Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy Holidays!

Tis the season for being social and holiday shopping–music to our ears.

 But as we start to bring 2013 to a close, we find ourselves in a period of reflection– a time to sit back, reflect, unwind and spend some time with friends and loved ones.

So before the holiday festivities start, we want to stop for a minute and thank everyone–our employees, our advertisers and our community for helping to us to make this year such a resounding success.  We can’t thank you enough for your support, hard work and dedication, and commitment to Collective Bias.

From all of us at Collective Bias, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or “Joyful” Kwanzaa and here’s to a happy, healthy New Year!

Bill & Amy

holiday card

Four Mistakes Brands Make When Creating Content

Today’s connected customer expects a personal and relevant experience regardless of where it is coming from. Through all the different advancements in technology it is no wonder customers are having high expectations from brands.  A positive brand experience starts with content delivered when and where the customer needs to access it (such as through blog marketing), all while avoiding some key mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not spending as much time on content distribution strategy as you do on content creation.

Relevant content is content that is findable when a consumer requests it, this is vital to the customer experience. We live in an always-connected culture yet customers struggle to get the information they are looking for when they want it. I believe the biggest reason for that is companies don’t think through their content distribution strategy to the same extent that they spend time on creating content. We saw this same trend when websites were all the rage. Companies spent hundreds of man-hours building perfect brand experience websites and then they had no money left for driving an audience to those websites.

Mistake #2: Thinking the moment of truth happens in-store.

A consumer’s shopping list is often set before he/she ever enters the store.
It is less about traditional push mediums that retailers have decided are useful in their environments and more about delivering relevant content when consumers want it. Consumers are already besieged with too much information when they are trying to do things that they want to accomplish. Content that brands and retailers create needs to be easy to find and easy to read not only when consumers are at home but also when they are on the go on their mobile devices. Brands need to evolve to be customer-centric rather than brand-centric. Mom has the most time to browse when she is waiting to pick up her kids at some activity, so the content she is looking for has to be available to her at that time. Some consumers can still be switched when they see additional information in store at the shelf…but the majority of the time a consumer’s shopping list is set before she ever enters the store. Today’s shopper is a researcher and shopping is a sport — and omnipresent, multi-channel content has changed the game.

Mistake #3: Controlling the message.

Brands still need to control their own messaging and develop content that supports their unique selling proposition. However, brands need to shift more of their working dollars into investments in user-generated content. Nobody trusts and fully believes the claims brands make but they do believe real people who use and experience products. Brands always want to control the messaging and the creative; quite frankly that makes their creative less authentic. People don’t expect perfection but they do expect authenticity. If you’ve made a good product or offer a good service, user generated content can take you to the next level. For those creative snobs out there, I am sorry to tell you this but because of portable computing power and technology advances, the quality of home grown content is just as good if not better than what comes out of high end design studios. Don’t believe me? Go check out the videos, pictures and recipes that live on bloggers sites — they are fantastic.
Mistake #4: Failing to be unique.

The key to creating a great brand experience starts with uniqueness. For retailers, it’s paramount as there is so much competition for share of wallet. What value is the retailer adding to the consumer’s life, other than to be the destination to buy all your favorite brands? Social media has opened the door for retailers to create a unique voice and to show personality. Be true to your brand’s essence and let that shine through in all of your social engagements. If your brand has attitude, show attitude.  If your brand is conservative, be conservative. You can’t be everything to everybody.  Take a stand and it is ok to alienate some of the population; that stance will be rewarded by the passion your true brand advocates have for you and the continued loyalty they will show for your brand.

Want to be a better marketer?

Start by being customer-centric. Think about your approach to content creation and it’s distribution. And don’t be afraid to share insights with the very customers who buy your product and have something to say about your brand. Their real life stories bring to life authentic experiences with your brand and those experiences are priceless.

Look Beyond The First Iteration When It Comes To Innovation

Most innovation initially bears a close resemblance to its ancestor.

Do you recall how the first motorcar (invented by Carl Benz in 1886) resembled a buggy?  How about the first cell phones from the late 1980s?  They looked like a cordless house phone.  Or the first TV ad by Bulova in 1941?  A single static visual combined with a radio style voice over.

We are seeing that now in digital shopper marketing.  We have taken the traditional newspaper insert or mailer with promoted price points, put it on a website and still call it a “circular.”

Just as cars got faster and safer, phones got smaller and smarter, and TV creative engaged us with talented actors and elaborate settings, it’s time to leverage new technology to evolve how we engage shoppers.

Several innovative companies are paving the way.  ibotta has turned the coupon model on its head by only charging advertisers for redemption not distribution.  You as a brand decide what messaging you want to engage a potential shopper with, the value of the reward and targeted product and retailers.  When one of their 2.3MM+ app users takes those actions, they accumulate rewards that are credited when the product is purchased. Users can cash out in various ways – as little as $2 can be cashed for an e-credit for a movie rental at RedBox, higher amounts can be redeemed for Starbucks, iTunes and other gift cards or users can take cash via paypal in $5 increments.

No more dollars wasted on distributing offers that don’t get redeemed or participants can’t stack or reuse offers.  While there is still a bit of friction with scanning receipts – that will be eliminated with emerging mobile wallet technologies.  As an advertiser there is absolutely no waste – you only pay on redemptions (and still benefit from the ad exposure to shoppers that buy later or forget to claim their rewards).

Another cool shopper marketing innovation is soldsie, an app that allows fashion boutiques and other small businesses to conduct ecommerce via comments on a Facebook page.  This is a great way to monetize peer-to-peer sharing and jump-start a CRM effort.

Ditto also capitalizes on peer sharing by enabling brands to harness the power of the 500MM+ (and rapidly growing) pictures shared daily across social networks.  On average only about 15% of the public social images shared daily that feature a brand also include a mention of that brand in the text.  Ditto helps brands discover the other 85% via innovative image recognition technology, allowing marketers the opportunity to glean valuable insights from these photos including an understanding of fan interests and affinity with other brands and influencers.  Marketers can then engage with fans socially, encourage opt in to CRM programs and incent relevant content and promotion sharing with their networks via “hot spots” in fan photos.

As shoppers continue to be willing to provide data in exchange for more relevant offers, expect more innovation in 2014 and beyond – way beyond the online “circular.”

How Social Media is Making Holiday Shopping Easier

It’s that time of year when everyone is busy. Everyone is busy trying to wrap up the million things they have going on – work, holiday travel plans and most importantly Holiday Shopping (you know, going through that list to make sure you’ve bought a present for everyone, or everyone who has been nice this past year.)

Sometimes you know exactly what to get everyone on that list, and sometimes you don’t have a clue. This year, I have turned to Social Media for gift ideas. Now more than ever, our favorite social networks are saturated with ads and promotions – while sometimes this is annoying, around the Holidays – take advantage and use it as a resource!

Let’s look into three {of my favorite} channels – Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and I will explain how easy they make giving the perfect gift.

Pinterest:

Pinterest is the place where you go to browse beautiful photos of food,  fashion, homes, etc. You dream of those photos entering your real life and while we repin to remember these things and plan to make them a part of our lives someday, the great thing is, around the holidays instead of focussing on what YOU want, pick a girl (or guy) on your list and go scope out their boards. Chances are you will find a great gift idea. What is the last thing you pinned? You would love to be surprised with that scarf, necklace, sweater or hot chocolate. For more information, click here.

Secret Boards: You can make a different secret board for three different recipients that you wish to shop for, or have one all inclusive holiday shopping board for all of the people you plan to buy gifts for- the idea is the same. Not only will this get your creative juices flowing and provide you with many ideas from Pinterest, where anything and everything is pinned, but if done in enough advance, you will most likely be able to order any item that you pin onto your boards with ease online.

Instagram:

The great thing about following brands on Instagram, is that brands get it – they are creating streams of content that resonate with me as a person and as a shopper. If you want a list of brands that are doing it right – check this out.

Brands do a great job of intermixing inspirational content with promotions for their products.  You automatically check Instagram daily (or hourly) and you constantly see the inspirational content from your sister’s favorite brand, boyfriend’s favorite football team or your mom’s favorite jeweler.  So when you spot a sale or promotion from that same brand, go find a product in your price range and check it off the list! Below are some examples if you need a heads up on what to look for.

Facebook:

While most are not fans of online ads, sometimes you have to wonder do FB ads know you better than you know yourself? Say you looked at Zappos last week hoping to find some gift ideas for someone special and a week later, isn’t it strange how there is a Zappos promotion in your stream for 30% off online orders? Take advantage! Go back and get the shoes your mom or daughter really wants!  Use that Facebook ad reminder as a little kick to get it done, make the purchase!

The great thing about using social media for Holiday shopping inspiration is that most of the time, they are a couple clicks away from a purchase and check mark off your list. Instead of becoming overwhelmed this holiday season and ignoring the flood of branded posts, let these social sites give you the ideas, deals and promotions you need to complete your Holiday shopping!

 

App.net Redefines Content Syndication

Way back in the olden times – 2011 – Twitter was more and more being seen as an internet utility, something akin to a personal version of RSS (Really Simple Syndication).  It was almost impossible to find any app that DIDN’T include twitter integration in some fashion.  Our scales were tweeting us.  There was constant innovation in what things could tweet, consume tweets, reuse our streams, and generally make us, our friends, acquaintances, brands, and yes, even things, more connected.

Then something happened at Twitter – they realized there was very little money in being a utility company on the internet.  No one ever paid anything to use RSS, it was the antithesis of everything RSS was – a basic standard to allow anyone or anything to communicate easily with apps, sites and people.  A backbone of communication on the free and open internet.  In order to control the experience and ensure maximum ad potential, Twitter began restricting how developers could use their platform, and over the last two years, have wiped out several entire categories of apps and services that used to proliferate the web and mobile app stores.  Just ask Twitterific, Seesmic, Tweetgrid, or any number of similar apps – the Twitter developer ecosystem had turned hostile.

App.net entered the scene around this time, for pay, promising an ad-free, real-time social feed.  One that would never crush its developer ecosystem.  It has since dropped the fee, and with the help of its developer community, has constantly iterated, changing itself into something very different than Twitter, but something much closer to what many idealists had hoped for from Twitter as a “utility” company.

App.Net Broadcasts

App.net just released its new Broadcasts platform, something I’m personally declaring as the successor to the syndication throne.  If RSS and Twitter made a baby, it would be App.net Broadcasts and it would be better and smarter than either of them could’ve ever been alone.

Broadcasts is about “push” technology.  It’s a service that allows content publishers, brands, bands, you name it, to push messaging and content directly to users.  With a simple “subscribe” button on your page, users can subscribe for updates.  App.net gives a list of useful examples:

  • appBands letting fans know about tickets on sale, album releases, surprise shows, etc.
  • Public safety messages, severe weather, etc.
  • Podcasters letting their audience know when they are recording live, and when new episodes are available
  • Internet publishers who publish on a low-volume, sporadic schedule. For instance internet comics, part-time bloggers, analysts, etc.
  • App developers letting folks know when new versions are released (which may be missed due to new auto-update features)
  • Anyone running a crowd funding or grassroots campaign who needs a real time way to mobilize their supporters
  • Companies running mission critical services that want to let folks know about scheduled or unscheduled downtime
  • Coordinating a large group of people for parties, meet ups, festivals or conferences. Imagine if you had a last minute change of schedule or venue; you’d want to make sure people on their way don’t miss the message.

App.net says that successful broadcasters would post at most 1-2 times per day, or even less.  When you broadcast your message, a push notification is shown to your subscribers.  There are a lot of apps in app stores that exist primarily for this purpose, and App.net could replace the need for those.

How it Works

Broadcasts are not limited to blog posts, events and podcasts – nearly anything can send a push notification.  Dalton Caldwell’s vision is that Broadcast will plug into the internet of things to let you know when nearly anything happens.  “You should be able to get a push for anything that happens on the internet,” said Caldwell in an interview with The Verge.  You can send a link, a photo, GIF or text.

An explanation of what app.net does

Users will find their recent alerts in the Broadcast tab in their app, and can easily search for and find new “Channels” to subscribe to for new content.  The promise of Broadcasts is that you will receive everything you subscribe to, no more and no less.  Publishers can easily create channels to push content to their audiences.  While other networks (Facebook and Twitter) allow you to get notifications for someone you follow, App.net is much more modular.  New York Times, for instance, may not create a Twitter account just for movie reviews, but it’s easily possible for them to create a content Channel for that feed… in fact, it could create a multitude of feeds for every section of its website.

App.net

App.net’s Place in the World

Email is still king for responsiveness – for both online content publishers and e-commerce retailers.  App.net’s Broadcast, however, gives publishers a way to cut through the noise of older channels and have real-time communication with their audience.

According to Caldwell, Broadcast isn’t a revolutionary idea, but it is a revolutionary implementation.  If you take capabilities of RSS for syndication, and combine it with Twitter’s idea – that following someone is just as simple as pushing a button.  Push services aren’t new, Boxcar’s app, years ago, was allowing people to combine notifications from social signals.  However, App.net’s open architecture, the ability to plug-in with existing sources, and a founder who is willing to actually build a “utility” company makes this an incredibly attractive bandwagon to jump on early.  With a Hootsuite plugin already available, they are serious about making Broadcasts even easier to use than RSS ever was.

App.net is a Freemium Service. Broadcasts is free, according to their company blog post, but they will charge for analytics in the future.

 

Will Content Rule 2014? Interview with C.C Chapman

Will Content Rule 2014?

I met C.C. Chapman years ago. He is one of those people you instantly bond with which is probably why he is renowned in social media and professional blogger circles. He knows how to build relationships. C.C. is CMO at YSN and a co-author of “Content Rules,” a book he wrote with Ann Handley, the CMO of Marketing Profs, I thought I’d ask him his opinion on the proliferation of content being created.

What do you think about the current state of content marketing?

I think it is exciting because the technology continues to empower anyone to create and share content to help themselves and their business.

That being said, I’m not seeing as much creativity as I would hope for. I keep seeing posts and videos created with the sole purpose of getting likes and shares. Sure, that is important, but where is the experimentation, the story telling and the creativity?

If I read one more “top 10…” or “what you could learn from…” type posts I’m going to scream.

Too many brands have taken a slacker approach to content marketing unfortunately.

Do you think brands will ever think like publishers like many pundits are saying they need to do?

Many of them are starting to come around, but the problem is what they are publishing isn’t all that creative.

Brands now know they can’t hide from content marketing. It is a must in this always connected from everywhere world we now live in.

They understand that they need to publish content on a regular basis, which is what thinking like a publisher is all about. Too few of them though are doing this strategically and that is why it is failing for them.

The amount of content on the web is growing exponentially every day. Is this a good or bad thing? What do you think will happen as a result?

It isn’t going to slow down. Stop worrying about that.

Remember when everyone first started setting up web pages and people were worried that no one would be able to find your site? We laugh at that thought now.

The good quality stuff will always rise to the top. Brands need to be constantly thinking about building a community around them and not being afraid to try out a new technology to stand out.

There’s a huge focus on leveraging brand ambassadors, influencers and advocates for authentic, real stories. Will this ever lose its halo?

When done right, this can be magical for a business. Far too often it is rushed or based on the latest ranking du jour and that is why it fails.

I’ve done a LOT of influencer marketing from both sides of the coin and I can tell you that it is not going to go away, but hopefully it is going to evolve to the point where it is a relationship that helps both parties rather than just the brand saying “share this!!!”

2014 will be an interesting year for content.

C.C. is right. There isn’t enough focus on quality content and creativity. Personally I believe that content that is creative and differentiating will distribute itself. It’s not enough to just create content; there needs to be a strategy, not just for the type of content but a channel strategy. For some brands it may not be about being on every social channel, a blog and the corporate website. But 2014 will be the year of content.

 

 

Refresh Your “Pocket-Sized Digital Briefing Document”

Shortly after waking every day, I check the calendar on my phone or tablet. Collective Bias typically decorates my day with a rainbow patchwork of double and triple-booked time slots. Simply attending all these meetings is hard enough; keeping track of everyone in the meetings (CB folk and our many advertisers and agency partners) is almost impossible.

While reading Mashable over the Thanksgiving break, I discovered Refresh, an app that promises to “deliver an instant dossier straight to your iPhone about the people you know, the people you meet, and the people that you run into during the course of your life.”

A sucker for a shiny new app that promises to make my life easier and more efficient, I immediately visited the iTunes app store. (No Android version exists yet, but Refresh says that it’s on the way soon.)

After the download, Refresh asked me to connect every major social account I own. The app can currently access:

  • iPhone calendars
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Mail
  • Google+
  • Angellist
  • Evernote
  • Foursquare
  • Link Exchange
  • Yahoo!
  • iCloud

 

refresh 3

I disabused myself of the notion of privacy in our online world long ago, but I balked at the amount of access Refresh wanted to my online accounts. My curiosity got the better of me, however,  I had everything authenticated within minutes. (I told you I couldn’t resist a shiny opportunity to test a new app/toy.)

Refresh connects the dots between all the public information shared by my contacts and the private information they’ve authorized me to see across their social sphere. About 30 minutes before each meeting scheduled on my calendar, I get a notification that the dossiers for each attendee have been updated and are ready for my review.

This at-a-touch collection of important facts about my contacts is fun to review for friends and coworkers, but it will become invaluable the next time I’m meeting a new client for the first time (or revisiting an existing client I haven’t seen in a few weeks or months).

Here’s what my own profile looks like in the app.

refresh1

When Twitter and Facebook became popular, we all marveled at how they helped us stay in touch with people we hadn’t seen for years. Seeing pictures of my cousins’ kids helped me to feel connected to them in between our yearly visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The networks also helped me get to know someone before I ever met them IRL. Before we knew it, though, Twitter and Facebook became too cluttered and lost their ability to facilitate intimate connections.

Refresh doesn’t create intimacy, but it does cut through the static created by our over-messaged, always-on, keeping-it-all-updated-gives-me-a-headache social profiles. I welcome some much needed clarity in my social connections and very much hope that it can deliver on its promise to use “the world’s information to deliver personalized insights to bring people closer together.”

 

 

Leveraging Content to Drive Customer Experience

Today there are so many different ways to get in touch with the customer and create a great customer experience, such as through blogger outreach, and this is having a profound impact on the marketing mix as a whole.  According to Forrester, 42% of adults in the U.S. are always “addressable” meaning they are attached to at least three devices. Today’s connected customer expects a personal and relevant experience regardless of the channel.

Relevant content is content that is findable when a consumer requests it.  This is vital to the customer experience.  

We live in an always connected culture yet customers struggle to get the information they are looking for when they want it.  I believe the biggest reason for that is companies don’t think through their content distribution strategy to the same extent that they spend time on creating content.  We saw this same trend when websites were all the rage.  Companies spent hundreds of man-hours building perfect brand experience websites…then they had no money left over to drive people to those websites.

Often a consumer’s shopping list is set before she ever enters the store.


It is less about traditional push mediums that retailers have decided are useful in their environments and more about delivering relevant content people want, when they want it.  Consumers are already besieged with too much information when they are trying to do things that they want to accomplish.  Nowadays more and more purchase decisions are being made outside of the store environment.  Therefore, the content that brands and retailers create needs to be findable and readable, not only when consumers are at home but also when they are on the go with their mobile devices.  Mom has the most time to browse when she is waiting to pick up her kids at some activity, so the content she is looking for has to be available to her at that time.  Look, some consumers will still be switched when they see additional information in store at the shelf but the majority of the time a consumer’s shopping list is set before she ever enters the store.

 Brands need to shift dollars to user-generated content.

Brands still need to control their own messaging and develop content that supports their unique selling proposition.  However, brands need to shift more of their working dollars into investments in user-generated content. Nobody trust and fully believes the claims brands make but they do believe real people who use and experience products.  Brands always want to control the messaging and the fcreative; quite frankly that makes their creative less authentic.  People don’t expect perfection but they do expect authenticity.  If you’ve made a good product or offer a good service, user generated content can take you to the next level.

Creating a great brand experience starts with uniqueness.

For retailers, I think the key is uniqueness.  What value is the retailer adding to the consumers if it is just repeating the brand’s message without their own point of view/messaging?  The retailer has a unique ability to bundle various brands together into an experience for consumers.  Walmart does a good job at this and consumers know that they will get the best seasonally correct merchandise at the lowest prices.  Target also does a good job at this by bringing the most fashionable seasonal approach to consumers.

 

Salesforce Lessons Learned

In October 2012, we decided to use Salesforce.com at Collective Bias to organize and report on our sales pipeline. Just over one year later, Salesforce tracks our shopper media and blog marketing programs from the lead-gen stage through program execution and delivery.

We just renewed with Salesforce for another year and look to extend its reach into other parts of our business using products from the Salesforce App Exchange. Our road to implementation and in-house adoption has gone less than flawlessly; however, we’re still barely tapping the potential of the Salesforce platform.

If I could go back and do everything over again, I would have made the following changes to our adoption and implementation process.

  • Hire a SalesForce administrator– We decided to adopt Salesforce prior to receiving our Series-A funding. We had few resources to hire additional staff so a couple of us oversaw the implementation with a 3rd-party Salesforce consultant. I would still probably have used a the 3rd-party consultant, but our adoption rate would have gone much faster with a dedicated resource overseeing internal training and customization.

  • Kick out the crutches- After implementation, our sales team took a little while to start putting information into the system. Consequently, they continued to rely on the Google-spreadsheet-from-hell to track our sales pipeline in the weekly status meeting. When we locked the team out of that sheet and forced them to work off the Salesforce dashboard in the weekly meeting, we saw immediately higher engagement levels each week.

  • Identify and fully engage departmental stakeholders- We took a fairly top-down approach to implementation. The sales team leaders needed a system. We identified Salesforce and then went about setting it up for everyone. During this setup stage, we identified stakeholders in the client services and sales teams to focus communications and training for their teams. In hindsight, we should have put those people on the initial implementation team as well.

  • Get the executives on the system as soon as possible- When your CEO gets the one version of the truth from a system, people tend to make sure and have their data correct and up-to-date in that system. Get your execs trained on the system first and make sure they ask for reports from that system. Nothing else will spur adoption faster.

No technology will fix a flawed business process. Think about how you should be doing things and design the process to fit that mindset. Only then should you invest the time and resources in a workflow automation and relationship management system. When you make that choice, invest in the resources you need to properly support the investment. We made a good choice with Salesforce but we’re still making up ground from some choices we could have made differently a year ago.

Check My Pulse: A LinkedIn App Review

Written by Mike Abb

The Funnel

Call me old-fashioned or just plain old, but I like to read. I know it’s a dirty word these days in the age of image driven media and attention spans knee high to a grasshopper. Reading finds its disadvantages not only in popularity, but also in the never-ending array of media outlets. Between the millions of blogs and news sites that litter the Internet plus the social networks’ constant stream of information, where can you turn to focus your attention to the news you want to read and not just what happens to be posted?  Where is the funnel that siphons off the bunk from the crunk?

Chain Link

LinkedIn has prided itself as a professional’s social network. A useful tool to build your online resume, search/hire for employment and read the latest in company updates.  I have also used it to join a number of groups dedicated to pushing our craft to new heights of success and efficiency.  I also follow companies I admire and have worked for in the past. This keeps me at least partially connected to what’s happening on their end.  I find that I like to know a little about a lot when it comes to my profession. This helps me speak to different scenarios on impact, which can be vital when presented with options and situations on the fly – a common occurrence in the ever-changing world of marketing.

New Player

LinkedIn realized the amount of traffic and posting they had created and decided to capitalize. They went to the lab and cooked up their latest product “Pulse.” Pulse is a separate app for mobile that allows the LinkedIn user to create a custom news feed from a variety of publishing outlets.  You simply download the app to your phone, login in with your LinkedIn credentials and you are instantly presented with a listing of categories like News, Technology, Business, Science, Lifestyle, etc… Each category contains a number of publishers that can be added to the personalized Pulse news feed by tapping the plus sign next to their name. The ease of use is indicative of a well thought out and refined app, not your typical beta version littered with issues that hamper its use.

Smooth SailingLinkedIn_Pulse_app

Once you have taken the time to select your news providers you can begin enjoying the simple elegance of knowledge. With just a few swipes of my fingers I was able to enjoy articles on new DSLR camera lenses from Sony and check out the latest diesel engine innovations from Popular Mechanics. All of these great outlets of information for absolutely free! I don’t need a subscription. I don’t need another annoying proprietary login to remember.  I don’t need to try and fit in the article while in line at the grocery store because I’m too cheap to buy the magazine. This all is courtesy of just being a member of LinkedIn.

Bonus Features

Not only can you read all your favorite publications, you can also easily thumbs up an article and it will post as an update status to your LinkedIn page.  This is a useful way of quickly sharing what you feel your followers would be interested in reading. The app also allows you to share the article across any major social site as well as send a text message with the url. Another nice feature is it allows you to comment on the articles as well as star them for later reading. I personally love this feature. I usually skim before I make a commitment to an article and this is a good way of backtracking and making a reading playlist.

All in All

The new Pulse app is a handy tool to help filter out what you want most from the news outlets that you deem most valuable. A quick and clean GUI design makes for a pleasurable user experience and with the addition of social share options Pulse positions itself nicely as a core informational tool for the foreseeing future. It does spark one question, why LinkedIn needs to take this route? Some would say, “Focus on what you do right and own that, don’t try and differentiate yourself so much that you water down your core product”.  I have watched LinkedIn grow and morph with the social landscape very successfully. This does however make me wonder what’s next up their sleeve: success or a case of bloat and bust.