Facebook’s Messenger gets a one-time notification API, a bug in WhatsApp allows hackers access to computers with only a text message, a security flaw in Twitter’s API impacts users’ account identity, a bug in Google Tag Manager may require users to re-verify ownership of their site in Search Console, new reports for review snippets in GSC, Google expanding Shopping ads to Gmail and investment in data privacy expected to increase in 2020.
“The great thing about digital marketing is that ingenuity and creativity can always win over big marketing budgets.” – Ann Smarty
In this article, we’ll cover the following recent digital marketing news:
- The launch of one-time notification API to Facebook’s Messenger
- A vulnerability in WhatsApp gives hackers access to users’ computers
- An attacker abused Twitter’s API to match usernames to phone numbers
- An issue with the Google Tag Manager verification method in Search Console
- Google Search Console adds review snippets performance, enhancement and testing reports
- Google Ads is opening up more inventory to standard Shopping campaigns
- 2020 Data Privacy Report: What does the changing landscape of privacy and data security mean for brands?
Let’s dive in.
Social Media News
Facebook Adds One-Time Notification API To Messenger
Facebook has announced the release of a new beta API that will provide businesses with a method for offering its customers simple follow-up information.
The purpose of the new Messenger One-Time Notification API is to address situations where customers may want to be notified about simple updates. For example, price drops of merchandise or changes in the availability of products.
The way it works. “Businesses can send a message to the user asking if they want to be notified on a topic. If the user asks to be notified, the business receives a token and can use this token to send out the notification with the information the user requested at a later time,” says Facebook.
In its endeavour to ensure a quality experience, Facebook is limiting the number of One-Time interactions that businesses can issue to users. Additionally, the API documentation notes that tokens can only be used once and expire within 1 year of creation.
WhatsApp Bug Allowed Attackers to Access User’s PCs
A serious flaw in Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp’s design made it possible for crooks to access files on victim’s computers for both macOS and Windows platforms.
All a user had to do – to fall prey to this attack – was to click on a disguised link preview sent via the messaging app. In other words, it would have been an easy mistake for users to make.
It’s important to note the vulnerability did not affect every single WhatsApp user. Rather, a WhatsApp user had to have the iOS version of the messaging app paired to either a PC or macOS WhatsApp desktop app.
WhatsApp vulnerabilities can have serious consequences. Just last month, CEO Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked following the receipt of a malicious WhatsApp message. What hope of security do the rest of WhatsApp’s users have if Amazon’s CEO’s phone can be so easily hacked?
Facebook has been attempting to make sure information is “safe and secure” and that’s great. However, perhaps that should include not allowing malicious text that let hackers access peoples’ computers? It’s certainly a good place to start.
Twitter’s API Security Flaw
Twitter disclosed a security incident during which third-parties exploited the company’s official API to match phone numbers with Twitter usernames.
We recently discovered an issue that allowed bad actors to match a specific phone number with the corresponding accounts on Twitter. We quickly corrected this issue and are sorry this happened. You can learn more about our investigation here: https://t.co/Z6Q4geQ8jo
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 3, 2020
Twitter said that they became aware of exploitation attempts against this API feature on December 24, 2019, following a report from TechCrunch. The report detailed the efforts of a security researcher who abused a Twitter API feature to match 17 million phone numbers to public usernames. According to Twitter, the attackers exploited a legitimate API endpoint that allows new account holders to find people they know on Twitter. The API endpoint allows users to submit phone numbers and matches them to known Twitter accounts. The company stated that the attacks did not impact all Twitter users, but only those who enabled an option in their settings section to allow phone number-based matching. Those who didn’t have the phone number search setting enabled are not at risk, and Twitter has provided a form for those who have further concerns. However, it may be worth assuming that scammers could, potentially, have your name and phone number; and, could use your corresponding Twitter account details for nefarious purposes.
Search Engine and SEO News
An Issue With The Google Tag Manager Verification Method
There are numerous ways to verify your site – or property – within Google Search Console (GSC). One of them is via the Google Tag Manager (GTM). Earlier this month, Google announced that it had detected an issue with GTM verification in Search Console.
We had an issue with the GTM verification method in Search Console, but it should be solved by now. You might need to re-verify. More details on how to verify at https://t.co/OkEwe4YvJv — Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) February 3, 2020
The search giant did not provide any details on the issue. However, their announcement states it “should be resolved by now” and some users might need to re-verify their ownership.
Have you been affected? To find out if your site was affected, log in into GSC and try to access your site’s data. If you still have access then your site was unaffected by the bug. However, if you have been affected and need to be re-verified, Google will prompt the site owner to do so. The prompt will appear upon logging in into the Search Console.
Why should you care? If you used GTM for verification in Search Console, we advise you to double-check your properties in the Search Console to ensure they are still verified. If the properties are not verified, use one of the several methods to verify the property again.
Google Adds Support For Review Snippets In GSC
Google announced new reports within the GSC that will help users with their review snippets. Users will now have access to a new enhancement report; a new performance report; and, added support for review snippets on the rich results testing tool.
📢Today we are announcing support for review snippets 🌟 in Search Console, including new reports to help you find any issues with your implementation and monitor how this rich result type is improving your performance. 🎉 https://t.co/Xaqqc3a1DY pic.twitter.com/6XPEFh2OnT
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) February 10, 2020
Rich snippet enhancement report. It is available for those sites who have implemented reviews or ratings structured data. The report allows users to see errors, warnings and valid pages for markup implemented on your site. Additionally, if you fix an issue, you can use the report to validate it. That will trigger a process where Google re-crawls your affected pages. The report covers all the content types currently supported as review snippets.
Review snippet appearance in the performance report. This will allow users to see the performance of their review or rating marked-up pages on Google Search and Discover using the new “Review snippet” search appearance filter. This means that users can check the impressions; clicks and CTR results of your review snippet pages; as well as, check their performance to understand how they are trending for any of the dimensions available.
Review snippet in rich results test. After adding review snippets structured data to your pages, you can test them using the rich results test tool. You can test a code snippet or submit a URL of a page. The test shows any errors or suggestions for your structured data.
Why should you care? If your site implements reviews on its pages, these tools can open up a lot of information on how well those pages are performing in the Performance report. It can also help you debug issues with pages not yet showing the reviews in the search results.
PPC and Ads News
Google Shopping Ads Will Be Eligible To Appear On Gmail
Google Ads announced Shopping ads (both Product Shopping and Showcase Shopping ads) that target the Google Display Network will be eligible to show on Gmail – in addition to YouTube and Discover – starting the week of March 4th.
When Shopping ads are rolled out to Gmail, data will be reported under the Google Display Network. Standard Shopping campaigns will be automatically enabled to run on Gmail, as long as the campaigns are opted into “YouTube, Gmail, and Discover.”
Why should you care? Google is putting Shopping ads across its properties and further opening demand in Gmail and Discover, where Google has previously been treading slowly. Retailers have been steadily shifting more of their search budgets from text to Shopping ads. The expansion to Gmail, YouTube and Discover mean Shopping campaigns are potentially targeting users across a wider spectrum.
Digital Marketing News
Braze, a comprehensive customer engagement platform, announced key findings from a study of over 2,000 U.S. consumers and 500 marketing executives on the topic of data privacy.
Clear among the findings was the fact that data privacy is now a business issue: 84% of consumers have decided against engaging with a company because it needed too much of their personal information, and three in five consumers have gone so far as to delete an app from their phone for that same reason.
Consumers would rather not leave it to businesses to set the standards for their collection and use of online personal data. Nearly all – 94% – of marketing execs believe it’s important for consumers that their data is being kept private and companies are girding themselves to be in a position to adjust to anticipated changes in data privacy policies. The vast majority – 71% – of the marketing execs expect their company’s investments in data privacy to increase in 2020.
In fact, 94% of execs see business advantages in applying stricter data privacy rules before they become mandatory. The greatest advantages of doing so are improved brand perception (46%), higher market valuation (46%), industry leadership (45%), cost savings in the long run (43%) and being early-to-market (39%).
Do you have any suggestions or ideas what digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.
In the meantime, you can take a look at our email marketing blog for useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as PPC & Ads news.