You’ll soon be able to use Facebook Live with drones and GoPros

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Facebook has been talking the talk on live video. During Tuesday's F8 keynote speech, Mark Zuckerberg started to show how it's going walk the walk.

Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has opened its Live platform to allow streaming from other devices and services. (Before now, users could only use Facebook Live from its apps.)

Live will also be getting a dedicated tab in the Facebook app that will open into a new list of live video streams from friends, brands, celebrities and media companies.

Zuckerberg introduced the example with a drone that flew around him and streamed video of the conference. The drone was from DJI, which is a launch partner for the new open interface. Read more...

More about Facebook Live, Facebook, and Business

You can now build bots for Facebook Messenger

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At its F8 developer conference, Facebook unveiled a new Messenger platform that allows developers to build bots inside Facebook Messenger.

Bots are hot; they could even be the future.

At its a heart, a bot is nothing more an an app that runs automated tasks based on input. So “run backup” could have a bot that backs up your data to Dropbox or whatever.

The modern era of chat bots work with chat apps – including Messenger – and use real language to determine what task to complete.

In the demo early in his keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed how bots inside Messenger could deliver news to users using CNN. Read more...

More about F8, Facebook, Bots, and Tech

Facebook plans to build augmented reality glasses

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Facebook's Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is shipping today, but in the future, the company hopes the technology and form factor will shrink to fit into a pair of normal-looking glasses.

On stage at the company's annual F8 developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off a concept for a pair of smart glasses that he thinks we'll all be wearing.

Zuckerberg said he wants the smart glasses to be capable of both virtual reality and augmented reality. The vision is not too different from Google Glass. Read more...

More about Facebook, Ar, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Tech

Mark Zuckerberg subtweets Donald Trump in moving Facebook speech

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a message for Donald Trump: Stop dividing people.

Kicking off the company's annual F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's mission more articulately than he ever has, saying the social network stands for "connecting every person. Giving every person a voice." He paired the vision with a broader call for inclusion and openness, indirectly subtweeting the likes of Trump for "building walls, distancing people they view as others."

"It takes courage to choose hope over fear," Zuckerberg said. "You have to be optimistic to think that you can change the world." Read more...

More about Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, Facebook, and Tech

Should You Pay for Content Distribution?

Content_Distribution_-998735-edited.jpgAs content creators, we have no choice but to remain humble because every time we publish an article, it’s one of 2 million blog posts being published on the same day. Sure, we possess plenty of SEO know-how and a knack for delivering information in a way that’s entertaining and interesting.

But, after vehement denial, mini breakdowns and tearful calls to our moms, we content creators have had to accept a difficult truth: Our talent alone isn’t always enough to generate leads.

This doesn’t mean we’re throwing in the towel, though. Far from it, in fact. Content is still one of the leading drivers of conversions and overall revenue and, thanks to consumers’ love for innovation and wit, becoming even more important. We know someone has to win at content, so it may as well be us.

But how we get the right content to the right people at the right time is evolving. Content distribution is changing, and some channels are expecting you to pay.

If you feel backed into a corner, you’re not alone. Many (OK, most) businesses aren’t exactly thrilled about forking over cash to earn the engagement they feel they deserve. So, is there another alternative to paying for exposure? And does paying for distribution rob your content of its authenticity?

Let’s jump in and take a look.

“Pay to Play” is Nothing New

Remember social media marketing before 2012? Ahh, those were the days. With a clever quip and a nice visual, you could enjoy semi-viral exposure and earn your brand hundreds of likes for free. But along came the Facebook “reachpocalypse” algorithm updates and, by 2014, brands enjoyed an organic reach hovering somewhere around zero.

So millions of companies gave up and deleted their Facebook accounts.

Sike.

Actually, businesses begrudgingly began adding Facebook advertising and post promotion into their marketing budgets. Successful businesses still used the same great content strategy and that, combined with a budget to boost this content, helped bring engagement rates back to healthier numbers.

But Facebook wasn’t the first platform to require payment for space. It’s the same tactic used by Google AdWords—as well as newspapers, magazines, billboards and other types of media we enjoyed in the Stone Age. So, really, how long did we expect to get away with free exposure?

Customers Like Having Things Delivered

It’s a rainy Sunday, and you’re craving pineapple pizza. You begin to weigh your hunger pangs against your desire to avoid putting on pants, and then you remember—it’s 2016, and you don’t have to choose. With a few taps on your screen, a friendly Domino’s employee can be at your door with a fresh pie to quell your craving in 30 minutes or less.

But what if you’re craving Tom yum and your favorite Thai spot doesn’t deliver? Have no fear—GrubHub has your back. Out of toothpaste? Amazon Prime Now will drop a package outside your door within two hours. Not sure what to binge-watch next? Netflix has plenty of recommendations.

You get the picture.

Today’s consumers are so used to having things delivered, they’re spending less time seeking them out. Sure SEO best practices will launch you to the top of search engine results—but what if your content doesn’t even make it to the search engine?

Thanks to everyone’s favorite buzzwords: programmatic marketing and big data, there’s a good chance relevant content from your competitors is being delivered into your audience’s most frequented spaces—like their Facebook newsfeed and email inbox—before they’ve even made it to Google. Why? Because they’re paying for placement.

This isn’t a case of “everyone else is doing it, so you should, too.” This is a case of “everyone else is doing it, so you must do it better.”

How can you get engagement from the right people at the right time? By selecting the right demand generation channels.

What Does Paid Content Distribution Look Like?

Done well, paid content looks like, well, regular content. It’s interesting, it’s enjoyable and it blends within the platform. So long as you’re not attempting to “trick” your audience with cheap gimmicks, and so long as you’re publishing the same high-quality, relevant content typically associated with your brand, you don’t have to lose your authenticity. In fact, you can even grow brand loyalty.

Here are a few types of paid content distribution to consider…

1) Sponsored Content Within a Publication


Sponsored content is similar to what used to be known as “advertorials”—but even less salesy. It’s content that looks and feels much like the content usually found in a publication, but published by a brand. Take, for example, this BuzzFeed post by Discover. The brand created this BuzzFeed-esque listicle of gifs, interspersed with financial advice and a CTA to learn more about FICO Credit Scores.

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2) Facebook Sponsored Posts


Paying for a spot within your audience’s newsfeed is a great way to grab their attention in the same way you did before the algorithm update and, in many cases, even better. Not only can users like, comment and react, the post also includes social proof so you can see which of your friends also like the brand. For example, this Lululemon Athletica post introduces us to a helpful blog article.

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3) Twitter Engagement Tweets

Like Facebook promoted posts, Twitter engagement Tweets allow brands to directly target audiences that are likely to engage with their content. The Vice post below linked me to a Las Vegas city guide shortly after I returned from a trip to Sin City. (Apparently, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas if you Tweet with geolocation.)

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4) Linkedin Sponsored Update


If you’re a B2B company, and you’re looking for super-duper targeting when sharing your content, LinkedIn may be your new bff. Radius Intelligence did a great job with this Linkedin sponsored update. Not only am I a marketer who works primarily in the B2B space, but I am interested in learning more about predictive analytics.

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5) Outbrain


Often, the best time to present fresh content to a prospect is just after they’ve finished consuming another piece of content—and that’s exactly how Outbrain works. For example, after reading about the upcoming Apple Spring event on Mashable, I was presented with this list of promoted stories, including both industry-related pieces and celeb slideshows sure to prolong my procrastination.

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What’s Next?

The key thing to remember in all of this is, just because a piece of content is disseminated using paid distribution doesn’t mean it’s going to automatically enjoy heaps of engagement. You have to follow the same rules of great content: It has to be relevant, shareable, enjoyable and help solve a problem or meet a need. If you’re going to boost boring content, you may as well just start flushing $20 bills down the toilet. It’ll achieve the same effect.

If you’re unsure about how much to spend? Learn more about how to budget for content distribution here.

Finally, don’t be afraid of paying for content distribution. Instead of nostalgically yearning for the days when things were free, wake up to the opportunities before you. So long as you create great content, promote it on the right platforms and use your data, you’ll enjoy such tremendous ROI the money you spend on promotion will feel like a drop in the bucket.

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How to watch Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at the Facebook F8 conference

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Facebook will soon kick off one of its biggest events of the year: its annual F8 developer conference.

This year promises to be one of the biggest events in recent memory, with Facebook expected to announce new software that will allow developers to create bots for Messenger.

Mark Zuckerberg's keynote will kick off beginning at 10 a.m. PT Tuesday when he is scheduled to take the stage at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

In addition to bots, we're expecting Facebook's chief executive to spend some time talking about its artificially intelligent assistant M and the company's other A.I. initiatives. We're also likely to hear a lot about the company's live-streaming product, Facebook Live, as well as 360-degree video for the Oculus Rift VR headset. Read more...

More about Apps And Software, Facebook, and Tech

Google will now warn users when websites host deceptive ‘social engineering’ ads

SBWarnBlur Google says it’s expanding its efforts at keeping web surfers better protected from deceptive content online through an update to its “Safe Browsing” initiative. The search giant will now flag and warn users when they encounter web sites with what Google calls “social engineering” advertisements. These are ads that try to trick users into thinking… Read More

Facebook reminds UK users to register to vote in May elections

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LONDON — People eligible to vote in the UK elections in May are seeing an update in their Facebook newsfeed reminding them to register to vote. 

The social network has teamed up with the Electoral Commission to put a message in people's timelines prompting them to go to Gov.uk and use the online registration site. 

Mock-up of what people will see

Image: facebook/electoral commission

The measure follows a similar initiative launched ahead of last year's general election, which resulted in over 15 million people viewing the registration reminder, Facebook said in a statement. 

Facebook has tried out similar initiatives in the United States during the 2012 presidential election, with voters in Washington state even being able to register directly from the platform. Read more...

More about Facebook, Elections, Uk, and World

17 Website and UX Design Statistics That Make the Case for Smarter Web Design

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Nowadays, getting a website up and running isn't nearly as difficult as it once was. Optimizing the design of that website for improved user experience (UX), on the other hand, continues to be something that marketers struggle with.

In fact, according to a report from the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), 77% of agencies believe that poor website UX is a weakness for their clients, making poor UX the most significant weakness agencies identified. 

Download our free guide to web design here for more tips on how to design a smarter website.

To help you better understand what today's emerging web design trends are and where you should be focusing your energy, we've compiled some of the most recent stats and data on website design, website optimization, and UX. Let's dive in ...

17 Statistics That Make the Case for Smarter Website and User Experience Design

General Web Design Stats

1) Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain. (Source: Adobe) twitter-logo

2) 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. (Source: Adobe) twitter-logo 

3) 51% of people think "thorough contact information" is the most important element missing from many company websites. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

4) 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. (Source: Adobe) twitter-logo

5) 44% of website visitors will leave a company's website if there's no contact information or phone number. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

Website Optimization Statistics

6) Between December 2013 and December 2015, tablet internet consumption grew by 30%. (Source: comScore) twitter-logo

7) Between December 2013 and December 2015, smartphone internet consumption grew by 78%. (Source: comScore) twitter-logo

8) Between December 2013 and December 2015, desktop internet consumption dropped by 1%. (Source: comScore) twitter-logo

9) Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online. (Source: comScore) twitter-logo

10) 13% of adults access the internet via mobile only. 11% access the internet via desktop only. (Source: comScore) twitter-logo

11) 40% of smartphone and tablet owners search for B2B products on those devices. (Source: KoMarketingtwitter-logo

Usability and User Experience Design Stats

12) 47% of website visitors check out a company's products/services page before looking at any other sections of the site. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

13) Once on a company's homepage, 86% of visitors want to see information about that company's products/services. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

14) Once on a company's homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company's contact information. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

15) Once on a company's homepage, 52% of visitors want to see "about us" information. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

16) After reaching a company's website via a referral site, 50% of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

17) After reaching a company's website via a referral site, 36% of visitors will click on the company's logo to reach the homepage. (Source: KoMarketing) twitter-logo

What other interesting stats have you seen about website design and optimization? Share them in the comments section below.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

  free introduction to growth-driven web design
introduction to growth-driven web design

How Do Your Google AdWords Metrics Compare to Industry Averages? [New Benchmark Data]

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As marketers, we're always thinking about the most optimal way to target our potential customers. Trouble is, mastering Google AdWords is really tricky. With so many metrics to keep tabs on, figuring out whether or not you're getting it right is often easier said than done.

To help shed some light on the situation, the folks at WordStream released a detailed new study on AdWords industry metrics. The study reveals a ton of helpful industry-specific benchmarks for both search and display ads, including average clickthrough rate (CTR), average cost-per-click (CPC), average conversion rate (CVR), and average cost-per-action (CPA).

This information can be used to inform your AdWords strategy, and ultimately help you improve your overall ad performance. (HubSpot Marketing customers: We recently launched a Google AdWords integration via HubSpot Ads to help you better measure and optimize your ad campaigns.)

To help you get the most out of WordSteam's findings, we’ve outlined the highlights from their study below.

Search vs. Display Ads: What's the Difference?

Before we dive into the metrics, it's good to clarify what exactly we're trying to measure within Google AdWords. The most common types of advertising done by marketers are search and display ads. Although both are included in AdWords, they have completely different implications and uses for marketers.

Search ads are those that appear when a potential customer searches for your product (or related item) on Google. You've likely noticed them right above all the organic results on a SERP:

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Display ads appear on a website while browsing. They are typically located either on the top or side of the page, and often contain attention-grabbing images:

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Google AdWords Industry Benchmarks

Now that we've gone over the basics, let's dive right into the data. Here is an outline of the recent benchmarking data released by WordStream, followed by a few suggestions to help you improve your own performance. 

Average Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Clickthrough rate reveals how often people who view your ad end up actually clicking it. CTR can be used to help you determine the quality of your imagery, positioning, and keywords. Across all industries, the average CTR for a search ad is 1.91%, and 0.35% for a display ad.

Here's a look at the average CTR by industry:

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Pro Tip: The more relevant your keywords are to your business or offer, the more likely users will be to clickthrough: 54% of respondents said they prefer relevant ads to irrelevant ones, according to research from Qriously.

Average Cost-per-Click (CPC)

Cost-per-click is the amount you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. While the most that you'll be charged per click is reflected by your maximum cost-per-click bid, you'll often be charged less. According to AdWords, "Actual CPC is often less than maximum CPC because with the AdWords auction, the most you'll pay is what's minimally required to hold your ad position and any ad formats shown with your ad, such as sitelinks." The average CPC across all industries is $2.32 for search ads, and $0.58 for display ads.

Here's a look at the average CPC by industry:

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Pro Tip: Looking at your lowest or highest CPC doesn't always tell the full story. Instead, focus on how the ads are converting, and be sure to turn off those ads that aren't seeing a great conversion rate. 

(HubSpot Marketing customers: You can keep track of your conversions using the AdWords integration for HubSpot Ads. Check out this page for more information.)

Average Conversion Rate (CVR)

Average conversion rate tracks the amount of conversions you get from a certain ad. If you're seeing a lot of traffic from your ads, but not a ton of conversions, this could be a red flag. To put things into perspective, the average CVR across all industries is 2.70% for search ads and 0.89% for display ads.

Here's a look at the average CVR by industry: 

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Pro Tip: If you're looking to improve your CVR, try leveraging negative keywords. Negative keywords are used to prevent your ad from being shown to anyone searching for a specific word or phrase. For example, if you don't want to attract people looking for free tools or resources, you may want to use "free" as a negative keyword. Want more tips? Check out this resource

Average Cost-per-Action (CPA)

Average cost-per-action (also known as cost-per-acquisition) refers to the amount you pay every time an action is performed involving your ad. Some examples include impressions, form submission, or event registration. According to AdWords, Target CPA bidding leverages historical information about your campaign to "automatically find an optimal CPC bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear. AdWords sets these bids to achieve an average CPA equal to your target across all ad groups and campaigns using this strategy." The average CPA for search ads is $59.18, and $60.76 for display ads.

Here's a look the average CPA by industry:

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Pro Tip: Want to lower your CPA? Start by optimizing for Quality Score. According to WordStream, there's a strong correlation between high Quality Scores and low CPAs. Click here to learn more about Quality Score.

Did you find these benchmarks helpful? Share you thoughts in the comment section below.

free guide to using Google AdWords

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