Archive for Digital Marketing

Step by Step Guide to Set up a LinkedIn Advertising Campaign – Direct Ads

// August 17th, 2013 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Social Media

LinkedIn Advertising, commonly known as LinkedIn Direct Ads, offers a marketer access to millions of users who are business decisions makers. Learn all the tips, tricks and know hows of creating and managing your LinkedIn Ad campaign:


    Step1:

    Click on the Link – https://www.linkedin.com/ads/

    Step2:

    Login to your LinkedIn Profile

    Step3:

    Add a campaign name. This is just for your own reference and visible only to you. Try naming it unique, so that you can identify and relate to the campaign later, if you start running multiple ad campaigns. For example, if am running monthly campaigns for sales, targeting prospects from a specific demographic target group or region and this time its for our new product launch, I might name my campaign as Product Release Ad – Date, Month, Year – Region NW.

    Step4:

    Select Language… English if you are targeting most of US, UK, India, Australia, Canada…

    Step5:

    Media Type: Chose Basic for now which is nothing but a Text Ad.

    Step6:

    Write your Ad Copy:
    LinkedIn Ads - Ad Copy

    • Ad Destination: or in other words Landing page. First, decide where you want people to be directed after clicking on your ad. Your first campaign is about Product Launch, hence give your products’ deep link as destination URL, something www.yourcompanyurl.com/product-name.html
    • Ad Body: The body of a LinkedIn ad has three components:
      • Ad Headline: can be upto 25 characters. This is where you need to be creative.
      • Ad Description: can be up to 75 characters long. Copy of the ad should be relevant both to the person viewing the ad, and the offer or page to which you’re sending them.
      • Image: 50×50 dimensions | Max 2 MB in size.
      • For best results, create a different ad for each buyer persona, and tweak the copy accordingly. You can create up to 15 variations of your ad in each campaign.

      • Audience Specific: Putting the words right, be specific to each buyer persona.
      • Call-to-Action (CTA): Having an actionable CTA within your ad copy will also help you improve your ad’s click-through-rate. Tell people what to do next (e.g., “Connect with our Solutions Architect”).
      • Value: Incorporate your value proposition into the ad copy, making people more likely to click on our offer. We’re letting people know what specifically they can gain from clicking on our ad right now (e.g, Whitepaper Download, Event Invite…)

    Step7:

    Targeting: There is no limit, it depends on your personal network reach… you can specifically target by gender, age, company, job title, skills, location, school and group.

    Step8:

    Payment Method: Two very commonly known options available are

    • Pay-per-Click (or Cost per Click – CPC) – you’ll be charged $X only when a user clicks on your ad. This is obviously a preferred choice but minimum $X bid is randomly fixed by LinkedIn and the platform don’t really give you a logical reason why it is recommending $X or $Y for that specific targeting
    • Pay-per-1000-Impressions (CPM) – This is traditional way of buying internet media. As the name says, here you pay $X for 1000 users just viewing your ad. They might or might not click on the ad
    • LinkedIn Ad - Payment Option

      Ideally you should test both and see the performance in terms of ROI ( which could be in terms of Clicks / Inquiry etc.). Optimize your campaigns based on the results for a couple of weeks. Next set of campaigns can be either on CPC or CPM. you can also test both cost models:

    • Creating two campaigns: Product Release Ad DD1-MM1-YY1- Region NW – CPC and Product Release Ad DD2-MM2-YY2- Region NW – CPM
    • Create 5 Ad Variations for your CPC campaign and use the same set for CPM campaign
    • Rest of the process is same. In the end you will have two campaign results to look at.

    Step9:

    Daily Budget: Again there is a minimum budget fixed by LinkedIn. Test the waters for each campaign with minimum daily budget cap. It will automatically pick up the currency based on the region you have logged in from.

    LinkedIn Ad - Daily Budget Cap

    Step10:

    Don’t forget to switch on the Lead Collection Option (Read more here on Lead Collection process from LinkedIn Ads)

    LinkedIn Ad - Lead Collection Option

    Step11:

    You have your daily budget fixed and you know what is the total budget you have for the LinkedIn Ad campaign. Set a specific End date for a campaign accordingly. You can always switch your campaigns on again whenever you wish to.

    LI5

    Step12:

    Enter Contact details and CC information. That’s it, you are Good to Go.

    Track performance of your ads on the LinkedIn Dashboard with all the graphs mapping your spend with CTR.

    • You can optimize performing ads / remove (deactivate) non performing ads from the system anytime.
    • There can be good performing ads (Average CTR but good conversions) and not so good performing ads (good CTR but no conversions) – Play around with daily budget fixes
    • Optimize CTR by running multiple ads

Do let me know how it goes, while you set up your first LinkedIn Direct Ad.

Domain Transfer – In 6 Simple Steps

// August 12th, 2013 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing

A domain name transfer is the process of transferring the management of a domain name from current designated registrar to another. Domain Transfer activity can be confusing. A lot of us dealing with domains come across the need to transfer domains to someone (when you own the domain) or seek to own the domain from someone (when the ownership of the domain lies with someone else).

Let me just summarize the process of Domain Transfer activity:

domain-name-transfer

  • Step1 – Unlock Domain – Current owner of the domain must unlock the domain first. People with Godaddy can see the process here How to Lock or Unlock your Active Domain Name
  • Step2 – Initiate Domain Transfer – One who wants to own the domain initiates a Domain transfer at his/her end by paying the Domain registration fee (whatever is the cost for a .in/.com/.net/… Domain)
  • Step3 – Transaction ID and Security Code – Current registrar gets an email with Transaction ID and Security Code for the transaction made by the new registrar. Current owner after verification can forward that email to new registrar.
  • Step4 – Authorization Code – Current registrar has to give new registrar the Authorization Code for the Domain
  • Step5 – Final Step – New registrar processes the request at his/her end by putting in all the three codes in their system
  • Step6 – Final Acceptance - Current registrar gets final request for Acceptance of the transfer. Whether they accept or dont… wihtin 5 days new registrar will have the Domain with him/her.

Once the domain transfer is done then Changing the Host NameServer and Uploading the Content and html files can be initiated for each of the site.

Hope that helped and please feel free to drop a line if you did not get any of the above.

Is Android Unsafe?

// March 16th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Mobile

Is Android unsafe? Recently have come across a lot of noise around
‘Android being Unsafe’

  • Your Passwords are not safe
  • Your Photos are not safe
  • Almost 85% of data on Android is not safe
  • How is your data (passwords, photos, contacts, etc.) not safe?

    An application on Andriod is generally independent of other apps in the sense that it cannot read or write the files of other applications. But this is good till there is no app which has root access, a superuser, with access to complete file system. Do you know, applications like your email client and/or your browser, store the user passwords without any kind of encryption. Ever wondered how this app ‘True Caller’ has information on who is who. Coz Android community is open source and is the most popular slash used mobile platform, it is quite vulnerable to geeky malware attacks. Lately it has become as easy for an app to gain access to your data as just installing and clicking a button.

    Explained in detail here with some recommendations: http://www.mobbeel.com/your-passwords-are-not-safe-in-android/

    Unsafe Mobile Security System

    Recent articles by Wired and PCWorld claim the same! Both these articles refer the same McAfee report, which ofcourse can be a marketing gimmick to sell more AV products for obvious reasons… Android has 48% market share and growing with crazily high rate of 73% year on year.

    Android lovers may counter argue by saying security is more people dependent than system dependent. If you use your common sense while downloading and installing apps you are absolutely safe. But can you really expect this common sense and/or know-how from every single person. Ideally yes, coz I cant imagine anyone being not concerned about the security of his/her personal data. But traditionally there is a huge gap between an ideal and practical world.

    Keeping common sense aside, I decided to dig more information on the security architecture Android offers. Sandbox environment in Android shields one app to gain access of another, of sensitive OS features and asks for permission for various data points – access internet, adressbook, files, etc. All of this sounds good but the main problem with Android is one can not confine an android app to access only a specific url. Either there is all access to internet or not at all. The same applies to other sensitive data points – contacts, SMS’s, public folders in file-system etc… So till we have No “access on demand” feature in Android plus furhter fine grained security settings, this OS is not secure enough. As an open source platform it does have the possibility to achieve more secure system, but open is open for all even for bad geeks!

    And am not even talking about iOS or Windows here. So the game is on… :)

    Top Email Marketing Platforms Comparison

    // February 24th, 2013 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, Email Marketing

    Email Marketing is an integral part of any internet marketing strategy, or more so, now integral part of any marketing strategy, for both B2B and B2C verticals. Though this post is to compare the pricing and features of top email marketing platforms, I would like to first touch upon the most important spec of email marketing that a marketer need to take care of within the whole lot of best practices in executing Email marketing campaign:

      CAN SPAM Act Compliance (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act) – email marketers need to adhere to three basic compliance:

    • Unsubscribe Compliance – Making sure all the email recipients, your contact list) are opt in or double opt in and an visible and operational Unsubscribe option/mechanism is available for users and such unsubscribe requests are honoured
    • Content Compliance – Email marketers need to clearly mention the from space; the subject line to be most relevant to the context/purpose of the body of the email; complete physical address of the marketer/entity.
    • Behavioral Compliance – a strict no to content related to political/religious agenda and/or content related to national security; sexually oriented without the lable of “SEXUALLY EXPLICIT”; any offensive material; other digital attacks (trojan/virus attaacks…)

    There are whole lot of players in the email marketing game, am going to talk about the top four that I have personally had chance to use at different point of my career: iContact v/s Mailchimp v/s ConstantContact v/s aWeber

    Edit
     
    iContact
    MailChimp
    ConstantContact
    aWeber
    Pricing - Free for Limited time/Contacts
    - $14 for upto 500 Contacts
    - $29 for upto 2,500 Contacts
    - $47 for upto 5,000 Contacts
    * Basic plans include sending up to six times the subscriber/contacts limit
    - Free for upto 2000 contacts and 12k emailers / month
    - $10 for upto 500 Contacts/Unlimited emailers
    - $30 for upto 2,500 Contacts/unlimited emailers
    - $50 for upto 5,000 Contacts/Unlimited emailers
    - Free for 60 days /100 Contacts
    - $15 for upto 500 Contacts
    - $30 for upto 2,500 Contacts
    - $50 for upto 5,000 Contacts
    - $19 for upto 500 Contacts with $1 for first month
    - $10 for upto 2,500 Contacts
    - $30 for upto 5,000 Contacts
    - $50 for upto 10,000 Contacts
    Features CREATE EMAILER:
    - 100’s of Email Templates/industry vertical
    - MessageBuilder – Drag and Drop Feature
    - MessageCoder – Use your own HTML Template

    DELIVERY:
    - SpamCheck

    TRACKING/ANALYTICS
    - Delivery Tracking – Opened/Clicked /Forwarded/Filed Spam/Unsubscribed
    - Contact level tracking
    - Target Segmentation based on behavior/ demographics / interests
    - Social Media Impact

    OTHERS
    - Sign-up forms on Blog/website/FB page

    CREATE EMAILER:
    - 100s of Email Templates
    - Drag and Drop Template Editor
    - Email Beamer
    - Multi-User Accounts
    - Merge Tags

    MANAGE LIST/CONTACTS:
    - Subscriber/Contacts Profiling
    - Custom Forms
    - Contact Segmentation

    DELIVERY:
    - Delivery by Time Zone
    - Autoresponders
    - RSS-to-Email
    - Geolocation
    - Email Client Testing
    - Spam Filter Diagnostics

    TRACKING/ANALYTICS:
    - Delivery Reports
    - A/B Testing

    MOBILE:
    - MailChimp for iPhone and Android
    - VIP Subscribers
    - Mobile Signup Forms
    - Coupon Codes
    - SMS for Events

    SHARE:
    - Social Sharing
    - Campaign Archives

    CREATE EMAILER:
    - Choose from hundreds of stunning customizable email templates to fit your brand and industry by easily placing your logo, changing colors, and add/edit/store images and content
    - Test drive an email template and start your first campaign—free

    MANAGE LIST/CONTACTS:
    - Quickly import contacts from Excel, Outlook, Gmail, and more
    - Keep lists current with automatic duplicate check and unsubscribe removal

    SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
    - Allow subscribers to share your email on their social networks with the Social Share bar
    - Let subscribers follow you on your social networks with Social Buttons
    - Post to all your own social networks in one easy step with Simple Share

    TRACKING:
    - Track opens, clicks, forwards, social shares, and more
    - Integrate with Google Analytics to track your email links

    OTHER:
    - Sign-up Forms

    CREATE EMAILER:
    - 150+ Email templates

    DELIVERY:
    - ANTI-SPAM policy
    - Content Filter Checking Tools

    TRACKING/ANALYTICS:
    - Delivery Tracking – Opened/Clicked /Forwarded/Filed Spam/Unsubscribed
    - Contact level tracking and segmentation

    AUTORESPONDERS:
    - Instantly Engage Subscribers
    - Tons of Email Templates
    - Track Performance
    - Advanced Scheduling

    BLOG NEWSLETTER:
    - RSS to Email
    - Works with All Major Blogs
    - Send Weekly Digests

    I particularly like MailChimp for its user-friendly interface, tracking and analytics + mobile options and for the fact that its free for first 2000 Subscribers/Contacts :) . Other than that most of the platforms are similar when it comes to features – like available email templates, spam quotient check, social media integration, auto-response, list management etc. If you are into affiliate marketing aWeber is favorite of all. Let me know your experiences with any of the above or if you have experience with other platforms like Vertical Response, Streamsend, JangoMail, Benchmark, MyEmma, Boomerang, Bronto, Campaigner, mUrgent, Big Hip etc… and how good are they when compared to the top four.

     

     

    Facebook announces a Social Search Engine called ‘Graph Search’

    // January 20th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Brands, Social Media

    graph-search

    Facebook Announces A Social Search Engine Called ‘Graph Search’, in partnership with BING. How does it work? Unlike how Google does it, this is not a web search. Graph search basically shows private information that isn’t available on Internet search. On Google if you look for Apple, there are chances that you and me get the same search results with a little variation on the type of searches you have already made or the OS you are using etc, but on Facebook’s Graph Search, every person gets different set of results coz of depth of personalization we all have done while posting photos, interests, likes, check-ins etc. It works on four basic parameters of a Facebook profile – people, photos, places and interests. In other words, its a Search for people, photos, places and interests. The list can also be narrowed down by school, hometown, gender, relationship and other factors using drop downs on the right hand side of the search results.

    Here is what Graph Search offers:

    • Find people who have similar interest that you have – Want to start a music club or find a buddy to join you for a game of squash? Graph Search will make available people who like the same activities — connect with friends/new people.
    • Explore your know-how via photos. Graph Search allows you to use simple, specific phrases like “Photos my friends took in Bangalore City” to find anything you want. For example, you have plans to visit New Delhi and wana find set of friends in Delhi, here is Graph Search for your help…
    • Discover restaurants, music, sports and even a dentist. For example, one of my friend who is in the city on a 2 month’s official tour and suffers from Tooth Ache. There are chances that he might find an answer while looking for a dentist coz I recently went to one, to get my wisdom tooth removed and that particular dentist did an awesome job.

    I have met a lot of people who don’t want the world to see their personal information, and yes ideally that is how it should be. So the next question is, ‘How Privacy works on Graph Search?’ Checkout the video, Facebook tries to answer this question:

    Graph Search, is going beyond the Timeline and Newsfeed, where you were mapping out your own circle of friends and staying in connection with people you already know. It allows you to find stuff beyond your own set of connections, where now you can find people who have similar interests that you have, people that you may wana work with. Might work for Recruiters / Staffing companies to find talents.

    As Business Owner here is what you need to know about Facebook Graph Search
    Its all about search and how people can find information on a particular platform. Business owners, for obvious reasons would be interested in How-to on getting the visibility tips. Search results, on Graph Search will be based on the combination of information created/shared by the business (Pages) and connections of the person doing the search (friends, likes, check-ins, etc.).

    • Tip#1 — Businesses may show up if customers or someone else has added them as a “place.” What you need is to get as many number of check-ins as possible via your fans as possible for your business place.
    • Tip#2 – Fancy your ‘About Us’ section with your organization name, vertical/category you operate in, domain URL (also called as Vanity URL), and your hot story in brief that you wana share. All of it will help people find your commerce.
    • Tip#3 – Create if you haven’t created a Location or Local place page on Google yet. If you have one live already then update your official address to ensure that you are there on search results page when a prospect is looking/searching for a specific address.

    Things to notice when the Graph Search opens for all would be how “Pages” and “places” are listed separately.

    Where does Bing comes into the picture? When you type in a search and you dont have the answer for your search, you get suggestions from Bing. Bing has written a post with more on how its search results will show in the new Facebook search experience. For now, Graph Search Beta is available only for US (English) Audience… keep an eye for the worldwide release

    New Social Network – Qyuki

    // December 5th, 2012 // No Comments » // Brands, Social Media

    A new social network focused on Indian Audience. Guess who is behind it… non other than AR Rehman and Shekhar Kapoor. Qyuki is for anyone and everyone who want to get inspired by a specific art form is invited to join Qyuki and start their creative journey from here. On a more business note, Qyuki is for Artists – writers, artists, musicians, dancers among others who would join, interact and publish their respective art for open market. For marketers/brands they will be able to harness the creative community, to their marketing advantage and communicate with Indian consumers located across the length and breadth of India in unique and interactive ways. There are a couple of networking websites already making rounds – Behance Network for example is a platform where creative world showcase their creative work. Companies around the world explore the Behance platform, discover creative work and access talent. Look and feel wise Behance, Pinterest and Qyuki have similar aesthetics.

    Qyuki Comparision with Behance and Pinterest

    Wonder how come a Music maestro and a Film Maker is getting into digital business space… Shekhar Kapoor says with Qyuki he wants to provoke the creative part of everyone’s brain, of people in general, to be imaginative of the world around us. You don’t necessarily have to be a professional photographer/writer/designer to be called creative, just be expressive. And Qyuki is the place for everyone to come share, interact and be creative. AR Rehman says, every individual has a passion and not necessarily everyone makes living out of their passion. But your daily work life shouldn’t ideally kill that passion. Infact everyone can be creative and to trigger that imagination is to be excited in what one does.

    Qyuki

    Great! Words well taken. For talents like budding writers, designers, dancers, singers, musicians, painters, photographers yes join Qyuki. Be part of the community to showcase, view and share creativity. Learn from the experts, co-create, get inspired, explore your own imaginative horizons and get recognized. For everyone else reality TV Shows like ‘India’s Got Talent’ is good :)

    How Hubspot is doing Inbound Marketing? Part1 – Blog Marketing

    // December 3rd, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media

    Inbound Marketing specialists do what they preach, do they? I decided to do a bit of research on this and who other than Hubspot to follow and see if they really do follow the principles of Inbound Marketing themselves. So, on what parameters should I start checking their Inbound marketing practices.

    The three most important pillars of Inbound marketing are Blogs, Social Media and Organic Search. So let us see how Hubspot is doing on these front.

    Blogging:

    To start with I visited Hubspot Blog. A couple of Best practices that they preach and I found they follow:

      Content Creation and Frequency of Blog Postings-
      Best Practice: Decide on the topics and set your content calendar in advance to make sure you have fresh and, goes without saying, interesting information for people to come back again and again. Consistency in posting your content is the key in Blog Marketing. Ideally, one post a day should be perfect. It obviously depends on the industry vertical, but I personally feel there shouldn’t be information overload, which today is a growing concern. Hubspot has consistently posted one or more posts every day.

      Frequency of Blog Posts on Hubspot Blog

      Click on the image to see the enlarged view


      Along with keeping it consistent, they make sure their posts are interesting and users are encouraged to comment. How do they do that?? – by using titles/topics like:

    • Questions: How to / Why a Marketer or Enterprise / What’s new with…
    • Numbers: Top 5 Reasons or 10 Critical Factors or 7 Advanced Techniques or 16 Most important things…
    • Using most news making keywords in your industry e.g., Hubspot uses – Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter / LinkedIn / Inbound Marketing /…
    • Other important factor under your content creation strategy is to stick to the Blog Topic and just don’t go about writing about Britney Spears coz that might attract some visitors.

      Content Promotion -
      Best Practice: Content Creation is not of much use if its not reaching to its due audience. So the question is, how would you promote your content on a daily basis? The least you can do is automate Social Sharing and Email to subscribers. Hubspot has gained a huge following with consistent 360 marketing + building subscriber base which they leverage to the fullest to promote their fresh content. I am sure there is a lot of engagement that they gain out of the content promotion… one thing that am not sure of is how is the lead generation out of this engagement, coz most of the content sharing on social hemisphere is happening via fans/followers and is happening from quite some time. So do all the content generate good leads that add value to bottom line or does it just satisfy the Happy Brand Building factor.

      email-automation

      Internal Link Building is important but you got to know how many links are not too many. Link to text ratio per SEO standards is one link for every 125-150 words.

      Call to Action: Strategically placed
      Best Practice: Rule is to align content with the relevant offer CTAs or vice versa just to make sure you have conversions in other words you are generating leads out of your well written content. I randomly checked a couple of Blog Posts at HubSpot Blog and realized that they are rotating their offer CTA’s (Free eBook Downloads) at two positions – Top of the blog post and at right side bar – and that is at many times not relevant to the content of the blog post. Break the rule coz in the internet space there is no one set rule that works. They are rotating their best performing and the latest per the trend information/offers as eBooks. Makes sense isn’t it?
      Some Blog Design Must Haves -

    • Images/Infographics: Mix your content with Text/Images/Infographics/Videos/Presentations to make it more interesting – 10 on 10 to Hubspot on this
    • Long Posts are not liked much: I personally don’t agree. If the topic demands that kind of exhaustive content we can surely put things in place accordingly. What we can do to keep the interest on is to mix the post with some graphics/videos etc and if it still requires more may be divide the post into two parts (Part1 / Part2…) which I am going to do with this post. Hubspot keeps the Balance
    • Custom 404 Error: Everyone knows what this is and the use of the same… but on Hubspot Blog, its interesting. They have a default page with interesting set of contents in front of you as 404 Error landing page.
    • Subscription: Two ways of accomplishing this and Hubspot is increasing its subscriber base by both RSS Feed Subscription and Sign-up for Regular Updates (as another CTA)
    • Other important functionalities: To make your blog user friendly add: Search Box, Header, Footer, Tags and Pluggins like ‘Most Read Articles’ & ‘You might also like’ are good to provide easy navigation…

    Hence, this is proved that Hubspot is practicing exactly what they preach when it comes to Blog Marketing… the first pillar of Inbound Marketing for Hubspot is standing strong!

    My next post is going to be about the second pillar of Inbound Marketing and that is – Social Media Optimization / Marketing.

    Windows 8 – Features List

    // October 30th, 2012 // No Comments » // Microsoft

    Windows 8 is finally here. Microsoft’s insistance on the belief that the tablet is just another kind of PC, and to that end has been building a unified OS for both tablets and traditional PCs. Windows 8 bridges the gap. Here is an interface ‘designed for touch’ that also works with a mouse and keyboard to make you use the technology as you like. So what’s the new experience is going to be like. Here are some of the most exciting Windows 8 features:

    • Super Awesome Touch Gestures

      Windows 8 brings a fundamental shift in the way Windows has ever worked. New avatar is going beyond, being touchscreen not just for the tablets but for traditional PCs as well. There is no Start menu in Windows 8, instead what we have is the Charm bar (The Charm bar in Windows 7 and 8 is nothing but the Start Menu in previous versions of Windows without the Apps. There are five key components in the Charm Bar: Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. Read more – An Introduction to Charms in Windows 8: What They Are & How to Use Them). Swipe in from the left to switch apps and swipe in from the right for the Charms menu. What Microsoft has done is got the Phone to Desktop, using a lot of Metro user interface (Metro is not the German retail giant, but the name of UI that runs on Windows 7 Phones). Other touch features Windows 8 boasts of:

      • Semantic Zoom – makes it easy for a user to zoom in an app to see all of its available sections, instead of going through the hassles of scrolling through the app. Know more about Semantic Zoom
      • Pinch and stretch to zoom – No matter where a user is, at the Start Screen or browsing a specific app, s/he can control the course and position using the pinch-to-zoom gesture to get a superior view
      • pinch to zoom

      Know more in detail about Touch: swipe, tap, and beyond – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/touch-swipe-tap-beyond

    • Live Tile Feature

      This feature should be familiar to Windows Phone users. Once you log in, you’re taken to Windows 8′s new Start screen where you’ve got a set of colorful tiles, each of which represents an application. These tiles don’t just represent apps but show information and notifications that correspond to the app, without you even having to open them. For example a weather app tells users about the current temperature, your email tile keeps user informed about the number of unread emails, your music tile will show you what’s Now Playing, and so on.

      windows-8-Start-Screen

      You can easily customize your framework by arranging applications per your liking and usage.

    • Lock Screen Feature

      Windows 8 has got more life to the lock screen. You can have a beautiful picture along with a set of apps that will constantly run in the background and send notifications to the lock screen, like the time, how many emails you have, Weather and Calendar apps to show information all the time and so on.

      Windows-8-Lock-Screen-and-Start-Screen

      To unlock, you got to swipe up or if you’re on a desktop keyboard, just press the spacebar.

    • Windows Live Syncing

      New Windows 8 provide Windows Live syncing, such that no matter what PC, tablet or notebook you use, you’ll be able to sync your personal settings. So next time you borrow your friend’s tablet or notebook, just use your own Windows 8 personal settings and feel at home. This feature lets a user sync personalizations like background, colors, lock screen and account picture, passwords, app settings, browser settings, etc…

      Windows Live Sync

      With Windows 8 you would just need a ‘Windows Live ID’ and its cloud-friendly platform will take care of making your personalizations travel with you.

    • Full Screen Apps in Snap View for Multitasking

      Just tap on the tile to launch the app and share information with one another quite easily, for example after picking your media or text from one app, just go ahead and pick another app that you want to share it with, and just start your work with it from there. This can be either done with touch-based controls, like pinch to zoom and copy and paste or one can use a mouse and keyboard like good old days. The best part of this is the ability to multitask by being able to run these apps side by side, called Snap view for multi-tasking.

      Windows8-SnapView

      What happens when you snap two apps, one goes and takes about one-fourth of the screen on either right or left and the other occupies the rest of the space for a larger view. Consider a scenario, while you are having a conference skype chat, you would be able to search and read the topic of the chat. Profoundly reverential, isn’t it?

    • Windows To Go Feature

      Windows To Go Feature enables users to boot a full version of Windows from external USB drives on host PCs. Windows To Go makes enterprises come in terms with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and mobility scenarios, where businesses need new and more flexible ways to help users be productive wherever they are.

      windows-to-go

      What it basically does is making it possible for a users to work from different places — on an airport coffee shop or at an official event — and from more than one device. PCs of-course need to meet the Windows 7 or Windows 8 system requirements, regardless of the operating system running on it. To learn more about Windows To Go, watch this demonstration video – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/jj152913

    • There are many other cool features like system-wide spellchecking – no need to rely on a specific app to keep your content professional; system-wide search feature – type a search term and a box will slide-in from the right displaying you the results instantaneously – all matching apps and files ;

    System Requirements for Windows 8

      Windows 8 works on the same hardware that powers Windows 7:

    • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
    • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

    Additional requirements to use certain features: like touch, accessing Windows Store, to Snap Apps etc… please visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/system-requirements

    The Windows To Go feature requires advanced hardware. To learn more about USB drives certified for Windows To Go, please visit www.microsoft.com/WindowsToGo.

    Upgrade (Buy) your Windows to Windows 8 – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/buy

    Social Network Analysis SNA

    // October 5th, 2012 // No Comments » // Social Media

    Modeling the world around us as network is indeed a complex piece of work. So how do we establish network between huge chunk of information flowing across internet. Classic example of the same is delivered by Mark Lombardi, an American neo-conceptual artist who specialized in drawings that document ideas/information as medium to be aspects. He tracked and mapped political, financial and corporate connections/networks to expose global financial frauds just by going over news articles available publicly. When you read his hand drawn maps you would realize that those news items have such great piece of information and they are related which might otherwise might not sound related if studied one by one.

    Mark Lombardi

    In our world we are making connections that are not obvious. Make an attempt to study these connections and you will have revelatory results. Not because the personal and/or professional connections mapped would be new to you but because how distantly differentiable information can be courtly networked to make sense of things.

    Let me start by analyzing my own Facebook Connections. So here I have people from all walks of my life. From school to college to work. Again in that set of connections some are those who am connected directly like my family and friends and some with whom am connected through my direct contacts. For example, my brother-in-law’s friend is in a bikers club which is my area of interest as well and hence we got introduced and now we are connected. Now when you have the connections mapped and if you analyze the information flowing between those connections with a low or high frequency, you can easily draw the patterns and get useful information out of the data. It could show that some people you are connected more than some others in the network. That how some people are more active on a particular group or community which could be outside of their direct contacts. This shows how you can understand quite a bit about someone without really knowing that person personally. And that kind of information could be useful.

    This Network structure study of thousands of users using automated layout algorithms can easily be used to understand knowledge flow and the patterns. These in-turn can give insights into:

    • how different structures influence different processes occurring on that network. For example how a piece of information goes viral.
    • consumer insights to predict how a product or services can be received in the market and/or which feature in a product or feature if introduced or removed can create the required impact.
    • how a particular network/community can be developed or grown
    • how to create interventions to improve, reinforce or change the patterns of the knowledge flow. For example, what strategies can be used to may be diffuse an information to go viral.
    • and so on….

    Now we understand that a network analysis in itself carry so much of information that can be made useful which otherwise is invisible to us, and hence this gives is nice insight into Why Social Network Analysis is important. My next post will be about some of the Network analysis tools and what can be drawn out of them… test

    Website Redesign

    // September 8th, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO

    Can you imagine a business without a website in today’s world? Yes, there are not tens or hundreds but thousands of businesses in the old areas of any big city in India. Jam packed streets having array of shops, all with small entrances but when you get in you see a different world. These markets make millions of business everyday, I will not be surprised if someone tells me that it could be in billions. Anyway, here we are not considering those businesses coz they don’t really need a website. Reason is simple, these are old city markets and don’t need advertising.

    We are going to talk about businesses that need advertising. So you have a website? A few reasons why would one need to redesign a website:

    • Your website looks like its made in the year 2000?
    • Your business has changed over a period and the website has not been updated?
    • Have got a lot of broken links on your site and visitors are lost when they land on your website?
    • Are you planning to shift to a content management system?
    • Is it just a part of rebranding exercise?
    • Or, is it just that you are bored with the current look and feel and now want to give it a fresh look?

    Website-Redesign

    Whatever may be the reason, your Inbound Marketing starts from Website Design or Redesign stage. As its a long and tedious process, there are few basic parameters of online marketing that you need to take care to make sure its a success and not really realize at the end of it that you have to do it again. To list down all in order:

    • Check your current SEO status – Number of total and unique visitors / bounce rate / keywords ranking / Average Visit Duration / Page Views / Page per Visit – This is to make sure you measure your success from the point where your new site comes up.
    • Take back up of all the live pages – To make sure you don’t lose out on the content.
    • Take back up of the pages that have most inbound links – To make sure you don’t lose out on visitors.

    Above is about what is to keep from the old website. Now let’s talk about some preparatory tasks required before you go about structuring / designing your new website.

    • Customer behavior is evolving fast—and companies that don’t adapt are going the way dinosaurs once were gone. The hyper-connected consumers, Generation 3.0, are changing the way we do business and our society as a whole is changing as Global market. Start digging information about their browsing patterns, surfing time of the day, what they surf internet on, trends affecting their likes/dislikes, social connections, what are they looking for etc. You will get clear idea about your prospect’s persona.
    • Do a bit of research on your competition. This is not to get influenced by their design elements but to understand what they are doing and what you can do differently.

    Now that you have all the required information in hand… start redesigning (aesthetic-driven) and realigning (purpose-driven) your website. A few technical stuff to be taken care:

    1. Page Size: Keep the average web page HTML size upto 33 kb. Pages heavier than this can lead to slower than average load times, lost visitors, and decreased revenue particularly if you do not use HTML compression. A few steps to reduce HTML size include using CSS layouts, external style sheets, and moving javascript to external files.
    2. Page Compression Status: You should compress your HTML to reduce your page size and page-load time – this is again for the same cause, help your site retain visitors and increase page views. Consider using GZIP to compress your HTML. If you were using compression, you could be compressing your HTML size to 8.64 kb, that is, by 75% to further reduce page loading time.
    3. Libwww-perl Access: Botnet scripts that automatically look for vulnerabilities in your software are sometimes identified as User-Agent libwww-perl. By blocking access from libwww-perl you can eliminate many simpler attacks.
    4. Page Caching Check: Cached pages serve up static html and avoid potentially time consuming queries to your database. It also helps lower server load by up to 80%. Caching most visibly benefits high traffic pages that access a database, but whose content does not change on every page view. Common caching methods include Alternative PHP Cache, Quickcache, and jpcache. Caching mechanisms also typically compress HTML, further reducing page size and load time.
    5. Inline Styles: Make sure you are not using inline styles. Repeated use of inline styles leads to unnecessary code bloat and slower page loading. Use an external CSS stylesheet instead.
    6. Inline Javascript: If you are using javascript repeatedly throughout your site, consider moving it to an external file to speed page loading. This will also make your code easier to maintain.

    A few other important factors to keep in mind while you redesign your site:

    • Make sure your call to actions are in place
    • Make sure the site structure is per your business focus areas
    • Make sure that you’v got easy navigation for users to move around the site
    • Have 301 Redirection in place for you famous old pages
    • Have On-Page aspects of SEO taken care – Meta tags (Title/Description/Keywords) | Heading tags | Image – Title and Alt tags | Anchor texts

    Wow, if all of the above is taken care, you have got a kickA$$ start to Inbound Marketing Journey…