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March 2017

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup

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December can be a very busy time of year—especially in the world of social media.

This month, Twitter introduced live video and then upped the ante with live 360 video—a feature Facebook also released in December.

Meanwhile, Instagram hit 600 million users and added new features to Stories while Snapchat launched Group Chat and custom sticker creation tools.

Don’t worry about having missed anything in amongst the holiday parties and festive festivities. We’ve rounded up all the updates—big and small—from the major social platforms to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.

Table of contents











Live video

On December 14, Twitter introduced live video, powered by Periscope. Users can now create and Tweet live video from the Twitter app.

To start a live broadcast, users simply need to compose a Tweet then tap LIVE. The button brings them to a pre-broadcast screen so they can frame their shot before hitting Go Live to start broadcasting. Anyone on Twitter and Periscope can watch a live video, comment and send hearts by tapping the screen. The update is available on Twitter for iOS and Android.

Vine update

On December 16, Vine published a post about the future of the service following the October announcement that the app was being shut down. The post explained: “In January, we’re transitioning the Vine app to a pared-down Vine Camera. With this camera app you’ll still be able to make six-second looping videos, and either post them directly to Twitter or save them to your phone.” Additionally, Vine said it would be introducing a feature to make it easy for a Vine user’s followers to follow them on Twitter as well as the ability to download Vines through the app or the website.

Live 360 video

On December 28, Twitter introduced live 360 video. When users watch videos marked with a LIVE 360 badge, they can move their phone or swipe the screen to change what they see. While any user on Twitter or Periscope can watch live 360 videos, only select partners currently have the ability to start a 360 broadcast.



Terrorist content

On December 5, Facebook partnered with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to “help curb the spread of terrorist content online.” The four tech companies have committed to the creation of “a shared database of ‘hashes’—unique digital ‘fingerprints’—for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services.” Facebook explained: “By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms.”

Lead Ads updates

On December 8, Facebook announced several updates to their lead ads offering, which was initially released a year earlier. Advertisers can now add custom disclaimers, use videos, or add a context card to provide people with more information before they sign up. Additional updates make it easier to run and measure campaigns as well as manage leads. Facebook also said it plans to roll out more features in the coming months to make lead ads even more powerful.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Metrics updates

On December 9, Facebook introduced its new Metrics FYI blog series with three announcements:

  1. They’re improving the estimated reach methodology available in ads creation. The network explained that the change is “to help advertisers get a better view of the number of people they can expect to reach with ads.”
  2. They’re introducing streaming reactions for live videos. Live videos can have multiple reactions per person, because users can react at any point during a broadcast. However, these additional reactions were initially misallocated into a metric called “Reactions from Shares of Post” instead of counting as “Reactions on Post.”
  3. They’ve identified a discrepancy between the counts for the Like and Share buttons via the network’s Graph API and when people enter a URL into the search bar in the Facebook mobile app. The company is working to resolve this issue.
Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Live 360

On December 12, Facebook introduced Live 360 video. Facebook explained: “360 video immerses viewers fully into the scene, letting them explore on their own and experience a new environment. We’re excited to combine these two formats with Live 360 video.”

The network launched the new feature with a Live 360 video by National Geographic, broadcast from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah, on December 13. The feature will be available to more Pages via the Live API in the coming months and Facebook says it plans to roll it out more broadly for all Pages and Profiles in 2017.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

New resources for parents

On December 13, Facebook launched the Facebook Parents Portal, which features new resources for parents on the network. The company explained: “Our goal is to help foster conversations among parents and their children about staying safe online… Whether you have an account or your teen does, we’ve compiled some basic information to help you get the most out of your experience and help your child navigate theirs.” The site includes step-by-step videos and is available in over 55 languages.

Third-party fact-checking

On December 15, Facebook began to roll out updates to address hoaxes and fake news. The network made four changes:

  1. They made it easier for users to report a hoax.
  2. They’ve partnered with third-party fact checking organizations (signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles) in order to flag stories as disputed. Facebook explained: “If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.” Users can still share these stories, but when they do, they’ll see a warning that the story has been disputed. Flagged stories also cannot be made into ads or promoted.
  3. They’re going to test a new News Feed ranking signal to better rank stories that people are less likely to share after reading.
  4. They’re taking several steps to reduce the financial incentives for creating and disseminating fake news. They’ve eliminated the ability to spoof domains, “which will reduce the prevalence of sites that pretend to be real publications.” And they’re analyzing publisher sites to detect where policy enforcement actions might be necessary.
Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Images via Facebook.

Group video chat in Messenger

On December 19, Facebook rolled out video chat in Messenger groups. Users can see up to six people at a time, though groups as large as 50 can tune in or join via voice.

To start a video call, simply open an existing group conversation (or create a new one) and tap the video icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Everyone will be notified and each person can join when they’re ready. Users can also choose to directly ring a couple of people or the whole group.

The new feature is available worldwide on Android and iOS devices as well as through the desktop version of Messenger.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Marketing program focused on sharing moments

On December 20, Facebook introduced a marketing program designed to “invite people to share and talk about events and moments that are happening in their communities and around the world.”

The program will feature messages about a specific event or moment at the top of News Feed. In the U.S., Facebook recently used the program to encourage users to share content about topics like the supermoon and Thanksgiving.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.

Live Audio

On December 20, Facebook introduced Live Audio, a new option for users to tell a story with sound rather than imagery. Facebook explained: “From interviews to book readings, we’re excited about the layer of interactivity that Live Audio brings to both the broadcaster and listener.” As with Live Video, users can discover Live Audio content in News Feed, comment, leave reactions in real time, and share with their friends.

Android users can continue listening to Live Audio even if they navigate away from the app, while iOS users can listen as they browse other parts of Facebook. The feature is being tested with several partners, including BBC World Service, LBC, and Harper Collins.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Facebook.



New controls

On December 6, Instagram introduced three new controls to keep the platform safe and welcoming:

  1. They began to roll out a way to turn comments off on any post. This feature was previously only available to select accounts.
  2. They introduced the ability to remove followers from private accounts.
  3. They started offering anonymous reporting for self-injury posts. Instagram explained: “If you believe that someone you care about may be thinking about injuring themselves, you can report it anonymously, and we will connect your friend to organizations that offer help.”

Saved posts

On December 14, Instagram rolled out Saved Posts, giving users the ability to save posts to revisit later. To save a post, simply click the bookmark icon at the bottom right of a post. Saved posts will appear in a new tab in users’ profiles. They are only visible to the user. The feature is part of Instagram version 10.2, available for iOS and Android.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Instagram.

600 million users

On December 15, Instagram announced that the platform has 600 million users. As noted in the post, 100 million of those users joined in the past six months alone. The platform announced 500 million users in June 2016.

New look for posts

Mid-way through December, Instagram introduced a new look for posts. The new design moved all content to the left-hand side of the header to streamline the look of posts. The update also affects ads: the Sponsored label will now appear under the profile name.

There will also be a new menu icon on the right side of the header which, when clicked, will activate hide or learn options for ads as well as a menu of sharing options for organic posts.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Instagram.

New Stories features

On December 20, Instagram added several new features to Stories. Users can now add stickers to posts to add context such as the weather, current time, or location. Stickers are available in a variety of styles and can be moved and resized to fit the Story they’re being used on. Users can add as many stickers as they like to their Instagram Story.

Instagram also rolled out a new hands-free option to give users the ability to start recording a video with a single tap. Additionally, users can add as much text to a photo or video in their Story as they want. Choose between left, center, and right justified as well as slider sizing options and automatic text wrap. The updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.3 on iOS and Android.

In an exciting update for brands, business accounts can now save their entire Story from the past 24 hours to camera roll as a single video. This feature is available in iOS.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Instagram.



Promoted Pins available in Canada

On December 1, Pinterest announced that they’re expanding Promoted Pins to Canada. First launched in 2014 in the U.S. and made available in the U.K. earlier in 2016, Promoted Pins are Pinterest’s answer to ads.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Pinterest.



Creators for Change

On December 12, YouTube expanded their Creators for Change program. Initially launched in September 2016, Creators for Change is “a global initiative dedicated to amplifying (and multiplying) the voices of YouTube creators who tackle division and hate with videos and stories of hope, connection, and understanding.” YouTube has launched a website for the program and announced new ambassadors.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via YouTube.



Conversation starters

On December 6, LinkedIn introduced conversation starters in Messaging to make it easier for users to break the ice. There are several types of conversation starters, including updates on a connection’s professional activity (such as new jobs, work anniversaries, or recent publications), shared experiences (such as working at the same company or joining the same group), and shared connections.

Microsoft acquisition official

On December 8, LinkedIn announced the official close of the network’s acquisition by Microsoft. LinkedIn explained: “This is a major milestone for the company, one that we believe will accelerate how we connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful… We’re going to focus on how we leverage Microsoft’s impressive scale and innovation to create more value for all of you.”



Bulk scheduling composer updates

On December 6, Hootsuite updated its bulk composer feature to make it even easier for users to schedule messages. The new composer sends alerts about any errors found in specific messages and allows users to add images to messages and customize link previews prior to scheduling. Find out how bulk scheduling can save you time and learn how to schedule up to 350 messages at once.


WeChat integration

At the end of 2016, Hootsuite introduced a new WeChat app in the App Directory. Hootsuite Enterprise users can now send or schedule messages, engage followers, and manage their brand’s WeChat presence directly from the Hootsuite dashboard. Learn more about how to use WeChat for business in our guide.

Social Media News You Need to Know: December 2016 Roundup | Hootsuite Blog
Image via Hootsuite App Directory.




On December 13, Snapchat introduced Groups, a new feature that allows users to communicate with up to 16 friends at once. Users can create Groups while sending a Snap or when they’re making a new Chat. When a user’s friends are present in a Group Chat, their names will be displayed at the bottom of the Chat. Messages sent to a Group will be deleted after 24 hours by default. Snaps sent to the Group can be opened and replayed the same as regular Snaps—once by each recipient.

New creative tools

On December 13, Snapchat also introduced several new creative tools: Scissors, Paintbrush, and Shazam. With Scissors, users can cut out part of a Snap in order to turn it into a sticker. The Paintbrush feature can be applied to Snaps in Memories. Additionally, users can also now use Shazam to identify songs while in the app.

Keep up with all the latest social news by using Hootsuite to keep track of all the accounts you follow. Try it free today.

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For

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For all the same reasons marketers love social media—its ease of use, low cost, and high number of users across the globe—so too do cybercriminals and scammers. As marketers continue to leverage social media, security becomes increasingly more important.

The biggest companies on earth are turning to social media to engage with customers, drive business, and have their voices heard. There are millions of dollars being made on social media each day—making it a prime target for exploitation and extortion.

Most social media pros encounter scams or fake profiles frequently enough that they are not easily fooled. But can you the same for your executives? For every person in your organization? For your customers?

According to the cybersecurity firm Norton, 40 percent of social media users have fallen victim to cybercrime on social media, and one in six users believe their accounts have been compromised. A recent McAfee study found that employees experience far more cybercrime on social media than any other business platform. That includes email, the place most people usually keep their eyes peeled for scams and “phish-y” messages.

When it comes to social media, employees, customers, and brands themselves all face security risks.

1. Brand risks

Corporate-owned accounts are the flagship for any modern organization operating on social. For many companies, they are at higher risks than a website because social profiles are so visible and valuable.

Brand imposters

An account impersonating a brand isn’t necessarily bad. But anything that account does, especially engaging with customers, can impact the actual brand. On the playful side of the spectrum is a parody account, which, depending on the industry, some companies don’t mind.

In the middle of the spectrum is an impersonator hijacking your hard-won social media popularity for any sort of shady activity, like piracy or selling counterfeit goods. These accounts steal clicks and impressions, confuse consumers and erode your share of voice.

On the dangerous end, an impersonator account can engage with customers as if they are the genuine brand and deliver phishing links or malware exploits. The cost here is huge: customers who associate the attack with your brand likely won’t be doing business with you.

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For | Hootsuite Blog
Screenshot via Twitter.

Account hijacking

Losing control of a branded account is every social media marketer’s worst nightmare. It’s happened to the best of them: Associated Press, CENTCOM, Chipotle, the NFL, Delta, Crayola, NewsWeek, and the University of Michigan. Such an attack can turn into a PR nightmare, costs countless dollars in damage control or lost business, and erode customer trust.

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For | Hootsuite Blog
Screenshot via Twitter.

2. Employee risks

Everyone at your organization is on social media. You likely have built out policies for users or even employee advocacy programs. But what happens if they click something they shouldn’t or post something out of line?

Fake executive accounts

Fake executive accounts, like fake brand accounts, are building blocks for other types of threats. A fake executive may slander the company online or engage with employees at the company to launch attacks (think of a fake CFO account sending a virus disguised as compensation paperwork to new hires via LinkedIn).

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For | Hootsuite Blog
Screenshot via Facebook.

Spear phishing

Spear phishing is the oldest trick in the book. Originally associated with email, spear phishing involves sending a bad link, such as a phishing or malware attack, appended to a carefully crafted message.

Both the spray-and-pray approach (attach every trending hashtag you can fit) and the highly-targeted approach (use all the publicly available personal details from the target profile to craft a nastily specific message) are effective on social media.

These attacks, if they get as far as breaching a corporate network, can cost huge amounts of money, create bad press, and anger customers.

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For | Hootsuite Blog
Screenshot via Twitter.

Internal policy violations

For any marketing team that is not operating their executive’s or high-profile employee’s account, enforcing and regulating internal social media policies is a challenge. Any time an executive says something controversial or off-brand, it’s on the PR team to clean it up.

3. Customer risks

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Although they exist outside a marketer’s jurisdiction for how they operate on social, they, more than anyone, are worth protecting.

Customer scams

Scams can take many forms, depending on the industry. They range from “free iPad!” scams to money-flipping financial scams and fake travel sweepstakes. The associated costs vary as well: direct financial lost, stolen travel points, fake customer support payments, leaked credentials, and more.

What makes scamming in the social media age so dangerous is scale. A scammer can exploit an organization’s hashtags (or impersonate their brand outright) to launch a scam aimed at any would-be customer who uses social media. Consider if all the calls to action on your social media advertisements and posts drove to malicious websites instead of content and conversion forms.

3 Social Media Threats Your Brand Needs to Watch Out For | Hootsuite Blog
Screenshot via Instagram.

Protecting your brand from social media threats

Social media practitioners are at the forefront in the fight against all these risks. They are responsible for the safe execution of social marketing and for ensuring that the brand and its people are not exposed to threats.

In order to do so, marketers should monitor continuously for all varieties of risks and get malicious content removed when necessary. Social media is an ocean of dynamic data and searching it manually is nothing short of a herculean task.

Social media is a powerful business driver and an excellent place to engage with customers. Because of these clear advantages make it all the more important to protect your company’s investment in social media. As marketers continue to grow their business on social, they should work to do so safely and securely.

7 Ways to Protect Your Brand on Social Media

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The huge opportunity offered by social media is not without its risks. If one of the worst brand Tweets of all time from U.S. Airways has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t control your brand image the way you used to. Brands now carry the baggage that accompanies an ‘always-on’ presence on social media.

But that doesn’t mean you should fear or forego a social presence. In fact, being late to the game can hurt you more—the conversation is happening around your brand whether you like it not. (Since we’re already on the subject of airlines, EasyJet is a great example of why you shouldn’t drag your feet.)

The good news is, your brand can be active on social media without falling victim to brand-damaging events. To help you navigate the tricky world of online brand protection, we’ve put together the following guide.

1. Implement a social media policy

By creating a social media policy, you establish a set of processes and protocols for your brand channels. Most importantly, you protect your brand from malicious behavior and ask all employees to be accountable. Coca-Cola was an early adopter of the social media policy. While it is an external document (and yours might be internal), it’s a great example to check out. It’s clear and concise, without being stiff or alienating.

A social media policy should outline appropriate behavior as well as rules and regulations surrounding social media use. Here are some starting points for an effective policy:

  • Company culture and mission
  • Brand guidelines and best practices
  • Roles and responsibilities around social
  • Processes and security protocols
  • Industry regulations (if applicable)
  • Relevant laws like copyright

2. Educate and train all employees

What good is a social media policy if nobody knows it exists? Your policy shouldn’t just be a legal tool used by execs, but something that every employee knows about.

Your social media awareness training should cover the following:

  • Best practices and appropriate use of social networks
  • The company’s social media policy
  • The security risks involved with using social media
  • How to avoid bad tactics and mitigate risk

3. Make access to social accounts (actually) difficult

If your password is “Hello123” then stop reading this article and change your password immediately. That’s right, the humble password is a simple—but often overlooked—aspect of protecting your brand. By implementing layered password protection, you make it harder for people to hack your company’s accounts and impersonate your brand.

You should have these basics covered for your social accounts:

  • Complex passwords—Your password should be between eight and 20 characters, including upper and lowercase with special characters.
  • Two factor login—You will be prompted for additional verification when you sign in. This adds an extra layer of security to your sign in process.
  • Password managers—They will secure all your passwords through one central login. There are great options out there like LastPass or Dashlane.
  • Single sign on—This reduces the number of passwords floating around. You can sign in to Hootsuite with the same username and password as your corporate email account, so the ‘keys’ or passwords for social media accounts remain confidential.

4. Set up an approval system for social posts

Who ‘owns’ what goes up on your social media channels? Who approves your content to make sure that it reflects your brand? You should have a clear system hierarchy in place so nothing goes out the door without your approval.

If you’re using Hootsuite, you can set up a double approver system along with permissions and roles for individual employees. That means you can control who has full access, who can post content, and who has limited, read-only access. If you’re using third-party apps or integrations, you can also set up systems to flag potentially sensitive content that automatically stop it from being published.

5. Stop hashtag hijacking before it starts

Hashtag hijacking can be extremely damaging to brands. If you’re not sure what ‘hashtag hijacking’ means, it’s basically when a hashtag you’ve created gets ‘taken’ by others and its meaning becomes distorted or changed completely, usually at your expense.

The snowball effect on social can be quick and severe. Take the classic tale of #McDStories, a PR play that turned into people telling horror stories about McDonald’s food or the more recent #RaceTogether campaign from Starbucks, which tried to address race relations and went horribly wrong.

The best way to combat hashtag hijacking is to make sure that your hashtags aren’t vague or self-serving, and that they focus on benefit to the customer (not to you).

6. Continually monitor social activity

There are lots of reasons you should monitor social activity related to your brand. You can better engage with your customers, deal with customer support issues, and keep an eye out for any sensitive or inappropriate content.

With third party apps and integrations, you can protect accounts from brand impersonation, customer scams, fraud, and impersonation. For example, with ZeroFOX and Hootsuite, you can automatically identify and remediate risks in your Hootsuite stream.

7. Have a contingency plan

Even the best-laid campaigns can hit a bump in the road. That’s why you should always build a social media contingency plan into your strategy. The way you deal with escalating issues can make or break your brand image.

Start by devising a set of possible negative outcomes and/or scenarios. Around each of those scenarios, you should detail the following:

  • Brand messaging procedure
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Key points of contact

Protect your brand on social media

By making brand protection a priority for your business, you can stop harmful behavior before it becomes a problem. There are tools that can help you automatically assess risky posts and protect brands from harmful social media activity.

How to Get More Views on YouTube

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The year was 1939, and a film had just been released to disappointing reception. This flop was American studio MGM’s most expensive production at the time, and recorded a loss of $1.145-million. It wasn’t until a 1956 CBS broadcast of The Wizard of Oz that it finally got the audience attention it deserved. Today, this “flop” is considered one of the best films in history, and is the most-viewed motion picture on television syndication. The Wizard of Oz had the quality content it needed, but was missing one crucial ingredient—an audience.

While your YouTube channel might be producing high-quality content, if it isn’t getting audience attention and views you’re missing out on huge opportunities. However, getting these views is easier said than done. We’ve put together the following guide to help you get more views on YouTube—and save your brand from becoming a flop.

How to get more views on YouTube

Ask your audience to subscribe

One of the best ways to get more views is to ask your audience to subscribe to your channel. This helps make sure that they are aware of any new content you post and puts necessary pressure on you to post consistently. The easiest way to get your audience to subscribe to your channel is to provide a clear and simple call to action—whether through your videos or social media channels.

If you’re doubting the value of a CTA, KISSmetrics found that videos containing a clear CTA (such as “Subscribe Now”) got 380 percent more clicks than those with the CTA in the video description. Your viewers are engaged and looking for a next step when they finish watching a video, so provide them with one. However, you need to make sure that this subscribe request isn’t coming across as a cringe-inducing beg, but rather a helpful suggestion. To improve the success of your CTA, try to:

  • Create and share content that your audience will find valuable. Conduct audience research and social media listening to figure out what types of video your target audience will find most interesting.
  • Make sure your videos aren’t just drawn out advertisements for your business, but rather lifestyle and brand-relevant video content.
  • Maintain consistency and ensure you are posting on a regular basis. Don’t leave your audience hanging, but rather become a part of their schedules and online habits with your videos.

A request to subscribe seems pretty straight-forward, but Content Verve found that if you use first-person phrasing on your button (i.e. “Make me a social media expert! Subscribe now”) you could see a 90 percent success rate over other phrasing. Keep it simple and straightforward, and you should see those subscriptions—and views—grow.

Use playlists to organize your content

The main thing to remember when you’re trying to increase your YouTube views is discoverability. Your channel and videos obviously can’t get the views they deserve if your target audience can’t find your brand’s content. Organization plays a huge role in discoverability, as YouTube’s Creator Academy explains, “Great playlists can increase watch time and create another asset that will appear in search results and in suggested videos.”

Your channel is a direct representation of your brand, and you want to make sure that customers see you at your best. Don’t present them with a messy, disorganized YouTube experience, but rather a well-curated and well thought-out channel. One of the best ways to do this is to create playlists to organize your content.

You can create playlists, whether of your own original content or curated content from other relevant makers and brands, and help your audience find more of the videos they want to see.

To create a playlist in YouTube:

  1. Find a video you want in the playlist.
  2. Under the video, click Add to and then select the black plus sign.
  3. Click Create new playlist.
  4. Enter a playlist name.
  5. Use the drop down box to select your playlist’s privacy setting. Don’t make it private, as your audience won’t be able to find it when they search YouTube.
  6. Click Create.

You can find your new playlist from the Library in the Guide on the left side of the screen.

Besides playlists, there are many other ways to increase YouTube views.

Optimize your metadata

To get more views on your YouTube videos, think about how your target audience might discover your content. Ask yourself what kinds of keywords they would use when conducting a search, and what sort of video titles would they click on?

These are the questions you need to consider when filling in the metadata for your video to increase discoverability and views. Metadata includes the video title, description, tags, category, thumbnail, subtitles, and closed captions (if applicable). This information helps videos get discovered more easily, and adds important context to your content.

YouTube’s Creator Academy offers the following tips to help you optimize your metadata so that your video can be easily discovered—and get you the views you deserve:

  • Be short and sweet with your video’s metadata. Instead of describing every component of your video, use a few words to sum up the main idea.
  • Use subtitles and closed captions. These help broaden your audience to non-native language speakers and those who are hearing-impaired.
  • Add a translated description to your video for international viewers who might speak another language.
  • Follow the rules and don’t use clickbait tactics. Think about the kind of information that you would consider misleading if you were searching for something. YouTube provides a great video from their Help Center.

YouTube also suggests that creators, “Observe how titles and descriptions appear in search results, suggested videos, What to Watch, etc. Shorter titles often work best because long titles can be cut off depending on available width. Good descriptions add context to the video when it appears in search results. Consider replacing links from the top of your description with relevant text that gives context for prospective viewers.“

One key area of your metadata that can make or break your chances of getting a view is the all-important thumbnail. Just like you, your target audience is deciding whether to click on your video based on a small visual preview of the content.

Get more views on YouTube by ensuring your thumbnails fit the following guidelines:

  • Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels)
  • Use one of the approved file formats: .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG
  • Remain under the 2MB limit.
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio (it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews)

Attract your target audience by creating and using thumbnails that resonate with them and accurately depict the content. As I said in my post 11 Smart Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel, “If your video is of a cat playing the guitar, have your thumbnail be of a cat playing a guitar, instead of a weird blurry image of you adjusting your camera.”

Use annotations to boost engagement

There are many elements to a YouTube video that can increase your views. With annotations, you can add text, links, and hotspots (or “spotlights”—areas that show text when the user moves the mouse over them) over your video. As YouTube explains, “When used correctly, annotations can improve engagement, viewership, and help you grow your audience.” If you need a refresher on how to add annotations to your videos, YouTube provides a great guide.

As I outline in my post How to Get More Subscribers on YouTube, some common uses for annotations include:

  • Letting viewers skip ahead (keeping them watching in the process)
  • Suggesting other videos for the viewer to watch
  • Linking to your website
  • Linking to a subscribe button for your channel
  • Adding a CTA (sign up, learn more, etc.)

YouTube counts a video as being viewed at the 30-second mark, so if you aren’t keeping your viewer engaged you aren’t getting this view count. Using annotations will help make your viewer want to stick around longer and increase your YouTube views. To get the most out of annotations:

  • Keep them only as long as they need to be to be read so that they don’t distract from your actual video
  • Make them small so that they don’t block any of your video’s content
  • Use less-distracting colors and more transparent annotations to keep the focus on your video
  • Don’t position them in the centre, but rather at the borders of the video

Annotations encourage your audience to engage with your videos, and will help you effortlessly hit that 30-second mark.

Run YouTube campaigns and contests

One of the best ways to attract new viewers to your content is with incentives such as campaigns and contests. With a YouTube contest, you can reach not only your current audience, but those who found your channel after seeing the contest entries and the contest announcement itself.

As outlined in our post, The Secrets to Running a Successful YouTube Contest, to run a successful campaign you must:

  • Set goals
  • Follow the YouTube contest guidelines and policies
  • Pick a relevant prize
  • Take advantage of social reach (i.e. encourage participants to share the contest to their own social networks in exchange for additional entries)
  • Use the right tools
  • Measure your contest’s success

If you’re stuck and don’t know what kind of contest to run, our guide also offers a few suggestions for how to get more views on YouTube:

  • Commenting contest
  • Subscription-based contests
  • Advocate video contest
  • Upload and vote video contest

Your audience is much more likely to share your content if there is an incentive involved, so a contest is a great way to increase your YouTube views.

There’s no magical recipe to guarantee more views on YouTube, but with the above tactics and best practices you’ll be on the yellow brick road to business success.

Upper Providence voted safest place to live in Pennsylvania again

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2016 Safest Places in Pennsylvania

by Susan Gulliford

Founded by William Penn in 1681, Pennsylvania is a state rich in history. Visitors and residents alike can see where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. The ValuePenguin team analyzed data for 227 communities in Pennsylvania with populations of at least 10,000 people to determine the safest communities. 

Final crimes ranged from 132 to over 7,900, so it is important that people research a community before they move there. Four out of the top five are part of the Philadelphia metro area. All of the communities had incomes above the state’s median household income; however, some of the places were significantly more affluent than Pennsylvania as a whole. 

5 Safest Places in Pennsylvania

These cities have an average crime score of 190, which is 84% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent and property crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state. 

1. Upper Providence Township

This community of slightly over 10,000 people is 15 miles west of Philadelphia. It had the lowest rate of property crime of any city in this study. Upper Providence Township is an affluent community with a median household income of $107,311 which is more than double the median household income of the state. This place is in Delaware County, so residents have the Brandywine Battlefield and the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge to visit nearby.

2. South Park Township

The second safest place is another small community that is part of the Greater Pittsburgh area in Allegheny County. It is the lone community in the western part of the state in the top five. South Park Township had the second-lowest rate of property crime in Pennsylvania. The median household income of $69,365 was $16,000 a year above the state’s median income. 

3. Buckingham Township

Opened for settlement around 1700, Buckingham Township has a long, rich history. Residents can visit many nearby historical sites such as Washington Crossing Historic Park, site of George Washington’s midnight crossing of the Delaware. It is the safest city in our mid-sized category with low rates of both violent and property crime. Buckingham Township is very affluent with a median household income ($119,620) and homeownership rate (92%) well above the norm for Pennsylvania.    

4. Northampton Township

Like Buckingham Township, this community is also located in historic Bucks County. It is the largest place in the top five with a population just under 40,000 people. Northampton Township has low rates of both violent and property crime. Of note, it recorded just six violent crimes for the year surveyed. It is 12 miles northeast of Philadelphia and is home to a very affluent population with a median household income of over $106,000.  

5. Willistown Township

The final place in our top five is a small community of just over 10,000 people in Chester County. Willistown Township boasts of its great location: approximately 20 miles from Wilmington, Delaware and 20 miles from Philadelphia. Founded in 1704, English Quakers were among its first settlers. There were only two violent crimes recorded in 2014. This community has a median household income that is over $48,000 higher, per year, than the median household in Pennsylvania, and it has a more educated population — 62% of its residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher — than the state as a whole.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, midsize cities with populations of 20,000 and 30,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 30,000. Here are our findings:

Full List of Places in Pennsylvania

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Pennsylvania” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

RankCityCrime Score
1Upper Providence Township, Delaware County 132
2South Park Township 171
3Buckingham Township 199
4Northampton Township 218
5Willistown Township 232
6Warwick Township, Bucks County 246
7Franconia Township 249
8Adams Township, Butler County 252
9Pennridge Regional 252
10Lower Salford Township 253
11New Britain Township 256
12South Fayette Township 257
13Franklin Park 258
14Whitehall 282
15Upper St. Clair Township 305
16Peters Township 308
17Plumstead Township 309
18Buffalo Valley Regional 321
19Cecil Township 324
20Northern Regional 336
21Baldwin Borough 338
22Upper Allen Township 357
23Mount Lebanon 360
24West Deer Township 360
25Upper Gwynedd Township 378
26Jefferson Hills Borough 389
27East Cocalico Township 397
28Tredyffrin Township 415
29Newtown Township, Bucks County 417
30Upper Dublin Township 418
31Ferguson Township 421
32Easttown Township 426
33West Lampeter Township 427
34Warrington Township 428
35Upper Saucon Township 428
36Harrison Township 433
37Hampton Township 438
38Towamencin Township 442
39Uwchlan Township 446
40New Garden Township 456
41Northern Berks Regional 458
42Northwest Lancaster County Regional 463
43Elizabeth Township 471
44Horsham Township 474
45Lower Makefield Township 481
46Upper Uwchlan Township 481
47Doylestown Township 482
48Central Bucks Regional 489
49Moon Township 492
50New Hanover Township 493
51Westtown-East Goshen Regional 494
52Northern Lancaster County Regional 495
53Amity Township 503
54Bethel Park 505
55Spring Township, Berks County 509
56Lower Moreland Township 511
57McCandless 515
58Springfield Township, Montgomery County 519
59Upper Macungine Township 523
60Hampden Township 526
61Newtown Township, Delaware County 527
62Manor Township, Lancaster County 532
63Forks Township 536
64North Strabane Township 547
65Southern Regional York County 554
66Emmaus 555
67Radnor Township 556
68Scott Township, Allegheny County 560
69Silver Spring Township 561
70Upper Southampton Township 562
71Hatfield Township 566
72Mifflin County Regional 573
73Lower Saucon Township 575
74Murrysville 575
75Patton Township 585
76East Whiteland Township 588
77East Pennsboro Township 603
78State College 619
79Hopewell Township 631
80Nether Providence Township 645
81Cranberry Township 646
82Shaler Township 647
83Penn Township, York County 647
84Douglass Township, Montgomery County 649
85West Hills Regional 655
86Haverford Township 656
87Hilltown Township 674
88Northeastern Regional 678
89Elizabethtown 679
90Lower Gwynedd Township 682
91Marple Township 685
92West Goshen Township 689
93Lehigh Township, Northampton County 696
94Northern York Regional 705
95Aston Township 744
96Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County 754
97Salisbury Township 764
98Warminster Township 776
99Whitemarsh Township 778
100Whitpain Township 785
101Ridley Township 785
102North Middleton Township 789
103Montgomery Township 800
104Fairview Township, York County 800
105Bethlehem Township 803
106York Area Regional 823
107Derry Township, Dauphin County 828
108Lower Providence Township 833
109Lower Burrell 838
110Palmer Township 840
111East Hempfield Township 848
112North Huntingdon Township 851
113Lower Pottsgrove Township 858
114Lansdale 859
115Lower Merion Township 875
116Manheim Township 877
117St. Marys City 878
118Lower Allen Township 878
119Plum 887
120Cumru Township 931
121Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County 936
122Ephrata Township 940
123Newberry Township 968
124Exeter Township, Berks County 969
125Millcreek Township, Erie County 973
126Oil City 1,032
127Ephrata 1,034
128North Fayette Township 1,038
129Pocono Township 1,048
130Upper Moreland Township 1,074
131Lower Southampton Township 1,083
132Columbia 1,130
133Southwest Mercer County Regional 1,148
134Springfield Township, Delaware County 1,150
135West Whiteland Township 1,158
136Lancaster Township, Lancaster County 1,166
137Abington Township, Montgomery County 1,166
138Ross Township 1,167
139Sandy Township 1,168
140Richland Township, Bucks County 1,185
141West Mifflin 1,189
142Limerick Township 1,197
143Middletown Township 1,198
144Meadville 1,205
145Lock Haven 1,210
146East Norriton Township 1,212
147West Chester 1,224
148North Versailles Township 1,228
149Lower Paxton Township 1,245
150Kingston 1,255
151Robinson Township, Allegheny County 1,279
152Falls Township, Bucks County 1,330
153West Norriton Township 1,333
154Colonial Regional 1,358
155Pottsville 1,368
156Pocono Mountain Regional 1,375
157Upper Chichester Township 1,378
158Monroeville 1,392
159Nanticoke 1,393
160Hermitage 1,405
161West Manchester Township 1,424
162Phoenixville 1,429
163Berwick 1,452
164Bristol Township 1,455
165Butler Township, Butler County 1,462
166Lansdowne 1,466
167South Whitehall Township 1,467
168Washington Township, Franklin County 1,469
169Coal Township 1,477
170Spring Garden Township 1,491
171Hanover Township, Luzerne County 1,503
172Hanover 1,505
173Carlisle 1,520
174Cheltenham Township 1,529
175Logan Township 1,533
176Altoona 1,557
177Easton 1,562
178North Lebanon Township 1,574
179Waynesboro 1,605
180Lebanon 1,617
181Greensburg 1,654
182Muhlenberg Township 1,654
183Caln Township 1,656
184Bensalem Township 1,660
185Penn Hills 1,725
186Bethlehem 1,733
187East Lampeter Township 1,761
188Plymouth Township, Montgomery County 1,783
189Springettsbury Township 1,798
190Upper Darby Township 1,810
191Wyomissing 1,810
192Hazleton 1,847
193Scranton 1,911
194Upper Merion Township 1,923
195Rostraver Township 1,924
196Center Township 1,994
197Stroud Area Regional 2,069
198Erie 2,124
199Richland Township, Cambria County 2,183
200New Kensington 2,243
201Chambersburg 2,245
202Whitehall Township 2,252
203Williamsport 2,343
204Butler 2,399
205Washington, Washington County 2,406
206Wilkes-Barre 2,435
207Uniontown 2,497
208Norristown 2,515
209New Castle 2,556
210Sharon 2,558
211Johnstown 2,608
212Coatesville 2,673
213Allentown 2,678
214Yeadon 2,707
215Wilkinsburg 2,716
216Swatara Township 2,772
217Indiana 3,033
218Lancaster 3,140
219Reading 3,146
220York 3,165
221Pittsburgh 3,515
222Pottstown 3,538
223Harrisburg 3,836
224Chester 4,349
225McKeesport 4,501
226Philadelphia 4,628
227Darby 7,932

Year-over-year Change

When people pick a place to live, they want a consistently safe place. Upper Providence Township in Delaware County was the safest place in both ValuePenguin’s 2015 and 2016 studies. It had low rates of violent and property crimes in both years.

Buckingham Township was also very consistent. In both 2015 and 2016, it was the safest mid-sized community and ranked number three in the top five. This community delivers safety for people and their property.

The research results were consistent in another way. In both 2015 and 2016, four out of the top five safest places were in the eastern part of the state. Those four communities were all part of the Philadelphia metro area.


To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

We removed all cities with less than 10,000 in population. The FBI had data for 964 towns, 737 of which were under 10,000 in population.

We standardized the remaining data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores. 

Here is a complete table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
1Upper Providence Township, Delaware County10,354 19 251 132
2South Park Township13,571 29 295 171
3Buckingham Township20,405 15 402 199
4Northampton Township39,692 15 413 218
5Willistown Township10,760 19 502 232
6Warwick Township, Bucks County14,718 48 401 246
7Franconia Township13,263 23 513 249
8Adams Township, Butler County12,912 39 457 252
9Pennridge Regional11,050 9 588 252
10Lower Salford Township15,399 39 448 253
11New Britain Township11,034 18 562 256
12South Fayette Township15,317 7 588 257
13Franklin Park14,160 42 452 258
14Whitehall13,946 86 337 282
15Upper St. Clair Township19,399 41 546 305
16Peters Township21,975 36 564 308
17Plumstead Township13,052 31 628 309
18Buffalo Valley Regional12,096 33 653 321
19Cecil Township11,823 34 660 324
20Northern Regional32,690 12 694 336
21Baldwin Borough19,822 71 504 338
22Upper Allen Township18,801 11 793 357
23Mount Lebanon33,052 27 687 360
24West Deer Township11,873 17 817 360
25Upper Gwynedd Township15,915 75 597 378
26Jefferson Hills Borough11,239 80 641 389
27East Cocalico Township10,427 29 873 397
28Tredyffrin Township29,544 37 778 415
29Newtown Township, Bucks County22,753 66 694 417
30Upper Dublin Township26,310 46 764 418
31Ferguson Township18,198 77 681 421
32Easttown Township10,579 28 945 426
33West Lampeter Township15,707 13 968 427
34Warrington Township23,630 25 876 428
35Upper Saucon Township15,694 25 918 428
36Harrison Township10,489 86 734 433
37Hampton Township18,521 113 572 438
38Towamencin Township18,320 93 666 442
39Uwchlan Township18,470 65 785 446
40New Garden Township12,089 83 786 456
41Northern Berks Regional13,115 61 869 458
42Northwest Lancaster County Regional19,436 15 1,019 463
43Elizabeth Township13,317 53 931 471
44Horsham Township26,481 68 801 474
45Lower Makefield Township32,799 40 906 481
46Upper Uwchlan Township11,572 –   1,184 481
47Doylestown Township17,623 40 976 482
48Central Bucks Regional11,353 53 995 489
49Moon Township25,514 63 866 492
50New Hanover Township12,266 73 913 493
51Westtown-East Goshen Regional32,541 58 860 494
52Northern Lancaster County Regional 33,674 62 843 495
53Amity Township 12,821 55 1,006 503
54Bethel Park 32,408 77 812 505
55Spring Township, Berks County 27,487 58 913 509
56Lower Moreland Township 13,233 53 1,028 511
57McCandless 29,028 38 1,002 515
58Springfield Township, Montgomery County 19,529 46 1,024 519
59Upper Macungine Township 22,201 9 1,167 523
60Hampden Township 28,893 66 917 526
61Newtown Township, Delaware County 12,348 105 867 527
62Manor Township, Lancaster County 20,310 79 921 532
63Forks Township 15,224 20 1,202 536
64North Strabane Township 14,033 71 1,033 547
65Southern Regional York County 14,917 127 818 554
66Emmaus 11,316 62 1,122 555
67Radnor Township 31,492 70 956 556
68Scott Township, Allegheny County 17,010 94 947 560
69Silver Spring Township 15,444 32 1,211 561
70Upper Southampton Township 15,183 79 1,027 562
71Hatfield Township 20,933 48 1,118 566
72Mifflin County Regional 16,898 53 1,142 573
73Lower Saucon Township10,802 93 1,055 575
74Murrysville20,294 143 764 575
75Patton Township15,306 52 1,189 585
76East Whiteland Township10,699 75 1,159 588
77East Pennsboro Township21,260 80 1,072 603
78State College56,551 46 1,118 619
79Hopewell Township12,610 103 1,126 631
80Nether Providence Township13,795 152 950 645
81Cranberry Township29,834 20 1,364 646
82Shaler Township28,756 52 1,241 647
83Penn Township, York County15,846 133 1,010 647
84Douglass Township, Montgomery County10,400 125 1,115 649
85West Hills Regional10,563 38 1,477 655
86Haverford Township48,877 53 1,187 656
87Hilltown Township15,190 105 1,192 674
88Northeastern Regional11,504 148 1,078 678
89Elizabethtown11,672 103 1,259 679
90Lower Gwynedd Township11,562 86 1,332 682
91Marple Township23,677 42 1,398 685
92West Goshen Township23,130 82 1,249 689
93Lehigh Township, Northampton County10,395 164 1,077 696
94Northern York Regional67,742 74 1,165 705
95Aston Township16,929 89 1,406 744
96Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County22,200 36 1,590 754
97Salisbury Township13,646 81 1,524 764
98Warminster Township32,804 73 1,427 776
99Whitemarsh Township17,518 69 1,558 778
100Whitpain Township19,202 135 1,292 785
101Ridley Township31,064 103 1,336 785
102North Middleton Township11,356 106 1,523 789
103Montgomery Township25,923 31 1,690 800
104Fairview Township, York County16,960 142 1,327 800
105Bethlehem Township23,873 54 1,617 803
106York Area Regional61,107 154 1,105 823
107Derry Township, Dauphin County24,887 64 1,627 828
108Lower Providence Township25,682 195 1,110 833
109Lower Burrell11,598 34 1,923 838
110Palmer Township20,929 76 1,639 840
111East Hempfield Township24,066 54 1,720 848
112North Huntingdon Township30,880 68 1,622 851
113Lower Pottsgrove Township12,189 82 1,772 858
114Lansdale16,440 189 1,283 859
115Lower Merion Township58,268 60 1,596 875
116Manheim Township39,155 43 1,737 877
117St. Marys City12,879 70 1,856 878
118Lower Allen Township18,731 85 1,714 878
119Plum27,595 275 895 887
120Cumru Township15,235 79 1,910 931
121Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County24,515 155 1,513 936
122Ephrata Township10,195 69 2,070 940
123Newberry Township15,302 124 1,817 968
124Exeter Township, Berks County25,761 78 1,887 969
125Millcreek Township, Erie County54,407 90 1,695 973
126Oil City10,266 156 1,948 1,032
127Ephrata13,545 258 1,469 1,034
128North Fayette Township14,291 49 2,302 1,038
129Pocono Township10,818 148 2,006 1,048
130Upper Moreland Township24,253 62 2,202 1,074
131Lower Southampton Township18,951 158 1,900 1,083
132Columbia10,378 154 2,197 1,130
133Southwest Mercer County Regional10,160 305 1,644 1,148
134Springfield Township, Delaware County24,345 78 2,308 1,150
135West Whiteland Township18,495 87 2,368 1,158
136Lancaster Township, Lancaster County17,065 94 2,379 1,166
137Abington Township, Montgomery County55,628 108 2,026 1,166
138Ross Township31,136 93 2,226 1,167
139Sandy Township10,655 160 2,262 1,168
140Richland Township, Bucks County13,062 46 2,695 1,185
141West Mifflin20,239 158 2,130 1,189
142Limerick Township18,738 32 2,674 1,197
143Middletown Township45,490 90 2,211 1,198
144Meadville13,237 227 2,017 1,205
145Lock Haven10,090 208 2,190 1,210
146East Norriton Township14,182 197 2,129 1,212
147West Chester19,095 225 1,959 1,224
148North Versailles Township12,367 307 1,771 1,228
149Lower Paxton Township48,117 170 1,976 1,245
150Kingston13,049 153 2,437 1,255
151Robinson Township, Allegheny County13,677 146 2,508 1,279
152Falls Township, Bucks County34,029 170 2,254 1,330
153West Norriton Township15,816 158 2,542 1,333
154Colonial Regional19,803 76 2,858 1,358
155Pottsville14,042 271 2,215 1,368
156Pocono Mountain Regional38,521 158 2,365 1,375
157Upper Chichester Township17,012 194 2,481 1,378
158Monroeville28,414 341 1,760 1,392
159Nanticoke10,343 242 2,504 1,393
160Hermitage16,143 161 2,695 1,405
161West Manchester Township18,853 164 2,673 1,424
162Phoenixville16,532 266 2,323 1,429
163Berwick10,308 233 2,687 1,452
164Bristol Township54,349 178 2,359 1,455
165Butler Township, Butler County17,076 182 2,729 1,462
166Lansdowne10,629 235 2,700 1,466
167South Whitehall Township19,573 41 3,254 1,467
168Washington Township, Franklin County14,468 76 3,228 1,469
169Coal Township10,603 236 2,726 1,477
170Spring Garden Township12,844 179 2,912 1,491
171Hanover Township, Luzerne County11,029 326 2,412 1,503
172Hanover15,380 228 2,685 1,505
173Carlisle18,974 195 2,772 1,520
174Cheltenham Township36,865 179 2,631 1,529
175Logan Township12,325 454 1,931 1,533
176Altoona45,676 348 1,949 1,557
177Easton27,143 298 2,328 1,562
178North Lebanon Township11,625 206 3,045 1,574
179Waynesboro10,748 298 2,791 1,605
180Lebanon25,538 309 2,432 1,617
181Greensburg14,606 335 2,629 1,654
182Muhlenberg Township19,910 131 3,325 1,654
183Caln Township14,166 501 1,984 1,656
184Bensalem Township60,506 134 2,935 1,660
185Penn Hills42,288 385 2,187 1,725
186Bethlehem75,024 281 2,430 1,733
187East Lampeter Township16,879 107 3,738 1,761
188Plymouth Township, Montgomery County16,693 246 3,241 1,783
189Springettsbury Township26,797 108 3,627 1,798
190Upper Darby Township82,843 427 1,970 1,810
191Wyomissing10,485 67 4,235 1,810
192Hazleton25,023 476 2,298 1,847
193Scranton75,749 285 2,775 1,911
194Upper Merion Township28,651 91 3,951 1,923
195Rostraver Township11,218 232 3,824 1,924
196Center Township11,759 238 3,946 1,994
197Stroud Area Regional33,974 194 3,788 2,069
198Erie100,403 404 2,629 2,124
199Richland Township, Cambria County12,478 80 5,009 2,183
200New Kensington12,864 420 3,778 2,243
201Chambersburg20,561 384 3,667 2,245
202Whitehall Township27,146 99 4,682 2,252
203Williamsport29,340 450 3,446 2,343
204Butler13,515 400 4,210 2,399
205Washington, Washington County13,686 468 3,946 2,406
206Wilkes-Barre41,017 436 3,533 2,435
207Uniontown10,139 404 4,616 2,497
208Norristown34,453 746 2,560 2,515
209New Castle22,629 508 3,836 2,556
210Sharon13,698 613 3,730 2,558
211Johnstown21,755 575 3,714 2,608
212Coatesville13,141 997 2,504 2,673
213Allentown118,710 515 3,219 2,678
214Yeadon11,524 738 3,714 2,707
215Wilkinsburg15,871 882 2,936 2,716
216Swatara Township24,654 361 4,867 2,772
217Indiana14,072 1,350 1,912 3,033
218Lancaster59,325 679 3,862 3,140
219Reading87,848 865 2,904 3,146
220York43,951 883 3,285 3,165
221Pittsburgh307,613 798 3,213 3,515
222Pottstown22,605 770 5,048 3,538
223Harrisburg49,109 1,114 3,722 3,836
224Chester34,056 1,536 3,453 4,349
225McKeesport21,405 1,794 3,219 4,501
226Philadelphia1,559,062 1,021 3,388 4,628
227Darby10,687 3,855 4,267 7,932

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Gabe’s opening Saturday at Coventry Mall

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An illustration from an October presentation to the North Coventry Board of Supervisors showing a new entrance to the Coventry Mall next to the Gabe’s store, which opens on Saturday. The rendering also shows a courtyard and additional outdoor space.
An illustration from an October presentation to the North Coventry Board of Supervisors showing a new entrance to the Coventry Mall next to the Gabe’s store, which opens on Saturday. The rendering also shows a courtyard and additional outdoor space. Digital First Media File Photo







North Coventry >> When the new Gabe’s store opens at the Coventry Mall on Saturday — it will represent the culmination of nearly a year of work by mall owner Pennmark Management Co.

The plans to bring Gabe’s into the mall were announced in October. Located in the former Sears store, Gabe’s occupies 45,000-square feet, according to its parent company. The store needed to be divided — to accommodate Gabe’s and Limerick Furniture. Painting and construction soon followed, along with the hiring and training of a staff of about 100.

Owned by Gabriel Brothers Inc., the North Coventry Gabe’s is the first in the tri-county region, and only the third in Pennsylvania. The chain offers famous brand apparel, footwear and accessories, as well as home décor, electronics and toys, at up to 70 percent off department store prices. It is the fourth anchor store for the Coventry Mall.

Following a soft-opening on Thursday, the store will officially open at 8 a.m. Saturday with a ribbon cutting and giveaways for the first 200 shoppers. Additional giveaways will take place throughout the day.


“This is huge. It is the fruition of what we have talked about and it’s the first cog in all the larger changes that are coming,” said Steve Batten, mall manager and director of marketing. “I’m not aware of another mall that has done what we have been able to pull off in a year.”

At about the same time the Gabe’s deal was announced in the fall, the mall’s operators unveiled plans for a face-lift for the mall — which includes the construction of a new mall entrance adjacent to Gabe’s. That entrance is still under construction, and Batten expects work to be completed within the next 30 days.

“When you drive up to the mall we want it to look like the front of the mall,” he said.

According to Batten, there is not an entrance to the mall from Gabe’s, but he adds the new mall entrance will give easy access to the mall for Gabe’s shoppers.

The goal for the area near the new entrance is to create a courtyard with outdoor seating for a planned restaurant.

Pennmark Management Co. CFO Bob Sichelstiel said in an interview Thursday that his company is interested in finding a brew pub operator for that space.

“We’re also trying to create a beauty hub — so we’re looking for a hair salon perhaps with a spa next to it. We’re searching for that now. We love working with local companies,” he said, adding that the restaurant could be anywhere from 6,000 to 14,000 square feet. “The size will dictate what we do with the balance of the space.”

When Pennmark Management Co. took possession of the mall last April, CEO Don Cafiero said at the time that the main goal was to fill vacancies and bring more people to the mall.

When Pennmark acquired the property, the mall was about 65 percent occupied, according to Batten. Today, the figure sits at about 88 percent. In addition, 11 new vendors have been added, and the former arcade has been turned into a community meeting room for area community groups.

Batten said that two additional large tenants will soon be added to the mall complex. Lomax Carpet and Tile will be opening in late spring in the former Superfresh store — occupying 40,000 square feet.

And he said Thursday that Pennmark is just days from signing a deal that will bring a medical facility into the 30,000-square-foot former Ross Dress for Less store. Because the deal isn’t signed, neither Batten nor Sichelstiel could say specifically who will be taking the space.

“However, this will be a full 30,000 square feet of medical offices, multi practices including pediatrics, dental, Ob/Gyn, an imaging center,” he said.

Sichelstiel said he believes his company’s experience with medical offices helped when it came to getting a medical facility at Coventry Mall.

“We can speak the language, we’ve done it before. Plus it’s also good for the community,” he added.

As for foot traffic, Batten said it is definitely up in the past 11 months.

“Some of that is due to events, some due to other things. Is it where we want it to be? No, but look at where we came from and where we are today and there is definitely an increase,” he said.

Sichelstiel said the mall has been holding a number of events to help bring in customers — some of which have worked better than others. But the key, he said, is to keep holding them.

“We have made some mistakes and done some great things. For the things that didn’t work as well, we can tweak them and make them better,” he said.

Is Pennmark pleased with where Coventry Mall is right now?

“We wish it was going faster. But there is so much leg work and details to make these things work. We are pleased we have good things to talk about. We are pleased with where we are,” Batten added.

Coventry Mall is the first mall that Pennmark has taken on; the company owns and manages a portfolio that includes 2 million square feet of retail, office and flex space across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio, including eight shopping centers in Pennsylvania.

Gary Vaynerchuk Interview With Larry King | 2016

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Starting a New Business

I have recently had a lot of friends from 18 – 35 years old ask me for advice on whether to start their own business. I have plenty of advice to give. If they aren’t ready to take advice or hustle it doesn’t matter .  The more I experience owning and running a business the more I am learning to cut the BS.

Gary Vaynerchuk

A person I really love for giving it cut and dry is  Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven’t listened to his interviews or speeches get on it. What the hell are you waiting for?
Larry King: When do you know you’re ready to start a business?
Gary Vee: If you’re asking that question you’re probably not ready. I believe that a pure bred entrepreneur suffocates in the notion of doing anything but running their own business.
Here’s a little video you should watch.

Create Effective Facebook Lead Ads

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Reach the best audience for your company with Facebook ads

Step 1: Define your Audience

Reach the audience that you want to complete your form with our targeting options. You can use demographic and interest targeting or more advanced options like custom audiences or lookalike audiences .
Best Practice: To collect high quality leads, target a lookalike audience based on your best customers. If you target audiences similar to your existing customers you can reach the people who will provide the most value to your business.
Set the right budget for your ads

Step 2: Set Your Bid and Budget

Select either a daily or lifetime budget for your campaign. For bid, there are two options:
  • Automatic bidding, where the ad auction system will adjust your bid to generate the most leads possible within your budget.
  • Manual bidding, where you set the monetary value of each lead.
Bidding Best Practice: When optimizing for leads, it’s important that you bid high enough to get sufficient reach for your ad. If you know how much each lead is worth to you, use manual bidding and be sure to bid no less than your true cost-per-lead (the true the maximum you can pay for a lead and be ROI-positive). Lower bids may reduce the number of people in your target audience who see your ad.
Show of your creative in a carousel or video ad

Step 3: Select Your Creative

Grab attention in News Feed with engaging creative and illustrate why a person should complete your lead form. Now you can show off all your business has to offer with carousel and video creative in your lead ad.
Best Practice: Use one of the more engaging creative formats like carousel or video to stand out and capture attention.
Learn more about lead ads

Step 4: Create Your Form

To create a form you will need two things: A list of the questions you want to include in your form and a link to the privacy policy of your business. We require all advertisers who create lead ads to have a privacy policy on their business website. Learn more about the different parts of a lead ad.
Best Practice: Keep your form short with very few open-ended questions. Long forms and open-ended questions that require typing increase the work required for people which increases chances they lose interest and abandon your form without submitting it. As an alternative to open-ended questions, try providing multiple choice answer options to collect similar information.
Reach new customers with Facebook lead ads

Step 5: Lead Follow-up

Immediately following up on your leads can help drive the best conversion rates and ensure your budget is spent efficiently. You can access your leads by downloading them from your Page or receive them automatically by integrating your email marketing or customer relationship management (CRM) tools with lead ads. Check out the latest list of integrations available.
Best Practice: Make follow-up easy by integrating lead ads with your marketing tools so when someone completes a lead ad the information automatically appears in your CRM tool or is added to your email list. Learn how.

Do you have an obsession with those Wawa Hoagies?

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People are obsessed with this convenience store that’s only in 6 states


What is “Wawa?” Besides a Native American word for the Canada goose, Wawa is a convenience store that has a dedicated fan base. There are stores only in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. 

Wawa started as an iron foundry in New Jersey, and then a dairy processing plant in Wawa, PA in 1902. The first Wawa Food Market opened in 1964 in Folsom, PA. 

Wawa serves more than 400 million customers a year. Their most famed item is the hoagie. 


Wawa has recently expanded into the Florida area. They actually opened a couple locations near our Florida branch in the Sarasota area.  This always puts a smiles on my bearded face when I am down south and see that Wawa sign lit up. A little piece of Philadelphia near the beaches I grew up on.



Rapper Aaron Out has recently professed his undying love for these deliciously LIT Hoagies that you can get at 4am. 


A new study has confirmed what frequent visitors to convenience stores already knew: Wawa is the best. Seven thousand consumers, polled by Market Force, gave Wawa a “composite loyalty score” of 68 percent, ahead of other stores like QuikTrip (62 percent) and Sheetz (59 percent), and it also nabbed the top spot in fresh food category. Here are some things you might not have known about the absolute best place on earth to buy a hoagie, iced tea, and Tastykakes.

1. Though the first store was opened in 1964, the company actually has more than 200 years of history: It began in 1803 as a New Jersey iron factory and was incorporated in 1865 as the Millville Manufacturing Company. Then, in 1902, Millville’s owner George Wood opened up a milk processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania. (The cows for the plant came from the English Channel island of Guernsey.)

2. In the early 1900s, many children were becoming sick from drinking raw milk, so Wood had doctors vouch for his product. The “doctor certified” milk, delivered directly to a customer’s home, made the business a huge success.

3. As the milk delivery business dwindled in the 1960s, Wood’s grandson, Grahame, noticed that customers were shopping more at supermarkets, and thought Wawa could distribute its products that way. The first Wawa Food Market opened at 1212 MacDade Boulevard in Folsom, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1964—and it’s still there!

Photo courtesy of Wawa

4. The stores were successful in part because convenience stores were exempt from laws that kept other stores closed on Sundays.

5. By 1972, there were 100 Wawa stores open for business. By 1992, there were 500 stores. This year, there will be as many as 647 Wawa stores.

6. Wawa is Lenni-Lenape for Canada Goose.

7. Want to pronounce “Wawa” correctly? It rhymes with Saw Saw, according to locals.

8. Wawa’s stores—located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida—sell more than 60 million made-to-order hoagies annually …

9. And enough coffee—195 million cups—to fill Shamu’s tank more than 11 times. That signature coffee, introduced in the 1970s, is proprietary, and available only in Wawa stores.

10. Some Wawa employees attend Wawa University, which, according to the company’s website, “will guide you with comprehensive training courses and continuing educational programs. On-site, off-site. On the job, in the virtual and traditional classroom. The goal is always to meet your evolving training and education needs. From Brand Fundamentals to Leadership Development to Career Enhancement, you’ll have the chance to strengthen your career potential and achieve your goals.”

11. These days, Wawa’s slogan is “Gottahava Wawa,” but past slogans include “Mama I Luv Wawa,” “People on the Go, Go to Wawa,” “My Choice, My Wawa,” and “We Do it Better.” 

Image courtesy of Wawa

12. People love their Wawa. In 2009, five West Chester women completed a two-year quest to visit every Wawa then in existence. The New York Times magazine asked if the chain was a “Convenience Cult.” And Jackass star Johnny Knoxville has a Wawa tattoo, which he got thanks to “whiskey and adrenaline.”

13. Half of Wawa, Pa. is in Middletown, and half of it is in Chester Heights, the official location of the company’s headquarters. According to a 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer article, “Estimates of those who do live in Wawa range from about five families … to 265 families. … ‘No one’s ever drawn a line on a map saying this is where Wawa begins and ends,’ explained W. Bruce Clark, Middletown’s manager.”

How to Take Advantage of Google Trends for SEO

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Here’s an article about Google trends and how it effects your Search Engine Optimization for your website.



Google Trends is a modern tool from Google that assists SEO specialists analyze the reaction of people towards events, happenings and topics from all around the world. People love to search for these items in the internet and they are noted by Google Trends based on the real-time date that those events happened. With the help of Google Trends, you can take a closer look at what interest people these days in an organized perspective with all the logistics and data that you need. Whenever there is trending news, you can use the data presented to you so that you are able to react to it at the right SEO perspective.

How to Take Advantage of Google Trends for SEO

How Data is Presented

Google Trends data are pieces of information gathered out of regular Google searches. The data is in anonymous form and are segregated based on keyword listings or categories. This way of segregation makes it easier for people to analyze topic on an SEO point of view. In fact, Google Trends can magnify the data up to the city level or filter it based on real time or not.

The real time setting features data from Google searches that happened in the past week or past 7 days. In the non-real time setting, the data presented could go all the way back a few months ago or even several years back. In either setting, this only means that all of the Google searches are kept in a database and Google Trends can look them all up for you.

These data sets can be very powerful items for SEO. They give you a clear picture of what people search for in the internet at any time. However, let us also consider that these data sets it relatively new for SEO and it is still not fully utilized unlike other Google SEO tools such as Google Adwords data although they are much related to each other except that the latter is used to look at search volumes only while the former is focused on the much more specific data and dig to searches in its molecular levels.

Taking a Deeper Look at these Numbers

Data and statistics given to you by Google Trends give you the power to analyze a topic over the course of time. Most of these numbers are presented in percentages and you can clearly see how the interest of people fares over time. The percentages represent the fraction of searches done in Google on all topics at a specific time and location depending on the timeline that you are looking at. If you switch that in a regional search for a topic then you’ll find the percentages of search interest in that specific topic on all of Google at a specific time and location. Here is a brief overview of what to see out of these numbers.

If you take a look at Google Trends data regarding the 2017 Superbowl 51, you will easily notice that states with the highest interest on the said event are Massachusetts and Georgia. This is because their respective teams played in the said championship game therefore sparking a lot of interest on both states. However, if you look at the raw data then you would notice that the number of searches is far greater in larger areas with higher population but the ratio of searches towards the total number of people is much lesser compared to the two states mentioned above.

Where the Opportunity Lies

If you are able to get your hand on the data that Google Trends present in real time then you would be quick enough to react on topics before they become a legitimate trend. You will be able to stay ahead of fellow SEO experts and take advantage of the topic before your colleagues get their heads on it. A lot of SEO experts use Google Keyword Planner when it comes to taking advantage of trends and they only react towards a certain topic whenever they see that a particular keyword or a set of keywords abnormally goes up in terms of search volume. If you come to think of it, an upcoming trend would not have a definite keyword with massive search volume that Google Keyword Planner can recognize yet.

On the other hand, Google Trends would already have its hands full on the upcoming trend and if you take advantage of this tool then perhaps you would be the one who will solidify a legit keyword for it out of the content or webpage that you made for that specific topic. Google Trends is definitely a great tool to help you to stay ahead of your counterparts. Since the said tool is not that popular yet, it would be advisable to take advantage and learn the tool in order to maximize its potential for your SEO work before others can.

The world of internet marketing is constantly evolving and we will never know what is in store for us in the few years to come. Technology and internet-savvy companies will continuously manufacture programs and tools that will make it easier not just SEO specialist but for everyone who relies on the internet for their work and services.

However, as products and tools continue to improvise, there are also some that get left behind because their basic functions are no longer applicable in the current industry or where it is heading. Leaving it obsolete and later on extinct. The most important thing that we have to appreciate is the fact that the continuous influx of tools and applications such as Google Trends help us grow in our internet marketing careers. It makes work a lot easier and it feeds us very detailed information that has never before happened in the history of the internet.

Google Trends can still be considered as a relatively young product and its maximum potential is yet to be determined. But the fact that it is already out there with its multiple functions is already a lot to thank for. This program cannot also be considered as stable and its developers may eventually fix a glitch or two after sometime, but the power it has given SEO specialists is very massive and the future is definitely bright for SEO.

Image: Shutterstock



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