There's no stopping this future.
This week, two of the largest technology companies in the world offered unnerving glimpses of the future as they see it — one full of intelligent robots, the other fully immersed in virtual reality — instantly sending the Internet into a frenzy.
Google-owned Boston Dynamics released an eerie video on Tuesday of a resilient humanoid robot that gets shoved and bullied repeatedly by an actual human, but recovers to continue its work stocking shelves with boxes — work that could once have only been done by humans.
You spend years waiting for some new technology to blow your mind in a way that the endless procession of niche social media apps, bulky smartwatches and fake "hoverboards" never do. And then one week the future just arrives in all its terrifying glory. Read more...
When it comes to email marketing, one of the biggest challenges that media companies face today is the ability to translate insight into action. The reason? When publishers deploy email campaigns, it’s usually to deliver some value to the advertising side of the business. There may be partners who are sponsoring newsletters, or marketing teams may be looking for added-value ways to drive more traffic to display ads.
But these systems are quickly losing their efficacy. The media industry is in flux, programmatic ad revenues are declining, and revenue teams are struggling to find new sources of profitability. They’re carving out new products for advertisers (i.e. native ads), launching creative monetization channels, and even building their own ecommerce platforms. They’re also repurposing their existing assets, like their in-house creative teams, into services-based revenue arms.
Within this context, email is a low-hanging area of opportunity that’s universally accessible to almost every media company. In addition to delivering content to and engaging audiences, this channel is an invaluable source of data that can be repurposed into new revenue initiatives. Email is one of the most direct ways for organizations to reach their audiences on a 1:1 basis, which means that it is a rich source of information for research and new product development.
3 steps to Translate Your Advertiser Data into Additional Sources of Value
1) Uncover Your Most Valuable Audiences
Connections are the currency of digital media today. Advertisers and audiences alike are looking for deeper, more positive interactions from their networks online. But it can be tough to differentiate a substantive connection from a superficial one when your success metrics are limited to pageviews, time on site, and bounce rates. That’s where email enters the picture.
Media companies can identify their most engaged audiences through their email subscriber lists. Who’s opening newsletters regularly? What content are these individuals reading? Are they clicking on ads?
The answers to these questions will give you the insights you need to generate more advertiser value. At a basic level, you can change your advertisers a premium for reaching your most engaged audiences. You can also develop and deploy custom campaigns that meet a very specific marketing goal. Because you’ll likely be marketing to the same engaged user base at multiple touch points, you’ll also create more predictability in terms of the ROI that you can expect to deliver to your advertisers.
It pays to identify—and market to—your most engaged audiences.
2) Create a Comprehensive Conversion Picture
Your email marketing data exists as part of an ecosystem with your social, mobile, and web analytics. When evaluating engagement with your newsletter, make sure that you look at the overall picture: how audiences are moving between channels and how these engagement patterns translate into results for advertisers.
This information can help your company create unique targeting and campaign concepts that stand apart from other media companies. One compelling example to model here is BuzzFeed. This publisher has created a unique UX that it uses to deliver custom native ad products. And because its model is so tailored to its content and audiences, the company is able to predict and replicate results. The company’s secret? It’s no secret at all—it’s data from its massive inventory of engaging content.
Think of your media experience as a puzzle. As important as email marketing data is, it’s only part of the overall picture. Know how everything fits together into one comprehensive conversion picture.
3) Focus on Optimizations
In addition to helping build new products and revenue streams, your email marketing data can also help you improve upon what’s already working. Use your email marketing data to study engagement on a granular level. What pieces of content are your audiences finding most helpful? How much time are they spending with it? On which social channels are your subscribers sharing your content, and how much traction is it getting?
Use this information to optimize the already-successful programs that you have in place for your advertiser programs. For instance, you could:
- Use your newsletter data to recommend content topics for your advertisers’ native ad campaigns
- Build additional targeted email lists
- Add more granularity to your audience segments
- Make improvements to your messaging
- Trigger workflows
Share this optimization data with your advertisers, and they’ll be blown away. In a media world where the majority of publishers are still dependent on clicks and eyeballs, you’ll be well positioned to offer something different and of value.
Last But Not Least
If you’re not sure where to get started or how to fully utilize your email marketing data, talk to your advertisers. Ask what solutions and optimizations they’d like to see on the market. Take this information, and evaluate where your own email marketing data fits into the picture. After all, the industry is learning, growing, and evolving together.
When is the last time you visited a website on your smartphone and had to wait for the page to load?
According to Akamai, 73% of mobile users say they've encountered a website that was slow to load. Many times, this happens when users aren't on WiFi and are relying on a cellular connection.
But when it takes a few seconds for a webpage to load, time seems to slow to a crawl. The longer that website takes to load, the more frustrated we become. And who could blame us? Shouldn't mobile websites load just as fast as their desktop counterparts?
Yes, they should. Your mobile website included.
So, how are mobile websites performing today? To find a benchmark, HubSpot Research conducted a study analyzing the performance of over 26,000 websites. Not only does the study paint a not-so-pretty picture of how many business' mobile websites are performing today, but it also uncovered exactly how slow loading times affect more than your bottom line -- they affect the visitors' heart rate.
Let's dive in to some of the results from this study, why slow loading times are so bad, and how you can make your website faster.
How Is Your Mobile Website Performing?
Chances are, it's barely passing.
According to HubSpot Research's study, most websites are not performing so well. In fact, the average load time we found in looking at these websites was almost four seconds -- which, by itself, is enough to cause many visitors to bounce and look elsewhere.
There are a lot of reasons why websites got a D- grade on average for performance in the study. One of the top contributors to slow load times are images and videos. Often, it's because images or videos have not been optimized for a webpage -- and especially not for a mobile data connection.
Take a moment to think about that beautiful, high-resolution image you probably have on your website's homepage. It's just the perfect representation of your brand or product, isn't it?
Well, that image probably looks great, but its large file size could be causing your website to load slowly -- thereby giving your mobile visitors a poor user experience.
Why Fast Loading Times Matter
Before we get to how to make your website load faster, let's talk a little more about why fast loading times matter.
Slow Loading Times Stress Out Your Visitors
It makes sense that slow loading time would frustrate your site visitors and affect conversion rate and brand perception. But did you know it actually leads to increased heart rate and stress levels? According to a 2016 Ericsson Mobility study, single website loading delays lead to a 38% increase in heart rate, on average.
It's hard to quantify a 38% increase in heart rate -- especially if you don't monitor it actively. So think of the last time you did something stressful, like watching an horror movie. The delay in mobile load times is roughly equivalent to how you felt watching that horror movie.
As marketers, that's not the way we want visitors feeling when accessing our content or evaluating our product or service.
Visitors May Blame You for Their Bad Experience
In some cases, when website visitors experience a delay in loading time, they blame their cellular provider for bad service. But the longer the delay, the more the blame for the delay turns to you: the content provider.
In the same Ericsson study, the researchers ran a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey for customers, which asked them at what point they transfer blame from their mobile service providers to the content provider.
For customers in the study that experienced no delay loading a mobile website, their NPS score increased drastically (by 4.5 points) for their mobile service provider. But customers that experienced some delays started to place blame on the service provider; and the longer the delay, the less they blamed the actual provider, and the more they pointed a finger at the folks behind the website itself.
Slow Videos Seem to Be the Most Stressful
The use of large imagery and background video has become more common in website design lately. Videos are great assets and bring life to your content -- but it turns out they can also be pretty stressful.
The researchers at Ericsson found that a YouTube video that had even a two-second delay in loading increased viewers' stress levels by 3%; and once a video started playing, just a single pause caused stress levels to increase another 15%:
This added stress brings us right back to that horror movie -- a feeling we certainly don't want to leave visitors with.
Knowing how much load time delays can affect visitors physiologically, what can we do to make our mobile websites faster and give them a better experience?
5 Ways to Make Your Mobile Website Faster
There's a lot that goes into website performance, but let's cover the top five factors that play a role in your mobile website loading quickly.
1) Determine how your mobile website is set up.
Do you have a separate mobile website (such as m.exampledomain.com) or does your website use responsive design?
Google recommends using responsive design as their preferred methodology and based on how your mobile website is setup there are performance optimizations that your team can investigate. Read this blog post to learn how to test your website for mobile-friendliness.
2) Compress your images.
Remember that beautiful product or brand image I mentioned above that could actually be slowing down your website? If you compress that image, you could take seconds off your page's load time. Because websites generally have a significant number of images, this is often the largest reason for slow load times -- so we recommend addressing this first.
For example, let's say your product image is displayed on a page as 500 x 500 pixels, but the actual size of the image file is 3500 x 3500 pixels. That image probably weighs a few megabytes (MB), and in many websites, the visitors browser will be forced to load the 3500-pixel version of the image first, and then resize it properly to its smaller version -- all during the loading process. On desktop connections this happens constantly, but generally, it happens so quickly we don't notice it.
But on mobile -- especially on a cellular connection -- the full-size image can take a long time to load, which can really frustrate users. To fix this, consider resizing, cropping, and then compressing your images. (HubSpot customers don't need to worry about compressing their images -- images uploaded to HubSpot's software are automatically compressed. For non-HubSpot customers, tools like TinyPNG will help you reduce an image's file size.)
We also recommending saving images in a format like JPG that's relatively lightweight, good for your pages, and won't bloat the user's experience.
"Minifying code" is the process of removing unnecessary characters without affecting the website's functionality. It has a significant impact on time it takes for a website's code to be processed, thereby making your website load faster across any device, whether desktop or mobile.
4) Load videos in the background (or not at all).
Videos are likely the largest resource on your pages, and will take the longest to load on mobile. If the video is not critical for the user experience, consider hiding it in the background -- or not even loading it at all. By hiding videos in the background, they'll loading will help with the perception of your website loading quickly but may not ultimately solve an issue of a slow-loading mobile website.
How do you make a video load in the background? You or a member of your development team could insert some CSS into the code so that the video won't show up at all when the visitor lands on the website.
If your website includes long videos that describe your product or service, you could try using a call-to-action instead of putting the video directly on the website so mobile-specific visitors can, for example, email the video to themselves and view it later. This saves time in the near-term, and also makes the mobile experience vastly better for visitors.
(Note: If you choose to create CTAs for mobile users, think about the spacing around your text boxes and images to make sure your webpage is legible and easy to interact with, regardless of which device your visitors are using to access your page. Buttons that are difficult to interact with on a small screen could lead to a frustrating user experience.)
5) Take advantage of the cache and speed benefits of a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) help cache and load content on servers in different locations so that, no matter where on the internet the visitor is coming from and which device they're using, they'll have a faster -- and better -- user experience. If your website isn't on a CDN, you could be missing out on a number of performance benefits that we would strongly recommend.
(HubSpot customers: The HubSpot Website Platform uses responsive design, has automatic image compression, and is backed by our CDN for loading your website really quickly -- so you don't need to worry about these things. In fact, according to Yottaa, an independent Internet Performance company websites on HubSpot load faster than on other content management systems.)
There's a lot at stake for marketers in ensuring our websites not only look great, but function and perform great as well. A fast-loading mobile site will ensure your visitors don't bounce from your site, and that they won't experience levels of stress similar to watching a horror movie. You can use the tips above right away to dive in and to start improving performance of your desktop and mobile website.
Can Computers Teach Us How to Write? How WriteLab Developed an Algorithm for Better Writing [Podcast]
Most of us know that learning to write can be a painful process.
You spend hours honing a piece that you hope and pray will be good. You get it to a point where you think it's passable, and then pass it off to a friend or colleague for editing and feedback help.
They send back their comments. (Sometimes, they're harsh ... but you know it'll make you a better writer.) You make changes to your piece. Then, you rinse and repeat with new pieces until you're consistently producing high quality work.
This whole process isn't easy -- nor is it quick. But what if technology could speed it up -- without sacrificing the quality of feedback needed to grow as a writer?
That's precisely what WriteLab is trying to build. Using algorithms and machine learning, their tool analyzes someone's writing and gives the writer tips on how to improve it.
On this episode of The Growth Show, WriteLab's Co-Founder & CEO Matthew Ramirez joins HubSpot's CMO Kipp Bodnar to talk about the lessons and challenges his company has encountered when addressing such an audacious -- and important -- problem.
To listen to the episode, click "play" in the player below, or download the episode on iTunes:
Check out the latest recaps of The Growth Show episodes by clicking here.
Facebook just got a lot more emotional
The social network rolled out its long awaited redesign of the like button Wednesday, which added five new sentiments you can use to respond to posts in your News Feed
But with such a big change, you likely have at least a few questions. We've broken down a few of the most important things you need to know about Facebook Reactions right now.
1. How to find them
Using them is pretty easy: just hold down on the like button (on Facebook's iOS or Android app) or hover over the like button with your mouse (from desktop.) The new emoji reactions will appear and you can select the one you want to use Read more...More about Facebook, Tech, Apps Software, and Facebook Reactions
The new Facebook reactions are here and gone are the days of the simple "Like." You can now express your love, anger, laughter, surprise and sadness on your friends' posts.
Here are a few dos and don'ts for how to use these new reactions while maintaining proper netiquette.
1. DON'T 'Angry' a political post you don't agree with
Tempting yes, but the world could certainly use a lot less online drama. Trust us, it just isn't worth it. Let people have their own opinions, political or not, and keep scrolling. Read more...
Well, Facebook finally opened up its new 'reactions' to everyone. We just wish they were different.
For over a year now, Mark Zuckerberg has teased something different than the 'Like' button for the billion people who use the social media website. That's right, Facebook is no longer a simple place where your uncle can invite you to play a casino game. It's now a place of emotions.
But the array of emotions don't really reflect how we feel when we browse through the endless stream of relative reactions and political tirades. Sure we expected, "happy" and "angry." But, we really want something like "deeply depressed." Please. Read more...