I don’t know about you, but I receive tons of emails each day in my Gmail inbox. Some are my fault; I had signed up for a newsletter on a whim because it was something I was actually interested in (like sales at Michael’s or DSW), and others might just be a result of third-party companies selling your data for profit and you end up on some list that’s kind of related to a thing you bought once on eBay three years ago.

I used to be vigilant in sorting my email. I’d go through everything and delete promotions that were no longer in date, archive reports on accounts from weeks ago, and sort my client emails in the inbox into folders. But then it started taking longer and longer to sort my Gmail. There was just too much! So I started to unsubscribe or update my preferences to be less frequent, but I still had thousands of emails to delete or archive, so what to do?

First, I looked at the Spam and Trash folder since they already had this feature. I had hoped to find a checkbox or something in my settings to simply enable it. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Next, I searched Google. While I am a developer, part of my mantra includes not reinventing the wheel. Surely I’m not the first person to want this, so maybe someone already created something to help!

I came upon this Gmail Auto Purge tool by Digital Inspiration, written in Google Scripts. It is a very simple tool that simply takes a Gmail label and the number of days and then it just deletes emails based on those parameters. However, it didn’t encompass all of my needs. For starters, I need to also automatically archive emails in the Updates category because I don’t want to delete them forever (like digital receipts for tax purposes), and secondly, it only used the “label” parameter in the search and I needed to use “category”. Thankfully, Digital Inspiration posted their source code for the script, so it gave me a starting point. Here is the criteria I wanted to be able to change about their script:

  1. Ability to choose a “Do This” action, even if it’s just a boolean between deleting and archiving. Ideally, I’d like to have the same options as I do when creating a filter.
  2. Ability to use any search query, specifically “category:promotions”, “category:updates”, and “category:social”.
  3. Change how often it runs from once a day to every week or even once a month. As a developer, I feel like I need to consider processing power, and I don’t particularly care if I have an email in my Promotions category that is exactly 30 days and 5 hours old. It can wait until the script runs again every 3 days or so to delete that one.

So I modified the script and created my own. Now without further ado, get organized by completing the form below to receive a copy of the Gmail Auto-Organize script, then follow the installation instructions!

Installation Instructions

  1. Create a copy of the Gmail Auto-Organize script into your Google Drive by completing the form above.
  2. Update the value of the string variable (text that appears within double quotes) called search_term to whatever you would use to search your email. Any search operator is valid. Because I’m targeting the Promotions tab, I would change it to “category:promotions”.
  3. Set the various actions of what you want to do with the emails that meet these parameters to true or false. Descriptions of what these actions do are listed below.
  4. Update the value of days to how old you want the email to be when it gets automatically sorted. I set this to 30 so it only deletes Promotional emails that are 30 days old or older. In case you were wondering, this script is using the older_than search operator in conjunction with your search parameters in step 2 to filter your emails.
  5. Update the value of repeat to how often you want this script to run. I set mine to 7 so it only runs this script and auto-deletes Promotional emails once a week.
  6. Click on Run -> Authorize to allow the script to access your email and manage it.
  7. Click on Run -> Install to start it up.
  8. Optional: Click on Run -> Sort Gmail to run the script immediately if you don’t want to wait ;)

And that’s all! If you want to turn it off, just open the script up in your Google Drive and click on Run -> Uninstall.

Actions Explained

  • If you want these emails to be sent to the Trash, change the value of action_delete to true. I set this to true because I want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to be archived (shoved into the All Mail area of your account), change the value of action_archive to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want to add a label to these emails, change the value of action_addLabel from false to the name of the label you want to add, surrounded by double quotes (like in search_term). I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want to remove a label from these emails, change the value of action_removeLabel from false to the name of the label you want to add, surrounded by double quotes (like in search_term). I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to be sent to your Inbox, change the value of action_inbox to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to marked as important, change the value of action_important to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to marked as unimportant, change the value of action_unimportant to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to marked as read, change the value of action_read to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to marked as unread, change the value of action_unread to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.
  • If you want these emails to be sent to your Spam, change the value of action_spam to true. I set this to false because I only want to delete the Promotions emails.

When you think of augmented reality (AR), you might imagine a person with a headset on, wildly flailing their arms as they fight off zombies.

Though that’s true to an extent, AR is evolving – and the possibilities are fascinating. Just take Pokémon Go, for example. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen people aimlessly walking around with their heads down, furiously flicking their smartphone screens to catch the Pokémon character in their area. (I have to admit, I’m guilty of doing this, too!)

Pokémon Go might not fit the typical headset-donning idea of AR, but it’s taken the biggest stride so far to make this type of gaming more accessible to mainstream audiences. Watching its success got me thinking that AR could have a place in the digital marketing world as well.

Don’t believe me? Hear me out.

Soon enough, both AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets are headed for the masses, giving marketers yet another way to reach their customers.

Though not as common (yet!), AR is slowly but surely beginning to make its play in digital marketing strategies due to its mix of technology, visual effects, and entertainment. Pokémon Go has become a huge success for businesses in particular because they are able to utilize this technology to encourage users to visit their stores via the game. Businesses are increasingly turning their stores into “PokéStops,” which increases foot traffic and has led to additional sales.

The New York Post reports that the L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City supposedly increased its business by 75 percent just by inviting Pokémon Go users to play the game in the comfort of their restaurant.

You can transform your business into a PokéStop, too!

Now, let’s imagine the possibilities of what can be done with this technology beyond Pokémon Go. I already started to jot down some ideas that I wanted to share with you.

  1. Let me set a scene for you. You’re walking down the street and a storefront catches your eye. Right then and there, the company’s contact information appears on your phone, seemingly out of nowhere! AR has the potential to make the world a bit more interesting by enhancing reality with digital advertisements.
  2. In the retail industry, customers could digitally try on clothes, accessories and even makeup in the mirror … of their own homes! AR could enhance the at-home online shopping experience.
  3. Brands could have their advertisements displayed in the lobbies of buildings or could even transform a seemingly blank wall into an immersive experience for users.

While Augmented Reality offers fantastic opportunities, I also think that there will be a fine line between being immersive and intrusive.

Many people believe that advertising is already too intrusive, especially when users are forced to watch a 30-second ad that they cannot skip, or as many as six commercials during a 20 minute Hulu show. It’s this type of advertising that really leaves a sour taste in their user’s mouth.

So, it will be important that AR and VR advertising is done in a smart way to avoid tainting the users’ perception of the experience before it even takes off. Integration should be subtle so that users are not overwhelmed by the new mediums. Much like how a search engine displays a snippet in the results, the design for AR’s “first glance” should be unobtrusive, but interesting.

As Augmented Reality continues to pick up steam in the tech world, I’m very anxious to see if any of my preliminary predictions come to fruition.

Want to try AR for yourself? Companies like VTime, Aurasma, and Augment are all working to give everyday people the opportunity to try their hand at AR.

How do you think Augmented Reality can make a play in the digital marketing world?  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. 

As if we weren’t connected enough, the latest generation of wearables has given people the ability to check their emails right on their wrists. Wearable technology (i.e; smartwatches) gives us yet another way to stay connected 24/7, which means more opportunities for companies to communicate with their customers.

With this being said, don’t let your strategy go out of style. Rather, make sure it’s trending thanks to these quick tips!

Smartwatches are you guessed it…smart

Smartwatches have made reading emails as simple as checking the time. Yet, with a 38mm-sized screen, it’s going to take a different approach to be sure your consumer is really seeing the message.

In most cases, adding images to your emails is important; however, with smartwatches the opposite holds true. Instead of image-heavy content, plain text alternatives should be utilized to ensure your message is getting across to your intended audience. Additionally, many email clients will automatically block images by default which means even more importance on “Alt Text” for your images.

The small screen also means added importance for clear and concise calls to action. Don’t focus on graphics or links as much as you would in your standard campaigns. Use short, impactful sentences to catch the user’s attention, and quickly spur them to your single call to action.

Moreover, new spam and blocking options make it easy for a smartwatch user to apply filters and ultimately unsubscribe from your notifications. With no keyboard accessibility, be careful about what action you’re asking a user to complete. Don’t request large amounts of information or the completion of a submission form. Ensure your message is relevant, and most importantly, be sure your “unsubscribe” option is readily available to avoid a negative user experience.

Don’t confuse customers with illegible links

An iOS device automatically deciphers certain information like phone numbers, locations, and dates. This information is then seen as a blue link, which, when clicked, can trigger events such as launching your map app or creating a calendar event.

When crafting your message, consider the placement of these event triggers. For example, listing a date too close to a location could cause a customer to accidentally click on the wrong link and open the wrong app. Not a huge error, but one that could create an unsatisfied subscriber. It’s important to test your message to ensure that links are legible and not placed together.

Place a larger emphasis on the “From Name”

When being read from a smartwatch, some of the more widely used email applications automatically format their inbox to place large emphasis on the “From Name”. The “From Name” is the largest and boldest part of the message, as well as the first text shown. Make sure a familiar name is being used that lets your customer know who you are right away so your message doesn’t get tossed in the trash.

Create new ways to measure your campaign’s success.

Since most emails on Smartwatches default to plain text, open tracking are not displayed and loaded. In addition, clicks cannot be tracked because there is no web browser. Creativity will be needed to figure out new ways to measure metrics. For example, one idea could be to start measuring the number of phone calls received from a campaign!

With the ability of many smartwatches to track footsteps and heartbeats, creative ways to engage your consumers is essential. For example, offer a discount if someone walks 1,000 steps in one day (Congratulations on a healthy day! Get 10% off a large salad!). Find new offers that show your customer not only that you’re on top of the latest technologies, but that you understand how to communicate with them. An added bonus for you: Create customer tracking links, and you’ll know who is opening what offer on what device, so you can constantly measure and tailor your strategy accordingly.

The Clock is ticking!

There’s no time better than the present to tailor your marketing efforts to wearable technology. Not sure where to start? Flying Cork’s team of email specialists can help you craft the right message for your audience- no matter where they’ll be reading it!

October 21, 2015. Does this date ring a bell to you? Hello, McFly! Today is Back To The Future Day, a.k.a. the day that Marty McFly and Doc traveled to the future in Back to the Future II! Feeling old yet?

Though it may seem hard to believe, what the ‘80s viewed as the future is now. So we decided to honor the day by taking a quick spin back in tiiii-me to see how well they predicted what 2015 would look like, especially in the digital world we’re immersed in.

We have the keys in the ignition of the DeLorean, so hold on to your hoverboards people, Flying Cork’s going Back to the Future! Cue the Huey Lewis.

By George, I Think They’ve Got It!

Amazingly enough, the movie actually foreshadowed some of the current trends:

  1. Hoverboards – Back in 1989, the idea of Marty McFly’s hoverboard was mind-blowing. However, we’ve seen a few variations of this invention, such as Lexus’ spin on a working hoverboard, and Tony Hawk’s version, known as the Hendo.
  2. Wearable tech – Marty McFly had a talking jacket and today in 2015, we have watches and glasses that communicate with us throughout the day.
  3. Wall-mounted TVs – Yes, believe it or not, the idea of mounting your television to the wall was so futuristic, movie-goers couldn’t believe their eyes. But the advent of the flat screen made wall-mounted TVs the status quo in many people’s homes today.


So Close, Yet So Far Away

But just as they foreshadowed of what we see today, Back to the Future II definitely had a few misses.

  1. Flying cars – I think everyone, even in this day and age, still pictures the future as a place where cars are zipping around the sky. Despite the curiosity that surrounds this futuristic idea, the wheels of our cars are still geared for road traffic only!
  2. Food hydrators – The idea of a food hydrator from Back to the Future II hasn’t come to fruition just yet. Despite the fact that we can now send a pizza emoji to Domino’s and they’ll deliver you a pizza, Marty McFly’s Food Hydrator where you placed a small, pocket-sized pizza into the contraption and a large pizza comes out, is still an idea for the future. The closest thing might just be military MREs – just add water. Needless to say, we have a way to go on that.
  3. Fashion – Thankfully, the idea of the double-tie fad hasn’t become a trend in 2015, nor has the sound-effect programmable vest.


The Big Elephant Shark in the Room

Now, since we are a digital and interactive agency, it’s only right that we spend some time on the famous Jaws 19 billboard scene:

Looks like 1989 thought advertising was going to go digital in 2015. Obviously, not so far from the truth! Although the holographic Jaws 19 leaping off the billboard was a little farfetched, at its core was a fundamental idea regarding the importance of digital advertising today.

The digital marketing age that was foreshadowed in Back to the Future II is now. Today, agencies like Flying Cork help companies virtually leap off the screen to grab the attention of consumers. Granted, we’re not creating virtual biting sharks (yet!), but we’re enabling companies to be more precise than ever before – no more mass outreach for a minuscule return.

Our digital media buying team disrupts the traditional plane by researching and customizing the right blend of paid search, display placements, third-party lead gen social media opportunities and more for each individual client and their customers.

So today, on October 21, 2015, enjoy the idea that we are in fact, Back to the Future.

 

Images:

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/01/01/245E422D00000578-2893737-image-a-22_1420154618736.jpg

It’s no secret that people enjoy play. We spend our free time, away from our work, at play. In fact, as of 2008, a significant portion of the average American’s income went toward entertainment spending ranging from companion animals and their care to video games. We want to make ourselves happy, and play, in its many forms, accomplishes it.

We should engage our users in their free time by providing them with a tool that is simultaneously useful and enjoyable to use.

This enjoyment goes beyond aesthetics. Our specialty is not in the realm of creating beauty, but instead creating functional beauty. As such, a web app should not only look nice to attract a user, but function in such a way that both keeps the user from leaving in frustration and retains the user in the long-term.


Gamification: an introduction

Gamification is widely defined as using play to engage users in non-play situations. To avoid getting into the neuroscience, we will operate under the following explanation: Completing goals and earning rewards are addictive. Once we earn a reward, we want to earn more. Thus, to build engagement, one must set goals for the user and reward the user for continuing to use the app.

Who is gamifying, and how does it work?

Many existing applications and services have used gamification to great effect.

As an example of how gamification works, fitness app Fitocracy leverages gamification to encourage users toward physical fitness through incremental (such as “experience points”) and cumulative rewards (such as trophies or achievements). All of this is wrapped into a social platform for tracking exercise, which on its own, would be a mundane, almost maligned activity.

How can we gamify our app?

Quantifying something as “fun” is extraordinarily subjective. However, there are a couple rules that one can follow to promote an engaging gamified experience.

Offer Encouragement

While the user uses your application, they should be guided along by positive language, encouraging them to keep working at what they’re working at, or telling them that they’re doing well.

Offer Rewards

Whether tangible or intangible, offer the user rewards. Many modern video games offer points, achievements, or in-game items as a reward. Similarly, apps should offer similar achievements or points for bragging rights. Some even offer discounts or free products as incentives.

Game Over

Play is the way to stay in your user’s day. Give them an enjoyable product, and they will reward your efforts with repeat visits and higher user buy-in!

Tim Snyder is the Front-End Developer at Flying Cork.