“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne
Our digital marketing news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.
In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover the reason merchants are dropping MailChimp, which ESP bought Shopify’s competitor LemonStand, a new feature for Gmail’s 15-year anniversary, Microsoft compromising user’s email accounts, leading UK banks failing on email fraud protection, the reason Facebook has been keeping users locked out and did the EU actually win one over Facebook, again.
Also, did you hear about Google’s de-indexing issue? And what about Google Ads newest upgrade? In addition, should Amazon Web Services be scared of Google and its ‘new’ solution for retail?
In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
- Email: merchants dropping MailChimp, Gmail’s new feature for Smart Compose and UK’s leading banks failing to implement vital email security protocols.
- Social Media: Facebook’s SMS 2FA failure and Instagram jacking a poor sap’s account and giving it to British royalty.
- Search Engines: Google dropping out pages from the Search Index and what new report was added to Google Search Console.
- PPC and Ads: an upgrade to Keyword Planner, a new extension for Bing Ads and Facebook’s new brand safety controls for advertisers.
- Other stuff: an ongoing DNS hijacking attack and what is Google Cloud for Retail.
Let’s dig in.
“Email is 20-30 times more effective in generating a purchase than any other tool.” – Josh Kaufman
Last month, we’ve told you all about Shopify killing its integration with MailChimp due to data security concerns. However, as the news rolled out, many merchants forced to make a decision about email service providers (ESPs) are dropping MailChimp for different ESPs.
We’ve also heard that even before Shopify and MailChimp parted ways, the latter quietly acqui-hired Shopify’s fellow competitor LemonStand. The whole drama seems deliberately initiated. Don’t you think? To learn more about what this acquisition-hire means for MailChimp click here.
To celebrate Gmail’s 15-year anniversary, Google has added new Smart Compose features, email scheduling and languages to its free email service; which, as of October last year, had reached 1.5 billion users. If you are curious about what’s included in the Gmail update click here.
Since Google is a bit of an overachiever, we’re not surprised they announced one more new Gmail Smart Compose capability. And just about a week after the 15th-anniversary update. Wondering what it is? Smart Compose will now begin suggesting subject lines based on the content of an email. Pretty handy, eh? More info about the Gmail Smart Compose personalisation can also be found here.
Microsoft has confirmed to TechCrunch that a certain ‘limited’ number of people who use web email services managed by Microsoft – covering services like @msn.com and @hotmail.com – had their accounts compromised. A spokesperson at Microsoft said, “we addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators’ access.” The breach occurred between January 1 and March 28. Our best advice – regardless of being affected or not – would be to log in and change your password, now.
Outlook & Slack
Slack – a cloud-based team collaboration tool – is integrating Microsoft’s Office 365 services. Apps like OneDrive and Azure Active Directory have previously been available on Slack. Now, the messaging service will have even deeper integration with Microsoft including a new Outlook mail app and calendar, an updated OneDrive app, and the ability to preview Office file directly in Slack.
The newly introduced Outlook mail integration will bring emails straight into Slack channels. In the past, users needed a third-party solution to enable this. No more. And, considering a similar function already exists for Gmail, it was about time Slack caught up. Also, according to our friends at The Verge, Slack’s Office 365 integration was created using public APIs and with no special help from Microsoft. You can read more details about the integration here.
A study by cybersecurity firm Red Sift reveals that one-third of leading UK challenger banks have failed to implement a vital email protocol that protects consumers from email fraud. The study also shows that 8% of traditional banking institutions have neglected this defence system as well.
In terms of email security, DMARC – domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance – protocol is the only sure-fire way of preventing email spoofing. Red Sift believes that implementing DMARC is a strong indicator of an organisation’s willingness to adopt adequate cybersecurity measures to protect its customers.
Although 67% of traditional banks have implemented DMARC and configured it to reject all spoof emails, the study found that 25% have implemented the government-endorsed tool but haven’t configured it for full protection. And whilst two-thirds of challenger banks have implemented DMARC, only 25% have configured it to reject all spoof email. More details can be found here.
“90% trust peers on social networks (even strangers); only 15-18% trust brands.” – Danny Brown
Facebook’s SMS 2FA authentication has been keeping a significant number of users locked out of their accounts. The problem? Users have not been receiving text messages from Facebook which they need in order to verify ownership of their account.
One of the many users who’ve been locked out – for over 15 days – has been documenting the process and, also, the attempts he’s made to regain access to his account. Unfortunately, even his attempts to contact Facebook about the issue have gone unnoticed as he has not received any help. Additionally, a quick search for “Facebook SMS” on Twitter, will show there are more users having the same issue.
Since Facebook didn’t respond to Joe Youngblood’s support query, he decided to raise awareness of the problem by creating the Twitter account @FacebookSMS2FA which contains a growing collection of retweets from users who’ve been locked out of their accounts.
As Facebook’s executives are trying to rebrand the social media giant as a privacy company, it seems like the infamous social network is still, apparently, struggling to instil a privacy culture internally and with third-party developers.
The Daily Beast reported that some new Facebook users are being asked to provide both their email address and their email password in order to register accounts. Naughty, naughty.
Research from the cloud-security firm UpGuard reported that they had discovered two publicly accessible caches of Facebook user data created by third-party applications that connected to the Facebook platform. Amazon Web Service’s Simple Storage Service (S3) is hosting both caches in the AWS public cloud.
Facebook & the EU
The way Facebook user data has been used, or should we say misused (abused?), by various groups had caused quite a few scandals. And, judging by the increasing amount of pressure coming from the European Commission, Facebook had no other choice but to agree to amend its terms and conditions. As well as provide a better outline on exactly how the company uses the user data.
The new terms will make it very clear that “free access to Facebook services is contingent on users’ data being used to profile them to target with ads.” While this regulation is specifically focused on Europe – and complicity with European laws – Facebook said that the amended terms and conditions will be applied globally as part of the company’s broader efforts on transparency. Shouldn’t that have been the case all along?
The BBC reported that Instagram jacked a poor sap’s handle and gave it to none other than British royalty. Kevin Keiley had used @sussexroyal for over three years. Why? Because he supports Reading FC – nicknamed the Royals – and lives in West Sussex. Unlike the many stories of accounts being stolen by malicious hackers, the bad actor, in this case, was Instagram itself.
Keiley told the BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat that “no one at the social media company contacted him about handing over the handle and that he’s a bit ‘annoyed’ about the entire thing.”
Notably, Instagram confirmed to the BBC that it snatched the account because it was inactive and thus ripe for the picking. Just what exactly does inactive mean? Could an infrequently used account suddenly become ‘inactive’ in the eyes of Instagram the moment a famous person wants it?
“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall
Google Search Index
Barry Schwartz reported Google’s been dropping pages out of the Search Index. According to him, there have been widespread reports from SEOs and webmasters complaining that their URLs and web pages are being removed from the Google Index. A lot of people are noticing a substantial percentage of their web sites are no longer coming up for a site command. Also, Google Search Console is not showing them as being indexed.
A thread in WebmasterWorld has a ton of complaints regarding this issue as well as numerous threads in the official Google Search Console forums. The de-indexing issue has been covered by Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable, too.
Google Search Console
Do you have an Android app associated with your website? Wondering why we’re asking. You’ll find out soon enough.
Google announced they’ll be adding Android app filters to performance report in Google Search Console (GSC). What does it mean? Users will be able to see their app’s clicks, impressions, CTR, and position with a separate search appearance in the Performance report. You can satisfy your curiosity for more details here.
Furthermore, we’ve also heard Google is adding a new report to GSC. It will track a site’s traffic and impressions from Discover. It’s important to note, GSC’s new Discover report is only shown to websites that have accumulated “meaningful visibility” – whatever that is – in Discover.
Google My Business
Google released an update to GMB profiles which will show Product Catalogs in desktop and mobile search results. Businesses can add products to a catalog by uploading a form in the ‘Products’ tab. The name of the tool is Product Editor. You can read more about Product Editor and Product Catalogs here.
Previously, product catalogs only appeared in mobile search results. However, now we can definitely confirm this hasn’t been a mobile-only feature. And, what makes the feature even more valuable to retailers is that it’s free to use.
PPC AND ADVERTISING
“Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret… to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink.” – Leo Burnett
Google Ads decided to upgrade its Keyword Planner tool by rolling out a bunch of new key features. The upgrade includes:
- Up to 10-speed keywords when searching for new keyword ideas;
- Keyword trends can be viewed or downloaded for individual keyword ideas;
- Adding all or some keywords in a group idea to an existing or a new ad group;
- Save new keywords to an existing campaign;
- Based on the maximum CPC bid and forecasted costing you can get suggested daily budgets;
- Get a detailed competition value column that shows ranking across keyword ideas.
If you want to dig deeper and get more details about the new features click here.
Bing Ads has taken the wrapper off a brand new extension – Action Extensions. It was released globally and it allows advertisers to highlight a clear call-to-action (CTA) on text ads in order to entice customers to immediately click and drive them to the user’s website. According to Bing, the advertisers who take part in the beta have seen an average click-through-rate (CTR) increase of 20% when they served Action Extensions in their ads. And the best part, the new extension is available on both PC and mobile devices. More information has also been provided by PPC Hero.
Facebook introduced new brand safety controls for advertisers. The company’s Community Standards tell users how they detect and take down bad content from their platform. With the new brand safety controls, Facebook is also introducing an inventory filter which will make it easier for advertisers to control their brand safety profile across different forms of media. The filter will apply to ads delivered within Instant Articles, Audience Network and Facebook in-stream video.
Advertisers will also be able to choose from three inventory options:
- Limited inventory: It offers maximum protection which is similar to the opt-in category exclusions;
- Standard inventory: It provides moderate protection and is the default choice when placing ads;
- Full inventory: It selects minimum protection and ads may be delivered to all eligible content.
For more information on Facebook’s brand safety efforts and the new inventory filter, you can visit their Help Center.
OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan
One of the best-known e-commerce corporations – eBay – notified its merchants and publisher that it’ll be closing its third-party network – eBay Commerce Network (ECN) – as of May 1. Why? eBay states that after ECN being operational for over five years, the corporation is now shifting its attention to advertising solutions for the core marketplace. But, what does that mean exactly? According to the company, “for the health of the core marketplace, eBay is making a concerted effort to shift its reliance from third-party advertising to first-party advertising.”
In lieu of ECN ads, merchants on eBay are also encouraged to consider promoted listings, ads that appear at the top of search and product pages. And, also, other premium ad formats on the eBay marketplace. And, an alternative for publishers is the eBay Partner Network – an affiliate proposition in which content creators share links to eBay listings and get paid when they generate sales.
A security researcher at Ixia informed Ars Technica about an ongoing domain name system (DNS) hijackings happening through vulnerabilities in four models of D-Link routers: D-Link DSL-2640B, D-Link DSL-2740R, D-Link DSL-2780B and D-Link DSL-526B. The attack targeted the following domains: Gmail.com, PayPal.com, Netflix.com, Uber.com, caix.gov.br, itau.com.br, bb.com.br, bancobrasil.com.br, sandander.com.br, pagseguro.uol.com.br, sandandernet.com.br, cetelem.com.br; and, possibly other sites. People trying to reach one of these domains from an infected router will be connected to a server that serves phishing pages over plain HTTP. For more details click here.
How to protect yourself? Always make sure your routers are running the latest firmware. All four of the D-Link vulnerabilities were fixed years ago. However, many people just never got through the hassle of manually installing the patches.
Google announced the launch of Google Cloud for Retail with a host of new, awesome solutions designed for the retailer vertical. The aim of the new solutions is to help retailers deliver personalised recommendations; unifying customer experiences across online and offline environments and more.
What exactly does it offer? Google Cloud for Retail includes solutions for inventory management, personalisation, customer service and predictive analytics. E-commerce hosting is designed to flex with seasonal traffic increases and spikes on high-volume shopping days – like Black Friday or Cyber Monday – so sites don’t get incapacitated and start losing revenue due to traffic surges. Google also offers something called customer reliability engineering (CRE) services – a service that will prepare you for peak volume events. Lookout Amazon Web Services. Google Cloud for Retail’s analytics and AI solutions are coming to get you. You can read more about the full package of solutions offered at Google Cloud Next here.
Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would 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 more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.