This week: Online sales soar, good news for Instagram advertisers, and there’s a new bidding platform for Amazon ads.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Report: Instagram CPCs and CPMs Drop in Q3
Instagram advertisers saw a lower cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2018. That’s according to a report by AdStage.
CPCs dropped 21% and CPMs dropped 19%.
The average 3Q CPC on Instagram stood at $1.09, the lowest of the year (so far).
CPMs were $6.90 during the same period.
However, click-through rates (CTRs) increased by 8.9% during the same period.
In fact, CTRs saw a whopping 150% year-over-year increase in Q3.
Facebook third-quarter data told a different story.
The social media giant saw its highest CPCs for the year during that period. Q3 CPCs increased almost 28% over Q2.
At the same time, Facebook CTRs fell by more than 35%.
Twitter and LinkedIn both saw CPCs and CPMs drop in Q3. CTRs increased 23% for Twitter and almost 27% for LinkedIn.
Adobe: Online Shopping Revenues Will Hit $126 Billion by Year-End
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. shoppers spent $111 billion online by December 19. That’s a year-over-year increase of $17 billion.
Adobe also predicted that the total online revenue haul of the period between November 1 and December 31 will reach $126 billion, making it the “biggest online shopping period of all time.”
Mobile traffic accounted for about 58% of site visits and 39% of sales. Over $33 billion in online sales occurred on smartphones.
Here’s the revenue breakdown by channel:
- Direct site traffic – 27%
- Paid search – 25%
- Organic search – 21%
- Email – 20%
- Social media – less than 2%
Initiative CEO Rips Facebook, Advises Clients to Pull Ads
Not everybody on earth is wishing good will to Mark Zuckerberg these days.
Take Mat Baxter, for example. He’s the CEO of ad agency Initiative.
Baxter took to LinkedIn recently to slam Facebook for sharing user data with high-tech companies such as Netflix, Apple, and Amazon.
He called that “egregious” misbehavior and advised marketers to stop advertising on Facebook.
Maybe the LinkedIn post would have gone largely unnoticed if The Wall Street Journal hadn’t highlighted it the following day. Now, Baxter has the digital marketing world buzzing.
A spokesperson for IPG, the parent company of Initiative, offered the usual “this is not an official statement from our company” line in response to the fallout.
Some fellow marketers are applauding Baxter for taking a moral stand. Others think it’s irresponsible to advise clients not to advertise on Facebook.
As is usually the case, though, there’s a “rest of the story” aspect to the report.
Baxter’s company, Initiative, is the global media agency for Amazon. According to The New York Times, Facebook shared user data with Amazon.
So will Baxter drop Amazon as a client? Probably not.
Merkle Releases Bidding Platform for Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads
If you like to advertise on Amazon, Merkle has a new tool that might catch your interest.
It’s an automated bidding platform designed for Amazon sponsored brand ads (formerly headline search ads). It can update bids as much as 48 times per day.
The platform uses machine learning to calculate the optimal bid based on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and “signals from multiple platforms.”
The tool even uses the Amazon Advertising API to optimize bids.
“Before this integration, efficiently bidding on these ad units required building numerous custom processes, because Amazon itself hasn’t provided bulk editing capabilities until recently,” says Todd Bowman, senior director of Amazon and eRetail at Merkle. “With this new bid technology, as Amazon media becomes more competitive, our teams can focus more on analyzing performance to identify new opportunities and take advantage of them more proactively on behalf of our clients, while also scaling the program effectively.”
According to Merkle, clients who use the automated bidding platform have seen an 18% increase in sales per click and a 62% decrease in advertising cost of sales.
Google: You’re Running a Link Scheme if You Require a “Follow” Link
If you ask someone to sign a contract requiring that they provide a dofollow link to your site, you’re participating in a link scheme. That’s according to the latest updated Google guidelines.
In its guidelines, Google lists several examples of link schemes. Here’s the latest addition: “Requiring a link as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or similar arrangement without allowing a third-party content owner the choice of using nofollow or other method of blocking PageRank, should they wish.”
If Google catches you participating in a link scheme, your website could lose rank.
Report: Speakr Is Ripping off Influencers
This past July, singer-songwriter Kaila Yu was offered $300 to promote DNA testing company 23andMe to her more than 500,000 fans on Facebook. She took the gig and promoted the brand.
Six months later she still hasn’t been paid.
The problem isn’t with 23andMe, though. It’s with influencer-management company Speakr.
According to a report in The Atlantic, Speakr “stopped paying influencers early this year.”
Ten influencers said that they were promised payment by Speakr but received no payment or only partial payment.
Some were paid months later, but only after promising to take the matter public.
Well, the matter is public now.
Many influencers believe that Speakr is about to fold. Some have given up hope of ever receiving payment.
Company founder Marco Hansell is adamant that influencers will get paid… eventually.
“There’s nobody that won’t eventually get paid,” he said. “It’s not a scenario where we’re trying to scheme around or weasel out of this thing; we’re trying to get everyone paid.”
He also said the company is in no danger of going bankrupt.