25 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See

The saying “lead by example” is important in politics and leadership roles — and it’s also critical in marketing.

Sure, you can tell potential customers your marketing team is the best at running YouTube campaigns or effectively increasing a website’s cost-per-acquisition (CPA), but until you offer examples, they’re going to have a hard time believing you.

Putting together a compelling case study is one of the most powerful strategies for showcasing your marketing skills and attracting future customers. But it’s easier said than done — you’ve executed the campaign, you’ve collected the results, now what?

To help you create an attractive and high-converting case study, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites. Take a look, and let these examples inspire your next brilliant case study design.

1. “Shopify Uses HubSpot CRM to Transform High Volume Sales Organization,” by HubSpot

What’s interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. That reflects a major HubSpot credo, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why Shopify uses HubSpot, and is accompanied by a short video and some basic statistics on the company.

Notice that this case study uses mixed-media. Yes, there is a short video, but it’s elaborated upon in the additional text on the page. So while your case studies can use one or the other, don’t be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project’s success.

2. “Designing the Future of Urban Farming,” by IDEO

Here’s a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, he or she is greeted with a big, bold photo, and two very simple columns of text — “The Challenge” and “The Outcome.”

Immediately, IDEO has communicated two of the case study’s major pillars. And while that’s great — the company created a solution for vertical farming startup INFARM’s challenge — it doesn’t stop there. As the user scrolls down, those pillars are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and additional visuals.

3. “Secure Wi-Fi Wins Big for Tournament,” by WatchGuard 

Then, there are the cases when visuals can tell almost the entire story — when executed correctly. Network security provider WatchGuard is able to do that through this video, which tells the story of how its services enhanced the attendee and vendor experience at the Windmill Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

4. “Customer Case Study: ElliotLee Estate Agents” by Pioneer Business Systems 

 In 2018, 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. A video case study could be a compelling way to attract potential customers who prefer watching a video over reading text. Additionally, a video allows you to convey customer emotion. This case study by Pioneer Business Systems, for instance, allows viewers to see firsthand the effects Pioneer’s telephone system had on their clients, ElliotLee Estate Agents. It includes text, as well, to thoughtfully organize and break-up the video into sections.

5. “Sapio User Acquisition Case Study” by Fractl

Fractl uses both text and graphic design on their Sapio case study web page to immerse the viewer in a more interesting user experience. For instance, as you scroll, you’ll see the results are illustrated in an infographic-design form as well as the text itself. Further down the page, they use icons like a heart and a circle to illustrate their pitch angles, and graphs to showcase their results. Rather than writing which publications covered their news story, they incorporated the media outlet’s icons for further visual diversity.

6. “USA Today” by Fantasy

What’s the best way to showcase the responsiveness and user interface of a website? Probably by diving right into it, via video — which is exactly what Fantasy does on their case study page for USA Today. They keep the page simple and clean, with a large red play button embedded at the top, inviting you to review their redesign of USA Today’s website via video. The video itself is simple, showing the website’s interface and clicking on various links with simple instrumental music in the background.

If you’re more interested in text, you can scroll to find their goal, “make USA Today’s website responsive”, in one short paragraph, followed by a simple “1” icon, with the text “Became the most visited US News site.” Fantasy understands that, as a potential customer, this is all you need to know. Scrolling further, you’re greeted with a simple “Contact Us” CTA.

7. “Coca-Cola Uses App Annie to Amaze & Delight Customers” by App Annie.

(embed link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHo0SnZFTMw)

A video is a phenomenal way to grab a viewer’s attention, but in our video-heavy world today, it can be hard to keep potential customers’ eyes on the screen. To combat this, App Annie’s case study of Coca-Cola includes drawings and text to highlight what Greg Chambers, Coca-Cola’s Director of Innovation, is talking about on-screen. They also occasionally cut away from his face to include full-screen text. By incorporating graphic designs and text in their video, App Annie encourages viewers to stay engaged.

8. “How One Ecommerce Business Solved the Omnichannel Challenge with Bitly Campaigns” by Bitly

Bitly takes a different approach to text-heavy case studies, by providing their case study of ecommerce company Vissla in PDF form. The case study is clean and easily scannable, with sections divided into “The Goal”, “Top Omnichannel Obstacles”, and images of “The Set-Up” and “The Launch.” The downloadable PDF format makes the case study feel like an exclusive behind-the-scenes look, and uses colors and text that align with Bitly’s brand. Since the PDF opens in a separate browser, it’s easier for the viewer to avoid distractions as they scroll the pages.

9. “How Social Media Insights Turned Around Lexus’ Holiday Campaigns” by Infegy

It can be risky to include hurdles to your case studies, but with great risk comes great reward, right? In Infegy’s case, their gated content is worth the fill-out form information, particularly since their client is such a big name in the automobile industry: Lexus. The PDF case study reads like a compelling news article, including titles like “The Rise of Lexus” and “The Fall of Lexus”, colorful pie charts, and real online comments from customers who were unhappy with Lexus’ old holiday ads. The PDF is six pages but features big font and plenty of white space, so viewers can easily skim it in only a few minutes.

10. “Fiesta Bowl” by OH Partners

OH Partners doesn’t let superfluous details distract from the most important themes of their case study — “The Situation”, “The Solution”, and “The Success”. Each one of their case studies, including this Fiesta Bowl one, is organized into those three categories, with a video at the beginning followed by a few large font, easily skimmable paragraphs.

Best of all, OH Partners puts other case studies on the left side of the page, with highly enticing visuals to ensure a potential consumer can continue perusing the case studies until they’re confident in OH Partner’s track record.

11. “The Gifted Day” by Digitas

Digitas’ case study page for LVNG With, a cancer support community created by AstraZeneca, is one of the more emotionally moving campaigns in our list and might even evoke a few tears. The page begins with a heart-wrenching video of all the moments — a grandmother holding her grandchild, someone riding a roller coaster — that “weren’t supposed to happen”, exemplifying the enormous gift a single day could be to a terminal patient. Scrolling down, it’s obvious that Digitas kept AstraZeneca at the forefront of their strategy, but more than that, they used real people as their focal point.

12. “Wine.com” by RichRelevance

What first attracted me to RichRelevance’s Wine.com case study was the box on the left-side that quickly summed up the case study, including requirements, solution, and results. Adding an abridged version to a case study enables you to attract a larger audience, by offering a quick-read for those short on time, and a longer version for those interested in the details. RichRelevance’s case study also offers an impressive amount of information for those wanting to understand the nuances of their strategy, including a section titled “Fine-tuning Recommendations by Geography”.

13. “Synapse Innovation” by Uniface

SlideShare is a platform that allows you to encourage engagement from your viewers — which is likely why Netherlands-headquartered Uniface chose to use a SlideShare for their customer case study. As you click to the right you’re able to easily read their process from challenge to solution, and they provide a link to the full case study, and their social media accounts, on the last slide. Since each slide only needs a few lines of text, the SlideShare feels especially digestible.

14. “StyleHaul” by Asana

While Asana’s case study design looks initially text-heavy, there’s good reason — it reads like a creative story, and is told entirely from the customer’s perspective. For instance, Asana knows you won’t trust their word alone on their impressive customer service, so they let StyleHaul’s SVP of Business & Network Operations, Drew, tell you instead: “Our Customer Success Manager, Michael, was amazing. If I had a question, I wasn’t put into a queue—I could get it answered right away.” The entire case study reads like an in-depth interview, and captivates the reader through creative storytelling.

15. “Patagonia” by Amp Agency

Amp Agency’s Patagonia marketing strategy aimed to appeal to a new audience through guerilla marketing efforts and a coast-to-coast roadtrip. Their case study page effectively conveys a voyager theme, complete with real photos of Patagonia customers from across the U.S., and a map of the expedition. Personally, I liked Amp Agency’s storytelling approach best, which captures viewers’ attention start-to-finish simply because it’s an intriguing and unique approach to marketing.

16. “Budweiser Influencer Marketing Case Study” by Anomaly

Budweiser’s one page, poster-esque case study is a good reflection of a brand knowing its audience. Anomaly’s case study for Budweiser appears edgy and modern, with a design that playfully pushes the text to the right as it showcases pictures of social media influencers wearing a campaign-related t-shirt. Both the top and the bottom of the page are eye-catching, and the text itself is simple and straightforward.

17. “Clinique” by AdRoll

Sometimes, starting with the results is the best way to capture your readers’ attention. In Clinique’s case study, AdRoll does just that, beginning with some impressive numbers: “8.5 Times ROI, 14 Times ROAS, 265% Amount of Sales”. Once it has boldly outlined their results, AdRoll smartly pulls back to discuss the “Benefits of Personalized Ads”, letting the viewer consider how these same benefits might help their own company.

The page is short and sweet and ends with a compelling call-to-action — “AdRoll has generated revenues in excess of seven billion for its customers. Try it now.” The clean, whitespace-heavy page is an effective example of using a case study to capture future leads.

18. “TEXTCARE” by The George Institute

 The George Institute chose to display the case study for their program, TEXTCARE, in a documentary-style video with real people discussing how TEXTCARE helped them become healthier and more active. If your case study results benefited people, there’s likely no better way to showcase that than through on-screen interviews.

19. “Reclaiming The Identity of a Brand: A Levi’s Case Study” by Levi

If you’ve got a case study with dense text, one of the more creative solutions to breaking it up could be to organize it by pages. Levi’s case study uses this method — their page one, for instance, is labeled “Introduction”, while page two is labeled “Weaknesses in the late 1990s”. Each page tackles a different topic, and the design makes it feel more like reading a book than a business article.

20. “Red Sox Season Campaign” by CTP

What’s great about CTP’s case study page for their Red Sox Season Campaign is their combination of video, images, and text — a video automatically begins playing when you visit the page, and as you scroll, you’ll see additional embedded videos of Red Sox players, a compilation of print ads, and social media images you can click to enlarge. At the bottom, it says “Find out how we can do something similar for your brand.” The page is clean, cohesive, and aesthetically-pleasing, inviting viewers to appreciate the well-roundedness of CTP’s campaign for Boston’s beloved baseball team.

21. “BIC: Bringing One Stop Shopping to BIC Razors” by Genuine

Sometimes, simple is key. Genuine’s case study for BIC razor’s is straightforward and minimal, with only two short paragraphs, “The Insight” and “The Solution”, accompanied by two images. The simplicity of the page allows the reader to focus on the sense of humor in the text, like “Helping a consumer find their perfect match and making them smile along the way means gaining a brand loyalist for life. Or until they grow a beard.” The page displays Genuine’s brand personality well, while offering the viewer all the necessary information they’d need.

22. “Cisco Systems: Velocity to Value” by Apptio

An attention-grabbing title is one of the easiest, yet most effective, ways to help your case study stand out — like Apptio’s Cisco Systems case study, titled “Velocity to Value: A Mature IT Services Transformation Enables IT to Continually Simplify and Innovate.” The piece is well-organized and uses compelling headers to keep the reader engaged, and offers a side panel for viewers who just need the bullet points. Despite its length, Apptio’s case study is appealing enough to keep viewer’s attention.

23. “Airbnb’s Custom 360-view of the Customer” by Zendesk

Zendesk’s Airbnb case study reads like a blog, and focuses equally on Zendesk and Airbnb, highlighting a true partnership between the companies. To captivate readers, it begins like this: “Halfway around the globe is a place to stay with your name on it. At least for a weekend.” The piece focuses on telling a good story, and provides photographs of beautiful Airbnb locations. In a case study meant to highlight Zendesk’s helpfulness, nothing could be more authentic than their decision to focus on Airbnb’s service in such great detail.

24. “Herschel Delights with Hootsuite” by Hootsuite 

If you didn’t know this video was a case study for Hootsuite, you’d assume it was simply an artsy video capturing Herschel’s startup success. The Herschel marketing team mentions Hootsuite, but they do it authentically and remain primarily focused on the appreciation they have for their social media community. This video doesn’t have the feel of a traditional advertisement — instead, it feels unique and true to Herschel, highlighting Hootsuite as both a helpful and unobtrusive partner.

25. “4 Content Marketing Success Stories [Infographic]” by Kapost

You don’t always need a ton of text or a video to convey your message — sometimes, you just need images. Kapost’s infographic does a fantastic job of quickly providing the fundamental statistics a potential customer would need to know, without boggling down their readers with dense paragraphs. The infographic includes percentages, customer quotes, and colorful charts to provide the viewer with both numerical and emotional reasons they might choose Kapost. 

Your Bookmarkable Guide to Social Media Image Sizes

When you’re selecting cover photos, shared images, and other social media assets, knowing the basic image dimensions might not cut it.

What if you want to make sure a certain part of your cover photo isn’t obstructed by your profile photo? And what’s the difference between shared link thumbnails, or in-stream photos — are the dimensions different for those?

As it turns out, sizing images correctly for social media is no simple task. Even just for Facebook marketing, photo dimensions vary according to where and how it’s shared — from cover photos, to timeline images, to profile pictures.

Download 25 free Instagram templates to increase engagement and elevate your  presence. 

But if you’re looking for a detailed guide on social media image sizes, you’re in luck. See a written list of essential social media image dimensions below, sorted by social network and the type of image you’re posting.

25-Free-Insta-Templates.png

 

Social Media Image Sizes

All image dimensions below are in pixels, width x height.

Facebook

Facebook profile page illustration

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Cover image: 820 x 312 (minimum 400 x 150)
  • Profile image: ≥180 x 180
  • Shared post image: 1200 x 630
  • Shared link preview image: 1200 x 628
  • Event image: 1920 x 1080

With 1.5 billion daily active users, Facebook continues to outpace other social media channels. The images you use here are crucial — choosing a lower-quality one can make or break your engagement. Pro tip: The way images display on your own timeline might look different.

Your profile image will appear 170 x 170 on desktop, and 32 x 32 as a thumbnail associated with your Facebook posts.

Twitter

Twitter in-stream image illustration

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Header image: 1500 x 500 | maximum 5 MB
  • Profile image: 400 x 400 | maximum 2 MB
  • In-stream image: 440 x 220

Twitter, meanwhile, is often the social network of choice for users to talk about you. It’s where customers ask questions, leave praise, and request help. But, the format and display have changed several times in the course of its history, so here are the image dimensions you need to know.

Although your profile image will display 200 x 200 on most devices, you should still upload a photo that is 400 x 400.

Google+

Google+ profile page illustration with photo icons

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Profile image: 250 x 250 | maximum 100 MB
  • Cover image: 1080 x 608 (minimum 480 x 270)
  • Shared image: 497 x 373
  • Shared video: ≥496 pixels wide
  • Shared link image thumbnail: 150 x 150

Don’t be fooled: Google+ is still an important place for brands to maintain a consistent presence — especially for small businesses who want to show up on local searches. This is true even if you think it might not get as much attention as other social media channels. The last thing you want is to have users stumble upon your profile there, only to find months (or more) of radio silence and distorted visual content.

Plus, where there’s Google+, there is Google, indicating a connection to the search giant itself.

Instagram

Instagram post illustration with photo icon

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Profile image: 110 x 110
  • Image thumbnail: 161 x 161
  • Shared photos: 1080 x 1080
  • Shared videos: 1080 pixels wide
  • Instagram Stories: 1080 x 1920 (minimum 600 x 1067) | maximum 4 GB

Given that Instagram’s bread-and-butter is visual content, you’ll want your presence on this channel to match that foundation, especially in terms of quality. And with more than 700 million daily active users, you’ll want to look your best.

Instagram scales shared photos down to 612 x 612. Nonetheless, you should still set these image posts to 1080 x 1080.

Pinterest

Pinterest profile page illustration in red

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Profile image: 165 x 165 | maximum 10 MB
  • Board cover image: 222 x 150 (minimum 55 x 55)
  • Pinned image preview: 236 pixels wide

Here’s a fun fact: 90% of content posted on Pinterest consists of external links. For that reason, it’s worthwhile to leverage Pinterest for referral traffic — but it still has to catch your audience’s eyes. Here are the dimensions to make sure your Pinterest presence maintains visual quality.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn profile page illustration

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Banner image: 1584 x 396 | maximum 4 MB
  • Profile image: 400 x 400 (minumum 200 x 200) | maximum 10 MB
  • Cover image: 1536 x 768
  • Shared image: 350 pixels wide
  • Shared link preview: 180 x 110
  • Company logo image: 300 x 300 | maximum 4 MB
  • Company cover image: 1536 x 768 (minimum 1192 x 220) | maximum 4 MB
  • Company page banner image: 646 x 220 | maximum 2 MB
  • Square logo (appears in company searches): 60 x 60 | maximum 2 MB

Love it or hate it, LinkedIn is the social channel for digital professional networking. And depending on your industry, it can still be a good vehicle for traffic and discovery, especially within the B2B sector. Plus, if you’re using it for recruiting purposes, it’s important to present well on a job that several people use for research on job listings, as well as employer culture, location, and more.

YouTube

YouTube channel page illustration with video grid template

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Channel cover images: 2560 x 1440 | maximum 4 MB
  • Channel icon: 800 x 800
  • Video thumbnail: 1280 x 720

Here’s another network where visual content reigns supreme — not to mention, one with more than one billion users. Make sure your own visual assets match that underlying purpose and philosophy — not just with the videos you share on there, but with the profile presence you maintain.

Keep in mind that people use YouTube on many different types of devices, and your channel cover image will vary in appearance across each one. Images at 2560 x 1440 will be optimized for TV screens, while desktop computers will display them at 2560 x 423. Mobile devices will display YouTube cover art at 1546 x 423, while tablets will display them at 1855 x 423.

Tumblr

Image Dimensions | File Sizes

  • Profile image: 128 x 128
  • Image post: 500 x 750 (maximum 1280 x 1920) | maximum 10 MB

Tumblr has been called many things: a blogging platform, a social network, and a content-sharing center where marketers and consumers alike can, well, share whatever they want. And with 430 million blogs currently registered on the site, you’ve got company — so shape up and make sure your visuals fit the right dimensions.

Keep in mind that if you’re uploading animated GIFs, your image sizes and restrictions are a bit different than static photos. Specifically, animated GIFs must be less than 3 MB and no more than 540 pixels.

Snapchat

At long last, we arrive at Snapchat: yet another social media channel known primarily for its visual assets. When it comes to using this network for marketing purposes, dimensions are fairly uniform, whether you’re simply looking to use a geofilter, or you’re hoping to share an ad or sponsored lens.

  • Geofilters, ads, and lenses: 1080 x 1920

Instagram Templates

I Looked at Everything Google Is Tracking on Me. Here’s What I Found.

When data privacy began making headlines this year, many people had a closer look at their app settings.

Questions like, “Is Facebook listening to my phone calls?” and “How much ownership do I have over my data?” began to arise, with users scrambling to switch off location tracking, download their social data files, and considering deleting certain apps altogether.

When I downloaded my own Facebook data, for example, and saw the extent of information it has about me — I also turned off certain settings, and not just on that social network.

On Google, too, I paused what it calls Location History: its ability to save your mobile device location history to better personalize your maps (if you use Google Maps, it’s safe to assume) and “recommendations based on places you’ve visited.”

But here’s the thing: According to a new report from the Associated Press (AP), some mobile Google services — like maps and browsers — could be automatically storing your location data, even if you’ve paused Location History.

So how (and why) is Google still storing this information — even with these settings turned off? And what, exactly, does Google know about me?

I decided to take a closer look.

I Looked at Everything Google Is Tracking on Me. Here’s What I Found.

A Bit of Background

When users first opt to pause Google’s Location History, they’ll receive a message that reads, “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”

That’s where this information is being stored — in a setting, it turns out, under Web & App Activity.

While the name doesn’t suggest that it may be tracking your location history, Web & App Activity is a separate setting that Google uses to track and save your search query and other behavior on Google apps — like Home, Assistant, or Maps.

The purpose, Google says, is not entirely unlike its tracking of your location history, or for that matter, Facebook’s tracking of your potential topic interests: more personalized results. 

In Google’s case, the company says the tracking and saving of this activity — which can also be paused, but has to be done so separately — lends itself to quicker search results and improved recommendations.

But it also lends itself to more personalized ads, which is the same case that Facebook makes for its use of data to inform advertisements that appear in users’ feeds.

By allowing advertisers to target users based on interests and demographics — data that Facebook says is not personally identifiable or it sells, ever — the content users see is more relevant, making for a better experience.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.15.46 PM

Source: Facebook

Google makes a similar statement about how its ads work: that it doesn’t sell your data to anyone, and that any data it collects or activity it tracks is to create a more personalized, relevant experience.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.13.45 PM

Source: Google

And while I have Google’s ad personalization turned off — it’s still collecting every single bit of activity I conduct across its apps and products.

What Google Is Tracking on Me

To start, here’s a look at the various products and services where Google is tracking my activity:

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.19.26 PM

Source: Google

To be clear, Google has this information about me, specifically, because I’ve conducted this activity while signed into my Google account.

What isn’t quite as clear, however, is how much Google is able to track on users who are not signed in — or if it has a way to later attach this behavior to a particular user once he or she signs in or creates an account.

Search Queries

To start, Google is tracking every single query I’ve made on its search engine, on every device I’m signed in on — from my phone (an iPhone, not a Google or Android operating system, where I do largely use Google’s Chrome browser), personal laptop, or work laptop.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.26.05 PM

I chose some of the less embarrassing results to share here — and left out, for instance, proof of my curiosity of certain reality TV personalities’ net worth. And while Google says that you can delete this activity, it remains unclear if and how long it remains stored.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.25.40 PM

Assistant Commands

I have, admittedly, grown a bit dependent on my smart speakers. After all, at one point, I tried using three of them.

But I’ve come to use my Google Home speaker more than the others, often asking it what time it is, to play white noise, or to ask for the current temperature in my neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 2.46.22 PM

Did you catch that last part? “In my neighborhood.” I don’t just ask Google what the weather is like in Boston — because of microclimates, I ask what the temperature is in my particular location.

That’s one way Google might be able to track where I am.

Combine that with some of my search history — e.g., “best facial in Boston” — and Google has even more information about where I might be, or be going.

That’s where things start to get tricky.

Maps

The AP’s investigation found that data pertaining to Princeton privacy researcher’s Gunes Acar travel was saved to his Google account — even though he had “Location History” paused.

In fact, researchers were able to build an interactive map of locations Acar — who uses an Android phone — visited over the course of three days.  Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 3.44.58 PM

Source: Associated Press

 

Upon closer inspection, I also saw that my “current location” was attached to specific tracked activities … even though I have Location History turned off.

When I searched for a recipe, for example, Google tracked that I did so from my “current location” — which is also stored.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 3.32.43 PM

It did the same thing when I used my Google Home to set my alarm.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 3.34.14 PM

That’s probably how the AP was able to compile a map of Acar’s known locations over several days — because of tracking points like these.

But why is it that Google attached a location to only some of my activity — like Assistant commands or search queries — and not all of them?

One possible theory is that I also had Google Maps running in the background at the same time. Depending on your mobile device’s location settings, certain apps can determine your location at all times, even if you’re not using it at a given moment. Those are the settings I had for Google Maps on my phone — which I quickly changed upon this discovery.

Image-1-1

But I also had a similar reaction to many of those quoted for AP’s investigation — in short, that it was “not cool” that my location was being tracked, despite having (thought that I) turned off Location History.

Even if Google hadn’t attached a location to these specific activities, some of the searches I conduct — especially those to find nearby business on Maps — can provide enough information to deduce my general whereabouts.

And while Google states its reasons for tracking that information — and explains how it’s kept safe — what’s more troubling is the number of users who are potentially unaware that this information is being collected.

Google, for its part, tells AP that it’s been nothing less than transparent about these settings — and that turning them off should be intuitive.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience,” a Google spokesperson told the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

Have you noticed unusual location or activity tracking? Feel free to reach out on Twitter.

The Ultimate Guide to Confidence

“To establish true self-confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” — Denis Waitley

I know what you’re thinking … easier said than done, right?

Nobody is born with high or low self-confidence. Confidence is a feeling that people develop and work on over time. For most people, confidence is something that comes and goes.

Think about it in terms of a cycle: When someone is at the top of the cycle, they are focused on their successes and accomplishments, meaning they might feel confident and strong. But when they are at the bottom of their cycle, they are focused on their failures and may feel low self-confidence or even defeat.

If you can identify with the feeling I’m referring to at the bottom of the confidence cycle, know you’re not alone. Everyone struggles with self-confidence every now and then. The key is realizing that confidence is like a muscle — the more you work on it, the easier it will become for you to use and maintain.

This article will teach you why everyone should work on their self-confidence, and it’ll provide you with ways to build your self-confidence.

But first — what is self-confidence?

What is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence is the feeling you have when you strut into a job interview knowing you’re going to impress the hiring manager. A person feels confident when they believe they can successfully do something by applying their judgement, knowledge, and prior experiences.

How Does Self Confidence Impact Your Life?

Think about a time when you felt extremely confident in your ability to do something.

Did you feel an adrenaline rush? Did you feel strong and powerful? Did you feel as though you could conquer the world?

Self-confidence does a lot of things for us. It boosts our self-esteem, diminishes stress, and often pushes us to act. But most importantly, it makes us feel good about ourselves.

Let’s dive into a few more ways self-confidence impacts our lives:

Your happiness and self-esteem will increase

Self-esteem is closely related to confidence but has a slightly different definition — it is a person’s evaluation of their self-worth and value.

There is a direct correlation between confidence and self-esteem. When you believe in yourself — your talents, capabilities, worth, and potential — both your self-esteem and confidence increase.

When your self-esteem increases, you believe you are worthy of the life you dream of and the success you desire. Not only will you become more confident, but you will more easily accept your failures, give yourself the credit you deserve, accept new challenges, and become happier.

In fact, self-esteem always exists with happiness — and there are studies to prove it. In almost every instance, people who feel good about themselves are significantly happier than those who lack self-worth. When self-confidence increases, your self-esteem and happiness do the same.

Think about it in terms of the following chart. Most people would feel high self-esteem, sure about their abilities, and good about standing up for their beliefs when behaving confidently — as listed in the left column. They are doing what makes them happy. The opposite is true about the right column.

confident-behavior-chart

Source: MindTools

Your stress and anxiety will decrease

Did your math teacher ever randomly call on the students who weren’t the strongest mathematicians to complete a problem in front of the entire class? Mine did.

Could you sense the stress and anxiety fuming from those students (yes … I was one of them) as they reluctantly walked to the front of the classroom?

My palms were sweaty and my right hand would shake while writing on the chalkboard — the pressure was on!

When a person in a situation like this doubts their abilities, they are down at the bottom of that confidence cycle I mentioned earlier. Due to increased stress and anxiety, they start to believe they don’t have the knowledge or experience to complete a task (or in this situation, complete a math problem correctly), even if that isn’t truly the case.

The feeling of low confidence and not being good or smart enough often manifests as stress or anxiety. And in extreme cases, it can even turn your body’s fight or flight mode on, which isn’t ideal unless you’re being chased by a hungry lion (or are experiencing another life or death situation).

lion-gif

Stress and anxiety on a regular basis can be detrimental to your self-confidence. These feelings cause excess release of cortisol and norepinephrine in the brain — making our bodies feel out of control and overwhelmed.

Unless you are actually trying to avoid becoming the lion’s lunch, there’s no reason to feel these feelings. And you certainly don’t want them just because your math teacher called you up to the board to complete a problem. Stress and anxiety can cloud your judgment and prevent you from thinking logically.

When stress and anxiety fade away, the excess release of cortisol and norepinephrine in the brain come to a halt. You are able to believe and trust in your abilities again, think logically, and feel as though you are ready to tackle new challenges that come your way — you’ll jump back to the top of that confidence cycle.

You’ll feel more motivated to act

If someone is confident in their ability to successfully do something, they’re more likely to volunteer to complete a task than someone who is less confident.

For example, imagine your manager coming to your team and saying, “Is anyone able to help me design a logo?” Chances are, the person with the background in design, or the most knowledge in the field, would volunteer their expertise … versus another person without any experience whatsoever.

This is called the power of certainty. When you’re more certain of — and confident in — your knowledge and abilities, you’re more likely to act.

If you’re confident in your abilities, not only will you feel more motivated to act, but the people around you will also want to trust you more … which takes us to our next section:  

People will trust you

If you’re the one with the design background, do speak up about that logo and successfully follow through with a fantastic result. You’re not only going to feel a boost in your self-confidence (“Yay! I did this, and I did this well”), but your manager and team will also trust you more. They’ll think of you next time they have a design project.

When you are confident in your abilities, people are more likely to trust you, listen to you, and follow you.

For example, imagine you’re working on a group project, and you need to elect a leader. One person in the group says, “I know I can lead us to success, and I already have a few ideas I’d like to share with you on how to accomplish this.” Another person in the group says, “I  don’t really like leadership roles, but I guess I could try if you all really want me to.”

The first person seems a lot more convincing, right? They also sound significantly more confident in their abilities to complete the job … and succeed.

When you are confident, more people are likely to follow your lead.

You have a greater potential for success

There are several studies that show a strong positive correlation between high levels of self-confidence and success. That’s not to say that people who struggle with confidence won’t be successful. However, research shows that people with higher levels of self-confidence achieve greater success in multiple areas of life.

There are a couple reasons for this:

  1. People who are confident have self-efficacy — a belief that they have the innate ability to achieve their goals, overcome challenges, and succeed
  2. When someone believes in their abilities, they are more likely to try until they succeed. They then have the experience that creates self-efficacy — it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now that you understand the benefits of having self-confidence, you may be asking yourself how you can work on your own self-confidence.

How to Build Self-Confidence

As I said earlier, self-confidence is like a muscle — you need to work it in order to improve. This means anyone can become more confident. Try these exercises to work on your self-confidence:

Get to Know Yourself

Knowing yourself means you understand your strengths and weaknesses. That also means you know exactly which areas of your life you are confident in and which areas you need to work on.

It’s clear why you would feel confident about your strengths. If you are good at something, you are much more likely to share your knowledge or act on that strength rather than a weakness or vulnerability of yours.

Take advantage of these strengths and use them to exercise your confidence. If you know how to do something, be the first person to raise your hand and demonstrate your skill or teach others. If you are confident in research you did, share your expertise. This will make you feel good and boost your confidence.

Then, work on some of your weaknesses. A confident person is not only aware of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but they embrace and use them as motivation.

Whether it’s studying a little harder, practicing more, asking for help, or spending a few extra minutes re-reading something, you can always push yourself out of your comfort zone to improve — and become more confident — in areas in which you typically lack confidence.

For example, if you’re someone who freezes up and gets anxiety while speaking publicly, sign up for a class or two. Practice in front of your family and friends. Then, when you have to give that speech, not only will you impress the audience, but you will impress yourself. This will help you develop the self-confidence you’re striving for an area in which you typically struggle.  

Be Prepared

When you are prepared to do something, you’re more confident in your ability to accomplish a task successfully.  

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” — Arthur Ashe

Preparation is a simple way to boost confidence. Think about it in terms your co-worker presenting at a big conference. This presentation is a reflection of your fellow employee’s work and knowledge, and it also requires them to speak alone in front of 50+ people — managers, directors, and other people of great influence included — for 30+ minutes. Sweating yet?

Your co-worker can prepare to the point that they are able to walk into that conference on presentation day excited to get started. By avoiding procrastination, knowing the information like the back of their hand, preparing for questions — or even technical difficulties — and working on their public speaking skills prior to the due date, they will feel confident and ready to give their presentation.

Think About Your Appearance

People can tell a lot about you and your level of confidence by the way you physically present yourself. That includes your overall dress and body language.

Imagine you’re conducting a job interview, and you have two equally qualified candidates. The first candidate is slouched over the entire interview, not making eye contact, and looks slightly disheveled. The second candidate gives you a firm handshake, is sitting up straight, looks you directly in the eyes, and is wearing a nice suit. Who would you choose for the job?

The second candidate seems significantly more confident, prepared, and impressive — and you can probably gather all of that about a person without even talking to them.

It’s proven that people feel greater self-confidence and esteem when they feel good about their appearance. So use appearance to your advantage — not only will you radiate confidence for the people around you to notice, but you will also use your appearance and body language to make yourself feel more confident in any type of situation.

Stay Positive

Positivity is a key component to building self-confidence. It’s what keeps you from beating yourself up after a setback or mistake.

By not accepting failure and staying positive, you’ll actually help yourself become a more confident person.

yes-you-can

Here’s an example: If you’re trying to learn a new software at work, and you’re continually making mistakes, sure, you might be frustrated, but I’d bet you’re also learning a lot throughout the process.

Once you’re finally able to iron out these issues and understand how to use the new software, you have proven to yourself that you can get through a challenging time. This should not only get you excited and make you feel confident about this specific situation, but it should also make you feel confident in your abilities to tackle another difficult project.

It’s not always the stuff that comes naturally to you that makes you super confident. Instead, it’s usually the stuff you have to work really hard to get through.

Resources to Help You Build Confidence

Whether it’s a book, podcast, or TED Talk, there are a number of resources to help you build self-confidence.

Pick Up a Book

There are hundreds of books on building self-confidence and how to use it  to your advantage. Here are few options::

You Are a Badass

This humorous bestseller is a self-help book that contains a guide on how to create a life you love. It’s filled with inspiring stories, advice, and applicable ways to incorporate aspects of the guide in your life.

This book will help you build confidence in everything you do, love yourself, and achieve your biggest goals.

The Confidence Code

Research, gender, behavior, and cognition are all discussed in The Confidence Code. The book — which is targeted at women — talks about the reasons why men are typically more confident in the workplace and gives female readers advice on how to close this gap.

This is a great option for any woman who wants to learn how to develop more confidence at work and achieve their dream careers, whether or not they’re in a male-driven field.

Daring Greatly

This New York Times #1 bestseller dives into the ways that vulnerability can help measure courage.

This book — written by Brené Brown — teaches individuals how to use their vulnerabilities and challenges to their advantage. According to society and culture, vulnerabilities are weaknesses. But according to Brown, they are a way to build courage and confidence.

Listen to a Podcast

Maybe you need some audio inspiration before your next confidence challenge? Here are a few podcasts that will help you build your self-confidence:

Earn Your Happy

This podcast gives you insight and advice on ways to work through your fears, boost self-esteem, and build your confidence in both your personal and professional lives. It’s great for those who need the occasional reminder to stay positive and take life a little less seriously.

Daily Meditation Podcast

Meditation pushes individuals to look inward, reflect, and determine what changes they can make to improve their lives.

With daily meditations on confidence, self-esteem, anxiety, confidence, and stress reduction, this podcast will help you work towards the healthy and happy lifestyle you’re looking to achieve.

Your Motivational High 5

All you need is five minutes to enjoy this podcast.

This podcast will take you through five minutes of meditation and help you develop good mental health practices. This podcast is quick, effective, and forces listeners to take a short break during the day to focus on their happiness, well-being, confidence, and strength.

Conclusion

Self-confidence is not always easy to achieve or maintain, but it’s something that everyone deserves to experience. There are many reasons why confidence is essential in our personal and professional lives, but most importantly, it plays an integral role in our happiness.

Try boosting your own confidence and self-esteem in some areas of your life that need a bit of attention or work. Give a few of the steps mentioned above a try and learn what works for you.

45 Quotes That Celebrate Teamwork, Hard Work, and Collaboration

We’ve all been a part of that group project. You know, the project where one person takes the lead, leading some members to conclude their ideas are unwelcome, while a select few ride the others’ coattails.

Thanks to experiences like this, it’s no surprise why so many people have been scarred by the nightmares of past group projects.

And yet, something incredible happens when teamwork happens the way it’s supposed to happen. Things change when everyone on the team is equally invested in the overall purpose and goal. You find yourself working faster, finding mistakes more easily, and innovating better.Click here to unlock a free guide and template designed to help you create a  company culture code. 

Ultimately, you reach a point where you’re certain each person on your team has your back — and both your job satisfaction and performance skyrocket. (Getting inbound certified doesn’t hurt, either.)

To inspire your team to band together and celebrate collaboration, we’ve gathered some of our favorite quotes on the power of teamwork. Flip through the following SlideShare, then check out the full list of inspirational quotes below — including some remarks about hard work to keep your collaborative juices flowing.

Teamwork Quotes to Inspire Collaboration

1. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller (Click to Tweet!)

2. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford (Click to Tweet!)

3. “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (Click to Tweet!)

4. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Isaac Newton that reads "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

5. “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock (Click to Tweet!)

6. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie (Click to Tweet!)

7. “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin (Click to Tweet!)

8. “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford (Click to Tweet!)

9. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Michael Jordan that reads "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."

10. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson (Click to Tweet!)

11. “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” – James Cash Penney (Click to Tweet!)

12. “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” – Edwin Land (Click to Tweet!)

13. “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler (Click to Tweet!)

14. “Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus.” – Simon Mainwaring (Click to Tweet!)

Teamwork quote by Simon Mainwaring that reads "Effectively, change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation, and consensus."

15. “Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” – Patrick Lencioni (Click to Tweet!)

16. “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” – Jim Stovall (Click to Tweet!)

17. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth (Click to Tweet!)

18. “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” – George Shinn (Click to Tweet!)

19. “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” –Napolean Hill (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Napolean Hill

20. “The whole is other than the sum of the parts.” – Kurt Koffka (Click to Tweet!)

21. “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of others.” – Norman Shidle (Click to Tweet!)

22. “The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team.” – Lewis B. Ergen (Click to Tweet!)

23. “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi (Click to Tweet!)

24. “One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but teamwork dynamites.” – Jin Kwon (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Jin Kwon

25. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” – Reid Hoffman (Click to Tweet!)

26. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain (Click to Tweet!)

27. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington (Click to Tweet!)

28. “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs (Click to Tweet!)

29. “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro (Click to Tweet!)

Quote by Ryunosuke Satoro

30. “Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” – Virginia Burden (Click to Tweet!)

31. “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa (Click to Tweet!)

32. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman (Click to Tweet!)

33. “It takes two flints to make a fire.” – Louisa May Alcott (Click to Tweet!)

34. “The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” – Iyanla Vanzant (Click to Tweet!)

35. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb (Click to Tweet!)

36. “Success is best when it’s shared.” – Howard Schultz (Click to Tweet!)

Hard Work Quotes to Inspire Determination

37. “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke (Click to Tweet!)

38. “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Ariana Huffington (Click to Tweet!)

39. “When the ideas are coming, I don’t stop until the ideas stop because that train doesn’t come along all the time.” – Dr. Dre (Click to Tweet!)

40. “Someone once told me growth and comfort do not coexist. And I think it’s a really good thing to remember.” – Ginni Rometty (Click to Tweet!)

41. “Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.” – Helena Rubinstein (Click to Tweet!)

42. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment.” – Mahatma Gandhi (Click to Tweet!)

43. “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson (Click to Tweet!)

44. “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” – Malcolm Forbes (Click to Tweet!)

45. “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi Jr. (Click to Tweet!)

Want more? Read about Fun Corporate Team-Building Activities & Outing Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy.

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30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making

Even after years of education, there are some things that some people still mess up. For me, it’s algebra. For others, it’s the laws of physics. And for many, it’s grammar.

It’s not easy. Words and phrases that sound fine in your head can look like gibberish when written down — that is, if you even realize you made a mistake in the first place. It’s easy for little grammar mistakes to slip by, especially when you’re self-editing.

But how do you prevent grammatical errors if you’re not even aware you’re making them?Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

Well, you can start by reading through this post to see which common grammar mistakes resonate with you the most. (It’s okay — we’re all guilty of at least one.) Make a mental note to avoid that mistake in the future, or heck, just bookmark this page to remind yourself of them over and over (and over) again.

Guide to Writing Well

1. They’re vs. Their vs. There

One’s a contraction for “they are” (they’re), one refers to something owned by a group (their), and one refers to a place (there). You know the difference among the three — just make sure you triple check that you’re using the right ones in the right places at the right times.

I find it’s helpful to search through my posts (try control + F on PC or command + F on Mac) for those words and check that they’re being used in the right context. Here’s the correct usage of “they’re,” “there,” and “their”:

They’re going to love going there — I heard their food is the best!

2. Your vs. You’re

The difference between these two is owning something versus actually being something:

You made it around the track in under a minute — you’re fast!

How’s your fast going? Are you getting hungry?

See the difference? “Your” is possessive and “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Again, if you’re having trouble keeping them straight, try doing another grammar check before you hit publish.

3. Its vs. It’s

This one tends to confuse even the best of writers. “Its” is possessive and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is.” Lots of people get tripped up because “it’s” has an ‘s after it, which normally means something is possessive. But in this case, it’s actually a contraction.

Do a control + F to find this mistake in your writing. It’s really hard to catch on your own, but it’s a mistake everyone can make.

4. Incomplete Comparisons

This one drives me up a wall when I see it in the wild. Can you see what’s wrong with this sentence?

Our car model is faster, better, stronger.

Faster, better, stronger … than what? What are you comparing your car to? A horse? A competitor’s car? An older model?

When you’re asserting that something should be compared to something else, make sure you always clarify what that something else is. Otherwise, it’s impossible for your readers to discern what the comparison actually means.

5. Passive Voice

If you have a sentence with an object in it — basically a noun that receives the action — passive voice can happen to you. Passive happens when the object of a sentence is put at the beginning of a sentence instead of at the end. With passive voice, your writing comes across as sounding weak and unclear.

Hold up. Re-read that last paragraph I just wrote:

“… Passive happens when the object of a sentence is put at the beginning of a sentence instead of at the end …”

There’s way too much passive voice. See how the sentence doesn’t have a subject that’s acting upon the object? The object is mysteriously being “put at the beginning,” making the sentence sound vague and clunky.

Passive voice happens when you have an object (a noun that receives the action) as the subject of a sentence. Normally, the object of the sentence appears at the end, following a verb. Passive writing isn’t as clear as active writing — your readers will thank you for your attention to detail later.

Let’s try that again, using active voice:

Passive happens when the writer puts the object of a sentence at the beginning, instead of at the end.

In this example, the sentence correctly uses a subject, “the writer,” to actively describe the object.

Make sense? It’s kind of a complicated thing to describe, but active voice makes your writing seem more alive and clear. Want to get into the nitty-gritty of avoiding passive voice? Check out this tip from Grammar Girl.

6. Dangling Modifiers

I love the name of this mistake — it makes me think of a dramatic, life-or-death situation such as hanging precariously off a cliff. (Of course grammar mistakes are never that drastic, but it helps me remember to keep them out of my writing.)

This mistake happens when a descriptive phrase doesn’t apply to the noun that immediately follows it. It’s easier to see in an example taken from my colleague over on the HubSpot Sales Blog:

After declining for months, Jean tried a new tactic to increase ROI.

What exactly is declining for months? Jean? In reality, the sentence was trying to say that the ROI was declining — not Jean. To fix this problem, try flipping around the sentence structure (though beware of passive voice):

Jean tried a new tactic to increase ROI after it had been declining for months.

Better, right?

7. Referring to a Brand or Entity as ‘They’

A business ethics professor made me aware of this mistake. “A business is not plural,” he told our class. “Therefore, the business is not ‘they.’ It’s ‘it.'”

So, what’s the problem with this sentence?

To keep up with their changing audience, Southwest Airlines rebranded in 2014.

The confusion is understandable. In English, we don’t identify a brand or an entity as “he” or “she” — so “they” seems to make more sense. But as the professor pointed out, it’s just not accurate. A brand or an entity is “it.”

To keep up with its changing audience, Southwest Airlines rebranded in 2014.

It might seem a little strange at first, but once you start correctly referring to a brand or entity as “it,” the phrasing will sound much more natural than “they.”

8. Possessive Nouns

Most possessive nouns will have an apostrophe — but where you put that apostrophe can be confusing. Here’s an example of possessive nouns used incorrectly:

All of the lizard’s tails grew back.

In this sentence, “all” implies there’s more than one lizard, but the location of the apostrophe suggests there really is just one.

Here are a few general rules to follow:

  • If the noun is plural, add the apostrophe after the s. For example: the dogs’ bones.
  • If the noun is singular and ends in s, you should also put the apostrophe after the s. For example: the dress’ blue color.
  • On the other hand, if the noun is singular and doesn’t end in an s, you’ll add the apostrophe before the s. For example: the lizard’s tail.

Simple, right? If you want a deeper dive into the rules of possessive nouns, check out this website.

9. Affect vs. Effect

This one is another one of my pet peeves. Most people confuse them when they’re talking about something changing another thing.

That movie effected me greatly.

Effect, with an “e,” isn’t used as a verb the way “affect” is, so the sentence above is incorrect. When you’re talking about the change itself — the noun — you’ll use “effect.”

That movie had a great effect on me.

When you’re talking about the act of changing — the verb — you’ll use “affect.”

That movie affected me greatly.

10. Me vs. I

Most people understand the difference between the two of these, until it comes time for them to use one in a sentence.

When you get done with that lab report, can you send it to Bill and I?

The sentence above is actually wrong, as proper as it sounds.

Try taking Bill out of that sentence — it sounds weird, right? You would never ask someone to send something to “I” when he or she is done. The reason it sounds weird is because “I” is the object of that sentence — and “I” should not be used in objects. In that situation, you’d use “me.”

When you get done with that lab report, can you send it to Bill and me?

Much better.

11. To vs. Too

We’ve all accidentally left the second “o” off of “too” when texting in a hurry. But in case the mistake goes beyond that, let’s review some usage rules.

“To” is typically used before a noun or verb, and describes a destination, recipient, or action. Take these examples:

My friend drove me to my doctor’s appointment. (Destination)

I sent the files to my boss. (Recipient)

I’m going to get a cup of coffee. (Action)

“Too,” on the other hand, is a word that’s used as an alternative to “also” or “as well.” It’s also used to describe an adjective in extremes. Have a look:

My colleague, Sophia Bernazzani, writes for the HubSpot marketing blog, too.

She, too, is vegan.

We both think it’s too cold outside.

You might have noticed that there’s some interesting comma usage where the word “too” is involved. We’ll cover commas a bit more later, but when you’re using the word “too” to replace “also” or “as well,” the general rule is to use a comma both before and after. The only exception occurs when “too” is the last word in the sentence — then, follow it with a period.

12. Do’s and Don’ts

I’m not talking about the do’s and don’ts of grammar here — I’m talking about the actual words: “do’s” and “don’ts.” They look weird, right? That’s because of two things:

  1. There’s an apostrophe in one to make it plural … which typically isn’t done, and
  2. The apostrophes aren’t put in the same place in both words.

Unfortunately, it’s AP Style, so we just have to live with it. It’s a hot angle for content formats, so I wouldn’t shy away from using it. But when you’re checking your writing for grammatical errors, just remember that the apostrophes should be in different places.

Note: There are different schools of thought about how to punctuate this one depending on what style guide/usage book you’re using. The Chicago Manual of Style, for instance, recommends “dos” and “don’ts.” The important thing is to be consistent and stick to one style guide, whether it’s AP Style, Chicago, or your own house style guide.

13. i.e. vs. e.g.

Confession: I never remember this rule, so I have to Google it every single time I want to use it in my writing. I’m hoping that by writing about it here, the trend will stop.

Many people use the terms interchangeably when trying to elaborate on a point, but each one means something different: “i.e.” roughly means “that is” or “in other words,” while “e.g.” means “example given” or “for example.” The former is used to clarify something you’ve said, while the latter adds color to a story through an example.

14. Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

This mistake is another one I often see people make, even if they know what they mean.

  • Peek is taking a quick look at something — like a sneak peek of a new film.
  • Peak is a sharp point — like the peak of a mountain.
  • And pique means to provoke or instigate — you know, like your interest.

If you’re going to use one in your writing, stop and think for a second — is that the right “peek” you should be using?

15. Who vs. That

This one is tricky. These two words can be used when you’re describing someone or something through a phrase like, “Lindsay is a blogger who likes ice cream.” When you’re describing a person, be sure to use “who.”

When you’re describing an object, use “that.” For example, you should say, “Her computer is the one that overheats all the time.” It’s pretty simple, but definitely something that gets overlooked frequently.

16. Who vs. Whom vs. Whose vs. Who’s

Whoa. This one looks like a bit of a doozy. Let’s break it down, shall we?

“Who” is used to identify a living pronoun. If you asked, “Who ate all of the cookies?” the answer could be a person, like myself (“I did”), or another living being (“the dog did”).

Hey, both are realistic scenarios in my world.

“Whom” is a little trickier. It’s usually used to describe someone who’s receiving something, like a letter — “To whom will it be addressed?” But it can also be used to describe someone on the receiving end of an action, like in this sentence:

Whom did we hire to join the podcast team?

“Whose” is used to assign ownership to someone. See if you can spot the error in this question:

Who’s sweater is that?

Because the sweater belongs to someone, it should actually be written this way:

Whose sweater is that?

“Who’s,” on the other hand, is used to identify a living being. It’s a contraction for “who is” — here’s an example of how we might use it in a sentence here in Boston:

Who’s pitching for the Red Sox tonight?

See the difference? “Whose” is used to figure out who something belongs to, whereas “who’s” is used to identify someone who’s doing something.

17. “Alot” vs. A lot vs. Allot

I hate to break it to all of you “alot” fans out there, but “alot” is not a word. If you’re trying to say that someone has a vast number of things, you’d say they have “a lot” of things. And if you’re trying to say that you want to set aside a certain amount of money to buy something, you’d say you’ll “allot” $20 to spend on gas.

If you’re trying to remember to stay away from “alot,” check out this awesome cartoon by Hyperbole and a Half featuring the alot. That face will haunt you for the rest of your content marketing days.

18. Into vs. In to

Let’s clarify the “into” versus “in to” debate.

They’re often confused, but “into” indicates movement (Lindsay walked into the office) while “in to” is used in lots of situations because the individual words “to” and “in” are frequently used in other parts of a sentence. For example, “to” is often used with infinitive verbs (e.g. “to drive”). Or “in” can be used as part of a verb (e.g. “call in to a meeting”).

So if you’re trying to decide which to use, first figure out if the words “in” or “to” actually modify other words in the sentence. If they don’t, ask yourself if it’s indicating some sort of movement — if it does, you’re good to use “into.”

19. Lose vs. Loose

When people mix up “lose” and “loose,” it’s usually just because they’re spelled so similarly. They know their definitions are completely different.

According to Merriam-Webster, “lose” is a verb that means “to be unable to find (something or someone), to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.), or to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued).” It’s like losing your keys or losing a football match.

“Loose” is an adjective that means “not tightly fastened, attached, or held,” like loose clothing or a loose tooth.

A trick for remembering the difference is to think of the term “loosey-goosey” — both of those words are spelled with two o’s.

20. Then vs. Than

What’s wrong with this sentence?

My dinner was better then yours.

*Shudder.* In the sentence above, “then” should be “than.” Why? Because “than” is a conjunction used mainly to make comparisons — like saying one thing was better “than” another. “Then” is mainly an adverb used to situate actions in time:

We made dinner, and then we ate it.

21. Of vs. Have

I have a bad habit of overusing a phrase that goes like this: “Shoulda, coulda, woulda.” That basically means I regret not doing something, but it’s too late to dwell on it now. For example, “I shoulda done my laundry on Sunday.”

But “shoulda,” “coulda,” and “woulda” are all short for something else. What’s wrong with this statement?

I should of done my laundry on Sunday.

Since it’s so common for us to throw around fake worlds like “shoulda,” the above mistake is an easy one to make — “shoulda” sounds like a shortened version of “should of.” But really, “shoulda” is short for “should have.” See how it works in these sentences:

I should have done my laundry on Sunday.

I could have taken a shorter route.

I would have gone grocery shopping on Friday, if I had time.

So next time, instead of saying, “shoulda, woulda, coulda,” I should probably say, “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.”

22. Use of Commas

There are entire courses on correct comma usage, but let’s go over some of the most common comma use cases here.

To Separate Elements in a Series

Each element in a series should be separated by a comma. For example: “I brought a jacket, a blanket, and an umbrella to the park.” That last comma is optional. It’s called an “Oxford comma,” and whether you use it depends on your company’s internal style guide.

To Separate Independent Clauses

You can use commas to separate independent clauses that are joined by “and,” “but,” “for,” “or,” “nor,” “so,” or “yet.” For example, this sentence is correctly written: “My brother is very smart, and I’ve learned a lot from him.”

An independent clause is a sentence that can stand on its own. Here’s how to test it: Would the second part of the sentence (following one of those coordinating conjunctions) make a full sentence on its own? If so, add a comma. If it doesn’t, leave it out.

To Separate an Introductory Word or Phrase.

At the beginning of a sentence, we often add an introductory word or phrase that requires a subsequent comma. For example:

In the beginning, I had no idea how to use a comma.

Or:

However, after reading an awesome blog post, I understand the difference.

Other common introductory words and phrases include “after,” “although,” “when,” and “while.”

To learn about more use cases for the comma, check out this blog post from Daily Writing Tips.

23. Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure

All of these words have to do with “making an outcome sure,” which is why they’re so often mixed up. However, they aren’t interchangeable.

  • “To assure” means to promise or say with confidence. For example, “I assure you that he’s good at his job.”
  • “To ensure” means to make certain. For example, “Ensure you’re free when I visit next weekend.”
  • Finally, “to insure” means to protect against risk by regularly paying an insurance company. For example, “I insure my car because the law requires it.”

24. Less vs. Fewer

You know the checkout aisle in the grocery store that says “10 Items or Less”? That’s actually incorrect. It should be “10 Items or Fewer.”

Why? Because “items” are quantifiable — you can count out 10 items. Use “fewer” for things that are quantifiable, like “fewer M&Ms” or “fewer road trips.” Use “less” for things that aren’t quantifiable, like “less candy” and “less traveling.”

25. Semicolons

Semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses that, though they could stand on their own, are closely related. For example, you could use a semicolon in the sentence: “Call me tomorrow; I’ll have an answer for you by then.”

Notice that each clause could be its own sentence — but stylistically, it makes more sense for them to be joined. (If there’s a coordinating conjunction between the two clauses — like “and,” “but”, or “or” — use a comma instead.)

You can also use semicolons to separate items in a list when those items contain commas themselves:

There are two options for breakfast: eggs and bacon, which is high in protein and low in carbs; or oatmeal and fruit, which is high in carbs but has more fiber.

26. Compliment vs. Complement

These two words are pronounced exactly the same, making them easy to mix up. But they’re actually quite different.

If something “complements” something else, that means it completes it, enhances it, or makes it perfect. For example, a wine selection can complement a meal, and two colors can complement each other.

The word “compliment” though, refers to an expression of praise (as a noun), or to praise or express admiration for someone (as a verb). You can compliment your friend’s new haircut, or pay someone a compliment on his or her haircut.

27. Farther vs. Further

People often use “farther” and “further” interchangeably to mean “at a greater distance.”

However, in most countries, there are actually subtle differences in meaning between the two. “Farther” is used more to refer to physical distances, while “further” is used more to refer to figurative and nonphysical distances. So while Paris is “farther” away than Madrid, a marketing team falls “further” away from its leads goal. (Note: The word “further” is preferred for all senses of the word in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations.)

The word “further” can also be used as an adjective or as an adverb to mean “additionally.” For example, “I have no further questions.”

28. En Dash vs. Em Dash

Both “–” and “—” are versions of the dash: “–” is the en dash, and “—” or “–” are both versions of the em dash. You can use either the en dash or the em dash to signify a break in a sentence or set off parenthetical statements.

The en dash can also be used to represent time spans or differentiation, such as, “That will take 5–10 minutes.”

The em dash, on the other hand, can be used to set off quotation sources, such as, “‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’ —Shakespeare.”

29. Title Capitalization

This one is tough, since so many different outlets apply different rules to how titles are capitalized. Luckily, I have a secret weapon — TitleCap.

The site outlines capitalization rules as follows:

  1. Capitalize the first and the last word.
  2. Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
  3. Lowercase articles (“a,” “an,” “the”), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions.
  4. Lowercase the ‘to’ in an infinitive (“I want to play guitar”).

Let’s use the title of this post as an example: “Grammar Police: 30 of the Most Common Grammatical Errors We All Need to Stop Making.” If left to my own devices — and remember, I write for a living — I would have left “We” lowercase. I always have to double-check, which is why guides like this one are so valuable.

30. Between vs. Among

Let’s clear this one up: The word “between” is used to refer to two (or sometimes more) things that are clearly separated, and the word “among” is used to refer to things that aren’t clearly separated because they’re part of a group or mass of objects.

So you choose between a red shirt and a black shirt, but you choose among all your shirts. You walk between Centre Street and Broad Street, but you walk among your friends.

English, like many other languages, has its own set of tricky rules and intricacies. But with a little bit of practice and help from guides like this one, you can become a grammar master.

Want to learn more about grammar? Check out the 23 Witty Grammar Jokes & Puns to Satisfy Your Inner Grammar Nerd.

free guide to writing well

YouTube Poised to Unseat Facebook as #2 Website in the U.S.

A new study reveals that there may be a shakeup on the list of the top five U.S. websites.

According to research conducted by Market Intelligence Central, the top highest-visited websites in the U.S. have largely held steady for a few years. That order is as follows:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Yahoo
  5. Amazon

But now, YouTube is poised to surpass Facebook for the #2 spot.

According to this research, Facebook.com has seen a loss of roughly 2.8 billion visits each month over the past two years.

At the same time, engagement with Facebook Page posts has dropped 50%, and during its Q2 2018 earnings call, the company revealed a plateaued number of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada: its largest market.

Combine that with YouTube’s increased number of site visits — and growing viewership of its content on diversified platforms, like the YouTube app, as well as streaming tools like Chromecast.

Should it outrank Facebook, the study says, it’s likely to do so within the next three months.

Source: Market Intelligence Central

Meanwhile, the research shows that usage of the core Facebook app has increased — and notes that the company has focused its growth efforts on the expansion of its overall portfolio of products and applications.

In 2012, Facebook acquired visual content-sharing app Instagram, which has been pointed to as crucial to the company’s success.

But with decelerating user growth, falling Page post engagement, and a decreasing number of website visits — is staying afloat the most Facebook can ask for?

Or, does Facebook have a chance to continue growing — and if so, where should those growth efforts be focused? 

One might point to emerging technology, like virtual reality (VR), which while slow to catch on as a consumer hit, has received investments from Facebook — including its Oculus VR headsets.

The company’s annual VR conference, Oculus Connect, is scheduled to take place next month, where the company is expected to announce new investments in and product releases around this technology.

But where many — including HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick — believe Facebook should focus its growth efforts, is on further diversification and monetization of apps.

“If I was Facebook, I would care so much more about growing my apps, than growing my .com traffic,” says Dick. “The thing it needs to stress about, from a valuation perspective, is that its desktop advertising products are well established — which could put pressure on its revenue while it figures out monetization of messaging.”

Earlier this month, Facebook began to launch monetization channels within messaging platform WhatsApp, including ways for users to connect and communicate with businesses.

Source: WhatsApp

“Facebook’s strategy is to get as much of the world as possible communicating through its apps,” Dick says. “And between Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, it’s working.”

How to Add a Text Box in Google Docs [FAQ]

A text box is an effective way to draw attention to important information on a page, or organize your thoughts visually.

Adding a text box to a Google Doc can also make your document look more formal and professional — which is particularly important if you’re sharing the Doc with colleagues.

If you need to differentiate a set of text for your next marketing meeting notes or brainstorming session, you’ll need to know how to add a text box in Google Docs. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to do. In fact, it should take less than a minute once you get the hang of it. Here’s how.

How to Add a Text Box in Google Docs

1. Go to “Insert” and then click “Drawing … “.

2. Within the Drawing tool, click the “Text box” (it’s the box in the tool bar with a “T” in the middle).

3. Draw your desired text box shape. Then, type your text into the box.

4. In the toolbar, you’ll see a paint bucket. Click that to change the color in your text box, or text box border, if you want.

5. When you’re happy with your text box, click “Save & Close”.

6. And voila! Your text box is instantly placed in your Google Doc. If you want to move it around, simply drag it or pull the corners to change the size.

That’s it! Check out our “Ultimate Guide to Google Docs” next, if you’re looking for a more in-depth dive into the ins and outs of Google Docs.

How to Sort in Excel: A Simple Guide to Organizing Data

When it comes to Excel, here’s a good rule to live by: If you find yourself doing something manually, there’s probably an easier way.

Whether you’re trying to remove duplicates, do simple calculations, or sort your data, you can almost always find a workaround that’ll help you get it done with just a click (or two) of a button.

But if you’re not a power user, it’s easy to overlook these shortcuts. And before you know it, something as simple as organizing a list of names in alphabetical order can suck up a ton of your time.

Click here to download our collection of free Excel templates that will make  your life easier.

Luckily, there is a workaround for that. In fact, there are a few different ways to use Excel’s sorting feature that you may not know about. Let’s check them out below, starting with the basics.

For this first set of instructions, we’ll be using Microsoft Excel 2017 for Mac. But don’t worry — while the location of certain buttons might be different, the icons and selections you have to make are the same across most earlier versions of Excel.

1. Highlight the rows and/or columns you want sorted.

To sort a range of cells in Excel, first click and drag your cursor across your spreadsheet to highlight all of the cells you want to sort — even those rows and columns whose values you’re not actually sorting by.

For example, if you want to sort column A, but there’s data associated with column A in columns B and C, it’s important to highlight all three columns to ensure the values in Columns B and C move along with the cells you’re sorting in Column A.

In the screenshot below, we’re going to sort this sheet by the last name of Harry Potter characters. But the first name and house of each person needs to go with each last name that gets sorted, or each column will become mismatched when we finish sorting.

Highlighted spreadsheet of Harry Potter names and houses in Excel

2. Navigate to ‘Data’ along the top and select ‘Sort.’

Once all the data you want to sort is highlighted, select the “Data” tab along the top navigation bar (you can see this button on the top-right of the screenshot in the first step, above). This tab will expand a new set of options beneath it, where you can select the “Sort” button. The icon has an “A-Z” graphic on it, as you can see below, but you’ll be able to sort in more ways than just alphabetically.

Data tab in Excel, with an arrow pointing to the Sort icon

3. If sorting by column, select the column you want to order your sheet by.

When you hit the “Sort” button, shown above, a window of settings will appear. This is where you can configure what you’d like sorted and how you’d like to sort it.

If you’re sorting by a specific column, click “Column” — the leftmost dropdown menu, shown below — and select the column whose values you want to be your sorting criteria. In our case, it’ll be “Last Name.”

Sort settings window with a dropdown menu of options in the Column section

4. If sorting by row, click ‘Options’ and select ‘Sort left to right.’

If you’d rather sort by a specific row, rather than a column, click “Options” on the bottom of the window and select “Sort left to right.” Once you do this, the Sort settings window will reset and ask you to choose the specific “Row” you’d like to sort by in the leftmost dropdown (where it currently says “Column”).

This sorting system doesn’t quite make sense for our example, so we’ll stick with sorting by the “Last Name” column.

Option to Sort by left to right in Excel

5. Choose what you’d like sorted.

You don’t just have to sort by the value of each cell. In the middle column of your Sort settings window, you’ll see a dropdown menu called “Sort On.” Click it, and you can choose to sort your sheet by different characteristics of each cell in the column/row you’re sorting by. These options include cell color, font color, or any icon included in the cell.

6. Choose how you’d like to order your sheet.

In the third section of your Sort settings’ window, you’ll see a dropdown bar called “Order.” Click it to select how you’d like to order your spreadsheet.

By default, your Sort settings window will suggest sorting alphabetically (which we’ll show you shortcuts for in the next process below). But you can also sort from Z to A, as well as by a custom list. While you can create your own custom list, there are a few preset lists you can sort your data by right away. We’ll talk more about how and why you might sort by custom list in a few minutes.

To Sort by Number

If your spreadsheet includes a column of numbers, rather than letter-based values, you can also sort your sheet by these numbers. To do that, you’ll select this column in the leftmost “Columns” dropdown menu. This will change the options in the “Order” dropdown bar so that you can sort from “Smallest to Largest” or “Largest to Smallest.”

7. Click ‘OK.’

Click “OK,” in your Sort settings window, and you should see your list successfully sorted according to your desired criteria. Here’s what our Harry Potter list now looks like, organized by last name in alphabetical order:

Alphabetized spreadsheet of Harry Potter names and houses in Excel

Sometimes you may have a list of data that has no organization whatsoever. Maybe you exported a list of your marketing contacts or blog posts. Whatever the case may be, you might want to start by alphabetizing the list — and there’s an easy way to do this that doesn’t require you to follow each step outlined above.

To Alphabetize on a Mac

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar and look for the “Sort” option on the left.
  3. If the “A” is on top of the “Z,” you can just click on that button once. If the “Z” is on top of the “A,” click on the button twice. Note: When the “A” is on top of the “Z,” that means your list will be sorted in alphabetical order. However, when the “Z” is on top of the “A,” that means your list will be sorted in reverse alphabetical order.


Excel_Sorting_-_A_to_Z.gif

To Alphabetize on a PC

  1. Select a cell in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see Sort options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked. If it is, click “Cancel.”
  4. Click on the button that has the “A” on top and the “Z” on the bottom with an arrow pointing down. That will sort your list alphabetically from “A” to “Z.” If you want to sort your list in reverse alphabetical order, click on the button that has the “Z” on top and the “A” on the bottom.

Excel_Sorting_A_to_Z_on_PC.gif

Sorting Multiple Columns

Sometimes you don’t just want to sort one column, but you want to sort two. Let’s say you want to organize all of your blog posts that you have in a list by the month they were published. First, you’d want to organize them by date, and then by the blog post title or URL.

In this example, I want to sort my list first by house, and then by last name. This would give me a list organized by each house, but also alphabetized within each house.

To Sort Multiple Columns on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar and look for the “Sort” option on the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown menu. (In this case, it is “House.”)
  6. Then, click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Under where it says “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  7. Check the “Order” column to make sure it says A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  8. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.

multiple_columns_sort_mac-1.gif

To Sort Multiple Columns on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear. Make sure “My data has headers” is checked if you have column headers.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown menu. (In this case, it is “House.”)
  5. Then click on “Add Level” at the top left of the pop-up. Under where it says “Column” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  6. Check the “Order” column to make sure it says A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  7. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.

Excel_Multiple_Column_Sorting_A_to_Z_on_PC.gif

Sorting in Custom Order

Sometimes you don’t want to sort by A to Z or Z to A. Sometimes you want to sort by something else, such as months, days of the week, or some other organizational system.

In situations like this, you can create your own custom order to specify exactly the order you want the sort. (It follows a similar path to multiple columns but is slightly different.)

Let’s say we have everyone’s birthday month at Hogwarts, and we want everyone to be sorted first by Birthday Month, then by House, and then by Last Name.

To Sort in Custom Order on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column,” select the first column in your spreadsheet you want to sort from the dropdown menu. In this case, it is “Birthday Month.”
  6. Under the “Order” column, click on the dropdown next to “A to Z.” Select the option for “Custom List.”
  7. You will see a couple of options (month and day). Select the month list where the months are spelled out, as that matches the data. Click “OK.”
  8. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Under “Column,” select “House” from the dropdown.
  9. Click on the “+” sign at the bottom left again. Under “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  10. Check the “Order” column to make sure “House” and “Last Name” say A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  11. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.

custom_order_Mac.gif

To Sort in Custom Order on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the column you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column,” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Birthday Month.”
  5. Under the “Order” column, click on the dropdown next to “A to Z.” Select the option for “Custom List.”
  6. You will see a couple of options (month and day), as well as the option to create your own custom order. Select the month list where the months are spelled out, as that matches the data. Click “OK.”
  7. Then, click on “Add Level” at the top left of the pop-up. Under “Column,” select “House” from the dropdown.
  8. Click on the “Add Level” button at the top left of the pop-up again. Under “Column,” select “Last Name” from the dropdown.
  9. Check the “Order” column to make sure “House” and “Last Name” say A to Z. Then click “OK.”
  10. Marvel at your beautiful organized list.

Excel_Custom_Sort_on_PC.gif

Sorting a Row

Sometimes your data may appear in rows instead of columns. When that happens you are still able to sort your data with a slightly different step.

To Sort a Row on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: Click on “Options” at the bottom.
  5. Under “Orientation” select “Sort left to right.” Then, click “OK.”
  6. You will see five columns. Under “Row,” select the row number that you want to sort from the dropdown. (In this case, it is Row 1.) When you are done, click “OK.”

row_sorting_mac.gif

To Sort a Row on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” You will see a pop-up appear.
  4. Click on “Options” at the bottom.
  5. Under “Orientation” select “Sort left to right.” Then, click “OK.”
  6. You will see three columns. Under “Row,” select the row number that you want to sort from the dropdown. (In this case, it is Row 1.) When you are done, click “OK.”

Row_Sorting_PC.gif

Sort Your Conditional Formatting

If you use conditional formatting to change the color of a cell, add an icon, or change the color of a font, you can actually sort by that, too.

In the example below, I’ve used colors to signify different grade ranges: If they have a 90 or above, the cell appears green. Between 80-90 is yellow. Below 80 is red. Here’s how you’d sort that information to put the top performers at the top of the list. I want to sort this information so that the top performers are at the top of the list.

To Sort Conditional Formatting on a Mac

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” all the way to the left.
  3. Click on the small arrow to the left of the “A to Z” Sort icon. Then, select “Custom Sort” from the menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  5. You will see five columns. Under “Column,” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Grades.”
  6. Under the column that says “Sort On,” select “Cell Color”.
  7. In the last column that says “Color/Icon,” select the green bar.
  8. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Repeat steps 5-6. Instead of selecting green under “Color/Icon,” select the yellow bar.
  9. Then click on the “+” sign at the bottom left of the pop-up. Repeat steps 5-6. Instead of selecting green under “Color/Icon,” select the red bar.
  10. Click “OK.”

sort_conditional_formatting_mac.gif

To Sort Conditional Formatting on a PC

  1. Click on the data in the row you want to sort.
  2. Click on the “Data” tab in your toolbar. You will see “Sort” options in the middle.
  3. Click on the icon above the word “Sort.” A pop-up will appear: If you have headers, make sure “My list has headers” is checked.
  4. You will see three columns. Under “Column” select the first column you want to sort from the dropdown. In this case, it is “Grades.”
  5. Under the column that says “Sort On,” select “Cell Color”.
  6. In the last column that says “Order,” select the green bar.
  7. Click on “Add Level.” Repeat steps 4-5. Instead of selecting green under “Order,” select the yellow bar.
  8. Click on “Add Level” again. Repeat steps 4-5. Instead of selecting yellow under “Order,” select the red bar.
  9. Click “OK.”

conditional_formatting_pc.gif

There you have it — all the possible ways to sort in Excel. Ready to sort your next spreadsheet? Start by grabbing nine different Excel templates below, then use Excel’s sorting function to organize your data as you see fit.

free excel templates for marketing

63% of People Wouldn’t Use a Facebook Dating App

When Facebook announced earlier this year that it would introduce a dating feature, the reaction was mixed.

In some places, there was excitement. In a way, it made sense — Facebook’s mission, so it says, is to “bring the world closer together.”

It was enough to jolt the competition, anyway. The day it was announced at the company’s annual F8 developer conference, the stock price of Match Group — one of the largest corporations in the online dating space — plummeted.

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 12.56.38 PM-1

$MTCH stock price behavior on F8 2018 day one. Source: Google

But on the other end of the reaction spectrum, there were concerns. Despite Facebook’s reassurance that users’ friends wouldn’t see that they’re using the dating app — and that their dating profiles would be independent of their core network ones — people had privacy concerns.

After all, the announcement came after a year of privacy-related scrutiny for Facebook. There were offline safety concerns, too — especially when it was revealed that the app would be designed to allow users to see nearby events that their matches might attend.

And since it was revealed last week that Facebook is, in fact, testing a dating app — internally, anyway — how enthusiastic are people about potentially using it?

Who Wants to Use a Facebook Dating App?

The Data

We asked 672 internet users across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Would you ever use a Facebook dating app?

On average, 63% of respondents said no.

Would you ever use a Facebook dating app_ (1)

Data collected with Lucid

The highest degree of reluctance came from U.S. respondents, 68% of whom said they would not use a Facebook dating app.

Those from Canada, meanwhile, showed the most enthusiasm, with 30% of respondents saying they would give it a try.

Responses by Region (6)

Data collected with Lucid

The Context 

Since the semi-official prospect of a Facebook dating app was first announced, Match Group — which owns competing dating apps like Tinder — has largely rebounded, especially since revealing Q2 2018 revenue growth and the introduction of premium features.

But there’s an item to consider regarding Tinder and similar apps. Many of them allow users to create accounts and log in with Facebook — permitting the app access to some of their personal data, like photos and friend lists.

Image from iOS (1)

Now, let’s consider the breadth of user data that Facebook owns — which it has vehemently and repeatedly stated it does not sell,  but uses to help personalize ads.

When I downloaded my own Facebook data, for instance — seeing how much information was in there got weird, fast.

When you couple that with the idea of Facebook building an app designed to build romantic connections, it could understandably give users pause. But at the same time — it could be quite effective.

Despite the concerns — which are valid — Facebook’s treasure trove of information on its users, like their respective interests and relationship status histories, could help it build a “dating preferences” algorithm that far outshines any used by other apps. 

Then, pair that with Facebook’s facial recognition technology. Not only does the network understand what brands or activities users like — it also could also potentially use machine learning, with the help of the aforementioned relationship history, to understand what physical attributes they’re most drawn to.

Looking Ahead

My prediction: Facebook will forge ahead with its dating app anyway.

Looking at the history online dating’s popularity, it’s clear that its growth is incremental. In 2015 — before many of the apps and options available today existed — Pew Research Center found that the use of online dating tools by young adults tripled over a period of two years. 

PI_2016.02.11_Online-Dating_0-01

Source: Pew Research Center

And as of January 2018 — nearly two years after that data was released — additional research has found that an average of 23% of U.S. users have met a significant other through dating apps or services.

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Source: Statista

Point being: New technology historically takes time to catch on. This is not the first time a new feature from Facebook has been met with resistance — remember when it first rolled out the News Feed? — but users adapted.

In fact, at the company’s annual virtual reality conference next month — Oculus Connect — I won’t be surprised if we see the official launch of Facebook’s dating app. Nor will I be surprised if it’s integrated with Oculus Venues: the VR feature that allows users to watch live events as a group and engage with each other.

Stay tuned.

Featured image credit: Facebook