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Best Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software helps businesses streamline marketing processes.By automating marketing tasks, it’s much easier to generate leads, build customer relationships, and drive conversions at scale. manually. But marketing automation software moves customers through your sales funnel and customer manually with ease. Here is the review of the top 6 marketing automation solution

Marketing automation software helps businesses streamline marketing processes.

By automating marketing tasks, it’s much easier to generate leads, build customer relationships, and drive conversions at scale. As your business grows, it’s impossible to manage every single lead and customer manually. But marketing automation software moves customers through your sales funnel with ease.

Marketing automation software provides leads with a consistent experience across multiple digital marketing channels.

By leveraging marketing automation software, you can personalize the customer experience by providing the most accurate information and promotions to customers with different needs.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, it’s important to understand that marketing automation software is not the same as email marketing software or CRM software.

Marketing automation is a component of customer relationship management, and email can be a component of marketing automation—but the three are not one in the same.

The Top 6 Best Marketing Automation Software

After conducting extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the top marketing automation solutions on the market today. Here’s an in-depth review of each one on our list:

#1 – HubSpot — Best Overall Marketing Automation Software

HubSpot is one of the most well-known names in the marketing world. This inbound marketing software has everything you need to automate dozens of tasks at scale.

With HubSpot, you’re able to customize sophisticated and highly targeted workflows using a visual editor. You can use this tool for simple follow-up messages or even complex campaigns with multiple touch-points throughout the customer journey.

HubSpot makes it easy for you to automate your emails with drip campaigns. Just choose from dozens of pre-set triggers, conditions, or customer actions.

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More than 90,000 businesses trust ActiveCampaign for marketing automation. It’s arguably the best visual automation builder with drag-and-drop functionality on the market today.

ActiveCampaign makes it easy for anyone, regardless of technical skill level, to set up both simple and complex marketing automations.

From site tracking to event tracking, attribution, split actions, and automation goals, ActiveCampaign has it all.

ActiveCampaign takes a complex subject and simplifies it with an easy to use dashboard and management tools, which is why it’s our top pick for small businesses.

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GetResponse is a powerful and affordable marketing automation solution that’s used by small businesses and large organizations alike. Over 350,000 businesses across the globe use this software to automate marketing processes.

From capturing new leads to generating sales, recovering abandoned carts, and driving engagement from your site traffic, GetResponse has tools to meet your needs.

It’s easy to set up an automated customer journey by applying conditions, actions, and filters that will automatically trigger users through a pre-defined journey based on their behavior.

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OptinMonster is a bit different compared to some of the other options on our list. This software is not really a full-service or all-inclusive marketing automation solution.

It’s a lead generation and customer acquisition tool for your website that leverages marketing automation to grow your email list, reduce cart abandonment, and increase sales. More than one million websites use OptinMonster, making it one of the most popular solutions on the market today.

OptinMonster has tools to help you design high-converting landing pages, popups, and website campaigns designed to generate leads.

Then you can create automated and campaigns for website visitors based on their behavior and actions.

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Salesforce is one of the most reputable and well known CRM solutions on the market today. So it’s no surprise to see Salesforce Pardot rank so high on our list of the best marketing automation software.

With that said, Salesforce Pardot is not for everyone. This software is made specifically for B2B organizations.

Top features include streamlined lead management, smart lead generation, email marketing, and sales integration. Salesforce Pardot leverages the power of AI to improve your marketing efforts and sales strategy. You’ll also benefit from insightful ROI reporting to determine what campaigns are working and which ones need improvement.

Here’s a quick look at the Salesforce Pardot pricing options:

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ConvertKit is one of the simplest marketing automation solutions that you’ll find. For those of you who are new to using marketing automation tools, this choice should be toward the top of your list.

ConvertKit is branded as an email marketing software, but its marketing automation features are much more advanced than just basic email functionality.

This tool makes it easy for you to create powerful automation funnels based on a subscriber’s action. It ensures that you send targeted content to the right audience at the perfect time.

Unlike other marketing automation tools on our list, ConvertKit is simple. You can set up basic automation rules that trigger a specific campaign, without having to go through complex workflows and settings. The visual editor is easy for anyone to use, even if you have zero experience with marketing automation.

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Twitter Q1: sales up 3% to $808M as it swigs to a loss on COVID-19, mDAUS hit record 166M

Despite traffic for many online properties being at an all-time high, advertising has fallen off a cliff because of the downturn in consumer activity outside the home and the wider economic pressures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. And today, Twitter reported quarterly earnings that bore this trend out. The ad-based social networking and media company said that…

Despite traffic for many online properties being at an all-time high, advertising has fallen off a cliff because of the downturn in consumer activity outside the home and the wider economic pressures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. And today, Twitter reported quarterly earnings that bore this trend out.

The ad-based social networking and media company said that in Q1 it made $808 million in revenues, actually up 3% on a year ago, with monetizable daily active users (Twitter’s own metric for measuring its audience) grew 24% to 166 million, an all-time high, adding 14 million average mDAUs since Q4 (152 million) and 32 million since Q1 of last year (134 million).

However, operating income for the quarter swung to a loss of $7 million, working out to a net margin of -1% and diluted EPS of -$0.01.

Analysts had expected, on average, to see $775.96 million in revenues on earnings per share of $0.10, so Twitter beat on sales, and missed on earnings. (Note: Twitter’s analyst consensus, provided to journalists, was a little different and painted a more positive picture: it noted average EPS expectations were -$0.02 on sales of $776 million, with expectations of mDAUs at 164 million. Twitter says that its figures are based on non-GAAP numbers, but even on GAAP EPS Twitter’s actual EPS is a beat on consensus of -$0.02.)

Times have really changed whichever way you look at it. In the same quarter a year ago, Twitter reported sales of $787 million, up 18%; net income of $191 million; and diluted EPS of $0.37.

“In this difficult time, Twitter’s purpose is proving more vital than ever,” said CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement. “We are helping the world stay informed, and providing a unique way for people to come together to help or simply entertain and remind one another of our connections. We’ve delivered our strongest ever year over year mDAU growth. Public conversation can help the world learn faster, solve common problems, and realize we’re all in this together. Our task now is to make sure we retain that connection over the long term with the many people new to Twitter.”

The company said that the quarter played out in “two distinct periods”, January through early March, which largely performed as expected, it said, and eearly March through the end of the quarter, “when the pandemic became global.”

None of this should come as a surprise. Twitter itself announced more than a month ago that it was removing its own financial guidance because of the instability of its business due to COVID-19 — noting only that it would be lower than expected:

“While the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on current visibility, the company expects Q1 revenue to be down slightly on a year-over-year basis,” it wrote at the time. “Twitter also expects to incur a GAAP operating loss, as reduced expenses resulting from COVID-19 disruption are unlikely to fully offset the revenue impact of the pandemic in Q1.”

It did point out one bright spot, which is that it is picking up many more users because of increased “conversation about COVID-19 as well as ongoing product improvements.” Then, it said that quarter-to-date average total mDAU was around 164 million, up 23% from 134 million in Q1 2019 and up 8% from 152 million in Q4 2019.

Generally, Twitter’s fortunes this quarter are in line with results from Alphabet/Google and Facebook, which also reported earnings this week that reflect the impact of reduced advertising revenues due to fallout from the the public health crisis.

But even without the impact of COVID-19 on Twitter’s primary business of advertising, the company had been facing a tough time leading into the quarter. Like eBay, Twitter has been the subject of activist investor activity pushing for leadership and operational changes to improve growth and profitability. (Coincidentally, the same activist investor, Elliott, has been behind both efforts.) Unlike eBay, however, Twitter has managed to keep its CEO in place — co-founder Jack Dorsey — but has had to concede board seats as part of a wider financing package and strategy to refocus the business. There may be questions on the call today to see if all of that has been put on ice given how other factors are now in play.

One outcome from the deal it had cut with investors was to provide more actionable plans that translated to growth and profit, and on that front at least Twitter is playing ball.

It notes that it has “shifted resources and priorities to increase focus on our revenue products, particularly performance ads beginning with MAP [mobile application promotion ads], with the goal of accelerating our long-term roadmap.” This has included an ad server rebuild that should be finished by the end of Q2 to implement microservices architecture for more efficiency and to make it easier to make changes on the fly. It’s also implementing direct response advertising, also with the aim of adding new features that it can charge advertisers for.

We have increased our focus and the relative prioritization of our revenue products, and will shift and add product and engineering resources as practical to increase our pace of execution on this critical work,” it noted in the earnings letter.

Breaking out some specific numbers, advertising accounted for the lion’s share of sales at $682 million, with data licensing making up much of the remainder. US revenues were $468 million, up 8% year-over-year, while international was at $339 million, down 4%.

No layoffs announced (not yet) but as with others like Spotify, Twitter is putting a hold on hiring. The company had committed to increase headcount this year by at least 20% (alongside its CEO relocating to Africa temporarily and many other optimistic plans) but this is now being slowed down — to what extent, it did not say, but it did note that 2020 total expense growth would now be “considerably less” than the 20% it had projected.

More to come.

How this startup built and exited to Twitter in 1,219 days

By the summer of 2016, Marie Outtier had spent eight years as a consultant advising media agencies and martech companies on marketing growth strategy. Pierre-Jean “PJ” Camillieri started as a music software engineer before joining one of Apple’s consumer electronics divisions. Inspired by Siri, he left to start Timista, a smart lifestyle assistant. When the…

Aiden team at Twitter offices - How this startup built and exited to Twitter in 1,219 days

By the summer of 2016, Marie Outtier had spent eight years as a consultant advising media agencies and martech companies on marketing growth strategy.

Pierre-Jean “PJ” Camillieri started as a music software engineer before joining one of Apple’s consumer electronics divisions. Inspired by Siri, he left to start Timista, a smart lifestyle assistant.

When the two joined forces to co-found Aiden.ai, the combination was potent — one was a consummate marketer, the other, a specialist in machine learning. Their goal: create an AI-driven marketing analyst that offered actionable advice in real time.

Humans who manage ad campaigns must analyze vast amounts of numbers, but Outtier and Camillieri envisioned a tool that could make optimization recommendations in real time. Analytics are vast and unwieldy, so theirs was a no-brainer proposition with a market crying out for solutions.

The company’s first office was at Bloom Space in Gower Street, London. It was just a handful of hot desks and a nearby sofa shared with four other startups. That summer, they began in earnest to build the company. A few months later, they had a huge opportunity when the still 100% bootstrapped company was selected for Techcrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield competition.

Interviewed by TechCrunch, they explained their proposition: Marketers wanted to know where a digital marketing campaign was getting the most traction: Twitter or Facebook. You might need to check several dashboards across multiple accounts, plus Google analytics to compile the data — and even if you conclude that one platform is outperforming the other, that might change next week as users shift attention to Instagram, potentially wasting 60% of ad spend.

Aiden was intended to feel like just another co-worker, relying on natural language processing to make the exchange feel chatty and comfortable. It queried data from multiple dashboards and quickly compiled it into flash charts, making it easy to find and digest.

Eventually, instead of managing 10 clients, marketing analysts would be able to manage 50 using dynamic predictions as well as visualizations. Aiden incorporated Outtier’s expertise into its algorithms so it could suggest how to tweak a Facebook campaign and anticipate what was going to happen.

Was appearing at Disrupt a significant moment? “It was a big deal for us,” says Outtier. “The exposure gave us ammunition to raise our first round. And being part of the Disrupt Battlefield alumni gave us many meaningful networking and PR opportunities.”

A few weeks later the company had raised a seed round of $750,000. But not without difficulty. By this time Outtier was in the latter stages of pregnancy. Raising money under these circumstances was difficult, but, she says, “it can be done. It’s tougher than ‘normal circumstances.’ It’s a bit like running a marathon, but with a fridge on your back.”

Quibi’s Been Here Less Than a Month and It’s Already Leaking Data

Image: QuibiQuibi, the baffling mobile-first video streaming service that launched earlier this month, has already been found doing some shady stuff with your data. A new report has found the company leaked user email addresses to several third-party advertising and analytics firms via its email verification process.The report was published on Medium by Zach Edwards,…

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Image: Quibi

Quibi, the baffling mobile-first video streaming service that launched earlier this month, has already been found doing some shady stuff with your data. A new report has found the company leaked user email addresses to several third-party advertising and analytics firms via its email verification process.

The report was published on Medium by Zach Edwards, founder of analytics firm Victory Medium and an alum of the 2008 Obama campaign’s digital team. In it, Edwards says that new Quibi users were prompted to submit their emails to create an account and then asked to confirm that account via a link. However, that link also contained that user’s email address in the URL, which was then sent in plain text to third parties including Google, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and a UK-based firm called CivicComputing.com.

Edwards notes that Quibi was notified of the leak on April 17, but that emails were still being leaked as of April 26. That, and since the original test, Quibi was found sending user data to several newer companies such as LiveRamp.com, SkimAds, and Tapad.

At this point, hardened internet veterans probably assume everything we do online is being sold left and right. To that point, Edwards’s report also calls out plenty of other companies like the Washington Post, JetBlue, Mailchimp, and Wish.com for sharing user emails with third-party marketers. That said, there are a few reasons why Quibi doing it is so alarming.

First off, Quibi is brand-spanking new. It launched April 6—roughly three weeks ago—and already has more than 2.7 million app downloads. While you can assume some of those are the same users redownloading the app onto multiple devices, that’s a lot of folks who have had their emails leaked. Quibi’s newness also doesn’t shield it from the fact that it launched long after privacy legislation like Europe’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act were in place. Any new company launching should’ve had these privacy protection regulations in mind when building out their product. Put those two things together and it’s hard to believe Quibi had no idea what it was doing. Even if you did believe it was an “accident,” that’s alarming for a whole other reason.

In his report, Edwards acknowledges this, writing that “it’s an extremely disrespectful decision to purposefully leak all new user emails to your advertising partners, and there’s almost no way that numerous people at Quibi were not only aware of this plan, but helped architect this user breach.”

In fairness, Quibi’s privacy policy does state that it may share personal information to third parties for things like website hosting, data storage, data analysis, personalized advertising, ad measurement and verification, conversion tracking, social sharing, and a whole lot of other marketing gobbledygook. But as pointed out by Variety, nowhere in the privacy policy does Quibi explicitly include online activity tracking—which is what leaking these emails will help these companies do as they combine data from various sources.

We asked Quibi for more information as to how and why any of this happened in the first place, but a Quibi spokesperson declined to comment on the record. The company did tell Variety that it had immediately addressed the issue the “moment” it was revealed to Quibi’s security and engineering team—but none of that clears up why this sort of practice was even

Spotify Q1 beats on sales of $2B with monthly active users up 31% to 286M

The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music, as evidenced by the world’s biggest music streaming company, appears to be minimal. Today Spotify reported its earnings for Q1 with revenues of €1.848 billion ($2 billion at today’s rates) and an inching into a positive net income…

The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music, as evidenced by the world’s biggest music streaming company, appears to be minimal. Today Spotify reported its earnings for Q1 with revenues of €1.848 billion ($2 billion at today’s rates) and an inching into a positive net income of $1 million. Monthly active users (not total subscribers) now stand at 286 million, with paid (premium) users at 130 million and ad-supported monthly active users at 163 million. Ad-supported users are growing at a slightly higher rate at the moment, at 32% versus 31%, Spotify said.

Spotify beat analysts’ forecasts on both sales — they had on average been expecting revenues of $1.86 billion — and EPS, which had been forecast to be -$0.49 but came in at -$0.20 on a diluted basis and $0.00 undiluted.

The numbers underscore the positive signals we’ve had from the wider industry. More generally, we have seen a huge boost in streaming media services — including video as well — as more people are staying home and looking for ways to be entertained. Furthermore, earnings this month from at least one music label, Universal Music Group, also showed little impact from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite the global uncertainty around COVID-19 in Q1, our business met or exceeded our forecast for all major metrics,” the company wrote in its introduction to shareholders. “For Q2 and the remainder of the year, our outlook for most of our key performance indicators has remained unchanged with the exception of revenue where a slowdown in advertising and significant changes in currency rates are having an impact.”

In other words, while overall numbers appear to be stable, that is not to say that there haven’t been pockets of decline for the company in specific markets and product areas.

For example, Italy and Spain, two traditionally strong markets for Spotify, have been some of the hardest-hit by COVID-19 and its wider economic impacts, and in line with that, Spotify said it “saw a notable decline in Daily Active Users and consumption” in these markets. And in keeping with the countries both seeing a stabilisation in their new cases, both are now starting rebound and recover.

And listening patterns are also changing, it said. “Every day now looks like the weekend,” it said. (I know what they mean…)

Usage in car, wearable and web platforms have all dropped, but TV and game console use have grown more than 50% compared to a year ago. Ad-supported MAU in the US via game consoles has been a top 2 or 3 platform in terms of consumption for the better part of the month, and connected device usage generally is up more than 40% among ad-supported users globally, it noted.

Listening time around activities like cooking, doing chores, family time, and relaxing at home have each been up double digits over the past few weeks, it said. “Audio has also taken on a greater role in managing the stress and anxiety many are feeling in today’s unprecedented environment,” it offered as its explanation for the use. (Again, inclined to agree with this using a sample size of my own household.)

In terms of subscriber numbers, free users continue to outpace those who pay monthly, and continue to be a springboard for upselling to paid tiers, and seems to be an even stronger model in the current climate.

“The past few months have only strengthened our belief in the Freemium model,” the company noted. “As mentioned, we have seen strong growth in users, both new and returning. Historically, over 60% of our Premium users start as Ad-Supported users, so continuing to grow the top of the funnel is very healthy for our ecosystem. We also know that roughly 70% of churned users are back with Spotify within 45 days of leaving, which includes coming back through either our Premium or Ad-Supported experience. While our sincere hope is for some sense of ‘normalcy’ to return to people’s lives as quickly as possible, we do believe our model is uniquely positioned to not just weather this storm, but to come out the other side even stronger.”

Also of note: the company’s shift to making more of its own content — note here the big boost we’ve seen in its podcasting business — seems to be paying off dividends.

Gross margins, it pointed out, were at 25.5% and “exceeded our expectations and finished at the high end of our guidance range.” The reason, it said, was “the core royalty component due to product mix, offset somewhat by one-time reductions.” This will be impacted because of a slowdown in production at the current time.

The company announced at the start of this month (so not part of these earnings that end March 30) a new global licensing partnership with Warner Music Group that covers more markets. That will not, however, see a change in royalty fees as such, but will give Spotify a wider pool of music in more markets, and perhaps access to other IP, given Spotify’s wider remit these days across podcasts, artist marketing services and more.

“We are pleased with the outcome, and as stated previously, do not believe the new deal will materially impact music economics,” it wrote. “We look forward to working together with Warner to grow the music industry over the long term.”

Spotify has been fully working remotely for the last seven weeks, and unlike a number of other tech businesses it has not seen any layoffs so far. It did note that it would be reducing hiring, however, for the rest of 2020, reducing previous numbers by 30%.

The lockdown is driving people to Facebook

The quarantine lockdown is driving a record number of users to Facebook’s products. On a conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed a number of new metrics highlighting a significant bump in Facebook usage during the broader quarantine lockdown. In the past month, more than 3 billion internet users logged onto a Facebook service, including its…

facebook getty - The lockdown is driving people to Facebook

The quarantine lockdown is driving a record number of users to Facebook’s products. On a conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg disclosed a number of new metrics highlighting a significant bump in Facebook usage during the broader quarantine lockdown.

In the past month, more than 3 billion internet users logged onto a Facebook service, including its central app, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp, Zuckerberg disclosed. This number constitutes roughly two-thirds of the world’s total internet users. This was a record for the platform, which reported average monthly active users of 2.60 billion in Q1.

The company’s communications tools saw major surges in the past several weeks, with Zuckerberg also disclosing more granular metrics that voice and video calling usage had doubled, views on Facebook and Instagram Live videos had doubled and the amount of time on group video calling had surged 1,000% in recent weeks.

The company predicted that usage would settle down once shelter-in-place was discontinued, though Zuckerberg highlighted opportunities Facebook could realize during the lockdown. “When the world changes quickly, people have new needs and that means that there are more things to build,” he said.

Facebook reported its Q1 earnings Wednesday, sharing they had earned revenues of $17.74 billion during the quarter. While the company shared that usage of certain services had surged, they also disclosed that the company had seen a “significant reduction” in the demand for ads at the end of the quarter, sharing that they had seen flat year-over-year growth in the first few weeks of April.

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5 Ways to Capture Email Addresses From Landing Page Traffic

Here are five methods for capturing the email addresses of landing page visitors who don’t purchase. Every landing page you operate should use at least one.

Grow your elist with these 5 smart strategies.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Most marketers I know who use landing pages to make direct sales online focus on conversion: getting as many visitors as possible to the landing page to place orders.

Other internet marketers, when writing landing page copy, focus not only on conversion but also on search engine optimization: keyword selection and meta tag creation that can increase traffic by raising the site’s search engine rankings.

But in addition to all this, savvy online marketers are concerned with a third performance metric: capturing email addresses. If you have a 2 percent conversion rate, then for every 100 visitors to the landing page, only two buy. What happens to the other 98 visitors? You won’t be able to add their email addresses to your list unless you incorporate a deliberate methodology into your landing page to capture them.

Here are five methods for capturing the email addresses of landing page visitors who don’t purchase. Every landing page you operate should use at least one.

1. Ezine Sign-Up Box

This is a box where visitors can get a free enewsletter subscription just by entering their name and email address. The ezine sign-up box placed prominently on the first screen is a widely used method of email capture for websites, but it’s less commonly used for microsites and landing pages. That’s because if your headline and lead properly engage the visitor’s attention, they won’t bother to sign up—they’ll just start reading. Then, if they lose interest or reach the end but don’t order, and instead click away, you haven’t captured their email address.

2. Squeeze Page

Also known as a preview page, squeeze pages are short landing pages that require visitors to register with their name and email address before they’re allowed to go on and read the long-copy landing page.

In some cases, the long-copy landing page itself is positioned as a “report” that visitors can read after registering. For this to work, your landing page must be written in an informative, educational style. Many squeeze pages offer a content premium, such as a free report, just for submitting your email address. Those seeking to capture snail mail as well as email addresses make the premium a physical object that must be shipped, such as a free CD.

Squeeze pages work well when your primary source of traffic is organic and paid search. That’s because search visitors arriving at your site are only mildly qualified—they’ve decided to visit based on only a few words in a search engine description or paid Google ad. Therefore, they may not be inclined to read a lot of copy from an unfamiliar source. A squeeze page lets them absorb the gist of your proposition in a few concise paragraphs.

The main advantage of the squeeze page is that it ensures you capture an email address from every visitor who reads the full landing page. In addition, they’ve been pre-qualified, in terms of their interest in the subject, and are more likely to read through the long copy.

3. Email Capture Sidebar

These are forms built into the main landing page as sidebars, again making a free offer. In a long-copy landing page, the email capture sidebar usually appears early, typically on the second or third screen, and may be repeated one or more times throughout the page.

The drawback of the email capture sidebar is that the prospect sees it before they get too far in the sales letter, and therefore before you’ve finished selling them and asked for the order. So, the risk is that if your product teaches, say, how to speak French, and the email capture sidebar offers a free French lesson, the visitor will just take the free offer instead of spending money on the paid offer.

4. Pop-Under

When you attempt to click away from the landing page without making a purchase, a window appears that says something like, “Wait! Don’t leave yet without claiming your free bonus gift.”

The advantage of the pop-under is that visitors see it only after they’ve read to the point where they’re leaving without ordering and the free content offer doesn’t compete with or distract visitors from the paid product offer. The disadvantage is that about 25 percent of U.S. internet users run pop-up blockers on their devices, and many of these blockers will prevent your pop-under from showing.

5. Floater

A floater looks and functions much like a pop-up window, but it’s actually part of the landing page’s HTML code, and therefore won’t be blocked by a pop-up blocker. The floater blocks a portion of the landing page when you click onto the site. You can enter your email or click the floater. Either action removes the floater and allows you to see the complete landing page.

As you can see, all these email capture methods offer some sort of free content — typically a downloadable PDF report, an ecourse delivered via auto-responder, or an ezine subscription — in exchange for your email address. But be warned: The ever-changing Google algorithm penalizes sites with floaters because, until you click out of them, they block the homepage.

Why bother to maximize the capture of visitor email addresses on your websites? First, by sending an online conversion series — a sequence of emails delivered by auto-responder — to these visitors, you’ll have another opportunity to persuade them to buy. Second, the best names for your email marketing efforts are on your house elist. The faster you can build a large elist, the more profitable your internet marketing ventures will become.

Cleo Capital’s Sarah Kunst launches a fellowship for laid-off workers

Sarah Kunst graduated from college in 2008 and went straight into the luxury marketing world with a job at Chanel. Then, the stock market collapsed and Kunst was laid off. It was that layoff, Kunst says, that brought her to the world of startups and eventually to founding her own firm, Cleo Capital, to invest…

Sarah Kunst graduated from college in 2008 and went straight into the luxury marketing world with a job at Chanel.

Then, the stock market collapsed and Kunst was laid off. It was that layoff, Kunst says, that brought her to the world of startups and eventually to founding her own firm, Cleo Capital, to invest in diverse founders.

“Without the recession, I would probably still be at Chanel,” Kunst said. “Cleo wouldn’t exist.”

Silver linings amid a layoff is exactly the thesis of Kunst’s newest effort: a six-week fellowship, called Chrysalis, for anyone who has faced job cuts as a result of COVID-19. Kunst wants to bring together smart people that have been laid off from top companies.

The program will include a speaker series on topics like how to pitch, structure a cap table and plan for a fundraise. Participants will be put into a Slack group to communicate between each other across disciplines, there will be video chat sessions and the program will end with a peer presentation day.

And maybe by the end, the next big recession-born company will be born as a result.

“It’s time to build [but] you’re not giving me tools to build,” Kunst said, referring to famed investor Marc Andressen’s recent blog post. So, she started brainstorming the ways she could keep the scrappy spirit of Silicon Valley alive right now.

She landed on creating a startup program similar to OnDeck, which runs a fellowship for early founders at $1,290 a head. Chrysalis is free, and is tailored to people at an even earlier point in their entrepreneurial journey: the first few weeks are just for idea generation and by the third week team formation. Additionally, Cleo is hunting for both technical and non-technical individuals and you must be unemployed to join.

The Cleo Capital fellowship will cap at 100 people and is only available in the United States for now due to bandwidth constraints, Kunst said.

There are three buckets of people the fellowship is aimed at:

  1. People who were at a startup who have been laid off
  2. People who were planning to get a job in Q2 and now will not be able to.
  3. Soon to graduate MBA students who have had their MBA or internship offers get pulled due to the pandemic.

“They’re on the market; they just aren’t physically on the market,” Kunst said. “You can’t go to a coffee shop and think with friends how to start a company.”

Through private outreach, Kunst claims that a number of people have shown interest, from the chief of staff at a gig economy startup to a VP of engineering at a tech unicorn to 27-year-old designers.

Cleo is also working with SVB, AWS and Clarky to procure free resources for participants.

Last week, NextView Ventures launched an accelerator program for startups as a way to show that they are open for business. Cleo Capital is taking a different approach by launching a free fellowship without equity or any promises for capital. It’s for good reason: Cleo Capital is significantly smaller than NextView with a $3.5 million fund, and it is newer to the investment scene.

Lowering the barrier to entry by making the program free might mean Cleo gets a more diverse bunch, which is a key focus of the firm. Of course, Kunst noted, she hopes some future deal flow comes out of it.

So Cleo’s new initiative isn’t a mimic of NextView or YC or Techstars. Instead, the firm is trying to create a welcoming environment for people before they have an idea, let alone have a need for capital.

“In my own self interest candidly, I need startups to exist,” she said.

Privacy experts reviewed popular video-chat apps, and *yikes*

Crashing the house party. Image: vicky leta / mashable By Jack Morse2020-04-28 04:00:00 -0700 When it comes to protecting your privacy, not all video chat apps are created equal.  This much has been made abundantly clear as the coronavirus pandemic forces many to work and socialize remotely for the foreseeable future. And while Zoom has…

lead img best video chat tools ranked privacy - Privacy experts reviewed popular video-chat apps, and *yikes*
Crashing the house party.

Image: vicky leta / mashable

By Jack Morse

When it comes to protecting your privacy, not all video chat apps are created equal. 

This much has been made abundantly clear as the coronavirus pandemic forces many to work and socialize remotely for the foreseeable future. And while Zoom has been on the receiving end of justified criticism, a new report by Mozilla Foundation privacy researchers warns that it’s far from the only privacy offender. 

For the report, released today, researchers looked at 15 video chat apps — Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Jitsi Meet, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, GoTo Meeting, Cisco WebEx, Houseparty, Discord, and Doxy.me — and evaluated them based on a host of categories. Not all the apps fared well, to put it bluntly.  

“Researchers combed through privacy policies, sifted through app specifications, and looked at critical questions like whether the apps share user data with third parties or if they alert users when meetings are being recorded,” explained a press release accompanying the report. 

Notably, Houseparty did not meet the Mozilla Foundation’s so-called minimum security guidelines.

“Houseparty appears to be a personal data vacuum (though kudos to its privacy policy for clearly telling users that),” reads the accompanying press release. 

The report itself — which the Mozilla Foundation told Mashable over email was compiled by former national tech journalists, an A/V expert, an engineering manager, and a privacy activist — goes even further. 

WATCH: A half million Zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web

uploads%252Fvideo uploaders%252Fdistribution thumb%252Fimage%252F94747%252F59eb6d6c 112b 4919 9a0f 856fd528db4f.png%252F930x520.png?signature=EeYUGSoeEHEv rPGzz7auik9fWo=&source=https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws - Privacy experts reviewed popular video-chat apps, and *yikes*

“Houseparty uses tracking tools and collects your data in a number of ways including through social media and third-party apps,” it warns. “It shares your data with third parties, and uses your data to target you for marketing purposes.”

Only Houseparty, Discord, and Doxy.me — a telemedicine app — failed to meet the Mozilla Foundation’s minimum security guidelines (emphasis on “minimum”). That is particularly troubling with Doxy.me, as the type of conversations held on a telemedicine app are likely a lot more sensitive than those held over, say, something like Houseparty. 

The findings, however, weren’t all bad. Apple’s FaceTime and Signal, which both employ end-to-end encryption, received high marks. Even Zoom, which has made a bunch of recent security updates and pledged even more, received decent marks

“To Zoom’s credit,” reads the report, “they have acknowledged their mistakes and seem to be working hard to fix them.”

Still, as Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s vice president of advocacy, observed in the press release, none of this is exactly cause to celebrate. 

SEE ALSO: Why I refuse to sign up for Zoom

“Even though most of the services met our Minimum Security Standards,” she explained, “many of them could still pose risks that consumers need to be aware of.”

So consider yourself warned. But hey, maybe in a weird and exceedingly roundabout way, this is actually good news? Because the next time your annoying friend or boss wants to video chat with you for the millionth time, just point them Boyd’s quote and explain that, sorry, your privacy isn’t worth the risk. 

A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.

Katie Jo Myers recently worked on a paid partnership with the outdoor recreation gear company, Backcountry. Mediakix This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime. Join BI Prime and start reading now. As the coronavirus pandemic has continued, brands have adjusted their messaging on social media, and have begun establishing new ways of engaging…

5ea82a0938bf2308463891a5?width=24&format=jpeg&auto=webp - A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.

svg%3E - A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.

Katie Jo Myers recently worked on a paid partnership with the outdoor recreation gear company, Backcountry.

Mediakix


This story is available exclusively on Business Insider Prime.
Join BI Prime and start reading now.

  • As the coronavirus pandemic has continued, brands have adjusted their messaging on social media, and have begun establishing new ways of engaging with influencers in an effort to avoid appearing insensitive.
  • Mediakix, an influencer-marketing agency that connects brand with influencers, recently published a report advising brands on how to use social media.
  • The 50-page report outlines what audiences are saying, how brands can still leverage influencers while at home, and best practices to follow when running a social-media campaign. 
  • Business Insider broke down the five key takeaways from the report. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

In recent weeks, many brands have postponed or canceled influencer-marketing campaigns — some because of strains on their businesses and others to avoid appearing tone deaf or insensitive amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This has been devastating for some influencers, as brand sponsorships are a main source of revenue for many, especially those on Instagram.

But with consumers stuck at home and spending more time on social media, the brands that have continued to market on social media have seen increased engagement on their sponsored Instagram posts, according to the influencer-marketing agency Obviously.

That provides an incentive for brands that can keep buying advertising to do so — especially because it’s likely cheaper for them now. But there is still the question of how to continue marketing without risking a brand’s image.

Different companies have taken different approaches.

Procter & Gamble recently launched a TikTok campaign with Charli D’Amelio, the most-followed influencer on the platform with over 51 million followers, to promote social distancing and raise money for charity. With the help of D’Amelio, it created the #DistanceDance challenge.

Other companies, like the retail brand Princess Polly, have begun posting live content on Instagram. Throughout the last few weeks, Princess Polly has hosted some of the influencers it works with in a live event series, where the creators share tutorials in fashion or makeup, and answer questions from the brand’s followers.

These influencers, like lifestyle YouTube creators Maggie MacDonald (188,000 followers) and her sister Emma (239,000 followers), who hosted a livestream Q&A on Princess Polly’s Instagram page in April, have promoted the series on Instagram Stories, encouraging their engaged fanbase to tune in and ask questions.

But beyond specific examples, there are also certain general guidelines a brand can use if it wants to continue to market on social media, according to Mediakix, an influencer-marketing agency that connects brands like Blue Apron, Bumble, and Care/of with influencers. The agency recently made a 50-page report advising brands on how to market on social media during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report outlines what audiences are saying, how brands can still leverage influencers while at home, and best practices to follow when running a social-media campaign.

Here are the five key takeaways from the Mediakix report (read the full version here):

For more on the business of influencers, check out these Business Insider Prime posts

Livestream on Instagram to answer questions about recent changes in services and put “swipe up to buy” on ice.

svg%3E - A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.




MediaKix



Mediakix recommends that brands work with more micro and mid-tier influencers, because they typically can have a stronger, more authentic bond with their fans and integrations will be less commercialized than with celebrities.

The agency also advises removing direct response call to actions, such as “swipe up to buy,” as they could come across as insensitive.

Brands should consider new incentive offers for existing customers and showcase the steps taken to address the coronavirus internally — whether it be enhanced sanitation methods, proper treatment of employees, or charitable donations, the report says. 

Mediakix also says companies should engage with fans in real time on social media by utilizing livestreaming services such as Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Twitch to answer questions pertaining to changes in services.

Ask influencers to pre-promote a livestream event on their own page to ensure a larger audience attendance and overall engagement.

svg%3E - A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.




MediaKix



Influencers can host livestreams of themselves and with other creators on a brand’s page, or of them utilizing a brand in their daily lives. This allows influencers to keep audiences engaged by interacting with fans through a live Q&A, Mediakix says.

Creators can also pre-promote livestreams to ensure further audience attendance and engagement through Instagram Story content, as well as through YouTube’s Premiere feature.

Allow influencers to take over a brand Instagram page for the day and post Story content, which could drive new audiences.

svg%3E - A top influencer-marketing agency made a 50-page report advising brands on how to use social media during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the 5 key takeaways.




MediaKix



Mediakix recommends brands allow influencers to take over the company’s social media page for the day through Instagram Stories, highlighting how they are adjusting and how the brand is helping.

Influencers can promote the takeover in advance to draw audiences to the brand page.

More:

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Are you online shopping a lot during quarantine? Here are some of the psychological reasons why.

Before the coronavirus, many New Yorkers took advantage of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world by shopping — but not me.  I’ve developed sort-of blinders to all the retailers, the sprawling department stores and the kitschy millennial-branded shops. Out of necessity or practicality (this is one of the most expensive…

Before the coronavirus, many New Yorkers took advantage of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world by shopping — but not me. 

I’ve developed sort-of blinders to all the retailers, the sprawling department stores and the kitschy millennial-branded shops. Out of necessity or practicality (this is one of the most expensive cities in the world, after all), I didn’t shop as a hobby, in-person or online.

During the pandemic, however? All bets are off.

I want to be clear: I am not buying things every day or even every week. But while I haven’t smashed that “complete purchase” button over and over, lest I create more work for the already-overwhelmed essential workers in this country, my browsing has been off the charts. For stuff I don’t even want

Instagram-friendly athleisure, Instagram-friendly furniture, Instagram-friendly underwear — I’ve scrolled through page after page of e-commerce websites, wondering if each shiny new thing would fill the nebulous void I’ve had in my core since the pandemic hit.

It’s not just me. Many industries are seeing spikes in sales right now. Casual apparel sales are up 340 percent according to Criteo. The sales of home goods, consumer electronics, sporting goods, pet supplies have all increased; there’s even been a “sharp spike” in face mask sales.

Non-essential food and drink are off the charts as well. Sales of alcohol online surged 243 percent; sales of cookies increased by 50 percent, according to Ayalla Ruvio, professor of marketing at Michigan State University, who studies consumer behavior. 

Let’s not forget children: Toy sales have increased by 28 percent, said Ruvio. 

There are psychological reasons behind this “hobby” of ours. While a time of economic uncertainty and unprecedented unemployment numbers may not seem to coincide with increases in consumer spending, Ruvio’s research shows otherwise. This happened after 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, as well. People shop in a time of crisis. 

Why we’re still shopping

The surface level of this particular itch is boredom, according to Anthony P. DeMaria, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, and director of adult ambulatory psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Morningside and West Hospitals in New York. 

Boredom leads to impulsivity, and for those who are experiencing the lack of novelty and excitement that staying at home brings, online shopping can fill that void of novelty. It’s also a form of entertainment according to Dr. Brian Wind, Ph.D., and Chief Clinical Executive at JourneyPure.

Shopping “keeps your mind off of the chaos in the world and gives you something fun to do,” said Wind.  

On a deeper level, many people are currently experiencing a loss of control, and shopping could be a way of coping with it. (Another way of coping with it: Thos viral challenges many of us had to deal with in March.) It gives people a sense of agency and volitional behavior over their otherwise non-autonomous lives, as they have to both stay at home and watch what’s happening to the outside world unfold before them. 

“Buying things that remind them of summer so that they bring to mind plans of what they will do when they get ‘back to normal.'”

“Some volitional behavior that they feel in control over, including things like sprucing up a wardrobe or making their home environment look the way they want to, or purchasing new items can provide some sense of control over their own environment, some sense of control over their own lives,” said Dr. DeMaria. 

Wind made a similar point. “Oftentimes, people who feel like they are powerless over certain circumstances tend to reach for things that they do have power over — like online shopping,” he said.  

DeMaria also mentioned that shopping can provide a sort-of wish fulfillment for our future selves, even if we have no idea what the future will look like. He used an example of buying things that remind you of summer, say bathing suits, summer outfits. “Buying things that remind them of summer so that they bring to mind plans of what they will do when they get ‘back to normal,'” said DeMaria.

It’s not just your brain — it’s marketing

While shopping does provide an escape or comfort our brains may crave, that’s not the only explanation. If your social media use has increased, it’s likely you’ve been barraged with sneaky influencer sponcon — and that’s not accidental. 

Brands are putting more money into influencer marketing than ever before, according to Clayton Durant, managing partner and founder of CAD Management, an entertainment consulting firm based in New York. CAD represents and consults for influencers/artists/content creators ranging from 50,000 to over four million followers.

Before the pandemic, the average number of brand inquiries to CAD Management’s influencers was five per month. Now, it’s 10, and these brands are asking influencers to drive their followers to their e-commerce sites. What’s more is that, given that in a time of crisis the usual #ad sponcon looks tasteless, brands are asking influencers to hide the advertisement component, and in Durant’s words, “make it a more content marketing play that consumers, in general, want to see or are already watching.”

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Image: bob al-greene / mashable

“It is clear that many consumer brands have rethought their e-commerce strategy to make it more user friendly on both mobile and desktop, especially brands that had brick-and-mortar but can no longer operate those locations,” said Durant. 

“My guess is that consumers across the board are seeing these influencer collaborations more than they ever have because the volume of deal activity is bigger than before,” Durant continued. “These brands are just showing up in a lot of different pieces of digital content and it is reinforcing the brand image and ethos into the consumer’s mind that ultimately helps drive e-commerce sales.” 

While you could be using online shopping as a coping mechanism, you could also be affected by the increase in marketing that has the sole purpose of getting you onto those e-commerce sites. 

What happens after you click “Purchase”

If you’re chasing that feel-good rush of buying something new, you may notice it doesn’t last long. “Sometimes… as soon as they click ‘buy,’ the thing that they thought it would be so great to have, somehow it’s old news,” said DeMaria. 

“Consumers need to know that’s actually a short-term fix with retail therapy — soon after purchasing something, many feel reduced anxiety and even excitement,” said Ruvio. “Beware, though: the feeling doesn’t last very long and with a shaky economy, the last thing people need is soaring credit card debt.”

This is how a feedback loop with shopping forms, as it does with other addictive activities: You buy something, you get a high, then the high crashes down, and you want to buy more. 

Aside from using online shopping as a coping mechanism, there’s a sense of guilt that comes with the act — completely separate to any money guilt one might experience, even in “normal” circumstances. It’s guilt about the supply chain, the essential workers who are on the front lines and have to leave their homes in order to get our packages to us.

“You may see people moving towards things like sustainable investing.”

While this guilt may not be strong enough to dissuade us from purchasing, DeMaria says it could have positive impacts in the future. “You may see people moving towards things like sustainable investing as a result,” he said, “and really considering more ethical ways to engage in market-based behavior and economics.” 

This goes back to the core of why we experience guilt: It’s painful and makes us consider what we should do in the future. So if there’s a good thing that comes out of consuming (or perhaps overconsuming) and the resulting guilt, it’s that it’ll bring more awareness to the consequences and push us towards a more sustainable lifestyle.  

If you’re finding yourself overspending, you’re not alone. There’s likely an end in sight, although it’s uncertain when that’ll be. You will still spend after this ordeal, of course, but Ruvio predicts spending habits will change.

After the pandemic, Ruvio anticipates that shopping for material items will decrease, but buying experiences — movies, festivals, dining out — will skyrocket, which is unsurprising as we can’t indulge in any of these social experiences right now. 

“Because of social distancing, there will be a great need for social interactions,” said Ruvio. “People will seek out ways and venues to enjoy reuniting with their loved ones.”

Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed

Influencer Marketing in the B2B world is fast growing as an essential part of the marketing mix. How brands implement influencer engagement strategies varies from one off campaigns, to event activations to passive social engagement to the topic of this post: Always On Influencer Marketing. According to research from Linqia. 42% of marketers have shifted…

always on influence 1 - Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed

Influencer Marketing in the B2B world is fast growing as an essential part of the marketing mix. How brands implement influencer engagement strategies varies from one off campaigns, to event activations to passive social engagement to the topic of this post: Always On Influencer Marketing.

According to research from Linqia. 42% of marketers have shifted to an “always on” influencer marketing strategy from individual campaigns. As B2B companies evolve in their influencer marketing maturity, confidence builds along with the realization that a relationship driven endeavor like engaging with influencers requires an ongoing effort.

The problem is, many B2B marketers still see influencer marketing as something you just turn on or off as needed. Such a short term approach does not yield the full benefit of developing strong content collaboration partnerships with industry influencers that can fuel thought leadership, be repurposed for demand gen and even sales enablement.

This post is the start of a new series called Always On Influence where the team at TopRank Marketing will be exploring all aspects of the topic from the what, why and how to the who, when and where. Let’s start with the what:

Definition: Always On Influencer Marketing is essentially the practice of ongoing relationship building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy.

Below I’ll break that definition down a bit:

A Specified Group of Influencers is essential for a productive influencer marketing program. That means, not a random group of people the CEO or VP of marketing thinks are influencers, but those industry experts that publish with active networks on topics that are relevant to the brand and their customers and that will resonate significantly. Most importantly, influencer selection is data informed.

Of course the C-Suite and brand leadership can contribute suggestions, but influencers should be validated according to criteria established for the success of the program. Software is essential for influencer discovery and manual inspection of where they publish is necessary to qualify them. Once a group of influencers has been identified, influencer marketing software can track their social activity as a group as well as ongoing brand engagement, communications and performance measurement.

Relationships take time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion.

Relationship building means first having clear goals for your brand in terms of what an influencer program can do as well as an understanding of what is important to the influencer: exposure, exclusive access to information or experts, experiences, compensation, or most likely a mix of all.  Building relationships takes time and that means influencer engagement is an ongoing effort, not just when influencers are needed to provide content or promotion.

Engagement is a big part of developing a relationship with your target list of influencers and the approach will vary according to the situation. For example, if your strategy is mainly organic (non-paid) then recognition can be a powerful first step such as through publishing a list of the top influencers in your industry (which would include many of the influencers you want to work with). Connecting via social networks, commenting on blog posts and articles in industry publications and simple quote asks are all great first steps.

Ongoing engagement can be accomplished by using social media monitoring or influencer marketing software to track your group of influencers to identify interaction opportunities.

Activation is a more specific form of engagement that has specific objectives, actions, expectations and measures of success. Activations in B2B typically involve the co-creation of content whether it is a contribution to an ebook, hosting a podcast or being a guest on a brand webinar. With real-world events out of the picture at the moment, activations can also mean virtual conferences, livestreaming video and influencer produced “shows”.

A more mature form of influencer community is where the B2B brand creates an opportunity for the influencers to connect with each other as well as the brand.

Community building with influencers represents a level of maturity that can create the most success for a B2B brand. Relationship building between brand and a group of influencers is the most basic community and requires someone from the brand to serve as a liaison. This person should be highly organized, have great communication skills and able to work with a group of high performing individuals.

A more mature form of influencer community is where the B2B brand creates an opportunity for the influencers to connect with each other as well as the brand. Most influencers are social by nature and creating networking opportunities between the influencers that are part of the brand influencer community creates a much stronger community. The more the influencers care about the community, the more they will put into its success.

Many brands fail at influencer content because they focus only on what’s in it for the brand.

Content is most often the output from influencer engagement, relationship building and activations. In B2B, influencer content has traditionally been focused on ebooks, blog posts, reports, infographics, interviews, webinars, and real-world events. Many brands fail at influencer content because they focus only on what’s in it for the brand. B2B marketers that understand the power of exposure by brand association will ensure that content collaborations simultaneously meet brand needs as well as give influencers an experience and a content product they can be proud of.

Content as an experience is the direction B2B influencer collaboration is going including live streaming video, podcasts, interactive content and even VR.

Brand Advocacy is the ultimate objective for many B2B companies that develop influencer communities. When industry experts advocate for a brand organically, it can have powerful influence over how that brand is perceived by customers and the industry. When brands create strong relationships of mutual value for influencers through ongoing engagement and content activations, brand advocacy is a natural outcome. But why leave it to chance when there are strategies to facilitate brand advocacy opportunities? That’s what an ongoing influencer marketing program can do for a B2B company.

With brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.

The world of marketing is entering a new era and the old rules of brand trust simply no longer apply. Buyers want to trust the brands they work with and with brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust. Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused. Those relationships are nurtured over time through ongoing engagement and activations that create value for buyers, the brand and the influencers – it is truly an “everybody wins” approach to marketing.

Be sure to watch for many more Always On Influence articles in this series from the team at TopRank Marketing. If you have questions you’d like to see answered, please leave them in the comments or post to our Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

Australia plans law forcing Google, Facebook to share ad revenue with domestic media firms

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will force Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to share advertising revenue with local media firms, the country’s treasurer said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to require digital platforms to pay for content they use. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland…

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will force Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to share advertising revenue with local media firms, the country’s treasurer said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to require digital platforms to pay for content they use.

?m=02&d=20200420&t=2&i=1515677011&r=LYNXMPEG3J04D&w=20 - Australia plans law forcing Google, Facebook to share ad revenue with domestic media firms

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move comes after talks with Facebook and Alphabet failed to yield a voluntary code to address complaints by domestic media players that the tech giants have too tight a grip on advertising, their main source of income.

“We understand the challenge that we face, this is a big mountain to climb,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra. “These are big companies that we are dealing with but there is also so much at stake, so we’re prepared for this fight.”

The government has now asked the country’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to frame a mandatory code of conduct between media outlets and digital platforms after talks stalled on content payment rules.

The government scrapped its initial plan to come up with a voluntary code by November and has asked ACCC to submit its draft mandatory code by July, to be passed into legislation shortly thereafter, the treasurer said.

Frydenberg said the mandatory code will include sharing of data, ranking and display of news content and the sharing of revenue generated from news, adding that it would also establish penalty and binding dispute resolution mechanisms.

Australia’s online advertising market is worth about almost A$9 billion ($5.72 billion) a year and has grown more than eight-fold since 2005.

For every A$100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook, an ACCC report on digital platforms published in June last year showed.

Last December, Australia said Google and Facebook would have to agree to new rules to ensure they do not abuse their market power and damage competition, or the government would impose new controls.

Facebook expressed dismay at the government move on Monday.

“We’re disappointed by the government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline,” Facebook said.

“We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Will Easton said in an emailed statement.

Google said it would continue to cooperate with plans for the media code of conduct.

“We have sought to work constructively with industry, the ACCC and government to develop a code of conduct, and we will continue to do so in the revised process set out by the Government today,” a Google spokesperson said.

Monday’s move also comes as the new coronavirus pandemic hits Australia’s media business hard, with several regional outlets reporting steep declines in advertising revenue.

Pending the new code, the federal government last week unveiled a support package for the local media businesses including a 12-month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters, and a A$50 million public interest news gathering program.

Reporting by Renju Jose and Colin Packham; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Facebook’s FTC Settlement Is Officially a Train Wreck

Photo: GettyWell, it’s finally over. According to a post penned late Thursday by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer on the company’s official blog, the social media giant got a federal court’s sign-off on its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, marking the end of a historic case that involved roughly a full year of back and…

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Photo: Getty

Well, it’s finally over. According to a post penned late Thursday by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer on the company’s official blog, the social media giant got a federal court’s sign-off on its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, marking the end of a historic case that involved roughly a full year of back and forth with the agency and a $5 billion dollar civil penalty, and more than a few photo ops of Mark Zuckerberg in an array of suits. But just because the case is historic doesn’t mean it’s anything short of lackluster.

To recap, this is the court mandate sealing the end of the FTC’s 2018 probe into Facebook’s handling of the Cambridge Analytic scandal. When the initial settlement was being laid out last year, a number of publications—including ours—pointed out that the price Facebook was set to pay for violating consumer privacy on a mass scale and irrevocably twisting the political landscape was only $5 billion dollars, a number that definitely surpassed any fines decreed by the Commission previously, but one that still roughly totaled a month’s worth of earnings for the company at the time, and even less than that now.

Granted, a superficial penalty wasn’t the only thing that Facebook was hit with at the time. The agreement also mandated that the company have someone watching over its shoulders for the next 20 years, adding an FTC-mandated independent privacy committee to its board of directors as a way to tone down any “unfettered control by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy,” as they said at the time. As of this writing—nearly a full year after news of the settlement first hit—those committee roles still remain unfilled, even as the company fills up seats on its oversight board for content moderation.

It’s not hard to see why the moderation roles would be snapped up first: The sticky issues surrounding hate speech and extremism are, well, sticky, but they can ultimately be dealt with in a way that doesn’t cut too severely into Facebook’s bottom line. Privacy issues, not so much. While some advertisers have tried to turn up their noses at the platform in the past over the company’s laissez-faire relationship with its consumer’s personal information, the truth is the majority just can’t quit, particularly if they’re one of the tens of millions of smaller businesses living and dying by Facebook’s ad platform.

Even when that privacy-overseer role on the Facebook board does get filled, it’s unclear what, if anything, in the company they’ll be able to influence. As pointed out by federal officials and business rags alike, the settlement itself doesn’t actually change Facebook’s core business model, which has been—and likely always will be—collecting the right data to show the right consumer the right ad at the right time.

While an overseer might be able to see the end result of that sausage-making process, anyone who works in advertising will tell you that there are many, many more actors working behind the scenes to get those ads in front of a user’s eyeballs than just Facebook alone, and none of those actors are addressed as part of the initial settlement. What the FTC did with its multibillion-dollar fine wasn’t shine a light on the advertising process, but encourage the company to push its most invasive advertising tools further down the black boxes of the ad-tech ecosystem and further out of the FTC’s line of sight. And as today’s settlement news proves, t

Mom-focused content startup Motherly raises $5.4M as it expands into commerce

Motherly CEO Jill Koziol admits that it was a tough pitch when she and her co-founder Liz Tenety first tried to get investors on-board in 2015. “We wanted to create a brand first and foremost,” Koziol told me. “We did not want to go and build a media company or a [direct-to-consumer] company or Facebook…

Motherly CEO Jill Koziol admits that it was a tough pitch when she and her co-founder Liz Tenety first tried to get investors on-board in 2015.

“We wanted to create a brand first and foremost,” Koziol told me. “We did not want to go and build a media company or a [direct-to-consumer] company or Facebook for moms — because, spoiler alert, it’s called Facebook.”

Instead, she described Motherly as a company that sits at the “intersection” of all three approaches. It started out by publishing motherhood-themed content on its website and on social media (and more recently in podcast form), which in turn encouraged the audience of 30 million unique users to start “engaging with us and with each other.”

Now that there’s a big audience and a real community, the company is getting ready to launch the Motherly Store. And it’s announcing that it has raised $5.4 million in Series A funding.

Koziol described her approach as building a trusted brand “that’s woman-centered — not baby-centered — and expert-driven,” then using that brand to sell products. She said Motherly has reversed the strategy of direct-to-consumer startups that sell products, then add content and community to support those commerce goals.

“Everyone says we did all the hard stuff first,” Koziol said. “We’re showing the world that motherhood is not niche, that you can build a brand through content and then create the natural extensions out of that.”

Screen Shot 2020 04 08 at 3.16.10 PM - Mom-focused content startup Motherly raises $5.4M as it expands into commerce

Image Credits: Motherly

The Series A funding was led by 8VC, with participation from Founders Fund, Muse Capital, AET and AmplifyHer Ventures.

“We’re long on millennial moms, and Motherly has demonstrated a unique ability to be at the center of this hyper-engaged market already,” AmplifyHer’s Meghan Cross told me via email. “Its content has organically sparked a vibrant conversation, and commerce is the logical extension.”

Koziol, meanwhile, said that Motherly was able to build this audience with “virtually” no marketing spend. That sounds particularly difficult given all the other parenting and motherhood-themed content already online, but Koziol said that she and Tenety (a former Washington Post editor) are both millennial mothers themselves, and they realized that “in media brands across the board, motherhood was treated as cartoonish … everything was very baby-centered.”

She argued Motherly has succeeded so far because it’s aimed at a more educated and more diverse group of women, who are more likely to continue working after they have children.

And as Motherly moves into commerce, she said that will include both company-branded products (Sounds True is publishing the startup’s second book, “The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey”), as well as a Motherly Store, which will offer a curated selection of products for moms, largely from smaller, direct-to-consumer brands.

Koziol suggested that these brands will benefit from access to Motherly’s audience (particularly as advertising costs have grown to unsustainable heights for many D2C brands), while moms will benefit from having a “credible” source that can help “narrow down those choices.”

Of course, the landscape for media, commerce and parenting have all changed dramatically in the past few weeks thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Koziol noted that as a “100% work from home company,” Motherly was better-prepared for this shift.

More broadly, she suggested that moms are going to need more help and support than ever — which Motherly is trying to provide, for example by offering its online birth class for free.

“This woman in our audience has been layering roles on for years,” Koziol said. “And what we are now seeing, in addition to carrying the mental load of parenthood disproportionately and being a full-time bread winner, you’re layering full-time child-care and homeschooling. These are three different jobs.”

As Workers Spread Out to Halt the Virus, Robots Fill the Gaps

As the coronavirus began to spread through Japan in March, workers at a warehouse in Sugito that processes millions of personal care products each day were overrun by a spike in demand for masks, gloves, soap, and hand sanitizer. To prevent workers from spreading the deadly virus, the company that operates the center, PalTac, introduced…

As the coronavirus began to spread through Japan in March, workers at a warehouse in Sugito that processes millions of personal care products each day were overrun by a spike in demand for masks, gloves, soap, and hand sanitizer.

To prevent workers from spreading the deadly virus, the company that operates the center, PalTac, introduced temperature checks, masks, and regular decontaminations. In coming weeks, it plans a more radical solution—hiring more robots.

“We have to consider more automation, more use of robotics, in order for people to be spaced apart,” says Shohei Matsumoto, deputy general manager of the company’s R&D division. “There are going to be fewer opportunities for humans to touch the items.”

Read all of our coronavirus coverage here.

The coronavirus pandemic has cost millions of jobs. Now, it may transform work in other ways. As manufacturers and ecommerce companies struggle to adapt to social distancing, regular cleaning, and a potential shortage of workers because of quarantines, some may invest in robots.

PalTac already uses robots from the US company RightHand Robotics to pick objects from bins and assemble orders. Matsumoto says it should be possible to expand the use of these robots with software updates, allowing them to recognize and grasp a new object, or retrieve items from new types of bins. Many industrial robots, including those found in car factories, take hours to program, cannot easily be moved, and blindly follow precise commands. The flexibility offered by these newer robotic systems makes it possible to redeploy them quickly.

Not every factory or warehouse will be able to use robots. In some ways, the coronavirus crisis has only highlighted how limited most workplace robots still are. They typically lack the ability to sense, respond, and adapt to the real world, so humans are still crucial even in the most automated facilities.

But the return to work may accelerate adoption of more flexible, cloud-connected collaborative robots with basic sensing capabilities. That might lead to more automation of work involving picking, packing, and handling products and components.

Robots at Japan’s PalTac pick items from bins to assemble orders.

Courtesy of Righthand Robotics/PalTac

“If you have to space out the people throughout your facility differently than you used to for manufacturing, or even picking, then you can’t keep the automation in the same places,” says Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics, which makes wheeled robots capable of ferrying items around factories and warehouses.

Fetch is working with a large US ecommerce company to reprogram its robots to adapt to staggered shifts with fewer workers to allow for social distancing. It is also working on versions of its robots that can autonomously disinfect workplaces.

Robots are just one tool for adapting to the new normal. Employers will likely also adopt stringent hygiene measures and temperature checkpoints. Some may consider new ways to enforce social distancing, including surveillance cameras or wristbands to measure proximity.

RobotGuideFA Variant - As Workers Spread Out to Halt the Virus, Robots Fill the Gaps

The WIRED Guide to Robots

Everything you wanted to know about soft, hard, and nonmurderous automatons.

But increased use of automation may be the most lasting effect. It may speed the adoption of robots in critical new areas of work, for instance. This week, Tyson Foods was forced to close several meat packing plants after workers tested positive for the coronavirus. Meat processing plants tend to lack much automation, but Tyson began investing in robots last year to account for labor shortages. The company did not respond to inquiries about the current situation.

More intelligent robots have been edging into new areas of manual work in recent years, for example removing boxes from pallets or ferrying components between production lines. Recent advances in AI promise to let machines take over tasks that require greater manual dexterity. Service-sector companies are deploying security, hotel, and delivery robots.

A rise in robot workers will fit with broader economic and strategic trends. Mark Muro, a senior policy director at the Brookings Institution, says companies may look to automation to improve efficiency as revenue shrinks because of the pandemic. He notes that demand for automation has increased in previous downturns.

The economic disruption caused by the coronavirus is “the world’s largest macroeconomics experiment ever run,” says Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies manufacturing. “And as you think about moving things around I think people will have to look at automation.”


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2020 NFL draft: Grading every pick of the second and third rounds – Yahoo Canada Sports

Joe Burrow got a weapon he faced in the national title game right off the bat. Jalen Hurts wound up going higher than a lot of people may have thought. And there were plenty of other surprises as the 2020 NFL draft continued Friday.33) Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson — The Bengals explored a…

Joe Burrow got a weapon he faced in the national title game right off the bat. Jalen Hurts wound up going higher than a lot of people may have thought. And there were plenty of other surprises as the 2020 NFL draft continued Friday.

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson — The Bengals explored a trade, but ultimately get Joe Burrow some help with a long receiver who should have been a first-rounder (in our minds). Higgins grew up in Tennessee as a Bengals fan — and an A.J. Green fan, especially — so this is a fascinating union here. Cincinnati has some weapons to run a lot of four-wide formations. Grade: A-.” data-reactid=”14″ type=”text”>33) Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson — The Bengals explored a trade, but ultimately get Joe Burrow some help with a long receiver who should have been a first-rounder (in our minds). Higgins grew up in Tennessee as a Bengals fan — and an A.J. Green fan, especially — so this is a fascinating union here. Cincinnati has some weapons to run a lot of four-wide formations. Grade: A-.

Indianapolis Colts: WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC — The Colts make their 2020 draft debut with a fantastic pick. Forget our grade on Pittman (we had him 51st) — we just didn’t appreciate him enough. He’s a big downfield weapon who could end up being one of the four or five best receivers in this loaded class. Philip Rivers is used to big targets, and he’ll love the son of the former Bucs running back. Grade: A-.” data-reactid=”15″ type=”text”>34) Indianapolis Colts: WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC — The Colts make their 2020 draft debut with a fantastic pick. Forget our grade on Pittman (we had him 51st) — we just didn’t appreciate him enough. He’s a big downfield weapon who could end up being one of the four or five best receivers in this loaded class. Philip Rivers is used to big targets, and he’ll love the son of the former Bucs running back. Grade: A-.

Detroit Lions: RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia — The Lions wanted to add juice to the offense, and Swift is exactly that. Can he stay healthy? My only concern. Swift isn’t built to be a workhorse but can be a great complement to Kerryon Johnson and a 15-touch-per-game weapon right away. Grade: A-.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>35) Detroit Lions: RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia — The Lions wanted to add juice to the offense, and Swift is exactly that. Can he stay healthy? My only concern. Swift isn’t built to be a workhorse but can be a great complement to Kerryon Johnson and a 15-touch-per-game weapon right away. Grade: A-.

New York Giants: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama — Pass rusher figured to be high on the Giants’ Day 2 priority list, and McKinney isn’t the big hitter they got in the same round (and from the same school) with Landon Collins a few years ago. Still, McKinney is our highest-rated safety in this class, well-rounded and savvy and a future leader on defense for new coach Joe Judge. Grade: B+.” data-reactid=”17″ type=”text”>36) New York Giants: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama — Pass rusher figured to be high on the Giants’ Day 2 priority list, and McKinney isn’t the big hitter they got in the same round (and from the same school) with Landon Collins a few years ago. Still, McKinney is our highest-rated safety in this class, well-rounded and savvy and a future leader on defense for new coach Joe Judge. Grade: B+.

New England Patriots: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne — A fascinating pick by Bill Belichick after trading out of Round 1, adding a highly athletic defender with a nose for the ball — either at safety or nickel linebacker — and a special-teams performer. He’s quiet, driven and relatively untested coming from the Division II ranks. This is not your typical Belichick Round 2 safety reach. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”38″ type=”text”>37) New England Patriots: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne — A fascinating pick by Bill Belichick after trading out of Round 1, adding a highly athletic defender with a nose for the ball — either at safety or nickel linebacker — and a special-teams performer. He’s quiet, driven and relatively untested coming from the Division II ranks. This is not your typical Belichick Round 2 safety reach. Grade: B.

Carolina Panthers: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State — Gross-Matos has some really intriguing pass-rush skill, even if his game isn’t yet refined. He’s a good athlete and could be a really nice player, especially lining up next to Derrick Brown and across from Brian Burns. Matt Rhule is building his new team on the defensive side of the ball first and will try to win games 17-13 until he has this thing built up. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”39″ type=”text”>38) Carolina Panthers: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State — Gross-Matos has some really intriguing pass-rush skill, even if his game isn’t yet refined. He’s a good athlete and could be a really nice player, especially lining up next to Derrick Brown and across from Brian Burns. Matt Rhule is building his new team on the defensive side of the ball first and will try to win games 17-13 until he has this thing built up. Grade: B.

Miami Dolphins: OG Robert Hunt, Louisiana-Lafayette — Hunt is an ornery blocker who seeks to bury people, yet he likely will need just a little technical work before he’s a finished product. Still, this is exactly the kind of hard-nosed, position-versatile player whom Brian Flores wants on his team. Hunt can lead a power run game and help block for Tua in time. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”40″ type=”text”>39) Miami Dolphins: OG Robert Hunt, Louisiana-Lafayette — Hunt is an ornery blocker who seeks to bury people, yet he likely will need just a little technical work before he’s a finished product. Still, this is exactly the kind of hard-nosed, position-versatile player whom Brian Flores wants on his team. Hunt can lead a power run game and help block for Tua in time. Grade: C+.

Houston Texans: DT Ross Blacklock, TCU — The pick Houston acquired for DeAndre Hopkins turns into a defensive lineman with some intrigue. Blacklock possesses good physical traits and occasionally flashes first-round ability, but wasn’t as consistent last season as you’d hope. Still, he can play multiple spots on the line and likely had his development held back a bit by a 2018 Achilles injury. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”41″ type=”text”>40) Houston Texans: DT Ross Blacklock, TCU — The pick Houston acquired for DeAndre Hopkins turns into a defensive lineman with some intrigue. Blacklock possesses good physical traits and occasionally flashes first-round ability, but wasn’t as consistent last season as you’d hope. Still, he can play multiple spots on the line and likely had his development held back a bit by a 2018 Achilles injury. Grade: C+.

Indianapolis Colts (from Browns): RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin — GM Chris Ballard moves up to Cleveland’s spot and makes some noise by grabbing a 2,000-yard rusher with impeccable character, speed and work ethic. Taylor’s fumbling issues must be fixed, and he might never be much of a receiving weapon. But he should claim the lead rushing role in the Indy backfield and give this offense another dimension. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”42″ type=”text”>41) Indianapolis Colts (from Browns): RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin — GM Chris Ballard moves up to Cleveland’s spot and makes some noise by grabbing a 2,000-yard rusher with impeccable character, speed and work ethic. Taylor’s fumbling issues must be fixed, and he might never be much of a receiving weapon. But he should claim the lead rushing role in the Indy backfield and give this offense another dimension. Grade: B.

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado — This could be an A grade in a few years. Or, if Shenault’s injury history continues, far lower. You can line him up inside or out, in the backfield and even as a “Wildcat” QB, which might suit the Jaguars’ needs on offense. Shenault has electric ability if he stays healthy. We’re quietly optimistic he can help in some way. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”47″ type=”text”>42) Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado — This could be an A grade in a few years. Or, if Shenault’s injury history continues, far lower. You can line him up inside or out, in the backfield and even as a “Wildcat” QB, which might suit the Jaguars’ needs on offense. Shenault has electric ability if he stays healthy. We’re quietly optimistic he can help in some way. Grade: B.

Chicago Bears: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame — The Bears stay local with this pick. Kmet really only played one full season for the Irish, but the occasional college pitcher has some interesting potential, even if Kmet never will be a game breaker and needs work on his blocking. Expect a lot of “12 personnel” with Jimmy Graham, giving whoever wins the QB battle two big targets. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”48″ type=”text”>43) Chicago Bears: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame — The Bears stay local with this pick. Kmet really only played one full season for the Irish, but the occasional college pitcher has some interesting potential, even if Kmet never will be a game breaker and needs work on his blocking. Expect a lot of “12 personnel” with Jimmy Graham, giving whoever wins the QB battle two big targets. Grade: C+.

Cleveland Browns: S Grant Delpit, LSU — It’s the second year in a row the Browns have drafted an LSU DB in Round 2 who was mocked high in Round 1 to start the season. Delpit’s tackling issues have become a major talking point, and his health concerns can’t be overlooked. But he has range and ball skills and should be a really nice addition to the Cleveland secondary. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”49″ type=”text”>44) Cleveland Browns: S Grant Delpit, LSU — It’s the second year in a row the Browns have drafted an LSU DB in Round 2 who was mocked high in Round 1 to start the season. Delpit’s tackling issues have become a major talking point, and his health concerns can’t be overlooked. But he has range and ball skills and should be a really nice addition to the Cleveland secondary. Grade: B.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota — How about this safety run, you guys?! The Bucs now have drafted seven DBs since 2016, and they have a similar style of player there already in Mike Edwards, who had a solid rookie season. But Winfield can be a deep safety and a solid nickel, and has the playmaking chops, toughness and intelligence to upgrade that secondary. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”50″ type=”text”>45) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota — How about this safety run, you guys?! The Bucs now have drafted seven DBs since 2016, and they have a similar style of player there already in Mike Edwards, who had a solid rookie season. But Winfield can be a deep safety and a solid nickel, and has the playmaking chops, toughness and intelligence to upgrade that secondary. Grade: B-.

Denver Broncos: WR KJ Hamler, Penn State — The Broncos are doubling up on wideouts after taking Jerry Jeudy in Round 1 and doubling down on Drew Lock’s ability to get the ball vertical. Hamler had drop issues last season, but he’s a deep threat who can split safeties and hit home runs. He’s also a good returner. Interesting decision here. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”51″ type=”text”>46) Denver Broncos: WR KJ Hamler, Penn State — The Broncos are doubling up on wideouts after taking Jerry Jeudy in Round 1 and doubling down on Drew Lock’s ability to get the ball vertical. Hamler had drop issues last season, but he’s a deep threat who can split safeties and hit home runs. He’s also a good returner. Interesting decision here. Grade: B-.

Atlanta Falcons: DT Marlon Davidson, Auburn — Davidson was a bit too bulky at the combine, and his testing suffered a bit. But he’s a power end or a possible 3-technique who keeps his motor running and helps one of Atlanta’s thinner spots on the roster. Just don’t expect much in terms of sacks, and Davidson should play a key role on a refurbished Falcons D-line. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”52″ type=”text”>47) Atlanta Falcons: DT Marlon Davidson, Auburn — Davidson was a bit too bulky at the combine, and his testing suffered a bit. But he’s a power end or a possible 3-technique who keeps his motor running and helps one of Atlanta’s thinner spots on the roster. Just don’t expect much in terms of sacks, and Davidson should play a key role on a refurbished Falcons D-line. Grade: C+.

Seattle Seahawks (from Jets): EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee — Seattle slides up into this spot (and pays up plenty to do so) to grab a fascinating pass rusher who has some very Seahawks-y traits and edginess. We viewed him more as a third-round pick, but we can see why they felt the need to add some juice at this position. Will he produce? Taylor wasn’t great last year after many felt he was poised for a breakout season. Grade: C.” data-reactid=”53″ type=”text”>48) Seattle Seahawks (from Jets): EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee — Seattle slides up into this spot (and pays up plenty to do so) to grab a fascinating pass rusher who has some very Seahawks-y traits and edginess. We viewed him more as a third-round pick, but we can see why they felt the need to add some juice at this position. Will he produce? Taylor wasn’t great last year after many felt he was poised for a breakout season. Grade: C.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame — The receiver we felt was a potentially perfect second-round choice was Michael Pittman Jr. But with Pittman gone, the Steelers grab a close facsimile in Claypool, who has elite athletic traits, great special-teams value and good upside. Call him a tight end or receiver; it doesn’t matter. He’s a big target with jumping ability to win 50-50 battles downfield. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”54″ type=”text”>49) Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame — The receiver we felt was a potentially perfect second-round choice was Michael Pittman Jr. But with Pittman gone, the Steelers grab a close facsimile in Claypool, who has elite athletic traits, great special-teams value and good upside. Call him a tight end or receiver; it doesn’t matter. He’s a big target with jumping ability to win 50-50 battles downfield. Grade: B-.

Chicago Bears: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah — Really good value here for GM Ryan Pace, who potentially landed a starting corner mid-Round 2. He actually reminds me a bit of Prince Amukamara, whom Johnson essentially replaces. Johnson might not be a special corner, but this feels like a smart pick here for the Bears. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”55″ type=”text”>50) Chicago Bears: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah — Really good value here for GM Ryan Pace, who potentially landed a starting corner mid-Round 2. He actually reminds me a bit of Prince Amukamara, whom Johnson essentially replaces. Johnson might not be a special corner, but this feels like a smart pick here for the Bears. Grade: B.

Dallas Cowboys: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama — The Cowboys are blowtorching the draft. Diggs was likely one of three or four options at No. 17, so for them to get him here is theft. Diggs’ consistency isn’t there yet, but he has a well-built and long frame and could be a really good player if he cleans up his sometimes sloppy technique. The practice battles vs. CeeDee Lamb will be fun to watch. Grade: A-.” data-reactid=”56″ type=”text”>51) Dallas Cowboys: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama — The Cowboys are blowtorching the draft. Diggs was likely one of three or four options at No. 17, so for them to get him here is theft. Diggs’ consistency isn’t there yet, but he has a well-built and long frame and could be a really good player if he cleans up his sometimes sloppy technique. The practice battles vs. CeeDee Lamb will be fun to watch. Grade: A-.

Los Angeles Rams: RB Cam Akers, Florida State — It’s the fifth RB the Rams have drafted since 2014, but we’re willing to overlook it because Akers is one of our favorites at the position. He was held back by FSU’s bad offensive line and unimaginative scheme, which won’t be an issue in L.A. His quick feet, receiving chops and “Wildcat” QB skills make Akers a fun playmaker for Sean McVay. But did they really need him? It’s a debate. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”57″ type=”text”>52) Los Angeles Rams: RB Cam Akers, Florida State — It’s the fifth RB the Rams have drafted since 2014, but we’re willing to overlook it because Akers is one of our favorites at the position. He was held back by FSU’s bad offensive line and unimaginative scheme, which won’t be an issue in L.A. His quick feet, receiving chops and “Wildcat” QB skills make Akers a fun playmaker for Sean McVay. But did they really need him? It’s a debate. Grade: B-.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma — Our first stunner of Round 2. Is this a referendum on Carson Wentz? It’s hard to know how to read this. But Hurts can contribute as a specialty-package performer until he’s ready — or until Wentz gets hurt, if that happens again. The Eagles had done a lot of work on QBs in this draft class, but we frankly didn’t expect this here. The grade reflects the value of the pick, not Hurts’ upside, which really is intriguing. Grade: C.” data-reactid=”58″ type=”text”>53) Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma — Our first stunner of Round 2. Is this a referendum on Carson Wentz? It’s hard to know how to read this. But Hurts can contribute as a specialty-package performer until he’s ready — or until Wentz gets hurt, if that happens again. The Eagles had done a lot of work on QBs in this draft class, but we frankly didn’t expect this here. The grade reflects the value of the pick, not Hurts’ upside, which really is intriguing. Grade: C.

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Jalen Hurts has to be happy he went so high. Everyone else besides the Philadelphia Eagles was fairly surprised. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa — Welcome to the draft, Bills. They take a player whom we mocked to them in Round 1 prior to the Stefon Diggs trade. Epenesa can be a base end and win over Buffalo fans with his high motor and knack for getting to the QB. The Bills are building a nice little wall. Forget the poor combine numbers; Epenesa is a steal here. Grade: A.” data-reactid=”79″ type=”text”>54) Buffalo Bills: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa — Welcome to the draft, Bills. They take a player whom we mocked to them in Round 1 prior to the Stefon Diggs trade. Epenesa can be a base end and win over Buffalo fans with his high motor and knack for getting to the QB. The Bills are building a nice little wall. Forget the poor combine numbers; Epenesa is a steal here. Grade: A.

Baltimore Ravens: RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State — Love the value here, getting a player who should have gone 15-20 picks earlier. Dobbins is a hard-nosed runner and a perfect replacement for Mark Ingram in time — in fact, that’s the player he reminds me of most. Lamar Jackson has another toy to play with. Grade: B+.” data-reactid=”80″ type=”text”>55) Baltimore Ravens: RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State — Love the value here, getting a player who should have gone 15-20 picks earlier. Dobbins is a hard-nosed runner and a perfect replacement for Mark Ingram in time — in fact, that’s the player he reminds me of most. Lamar Jackson has another toy to play with. Grade: B+.

Miami Dolphins: DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama — The Dolphins dip back into the Tuscaloosa well for talent. Davis had a big 2017 season but never really looked the same since then. He’s likely to be a dirty-work grunt inside next to Christian Wilkins, especially if the Dolphins run more odd fronts. Davis is a solid run defender, but doesn’t have a whole lot of upside despite a massive, long frame. Grade: C.” data-reactid=”81″ type=”text”>56) Miami Dolphins: DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama — The Dolphins dip back into the Tuscaloosa well for talent. Davis had a big 2017 season but never really looked the same since then. He’s likely to be a dirty-work grunt inside next to Christian Wilkins, especially if the Dolphins run more odd fronts. Davis is a solid run defender, but doesn’t have a whole lot of upside despite a massive, long frame. Grade: C.

Los Angeles Rams: WR Van Jefferson, Florida — Jefferson will be ready for the league, given that his dad is the Jets’ WR coach and a former 10-year pro. But again, the Rams dip into a position where they’re in somewhat solid shape. We like Jefferson as a player; he works crisp routes and has good hands. But the fit and value are a little suspect in our eyes. Grade: C.” data-reactid=”82″ type=”text”>57) Los Angeles Rams: WR Van Jefferson, Florida — Jefferson will be ready for the league, given that his dad is the Jets’ WR coach and a former 10-year pro. But again, the Rams dip into a position where they’re in somewhat solid shape. We like Jefferson as a player; he works crisp routes and has good hands. But the fit and value are a little suspect in our eyes. Grade: C.

Minnesota Vikings: OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State — It appears Trent Williams isn’t going to Minnesota after all. Cleveland looks and plays a little like Brian O’Neill, whom the Vikings took in Round 2 two years ago. But they needed the talent at the position, and Cleveland is likely going to play better than he did last year now that he’s recovered from the ankle injury that hindered him early on. He has played both tackle spots and is a really nice athlete. Solid pick. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”83″ type=”text”>58) Minnesota Vikings: OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State — It appears Trent Williams isn’t going to Minnesota after all. Cleveland looks and plays a little like Brian O’Neill, whom the Vikings took in Round 2 two years ago. But they needed the talent at the position, and Cleveland is likely going to play better than he did last year now that he’s recovered from the ankle injury that hindered him early on. He has played both tackle spots and is a really nice athlete. Solid pick. Grade: B-.

New York Jets: WR Denzel Mims, Baylor — Passing on a WR in Round 1 pays off for the Jets, as Mims surprisingly becomes the 13th wideout taken. He’s clearly more talented than that, and in a normal year he might have been a late first-round candidate. Mims does round out his routes, and his hands are a bit shaky at times. But he’s a jump-ball specialist who can help Sam Darnold downfield. Give Mims time and he could be a really nice addition. Grade: B+.” data-reactid=”84″ type=”text”>59) New York Jets: WR Denzel Mims, Baylor — Passing on a WR in Round 1 pays off for the Jets, as Mims surprisingly becomes the 13th wideout taken. He’s clearly more talented than that, and in a normal year he might have been a late first-round candidate. Mims does round out his routes, and his hands are a bit shaky at times. But he’s a jump-ball specialist who can help Sam Darnold downfield. Give Mims time and he could be a really nice addition. Grade: B+.

New England Patriots (from Ravens): EDGE Josh Uche, Michigan — Trading up with Baltimore, the Patriots make their second pick in Round 2. And it’s their second fascinating defensive addition in Uche, who brings pass-rush juice even though he’s not your typically sized rusher. But he can stand up, drop into coverage, energize New England’s unit, and is just starting to scratch his potential. The Patriots care not for your QB concerns. They’re going defense again. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”85″ type=”text”>60) New England Patriots (from Ravens): EDGE Josh Uche, Michigan — Trading up with Baltimore, the Patriots make their second pick in Round 2. And it’s their second fascinating defensive addition in Uche, who brings pass-rush juice even though he’s not your typically sized rusher. But he can stand up, drop into coverage, energize New England’s unit, and is just starting to scratch his potential. The Patriots care not for your QB concerns. They’re going defense again. Grade: B.

Tennessee Titans: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU — The Titans can move on from Malcolm Butler at some point because they now have solid depth at the position with the addition of Fulton. He’s a press-man corner who was discussed in the late Round 1 range, so this in our minds is a great value pick. He might never be a special playmaker, but good corners are hard to find, and Fulton is one of them. Grade: A-.” data-reactid=”86″ type=”text”>61) Tennessee Titans: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU — The Titans can move on from Malcolm Butler at some point because they now have solid depth at the position with the addition of Fulton. He’s a press-man corner who was discussed in the late Round 1 range, so this in our minds is a great value pick. He might never be a special playmaker, but good corners are hard to find, and Fulton is one of them. Grade: A-.

Green Bay Packers: RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College — Well, now. Not what we expected here, but Matt LaFleur, who was the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2018, gets his Derrick Henry clone. Dillon is a hard-nosed runner but has stiff hands and mild shortcomings in pass pro. That means Aaron Jones is now freed up to be the big-play guy in an interesting 1-2 RB punch. Still a little surprising to us. Grade. C.” data-reactid=”87″ type=”text”>62) Green Bay Packers: RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College — Well, now. Not what we expected here, but Matt LaFleur, who was the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2018, gets his Derrick Henry clone. Dillon is a hard-nosed runner but has stiff hands and mild shortcomings in pass pro. That means Aaron Jones is now freed up to be the big-play guy in an interesting 1-2 RB punch. Still a little surprising to us. Grade. C.

Kansas City Chiefs: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State — He just screamed “Chiefs” to us when we watched him — so much so we mocked him to them in Round 1. So what if we were a round early? Gay is a highly athletic, attacking linebacker who had character questions that troubled some teams. He’s also only started six college games, but has playmaking ability and special-teams value if he can be more disciplined. Grade: B.” data-reactid=”88″ type=”text”>63) Kansas City Chiefs: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State — He just screamed “Chiefs” to us when we watched him — so much so we mocked him to them in Round 1. So what if we were a round early? Gay is a highly athletic, attacking linebacker who had character questions that troubled some teams. He’s also only started six college games, but has playmaking ability and special-teams value if he can be more disciplined. Grade: B.

Carolina Panthers (from Seahawks): S-LB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois — One of the reasons we mocked Isaiah Simmons to Carolina in the first round was because we felt his athleticism would be too exciting for Matt Rhule to pass up. Well, at the end of Round 2 the Panthers get a reasonable clone of Simmons athletically, even if Chinn isn’t yet that level of player. Still, he’s a king-sized safety or undersized nickel LB who needs to speed his read skills up a tick before he can unlock his potential. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”89″ type=”text”>64) Carolina Panthers (from Seahawks): S-LB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois — One of the reasons we mocked Isaiah Simmons to Carolina in the first round was because we felt his athleticism would be too exciting for Matt Rhule to pass up. Well, at the end of Round 2 the Panthers get a reasonable clone of Simmons athletically, even if Chinn isn’t yet that level of player. Still, he’s a king-sized safety or undersized nickel LB who needs to speed his read skills up a tick before he can unlock his potential. Grade: C+.

NFL draft third round grades

Cincinnati Bengals: LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming — A nice little pick here. Wilson was a high school corner and safety who turned into a tackle machine for the Cowboys, but his coverage skills never left him. He’s an intelligent player whose lack of athleticism could hold him back a bit, but Wilson’s coverage ability should still translate. At the very worst, he’s a solid linebacker and special teams ace. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”91″ type=”text”>65) Cincinnati Bengals: LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming — A nice little pick here. Wilson was a high school corner and safety who turned into a tackle machine for the Cowboys, but his coverage skills never left him. He’s an intelligent player whose lack of athleticism could hold him back a bit, but Wilson’s coverage ability should still translate. At the very worst, he’s a solid linebacker and special teams ace. Grade: B-.

Washington Redskins: WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis — Is he a receiver or a running back? Gibson split time between the two positions but lined up mostly in the slot. I thought his best fit was at running back, though, so this is interesting. Either way, he’s an eye-opening athlete who struggled with the playbook early at Memphis and remains a bit raw, but his big-play upside is just fascinating. Think Cordarrelle Patterson-ish. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”92″ type=”text”>66) Washington Redskins: WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis — Is he a receiver or a running back? Gibson split time between the two positions but lined up mostly in the slot. I thought his best fit was at running back, though, so this is interesting. Either way, he’s an eye-opening athlete who struggled with the playbook early at Memphis and remains a bit raw, but his big-play upside is just fascinating. Think Cordarrelle Patterson-ish. Grade: B-.

Detroit Lions: EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame — We have an Okwara reunion in Detroit! Older brother Romeo is already with the Lions, and younger brother Julian likely wouldn’t be on the board this late had he not suffered a broken leg last season. He has some pass-rush tools and outstanding athletic traits but must become a better run defender and be a little more accountable. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”93″ type=”text”>67) Detroit Lions: EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame — We have an Okwara reunion in Detroit! Older brother Romeo is already with the Lions, and younger brother Julian likely wouldn’t be on the board this late had he not suffered a broken leg last season. He has some pass-rush tools and outstanding athletic traits but must become a better run defender and be a little more accountable. Grade: B-.

New York Jets: S Ashtyn Davis, California — Gregg Williams has a safety he can play 40 or 50 yards off the ball (kidding). But really, Davis has the elite range to handle single-high assignments well and allow Jamal Adams to move up more into the box. Although Davis might not be a great playmaker, he’s a full-tilt defender who also is a threat on returns with that game-changing speed. Not sure what this means, though. Safety was supposedly one of the Jets’ strong suits. Grade: C+.” data-reactid=”94″ type=”text”>68) New York Jets: S Ashtyn Davis, California — Gregg Williams has a safety he can play 40 or 50 yards off the ball (kidding). But really, Davis has the elite range to handle single-high assignments well and allow Jamal Adams to move up more into the box. Although Davis might not be a great playmaker, he’s a full-tilt defender who also is a threat on returns with that game-changing speed. Not sure what this means, though. Safety was supposedly one of the Jets’ strong suits. Grade: C+.

Seattle Seahawks (from Panthers): OG Damien Lewis, LSU — A pick we can get behind. Lewis is a nasty road grader in the run game and can help add competition to a Seattle unit that year in and year out seems to be looking to upgrade. We feel Lewis is best in a gap-blocking system and only likely a guard. But he adds some nastiness to that group. Grade: B-.” data-reactid=”95″ type=”text”>69) Seattle Seahawks (from Panthers): OG Damien Lewis, LSU — A pick we can get behind. Lewis is a nasty road grader in the run game and can help add competition to a Seattle unit that year in and year out seems to be looking to upgrade. We feel Lewis is best in a gap-blocking system and only likely a guard. But he adds some nastiness to that group. Grade: B-.

Miami Dolphins: S Brandon Jones, Texas — Intangibles are likely the attraction here, as Jones checks those boxes in dark ink. He’s not big nor all that forceful, but he plays full-tilt and can man both safety spots when healthy. Jones has been banged up quite a bit, and the playmaking ability appears to be lacking, but he’s a team-first guy with good special teams skill as well. Grade: C.” data-reactid=”96″ type=”text”>70) Miami Dolphins: S Brandon Jones, Texas — Intangibles are likely the attraction here, as Jones checks those boxes in dark ink. He’s not big nor all that forceful, but he plays full-tilt and can man both safety spots when healthy. Jones has been banged up quite a bit, and the playmaking ability appears to be lacking, but he’s a team-first guy with good special teams skill as well. Grade: C.

Baltimore Ravens: DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M — Another year, another “how did that guy fall to Baltimore?” pick. Actually, that’s three of those in this draft. Madubuike was just outside out top 50 prospects for his ability to explode off the ball and show pass-rush ability from inside. He’s a highly athletic interior rusher who has a high ceiling, but it’s going to require a little patience. Still, we thought he would be long gone by now. Grade: B+.” data-reactid=”97″ type=”text”>71) Baltimore Ravens: DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M — Another year, another “how did that guy fall to Baltimore?” pick. Actually, that’s three of those in this draft. Madubuike was just outside out top 50 prospects for his ability to explode off the ball and show pass-rush ability from inside. He’s a highly athletic interior rusher who has a high ceiling, but it’s going to require a little