Fine dining, with a side of tech

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Marketing shows that we mere mortals are highly suggestible. The line between our appreciation of how food looks and enjoyment of how it tastes can become blurred. Researchers discovered that our enjoyment of indulgent foods increases significantly when we take a picture before eating it, and can even boost our experience of consuming “less pleasurable” (by which it means healthy) foods.

I’d suggest that you read this article you if you fancy your tech and a good meal.

https://www.cnet.com/news/chefs-special-fine-dining-with-a-side-of-tech/?ftag=CAD-03-10aaj8j

Great report on the key factors which lead to optimal video performance on Facebook

Facebook’s research team has published a new report which looks at the key components of the best performing videos on the platform, while also comparing the performance of the same video content across both Facebook and Instagram.

The impetus behind the research is obvious – Facebook offers a video ad option called ‘Placement Optimization’, which enables advertisers to reach people within their target audience across both Facebook and Instagram. But if video content optimized for Facebook doesn’t work as well on Instagram, the option might not prove beneficial, right?

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media Today

Placement Optimization will show your ads across Facebook’s platforms

To study the potential benefits of cross-platform video usage, Facebook worked with MetrixLab to first analyze 68 video campaigns in order to determine the key factors which lead to optimal video performance on Facebook. Of those 68, Facebook found that only 12% of them were considered ‘Outstanding’ performers, with the majority (78%) either ‘Sub-optimal’ or ‘Problematic’.

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayAccording to MetrixLab, the top performers were able to differentiate themselves because they were designed specifically for Facebook, as opposed to being re-purposed TV ads or cross-posted from other platforms.

Based on this, MetrixLab put together a list of four key, Facebook-centric elements which saw video ads perform best on the platform:

1. Incorporate brand identity early (within the first 3 seconds)

2. Show the brand for at least half the video’s duration

3. Make the video as short as it can be and as long as it needs to be

4. Feature the message up-front for those who may not watch the whole video

These tips are fairly generic, and along the same lines as we’ve seen in other Facebook video reports, but given their repeated relevance in such studies, they do bear re-iterating.

When optimizing for Facebook’s feed, you need to consider that viewers will come across your video as they scroll, and with sound off (Facebook is moving to ‘sound on‘ by default, but you should still assume a significant number of viewers won’t have audio when viewing). As such, you need to deliver your messaging, prominently and efficiently, to maximize response.

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media Today

You can see how Red Bull have taken a Facebook-specific approach with their video assets

But as noted, how does that relate to Placement Optimization? If videos optimized specifically for Facebook perform best on the platform, do they also translate to the Instagram environment?

Unsurprisingly, according to MetrixLab’s research, they do:

“MetrixLab tested [80 ads] on both Facebook and Instagram, and found a crucial correlation in performance between the platforms. This means that ads that perform well in one feed will generally perform well in either feed.”

Facebook Releases New Report on Video Performance Across Facebook and Instagram | Social Media TodayThe research also confirmed their findings that videos not specifically optimized for Facebook performed poorly on both Facebook and Instagram, while feed-optimized videos also performed comparably similar across key performance metrics on both platforms.

But as noted, you’d expect Facebook-commissioned research to support the case for their ad products – otherwise, why would they make them?

And while the insights here are focused on paid ads, it’s interesting to consider the implications for video on each platform in general, that video optimized for Facebook will likely work well on Instagram. Both are feed-based systems, of course, so the correlation makes practical sense, but in order to maximize your social media marketing performance, it’s important to optimize for each platform, rather than cross-posting, so it’s not always the case that one format will work on another network.

The other – and arguably most important – element in this process is audience, and focusing your messaging on the right audience and strategic objectives for each platform, but still, there are some key considerations here for video creators, and important notes on optimizing your content.

In short, what works best for Facebook video likely works well on Instagram also, which may provide expanded opportunities for your video efforts.

You can read the full Facebook cross-platform creative report here.

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/facebook-releases-new-report-video-performance-across-facebook-and-instagram

Voice is the future of search

Both Google and Bing have stated that the majority of search queries they receive take place via voice on mobile.  It stands to reason that, given the hands-free capabilities of handsets and mobile phones, voice would eventually take precedence over text-based search. With the vast improvement in the quality of digital voice assistants like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana, it was only a matter of time people discovered the immense convenience of voice search and rely on it for their queries.

But what does this mean for a small business, and how should you change your digital marketing strategy given this trend? Let’s look at some ways in which businesses can make their content voice search-friendly.

1. Focus on Phrases and Longtail Keywords

The search focus has shifted from terse, awkward keywords to long-tail phrases, or even entire sentences. That’s because voice searches make use of natural language. The way we talk is decidedly different than the way we type. The phrases and keywords that we use while speaking to digital assistants would therefore be different than those we use when entering text in Google search.

“What is the weather like in Miami today?” is an example of a conversational/natural language query more likely to be spoken to a digital assistant, as opposed to “weather miami,” which we would type into a search bar. Content optimized for voice SEO would therefore need to focus on this very important aspect of the nature of voice search.

2. Anticipate Specific Questions Asked in a Conversational Manner

Voice search might use entire sentences, but it’s also specific in nature. People do not ramble on when speaking to a digital assistant, possibly because a more specific question leads to a more accurate answer.

A query such as, “Find an Italian restaurant near me,” with the user’s location enabled can return precise results for users. Business owners would therefore want to optimize their websites and content for intuitive but specific queries. This can be accomplished via a detailed FAQ page or a blog containing authority content created around longtail keywords and conversational but specific questions. This would require you to research the kind of questions your target audience most frequently poses to digital assistants and produce content around those queries. It’s a good idea to take each of those questions and flesh out the answers in the form of quality blog posts.

As long as your content answers customer queries in the best and most useful manner possible, expect Google to take notice of it and rank the website/mobile site accordingly.

3. Optimize Your Website for Local SEO

Research has found that voice search is three times more likely to be local in nature. With this in mind, businesses should keep their profiles and contact information up to date, since this is what Google will pull for queries such as, “Where can I get the best coffee in Seattle?”

For a coffee shop owner, this would mean including accurate opening hours in their profile, including the precise location of the shop, and optimizing the content on the website to be found via keywords such as “best coffee” or something more specific, such as “best spiced chai latte.”

Find out the kind of questions your target audience is most likely to pose to a digital voice assistant, and create content that provides specific answers to these queries.

4. Make Sure Your Website Is Ready for Voice Search

According to Google, micro moments (moments during which users need immediate, relevant, and ready-to-use information) are key to capitalizing on any kind of search, especially voice search. Since our smartphones are our constant companions, it is natural that with internet at our fingertips, they are going to be our first source of information. Google has therefore been encouraging businesses to be cognizant of the increasing use of mobile in internet search and accordingly optimize their sites for mobile.

We now have mobile and voice search to pay attention to. Businesses that take advantage of these micro moments stand a good chance of racing ahead of the competition:

  • Anticipate at which stage(s) a user is most likely to need the services your business provides.
  • Anticipate the nature of information they need to make a decision.
  • Provide users with the relevant information at that stage in order to help them make a decision, or leave them with clear further guidance.

For this to happen, businesses must ensure their websites are optimized for mobile, for local SEO, and for voice search. In order for a mobile site to be of use to someone during a micro moment, it needs to load quickly, be user-friendly, contain relevant information (local SEO), and produce the right answers in response to a voice search query. Taken together, this maximizes the chances of a user choosing your service.

Making the Leap

The nature of search and the evolution in search algorithms, based on changing technology and shifting consumer habits, require businesses to move in tandem with newer trends. That is the way for businesses to stay relevant and competitive.

Let me get you to a human faster

A recent article on millennials at salesforce.com referred to them as the Convenience Generation. Perhaps it’s just me – and it wasn’t the apparent intent of the author — but that moniker seems to have a negative connotation, like millennials can’t be bothered to drive to a store, make a telephone call or get off the couch to change the channel.

It’s not an inaccurate characterization, but why is convenience so important to them? Perhaps it’s because they’ve never lived without it.

Technology has grown to a point to where we don’t have to go to a store to make a purchase, go to a library to do research, install a shelf to store our books, make a phone call to talk to a friend, or heaven forbid, step across the living room to switch stations on the television.

Millennials have never known a world without remote controls, cell phones or the Internet. Smartphones have become advanced to the point where we’re essentially carrying computers around in our pockets. And new apps are developed every day that eliminate the need to stand in lines or call ahead to place an order.

It isn’t millennials fault that they’re accustomed to these conveniences – and it shouldn’t be surprising that they’ve come to demand them.

That’s why successful businesses today must not only know their customers, but also the many devices and apps they use in their everyday lives, the social media they use to communicate and the media through which to reach them.

As salesforce.com blogger Tamar Frumkin notes, a business must anticipate the needs of millennials – and all its customers — and save them time by offering smart self-service solutions across a variety of devices and formats.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that millennials’ love for technology and convenience means the human element is no longer important. While an Aspect Software study found that nearly three-fourths of millennials prefer to solve customer-service issues on their own, it’s not the human that’s often at the other end of the typical customer service call that’s the problem – it’s the inconvenience of getting to that human.

Millennials crave human connection as much as any other generation, but the media in which those connections are made have changed. Where Baby Boomers went to the store and met with salespeople directly and Gen-Xers spoke with them on the telephone, online chatting or social media solutions are among the ways to reach the newer generation of consumers.

The goals are the same. You want to make a sale. They want to be satisfied with their purchase. But the tools are different. And to be successful with a generation whose collective purchasing power is expected to exceed $3.39 trillion by 2018, you’ve got to keep up.

Internet Industry Group Issues IoT Security Guidelines

With recent IoT-related cyberattacks, organizations and at least one government agency are now focusing on preventative security measures with another set of recommendations just released.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s IoT security principles, the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) just outlined its recommendations for IoT device security.

The guidelines are intended specifically for the area of consumer-facing IoT devices, although most of the recommendations are for increased process and oversight in the supply chain of those devices.

Most of the recommendations are simply to follow current best practices that have already been established in other similar devices, like personal computers and other consumer electronics.

BITAG recommends using current best practices for software standards, device naming and addressing, security and cryptography. The group also recommends that the IoT devices industry comes together to explore the creation of a more formal cybersecurity program.

Most of these guidelines seem to be similar to the principles for IoT security that DHS recently released.

Those guidelines include incorporating security at the design phase of IoT products and services and enabling security by default through unique usernames and passwords.

However, there has yet to come a legal governance for IoT device security. Rather, the guidelines from both DHS and BITAG are recommendations for IoT device manufacturers.

Here are the IoT device security recommendations outlined by BITAG:

  • Follow current software best practices
  • Follow current security and cryptography best practices
  • IoT device communication should be restrictive, not permissive, by default
  • IoT device core functionality should work if the internet connection is disrupted
  • IoT device core functionality should work if the cloud service fails
  • Support naming and addressing best practices
  • Ship with a privacy policy that is easy to understand
  • Disclose if the device functionality can be remotely limited by the manufacturer
  • IoT device industry should establish a cybersecurity program
  • IoT device supply chain should be actively involved in addressing privacy and security

 

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/289800/internet-industry-group-issues-iot-security-guidel.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=readmore&utm_campaign=98404

202 Million ‘Connected’ Appliances Projected; Fridge Seen As Hub Of Smart Kitchen 11/02/2016

A flood of connected home appliances is on the way.

There has been a limited number of new products and market movement recently, but that is about to change, based on a new study.

The number of connected home appliance shipments will hit 202 million units globally by 2021, up substantially from 17 million this year, according to the Smarter Kitchen, Smarter Shopping study by Juniper Research.

Smart appliances will be dominated by large vendors, unlike the smart home ecosystem that was developed by small startups, according to Juniper.

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/288101/202-million-connected-appliances-projected-frid.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline&utm_campaign=97758