How is WhatsApp expanding its business potential? Where did Google Search Console’s “request indexing” feature go? Are Facebook Ads scamming people out of their hard-earned money? How will customer experience look like in a post-COVID-19 world?
“Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Consumers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer
In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
- WhatsApp expands its in-app shopping options
- Google Search Console: Where is the “request indexing” feature?
- The U.S. FTC’s reported millions of dollars in Facebook Ads scams
- [Study] Customer Experience in a Post-COVID-19 World
Ready to dive in?
WhatsApp: Shopping, Payments and Customer Service
Back in 2014, when Facebook bought WhatsApp for the whopping $19 billion, the company’s idea was to follow its traditional monetisation strategy and include ads into certain features to generate notable income from WhatsApp users. However, that strategy hasn’t worked out and in early 2020, Facebook announced they are abandoning plans of inserting ads into WhatsApp.
Nonetheless, Facebook has not given up. They just changed strategy. On October 22, WhatsApp announced their new approach which will focus on expanding the messaging platform’s in-app shopping opportunities and offer brands new tools for handling their communications. But, if you want to use some of the advanced functions, it’ll cost you.
Furthermore, WhatsApp is also planning on a new option that will allow businesses to use Facebook’s hosting services to handle their WhatsApp messages. According to WhatsApp, “providing this option will make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date, and quickly respond to messages they receive – wherever their employees are.”
Search Engine and SEO News
Google Search Console: The Disappearance Of The “Request Indexing” Feature
In mid-October, Google announced the “request indexing” feature within Google Search Console has been disabled as the company is making “some infrastructure changes”.
We have disabled the “Request Indexing” feature of the URL Inspection Tool, in order to make some infrastructure changes. We expect it will return in the coming weeks. We continue to find & index content through our regular methods, as covered here: https://t.co/rMFVaLht6V
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) October 14, 2020
According to the announcement, Google will continue to find and index content via their regular crawling and indexing methods. John Muller shed some more light on this action, confirming that the temporary disappearance of the feature “will not affect normal crawling and indexing.”
Recently, there’ve been a lot of complaints, generally arising from the ongoing Google indexing issues which occurred earlier in October, regarding Google’s inability to index new content quickly enough.
Many SEO experts used the “request indexing” feature as a way to push their content (which Google had a hard time indexing) to the Google Index – even during the weeks that Google was having indexing issues. Maybe Google can no longer handle the load? Or, there might be other indexing issues and that’s why Google is temporarily shutting down this feature? Whatever the case, currently users cannot push content into Google’s Index until the feature is enabled again which is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
PPC and Ads News
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Facebook Ads Are Promoting Scams
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, social media platforms have also become quite the popular scammer hangouts, too.
In the first six months of 2020, consumers have lost $117 million compared to $134 million back in 2019.
According to the FTC’s official report, Facebook and Instagram are the social media platforms primarily abused in 2020 where scammers are trying to cheat users out of millions of their hard-earned dollars. Nearly 100% of consumers said they’ve been scammed via a Facebook or Instagram advert. Overall, scammers are putting ads on Facebook and Instagram without the intent to ever deliver a product or service.
The FTC states that the scammers are abusing the ads features on these platforms to make their ads look trustworthy. The government watchdog further states that “these scam ads look real and can be carefully targeted to reach a particular audience. The scammers can delete comments on their ads or posts so that negative responses don’t show up and alert people to the con.”
The FTC quotes eight types of scams discovered on Facebook Ads: online shopping, romance scams, economic relief, income opportunity, grant money, giveaways, multi-level marketing (MLM) and pyramid schemes.
You can read the official Federal Trade Commission’s report here.
Digital Marketing News
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed customer experience (CX) probably forever. From customer behaviour to in-person interactions, the pandemic has disrupted everything; and, brands have been forced to adapt to the changing customer patterns.
A recent study by Precisely and Corinium surveyed more than a 100 UK-based customer experience leaders to help businesses understand the ways COVID-19 has reshaped the business landscape.
A brief overview of the study –
- 86% of customer experience (CX) leaders have adjusted their strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- 79% of CX leaders stated an increase in digital interactions with their brand due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- 50% of CX leaders state customers demand a more seamless and integrated digital experience
- only 31% of customer experience leaders believe customers will go back to the “old ways” of doing things once the pandemic is over
- companies are considering a range of CX-related investments for 2021 as follows –
- data integration and integrity technologies – 60%
- integrated multichannel customer experience platforms – 46%
- chatbots with “live” functionality – 42%
- digital self-service platforms – 37%
- interactive voice-response telephone systems – 33%
- interactive and personalised video – 32%
- email communications – 30%
- CRM systems – 28%
- customer analytics platforms – 24%
- 83% of CX leaders reported having been hit with serious disruption
- 50% of customer experience leaders state that one of the most major upheavals among the customer journey is onboarding
If you want to further explore the barriers and key challenges businesses are facing and must overcome to deliver an outstanding customer experience in the post-COVID-19 world, download the report here.
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