63 Web Design Terms Every Marketer Should Know

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When you're new to marketing, especially on a small team, you might have to do a lot of things at a moment's notice. And when it comes to things like blogging and social media, sure, you've got this. But soon enough, you're being pulled onto design projects. One day you're mocking up an infographic; the next, you're designing an ebook. You feel woefully unprepared -- and that design vocabulary? It can feel like a foreign language.

Sound familiar? 

We've been there -- and we know we're not the only marketers who have, at some point, needed to become fluent in this vocabulary. So we decided to share a larger glossary, to help us all step up our game a bit. By no means is this the be-all-end-all of design terminology, so feel free to add your definitions in the comments as well. Here's what we have, organized alphabetically.

The Ultimate Web Design Terms Glossary

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / R / S / T / V / W / X / Z

A

1) Alignment

The positioning of the elements in your design (e.g. text, images, etc.). These elements can be aligned to both the page and to each other. For example, this paragraph of text is aligned to the left margin, whereas the lines depicted in the image below are aligned to the right.

document-27091_960_720.png Source: Pixabay

2) Analogous Colors

Colors that appear adjacent to each other on a color wheel.

analogous.jpg Source: nopira

3) Ascender

A linear extension of a letter that appears above the midline -- also see baseline, cap height, descender, and extender.

ascender-1.png Source: Max Naylor

B

4) Baseline

The even, invisible line on which all letters of a typeface sit -- also see ascender, cap height, descender, extender, and midline.

baseline.png Source: Max Naylor

C

5) Cap Height

The distance between the baseline and the top of uppercase letters -- also see ascender, descender, extender, and midline.

cap height.png Source: Max Naylor

6) CMYK Color Model

Stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This set of colors is used in print design because of the way paper absorbs light.

CMYK-1.png Source: Capsoul

7) Color Wheel

A circle of colors that shows relationships between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

BYR_color_wheel.svg.png Source: nopira

8) Color Schemes

The combination of two or more colors from the color wheel -- also known as color harmonies.

9) Complementary Colors

Colors that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel.

complementary.jpg Source: nopira

10) Compression

Reducing a file size by eliminating excess data. Particularly helpful when emailing or saving large image files. See more on lossy and lossless compression.

11) Contrast

The accentuation of differences between colors, shapes, spacing, or any other design element.

leaves-835488_960_720.jpg Source: Pixabay

12) Crop

When outer parts of an image are removed to reframe the subject matter, or to resize the image's aspect ratio.

M6bEaWiUIs.gif

13) CSS

A piece of code that is used to designate the look and feel of a website, separate from the actual content of a web page.

D

14) Descender

An extender on a letter, appearing below the baseline -- also see ascender, cap height, and midline.

descender-1.png Source: Max Naylor

15) Dots per Inch (DPI)

Similar to the pixel for the web, dots are the smallest unit of measurement when printing digital images. The number of DPIs refer to the resolution of a printed digital object -- the higher the DPI, the higher the resolution.

16) Drop Shadow

A visual effect that displays a graphic as if it had a shadow behind it.

Blurshadow.png Source: Tizio

E

17) EPS

A file format used for vector images that contain both text and graphics.

18) Extender

The part of a letter that extends above the x-height or below the baseline -- also see ascender, cap height, descender, and midline.

F

19) Feathering

A design technique used to smooth out edges of a feature.

20) Font

A typeface in one specific style and size. An example would include Times New Roman Semi Bold in size 14.

G

21) GIF

An image file format that's best used for small image files with few colors and designs, or animated images. Below is an example of an animated GIF image:

Humulone-3D-xray.gif Source: Manuel Almagro Rivas

22) Gradient

A design technique in which one color or portion of an image appears to fade into another.

turquoise-top-gradient-background.jpg Source: Public Domain Pictures

23) Grid

A purely hypothetical map of vertical and horizontal lines that helps align images and text within a document.

H

24) HEX Code

A code used in HTML and CSS to designate a specific color, often appearing after the pound sign (#). Below is a chart of HEX color codes:

Xterm_color_chart.png Source: bmdavll

25) HTML

The computer language used to display content like text, images, and links on the web.

26) Hue

What most people think of as "color" -- red, orange, yellow, etc.

J

27) JPEG

An image file type that uses lossy or lossless compression, with little perception in a loss of quality. This type of file is best used for photographs and realistic paintings where there are smooth transitions between colors.

K

28) Kerning

The space between individual letters.

1280px-Kerning_EN.svg.png Source: Sherbyte

L

29) Leading

The space between lines of type.

30) Lossy

A form of data compression where detail is deleted as the file size is decreased. A usual lossy compression method is JPEG.

31) Lossless

As opposed to lossy compression, this format allows the image's detail to be restored.

M

32) Midline

The distance from the baseline to the top of most lowercase letters, including “e,” “g,” and the curve of “h." Also know as the "median," as depicted below. See ascender, cap height, and descender.

midline-1.png Source: Max Naylor

N

33) Negative Space

The empty space surrounding a design, whether a webpage or single image -- also see white space.

negativespace.jpg Source: Public Domain Pictures

O

34) Open Type Fonts

The current standard in font formats. It contains both the screen and printer versions in a single file, and is compatible for both Windows and Mac. The file extension is .otf.

35) Orphan

An opening line in a paragraph that appears alone at the bottom of a page. An orphan can also be a word or very short line that appears by itself at the end of a paragraph.

2000px-Orphan-typesetting.svg.png Source: Maat

P

36) Pantone

A color-matching system developed by the Pantone company. Largely used in print design, and used to match printed colors to those that appear on the screen during the digital phase of design.

nuance-1086725_960_720.jpg Source: Pixabay

37) PDF

A file format best used to represent documents and presentations.

38) Pixel

The smallest element of an image on a computer.

39) Pixels per Inch (PPI)

Another measure of image resolution, according to how many pixels are present within a given section of the image.

40) PNG

An image file format that's best used when the image has large areas of uniform color, or a transparent background (unlike JPEG).

R

41) Rectangular (or Tetradic) Colors

Four colors that are two pairs of complementary colors.

rectangular.jpg Source: nopira

42) Resolution

A way of measuring the sharpness and level of detail in an image. A higher resolution usually indicates a larger file size, representing the amount of data -- like pixels or dots -- within the image.

43) RGB Color Model

An acronym standing for the colors red, green, and blue. The RGB color model is used for web design, because monitors transmit light in these colors.

AdditiveColor.svg.png Source: Mike Horvath

S

44) Saturation

How bright or intense a color is.

HSV_color_solid_cylinder_alpha_lowgamma.png Source: SharkD

45) Serif

A small line attached to the end of a stroke in some fonts. "Sans serif" refers to fonts that don't have this line.

2000px-S_long_serif_et_sans_serif.svg.png Source: GJo

46) Shade

How much black is mixed in with the hue.

47) Split-Complementary Colors

Colors that consist of a base color, plus the two colors that lie next to its complementary color.

splitcomplementary.jpeg Source: nopira

48) Square Colors

On the color wheel, four colors are spaced evenly from each other.

SQUARE-4.jpg Source: nopira

49) Stem

The primary vertical stroke in a letter. It’s used in the letter “B” and the diagonal line of “V.”

50) Strokes

The lines that make up a letter in a typeface.

T

51) Tail

The descending stroke in a letter that’s often decorative -- for example, in the letter “Q.”

52) Terminal

The end of a stroke that doesn’t include a serif.

53) Tint

How much white is mixed in with the hue.

54) Triadic Colors

Color scheme in which three colors located at 120 degrees from each other on the color wheel are combined. It's often considered the best color scheme.

triadic.jpg Source: nopira

55) Typeface

A design collection of characters, including letters, numbers, and punctuations. Examples include Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial.

V

56) Vector Image

Instead of using pixels to represent images, vectors use lines and shapes. Because they do not rely on pixels, enlarged vector images still maintain image clarity and quality.

57) Visual Hierarchy

A design principle that visually orders and emphasizes different parts of your content’s message by using colors, sizes, and layouts.

W

58) Watermark

An easy-to-see marker placed over the top of photos on the web and in print. It is used to identify the owner of an image and prevent visual content theft.

59) Weight

In typefaces, the thickness of the stroke’s width. Some examples include demibold, light, and bold.

60) White Space

The blank space surrounding an object in design -- also see negative space.

books-education-school-literature-48126.jpeg Source: Pexels

61) Widow

The section of text at the end of a paragraph that spills over into the following column or page.

2000px-Widow-typesetting.svg.png Source: Maat

X

62) X-height

In a letter, the distance between the midline and baseline -- also see ascender, cap height, descender, and extender.

xheight.png Source: Max Naylor

Z

63) ZIP file

A file format that compresses several files and combines them into a single folder. Compressed files do not lose any data to become smaller, and are easily restored by unzipping the ZIP file.

What other web design terms would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments. 

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

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4 of the Best Growth Hacking Experiments to Try in 2017

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Growth Hacking is a popular marketing buzzword, but does anyone really know what it means? Neil Patel does a pretty good job explaining the concept and talking about its origin, saying that a growth marketer is someone who uses “analytics, inexpensive, creative and innovative ways to exponentially grow their company’s customer base.” But how can one pull off that kind of growth -- especially with a limited budget and resources?

Growth hackers or marketers are inherently what we call “scrappy” -- fast-moving and super creative. They experiment and experiment until they find something that multiplies growth by 10, 20, or 40x, instead of doing large projects that increase conversions in small increments.

On the surface, it might look a little intimidating. But with a little bit of light shed on how growth hacking works -- and how marketers have successfully experimented with it before -- you'll be on your way to producing your own significant results.

A Bit About Growth Hacking

At its core, there are five major pillars to growth hacking:

  1. Evaluate current marketing initiatives. Do a full audit that determines your best sources of leads, traffic, and page views. Figure out which channels are working for you.
  2. Set achievable goals. Determine where you'd like to improve these numbers, and start to think about how you can do so.
  3. Plan experiments to test your hypotheses. Come up with two, three, four, or twelve ways of testing your theories, and how you can reach your goals.
  4. Let it run. Experiment until your results are statistically significant. You can also continue optimizing until you reach your goals.
  5. Document your winning results, and share them with your team. Growth hacking is all about improving what you already have. If you come up with a game-changing tactic, spread the word.

For traditional marketers, this level of experimentation can look overwhelming, or maybe even foreign. But if you’re already testing certain marketing variables and learning from the outcomes, you're executing "growth hacking" without the label.

Think about it -- have you ever A/B tested a subject line in an email? That’s an experiment. Have you ever noticed that a certain landing page converts much high than another? It's an opportunity to duplicate that page for other campaigns and optimize for conversion. That conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a major component of growth hacking. It takes your existing content and updates it to increase conversion rate, making things like your landing pages and blog posts perform better, without having to create new content.

To give you an idea of how to start growth hacking your marketing plan, we talked to four growth marketers from some of the top tech companies in Boston. We asked them to give an example of an experiment that they ran with significant results -- here’s what we found.

4 of the Best Growth Hacking Experiments From Real Growth Marketers

1) Andrew Capland, Growth Team Lead, Wistia

For video hosting platform Wistia, getting a video into a new user's account is the first important step in the onboarding flow. Once users upload a video, they can begin to explore all of the core Wistia features, like customizing player colors according to the brand, and adding lead generation tools or clickable links. After experimenting, Andrew's team was able to produce a 15% lift in onboarding metrics. Here, he explains how:

Objective/Hypothesis

Capland's team zoomed into the data and noticed that many users who borrowed a video from Wistia just to complete that onboarding step actually viewed it -- which presented an opportunity.

"We realized there could be an opportunity to use that video for additional product education," said Capland. "We believed that we could increase our active users by making our 'loaner' video more educational and product focused." Wistia decided to test this hypothesis by creating a new video that gave a tour of the media page and taught users how to use the Wistia tools.

Here's the old video:

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Experiment Plan

Wistia created a new video -- which we've shared below -- for their users to borrow, and showed it to 50% of visitors.

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Results

The new variation produced a 15% lift in one of Wistia's main onboarding metrics - and led to more account activations and sales.

2) Jessica Webb, Growth/Content Marketer, Trello

The team at Trello needed to find the best way to position the product on its homepage, to make the best impression on new site visitors. To test out different messaging options, the team ran an experiment that ultimately increased homepage conversions by 2%. Here's how:

Objective/Hypothesis

The homepage serves as Trello's most important real estate for new users to learn about the product and sign up. The team was looking to determine the best messaging to accomplish that, and came up with the idea that experimenting with different themes would be a good way to see what resonated most with visitors.

"We didn't know if productivity, collaborating, project management, or something else would be the best way to position our product," Webb reported, "so we decided to let the data speak for itself."

Experiment Plan

Webb's team tested 11 different messaging headlines on the Trello homepage -- English-speaking only, on both web and mobile. The experiment ran until a statistical significance was determined, which, in the end, only took about two weeks,

To give you an idea of what that might look like, the test variants were labeled with internal language and included the following:

  1. default
  2. collabToolPerspective
  3. projectPerspective
  4. platformPerspective
  5. visualTool
  6. organizedTool
  7. collabTool
  8. teamPerspective
  9. youPerspective
  10. sharedPerspective
  11. platformSharedPerspective

Results

The experiment resulted in a 2% increase in sign-ups with the "collabtool" variant. That makes sense, since Trello is a collaborative project tracking tool.

And it didn't end there. "We also used the winning messaging to inform other pages," Webb said, "and make them more collaboration-focused as well."

3) Lindsy Lettre, Marketing Operations, InsightSquared

InsightSquared is a company all about data. So when Lettre's team began to evaluate how to increase conversion across its website, they realized that their long forms might be stopping people from completing them. After an experiment that removed an optional field, the team was able to create a new form that converted 112% better than the old form.

Objective/Hypothesis

Historically, the previously long form -- which had to be required in order for visitors to download any piece of content -- had some required fields, and others that were optional, like "Phone Number."

"We had a hypothesis that if we presented a short form to our audience, we would see increased conversions," Lettre said, "as the form would look less daunting."

Experiment Plan

First, the team looked into what percentage of people provided a phone number when they filled out a form, which was only 15%. The next step was to run an A/B test on an eBook landing page for 30 days, to see if the field removal made any difference.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 10.37.29 AM-1.png

Results

Once the experiment was under way, Lettre's team saw that the form without the optional field converted 112% better than the old form. That was a statistically significant result -- and all other content forms were subsequently updated in the same way.

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 10.35.21 AM.png

4) Eric Peters, Growth Marketer, HubSpot Academy

Throughout 2016, Peters' team released five new HubSpot Academy certification courses. It became necessary to find a simple way to introduce those courses to existing students, without knowing which skills that section of the audience was interested in developing. But the team had an idea -- add a status bar to emails that indicated how far along the student was on various certifications. That increased the number of certifications per user by 18%.

Objective/Hypothesis

The purpose of this experiment was to increase the number of HubSpot Academy certifications held by each student. "Our goal was to reach 1.5 certifications per user by the end of 2016," Peters said. He hypothesized that by showing users the status of their certifications, it would provide functional value that also introduced them to other courses.

Experiment Plan

Peters and his team began by implementing a module that displayed all of the certification badges one could acquire, in grayscale, within Academy emails. If the user had achieved that certification, it was orange, but once it expired, it would revert to grayscale. The badges were hyperlinked to a central page listing all courses.

"We built this module directly into one of our main email nurturing templates, so it immediately went live in dozens of nurture tracks and hundreds of emails," Peters explains, "depending on which stage a user is in for each of our 12 certification courses."

Results

Initially, there were a few bugs that made some student statuses reflect incorrectly -- for example, certifications that they held weren't orange, or they didn't realize that the certification expired. As it turns out, the experiment proved to be a great way to remind the community that certifications do expire.

After a few days, these little status icons were receiving a remarkably high number of clicks -- specifically, the orange ones that showed a user held an active certification. After speaking to some users, Peters and his team learned that they were proud of their orange badges, and wanted to get more of them.

"We are still not at 1.5 certifications per user, so we did not reach that overall goal," Peters said. "But we have increased the number of certifications per user from 1.1 to 1.3 -- up 18% -- thanks in part to this experiment."

Time to Put on Your Lab Coat

Experimentation doesn't have to be a massive project that requires developers, expensive software, or complicated charts. It just needs to be a way for you and your team to test out hypotheses, and learn from the data rather than by guessing. From these four examples alone, we learned that the results can improve other areas of your business, that sometimes "less is more," that teaching opportunities might already exist where you least expect them, and that data you already have can inspire your users to do more.

Growth hacking is as simple as improving and optimizing your existing marketing efforts through experimentation. Get out there, and get experimenting. And to help you get started, check out HubSpot's Marketing Experiments Calendar to get some new ideas on the board -- your team/boss/department will thank you.

Have you conducted any growth hacking experiments? Let us know in the comments.

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Is it Ever OK to Work for Free? 10 Agency Leaders and Freelancers Weigh In

If you work in a creative profession, you've probably been approached at one point or another by someone who wants you to work for free.

They might offer some form of intangible benefit in return, like exposure or new contacts, but do these potential perks actually outweigh the negative aspects of not getting paid for your hard work?

We asked 10 agency leaders, consultants, and experienced freelancers to weigh in on this age-old debate.

Drawing from their own personal experience on the subject, they share their best advice on working for free below. See what they have to say and decide for yourself: Is working for free ever really worth it?

Is it Ever OK to Work for Free?

If you decide to work for free, put a smart process in place to make sure you benefit.

'Strategically free' is OK -- where you explicitly choose to do free work because you benefit from it -- but 'secretly free' is not. Here are my top tips as you're starting out:

- Be smart. Make it clear to clients that they're getting a special deal, and that you're working for free because you benefit, too.

- Limit the scope of any 'strategically free' work -- don't write clients a blank check. For instance, you'll do a specific deliverable, or you'll work four hours a week for no more than one month.

- Get the terms in writing, with the client agreeing to do something in lieu of paying cash -- for instance, confirming you can name their brand as a client, approving your using the work in your portfolio, serving as a reference, and/or providing in-kind services to you.

- Send 'strategically free' clients an invoice -- for the total, discounted to zero. Even if they paid nothing, this helps reinforce that they received something of value.

- Karl Sakas, Agency Consultant at Sakas and Company

There's a difference between working for free and demonstrating your ability free of charge.

It's never okay to work for free. It sets the expectation your work is not worth paying for. However, it's very useful to demonstrate your ability free of charge. Early off in any freelancing/agency career, you'll be required to demonstrate some ability -- and if you have no portfolio, this can be a challenge.

I would recommend putting together a collection of passion projects that demonstrate ability. Or, if you're in a position to land a client, make a deck with examples of how you'd market the company, accompanied by relevant examples of your work in a nice short PDF. If the prospect likes it, they'll seek out your services.

- Jordan Scheltgen, Founder and Managing Partner at Cave Social

If you work for free, you miss out on developing necessary business skills.

The fees marketers and freelancers charge should be in line with their experience, portfolio, and the marketplace's demand for the service. If you're early in your career and you don't have a portfolio yet, charge a student or apprentice rate to clients.

When you don't charge anything, your work isn't valued. Part of being a freelancer is learning how to charge people and get paid. It's just as important as the work you do, so get used to being a business person and charge for your work.

- Marilyn Heywood Paige, Vice President of Marketing at Fig Advertising

Free work can pay off in other ways besides monetary gains.

A few years ago as a young freelancer, I had two choices: do a few jobs that I was passionate about for free, or, not work at all.

A freelancer must ask him or herself: What does free really mean? Does building a site for a somewhat well known client who took a leap of faith working with you for free mean you aren't getting anything out of it? Absolutely not. I've done a handful of free projects (I definitely don't do them anymore), but each one benefited my business in some way.

- Chris Johnson, Co-founder at The Collective

If you're seeking a permanent gig at an agency, working for free can give you a head start. 

Working for free in the early stages of your career, particularly through college or university, shows a real work ethic to agency leaders, as well as a genuine drive and passion for what you do.

Agency work is an incredibly competitive job market, and a lot of the time it comes down to who you know. If an agency promises you industry exposure, access, and the opportunity to start building up a portfolio of work, the benefits to your career far outweigh the negatives of not getting paid.

My Content Specialist began as a freelance journalist, and also worked as an unpaid intern for a regional newspaper. It was his large portfolio of work that landed him his first job as a Marketing Copywriter.

- Steve Pritchard, Managing Director of It Works

Pick free projects for passion, not the promise of exposure.

There are situations where it is okay to work for free, but generally exposure is not one of them. The main reason here is that if a brand is not able to pay you, they likely won't be able to actually get you a lot of exposure.

When is it okay to work for free? Passion projects. To me, that's the only acceptable time to work for free. If you're really passionate about a brand, a cause, or an event, by all means work for free if you must. A lot of these jobs will turn into paying jobs down the line as well. If they don't turn into paying jobs, that's why they call them passion projects! You followed your passion, and are hopefully a little better off for doing so at the end of the day.

- Tim Akers, Owner of Akers Digital

Instead of working for free, start your career by working for cheap.

It's not okay to work for free 98% of the time, but saying never would be wrong. Usually the 'exposure' or experience or whatever is offered is not worth much -- if this offer is even followed through on -- and the offer is often coming from someone who doesn't really value creatives or the work they do (and wouldn't know good work if it hit them in the face).

I suggest working for cheap instead. If you are early in your career, charge a low rate that's appropriate to someone with your overall experience and skill level. Build your portfolio and reputation, and raise your rate incrementally from there.

- Julie T. Ewald, CEO and Creative Director of Impressa Solutions

Free projects can help you build connections, as long as you remain wary of scope creep.

Early in your career, when you do not have a lot of connections and are looking to build a portfolio of work, it's a good time to work for free. This enables you to showcase your capabilities and hopefully -- at the same time -- meet key board members at non-profits and/or others who could hire you.

But be careful to what you commit to. What they want you to do at the outset can change quickly over time. Instead of writing a press release, you could suddenly find yourself running an event, training an executive for a media interview, or even doing a full blown campaign.

If you have the time early in your career, you may not mind handling a lot of the responsibilities. New professionals and freelancers can certainly benefit from working for free. The trick is to not over-commit yourself, and set limitations before your involvement gets out-of-hand.

- Steve Turner, Managing Principal at Solomon/Turner Multimedia PR

Early in your career, use free work to develop case studies and new skills.

Early on in your creative/freelance career, I do think that in limited circumstances it is ok to work for free to 1) get experience and 2) if the client will let you use them as a public case study so that you can sign other work.

There is a very strong limit to free work though, and in my opinion should only be done for the above two reasons. Also, what I have seen work well for some consultants is to have one area that they do well and are being paid for (e.g., SEO consulting) and then to offer clients an additional free service in an area they aren't yet an expert in to gain some experience.

- John Doherty, Founder of Credo

Free work is a necessity to get your creative career off the ground.

When you get started as a freelancer, you will almost certainly have to work for free at some point. Most clients and companies won't trust a new freelancer with no reputation, or give them work until they prove themselves.

Once you have projects and references, you won't have to take on these types of tasks anymore. Also, some opportunities for free work may arise that can be very beneficial to your portfolio, or might simply make you feel good for being involved.

If you are willing to do some of the work for free, it gives you exposure to a new client and also adds a project to your portfolio (one you might not have otherwise had the chance to work on).

- Mark Tuchscherer, President of Geeks Chicago

What do you think? Is it ever OK to work for free? Let us know in the comments.

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Facebook’s VR social network is surprisingly stunning

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Earlier this month, I told you about the emerging world of social networking in virtual reality. But lurking on the sidelines of this newly active space is Facebook's own social VR behemoth known as Oculus Rooms.

This is where the strategy behind the marriage of Facebook and Oculus begins to reveal itself.

In some ways, the mobile version of Oculus Rooms is as powerful an experience as the Oculus Home app on the higher-end Oculus Rift

Currently only available for Gear VR users, Oculus Rooms first brings you to the same virtual apartment displayed when using the Oculus Rift. Then, when you're ready to launch into a social encounter with someone you've connected with on Facebook, you simply select the Party option and you're brought into a new virtual space with three distinct areas. Read more...

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Mark Zuckerberg’s charity just bought a search engine for research papers

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Mark Zuckerberg's massive philanthropic organization just laid out the next step in its quest to cure or manage all diseases.

The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is buying a startup called Meta, which uses artificial intelligence to scan and index research papers in a way that makes them easier for scientists to find.

The group plans to build on Meta's existing product and eventually offer the search engine for free, according to a Facebook post announcing the sale. 

The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The Toronto-based startup's co-founders have said their goal is to make the service the “plumbing” of medical and academic research access. They claim the company's algorithms can parse study authors and subject matter to prioritize more important papers, as well as build information feeds that adapt to an individual's searching habits.  Read more...

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5 CSR Tips So You Can Start Giving Back This New Year

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As the Chinese New Year rolls around again, the grown ups start filling up red envelopes with token amounts of cash as gifts to younger ones in the family. Much like any other holiday season (ahem, Christmas), the Lunar New Year is a season of gifting and showing appreciation. Besides the lovely “ang paos” (red packets) that we receive, it is also about showing you care and wishing others well. We’ve talked about CSR in the past and explained how it helps with brand management. This new year, we’ll talk about how it ties in with your overall 2017 marketing strategy.

As a business, giving back is always one of those things that are pretty difficult to do. Too much of it and you get called out for putting up a show. Too little and you get criticized for not doing enough. In the spirit of Chinese New Year, here are a few tips to integrate your CSR into the overall marketing plan.

 

1. Align your CSR with company goals

A good CSR strategy should tie in with the overall business goals and branding. For example, at HubSpot, we place heavy focus on customer education and spreading the good word of Inbound Marketing. While it might bring in a decent amount of revenue if we put a price on our certification courses or webinar sessions, providing these resources for free aligns with our goal of wanting to bring Inbound knowledge to a wider audience. When the alignment is made, not only are you able to bring greater contribution (since you’re leveraging on existing competencies), you’re also boosting brand identity.

Besides that, it is also important to see how you can plan your CSR initiatives such that it brings positive impact to the bottomline. Simply said, how can CSR help bring in additional profit for the business? The easiest way to frame this is that the brand will be positively associated with being compassionate and socially constructive in the minds of consumers. Research has shown that 67% of consumers are more likely to purchase products and services from a company that supports a cause, making your company a more ideal candidate. Plus, 80% of customers would tell their family and friends about a company’s CSR efforts, thus making them advocates for your business.

2. Which part of the customer journey does your CSR fit in?

There’s no reason you can’t do good and pay attention to your funnel goals at the same time. Just put aside some time to think about how your CSR initiative can be applicable to a customer at various stages of their journey with your business.

If you’re looking to attract new customers, share about an interesting CSR initiative like inviting less fortunate children into the office for an old school retro gaming challenge. Pay attention to the various channels and content types that would appeal to someone further up in the funnel. Social media, blog posts and interesting/out of the box event ideas are some of the best channels and content you can use to attract a customer with CSR.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to delight existing customers, consider getting them involved. Get them to join a sharing seminar that helps youths with shaping their career goals. Otherwise, organize a networking session for fresh graduates looking to enter the industry and invite your prospects to share their experiences and mingle. This way, not only do you get to do CSR, you also help your customers do good too!

Some activities, like a cash donation or a company charity run doesn’t in itself, fit into the funnel, but the promotional efforts for it can. This brings us to the next point, which is to…

3. Make your efforts known

A lot of companies keep their CSR efforts hush-hush. We’re not sure if it’s because they’re trying to be humble when doing good deeds, but we can’t say that we wholeheartedly agree with it. You don’t have to toot your own horn, but marketing your CSR efforts is almost as important as having one in the first place. Whether it is posting a quick Snapchat or posing for a Boomerang, your CSR becomes useful content.

Research involving companies like Procter & Gamble , General Mills and Timberland has shown that many of their stakeholders did not know about their CSR initiatives or did not find them personally relevant. However, a shift in strategy that updates consumers about their efforts has seen tangible results in terms of increased customer loyalty.

Putting your initiatives up on various marketing channels is also a good way to catch the eye of potential customers who are looking for socially responsible companies to fulfil their business needs. In fact, 90% of consumers would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price or quality, making this a great way to differentiate your business from competitors.

4. Listen to your stakeholders

Here’s where marketing can help too. By listening to your stakeholders and carrying out market research on what they think is the best way your company can contribute to society, you are giving them a chance to become involved in what traditionally is a business decision.

Further, taking your stakeholder opinions into consideration gives them ownership over the initiative and encourages them to become more involved with the business. The Body Shop is one good example. By listening to their customers and pursuing and ethical, no animal testing approach to their production process, they’ve won over the hearts of many existing and new consumers. They’re even going further and ensuring that their products are not only cruelty-free, but environmentally sustainable as well.

5. Track your performance

Like with almost every other campaign, you should aim to track the performance of your CSR initiatives to understand how it can be improved. Understand the reach and business goals you met. But at the same time, find out how many lives you’ve touched and how much difference you’ve made. It might take awhile to obtain concrete data, but reporting on such metrics provides a level of transparency for your business.

Performance tracking also allows you to identify areas for improvement and replicate success. By understanding which initiatives are the most effective, you’ll be able to expand initiatives in that particular direction to bring even greater impact to your brand identity and goals.

New years often signify new beginnings and it’s always great to start a brand new year off on a good note. That’s why this Chinese New Year, the HubSpot team wants to help your business grow.

You can download the 2017 Marketing Strategy Templates & Guides for free and start achieving your new year resolution of having a kickass marketing strategy.

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Instead of calling, the White House wants you to message it on Facebook

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Before, if you wanted to leave a message for the president, you could call up the White House switchboard.

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The comment line (that's 202-456-1111 for anyone who wants to call) states in a recording that the "comments line is currently closed." But that's not all; instead, it urges the caller to send the president an online comment. At that point it gives you two options.  Read more...

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