, we’re just getting started. The topic dominated much of the dialogue at CES, with several brands announcing their latest innovations and progress within the realm.
And while public fears are not entirely unfounded — no technology is perfect, I would agree — I believe that market permeation of self-driving cars on a large scale will ultimately carry more environmental, social, and accessibility benefits than not.
Today marks the second Media Day of CES 2018, and to kick things off, LG debuted a number of new technologies at this morning’s press conference.
As one might expect, the announcements leaned quite heavily toward Smart Home, with LG’s ecosystem boasting a suite of abilities — many of them AI-powered. There’s the “Smart Service” feature, for instance: the technology that detects potential problems with appliances (like your washer or dryer) and proactively notifies the service center, often fixing the issue before the user even knows there is one.
It was reminiscent, for me, of many of the announcements made in October at the Samsung Developer Conference — the idea of a unified ecosystem (LG’s is called ThinQ) that’s powered by machine learning solutions, all on an open platform. One of the differentiating factors announced today, for example, is LG’s connectivity among home, car, and office: the type of technology that allows, for example, your refrigerator to send a message to your car notifying you if you need to go to the grocery store.
But as I was busy live-tweeting and day-dreaming about filling my home with these oh-so-smart devices, I noticed this:
— Geoffrey A. Fowler (@geoffreyfowler)
January 8, 2018
The flaw, Fowler points out, is the thinking that most consumers exclusively equip their homes with appliances from a single brand. It proposes a world, for example, where you don’t have GE appliances in your kitchen and a Samsung TV (such as yours truly) — you have one, single brand filling your home with everything.
LG did note that users will be able to control IoT devices manufactured by other brands from your refrigerator panel. But there enters the concept of practicality — how often are you in standing directly in front of your fridge when you need to, for example, remotely control any other given device in your home?
Which leads me to another question: Just how far will consumers go when it comes to brand loyalty?
When it comes to the marketer’s job, there are two key takeaways here. The first is to determine how — and to begin, if — your brand is equipped to build such an ecosystem, regardless of your industry. Are your products and services connected to complement each other and work in synergy to enhance the customer or user experience?
But building a branded ecosystem with the customer in mind is a double-edged sword. Is built in a way, for example, that if the products and services are fragmented — for example, the customer has bought into one piece of the ecosystem, but not the whole thing — the user experience is somehow diminished?
As marketers begin to build upon and work to stay ahead of these emerging trends and technologies — the Internet of Things, voice search, and growing AI-powered capabilities — these are crucial questions to ask until they are answered in a way that, without a doubt, only enhances the user experience, even if they don’t or can’t buy into an entire ecosystem.
That’s not to say I discourage this type of connected thinking — in fact, I still recommend at least thinking about the ways brands and marketers can build a suite of products and services with complementary connectivity at this sort. But as I often emphasize: Do so with the user in mind.
Featured image credit: LG
We write quite a bit about the most effective ways to use Facebook.
How can you grow your audience? How can you reach the right people? And what’s the best way to use ads?
And in March, when Facebook launched its mobile-only Collection ads feature, marketers responsible for ad spend took note. Now, instead of simply publishing a single image or video, brands could now pair this visual content with something like a product catalog related to it.
Even better: The results were compiled into the comprehensive, interactive infographic below. Scroll through to see how the experiment turned out.
The HubSpot Marketing Blog has been around since 2006.
Think about that for a moment. It’s been 11 years — with is plenty of time for successes, failures, changes, and growth. And within that tradition, the Marketing Blog has been no exception.
The Marketing Blog has been a key part of HubSpot’s inbound business. The more posts we published, the larger our audience grew. In 2014, we celebrated reaching 1.5 million views a month. And now, we take pride in our 4.5 million monthly visits.
But then, earlier this year, we noticed that our traffic was falling flat. Then, it declined. In such a short period of time, we had gone from impressive growth to stagnation — and what’s worse, we couldn’t figure out why.
We have an answer — but the news isn’t exactly, well, good. As it turns out, Google is likely eating your blog traffic — specifically, its featured snippets.
Here’s how we found out.
What Is Google’s Featured Snippet?
A featured snippet is a concise response to a Google search query. It’s displayed on top of the general results, and also includes the page’s publication date, title, and URL.
How We Discovered What Happened
While we spent several months trying to figure out what was going on with our traffic, for the purposes of this post, we’ll be focusing on the data we collected that led to our discovery of featured snippets eating blog traffic. To read about the full methodology, visit our research report.
When we looked at the existing data available on this matter, we discovered that, at the root of the issue was that search is simply changing. The number of featured snippets on search engine results pages (SERPs) has grown 328% since summer 2015. On top of that, just under one-third of Google searches now returns a featured snippet.
That may not sound like a huge amount, but when you also consider that, according to Moz, almost half of today’s searches result in zero clicks, it indicates that people might be getting the answers they need directly on the SERP — no page visits required.
In other words, the trends indicated that we were likely losing traffic to featured snippets, whether that snippet received any clicks or not.
What That Means
To put that into context, consider that on SERPs with no featured snippet, we found that the first result can expect to bring in about 33% of the total clicks. The second result accounts for 18%, and the rest, 11% or under.
But we couldn’t just take their word for it. We had a deeper look to see if this was, in fact, happening with our own blog posts, highlighting a few that particularly stood out to us.
With a featured snippet, position #1 is, well, a losing result. That’s because the featured snippet gets such a high ratio of clicks — about 50%, versus 33% — decreasing clicks on the remaining results below it to the point that some of the top 10 become nearly obsolete.
So, yeah — with featured snippets appearing on a third of all Google SERPs, there’s a good chance that they’re eating your traffic.
We suspected that might be the case with a few of our own blog posts, and picked out three examples for which our page rank on the SERP didn’t fluctuate significantly year-over-year — in fact, in some cases, it remained in position #1 — but we didn’t capture the featured snippet for the highest-volume queries or keywords.
Here’s how much the raw traffic on those posts decreased.
1. “How to Make a Chart or Graph in Excel”
Query: “how to make a graph in excel”
Monthly search volume: over 8,000
How we appeared in the SERP: Position #1 — but didn’t capture the featured snippet
The result: 38% decrease in visits from 2016 to 2017
2. “16 of the Best Job Interview Questions to Ask Candidates”
Query: “best interview questions”
Monthly search volume: over 9,000
How we appeared in the SERP: Position #4 — didn’t capture the featured snippet
The result: 35% decrease in visits from 2016 to 2017
3. “15 Hidden Instagram Hacks and Features”
Query: “instagram hacks”
Monthly search volume: over 1,000
How we appeared in the SERP: Position #1 — but didn’t capture the featured snippet
The result: 24% decrease in visits from 2016 to 2017
It boils down to the click-through-rate (CTR) from the SERP. Featured snippets were the primary reason we’ve seen our blog traffic flatten this year — even though we ranked well, someone else accounted for half of the clicks, ultimately bringing down our raw traffic.
What to Do About the Featured Snippet
Moving forward, there are some things that can be done to fight these changes. Here are the two primary ones we’re testing.
1. Capturing the featured snippet.
We’re optimizing existing posts that are currently not capturing the featured snippet, and creating new posts with the featured snippet — as well as other search features — in mind.
2. Finding the green space.
Snippets are not going away — and as long as they’re around, they’ll continue to eat blog traffic — sometimes, despite your best efforts. So even with optimization, we won’t ever completely replenish the traffic we lost. To counter that, we’ll work to identify subject matter gaps that created content and clusters in new topic areas where our audience is seeking answers.
The days remaining in 2017 are few, and 2018 is just around the corner — things you undoubtedly know already.
But here’s something you may have forgotten about: There’s not much time left to finish up your holiday shopping. (Gasp! We know.)
To help you out, I’ve searched the internet far and wide (it’s kind of what I do), and found you some of this year’s best gifts for marketers.
Without further ado …
17 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Marketers
1) Send a Starbucks eGift Card
Once upon a time, Starbucks offered a Tweet a Coffee program, which was retired after testing it in beta. I tried it for the first time earlier this season when Emily Maxie, B2B tech marketer at Very said something nice about our social media tool. I was really thrilled and just wanted to do something nice in return. Tweeting a coffee was an easy, hassle-free way to surprise co-marketing partners, customers, or others. Plus, it was almost instantaneous, so it was a savior for last-minute shoppers.
— Tweetacoffee (@Tweetacoffee)
November 21, 2013
Although that program has been retired, there’s still a good alternative: Send a Starbucks eGift Card. Just add a personal message and the amount you’d like to give, enter an email address, and hit “send.”
Where to get it: Starbucks
Cost: Buyer’s choice
2) Blogging Fuel Mug
As comedic writer Dave Barry once explained, “It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”
Not only is this mug a good way to keep your favorite marketer sufficiently caffeinated, but its message is also on point. Around here, at least, our marketers love creativity — but we also love precision. And, we love the written word. So when this mug came across our radar …
… we knew it had to make this list.
Where to get it: Amazon
Cost: $14.95 + $4.95 shipping
3) “Eat. Sleep. Blog.” T-Shirt
This is a pretty great gig we all have. Sure, there are seemingly unattainable lead goals and endless writing deadlines. But think about it for a moment: Every day, we get to get up and figure out how to capture people’s fascination. It’s an amazing job.
This shirt summarizes that sentiment nicely.
Oh, and it’s really comfortable for blogging.
Where to get it: Amazon
4) HubSpot Fleece-Lined Winter Hat
We’re not sure how the weather looks in your neck of the woods, but around the holiday season, it starts to get cold where HubSpot is headquartered, in Boston.
It’s sweater weather. Hat weather. Fleece-lined hat weather, to be specific.
Luckily, HubSpot has a hat for that.
And while you’re at it, check out these other last-minute gifts from the HubSpot Shop:
Where to get it: HubSpot Shop
5) “But First, Coffee.” T-Shirt
It’s best to wear your priorities on your sleeve … er … torso. This cozy T-shirt puts your working style out in the open. In fact, it may double as a signal for the best way to bribe you for extra work.
Don’t work in a jeans-friendly office? Nothing a blazer and nice pants can’t fix (she writes as if she has actual fashion sense.)
Where to get it: Skreened
6) Mophie Smartphone Case
A few years ago, a group of HubSpotters got these cases while working long hours at the INBOUND. But they’re not just any cases — they’re Mophie smartphone cases.
Mophie is a smartphone cover that also doubles as extra battery life.
They’re a little clunkier than the standard phone case, but they can extend your phone’s life by 100% or more. If you know a marketer who is often working on the road.
Where to get it: Mophie
Cost: About $100, depending on variety
7) Book Cover Laptop Case
Rumor has it writer Jorge Louis Borges used to sleep surrounded by books. He’d crawl into bed with stacks of them on either side. His last scent before sleep would be that of open pages and intricately worded lines.
Source: Twelve South
This isn’t quite as poetic, but it’s close.
This laptop cover would be a good fit for the bookworm on your team.
Where to get it: TwelveSouth
Cost: About $80
8) Subscription to a Streaming Music Service
Okay, so music may not make you smarter, but it does make you happier. And isn’t delight what we’re really after here?
Many marketers already listen to streaming music while they work, but without a subscription, that streaming music is typically limited or interrupted by commercials.
Buying your marketing friend a subscription to a streaming music can get rid of all the commercial interruptions and just leave them with good working music. We’re inbound marketers — thus, we hate commercial interruptions.
Here are a few options:
- Pandora: $54.89
- Spotify: $9.99/month for Premium
- Apple Music: Plans start at $4.99/month
- Google Play Music: Plans start at $9.99/month
9) @TwitterName Necklace
It might be a bit excessive, but it’s also kind of awesome. Here’s a gift for the social media strategist who has single-handedly grown your company’s Twitter following from 15 to 500 and beyond.
If jewelry isn’t the right gift, there are also a range of social media coasters.
Where to get it: Etsy
Welcome to secure accounts on the internet. Your password must be 15 characters long with at least two capital letters, three symbols, two numbers, and at least one variation of the Jabberwocky poem.
Nope, that won’t work. And it can’t be the same as any password you’ve used since junior high school.
If you could spare the marketer in your life this frustration, wouldn’t it be a happier new year? Take a look at the 1Password app. It will create and store all of your passwords securely and enable you to log into your accounts with one click.
Where to get it: 1Password
Cost: Plans start at $2.99/month
11) 99U Essays: Manage Your Day-to-Day
One of my favorite books, this collection of essays from 99U, focuses on how to develop a habit of creativity in your work and personal life. It gives you tips on how to put your creative work first and fend off a stream of endless emails, texts, and other interruptions.
With an average 4.4-star rating on Amazon, this book offers concrete ideas for getting more out of your daily routine and finding the right moments for creative, complex work.
Where to get it: Amazon
12) Freelancer Tools From WriterAccess or Zerys
While they don’t do gift cards, you could help a freelancer’s life easier with tools from WriterAccess of Zerys. Create a gift certificate yourself and wrap it up in a bow: Good for one day of reprieve from creating content.
13) Premium Versions of Productivity Apps
Marketers use all sorts of freemium tools to organize their time and plan campaigns. Find out what online apps your marketer uses to make his or her day-to-day easier with access to all the bells and whistles for a year.
Here’s a breakdown of some popular ones:
- Evernote: Evernote is a repository for just about anything: ideas, articles, documents, photos, marketing examples. You can use the tool on your phone, desktop, and tablet, so it goes where you go. The big benefit of Evernote is how searchable it is. You can search documents or even the words in a picture to quickly retrieve your content again. The premium version gets you more storage, better search, and an interesting presentation mode. Cost: $69.99/year
- Dropbox or Box: We all could use a little space. Help your marketer out by upgrading their Dropbox or Box accounts to a pro version. Cost: Varies
- Feedly Pro: When Google Reader closed its doors, Feedly was widely adopted as the replacement RSS reader. Feedly Pro is a more powerful version of Feedly with one-click integrations, custom sharing URLs, and full support. Cost: Plans start at $5.41/month
14) Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Can you really put a price on peace and quiet? Turns out, Bose can: At a minimum, it’s about $180. Yikes.
But if you can get over the price, this is an amazing gift for anyone who needs to focus throughout the day. Noise-cancelling headphones put your marketers in their own cozy and uninterrupted lead-generating world.
Whether they listen to Mozart or Modest Mouse, these headphones give marketers a chance to block out everything but the work ahead of them.
Where to get them: Bose
Cost: Models start at $179.95
15) Class Reimbursement
For intellectually curious marketers, think about giving them the combo-gift of classes plus the time to learn a new skill.
There are a number of low-cost and free online classes and tutorials out there for people looking to code (Codecademy), design (Skillshare), or acquire other relevant skills. The trouble is finding the time.
If you really want to thrill a marketer on your team this season, give them the classes plus an approved block of time each week to dedicate to the lessons. Wrap it up in one package.
16) INBOUND Tickets
Surprise! It’s not too early to buy tickets for INBOUND 2018.
INBOUND is an industry event like no other. Of course, I would say that, because as a HubSpotter, it is the center of my life in August and September. But as it turns out, others think so, too.
Darby Tinch of Mohawk Home said, “This was by far the best conference I’ve attended in a very long time. Not only was it the recharge I needed professionally but also on a personal level. It has been a long time since I’ve been this excited about my career. I cannot wait until [the next] INBOUND!”
Where to get it: INBOUND
Cost: Tickets will be available at a special early bird price in January.
17) Donation in the Marketer’s Name or Honor
If none of the above seems like a fit, consider a donation in your marketer’s name or honor. Donations are a personal thing, so be sure you have a sense of the issues your marketer cares about. But once you do, a gift in his or her honor can be really meaningful.
Where to get it: Because the donation should reflect the gift recipient and there are so many nonprofits we care about here at HubSpot, I’m going to leave the door open here and not make any specific suggestions. Talk to the gift recipient and see what they care most about.
Cost: Whatever amount you see fit.
There’s your starter list. There are dozens more ideas out there: subscriptions to magazines or journals, lunch from a local restaurant, or a plethora of other gift certificates anyone would love.
“We’ll miss you, Cliff.” said Andy, my manager. His face looked long when he was sad. We were both working for a company that just experienced a major product failure, and, unfortunately, it prompted a massive round of layoffs. Since I was just an intern, Andy left the decision to leave or stay up to me.
I decided to leave.
“I’ll miss you guys, too,” I replied. “Thanks again for the opportunity. Let me know what you end up doing after all this chaos dies down.” We both shook hands. “Will do,” he responded. “Keep in touch, Cliff.”
After I packed up my things and said goodbye to the remaining employees, I headed out the office and into the elevator.
As soon as the doors closed, a feeling of liberation washed over me. I let out a booming “Yes!”, followed by a triumphant fist pump. I was finally out of that place. I had dreaded going to work everyday. At the same time, though, I felt a little regretful.
I realized I had essentially just wasted two months of precious internship experience. The company had fired their entire marketing team a week before I started, so I was the only marketer in the office. There was no one to learn from, and I barely had anything to do. Half my time was dedicated to playing ping pong and watching office drama escalate on Slack. Amusing for sure, but not really beneficial for my skillset.
My colleagues jokingly called me “CMO Intern”, but I didn’t think it was funny. If I was the only marketer at the company, who was going to mentor me? And how was I going to develop my skills? It was one of the most frustrating few months of my life.
But even after the pang of regret I felt walking out, I would do it all over again. I’m glad I accepted that internship. I didn’t gain the valuable marketing experience I was expecting, but I did walk away with some surprising career lessons. And without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now, working a job I love
If you currently have a job you’re not too fond of, don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all been there. It hurts, but your suffering will help you figure out what you actually want from your career.
A lot of times, working a job you hate can actually lead you to the one you love. Read on to find out how.
3 Ways Having a Job You Hate Can Benefit Your Career
1) You’ll figure out what you like to do — and what you don’t like to do.
There are a lot of variables that influence your satisfaction at work. And sometimes, you won’t discover what you actually like doing until you figure out what you really don’t like doing.
If you can identify your favorite and least favorite aspects about your current job, you’ll know exactly what to look for in your next job. Ask yourself the following questions to learn more about your personal work preferences:
Do you like your role/department? If you just jumped into a new role or department and you realize you aren’t really enjoying it, then it might be worth exploring different career path entirely. You should also reflect on your favorite aspects about your previous and current jobs, and pursue opportunities that let you do those things.
Is the company too big or too small? -Do you find solace in the financial stability and stockpile of benefits an enterprise company provides? Or do you prefer the passion and hustle it takes to build a startup? Or maybe you favor a blend of the two, at a medium-sized company? If you feel like your current company doesn’t have enough resources to support your growth, then maybe a bigger company is better for you. If your company isn’t challenging you enough, then you could pursue opportunities at a smaller company, where you’ll get more responsibility.
Are you genuinely interested in your company’s industry? When you write blog posts about your company’s industry all day, it’s a lot more enjoyable if you actually like learning about the subject matter (trust me on this one). Work becomes a chore when these topics don’t pique your interest. Whether you work in marketing, sales, product, engineering, or support, if you’re not excited about your company’s industry, it’s tough to stay engaged and satisfied at work. Try pursuing a job in an industry that you’re passionate about, even if it means taking a lesser role or making a lateral move.
Do you feel supported by the company’s culture? Does work run your life? Is the office cliquey? Do people appreciate your work, or does your manager take all of the credit? If you don’t like these things (most people don’t), then you’re better off at a company that treats their employees well. Use Glassdoor to read a company’s employee reviews and evaluate their culture.
2) You’ll learn to appreciate your worth.
When you work for a sub-optimal company, team, or manager, you’ll notice they either don’t give you fulfilling work or don’t know how to leverage your skill set to its full potential. This makes you feel misunderstood or undervalued, and work becomes incredibly frustrating.
But their neglect also teaches you how to gauge your professional value. It helps you recognize your needs and capabilities. By honing your self-awareness, you can determine whether upcoming job opportunities are worth it or not and trade up for the best fit job in the future.
3) You’ll learn how to persevere through tough times — and appreciate the good times even more.
A lot of times, getting better at your passion requires you to do the challenging things instead of the enjoyable things, like polishing a blog post in lieu of a post-work gathering.
In your career, you’ll encounter times where you absolutely hate your job. But if you can persevere and produce results in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’ll enhance your work ethic and truly crush it when your morale is much higher in an ideal situation.
A couple of years ago, I camped out in Florida’s Everglades for nine days, where I paddled over 100 miles through alligator infested waters and only ate dehydrated food.
When my trip ended, I was so grateful to be back in civilization (and safe from alligators). I almost forgot what living in a city was like. But the thing I looked forward to the most was eating a real meal. My friends and I all agreed we would stop at the first restaurant we saw, so when we spotted a Subway, we immediately halted. I ordered a chicken bacon ranch sub, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I ate another one later that day too.
Losing access to everyday things like normal food, electricity, and community has made me incredibly grateful for them.And I try not to take them for granted anymore, which makes me happier in life. This phenomenon can also happen when your current job situation is less than ideal. You’ll be grateful for the privileges you might not have anymore, and when you exchange that dreaded job for your dream one, you definitely won’t take its perks for granted, enhancing your gratitude, happiness, and performance at work.
A job you hate doesn’t have to be a waste of time.
It’s inevitable, at some point in our lives, we’ll all have a job that we hate. But if you can view this experience as a life lesson and discover what you actually want out of your career, then there’s a good chance the job you hate will eventually lead you to the one you love.
Click. Click. Click.
Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
That’s the sound of an unproductive day passing by. It’s the sound of any day, Monday through Friday, going to waste — where despite your best intentions, you just can’t seem to get moving, or get stuff done.
But what’s an otherwise industrious person to do when these days unexpectedly fall upon us? We’ve got some ideas — six of ’em, in fact.
How to Reclaim an Unproductive Day in 6 Steps
1) Remember what’s in store when you’re done with your tasks.
Truth time: Sometimes, I bribe myself.
I know how silly it sounds, but it’s true. If there’s a task that I’ve been putting off, but there’s also something else I’ve been looking forward to doing, I’ll bribe myself with the latter to get the former done.
Case in point: I had a rather big piece of writing to complete over the summer, and as the clock was running out on my deadline, I was having trouble getting started. At the same time, my best friend and I were heading to Las Vegas in a few weeks, and I was really looking forward to planning the trip.
“Okay, self,” I thought. “You get a draft done today, and tonight, you can start planning your Vegas trip.”
It doesn’t even have to be something that’s a big deal, like planning a vacation. My colleague, HubSpot Senior Growth Marketing Manager Niti Shah, once told me that she pays herself in cookies and mozzarella sticks for completed tasks.
The point is, it’s okay to reward yourself for progress. Just make sure the reward matches the work completed, and that you’re not treating yourself to a week in Hawaii for sending an email.
2) Take a break.
This one is an oldy-but-goody. According to data collected by DeskTime, the top 10% most productive employees take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work they put in. And during those periods, they use hyperfocus: No work during breaks (that includes email), and no distractions during the work time.
I often liken this tip to boxing training. When I used to box, I had a trainer who would have me throw non-stop punches for three-minute intervals, with one-minute breaks in between. If you haven’t tried it, three minutes is a long time for that kind of exercise, which makes the one-minute rest period especially important for your heart rate and muscle recovery.
In my experience, the mind works in a similar way. An hour spent on a task or a project that requires deep thinking, creativity, or number-crunching is, to me, the equivalent of a three-minute, high-intensity boxing interval. You need the recovery period. So next time you feel like your brain just can’t quite throw that left hook, take a minute, and let your “intellectual heart rate” return to normal.
3) Work on something completely unrelated to your to-do list.
When I was visiting my parents for Thanksgiving — which happened to overlap with the writing of this blog post — my mom asked me if I could help her troubleshoot an issue on her laptop.
It was the last thing I wanted, or thought I had time to do. It was a short week. I was taking a day off. I had a long list of things to do, and I was already taking longer to get through it than I had hoped. But it was my mom, after all, so of course, I helped.
By the time we were done figuring out the problem, for some reason, I felt reinvigorated. I had a new motivation to finish my tasks, and finish them quickly. Sure, I had taken a “break,” in some sense — but I had also redirected my brain to another task. My mind was still being put to use, but for something completely unrelated to my to-do list.
If you’re feeling stuck, use your brain for something else. Maybe there’s a colleague who you’ve been meaning to get back to on an unrelated project, or maybe you just need to do a quick online puzzle. Keeping your mind active while giving it a break from the dredge of your to-do list might leave you feeling re-energized and ready to hit the ground running, wherever you left off.
4) Deny the “delete” key.
Writer’s block, amirite?
If you work in marketing, there’s a chance that, at some point, your job requires you to write something. And we know — that’s not easy, even when you do it every day. And much of the time, it’s getting the words down that’s the hardest part, whether it’s getting a composition started, or getting the sentences to sound right.
STOP. That second part, about getting it to sound right? Forget it.
For way too many of us, our perfectionism is a pitfall to productivity. We write, stop, delete, re-write, and repeat the process until 45 minutes have gone by and we’ve written one sentence.
You heard it here: Deleting is not your friend. Just form a sentence — any sentence relevant to your topic — and keep going.
5) Make plans.
Remember what I said about bribing yourself? Well, sometimes, you might have to invent said bribe to get yourself motivated.
Here’s another tale of writing something that I had been putting off. (I’m not a slacker — I swear.) At about 4:00 PM one afternoon, I thought to myself, “I really, really need to get this done before I leave.” So, I texted a friend and asked if she wanted to meet for happy hour at 6:00.
Boom. Instant deadline.
The thing is, it was a self-imposed deadline — one that was established by plans to do something fun. If I had just set a timer for two hours, for example, it may not have been as effective. But because cutoff time was motivated by something recreational, I really wanted to get my task done.
A word of caution, however: Do not — I repeat, do not rush through your work and turn in something with poor quality just for the sake of getting it done. Once your task is complete, let it marinate overnight, then come back to it with a new perspective the next day.
6) Do the thing you dread the most — even if it’s the only thing you accomplish today.
We’ve all had that long list of tasks that contains one, glaring item that seems like moving a boulder up a hill. Except, you dread facing that boulder so much that it causes a bit of “productivity paralysis,” and in the process of putting off that one item, you end up putting off everything else on the list, too.
What? Am I the only one who’s wasted an entire morning looking at real estate listings instead of addressing what I needed to get done?
That’s when you need to face the boulder, because it’s still going to be there, no matter how many homes you fantasize about buying. And once that one, dreaded task is complete, the rest of the items on your list probably pale in comparison — and you might be so energized by getting the biggest one done, that since you’re already on a roll, you feel newly motivated to get everything else done.
If you think November is too early to be dreaming of sugarplum fairies and hanging the stockings with care, then consider this your official warning: this post is heavy on the holiday cheer.
To everyone else, hello. November brought us a delightful crop of festive ads, including the much-anticipated annual Christmas spot from UK retailer John Lewis — which dependably goes viral every year. Other highlights include a modern day #Cinderella story, a pack of friendly llamas, and a snowed-in dinner with strangers. So grab a cup of hot chocolate, crank up Mariah Carey’s timeless 1994 album Merry Christmas, and let’s unapologetically indulge in some much-needed holiday spirit.
10 of the Best Ads from November
An apartment building’s thoughtful concierge goes above and beyond to ensure his tennants feel festive when they arrive home — no matter what holiday they’re celebrating.
Set to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Give a Little, Get a Little,” the 60-second spot was produced by London based agency adam&eveDBB.
After getting unexpectedly snowed into a busy pub, a group of strangers make the most of the situation and hold an elaborate holiday feast. The ad for the British supermarket chain was inspired by true events, and produced by adam&eveDDB.
Another adam&eveDDB-produced ad, “Born Confident” follows a rebellious (and absolutely adorable) young ram as he intimidates other farm animals. The production team used custom 3D software to develop a character that struck just the right balance of cute and realistic.
4) John Lewis
Brits love the annual Christmas spot from John Lewis — like, really love it. The ads always seem to strike the perfect balance of childhood whimsy and heartache (and the adorable animated creatures that usually take on a starring role don’t hurt either).
The 2017 spot follows a similar formula: a little boy befriends the delightful, non-scary monster under his bed, and spends his nights playing with him. Naturally, there’s a lovely twist at the end that just might make you shed a few tears at your desk — I certainly did.
Last year, Heathrow Airport introduced us to a snuggly pair of traveling teddy bears (they appeared as #6 of our November ad round-up last year). This holiday season, they’re sharing the backstory of how the diminutive bears — named Doris and Edward Bair — first met, and spoiler alert: it’s very adorable.
The two-minute short, produced by Havas London, follows the couple from their first meeting in the 1960s (on a plane, of course).
6) Cost Plus World Market
Here’s a pro marketing tip: when in doubt, cute animals and children generally perform well in ads. In this extended spot for Cost Plus World Market, produced by barrettSF, a young boy rehearsing for his big Christmas recital finds a perfect practice audience in the form of a friendly, attentive herd of llamas.
7) ZTE Axon M
To promote their new dual-screen smartphone, ZTE worked with Energy BBDO to bring together two inherently incompatible things: productivity and cat videos. To illustrate how cat videos and business simply don’t mix, we’re introduced to Business Cat, a cat who, well, is not very good at business. You get it.
“One screen for business, another for cat videos,” the voiceover declares — right after Business Cat knocks over a fresh coffee and blinks apathetically at the screen.
If I told you to picture a startup founder, who do you see?
This ad series from BMO Bank of Montreal gently exposes our unconscious biases when it comes to women in leadership roles traditionally held by men. Using unisex names and some clever twists, the ads play right into our expectations of what a leader looks like, and then show us the women hiding in plain sight. Developed by FCB Canada, the ads were produced by a predominantly female team led by Chief Creative Officer Nancy Crimi-Lamanna.
Have you ever thought, if Cinderella had a smartphone, that story probably would have been a lot shorter?
That’s pretty much the plot of Debenhams’s Christmas ad, a modern day retelling of the classic fairytale featuring hashtags and a voice-over by Ewan McGregor. Produced by J. Walter Thompson London, the ad follows a pair of star-crossed lovers as they attempt to reconnect after a chance meeting with some help from the internet.
In this cinematic ad for Argos, a particularly dedicated elf realizes a toy shipment is missing a special gift — and goes to great lengths to make sure it makes it to the intended child.
Brands use social media for a lot of things: to distribute content, to share news, to provide customer service.
And sometimes, brands use social media for jokes, burns, and unmitigated sass.
When brand accounts share personality and humor on social media, it’s delightful — and it captivates the collective internet. It’s funny when brand accounts use social media like the real people behind the copy, and it breaks up the monotony of the negativity and mistrust that characterizes a lot of people’s feelings about their social feeds.
So we’ve rounded up 12 brand accounts to share the burns, the jokes, and the GIFs that make these sassy profiles some of our favorites online.
12 of the Sassiest Brands on Social Media
No list of sassy brand social media accounts is complete without MoonPie — the vintage snack cake that started garnering a lot more attention on Twitter for its quirky insights — and burns — after launching a Twitter beef with Hostess Snacks over whose treat was the official snack of the solar eclipse in the summer of 2017.
MoonPie is never afraid to wade into hotly contested debates, like the still-raging critique of Twitter doubling its character limit to 280.
This account has been asked to test Twitter’s new 280 character limit, but as a 100-year-old brand, we believe our fans most enjoy traditional tweets with brevity, so we declined. We hope to continue to provide a fun, positive place to discuss MoonPies moving forward. Thank you.
— MoonPie (@MoonPie)
September 27, 2017
But remember, it’s not all fun and games — MoonPie’s witty social media manager has feelings, too.
“You’re a social media manager who posts bad jokes about MoonPies all day anyone could do your job”
First of all I have feelings
— MoonPie (@MoonPie)
October 17, 2017
… as in, Hamburger Helper. Helper likes to wade into the social media muck by savagely burning people back when they try to make fun of the quick and easy meal brand — like so:
Simply put, Helper tells it like it is — and helps followers confront critical conflicts within their families and their kitchens.
I don’t eat hamburger, but even I can get on board with this level of hilarity from a brand on social media.
3) Tesco Mobile
Tesco Mobile is a mobile phone provider in the United Kingdom, and from what I can tell from customer complaints on Twitter, its cellular coverage might not be the best in the biz. It makes up for dropped calls, however, by coming back with hilarious takes and jabs in response to the haters.
Seriously, don’t make fun of Tesco Mobile lightly — be prepared for them to come into your mentions with a fiery reply that mocks everything about you.
Normally, Discovery‘s social media content showcases stories about history, geography, and cute animals, like in this tweet:
— Discovery (@Discovery)
November 7, 2017
Which is why it was so unexpectedly hilarious when, after the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team tried making a joke about the average height of a penguin to contradict Discovery’s estimate, Discovery came back with a vengeance:
For context, the Penguins had just been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs … ouch. We hope they had some ice on hand for that burn.
Last week, Brooklinen sent this email to HubSpot Marketing Director Debbie Farese. At first glance, it appears to be a test email that Digital Marketing Intern Mark accidentally sent to Brooklinen’s entire list, advertising its upcoming sale on sheets.
Our team gawked at the email, lamenting what we were sure would be a swift end to Mark’s digital marketing career — until we did some investigation on Twitter and found this incriminating tweet.
Mark right now. pic.twitter.com/lNNnxAd2PF
— brooklinen (@Brooklinen)
November 17, 2017
We realized we had all been tricked by a clever marketing ruse designed to drum up attention — and give subscribers early access to Brooklinen’s sale.
Well played, Brooklinen. Well played.
Denny’s got in on a popular Twitter meme that tricks the viewer into repeatedly zooming in on spots on a picture to read secret messages — try it for yourself.
zoom in on the syrup pic.twitter.com/omRBupjrXq
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner)
March 1, 2017
But Denny’s also tweets clever remarks commenting on hot topics circulating — like the running joke of 2017, when social media accounts kept creating different ways to copy Snapchat Stories:
waffles in 2017 will now have stories pic.twitter.com/7ouQS75PSq
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner)
April 6, 2017
But they always find a way to infuse breakfast foods into their sassy tweets and memes — like this one.
you’ve heard of elf on a shelf now get ready for pic.twitter.com/NLYRvUw90n
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner)
September 18, 2017
Merriam-Webster uses Twitter mostly to share interesting trends and articles about unique word definitions — but most tweets are usually accompanied by a very niche GIF or reference to pop culture, like this one:
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster)
October 31, 2017
The dictionary’s social media manager also likes to subtly comment-without-commenting on current events taking over the news by tying it into the context of word definitions — see what I mean?
📈Both ‘collusion’ and ‘indictment’ are among our top lookups today. https://t.co/zSfW3Cf2rK
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster)
October 30, 2017
What’s the definition of the word “shade”?
Charmin has a hilarious series of tweets called #TweetsfromtheSeat about — you guessed it — sitting on the toilet. Its tongue-in-cheek bathroom humor will definitely make your day — and make you remember Charmin the next time you go to pick up some TP.
#WithoutMyMorningCoffee tweeting from the seat would take a lot longer. 💩
— Charmin (@Charmin)
January 19, 2017
But make no mistake, Charmin shares important news stories in its vertical, too.
— Charmin (@Charmin)
September 20, 2017
Who says 💩jokes are just for kids?
Wendy’s became famous this year for starting beefs (get it?) with anyone and everyone it could on social media. It all started with this innocent tweet, advertising its policy of only serving fresh beef.
Our beef is way too cool to ever be frozen. 😎 pic.twitter.com/QuXECJtlq5
— Wendy’s (@Wendys)
December 30, 2016
This Twitter user tried to start a Twitter battle with Wendy’s, and clearly, they had no idea what they were in for:
And while Wendy’s sometimes uses social media for good, old-fashioned Biology 101 jokes …
Powerhouse babyyyyyy https://t.co/RTUZXyVuSq
— Wendy’s (@Wendys)
October 20, 2017
… its social media sass is best reserved for people (and other restaurants) that dare hint its food is anything but #1.
10) Bangor Maine Police Department
Police Sargeant Tom Cotton writes the Bangor PD’s lengthy status updates, featuring long-winded stories that feature jokes, some friendly mockery, and all-around laughs.
You can click to expand this one, or you can just read my favorite line:
“It’s your day on in the comment section of the world’s most marginally famous Police Department Facebook page. We heard that Zuckerberg reads it (that’s a lie).”
Or this one:
“For those of us in Maine? We will soon have the distinct privilege of leaving for work in the dark as well as returning to our homes in the dark. I also turn the analog bathroom scale back 10 pounds this time of year…or only look at it in the dark. Might as well make this enjoyable.”
These updates all contain stories, warnings, and advice for Bangor, Maine residents — all wrapped up in hilariously-written statuses.
“It should be noted that cats tend to come down out of trees when they make a decision to do so. Pleading with a cat to return to terra firma is done purely to please those standing around and looking up. It’s a public relations move which makes people feel warm inside, but cats are cats.”
11) BuzzFeed Books
BuzzFeed has nailed creating different profiles and outlet for its fans’ myriad interests, and BuzzFeed Books focuses on news and stories in the literary world.
For the most part. The account had some words (but only a few) about the expansion of Twitter’s character limit:
if you think 280 characters is exciting, try reading a book
— BuzzFeed Books (@BuzzFeedBooks)
November 7, 2017
I love Pop-Tarts. (Did you know the unfrosted ones are vegan?) I also love the way the brand refuses to let anyone disgrace its name with unconscionable food preparation choices — like this one:
Or this one:
I’ll just come right out and say it: The internet has a massive mess to clean up.
You may have heard about it. For instance, earlier this month, you may have followed the testimony from senior leaders at Facebook, Twitter, and Google that outlined, in detail, the quantity and nature of ads purchased and published on their platforms by operatives in Russia and other foreign states.
And yeah, of course — we all have our take on it, and many of us are clamoring to share it.
But my colleague, HubSpot’s own research boss Mimi An, had a better idea: Let’s ask everyone else what they think.
And so, in light of these recent events, An’s team ran a consumer study to gather sentiment data from 1,000 U.S. adults to find out just how they feel about this big, steaming internet mess.
Here are the results.
A Few Notes on the Data
During the week of October 30, 2017, three major online content-sharing and discovery platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — testified before representatives of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Because those were the three companies present for the testimony, the questions asked of survey responses focused only on them, despite the possible involvement of other social media networks in ongoing election interference investigation.
When we distribute surveys, we describe in as much detail the exact issue that we want participates to respond to. The language used to phrase the survey questions describes what has taken place so far in a continuously developing situation as factually as possible within such constraints of online surveys as character limits and anonymity — and, therefore, an inability to follow up with respondents.
How Russian Ads Have Forever Changed Our Perception of Social Media
- Are ads now viewed with distrust?
- Are American social media users satisfied with networks’ responses?
- Are social networks themselves now viewed with distrust?
- Are social media networks responsible for vetting ads?
- Will Americans use affected social media networks less?
- Will Americans stop using affected social media networks altogether?
1. Ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google are viewed with distrust.
On average, close to half of all respondents would describe ads these platforms as “very untrustworthy,” compared to an average of 5.5% who find them to be either somewhat or very trustworthy. Note that this is the sentiment around the ads appearing on these platforms, and not the platforms themselves.
2. Twitter’s response generated the least satisfaction, but the sentiment is low across the board.
While respondents were generally unsatisfied with network responses to political ad purchases on their respective platforms, it seems as though they have the least faith in Twitter. (The score for “somewhat satisfied,” for instance, was three percentage points lower than those for Facebook and Google.)
It’s worth noting that Twitter first testified before U.S. Congress about this same issue prior to the November events were all three companies were present, when it told representatives that it roughly 200 Russian-linked accounts — a figure that many found to be paltry and underestimated, including Senator Mark Warner, who called these initial efforts “frankly inadequate”.
How much influence that initial testimony (and Congressional response) had on survey respondents is uncertain, but it is an important historical point in the context of the particularly low sentiment toward Twitter.
Although the rates of dissatisfaction are fairly equal across the board, this survey was administered prior to a Recode report that Facebook filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that indicated its support of rules that would require the network to provide greater visibility and transparency around the political ads used on its site.
However, that support is limited in nature, in that Facebook only indicated that it would agree to these terms around ads pertaining to specific candidates, and not issues — and a significant portion of Russia-bought ads during the 2016 presidential election concerned such highly-contested and somewhat divisive issues as gun control and immigration.
Google, on the other hand, filed comments with the FEC that actively requested more detailed guidelines around issue-based ads, requesting further direction as to how those within its industry can and should better approach organizations attempting to promote propaganda.
Twitter, meanwhile, did file comments, but had little to say other than a request for the FEC to maintain awareness of the network’s character limits when establishing rules.
3. Trust in social media networks has been eroded by the political ads controversy.
In addition to ad content appearing on content-sharing and discovery platforms, it would appear that trust has fallen in the platforms themselves. Facebook was particularly hard hit here, with just shy of half of respondents saying that they find this channel to be less trustworthy.
However, an even higher amount of respondents answered with “none of the above,” signaling the possibility of no less trust in any of these channels. That data is once again reflected with our findings in other areas of the survey, including respondents’ plans to decrease or stop their use of social media — more on that in a bit.
4. 77% of Americans believe platforms need to vet the ads they sell and display.
Across the board, respondents stated a strong belief that it’s the responsibility of the platforms themselves to vet ad content purchased and displayed on their channels. An average of 77% of survey participants agreed with this sentiment, regardless of age, indicating that most social media users expect to see proactive changes in ad policies and best practices.
5. Though Americans are angry about the ads controversy, few plan on using the affected platforms less.
However, despite the general sentiment that these platforms are untrustworthy — as are the ads displayed on them — and need to do better about vetting paid or promoted content, the same respondents have indicated that, for the most part, they don’t plan to reduce their use of Facebook, Twitter, or Google.
In fact, despite being the least satisfied with Twitter’s response to the political ad crisis, less than a quarter of respondents plan to use it less. That number is even lower for Google, and only slightly higher for Facebook.
6. … and, even fewer Americans plan to stop using the platforms altogether.
Even if some intend to momentarily step away from social media, over 75% of survey respondents say they plan to leave these Facebook, Twitter, or Google altogether.
The last of the three is particularly difficult to give up entirely — after all, it’s commonly referred to as a “search giant” for a reason. But even so, a noticeably small number of survey participants would consider ceasing all use of Facebook and Twitter, as well.
But what does all of this information mean? What does it say about our online behavior and habits, and what are the implications for marketers?
If nothing else, these numbers — and where they almost seem to contradict each other — illustrate a dependence on these contested channels.
Despite the overwhelming distrust in them, as well as the ad content published on them, survey respondents have no plans to curtail or cease using them — perhaps because they need to use them for work (after all, we are marketers), or because they simply enjoy them too much to step away.
That speaks to the power and influence they hold over users day-to-day. We spend a significant amount of time on these channels — about a third of Google’s visitors are based in the U.S., and on average, we spend about 35 minutes each day on Facebook (for context, that’s about 2.4% of the entire day). Thirty-five minutes may not seem like a ton of time, but when you think about how much time you spend on activities that are actually essential to your livelihood — like eating, for example — how does it compare?
The point is, the people behind this political content were likely aware of how much time we spend using the platforms where it was displayed. It’s no wonder that 126 million Americans were exposed to it — there’s a good amount of content to be consumed in a mere 35 minutes.
The main message to marketers, however, is this: These platforms are extremely useful and effective. In fact, that’s why people are highly concerned over the presence of Russian ads — there’s a very good chance that, if the intent behind them was to influence the U.S. presidential election in a certain direction, they worked. That’s why these representatives from these platforms are being summoned before a federal body. This level of effectiveness is a big deal.
By no means is this to say that marketers should cease using these channels to promote content and build brand awareness. As I said: It’s extremely effective and should continue to be used for growth. But with that effectiveness comes great responsibility, and that growth must be built with a commitment to transparency and truth.
That’s how I see it, anyway.
Humans are visual creatures — so visual, in fact, that color plays a much bigger role in influencing what we purchase than we might think.
There’s a reason companies test the colors of things like advertisements, banner ads, and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. When we did a button color test here at HubSpot, for example, we found that a red CTA button outperformed a green CTA button by 21%.
In other words, we increased conversion rate without changing anything about the page except for the color of the CTA. That’s the power of color psychology in marketing.
Let’s explore the ways color psychology plays a role in marketing, with a quick vocabulary lesson and a visual guide.
What is Color Psychology?
Color psychology is an area of research that looks at how color influences our behavior and decision-making. When used in marketing, for example, different colors can impact the way buyers perceive a brand in ways that aren’t always apparent, such as how certain hues can increase appetite.
As you explore the below infographic from Iconic Fox, you’ll see why certain brands have chosen specific colors for their logos. Have a look, and learn more about how each color influences consumer emotions and purchasing decisions.
Instagram has evolved into a perfect visual platform for agencies, filled with photos of office parties, company outings, and creatives hard at work behind their Macs. And while there were more than a few pictures of agency pups and craft beers, Instagram has also become a place where agencies can share behind-the-scenes shots of their latest work and highlight their accomplishments.
While there probably aren’t that many CMOs who troll Instagram looking for their next agency partner, there is little competition and even more opportunity to make it your agency’s platform of choice for attracting new talent and clients — a differentiator when it comes to that next visual campaign.
If you are looking for some inspiration or just want some “inside” looks at a few agencies, then check out this ultimate — yet not exhaustive — list of ad agencies to follow on Instagram:
20 Creative Agencies To Follow on Instagram
1) Huge: @hugeinc
This meticulously curated Instagram from Huge is chock full of high-quality photography, graphic design inspiration, and quirky snaps of daily office antics. A must-follow if you want a glimpse of what life is like at a top agency.
2) Motherlondon: @motherlondon
Mother London, the world’s leading independent creative agency network, has a unique approach to Instagram. Each week, they hand over the reins to a different creative, allowing them to showcase their work and highlight their unique design perspective. The result is a truly inspiring feed that’s sure to inject a little inspiration into your daily life.
3) ustwo: @ustwo
Even though ustwo, a digital product studio, has worked with major brands like Google, Adidas, and Ford, their Instagram presence is surprisingly personal. Take a scroll through their gallery and you’ll find colorful photos of office events, team outings, and even birthdays alongside glimpses of their latest work.
4) Wolff Olins: @wolffolins
Wolff Olins‘ Instagram gives followers a glimpse at the agency’s work-hard-play-hard approach to creative strategy, including design inspiration and behind-the-scenes snaps.
5) Carrot Creative: @carrotcreative
If you subscribe to the notion that you can never see too many pictures of adorable dogs or awesome events, then Carrot Creative’s Instagram is for you. VICE’s full service digital agency serves up plenty of both in their frequent updates, along with photos of their team and their traveling flag.
6) Red Antler: @redantler
Brooklyn-based agency Red Antler is the epitome of cool and inventive New York charm, and their Instagram reflects this identity. Follow along for design inspiration, office culture, and photos of their work with startups.
7) Skirt PR: @skirtpr
The folks at Skirt PR know their way around a glamorous party. Whether it’s a cool boutique opening, a cozy cafe gathering, or a champagne celebration, you can follow along with the action on their Instagram. Their feed is also a colorful source of design inspiration — perfect for a mid-week pick-me-up.
8) Agency V CPH: @agencyvcph
If you ever feel like your life could use more Scandinavian minimalism, then you should add Agency V CPH to your list of accounts to follow. The Copenhagen-based agency shares pictures of sleek interiors, style inspiration from their clients, and city snapshots from the rainy streets of Copenhagen.
9) SPARK: @sparkbrand
SPARK‘s creative team takes followers behind the scenes and on location as they shoot and edit ads for brands like Hilton, Visit Florida, and The Dalí Museum. Their account is also worth a follow for the illustrations and other design work they regularly share.
10) BBDO San Francisco: @bbdosf
As their Instagram bio proudly declares, BBDO San Francisco is “all about The Work The Work The Work.” Their account showcases their recent campaigns, high-profile events (such as Cannes), and their team’s creative process — which involves bowling nights.
11) Anomaly: @anomaly
AdAge named Los Angeles-based shop Anomaly Agency of the Year in 2017, and we think their Instagram account is also a winner. With colorful snaps of daily office life, upcoming campaigns for clients, and scenic shots from their seven global locations, Anomaly is worth a follow.
12) Martin Agency: @martinagency
You’ve seen Martin Agency’s impressive work for Geico, Chevrolet, and Oreos, but you probably didn’t know they have an affinity for flannel shirts and a love of street art. Martin Agency’s Instagram is an intimate look at how employees at one of the world’s most influential agencies work day-to-day.
13) Salted Stone: @saltedstone
This agency’s Instagram following may be small in comparison to some of the other accounts features here, but the quality of their content speaks for itself. Salted Stone, a California-based digital agency, uses Instagram to share behind-the-scenes peeks at their latest projects, industry events (like INBOUND), and favorite lunch spots.
14) Talk Shop Media: @talkshopmedia
No, your eyes don’t deceive you — that’s really Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge chowing down on some treats from one of Talk Shop Media’s clients. This digital marketing agency specializes in influencer relations, and their Instagram is like having a free pass to all the coolest events.
15) Goodby Silverstein & Partners: @goodby_silverstein
Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, was recently honored on Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People in Advertising list. Her agency’s Instagram account gives followers the opportunity to see how Johnson and her team produce major global campaigns.
16) RPA Advertising: @rpa_advertising
RPA Advertising’s Instagram account makes the daily office grind look pretty darn fun. The Santa Monica-based agency recently hosted a summer concert series, and — based on their feed — they keep the office kitchen stocked with plenty of healthy snacks.
17) Colle + McVoy: @collemcvoy
Dogs and design? Count us in. Colle + McVoy’s Instagram account puts the spotlight on their design work and company culture.
18) hzdg: @hzdg
hzdg’s Instagram account is a veritable treasure trove of design inspiration, ranging from their own work to the work of designers and artists their team admires. They even recently took followers on a virtual tour of the world’s most colorful places.
19) Social Distillery: @socialdistillery
Social Distillery is an Austin, Texas-based social media agency specializing in digital communications and consumer engagement. They might be a relatively small agency, but their Instagram account makes a big impression with snapshots of their energetic team and latest work.
20) st8mnt: @st8mnt
Last but certainly not least is st8mt, a Nashville-based branding agency that boasts powerful design chops and a laid-back company culture. Their Instagram is full of their recent work and company events. You could say it really makes, well, a statement.
How does your agency use Instagram? Share your account with us in the comments.
When you’re selecting cover photos, shared images, and other social media assets, knowing the basic image dimensions might not cut it.
What if you want to make sure a certain part of your cover photo isn’t obstructed by your profile photo? And what’s the difference between shared link thumbnails, or in-stream photos — are the dimensions different for those?
As it turns out, sizing images correctly for social media is no simple task. Even just for Facebook marketing, photo dimensions vary according to where and how it’s shared — from cover photos, to timeline images, to profile pictures.
But if you’re looking for a detailed guide on social media image sizes, you’re in luck — this infographic from Spredfast has you covered. It’s a valuable resource to keep on-hand for the next time you’re designing or selecting visual content for your social channels. And for quicker reference, scroll down to see a written list of essential social media image dimensions.
So, without further ado — let’s get visual.
Social Media Image Sizes: Quick Reference
All dimensions below are in pixels, width x height.
2 billion daily active users, Facebook continues to
outpace other social media channels. The images you use here are crucial — choosing a lower-quality one can make or break your engagement. Pro tip: The way images display on your
own timeline might look different.
- Cover image: 828 x 315
- Profile image: ≥180 x 180
- Shared image: 1200 x 900
- Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628
Twitter, meanwhile, is often the social network of choice for users to talk
about you. It’s where customers ask questions, leave praise, and request help. But, the format and display have changed several times in the course of its history, so here are the image dimensions you need to know.
- Header image: 1500 x 500
- Profile image: 400 x 400
- Timeline image: 506 x 253
Don’t be fooled: Google+ is still an important place for brands to maintain a consistent presence, even if you think it might not get as much attention as other social media channels. The last thing you want to do is to have users stumble upon your profile there, only to find months (or more) of radio silence and distorted visual content. Plus, remember: Where there’s Google+, there is Google, indicating a connection to the search giant itself. Here’s how to visually optimize that presence.
- Profile image: 250 x 250
- Cover image: 1080 x 608
- Shared image: 506 pixels wide
- Shared video: ≥506 x 284
- Shared link image thumbnail: 150 x 150
Given that Instagram’s bread-and-butter is visual content, you’ll want your presence on this channel to match that foundation, especially in terms of quality. And with over
700 million daily active users, you’ll want to look your best. Here are the dimensions that can help.
- Profile image: 110 x 110
- Image thumbnail: 161 x 161
- Shared images: 1080 x 1080
- Shared videos: 1080 pixels wide
Pinterest Image Sizes
Here’s a fun fact:
90% of content posted on Pinterest consists of external links. For that reason, it’s worthwhile to leverage Pinterest for referral traffic — but it still has to catch your audience’s eyes. Here are the dimensions to make sure your Pinterest presence maintains visual quality.
- Profile image: 180 x 180
- Board cover image: 214 x 100
- Pin preview: 238 pixels wide
Love it or hate it, LinkedIn is
the social channel for digital professional networking. And depending on your industry, it can still be a good vehicle for traffic and discovery, especially within the B2B sector. Plus, if you’re using it for recruiting purposes, it’s important to present well on a job that several people use for research on job listings, as well as employer culture, location, and more.
- Banner image: 1850 x 200
- Profile image: 400 x 400
- Cover image: 1536 x 768
- Shared image: 350 pixels wide
- Shared link preview: 180 x 110
- Logo image: 400 x 400
Here’s another network where visual content reigns supreme — not to mention, one with more than
one billion users. Make sure your own visual assets match that underlying purpose and philosophy — not just with the videos you share on there, but with the profile presence you maintain.
- Channel cover images: Varies by viewing platform
- Channel icon: 800 x 800
- Video thumbnail: 1280 x 720
Tumblr has been called many things: a blogging platform, a social network, and a content-sharing center where marketers and consumers alike can, well, share whatever they want. And with
372.5 million blogs currently registered on the site, you’ve got company — so shape up and make sure your visuals fit the right dimensions.
- Profile image: 128 x 128
- Image post: 500 x 750 | 1280 x 1920 maximum
At long last, we arrive at Snapchat: yet another social media channel known primarily for its visual assets. When it comes to using this network for marketing purposes, dimensions are fairly uniform, whether you’re simply looking to use a geofilter, or you’re hoping to share an
ad or sponsored lens.
- Geofilters, ads, and lenses: 1080 x 1920