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CisionScoop at DotDash & The Knot, Changes at The View, Additions at Buzzfeed, Plus More Media Updates

Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team; if you have a scoop, send

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Get More From The Relationship With Your Press Release Provider

 At some point in your life, you may have had to “define the relationship” with someone. It’s that critical, yet sometimes awkward, point in the relationship where two people sit down and ask, “What are we?”
Chances are, you haven’t given this a second thought when it

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Google Acquired a Team From HTC and It Surprised No One

Late last night — at least, here on the East Coast — a formal announcement was made that, if you’re as obsessed with the business of mobile as we are, didn’t exactly come as a surprise.

The word: Google had acquired a team from mobile electronics company HTC in a $1.1 billion deal.

When the Taiwan Stock Exchange opened at 9:00 AM local time, where HTC is headquartered, many suspected the announcement was coming. The company, which has been struggling with its valuation for quite a few years now, had already planned to freeze trading on Thursday, sparking rumors that some sort of major organizational move would take place.

Source: HTC

Finally, at 10:00 PM EDT, the announcement came on Google’s blog: The search giant had signed an “agreement with HTC, continuing our big bet on hardware.”

The announcement, penned by Google’s SVP of Hardware Rick Osterloh, explained that the acquired team would be joining primarily to work on the company’s Pixel devices. It’s just one of many announcements, confirmed or not, leading up to the major October 4 event where several products, including the Pixel 2, are slated to be announced.

Google’s relationship with HTC isn’t new, nor is its move to acquire a mobile electronics manufacturer — in 2012, it acquired Motorola, only to amass several financial losses and eventually sell the company to Lenovo for $9.6 billion less than it bought it for. As Osterloh said, representatives from both companies have been collaborating for 10 years, a partnership which in its earliest days resulted in the first-ever Android phone: the HTC Dream. While Google builds and owns the Android operating system technology, it’s largely used by non-Google mobile manufacturers, like Samsung and LG, where the search giant has very little, if any, creative license over how those companies use it.

Which is part of what makes this deal so interesting.

It’s been a long time since HTC was considered a leader in the world of mobile devices. It hit the market with flashy TV commercials and a “fresh face” in 2008, but since then has faced numerous operating losses resulting in budget cuts that caused a blow to its research and development. In 2016, it managed to catch up a bit in the VR market with its Vive headset, over which HTC will retain control even with the Google deal. 

All of that, to us, suggests two main implications from the deal. First, on the mobile device side, both Google and HTC stand to benefit. HTC will receive financial assets in the form of the deal’s monetary value, while Google can boast the growing buildout its mobile hardware team. It also moves the spotlight back onto HTC’s mobile innovation, especially at a time when Google is making headlines leading up to its October event. If Google is enlisting the help of HTC employees, one might say, then the latter must be doing something right.

It’s an interesting move on the heels of Apple’s many product announcements earlier this month, notably the launch of the latest generations of iPhones, including the iPhone X priced at $999. While the feedback on the first Pixel edition was largely positive, it hasn’t exactly garnered quite as much buzz as Apple or Samsung devices since its release. That raises the stakes for Google — will it be able to beat Apple’s latest mobile photography, user recognition, and AR features, and at a more competitive price?

Aha — note that last part about AR. Well, that’s where things really get twisted.

Despite the fact that HTC will retain control of its Vive VR properties, keep in mind that, as per the deal’s terms, Google will gain some non-exclusive licensing of HTC’s IP. It begs the question of whether this team acquisition will somehow play into Google’s potential attempts to compete with Apple on the mobile VR/AR front.

Source: HTC

Google has already been manufacturing its own VR headsets for quite some time now, with products ranging from the extremely affordable Cardboard to the $79 Daydream View. In fact, on the morning leading up to the official HTC deal announcement, Google published a design-focused post on its blog regarding the “best practices [of] creating art assets for VR.”

Source: Google

But both of these devices require VR-ready phones for a full experience — compare that to the $599 Vive, which comes with built-in hardware. The whole thing leaves us wondering if Google will “pull an Apple,” and create standalone AR experiences that don’t require additional gear.

In the weeks following Google’s October 4th event, we’ll be heading to both Oculus Connect and the Samsung Developer Conference, where we predict there will be talk — and perhaps even contention over — various VR and AR platforms. Where Google’s headsets and the Vive will specifically come into play is yet to be determined, and it will be nothing if not intriguing to hear developers’ perspectives on the deal’s implications and chain reaction.

Whatever they are — we’ll keep you posted.

Featured image source: Google

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Instagram on track to top Snapchat's new user sign ups (SNAP, FB)

us snap recode instagram ig snapchat new user enrollment accounts

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Snapchat has signed up more US users for its app than its rival Instagram has since the beginning of the year, though its leadership on this front may end soon, according to Jumpshot data cited by Recode.

Jumpshot analyzed engagement with new-user confirmation e-mails for both platforms and found Snapchat garnered 52% of US signups between the two last months. That’s down from 75% a year earlier. Globally, Instagram is already in the lead.

  • Instagram received 62% of new user signups globally in August 2017, while Snapchat received 38%. Instagram’s global lead over Snapchat reflects the company’s concerted efforts to appeal to users abroad. Additionally, its parent Facebook’s large global user base of over 2 billion monthly users likely also played a role in Instagram’s leadership. On the other hand, Snap has largely shied away from growing its user base in less developed markets where data connections may not be as strong. Fifty-six percent of Snapchat’s daily users in Q2 2017 came from outside of the US, while just 24% came from its Rest of World region, and the remaining 20% came from Europe.
  • Snapchat’s signup advantage looks poised to disappear soon. Though Snapchat held leadership over Instagram in US signups in August, its slowing user growth is evident in the downward trend in the proportion of US signups. Snapchat’s percentage of new-user sign ups started decelerating meaningfully in September 2016, which is likely because Instagram Stories first launched the prior month. Snapchat added just 15 million users daily users from Q4 2016 to Q2 2017, while Instagram Stories added 100 million daily users this year alone. Snapchat could accelerate user growth by increasingly building out unique features not found on Instagram, such as Snap Map and Crowd Surf.

Snapchat can still raise engagement among existing users to pitch itself to advertisers. Though slowing user growth may remain an issue for Snapchat, because of Instagram’s mimicking, Snapchat can still create new ways for users to interact and build out its Discover section to keep users in-app for longer periods of time. These efforts have worked for the company recently, for example, content submitted to Our Story has increased 30% since the launch of Snap Map. This allows Snapchat to pitch advertisers a more engaged user base and potentially drive ad spend to the platform. 

Social networks are here to stay, and they’re constantly evolving. Globally, more than 2.8 billion people — or 37% of the world’s population — use social media, but the way those users interact with each other, and the platforms they adopt, vary widely.

Kevin Gallagher, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a report on social media demographics that highlights the key audience demographics for six major social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. It also:

  • Breaks down the reach of social platform audiences in terms of age, income, education, and gender. 
  • Examines how time spent and monthly users across major age brackets have changed in the past three years. 
  • Explores the preferences of US teens and young millennials, and how they’re changing. 
  • Identifies the most important demographic changes that advertisers should monitor as social platforms continue to grow. 

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » Learn More Now

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3-D printers make aluminum pieces without cracks

Nanoparticles help print metal alloys more effectively

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CisionScoops at PCMag & Metropolis, New Additions to NYT & WaPo Video, Nylon Changes Format, Plus More Media Updates

Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team; if you have a scoop, send

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How Successful Journalists Use Social Media

An important aspect of the PR and marketing professions is to understand the behavior and interests of stakeholders and publics that we serve. The recently released Cision 2017 Global Social Journalism Study takes a deep dive into how journalists approach and use social media. As journalists

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Health Benefits In 2017: Stable Coverage, Workers Faced Considerable Variation In Costs [Web First]

The annual Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust Employer Health Benefits Survey found that in 2017, average annual premiums (employer and worker contributions combined) rose 4 percent

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Thanks Live Chat, Messaging Will Take It From Here

Automation is a funny thing. Too little is the enemy of efficiency. Too much kills engagement.

Think about email. Automated email nurturing campaigns were the answer to individually following up with every single person who downloaded a piece of content from your website. In the name of efficiency, marketers queued up a series of emails via workflows to automatically deliver ever-more-helpful content and insights, gradually increasing the person’s trust in the company and stoking the flames of their buying intent. If at any time they had a question, they could respond to the email and get routed to a person who could help.

But as the number of inbound leads skyrocketed, this system became untenable. The dreaded noreply@company.com address was the solution for scalability. Over time, this set the expectation with buyers that marketers didn’t want to have a conversation with them via email.

Automation made us more efficient, but at the cost of relationships — ultimately defeating the purpose.

Then came live chat, and it felt like a revelation. Buyers were empowered to get answers to their questions in real time from a real person. Better yet, this interaction took place directly on the company’s website — where they were already doing their research.

We started using website chat at HubSpot in 2013. Over the past four years, live chat has facilitated countless conversations between curious prospects and our business. We even created our own live chat product — Messages — to help our customers adopt this model and serve their own prospects better, faster, and directly on the website.

But, just like what happened with email nurturing, at a certain point the system started to strain. According to our usage data, one in every 30 website visits results in a chat. For companies that receive thousands of website visits a day, trying to keep up is daunting.

And similar to how “noreply@company.com” frustrated buyers looking for information via email, customers are again the ones suffering when companies can’t manage the demands of live chat. Recent research found that 21% of live chat support requests go completely unanswered. Even if the buyer gets a response, they can expect to wait an average of 2 minutes and 40 seconds for it. I wouldn’t call this “live” — would you?

Responding slowly (or failing to respond at all) on a channel advertised as “live” is a contradiction in terms. Forcing customers to wait after we’ve set the expectation of immediacy is unacceptable. We can do better.

Today, we’re at the same inflection point we came to with email. What should companies do to accommodate the tidal wave of live chat conversations? Hiring an increasing number of chat coordinators clearly isn’t a scalable answer. But more importantly, apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Slack have changed consumers’ definition of a real time conversation (and also created the infrastructure to support them). If marketers are going to advertise “live” channels — and we must if we want to stay relevant — we need to step up and deliver.

It’s with this in mind that I assert the era of live chat is over. “Conversations” were once synonymous with website chat and incoming phone calls, but in the world of messaging apps and bots, the website is only one small piece of the puzzle. Buyers are thinking beyond the website, but most businesses aren’t.

Buyers’ New Expectations for Business Conversations

Website chat enabled buyers to have conversations with businesses like never before. It was a good start, but just that — a start. Similar to how inbound changed marketing, social changed content discovery and consumption, and conversational search changed SEO, messaging apps have changed how buyers expect to interact with businesses.

Why tether your prospects and customers to your website when they want to chat? Why force them to re-explain their question when they switch channels, or when chat coordinators switch shifts? Why make them wait until the next rep is available to get the information they need right now? This isn’t world-class marketing and customer service even today, and it’ll become even more archaic and frustrating in the years to come.

Think your buyers wouldn’t want to interact with your company via a messaging app? Actually, 71% of consumers globally are willing to use messaging apps to get customer assistance.

content-trends-1-2.png

Even if your prospects fall in the “none of the above” bucket today, they won’t forever. Cutting the data by age foretells the inevitability of messaging apps in a business context over time: The majority of consumers currently between the ages 18 and 34 are willing to use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to contact companies for assistance.

content-trends-2-2.png

When communicating with a business, today’s buyer expects that:

  • Conversations happen where they are. That might be the website, but it could also be social media, or Skype, or Slack, or a messaging app.
  • Conversations are portable. Regardless of where a conversation gets started, it should be able to be transferred to any other channel seamlessly. A thread kicked off on live chat should be able to be passed to Facebook Messenger or email without data loss or crossed wires.
  • Conversations have context. Context shouldn’t leave with the person who fielded the initial inquiry. All of a customer or prospect’s historical interactions and information should be attached to a common record which populates instantaneously.

We need new technology paired with automation to live up to our buyers’ expectations and make these types of conversations a reality. On the technology side, live website chat is part of a conversation strategy, sure, but it can’t be the whole strategy. As for automation, marketers got it wrong with email, but we have the opportunity to get it right with chat.

Stop Chatting, Start Having Conversations

At HubSpot, we’ve always been about helping marketers and salespeople adapt to the ever-changing modern buyer. It’s time, once again, to step up and serve our prospects and customers the way they expect — and deserve — to be served.

Fortunately, this is possible today with the right strategy. Businesses need to do the following three things to enable truly valuable conversations at scale:

1) Make it possible for buyers to have conversations with your business where they are.

Create a presence on website chat, messaging apps, social media — wherever your prospects might want to talk.

2) Add an automation layer with chatbots.

Set up bots that immediately respond on each channel (or even proactively kick off the conversation) and are equipped to answer common questions. This eliminates customers’ wait time and provides immediate responses for the majority of queries. Bots put the “live” in “live chat.”

3) Adopt technology that helps bots and human service reps to “tag team.”

When a complex question arises, the right technology can loop in a human chat coordinator, and provide a unified record of everything that’s happened in this interaction as well as the customer’s entire history. This way, the context never gets left behind in the handoff between bot and human, or the switch from one communication channel to another.

Marketing automation used to solely refer to workflows + drip email campaigns. Today, it’s much more than that. The new marketing automation is conversational technology + bots. This is automation that makes us more efficient, but more importantly, more effective for our customers. This is automation that creates relationships instead of frustration.

Today, we announced HubSpot’s acquisition of motion.ai — a platform that enables anyone to build and deploy bots across any messaging channel. With this acquisition, we not only hope to enable marketers, salespeople, and service folks to serve their customers better, faster, and with more context than ever before, but we also intend to create the “all in one” experience our customers have come to rely on.

The only constant in business and consumer behavior today is change — which I know firsthand can feel overwhelming. But you’re not in it alone. As your customers change, HubSpot empowers you to adapt to and surpass their expectations. As your business grows, we grow with you. And when new technology emerges, we build it into the growth stack so you can stay ahead of the curve without the headache of wrangling countless disparate apps.

Live chat is the standard today, but I think we should aspire to do better for our buyers. Now I want to hear from you. Do you think live chat in its current manifestation is dead? Is your company prepared to meet the expectations of today’s buyers, and the buyers of tomorrow?

Send HubSpot a note on Facebook Messenger. Tell me what you think the future of communication between buyers and businesses should be.

Let’s have a conversation.

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All the changes Apple made to the App Store in iOS 11 (AAPL)

iPhone 8 plus

When Apple’s iOS 11 arrived Tuesday, the App Store got a major overhaul. 

iOS 11, the latest version of the iPhone maker’s mobile operating system, is full of plenty of new features and long-anticipated upgrades. But the App Store changed even more — it got a complete redesign.

Apple Music users may notice something familiar about the new App Store. The new interface bears a striking resemblance to the Apple Music app, complete with a bold typeface and an emphasis on images.

Beyond the design, though, Apple made subtle changes to improve the experience of buying and downloading apps and games. 

Here are all the changes to the App Store in iOS 11:

SEE ALSO: The updates to Apple Maps in iOS 11 make me actually want to use it again

The Today tab shows you what’s new each day.

Apple wants the Today tab to serve as a “daily destination” in the App Store. The tab houses things like curated collections, how-to guides, and world premieres, and will be managed by App Store editors.  

App pages got a redesign.

Apple overhauled the app pages in iOS 11, too. The pages will now make it easier to see ratings and reviews, check out in-app purchases, and watch video previews. 

Search is improved.

Apple made improvements to the App Store’s search capabilities in iOS 11. Search results will now show you tips and tricks, lists, developers, and more. 

 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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