This week: Google may be in hot water, Facebook plays copycat, Twitter will pay you to chat, and resharing could make your wallet fat.
Here’s what happened this week in digital marketing.
Google to Face $5B Lawsuit Over Incognito Mode
A decision was recently handed down from the US District Court in a June 2020 lawsuit regarding their tracking of users in incognito mode.
Incognito Mode is advertised as just that – you can surf the web without being tracked.
But the lawsuit filed in California alleged that Google was still collecting data, even when a user is browsing in Incognito Mode.
If this allegation is true, Google could be in violation of wiretapping and privacy laws.
Google denies these claims, of course, stating that people simply misunderstand the amount of privacy that the mode delivers.
Incognito Mode simply means that the user’s activity is not viewable to others using the same device but it’s still possible for the data to be collected by Google, the websites that the user is visiting, the user’s internet service provider, and others in the network if the user is accessing the internet at school or work.
In fact, Google does inform users of this fact in a message that pops up before a user starts using Incognito Mode.
What do you think?
Is Google in violation or is this a simple misunderstanding of a tool?
Facebook Announces Independent Publishing Platform
Aspiring authors might soon share their creative work on a new online channel: Facebook.
This past week, Facebook announced an upcoming publishing platform for authors. It will go live this year.
It’s nothing new. But that’s because everything new in social media is nothing new these days.
With this feature, Facebook is copying Substack.
Look for a similar Substack clone on LinkedIn soon.
Study: Publishers Can Increase Clicks 67% With Facebook Reshares
Want to get more clicks on your site? Consider resharing your content on Facebook.
According to a new study by Echobox, publishers who reshare their content on Facebook earn 67% more clicks on average.
The research shows that most publishers only reshare a few pages on Facebook.
Further, Echobox says that 13% of publishers see reshares outperform original shares.
The study authors examined more than 600 publishers, 1.85 million shares, and 2.8 billion clicks to reach their conclusions.
Report: Twitter Spaces Will, Indeed, Include a ‘Tip Jar’
Good news if you want to monetize your spoken content on the upcoming Twitter Spaces. It looks like the platform will include a “tip jar.”
The virtual coin collector will exist on any live Spaces and integrate with popular payment processors such as Venmo, Patreon, Bandcamp, and Cash App.
By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Twitter Spaces, it’s Twitter’s version of Clubhouse. Remember what I said a couple of articles up about how everything new in social media is really nothing new? This is another example of that.
Twitter also confirmed to AdWeek that it’s testing the tip jar feature.
Facebook Allows Publishers to Earn Money From Minute-Long Videos
And here’s another entry in the “nothing new under the sun” category: Facebook will allow publishers to make bank from minute-long, TikTok-style videos.
“Facebook Video creators can now earn money from videos as short as one minute long, with a minimally interruptive ad running at 30 seconds. For videos three minutes or longer, an ad can be shown 45 seconds in. Previously only three-minute or longer videos could monetize with in-stream ads, with an ad shown no earlier than 1 minute,” Facebook said in a statement.
A caveat, though: creators must publish from a Page (not a profile) with a minimum of 10,000 followers. That Page must remain compliant with Facebook’s monetization policies.
Google: Possible Quality Issue If Copied Content Outranks Original
Why? Because it might point to an optimization or quality issue on your own site.
In other words, Google thinks that the other site, even with stolen content, is better than yours.
Yeah, that’s a big slap in the face.
The subject came up during a recent Google Search Central SEO hangout. John Mueller fielded a question from somebody who said people were stealing his work and outranking his site with the stolen content.
“[I]f you’re regularly seeing other people with copied content ranking above your content, then to me that points at a situation where maybe the overall perceived quality of your website is something that our algorithms are having trouble with,” Mueller said.
He also advised the questioner to pursue remedies under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Vulnerability Detected in WordPress Super Cache Plugin
If you’re one of those people who uses the Super Cache plugin to speed up your WordPress website, you’ll want to pay attention to this news.
Automattic, the company that develops WordPress, recently announced that it discovered a low severity vulnerability that enables hackers to upload and run malicious code.
They can use that code to make database changes or install backdoors.
Fortunately, you can secure your site by grabbing the latest version of Super Cache (1.72).
Ex-Googlers Build Pay-to-Play Search Engine
A new search engine is on the way: Neeva.
Why do the founders think there’s a market for yet another search engine?
Because they promise to make it ad-free and respect your privacy.
But you’ll need to pony up for those privileges. Neeva will run as a subscription-based service and cost between $5 and $10 per month.
That company, by the way, was founded by two former Google employees: Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Rahunathan.
They took a few other former Googlers with them. So the team knows a thing or two about how to create a great search engine.
But will it pay off? It looks that way.
There’s already a waiting list of prospects who want to sign on with the service. Also, the company raised over $77 million on a $300 million valuation.
Keep an eye on this one. It might change how we do SEO.
YouTube Rolls out New Analytics
YouTube is doing its best to make sure you get all the insights you need to optimize your video marketing.
Here are a couple of new metrics you’ll find in YouTube analytics:
- Living room impressions – Learn about impressions from sources such as video game consoles and TVs.
- New and returning viewers – Find out who’s coming back again and again to watch your videos as well as how many new viewers you’re attracting.
YouTube is also rolling out some UI changes to the Studio mobile app.
Featured Snippets Are Back to Normal Levels
If you follow this series regularly, then you know that tracking tools recently showed a sharp drop in the number of featured snippets that appeared in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
I wasn’t sure if it was a change or a bug.
I’m still not sure. But things are back to normal now.
When asked to comment on what happened, Google’s John Mueller opted for the boiler-plate “our engineers are always updating things” answer.
Poll: 60% of SEOs Say SEO Is Harder Than 5 Years Ago
This one isn’t too surprising.
Aleyda Solis posted an online poll asking digital marketers if they think that modern-day SEO is “easier, more difficult, or as difficult as 5 years ago to achieve results/goals in the SEO processes you work on?”
After more than a thousand results, 59.5% said that it’s more difficult now than it was five years ago.
About 25% said it’s the same and about 16% said it’s easier.
TikTok Launches Ad Library
Once you see the results, you can further filter them by time or performance. For example, you might want to see results in the last 7 days with a minimum click-through rate of 5%.
It looks like this new feature is a work-in-progress, though, as some categories currently have no examples.
Also, advertisers have to allow their ads to appear in the search results. So the results might not reflect the best-performing ads.
Still, it’s a welcome update.
New Review Removal Tool Implemented on Google My Business
If you’re a digital marketer, you’re no stranger to online reviews – good and bad.
Reviews can be a great thing for your business!
But they can also negatively impact your bottom line.
However, some of these bad reviews aren’t necessarily deserved and Google My Business has launched a new tool to reduce those undeserved negative reviews.
While this tool doesn’t seem to work well for businesses with a lot of locations yet, it is very useful for businesses with a limited number of locations and reviews.
You probably wore green for St. Patrick’s Day. Now help your business earn some green with these action items:
- Take a look at the TikTok ad library tool to get some inspiration about the kinds of ads that resonate with specific market segments.
- Check out the new YouTube analytics and think about how you can use them to improve your video marketing strategies.
- If you’re using the Super Cache plugin, make sure you update it to the latest version so you can get rid of that vulnerability.
- Think about how you might earn some additional revenue with Facebook’s TikTok-like monetization option.
- Similarly, think about how you can fatten your bank account with Twitter Spaces and a virtual tip jar.
- Start resharing your content on Facebook and earn those additional clicks.