Facebook's Worst Idea Yet

Facebook wants to make policy decisions for other social media platforms… Microsoft’s says its new PPC bidding may bump your conversions up… Google business messaging hits the desktop… and more.

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This regular Friday issue won’t have all the stories in the main newsletter, or contain any newsletter-exclusive content, but I hope it’ll still provide some value!

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Facebook Wants a Truly Supreme Court

Facebook. The company that:

  • randomly locks marketers out of their accounts

  • suddenly turns on ad campaigns that were paused

  • and denies ads about baby food because its algorithm thinks it’s ‘suggestive content’

...says it thinks its new Oversight Board should now make rulings about other platforms too.

(I promise, this is not satire.)

The co-chairperson of Facebook’s Oversight Board (who, by the way, is the former Prime Minister of Denmark) said this week they want other tech companies to join and “be part of the oversight that we will be able to provide.”

Well then.

That could only end well, right?

I guess the idea is that Twitter would appoint a couple of people to the panel, and then that board could make rulings about content there too?

Despite what you’ve heard about the Oversight Board, it’s really not the Supreme Court level of jurisprudence. 

For instance, it’s currently deciding whether to require Facebook to reinstate former U.S. President Trump, who Facebook removed from the platform after charges he incited last month’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

So, that’s a pretty important case, right? All 20 board members must be thinking about that, right?

Nope. 

Only five of them are. Those five will make a decision, then send it to the broader group for a rubber stamp.

The Digital Marketing Connection

All snark aside, this kind of thing could have disastrous consequences for our work as digital marketers. Pretty much everyone who runs ads on the platform for a living has run into some weird decision that Facebook refuses to back down on.

The Facebook page for this very podcast is banned from advertising for “multiple policy violations.” A warning we got out of the blue. The only ad we ran was a video with a 20-second clip of one of the shows. But despite talking to 8 Facebook reps — not a single one could tell us what the policy violation was, and — in fact — every one of them claimed it wasn’t really their department anyway, but they’ll pass it along.

Honestly, no big deal, because we just took our ad dollars to other platforms.

But now imagine a world where those platforms too take their policy advice and violation decisions from Facebook.

And you thought the consumer version of a monopoly was going to be a miserable world.

Pinterest Reaches TikTok Levels of Popularity

So if Facebook’s not your jam, some new numbers from a competing platform might catch your attention.

Pinterest reported this week its monthly average users have increased 37% year over year, reaching almost 100 million.

If that number is to be believed, that puts them roughly at the same size as TikTok, which analysts thought were around 100 million users last August.

Snapchat, by comparison, said it was at 108 million U.S. users last month.

Women still make up about 60% of Pinterest’s overall user base, though it says the number of men grew 50% year over year.

Gen Z and Millennials are the big growth drivers. Gen Z were focused on beauty trends in the last year, while Millennials spent more time on home decor and renovation.

Clubhouse: A B2B Marketing Case Study

Yesterday, in our coverage of the audio app Clubhouse, I mentioned that there weren’t a lot of B2C marketing opportunities there yet. Remember, it’s invite-only right now, and there’s a big contingent of investors and venture capital people in there.

But I thought I’d highlight the way one brand is using the platform.

The company that owns Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons is hosting a room today called "Open Kitchen" — it’s with their CEO and is basically their quarterly financial report. But instead of aiming it at analysts, they’ll be letting anyone in to listen and even ask questions.

This isn’t the release of their quarterlies, mind you, they already did that call — growth was down 8% because of COVID and global digital sales hit $6 billion last year.

But it is interesting to see how some brands are jumping onto this new platform.

Microsoft’s new Enhanced Manual Bidding

Some nerdy PPC news for you ad buyers out there.

Microsoft announced this week that all manual bidding strategies on its ads platform will be optimized by Enhanced CPC (eCPC). Enhanced CPC will become the bid strategy for all search, shopping, and Dynamic Search Ads campaigns that have not yet opted into Automated Bidding.

What is Enhanced CPC? 

Essentially, it lets you dynamically set bids at auction time based on the targets you set.

eCPC can work with:

  • Maximize Clicks

  • Maximize Conversions

  • Target CPA

  • or Target ROAS strategies

Microsoft says during its test, advertisers using eCPC got about 5-10% more conversions while maintaining their cost per acquisition.

There is an important bit of fine print though.

Starting on April 5th, any new campaigns created will no longer have the option of Manual CPC. And by April 30th, any campaigns not yet using eCPC will be automatically migrated.

Yes, the inevitable march toward AI making campaign decisions continues — for better or worse.

In the coming months, Microsoft says it’ll launch portfolio support for bid strategies, which will help to optimize bids across multiple campaigns.

Here’s an illustrated decision tree to help you figure out which automated bidding strategy is right for you:

Google My Business Messages Rolling Out

Google this week started to roll out one of the most frequently requested features on its Google My Business platform: The ability to see incoming messages on the desktop.

Until now, people messaging your business from Google Maps or other places would only show up to you if you had Google’s mobile app for that. Some third-party platforms can onboard your accounts too, but the process is still pretty manual.

Which is why putting it on their desktop dashboard is welcome.

As I mentioned, it’s rolling out now, so you may not have it yet. 

Google says by early next month, all brands should have it.

Like Facebook’s business private messages, you can set some automated first-reply text, and you’ll also be able to export conversations if you want.

One big difference, though, between Facebook and Google here, is that Facebook rewards brands that reply quickly with a little label on their page saying they’re responsive. Google, on the other hand, says if you don’t reply within 24 hours, it may just straight-up cut your access to desktop messaging off.

And no, that autoresponse welcome message doesn’t count.

No Issue/Episode on Monday

Monday is a stat holiday here in most of Canada. (I think it is in the U.S. too.)

So there won’t be an issue or podcast episode Monday. I’ll be spending my time farming ginseng and rye in Tamriel. Did I mention I’m a level 48 provisioner now?

Have a restful weekend, friends, and I’'ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday.

Today in Digital Marketing is hosted by Tod Maffin and produced by engageQ digital. Subscribe at https://TodayInDigital.com or wherever you get your podcasts.

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