How the 2015 BET Awards unfolded on Twitter

As stars in music, acting, sports and entertainment celebrated the best in African-American music and pop culture at the 2015 @BETAwards, a large community of fans had Twitter as their sidekick to share rich commentary and reactions in real time. Periscope also transported viewers from the couch to the ceremony, with live behind-the-scenes action from the red carpet and backstage.

Throughout the evening, fans followed along with all of the biggest moments as they happened, and this year, performances stole the show. Here are the ones that generated the most conversation:

  1. BET honors Janet Jackson with the Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award and tribute
  2. Battle of the Ballads: K. Michelle, Tamar Braxton and Patti LaBelle perform
  3. Chris Brown performs with Tyga and Omarion

As stars presented the awards, performed, and took away the trophies, viewers chimed in with their reactions and congratulations. Here are the most-mentioned people on the show:

  1. Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ)
  2. Chris Brown (@chrisbrown)
  3. Rihanna (@rihanna)

Periscope broadcasts from @BET offered fans an opportunity to join the action from the red carpet and backstage, while a Periscope robot roamed the scene to capture the moments in real-time.

A Vine 360 Booth and handheld Twitter Mirror also showcased the goings-on at the red carpet:

During the show, a Twitter Mirror with GIF functionality caught the honorees and presenters from backstage:

The stars also joined in on the BET conversation as they shared their first-hand experiences with their followers. Here’s a collection of their Tweets:

Twitter TV activity and reach data for the U.S. market will be available from Nielsen here tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.

Google Expands Its Educational Platform “Classroom” With A New API, Share Button For Websites

google-classroom Google Classroom, the company’s educational initiative that launched last year to allow teachers and students to communicate and collaborate with each other using Google tools and services, has today received a number of new features, the most notable being a new Classroom API for admins, and a Classroom share button. The latter lets developers or schools simplify sharing content… Read More

Where Computer Science, Engineering And Math Majors Want To Work

shutterstock_244891273 If 17-year-old Google is at all worried that it’s losing its mojo, it should find some new data highly reassuring. According to a survey of 19,000 students across 340 universities around the world, Google is still their top choice when asked where they’d want to work. Their other top picks, in descending order: Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon. Read More

The 12 Weirdest (and Best) Things You Can Get For Free


This post originally appeared on HubSpot's Sales Blog. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

People say the best things in life are free. They also say, however, that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

So who’s right? We all know there’s truth to both axioms. You can’t buy a sunset, but if someone offers you a free steak dinner, chances are they want something.

Fortunately, we’re here to clear it up for you. We’ve compiled the 12 best (and weirdest) things you can get for free. No tricks, no gimmicks, and best of all -- no money needs leave your bank account.

1) Your College Admissions Records

FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, requires that students have access to their educational records. Back in January, a group of students at Stanford University began requesting their admissions files and drafted boilerplate language that anyone can send to their schools’ admissions office to request their files. You'll be able to view admissions officers' comments and criticisms of your application, as well as written records of any other information that affected your admissions decision.

One small caveat: Some schools have begun destroying their admissions files, so depending on where you went to school, your alma mater may no longer have your records.

2) A Tesla Test Drive

The Tesla Model S was named Consumer Reports’ best overall car in 2015, with a driving experience that guarantees “thrilling acceleration, pinpoint handling, and a firm yet comfortable ride.” While Teslas top out with a six-figure price tag (basically the opposite of free), driving a Tesla doesn't have to cost you anything -- just sign up at the Tesla website for a test ride

3) Facials at Origins

Sometimes you need to feel pampered but don’t have the time or money to book a three-day spa vacation. In situations like these, the Origins 20-minute mini facial and skincare consultation is the perfect solution. Book an appointment or walk into any Origins retail location.

4) CRM Software

CRM -- or customer relationship management software -- is essential for businesses with customers or clients. Yup, that's most businesses. CRM systems help companies keep records of important customer data, track every interaction they have with clients, and see at a glance how many prospects are in each lifecycle stage. In short, CRM software is incredibly helpful and frees up reps' time to sell, which explains why it is often expensive. If you're wary about the upfront investment or just want to save some money, HubSpot CRM is 100% free and ready to use. No strings attached.

5) Library Books

Once upon a time, before Kindles, Nooks, and iBooks, there were actual printed books. Remember those? The public library system in the United States has millions and millions of volumes available (the largest collection in the United States, the New York Public Library, has over 23 million items in circulation), so you’re guaranteed to find something you want to read. Nothing can beat holding a physical volume in your hand and turning real pages.

6) Digital Books

Of course, it’s nice to be able to carry several options around without giving yourself serious back pain. Project Gutenberg is an online collection of over 46,000 digitized books, available to browse and download for free. Some gems include the entire works of Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Mark Twain.

7) Free Email Tracking

If you've ever sent an email and gotten no response, you might wonder whether your recipient even read your message. Stop wondering and find out for sure with Sidekick, a free browser extension that tracks email opens and link clicks in real time.

8) Samplepalooza: Sephora, Whole Foods, and Target

The concept of the in-store sample is nothing new, but these three brands take it to the next level. Sephora associates can provide samples in person, but if online shopping is more your thing, you can add up to three samples to your online order. Whole Foods employees will let you sample most things in the store for free, even opening packages of items you haven’t tried before. Target’s Sample Spot provides shoppers with the opportunity to receive samples of new products, although access to certain offerings is limited by zip code and age.

9) Knowledge

College tuition is at an all-time high, but never fear -- there are plenty of programs that allow you to go back to school, free of charge. 

  • Coursera is an online educational platform that gives members access to a wide range of courses from participating educational partners, such as “Social Psychology” from Wesleyan University and “Fundamentals of Music Theory” from The University of Edinburgh
  • Codeacademy is a free resource dedicated to teaching people to code. Walk yourself through the tutorials for common programming languages, including Ruby and JavaScript. 
  • Duolingo is an app that teaches language through challenges and mini-games. You can learn languages ranging from Portuguese to Turkish -- and, as of next February, Klingon.

10) Health Tracking

This one’s technically “free with purchase.” The iPhone’s Health app and the Android's Google Fit app, both included with your device, track your steps automatically and integrate with third-party applications to record everything from sleep to nutrition. They're akin to Fitbit, but you won’t have to spend a dime. (Well, unless you count the dimes you spent getting the phone in the first place.)

11) Music

Noisetrade is an online music collection that enables listeners to download tunes for free and donate to the artist, if they wish. Of course, if you'd rather stream music than store it on a device, Spotify, SoundCloud, 8tracks, and Grooveshark are all great -- and free -- options.

12) Birthday Gifts

This one’s a list-within-a-list. Many retailers and chains host annual “free” events -- think 7/11’s Free Slurpee Day or Ben & Jerry’s’ Free Cone Day -- but some brands also offer special giveaways for their customers’ birthdays. Freebie Depot has a massive list of the brands that will wish you a happy birthday with a free present from their product lines. Highlights include a free full-size product from Bare Escentuals, a free Frosty from Wendy's, and a free appetizer from Red Lobster.

So there you have it -- the weirdest (and best) things you can get for free. What's your favorite? Did we miss anything? Join the conversation by tweeting to us with the hashtag #GetFreeNow.

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A Critical Look at Ecommerce CTAs: What Works and What Lacks


An inspiring call-to-action is equal parts design and psychology. Prompting the desired response is never easy, especially as consumers become savvy to the tricks and tactics that online retailers use. The last thing you want is for your CTAs to be labeled “click-bait,” but you have to get buyers to convert somehow, right?

We’ve shared a lot of tips over the years for creating compelling CTAs. While some of the components may change a little over time, the basic requirements remain. An image of the product or service, some compelling copy, and a button that stands out from the rest of the CTA are all must-haves.

What happens when any of those pieces are missing? Let’s take a look.

Sub-Optimal CTAs

One might think ecommerce giant Amazon would know a thing or two about CTAs, but a quick visit to their site shows they’re either ignoring the basics or trying to change the game.


There’s an image, sure. There’s also some fairly compelling copy. Where’s the directive? The whole image is clickable, but without some hint for visitors, who would know that?

This CTA from Target is also a little disappointing. A retailer with Target’s reputation for style and flair should probably have a better call-to-action game going.


First of all, while mildly clever, “save a bundle” is hardly compelling. The button, which is actually present here, is off to the side in a boring gray that does nothing to stand out from the rest of the images on the site. The copy on the button also doesn’t really inspire a click, does it?

Then there’s this one from Hot Topic. We love how they’re always edgy and breaking the rules, but sometimes rules are made to be followed.


The whole thing is a little busy, with multiple images and text pretty much everywhere. We do get a bit of urgency there in the middle with the “Limited Time” copy and the huge text proclaiming the discount. Why, then, is the CTA in teeny-tiny letters below that—and in the same color, no less?

CTA Bronze Medalists

The Gap stands out as a company that gets things done with their CTAs. This example shows a hero image, some helpful copy, and a very clear button with text that compels a click.


Why do they get a bronze medal? Well, without the circle there, the button wouldn’t stand out from the rest of the design, would it? A bold color in a contrasting color is always a better plan.

Tommy Hilfiger seems to take a page from the same book with their design. Here they are, tied for bronze, with their great hero image, even more clever copy, and CTA button.


It’s just…the button is so plain. Maybe they don’t want it to disrupt the rest of the call-to-action, but isn’t that the point?

CTA Silver Medalist

Believe it or not, WalMart gets a second-place spot for their CTA. This image from their homepage features bold colors, a timely message, and a button that really stands out from the rest of the images without making the user cringe.


They’d take the gold if not for two things: first, moms usually want something that doesn’t hint at chores or work for their special day (kudos for the jewelry thrown in as an afterthought). Second, someone else managed to beat them by taking the game to the next level.

CTA Gold Medalists

Dollar Shave Club is definitely a winner here, with their huge hero image, fun copy, and bold buttons.


The button doesn’t just use traditional text. “Do it,” is fun, fresh, and really fits the brand. It also prompts an immediate response. Still, another company might just edge them out of the top spot.

Remember when we talked about Hot Topic breaking the rules and failing? Plated used the same tactic and won everything. Here, you can take a look at the screencap, but it won’t show you why they win.


The two separate CTA buttons are different colors. The one they REALLY want the customers to click is a different, bolder color. “Learn more” is still an option readily available, but the true conversion button begs a little louder.

To find out why they win everything, you have to visit the website. Instead of a static hero image, the background of the CTA is a looped video of various cooking and dining scenarios. The movement draws the eye right there and refuses to let the user’s gaze go. That’s how to win a click: Don’t give them any reason to look away.

Now you know what we love and why. What CTAs have you seen on ecommerce sites lately that made you want to click? We’d love to know what wins it all with you.


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How to Answer 11 Common Marketing Questions Using Analytics


When it comes time to assess your marketing efforts, it's not uncommon for you to run into a ton of questions.

How are your contacts trending month over month? Was the time you spent creating social media graphics for that campaign worth it? And what about your email marketing efforts? How are those stacking up against your paid initiatives? 

So many questions, so little time ...

And while it's easy to get lost in a mess of reports and numbers when you go looking for answers, it doesn't have to be that way. To save you some time, we've put together a list of common marketing questions that you can answer with your analytics alongside tips on how to arrive at the answers you've been searching for.

We're going to walk through how to uncover this information using the HubSpot software, but if you have another marketing or analytics software, you should be able to take a similar approach.

How to Get the Answers to These 11 Common Marketing Questions Using Analytics

1) How many contacts were created from a specific campaign?

In order to successfully track the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, you'll need to start by setting goals for how many visits, contacts, and customers you want to generate. You can even get more specific and set goals for how many visits, contacts, and customers you want generated from different aspects of the campaign such as social media, email marketing, or your blog. For tips on how to set marketing goals for your campaign, check out our free smart goals template.

When the campaign has completed, compare your goals against your results. This will help you figure out what you should expect from future campaigns and assess whether or not you ran a successful campaign.

If you use HubSpot's Campaigns App, you will be able to see this information at the top of your campaign dashboard. From here, you can dig into the metrics of specific assets within the campaign to figure out what worked for your company and what you need to improve on for the future.


2) How many contacts is my blog generating?

After you produce content for your blog, it is important to figure out if you are actually generating contacts as a result. You'll also want to determine what types of content are working well in terms of topics, blog titles, formatting, and promotion. 

To do this in HubSpot, you need to run an Attribution Report broken down by Referrer and Last Interaction. This report will show you the content that your contacts viewed before going to a landing page and converting. To begin your analysis, simply filter the report to just focus on blog posts. As mentioned before, you can do similar analyses in other analytics tools such as Google Analytics. 

For additional tips on how to measure your blog's performance, we put together a blog post that goes through how to run a blog lead generation analysis.


3) What actions did specific contacts take on my site before becoming a customer?

As marketers, part of our job is to figure out the path that our contacts take on their journey to becoming a customer. We want to find trends or patterns in this path in and effort to decrease the time it takes for someone to go from being a contact to a customer. We also want to figure out the key pieces of content that someone needs to hit on our site before converting. By uncovering this type of specific information, we can then find creative ways to present that content earlier on in the contact to customer journey. 

In order to do this, you need a way to see this journey and understand everything that someone is interacting with from the moment they come to your site until they become a customer. You need to understand what emails they opened and clicked, what blog posts they read, and what pages they interacted with on your website.

In HubSpot you can do all of this through the contact timeline. This display allows you to dive into each individual contact separately to generate a better understanding of the steps they've taken towards becoming a customer so that you can make more informed decisions when creating and distributing content. 


4) What are my most popular blog posts?

In order to determine you most popular posts, you'll need to figure out which ones are driving the most traffic. This is an important metric to understand because not every blog visitor is going to convert after reading one post. In fact, most businesses find that they need to generate a ton of initial traffic to their blog posts before they can begin to generate and measure conversions. 

In HubSpot you can see this information on the Blog Dashboard. This will give you an overview of how may visits your blog has generated in the current month, as well as the total views your most recent blog articles have generated. If you want to see more of your blog posts -- and how much traffic they generated -- you can go into the published tab to view the total number of visits from each blog post. 


5) What website content is converting the most leads?

Blog posts aren't the only pieces of content that get people to convert on your website. In fact, your home page, about us page, product pages, and landing pages also play a huge role in driving conversions throughout your website.

Identifying these key pages serves as an important step in figuring out what pages you should use to nurture your contacts. For example, if you know that before someone becomes a customer, they always look at your product page, you should make sure they see that page as early as possible in their customer journey.

You can uncover this data in HubSpot by running an Attribution Report. Simply create a report based on the URL and All interactions to see the most valuable pages that people are interacting with on your website. Once you've identified these pages, you can then make sure that they are being seen early and often by your website visitors by adjusting their placement. 


6) What marketing channels are generating the most contacts?

Whenever you run a campaign, it's important to make note of how many contacts each specific element -- email, social, paid, organic search, direct traffic -- generated. 

This information is key in figuring out where you should focus your team's efforts. If you see that you are putting a lot of time and effort into your email marketing, but it isn't generating many contacts, you may need to rethink your email strategy or focus on another channel that is turning up more contacts.

If you do not have HubSpot, you can use tracking URLs to keep track of where your contacts are coming from. However, if you do use HubSpot, there's a handy Sources Report that will show you which marketing channels are producing the most contacts. This serves as a quick and easy way to analyze the performance of your channels.


7) What marketing channels have the highest contact to customer conversion rate?

Generating contacts from your campaigns is important, but ensuring that those contacts are high quality is even more important. That's where the contact-to-customer conversion rate comes in. This number will show the percent of contacts that are converting into paying customers. And while lead generation is important, if they are not turning into customers, your efforts may be better used elsewhere.

Let's say you've found that email marketing has generated 5,187 contacts, and referrals have generated 2,227 contacts. However, the contact-to-customer conversion rate for email marketing is .1% while it is .8% for referrals. Even though you are generating more contacts with your email marketing efforts, you are generating a higher conversion rate from referrals. And that's what matters.

If you are a HubSpot customer, you can easily find this information in your Sources Report.


8) How many contacts do I have in each persona?

One of the most important steps you need to take is figuring out your buyer personas. By doing this you will be able to determine what type of marketing works best for different segments of your database so that you can target your audience with messages that are more relevant to their interests and needs.

After you figure out who your personas are (and segment your database with this information), you can then begin to adapt your marketing. This will require you to not only send different emails to different personas, but also employ more specific lead nurturing resources based on what you know about each segment. 

No matter what marketing software you use, it is important to make sure each contact in your database has a property associated with them that indicates what persona they belong to. This will make it easier for you to segment by this information in the future.

If you are using HubSpot you can do this right from the Personas App in the Dashboard. Not only will this app will help you figure out who belongs to what persona, but it will also make sure that whenever someone new comes to your website and converts into a contact, they are tagged with a specific persona. 


9) How much revenue did my company generate this month?

Throughout the month it is important to track how much revenue your company is generating to see if you are ahead of goal, behind, or on track. Typically this is done in your CRM, but you may also be able to do it in your marketing software.

Keeping tabs on this information will help you understand how your marketing efforts are translating into actual revenue generated for the company. Once you uncover this information, you can then use it to determine where you should focus your marketing efforts for the next month.

If you are a HubSpot customer, you can do this in either a Contacts or a Companies Report. If you are a B2C company, use the Contacts Report. If you are a B2B company, use the Companies Report. Once you pull up the appropriate report, you can then easily visualize how you are trending toward your monthly revenue goals using the graph.


10) How do I see my blog subscriber growth over time?

An important element of growing your blog is increasing the number of subscribers. This is because more subscribers often translate to a more consistent source of traffic to your blog. Not to mention, these subscribers may even begin to refer additional traffic to your blog over time.

To keep track of subscriber growth, you'll want to monitor the number of new subscribers in a given time period based on the subscriber form you have on your blog or website. If you are a HubSpot customer you can do this right in the Blog Dashboard. Simply mouse over to the Subscribers tab, and you will see how your subscribers are trending from one month to another.


11) How are we tracking toward our monthly contacts goal?

Most marketers have a monthly contact number that they are measured on, and how you are trending toward that goal can determine how many campaigns you may need to run in a given month. If you find that you're way below the goal and in danger of not hitting it, you may need to add in a few extra campaigns or additional blog posts to help you get your numbers up.

If you are a HubSpot customer, you can insert goal tracking into your Contacts Report graph to monitor if you are ahead, on track, or behind your goal.


What other marketing questions do you have? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Apple interns can make almost $80,000 a year, report says


When you're Apple, it pays to be the largest company in the world (at least by market cap), so much so, even interns reap the benefits

Apple interns can apparently fetch salaries approaching $7,000 a month, or $80,000 a year, according a Business Insider report. One former Apple non-engineering intern told Mashable the company paid them around $2,500 a month for part-time work; they would have earned $5,000 a month, or $60,000 annually, if they had worked full-time

The caveat? 100% confidentiality

If candidates make it through the interview process and receive an internship offer, Apple requires that they stay mum on what they see, hear and work on inside the company Read more...

More about Facebook, Linkedin, Apple, Internship, and Tech

Shia LaBeouf shows off freestyle rap skills in new video


A video hit the Internet this weekend that shows actor/artist Shia LaBeouf freestyle rapping for a group of onlookers in an appearance that's slightly more subdued than his recent "pep-talk" green screen video

In the video, LaBeouf can be heard rapping lines like "Nah, none of that/ Transformers is the dummy rap and I'm so past that," "I'm so underground the rap kids call me Tubman," and "Half-assed cash/ You can get the fast cash/ But I got a gas mask/ So you know I got the last laugh."

Shia LaBeouf got BARS

— Kimberlié Alexis (@iKimmyJongUn) June 28, 2015

More about Film, Music, Social Media, Facebook, and Youtube

The 100 Most Popular Emojis on Instagram [Infographic]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot's Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

The internet can seem like a cruel place some days. Unkind comments and Twitter spats are common, and publications are known to use a person's most embarassing moment as a driver for clicks and views.

But emojis have escaped being associated with this type of harsh language. The cartoons are inherently cute and fun. Emoji symbols might be confused or scared, but they do not translate well when communicating hate, irritation, or anger.

According to Curalate, the most frequently shared emoji on Instagram is the red heart, which is shared 79% more than the next most popular symbol, a smiling face with heart eyes. A kiss-face emoji comes in third place, and the face with tears of joy takes fourth. When people are happy, laughing, excited, and elated, they turn to emojis to emphasize and promote those feelings online.

Check out the top 100 emojis shared on Instagram, and consider how your brand can join the conversation by using the visual language of positivity.


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The Most Common Keywords Found in the Top-Shared Articles [New Data]


This post originally appeared on HubSpot's Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

Crafting a clear, relevant, and click-worthy title is the most important thing you can do to ensure that the article you spent hours and hours researching and writing performs well. 

It is the filter people use to determine if your post is worth their limited time.

You can't treat it like an afterthought. 

This quote from David Ogilvy should define your approach:

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

A great headline ensures that your post is found in search results and shared on social media, meaning more people will read and benefit from your article. 

There are handy formulas for writing headlines, but it can also be helpful to know what words and topics perform well. This way, you not only know how to optimize your headline but also can come up with article ideas that will attract and intrigue your target audience., a content marketing tool that allows you to research and analyze top performing content in different industries, gathered data on nearly 500,000 articles published from January 1 to April 30, 2015. We've highlighted the most common keywords found in the top shared articles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest for each category. 

The Most Common Keywords Found in the Top-Shared Articles 



How-to articles and those about Google analytics and data lead the top-shared articles in the category. 



People who share on Google+ are partial to bacon, while LinkedIn users favor dark chocolate. 



Image-focused words such as swatches, video, tutorial, and photos rule the beauty category. 



On Pinterest, people are looking for attire suggestions, while on Twitter, people are more interested in how-to posts. 

Content Marketing


Words such as way, tips, and key signal that readers in this category are looking for insider information and how-tos. 



Consumers of content focused on design are more likely to share articles containing the words home or house. 



Illustrated is a word not seen in any other category on this list, so it could be a useful term to try out in your next fashion-focused post. 



For the education category, words such as free, watch online, and download are included in highly shared articles. 



Entrepreneurs want to read about -- and are more likely to share -- articles with entrepreneur in the title. If you are looking to connect with this audience, gain their attention by using their term. 



Content and search terms dominate this list of terms, but infographics are more highly shared on Pinterest than other platforms. Try using a 'Pin It' button on your graphics. 



For science topics, use words such as brain, smart, and future. 

Social Media


Posts about Facebook do well on every social network, while Twitter-focused and Pinterest-focused titles only perform well on their respective platforms. 



Mobile subjects rule when it comes to the world of startups. 

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