Monthly Archives: July 2016

YouTube reveals RNC and DNC livestreams were viewed over 9 million times, average watch time was 25 minutes

youtube logo


YouTube today shared some numbers for the official livestreams of the Republican National Convention (RNC) and Democratic National Convention (DNC), the political events where each U.S. political party chose their respective candidates for president: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The two events were viewed live on YouTube over 9 million times, with viewers tuning in for 25 minutes on average (impressive, given our shortening attention spans).

YouTube was the official livestream partner of both the RNC and DNC. While YouTube has done this before, namely during the 2012 election season, this was the first time that viewers had access to 360-degree videos. And of course there were many other unofficial streams available on the site — these figures are just for the official livestreams, meaning the aggregate total is significantly greater.

The breakdown for the two events is as follows:

  • The RNC was viewed live 4.5 million times while the DNC was viewed live 4.6 million times.
  • Viewers watched both livestreams for 25 minutes on average.
  • The maximum number of viewers watching the RNC at any given time (also known as peak concurrents) was 217,000 (during Donald Trump’s Thursday speech), while the peak concurrents for the DNC was 250,000 (during Hillary Clinton’s Thursday evening speech).

While YouTube doesn’t have totals for the 2012 elections, the Google-owned company did share the peak concurrent figures. For RNC 2012, YouTube saw a peak of 62,500 concurrents and for DNC 2012, the stream peaked at 178,000 concurrents. In other words, while the RNC was still smaller this year, it actually had a bigger jump than the DNC, at least when it comes to peak concurrents.

YouTube has previously shared that since last year when the political candidates were first announced, viewers have watched more than 110 million hours of election content. The conventions surely grew that number significantly, though YouTube did not update its figure today.

If you want to watch coverage of both conventions now that they have concluded, head to youtube.com/gopconvention and youtube.com/demconvention.

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Trolls, terrorists, and Trump: Twitter’s brand and legacy are crumbling and may never recover

Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan December 21, 2015.


If you want to see just how awful and ugly the presidential campaign is, and how much worse it is likely to get, there is no better place to turn than Twitter.

This is probably not the kind of brandingTwitter wants as it wages an ongoing effort to attract new users. More than a decade into its existence, the social network continues to struggle with trolls, harassment, and a culture of abuse that has turned it into a cesspool of hatred and racism.

There was a time — which seems like a long time ago — when utopian and aspirational sentiments swirled around Twitter. The social network hoped to be the planet’s town square. It got credit for its role in the Egyptian revolution and for aiding protestors in Iran.

Now, it is mostly a place where hate-fueled movements like #GamersGate can rise. And there is an almost weekly watch to see which high-profile person will quit after being subjected to harassment.

Trump has owned this. He has used Twitter as his megaphone, blasting out tweets that are then duly amplified by the media to an audience far greater than the number of people who might actually see them on Twitter. Twitter is part of Trump’s brand and his identity. And that increasingly goes both ways.

One of the enduring lines from Hilary Clinton’s acceptance speech last night is likely to be: “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.”

As Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Trump supporters tried to hijack the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WeHateHilary. Typical of Twitter, it was a safe space for racist rants and threats of violence:

#WeHateHilary was apparently trending at one point, and then it wasn’t. Which of course led to conspiracy theories:

There’s not much Twitter can do, really. The slightest hint that it might be limiting speech can blow up in its face. When it banned notorious troll Milo Yiannopoulos, it faced a right-wing backlash.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s racing to stay ahead of terrorists trying to use the service. It’s progress of a sort that the company says it deleted 125,000 terrorist-related accounts. On the other hand, you know, the fact that terrorists <3 your service is not exactly a big win for your image.

Twitter, again, wants you to know that it’s totally seriously about doing something about all of this. Here’s what CEO Jack Dorsey had to say on the matter from the most recent earnings call this week:

We are not and never will be a platform that shows people only part of what’s happening or part of what’s being said. We are the place for news and social commentary. And at its best, the nature of our platform empowers people to reach across divides, and to build connections, to share ideas and to challenge accepted norms.

As part of that, we hope – and we also recognize it’s a high hope – to elevate civil discourse. And I emphasize civil discourse there. Abuse is not part of civil discourse. It shuts down conversation. It prevents us from understanding each other. Freedom of expression means little if we allow voices to be silenced because of fear of harassment if they speak up. No one deserves to be the target of abuse online, and it has no place on Twitter.

We haven’t been good enough at ensuring that’s the case, and we must do better. That means building new technology solutions, making sure our policies and enforcement are consistent, and educating people about both. We’ve made improvements in the first half of the year, and we’re going to make more. We named safety as one of our top five priorities for this year, and recent events have only confirmed that this is truly one of the most important things for us to improve, and has motived us to improve even faster.

Nice. But no matter how many moles Twitter whacks, there’s just going to be more.

It’s going to be a long three months until the presidential election. And, because of Trump, it’s going to be hard to tune Twitter out.

But the fact that someone like me, who has been on Twitter for nine years, is trying to strategize ways to avoid the service as much as possible is a terrible omen for a platform that could one day be best known for having helped elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

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Snapchat raised so much money they’re doing something really weird with it


1.8 billion US dollars would make any sane person go crazy. Personally, I think I would buy an island. But what happens if you’re one of the biggest, most influential social media companies the world has ever seen? Well, you start doing weird things too. In an interesting turn of events, Snapchat decided to put their famous ghost on the bottom of the baskets used during airport security control. There are two versions to be found — one of a normal, friendly Ghostface Chillah and one X-ray version that appears when you scan a Snapcode. There also seems so be a location-specific…

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BlackBerry just announced its second-ever Android smartphone and its an Alcatel clone


BlackBerry has just revealed its first smartphone following the Priv, the awfully named DTEK50. In something of a surprise move (the phone has been leaked for a while now), the device appears to be built by Alcatel, given it’ s virtually identical to that company’s Idol 4S. The specs certainly are identical: Snapdragon 617 3GB RAM 16 GB Storage 5.2-inch QHD display Micro-USB MicroSD expansion 13MP Rear Camera with phase detection I happen to be reviewing that exact phone at the moment, and it’s a solid device, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed BlackBerry didn’t choose to…

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B2C Mobile Marketing Tips to Strike Marketing Gold

b2c email marketing

Confession: I am an email junkie. Ok, more accurately, I have is a strong appreciation for a well-crafted email campaign. My favorite types of emails to receive are on the topics of digital marketing, apparel and food.

I’m Not the Only One
Sorry marketers, the statistics don’t lie. Here’s a couple to whet your appetite:

  • 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check email (Gartner)
  • 51% of email opens are on mobile devices (Litmus)
  • 68% of Gmail and Yahoo opens are coming from mobile devices (Litmus)

Unfortunately, other email marketers are not the only sources vying for the attention of your consumers. Mobile users have access to a seemingly limitless list of apps, content and sources for information.

As a busy consumer and marketer (which is exemplified by the number of unread emails in my personal inbox), I am quick to signup to receive email communications, but selective in which ones I actually read and act upon. Let’s dive a little bit deeper in the head-turning elements that make for a successful B2C email marketing campaign.

Who is the Email From?
Unless there is an individual or “brandividual” that is associated with the brand, send the email from the name of your company. When mobile users are scanning their email inbox, they’ll be looking for updates or offers from the names of brands that they’ve subscribed to.

email marketing from

Keep Headlines Succinct & Meaningful
Depending on the device that consumers are using, the number of characters that they will see in their email client will differ. First consider how many characters would be visible in their email snippet that is seen prior to actually opening the email. Believe it or not, that number can be as low as 15 characters. Next, you’ll need to inspect the length of the full subject line based on popular devices. Subject line displays also vary significantly by device.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a well-written headline that helps solve a problem, is aligned with my lifestyle or I can create a personal connection with. For example, Express, Chipotle and Content Marketing Institute have all sent me emails within the last week that fall under one of the categories above.

email marketing headlines

Use Eye-Catching Visuals
One of the key components of most B2C email marketing campaigns is the visuals. Once you’ve persuaded a consumer to open the email, it is essential that they stay engaged.

The visuals contained within the email should match the promise or message that was delivered in the email headline.

email marketing visuals

Email marketers also need to ensure that the visuals (and content) are optimized for different screen sizes. The Ultimate Guide to iPhone Resolutions provides a helpful overview of optimizing images for iPhones.

Be prepared for image blocking. Some devices and email clients will automatically (or based on user settings) block images from appearing in email campaigns. One option for overcoming this hurdle is making sure that the ALT Text used to label images aligns with the content of your email.

Season Content With Simplicity & Flair
Email content should be effortless for consumers to scan on-the-go. Use a combination of hard-hitting bullet points and bold statements to inspire action.

Be mindful of the size of the headline and body text. You may want to consider making this text substantially larger than normal, so that it is easy to see on a mobile device.

Above All, Make CTAs Stand Out
Undoubtedly, the Call to Action (CTA) is the most important part of an email. The entire reason you went to all the trouble of making an email campaign is to persuade consumers to act upon the message.

CTAs should be pronounced, spaced significantly and easy to read. When you’re including multiple CTAs in one email, the copy and visuals must be orchestrated in a way that clearly separates which CTA belongs to a specific offer or message.

email marketing cta

Give the People What They Want!
Ultimately, email marketing data is going to tell you when you’ve hit gold or felt flat. As is a best practice with any email campaign, begin running A/B tests for mobile to see what garners the best results.

What email marketing campaigns (good or bad) have resonated with you as a consumer? What have you found has worked best in your mobile email marketing efforts?

Top Image: Shutterstock


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How to Add Slide-In Calls-to-Action to Your Blog Posts [Tutorial]

Slide-in_CTAs.jpg

Many blogs — including this one — end each post with a call-to-action that leads to a landing page.

But the question is … are readers noticing your blog’s CTAs?

The problem with static CTAs at the bottom of each blog post is that after a while, visitors learn to tune them out. This isn’t only a problem with your repeat visitors, either — since so many blogs implement this tactic, even your new visitors might be ignoring your “additional content” or “recommended next steps.” Download 50 customizable call-to-action templates here.

To combat this, some blogs have started to implement something called a slide-in CTA. Ideally, this CTA will enter the screen below your sidebar content so it doesn’t cover it. If you don’t have a sidebar, it’ll simply slip right in on the right side once it’s triggered.

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Pretty cool, right? If you’re interested in testing out this type of CTA on your blog, we’ll walk you through the instructions below. But first, let’s explore some numbers …

Do These Slide-In CTAs Actually Work?

When we first implemented slide-in CTAs on our blog, we decided to run some tests to find out if they we’re actually working.

Over the course of a month, we ran a test where we added these slide-in CTAs to ten of HubSpot’s highest-trafficked blog posts. We compared the slide-in CTA vs. the static CTA at the bottom of each post and looked at three data points:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR) – What percentage of blog post visitors clicked each CTA?
  • Conversion rate (CVR) – What percentage of the people who clicked ultimately converted on the landing page form?
  • Submissions – How many leads did each CTA ultimately generate?

In this test, the slide-in CTA had a 192% higher CTR and generated 27% more submissions. The number of submissions actually wasn’t higher, because the CVR on the slide-in CTAs was lower than the static CTAs. But the volume of clicks was so great that it was worth compromising on CVR.

Keep in mind that the success rate of any CTA will have a lot to do with your specific audience, so we encourage you to run some tests of your own to determine if slide-in CTAs are the right fit for your blog.

How to Install Slide-In CTAs on Your Blog Using Leadin

To install these slide-in CTAs on your blog, you’ll need:

  1. Access to either your WordPress account, or the ability to add a line of JavaScript to your company’s website.
  2. A free Leadin account (sign up here).

If you don’t have access to #1, email this article to your webmaster so he or she can setup Leadin. You can do the rest.

If this seems overwhelming, keep in mind that you’ll only need to do step one once. Once the JavaScript or WordPress plugin are added to your site, you can simply create new slide-in CTAs right from Leadin.

1) Install Leadin on your website via the WordPress plugin or standalone web app.

First, go to Leadin and create your account.

If you have WordPress, you’ll be prompted to install the plugin by following these instructions.

If you aren’t using WordPress, you’ll be asked to install a piece of JavaScript before the </body> tag in the HTML of your website. Here’s a guide on how to do that for most content management systems, including Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Weebly, and more.

tracking-code-standalone.png

If you use HubSpot to host your website, you can add Leadin as an add-on in Products & Add-ons by following these instructions. (Note: If you have an existing Leadin account, you’ll have to add the add-on, then delete your old account.)

ProductsandAdd-Ons-1.png

2) Create a Lead Flow and choose “slide-in box” as the type.

Once you have Leadin all set up, you’ll want to start by creating a Lead Flow — an all-in-one conversion pop-up that allows you to target your audience with specific content.

To access the Lead Flows editor, click “Lead Flows” in the top navigation, then “Create Lead Flow.”

Once you’re there, you’ll have several customization optionsFirst, you’ll need to choose your Lead Flow type. To achieve the slide-in CTA effect, you’ll want to select “slide-in box.” (Note: You can choose between a slide-in that appears on the right or left — it’s up to you.)

Screen_Shot_2016-07-20_at_1.26.18_PM.png

After that, it’s time to craft your actual “callout” or CTA. Your CTA provides an opportunity to grab your visitor’s attention with a brief description of what you’re offering via a title, description, image, and theme color.

callout.png

In the callout step of the editor you can:

  1. Upload an image (also included in the form step).
  2. Set your callout text (the main header).
  3. Adjust the button text (also included in the form step).
  4. Set the theme color which will be included throughout the Lead Flow.

You will see a live update of the changes you make on the right-hand side of the editor. Here’s a closer look at what it might look like:

Zero_Budget_Guide_Slidein_CTA.png

Still with us? Good. It’s time to build your form.

Within the form step, you can add additional fields to the form, change the language of the fields, and add a body to elaborate on the value you are providing with your Lead Flow.

form.png

Screen_Shot_2016-07-21_at_1.08.56_PM.png

Language allows you to change the language of the non-editable parts of the CTA, including the form field labels. Currently, it is possible to translate these parts of the form to French, Spanish, Japanese, German, and Brazilian Portuguese. (Looking for a language that’s not listed? Let us know.)

Lastly, create a thank-you message that your visitor will see after submitting your form.

thankyou.png

In this step, you can also add a link to additional resources/downloads and include some lightly formatted text, like this:

Thank_You_Message_Slide-In_CTA.png

3) Adjust your options.

Within the “Flow Options” section, you can adjust the location of your flow, the triggers that will cause it to appear for your user, and more.

options-name.png

First, you can adjust the internal name for your Lead Flow or unpublish it if needed. When naming your CTA, keep in mind that this is the name that will appear in your contact timeline and in internal email notifications.

Next up, configure which pages you’d like your flow to appear on. You’ll notice that the ‘exact match URL’ option in Leadin supports a wildcard option. For reference, a wildcard is a character like an asterisk that serves as a placeholder for a character or group of characters — for example: “http://www.website.com/blog/*”.

So if you’d like your CTA to appear on all pages on your blog, make sure you add that “*” at the end.

options-location.png

Following location, you can choose the action that will trigger the Lead Flow. Your trigger options will vary depending on the Lead Flow type you’re using, but the following options are available for slide-ins: 

  • Page scroll. This will trigger the moment your visitor scrolls 50% down your page.
  • Elapsed time. This will trigger the moment X seconds have past (minimum of seven seconds).

options-trigger.png

Don’t want this Lead Flow to appear on mobile? You can disable it using the next option. (Note: Lead Flows are fully mobile optimized, so in most circumstances it’s recommended to include your Lead Flows on mobile.)

options-mobile-size.png

Lastly, you can enable/disable internal email notifications for new submissions on this Lead Flow. With notifications enabled, you’ll receive an email whenever a contact is captured.

options-email-notifications.png

You can also connect Leadin to an email provider (more on that here). If you have Leadin connected to a provider you can select which lists new contacts that submit this Lead Flow will be pushed into.

options-esp.png

(HubSpot users: The Lead Flow is treated like a form. When someone fills it out, they enter the database as a form submission. From there, you can set up workflows or automated emails within HubSpot based on those form submissions.)

4) Preview & publish your CTA.

The Lead Flows editor provides an interactive preview where you can test each stage of your Lead Flow and see it in action. This preview offers the ability to view on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

preview-small.png

When you’re ready to publish your Lead Flow, simply select the blue “Publish” button in the top right.

publish.png

Need to unpublish it for some reason? Head into the “Options” tab and you’ll find an “Unpublish” option at the top. You can also unpublish right from the Lead Flows Dashboard.

unpublish.png

Once you get your Lead Flow up and running, you can track views and conversions right from your Leadin dashboard. Here’s a little preview of what that’ll look like:

Leadin_Dashboard.png

Whew, we’re finally done. You did it! Excellent work. Now let us know how it goes.

Have you experimented with slide-in CTAs? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Facebook’s Aquila solar-powered plane completes first full-scale test flight

Facebook Aquila in flight


A year ago, Facebook revealed details about its plans to use unmanned drone airships to beam the internet down to the estimated 4 billion people worldwide without it. Today, the social networking company announced that Aquila, its solar-powered craft, has completed its first full-scale test flight.

According to details, this inaugural functional check was low-altitude and the aircraft remained in the air for more than 90 minutes — 3 times longer than Facebook had originally planned. The company claimed that it verified performance in aerodynamics, batteries, control systems, and crew training. It has already planned a second test that will assess Aquila’s speed and altitude tolerance before striving to hit the goal of soaring above 60,000 feet.

Previous tests have been in the works, but only with an aircraft that’s one-fifth the size of Aquila.

Aquila in position prior to takeoff with technical program manager Kathryn Cook, Connectivity Lab head Yael Maguire, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and global head of infrastructure and engineering Jay Parikh. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg watches Aquila's test flight. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with key members of the team at the Aquila test site. Aquila in flight. Aquila in flight.

Eventually to fly in the stratosphere, above any commercial air traffic and weather patterns, Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 airplane, but weighs “hundreds of times less” due to its design and carbon-fiber frame. Powered by the sun, it’s capable of creating a 50-kilometer communications radius for up to 90 days, beaming down internet access to the people below. These signals will be received by small towers and dishes on the ground, converting it into a Wi-Fi or LTE network.

On a mission to connect the next 5 billion people, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has started multiple initiatives to accomplish this task. Besides Aquila, it has Free Basic, formerly known as internet.org, which works with internet service providers and telecommunications companies to provide access.

If you’re interested in reading more about the lessons learned from Aquila’s successful first test flight, Facebook has listed it all out in a blog post.

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Riot Games investor Mitch Lasky is wary about funding VR

Benchmark's Mitch Lasky at Casual Connect.


Niantic Labs’ John Hanke will be delivering a fireside chat for AR/VR day (augmented reality/virtual reality) at GamesBeat 2016. Get a ticket here!


Mitch Lasky has scored a lot of big investments as a general partner at Benchmark: He was an early investor in Snapchat, NaturalMotion, Gaikai, and Riot Games. But he is wary about investing in virtual reality game companies, Lasky said during a fireside chat at the Casual Connect USA game conference in San Francisco.

“A lot of venture capitalists jumped into VR. It is a dramatically overfunded space. The consensus is VR is the next big platform. Facebook says it is the new mobile phone. I don’t share that view,” he said Tuesday.

He added, “You watch sports on TV, and see ads for the Samsung Gear VR. That is nascent. It scares me as an investor. I have seen 20 or 30 demos. I have not seen a lot of what I would consider to be finished products.” He noted the the high-fidelity headsets do produce a great, “intense, emotional, visceral experience” when someone tries VR for the first time.

Lasky has been bold before. He started Jamdat Mobile in 2000 and sold it to Electronic Arts for $ 680 million in 2005, just before the big iPhone wave. The real market for mobile games emerged in 2008.

Now, he has seen hundreds of investors invest in VR companies.

“When I look at it more structurally, I’d say something that may sound a little strange. Perhaps the Facebook acquisition of Oculus wasn’t the greatest thing for the development of virtual reality in the long-run,” Lasky said. “It set such a high watermark, and it rung the bell so loudly for the industry, that it sort of forced the hand.”

He warned that companies that are making heavy-duty 3D shooter games using the Unreal Engine probably have a long wait before they get a pay off.

“It’s good to be careful with your cash and burn rate,” Lasky said in a conversation with game veteran Eric Goldberg. “You have to keep a 30 or 40 person team alive until the commercial opportunity catches up with the technology. That’s an expensive proposition, a $ 5 million to $ 10 million a year cost. If you don’t get that right. … I would make sure I have a plan to survive if the projections for sales don’t work out.”

With mobile phones, he said that mobile games had a “tail wind that VR doesn’t have.” People already had and used their mobile phones, so it wasn’t as hard to get them to use it as a game-playing device. One of the interesting hot spots that Lasky is keeping his eye one, however, is Chinese investments in VR.

He also noted the success of Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game from Niantic Labs based on intellectual property from Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. He said it is not reproducible, because its success was so dependent on the pent-up demand for Pokémon games on mobile.

He is fascinated with the rise of Twitch, game spectating, and Internet video sharing. He believes that is where more interesting companies will develop.

“I am super-long on spectating and video,” he said.

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