Why You Should Add Instagram Stories to Your Game Plan

By Chad Keller, COO/Co-Founder of Growth Stackers.

Facebook’s newsfeed isn’t the only game in town for marketing professionals who create and place social-media ads. Instagram Stories is giving Facebook a run for their money right now. Instagram Stories is fast emerging as a prime piece of online real estate for advertisers. It’s where my clients clamor to be, in addition to Facebook.

Indeed, virtually all of them have recently made room in their customer-acquisition campaign budgets for Instagram Stories. The time may be right for you to consider doing likewise.

Attractive Demographics at Instagram

My clients are adding Instagram Stories and seeing impressive return on investment (ROI) on their ad spends because the demographics at Instagram are so very favorable. Facebook used to be the best place to access millennials, along with their parents and grandparents. However, in the last year or two, many millennials have shifted away from Facebook and gravitated toward Instagram. As they’ve moved over, so have their parents and grandparents in order to stay connected. Consequently, the audiences we’ve been targeting at Facebook are now also showing up on Instagram.

My clients are happy about that, in part because they can talk to the Instagram crowd for less than what it costs at Facebook. Also, there are, at present, fewer advertisers using Instagram Stories (one of the reasons it costs less than Facebook), which means my clients have a voice heard louder and clearer.

The Popularity of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories debuted in mid-2016. In short order, it became a top choice among Instagram users for keeping up with friends, influencers and brands. Notably, each Instagram Stories post remains viewable for but a scant 24 hours. Unless saved as a highlight, it vanishes forever after that short time. This helps prevent user’s newsfeeds from becoming a cluttered mess.

However, as an advertiser, the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories postings obliges you to generate a steady flow of content to maintain your visibility. That entails work, but it’s worth the extra sweat: the more you converse with your audiences, the more likely you are to successfully influence them and achieve your aims.

The concept behind Instagram Stories is simple. You snap a picture showcasing your brand or wares, size the image to a maximum dimension of 1080 x 1920 pixels, insert relevant text that includes a call to action, and then hit the “share” button.

Currently, you can trick out your posts with engagement-sparking GIF stickers and videos. You can also add a carousel that presents a trio of images or quickie videos in rotation. You can also set up collection ads. After a user clicks your post’s call to action, he or she will be whisked to your website before making a brief detour to a page displaying an enticing assortment of your products.

I particularly like that Facebook’s Ad Manager function is available for Instagram Stories (no doubt because Instagram is owned by Facebook). I find Ads Manager to be an excellent tool for audience targeting as well as data capture and analysis, so being able to continue using it with Instagram Stories is appreciated.

Great Storytelling Delivers Great Results

My firm’s use of Instagram did not begin this year. We go back with the platform a long way, well before the advent of Instagram Stories. Admittedly, it took about six months of experience running conventional types of ads on the platform before we could claim to have Instagram wired. During that time, we continually tested new and different concepts to figure out what worked — and to understand why it worked.

Our acquired insights from back then remain applicable today with regard to Instagram Stories. Among the most important of these insights: there is a particular type of content capable of generating many views, many website visits and many conversions. The content capable of all this is that which brims with powerful visuals to grab attention and with inspired words to speak deeply to audience needs.

In a nutshell, the creation of winning Instagram Stories requires you to bring to bear the basic elements of great storytelling. Succeed at that and you will have given something of value to the people you’re attempting to influence. In return, Instagram will reward you with value of its own — value to rival even that which you can get from Facebook.  

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Galaxy S10 Could Introduce Samsung's Killer Feature

Galaxy S10 Concept (Creative Commons, by mobil-helden.de)Creative Commons, by mobil-helden.de

</div> </div> <p><a href="https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-electronics-announces-industrys-first-8gb-lpddr5-dram-for-5g-and-ai-powered-mobile-applications" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-electronics-announces-industrys-first-8gb-lpddr5-dram-for-5g-and-ai-powered-mobile-applications" rel="nofollow">Samsung Electronics has announced</a> the “Industry’s First 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM for 5G and AI-powered Mobile Applications.” Key to this technology is its use of 10nm technology in this smaller size. According to Samsung:</p> <blockquote> <p>The 8Gb LPDDR5 boasts a data rate of up to 6,400 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current flagship mobile devices (LPDDR4X, 4266Mb/s). With the increased transfer rate, the new LPDDR5 can send 51.2 gigabytes (GB) of data, or approximately 14 full-HD video files (3.7GB each), in a second.</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> <p>With other Android flagships starting to carry 8GB RAM as a ‘premium’ option, the 4GB and 6GB options available for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will need to be revisited. <a href="https://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-has-built-8gb-ram-chips-and-the-galaxy-s10-could-be-first-to-benefit" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.techradar.com/news/samsung-has-built-8gb-ram-chips-and-the-galaxy-s10-could-be-first-to-benefit" rel="nofollow">It’s an obvious assumption that the more expensive S10 and S10+ handsets will ship with more memory</a>. These new chips offer many advantages to mobile devices.</p> <p>Before the Galaxy S10, Samsung has another high-end handset to launch. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/11/samsung-galaxy-note9-launch-release-date/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/11/samsung-galaxy-note9-launch-release-date/">The Galaxy Note 9 is widely expected to be revealed at the Samsung Unpacked event at the start of Augus</a>t, with a retail debut just three weeks after the presentation. Given the lead time for design and manufacturing, it’s unlikely the phablet will pack the new RAM chips.</p>

<p>The Galaxy S10, like every flagship S handset before it, will be advertised as being faster and more capable than previous handsets. A step up in RAM to 8GB will be easy to see in the user interface, but using the new 10nm technology will lead to better battery performance, faster read and write times, and more opportunities for machine learning and AI software to be deployed on the handset without a visible impact on performance.</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/02/samsung-galaxy-s10-launch-release-date-note9-price-specs/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/02/samsung-galaxy-s10-launch-release-date-note9-price-specs/">The Galaxy S10 is expected to be announced early in 2019</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/16/samsung-galaxy-note-9-leak-ceo-djkoh-specs-launch-date/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/07/16/samsung-galaxy-note-9-leak-ceo-djkoh-specs-launch-date/">Now read more about how the Galaxy Note 9 was spotted in public, and why everyone has to blame the CEO…</a></em></p>” readability=”38.4761336516″>

The upcoming Galaxy S10 could be set to pick up a boost in performance if the latest technology from the South Korean company is squeezed into the flagship handset.

Galaxy S10 Concept (Creative Commons, by mobil-helden.de)Creative Commons, by mobil-helden.de

Samsung Electronics has announced the “Industry’s First 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM for 5G and AI-powered Mobile Applications.” Key to this technology is its use of 10nm technology in this smaller size. According to Samsung:

The 8Gb LPDDR5 boasts a data rate of up to 6,400 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current flagship mobile devices (LPDDR4X, 4266Mb/s). With the increased transfer rate, the new LPDDR5 can send 51.2 gigabytes (GB) of data, or approximately 14 full-HD video files (3.7GB each), in a second.

With other Android flagships starting to carry 8GB RAM as a ‘premium’ option, the 4GB and 6GB options available for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will need to be revisited. It’s an obvious assumption that the more expensive S10 and S10+ handsets will ship with more memory. These new chips offer many advantages to mobile devices.

Before the Galaxy S10, Samsung has another high-end handset to launch. The Galaxy Note 9 is widely expected to be revealed at the Samsung Unpacked event at the start of August, with a retail debut just three weeks after the presentation. Given the lead time for design and manufacturing, it’s unlikely the phablet will pack the new RAM chips.

The Galaxy S10, like every flagship S handset before it, will be advertised as being faster and more capable than previous handsets. A step up in RAM to 8GB will be easy to see in the user interface, but using the new 10nm technology will lead to better battery performance, faster read and write times, and more opportunities for machine learning and AI software to be deployed on the handset without a visible impact on performance.

The Galaxy S10 is expected to be announced early in 2019.

Now read more about how the Galaxy Note 9 was spotted in public, and why everyone has to blame the CEO…

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This New Hampshire Startup Says It's Building The iPod Of Robots

In a nondescript industrial park in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Jason Walker is putting the final touches on what he believes will become the iPod of working robots.

Walker, 47, is co-founder of Waypoint Robotics, and the former lead quality and testing manager for the Roomba vacuuming robot. Waypoint, a tech startup about a year old, is housed in one cavernous room with high ceilings and a barebones office upfront filled with large, flat-screen monitors.

The Waypoint Robotics team at their lab/production facility in a Merrimack, New Hampshire industrial park. Co-Founder and CEO Jason Walker is third from the left.Waypoints Robotics

“We don’t splurge on anything except screens and chairs,” Walker says in the easy drawl of his native Kansas.

Although he makes no claims to being another Steve Jobs, Walker does fervently believe that he and his small team are going to revolutionize robots in the same way Jobs revolutionized MP3 players.

There were lots of MP3 players on the market before the iPod came out, Walker says. They were cheaper, more open and “all harder to use.”

“You had to be a computer science person to figure out how to make them work,” Walker said.

Apple, he says, did everything right.

“They did all of the individual things right, but without the entire pie, they wouldn’t have had a product,” Walker said. “That means creating the ecosystem, that means creating iTunes, that means creating deals with the record companies and the musicians, and that means creating the piece of software that gets it out of the internet and onto the iPod.”

How does that apply to robots? How do you make robots easy?

Walker and his team demonstrate, first boxing up the Waypoints Vector, their first and only robot at this point, in a wooden Quick-Crate, which goes together with metal clamps that snap in place and are easily removed with a provided tool.

Step 1: Make it easy to uncrate the 100-pound Vector.

The Vector robot is designed primarily for moving boxes and other items in warehouses.Waypoint Robotics

The robot, measuring about three feet long and two feet wide, is an aluminum platform mounted on four, independently powered Mecanum wheels that allow it to manuever as if it were skating on ice. The Vector can go forwards and backwards and sideways and any direction in between. It can carry up to 300 pounds.

The distinctive Mecanum wheels were invented by a Swedish company in 1972 and are used by the U.S. Navy to transport bombs and other items within the tight confines of a battleship. The wheels are comprised of a series of rollers positioned at a 45 degree angle. When forces – vectors – are applied to the wheels in various combinations, they can move in any direction.

That manueverability is important to the Waypoint Vector for a couple of reasons. It allows the robot to navigate its way through a warehouse with ease, sidling up to loading docks and drop-off points. It also allows the Vector to “dock” with Waypoint’s Enzone wireless charging station, where it fully recharges in a couple of hours without plugging anything in.

Walker says there are several key benefits to the Enzone. Wireless charging means there are no mechanical contacts to wear out or get dirty.

“That’s a huge benefit if you’re in a dusty environment, or an environment with fumes,” he said. “There’s no contact to make a spark, which might cause an explosion.”

Next is what Walker calls “opportunity charging.”

“The idea there is if the robot is parked at a machine or loading dock, waiting to get a package put on its back, you can put an Enzone in that place and get it charged while it’s waiting,” Walker said.

Popping off the clamps to uncrate the Vector, Walker uses one side of the Quick-Crate to build a ramp to drive the robot onto the floor of the shop, steering with the supplied joy stick. Next, he places a notebook computer on the Vector’s platform and begins driving it around the perimeter of the shop, skirting tables, chairs and shelves and stopping occasionally to mark a waypoint for an imaginary loading dock or drop-off point.

Everything Walker is doing is being prompted by software created by Nick Varas, one of three members of his tight-knit team. Walker will only hire what he calls “full-stack” robotic engineers.

“It means any one of us could build, and have built, an entire robot from the ground up,” Walker said. “We all have all the skills required to do all of the disciplines – the mechanical, electrical and software. But we tend to focus on specific areas.”

Walker says he’s afraid to hire anyone who isn’t a full-stack engineer because if you only have one area of expertise, “you learn a lot of hard lessons trying to figure out what other people have already figured out by ruining their own process.”

Once Walker has mapped the room by driving the Vector around it, he brings the robot back to retrieve the notebook computer.

“So there it is,” Walker says. “We just made that map and we’re going to save it. Now it’s asking us, Do you want to create boundaries so it doesn’t run over things it might not be able to see?”

The Vector “sees” using laser-based Lidar sensors front and back, which Walker describes as a plane spreading out 10 yards on each side of the robot. Whatever that plane intersects, the robot can see, but there are blind spots, both above and below the plane.

“That’s where you run into trouble where the robot thinks it can go through someplace where somebody left something hanging over, or parked a cart,” Walker said.

Full three-dimensional perception is an option for robots like the Vector, but it is prohibitively expensive, Walker said. As it is, the Vector costs $40,000.

The software prompts Walker to create boundaries on his map, using his finger on the touch screen.

“I’m going to draw a circle around that table because it’s hard to see,” Walker said.

After blocking off a few other areas of his map, Walker is ready to proceed to navigation.

“Every step it tells you what you need to do next,” Walker says.

A button, “Set a goal,” comes up on the screen of the computer.

“I’m going to touch that and just pick a point ahead of it and say, ‘Go to goal,’ and it goes,” Walker says. “So that’s it. You’re automonously navigating now.”

On its way to its goal, the Vector navigates around people standing in its way, an important feature for its intended use in warehouses.

“To test it I had a lot of fun with a remote control car with a piece of cardboard taped on it,” says Andy Mertinooke, another of the full-stack engineers at Waypoint Robotics. “We try to be mean to our robots.”

Mertinooke uses a different analogy than Apple to describe what Waypoint is doing for robots. The inspiration, he says, is Picasso.

“Simplify, simplify, simplify,” Mertinooke says. “Picasso went from a period where he was doing extremely realistic stuff to simpler and simpler to get to the essence of what something is. A bicycle handlebar and a seat could be a bull at the end of his career.”

The idea, says Mertinooke, is to distill robots to the essence of what they need to be.

“That’s going to make them more reliable,” he says. “It’s going to make them more robust.”

Walker sold 13 Vectors in his company’s first year, but some of them have gone to very important customers — tier one automotive suppliers. With his team closing in on perfecting all the elements that will make the Vector the iPod of robots, Walker is confident that Waypoint Robotics will grow exponentially.

Automation is a “must” for American manufacturers, he says, in spite of the fact that he estimates only 10 percent of the companies that could automate, have automated.

“A big part of the reason why is it’s hard,” Walker said. “Which is why if we make it easy, they’ll do it.”

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