WHY SOCIAL-MEDIA MANAGERS MATTER: 2020 has been a discouraging year—to say the least—and social-media professionals are getting a double dose because (1) resources are down across the board and (2) social stress is up around the world. Sprout Social wrote a sage reminder of why social-media managers truly matter. Without doing full justice to the original: social-media managers are the most direct human connection people will typically have with a brand, and they’re also the watchdogs protecting that business while its back is turned. Try not to find out the hard way how important these people can be.

GIVE YOUR BRAND the DISNEY TREATMENT: If we see a cute animated brand video, the next thought is often “bet that cost an arm and a leg to make.” Then we found out about Vyond and it turns out that we were wrong—or at least, that we don’t have to be right. Vyond is online animation software that allows you to make your own animated videos in three different styles (no technical expertise required). Their platform is well-equipped; plans include a full library of sound effects, music, templates, and even props for your animated characters! Plans start at $50/month for Essential, which has some limitations, but there’s a free 14-day trial and you can save a bunch of $$ by paying annually.

BIG-BOY PANTS: Podcast ad revenue will near $1 billion in 2020 despite the ‘Rona. In fact, according to Sue Hogan of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), “Podcasts have proven to be more COVID-resilient than other ad formats.” Despite their high cost ($30 to $40 CPM), podcast advertising is maturing as major platforms like Spotify allow self-serve ads and large Madison-Avenue agencies start making big-dollar upfront ad buys.

FACEBOOK’s V.R. STUNNA SHADES: We’ve mentioned occasionally how Zuck and Facebook are bullish on wearable tech, glasses in particular. Well, they’ve developed a new prototype virtual-reality headset which looks… well, like a pair of sunglasses. When we look at them, we think two things at the same time: (1) those look way cooler than any VR headset we’ve ever seen and (2) they’re gonna cause a LOT of double-takes if mass-produced because at first they’d look normal on the beach, and then you’d realize they’re 100% opaque and impossible to see through. Modern technology has a way of trolling us.

GOOGLE’s RICH RESULTS: You’ve seen recipes, image carousels, data sets, and events (like those pictured below) on a Google search results page. The page containing that information is likely using “structured data” in the code to create what Google refers to as a Rich Result — or a result that goes beyond the simple blue link. Here’s a gallery from Google showing you the various types of Rich Results and this is a tool that allows you to test your page or code to make sure it’s working with them.

google rich results image

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