The Cookiepocalypse Has Begun

PLUS: Andrew Foxwell on the future of social commerce platform fees.

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In Today's Issue

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COMMERCE • TikTok Shop vs Meta Shop

Every Friday, we check in with our Meta Ads correspondent Andrew Foxwell. Andrew has visibility into $300 million dollars in Meta ad spend through his Slack community called Foxwell Founders.

In this conversation, Tod and Andrew discuss transaction fees for TikTok Shops and how it may affect businesses. We then discuss Meta Shop and the importance of the signals users give to Meta through their shopping activities. Finally, we address the increase in hacking incidents and the need for better security measures.

Takeaways

  • TikTok shops have introduced transaction fees, which can impact businesses' margins.

  • Meta shops continue to be free of transaction fees, as the signal users provide through shopping activities is valuable to Meta.

  • There has been an increase in hacking incidents, and businesses need to take steps to improve security, such as reviewing connected apps, enabling two-factor authentication, and monitoring account access.

  • Educating staff about phishing attempts and maintaining secure practices is crucial to prevent hacking incidents.

Timestamps

00:00 — TikTok Shops Transaction Fees
03:14 — Meta Shops
05:21 — Increase in Hacking and Security Measures

▶️ WATCH NOW

Be sure to check out Andrew’s Foxwell Founders community of digital ad buyers and his extensive training in the digital ad space.

TRACKING • The Cookiepocalypse Has Begun

We’ve been telling you about this for months — god, years — but now it’s finally here: Third-party cookies in Google’s Chrome browser are gone, though only for about 1% of the user base. Still, that’s about 30 million people that advertisers now will lose some tracking data on.

As marketers we live in a weird state — the business half of our head realizes this is going to make our job harder, though you’d have to have had your head in the sand to not see this overall industry trend. But we’re also consumers, and for that side, this is certainly good news.

It’s not like advertisers will have NO data on people using Chrome — for those 1%ers, Google is dropping them into their new interests grouping system which has received lukewarm reception from the marketing industry.

The impact of Google removing tracking cookies will be significant, with cookies traditionally providing key insights that help power the internet’s targeted ad system.

Google’s replacement will instead see users categorized into topic listings, in an anonymized way, so brands will still be able to show their ads to subsets of users, but they won’t be able to utilize granular targeting based on the specifics of what people have engaged with across different websites.

Which will likely lead to worse-performing campaigns, meaning less money for web publishers, and a lesser web experience overall for users, via more generalized ads. At the same time, it’ll also increase the costs of ad targeting for many businesses.

Of course the real marketing Gs know that the solution to all this is to invest in your own first-party data: Email lists, SMS marketing, CRMs where you own the relationship directly.

Google says by the end of the year, it expects to fully remove third-party cookies for all its users.

GEN Z • Want to Reach Them? Focus on Gaming.

Almost 60% of people in Gen Z have made a social commerce purchase in the past year. This, according to new data from eMarketer. A big portion of those purchases influenced by TikTok and Instagram shopping discovery.

eMarketer’s study also found they’re not as afraid of AI as older generations. More than 60% have positive attitudes toward AI-generated content on social media. They report using it as a tool to simplify their lives — edit essays, check code, plan travel itineraries, and so on.

Not surprisingly, Gen Zers aged 18 to 24 spend more time on Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat than any other age group.

So if you’re writing marketing copy for that generation, what do you focus on? According eMarketer: Gaming.

Nearly 71% of Gen Zers are digital gamers… and they’re likely to spend 3 to 6 hours gaming every week…

This is one of the few digital arenas where Gen Z beats millennials not only in penetration but in size—by nearly a million users, according to our forecast. This lead is likely to change, however, as Gen Zers lose free time as they age.

I feel ya, kids.

X • These Are Not the Metrics You’re Looking For

X, the platform formerly known as brand-safe, may have accidentally revealed user metrics that make them look, well, less impressive than they might think. And by “they,” I mean Elon Musk.

X’s owner yesterday tweeted “This platform is seeing incredible usage growth!” and then showed a chart of total user seconds, which — if that metric doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because literally nobody else uses it.

But whatever.

The table appears to show the platform’s growth rate spiking.

But Andrew Hutchinson at SocialMediaToday.com put those numbers into an advanced processing model known as “basic math” and figured out that actually it shows the opposite.

In terms of total user seconds, X’s average over the last week is 360 billion seconds per day. That’s the whole time that users spent in the app, which, on the face of it, is an incredible amount of time.

But breaking that down, 360b user seconds equates to 6b total minutes per day. X claims to have 253 million daily users at last check, so if you divide the total minutes by total users, that’s an average of 23.8 minutes per day spent, per user, in the app every day.

Which is not close to what X reported back in October, when it said that users were spending an average of 32 minutes per day in the app, and lower than what the former Twitter team was reportedly seeing, at 30 minutes per day per user.

So while the topline numbers look impressive, at many billions of seconds, the actual time spent per user is seemingly declining, not increasing, as Musk claims.

X’s Latest Traffic Numbers; Social Media Today

For some reason, I am an authorized contributor to X’s Community Notes — the crowd-sourced fact-checking system.

One note there adds: “Elon compares the week of Dec 27th with the week of Dec 20th. Social media traffic is low on public holidays. This ‘growth’ is likely a return to normal after a Christmas drop.”

As of the time of our deadline, that correction had not been published to the public site.

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TIKTOK • 2024 Campaign Planner and Template

TikTok this week published its content planning guide for 2024‚ and has taken a slightly different tack this time around, by focusing on specific events that can enhance your ad campaign’s impact.

They’ve included calendars for major regions like North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

But it’s more than just a list of dates. It integrates key events with additional tips on using TikTok's various advertising tools. There are insights on each date period, suggestions on how to integrate the events with marketing campaigns.

An added bonus is the campaign planner template.

You can download TikTok’s 2024 marketing calendar here.

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