Facebook & 3 Concerns With Video Ads

Facebook Video Advertisements

As it seems, Facebook is climbing onboard the video ad boat and it is a move that is actually very fitting. With such a large audience to consider with this particular website, it was only a matter of time until videos would start to constantly appear on the newsfeeds of users. This is a great financial move on the part of Facebook but I have to wonder how much this move will impact the user base at large. While these concerns have been confirmed, they are concerns with the upcoming change nonetheless.

  1. The change will not bode well for the faltering teen demographic. As it’s been reported in the past, those within this group have utilized the site less and even Facebook itself confirmed the matter. While some of this could be considered a result of young men and women wanting to get away from the vigilant eyes of their Facebook-using parents, it can also be argued that they have started to see more in the way of advertising on a site that is meant for social engagement. If there’s one things teens enjoy, it isn’t a litany of advertisements, in video form or otherwise.
  2. These videos may not be too friendly to older computers. Your typical laptop is not going to sputter out of control and combust if only one website is open but think about the common Internet user. Is that individual going to have one tab alone open on their browser of choice? When that individual is moving from page to page, they expect a smooth experience. While videos can come together as arguably the greatest platform for marketing, it’s reasonable to worry about how much bandwidth it will consume.
  3. No one really asked for video ads on Facebook. Yes, it is true that the videos on a user’s newsfeed will play silently at the onset, which is a smart move that any Long Island advertising agency can support. That being said, Facebook stated that, “Compelling sight, sound and motion are often integral components of great marketing campaigns.” While this might be true, is there a chance that Facebook will implement a change where videos are no longer mute to begin with? The idea of this social media mogul forcing video advertising in the faces of its users will do more bad than good in the long run; this won’t apply to only teenagers, either.

When considering the idea that Facebook will sell these ads for $2 million a day, it’s clear that the company stands a great chance of coming into money. Companies have to understand that this site is where most individuals on the Internet frequent. The idea of utilizing video content for awareness is understandable. Hopefully I am wrong about the concerns listed above and that these ads can benefit everyone.

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Spotify: Could Free Mobility Offer Challenges?


The days of purchasing CDs alone for the sake of building a music library are fading and one can make the argument that downloading MP3s could go the same way somewhere down the line. There are many music streaming sites that appear to be able to fill the needs for those who can’t get enough of the classics or the tracks that have become all but viral. Spotify is one such example and it seems like it is taking a new step as far as mobile streaming is concerned. Will it be a step that everyone will agree with, though?

On the surface, the idea is brilliant. The Wall Street Journal reported that Spotify may soon offer a free version of its service on mobile devices, which would replace the paid version that many have utilized. Since Spotify was introduced, the only way that anyone could benefit from its free music streaming was through computers. However, if this change were to come to the surface, it would allow users to play a set number of songs on demand and create their own playlists to boot. Shouldn’t an idea like this make everyone happy?

Keep in mind that while there are many Spotify users who would clamor for free mobile streaming at no cost, there are those who have paid for the service for different reasons. A monthly fee was put in place for the sake of allowing fans to enjoy hundreds upon hundreds of tunes without any ads. With this in mind, what if they don’t want to take the free route? If they were to do so, they would have to endure ads after a set number of songs, which is one of the reasons why the premium route is taken.

For example, it is not uncommon to go through two or three songs on Spotify, only to be greeted with an ad. However, this ad may not be tailored to your interests. If you are someone who runs a business, are you going to care about opportunities for potential freshmen at particular universities? What if you enjoy songs along the lines of Lorde and instead you’re given an ad telling you to sample a Billy Joel compilation album? Not only are these ads bothersome but they oftentimes fail at grabbing your interest and keeping it in place.

When a social media agency is hired by a particular brand, it is easy to assume that the efforts will be able to appeal to various audiences. Said audiences are driven based on interests, so whatever advertisements are put forth have to accommodate such matters. In my experience, the ads on Spotify are pesky, to say the least. That being said, if they are able to facilitate complete mobile functionality at zero cost, perhaps they are caveats worth enduring.

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Are You Really Saving on Free Apps?


Someway, somehow, consumers have been led to believe that everything on the Internet is free. Why do you think movie and music piracy are so rampant? Such sense of entitlement extends to the buying of apps. Most consumers would rather have their apps free than paid.

Unless, that is, the apps are designed to get something done. According to app analytics company Distimo, paid apps dominate the top ten in the categories of productivity, medical, business, fitness/healthcare, navigation, catalogues, lifestyle, photo & video, travel, and weather. These apps enables you to work hard, get healthy, find directions, book flights, check weather, and so forth. They make your life easier. Consumers are won to appreciate and buy such apps.

Even so, the utility of an app is no guarantee of its being purchased. The situation is even worse for other app categories, such as games, where ‘free’ is the byword.

Free is understandable, especially if you’re really bereft of money, but paid is ideal. Here are the most compelling reasons why you should buy paid apps:

1. There’s no such thing as a free app.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free app, for that matter. Sure, that nifty social network or cloud storage app comes for free but make no mistake. They will find a way to offset the gazillions they have expended on overhead, etc.

As information technology pundits would have it: “If you don’t buy the product, you are probably the product.” You only have to check out the terms of service on Facebook; they have clauses that virtually let them intrude upon privacy and mine your data, like where you shop, who you’re connected to, etc. Next time you think an app isn’t selling something, think of yourself. It is probably selling you.

2. Rage against the Machine.

Many of us don’t like to buy something because we think we are pawns of the corporations selling them. We believe that our money is not really of benefit to its end producer. With apps, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your hard-won money directly goes to the creators, which brings us to next reason.

3. Put some bread on the developer’s table.

Each sale encourages these small businesses to forge ahead with their offerings. This is not an easy thing, considering the manifold challenges the average developer has to face. For one, he or she has to meet an annual fee set by Google and Apple before submitting an app. After that, the developer is caught between a rock and a hard place: If the developer doesn’t charge customers for the app, Apple/Google will charge yearly fees anyway. If the app comes with a price, customers will be put off. And when the app eventually sells, Google/Apple gets a cut.

These are to say nothing of the expenses, especially in running the app’s website and getting hosting. These expenditures could only skyrocket with more customers, ironically what developers are after.

4. Payment = zero ads

One way developers can market an app as free, and still monetise it, is to offer advertising space. The trade-off is that customers will eventually resent the clutter.

In other words, paid apps give you the minimum incentive of being ad-free. If the paid app still comes with ads, feel free to complain or find a new one.

5. Price of a coffee

Injustice. That’s what it boils down to if you are able to afford a Starbucks but run away from a dollar or two in snapping up an app.

6. Quality is not an excuse.

Granted, there are unscrupulous developers who charge a premium for garbage. You can skirt this problem by reading reviews from top-notch websites. Besides, you can always get trials of paid apps.

Final word

An app shouldn’t really feel like an investment considering how cheap it is compared to what you’ve already been buying. Always remember that ‘free’ comes with a catch.

To ease you into the mindset of paying for apps, try buying them in bulk. This piece of wisdom is especially useful if you’re in business: The utility of many paid apps today are just too remarkable. Also, start by looking for a sale or markdown. Search for coupon codes too.

Have fun app-shopping!

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Offerpop Releases Hashtag Gallery, Empowering Marketers to Manage User-Generated Content at Scale


NEW YORK, New York (Nov. 6, 2013) —Offerpop, a leading social marketing software company, has released Hashtag Gallery, a solution that allows brands to unite social media with traditional marketing channels, compile and store user-generated content, and showcase hashtag campaign content in a single location.

Hashtag Gallery capitalizes on an exploding trend: brands everywhere are including hashtags in their TV commercials, print and digital ads, and other marketing programs.

With Hashtag Gallery, brands collect, manage and showcase user-generated content related to these hashtags in a seamless branded display, on websites, auto-generated landing pages, or Facebook tabs. Through these campaigns brands encourage passionate consumers to share photos, videos, and posts. These engaged communities span multiple mediums and generate an expansive library of valuable user-generated content that can be repurposed for marketing and merchandizing programs.

“The convergence of social and mobile is fundamentally changing how consumers interact with their favorite brands, enabling them to share experiences and user-generated content,” said Prakash Mishra, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Offerpop. “Hashtag Gallery gives brands ways to turn content into relevant, real-time consumer engagement, amplifying the reach of traditional marketing programs.”

Marketers have struggled to organize, respond to and reuse consumer posts that include their branded hashtags. Hashtag Gallery automates this process, allowing time-strapped social marketers to track and follow up with responses in real time. Through auto-responding to entries with custom messages and “claim your entry” links, marketers can easily get permission to repurpose user-generated content. They can also incentivize and reward consumers for participating, offering daily, weekly, or monthly prizes.

Marketers can create and launch their Hashtag Gallery campaigns in minutes, with no custom development required. With Hashtag Gallery’s powerful back-end moderation capabilities, marketers can choose to approve entries before publication. And they can view program metrics like unique visitors and participation in real time, allowing for campaign optimization.

Offerpop’s launch of Hashtag Gallery includes an early access package that rewards companies and marketers that launch a Hashtag Gallery campaign in November by giving them hands-on help from a team of Offerpop’s social media strategists, who work with brands like Audi, American Express and NBC Universal. Sign up at www.offerpop.com/earlyaccess.

To learn how to tap into the power of hashtags, check out Offerpop’s new e-book, The Definitive Guide to Hashtag Campaigns. (http://go.offerpop.com/definitive-guide-to-hashtag-campaigns/)


About Offerpop

Offerpop helps marketers launch powerful social marketing campaigns to reach, engage and connect with their consumers. Global brands, agencies and small businesses use Offerpop to increase revenue and grow fans, followers and email subscribers. Launch campaigns across any marketing channel — website, advertising, email, and TV — and drive engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Offerpop is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, qualified by the PMD program in Apps.  Offerpop is a Twitter Certified Product. Learn more at www.offerpop.com.

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The #History of the #Hashtag: An #Infographic


Before a hashtag was what it means today to just about every major social network, it was a pound button. It was a number sign. It was a tic-tac-toe box. It was anything other than what it is today, one of the most useful and important tools used by social media marketing firms and general social media fans across the internet.

I was there, believe it or not. I saw the first hashtag ever used. It was funny because at the time I thought it was a pretty silly idea, but obviously it grew on me and hundreds of millions of others. Now, I often find myself wondering why hashtags aren’t used more often. Go figure.

Here’s an infographic from Offerpop that breaks down the long (in internet years at least) history of the four little lines.

History of Hashtags Infographic

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BBM Early Access Launch Worked Perfectly


It might be too little, too late for BlackBerry, but their latest success (though it has been marred by some scandal) is another example of why exclusivity, even for a short time, is often the best marketing tool available. Their wildly popular instant messaging app, BBM, started off as an exclusive “early access only” app. Anyone could download it but it could only be used by the “special” people.

That lasted a week. Now, it’s open to everyone, making one wonder why early access was even necessary. It wasn’t, but that’s not the point. The reality is that people love to have things that others do not. It’s human nature. Every launch should be done with some variation of this theme. Launching to everyone isn’t as effective as launching to a select few and then releasing it to the world. It’s what really made Facebook the better option over MySpace in the early days and it will always work as a marketing technique.

In this case, BlackBerry allowed anyone to download the app, but only those who had requested information about it before were able to access it. That made them feel special, forward thinking, and in some ways mildly visionary. They were rewarded by getting something that millions of other people wanted. Now, after 10 million downloads, it’s open to all on iOS and Android. This all played out well for BlackBerry. Now, if they could only make their phones as effective…

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halloween kids

Cloud Storage: Keeping Your Holiday Memories Safe

halloween kids
The train’s about to leave the station. Next stop: Candy

I still remember the moment my Dad took the picture of my friend and I in our costumes. I remember it because I’m able to go back and look at the picture to this day. It was Halloween, 1980 and I was proudly dressed up as a train conductor while my friend Rich dressed up as Jerry the Cat from the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons. We happily strolled up and down the blocks near our houses, under the watchful eyes of our parents, collecting Snickers and lollipops while getting frightened by crazy neighbors who turned their front yard into a haunted house. I’ll never forget all those Halloween memories, and pictures like this are part of the reason why.

At this point in my life, all that really remains of that holiday are photos, and a few snapshots in my mind. I still remember some excitement here, a vision of a pile of candy there. I can still see my elderly next door neighbor who gave out Hershey Kisses. But a lot of what happened that night is gone. The unfortunate thing about this photo is that it’s fading along with the memories themselves. The fortunate thing is that this doesn’t have to happen anymore. Cloud storage is making it a thing of the past. Here are some of the reasons why the cloud is taking away that fear of losing your Halloween memories.

Don’t Let Your Memories Fade

One of the best things about cloud storage is that images don’t slowly lose their sharpness and brightness as the years go by. While going through a pile of photos the other day, I saw that the stuff from my Mom’s childhood was getting particularly faded. Oh sure, I could take all those ancient negatives and bring them to a photography store where they turn them into pictures again. It’s almost at the point though where it’s too inconvenient to drive to wherever that service is still done, pay the expensive price, and then still be stuck with a physical photo that is just going to fade again. In this situation, I recommend uploading them to a cloud service right away. Cloud storage services like Box, Bitcasa, Sugarsync and many others are perfect for converting these old photos into files that will stay in the same condition forevermore, saving your memories from certain doom. Bitcasa even has an “Infinite Drive” that lets you store an unlimited amount of these memories.

pictures on floor
Old-school cloud storage

Say “Bye” to Photo Envelopes, “Hello” to Convenience

When I want to reminisce about Halloweens past, a lovely pile like the one above is what I must sift through. I keep all the old photos and many keepsakes in a large moving box. Many of the pictures are in plastic bags. At that point, I must rummage through old envelopes filled with photos that were once developed in a Fotomat booth in a shopping mall parking lot back in 1977.

The modern convenience of cloud storage has made all that obsolete. I remember my mother shared photos by mailing them in a large manila envelope and writing “handle with care” on the front. Now, I share my holiday photos on Twitter and Facebook from my tablet or smartphone through one of the more advanced cloud storage mobile apps. With Bitcasa, you can send friends and family a single link that takes them to a folder with dozens of photos from that glorious, candy-filled night.

Another Halloween memory preserved in the cloud.
Another Halloween memory preserved in the cloud.

Bad Weather is No Threat

When I was 15 years old a massive earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. After the 7.1 quake struck, we all watched on TV as thousands of people lost their homes in fire and rubble. This type of disaster makes many of us worry about what might happen to the precious memories of our childhood that we store in shoeboxes around the house. I specifically remember the sadness when I thought about life with no record of holidays and birthdays. The threat of tornadoes and floods still plague thousands of people who don’t realize that cloud storage is a great option. In fact, it ends this worry once and for all. Whether it’s your Facebook timeline, your Instagram feed, or your Dropbox account, those pics of beloved pets are safe on a server. If you’re interested in getting started with a cloud storage service or just want to compare some of the best out there, please check here.

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