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Weekly Roundup #70 – Privacy, AMPs & Unifying Data


Have you read weekly roundup 69 on ‘ASO’, chatbots and fake advertising? Yeah? Well, let’s get stuck into this week’s…


Battle of the Formats

Facebook’s Instant Articles Usurped by Google’s AMP.

Facebook Social Media

After reports that publishers had grown frustrated with Facebook’s Instant Articles format the company has created a software extension that lets publishers transfer content formatted for Instant Articles to its competition for mobile readers, Google AMP.

Accelerated Mobile Pages have been widely adopted by publishers and eCommerce players alike, with eBay and 1800Flowers among the high profile users of the format. Google AMP’s success is reflected in the numbers: with more than 1.7 billion AMP pages on 860,000 domains, with 35 million new pages being created each week it has greatly outperformed Instant Articles. Publishers such as The New York Times and The Guardian have pulled out from Facebook’s Instant Articles format, with Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next noting that, “the revenue in no way backed up the amount of time that was being spent on it.”

Whilst Instant Articles keeps the user on Facebook with the benefit for the publisher being that their content loads faster, Google’s AMP offers near instantaneous page loading and a high ranking in Google search results, both of which are important factors in increased sales.

Facebook cited its recent updates as part of their, “commitment to open standards of collaboration with the community,” and furthermore they plan to allow its extension to format Instant Articles to Apple News’ offering. The new offering from Facebook is not unique to them, as WordPress, for example, has let its users create an AMP site by simply checking a box, a feature that has been available for over a year.

A Facebook spokeswoman said that these changes would have been offered even if Instant Articles had outperformed AMP and Apple News. The spokeswoman said,

“we know Instant Articles is not working for some high-profile subscription based publishers in particular – and we don’t expect anyone to use IA if its not working for them. But again, this open-source SDK extension is not about competing with Google or trying to lure back anyone who has left. It’s about helping existing users as requested.”

It has been suggested that should developers adopt the tool then the page formats for Facebook, Google and Apple News may become more homogeneous, since developers would have to create the Instant Articles page that is then translated to AMP and/or Apple News page. As a result of this system Facebook could assert itself by introducing a content option that AMP and Apple News don’t yet support, which could limit adoption by publishers that are automatically converting Instant Articles to the other two formats. Equally, Facebook could add rules dictating how many ads can appear on an Instant Articles page that conflicts with the rules for AMP and Apple News pages.

However, for the time being, Facebook’s tool appears to work harmoniously with Google and Apple’s formats.

The Importance of Unifying Your Data

The awareness of ‘big data’, ‘real-time advertising’ and their subsequent benefits in the marketing industry are ubiquitous, however, in practice, marketers are often failing to best utilise this information. According to Marketers Worldwide, seven out of ten marketers have issues in efficiently using their technology to building a true picture of their customer.

With an ever-expanding multiplicity of sources of information, from email, web, SMS, digital, mobile and social avenues, the challenge has become finding a way to unify and analyse the data. To accurately target your audience it is imperative to combine the behavioural, geographic and demographic customer data that has been gathered.

A Data Management Platform works by unifying all available data, and can show the user how their campaign is performing in real-time whilst also offering the chance to optimise the media buy and advertising creative at any given moment.

The use of Data Management Platforms is on the rise, with a recent survey of 43 of the world’s largest spending advertisers revealing that 36% of respondents used a Data Management Platform in 2015, compared to 20% in 2013. The World Federation of Advertisers issued guidelines on how to achieve the best results from programmatic advertising, where marketers use big data to deliver highly targeted communications to the most relevant audience.

Data Management Platforms consolidate vast amounts of information as a way to make it easier to glean actionable insights from it, which highlights the true value of one’s data. This is in contrast to earlier methods of data storage that was typically split between teams, agency partners and third party tech providers, which all worked in isolation.

Data Management Platforms are providing marketers with the ability to do cross-device and cross-channel marketing. Brands can optimise their web content according to their most valuable segments whilst serving relevant, personalised content at the right time in the customer journey, be that through email, SMS, mobile, social or television.

A Data Management Platform is an invaluable tool that offers companies a way to create an accurate picture of their customer, to then analyse that data and to best utilise the minute-by-minute campaign technology that is available.

AdWords Latest Integrations

Google Surveys 360 and Google Optimize are the newest improvements to be integrated into AdWords. The Optimise integration gives advertisers a greater understanding of what makes the most effective landing page by creating and testing landing pages that can be tailored for specific campaigns, ad groups or keywords.

An example of Google Optimise at work is, say, a travel site that wanted to test the effectiveness of using an image of the hotel exterior, versus an image of children playing in the pool for the keyword query ‘family friendly hotels’.

AdWords will now include a landing page report section where advertisers can get data on bounce rates, conversion rates and mobile friendliness. This AdWords interface is currently being rolled out to many advertisers and will be available to everybody by the end of 2017.

These testing and personalisation solutions work together with Google Analytics, and users can drag and drop page elements in a visual editor without having to use developer resources or edit the raw HTML.

With Google Surveys 360 marketers can target surveys to their remarketing lists to learn more about how their consumers react to their advertising and landing pages. As part of the Analytics 360 product range, Google Surveys 360 is a paid enterprise-level solution that utilises Google’s panel of more than 10 million online respondents that fields a million surveys a week through their Surveys program.

These new integrations from AdWords are tools that allow the user to better understand their customer in an effort to have an efficient and effective web presence.

The EU Introduces Strict New Privacy Rules

In a world where data has been dubbed the ‘new oil’, it seems counter-intuitive for a company to operate an opt-in policy for data privacy. However, this is what Apple offers its customers in a bid to increase trust in the brand.

Apple is currently the only major tech company to assume that customers may not want to be tracked or targeted across the web, but this will soon change. The EU has made significant updates to the data privacy regulation that will ultimately lead publishers and advertisers to adopt a similar policy to Apple’s.

Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, that will go into effect on May 25, 2018, all companies will have to ask for explicit consumer consent to collect and use data across all web and app platforms.

Although the regulations are those of the European Union, they will have global reach as their gold standard data privacy policy applies to any company that touches the personal date of EU citizens. A huge fine has been set by the General Data Protection Regulation that sets the penalty at 4% of global revenue for any company that does not comply.

The new rules have come at an interesting time, particularly in relation to the industry’s uproar over the digital advertising ‘duopoly’ of Google and Facebook. A positive by-product of these new laws is that they may affect how these mega-companies, like Google and Facebook, do business in relation to gathering huge amounts of data.

There is a growing distrust of digital advertising with 92% of consumers saying that they do not want their browsing data sold or shared without their permission. In contrast marketers, unsurprisingly, prefer to have no limits on how they gather and use data on their customers.

However, there is significant research which indicates that brand advertising often fails when solely dependent on ‘targeting’. These new laws are most likely to initiate new thinking around how to most efficiently gather useful data, whilst also re-negotiating the power of the ‘duopoly’ of Google and Facebook, who have so far been allowed to cull information from publishers by collecting data for themselves wherever ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’ buttons are present on a webpage.

When the laws go into effect in 2018 the consumer will benefit not only from a simple way to opt in or out of consent, but also from the disappearance of the EU cookie notices that have plagued recent online activity. These developments are a sign of things to come, and the EU’s new laws clearly put the consumer first.

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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.