1
How To Run A Cost Effective Project
2
How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing
3
Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025
4
7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017
5
Lessons In Effective Email Marketing – Presidential Elections 2016
6
The Art Of Winning With Websites – Presidential Elections 2016
7
Capital Numbers 2016 Paypal Record Caps The Year On A High Note
8
Why The Presidential Elections Of 2016 Were Also Social Media 101
9
How Usage Of Data Significantly Influenced The Presidential Elections Of 2016
10
Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

How To Run A Cost Effective Project

Behind every good technology implementation, there is a good project manager and a strong project management team. Being a project manager, you need to handle a budget and work with it. But sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to organize all the work within the budget.

If you are among those, who want to know if it is possible to run a cost effective project, then the tips below will definitely help you. Read on-

  • Use Technology Over Travelling:

Isn’t it amazing to travel to different cities in order to attend meetings? It really is, but the problem is that it will burn a big hole in your budget if you continue to travel over sustained periods of time. In today’s world of digitization, you don’t need to waste money by traveling to a different place to meet with someone as video conferencing will connect you with the people you want and need to meet. By attending a meeting through video conferencing, you can save the costs of flights, hotels, and taxis. You can arrange a face to face meeting only for the most important projects. Video conferencing is enough for the initial stages of meetings. Modern technology brings all the amenities at your doorstep. If you don’t implement video conferencing, you may end up wasting a lot of money unnecessarily. In fact, by choosing to use technology over traveling, you can avoid a lot of wasted hours traveling, saving both time and money.

  • Make a Virtual Management Team:

If you are from a country where hiring an employee costs you more than you can afford, then it would be wise to hire a more cost-effective global team. If you get experienced employees at a cost-effective rate, why not hire them? You can use any global freelancer site, find qualified people, and offer them a trial run by giving a short piece of work. If s/he does it well, go for the next assignment. In this way, you can build a virtual management team in a budget-friendly way.

  • Time Is Money:

Another rule of thumb for running a cost-effective project is that you need to avoid delays. This is because when you run your project into delays, it will always cost you money from your budget. If the work is not done on time, you might have to pay your team for working overtime. On the contrary, a well-controlled project that runs on time will help you to minimize and hopefully avoid any budget problems.

  • Plan Well:

A well-formed strategy will help you to stick to your budget, therefore you need to plan well and execute your project according to your plan. Try to keep your project on track and remember that there are many chances for your project to get off the track at any time.

  • Project Management:

In terms of project management, you need to keep in mind some points. They are:

  • Make the budget correctly during planning.
  • Use your in-house expert effectively at their appropriate position.
  • Make sure that your human resource department is managed efficiently.
  • Audit your business and your business budget constantly in order to keep a record of your business’s ups and downs.
  • Know how to manage your vendors.

By keeping these points in mind, you can manage your project effectively.

These are the top 5 points that will help you in learning how you can manage your project and run it in a cost-effective way.  You need to implement all of them in order to save a large amount of money. Following these project management tips, you can make money saving ideas that may even open new doors for you in your career.

How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing

Marketing is an arena that has changed over the past few years. Marketers, with time, have changed their tactics to reach the target audience.  After analysing and tracking the results of yester years, marketers have realized that customers must connect with the products on a deeper level.  This is the reason behind the growing needs for a more customized and a more personal approach.  In the past year, marketers included everything from ads to social networking sites to market their products.

However, with all the new ways adopted by the marketer, we often find that ads do not bring the results that are actually expected.  Therefore, experts suggest that you need to incorporate some intelligent strategies as a marketer to make your marketing plan more viable in 2017. This means you have to be as accurate as possible while expanding the horizons within your budget restrictions. Here are a few changes that will help you achieve better returns on your investments this year.

Beyond the Conversion Funnel

If you look at the data of the past few years, you will see that users are becoming intelligent enough to catch on to the gimmicks of marketing.  This is the reason that the conversion funnels, that were the holy grail of marketers before, are no longer able to represent a buyer’s journey online. The conversion funnel has now become an “influence loop.”  As a marketer, you will now have to adapt to the customer behavior and intentions. You will have to outpace the intelligence of the customer to fetch better marketing results. These days people are becoming more and more familiar with technology. They want to find products and brands more organically online, such as through social media. How these people behave in online and offline areas gives you a hint about the intent behind their purchases. You use this information to reach the specific users you would like to reach through things such as customized messaging. These messages are based on specific demographics and behaviors. You will have to maintain constant feedback in order to make these marketing strategies more effective.

Connect Through Creativity

As we discussed, users are becoming more aware of marketing tactics. The result is that they are doing everything possible to avoid online ads. This is the reason you have to be creative in such a way that you hit all the right chords while marketing your product or your efforts will be wasted. Your campaigns have to be much more than just creating awareness about the brand or product. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that being repetitive is like making a hole in your own boat. Using the same creative idea over and over is an easy way to fail your campaign. Your creative ideas should be made with a purpose. This will help you to connect with the target customers. You can design an effective campaign if you use the user information properly.

Build What Works

As the technology has evolved, marketers have easier access to the user information and that works to their advantage. The user data helps in making strategic decisions and also helps in setting the budget for the marketing campaign.  You should analyze customer data to develop marketing tactics and then test their effectiveness.  You can build an attribution model by tracking every marketing channel to calculate exact return on investment.

Media Mix

The year 2017 is the year of intelligent marketing. This means you will have to focus on full media mix.  You will need to run your ads on different platforms. If you want the users to get the sense of ubiquity, your ad units must work together.

Marketing trends change every year and in the end, it depends on how marketers adapt to the new trends. In 2017, you can create an impact by adopting these intelligent marketing strategies.

Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025

If you have been bored by traditional ways of working and you are not a perfect fit for the typical 9 to 5 job, don’t worry, things are going to change in the next decade. According to a study conducted by the Randstad US, workplaces will be agiler by the year 2025. Out of all the employers and workers who participated in the study, 68% of employers and 70% workers agreed that there is a change in the way of working. They also agreed that by the end of the next decade a majority of the workforce will be employed on a contractual, temporary or freelance basis.

Some Highlights of the Study:

  • The study, in which 1500 HR and C-suite company executives participated with 3,100 employees, also revealed that half of the workforce is looking forward to becoming a part of an agile capable workforce within the next three years.
  • The Randstad study also revealed that employers are already preparing themselves for the shift that might occur. They are already accommodating both regular and agile employees to fulfill their current staffing needs. Employers also believe that having a freelance model workforce will allow them to take advantage of global forces and innovation.
  • This study also affirms that employees are thinking independently, which has fuelled their desire to go solo into the job market.
  • One of the important highlights of the study is that the agile workforce may also include involuntary part-time workers who want full-time employment. Another aspect to consider is that the low-skilled workers might not find the agile employment system or gig economy to be a suitable condition.

The job market, like any other field, is subject to predictions made by experts. While there might have been many forecasts, like the possibility of robots taking away your job, a freelance-based workplace is nothing that has appeared out of blue.

Reasons Behind Such Change

If you analyze the data of the past few years, you will see that the change has already started. Many have termed it to be the fourth industrial revolution. Factors like the use of machines, mass manufacturing requirements, globalization, the digital revolution, and automation have led to this revolution.

Employers are becoming more committed to building an agile workforce. On the other hand, the study was done by Randstad US also indicated that staff and working professionals are also considering working in a more flexible manner rather than the fixed 9 to 5 routine. Advancements in technology have helped in fast-pacing the change and given support to the freelance workplace concept.

The employees feel that the freelance workforce fits better with their lifestyle. Thus, motivating them to change the way they work. Many employees also pointed out that being in an agile workplace will benefit them in their financial growth as well as giving them better control over the growth of their career.

Advantages to Employers

The agile workforce model will be very beneficial for employers. According to the study, these are some advantages that employers will enjoy.

  • This model will help employers to reach the highly skilled and talented professionals needed for their projects.  
  • Another aspect employers will benefit by is that they will have access to and the advantages of a global talent.
  • The agile workplace will bring innovation and creativity to the workplace.
  • The operation of a company or enterprise will improve. Being able to hire the best of talent from a pool of global talent will give businesses an edge over their competitors.
  • Being agile will help in reducing cost. The company may not even have to maintain a physical workplace or other expenses like refreshments, etc., will be reduced. In other words, employers will get better value for the salary they will pay.

Advantages to Employees

As an employee, there is a wide range of benefits that comes with the freelance working model. The most crucial advantage that employees get through this model is freedom from rigidity. Employees will not be encumbered by a regular and robotic nine-to-five job within one place. With the help of the latest technologies, they can work from anywhere. Working on a contractual basis or working as a freelancer will require an employee to connect and work with many companies and professionals. This will generate overall growth and skill development.  According to the study, employees feel that the experience they gain will be very valuable.

In conclusion, this survey reveals that the agile workplace will be useful in building a world-class talent base. It will help companies find the highly skilled workers and professionals needed for their projects. Employees, in turn, will flourish in this flexible environment.

7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

Lessons In Effective Email Marketing – Presidential Elections 2016

‘Emails’ – was included in a recent article, “5 words that explain 2016.” This probably isn’t surprising. If you have been following the presidential elections, you might agree with how Bernie Sanders aptly surmised, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Let’s talk about the effect of emails on this year’s election. Before we lose all your interest, rest assured that we are not going into another relentless analysis of how the Clinton Email scandal, and it’s dizzying coverage, shaped the results of the election. We are instead going to talk about emails that silently changed the course of the election.

Email has become the gatekeeper of our online identity. Think of it this way, how many forms and services do we sign up for by inputting our email? This has made email, if used correctly, one of the most efficient marketing tools of any industry, as is clearly reflected in our survey data.

– Marcel Becker, Core Product Director at AOL

Despite unprecedented access to sophisticated digital machinery, emails were still a very important tool in the arsenal of almost all candidates. It still stands poised as arguably the fastest, most effective way to reach a large demographic. More importantly, it’s noninvasive. People make a conscious effort to open an email and read through it at a time when it’s convenient to them.

If political campaigns can work with emails through their rigorous and real time TATs (Turn Around Time), we should be learning a thing or two from them. Let’s have a look at the kind of patterns that emerged from the presidential candidates trying to leverage emails to their advantage.

#1 Keeping It Personal

Keeping emails personal happen on many levels. Though many experts think that the presidential candidates missed a lot of opportunities when it came to personalization, they still hit a lot of the right points at a lot of right places.

Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns made sure that their emails appeared to be coming from a  specific person, be it the candidates themselves or their surrogates, making them appear to be a personal email. The Trump campaign also used the first name of the recipient to address all emails, following the best practices of email marketing.

Another level of personalization came from using data to micro-target demographics. Data gave both the campaigns a detailed understanding of small groups in demographics. They used it real time to frame their content, for their design and their CTA’s (Call To Action).

#2 Keep Them Guessing

We all know the importance of subject lines and their role in click rates. The campaigns understood this as well. They made sure that most of their emails had subject lines that were intriguing.

For example:

The best Trump performers, during the period of Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, was an email marketing campaign with the subject line, “American Won Last Night,” deployed on Oct. 10. Following the second debate, the emails reached an audience of 2.4 million, with an inbox rate of 61 percent and a 28 percent read rate.

Source: DMN

The best-deployed email marketing campaign for the Hillary Campaign, between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20., read in the subject line: “Sorry to send this.” Launched hours after the leaked tapes of Trump’s groping remarks, it reached 2.5 million people and produced an inbox rate of 90 percent and a read rate of 24 percent.

Source: DMN

#3 Keep It Urgent

A noticeable strategy being used, particularly by the Trump Campaign, involves evoking a sense of urgency.

An article on not imperative notes, “Per week, 40% of Trump emails referenced the number of days left until the election. This is further augmented by use of emphatic subject lines such as, ‘We’re Being Overrun’ and ‘I’m fighting for YOU.’”

Here is some valuable insight from the overall email marketing campaigns of elections 2016.

cn_blog_050117-1

Make the best use of email marketing for your brand by personalizing your content, and micro-targeting your audience. To know more, contact us at http://www.capitalnumbers.com/contact_us.php

The Art Of Winning With Websites – Presidential Elections 2016

Legend has it that the presidential race between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy pivoted on a single night. September 26th, 1960, for the first time ever, a presidential debate was broadcasted on national television

“What happened after the two candidates took the stage is a familiar tale. Nixon, pale and underweight from a recent hospitalization, appeared sickly and sweaty, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident. As the story goes, those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won. …Those that watched the debate on TV thought Kennedy was the clear winner. Many say Kennedy won the election that night.”

~ TIME

Fifty-six years hence, television is no longer a game changer, but the powerful influence of technology over presidential campaigns and communications has only progressively increased.

That exponential growth is evident when we look at the role of websites within the presidential campaigns.

Despite their different stances on issues and their widely different personalities, we must acknowledge that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had eyes on the same prizes.  They wanted to raise funds, gather and influence potential voters, and then ultimately drive them to the polls, where voters would choose them over their rivals. Arguably one of the major ways in which they sought to gain these prizes was through their websites.

Websites are the backbone of any and all content strategy in the digital world. Like brands, candidates treat their websites as extensions of their personalities, their promises, their claims, their wishes and their ultimate message to voters. Studying the websites of candidates is thus heavily beneficial to those who are looking to catch scalable and sustainable trends in online marketing.

Let’s have a look at the potent ways in which both candidates got creative with their websites

Audience Sets the Rules

Even though the bare structure of the websites of both Clinton and Trump are similar, they are still distinguishably different. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out what is different. You just need to look at them carefully.

Clinton capitalizes on fun, vibrant design and sophisticated functionality, specifically directed towards the younger progressive audience that she was trying to appeal to.

Trump, on the other hand, plays around with bold ideas and classic themes – directly in sync with the conservative audience that he was appealing to.

From the color selection to the font, to the linguistics – every little thing on each website is a reflection of the demographic that the candidates wanted to speak to the most. Audience data, knowledge about demographics and regular engagement also evoked real time changes in the websites of both candidates.

UX Is the New Handsome

The campaign experience is much more complicated now. It’s relentless, persistent and exhausting.  In the past, it was about candidates speaking to the public in person or on TV, but now it is that and much more. The campaign experience is now twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The candidates speak to the public all the time, through social media, through television, through distributed content, through appearances, through their choices of allies and even through their clothing choices. All of this information and experience is calibrated and culminates into the website.

The user experience of the website is as important now as for how looking good on TV was in previous times and the campaigns are well aware of this. Clinton, for example, sports a website that’s built with mobile-first best practices. Its contextual navigation helps tell an engaging story. Trump’s website is mobile responsive as well. On top of this, it’s lightning quick because it’s primarily text and isn’t as populated with multimedia content such as his rival website. It may not be as enjoyable from the modern web perspective, but it works with its audience. The results stand as a testament.

A Tool That Changes Shape

Everything about the presidential race was about being efficient and effective. Any need for changes was recognized, acknowledged and implemented within a matter of hours. That same process was reflected on the website. So, it’s natural that these websites were agile and quite scalable. The most interesting part about this was how the website platforms were used to churn out the most engaging and interesting content. For example, Clinton used her website homepage as a real-time fact checker during the first debate with Donald Trump in an effort to combat, what the Clinton team felt, was Trump’s ways of evading the truth. You can also check out the Birthday Chronicles that her team created on Clinton’s 67th Birthday. The tool engaged users by telling them to celebrate Hillary’s birthday by seeing what she was doing the year they were born.

There are much more highlights of websites, like the great integration of social media and clear line CTA’s (Call To Action) of both campaigns as well as the websites of the candidates who didn’t make it to the general elections. They implemented some of the best ways to achieve their targets and goals. 

Capital Numbers 2016 Paypal Record Caps The Year On A High Note

A company’s greatest asset is its goodwill which stems from honesty and ethical trade practice. No matter how great its advertising techniques are, its business and reputation will fall completely flat should its target users report a less-than-favorable experience as far as ethics and honesty are concerned. This is where, we, at Capital Numbers, have really excelled. Our solid work ethics have made us one of the top outsourcing destinations for leading IT companies around the world.  We are pleased to announce that Capital Number’s PayPal record for this year is spotless and positively confidence-inspiring. Before we’re able to advance to this point, there is a list of things that need to be cleared at the outset. For example, what are the parameters which can be used to check the record or performance of a company online?

With the fast growth of a huge number of online e-wallet services all around the world, it has become extremely easy to track the online business practices of a company and the ethics followed by them. Presently, PayPal is the most-used e-wallet throughout the world. They have a business structure devoted to preventing user fraud and improving the member experience. All complaints from users are recorded meticulously. If a particular organization is receiving too many complaints from users, then it is put on the blacklist.

Their buyer protection policy is is a reflection of that service. If a customer makes a purchase online and receives a product that is different from the one specified or advertised (by the company), then the buyer has a period of 180 days in which they can file a complaint with PayPal authorities. During that time, if a PayPal investigation finds that the order delivered doesn’t match the description written by the seller, then the buyer would receive a full refund for the purchase made.

Blacklisting of sellers is done for several other counts such as: Buyer complaints, Disputes (from the buyer’s end or from a competitor), PayPal inquiry (this shows whether a company ever had a PayPal inquiry logged against it), Spoof (impersonating another company), Chargeback (having to reimburse a buyer who didn’t receive their order or was victim to unauthorized transactions done in their name) and Bank Reversals (when PayPal receives requests to refund an amount which was paid directly from a bank account due to fraud or wrong delivery).

Let’s take a look at the figures for the 2016 PayPal report on transactions done with us via the aforementioned e-wallet. All the figures listed below show the percentage of actions reported or steps taken against Capital Numbers, under each head.

As the percentage figures listed in the above image prove, other than a negligible percentage for refunds and disputes, there has been absolutely no issue with online transactions and payments made to Capital Numbers through PayPal. As we all know, some level of refunds can be expected for a healthy and successful business.  These figures are proof that we stand by our stated and declared guarantee of a 100% refund in cases of client dissatisfaction. The other five categories, Buyer Complaints, PayPal Inquiry, Spoof, Chargeback and Bank Reversal,  percentage figures are all at zero percent. It’s safe to say that Capital Numbers has proven to be a reliable and respected business organization. An organization which has never been involved in any fraud or malpractice throughout its lifetime.The statistics from 2016 further demonstrate our excellent company values.

“This is proof that our number one value and pride is you, our customer! Thank you for allowing us to contribute to your success!”  – Michael Krause, VP of Customer Success

Why The Presidential Elections Of 2016 Were Also Social Media 101

If the election of Donald Trump was a revolution, then it was un-televised.

It was posted, tweeted and live-streamed.

To give you an estimate of the extent,  a survey of US adults shows that 44% reported having learned about the presidential election from social media.  

Presidential campaigns are no different from brand campaigns really, so social media as a medium should not really surprise anyone. In fact, it’s nothing new. Barack Obama’s campaign was actually the first campaign to truly harness the power of social media, as it was utilized to help spread his message, gather grassroots support and empower people through engagement.

As recorded in an article, the Obama campaign reached 5 million supporters on 15 different social networks over the course of the campaign season. By November 2008, Obama had approximately 2.5 million (some sources say as many as 3.2 million) Facebook supporters, 115,000 Twitter followers, and 50 million viewers of his YouTube channel.

“No other candidate has ever integrated the full picture the way [Obama] has, that’s what’s really new about his campaign,” said Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute.

Then why is everyone hailing  Trump’s election as the “first real social media Presidency”?

There are three ways we can decode that. We study the size of social presence, the notable trends, and the overall impact. Understanding these will help you realize that social media is no longer just the medium for the message, but the driving force of any campaign – presidential or otherwise.

Let’s delve into it:

Social Media by the Numbers

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, Facebook had a user base of 150 million, now it’s a mammoth 1.8 billion. The second most popular social media was MySpace, and Twitter closely trailed in third.

The above information might have made you feel two things:

  1. Was it really just 8 years ago?
  2. I’m getting old.

Jokes aside, the numbers also give us a clear idea how much space social media has come to occupy in our lifestyles and culture.Still, when we look back at the numbers from the election this year, it feels surreal.

Andreas Sandre compiled these important numbers in his brilliant medium post. We’ll  leave some here for you to take in.

Election night was “the most-Tweeted election day ever, with more than 75 million global election-related Tweets sent from before the polls opened to just after the president-elect Donald Trump’s 3am ET speech,” according to a joint press release by Twitter and Buzzfeed.

CNN reported, “8.8 billion posts, likes and comments were posted between March 23, 2015, when Ted Cruz became the first politician to declare his candidacy, and November 1. The company said the second presidential debate, held in early October, was the most talked about event of the campaign. It generated more than 92 million “interactions” by almost 20 million users.”

Snapchat, “which on any given day reaches 41% of all 18- to 34- year-olds in the U.S., its younger users have been immersed in the election, too, with nearly two-thirds following it closely, according to USA Today.

Notable Trends

Election Campaigns have always been torchbearers when it comes to adapting to new technology and engaging in their creative usage. The usage of social media to their benefit was no different. Here are three ways in which campaigns were leveraging their social presence.

Vertical Social Media

The practice of blasting the general message is done and dusted. Social gurus have been preaching about ‘vertical social media’ for some time now. The election campaigns showed the world how it’s done. Content was tailor made for each platform. No matter the volume of content distribution – using unique content for each medium, you could easily identify the platform of every candidate.

“The crossover between the audience on Snapchat and the audience on Instagram is pretty high, but they respond to different content in different ways. On both we hope to forge an emotional connection with [Secretary Clinton], but the Snapchat audience is more intimate, and Instagram is way more quirky.”

– Clinton Campaign Staffer

Micro Targeting Through Social Data

The election campaigns were high on data – and they drank it from the fire hose that is social media. Social network data, voter information and sentiment analysis were all used to drive key campaign decisions on the go. Social media also made it very simple to customize communication for micro portions of the demographic. They interpreted everything from Tweet Copy to Instagram videos to script campaign messages that were delivered by the candidates and surrogates.

Social Media – The Ultimate Amplifier

Till now, the general practice in the advertising world was crafting  campaigns for traditional media, which were then adapted for digital purposes, but election campaigns are anything but traditional in this area. Most of their campaigns seem tailor cut for social and digital distribution and, if need be, the same was optimized for other platforms. From voter turnout to raising money – social media ruled all campaign agendas.

Social Media Influence:

The Rise of Post Literate, post Truth World

“Did social media ruin the election?”

“President Trump, thank Facebook”

The aftermath of Election Day can be well captured in a similar series of headlines that popped up every 2 seconds. Marketers and political pundits alike  frantically trying to post their conclusions about how social media may have been the major force to tilt the election this year.

While numbers were debated, and polls took a beating – there are some inter-related points that every sane person agreed on,

social media has brought us to the edge of a post literate, post truth world. Social media, known for being the messiah of the voiceless, apparently gave voice to the ‘fake’ and ‘untrue’ as well.  In addition, the social media algorithm formed a classic case of echo chambers that prevented people from having a full and factual picture of the scenario.

Such is the situation now – that most tech giants are being forced to understand their responsibilities as news bearers.

We can really go on and on about the impact of social media on Elections 2016. Heck, even Wikipedia felt the need for a separate page due to its unprecedented influence.

There’s a reason why everyone is documenting it, and why we have been babbling about it for almost 1000 words now. The elections of 2016 make an elaborate case for the do’s and don’ts of brands in social media.

How Usage Of Data Significantly Influenced The Presidential Elections Of 2016

“There is a level of sophistication and knowledge about the electorate in battleground states that just gets advanced every four years.”

– Mr. Plouffe

The 2016 presidential election showed that the use of data to identify, persuade and turn out voters has become increasingly nuanced and sophisticated. All roads lead to the White House, and all routes were carved by data.

Quite literally, right from the primaries, most presidential candidates used data analytics to chalk out their respective maps of the race. Then, you may ask, how did data about the same electorate tell different stories to each presidential candidate? It’s a valid question and, quite simply, the essence of data science.

If you are a marketer who is interested in figuring out how best to use data to leverage your position and campaigns, then the presidential elections of 2016 is one of the best case studies from which you can learn the do’s and don’ts from.

Let’s bring into focus the lessons that are as relevant for any marketing campaign as they were for the presidential campaigns.

#1 Data May Be Accurate, but It Can Still Be Subject to Human Flaws

Hillary Clinton’s campaign was proudly data driven. It generated dizzying coverage from tech and political enthusiasts alike. It was sci-fi(ish), to the extent that they used terms like “cost per flappable delegate”. The Clinton Campaign took the concept of micro-targeting to a level of exquisite art.

So, when she lost, the backlash over the data was swift and ruthless. Over-dependency on data was ridiculed, data did not fail; the human beings who analyzed it failed. The colossal collapse of most polls showed us how personal biases can percolate into sample biases, bad survey designs as well as several other loopholes that can ultimately paint an untrue picture.

#2 We Should Live in the Moment, Not the Past

Cambridge Analytica, the firm which informed key decisions on Donald Trump’s campaign travel, communications, and resource allocation – put out an articulate, yet the abstract explanation of how they went on to achieve the impossible.

One of the unique things that they emphasized is a real-time collection of audience data and quick response to it. They really believe (and it’s very plausible) that this gave them an unrivaled insight into where the race stood every day, as well as giving them fresh information to add to its commercial and demographic data.

#3 Marriage Between All Kinds of Data Nets You the Winner

In an article from what feels like a prehistoric era now, May of 2013, Wired magazine gave us a simple formula:

Big Data + Social Data = Your Next President

They hit the nail on the head. The winning campaign apparently benefited a lot from fully integrated teams carrying out research, data science, and digital marketing. In fact, as the Cambridge Analytica proclaims, “Their workflow created a circular learning process. Field surveys directly influenced the data modeling. In turn, it built audiences for digital marketing, TV ads, mail and other engagement. Field research then tested the effectiveness of voter targeting, which adapted and improved accordingly. This circular process meant the campaign was constantly learning and improving its outreach.”

These are exciting times for data, but numbers are what we make them be, and the presidential elections are just one of the many testaments to that. If out of all lessons, there’s one that we would strongly preach, it would be about the need for data science to be client specific. A proper understanding of history, premise and context are imperative in building a watertight data informing system.

Drupal 8 – Is It Ready For The Enterprise Web?

Drupal is an open-source web content management framework and platform written in PHP. It combines content, community, and commerce very well and has an extensive library of over 24000 features. In terms of scalability, flexibility, and security, Drupal is an enterprise class CMS.

On 19th November 2015, Drupal 8 was officially released which is a completely re-written version of the Drupal platform. Its core platform has more than 200 new features built in and its backend is powered by Symfony 2 which is PHP framework and set of reusable PHP components/libraries for building high-performance web applications. Following are the top new features available in Drupal 8:

Awesome Authoring Experience

Drupal 8 introduces out-of-the-box experience for content authors.

  • Spark – It’s a Drupal distribution and an Acquia initiative created by Dries Buytaert to improve Drupal core’s default authoring experience.
  • WYSIWYG Editor – Drupal 8 comes with the CKEditor WYSIWYG editor. In addition to the default buttons for bold, italic, images, links etc., it also supports extras such as easily editable image captions and widget features. Drupal 8’s drag-and-drop admin interface helps in adding and removing buttons in the WYSIWYG toolbar, which automatically syncs the allowed HTML tags for a given text format and thus immensely improves usability. All buttons are contained in ‘button groups’ with labels that are invisible to the naked eye but can be read by screen readers, providing an awesome, accessible editing experience for website visitors. Drupal 8’s Editor module wraps the WYSIWYG integration, so other libraries can be tightly integrated as well in contrib.
  • In-place Editing – This feature allows editors to click into any field within a piece of content and edit it right on the front-end of the website without accessing the back-end form in the admin area. Full node content, user profiles, custom blocks are in-place editable.
  • Content Creation Page – The redesigned content creation page in Drupal 8 contains two columns:
    • The main fields or the actual content part
    • Extras or optional settings
  • Admin Theme – New style guide for the ‘Seven’ admin theme.
  • Draft Support in Core – API support added as an under-the-hood change in the core to support content draft revisions making the publishing workflow modules like Workbench much easier.

Mobile First

To keep up with the global expansion of mobile devices worldwide, Drupal 8 has been made more mobile-friendly out-of-the-box. From installation to authoring experience, everything in Drupal 8 is mobile friendly and supports responsive design.

  • All core themes are now responsive and automatically reflow elements such as menus and blocks to fit well on mobile devices.
  • Built-in support for responsive images, so large desktop images is properly resized to display on a tablet or smartphone.
  • Support for responsive tables is available. Table columns can be declared as high, medium or low importance. On wide screens, all the columns will be shown as expected, but as screen size shrinks the less important columns will begin dropping off so that the table shows nicely no matter the screen size.
  • The new admin toolbar is responsive, automatically expanding and orienting itself on wider screens while collapsing and orienting vertically on smaller screens.
  • Improved front-end performance by replacing jQuery with native JavaScript when possible, and not loading any Javascript files by default for anonymous visitors. Additionally, Drupal 8 uses lighter-weight alternatives to JavaScript-intensive features that are more mobile friendly.
  • Back to site link is visible in the admin toolbar while in an administrative context to go back to the front page.

Multilingual++

Drupal 8 core is much better out of the box for foreign language and multilingual websites.

  • Language Handling – Drupal 8 can be natively installed in 94 languages and a language can be assigned to everything like pages, menus, views etc. There are also language dependent blocks available. Browser language detection can be made configurable with external language codes. Transliteration is built-in for machine names.
  • Interface Translation – Automatic downloading and updating options are available. Built-in translation UI is revamped for easier editing. Custom translations can be protected and are exportable. The English text is customizable.
  • Content Translation – Flexible language defaults configuration option is available. The language selector can be freely positioned or hidden. The configuration of field-level translation can be done. Images can be shared optionally between translations on image fields. Translation can be applied to all types of content (taxonomy, user fields, products, rules, etc). Views are integrated with flexible filtering and display options. It’s fully integrated with core search as separate results and language information is exposed via the Search API. Per-language content access option is available.
  • Configuration Management – All configuration is translatable (roles, text formats, blocks, views, panels, etc.). Built-in responsive translation interface is available. There is an overview screen for translators, contextual translation tabs for site builders. All shipped config can be pre-translatable on localize.drupal.org.

What’s Missing?

  • As with new releases of software, 3rd party plugins, tools, and themes are sometimes slow to upgrade and have full support for Drupal 8
  • Support for old versions of PHP – check with your web host to make sure you’re running on PHP 5.5.9+ (see requirements here: https://www.drupal.org/docs/7/system-requirements/php
  • Developers with experience in Drupal 8

 

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