02
Aug

Calculate the ROI of Your Content Marketing With This One Simple Equation

How much money does your business make thanks to your content marketing program? No idea? You're not alone.

Tying content marketing efforts to profit is a complicated task—and it's not getting any simpler. Customer journeys are increasingly non-linear: our leads hit many different marketing touch points, often out of "order," producing multiple sets of metrics to analyze. As a result, the amount of data at our fingertips becomes overwhelming, even distracting.

As CB/I Digital COO Mike Le recent pointed out, it’s easy to get tied up in the vanity metrics of each channel and lose sight of actual conversions. We've all been there (as we'll get into shortly). To avoid data distraction, we'd like to resurface an oldie but goodie practice: look at the big picture.

The way we see it, there's one simple equation for understanding true ROI: the total amount of money invested in your content marketing versus the total value of the generated leads. Let's go back to math class for a second and build out this equation.

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26
Jul

Level Up Your Inbox With These 8 Amazing Gmail Plugins

Email. The great connector and distractor. There are seemingly no standards for how we email one another, despite it being one of the internet's oldest protocols. (If you've ever gotten an email with the entire message in the subject line, you know what I mean. No subject line at all is better, IMO.) Checking our inboxes has become a mildly suspenseful and blatantly addictive part of our lives.

When I first set up my BlueWing address, I relished having a fresh inbox. I had some space to think about how email enables and disables my day-to-day productivity—and I came to two conclusions.

First of all, improving my ability to resist checking email every 10 minutes is crucial, so I can stay focused on more thoughtful work. Secondly, I've accepted that I'm going to have my inbox tab open all day, so I might as well make the time I spend there as efficient and meaningful as possible. In attempting to optimize my relationship with email, I researched the most useful Gmail plugins on the market, many of which I use in my own inbox. Take a look below.

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19
Jul

Believe Facts, Not Hype: Four Myths About Snapchat

Savvy marketers embrace platforms that claim attention, not just hype. Snapchat has long been in the upper echelons of hype-generators, from its days as the naughty network for short-lived sexts to its infamous rejection of $3 billion dollars from Facebook. But ever since declining that buyout, Snapchat has matched its bad-boy buzz with savvy product tweaks, clever brand promotion, and innovative ad formats. Users and advertisers have followed in droves.

Still, myths abound about Snapchat, its user base, its best practices, and its utility for marketers. This is understandable. More than any other social app, Snapchat was built for digital natives; it takes time to master the platform’s nuances, and its leadership hasn’t shown themselves eager to sacrifice user experience for the sake of raking in money (though the winds of change have begun to blow).

We will not argue today that all brands belong on Snapchat. However! We do believe that all brands should at least consider it. To understand why, let’s rebuke some of the more resilient untruths about Snapchat.

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06
Jul

Why Facebook Is Investing So Much in Artificial Intelligence

Investment in artificial intelligence startups is exploding. According to venture capital data company CB Insights, equity funding for AI companies reached a record high in the first quarter of 2016, and "over 200 AI-focused companies have raised nearly $1.5B" so far this year.

Artificial intelligence's applications extend far beyond the design of human-like robots. Fans of HBO's Silicon Valley might be familiar with Pied Piper's "neural net," the artificial intelligence layer that makes their compression algorithm smarter without any additional human brainpower. (Or, more importantly, human brain-hours.) In the real world, from which Silicon Valley borrows heavily, Facebook and other technology companies are looking to take advantage of AI in similar ways.

The potential use cases for AI in the social media space are far-reaching. Unsurprisingly, Facebook has emerged as one of the key players, leading the charge with both massive internal projects and select acquisitions of smaller companies. Here's what they're up to and why.

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28
Jun

The Beginner's Guide to Facebook Canvas

Some of the most efficient ads you can buy in 2016 are on Facebook. And the best ads on Facebook today are more than images or videos. They’re experiences.

For a stellar example of this, we’re pretty bullish on Facebook’s Canvas ad product. This unit is driving serious results for its beta test users—it’s worth exploring whether you can make it work for an upcoming campaign.

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22
Jun

39 Email Newsletters Worth Subscribing to Right Now

Last month, Wired's Clive Thompson wrote on the "blissfully slow" world of email newsletters. Thompson points out that newsletters, which are now back in vogue, have made our inboxes a "new site of readerly seriousness: How weird is that?" Not that weird, really. In 2016, the newsletter is a pleasant counterpoint to the never-ending feeds we find everywhere else. Infinite scroll is overrated; it's nice to feel "done" reading once in a while.

The creative limitations of newsletters are what make them so inviting: their finite real estate, limited frequency, and lack of shareability. Every day, 92,000 articles are posted on the web, creating a social media shit show in their wake. Newsletters act as individual curators, branded aggregators and self-contained pieces of content; we find peace of mind knowing only the best stuff shines through. Playing up this premium notion, email blasts have become the core product of a new batch of trendy editorial products like Lenny Letter, The Skimm, Lead Sports and, during its launch phase, The Ringer.

So, which are the best email newsletters? We put together a list of our favorites, hand-clicked by the team at BlueWing and a few of our peers. Thank you Will, Steve, Alicia, Rob, Ingrid, George and Khalila for the recommendations.

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