Archive for the ‘way’ tag
HuffPost Live is now. . . Live!
And with that, online news guru Arianna Huffington ushered in a new era of citizen journalism that could change how news networks conduct themselves going forward.
HuffPost Live is a daily news, live webcast that relies heavily on social media engagement. Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 10 pm, Huff’s news correspondents take turns manning the anchor desk, to chat about what’s happening in the world. To keep the conversation going, they’re pulling in comments and Tweets from the scrolling chat box to the right of the video. Then, they mix it up by inviting viewers to join them as guests.
In order to worm your way into the broadcast, you need to click the Join This Segment bar, promise that you’re over 18, then convince them that you’re worthy with your background and take on the issue. It looks like you can volunteer for upcoming segments as well, just scroll across the topics in the top bar and choose your issue.
If having a live conversation scares you, you can leave a video comment down in the old school comment box.
Location doesn’t matter. Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can instantly join us live. Picture a conversation about parenting with mothers in Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Kentucky, talking to us and to each other and to our users live via Skype or Google Hangout.
There’s not a news channel on the tube or the web that doesn’t use viewer comments, video and even Tweets. HuffPost is just taking that to the next level and it’s pretty smart. Some people are going to tune in to hear a variety of real-life opinions on an important topic. Others are going to tune in to see real people embarrass themselves in public (it’s going to happen, you know it is.) Either way, HuffPost wins.
Right now, the site is designed to discuss a range of topics over the course of the day including entertainment, tech, business and sports. Today’s lineup includes “Keeping Rich Kids Real,” “What Drag Queens Teach Us About Gender” and a piece on Mitt Romney’s appeal with minority voters.
It will be interesting to see how they handle a hard news day when we’re dealing with a major disaster or crime story. Makes me wonder how much control they’re planning to exert over their guests? Do they have a delay for foul language? What about false information or pranksters looking for their 15 minutes of fame?
Anytime you open up your microphone to the world, you’re bound to have both moments of brilliance and moments you wish you could take back. If HuffPost Live is lucky, they’ll get a little of each every week and that will keep viewers tuning in on a regular basis.
What do you think of HuffPost’s new take on citizen journalism? Power to the people or better left in the hands of the experts?
Tangled headphones are always annoying, and while we’ve shared a few different methods for keeping your headphones tangle-free, Instructables user PropPrintables offers another great way to store them: inside a tape dispenser. More »
In the world of email marketing, several questions are repeatedly asked by those who strive to improve their email campaigns. Collectively they can be lumped together as pertaining to the elusive pursuit of best practices. And if you are prone to jumping to conclusions, you probably think the two words to which I refer in the title are “best practices,” but you’d be wrong. Before I reveal the two most important words in email marketing, let’s look at some of the commonly asked questions concerning best practices:
- What day of the week is the best for launching campaigns?
- What time of day is best for launching campaigns?
- What kind of tests should are the most important to conduct?
- When should a subscriber be labeled “inactive”?
- Is it ok to continue to mail to inactive subscribers?
- How should email campaigns be optimized for mobile devices?
- How important are welcome campaigns?
- What type of content should be dynamically generated?
True believers in best practices are likely to believe that there is a single, definitive answer to each of the questions posed above, and the many more questions not appearing here. According to BusinessDictionary.com, a best practice is, “A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.”
However there is a big of problem with this right out of the gate. If there really were definitive answers to every question involving email, and everyone practiced them, then no one would gain strategic advantage over his or her competition. To gain that advantage one would need to develop better than best practices. These, in turn, would become the new best practices. The result? All commercial email would hit consumer’s mailboxes on the same day and time. Every marketer would test the same thing at the same time. All subscribers would be labeled inactive at the same point in time. You get the idea.
Does this mean there are no immutable truths about email marketing? Of course not:
- New subscribers to your email are more likely to be engaged with you than older subscribers (use that to your advantage)
- Opens and clicks do not represent an accurate measurement of consumer engagement with an email (you’ve probably heard me say this before)
- Upselling and cross-selling via transactional emails it a great way to increase your ROI (lucky strike extra, it is also likely to irk your IT team)
I could go on, but that’s not the point of this article. So it’s time I got to the point. In my opinion, the two most important words in email marketing are “it depends.” It depends?! I know, that’s kind of a let down from the buildup to this point. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t the most important words.
Remember what I said about best practices earlier? If everybody followed best practices, no one would gain a competitive advantage. It all boils down to the fact that there if there is no definitive answer as to which is the best day to launch a campaign, then the best way to start answering that question is to respond “it depends,” because — at that moment — you are now beginning to solve a particular marketer’s unique marketing challenges. For that rather simple sounding question there are many data points to consider:
- It depends upon your product or service category
- It depends on what you are offering at that point in time
- It depends on who you are targeting
- It depends upon the complexity of the desired transaction
- It depends upon the duration of the offer
There are other possible “it depends;” this is just a partial list. And while it might seem very attractive to let the people like me who write about this stuff answer the question for you in a column, it will be much better in the long run for you to do the hard work of thinking through the “it depends,” and then testing some assumptions.
Let’s look at another question, “when should a subscriber be labeled inactive?” There are people like me who would tell you “only if that email address is no longer valid,” but we’re viewed as representing the extreme. For the rest of you, however, once again there are many data points to consider:
- It depends how long they’ve been in the database
- It depends on your ability to attribute offline activity to email campaigns
- It depends on the frequency of purchase of your product or service
- It depends upon your current reputation with the ISPs
I’ve noted in the past that clients of mine saw revenue around campaigns drop when they excluded those they deemed inactive from a mailing. So you want to do more than just follow best practices when addressing this question — you want to get it right!
It’s important to recognize that answering “it depends” to an important email marketing question is an absolute cop-out if you don’t then proceed to determine what the answer does depend upon. It’s one thing for a panelist at a conference to respond “it depends” and leave it at that. It’s an entirely different story if the strategists on your team or at your marketing partner leave it at that. It’s their job to provide you with the guidance and testing plan to arrive at the optimum solution for your particular needs.
The problem has always been that because email marketing is so inexpensive, it is really easy to get away with programs that don’t meet their full potential. With CPMs as low as they are, “good” results are seen as “good enough.” If CPMs were higher, there’d be greater pressure to maximize results. Of course it takes a lot of hard work to optimize your program across the board — and then to successfully integrate that program into your social and mobile channels. To paraphrase from something I read years ago, “Email marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s a lot harder!” But the hard work will always pay you dividends.
Chris Marriot is a data-driven digital marketing consultant.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“A happy couple” image via Shutterstock.
The flag bearer of display advertising was always Yahoo. Their massive sales force stoked 15 years of equity into “the web banner.” Yahoo arguably had the greatest hand in providing the economic foundation for the entire web for many of its formative years. That is why nothing better symbolizes the collapse of that foundation better than Yahoo’s appointment of Marissa Mayer over Ross Levinsohn as Yahoo’s CEO.
Yahoo has handed the keys to their crumbling castle to a Search professional. A company previously focused on reach and frequency is now run by someone that spent a career in user centered design and experience. For all the media Yahoo sold and all the technology it bought, none if it will be integral pieces of its future.
During the CPM experiment Yahoo lead the way in revenues derived from web banners and a number of display strategies from using Search data in display, to its newspaper consortium to exchange based buying – and everything in between. More than any digital media company Yahoo strived to connect Madison Avenue, Hollywood and the web in order to get massive TV budgets to move into web advertising. In many respects that was what the entire experiment was all about.
What we know now, what time has shown, is that TV budgets are not coming to web banners. The digital ad freight train is a cost-per-click model (ultimately converted by advertisers to a cost-per acquisition/lead) where advertisers pay for performance of the advertising. Advertisers are always going to measure returns as best they can. In many respects it is amazing that arbitrary CPM based impression fees in digital lasted this long.
Quite simply, what the CPM experiment failed to prove is that the digital as a paid (paid is the operative word here) channel is as good or better than other available channels for demand generation. At the same time what digital has proved is that it is the best channel ever created for demand capture.
Despite being on the front lines of falling CPMs Yahoo was unable or didn’t try to craft a cohesive performance based ad strategy. In the meantime it was continually stepped on by a number of competitors in areas it had at one point or another locked up on the web. Google in Mail. EBay in commerce (recall at one time Yahoo Store was the largest of its kind on the web), Craigslist in Jobs, Instagram in Photos. Yahoo wasted the web’s most incubatory period because it believed above all else in the future of selling impression based media as the core revenue driver of its business.
Meanwhile at Google Marissa Mayer was focused one thing. The user. She led UX there spending time understanding the behavior of searchers and how to build an experience that leveraged it. She led the charge of A/B and Multivariate testing in Search and created the testing culture that will always permeates Google.
“When I first started testing in 2000, we tested once a month. Now, we're user testing almost every week.”
-Marissa Mayer, Oct. 2002
By May 2008 it was estimated Google had 10,000 people constantly conducting tests. It was measurement and performance that drove Google’s growth. It is also the world display advertising is moving into. Display ads will not disappear. Standard formats will not go away. What will change are the underlying rule sets that power the ad matching decisions.
What Marissa Mayer understands serves as a great hope for Yahoo. Search is the OS of the web. Searcher behavior can be used as logic into an intelligent and responsive system that becomes relevant and helpful to people. In that way it delivers enormous media value. It delivers all things that the CPM experiment was never able to. The experiment may have failed but a different one that succeeded. Yahoo is only the beginning. Every media company will at some point be forced to face the performance future. Yieldbot is here to help them.
Pinterest is continuously becoming a famous online platform to various brands, including non-profit organizations. They can use the online pinboard to connect with other people based on their “shared tastes and interest.”
Know Your Audience
Before you take the waters of Pinterest and start your campaign, it would be ideal to know who uses the service. According to MDGadvertising, 87% of Pinterest users are women with an average age span between 25 and 54.
Take advantage of this information by outlining your organization’s profile based on this demographic. This will enable you to provide an inviting content for Pinterest users. That way, it’ll be easy for you to get personal with your followers.
Give Your Organization a Face
Pinterest is an image-heavy platform. That being said, you can use this to give your organization a face and identity. Pin photos and videos that shows your staff, volunteers and the people who benefit from your organization. That way, you’re showing your followers that something can be achieved through your group, and that you’re more than just a name and a logo.
Connect with Other Non-profits
Since Pinterest is also considered as a social media, it means that this is not designed to hard sell your organization. Working with relevant non-profit groups is one way to build your online presence on the virtual pin board. This will help you connect with their followers, thus increasing your fan base too. Moreover, letting other people contribute on your board adds diversity on your content.
Start a Fund Raising Campaign
Having a Pinterest makes it easy for your organization to start a fund raising campaign. After pinning the image, just type the “$” sign with the price on the description box. The online pin board will automatically add a banner on the to-left corner of the image, and it’ll be added on the Gifts tab on the homepage.
Videos may not be that popular on Pinterest, but it can also provide a strong call to action for your campaign. It also adds emotion to your campaign that images sometimes can’t give. Your followers are most likely to help your organization if you have a compelling content like a short video presentation.
Using Pinterest may be a solitary action, but it is also a great tool to create a community around your orgranization. When used properly, it can serve as an extension for a non-profit group. What’s important is that you can create an online presence that’s inviting for your followers to share their stories, not just on your board, but also with relevant people.
Source: Pinterest Home Page
Recently, I was on an in-house SEO panel at SMX with REI’s Jonathon Colman. Most of the audience’s questions centered around explaining and reporting relevant metrics to upper management. Turns out, while search has come a long way, many execs still use terms like “Google…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Duct tape is one of the most useful DIY tools on the planet, but it isn’t the most portable one. Redditor fkinglag shares a clever way to keep a bit of duct tape with you at all times. More »
Late Friday, Google tried to quietly announce, in a transparent way, a new factor to be added to Google’s search quality signals. The new factor is DMCA requests…
It’s a great idea. Unleash well-produced zombies as mailmen, first-responders, shoppers on the streets of city, capture the ‘freak-outs’ of passerby’s and then cap with the meaningful, action-inducing message.
“Put Zombies Back on TV” is the flag we are waving. AMC Networks is the one doing the waving. We have seen these disputes before between content publishers/networks and the distributors. Usually it is about money. Who gets what slice of the pie. It is usually pretty complex and impossible to decipher who is “in the right.” Essentially, it is two big corporations battling to protect their business needs. The consumer’s interest doesn’t enter into it unless you count the enjoyment we get from watching their programming (which we pay for one way or another). And this is where this corporate advocacy program falls apart. The best that they can do is to try and trigger AMC show fans (e.g. Walking Dead, Mad men, Breaking Bad) to scream bloody murder.
The Zombies are great. Of course, I am exactly who they are trying to reach….almost. I love Walking Dead and all of the combined zombie canon. Problem is, I am not a DISH Network customer. Best that I can do for them is share the video or share the message of the campaign. The DISH network customer, on the other hand, they want them to literally switch to another provider who does carry the AMC shows.
The issue is too complex and I really don’t know who to support in the battle. AMC hasn’t done enough to simplfy the issue, if that is even possible. Here’s how they explain the issue on their microsite:
“DISH’s decision to drop AMC, WEtv, IFC and Sundance Channel had nothing to do with our fees, or our shows. In fact, unlike almost every other dispute you see between providers and programmers, and despite DISH’s misleading claims to the contrary, this is not about fees.
The simple truth is that DISH is using their consumers as pawns to attempt to gain leverage in a lawsuit involving an old and unrelated business venture that has nothing to do with AMC, nothing to do with our shows or fees, and certainly nothing to do with DISH subscribers, who just want to watch the shows they love and are paying DISH for. You will not see any AMC Networks’ shows on DISH any time soon.
In other words, since DISH’s reason for depriving you of AMC programming is based on a lawsuit that won’t be resolved for a long time, this problem won’t be solved shortly, unlike other disputes between programmers and providers, which typically are resolved in a matter of days (weeks at most).”
Huh? What “old and unrelated business venture?” Without simplicity and transparency I cannot possibly form a view as to which profit-making enterprise is worth supporting. AMC’s claims that the only way I see my beloved show is by voicing my discontent or outright switching (to one of the cable providers who are not likely to be bastions of customer goodwill, themselves)
If you are a glutton for detail (it won’t help sort it) then here is how Chip Lebovitz at CNN Money summarized it:
“The two companies have waged a legal war for over four years. In 2008, AMC Networks and its then-parent company, Cablevision, sued Dish (DISH) for $2.5 billion for breaching its 2005 carriage contract with Voom HD, a suite of channels created by a Cablevision (CVC) subsidiary. The dispute centers on whether Dish violated the contract when it dropped Voom because, Dish claims, Voom didn't spend enough money on programming. A trial is set for September 18th in the New York Supreme Court.
The timing of Dish's decision to drop AMC seems retaliatory. Dish first threatened to drop AMC in May, a week after it lost an appeal in the Voom lawsuit…
This is a litigation strategy. By not renewing [AMC Networks], Dish gained leverage in the underlying lawsuit," says Thomas Claps, an analyst at Susquehanna Group. "It highlights the fact that Dish faces significant headwinds in the [Voom] trial."…
According to Nielsen, in the last six months The Walking Dead had the highest rating in the key 18-49 demographic among Dish's basic cable subscribers. The network also has popular shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
Any Dish blackout of AMC, regardless of its motivations, hurts AMC significantly more than it does Dish. Without access to Dish's 14 million subscribers, AMC ratings and ad revenue will drop, weakening a company already struggling with net debt of over $2 billion.”
I feel like a zombie on the wrong end of one of Darryl’s arrows from the show The Walking Dead. My head hurts.
The second problem I have is a simple social design and messaging one. They need my advocacy even if I am just a fan and not a customer. The video has a proper ‘throw’ to the “putzombiesback.com” site. Okay, I’ll bite (so-to-speak). But once there, my actions are not as clear and simple as they could be. If I am a customer, they want me to switch. If not, I can either go to the @AMC_Assist Twitter handle (>750 followers) or click on one of the ubiquitous social network share buttons at the bottom of the page (only 15K Likes on Facebook and only 5 Tweets?).
I want to share content not pages. Crafting a fan-oriented message that links to the video yet still carries a message of the campaign is what we need. Instead, the auto-fill on the tweet-share says something flat and not action-oriented.
“DISH Customers have lost AMC, WE TV, IFC and SUNDANCE Channel.”
“If you luv Walking Dead, don’t let DISH Network keep it from 14 million fans. Join the Zombie swarm (link).”
This lets me be a part, keeps the focus on the show I have an affinity for, and drives me to deeper content as a collective action.
The thrid problem is hardly that simply because I dont know what they have done to market this effort to the right people. But I hope that are using Facebook's Connections Analysis Tool (CAT) and other targeting efforts to deliver stories with clear calls-to-action to people who are fams of the shows, live in Dish customer regions, have affinity for similar programming, are big TV lovers and so forth. They could run this more as an advocacy program and less like a corporate issue deserving of a newspaper ad and, in this case, a cool video wth a mcirosite support.
Half a job done, I think.
But wait, then there is the response from Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen, not much a fan of AMC programs. he essentially recommends that we just watch our video programs through iTunes. Not sure what kind of advice that is from someone who runs a satellite network:
"He was also dismissive of AMC which has acclaimed series includingMad Men and Breaking Bad. “They’re critically acclaimed but not viewed as much by our audience”, he says. “And our customers can go to iTunes and get Mad Menthe same time it’s on. We could pay the entire iTunes bill and it would be cheaper”
YoYo Games hopes to revolutionize the way that game developers make money from their games by making it easy to tap monetization and analytics services from within its cross-platform game development tools.
The integration of new services is part of a plan to promote GameMaker: Studio, the company’s cross-platform development tool which it sells to developers, as a lingua franca for making games. Those tools make it easy to publish games on any system and have them run at native performance speeds as if they were authored specifically to run on that particular platform. On top of this advantage, Dundee, Scotland-based YoYo Games also says it has taken the hassle out of adopting monetization and analytics services.
Now it’s a simple matter for developers to choose different monetization options and publish their games in a variety of app stores. That makes the process of making money from games more accessible, efficient, and scalable than ever before. It effectively lowers the barriers that stand in the way of making money on games.
“The challenge associated with monetizing games is one of the biggest concerns facing developers,” said Sandy Duncan, chief executive officer at YoYo Games. “In GameMaker: Studio, we’ve removed the technical limitations so that games developers can focus on creating great games and selecting the best monetization strategy with no additional resources required. It’s a win-win situation for developers as well as service providers who now have access to GameMaker: Studio’s large and rapidly growing community and the treasure trove of new intellectual properties they are creating.”
YoYo Games launched GameMaker: Studio as a $99 package for professional game developers in May. The tools are based on free versions of the GameMaker, which were originally released in 1999 by game creator Mark Overmars and have been downloaded more than 10 million times. For the past six years, YoYo Games has been working on beefed-up versions of the development tools so that they can be used to make games that can easily run across many different platforms, including Windows, Mac, Facebook, Android, iOS, HTML5, and Chrome. GameMaker has a community of half a million registered users and is offered in more than 5,000 schools.
YoYo Games has around 20 or so employees, including a number of people who previously worked at Realtime Worlds, creator of All Points Bulletin. Duncan said recently that the company would begin a new round of fundraising soon. Rivals include Spaceport.io, Z2Live, and Unity Technologies.
The free services upgrade will be available in GameMaker: Studio’s 1.1 Update coming in September. The company is showing the service at the Game Developers Conference Europe this week in Cologne, Germany.
“The integration of MoPub Marketplace into GameMaker: Studio is groundbreaking in that it gives thousands of developers easy access to the critical resources needed to successfully monetize their apps,” said Jim Payne, CEO and co-founder of MoPub. “Our real-time bidding exchange and scalable ad-serving platform are designed to give publishers the ultimate in control and transparency while tapping into new sources of demand which can ultimately result in more ad revenue from games.”
Filed under: games