How to Monetize Your Blog

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At The Motherhood, we have the pleasure of working with some of the most savvy, hard-working and successful bloggers out there. If you’ve ever wanted to follow in their footsteps and create a profitable way to promote your passion, read on for some tips on how to monetize your blog.

Find Your Footing

No matter what you blog about – recipes, parenting, bodybuilding, your kids’ artwork or anything in between – make a commitment to create quality content on a regular basis. We’d recommend at least three blog posts a week. The more you publish, the more you’ll appear in online searches, and the faster you’ll build a solid reader base. You don’t have to have millions of monthly visitors to successfully monetize your blog. While a strong following is important, many marketers are looking for niche influencers who resonate with a loyal audience.

Blog for Brands

If you’re interested in working with reputable brands but aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a blogger network (like The Motherhood!) to bridge that gap. Much like a headhunter matches ideal candidates with their dream jobs, we cultivate opportunities for target-right online influencers to help brands reach their marketing goals.

Compensation depends on the specific opportunity, and can include a cash stipend or goods in exchange for your honest opinions. If you’re interested in joining our network, tell us more about yourself here!

Advertise

You’re likely familiar with this popular revenue model! While certain blog creation sites, such as WordPress, have specific policies on this type of advertising, several bloggers use banner space to run advertisements on their pages.

There are three main types of online ads:

  1. Pay-per-click: Each time someone clicks on the ad from your site, the advertiser pays you.  
  2. Pay-per-impression or cost-per-impression: You’re paid each time an ad receives 1,000 impressions (the number of times the ad is seen or displayed) from your blog.
  3. Pay-per-action: Just like it sounds – and similar to affiliate links described below – you’re compensated each time someone clicks and completes a required action from the ad on your blog.

Google AdSense is an easy way to get started with on-site advertising. Once you apply and your site is approved, ad networks determine the most relevant ads for your readers.

Become an Affiliate

Affiliate links work like commission. Once you include an affiliate link on your blog and a reader clicks on it and takes a required action (for instance, purchasing a specific product or signing up for an email list), you’ll earn a percentage of that profit.

We recommend incorporating affiliate links that align with the content you post. That way, you can combine your editorial opinion with products or services you personally trust, which your readers will appreciate!

A quick online search for “affiliate programs” or “affiliate networks” will yield several options that might appeal to you; Amazon and Apple are just a few brands that offer affiliate programs.

Keep it Real and Play By The Rules

Just like with any business, there are certain rules and regulations when it comes to monetizing your blog.

The best way to maintain the integrity of your blog is to disclose your participation in any and all promotions and endorsements. Not only is proper disclosure required by the Federal Trade Commission, maintaining transparency will help boost your reputability with readers and brands.

As our friends at More Than Mommies explain: “Did you know that if a company pays you more than $600 in a tax period they will need to send you a tax form so that you can claim your earnings with the IRS?” Read their post for even more helpful tips and rules to keep in mind!

Have you dabbled in any or all of these options to monetize your blog? Tell us your experiences in the comments below!

Featured image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Tracy Olson

Dad 2.0 Summit Recap: Our Top 5 Takeaways

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Based on what we saw and heard last week at Dad 2.0 Summit, 2015 is shaping up to be a watershed year for dads. Whether bloggers, activists or “regular guys,” there has been a steady shift in perception about what it means to be a “real man” taking on the role of dad. (Just think back to how many brands stepped up and portrayed men as emotionally involved parents in their Super Bowl commercials this year.)

Both attendance and sponsorships at Dad 2.0 Summit increased significantly between 2014 and 2015, a recognition on both sides that dads have the microphone and are ready to speak their piece, many of them from their blog and social platforms.

What might they say? Here are The Motherhood’s top five takeaways:

1. Let’s bring perception in line with reality. As Dr. Michael Kimmel, a professor and sociologist specializing in gender studies, noted during his opening keynote:

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The implication is that a masculine man can’t also be an engaged parent, equal partner and a good dad, sharing housework and child-rearing responsibilities. Kimmel made the point that men need to support other men in equating the concept of “good man” – and good dad/partner – with “real man.”

2. We have a voice, and we want to be included in the conversation. More and more brands are acknowledging dads as involved parents, and advertisers and marketers are starting to reach out to them in their own right. Some, like Similac’s popular viral video – which did a beautiful job of incorporating dads until ending with the tagline, “The Sisterhood of Motherhood” - come close but fall just short with dads.

Sponsors at Dad 2.0, including title sponsor Dove Men + Care, along with Kia, Lego, Lee Jeans and others, made a big splash with dad-centric programming, messaging and giveaways.

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The Motherhood’s Erin Olson with Trey of Daddy Mojo in the Lee Jeans suite.

3. Dads can make a real difference. Their presence as equal partners and parents impacts families, women, kids and men themselves in significant and positive ways, according to Men Care, a global fatherhood campaign represented by speaker Andrew Levack of Promundo at the conference.

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Dad 2.0 Summit co-founder Doug French summed it up when he said, “The people who change diapers change the world.”

4. We’d like opportunities to be present at key moments – and then some – in our families’ lives. Paternity leave was a hot topic at Dad 2.0. According to keynote speaker Michael Kimmel, the U.S. is one of only four countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid paternity leave. With mainstream society recognizing that dads are “more than breadwinners who drink scotch and play golf,” as speaker and columnist Stephen Marche put it, dads are looking for a more formalized acknowledgement of their increased roles in their kids’ lives.

Marche noted that it’s not just about being there for the big milestones and fun moments, either, but about being part of daily household life, from making pancakes to vacuuming to watching Toy Story with your kids 43 times:

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5. Partnership is key – in marriage, raising kids, business and blogging! At The Motherhood, we work with plenty of women whose significant others have made their own footprint in the online world. Whether they have independent sites or write in partnership on the same blog, equity (perceived fairness) in the division of responsibilities with housework, career and kids will contribute to happiness and success. We love that formula.

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Erin with Staci of 7 on a Shoestring and Heather of It’s a Lovely Life. Staci was on hand to support her husband, Colby, who blogs at Days of a Domestic Dad.

We look forward to seeing what else 2015 has in store for dads!

Feeling Spread Thin: Is Social Media Contributing to Burnout Among Bloggers?

Feeling Spread Thin

When blogging first began taking hold in the early to mid-2000s, social media was almost nonexistent and smartphones were far from reaching critical mass. At that time, blogging took place at home, in front of a computer (no posting on-the-go), and the amazing exchanges between bloggers and readers came via comments on the post. There wasn’t a 140-character tweet, Facebook like, repin or share. In a way, those were the pure and simple days of blogging.

With the number of social networking sites in the dozens, we now have more opportunities to connect than ever before. Beyond the “big four” of social media, it seems like there’s always another “next big platform” cropping up – and many of us feel pressure to maintain a presence everywhere.

Is the need to keep up with this rapidly growing, ever-changing social media landscape taking a toll on bloggers who make it their business to regularly and actively participate online? Instead of making us feel more connected, is the pressure to be at the top of the social media game leading to disconnect IRL (“in real life”) and contributing to blogger burnout? With the number of New Year’s Resolutions to “unplug” more often and vows to simplify, we’d wager that the answer for many may be “yes.”

At The Motherhood, we deeply respect and appreciate the role of professional bloggers. Perhaps what we value most is the honest, genuine glimpses into bloggers’ lives, families and homes. That authentic slice of life brings rich meaning and value to what bloggers do. It translates to being a trusted resource, an advocate for important issues, a valued go-to for so many readers. It’s what encourages many other bloggers to create and share personal, meaningful stories and thoughts, and it’s what inspires action from bloggers’ communities.

It’s important to protect that passion and drive. The Motherhood has some tips to help ease the social media strain if you’re feeling spread too thin:

1. Remember what fuels your fire. 

Can you think back to when you first began blogging? As Cooper and Emily recall from their days as some of the first and only women bloggers, they wrote primarily for themselves on topics they felt closely resonated with other moms. They loved sharing real-world advice and getting ideas from other moms for practical solutions for everyday problems.

As your growing sphere of influence opens doors for professional collaborations, we’re huge advocates of remembering what kinds of posts you most love to write and seeking out or creating those opportunities yourself.

We love Just Jilly’s idea of “old school blogging, just chatting about life.” These kind of throwback posts, which are not meant to be shared with every social media outlet under the sun, can be energizing and help you remember what motivates you as a blogger, and your readers will sense that enthusiasm.

2. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”

For parents, spare time is often hard to come by. While one of the great aspects of blogging is that it can be done from nearly anywhere, any time of day, the fact of the matter is that we don’t want to miss spending moments with loved ones and enjoying life. Therefore, as you consider taking on a partnership, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is this a product, service or cause that fits with the focus of my blog and do I believe in it? 
  • How will my readers benefit from this information?
  • Do the program requirements and associated deadlines work with my schedule?

You don’t have to say yes to every invitation that comes your way. Declining an opportunity that doesn’t work for you for any reason means you can reserve your energy for something else that speaks to you.

A prompt “no thank you” to the person issuing the invitation, possibly with a short explanation about why the program isn’t the best fit for you, often will keep you top of mind when another opportunity comes up.

3. Recognize that you don’t have to be all things to all people. 

What is your favorite social media platform and why? Maybe you love the fast pace of Twitter and find yourself thinking in 140-character bytes. Or maybe you have an eye for framing up the perfect photo and love the double-taps you get on Instagram. If you love collecting and curating beautiful imagery, Pinterest might be your passion.

If your burnout stems from feeling like you have to be too many places at once, optimize your time based on your interests! Give yourself permission to become a specialist, not a generalist. Focus on one or two platforms that mean the most to you – whether that’s what you personally enjoy or what generates the most blog traffic, or a combination of these. When you dedicate the majority of your energy on what drives you, your community there will grow organically and the rest will fall into place.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Ervins Strauhmanis.

Blogger Spotlight Series: Lee, My Sentiment ExactLee

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We’re thrilled to introduce our very first Blogger Spotlight as part of a monthly series we’ll be featuring throughout the year.

Each month, The Motherhood team nominates and selects one of the amazing bloggers from our network to be profiled in a custom-designed graphic that is shared with the entire network, including The Motherhood’s social network, blogger friends and clients.

Nominations are based on outstanding relationships and stellar program results, and the Spotlight Series gives The Motherhood a chance to recognize just a few of the many accomplished professionals we get to work with each and every day.

To kick off the series, we introduce Lee of My Sentiment ExactLee! Read about her below, and give her a shout-out at @TheExactLee.

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Bloggers Offer Advice on a New-Mom Must-Have: VTech’s Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor

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Some exciting news from The Motherhood’s Brittnee Hammonds:

I’m so happy to share that The Motherhood team is growing … by ten little fingers and ten little toes!  We’ll be adding a boy to the mix when my husband and I welcome our first baby this summer. We’re so thrilled and can’t wait to meet our sweet little one in just a few months!

As a planner by nature, I began researching infant gear almost right away. As probably any first-time mom can attest, the options seem endless, and it’s difficult to know what is a must-have, a nice-to-have and what isn’t really necessary. However, one item that I knew without a doubt would be at the top of our list is a video monitor. Having the ability to see our baby anytime I want seems like an invaluable tool for my peace of mind!

When I began researching various models and comparing their features, I initially felt overwhelmed. I’ve found that there’s really no better way to narrow down the options than by turning to fellow moms for advice! As part of The Motherhood’s program with VTech, I sought the opinions of some trusted moms in our network to get their take on the VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor:

“It is an excellent monitor because it is: powerful, functional and clear. I was very impressed with the picture quality on the receiver. Having the ability to see both in color as well as see at night has been a great asset for us as we keep an eye on the twins as they sleep and grow. You get a ton of value from this receiver because it is a high quality product that is very competitive as far as cost is concerned. Having such a clear picture and image has been critical to us in the use of our monitor.”
Melissa, A Sparkle of Genius

“The VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor camera pans up to 270 degrees side-to-side and tilts as many as 124 degrees up and down. It also allows you to zoom in up to 2x to get a closer look at your little one which, as some of you probably know, is a much appreciated feature sometimes!”
Courtney, Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life

“Since we mainly use it at night what’s most important to me is the camera’s ‘night vision’ … I could easily see where Mason was at all times.”
Christa, Little Us

“[You can] turn the volume up really loud so you can hear them breathing. If you haven’t had a baby yet, you will be amazed how often you listen to make sure they are breathing. Stressful, but better if you can do it from another room and not risk waking a sleeping baby.”
Emily, Random Recycling

“No worries about the video of your little one—this VTech video monitor is equipped with digital transmission that’s encrypted, ensuring video and audio transmission is always private and secure.”
Emily, Baby Dickey

“One of my favorite things about the VTech Safe&Sound is that it’s sturdy. While I won’t really being trying to test this feature out, the whole parent unit really felt like it could take some rough handling from some little boys that seem to think it’s a toy!”
Danielle, Happenings of the Harper Household

“You can set the unit to alert you if the room hits a minimum or a maximum temperature as well as sound alerts, low battery and disconnection alerts. The unit can be set to vibrate as well. It also has a 1,000 foot range to reach all over your house.”
Meghan, JaMonkey

“Setting this system up was easier than setting my cell phone!”
Rita, Rita Reviews

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The amazing pan/tilt/zoom feature, automatic night vision and high-resolution display on the parent unit have me sold! I feel great about the VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor because it’s an item that will grow with us, allowing us to add additional handsets when the time is right.

Everyone tells me that those early months go by in the blink of an eye, so I love knowing that I don’t have to miss a moment of it. If you have any advice on motherhood or your favorite baby must-haves, I’d love to hear it!

(Featured image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user William Arthur Fine Stationery.)

 

The Motherhood is at Dad 2.0 Summit this week!

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Photo Credit: dad2summit.com

Tomorrow and Friday, The Motherhood will be at the (sold-out!) Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, CA. We’re looking forward to the conference, which focuses on the influence of dads online, and will share some of our key learnings on the blog next week.

DOVE MEN+CARE is the Summit’s title sponsor for the third year in a row; you might recall their #RealStrength Super Bowl ad from this year. Dad-centric ads – or “dadvertising” - have made a big splash recently, and we’re eager to learn what those attending and speaking at Dad 2.0 have to say about the shift in how dads are being portrayed in media. We’re seeing a more positive representation and recognition of dads who are emotionally involved with their kids.

Here are a few stats we found particularly interesting that are relevant to many of Dad 2.0 Summit’s speaker topics:

  • The number of stay-at-home fathers doubled from 1.1 million in 1989 to 2.2 million in 2010.
  • Mothers make up the majority of stay-at-home parents. But today, one in five fathers are the primary caregiver of preschool-aged children when the mother is employed.
  • A Boston College survey found that more than 50 percent of fathers surveyed would take on the role of primary caregiver and leave their jobs if their spouse made enough money to live comfortably.
  • The same Boston College survey found that, for dads, work caused more conflicts with family life than family life caused conflict with work.
  • According to the Academy of Management Perspectives, dads who spend time with their children on a typical day are more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to want to leave their positions.
  • 75 percent of new dads without access to paid leave take less than a week off from work after the birth of a newborn child.

The Motherhood’s Erin Olson will be representing us this week at Dad 2.0, so if you’re planning on being there, let her know on Twitter: @eolson426! On behalf of The Motherhood, Erin would love to connect with you.

If you’re a blogger (dad, mom or otherwise!) and want to connect with brands and organizations, join our network here.

Chat with us in February!

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February promises to be a month full of exciting and informative chats! Take a look at this month’s Twitter parties, listed below, to get all the details you need to join the fun conversations. We hope to tweet with you soon! 

#BigDay #Tomorrow (two hashtags to use together)

Tuesday, Feb. 10 @ 12 p.m. ET 

The Motherhood is teaming up with Kellogg’s to host a Twitter party on Feb. 10 to discuss the importance of preparing for tomorrow the night before. We’ll be joined by special guest Dr. Travis Stork, host of award-winning talk show The Doctors, who will share some simple tips on setting up families to reach the potential of tomorrow, starting with a cereal and milk breakfast, which can be the foundation of a balanced breakfast and provides protein and grains. Join the conversation to win prizes and learn how you can prepare for tomorrow!

Prizes! Five prizes will be awarded to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions (limited to U.S. participants only). Each prize package includes Kellogg’s cereals (Frosted Mini-Wheats, Special K and Raisin Bran), a $50 Amazon gift card, Tony the Tiger spoon set and Kellogg’s character plastic bowl. Click here for specific rules.

#VTechBaby

Wednesday, Feb. 18 @ 1 p.m. ET 

Whether you’re enjoying your infant’s sweet little smiles or admiring your toddler’s growing independence, we know you never want to miss a moment with your children. Thankfully, VTech’s Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor has you covered. With features like remote pan, tilt and zoom to scan your child’s room, automatic night vision and digital transmission that’s private and secure, you can be sure you know exactly what’s happening with your little one during naptime or playtime! Join this Twitter party to learn more about this amazing product and to chat about general baby and child safety tips!

Prizes: Five nursery safety baskets featuring VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitors will be given away to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

#InfluencerSurvey

Thursday, Feb. 19 @ 2 p.m. ET 

We’d love to hear about your experiences, passions, and preferences for managing a blog and working with brands during a 30-minute Twitter Chat! Invite your friends to join this special chat and also share their experiences working with brands as online influencers. We want your perspective and hope you’ll weigh in!

Prizes: We’ll be giving away three $50 Visa gift cards to randomly selected participants who participate in the chat. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

New JOHNSON’S® Global Baby Bath Report Links Bath Time with Sensory Development

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As our team at The Motherhood was working with JOHNSON’S® to share the results of the JOHNSON’S® Global Baby Bath Report, released today, we started talking about our own special baby bath time experiences.

Brittney posed a question for us: How many adults does it take to give a newborn her first “real” bath?

Emmy

In her daughter Emmy’s case – three! Britt says, “A special aunt held onto our squirmy little girl, Daddy did the washing and I took at least two dozen pictures! The best part? Snuggling my squeaky clean baby in a warm towel and breathing in the amazing JOHNSON’S® Baby shampoo scent. That familiar smell will always remind me of our first days as parents!”

Bath time provides the perfect opportunity to stimulate baby’s senses to help him or her learn, think, love and grow. For example, babies practice hand-eye coordination when they’re playing with bubbles, in addition to using their senses of touch and smell – both tied to memory development.

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Talking and telling stories during bath time can help baby learn, too. Emily and her daughters (pictured below with a cousin many years ago) loved the ritual of bath time and created their own bonding experiences with storytelling and playing pretend.

Studies show that infants who are spoken with have larger vocabularies by age two, and the number of words children hear by age three is linked to their future academic success.

Bath time at their cousin's

For Cooper, her youngest son’s first bath was a family affair that included her husband and eldest daughter. The JOHNSON’S® Global Baby Bath Report found that globally, 54 percent of dads are the primary bathers in their households, and in a quarter of households (26 percent), bath time is a two-parent job.

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Do you have special memories of your baby’s first bath? Feel free to share!

 

Top image captured by Flickr Creative Commons user Iain Watson.

Trends Round-Up: Super Bowl XLIX Ads

From McDonald's "Pay With Lovin" Ad

Super Bowl XLIX wasn’t just a big win for the New England Patriots – many brands and themes generated a lot of buzz during last night’s game! Last week, we rounded up and shared a few ad trend predictions. Now that the ad frenzy is behind us, we can offer a few highlights about what proved effective for many brands during Super Bowl XLIX.

1. “Dadvertising” continues to be a powerful ad trend

From Nissan to Dove, “dadvertising” was a major theme of the Super Bowl XLIX ads. These commercials tugged the heartstrings to target dads with messaging traditionally reserved for moms, reflecting the modern view that dads are taking a more active role in the household and becoming major purchasers. Brands are taking notice.

From Dove+Care's "Real Strength"

From Dove+Care’s “Real Strength”

2. Twitter and Facebook see highest Super Bowl numbers ever

Both Twitter and Facebook reached record-setting milestones during Super Bowl XLIX. Last night’s game was the most tweeted Super Bowl in history and saw the highest level of conversation during a Super Bowl on Facebook. Here’s a short comparison on how each platform performed last night:

  • On Facebook, 65 million people generated 265 million posts, comments and likes about the Super Bowl
  • Twitter streamed 28.4 million tweets about Super Bowl XLIX (last year’s game saw 25 million tweets)
  • Fifty percent of Super Bowl XLIX ads used hashtags, while Facebook was mentioned four times in ads
  • Women aged 25-34 and women aged 35-44 were the top represented demographic groups in Super Bowl XLIX’s Facebook conversation

Snapchat also made its Super Bowl debut last night during the “Pitch Perfect 2″ ad. The app recently launched the Discover feature, which it describes as “a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams.”

3. Brands channel positivity and emotion in Super Bowl XLIX ads

Many ads last night focused on sending positive, emotional messages to consumers as opposed to using humor or shock value. According to Ace Metrix, a TV analytics company that scores ads by viewer sentiment, the top-ranking ads of the night went to McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin,” Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” and Coca-Cola’s “#MakeItHappy.” McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin” received an ace score of 706, one of the highest Super Bowl Ace Scores of all time, and 21 percent above the category norm for Quick Service Restaurants.

Ace Metrix CEO Peter Daboll said, “McDonald’s is on trend with messages of positivity that really resonate with consumers. For the past few years, we’ve seen a pivotal shift away from sheer shock value and slapstick humor toward emotional connectivity in Super Bowl ads. There were a banner crop of ads this year – from brands like McDonald’s, Always, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola ­– that are continuing to embrace this emotional connection.”

What were your favorite ads of the night?

Shopping, Wearables & Video: 2015 Trends to Watch

Fun fact: Statista reported there were 1.8 billion users of social media for 2014, and predicted 2.4 billion social media users by 2018. So what trends are on the horizon this year?

Social Commerce

Last year, we saw Twitter and Facebook test out “buy” buttons, and Tumblr introduce “action” buttons to purchase directly on the site, and we expect more networks will follow suit. Additionally, Facebook announced it will allow people to use its Messenger service to send money to friends.

As users of social networks are discovering that they can purchase items on the spot without ever leaving a network’s site, brands are responding and online commerce is changing fast. Social commerce sales of physical goods are projected to grow by 93% per year in the U.S., reaching $14 billion by 2015.  Payment methods like Square, PayPal and Apple Pay no doubt are working hard to adapt to this big shift in the marketplace.

Wearables

While 2014 was a big year for wearables, designers will be thinking beyond functionality and more about what consumers will actually wear in 2015. Coming up are 50 wearable game-changers for 2015: Everything from watches to fitness trackers to cameras are taking on a new look – all that are looking more fashionable. Even shoe accessory and jewelry makers are jumping on the bandwagon.

The Video Competition Heats Up

Facebook purchased video compression company QuickFire to give Facebook users a way to upload or download videos directly to the site without compromising quality. The social media site averages more than 1 billion video views every day, and as of November 2014 the number of videos uploaded directly to Facebook overtook YouTube videos on the network for the first time. (We all know that Google owns YouTube.) Read more about the potential hurdles and advantages Facebook faces in this latest endeavor.

Twitter just released a new video offering, as well.

2015 promises exciting developments in social media and we look forward to determining how we can incorporate these new opportunities into our client programs!

What trends have you seen on the rise this year? 

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