• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 17, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • When it comes to trends and the future, this review of over 150,000 predictive loyalty and engagement assessments is a reliable way to identify trends coming down the road in 2015. Take a look.

    It’s been said that there are three kinds of marketers and how they deal with them: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened! So, for smart marketers who want to fall into that second group, paying attention to what looms ahead is the wisest move they can make.

    Twenty-fifteen, and the future it will bring, will soon be upon us. In numerology the combination of number 1 (representing leadership and forward movement) and the number 5 (the numeric for business and finance) becomes 15, the fusion of leadership and forward, profitable momentum. This is only useful, of course, assuming you’re a marketer willing to bet your brand’s success on a divine relationship between numbers and impending events.

    In the real world, however, when it comes to trends and the future, a Brand Keys’ review of over 150,000 predictive loyalty and engagement assessments is a more reliable way to identify trends coming down the road in 2015. Take a look:

    1. Everyone of a Kind: Consumers will crave more and expect more customized and personalized products, services and experiences. This will be fueled by. . .
    2. Magnified Human Technology: Digital and mobile in all forms will fuel the sense of empowerment and possibility for consumers.
    3. Real Brand Engagement: With awareness a given, marketers will link “engagement” to how well the brand is perceived versus their category’s Ideal, rather than just counting “likes” or leveraging imagery.
    4. The Everything Expectation: The ability for brands to measure real, unarticulated, and constantly expanding emotional consumer expectations will provide advantages to engage, delight, and profit.
    5. Real-Time Becomes Real Important: Increased real-time brand expectations will spread to product availability, delivery, and customer service.
    6. It’s Still the Brand, Stupid: Increased consumer expectations will increase perceptions of products/services as commodities. Brands will need to differentiate and stand for something meaningful, emotional, and important to consumers. Oh, and. . .
    7. Category Is King: To engage those smarter, high-expectation consumers, brand wills need to be smarter about category-specific emotional values that they can leverage and believably own.
    8. Brands Will Get Emotional: Successful brands will need to identify emotional values in their categories and use them as a foundation for meaningful positioning, differentiation, and authentic storytelling.
    9. Non-Fiction Storytelling: Storytelling is fine, but the stories brands tell must reflect real brand values and category realities that differentiate and meet consumers’ believability criteria, otherwise marketers will end up entertaining rather than engaging.
    10. The Closing of the Showroom: The consumer will use 5+ online sources to facilitate actual purchase decisions, reducing reliance on traditional brick-and-mortars retail. But having identified that trend. . .
    11. High-End Shoppers Expect High-Tech Shopping Experiences: Retail will include a seamless transition from human-only service to digital assistants and virtual valets. Watch for more RFID, beacons, and touchscreens to supercharge the retail-shopping experience.
    12. Much More Multiculturalism: As ethnic groups grow, brands and retailers will integrate a sense of culture and culture-specific brand experience with all forms of outreach.
    13. Online Authenticity: As ‘The Internet of All Things’ matures, consumers will expect greater security as regards personal purchase data, which will act as a confidence builder for online sources and the brands using them.
    14. Dead-On Digital: Brands will shift their digital platform question from “should I be here?” to “what should I do now that I am here?” with success linked not to just outreach alone, but contextual relevance.
    15. Going Native: Content marketing will continue to become a specialty unto itself. Tools like Digital Platform GPS can optimize placement and resolve issues related to native advertising and shorter consumer attention spans. Metrics will move away from counting the number of views, sharing, and likes, toward real engagement (see Trend #3).

    One doesn’t need predictive metrics to know that every day marketers face new challenges. But, as the saying goes, if you want to do something new, you have to stop doing something old. These emotionally-derived engagement trends provide brands with the opportunity to break old habits and discard old-century legacy measures, and instead embrace new methods of brand engagement, new business models, and new and profitable opportunities for the coming year.

    All the best for 2015.

    Apple has the ability to take an existing technology and make it much more appealing to the masses, but we’re still a few years away from seeing wearable match mobile in terms of popularity. However, as more and more people jump on board, and better, more innovative devices are created, we’ll start to see big changes.

    For a while, many have claimed wearable technology is getting ready to take off. Maybe, but for now we’re waiting on the runway. We’ve heard over and over again that this year is the year for wearable technology. So far, the assumptions have come up flat, but there is a strong case for 2015 to be the year that really gets wearable innovation going.

    As of now, the Apple Watch is tentatively set for release early 2015. Until that happens, most of those looking for a smartwatch are holding off on their purchase. That shouldn’t be surprising. It really isn’t any different than when the last iPhone was announced. People held off on their new phone purchases, waiting to see what Apple would release. Likewise, everyone is looking to see what Apple Watch does, as it will most likely be interpreted as the standard that sets the tone for later devices.  

    It’s important to point out that the Apple Watch will also be important in bringing new consumers over to the wearable tech revolution. Right now, proponents of the smartwatch aren’t very outspoken or numerous. If you’re in a public place, take a look around you. How many people are wearing a smartwatch? Most likely very few. That being said, Apple has the ability to take an existing technology, and make it much more appealing to the masses.

    Let’s step back and talk about the general perception of smartwatches on the market right now. There are definitely early adopters who have sipped the Kool-Aid and tout a number of benefits from their new wrist gadgets. However, for the most part, public perception of the smartwatch hasn't been great. That may be because the average consumer hasn’t really grasped their benefit quite yet. We assumed that because fitness trackers became so popular, other wearables, like smartwatches, would follow the same trend. Unfortunately, while we clearly understand the advantages of tracking our health and reaching personal goals, most don’t grasp the added advantage of something that offers most of the same features as our phones.  

    This is where Apple can be a game changer. Apple is one of those companies that has a diehard following. For those who disagree, check out the lines the next time a new gadget is released. In those lines are consumers who will buy something from Apple just because it’s Apple. Therefore, there’ll be those who normally wouldn’t get a smartwatch who will, simply because of that lovely Apple logo. This could very well be what starts the chain reaction that helps get these devices, and others like them, off the shelves.

    What’s interesting is how a successful Apple Watch could actually lead to increased sales for other manufacturers. Let’s revisit the iPhone to see how this works. Smartphones existed before the first iPhone, but Apple’s innovation was the spark that fueled the mobile revolution. Others saw the success and started making their own. The same happened with tablets and the iPad. And, if logic follows, the same will most likely occur with the Apple Watch. More people will start wearing them, and suddenly other consumers will want to follow the early adopters. Manufacturers will see the success and try to improve on the technology, hoping to convert customers to their brand and products. People will begin comparing how other smartwatches compare to the Apple Watch, and choose whichever they prefer. Soon, you’ll see as many high tech watches as smartphones and tablets.

    We’re still a few years away from seeing wearable match mobile in terms of popularity. As more and more people jump on board, and better, more innovative devices are created, we’ll start to see big changes. Not to mention, with an increasing number of companies adopting BYOD (What is BYOD?) policies, more and more devices will make their way into the workface. This is a proven testing ground that expands functionality and usefulness, opening the doors to improvements and other ideas. So who knows, maybe Apple Watch will cause the big bang needed to expand the wearable universe.

    Social intelligence technology company Brandwatch expands its offerings with the acquisition of PeerIndex, an influencer-mapping technology company.

    Today, Brandwatch, a leading social intelligence technology company, announced that it was acquiring PeerIndex, an influencer-mapping tech company.

    PeerIndex, based in London, owns the world’s largest independent Twitter author database.

    “Content without context only goes so far, and we’re telling the world just that with our acquisition of PeerIndex,” said Giles Palmer, Brandwatch CEO. “Understanding more about the actual people behind the conversations happening online is crucial to marketers, and this is about creating technologies that will allow them to target audience segments at scale with astonishing accuracy. ”

    The acquisition will allow Brandwatch to integrate PeerIndex’s technology into its platform, allowing marketers to make decisions based on authors and demographics, given Peer Index’s PeerIndex’s 300 million+ author profiles, over four years of Twitter author data, and influencer analysis technology.

    The financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the combined firm will have 310 employees, and will expand Brandwatch’s presence in the UK. The company has offices in Brighton, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, and Stuttgart. 

    See the official press release below for more information.

    Brandwatch Buys Top Influencer Analytics Firm PeerIndex

    Merging influencer and content analytics for targeted marketing tech offering

    NEW YORK and LONDON, December 17, 2014/PR Newswire/ — Brandwatch, the leading social intelligence tech company, today announced its acquisition of PeerIndex, provider of the most transparent influencer mapping technology ever built. The acquisition includes ownership of the world’s largest independent Twitter author database.

    PeerIndex is Brandwatch’s first acquisition, a strategic first selected for its complementary technology and talent. PeerIndex’s strong Twitter technologies and world-class engineering team will be absorbed into Brandwatch’s future development, both in place to aggressively advance its product roadmap.

    [[{"fid":"221921","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"giles palmer","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"giles palmer","style":"line-height: 1.538em; height: 199px; width: 300px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: right;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]“Content without context only goes so far, and we’re telling the world just that with our acquisition of PeerIndex,” said Giles Palmer, Brandwatch CEO. “Understanding more about the actual people behind the conversations happening online is crucial to marketers, and this is about creating technologies that will allow them to target audience segments at scale with astonishing accuracy. ”

    Heavily rooted in Brandwatch’s ambitions of advancing social analytics technology and continuously challenging the industry and competitors, this acquisition will bring:

    ●      Deep targeting & analysis: PeerIndex’s influencer analysis technology, which includes the world’s largest independent Twitter author database, will be integrated within the Brandwatch platform. For marketers, Brandwatch content analysis plus the addition of PeerIndex’s deep audience analysis will allow for smarter decision-making based on author, demographics, and psychographic insights beyond anything else on the market.

    ●      Innovation for customers: This move boosts Brandwatch’s Twitter infrastructure and takes social analytics to the next level. PeerIndex’s 300 million+ author profiles, over four years of Twitter author data, and incomparable influencer analysis technology, will all be directly integrated into Brandwatch, adding invaluable human insight.

    ●      Stealth product: PeerIndex CEO Azeem Azhar joins the Brandwatch team to lead a stealth product combining the two technologies. This specific mix of two pioneering social analytics technologies presents the opportunity for Brandwatch to build products and features with a focus on highly targeted messaging and content marketing.

    The entire PeerIndex team of 10, primarily comprised of highly-skilled and innovative developers, will join Brandwatch immediately for a total of over 300 global employees.

    [[{"fid":"221926","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"azeem azhar","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"azeem azhar","style":"line-height: 1.538em; float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]Azhar will also play an important role as a company product evangelist. He brings with him a rich track record of tech innovation as well as his pivotal role in the UK tech and digital community.

    “Brandwatch is an amazing company, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them,” said Azeem Azhar. “Combining their fantastic commercial platform with our technology insight will bring ground-breaking new products to market.”

    PeerIndex’s central London office will form part of Brandwatch’s presence in the UK, helping to provide a base from which to forge closer connections with many of its London-based clients.

    The acquisition officially closed on December 16th, 2014, for an undisclosed sum of cash and equity. For additional information on the acquisition, read blog posts from Giles Palmer and Azeem Azhar.

    Google has introduced a new feature in Gmail that will make it easier for certain business owners to get reviews from their target audience. Just as users can respond to RSVP through Gmail, this new option will let Gmail users review restaurants and other businesses right from their inbox.

    Google has introduced a new feature in Gmail that will make it easier for certain business owners to get reviews from their target audience. Just as users can respond to RSVP through Gmail, this new option will let Gmail users review restaurants and other businesses right from their inbox.

    The Review Action is available for restaurants, movies, products and more. By adding the schema markup to marketing emails, recipients will be able to provide numeric (star) ratings and even submit a text review up to 10,000 characters long directly from their inbox.

    Once completed, the reviews can be used in variety on a site. It does require some understanding of the Google App Engine, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Customer reviews are important for internet marketers but they can be hard to get from customers. It’s worth the effort to use Review Actions on Gmail if you know your subscriber base would welcome the chance to give positive reviews.

    Right now, Gmail supports reviews for entities of the following types movies, restaurants, products (including commodity services). The feature was first introduced last year where it was used by Seamless.

    Interestingly, the markup for Review Action doesn’t work on Google’s new Inbox app, which is designed as a sort of a hybrid app that blends traditional email services with other lifestyle integration features for photos, events, etc. It’s likely that Google will fix the issue soon.

    The good part about In-App Actions is that they are done without sending the user to any other website. Besides the newest additions for more reviews, other actions include One-Click Actions and RSVP Actions.

    Though it only works on Gmail, the Review Action option is especially helpful for marketers who reach their customers through email campaigns. For example, if a restaurant already sends coupons to certain customers via email (which is a good marketing tactic), these emails can be include the Review Action schema so these customers can easily rate their favorite restaurant as they get their latest coupons. Similarly, independent filmmakers can announce news about their latest projects to newsletter subscribers and have them rate some of the filmmaker’s work.

    A new report from CSO Insights found that email marketing was reported to be the top performing method of generating the best quality and quantity of leads. According to the study, nearly 55 percent of leading companies surveyed reported an increase in lead conversions when utilizing lead nurturing through email.

    To see how to add the markup to your marketing emails, to learn more about other actions that can be included in Google Developer website. And for more ideas on getting customer feedback, read this article with three ethical ways to get more reviews.

    Think you can tell a fake email from the real deal? You’d be surprised. A new Google study finds that phishing scams are more successful than we thought.

    Think you can distinguish a fake email from the real deal? Sorry to disappoint, but Google’s latest study says otherwise. Google, in conjunction with the University of California, San Diego, found that sophisticated, manual phishing attempts allow hackers to successfully takeover a Gmail account a staggering 45 percent of the time.

    While this statistic may be a bit mind-boggling, let’s take a few steps back to uncover what phishing is and how can you spot it.

    Phishing is when a scammer poses as a legitimate person or organization online. Scammers send an email prompting you for an immediate action. Typically they will ask for login credentials, bank account information or personally identifiable information (like your SSN). With this information, they can commit identity theft,fraud, or send additional phishing emails to your friends using your good name.

    Cybercriminals send these emails out by the thousands and the skill used to craft these deceptive documents ranges greatly. Some phishers transmit elementary versions while others make nearly identical reproductions.

    Do you think you would be able to catch on to this fake AT&T bill?

    AT&T Bill

    So what are the telltale signs of a phishing email? In short — they vary. So get acquainted with some of the most prominent red flags.

    “Dear Valued Customer”
    Trusted organizations have both your email address and name on file. If you scroll through your inbox, you’ll see a reoccurring theme — companies personalizing emails with your name. Scammers on the other hand lack this information, so they choose an all-encompassing term such as “Valued Customer,” “Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

    CustomerService@FakeCompany.com
    One of the most common giveaways is an erroneous domain name used in the sender’s email address or the attached URLs. Domain names are what come after the @ sign in an email and before the .com in a web address. For example, a scammer might use something like verizonsupport@gmail.com or support@verison.com to try to impersonate Verizon.

    Always check the domain name of both the sender’s email address and the email’s URLs. To check URLs, simply hover over them with your cursor and they will display the address of the website you will be directed to. Be cautious, some links will send you to sites infected with malware.

    Is it Typo-City?
    Poor spelling and grammatical errors are a major tipoff that something fishy is going on. Many phishers are from overseas where English may not be their first language. Others simply don’t want to spend the time perfecting their scam. They know that if they send out enough emails, they’ll get at least a few bites. Google found that even the most obvious phishing scams were successful 3% of the time.

    Act Now Or Else
    Hackers typically demand a prompt response. In the Google study, 20% of impacted accounts were accessed within a mere 30 minutes of being phished. Unprompted messages are one of the best ways to get you to act immediately. Phishing emails will use threatening or too-good-to-be true messages such as “your account will be closed” or “you will owe a penalty”. Don’t buy in — it’s a scam!

    What Should You Do?

    If you suspect you’re the recipient of a phishing email, don’t click on any links. Nor should you forward or reply to the email. If in doubt, call the company’s customer service hotline to verify the legitimacy of an email.  Once divulged, report any phishing emails to the impersonated organization, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the appropriate email provider (i.e. GoogleYahoo).

    If you you’re worried you’ve already been tricked by a phishing scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately.

    Want to have a little fun? Test your knowledge with the FTC Phishing Game!