Connect with us

Reviews

Create Explainer Videos in a Jiffy with mysimpleshow

Published

on

I’ve written about “explainer videos” on this blog before, but those posts have mostly discussed places where you can hire a professional to make these whiteboard-style videos for you. Some are more expensive than others, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are not free. And they will always require some turnaround time.

If you’re looking for a free alternative that’s really easy to use, you should take a look at mysimpleshow. There’s no software to download or install, as this tool is 100% browser-based and it requires zero technical expertise whatsoever.

Explainer Videos Made Easy

Explainer videos can be used for all sorts of purposes. Maybe you want to use it to introduce your company or product, perhaps as part of your crowdfunding page. Maybe you want to explain a process or help viewers decide between different options.

Despite having many features, mysimpleshow is astonishingly easy to use. Simply follow the online wizard that will walk you through the necessary steps. You don’t need to understand anything about animation or video production, because the online tool does all of that for you.

And yes, it really is 100% free, including for commercial use, so long as you don’t alter the 1080p MP4 video file after you download it. There are also options to upload the video directly to YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia if you prefer.

It Starts with a Script

After signing up for a free account and verifying your email address, you can start on your first video project. You have two options: you can either upload a PowerPoint presentation or you can start by writing a script. If you don’t already have a PowerPoint deck, choose the latter. It’s easier than you might think.

From there, pick from one of the many templates available as a starting point. There are professional, educational and personal options available. Alternatively, you can start with a blank canvas to create what you’d like.

The next page looks a lot like a simplified PowerPoint presentation, except all you’re doing here is writing the text for the script. The text that you write is what will be used for the voiceover. Depending on the template you choose, the wizard will provide a suggestion (with examples) for what you should write for each slide.

The Automatic Creation Process

The third step is really where you see a lot of the magic behind mysimpleshow. It zeroes in on some keywords you included in your voiceover script and pulls relevant images from its clipart library. You can leave everything as-is, or you can edit each slide individually to remove or resize any of the images. You can also add your own.

Finally, you get to choose between two automatic Text2Speech voices, enable or disable subtitles, and select between three possible video speeds. If you would prefer to use your own voice recording, you can do that too. Click the “finalize video” button, wait a few minutes for it to process (you can close your browser at this point and come back), and you’re done.

The above video offers a very quick explanation of the whole video creation process, summarizing the points I described above. And that’s it.

How long it takes for you to create your own explainer video really depends on you. The biggest step will be writing the script, but because you can save your project and return to it at any time, you can edit and hone to your heart’s delight.

If the script-writing process is quick and you don’t make too many changes to the imagery, you really can have an explainer video completely ready to go in less than an half an hour without too much trouble. No fuss, no mess.

What You Can and Cannot Change

For the most part, mysimpleshow really is quite the impressive piece of magic. You don’t need any technical expertise whatsoever and it can intelligently pick out words from your script, animating them in the slides automatically too.

However, there are obviously going to be some limitations. While it is possible for you to remove, reposition and resize any of the images, plus the ability to add your own, you don’t have any control over how they animate. You also cannot change the background or other visual elements to the video.

Similarly, at least for the time being, you only have the choice between two automatic voiceover voices, both of which are male. Also, according to the FAQ page, you also cannot choose a different background music to go with your video, though you can upload your own voiceover in a “karaoke” fashion to align with the video animation.

The Final Product

To test the features and functions of mysimpleshow, I used the tool to put together a quick explainer video to explain the process for writing a blog post. This took me about half an hour and after finishing, the processing took about another 10-15 minutes. The latter likely depends on the queue from other users and the current server load. The final two-minute video is rendered in full HD 1080p and was only about 8.75 MB in size.

I didn’t do much in terms of changing the images, so you’ll notice that some of the clipart is more relevant than others. It mistook the word “post” (as in blog post) to mean a parcel in the mail (as in postal service). It also mistook “content” (as in blog content) to mean happy or peaceful. When making your own video, you may want to remove or eliminate these errant selections.

The mysimpleshow website also provides some other sample videos if you want to see how the tool can be used for other types of explainer videos too. The animation and visual style is identical in all of them, but this is a 100% free online tool.

Despite some of its shortcomings, there is certainly a lot to like about mysimpleshow. It’s so incredibly easy to use and the resulting video really looks professional. I would recommend doing your own voiceover, though, as the automatic text-to-speech still sounds a little too robotic.

  • 12
  • 49
  •  
  •  
  •  

A professional freelance writer based out of Vancouver, Michael Kwan focuses mostly on the worlds of technology, gadgets, and the Internet. You can find him blogging at Beyond the Rhetoric, among several other websites around the web.

Continue Reading

Reviews

Acquire Empowers Customer Conversations With Technology

Published

on

The way that the world of business works today is that you need to be able to have those targeted conversations with the right customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. Online users in particular demand a certain level of instant connection. If they don’t get the answers they want right away, they are apt to move on to the next viable alternative.

Facilitating your ability to have personalized and targeted conversations with customers is Acquire, a complete multi-channel messenger packed with invaluable features.

Sparking a Conversation

Utilized by such notable businesses as Samsung, Audi and Penske, as well as the UK government, Acquire is positioned as a customer communication platform.

The objective here is to provide you with a messaging platform where you customers can connect with your sales and support teams in a quick, efficient, and user-friendly manner. But really what is key here is that the communication through Acquire extends beyond what your sales and support teams are able to deliver.

And a big part of this has to do with the remarkable artificial intelligence (AI) that Acquire employs for its chatbots. This can automate much of the process to deliver faster, more personalized support in a way that is utterly seamless, working right alongside your human team to provide the best customer experience possible.

Live Chat and Chatbots

You may have noticed that an increasing number of websites on the Internet provide some sort of “live chat” functionality, all without having to go to an actual “live chat” page or to initiate a session directly. This is powered through a little “chat” icon that is omnipresent across all pages.

With Acquire live chat, your agents are able to talk to customers both on your website and through your mobile app. This can include regular text-based chat sessions with support for links, thumbnails and images, but also live video chat for the fastest and most efficient customer support. This is terrific for sales too, because it means you’re able to reach the right customers at the perfect time.

But what if you don’t have human agents available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or what if there are certain routine questions and queries that are not the best use of human resources? That’s where the modern, AI-based chatbot from Acquire can step in. All you have to do is import your existing FAQs, chat history and knowledge base. Your bot can then use this to build its foundation for interacting with customers.

The chatbot is constantly learning based on its interactions with customers, so it only gets smarter and better over time. Common customer questions can be answered quickly and efficiently. This includes sales inquiries for improved conversions and support questions for intelligent suggestions. You can review the questions your bot has been answering and refine as needed for future inquiries.

When more complex issues arise, a human agent can be assigned to pick up where the chatbot left off. Indeed, the chatbot recognizes how to best route a customer query to the best possible human representative. And even where a human team member wasn’t called in to intervene, it’s easy enough to review the bot conversations and pass along the key customer details to a human team member for follow-up. Remember that the goal is an exceptional customer experience.

The Advantage of Co-browsing

Another major component to the Acquire platform is a feature they call co-browsing. This allows your agents to interact with a customer’s web screen in real time.

This is hugely advantageous over conventional sales and support chats, where needed, because it means that a customer doesn’t have to capture a screenshot, find somewhere to save it, and then figure out how to get that screenshot to an agent. To provide the best user experience, co-browsing allows customers to show agents where they’re having difficulty, while also allowing agents to show customers how to best resolve their issue.

The cobrowse feature isn’t just simple screen sharing either. For example, it’s possible for agents to interact with what is shown on the customer’s screen using drawing and highlighting tools. They can point out that they should fill out “this” field or that they need to click “that” button or that “this” section is used for whatever purpose.

Agents can also navigate customers through your website on their behalf to help them get to where they need to go. What’s more, co-browsing with Acquire works not only on your own company website, but also on other sites. All you have to do is put the URL in a co-browse box on the dashboard and your agents and customers can share in the experience in real-time.

No third-party downloads are necessary, and you can mask out private data and fields (like credit card information) so your agents can’t see or interact with them. Security is certainly a priority. Co-browsing works in parallel with live chat or video chat, as well as with phone representatives working at call centers too.

What Else Can It Do?

The goal with Acquire as a platform is to provide the tools you need to “encourage customer engagement and success across the board.”

The advanced AI sales and support chatbot can automate much of your customer interactions, freeing up time and resources for your human team. This can boost productivity, because the chatbot can handle more routine inquiries on their behalf. Co-browsing adds great value to the customer experience too, as does the integrated video and voice chat.

Beyond that, you’ll find the ability to create campaigns to segment customers based on behavior, manage customer profiles so you can best target them with the relevant promotions and campaigns, and dive into the deep analytics with plentiful data to boost sales, identify successes, and improve support.

How Much Does It Cost?

Acquire is offered in three main pricing tiers to suit a range of businesses.

The basic tier is free and includes one agent. The scope here is modest, allowing for 250 customer profiles, one campaign, and the basic chat messenger. The $25 (per agent) premium tier adds co-browsing and screensharing, video and voice chat, complete integrations, and unlimited campaigns and customer profiles. The $200 team plan is the most popular with 5 agents ($40/month more for additional agents), the AI chatbot, mobile SDK, video and voice call recording, and team analytics.

Take Acquire out for a free test drive for 14 days. Set-up is easy and no credit card is required.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 8
Continue Reading

Reviews

Managed WordPress Hosting From 1&1 Makes Websites Easy

Published

on

We’ve come a very long way since the early days of the Internet. Way back then, you had to dig right into the raw code if you wanted to create your own website. The technical aspect was overwhelmingly complex and intimidating for the vast majority of people. Thankfully, building a website is much easier than ever before and it’s a lot more affordable to boot. The key is finding the right platform and the right providers to fuel your online journey and 1&1 Internet wants to be on your team.

A Full-Featured Web Hosting Provider

It may surprise many of you to learn that 1&1 was actually founded way back in 1988, back when the public Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the company has proudly served up some 15 million customer contracts around the world, employing more than 7,000 people around the globe. A fly-by-night operation they most certainly are not.

What you can expect from 1&1 is a full suite of product and service offerings so you and your website can be successful online. This starts with domain registration with your standard .com and .org TLDs, as well as more unique TLDs like .online and .club if that is what you are after. When you “claim your perfect domain” with 1&1, you also get a free email address and unlimited subdomains.

As you make your way around the 1&1 website, you’ll find an impressive array of services, including multiple web hosting options, cloud server services, business email solutions, online accounting software, several options for building and running an eCommerce website, local and online marketing tools, and web security. This is just about everything you’d need.

The 1&1 Website Builder

For people who aren’t at all interested in getting themselves elbow-deep into the complexities of a custom web design, the 1&1 MyWebsite website builder is ideal. The goal here is to provide an all-inclusive package for not only building and designing a great looking website, but also supporting whatever it is that you wish to accomplish with the website. This includes marketing tools like a newsletter to keep your customers informed of what’s going with your business.

The process starts with choosing one of the numerous customizable design templates for your website. These templates cover a broad range of industries and usage cases, including real estate, arts and leisure, professional services, restaurants and tourism, health and beauty, and even just personal pages. There are literally thousands of these templates to choose from, each of which can be customized to align with your brand.

What’s great is that you are also offered access to a high-quality image archive with over 20 million images to give your website the visual appeal you desire. As you work through your website project, you will be offered image and text suggestions to make the process even easier. It really is approachable by just about anyone, even if you’re not technically inclined. There’s even an integrated Google translator to serve international audiences as well as a built-in online photo editor to edit those images on the fly.

WordPress Web Hosting

You can certainly choose to pick up a standard web hosting plan from 1&1 and install WordPress yourself. All you’d have to do is log into your 1&1 control panel and then search for WordPress through the provided app center to start your website project. However, for people who are less technically inclined or who don’t want to deal with the finer details of administration, the Managed WordPress packages from 1&1 could be much more appropriate.

The monthly price for the Managed WordPress plans with 1&1 cover the same range as the regular web hosting plans, but these are targeted specifically at users who plan on using WordPress and would like to take advantage of the easier installation, plus automatic security updates, pre-installed plugins, WP Expert support, and more. This will help you hit the ground running.

You see, while you could take the standard hosting plan and go through to complete the regular security updates on your own, this managed hosting plan puts your mind at ease, because you’ll know you’ll always have the newest updates installed and running properly. And since the most popular plug-ins come pre-installed, you don’t have to spend time doing that either.

The monthly plans are based mostly on the number of WordPress projects you wish to have. The basic plan is just $0.99/month for the first year ($7.99/month after that) and it supports one project with 50 GB of SSD storage and unlimited visitors, plus a free domain for 12 months. Most users will likely step up to the second tier with the plus plan for $4.99/month for the first year ($9.99/month after that) for five WordPress projects and 250 GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited visitors and the one-year free domain.

The other big difference when you upgrade from a basic plan to the plus plan, even if you don’t have much interest in running more than one WordPress site, is that you gain access to the 1&1 CDN (content delivery network). This ensures the best possible experience and the fastest loading times for your site visitors. You also get up to 2 GB of RAM guaranteed and the SSD web space means faster performance too. They say you get up to 50% more speed compared to traditional hard drives!

Your Home on the Web

Should you ever get to the point where you’d rather administer your WordPress site yourself entirely, you can always move away from a managed WordPress experience to one that is self-guided. The reverse isn’t true, so most WordPress users should at least start with the managed packages first. And realistically, if you plan on powering your sites with WordPress, there’s no reason not to get the managed plans. Just the automatic updates alone make it an excellent choice.

Creating, designing, launching and running a successful website doesn’t need to be hard. When you opt for a hosting plan with 1&1, you gain access to a wealth of terrific features at an affordable price. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and have proudly served millions of satisfied customers around the globe.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Reviews

Megapu.sh Push Notifications Ad Network Really Clicks

Published

on

The world of online advertising has changed significantly since the early days of the Internet. Publishers want to maximize their earnings while advertisers want to maximize their return on investment. Part of the challenge stems from the ongoing battle to get a user’s attention and one of the fastest growing trends to address this conundrum is the push notification. And Megapu.sh is “the first advertising push notifications network.”

The Network of Push

The earliest memory you may have of a push notification may have been when you received an email message on your BlackBerry. Push notifications have evolved tremendously since that time and they’ve been pushed onto desktops as well. This represents a huge opportunity for publishers and advertisers alike.

With Megapu.sh, you gain the opportunity to deliver your visual ad creative to users by push notification directly onto their device. This includes both mobile devices and desktop. Push notifications offer several key advantages over other types of online advertising. Rather than putting out an ad and hoping that the user goes to the right website and then hoping that the user notices the ad, the push notification puts your message front and center.

As an advertiser, you want to attract the attention of the right user at the right time at the right place. Push notifications allow for that, especially if you tap into advanced functionality like geo-activated notifications. You can target based on device, OS, browser, country, ISP and more. And you only pay for the clicks you receive (CPC) to maximize your potential ROI.

Usage Cases and Scenarios

Megapu.sh lists several potential usage cases where a push notification ad campaign can be very successful and profitable for the advertiser. Push notifications are a great way to inform customers about special offers and promotions, for instance, as well as a way to attract new subscribers for your email marketing list.

You can just as easily utilize a push notification to inform users about news and content as you can if you want to tell them about free games, free downloads and more. It really is as versatile as you want it to be. The push notification itself takes on a standard form where you upload an image (2:1 aspect ratio), along with title text and a short description. Whatever you want to promote, you can do it with a push notification.

Among existing advertisers on the Megapu.sh platform, you’ll find a fairly even split between such verticals as sweeps, dating, products, news, binary options, bookmakers and gambling. As long as you follow the rules — adult content is prohibited, for example — you can advertise almost anything you’d like. You do need to pre-fund your account before launching a campaign; the minimum deposit is $100.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do when you log into your account for the first time is to review the Megapu.sh rules. There’s no button for “I Accept,” but it is in your best interest to read through these rules carefully to ensure you comply with the network’s guidelines. After that, simply click on the “My account” button in the top-right corner to access your dashboard.

This is all pretty straightforward and easy to understand. If you click on your name in the top-right corner, you can select to edit your profile from the resulting pull-down menu. There’s not too much on this page aside from your name, Skype contact, Telegram, and phone number, as well as the option to change your password. Next to your name is the option to switch between English and Russian as your language of choice.

On the dashboard, you’ll be shown the number of clicks you’ve received across all campaigns today, as well as your total ad spend for the day. Below that is a chart for the same information over a period of time, and below that you’ll see some information about your top campaigns, as well as the geolocations with top campaigns across the network.

The main navigation is along the left sidebar where you’ll also see your support contact information, plus where you can create a new campaign, access existing campaigns, add funds to your account, check the total volume across the network by country, look into your referral program stats (7%), and look into the rules, news, API and FAQ.

Create a Campaign

The process for setting up a new campaign in Megapu.sh consists of just a single page. Just click on “new campaign” in the left sidebar.

On this page, you’ll be asked to provide all the pertinent details for your campaign. This includes a campaign name, which is mainly only for your own reference. Beyond that, you’ll need to provide a target URL for the link, a title (maximum 30 characters) to appear in the push notification ad and a message (maximum 45 characters) to appear in the push notification. For the latter two, there is a “smiley face” button there if you’d like to insert an emoji.

After that, you’ll need to upload the primary image (492 x 328 pixels) and the icon (192 x 192 pixels) for your campaign. There don’t appear to be any specific guidelines for file format here. I used PNG and JPG files and had no problem. You will need to resize them to the right dimensions though. Below that you’ll find all your targeting options, like country and browser, as well as your CPC bid in cents. In other words, a bid of 0.1 is equal to $0.001 or 1/10th of a penny per click.

When you select a country, you will be shown the minimum price and the average price for that geolocation. Understandably, some countries are more expensive than others. The average bid in Canada was about 5 cents, whereas the average price for Albania is just 0.3 cents. Your mileage may vary. Below this is an option to select a start and end time, define an IP range, and choose between five networks: MegaPush, AdMaven, AdSterra, PropellerAds and Advexxx.

Click on the red “preview” button and you’ll be shown what your push notification ad will look like when deployed. Click on the blue “create” button and your campaign will be submitted for moderation. And that’s it. Once your ad is approved, you can check up on its stats, group it with other campaigns, top up your budget, and so on.

The Future Is Push

Generating over 12 million clicks every day from countries all around the world, Megapu.sh is a demonstrated leader in the arena of push notification advertising. Minimum prices are as low as $0.001 per click and you get a full tracker with no need for third-party trackers. Some of the top geos include India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Thailand, but you can just as easily target just about anyone from anywhere. Sign up today and unleash your potential.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 99
Continue Reading

Trending