Why Are Marketers Being Constantly Logged Out of Facebook?

An apparent bug on Meta’s platforms is automatically logging advertisers and users out of their accounts — so often, that they can’t even get any work done on the sites.

Why Are Marketers Being Constantly Logged Out of Facebook?

An apparent bug on Meta’s platforms is automatically logging advertisers and users out of their accounts — so often, that they can’t even get any work done on the sites.

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Your Brand’s Wordpress Content Won’t Be Sold to AI Companies. (Probably. We Think. Maybe.)

Automattic, the parent company of Wordpress, has decided — like pretty much all platforms these days — to get into the lucrative business of selling their data to AI companies for training.

And by “their” data, of course I mean your data.

While you might expect it on a social media platform, like Facebook or Pinterest, you probably aren’t expecting that the sale of data might extend to your own brand’s web site.

Well, that’s happening now if your brand’s web site runs on Wordpress’s hosted service.

Wordpress runs about half of the world’s web sites. But the content management software comes in two flavours: Hosted, and Self-Hosted.

  • Hosted: If your site uses a third-party web hosting service, like GoDaddy or SiteGround or Dreamhost, then you’re using the self-hosted version of Wordpress. That’s what most brands use, and this sale of data does not apply to you.

  • Self-Hosted: But if your brand’s web site is on Wordpress’s own hosting service, well then your company’s content has likely already been sold to AI companies for training.

Once this news leaked out, the company put out a statement, hilariously titled “Protecting User Choice,” in which they say you can opt-out if you want, and if you’ve set your site to not be crawled by search engines, you’re automatically opted out. The problem with that latter option, of course, is most brands want their content to be found on search engines, so why would they have that block toggle active?

We will share only public content that’s hosted on WordPress.com and Tumblr from sites that haven’t opted out.

Automattic

It does seem as if Automattic has been selling user data since well before the opt-out options existed. An internal memo reviewed by 404media showed that Automattic had provided AI company Midjourney with posts dating back a decade — and their initial data dump included private posts, posts from deleted blogs, and even posts marked NSFW.

It also revealed that the way Automattic will claw back data that a brand or user asks to not be used for AI training is to ask the AI company nicely if they wouldn’t mind, you know, maybe not using it? Please? There’s no live data connection that Automattic can turn off; they appear to be providing this user data in big dumps of CSV files.

Automattic also owns the beleaguered microblogging site Tumblr. It says it will sell user data there too, unless people opt-out.

Again, this does not seem to apply if your brand hosts its own Wordpress site on another hosting platform.

At least… not yet.

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Meta • What’s With All the Automatic Log Outs?

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

This week: Tod and Andrew discuss issues with Meta accounts, including frequent logouts that prevent users from working.

Andrew suggests recording videos and taking screenshots to document the problem and contacting Meta support for assistance.

He also talks about the benefits of using cost caps and bid capping in Advantage Shopping Campaigns to improve stability and performance.

Chapters:

  • 00:00 Introduction and Meta Account Logouts

  • 02:18 Dealing with Meta Account Issues

  • 03:17 Account Bans and Punitive Actions

  • 04:43 Addressing Hacking and Technical Stability

  • 05:02 Advantage Shopping Campaigns and Cost Caps

  • 06:42 Benefits of Using Cost Caps and Bid Capping

  • 07:12 Conclusion

Be sure to check out Andrew’s Foxwell Founders community of digital ad buyers and his extensive training in the digital ad space.¹

Social Media • Engagement Keeps Sucking 😞

Rival IQ has published its latest Social Media Benchmarks report. This pulls data from 5 million posts, and more than 10 billion engagement points like reactions, comments, and favorites across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X.

Facebook

Let’s start with Facebook, which shows a depressing median engagement rate of 0.063% — which is miserable, of course, but actually is a small increase from last year’s numbers.

That number is across all industries. The only ones which have significantly better engagement are alcohol, health and beauty, and influencers. The best industry for engagement is sports teams, but even those don’t even get a third of 1% (0.30%).

That likely points to reach being a better metric to measure, as most people simply don’t ever engage in social apps.

Does that mean social media is less effective as a marketing tool than has been presented?

Well, brand awareness, and subsequent indirect action would probably suggest that it’s still worth the effort.

But as fewer people actually look to actively participate in social apps, preferring to only consume content instead, it may be worth re-aligning your KPIs around other metrics, like actual sales, email sign-ups, etc., in order to track relative performance.

Instagram

On Instagram, things are a little better — engagement rates there are 0.43%, that’s a tiny dip from last year, and about half of what it was in 2021. Every industry was around there except for sports teams which got past 1.5% and higher education, which was nearly 2.5%.

X

X, formerly Twitter, was even worse — average engagement rate per tweet was less than 0.03%. That’s down from last year, as well.

TikTok

And finally, TikTok, which has some good numbers, at least relative to their competitors. Median engagement rate per video was more than 2.4%, with the higher education sector again outperforming at 9.2% engagement.

TikTok’s average engagement rate last year was 5.69% per clip, that’s a drop of more than half, on average, over the course of a year.

✅ You can read Rival IQ’s full “2024 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report” here.

X • Will Its Planned “Pinned Post” Scheme Work?

So yeah, X’s engagement is in the crapper, but a new feature might help increase your brand’s reach there — perhaps by a lot.

X’s owner Elon Musk said this week that they’re working on a change to pinned posts. Once this change is active, if you pin a post to your profile, all of your account’s followers will see it.

Before we go on, I feel I need to remind you that Elon is known for saying he’ll do stuff, then never actually do it. He’s also promised:

  • a content moderation council that never formed

  • manual verification of authentic identity when you bought a blue checkmark that never happened

  • not to mention telling Twitter staff he wasn’t planning big layoffs, then firing 75% of the company

But — let’s assume for a moment this promise is real — you would be able to pin one post every 48 hours, and every follower who reviews their feed in that time frame would have that post ready for them to see.

Which inadvertently also highlights a current issue that many are having on X, in that their posts are simply never going to be seen by even those who have specifically chosen to follow their account. Which many would assume would be the default, given that people have explicitly signaled their interest in said content.

But algorithmic amplification means that X, like all social platforms, is able to show users the most engaging updates in-stream, in order to maximize engagement.

And maybe, within that, some of your boring posts simply don’t fit the bill.

It does seem like this pinned posts boost is being planned for all accounts, not just those paying for the checkmark.

The risk for X here is that too many people could choose to pin posts on any given day, and if it has to then ensure that all of the followers of each of these profiles get shown all of those posts, there could suddenly be a lot of competition for space in the main feed.

X will also lose a level of quality control, as it won’t be able to only show the posts that its algorithm recommends. Also, you can bet that some users are going to complain when their post reach doesn’t match their follower count, and on balance, when you factor in all of these elements, I don’t really understand why X is doing this at all.

If I had to guess, I would predict creator backlash about two weeks after this is rolled out, then X will roll it back.

Podcasting • Sector Seeing an Ads Comeback

Podcast advertising is back in a growth phase.

Big names in the space, including iHeartMedia, Spotify, SiriusXM, and Acast, reported an uptick in their revenues during the last quarter of 2023. This trend signals an improving ad market as we step into 2024, with companies like Spotify and Acast eyeing profitability for their podcast ventures for the first time.

  • iHeartMedia's podcast revenue grew 17% from the previous year. This growth, attributed to rising advertiser demand, now represents 12% of iHeart's overall revenue.

  • Acast reported a 9% year-over-year growth in the last Q4, with its North American market leading the charge.

  • SiriusXM also experienced a boost in its podcasting revenue, with a notable 22% increase in the same period.

But the sector faced big challenges, like the impact of Apple's iOS 17 update, which changed the way its podcast app downloads episodes.

Despite these hurdles, podcast companies remain positive about the future, with iHeartMedia and Acast projecting continued revenue growth.

Google • Canada Now Investigating Practices

More regulatory problems for Google, which finds itself under increasing scrutiny.

After Europe slapped a hefty €2.1 billion lawsuit on the company, Canadian regulators are now widening their investigation into the tech giant's advertising practices. They say Google might be misusing its dominant market position to sideline competitors.

The Canadian Competition Bureau yesterday secured a court order for Google to hand over records concerning its ad business. This, part of a broader, four-year inquiry into whether Google has been playing fair in the advertising arena. The focus is on whether Google has been disadvantaging rivals or engaging in predatory pricing, where they might set prices so low that competitors can't afford to keep up.

[Side note here: I’m not sure I know many media buyers who would say that Google’s CPCs are exactly “inexpensive,” but whatever.]

Google, for its part, defends its advertising business, claiming it supports millions of websites to thrive.

As this investigation unfolds in Canada, Google also braces for a major lawsuit in the US set for September, accused of monopolizing digital ad technologies.

TikTok has released a new “Trends Digest” series to help brands learn what’s going viral there. And they’re trying to provide some clarity around which trends you should chase, and which you shouldn’t:

There’s a difference between what’s trending now and being on-trend: we refer to these as ‘Trend Moments’ versus ‘Trend Signals’.

Numerous small Trend Moments make up a larger Trend Signal.

Focusing on Trend Moments can be a challenge as keeping up with trending content requires a high level of reactivity.

On the other hand, Trend Signals represent a more accessible entry point for brands to stay on-trend by building a solid foundation and understanding of trending content.

TikTok

Two trends they did highlight:

  1. “Maddie Knew” — This is based on a trending sound where the voice says “Maddie knew who she was at a very early age” and then a slide reveal lets users showcase a specific facet of their personality. Sometimes saying how they knew they were gay all along, or were an introvert since childhood, and so on.

  2. The “Of Course” trend is where people say things like “I’m a Pokemon fan, of course I have stuffed pokeballs. I’m a Pokemon fan, of course I know who sang the theme song.” And so on. I actually find the repetition of these really irritating, but YMMV.

TikTok says it will report on what’s trending every month, and we’ll try to bring those to you here as well.

✅ You can read the full TikTok Trend Digest overview here.

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