Monday, January 23, 2017

New Snapchat Update/Redesign

Snapchat just got a huge update that just hit iOS, featuring a major redesign. The new design introduces a universal search bar at the top of the app along with other features. The app had previously been criticized for being to hard to navigate which resulted in the refreshed user interface to be announced earlier this month. With the new search bar, Snapchat aims to make it easier for its users to find friends, groups, Discover publishers and Our Stories. Interested in other features?

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Friday, January 20, 2017

NEW YouTube IN-APP Messaging

YouTube is now testing an in app messaging  feature for iOS and Android that allows users to exchange clips, texts and links without ever closing the app. The messaging platform is pretty straight forward, but the move towards in-app messaging could have larger implications for the future of YouTube.

Watch the video

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Alphabet to Wall Street: We're More than a Search Engine

Alphabet is more than just a Google search engine. Alphabet is looking for new ways to grow because search related revenue growth may be slowing. Alphabet's most recent quarter saw Ad revenue up nearly 16% year over year compared to Facebook's 59% increase.

One cause for concern, Google’s paid clicks are going up, but the cost-per-click aka CPC, the key metric Wall Street looks at is still on the decline. That’s because mobile ads are lower value than the desktop search ads.

Graph Source

Maybe Alphabet is more than just a search engine. They did unveil three new hardware products in 2016:

1. The Pixel Smartphone
2. Google Home - A voice activated device that competes with Amazon Echo
3. Google Wifi

Google also updated ChromeCast.

Even with all these projects, Google ads pull in nearly 90% of Alphabet revenues.

For the second quarter of 2016
Ad revenue: $19.1 Billion
All other revenue: $2.4 Billion

For 2017, Alphabet hired Diane Green, formerly from VMWare to improve and expand cloud services.

Then there is the Google X labs. X, is semi-secret research-and-development facility founded by Google in January 2010. Projects such as Waymo (driverless cars), Loon, Wing, Glass and Barge are all examples of projects Google founders call 'moonshots'.

Perhaps one day one of these so called 'moonshots' will take off and be the next must have thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Exciting New Instagram Features!

Prepare yourself for a new Instagram! According to a blog post by the social media company last Friday, Instagram will be unveiling a new algorithmic timeline. Your new Instagram timeline will feature what the company thinks you're most interested in rather than just ordering your feed chronologically.
These changes are already live for many users, and should be coming to the rest of the Instagram nation "soon" says the company. Users may worry that their posts will become less relevant to their followers, but Instagram reassures that won't be the case as users who have had access to the new timeline have already been more engaged with posts than the timeline using the old chronological algorithm. 
According to the aforementioned blog post that the company posted on Friday, "With this new ordering you won't miss any of your favorite bands' videos after their concerts, even if it took place across the world in a different time zone. And no matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend's latest posts". So love it or loathe it, prepare yourself for a brand new style of Instagram feed.
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Thursday, June 02, 2016

Instagram Announces New Tools For Business Accounts

 The most notable feature is going to be a contact button added to the profiles of businesses. This feature will make it easier for consumers to interact with businesses outside of Instagram. In addition, companies will also be able to add an email address, phone contact, and even an address with directions (for businesses in which a physical location is important).

In the past, many Instagram users (businesses and consumers alike) have relied on sifting through comment after comment to connect with their customers on the platform.
However, in the new update, Instagram will try to refocus businesses to the private messaging feature that is already available.

Furthermore, users whom have business profiles will have access to detailed analytics -- a first for the Instagram platform. These analytics will be much like the view available to current businesses on Facebook.

For example, the analytics will show a detailed view at post engagement audience and follower demographics.

Small business users will find the platform's overhaul particularly appealing. Whereas large companies have been advertising on the platform for some time, many small business users also rely on the app to drum up new business.

With the platform's new promotional tools, small and large businesses alike will be able to reach beyond their current followers via sponsored posts. Much like Facebook, Instagram users will be able to select a target audience and call to action for their advertisements.

Though the already 400 million user-strong platform has had advertising for quite awhile, the new overhaul will give business users a much better mobile experience to broadcast to the customer as well as to optimize their information.

Furthermore, Instagram promises that these changes are only the tip of the iceberg for business application of their platform.

Content originally posted here

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Google Parent Company Alphabet Making Moonshot Projects Pay For Themselves

You know Google's Moonshot projects that have become so famous lately? Well, they are about to become a lot more financially responsible here soon. Alphabet, which is the new parent company over Google, has plans to make some of the most ambitious (or unrealistic) divisions more fiscally responsible. How you might ask? Well by requiring them to front the bill for things like recruiting, finance, marketing and other "backoffice" corporate necessities instead of letting their mommy pay for them.

Alphabet has a wide range of standalone moonshot companies that include Google X and Google Life Sciences. Google X is a super secret evil lair lab that developed projects like self-driving cars and Google Glass back in the day. Google Life Sciences was a very ambitious health care research branch. Naturally the overlords at Google are keeping tight-lipped about all of this and refusing to comment on the subject.

However, this arrangement keeps in line with what Google has been trying to do over the past couple months, trying to show Wall Street that it has the ability to corral some of its high costs for areas outside of its core online advertising business while also offering a more sustainable goal for innovation in the future.

In the beginning of the year, former Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat was hired as Google's new CFO in order to help the company improve its relationship with its investors on Wall Street. Porat has been touting the need for "ongoing expense discipline" for a while now, which could sound boring to Google users but is basically the sweetest thing an investor can hear.

During her time at Google, the company has surpassed Wall Street estimates for profits twice in a row after being on a losing streak for six straight quarters. In addition to that, Google has also decided to push forward with its long-awaited plan to create its own holding company (Alphabet) which is expected to provide the company more transparency for the financials of Google's cornucopia of investments.

What people need to understand is that this new decision isn't one that was made to cripple the most ambitious projects at Google but is, in fact, designed to ensure that each one of these projects is self-sufficient and able to stand alone as its own business while surviving independently. This could also mean that each of these Moonshot businesses could be spun off at a later date.

There is definitely a lot of interesting things happening over in the Google camp, but they all seem to be pretty positive. Hopefully, this move by Google appeases investors and allows the company to really start innovating and creating even more things for the future.

Content originally published here
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Starting Your Business On Social Media

Are you trying to launch a presence for your business in the world of social media? It's not as easy as some might have you believe. Creating a strong foundation on social media will assist you in building visibility and connections for your business. The world revolves around social media and the platforms we have today are some of the best ways to interact with customers and really understand what they want and how you can give it to them. So what are you supposed to do and how are you supposed to do it? Come with me and I'll show you.

Make Sure Your Profiles Are Filled Out

It is imperative that you take all of your social media profiles and fill them out completely. Incomplete or inactive social media business accounts give users little to no reason to like your page or follow you. In addition to that, inactivity will also probably have the same effect. It's amazing how many social profiles are out there that are incomplete or inactive for months and even years.

Make sure you keep these questions in mind when filling out your social media profiles: What will people gain from following? Do profile summaries and descriptions include Who, What, Where, and Why? Is your contact information clearly visible and up-to-date?

Share Buttons Are Critical

The easier it is for people to share your content on their own social media the more likely they are to actually do it. That is why you need to make sure that your blogs and pages have social media sharing buttons installed. Almost every single blogging platform out there these days has plugins and options for adding social media sharing buttons to your posts so there's really no excuse not to have them other than laziness.

Request Feedback From Customers

Customer reviews have a very real effect on consumers. How often do people read reviews on products they are buying off Amazon? How many times to people check out Yelp before going out to a restaurant? The answer is all the time. Research shows that people take online customer reviews and opinions into account when they have to make a purchase decision. If you're not getting a lot of reviews from customers then you should try asking people to post a review on Google, Facebook, or another social media channel that you are interested in. This is the perfect way to find out what customers think and how they feel about your products and/or services.

The More Profiles The Better

If you really want to succeed in social media for your business then making just a Facebook account or Twitter account won't cut it. You need to target as many social media platforms as possible, including LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Tumblr. All of these accounts may seem unnecessary at first, but it is absolutely critical to the success of your business and gets what you want to say out to as many people as possible. Heck even using Snapchat has started to become a thing for businesses.

Don't Block Blog Comments

Commenting systems, including Facebook, Livefyre, and Disqus, make it very easy for people to interact with your content through social media. Each of these systems has certain advantages to them as well. Livefyre is great if you are trying to encourage discussion and is used by sites like Hootsuite, CNET, and New York Magazine. Disqus offers very good moderating tools and requires users to make an account prior to posting comments. However, make sure you moderate your comments sections for things like spammers.

Make A Connection With Followers

Social media, believe it or not, is about being social! If you only make posts about your products and services in an attempt to generate sales then you will more than likely have all of those efforts fall on deaf ears. Unless you are actively speaking with people, your message won't get heard. You don't have to respond to every single comment, but you should try to start some type of interaction with your followers by responding to questions or giving out more information when and where it is needed. This lets people know that you are, in fact, a human being and not some autonomous robot.

Well, there you have it! If your business is new or just new to social media then these tips should help you get the ball rolling in no time! Remember, social media is the very best way to engage with your customers and really spread your company, your products, and your brand as far as possible!

Content originally published here
Sharing this story on social media? Use these hashtags! #SocialMedia #Business #BusinessTips