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Instagram's Sponsored Videos & Posts Are Here!

Instagram's Sponsored Videos & Posts are Here!Instagram has just announced the addition of their sponsored videos and posts.  The new ads will appear in users feeds and be clearly marked "sponsored".  Like Facebook ads, users will have the option to give feedback on the ads they are seeing.  This includes the ability to hide ads a users doesn't wish to see.

Instagram Sponsored Posts & VideosScreenshot of the new sponsored posts.

Instagram has published a FAQ about the new ads on their announcement page, with more information available on their help page.  Currently the list of accepted ad sponsors is limited to companies like Ben & Jerry's, Burberry, Macy's, Michael Kors and more.

Ads will be shown based upon information about a users likes based on data from Instagram parent company Facebook as well as what brands a users interacts with on Instagram.  So if a user likes Ben & Jerry's on Facebook and Instagram they can safely assume they will see some sponsored posts or videos from Ben & Jerry's on Instagram.  For those worried about advertisers using their photos, don't worry! Instagram clearly states that the advertisers will not have access to users photos! Your photos are safe!

What do you think of the new Instagram ads?  Have you seen them in your Instagram feed yet?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Fear Google's "not provided" Keywords

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Fear Google's "not provided" KeywordsWebmasters and SEOs may have noticed a drastic uptick in "not provided" keyword results from Google.  This has been a result of Google making all searches secure on September 23rd.  However, there's no reason to despair over this loss of data just yet.

Bing and Other Search Engines Still Provide Data

Other search engines still allow webmasters to see the keyword data, it will still show up in your analytics.  While Google might be the largest source of search engine referrals it's not necessarily the only one.

Social Media Still Refers Traffic

Many blogs & bloggers get their biggest sources of traffic from social media sites like Pinterest.  Search engine traffic does have it's place, but in the age of social media it's not the only source of traffic to consider.

It's All About Semantic Search

Semantic search is here! Google's Hummingbird update completely changed how the search engine interprets requests.  Instead of picking out keywords, hummingbird looks at the meaning of the search phrase or sentence meaning as a whole. This means people are no longer searching with keywords anyway, but in a more natural way.

Google Web Master Tools & Ad Words Still Give Keyword Access

If you must have your keywords, there are still ways to get at them.  Those who pay for Google Ad Words services, or use Web Master Tools still have access to them.  You can access your keywords via Web Master Tools by going to Search Traffic > Search Queries.  Just make sure to download the Web Master Tools keyword data every month or two.  Google only keeps it for 90 days! If you don't use it, you lose it!

On Site Searches Give Data Too!

Analyze the data gathered from on site searches.   It may not tell you how visitors found your site, but it will tell you what they are looking for once they get there.

Landing Pages Count

Use your analytics to filter the "not provided" searches. Look at where visitors are landing. Popular pages will give a rough idea of what visitors are looking for when they got to your site.

Good Content is Good Content

Good content will still drawn in visitors.  In taking away the ability to monitor keywords so closely Google has taken away the temptation to engage in keyword stuffing behaviors. Now there's no excuse not to deliver great content.  The ability to see what content is popular and draws the most traffic is still here, and that's the most important thing.

"not provided" search results from Google are here to stay.  However, that doesn't mean that there's no way to find out what brings visitors to a site!  Have you had a substantial increase in "not provided" searches? Tell us about it in the comments!

Netflix's "House of Cards" Wins Emmy!

Netflix's "House of Cards" Wins Emmy!The 65th prime time Emmy Awards took place last night at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  This year's awards marked the beginning of a new era for television: an online television studio won an Emmy for the first time.  Netflix's "House of Cards" took home the Emmy for Best Directing in a Drama Series! This is in addition to the Emmys it already took home for cinematography and casting for "House of Cards".

It's no secret that watching videos, including TV and movies online is one of the internet's favorite pastimes. However, this is the first time any internet television producer has gone head to head with traditional studios and won such a prestigious award.

Check out the full list of last night's winners below:

Drama Series

"Breaking Bad" (AMC)

Actor, Drama Series

Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom" (HBO)

Actress, Drama Series

Claire Danes, "Homeland" (Showtime)

Supporting Actor, Drama Series

Bobby Cannavale, "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad" (AMC)

Directing, Drama Series

David Fincher, "House of Cards" (Netflix)

Writing, Drama Series

Henry Bromell, "Homeland" (Showtime)

Comedy Series

"Modern Family" (ABC)

Lead Actor, Comedy Series

Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)

Lead Actress, Comedy Series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep," (HBO)

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series

Tony Hale, "Veep" (HBO)

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime)

Directing, Comedy Series

Gail Mancuso, "Modern Family" (ABC)

Writing, Comedy Series

Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, "30 Rock" (NBC)

Miniseries or Movie

"Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)

Lead Actor, Miniseries or Movie

Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)

Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie

Laura Linney, "The Big C: Hereafter" (Showtime)

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie

James Cromwell, "American Horror Story: Asylum" (FX)

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie

Ellen Burstyn, "Political Animals" (USA)

Directing, Miniseries or Movie

Steven Soderbergh, "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)

Writing, Miniseries or Movie

Abi Morgan, "The Hour" (BBC America)

Reality-Competition Program

"The Voice" (NBC)

Variety Series

"The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)

Writing, Variety Series

"The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central)

Directing, Variety Series

Don Roy King, "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)

Choreography

Derek Hough, "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC)

What does Netflix Emmy victory mean for both traditional and internet television? Will this be the herald of a change in how television is produced? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Don't Waste Time! 7 Apps & Services to Increase Your Productivity

Don't Waste Time! 7 Apps & Services to Increase Your ProductivitySometimes it seems there are never enough hours in the day.  While some may lament the changes in technology that are clamoring constantly for our attention, there are many genuinely useful and time saving apps, gadgets and programs out there.  Choosing the right ones for your can save you time and let you work smarter, not harder.  Here are 7 of our favorite time saving, productivity increasing, and down right useful apps.

Google Drive

Have access to your files anywhere, and even collaborate with your collegues or clients. Google Drive and other cloud file saving services keep your files within reach at all times.

Evernote

Save important notes, ideas, bookmarks, even your grocery list on lists that sync across devices.  You  can organize your notes into notebooks, add tags, and comments. Never again forget why you were saving that particular link.

Hootsuite

Managing social media accounts doesn't have to be that time consuming.  Tools like Hoosuite allow you to easily manage multiple social media accounts across multiple platforms from one simple interface.

Dropbox

Like Google Drive, Dropbox lets you store your files on the cloud.  Install Dropbox on Android and iOS devices and you are able to automatically back up your photos from your phone, as well as accessing your Dropbox files on the go.

IFTTT

Ever wish you could to that with that other thing? IFTTT lets you harness the power of an ever expanding number of services to meet your needs. Change your user icon on Facebook? Use IFTTT to automatically change it on Twitter! Post links to your latest blog to your social media accounts? IFTTT can do that too. It's a versatile service that can help make your internet life easier.

Browser Sync

Both Firefox and Chrome offer the ability to synch browsers. Set up your account, connect the browsers and you will have access to all of your bookmarks, tabs and plugins across devices. No longer suffer the annoyance, and wasted time setting up all your favorite plugins on your fresh Firefox or Chrome install.

LastPass

Remembering your passwords can be hard enough. Remembering unique, secure passwords for every single account you have can be nearly impossible. Fortunately Last Pass does the remembering for you. It securely stores your password information and allows you to access your account through one master password.  It's available on desktop and mobile devices.

These 7 resources will help you work smarter and save time.  Use technology for what it was intended to do: make your life easier.  Do you have any useful or productivity apps or services that you just can't live without?

Twitter Files for IPO and Offers Verified Filtering

Twitter Files for IPO and Offers Verified FilteringSocial media network Twitter has been busy lately! In a recent tweet Twitter announced that they have filed for IPO.  This comes in the wake of fellow social network and rival Facebook's IPO.  Hopefully for Twitter's sake they will be able to avoid the problems Facebook's shares are still recovering from.

 

In other Twitter news, Twitter has released a new feature just for Verified account holders.  Verified users will now be able to filter their stream to only view other Verified accounts.  In order to access the new feature users must simple go to their connect tab, and click on the Verified option. Verified accounts will of course still have access to their full Twitter stream. Impacts to Verified and non-verified users will ultimately be in the hands of the users themselves.

Do you think Twitter will be able to avoid the same pitfalls that plagued Facebook's shares after their IPO? How do you think the new Verified filter will change interacting with Verified users on Twitter? Share your thoughts in the comments!