• Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Mar 19, 2019
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    “Email marketing is the most ordinary way of marketing as well as the ideal method for marketing a business.” – Get Found Online

    Our digital marketing news roundup will deliver the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover a huge service disruption at one of the biggest email providers, advice on how to protect your network from hijacking, a hosting and data security whitepaper, who lost 15 million users, which social media went kaput and a new social media publisher insights tool.

    Who has updated their search algorithm? – the biggest in years – oh, and let’s not forget about the approval of a new authentication standard you need to know about.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email: Gmail’s smart compose; what is BIMI and how to protect your business’ data.
    2. Social Media: why did Facebook file a lawsuit, Instagram’s new ad format and a new feature from Twitter.
    3. Search Engines: which feature from the old Google Search Console is about to be removed and Google’s biggest search algorithm update in years.
    4. PPC and Ads: Bing Ads Maximise Clicks and Facebook removing the Single Relevance Score.
    5. Other stuff: Chrome’s zero-day vulnerability and a new authentication standard.
    Let’s dig in!

    EMAIL
    “An email without clarity is like an annoying meme: Just say what you want or get out of the way!” – Jordie van Rijn


    Gmail
    Gmail’s feature smart compose has been available on desktop since its announcement at Google’s I/O conference in May 2018. However, the availability of this feature on mobile devices was limited to Google Pixel 3 series, only. Well, that’s no longer the case. We’ve learnt, the feature has now been rolled out to all Android users. By default, the feature is auto-enabled; however, if you find it more annoying than helpful, you can simply turn it off in the Gmail settings.

    MediaPost reported a Gmail service disruption which began 11 March and was still going the next day. The service was most heavily disrupted in the Northeastern U.S. and Japan, with lesser outages in Georgia, the UK and parts of the Asia-Pacific region. And, by the look of it, Google Drive has also been affected to a degree. According to DownDetector, users are still having issues several days later.

    What is BIMI?
    Email marketers have been searching for a way to have better visibility in front of their subscribers and get their messages opened since forever. Well, there might not be a solution but, there is a new standard – BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification – that can help brands stand out in the inbox.

    According to our friends at Litmus, the purpose of this new standard is to make it easier for marketers to get their logo displayed next to their message in the inbox. It’ll not only help with visibility, but BIMI is also designed to prevent fraudulent emailed and aide deliverability, too.

    BIMI is a new way of verifying information about your brand. Like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF – BIMI is a text record that lives on your servers. In fact, it works alongside SPF, DMARC and DKIM to signal email clients that you’re you. Sounds good, huh?

    Spamhaus
    A couple of months after publishing their article about network hijacking, Spamhaus has taken a proactive approach and followed up with an article on how to protect your network.

    Here are a few simple ways:
    • Protect your assets: Yes, your IP addresses are your assets. Hence, you need to make sure they are protected in events such as companies being bought, sold or merged.
    • Maintain up-to-date contact info with your Regional Internet Registry (RIR): This is important not only to enable the RIR to be able to get in touch for any day-to-day matters but, also to alert you should a third party attempts to tamper with your registration.
    • Renew domains: Any domains used for email addresses of contacts within your registration must be renewed.
    • Announce your IP ranges: Despite the fact, not all of your IP ranges are being actively used, make sure that you announce them.
    Hosting & Data Security
    One of the most valuable resources a business has is data. Imagine what will happen if it gets into the wrong hands? The consequences will be extremely damaging. According to the Cyber Security Breach Survey 2018, 43% of businesses and 19% of charities experienced a cybersecurity breach or attack in 2018.

    After the implementation of GDPR and considering 2018 had been the biggest year, as of yet, for the number of refined cybersecurity breaches, it’s imperative – now more than ever – for businesses to secure their data. Most businesses might not know what to do or how to secure their data. However, even if that’s the case, they needn’t worry. Our friends at UKFast have published a Hosting and Data security whitepaper which will help businesses understand not only data security but their hosting options; the value of outsourced hosting; and, the role of hosting in data security.

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    “Privacy is dead, and social media hold the smoking gun.” – Pete Cashmore


    Facebook
    13 March – Doomsday. Why? Facebook went down. The company stated only some of their apps were inaccessible and the issue was not related to a DDoS attack. What was the reason then? According to Facebook, it was all related to a server configuration change. Yeah, right? By the way, if it’s all been resolved, why are some people still having troubles accessing their accounts, huh?

    Facebook filed a lawsuit in US federal court against four companies and three people based in the People’s Republic of China. The reason? They were promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers. To find out more about it and which other online services this was done to click here.

    A new study by Edison Research – “The Infinite Dial 2019” – claims Facebook is bleeding users by the million in the U.S. According to the study, Facebook now has about 15 million users less in the U.S. than it did in 2017.

    Instagram
    Instagram announced that it’s working on a new ad format which will better enable brands and influencers to partner-up in a more financially beneficial and transparent way. According to AdAge, the new format is called branded content ad and it’s part of a larger strategy allowing brands and creators to build formal partnerships.

    At the moment, brands can sponsor popular Insta-users and the sponsored posts will appear with the tag “Paid partnership with [brand name]”. There’s a limitation on the current way – the posts only reach the followers of the influencers.

    The company is introducing a new way of showcasing local businesses with in-app profile pages and the ability to claim them and update profile details. Tech Exec, Raj Nijjer alerted SEJ about this new feature.

    Twitter
    Twitter has launched a new publisher insights tool called Timing Is Everything which uses historical data to highlight when users are most often watching and engaging with videos on the platform. The tool offers an aggregated look at when Twitter users are generally watching videos on the platform. It does not offer publisher-specific insights on when their own organic followers watch. The tool can be found within the Twitter Media Studio under the Analytics drop-down menu.

    Social media code hacker Jane Manchun Wong discovered Twitter is working on a new feature that will allow users to hide any reply – of their choosing – on their tweets, while also providing an option to view hidden replies. Facebook already has a similar ‘Hide comments’ option for Pages; however, Twitter’s variation – if they go ahead with it – will allow more transparency with view hidden replies.

    Pinterest
    Ahead of a potential IPO later in the year, Pinterest is enhancing its shopping experience with more ways for businesses to promote products. The company is ramping up its eCommerce tools through the addition of new product catalogs and personalised shopping recommendations. Here’s a quick overview of the new updates:
    • Shop a brand: a new dedicated section from retailers is starting to roll out underneath Product Pins.
    • Personalised shopping recommendations: alongside style, home, etc. boards, users will see in-stock ideas related to what they’ve been saving.
    • Catalogs: brands will be able to upload their full catalog and easily turn their products into dynamic Product Pins; meaning more shoppable Pins across the platform.
    • Shopping ads: the company is making their Shopping ads available to all businesses through their self-serve tool Ads Manager.
    • Shopping search: when searching for a product, shopping results will now appear at the top of the home feed.
    [​IMG]
    SEARCH ENGINES
    “SEO is a marketing function for sure, but it needs to be baked into a product, not slapped on like icing after the cake is baked.” – Duane Forrester


    Google Search Algorithm
    Danny Sullivan has confirmed a broad core algorithm update, a big one. Its name is Update Florida 2 and it’s said to be one of the biggest updates in years.

    A broad core update means that Google is not targeting any niche or particular signals, like quality. In a broad core algorithm update, Google is not targeting anything. Danny Sullivan also reminded users that “as with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

    More on the topic can be found on WebmasterWorld Forum here or Google Search Liason Twitter thread.

    Google Search Console
    A few months ago, we’ve mentioned Google will be deprecating some or all of the old Search Console features. One of the features set to be removed is Property sets. The reason? Low usability. We knew this was coming, but we didn’t have a specific date. Well, now we do. On March 28, Google will close Property sets; which has now officially been replaced by Google’s Domain properties.

    If you take a look at your old property set in the old Search Console, you’ll see the notification at the top of your dashboard. So, what should you do now? Easy. Make sure you’ve downloaded your data and set up the new Domain properties to replace them. You can see more comments and discussions here.

    Google My Business
    Google announced it has changed the way offers show up in a Google local listings by giving offers a dedicated spot on the local panel. What does that mean? Well, offers will show up more prominently when the business is searched for, letting users quickly discover what promotions are currently running. How does it work? Easy. Log in to your Google My Business account and go to the Posts section. Once you’ve created the new post, you have to choose the post category – event, offer or product – and then just publish it. Businesses can surface up to 10 unique offers; they will be displayed as a carousel.

    DuckDuckGo
    Oh, boy, do we have some news, DDG is now an option that users can select as their default search provider in Google Chrome. With the release of Chrome 73, DDG has been added to the list of default search engine choices in over 60 markets.

    Not that we’re surprised though. After all, the search engine hit a company record of 1 billion searches per month this past January.

    PPC AND ADVERTISING
    “What really decides consumers to-buy-or-not-to-buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy


    Google Ads API
    Google Ads API finally graduated from beta and the production-ready v1 is now available and ready to use. Why should you care? Well, considering v0 is sunsetting on 30 April, users are advised to update their client libraries to use the v1 endpoint simply because beta version API requests will fail after April cut-over date. If you want to know more about it click here.

    Google Ads Campaigns
    Google is rolling out a new Budget Planner tool to help advertisers analyse their current Google Ads campaigns budgets. The way it works is that you can create a budget plan based on either clicks or conversions as a key metric. The tools won’t exactly tell you how much budget you’d start off with, but, it will certainly provide some directional insight. Want to know more and actually see what we’re talking about? Just click here.

    Bing Ads
    Bing Ads rolled out their automated bidding strategy – Maximize Clicks – to all accounts worldwide. It’s pretty easy to use as it’s, well, automated. However, it’s important to note that if you’re using a third-party bid management solution, you’ll likely not be able to use Maximize Clicks. You can read more on the matter here.

    Facebook Ads
    Facebook’s Single Relevance Score, which was initially launched in 2015, will be retiring pretty soon. According to the company, it’ll be replaced with three new relevance metrics. The reason? A more granular ad relevance diagnostic measures which will help improve performance as well as offer more actionable business insights. Also, the removal of the previous relevance score metrics will begin on 30 April. If you want to know more about the new metrics, you can find more information here.

    Amazon
    Do you want to gain a better understanding of your audience and who is actually buying your stuff on Amazon? We bet you do; and, with the company launching four new metrics for brands advertising, you will. Why this is so great though? Simple, it’ll help advertisers learn how much it costs to reach new users with their campaigns and products. In order to see a breakdown of the new metrics and get some ideas on how they can influence your advertising strategy click here.

    OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
    “By listening, marketing will re-learn how to talk.” – Doc Searls & David Weinberger


    W3C
    The Verge reported that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved WebAuthn; a new authentication standard aimed to replace the password as a way of securing your online accounts. Web Authn was first announced last year and is already supported by most browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari. Now that the standard has been approved, the next step for websites is to integrate it.

    Twitter
    After calling for applicants to try out the beta testing app back in January, Twitter has finally released its new “Twttr” test app. In short, it includes a completely new layout for tweet replies; and, of course, that immediately triggered mixed responses from users. Most testers seemed pretty positive about the change; whilst others are criticising the ‘chunky blocks’. If you want to stay up to date on this, just search for the #LetsHaveAConvo tag.

    Google Chrome
    Google revealed that a patch for its Chrome web browser was actually a fix for a zero-day that was under multiple active attacks. According to ZDNet, the attacks exploited CVE-2019-5786, a security flaw and the only patch included in the Chrome 72.0.3626.121 version, released at the beginning of March.

    Google described the error as a memory management error in Google Chrome’s FileReader – a web API included in all major browsers that lets web apps read the contents of files stored on the user’s computer.

    As a result, Chrome users are advised to use the browser’s built-in update tool – if they haven’t already – in order to trigger an update to 72.0.3626.121 version.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    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 digital marketing blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    The article was originally published on 15 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

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