Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

To Restaurant Owners Who Want to Harness Their Data but Can’t Get Started

When first starting out, many marketers feel like their data can be a bit insurmountable. Although you probably know that leveraging your data correctly will increase customer visit frequency, you might feel like your wheels are spinning when it comes to data interpretation. We hope that once you read this post, your data will start to feel more manageable.

Just in case using data to fuel your marketing campaigns is a new idea, here’s a quick breakdown of three of the key ways data and analytics can help restaurants become more profitable:

1. Figure Out the Motivation Behind Each Visit and Use it to Target Groups

Customers never find you by accident. Their visit is the result of various marketing touchpoints that they (either consciously or subconsciously) experienced before choosing to walk through your doors. Data and analytics can help you analyze consumer behavior to figure out which of these touchpoints had an impact, and apply that information across similar customer profiles. And an important thing to remember is that, at times, attribution can be a fallacy – our goal is to help determine which activities had an effect on those customers coming in, not what was the ultimate driver in their decision.

2. Figure Out Which Of Your Customer’s Needs Are Not Being Met To Discover New Selling Opportunities

Are all your customer’s needs being met by your present offerings? Study your current operations and identify gaps that could be modified to make profitable changes to your business. For example, would introducing a new day-part please your customers? Breakfast anyone?

3. Analyze Gaps In Your Menu And Dining Experience To Personalize For Your Demographic

Which food items are hot with your customers right now? How does the weather affect sales? How are particular staff teams preforming? All of these factors influence your bottom line, and the faster you understand, the farther ahead you’ll be.

As an operator, I’m sure this all sounds great to you. The question becomes, how should you begin to uncover insights without spending hours wading through customer data?

The first step is simply deciding how you will gather and analyze customer data for your businesses.

You could do this by looking at POS transaction data, via ecommerce activities, through your mobile app, or – arguably to gain the most holistic view of your customers – through a third-party platform which does the heavy lifting and produces the insights across all these mediums for you.

Structuring Your Customer Profiles

If you want to be able to sell your customers even more of the meals they crave, you must make the data you collect easily digestible by segmenting it to categories. From this valuable information, you’ll able to determine how to target your customers more effectively than other players.

How You Can Leverage Your Customer Profiles

Once you’ve built up robust customer profiles, you will wonder how can I continue to work smarter, make ordering convenient for my customers, and market to them quickly and easily? Customer analytics paired with technologies that can enhance the customer experience are proven to improve loyalty and retention to give brands the edge they need. We’ve found an effective way to enhance the customer experience is sending your customers targeted offers.

63% percent of Millennials and 58% of GenX consumers are willing to share data with businesses in exchange for personalized offers and discounts. Whether these offers are sent via text message, or printed on their receipt, offers presented to a brand’s loyal customers are proven to increase average check size and decrease the time between return visits. Businesses have found that promoting these offers strengthen their relationships with customers, and makes participating patrons feel like a VIP with exclusive privileges.

Using Data Beyond Customer Profiles

Once you’ve started collecting customer data, you’ll begin to see doors open to all sorts of insights. Let’s jump right into an example that shows how one restaurant working with Mobivity leveraged their data to understand which of their offers were driving average check increases for their restaurant and then used this information to reposition an offer they were already utilizing.

Franchisees have found adding free items to their offers has been positive overall because it grows their opt-in subscriber user base. Even though there is cost associated with giving away merchandise, our data that shows that when engaged customers return week after week they are actually spending more – making back the franchisee’s initial investment.

Once this restaurant operator realized the average check with this offer showed a 27% increase over the average check without it, their corporate marketing team decided this offer was being underutilized. To continue to boost sales, the marketing team decided to run the appetizer offer in conjunction with a TV commercial. When the appetizer offer ran at the end of the commercial, the pizza chain identified patterns in the data that showed it drove higher check and increased transactions.

Over 2,700 transactions have been attributed to this offer since January 1st, 2018 – proving that when you pay attention to what your customers are responding to, and with a little help from data and analytics, you can uncover insights that will help your business thrive.

Conclusion: In Data We Trust

When you start collecting detailed customer records, it opens the doors to countless insights. Unleashing the full power of your customer profile data can be tricky, so it helps to harness technologies that are built to bring customers back and spend more.

If you’re interested in a platform that could help make smart, data-driven decisions, follow this link or fill out the form below to get started today.


Interested in learning more about how the re•currency suite could help jumpstart your business and drive customer frequency? Give us a call at (877) 282-7660, chat with our team on this page, or fill out the form below to start the conversation today.

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The post To Restaurant Owners Who Want to Harness Their Data but Can’t Get Started appeared first on Mobivity.

YouTube Poised to Unseat Facebook as #2 Website in the U.S.

A new study reveals that there may be a shakeup on the list of the top five U.S. websites.

According to research conducted by Market Intelligence Central, the top highest-visited websites in the U.S. have largely held steady for a few years. That order is as follows:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo
  5. Amazon

But now, YouTube is poised to surpass Facebook for the #2 spot.

According to this research, Facebook.com has seen a loss of roughly 2.8 billion visits each month over the past two years.

At the same time, engagement with Facebook Page posts has dropped 50%, and during its Q2 2018 earnings call, the company revealed a plateaued number of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada: its largest market.

Combine that with YouTube’s increased number of site visits — and growing viewership of its content on diversified platforms, like the YouTube app, as well as streaming tools like Chromecast.

Should it outrank Facebook, the study says, it’s likely to do so within the next three months.

Source: Market Intelligence Central

Meanwhile, the research shows that usage of the core Facebook app has increased — and notes that the company has focused its growth efforts on the expansion of its overall portfolio of products and applications.

In 2012, Facebook acquired visual content-sharing app Instagram, which has been pointed to as crucial to the company’s success.

But with decelerating user growth, falling Page post engagement, and a decreasing number of website visits — is staying afloat the most Facebook can ask for?

Or, does Facebook have a chance to continue growing — and if so, where should those growth efforts be focused? 

One might point to emerging technology, like virtual reality (VR), which while slow to catch on as a consumer hit, has received investments from Facebook — including its Oculus VR headsets.

The company’s annual VR conference, Oculus Connect, is scheduled to take place next month, where the company is expected to announce new investments in and product releases around this technology.

But where many — including HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick — believe Facebook should focus its growth efforts, is on further diversification and monetization of apps.

“If I was Facebook, I would care so much more about growing my apps, than growing my .com traffic,” says Dick. “The thing it needs to stress about, from a valuation perspective, is that its desktop advertising products are well established — which could put pressure on its revenue while it figures out monetization of messaging.”

Earlier this month, Facebook began to launch monetization channels within messaging platform WhatsApp, including ways for users to connect and communicate with businesses.

Source: WhatsApp

“Facebook’s strategy is to get as much of the world as possible communicating through its apps,” Dick says. “And between Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, it’s working.”

Discounting is Dead

Or at the very least, it’s on the way out, and here’s why we think you should be more strategic about it.

At first glance, discounting seems like a great way to boost customer frequency, and it is. The method has been around forever, and there are strategic reasons behind the tactic – there’s no denying that discounting gets more bodies into your store. But, when you stop to think about it, you’ll realize that slashing your prices every time you have a slow day can hurt your business in the long run. When you offer a blanket discount to everyone, you have to sell a lot more to meet your revenue goals. We’ve got a better idea.

Transitioning to Personalized Pricing

Offering discount prices to everyone in your customer base will end up costing your business money, no matter how many additional transactions you ring up. Instead, try calibrating your offers by adding what you already know about your customers into the process.

The idea of personalized, or dynamic, pricing originates from as far back as the introduction of the price tag in the 1870s. It all starts with the complicated dance to find the difference between the cost of goods, and what your consumers are willing to pay for them. By introducing personalized pricing to your marketing approach, you can discount items in a way that can drive average check while bucketing your customers into groups and targeting them accordingly. Analyze how much customers spend, what day of the week they visit you, or how frequently they come in to your location. Let’s break it down.

Increasing Average Spend While Maximizing Value for Everyone

Your customer Sally comes in every day to buy a cheeseburger. Sally loves your cheeseburgers. One rainy afternoon, foot traffic is slow. To combat this, the store manager decides to act. She knows her audience’s spending habits, frequency, and preferences. Today, she decides to target her customers based on their average spend.

She sends her lunchtime regulars who usually buy a $6 burger an offer to ramp up their order. Today only, when they buy a burger and fries they get a large fountain drink for just $1! The manager has increased average ticket and rewarded her loyal customers by offering them a deal – but having them spend a little more to get it.

Calibrating Offers Based on Visit Frequency

The same theories can be applied when you know your customer’s visit frequency. When dealing with recently engaged customers, the messages you send them don’t need to be aggressive. Instead of sending them a discount, take this opportunity to promote new offerings you think they may be interested in. If a customer is already highly engaged with your brand, they likely don’t need the same push as a new customer or defecting customer to return to visit you.

Once a customer starts to show signs of defection, meaning you haven’t seen them in a few weeks or months, sweeten the deal by offering them a special bonus if they refer a friend to your location. Clearly defecting or unengaged customers need a more aggressive offer - offering them a free milkshake could help bring them back across your threshold. No matter how you choose to bucket your customers, introducing intelligence and precision into your communication process will increase value for everyone.

Begin with Data Collection and Analytics

To implement this more strategic discounting concept, you need knowledge of customers, markets, and products. Whether you utilize a CRM system or a customer transaction database, gaining access in real time and applying analytical tools to spot opportunities has never been easier. Armed with this knowledge marketers are able to maximize value by implementing the appropriate pricing tactics.


Interested in learning more about how the re•currency suite could help jumpstart your business and drive customer frequency? Give us a call at (877) 282-7660, chat with our team on this page, or fill out the form below to start the conversation today.

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Online Advertising: Everything You Need to Know in 2018

44 percent. That was the click-through-rate of the first ever banner ad, purchased by AT&T on HotWired.com in 1994

Nowadays, this ad would be considered the scum of clickbait. No sane person would ever click on it.

Fortunately, online advertising has rapidly evolved since the 90’s, so you don’t have to rely on attention-repellent banner ads anymore. You can create engaging ads in multiple formats and target people who actually need your product or service.

Let’s read on to dive deeper into modern online advertising and learn the capabilities of the most effective advertising channels on the internet today.

Online Advertising: Everything You Need to Know in 2018

1. Paid Search Advertising

With over 3.5 billion search queries on Google everyday, paid search — where you pay Google or other search engines to advertise your content on SERPs for relevant keywords — is one of the most popular and effective types of online advertising

Naturally, there’s enormous demand for the top ad rankings, so Google triggers an auction anytime there are at least two advertisers bidding for keywords that are related to search queries that users consistently enter into Google.

Picture Credit: WordStream

Advertisers then categorize keywords and their corresponding ad copy and web page into groups, pick the group they want to bid on, and choose their maximum bid. Google will select a keyword from the advertiser’s ad group that they deem most relevant to users’ search queries and enter it into the auction.

A Google auction isn’t like your typical auction for antiques, though. They want to level the playing field when it comes to leveraging the size of their reach, so instead of the highest bidder always winning the auction, the bidder with the highest Ad Rank always wins.

AdRank is calculated by multiplying your maximum cost-per-click bid with the quality of score your ad, which is calculated by measuring your page’s relevance to the keyword, user experience, and click-through-rate. This means organizations can’t acquire the top ranking for any keyword they want just because they have the biggest ad budgets. Their content has to be engaging.

Picture Credit: WordStream

Google AdWords wants to incentivize the best advertisers to advertise the best content on their SERPs, so they reward ads that have high quality scores with higher ad rankings and lower cost-per-clicks.

In the same vein, they also want to discourage bad advertisers from advertising bad content, so advertisers with low quality scores will usually only acquire a high ad position if they pay a huge cost-per-click bid. If they want to pay lower a cost-per-click, they have to settle with stooping at the bottom of the ad rankings.

If you win a Google auction, your actual cost-per-click is calculated by the second highest ad rank divided by your quality score, plus one cent. The only time you’ll pay your maximum bid is if you’re the only bidder in the auction or if you make the highest bid in the auction, but you have the lowest ad rank. In this case, you’ll acquire the last ad rank.

Picture Credit: WordStream

2. Paid Social Advertising

Over 80% of the U.S. population uses social media, but since social networks are all trying to monetize their audiences as much as possible, organic reach is at an all-time low. The quickest and most effective way to meet your audience where they spend most of their time is through social advertising.

On paid social, advertisers have a lot of opportunity to optimize their campaigns. They can choose the objective of their ad campaigns, the type of ad they promote, and the targeting of their ads, which can get incredibly granular. Here’s a summary of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter’s advertising capabilities.

Facebook

With almost 1.5 billion daily active users who spend an average of 41 minutes on the platform everyday, Facebook boasts the largest and most engaged user base out of all the social media platforms. And to effectively monetize their audience, they’ve built the best targeting tools and the most cost-effective ads for advertisers.

When you create an ad campaign, your first step is to choose your campaign’s goal. You can either amplify your brand’s awareness, consideration, or conversions. Here are the KPIs for each objective:

Awareness

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach

Consideration

Conversion

  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales
  • Store Visits

After you choose your ad campaign’s objective, you’ll pick the type of ad you want to promote, which can be a link ad, image ad, video ad, carousel ad, slideshow ad, link ad, dynamic ad, collection ad, lead generation ad, and messenger ad.

If you don’t know what Facebook’s collection, dynamic, lead, or messenger ads are, here’s a quick rundown of them:

  • Collection Ads promote your products, allowing potential customers to learn about your product without leaving Facebook. They also drive traffic to your product pages.
  • Dynamic Ads automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest in them on your website, app, or somewhere else on the internet. All you have to do is upload your product catalog and set up one campaign. Facebook will keep finding the right people for each of your products until you turn it off.
  • Lead Generation Ads generate leads by pre-populating forms with people’s information that they entered on Facebook for your brand’s email subscription, free trials, and registrations.
  • Facebook Messenger Ads let you leverage the popularity and convenience of the app to generate more brand awareness and revenue — two billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month, and 53% of people are willing to buy from a company that they can directly message. You can display Messenger ads in the home screen of the messenger app, create newsfeed ads that prompt a conversation with users in the app, and send sponsored re-engagement messages to people who have already started a conversation with you on Messenger.

When you finish designing and choosing the format of your ad, you’ll get to leverage the most granular and powerful targeting tools on social media to build your audience.

If you want to build your audience from scratch, you can use the Core Audiences feature, which lets you choose from hundreds of options to target specific users with ads. Facebook segments the options by demographics, interests, and behavior. Here’s a list of all the targeting options:

Demographic Data

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationship Status
  • Education Level
  • Field of Study
  • Schools
  • Undergrad Years
  • Employers
  • Job Title
  • Industry
  • Income
  • Net worth
  • Home Type
  • Home Ownership
  • Household Composition
  • Ethnic Affinity
  • Generation
  • Parental Status
  • Life Events
  • Political Affiliation

Interests Data (Interests, activities, and pages liked of the following topics)

  • Business & Industry
  • Entertainment
  • Family & Relationships
  • Fitness & Wellness
  • Food & Drink
  • Hobbies & Activities
  • Shopping & Fashion
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Technology

Behavioral Data (Purchase behaviors or intent, device usage, and other activities surrounding the following topics)

  • Automotive
  • B2B
  • Business Travelers
  • Charitable Donations
  • Digital Activities
  • Expats
  • Financial
  • Job Role
  • Media
  • Mobile Device User
  • Page Administrators
  • Purchase Behavior
  • Travel
  • Residential Profiles
  • Seasonal & Events
  • Type of Web Browser

To effectively target the right audience and optimize your paid social budget, it’s crucial that you have a deep understanding of your ideal customer. If your buyer personas are highly detailed and accurate, you’ll be able to leverage most of the targeting options and make your ads as relevant as possible.

If you don’t want to build out your own audience, you can let Facebook do it for you. By using the lookalike audiences feature, you can find and target audiences that are similar to your customers or prospects. All you have to do is import a list of their contact information into Facebook.

If you want to target the people who already have a relationship with your brand, use the Custom Audience feature. By just importing data from your CRM or customer contact lists into Facebook, you can place retargeting ads in front of current customers, site visitors, and mobile users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a significantly smaller reach than Facebook, which hovers around 250 million monthly active users, but since professionals constantly update their career information and specifically look for content about business on the platform, LinkedIn is considered the best social network for B2B lead generation.

Costs are usually higher on LinkedIn compared to every other social network, but it generally produces the highest conversion rates and lead quality, which helps justify the platform’s lofty advertising fees.

For example, at HubSpot, we advertised an eBook for finance marketers on both LinkedIn and Facebook. After the campaign, we discovered that LinkedIn clicks were four times more expensive than Facebook clicks. But we also found out that LinkedIn conversions, the metric that mattered the most, were half the cost of Facebook conversions. In terms of this eBook’s topic and target audience, LinkedIn was the best choice for generating leads.

When you advertise on LinkedIn, you can choose from three marketing objectives: build brand awareness, drive website traffic, or generate leads and convert prospects.

After you set your goal, you can either advertise sponsored content like posts or videos in LinkedIn’s news feed, sponsored InMail in your audience’s LinkedIn inbox, and text ads, which are placed to the right of the news feed.

Once you finish picking your ad format, you’ll start doing the fun stuff. LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities are a B2B marketer’s dream — most professionals’ information is up to date on LinkedIn, so you can accurately target your ideal customers based off their company information, experience, education, and interests & identity. Here’s all of LinkedIn’s targeting options:

Company

  • Company Name
  • Company Size
  • Industry
  • Followers
  • Connections

Experience

  • Job Title
  • Job Function
  • Job Seniority
  • Years of Experience

Education

  • Schools
  • Degrees
  • Fields of Study

Interests & Identity

  • Skills
  • Groups
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

Instagram

With 500 million daily active users, and 64% of their users aged 18-29, Instagram is the best platform for attracting the attention of millennials and Gen Z’ers. Facebook owns Instagram, so naturally their objectives for ad campaigns align with Facebook’s: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Here are all the KPIs associated with each category:

Awareness

  • Reach
  • Reach & Frequency
  • Brand Awareness
  • Local Awareness

Consideration

  • Website Clicks
  • Video Views
  • Reach & Frequency

Conversion

  • Website Conversions
  • Dynamic Ads on Instagram
  • Mobile App Installs
  • Mobile App Engagement

After you set your goal, you can create four types of ads: photo, video, carousel, and story ads.

In terms of targeting, Instagram’s capabilities are the lite version of Facebook’s. You can target people based on their location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Here are all of Instagram’s targeting options.

Location

  • States
  • Provinces
  • Cities
  • Countries

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages

Interests

  • App Usage
  • Ads Clicked
  • Accounts Following

Behaviors

  • Activities your audience does on and off Instagram and Facebook

Similar to Facebook, Instagram also offers custom audiences, lookalike audiences, and automated targeting, which analyzes your current audience’s location, demographics, and interests to create an audience who might be interested in your business.

Twitter

Twitter lost one million active users last quarter, but they still have 335 million monthly active users — 80% of who live outside of the United States. If you want to extend your international reach, especially in Asia, Europe, and South America, Twitter advertising is your best avenue for success.

When you advertise on Twitter, there are five marketing objectives you can choose from:

  • Awareness & Reach
  • Tweet Engagements
  • Followers
  • Website Clicks
  • App Installs

After you set your objective, you can promote your Tweets with two tools: Twitter Promote and Twitter Ad Campaigns. Twitter Promote advertises your first 10 daily organic tweets that pass a quality test to your target audience. All you have to do is specify five of your potential followers’ interests or metro locations, and Twitter will do the work for you.

If you use Twitter Ad campaigns, you set up advertising campaigns by yourself, where you can leverage the following targeting options:

  • Language
  • Gender
  • Interest
  • Relevant accounts
  • Follower
  • Device
  • Behavior
  • Tailored Audience
  • Keyword
  • Geography

3. Native Advertising

Publishers like BuzzFeed and The Dodo produce content that snowballs in popularity on social media almost every day. And they make money by helping other brands do it too. Brands will pay these publishers to craft posts and videos that follow the publishers’ formula for virality. They also pay publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their massive audience through social media and their website.

When you pay for a publisher’s native advertising services, you’ll be able to leverage their editorial expertise and audience reach to help your brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

During the creative process, you’ll collaborate with publishers to craft sponsored content that covers one of their main topics and looks like a regular piece of content on the publisher’s website. This way, even though your post is technically promotional, it won’t disrupt their audience’s browsing experience. They’ll enjoy reading your post and won’t feel like you or the publisher are advertising to them. This exposes your work to a huge, engaged viewership and attracts new followers to your brand.

Native advertising creates a symbiotic relationship between publishers and brands. Publishers who do sponsored content right reap the benefits of another revenue stream and gain more audience trust if they promote a native ad from a trustworthy brand — 41% of readers say they trust publishers even more if they publish with a trustworthy brand.

For brands, collaborating with prominent publishers can unleash unprecedented amounts of creativity to help them win over the publishers’ audience and boost engagement — 31% of readers say they’re more likely to buy from a brand after viewing their native ad, and T Brand Studio, the New York Times native ad business, crafted sponsored posts that captured as much engagement as some of nytimes.com’s highest-performing articles.

To find the optimal native advertising opportunities for your brand, try using StackAdapt or Nativo.

4. Pre- and Mid-Roll Advertising

Forcing people to suffer through a 30-60 second YouTube ad isn’t the best way to attract the attention of a new audience — it’ll just irritate them. But shortening video ads can actually engage viewers without testing their patience. According to Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%.

If you want to advertise on YouTube, where adults watch more content than they do any television network each month, you can leverage two types of video ads: TrueView ads and Bumper ads.

TrueView Ads

With TrueView ads, you’ll only pay for an ad when people watch its entirety, view it for at least 30 seconds, or click on its CTA. YouTube knows its users expect shorter ads, so they require non-skippable ads to be between 15-20 seconds long. If you want to leverage TrueView ads, you have two options to choose from: in-stream ads and video discovery ads.

  • Instream ads play before the beginning of certain YouTube videos or on websites that have purchased Google video ad space on the Google Display Network. After the first 5 seconds of your ad, viewers can skip it, but YouTube allows you to place CTAs on your ads to drive traffic to your website or YouTube channel.
  • Video discovery ads are videos that you can promote on YouTube’s homepage and the results page or recommendation section when users search for certain topics and keywords. If someone clicks and watches your ad, a companion banner display ad will appear to the right of the video, prompting viewers to learn more about your company.

Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are the shortest, yet most memorable YouTube ads. When YouTube plays such a short ad for their viewers, it can’t really bother them. And when brands craft these ads into fast, captivating stories, they can resonate with audiences. It’s hard to forget any of Geico’s bumper ads, am I right?

Bumper ads are up to six seconds long, appearing before, during, or after YouTube videos or on sites and apps that are on the Google Display Network. You’ll bid on each ad’s cost-per-thousand-impressions, so you’ll pay each time YouTube shows your ad 1,000 times.

Targeting

With over one billion users from more than 70 countries and access to the Google Display Network, YouTube offers some of the most granular targeting in the digital marketing space.

Using YouTube’s advertising tools, you can target audiences by their location, demographics, and interests. You can also remarket to past viewers, place your ads on certain properties, and place ads on videos about specific topics and keywords. Here’s every targeting option in each of these categories:

Location

  • Country
  • City

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Parental Status
  • Household Income

Interests

  • People who have a strong interest in topics similar to the ones your channel covers.
  • People who are going through certain life events like moving, graduating from college, or getting married.
  • People who are actively researching and considering products or services that are similar to yours.

Remarketing

  • Viewers who have had past interactions with your videos, TrueView ads, or YouTube channel

Placements

  • YouTube Channels
  • YouTube Videos
  • Websites on the Display Network
  • Apps on the Display Network

Topics

  • If you target the “Fitness” topic, your ads will appear on YouTube videos about weight lifting.

Keywords

  • Place ads on specific videos that are related to certain keywords.

5. Display Advertising

Display ads are a controversial topic in the digital marketing community. For almost 25 years, advertisers have abused them by tricking internet users into clicking misleading ads — some malicious display ads have even infected people’s computers with viruses. It’s easy to see why people have developed banner blindness and can’t stop downloading ad blockers: display ads have the reputation of being intrusive, distracting, and irrelevant.

On the other side of the spectrum, though, display advertising technology has advanced to the point where ad networks can leverage data and machine learning to offer advertisers more effective targeting strategies and consumers more relevant ads.

Ad networks like Google Display Network and Facebook’s Audience Network are the leaders in the banner ad renaissance. They can display your ads to the right target audience at the right place and time. And if you want more control of your advertising, they’ll let you decide where to place your ads. Below, we’ll cover each ad networks’ features and targeting capabilities:

Google Display Network

When you use Google’s Display Network, you can design visually appealing ads and place them on over two million websites and apps, YouTube, and Gmail. You can also build new audiences by targeting people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service and remarket website visitors just by importing a list of their contact information.

If you don’t want to build out your ideal audience or deal with bidding, you can let Google AdWords do it for you. Their automated targeting and bidding features can identify your highest converting audience for the best return on investment.

Facebook’s Audience Network

With Facebook’s Audience Network, brands can expand their Facebook ad campaigns off the social network, and use the same targeting data they use on the platform to advertise on a huge collection of websites and apps — publishers in Facebook’s audience network account for 50% more time spent in mobile apps than Snapchat and Twitter combined. Brands can place native ads, banner ads, full-screen ads, in-stream video ads, and rewarded video ads (watch this video ad to get more tokens!) on the network’s websites and apps that their Facebook audience frequently visits.

Digital advertising myths ebook

 
Myths about digital advertising

In the Face of a Falling Stock Price, Twitter Announces Two Studies of Its Network Health

Twitter announced today the selection of two proposals to study the health of its network.

The selection comes after a public request for proposals in March to study the network’s “health metrics,” which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said was part of the company’s commitment to “increas[ing] the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation.”

On Friday, Twitter held its Q2 2018 earnings call, where it reported a drop in one million monthly active users — which was partially the result of its sweeping removal of accounts from its site.

That account removal was also part of the company’s larger efforts to improve user experience, by eliminating accounts belonging to trolls, spammers, or malicious bots. 

In the days since the earnings call, Twitter’s stock, at one point, dropped by as much as 27%. 

Source: Google

While it’s unclear if the timing of today’s announcement was in any way a response to the fallout from its earnings call, it doesn’t seem to have boosted investor confidence.

Here’s a look at the proposals, as well as the public perception of them.

Twitter Announces Selected Proposals to Study Network Health Metrics

“Examining Echo Chambers and Uncivil Discourse”

The first study — which will be led by researchers from four universities — will examine how different “communities” of Twitter users come together when political discussions take shape, and the issues that sometimes arise from them.

One of those issues is the formation of these communities into digital echo chambers, which is what often happens “when discussions involve only like-minded people and perspectives,” as Twitter’s official statement about the proposal describes it.

That can cause a greater reluctance to hear or try to understand other points of view (and those who hold them), leading to the uncivil discourse alluded to in the study’s title.

Researchers say such discourse is chiefly comprised of two types of “problematic” behaviors on Twitter.

The first is “incivility,” which the statement essentially chalks up to rude behavior and dialogue among platform users. 

The second is “intolerant discourse,” which is more severe — and includes things like hate speech and racism.

One of the projected outcomes of this study is the development of algorithms that can differentiate incivility from intolerant discourse. While one is impolite, the statement says, the other “is inherently threatening to democracy.” 

Additionally, the study seeks to measure just how much Twitter users actually acknowledge and participate in conversations with those who share other viewpoints. Whether or not it will also measure the nature of that discourse — and how uncivil or intolerant it is — remains unclear.

“Bridging Gaps Between Communities on Twitter”

The second study — which appears to complement the first —  seeks to determine to what extent user-to-user engagement with different viewpoints can decrease prejudice and discrimination. 

Led by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Amsterdam, this study builds upon previous findings that when discourse between different groups includes exposure to different perspectives — among other factors, like critical thinking —  it can reduce prejudice.

Greater Context

This announcement comes after months of criticism toward Twitter’s approach and efforts toward improving the user experience on its network. 

As recently as Sunday, for example, it was discovered that some users accounts were suspended for including the words “Elon Musk” (the name of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO) in their names or handles. 

HubSpot Art Director Tyler Littwin had a similar experience.

“Twitter was abuzz with all these ‘don’t change your name to Elon Musk’ jokes, and I was curious as to whether this was real or not,” he says. “Long story short: it is.”

While Twitter is punishing that behavior, many say that at the same time, the network has not only allowed those who could be more detrimental to conversational health — like white supremacists — to freely use the network, but has also verified their accounts.

Littwin said that pretense contributed to his confusion. “I tried to change my name to ‘Real Elon Musk’ and was immediately locked out of my account,” he explains. “Not a major hassle to deal with, but it still seems like a weird policy for Twitter to aggressively pursue.”

That points to a potential flaw in the selection of these proposals. While the metrics researchers aim to discover are critical measures of Twitter’s conversational health, what appears to be absent from both of them are proposed solutions to the problems they uncover. As Kia Kokalitcheva of Axios writes, “This won’t solve some of the big criticisms of the company, including its policies and enforcement regarding abusive and harassing behavior.” 

To get a better idea of the public perception of these studies, we asked 717 internet users across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Which study should be prioritized? 

Twitter announced today that it selected two proposals to study the health of its network. Which of the two do you think should be addressed first_ (1)

Responses by Region (3)

Data collected with Lucid. Survey participants were provided with a description of each study.

The results point to the idea that the studies work in tandem. One looks to measure to what extent Twitter users engage with other points of view, while the other seeks to determine if that engagement can reduce prejudice and discrimination.

But again — if the answer to these questions ultimately is found to be “not much” and “no” — then what?

Twitter has acknowledged that these studies are “ambitious,” perhaps implying that reaching potential solutions — even with detailed metrics from independent researchers — could be a prolonged exercise.

As for whether or not it will result in tangible change — that remains to be seen.

“We simply can’t and don’t want to do this alone,” Dorsey tweeted when the request for proposals was first announced in March. “This will take time.”

Why Twitter Says Losing Millions of Users Will Benefit Advertisers

Twitter reported a loss of one million monthly active users (MAUs) in Q2 2018 — and says that it expects to lose millions more in Q3.

At the same time, its total revenue is up by nearly 7% — which the company says could, perhaps, be the result of this decreased user base.

While that second cause-and-effect claim may not make sense on the surface, there’s an explanation. And that drop in MAUs? Well, after months of the company confirming sweeping account removals, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.

But questions still remain. Here’s a look at some of the numbers — and what they mean.

Why Twitter Says Losing Millions of Users Is Good for Advertisers

A Quarter-By-Quarter Comparison

Let’s have a look at some key figures.

Global ad revenue in Q2 totaled $601 million, up 4.5% from Q1. In the U.S., that number was $293 million, up 1.7% from the previous quarter.

Source: Twitter

Global MAUs totaled roughly 335 million in Q2, down roughly .3% from Q1. In the U.S., that number was 68 million, down 1.47% from the previous quarter.

Twitter MAUs Q2 2018

Source: Twitter

Twitter did not provide raw numbers for daily active users (DAUs), but says that the number has grown by 11% year-over-year.

Twitter DAUs Q2 2018

Source: Twitter

The Potential Benefit to Advertisers

At one point in the call, an analyst asked Twitter executives if a further drop in MAUs — like one in the “mid-single-digit millions,” which the company has forecasted for Q3 — would ultimately impact revenue.

First, let’s put those figures into context. I broke it down earlier on Twitter:

A nearly 9% drop in MAUs over a single quarter might (justifiably) seem like a significant loss.

But over the past several months, Twitter has emphasized over and over again that it is prioritizing the health of its network, going as far as launching a pubic request for proposals to measure it.

These efforts have often included the removal of user accounts — often in the millions — and the implementation of machine-learning-driven signals to proactively remove abusive accounts, or stop them before they get to the point of becoming fully created. One of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s key opening points was the company’s acquisition of Smyte, which “specializes in spam prevention, safety, and security.”

account removal

Source: Twitter

Naturally, moves like these are going to lead to a drop in active users. The company pointed that out in its earnings report, where it noted that “our efforts to improve the health of Twitter impact our disclosed metrics [and] our work sometimes includes the removal of accounts, some of which are included in our metrics.”

Now, let’s go back to the analyst’s question: Does a drop in active users have an impact on revenue?

The company’s answer, in short, was “yes” — perhaps a “constructive” one. Even though the total MAU count was lower by one million (and will continue to drop), it leads to reaching a more engaged, authentic audience for advertisers — and, therefore, a higher return on investment (ROI).

In fact, according to the earnings report, “total ad engagements increased 81%” — which Twitter says is the partially result of “increased demand.”

ad engagement q2 2018 twitter

Source: Twitter

The Potential Drawbacks

As for the prioritization of network health, HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar says Twitter is moving in the right direction.

“The other core opportunity at play is that unlike Facebook,” he says, “Twitter is an open network that generates value not only from its users, but also for non-users consuming content on its platform.”

At the same time, adds Bodnar, “I think Twitter is making right decision, but the time horizon for improvements in its user base is unclear, and that is likely concerning to investors.”

That could explain why Twitter’s stock price saw a drop in the pre-market hours leading up to the earnings call — as well as those following the New York Stock Exchange opening bell.

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 11.14.44 AM

Source: Google

And while Twitter says that this narrowed user base is ultimately beneficial to advertisers, Bodnar says it could give pause to some.

“Twitter has the opportunity to deliver on revenue growth, despite slowing user growth,” he says. “However, mass-market advertisers looking for scale to deliver their messages will be less interested in Twitter if the platform’s user growth continues to decline.”

But current audience engagement might not be the key issue — and hasn’t been historically.

“Twitter has never had a problem with its core users staying engaged. It’s struggled to get new users engaged,” says HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick. “I’d view the decrease in MAUs as a sign that it’s not growing its audience effectively.”

Based on our internal research, that may be the case. When we asked 596 internet users across the U.S., UK, and Canada if they’ve jumped ship from the Twitter network over the past three months, less than a quarter said that they have — but a higher percentage (28.6%) said that they’ve never used Twitter in the first place.

Over the past three months, have you stopped using Twitter or removed your account_

Responses by Region (2)

Data collected with Lucid

On the upside, “Twitter has way more data on more engaged users to do targeting,” Dick says, “so I believe the value of more engaged users is higher.”

But Twitter, along with its Big Tech counterparts like Facebook and Google, has had quite a tumultuous year.

While not quite as high-profile as the instances on Facebook, the network was weaponized to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, leading to multiple testimonies from its executives before lawmakers. This September, Dorsey is slated to join Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, as well as a yet-to-be-determined representative from Google, in testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on election interference.

It’s largely this weaponization that has caused Twitter to purge so many accounts. And such sweeping removals, says Dick, have the ability to impact other metrics long-term — perhaps calling for a complete reset and new approach to measuring them.

It could be, he says, that Twitter “just needs to start fresh.”

Email Writing: How To Craft Effective Emails For International Teams

Are you a non-native English speaker who needs to regularly write emails to your international colleagues?

It can be a challenge to write effective, conversational emails when English isn’t your first language, but this article will provide some helpful tips to help you improve the overall quality of your emails and sound more like a native English speaker.

Being a non-native English speaker doesn’t mean you need to be limited by fear and insecurity every single time you hit the “send” button. Once you’ve applied these simple strategies to your writing, you should be able to confidently send emails to anyone (even those from native English-speaking countries like the US.)

Email Writing Tips for International Teams

Most people won’t tell you this, but crafting a good email begins even before you put down a single word. Writing a good email starts with your mindset.

When you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be able to write effective emails that communicate and persuade.

Sounds logical … but how do you enter the “correct frame of mind”?

You internalize a few important email writing rules that you should apply to every single email you write. The best part is — these rules can also be applied to any form of communication, not just email.

Email Writing Rule #1: Imagine Receiving The Email You’re Writing

Have you ever received an email that it was so incoherent you couldn’t even finish reading it, let alone even consider replying? Or included a completely irrelevant proposition?

Ahrefs is an SEO tool, yet they received an email from a fishing company

One of the biggest problems when it comes to email writing is the lack of empathy for the recipient. Before even writing an email, most people won’t even consider whether their email will be well-received by the other party.

If you want your email taken seriously, you need to be able to empathize with your recipient before you even start writing. Think about the person you’re sending an email to:

  • Why are you emailing this person?
  • What does the person you’re emailing want?
  • Is this the right person to contact, considering what I’m trying to achieve?

Of course, if you’re already close to this person, then these questions are not as necessary. You can probably dash off a quick email, and still get a reply.

But, if you’re sending an email to someone new, or unfamiliar, then take some time to reflect on these questions. Your answers will help you write a more thoughtful, coherent email.

Email Writing Rule #2: Write Like You Talk

If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s normal to feel like you should be more formal when it comes to your email writing.

However, this results in emails that are too formal, and come off as awkward or stiff. For example:

Native English speakers write more informally — their writing sounds like one person talking to another.

Here is a quick grammar tip that will always help you sound more native: Write in an active voice and avoid the passive voice.

An “active voice” shows that a subject is performing the verb’s action, e.g.: “Marilyn mailed the letter.”

In contrast, the “passive voice” shows that the verb is acted upon by the subject, e.g.: “The letter was mailed by Marilyn.”

Instead of writing “your feedback would be much appreciated”, try saying “I would appreciate your feedback.” Instead of writing “your request has been received”, try saying “I received your request.”

Notice how writing in an active voice sounds more human.

How To Write An Effective Email

1. The Subject Line

The subject line is usually the first thing someone reads before they decide to open your email. This also means that the subject line holds the key to whether your email is opened, ignored, or deleted.

Unfortunately, non-native English speakers don’t always know what to write in the subject line.

Take a look at this example:

This particular subject line (real-life example by the way) is vague, indirect and does not hint to me at all what the content of the email will be about.

The result? *Delete*.

Subject lines are especially important if you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. The recipient doesn’t know who you are, and can only judge you from your subject line.

Even if you’re sending emails internally at your company, it still pays to write a great subject line so your recipient has an idea of what to expect. Like any busy person, your teammates receives a ton of email every day, and would certainly appreciate the extra effort of a descriptive subject line.

So, how do you write a good subject line?

Be clear, direct and describe the content of your email. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. Go ahead and tell them what to expect.

As you can see, there’s no need to resort to sneaky tricks or clickbait titles just to induce an open. Remember – you don’t want people to be tricked into reading your email, you actually want them to read it and take some kind of action.

You want to associate positive feelings with your email, not anger and disappointment.

Here are some good examples of subject lines:

  • I’m going to be in Town next Tues – are you available?
  • Introduction to Kevin Bacon
  • FAQ — will you take you 2 minutes — need answer today
  • Susan suggested I reach out to you

2. Start with an appropriate greeting.

To kick off the email, you should begin with an appropriate greeting. There are two components to the greeting: the salutation and the opening sentence.

Most non-native English speakers, probably out of fear of offending someone, tend to stick to just one salutation — Dear [X]. No matter the context, non-native English speakers will use Dear [X] over and over again.

The appropriate salutation actually depends on the situation. If you’re writing a formal email to a bank or government institution, it would be better to start off with Dear [X].

If you’re sending an email to someone you know, or work in a casual environment, then it is perfectly fine to go with a Hi [name].

To help you out, here is a list of salutations you can open with in your emails:

  • Dear [First Name]
  • Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]
  • [Name]
  • Good morning/afternoon
  • Hi
  • Hey
  • Hey/Hi there

Once you’ve gotten the salutation out of the way, it is time for an appropriate opening sentence. While the subject line determines whether your email is opened, your opening sentence determines whether your email is read till the end.

The best way to do this correctly is to research the person you’re writing to. Find out what your recipient is interested in. Look around their social media profiles (e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and if they publish, read some of their blog posts.

Do a Google search on their name, and see if anything interesting comes up. Visit their company’s website, read their About Us page, and find out what they are working on or interested in collaborating on.

With this information, you can write an opening sentence that builds rapport. Show that you understand them, what they need, and how you can help them.

With this, you can also show that you’re different — that you’re interested in them, are willing to go the extra mile to find out more. Showing that you understand their challenges helps build trust.

Of course, this is not necessary if you’re emailing a colleague or someone you know, but it is still important to establish some kind of context so that they know what’s happening.

3. Keep your message short and concise.

According to Statista, we send and receive roughly 269 billion emails a day.

If we average out across everyone in the developed world (~4 billion people), every single person would receive about 68 emails/day!

This alarming statistic make one thing very clear: we spend a lot of time reading emails.

To write an email that is opened, read and acted upon is not easy. You have to put in the work upfront to ensure that the email is professional, empathetic, and easy to read.

You have to respect your readers’ time. While you may feel like you need to tell them everything in one email, don’t. No one is eagerly awaiting a three-page essay arriving in their inbox. Here’s one I received recently:

Ugh.

Instead, keep the email short, concise and to the point. Stick to essential and specific information.

Think about it this way: what’s the ONE thing you want to achieve after the person sees your email?

Make sure the email is written in such a way where it achieves the end result you want.

When you need to include a lot of information in an email, it’s probably better to suggest a phone call or a meeting instead.

Pro-Tip: Use this free meeting tool to schedule your meetings faster and avoid back-and-forth emails.

4. Use standard fonts.

If you’re using a non-English keyboard, your fonts may not show up properly on the other person’s device.

If you’re trying to look like a native speaker, use standard fonts. Some fonts for languages have their own “English font”, which are a dead giveaway that the person writing is a non-native speaker:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.24.37 PM

To prevent all kinds of tech issues from coming up, stick to what is safe. Use web-safe email fonts like:

  • Arial
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

In fact, this is the exact list Gmail gives:

This will ensure that your recipient will receive your message in a normal font no matter what devices or operating system they are using.

5. Writing your closing.

Once you’re done with the content of your email, it’s time to close it off.

You don’t have to make it fancy — just keep your closing simple and straightforward.

So, nothing like this:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.25.59 PM

Instead, stick to the safe, proven closing lines — and you should be good.

You can choose from some of the most common closing lines below:

  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours truly
  • Yours
  • Sincerely
  • Best regards
  • Best
  • Warm regards
  • Warm wishes
  • Kind regards
  • Kind wishes
  • Thank you
  • Thanks

If you’re really looking for something out-of-the-ordinary and fancy, then take a look at this list of email sign-offs that you can try.

6. Schedule your emails.

Because you’re writing an international email, time zones matter.

Due to the influx of emails one receives, an email you sent early in the morning could be buried at the bottom of his inbox by the time your recipient checks it. This may also mean that all your hard work spent crafting the email would be wasted.

Instead, set yourself up for success.

Remember Rule #1? Put yourself in their shoes.

When would they be most receptive? When would their inbox be “emptier”?

It might be during lunch. It might be Sunday evening when they are preparing for the week ahead. It might even be Friday — they’re probably in a good mood because the weekend is coming.

Then, use our free email scheduling tool to ensure that your emails are sent at the right time to the recipient’s inbox.

7. Do a final spelling and grammar check.

Don’t fail at the last mile.

Don’t spend all your time crafting a perfect message, only to be ignored by the recipient because it’s riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

After you’ve finished drafting your email, copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to give it a quick grammar, phrasing, and spelling check. Alternatively, you can also use checkers like Grammarly to automate the process while you’re drafting.

 Do a quick read-aloud to make sure that you’re not writing clunkily, or sound like a robot. You need your email copy to sound human.

Remember — help the reader focus on the message, not on your spelling errors.

Want more? Learn how to send the right email to the right person and provide maximum value with this free email marketing lesson.

 

 

[a]Source: http://shortwavedxer.blogspot.com/2013/01/china-tibet-broadcasting-voice-of-china.html[b]Couldn’t replicate what you wanted.. But I found this example.[c]Made the change

What Is UI: The Definition of User Interface in 200 Words or Less

To simplify what UI is, we’ll start with a metaphor.

Let’s say you go to a fancy new Italian restaurant and order a pasta dish. When it comes, you’re amazed with the presentation: the pasta is clustered in the center, with a light pink cream sauce drizzled over the top in a zigzag formation. There are two small green basil leaves in the center, and a few dots of pesto in the left corner.

In metaphor-world, the beautiful presentation of your meal is the responsibility of the UI designer, including the alignment of the elements (the pesto in the left, for instance), and interactivity as it relates to the user-experience (the light drizzling of the sauce so each bite is equally satisfying).

The UX designer, on the other hand, is responsible for everything as it relates to the larger business and your experience as their customer, including the smells and ambiance of the restaurant, the chef and waitstaff’s processes for cooking and delivering food, and the menu options.

While this is obviously a simplification, it corresponds well to the definition of UI. A UI designer is essentially in charge of how everything aligns on a page in relation to each other. She decides the hierarchy of the elements (“Should the logo be at the top or the bottom?”), as well as the interactivity of the entire product (“Should the navigation be organized in scroll-down menus, or clickable buttons?”).

UI designers typically work with software programs, websites, and mobiles apps, but they might also use their skills for video games or TV interfaces.

You might not notice UI unless it’s ineffective. For instance, maybe you steer clear of a website if you think the site looks confusing, or maybe you laugh at the old navigation on your 2002 PlayStation. Those user experiences dissatisfy you and influence your interactions with the business.

On the contrary, effective UI goes a long way towards compelling you to interact with a business on a regular basis. For instance, many users have preferences over dating apps, like Bumble versus Hinge, or ride-sharing apps, like Uber versus Lyft. Those apps have different business models and services, so there are plenty of reasons you’d choose one over another — but if you didn’t know anything about either, and I showed you two apps side-by-side, I’m guessing you’d intuitively gravitate towards one. Likely, an impressive UI design would cause that initial gravitation.

Here's Exactly How We Got 105k+ People Using Our Chatbot

It’s not impossible for humans and even a lot of software to do exactly what chatbots do.

It’s how bots do it that matters.

When we work alongside bots, they make life easier. They help us do things faster and with more efficiency. They give us more time to do “human stuff” — and do it even better.

Bots don’t have to be as ubiquitous as searching the web. That’s not the point.
Bots do have to carve out a space as a different but equal resource that takes humans where they want to go more easily than ever before.

Chatbots can and will change business and marketing as we know it, if given a fighting chance.

But right now, they must win over naysayers crying “trend!” and comparing the budding technology to channels that have had decades to develop.

It’s easy to get wrong. And when we do get it right, it’s all too easy to run it utterly into the ground as we have with many marketing opportunities in the past.
This time around, we’ve pledged to use this powerful element of change for good instead of evil.

Here’s how we’re making a sales, marketing, and biz-building chatbot that doesn’t suck: GrowthBot.

Apps build a silo, bots fill a niche.

Source

Apple’s “There’s an app for that” has been the rallying cry for the past decade.
As such, it’s left the tech battlefield littered with millions of apps that do everything from letting you solve crime with your favorite celebrity avatar to ordering delivery with an emoji (OK, that one is kind of useful).

There’s more than just an app for that; there’s a name for that. It’s called app fatigue.

In 2016, comScore found almost half of all smartphone users in the U.S. downloaded a whopping average of zero apps per month. Yet in 2017, the Google Play store added more than 1,300 apps every single day.

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Credit

Why so many apps? Mostly because it’s what everyone else is doing. Marketers aren’t exactly known for having a lot of chill when it comes to the tech du jour.
That’s not to say apps are dead in the water, but we are starting to see a trend which indicates people are using far fewer apps than are being put on the market daily.
App Annie’s 2017 research shows people use the same nine apps per day and no more than 30 over the course of a month. On average, users only touch as few as one-third of the apps they’ve downloaded.

Millennials especially are using utilities like maps and search engines along with apps for social networking, messaging, entertainment, and retail.

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When users do open an app, it’s no surprise it’s rarely that one that lets you drink beer … without the beer.

Bots don’t add to the onslaught of app, decision, or fake beer fatigue. Instead, they live right inside and actually enhance the functionality of some of the most popular messaging apps.

For example, GrowthBot helps users access tons of marketing and sales data using an app they probably already have open all day — Slack.

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We have to agree with data scientist and software developer P. Daniel Tyreusin this case:

“I’m willing to speculate that it’s easier to acquire a user if the user doesn’t have to download a new app to use a service. I’m also willing to speculate that users are more likely to continue using a service that’s integrated into an app they already use.”

In the words of Seth Godin: If your target audience isn’t listening, it’s not their fault — it’s yours.

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Before we even began building our chatbot, we focused on exactly how it would create value in a way no other tool could for our audience.

We work consistently to grow GrowthBot’s natural language processing (NLP) skills because we know our audience and we know how much easier it makes their lives when they’re able to access and compare tons of data by typing a few quick phrases into Slack.

NLP enables chatbots to understand what a user is looking for. It also allows consumers to enjoy personalized conversation instead of interacting with the same tired “intuitive” menu in a vacuum.

That’s important when your bot functions as a customer service rep, personal shopper, or research partner and conversation is the ideal way to answer a request.
Dennis Thomas, CTO at AI-powered consulting firm NeuraFlash, knows the importance of understanding how users interact with your chatbot.

“Another place where NLP is a big win is when the bot’s objective is focused on helping users with the discovery phase of products or shopping. Finding the right item via conversation helps to drive the user’s goal, as well as the product criteria to match to the company’s inventory.”

By the same token, NLP could actually be a detriment in cases where text-based chatbots can make the process simpler.

“When you have a visual medium and buttons can accomplish the task in a couple clicks (think easy re-order), open-ended natural language is not making the user’s life easier.”

We didn’t throw everything we’ve learned about our audience out the window when developing new bot software. Instead we implemented that knowledge to make GrowthBot just useful enough without being overwhelming.

We believe chatbots should be useful first and useful always.

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NLP only accounts for half the conversation — the input part.

Output is just as important in terms of usefulness.

Your bot might have the personality of The Most Interesting Man in the World, but it will still suck if it can’t answer a user’s query.

You don’t need to build an entire search engine from scratch. You don’t even need to build an app. All you have to do is make sure your chatbot has access to enough data to prove useful in the niche you’ve chosen.

If it can’t do that, it’s no better than the aforementioned beer-simulating apps of the world.

GrowthBot has solid conversational skills, but it would be nothing without the marketing and sales data that help it achieve its goal — providing value to people who are growing businesses.

There are already tons of pieces of software and far too many apps for sales and marketing professionals. Useful chatbots don’t mimic, they empower users to find exactly what they’re looking for using a natural instinct: Simply asking.
Not spending hours customizing dashboards and poking through tens of different workflows just to uncover their own data. Simply asking.

Everytime we link a new database to GrowthBot, it gets more valuable for users. Right now it can pull information from dozens of sources; including HubSpot (of course), Google Analytics, MailChimp, social networking sites, and so on.

Bots are first and foremost data scanning machines. They take input, provide relevant feedback, and do so in a way that is easier to manage than any other platform.

“Products, like people, have personalities…”

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David Ogilvy famously understood the importance of personality in products. We believe that’s also the case for brands and bots. That’s why we made GrowthBot sound like someone we know and like.

If your brand already has a solid personality, translate that into the voice and tone your bot uses when interacting with people.

If not, there’s no time like building a chatbot to determine whom you want to be in the online world.

Because there are so many tools out there that take the technical aspect out of building a bot, creating a great conversational flow might just be the greatest challenge you’ll face.

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The messaging framework you build into your chatbot will influence the way people perceive the value of your brand, so give it some personality.

MailChimp is famous for its distinctly helpful personality that manages to be playful and humble at the same time. If your cat is wearing its very own monkey-themed knit hat right now, you know exactly what I mean.

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Cintell’s 2016 benchmark study on B2B buyers found that companies who exceed lead and revenue goals are two and a half times as likely to use personas than companies who miss lead and revenue goals.

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Today’s consumers have nearly countless brands to choose from. And they know it.
A well-defined voice that aligns with your ideal customer is an effective and low-cost way to develop return buyers and bot users.

For example, GrowthBot sounds like Dharmesh Shah — founder and CTO at HubSpot and loving father to the chatbot itself.

That means it’s light-hearted, respectful, and just a tad quirky all while being truly helpful.

We’ve found that a truly helpful voice in a world of chatter is more powerful than you might think.

Bots make life so simple, search feels painful

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Google search has made an impact. There’s no denying that.

It’s almost a force of habit to visit a search engine to find what you’re looking for. Habits are notoriously hard to change, especially the more gratifying and automatic they are.

Current studies show it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become “unchangingly automatic.”

Because search behavior is second nature to us now, bots must do what a search can’t:

  • Provide customer service conversations and solutions without the wait
  • Deliver the information a user is looking for in just seconds, on the first try
  • Make recommendations based on powerful personalization
  • Aggregate information from a variety of sources right inside the apps we’re already using

That last point is what GrowthBot is founded on. We make growing your business easier by using the power of a chatbot to put information at your fingertips — not siloed in more apps and interfaces than you can count.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what AI-enabled bots can do with enough data and well-planned conversational flow.

But things can still go wrong if you aren’t aware of and managing your users’ expectations.

Where Facebook’s Assistant M Got It All Wrong

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RIP

Chatbots are relatively new and their capabilities are varied. If you want people to love your bot, it’s important they understand why they need it and how to use it.
It’s not that Facebook’s Assistant M chatbot didn’t work. It’s that expectations weren’t managed; which overwhelmed the system and underwhelmed its users all at once.

“The first thing chatbots should do is quickly introduce their core competencies. Not only should chatbots start within a specific scope, they should always firstly tell you how they can help you and what they can do best.”
Instabot

Clarify upfront exactly what your bot is capable of. Provide specific examples and invite the user to try out a few practice questions. Don’t make them learn any new tricks right away.

Using your chatbot for the first time should feel like starting an online chat with a new friend or customer service agent.

There will inevitably be times when users ask your bot to do something it can’t do yet. Offer them an alternative, but don’t let that learning opportunity slip away.
Scan your chat logs regularly, they’re the most valuable market research you’ll ever get on what people want your chatbot to do.

Wait, have I mentioned value already?

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Be on the lookout for every chance you can find to provide extreme value to your users.

Go above and beyond what people expect your chatbot to provide. Delight them with thoughtful little extras that make their days better.

Extreme value doesn’t have to stop when a user leaves your bot interface.

Offer to send customers an alert when their size is back in stock. Tell readers where they can find more articles like the one they just read on your website. Or, like us, celebrate with them every time you connect another tool that will make their jobs easier.

These kinds of interactions don’t just provide extreme value, they keep you top of mind and keep your customers coming back for more.

Nobody needs another app for this, that, or anything.

Instead, people need smart ways to accomplish more within the tools they already know and use regularly. When our chatbots deliver that level of service, we’re sure to start changing behavior and creating better automatic habits.

Fight back against bad bots. Build yours to be delightful to interact with, provide extreme value, and just not suck.

Originally published at blog.growthbot.org.

How to Make a Chart or Graph in Excel [With Video Tutorial]

Building charts and graphs is part of most people’s jobs — it’s one of the best ways to visualize data in a clear, easily digestible manner. (Check out this guide for making better charts to learn more.)

However, it’s no surprise that some people get a little bit intimidated by the prospect of poking around in Microsoft Excel. I actually adore Excel, but I work in Marketing Operations, so it’s pretty much a requirement.

 

That’s why I thought I’d share a helpful video tutorial as well as some step-by-step instructions for anyone out there who cringes at the thought of organizing a spreadsheet full of data into a chart that actually, you know, means something. Here are the simple steps you need to build a chart or graph in Excel. And if you’re short on time, check out the video tutorial below.

Keep in mind there are many different versions of Excel, so what you see in the video above might not always match up exactly with what you’ll see in your version. In the instructions below, I used Excel 2017 version 16.9 for Max OS X.

We encourage you to follow along with the written instructions and demo data below (or download them as PDFs using the links below) so you can follow along. Most of the buttons and functions you’ll see and read are very similar across all versions of Excel.

Download Demo Data | Download Instructions (Mac) | Download Instructions (PC)

9-Excel-Marketing-Templates-

 

9-Excel-Marketing-Templates-.png

1. Enter your data into Excel.

First, you need to input your data into Excel. You might have exported the data from elsewhere, like a piece of marketing software or a survey tool. Or maybe you’re inputting it manually.

In the example below, in Column A, I have a list of responses to the question, “Did inbound marketing demonstrate ROI?”, and in Columns B,C, and D, I have the responses to the question, “Does your company have a formal sales-marketing agreement?” For example, Column C, Row 2 illustrates that 49% of people who have an SLA (service level agreement) also say that inbound marketing demonstrated ROI.

Chart data about inbound marketing ROI entered into an Excel spreadsheet

2. Choose one of nine graph and chart options to create.

In Excel, you have plenty of choices for charts and graphs to create. This includes column (or bar) graphs, line graphs, pie graphs, scatter plot, and more. See how Excel identifies each one in the top navigation bar, as depicted below:

Icons for each type of graph and chart in Excel

(For help figuring out which type of chart/graph is best for visualizing your data, check out our free ebook, How to Use Data Visualization to Win Over Your Audience.)

3. Highlight your data and ‘Insert’ your desired graph.

The data I’m working with will look best in a bar graph, so let’s make that one. To make a bar graph, highlight the data and include the titles of the X and Y axis. Then, go to the ‘Insert‘ tab, and in the charts section, click the column icon. Choose the graph you wish from the dropdown window that appears.

Insert and Column icons for making a chart in Excel

In this example, I picked the first 2-dimensional column option — just because I prefer the flat bar graphic over the 3-D look. See the resulting bar graph below.

2-dimensional column chart created from Excel data on inbound marketing ROI

4. Switch the data on each axis, if necessary.

If you want to switch what appears on the X and Y axis, right-click on the bar graph, click ‘Select Data,’ and click ‘Switch Row/Column.’ This will rearrange which axes carry which pieces of data in the list shown below. When you’re finished, click ‘OK’ at the bottom.

Select Data window for switching rows/columns in Excel graph

The resulting graph would look like this:

Switching axes in Excel graph

5. Adjust your data’s layout and colors.

To change the layout of the labeling and legend, click on the bar graph, then click the ‘Chart Design‘ tab. Here, you can choose which layout you prefer for the chart title, axis titles, and legend. In my example (shown below), I clicked on the option that displayed softer bar colors and legends below the chart.

Chart design options in Excel

To further format the legend, click on it to reveal the ‘Format Legend’ sidebar, as shown below. Here, you can change the fill color of the legend, which will in turn change the color of the columns themselves. To format other parts of your chart, click on them individually to reveal a corresponding Format window.

Format Legend window for adjusting chart labels in Excel

6. Change the size of your chart’s legend and axis labels.

When you first make a graph in Excel, the size of your axis and legend labels might be a bit small, depending on the type of graph or chart you choose (bar, pie, line, etc.). Once you’ve created your chart, you’ll want to beef up those labels so they’re legible.

To increase the size of your graph’s labels, click on them individually and, instead of revealing a new Format window, click back into the ‘Home‘ tab in the top navigation bar of Excel. Then, use the font type and size dropdown fields to expand or shrink your chart’s legend and axis labels to your liking.

Increased size of legend labels in Excel chart

7. Change the Y axis measurement options, if desired.

To change the type of measurement shown on the Y axis, click on the Y axis percentages in your chart to reveal the ‘Format Axis‘ window. Here, you can decide if you want to display units located on the Axis Options tab, or if you want to change whether the Y axis shows percentages to 2 decimal places or to 0 decimal places.

Format Axis options window to increase percentages on Y axis

Because my graph automatically set the Y axis’s maximum percentage to 60%, I might want to change it manually to 100% to represent my data on a more universal scale. To do so, I can select the ‘Maximum‘ option — two fields down under ‘Bounds‘ in the Format Axis window — and change the value from 0.6 to 1.

The resulting graph would be changed to look like the one below (I increased the font size of the Y axis via the ‘Home’ tab, so you can see the difference):

Increased Maximum percentage on Excel bar graph's Y axis to 100%

8. Reorder your data, if desired.

To sort the data so the respondents’ answers appear in reverse order, right-click on your graph and click ‘Select Data’ to reveal the same options window you called up in Step 3 above. This time, click the up and down arrows, as shown below, to reverse the order of your data on the chart.

Reorder data options window in Excel

If you have more than two lines of data to adjust, you can also rearrange them in ascending or descending order. To do this, highlight all of your data in the cells above your chart, click ‘Data,’ and select ‘Sort,‘ as shown below. You can choose to sort based on smallest to largest or largest to smallest, depending on your preference.

Sort window in Excel

9. Title your graph.

Now comes the fun and easy part: naming your graph. By now, you might have already figured out how to do this. Here’s a simple clarifier.

Right after making your chart, the title that appears will likely be “Chart Title,” or something similar depending on the version of Excel you’re using. To change this label, click on “Chart Title” to reveal a typing cursor. You can then freely customize your chart’s title.

When you have a title you like, click ‘Home‘ on the top navigation bar, and use the font formatting options to give your title the emphasis it deserves. See these options and my final graph below:

Bar graph on inbound marketing ROI with bolded title

Pretty easy, right? Check out some additional resources below for additional help using Excel and visualizing your data in smart ways.

Additional Resources for Using Excel and Visualizing Data:

Want even more Excel tips? Check out this post on how to add a second axis to an Excel chart.

free excel templates for marketing

ePlay Touts Big Shot AR Beta Launch

On Monday, ePlay Digital Inc. announced its official launch for Big Shot Basketball beta will take place in Las Vegas during the 2018 version of NBA Summer League.

The new Augmented Reality (AR) mobile game will be available for basketball fans of all ages with special launch events planned for Las Vegas running July 12-15 and in other North American cities leading up to the 2018/19 NBA season.

ePlay is working with 7-time NBA champion, Robert Horry and a fantastically talented group of young basketball players that will be wearing the Big Shot logo throughout the summer to promote the Big Shot mobile game.

We’re told that the company also released a new website for its upcoming game series at www.BigShotAR.com.

“This is going to be a big summer for ePlay and for augmented reality,” says Trevor Doerksen, CEO of ePlay Digital. “We are advancing the state-of-art for sports and mobile technology and look forward to seeing hundreds of thousands of fans of all ages enjoying the magic that our augmented reality platform creates.”

To learn more, click here.

The post ePlay Touts Big Shot AR Beta Launch appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

26 Animated Logos to Inspire Your Own

There’s a reason we’re so invested in movies and watching something play out on a screen versus reading a book about the same topic.

Motion is exciting to us, and often conveys a message difficult to express through text alone.

Granted, watching animated logos all day isn’t quite as fun as binge-watching The Office, but nonetheless, it still often wins in a contest against its static alternative — doesn’t it?

Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest animated logos businesses are using today. These logos are so sleek and pragmatic, they’ll likely inspire you to beg for a redesign of your own company logo.

If you don’t believe me, let the exploding Skype name speak for itself.

1. Shazam

Image courtesy of Oleg Turbaba.

2. Skype

Image courtesy of Pivotal.

3. Nike

Image courtesy of JustCreative.com.

4. FedEx

Image courtesy of JustCreative.com.

5. Lux

Image courtesy of Mucho.

6. Spotify

Image courtesy of Oliver Keane.

7. Feral Sphere

Image courtesy of Mind Design.

8. Brikk

Image courtesy of Gun Karlsson.

9. Sello

Image courtesy of Latham Arnott.

10. Untime

Image courtesy of Tony Pinkevich.

11. Firefox

Image courtesy of Latham Arnott.

12. Flight PR

Image courtesy of Dia.

13. OpenView

Image courtesy of Pentagram.

14. Cub Studio

Image courtesy of Fraser Davidson.

15. Ugmonk

Image courtesy of Seth Eckert.

16. Arzábal’s Food Truck

Image courtesy of Behance.

17. Two Twelve Studio

twotwelvestudio

Image courtesy of Behance.

18. Scout

Image courtesy of Dave Chenell.

19. Fuzbiz

Image courtesy of Mattias Peresini.

20. AMA

Image courtesy of David Stanfield.

21. Ikea

Image courtesy of Nikita Melnikov.

22. Hypercompact

Image courtesy of Evgeny Skidanov.

23. Slingshot

Image courtesy of Anastasiia Andriichuk.

24. CrowdStrike

Image courtesy of Seth Eckert.

25. Google

Image courtesy of Adam Grabowski.

26. Glug

Image courtesy of Marcus Chaloner.

3Vs are Good, But 6Vs Are Better: A New Way of Understanding Big Data

The following is a guest contributed post from Dr. Mona Yousry, Chief Data Scientist, Sabio Mobile.

The amount of data that people generate simply by living their lives can be used to tell stories filled with context and insights. This information, combined with digital data, enriches our understanding of consumers and, by extension, the physical world. Big data, mobile phones, social media and behavior analytics each play a vital role in teasing out this understanding; as a result, they allow companies to gain a competitive edge, and are the future of business intelligence.

But what does data intelligence really mean? To put it simply, data intelligence is the ability to identify and analyze relationships, and to visualize the data associated with them. That is to say, business intelligence unifies sources of unstructured data together with up-to-date visualizations in order to access information on trends and experiences quickly.

Most people will already be familiar with the term “big data”. But what many people don’t realize is that the number of data sources that big data can draw from is increasing at a rapid clip, which in turn affects the quality of the insights that business applications will be able to generate. Having more – and better – data also allows for better AI, because the more high-quality data you have to train your systems, the better your AI algorithms will be.

Data opportunities and challenges

Implementing big data successfully is often a challenge for businesses, in part because of the oft-cited “Vs” of big data. Gartner’s 3Vs, variety, velocity, and volume, have traditionally been the way that most practitioners understand big data.

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However, in some ways, the traditional way of thinking about big data ignores the larger picture – that is to say, how to interpret such massive amounts of data. As a result, we need to look beyond the original Vs, to what I call the 6V Wheel. In addition to variety, velocity, and volume, organizations also need to be thinking about validity, verification, and visualization.

Let’s start with the traditional Vs. Variety refers to the fact that not all data is created equally. No longer is it a set of observations and measurements that we can apply regression or time series to; instead, we think of data as a set of patterns that can drive amazing insights, particularly when made up of information from multiple sources. In the near past, a retailer might have relied on information drawn from e-commerce sites and social media – but now, with advances in location technology, one can look at data gathered from physical retail locations and points of sale, and subsequently gain more insight into shopping trends and behaviors. As mobile apps and devices have become smarter and more responsive to their environments, the variety of data available has exponentially increased. Most of this information is already in the hands of organizations, yet few are using it to drive value.

Velocity is a characteristic of data, frequently equated to real-time analytics. It is the rate of changes – about linking data sets that are coming with different speeds and bursts of activities. When the spatio-temporal relationship between two or more data sets changes, then everything else changes, even the definition of a “data event.”

Volume refers simply to the amount of data. Keep in mind that simply having more information than your competitor is not a guarantor of success; rather, it comes down to how effectively that information is being used to drive business performance.

Now for the three new Vs:

Validity refers to a question that our AI and machine learning intelligence is continuously addressing: how effective are these methods? For us, it is the accuracy and  how pervasive is our model. We look at many combinations to relate interactions, habits and behaviors, as only then can we start to understand audience needs (with their privacy still intact). For businesses, the power  is in the insights that allow them to measure performance, create value, drive awareness for new offerings, improve loyalty, increase sales, and countless other actions that are beneficial for their organizations. All of this is a validation of big data.

Verification is the process of establishing the accuracy of something; in other words, the establishment by empirical means of the validity of a proposition. Can a business verify that a customer responds well to a specific notification? How do you know if a particular ad was the reason someone visited a store? How good are your campaigns at driving attribution? How relevant are your ads to people? With AI, and the new types of data that are being collected, all of these questions can now be answered.

Finally, Visualization refers to how we dynamically see the data – and the intelligent decisions we make as a result of understanding those insights. Understanding data can be a complicated matter, and it needs to be easily digestible so that marketers and management can quickly assess what is and isn’t working, and make the right decisions.

While Gartner’s 3Vs provide a good baseline, this new 6Vs Vision creates a more holistic and comprehensive way to view data. This is especially vital as the importance of app science, geolocation, and mobile continue to grow exponentially, and as big data continues to create value for organizations.

The post 3Vs are Good, But 6Vs Are Better: A New Way of Understanding Big Data appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

New Native Video Report Sheds Eye Opening Insight

This week, ADYOULIKE — a leading global in-feed native advertising platform — announced the inaugural State of Native Video Report, a comprehensive research report designed to help advertisers understand how to best leverage native video across all consumer platforms.

The report analyzes aggregate data from the ADYOULIKE platform and provides benchmarks, plus key takeaways around creative length, engagement and growth of native video based on 30 million infeed video views run across the platform in the first 4 months of 2018 (January – April 2018).

“The report shows that smartphone users are more likely to spend time engaging with long-form video ads compared to 6 second ads when executed correctly,” reads a report summary provided to MMW. “72 percent of mobile users that have watched 6 seconds will continue to watch and engage with video up to 22 seconds. When native video reaches 15 – 22 seconds in length across premium publisher environments, mobile and tablet users that have watched this far are significantly more engaged than desktop users.”

The data contradicts the perceived wisdom that mobile users have limited attention spans and are only interested in short video content. The ADYOULIKE 2018 data indicates that across premium publisher environments mobile users do and will continue to engage with longer video content when the content interests them. There is no fear of watching longer content on these devices.

“Key data in this report disrupts well-held assumptions that less is always more around optimal video length. Perhaps of equal importance, this Native Video report counters one of the modern myths of digital advertising – that there is a fundamental decline in user attention due to the growth of online feeds, smartphone penetration and the myriad different distractions we face digitally nowadays,” said Dale Lovell, co-founder of ADYOULIKE.

To download the full report, click here.

The post New Native Video Report Sheds Eye Opening Insight appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Will Mixed Realities Make Mobile Casino Gaming More Appealing

The online casino industry has always been one to embrace change. Ever since the industry was founded on new technology, developers across the sector have been quick to jump on the latest innovations. In fact, many of the leading operators have used innovation as a marketing tool for the best part of a decade. Take, for instance, live dealer casino games. When the idea of using RFID chips and webcams to create realistic games was still fresh, early adopters were able to offer consumers a unique, more immersive experience. As the technology has spread across the industry, the bigger brands have forged relationships with developers to launch their own branded tables and even studios. The result of these collaborations has been a surge in live gaming action and, for those that have invested heavily in it, some clever marketing opportunities.

The Virtual Battle Ground

mobile meetup augmented reality” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by osde8info

Moving towards 2020 and beyond, the live dealer battleground looks set to be replaced by a virtual one. With experts predicting mixed reality tech will be worth $108 billion by 2021, software companies and operators alike are scrambling to utilize the medium. For those entrenched within the gaming sector, virtual reality roulette has already started to flourish, as has poker. However, in a crowded market where brands need an edge, mixed reality slots could be the next USP. Indeed, much like live dealer games separated the top brands from the rest of the pack in 2010, innovative slot games could become an important marketing tool over the next five years. In fact, when you look at the market as a whole, this makes sense. For instance, when you look inside a gaming news platform, this is where you can check online casino reviews. The one thing you’ll notice here is that slots are the main focus.

As well as outlining how many slots and developers are on display, the review sites give users a breakdown of the top titles and even some tips on where to find them. In fact, when you narrow your search and start to look at individual operators, the industry’s focus on slots becomes even more apparent. Indeed, when you read news about Jackpotcity, slots feature heavily within the article, with the company offering hundreds. From an overall rating to the company’s mobile provisions, these reviews give players an acute insight into a casino’s slot gaming options. Why? Well, because they’re the most popular type of game and, therefore, a major selling point. This, in turn, backs up the prediction that virtual and mixed reality slots will be the next innovation to sweep the industry. If that’s the case, the natural question is how this will happen.

A Hierarchy of Ways to Make AR Slots a Reality


Mobile Futures” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by NYC Media Lab

As we know, web augmented reality (AR) is the fastest way of delivering an enhanced reality experience. Within the next decade, this is likely to become the default method for smaller operators due to the lower running costs. For those already running a mobile app with a large database, the most effective answer could be to build an AR module into the preexisting software. The most impressive way to offer AR slots would be to create a separate app. Naturally, this would require a huge amount of time and investment on the part of the software developer and the casino operator. The end result, however, would be easier access, more variety and better quality.

The upshot of this would then be a better marketing opportunity. Just as live dealer technology was the reserve of a few well-off operators a decade ago, the same will be true for mixed reality slots. However, those that do invest in the medium could have a huge edge over their competition. Indeed, with players clearly enthused by anything that makes their games more realistic and engaging, it seems as though it’s more a case of when virtual slots will happen, rather than if.

The post Will Mixed Realities Make Mobile Casino Gaming More Appealing appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

Op-Ed: It’s Time to be Proactive with DDoS Protection

The following is a guest contributed post by Ronald Sens, EMEA Director, A10 Networks

Since Mirai and its subsequent variants let the genie out of the bottle, DDoS attacks powered by the Internet of Things have become ubiquitous. As more and more IoT devices join the world’s networks – predicted by Gartner to be 24 billion by 2020 – so the potential for cybercriminals to recruit unsecured devices to botnets and wreak havoc through DDoS increases, and we see advanced multi-vector attacks that evolve in sophistication almost as fast as we can register them. Figures show that there were 7.5million DDoS attacks in 2017, with the frequency of those passing 500GBPS increasing four-fold and some notable incidents reaching as high as 1.7 TBPS. A10’s own research found that 38% of organizations said they had been affected by a DDoS attack in the last 12 months.

When the numbers are this big, the argument is over and it’s time for a reality check: DDoS attacks will be a fact of life for the foreseeable future and this has changed the economics of protection. The way for organizations to take back control is by proactively changing the conversation away from a siege mentality and toward adopting a strategic approach. Once we accept that detecting and mitigating against DDoS attacks is now part of the cost of doing business, the way is cleared to selecting the best solution.

Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all be furnished with the financial resources necessary to protect against all kinds of attacks – but I did say that this was a reality check. While A10 research found that 63% of IT professionals believe that budgets will increase in response to the evolving DDoS threat environment, there will never be enough money to go around – this is where security professionals earn their stripes. The challenge is getting the balance right between performance and budgetary limitations to identify the most appropriate and cost-effective protection for the business. There are a few signposts on the road to success that will help in the quest to establish the right solution.

Scoping tailored protection for your organization

Bear in mind that, despite that intimidating statistics, most organizations don’t face 1TBPS DDoS attacks every day of the week – if you do, then we really should talk!

The first step to identifying the right solution is to scope out the level and types of threat that you typically face and establish the level of impact that the business is willing to support. It’s not a case of one size fits all but varies depending on your organization. For example, the lifeblood of the gaming industry is zero latency; any slowdown in the network constitutes an unacceptable customer service failure.  For this kind of business – which is also a primary target for DDoS – the highest priority is performance and the price for safeguarding that is well worth paying. Such organizations should opt for the gold standard of a proactive asymmetric deployment that delivers always-on protection, detecting and mitigating attacks in less than a second.

In other sectors, where latency is less of a mission-critical issue and volumetric attacks are less frequent, it might be advisable to trade a slight slowdown for a lower cost solution. After all, you don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The best of both worlds – hybrid cloud DDoS protection

Of course, just because an organization doesn’t typically face volumetric attacks, that doesn’t mean that it never will. Cloud hybrid DDoS protection allows full visibility and precision to manage more sophisticated attacks or those that come into the “slow and low” category with on-premise appliances, but when a volumetric attack exceeds the organisation’s internet bandwidth capacity traffic is redirected to the cloud to be scrubbed and legitimate traffic allowed through. This mitigates the effect of the attack for as long as it persists and keeps systems available. It’s the equivalent of having that sledgehammer in your back pocket, just in case you need it.

One thing to note when selecting a hybrid solution is that you want to find a provider that charges based on the legitimate traffic that the cloud scrubbing lets through – maintaining your business systems availability – rather than on the volume of attack traffic that is stopped, otherwise you could find yourself signing a blank cheque at the mercy of the botnet.

In order to guarantee enterprises seamless hybrid DDoS protection, here at A10 Networks we have partnered with VeriSign to create A10 DDoS Protection Cloud. This means that customers are protected by the surgical precision of the A10 Thunder® 1040 TPS appliance to combat network-based, application layer and slow and low attacks, combined with cloud scrubbing capabilities powered by VeriSign’s cloud-based DDoS Protection Service when it’s needed to combat volumetric attacks.

Physical footprint

Coming down from the cloud, a more prosaic consideration is the space and support requirements for on-premise DDoS systems. How much space, power, cooling, monitoring and management will your appliances require? You’re effectively looking for as much performance as possible with the smallest possible footprint so that TCO is kept low – small yet powerful is the key here.

Bring intelligence to bear against DDoS attackers

Perhaps one of the most positive ways to be proactive about handling DDoS is to make use of threat intelligence services that are available to keep you and your systems up to speed on the evolving threat environment. They use intelligence gained from previous attacks on other targets to make changes aimed at preventing the same strategy succeeding in future. Threat intelligence services can include tailored malicious IP catalogues, protection against known botnets, custom traffic allocation via black and white lists and mitigation against inside bots communicating with outside command and control servers. Specific responses can be appropriate to specific industries, e.g. banking and healthcare industries would find it prudent to blacklist millions of IP-enabled cameras from accessing their applications.

Seizing back the initiative and viewing DDoS protection as a necessary and strategic element of business operations is a critical step in gaining an advantage over cyber-adversaries. In a world where DDoS attacks are inevitable, it’s time for organizations to get proactive and deploy solutions tailored to meet the threat environment that they are likely to face for the foreseeable future. Security professionals who want to learn more about how to gain an advantage over DDoS threats are invited to join us at The Shard, London on the 29th of May 2018 where we’ll be looking at how organizations can balance protection, performance and budgets.

The post Op-Ed: It’s Time to be Proactive with DDoS Protection appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

9 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

Optimizing your website to generate leads is a no-brainer. But it’s not as simple as throwing a “click here” button on your home page and watching the leads pour in (unfortunately).

Instead, marketers and designers need to take a more strategic approach. In this post, we’ll go over some quick ways that actually work to optimize your website for lead generation.

To understand how to optimize our website, we’ll have to first gain a basic understanding of the lead generation process. What components are at play when a casual website visitor turns into a lead? Here’s a quick overview:

Lead generation visualization

The lead generation process typically starts when a website visitor clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) located on one of your site pages or blog posts. That CTA leads them to a landing page, which includes a form used to collect the visitor’s contact information. Once the visitor fills out and submits the form, they are then led to a thank-you page. (Learn about this process in more detail in this post.)

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of lead generation, we can get down to the dirty details. Here are 10 simple ways to optimize your site for lead generation.

1. Add Forms to the Pages That Get the Most Traffic

It’s important to benchmark your current state of lead generation before you begin so you can track your success and determine the areas where you most need improvement. Some of your pages might make excellent lead generators and you don’t even realize it.

To start, conduct an audit of where most of your online traffic and outreach comes from. Here are some common places a business might get visitors:

  • Email Marketing: Traffic might come from users who click through to your website from one of your emails.
  • Social Media: Traffic might come from users who engage in a campaign through one of your social media profiles.
  • Live Chat: Traffic might come in the form of users who reach out to your customer service team through a live chat window on your website.
  • Blog Posts: Traffic might come from your highest-performing blog posts.

Once you identify where your leads are coming from, you’ll want to make sure the pages they’re landing on are doing everything they can to nurture a visitor’s interest.

For example, if, through your analytics tool, you realize most of your potential leads are clicking on inbound links to your website from your Facebook page, your next step is to update the pages they’re visiting with content that keeps them on and engaging with your website. On your most visited website pages, add longer-form content that visitors can access through forms that solicit their contact information.

2. Measure Each Lead Generator’s Performance

Test how each of your existing lead generators is contributing to your business using a tool like Website Grader, which evaluates your lead generation sources (including landing pages and CTAs) and then provides feedback on ways to improve your existing content.

You can also compare landing pages that are doing well with landing pages that aren’t doing as well. For example, let’s say that you get 1,000 visits to Landing Page A, and 10 of those people filled out the form and converted into leads. For Landing Page A, you would have a 1% conversion rate. Let’s say you have another landing page, Landing Page B, that gets 50 visitors to convert into leads for every 1,000 visits. That would be a 5% conversion rate — which is great! Your next steps could be to see how Landing Page A differs from Landing Page B, and optimize Landing Page A accordingly.

Finally, you could try running internal reports. Evaluate landing page visits, CTA clicks, and thank-you page shares to determine which offers are performing the best, and then create more like them.

3. Optimize Each Step of the Lead Generation Process

If your visitor searched “lawn care tips” and ended up on a blog post you published called, “10 Ways To Improve Your Lawn Care Regimen,” you’d better not link that blog post to an offer for a snow-clearing consultation. Make sure your offers are related to the page they’re on so you can capitalize on visitors’ interest in a particular subject.

As soon as a visitor lands on your website, you can start learning about their conversion path. This path starts when a visitor visits your site, and ends (hopefully) with them filling out a form and becoming a lead.

However, sometimes a visitor’s path doesn’t end with the desired goal. In those cases, you can optimize the conversion path.

How? Take a page out of Surety Bonds‘ book. They were struggling to convert visitors at the rate they wanted, so they decided to run an A/B split test (two versions of a landing page) with Unbounce to determine which tactics were performing better on each page. In the end, they ended up changing a link to a button, adding a form to their homepage, and asking different questions on their forms. The result? A 27% increase in lead generation.

If you want to run an A/B test on a landing page, be sure to test the three key pieces of the lead gen process:

The Calls-to-Action

Use contrasting colors from your site. Keep it simple — and try a tool like Canva to create images easily, quickly, and for free. Read this blog post for ideas for types of calls-to-action (CTAs) you can test on your blog, like the sliding CTA you see here:

Slide-out call to action

The Landing Pages

According to a HubSpot survey, companies with 30+ landing pages on their website generated 7X more leads than companies with 1 to 5 landing pages.

For inspiration, here are 15 examples of well-designed landing pages you can learn from.

The Thank-You Pages

Oftentimes, it’s the landing pages that get all the love in the lead generation process. But the thank-you page, where the visitor is led to once they submit a form on the landing page and convert into a lead, shouldn’t be overlooked.

Along with saying thank you, be sure to include a link for your new lead to actually download the offer on your thank-you page. You can also include social sharing buttons and even a form for another, related offer, as in the example below:

HubSpot landing page

Bonus: The Kickback Email

Once a visitor converts into a lead and their information enters your database, you have the opportunity to send them a kickback email, i.e. a “thank-you” email.

In a study HubSpot did on engagement rates of thank you emails versus non thank you emails, kickback emails doubled the engagement rates (opens and clickthroughs) of standard marketing emails. Use kickback emails as opportunities to include super-specific CTA and encourage sharing on email and social media.

4. Start with a Basic CTA on Your Homepage

If your homepage’s design is what catches a person’s attention, the CTA is what keeps it. However, don’t bombard your visitors with an invitation to see the longest or most complex content you have.

Your homepage sits at the top of the marketing funnel, and should therefore offer either a free trial or subscription to a recurring campaign, such as a newsletter. Consider including one of the following CTAs on the front of your website:

‘Subscribe to Updates’

In general, consumers want their browsing experience to be as non-invasive as their buying experience. Oftentimes they’re not ready to make a purchase when they first find your website.

To teach them about you with no effort or commitment on their part, invite them to subscribe to an email that notifies them of industry trends and product updates. Personally follow up with the ones who opt to stay on this mailing list to gauge their interest and eventually turn them into marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

‘Try Us for Free’

Free trials and demos are a growing company’s bread and butter. They allow you to generate demand in your business and create a contact list of leads who are currently piloting your product.

On your homepage, have your product available to try for free for a limited time using a CTA and form where you can collect their names and email addresses. At the end of each active product demo, follow up with the user to see what they thought of it.

5. Offer Ebooks for Download on Specific Blog Posts

Another non-invasive way to generate interest in your business is to create blog content that promotes an ebook or whitepaper, wherein your website visitors can learn more about the same topic they just read about on your blog.

This is where lead generation meets search engine optimization (SEO).

Blog content is your way of developing the page authority needed to rank your website on Google. Organic visitors who come from Google are often more intent on finding solutions to a problem you can solve — making this form of lead generation quite valuable.

To start, conduct keyword research on a topic that’s relevant to your industry, and create a group of blog posts around this topic. Then, draft a report that delves much deeper into this topic. Package this report into a PDF that your blog readers can download using their name, company, and email address.

Using the three-part conversion path described in tip #2 above, email each person their downloaded resource, following up with them through a kickback email that retains each lead’s interest in the content you’ve provided them.

6. Develop a Live Chat Service for Your Website

Live chat services are increasing not just in their sophistication, but in how many people expect them when learning about vendors they might want to buy from. This means you could be missing out on a major lead generator.

Bar graph of live chat's digital content share compared to email and social mediaImage via SuperOffice

To generate leads though live chat, audit your website to see which pages your visitors spend most of their time on. With the right development resources, you can install a live chat tool on the pages where customers need the most assistance or information. This allows you to casually collect and log insight on their product needs while answering their questions.

Depending on who starts the chat and the questions your visitors have, you can even integrate your customer service team with your live chat feature. This ensures every website visitor has their needs addressed no matter where the conversation goes.

7. Personalize Your Calls-to-Action

Dynamic content lets you cater the experience of visiting your website to each, unique web visitor. People who land on your site will see images, buttons, and product options that are specifically tailored to their interests, the pages they’ve viewed, or items they’ve purchased before.

Better yet, personalized calls-to-action convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. In other words, dynamic content and on-page personalization helps you generate more leads.

How does it work? Here’s an example of what your homepage may look like to a stranger:

Smart CTA content

And here’s what it would look like to a customer:

Smart CTA content

Notice the “Welcome Back” header? Visitors who see website pages that remember them from an earlier date a more inclined to stick around and start a conversation with you.

To get dynamic content (or “smart content”) on your site, you’ll need to use a tool like HubSpot’s Content Management System.

8. Test, Test, Test

We can’t stress this part of the process enough. A/B testing can do wonders for your clickthrough rates.

For example, when friendbuy tried a simple A/B test on their calls-to-action, they found a 211% improvement in clickthroughs on those calls-to-action. Something as simple as testing out the wording of your CTA, the layout of your landing page, or the images you’re using can have a huge impact, like the one friendbuy saw. (This free ebook has fantastic tips for getting started with A/B testing.)

9. Nurture Your Leads

Remember: No lead is going to magically turn into a customer. Leads are only as good as your nurturing efforts.

Place leads into a workflow once they fill out a form on your landing page so they don’t forget about you, and deliver them valuable content that matches their interest. Lead nurturing should start with relevant follow up emails that include great content. As you nurture them, learn as much as you can about them — and then tailor all future sends accordingly.

Here’s an example of a lead nurturing email:

Lead Nurture Email

This email offers the recipient some great content, guides them down the funnel, and gets to the point. According to Forrester Research, companies that nurture their leads see 50% more sales ready leads than their non-nurturing counterparts at a 33% lower cost. So get emailing.

You depend on leads to close sales and grow your business. Using the tips above, you can take advantage of every opportunity without letting unsatisfied website visitors slip away.

Intro to Lead Gen

 
New Call-to-action

A Marketer’s Guide to Harnessing Micro Mobile Moments

The following is a guest contributed post by Harald Kratel, VP of Global Marketing, Smaato

Mobile has fundamentally redefined the marketing landscape in a dramatically short time frame. For the most part, as consumer time spent has shifted to mobile devices, advertising dollars have shifted as well. However, while a great deal of attention has been paid to the gross reallocation of these dollars, not nearly as much attention has been paid to the strategic shift required by marketers in terms of how those mobile dollars are spent.

Mobile devices will account for 73 percent of global time spent online in 2018, up from 65 percent in 2016. Within that time spent, comScore’s latest data indicates apps are responsible for more than 80 percent of the time people spend using mobile devices, with this number rising as high as 95 percent in some regions.

The dominance of mobile in-app experiences is good news for marketers, as more data is available in-app than with any other media format. Since apps can collect first-party data on an opt-in basis, they are also able to pass along valuable targeting parameters such as gender and age, which allow advertisers to precisely reach their ideal audience. Within the in-app environment, advertisers can also harness geo-location data.

In short, marketers now have easy access to the long-coveted “right person, right place, right time” marketing utopia. But far too few marketers today are structuring their campaigns this way.

It’s time for marketers to start thinking in micro mobile moments. Here’s what that looks like:

Dayparting – and Then Some

The concept of dayparting is by no means a new one, but it’s newly relevant in the mobile world. As in the TV world, dividing the day into several distinct chunks and tailoring messaging appropriately during each chunk makes infinite sense in mobile marketing. But marketers need to take things further.

Enter the micro mobile moment. The general idea of “micro-moments” was popularized by Google a few years back as a succinct way of referring to the instances within the consumer journey when decisions are made and preferences are shaped. In the mobile world, these are the instances where people turn to their devices to find, do, or buy something, and it is within these moments that marketing messages are particularly resonant.

Micro-moments take on special importance in the mobile realm, where in-app time is highly fragmented. On average, users spend three hours per day in-app, but the average app session is only five minutes long. On average, users check their phones 47 times per day, and many of these sessions are intent-driven micro-moments where the right messaging could make all the difference in an ultimate purchase decision.

Identifying micro mobile moments, and understanding them in relation to the individual who owns the device, lays the foundation for a solid mobile advertising strategy. Every daypart has hundreds of micro mobile moments. For example:

  • Searching for healthy recipes before dinner
  • Playing a game at home
  • Seeking product information while in a store
  • Checking restaurant reviews on a Friday evening
  • Listening to a podcast on the train

These are context-rich moments that, in combination with knowledge of the individual, lend themselves to targeted messaging from brands. The key is understanding where a given brand can add value and have influence on the consumer’s journey. By effectively dayparting a mobile campaign according to micro-moments, marketers can optimize campaign performance, enhance user targeting, improve cost-efficiency, and maximize user engagement. The three steps to doing this effectively are as follows:

  1. Identify your target group
  2. Analyze their mobile behaviors (or work with partners to do so), particularly as it relates to app usage
  3. Identify the right mobile moments that align with your goals.

OK, so the above steps seem simple enough. But what does the result look like? It might be simpler than you think. Here are just a few micro mobile moments that would be a fit for well-known brands:

  • KFC: 12:15 p.m., food court, fast food lovers
  • Bacardi: 1:10 a.m., party area, students
  • Dreyer’s ice cream: 2:45 p.m., parks, sunny weather

The above criteria are all easily targeted within in-app experiences. Customized programmatic deals are an effective way to ensure that your in-app advertising campaigns reach their target audience at the right mobile moment. Not only do they provide more transparency and control, but they are effective tools for optimizing campaigns, inventory, and pricing.

The shift from desktop to mobile advertising is well-established, but the opportunities surrounding proper dayparting in the mobile environment are only beginning to be explored. Is your brand ready to seize its moment?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harald Kratel

Vice President, Global Marketing, Smaato

With over 20 years of experience across the media and advertising industry, Harald (Harry) has proven himself as an innovative and effective marketing leader.

Harry has played a leading role in Germany’s digital advertising industry since 2000, when he became Managing Director of internet activities at G+J, one of Europe’s biggest magazine publishers. From 2005 to 2009, Harry served as the COO/CMO of Parship, Europe’s largest online dating service, where he was responsible for the company’s internationalization into 14 countries. Prior to joining Smaato, Harry was the Partner and Managing Director of mlv, a full-service advertising agency located in Hamburg.

Harry holds a degree (Dipl.-Kfm.) in Business Administration from the University of Münster.

The post A Marketer’s Guide to Harnessing Micro Mobile Moments appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

7 Mixed Reality Technology Options for Marketers

The following is a guest contributed post by Jason Yim, CEO and Executive Creative Director of Trigger

Augmented and mixed reality experiences are powerful tools that can connect consumers to brands and products in meaningful ways. However, in order to achieve that meaningful connection, marketing strategists should always consider the overall customer experience when designing a campaign. More people rely on smartphones to cater their entertainment needs than ever before but still, a one-size-fits-all AR solution does not exist. After clocking more than 100k hours of mixed reality development for some of the world’s largest brand names, Trigger has identified seven different ways to integrate AR into your next marketing campaign.

  1. Web AR:

Web AR is one of the fastest ways to deliver AR content to an audience because it works through a mobile web browser and does not require an app. Users are directed to a unique URL that can scan a target and launch an experience.

Advantages:

  • User does not need to download an app
  • Wide reach

Limitations:

  • Technology is still in its infancy – limited 3D fidelity, limited recognition and tracking, less robust an experience
  • Requires internet connection
  1. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) AR Content:

OEM AR content is embedded into a device’s native camera or pre-installed in an app on the device. The Google Pixel 2 is a perfect example of this.

Advantages:

  • Higher performance as it is integrated directly into hardware
  • User does not need to download app

Limitations:

  • Closed development and publishing environment for these platforms
  • Limited to a few handsets in the market
  1. Social App Lens (Snap, Facebook):

Everything we do now almost always overlaps with a social platform, so placing AR content into an existing social app can be an effective way to access users already actively using those platforms.

Advantages:

  • Targets large active user base
  • Delivers measurable results
  • Proven user behavior and content preference
  • Broad reach

Limitations:

  • Media buy often required
  • Content size and interactive experience are limited by constraints of the platform
  1. AR/MR Module in an Existing App:

If you have a large consumer base already, consider building an AR module into an existing (legacy) app. This approach enhances an existing experience and continues to take advantage of an established install base.

Advantages:

  • No new app download required
  • Feature set only limited by size of module and budget

Limitations:

  • Technical integration with legacy app can sometimes be challenging
  • Features could be limited by legacy app in terms of file size or conflicting technology
  1. Dedicated AR/MR App:

Starting from scratch? Building an AR/MR app from the ground-up increases your ability to customize an experience without having to accommodate an existing app.

Advantages:

  • Newer technologies are cutting development times for bespoke experiences down
  • Customize the entire experience from start-to-finish

Limitations

  • App install is required
  • Significant app marketing and promotion is required to encourage downloads and installs
  1. Ambassador-Driven Experience with Custom Hardware/Software:

This method is ideal for events and retail experiences where brand ambassadors are equipped and trained with devices to run an AR/MR experience.

Advantages:

  • User does not need to download app
  • Usually works best for a shorter experience with a social component

Limitations:

  • Consumers cannot replicate experience at home
  1. Location-Based AR/MR Installation:

Turn-key technological solutions for location-based AR/MR do not currently exist. An installation will likely require custom hardware/software.

Advantages:

  • User does not need to download app
  • Interaction does not have to be limited to mobile devices
  • Experience can have a larger wow factor

Limitations:

  • Experience can be limited to target ideal traffic flow and dwell times
  • Significant commitment of time, space and money

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Yim is the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Trigger – The Mixed Reality AgencyTM with offices in the US and Denmark. Yim has led over 100,000 hours of development in AR/VR/XR, including as a Snap Lens Studio Partner and as a showcase developer for Vuforia and Google for clients including: Honda, Sony, Mattel, Disney, LEGO and more. For LEGO, he has developed mixed reality content and solutions for various product lines including LEGO Stores and the new LEGO Museum. Yim has two assigned patents in table-top AR play, with several more pending.

 

The post 7 Mixed Reality Technology Options for Marketers appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

10 of the Best About Us Pages and How to Make Your Own

Building a website is, in many ways, an exercise of willpower. It’s tempting to get distracted by the bells and whistles of the design process, and forget all about creating compelling content. 

It’s that compelling content that’s crucial to making inbound marketing work for your business.

So how do you balance your remarkable content creation with your web design needs? It all starts with the “About Us” page.

For a remarkable about page, all you need to do is figure out your company’s unique identity, and then share it with the world. Easy, right? Of course not. Your “About Us” page is one of the most important pages on your website, and it needs to be well crafted. This profile also happens to be one of the most commonly overlooked pages, which is why you should make it stand out.

The good news? It can be done. In fact, there are some companies out there with remarkable “About Us” pages, the elements of which you can emulate on your own website.

By the end of this post, you’ll know what makes some of today’s best “About Us” pages so great, and how to make your own “About Us” or “About Me” page that shares your company’s greatness.

About-Us-Page-Examples.png

10 of the Best About Us Page Examples

1. Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It tells us a story.

When you have a great story about how your product or service was built to change lives, share it. The “About Us” page is a great place for it to live, too. Good stories humanize your brand, providing context and meaning for your product. What’s more, good stories are sticky — which means people are more likely to connect with them and pass them on.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks tells users about its product by describing how the hammocks empower artisan weavers and their families. The company breaks down different pieces of the story into sections that combine words and easily digestible graphics, painting a picture instead of big chunks of text. They’re clear about why they’re different: “Not a Charity,” the page reads. And then: “This is the basis for a brighter future, built on a hand up, not a handout.”

Every company has a story to tell, so break out your storytelling skills from that random English class you took years ago and put them to work on your “About Us” page. Using descriptive and emotive copy and gorgeous graphics, an “About Us” page with a story works harder for your business than a generic one.

Yellow Leaf Hammocks about us page

2. Eight Hour Day

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It’s human.

People tend to think that “About Us” pages have to sound formal to gain credibility and trust. But most people find it easier to trust real human beings, rather than a description that sounds like it came from an automaton. Trying to sound too professional on your “About Us” page results in stiff, “safe” copy and design — the perfect way to make sure your company blends in with the masses.

Instead, Eight Hour Day showcases the people behind the company and humanizes its brand. Introducing the founders by name and featuring the photos of them on the “About Us” page drives home the point that Nathan and Katie are — as they so astutely put it — “two individuals with a passion for creativity — creativity makes us happy.”

When you’re designing your “About Us” page, avoid industry jargon and replace it with an authentic voice — yours — to describe your product or service. Sure, it needs to be polished and free of errors, but it should always sound friendly and real.

Eight Hour Day about us page

3. Apptopia

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It skips the business babble.

We know — no industry jargon. If you think it makes you sound super smart on your “About Us” page, think again. People want and appreciate straight talk about what your business does. After all, if people can’t figure out what you do, how will they know they need your product or service?

So, skip the industry lingo — that’s what Apptopia does on its “About Us” page. The startup’s simple but polished language effectively communicates the company’s offering while still allowing the Average Joe to understand it.

Apptopia about us page
The moral of the story: Try to get rid of jargon on your “About Us” page whenever possible. Use short and punchy sentences to explain complex products and ideas in a way that isn’t patronizing, but rather, is empathetic.

4. Moz

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It’s humble.

Instead of following the classic “About Us” script and writing a few paragraphs about the company’s mission and origins, try something different — there are plenty of ways to make your brand more compelling to someone who doesn’t know about you.

Take Moz, for example. A lot has happened since it was founded in 2004, so the company chose to share those milestones using a fun and clean design that incorporates clear headers, concise blurbs, and little graphics to break up the text.

We especially love the humble references to how Moz received funding, how it switched its brand positioning — and most importantly, how it switched back to its original model. This speaks volumes to the value honesty and humbleness can play to your customers. Don’t be afraid to talk about your ups and downs; your customers will trust what you say that much more.

The story of Moz on its About Us page

5. Cultivated Wit

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It breaks the mold.

Yes, this post is about, well, “About Us” pages. But sometimes, you don’t always need to wait for users to get there in order to make a statement. That’s part of breaking the mold to showcase your company’s personality.

That’s exactly what Cultivated Wit — a creative agency and media company — does, with both an edgy name and an incredibly fun story told through video and parallax scrolling … right on its homepage.

Brand story of Cultivated Wit on its homepage

Below is the actual “About Us” page, which is a gem once you get there. But it’s great to see a company embrace its own brand of quirk throughout the site.

Cultivated Wit about us page

Even if you have a dedicated “About Us” page, there are plenty of ways to creatively showcase your company’s personality throughout your entire website. And yeah, that’s harder than filling a stock “About Us” template — but it can have a significant payoff for your brand.

6. Nike

Why the About Us Page Rocks: It knows its audience.

Nike might seem like a company that’s too big to inspire smaller businesses. You might even wonder if Nike even still has an “About Us” page. As a matter of fact, it does, and it hasn’t forgotten the company’s roots.

Nike began on the campus of the University of Oregon by the hand of the college’s track coach, Bill Bowerman. And even though he no longer works at the company, one of his beloved quotes still brands the bottom of Nike’s “About Us” page below: “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

This bold sentence, referenced by the asterisked “Athlete” in the words right above it, sheds important light on Nike’s audience. The brand may be big today, but Nike is all about the rising stars — who Nike depends on to, according to the rest of its “About Us” page, “expand human potential.”

The takeaway for marketers? Know your audience, and make it obvious to that audience the instant they read about you on your website.

Nike about us page

7. Refinery29

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It tells you what’s most important.

Here’s another instance where any area of your website — not just the “About Us” page — is an opportunity to break the mold.

Many companies add just a simple mission statement or company profile, but people often don’t want to ready a wall of text explaining what you do. So, Refinery29 broke it down to convey the intangible qualities that are tough to include in a basic “About Us” page.

Although Refinery29 does introduce its page with a description of its business, its goes out on a bang — four bangs, to be exact. The organization is on a “mission,” sure, but there’s also an “essence” of Refinery29, a “promise” it keeps, and a “vibe” it gives off.

These aren’t company traits you’d think to include when starting out, but they’re what your customers often make gut decisions on when buying.

Refinery29 about us page

8. Marie Catribs

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It’s unexpected.

There’s a reason why these examples are exceptional — “About Us” pages aren’t always the most riveting parts of a company’s website. In fact, they often look like an afterthought. But even if you don’t have budget for juicy graphics, video, or parallax scrolling, there are other ways to make your “About Us” page unexpected with the copy alone.

Marie Catrib’s is a restaurant, so you might think their “About Us” page would be your typical “here’s how we started, here’s what we believe in, and here’s our food” story. Marie Catrib’s “About Us” page does tells us that — but it does so in an unconventional way. Immediately, the user’s eyes are drawn to a header that says, “It’s okay to make a mess, experiments can lead to beautiful things.” Quite philosophical, for a place to have dinner.

But next comes the story about the owner, which starts in an unexpected way — “It’s hard to imagine, but at one time Marie was banned from the family kitchen.” A line like that draws in the audience, because we know it’s not going to be typical.

Marie Catribs about us page

So, how will you use copy to really draw readers in? It’s amazing what impression you can make on site visitors just by creatively telling your story with words alone.

9. Bulldog Skincare

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: It’s lovable and memorable.

What’s the difference between “average” marketing and lovable marketing? It’s the difference between creating generic webpages that provide great information, but in a straightforward, black-and-white kind of way — versus creating webpages that provide great information and are infused with color, personality, and stay true to a company’s unique brand voice. When you create lovable marketing, you can start a movement of brand evangelists and advocates who will help you grow.

Where does this fit into a company’s “About Us” page? The folks at Bulldog, a men’s skincare company that was named for the colloquial “man’s best friend” — a dog — could have typed up a few paragraphs about where the brand came from and how they were one of the first in the space to redefine and eliminate stereotypes around men’s grooming. But that text alone would have been a bit, well, average.

Instead, the “About Us” page is pithy, colorful, and leads with the lovable mug of an adorable bulldog — fitting the name and the brand. And it states the purpose of the products — to help customers from waking up with the (admittedly adorable) wrinkly face you see when you visit Bulldog’s website.

Bulldog Skin Care for Men about us page

Play on your own words — it’s okay to have fun and pun with your brand, as it helps to inject personality and humor into your “About Us” page. It primes visitors for a story in a way that makes them immediately feel something. That’s how you create memorable, lovable marketing.

10. Doomtree

Why the “About Us” Page Rocks: Its shows, tells, and has a soundtrack.

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey. But what about audio and visual, too, all combined with a really cool story? Well, that’s one way to tell your story in an engaging way — through multimedia.

Doomtree is built on a bit of an innovative concept: That a group of talented artists can each have thriving solo careers, but can still come together on a regular basis to create great music. It’s not a band — it’s a crew. It’s an unconventional concept with an equally interesting backstory that “started as a mess of friends in Minneapolis, fooling around after school, trying to make music without reading the manual.” And as soon as you arrive on Doomtree’s ‘About Us’ page, you’re greeted with big, bold photos of those friends.

Doomtree band about us page

As you scroll down, users are treated to even more interaction with the crew’s tracks and music videos. That makes sense, because it gives visitors an instant sample of Doomtree’s product. What’s more, the entire “About Us” page is responsive, including the video. That’s important — not only because it offers site visitors a great mobile experience, but also for Google search ranking — especially now that such mobile usage has surpassed desktop.

Doomtree band mobile page

How to Write an About Page

It’s tough to establish one all-encompassing template for your “About Us” page — there are just so many ways you can go about telling your company story. But, per the real “About Us” pages we’ve just highlighted, there are some steps you should keep in mind when getting started.

Here are five steps to writing an “About Us” page based on some of the things that impressed us about the examples above.

1. Establish a Mission Statement

Your “About Us” page can and will be much longer than a single mission statement, but in order to draw people in, you need to succinctly state your goal in the industry up front. What are you here to do? Why should your website visitors care?

2. Outline Your Company Story

You might not have a long history of changes and growth your company has endured (yet), but it’s a nice touch to talk about where you came from in your “About Us” page. So, isolate the milestones prior your company’s founding, and use them to give readers some backstory on your current venture.

3. State Your ‘Aha!’ Moment

Every good company was founded on an idea — something the current marketplace might not yet offer. What was your idea? Use this “Aha!” moment as a pivot point when telling your company story. What was a challenge you faced while developing your company? How did this challenge or discovery shape what you are today?

4. Explain Who You Serve

As much as you want as many eyeballs on your “About Us” page as possible, you won’t do business with every single one of them. That’s why it’s crucial that you identify and mention your core customer. Who should care you exist? Which eyeballs are you here to serve?

5. Describe Your Values

Customers want to be treated like human beings. For that to happen, they need to feel that they’re being treated by human beings. When finishing your “About Us” page, describe who you are as a person or a team, and what your personal values are. What’s your company culture like? What bigger picture in life drives your business?

An LED lightbulb maker might sell 10 different lamp styles, for example, but that might not be the most important characteristic to its primary audience. Maybe this lightbulb developer was founded on a commitment to environmental protection, and every bulb the company makes was built by people who are dedicated to making the world more energy-efficient.

Keep in mind a secondary audience of your company’s “About Us” page consists of your future employees. This is another reason describing your personal values is a good idea — the key to your job candidates’ hearts is to show them you have one too. 

At this point, we hope that creating an “About Us” page doesn’t seem like a daunting task — rather, we hope you’re ready to have some fun with it. With a good story to tell, creative copy, humility, and digestible visuals, you’re on your way to an eye-catching user experience.

Even better? You’re becoming part of the exception — and standing out from a sea of “About Us” pages. What makes you different? We’re eager to learn more … about you.

Want more inspiration? Check out 16 inspiring examples of beautiful blog design.

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