7 min read

Why TikTok Might Have The Best Social Shop Yet

Why is Apple indexing the web again? Google Ads gets a handful of useful new features. And TikTok's eCommerce play is becoming clear.
Why TikTok Might Have The Best Social Shop Yet

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Is anyone else feeling the BFCM/holiday crunch already, or is it just me?

I’ve taken multiple calls this week from retailers wanting to spin up advertising campaigns for the holidays. It’s November, and due to strained logistics here in the US, the cutoff date for Christmas delivery is earlier than ever.

In 2020, the year that will never end, it seems the holidays really snuck up on us this year. 🙃

On to the news.


Apple develops alternative to Google search | Financial Times

Apple is stepping up efforts to develop its own search technology as US antitrust authorities threaten multibillion-dollar payments that Google makes to secure prime placement of its engine on the iPhone.

In a little-noticed change to the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.

That web search capability marks an important advance in Apple’s in-house development and could form the foundation of a fuller attack on Google, according to several people in the industry.

The Silicon Valley company is notoriously secretive about its internal projects, but the move adds to growing evidence that it is working to build a rival to Google’s search engine.

Last week, Facebook was randomly turning campaigns on. This week...

New features and alerts to help set your campaigns up for success - Google Ads Help

Receive real-time alerts

Pick up where you left off (for campaign builds)

Easily create campaigns, and view disapproved ads

And god knows there are plenty of (incorrectly) disapproved ads to view.

🗣 Social

Facebook Shares New Insight on Ad Performance Based on Frequency | Social Media Today

So how much is too much? As you can see in this chart, after 5 or 6 impressions, the results start to taper off, even for ads with 'good' creative.

Speaking of Facebook, watch out for this bug:

TikTok partners with Shopify on social commerce | TechCrunch

At launch, the agreement allows Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard by installing the new TikTok channel app from the Shopify App Store. Once installed, merchants will have access to the key functions from the TikTok For Business Ads Manager at their disposal.

These ad tools allow merchants to create native, shareable content that turns their products into In-Feed video ads that will resonate with the TikTok community. Merchants will be able to target their audiences across gender, age, user behavior, and video category, and then track the campaign’s performance over time. The campaigns’ costs will vary, based on the merchant’s own business objectives and how much they want to spend.

As a part of this effort, Shopify merchants can also install or connect their “TikTok Pixel” — a tool that helps them to more easily track conversions driven by their TikTok ad campaigns.

TikTok, pending a huge acquisition by Walmart, is partnering with Shopify - who also recently partnered with Walmart - to sell things on Shopify (not Walmart’s marketplace).

TikTok is a sleeping e-commerce giant

“It occupies a space in media that’s unlike any other platform,” said Aaron Goldman, the CMO of Mediaocean, a popular ad sales platform. “There’s opportunity for TikTok to get to Snapchat-like revenues just on the back of a standard advertising offering. But it has a chance to leapfrog Snap and other social networks if it can get past advertising and get to integrated commerce.”

📧 Email

💃 Influencers

Instagram Is Cracking Down On Influencers Who Hide Ads

Facebook, which owns Instagram, is to introduce new measures designed to weed out hidden advertising following an investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) .

As part of the #sponcon crackdown, Instagram will ask influencers to confirm whether they have received incentives to promote a particular product or service before publishing a post.

The app is also introducing new algorithms designed to spot hidden advertising. A recent survey found that more than three quarters of Instagram ads have the all-important #adand #sponsored hashtags hidden in the middle of a post, at the end, or even in a comment.

In addition, the "paid partnership" labelling tool will be rolled out to all users for the first time.

How hidden can it be if the hashtag is in the post?

🛍 Marketplace

Resetting online commerce — Benedict Evans

Today, privacy changes by Google and Apple on one side (in Chrome, Safari and iOS), and GDPR, CCPA and a whole bunch of other blunderbuss regulation on the other, are shoving over that whole tottering mess of tracking, targeting, interest and identity management. I’ve sometimes had the impression that almost no-one in Silicon Valley that doesn’t actually work on an ad team really pays any attention to ‘ad tech’, but now that whole business is being reset.

Quite separately, Google and Facebook’s own ad market position (they have at least half of all online advertising) is attracting very serious scrutiny from competition regulators, especially in the UK and EU, with all sorts of suggestions of highly technical and specific intervention into the mechanics of their market dominance - many of which incidentally are in direct conflict with what the privacy regulator next door is demanding. The competition regulator says ‘make it easy to move data around’ and the privacy regulator says ‘don’t’.

Online advertising is now worth perhaps $250bn, but advertising in total is $500bn and all global marketing is closer to $1tr. Telling people about things they might like or be interested has value, and it isn’t actually evil a priori, but if you can’t ‘track’ people across the web anymore, how do you do that? And how do you reconcile that with wanting more competition to Google or Amazon? I hope that the answer is not that the only companies that can do interest-based ads are Google and Facebook on one hand and brands with their own huge audiences and data such as the Guardian or New York Times on the other. Will one or other of the various industry data initiatives work? Will Apple try a generalised identity or interest platform? I don’t know, but I do know that a trillion dollar industry is up in the air.

When Ben talks about things, I listen. And this post is a wonderful summary of where our industry stands at this moment in time.

Augmented reality boosts conversion for Home Depot

But the proof is in the conversion: Consumers who engage with Home Depot’s augmented reality feature typically convert two- to three-times higher than those who don’t use it, the retailer says.

“It’s so immersive and really allows you to connect with the products in our catalog,” Burleigh says. “We’ve seen that AR lends itself well to increasing conversion.” Shoppers tend to gravitate to this feature with Home Depot’s home decor, furniture and, most recently, its Halloween decorations. The retailer did not disclose the exact number of products on which the AR feature is available. However, Home Depot says it offers more online SKUs supported by AR than total SKUs in one of its physical stores.

Walmart is also moving into the AR space, but through the lens of their employees.

Walmart’s new test stores will experiment with AR, mobile, revamped checkout and more | TechCrunch

A second test will involve a new app that aims to speed up the time it takes to get items from the back room to the sales floor, using augmented reality (AR). In this test, instead of scanning the barcode on boxes that are ready to go, the app will use AR technology to highlight those boxes. The hope is that this will help to move the product to shelves, and in front of customers, faster than before.

Of all of the buzzwords in digital marketing, augmented reality is my dark horse favorite.

🏬 Brick & Mortar

A really nice addition from Shopify:

📦 Distribution

Commentary: E-Commerce Surge Will Reshape Parcel Carriers’ Strategies - WSJ

The rapid expansion of business-to-consumer parcel distribution is already driving significant changes to distribution strategies that are aimed at cutting logistics costs and making delivery more responsive to consumer demands. Retailers and a growing field of logistics providers are adding more warehouses close to population centers and spreading more inventory around the country, a shift away from the use of a small number of regional warehouses.

The companies are trading potentially higher inventory and warehousing costs for lower shipping charges to get goods to consumers within a couple of days. When products are stored locally for delivery, the options for delivery expand and competition for those shipments grows. According to New York-based market research group IBISWorld Business, there are 228,000 couriers and local delivery-service businesses in the U.S.

🛠 Tips & Tools

Microsoft Announces Clarity - Free Website Analytics

Microsoft announced a free GDPR compliant user behavior analytics tool. The analytics tools helps publishers understand how site visitors are using a site and identify areas of improvement, including reporting on the amusingly named “rage click” metric.

Express interest in early access for Slack Connect Direct Messages | Slack

Slack Connect enables you to collaborate with everyone you work with—inside and outside your organization. With Slack Connect Direct Messages, you can send DMs to partners in real time, giving you a faster way to kick off a project than lengthy email chains or hard-to-schedule meetings.

For example, you haven’t set up a channel with a vendor yet but you need to coordinate with one member of their team. Share your private invite link, and they'll be able to send you DMs from their own Slack workspace.

👋 Holla!

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