Why Facebook Targeting Is Losing Its Importance

Are you the victim or the benefactor of this under-reported trend?

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There is an element to Facebook advertising about which no one speaks. It is one of the shadier things Facebook does, yet it has been largely under-reported. What is this practice?

Click on a Facebook or Instagram ad for a product that falls outside of your norm, wait, and watch as you are served ads from competing companies.

In my experience, Instagram ads for Lightroom filters are the canonical example. If you click on one Lightroom filter ad, you may only see Lightroom filter ads for the rest of your Instagram existence. Suddenly every wanna-be photog influencer on earth is in your feed.

Obviously, Facebook knows you are in the market for some filters. And it is logical to show you ads for more. But it is less logical from the advertisers’ perspective.

If you have identified that potential customer - through targeting or tracking - and now you have them clicking on your ad, the last thing you want is for the customer to start seeing ads for your competitors.

You have put in the hard work of making a connection, and now your rivals get to cruise in on your coattails.

Undoubtedly your brand is sometimes the victim and sometimes the benefactor. Perhaps it washes out in the end. But it would be hard (perhaps impossible) to prove.

Now that great targeting is not enough, this reality simply puts more pressure on your creative and your promotion. So be prepared.

Google’s Top Search Result? Surprise! It’s Google – The Markup

In Google’s early years, users would type in a query and get back a page of 10 “blue links” that led to different websites. “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible,” co-founder Larry Page said in 2004.

Today, Google often considers that “right place” to be Google, an investigation by The Markup has found.

We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are populated with information copied from other sources, sometimes without their knowledge or consent.

When we examined the top 15 percent of the page, the equivalent of the first screen on an iPhone X, that figure jumped to 63 percent. For one in five searches in our sample, links to external websites did not appear on the first screen at all.

For several years, when asked about SEO and goals of ranking high organically, my response to clients has been “Why?”. I then share a post with them talking about the disappearance of organic results.

It looks like a have a new, better post to share. 😳

Google’s response to this criticism?

Grow online sales with new features for Smart Shopping campaigns - Google Ads Help

The way that consumers are shopping today continues to evolve with dynamic market conditions. 25% of U.S. shoppers say they will continue to shop online and avoid going in stores even as stores re-open.1 As shoppers move online, Smart Shopping campaigns2 are helping advertisers adapt by optimizing for your goals based on real-time signals across Google, including Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and millions of sites and apps across the web. This means you can be sure to show your products to the right customers at the right time as consumer demand unpredictably fluctuates. Now, we’re making Smart Shopping campaigns better by offering a new goal and more visual ways to stand out from the competition.

Smart Shopping campaigns now include three nice, new feature sets for retailers.

Buy on Google goes commission-free, will enable checkout via PayPal, Shopify

In addition, Buy on Google will integrate with third-parties, starting with Shopify and PayPal. When users opt to buy from participating merchants via “Buy on Google,” they can choose Shopify or PayPal payment options when available. For Shopify merchants it also means inventory and order management from Buy on Google orders can flow directly through Shopify.

“So, if a retailer wants to sell directly on Google, they can get started even faster and continue using the tools and services that already work for their business,” said Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce in a blog post Thursday. “Or, if they’re new to selling online, they’ll be able to choose from multiple options when they sign up in our Merchant Center.”

Google had already enabled an integration with Google Merchant Center and PayPal in May, so this next step makes sense.

Adding to this story from last week.

Google My Business Adds Black-Owned Attribute

Google My Business has added another attribute for businesses owners to use to enhance their business listings. The new attribute is named "black-owned business", this goes on with the veteran-led and women-led attributes.

Under the "info" tab in Google My Business, you can select "attributes" and then select the attribute that is applicable to your business, including the new "black-owned business."

A great addition.

Google's ad revenue falls 8% for 1st decline in 26-year history | Marketing Dive

Google's total advertising revenue fell 8% to $29.9 billion in Q2 from a year earlier as the pandemic's economic fallout weighed on marketers' media spending, according to a quarterly report parent company Alphabet shared Thursday. It was first time in the search giant's 26-year history that its ad revenue had declined from the prior year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The first time ever - just in case you were wondering why organic search is almost dead. It is easy to be benevolent and fair when there is plenty of money.

Know who’s in the know: Get community updates in Maps

Last year we announced a Google Maps pilot feature that allowed people to follow select Local Guides, the everyday people who are passionate about sharing their experiences on Google Maps. It was exciting to see many of the Local Guides we invited in our initial pilot opt in and participate. Equally exciting was the interest we saw from many Google Maps users who began following top Local Guides to receive helpful recommendations about the places around them.

Today we’re expanding this feature and beginning to roll it out globally. If a Google Maps user has shared photos, reviews or lists publicly, you can now follow them and get their recommendations, advice and updates delivered to your Updates tab in Google Maps. So the next time you find someone sharing helpful photos of takeout menus, handy lists of your city's most spacious parks or inspiring photos of local shops and services, you can keep up-to-date on all of their recommendations.

Are Local Guides the search equivalent to Instagram influencers?

🗣 Social

Facebook's default Limited Data Use period ends Aug. 1: How to stay CCPA compliant

In the Events Manager in Facebook Ads Manager, there is an option to extend the transition period and keep Limited Data Use on by default until October 20, 2020.

If you need more time to implement Limited Data Use for your Facebook events, you’ll want to check that option.

If you are still working on CCPA compliance, this checkbox is an easy way to gain some additional time without having to make code changes.

📈 Reporting & Revenue

We forecast that food and beverage will be the fastest-growing ecommerce category this year, with year-over-year growth of 58.5%, followed by health/personal care/beauty at 32.4%, amid the shift to purchasing of essential goods through digital channels.

🏬 Brick & Mortar

So yes, I think this is a new way Google is using the image carousel feature in the local pack. To show product inventory as a carousel, which they did show in other ways before.

I assume for you to come up in this like this is to add products to your Google My Business listing.

🛍 Marketplace

Amazon takes a lot of heat for crafting private-label products that compete with the best sellers in its marketplace. But they are not the only ones.

Although this says a lot about the private-label practices of big retailers, it says even more about the size of Amazon. For their significant private-label efforts to account for so little revenue, there must be so much other revenue.

Target Will Close Thanksgiving Day - The New York Times

Target said Monday that it would close its stores on Thanksgiving this year as part of safety measures it has rolled out during the pandemic, following a similar announcement from Walmart last week, which cited appreciation for its staff.

I will be interested to see if these retailers also hold their online promotions to Black Friday or release them earlier. These announcements could be posturing, knowing online sales will be their driver in 2020.

BuzzFeed Starts Selling Products Directly to Consumers - WSJ

BuzzFeed has long recommended products to its audience, earning a cut of the revenue when readers click the links in its articles and buy from the sites that actually sell the goods.

The digital publisher has now introduced a standalone website called BuzzFeed Shopping that lets visitors complete purchases without going anywhere else.

Many publishers earn so-called affiliate revenue, the slice of revenue they get when they help generate a sale, by linking from product mentions to retailers that finish the transactions. But shopping directly on media sites may become more common as consumer habits change and publishers continue to seek revenue beyond ad sales.

🦠 Coronavirus

Face masks in ads viewed favorably by consumers, study says | Marketing Dive

Face masks have been politically polarizing, and their inclusion in TV advertising can be viewed as insensitive unless they are portrayed as an essential part of a brand's message. Most consumers tend to ignore the absence of face masks in advertising while focusing on other creative elements, per study results that researcher Ace Metrix shared with Marketing Dive.

When ads have subtle mentions of masks, 48% of viewers expressed positive sentiment toward a brand, while 33% reacted negatively and 19% had neutral or mixed feelings. Fewer than 5% of viewers mentioned the portrayal of face masks in their verbatim comments about the ads, suggesting that a small group of people noticed the masks.

When shown ads portraying people without masks, fewer than 1% of viewers mentioned their absence. However, among that small group of people who commented on the lack of face masks, most tended to have a negative reaction that chided brands like Boost Mobile and WeatherTech for not showing characters with masks, Ace Metrix found.

🛠 Tips & Tools

Bing URL Submissions Plugin Experiencing Issues

There are currently a “large number of failures” associated with Bing’s new URL submissions plugin for WordPress, according to the company’s outreach team.

Emails are being sent out to site owners who have installed the plugin to notify them of these issues.

I told you about the new Bing Wordpress plugin last week. As it turns out, the plugin isn’t quite ready for primetime.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun


Entertaining new way to shop online

This is a new social platform from Google’s Area 120 incubator - and perhaps the first influencer-only network?

👋 Holla!

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