Offline content gets a boost in the new version of Chrome for Android

 In December, Google rolled out a “Downloads” feature in its mobile web browser Chrome for Android, that allows you to save web pages, music and videos for offline access. Today, the company is introducing a series of improvements to make it easier to save content for offline access, as well as quickly find the pages you had already saved. To download a web page before today, you… Read More

WhatsApp is totally dominating video calling, too

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WhatsApp users are spending a lot of time on video calls. Together, the app's 1.2 billion users are spending more than 340 million minutes a day making more than 55 million video calls, WhatsApp announced.

To mark the milestone, WhatsApp is finally updating its Android app to make video calling more prominent. Now, the feature will appear right next to the voice calling menu within chats on Android.

Image: whatsapp

The stat comes almost exactly six months after the app first rolled out its video calling features to all its users. That the feature has managed to rack up so many users in such a short period is indicative not only of WhatsApp's overall dominance in the messaging space, but also why video calling was such an important feature to begin withRead more...

More about Facebook, Whatsapp, Apps And Software, Tech, and Tech

WhatsApp is totally dominating video calling, too

TwitterFacebook

WhatsApp users are spending a lot of time on video calls. Together, the app's 1.2 billion users are spending more than 340 million minutes a day making more than 55 million video calls, WhatsApp announced.

To mark the milestone, WhatsApp is finally updating its Android app to make video calling more prominent. Now, the feature will appear right next to the voice calling menu within chats on Android.

Image: whatsapp

The stat comes almost exactly six months after the app first rolled out its video calling features to all its users. That the feature has managed to rack up so many users in such a short period is indicative not only of WhatsApp's overall dominance in the messaging space, but also why video calling was such an important feature to begin withRead more...

More about Facebook, Whatsapp, Apps And Software, Tech, and Tech

Why Facebook and Snapchat are pushing QR codes in our faces

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QR codes are dead, an internet marketing strategist wrote in AdAge in 2013. The murderer: "easier-to-use apps."

And yet, four years later, that isn't the case. Apps have become even more prevalent and perhaps easier-to-use, but Facebook and Snapchat, two of these most-frequently-used apps, are pushing a present and future of QR codesSpotify introduced its own codes last week. 

It's difficult to determine how QR codes became "cool" again. Snapchat, the popular app for teens and young adults, may have helped. 

Snapchat created its so-called "Snapcodes" in early 2015, where users could create their own and add friends by scanning them. Everyone from publishers like Mashable to presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made a Snapcode: Read more...

More about Apps And Software, Business, Tech, Snapchat, and Facebook

Facebook fights fake news with print newspaper ads

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Facebook wants you to know that it's still fighting fake news, even across the pond. 

Ahead of the June 8 parliamentary elections in Britain, Facebook has launched a newspaper ad campaign with 10 tips on how to spot false news. 

The full-page print ads has appeared on selected dailies, including the Telegraph, Times, Metro and Guardian, replicating an educational notice, announced in April, that would appear on top of everyone's news feed in the UK. 

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news," Simon Milner, Facebook's Director of Policy for the UK, said.  Read more...

More about Uk, Election 2017, Newspaper Ad, Fake News, and Facebook

Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker leaks ahead of launch

 Microsoft wants in on the Google Home and Amazon Echo party. Harman Kardon makes this Echo-lookalike is made by Harman Kardon and it’s powered by Microsoft’s Cortana voice platform. The device apparently launches this fall and could be officially revealed later this week. Called the Invoke, the product page for the unannounced product was discovered by Thurrott.com before it was… Read More

How to Make Quotes for Instagram: 7 Apps to Try

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When you come across a beautiful sight -- be it a beach, a mountain, or your pet's face -- sometimes, it inspires you to think bigger about what certain sights and experiences mean.

For those moments, you might consider posting a photo on Instagram with an equally inspiring quote as the caption. But you could take it even further -- and save characters -- by posting the photo with the quote.

New Call-to-action

You've likely seen quotes on Instagram posts before, but you may never have created one for your brand's account. Here's a recent Instagram quote we shared here at HubSpot:

 

A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot) on Apr 17, 2017 at 7:21am PDT

See what we mean?

Posting quote images on Instagram can diversify your content on the platform and humanize your brand a little, too. Everyone could use a motivational quote during a busy Monday morning or a slow Tuesday afternoon, so try out an Instagram quote for your next post with the help of these free apps. 

7 Apps to Easily Create Quotes for Instagram

1) FaceGarage

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FaceGarage is a browser tool that helps you create Instagram images with quotes overlaid in just a few simple steps. You can upload an image of your own or use one of the site's stock background images, type in your quote, adjust the font, text size, color, and formatting, and voila -- you generate your image and download it to post on Instagram. Our favorite thing about FaceGarage is the images don't come with a watermark, so you can create more beautiful posts that don't have a logo in the corner.

2) Recite

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Recite is another quick and easy browser tool you can use to create quotes for Instagram. Its two-step process involves selecting one of the ready-made background themes, typing in your quotation, and pressing "Create." From there, you can upload the image to a variety of social networks (not including Instagram) or download the image to upload and post on Instagram. The downside to Recite's ease of use is the highly visible watermark in the bottom-center of each image, but you might be able to crop it out using your phone's photo editor before uploading to Instagram, depending on the design you choose.

3) InstaQuote (iOS or Android)

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This free app offers a lot of options to customize your quote image, font styles, and color schemes. You can use your own photos or one of InstaQuote's, and it allows you to automatically upload your image to Instagram so you don't have to download it and then upload it. The downsides to many free apps -- including InstaQuote -- are the prevalence of ad interruptions, and that many features are locked unless you upgrade to the paid version.

4) Text2Pic (iOS or Android)

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Text2Pic stands out from the crowd in a couple of ways. It has the widest variety of font style and formatting options -- including 3-D and shadowing capabilities to add more effects to your text. It also auto-connects to Instagram for seamless uploading and posting on the platform. The biggest downside we've noted is the inability to upload your own photo as a background image, but Text2Pic makes up for that with a ton of different background options to choose from.

5) Quotes Creator (iOS or Android)

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Quotes Creator has a neat feature that suggests quotes to use -- including their attributions -- to take the work out of creating an inspirational post for you. We also like how subtly transparent the watermark is to make it as distraction-free as possible. This is another easy-to-use app that creates quotes for Instagram in just a few simple steps -- with an easy tap to upload to the platform. Quotes Creator's stock background options are a little cheesy, so we recommend finding your own and uploading them.

6) Quote Maker (iOS or Android)

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Quote Maker is another free app that tries to upsell its Pro version to unlock more background and style options, but you can always upload your own background if you feel too limited. Where Quotes Maker takes the cake is its cool font styling and effects. You could add neat decals to your brand's name or a stamp-like effect to a company motto or mission statement. We recommend exploring the app, but another warning -- it's slightly glitchy and crashed a couple times during the making of this image. 

7) Text on Photo Square (iOS)

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Text on Photo Square is only available on iOS devices (for now), but its distinction from the rest of the pack is that users can add quotes to videos, in addition to photos. You can upload your videos and add quotes to create a neat audio and visual experience for your Instagram followers. A cool quote-video might distract from the watermark, which is admittedly one of the larger ones on this list.

Some of these apps might be worth investing in the paid version to create more unique images -- without the watermarks -- to post quotes on Instagram. But for now, try out these free options during the next social media holiday to see if your audience is ready to be inspired.

What tools do you use to create special effects on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

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9 Easy Ways to Get Busy People to Respond to Emails

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You might think you spend the majority of your time at work sitting in meetings or talking on the phone, but you could be wrong.

In fact, a significant portion of your work week could be spent writing, reading, and responding to emails.

A recent study from Adobe revealed that workers are spending 4.1 hours per week checking and interacting with our work emails. Despite the adoption of tools like Slack, workers are using email more than ever -- and what's more, it can take us up to 25 minutes to get back on task once we've interrupted by checking and reading email during the workday.

So needless to say, when you draft an email -- whether it's to your manager, your direct report, or a contact you want to work with -- you want it to be well-crafted and impactful so it doesn't expend even more time. So we've put together these tips for writing emails -- that will get opened and replied to, without wasting anyone's time.

How to Write Emails Your Contacts Will Actually Reply To

1) Write a descriptive subject line.

Your subject line should outline the reason for your email so the recipient is compelled to open and answer it. It should also be clear and succinct -- after all, if your subject line is clear, your email will likely be, too. We suggest avoiding full sentences and only putting the meatiest part of your reason for emailing in the subject line.

Phrases to Avoid:

  1. "Checking in"
  2. "Touching base"
  3. "Following up"

Example Subject Lines:

  1. "Question about your blog post about Snapchat"
  2. "Meeting information for Monday, 5/1"
  3. "New data: 43% of consumers want video content"

2) Get to the point, and quickly.

In the opening lines of your email, you might be tempted to enumerate on your credentials or your organization, but you can do that later. Instead, the opening line of your email should immediately get to the point so the recipient immediately understands what's being asked of them.

The basic format of a successful email should be:

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

This format is considerate to your reader, who has trouble maintaining attention for long periods of time, and it compels you to write clearly and compellingly to make the recipient keep reading.

3) Use basic language.

Remember the episode of Friends when Monica and Chandler asked Joey to write them a letter of reference, and he used his thesaurus too enthusiastically?

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Source: Rebloggy

In this case, Joey changed so many words to their more advanced synonyms that his original meaning was completely convoluted. This can happen with your emails, too.

Resist the urge to use industry jargon or flowery language and stick to the basics. Make your sentences clear, straightforward, and short -- if a sentence requires more than one comma, consider breaking it into two sentences. The easier your email is to understand, the easier it will be for the recipient to quickly respond.

4) Use numbers.

There are a few ways you can use numbers and statistics in your email that will make it easier to attract and keep the recipient's attention.

  1. Numbers written as numerals (23) instead of words (twenty-three) have been shown to attract reader attention when they quickly scan what they're reading online -- which research shows internet users are more and more likely to do.
  2. Numbers as statistical data lend your email more credibility. Numbers represent facts, which your reader might be more compelled to respond to.

See what we did there? The numbered list probably drew your eye more than writing that out in paragraph format would have. Formatting helps too -- more on that later.

5) Keep it as short as possible.

Keep it short and sweet.

Researchers analyzed over five years of emails, and they found that shorter emails resulted in faster response times. That's helpful when you consider that reading and responding to emails can eat up so many hours in your week. Shorter emails help you and the recipient spend less time writing and replying to emails, which makes everyone more productive.

Our trick for keeping emails short is by typing them in Twitter first. Emails don't have to be under 140 characters, but it's a good guardrail for having maximum impact in fewer words. You can keep your emails shorter by using numbers, omitting unnecessary words like adjectives and adverbs, and thinking carefully about formatting. 

The ideal email length varies depending on your industry, but we suggest keeping your emails under 200 words in length. The average screen reading speed is 200 words per minute, so aiming to keep messages below that target is a good rule of thumb.

6) Use bullet points.

Whenever possible, use bullet points or a numbered list to organize your email structure. Here's why:

  • Bullets don't require full sentences, so you can use fewer words to get the same message across.
  • Bullets help break up the formatting of an email to maintain the reader's attention.
  • Bulleted or numbered lists help clearly outline steps in a process that need to be taken, which is useful for email documenting meetings or initiatives.

We suggest using only three bullets. Studies have shown that our brains like to be presented with three options to consider. Use three bullets or numbered items in your emails for maximum impact.

7) Answer the question "so what?"

Just because the subject of your email is important to you doesn't mean the recipient necessarily agrees. You need to ensure that your reader comes away from your email with the answer to the question "so what?"

Psychologist Ellen Langler found that the use of the word "because" made people more likely to comply with the request. By providing the reason behind asking someone to help you or do something for you in an email, you make it easier for the recipient to say "yes."

When asking for someone else's time and effort, make sure to include a "because ... " so they can understand the impact their compliance will have.

8) Make your ask clear.

Some emails have clear asks, and some emails do not. Either way, make sure to clearly state what exactly you need from the recipient of your email to make it easier for them to reply.

Remember the email structure we mentioned above?

  1. Opening greeting
  2. Reason for emailing
  3. Details
  4. Call-to-action
  5. Closing greeting

Start your email with the reason you're emailing, provide the recipient with details and the "so what?" of your message, and close your email with a clear ask for next steps. Whether you need them to edit a blog post, attend a meeting, or you don't need any specific action from them at that time, make sure that is the last line of your email.

The final line of your email will likely be most memorable, so if the recipient doesn't reply right away, they'll be able to easily remember what they need to do next.

9) Know when to take it offline.

Sometimes, the best email isn't an email at all. Instead, it's a phone call, a Slack direct message, a virtual conference, or an in-person meeting.

We've told you to keep your email as clear and succinct as possible. So if you're drafting your message and finding that it requires any of the following, that could be an indication that it's time to sit down and talk about what you're working on:

  • If your email is highly time-sensitive, explore if there is a faster way to reach that person in the office or using a messaging app.
  • If it takes you multiple paragraphs to get your point across, consider if you want to produce a slide deck to present in a meeting.
  • If you need answers to multiple complicated questions (that don't involve a yes or no answer), send a meeting invitation instead -- but include the questions in the event description so the recipient can prepare.

A good indicator to determine if you should take your message offline is how long it takes you to write out your email. If you have to keep editing and rewriting to make your points clear, they might not be clear to your recipient, either. 

Luckily, meeting invites are short and sweet, and they involve a simple yes or no answer. Make sure to provide context in the event description, or a pre-meeting email, so attendees can prepare for the conversation early.

Email Is an Art

If you're emailing your colleagues and contacts, they'll understand a run-on sentence or a typo here and there (although we advise self-editing before pressing "send," of course). But when it comes time to start emailing subscribers and leads on behalf of your brand, check out our free beginner's email marketing guide for more suggestions and ideas.

What are your strategies for writing actionable emails? Share with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the transactional email add-on, contact your CSM.

7 of the Best Mother’s Day Ads We’ve Ever Seen

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Sometime in early May each year, search volume for "When is Mother's Day" begins to reach a panicked spike.

Consider this article your official reminder: Mother's Day is this Sunday (May 14th), and we have a selection of hilarious and heartwarming ads about moms to get you in the spirit.

From a lighthearted garden gathering with the royal family to a moving tribute to mothers of sick children, each of these campaigns celebrate those authentic moments that bond us with our moms.

A word of caution to those of you currently in the office: you might want to get some tissues ready. Don't say I didn't warn you.

7 Great Examples of Mother's Day Advertising

1) Moms Explain What Their Kids Do in Advertising | MRY (2015)

If you work in the digital marketing or advertising space, you've probably struggled at some point to concisely explain what your job entails to your family. To celebrate Mother's Day 2015, the folks at digital agency MRY posed a seemingly simple question to their moms: What do you think I do for a living?

The answers -- delivered via web cam by the moms themselves -- range from "Online Advertising Through the Computer for Any Kind of Internet Kind of Thing" to "Annoying Pop-Up Creator" -- and more than one childhood art project is unearthed for some unsolicited praise. 

 

2) The Body Shop | British Roses for the Queen (2016)

The Body Shop enlisted the help of London-based agency Mr. President to produce this candid, home video-style ad featuring a cast of (very convincing) royal family doppelgangers celebrating Mother's Day in the royal garden.

Allison Jackson, a BAFTA-award winning director best known for her lookalike photos of celebrities, was brought on to ensure the video looked authentic. 

 

3) SickKids vs. MomStrong | Sick Kids (2017)

A somber follow-up to the SickKids vs. Undeniable ad released in 2016, this Mother's Day spot from SickKids Hospital underscores the agony and strength of mothers with chronically ill children.

If the anguish depicted seems real, that's because it is -- Cossette Toronto, the agency behind the ad, cast real mothers in the short video, gently revealing personal, often unseen moments of pain and resilience.

 

4) FlyBabies | JetBlue (2016)

After watching this ad from Boston-based agency MullenLowe, maybe you'll think twice before judging the mother with the screaming baby on your next flight.

For Mother's Day 2016, this JetBlue stunt offered passengers a 25% discount on their next round-trip flight every time a baby cried on the plan. With four babies on the plane, their odds of getting a completely free flight were pretty good. This ad ultimately achieves the unachievable: getting airline passengers to clap and cheer each time a baby cries.

 

5) Swear Like a Mother | Kraft (2017)

74% of moms admit they've accidentally sworn in front of their kids before. The other 26%? "Full of sh*t", suggests Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing.

To champion Kraft's message of giving yourself a much-deserved break once in a while, CP+B Boulder asked Mohr to share some of her tips for those not-so-perfect parenting situations. Because being a mom is tough, and it's healthy to remind yourself you don't have to be perfect.

 

6) Texts From Mom | Samsung (2015)

Long ago, your mom taught you how to do things like eat, roll over on your belly, and use the bathroom. Some things are just not as intuitive as think, so don't be too hard on your mom for her lack of texting expertise.

This R/GA-produced Mother's Day spot takes a hilarious look at some of the texts you might get from your mom, and reminds you to give her a call this Sunday.

 

7) Tattoo | American Greetings (2017)

In this heartwarming spot for American Greetings, MullenLowe took inspiration from a friend of creative director Allison Rude. After her father died, the friend discovered a card from her father, and got a meaningful handwritten line tattooed on her wrist. In the ad, a daughter gets a similar inked tribute to her late mother. 

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“The Handmaid’s Tale” is critical to the success of Hulu’s Live TV service

 People tend to think in terms of what they want but don’t have, as opposed to what they have and don’t need. This is poignantly clear in the world of video streaming services. Outright cutting the cord hasn’t trended as quickly as pundits predicted; instead, Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, Amazon Prime and the rest seem to be something that many buyers view as supplementary. But… Read More
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