Watch Google’s “2016 Year In Search” Review

The famous year in review from Google, with news coverage of some of the world’s most inspiring and shocking stories, this is Google’s “Year in Search” video for 2016. Starting slightly on the darker side, the film manages to find the brighter side of the world and highlights a message of hope for the future. […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Facebook released its annual year in review videos and they’re driving people crazy

Another year, another lame review video. I’ll admit it, I check my Facebook first thing in the morning. It usually leads to quite a few interesting tidbits I’ve missed while sleeping. Today however, I was greeted with a very sad year in review video. At first, I thought I was being too harsh – perhaps my life isn’t all that interesting. But it seems I’m not the only one disillusioned by the curated content: You’d think with all the information Facebook has on us that they could make more compelling year in review videos. — Lucas Sachs (@LucasOSachs) December 8, 2016 Dear Facebook,…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Facebook
Social Media – The Next Web

2015 Year In Review – A Magical Year of Travel, Speaking and Partnerships

Wow, 2015 was truly an exceptional year for me! At the beginning of each year, I love to select one word as my overarching theme for my professional and personal life. The word helps guide most all of my goals and decisions throughout the year. I’ve done this practice since 2007, and it’s always amazing how powerfully the word serves me throughout the entire year.


2015 was no exception. My word was PARTNERSHIP.

At the time I chose this word, I don’t think I could have envisioned all that would unfold in the name of partnership!! Take a look at this fun video montage, showcasing the highlights of my magical year of travel, speaking and partnerships. :)

2015 Year In ReviewMy one-word theme for 2015 was PARTNERSHIP and, whew, it sure did come true in *so* many ways!!! Check out the blog post:’ll be sharing my 2016 word very shortly! Do you have yours yet?)Video created using the awesome Animoto app.

Posted by Mari Smith on Thursday, December 31, 2015

Video created with Animoto.


First, Facebook hired me to go on tour with the company and help teach and consult at a series of Boost Your Business events for small and medium size business owners across the United States. Facebook used the word “partner” when referring to our relationship. Love that – great manifestation!

After being a raving evangelist for Facebook – specifically for business use – since May 2007, this was truly a dream come true to be able to work directly with the company and help more businesses really understand the power of Facebook and Instagram marketing to grow their businesses.

Several thousand people attend the Boost Your Business events. In addition to presenting and moderating a panel of successful local business owners, I also provided 1:1 consultations for hundreds of attendees, answering their most pressing questions about building their business using Facebook!

Mari Smith Facebook Boost Your Business Minneapolis

On stage at Aria, Minneapolis, MN – Facebook Boost Your Business

Mari Smith Facebook Boost Nashville

On stage at Marathon Music Works, Nashville, TN – Facebook Boost Your Business

I plan to write additional blog posts in the coming weeks with highlights from the tour, as well as spotlighting the incredible 16 featured small business panelists. Stay tuned!


The first half of my 2015 was fairly light with travels… then I sure made up for it from June through November with a flight almost every other week.

Along with touring with Facebook to speak at the four marquee Boost Your Business events in San Diego, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Boston, I spoke at the annual Social Media Marketing World* in San Diego for the fourth year in a row! (*Come to Social Media Marketing World 2016 and find out how you can also attend my Facebook workshop for free!)

Plus, my travels took me overseas to England to keynote The Big Social Media Conference (followed by a lovely visit with family in Scotland!)

My favorite destination this year was Puerto Rico where we got to indulge in the most decadent luxury at the St. Regis Bahia Beach and the Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

A video posted by Mari Smith (@mari_smith) on

I taught Facebook marketing at The Bridal Circle‘s Inner Circle Experience for wedding professionals and luxury brands.

Mari Smith Puerto Rico

Inner Circle Experience, Puerto Rico. Photo credit: Kismis Ink

Interestingly, I got to visit three cities two times each this year: Nashville, TN + Minneapolis, MN + Boston, MA. All cities have their magic, but I must say, I took a particular liking to Boston, especially the Harvard area (where I taught Facebook marketing at Harvard University!).

Head of the Charles River, Boston MA

Head of the Charles Annual Regatta, Boston, MA

I also really enjoyed leading a packed breakout session at HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference in Boston, with 15,000 attendees – wowee! (Watch a segment of my session by my friend Peg Fitzpatrick via Facebook Live stream.)

And, one of my favorite stages on which to speak was Christ Church Nashville for Dave Ramsey personality, Christy Wright‘s inaugural Business Boutique event with 1,200 women.

Mari Smith Business Boutique Christ Church Nashville

On stage at Christ Church Nashville at Christy Wright’s Business Boutique


Another fabulous partnership: I’m honored to be a Brand Ambassador for Adobe Post – an awesome new mobile app for creating stunning social graphics in seconds – it’s like Canva for mobile!

example adobe post image mari smith

Created in the new Adobe Post mobile design app

The Post app is very easy to use, works seamlessly with Lightroom, and has a number of unique features rolling out, such as video backgrounds. Stay tuned for even more nifty features coming soon.

I also formed a partnership with; I’m delighted to be an official Marketing Expert, contributing helpful Facebook marketing and social media blog posts each month. In addition, we will soon publish a series of short #MariMinute Facebook marketing video tips.

Mari Smith, Shayna Marks, Leah Tremain -

Mari Smith, Leah Tremain & Shayna Marks at

In August, I ran my first Makeover with Mari contest and our lucky winner was Leah Tremain, CEO and Founder of Tremain Media in Campbell River, BC, Canada. Leah enjoyed a wonderful two-day visit in San Diego, where we also conducted some of the makeover process at’s offices!


As I’m sure you know, video is on the rise when it comes to content marketing, especially on Facebook! I’m delighted to team up with Animoto to create fabulous videos for business use. Animoto lets you create professional quality videos with your photos and video clips in minutes. I love how easy the drag and drop interface is to use.

I created the video montage for my 2015 Year In Review using Animoto and had so much fun, I need to create a screencast showing exactly how I put it together. 😉

More Partners

Other partners that I’m blessed to work closely with in 2015 and 2016 include LeadPages, InfusionsoftVionic, 22Social, BuzzSumo, CisionWordStream, AdEspresso, AgoraPulse and many more to come, such as Shopify.

Plus, as one of the original fire starters that helped launch Social Media Examiner, I’m thrilled to be back blogging regularly for this mega online magazine.

…and cars!

Thanks to my friend Guy Kawasaki, I got to fly up to Sunnyvale, CA and take the Mercedes’ autonomous (self-driving) car for a test drive!

mari smith mike stelzner mercedes

Mike Stelzner & Mari Smith with “Sunny” the autonomous Mercedes

Okay, I got to sit in the back seat (with my friend, Mike Stelzner) while we were taken for a drive by a trained Mercedes self-driver! It was a fabulous day, and Mercedes sure rolled out the red carpet.

“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.” Bill Gates

Wowee. What an AWESOME year of Partnership.

And, guess what? It’s been an amazing year for personal partnership, too. (I got to travel with my wonderful partner, Christopher, for most all of my trips this year!) Yay! :)

Christopher & Mari at SMDaySD


How about you? What did you love about your 2015? If you could choose a one word theme for your 2016, what would it be? I’ll be sharing my own 2016 word in the next post, hehee!!

The post 2015 Year In Review – A Magical Year of Travel, Speaking and Partnerships appeared first on

Mari Smith - Social Media Marketing Success

How To Review and Edit Your Facebook App Permissions

If you’ve ever downloaded and used a Facebook quiz app such as a personality test, friend comparison, most liked photos, most used words, etc., you may be unwittingly providing these app companies with a ton of your personal data. Some of this data may be used to guess your passwords, hack accounts, and even steal your identity. Yikes.

How To Review & Edit Facebook App Settings

Granted, whenever you give any Facebook app access to your account, you should be able to choose what data to share. But, most people just hit ‘accept’ without realizing how much data they are opening up to the app.

Facebook quiz apps PSA – over one million organic reach

I recently published a post on my Facebook page cautioning people about using the quiz-style apps. You can see by the epic viral impact of this post, clearly, it’s a popular topic. Over 14,000 shares.

PSA: please be careful of participating in all of those Facebook quizzes, personality tests, friend comparisons, most…

Posted by Mari Smith on Monday, January 11, 2016

Protecting your email account password

The password for your primary email account is probably one of the most critical passwords you need to protect. If a hacker accesses your main email account, he/she can trigger lost password requests for all your main social channels, critical websites and even online banking. I strongly recommend two-step login wherever offered. That is, where you receive a special code via text message, for example, when your login changes. And, you get alerts if someone tries to access your account.

Now is a good time to check your Facebook app settings and do a bit of spring cleaning.

According to Comparitech, a tech comparison and review website, the popular “most used words” app  is a “privacy nightmare.”

NOTE: There are tens of thousands of fabulous Facebook apps and websites that utilize Facebook Login. Using your Facebook account to log in is usually safe, secure and perfectly fine. You simply want to exercise caution when allowing access to excessive data. And, you might also familiarize yourself with an app’s Privacy Policy. Better to be informed. Not all apps are created equal.

I’m a huge fan of Facebook apps, always have been. However, I am not keen on the trivial quiz apps that gather an inordinate amount of data for no (apparent) good reason!

How to review your Facebook app settings 

Whether you access via desktop or mobile, there are several steps you’ll need to take to discover a) what apps you’ve granted access to your Facebook account, b) how much information the apps have gathered, edit that info, and c) remove apps where appropriate.

Instructions for mobile (iPhone)

1. First, tap on the More icon at the bottom right of the Facebook iOS app. Then you’ll need to scroll down to Settings.

2. Tap on Settings.

facebook app settings 1


3. On the popup, you have three options. Tap on Account Settings.

facebook app settings 2


Your next screen should look like this – you’ll need to scroll down to get to Apps.

facebook app settings 3a


4. Tap on Apps.

facebook app settings 3b


5. On this next screen, you’ll see a variety of choices. We’ll come back to this screen to visit one other setting. Meantime, tap on the top option, Logged in with Facebook. (You’ll see the total number of apps that you’ve granted permission to log in using your Facebook account. In my example below, you can see I have over 200 apps. For sure, time for a spring clean myself!)

facebok app settings 4


6. Now you’ll see your list of Facebook apps in alphabetical order, grouped in categories: Sharing with Public, Sharing with Friends, Sharing with Only Me. (You might also have other variations, such as Sharing with Friends of Friends.)

I have a habit of selecting ‘Only Me’ for the privacy option when trying out apps. However, all this does is limit the visibility of posts that the app might make on your behalf if and when it does publish posts on your Timeline. Otherwise, there is typically quite a list of data that each app has been given permission to access.

In this step, you’ll want to scroll through your list of approved apps and look more closely at each app’s settings.

facebook app settings 5


As you look at each app, you may wish to deselect some types of data.

facebook app settings 6


7. Or, you may wish to remove the app entirely if you are through using it.

facebook app settings 7


Desktop instructions

As shown in the screenshot below, click the small down arrow in the top right, click Settings in the menu bar, then Apps on the left. Then follow the same/similar steps as mobile above.

desktop app settings facebook




How to control what your friends see about you in the apps they use

Here’s another setting you may wish to double check. Facebook states, “People who can see your info can bring it with them when they use apps.” In other words, the info that you share with Friends only, for example, could also be accessible to those friends inside an app they use. Sounds harmless, right? Still, it’s worth just peeking in on what exactly you’re allowing to be ported into apps by your friends. Here is where to access the setting on mobile:

facebook apps others use setting


It’s up to you what permissions you choose. Personally, I only share my website! :)

facebook settings apps others use

Data that apps may be able to access include the following:

  • Public profile: profile picture, age, birthday, gender and other public info. This data is always required for apps.
  • Friend list. Apps may request access to your list of friends. However, thankfully, Facebook shut down its API for giving your friends’ data to apps back in April 2015 due to privacy concerns.
  • Relationships: your loved ones and other family members on Facebook
  • Status updates, photos and videos (basically, anything you’ve ever posted on your timeline)
  • Work history
  • Education history
  • Website (this is one I recommend for sure!)
  • Events
  • Interests: your hobbies, skills, activities and all pages you’ve liked
  • Groups you joined and groups you manage
  • Hometown and current city
  • Religious and political views
  • Manage your Pages
  • Publish on your behalf
  • …and more!

Familiarize yourself with the extensive range of data permissions that Facebook offers developers to include in their app. NOTE: Facebook requires app companies to submit (most all) their desired data permissions for review. Plus, in terms of optimizing permissions requests, Facebook states to app developers:

Only ask for the permissions that are essential to an app.


As a general rule, the more permissions an app requests, the less likely it is that people will use Facebook to log into your app. In fact, our research shows that apps that ask for more than four permissions experience a significant drop off in the number of completed logins.

facebook login permissions


So, bottom line – caveat emptor, right? It’s up to each of us to decide what information we share with Facebook… and with apps. I hear people complain that there is no privacy anymore. I also hear others not worry one iota about privacy and just ‘put it all out there.’ Fortunately, we do  have a choice as to what we do and do not post online.

If you have any questions about Facebook app settings, privacy, safety and security, do let me and my team know. Post on Facebook or in the comments below.

The post How To Review and Edit Your Facebook App Permissions appeared first on

Mari Smith - Social Media Marketing Success

2015 Year in Review: The most popular posts in optimization, list growth, analytics and digital marketing

Throughout 2015, has published extensive new research taken from discoveries made by our parent company, MECLABS Institute. We have discussed branding, personalized messaging, subject line sequencing and copy, just to touch on a few topics covered in the last 12 months.

On the blog, we covered a wide range of subjects, from optimization and email marketing to testing strategies, and provided actionable takeaways on topics as varied as designing for user experience, cryptic marketing, the psychological effects of font and cart abandonment.

As you finish building out your marketing campaigns for 2016, read on to discover the most popular posts of 2015, determined by clicks from readers like you.


Top Post of 2015: Email Preheaders Tested: The surprising sensitivity of a single line of text

Back in January, Jon Powell, Senior Manager of Executive Research and Development, MECLABS, wrote about his firsthand experience in pioneering the testing of email preheaders. Jon knew from a friend at Salesforce that preheaders were a hot topic of debate amongst today’s marketers. What should be in a preheader? Should a preheader even be used at all?

When Jon was unable to find even one statistically significant experiment dealing with preheaders — either from the MECLABS research library or on the Internet at large — he decided to take matters into his own hands and oversee several tests himself.

As a reminder, the preheader is the line of preview text you find below the subject line on mobile device email apps and even in the Outlook preview pane. 


For Jon’s first test, he wanted to understand if having text in the preheader would make a difference compared to not having text. Using, the personal website of Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS, he ran a test.

The Control simply brings in the URL to the first image visible in the email, while the Treatment shows a specific piece of text. 


The result? A 104% increase in clicks, with no statistically significant difference in opens.

Jon also ran a second test in order to better understand if the substance, or focus, of the text would make a difference in performance. For this test, the Control brings in some general link text from the email template, while the Treatment uses the first article headline in the newsletter as a teaser.


The second test resulted in a 12% relative decrease in clicks, with no statistically significant difference in opens.

Based on his testing, Jon shared several key insights that readers could leverage when implementing their own preheaders.

  • Insight #1: It’s not about having preheader text — it’s about increasing clarity of value for the customer.
  • Insight #2: Preheader performance patterns seem to match subject-line performance patterns.
  • Insight #3: The size of preheader performance gains and losses appear to be tightly connected with the number of readers using mobile optimized apps to read emails.

For in-depth detail on each insight, check out Jon’s post.


Top Research Category: Copywriting

Throughout 2015, the most popular posts at MarketingExperiments, as determined by readers, focused on copy. Though relatively easy to tweak, we’ve found time and time again that even simple copy changes can often have outsized results. Here are a few actionable highlights from the year.


You only have seven seconds to arrest the attention of your prospect — make every one count!

In November, MarketingExperiments presented one of its most attended Web clinics of the year, focused solely on strengthening your copy. In a follow-up blog post, Andrea Johnson wrote about a test from a business server hosting company that demonstrates just how critical it is to lead any copy with what the customer will value most about your product and nothing else. In other words, we must show customers what’s in it for them immediately.

Version A led with value: “Australia’s Most Trusted & Accredited Business Hosting Company.” 


Version B did not. It provided an explanation, but no value: “Business Dedicated Servers Australia.”


The Result: Version A achieved 188% more conversions. To read more about this test, or to find answers to questions such as those below, check out Andrea’s full post.

  • Does my copy immediately arrest the attention of the prospect?
  • Am I sufficiently building the problem before presenting the solution?
  • Does my copy clearly express the value of my offer?
  • Am I using the proper amount of copy relative to the magnitude of my ask?
  • Does my call-to-action align with the expectations of my prospect?


Don’t rely on legacy. Test your copy length.

In another post, David Kirkpatrick, former Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, shared a test centered on copy length from 911 Restoration, a property disaster recovery business. David’s post featured one paid search test at 911 Restoration on its PPC landing pages. The test involved dramatically reducing the amount of copy on the landing page to discover how that impacted conversion, cost per acquisition and AdWords quality score.

According to Miri Offir, Chief Marketing Officer, 911 Restoration, “The long copy was legacy content we inherited from the SEO team several months ago. After sending paid search clicks to these old long-copy pages for a few months, we decided to test shorter, more-focused copy against our long-copy control sites.”





With the shorter landing page copy, the team expected an increase in leads generated due to a simplified user experience.


But what really happened?

The Treatment outperformed the Control in conversion by more than 37% and reduced cost per acquisition by almost 33%.

From this test, the team learned the bots that determine quality score and the humans who actually generate leads are looking for two very different things from a landing page.

Where the bots saw less information and less authority from the shorter landing page, the humans reaching the abbreviated version found the information they were looking for more quickly and called 911 Restoration to take care of their property damage emergency restoration.


Use your headline to your advantage.

Finally, as Andrea Johnson discusses in this September blog post, creating a more powerful headline is one of the easiest ways to boost the effectiveness of any page. It sometimes doesn’t even require the use of developers or fancy graphic design.

In her post, Andrea describes five key principals to keep in mind when crafting headlines. These principals are framed around a test conducted by a survey company testing 10 headlines against each other. We’ll took a quick look at three of the principals discovered, with the other two principals, as well as supporting tests, available in her post here.


Principle #1: Effective headlines focus first on what the customer gets

Shift your thinking from what you want the customer to do for you and, instead, focus on what you can do for the customer. “Get” is a mindset that achieves this. Connect to what the customer wants first and foremost. Consider the winning headline above. It tells customers that they’re going to “Get Paid to Take Free Surveys.” In fact, three of the top four headlines begin with the word “get,” demonstrating the importance of focusing on what you will provide to the customer.


Principle #2: Effective headlines align with the customer’s current motivation

Don’t ask customers to do too much too soon. Think about what they want to do right now. In the case of the winning headline, that’s getting paid to take free surveys. They want to make money but they don’t want to join, set up an account or take a survey, as indicated in the worst-performing headlines. Headlines should never lead by asking the customer to do work.


Principle #3: Effective headlines make the strongest point first

You want to lead with the information that will be most compelling to the customer. The winning headline put “get paid” at the start, whereas the losing headline had “win cash & prizes” at the end. Clearly, most customers won’t read through five to eight words to find out what’s in it for them. Each word of a headline is essentially a micro-yes that must convince the customer to continue on to the next step in your sales funnel.


You might also like

MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — At the Bellagio in Las Vegas, February 22-24

Strengthen Your Copy in 35 Minutes: Proven strategies to boost the effectiveness of your words [MarketingExperiments Web clinic replay]

Copywriting: 5 proven discoveries that strengthen copy

Landing Page Optimization: Conversion increased 37% by reducing copy

Copywriting: See immediate lifts by applying these 5 principles to your headlines

MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas

Best Of Annual Reports Online Review Website Designs

No one likes annual reports. However, the situation changes when it comes to the Web. Online reviews are something different. There are no dull accounting policies, balance sheets or director’s report. They are great and brand new instruments for promoting your agency, bolstering brand identity and even finding new potential clients.

Just with a little imagination you can transform the so-called ‘gray literature’ into an amusing project that will grab the users’ attention and make the company’s presence more significant. It is an effective marketing trick that benefits your business. Today we have gathered 20 brilliant examples of skillfully executed annual reports that have a charismatic and interesting idea.

Website Design Featuring Annual Reports


PSD2HTML tries to cover the whole decade of their challenging and honorable job. The experience is achieved through a skillfully realized cosmic theme, delicate line style icons that are subtly animated and creatively illustrated stats.


Getting Git Right

This is another example of a website that shows a ten year period of the company’s productive work. Much like the previous example, the design has a friendly aesthetics achieved through smart, dynamic contour illustrations, bright coloring, and flat style graphics.

Getting Git Right

Energy Trust

Energy Trust also celebrates the first significant jubilee – 10 years. Since the company deals with pretty serious issues, it is not surprising that their online review has a businesslike atmosphere and utilizes calm and neutral coloring.

Energy Trust


Vimeo introduces to the online audience a concise review of its activity, covering the most popular videos of the year. It has a pleasant and handy interface based on a grid structure that easily handles all sorts of lavish multimedia.


Foundation Center

Foundation Center jumps at you with the kaleidoscope of bright colors that establishes a positive air. Although the backdrop is lush, yet it naturally gives the center stage to the content, making the integral parts of the report more appealing and attention-grabbing.

Foundation Center

Crop Trust

Crop Trust remains tidy and succinct throughout all sections. It exudes an image of seriousness and reliability, exactly what is needed to show the company in the best possible light.

Crop Trust

Internet History

Internet History by DZ is a cutting-edge review that is presented through the original timeline. It offers you to embark on an amusing adventure through the history of the Internet that is powered by interactive features.

Internet History


VNG has a 10th anniversary; and, it is a perfect occasion to create a some kind of an online version of a review and publish it on an official website in order to strengthen the brand identity. It adopts an illustrative approach for adding fun and amusement.



Telstra briefly familiarizes the online audience with events and achievements of the company that happened during the past year. The website has a neatly organized layout and utilizes different colors for highlighting the content.


Dubai Airports

Dubai Airports Review looks serious, able and informative. Though it does not have an element of playfulness that as a rule unobtrusively attracts readers, it is still interesting to examine.

Dubai Airports


Proximus has a content-intensive website that is populated with lots of interesting facts, and stats. Everything is neatly formatted and placed in a well-structured grid. So that you can familiarize yourself with the main figures, financial report and discover other highlights.



YouTube celebrates its significant milestone. It offers you to take part in an amusing test that checks your knowledge about the platform. It includes the most popular and ground-breaking videos that symbolize the decade.



Landsvirkjun looks so natural and subtle that this serenity ignites interest from the first seconds. However, in order to get acquainted with numbers and stats you need to delve more deeply into the project.



Suzuki celebrates its small jubilee. It has created an exciting and unique website that is filled with illustrations and fancy animations. You can go through the various car models and find out some intriguing details.


Ing Direct

Ing Direct demonstrates its achievements and progress of 16 years of work with the help of the well-organized, neat and good-looking website. It offers a great experience enriched with visuals and sound effects.

Ing Direct


Although inTacto celebrated its 10th-anniversary several years ago, the website is still worth your attention. It was one of the first that introduced us to online reviews. The idea was pioneering and innovative, to say nothing about its realization and design.



Deltares expresses a serious personality. The urban atmosphere, sharp typography, flat graphics substantially contribute to the general feeling while subtle effects that accompany lettering add flavor.



BlueCrossma targets a broad audience with its clean, fresh and artistic design. The online report has a positive energy and certain charm that is produced by exquisite typography and modern graphics. Open feel gives the content a dominant position.



Ustream has a modern and sophisticated aesthetic. Dark coloring, bold graphics, refined, ultra-narrow type, and some asymmetrical touches give the annual report a magnificent feel. It gently invites you to scroll down and get to know the project better.


Den Bla Planet

A couple of years ago Den Bla Planet published an online annual report. It still looks dramatic and eye-catching. Beautiful neon coloring that stands in sharp contrast to the backdrop outlines the content while corresponding charts and images clarify the issue.

Den Bla Planet


Review websites can be attributed to online infographics that manage to draw and maintain users’ attention on boring statistics almost effortlessly. They offer an interesting and unique visual storytelling experience, unobtrusively giving people information about the company’s activity. Whether you opt in favor of the illustrative approach or remain faithful to solutions with a businesslike atmosphere, it benefits and strengthens brand identity.

Do you find online annual reports interesting? Does a report affect your faith in the company? Share with us your opinion.

Onextrapixel – Web Design and Development Online Magazine