5 min read

The Uncertainty of Certainty

The Uncertainty of Certainty

Thanks for subscribing to The Cache - a weekly summary of the most important stories, trends, & commentary in eCommerce marketing, curated by Rob Bettis.


I have a problem. It’s a maker problem.

When you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. But when you create digital assets as a profession, most problems need a new digital asset. And that is the case with this newsletter.

As my marketing newsletter, ‘The Marketing Brief,’ has taken a decidedly stronger turn towards eCommerce, I have decided to rebrand my weekly newsletter and go all-in on eComm. Subsequently, allow me to introduce you to The Cache.

Much like your website’s cache, my newsletter will continue to be light & fast reading, temporary by nature (something about today’s news and tomorrow’s trash can), and geared towards maximizing the cash your business generates through online marketing. I promise to keep the cache/cash puns to a minimum.

I’m thrilled about the future of this newsletter and that you’ve chosen to join me.

As for this good stuff…

This week was full of news of certainty and uncertainty. Things are absolutely true until they definitely are not. Let’s dig in and you’ll see what I mean.


🔎 Search

Google’s John Mueller on Word Count for SEO - Search Engine Journal

As dumb as that may sound, even today in 2020 there are people who still push the idea of minimum and maximum word counts. That’s why some SERP analysis software includes word count features that recommend specific word counts based on what Google is ranking.

Yet, Google’s John Mueller has debunked the idea that word count matters.

Was There A Google Local Algorithm Update On January 31st?

There is some question around if Google did a local search ranking algorithm update this past January 31st. Some local SEOs said they saw some drops or changes for their clients and even the BrightLocal tool showed some fluctuations for that day.

Google Is Making It Harder For Companies To Become Google Partners

A new Google Partners program is being launched this summer and with it some changes that some Google Partners – or companies trying to get their badge – won’t like. Some of the new requirements are more difficult to achieve and maintain, and some are already proving unpopular.

While this might not be a huge deal to retailers, this news sent PPC Twitter into a frenzy.

For years Google Partners, like myself, have been asking for priority support just for Partners. Instead, unless you are a huge agency, you are relegated to the lowest common denominator support.

Instead, we got a host of new requirements, many of which seem to pit client performance against Google’s bottom line.

Other requirements are simply senseless. For example, as a company of one person, my Partner Dashboard informed me that I will need 22 certified people on my team to keep my Partner status. That number is a product of the number of folks who have access to the accounts I manage.

So my clients would need less access to their account or I will lose my Partner status.

Google’s rollout is nothing short of tone-deaf. And as of Friday evening, Google is already rolling back some of these requirements. But the proposed program is still nowhere near satisfactory.

RIP those mentions. ☠️


🗣 Social

The FTC is starting to govern online tomfoolery.

The full statement can be read here…as a PDF…because government.


What’s the Best Time to Send Email? Here’s What the Data Says (2020)

That being the case, email marketing success doesn’t only depend on what you send anymore—it’s also highly related to when you send your emails.

To help you with that, we’ve gathered the most recent data on the best time to send emails and added our insights.

A lot of good data to inform your email marketing strategy.


WhatsApp Now Has 2 Billion Users

While everyone is busy looking at the risks of having two companies controlling the Internet – i.e. Google and Facebook – no one seemed bothered to watch the rise of WhatsApp.

Today, the Facebook-owned messaging service has 2 billion users worldwide, just shy of Facebook’s 2.5 billion, and a lot more than Instagram’s 1 billion.

Perhaps it’s not bothering people because it is not predicated on creepy ad tech.


📈 Reporting & Revenue

Soapbox: Are ad blockers breaking the foundations of digital marketing? - Marketing Land

Last month I was asked to create a Zapier integration that sent an alert to a Slack channel every time someone requested a demo through the website.

When doing the month’s report, I saw our Google Analytics demo request events were 22% lower than the number of messages sent to the Slack channel. It turns out ~20% of our visitors were blocking Google Analytic’s tracking.

After some research, I found that an average of 24% of internet users use an ad blocker. As more users become frustrated by ads, and Safari is looking to win the war for user privacy with intelligent tracking prevention built directly into the browser, the prevalence of ad blockers for all users will keep rising.

Are ad blockers going to break all of our analytics some point soon? It’s looking like they will and we need to start rethinking what’s next in how we use our website analytics.

Apple Pay on pace to account for 10% of global card transactions — Quartz

Apple Pay accounts for about 5% of global card transactions and is on pace to handle 1-in-10 such payments by 2025, according to recent trend data compiled by Bernstein, a research firm. “There are indeed plenty of reasons to worry that Apple may attempt to disrupt the payments ecosystem,” Bernstein analysts, led by Harshita Rawat, wrote in a research note.

As iPhone sales plateau, the Cupertino-based company is leaning into its services division, which includes Apple Pay. The unit generated $12.7 billion in revenue in the last three months of 2019, a 17% increase from a year earlier. The company’s payments ambitions have the benefit of a massive cash hoard, years of experience in card transactions, and a vast customer base consisting of hundreds of millions of iPhone users.

I think this is an emerging market force worthy of our attention.


Buffer + Shopify: Simplified Shopify reporting in your Buffer dashboard

With the new Shopify integration, you’ll have your social media and Shopify data in a single place — Analyze.

One of the metrics you’ll get is your average customer lifetime value. This is an important metric to know because to have a profitable business, you generally want to spend less money on acquiring new customers and retaining them than they spend on your products.

I have seen many retailers struggle to measure and monitor the lifetime value of their customers. And in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it’s one of the most important KPI’s you can track, as it often provides the litmus test for the profitability of advertising campaigns.


🛠 Tips & Tools

Making it easier to see how campaign changes impact ads performance in Google Ads

Historically, it wasn’t easy to review your change history report and reporting data in order to understand changes in your campaign performance.

To help you understand the impact of your campaign changes, you can now view changes annotated in your performance charts.

If you are not using annotations in either Google Ads or Analytics, you absolutely should be.

For those not familiar, both platforms provide a space for you to jot timestamped notes into your account. Launched a new campaign, got a big press mention, etc. You get the idea.

When looking back at historical data, this context is invaluable.


👋🏼 Holla!

Questions, comments, inquiries? I’d love to hear from you! Email newsletter@robbettis.com.