New $7B record-breaking fine for FB: BIPA violation on 7M users’ pictures. Google announces search results that can talk. This single FB ad placement grew 186% in spending this quarter: Are you leveraging it?

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FACEBOOK

Another 10-figure fine on the horizon

The word Facebook goes hand in hand with lost lawsuits and 9-figure fines. It’s just an old story that keeps repeating itself.

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What happened this time? The company lost a class-action dispute that began back in 2015. Basically, Facebook collected users’ biometric data and stored it without their consent, and the users in question weren’t happy about it.

The action was started by a group of users from Illinois. This state has a specific regulation for facial databases which mandates that a company should maintain a publicly “written policy” before collecting such data.

For example, the Tag Suggestion feature violates this regulation as it involves analyzing people’s face, to create a face template that can be used to identify them in other photos.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected FB’s appeal to rescind the class-action lawsuit.

“We conclude that the development of face template using facial-recognition technology without consent (as alleged here) invades an individual’s private affairs and concrete interests,”

So, after a 4-year battle, FB might have to face up (see what we did there?) to the consequences of their actions.

Let’s talk numbers.

Under Illinois regulations, every violation can be punished with a fine of between $1k and $5k.

Now, multiply that by 7M (the amount of users included in the lawsuit) and the fat is in the fire!

Even if we take the lowest penalty ($1k), we are still talking about a $7B fine. That’s even higher than Facebook’s most recent fine by the FTC (It was $5B if you don’t remember).

Could all these fines affect your camps?

Facebook isn’t having a good time lately. Between these most recent issues and the many we’ve previously talked about, it’s hard to say whether Facebook is safe right now.

Buuut, let’s take this down to the one thing that we all truly care about: Can all these issues really influence our campaigns?

The MarketingLand team did a good job analyzing this side, boiling the problem down to the main factors that can influence your marketing:

  • Total number of users: It’s not declining, if that’s what you’re worried about. We saw this in the Q2 report recently.
  • Effectiveness of advertising: Despite the restrictions on the use of data, Facebook is still a beast at categorizing people into appropriate demographic groups (and groups based on interests). So, the advertising effectiveness is all on you.
  • Reliability of consumer data: If Facebook decides to double down on its commitment to user privacy, then it may end up collecting fewer data points on its user base. This is a real concern, but not an immediate one. However, it’s worth mentioning that Facebook didn’t show any interest in refraining from data collection of users.
  • Reputational proximity: Does being active on Facebook imply that you’re fine with Facebook’s actions? Well, all the users truly offended by FB scandals have likely already left the platform. So, don’t worry too much about this halo effect.
  • App longevity: Apocalyptic views suggested that these scandals are the beginning of the end. Well, the first point itself is enough to shut down these hypotheses. If the users are growing, it’s unlikely that the platform will die.

So, fellow marketers, we will keep reporting to you about FB’s issues because, well, that’s our job. But don’t worry too much about the future of FB.

It will take many more scandals before this giant is slain. However, if you’re still concerned… You can still add Google or other alternative traffic sources to your armoury.

We also talk about that in our daily briefing 😉 😉


BOT MARKETING

Multiple condition nodes in ManyChat

Yesterday, the ManyChat team announced an upgrade to condition nodes that allows you to create multiple conditions in a single block.

You will now be able to check up to 10 different conditions in a row without creating separate nodes.

How does this work?

  • Create “Condition” step from your Flow.
  • Set up conditions and choose the next steps for a user match.
  • If a user doesn’t match any of the conditions set above, you can either go ahead and set up another condition or finish the block by simply choosing the further steps.

Check out the official announcement here.


INSTRGRAM

Let’s talk about Stories

No, not the ones told around a fireplace. We’re in the 21st century! We’re talking Instagram Story Ads.

Last year, IG ad spend growth was skyrocketing at 4 times the rate of FB’s ad spend. This year, that growth seems to have levelled out.

Looking closely at the numbers, there’s a big trend inside the Facebook family…

And it’s Instagram Story Ads.

More and more marketers are turning to Story Ads. In fact, advertisers using them doubled from 2018, and IG Story Ads now make up 18% of the ad revenue of the whole FB family (up from 9% last year).

Why should we care? When an ad format experiences such a massive growth in popularity, it usually means that it’s working for advertisers. Also, some of the growth is due to FB algorithm giving it a priority when selecting the Automatic Placements option.

Usually, FB will work in your favour. So, this is for those of you still testing Story Ads or those who still haven’t tried them out. Give it a try!


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Grabads has nutra, sweeps and crypto/bizopp as some of their most successful verticals, so there’s something for any affiliate out there reading this 😉 And don’t forget that special g’teed EPC offer for those of you with proven results!

Here’s just a shortlist of some of the best offers from last week along with Network-wide EPCs, handpicked for WHAT THE AFF readers!

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They also have exclusive Crypto offers, Sweeps and much more they’d love to work with you on.


SEO

Search results can now talk. Indexing bug is back again

Starting today, you might see some search results talking. Don’t worry, they’re friendly robots, so just try saying hello!

Though, if you try calling for that great piece of content you just posted, it might not show up in search results. Well, all you can do is take whatever you’re given!

Playable podcasts in SERPs

If you have been thinking about testing out audio and podcasts as part of your SEO strategy, now is the right time to get started.

Starting today, users will be able to play podcasts directly in the desktop and mobile search results.

A simple search for a podcast on Google will now show playable episodes in Search results, alongside web pages, news, images and videos.

How will this work?

Google will show podcasts based on its understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast. It will index the words mentioned in the podcasts and show users relevant podcasts based on those words.

In fact, Google will expand on this so users don’t even need to add the term “podcast” in search queries to see these results.

Previously, Google used to show podcasts in search results based only on their titles and metadata. But now, Google will be showing podcasts based on the actual content within the episode.

Google is clearly focused on promoting podcasts in search, so you might want to take advantage of these features and get started on your next podcast.

New content not getting indexed?

Well, you are not alone.

In fact, the issue isn’t limited to just a few publishers. It actually seems to be pretty widespread.

Google has confirmed that a bug is preventing new content from getting indexed across the web.

If you’re thinking of bypassing this issue by manually submitting URLs to Google’s index, even that might raise some issues. Even the URL Inspection tool is experiencing problems.

This is an ongoing issue and Google is working hard on getting it fixed.


GOOGLE

App-ads.txt support to block unauthorized ad serving

An update for publishers using Google Ad Manager and its mobile ad network AdMob.

Starting August 27, Google Ad Manager and AdMob will block ad serving of unauthorized in-app ads when publishers have app-ads.txt files implemented.

What is app-ads.txt?

Similar to IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard, app-ads.txt is an anti-ad fraud protocol for app publishers.

What does this mean?

  • Publishers use this text file to list the open exchanges authorized to sell their inventory. Programmatic buyers then inspect the files to ensure they are buying from authorized sellers, and not domains or apps set up to spoof publishers and steal their ad revenue.
  • Publishers will now see a new app-ads.txt tab in the Google Ad Manager interface listing the percentage of queries that have app-ads.txt posted and authorized sellers listed.

It will also show you any errors when the publisher ID or authorized sellers are missing, with links to fix the issues.

“We strongly encourage you to create an app-ads.txt file and publish it to the developer domain you have listed in your App Store and/or Google Play store listing. This will help prevent unauthorized and domain-spoofed app inventory from damaging your brand and revenue.

Publishers who do not implement an app-ads.txt file will see no changes to their ad serving, but they will not benefit from these added spoofing protections.”

Check out the official announcement and the recommended steps to prepare for the enforcement.


FROM THE CREW

Getting to know each other better and a special announcement!

Hey, you!

Don’t you think it’s time we took this relationship a step further? Yes? Perfect!

If you haven’t done so already, we wanna ask you to fill in a quick-2-minute survey that helps us better curate and write this daily content for your reading pleasure.

Fill in this quick-2-minute survey right here!

Oh, and before we forget…

Every weekend, we run checks to see if some people haven’t opened any of our emails lately. If we find that you haven’t, then we let you know that we plan to stop sending you our newsletter.

Why do we do this?

Because the people who want to get this email might not get it if we send it out to too many inactive contacts.

So, if you did not open any of our emails in the past month, you’ll get a notification email letting you know about it and what to do if you want to stay subscribed. If not, we’ll just stop sending emails to you.


POOLSIDE CHAT

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

What’s up, number-neighbour?

Have you heard of the term “Number neighbour” or “Text-door neighbour”?

It is a mobile social game (for jobless people, we guess) in which an individual tries to strike up a conversation by sending a text message to the phone number with its last digit one numeral higher or lower than their own.

For example, if your phone number is 555-5555, then your text-door neighbour is 555-5554 or 555-5556.

Actually, this isn’t a new thing, but it has received a second lease of life thanks to a recent Twitter trend. Now, people all over the web are texting their number neighbours for a quick dose of fun.

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It’s certainly thrown up some interesting stories.

Maybe your number-neighbour is James Franco, or maybe you end up learning a new language. But please, avoid texting people at 2 AM. That’s pure rudeness.

You didn’t have plans for the weekend? Now you do! Have fun! Maybe you’ll text one of The WTAFF Crew. (Hopefully not. Meeting in your inbox is already enough…Joke!)

Here’s what you can get if you share us with your marketing friends!

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