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UGC Can Strengthen the Relationship Between Your Social Media and Content Marketing

The relationship between social and content marketing can feel forced, but user-generated content can make it a healthier, happier union. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.marketingprofs.com

“When Great Just Isn’t Good Enough” Smashing Conference NYC 2015

SmashingConf NYC 20151 will challenge you to rethink how you design and build websites today — and how to touch someone’s heart with design. 1 track, 2 conference days, 5 workshops, 16 excellent speakers and just 400 available tickets. With the main focus on practical takeaways from real-life projects, you might never be the same again. To the tickets.2

About The Conference

You’ve been around for quite some time, haven’t you? You know your way around front-end, or UX methodologies, or mobile patterns, or even the obscure dark matter of responsive web design. But you might not feel just right with your workflow, with the techniques and strategies you use, or perhaps with the amount of time required to get things done. Your techniques are pretty good, great even, but they just aren’t good enough.


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SmashingConf NYC 20154 is a two-day event taking place in the very heart of New York. We won’t make it easy for you — and you might never be the same again.

Sounds familiar? Well, that’s about to change. We don’t care about trends, but we do care about smart solutions. We love exploring how designers and developers work and how actual problems are solved—ideas and techniques that actually worked, or failed in real-life projects, and why exactly they failed and what decisions were chosen instead. All those things that help us make smarter design decisions and build better products, faster.

That’s exactly what the conference will be about: lessons learned in front-end, UX and design, and how we all can polish our craft by applying those lessons intelligently. Taking place on June 15–18th 2015 right next to the Times Square in New York City, this might be a conference that will keep you on your toes for quite some time. Seriously.

Get the tickets →1175Only 400 tickets. Now on sale.

First Confirmed Speakers

Okay. Ready for the confirmed speakers? Get set. Go!

First confirmed speakers at SmashingConf NY 2015: Stefan Sagmeister and Susan Weinschenk6
First confirmed speakers, Stefan Sagmeister and Susan Weinschenk. Stefan isn’t that scary in real life though.

  • Stefan Sagmeister
    (Graphic Design)
  • Susan Weinschenk
    (Psychology, UX)
  • Andrew Clarke
    (Responsive Design, Front-End)
  • Samantha Warren
    (Designer, Style Tiles)
  • Jon Burgerman
    (Artist, Doodler)
  • Yesenia Perez-Cruz
    (Visual Design)
  • Josh Clark
    (UX, Mobile)
  • Katie Kovalcin
    (Visual Design, Front-End, Sparkbox)
  • Marcin Wichary
    (UX, Medium.com)
  • Daniel Burka
    (UX, Design, Google)
  • Tim Kadlec
    (Performance)
  • Daniel Espeset
    (Front-End, Etsy)
  • Christian Heilmann
    (Front-End, Mozilla)
  • Mystery Speaker
    (Someone you definitely know, and respect.)
  • …more speakers will be announced soon!

$549

Get the tickets →1175Only 50 early-birds available. Now on sale.

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Hands-On Workshops

We’ll also host hands-on full-day workshops8 with practical techniques taught by masters of the craft. Be it front-end techniques, responsive design, lean UX or delightful, smart design, we carefully selected topics that will help you become better at what you do. So if you are going to attend the conference, why not attend a workshop as well?

In fact, we reserved 50 early-bird tickets for $549, and if you book a workshop too, you’ll save $100 off the conference + workshop ticket price. Well, enough already. Tickets are on sale now, you know.

Times Square in New York9
If you’ve always wanted to visit New York, or just happen to live around the corner (well, more or less), this is just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Grab your ticket.10

Why This Conference Is For You

The conference is for you because you’ll learn many valuable techniques for your workflow, and you’ll meet fantastic, like-minded people from the industry. You’ll learn:

  1. Strategies for building fast responsive websites,
  2. Clever psychological techniques for smarter interfaces,
  3. Techniques and guidelines for better mobile UX,
  4. Guidelines for scalable front-end and CSS,
  5. How to integrate performance budgets into your workflow,
  6. Advanced front-end and UX tooling and setup,
  7. Guidelines for delightful, engaging UX,
  8. Mistakes and lessons learned from large projects,
  9. Responsive design patterns for future-ready websites,
  10. How to increase the productivity of your team for good,
  11. How to touch someone’s heart with design.
  12. …more practical takeaways from real-life projects.

$549

Get the tickets →1175Only 400 tickets. Now on sale.

Ticket Sales And Pricing

Only 400 tickets are available, and work hard to keep our prices fair and affordable for everybody. The price for two full conference days is $549 for early-bird tickets, and $599 for regular tickets. And again, if you book a workshop as well, you’ll save $100. Yay! Get your ticket right away.12

SmashingConf NY: Convince Your Boss PDF13
“8 reasons why you should send your incredibly hard-working, deserving employee to the SmashingConf” (PDF14). Quite self-explanatory, really.

We also prepared a neat Convince Your Boss (PDF)15 (0.15 Mb) that you can use to convince your colleagues, friends, neighbors and total strangers to join you or send you to the event. We know that you will not be disappointed. Still not good enough? Well, tweet us @smashingconf — we can be quite convincing, too!

We Welcome Lovely Sponsors, You Know

We do everything possible to keep ticket prices affordable for everyone, and we welcome sponsors to help us create a truly unique, unforgettable conference experience. And you can be a major part of it.

We have quite a number of attractive and creative sponsorship packages16 for you, and we are also flexible and would love to adjust them to your needs. So if you’re interested, please email us at hello@smashingconf.com17 — we’d love for you to be involved!

See You In New York!

We are looking forward to seeing you in New York, and who knows, perhaps months later after the conference is over, you’ll look back at your workflow, at your projects and at this very article realizing that it wasn’t that off after all. Grab your ticket18 and see you there!

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/
  2. 2 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  3. 3 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/
  4. 4 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015
  5. 5 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  6. 6 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/speakers
  7. 7 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  8. 8 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/workshops
  9. 9 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/locations
  10. 10 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  11. 11 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  12. 12 http://smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration
  13. 13 http://smashingconf.com/pdf/8-reasons-for-Smashing-Conference-NYC-2015.pdf
  14. 14 http://smashingconf.com/pdf/8-reasons-for-Smashing-Conference-NYC-2015.pdf
  15. 15 http://smashingconf.com/pdf/8-reasons-for-Smashing-Conference-NYC-2015.pdf
  16. 16 http://smashingconf.com/pdf/Smashingconf-LA-2015-Sponsorship.pdf
  17. 17 mailto:hello@smashingconf.com
  18. 18 http://www.smashingconf.com/ny-2015/registration

The post “When Great Just Isn’t Good Enough” Smashing Conference NYC 2015 appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.smashingmagazine.com

Five Characteristics Of An Innovation

The “diffusion of innovations” theory of communications expert and rural sociologist Everett Rogers attempts to identify and explain the factors that lead to people and groups adopting innovations (new ideas and technologies). Design teams that account for both usability and how people adopt innovation stand a much greater chance of having users accept and use their products.

The diffusion of innovations is a complex process; design teams can use their knowledge of the theory to create a road map for how they will address critical factors in the design and marketing of their product.

I covered the types of adopters and the steps in the process of adoption in the first article of this series1. This second article presents the five characteristics of an innovation that determine its use. According to the diffusion of innovations theory, how well an innovation addresses these characteristics will determine people’s long-term adoption of an innovation. Design teams can address many components of these characteristics.

Characteristics Of An Innovation

Individuals do not automatically adopt new products. They make a conscious decision of whether to use a particular one. That is, their decision to adopt an innovation is deliberate. This is the third step in the process of adopting an innovation, covered in the first article. Design teams must proactively address this step if they want individuals to decide on long-term use of their product.

The diffusion of innovations theory identifies the following five characteristics that determine people’s use of an innovation.

Relative Advantage

Relative advantage measures how improved an innovation is over a competing option or the previous generation of a product. Potential users need to see how an innovation improves their current situation. Improvements can be in one or many of these areas:

  • better service,
  • consolidation of multiple functions into one tool,
  • decreased need for supplies and equipment,
  • empowerment of users,
  • improved interface,
  • increased customizability,
  • increased longevity,
  • increased productivity,
  • reduced user effort,
  • reduced environmental impact,
  • saving of money,
  • saving of space or storage,
  • saving of time.

In the 1980s and early ’90s, computer word-processing programs WordStar and WordPerfect demonstrated relative advantage over existing products. Most offices used typewriters, which took up a lot of space, performed only one function and required servicing, supplies (type ribbons, whiteout, etc.) and parts on a regular basis (they were also pretty loud).

As computers became more prevalent, WordStar and WordPerfect freed users from typewriters. The relative advantage was obvious. The word-processing programs didn’t require any additional physical space aside from the personal computer, which already did a number of other office tasks; they reduced the need for ink and correction tape; documents could be easily edited prior to printing; and files could be saved and transported for editing on other computers using floppy disks. Soon, typewriters were being phased out of offices and replaced with these computer word-processing programs.

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Word-processing programs: Typewriters, you have met your match. (View large version3)

Relevance to your design team

Your design team will need to address relative advantage in multiple ways. Let’s face it: If relative advantage isn’t inherent to your product, then it isn’t an innovation, and it might not be a venture worth pursuing at all. Your team should identify the potential relative advantage of your product in the planning stages of development. From that point on, your team should sharpen and enhance any relative advantage that your product has over the products of potential competitors.

Market research, UX research’s awkward cousin4, should inform the underlying logic that drives your innovation’s purpose. Have you identified the demand for your innovation? What competing products currently exist? Highlighting the issue that your innovation addresses and how it does so are good ways to start investigating where your innovation’s relative advantage should lie.

You will need to be explicit about the relative advantage of your product in your marketing. How is your product an improvement over an existing product? How does it address an unmet need? Your design should clearly accomplish both of these things. Your marketing materials should clearly show how your product gives users an edge over competing products.

Your design team will need to conduct user research to back up your claims. For example, if you are going to say that your product is easier or more efficient than a competing product, then you will need data to back up this assertion. Have you tested users of your product against users of a competing product? Do users of another product find it lacking in a way that your product addresses? Does your product save people money or reduce their reliance on multiple products by consolidating a number of functions? Prove it, and then tout that fact in your advertising.

Compatibility

Compatibility refers to the level of compatibility that an innovation has with individuals as they assimilate it into their lives. Potential adopters need to know that your innovation will be compatible with their life and lifestyle. If an innovation requires a huge lifestyle change or if the user must acquire additional products to make your innovation work, then it is more likely to fail. Innovations meet with the greatest success when users are able to seamlessly adopt them — when they replace an existing product or idea, for the better.

Apple’s iPad is an example of an innovation that had a high level of compatibility with potential users’ lives when released. Many users were able to replace products they were currently using when the iPad was released, such as smartphones and laptop computers to check their email, to read books, magazines and blogs and to view videos online.

Relevance to your design team

Your design team needs to understand the infrastructure they are designing for, as well as what the planned improvements to the infrastructure will be. You wouldn’t design an electric-powered innovation for a community that doesn’t have access to, or believe in, electricity. You need a deep understanding of the conditions that your innovation will be met with upon release. Answer the following questions when thinking about your innovation’s compatibility:

  • How will your innovation fit into users’ lives?
  • What shifts in behavior will need to occur for your innovation to be adopted?
  • What additional products will be required for your innovation to succeed (for example, a high-speed Internet connection, a mobile phone plan with data, gasoline)?
  • What existing products does your innovation replace?
  • How does your innovation fit with potential adopters’ mental model, beliefs and attitudes regarding the issue your innovation will address?

The questions above are not comprehensive. They are meant to highlight a design team’s need to be aware of the characteristics of adopters as thoroughly as they are aware of their own innovation’s characteristics. To be clear, the success of your innovation will depend on your team ensuring that the innovation aligns with potential users’ beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors.

Ensuring compatibility doesn’t mean that your innovation can’t be cutting- or bleeding-edge, just that you have to know things are moving in the direction your design is taking them. Let’s examine the iPad’s success once again, noting how key factors related to compatibility were in place to help ensure the product’s success.

The iPad came at the right time in the evolution of people’s beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and technology. Many individuals and businesses had reached a stage where they believed that new technologies to simplify daily activities were constantly emerging (belief), and that this is a good thing (attitude). Individuals were already using laptop computers and smartphones to surf the Web and to make digital transactions while away from their desktops (behavior). Wi-Fi Internet access was nearly ubiquitous among businesses and households in urban and suburban areas, which allowed the iPad to function as a useful tool in most areas (technology); also, mobile phone technology presented a more advanced option for users who were willing to pay for constant access to the Internet. Lastly, enough adopters were willing to spend money on these types of technologies to show that it was a viable option to later adopters (behavior). These factors aligned to create the perfect timing for the iPad to be compatible with adopters’ lives.

Just add iPad: instantly compatible with users’ lives5
Just add iPad: instantly compatible with users’ lives (View large version6)

Apple’s extensive knowledge of their market led to the iPad’s success. The iPad would most likely not have had the same success if it had been released prior to ubiquitous Wi-Fi or the mass availability of digital movies and music. Your design team should have as strong an understanding of your potential market and what conditions need to be present to ensure the compatibility of your innovation with adopters’ lives. If the success of your innovation depends on the availability of another product, then you’ll need to know that this product is, or will be, common enough that it won’t interfere with potential adopters’ ability to use the functions of your product.

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Complexity or simplicity refers to how difficult it is for adopters to learn to use an innovation. Complexity slows down the gears of progress. The more complex an innovation, the more difficult it will be for potential adopters to incorporate it into their lives. Potential adopters do not usually budget much time for learning to use an innovation. The more intuitive an innovation, the more likely it will be adopted.

An Oreo cookie-separating contraption is an example of making something too complex to be useful. Even if people felt they needed a machine to separate their Oreos, the level of effort required to use such a device would be prohibitive to adoption. Potential adopters would need to read and reread an instruction manual to ensure they are setting it up correctly. This machine is another illustration of the characteristic of compatibility. The machine’s size makes it incompatible for potential adopters who do not have an entire room to dedicate to an Oreo-separating machine. A handheld or pocket-sized version of this innovation would be much more likely to meet with success.

Relevance to your design team

Your team should design with simplicity in mind. Scrutinize every detail of your product to ensure alignment with the purpose of your innovation. High tech should not automatically mean a high learning curve. Conduct usability testing on your product as a standard practice. Usability test findings have a few clear applications in this regard:

  • Iterate on the design of your product. Usability test findings should inform those iterations. Address workflows that users have struggled with, clarify terminology that users have found unfamiliar, and present information in a way that aligns with users’ mental model.
  • If your team is unable to address the usability issues that users have identified, then clarify these issues through FAQs, tool tips, walkthrough videos and other learning material.
  • If your innovation is complex or has standard and advanced settings, a happy medium is obtainable. “Quick start” or automatic set-up is an example of how many firms have simplified complicated innovations. If you purchase a new television or computer, it will most likely come with a single sheet of paper that describes how to quickly set up the product for basic use. Basic use is good enough for most people. A longer manual on how to manipulate advanced features is also included or made available as a downloadable PDF. This allows power users to take advantage of the bells and whistles.
Amazon’s fireTV quick start guide. The full guide is 39 pages long.7
Amazon’s fireTV quick start guide. The full guide is 39 pages long. (View large version8)

Trialability

Trialability describes how easily potential adopters can explore your innovation. Trialability is critical to facilitating the adoption of an innovation. Potential users want to see what your innovation can do and give it a test run before committing. This is the underlying concept of trial sizes for tangible goods, and demo or beta releases for digital goods. Potential adopters can see for themselves what life might be like once they adopt the product.

Relevance to your design team

Your team will need to make your product available to potential adopters to test drive. Digital designs have characteristics that inherently allow for trialability. There are many examples of how to accomplish this with a digital product. Sirius XM offers a 30-day trial, hoping that users realize during this period that paying the full subscription price is worth being able to continue listening to the audio channels.

You can offer a free version of your innovation with limited functionality, with the option to upgrade for access to additional features. Join.me does this effectively by offering a less feature-rich free version of its screen-sharing product. The free version of Join.me displays options that become available through a paid account (for example, “Pass” presenter role and “Share” mouse control). Users of the free product see the benefit they would derive by upgrading to a paid subscription. When users of the free version find themselves in a situation where they would like to share control of their mouse, they will think harder about the benefits of upgrading to a paid account.

Join.me: Sure you can share mouse control, but it’ll cost you.9
Join.me: Sure you can share mouse control, but it’ll cost you. (View large version10)

You can also offer a free ad-supported version of your product, allowing users to decide whether to upgrade by paying for an ad-free option. Pandora offers its ad-supported product free of charge. Users can listen to a set number of songs, but then must listen to advertising in order to continue. If a user wants to listen to music without commercial interruption, they can upgrade to the Pandora One experience, which offers non-stop streaming music for a monthly fee.

Pandora offers users the option to pay for a commercial-free experience.11
Pandora offers users the option to pay for a commercial-free experience. (View large version12)

You will need to figure out which of these methods would work best with potential adopters of your product. Survey potential users or assess what your competition is doing to gain insight into which trial format is best for your innovation.

Most importantly for trialability, ensure that the trial product you provide is high quality and represents the experience that your team wants users to have. Users will be basing their decision on it. Do not treat the free trial period as your first opportunity for user testing or gathering user feedback. You are doing more harm than good if you release an unfinished or buggy innovation that frustrates potential adopters (for free!). Releasing a hurried, unfinished trial product is the definition of self-sabotage.

Observability

Observability is the extent to which the results or benefit of using an innovation are visible to potential adopters. We covered in the first article that not everyone adopts an innovation immediately. The adopter types who come after early adopters rely on seeing members of this group using an innovation. Observability extends beyond having earlier adopters use an innovation in view of later adopters. Potential adopters of all types must clearly see the benefit of adopting an innovation and using it.

Relevance to your design team

Be aware of how potential adopters will be able to observe the benefits of using your innovation. Here are some ways you can highlight the benefits:

  • Side-by-side comparison
    Potential adopters are able to observe the benefits of some innovations more than others. A side-by-side comparison is good when your innovation has easily noticeable improvements over what people are currently using. For example, potential adopters on a sales floor can easily view a TV with a larger and clearer display than a smaller, less crisp TV. A crafty sales shop might display an older smaller TV directly next to newer larger ones to make the difference more obvious.
  • Before and after
    What will an adopter’s life look like once they start using your innovation? Showing potential adopters the positive difference your innovation will make in their lives will have a huge impact. Will there be a noticeable increase or decrease in some aspect that will result from use of your product? If your app is designed to teach someone a foreign language, you might highlight that users will learn an average of x number of words over a certain period.
  • Testimonials
    People really like hearing what others whom they perceive to be like them have experienced with a product. Running an ad campaign that extends across the traditional channels of advertising is important, but more important is word of mouth and online reviews by actual users. Users who are willing to write testimonials and online reviews can make a big impact by influencing potential adopters. Encourage them to rate and review your innovation on relevant websites (for example, Apple’s app store for an iOS app, Amazon if it carries your product, Angie’s List if you provide a service.).

The examples above are not comprehensive. Be creative in getting potential adopters to observe the benefits of using your innovation. Consider an approach that encompasses multiple forms of media, to increase the likelihood that potential adopters will observe the benefits of using your product.

Blockbuster And Netflix: A Fairytale Of Innovation (Sort Of)

Let’s walk through the characteristics of an innovation using streaming and mail-order video service provider Netflix as an example.

Once upon a time, let’s say 2001, there was a giant, cumbersome video rental chain named Blockbuster. With thousands of stores and tens of thousands of employees, things were good for Blockbuster. It owned the majority of the US video rental market. Blockbuster sat back and surveyed the land; life was good. What Blockbuster didn’t realize was that Netflix, a smaller, more innovative competitor, was about to pull the rug out from under it.

Blockbuster: a lot of stores, a lot of employees, very little innovation13
Blockbuster: A lot of stores, a lot of employees, very little innovation (Image: Wikipedia14 ) (View large version15)

Netflix started up in 1997. In a period of fewer than 15 years, Netflix (with the help of Redbox) changed the video rental game to the point that Blockbuster would file for bankruptcy, and, in 2011, would cease to exist. This happened in part due to the innovative characteristics of Netflix and its products.

Relative Advantage

In 2001, Netflix users paid a monthly fee to receive mail-order DVD rentals.

Reduced effort was an obvious area where Netflix had relative advantage over Blockbuster and other brick-and-mortar video stores

Receiving and returning the product via post was more convenient for most people, who were used to receiving regular mail delivery at their home or office. Users were able to avoid late fees, which were beginning to tarnish Blockbuster’s image.

Netflix evolved in parallel with technology. Since 2001, US households having increasingly had access to high-speed Internet. In 2007, Netflix began to stream digital movies and TV shows to people’s computers. Users no longer had to wait for a rental to come through the mail. Returning the movie was no longer necessary. If you had a laptop or PC, you could access hundreds of programs instantly.

Today, Netflix offers apps that run on video game consoles, mobile phones and tablets. Users are only a few clicks away from viewing their favorite programs in any setting, on any size screen. Netflix has transformed from offering most of its products via post, which was costly and relied on a very unreliable mail service, to delivering content to users on demand. Netflix has maintained relative advantage by innovating in line with the growth of available technology.

Compatibility

Netflix has had compatibility locked down from the beginning. First, the concept of renting and watching movies and TV shows was highly compatible with the lifestyle of US residents. People were already enjoying these behaviors en masse (attitudes and behaviors). Initially, Netflix took advantage of existing infrastructure. Once high-speed Internet reached critical mass (technology), it took advantage of the medium to deliver content to users. This highlights the need for the right infrastructure to support adoption of an innovation. Users would be far less interested in streaming videos over a slow and unreliable dial-up connection.

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Netflix took a very simple concept and made it even simpler. This is a common characteristic of a successful innovation: Take something that others already do and do it even better. The concept of renting video was not new. Netflix simplified the process: Users would create a queue of videos online, which would ship to them in their preferred order, and then they would return the videos once they had watched them.

Later, Netflix took simplicity a step further by making behavior-based recommendations to users. The system would recommend content based on a user’s ratings of titles they had watched. This positioned Netflix as an expert in the eyes of users. Netflix not only provided content, but curated and recommended user-specific content, without the user having to leave their home or pay an additional cost.

Trialability

Netflix’s model explicitly addresses trialability; Netflix is closely associated with the term “free trial” for anyone who spends time surfing the Internet. In the beginning, potential adopters could experience the convenience of receiving and returning DVDs through the mail. Once digital streaming became the norm, trial users could experience the magic of on-demand viewing for an entire month.

Netflix’s content is constantly growing, so it is unlikely that a user would enjoy a free month and exhaust all of the content they would want to view. The benefit of offering a free month far outweighs the costs. Trial users have all of the functionality of paid account holders: They may explore all of the content, create a profile, and save movies and shows to watch. If a user decides not to continue with a paid account, they no longer have access to the content after the trial period.

Netflix free trial: one month and you’re hooked for life16
Netflix free trial: one month and you’re hooked for life (View large version17)

Observability

Netflix also had an inherent advantage in observability. Remember that we are talking not just about noticing others using the product, but about the observable benefits of using the product.

Given the prevalence of Blockbuster, users were well aware of the disadvantages of its system in 1999. Blockbuster charged late fees if users didn’t return videos within the rental period; newly released videos were frequently out of stock; and both picking up and returning a rental required a trip to the store (or at least a drop box located near the store).

Blockbuster’s disadvantages made the observability of Netflix’s advantages very high. Netflix charged a monthly subscription: zero extra fees. Netflix was a service delivered and returned via the mail: zero extra work. Netflix allowed users to view and change the order in which they would receive videos from their queue: zero concern that users would receive something they didn’t want to watch. When potential users found out about Netflix, they did not have to spend time looking for the potential benefit in the service. Blockbuster’s later attempt to offer mail-order rental and then streaming video validated Netflix’s model.

Netflix was also able to increase observability of its product through packaging. The bright-red envelope that Netflix shipped DVDs in was obvious. This helped to make observable the benefit of their innovation: sending and receiving by mail. If a potential adopter saw their coworker tossing a Netflix-branded envelope into the outgoing mail, they would be able to see just how simple it is to rent and return videos. Benefit observed!

Hey Bob, where did you rent that DVD from? Netflix’s packaging increased the visibility of the product.18
“Hey Bob, where did you rent that DVD from?” Netflix’s packaging increased the visibility of the product. (Image: Wikipedia19) (View large version20)

This overview simplifies Netflix’s evolution in order to highlight the key characteristics of the innovation that Netflix addressed. By no means was Netflix an overnight sensation. It needed luck, timing and licensing agreements to carry content from numerous other parties, such as TV networks and movie studios. Netflix’s ability to address the five characteristics of innovation ensured that it was able to capitalize on the opportunities that the luck, timing and licensing deals brought about.

Netflix has spent 15 years as an innovator in the industry. It has survived tough times in an economy that led to the demise of Blockbuster, its largest competitor at the time it launched. It has at times encountered bumps and questions about its future; however, it has maintained a focus on incorporating user feedback and innovation into its product. Given its market, Netflix will need to continue innovating and conducting research with users to stay competitive.

The Takeaway: Go Forth And Innovate!

Your design team should be proactive in addressing the concepts related to the diffusion of innovations theory. I would recommend that your design team lists the characteristics of innovation and how your product addresses each one. I would also recommend creating a document that visualizes the ecosystem in which your innovation will exist.

Include the following in this document:

  • What conditions need to exist in order for your innovation to thrive (for example, widespread access to high-speed Internet)?
  • What technologies need to be compatible with your innovation (for example, does a video game console or mobile phone need to run an app)?
  • What research needs to be done on the market and on potential users?
  • What elements are in your control to manipulate (for example, making deals with content distributors)?
  • What products compete with yours (both brick-and-mortar and digital)?
  • What shortcomings do these products have (where does your competitive advantage lie)?
  • How do competitors market their product? What marketing has been shown to be successful?
  • Is there a prime time of the year to release your product (for example, is there a time when people experience an issue that your product solves)?
  • What form of trialability will you offer?
  • Very importantly, what does “after” look like? What will the world be like if your innovation becomes widespread?

Add to the list above the following items, which bring in the concepts covered in the first article:

  • Have you identified those who fall in the different categories of adopters?
  • Who are the early and early majority adopters of your product?
  • How will you make potential adopters aware of your innovation?
  • How will potential adopters access more information on your innovation?

Answering these questions is hard work, but doing it brings a much higher likelihood of success for your innovation. Use the visualization you’ve created and your answers to these questions as a roadmap to move forward, as well as a crystal ball to predict and account for as much of the future as possible. Of course, it won’t be perfect, but by being aware of all of the things that could affect your success, your team is stacking the deck in favor of your innovation. Design teams that are aware of and account for the diffusion of innovations will have an advantage over competitors that don’t have or use this knowledge.

(cc, ml, al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/01/21/how-to-have-users-spread-your-innovation-like-wildfire/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/01-WordPerfect-opt.jpg
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/01-WordPerfect-opt.jpg
  4. 4 http://intuitivecompany.com/blog/blog_post/user-research-and-market-research-a-tale-of-two-awkward-cousins
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/02-iPad-opt.jpg
  6. 6 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/02-iPad-opt.jpg
  7. 7 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/03-fireTV-opt.png
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/03-fireTV-opt.png
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/04-Joinme-opt.jpg
  10. 10 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/04-Joinme-opt.jpg
  11. 11 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/05-Pandora-opt.png
  12. 12 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/05-Pandora-opt.png
  13. 13 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/06-Blockbuster-opt.jpg
  14. 14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbuster_LLC#mediaviewer/File:BlockbusterMoncton.JPG
  15. 15 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/06-Blockbuster-opt.jpg
  16. 16 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/07-NFFT-opt.jpg
  17. 17 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/07-NFFT-opt.jpg
  18. 18 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/08-NFMail-opt.jpg
  19. 19 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix#mediaviewer/File:NetflixDVD.jpg
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/08-NFMail-opt.jpg

The post Five Characteristics Of An Innovation appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.smashingmagazine.com

Facebook Place Tips: check-in benefits without checking in

Facebook just released a new feature for mobile called Place Tips that has a very familiar ring to it.

You stop for lunch at a popular restaurant near your work and suddenly a notification pops on the top of your Facebook mobile news feed. Tap and you get information about the very restaurant you’re sitting in. Dig deeper and Facebook will serve up all the reviews, photos and videos your friends have posted about the location so you’ll know to avoid the Clam Chowder and go with the Cranberry Walnut Salad instead.

Could be a lifesaver.

In order to serve up this feast of relevant info, Facebook has to first determine your location and that’s going to rile some people up. But there’s no need to worry. Place Tips is not a check-in service. Your location is not going to post to Facebook if you access the offered data. But you can bet that Facebook is going to use your location data for other purposes such as local advertising. And why not? If they know where you are, doesn’t it make sense to offer you a coupon for $5 off your lunch or a free appetizer with dinner?

Let’s look at this from the flip side; the person getting the information is getting a benefit from the service. What about the people whose accounts are being accessed to serve up the data. Is that something to worry about? I post about my trip to Universal Studios last month and you’re handed my post when you visit this week? For anyone trying to generate more views on their content, this feature could deliver a big audience – except for one thing – it looks like it only works between friends, so unless you have a ton of followers it’s not going to help at all.

There is one exception; in addition to posts from friends, Facebook Place Tips will also serve up posts from the businesses’ Facebook Page as well as scheduled events and other Page info.

In other words, Facebook Place Tips gives you all the benefits of Foursquare without having to actually check-in to a place in the first place.

 

 

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.marketingpilgrim.com

Do Lower Prices Lead to More Sales?

Let’s say you’re choosing between three photography courses covering similar topics.

The prices are stacked like this:

  • $200
  • $250
  • $2,000

What’s going through your mind right now?

Curiosity floods your brain. Even if you’re not sure you can afford the $2,000 course, you want to know why it’s so expensive, compared to the other photography courses.

If we were truly happy with lower prices, we would simply snap up the $200 workshop, right? We wouldn’t so much as take a glance at the rest.

But that’s not how we’re built as human beings.

Many years ago, when I consulted with a company that sold beds in a store, we’d take customers around the store. We’d show them beds that cost $1,500, $2,000, and $4,000. And then we’d ask them if they were curious about the bed that cost $4,000.

You bet they were. You would be, and so would I — we’d all be curious about the features and benefits that caused an increase of 100 percent (or more) in the price. 

Price decisions are made in a vacuum or by comparison

Lower prices, alone, don’t produce more sales. We’re clear on that idea, aren’t we?

And that’s because clients make price decisions either in a vacuum or by comparison.

To start, let’s look at making price decisions in a vacuum.

Say you decide to buy a bottle of Ardbeg (yup, it’s a really nice, single-malt whisky). But wait — the price of a single bottle of 2009 Ardbeg Supernova is $550.

You aren’t asking why at this point in time, because you’re shocked out of your mind. You have nothing to compare it with, so you’re working in a vacuum. 

The same vacuum concept happens when you buy a product, service, or course, as well.

The article-writing course at Psychotactics costs almost $3,000. Is it worth $3,000? You don’t know, do you? You’re working in a vacuum.

Sure, you can see testimonials of all the clients who’ve taken the course before. If you read the sales page, the course sounds incredibly detailed.

When you pore over the 70-page prospectus, the course seems to satisfy everything you’re looking to learn about article writing. And yet, we sold that course just four years ago for $1,500. 

So would you have a greater number of clients buying the course at $1,500?

Theoretically speaking, yes. But then why not reduce your prices to $750? Or even $350? Or better still, $29? Would you have greater sales of the course then?

You see what’s happening here, don’t you? As the price go down, your desire for the course is plummeting just as quickly. And that’s because you’re no longer working in a vacuum. You’re working on comparison.

You’re comparing the original price of $3,000 with every other price. And you’d compare the price of the $550 Ardbeg Supernova with every other Ardbeg, until you settled on the lowest price, which would be $60 or so.

And at this point in time, if you were still keen, you’d might even end up spending more than $60 on a bottle. You’d probably feel comfortable spending at least $70 or $80, for no reason at all. 

But there is a reason — and it’s called comparison.

Two distinct buying phases

When you buy anything, you’re almost always going through two distinct phases. The first phase is when you consider prices in a vacuum. You’ve been told to buy a bottle of really good whisky for a friend, but you have no clue where to start.

With all those brands staring at you, you simply pick a nice-looking bottle that is high-priced enough not to be cheap.

When searching for a course on article writing, on the other hand, you want to invest in a course that isn’t just an information dump — you want lessons that actually help strengthen your skills

Is $1,500 too high? Or is $3,000 just right? And what if the course is $5,000 or $10,000 instead?

But once we get to the higher numbers, we’re no longer working in a vacuum. We’re now comparing the benefits. And while the comparison is often between several brands or companies, price decisions based on comparison can often happen within the very same brand or company.

At some point, you compare the $60 Ardbeg with the $550 bottle — and everything in between. Then it dawns on us that the least expensive option we have, a $60 bottle, is still quite expensive — but now it seems cheap.

The lower price helps make the sale, but only in comparison. 

What about pricing on Amazon or iTunes?

Let’s say you’re going to sell a book on Amazon or iTunes. Would you want to sell it at a low price?

Of course you would, because on Amazon a similar product is also hovering nearby for a low price.

When your Kindle book is $35, it’s not cheap at all. You’re asking a potential customer to take a chance on a book that is priced roughly 350 percent higher than most other Kindle books.

When you’re on Amazon or iTunes, you’re competing in a completely different playing field. On those sites, they set the rules and comparison structure.

On your site, the client is working in a vacuum again.

If you were to sell the same product — without changing it at all — exclusively on your own site, there aren’t similar books to compare it with.

A $35 book on your own site seems reasonably priced, especially if there are several other products that are both lower and higher (yes, the presence of the lower price matters, too). 

We see this phenomenon no matter where we go. If you bought a property in Auckland, New Zealand in 2000, the price was about $300,000. If you bought the same house in 2005, that price hovered around $600,000.

Today, that very same house sells for over $1.5 million. There’s no increased value in the house, is there?

If anything, the fittings and fixtures have depreciated, not appreciated. And yet, when you buy the house, there are factors to compare. 

A house is more or less expensive based on what’s selling around it at a certain point in time, among other economic factors. 

An article-writing course that’s $3,000 may seem inexpensive if you know that its price tag is headed up to $5,000. A bottle of $60 Ardbeg seems a bit stingy when you realize it’s at the bottom of the whisky heap. 

So, how should you price your products?

If you sell products on your own site, you can stop reducing your prices, unless you have to for a specific reason.

If you’re competing in a marketplace where prices are determined — such as Amazon or iTunes — then you will have to play within their rules.

However, if you have several products or versions of the products, then the client can move from comparing your price to comparing prices among your different products.

For example, if you buy a Wacom drawing tablet, you can choose from Bamboo, which is less expensive, to Cintiq, which is top-of-the-line and very expensive.

Even in a very competitive market, you want to create a situation where clients have stopped considering the competition and are now choosing from your range of products, services, or courses.

And if you’re selling something that’s exclusively sold on your site or shop, then there’s still a reason for creating a comparison structure.

A client will look around and decide on a purchase based on the various prices you put on your site — even if you’re comparing apples to oranges.

For example, if you were to sell a product on “the best ways to use testimonials” and a product on “networking to attract clients,” they aren’t particularly similar. Yet, the price of one product influences the price of the other product. 

And even if a client buys the lower-priced product, they may move up the price ladder in the future, depending on your ability to deliver the goods.

Create that comparison

Whether you’re selling a photography course, bed, bottle of whisky, workshop, property, or drawing tablet, the one factor to remember is that clients either buy in a vacuum or in a comparison structure.

And you want to get them to compare. Once you’ve gotten them to pay attention to your product or service, you should then have a series of price and product comparisons on your own site or store.

So, create that comparison. Even if you don’t have a range of products and prices yet, get started moving in that direction today. 

And when you do, you can still lower (and raise) your prices. 

It’s at that point that the lower price becomes a strategy — not a knee-jerk reaction.

And it’s at that point that you start setting prices that make you — and your customers — a lot happier.

Want to take your content marketing to the next level?

Sean D’Souza is among the powerhouse lineup of speakers who will be presenting at Authority Rainmaker May 13–15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. It’s integrated content, search, and social media marketing for real-world results.

Click here for all the details and to register before we go to full price.

About the Author: Sean D’Souza offers a great free report on “Why Headlines Fail” when you subscribe to his Psychotactics Newsletter. Be sure to check out his podcast, too.

The post Do Lower Prices Lead to More Sales? appeared first on Copyblogger.

Reblogged 4 years ago from feeds.copyblogger.com

20 Examples of Fabulous Explainer Videos

video-image

Feel intimidated by the notion of creating an explainer video? There’s no need to be — they just represent another excellent way to get your content out to your target audience. Besides the really big brands that we are all familiar with, a lot of lesser-known companies and even small startups are using them.

Even if you believe your product isn’t “cool” enough to become a cute, cuddly explainer video, someone out there who has a problem that can be solved by what you have to offer would likely see it in a much different light. Sometimes a quick, easy, explanation is just what someone needs to help clearly understand how your product solves a problem.

Compiling an explainer video isn’t much more complicated than putting together a slide deck in a Powerpoint presentation. You decide what to say and find some relevant graphics to jazz things up. The only differences this time are that you’ll be recording a voiceover from a written script instead of presenting it live and you’ll need to be concise and truly explain how something is done. The biggest difference is the final step of putting all the pieces together into an easy-to-access, video file format.

Explainer videos should be 30-90 seconds in length which translates into a written script of around 200 words or less in most cases. To get a good feel for crafting yours, just examine the work of others. You’re bound to find something that resonates with you as a good example for brainstorming your own.

Here are 20 fabulous explainer videos. I’ve included the length of the video, when it was published and the types of product being highlighted so you can easily find something similar to your needs to serve as an example. You should have no trouble getting inspired to make an explainer video part of your marketing strategy.

1) Gigtown: A mobile application that helps people find, follow and book musicians.

2) Wizzki: A platform for managing the hiring process.

3) Gradeleap: A schoolwork management system for parents, students, and teachers.

4) Mailbox: A fun, quick preview of an email management application.

5) Pinterest: A nice touch is that they explain right up front how long the video will last.

6) ScaleArc iDB: An SQL traffic management engine is explained in this cute animation.

7) Alden Systems: A software application for joint use asset management, primarily used for managing utility poles.

8) Student Hut: A tool for college students to review and discuss any college class before deciding on their course of study.

9) FileExpert: An application for managing files on Android phones, tablets, personal computers, and cloud storage servers.

10) Removemyjunk.us: Furniture moving, junk removal, and clean up service.

11) Olark: Customer service tool. This one does a very good job of explaining what they offer and includes a special offer at the end.

12) SatPhoneCity: This satellite phone services company good job of giving a quick overview of just what they do and how they offer value. 

13) Adoddle PM: This brief explainer video highlights the risk associated with mistakes that might result from poor planning and communication, and offers a corporate collaboration tool.

14) Bubbl.us: This video shows you how a product can help you create mind maps and work out ideas to make a plan to put them in action.

15) Tonx: Nice video that tells a story about why every coffee lover needs their freshly roasted coffee mail order service.

16) PG&E: A solar billing service. This video is short and concise.

17) Verico: A mortgage insurance provider explains how their product works and provides value.

18) NextGlass: Nice video that explains how a craft beer and wine discovery application works.

19) Amazon Echo: Great example of how an explainer video is just the thing when your product is somewhat revolutionary. This one is long as explainer videos go, but illustrates how show and tell might be the best route for explaining how a product works.

20) CashOut: This one falls more in the lines of a demo and does a good job of illustrating the value of “easy” to the small business owner much more quickly than written content. A unique point about it is it uses no voiceover.

 

Want to learn how to make your own explainer video? Download our guide on creating a compelling explainer video about Inbound Marketing!

Reblogged 4 years ago from blog.hubspot.com

BarCode Scanner Pro – Android Version

Product Features

  • Barcode Scanner Pro is modified with Improved and Advanced Algorithm for scanning barcodes at lighting speed.
  • 32 Major Spoken Languages Support has been added in Pro Version.
  • Scan barcodes of all types (Quick Code, QR Code, Data Matrix, EAN 8/13, Code39, Code128, Interleaved 2of5) on products.
  • Check prices and reviews of products online immediately to select the best product.
  • Share contacts, Bookmarks and clipboard content.
  • Easily share contacts and links among fellow users via generated barcodes.
  • Search multiple engines, integrated with Google Shopper by default.
  • Auto Save history of all BarCodes you scanned. Also share your contacts, apps, and bookmarks via QR Code.
  • Share Data by displaying a barcode on your screen and scan it with another phone.
  • Bulk scanning mode allows for rapid scanning of multiple codes.

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.amazon.com

ScreenFlow [Download]

Record your screen. Edit your video. Share with the world. Telestream ScreenFlow® is an award-winning, powerful screencasting and video editing software for Mac that enables high-quality software or iPhone demos, professional video tutorials, in-depth video training, and dynamic presentations. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, iOS device, microphone and your computer audio. The easy-to-use editing interface, updated with a fresh new look for Yosemite, lets you creatively edit your video, and add additional images, text, music and transitions for a professional-looking screencast. The result is an MP4 or QuickTime movie, ready for publishing to the Web or directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Facebook, Google Drive or Dropbox.Highest quality screen recording Retina display? No problem. Our efficient algorithm enables full-screen, 2880 x 1800-resolution screen capture with brilliant detail, while keeping file sizes low. Powerful video editing Easily add images, text, audio, video transitions and more to create professional-looking videos. Nested clips, closed captioning, chroma key, mouse callouts, annotations, rolling edits, video and audio filters, video actions such as iOS Touch callouts and freehand callouts are just a few of the touches that make ScreenFlow editing easy and powerful. Intuitive User Interface Every so often design and function combine to form an elegant piece of software that’s easy and fun to use. ScreenFlow makes editing video easy, so users can focus on creatively telling their story. Superior Export Quality & Speed ScreenFlow uses the popular x264 codec for significantly faster and higher quality H.264 exports.ScreenFlow runs as a fully 64-bit application, which improves overall performance, memory usage, export speed, and scalability. Expanded publishing options let you easily publish your video to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Google Drive, Dropbox or Facebook in just a few clicks.

System Requirements:Supported OS:   [Mac OS X]Processor:   Intel based MacRAM:   Minimum 2 GB RAMHard Disk:   20 GB hard driveVideo Card:   Standard with i3 unitsAdditional Requirements:   Mac OS X 10.9.5, Mac OS X 10.10

Recommended System Requirements:Recommended Processor:   64-bit processor (Core i3 recommended)

Product Features

  • Record direct from your iOS device (Note: Requires a USB lightning connection, iOS 8 and Mac OS X 10.10)
  • Add markers while recording
  • Batch export
  • Direct access to iPhoto and iTunes Libraries from ScreenFlow’s Media library
  • …and much more!

Reblogged 4 years ago from www.amazon.com

FTC Report Reveals Consumer Concerns About the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a nebulous buzzword that refers to anything that connects to the internet. In an attempt to better define the government’s approach to the Internet of Things the Federal Trade Commission has released a report [PDF], which examines the pros and cons of Internet of Things adoption for consumers.

The FTC hosted an in-house workshop to discuss some of the primary concerns regarding theInternet of Things, one of which was security. Participants noted that the Internet of Things could harm consumers in several ways:

  • Enabling unauthorized access and misuse of personal information
  • Facilitating attacks on other systems
  • Creating risks to personal safety
  • Another major primary concern, according to the report, is the amount of data being exposed to the public space that is the internet. Gizmodo contributor Kate Knibbs singled out sections of the report that show just how much data could be collected on users by their devices.

    Indeed, the report indicates that smartphone sensors could be used to infer:

    [U]ser’s mood; stress levels; personality type; bipolar disorder; demographics (e.g., gender, marital status, job status, age); smoking habits; overall well-being; progression of Parkinson’s disease; sleep patterns; happiness; levels of exercise; and types of physical activity or movement.

    All that data is way beyond the scope of what users would permit through a simple user agreement.

    The participants recommended companies take proactive measures to address these concerns, including:

  • Considering security from the outset instead of applying it as an afterthought.
  • Minimizing the amount of data collected.
  • Testing products before launch to identify significant risks before those risks expose user data.
  • When it came to legislative recommendations, the opinions of workshop participants diverged. However FTC staff \”emphasize that general technology-neutral data security legislation should protect against unauthorized access to both personal information and device functionality itself.\” The agency also called for congress to enact general privacy and security legislation that will protect consumers on the internet as a whole.

    Workshop participants and FTC staff did, agreed though about the need to avoid stifling the Internet of Things during its formative years by developing self-regulatory programs for particular industries to encourage the adoption of privacy- and security-sensitive practices.

    Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Reblogged 4 years ago from www.adweek.com

    Highlights of Facebook’s 4Q 2014 Earnings Call

    While a great deal of time was devoted to advertising during Facebook’s fourth-quarter and full-year-2014 earnings call Wednesday, several other topics were addressed, as well.

    Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the following statistics related to usage of Facebook and its applications during his opening remarks:

    One interesting sign of our continued growth in engagement is through our progress on visual and public content. More than 2 billion photos are now shared daily on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Video also grew significantly this year, with an average of more than 3 billion video views daily on Facebook. And there are now more than 2 billion interactions every week on Facebook between public figures and their fans.

    Instagram is also growing and helping people share and consume the most engaging content in different communities across the world. Instagram reached 300 million monthly actives, with more than 70 percent outside of the U.S. Average time spent using the app continues to be very strong compared to other mobile services. Across Facebook and Instagram, we’ve done a very good job on engagement, especially when it comes to helping people find and consume content they like.

    Next, let’s talk about our efforts over the next five years to build the next generation of Facebook services. We expect WhatsApp and Messenger to connect hundreds of millions of more people and become indispensable services for the world, as well as important contributors to our business. Messenger and WhatsApp recently achieved impressive new milestone. In November, Messenger reached 500 million monthly actives, and at the beginning of January, WhatsApp reached 700 million monthly actives, with more than 30 billion messages sent each day. These numbers speaks the quality of both products and the size of the opportunity ahead to help billions of people communicate and collaborate.

    Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg chimed in on video:

    In just one year, the number of video posts per person on Facebook increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S. Today, over 50 percent of people in the U.S. who come to Facebook daily watch at least one video per day, and globally, over 65 percent of Facebook video views occur on mobile.

    The most entertaining exchange of Wednesday’s call resulted in Zuckerberg saying he wants investors in Facebook to share the mission of the company. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Carlos Karjner asked:

    Mark, I think in every earnings call, you talk to investors for a considerable amount of time about Facebook mission to connect the world, and specifically about Internet.org, which suggests that you think this is important for investors. Can you clarify why you think this matters to investors and why you think Facebook can make a significant difference of scale?

    Zuckerberg replied:

    Well, it matters to the kind of investors that we want to have, because we’re a really mission-focused company, and we wake up every day and make decisions because we want to help connect the world, and that’s what we’re doing here. So part of that the subtext of your question is that yes, if we were only focused on making money, we might put all of our energy on just increasing ads to people in the U.S. and the other most developed countries. But that’s not the only thing that we care about here.

    So I do think that over the long term, focusing on helping to connect everyone will be a good business opportunity for us, as well. And we may not be able to tell you exactly in how many years that’s going to happen, but I think that as these countries get more connected, the economics growth, the ad markets growth and Facebook and the other services in our community or the No. 1 and Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 services that people are using, then over time, we will be compensated for some of the value that we have provided. But this is why we are here: We are here because our mission is to connect the world, and I just think it’s really important than investors know that.

    Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia brought up the potential monetization of WhatsApp with this question:

    Just quickly on WhatsApp, I know the focus will be user growth for a while, but in the future, as you do turn on the monetization engine, just curious: What are some of the primary ways that you’re assuming growth will come — from advertising, or games perhaps? And also on WhatsApp user growth, would you be able to call out where that’s coming from? Are there any particular areas that are stronger, and I’m curious how that’s doing in the U.S.?

    Zuckerberg responded:

    So you’re right that the focus for WhatsApp is on helping to connect a lot more people, all right. So when (WhatsApp co-founder and CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum) and his team joined us, one of the first things that we agreed on, and why I think it made sense for them to join, is that now, they can focus for a few years on getting to 1 billion and continuing to scale beyond that. SMS is an incredibly global and universal product, and I think WhatsApp just has a huge opportunity to serve billions of people. In terms of what the business looks like, I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a distribution business, like Facebook and Instagram — how do you most effectively convert that into business opportunities for customers, whether that’s through payments or ads or other different kinds of structures.

    We’ll figure out what the optimal thing will be, but the first order of things to do is to help our billions of people here, help to continue to increase engagement. I mean, people are spending a lot of time in WhatsApp, sending more than 30 billion messages per day, which is really crazy when you think about the volume there compared to the global SMS volume overall. And I think if we do that, there will be a number of opportunities.

    People asked me this question a while ago, when we talked about games on Facebook, as well. And I always talked about our canvas business on desktop, even though its payment is actually the same thing as our business on mobile around app install and engagement. What developers test for is distribution, and whether they’re doing that through payments or ads or whatever it is, it kind of is all the same. The most important thing is to help people connect, help people and businesses connect and create business opportunities, and then you get a small amount of the value that you’re creating on top. So that will play out over the next set of years, and it’s one of the intellectual challenges that I am really looking forward to tackle.

    UBS analyst Eric Sheridan asked on the subject of search:

    It’s early days, but what is the company seeing in terms of the way people are interacting with the new search functionality inside Facebook broadly? And then maybe tying it back to advertising, what might that mean for closing the loop with some of your small and midsized business advertisers?

    Zuckerberg replied:

    So, our view on this is that there is a lot of unique content that people have shared on Facebook, a lot of personal content, recommendations from friends that you can get that you just wouldn’t be able to get through a traditional Web search service or other app. And we’re on this multiyear voyage to basically index all of the content and make it available to people and rank it well. We started off by launching Graph Search, which I think included more than 1 trillion different connections in the first system.

    And the second round of the search progress that we just started rolling out at the end of last year was post search, which now has indexed more than I think 1 trillion posts, which, I mean, the sizes of these corpuses are bigger than anything in a traditional Web search corpus that you would find. So it’s an interesting and fun challenge to make this work. We’re seeing that that people immediately understand how they can use this and find content that they have seen in News Feed before or that they’ve posted with just a few keywords.

    And we’re excited about that, but there is a lot more to do. So we’re not really thinking about advertising in it yet on the scale that our community operates — 1 billion searches per day is actually not that big compared to what we think the opportunity here should be. And we’re just continued to keep on working on it because there is just a lot of unique value that people should be able to get from their friends on Facebook search.

    Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler addressed video with the following question:

    How important is it that Facebook posts the videos versus I guess sharing clips from third-party players in the feed, and what percent of those 3 billion streams daily is Facebook-embedded versus from other players? Ae you able to monetize videos from third-party players today? Is there is a way to work around that in the future?

    Zuckerberg answered:

    This thought that we shared 3 billion per day is all made on Facebook. So there are probably other shares from other video services, as well. The reason that I think made video is so valuable for people using our service is that when someone uploads a video to Facebook directly, we can optimize how it delivers right. So we can make it auto-play. We can find the right quality and bit rate to send down to the person based on their connection over time, and optimize all kinds of different things. So what I think people are finding from public figures to everyday videos that people are uploading is that the best experience that you can get is by uploading content native to Facebook, which is, I think, the big part of the growth that we seeing there.

    Readers: What were your impressions of Facebook’s fourth-quarter and full-year-2014 earnings report?

    Image of fourth-quarter red pencil courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Reblogged 4 years ago from www.adweek.com