Think Pinterest Is Stupid? This Might Change Your Mind

After reading a great interview in The Atlantic with Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp I think that I finally “get” Pinterest as a marketer. It’s funny that nearly every single one of Sharp’s answers during the interview strikes me as pitch-perfect.

Think about what Pinterest is collecting: it’s a database of intentions.

Moreover, Pinterest is clearly able to distinguish itself for any other social media platform.

For real-time searches, there is Twitter. For people or entities, there’s Facebook. But if what you want to find are things, objects, then Pinterest is the way to go.

From a personal perspective, it’s taken me a while to figure out how to fit Pinterest into my flow of social apps, but recently moving has certainly helped. Also, the new messaging feature is done really well.

People hate the Facebook Messenger app for iPhone

Facebook Messenger App iPhone


The split is official: Users must now use the Facebook Messenger app if the want to message their friends and people are not happy. Sure, it’s number one in the app store. But, the app has over 10,000 reviews with that average of a one star rating (!!!).

I previously had blogged about how the Facebook Messenger App will be soon be mandatory. This forced move can be seen as either a good and a bad move by Facebook. But I still believe that in he long run this is a great move by Facebook. They are ahead of the curve and can see that the great unbundling of services is coming.

It is a good move by Facebook

Sure, people hate it now but just like it has happened with other unpopular moves by Facebook this storm will also pass. And, Facebook will come out stronger on the other end having earned one key item: Increased User Engagement. And as we all know that in 2014 Engagement is almost all that matters for social media platforms and brands alike.

Which Marketing Channel Gives You the Most Bang for Your Click?

Don’t think SEO matters? Think again.

Thanks to an infographic by Conductor featuring the most concise industry data I’ve seen so far this year you can see from which channels brands get the most customers from.

The infographic shows in detail which channel (social, organic search, email, or PPC) gets the most visitors, results in the most customers, and thus gives you the most bang for your click.

To no surprise the channel that drives the most visitors is organic search.

According to Conductor: “Visitors from organic search are 2X more likely to be extremely engaged and visit more than five pages when compared to the other channels.” Wow.

Continue reading Which Marketing Channel Gives You the Most Bang for Your Click?

Show an iOS Messages Timestamp next to each message

I really enjoy the Messages App for iOS. It works with both the fun blue bubbles of Apple’s  own iMessage service and the not-so-cool- green bubbles of standard SMS. However, there is one annoying feature: By default the iOS Messages app only displays a timestamp at the beginning of a conversation. I’m sure other people have noticed this issue as well. That brings me to this week’s #ProTip.

iOS Messages Timestamp Secret

The iOS Messages Timestamp secret

To see a timestamp next to each individual message, simply swipe a finger to the left on the screen. 

Communicate & collaborate better with Google Apps for Business

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps teams communicate, collaborate and get things done from anywhere and on any device. It’s simple to set up, use and manage, so your business can focus on what really matters.

Millions of organizations around the world count on Google Apps for professional email, file storage, video meetings, online calendars, document editing and more.

Watch a video or find out more here.

Here are some highlights:

Business email for your domain

Looking professional matters, and that means communicating as Gmail’s simple, powerful features help you build your brand while getting more done.

Access from any location or device

Check email, share files, edit documents, hold video meetings and more whether you’re at work, at home or in transit. You can pick up where you left off from a computer, tablet or phone.

Enterprise-level management tools

Robust admin settings give you total command over users, devices, security and more. Your data always belongs to you, and it goes with you if you switch solutions.

Start free trial

What makes a good website?

what makes a good websiteWhat do you think makes a good website? There are a lot of buzzwords floating around: IA, UI, UX, Responsive Design, Adaptive Design, Marketing Funnel, etc.

Check out my slideshare deck and see that a good website and a good theme park have more in common than you might think.

  • You need to have amazing attractions
  • You need to give visitors a warm welcome
  • You need to make sure visitors see it all
  • You need to ensure visitors take souvenirs with them
  • You need to invite or give visitors a reason to come back for more

What makes a good website?

Thanks to XN Results LLC for already mentioning the presentation on twitter.

Like this presentation? Please share it.

Facebook Messenger App now mandatory

As I wrote in January after the launch of Paper by Facebook:

The age of the great “social network” which Facebook won is coming to an end.

What this means is that people are moving towards services and apps that have a singular focus – people no longer use an app to do everything “social”, they go to them to do just one thing.

Facebook Messenger App
The Facebook Messenger App is available on iOS & Android

While Paper was simply an alternative to the traditional Facebook App, the Facebook Messenger App is mandatory if you want to chat with your Facebook friends: Facebook is forcing users worldwide to download Messenger for mobile chat. While this change hasn’t been finalized yet, Facebook will begin forcing users to download its Facebook Messenger App if they want to chat with their friends.

Bad move?

The obvious bad part is that people won’t want to worry about managing two different Facebook apps. This heavy-handed move could repulse people who are already weary of Facebook. With plenty of other messaging options out there including iMessage and  SMS, there are plenty of options for people to chat.

I have altered the Facebook. pray i don't alter it any further.
Facebook often makes changes that are initially unpopular with users.

As always in these cases, Facebook is hurting public opinion of itself, and reinforcing the perception that it changes whatever it desires without regards to what users want. But as usual, Zuckerberg seems content to play the long game.

Good move?

The success of single purpose apps that have taken their purpose to the next level shows that people are willing to use them. Just look at Snapchat or Secret. Plus, as it focuses on just one item the utility of the App will increase proportionately. Personally, I really like the Facebook Messenger App: it’s slick, fast, and fun to use.

Given enough time for the dust to settle, the move might be a smart way to boost Facebook messaging usage and acclimate users to Facebook’s standalone apps. Eventually it will also make Facebook money, as Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the Facebook Messenger App would eventually be monetized by allowing payments.

The biggest issue is that people need to overcome the thought that Facebook Messages are now their own thing and no longer part of the larger social network.

I stick by my bottom-line from January: This is an exciting time full of opportunity in “social”, because the age of the traditional “the social network” is coming to an end.

And yes, I’m still figuring out what this means for digital marketing…

Apple gives away a free iOS app and a free song per week

Free iOS App from the App Store#ProTip: Apple gives away one free iOS app and one free song per week that otherwise is a paid app or song.

I was recently surprised to learn that my friend, a longtime iPhone owner, did not know about this cool feature. Hence ,the origin of his week’s #ProTip.

This might be common knowledge for those people who have owned an iPhone or iPad and actually pay attention to the home screens of the App Store or iTunes store on their devices. Each “App of the Week” and “Single of the Week” is absolutely free deal, no catches.

See screenshots below.

free iOS app
Free iOS app of the week (highlighted in orange)

The free App this week is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rooftop Run, which is a great game on the iPhone &  iPad and it usually costs $3.99.

free iTunes song
Free iTunes song of the week (highlighted in orange)

I know music is easily available through other means like Spotify or Pandora, but free is free and you get a chance to own a track forever.

Bonus #ProTip: Starbucks has free app cards and free song cards in their stores as well. But this requires to actually visit a physical location. But as a nice bonus, they have a free item on their Starbucks iPhone app as well.

free starbucks download
Free Starbucks download of the week

Bonus Bonus #ProTip: The Apple Store App will feature a few iTunes Song, App Store App, or iBook from time to time as well. So be sure to check there as well.

free apple store app download
Free Apple Store App download

The Mac OS X Yosemite public beta is here

OS X Yosemite public beta
OS X Yosemite public beta announcement email
Installing the Yosemite beta
Installing the Yosemite beta
Installing OS X Yosemite beta
Installing the OS X Yosemite beta took about 45 minutes
Running OS X Yosemite
Running and testing OS X Yosemite


My thoughts on OS X Yosemite after 24 hours:

  • I really dig the new design: It ushers in a new iOS-inspired look and feel. It feels very pleasing and easy to navigate.
  • It does still feels very much like MacOS, but you can feel the move towards iOS. Will Apple merge the two eventually?
  • The improvements in Safari, Messages, and Mail are great. As always the level of the improvements vary greatly from app to app.
  • It’s clearly still in progress and the Feedback Assistant is great.
  • It’s awesome that Apple is doing a public beta so that they can include consumer feedback. This seems to be a significant change from Steve Jobs approach and another testament of the Tim Cook era at Apple.

Would Minimalist Ads work online?

mcdonalds billboard zürich
Minimalist McDonald’s Billboard in Zürich

There are many things on Reddit. From crazy animated gifs to things that make you go  aww – and everything in-between. And exactly that in-between sometimes delivers awesome ads such as the minimalist billboard seen above.

If you are a brand, this is what you want. You want your product to speak louder than words ever could. You want a minimalistic silhouette to be enough to sell your products. To this end, I could’t agree more with Reddit user Vanhaydin:
Minimalist ad Reddit

Reddit user soapbutt goes on to elaborate from a design angle:
Minimalist ad design Reddit

Mature Brand only?

I believe that minimalist ads work, no matter what your brand is.  In this case people already know McDonald’s and their products. Thus, as everyone has at least tried their products the challenge becomes to get people to buy more and buy more frequently. That’s why a few years ago they began renovating every store in the United States: They realized that increasing same store sales is more important than simply opening new stores all the time.

Minimalist Ads online?

Now let’s take the jump to the digit world. Seeing this billboard brought up one key question for me: Would minimalist ads work online?

Due to the low bar of entry there is so much ugliness, clutter, and bad design in the digital ad world. That’s why I’d argue that a minimalist ad such as this McDonald’s design would truly be a breathe of fresh air. However, as we are talking about online advertising here, some immediate question arise: What’s the call to action? What’s the ROI? What’s the ROAS?

The bottom line question is: Can a beautiful ad truly “work” online? How does branding work online? In contrast to the offline world where clients are happy to simply hear how many people might have passed by their billboard or how many people might have flipped to the page with their ad in the newspaper, in the digital world an ad must almost always deliver immediate ROI. And that’s where it can sometimes get tricky. It’s a fact that there is strong interplay between display and search: search volume will increase if display ads are running for a brand. Interestingly, this spillover is not instant, but takes about two weeks to take effect. On the other hand, search advertising did not lead to an increase in display applications.

What makes the online medium so unique is that all stages from awareness to purchase happen in one session in the same medium. To that end, I see branding and direct response being able to coincide within the same ad online.

Online ads are not offline ads

In my opinion, an ad featuring simple design would stand out and attract someone’s attention. Luckily, we can basically do whatever we want with ads online. What I mean is that a minimalist ad could simply be an attention grabber and then something else could happen once a user scrolls over the ad or clicks on it. This is where you start blowing the minds of traditional advertisers: Just like Transformers, digital ads are more than meets the eye. Like in print, you are not locked into one design, you certainly don’t have to make people memorize something like on a billboard, and you don’t have to hope they skip over your ad like on TV.

You can change what happens within an interactive ad based on what you already know about the consumer (what site they are on, where they live, what time of day it is, what the weather is like, what their demographic is, etc.) and you can have a conversation with them (ask for their contact information, let them choose what they want to learn about your brand).

Connecting online and offline

As mentioned above, the sky is the limit when it comes to interaction with digital ads. For example, McDonald’s could use the silhouette of the fries to attract attention and then ask people to share what other products they enjoy with their McDonald’s fries via a fun game. Once the person has selected their favorite combination they could then ask for a phone number to text an individual coupon to for that exact combination. That’s where this online interactive game actually drives measurable business to their locations.

A full campaign

But wait: There’s more.  McDonald’s Switzerland didm;t stop with the French Fries and has actually developed icons for their other staples such as the BigMac, Ice Cream Cone, etc. as well. Check out the video ad below.

Minimalism always wins

I’m going on the record with my love for minimalism by saying that it is always a good idea. Just look at Google’s Homepage, the Target logo, or one of my personal favorites the Huge website.

Less is more. The more you add to your site the more you are going to confuse visitors. Bottom-line digital strategy is simple: Make it clear what you want people to do and make it easy for them to do just that.