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Make your website ultra sticky with interactive photo tags

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The evolution of photo sharing

The recent release of the Timeline feature on Facebook, sites becoming more picture friendly (jux), and business cards becoming stylishly virtual (flavors, aboutme), there is no doubt that photos are big on marketers’ and consumers’ minds. Other social media sites surrounding photo sharing have recently hopped on the bandwagon such as houzz and Pinterest.com that have grown exponentially.

They have taken the lead for fast-growing niche photo sharing sites and more specifically photos of interiors, homes and lifestyle which are on people’s minds. Now, bring in tagging people, places and things, and photos are beginning to provide a lot more information than simply a two dimensional visual. Photos are quick (for our ever-shrinking attention spans), scanable with the eye, and immediately tell us what it is that we want to know. It sounds so simple.

Now, if a photo could actually possess a thousand words, enter San Francisco based startup, Stipple which enjoys backing from big name investors like Justin Timberlake and AngelList Co-Founder Naval Ravikant.

Their main target market appears to be vendors and e-commerce sites along with photographers to be able to profit off of each time a consumer purchases a product from their stipple tag. If this tag is then clicked on, that vendor receives a percentage of the purchase as demonstrated in the video below, but as you watch the video, imagine how it could be used on your own site, even for highlighting data that is not retail related:


Creative applications for Stipple

What else can you see this being useful for? How can interactive photos make your business better?

Looking past their initial offerings of tagging, the technology and ease of use is pretty straight forward for anyone with a bit of knowledge of WordPress or the tiniest bit of HTML. A few lines of code and you’re in (and did I mention its free!?). Next, add as much information as your audience would enjoy.

Stipple may not be fit for every blogger, but I see this as being incredibly useful in my own business as a real estate broker to make a local real estate website interactive. Think about it – throw in some neighborhood info, third party crime, education and lifestyle stats and boom, you have a fully interactive neighborhood summary in one photo and the consumer never has to leave that page. Take it a step further, add the average house values, integrate with picketreport.com, and even a call to action, and you’re one step closer to amazing site interaction.

The image below took about an extra 30 seconds to tag and these will be displayed directly on the blog. All information can be stored within each photo and is presented as users hover over each information-containing dot (click to see it in action).

And what would a cool product be without the integration of some analytics? Stipple even offers basic data on how many times each dot is hovered over, or how often a photo is hovered over.

Reinforcing brand recognition and interaction is the name of the game here. Instead of consumers having to go back and forth between sites and pages, and then linked elsewhere, everything is right here which is a win for any site owner and is convenient for consumers.

Amanda Lopez is a real estate broker and founder of Style House Realty in Baltimore, Md. She has worked in the real estate industry for over 6 years and prior to that studied advertising, branding and web design. Refusing to believe the real estate industry had to be bland and boring in design and appeal to everyone, she set out to bring some style and technology into the mix. Amanda can most likely be found with coffee that got cold, great shoes, her mind in the sky and her evernote app open.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Bobby Carroll

    January 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Some very cool ideas for sure. Can you provide examples of RE sites that are using this?

  2. Roland Estrada

    January 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Very cool!!! Time to start experimenting.

  3. Amanda

    January 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Bobby, from what I could tell, no one else is using it this way except us… i know, we're like so on it;) jk. actually i heard about this company awhile ago and was shocked no one else had done this and it seems like their webpage has been pretty quiet as of late. However, i'll be following up on this soon with some more information and other examples of uses.

    If you have any examples, please email them to me to check out!
    -amanda

  4. Jason Stoddard

    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Great finds. CPG and industrial design/product marketers should be all over this especially as it applies to real estate marketing. You always see an interior/exterior hero photo… but often the value add of a habitat/space lies beneath the brick/mortar/stucco/drywall/cabinet/ceiling. Thanks for the heads up on Stipple. In[Genius] business model.

  5. Andrew Mooers

    January 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    A picture can tell a thousands words but do the math. Videos have up to 60 "pictures" per second. Add in natural sound to bring in way way more detail, to bring in one more of your senses for extra information, and whoa. MEOW.

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Social Media

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.

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Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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