In the biggest change ever to the social network, Twitter started testing a 280 character maximum length for tweets last week; that’s twice as many as before (in case you didn’t know). At this stage, the test has been described as “open ended” and only open to a small group of users, which may explain why you haven’t seen the change on your own Twitter yet.
The change will be available for all languages with the exception of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as characters in these languages can communicate twice as much or more information as a single character in other languages.
Twitter Needs New Users
As we know from previous years statistics, Japan has the fourth highest number of Twitter users globally. We also know from previous statistics that user uptake in the USA has mostly stagnated over the past few months. Which leads us to believe that this change may be an attempt to attract more English-speaking users who may have been frustrated by the 140 character limit.
Earlier in the year it was reported that Twitter had made some other changes to their character limit – namely by excluding usernames, photos, videos, GIFs, polls and quoted Tweets from the character limit. But it seems that these changes weren’t enough to make Twitter seem enticing to new users, or to attract old users back to the platform.
The 140 Character Limit Explained
The 140 character limit on tweets is explained by a memorandum to employees from co-founder Jack Dorsey, published in the 2007 book ‘Hatching Twitter’. The note stated “Everyone gets the same amount of space to Twitter, no more confusion or guessing as you are typing”.
However, Twitter users have managed to find loopholes in the character limit since day one. Users are often seen posting images with text or screenshots from their phone’s memo pad, and stringing together multiple tweets in a thread.
Time will only tell what this change to tweet length will spell for the social media platform. Will it spell the second wave of Twitter’s success, or will it alienate their core of loyal users? Only time will tell.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Posted by Du-Ann Daniel
Advertising today is a far-cry from the 50s when misogyny ran as rampant in real life as it does in an episode of Mad Men. Today, brands need to be increasingly socially aware in order to not offend audiences, while still creating effective ads that sell product. But how is this achieved?
Point Of View Advertising
Point of view advertising is the answer. Ads with a point of view convey a brand’s feelings and attitudes towards a subject and show how their values correlate to that of their audience. Ads that convey a brand’s values relatably are proving to be more effective. Your point of view is the difference between people talking about your brand and forgetting it.
64% of consumers with an existing brand relationship say that they shared values with the brand, which was the reason they engaged with the brand. At the same time, 87% of Millennials say they appreciate it when companies make it clear what values they stand for, and 81 percent say companies that invest in their communities deserve loyalty. This could be due to the fact that Millennials highly value being true to themselves and expect others to have the same quality. Another important trait of Millennials is that they have the ability to see through hype and expect honesty and integrity in communication.
Point of view ads are perfect for the digital sphere due to the fact that people are very willing to share who they are and what they care about.
Creating an emotional response with your audience is the most important box that any ad should tick. The fact is, we buy things based on how they make us feel, or how others will perceive us once we’ve bought that thing. They are an extension of our identities; we buy and share in order to show the rest of the world who we are and what we care about.
How Point Of View Advertising is Achieved
Well the first step is to define your point of view. If you already have a set of company values drawn up, you can use those. If you don’t have defined values, it’s time to start writing.
Make sure that your company values are relevant and true for you. You will need to back them up and live them every day in your business. For example, if gender equality is one of your values, merely adding some pink to your ad isn’t enough. It would be more effective to produce an ad that shows how your product supports empowerment of women.
Having a point of view and expressing it places you in a vulnerable position. Not everybody will like it, some will say you went to far, others will say you feel short, and it may start some heated debate. Have the courage to spark a public debate, great brands polarise people and the more talk about your ad, the more exposure for your brand.
A Word Of Warning From Pepsi
By now most of us are familiar with the Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner. The ad featured young people of several ethnicities involved in a protest. This was likely to show Pepsi’s support of the current youth protest movement in America under the Trump administration, as well as send a message about racial equality. These are great values for a brand to have, and would have got them a fair amount of support if everything weren’t ruined by the appearance of a privileged member of the Kardashian clan. As the inexorable march of youth meets a line of police, Kendall Jenner breaks forward and offers one of the officers a Pepsi, which he accepts, followed by much cheering and hugging in the crowd. Though Pepsi was attempting to send a message of unity, peace, and understanding but were criticised for appearing to belittle social justice causes.
The warning here is to stay true to your values when creating a point of view advertisement. If you’re just jumping on a hot topic, your audience will read the insincerity.
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Posted by Du-Ann Daniel
People don’t arrive at a site, navigate to the right page and complete a goal. Usually they come back a few times before completing that goal.
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that every site owner should be using. We use Analytics on all out websites because it gives meaningful insights such as how many people are viewing your site, how long they stay on pages, where the traffic is coming from and where users are exiting your site. This information can give us perspective on what’s performing well and what needs attention.
It’s quite easy to get basic information from Analytics such as page views, session time, and traffic source, but the software does so much more than just give fast figures. Used properly, Google Analytics is the only tool you need to streamline your website and online marketing efforts.
1 - Browser Report
Quite frankly, you’d be surprised at how many people out there are using outdated technology. It’s all well and good to build a beautiful website with parralax display and video content, but what if users can’t access this content because they’re still running Internet Explorer version 8.
To find out what technology your visitors are utilising, go to Audience, select Technology from the submenu, and click on Broswer & OS. This will show you what browser people are using to view your site. Ensure that your site is compatible with all the browsers listed so that all uses can view your site correctly.
2 - Mobile Performance
Mobile is the future of the internet, according to Google. The search engine has even started ranking mobile friendly sites higher than those that don’t perform well on mobile.
To get more insights on what devices people are using to access your site go to Audience and select Mobile.
Mobile Overview will give you information regarding conversion rates on mobile vs web, and Devices will tell you what handsets visitors use to access your site.
If you notice that your conversion rate on mobile is much lower than on desktop it may be time to take a look how your site responds to various mobile screen sizes and optimise.
3 - Annotations
Annotations are there to help you with good housekeeping within Analytics. Any time you change something on your website you should add an annotation so that you can link that change with a rise or fall in your Analytics reporting graph.
To add annotations, go to your Analytics reporting graph and click the dropdown arrow immediately below the graph. Here you will see previous annotations, click Create New Annotation to add new ones. Annotations can be set as public or private so they can either be viewed by anybody with access to that Analytics profile, or only by you.
Analytics can be a daunting tool to use if you don’t know the basics, but once you have an understanding of how to use it the information that you can glean is hugely important to optimising your site for better conversions.
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Posted by Du-Ann Daniel
In the period between December 2016 and January 2017 we saw a barrage of articles posted online declaring “The 5 Digital Trends That Will Die in 2017” or “This Is What Advertising Will Look Like In 2017”. Now that we’re halfway through 2017, we thought it would be a good time to go back and review those predictions and see how many were accurate.
1 - Influencers Will Continue To Be Kings
Influencers have become essential to marketing campaigns over the past few years, and in 2017 they’re more important than ever. Getting an influencer to promote your brand or product is nothing new. Brands have been creating relationships with celebrities and sports stars for years, or sending their products to popular bloggers for a boost.
Influencer marketing is a little different. It involves identifying a person on social media that may not necessarily be a celebrity, but who is seen as an authority in their community and has a great personality. These people have become one of the most effective ways to reach customers.
What makes influencer marketing so attractive is that it gives brands the opportunity to create word-of-mouth buzz about their products. When used effectively, influencers create natural ways to entice your target audience, which is honestly almost priceless in marketing.
2 - Pop-up Ads Will Stop Annoying Website Users
In August 2016 Google declared that it would start penalising websites that feature large pop-up ads that obscure content by boosting the rankings of sites that don’t feature them.
But these pop-ups and interstitials seem to be as abundant as ever, and the copy on them seems to have become more pushy. Even top ranking sites like Wired.com still bombard users with large pop-ups.
Google started penalising only mobile sites in January this year, but there’s no word on when it will start affecting desktop versions of websites. There’s not much data yet on how many sites this has affected, if any. We’ll just have to wait for the reports.
3 - Live Video Content
Live content has become the internet’s new favourite, but is it a fad or is it here to stay? The ability to watch something happen live is appealing, whether it’s your favourite celebrity going about their mundane lives, or footage from protests. It’s the type of immediate content users have been waiting for.
Live video is now available through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. And people are utilising this technology more every day. At the moment the content seems to be mainly personal, with users sharing their own experiences in creative ways. As the technology becomes more common we hope to see more brands use it to reach consumers in creative ways.
You can never really tell what the future holds, especially when it comes to marketing, and even more so in the realm of digital marketing. We’ll keep our eyes out for new trends as the year progresses.
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Posted by Bathabile Dlodlo
What a time to be alive. Every day we look around and see ever-improving technology that would have been thought only possible in science fiction a mere few decades ago. The promises of virtual reality and artificial intelligence are finally coming to fruition, and who knows what’s next; actual walking, talking robots or flying cars perhaps. Okay, I’ll reign in my inner sci-fi nerd now.
The latest advance in AI technology are smart chatbots that can help out customers with simple questions and tasks, thus possibly alleviating the need for large customer care centres in the near future.
Back in April 2016, Facebook released an open version if its Messenger app and invited developers to artificial intelligence chatbots that would interact with Facebook users. In these early days of chatbots, it was predicted that we would no longer need to make phone calls or write emails to companies in order to get essential information. We haven’t quite got there yet, but there are more and more chatbots appearing, ready to (at least attempt to) help consumers who need answers fast. Though the advancement of this new technology will no doubt be fraught with errors (and the inevitable memes that come with them), they do have the potential to be very useful.
Looking for important info about a company’s offering? Usually you would need to scour their site and social pages in order to find the answer yourself, or if you can’t find the answer you would need to submit a support ticket and wait the 24-48 hours for them to get back to you, even worse - you may have to make a lengthy call to a customer service centre. Chatbots can easily disseminate simple information immediately, creating a quicker, positive experience with your brand.
They Will Only Get Better Over Time
As with all other technology-based innovations, as the technology improves, so the experience becomes better and costs are reduced. The more opportunities a bot has to chat with real people the more it will learn how about the nuances of language and give useful advice.
E-Commerce With Ease
Chatbots can help consumers make orders online. If you have a rough idea of what you want to buy, instead of browsing through pages and pages of products, you can ask a chatbot to show you all the products that match your criteria (such as colour, style and brand) as well as suggest related items. Retailer H&M’s chatbot helps you choose outfits by suggesting complementary garments and accessories, which adds to a better retail customer experience.
Poncho: A Popular Chatbot
One of the most popular chatbots today is Poncho, the weather cat. He’s available to chat on Facebook messenger at facebook.com/hiponcho/ and provides weather data including current conditions, 5 day forecasts, and specialised forecasts for runners. Though you can get weather details with one tap on your phone, Poncho adds a personal touch with his character and fun GIFs.
Chatbots are still in their infancy, but we’re looking forward to finding out what the future holds with this advance in AI technology. As we use chatbots more, they will learn more and be better equipped to give correct and relevant answers to our needs.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
Posted by Du-Ann Daniel
As marketers we spend a lot of time presenting our creative ideas in meetings. A great presentation can clinch that big new client, but a bad one can send them running a mile. Structuring your creative ideas into a presentation can be a daunting task, but using a few simple tricks you can create robust presentations that get the client excited about what you have to offer.
Use Less Words
It’s a presentation, so you need to present! It may seem like a basic tip, but so many people get this wrong. There’s more to a presentation than just your slideshow; you also need to speak and convey your ideas in a persuasive manner.
Presentations often get bogged down by large amounts of text, and when the speaker is simply regurgitating the content on the screen behind them, the audience tends to lose interest. If you’re going to say exactly what’s on the screen, you may as well hand out a typed document to your audience. Rather, place key phrases on the presentation slides and show your knowledge by presenting the ideas around them. Let the information breathe and let your audience listen to you.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the point above and goes to show that effective presentations have fewer words on them. Use images, graphs, charts, maps, and video to get your point across. Your ability to explain the meaning behind these visual aids will give your audience the sense that you are an authority on the subject.
While PowerPoint templates may have helped you out when you needed to complete that project at the last minute in high school, using an obvious template in a professional setting will actually make you look like a high school student.
Templates are boring, they’ve been seen a thousand times before, and they just aren’t inspiring. Give your presentations a professional flare by adding custom design. If you’re not a designer, then outsource the work - just make it different. Try out alternative presentation software too: PowerPoint is not the be-all and end-all.
Make Every Slide An Event
Every single one of your slides should have a big impact. There should be no throwaway slides, no slides you intend on skipping over quickly, and nothing boring in your presentation. Treat each slide like an ad. Consider:
Is the headline eye-catching?
Does it have impact?
Does it make the audience want to find out more?
Speak With Your Body Language
While your slides are important, your body language when you present is vital. Even if you use all the tips above to make your presentation exciting, simply standing in front of the screen and talking will still be boring. You’re a presenter, not a tree; so don’t grow roots and stay in place. Use the space around you to move, gesture with your hands and use facial expressions to animate your speech. This ensures that the audience’s eyes are always drawn back to you and therefore they will listen to what you have to say.
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Posted by Du-Ann Daniel
Google Prefers Mobile Friendly Sites
Smartphones are becoming more ubiquitous in South Africa and across the African continent. Obviously, the major benefit of having a smartphone is the gateway that it provides to access the internet. Due to the prohibitive price of laptops and desktop computers, and the dropping price of smartphones, mobile has become the Internet access method of choice for many South Africans. According to We Are Social’s yearly report on internet usage statistics, mobile accounts for at least 78% of internet usage in the country.
With so many people using mobile devices to access the internet, it only makes sense to ensure that your website is mobile friendly. If your site isn’t responsive on mobile, you could be shutting 78% of your visitors out.
Mobile Friendly - What Does It Mean?
Mobile versions of sites can come in 3 categories: responsive, adaptive, or separate.
Responsive design responds to the user’s screen size and scales the website accordingly. This is achieved using portion-based grids (that are assigned a percentage rather than a pixel width) and varying CSS style rules. The same URL structure and HTML are maintained on desktops, tablets, and mobile.
Adaptive design is sometimes referred to as dynamic serving. This method detects the user’s device and generates a different version of the site HTML to suit that device. URL structure remains the same, however there are multiple versions of the site based on device.
Separate mobile sites are easily identified by their top level domain; rather than seeing a “www.” at the beginning of the URL, you will see an “m.”. This method will show users different HTML on separate URLs according to their device.
Which is the best for SEO?
You may be familiar with what is now referred to as “mobilegeddon”. This was a name given by webmasters and SEOs to Google’s algorithm update from April 21 2015. The update gave preference to mobile friendly sites for searches made from mobile devices. Desktop searches were not affected. This was done by Google to improve user experience, as desktop versions of websites are not easy to navigate on smaller screens.
Google has explicitly stated on their Developers website that their preference is responsively designed websites. This is most likely due to the fact that the site HTML remains the same with this method, and URLs do not change, so link sharing is easy.
Is your site mobile responsive? If not, it’s time to sort that out.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Posted by Bathabile Dlodlo