How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel 2013 and 2016 [Video Tutorial Included]

This post is an excerpt from the video series 4 Essential Microsoft Excel Skills Every Marketer Should Learn. If you want to become a master of the almighty spreadsheet, watch the full video series here.

I know, I know … “VLOOKUP function” sounds like the geekiest, most complicated thing ever.

But trust me: as was the case with pivot tables, Microsoft Excel’s VLOOKUP function is easier to use than you think. What’s more, it is incredibly powerful, and is definitely something you want to have in your arsenal of analytical weapons.

So, what does VLOOKUP do, exactly? Here’s the simple explanation: The VLOOKUP function searches for a specific value in your data, and once it identifies that value, it can find — and display — some other piece of information that’s associated with that value.

In practical terms, this means you can take the revenue data from your second spreadsheet and integrate it with the customer data in your first spreadsheet in order to reveal the bigger picture about your business’s performance.

Below, you’ll see a five-step guide to performing this VLOOKUP example, followed by a video tutorial for using VLOOKUP to organize a list of blog posts.

How Does VLOOKUP Work?

The secret to how VLOOKUP works? Unique identifiers.

A unique identifier is a piece of information that both of your data sources share, and — as its name implies — it is unique (i.e. the identifier is only associated with one record in your database). Unique identifiers include product codes, stock keeping units (SKUs), and customer contacts.

Since HubSpot and most CRMs both use email addresses to uniquely identify the contacts in their databases, HubSpot customers can use “email address” as their unique identifier to execute a VLOOKUP.

Steps to Using VLOOKUP in Excel

Take the VLOOKUP example above. Let’s say you’re looking through your HubSpot data and are checking out which of your site pages your contacts have viewed. You’re also paying attention to whether or not any of those contacts have converted into customers.

Then it hits you: In addition to knowing which of those contacts have closed, you want to know how much MRR (monthly recurring revenue) each of them brings in. That way, you can tie your revenue back to your site pages and do some analysis to see which pages are having the biggest impact on your bottom line.

There’s only one problem: Your MRR data lives in your CRM. And while you could manually look up each and every contact in your CRM to find their MRR, and then manually match those values to their corresponding contacts in your HubSpot data, the whole process would be ridiculously time-consuming and impractical.

That’s where the VLOOKUP function comes in. For your reference, here’s what a VLOOKUP function looks like:

VLOOKUP(lookup_value , table_array , col_index_num , range_lookup)

In the steps below, we’ll assign the right value to each of these components, using customer names as our unique identifier to find the MRR of each customer.

Step 1: Identify a Column of Cells You’d Like to Fill With New Data

Entering a new column title in Excel in order to use the VLOOKUP function

If this data is coming from a pivot table made in Excel, copy the data into a new spreadsheet so the VLOOKUP function can freely read this data.

Then, label a column next to the cells you want more information on with a proper title in the top cell, such as “MRR,” for monthly recurring revenue. This new column is where the data you’re fetching will go.

Step 2: Select ‘Function’ (Fx) > VLOOKUP and Enter Your Starting Cell

Function (Fx) icon in Excel, which accesses the VLOOKUP formula builder

To the left of the text bar above your spreadsheet, you’ll see a small function icon that looks like a script “Fx.” Click on the first empty cell beneath your column title and then click this function icon.

Select “VLOOKUP” from the list of options that appears, and then re-click the cell you’ve highlighted and enter the cell you’re trying to find a match for. In this case, it’s A2. You’ll start migrating your new data into E2, since this cell represents the MRR of the customer name listed in A2.

Step 3: Enter the Table Array and Column Number You’re Searching Through

      

Then, next to the “table array” field, enter the range of cells you’d like to search and the sheet where these cells are located. The VLOOKUP form will help you fetch the correct page.

Beneath this field, you’ll also enter the “column index number” of the table array you’re searching through. For example, if you’re focusing on columns B through K (notated “B:K” when entered in the “table array” field), but the specific values you want are in column K, you’ll enter “10” in the “column index number” field, since column K is the 10th column from the left.

Step 4: Enter Your Range Lookup

In contexts like monthly revenue, you want to find exact matches from the table you’re searching through. To do this, enter ‘FALSE’ in the “range lookup” field. This tells Excel you want to find only the exact revenue associated with each sales contact.

Step 5: Click ‘Done’ (or ‘Enter’) and Fill Your New Column

In order to officially bring in the values you want into your new column from Step 1, click “Done” (or “Enter,” depending on your version of Excel) after filling the “range lookup” field. This will populate your first cell. You might take this opportunity to look in the other spreadsheet to make sure this was the correct value. 

Entering the first new value from Excel's VLOOKUP formula builder

If so, populate the rest of the new column with each subsequent value by clicking the first filled cell, then clicking the tiny square that appears on the bottom-right corner of this cell. Done! All your values should appear.

Filling a new column with data from Excel's VLOOKUP formula builder

Alright, enough explanation: let’s see another example of the VLOOKUP in action!

In the video below, we’re taking the pivot table we made in video #2, pasting the values into a new sheet, and using it as an example report. We then use the VLOOKUP function to match blog post authors (from our second data source) to their corresponding post titles. In this instance, we’re using post title as our unique identifier.

Author’s note: Keep in mind there are many different versions of Excel, so what you see in the video above might not always match up exactly with what you’ll see in your version. That’s why we encourage you to download the written instructions and demo data so you can follow along.

Download demo data | Download instructions (Mac) | Download instructions (PC)

Want to learn to do more in Excel? Download the full video series, 4 Essential Microsoft Excel Skills Every Marketer Should Learn.

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Is Facebook Organic Reach Really Dead? Here’s How to Break Through It for More Social Engagement

Every now and then, the overlords of the Internet decide to change things up in the digital marketing world.

And with how fast things change, it can sometimes be easy to miss a noteworthy tidbit of news.

One such tidbit recently came to light, and it’s definitely worth your attention.

Namely, Facebook has started taking steps to change the Organic Reach of pages on their platform.

And that has some implications for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if your Facebook Page shares memes, connects a community, or is a landing page for your brand.

You’re going to see some changes, and chances are they will come sooner rather than later.

To help cut through the clutter and keep a clear picture of the path ahead, I’m going to lay out what’s actually changing.

And at the end, we’ll give you some insightful ways to come out ahead.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to take action accordingly and still have a healthy Facebook presence.

But first, let’s talk a bit more about what Organic Reach actually is, and why it’s changing.

What is Facebook Organic Reach?

Organic Reach on Facebook is simply a measurement of how many people can find you on Facebook for free.

It’s much like organic rankings on a search engine, although in the case of Facebook it’s based on aspects like popularity, post frequency, and other contributing factors.

And when you think about the current state of Facebook, it seems logical that Facebook would be making some big changes.

With more and more content being generated and shared, plus with how the News Feeds curates the content you see, it’s natural that Facebook would need to fine-tune their system from time to time.

And so Facebook is making changes.

Specifically, they’re changing Organic Reach to look and feel a little more like the Paid Reach measurements.

jaspers market organic reach on facebook

The newer look really only changes a few minor elements, but the numbers will look bad nonetheless.

Previously, Facebook counted Organic Reach as any time an unpaid post appeared in someone’s News Feed.

Now, Organic Reach will only give you a hit if your unpaid post actually enters a person’s screen.

The changes don’t affect how your post is shown to anyone, nor does it really change anything about how posts are displayed at all.

It just affects how Organic Reach is tallied, but that makes a difference.

The seeming paradox then is that you can expect your Organic Search traffic to take a big hit, but that particular metric should be a lot more accurate.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, there’s a good reason for the death of Facebook’s Organic Reach:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

He goes on to discuss how Facebook will be changing to mitigate this issue.

Specifically, Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be better geared to curate content that builds meaningful relationships.

And it’s worth mentioning that Zuckerberg himself lost about $3.3 billion because of this decision.

But what exactly is this “death” in terms anyone can understand?

More importantly for you, how might this affect your business?

To give you an idea, you have to look back a little bit.

Because as of June 2016, the Organic Reach of a Facebook Page had fallen to a mere 2%.

facebook reach annual decline

That’s a crazy drop from just four years prior, and Facebook and Zuckerberg still think that there’s too much Organic Reach for a Page.

So it’s pretty clear that if 2% reach is too much, we’re nearing the end of an era in terms of Organic Reach being the best viable option for spreading your brand on social media.

And the implication is pretty clear for business owners.

Your page is going to have less Organic Reach.

And with Reach dropping, you can fully expect that engagement is going to go with it.

So at this point, you’re probably wondering if there is any hope beyond the doomsday hype?

The answer is yes.

Because Organic Reach is not totally gone, and it probably won’t ever be.

The key here is to simply understand the changes taking place in the Organic Reach algorithms.

The consensus is that Facebook waging war against low-quality content, which means there are still avenues you can take that will help your Organic Reach.

You simply need a different strategy than saturation.

So now that you know what’s going on, let’s look at some ways you can use these changes to your advantage.

Tip #1: Focus on quality, not quantity

First and foremost, you need to understand that Facebook is changing to emphasize quality over quantity.

I’m going to repeat that for emphasis: Quality over quantity is the first place to start.

There’s been a long-running misconception that posting more or less on Facebook equates to more reach, but that’s as ludicrous as treating a “Like” as a useful metric.

You’re just making things worse for yourself if your goal is to post as frequently as possible, especially with the new changes.

And posting infrequently doesn’t do you any favors either.

Because the data points to a truth that couldn’t be further from a quantity-driven approach.

First of all, studies have shown that a moderate amount of posting seems to edge out posting too much or too little.

facebook one post per day

So when there are fewer posts, it becomes less likely that a post gets lost in your audience’s feed.

Which means your Organic Reach is going to do better with just a few, high-quality posts.

But don’t get carried away thinking high-quality posts can still be posted as often as possible.

Because the data still points in the opposite direction.

Buffer conducted some tests that help prove this point beyond any doubt.

average facebook posts per day

They started by evaluating how many posts were being created per day on their Page.

As you can note, over the course of 2016 and into 2017 they say a fairly significant drop in how many times they posted.

To be precise, they were posting at half the peak rate by the middle of 2017.

And oddly enough, this trend helped them increase their Organic Reach:

average facebook reach

They went from capping out with an Organic Reach of ~70,000 to a top reach of ~170,000.

That’s a 100,000 Reach spike that can be directly related to the frequency with which they posted on their Page.

And what’s more, they also saw a boost in direct engagement from this study as well:

average facebook daily engagement

This is a powerful illustration of how simply posting less and focusing on quality can improve your overall Organic performance on Facebook.

And this isn’t just a fluke.

It starts and ends with original and share-worthy content that will actually engage your audience.

Which means you need to focus less on pumping out content and focus more on crafting something that’s truly shareworthy.

You’ll see better Organic Reach, and you won’t regret it.

Tip #2: Know what your audience is looking for

A high-quality post isn’t just going to come from nowhere.

It starts with a more concerted effort to offer higher-quality content around your brand as a whole.

That means finding topics that are meaningful and then generating something that’s both shareworthy and relevant.

The more specifically targeted your approach, the better off you’ll be.

facebook targeted approach

Small changes go a long way in improving quality, and the ultimate application is up to your unique brand.

The only way to truly know what “quality” means for your Page is to create some, test it, and then start making changes.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have any other direction before you just start creating content.

One place you can start is simply by knowing which posts are right on Facebook, such as video.

Sharpie does a great job of creating interesting video that generates views and shares throughout their audience.

Here’s a recent example of one of their videos that partners Sharpie with NBA star Chris Paul:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSharpie%2Fvideos%2F10160286088165344%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Even if you can’t partner with a celebrity, you can use video to help boost your Organic Reach and increase engagement.

And success on Facebook through video isn’t just speculation either.

There are plenty of success stories, like this one from Audi:

audi success on facebook

Even in the highly competitive automotive industry, they were able to boost their lead generation by almost 12%.

And if that doesn’t convince you, I highly recommend you go check out more success stories.

It doesn’t even have to be long video either, as Facebook recently launched their own Boomerang application.

And whether you use video or not, just remember that high-performing and popular Facebook posts are a mixture of entertaining and educational.

Don’t mistake that as an either/or situation.

You need a mix of both if you want to succeed.

Most importantly, I recommend looking into what online audiences are actually consuming these days.

content consumers pay attention to

You might love creating and sharing your podcast for a blog post, but you’ll get more facetime with a sharp video or even just a simple photo.

And then there’s also the problem of engagement baiting, which Facebook has started to crack down on.

baiting on facebook

You might think it’s okay to ask for Likes, Shares, or “votes,” but the dark days of those posts are behind us.

Facebook now filters posts like these and gives them a lower priority than posts with more engaging content and imagery.

So all things considered, you have a lot to consider when you’re trying to pin down what your audience wants to see.

But if you put in the effort, you can develop a system that keeps your brand in the spotlight without dipping into your ad budget.

Tip #3: Consider your timing

You may have heard the news already, but there is such a thing as an “optimal time” when you’re posting to Facebook.

It just depends on a few essential elements.

The basics are pretty simple though.

Knowing when Facebook tends to be most active overall can help you time your posts accordingly.

facebook best times to post

Studies show that sharing at different times will affect Likes, Shares, and overall engagement statistics.

You can also try to take advantage of multiple spikes like this, but remember you want quality over quantity.

One or two posts per day will do just fine.

If you post at the right time, it’s more likely that your audience will actually be on to see your post.

That by itself could increase your Organic Reach and help you engage with your followers.

But keep in mind that performance can be industry specific as well, so do your homework before you simply start changing all of your posting times.

And once you check your own industry’s trends, make sure that the information you uncovered accurately matches your own audience by examining your own Facebook Page’s Insights tab.

facebook post insights

Your goal here is to simply avoid posting at times when your audience is unlikely to see posts.

If there’s a verifiable time when engagement and Reach dips, you might not want to share your best content at those times.

And there are a lot more studies on this topic than just the ones above.

Kissmetrics has put together research that verifies the science of timing posts.

saturday best day to post on facebook

All of this research points to one thing in regard to Organic Reach.

Namely, that it’s best for you to let the Facebook algorithm focus on delivering one piece of content to your audience.

This approach mitigates the need for Facebook to filter and select your strongest content.

If you only ever share your best content at the best times, Facebook will still work well for you.

The trick is just to know when to post on Facebook.

Do your own research, and then use the results you find to your advantage.

Tip #4: Variety helps, so start curating

Curation can be a tricky topic.

Why would you want to put another brand’s content on your page?

Isn’t that counterintuitive?

You may be surprised, but it could actually help.

Recent studies suggest that the curating on Facebook can solve many common issues faced by marketers:

curation can overcome challenges

As long as you’re mindful of brands and companies that have a strong following or high brand loyalty, you can leverage a strategic tag to increase your own engagement.

So it’s a good idea to start sharing more curated content in addition to the content you create.

Curating content is the relatively simple process of finding great content from other sources on the Internet and then sharing it with your own audience.

As long as you know your audience, and find posts that match your target, you can provide supplemental content that still helps your brand’s Organic Reach on Facebook.

It’s also a good idea to add tags to posts like this when and where it’s appropriate.

In essence, this practice “signals” to Facebook that you have interesting content that needs to be shown more often.

As long as you’re following your analytics closely with this type of targeting, you’ll see good results over time.

Tip #5: Stop selling

One of the biggest toe-stubbing moves that can hurt your Organic Reach is trying to sell too much.

And with Facebook essentially turning the tables on solely commercial content, this is a bigger deal than ever.

But think of it in terms of volume alone.

Even in your own industry, you’ve likely found that there’s an increasingly saturated social media network that you have to wade through.

With Facebook focusing more on engagement, simply trying to route traffic to your website can be a mistake.

That means that Facebook is also evaluating intent when it filters content.

This particular trend isn’t exactly in your favor.

And when you tack on that Facebook users are savvy enough to filter out the content that they don’t want to see even if it makes it past the News Feed algorithms, you have a recipe for disaster.

That’s why understanding where social media fits into the sales funnel and focusing on brand awareness will serve you better for Organic Reach.

sales funnel has four stages

Social media is a top-of-the-funnel endeavor, and you have to treat it that way.

Going for a hard sell just isn’t going to work, and that type of content is just going to get filtered out by either Facebook or your audience.

There’s a greater need now more than ever to engage directly with your community.

That means instead of just posting random articles, you need to find ways to have discussions on your Page.

You need to spend more time being active and replying to comments on posts, even unhelpful ones.

Because your audience craves acknowledgement more than anything.

They just want to be heard.

Real-time engagement can help the Organic Reach of your brand more than a sales-oriented post ever could.

That’s why you need to ditch the old sales funnel approach to social media and adopt a more accurate idea of what social funnels look like.

social metrics matrix

Notice how the elements in the top part of this funnel are more relationship oriented.

That’s because your Organic Reach relies on audience building with Facebook, not sales.

And I can’t over-emphasize how important this shift is.

Because business are almost always affected by changes to social networks, which is why the idea is to share content users are interested in and will actually engage with.

You need to worry about sales a little later, preferably once your audience is established and loyal to your brand.

Which oddly enough means you need to be smarter about your Facebook Ads budget.

Because that’s one of the best ways to invest in building your audience with a longer funnel.

You need to embrace Facebook as a pay-to-play game, because it is for better or worse.

paid social media distribution

More and more marketers are coming to Facebook, and it’s already the top source of paid social media in the world by a long shot.

Which means the only way you can play, or win, is to start investing your money in it wisely.

Try boosting posts that have already proven to be strong performers, not just the posts you think will perform well.

That means you need to post content first, then check your engagement.

Then if your audience engagement is strong, boost that post so that it reaches even more people.

In sum, create and boost great content, not just any content.

Because if recent trends have shown us anything, it’s that we’re only going to see an increase in spending on paid digital advertising in the coming years.

digital ad spending surpasses tv

So learning to couple the pay-to-play element with the other tactics in this post is the best way to move forward.

Since you can’t just rest on your laurels and coast off of Organic Reach anymore, you have to take action.

Tip #6: Consider an alternative route

The final piece of advice that I want to leave you with revolves around a rather unsung element of Facebook: Groups.

From a marketing point of view, Facebook Groups have been relatively incognito due to how a sort of risk-reward equation that always tipped more toward risk.

It was just easier to post on your Page, pay for your ads, and ignore Groups.

But now, they’re looking more attractive.

And this makes sense. A Group around your brand is one that consumers will have to opt into.

Which means they get notifications and engage with your brand at a deeper level.

Plus, they’re free, which can’t be beat.

And Facebook has been giving quite a bit of attention to Groups lately:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffacebook%2Fvideos%2F10155948336496729%2F&show_text=0&width=560

With more than one billion Facebook users involved in Groups, we may well be looking at a new frontier for social media marketers.

It may take time to lay the groundwork and build your community, but there’s no denying the potential power of your own Group.

They could be the ultimate answer to the Organic Search issue.

Conclusion

The truth of the matter is that Facebook Organic Reach is not dead.

It’s just different than what you’re used to.

Facebook has changed the game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still play it well.

You just have to realize that your metrics only look different. In reality, your Organic Reach is more accurate than ever, which is a good thing.

But these changes require that you take a new approach to maintaining and improving your social engagement.

A simple change like focusing on quality over quantity is by far the best places to start.

But more than that, try to find the format that fits your audience. Use blog posts, images, and especially video to engage to the fullest.

Then take strides to post your best content at the right time on the right day of the week.

You can also start to curate content that your audience will be interested in, which tells Facebook that your content is shareworthy.

Overall, just focus on brand building, not sales.

And remember that Facebook is now a pay-to-play system for marketers. If you want to win, bring your checkbook.

Finally, start considering Groups as an alternative for opt-in engagement. You could be suprised by what you find.

At the end of the day, your Organic Reach rises and falls on how well you execute the strategies in this post.

All you have to do now is find a way to stick with these changes.

What methods have worked best for keeping Organic Reach up for your brand?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

Are You Marketing Effectively Across Generational Lines? [New Data]

You’ve heard it from us before:

  • “The way consumers prefer to access content has changed.”
  • “We’re seeing a fundamental shift in the way we market and sell products.”
  • “Buyers are no longer okay with outbound emails and cold calls. Instead, marketers need to create and deliver content that meets the consumer where they already are.”

While all of those things are true, you may want to know which preferences have changed and how to meet consumers where they already are, right?

After all, not all consumers have the same preferences. Marketing is not a one-sized-fits-all-solution.Unlock 10 Data-Backed Content Marketing Secrets Every Marketer Should Know and  Use in 2018.

Our HubSpot Research team knows that marketers need more information on what consumers want. But we also know that not all consumers have the same preferences. That’s why every year our Research team surveys consumers from all over the world to collect original data on content consumption preferences.

What stood out this year is this: while the average consumer preferences might show certain trends, you need to get granular with your data if you want to truly understand how different segments of consumers interact. Namely, consumers in different age groups have vastly different preferences when it comes to consuming, accessing, and discover content.

For example, millennials, an age group which roughly spans 18 to 34, aren’t just buying sneakers and gadgets anymore. Increasingly, millennials comprise a cohort of people purchasing homes, baby clothing, and B2B software. And their strong preference for video, social, and mobile-first content has implications for marketers working across an expanding array of industries.

Are you marketing effectively to different age demographics? Let’s dig in and find out.

Mobile First

For years, we’ve heard hype about mobile taking over desktop in traffic and search. But is the increase in mobile usage because everyone is using mobile more, or is it really just that certain age groups are?

Below, you can see the breakdown of device usage by age. Overall, mobile usage beats out desktop by only 5%, but when you break the data down by age group, the differences are clearer: it’s not everyone, it’s young people. 

null

 

Mobile phones are an integral part of modern life. Consumers aren’t just using their phones to browse the internet when they’re commuting or on the go. Many admit they use their phones before they sleep, after they wake up, and even in the bathroom throughout the day.

Content trends 1 report-01

 

Delivery and Discovery

What about accessing content? How do age groups differ in the way that they access or search for content?

Unsurprisingly, consumers in all age groups go to Google and Facebook to catch up on news and lifestyle stories. However, this is true even more so for younger age groups, while older age groups are still more likely to access stories via publication websites, mobile notifications, and email newsletters.

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Format Preferences

What about your content creation efforts?

HubSpot Research also found clear differences in the content formats age groups prefer to access. Namely, millennial respondents show the strongest preference for video and social content.

In contrast, Gen X and Boomers prefer more news articles, research reports, and email content. Most traditional written content teams still have interested readers, they just might have more interetested readers in the older age brackets.

Content trends 1 report-07

The Death of Email

Lots of brands, including HubSpot, have been discussing whether email is “dead.” While we think email is still a valuable channel when used wisely, that’s not to say every audience wants to see more email over other channels. Millennials want to see more videos from brands they support and far fewer want to see emails.

Meanwhile, more Gen Xers want emails/newsletters from a brand than any other type of content.

null

 

Content consumption preferences have changed over time.

However, much of that change has to do with what different age groups are used to consuming. As millennials get older, we’ll very naturally see a shift towards their content consumption preferences. Remember, though, This is true for every new generation. Marketers have to adjust their marketing patterns to the way consumers buy, sell, and consume. 

We’ve talked through some of the main trends by age group, but what about other trends? What about ad creative preferences, geographic differences, and ways of audience engagement?

HubSpot and Ceros recently teamed up to create a fully-interactive guide on the most important Content Marketing secrets of 2018. In it, you can unlock additional data we haven’t yet covered in this blog post. Click here to unlock 10 Content Marketing Secrets Every Marketer Should Know in 2018

Unlock 10 Data-Backed Content Marketing Secrets to Use in 2018

 
Unlock 10 Data-Backed Content Marketing Secrets to Use in 2018

How to Calculate Your Business’s Break Even Point

You’ve heard the term “break even.” It’s a popular way to describe a time when you spent exactly as much money as you made. “We gambled $200 at the casino and won $200, so we broke even.”

But in a business context, it’s not that simple.

Your break even point doesn’t just happen in Vegas, and needs to be constantly recalculated for you to turn a profit in the long term. Here’s how to find it.

Find Your Contribution Margin

Recently, I explained how a business calculates its contribution margin — the amount (ideally in the form of a percentage) that your revenue from sales exceeds your variable costs to develop the product. There are two reasons you should care about this figure.

First, your contribution margin deliberately leaves out your operating costs so you can see exactly how profitable your product is. For example, while software and website costs to an ecommerce clothing business don’t directly contribute to the business’s product (the clothing), the cost its thread vendor charges does. The business omits the first cost because it only wants to see how profitable its clothing is against what it pays to produce it.

The second reason contribution margin is so important? You need it to calculate your break even point.

Although operating costs are irrelevant when assessing a product’s profitability, they’re critical when assessing your business’s profitability. These costs, also called fixed costs, factor back into your books when calculating your profit margin — your total profitability after all business expenses paid. And in order to achieve a high profit margin, you first need to know when you’ll break even.

Keep in mind that a break even point isn’t a finish line. Breaking even is an exciting milestone for a growing business, but the break even point indicates when the business’s revenue will be equal to its costs — not when it is. Businesses run the equation described above multiple times a year, eventually surpassing their break even point and (hopefully) becoming profitable.

So why is this number recalculated all the time? Once you “break even,” aren’t you officially on the road to profitability? Yes and no. If you were to calculate your break even point according to yearly revenue, yearly fixed costs, and yearly contribution margin, then yes, you’d get a number that is more representative of the business’s profitability since you’re considering a full year of activity. And once you break even, you wouldn’t have to track your break even point as often.

But there are shorter-term break even points that reset on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to guide you as you strive to reach your end-of-year (EOY) break even point.

For example, if fixed costs such as your monthly office rent total $3000, and your product has a contribution margin of $250 per unit, you’d have to sell 12 units of your product by the end of the month to break even for that month. See how I came up with this number below:

Break even point formula

The following month, you’re back to square one, as you’re on the hook for $3000 worth of bills for next month and need to sell another 12 products to, once again, break even for that period of time.

Set Goals to Become Profitable

Luckily, as a business grows, it won’t have to meet these incremental break even points in order to declare itself profitable by EOY. The business’s monthly revenue can even come up short of a month’s fixed costs, but break even or declare the business profitable at the end of the year.

How? With seasonal fluctuations in sales, you might fall short one month but become super busy during a holiday and make up for it. Perhaps you host a flash sale that reduces revenue in the short term but develops brand loyalty that brings in long-term customers, and a more steady revenue stream. Just be sure you calculate your break even point first before running a sale or discount so you can set appropriate goals for the sale itself. Houston, we have a profit.

Now it’s time for you to calculate your business’s break even point … How’d you do? Did you plug your sales figures into the formula above and get a scary number? Don’t sweat it — that’s why these incremental break even points are so helpful to a growing business.

If you’re discouraged by how much work you’d have to do to break even by the end of the year, shorten the time period of your break even point. By setting a goal to break even every week or month right now, you can set yourself up to break even after larger stretches of time later. 

Facebook Might Be Dealing With More Data Misuse — This Time, From Javascript Trackers

Just as Facebook is starting to recover from last week’s Congressional hearings with its CEO and releases statements on how it uses offsite user data, a new research report has emerged that may indicate another case of misused data.

This time, the culprit might be the “login with Facebook” API and the third-party JavaScript trackers embedded on websites that use it. First reported by Freedom to Tinker and TechCrunch, it seems that these trackers can be exploited to collect data like a user’s data including name, email address, age range, gender, locale, and profile photo — to the extent of the information the user provided when it used this tool to log into the website.

As the name suggests, webmasters embed third-party JavaScript to, well, track user behavior on their sites — things like how far someone scrolls down or where they clicked.

It can help digital marketers, for example, “figure out what works and what doesn’t,” says HubSpot Director of Web Development Dmitry Shamis, “and optimize your site as a result.”

Tools like “login with Facebook” are designed to save new users time when creating a new account or enrolling in a website for the first time, by automatically populating fields (name, email address, et cetera) with information provided on their Facebook accounts, rather than requiring them to fill them in manually. 

Many sites allow users to log in with Google in a similar capacity.

But now, it seems, vulnerabilities have been discovered in this system. In addition to granting the website or service in which the user is enrolling access to his or her data, third party javascript trackers embedded on that same site also receive access to the same data during the login process.

Here’s an from Freedom to Tinker that visually explains how something like this works:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 5.21.34 PM

Source: Freedom to Tinker

What we haven’t determined yet is how these trackers use the data once it’s obtained. However, within the list of “offending” trackers discovered by Freedom to Tinker, it appears that the parent companies that manufacture them also offer “publisher monetization services based on collected user data,” according to TechCrunch.

That could suggest a situation similar to the Cambridge Analytica one, in which an app developer collected personal data from users who opted into downloading it — but then, improperly sold it to the data analytics firm.

But it doesn’t stop there — Freedom to Tinker discovered a second vulnerability. On some sites, after users log in with Facebook, it seems that some third-party trackers use that data to “deanonymize users for targeted advertising,” which means that it can use login information to personally identify users, which is a privacy breach and typically not something that users agree to.

This happened with the site BandsInTown (possibly among others), which alerts people when the musicians they like are playing shows nearby. Logging in with Facebook helps BandsInTown track their favorite artists and let them know when they go on tour.

But as it turns out, there was yet another third-party tracker embedded in BandsInTown’s iframe — an HTML document that is embedded inside another, such document on a website — which personally identified users logging in with Facebook, presumably for advertising purposes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 5.37.24 PM

Source: Freedom to Tinker

After reaching out BandsInTown about the issue, Freedom to Tinker says it was told by the site that the flaw has been addressed and repaired.

And while Freedom to Tinker is sure to point out that these vulnerabilities are not the result of flaws within the login with Facebook tool — and is rather due to what the site describes as a “lack of security boundaries between the first-party and third-party scripts” on the affected sites — Facebook is certain to experience some blowback as a result of its user data once again being compromised.

When TechCrunch reached out to Facebook, it didn’t receive a response being told that the social network was investigating the issue. 

“This couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time for Facebook,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social campaign strategy associate. “You can’t help but get the idea that a lifetime of shortcuts is finally catching up, putting the company on the defensive at a time when it needs all the wins it can get.”

On top of that, Franco says, “I’m sure there will be more bad news as the company does a full audit of app developers on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica revelation.”

HubSpot Product Lead Daria Marmer agrees that this report will only complicate things for Facebook — as it not only has to make sure its own site is secure, but also needs to “police others on the web.”

That might require playing catchup with sites that already have a method and operation for doing so, Marmer says. “Google does a good job of this: letting website owners know if their sites are insecure or getting attacked.”

“As interconnected as today’s systems are, it’s easier than ever to create unintended side effects,” says Ryan Stinson, HubSpot’s manager of security engineering. “Events like these call for an even more heightened awareness of people’s privacy needs, and taking a privacy-first approach to service.”

This is an ongoing situation that continues to unfold as we await comment from Facebook and its aforementioned app audit is underway.

 

Why Understanding Your Customers is the Only Marketing Strategy You Need

We all want to be “successful” marketers.

But what does success in marketing even mean?

Sure, we can track analytics.

We can count how many social followers we have.

We can watch our number of website visitors grow.

But how do we know what is really successful?

When it comes down to it, there is only one judge for a successful marketing campaign.

The customers.

There are dozens of “how to” guides and “best practices” marketers can follow.

But the truth of the matter is, if your audience doesn’t connect with it, it doesn’t matter how successful it was for another company or brand.

To truly develop a “successful” marketing campaign, understanding your customers is the only thing you need to do.

What is a customer-centric marketing approach?

Customer-centric marketing uses personalized messages, products, content, and more to ensure the consumer is getting exactly what they’re looking for.

But a customer-centric approach needs to go beyond just your marketing.

It requires creating a “customer-centric organization, not just a customer-centric marketing department,” says IDC research analyst Gerry Murray.

Putting your customers’ needs first can help improve relationships with your audience and retain customers.

This is because customers like to feel like they’re being given special treatment.

In fact, 90% of consumers found personalization appealing, while 80% said they’d be more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized approaches.

the appeal of personalization

With a customer-centric marketing approach, companies stop trying to tell their shoppers what they need.

This kind of traditional marketing has become unappealing and untrustworthy.

With 2 in 10 consumers stating they don’t like online ads, it can be complicated to reach shoppers with traditional marketing.

ad sentiment

This is where a customer-centric strategy works a bit differently.

Instead of pushing products and hoping someone will buy, customer-centric businesses craft their messaging, products, and content around the unique needs of their target audience.

Let’s take a look at Southwest Airlines.

Airlines notoriously have a reputation for having poor customer service.

Southwest Airlines, however, has been able to remove themselves from this stereotype to provide a customer-centric marketing approach that their customers love.

They don’t stuff their planes full of TV screens, big seats, or fancy meals and then demand extreme prices for these unnecessary luxuries.

Instead, they offer affordable pricing and won’t charge you ridiculous fees for things like baggage or wanting to change your travel dates.

By giving them what they want – not what marketers think they want – they can gain more attention and see higher conversions.

This has put Southwest Airlines at the front of the airline industry when it comes to customer satisfaction.

customer service rankings of US airlines

Now, compare that to United Airlines – a company who hasn’t had the best year.

Who could forget the time they forcefully dragged a passenger off a plane or when they ordered a family to put their dog in an overhead compartment?

United Airlines has struggled to put their customer’s needs at the forefront of their business – and it’s definitely cost them.

Due to their scandals, 67.3% of customers feel at least somewhat negative about the airline with 53.7% feel less willing to purchase a ticket from United Airlines.

Because customers have other options and feel undervalued or even threatened by the company’s lack of attention, they’ll turn elsewhere.

The importance of knowing your customers well

There are over 82 million blog posts published each month – just on WordPress.

blog posts published each month

Month after month, more and more companies and individuals are taking advantage of blogging.

However, consumers don’t have time to waste on low-quality content they don’t connect with.

And they don’t have to.

If one article doesn’t fit their needs, there are dozens more they can turn to.

The best way to stand out is by creating unique content relevant to the needs of your target audience.

In fact, 58% of content marketers said audience relevance was the biggest contributor to success.

audience relevance biggest contributor

When you can create content that fits the unique needs of your target audience, they can develop trust and familiarity with your brand.

This can make them more loyal to your company and products.

Having loyal customers who make repeat purchases can be a major benefit to your bottom line.

And, there’s proof.

Loyal customers end up being worth ten times their original purchase.

loyal customes worth 10x more helpscout

This is because loyal customers are easier to sell to.

This dramatically reduces the amount of time that customer needs to spend being nurtured and convinced.

Instead, they can jump right back into the sales funnel.

In fact, past customers have a 65% chance of converting compared to a 13% chance for new prospects.

repeat customers easier to sell

By paying attention to your customers’ needs, you can reduce your marketing costs while bringing in more sales and profit.

Loyal customers are also more likely to support you in getting new business.

When a customer is happy with their brand, they’ll want to share their experience with their friends and family.

These recommendations can help boost your trust with new leads and can get you more sales.

In fact, 82% of Americans say they look for recommendations from friends and family when they’re considering a purchase.

why are online reviews important

When you stop trying to guess what your customers are looking for and start listening to what they’re telling you, you increase revenue while creating long-term relationships.

It’s a win-win.

Take a look at Harley-Davidson.

When you buy a Harley, you’re doing more than just buying a motorcycle. You’re becoming part of a tribe.

This kind of cult brand goes beyond simple brand loyalty.

Harley-Davidson built its reputation as a brand for individuals who don’t play by the rules, but they went beyond that to make it their mission to bring like-minded individuals together.

By introducing their Harley Owners Group chapters, local Harley fanatics could get together for rides, charity events, and more.

At its peak, HOG had over 1 million members.

Harley-Davidson didn’t simply create a brand their customers loved.

They created a lifestyle.

How to get to know your customers better

You’re not going to get to know your customers overnight.

Your customers are dynamic people.

As their needs change, you change.

Amazon’s CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos, describes his approach to customers like this:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

As one of the most customer-centric companies in the world, it’s safe to say Amazon knows a thing or two about getting to know their audience.

To help you pull a page from Amazon’s book, here are five tips to get to know your customers better.

1. Build out your buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a guide to the individuals you are trying to attract.

Typically, a buyer persona would describe one ideal customer or client in great detail.

Here’s a pretty basic buyer persona template from HubSpot.

hubspot buyer persona

Within this persona, you can outline some pretty basic information about your target audience.

This includes their basic demographics and background, and some unique identifiers.

However, if you really want to make your customers the focus of your marketing, you’re going to want to get much deeper than this.

Compare HubSpot’s template to this example from Iron Spring Designs.

iron springs designs buyer persona

While it still covers a lot of the same information as the basic persona, it dives much deeper into who the character really is.

Once you’ve created your basic buyer persona, think of how you can take it a bit further.

What challenges does your customer face?

What are they scared of?

Who influences their choices and how they live their life?

A lot of this information may not seem relevant to your brand and business, but getting the full picture can allow you to establish deeper connections.

Here’s another great example of a persona you can pull from.

kelli buyer persona

However, when creating your buyer personas, you can’t simply create a customer from thin air – especially if you already have a loyal customer base.

Think about Gap’s 2010 rebrand.

The clothing company, known for their basics and staples, decided to go for a younger, trendier crowd – all while neglecting their current customer base.

And people weren’t happy.

While you can use your customer persona to shape the direction you want your business to go, you can’t simply drop your old customers in favor of the new ideal clients you’ve thought up.

Instead, create multiple personas that can coexist.

Remember, creating personas shouldn’t be a one-and-done type deal.

To truly understand your target audience and who they are, you need to watch how they evolve.

Come back and revisit your buyer persona every few months, or after a major shift in your industry occurs.

2. Listen to them on social media.

Our customers’ social pages are a bit like their journals.

Except that they’re willing to display everything in public.

By properly listening to your audience on social, you can learn a lot about what they’re looking for and how they feel about your brand.

However, if you’re strictly looking at mentions, posts, and comments directed at your business, you’re missing out.

Social listening – which differs from simple social monitoring – provides businesses with insights about how they’re meeting (or missing) client expectations.

Let’s take a look at Chipotle.

The incredibly popular food chain has had a bit of a rough year, with multiple food safety scandals.

So, it’s no surprise that food safety is at the center of the majority of conversations about them on Twitter.

chipotle tweet conversations

However, Chipotle can also see that their customers are just as concerned about things like guac and queso as they are about their food safety.

To get a real idea of who your target audience is and what they expect out of you, you need to go beyond simple mentions to do so.

You can start by simply searching your company name within social platforms.

Here’s a simple example of a Domino’s customer on Twitter.

dominos customers on twitter

Although the user didn’t post directly to Domino’s account, they can still find this information from the search bar.

However, social listening tools can give you stronger insights and faster results.

Mention, for example, is a great tool for monitoring your brand anywhere online.

nasa on mention software

The dashboard gives you insights about who is posting about your brand, as well as where they’re located and what kind of influence they have.

While it is important to pay close attention to the conversations you’re not directly involved with, it’s also crucial to connect when your audience comes to you.

42% of customers expect a brand to respond to them on social within an hour.

Actively watching for questions, comments, or feedback can give you insights into your customers while also getting a feel for the problems your audience may be experiencing.

Check out this response from Comcast, given not even a minute after the customer mentioned their problem.

comcast cares twitter reply

Remember, social can act as a two-way street.

Don’t be afraid to get involved in conversations, ask questions, and follow users you think can teach you more about your audience.

3. Create and send out surveys.

If you want to know something from your target audience, why not ask?

Surveys can provide you with direct insights or opinions that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to collect.

However, surveys aren’t the easiest things to get your audience to participate in.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve your survey response rate.

First, keep your survey simple.

Check out this example from The Yard.

would you recommend the yard

This survey is about as easy as it can get.

Recipients aren’t faced with a long survey that would take a serious time commitment to fill out.

Instead, all they need to do is click one button, and The Yard gets a better understanding of if their members are happy.

These kind of embedded surveys can improve survey engagement dramatically.

Take a look at this case study from Get Feedback.

Get Feedback decided to A/B test two similar email surveys, one containing a link to a web survey and another with embedded responses.

They found that the embedded survey actually increased starting engagement by 210% and saw 125% improvement in survey completion.

survey engagement ab test

The embedded survey also had 66% fewer unsubscribers, indicating that users enjoyed this type of survey much more.

When creating your survey or quiz, you also want to humanize your messaging.

By saying things like “it would really help us” or “we’d love to hear your feedback,” you’re showing that there is a real purpose behind the survey results.

You can also improve responses by featuring a progress bar.

Here’s another example from SurveyMonkey.

survey monkey social media question

Notice along the bottom how survey participants can see how close they are to being finished.

This progression bar lets them know when the survey will be over, making them more likely to finish it through.

However, Survey Monkey found that a progress bar doesn’t always help.

completion rate bar ab test

For longer surveys, a bottom visual scale, top number, or bottom percent improved completions while bottom numbers and top perfects hurt.

On the other hand, top percents and top numbers reduced completion for short surveys while all bottom placements helped.

If you’re going to use surveys as a way to get to know your target audience, you want to make the process as painless as possible for participants.

Keep questions short and to the point.

Also, be sure to analyze your results from surveys and how participants engage with them.

If you notice that participants are dropping out halfway through, consider what you can do to change this moving forward.

4. Look at the content they’re engaging with.

Whether it’s blog posts, videos, infographics, or images, customers are engaging with different forms of content consistently throughout the day.

In fact, U.S. adults are spending over 12 hours a day consuming media.

To better understand what they want and need, you need to be paying attention.

First, it’s important to see what kind of content of your own they’re connecting with.

The best way to do this is with your Google Analytics.

You can find your company’s top pages by logging into Google Analytics, selecting “Behavior,” then “Site Content” and “All Pages.”

Here’s an example from OptinMonster.

optin monster ab test

Knowing which pages are your most popular can help you understand what kind of content to create going forward.

Look for any particular patterns showing up in your popular pages.

Also, pay attention to the types of content they’re engaging with.

If your audience prefers infographics over blog posts, you may want to work more infographics into your content strategy.

Also, you can head over to a competitor’s social media page to see what posts are getting a lot of likes or shares.

Here’s an example from Thrive Market.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthrivemkt%2Fvideos%2F1902218439799689%2F&show_text=0&width=476

Using this information, you can include recipe posts into your own strategy.

However, you don’t want to copy competitors directly.

Instead, take what they provide and find a way to make it better.

Add new insights, create a better image or video, or go deeper into the subject to provide more value than your competitors did.

However you can, try to find a way to make your content more valuable than what is already out there.

5. Pay attention to the customers not converting.

There is no doubt there is a lot to learn from your customers.

However, there is probably a lot more you can learn from the leads who aren’t converting.

This process can be a bit more complicated than just getting to know the customers who do buy.

After all, you don’t have as much information on these leads as you do your customers.

To identify where you’re losing leads, you want to consider the traditional buyer’s journey.

Here’s an example from HubSpot.

hubspot funnel

First, customers become aware of their problem.

They next consider what options are available for solving that problem.

Finally, they decide how they’re going to get a solution.

Each buyer, regardless of industry, goes through this journey.

However, if you’re getting introduced to buyers in the consideration phase and losing them before they make a decision, you could be doing something wrong.

It isn’t likely that every individual that runs into your content is going to purchase from you.

In fact, conversion rates for content marketing are only about 3%.

But you still need to identify the leaks in your sales funnel.

You should be providing content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.

By ensuring you’re covering all your bases, you can guarantee each individual has the information they need to make it to the end.

You’ll also want to consider areas where you see engagements, but not conversions.

Social is a prime example of this.

If you’re constantly posting new content and getting hundreds of likes and comments, but don’t see any sales, it means there is a serious disconnect going on.

The same is true for your blog posts or videos.

Try to switch up your CTAs, social posts, or even introduce a new form of content.

And you don’t need to get too creative about what you add.

Take this dentist from Indiana, for example.

Dr. Sutor uses Facebook Live to talk about common dental problems – and gets thousands of views.

dentist using facebook live

While these numbers aren’t extreme, they’re an easy way to bring in new potential leads and expand reach.

Make small changes that allow you to properly track how your audience is influenced and make a note of any improvements.

As you begin to learn what your target audience doesn’t like, you can give them more of what they do like.

Conclusion

When it comes to marketing, stop assuming you know best.

If you’re still trying to tell your audience what they need, you’re never going to sell products.

Today’s shopper understands their needs and the solutions available to them.

They’re well-researched, smart, and unwilling to fall for the traditional sales tactics.

But when you work with them to create and deliver the solutions they want, you can create a loyal following that wants to help you succeed.

How has getting to know your customers improved your sales and marketing?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

Unriddled: Apple Keeps Coming for Google News, a Live Video Push for Twitter, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome to Wednesday, and the latest edition of “Unriddled”: the HubSpot Marketing Blog’s mid-week digest of the tech news you need to know.

Sorry we missed you last week — we were in Washington, D.C. for Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings. (Feel like catching up? Check out our coverage here.)

This week, we continue to wade through the very crowded pool of tech news items to help you decrypt what’s happening in this vast, often complex sector. And believe it or not: Once again, it’s not all about Facebook this week.

It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Apple Could Be Launching a Subscription News Service

Less than a month after Google announced its “Subscribe With Google” service for news publishers, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple could be launching its own subscription news service.

The story follows Apple’s March acquisition of Texture: a digital magazine app through which users can subscribe to a selection of more than 200 magazines for a flat fee of $9.99 a month. While this tool might sound familiar, its model is actually different from Apple’s discontinued Newsstand app, which provided a central place for iOS users to individually subscribe to and read content from a number of publications.

Now, the iPhone manufacturer offers what’s looking to be the more simplified Apple News, which aggregates news stories from publishers that a given user chooses to follow in a single place. And paired with the Texture acquisition, some are predicting that Apple could launch its own news subscription service modeled after Texture.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 2.57.41 PM

Source: Apple

Rather than providing a central place where users can individually subscribe to a number of outlets, it seems, Apple could be moving in the direction of offering an original flat-rate subscription service that allows users to access unlimited content from the publications offered on this platform. Those publishers would receive a cut of the subscription revenue.

Bloomberg reports that this new model could launch within the next year.

It comes on the heels of Google’s own announcement that it will be building a news subscription model of its own, though it differs from Apple’s expected service in a few ways.

Instead of providing an aggregation app where users can subscribe to content from a number of outlets for a single, monthly fee, Google says it’s working to make it easier for users to manage and pay for individual subscriptions through their Google accounts. That way, they can read premium content across any device on which they’re signed into Google, without having to get through a paywall every time they click to read articles.

As for publishers, Google says, this new feature will help supply them with better analytics and tools to identify and convert potential subscribers. 

Miami-Hearald-Buy_Flow_pNoEeC5

Source: Google

2. Twitter’s Big Push for Live Video

If you’ve recently opened the Twitter app during a major event — like last week’s Congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg, for example — you might have noticed the option to watch it live right from the app.

After Digiday reporter Kerry Flynn tweeted the discovery of this feature, Matt Navarra (formerly of TheNextWeb) noted that Twitter might be experimenting with the display of a live video “carousel” front-and-center of the app.

As Flynn noted, it’s somewhat reminiscent of the earliest days of Facebook Live, when the social network wanted to make sure users were aware of the feature by visually promoting live video content within the app.

But for Twitter, it has more to do with the promotion of Periscope: the live video streaming app that Twitter acquired in 2015. But since then, despite its best efforts, Twitter’s live video capabilities — along with the Periscope branding — could be described as lackluster. Other platforms often took the spotlight for live streaming, including Facebook and YouTube Live, with Twitter sometimes serving as an afterthought for watching events in real time.

That’s not for a lack of promotional efforts by Twitter, as is well known by those who receive its frequent email notifications of live sporting events that will be streamed on the network. On its blog, too, Twitter often tries to play up the experience of a live event (such as the Academy Awards) on its platform. 

But what Flynn identified as the “mobile integration” of these capabilities is still somewhat new — and its success is to be determined.

3. A New QR Code Feature for Facebook Page Admins

In late March, rumors emerged that Instagram was testing a feature similar to Snapchat’s Snapcodes feature, which allows users to scan codes to find profiles or content on the app. Instagram’s version was rumored to be called Nametag, and would give content creators a similar method of discoverability by letting prospective followers scan a visual QR-like code (on print or other materials) that would lead to their profiles.

Now, it appears that Facebook has rolled out such a feature — first discovered by computer scientist Jane Manchun Wong — for Page administrators, who can now print a QR code for followers to either Like the Page, check in to its physical location, or take action on an offer.

Right now, it appears that the feature appears under “Publishing Tools” on the Page admin dashboard.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.47.03 PM

It also comes with insights that can help admins track how many times the QR Code has been scanned — though it’s not clear if any further analytics are provided beyond scans.

Nametag is yet to be confirmed (though Instagram did roll out a new “Focus” setting within its Stories service last week), and its launch could be contingent on the success of Page QR Codes. 

4. And Now: Dogs in Slow Motion

Okay, so this item isn’t exactly hard-hitting news — but it is adorable. And in the midst of stories about data leaks and competition, sometimes, the mood calls for a slow-motion video of a dog drying itself off after a swim.

That’s what sites like The Dodo and BuzzFeed have often been used for — and now, both brands have partnered to create content promoting the Super Slow-mo features available on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ mobile devices.

“Partnering with BuzzFeed and The Dodo is a natural fit,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics in a statement, “and a great way to showcase how consumers can make everyday moments epic by using the Galaxy S9 and S9+’s Super Slow-mo camera.” 

Beyond that, the story really speaks for itself — so without further ado, here’s that video.

 

 

What Else Is Going Down in Tech Town?

More of the Latest From Facebook

With 10 hours of testimony behind us, it was understandably hard to keep tabs on last week’s Congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg. Luckily, we recapped each day of the proceedings — as well as an overview of what we still want to know.

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg testified before a joint hearing held by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees, where there were some key, recurring themes among the lawmakers’ many (and often repetitive) questions. Read full story >>

At Wednesday’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the questions were a bit more challenging for Zuckerberg to answer and slightly more detailed in nature. That might have been the result of inquiries from House lawmakers that represent more niche constituencies — or simply the byproduct of better preparation. Read full story >>

And even after 10 hours of hearings, there were still things left largely unanswered by Zuckerberg and Facebook alike. Wired counted 43 outstanding items on which Zuckerberg promised lawmakers answers at a later date, and since then, Facebook has only publicly commented on one item in detail: how it collects data on browsing behavior outside of the network. By the end of the week, here’s what we still wanted to know. Read full story >>

Meanwhile, Facebook also released a statement earlier this morning outline some of the steps it’s taking toward GDPR compliance. Read full story >> 

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you’d like us to cover.