Amazon Offers Animators A New Way to Make Money from Online Video

In a major development for independent content creators, Amazon is inviting all creators to post videos to its Amazon Video service and earn royalties based on hours streamed. The service went live today.

Amazon Video Direct (AVD) is a self-service platform that puts the e-commerce giant in direct competition with video sites like Youtube and Vimeo. AVD makes video content available for free to all Amazon Prime members, who number in the “tens of millions”, and pays creators based on the amount of time the content is streamed.

In addition to streaming, AVD provides other options to creators: content can be made available to rent or own, viewable for free with advertisements, or packaged together and offered as an add-on subscription (through the Streaming Partners program).

“It’s an amazing time to be a content creator,” said Jim Freeman, vice president of Amazon Video, in a a press release. “There are more options for distribution than ever before and with Amazon Video Direct, for the first time, there’s a self-service option for video providers to get their content into a premium streaming subscription service. We’re excited to make it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”

Launching alongside this new system is the AVD Stars Program, which will distribute $1 million every month among the 100 most popular AVD titles in Prime Video. The monthly bonus is in addition to any other revenue earned through the program, and everyone who uses AVD is automatically enrolled to participate.

AVD launch partners include a mix of both established media brands and online media producers, among them Conde Nast Entertainment, HowStuffWorks, Samuel Goldwyn Films, The Guardian, Mashable, Mattel, StyleHaul, Kin Community, Jash, Business Insider, Machinima, TYT Network, Baby Einstein, CJ Entertainment America, Xive TV, Synergetic Distribution, Kino Nation, Journeyman Pictures, and Pro Guitar Lessons.

Creators who want more information on signing up for Amazon Video Direct can visit Amazon’s website.

Now You Can Listen To YouTube Songs On Your Android Phone With The Screen Turned Off!

Wherever you are, whatever the time, when you’re looking for a song to listen to, you inevitably find yourself on YouTube. While it is the repository of some of the craziest, funniest and scariest videos on the net, YouTube is also the go-to app for anyone who’s looking for a song.

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But if there’s any complaint that Android users have with listening to songs on YouTube it’s this: the app keeps the screen on while you’re playing the song.

Now this, as any smartphone user will tell you, is not good for any already overworked battery. But now there’s an app that will help you get around that.

Presenting the Black Screen of Life , an app that turns your screen off when the proximity sensor is blocked. So when you’re listening to music on YouTube, all you need to do cover the proximity sensor and hey presto, you’ve saved bucketfuls for power.

 

The first Doctor Strange trailer is here and we see possibilities

The first trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange is here, and as promised, it’s quite a trip. Benedict Cumberbatch unveiled the movie’s first trailer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night, and by far the most alarming part of teaser is hearing the Brit speak with an American accent.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange tells the story of Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), an acclaimed neurosurgeon who uncovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions after a near-fatal car accident. As you can see in the trailer, this film will expose parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that have been previously unexplored. (Think Inception for the MCU.)
We’re already intrigued by Tilda Swinton, who portrays Strange’s kickass mentor, the Ancient One. “You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole,” she tells Strange in the trailer. “You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?”

 

Notably, we also get a glimpse of Rachel McAdams in the two-minute teaser, and it looks like she’s playing a nurse — a night shift nurse, perhaps? Time, and maybe a bit of sorcery, will indeed tell. Still, we need 100 percent more Chiwetel Ejiofor.

5 Twitter Growth Tools You Should Be Using Now

Are you looking to be the best social media manager / growth hacker you can be? Well today I’ve posted my 5 favorite tools to grow and manage your Twitter accounts. By using these tools correctly, you WILL grow your Twitter account.

  1. ManageFlitter
    If you’re looking to grow your Twitter account, I strongly recommend checking out this tool. ManageFlitter comes with several key features that make it essential for the Twitter growth hacker. To start, it allows you to find all those people who don’t follow you back so you can easily unfollow them. If they are not following you, they are not seeing your tweets anyways. You can also use the Powermode which allows you to create a set of search filters so you can find users that are most likely to follow you back and would be engaged. You can take it a step further and use the Power Post feature to schedule and track tweets so they are sent during times when your audience is most online. Lastly, it comes with analytics so you can track growth. Believe me, if you use it right, you will see growth in your account.

2. SocialBro
SocialBro is a great tool to understand your audience. It provides some great analytics to break down your audience. Aside from that, they also allow you to automate replies so you can automate the introduction if someone were to follow you. It’s called rules, try them out! This is also a great tool to grow you Instagram account as well, but that’s a different story.

3. Twibble.io
A part of growing a Twitter account is the ability to post regular great content. Twibble is a service that automatically posts content from any RSS feed to Twitter. Unlike other RSS to Twitter services, this beautifully designed, posts an image, has analytics, hashtag testing and more. You can also automate posting Instagram images or Pinterest pins if you’re looking to make your Twitter account super visual!

4. Buffer
Similar to Twibble, Buffer allows you to schedule out content. It’s a super powerful tool and should be used by any social media manager. It saves you so much time! It’s also great because it has some analytics features that show you what content that you post did the best, and makes it easy to re-post. Best used with evergreen content!

5. CoSchedule
If you manage a blog, you’ll want to check out CoSchedule. This tool makes it easy to manage an editorial calendar with multiple team members. It should be the first line of attack when posting content from your blog. It will allow you to schedule your social posts ahead of time and also provides insight into what content does the best and allows you to keep sharing easily.

That’s how you use Snapchat

Quest Media

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We are guessing you don’t use Snapchat. Sure, you’ve probably downloaded it; maybe you’ve sent one or two crappy stills to your friends. You think you did everything right, but who knows, because you couldn’t really figure out what Snapchat is supposed to be used for. And so you turned your back on Snapchat. You shrugged and thought, “Well, it’s for those damn Millennials and turned it into a punchline for self-deprecating stories about the limits of your technological savvy.”

Well, here’s the thing: You can use Snapchat—and you’re going to love it.

In fact, your timing couldn’t be better. The company recently announced a slew of new features as part of what it’s calling “Chat 2.0.” The update includes voice chat, video and audio notes, stickers, and a number of changes to the UI. While Snapchat was seen largely as a ephemeral platform for pre-teen communication and raunchy pictures that disappear in seconds, the changes move the company into a much broader competitive space that includes everything from Kik and Whatsapp to Skype and Facetime. In light of the updates, we thought we’d give you rookies—along with our editor—a helpful guide to Snapchat. [Ed.—I don’t know what they’re talking about, I am supercool.]

Warning: Snapchat is one of the most addictive apps out there (as of February, Snapchat users were reportedly watching an estimated 8 billion videos daily) and, from this point on, you may find yourself living life through your iPhone camera.

  • The Setup

We sat down with one of WIRED’s Snap-phobic staffers to show her what all the fuss is about. Was she thrilled? She was not. (“Really, guys?”) She actually seemed really nervous. (“Wait, do I have to pay for this?”) If this happens to you, don’t worry, it’s a natural reaction. Snapchat is indistinguishable from magic, and you’re right to fear it.

First: make sure your Snapchat name is funny. Unlike Instagram, you won’t be able to change your name once it’s set, so choose wisely! (It took our colleague 20 minutes to decide on one—we promised her we wouldn’t share it with you.)

Then, adjust your settings by clicking the ghost on top of your screen, followed by the gear icon on the upper-right corner. This is where you can manage your personal information: who can view your Stories (more on those later), contact you, or find your account using your mobile number. You’ll also want to make sure your filters are turned on in Settings > Manage (more on filters later, too). Got it?

  • Terminology

Snapchat is, at its core, a messaging app—albeit one with its own lingo. Don’t let the vernacular stop you, though; it’s easy.

Snaps: Photos or videos you send to a friend (or multiple friends). A snap is self-destructing; once someone opens it, it disappears.Snapchat-289x514 - 1
Stories: Compilations of Snaps any of your friends can view for up to 24-hours. Your Story is ongoing, so even if one of your Snaps expires, the newer ones are still viewable.
Snap Score: Normal people (including us) seem to have no idea how scores are calculated. According to Snapchat, it’s essentially a combination of the number of Snaps you’ve sent and received, Stories you’ve posted, and other factors.
Snapstreak: If you’ve sent the same friend Snaps for a few consecutive days, you’re on a Snapstreak.
Screenshot: Thought you’d take a picture of a Snap to make it last longer? Busted. A user is notified whenever one of their Snaps is screenshotted—either in a personal snap or in their Story.
Discover: These are channels created by various publishers for a mass audience—ESPN, Food Network, Comedy Central, etc.
Replay: You can replay the last snap you viewed once per day, so use this function wisely. (If you replay someone’s Snap, they’re notified, so keep that in mind before you get stalky.)

 

  • Snapping 101

“I feel like I’m 100 years old. Also, I can barely handle texting.”

Snapchat has three screens: the one it launches to is your camera view. Press the circle on the bottom-middle of your screen once for a photo, or hold it down to record a video (up to 10 seconds). Just like in your phone camera or Instagram, you can switch between the front and rear-facing cameras by clicking the square arrow icon in the top-right corner—or by double-tapping anywhere on the screen.

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(As for the other two screens, the square icon at the bottom left takes you to your direct Snapchat feed, and the bottom-right icon goes to to your Stories screen. If your muscle memory comes courtesy of Tinder, you can also swipe left and right.)

So you’ve taken a Snap. Now, the realfun begins, thanks to a healthy sprinkling of post-processing fairy dust.

Apply a filter: Swipe left to see the different overlays you can place on your image. Some are location-specific: Sitting in the WIRED office in San Francisco, we have a Golden Gate Bridge geofilter, one for the SoMa neighborhood, and more. (To access geofilters, be sure location services is enabled on your phone.) You can even put two filters on a single Snap by selecting an initial filter, holding your finger down, and swiping left or right again with your finger still in place.

Draw, type or add emoji stickers: Create drawings, write text, or add emoji stickers to your Snaps by clicking the T, pencil, or sticker icon in the upper-right corner. You can change the color of your text or pencil with the rainbow spectrum. (Android users have an additional transparent color palette not available on iPhones which we’re a little envious of, TBH.)
Morph yourself with Lenses: Snapchat uses facial recognition software to apply hilarious/horrifying effects to anyone’s face (and sometimes animals). Focus your camera on the face you want to contort, and tap and hold on the face until a spider-web like graphic appears. Now release! Swipe through the different lenses on the bottom of your screen; they can give you everything from a Divine-like makeup job to a dog’s ears and tongue to a giant-eyed ET skull. You can even get a friend involved and swap faces, though we refuse to be held responsible for any nightmares that may cause.

  • New Features

Pictures: Selecting the picture icon above the keyboard allows you to send multiple images to your friends at once.
Audio Call: By tapping the phone icon, your friend will receive a “calling” notification on their device that they can pick up or ignore. You also have the option to leave a voicemail, which is crazy.
Video Call: The video camera icon lets you video-chat with your friend live. It’s like Skype on steroids: Once answered, friends can simultaneously send texts, pictures, and audio messages within the same feed. You can also send 10-second video “bubble” message recordings. Unlike a typical Snap, these bubbles play within your text conversation. To create this type of message, hold down the camera or phone icon above the keyboard to record. When you remove your finger, your recording will automatically send.

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Stickers: The smiley-face icon on the right gives you access to 297 cartoon stickers, ranging from an annoyed SRSLY? cat, to a Do Not Disturb sleeping manatee. When Snapchat purchased Bitstrips last week, we were hoping we’d get some emoji filters on the new update. Nothing yet, but these stickers are a nice appetizer.
Auto-Advance Stories: Each time you finish viewing a Story, the next user’s will now play automatically. Tap to click through, swipe left to skip to the next person, or pull down to exit.

 

 

(source: www.wired.com)

The New Twitter Algorithm: What does that mean for you?

Twitter is on social media platform truly loved by all marketers and one of the primary reasons for this is because Twitter does not make the marketers face the algorithm that Facebook uses.

Twitter has often been compared to a fire horse, blasting a fast stream of unfiltered content, making Twitter almost the opposite of Facebook. A pretty fitting description, if you think about it.

But the  scenario is soon to be changed. Twitter is now confirming that they are beginning the testing stage with a small group of users. A change in their algorithm, a change which has plagued the minds of marketers for a long time. For the looks of things, sooner or later this change is going to happen…

But what does that mean for you?

And what do you need to know, for now?

It is no secret that changes have been happening for a while now. In fall 2014 the coming of a Facebook style curated news feed is was announced.

Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, but this isn’t the most relevant experience for a user. Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better. ~Twitter CFO Anthony Noto.

In the month of January 2015, Twitter added the “While You Were Away” feature to their timeline. These two changes came about in quick succession.  This feature shows users interesting tweets that they missed while they were off Twitter, a move aimed at encouraging users to return to the service more frequently.

That was followed by the inclusion of “Moments,”. A tab showing tweets which were based on a varied range of topics. The aim of this feature was to put the tweets under sorting categories that users might be interested in. The bottom line…filter the clutter.

While many of the current users may rebel against the idea of moving toward a more Facebook-style algorithm, the company is acknowledging what Facebook and Google have long since known: that users expect the services they use online to know what they want to see.

In a conference call July 2015, cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey said, “You will see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline, and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts…Our goal is to show more meaningful Tweets and conversations faster, whether that’s logged in or out of Twitter.”

In its most recent announcement on December 8, 2015, Twitter said that the company has begun testing a new algorithm where tweets will be ordered by relevance rather than reverse chronological order. So it’s happening, but it’s still too soon to know exactly how it will impact businesses.

Let’s admit it, change was Inevitable. Statistics show that Twitter is struggling to draw in new users even after the changes it has made over the last couple of years. Let’s consider some statistics. In between the months of July to September, Twitter grew only by 11%, from 316 million to 320 million. While that may sound like huge growth to come people, it still missed its growth forecasts, and throughout the past year the stock has fallen approximately 32%. Hence, changes and experimentation were inevitable.

What does this mean for us common users?

Companies complain daily about the fact that they spent years (and precious marketing dollars) accumulating fans on Facebook with the assumption that they would be able to freely reach them. With the decline in organic reach, companies now have to pay all over again to distribute content to their audiences. The fear is that the same is going to happen with Twitter, that marketers will be required to pay to reach their communities on Twitter too.

On the other hand, it could mean that if someone on Twitter has liked a tweet from a brand he isn’t following, that the algorithm could show that content to the user anyway. The truth is that it’s too early to tell what the implication will be for marketers.

Till the time Twitter give us clarity on what exactly will be their algorithm the best bet for all marketers is to continue putting out value-based content that is relevant to their target audience.

The brands that will likely suffer the most are the ones who are putting out nonstop promotional content that gets zero engagement. Useful content that the audience wants to see and engage is and always will be the key to Twitter marketing. Communication with the users, humanising the brands, focusing on engagement and content is what will help a marketer be successful on Twitter in both the short and long term.

At least until we have a better idea of what the new algorithm changes will bring.

 

10 Tips To Increase Engagement On Instagram

Instagram – one of the fastest growing platform for businesses to establish a presence, encourage engagement and get more in terms of business. Here are a few points to remember to increase engagement on instagram.

1: Be Square

Instagram is all about good photographs, so the very first step to making you Instagram marketing mores effective is by using high-quality photos. One of the best ways to save time and compose better photos for Instagram is to shoot square photos. Instagram prefers using square images. So save time on cropping your images. Use the preset shoot square setting which is available with most digital cameras and smartphones.

2: Use a Customized Link Shortener to Track Traffic

A smart marketer will alway make sure that more than enough traffic is leading back to their website from their instagram accounts. It is recommended that businesses use a web link shortener, specially for the URL in their Instagram bio.

3: Be Strategic With Your Bio Link

Instagram is fun and spontaneous when it is being used for personal reasons, but if you want to use it as a marketing tool, you have to be a little more calculating with it. Businesses which have or are rocking the instagram sphere plan their posts well in advance. Even small brand or a one-man show can develop a great presence on Instagram. Use the link in the account bio to connect to a landing page that holds the same posts posted on Instagram. This allows leads to be collected.

4: Take Advantage of Trending Hashtags

The hashtag phenomenon has been considered to be one of the most powerful digital marketing tool. Hence, enough emphasis cannot be put on how important hashtags are. Now instagram allows the explore feature to show which hashtags are trending at that point of time. If a trending tag is relevant to the brand, include them in timely posts to aid discovery.

5: Drive Instagram Users Into Your Marketing Funnel

Yes, getting a follow on Instagram is important, but getting the followers to follow the brand, engage and use the brand is far more important than just a follow. To move users further down the funnel, the brand should consider identifying ways to capture a follower’s email contact. One of the best ways to capture a follower’s email is to ask for it. An image with a call to action in both the caption and visual telling users to click the link in your bio to download an ebook or sign up for a newsletter. Once the user takes this action, the brand has the ability to engage with him or her on a one-to-one basis and take the communication to the next level.

6: Mix Videos and Photos

Including videos in addition to photos,can prove to be a master stroke for brands. Considering that a video can generate three times more inbound links than written posts, it’s a valuable tool that can be used to engage fans, grow your following and drive traffic.As marketers, we all know that Instagram is about visual storytelling, but with a video the brands can actually bring their story to life. Videos are fun, shareable and engaging, and with Instagram’s video editing features they’re super-easy to create. Encourage the followers to create their own videos and collect them on the brands page like GoPro does. The key here is to make it about the audience rather than the brand. Humanise the brand, and instant results will follow.

7: Leverage Sponsored Ads

One of the hottest marketing tips for Instagram is to watch for access to the ever-growing paid feature on the platform. Sponsored ads on Instagram are becoming a regular occurrence on people’s timelines, whether it’s one ad or multiple ads using the carousel element. This gives brands a whole new dimension to target their audience. Before, only people following the account would see photo updates, whereas now brands can promote these to anyone within their target audience. Marketers must be ready with content that is both engaging and created with a particular target demographic in mind. You’ll also want to have multiple posts ready to target to different audiences.

8: Direct Users to Your Most Valuable Content

While Instagram now allows advertisers the ability to add clickable links in their carousel posts, URLs still aren’t clickable in photo descriptions. Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this so marketers can direct followers to their most valuable content. Just utilize the link section of your Instagram account’s bio. Users can be directed to a permanent page, such as your website’s homepage or your blog. But an even better option is to link to your most current content, whether that’s an article, blog post or promotion.

9: Use Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are one of the best way to increase effectiveness of an Instagram account. Pairing up with large Instagram accounts that are already catering to your demographic makes every kind of sense. It’s the cheapest CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of any ad platform. The fact is there are tens of thousands of Instagram accounts being built solely for the purpose of selling featured shout-outs to companies and brands.

10: Make Graphics Shareworthy

The content a brand shares should be smart, visually pleasing and most importantly in lines with the thought process of the brand.

Conclusion

There’s no better way to step up your business game than to be active on Instagram. The platform is constantly making improvements, so individuals and businesses can get more out of it. Plus, there are tactics, aside from Instagram itself, to increase organization, engagement and visibility. Explore these tools and tips, and see which ones work best for you and your business.