Gong Xi Fa Cai

By - Posted under: Season Greetings on January 18, 2012

Chinese New Year is just around the corner, from January 23rd onwards, and we would like to wish you Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Gong Xi Fa Cai is the traditional greetings used during Chinese New Year. It roughly translates as “Congratulations and be prosperous!” So we wish you all a very Gong Xi Fa Cai in the year of Dragon.

This will be the year of Dragon. Dragon symbolizes strength and power, and it is the most auspicious animal in the 12 animal. So we all hope this year will be a better year for everyone.

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Happy Chinese New Year
[Gong Xi Fai Cai - Year of the Dragon 2012]

P/S: Our office will be closed during the Chinese New Year holiday and operation will resume after January 27th. Sorry for any inconveniences caused.

P/SS: We did not put watermark on the picture so that if you find it useful, you can use it. Kindly link back to this site to give us some credit. Thank you!

Online Marketing: Advertising on Facebook – What & How

By - Posted under: Online Marketing, Social Media on January 15, 2012

Update 1: With Facebook filing for IPO, the latest numbers have just came in. We have updated this post to provide the most accurate numbers. (February 2nd, 2012)

With 800 825 millions registered user worldwide, Facebook is providing a great platform for online marketing and a huge user base to advertisers and companies alike to reach out to their potential customers. Furthermore, with average time spent per user on Facebook is on the rise, Facebook seems like another logical choice for online advertising. But what is Facebook advertisement and how to use it?



What Is It About?

On your Facebook page, the sidebar on the far right has lots of information, such as Real Time updates on what your friends/connections are doing, People You Might Know, and at the bottom will be Advertisement under the Sponsored section, as illustrated below.

Facebook advertisement

Some use the advertising space on Facebook to promote a deal (cheap flight, mobile deal, promotion), products (new phone, laptop) and Facebook page. How it works is that it targets users with “interest” and “keywords”. For example, if a person has “travel” as the interest and sometimes posted some pictures from his traveling experience, then the chances of him seeing advertisement relating to travel will be higher.

Currently Facebook is offering two choices for advertisers to advertisement: Pay per Impression (CPM) and Pay per click (CPC). Both choices provide the options of directing the users to a Facebook page or external URL.

Pay per Impression (CPM) – As the name indicated, pay per impression, or CPM, is you pay Facebook a sum on how many times it is shown to users and the price is normally by per thousand.

Pay per click (CPC) – Pay per click (CPC) is the rate how much you are paying when the users are clicking on your advertisement to see more.



How Does It Work?

How does Facebook advertising work?

Bidding. That’s how it works.

Advertising on Facebook is almost the same as advertising on Google (we wrote and explained how Google AdWord works here). Think of it like an auction, and the Facebook advertisement space (as shown above on the sidebar of user page) is up for advertisers to bid.

For example: You are in traveling business and you want to promote a special deal on Facebook. Currently there are few more travel agencies promoting as well, so the average bid price is USD1.00 for CPM (that’s USD 1.00 for 1,000 impressions). If you bid USD 1.10, you will get the priority and your advertisement will be displayed more often to the target market. Then you set the total budget that you are willing to spend. If you are willing to spend a total of USD110 for your campaign, your advertisement will end after your advertisement made 100,000 impressions.

It works the same for CPC; set the target market (gender, age group, demographic, etc), then the price that you are willing to pay per click, and finally your total budget. Once your budget runs out the campaign will stop.

Facebook provides a campaign report during the advertisement campaign with details such as your bidding price, advertisement type (CPM or CPC), total impression, CTR (click through rate) and total spent. Please note that the price your set is the highest price you are willing to pay. The actual cost is different daily and you can actually see the average cost for CPC or CPM in the report, as shown in the picture below.


Facebook advertisement campaign report

[NOTE: CTR is calculated by total click over total impression. From the report above, the total impression is 71,376 and total click is 72. So the CTR is 0.101% (72/71,376).]



CPM or CPC?

In general, we found that using CPC will yield higher impression because in order for Facebook to earn the advertising money, they will display your advertisement more often to increase the click from users. But we cannot say that CPC is the only way to go as there were cases where CPM yielded better results (higher CTR) than CPC for the same duration of the campaign.

If you are advertising on Facebook for the first time, we recommend that you do a test run on both campaign, and then tweak the parameters, redefine the target market, the message of the advertisement, and once that is done, you will have a refined formula for that advertisement campaign. Then based on the report from Facebook, you will know if CPC or CPM is more suitable for that campaign.

What is more important is the advertisement itself. If you have an attractive and catchy advertisement and with the right message, it is more effective than advertisement that people won’t even notice. If it is done carefully, both CPM and CPC can be effective and yield the same result.



Conclusion

There is no true formula that fits all. First, you will need to know your requirements, such as demographic, gender, age group, and etc. Then it is important for you to define your goal, like what you want to make out from advertising on Facebook such as creating awareness, earn revenue from selling the products and/or services or promotion. After that, you will need to draft a detail plan with a clear budget in mind and then plan on maximizing your investment. Finally, decide on the price that you want to bid. In order to maximize your advertisement on Facebook, it is important not to overbid.

Most importantly, your message (picture and text) must be carefully crafted and planned because a good advertisement will attract more attention, thus creating more clicks from Facebook to your landing page (either Facebook page or your website). Converting the visitors to become a customer is more important than just advertising on Facebook, so the landing page of your website (the specific URL you provide in the advertisement) must be carefully planned with the correct layout and right information.

Facebook provides an attractive platform for advertisers to reach their potential customers, but if the whole campaign is not carefully plan out, the result will not be as desired. Furthermore, Facebook has a total of 800 825 million registered users and 350 425 millions, or 43.75% 51.51%, of these users are using mobile devices and Facebook mobile apps (Facebook app for iPhone, iPad, android phones or android tablet. Source of statistic from Facebook here) and Facebook advertisement doesn’t show in mobile app. Of course, some of these users using mobile apps will still use their laptop or desktop to go to Facebook website, but we cannot ignore the fact that some of these users will not see the advertisement.

Thus it is important to rethink your strategies to further your reach instead of solely relying on Facebook for your online advertisement and online marketing campaign.

If you have a question or need help with Online Marketing, Online Advertising or just want to chat, do drop us a call or email us.

Why You Should Invest in HTML5

By - Posted under: Design, Web, Web App on January 3, 2012

Many people still haven’t updated their website to HTML5. Reasons are aplenty, such as it is still pretty new, Internet Explorer (IE) is still not supporting it, it’s a huge cost to convert the existing website to HTML5, HTML5 is a myth and it’s not working, HTML5 is not adopted worldwide yet, and etc.

But there are plenty of good reasons to start implementing HTML5. This is not only aimed at web developer or web designers, because businesses with an online presence should think of their long term strategy for their web as well.

Below are the 10 reasons to change your web to HTML5 or to start using HTML5.

Reason #10: Accessibility
HTML5 makes creating accessible sites easier for two main reasons: semantics and ARIA. The new (some currently available) HTML headings like <header>, <footer>, <nav>, <section>, <aside>, etc. allow screen readers to easily access content. Before, your screen readers had no way to determine what a given <div> was even if you assigned it an ID or Class. With new semantic tags screen readers can better examine the HTML document and create a better experience for those who use them.

ARIA is a W3C spec that is mainly used to assign specific “roles” to elements in an HTML document – essentially creating important landmarks on the page: header, footer, navigation or article, via role attributes. This has been well overlooked and widely under-used mostly due to the fact that it wasn’t valid, however, HTML5 will validate these attributes. Also, HTML5 will have built in roles that can’t be over-ridden making assigning roles a no brainer.

Reason #9: Video and Audio Support
Forget about Flash Player and other third party media players, make your videos and audio truly accessible with the new HTML5 <video> and <audio> tags. Getting your media to play correctly has always been pretty much a nightmare, you had to use the <embed> and <object> tags and assign a huge list of parameters just to get the thing visible and working correctly. Your media tags just become these nasty, huge chunks of confusing code segments. HTML5′s video and audio tags basically treat them as images; <video src=”url”/>. But what about all those parameters like height, width and autoplay? No worries my good man, just define those attributes in the tag just like any other HTML element: <video src=”url” width=”640px” height=”380px” autoplay/>.

It’s actually that dead simple, however because old evil browsers out there don’t like our HTML5 friend, you’ll need to add a little bit more code to get them working correctly… but this code isn’t nearly as gnarly and messy as the <object> and <embed> tags:

<video poster=”myvideo.jpg” controls>
<source src=”myvideo.m4v” type=”video/mp4″ />
<source src=”myvideo.ogg” type=”video/ogg” />
<embed src=”/to/my/video/player”></embed>
</video>

Reason #8: Doctype
<!DOCTYPE html>
Yup that’s it, that is the doctype, nothing more, nothing less. Pretty simple right? No more cutting and pasting some long unreadable line of code and no more dirty head tags filled with doctype attributes. You can simply and easily type it out and be happy. The really great thing about it though, beyond the simplicity, is that it works in every browser clear back to the dreaded IE6.

Another example to show how HTML5 has a much cleaner and simple code is this: the reference link code for stylesheet in HTML4.01 needed to be defined for “type” (in this case, text/css), and the code looks like this:
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”css/style.css” />

With HTML5, the code is clean and simple:
<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”css/style.css” />

There is no need to define the “type” anymore in HTML5 because when the “rel” is defined for “stylesheet”, it is understood that it is “text/css” type.

Yup, that’s it!

Reason #7: Cleaner Code
If you are passionate about simple, elegant, easy to read code then HTML5 is the beast for you. HTML5 allows you to write clear and descriptive code, semantic code that allows you to easily separate meaning from style and content. Consider this typical and simple header code with navigation:

<div id=”header”>
<h1>Header Text</h1>
<div id=”nav”>
<ul>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
</ul>
</div>
</div>

So this code is pretty clean and simple? But with HTML5 you can clean this up even more and at the same time give your markup more meaning:

<header>
<h1>Header Text</h1>
<nav>
<ul>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
<li><a href=”#”>Link</a></li>
</ul>
</nav>
</header>

With HTML5 you can finally cure your “divitis” and “classitis” by using semantic and HTML headers to describe your content. Previously you would generally just use div’s for every block of content than drop an id or class on it to describe its content but with the new <section>, <article>, <header>, <footer>, <aside> and <nav> tags, HTML5 allows you to code your markup cleaner as well as keep your CSS better organized and happier.

Reason #6: Smarter Storage
One of the coolest things about HTML5 is the new local storage feature. It’s a little bit of a cross between regular old cookies and a client-side database. It’s better than cookies because it allows for storage across multiple windows, it has better security and performance and data will persist even after the browser is closed. Because it’s essentially a client side data base you don’t have to worry about the user deleting cookies and it is been adopted by all the popular browsers.

Local storage is great for many things, but it’s one of HTML5 tools that are making web apps possible without third party plugins. Being able to store data in the user’s browser allows you to easily create those app features like: storing user information, the ability to cache data, and the ability to load the user’s previous application state. If you are interested in getting started with local storage, check out Christian Heilmann’s great 24 Ways article from last year — Wrapping Things Nicely with HTML5 Local Storage.

Reason #5: Better Interactions
We all want better interactions, we all want a more dynamic website that responds to the user and allows the user to enjoy/interact your content instead of just look at it. Enter <canvas>, the drawing HTML5 tag that allows you to do most (if not more) interactive and animated possibilities than the previous rich internet application platforms like Flash.

Beyond <canvas>, HTML5 also comes with a slew of great APIs that allow you to build a better user experience and a beefier, more dynamic web application — here’s a quick list of native APIs:

Drag and Drop (DnD)
Offline storage database
Browser history management
document editing
Timed media playback

Reason #4: Game Development
Yup, that is correct, you can develop games using HTML5′s <canvas> tag. HTML5 provides a great, mobile friendly way to develop fun, interactive games. Furthermore, Zynga, one of the largest game developer for Facebook with popular title such as Farmville, has announced that they are porting their games to HTML5.

If you’ve built Flash games before, you’ll love building HTML5 games.

Reason #3: Legacy/Cross Browser Support
Cross browser compatibility is always the biggest nightmare for website designer. The modern, popular browsers all support HTML5 (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE9 and Opera) and the HTML5 doctype was created so that all browsers, even the really old and annoying ones, er, IE6 can use it. But just because old browsers recognize the doctype that doesn’t mean they can use all the new HTML5 tags and goodies. Fortunately, HTML5 is being built to make things easier and more cross browser friendly so in those older IE browsers that don’t like the new tags we can just simply add a Javascript shiv that will allow them to use the new elements:

<!–[if lt IE 9]>
<script src=”http://html5shiv.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js”></script>
<![endif]–>

Reason #2: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
The adoption of mobile devices continues to grow very rapidly and this means that more and more users will be using their mobile browsers to view your web site or application. HTML5 is the most mobile ready tool for developing mobile sites and apps. With Adobe announcing the death of mobile Flash, you will now count on HTML5 to do your mobile web application development.

Mobile browsers have fully adopted HTML5 so creating mobile ready projects is as easy as designing and constructing for their smaller touch screen displays — hence the popularity of Responsive Design. There are some great meta tags that also allow you to optimize for mobile:

Viewport: allows you to define viewport widths and zoom settings
Full screen browsing: IOS specific values that allow Apple devices to display in full screen mode

Home Screen Icons: like favicons on desktop, these icons are used to add favorites to the home screen of an IOS and Android mobile device

Reason #1: It’s the Future!
The number one reason why you should start using HTML5 today is this: it’s the future, start using it now so you don’t get left behind. HTML5 is not going anywhere and as more and more elements get adopted more and more companies will start to develop in HTML5. HTML5 is essentially just HTML, it’s not scary, it’s not anything you really need to figure out or relearn — if you’re developing XHTML strict right now you are already developing in HTML5 so why not take full advantage of it’s current capability?

At Zymora, we have adopted HTML5 for quite some time, and the number 1 reason why we love HTML5 is the fact that the code is cleaner and easier. If we need to make one change on the HTML code, we used to spend hours and hours finding it and making sure that it works. Now, with HTML5, we could find the code easily

Happy New Year

By - Posted under: Season Greetings on December 30, 2011

2011 is coming to an end, and it has been quite an eventful year. We have learned a lot during this year and we would like to thank you for allowing us to grow and share our experience with you.

A lot of things has had happened in the web and technology sectors, with new things being introduced almost on monthly, if not weekly, basis. We have been busy learning to stay ahead in the market, to provide our clients fresh ideas and going all out to help them to have the market advantages.

Mobile market is a constant booming sector where new things (hence new requirements) are being introduced. The competition is so fierce between Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) that they are churning out new features to gain market advantages, and as web developer, we have been working extra hard to keep up with these new features being offered so that we can provide the best to our customers.

HTML5 is gaining more traction this year and creating more buzz than ever. More and more people are adapting HTML5 as we speak, and very soon HTML5 will become the official standard of web language. At Zymora, we have just adopted HTML5 and all of our clients will enjoy the flexibility of HTML5 from now onward.

Social media, being led by Facebook and Google, is shifting to new heights. Furthermore, we see more and more companies like Starbucks, Nike, Samsung, and etc shifting their online marketing strategies to social media network. There are tons of campaign being launched on Facebook, and if you are not on the social media bandwagon yet, it is the best time to start thinking about the new strategies now.

2012 will be an exciting year ahead, and we hope that you will be as excited as we are.

We will be taking a break from today onward until Jan 3rd. We will be back after the much needed break and retreat, we hope to bring you more in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Facebook Timeline for Brand Page

By - Posted under: Online Marketing, Social Media on

[Update: March 1st, 2012 GMT+8]
Facebook has just announced the availability of Timeline for Brand Page. Please check back later for more info on our guides, tips and announcement regarding Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages.


With the introduction to Facebook Timeline (we discussed about it here), the whole look of Facebook profile page has transformed and Facebook profile page looks much more beautiful, with a nice flow of information in timeline format. The cover photo is a wonderful feature that one can take advantage of showing what’s important to the visitors.

More and more companies are using Facebook Page to enhance their brand image, marketing campaign, product launch, and etc because Facebook is one of the best spiral online marketing tool to reach the mass. One prime example is Samsung; they have been using Facebook pages for their consumer products, such as their phones, TV, and etc. It helped Samsung to reach their target audience to create marketing buzz, inviting Facebook users to participate in their events, lucky draws, and etc. Hence, t is not a surprise that a lot of companies are eagerly waiting for Facebook Timeline for Page.

Unfortunately, Facebook Timeline for Page, such as brand page, is not yet available and Facebook has not announcd when will it be available, or will the Timeline for Page be available at all.

So what’s the alternative to make the pages more attractive, like Timeline for personal profile?

We came up with a temporary solution: registering a personal profile and take advantage of the Facebook Timeline feature. Like for Zymora, we have a Facebook page here, but we feel that it could be better if we have the Timeline feature. So we create a personal profile, and put our services, logo, and header as cover photo, as shown in the photo below.


Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline

Using this personal Facebook profile with Timeline enabled, we could enhance the look of the Facebook page. Furthermore, we enabled Twitter account on the personal Facebook profile together with the Facebook page, so by using Twitter, we can still seamlessly integrate our communication channel with the personal profile and page.

There are a few drawbacks of using this method.

First of all, the publicity reach is limited by the number of “friends” for the personal profile. For Facebook pages, the number of fans has no limit, and a good example is that on the day this article is written, Samsung mobile has 5,909,803 likes, Nike has 5,558,700 likes, and Nike Football has 9,173,194 likes. But with personal profile, the amount of information available to the public is limited by the number of friends you have in the Friends List, and currently there is an upper limit of 5,000 friends in personal profile.

Secondly, the personal profile page can only be registered by using one email address, so one must share the Facebook account password among the colleague and hence the limited accessibility means it is only suitable for Small to Medium sized corporations to reach their customers. On top of that, it imposes a security threat for that account because we can’t set an “Administrator” to control the access of each individual users.

Lastly, the Page information is public, meaning that anyone who browse to the Page can see the information inside. But for personal profile, the information available to the public is limited. The only work-around is by altering the Privacy Settings on that profile to allow public to view everything. (To do so, go to “Privacy Settings”, and enable “Public” under Timeline so that your Timeline is available to the public, including your Likes, Status Updates, Photos, etc.)

We hope that you find this article is useful and give you inspiration on how to use the Facebook Timeline to enhance your brand and your marketing campaign. If you require further information, please contact us to discuss things over on how we can help you.


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