Erin Go Bragh: How St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

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In Boston, just across the river from HubSpot’s headquarters, St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal. There’s a parade. There’s a special breakfast for the who’s-who of local government. There are green bagels. And there’s a lot of beer.

We like to think of that as a very traditionally Bostonian way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. And we’re not alone -- in Chicago, for example, they dye the river green. But we’ve got news. That word, “tradition”? We hate to break it to you, but today’s celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day are, well, far from traditional. 

And like so many other holidays, the modern perspective and observance of St. Patrick’s Day was shaped in some part by -- you guessed it -- marketing. But what did it used to look like, and how did it get to where it is today? Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Grab your four-leaf clover, because you’re in luck. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.) We’re taking you on a trip back in time to figure out just where St. Patrick’s Day began.

How St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

Who Was Saint Patrick, and Why Do We Celebrate Him?

snakes-out-of-england-H.jpeg Source: History.com

The Man

To really trace the roots of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s important to understand its name. Yes, it’s named for a person -- Saint Patrick himself -- who actually wasn’t even of Irish descent. According to History.com, he was actually born in 390 A.D., in Britain to a Christian deacon father. It’s rumored that he assumed that role for its tax incentives, and not for religious reasons. In fact, some speculate that Saint Patrick wasn’t raised with much religion at all.

Interestingly enough, it was being kidnapped in his teen years and held captive by Irish raiders that began Saint Patrick’s journey to, well, sainthood. Much of that captivity was spent in isolation from other people, which allegedly caused Patrick to turn to spiritual thoughts for guidance and comfort. After six years as a prisoner, he escaped back to Britain, and eventually studied to become a priest.

After he was ordained, he was sent on a mission back to Ireland to begin spreading and converting the population to Christianity. And according to National Geographic, it didn’t go so well -- “he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors,” and he was “largely forgotten” after his death in 461 A.D., which is estimated to have taken place on March 17, the day observed as St. Patrick’s Day.

The Myth

But later, people started to create folklore around Saint Patrick. It’s not clear when these legends came to fruition, but you might be familiar with some of them -- tales of him banishing all snakes from Ireland, for example, which are the stories that eventually led to him being “honored as the patron saint of Ireland” -- hence the name, Saint Patrick.

Still, the celebrations of him within that particular nation remained pretty low-key until the 20th century, prior to which March 17th was mostly observed with a mention of it by priests, and a feast enjoyed by families. Plus, there remains conflicting information about his life and the exact dates of its major events.

In fact, the celebrations really began right here -- in Boston.

What the Earliest Celebrations Looked Like

Coming to America

According to Time, the inaugural celebration of St. Patrick’s Day took place in 1737, in the form of “a group of elite Irish men” in Boston gathering for a dinner dedicated to “the Irish saint,” who one might assume was Patrick himself. Less than 30 years later, parades began in New York, with Irish-American members of the U.S. military marching to honor Saint Patrick “with Fifes and Drums.”

stpatricksdayparadeunionsquare.png Source: Ephemeral New York

Both of these events have led many to speculate that how we view St. Patrick’s Day today was largely an American invention, as many of the traditions we still continue to honor -- including the New York City parade, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 251 years -- were started by Irish-American immigrants. And as Irish immigration increased exponentially during the 1800s, the celebrations grew in kind, in large part to combat stereotypes that this incoming population was “drunken, violent, criminalized, and diseased.”

Irish-Americans wanted a way to illustrate that they were wholesome people -- that they paid tribute to their natively religious roots with an observation of the patron saint, but that they also embraced life in America, by creating these traditions on new land. And that population was the most concentrated in Boston, Chicago, and New York -- which might be why we today see the grandest celebrations in those cities. That began when Irish-Americans continued to face opposition by others, despite the aforementioned best efforts. The parades got bigger and occupied less localized venues, sending the message, "we’re 'not going anywhere.'"

Meanwhile, in Ireland …

Eventually, around the 1920s, Ireland began to observe St. Patrick’s Day celebrations beyond church mentions and family meals. Not entirely unlike New York, it started with military parades in Dublin, but they weren’t exactly festive -- “the day was rather somber,” writes Mike Cronin, with “mass in the morning [and] the military parade at noon.” And, until the 1960s, there was no drinking -- before then, bars in Ireland were closed on St. Patrick’s Day.

But in that country, at least, the holiday saw a real turning point in 1996, with the very first instance of the St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin: A four-to-five-day festival (which began as just one day) of music, parades, and other revelry. This year’s edition of the festival just kicked off yesterday and, today, brands across numerous nations -- Ireland and the U.S. alike -- are capitalizing on the celebration.

GPO_1_Resized.laptop_1040_529_-600x306.jpeg Source: St. Patrick’s Festival

We’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s look at how some other St. Patrick’s Day traditions got started.

Why Green?

It all began with a song, “The Wearing of the Green.” It dates back to 1798, when it was said to be written as a tribute to Irish Rebellion fighters, and has been repurposed many times since. The phrase in this post's title, too, has ties to Irish fighters -- "Erin Go Bragh," which is traditionally spelled "Éirinn go Brách," means "Ireland forever," or Ireland "till doomsday."

The most notable version of "The Wearing of the Green" is thought to be the one written and performed by Dion Boucicault in 1864 for the play Arragh na Pogue, or The Wicklow Wedding. And while there’s some controversy surrounding this theory, many believe that’s where the tradition of wearing (and consuming) all things green on St. Patrick’s Day is rooted -- though it’s an act of gross misinterpretation, since the lyrics were actually meant to encourage the wearing of a green shamrock, a symbol of the Holy Trinity. In reality, the original color association with St. Patrick’s Day was blue.

the-wearing-of-the-green.jpg Source: Free Printable Greeting Cards

But what of that shamrock, yet another item that’s come to be so strongly associated with contemporary interpretations of St. Patrick’s Day? Well, that goes back, in part, to “The Wearing of the Green” lyrics. Have a look:

She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

For they're hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”

Those lyrics actually allude to the fact that, during the Irish Rebellion, wearing a shamrock was an offense punishable by death -- and doing so came to be seen as a brave act of rebellion and loyalty to one’s Irish roots.

It could be why, today, wearing green on March 17th -- often adorned with shamrock shapes -- is loosely seen as an act of pride for all things Irish. In fact, you may have heard the phrase, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day,” which has been largely perpetuated by high-profile Irish brands, like Guinness.

That’s one particularly outstanding example of how St. Patrick’s Day is now highly commercial -- it’s not just American brands that are leveraging it for marketing purposes. And believe it or not, there are many indicators that it began with this accidental tradition of “the wearing of the green.”

When It Started to Get Commercial

It’s the Shamrocks, Again

There were several pivotal moments in the history of St. Patrick’s Day that could be pointed to as the beginning of its commercialization -- events like the first St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, or the first parade in the U.S. Indeed, it seems that the commercialization did begin stateside in 1952, when Irish ambassador John Joseph Hearne delivered a box of shamrocks intended for then-President Harry Truman. It’s since become an annual tradition.

But it wasn’t just the start of tradition. What used to be a symbol of Irish pride and rebellion was now being gifted to U.S. officials from Irish ones. It signaled the same efforts that Irish immigrants were trying to make when their small, localized St. Patrick’s Day celebrations first began: Honoring native traditions, while also embracing the U.S. by sharing them. It was an effort to establish and strengthen “pro-Western credentials with Washington” -- a city where, at the time, there was little observance of St. Patrick’s Day -- said Michael Kennedy, executive editor of Documents on Irish Foreign Policy in an interview with CNN.

In a way, it could be said that Americans embraced this Irish tradition in return -- but not without putting its own commercial spin on things. The same year as that unintentionally monumental shamrock delivery, Pan American Airlines promoted its first direct flight from Shannon, Ireland to New York by flying 100,000 native shamrocks to be handed out to those marching in the New York parade.

Troy March 1952.png Source: Newspapers.com

In other words, at that point, the shamrock had made its way to the U.S., and businesses and consumers alike couldn’t get enough of it. "The marketing of 'real' shamrock was...part of the commercialization of St. Patrick's Day," writes Cronin in his book The Wearing of the Green. "More frequently, the image or symbol of the shamrock was employed artistically -- adorning souvenirs, advertisements, decorations, greeting cards and clothing."

Most of all, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. now extended far beyond the Irish-American population. With the shamrock’s permeation into popular culture, non-Irish individuals also began to take part in the holiday’s observance, adapting it as their own until it got to where it is today -- green rivers, green beer, and a lot of shiny green accessories. As we said, and as is often claimed: “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.”

Today's St. Patrick's Day Celebration

So, what are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Does it involve any of the aforementioned revelry and/or accompanying green adornments? Will you be feasting on corned beef and cabbage -- a dish largely unconsumed in Ireland? Now you know how we got here.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve donned my own glittery, shamrock-shaped earrings, or worn beads a shade of metallic green while partaking in a March 17th pub crawl. But now I’m aware that none of this has to do with the person for whom the holiday is named: Saint Patrick. And as a marketer, I can’t be too angry about it -- after all, many holidays in the U.S. have evolved in a similarly commercial fashion. Just last month, we discussed how that took place with Valentine’s Day, which was also originally established in observance of a saint.

But we will ask that, as you go forth and consume a green milkshake today, to at least be aware of the history that made it possible. Erin Go Bragh -- and as the saying goes, may you have a world of wishes at your command.

How does your brand observe St. Patrick’s Day? Let us know in the comments.

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The Best 2017 Networking Events for Marketers

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At some point in one's life and career, it seems that networking events have earned a bit of a shabby image. They seem to conjure images of awkward handshakes, bad wine and, if you're lucky, a stale cheese plate. And where's the appeal of that?

The truth is, not all events fit that stereotype. Some draw people from around the globe and provide content that makes the journey worthwhile. They're tremendously informative. They're wildly entertaining. And they're listed below.

The thing is, we've been to enough -- to put it kindly -- less-than-stellar events to know what a remarkable one looks like. And to help you avoid the trouble of canvassing the web to find the best ones, we compiled this list for you. Get 32 examples of enviable inbound marketing campaigns here.

Whether you're a content marketer looking to enhance what you're creating, or want to learn SEO on a borderline-obsessive level, there's an event out there for you. By no means do we suggest you attend all 25 of the events listed below -- rather, we recommend taking inventory of what sort of engagements are available to help you become a better marketer, depending on your specialty or where you'd like to improve. So look no further -- we've got you covered.

15 Networking Events for Marketers in 2017

1) Adobe Summit

March 19-23, 2017 | Las Vegas, NV | Pricing Info

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Adobe Summit boasts being one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the U.S. It largely centers around Adobe's technology, and how marketers can make the most of its Marketing Cloud platform. But it's more than just a multi-day advertisement for Adobe's software. Rather, it's a collection of keynotes and breakout sessions that help marketers keep their projects up-to-date with the constantly and rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to know the latest and most sustainable ways to reach a target audience
  • Are juggling several campaigns and want to know how cloud technology can help you more seamlessly manage them
  • Like big names -- speakers include actor Kate McKinnon and the CMO of the National Basketball Association

2) Social Media Marketing World

March 22-24, 2017 | San Diego, CA | Pricing Info

Source: Social Media Examiner

While we can't corroborate Social Media Marketing World's claims of being the "world's largest social media marketing conference" off-hand, the fact that it's hosted by the online publication Social Media Examiner makes us inclined to agree. But despite its name and description, the event is hardly one-size-fits-all. Rather, the agenda seems to contain a little bit of something for everyone, whether you're looking to polish your knowledge of social media basics, or an expert looking to learn about the latest and most advanced best practices in this realm.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to become a thought leader or otherwise build your following on social media
  • Are looking to use social media to build customer loyalty and ambassadorship
  • Would like to meet like-minded peers at any social media knowledge level

3) Digiday Publishing Summit

March 29-31, 2017 | Vail, CO | Pricing Info

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Digiday hosts quite a few marketing-centric events throughout the year, which is why you'll see its name quite a bit throughout this list. Each event, however, focuses on a specific marketing practice and caters its content according to that audience.

For its Publishing Summit, Digiday places a large amount of focus on digital distribution -- that is, online publishing in a variety of formats and outlets. The event description summarizes it nicely: Platforms "like Snapchat have become media outlets of their own," and marketers need to figure out how to leverage them accordingly.

4) Next10x

April 5, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

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There's digital marketing -- and then, there's mobile digital marketing. That's the focus of the Next10x event, hosted by digital marketing firm Stone Temple Consulting.

With mobile usage now surpassing that of desktop, learning how to best use that medium for marketing is no longer just nice-to-have. Mobile marketing is necessary, especially for SEO -- just look at this recent announcement from Google about how a poor mobile user experience will negatively impact rankings. For that reason, it makes sense to have an expert from Google at an event like this one -- that could be why Gary Illyes, Google's webmaster trends analyst, is one of the featured speakers.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think you might be a little behind the curve on mobile marketing -- or think you could be doing a little better.
  • Want to learn how mobile marketing aligns with social and SEO efforts
  • Aren't entirely sure where content marketing and mobile intersect

5) Content Marketing Conference

April 11-13, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

There may have once been a time -- a simpler time -- when content marketing was such a new concept that it seemed pretty singularly-faceted. Create good content and the search traffic will come. But today, things look a lot different. Good content marketing can require a multi-pronged approach, and even has different sub-categories. There's the creation of good content -- be that words, audio, or visual. Then, there's the distribution. And what's more, there's content created specifically for or on a given platform.

Overwhelmed? Don't worry. That's why these events exist, especially the Content Marketing Conference. In fact, its hosts have so much faith in the expertise of the event's speakers and workshop leaders, they're assigned the label of "superheroes" -- they're here to save the day for many smart marketers who simply aren't sure how to manage the many pieces of content marketing.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to learn about a specific side of content marketing -- this conference allows attendees to choose tracks that focus on one area
  • Are also into comedy -- there's an entire portion of the conference dedicated to comedy for marketers
  • Like comics -- this event's superhero theme seems to permeate almost every element of it.

6) Experiential Marketing Summit

May 3-5, 2017 | Chicago, IL | Pricing Info

We're not bashful about our love of creating good experiences around here. We love the idea of marketers creating a good story -- not just through their digital content, but through real-life opportunities for the public to interact and engage with their specific brands. And while we've written about the way that can be accomplished, it can help to have it explained and carried out in front of you.

That's why the Experiential Marketing Summit is so helpful. It not only celebrates remarkable work done within the category, but helps marketers learn how to do it themselves.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think experiential marketing is really cool, but you're not sure you have the knowledge to pull it off independently
  • Have heard of experiential marketing, but have yet to actually experience it yourself -- no pun intended
  • You want to learn from the masters, and gain one-on-one insights from experts from major brands who have accomplished remarkable experiential marketing

7) SEJ Summit

May 11, 2017 | Chicago, IL | Pricing Info

One of our favorite resources for the SEO-specific news outlets is the Search Engine Journal, which provides the "latest search news, the best guides and how-tos for the SEO and marketer community." So when a publication like this one hosts an event dedicated entirely to what it knows best, chances are the attendees are going to come away with a great deal of knowledge.

The headline for the event is "Actionable Marketing Education." That's our favorite kind -- the education that gives people something tangible to implement after walking away from a teachable moment. And while SEJ hasn't yet announced its 2017 speaker lineup (as of the publication of this post), some of the experts from previous years, who you can see in the video above, leave us confident about this year's roster.

Attend this event if you:

  • Prefer events of a smaller scale -- this one tends to cap at 200 people
  • Learn best from keynotes, since they make up the majority of this event's content
  • Stand to gain from SEO-specific education, whether you want to learn the basics or want to enhance your current knowledge level

8) Digiday Video Anywhere Summit

May 17-19, 2017 | New Orleans, LA | Pricing Info

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By now, there should be zero doubt among marketers of the importance of video. After all, 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and 43% of people want to see more content in this format from marketers. So if you haven't figured out how to incorporate video into your overall content strategy -- get on it.

We get it, though. As a marketer, you've got a lot to do, and sometimes, something like video might not seem like it should take priority. But if those statistics have convinced you to get the ball rolling and you're not sure where to begin, it might be a good idea to check out an event dedicated to this type of marketing -- like Digiday's Video Anywhere Summit, which takes many of those most perplexing video-related questions faced by marketers and addresses them head-on with keynotes and workshops.

Attend this event if you:

  • Are good at making video content, but aren't sure how to monetize it.
  • Want to learn how outlets like Refinery29 and POPSUGAR approach content marketing
  • Don't have anyone to go with -- this particular event has agenda items like "dinner with strangers" for attendees who are flying solo

9) C2

May 24-26, 2017 | Montréal, QC | Pricing Info

We don't always get "event envy" around here, but if we did, it would probably be the result of C2: The self-described "three-day immersive event that will transform the way you do business." Have you ever wondered what the most absurd yet effective brainstorming environment would be for you? We haven't either. But the minds behind C2 have, which is why each year they have a new "experimental brainstorming" setting, to help attendees become their most creative in the most unusual of surroundings, like in a row of chairs suspended 18 feet off the ground.

Even we can't make that up. And that example is highly illustrative of C2's unconventional nature, which is what we love most about it. It's a great opportunity to learn -- after all the agenda includes master classes and workshops -- but it's also been known to include an enormous playground-like setting with a ferris wheel and other attractions for attendees to experience.

Attend this event if you:

  • Really don't like networking events, as this one pushes every boundary it can
  • Enjoy the intersection of marketing and pop culture, and think you could learn something from leaders at brands like Apple and Cirque du Soleil
  • Like an event with a theme -- C2 has a different one each year, and the 2017 theme is "ecosystems"

10) Savage Marketing

June 13-14, 2017 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Pricing Info

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Here's the thing about marketing: As we mentioned before, there's no one single type. There's marketing for different industries, business sizes, formats, and media. There are so many different levels of marketing expertise, how could you possibly expect to fit them all into one event? It's an effort that some people might even call -- wait for it -- "savage."

That's why the name of this event is so fitting. It examines the marketing best practices for a number of different industries -- like sports -- and concentrations, like SEO, data-driven, and customer experience. They're the important pieces of marketing that, when you've got an overflowing plate, can be easy to overlook.

Attend this event if you:

  • Are so caught up in your day-to-day responsibilities as a marketer, that you forget about some of the sub-topics listed above
  • Work in advertising -- this event has an AdTech track
  • Are especially curious about the overall role of tech in marketing

11) MozCon

July 17-19, 2017 | Seattle, WA | Pricing Info

Source: Moz

SEO, like many other pieces of marketing, is one of those things that can seem really tricky. Just look at how many changes have been made to Google's algorithm since 2000.

Now, have another look -- and note who compiled that timeline. Why, it's the good people of Moz: The providers of endless SEO learning resources. So when this brand hosts a three-day event dedicated to SEO, we think everyone stands to benefit from it.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to learn anything and everything about SEO
  • Like plenty of socialization built into your networking events -- this one has plenty of end-of-the day activities
  • Are curious where and how SEO fits into any marketing role

13) INBOUND

September 25-28, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

Here at HubSpot, INBOUND season practically has us singing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." An entire multi-day event dedicated to inbound marketing? Sign us up.

Last year, the event boasted over 19,000 attendees, and for good reason -- it's not just a networking event. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with like-minded marketing professionals, but INBOUND offers a plethora of learning opportunities from interviews with some of notable, knowledgeable figures, like Alec Baldwin.

Attend this event if you:

  • Enjoy a side of "party" with your networking event -- this one offers plenty of opportunities to kick back, as well as learn
  • Want to gain unexpected knowledge in unconventional parts of marketing that can actually be applied to your work
  • Like some entertainment -- like live music and standup comedy -- mixed with your networking

14) MarketingProfs' B2B Marketing Forum

October 3-6, 2017 | Boston, MA | Pricing Info

As many marketing events as there are, it seems like those dedicated to B2B are few and far between. But it doesn't have to be that way, and MarketingProfs is doing its part to make sure that's no longer the case with its B2B Marketing Forum. "This is your event," the homepage reads. And it's true -- how many times have you come across a marketing resource with a plethora of consumer-centric learnings and takeaways only to think, "But what about me?" MarketingProfs has heard you, and has built a rather impressive event presence to address your needs.

Attend this event if you:

  • Think that B2B marketing is capable of being just as sexy as the B2C kind, and want to hear more people talking about it
  • Like examples of good B2C marketing in practice, but want to know how you can apply it to your B2B brand
  • Want to hear about more than just the good stuff, and learn how to address and resolve the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers

15) Growth Marketing Conference

2017 date not yet scheduled | Silicon Valley, CA | Reserve your seat

Source: Growth Marketing Conference

Growth: It's one of the most important things that, as a marketer, you need to make sure your brand experiences. That's why we think of HubSpot as a growth stack -- it's a collection of Marketing, Sales, and CRM software that all combine to help you, above all else, grow.

So when we heard about an entire event dedicated to growth marketing, naturally, our interest was piqued. And while no date has been set for the 2017 edition of this conference, there is an option to "reserve your seat" for it on the homepage, suggesting that it will most likely take place late in the year.

Attend this event if you:

  • Want to hear inspiring stories from organizations that have started small, but experienced measurable, sustainable growth
  • Also want to hear how they did it, and how you can accomplish the same
  • Can't make it to MozCon -- you're likely to hear similar content here

Conclusion

No offense to the cheese plate, but most of these event features are much more our style. Of course, we won't dismiss free snacks and the ability to exchange a handshake, but now you see -- it doesn't have to be stuffy or awkward.

Go forth, and network. We hope to see you there.

Which marketing networking events will you attend this year? Let us know in the comments.

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 Google’s legal battle with Uber over the development of self-driving cars is already off to an ugly start. Lawyers for the two tech firms spent the last two days bickering over which attorneys should be allowed to view the trade secrets Google claims were stolen by their former employees who went to work at Uber, and a lawyer for Uber said today in court that the company has been unable… Read More

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WhatsApp will once again let you update your Status like it’s 2002

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WhatsApp users have spoken, and their message is clear: They still want to update their Status via text just like the good ol' days of away messages on AOL Instant Messenger. 

Last month, the Facebook-owned chat app introduced a new way for its billion-plus users to share updates with their contacts in the form of yet another Snapchat clone. The new Status feature is just like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which are well-loved — but it came at the expense of WhatsApp's old-school Status tool, which allowed users to display a simple text message.        

But the old school Status is already making a comeback. Users running the latest Android beta version of WhatsApp reported the feature has reappeared, giving them the option to update their contacts via text or video Status.   Read more...

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20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You’ll Want to Know About

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When people talk about today's most popular social sharing websites, YouTube often gets left out of the conversation in favor of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But don't be fooled: YouTube has a lot going for it. Although Facebook might be the largest social networking site, YouTube has the second greatest reach after Facebook in terms of general usage. It's also the second biggest search engine behind its parent company, Google.

And there are a ton of cool things you can do with YouTube that you might not know about, whether you use YouTube to watch videos, post them, or both. For example, did you know that YouTube automatically creates a written transcript for your videos -- and that polishing them can help you get your videos found more easily in search? Or that you can use YouTube to easily create a photo slideshow, and even set it to music using its royalty-free audio library?

Check out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

Mind-blowing stuff, people. To help you make the most out of the still very popular platform, we've put together a list of 20 of the lesser-known hacks, tips, and features YouTube has to offer.

20 YouTube Tricks, Hacks & Features You'll Want to Know About

1) You can create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time.

Ever wanted to send someone a YouTube video, but point them to a specific moment? Let's say, for example, that you're trying to recruit your friends to learn the dance in Justin Bieber's "Sorry" music video with you.

Instead of sending your friends the general YouTube link and instructing them to fast-forward to the 0:50 minute mark, you can actually send them a specific link that starts the video at whatever time you choose. Click here to see what I mean. I'll wait.

Back? Alright, here's how to do it.

To create a link that starts a YouTube video at a certain time: Open up the video and click "Share" underneath the video title. Then, under the first tab (also labeled "Share"), check the box next to "Start at:" and type in the time (in hours:minutes:seconds) you want. Alternatively, you can pause the video at the time you want it to start and that field will autofill.

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After a few moments, you'll see a tag add itself to the end of the generic YouTube link (in this case, ?t=50s). Simply copy that link and paste it wherever you'd like.

It's worth noting that you can't embed a video so it starts at a certain time; you can't only link to it.

2) You can easily see the written transcripts of people's videos.

Did you know that YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website? That's right -- and anyone has access to that transcript unless the user manually hides it from viewers.

I can think of a number of different situations where video transcripts can come in handy. For example, maybe you want to write down a quote from a video, but the tedium of pausing-and-typing, pausing-and-typing would drive you up a wall. Or perhaps you need to find a specific section of a video, but don't want to rewatch the whole thing to find it. With a transcript in hand, you can find information like this without doing it all by hand.

To see a video's transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the "More" tab underneath the video title. Choose "Transcript" from the drop-down menu.

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(If you aren't seeing this option, it's because the user chose to hide the transcript.)

The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. In many cases, the user who uploaded the video will not have gone back and manually polished the transcript, so it won't be perfect. But it'll certainly save you some time and pain.

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3) You can help your video get found in search by editing or uploading a transcript.

Both YouTube and its parent company Google look at a number of factors when ranking videos in search to determine what your video is about, and your transcript is one of them. (An even bigger ranking factor is your video's description, which is why Digital Marketing Consultant Ryan Stewart suggests that you actually paste your transcript right into the description box, too.)

To add a transcript to your video: Open the video on YouTube, and you'll see a row of icons just below the play button. Click the icon on the far right for "Subtitles/CC." (CC stands for "Closed Captions.)

CC_youtube.png

Set your language if you haven't already. Then, you'll then be prompted to choose among three different ways to add subtitles or closed captions to your video by ...

  1. Uploading a pre-written text transcript or a timed subtitles file. (Learn more about the file types you can upload and more here.)
  2. Pasting in a full transcript of the video, wherein subtitle timings will be set automatically.
  3. Typing them in as you watch the video.

The folks at YouTube have done some great things to make that third option (typing as you watch) as painless as possible. For example, if you check a box next to "Pause video while typing," it'll make the whole process a lot faster. Here's a GIF showing that in action:

youtube-transcribe.gif

4) You can use YouTube to easily get free transcriptions of your videos and audio files.

This is the last one about transcripts, I promise -- but I'll bet you never thought about them this way. As you know from #2, YouTube automatically adds a transcript to every video. But if you're looking for a one-off transcription of an audio or video file and don't want to pay for a service, YouTube's built-in captioning system isn't a bad place to start. You can always clean it up later.

To get an automated transcription for a video: Simply upload your video to YouTube, open it on YouTube's website, press the "More" tab underneath the video title, and choose "Transcript" from the drop-down menu. The transcript will appear as a new module in the same window. If you want to clean it up, follow the steps outlined in #3 for a user-friendly experience.

To get an automated transcription for an audio file: You'll need to upload your audio recording to YouTube using a service like TunesToTube. It'll take anywhere between 2–30 minutes for YouTube to upload it. Then, follow the instructions for getting an automated transcription for a video, outlined above.

5) You can create, share, and collaborate on video playlists.

Just like on your other favorite media sharing sites like Spotify and iTunes, you can create a "playlist" on YouTube -- which is really just a place to store and organize the videos (your own and others'). You can keep playlists private, make them public, or even share them directly with others.

Playlists are useful for a variety of different types of users, from an individual collecting cooking videos for their upcoming dinner party to a brand segmenting its YouTube video content by topic. For example, Tasty's YouTube playlists break up recipes by meal type, making it easier for people to browse and find what they're looking for:

tasty playlists example.png

To create a playlist on desktop: Go to your Playlists page by clicking here or clicking your account icon in the top right, choosing "Creator Studio," clicking "Video Manager" on the left, and choosing "Playlists." Then, click "New Playlist" on the top right and choose whether you'd like to keep it private or make it public.

youtube-create-new-playlist.png

To create a playlist on mobile: Click here for instructions explaining how to create new playlists using your iOS or Android mobile devices.

To add a video to a playlist: If you're adding a video to a playlist while you're watching it, click the "Add to" icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you'd like to add it to.

youtube_playlist.png

If you want to add a video to a playlist right from your Playlists page, simply click "Add Video" and either paste in a video URL, choose a video from your uploads, or search for a video on YouTube. Once you find the video you want to add, select the "Add to" menu from that video and add it to the playlist.

Your friends can contribute to your playlists, too. All you have to do is turn on the ability to collaborate on playlists. Once you turn it on, anyone you share a playlist link with can add videos to that playlist. (They can also remove any videos they've added, too.)

To add friends to a playlist: Go to your Playlists page again and open the playlist you want to collaborate on. Click "Playlist Settings" and choose the "Collaborate" tag. Toggle on that collaborators can add videos to the playlist, and from there, you can send them a link where they can add videos to the playlist.

youtube-collaborate-playlist.png

Once your friend's been invited to a playlist, they'll be able to add new videos to it and remove videos they've added in the past. They just have to follow some on-screen instructions first to confirm they want to be a contributor and to save the playlist to their own account.

When you add a video to a playlist you're collaborating on, your name will appear next to the video in the playlist, and everyone who's been invited to collaborate on that playlist will get a notification that a new video has been added.

(To learn more about how to manage contributors, stop accepting contributions to a playlist, and so on, read this YouTube Support page.)

6) You can save videos to watch later.

Ever seen YouTube videos you wished you could bookmark for later? Maybe you aren't able to turn the sound on at the moment, or perhaps you just don't have time to watch it. Well, YouTube took a page out of Facebook's ... book ... by adding something very similar to Facebook's "Save for Later" feature. On YouTube, you can save videos to a "Watch Later" playlist to access whenever you want.

The "Watch Later" playlist operates just like a normal playlist, so the instructions are identical to the previous step (except you can't invite others to collaborate on your "Watch Later" playlist).

To add a video to your "Watch Later" playlist: Open the video on YouTube and click the "Add to" icon below the video title and check the box next to the playlist you'd like to add it to, just like you did in the previous step. The steps are very similar on mobile, but click here if you want the full instructions from YouTube's Support page.

To access those videos: Simply go to your YouTube homepage and choose "Watch Later" from the menu on the upper left-hand side of your screen.

youtubewatchlater-1.png

From there, you can watch the videos you were saving, as well as easily remove videos from that list that you've already watched.

7) You can create your own custom YouTube URL.

Want to give people an easy-to-remember web address to get to your YouTube channel? You can actually create a custom URL, which you can base on things like your display name, your YouTube username, any current vanity URLs that you have, or the name of your linked website. HubSpot's, for example, is https://www.youtube.com/hubspot.

Important Note: Before you do this, make sure you're positive this is the custom URL you want -- because once it's approved, you can't request to change it, nor can you transfer it to someone else. Keep in mind that it'll be linked to both your YouTube channel and your Google+ identity, too.

Unfortunately, not everyone's eligible for a custom URL. To get one, you have to have 100 or more subscribers, be at least 30 days old, have an uploaded photo as channel icon, and have uploaded channel art. If that sounds like you, keep reading.

To claim your custom URL: Open up your YouTube account settings and click "Advanced" in your name section.

overview_youtube_screenshot.png

If you're eligible for a custom URL, you'll be prompted to claim yours by clicking a link.

advanced_youtube_settings.png

Select the box next to "I agree to the Terms of Service." Then, once you're absolutely sure it's the URL you want since you can't ever change it, click "Change URL" to make it final.

8) You can add clickable links to your videos.

Want people to not only watch your video, but engage with it, too? On YouTube, you can add clickable links YouTube calls "annotations" to your videos. These annotations work kind of like call-to-action buttons, and you can use them to link people to subscribe to your channel, to link to merchandise or a fundraising campaign, to go to another resource to learn more, and so on.

It's an easy way to encourage people to actually engage and interact with your videos. (For marketers, it might even be a way to send people back to your website.)

What do these clickable links look like? To see one in action, check out the video below. You'll see it pop up at the 22-second mark -- and if you click on it, you'll see it pauses the video and opens up a new tab in your browser for you to explore.

Pretty cool, huh? Here's how you add annotations like that to your own videos.

To add a clickable link/annotation to a video: First, make sure your YouTube account is verified and that you have external linking turned on for your account.

Once you've got that set up, open up YouTube and go to your Video Manager by clicking here or clicking "My Channel" and then "Video Manager" near the top of your YouTube home page.

youtube_videomanager.png

Then, find the video you want to add links to and click the arrow next to "Edit." Choose "End screen and Annotations" (more on end screens later) from the drop-down menu.

add annotation youtube.png

Toggle to "Annotations," click "Add Annotation" to add a new annotation, and choose from the five annotation types in the pull-down menu: Speech bubble, Note, Title, Spotlight, or Label. For this tutorial, we chose the note option, but there are a variety of options you can experiment with.

add-annotation.png

Once you choose an annotation type, you can then add text, choose your font, size, background color, and transparency. Below the video, you can choose exact start time you want your annotations to start and end.

youtube-annotation-dashboard.png

Here's the key part: To add a link, tick the checkbox next to "Link" and choose what type of page you'll link to, like an "Associated Website." (Pro Tip: Use tracking tokens on the URL to track how many people actually click it.)

When you're done, click "Apply changes" -- and you're all set. You can always edit your annotations after publishing by going back into the "Edit Annotation" tool and click "Edit existing annotation."

You can read this article for more thorough instructions on adding annotations to videos.

Note: Annotations appear on standard YouTube players and embedded players, but they don't appear on YouTube chromeless players, or on mobile, tablet, and TV devices.

9) You can also add an end screen or cards to promote content.

How to Add an End Screen

Do your favorite YouTube creators have a fancy closing screen that encourages you to keep watching their videos? For example, here's one from Saturday Night Live:

SNL_youtube_end screen.png

You can create a customized end screen, too. They help keep viewers on your channel by suggesting other videos and sites they can check out. Here's how to do it:

Navigate to your Video Manager, tap "Edit," and select "End screen & Annotations" from the drop-down menu:

endscreen_youtube.png

From there, you're taken to the End screen creator studio, where you can play around with different templates and background to determine how you want your end screen to appear. Then, click the "Add element" menu to decide where you want to send viewers from your end screen.

addelement_youtube.png

Any YouTube creators can add an end screen to customize their channels. Here's an explainer article with more details and inspiration ideas.

How to Add a Card

You can use YouTube cards to advertise products used in your videos or links on your website you want to promote. If viewers tap the "i" in the upper-right hand corner of a video, the cards expand, as in the example below:

To add a card to a YouTube video, head to your Video Manager, tap "Edit," and select "Cards" from the drop-down menu.

Then, choose where in the video you want cards to appear, and tap the "Add card" drop-down menu to choose what you want the card to promote. From there, customize the content that will appear to viewers when they tap the "i" while viewing your video:

add_card_youtube.png

10) YouTube has a big library of high-quality, royalty-free sound effects and music you can browse and download.

Want to add some cool sound effects or music to your YouTube video (or any video)? YouTube is there for you. It has a whole library of high-quality, 320kbps audio tracks and sound effects that you can download royalty-free and add to your videos. (Or listen to in your free time. We won't judge.)

To add music or sound effects to your video: Open YouTube's Audio Library by clicking here or opening your Creator Studio, clicking "Create" in the menu on the left-hand side, and choosing "Audio Library."

Now, the fun begins. By default, it'll start you on the "Sound effects" tab. Here, you can search sounds using the search bar, like I did in the screenshot below for motorcycle sounds.

youtube-audio-library.png

You can also toggle by category (everything from human voices to weather sounds) or scroll through favorites that you've starred in the past. For easy access in the future, select the star to add the track to your Favorites. The bars next to the songs show how popular a track is.

If you switch over to the "Music" bar, you can browse through all of its royalty-free music. You won't find the Beatles in here, but you will find some good stuff -- like suspenseful music, uplifting music, holiday music, jazz, and more. Instead of toggling by category, you can toggle by genre, mood, instrument, duration, and so on.

(Note: Some of the music files in there may have additional attribution requirements you have to follow, but those are pretty clearly laid out on a song-by-song-basis. You can learn more on YouTube's Support page here.)

Once you've found a track you like, click the arrow to download it and it'll download directly to your computer as an MP3 file. Then, you can do whatever you want with it.

If you want to source sounds for your videos outside of YouTube, you'll just have to make sure to you're following all the rules for sourcing them. Refer to this YouTube Support page for best practices for sourcing audio, and this one to learn YouTube's music policies.

11) You can easily create photo slideshows and set them to music.

Ever wanted to make one of those cheesy photo slideshows for a birthday or a baby shower or a team party? There's no need to download software or use an unfamiliar platform -- YouTube has a special feature designed just for creating photo slideshows. And it's really easy to use.

You can upload as many photos and videos as you'd like, and choose from hundreds of movie styles, transitions, and effects to make it look awesome.

Plus, remember YouTube's Audio Library we just talked about in #10? You can totally source music or sound effects from that and add it to these videos without a hassle.

Here's how you do it. (Pro Tip: I'd recommend gathering all the photos you want into a single folder on your computer before you start making the slideshow to save time selecting them.)

To create a photo slideshow: Log in to YouTube and click the "Upload" button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you'd upload a pre-existing video -- but instead, you'll want to find the "Create Videos" module on the right-hand side of your screen. Find "Photo slideshow" in that module and click "Create".

create_slideshow.png

At this point, you'll be able to choose your photos -- either ones you've already uploaded to Google+, or photos on your computer. If you followed my advice above and created a folder for the photos you want, then choose the tab "Upload Photos" and add the folder either by searching for it manually, or by dragging-and-dropping like I did below.

youtube-add-photos-1.gif

From there, you'll be able to rearrange the photos and add more photos if you'd like.

Press "Next" on the bottom right, and it'll open up the video preview, where YouTube has created the transitions for you based on what's most popular. The default option actually looks pretty good -- but you can always change the slide duration, the slide effect, and the transition. You can still press "Back" if you decide you want to rearrange the photos or add more.

On the right, you'll see a list of suggested the top ad-free songs from the audio library. Pick from this list, search the library for different ones, or check the box next to "No Audio" to keep it silent.

When you're all set, click "Upload" on the bottom right and wait for the video to process. This could take a few minutes. While you're waiting, you can fill out the description, add tags, choose to make it public or private, add it to a playlist, and so on.

Here's the end result of mine, which took me a total of maybe three minutes after choosing the photos:

12) Play YouTube videos in the background on mobile devices.

Sometimes, your own music playlist just isn't cutting it. Or maybe you want to listen to your favorite artist's performance at an awards show.

Either way, if you've tried listening to music on YouTube via your mobile device, you may have noticed one thing: You can't navigate out of the app. You have to keep YouTube open, and you can't use your phone for anything else, in order to listen to something on YouTube. Kind of frustrating if you're trying to multitask on your commute home, right?

Now, there are hacks so you can listen to YouTube content in the background while still using your mobile device. Here's what you do:

How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: iOS

Open Safari on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to watch on https://www.youtube.com. Start playing the video you want to listen to, then tap the Home button to close out of Safari. (I chose Katy Perry.)

youtube_katy1.png

Then, swipe up on your home screen to reveal the Action Center.

Then, swipe left to reveal the second screen on your Action Center. The details of the video you selected on YouTube should appear, and from there, simply tap Play to keep jamming.

youtube_katy2.0.png

youtube_katy2.png

How to Watch YouTube Videos in the Background: Android

Launch Firefox or Chrome on your mobile device, and navigate to a video you want to play on https://www.youtube.com. Then, tap the "Settings" menu in the upper right-hand corner (the ellipses) and select "Request Desktop Site."

turn-to-desktop-android1-1200x800-c.jpg

Source: DigitalTrends

Then, start playing the video on YouTube, and tap the Home button to return to your home screen. The audio will keep playing in the background as you use other apps.

13) You can live stream videos to YouTube.

Live streaming video has been a big topic of conversation for the past few years. It's seen massive growth, especially in the past few years with the advent of Twitter's Periscope, Facebook Live, and Instagram live videos.

Live streaming on YouTube is a little more complex (and confusing) than live streaming using these other platforms, though. On YouTube's easier streaming option, there's no simple "start" button; instead, you actually have to download encoding software and set it up to use live streaming at all. Luckily, YouTube has easy-to-follow instructions for how to do just that.

If you're streaming a live event, though, all you need is a webcam. We'll get to that in a second.

Live Stream From Your Desktop Computer

Log in to YouTube and click the "Upload" button at the top right of your screen. Normally, this is where you'd upload a pre-existing video -- but instead, you'll want to find the "Live Streaming" module on the right-hand side of your screen. Click "Get Started" in that module.

youtube_live stream.png

Before you go live, YouTube will first confirm that your channel is verified and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once that's all set, you have two options for streaming: "Stream now" and "Live Events."

Stream Now

Stream Now is the simpler, quicker option for live streaming, which is why it's YouTube's default for live streaming. You'll see a fancy dashboard like the one below when you choose "Live Streaming" on the left-hand Creator Studio menu:

youtube_livestream dashboard.png

Again, you'll notice there's no "start" button on the dashboard. This is where you'll need to open your encoder and start and stop your streaming from there. Here's YouTube's Live Streaming FAQ page for more detailed information.

Live Events

Live Events gives you a lot more control over the live stream. You can preview it before it goes live, it'll give you backup redundancy streams, and you can start and stop the stream when you want.

Choose "Live Events" from your live streaming dashboard once you've enabled it. Here's what the events dashboard looks like, and you can learn more about it here.

youtube-live-event.png

When you stop streaming, we’ll automatically upload an archive of your live stream to your channel. Note that your completed live stream videos are automatically made public on your channel by default as soon as you're done recording. To make them disappear from the public eye once you're done, you can select “Make archive private when complete” in the "Stream Options" section of your live dashboard.

Live Stream From Your Mobile Device

YouTube has also rolled out live streaming from mobile devices for YouTube creators with 10,000 or more subscribers (as of the date of this posting -- that will be available to all creators soon, according to YouTube's blog post).

Live streaming is more intuitive from mobile devices than on desktop computers. Qualified creators can simply open their YouTube app on mobile, tap the camera icon at the top of the screen, and choose "Go Live".

From there, creators can enter details about the broadcast before immediately recording live for their subscribers, as shown below:

CameoFlow-1.gif

Source: YouTube

For more instruction on how to go live on YouTube across devices, YouTube published a Help article here. Want to see what live videos others are recording on YouTube? You can browse popular YouTube videos that are live right now by clicking here.

14) You can upload and watch 360-degree videos (live and pre-recorded).

YouTube first announced its support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015, and it was a total novelty -- not to mention a game changer. Since then, brands, athletes, and other users have created some awesome 360-degree content, like this video from Samsung:

As you can see, the experience as a viewer is really, really cool. On desktop, you can click around the video to see all the different angles while the video plays. On mobile, it's even cooler: You can move your camera around to change the angle. You can browse the trending 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) videos here.

To actually create a 360-degree video on YouTube yourself, though, you need some serious equipment. Cameras with 360-degree capability that are compatible with YouTube are listed here on YouTube's Support page, along with how to create and upload a 360-degree video file.

What about live video in 360 degrees? That announcement would come a year after the first one, in April 2016 -- the very same week Facebook announced its own design for a 360-degree camera. Luckily for the folks at YouTube, it beat out Facebook by supporting both live video and 360-degree footage all at once.

The Verge called 360 live-streamed videos "the gateway drug to virtual reality" for YouTube. Other than the YouTube website or app, you don't need any fancy equipment to be able to watch a 360-degree live video and feel like you're basically there.

15) YouTube ads target you based on an algorithm similar to Google and Facebook.

How does the YouTube algorithm decide which ads play on the videos you watch?

Turns out it works a lot like Google and Facebook ads do. Like on other free sites, the advertisers help fund the YouTube experience in return for exposure to ads. You'll see certain ads over others because of your demographic groups, your interests (which is judged in part by what you search on Google and YouTube) and the content you've viewed before, including whether or not you've interacted with the advertiser's videos, ads, or YouTube channel.

YouTube’s algorithms also try to make sure that people aren’t overloaded with ads while watching videos -- so it actually sometimes won't show ads on monetizable videos, even when there's a demographic match.

Here are the five ad formats you can expect to see on YouTube, and how they work:

a) Display ads, which show up next to the video and only appear only on desktop and laptop computers. The advertiser gets paid when you see or click on the ad, depending on their selection.

youtube-display-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube's Creator Academy

b) Overlay ads, which appear across the bottom 20% of the video window and currently only appears only on desktop and laptop computers. You can X out of the ad at any time.

youtube-overlay-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube's Creator Academy

c) TrueView in-stream, skippable video ads, which are most common ads. These are the ones you can skip after watching for five seconds. Advertisers can put it before, during (yikes!), or after the video plays, and they get paid only if you watch at least 30 seconds of the clip or to the end of the video ad -- whichever comes first.

youtube-in-stream-skippable-video-ads.png

Image Credit: YouTube's Creator Academy

d) Non-skippable video ads, which are those longer, 15-or-more-second ads you see before plays and can't skip after any period of time, no matter how much you shout at your screen.

youtube-non-skippable-video-ads-2.png

Image Credit: YouTube's Creator Academy

e) Midroll ads, which are ads that are only available for videos over 15 minutes long that are spaced within the video like TV commercials. You need to watch the ad before continuing through the video. How the advertiser gets paid depends on the type of ad: If the midroll is a TrueView ad, then you'd have to watch 30 seconds of the end or the entire ad -- whichever is shorter. If it's a CPM-based ad, then you have to watch the entire ad no matter how long it is.

youtube-midroll-ads-1.png

Image Credit: YouTube's Creator Academy

f) Bumper ads, which are short- non-skippable ads up to six seconds long that play before the video the viewer has selected. Bumper ads are optimized for mobile devices and must be watched in their entirety before viewers can progress to the video they want to view.

bumperad_youtube.png

16) You can remove ads from YouTube videos (and watch videos offline) for 10 bucks a month.

Video ads are the reason you can watch videos for free on YouTube. It's a fact many of us have come to accept. But with YouTube's subscription service YouTube Red, that doesn't necessarily have to be true anymore.

For $9.99 a month, you can watch YouTube videos ... without any ads. And, in addition to ad-free videos, you can save videos on your mobile device and watch them in the background and/or offline, and you can use YouTube's Music App (on iOS and Android) in the background, offline, and/or on audio mode. This is not a drill.

You'd think the lure of ad-free videos would have caused more of an uproar since its launch in late 2015, especially given YouTube's domination in the music space. Surprisingly, I haven't heard much noise about it. But YouTube hasn't disclosed subscriber numbers (the service reportedly has around 1.5 million subscribers) so it's hard to tell how well it's doing. Either way, it's good to know about -- especially if you like collecting songs and music videos like I do, but don't like when they get broken up by ads.

17) You can use Google Trends to explore and compare popular YouTube search terms over time.

You might already use Google Trends to look at the popularity of specific search terms over time. (It can be a great marketing tool for making smarter keyword choices, for instance.) But did you know you can use it to compare the popularity of YouTube search queries, specifically?

All you have to do is open Google Trends and type a search term into the "Explore topics" search bar at the top. Once that page opens up, click on "Web Search" to open a drop-down menu, and choose "YouTube Search" so it filters by YouTube searches specifically.

youtube_googletrends.png

You might find that, for some search terms, the search trends are very different on Google (above) than on YouTube (below).

youtube_googletrends_2.png

18) There's a "safer" version of YouTube available for your kids.

Any parent will tell you how scary it is for their kids to theoretically have access to everything public on the internet. But for your younger kids, there are ways to curb that access and have more control of what they're watching and finding -- including a kids' version of YouTube called YouTube Kids.

The folks at YouTube call YouTube Kids "a safer version of YouTube." It's not a wide-open library of online videos like YouTube is; instead, it uses filters powered by algorithms to select videos from YouTube that are safe for kids to watch. It's also totally free, thanks to ads (which are regulated as carefully as possible).

You can either turn the search feature on or off, depending on whether you're cool with your kids searching for videos themselves, or if you'd rather they're limited to a certain set of videos selected by the app, along with those the app recommends based on what they’ve watched already. You can set a timer to limit how much time a child spends on the app, which I imagine is music to many parents' ears.

The algorithm is darn good -- remember, Google is YouTube's parent company -- but, as it warns in its parents' guide, "no algorithm is perfect."

19) You can now clear your YouTube History.

For whatever reason, you might want to delete items from your YouTube search or watch history. YouTube lets you completely clear your history, pause your history so it stops recording what you search for and watch from that point forward, or go through your history and delete certain videos.

Here's how:

On your desktop or mobile device, navigate to the "Watch History" menu. Here's where it lives on your desktop browser homepage and in your mobile app, respectively:

youtube_history.png

youtube_library.png youtube_history_mobile.png

From there, you can "Clear watch history" (permanently delete the record of everything you've watched), "Pause watch history" (stop recording the videos you watch going forward), or individually remove videos from your history by tapping the X or ellipses next to videos. Here's what it looks like on desktop and on mobile below:

youtube_history_delete.png

youtube_delete_history_mobile.png

YouTube published a Help article if you need more instruction for deleting items from your YouTube watch history, too.

20) You can learn about YouTube's copyrights terms from a cast of ridiculous puppets.

Made it this far? Here's a little reward: YouTube's "Copyrights Basics" FAQ page, which is, fittingly a YouTube video -- and features a pretty colorful cast of characters. It's actually super informative, and it looks like YouTube's video team had a lot of fun making it.

My favorite line is probably, "You know there are links on this webpage, right? You don't have to watch this." Although the chorus of gorilla puppets was pretty great, too.

Enjoy.

We hope we've opened your eyes to some of the more awesome YouTube hacks, tips, and features out there that you may not have known about. Now log on to YouTube and do some exploring yourself. The platform certainly isn't going anywhere.

Which YouTube features can you add to the list? Share with us in the comments below.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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9 Creative Snapchat Ideas for Brands

Snapchat boasts 160 million highly engaged users who like watching and engaging with billions of photos and videos per day.

Suffice it to say, social media marketers need to capture and maintain the attention of their followers. But how exactly do you make that happen?

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Below, we've featured nine ideas for how to make your snaps more creative and engaging, and examples from real brands to inspire you. And if you're looking for more brands to follow for ideas, might we suggest adding HubSpot on Snapchat?

9 Snapchat Ideas for Brands

1) Geofilters

Geofilters are a fun way to share a time and place with your followers. Remember, brand social media accounts take followers to places they can't go themselves, so a Geofilter from an interesting place gives your brand personality and drives its cool factor.

Here's an example of a Snapchat Story using a Geofilter. The New York Times (@thenytimes) shared a Story from Hyde Park in London about one reporter's visit to a new exhibit at Kensington Palace. Pretty cool, right?

Try using a Geofilter the next time you're snapping from a unique location your followers might be interested in. You can access Geofilters by recording a video or taking a photo, then swiping left on your screen until the filter you want to use appears.

Brands can make Geofilters featuring their logo and branding to pop up around its facilities by submitting them to Snapchat -- learn more about that process here.

2) Event Tags

Like Geofilters, Event Tags take Snapchat followers to a cool event and give them a behind-the-scenes look. Mashable (@mashable) took its followers onto the red carpet of The Brit Awards in the Story below. While you might not have access to red carpets, try snapping from your next company event or a conference you attend to give your followers the inside scoop.

Find event tags using the same process as Geofilters -- swipe left until you find the tag you want to use. And like Geofilters, businesses can create unique tags for events and meetings -- learn how to do it here.

3) Emojis

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In case you missed it, the above "sentence" says that emojis are great. In emoji language, of course.

Emojis offer hundreds of different symbols brands can use to embellish their snaps to make them more fun and engaging. Here's how Infatuation (@infatuation) did it in their Snapchat Story:

Emojis are featured in a ton of marketing campaigns these days, so try using them in your next few Snaps to tell more with pictures than words. Drop an emoji or two into your next snap by tapping the sticky note icon once you've captured a photo or video on Snapchat. Check it out:

soph_snapemojis.png

4) Bitmojis

Bitmojis are friendly avatars we can create to look and dress like us for use in texting, messaging apps, and social media. Snapchat users can now add their Bitmoji to snaps, too. Here's what (or rather, who) mine looks like:

soph_bitmoji.png

Brands can use Bitmojis to add personalization. Each day, the Snapchat library of Bitmoji options adjusts -- there are Monday-themed avatars about the woes of the weekend ending, and Wednesday avatars about making it halfway through the week, for example. They add humor and a "reaction" within the snap itself to make it more memorable and human, too.

When you record a Snapchat, you can either choose a Bitmoji from the sticky note emoji menu (as demonstrated above), or you can do what MTV (@mtv) did and use a Bitmoji filter. Swipe left once you've captured a snap to see what your Bitmoji is up to.

5) Text

If you haven't already heard, listening to videos is going out of style: Many social media users prefer to watch videos without the sound turned on. Snapchat lets you add text to photos and videos to provide context for your followers -- without them having to pop in their headphones.

Here's how NASA (@nasa) did it in their Snapchat coverage of a breaking news story:

To add text to your next snap, capture your photo or video, then tap the "T" icon -- one tap will let you caption your video, and two taps will let you use bigger, bolder letters on the entire screen.

6) Circular Video

Have you checked out Snap Spectacles yet? They're Snapchat-capable sunglasses that let wearers film in 360-degree circular video. Spectacles also make videos more interactive and responsive for the viewer -- check out this example of a 360-degree Spectacles video that General Electric (@GE) shared. 

The Spectacles make snaps reformat whether the viewer's phone is vertical, horizontal, or spinning their phone around -- as I was when I filmed this screen capture: 

If you're curious about Spectacles, you can buy them online here.

7) Lenses

Snapchat lenses are another way to make your images and videos more creative, and brands can purchase Sponsored Lenses to promote products and events. The price of these might be prohibitively expensive for most brands to create unique ones -- they're typically hundreds of thousands of dollars -- but that doesn't mean brands can't get in on the fun.

Here's an example of how Refinery29 used lenses to spice up a simple selfie interview with a musician. The lenses made the videos fun and interesting to listen to and watch, and they were free to use, too.

Snapchatters can access the lenses only when the camera is self-facing. Then, hold a finger over your face until the lens options appear at the bottom of your screen. Here's me turning on the lens options, and you can see what a sponsored lens from Almay looks like:

sponsored_lens_snapchat.png

8) Hyperlapse and Slow Motion

When you film a video on Snapchat, you can filter it so it plays extra quickly, or in slow motion. This is a cool feature to make your Snapchat Story shorter or to break down a cool process your followers might want to see. Show a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of a product or event faster or slower to clue followers in to what your brand is all about.

Here's an example of Hootsuite using the hyperlapse feature to speed up the setup process for an interview the brand featured on Snapchat:

To speed up or slow down your video snaps, swipe left on your screen after you've recorded until you find the rabbit icon (hyperlapse) or the snail icon (slow motion).

9) Ask for Interaction

A simple way to earn engagement from your followers on Snapchat? Ask for it.

Use text, narration, or emojis to ask your Snapchat followers to reply with a snap of their own, or to screenshot your content. It's a fun way to interact with viewers, and it helps marketers see how much of their content is actually resonating.

Aer Lingus did this masterfully with its Snapchat trivia Story below:

These are a few simple ways you can spice up your snaps with creativity to engage your followers and, hopefully, to attract more. If you're looking for more ideas for your brand's Snapchat strategy, check out our Snapchat for Business guide here.

Which of these tactics do your favorite brands use on Snapchat? Share with us in the comments below.

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The Complete Guide to Starting a Podcast for Agencies

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, marketing agencies need to be ahead of the curve. Providing a diverse range of high-quality content is an integral part of a sustainable competitive advantage -- but agencies also need to be frugal and clever with where and how they invest their time, money and energy.

Although blogs are still very popular, audiences are somewhat limited in how they can consume them -- you can’t read a blog at the gym or while driving, for instance. With this in mind, podcasting is a great way for agencies to connect with their audience and personify the brand while simultaneously diversifying their content channels, thus allowing audiences to engage with content in their preferred manner.

This post details everything you need to know to start a podcast -- from the equipment and technical aspects to the promotion and distribution. 

Why Start a Podcast?

There’s a plethora of research to back up my own personal belief in the power of podcasting. Edison Research's 2016 Infinite Dial study showed a significant year-over-year increase in podcast listenership, with monthly listenership increasing from 17% to 21%. Research in the UK and Europe has also shown an uptick in the popularity of podcasts, with the Winter 2016 Rajar Midas Audio Survey reporting 4.7 million podcast listeners.

While these statistics are promising, let’s be clear from the start: Podcasts don't typically open the floodgates in terms of leads. However, as a lead nurturing content channel, they’re incredibly powerful. Much like having an established blog with a good following, having an established podcast can help you to stand out as a thought leader in your industry -- which will then help you generate leads.

Podcasting is by no means a quick fix; you need to be willing to put time into building it up the same way you would a blog. But if you can dedicate the time and effort, it can be incredibly rewarding in terms of increased engagement with your existing customer base and also in elevating your agency's visibility and reputation.

How Agencies Can Start a Podcast

Equipment

Some people would have you believe that in order to podcast, you need to have a full recording studio setup, complete with expensive, difficult-to-use equipment -- but that’s not the case at all. You could start a podcast this very second just using your cell phone and a free SoundCloud account! It really is that simple, so don’t be deterred by overthinking things the technical side of things.

If you're going to be podcasting regularly, I would advise investing in a USB microphone. A Blue Yeti works perfectly fine and isn’t too expensive at approximately $130. If you visited the podcast booths at INBOUND 2016, you’ll have seen them first-hand. These and other USB microphones plug right into your computer without the need for a pre-amp to control/convert the voltage -- necessary to connect some of the higher-end microphones, like a Rode NT1A.

If you'll be conducting interviews for your podcast, the Zoom H1 portable recorder, featuring built-in unidirectional microphones, is a lightweight option to carry in your bag or your briefcase. It retails for approximately $100 -- not exactly breaking the bank.

Content

Now that you have your equipment ready to record, what should you talk about in your podcast? A while ago I came up with what I call the "C.A.S.T" content creation model, which stands for Content, Audience, Subject Matter, and Time.

Here's how it works: The Content should be relevant to your Audience; your Audience should be able to relate to the Subject Matter; the Subject Matter should be Timely (and preferably, Timeless). You know your customer persona well -- put yourself in their shoes, think about what they would be interested in, and you’ll soon have a list of topics to speak about. Better still, directly ask them what they’d like to hear!

Also, think about repurposing. Do you have a successful webinar that you could easily take the audio from? That can be a podcast episode. You could also turn it into a blog post and an ebook -- or vice versa. Scaling your content in this way maximizes the ROI you receive and helps to disseminate your most powerful messages through more than just one channel.

Recording

When you’re ready to hit record, there are a few things to consider.

If you don’t want any background noise, be sure that you research or maybe even reserve a quiet space to record in. On the other hand, if you would like ambient noise or a specific auditory "setting" for your podcast, like a café, check that it doesn’t over power the conversation.

One handy tip I often share for the recording process is taping your list of questions to the wall or table to avoid rustling paper in your hands. Also be aware of things like a clock ticking in the background -- if you need to edit the audio, these background sounds can easily get distorted, which is distracting for listeners.

Hosting

There are several well-known hosting options available to you, such as SoundCloud, Stitcher, Podomatic, Pandora, Libsyn, and iTunes. My personal top two are SoundCloud and iTunes.

SoundCloud is very straightforward to navigate and to review statistics in. It takes just seconds to start a free account, where you’ll have three hours of upload time to work with -- a good amount of time to test and then consider spending money on a paid hosting platform.

For example, let's say you start a marketing tips podcast, and each episode clocks in at 10 minutes. Your free SoundCloud account will allow for 18 episodes; by which point, you should have an idea of how things are going, and can make an informed decision of whether or not to pay for the platform of your choice. Even if you decide to move away from regular podcasting, you’ll still have an audio library of content you can share with customers and potential leads for months to come.

Hosting on Libsyn is an affordable option with some good benefits to it -- particularly if you use their 'On Publish' option, which will auto-post your podcast to various channels of your choice. This saves you the effort of having to login to various platforms each time you want to release an episode. Again, this isn't really necessary when you're just testing the waters and starting out, but it's worth researching if you think you'd like to keep your podcast going long-term.

Editing

When it comes to editing -- like learning anything new -- it takes practice. Starting with a simple-to-use software like Audacity will enable you to see how the process works, but don't leave it until the last minute -- record a few minutes of test audio and edit it in Audacity to learn how it works before you're on a time-crunch with your podcast.

When you've built up some confidence, move on to using Adobe Audition, where you'll have a much broader selection of options for editing, and you'll be able to ensure a professional standard. There are several YouTube tutorials for both of those editing platforms, which are really helpful. Recording in WAV format is generally best, as it's a larger file size that allows you to retain the quality of the audio throughout the editing process.

Promotion

Promoting a podcast is similar to how you might promote a webinar or video channel. Your weekly or monthly email newsletters provide a perfect opportunity to draw attention to your podcast. A persuasive CTA with an action verb is a great addition to your general company news email sends. A blog sidebar CTA for your podcast might also help drive traffic.

Another excellent way to promote your podcast is co-marketing. Think of successful YouTube creators who regularly have guest spots on each others' videos as a form of cross-promotion. We can apply that same theory to podcast promotion by partnering up with an already established podcast and co-promoting each other’s work. Working with someone who has already been running a successful podcast will also allow you the opportunity to learn more about how to get your own podcast off the ground.

Measuring Success

Measuring the success of your podcast depends, as always, on your definition of success according to your own goals.

Podcasters typically measure success by the engagement relative to the reach (how many listens we see in the podcast’s statistics vs. the number of people our content can potentially be heard by). Each platform/host will have their own ways of displaying statistics, but it’s important to remember that building an audience for a podcast takes time, so you’ll need to be patient and continue to promote.

What Are You Waiting For?

The most important thing about getting started with a podcast? Actually going ahead and hitting "record." Start with your cell phone and a free SoundCloud account and see how it goes. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s very little investment other than time -- and if it goes really well, you can take the next steps to make it a strong content channel for your business.

If you take away anything from this blog post, I hope it’s that setting up a podcast is something that you can do easily. So what are you waiting for? Go and hit record!

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Google introduces Family Link, its own parental control software for Android

 Google has just one-upped Apple on mobile in a significant way: today the company today announced the launch of Family Link, an application for parents that lets them establish a child’s first Google account, as well as utilize a series of  parental controls to manage and track screen time, daily limits, device “bedtimes,” and which apps kids can use. While all the… Read More

This creepy Facebook stalking app was a hoax—but it should still scare the hell out of you

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Earlier this week, sketchy-looking app  Facezam caught the internet's attention, and whipped up some controversy. It was all just a hoax engineered by a marketing company looking to score some viral gold. But that doesn't mean you still shouldn't be watching this story.   

The app was touted as "Shazam for faces," with its "makers" claiming it'd let users upload photos of strangers, then, leverage Facebook's repository of profile pictures to identify the people in those photos. 

Facezam raised red flags immediately. The scant marketing materials made it even worse. They declared that "privacy is over" and used a sexualized image of a woman to show how the bogus product supposedly worked: Just take a picture of an innocent person, let the app find their profile on Facebook and "the rest is up to you."   Read more...

More about Security, Privacy, Facebook, Facial Recognition, and Tech
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