Tag Archives: More

Equity Podcast: Apple and Amazon buy more companies, and Uber’s saga

 Welcome to the second episode of TechCrunch’s newest podcast, Equity, our venture capital-focused show focused on the numbers, people and companies driving the technology industry. This week, TechCrunch’s Katie Roof, Matthew Lynley, and myself were joined by special guest Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson from Sapphire Ventures. We discussed the potential for rising… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Twitter explores interest in paid version of TweetDeck with more analytics


Twitter is testing the waters to see if highly engaged users would be interested in a paid subscription version of TweetDeck. There’s no indication to suggest that such a service will be available soon, but the idea could be to give power users and brands the tools to maximize reach on the service and showcase its real potential.

“We’re conducting a survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck,” a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in a statement. “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”

Journalist Andrew Tavani spotted the survey and flagged it on (where else?) Twitter. In the survey, people are asked whether they would like an “advanced TweetDeck experience,” one that would help them keep track of what’s happening in the world, get more insights, and “see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter.” If brought to life, this version would be available for an undetermined monthly fee and would provide features to post, view, and receive alerts, trends, and more analytics than the rest of the 319 million monthly active users on the platform receive.

If you’re not familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a social media management tool similar to Hootsuite and was acquired by Twitter in 2011. And while Twitter has rolled out a host of changes and updates, it has done little to really update the TweetDeck experience. So this premium subscription version could be significant, transforming the tool into a more robust command center that lets brands and highly active users manage their presence, especially around how to communicate with followers and handle promoted tweets, livestreams through Periscope, and more.

One of Jack Dorsey’s priorities as Twitter chief executive has been to make the service easier to use, and while there’s a focus on bringing new users onboard, there’s also a need to help existing users optimize their time on the service. An advanced version of TweetDeck could alleviate some of these issues, while also opening up a new revenue stream for Twitter.

Social – VentureBeat

Tech in Africa: Uber expands mapping project, Google launches a startup bootcamp, and more


Kenyan mobile money service M-Pesa has long been held up as a prime example of African innovation, and has made its owner Safaricom a leader in the Kenyan telecoms space. However, it now has serious competition. The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the umbrella body of the banking industry, last month unveiled PesaLink, a digital payments platform it says will cut the cost of transactions and transform the way consumers interact with banks. PesaLink enables customers to make payments between banks in real-time, without having to go through intermediaries like M-Pesa. Mobile money has a challenger. Tech is being used in…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Google,Uber


The Next Web

Jay Z launches Arrive to fund startups, offer branding support and more

Singer Jay-Z performs before US President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on November 5, 2012. After a grueling 18-month battle, the final US campaign day arrived Monday for Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney, two men on a collision course for the world's top job. The candidates have attended hundreds of rallies, fundraisers and town halls, spent literally billions on attack ads, ground games, and get out the vote efforts, and squared off in three intense debates. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) Jay Z’s new venture capital firm Arrive, has arrived – the rap and business mogul has been planning the launch for awhile, according to reports that surfaced in February, but a press release from parent company Roc Nation made it official on Monday. The investment platform will work with early-stage startups, and offer investment of capital as well as assistance with business… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Snap’s Evan Spiegel is now worth more than two Oprahs

Evan Spiegel in gold tie.


Media tycoon Sumner Redstone turned his ownership of theaters into an empire that controls MTV, Nickelodeon, and the movie studio that put out last year’s Arrival, Fences, and Zoolander 2. And he’s worth nearly $ 2.5 billion less than Evan Spiegel, the 26-year-old who founded Snapchat six years ago, when Redstone was 87.

On Thursday, investors bid up shares of Snapchat’s owner Snap Inc. from its IPO price of $ 17, to nearly $ 25. That gives Snap Inc a market value of $ 33 billion. All for a company that lost $ 515 million last year, leading some to suggest that Snap buyers should take the rose-colored filter off their investments. (Signs of a bubble? This Uber driver bought a single Snap share for $ 25. He’s already nearly $ 2 richer!)

Shares of Snap rose to just under $ 27 on Friday.

Snap Inc.’s booming IPO made a number of people quite a bit wealthier, including a number of venture capitalists and at least one high school. Perhaps the best measure of how well the IPO did, and perhaps a commentary on how exuberant investors are for the company, is just how much it boosted Spiegel’s net worth. Here’s 5 really, really wealthy people who are now poorer than Snapchat’s co-founder. (The net worth figures besides Spiegel’s are from Bloomberg, unless otherwise noted.)

Evan Spiegel
Net Worth: $ 6.0 billion

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 08: Bloomberg LP Founder Michael Bloomberg and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speak onstage during "Disrupting Information and Communication" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

Above: SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 08: Bloomberg LP Founder Michael Bloomberg and Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speak onstage during “Disrupting Information and Communication” at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

Image Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Spiegel cashed in $ 272 million worth of stock in Snap’s IPO. Most of his net worth is tied up in the photo sharing company. At $ 27, that stake is worth nearly $ 5.7 billion.

Ralph Lauren
Net Worth:
$ 5.4 billion

Ralph Lauren greets the crowd after presenting his Spring/Summer 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week in September.

Above: Ralph Lauren greets the crowd after presenting his Spring/Summer 2016 collection during New York Fashion Week in September.

Image Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The fashion designer has spent decades building an iconic brand that will likely outlive him. He’s got a very nice house, and he’s worth $ 600 million less than Spiegel.

Richard Branson
Net Worth:
$ 5.1 billion

Sir Richard Branson conducts a television interview at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it's fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia.

Above: Sir Richard Branson conducts a television interview at Perth Airport on May 7, 2013 in Perth, Australia. Virgin Australia purchased Perth-based regional airline, Skywest adding another 32 planes to it’s fleet to expand the airlines regional operations in Australia.

Image Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Branson is buds with Obama, and working on getting people into space. He’s worth $ 900 million less than Spiegel.

Donald Trump
Net Worth:
$ 3.9 billion

President Trump.

Above: President Trump.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Trump says he’s worth “over $ 10 billion,” but the last time Fortune computed the figure we came up with a number that is now $ 2.1 billion less than what Spiegel is worth.

Oprah Winfrey
Net Worth:
$ 3.0 billion

Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Above: Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

Image Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Oprah, who is rich enough to give away garages full of cars, had a good day in the market on Thursday as well. Shares of Weight Watchers, which Oprah now owns 10 percent of, rose 36 percent on Thursday. Oprah’s stake in the company, which she paid roughly $ 40 million for, is now worth nearly $ 115 million. That’s not enough to keep up with Snapchat’s co-founder, though. The queen of media is worth $ 3 billion less than Spiegel.

Tim Cook
Net worth:
$ 785 million

Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. A Congressional report released Monday said that Apple, America's most profitable technology company, used a complex system of international subsidiaries and tax avoidance efforts to shift at least $ 74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012.

Above: Apple CEO Timothy Cook testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Investigations Subcommittee about the company’s offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. A Congressional report released Monday said that Apple, America’s most profitable technology company, used a complex system of international subsidiaries and tax avoidance efforts to shift at least $ 74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012.

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Cook is the CEO of Apple, which is the most valuable company in the world, worth nearly $ 700 billion more than Snapchat’s owner. It is also the maker of the devices on which most Snapchat user take their pictures. Cook, however, is worth over $ 5.2 billion less than Spiegel.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

snapchat IPO bannerforjordan

Social – VentureBeat

Investors pour $2 million more into booze marketplace Drizly

DrizlyDelivery Boston-based Drizly used to be known as the on-demand delivery app for alcohol. More recently, the company evolved into a marketplace that helps brick-and-mortar liquor stores to connect with and sell to customers nearby through web and mobile commerce. The Drizly app shows shoppers different prices on the beer, wine and liquor that they’re looking for at local shops, along with… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Survey: Talking to your Uber driver makes you 3X more likely to have sex


Match.com has released its annual Singles in America survey to shed some much-needed light on the latest trends in the world of dating and help you weave out the bad habits that are stopping you from leading a healthy love life. Right off the bat, the way your handle your phone during dates could be the reason why you’re not getting laid. Singles in America has found out there’s a slew of turn-offs related to your phone usage proclivities. The survey suggests answering a phone call on a first date is likely to put off three quarters of all people. Texting is…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Uber


The Next Web

Facebook Advertising Advice: 10 Tips From Experts at Trello, WeWork & More

facebook-ad-tips.jpg

Facebook started as a way for college classmates to communicate, and it’s since evolved into a hub for content creation, sharing, and advertising.

Over one billion active users engage on Facebook every day, which represents a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to leverage their content in front of potential customers.

The variety of targeting options available allow marketers to get the greatest value out of each ad dollar spent on this vast network, making it an ideal place to drive conversions, downloads, and lead generation. In fact, Social Media Examiner found that 55% of social media marketers use Facebook as their primary platform, and eMarketer learned that nearly 68% of all social media ad spending is on Facebook Ads. Download this free guide for data-backed tips on creating the optimal Facebook  Ad.

We decided to consult with a variety of successful social media marketers to learn more about their strategies for Facebook Ad targeting. Whether you’ve been advertising on Facebook for years or are just starting out, check out these lessons from the pros to maximize your social media advertising ROI.

10 Strategies for Facebook Advertising

1) Keep track of qualitative metrics.

Matt Diederichs, Social Marketing Lead at Hootsuite:

We focused on two metrics [in our Facebook Ads campaign] — video views and offer redemptions. Video views are primarily an efficiency spend, looking at the gross number of video views we can get for our investment, at the lowest possible CPV (cost per view). In the offer redemption area, we can go a bit deeper and also calculate our CPA (cost per acquisition) for each person who redeems the offer. These help us to understand whether it’s worth our investment to pay for direct customer acquisition.

Through all of this, we [also] look really hard at qualitative feedback. Facebook’s Reactions allow us to see not only how many people ‘like’ our content, but also when people ‘love’ or uh … [don’t] love our content. We also aspire for our content to be shareable, so we look for post shares and for comments on Ads. To us, that’s a leading indicator of content resonation.”

2) Take advantage of Facebook’s precise Ad targeting.

Shari Medini, Co-Host of the Push Pull Sales & Marketing Podcast:

You can target any audience [using Facebook Ads]. Almost everyone is on Facebook, and we all share incredible amounts of information about ourselves. Facebook compiles and organizes all of that data for their Ads platform so that marketers can go as broad or as narrow as they’d like. You want to target moms of young children in a 15-mile radius from a [children’s] clothing consignment store? Facebook lets you do that. You want to get young men in the sales profession between the ages of 30 and 35 to click through to your site? Facebook lets you do that.”

Andy Odom, Digital Marketing Director at Santander Consumer USA

Use the Audience Insights feature in your Ads Account to research all of Facebook, fans of your Page, or people in any custom audience to gain better insights into who they are and how to target them. You can upload [an email list] as a custom audience and serve special ads just to them.”

 Haidi Zhu, Head of Performance Marketing at WeWork:

[With Facebook Ads,] we start by analyzing the demographics of our current members to better understand who they are based on location, interests, industry, and more. We use this data to develop audiences to identify potential members and further segment down to deliver ads that feature the WeWork offerings, locations, and services that we strongly believe will benefit them most.”

3) Test different creative assets for best results.

Frank Emanuele, Co-Host of The Marketers Next Door Podcast:

Always A/B test your creative [assets]. It’s easy to think you know what will capture your audience’s attention, but you’ll be surprised when you actually test it. I always compare at least two options and track their performance carefully. Then I put my spend toward the top performer to get the most bang for my buck. I often find that the creative I liked best actually isn’t my top performer.”

4) Pay attention to what visitors do after they click.

Alicia Palmieri, Senior Social Media & Content Specialist at 2U:

2U uses the “Learn More” call-to-action because it performs well with the type of thought leadership [education] content we share.

Our end goal when advertising on Facebook is to get people to view longform, data-rich content. Since we host most of this on our website, we work with our web analytics team to track behavior of people coming from our Ads. This helps us ensure that we’re targeting the right people and providing engaging content that they will enjoy.”

5) Don’t force new trends into your Ad strategy.

 Rachael Samuels, Social Media Specialist at Sprout Social:  

It’s important to have a clear objective for your ads, clear KPIs and a desired cost-per-conversion. Identifying these metrics, setting up proper tracking and keeping a pulse on performance is key to determining ROI from social advertising.”

Aaron Moreno, Digital Advertising Specialist at Sprout Social:  

The social landscape is constantly evolving, and our social team is constantly adapting to meet the needs of our community and stay authentic in our social presence. It’s great to be aware of trends, but you shouldn’t force a trend or new network if it’s not the right fit for your brand. You have to determine a trend’s genuine value offer before diving in headfirst. If something isn’t resonating with your audience, there’s no reason to continue chasing the hype just to be seen doing it — your audience could see that as a major turnoff.”

Chelsea Hunersen, Social Media Manager at HubSpot:

The principles of creating a good post and grabbing attention are the same no matter what the medium. For example, providing clear value and connecting about [your audience’s] real needs is something I always try to do. I’m less concerned about using a new medium like video or canvas just to use it, but I will try it if the technology gives us a better way to reach our audience.”

6) Find inspiration from your competition.

Rebecca White, Community Manager at TrackMaven:

Being able to tell what your competitors are promoting on social is invaluable. Comparing our Facebook spend with that of our competitors gives us a level playing field on which to evaluate the impact of our content.”

7) Publish videos that are short and sweet.

Erica Moss, Community Manager at Trello:

Because [Facebook offers] such a small amount of real estate, it’s important to get to the point quickly with one specific call-to-action, whether it’s a discount to redeem, an event to attend or a prompt to learn more about your product or service. Avoid lofty or flowery language.

When considering images, faces and bright colors pop more (high-res only), and video can be super impactful for ads when kept to 30 seconds or less. Bonus points if your video has closed captioning so that users don’t need audio to consume your message.”

8) Don’t fixate on vanity metrics alone.

Jenna Dutcher, Content Marketing Manager at Localist.com:

Facebook Ads can be a valuable tool, but only if you put effort into actually optimizing and measuring them. We’re big fans of A/B testing here at Localist, and always have at least two iterations of an ad running, sometimes 10-20 versions, where we’ll test things as small as capitalization, imagery, headlines, and CTAs.

You also need to be mindful of what you’re measuring. Success can’t just be based on how many people click or view an ad — what does 500 clickthroughs to a post mean to you and your company?  Be sure to tie superficial metrics like this to an acquisition goal or metric that you actually value, like cost-per-download or cost-per-lead.

9) Focus on the mobile experience.

Jason Myers, Social Media Manager at The Content Factory:

Try composing, or at least previewing, your Ad on a mobile device. Most people view Ads on a phone screen which is why those with stark, text-free images and simple messages get more engagement.”

10) Experiment with video.

Ben Kessler, Director of Marketing at WeWork

We are always eager to test new products and the latest betas to innovate with our marketing. This includes 360” video, renderings, and more, all developed by our in-house team. Because WeWork is truly something you need to experience in person, we’ve seen a lot of success with video to convey our brand and message within Facebook.”

Learn From the Pros

Now that you’ve learned different strategies for successful Facebook Advertising, apply them to your next campaign. A common thread among the responses we received for this article was the importance of constantly testing and evaluating results.

Don’t hesitate to change tactics midway through a campaign to drive greater value and conversions from your Ads. If you’re unsure where to begin with launching an Ads campaign, we have a step-by-step guide to start you off on the right foot.

What advice would you give for Facebook Advertising best practices? Share with us in the comments below.

free guide to facebook advertising


HubSpot Marketing Blog

15 Easy Ways to Make Your Commute More Productive

commute

It’s easy to think of commuting as a total waste of time. When you’re standing on the train platform or waiting at a traffic light, every minute that ticks by can seem like a minute lost from an already jam-packed day at work. But there’s good news for those of you who wish you could spend that time more productively.

There are a lot of fun, creative apps out there that help you make use of that time — whether it’s a 10-minute walk or a 60-minute bus ride. (Drivers: We don’t advocate the use of any of the apps on this list that involve reading or typing.) Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.

Check out this roundup of 15 easy ways to make your commute more productive, and the apps that will help you make it happen. Try them out, and hey — you might even start looking forward to your trips to and from the office.

15 Ideas for Increasing Productivity on Your Commute

1) Create your to-do list for the day.

Apps: Wunderlist, Evernote, Dragon Dictation

If you’re the kind of person who likes to get organized first thing in the morning, spend some time listing the things you need to accomplish that day. Taking that extra time to think about each task can help you prioritize and set realistic expectations.

There are a number of to-do list apps out there, but Wunderlist and Evernote are among the best. They sync between your mobile devices and your personal computers and allow you to drag and drop tasks between days and categories, as well as set alerts and due dates. You can even share lists and notes with others. Here’s a look at the Wunderlist app:

IMG_0897.png

For you drivers out there, you can use the free app Dragon Dictation to get your to-do list (and any other thoughts) down on your phone. Simply speak while the app is recording, and your text content will appear. If you’re an avid Evernote user, note that Evernote also has a voice recording function, too.

dragon-dictation-screenshot

Source: OT’s with Apps & Technology

2) Clear your inbox.

Apps: Gmail, ASAM

There’s something so satisfying about arriving at the office with a clean inbox. That’s why I like to go through emails and delete anything extraneous before I even get in to work. It saves me at least a half hour and a loss of momentum during my most productive time of day.

If you’re driving, you can use ASAM — a free app from AgileSpeech — to “read” your emails. The app will read your emails out loud and word-for-word. (And when I say word-for-word, I mean it reads everything — disclaimers, signatures, and other information you might’ve skipped otherwise.) When the message is finished, the app will “ding” and you have the option to dictate a reply.

ASAM screenshot

Source: Google Play

3) Set and check in on your goals.

App: Coach.me

Believe it or not, there’s a new year right around the corner. And if you’re into resolutions, checking your progress regularly and finding ways to stay motivated is key to maintaining them. The free version of the Coach.me app lets you set personal and professional targets, get reminders, and choose whether to make your achievements visible to a community of active users so you can give and receive support. And starting at $ 15 per week, you can hire a coach to actually help you achieve them.

coach-me-appcoach-me-app

Source: iTunes

4) Learn a language.

App: Duolingo

Once upon a time, maybe after college, you were almost fluent in Spanish. Or French. Or something else you learned in school. But then, you stopped practicing.

Want to get your language skills back on track? Duolingo is a fantastic (and free) app that makes (re)learning languages fun. Each lesson is short, painless, and super visual. Slate called it “the most productive means of procrastination I’ve ever discovered.” Be warned, though — it can get addictive.

duolingo-screenshotduolingo-screenshot

Source: iTunes

5) Listen to a podcast or audiobook.

Apps: Stitcher, Podcasts, This American Life, Audible

If you’d rather not spend any more time staring at a screen during your commute, then listening to a podcast or audiobook can be a really pleasant way to spend any length of time. Plus, you’ll learn a lot of really cool information you can impress your friends with later.

The free app Stitcher lets you make playlists of all your favorite podcasts.

Stitcher-1.png

As for which podcasts to listen to, our favorites include:

Looking for something else? Take a look at Stitcher’s list of Top 100 Podcasts.

6) Read an actual book.

Apps: iBooks, Kindle, Zinio, Apple News

I don’t know about you, but I constantly lament how little time I spend reading. You know, actual books, newspapers, or print magazines. And while I also enjoy turning a physical page, I always forget to pack my print materials before I leave for work.

Luckily, there are numerous apps that address that issue, and let you read any book, newspaper, or magazine you choose from a mobile device.

For news and magazines, we like Apple’s News app, which lets you choose from a vast catalogue of publications that you can read right from your phone. You can store your favorites and choose from them with a simple tap.

Apple News.png

But for actual books, there are the Kindle and iBooks apps, which let you download full reading materials and enjoy them from your phone or tablet. Kindle transfers any ebook purchases you’ve made on Amazon right to your device, so you can take in whatever great literature you please, right from the bus or subway.

Kindle1 Kindle2.png

7) Read the articles you’ve bookmarked.

App: Pocket

Using the Pocket app, you can save articles (and videos, and pretty much any type of content) in one place for easy reading on your commute. You can save content directly from your browser, emails, or from over 500 apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite. So while Evernote is a great app for long-term content storage, Pocket is perfect for bookmarking stuff to read later.

Pocket app.jpegpocket-app-screenshot

Source: iTunes // Just the Best Apps

8) Read the newest posts from your favorite online sources.

Apps: Feedly

We’ve covered how to catch up on the latest content from your favorite publications. But what about your favorite blogs or other online news sources? Feedly is an RSS reader that lets you subscribe to the publishers whose posts you never want to miss. You can separate them into different lists, mark articles as “read,” share your favorite pieces, and even browse for new content.

Feedly1Feedly2

Source: Google Play

9) Get your social media fix out of the way.

Apps: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more …

Not all of us are lucky enough to include browsing and posting on personal social media accounts in our job descriptions. Help resist the urge to check your news feeds and notifications at work by doing it to your heart’s content during your commute.

Instagram fix

10) Brush up on your marketing & sales progress.

App: HubSpot Mobile

Remember those days when you absolutely had to be at your desk to get your work done? Those days are close to being gone, thanks in part to the new HubSpot Mobile app. 

With this app, you can take advantage of your HubSpot software, even if you’re on the go. It starts with a customizable dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance breakdown of the most important metrics to you — landing page, blog, and email performance, as well as deals and sales tasks.

You can also easily access your contacts database, marketing insights (like email analytics) and your sales pipeline. For that last part, you can use the app to add notes, activities, or tasks, and keep track of deal stages.

HubSpot Mobile contacts  HubSpot Mobile Email

11) Clean your house.

App: iRobot HOME

Weekends: The perfect time to catch up with friends, family, the TV you missed last week and house-cleaning. Okay, how many of us really get around to that last one? (Hint: I don’t.)

But my colleague, Eric Peters, let me in on a little secret about the internet of things. Thanks to its HOME app, if you own a iRobot device like Roomba, you can remotely clean your house from your mobile device.

“My new favorite productivity app is from iRobot,” he told me. “I can turn on my Roomba and clean my floor, and not have to vacuum later.”

What’s more? You can even set a cleaning schedule for the week, in case you forget to spontaneously turn on your devices.

iRobot2 iRobot1 iRobot3

Source: iTunes

12) Clean up your Twitter feed.

App: Twindr

Ever scrolled through your Twitter feed and realized you’ve been just a bit too generous in how many people you follow? Twindr is a free app that works kind of like Tinder, but for unfollowing people on Twitter. All it takes is a few quick swipes to clean up your follower count.

twindr-screenshot

Source: Gizmodo

13) Get zen.

Apps: Insight Timer, Personal Zen, Headspace

Mondays, amirite? Suddenly, in the midst of pre-workday standing nap among the subway masses, you find your mind flooding with a mental to-do list of all the stuff you didn’t get done when you left the office early last Friday.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’ve got to breathe — which can be tough to do on a Monday morning. But there are apps out there that can help you get zen during your commute, no matter how long it is.

We especially like Insight Timer, since — as its name suggests — you can actually set a timer for the window you have to meditate and select a combination of ambient sounds to use in the background. Or, you can select from any number of the app’s guided meditations. Om…

Insight Timer Custom Insight Timer Guided

14) Set a step goal for the day.

Apps: Fitbit, Withings, Jawbone UP, Apple Health

A great way to get more exercise and burn more calories throughout the day is by building incremental physical activities into your daily routine. If that sounds like your style, use an app like Fitbit or Withings to set step goal for each of your commutes. (While these companies sell expensive devices that sync with their apps, they have the ability to measure your steps for free.) And if you have an iPhone, the Health app will track any steps you take when you have your device with you.

Each morning and afternoon, try to hit your goal. If you drive, park your car some distance away from the office and walk the rest of the way. If you take the train or a bus, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. If your mode of transportation gets delayed, get your steps in by walking back and forth on the platform.

UP24goals.png

Source: Jawbone

15) Plan your meals.

Apps: Eat This Much, Pepperplate, BigOven

You work hard. Your days are long. That’s why it’s so easy to resort to something that’s quick and already prepared for dinner. But you don’t have to fall victim to the easy way out — if you plan ahead. There are apps out there that can help you do that, by making it simple to plan your meals for the week in advance.

We get especially geeked-out over the Eat This Much app, in part because it’s linked to grocery-delivery apps, if they’re available in your area. Plus, it lets you set nutrition goals and set parameters for any dietary restrictions you might have, like vegan, gluten-free, or specific food allergies.

EatThisMuch2 EatThisMuch1

Source: iTunes

Get Appy

See? Your commute doesn’t have to be so bad, after all. 

And even if you’re lucky enough to love your work, it never hurts to have that time to yourself to take care of the things that these apps are made to do. So get happy, get healthy and get “appy” — it’s one of the best ways to make the most of your precious time.

What do you do to make your commute more productive? Share with us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free productivity tips

  free productivity tips


HubSpot Marketing Blog

With more than 800,000 apps using Facebook Analytics, focus turns towards education

facebook.shutterstock_316850861


Developers are given a plethora of tools which can be used to build and grow their mobile apps. Platforms release APIs and SDKs with the hope apps will be built upon them, and there are even resources dedicated to increasing exposure amongst the masses. But in this data-driven world in which we live, having all the bells and whistles, marketing magic, and so-called growth hacking isn’t enough — it’s necessary to be able to track the people actually using the app.

Last year at its F8 developer conference, Facebook introduced Facebook Analytics for Apps, a tool that might draw comparisons to Google Analytics, but for apps and provides data around the audience, which device has the most usage, and other pertinent information for marketing campaigns. At the time, company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg shared that 95 percent of apps in the App Store and on Google Play were integrated with Facebook. Today, more than 800,000 apps are powered by the social networking company’s solution.

Facebook Analytics for Apps Funnel Chart

Above: Facebook Analytics for Apps Funnel Chart

Image Credit: Facebook

“It’s more than getting an app installed,” said Facebook product manager Josh Twist. “We can help drive installs on mobile apps, but that’s not the end of the journey. Facebook knows the way to drive retention, engagement, and conversion hangs on understanding people.”

Facebook isn’t unique in the analytics space, as there are several competitors, including Google, Localytics, App Annie, Adobe, and Mixpanel. However, what it prides itself on is not only have an extensive user database and the expertise around producing scalable mobile apps that have a lot of usage. “We have a deep understanding of audience demographics and can share that with developers in an anonymous and aggregated way,” Twist remarked.

One of the selling points Facebook is selling to developers is that it’s less about ambient signals and more about being deliberate. In other words, Twist said that competitive solutions are collecting information to try and understand what’s going on versus Facebook’s approach of prioritizing information based on the user. When apps connect to the company’s social graph, they’ll be able to gain insights into who you are, what your interests, friends, and other pertinent information is. Through this, developers can make more targeted campaigns.

Facebook Analytics for Apps In-app notifications

Above: Facebook Analytics for Apps In-app notifications

Image Credit: Facebook

“A number of players in the space have demographics, but can’t go into the depth and accuracy of Facebook,” Twist shared. “We can understand age, country, language, job title, education, relationship status, and can tell you what [Facebook] pages customers like.” With more than 1.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook has shown that it’s one of the few companies that can demonstrate such growth — just look at WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as examples. The company thinks leveraging this shows developers that it has the wherewithal needed to help developers achieve similar success.

Twist also boasted about Facebook’s ability to be fast, saying the company “thinks you should be able to see the data in the various funnels in a couple of minutes, not overnight, especially when making changes on the fly and want to see if it’s having an impact. [Developers] want to see information very quickly.”

It might seem obvious to some, but app tracking is not only different between the web and on mobile devices, but by geography. In fact, not every environment is the same, so developers will need to be very targeted depending on whether they’re examining usage in the U.S., Europe, China, India, Australia, or some place in Africa. Differences between markets can vary, but Twist posits that it might be because of varying levels of excitement users have, experiences, or the fidelity of the devices.

This has been something Facebook has been working on for a while. While those in the U.S. are often dealing with advanced technology and connectivity, those in other countries like India are dealing with more complex issues, with many not even thinking about unlimited data usage. “We see all sorts of behaviors where people with high-end devices in those communities behave more like people in the U.S., but a significant portion will use low-end devices and this changes everything, including how they interact with the apps,” Twist explained citing that those with little storage on their device, may tend to just uninstall apps they don’t want rather than keep them around.

Facebook Analytics for Apps sharing insights

Above: Facebook Analytics for Apps sharing insights

Image Credit: Facebook

“It’s a very mixed space and is challenging,” he added. “It makes it harder to build a tool like analytics.” And this is especially important to Facebook since it’s a global company. Twist revealed that 85 percent of developers using the company’s analytics solution are from outside the U.S.

Now, after more than a year in service and powering analytics for 800,000 apps, Facebook feels it’s time to provide additional support. And while it continues to offer app building resources, largely through its FbStart program, and can continue to add additional insight features, its impact won’t truly be felt unless developers actually understand what it all means and how to take advantage of Facebook’s Analytics for Apps. This is why the company will be launching education courses in the next few weeks.

“People spend a lot of time in their analytic tools and want to make it more effective so they can spend more time on higher-level activities,” Twist said. “We’re passionate about making life better — we’re going deep into core business intelligence capabilities to make it better so when people use [Facebook Analytics for Apps], productivity goes through the roof.”

He acknowledged that analytics is a complicated space and most developers and marketers may not be able to pick up on it right away: “It’s very easy to misunderstand the situation just by looking at the numbers.”

When launched, Facebook intends to offer developers, marketers, and anyone else tutorials on its product, while providing additional guidance on how to make the most out of the tool. It’s one thing to see how many people used an app on Android devices from Germany, but it’s another to be able to combine that with additional metrics and events tracked to make informed decisions about future development or corrections that are needed.

In fact, it’s likely an area that’ll be covered is around misconceptions in using Facebook Analytics, dispelling notions that you need to login with your Facebook account, and other restrictions. “We still provide demographic information with the fidelity and quality if you don’t have any other association,” Twist remarked.

He also shared that there’s been discussions around expanding analytics to other app classifications, such as those in the virtual reality, Internet of Things (connected objects), and perhaps even bots in the future. No firm plans have been made, but it’s certainly not something Facebook is discounting.

“We’ve seen an evolution where ten years ago, it was largely web, then it was web + mobile web. Then web + mobile web + apps. Now we are seeing it’s all of those plus bots. What we are seeing is that today, that platforms are additive and people are having to develop more additional platforms as consumer behavior has evolved to using different platforms based on the context,” he stated. “We think the journey is 1 percent finished.”

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