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Is Snapchat introducing adverts to its app ?

Published by on October 16, 2014
snapchat advertising

It’s only been a few weeks since Instagram introduced adverts into the feeds of its British users and now it looks like another app is jumping on the bandwagon !

Snapchat will soon be using adverts on its app to generate revenue.

Yes this week CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the Snapchat messaging app would soon be using advertising to pay the bills.

Before you start panicking about interruptions to your messaging service, we have some good news. Snapchat will not be including the ads as part of its core ’10-second’ messaging service. Instead there are plans to integrate the adverts into Snapchat’s Stories section. This is the service that allows users to string together multiple messages and turn them into a thread that lasts for a maximum of twenty four hours.

Whilst some brands including Taco Bell in the US have already been utilising Snapchat’s Stories for free, their advertisements currently only reach users who willingly follow the brands. The introduction of paid adverts in the Stories section will therefore allow brands to target a much wider audience.

The company is also rumoured to be working on a new promotional service called ‘Discovery.’ This service would allow users to view stories from major media companies and is likely to include some form of advertising, though Spiegel was reluctant to give away too much too soon.

This is a bold move for Snapchat, which reportedly turned down a three billion dollar acquisition deal from Facebook last year. A decision that suggested they had their own aspirations for growing the app. Of course with growth comes the need to generate revenue and up until now the start-up has yet to launch any revenue-generating schemes to make it a sustainable business.

Whilst news of possible advertising on Snapchat in the near future will allow the company to make money, they will have to tread carefully, ensuring it is not at the expense of their audiences’ enjoyment of using the app.

Image credit: Lucasmf23Image source

Categories: Social Media

Magento Owner eBay Announces Separation from PayPal

Published by on October 3, 2014
Magento and ebay partnership

Introduction

In what was a surprise move to many eBay have announced that they will split as a business from PayPal in late 2015. We examine the implications of this corporate split in this article, with its impact on Magento on our minds in particular.

eBay Ownership of PayPal

eBay acquired PayPal on 3rd October, 2002 in what at the time was a controversial move. Over the years eBay have tried to force (“encourage”) users to manage online payments through PayPal but over the years more payments options have been introduced due to demand from consumers.

Separation Announcement

eBay announced on September 30th:

“following a strategic review of the company’s growth strategies and structure, has approved a plan to separate the company’s eBay and PayPal businesses into independent publicly traded companies in 2015, subject to customary conditions. Creating two standalone businesses best positions eBay and PayPal to capitalize on their respective growth opportunities in the rapidly changing global commerce and payments landscape, and is the best path for creating sustainable shareholder value, the company said.”

Magento and eBay are still very much strategically aligned following eBay’s split with PayPal

Future Impact on eBay and PayPal

The idea behind the separation is to make both companies stronger by allowing them to focus on their core markets, namely commerce and payments. The two companies trading together has caused claims of “conflict of interest” in the market over the years and a confusion at times as to the distinct product offerings.

What Effect will this have on Magento?

Magento is also owned by eBay following its outright purchase back in 2011. Magento was bought strategically to work with eBay on their xCommerce initiative.

Magento offer the enterprise commerce offering within eBay’s commerce business and their future looks safe in the hands of eBay.

Image Credit: National Retail Federation  Image Source

Categories: Magento

Microsoft Windows 10 Announcement

Published by on October 1, 2014

Earlier this week it was announced that Microsoft are developing a new operating system, known as Windows 10. They have decided to skip straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10 to mark a new era for the software.

windows new version

It is expected that Windows 10 will launch before the end of 2015.

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This isn’t going to be your average OS update. No, Microsoft is planning big things for Windows 10, with hopes of it being the most intuitive and powerful operating system to date.

Moving on from Windows 8

A recent study by NetMarketShare found that just 13.4% of users were currently running their PCs on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Compare that to the 51.2% of people using Windows 7 and 23.9% of people still using Windows XP and it is clear that Microsoft’s most recent operating system has been largely unpopular.

One of the likely reasons behind users reluctance to use Windows 8 is due to its unique interface. The use of touch screen friendly tiles suggested that Microsoft were concentrating more on smartphone and tablet users and less on PC users. Despite the fact the new user interface was supposed to be intuitive and easy to use, many users found it to be complicated and difficult to navigate using a mouse and keyboard.

The great thing about Microsoft is that they listen to their customers. When they get things wrong, they consult with consumers, find out what they need and deliver it. With this in mind, it is looking like Windows 10 is going to be their most collaboratively designed OS to date.

Windows 10 an OS with the wow factor

The new operating system is packed with a wide range of new features for users to enjoy. It has also welcomed back some of the existing features that were previously scrapped for Windows 8. One of these features is the start button. Microsoft removed the ‘start’ button from Windows 8, but it was clearly missed. It is believed that many users were put off from upgrading to Windows 8 because the start button and menu functionality they were familiar with was no longer there to use.

Another feature that Windows 10 will keep is the resizable tiles used in Windows 8. These tiles will be used in the start menu to provide users with quick notifications from relevant apps (email, social media etc.)

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Windows 10 will work across all devices, including two-in-one laptop tablets.

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Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 has been designed to dynamically adjust to the device it is being viewed on. The layout will change to be more desktop or touch screen friendly depending on the device you are using. It will also be able to recognise if a two-in-one device (the next big trend according to Microsoft) is being used. This means that if a user detaches their laptop screen to use it as a tablet, the operating system will be able to adjust itself accordingly.

A more unified approach

Microsoft is planning a more unified approach with the launch of Windows 10. The software will be available to run across all devices from smartphones and tablets to PCs, laptops and even Xbox game consoles. All of the applications will be available to download from a single store and there are also plans to introduce universal apps in the near future.

Winning back business users

One of the main reasons why Microsoft is overhauling its operating system is to win back the business users it lost through the Windows 8 era. What Microsoft have realised is that even though we are seeing an increase in the use of digital tablets and smartphones, PCs are still predominantly used in the work place. There is still a great need for the OS interface to offer easy navigation with a mouse and keyboard.

The company is keen to get enterprise users on board with Windows 10 and will be giving them an early look at the new operating system, before the public, so they can get used to using it before it officially launches.

Offering the best of both worlds

Microsoft’s aim for the new Windows 10 system is to offer the best of both Windows 7 and 8, making it familiar and beneficial to all users, everywhere, no matter what devices they are using. Windows 10 is expected to be released before the end of 2015 and will mark a new era for the OS brand.

Image credits: mj0310 and intelfreepress

Guide to Google Plus B2B Marketing

Published by on September 19, 2014

Almost twenty years ago, Google was just a concept in somebody’s mind – a way to formulate and create an online archive to store data. The idea was first made concrete on Stanford’s campus. It was so popular storage space ran out. A year and a £100,00 angel investment later, and Google entered the public sphere. It was an experiment, and no one knew, or predicted rather, how far it could go.

In addition to being the largest search engine hub, Google has also managed to create one of the largest email accounts, it competes regularly with companies like Apple to develop creative “hit” technology like the Android phone or the Google Nexus “iPad,” and it is even rumored to have developed an automated car. Now, Google has entered the world of business.

For companies looking to do business to business transactions, Google+ is becoming not only the best social media platform to do it, but the best way to do it period. It’s public, it’s free, and it allows for private circles to expand and be shared in other private business circles. Here’s out it works:

GuidetoGoogleplus
Categories: Infographic

Pinterest and Shopify – Perfect Partners Following Rich Pins Enablement

Published by on September 18, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 23.34.27

Pinterest and Shopify strategically working together

Back in July, Pinterest and Shopify made a joint announcement about a partnership between the two companies. Now the dust has settled we thought we’d investigate what happened and how this has benefitted Shopify customers and users of Pinterest.

What was the agreement?

As from July 18th Pinterest revealed that they had enabled rich pin functionality for all Shopify merchants. This is an exciting move for Shopify merchants who can benefit from functionality such as stock availability and real-time pricing. Previously rich pins were created by unnecessarily complicated metadata behind the scenes but this can now be achieved through the Shopify API integration with Pinterest.

What are Pinterest rich pins?

Rich pins are enhanced pins on Pinterest. Pins with additional information that make the Shopify customers experience more enhanced. There are currently five types of rich pins, these are i) Article, ii) Movie, iii) Place, iv) Product and v) Recipe.

rich pins

An example of an article pin

Why are rich pins so important?

Rich pins will enhance the user’s experience. Examples are improved click through rates, price notification emails on Pinterest notifying customers who’d pinned the product where a price drop occurs (this is a free and effective form of marketing).

Conclusion

So why not experiment? If you haven’t already set-up your Pinterest account today at http://www.pinterest.com, it’s a social media channel which is especially effective for eCommerce sites.

Image Source

Pinterest Rolls Out Notifications and Analytics Dashboard Functionality

Published by on September 18, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 23.31.06

A screenshot from the new Pinterest Analytics dashboard

On August 26th Pinterest launched their new notification and analytics dashboard, we review the functionality and features and what this brings for users.

Reason for the new Notifications and Analytics Dashboard

Pinterest has been a tremendous success since its launch in March 2010. No business can afford breathing space in the social market though so to address a gap with competitors such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest have launched their new Analytics dashboard.

We are aware that many customers rely solely on Google Analytics but using other sources such as Pinterest Analytics is well worth experimenting with particularly if you have a lot of Pinterest activity.

Pinterest commented about the launch of the new functionality:

“The aim is to enable customers to improve their marketing and product strategies, with meaningful insights about what their customers are interested in.”

Need for a Business Account

Unfortunately only business account holders of Pinterest will have access to the Analytics functionality. Given its value it is definitely worth considering paying for a business account.

Link to Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics information can be found at http://analytics.pinterest.com/

How to use the Pinterest Analytics Information

The best approach is to study, analyse, tweak and react to the information you see. Continual revision of your Pinterest approach until its fine tuned to perfection will pay rich dividends in the medium-long term. We strongly recommend all customers to investigate Pinterest Analytics and are here to help with any questions or queries.

Image source

Launch of Apple iPhone 6

Published by on September 9, 2014
Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 20.57.21

Apple are all a buzz with the new iPhone 6 !

Yes it’s the day that all technology fans have been waiting for, the day that Apple announced the launch of it’s latest members of the iPhone family, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  The event took place at the Flint Centre for Performing Arts (the venue used to launch the original Mac computer and iPhone 5) at around 10am California time (6pm UK time) and whilst we weren’t one of the lucky few at the event, we did manage to catch the live stream so we can tell you all about the new product launches !

Introducing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone is a product that has ultimately changed our lives and today marked an important day in Apple’s history, the announcement of the biggest advancements in iPhone technology to date. They will be bringing out two new models, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus which will come in two sizes. The iPhone 6 measuring 4.7” and the iPhone 6 Plus measuring 5.5”.  The extra screen size has allowed for a new landscape mode that facilitates a bigger keyboard and extra functionality for apps like Messenger.

However there is a lot more to the new iPhone models than the larger displays. Apple CEO Time Cook has described the new models as ‘without a doubt the best iPhones we’ve ever done.’

Brand new look

One of the most notable features of the new models is their new sleek look. Instead of having distinctive corners they have a rounded, seamless service. The two new models are also the thinnest phones Apple has ever made. The iPhone 6 is just 6.9mm thick and the iPhone 6 Plus 7.1 mm.

Brand new Retina HD display

Both iPhones will feature Apple’s brand new Retina HD display – the best display in the industry. The iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334 x 750 with 326 pixels per inch and the iPhone 6 Plus has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with 401 pixels per inch.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 20.58.29

The new Apple iPhone 6

84 times faster than original iPhone

The graphics on the iPhone 6 are a whopping 84 times faster than the original iPhone and the new devices also benefit from a processor performance that is 50 times faster than the original devices. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be powered by the Apple-designed A8 Chip which has up to 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics.

Better battery life

During the even Phil Schiller came on to talk about battery life – something that is of interest to the majority of smartphone users! According to Schiller, Apple have improved the battery life using ‘every metric’ over the iPhone 5S and have also put the extra space in the iPhone 6 to good use by installing a bigger battery.

The iPhone 6 has a battery life of fifty hours of audio and eleven hours of video. The 6 Plus has a battery life of eighty hours of audio and fourteen hours of video.

8MP iSight Camera

The new camera on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has a sensor feature called Focus Pixels, which is designed to speed up the auto focus. The cameras on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will also be able to take 43 megapixel panoramic photos, using the iPhone’s A8 processor to achieve advanced face detection. The 6 Plus will also come with a new optical image stabilisation system to help you take sharp photos; great for if you have shaky hands or are photographing in low light conditions.

iOS 8, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch

It’s not just two new iPhones that were announced at the event, but also the launch of iOS 8. The new system supports the following devices: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display and will be available to download free from 17th September 2014.

If that wasn’t enough, Apple also announced the launch of Apple Pay (a technology designed to replace the wallet) and the much anticipated Apple Watch (or as everyone seems to be calling it the iWatch).  Apple Pay will be launching in the US sometime this year, but there is currently no word on when it will be launched in the UK.

The Apple Watch has a completely customisable watch face and a dial on the side known as ‘the crown,’ which will allow you to perform tasks on the Apple Watch without obstructing the screen with your finger. Like the new iPhones, the Apple Watch is also integrated with Siri.

Back to the iPhone 6…

The new iPhone 6 will be available in the same colours as the 5S (gold, silver and space grey) with three storage variants: 16, 64 and 128GB. Prices will start at $199 for an iPhone 6 on a two year contract. The 6 Plus will start at $299. The iPhone 6 will be available for pre-ordering from 12th September 2014 and will be officially launched in stores on 19th September 2014.

Image credits: DownloadsourcesES and Worldleaks