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Facebook’s Next Big Bet Is Making Your Phone’s Camera Smarter

Facebook has gotten us all to share text posts and photos, and is seeing a lot of use of video. Now, it wants to turn is all into live streamers, and use advanced technology to aid our use of our phone cameras: That’s the gist of an outlook that Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox gave at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Tuesday.

Cox said that Facebook has already seen 400 percent growth in live streaming since opening it up to all of its users in May. Not all of that is coming from users watching broadcasts of major media brands, he explained, adding that the number of small broadcasters — teenagers that stream to just a dozen of their friends — was a surprise even to Facebook itself.

Key to Facebook Live’s future growth will be technology that adds to the live broadcast experience, said Cox. He showed off one example that Facebook is currently experimenting with in the lab: An app that automatically takes the camera input and in real-time renders it in the style of famous painters like van Gogh using neural networks.

The bigger idea behind experiments like this is to turn the camera into an advanced tool that unlocks live streaming and augmented reality experiences, said Cox. “This is going to help take the technology to the next level.”

Cox was joined on stage by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who argued that Live is an evolution of free expression on Facebook, complete with the challenges that come with it. The company has been in hot waters in the past for overzealous removal of content, and suggested last week that it was ready to relax some of its guidelines for acceptable content.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” Sandberg said. “We also want to be a really safe community. Those two things can come into conflict.”

As Facebook is making decision what content to keep on its platform and what to ban, it often finds itself confronted with criticism that it is exercising editorial control — a charge that Sandberg and Cox denied. “A media company is about the story that it tells,” said Cox. “A technology company is about the tools that it builds.”

Source: Variety, article by Janko Roettgers (http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/facebook-chris-cox-sheryl-sandberg-live-1201900331/)

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Tips for app store optimization

ASO, or app store optimization, is the process of creating and adjusting an App Store or Google Play listing for long-term, organic success.

The concept of ASO has caught fire recently due in no small part to the massive volume of applications clogging the app stores: nearly 3 million apps are available on the Apple App Store and Google Play apiece. Successful optimization can put your app on top for a long time to come.

Why ASO?
Apple itself recently touted that more than 65 percent of app downloads come from searches made in the App Store. That is bigger than all the television ads, Facebook promotions and burst campaigns out there, making search officially the strongest way to boost your app.

With an optimized listing, your app will be more likely to appear in relevant searches, capitalizing on the intent of users each time they search in the store.

Tailoring your optimizations
When optimizing your app, it is important to consider the platform on which you will be launch.

Apple and Google each have their own unique process for indexing your app. That means you will need to play to the strengths of each platform to successfully optimize for both.

Optimizing on the App Store
Apple’s App Store is the easiest platform to optimize for in many ways.

An app listing for the App Store consists of two key parts: Your app’s title and your app’s keywords. Only your title will be visible to the public, but both the title and the keywords have great influence on which terms you will rank for in search.

Words from your title and your keyword bank can be combined to build phrases.

For example, if your app is called “Fun Game” and you have the word “Free” in your keyword bank, you could pick up ranking for the phrase “Fun Free Game.”

By looking over your title and keywords, as well as reading your description and playing around with your app, Apple will determine foe which terms and phrases your app is relevant. That makes targeting the proper keywords in your title, keyword bank and description extremely important.

Optimizing on Google Play
Like Apple, Google also has a title field. Unlike Apple, Google restricts the title to 30 short characters. That means you will not be able to add too many key terms in your title.

Also, unlike Apple, Google has no keyword bank into which you can type manually targeted keywords.

Instead, Google uses the words in your title, long description and short description to determine foe which terms your app is relevant.

The short description is a small, 80-character description of your app that will appear to users on mobile as they search.

Google places great weight on your title and short description when it decides your ranking, so it would be wise to use highly searched, relevant words and phrases here.

The same is true of your long description.

If you can use high-volume, trending terms in your description in a natural way, you might find yourself picking up a lot of new rankings.

Converting users
ASO places heavy emphasis on the data behind your app. You always want to use the most relevant, trending terms as your keywords.

However, not all the action happens behind the scenes.

After all, a user still needs to like the look of your app to download, and that means optimizing your icon and screenshots as well.

Creative optimization is incredibly important in ASO.

An app can have great keywords, a solid title and a captivating description. But with an ugly icon and screenshots, it may never gain the traction it needs for success.

Again, it is important to take into account the differences between Apple and Google when you optimize your creatives.

For example, Apple’s search results display two screenshots for each app, making your first two screenshots – or your first screenshot and your preview video, if you have one – vital for converting users.

Google, on the other hand, does not display screenshots in search results. Instead, your icon will be the only creative item featured in the results.

Take these differences into account when you set up your listing for each store.

WITH THAT, you have got a solid foothold for optimizing your app with both Apple and Google.

Each platform has its own unique challenges. But a successful optimization could be the first step towards scaling nearly 3 million competitors on each app store.

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily, article by Dave Bell (http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/tips-for-app-store-optimization) 

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Facebook Workplace is the new social network for your OFFICE

FORGET LinkedIn, Facebook Workplace, offering collaboration tools, worldwide communication and more, could be the new social media network for your place of work.

The age of sneakily using Facebook whilst at work could finally be at an end thanks to the launch of a new social media site from the company.

Facebook Workplace looks to allow companies to set up their own private social networks, where employees can communicate, share knowledge and stay in touch, even at multinational businesses with offices all around the world.

Looking to target workers who don’t spend all day at their desk, Workplace is a mobile-focused service that will let employees and managers alike stay in contact wherever they are.

Formerly known as Facebook at Work, Workplace is Facebook biggest launch for some time, and marks a move towards the corporate scene for the first time.

Facebook says that more than a thousand organisations around the world are already using Workplace, which has been in beta testing for over two years, including many UK businesses.

This includes international companies such as Danone, Oxfam and Starbucks, as well as major domestic organisations such as India’s Yes Bank and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore.

Companies will need to pay a fee to use Workplace, which will be based on a monthly cost per active user.

The more users a company has, the less they will pay – with initial rates starting at $3 for the first 1,000 monthly users, $2 for up to 10,000 users and $1 for any higher than that.

Customers can also add in a number of additional services to their Workplace subscription, including multi-company Groups (which let employees from several different organisations work together without leaking valuable corporate information), and video and group audio calling in Work Chat.

However more traditional Facebook services can also be included, such as Facebook Live, Reactions, Trending posts and auto-translate.

Facebook says that utilising its various programs could allow workers to chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with a CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live.

Facebook wrote in a blog post, “The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department or geography.”

“Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”

Source: Express, article by Michael Moore (http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/719665/facebook-workplace-new-social-network-office)

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Snapchat Needs to Go Public Before Instagram Stories Kills It

With Snapchat leaking that the company is planning a quick initial public offering (IPO) at a $25 billion valuation, the real motivation for speeding up the deal may be the ability of Instagram Stories to grow to from scratch to 60 percent of Snapchat’s user base in just 10 weeks.

L&F Capital Management suggests that Snapchat’s current advantages are easily replicated, and that “Instagram will ultimately consolidate the teen user base.”

They see a Snapchat IPO as another one-trick-pony like GoPro, Fitbit and Shake Shack. All three had hot IPO’s and a big jump in price in the first few days of trading. But within a year, competition swooped in and the companies’ stock prices crumbled.

A recent Wishbone survey targeting 35,000 Snapchat users between the ages of 12 and 25 found the company’s primary competitive advantage is its filters. Geo filters and puppy dog faces are what the youth demographic currently wants for viral “fun.” But the survey also revealed that if Facebook had Snapchat-type filters, it would take market share from Snapchat’s 12 to 25-age demographic.

Facebook Instagram Stories launched on August 2, and already has 100 million daily active viewers, compared to Snapchat’s 150 million users after almost five years. A big part of Instagram Stories’ rapid adoption has probably been due to “immersion” within the 500 million users in Instagram’s ecosystem.

L&F is confident that Facebook can continue to grow its earnings by 30 percent compounded, because the falling “Cost per Engagement” for the Instagram and Facebook platform is a magnet for advertiser dollars and an impediment for other social media platforms.

Snapchat is the primary target in the Facebook’s app consolidation plans. By knocking off Snapchat’s core features, Facebook will strengthen its user base and take share in the youth demographic, where advertisers desperately want to increase engagement.

Snapchat currently has an advantage when it comes to private direct messaging, but that feature is easily imitated. Facebook is already testing a similar tool with Messenger. By enabling short-lived direct messaging text, photos and videos, Messenger would seem to be a huge threat to Snapchat’s value proposition to users.

Instagram Stories already addresses the public messaging components, and when combined with Facebook Messenger features, it could also offer the kid-targeted private component.

L&F believes that with all the hype around Snapchat, the stock price will undoubtedly jump after the IPO. But it also expects Snapchat to be “butchered” as reality sinks in that the company does not have “protectable” value.

Source: Bretbart, article by Chriss W. Street (http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/10/09/snapchat-needs-go-public-instagram-stories-kills/)

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5 Overlooked Features of Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

LinkedIn has proven to be a winning platform for many B2B companies. But while the professional networking site holds major potential for amplifying thought leadership, boosting brand awareness, and generating leads, success on the site isn’t a given.

Maximizing your LinkedIn presence requires mastering the ins and outs of the platform and its many offerings as a piece of marketing technology. Here are five of the most overlooked features of your LinkedIn marketing strategy—plus a few tricks to jump-start your efforts.

1. Engage Your Employees

Your company’s LinkedIn page is a great starting point for your marketing efforts, but a company page alone won’t guarantee an audience. Encouraging employees to share and amplify your company page content will help spread your message far and wide, hitting the types of people who might be interested in your company to begin with.

A proper LinkedIn employee engagement program starts with getting employees excited about the platform and everything it can do for them personally and professionally (not to mention what it can do for the company). Explain why participation can improve the visibility of the company, thus increasing exposure to potential customers and leads. Companies in service-oriented industries have an added incentive to used LinkedIn; the talent behind the company is as important as the product or service offered. Empower staff to build stellar profiles (complete with links to the company page and a logo), and encourage them to share company content—blog posts, videos, images—to increase the reach of your message. Content marketing on LinkedIn grows exponentially stronger when engaged employees share content with their connections.

2. Test Your Content

Sharing posts from your company page and encouraging employees to do the same will bring content to users within those networks. But if you want your content to hit users outside your networks, LinkedIn can make it happen (albeit for a fee). Direct Sponsored Content allows brands to test multiple variations of their content, while maintaining control over what is posted to their company page.

LinkedIn’s marketing technology allows companies to test the headline, intro, teaser text, and thumbnail image of a post to see what garners more clicks from users. By finding out which variable resonates the most, marketers can optimize content so that the people they want to reach—industry leaders and potential customers—are more likely to click.

LinkedIn offers metrics for organic posts, too. Companies can see which posts are performing better, allowing them to tweak their content strategies to woo more followers. Top-performing organic posts are good candidates to receive a sponsored boost, allowing the content to go even further.

3. Utilize LinkedIn Pulse

Motivating your employees to use LinkedIn is a key piece to LinkedIn marketing success. Take these efforts to the next level and recruit your in-house company experts to author their own posts and share them to expand your thought leadership marketing. Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder and innovator, adorns his LinkedIn page with posts about entrepreneurship, business success, and work–life balance. The posts offer easily accessible business insight—while also consistently referring and linking back to Virgin, helping the brand boost its industry cred.

Any LinkedIn user can publish to LinkedIn Pulse, which functions as its own self-publishing platform within the LinkedIn site. Simply click “Write an article,” add a photo and write a headline, and you’re on your way to accessing the millions of LinkedIn users who browse the site for insight or advice. Pulse editors help curate the content users see on their Pulse feeds, but trending content and content that users in your network have Liked also gets highlighted. Once again, the more employees on board and sharing content, the further your content will spread.

4. Vary Your Content Mix

LinkedIn is building a niche as a go-to platform for long-form content. LinkedIn readers have a high tolerance for in-depth pieces—as long as the content is interesting.

Despite the conventional wisdom that shorter is better, on LinkedIn, longer posts seem to perform better than their shorter counterparts. Posts between 1,900 and 2,000 words gain the greatest number of LinkedIn likes, comments, and shares, a study from OKDork found.

The key here is variety. Offer followers meatier pieces with an in-depth analysis of an industry conundrum. But it’s okay to share shorter content, too. A great infographic may do the same work of a 2,000-word thought piece.

5. Publish Solutions to Your Audience’s Challenges

“If you build it, they will come” is the wrong mantra to have when it comes to LinkedIn marketing. Before posting content willy-nilly to your company page, think about the audience you want to reach and the pain points they are experiencing within their industry. This is where you, the industry expert, can add value. Need ideas about what’s bugging people in your industry? Scour LinkedIn’s Groups Directory to find out what challenges people in your industry are facing, and create content that speaks to those challenges.

Marketers can use LinkedIn’s built-in analytics to get a better feel for who is viewing and engaging with your content. The content created should help this audience solve a problem, learn something new, or empower them with advice. Avoid clickbait like the plague, because users will see right through it. Only relevant, compelling content will resonate with LinkedIn’s professional audience, lending you legitimacy as an expert in your industry.

Source: Skyword, article by Krystal Overmyer (http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/5-overlooked-features-of-your-linkedin-marketing-strategy/)

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