Is A Media Militia Forming Against Apple?

Stimmy hits hard. Google tests a radical expansion of Shopping. And why Apple may be giving Facebook MORE power with its new privacy changes.

The Big Tech Cold War between Facebook and Apple took a fascinating twist this week, as the Financial Times broke news that Chinese app developers have built a fingerprinting technology that would circumvent Apple’s new privacy changes. 

Of course, “fingerprinting” is a causal term given to the ability technical ability to identify and track individual users on the web. 

China Advertising Association develops CAID to bypass Apple IDFA changes

The Financial Times reported Monday that ByteDance and Tencent were among the companies testing a China Advertising ID, known as CAID, which is being developed by the state-backed trade group the China Advertising Association. Early documentation for the solution suggests such an ID would let apps track users for advertising purposes even if those users didn't explicitly opt in.

Apple's decision on whether it plans to allow or prevent the CAID once its new app privacy rules are rolled out could have major implications on its relationship with a key market.

Sources with direct knowledge of the Chinese mobile ad market also separately confirmed to Insider that testing of the CAID has been underway since last year.

This puts Apple in a tough predicament. Analyst, Eric Seufert, (a must-follow if you are following this story) explains:

Apple, CAID, and China: rock, meet hard place | Mobile Dev Memo

Apple has found itself between a rock and hard place with CAID. Almost certainly, Facebook sees this CAID weakness as a pressure point to activate in attempting to reverse, slow, or mitigate ATT, especially after the French anti-trust regulatory body refused to issue an injunction against ATT in the country, which would have potentially paused the rollout of ATT in the entire EU (my understanding is that Facebook was internally optimistic about the French ruling). Apple has no good options in the case of the CAID. Apple can continue to reject Chinese apps harvesting — and especially apps from Tencent, ByteDance, or Baidu — and jeapordize its business in the country, or allow for a dual-track ATT policy that tempts the biggest US-based platforms to simply go underground with their tracking activities.

To date, this is the strongest opposition to Apple’s new privacy changes that are upsetting the online ad industry. China is a huge market for Apple, both as consumers and its manufacturing hub. For that reason, it cannot cross the Chinese government. Will Apple make hypocritical loopholes for China or stand firm? And what does that mean for the global web? 

An update from Friday evening:

So now we have an old-fashioned showdown. 🤠

But what is equally interesting and more relevant to retailers is the ripple effects. 

This isn’t just a new usability feature. It is further evidence that social platforms are adapting to Apple’s forthcoming changes, in an effort to keep all traffic (and transactions) on-platform. Advertisers need to see this trend coming and adjust their strategies (and expectations) accordingly. 

Zuckerberg even echoed this sentiment in a Clubhouse discussion Thursday evening. 

Zuckerberg: Facebook may be stronger after Apple privacy changes

Zuckerberg explained that the change could benefit Facebook if more businesses decide to sell goods directly through Facebook and Instagram.

"It's possible that we may even be in a stronger position if Apple's changes encourage more businesses to conduct more commerce on our platforms by making it harder for them to use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms," Zuckerberg said.


The News

🖱 Search Engine Marketing

That would be...quite a change. 

If you are ignoring, err, running Microsoft Ads, be aware. Microsoft may optimize your account for you. And you are opted-in by default. 

🗣 Social Advertising

TikTok will soon force personalized ads on its users

The message tells TikTok users that their ad settings will automatically be changed in order to serve them advertisements based on what they watch on the platform instead of just showing “general” ads. The company will make the switch on April 15.

Personalized advertisements are ads served to users based on their TikTok data. Third-party advertisers can use this data to target users that they think will buy their products.

TikTok’s ad platform keeps getting better. Speaking of TikTok...

TikTok Business Creative Center

Discover the best performing auction ads on TikTok

TikTok finally has an ad library similar to Facebook’s library. Speaking of ad libraries...

How to Use the Facebook Ads Library for Competitive Research

Your competitors' social advertising strategies provide insight for your campaigns. Here's how to use Facebook Ads Library to get a leg up.

Let the inspiration wash over you. 

2021 Social Media Industry Benchmarks | Socialinsider

In 2020, the average engagement rate per post on Facebook was 0.27%, Twitter reached a mere 0.07%, while an Instagram post scored an average rate of 1.16%.

The report includes a ton of network and industry-specific terms. It’s definitely worth a look. 

🔎 Organic

Google Says Words In A URL A Very Light Weight Factor But Less So After Page Indexed

We use the words in a URL as a very very lightweight factor. And from what I recall this is primarily something that we would take into account when we haven't had access to the content yet. So if this is the absolute first time we see this URL we don't know how to classify its content, then we might use the words in the in the URL as something to help rank us better. But as soon as we've crawled and indexed the content there then we have a lot more information.

You can watch the whole Q&A here:

📈 Reporting

A significant discovery for ROAS-focused marketers like me. 

Have you configured your 8 events for i0S14.5 yet? 

Google Answers Advertisers Burning Questions About FLoC

How will this impact reporting in Google Analytics? (In particular, the audiences report as well as demographics such as in-market and affinity audiences.)

GM: Google Analytics will continue to allow customers to bring in their first-party data, which they can use on their own or join with Google data.

The primary change is that Google Analytics will not enable customers to do view-through conversion (VTC) measurement on third-party network inventory.

Ginny Marvin, Google’s Ads Product Liaison, did a Q&A about the upcoming release of FLoC. Ginny is a fellow PPC manager herself and understands the concerns of advertisers like us. 

It sounds like Google’s new FLoC API will be a very stable transition, unlike Facebook’s response. Or at least, that is the plan. We will know more as the transition approaches. 

Customer Lifetime Value: Top Challenges & Solutions | Study

Only 17% of respondents say their firm tracks LTV well.

Some 55% of marketers say aggregating the right data for a robust view of the customer is the most significant challenge they face in maximizing LTV.

As online data is increasingly obfuscated, LTV numbers will become an increasingly important metric for advertisers to measure. 

This post from Shopify outlines a solid framework for LTV methodology. There are also plugins that make the math a little easier too. 

💰 Revenue

It’s been a good week for retailers, as US stimulus direct deposits led to sales bumps across the web. 

Speaking of, this would be a great event to annotate inside Google Analytics. This time next year, you will be glad you did. 

🛍 Marketplace

Why does marketing exist? | by Mark Schaefer

I think we often get self-absorbed in this idea that marketing is about content and stories and memories. Beautiful Instagram posts and content strategies are cool and fun but at the end of the day, we’re here to sell more stuff, to more people, for more money, more often.

I love this post from fellow Knoxvillian, Mark Schaefer. And I appreciated him sharing this Sergio Zyman quote. 

🏬 Brick & Mortar

Why Digital Pioneers Allbirds and Shopify are Investing in Physical Retail

Endear offers retail staff ways to communicate with customers via text and build relationships before the customer walks into a store or buys online. Customers in turn can text a store and let them know when they plan to visit and what they will be shopping for. That allows store associates to have items waiting for the customers in fitting rooms.

“Those kinds of small details can really make someone feel like they are getting the attention they deserve,” Sevin said, while giving the customer the choice to “opt in” and let the store know they want that kind of interaction.

Appointment scheduling could become how shoppers let stores know they want personalized service, Podduturi said.

Shopify surveys have found “that 50% of consumers would like to be able to schedule time for in-store shopping,” Podduturi said. Appointments let shoppers share information about their preferences and sizes before they get to a store, allow store staff to choose specific products for them, have information about their purchase history and give more shoppers the VIP store treatment.

“It’s opt-in on both sides,” Podduturi said. “I think over the next years you’re going to see a lot of innovative technology there.”

It’s the offline equivalent of accepting cookies from a website. 

I’m here to be sold. 🙃

🛠 Tips & Tools

BoxGenie - Design Your Own Boxes & Packaging

Turn your brand into the total package with full customization, instant quoting, and fast turnarounds.

Social Media Sizes 2021 + Templates || → SocialSizes.io

Templates for Sketch, Figma, XD, Photoshop & Illustrator.

The template downloads are a nice touch. 

Stripe valuation soars to $95bn after latest fundraising | Financial Times

Stripe has ridden the wave of ecommerce growth, with more than 200,000 new companies in Europe signing up to the platform since the start of the pandemic. John Collison said it handled almost 5,000 transaction requests a second in 2020.

“Stripe itself is now bigger [by payment volumes] than the entire ecommerce market was when we started working on Stripe,” he added.

Stripe is the low-key unicorn that drives online commerce. It has emerged as a financial powerhouse that belongs in the conversation of elites like Visa & Mastercard. 

Glad to hear things are going well for Elon. 

🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun

Pizza Hut Serves Up 'Newstalgia' with Campaign Celebrating All that Fans Know and Love About the Pizza Restaurant

Remember going to Pizza Hut as a kid? The glorious aroma of pizza enveloped you as you were led to a classic red booth decked out in a red and white checkered tablecloth under the cozy glow of a stained-glass Tiffany-style lamp. You'd score some quarters to play an arcade game as you waited for your Personal Pan Pizza®, served hot in a cast iron skillet. Life was good.

Pizza Hut is bringing back all the nostalgic feels to customers with a new brand campaign that captures the concept of "Newstalgia." The campaign puts a contemporary twist on celebrating all the things people love and associate with the brand – from Book It!® pins, classic arcade games, red cups and Tiffany-style lamps and of course, iconic Pizza Hut pizzas.

...speaking of Pizza Hut.

How is this for drone footage?