Monday, 21 July 2014

Wearable Technology



A market that is continually evolving, the wearable technology industry has seen much recent advancement. Here are some of the latest wearable technology developments; 


iRing

Developed by IK Multimedia the iRing is a gesture based wearable device that allows the user to create different musical sounds. The touch-less MIDI controller and associated music app uses the front facing camera on mobile ios devices and an advanced algorithm to detect the dot patterns of the wearable device. These patterns are then paired with various functions on the mobile device being used.
Whilst the iRing has a lot of potential, it is still limited in its usage unlike some of the more powerful gesture based technology on the market such as Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect. Users need to be no more than five feet away from the camera and their movements must also be very defined and rigid for the iRing to pick them up correctly.


Garmin Approach S6

Wearable technology for the golf market, car mapping system makers Garmin have developed the Approach S6. Designed for use by advanced golfers and beginners alike, the analytical watch is aimed at helping golfers improve their golf swings and keep track of their progress.
With a colour touchscreen interface, the Approach S6 has an inbuilt audio metronome designed to help golfers time their swings and an accelerometer for them to measure the strength of each swing. In addition, the watch is able to measure the tempo of a golfers swing by measuring the strength of their upswings and downswings and can offer tempo training to optimize swings.
Acting as a digital caddy, the Approach S6 also offers advice on the percentage of strength to use when hitting the ball with different clubs and includes colour graphics of over 30,000 golf courses internationally.
The accompanying app, Garmin connect allows users of the smart watch to keep track of their statistics and progress.


The Bionic Pancreas

A project developed by researches from Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital, the bionic pancreas brings wearable technology into the medical field. Designed to aid patients with Type 1 diabetes, the bionic pancreas offers a better form of glycaemic control.
Consisting of an app and cradle designed for an iphone 4s and a G4 platinum continuous glucose monitor which communicates with a sensor worn by the user, the bionic pancreas uses algorithms to wirelessly control subcutaneous injections of insulin and glycogen. This is a more accurate way of emulating the physiological function of the pancreas than any existing forms of treatment currently available.
The blood glucose levels are streamed from a sensor worn by the user into the iphone receiver which then passes the data onto the app. The specifically designed algorithm then makes a therapeutic decision to release a dose of either insulin (which lowers blood glucose levels) or glycogen (which raises blood glucose levels) into the body. It is hoped that this type of medical technology will help users to live a more normal life and regulate their medicine more easily.

 

Glance

Developed by Kickstarter company Kiwi Wearables, Glance is a wristband prototype that can transform a regular watch into a smart watch. The device alerts the wearer of incoming calls or text messages and can even be used as a remote control for smart televisions. Using a 3D motion detector to measure movement, the Glance device can also be used to track the number of steps taken in a day or the amount of miles biked.
Battery life is an issue for many wearable devices but the makers of the Glance device have solved this problem, giving it a battery life of up to a week without the need for charging. When the device does need charging, it uses a simple USB port like many other smart devices.
The makers of the glance wearable device are currently trying to crowd fund the project and are looking to raise $150,000 to begin production.

The wearable technology market is ever expanding with exciting designs being revealed regularly. Have we missed any? Tweet us @Evonomie and let us know!

Monday, 14 July 2014

How to use Hashtags as part of your marketing strategy



Originally adopted by Twitter users as a way of categorizing messages, placing the hashtag symbol before a relevant keyword or phrase turns them into searchable links that bring together all posts containing the marked word or phrase.



Hashtags can be used to cover any subject from serious events such as government elections to popular culture and even celebrity scandals. After footage of Solange Knowles attacking sister BeyoncĂ©’s husband, rapper Jay Z trending hashtags included #WhatJayZSaidToSolange with users adopting it to tweet speculation and jokes about the incident.

Hashtags are most effective when used to set the tone and voice of a post and work as a way of adding humorous asides and sarcasm or to give context to a post. For example, ‘Let the weekend begin! #TGIF’ or ‘Just spilt my second drink! #Fail’

Hashtags are also very effective when used as part of a social media marketing strategy and are a brilliant way of promoting products or campaigns. An excellent example of this was Domino’s #LetsDoLunch campaign which ran from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on March 5. The pizza chain vowed to cut the price of its Pepperoni Passion Pizza by one pence every time someone tweeted the hashtag #letsdolunch. After 85,000 tweets, the price dropped from £15.99 to £7.74, and Domino's offered that price from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. Here are some more hashtags campaigns that worked really well.

Brands can also use relevant hashtags to ensure their posts and marketing materials are positioned in front of the correct audience. By using popular and trending hashtags, businesses can join in conversations and interact with their target audience. Hashtags.org is a website that monitors trending hashtags in real time, a useful tool for business marketers.

Supported Platforms


Twitter
As Twitter was the first platform to use hashtags, the features offered are more advanced than other social networks. The main purpose of hashtags on Twitter is to separate and sort tweets into different categories. A ‘trends’ sidebar also suggests hashtags that the user may be interested in based on their previous tweets.
Hashtags on Twitter can also be filtered using various options. By selecting ‘top’, users can see the most recent and popular tweets that feature the selected hashtag, ‘All’ will show every tweet that has used the hashtag displaying results in real time and ‘People you follow’ will show only tweets using the hashtag from people you follow.

Facebook
Hashtags are a recent addition to Facebook, becoming available in June 2013. A more simplified version of the Twitter hashtag, clicking onto a Facebook hashtag will display all posts containing that hashtag with no filtering options.

Instagram
Hashtags on Instagram are used to help users find posts and discover new accounts to follow. When used correctly, relevant hashtags will categorise your pictures with similar posts that have used the same hashtag.

Google+
Google+ uses hashtags in the same way as other platforms, to sort and categorise posts. Google+ is unique in that it will show posts containing the original hashtag and also suggest similar hashtags and keywords that may be relevant to the user.

Google+ also has the option to search on Facebook and Twitter for posts containing the selected hashtag.

Tumblr
Posts on Tumblr have a specific ‘tag’ section designed to organise the posts by topic. These will only work when included in the correct section; a hashtag included in the main body of the post will not become a searchable link.

Pinterest
Pinterest uses hashtags to mark content and make it searchable. Clicking on a hashtag on Pinterest will bring up all posts containing that specific hashtag and pins that have the same keyword or phrase in the description.

Do you use hashtags as part of your digital marketing strategy? Tweet us @Evonomie and tell us how!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

IFTTT for social media automation




IFTTT, an acronym for If This Then That, is an automation tool that connects two services together so that an action from one service triggers an action on another. For example, an email could trigger a tweet or changing the profile picture on a Facebook page could automatically change the profile picture of a Twitter page too. The creators of the IFTTT tool say it is designed to enableeveryone to take creative control over the flow of information."


A brilliant way of saving time and smarter working, IFTTT currently connects with over 100 channels and is continuously adding more to its repertoire. Popular social media channels currently covered include; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and Youtube. IFTTT also released its first mobile app in 2013, making automation between channels even easier to control and tweak.

IFTTT allows its users to browse a gallery of popular ‘recipes’ to trigger different actions or they can create their own from scratch. Each channel has its very own landing page explaining all of the different triggers and actions that can be used for that service. For example, the Facebook landing page informs users that they are able to automatically share photos to Facebook if they are placed in a specific photo album, tweet Facebook status updates or save any photo posted on instagram with a specific hashtag into a purposely created Facebook photo album and lots more.

Outside of social media IFTTT also connects with a variety of other applications and hardware such as; Evernote, Gmail, Google calendar, sound cloud and smart light bulbs or TV’s. In this context recipes can be used for triggering smart light bulbs or TV’s to turn on when a user walks into a room.

There are many blog posts and guides listing some of the best IFTTT recipes, some of our favourites include;

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Using Pinterest for Business


A newer social media website, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard useful for visual bookmarking, organisation and content curation. With shared images gaining on average three times the amount of user engagement as text only posts, Pinterest should be a key part of your digital marketing strategy.



Here are some tips on how to use Pinterest to boost your marketing efforts;

  •     Increase website visits. Pinterest is a great way of directing traffic towards your website so ensure that your account is fully optimised. Include your logo and description of your business using keywords and hashtags.
  •     Provide content that is easily pinnable on your website or blog and using the embedded ‘Pin it’ button, encourage users to pin your content.
  •     Clearly display the ‘Follow Me’ button on websites and blogs so people are aware that your business has a presence on there.
  •     Take inspiration from targeted consumers with your products or services. See their interests from their pins and boards and create your own relevant posts that they will want to share.
  •     Be relevant. Choose topics and themes that reflect your business when creating your boards.
  •     Follow other businesses to see how they are making Pinterest work for them. You can also follow your trusted content suppliers and use their pins to populate your own boards. Search for blogs and websites that you already follow using a Google or Pinterest search.
  •     Take advantage of the Group Boards feature. Using this you can invite other pinners to contribute to one of your boards whilst keeping control as only you can edit the boards title and description and remove unsuitable pins or pinners.
  •      Use Infographics. Not only do they attractively display information, infographics are also some of the most liked and repined images on pinterest.
  •     Use tools such as Pinstamatic to leverage quotes from happy customers or people you have worked with.
  •     Pin different types of content. Pinterest supports a variety of content including images and videos or you could link directly to slideshows, podcasts or audio files.
  •     Follow other users, comment and like their pins. By engaging with others you are opening up channels of communication.
  •     Creative Pinterest posts work best. If you make a product try posting pins of the manufacturing/ development process to show users a behind the scenes view of your business they might not see.
  •     Use a Pinterest scheduling tool such as Viraltag. Pinning little and often is one of the keys to Pinterest success, as is reviewing your analytics to determine the best time to schedule your pins.
Although Pinterest hasn’t been fully customised towards business use yet, it is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways of cost effective digital marketing. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

What are Heat Maps?



Heat maps or click maps are graphical representations showing how visitors behave when using a website. Which links do they click on? How far do they scroll? And most importantly which links or areas of your website are they not using? Heat maps most commonly use colour to represent the data they are showing with red used for the most clicked areas, blue or green for the lesser clicked areas and an absence of colour for the links not clicked at all. This visual representation can make data easier to process and use in designing strategies for the improvement of your website.


Commonly used as part of conversion rate optimism (CRO) practices, click maps are invaluable in helping to optimise the usability of a website. One of the most common problems that digital marketers face is perfecting the navigation of a site, with bad navigation being a key factor of high bounce rates.  A click map will identify the most popular navigation links which should be grouped together for ease, improving user experience.

Once the most popular links have been discovered, website owners can then optimise the pages following on from them. These pages should be clear, well-designed and easy to use as visitors can quickly become frustrated if they are confusing and do not offer the information they were looking for. If the heat map is showing data from an ecommerce website, then marketers will often include more routes to purchase on the pages following on from the navigation links.   

Heat maps will also show any links or areas of the page that are less frequently clicked. These often appear in blue or green and can indicate any usability issues your website may be facing. This information can then be used to improve these areas of the site, encouraging more visitors to click on the links. In addition, click maps can also tell you if people are frequently clicking in places where there are no links. For example, are there images that appear to be links but are not? Do users click onto empty white space that could be used for advertising or other links to improve their overall experience?

There are a number of software packages and applications that can produce detailed heat maps from your website. Google Analytics offers a basic version which allows you to look at clicks and goals and add colours for a more visual representation of the data. Email marketing packages such as Mailchimp also include a basic click map showing the percentage of recipients that clicked on embedded links in an email campaign.

For those who need more detailed heat maps companies such as Crazy Egg offer complete packages. One of the most popular click map companies, Crazy Egg is there for “When Google Analytics isn’t enough” and allows its users to track visitor clicks, pinpoint hotspots, see where users stop scrolling on a page and connect clicks with different traffic types.

Heat maps are a cost effective way, data rich way of gaining user feedback from the visitors of your website. They are an ideal platform to begin forming a conversion rate optimism plan or a strategy to improve general usability of your website.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

What makes a viral video?



When a video becomes viral it means that it has gained its popularity through internet sharing,  including email sharing, social media and video sharing sites such as Youtube.


Successful viral videos are often humorous, such as The Lonely Island’s ‘Lazy Sunday’ sketch from Saturday Night live. They can range from being TV sketches, internet only productions or simply events caught on camera by eye witnesses.

The key element of any viral video is content. It must be fresh, relevant and unexpected.  If a video is being used for promotion it should make creativity a priority over advertisement as this is vital to any viral video. The content should appeal to the audience you are trying to target, make it speak to them by covering a topic that interests them and use language they are familiar with. The best viral videos cover topics that are discussable and relatable, showing something shocking or surprising that evokes a strong emotion compelling viewers to share it.

Videos with strong viral appeal often include or reinforce a positive message acting as a call to action, encouraging viewers to share it. A good example of this is Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ which was aimed at a female audience, encouraging them to challenge their views of their own bodies. The video ‘Kony 2012’ by Invisible Children Inc. contained a powerful message asking viewers to share the video to raise awareness of the plight of children kidnapped and forced to fight in Joseph Kony’s guerrilla army. ‘Kony 2012’ has since become the most viral video in history with over 99,000,000 views (May 2014).

It is important to optimise your video for online access and sharing. Studies have found that most viral videos are shorter in length as web users generally have less time and a shorter attention span with regards to watching content online. Choosing an eye catching title and thumbnail for your video will also help to make it searchable and easily identifiable, important ingredients for videos that go viral.

To get a compelling, relevant video to make the jump to viral status, you need to get it in front of the right audience. Viral videos are shared by digital influencers and taste makers like popular celebrities with large bases of followers. Once they share a video, it is then curated by other users. An important process in sending a video viral, as people are more likely to click on and watch a video if it has been shared by a favourite blogger or friend.

As a video’s hits begin to rise, a mob mentality takes hold and web users are more likely to spend their time watching a video that has a large amount of views. This is because they assume the video is worth watching if other users before them have chosen to spend their time watching it. To begin gaining this momentum some businesses decide to use paid for advertising such as Youtube promoted videos or Facebook ads.

Ultimately, it is impossible to ensure that a video achieves viral success. Even if you have incorporated all of the key ingredients, the video still relies on its viewers to take it to a viral level. To see the latest viral videos check out Unruly Media's Viral Video chart!