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Publishers love WhatsApp’s potential, but struggle with execution

DIGIDAY

Publishers have a love-hate relationship with WhatsApp. While many are seeing big numbers from the platform, they’re also wrangling with a handful of product issues that complicate how they’re approaching the platform.

For publishers such The Huffington Post U.K. and Daily Mirror, which use WhatsApp to send breaking news alerts to readers, the big challenge is the work involved in getting people signed up for the alerts. It’s an arduous process on both ends. To get the alerts, readers have to send a message to a dedicated number setup by a publisher, which is a more-lengthy process than clicking a “Like” or “Follow” button.

But that’s only the beginning of the process: To get those alerts out to readers, publishers have to add every signed up user to a Broadcast List, which is what lets WhatsApp users send messages to many people at once. That’s a long process for publishers’ small social media teams, and it’s made more complicated by WhatsApp limiting each broadcast list to 256 users.

“It’s an absolute nightmare,” said Chris York, social media editor at Huffington Post U.K., which launched its first WhatsApp trials in October. York said that process of adding and removing WhatsApp users from its Broadcast lists has been so laborious that The Huffington Post has stopped actively marketing the feature. “We’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could achieve with WhatsApp and we’re really excited to keep innovating with their platform,” he added.

Other publishers are seeing the same issues. The Daily Mirror, which started sending out WhatsApp politics alerts last week, has already felt the heat. “We don’t have the biggest team, and it’s a very manual process, particularly in comparison to something like Twitter,” said Heather Bowen, head of social media at The Daily Mirror.

But publisher frustrations with WhatsApp are in part due to the basic reality that WhatsApp was designed for small-scale commutation, large-scale broadcasting.

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Gen Z Influencers to Brands: Let Us Be Ourselves — and Forget Tumblr

Ad Age

He let his fans dictate his agenda, sending collages of visual messages, or snaps, at each tourist stop. “At the end of the day,” he said, “I’d give a shout-out to Marriott for hooking me up with the hotels.”

That kind of brand marketing thrives on the platform, explained the 27-year old, who was commissioned for similar work byDisney and has worked for AT&T and Samsung. To demonstrate what he won’t do on Snapchat, he adopts a salesman patois: “Ten dollars off at your next stay!”

Brands must be hands-off, giving social-media savants like him one brief: “be true to yourself.”

This was the overarching message from Mr. McBride and a trio of even younger players gathered on Wednesday by 360i, the Dentsu Aegis digital agency, for a panel on “Gen Z Influencers.” The agency roughly defines the generation as those born between 1997 and 2002, and while the influencers in question might not be in the generation, they’re definitely reaching them.

And marketers want to reach them, too, which is why they are increasingly turning to content creators with fame on mobile platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Vine. And they’re shelling hefty fees to do so — sometimes as high as five figures per snap, photo or video. The market’s potential became clearer two weeks ago, when Twitter agreed to buy Niche, a digital talent agency for social influencers.

It makes sense. The influencers, like the YouTube stars before them, understand the platforms. And they can often execute two of the most desirable, difficult tasks for advertisers targeting younger audiences: mobile and native.

With his off-kilter images, Mr. McBride, who tucks his stringy, long hair in a backwards cap and cultivates a surfer dude image, has amassed a huge following of over 350,000 Snapchat “friends” known as “Shonduras.” His most-engaged fans, he says, are often “14-year old girls.”

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Why email marketing is still in style and thriving

VentureBeat

Email is the workhorse of digital marketing. While we as marketers like talking about the hot new platform du jour, email marketing has been around since the ’90s, is appropriate for every audience, and delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) in digital marketing.

As it turns out, consumers like email just as much as marketers. A new survey from Marketing Sherpa reveals that most consumers like getting promotional emails every week. A vast majority (91 percent) of U.S. adults say they like getting promotional emails from companies they do business with. Of those, 86 percent would like monthly emails and 61 percent would like them at least weekly.

When consumers are this actively engaged with a digital marketing channel, I’m all ears, and you should be, too.

Email might not be the flashiest digital marketing channel, but it’s definitely the most likely to succeed. So what’s the future of email, and how can marketers innovate on this tried-and-true channel?

In its next evolution, I see email marketing becoming the connective tissue of the customer journey. It’s clear that the future of all marketing is the customer journey, as the lines between sales, service, and marketing are blurring. Customers expect a seamless and personalized experience from the companies and brands they do business with, every step of the way. Our job as marketers is to understand customers on a 1:1 basis, to understand their individual journeys, and then to influence those journeys at scale, so we can achieve desired business outcomes.

Over the next year to three years, email will move from being the digital marketing workhorse to being a connecting fiber between channels that keeps customers satisfied on every front. Email is an incredible tool all on its own. But consider these “email-plus” scenarios that are truly marketing gold.

1. Email amplifies social audiences to great effect

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are powerful ways to connect with existing audiences and earn new ones through creative and useful content. But we’ve also seen that the combination of email with social media is a new holy grail.

 

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Business Insider plans spinoff consumer tech site

DIGIDAY

Flush with new funding, Business Insider is planning to launch a new site devoted to consumer technology that will attempt to expand its audience beyond business readers, Digiday has learned.

Executives at BI declined to comment on the record, but sources close to the project confirmed the publisher’s plans for BI’s first new standalone site. The site isn’t expected to launch until the third quarter, and, as such, it doesn’t have a name or dedicated staff yet. BI expects to use a mix of internal staff and external hires.

There’s been an explosion of tech coverage lately, with older verticals like Wired and PC Magazine and general news organizations like The New York Times joined by new, digital natives like The Verge, Gizmodo and Engadget. A new entrant will have to muscle its way into a crowded category, but Business Insider seems to derive confidence from its audience growth at the mother ship and from its homegrown content-management system, which it calls Viking.

Founded in 2007 as Silicon Alley Insider, Business Insider has grown into a 35 million uniques-strong site under CEO and editor-in-chief Henry Blodget. The site has an ostensible focus on business, but like other publishers that start out with a vertical focus, BI has broadened its editorial mandate in the quest for scale, giving rise to gems like “Scientists measured 15,000 penises and determined the average size” and “You’ve been loading your dishwasher all wrong.”

But apparently, that mandate can only stretch so far. BI wants to give the new site an entirely new name and identity separate from Business Insider. That approach is meant to underscore that this is a consumer play, while BI will continue to define itself as focused on business executives. Still, BI certainly does consumer-oriented tech stories, under its mantra that business people have many interests, such as politics, sports and lifestyle issues. Right now, BI’s tech coverage includes “How to supercharge your iPhone in just five minutes” and “I made 2 tweaks to my sister’s 2009 iMac and now it runs like a brand new machine.”

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How Four Top Publishers Use Facebook For Video

The Media Briefing

Facebook video usage has skyrocketed over the past year, which makes it particularly attractive for publishers given what seems to be ever-shrinking organic reach with other types of posts.

According to figures recently released by the social network, Facebook users are seeing nearly 4 times more video in their feeds compared to one year ago. That’s a steady 1 billion video views every day for the network. Crucially, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said during a an earnings call last month that over 65 percent of videos are watched on mobile devices.

As online video continues to rise in importance for the modern media company, I spoke to a handful of top publishers to collect some best practices for using video on Facebook, and to better understand what might be at risk.

The Economist: Marketing the brand with video

“For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

Before posting videos to Facebook, The Economist had the fairly standard practice amongst news outlets of publishing video on its own website and monetising through pre-roll advertising. Last summer however, Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy, decided that wasn’t “a viable long-term video strategy”.

After effectively doubling the publication’s video views by posting video content to YouTube, Standage started experimenting with uploading videos via the native Facebook player, which had “a much greater impact” on the number of views. He says:

“We are using this observation that if you post videos with a native player you can get millions of views as the basis of a new video strategy which we are still developing. For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”

The Economist’s most successful video on Facebook was a 4 minute-long animated graphic with voice-over about demographics, what Standage calls a “live chart”. The publication has had over 800,000 views on Facebook alone of that video.

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6 Ways To Use Psychology To Boost App Engagement

The Next Web

Everyone is different and so are your users and customers.

More and more apps are starting to use psychology in their attempt to boost app engagement and retention, and understanding how we work psychologically can help find some low hanging fruit to A/B test in your app.

I think it is really interesting to understand how our minds work, and how small triggers can change the way we think and approach things such as the web and apps. Of course this is nothing new. Psychology in advertising and marketing has been used for over 100 years but as always, there are some great insights we can takeaway as app developers.

Remove Negative Feedback (Like Tinder)

No one wants to be rejected when looking for dates and the feeling of being “beaten down” can give a negative impact on your users and customers. Negative feedback is where a user gets a rejection which “undermines people’s confidence in their ability to pursue their goals and their expectations of success” according to Psychology Today.

Tinder gives a great user experience by removing this negative feedback in their dating process. If two users do not match, instead of informing the user of this “rejection” the app just moves on and goes to the next potential match. The user sees nothing and just goes through the Tinder experience.

Key Takeaway
Keep your users happy and pleased to improve their experience in your app. Remove negative feedback such as failure and rejection to keep the best mindset for the user.

Social Proof (Like Basecamp)

Nobody wants to be made a fool and as clever as we might think we are, one of the most common ways people do this is with group validation, or social proof. An example of social proof is Basecamp who, on their homepage, have always led with the headline that people like you are using their tool.

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Tablet Adoption in Commercial Segment to Drive Growth in Western Europe

IDC PMS4colorversion  Tablet Adoption in Commercial Segment to Drive Growth in Western Europe

According to figures published by International Data Corporation (IDC), the commercial tablet market will reach more than 11 million units by 2019 in Western Europe, achieving more than 130% growth (2014–2019) (IDC EMEA Tablet Tracker Forecast, 4Q14, February 2015). Tablets continue to represent a significant opportunity for device makers in the coming years.

Since their launch in 2010, tablets have been strong in the consumer segment and have benefited from early adopters in enterprises. The introduction of tablets contributed to an ever-growing number of computing devices increasingly differentiated in terms of screen size and product features as demand is influenced by end users’ differing mobility needs. Among other things, innovation has brought new product designs, with devices becoming lighter and better connected, and with greater input options, including keyboards. With traditional PC vendors expanding their offerings to include tablets, devices are increasingly coming with the features requested by IT departments (security, for example), while Apple and Samsung have been promoting some of their features for enterprise use.

Based on IDC’s latest survey of tablets in enterprises, their adoption rate is expected to double between 2014 and 2015 and to grow significantly until the end of the forecast period. “Tablets are used in companies of all sizes,” said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “While the first perception might have been that tablets were entering enterprises mostly as employees were bringing in their own devices, the reality is that more than two-thirds of the enterprises surveyed in France, Germany, and U.K. have already deployed tablets.” (For more information, see IDC’s Western European multiclient study Tablets in Enterprise: The Big Opportunity.)

While the volume of sales remained limited in 2014, IDC expects the market to thrive in 2015, benefiting from continuous price erosion and innovation. In addition, with 2-in-1s meeting productivity needs similar to notebook and providing longer battery life, their penetration in the corporate and SMB areas is expected to increase. The launch of Windows 10 will also facilitate the integration of the device as a notebook replacement, additional mobile device, or computing device in the new era of digital processing. Interestingly, Apple announced in 2014 a partnership with IBM to meet demand from the commercial sector, and earlier this year Google introduced Android for Work, which is expected to increase the relevance and integration of Android in the enterprise area.

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There Is Now a New iPhone App that Encrypts Calls and Texts

WIRED

IF YOU OWN an iPhone or Android handset and care about your privacy, there’s no longer much of an excuse not to encrypt every conversation you have. Now a free, zero-learning-curve app exists for both text and voice that can keep those communications fully encrypted, so that no one but the person holding the phone on the other end can decipher your words.

On Monday the open-source encryption software group Open Whisper Systems announced a new upgrade to Signal, its iOS app that enables end-to-end encrypted voice calling. With the update, Signal will end-to-end encrypt text messaging, too. And in WIRED’s testing of that updated all-in-one app, it’s just as idiot-proof as the two most basic, lime-green iPhone communication buttons it replaces.

“The objective is to be a complete, transparent replacement for secure communications,” says Open Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike. “We want to have a texting and calling experience that’s actually better than the default experience and is also private.”

In fact, the Signal update completes a suite of mobile encryption apps that Marlinspike has been developing for nearly five years. In May of 2010, Marlinspike released Redphone and Textsecure for Android, two apps that enabled end-to-end encrypted voice calls (using VoIP and the ZRTP protocol developed by PGP creator Phil Zimmermann) and text messages. But users of those apps could communicate only with other Redphone and TextSecure users, leaving iPhone users in the cold. Soon after, Marlinspike’s startup Whisper Systems was acquired by Twitter, putting his encryption app work on a two-year hiatus.

Marlinspike left Twitter in 2013, and in July of 2014 his newly recreated Open Whisper Systems released Signal, a free voice-calling app that’s interoperable with Redphone. That meant iPhone users could have free, secure voice conversations with their Android owning-friends (and each other).

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Infographic: Does Social Media Really Influence Consumer Behavior?

Social Media Today

content marketing sales funnel Infographic: Does Social Media Really Influence Consumer Behavior?

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Three Myths About Programmatic Native Advertising

MediaPost

There has been a lot of discussion about the merging of native advertising and programmatic buying since the launch of the Facebook Exchange (FBX) two years ago. With the creation of FBX, demand-side platforms (DSP)  built support for creative metadata, such as headlines, thumbnails and the other categories that make up native ads.  This was version 1 of programmatic native.

Seeing the success of FBX, Web publishers began hypothesizing about how they could bring the same native RTB capabilities to their sites and applications outside of Facebook. With the IAB closing in on the ratification of OpenRTB 2.3, which will add native capabilities to the standard programmatic process, we are closer to version 2 then ever before.

But before we get there, let’s examine three current myths regarding the merger of native and real-time bidding.

Myth #1) Native RTB has arrived. While multiple platforms have experimented with custom solutions to merge RTB capabilities with automated native ad delivery, there is currently no standard that all publishers and platforms can utilize. FBX offers the ability to programmatically buy native ads at scale on Facebook, but this solution does not offer a standard that open Web publishers can adopt.

Standardization for Native RTB is coming very soon. The IAB is now in the final stages of completing the OpenRTB 2.3 spec, which for the first time will include support for native ads.  This draft is currently going through final IAB comment and approval process. Over the next three months, you can expect to see a feverish level of activity between native technology players to push through integrations with DSPs to truly bring Native RTB to the industry at scale.

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