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Penna Powers is celebrating Shark Week! While considered a bona fide holiday for many, we’re using the cherished event to drive awareness for our client Zero Fatalities. Over the course of Utah’s “100 Deadliest Days,” the majority of deaths on Utah roads happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We’re creating original content for every single deadliest day in order to decrease deadly driving behaviors. For Shark Week, Penna Powers created Snapchat and Instagram Stories ads for Zero Fatalities. Utilizing these ad placements will be a first in Utah, with each social channel finally opening their ad platforms to agencies of all sizes.

In our research process, one thing we noticed was Utahns did not realize the extreme risk of buckling up when you’re in a car crash. Statistics from the CDC show that you have a 50 percent chance of surviving a car crash if you don’t wear a seat belt. However, many Utahns still refuse to buckle up when they get in the car.

Kenny Hammond, senior art director, designed the Snapchat and Instagram Stories ad to coincide with our “What are the Odds?” campaign that plays to the availability heuristic principle. Our goal is that Utahns will realize the gravity of not wearing a seat belt. The ads started running Sunday, July 23 and will run until Sunday, July 30.

At Penna Powers, we strategize media plans backed by research to show ads only where the audience interacts with content on a daily basis. We jumped on the chance the use the new Instagram Story and Snapchat ad placements to reach the key millennial demographic of 25-to-34-year-olds in Utah. Using the shark creative, we are able to split-test the two channels against each other with identical spends to see which performs best. For this flight, we will compare CPM, CPC, and CPV.

This Shark Week, Penna Powers hopes you realize the true danger at hand: not wearing a seat belt. Trust us, not wearing a seat belt is a risk you don’t want to take.

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Nostalgic Marketing Millennials

“Wonder Woman” just dominated screen ratings, the Nintendo NES Classic Edition is sold out and Atari just announced a new hardware system. You’re not mistaken if you think I’m talking about the late 70s or early 80s. However, I’m actually talking about right now. It seems as though the past keeps weaving into the future through nostalgic marketing, and for good reason too.

Companies ranging from tech to film are harnessing nostalgic marketing in their products and campaigns. Why is nostalgic marketing such a hit? One reason is that many people love being reminded of the good old days before responsibilities: childhood. With limitless impersonal marketing today, creating an emotional connection in marketing leaves a lasting impression.

Discover how some of our favorite brands are tapping into their millennial demographics with nostalgic marketing.

Atari

Atari, the preferred retro game maker of the 70s, has revived itself from the bankruptcy graveyard and announced a new hardware called Atari Box. Other than utilizing PC technology, not much else is known about the console. What we do know, however, is that the hardware will probably fly off the shelves.

Nokia

Nostalgic Marketing and Nokia

Remember your friend’s trusty Nokia that was sturdier than a brick? Nokia sure seems to, as well as the rest of the United Kingdom. Nokia recently relaunched its 3310 model and sold out online within the first week. The phone boasts an impressive 22 hours of talk time or month-long battery-life on standby. The best part? The cult-classic game Snake comes pre-loaded.

Nintendo

Before “Pokemon Go” and the Switch, Nintendo was facing a sales slump that was easy to see from a mile away. The Wii U’s expected sales in its first fiscal year were only one third of what the company expected. While Nintendo started to look like a sinking ship, it rebooted its NES with a nostalgic marketing campaign that garnered millions of views. If you’ve tried to get your hand on an NES, you know how difficult it is. I’m talking standing in line at Best Buy for hours after tracking shipments difficult. Now that the company has stopped producing one of the greatest consoles of all time? Almost impossible.

Netflix

Nostalgic Marketing and Netflix

If you weren’t hiding under a rock this past Halloween, you know that Eleven from Stranger Things was the costume of the year. “Stranger Things’” subtle nod to 80s pop-culture phenomenon’s such as “Alien” and “ET” was an instant hit. In a more obvious note, Netflix brought back a “Full House” remake as well as “Gilmore Girls.” While Netflix doesn’t share ratings information, it’s safe to assume millennials binged both shows. I know I sure did.

Here at Penna Powers, we’re no strangers to nostalgia. Nerf Gun fights are a regular occurrence in the office. The Underground (the name of our creative/development team)—I’m looking at you Thor—can’t stop talking about the “Godzilla” remake. We know firsthand the effect of nostalgic marketing and aren’t afraid to utilize it. Appeal to something that millennials already love and you’re almost guaranteed to create an emotional connection—or at least tap into their social media base.

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There are pros and cons to everything in life, but one of the most talked about is technology. Most likely because technology is constantly evolving, and in doing so it consumes us more and more. Every new advancement intrigues us just a little bit more, which can be seen as good or bad depending on the way you look at it.

No matter what your feelings are regarding technology, it’s easy to agree that it would be hard to live without if it suddenly disappeared. We rely on technology so much now-a-days for communication, work, education, dating, staying in touch, shopping and much more. So what does that say about us? It isn’t completely a bad thing, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing either. So here’s the good, bad and the ugly of technology and what it says about us.

Good:

Without a doubt, technology is definitely good for us in numerous ways. The use of computers and smartphones allows us to communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, in seconds. Not to mention the fact that we don’t have to use paper maps anymore. You can type an address right into your phone and directions of how to get there immediately pop up right at your fingertips. If you don’t have time to run to the bank or the post office to pay a bill, no problem. Online banking allows you to pay bills, transfer money and even deposit checks now. Technology even provides education for people with the ability to complete college via online courses. The ability to find out family history and research ancestors is also a great resource technology allows us to use.

Using technology to teach others and spread positivity through acts such as, blogging, sharing quotes, motivational videos and more is also a great way to use technology. Pinterest and Facebook both provide inspiring and educational videos and photos for a number of things. A couple of the most popular and favorite ones are cooking and exercising videos and photos. However, you can find just about anything from home improvement projects, DIY projects, event planning, ‘how to’, fashion and much more online.

Bad:

According to CNN, Americans devote 10 hours a day to screen time. The more that technology evolves, the more addicted and reliant we become. While technology can be healthy and useful, we need to remember to use it in moderation. When is becomes valued as a necessity is when it becomes a problem. In today’s world, we hate to be bored. However, if you have a phone or a computer, you don’t have to worry about that, and that’s the problem. Any time we feel bored, what’s the first thing we do? Pull out our phone or computer and find something online to pass time. Instead of sitting in silence with our own thoughts or talking to someone next to us, we find more comfort in our devices. The things that draw us to our screen are anything from games, to social media, apps and even emails. There is always something new to see or learn online, whether that be a photo, video, article or something else, we don’t have to worry about missing out with our constant access to technology.

Ugly:

Although there are multiple ways that technology is good for us, there is also an ugly side to it. The truth is that not everyone who uses technology, uses it for the rights reasons. For example, instead of using the internet to learn, people use it to view or research inappropriate content. The fact that you can find anything on the internet, can be a good and a bad thing. When it comes to the bad things, people need to remember that just because it is available doesn’t mean you need to look at it or read about it. In addition to viewing inappropriate content, technology can also be used to threaten or bully others. With everyone using social media, it makes it almost impossible not to find someone online and reach out to them. While this can be a great way to stay in touch, not everyone uses it for that reason, causing the Internet to be a scary place for those who have been victims of bullying.

Technology has played a big role in our lives, and as it continues to evolve, it will only become more popular. So, it is your responsibility to stay up-to-date with technology and use it only for good. Technology is not the problem, how we use it is. The way we choose to use it and how often determines if it’s good or bad, and helpful or harmful.

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Is the content marketing program you’re paying for really a content marketing program? Is it delivering results?

Content marketing is more than flooding online channels with 500 million pieces of content. It is a well thought out strategy delivering valuable, relevant and consistent content that drives a highly qualified audience to take action. For the most part, agencies large and small are still using push marketing, not content marketing, as a way to reach their audience.

Spotting a content marketing campaign is easier than you may think. Content that makes the audience seek further information, click through deeper and want to consume more rather than avoid it, is content marketing. Here are three essential questions to get you to the content marketing sweet spot:
– How is this right for my audience?
– Where is my audience?
– Will this deliver the results I’m looking for?

You may be saying to yourself, “I still don’t get what content marketing is. This is another industry buzzword for 2016.” What may have been a buzzword in 2016, however, is going to be a mainstay in 2017. A recent Forbes article even said, “Content marketing isn’t going anywhere.” The key to unlocking content marketing for your brand is to understand and recognize the value delivered to your audience in each piece of content. To get you started thinking like a content marketer, you need to be thinking about channels in your content marketing strategy.

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Content Marketing Channels

Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr) Social media channels are usually tossed to the intern who puts it at the bottom of their to do list. Today’s social media landscape requires pinpoint audience targeting with content to match. Active channels are only relevant if your audience is using them. Social media channels can be effective in that it opens a two-way conversation with the audience leading to further content consumption.

Native People view native, or sponsored, content 53 percent more frequently than traditional ads. Native provides the opportunity to have the audience engage with your content naturally within the website they are currently on. Tying into a strong blog content strategy increases your chances of increased website traffic, SEO ranking and further audience engagement. Video also plays a strong role in native content whether you’re using the video to retarget the audience or to drive engagements.

Podcasts Looking to stand out in a completely different world? Podcasts are your answer. Written off for dead a few years ago, podcasts are back with vengeance. This format provides a much more intimate way of getting content in front of the audience by communicating verbally to the listener. As we’ve mentioned the key to content marketing is creating valuable content and podcasts do just that. It is an on-demand technology giving the listener the power to decide what they want to hear and when they want to listen. Podcasting is also time and cost efficient medium compared to other forms of marketing.

Video 2015 was dubbed “The Year of Video Marketing,” thanks to the development in software tools creating valuable and engaging video content is easier than ever. Is your agency pushing the envelope? Are they using iPhones to shoot quick :15-:30 videos? If not, they should be. Videos and podcasts have untapped potential because of their association of costing large sums of money and being hard to create. This is simply not true. We are entering the age of real time video, this being an important pillar of a content marketing strategy.

SEO Some will say SEO is all about content marketing. You may be asking yourself, “Don’t we use two different agencies for SEO and other content?” Does SEO even fit into content marketing?” The main problem is the two are not integrated in many agencies and teams nationwide. Strong SEO is reflected in valuable blog content that is optimized in a targeted, native campaign. The truth is, there is a lot of overlap with SEO and content marketing with each still maintaining their own unique differences. SEO states the requirement. Content marketing fulfills them.

Paid Search Going hand in hand with SEO, Paid Search is on the frontlines of any marketing effort. Paid search ads are becoming more robust, creating yet another channel of content for users to consume. It is crucial to deliver a relevant and engaging message to people at the exact moment when they are searching for information.

Blogs once considered dead, like podcasts, are back again. A strong website presence includes a dialed in blog acting as a library full of valuable content the audience can search and engage with. For blogs the name of the game is quality over quantity, similar to many other content marketing channels we’ve covered. Blogs drive website traffic every time you write a post along with keeping your social presence strong. At the end of the day a strong blog helps convert your audience with each new blog post generating new leads.

You’ll notice all of these channels form the pillars of content marketing. The strategy for marketers is to determine the right rotation based on client’s unique needs and tailored content marketing strategy. For clients, we create strategic content marketing plans backed by research. If conversations and strategy sessions with your agency don’t mention content marketing, maybe it’s time to start the search for a new plan that will take your brand to the next level. Penna Powers started as an advertising agency, evolving into a full service communication firm with a team dedicated to creating content marketing strategies that benefit clients from retail to government.

Just as we’ve adapted to the changing world of communication, we can help your brand adapt to any audience and any medium. Don’t wait, give us a call today, and we’ll show you what a real content marketing strategy looks like.

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Dictionary800
There are a lot of words in the English language, but even the thickest of dictionaries doesn’t contain all of the words we need to describe the ever changing technological landscape. So what do we do? Make up new words of course! Here are the top 10 words that have been added to the English language due to technological advancements in recent history.

Clickbait

I wrote a blog post with a clickbait headline and you’ll never believe what happened next! We’ve all experienced the pains of the clickbait. It’s an article with a headline that is so beyond tempting that we can’t resist clicking on it. When we do take the bait, we quickly discover that the article on the other end of the tantalizing link is sensationalized and more often than not, pointless.

404

404 is a common error found on the internet wherein the content you are trying to access cannot be found. This is usually caused by a broken link or some kind of server error. Either way, 404 Page Not Found is probably one of the most prominent and common errors on the web. It quickly caught on as a fun way to say something or someone is missing. When used in the right context, “404” is more of a meme than an error message.

Wearables

Technology is like a virus in that it is constantly trying to find ways to infiltrate every facet of our lives. Currently, technology that we can wear, from watches to glasses, is the latest craze. These sorts of devices, fitness trackers and even wedding rings that heat up on your anniversary, are called wearables. Here are some of our thoughts on wearable tech.

Catfish

This isn’t much of a technology term, but it certainly has seen a rise in usage of late. The term refers to the practice of Norwegian fisherman who add a single catfish to their tank of sardines (or other fish) in order to keep them physically active. This practice was used as an analogy in a documentary (Catfish) detailing a woman who used online profiles to fake her identity in order to pursue a romantic online relationship with a man who otherwise wouldn’t have been interested in her. Based on the documentary, the term “catfish” was born. It is used to refer to someone who pretends to be a different person online in order to score dates in real life. Essentially, it’s like using a 5-year-old photo of when you were 30-pounds thinner for your dating profile, only worse.

Big Data

The word “big data” has actually been around for a while, but only recently has it seen more use. Big data refers to data that is so monstrously huge that traditional methods of organizing and translating the data cannot be used. Complex algorithms and super nerdy formulas are typically what is required to decipher this kind of big data.

E-Waste

E-waste is a shortened form of electronic waste. No, this isn’t referring to all that junk email in your spam folder, this literally means your old computers, printers and even cell phones that you want to throw away.

Gamification

Gamification is a really fun word that means adding interactivity to otherwise mundane content. For example, gamification could be adding user input to an online banner ad or it could mean providing badges and goals for an online tracking tool. You’re taking something lame and making it fun through gaming principles. We wrote an article on this exact topic about a year ago. You can check it out here.

Ping

Ping is the imaginary sound your computer makes when it sends a signal out to a server and then waits for a response. Ping is typically used to measure the speed of your connection and is measured in milliseconds. For example, a ping of 50ms would mean that there is a 50ms delay between the moment you click on a link on your computer and the moment that webpage recognizes and responds to that click.

Upvote/Downvote

Upvoting and downvoting is a popular mechanic used on social media websites like Reddit. An upvote could be equated to a “like” from Facebook, where as a downvote would be a “dislike.” Every post on sites where this mechanic is used takes the total upvotes and downvotes and gives a post a total score (+1 for upvotes, -1 for downvotes). The higher your score, the more prominently your post will be featured.

Lamestream

Finally, this fun term is simply a new way of negatively referring to the “mainstream.” Get it? Because “main” and “lame” are improper rhymes. What will the kids come up with next?

And there you have it. 10 words that have somehow worked themselves into the dictionary (some were added to the Oxford Dictionary just this last May!). What do you think? Did I forget any words? Let me know in the comments below.

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ComputerGoogleSite800

Need an easy way to collect and share data?… Google Drive can help with that, and it’s FREE. Whether you poll coworkers on their tech needs, or provide a client with a tool to promote an important message, Google surveys can be used on various levels and I promise you don’t have to be a computer whiz to succeed.

Still not catching the vision? Let me give a few more scenarios where a quick and easy Google form could make a world of difference:

  • Before a partnering meeting with local community leaders you sent attendees a Google survey asking what they expect to learn or accomplish.
  • After a training session, you send out a Google survey asking attendees what they learned, what they liked and how it could have been better.
  • In preparation to speak at an upcoming conference, you send a Google survey to trusted colleagues asking for advice on the requested topic.
  • Just for fun, you send a Google survey to employees, quizzing them on random pop culture and provide the winners with goofy prizes.
  • Each Christmas you can never remember or guess what your spouse or kids want, so you send out a Google survey.
  • Send a Google form to determine prior knowledge before a staff meeting.

There are hundreds of uses, and if you google “how to use a google form,” you’ll be shocked at all you find. Below is a Google survey the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Public Safety’s program, Zero Fatalities, provided to partners in order to help promote seat belt use in Utah. Give it a read, as it goes step by step through the creation of a Google Form.

*Note: ANYONE can use the following information to create a seat belt pledge, so feel free to copy and paste.

Seat Belt Pledge Google Form

Get your employees/community to pledge to always buckle up, and help those they travel with do the same. Listed below are the steps and information needed to create a Google form seat belt pledge. To view an example of this pledge visit: http://goo.gl/forms/rEmKjOKZ5Q.

*You must have a Gmail account to create a Google Form.

1. Go to your Google Docs home page

2. In the top left corner click on the red “NEW” button

3. Click on “more” and then “Google Forms”

GoogleForms1

4. Title your Google Form “Seat Belt Pledge” or “[Organization Name]’s Seat Belt Pledge”.

5. In the description, beneath the title, feel free to copy and paste the following information:

Until we have perfect people, even the safest drivers are vulnerable to the poor decisions of others. We may not be able to engineer around stupid, but you can protect yourself from those who are. The single most important thing you can do to prevent death or injury on the road: Buckle up.

If you don’t buckle up, please reconsider. If you do buckle up, have a conversation with the people you care about; help them understand that buckling up doesn’t mean, “giving in to The Man” – it means choosing to live, choosing to be around for weddings, birthdays, vacations, promotions and grandchildren. If you truly care about the people around you, you will advocate for seat belt use everywhere you drive, every time. Seventeen percent of our population drives unbuckled and contributes to nearly HALF of our roadway fatalities. These non-seatbelt users comprise of fathers/mothers, brothers/sisters, friends and grandparents. A primary seat belt law is a BIG step in the right direction, but no one will get an unbuckled someone to buckle up better than those they love.

If you know someone who drives unbuckled please help them understand the facts.

  • Three out of four people ejected from their vehicle die from their injuries.
  • Wearing a seat belt keeps the driver in the driver seat, significantly helping the driver maintain control of the vehicle.
  • Unbuckled passengers increase the risk of killing or injuring other belted passengers by 40 percent.

But most importantly, help them understand they should buckle up because you love and care for them.

For more information, visit zerofatalities.com and the Zero Fatalities Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

6. Then add question number one:

GoogleForms2

a. Copy question: Do you pledge to always buckle up?

b. Make sure you check the box at the end that says “required question”

7. Click on “Add Item” to add the second question:

GoogleForms3

a. Copy question:

i. When you travel, do you pledge to make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up?

ii. Remember unbuckled passengers increase the risk of killing or injuring other belted passengers by 40 percent.

b. Again, make sure you check the box at the end that says “required question”.

8. To view the form click on “view” and “view form”

9. To send the form to employees click on “send form” in the top right corner and copy the URL provided

10. To monitor submitted pledges click on “responses” and “view responses”

Like most Google Docs, the Google Form is made to be comprehensive and easy for any one. However, just Google “How to create a Google Form” and you’ll soon realize there’s much more you can learn than the basics. So start here and enjoy.

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ComputerDigital800 CC

The world of website development is riddled with terms that have become buzzwords. Not only does this mean these words are used incorrectly, but they often lose their actual purpose – to help your next web project run more smoothly. When it comes to making your website, it’s important to communicate clearly with everyone on the team. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place on the web you could go to that acts as an English-to-web developer dictionary? Queue this article.

Below are some terms and definitions – nothing too in depth – to help you and your team get on the same page when making your website. Bookmark it, use it and comment to get more definitions added to the list. Let’s start talking smarter when it comes to websites.

Web Development Terms and Definitions

Last updated: July 22, 2015
Note: Definitions are in alphabetical order. If you see a term you don’t understand in a definition, you can probably find it listed on this page.

Back-End – Describes the code that makes up the functionality of your site. A user never sees this, but this is what makes the website work. This is usually done with a language like PHP in conjunction with databases.

CMS (Content Management System) – A tool that lets a site owner change the content on their site without having to write code. Some popular options include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

CSS – The code used to give a designed look to a website written with HTML.

Database – A programmed data storing structure. Databases use tables and fields to make information accessible in the back-end of a website.

DNS (Domain Name System) – Method used to assign domain names to IP Addresses. For example, typing http://216.58.216.142/ or http://google.com into your web browser will take you to the same place.

Domain – Also known as Domain Name. The url users type into their browser’s address bar to access your website. Consists of a unique name followed by .com, .org, .net, etc.

Front-End – Describes the code that makes what you actually see when you visit a website address. This is typically done with HTML, CSS and Javascript.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – This is basically the way web developers upload files to your web host so users can access them on the internet.

HTML – The code that tells a browser how to display text and images on your website.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) – A set of numbers assigned to a server, computer or device that are used to identify it from other devices on the internet. IP addresses look like 22.123.123.22

Javascript – A programming language used to enhance functionality of a website. This code is run from a user’s browser.

Language – We’re not talking English or French. Basically, a developer can use different syntax to code your website. These syntaxes are grouped together into what are called programming languages, which could include PHP, Javascript, etc.

PHP – A programming language that enables a website to interact with a database and perform certain functions on its back-end.

Prototype – In the web development process, a prototype is a basic working example of the website that shows the functionality and hierarchical order of content on the site. Effective prototypes are quickly made, disposable, and have limited graphic and design elements.

SaaS (Software as a Service) – A software application that lives on the internet. Often users must pay to use these services, but not always. An example would be QuickBooks Online.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Creating a website in a specific way that uses target phrases and words to improve the site’s search rankings on Google, Bing, etc.

Sitemap – A graphical representation that shows the hierarchical relationship between all pages of a website.

Server – A computer that stores files so they can be accessed from a network (i.e. the internet).

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) – Standard used to send email messages across the internet.

SPF Record – A file included with your DNS record that helps email services verify emails sent from your domain name. This is a measure that helps prevent spammers from faking emails sent from user@yourdomain.com.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) – Designing and programming a website to show different layouts of content based on the width of a browser window. This means a website is better formatted on desktops, tablets and mobile phones.

User – Anyone who will be visiting and interacting with your website.

UX (User Experience) – The actual experience a user has when visiting your website. A good user experience is one where the user can interact with the website easily and has a positive experience.

UI (User Interface) Also known as GUI (Graphical User Interface). The content, organization and design of your website with which a user interacts.

Web Host – A company that runs a server where files can be stored and accessed from the internet.

Wireframe – A graphical representation that shows the functional elements of a website. Wireframes have little to no design. They are used to plan out a good user experience before spending time designing and building a website.

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Teens 800We’ve all heard opinions from fad-obsessed teenagers about what social media is hot at the moment and what is losing appeal but now we have the chance to see how their comments stand against a representative sample of teens throughout the U.S.

Last month Pew Research Center released Teens, Social Media and Technology, a report on a national survey of 1,060 teens ages 13 to 17 and a parent or guardian. Here are a few findings from the report and other recent research:

Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among teens; half of teens use Instagram and nearly as many use Snapchat.

  • Boys are more likely to report Facebook as their most used site than girls (45% of boys vs. 36% of girls).
  • Lower income youth are more likely to cite Facebook as their most used site than higher income teens.
  • Snapchat is more likely to be a frequently used app for more well-to-do teens.
  • The typical Facebook-using teen has 145 Facebook friends.
  • Boys report fewer Facebook friends than girls (boys 100 vs. girls 175)

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.49.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.49.39 PM

Teens are diversifying their social network site use. A majority of teens (71%) use more than one social network site.

While survey data does not indicate a decrease in Facebook-using teens, focus group findings suggest that teens’ relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving.

Some focus group participants reported positive feelings about their use of Facebook but many spoke negatively about an increasing adult presence, the high stakes of managing self-presentation on the site, the burden of negative social interactions (“drama”), or feeling overwhelmed by friends who share too much. One teen explained that he started using Twitter because “everyone’s saying Facebook’s dead,” while another said that once you create a Twitter and an Instagram account, “then you’ll just kind of forget about Facebook.”

Still, few of the teens in the focus group had actually abandoned the biggest social media site altogether. Facebook is deeply integrated across multiple generations, platforms, devices and spheres of public and private life.

Girls dominate visually oriented social media platforms while boys are more likely to play video games.

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Younger teens (13 to 14) use social media platforms less often than older teens (15 to 17) with one exception; Instagram is more often used by younger teens. Listed below is the breakdown for each platform:

  • Facebook – 35% younger vs. 44% older
  • Snapchat – 8% younger vs. 13% older
  • Twitter – 3% younger vs. 8% older
  • Instagram – 25% younger vs. 17% older

Texting is an especially important mode of communication for many teens.

  • 91% of teen cell users use text messaging—either directly through their mobile phones or through an app or a website.
  • Smartphone-based messaging apps have added features and changed the cost, message length and other structures around sending short messages.
  • 33% of teens with phones have messaging apps like Kik and WhatsApp.
  • Girls are a bit more likely than boys to use messaging apps, with 37% of cell-using girls using them compared with 29% of boys with cell phones.
  • A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day.

88% of American teens ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a mobile phone of some kind and a majority of teens (73%) have smartphones.

Smartphone users skew more toward older teens with 76% of 15 to 17 year-olds having a smartphone, compared with 68% of 13 to 14 year-olds.

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92% of teens report that they go online daily and 24% of those teens say they are online “almost constantly,” due to the widespread availability of smartphones.

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Are you or the teens you know surprised by these findings?

 

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tech800The New Year always brings with it a host of new start-ups and crazy tech inventions. In January alone we’ve seen numerous announcements and surprises at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As a brand, it can be very important to stay current with the latest and greatest tech. Here are a couple thoughts on what you’ll want to expect going into the New Year.

  1. Ultra High Speed Mobile Devices

Smartphones

First and foremost, mobile devices are starting to get more and more robust all the time. In this coming year, however, mobile devices like smart phones and tablets are going to get ridiculous. For context, remember that most entry-level laptop computers come with 4GB of RAM. This next year it’s rumored that numerous different tablets and phones will be released with 4GB of RAM and processors to match.

The device’s speed isn’t the only thing getting a boost, however. Networks have been implementing new mobile towers that can pump out data speeds that reach 50mbps or faster. That’s faster than your average household’s cable Internet connection. Though availability of such speeds is limited right now (like Sprint’s Spark program), this next year will bring a wider array of super speedy devices connected to an incredibly fast mobile network.

  1. Lots of Large Resolution Television Sets
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The side view of Sony’s latest (and thinnest) TV

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The same TV from a different angle.

Can you believe that ten years ago we watched television on a 480p resolution? The number of pixels we can now cram into a full sized television is staggering. While your 40-inch 1080p flat screen probably looks great, the new standard is quickly becoming 4K. Not only are TV’s getting more detailed, however, they are also increasing in size. 50 inches in the new 40 inches and companies like Sony are taking “flat screen,” to a whole new level with their television sets that are thinner than most smartphones. Other companies are exploring the idea of  curved television sets. Either way, low resolution anything isn’t going to cut it going into this next year.

  1. Virtual Reality
An early version of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.

An early version of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.

Virtual reality has actually been around for a while now, but only recently has it been gaining traction. The most popular brand at the moment is Oculus who have been developing their VR machine for years. At first glance this might seem like more of a niche gadget, but 2015 is shaping up to introduce a lot of news in regards to virtual reality. Facebook is so confident in this new tech category that they invested $2 billion in Oculus to help develop the helmet-like VR goggles. Even other big names, like Sony, are getting in on the action with their “Project Morpheus.

  1. More Wearable Tech
Apple Watch

Apple’s anticipated smart watch

Moto 360 Smart Watch

Motorola’s “Moto 360,” smartwatch

Finally, and most importantly, 2015 is shaping up to be the year of wearable technology. Though experiments like Google Glass are coming to a close, smart watches have never seen so much love. This next year is going to be even more exciting as Apple finally throws their hand into the ring.

Outside of just smart watches, however, wearable tech is seeing advancements in other areas like wireless ear pieces and even belts that can connect to your smart devices.

The Dash Wearable Ear Buds

The Dash Wearable Ear Buds

Tech is always changing, and 2015 won’t be any different in that regard. The challenge is keeping on top of it all. Hopefully with this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what to look out for in this coming year.

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Technology has come a long way over the last several years. People say it’s changing all the time and it seems like that new computer I bought yesterday is already outdated. Now, I’m the kind of person who likes to stay on top of everything tech related. When friends want advice on what tablet they should buy, they come to me. I have to have the latest and greatest tech as soon as it’s available. I haven’t owned a smartphone for longer than six months since I got my first one back in 2008. I think you get the picture. I’ve always had the mindset that unless you have the best technology available, you’re missing out on life.

That is, until recently. You see a month or so ago I experienced every tech aficionado’s worst nightmare when my personal smart phone got a little too wet and would no longer function. To make matters worse, I was somewhat lacking in funds at the time and my replacement phone wouldn’t arrive for four weeks. So, what did I do? I went to my local Walmart, found the cheapest non-flip phone available, and $40 later, I had a brand new working smartphone. A 4-year-old tech smartphone.

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Meet the ZTE Concord. With a gigantic 3.5” capacitive touch screen, an 832 MHz processor, 1500 mAh battery, 512MB of RAM  and a 2.0 megapixel rear facing camera, the ZTE Concord is everything you could ever want in a phone. That is, if you purchased your phone 6 years ago. To put these numbers into perspective, let’s compare these specs to the iPhone 3G S, which released in 2009. Both phones have a 3.5” screen, but the iPhone actually has a more impressive camera at 3.0 mega pixels. When it comes to processor power, my ZTE does have a slight edge as the 3G S only has 256MB of RAM and a 600MHz processor. Still, despite these minor differences and the fact that one uses Android while the other uses iOS, they are remarkably similar phones.

On paper, my new Concord seemed years behind the curve and was a spectacular dud. When I first powered it on I expected the worst. I was stuck with this thing for the next few weeks while my phone was getting replaced, and so I set myself up for disappointment. To my surprise however, what I found was anything but that.

While my phone certainly left a lot to be desired, it actually succeeded to do most everything I needed it to. I could make and receive phone calls. I could send text messages. I could read and send e-mails. I could update my social media feeds. I could browse the internet and purchase products from online retailers. I could watch YouTube videos. I could stream music from my phone and I could even play a couple of casual games. After a few weeks with the device, I realized something: You don’t need the newest phone to experience having a smart phone.

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While I would never go back, I came to understand that being connected online is no longer an exclusive experience as it may have once been. Smartphones are so readily, and inexpensively, available that nearly all groups of people can afford it. And even if they buy the $50 Walmart special, they are hardly missing out.

Now you might be wondering, what does this have to do anything? I’m here to tell you that it has to do with everything. There’s one thing I’ve neglected to mention thus far about my experience with the ZTE Concord. Ads worked flawlessly.

With smartphones being as accessible as they are, the entire world can connect to your brand. No matter what phone they’re using, they can watch a short YouTube commercial. No matter what operating system they are running, they can view a mobile banner ad without issue. My point is this: There has never been a better time to start focusing on mobile. During my four weeks with four year old tech, if there’s one thing that I’ve come to understand it’s that, like I said in the beginning of this piece, technology has come a long way. Specifically, mobile technology. Don’t wait to get started. With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus seeing over 10 million smartphones sold within a week, I think it’s time we all stepped back and accepted that mobile marketing might be the future. And whether you’ve got the next big thing in your pocket or some 4-year-old bargain bin phone, you’re a part of it.

 

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