Top Free Sources of CC0 High-Res Photos for Your Website

A decade ago, it might have cost thousands of dollars to get a beautifully-designed website! But thanks to the proliferation of top website builder companies and website frameworks like Joomla and WordPress, it’s now easy, simple, and fast to get a great-looking website template. But the framework is just one part of the equation to a great-looking website.

It’s unfortunate but true that cheap-looking stock images are very common, and can absolutely detract from an otherwise great website design. Even worse than just being tacky and dates, many of these stock images can cost their users cash which could be going to other website improvements. And the effect of high-quality graphics on web design and overall appearance cannot be overstated. In an time where it’s easy for anyone to have a website, the smallest details which can increase your website’s sense of authority and legitimacy can have dramatic returns on subscriptions and conversions. But, believe it or not, there are many websites which offer large, high-resolution, high-quality photos without any copyrights! This means that you can use these photos without crediting or paying! The list of stock photo websites below include images which have all been released under the public domain.

The StockSnap Website:

Located at StockSnap.io, this website has hundreds of gorgeous stock photos and high resolution photos all released under the creative commons 0 license. This means they’re free and require no attribution! Their large amount of photos and images, coupled with their amazing, easy-to-use search function, makes it simple to browse all the photos they offer. Hundreds of images are added weekly to this website, and you can easily see which ones have the most views or downloads.

top-free-sources-of-CC0-high-res-photos-for-your-website

The Unsplash Website:

Unsplash is very similar to StockSnap, and all of their images are released under public domain licenses and published for free. This website has quickly become one of the best go-to sources for stock images, and often their photos are high-definition and broad in scope. Whether you’re looking for cityscapes or portraits, rest assured that you can find it here! Unsplash averages roughly one new photo added a day. Just head to Unsplash.com!

The Gratisography Website:

The Gratisography website offers photos free for personal or commercial use, and like all of the above, are free of any copyright restrictions. Interestingly, this website is the pet project of Ryan McGuire, the photographer responsible for the uploads and photos. New photos are uploaded roughly every week, and include amazing black-and-whites and great filtered photos.

The Negative Space Website:

Negative Space provides 20 new photos every week released under Creative Commons CC0. The photos are searchable and can be sorted by category, copy space and color. Negative Space is an apt name for this stock photo resource! Many of the photos do include great examples of negative space, which make them ideal for converting into graphics with words. The image search function allows you to search for images which have negative space on the center, top, sides, or bottom. Perfect for adding some value to your web design!

The Little Visuals Website:

Little Visuals was the pet project of Nic, a longtime photographer, who released all photos on the site to the public domain with no requirement for attribution. But unfortunately, he passed away relatively recently. His family has done a great job of supporting his project in his memory, and continues to run the site on donations. Many of these photos include great everyday scenes in high resolutions.

The Picjumbo Website:

Another large amalgamation of free photos, Picjumbo perhaps has the largest variety. There are abstract images, nature photos, and fashion and tech shots… anything you could want! Free for commercial and personal use, Picjumbo is unfortunately also among the most difficult to search of the free websites we mention.

Read More at Top Free Sources of CC0 High-Res Photos for Your Website

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/top-free-sources-cc0-high-res-photos-website/

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Snapchat is Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s Latest Update

Snapchat is growing up pretty quickly. What started out as a way to share photos that self-destruct in 10 seconds, has evolved into one of the most complete and engaging communication platforms on the market today.

On March 29, Snapchat unveiled a major overhaul of its chat platform, enabling a whole bunch of new multimedia options for users. For the first time, users can now make audio and video calls through the app, as well as choose from over 200 stickers to send in messages and simultaneously switch between calls and messaging.

Snapchat’s new-found versatility will help it compete with other popular private messaging apps like We Chat, Kik, Telegram and Facebook-owned properties, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

In this post, I’d love to dig into the Chat 2.0 update: how to use the new features and what this may mean for the future of Snapchat.

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Everything you need to know about the Snapchat Chat 2.0 update

The Chat 2.0 update brought with it a plethora of new features and enhancements. In this section, I’d love to give you the lowdown on each of the key new additions.

Auto-Advance Stories

You can now swipe left during a Story to jump right into your next friend’s Story, or once a Story has finished playing the next one in your list will automatically start.

This makes consuming Story content much easier for users and could lead to an increase in the 7 billion video views Snapchat is generating daily.

snapchat-swipe

Stickers

Stickers have become an integral part of many messaging platforms over recent years and Snapchat has created a pool of over 200 stickers to include in your conversations.

stickers

Video or audio calls

You can now make audio and video calls through the Chat interface. To make a call simply tap on the phone icon for an audio call or the video camera icon for a video call.

What makes calls on Snapchat unique is the ability to be on a call and simultaneously send photos that appear as an overlay in the chat window.

video-call

Video or audio notes

Within the Chat interface, you can send quick, sub-10-second thumbnail videos and audio clips.

Video clips loop, much like GIFs and when tapped by the receiver will also play audio alongside the video. Audio notes, play through as the receive taps on them.

notes

From ephemeral photos to a vibrant communication tool

In 2014, Snapchat released Chat 1.0, and for the first time allowed users to communicate via text and video chat.

“When we first launched Chat, our goal was to emulate the best parts of face-to-face conversation,” the company explained in a recent blog post. “Chat 1.0 was all about the joys of being here — when most apps told you when your friend was typing, Chat let you know that your friend was listening. And it’s the listening and engagement aspects of social media where Snapchat has really been able to differentiate itself.

Whereas sharing on most social platforms now feels like shouting into an empty street, Snapchat holds user attention. If you have 100 friends, half of them are likely to watch your Story, and for direct Snaps and chat conversations the engagement is even higher.

Snapchat’s goal is “to be the best way to communicate — second only to hanging out face-to-face,” and of all the social media platforms and social networks out there, Snapchat is the closest relation to the way we interact in our day-to-day lives.

We love to share, chat, debate, and discuss with those closest to us and when we see our friends in real life, these moments disappear. Snapchat mimics that behavior far more than any other network.

With Facebook and Twitter, we give friends a glimpse into our lives. Snapchat allows you to share the whole picture in a more authentic way. It’s full-screen, immersive nature brings our friends much closer to use than any other network. Watching someone’s story means giving it your full attention, for a few seconds at least. Whereas scrolling through Facebook’s news feed or Twitter’s timeline, you will barely notice most updates.

With Chat 1.0 Snapchat made some large strides to further the authenticity of the platform and took a different approach to generating conversation, making exchanges between friends feel more serendipitous.

Instead of letting you know when a friend has sent you a message, Snapchat started to send a push notification to say that a friend has begun typing a message to you. Their hope was that by the time they hit send, you’re already in the chat, ready to respond.

Here’s how Snapchat has evolved since its launch in 2011:

snapchat-timeline

Chat 1.0 was a pivotal part of Snapchat’s evolution from an ephemeral photo-sharing app into the private messaging space. Chat 2.0 will help move Snapchat away from being seen as a way for teenagers to send self-destructing photos into a major player in the messaging space alongside the likes of Whatsapp and Messenger.

A more familiar way to chat

Snapchat has always had a unique approach to messaging and communication, but this latest update brings with it a more familiar feeling. Chat 2.0 introduces features that have become common in other messaging apps, like Stickers and audio and video calling, but they’ve been included with Snapchat’s own unique flavor (simultaneously being able to video chat and send images, for example).

This move appears to further signal Snapchat’s intentions of moving more into the mainstream conversation when it comes to messaging.

When Snapchat first gained notoriety, like many almost every social platform, it was the teenage market that really started adopting it in droves. And today 41% of American teens are active on Snapchat.

To continue its growth, though, Snapchat needs to evolve and continue pushing for mainstream attention beyond the 18-25-year-olds who currently use the product.

Chat helps Snapchat to enter the conversation alongside apps like Messenger and Whatsapp and makes the value proposition much easier to grasp for many potential users. It’s no longer about sending disappearing content, it’s much more than that. It’s about connecting in genuine ways with those closest to use over whatever medium feels best.

What this means for marketers

Social media seems to be trending towards more private conversations. How this will affect marketers long-term remains to be seen. But what’s clear is that Snapchat is here to stay and marketers should be paying attention.

Chat aside, over recent months, Snapchat has continued to release important features to help aid its growth towards the mainstream.

In February, they released On-demand Geofilters. Geofilters are just like regular filters – a design you can overlay onto a photo or video you take in Snapchat – except they’re only available in certain locations.

This update created a new revenue stream for the company, but also made Snapchat a powerful marketing tool for brands and businesses of all sizes. Now anyone can create their own Geofilter in a selected area for a chosen time (starting at $5 per 20,000 square feet per hour).

Brands and businesses should definitely be looking to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Snapchat as it continues to move towards the mainstream. Those who jump on early may see a first mover advantage and receive the best returns for their organic efforts and on-demand filters alike.

Talking point: Have you tried using Snapchat from a business perspective or created an On-demand Geofilter? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below the post.

Over to you

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 update. Have you downloaded it yet? What are your first impressions? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments 👻

P.S. if you’re on Snapchat, we’d love to become friends. Our username is buffersnaps, or if you’re on mobile you can screenshot and scan the below Snapcode:

buffer-snapchat

The post Snapchat is Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s Latest Update appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/snapchat-chat

Twitter Now Offers Accessible Images For Everyone

twitter-alt

Twitter recently turned ten-year old, and to celebrate its birthday, it made its interface friendlier and easier to use for those with visual impairment. In other words, Twitter has made images on its site more accessible for everyone. 

To quote the blog post:

Starting today, people using our iOS and Android apps can add descriptions — also known as alternative text (alt text) — to images in Tweets. With this update, we’re empowering everyone to ensure content shared on Twitter is accessible to the widest possible audience.

Enable this feature by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. The next time you add an image to a Tweet, each thumbnail in the composer will have an add description button. Tap it to add a description to the image. People who are visually impaired will have access to the description via their assistive technology (e.g., screen readers and braille displays). Descriptions can be up to 420 characters.

twitter-alt

As you can see, you can now add descriptions to your images, such that those are visible to people with visual impairment. Interestingly, as opposed to the standard 160 characters for tweets, the descriptions for images can be up to 420 characters.

Twitter has also integrated this feature with third-party clients by means of REST API and Twitter Cards.

What do you think of this move by Twitter? Share your views in the comments below!

Read More at Twitter Now Offers Accessible Images For Everyone

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/twitter-accessible-images/

New Launch: Divi 2.7 Levels Up Conversion Rate Optimization in WordPress Themes

1

Divi 2.7’s new features that have been incorporated into this  release are not simply improvements. They are trend setters. Whereas the vast majority of WordPress themes focus on creating unique and satisfying user experiences, which obviously makes for happy clients. Divi 2.7 takes things a step further.

With this release, Divi is more than a website-creating theme, it is a marketing tool as well. Web designers, as a rule, do not fully integrate sales and marketing solutions into their creations, because they lack the tools that enable them to do so. Divi 2.7 changes all of that. It enables the designer to create websites that have brains as well as good looks.

Why is CRO the Next Big Thing in WordPress Themes?

1

WordPress themes have long been built with UI and UX in mind, but the vast majority do not go beyond creating websites that can attract and engage users.

They do not measure user activity for purposes of enhancing and optimizing conversion rates. With its 2016 2.7 release, Divi has accomplished precisely that.

Everything changes with the new conversion rate optimizing (CRO) features that have been included in this latest release. Web design and marketing can how proceed hand in hand; for the benefit of the client.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization All About?

  • The objective of CRO is to improve your websites performance; in terms of sales, leads, and so forth.
  • Analysis and subsequent action is based on real information; not on guesses or hunches.
  • Optimization is based on key performance indicators (KPIs) that are often unique to a given website.
  • CRO is designed to make the most of your existing traffic.

 

Divi 2.7: Introducing Divi Leads

2

Divi Builder has always been a premium drag and drop landing page builder, but its focus has been more on user experience than on that of the client’s. Divi Leads, a natural extension of the Divi Builder, changes all of this.

Divi Leads is a split testing (A/B testing) system. A/B testing allows two versions of a web page to be compared against one another with respect to their respective marketing performances.

A/B testing is used to:

  • Validate design changes
  • Validate hypotheses behind messages on a page (e.g. a call to action)
  • Validate image placement on a page to see which is most successful in getting the desired user response.

A web page variant may be as simple as a headline or the location of a button, or as complex as a complete redesign of the page. The objective is the same however; to see which way works best with respect to CRO.

Divi 2.7: Introducing Powerful Stats and Insights

3

It’s worth repeating that conversion rate optimization is based on genuine insights, real data, and statistics rather than on subjective thoughts, hunches, or opinions.

What do powerful stats and insights mean, with respect to Divi 2.7?

After A/B testing has started, pertinent information needed to judge which of the variants is the winning variant is gathered. As noted, KPIs can be somewhat website unique, but generally consist of measurements of clicks, sales, and bounce rates.

The winning variant will be the one that provides the greater advancement toward a given set of goals.

These goals often include determining why website visitors aren’t converting, and fixing the problem once it is discovered what it is or might be.

At times this will be an iterative process that works toward achieving a specific goal, and in most cases a number of design variables will be investigated and tested. Divi 2.7 does this.

More Divi 2.7 Features

This latest release includes improvements in Divi and the Divi Builder in other ways as well. Divi users will love the new portability options, which make it easy to create, share, and transfer both Divi configurations and Divi Builder layouts.

This benefits collaboration among design colleagues and with clients and with clients, since specific configuration settings can be ported.

The new Divi Builder page settings feature makes it possible for the designer to adjust or modify design options for an entire page, as opposed to doing so in an element by element, or module by module, piecemeal process.

All in all, Divi users and newcomers alike will find these 2.7 enhancements will not only be cool, but represent an important new trend in WordPress themes by enabling the designer to test and measure CRO in a working environment.

 

A Word About Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes currently features a collection of 87 extraordinary WordPress themes that have been put to use by more than 300,000 customers.

Elegant Themes focuses on stellar themes, characterized by pixel-perfect detail and aesthetic superiority. The host of shortcodes, theme options, and templates give the designer total control over the website design/build process.

No matter which theme or themes you select, you can be assured of whatever support you may need to get your website or blog up and running in no time, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro. The support is top-notch.

 

Read More at New Launch: Divi 2.7 Levels Up Conversion Rate Optimization in WordPress Themes

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/new-launch-divi-2-7-levels-conversion-rate-optimization-wordpress-themes/

Stop the Fight! The Ad-Block Debate is Over.

adblockers

adblockers
The numbers are clear: there are 45 million active ad-blockers in the United States, a number which grew by 48% in 2015. This cost publishers about $22 billion in 2015 alone, according to PageFair and Adobe.
It’s easy to see why this software is growing faster than any other software segment. After all, online advertising is (in most cases) irrelevant, repetitive, rude, intrusive, irritating, tacky, inefficient, and insulting. Yet, a benjamin survey indicates that a whopping 78% of people believe that journalists and bloggers deserve to be compensated for their work.
… and there’s the rub.
This disconnect has launched a gnarly cold war. NPR, the BBCFortune, AdWeek – they’ve all chimed in on the ethics and business realities of this practice. CNET even questioned the legality of ad-blocking.
The debate is a bit like American politics: we all agree that we want a strong economy, a good national defense, and a healthy and educated population but we have wildly different ideas of how to get there. If journalists deserve compensation and alternate revenue-generators like pay-walls are deemed annoying, what do we do?
We make a better ad.
It needs to be relevant. A quick observation from my personal experience: Google is the worst at this. A few months ago, I read 3 or 4 posts about a football player who had injured his foot and would be missing a few weeks worth of games. Google took this to mean that I must be looking for a podiatrist. D’oh.
It needs to deliver value. Think about the last time that you clicked on an ad. Why did you do it? The benjamin survey I’ve been referencing didn’t offer a strong quantitative signal here but a quick gut feel says that there needs to be a clear incentive to do so. Financial incentive and exclusive access feel most obvious.
It shouldn’t be intrusive. A word to those who implement and buy pop-over or “take-over” ads: enough! It’s hard enough to get someone to come to your website or blog, so why would you impede access to the information that they came for? Imagine if a retail store advertised heavily in your local paper in an effort to generate more foot traffic only to have each person wait at the door for 5 minutes before coming in. No good publisher should welcome this kind of reader experience.

Given an ad format that follows those rules, there is less reason to install an ad-blocker. At benjamin, we’re trying our hardest to come up with something that works. Here’s our first attempt:

https://publisher.benjaminapp.co/js/parent.min.js
// <![CDATA[
benjaminPublisherParent.init("rCmaiVVUIk", ["onboarding"], "",true, null, null, false, true);
// ]]>

 

It’s an interactive widget rather than a flat text or image that links to a landing page. If you click the orange X you see the next item. If you see the blue $, you move on to a checkout flow.

Benjamin has been deploying these units on sports blogs over the last six months to some success. The bulk of our user feedback includes words like relevant and value to describe the experience which is validation that we’re making progress. For more information on this, the first true merchandise ad network, check out the benja network or the benjamin company blog.

Andrew Chapin is the Founder & CEO of benjamin: deals that don’t waste your time. Benjamin is constructing the first true merchandise ad network with a series of rich media online display advertisements and a series of mobile applications on iOS and Android. He is an avid skier and Boston Red Sox fan.

Read More at Stop the Fight! The Ad-Block Debate is Over.

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/stop-the-fight-the-end-of-the-ad-block-debate/

Web Content Personalization: Intersection of IT and Marketing

Web Content Personalization

Effective Strategies for Improving Web Content Personalization

Web Content Personalization

Personalization of web content is becoming increasingly important for businesses to gain – and maintain – their competitive advantage. Web personalization is key to increasing conversion rates and return rates, as well as boosting retention, time-on-site, and page views, according to a December 2015 VentureBeat study, which noted that 87 percent of companies have seen a lift of at least 5 percent in their most important metrics as a result of personalization.

But personalization efforts are no longer solely the bailiwick of marketing. To be successful, IT, design and marketing must work together. Research firm Gartner noted that teamwork is needed in order to evaluate solutions, source data, manage and consolidate the application portfolio, and integrate solutions.

This collaborative effort is predicted to be fruitful. Gartner estimates that by 2018, CIOs who build strong relationships with CMOs will be able to drive a 25 percent improvement in return on marketing technology investment. Furthermore, those firms that that incorporate personalization into digital commerce will realize revenue increases up to 15 percent.

“Personalization enables sellers to remain competitive and drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, as well as increase profitability,” Gartner noted. “Consumers who have personalized experiences spend more. Companies that incorporate personalization into B2B digital commerce strategies will make their business customers more efficient, provide a better customer experience and increase the likelihood of greater purchase value as well as upselling and cross-selling — all leading to greater revenue.”

Creative Bottleneck Drives Companies to a Screeching Halt

While the benefits and projected ROI described by Gartner and others are enticing, web personalization programs are very resource intensive. Developers must build code for alternate experiences, then marketers must generate the appropriate content. But as they work together, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s a creative bottleneck.

There are many content optimization/personalization tools – such as Maxymiser, Optimizely, Adobe Target, Ensighten – available today that offer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors to help speed coding and development. But the creative bottleneck stubbornly remains. It all boils down to manpower. With current tools, companies can create great personalization or A/B test ideas. But they are unable to execute on them because the creative team does not have the vast number of people, the time or the resources to develop what’s needed. Effective web personalization needs more than even infinite manpower can be expected to achieve.

For many companies, it’s a Catch 22. The more successful they are in their optimization program, the harder and more resource-intensive it will be to scale and maintain. This is especially true as personalization becomes increasingly granular, requiring even more content catered to the individual user.

The Green Light for Improved Web Content Personalization
So, how can your company scale up its web content personalization initiatives without hiring an army of creative folks?  Here are some strategies that can help you achieve optimal web personalization:

  • Start with A/B Testing – Most A/B testing tools enable you to add segments to your experiments to get insight into how different audiences are behaving in response to each experience. Tools like Maxymiser will automatically find the relevant segments and present them to you. But with some others you have to add the segments ahead of time, which can be guesswork. A/B testing your way into personalization is a great way to back into a personalized site, while also gathering data ahead of time about which personalization strategies are most effective for future use. Of course this leaves out many possibilities as some personalization strategies can’t be backed into. But A/B testing is a great way to increase your ROI with limited resources.
  • Increase the Number of Experiences per Test – Many tests are only run with the default experience and a single alternate. This is fine for UX changes where only a single alternate makes sense. But if your goal is personalization, you should add more experiences since you never know what may garner responses from different segments of traffic. Instead of two experiences, try four or more. This approach will give you more chances to find something relevant to your core segments.
  • Know Who Your Visitors Are – The more you know about your visitors, the more opportunities you will have for personalization. This may sound obvious, but from my experience, it’s often overlooked. In addition to the typical temporal, behavioral and browser-level attributes you are looking at, see what other data is available about your visitors, including information that other internal teams may control. For instance, your CRM probably contains a wealth of information about your visitors’ gender, purchase history, campaign engagement and more.  Several data management platforms (DMPs), such as Oracle Bluekai and Adobe Audience Manager, and even some tag management tools, like Ensighten and Tealium, can help you onboard and make use of this data in your A/B testing tool for segmentation and targeting.
  • Leverage Dynamic Content Creation Tools – You need to remove the limitations associated with manually creating and managing content, and instead take a programmatic approach to those tasks. Tools, such as Cloudinary, automate the process of creating and delivering images dynamically. Simply changing the URL of the image and applying custom parameters right in the image URL will enable you to build a new, customized image on the fly, without creative team involvement. You can reuse existing creative content and transform it to fit your current requirements by re-sizing, cropping, overlaying text and other images, adding borders and more. Taking this step will enable you to scale and execute your personalization strategy by eliminating that creative bottleneck. If you cannot automate content creation, you’ll remain limited not only in the tests you can execute, but in those that you can fully scale going forward after winners are determined.

For web personalization and content optimization to be successful, you must take a broader approach – looking across your organization to encourage closer collaboration between IT, design and marketing. By working in tandem, and leveraging a number of tools available on the market for testing, dynamic content creation and automation, your company can deliver content that is tailored to a wide variety of users, which will in turn translate into more sales, greater return on investment and a stronger, long-term relationship with your customers.

About the Author
Robert Moseley is a senior solutions engineer at Cloudinary.

 

 

Read More at Web Content Personalization: Intersection of IT and Marketing

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/web-content-personalization-intersection-marketing/

Our Favorite Facebook Tool + 16 Amazing Pages That We Draw Inspiration From Every Day

The truth is, there’s so much to do on social media that, as a social media manager, I have to choose my battles wisely when it comes to steering my time and deciding which creative strategies to pursue. 

Luckily, there are an unlimited amount of resources out there to help social media marketers like us to decide which strategies will provide the biggest payoff when it comes to Facebook marketing.

But, more often than not, those resources give a general overview of various social media strategies and high-level tactics, leaving us wondering where we can turn to for ideas for specific images, copy, hashtags, videos and content that is working right now for top brands. 

That’s where my favorite Facebook tool comes in – A tool that is 100% free to use.

The Facebook “Pages to Watch” feature has completely changed the way I go about Facebook marketing on a daily basis. Many of you probably know about and use this tool regularly, but I’d love to provide a brief guide on where to find the Pages to Watch feature and how you can use it to improve your Facebook marketing. 

After that, we’ll get into some good stuff and I’ll share with you the 16 Facebook pages that we watch like a hawk and draw inspiration from every day.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

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How to Find and Use Facebook’s “Pages to Watch” Feature

For Facebook pages with more than 30 likes, Facebook offers a robust Insights tool that gives social media marketers the ability to analyze a ton of great data from their page. 

facebook page insights, facebook, insights, social media

From there, you’ll be taken to your page’s Insights dashboard where you’ll find the tool of all tools – Pages to Watch – directly under the “5 Most Recent Posts” section.

facebook, pages to watch, facebook insights

Next, simply click “Add Pages” and begin adding pages by typing their brand name into the search box. Once you’ve added a brand page to your list, you’ll be able to see the following stats:

  • Their total page likes (and the % +/- change from the previous week)
  • How many times they’ve posted to Facebook this week
  • Their total engagement count for the week

Pretty cool!

Where it gets even better is when you click on a specific brand’s icon in your list. Facebook provides a detailed view of every one of their posts from the current week – ranking them from the “most engaging” to “least engaging.” This allows you to quickly check the top posts from every page you follow in a matter of seconds.

Netflix, pages to watch, facebook insights

So you’re all set to go with the Pages to Watch feature, but which pages should you follow?

My first instinct was to follow all of the pages that I follow personally on Facebook, which was a perfectly fine route to go for me as a beginner. However, I quickly realized that a lot of the pages that I follow personally are not relevant to Buffer’s audience.

Here are a few ideas to develop a relevant watch list: 

  • Top peers in your space
  • Brands that you admire in your space
  • Brands that have a strong social media presence in your space
  • Influencers in your space
  • Top brands from around the world (this one’s for fun)

How I utilize Pages to Watch

I like to go in and quickly check the pages that we follow 3-4 times per week to make sure that I have my finger on what’s trending in the industry. What I am looking for are posts and content that have major potential to be successful on Buffer’s social media. The are 3 key factors that I consider when browsing pages: 

  1. Posts with high engagement (50+ likes, 15+ shares, and 10+ comments)
  2. Posts with low engagement, but contain beautiful images, awesome copy, or great content. I love these because it allows us to improve upon content that has potential to be engaging
  3. Specific trends across the board. In social media, things tend to pop up and fade quickly and so it’s always fun to jump on trending topics that are relevant to Buffer

Another key factor that I take into account is a brand’s overall engagement per post and if they’re trending upward or downward. To so do, I quickly divide their total weekly engagement by the number of posts. If a brand with a similar audience size to Buffer is averaging a lot more likes per post, I’ll try to dig in and study the images, content, and copy they are using to see how we may improve on our own.

I recommend that you follow around 12–16 pages so that you’re not overloaded with content, but that you get a nice variety of brands and creative ideas to pull from.

If you’re looking for a good place to start with pages to watch, here are 16 amazing pages that we draw inspiration from every day. In other words, they are crushing it on Facebook!   

16 Amazing Facebook Pages that Inspire Us

  1. Netflix U.S. 

Facebook, Facebook pages, Netflix

Why it Rocks: Netflix is a great example of a brand page that speaks in the language of their audience. They post high-quality images with captions that resonate well with their core users. Netflix understands the fine art of brevity and isn’t afraid to “go there” from time to time. If you’re looking for quippy, clever captions, then Netflix may just be your daily inspiration. 

  1. Shopify 

Facebook, Facebook pages, Shopify

Why it Rocks: Shopify has the art of video marketing on Facebook down to a science. They post a great mix of original video content that points to their blog along with fun, light-hearted videos that are meant to simply delight their audience. They’re also a great example of a brand that is using the Facebook “Shop” feature on the top of their page – driving sales directly from social media. 

  1. Square

Facebook, Facebook pages, Square

Why it Rocks: Square is an awesome example of a brand page that proves you don’t have to post several times per day to receive a huge amount of engagement on Facebook. They only post the “best of the best” of their content and it really pays off for them. Square also has a great sense of who their audience is – sharing photos and videos that are highly relevant, speaking to the finance-minded user. 

  1. The Next Web

Facebook pages, facebook insights, social media, The Next Web

Why it Rocks: The Next Web has really burst on the scene as huge player in the Facebook space – Covering everything in the world of “Internet Technology.” Not afraid to post multiple times a day, The Next Web makes a strong case for the power of putting your content out there as often as possible. What makes The Next Web notable is their ability to summarize major stories in just a few, catchy words. 

  1. WeWork

Facebook, Facebook pages, WeWork

Why it Rocks: WeWork is a fabulous example of a brand page that does a solid job of mixing up content types and posts. Scrolling through their Facebook page you’ll find a variety of links, photos, and videos. It’s also fascinating to see the how they are able to tell stories about the people in the WeWork community and around the world. 

  1. Creative Market

Facebook, Facebook pages, Creative Market

Why it Rocks: Creative Market does an incredible job of finding and producing the best “creative” content to share with their audience on a consistent basis. Looking at their top posts week after week, it’s a mix of original and curated video content that is highly relevant and shareable. The shareability may be part of the reason why they’ve just passed the 215,000 fan mark. 

  1. Social Media Examiner

Facebook, Facebook pages, Social Media Examiner

Why it Rocks: Many of us know Social Media Examiner’s blog as a leading resource in social media news and know-how, but their Facebook page is also a wonderful example of how to be successful with sharing top social media content from around the web. I like to think of it as similar to an RSS feed of popular and useful articles. SME also puts their cover photo to good use by promoting their major annual event – Social Media Marketing World.

8.  REI

Facebook, Facebook pages, REI

Why it Rocks: REI does a wonderful job of promoting beautiful fan content across all social media channels – With their Facebook and Instagram pages as the hubs. Their hashtag campaign, #OptOutside, has been used more than one million times on social media and connects people from across the world, people who love the outdoors. If you’re looking for ideas for a user-generated content campaign, REI is a great place to start. 

9. Neil Patel

Facebook, Facebook pages, Neil Patel

Why it Rocks: Neil Patel does an amazing job of studying his audience and knowing exactly what they love on Facebook. He’s not afraid to experiment either – Sharing everything from quote graphics and curated content to text and picture-only updates. If you’re looking for actionable insights and ways to shake things up, then look no further than Neil Patel. 

  1. Brain Pickings

Facebook, Facebook pages, Brain Pickings

Why it Rocks: Brain Pickings’ Facebook page is the poster child for super interesting content and perfectly branded updates. They’ve found a unique niche in the market that a massive audience has embraced with open arms. I love their About section as well: “A cross-disciplinary library of interestingness culling ideas that shed light on what it means to live a good life.”

  1. Livescribe

Facebook, Facebook pages, Livescribe

Why it Rocks: As social media customer support becomes more and more critical for companies, those who have already been experimenting with different ways to support their customers will be well-ahead of the curve. Livescribe’s “Customer Service” tab is one of the first things you see when you arrive on their page. From there, customers can ask questions, share an idea, report a problem, or simply give praise.

  1. Spotify

Facebook, Facebook pages, Spotify

Why it Rocks: What I love about Spotify is that they’re not afraid to speak in the language of their users. They’ll often be found using words and phrases like “dope,” “epic,” “ridiculous,” “peep it,” etc. While this may not be a viable strategy for a lot of brands, it definitely works for Spotify. They also do a great job, like REI, of featuring and sharing their audience’s stories on social media. 

  1. Robinhood

Facebook, Facebook pages, Robinhood App

Why it Rocks: Quirky, yet beautiful graphic design and insightful articles on investing, Robinhood App has exploded onto the Facebook scene in 2016. 19,000 Facebook fans and counting, Robinhood boasts an unusually high engagement rate for a brand – averaging several hundred likes, comments and shares per post. This is a great page to watch in the coming months as they continue to grow as a company and their Facebook strategy evolves. 

14. Gary Vaynerchuk

Facebook, Facebook pages, Gary Vaynerchuk

Why it Rocks: You may know Gary Vaynerchuk from his podcast and book “#AskGaryVee,” but did you know he has a rockin’ Facebook page as well? Gary shares an engaging mix of business and personal content – Giving us all a look inside what it’s like to live the life of an entrepreneur. I find it very inspirational because it demonstrates the power of authenticity and personality on social media. No frills, no fluff, just the real Gary Vee. 

  1. Lyft

Facebook, Facebook pages, Lyft

Why it Rocks: Lyft does a wonderful job of harnessing the power of word of mouth when it comes to Facebook marketing. Scattered throughout their feed are contests, big announcements, coupons, deals, partnership celebrations, user stories and more. They make it really easy for their audience to want to share their content. It’s straight forward, well-designed, and often includes a relevant call-to-action.

  1. Duolingo

Facebook, Facebook pages, Duolingo

Why it Rocks: I love going to Duolingo’s Facebook page for inspiration because of their high-quality content and simple graphic design. They are very much focused on quality over quantity – only sharing to Facebook a few times per week. Like other successful Facebook pages, they utilize catchy captions and design to encourage users to share their posts with their friends and family. 

Over to you

Which Facebook pages do you follow for creative inspiration or just simply LOVE? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below so that I can add them to our list!

The post Our Favorite Facebook Tool + 16 Amazing Pages That We Draw Inspiration From Every Day appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-pages-to-watch

ShortPixel’s Alex Florescu: Breaking Down Image Optimization

shortpixel-chaplin

ShortPixel, Progressive Image Optimization

ShortPixel, Progressive Image Optimization

 

It’s possible there isn’t another group of people who care about optimization, more than the good folks over at ShortPixels. Between Ionut Croltoru, Simon Dudulca, and Alex Florescu, ShortPixel has more than thirty years of experience behind it. ShortPixel is a Word Press plugin that allows designers to optimize their images, therefore allowing them to optimize their pages in Word Press.

Their Twitter reads like a progress report, constantly letting their users and fans know about their latest improvements, and achievements. Image Optimization may not be the trend now, but with increases in the move to cloud based server options, optimization on every level becomes a critical factor. Alex, who designed the compression API, took time to speak to us about the boons and benefits of Image Optimization, and how it can improve even the core functions of your website.

How does Image Optimization

impact current design trends?

I would expect that having images that take less space, can allow designers to use more of of their available page. 

For those who are unaware, what is the purpose of

Image Optimization, and what kind of

impact can it have for your website?

Most of the time images used on  any given web pages aren’t optimized. That means that while they look good they are much bigger that optimal even though sometimes they were saved for web in Photoshop, for example.

The purpose of Image Optimization is to keep the visual aspect untouched but reduce the size of the images. This positively impacts the page speed of websites which sometimes can be twice as fast.

Having a faster loading website is good for the end user but it is also good for SEO purposes. Many people may not know this, but page speed is one of the bigger factors affecting their Google ranking.

What are the biggest benefits someone can see

from the use of Image Optimization?

Usually the main benefits are speedier websites that lead to lower bounce rates, increased conversions, and more visitors as the site ranks better in search engine.

shortpixel-berries

For those looking at getting their feet wet, what are the

first steps to take in beginning to learn about

Image Optimization?

There are many resources on the web but one may want to read about it more this hereIt’s also crucial to be able to live test how much a website can be optimized, so we offer our own compression test. To upload some images and see how much they can be optimized and how the compressed image looks like, we have made our online image compression available for everyone to use.

What further developments can we expect image optimization to make in the future?

I would expect that image optimization becomes ubiquitous in the following couple of years as it becomes more and more important. It should also become more and more accessible as it is now for WordPress users for example.

shortpixel-chaplin

For designers, what can Image Optimization

do for them and their projects?

Image Optimization can lead to happier clients when their sites load faster and will attract more visitors. This is especially true in our experience for WordPress users. They choose a web design by the way it looks but later they may discover that unless they use an image optimization plugin like ShortPixel the site will start loading slow and the whole experience be sub par.

Designers can take care of delivering an initial design with all the images optimized, but they can also educate their clients in using tools to make sure all the website images are properly optimized.

From my experience, this attention to detail leads generally to happier customers which in turn leads to more referring customers

 

Read More at ShortPixel’s Alex Florescu: Breaking Down Image Optimization

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/34803-2/

9 Reliable Services for Coding Your Designs

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If you prefer to let others do your coding, for whatever reason, but you’re not quite sure where to turn for assistance, we have a solution. We’ve located nine of the top service providers on the market that are capable of delivering pixel-perfect, W3C compliant code that will meet your requirements down to the smallest detail. These developers can be counted on to get things right when converting web designs into awesome looking, high-performing, and fully functional websites, web or mobile apps, or email templates.

Most of these developers accept web designs in any of the common formats. All of them are quite affordable, they will give you quick turnaround, and they provide excellent support. Several of these developers offer a range of services, others are more specialized in their offerings. Whatever your coding needs, you will find the perfect solution here.

 

Sketch to HTML by Xfive.co

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Sketch to HTML by Xfive.co is an excellent choice if you are looking for a premium coding service that can offer perfect solutions for converting your Sketch designs to HTML/CSS/JS pages. Xfive also converts designs to the more popular content management systems, if that is your preference.

This coding service is not only for the benefit of Sketch designers. If you use PSD, INDD, or AI, the Xfive team will be more than happy to do your conversion work for you.

Once you submit your design, in whatever standard format you may be using, the Xfive team will review it and communicate back to you any questions, concerns, or suggestions they may have. This team wants your project to be a successful one just as much as you do, and they can and will make that happen. The team also stands ready to assist you with whatever ongoing maintenance or support activity you may require. Sketch to HTML by Xfive.co is definitely deserving of its place among the top 2016 coders.

 

PSDgator

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PSDgator is a small team of developers that really does like doing cool stuff on the web. While their team may be small in size, their accomplishments are many.

PSDgator will take your Photoshop, Sketch, or Illustrator design and convert it into pixel-perfect, performance-optimized code. Their specialty is Responsive PSD to HTML5/CSS3 conversion, and jQuery and WordPress themes.

Just forward your design any standard format, and the green gator team will review it and advise you of any questions or suggestion they might have.

Once everyone is on the same page, they will be off and running, and you will receive the deliverable in a very short time. PSDgator also specializes in mobile responsive coding, plugin development, and software maintenance. PSDgator is a great choice if you are looking for a coding team that has a rock-solid reputation.

 

Chop-Chop

3

Chop-Chop has been in the hand coding and pixel whispering business since 2010. The team’s mission in life is what any top coding team’s mission should be; to help designers and agencies build great websites.

Their high-quality workmanship, their professional approach to development, and the care and respect they show their clients and customers are reasons enough to include them in our selection of top coders for 2016.

The Chop-Chop team of hand-coding enthusiasts works hard to ensure your PSD, AI, INDD, PNG, or Sketch file designs are flawlessly converted to high-quality, pixel-perfect, responsive markup.

When they receive your design, they will communicate any questions or recommendations they have, and await your permission to begin coding. If, after all is said and done, you are not satisfied with the results, Chop-Chop will refund your money.

 

htmlBoutique

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htmlBoutique offers premium Front-end, WordPress and Email development. They accept designs in all standard formats and convert them into W3C compliant, pixel perfect code. Nothing new so far? Here is how they are different from the other services we have listed.

Firstly, no up-front payment is required. Secondly, you get a fast first preview within 1 business day.

Thirdly, the end product is completely tailored to the client’s needs. On top of that, a dedicated manager will be there for you for the entire process and will make sure you are completely satisfied with the end result. Sounds good, right?

Direct Basing

5

The Direct Basing team is one of the premium slicing and coding operations in existence. In the 8+ years they have been in business, they have successfully completed over 12,500 conversion projects for nearly 3,000 worldwide clients.

Unless you genuinely look forward to coding your own designs, it would make sense to let the Direct Basing team do it for you.

They will not only get the job done right the first time, but they will make certain you are kept in the loop from start to finish in the event there are changes, questions, or recommendations.

 

PSD2HTML®

6

Founded in 2005, PSD2HTML® is the most reliable and fast PSD to HTML and web development partner. Their team can help you with HTML5/CSS3 markup, CMS implementation, newsletter templates, responsive layout, fancy JavaScript effects, and much more.

Thanks to loads of additional options they offer you can create exactly the website you need. The quality of the code PSD2HTML® delivers is simply second to none.

Their markup is always well-structured, optimized and compatible with all modern browsers and devices. Be sure to check out some code samples and examples of their projects on their portfolio page.

 

Netlings

 7

The Netlings professionals can convert your web designs to markup, web or mobile apps, websites, emailers, and more. Letting them do the conversion work frees up time you can devote to your own specialty, web design.

Handing coding over to the professionals, even if you have programming experience yourself, can be a great way to increase your productivity and hone your design skills. You will like the services Netling offers, and the superior level of support they offer their clients and customers.

 

EmailCraft

8

EmailCraft is a great team specializing in HTML email template coding. If you want to send stunning custom newsletters, transactional or promo emails, they are definitely the best choice. They are fast, reliable and seriously obsessive about quality.

They manually test every email template on 37 popular email clients and on 12 physical mobile devices. Crazy! EmailCraft will also help you with responsive newsletters, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor support and more.

PSD2WP

9

PSDtoWP is a professional WordPress development service. Submit your designs along with the necessary details and let them do their WordPress thing.

The PSDtoWP team will slice your creative concepts and hand-code them into a SEO semantic, fast-loading, cross-browser and device compatible HTML5/CSS3 code.

After you approve it, they’ll start working on the WordPress theme implementation. If you need any post-production support, no problem! PSDtoWP will be here to help. They offer the first 30 days of support for free.

 

Wrapping it up

Whether you’ve been searching for a development team that offers a range of conversion options, or one that specializes in one or two areas of wed development, you should have no problem at all finding what you are looking for here.

These nine coding service providers are some of the best in the business at what they do. They are easy to work with, they offer great turnaround, and they guarantee satisfaction.

Read More at 9 Reliable Services for Coding Your Designs

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/9-reliable-services-coding-designs/

Facebook Delivery Insights Will Help Marketers Get More Value From Ads (Plus How Ads Get Shown On Facebook)

Facebook is introducing Delivery Insights to its Ads Manager tools. Delivery Insights will tell advertisers how their ads are competing at auction and provide recommendations on how to tweak ads to make them more competitive.

The social network delivers ads to its users based on bid price, ad quality and user interest,  evaluating billions of pairings of individual people and individual ads each day, looking for the right mix of message relevance and potential business value.

According to Facebook, the new feature identifies under-delivering ad sets and explains why the under-delivery is happening and highlights suggestions for specific actions an advertiser can take to make their ad more competitive at auction – in-turn helping them to increase the performance of their advert.

pablo (41)

Delivery Insights will begin rolling out globally to Ads Manager in a few weeks, and advertisers will find this feature in the “Delivery” column in the campaign and ad set level, as well as in a standalone tab under “Tools.”

John Hegeman, Facebook’s director of engineering for advertising delivery, e-commerce and analytics, said in a statement about Delivery Insights:

“We built our ad system to create as much value as possible for people and businesses. With this in mind, we’re focused on helping marketers better understand how our ads auction works, and how they can improve their results, through an education program we’re launching this week. In the coming months, we’ll also begin introducing new insights in our ads interfaces to help marketers ensure their ads are shown to the people they want to reach.”

How ads get shown on Facebook

The core belief behind Facebook ads is the idea that people should see ads that are relevant to them and ads should deliver as much value as possible.

With more than 3 million advertisers all competing for attention in more than a billion users news feeds, Facebook use what’s called an ad auction to deliver ads.

The ad auction pairs individual ads with particular people looking for an appropriate match. The social network’s ad auction is designed to determine the best ad to show to a person at a given point in time.

The auction starts with an advertiser submitting a request for an ad to be shown to people. To submit the request, advertisers define their target audience, set an objective for their campaign and place a price bid for each click or conversion. Then, each time there’s a chance to show an ad to a person in the advertiser’s selected audience, Facebook run an auction to determine whether they should see the ad from that advertiser—or different ad.

“If you’re an advertiser and you’re getting a chance to show your ad, you’re going to take away the opportunity from someone else,” Hegeman explained to Wired.

“The price can be determined based on how much value is being displaced from those other people. An advertiser will only win this placement if their ad really is the most relevant, if it really is the best ad to show to this person at this point in time.”

Factors that determine the winner of an auction

To determine which ad wins the auction, Facebook assigns a total bid value to each ad, which is calculated based on three factors:

  • The advertiser’s bid value for the outcome they care about
  • The estimated action rates that the person seeing the ad will lead to the advertiser’s desired outcome
  • The ad’s quality and its relevance to the person

Here’s a little more on each of these three factors:

Bid value

When you create an advert on Facebook you’re asked to choose how you’d like to bid: automatically or manually.

Automatic: An automatic bid is one Facebook makes for you on an auction-by-auction basis. The bid is calculated with the goal of spending your entire budget and getting you the most of the result your ad set is optimized for.

Manual: A manual bid is one you make that tells Facebook the maximum amount you’d be willing to pay for the result your ad set is optimized for. For example, if you want website conversions and a you know conversion is worth $10 to you, you could set your bid at $10.

Ad quality and relevance

Facebook estimates how interested a person will be in seeing your ad with measures of its quality and relevance. If your advert has received some negative feedback, that could decrease its value here, likewise, positive reactions and the person has a history of being interested in what you’re advertising, that can increase its total value.

To keep tabs on your ad quality and relevance Facebook ads manager has a super-useful relevance score for each ad and also enables to you keep tabs on both positive and negative feedback. The relevance score is displayed as a number between 1 and 10 while positive and negative feedback will be shown as a rating of low, medium or high.

score

You can find the relevance score and positive and negative feedback from within Facebook ads manager.

Estimated action rates

An estimated action rate is a measure of how likely the eligible person is to take the actions required to get you the result you’ve optimized for. Below is an example Facebook use to explain how estimated action rates work:

If you’re running an ad for cooking equipment that’s optimized for purchase conversions, you’re probably targeting it to people who are interested in cooking. However, cooking equipment’s relevance to someone’s interests doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to purchase cooking equipment. That’s why we factor in estimated action rates. From the pool of people interested in cooking, we try to find those that are most likely to complete a purchase.

Winning an auction

In each auction, the ad with the highest total value wins, and winning means the ad gets shown to the person in consideration. This means an ad that’s high quality and very relevant can beat an ad that has a higher advertiser bid, but is lower quality and has less relevance.

Facebook Delivery Insights will help advertisers to see how campaigns are performing and understand what they should modify during the campaign to increase their likelihood of success.

Over to you

I hope you found this post useful and would love to hear your thoughts on Facebook Deliver Insights once they’re rolled out globally.

I’d also be keen to hear your tips and best practices for creating highly relevant and high-performance ads on Facebook. Share your thoughts in the comments and I’d be excited to join the conversation. 

The post Facebook Delivery Insights Will Help Marketers Get More Value From Ads (Plus How Ads Get Shown On Facebook) appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-delivery-insights