jeudi 5 novembre 2015

What Can Q4 2012 Tell Us About Q4 2015?

We’re big on data here at Monetate. Data help guide the future of our products, the stuff we talk about on the blog, and the content we create. We even use data to help you—our fellow marketer—make tough decisions. Each quarter, we analyze the data we glean from our customers as their multichannel optimization and personalization platform, and publish the results. It’s called the Ecommerce Quarterly, and we’ve been putting it out since Q1 2012.

Now we’re taking a look back at the ecommerce performance of retailers during the fourth quarter, stretching all the way back to Q4 2012.

First up: Website visits (by device)


As you probably guessed, the number of people who bought stuff using their PCs declined from 2011–2014. Who gained from this decline? Mobile.

But not all mobile devices are created equally: If you have a sharp eye, you’ll notice that while the growth of smart-phone shopping maintains a steady clip, the growth in tablets has slowed down.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Finding and Hiring the Right Growth Hacker for Your Company

We think these trends will continue this year:

  • Shopping via tablet will hold steady or make an extremely modest gain
  • Smart-phone shopping will see a solid increase
  • PCs will continue their decline

Conversion rates (by device)

Conversion rate

The picture sketched here by these data is a little more complex. The conversion rates for shoppers using mobile phones has stayed roughly the same, declining ever-so-slightly from 2011 to 2014.

We wouldn’t be surprised if the Q4 2015 conversion rates were similarly volatile. But there’s room for mobile phones to gain some traction, as more folks become comfortable with the idea of mobile shopping, and the experience improves as a whole.

AOV (by device)


Average order values seem to be device-agnostic. It’s difficult to make any predictions here. All we can say is 2013 wouldn’t be a bad year to emulate!

AOV (by referring channel)

Things get interesting when you take a look at AOV by referring channel. Email dominates, followed by a respective showing from search and social. We’ll just have to wait and see if all those social “buy now” buttons deliver all the hype they’ve promised.

So what do you think?

What ecommerce trends will come to fruition in Q4? Which will bust? Let us know on Twitter below.

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What Can Q4 2012 Tell Us About Q4 2015?

Be Honest: Are You Rejecting Yourself? (Why You Should Make Things)

Something unexpected happened recently. I started getting more visitors to my website from Google.

In fact, if you search the phrase “how to stop procrastinating” in Google right now, then you will probably see this article on the first page of results: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “2–Minute Rule”

Why am I telling you this? Because there is a much bigger lesson behind this silly search engine story.

I’m not a search engine master. I don’t know anybody at Google. And I certainly don’t have the world’s best ideas. The only reason my article ended up on the first page is because I chose to write something. In a broader sense, I chose to build something, to make something, and to share something.

Here’s why this is important…

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The Steve Jobs Approach to Life

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.
—Steve Jobs

Pause for a moment and read that quote again.

Everything that you encounter on a daily basis was merely made up by good and well–meaning people who were just like you. This includes the products on supermarket shelves, the bestselling books in stores, the art in museums, the cars on roads, and even the search engine results in Google.

There’s nothing inherently “special” about the people who created these things. They didn’t have to pass some test of Ultimate Truth to verify that they were the right person for the job. They simply chose to build something.

You don’t need permission to create. You don’t need to be “gifted” or a “genius” or “brilliant” to contribute to the world around you — you just need to choose to build something.

The World Belongs to the Makers

The world belongs to the people who choose to make things. They create the environment that the rest of the world lives in.

  • One person writes a book. Thousands of people read it.
  • One person starts a business. Thousands of people buy from it.
  • One person programs a piece of software. Thousands of people use it.
  • One person takes a photo. Millions view it online.
  • Some guy named James writes on his tiny website. Thousands of people sign up for his email newsletter.

The people who are doing these things are no smarter than you, they simply decided to become a “Maker.” They decided to make a book or make a website or make a business or make art.

You can do the same thing! This is your invitation to join the party and make something yourself.

What if I Fail?

You may be wondering, “But what if I fail? What if people judge me? What if I make something that gets rejected?”

I hear you. I feel that way all the time. Hell, maybe this article will get rejected and people will hate it.

People who are Makers feel these same fears. They worry about rejection and battle uncertainty just like everyone else. The only difference is that Makers don’t let how they feel prevent them from sharing what they know.

But even more important to keep in mind is this: if you choose to create something, you’ve already won because you haven’t rejected yourself.

You have already won because you’ve battled the limiting beliefs and the self–doubt and the excuses like “I don’t have enough time or enough money or enough experience” and you found a way to make it through to the other side.

Yes, if you build something people might judge it or dislike it. But if you don’t create and share the things that you have inside of you, then you’ll commit the far worse crime of rejecting yourself.

Make a Habit of Making Things

Too many people die with their best ideas still inside of them.

Your legacy is what you share, not what you know or harbor within yourself. Unshared knowledge is like potential energy. It’s great to have, but it will never do anything unless you turn it into something else.

Turn your knowledge into a book. Turn your inspiration into art. Turn your words into music. Turn your ideas into a business. Build something. Write something. Create something.

From time to time, it’s great to sit back and enjoy other people’s work. I love reading a good book or buying a good meal or watching an incredible game just as much as anyone else.

But those passive activities are easy to do. What is more important is making a habit of stepping into the arena and playing the game instead of simply judging from the crowd. Make a habit of making things.

You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you. Your call.

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Be Honest: Are You Rejecting Yourself? (Why You Should Make Things)

United Airlines CEO Who Had Heart Attack In October Will Return In Early 2016

United Continental Holdings Inc CEO Oscar Munoz is seen in an undated handout picture courtesy of United Airlines

United Continental Holdings CEO Oscar Munoz will return to work in the first quarter of 2016, he said Thursday. Munoz suffered a heart attack three weeks ago.

Following his hospitalization, there was some uncertainty about the top leadership role at United.

The company has since appointed General Counsel Brett Hart as acting CEO and said its board had been preparing for “all potential outcomes.”

“I am on the road to recovery,” Munoz said in a statement. “My time away will be a little longer than I would like, but based upon discussion with my doctors I will be back in the first quarter.”

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Munoz took over as CEO in September and quickly began traveling all over the country to boost morale at the company after his predecessor Jeff Smisek resigned because of probes into United’s relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Hart has promised to continue Munoz’s agenda. However, S&P Capital IQ cut its rating on the company’s stock to “Buy” from “Strong Buy” because it believes Hart has only limited experience in finance, operations or customer service.

Despite concerns, Hart has helped the company put forward a tentative deal for maintenance workers, paving the way for the first contract covering technicians from both United and Continental since the airlines merged in 2010.

The Chicago-based United still has a long way to go. United Airlines has the worst customer satisfaction among carriers other than Frontier.

No further details about United CEO’s return have been shared at this time.

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United Airlines CEO Who Had Heart Attack In October Will Return In Early 2016

President Barack Obama Sent Handwritten 50th Birthday Card To Scottie Pippen


Scottie Pippen has many fans from his years of playing on the Chicago Bulls. The most famous one would be the President of the United States himself, Barack Obama. Recently, the president sent a personalized handwritten note to Bulls legend Scottie Pippen for his 50th birthday:

The six-time NBA champion, seven-time All-Star and Hall of Famer is regarded as one of the most versatile players to ever play the game and one of the best perimeter defenders in the history of the league. In 17 seasons in the NBA, Pippen holds career averages of 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game, according to NBC Chicago.

This came following the good news in court that Pippen received. A lawsuit has been dropped that alleged Pippen assaulted a man at a sushi restaurant in 2013. Pippen’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said Saturday that a countersuit Pippen filed against Camran Shafighi is also being dropped.

Geragos says he and Pippen are delighted the matter is over, and they had no intention of settling the case. Shafighi filed a $4 million lawsuit against Pippen, accusing him of a “brutal and unjustified physical attack” that allegedly occurred outside Malibu’s Nobu restaurant after Shafighi had sought a picture with the former NBA All-Star, according to FoxSports.

Los Angeles County prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to bring assault charges against the 47-year-old Pippen.

What do you think of Obama sending Pippen a card? Sound off below.

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President Barack Obama Sent Handwritten 50th Birthday Card To Scottie Pippen

Americans Are Ready To Spend This Holiday Season [News Brief]

Holiday Shopping

A new survey suggests that Americans are more willing to open up their wallets than they have in the last few years.

The survey from Accenture shows that 40% of U.S. consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year compared to 2014. Last year holiday retail sales climbed 4% while just 25% of shoppers expected to increase their holiday budget.

This year online shopping is the top choice among consumers. Accenture says 54% of consumers prefer to use a brick-and-mortar retailer’s website, and 65% will employ “showrooming”—the practice of checking items in stores before purchasing online. Just over two-thirds (69%) also plan to go online before making a purchase at the store.

The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey used an online poll with a sample of 1,537 U.S. consumers.

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The survey also revealed that half of respondents are likely to get a head start on Black Friday and shop on Thanksgiving Day, while 28% believe the time should be spent with family.

The U.S. Commerce Department revealed last week that personal spending increased by just 0.1% in September, the slowest pace since January.

The National Retail Federation believes November and December will produce sales growth numbers that are in line with last years total. It forecasts a 3.7% increase to $630.5 billion.

With big box retailers and many e-commerce platforms relying on Black Friday and other holiday sales to turn a profit, retailers are banking on higher sales.

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Americans Are Ready To Spend This Holiday Season [News Brief]

Sara Bareilles Shows Fans In New Book How She Overcame Depression In Music Industry


Sara Bareilles has written many beautiful songs that has emotionally impacted her audience. But, now the singer and songwriter is opening up about her own hurdles in finding confidence. She writes in in her new book, Sounds Like Me: My Life (so far) In Song about feeling like an outcast while growing up, grappling with doubts about her beauty, and trying to gracefully handle the challenge of staying authentic in the (not-so-authentic) music industry. She spoke to Yahoo Beauty about the new book. Here are some highlights from that interview.

What made you decide to write a memoir? What did you want to say and share?

“I got approached with this opportunity to write some sort of memoir. It didn’t really have much structure initially. It was really just having been asked the question that I started to think about, “How could I actually do that?” I said, “Yes,” and then was sort of horrified at how difficult it turned out to be. There were lots of times that I wished I had said, “No!” But ultimately, in the end, I came around, and I really love this book and the whole process. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I think ultimately that made me feel that much prouder of myself for having completed the task.”

Do you think being performer exacerbates those insecurities? 

“Oh yeah, absolutely. I had to go to a photo shoot yesterday and I was having minor panic attacks because I felt ugly. It’s so visceral. It’s so normal. Everybody, I think, on some level, can relate to what that feels like, just feeling exposed and raw. Even though, at the end of the day, I’m such a loud advocate for: ‘It doesn’t matter, you’re beautiful anyway!’ I still have those feelings about the way that I look. As someone who’s in the public eye to some capacity, it kind of comes with the territory. It’s a blessing and a curse. I have to be really mindful of how I have a relationship with that in my life. I think the more you can not give it too much power, I think it can stay in the room but it doesn’t have to be the loudest voice there.”

Did you feel like you could not speak up at the time during the Sing Off? How did you handle it?

“I really did struggle with that. I did speak up at the time, to the best of my ability, and it sort of didn’t do the trick in that moment. I look back on how I handled it now and I feel like, in some ways, maybe I was really dramatic or maybe I overreacted. But it was true to me at the time that I felt like I was being asked to do something that felt inauthentic to me, and I didn’t know how to stop the train. I’m somebody who’s very outspoken and totally comfortable being the annoying voice in the room who’s like, “I disagree with all of you!” But I still observed myself feeling powerless. It was a great reminder that there are a lot of people out there that feel that, in a lot of different ways. So I think in some ways I really need to dig deeper and know to fight harder for that for myself, but also on behalf of other people as well.”

Were there any stories around the song, Brave, that were really moving to you as a songwriter?

“That song is just a miracle to me that I get to be part of its legacy. I’ve learned so much from that song. It was such an awesome collaboration with Jack Antonoff, and he informed so much of it, it just felt like this really special communion of heart symbols. One of the things that stuck with me is the video that came out of the Children’s Hospital in Minnesota. I had written it as a love letter to a friend who was struggling with coming out, so it had one very specific message in my mind. But that was the first time that I was so struck by the fact that the song was kind of taking on this life of its own. It was becoming about cancer patients, and about people feeling strong enough to speak up to a bully at school. It was just all of these little moments that have come to life that have really colored that song experience for me. It’s really amazing.”

Sara Bareilles – What’s Inside: Making the Record Part 5 – “She Used to Be Mine”

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Sara Bareilles Shows Fans In New Book How She Overcame Depression In Music Industry

Katy Perry Performs At David Lynch Foundation Benefit; Named Highest Paid Musician


Katy Perry is one of the biggest music superstars and now she has also been named by Forbes as the highest-paid woman in music. The singer is said to have beaten the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyonce who are dominate personalities with strong fan bases. Perry stands with an estimated earnings of $135m over the last 12 months. It is believed that the majority of Perry’s income has been generated by her monster Prismatic world tour, which spanned 151 dates starting in May 2014 and wrapping up in October 2015.

Recently, Perry was stunning in a figure-forming Yousef Al-Jasmi jumpsuit (with wings) on the red carpet at the Change Begins Within Benefit Gala in N.Y.C. She accessorized the dramatic jumpsuit with a studded black-and-gold belt, a caged diamond Butani finger ring and dazzling gold drop earrings. While we appreciate Perry’s risk-taking ways, we have to admit, this is one of the most polarizing jumpsuits we’ve seen her in, according to People.

Perry performed at David Lynch Foundation’s benefit concert Wednesday evening at Carnegie Hall, which raised money to teach transcendental meditation in New York. A highlight of her five-song set came during “Dark Horse” when a violinist came out to perform with Perry front-and-center, something that brought a newfound epic quality to the track. Her violin solo replaced Juicy J’s rap verse, building and building as Perry watched in awe and occasionally danced before it reached a delightfully overwhelming, beautifully chaotic climax.

She ended the show, predictably, with “Firework” — with some surprise back-up dancers: Four ballerinas, donning baby-pink tutus, emerged at the song’s beginning, instilling the performance with a magical atmosphere that made it feel like a real-life music box, according to EW.

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Katy Perry Performs At David Lynch Foundation Benefit; Named Highest Paid Musician

Energize Your Ecommerce Business with Extreme CRO [Podcast]

jordan gal carthook

Jordan Gal of CartHook

In this Small Biz Chat we talk to ecommerce expert Jordan Gal. Today Jordan owns CartHook, a successful software company that helps ecommerce entrepreneurs reduce shopping cart abandonments, but before that he was creating a streamlined conversion pipeline in his own ecommerce business! After discovering the levers that could bring in and convert the most leads, Jordan was able to rapidly grow the business and sell it in just 13 months. To learn from his insights and find out how he was able to supercharge their online sales listen to our conversation.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Three things you should be doing to improve website performance
  • How to reduct shopping cart abandonments
  • Why live chat is a valuable tool to learn about customer needs
  • The power of a unique selling proposition in ecommerce businesses
  • What Jordan learned from selling his online business in one year
  • The most important website optimizations you can make

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Energize Your Ecommerce Business with Extreme CRO [Podcast]

Men’s Wearhouse Sales Are Tanking After Jos. A Bank Sales Were Abruptly Ended [News Brief]


Men’s Wearhouse reported a 15% drop in sales after it acquired Jos. A. Bank in 2014 and then nixed the company’s popular buy one, get 3 free suit promotion in October 2015.

“This [sales] decrease was primarily driven by a decline in traffic as the Company began the transition away from the Buy-One-Get-Three promotional events,” the company said in a statement.

Shares of Men’s Wearhouse plunged 28% after hours when it reported its third quarter results.

Men’s Wearhouse also cut its earnings outlook from $0.87 per share to between $0.46 and $0.51.

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The company is also facing an increasing amount of competition from fast fashion chains including Zara and H&M.

Many buyers are also embracing the athleisure trend which moves them away from suits and dressier clothing to a casual lineup.

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Men’s Wearhouse Sales Are Tanking After Jos. A Bank Sales Were Abruptly Ended [News Brief]

Facebook Is Now Worth More Than GE And Amazon [News Brief]

Facebook Office

Facebook is now bigger in market valuation than Amazon and General Electric. Following strong Q3 results the company has been named as the sixth largest corporation in the world.

Facebook shares were up by nearly 5% for the Thursday midday session.

“We tend to have a conservative approach to fundamentals and valuation, but one name we feel comfortable and confident about is Facebook,” said Scott Kessler, an equity analyst from S&P Capital IQ.

Kessler believes that with newer product initiatives such as Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, Facebook has only just started to reap the benefits of its business offerings. He also points to the company’s Oculus virtual reality technology as a catalyst for future growth.

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Facebook is also being closely watched thanks to its very strong video offerings and mobile users strength which accounted for 78% of revenue this quarter.

“Any company with 1.5 billion people using its product has to be worth a ton,” Michael Pachter, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities said. “They’re profitable, and if they choose to harvest their profits, they could be immensely profitable. Average revenue per user will be over $10 this year and closer to $14 next year, and they’re just getting started.”

Kessler believes Facebook could soon crack the top 5 in terms of market valuation.

“We have a $130 12-month price target… When you calculate with Facebook’s outstanding shares at the end of the last quarter, you come up with a market cap of over $370 billion,” he says.

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Facebook Is Now Worth More Than GE And Amazon [News Brief]

10 Ways Brands Can Connect with Millennial Consumers

1. Align physical design with emotional drivers

Millennials are drawn to the promise of unique experiences, which creates an opportunity for brands to leverage physical environments to develop a connection with customers. Whole Foods recently revamped three of its store locations to focus on bold visuals, local details, and authentic messaging catered to Millennials. With illustrated phrases such as “Change the world every time you gather around the table” written across the walls, the in-store experience evokes an immediate emotional response from the consumer.

Whole Foods_Dayton_Inc


2. Meet consumers where they already are

By establishing a presence in environments where Millennials are already operating, or positioning a product that matches their current lifestyle, brands can increase awareness and relevance with new target markets. Chandon won big with Millennials by adapting their sparkling wine packaging, price point, and purpose to inspire everyday celebrations. With bottles adorned in splashes of pink and blue, nautical stripes and gold scribbled phrases like “The party starts here” — the packaging and messaging presented the perfect Instagram opportunity and at an affordable price point, Chandon’s new sparkle instantly became a lifestyle blogger’s dream.

Chandon_Fast Company


3. Sell a product, market a community

Every Monday at noon on the dot, fitness enthusiasts across the country are refreshing the SoulCycle reservation screen to book a front row bike with their favorite instructor. Decked in Soul-branded gear, the company’s cult-like following crams into cycling studios across the country for a high-intensity workout. A pack mentality is built into every part of the SoulCycle experience, inspiring a “ride together” mantra that keeps customers coming back for more, despite the $34/class price tag.


4. Give away something valuable without expectation

Beyond offering free trials of products or services, brands can also offer industry knowledge to win customer loyalty. HubSpot has a library of free downloadable guides on marketing topics ranging from increasing blog traffic to creating a newsletter and writing an e-book. By sharing quality resources to attract new visitors to the site, HubSpot is able to immediately add value to readers, while rapidly building their database of prospective clients and brand awareness amongst relevant communities.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Finding and Hiring the Right Growth Hacker for Your Company

5. Support the startup ecosystem by sharing resources

When it comes to encouraging entrepreneurship, corporate support is not limited to financial resources. Brands like Campbell Soup Company are investing in young entrepreneurs by giving them access to expertise and industry knowledge to help them accelerate their businesses and careers. Through the Camp Campbell program, Campbell Soup Company is supporting almost 180 young female founders and change makers who share a passion for food and values-driven leadership. In return, Campbell can look to this community for feedback and thought leadership.

Camp Campbell

6. Crowdsource ideas and feedback

Last year, Marriott launched Canvas, a global concept lab that allows entrepreneurs, chefs, bartenders and food artisans to pitch their own food or drink concept for select Marriott locations. By tapping into the creativity of young food and drink entrepreneurs, Marriott sources a range of innovative ideas and a pipeline of talent to help attract new customers and delight foodies with select pop-up concepts at hotels around the world.

7. Inspire consumers to share in their creativity

Coca-Cola is continuously coming up with fun interactive experiences to engage and excite its customers, including the recent “Share a Coke” campaign featuring personalized bottles. The campaign is inherently viral by prompting Coke drinkers to share a drink with others. Beyond their creative call-to-action packaging, the company also leverages “freestyle” fountain machines, where drinkers can mix their own unique mash-up flavors (with over 100 combinations available). Not only does this concept allow customers to try out new drink concoctions, but the dispensers themselves supply Coca-Cola with an incredible amount of consumer data on beverage preferences for future product development.

8. Make the most of sponsorship dollars

By finding sponsorship opportunities that align with a brand’s ethos, participants and guests can connect in a more authentic way with the sponsor. Naked Juice and Lululemon have sponsored Daybreaker, a word-of-mouth 7am rave that convenes swarms of Millennials to start their day with a crazy dance party. As two brands committed to inspiring an active, healthy lifestyle, the sponsorship was a natural fit to support creative, adrenaline-pumping experiences focused on enriching people’s lives.

9. Empower brand advocacy by showcasing loyalists

GoPro’s award-winning Instagram strategy shares user-generated footage of awe-inspiring moments taken on GoPro cameras. By empowering GoPro users to share their own photos and videos (and rewarding their favorite submissions with cash prizes), the brand not only engages customers with a multimedia journey of epic adventures and immersive visuals from their loyal community, but also showcases the vast range of their products’ capabilities to inspire purchase-intent.

10. Live your purpose

Nothing solidifies long-term customer loyalty like the emotional connection of shared values. Patagonia stands by its mission statement to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” with every decision the company makes. Whether Patagonia customers walk in the door because of the company’s products or the company’s purpose, they keep coming back because the values and vision of the brand resonate with them.

Originally published at on October 20, 2015.

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10 Ways Brands Can Connect with Millennial Consumers

How To Go From Entry-Level To The Next Level

iStock_000067504361_Small-622x229After spending nearly two years with a company — as an intern turned full-time employee — you decide it’s time for something new. You attempt to update your resume with the skills and experience gained during your time as an intern and entry-level employee, when you realize there isn’t much to update.

But, you might want to think twice before changing “assisted” to “led.”

According to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 58 percent of hiring managers said they’ve caught a lie on a resume, from embellished skills (57 percent) and responsibilities (55 percent) to dates of employment (42 percent) to job title (34 percent).

And half of the 2,188 employers surveyed said they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume.

Making entry-level experience appeal to hiring managers can be tricky. After all, there’s only so much you can accomplish in a starter role. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to describe that role so it attracts hiring managers’ attention — without stretching the truth.

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Here are four things worth mentioning to better describe — and boost — your entry-level experience:

1. How you helped achieve organizational goals.

Whether you’re a seasoned employee or a student intern, the work you do contributes to the overall mission and vision of the company. So, instead of simply listing your day-to-day tasks, describe how your work helped your organization inch closer toward achieving its goals.

Hiring managers don’t care as much about the fact that you helped out with your company’s social media efforts. What they do care about is how your assistance with social media helped further your company’s goal of building brand recognition by doubling the amount of followers on corporate social accounts.

What to write: Improved brand recognition by assisting with social media efforts on corporate accounts and doubling the amount of followers.

2. Who you worked with.

As an entry-level employee, you probably worked closely with a number of people — people who can vouch for your skills and capacity for teamwork. Make a list of people you regularly worked with or reported to and describe those relationships on your resume.

Mentioning who you worked with (by their title, not their name) on your resume not only shows hiring managers that you’re a team player, but also provides them with potential references. If you had the opportunity to interact and work with clients firsthand, that’s also a great resume-booster, as it shows your ability to communicate with clients and meet their needs.

What to write: Worked closely with graphic designer to create a number of original, visually-appealing infographics.

3. What your supervisor said.

Keep track of the praise and recognition you receive while on the job, as it can be useful when it comes time to hit the job boards. While you don’t want to quote your managers’ praise word for word on your resume, there are subtle ways to use what your superiors said to reinforce the skills and traits that make you a top-notch employee.

If you want to take it a step further, ask your supervisor to endorse or recommend you on a social professional network, like LinkedIn.

What to write: Recognized by supervisor for ability to regularly meet and exceed quarterly sales goals, which contributed to overall sales initiatives.

4. Your results in numbers.

You’ve heard it before: numbers or it didn’t happen. Hiring managers don’t just want to know what you did from 9 to 5; they want to know what you accomplished in those eight hours. If your social media efforts resulted in an increase in followers and engagement by 50 percent, say so.

As an entry-level employee, those numbers may not always be very high. If that’s the case, focus on quantifying your duties. Saying you drafted an average of two original articles a day on behalf of your clients, for instance, shows what you’re capable of getting done during the workday.

What to write: Drafted an average of two original, engaging pieces of content a day on behalf of clients, including blog posts, newsletters, and whitepapers.

What are some other ways to describe entry-level experience on your resume to help you land a job?

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How To Go From Entry-Level To The Next Level

How Twitter Hearts Are Breaking Social Media

header twitter-min

Just recently, Twitter Product Manager Akarshan Kumar, made an announcement that literally shook the social media universe: Twitter just replaced their Fav star icon to a “Heart” – and it’s breaking the Internet.

The rollout began on November 3 to all users of the platform. The new pinkish-red Heart icon (coined as a “Like” and is to be used as the new Favorite button) is available to iOS and Android devices, as well as on the Vine app and website.

Where Do Missing Stars Go?

To say that the public didn’t go too well with the update is an understatement. Thousands of users flocked to the platform itself to vent their frustration. But why the sudden change?

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On his blog post, Kumar stated that the move was mainly to attract more subscribers to the service. This explanation is essential because the social media giant – despite its popularity with journalists and celebrities – still fail to deliver to their investors. After announcing their dismal quarterly earnings before 2015 ends, stocks fell by 10 percent after Twitter unsuccessfully tried to attract new users.

The Twitter team hopes that the “Heart”, being a universal symbol of everything that is good, would resonate more with potential users. In fact, plenty of online platforms already use this icon. There’s Tumblr and Periscope; and just lately, Facebook also added a Heart to their list of new reactions that were released to Spain and Ireland. Its image-based app Instagram, also uses Hearts to signify a Like.

So far, the update is not faring well with active Twitter users. The hashtag #WeWantFavButtonBack says it all. From polls to threats of quitting the app, people all over the world are shaking their heads at the unexpected change. Twitter is not commenting on the public’s outcry though. One thing’s for sure: Hearts could be here for a long time.


Missing Stars? This App Can Help

If you’re serious about getting your stars back, a Brooklyn-based developer may have the solution to your dilemma. Reed Kavner has created a Chrome extension that allows one to change back their Hearts into yellow Fav stars. The app, Fav Forever, can be easily downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and added to your browser. However, there’s still no solution for mobile users.


The Fault with Hearts

Although several folks would agree that the “Favorite” icon can be confusing at first, it’s been a huge part of Twitter’s history. The yellow star has been used as an inside language for years; with Twitter users developing their own meanings to the symbol, as told in a Tweet by user Ian Bogost.

Altering this popular mode of communication means forever changing how the system works.

Another thing that loyal subscribers are concerned about is calling the “Heart” a “Like”. Not only is this reminiscent of the iconic Facebook action, it gives off the impression that Twitter wants to be in line with their competition. One of the things people loved about Twitter was its uniqueness compared to other social media platforms. It moves fast, is dynamic, and seems simple enough.

However, with the introduction of the Heart, everything has changed overnight. Apparently, social media managers will have more to worry about other than NOT getting a yellow star. So the questions are: will this modify how social media experts view their metrics? How will this measure up in your monthly report? If a Heart could mean many things, how would we interpret this to clients? If there’s public demand, will they introduce a new set of reactions, too?


It’s clear that the update will take some getting used to. Perhaps it’s only now that we all seem to dislike the idea. Maybe a time will come when we’ll look back and smile at all the fuss we made. Or perhaps not. Whatever happens though, this is one change that will go down in social media history.

Is Twitter’s “Heart” update hot or not? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook!

Special thanks to Elise Foley for the idea of today’s blog post theme. You’re awesome!

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How Twitter Hearts Are Breaking Social Media

Should You Be Actively Using Instagram?

53 Percent of Instagram Users Follow Brands…

A recent infographic (posted below, credit to by Global Web Index found Should you be actively using Instagram?

53% of Instagram users follow their favorite brands and 44% use Instagram to conduct brand research.

The natural first thought is it go full throttle and start making Instagram your new best friend based strictly on the infographic, but a word of caution is in order.

I firmly believe Instagram is a great platform and small business owners and solopreneurs would be remiss if they weren’t at least using it to some degree.

However, the results, like those of any study, should be looked at with some additional scrutiny to determine how much effort or focus should be put into Instagram.

Defining ‘Brands‘.

I’m not looking to actually define what a brand is but determine what was considered a brand by the respondents of the survey. For most, mention brands and we immediately think if Coca-Cola, Old Navy, Porsche….. what we consider to be nationally recognized name brands. Your business and even yourself, if you’re a professional, are brands. One of social media’s core roles for your business should be to make your name recognizable and a ‘household brand’, if even on a local level.

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But, if we were to logically assume the brands followed were those national brands, do those same numbers correlate to local brands? Do local brands see the same or similar percentages?

The Demographic.

The study did look at the active base of each network from 16 to 64, but Instagram’s core user is under 35. According to GWI’s email regarding the study to the SocialTimes about 70% of Instagram’ users are under 35. but that number is actually 90% (as of 6/16/2015 according to Here are two very significant statistics from the same report that should affect how you should interpret the results:

30% of all Instagram accounts are inactive (7/2/15)

70% of all Instagram users are outside the US (9/20/15)

After discounting the inactive accounts, with so many users outside the US and the vast majority under the age of 35, how many in your target market are using the platform? Of those, how many are active daily and seeing your content. Further reduce that figure by the percentage likely to follow you or engage with your content you will start to get a better picture of how truly effective Instagram will be for your brand.

B2B or B2C?

The study, at least per the infographic doesn’t tell us if the users are businesses following other businesses or consumers follow businesses. Given the core user base it’s probably safe to assume they’re individuals following businesses. Instagram, while having value for those engaged in business to business sales, it’s probably safe to say Instagram is a far better channel for business to consumer brands.

Should You Be Using Instagram?

Again, I am a firm believer in Instagram (though I did need to rethink how I was using it) so I’m not recommending you abandon it or reconsider getting started. I maintain accounts for both myself and Tactical Social Media (have you looked at how I use Instagram for my brand, which is business to business focused?)

My concern and what I want to get you to recognize, is that every study and report should be looked at a little closer before you shift your focus or put too much stock into it.

Your Turn

Are you on Instagram? Why or why not? If you are (post your profile so I can follow you), have you see results either in terms of engagement or traffic?

GWI Instagram Brands Infographic

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Should You Be Actively Using Instagram?

10 Reasons Backed By Science That Prove You Need A Blog

Paul Jun of HelpScout claims that everything hinges on the narrative of your work.

It is human nature to tell stories. From Hamlet to The Hunger Games, narrative is the lifeblood of the human condition. To this end, knowing what you do professionally and how you do it is important, but knowing the story you tell yourself about what you do is evermore meaningful.

If Jun’s claim is true—which I believe it is—then how do you take what’s good, helpful, and customer-focused within that narrative and communicate it to your website visitors?

Your products and services may be great, but to be meaningful that value must be understood by people who want what you’re offering.

For that reason alone, your business needs a blog.

But don’t take my word for it. There’s plenty of hard data to back that up. HubSpot publishes a yearly report that covers everything from marketing to sales.

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Here’s what they found.

1. Blogging increases B2B lead generation by 70%.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2X/month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. If your company isn’t blogging you are hurting your business because content marketing is an investment that compounds over time.

2. Companies that blog get 97% more inbound links.

You already know getting links to your website is a critical part of earning higher rankings in Google. But without content for people to link to you miss out on a lot of opportunities.

If you are serious about SEO, content marketing goes with the territory.

3. 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.

Want more traffic? Blog more. There are numerous benefits to building out a content marketing plan that focuses on publishing regularly.

If you publish more than once per day you exponentially increase the amount of pages in search results. This allows you to target more keywords and rank for long-tail phrases.

Blogging daily helps you:

  • Get more pages indexed in Google
  • Target a larger list of keyword variations
  • Grow the depth of content on your site
  • Have more “owned” content to share on social media

Blogging everyday may not be realistic for most companies or entrepreneurs, but keep in mind that simply having a blog and publishing once per week will have a direct impact on traffic, rankings, leads and sales.

4. 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.

61%25 of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.

People read online and one thing they do read is blogs.

BlogHer is a media company and blog community that gets 37+ million unique views each month across nearly 3,000 blogs. Each year they look at emerging media platforms and measure the purpose, trust and influence levels for blogs and other social media channels.

A 2012 study polled 2,071 women to learn what influences purchasing decisions and blogs were a clear winner.

5. Blogging can increase ROI as much as 13x.

Blogging can increase ROI as much as 13x.

Blogging has a significant impact on website traffic and it continues to be a marketing channel that delivers.

6. Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%.

Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%25.

Blog traffic increases dramatically as your site grows in content. The graph below shows that once you write 24-51 posts traffic takes a jump.

The big takeaway?

  1. Blogging works to generate traffic and leads.
  2. The more you blog, the more blog traffic you will generate.

Ana Hoffman, a blogger famous for her tips to hack traffic and build an online business, had a few things to say when it comes to blogging for business.

“Blogs can help marketers attract traffic and leads quickly, and marketers who are choosing not to start blogs are simply leaving the traffic for their competition.

“It’s much easier to grow a number of Google indexed pages through a blog vs a static website — a very important factor in how much traffic you will eventually generate.

“Blogs have a tremendous capacity to increase the number of keywords you have high search engine ranking for. The more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you get.”

7. On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages.

The more pages you have indexed, the more people find you in search. The more people that find you in search, the more people you convert into customers.

The benefits of blogging for business are undeniable:

  • 55% more visitors
  • 97% more inbound links
  • 434% more indexed pages

Remember: The only way you can achieve results like this for your company is to start blogging now. If you understand the value, but do not have the time to commit to blogging you should seriously consider outsourcing blog management and content writing.

8. Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.

Small businesses that blog get 126%25 more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.

Lead generation is insanely important for growth. Content marketing “wins” compound over time as your content is indexed and starts to rank higher in search. What gets published today can end up generating qualified leads months after.

9. 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.

What is your perception of a company with a blog? Personally, when I see a company that blogs regularly and puts out useful content I trust them more.

Blogging takes a commitment and in my mind it’s going the extra mile. Sharing your voice and experience with your site visitors allows you to establish credibility and build trust. It’s a good move for any business and it’s clear from the data that it works.

10. Buyers make 57% of all B2B buying decisions before ever contacting a company’s sales force.

Buyers make 57%25 of all B2B buying decisions before ever contacting a company’s sales force.

People who come to your site aren’t always ready to buy. Smart companies use blogging to educate their customers and open them up to new ideas on how your product can help solve their problems.

The time of “solution sales” has all but gone extinct as more companies publish information online to eliminate the friction of having to talk with a salesperson. People want to research on their own time and not be forced through a linear sales process.

Your company blog can be the best salesperson you have. It removes “sales” pressure by giving people enough information to make the right decision at the right time. A study by Corporate Executive Board found that over half of buying decisions are made before even contacting a company’s sales force.

Does your company blog? What challenges do you face?

This post was originally published on RankPay.

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10 Reasons Backed By Science That Prove You Need A Blog

4 Methods of Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing Strategy—and How to Improve Them

You’ve optimized your website for SEO, crafted an informative blog and started using social media channels and backlinks to drive traffic to your site. But now come the real questions—are these efforts paying off? Is your content marketing working? Or are there some adjustments that need to be made?

The ultimate end-goal of any marketing strategy is to increase sales and revenue (or at least generate leads). And while measuring whether or not your sales are going up is fairly simple, it’s not always easy to determine how your content marketing has contributed (or failed to contribute) to those numbers and other specific goals. With this in mind, here are a few important metrics that can help determine whether your content marketing efforts are being effective, as well as some tips to improve their effectiveness.

On-Site Consumption Metrics

Every good content marketing strategy involves both on-site and off-site efforts. And thankfully, there are several consumption metrics that can determine whether your on-site efforts (namely, of writing useful, engaging and SEO-optimized copy and producing a blog) are having the desired effect.

First and foremost are the number of page views and the average time spent on each page by your site’s visitors. If your website content is engaging and well-written, it stands to reason that these numbers will increase. This is not only important for creating a quality user experience, but also for the way Google views your site’s content. If the first page that customers visit doesn’t contain any useful information to gain their interest, it’s quite likely that they will click away from your site after only a few seconds.

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This in turn increases your site’s bounce rate—and as Google analytics catches wind of this, your site’s SEO ranking is likely to fall as it is flagged for being of low quality. And the farther your site falls in search results, the less new customers that will find it, and the more digital business your site stands to lose.

If your site is experiencing a high bounce rate as well as few page views or minimal time spent on your pages by Web users, chances are that your site’s copy and layout could use some evaluation and re-tooling. For blogs, this first requires the creation of well-thought-out, researched articles that help establish you as an expert in your industry. This may take more time to write, but it will certainly keep visitors engaged with your content as you provide useful information and tools through a blog.

The inclusion of links and easily navigable menus can also increase the number of page views. Be sure that a blog’s format makes it easy for users to click on links to other posts without having to go through several confusing menu options (and include links to other posts and pages within your content). These tactics can increase the number of page views and the amount of time spent on each page, improving the overall quality and usefulness of your site while simultaneously improving its search rankings.

Third-Party Site Metrics

Of course, a good content marketing strategy isn’t only focused on making sure your website’s pages are well-crafted. Whether it be inbound clicks from articles that were picked up from public relations pitches or other efforts to create backlinks, the effectiveness of these efforts should also be measured.

But how is this to be done? Typically, any piece of content that is published on a reputable third-party site will generate what Denis Pinsky of Forbes refers to as buzz and impact—even without your first-party efforts to promote the content.

Simply stated, “buzz” includes marketing signals that indicate the content is gaining traction and reaching a wide audience—primarily, shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. These shares increase the potential audience of your post, but they don’t always necessarily lead to more clicks and downloads.

Generating what Pinsky refers to as “impact” is more important because it reflects more direct engagement with the content or associated brand. This includes comments, views and the generation of valuable backlinks. Generally speaking, quality content yields each of these (especially valuable backlinks) as online audiences recognize the content as being a reliable source of information.

The best way to achieve these results? Have a sound public relations strategy in place to pitch your content and links to high-quality publications. Whether it’s pitching a link from your blog to an industry influencer to share or cite, or pitching an original article (that includes a link to your own site) to a reputable publisher, these efforts require some sound public relations savvy.

Whether you’re connecting with influencers through comments on their articles or interaction on Twitter and other social media platforms, these initial endeavors are important to building a relationship. Citing an influencer in your own content (generating buzz and impact for that individual) will also greatly increase your chances of having him or her accept your future pitch.

These efforts will ultimately pay off when your content is able to generate quality backlinks that are shared across the Web, building your company’s SEO ranking while also bringing in new audiences (and hopefully, new customers) to your site.

Harnessing Social

Often, however, the reach (and overall success) of your content marketing will depend greatly on your own measurable social media efforts, in addition to the previously mentioned public relations tactics. After all, Facebook and Twitter are especially good at providing detailed analytics regarding the performance of your posts—but some metrics are more valuable than others.

Having a Facebook post reach thousands of users may seem like an impressive feat, but the simple truth is that without actual engagement it doesn’t mean anything (especially since on Facebook, a person can be counted as “reached” without actually paying any attention to the post whatsoever). Many companies fall into the trap of becoming so focused on having a large reach with social media posts that they fail to more fully analyze the other results to see if anyone is actually interacting with the posts.

Quite simply, the most effective posts will generate measurable engagement—likes, comments, shares and especially link clicks. At the very least, these metrics indicate that someone read your post and felt that its content was useful, worth sharing with others or engaging enough to motivate a closer look at your website—while reach only means that Facebook placed the story in a user’s newsfeed.

Thanks to the social media analytics tools provided by Facebook, Twitter and third-party applications, you can quickly determine which types of posts produce the best engagement that drive users to your Web content. And if your social media posts aren’t generating any clicks or other forms of engagement, they’re not providing any boost to your content marketing efforts.

Many factors can influence the success of your social media efforts to boost overall content marketing strategy. Even something as simple as the time of day that you post can have a significant impact on engagement, and it’s no surprise that several studies have been conducted to determine the ideal posting time for social media.

Current general consensus is that early afternoon (generally between 1 and 3 P.M.) is the best time to post on Facebook, while noon is best for Twitter. But just because the general consensus says early afternoon is best doesn’t mean that it will be the most effective time to reach your audience. Take advantage of tools such as Facebook’s Insights feature, which can show the time of day when most of your audience is online. Don’t be afraid to use this data to experiment to find a better posting time for your content.

Of course, there’s much more to creating a successful post than posting at the right time. Utilizing engaging images, as well as honing in on your copy and hashtag usage are essential to creating engaging posts that will drive more traffic to your content and ultimately increase its ROI. Compare and contrast your most and least successful posts, and use the conclusions that you gain from these analyses to further refine your social media copy.

Sales and Leads

At the end of the day, however, the most important measure of content marketing’s success is its ability to generate leads and sales. Be it through actual purchases conducted on your site, an increase in store traffic, or even something as simple as subscribing to an e-mail listing, these actions are generally what is considered the most important element by any content marketer worth his salt (or any client, for that matter).

So how can the success of these efforts be measured?

Convince and Convert notes that using a browser cookie can be an effective method of determining how many users fill out a lead form or make a purchase after viewing or downloading a piece of content on your site—“even if there is a 30 or 60-day interval between those events.”  It is also possible to measure how many users fill out lead or sales information “immediately after consuming your content.”

These measurements allow you to determine the actual ROI of the content that is housed on your site. For example, if a customer read an article and then watched a video on your site prior to making a $5,000 purchase, each of those content pieces essentially contributed $2,500 in sales.

Ideally, the content that is published on your site will help guide consumers to make a purchase, subscribe to e-mail notifications or fill out lead forms. If your content isn’t getting looked at, or isn’t leading to these results, then it’s probably a good idea to take a look at the quality of the content you’re producing and how you’re promoting it.

Of course, even quality content can fail to generate sales, but this can be easily remedied. When producing content for your website, be sure to include links to other relevant pages on your site and always include a call to action to provide further incentive for consumers to take action. Be it as simple as “click here to learn more” or supplying a phone number or e-mail address at the bottom of a blog post, these calls to action are often the necessary element to encourage consumers to take the next step—and turn your content marketing into a successful part of your overall marketing strategy.

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4 Methods of Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing Strategy—and How to Improve Them

State of Social Media Q3 2015: Facebook Has 1.5 Billion People

We’ve often said that Facebook is the largest nation on the planet. Nowadays, Facebook is its own planet, for all intents and purposes.

Planet Facebook

Let’s dig into their results some more.

Audience Growth

As mentioned above: 1.55 billion people use Facebook monthly, and Facebook growth has leveled to about 3.5% quarter over quarter:

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Facebook is at a point now where, in order to grow its user base, it’s having to provide Internet access to new users as part of, adding 15 million citizens of Planet Earth to the Internet.

Of that, almost 90% – 9 out of 10 people – use Facebook at least partly on a mobile device each month, as shown by the orange bars below:


In the conference call, COO Sheryl Sandberg remarked that 1 out of every 5 minutes spent on smartphones in the US was spent on Facebook and 25% of all media time in the United States was spent on mobile devices.

In fact, of those who use a mobile device to access Facebook, nearly half use ONLY a mobile device to access Facebook, as shown by the red bars below:


For half of Facebook’s users, your mobile marketing strategy is synonymous with your Facebook strategy.


In what is becoming an unsurprising story, Facebook also grew its revenue significantly; below, every region showed Q3 revenue growth from advertising:


Above, what’s interesting is the very strong growth in the US and Canada, continuing a trend from the previous quarter. The only region that weakened was the EU.

Looking Forward: What Does This Mean

Facebook, stronger than ever, is not only the unquestioned leader in social networks, to some people, it’s the entire Internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that VR will be the firm’s focus in 2016 with the launch of its Oculus VR headset and technology in Q1; Samsung’s VR technology will integrate with Oculus by the 2015 holiday season. Concurrent with this technology release, Facebook continues to make significant investments in video integration in its news feed.

Have you tried shooting and loading 360 degree video on Facebook yet? If you haven’t, you’ve only got a few months left to find a vendor or develop the capability yourself if you want to be a first-mover in the technology on Facebook.

COO Sheryl Sandberg emphasized the importance of video ads on Facebook, from measuring them with brand lift and conversion lift technologies to integrating video ads with television and other media platforms. Have you deployed video ads on Facebook using its native ad interface, Power Editor, or Atlas and Liverail? If not, now’s a great time to try.

Video of all kinds is proving to be a higher than average barrier to entry for your fellow marketers. Find ways to leverage the creation and distribution of video in paid, earned, and owned Facebook channels to maximize your potential for success.

Who will be the first marketers to try Oculus VR immersive ads? Who will be the first marketers to try the newly speculated Oculus Social Network? Are you ready for this level of technology? Get ready. The clock is ticking.

Download our new eBook, How Social Broke PR

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State of Social Media Q3 2015: Facebook Has 1.5 Billion People