There is a huge trend out there on horizontal sites. They look modern, simple and on a first moment the new way to go. Not everything that looks cool works!
But are they the best choice for you?
Here are a few things you should know before deciding which way to go:
Always something to consider is the age of your target market. Remember that some age groups are more resistant to change than others.
In this case we also need to take into consideration some basic human patterns before we make this type of decision. It might seem just a design decision but it is much more than that because it will impact how many people engage with your site and how many leave before doing what they are supposed to do on your site: Buy, read etc.
Our brains like to recognize patterns that have previously led to successful interactions. We produce dopamine which gives us pleasure when we recognize familiar patterns around us.
Our recognition of objects relies mainly on their shapes. In the very early stages of recognition, our perceptual system uses information on the retina to identify the object by primitive features like lines, edges and angles. This helps our primitive brain to make fast decisions.
Our mind tends to complete incomplete shapes and create mental objects even if only a small part of the shape is displayed. Our mind does this by ignoring gaps and completing contour lines to form shapes already represented in our minds.
That is one of the reasons why you should question a horizontal layout : The horizontal box construction implies closure and is a pattern more typical of the bottom of a page.
When we see the closed horizontal structure, we do not look for more information. So we don’t see the rest of the page.
In a study done with heat maps, showed that visitors would scroll 34% less in horizontal site. That is significant when you are looking for engagement. This fact besides the results on your site would also impact how you rank on Google since it has and tracks metrics of engagement.
Engagement means not only sales but also time on site, pages viewed per visit, and so on.
Now, maybe you just changed your site and going back is not an option. What can you do to improve engagement?
Here are a few tips:
- Add a down arrow. You can locate the arrow on the lower end of the content block. Make it obvious there is more below.
- Add a vertical element or an element in half. This will make the visitor want to scroll down.
- Populate the sidebar. This is easy in some WordPress themes.
- Use floating arrows. They are a constant reminder to keep going down.
- Eliminate boxes and horizontal lines. Rectangular boxes and horizontal lines add a visual indication that the content has ended. Eliminating these will increase probability that visitors will scroll down.
I’ve been using social media for many, many years. I know I joined Twitter in 2007. It says so in my profile there and over the years I’ve advised several businesses on how to get results with social media. Unfortunately, up to this day, what I see is most businesses using social media as a broadcasting tool, pushing content, pushing what they think and pushing annoying selfies more often that anyone can digest.
It is a rule that if you want to mesmerize an audience or group of people, get their attention and loyalty, you need to become relevant to them. Well, that is very hard to achieve if you are the only one talking and never listening. It is also very hard when you don’t pay attention on what matters to others and how they tend to behave. You really just spend time, get no results and will end up joining the “Social Media Doesn’t work” group.
Some companies do get it though. They listen, they act and make bold moves. All according to what is relevant to the people they serve.
A few days before Halloween my daughter told me this story about one of her friends.
This friend has 2 little daughters and was asking them what costumes they wanted for this year when one of them said:
“I’m going be a fairy panda bear!”
“Do you mean a furry panda bear?”
“No, mom. A fairy panda bear.”
Cute and funny. So her father gets this tweet out:
“Our 3 year old decided what she wants to be for Halloween. I hope Amazon has a wide selection of Fairy Panda Bear Costumes!
A few hours later this happened:
And a few days later:
Now, any company could put this together right? But only if they were listening and really participating in social media. Not just wasting time saying how great they are. Amazon did way more than make one little girl happy. They got a whole family to become loyal customers, the kind of customer that would give them a big hug every time they click on the buy button and a whole legion of the father’s followers to see the company in a better light.
They got me to spend my time thinking and writing about them. They became relevant, way beyond 2 day shipping. They reached me on an emotional level.
Simple, inexpensive way to become relevant by listening and acting. This is something any company could do.
But Amazon does not stop there. They don’t follow the herd either and they take bold actions. Something all businesses should do. Stop the excuses and act without fear. But most of us, just want the mass to validate a move before we take a step.
This week Amazon announced its first Brick and Mortar store. Yes, the giant online retailer did not join the crowds saying “Retail is Dead“, it put its money on a traditional model. That is bold and wise. Why rely in only one outlet of revenue when you don’t have to? Do people shop in different ways? Does Amazon sell to different generations? With different behaviors? If so, why not adapt to their behavior?
What about you? What are you waiting for?
from Think with Google
Four types of video micro-moments
Video micro-moments generally fall into four categories: “I want-to-watch-what-I’m-into” moments, when people are seeking videos on their passions or interests; “I want-to-know” moments, when people are trying to learn something; “I want-to-do” moments, when they’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to make or do something; and I “want-to-buy” moments, when they’re using video to try before they buy.
Three ways to adapt your video strategy to micro-moments
Brands can ensure they’re relevant and useful in these four video micro-moments by understanding their consumer’s intent on YouTube. Expand your focus from just who consumers are (for example, 18-34-year-old women) to what they want (“spring fashion trends”). In a micro-moments world, intent trumps identity.
Here are three ways to make sure you’re staying relevant and useful in moments that really matter—when your brand has a meaningful role to play based on what people really want:
1. Identify the micro-moments where your audience’s goals and your brand’s goals intersect
People come to YouTube millions of times each day, looking for videos that meet their needs, wants, and interests. Reimagine your consumer’s journey as a collection of these video micro-moments: What are his needs and questions, and when does he look for them? Once you’ve mapped out your consumer’s micro-moments, understand your place on the map: Where does your brand have the right to play?
Beauty brand Sephora, for example, knew that beauty content on YouTube grew by 50% from 2014 to 2015 and that YouTube searches related to “how-to” were up 70% year over year. For Sephora, how-to videos and tutorials were the magical intersection of the brand’s beauty-centric message and its audience’s beauty needs. That how-to and tutorial content now makes up more than 60% of Sephora’s library of video content.
2. Be there when your audience is looking with useful content that answers their needs
Once you understand how your brand maps to consumers’ video micro-moments, you can build a plan to be there when people are looking. The first step is creating relevant, useful YouTube content that adds value in those key micro-moments. The second is making sure your brand shows up when they need you, with organic and paid search, for example, or withshopping ads on YouTube.
Sephora has become a resource in its customers’ micro-moments by creating a variety of video content. To answer beauty fans’ calls for on-trend makeup and hair tutorials, Sephora uses the CCC content model: the team creates their own original videos, curates playlists of videos on trending YouTube topics like “beauty hauls,” and collaborates with YouTube creators to make content that feels organic in the YouTube environment. To make sure its content is discoverable, Sephora uses TrueView in-display ads, which give its videos prominent placement at the top of key beauty search results.
3. Help your audience find you, even when they’re not looking, with relevant video ads
Even when people aren’t actively looking for answers, brands can delight them by showing up with messaging that’s relevant to their interests. That means going beyond demographic targeting and connecting with viewers based on signals of intent or context.
Choice-driven ad formats are a great way to show that your brand understands and respects people’s intent; if someone chooses to watch your ad, it’s a powerful signal of their interest. Sephora, for example, usesTrueView advertising, YouTube’s skippable ad format. In-market and affinity targeting can also help your brand serve messaging that’s timely and helpful to consumers based on their most recent and repeated digital behaviors.
Context is also key. First, there’s the context of video. Video ads feel more at home in a video context than non-video environments. But beyond sharing video ads before or during video content, you can share your ads when people are in the mood for that messaging. For example, when Sephora consumers are already watching beauty videos on YouTube, they’re more open to Sephora’s beauty-related ads.
The purchase journey has been fragmented into hundreds of micro-moments. It’s imperative that brands be there in these micro-moments with relevant, useful videos. Those who “get the most points on the board”—and who prove themselves useful and relevant in the most micro-moments—will establish the greatest brand equity in an era of infinite consumer choice. If your brand isn’t there in your audience’s moments of need, another brand will be.
At least in this ad Barbie finally got what girls are about. Very clever marketing here. Now it needs to spread to the shelves with career oriented Barbies and to the videos with other messages besides boys and fashion. Imagine the possibilities here. But as a stand alone marketing piece is a very clever way to appleal to today’s girls. We all need some re-branding every now and then.
5 Ways To Engage Millennials At Work
by Xavier Roy-Perras
Millennials are an interesting bunch, and they’re surprisingly easy to engage at work.
Many people over complicate what they’re looking for and have false stereotypes about them.
They’re not entitled, they’re not spoiled, they’re definitely not lazy.
In fact, since they grew up with the internet, they’re one of the most resourceful, knowledgeable, and capable group of workers.
All millennials really want is to be respected (just like any generation of worker), and to be taken seriously.
You should take this seriously, because by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be Millennials.
Being a millennial myself, here are 5 ways that I guarantee will work to engage millennials at work.
1. Ask For Their Input
Don’t think that just because they’re younger than you that their ideas don’t count – trust me, they do.
Ask them for their ideas, you can even use a tool to collect these ideas. There are many tools that can do this, some more robust than others, but realistically you’ll want to start with a simple and free tool to test the waters.
Remember, the point of this is to increase employee engagement among millennials.
2. Be Transparent
Millennials, because they grew up with the internet and live on social media, are used to an incredible level of transparency.
They expect the same type of transparency at work, which is not normal for most traditional workplaces.
No one works well when they don’t have all the information for context, but especially millennials. They value that trust relationship so much more than others.
3. Offer Flexible Schedules
Did you know that 45% of Millennials would choose workplace flexibility over pay? Use that to your advantage, and offer them the ability to live and manage their life around their work.
Again, this all comes back to trust and respect. Trust them that they have your company’s best interests in mind and that they don’t need to worry about asking you to go for a doctor’s appointment.
4. Give Frequent Feedback
Everyone wants frequent feedback, but millennials are especially after frequent feedback.
For them, everything is instant. Netflix, Google, Social Media. This generation isn’t used to waiting around for anything.
You need to keep that in mind with work. Their attention spans are near zero, so you need to be consistently engaging them in a conversation.
5. Use Technology At Work
Millennials won’t respond well to outdated technologies or processes at work.
There are so many tools that you can use to help increase transparency and communication at work.
Slack, Skype, Facebook, Google Hangouts, any of these tools will do, but you need to remember that all millennials want is quick access to information and an easy way to get answers that they’re looking for.
You’ll notice that most of these ways are free and relatively easy to implement. All it takes is a commitment from leadership to help this group grow.
One of the biggest issues is the misunderstanding of who they are and what they’re like. Once you get past that and remove any biases you might have, you’ll be good to go.
So how do you stand out from your competition? Maybe tell a story with a different twist. Why pound of features and benefits and how great your services or products are when you can captivate attention telling a story. Even better, telling a story with a twist. The moment the brain perceives something as not being “normal” it starts paying attention. Plus our brain is wired for narrative. So tell stories.
Great example of creating contrast from your competition.
The brain likes contrast. It pays attention when there is contrast and like you know attention is currency to the brain. A lot harder to get than you might think at first. Every time you create contrast in your business, you win. How can you create contrast in relation to your competition? Get creative and think out of the box. Here is how one company did:
by Kaitlin Krull
Some people think that working from home must be like a dream: wake up, have a cup of
coffee, and leisurely complete all our work with no effort at all. However, those of us who work
from home will tell those people that the experience is often fraught with distractions and less-
than-ideal work spaces. We at Modernize understand this struggle and have tons of ideas for
beautifying your work space while increasing productivity. If you are living with the same kind of
work-from-home problems, check out the following tips to help your home office go from
distracted to productive.
Keep work and home life separate
One of the most important things to do when setting up your home office is to clearly delineate
your work space. A home office is best kept in its own room if possible, otherwise in a quiet
corner of the house with access to natural light. Your home office should ideally have a layout
similar to that of a traditional office, with a desk, chair, and filing or storage units. If you are
interested in a diverse work environment, which is said to increase productivity, then consider
having a larger meeting table and a comfortable sofa or chairs for informal chats in addition to
your regular desk space.
It is easy to get stuck in a social media rut and develop tunnel vision on your current campaign. But social media doesn’t stand still, so your tactics and strategies have to keep pace if you want to squeeze the most revenue out of a constantly evolving platform. Here are a few actionable, real-life steps that you can take today to boost your social media revenue.
Develop a Social Media Editorial Calendar
A social media editorial calendar does four things:
- Measures the performance of content.
- Keeps track of important dates and events that need special social promotion.
- Assigns responsibility, creates accountability, provides transparency and fosters a sense of ownership.
- Gives every member of the team an overall snapshot of the strategy for the upcoming weeks and months.
It is absolutely necessary to work off of a calendar, but there is no right way or wrong way to build one. Here is a good tutorial that explains the central elements every calendar should contain.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Develop Reusable Templates
Success on social media requires consistent, repetitive engagement. Save time and resources by automating anything you can. Create templates that can be used over and over for tasks on both the editorial side and the administrative side. Create infographic templates and photo cover templates on the creative side, but also build purchase order templates and billing templates to reduce errors and improve customer service on the back end.
You only have to create boilerplate templates once, but that original investment will save you time and money with every task you don’t have to start from scratch after that.
Track Content Using Alternate Analytics
It takes money and know-how to track metrics and run in-depth analytics campaigns. Boost your returns by spending less in the first place. Consider Bit.ly — you know it as the service that turns long, annoying URLs into short, manageable URLs. Bit.ly attaches a tracking code to every one of those newly shortened URLs. Follow your content on its journey through social media and see which users are more likely to amplify which content more frequently. Here are some free webinars on how to use this service to track and analyze your social content.
Use Social Media Posts as Testimonials
Testimonials are like personal references on job applications — they don’t carry as much weight as they used to because lots of people fabricate them and everybody knows it. But when someone says something nice about your product on social media after a purchase, they’ve become an ambassador for your brand. Not only did they convert, but they went even farther down the funnel and given you free word-mouth-advertising to all their followers.
But you can get even more out of that gift. Take a screenshot of that glowing tweet and display it on your blog or website. A social testimonials page tells your visitors that real people are actually talking about you online, unlike a quote on a webpage attributed to “Bill from Denver.”
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Automate whatever you can, squeeze even more out of post-sale mentions from brand ambassadors, simplify your content tracking and start with a good foundation built on a strong social editorial calendar.