Devs Without Borders Sets Its Sights on Breaking Poverty with New Hackathon

Devs Without Borders, Break Poverty Hackathon

Image provided by Free The Children


When I first heard about Devs Without Borders, they were hiring for a Marketing Lead. This position would be part of a newly formed team responsible for producing a new annual hackathon for international development among other projects and events. I immediately got to work on polishing my resume and getting my application in order. It looked like a great opportunity to pair my skills with a great cause.

I have been involved with Devs Without Borders for a few months now. As the Marketing Lead, I get to work on projects that will ultimately affect positive change in the world.


Devs Without Borders, Adopt a Village program, Free the Children, Break Poverty Hackathon

Image provided by Free The Children


The first planned event is the Break Poverty Hackathon. For 25 hours over one weekend in late November, developers in Toronto will be working with teams on the ground in Nairobi Kenya to create apps (Mobile Web, SMS, and hardware) for people in developing countries. These apps will help people in rural and impoverished areas around the world, whose only access to technology, communication, and knowledge is through their mobile phone.

Free the Children has come on board as our Charity Event Partner. They will be lending their support by providing case studies to participants as well as testing the winning app through their Adopt a Village program in Kenya.


Devs Without Borders, Break Poverty Hackathon

Image provided by Free The Children.

Though other international development hackathons have taken place in Canada before, this is the first time teams in Toronto will be working directly with teams in Nairobi during the weekend. By everyone working together, teams will be able to provide better practical solutions.

Case Foundation quote

If you would like to learn more about Break Poverty Hackathon, visit



The Importance of Facebook’s New Relevance Score

Facebook Relevance Score Target

On February 11, Facebook announced the introduction of a Relevance Score for advertisers on their platform. Having this new metric available will allow marketers to understand how relevant their ads are to the audiences they’re targeting.

Facebook Relevance Score Example

Facebook’s unveiling of this new feature is important because marketers have been producing content they think might be resonating with their audience based on engagement metrics or having a good click-through-rate. Now there is a better benchmark for success.

Similar to Google’s Quality Score, the more relevant the ad, the better it will perform and the less you will pay. Facebook wants to show the right content to the right people and will reward advertisers who provide quality and relevant content for their targeted audience.

Just like marketers A/B test content, experimentation with targeting different groups with various images and copy will help clarify what resonates best with what group.

If the campaign has already started, ads with a lower rank can be paused or creative can be refreshed in order to try to move up in the ranks.

Arm wrestling

Having a high relevance score is not a guarantee that the ad will beat the competition. If two ads are targeting the same audience and they both have a high score, the one with the higher bid will likely outperform the ad with a lower bid amount.

In order to receive a relevance score, your ad must be served more than 500 times. Anything less and you have too few impressions to calculate a score.


Becoming a Technical Marketer: Part One

Awhile back, I was asked to do an informational interview for someone who was starting out in their career. I shared a lot about what I knew, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would learn in return. My interviewer turned out to be a fountain of knowledge.

Have you heard of the term “Growth Hacking” I was asked. What is a Growth Hacker? I responded.
This newly coined term, one who was part engineer, part marketer, was going to change the face of marketing, apparently, so I decided to investigate.

Growth Hacker Marketing by Sean Ellis

Sean Ellis, one of the leading experts on the subject of growth.

From there I dove into any resources on the subject, excited to learn about this new development in the evolution of marketing. I read Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing, how he too had been thrown for a loop when he discovered the newest recruits coming out of school were responsible for disruptive growth at major start-ups and changing the face of marketing. I found resources on the subject from Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor. I even joined the Toronto Meetup on the subject.

Sign from the Growth Hackers Conference
This you could say was one of the key turning points in a plan to go down the road to become a technical marketer. I’ve had experience with blogging, building adwords campaigns and dabbled in SEO, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to throw myself into it, in an effort to become more technically savvy. So this is post one of my adventures in becoming a technical marketer. What does that even mean? I’m not so sure myself, but I’m documenting my experiences so I can share my challenges and adventures of what lies ahead.

#TIFF13: A Social Media Recap

The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet time knowing the work is done after a whirlwind 11 days plus the weeks leading up to Festival but also a relief knowing it’s over for another year.

This year was our strongest yet, with record attendance, and most number of tweets using the official Festival hashtag #TIFF13. We’ve been keeping track since the 2012 Festival ended last year, since then there have been over 220,000 tweets with #TIFF13. We deliberately promoted the hashtag everywhere we could, including in cinema, on marketing materials, across all of our social media channels and in press releases. Everyone from Zac Efron to InStyle magazine were using the hashtag and our Twitter handle (@TIFF_NET).

Zac Efron Tweet

Instyle article featuring the #TIFF13 hashtag

If you want to learn more about who tweeted during Festival, read this article on and this study done by MediaMiser.

We knew video was going to play a major part in the overall Festival experience, so we created a unique series of Vine videos to specifically capture some of those exciting moments.

We hosted a Reddit AMA pre-Festival with our programmers, which is essentially a Q & A session where people can ask anything. View the full AMA here.

On the day of the talent announcement, we created and linked to a Pinterest board to accompany the press release that was going out to the media.

Talent Pinterest Board

Lastly, we created a bingo card with fun items to photograph during the Festival. We encouraged guests to tag their Instagram photos with #TIFF13Bingo.

Instagram Bingo

The bingo card that was used to play Instagram Bingo with during #TIFF13.