Goodbye Alexa. We Hardly Knew You.
Finally Facebook adds live chat support — but you don't qualify for it. One of the OG SEO tools is being killed off. Why ad buyers are more willing to accept poorer results for brand safety. And more!
APPLE: The Special Loophole For iOS Developers
We begin with a report that alleges Apple is allowing Meta and Snap to access user-level data through the iPhone.
The Financial Times reports the company is taking a more relaxed approach to enforcement of its privacy-focused App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework... at least for big iOS developers like the aforementioned social apps.
Apple has been very vocal about its mission to further prioritize users' data privacy, so this news may come as a surprise to some in the marketing industry.
How is this happening?
No, Apple isn't handing off user data to tech giants while wearing a black hoodie in a back alley.
There is a loophole.
Users are prompted when they first open an app to allow it to track their "activity across other companies' apps and websites". In the prompt, it might appear that apps aren't allowed to collect data about the user, but what it really means is that the developer won't share the data with other companies.
According to the report, Apple is allowing some companies to "follow a much looser interpretation of its controversial privacy policies in an unacknowledged shift."
Additionally, Apple’s directive implies that developers “may not service data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it.”
So, companies like Meta, and Snap took that as permission under its privacy rules to derive data from a device at a group level.
Are you surprised?
The Drum asked industry experts what it means for marketers, here’s what a VP of Marketing at Uberall had to say:
… For publishers and marketers, it’s welcome news, although it doesn’t give them what they ultimately want – total user data. But it’s better than getting completely shut out of the data they need for targeting and tracking.
META: More Support For Creators
Facebook is now offering live chat support for people who get locked out of their account. That's the good news. The bad news is: You and your brand probably don't qualify for it because this is just for Creators — you know, influencers. And only for American creators. Actually, only for a handful of American creators.
The announcement came as Meta announced it's testing new updates for moderation as well — including “new controls to help you more easily moderate comments, live chat support tests to troubleshoot account issues, and a webinar series on how to stay safe on Facebook”.
Currently, creators cannot access basic support if they face troubleshooting issues, are locked out of their account, or have payment questions etc. Which is a big problem.
Here’s a look at the creator support tools that are being tested in the US.
On the Facebook website:
A dedicated support site when logged in to Facebook.
A live chat support agent for help on various issues (including any issues with Instagram).
On the Facebook App:
Live chat support for some English-speaking users, who’ve been locked out of their accounts.
The company is also testing more comment moderation controls:
Improvements to blocking a user and new accounts they create.
Updates to keyword blocking.
A new Moderation Assist, which is similar to Admin Assist for Groups to help reduce time spent on comment moderation.
Additional tools for creators that use Facebook Live.
The platform also announced that it will be launching a Safety School in the new year, where Facebook will cover policies, resources, and tools available around account security, impersonation, bullying, and harassment.
LIVE COMMERCE: Meta Ramps Up Its Toolset
Now that Facebook has offered more support to its creator community, the platform has also announced new tools for live-stream creators, including Featured Links in live-stream broadcasts. This means you'd be able to link out to your store, or a landing page.
Also: new ways for creators to interact with fans, additional funding for rising stars, and more.
Here's a look at the new creator features.
Facebook Live has been redesigned for desktop and mobile:
The new format simplifies the navigation menu and makes it easier to access insights and tools.
The redesign of Live also comes with new features:
Featured Links: Creators can share multiple links in the broadcast, and viewers can visit the links without leaving the live video.
Polls: Now available on mobile (previously only available on desktop).
Live With: Creators will soon be able to go live with up to three additional guests.
Live in Stories: Creators can share their live broadcasts directly to Facebook Stories.
Front Row: This feature is being tested. Some viewers will show up in a dedicated “Front Row” section of a Live.
Redesigned Badges: To more clearly recognize fans that support creators.
Facebook also wants to help live-streamers engage in more conversations by enabling them to react and respond to comments directly from the notification panel.
Quoting the company:
We have also introduced improved comment ranking features that help creators find and engage with the most relevant conversations. These features include elevating comments and replies from creators to the top of the discussion thread on a post and decreasing the visibility of spammy or repetitive comments.
And finally, the platform has officially announced its new 'Spotlight Conversations' feature. The format will include two separate comment sections, one for those mentioned in the chat and one for all other comments.
And while, yes, these changes are aimed at accounts that have indicated they are for "Creators," I don't think you need to be a psychic to see that, as these tools mature and get put through the ringer a bit, they'll move these over to the livestreams for brand accounts. After all, the digital world is embracing livestreamed commerce and these tools are a solid addition.
SEO: Alexa, What Is Your Pension Plan?
Amazon is killing Alexa. No, not its voice assistant, its SEO tool.
Amazon acquired the tool Alexa.com years ago — today, the company announced that it will be retiring its services.
Quoting the announcement:
After two decades of helping you find, reach, and convert your digital audience, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Alexa.com on May 1, 2022.
Alexa.com provides a full suite of search marketing tools which many people didn’t know about. For most marketers it will be its Alexa Rank that will be missed.
An Alexa Rank is a metric that measures a site's popularity.
Maybe if its marketing suite, which includes Content Exploration, Competitive Content Analysis, Site Audits, and so much more, was better promoted, we wouldn't be saying goodbye.
MEDIA BUYING: Are We Willing to Sacrifice Results for Brand Safety?
A new study from Advertiser Perceptions [article] has found that 81% of marketers say corporate responsibility and brand values are playing a greater role in media purchasing.
The report suggests that marketers are more willing to compromise marketing performance for ad placement if "it ensures their ads appear in "brand suitable" environments where they have more control."
The report also found that:
Four out of five respondents want greater control over where their ads appear, as well as information into who profits from placing them.
60% of marketers are willing to downgrade or drop media partners who don't meet their standards, regardless of how well they perform.
54% cited disinformation and hate as motivations for withdrawing, while 51% said underperformance of campaigns.
MarketingDive also covered the study, saying:
The findings signal that marketers are potentially willing to sacrifice some of their reach as consumers ramp up pressure on companies to live up to their stated values.
GOOGLE: Asset Library Is Making Its Way to Google Ads
You might start to see something new in your Google Ads account soon.
Advertisers have reported seeing the Asset Library within Google Ads. This tool is currently only available in Ads Creative Studio and this new expansion is in closed Beta.
A user's Asset Library will display any existing image assets they have in their account. Advertisers can use this view to search through existing assets or create new ones.
Google has not officially announced a date for when it will be available to more advertisers.
WORDPRESS: Plugin Exposes 1M Websites To Security Threats
And finally, a peculiar bug in a popular Wordpress plugin is said to have potentially exposed 1 million web sites to security threats.
The WPS Hide Login Plugin's job is to hide the regular Wordpress user login page, which is almost always at /wp-login. This plugin changes the page name, making it harder for bots and hackers to find it.
This bug, though, apparently exposed the location of the *hidden* login page, defeating the entire purpose of the plug-in.
The vulnerability was publicly disclosed on the plugin's support page. It has been patched, but users affected may want to update to the latest version.