April 15, 2019

FACEBOOK

FB takes a weekend off. Messenger to be replaced? More features for brand safety

Everybody needs a day off. Even the FB servers apparently… FB introduces new tools for brand safety. Plus, a new update on the Messenger app.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp down over the weekend

It was March 13th when Facebook experienced one of the biggest outages in its history.

One month and a whole load of bugs later, FB is back at itIs this now part of their routine?

Fortunately, this time it happened on a Sunday, and it only lasted 2.5 hours. This means that fewer people were affected than previous (Except some influencers at Coachella…)

However, it’s still something that puts yet more doubt in marketers’ minds.

Knowing that FB, Instagram and WhatsApp can suddenly go down isn’t a reassuring fact, especially when you spend money on these platforms. It’s natural to consider your options when you make a living out of it.

On the other hand, FB serves 2.3B people, including millions of advertisers, every single day.

Obviously this isn’t the easiest task in the world, especially considering the enormous number of tasks they have to coordinate and execute.

The best solution would simply be more transparency from FB (at the time of writing they haven’t yet shared any explanation for the bug) and the ability to forecast these problems and inform users.

As an advertiser, what you can do to minimize the effects of these outages is to add a spend limit to your ad account. Also, include some clauses in your contract for outages like these in case you work with brands as an influencer or you work with influencers.

We could say that if you want to ensure that you have a constant connection with your audience then you should build an email list. However, it’s important to remember that email service providers can experience bugs too.

These emails appear to com

The point is, you can’t avoid these kinds of issues. Whether its FB, an email service or the mailman that delivered to the wrong address.

Time to say goodbye to Messenger?

Five years ago, FB was busy heavily promoting its Messenger app. Now, it looks like they’ve changed their mind.

You might not have noticed, but if you open FB on your phone you’ll see the Messenger icon in the upper right corner. Yes, this means that you can now start a conversation from the FB app.

Hang fire on deleting the Messenger app though! This method of communication only works if you have the Messenger app installed on your phone. In fact, the icon on FB is just a shortcut to Messenger.

So, what’s the point? It’s likely that this update doesn’t aim to replace the Messenger app. Rather, it’s a play at improving the interoperability:

“We are testing ways to improve the messaging experience for people within the Facebook app,” said a FB spokesperson.

Moreover, considering that Mark previously announced his vision about a whole integrated messaging platform (FB, Instagram, WhatsApp), this could be a step in that direction.

More brand safety controls

FB might make us mad with their unforeseen blackouts, but it’s undeniably true that it is always focused on improving its platform for advertisers.

Recently, it released one more feature about brand safety, and it’s called the Inventory Filter.

This will enable advertisers to choose where they want their ads to appear when it comes to contextual ad placements like Audience Network, in-stream video and Instant Articles.

Advertisers will now be able to choose between these three options:

  • Limited inventory: This offers maximum protection.
  • Standard inventory: Provides moderate protection and is the default choice when placing ads. This is the same as no category exclusions today.
  • Full inventory: Minimal protection, the ads are delivered to all eligible content.

Zoom In

After what happened on YouTube, with ads being shown on controversial videos, these kinds of updates are necessary to help advertisers protect their brand image.

If you care about where your ads appear, this is something you should definitely consider looking at.


SNAPCHAT

Snapchat’s flat growth

Recently, we talked about the Snapchat gold rush and why you should join the hordes of affiliates already taking advantage of it.

However, all that glitters is not gold. In fact, eMarketer forecasts reveal that Snapchat will continue to lose users over the next year, before stabilizing in 2020.

By the end of 2019, Snapchat is expected to have 77.5M monthly US users, down 2.8% from last year. Things are expected to get worse in 2020 as the user growth flattens further. It’s expected that between 2019 and 2023, the social network will gain just 600k new US users.

According to eMarketer, Instagram will reap the rewards of this, with it expected to regain many of its lost users.

What does this mean?

Snapchat is relatively small, and a lack of growth will result in early ad saturation. Plus, fewer eyes for your ads can also mean higher CPMs.

Let’s see how Evan Spiegel plans to combat this.

But first, let’s see how accurate this eMarketer forecast proves to be.


SPONSORED

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ROI Collective is a network that doubles down mastering one thing. They are one of the first ever Finance (Crypto and Forex) networks out there and that’s the main thing they do. And they’re good at it!

They know the games played in the affiliate space inside and out so they focus on what affiliates really want.

  • Transparent margins with real payouts – no “shaving and scrubbing”.
  • A direct relationship with a big pool of brokers to always rotate for the highest EPC for affiliates.
  • Hands-on affiliate managers helping optimizing traffic and adjusting the rotation of brokers.
  • Maintaining an impeccable relationship with the advertisers.

They build these relationships within the industry by having a big presence at important conferences. That’s why ROI Collective is a Diamond Sponsor at Affiliate World Europe in Barcelona, taking place in July.

In other words, ROI Collective’s goal is to make sure both affiliates and advertisers get what they are looking for. No tricks, no games.

Here are just some of their best performing offers:

Wondering how these offers perform? Well, you can see the results from all these offers from ROI Collective affiliates right here.

What’s that? You’re worried that you haven’t run any crypto and cannabis stocks offers before?

Don’t worry. Being so early in the space, ROI Collective is used to helping affiliates conquer this vertical. Their team is more than ready to spill the secrets of what works here.

Sign up with ROI Collective right here.


GOOGLE

Performance review of Google’s Smart Bidding

To Smart bid or not to Smart bid, that is the question. This is a debate which has not resulted in any clear consensus among Google marketers.

While some marketers prefer being in control and relying on their own human judgement, others have seen great results by allowing the Google algorithm to take the reins and make things work for them.

After all, Google commands thousands of real-time bidding signals and analyzes nearly 70M signals in just 100 milliseconds. So, can Smart bidding really make incorrect or random judgements?

Crealytics, an agency managed by Andreas Reiffen tested one such Smart bidding feature extensively for their clients in the retail sector using Target ROAS (tROAS) bidding strategy.

As per Google, Target ROAS draws on moment-of-query-time information for precision bids. As a result, it knows exactly where on the S-curve it needs to bid; and will never bid a cent higher than necessary to enter the auction.

Rules of the test:

  • Manual bidding was tested with tROAS bidding using “Drafts and Experiments”.
  • Search-based auction-split was created to A/B the results.

Objective: Maximize revenue and new customers at a specific ROAS.

Results: The results were mixed. The strengths of Smart Bidding were evident, but there was room for improvement and the study did include some downright odd results.

Positives:

  • More clicks and lower CPCs. There was some increase in clicks and drop in CPCs. However, the overall revenue only increased with an increased ad spend.
  • More balanced bids. Since tROAS aggregates all segments at the same time, it achieved more consistent performances across different segments, such as devices and locations.

Not-so-positives:

  • New vs Existing customers. Google’s Smart Bidding can’t yet account for new vs existing customer audiences. Existing customers and new customers are targeted equally. Hence, acquisition costs shot up. Using new customer acquisition rate as a KPI is not something you want to achieve with Smart Bidding.
  • Using Remarketing list for Search ads (RLSA). The Smart Bidding algorithm also overrode RLSA bid modifiers and failed to exclude existing traffic in the new customer based campaigns. Instead, it focused more on users with a higher likelihood of converting (strong site interaction and high recency).
  • Dynamic accounts and promotions. With any major account change (new ad groups, new targets), tROAS goes back to learning phase. Hence, smart bidding is not suitable for advertisers with highly dynamic promotional calendars.
  • Auction Split. tROAS does not yet work well with Drafts and Experiments feature. Even when using a Search-based split, the same users were exposed to auctions won by both tROAS and manual bidding. This means tROAS is more likely to overwrite existing cookies when a conversion is going to take place.

Final Thoughts:

  • Drafts and Experiments is still a complete black box. There is no way to modify the selection criteria, optimization signals or decision systems. Be prepared to lose all visibility into what makes your campaigns tick.
  • If the ROAS is your focus area, you will see an increase in performance, but not so much if you are working towards a more advanced metric.
  • Smart Bidding still has some growing to do to be useful for complex advertisers. This is especially true for advertisers with dynamic promotional calendars and while using third-party data sets.

SEO

New GoogleBot on the way?

Google was spotted to be testing new GoogleBot that can render web content like a modern Chrome browser.

What does this mean?

It will be able to fully crawl more advanced and modern web apps using advanced JavaScript.

As the GoogleBot advances to be able to render web pages like a modern browser, SEOs will be able to build modern web apps more freely. These web apps won’t need workarounds like dynamic rendering to get the content crawled, indexed and potentially ranking well in Google search.


AMAZON

With love from Jeff Bezos: A letter to its shareholders

Jeff Bezos shared his annual letter to shareholders, and in it he hinted at where Amazon is headed.

Before looking at his future plans, let’s see the current situation of Amazon.

  • 58%: The share of physical gross merchandise sales sold on Amazon by third-party sellers in 2018.
  • $160B: Total third-party sales in 2018, an annual growth rate of 52%.
  • $117B: Total first-party sales in 2018, an annual growth rate of 25%.
  • $95B: eBay’s 2018 gross merchandise sales, in comparison.
  • 10: The number of Amazon Go stores.
  • 100M: Alexa-enabled devices that have been purchased to date.

Firstly, Bezos highlighted third-party sales surpassing first-party sales. According to Bezos, this is due to seller tools Amazon provides to third-party sellers.

Besides, one of the future goals is to shift small to medium sellers off of first-party, focusing more on business instead of big brands and Amazon’s own, private label brands.

Amazon is moving towards a hands off the wheel approach which might make third-party market-place more autonomous.

Well, according to Jeff, third-party sellers are important to Amazon. So expect more and more tools and autonomy for better growth.

To read more from Jeff’s letter, head here.


SECURITY

Outlook accounts stayed hacked for months

Hackers have been able to access several Outlook.com users’ mail accounts between January 1st and March 28th, 2019.

Microsoft says that one of its support agent’s credentials were compromised for its webmail service, allowing this unauthorized access to user accounts including their email addresses, folder names, and subject lines of emails, but not the content of emails or attachments.

It’s not clear how many users were affected.

The login details and other personal information was not stolen, but for precaution’s sake Microsoft is recommending that users reset their passwords.


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

First flight of the world’s biggest bird

Earth’s largest bird, with a 385 foot wingspan and a weight of 500k pounds, took flight for the first time ever on Saturday morning.

For a change, it was not a SpaceX launch. Rather, it was built and launched by rocket launch company Stratolaunch, a company co-founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Originally, the company had planned to build a whole suite of rockets, including a spaceplane. However, these plans changed after the death of its co-founder.

Fortunately for Stratolaunch, the company has already signed at least one customer. Northrop Grumman is this customer, which has plans to use Stratolaunch to send its Pegasus XL rocket into space.

Unfortunately for us, we will never be able to board this majestic bird as it’s only designed to launch rockets into orbit from the air. Alas!


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