If you run an e-commerce business, you must be aware of Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistics of your website. For those who have never heard of this term before, Shopping cart Abandonment rate is the percentage of shoppers who placed products in the Shopping Cart but did not complete the check-out process.
Shopping cart abandonment is where individuals are leaving or skipping once again from the site in the wake of including items in cart or tapping the purchase catch however before the deal is finished.
This is considered as 1 among the other critical execution factors for a web based business. Each internet business site intends to have least conceivable level of Shopping cart abandonment rate and if your numbers are high or your edge little, it can truly hurt your benefits. 

So how would you secure yourself? The infographic by Fullestop beneath clarifies the cure of the sickness and a few reasons also for the same. Observe!

Content supplied by Fullestop

Watching a vertical/portrait-orientated video on YouTube’s iOS app has until now been somewhat reminiscent of the days when you would watch a widescreen-shot film on an old and bulky square TV, whereby half of your screen becomes devoted to annoying black bars in order to fit the picture to the screen. It may be a minor nuisance, but it’s a nuisance nonetheless.

Fortunately for those who have been bothered by the presence of these blacked-out areas of screen, YouTube recently unveiled a brand new albeit small update which should tackle the issue promptly. As announced via Twitter last week, the video player will now adapt to the dimensions of the video you’re watching.

You can see how the newly-updated player will work in the tweet below:

At the time of writing the update had not yet appeared on the iPhones in our office, but hopefully it shouldn’t take too long; I’ve got some binging to do over Christmas, after all.

There are many reasons one might stop to take a selfie, be it pure vanity, a particularly good-hair-day, or simply the opportunity to capture a stunning backdrop. Some motivations are however a little harder to get your head around, such as the influx of people who choose to post pictures of themselves looking downright downtrodden as a result of illness. Who exactly is this supposed to benefit or even interest?

According to a new and detailed study of 1,000 UK adults conducted by Ultra Chloraseptic, as many as one-in-ten adults take advantage of sick days to post pictures online with the intention of garnering sympathy and attention from friends and family; among those aged 18-24, this figure rises sharply to two-in-five.

For 40% of these individuals, sympathy was admitted to be the biggest motivating factor behind posting pictures of themselves when ill. One-in-ten stated that they do so when taking sick days from work in order to ‘prove’ to their boss that they are in fact unwell - at least there’s a practical aspect to that one…

Going beyond the ‘art’ of selfie-taking, the study also revealed that Brits are more than willing to use a cough, cold or sore throat to avoid attending social events, with nearly half of respondents admitting to doing so; a further 13% said they hadn’t, but later wished they had.

It was further revealed weekend dinner or drinks (44%), work events (29%), a friend’s birthday (26%) and a family party (24%) were the events most likely to be avoided. Lots of social media, not so much of the actual ‘social’, it would seem.

More than one in four teenagers - an estimated 866,000 young people in England and Wales - say they couldn’t enjoy Christmas without social media, according to a new survey carried out for The Children’s Society.

Almost one in three, more than one million, said they thought it was getting harder to enjoy Christmas, while only 1 in 10 felt it was getting easier.

Many young people are left casting envious glances at their peers and people they follow, with 31%, almost a million, saying that social media use at Christmas makes them want more gifts and presents after having compared themselves to others. One in five children think that friends on social media seem to be having a better Christmas than them.

However, 40% felt that social media made them think more about those who are less fortunate than they are at Christmas time.

The poll of 1,010 13-17-year-olds, conducted by Research Now on behalf of The Children’s Society, found nearly a third (32%) increased their use of social media over Christmas, with only 8% saying they spent less time on the online platforms.

Almost half (47%) of all young people said they didn’t spend enough time with friends during the Christmas break, with 76% of those who use social media more at this time of year saying they did so to see what their school friends were doing over the holidays. Worryingly 13% said they use social media more at Christmas to help them feel less alone, while 17% do so to escape family stress and 32% do so because they feel bored.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, commented, “Christmas can be a stressful time for everyone, including children. Many miss their friends whilst not at school and social media can represent an important lifeline to the outside world.

“Although social media can have many benefits, we know that overuse can be damaging to young people’s well-being and may harm their mental health. That is why parents need to be aware of what children are doing online and more needs to be done to raise awareness about how to minimise risks and help ensure use of social media is as positive an experience as possible.

“It is also absolutely vital that parents talk to their children, support them to see friends and encourage them to stay active. By doing so they can help them to overcome the stresses of the season and enjoy the festive spirit.

“There will however be many children this Christmas, with nowhere to turn, and at The Children’s Society we support thousands of these young people.  It is vital that more of them are able to access the support they need all year round.”

The Children’s Society is calling for tougher regulation and decisive action by social media companies to ensure the online world is safer for children and to minimise risks like cyber-bullying and online grooming.

It wants to see clearer child-friendly guidelines, better advice on blocking people and reporting issues, and quicker and more effective responses to reports of inappropriate behaviour and material.

Mr Reed added, “The Government must do its bit to make sure this happens, and we would urge it to listen to the voices of young people in developing its proposed Code of Practice for social media companies, which we would like to see in place as soon as possible.”

You could argue that social media is somewhat ironically named, at least in the eyes of many industry experts. This assertion is made off the back of newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that among all age groups but one, the advent of social media is in fact associated with a downturn in active socialisation.

Unsurprisingly the one group not to follow this trend is millennials, or more specifically older millennials aged 26-36. Among this group the amount of time spent going out for meals, going to the theatre and/or cinema, and playing sports has risen from 35.5% in 2000 to 36.5% in 2015; among all other groups this figure has dropped.

Among those aged 46-55 for example this figure has fallen from 32.6% in 2000 to 30.3% in 2015. In fact the average time spent socialising has dropped by 12.7% among all groups, and now amounts to just six hours per week.

An ONS spokesperson explained, “It’s possible that with increased device use, people are becoming less likely to go out of their way to meet up and socialise. Easy internet access enables people to talk to friends via social media apps, but they’re still doing so alone.”

However according to Dr Rebecca Graber, a senior lecturer in psychology at Brighton University, the problem may lie not with the apps and services themselves but with how they are used; an endeavour which she asserts older millennials are simply more adept at.

“The figures are compared to 2000, and back then device usage was much more one-way and now it’s much more interactive,” said Dr Graber, “Not only that but apps are designed to get you socialising in some way - so whether that’s meeting up over Tinder or fitness apps that encourage you to keep track of your accomplishments with other people or meet up with people for park run, that kind of thing.

“A lot of apps that older millennials are using now are really geared towards embedding that within your social life,” she continued, “At this age they're investing in relationships and in identity-building activities and experiences which allow you to explore what’s out in the world and try new things.”

Despite the fact that many prominent social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have a stated minimum user age of 13, underage individuals continue to create accounts and make frequent use of these services. While this may not be inherently damaging in itself, the fact that these platforms are public and created with an older user-base in mind means that pre-teens who make use of these sites do risk exposure to inappropriate content or, as unpleasant as the thought may be, predatory behaviour.

Well it seems that the French Government have had enough of this apparent looming threat to the younger generations, as a new draft law presented last week would make it a legal requirement for children under the age of 16 to acquire parental permission to open an account on Facebook, or indeed any other social network.

The legislation forms part of a larger bill which, according to The Telegraph,  seeks to adapt data privacy regulations and improve access to the information internet companies gather, store, and in many cases sell to other firms about people's online activity.

“Joining Facebook will involve parental authorisation for minors aged under 16,” Nicole Belloubet, the French Justice Minister, stated rather plainly.

In practice, the draft legislation would amount to a simple tick box which confirms that permission had been obtained from the child’s parent or legal guardian. Ticking this box would be considered a declaration governed by law, but questions remain as to how this would be enforced.

A tick-box system is very easy for any underage users to get around, as they are already doing largely the same thing under the current system. As such I can’t really see the law having much of an effect as pre-teens would simply continue to lie about their age in order to gain access to the platform, and it does seem rather unreasonable to prosecute the parents, particularly if they have no knowledge of their child doing such a thing. The legislation would also have no tangible effect on the hordes of underage accounts already active on the platform; honestly, I can see more problems than inviting prospects with this legislation.

As stated however this is simply a draft, and must be passed by parliament before it can become law. It will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition, but a few gaps are already appearing in the drafted bill that will need ironing out first, at least as far as I can tell.

The Dots, a fast-rising social network which describes itself as “a professional network for the people and teams that don’t wear suits to work” – in other words it’s LinkedIn for those in more creative roles – looks set to enjoy some healthy expansion as the company recently secured £4m in funding via investments, which will be used to facilitate further growth.

The network raised the £4m sum in an investment round led by Hambro Perks, which also saw investments being made by advertising agency gurus Sir John Hegarty and Tom Teichman, whose investment fund The Garage Soho invested, and female-focused investors Angel Academe. The funds will now be used in an effort to secure lucrative overseas expansion of the network’s user base, drawing from a global pool of an estimated 80 million “no collar” creative millennial professionals.

The creative individuals often cost a lot when it comes to recruitment, and therein lays The Dots’ value. The network has already accumulated around 250,000 members since it was first launched by founder Pip Jamieson in 2014, with current clients including the likes of Google, Burberry, Sony Pictures, Viacom, M&C Saatchi, Warner Music, Tate, Discovery Networks, and VICE, among others.

The Dots facilitates networking by collecting data on full teams that create projects, making their network “high-trust”, since members have actually worked with another connected member.

The plan for the future is to incorporate machine learning into their operations, utilising gathered data to make personalised recommendations to clients and in the longer-term enable the hiring of full teams, rather than limiting their service solely to individuals.

“Everyone thinks LinkedIn is insurmountable, but that’s exactly why I believe it’s ripe for disruption,” says Pip Jamieson. “LinkedIn was built around the networking needs of a traditional workforce of ‘White Collar’ professionals. However, there is a new professional class emerging, who have different networking preferences and need an alternative solution that reflects their behavioural and career preferences.”

Sir John Hegarty also commented, “Whole waves of traditional industries will disappear or radically change due to automation. But there is no algorithm for creativity - creators are our future workforce. So if we want our economies to thrive, we need to support the people and teams that bring ideas to life. That is what The Dots is all about; connecting, supporting and championing the people, teams, and brands that make ideas happen.”

Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, who served as vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011, has said he feels “tremendous guilt” over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”. The remarks against his former employer were made to an audience at a Stanford Business School event in November, but were only brought to light this week by tech website The Verge.

In Chamath Palihapitiya’s address he recommended that people should take a “hard break” from social media in general, adding that, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said in reference of course to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, and thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem - this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

As pointed out by The Guardian, Palihapitiya’s comments last month were made just one day after Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, criticised Facebook for “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology” by creating a “social-validation feedback loop” during an interview at an Axios event. It seems that negative sentiment toward the company is rising on the whole, and they will want to be careful to ensure that this does not become a significant hurdle to future success. It is worth noting however that despite his general criticism on their flagship platform, Palihapitiya did later add that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world”.

“I can’t control them,” Palihapitiya said of his former employer. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that s**t. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that s**t.”

Palihapitiya’s comments provide an interesting inside perspective on the massively popular platform and the larger company, and the fact that he still supports their endeavours on the whole is truly telling given his criticism of their best-known service. At this point we would be eager to hear your thoughts on the matter, so be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

We’ve all seen photos online at some point which show a beaming holiday-goer or traveller happily embracing an exotic wild creature, with koalas, sloths, and dolphins being particularly prevalent targets of such activities. Over recent years awareness has thankfully begun to spread concerning the fact that in many cases, the subjects of these photos are subjected to harm and cruelty all in the name of a like-worthy snap.

Instagram, given its image-focused nature, is a natural home for such content, but the company are now taking steps to stop the spread of material on their platform which hay be harmful to animals or the environment.

“We care about our community, including the animals and the wildlife that are an important part of the platform,” Instagram’s Emily Cain told National Geographic. “I think it’s important for the community right now to be more aware. We’re trying to do our part to educate them.”

Following the announced update, if you attempt to search for several hundred terms deemed to include content which is potentially harmful to the animal subjects of the associated photos or the environment as a whole, the app will throw up a flag saying “Protect Wildlife on Instagram”, explaining that “you are searching for a hashtag that may be associated with posts that encourage harmful behaviour to animals or the environment”. After being presented with this rather blunt message are you able to see posts, learn more, or cancel the operation.

It is hoped that the presence of such warnings will make people pause and reflect, as explained by Cassandra Koenen, head of wildlife campaigns at World Animal Protection, who worked on the list with Instagram.

“If someone’s behaviour is interrupted,” says Koenen, “hopefully they’ll think, ‘maybe there’s something more here’, or ‘maybe I shouldn’t just automatically like something or forward something or repost something if Instagram is saying to me there’s a problem with this photo’.”

Instagram have not disclosed which hashtags have been flagged for such treatment as they wanted users to find them organically through their normal use of the platform. They also want to prevent those who intentionally use the platform to facilitate illicit wildlife practices from being able to pre-emptively get around the warnings.

Experts at influencer marketing agency, Influencer Champions, are advising brands that they should consider getting involved with ‘Vlogmas’, the latest and hottest festive social media trend, if they want to get their products under  everyone’s tree this year.
Now an annual tradition among social media influencers and their followers, such is the phenomenon, in December 2016 Vlogmas and Blogmas gained a total of 156,086 mentions on social media, across platforms including YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. 
The concept involves influencers using their favoured social media and blogging platforms to showcase their festive-themed fun and every day activities from the first of December to Christmas Day.
However, Vlogmas offers more than just a sprinkle of festive fun- it presents opportunities for brands to get involved, helping them raise their profile and be seen by their target audience.  
Influencer Champions, an agency that pairs top brands with high-profile influencers, have put together three key reasons for brands to get involved with Vlogmas this festive season, whether it be through product placement or paid sponsorship. 
1. One mention leads to great worldwide exposure 
The first, and probably most obvious benefit of a brand incorporating Vlogmas into their Christmas marketing strategy, is the exposure it will bring. 
Millions of YouTube users tune into watch various Vlogmas videos and if a brand chooses to work with one of the top social media influencers, who have subscribers in the millions, a simple mention of a brand could significantly raise a brand’s profile. 
2. An influencer for everything 
Social media influencers have grown in popularity over the past 10 years, and in that time a whole host of influencers specialising in different topics have emerged. From gaming and technology to beauty and lifestyle. 
Throughout Vlogmas, these influencers all come up with their own unique videos and posts, so, no matter the brand, there is likely to be an influencer to suit. 
3. Get creative, get involved
Vlogmas and Blogmas allows a brand to get creative with their marketing. From hand-picking an influencer, deciding on the video it is best featured in, and instructing the influencer on how to pitch the brand, a brand can have input into the entire process.
Amelia Neate, Senior Manager of Influencer Champions, says:
“Christmas is a key time for brands, but it can be easy to get lost in competitor noise. Utilising influencer marketing through Vlogmas can be a very effective, organic-feeling method of reaching a target audience, driving awareness and ultimately sales over the busy December period.”
For more information regarding Influencer Champions, please visit: www.influencerchampions.com

In the wake of widespread criticism concerning the vast amount of hateful and/or extremist content still present on their platform, Alphabet-owned YouTube are now taking additional steps to counteract the spread of such material with the announcement that they will take on more staff to work toward addressing policy-violating content. Not only will these individuals allow for more thorough human analysis of content, the additional data they provide should also help YouTube to improve their machine learning software, perhaps lessening the need for human interference in the future.

“The goal is to bring the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate its policies to over 10,000 in 2018,” YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki said in one of a pair of blog posts on Monday.

She also addressed criticism from the platform’s content creators regarding videos that were mistakenly flagged as hateful or otherwise inappropriate. These videos often had their advertising options removed, costing innocent creators money in the process.

“We need an approach that does a better job determining which channels and videos should be eligible for advertising,” said Wojcicki. “We’ve heard loud and clear from creators that we have to be more accurate when it comes to reviewing content, so we don’t demonetise videos by mistake.”

In addition, Ms Wojcicki said the company would take “aggressive action on comments, launching new comment moderation tools and in some cases shutting down comments altogether.”

Use of the Facebook platform is restricted to those aged 13 and above; at least that’s what the terms and conditions say. In reality there are hordes of preteen children using the site on a daily basis, and Facebook are now taking steps to address this issue.

This is the justification used by the social media giant as they launch ‘Messenger Kids’, a brand new app available on Apple devices which purportedly aims to provide a safer environment for those young children who are using Facebook’s existing Messenger service anyway, but who by doing so risk exposure to content that may be considered harmful to kids of their age.

Img: Facebook

The new app comes with a slew of parental controls; for example the service won’t let children add their own friends or delete messages, only their parents can do that. Also, the child does not get a separate Facebook or Messenger account when signing up to the new app, and are instead given access to the service via an extension of their parent’s existing Facebook account.

Kristelle Lavallee, a children’s psychology expert and content strategist at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University, advised Facebook throughout the design process. She warns that when young children do make use of services not designed for them, they risk harm through the very nature of such platforms.

“The risk of exposure to things they were not developmentally prepared for is huge,” she said.
In light of this, Ms Lavallee insists that Messenger Kids has been designed from the ground up to provide a “useful tool” that “makes parents the gatekeepers”. The interface and functions are apparently “a result of seeing what kids like,” which basically means an overload of images, emoji, and memes. Lavallee asserts that providing such a platform for kids who are just learning how to form relationships and stay in touch with parents digitally could actually be highly useful to their development of such traits.

The major legal problem for Facebook when it comes to underage users on their main platform is that federal law prohibits internet companies from collecting personal information on kids under 13 without their parents’ permission, and imposes restrictions on advertising to them. Given the vast amount of preteens already signed up to Facebook, the company are undoubtedly in breach of this law whether intentionally or otherwise. As such the launch of the new service is, according to CEO of the non-profit Family Online Safety Institute Mr Stephen Balkam, visible validation that Facebook is trying to deal with the situation pragmatically by steering young Facebook users to a service designed for them.

Facebook insist that the Kids app will not show ads or collect user data for advertising purposes, though they did state that some data will be collected but only that which is necessary for the proper operation of the service. The company also somewhat allayed fears that the new app was purely a way to ensure that users were signed up to their main platform as soon as possible with their insistence that it won’t automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough; they may however give users the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.

Despite all these apparently well-intentioned claims, some remain unconvinced. One such critic is James Steyer, CEO of the kids-focused non-profit group Common Sense, who admits that while he does like the idea of a messaging app which gives control to the parents, he worries about some aspects of the service. Among his concerns are whether Facebook’s promise to keep the service ad-free will last, and whether these ads will simply be passed on to the parents instead.

“Why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?” Steyer said in a statement. “We encourage Facebook to clarify their policies from the start so that it is perfectly clear what parents are signing up for.”

As the future of journalism and the widespread prevalence of ‘fake news’ and misinformation become matters of increased relevance, with social media platforms in particular facing mounting scrutiny and blame for facilitating this trend, Australia’s competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), have announced that they will be pursuing an investigation into the role that Facebook and Google have played in disrupting the news media market to the detriment of publishers and consumers.

The probe into the actions of Facebook and Google, announced on Monday 4th December, forms part of a wider media reform initiative being undertaken by the Australian government, which was itself brought about due to growing concern for the future of journalism and the downfall of quality news sources as profits decline and newsrooms around the globe face damaging cuts and layoffs.

“We will examine whether platforms are exercising market power in commercial dealings to the detriment of consumers, media content creators and advertisers,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

The inquiry also would study how Facebook and Google operated to “fully understand their influence in Australia”, he added.

A Google spokesman simply stated, “We look forward to engaging with this process as relevant.” Facebook on the other hand reportedly did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
We will of course endeavour to keep you updated on any new development as the investigation progresses, but for now there is little else of note to say on this matter. A preliminary report is expected to emerge by the latter part of next year.

An international survey performed the week preceding Black Friday 2017 examined consumer preferences in anticipation of the end-of-year shopping events. The survey, conducted among 3,400 participants from 8 developed countries, has revealed that Black Friday enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States, while Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% outside of North America.

A survey conducted in November 2017 by One Hour Translation, the world’s largest online translation agency, presents a global perspective on the preferences of online consumers concerning the end-of-year shopping events. The survey reveals that the event most consumers look forward to is Black Friday, which enjoys a double-digit popularity percentage in 6 countries outside the United States. Cyber Monday tops out at only 4% in the examined countries outside of North America.

The online survey was conducted with Google Consumer Surveys among 3,400 participants from the following 8 developed countries: The United States, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan. One Hour Translation asked the participants: “Which online shopping event have you been waiting for this year?” and allowed the respondents to pick more than one answer. The survey analyzed the answers of 1,000 participants from the US, 600 from the UK and 300 in each of the remaining participating countries.

In the United States, 14.5% of respondents said they were waiting for Black Friday, which took place on November 24 this year, while 16% were waiting for Cyber Monday (November 27). Black Friday is particularly popular in Canada (about 26%), Spain (about 22%), France (about 21%), the UK and Germany (about 19% each) and to a lesser extent in Australia and Japan (about 10% in each country). On average among the 8 countries sampled in the survey, 17% of respondents were looking forward to Black Friday, compared to about 8% who were looking forward to Cyber Monday and about 3% who were looking forward to the Singles Day event (the Chinese holiday celebrating single people) - making Black Friday a significant shopping event outside the US.

Cyber Monday, on the other hand, enjoyed a double-digit popularity percentage only in the North American countries. 16% of respondents in the United States said they were waiting for Cyber Monday, and 10% of respondents in Canada, figures that were much higher compared to the ones observed in the UK (about 4%), Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Japan (about 3%).

The Chinese “Singles Day” shopping event, which takes place every year on November 11, was highly anticipated among 7.5% of respondents in Japan, as opposed to approximately 6% in Spain and France, 4% in Canada, 3% in Germany, 2% in Britain and Australia, and only 1.4% in the United States.

Despite the fact that the survey was conducted online and was naturally geared towards online consumers, about two thirds of respondents (68%) on average among the eight countries said that they were not looking forward to any online shopping events. About 4% of the 3,400 respondents said they were looking forward to shopping events other than those examined in the survey. The level of variability among the countries when it came to these two figures was low.

"We already knew that Black Friday has become the top brand among the end-of-year shopping events around the world, thanks to the survey we conducted last year. This year, Black Friday is once again the most popular shopping event among consumers. However, looking at the figures, we can see a major difference in the levels of anticipation for the Cyber Monday shopping event, which is popular in North America - the United States and Canada – as opposed to the anticipation it enjoys in the major economies outside of North America," said Ofer Shoshan, co-founder and CEO of One Hour Translation. “Based on our extensive work with thousands of e-commerce companies, we would encourage companies outside of North America in this particular field to invest in associating their activity and their brand with the Cyber Monday event."

These days, people turn to social media for all manner of purposes, often looking to their favourite platform to seek advice on a wide range of subjects from minor queries to substantial issues. This is even true in the case of medical advice; however with no actual vetting procedures in place governing who can claim expertise on these platforms and subsequently what advice these people can hand out, differentiating the fact from the fiction can be difficult and oftentimes costly. Now we are not in any way recommending that our readers use social media platforms in place of professional medical advice, however as so many people seem to use these platforms for medical queries we understand the importance of knowing who to trust.

Fortunately, netdoctor.co.uk recently had a conversation with Dr Jan Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer at MEDIGO, in which she offered her personal insights into this exact issue. Their conversation focused largely on the subject of cosmetic surgery as posts which endorse or promote such procedures are commonplace on social media, particularly on the more image-focused platforms such as Instagram. Below are summarised the major red flags to look out for when presented with posts documenting or promoting cosmetic surgery online, as identified by Dr Schaefer:

Choice of Hashtags

The terminology used by an individual can oftentimes be used as a fairly accurate indicator of their true knowledge of a given subject, and this extends to hashtags as well. Crude terms and the use of slang in hashtags are major signs that something is up, Dr Schaefer asserts.
“For example, you usually won’t find a surgeon advertising breast enhancement surgery with #boobjob, as that shows a lack of professionalism. Instead, a surgeon might use #breastaugmentation, that is, if they use any hashtag at all.”

Content of Captions

The aforementioned note concerning phrasing and terminology is also true when it comes to the caption accompanying a post, but of greater concern here according to Dr Schaefer is the nature of the given content, more specifically the presence, or lack of, aftercare advice. If no post-treatment steps are mentioned or the post suggests unrealistic healing times, it is better off disregarded.
“The key word in any surgery, whether cosmetic or not, is ‘surgery’,” states Dr Schaefer. “The body needs time to heal, and the surgeon should detail what a patient should do to ensure a smooth healing process, as well as provide a realistic timeline. If a social media post mentions that a patient looked like their ‘after’ photo a day after surgery, it is a red flag.”

Manner of Approach

Social media is by its very nature a public platform, and there is little reason for any professional company or service provider to hide away from that fact when promoting their service if they have nothing to hide. With that in mind, always show some caution if an individual pops under the cover of your direct messages to offer you cosmetic surgery advice or procedures.

Evasiveness & Avoidance of Questions

Tying into the previous point, there is no reason for any certified professional to be anything less than open with you when it comes to questions pertaining to a procedure they endorse, promote, or offer. As such, a reluctance to answer any relevant queries should stand out as a major warning sign. Dr Schaefer insists, “If you find that the surgeon is avoiding your important questions, such as: what does the procedure involve? How long will it take to heal? Then it is a clear sign that they should be avoided. Another red flag that you might spot when speaking to the provider is that they assure you a procedure has ‘no risks’. In any medical procedure, there is always a risk, even if it is relatively small.”

Dr Schaefer’s Advice

Dr Schaefer’s personal recommendations concerning the matter of cosmetic surgery promotions online can be largely summarised with the reminder that social media platforms cannot provide all the necessary information when considering any surgical procedure, be that cosmetic or otherwise. It is vital that you step away from these platforms and do some proper research elsewhere, and of course always consult your GP. Specific questions to ask yourself during this research time, as given by Dr Schaefer, include:
  • What qualifications and accreditations does the surgeon have?
  • Are these relevant for the procedure I want?
  • How experienced are they at performing this specific procedure?
  • What are other patients saying about it?
  • Where can I find the reviews of the surgeon, and are they reliable?

According to new research published in Heliyon and given the rather lengthy title of ‘Materialists on Facebook: the self-regulatory role of social comparisons and the objectification of Facebook friends’, those with a materialistic nature are likely to be far more frequent and intense users of Facebook than those with a less possession-orientated outlook. They also tend to have more online friends, though they seem to view them in a less-than-ideal light.

By this I mean that rather than taking a healthy view of said connections, materialistic people attempt to ‘collect’ Facebook friends as a form of possession or validation, fuelled in part by a need to compare themselves with others and compete.

“Materialistic people use Facebook more frequently because they tend to objectify their Facebook friends - they acquire Facebook friends to increase their possession,” said lead author Phillip Ozimek.
“Facebook provides the perfect platform for social comparisons, with millions of profiles and information about people. And it's free - materialists love tools that do not cost money!”

In order to reach this conclusion the research team gathered a pool of 242 Facebook users via campus-wide emails, flyers and Facebook invitations at Ruhr-University of Bochum, where the study was conducted. These participants ranged from 17-52 years old with a ratio of 54 males to 188 females, though the biggest part of the sample was represented by people between 17 and 28 years (90.1%), giving a mean age of 22.91 years.

Participants were then asked a series of questions in order to first gather demographical data-sets containing information regarding age, sex, highest degree of education, nationality, native language, relationship status, and university course. These were followed up by 62 items relating to Facebook use, social comparison orientation, materialism, and objectification and instrumentalisation via Facebook. For example respondents were asked to indicate how much they agree with statements such as “my life would be better if I owned certain things I don’t have” and “having many Facebook friends contributes to more success in my personal and professional life”, as reported by The Independent.

The team ultimately concluded that there is indeed an apparent link between high levels of materialism and frequent/intense use of the Facebook platform. Furthermore in a repeat of the experiment conducted with a second sample of 289 Facebook users, the researchers ended up with the same conclusion, which certainly adds to the validity of the findings.

Despite this Ozimek and his team are in no way suggesting that Facebook use is a negative act in general, rather they are simply preaching caution in the way we use it.

“It seems to us that Facebook is like a knife,” concluded Ozimek, “It can be used for preparing yummy food or it can be used for hurting a person. In a way, our model provides a more neutral perspective on social media.”

YouTube TV, while not nearly as well-known as the flagship YouTube app, is a decent standalone app which offers users the ability to stream content from around 53 popular cable TV channels including the likes of the BBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, AMC and more for a monthly subscription fee of $35. Since the app was launched by Google back in April it has been praised as one of the best video streaming services available when it comes to major broadcast networks, and now they have released an update which capitalises on new features added into the Android Oreo OS to improve upon the service’s offering further still.

YouTube TV has now joined a select group of applications which currently support the picture-in-picture feature incorporated into the Oreo version of the Android OS, which allows users to continue watching video content while they crack on with other tasks using separate functions and applications. Other apps which already support the feature include the standard YouTube app, Netflix, Chrome, VLC, and Facebook. Most importantly in the minds of those over at Google/YouTube – major rival services such as Hulu and Sling TV are not among this group.

To make use of the new feature simply press the home button while a program is playing; the player window will then shrink and pop out to let you do other things. While using picture-in-picture, controls remain in place allowing you to easily rewind, fast-forward, pause, and return to full screen.
That being said those who dislike the feature and would rather be shot of it can easily disable it via the app’s settings menu.

While the YouTube TV app itself is available on iOS, this latest update as it stands is not.

When thinking of the biggest players in the tech world people tend to gravitate towards the likes of Apple, Google, and of course Facebook. However one company often overlooked by the Western world is Tencent, the Chinese tech giant who rose to decidedly dominate China’s social media market with their ever-popular mobile messaging app WeChat. Well now nobody can really argue that they don’t have a place among the aforementioned companies as Tencent shares closed 2.4% higher in Hong Kong on Tuesday, valuing the conglomerate at around $522 billion. Facebook, for comparison, is currently worth approximately $519 billion.

Tencent’s success can admittedly be attributed at least in part to the fact that many of their rivals, such as Facebook and Twitter, are blocked in their home country; though credit must also be given to the company themselves who have found success not only with their own products and subsidiaries, but also a number of overseas investments. These investments include acquiring a 12% stake in Snap Inc. and 5% in Tesla, to name just a couple prominent examples.

As previously stated Tencent is best known for being the company behind the popular mobile messenger WeChat, which currently boasts close to 1 billion users who rely on the service for tasks ranging from basic communication to making payments and so much more. The company have made a point of turning WeChat into a widely-comprehensive service in order to increase its appeal and usefulness, and this has proven to be a wise strategy. Despite their success however they do still pale in comparison to Facebook in terms of worldwide users, the latter remaining the world’s most popular social network with around 2 billion users.

In spite of their smaller user base Tencent have nonetheless managed to overtake Facebook as far as market value is concerned, bolstered as they are by their forays into the mobile gaming and video streaming markets. Investors are betting big on the company’s success in these fields, as evidenced by the doubling of Tencent’s share price over the past year.

This sharp rise in market value led to a milestone moment for Tencent, as they have become the first ever Chinese company to surpass $500 billion – a fact sure to disgruntle those over at Alibaba, their greatest Chinese rival which currently has a value of approximately $480 billion.

It must be stated however that Tencent still have a battle on their hands if they are to overtake the giants of the Western tech world such as Apple, Google’s parent Alphabet, and Amazon, which are valued at $870 billion, $710 billion, and $543 billion respectively.

Think back to the last significant milestone of your life, be it a wedding, a birth, a graduation or any other moment you consider to be important. Did you share it on social media?

According to the Q4 2017 Sprout Social Index, 79% of people have shared a life milestone on social media and 1 in 3 would mention a brand when doing so. I’m sure you have noticed too that these posts, given how they cover moments and accomplishments deemed significant, tend to achieve a high reach, plenty of likes, and a lot of comments and interactions as compared to the typical day-to-day status update. This presents marketers with opportunities.

When mentioning brands in these posts the index asserts that 1 in 3 individuals (34%) simply want to thank the brand for being part of the moment (rising to 41% among Millennials), while 50% are in fact taking the opportunity to recommend the brand to friends, family, and followers. Given how recommendations from friends and family remain the most credible form of advertising for 83% of today’s consumers, it is somewhat unsurprising that as many as 48% of the survey’s >1,200 respondents have made a purchase for a milestone after seeing it on social media. By properly utilising this influx of user-generated content in their social strategies, companies can gain much benefit from these mentions.

As for which platforms people turn to in order to find recommendations when planning major life events more than half of consumers (51%) use Facebook, ranking it above any other source. Following closely behind are Pinterest (42%) and YouTube (34%), likely due to their personality-driven and highly visual nature. Instagram, despite also possessing a highly visual nature, is used in such a manner by a surprisingly low 24% of consumers, though this figure does somewhat-expectedly rise to 35% among Millennials.

The key for marketers is to ensure that their brand/product is on the receiving end of these positive mentions and recommendations, allowing them to better tap into the massive pool of consumers who congregate on these prominent social media platforms. You may want to consider the use of incentives to motivate consumers to share in such a way, such as popping into the occasional comments thread to offer discount vouchers to those who have praised your brand. It is also essential to remember however that the defining trait of these platforms, as the name suggests, is ‘social’, and so it is important that you actively try to connect with your audience rather than spamming them with generic- copy-and-paste responses that reek of disingenuous interest.

In the wake of recent controversy surrounding the platform’s verification of an account associated with a prevalent white supremacist rally organiser, Twitter has announced a major overhaul to its verification system that with leave a number of once-verified accounts without the treasured blue tick.

The announcement was made in a string of tweets posted to the @TwitterSupport account on November 15th. Twitter had previously admitted that while they had initially created the verification system to “authenticate identity and voice”, it has become widely interpreted as an endorsement of the views expressed or the figure behind the account. The more recent string gave an indication of their intended remedial actions, stating that the verification system will change and as a result some users whose behaviour “does not fall within these guidelines” may be unverified.

Within their announcement Twitter acknowledge a few failures on their part; for example verified accounts have long been given visual prominence on the side, which added to the perception of endorsement. They also failed to act soon enough to remedy the situation and only succeeded in making matters worse by opening up the verification process to public submissions. As a result they have stopped accepting any public submissions for verification while they work towards correcting the aforementioned issues.

Their full statement can be viewed in the tweets embedded below:

While Twitter themselves did not outright announce the handles of any accounts that were likely to lose their verification status, Gizmodo reports that the overhaul is already beginning to take effect with accounts belonging to the likes of known white supremacist Richard B Spencer, alt-right activist and journalist Laura Loomer, and former EDL leader Tommy Robinson among those already stripped of the blue tick. That list is only set to grow further as the newly-updated guidelines take hold, but whether this will ultimately have the end result Twitter are hoping for remains to be seen.

Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. remains largely unknown to most western consumers, but that may soon change as the Chinese tech giant, which has a reported worth of around $20 billion and is both the creator and distributor of the ‘Jinri Toutiao’ news aggregation app, has acquired the popular social video network Musical.ly for an undisclosed sum, although various sources cite the figure as being somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion.

Founded in Shanghai in 2014, Musical.ly soon found popularity among Western teens, allowing users to sing along karaoke-style to their favourite songs before expanding their services to include live-streaming capabilities in response the shifting consumer demands. Five months ago they expanded again, this time making deals with Viacom, Hearst and NBCU for original content provided by popular channels such as MTV and E! Entertainment; appropriate choices given the generally youthful nature of their user base.

Bytedance’s flagship app, Jinri Toutiao, aggregates news and videos from hundreds of media outlets and has according to Bloomberg become one of the world’s largest news services in the span of five years. The two apps will continue to run as separate platforms, Bytedance have said, although they are sure to each incorporate features from the other as the workforces mingle and exchange ideas for future growth.

It remains unclear exactly how this shake up will affect both companies. One thing however is certain; by combining Toutiao’s 120 million-strong user base with Musical.ly’s own 100 million, you are left with a serious player in the social media scene that is sure to give the likes of Snapchat at least some cause for concern.

Social media now dominates many aspects of modern life, particularly among the youth, and as such it is of vital importance that we understand the true scope and possible effects of this cultural and technological phenomenon. To this end the Australian Pathological Society (APS) recently compiled a new report, titled ‘Digital Me’, which sought to identify how adults and teenagers make use of such platforms and explore the effect of social media and digital technology on Australians’ wellbeing.

The report surveyed 1020 adults and 156 teenagers on their use of social media and its subsequent connection to their wellbeing, finding that teenagers throughout Australia are spending as much as 1,200 hours on social media apps and platforms annually, amounting to full 50 days or approximately one-seventh of the year.

It also emerged that adults are nearly as bad, spending around 950 hours each year browsing through popular social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

However it is of course among potentially-impressionable teenagers that this is considered more of an issue, especially as 60% of parents admitted to never monitoring their child’s online activities and communications. While the majority of Australians do report a positive online experience overall, the link between an increased reliance on social media and in increase in cyber bullying, as well as subsequent drops in self-esteem levels, is worrying and cannot be ignored.

Even more alarming is the fact that according to the survey, 15% of teenagers reported being contacted by strangers daily, and nearly 10% said they actively communicated with, or responded to, strangers daily. This alone invites some rather disturbing possibilities.

APS spokeswoman and community psychologist Dr Lyn O'Grady advises that parents take a more active role in the digital lives of their children, whilst being careful not to be overly severe lest their son or daughter act out in rebellion. Instead, open communication and a lead-by-example approach are the recommended methodology.

“Social media is an asset for teens, but they are less able to identify risks and more likely to act impulsively compared to adults,” Dr O'Grady asserts.

“[They] need boundaries, rules and the guidance of parents to help them make good decisions - just as they do offline. If [parents] become too controlling they lose that opportunity to influence.”

Among teens, 29% said they had been a victim of online bullying via social media platforms in the past year, but the survey also revealed that the issue extends beyond children and teens and in fact affects adults too, with one-in-five Australian adults experiencing online bullying in the past year. Furthermore those adult respondents who were classified as heavy mobile phones users, which amounts to 54%, were found to be more likely to use their phones immediately before bed, which research has shown has a negative impact upon sleep. They were also far more likely to check their phones within minutes of waking up.

These individuals are more likely to check their phones while walking, while eating, while in the company of others or even for no discernable reason at all, and this constant state of connectivity has been linked to bullying, trolling, and low self-esteem among adults just as it has with teens.

Among adults the worst culprit in terms of damage to self-esteem appears to be Instagram; 21% of Instagram users were classified as having low self-esteem, as compared to 13% of non-users. Overall, heavy mobile phone users in both age groups admitted that they felt an increased pressure to look good online, and this is likely the source of many of the aforementioned issues.

Img: Screenshot - Pippa Akram 

Last week, social media consultant Pippa Akram (@Social_Pip) took to Twitter to share a screenshot of an as-yet-undiscovered update to the Instagram app, which was apparently being trialled unbeknownst to many on a few select accounts.

The update in question, first reported by The Next Web, allows users to follow individual hashtags rather than just accounts on the Instagram platform. While this may seem like a minor addition it is sure to prove useful for those with an interest in more-niche topics, as well as journalists and other researchers looking for information and imagery relating to a particular subject.

Having said that the update will likely be enjoyed by users from all walks of life, as Instagram have been criticised of late for the manner in which their algorithms prioritise content, which this additional avenue of ‘following’ may go some way towards alleviating as it allows users to better tailor their feeds to their own interests.

It is worth noting however that given the popularity of some hashtags, if you were to follow the entire thing your feed would soon be drowned in such content, which likely motivated Instagram’s decision to limit the feature to “top posts and recent stories” as indicated by the tooltip within Ms Akram’s screenshot.

There is no word as yet on any official release date for the additional function, with Instagram themselves declining to comment, and the feature remains visible on just a small number of accounts (my own unfortunately not included). We will however endeavour to keep you updated as more news emerges.

On November 9th Facebook proudly announced their latest PR stun humanitarian effort, dubbed ‘Community Boost’, which will travel to 30 US cities during 2018 in an effort to “work with local organizations to provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, to advise entrepreneurs how to get started and to help existing local businesses and non-profits get the most out of the internet.” The aforementioned US cities will reportedly include Houston, St. Louis; Albuquerque, Des Moines; and Greenville, South Carolina, among others.

In explaining the reasoning behind this initiative Facebook cited research conducted by Morning Consult in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook themselves, which indicates that “62% percent of US small businesses using Facebook said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions - even more important than where a candidate went to school.”

Additionally as much as 80% of US SMEs reportedly stated that Facebook helps them to connect with people in their local community, and one-in-three assert that the platform has helped them to grow their business.

According to Facebook the ‘Community Boost’ program will provide assistance in the following areas:
  • If you’re looking for a job, we’ll provide training to help you improve your digital and social media skills.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, we’ll have training programs on how to use technology to turn an idea into a business or show you ways to create a free online presence using Facebook.
  • If you’re a business owner we’re going to offer ways your business can expand its digital footprint and find new customers around the corner and around the globe.
  • If you’re getting online for the first time or you want to support your community, we’ll provide training on digital literacy and online safety. And we’ll also help community members use technology to bring people together, with features like Events and Groups.
The thing is, for all of Facebook’s talk about providing a comprehensive digital skills training program, there seems to be a heavy focus on their own platform rather than the digital landscape as a whole. This, as noted by Josh Constantine of TechCrunch in a summary I whole-heartedly agree with, makes the entire endeavour seem a little too self-serving to be interpreted as true altruism.

Despite this however the initiative has been welcomed by representatives of the included cities and states, with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner commenting, “We’re happy to welcome Facebook to Houston to boost our residents’ digital skills and make sure our vibrant community of entrepreneurs and small businesses gets more out of the internet. I’m glad that Facebook recognized that one of the first five cities to benefit from this program should be Houston, the most diverse city in the nation, the largest economic engine of Texas and a proving ground not only for innovation in tech, energy, medicine and space exploration but also for mom-and-pop small businesses that reflect all the cultures of America and the globe.”

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry also praised the program, stating, “As the City of Albuquerque is the second most digital city in nation, we are excited and welcome Facebook to Albuquerque for its new community boost! This initiative will help train our residents in developing key skills to help them thrive in our ever evolving digital world. We look forward to working closely with Facebook in coordinating the weeklong event to ensure Albuquerque and New Mexico small businesses are aware and can participate to the fullest extent. We hope this will help bring more tech skills and better job opportunities to our wonderful community.”

When describing your business to potential and existing customers, you want to make sure you are portraying yourself in the correct light. Trust and loyalty are difficult to secure and can be just as tricky to retain, and so your exact choice of terminology is highly important in communications in both the digital world and the physical.

Tired clichés and hollow phrases get thrown around all the time, and customer expectations are constantly evolving; these two factors combine to create a situation whereby the simple choice of a single word can mean the difference between success and failure in your marketing efforts.

In an effort to ascertain with more solidity the words and phrases which appeal to the modern customer base, ADLER Manufacturing Ltd. queried the opinions of five business and marketing experts from a range of industries including technology, luxury retail, travel and business marketplaces, presenting them with a list of promotional words and asking them to highlight which ones they would recommend, and which they think are likely to turn customers away. This allowed them to subsequently categorise each as either ‘Bad’, ‘Poor’, ‘Okay’, or ‘Good’, according to their effectiveness.

These five experts (pictured below & listed left-to-right) consisted of: Barry Ryan from Tactus Group, Huib Maat from Pairfum, Robb Young from XperienceDays, Sean Mallon from Bizdaq, and Tatyana Kozhevnikova from Artefact London.

Img: ADLER Manufacturing Ltd.

The analysis of these results proved to be rather telling, as it shows that oft-used words such as ‘Strategic’, ‘Well-rounded’, and ‘Visionary’ are considered more likely to do harm than good. Sean Mallon provided more detail on the rationale behind his dislike of ‘Well-rounded’ in particular, explaining that “businesses exist for a purpose and that purpose is to provide goods or services. By describing your business as ‘well-rounded’, you’re not telling anyone about the goods or services you’re providing, and nothing about how you provide them”.

‘Strategic’ meanwhile is considered to be unclear in its meaning and impossible to measure, while ‘Visionary’ is criticised for offering no real benefit to the consumer. Words/ phrases including ‘Adaptable’, ‘Game-changing’, ‘Hands-on’, and ‘Passionate’, among others, fared little better and are considered ‘Poor’ on ADLER’s hierarchy of terminology.

Img: ADLER Manufacturing Ltd.

At the other end of the scale sit the better-received terms of ‘Efficient’, ‘Innovative’, and ‘Unique’, which are considered to be most effective in building customer trust and loyalty regarding your brand with a classification of ‘Good’.

‘Efficient’ was singled out by Tatyana Kozhevnikova was a particularly effective term as “this means less cost within the business, better price, [and] faster delivery for the customer”. Barry Ryan and Huib Maat respectively asserted that ‘Innovative’ and ‘Unique’ are in fact the best words to use when describing your business; given that Barry Ryan works in the technology industry and Huib Maat deals in luxury fragrances, the appeal each phrase holds to the aforementioned individuals makes perfect sense.

For a little more detail regarding the outcome of ADLER’s queries, as well as a breakdown of each expert’s individual responses, follow this link to the company’s original feature.

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