Chin up, the Great American Eclipse is today!

Chin up, the Great American Eclipse is today!

For the first time in 99 years, today people across the continental US will be able to see a total solar eclipse. The eclipse will be partially visible across a large swath of the United States, while those in the 70 mile wide “path of totality” stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will be able to see the moon completely cover the sun. Whether it’s been on your calendar for years or you’ve been in the dark until now…we hope our special content (and tips!) give you a sliver of insight.


Today’s Great American Eclipse Doodle introduces you to some very playful alien creatures who seem to be having quite a bit of fun today. Doodle artist Gerben Steenks considered many ideas—from anthropomorphic cameras to nocturnal bats and owls—to introduce our eclipse event to users. But he finally settled on an astronomy-loving space traveler who delights in guiding Earthlings in their understanding of stellar events.

fun facts

To learn more about solar eclipse science, click through the Doodle to Google Search and get some fun facts courtesy of our out-of-this-world friends. You can learn about a crowd-sourced photo project to capture images of the eclipse as it traverses North America, and even follow NASA’s livestreaming video of the event — which, if you don’t have eclipse glasses or a pinhole camera, is a good way to watch the magic and avoid damaging your eyes.

Before, during, and after the eclipse, NASA will be sharing information with posts right in Search results. So if your neck is tired staring up at the sky, just tilt it back down, take off your eclipse glasses, and pull out your phone for some updates.

Now in the words of Bonnie Tyler, “turnaround, bright eyes”…it’s time!

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Google Introducing Autoplaying Video Previews in Search Results by @MattGSouthern

Google Introducing Autoplaying Video Previews in Search Results by @MattGSouthern

Google announced it has begun rolling out autoplaying video previews in search results.

No, not the same autoplaying videos that were the subject of much controversy last month. These are are different and arguably less obtrusive.

They will appear in the place of static images that would usually be displayed when a video carousel is surfaced at the top of a search results page.

You can see an example in the GIF provided by Google below:

”…you now have access to video previews directly in search results, giving you a better idea of what you’re about to watch before you tap.”

In an effort to be data-friendly, video previews will only play when connected to wi-fi.

If you really want to enable this feature on mobile networks, you can do so within the settings menu of the Google app or Chrome app.

Conversely, you can also opt-out of this feature within the same settings menu.

Autoplaying video previews are currently only available in the Google Search and Chrome apps for Android. They will be rolled out gradually over the coming week.

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Do Different Age Groups Prefer Different Content Online? [Infographic]

Do Different Age Groups Prefer Different Content Online? [Infographic]

There have been many reports on the different media consumption habits of each generation, and how you need to take that into account when planning on how you’re going to reach your audience, but there’s fewer on how, exactly, each generation is different.

One of the most difficult elements of this is that the Milennial generation, the one that every brand’s so keen to reach, is huge. Millennials (those born between 1981 and 2004) are now the largest generation in America, covering a wide spectrum of varying people – too wide, by most accounts, to actually be used as a demographic divider.

In practical terms, it makes more sense to separate this group into Gen Y (1981-1999) and Gen Z (After 2000), which is more likely to be indicative of habitual behavior – which is what Hand Made Writings have done with this new infographic, examining the key content habits and behaviors of the different generations online, based on various research reports and studies.

And while there are still some wide generalizations implied by the data – and the only true way to know your audience habits and preferences is to study your own audience analytics – the insights presented do provide some important considerations worthy of factoring into your plans and testing. 

Do Different Age Groups Prefer Different Content Online? [Infographic] | Social Media Today

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Why is it So Easy to Chase Bad Strategy Online?

Why is it So Easy to Chase Bad Strategy Online?


Stop me when this sounds familiar: one of your colleagues or clients comes up with an idea that sounds mildly intriguing. But, the plan they put together is based on assumptions, the offer they’re making isn’t compelling to customers, or the whole thing just seems destined to go nowhere.

From your vantage point, it’s obvious the idea isn’t ever going to bear fruit. And yet, they continue to pour more and more time, effort, and resources into the project.

What do you do?

We come across this phenomenon all the time. Very often, business owners and executives seek us out after they’ve spent many months, and tens of thousands of dollars, on website design or online marketing strategies. Usually they’ve gotten very little in return.

Despite those measurable setbacks, though, they stay committed to the core strategy that has been put in place. In essence, they throw good time and money after bad, compounding their losses one step at a time.

It turns out there is a scientifically valid reason this occurs – psychologists call it effort ‘justification bias’, and it essentially boils down to the simple concept that the more we’ve put into something, the more value we tend to think it has. 

To put it another way, it’s harder to give up on a thought or concept after you’re personally invested in it. Spend a couple of decades in a certain career and it doesn’t matter if the prospects for continued employment seems slim; you’ll still be tempted to hold on to your path to success.

And of course, the more money and creative energy you spend building an online strategy, the more convinced you become that it represents the right approach.

It’s no sin to make a bad decision in life or business. But, when we become so stubborn that we won’t reverse course, that can create big personal and professional problems. So, how can you overcome effort justification bias, which affects all of us universally? Here are a few pieces of advice I think can be helpful…

1. Know When to Cut Your Campaign Losses

Most people, if they are being honest, will admit it’s difficult to know when to give up on anything – after all, when you believe in an idea strongly enough to act on it, you’re probably going to keep believing in it and feel like success is just around the corner, even if it isn’t.

Sometimes, you can alter your approach to a challenge or campaign strategy and have things come out all right. But, if you suspect that you’re only hanging on to a philosophy because you’ve already tried to make it work (or worse, defended it to friends or employees), then give yourself permission to change things up.

It might be hard on your pride, but you’ll feel better once it’s done. Plus, admitting a mistake – to yourself or others – is a good first step towards moving in a new direction.

2. Look for an Easier Way to Meet Your Marketing Goals

Not everything has to be a huge chore. From time-to-time, we work with clients who avoid taking shortcuts of any kind because they worry that it’ll diminish the value of their work, or the finished product. That’s not a bad way to think, but it can leave you trapped in doing menial tasks for no reason.

Another way to say this is that you don’t necessarily have to do things the hardest possible way, even if that’s how they were done before. It’s okay to embrace a new app, a trained vendor, or a customized template in certain situations.

One way we justify past efforts is by repeating certain actions. I’m not advising you to become lax or sloppy as a marketer, just to avoid holding onto difficult ways of doing things just for the sake of it.

Embrace change, it’s usually good medicine.

3. Get a Fresh Perspective from Peers

Perhaps the easiest way to fight effort justification bias is to seek expert advice from time-to-time. If you’re working harder than ever, or spending more money than you think you should, then compare notes with professionals to see whether what you’re doing is worth continuing.

It’s often easier to spot wasted time and resources from a third-party perspective than it is when you’re working on something yourself – after all, the other person hasn’t put so much into a given idea or approach.

Someone who has a little bit of knowledge about what you’re trying to accomplish might be able to tell pretty quickly if you need to reverse course and abandon your strategy.

It’s hard to admit to yourself that you’re following a road that isn’t ever going to lead anywhere, however if you can’t admit a mistake when you really need to move on, then things are only going to get worse.

Look for Authentic Goals, Objectives and KPIs

Effort justification bias makes us all more likely to double down on bad decisions than we are to correct them, even when the remedy to a situation seems fairly obvious. As a marketer and a business person, it’s up to you to know that and refuse to chase failing ideas instead of embracing better ones.

Take some advice from someone that’s been there. Confirm your personas and be sure you meet their needs with your campaigns.

This post was originally published on the KAYAK Online marketing blog.

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7 Best Newsletter Plugins to Create and Send Emails in WordPress

7 Best Newsletter Plugins to Create and Send Emails in WordPress

One of the keys to success in digital marketing is to ensure that the right hand is always talking to the left. This means that if you’ve spent time building a beautiful WordPress site and regularly write high-quality content for it, you’ll want those efforts shared across other marketing platforms.

Social media is one of the more obvious choices as it’s (typically) free to use and doesn’t take much effort to write a 140-character message and hit “Send”. But email is another one of those marketing arms that should stay closely connected to everything you do.

Cooking Light email newsletterNewsletters can be as simple as this one from Cooking Light–a rundown of time-sensitive recipes and related blog content.

Of course, as a web developer, email marketing might not be something in your wheelhouse. But just because it’s your job to create websites for your clients doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to enhance it through other marketing strategies. The same goes for your own professional website. As a WordPress developer or designer, your website is a reflection of the work you do and would greatly benefit from increased exposure through email.

In general, email marketing is a term used for communications shared between you and email subscribers with the main goal of converting them into paid customers. These types of emails are the equivalent of a landing page on your website. In other words, sell, sell, sell. A newsletter, on the other hand, is a type of email marketing; however, it’s more reminiscent of a blog as the goal is to establish trust and develop a relationship with email subscribers by delivering added value.

The WhiP WordPress newsletterWPMU DEV shows you that newsletters don’t always need to be about you in order to be read-worthy.

In this article, I want to focus on the newsletter subsect of email marketing. Much of what you’d need to do to create a newsletter is similar to the work you do to build a website, so this is a logical choice for dipping your toes into email marketing (at least to start). I’ll discuss the power of email, how it can be used to promote your site, and break out some of the best newsletter plugins you can use in WordPress to create and send newsletters.

Why Your WordPress Site Needs a Newsletter

There’s a lot that goes into executing an email marketing campaign and I don’t necessarily believe it’s something you need to be fluent in as a WordPress professional. However, I do believe that every business owner (including yourself) should be using newsletters to stay connected to their audience through email.

Grillist email newsletterThis newsletter from Thrillist is the typical newsletter I see (just a link to recent blog posts) and it’s super easy to create!

In a recent report from Radicati, they predicted that there will be over 3 billion email users around the world by 2020 and that the number of emails sent every day will average about 257 billion. While that statistic basically says that there’s a lot of noise generated by email, it also demonstrates the huge opportunity available to business owners to reach a new audience, stay connected to them, and, hopefully, make more money through a newsletter.

Don’t believe me? Well, statistics from Statista in 2015 showed that 60% of consumers preferred to receive marketing communications from businesses in the form of email. It was overwhelmingly the most popular mode of communication. Not only that, but 61% of them indicated that they’d be happy to receive promotional emails once a week.

On the other side of the table, marketers are claiming huge benefits from using email in their marketing efforts. 81% of retail marketers surveyed by WBR Digital said that email marketing improved customer acquisition rates while 80% said it helped improve customer retention.

GameStop email newsletterI always look forward to these GameStop newsletters every week. There’s nothing much to them, but I know there’ll be a special offer for me.

Want some more reasons as to why your WordPress site and business need a newsletter? Here you go:

  1. It’s quite similar to building and managing a website, so this may be one of the easier marketing methods for a web developer to get involved in.
  2. It gives you something to do with all those email subscribers who eagerly signed up to receive communications from you.
  3. Email subscribers won’t all be paying customers, which makes this a great tool for providing customers and prospects alike with valuable information that may help you convert consumers that were on the fence about converting, upsell current customers, or generate recurring revenue.
  4. It can increase the visibility of your brand by regularly staying top-of-mind with a predictable and noteworthy newsletter.
  5. It’s cost effective. Even if you decide to send a newsletter out every week, the hard part is done; you’ve already designed it. All you need is to plug in content—and you likely already have content to draw from on your site (i.e. your blog).
  6. It can be used for a variety of purposes. You can share news about your company, promote recent blog posts from your site, announce new products or services, give subscribers access to special offers, and more.
  7. If you have segmented subscriber lists (based on geography, demographics, on-site behavior, etc.), you can send personalized newsletters.
  8. It’s another great source of data for your business. You can learn a lot about what your audience wants by studying the analytics—how many people opened it, which device did they use, which links received the most clicks, etc.

At the end of the day, a newsletter is yet another means by which you can reach your audience, and I’d argue it’s a lot easier to do than social media and definitely much cheaper than paid search marketing. If you’re not using newsletters to stay in touch with current clients, convert interested prospects, and improve your business’s reputation right now, think about those potential growth and revenue generating) opportunities you’re missing out on.

7 Newsletter Plugins You Can Use within WordPress

The work you do within WordPress to build quality websites is incredibly important. However, visiting a website and digging around it requires work from your visitors—and that’s not always the ideal experience. Once you’ve made that first contact, wouldn’t it be nice to give visitors a chance to sign up for a free newsletter where you take control of the relationship for a while? Yes, this means there’s more work for you to do, though probably not as much as you’d expect.

WordPress, of course, has a number of plugins available to help users integrate newsletters into their website. Usually, however, when people talk about these plugins, they’re referring to email subscription forms that connect the subscribers to you, and their data to your newsletter platform. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Popups and contact forms will take care of automating the subscription process. What you need now is a tool that will streamline the process of actually creating and sending newsletters to your email subscribers. While you could use a third-party platform to do so, there are cheaper WordPress plugin alternatives that allow you to do all the work within WordPress.

Here are 7 plugins to consider:

  • e-Newsletter Plugin

    Newsletters - e-Newsletter Plugin

    e-Newsletter is WPMU DEV’s newsletter plugin for WordPress and it’s really awesome. This plugin comes with beautifully made newsletter templates you can use… or you can import your own. In addition, you can customize the header, background, colors, and even add personalized information for each subscriber within the content of your newsletter. There’s so much more to this plugin, so if you haven’t had a chance to read up on this MailChimp “killer,” I’d urge you to do so now.

    Interested in e-Newsletter Plugin?

  • Email Subscribers & Newsletters

    Newsletters - Email Subscribers & Newsletters Plugin

    This free WordPress plugin is actually quite comprehensive. Not only does it enable you to add subscription boxes to your site, but it also gives you two options for sending newsletters. The first is a simple automation of sending out notifications to subscribers when a new blog publishes. The second is a more customized approach to designing and sending newsletters from WordPress.

    Interested in Email Subscribers & Newsletters?

  • MailPoet

    Newsletters - MailPoet Plugin

    There is a free version of this plugin as well as a premium one available. While I normally would recommend the premium plugin, the free MailPoet seems like it would be more than enough for a small business owner or marketer to use when starting out. It comes with 70 themes, a drag-and-drop builder, built-in analytics, automated messages, and is responsive. The only difference I see between the two versions is the number of subscribers you can send to (either less than or more than 2,000) and the amount of analytics insights available.

    Interested in MailPoet?

  • Mailster

    Newsletters - Mailster Plugin

    This premium newsletter plugin is perfect whether you’re a developer trying to quickly get your own newsletter out the door or you want to give your clients a tool that’s easy enough to use on their own. With a drag-and-drop builder, live template editing, and full newsletter campaign management within WordPress, this one is worth every penny.

    Interested in Mailster?

  • The Newsletter Plugin

    Newsletters - The Newsletter Plugin

    While this seems at first glance like your typical newsletter plugin, I think my favorite thing about this one is all the different ways it enables users to capture newsletter subscribers. Rather than rely on newsletter-specific subscription forms, it also adds a subscription checkbox to other contact forms (in case those leads missed the newsletter form or just don’t want to sign up twice). It also imports all previously registered users into your newsletter subscriber list.

    Interested in The Newsletter Plugin?

  • SendPress

    Newsletters - SendPress Plugin

    What makes this plugin really stand out from the pack is the fact that there are no restrictions put on how many newsletters subscribers you can have (something that can become quite frustrating after a while—both within and outside of WordPress). Other than that, this is simply a reliable newsletter plugin you can use to build cleanly-designed newsletters and schedule out at the most optimal times for your subscribers.

    Interested in SendPress?

  • Newsletters

    Newsletters - Tribulant Plugin

    Another full-featured WordPress plugin, this one from Tribulant will cover all your bases. Newsletter templates are provided. You can manage your various mailing lists and review the statistics on each within WordPress. You can create a variety of subscription forms both for your site as well as off-site. And much, much more. One thing to be aware of is that the limit for subscribers is pretty low (500) with the free plugin, so if you intend on having a much larger list of subscribers, you’ll want to invest in the premium one.

    Interested in Newsletters?

Wrapping Up

As a consumer, think about how many newsletters you receive from your favorite brands. Unless you’re swamped at work and trying to keep your eyes off of the growing list of emails in your inbox, you likely get excited to see the latest newsletter from them, right? Who knows what this next one contains? Maybe it’s a list of their most popular blogs from the week. Maybe it’s a special deal on that computer monitor you wanted to buy. Or maybe there are just silly pictures of puppies they sent to lighten the mood on your Monday morning.

PetSmart newsletterSometimes the newsletters I subscribe to surprise me with random reminders/surprises like this one from PetSmart.

As a receiver of newsletters, you know what sort of lure they have over you as a consumer. As a sender of newsletters, however, think about what you’d be able to do with those extra touchpoints with your consumer base. They obviously want to hear from you as they willingly subscribed to your newsletter, right? So why not make the most of their entrusting you with their email address and start sending them a valuable newsletter every week or every month?

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Avinash Kaushik On Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence For Marketing – This Week’s Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Avinash Kaushik On Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence For Marketing - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Episode #580 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

He’s back! Google‘s Digital Marketing Evangelist, bestselling author (Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0), powerful writer (Occam’s Razor), friend and marketing big brain, Avinash Kaushik. His monthly posts may as well be business books, and his insights into what should really count today for marketing is refreshing. He’s got an attitude, he is full of passion, and he has some ideas about what we all need to be thinking about in this day and age. More recently, Avinash also lauched his own, personal, e-newsletter titled, The Marketing-Analytics Intersect (you best sign up for it), and we’re back to discuss why he is spending so much time thinking about and working on machine learning, artificial intelligence… and how marketing is going to change dramatically (along with everything else) once business leaders really get on board with it. Enjoy the conversation… 

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Mirum Podcast #580.


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5 Ways to Make Money with Your Twitter Account

5 Ways to Make Money with Your Twitter Account

Twitter is a key part of any social media marketing campaign.

5 Ways to Make Money with Your Twitter Account

However, you don’t have to have a blog in order to make money through Twitter.

There are several ways that you can make money through the social network without trying to sell your own products or services.

Twitter is a powerful platform unto itself, not just a conduit for marketing another site. You can create a Twitter account around a profitable niche — making money online, online education, or motherhood, for example — and amass a large number of followers interested in that niche. Then you can tweet links to interesting content from around the web, offering your followers something of value without ever having to create content yourself.

So how do you make money? The same way you do on a blog: Selling advertising, sponsored links, and affiliate marketing. Here are a few programs that can help you make money on Twitter:

#1. Sponsored Tweets

Sponsored Tweets is a well-known ad service for Twitter allows you to set your own price-per-click for ads that you tweet. You can choose the ads you tweet from a list of available ads that are updated regularly. You must have at least 50 followers, 100 tweets, and an account that is at least 60 days old to sign up for this service.

#2. MyLikes

MyLkes is an extensive ad platform can be used on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and your blog. You get to choose ads from thousands of advertisers, and you get to schedule the time the advertisement will be tweeted from your account. You can earn as much as $0.42 per click, and you can get a payout weekly.

#3. is another ad service that lets you send out advertisements in your tweets. However, you don’t get paid-per-click. Instead, you create a profile of your interests, then advertisers can choose your account to publicize a campaign. You agree to send out a specific number of tweets on a specific schedule, and you get paid a lump sum.

#4. Rev Twt

Rev Twt is a  Twitter-based advertising service and is a pay-per-click platform. The more followers you have and the higher reputation you have, the greater access you will have to higher-paying campaigns. Payout is made via Paypal when you have reached $20 in earnings.

#5. Twittad

The Twittad  platform claims to be one of the first sponsored-tweet networks. You are able to set your own cost-per-click, but you have to wait for advertisers to accept your bid. You will also have to identify your niche so that advertisers can match their products with you appropriately. Payment is made via Paypal when you have reached $30 in earnings.

There are many other ways you can make money with your Twitter account, including selling banner ads on your profile page, setting your own rates and selling direct sponsored tweets, charging to send a personal message to your followers, or charging for access to your private list of followers. These advertising services can also help you make money through pay-per-click advertising, which can be especially lucrative if you have a large following.

What About You?

Do you have any experience with any of these ad platforms? Were you successful with any of them?

Tell us about your experiences in the comments! Look forward to hearing your stories

Guest Author: Carlina Yepinski is the primary researcher and writer for Her most recent accomplishments includes graduating from Kentucky State with a degree in communications and computer science. Her current focus for the site involves server monitoring and it monitoring software.

More Reading:

Image By rgddesigns

The post 5 Ways to Make Money with Your Twitter Account appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

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The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic]

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic]

Facebook has released the latest version of its monthly Hot Topics report, covering the subjects and issues that were most mentioned by Facebook users in July.

The Hot Topics reports are a great reference point for those looking to optimize their Facebook posts and campaigns – not only do the reports show you what was being discussed, but who by, in terms of general demographics (male/female, younger/older), which can help provide guidance on what’s resonating amongst your specific target market/s.

So what was gaining traction on Facebook last month?

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media TodayAs usual, national holidays get a lot of attention on Facebook – which makes sense, people share their thoughts and opinions on such days. But they can skew the data somewhat when you’re trying to conduct research on what’s most relevant to your audience – it’s pretty much a given that seasonal events will come up and you need to factor them into your marketing plan where possible.

To make it a little clearer as to what else was resonating, here’s the chart with seasonal holiday mentions removed.

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThat makes it a little clearer – though it is relevant to note the popularity of celebrations like Christmas in July and Canada Day, as they may help planning for future campaigns.

In terms of key topics of note, younger men are very interested in the upcoming Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather boxing match, while the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was also a key topic of focus.  

Among older users, you can see that Le Tour de France was popular with older men, while tennis star Kim Clijsters, who was recently inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, was also highly mentioned. Country singer Garth Brooks also got a lot of attention, as did zucchini amongst older women. Not sure what the story is with that.

Over on Instagram, the story was, again, similar, though with more entertainment-related mentions (which is normally how it goes among Instagram users).

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThis is likely influenced by the younger user base of Instagram.

As always, Facebook has also provided Hot Topics charts for:


The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media Today


The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThe UK

The Most Discussed Issues on Facebook and Instagram in July [Infographic] | Social Media TodayAs noted, the Hot Topics report is always worth a look – even if you’re absolutely confident you know and understand your target market, there are always smaller trends and shifts within the data that come up, and may help refine your campaign focus in order to generate better response. 

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