With Snap Accelerate, Snapchat pursues mobile startups that built Facebook’s ad biz

first_img Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 HomeDigital MarketingWith Snap Accelerate, Snapchat pursues mobile startups that built Facebook’s ad biz With Snap Accelerate, Snapchat pursues mobile startups that built Facebook’s ad bizYou are here: A newly public company with mounting concerns over the viability of its advertising business, Snapchat in 2017 resembles Facebook in 2012. Now, to address the issue, Snapchat is taking a page from Facebook’s playbook.Snapchat has rolled out a program to win over the same type of marketer that Facebook relied on to build up its mobile ad business: mobile app developers looking to acquire new users.Called Snap Accelerate, the program will help mobile startups to advertise on Snapchat by offering them benefits including early access to new ad products as well as credits that can be used to buy ads. A Snapchat spokesperson said the company will not hold participating startups to its usual spending requirements, such as a commitment to spend a certain amount on Snapchat ads over a certain period of time.Snap Accelerate is the latest example this year of Snapchat trying to lower the barrier to entry for advertisers and attain must-buy status. After rolling out an advertising API to enable brands to automate their Snap Ad buys through third-party ad-buying tools, the company introduced a self-serve tool for businesses to buy Snap Ads on their own and a self-serve tool for businesses to create the vertical video ads.By catering to startups, Snapchat is effectively making a bet that its ads can help these companies grow their user bases and, therefore, their businesses. If successful, those companies will not only have more money to spend on advertising but will be more likely to spend that money on Snapchat’s ads. Additionally, case studies of their successes may lead other companies to advertise on Snapchat. After all, it worked for Facebook.According to a page on Snapchat’s developer site, the program is aimed at commerce, entertainment and gaming startups that operate consumer-facing mobile apps and are interested in direct-response advertising. In other words, it is meant to attract the same types of companies that had flocked to Facebook’s mobile app-install ads in 2012 and 2013 to help that social network not only overcome concerns about its ad business but also conquer the mobile ad market.All marketers who apply and are accepted into the Snap Accelerate program will be credited with money they can use to pay for ad creation and to buy ads on Snapchat. They will also receive early access to new ad products and tools, as well as Snap’s Marketing API. They will also be able to run a free branded filter around their company’s headquarters for a certain period of time. However, these benefits vary based on which of the program’s three tiers a company qualifies for.The three tiers appear to correspond with a participating company’s size and stage of growth, varying from fledgling apps to startups that have hit a certain level of sustainability. Here is a breakdown of how the three tiers differ.KickstartCompany is given up to $20,000 worth of benefits, including credit to use for buying ads and paying for ad creation.Free branded filter is available for three months.SprintCompany is given up to $50,000 worth of benefits, including credit to use for buying ads and paying for ad creation.Free branded filter is available for six months.Company is invited to Snap-hosted education events.Company is given priority for business and technical support from Snap.ScaleCompany is given up to $100,000 worth of benefits, including credit to use for buying ads and paying for ad creation.Free branded filter is available for 12 months.Company is invited to Snap-hosted education events, as well as private networking events.Company is given priority for business and technical support from Snap.From our sponsors: With Snap Accelerate, Snapchat pursues mobile startups that built Facebook’s ad biz Posted on 5th October 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+sharelast_img read more

How to increase database integrity to crush your 2018 targets

first_img Posted on 12th December 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share How to increase database integrity to crush your 2018 targetsYou are here: Planning, budgeting and target-setting for 2018 are in full swing. I’ve been comparing notes with B2B marketing executives about their keys to hitting or missing their 2018 growth targets. A surprising make-or-break topic bubbled up in the conversations: data.We know prospect, customer and account data is essential fuel for sales and marketing demand, pipeline and revenue effort. However, marketing execs are becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of bad data wreaking havoc on our ability to execute. To amplify the point, a mere 6.6 percent of B2B marketers believe their data is complete and up-to-date, according to the 2017 “State of Pipeline Marketing” report produced by B2B companies Heinz Marketing, LinkedIn, Bizible, Uberflip and Radius.For perspective, just a decade ago, we B2B marketers were starving for any kind of marketing data. We pored over customer data to better understand what our prospects, customers and partners needed and desired.[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]From our sponsors: How to increase database integrity to crush your 2018 targets Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 HomeDigital MarketingHow to increase database integrity to crush your 2018 targetslast_img read more

A case study for delivering performance in a mature Google Ads account

first_img Posted on 10th April 2019Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 A case study for delivering performance in a mature Google Ads accountYou are here: HomeDigital MarketingA case study for delivering performance in a mature Google Ads account Running a Google Ads campaign can be a case of you’re damned if you do and your damned if you don’t. If the campaign turns out to be a flop your obviously in trouble, but if it turns out successful, you can run into other challenges. Campaigns that are successful over a long period can present challenges in continuing to deliver performance and add value.In my experience, new Google Ads accounts have quick wins and low hanging fruit. Over time, these become less apparent and there is more need to innovate. One of the ways that we’ve been able to deliver performance over time on already successful accounts is through Campaign Drafts and Experiments.In this case study, we were running a campaign for a large legal client over five years. Results were phenomenal over the period and we’d seen extraordinary growth. The Google Ads campaign was in a mature state where we were happy with performance and CPA levels, but we were challenged to continue to deliver lead growth. In this competitive industry, it was important to constantly test features and push new boundaries. For a year we ran 80 experiments to test a wide array of features. We’ll take you through some of these tests, the results we received and what we learned.Campaign drafts and experimentsBefore we do, a quick summary of campaign drafts and experiments is in order. We’ll call these “experiments” for short. This feature in Google Ads has helped us crack the issue and continue to deliver performance in a mature account. The basic process for using the tool is:Clone an existing campaign as a new draftMake desired changes within that draft to test some hypothesesRun this draft alongside the original campaign for some timeSplit the traffic between draft and campaign (usually 50/50) as an A/B testReport on results in real time throughout the test and provide updates when results are statistically significantApply draft results to original campaign or reject draft campaign with a click of a buttonGoogle has a detailed guide for setting this up which is the best resource to use as a guideThe tool has given us the freedom to rethink how we run an account and involve our clients. We can now sit down with a client and come up with a set of hypotheses that we want to test. These hypotheses are designed to align with upcoming client goals and also push performance limits. Clients are involved in a decision-making process, which is completely transparent. They were able to see the process from the formulation of the question/hypotheses through to results.Experiments also provide a safe environment for implementing and testing new features. When account performance has been strong, we are often hesitant to rock the boat. But we still need to try out new features. Take for example the recent introduction of machine learning features and tools in Google Ads such as automated bidding strategies and responsive ads. Handing over the keys to ML algorithms can be daunting. While ML might provide incremental performance improvements, there is risk these algorithms may not perform, and then account performance will suffer. Experiments allow you to minimize these risks through testing.What we testedIn consultation with our client, we ran an array of experiments. These were tested on a rolling basis throughout the year. As a sample, some of the key hypotheses we tested were:Automated bidding (maximize conversions) will provide more conversions than manual bidding.Automated bidding (Target CPA) will provide a better conversion volume performance than we currently achieve with manual bidding.A more granular campaign structure based on SKAG’s will increase the quality score for the campaignResponsive display ads will provide better CTR then static bannersResponsive search ads will provide better CTR then expanded text adsA new landing page with less clutter will prove better conversion ratesA new landing page with a different hero image will provide better conversion ratesAd copy with a question rather than statement in the first heading will provide better CTRRunning ads at a lower position will provide a better conversion rateBidding 20% higher on desktop devices only will improve conversion rateNote that the hypotheses are specific. We are testing for only one outcome and using a specific metric to evaluate.Aside from campaign experiments, we also ran several “ad variation experiments.” These are slightly different from campaign experiments, as they can be cross-campaign. This goes beyond the scope of this article, but we strongly recommend running these as well.Below are the results of four experiments we ran:1. Ad copy change exampleHypotheses: Ad copy with a question rather than statement in first heading will provide better CTR.What we changed: Adjusted ad copy for heading one for all ads in the draft to be question-based.Results: Decision: This experiment ran for 18 days. The CTR increased by 1%. Results were not significant so we decided not to apply.What we learned: There was no performance increase in having question-related ads rather than statement ads in a general sense. These needed to be adjusted on a case by case basis, based on the search query and ad.2. Responsive search adsHypotheses: Responsive search ads will provide a better CTR than static search ads.What we changed: Introduced responsive search ads into the campaign draft.Results: Decision: This experiment ran for 47 days. The CTR increased by 1%. Results were not significant. We still decided to apply the results, since the responsive ads did not harm performance and they were a new feature allowing us to rotate more ad copy.What we learned: Despite not having a performance increase, we see that searchers engage well with this new ad type. We were able to minimize risk through the experiment. We continued to monitor these ad types after implementation and performance have been strong.3. Landing page changesHypotheses: Adjusting the hero image on the landing page from male to female will increase conversion rates.What we changed: Adjusted the hero image.Results: Decision: This experiment ran for 30 days. The conversion rate increased from 7% to 14.88%. We applied the experiment and only ran the new landing page moving forward.What we learned: The increase in CVR was dramatic and showed that a small change, like changing the gender of the image can have a dramatic effect. We also learned that it’s likely that users respond better to female imagery in general.4. Target CPA biddingHypotheses: Automated bidding (Target CPA) will provide a better conversion volume performance than we currently achieve with manual bidding.What we changed: We set a target CPA in the draft, at the same CPA we were already achieving in the campaign with manual bidding. The hypotheses would test whether we can achieve more conversions with target CPA bidding.Results: Decision: This experiment ran for 34 days. The experiment achieved 53 conversions, the original campaign achieved 70 conversions and had a lower CPA as well. Therefore we decided not to implement target CPA bidding for this campaignWhat we learned: Automated bidding strategies are not ideal just yet. We should add as well that the target CPA has worked better in other campaign tests we ran. We’ve spoken to Google and their recommendation was to run the target CPA draft for longer. We agree, but this is not always practical for clients with limited budgets to burn through.Experiment considerationsAs a final note, there are two key issues that are not widely discussed or reviewed in Google help articles. They are very important to consider when setting up experiments.Having a goal in mind when generating this hypothesis is critical. You should write down in a notebook what the goal is and what metric you want to test. Defining the metric is also critical at the outset since it easy to stray from it. For example, If your testing a new ad type, then your hypothesis should probably be written in terms of CTR and not CPA. Your results might show a better CPA, but this should not sway your decision since your hypothesis is framed in terms of CTR and you should not apply the experiment!Another way you can get a false positive result is due to time design issue. This occurs when the experimenter increases or decreases the run time of the experiment to achieve a significant or desired result. This occurs unknowingly, the experimenter doesn’t realize that they are creating a false positive. Think about it like this: if we increase the run time for another week we might get a significant result, if we increase another week further we may get a non-significant result, so altering the period to suit our needs is not a fair test. Even in well-designed university experiments, this bias occurs.It is important to set a time frame before the experiment starts running and stick to this. To counter this, I include the end dates within the experiment title so I know when it has to end. As a rule of thumb experiments should run for at least one month. You can also try using an ab test sample size calculator If your testing for changes in conversion rate.The post A case study for delivering performance in a mature Google Ads account appeared first on Marketing Land.From our sponsors: A case study for delivering performance in a mature Google Ads accountlast_img read more

Building A Component Library Using Figma

first_img Lexicon is the design language of Liferay, used to provide a Design System and a Figma Library for the different product teams. (Large preview)If you have questions or need help with your first component library in Figma, ask me in the comments below, or drop me a line on Twitter.Further Resources“8-Point Grid: Typography On The Web,” Elliot Dahl, freeCodeCampDefining A Modular Type Scale For Web UI,” Kelly Dern, Medium“Relative Color Palettes With Sass,” Ethan Muller, SparkboxSassMe (tool created by Jim Nielsen that lets you visualize Sass HSL color functions in real-time)“What Do You Name Color Variables?,” Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks“Best Practices: Components, Styles, And Shared Libraries,” Thomas Lowry, FigmaFigma YouTube ChannelFigma Help Articles (mb, yk, il)From our sponsors: Building A Component Library Using Figma Building A Component Library Using FigmaYou are here: An example of how the components are organized inside a single scrollable sub-menu. (Large preview) As you can see here, our library had so many sub-menus that as a result the navigation was going off the screen on MacBooks, that was a big problem for our library. We were able to find a workaround for this issue. (Large preview) Once you have your main colors (in our case, blue and grey), you can generate gradients using lighten and darken functions. (Large preview)Tip: In order to be able to apply future changes without having to rename the variables, avoid using the color as part of the color name. E.g., instead of $blue, use $primary.Recommended reading: “What Do You Name Color Variables?” by Chris CoyierFigma StylesOnce we have the typography scale and the color scheme set, we can use them to define the Library styles.This is the first actual step into the library creation. This feature lets you use a single set of properties in multiple elements. Typography scales are useful to improve the hierarchy of the elements, as managing the sizes and weights of the fonts can really guide the user through the content. (Large preview)The type of scale depends on what you’re designing. It’s common to use a bigger ratio for website designs and a smaller ratio when designing digital products.The reason for this is behind the design’s goal — a website is usually designed to communicate and convert so it gives you one or two direct actions. It’s easier in that context to have 36px for a main title, 24px for a secondary title, and 16px for a description text.Related resource: “8-Point Grid: Typography On The Web” by Elliot Dahl.On the other hand, digital products or services are designed to provide a solution to a specific problem, usually with multiple actions and possible flows. It means more information, more content and more components, all in the same space.For this case, I personally find it rare to use more than 24px for texts. It’s more common to use small sizes for components — usually from 12 to 18 pixels depending on the text’s importance.If you’re designing a digital product, it is useful to talk to the developers first. It’s easier to maintain a typography scale based on EM/REM more than actual pixels. The creation of a rule to convert pixels into EM/REM multiples is always recommended.Related resource: “Defining A Modular Type Scale For Web UI” by Kelly Dern.Color SchemeSecond, we need to define the color scheme. I think it’s best if you to divide this task into two parts.First, you need to define the main colors of the system. I recommend keeping it simple and using a maximum of four or five colors (including validation colors) because the more colors you include here, the more stuff you’ll have to maintain in the future.Next, generate more color values using the Sass functions such as “Lighten” and “Darken” — this works really well for user interfaces. The main benefit of this technique is to use the same hue for the different variants and obtain a mathematical rule that can be automated in the code. You can’t do it directly with Figma, but any Sass color generator will work just fine — for example, SassMe by Jim Nielsen. I like to increase the functions by 1% to have more color selection. This was the result after improving the library order following the rules for pages and frames, now it’s way more usable and organized for our teams. (Large preview)We’ve all been there, the solution is easier than you think!Here’s what I have learned about how to organize the components.Figma NamingWhile in Sketch all the organization depends only on the single component name, in Figma it depends on the Page name, the Frame name, and the single Component name — exactly in that order.In order to provide a well-organized library, you need to think of it as a visual organization. As long as you respect the order, you can customize the naming to fit your needs.Here’s how I’ve divided it:File Name = Library Name (e.g. Lexicon);Page Name = Component Group (e.g. Cards);Frame Name = Component Type (e.g. Image Card, User Card, Folder Card, etc);Component Name = Component State (e.g. Default, Hover, Active, Selected, etc). I, personally, applied solution 1. As you can see in this example, we had a huge number of icons so this was the better fit. (Large preview)ConclusionNow that you know what’s exactly behind a team’s library construction in Figma, you can start building one yourself! Figma has a free subscription plan that will help you to get started and experiment with this methodology in a single file (however, if you want to share a team library, you will need to subscribe to the “Professional” option).Try it, create and organize some advanced components, and then present the library to your team members so you could amaze them — or possibly convince them to add Figma to their toolset.Finally, let me mention that here in Liferay, we love open-source projects and so we’re sharing a copy of our Lexicon library along with some other resources. You can use the Lexicon library components and the other resources for free, and your feedback is always welcome (including as Figma comments, if you prefer).Download the ‘Lexicon’ library You can apply color styles to fills, borders, backgrounds, and texts. (Large preview)Color Styles NamingFor a better organization I recommend using this rule “Color/Variant”. We named our color styles using “Primary/Default” for the starter color, “Primary/L1”, “Primary/L2” for lighten variants, and “Primary/D1”, “Primary/D2” for darken variants.EffectsWhen designing an interface you might also need to create elements that use some effects such as drop shadows (the drag&drop could be an example of a pattern that uses drop shadows effects). To have control over these graphic details, you can include effect styles such as shadows or layer blurs to the library, and also divide them by groups if necessary. One master component to rule them all! (Large preview)To explain this workflow better, I will use one of the basic components all the libraries have: the buttons.Buttons!Every system has different types of buttons to represent the importance of the actions. You can start having both primary and secondary buttons with only texts and one size, but the reality is that you’ll probably end up having to maintain something like this:2 color types (Primary | Secondary)2 sizes of buttons (Regular | Small)4 content types (Text Only | Icon Only | Text + Icon right | Icon Left + Text)5 states (Default | Hover | Active | Disabled | Focus)This would give us up to 88 different components to maintain only with the set of buttons mentioned above! Thanks to how Figma is built, you can easily manage a lot of button instances all at once. (Large preview)Let’s Start Step By StepThe first step is to include all the variations together in the same place. For the buttons we’re going to use:A single shape for the background of the button so that we can then place the color styles for the fill and the border;The single text that will have both text and color styles;Three icon components (positioned to the right, center and left) filled in with the color style (you will be able to easily swap the icons). This structure is the equivalent to the Sketch naming of ‘*Buttons/Buttons Regular/Primary/Text/Button Hover*’. (Large preview)Tip: You can include the component name (or a prefix of the name) in the last level, this will help your team to better identify the layers when they import the components from the library.Icons OrganizationOrganizing the icons in Figma can be challenging when including a large number of icons.As opposed to Sketch which uses a scroll functionality, Figma uses the sub-menus to divide the components. The problem is that if you have a large number of icons grouped in sub-menus, at some point they might go off screen (my experience with Figma on a MacBook Pro). A shape, a text, and an icon walk into a Figma bar… (Large preview)The second step is to create the master component (use the shortcut Cmd + Alt + K on Mac, or Ctrl + Alt + K on Windows) with all of the variations as instances. I suggest using a different and neutral style for the elements inside the master component and use the real styles on the sub-components, this trick will help the team use only sub-components.You can see the visual difference between a master component and a sub-component in the next step: This structure is the equivalent to the Sketch naming of ‘Cards/Image Card/Card Hover’. (Large preview)Adding Indentation LevelsWhen creating the Lexicon library, I found that I actually needed more than three levels of indentation for some of the components, such as the buttons that we saw before.For these cases, you can extend the naming using the same method as Sketch for nested symbols (using the slashes in the component name, e.g. “Component/Sub-Component”), under the condition that you do it only after the third level of indentation, respecting the structural order of the first three levels as explained in the previous point.This is how I organized our buttons:Page name = Component Group (e.g. Buttons);Frame name = Component Size (e.g. Regular or Small);Component name = Style/Type/State (e.g. Primary/Text/Hover). As you can see, using a Macbook Pro the result was the menus going outside the screen. (Large preview)Here are two possible solutions:Solution 1Create a page named “Icons” and then a frame for each letter of the alphabet, then place each icon in the frame based on the icon’s name. For example, if you have an icon named “Plus”, then it will go in the “P” frame.Solution 2Create a page named “Icons” and then divide by frames based on the icon categories. For example, if you have icons that represent a boat, a car, and a motorcycle, you can place them inside a frame named “vehicles”. Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 Define shadows and blurs to manage special interaction effects such as drag-n-drop. (Large preview)GridsTo provide something very useful for your team, include the grid styles. You can define the 8px grid, 12 columns grid, flexible grids so your team won’t need to recreate them. Styles are the way to control all the basic details in your library. (Large preview)Concrete ExampleLet’s say you define your brand color as a style, it’s a soft-blue and you originally apply it to 500 different elements. If it is later decided that you need to change it to a darker blue with more contrast, thanks to the styles you can update all the 500 styled elements at once, so you won’t have to do it manually, element by element.We can define styles for the following:TextColorsEffectsGridsIf you have variations of the same style, to make it easier to find them later, you can name the single styles and arrange them inside the panel as groups. To do so, just use this formula:Group Name/Style NameI’ve included a suggestion of how to name texts and colors styles below.Text StylesProperties that you can define within a text style:Font sizeFont weightLine-heightLetter spacingTip: Figma drastically reduces the number of styles that we need to define in the library, as alignments and colors are independent of the style. You can combine a text style with a color style in the same text element. Building A Component Library Using Figma Building A Component Library Using Figma Emiliano Cicero 2019-06-17T14:00:16+02:00 2019-06-17T12:34:59+00:00I’ve been working on the creation and maintenance of the main library of our design system, Lexicon. We used the Sketch app for the first year and then we moved to Figma where the library management was different in certain aspects, making the change quite challenging for us.To be honest, as with any library construction, it requires time, effort, and planning, but it is worth the effort because it will help with providing detailed components for your team. It will also help increase the overall design consistency and will make the maintenance easier in the long run. I hope the tips that I’ll provide in this article will make the process smoother for you as well.This article will outline the steps needed for building a component library with Figma, by using styles and a master component. (A master component will allow you to apply multiple changes all at once.) I’ll also cover in detail the components’ organization and will give you a possible solution if you have a large number of icons in the library.Note: To make it easier to use, update and maintain, we found that it is best to use a separate Figma file for the library and then publish it as a team ‘library’ instead of publishing the components individually.Getting StartedThis guide was created from a designer’s perspective, and if you have at least some basic knowledge of Figma (or Sketch), it should help you get started with creating, organizing and maintaining a component library for your design team.If you are new to Figma, check the following tutorials before proceeding with the article:Best Practices: Components, Styles And Shared LibrariesIntro To Figma: Beginner’s Guide To Figma Basics (Video)Figma For BeginnersFigma 101RequirementsBefore starting, there are some requirements that we have to cover to define the styles for the library.Typography ScaleThe first step to do is to define the typography scale; it helps to focus on how the text size and line height grow in your system, allowing you to define the visual hierarchy of your texts. There’s no need to memorize the grid sizes anymore. (Large preview)Tip: Taking advantage of this feature, you can provide all the different breakpoints as ‘grid styles’.Master ComponentFigma lets you generate multiple instances of the same component and update them through a single master component. It’s easier than you might think, you can start with some small elements and then use them to evolve your library. The more elements, the more instances you can control. (Large preview)In the third step you need to duplicate the master component to generate an instance, now you can use that instance to create a sub-component, and from now on every change you make to the master component will also change the sub-component you’ve created.You can now start applying the different styles we’ve seen before to the elements inside the sub-component and, of course, you can hide the elements you don’t need in that sub-component. You can apply all the typography scale we’ve seen before as text styles. (Large preview)Text Styles NamingI recommend using a naming rule such as “Size/Weight”(eg: 16/Regular, 16/SemiBold, 16/Bold).Figma only allows one level of indentation, if you need to include the font you can always add a prefix before the size:FontFamily Size/Weight or FF Size/Weight*(eg: SourceSansPro 16/Regular or SSP 16/Regular).*Color StylesThe color style uses its hex value (#FFF) and the opacity as properties.Tip: Figma allows you to set a color style for the fill and a different one for the border within the same element, making them independent of each other. HomeWeb DesignBuilding A Component Library Using Figma Posted on 17th June 2019Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share Thanks to the color styles you can generate different components using the same shape. In this example, primary and secondary styles are generated from the same master component. (Large preview)Text AlignmentAs I’ve shown you in the styles, the alignments are independent of the style. So if you want to change the text alignment, just select it by hitting Cmd/Ctrl and changing it. Left, center or right: it will all work and you can define different sub-components as I did with the buttons.Tip: To help you work faster without having to find the exact element layer, if you delete an element inside the instance, it will hide the element instead of actually deleting it.Component OrganizationIf you’re coming from Sketch, you could be having trouble with the organization of the components in Figma as there are a few key differences between these two tools. This is a brief guide to help you organize the components well so that the instance menu doesn’t negatively affect your team’s effectiveness.last_img read more

Pinterest Wants You To Be Your Own Advertiser

first_imgA Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos lauren orsini Pinterest’s Promoted Pins are great for big brands, but what about medium to small ones? Now there’s an offering scaled just to them—a new do-it-yourself Promoted Pins tool.Pinterest for Business was launched 18 months ago and in that time the social discovery platform has made it so anyone, from big-time corporations to teensy personal blogs, can sign up for a business account. Since last October, Pinterest has been testing Promoted Pins, a way for those businesses to pay for their pins to show up in relevant searches and user feeds. Promoted Pins don’t come cheap though—Ad Age reports that Pinterest is looking for $1 to $2 million commitments for cost-per-impression deals. Needless to say, small businesses don’t exactly have millions to spend. A self-serve alternative may be a simple way for Pinterest to scale its offering. Is This Pinterest’s “Wild West” Moment?Pinterest’s Promoted Pins ad product costs quite a bit. My recent conversation with Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships at Pinterest, shed a bit of light onto why. “Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here,” she said. “We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest.”See also: How Pinterest Is Slowly Learning To Make MoneyOutreach takes time and manpower. It’s a work in progress and Bradford continues to hire community managers all over the globe. Partnerships that require educating companies are, by definition, not very scalable.  In that regard, self-serve ads for the masses are the fast and dirty approach. That’s essentially how Google made most of its money with its keyword auction real-time bidding network. For Pinterest, instead of initially coaching companies on how to best use the platform, it can just monitor the ads from small and medium businesses as they come in. Unlike Promoted Pins, Pinterest’s new self-service ad platform is cost-per-click, not cost-per-impression. With that sort of pricing model comes a certain kind of desperation from would-be ad buyers. If you look at the companies on Facebook and Google who use cost-per-click, they’re less about “beautiful” and more “made you look.” Anything goes in the Wild West.“In the absence of a formalized ad channel, social networks are like the Wild West,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of Visual Web analytics platform Curalate. “Brands do whatever they want to garner attention—whether or not it’s in keeping with what the networks aspire to. I believe that creating a formalized channel for placing ads will ultimately help prevent spam by enabling Pinterest to monitor what types of ads go out.”Of course, Pinterest isn’t going into this blindly. Don Faul, Pinterest’s head of operations who oversaw the new tool’s development, formerly launched the self-serve ad tool at Facebook in 2008. Dozens of Pinterest employees came from Facebook. Still others came from one of the other largest self-serve ad platforms, Google—including CEO Ben Silbermann. They have seen firsthand what happens when cost-per-click ads get ugly. Perhaps they’re trying for a redo. A Need For SpeedThe self-serve Promoted Pins tool isn’t officially open for business. Right now you can register to be on the wait list. According to Pinterest, only a few small to medium brands are testing it. It’s par for the course for Pinterest to go slow and steady on new features. But when you consider that Pinterest tested the first Promoted Pins for six months prior to launch, the announcement of a self-serve tool two months later seems downright speedy.  See also: Pinterest Rolls Out ‘Promoted Pins’ Ads—But No AdvertisersThere are two reasons this might be happening, one good and one bad.Starting with the negative, perhaps Promoted Pins have not performed to Pinterest’s expectations. Asking for $1 to $2 million is a lot, even for a big company, if the return on investment isn’t great enough. Since Pinterest has shown it cares more about the user’s experience than making brands happy (through conservative pin promotion and extensive audience testing), big brands might feel like they can get a better deal and more exposure somewhere else. A cheaper self-serve alternative might be just the ticket.  On the positive side, this might be Pinterest employees’ Google roots coming out. Even today, Google ads are democratic. The search engine wasn’t built by huge brands, but by small businesses hoping for a little exposure that were willing to take a chance. Here’s an opportunity to compare Pinterest to Google yet again, as the visual search community continues to measure up. See also: Pinterest Raises A $200 Million Warchest To Do Battle With GoogleWe still know very little about the self-serve tool, as it’s only open to a select few businesses. It’s hard to tell how Pinterest will look once it opens the advertising floodgates. But if Pinterest’s past activity is any indication, it’ll be a while until that happens.Photo courtesy of Pinterest Tags:#advertising#Facebook#Google#Monetization#Pinterest#visual web#Wild West center_img Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

Apple Releases The iPhone 6—The “Small” One

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement As expected, Apple released a new iPhone on Tuesday—and redesigned gadget to give it a sleeker, smoother look. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen—bigger than its predecessor, and rounded edges, and a thinner, 6.8mm thin metal body are a stark difference from the iPhone 5S. The new screen has Retina HD resolution, with 1334 x 750 pixels—though there’s no indication of the rumored sapphire crystal screen.With the new design, Apple is going back to its rounded roots in the original iPhone, and breaking away from the square and sharp edges introduced with the iPhone 4 in 2010. The iPhone 6 comes with an improved 8 megapixel iSight camera, true tone flash, and an all new sensor. The camera captures images at 1080p at 60 frames per second, and the slowmo video can take up to 240 frames per second. See Also: Apple Unveils iPhone 6 Plus, A 5.5-Inch PhabletA 64-bit A8 chip provides faster processing power.The touch ID—first debuted with the 5S—uses human fingerprints to unlock the device and download applications for extra security. Other features a 16:9 aspect ratio, just like the 5S from last year, and boasts better battery life than the iPhone 5S. An M8 chip motion coprocessor to improve apps that track motion and fitness.A new sensor, the barometer, that measures the elevation, and your activity will show up in the new health app, for instance, how many stairs you climbed. Advanced wireless capabilities, and supports up to 20 LTE bands, more than any smartphone. The new iPhone also features a faster 802.11 AC wifi and the ability to make calls over WiFi. The iPhone 6 starts at $199 with a two-year contract.We’ll have more updates throughout the day as Apple provides more information about the new gadget.Screenshots by Stephanie Chan for ReadWrite selena larson Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts center_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Apple#iPhone#iPHone 6 The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Why Facebook Messenger Is A Platform—And WhatsApp Isn’t

first_imgadriana lee Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Tags:#Brian Acton#chat#F8 2015#Facebook#Facebook WhatsApp#messaging#messenger#social#text messages#texting#whatsapp Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos WhatsApp doesn’t want to be a platform. Co-founder Brian Acton, on a panel Wednesday at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, made that very clear. Unlike its sibling service Messenger, which has started courting outside developers and businesses, all that matters to WhatsApp is that the service remain stable, simple and unfettered for its worldwide audience of 100 million monthly active users.That matters to parent company Facebook too, but likely for different reasons. See also: Looks Like Facebook Messenger Is Pulling Up To The PlatformWhatsApp—which sold to the social network last year for $19 billion dollars—offers an interesting counterpoint to Facebook’s big Messenger push. Because with less redundancy between the two, the company could essentially own a decent chunk of the world’s conversations. The Network Effect Imagine what it’s like using some of the most robust, dynamic mobile applications available today—complete with the sort of images, animated GIFs, music and videos that will assault Facebook’s Messenger app soon enough. Now imagine running that on a slow cellular Edge network straight out of 1995.That’s precisely the patience-stretching scenario Acton imagines all the time, and it serves as a guiding principle for his work with the service. In that regard, WhatsApp’s moves seem obvious. It became popular because it was built on some key fundamentals—namely no-fuss messaging that’s reliable, works in different languages and on as many gadgets as possible. Adding the complexity of outside integrations to the mix would only complicate things for a widespread service that has to work over a variety of networks all over the world—some of which can only muster rudimentary connectivity. KPCB’s Mary Meeker and WhatsApp’s Brian Acton“The world is a very diverse place,” Acton told panel moderator and analyst Mary Meeker, “and networks can have any number of configurations and problems that impede or get in the way with messaging.” One of those problems, for a globally available texting service, is dealing with systems and networks in emerging markets—a key area for tech companies, including Facebook.With Acton’s motto being “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” he can leave the complexities of media messaging to sibling services Instagram and Messenger. The Big PictureOn Wednesday, an audience member asked when WhatsApp would release APIs (application programming interfaces) to let developers tie their apps to the texting service. Acton had bad news for him: “The answer I have is ‘not today’,” he said, later elaborating that APIs are not even on the road map for the foreseeable future.But that’s not to say WhatsApp will stagnate. “This year, we’re focusing on voice, [and] we’re focusing on the Web product,” he said. “David [Marcus] is really championing the APIs.” If WhatsApp leaves Messenger to handle Facebook’s platform ambitions, that likely suits the parent company just fine. From left: Brian Acton (WhatsApp), Mike Krieger (Instagram) and David Marcus (Messenger)Messenger—Facebook’s other, homegrown messaging service—just unveiled a plethora of developer tools covering embedded videos, embedded posts, app linking and more. Marcus wants to give partners and other app makers the “opportunity to build on these platforms,” he said. And not just once, but often. “You want to build an app that will be there to stay,” he said, “and you want to build creative tools that people will want to use repeatedly.” Some of those people will actually be businesses. Messenger looks intent on pushing its new vision of customer service that replaces logging into websites, punching through automated phone menus or waiting on hold, with chat threads. People could buy products, see their transaction info or receipts, shipping details, individualized promotions and other customer relations messages, all in a Messenger window. For now, Messenger doesn’t support cross-border transactions, so it’s currently confined to the U.S. But consider it a first step in Facebook’s larger ambitions. The two messaging services look like perfect foils for each other. While WhatsApp handles the fundamentals—making sure that anyone anywhere, regardless of phone or network, can use its service—Messenger can take on the more complex messaging tasks to satisfy users and companies on advanced networks. Between that and all the sharing that Facebook itself naturally manages, the company could have its fingerprints on an awful lot of conversations all over the world. “Build better” may be one of Facebook’s F8 slogans, but it’s the other one that suddenly has some extra context now: “This is only the beginning.” When it comes to messaging, it certainly seems like it. Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Smart city traffic tech could save us 4.2B hours yearly

first_imgSurveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities Related Posts Smart city innovations relating to traffic and road improvements are projected to make a massive impact on the lives of urban dwellers in the coming five years.A study by Juniper Research found that smart parking and smart traffic management projects will save 4.2 billion man-hours each year by 2021, according to an article by Enterprise Innovation. This works out to each city’s annually saving an entire working day that would have been otherwise spent on driving.Juniper’s report, “Worldwide Smart Cities: Energy, Transport & Lighting 2016-2021″found that these efficiencies will be driven by rising city populations that are putting pressure on municipal resources. This comes as governments are investing ever-increasing amounts of their budgets on connected devices and smart technology.“Facilitating the movement of citizens within urban agglomerations via transport networks is fundamental to a city’s economic growth,” said Steffen Sorrell, author of the study. “Congestion reduces businesses’ competitiveness, and contributes to so-called brain-drain.”As well, traffic congestion is one of the challenges that smart cities must solve in order to boost quality of life for its citizens and increase competitiveness of the urban area.In light of this, traffic easing plans are at the vanguard of many smart city strategies, which Juniper expects to result in 2 million smart parking spaces installed worldwide by the year 2021.…And more lighting to stay out later with your saved hoursAnother road-related development Juniper predicts is a surge in installations of smart street lighting over the next five years. The lighting systems are comprised of micro-controlled sensors and LED units and Juniper anticipates more than half of installed LED road lighting systems to be networked worldwide by 2021.While the obvious benefit of smart street lighting is the reduction of city energy bills, there are other possible benefits as well. New services that generate revenue could stem from additional sensors installed on the LED light fixtures, including potential retail marketing opportunities and municipal Wi-Fi capacity.Juniper’s study said the proliferation of LED lighting in cities is expected to continue growing rapidly due to plummeting costs for LED technology and the adoption of hardware standards for the light fixtures. How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Tags:#Government#Internet of Things#IoT#Juniper#LED#Smart Cities#Smart traffic center_img Donal Power For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …last_img read more

Local smart city planners want big government to butt out

first_imgWith federal and regional governments jumping on the smart cities bandwagon, industry pundits want big government to butt out and let local players work their magic.Morning Consult reported on a recent panel discussion at the Information and Innovation Foundation. During the discussion, many industry experts brought up the topic of government involvement in smart cities.Specifically, panellists stressed the need to allow local autonomy when building out smart city strategies. And in order to do this, federal and regional governments were told repeatedly to simply get out of the way.“There’s an understanding that if we are charging cities with being our leaders of innovation — both local governments themselves, as well as cities as sort of test grounds of innovation — then we need to empower cities to do that,” said Christy McFarland from the National League of Cities. “And there are many constraints, particularly on local governments, to have them facilitate additional innovation in the economy.”The panel included representatives from Dell, the World Bank and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And despite the presence of big government, the recurring message from the discussion was that local governments needed less interference and more resources to grow smart cities from the ground up.One way that smart city advocates saw this bottom-up strategy playing out is through the development of direct partnerships between local governments and their tech startup communities.Do smart city efforts need to be local?McFarland cited San Francisco as an example, where the city recruited a startup to create a platform to improve traveler navigation of its international airport.Such public-private partnerships are key to developing data-driven smart cities of the future, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Michael Hendrix. He says that without effective collaboration between local governments and the city’s technology firms, smart cities will never reach their full potential.“You can have all the capital and talent and research capacity in the world and yet still not generate sustained innovation and start-up activity — or at least, not as much as you otherwise could,” he said.The topic of local government empowerment comes as concerns mount that many smart city initiatives are focusing on solving peripheral urban problems, with few big projects tackling core city issues. Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Donal Power For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…center_img How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Tags:#Columbus#Government#Internet of Things#IoT#San Francisco#Smart Cities Related Posts last_img read more

We should have smarter infrastructure…but do we really want it?

first_imgHow Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Related Posts Tags:#Clinton Foundation#Clinton Kaine 2016#Donald Trump#featured#Hillary Clinton#Internet of Things#IoT#Smart Cities#top#Trump Pence 2016 Trevor Curwin How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …center_img Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… As we rip the page of August from the national calendar, with its steamy, fevered electoral memories, the cooler, more rational new month of September lays ahead, its days yet unmarked by ill-advised stump-speech digressions and conspiratorially theoretical misdirections. Another sixty-ish days and this election will be in America’s history books. But today, the outcome is still far from certain.One thing is a fact, though. Everyone wants to rebuild America’s infrastructure. We’re falling apart apparently. The litany of what’s broken is echoed from all sides of the political divide, sounding a bit like those times around the campfire where everyone sings “Row, row, row your boat,” with different voices starting at different times, creating — in this case — a cacophony of inertia.Bridges, roads, airports, highways…bridges, roads, airports, highways….Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has laid out a $275 billion five-year infrastructure plan in quite some detail. Republican candidate Donald Trump anted up $500 billion for his plan, but with few details except to repeat the above shopping list of worn-out public systems.It’s highly likely one of these two candidates will be sworn in as president next January. So that means we can expect these infrastructure platform planks to turn into policy, right? Wrong. Like many Americans, I fear none of these big building plans will go anywhere.As editor-in-chief of ReadWrite, I’ve had the opportunity in recent weeks to travel around China and western Europe. China’s infrastructure buildout is mind-blowing, for a westerner, with some much being done so quickly, and with striking professionalism and engineering skill. Everything is new, and for the large part, it works well.And even in Denmark’s Copenhagen, an old city of 2 million, is undertaking a massive subway expansion.How did we let our infrastructure crumble?So why is America seemingly so far behind? Cities like NYC are undertaking impressive expansion and refurbishing of mass transit. Smart city competitions see rival American cities duking it out for transport modernization grants and attracting truckloads of private capital in the process.But at the core, infrastructure investment means a lot of money, money with a long time horizon, and that typically means government needs to spearhead the charge. Given the political gridlock in Washington today, despite our long history as forward-thinking people who invest in the needs of the next generation, we may never build something as grand and as critical as the national interstate highway system again.Now it’s all just debt-scare-mongering and hidden pork-barreling of pet projects…often by the exact same politician.See also: Smart city traffic tech could save us 4.2 billion hours annuallyCan smart cities concepts help hack this rebuilding?Countries like China, whose leaders are building their infrastructure essentially from scratch, aren’t held back by existing technologies. They have an opportunity to leapfrog us in technological skill and expertise, just as we once did with the rest of the world. If we’re stuck refurbishing the old systems with a trickle of capital, it’s a downward spiral.As supporters of smart city technologies, we here at ReadWrite know there’s an opportunity for American cities to truly be great again. We meet the people who want to do just that every day. But it takes coordinated efforts – of all levels of government, of the private sector, of our best researchers, of tinkerers and makers of all kinds, and most critically — of citizens everywhere.So we’ll be taking on this big challenges in our coverage, and hopefully finding some equally big solutions. We invite you to join us on these discussions as well. Let us know what smart cities technologies you want to see, or just tell us what works in your city and who made it work. Maybe it’s something that will help your fellow citizens next door or ten states over.last_img read more

Colorado ~ Corporate, Personal Income Taxes: Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicle Credits Amended

first_imgRecently enacted Colorado legislation makes a number of changes to the innovative motor vehicle credit and the innovative truck credit, both of which are available against corporate and personal income taxes. Significantly, the legislation establishes fixed credit amounts for each category of vehicle and truck weight class, reduces the available credit amounts beginning in tax year 2020, and sunsets the credits after tax year 2021. Additionally, beginning in tax year 2017, a credit is no longer available for the purchase, lease, or conversion of Category 2 and Category 3 vehicles, which are diesel-electric hybrid vehicles with a fuel economy of at least 70 miles per gallon.The bill also allows a taxpayer to elect to transfer the entire tax credit allowed for the purchase or lease of a vehicle to a financing entity when a purchase or lease is finalized. The financing entity must compensate the taxpayer for the full nominal value of the credit, except that the financing entity may collect an administrative fee not to exceed $150. Additional changes include restricting the credit to the purchase or lease of new vehicles beginning in tax year 2017; establishing two years as the minimum duration for a qualifying lease; and requiring the Department of Revenue to record and track the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) of qualifying vehicles for which credit is awarded, beginning in tax year 2017.H.B. 1332, Laws 2016, effective June 6, 2016, and applicable as noted abovelast_img read more

Senate Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2017 IRS Budget

first_imgThe Senate Appropriations Committee on June 16 approved, along party lines, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The bill includes the FY 2017 budget for the IRS. The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee had approved the bill on June 15. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.According to a summary by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., funding for the IRS would be set at $11.2 billion, equivalent to the enacted FY 2016 level. “Of the total amount, $290 million must be dedicated to measurable improvements in customer service level of service, identity theft protection and enhanced cybersecurity to safeguard taxpayer data,” Cochran noted.Additionally, the bill would “ensure accountability and transparency,” by including the following prohibitions, Cochran explained:A prohibition on funds for bonuses or to rehire former employees unless employee conduct and tax compliance is given consideration;A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs;A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights; andA prohibition on funds for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.“Allocations are snug but fair,” Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman, R-Ark., said during the full committee markup. The bill is $2.2 billion below President Obama’s request, but there are still positive aspects, Appropriations Committee ranking member Chris Coons, D-Del., said. “We were able to fund agencies either at last year’s level or at the level of the president’s request,” Coons added.HouseThe House Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for FY 2017 on June 9 (TAXDAY, 2016/06/10, C.1). The bill includes a $10.9-billion budget for the IRS for FY 2017. Both House and Senate IRS budget proposals are below President Obama’s $12.28 billion IRS budget request. “This legislation represents a very good effort to fund federal agencies despite budget constraints,” Cochran said about the Senate measure.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffAppropriations Press Release: Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 Financial Services & General Government Appropriations Billlast_img read more

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportAs Congress continued its summer recess, the IRS has warned taxpayers of an increase in telephone scams this summer, with automated systems posing as the IRS and demanding payments on gift cards. Additionally, the Service has announced that taxpayers with unused or expiring Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) will need to renew their ITINs as they are no longer valid after three years. Further, the IRS has reminded truckers and owners of heavy highway vehicles that August 31 is the deadline to file returns and make tax payments for vehicles used on the road during July.TreasuryLevy Process Audit. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has reported that the IRS’s policies and procedures on levies to Social Security benefits need improvement as some levy action on Social Security recipients likely caused or exacerbated economic hardship (Ref. No. 2016-30-043; TAXDAY, 2016/08/04, T.1). In its audit of the process, TIGTA found that a change in policy at the IRS is what likely contributed to levies that caused economic hardship.Charge Card Act. In addition, TIGTA also reported that the IRS properly identified and reported 30 instances of confirmed purchase card misuse and four instances of purchase card misuse pending final agency action (Ref. No.: 2016-10-055; TAXDAY, 2016/08/05, T.2). The particular report assessed the Service’s implementation of, and compliance with, the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 for the period October 1, 2015, through March 31, 2016.IRSPhone Scams. The IRS has warned taxpayers about a summertime increase in telephone scams, in the form of automated calls and new tactics from scammers demanding payments on iTunes and other gift cards (IR-2016-99; TAXDAY, 2016/08/03, I.2). The IRS explained that these scammers will claim that they are giving a last warning before legal action is taken, and also threaten arrest, to deportation or revocation of the driver’s license of the victim if they do not agree to pay.Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. The IRS has announced that some taxpayers with unused or expiring ITINs will need to renew them (IR-2016-100; Notice 2016-48; TAXDAY, 2016/08/06, I.4). As a result of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-111), ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid unless renewed by the taxpayer.Liquidations of Interests Regs. The IRS proposed regulations under Code Secs. 2701 and 2704 that concern the treatment of certain lapsing rights and restrictions on liquidations in determining the value of transferred interests (NPRM REG-163113-02; TAXDAY, 2016/08/03, I.1). The proposed regulations seek to address avoidance of the application of Code Sec. 2704 and to reflect significant new developments.The IRS has reminded owners of heavy highway vehicles that the federal highway use tax return is due on August 31, 2016 (IR-2016-102; TAXDAY, 2016/08/08, I.2). The due date is generally applicable for the tax year that begins on July 1, 2016, and ends on June 30, 2017.By Jalisa Mathis, Wolters Kluwer News Stafflast_img read more

Rhode Island Issues Adjusted Tax Amounts for 2018

first_imgRhode Island has issued inflation-adjusted tax amounts for the 2018 tax year, including:the personal income tax rate schedules;the tax rate schedules for trusts and estates;standard deduction amounts; andpersonal exemption amounts.Tax Rate SchedulesFor the 2018 tax year, the individual income tax rates are:3.75% on the first $62,550 of taxable income;4.75% on taxable income between $62,550 and $142,150; and5.99% on taxable income over $142,150.For trusts and estates, the tax rate are:3.75% on the first $2,500 of taxable income;4.75% on taxable income between $2,500 and $7,950; and5.99% on taxable income over $7,950.Standard DeductionThe standard deduction amounts for the 2018 tax year are:$8,525 for single taxpayers and married taxpayers filing separate returns;$12,800 head-of-household filers; and$17,050 for married taxpayers filing a joint return and qualifying widow(er)s.The 2018 standard deduction phaseout range is $199,000 to $221,800.Personal and Dependency ExemptionFor the 2018 tax year, the personal and dependency exemption amount is $4,000, while the phaseout range is $199,000 to $221,800.Advisory for Tax Professionals 2017-38, Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation, November 22, 2017, ¶200-923Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Advance Pricing Agreement Template Issued

first_imgTaxpayers have a new template for requesting an Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) under Rev. Proc. 2015-41, I.R.B. 2015-35, 263. Also, the IRS released a filled-in and annotated example template and a redlined comparison of the current template and the proposed September 2017 template.APA Template, Example, and ComparisonThe template is used to draft APAs. It is designed to systemize how taxpayers propose terms for their APA. Also, the template provides standardized language to be used in the APA. Rev. Proc. 2015-41, which defines the APA process, requires taxpayers to include a draft APA and a redline comparison of the proposed draft against the current APA. The template serves as the model APA. In addition, the draft APA and redline comparison must be included in Word format in the completed APA request. The template uses an option-based format for selecting terms.Taxpayers may request Microsoft Word files of the template, example, and comparison by sending an email request to the APMA mailbox lbi.ttpo.apma.feedback@irs.gov, with the subject line “APMA Template Request”.Taxpayers with APAs in progress should ask their assigned team leaders in the Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement Program (APMA) whether the template can be used.CommentsComments are requested on the removal of section 7 of Appendix A, Effect of Certain Adjustments by Tax Authorities and Resulting Competent Authority Proceedings. Direct comments to the APMA mailbox with the subject line “APA Template Comments”. Taxpayers may also provide feedback at anytime using this procedure.APA Template Example May 2018APA Template May 2018Other References:Code Sec. 482CCH Reference – 2018FED ¶22,283.103Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC INTL: 15,200Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

New Jersey Residential and Parking Project Credit Increased

first_imgNew Jersey legislation amends the grant and corporate income tax credit program for certain residential redevelopment and mixed-use parking projects. Specifically, the legislation:increases the maximum grant or tax credit available;extends the credit application deadline for certain projects; andexpands the definition of “parking component” for mixed-use parking projects.Maximum Amount IncreasedCurrently, the maximum grant or credit for most residential projects is 30% of the total project costs. For projects located in a Garden State Growth Zone, the maximum is 40% of total project costs.In addition, the current maximum for a mixed-use parking project is:100% of total project costs allocable to the parking component; and40% of total project costs allocable to the non-parking component.The legislation increases the maximum grant or tax credit for residential projects to 80% of total project costs if:the project is constructed on a site that was previously the subject of an award of urban transit hub tax credits; andthe urban transit hub credits were not issued.In addition, for certain mixed-use parking projects, the maximum for non-parking components is increased to 80% of project costs. This increase applies to the following types of projects:projects constructed on a site that was previously the subject of an award of urban transit hub tax credits, if the credits were not issued;entertainment venues with seating capacity over 5,000;visitor centers in or adjacent to a national historic park; andyouth centers in or adjacent to a national historic park.However, special rules also exist if an increase applies to a project developed by a non-public, for-profit entity. The increase’s effect on the project financing gap must be considered if the increased amount exceeds 40% of total costs.Application Deadline ExtendedThe legislation extends the credit application deadline for certain developers in Garden State Growth Zones with a population over 125,000. The due date is moved from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019.The due date for submitting a project’s temporary certificate of occupancy is also pushed back. It is changed from July 28, 2021, to July 28, 2022.Furthermore, the municipality where a project is located must now submit a letter of support identifying up to six projects. The letter must contain a project scope for each project. It must be submitted before July 1, 2018, but it can be supplemented until July 1, 2019.Definition of “Parking Component” ExpandedThe definition of “parking component” is modified to include:enclosed pedestrian walkways; andsky bridges.In addition, a parking component may be in:the same structure as all the non-parking components; ora structure with some non-parking components if the remaining non-parking components are in an adjacent or nearby structure that is no more than one-third of a mile from the parking components.Ch. 44 (S.B. 1968), Laws 2018, effective June 28, 2018Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

first_imgDuring the week of September 17, 2018, the House Republican’s top tax writer urged the IRS to issue updated guidance on virtual currencies. TIGTA noted that improvements were needed to ensure adequate consideration of the pickup of prior and/or subsequent returns during field examinations. The IRS and the Treasury Department provided taxpayers with additional guidance for complying with the Code Sec. 871(m) regulations.CongressHouse Republican’s top tax writer urged the IRS to issue updated guidance on virtual currencies. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., led a September 19 letter co-authored by four other committee members criticizing the IRS’s administration of tax obligations related to virtual currencies, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/20, C.1).TreasuryThe Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) noted that improvements were needed to ensure adequate consideration of the pickup of prior and/or subsequent returns during field examinations, (Ref. No. 2018-30-073; TAXDAY, 2018/09/21, T.1).TIGTA noted that the IRS needed to improve its compliance with the direct contact provisions of Code Sec. 7521 in connection with taxpayer interviews, (Ref. No. 2018-30-070; TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, T.1).TIGTA noted that seizures conducted by the IRS did not adequately comply with the guidelines put in place to ensure that taxpayers’ rights were not violated, (Ref. No. 2018-30-067; TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, T.1).TIGTA reviewed the compilation of statistical information reported by the IRS, (Ref. No. 2018-30-069; TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, T.2).Internal Revenue ServiceNotice. The IRS and the Treasury Department provided taxpayers with additional guidance for complying with the Code Sec. 871(m) regulations on dividend equivalent payments for 2019, 2020 and 2021, (Notice 2018-72; TAXDAY, 2018/09/21, I.1).Redesigned Form W-4. The Treasury and the IRS mentioned launching a redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, for 2020, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/21, I.2).Comment Requests. The IRS requested comments on identity theft affidavit forms, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/21, I.3).Tax Tip. Tax assistance was made available on IRS’s Mobile App IRS2Go, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/21, I.4).FASB. The IRS modified Rev. Proc. 2018-29, I.R.B. 2018-22, 634, (TAXDAY, 2018/05/11, I.2) and Rev. Proc. 2018-31, I.R.B. 2018-22, 637, (TAXDAY, 2018/05/10, I.2) to allow a taxpayer that early adopted (early adopter) a method of recognizing revenues described in the new financial accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), (TAXDAY, 2018/09/20, I.1).Data Security. The IRS introduced a new tax transcript format to better protect taxpayer data, (FS-2018-16; TAXDAY, 2018/09/20, I.2).Tax Credit. The IRS provided tax tips to certain veterans who were eligible for credit or refund, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/20, I.3).Field Attorney Advice. A company failed to dispose carbon dioxide (CO2) in a secure geological storage, a primary requirement for claiming the credit for CO2 sequestration, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.1).Applicable Federal Rates. The IRS provided the prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes for October 2018, (Rev. Rul. 2018-27; TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.2).Tax Scams. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, the IRS warned taxpayers to remain vigilant against scammers who take advantage of the generosity of those who want to help victims of major disasters, (IR-2018-188; TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.3).Hurricane Florence. The IRS announced that it would not impose a penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway in the state of North Carolina, (IR-2018-189; TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.4).Form 8975. The IRS issued reminder to US multinational enterprises (MNEs) regarding filing of Form 8975, Country-by Country Report, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.5).Safe Harbor Notice. The IRS updated its safe harbor Code Sec. 402(f) notice explanations for recipients of eligible rollover distributions, (Notice 2018-74; TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.6).Procedural Update. The IRS updated memos addressing AUR program, BSA examinations, bankruptcy and more, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.7).FEMA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the president determined that certain areas in Alaska, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and Connecticut were eligible for assistance from the federal government, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.8).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on individual retirement arrangements, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/19, I.9).Tax Relief. Hurricane Florence victims got tax relief from the IRS, (IR-2018-187; TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, I.1).FEMA Notice. The president declared a federal disaster area in North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, I.2).Comment Requests. The IRS requested comments on various Forms, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, I.3).Disaster Area Designation. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the president determined that certain areas in Iowa were eligible for assistance from the federal government, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, I.4).Tax Tips. The IRS provided tips on Taxpayer Bill of Rights, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/18, I.5).IRB. The IRS released I.R.B. 2018-38 dated September 17, 2018, (TAXDAY, 2018/09/17, I.1).Current Plan Liability Rates. The IRS provided current plan liability rates for pension plan years beginning in September 2018, (Notice 2018-73; TAXDAY, 2018/09/17, I.2).Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? 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North Carolina Increases Motor Fuels Tax Rate for 2019

first_imgThe North Carolina motor fuels tax rate for gasoline, diesel, and alternative fuels is increased from 35.1 cents per gallon to 36.2 cents per gallon.When is the New Rate Applicable?The new rate applies from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019.What is the Inspection Tax Rate for 2019?The inspection tax rate remains at 0.0025 cents per gallon.Motor Fuels Tax Rates, North Carolina Department of Revenue, December 2018Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img

James’ Arts & Culture Revival: Fourth Wall Arts Salon

first_imgJames’ Arts & Culture Revival:Fourth Wall Arts Salon Just about a year ago, an unstoppable movement landed on the scene and has been taking Philly by storm ever since. On Saturday, May 28, the Fourth Wall Arts Salon returns to Media Bureau to celebrate it’s one year anniversary with an explosion of performance and visual art! Once a month, the Fourth Wall Arts Salon brings together a diverse array of artists and intellectuals for an evening of fine art, music, dance, theater and topical lectures in some of Philly’s most exciting cultural venues. I really dig the Fourth Wall concept—it’s the only place in the city (and maybe world-wide) where you can see your favorite local poets and hip-hop artists perform on the same stage as traditional folk dancers, opera vocalist and classical musicians.  Their dedication to presenting such a wide range of entertainment always makes for an inspiring event that truly represents the rich diversity Philly has to offer. To celebrate their one year anniversary, Fourth Wall has enlisted an exciting line-up of artists that include visual artwork from Philly 360º Creative Ambassador Ernel Martinez and local spoken word legend and visual artist, Bernard Collins. Fourth Wall co-founder and tap dance phenom Brinae Ali will steal your heart  as with does excerpts from her one-woman show Steps. The salon will welcome new faces too as alternative-rock duo Suspect 9, takes the stage for their Fourth Wall debut.  Also, DJ Supreme and live house band the Jimmy Crack Corn Experiment will keep the music flowing throughout the evening.  You can check out the Fourth Wall Arts Salon website to get more information on this month’s featured performers and be sure to get your tickets before they sellout. Fourth Wall Arts Salon(Fourth Wall Arts Salon) Fourth Wall Arts Salon Saturday, May 28 6:30 p.m. Media Bureau 725 North 4th Streetlast_img read more

Philly 360° Playlist: Donn T Drops “Last Breath” Remix Produced By Questlove

first_img It was only a matter of time before this dynamic collaboration went down — and we know there are tons of music fans thrilled about the release of this hot new remix. Singer/Songwriter Donn T is serving a hot new remix to her track “Last Breath” produced by GRAMMY-winning producer and musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. This super talented brother and sister duo is serving up greatness for this week’s Philly 360° Playlist. “Last Breath” is one of the leading singles from Donn T’s latest effort Flight of the Donn T released on her very own label, D-Tone Victorious. In the remix, Quest adds his signature drum sound which adds a driving beat to the mellow track, which features Roots collaborator Ray Angry on the keys. The funky guitars give it a whole new life while maintaining the chill groove of the original cut. The remix release comes after Donn T’s debut on Tonight with Jimmy Fallon, where she sat in with The Roots — who of course are the house band for the top rated show. Keeping the momentum going, Donn T will be making various appearances, so be sure to follow her on social for the latest deets. This eclectic and extremely thoughtful artist is making her rounds on the indie scene and showing artists just how it’s done. Her singles “Waiting” and “Midnight” have respectively been featured in visual mediums including the Ava Duvernay directed “I Will Follow” on BET and Lifetime’s “With this Ring,” which featured Philly natives Eve and Jill Scott. Donn T gives us a taste of all the best sounds including pop, R&B, soul and a little funk. Her voice is silky and her songwriting showcases a delicacy and edge all at the same time! Be sure to check out the remix to “Last Breath” below and let us know what you think in the comments! Donn T(Courtesy of the artist)last_img read more