In this edition of the Marketing, Tech, and Data News for [B]RIGHT Marketers, we bring to you a year-end roundup of what we consider to be important and potentially pivotal news within the industry in 2021.
News stories marked turning points for user privacy, antitrust policy in Big Tech, copyright cases regarding developers’ code, changes in social media platforms, shifts in consumer behaviors, and much more.
Read on to see our top news stories from 2021.
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The Stories You Have to Read:
From a marketing standpoint, the major news is iOS 14’s privacy updates and what it means for a brand’s (read: marketer’s) opportunity to harness third-party data. From our POV, we love it. Not a lot of marketers would be seemingly delighted with less data to use for targeting and segmentation and activation, but by golly, we’re 100% for it. User privacy (which is one of our identified drivers of change in this marketplace) is an incredibly important aspect of our online lives, and we need to support and laud any time tech companies, which are usually morals- and ethics-averse, do something that helps the end user.
Receive a prompt when an app wants to track you across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising or wants to share your information with data brokers.
Share only your approximate location rather than your exact location.
Every app’s privacy practices are easily viewable in the App Store before downloading.
Recording indicator activates any time an app is using the phone camera or recorder.
Apple says privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything they do. That’s why with iOS 14 they’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.
For us, we have to work a little harder. But we’re privileged that it’s such a minor inconvenience—really just a blip on the radar. More of this.
Google won its decade-old legal battle against Oracle regarding an alleged copyright infringement in the mid-2000s. The ruling was a result of a six Supreme Court justice majority, the allegations stemming from Google’s independent implementation of Java API methods that used names, argument types, and hierarchy similar to that of Java’s method for compatibility reasons. The lawsuit began a few years later when Sun, the company that developed Java programming language and other software, was acquired by Oracle. Oracle’s case was lost twice at trial courts but the ruling was overturned, it landed in the Federal Circuit Appeals Court, and last year the case was started in the Supreme Court.
The ruling on Google’s behalf means that the court system has avoided a potential onslaught of lawsuits against software companies that have utilized other company’s APIs or portions of code. The ruling now puts less importance on API copyrights and could usher in the continued innovation seen by open-source APIs and interconnectivity that now is possible with many web-based tools. A ruling in the other direction would have restricted the industry, creating siloed platforms and walled gardens. It looks like open-source APIs are here to stay.
TikTok has launched a campaign to promote media literacy, aptly called #FactCheckYourFeed. The campaign features content collaborations from popular creators on the platform and is aimed at educating users on the importance of critical thinking, news literacy, building informed arguments, and recognizing fake news.
It is refreshing to see a media platform that has immense reach with younger users taking the initiative to educate its user base. It is early in the campaign, but we hope it is well received and remains a continual effort by TikTok and its creators. In the changing landscape of marketing, we anticipate this will be a step in the right direction toward decreasing the amount of misinformation seen online.
A bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives introduced four new bills aimed at reining in the power of tech giants on Friday, June 11. Two of the bills are to prevent companies from creating marketplace platforms and then joining and competing against the same businesses that are selling from their platform. In other words, these bills are taking aim at Amazon’s strategy. Other measures ban platforms from operating or owning subsidiaries that compete on the platforms, and yet another makes it illegal in most cases for a platform to give preferences to its own product on its platform. In other words, Amazon’s strategy is right in the crosshairs. Opponents of the first two bills criticize them for addressing specific tech giant businesses rather than the underlying business practices. As they are, they could be deemed unconstitutional. The third and fourth bills place restrictions on mergers between companies with competing products or services and give users control over their data to be transferred to competing businesses.
The impacts of COVID-19 cannot be ignored, and changes in consumer behavior are no exception. WFH habits have disrupted our routines, preferences, and our aspirations, each of which can be seen in national increases in entrepreneurship, consumers prioritizing purchases from small local businesses, and declining fashion and makeup sales.
Marketers know that consumer behaviors help determine the demand for a product/service and inform precise, relevant messaging for your current and desired audiences. That is why these changes in consumer habits need to be factored in, since they can have a real impact on your bottom line. If you continue to rely on the same messaging and activation strategies without considering their current relevance, you may discover that you need more niche audience insights to reconfigure your strategy.
Changing consumer habits as a result of COVID-19 cannot be ignored, as they have a real impact on a business’s bottom line.
Consumer surveys, focus groups, syndicated data, and deep dives into existing primary data can uncover pivotal insights to help add clarity and precision to your go-to-market strategy
The success of Google CPC keywords depends on not just the words themselves, but also the meanings behind them. Phrases help to succinctly define the search intent, which makes your ads more contextual to users. Historically, keywords have been categorized as broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, exact match, or negative match. However, since February 2021, phrase match has absorbed the functionality of modified broad match keywords.
So how exactly does the new phrase match work? Phrase match stands between exact match and broad, so phrase match now offers a balance between precision and increased volume. The meaning of the keyword remains part of the phrase query, and Google determines the broader context to which it applies. As Google algorithms become smarter with each passing day, Google can associate several permutations and combinations of keyword matches with the users’ search queries to serve them with more reasonable results. Marketers can use Google Ads reports to consider and monitor for close variants of the phrase match keyword that can be used to improve targeting.
When the team at [B]RIGHT runs SEM campaigns for our clients, it’s important that we have a firm grasp on the variability of the different keyword match types, synonyms, and similar meanings for phrases. Starting with a clear-cut strategy and well-defined objective helps tailor your keyword choices and match types. We often maximize our ad budgets by opting to use exact match and phrase match keywords. Some instances and objectives warrant the use of broad match, but it should be used sparingly and paired with negative keywords to minimize ad waste.
YouTube has rolled out automatically generated video chapters for improving YouTube and Google search results and user experience by quickly narrowing in on sections of content that are exactly what users are searching for. Not all videos are eligible for automated chapters, but YouTube intends to apply chapters to its library of video content. These auto-generated video chapters can be used as is or can be edited by the video creator, utilizing relevant keywords to improve ranking in search queries. These chapters have been developed to work with translation tools to improve international discoverability of desired content. Lastly, YouTube will be providing additional website links, sourced from Google, for queries about which the platform has little or no video content.
District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez ruled that Apple Inc. may not restrict developers from using external links that direct users to third-party payment services outside of their apps on the iOS platform. This is a considerable win for developers, but Apple Inc. may still have a chance to appeal the ruling.
The ruling as it stands reads, “Apple Inc., and its officers, agents, servants, employees and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links and other calls to action that direct consumers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration obtained within the app.”
From a financial perspective, the portion of Apple’s revenue derived from transaction processing—payment services required of users for any in-app purchases—is likely to take a significant hit. This redistribution of revenue to developers and other payment services could also fuel the creator economy and further boost social platform investment in creators. This change was set to take effect December 9, unless the ruling is overturned following an appeal.
TikTok continues to update its platform to persuade marketers of its viability as a brand-safe platform on which to advertise and drive e-comm sales. At the inaugural TikTok World event they announced the rollout of improved brand safety filters that align with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s (GARM) brand safety and suitability framework, filters that give advertisers more control over where their ads run on the platform. Other measures are being proposed that could improve brands’ ability to run ads nearer to relevant content. Also announced during the TikTok World event were tools to help brands find creators relevant to their niches, added measurement tools for determining influencer campaign effectiveness, improved ad reporting, and shopping features for in-app purchases.
High-tech flat-screen TVs continue to be surprisingly affordable considering their capabilities when compared to the latest smartphones and laptops. Television prices continue to stay low because manufacturers like Vizio are making their money selling user data, and the sale of the hardware is the means to make that happen.
Vizio is becoming an advertising firm, and in their third-quarter earnings report the company profited $57.3 million from the business segment platform that includes their advertising and viewer data. That figure is more than double its $25.6 million in profits from device sales. These changes in profit generators are not unique to Vizio; there are similar shifts taking place for other smart TVs and devices like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick. Roku’s platform brought in $532 million in the second quarter this year, which includes advertising. Smart TVs are expected to be in 90% of North American households by 2024, according to Strategy Analytics, and they represent an ever-growing advertising offering for marketers to utilize.
Thanks for reading our selection of top marketing, tech, and data news articles of 2021. We found these articles to be insightful and illuminating and feel they represent pivotal moments in the industry and points of interest in the changing marketing landscape. We enjoyed reading them and hope they were of value to you too. We look forward to continuing to bring the Marketing, Tech, and Data News for [B]RIGHT Marketers to you in 2022.
Until next time.
Seth Slone | Digital PM