Facebook caught listening to users’ voice messages from Messenger. Beeketing & BoostFlow violate Shopify policies: Apps discontinued from the platform. Alibaba launches its affiliate program in the UK, US, EU, LATAM & APAC: Will you join?

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GOOGLE

Eliminations and additions on Google Ads

You know what makes digital marketing so exciting and this daily briefing so invaluable?

The pace at which things keep evolving, and our ability to keep up with the daily changes in the industry and report them back to you, dear readers. We need to be at the top of our game… You snooze, you lose!

D-Day for Average Position: Sept 30

Deep in our hearts, we all knew this day would come. We just didn’t know when.

Google has announced the sunset of the average position metric from Google Ads, starting the week of September 30, 2019.

The average position metric will also be removed from the following:

  • Saved column sets.
  • Saved reports that use the average position column, but don’t filter on it.
  • Scorecards that use average position in dashboards.

What does this mean?

It means that you have about 6 weeks to prepare for the results of this change and update your reporting, rules and scripts that use average position.

Google recommends transitioning to metrics that were introduced last year: “Search top impression rate” and “Search absolute top impression rate”.

Here’s what else is going to change:

The following functions will also be disabled in the week starting on September 30th:

  • Rules using average position.
  • Custom columns using average position.
  • Saved reports that filter on average position.
  • Saved filters with average position.

The {adposition} ValueTrack parameter will start returning an empty string.

Need more food for thought regarding alternative bidding strategies and position metrics that don’t use average position? Check out this interesting article by Frederick Vallaeys.

Campaign optimization score for Shopping Ads

Campaign optimization score is now being extended to Shopping campaigns on Google ads.

We understand that as seasoned Search marketers, most of us don’t really rely on Google’s optimization scores due to the seemingly random recommendations and numbers they come up with.

But Shopping campaigns can sometimes be a bit more complex than other campaign types, and for those of you managing their Shopping campaigns for e-commerce stores, it might be a handy resource to enhance the potential of your campaign performance.

These optimization scores vary from 0 – 100%, a score of 100% means that the campaign is optimized to perform at its full potential.

You’ll now see separate scores for Search and Shopping at the campaign level, as well as a combined score at the account level.

As per Google, “Advertisers who increased their account-level optimization score by 10 points saw a 10% increase in conversions, on average.”

Along with optimization scores, Google has also added unique recommendations to Shopping campaigns in order to maximize their potential.

Want to know more on this? Google is releasing a webinar on Sept 12, and you can register for it here.


AFFILIATE MARKETING

Alibaba to become an affiliate network?

Not literally… but the retail giant is expanding its partnership with Awin to launch its affiliate program.

It will be available in the UK, US, EU, LATAM and APAC.

AliExpress already has an affiliate program, but now, with this operation, Alibaba aims to grow its number of daily unique visitors to 1M per day by the end of this year.

Any of you out there thinking about running their offers?


E-COMMERCE

Shopify removes popular apps from its store due to violations

In order to keep its platform safe and secure, Shopify has decided to discontinue Beeketing and BoostFlow apps, with this change coming into effect on August 27, 2019.

Shopify said it has been trying to resolve multiple violations of their Program agreement, including inadequate support for merchants and abuse of marketing tools.

However, due to inadequate action to fix these violations, these apps will no longer be available on Shopify and their app functionality will be halted.

The apps being removed are:

  • Sales Pop by Beeketing
  • Countdown Cart by Beeketing
  • Facebook Chat by Beeketing
  • Better Coupon Box by Beeketing
  • Personalized Recommendation by Beeketing
  • Happy Email by Beeketing
  • Mobile Converter by Beeketing
  • Boost-Sales – Upsell – Cross-sell by Beeketing
  • Recover Cart Pusher by Beeketing
  • Checkout Boost by Beeketing
  • Mailbot EM by Beeketing
  • Happy Messenger by Beeketing
  • Countdown Timer & Sales Pop Up by BoostFlow

So, if you were using one or more of these apps, Shopify has documented the instructions on how to safely uninstall these apps from your stores.

Additionally, they have come up with a list of alternative app recommendations, which you can find here.


SPONSORED

✈️ Is affiliate marketing part of your overall strategy?

Well, you are reading WHAT THE AFF so we gotta assume affiliate marketing is an important part of your digital marketing strategy, one way or another, right?

And you can’t tell us you haven’t been at least a bit annoyed by how tedious it can be to track your data from multiple affiliate networks. What are you gonna do, use spreadsheets? How 2001 of you!

Let’s fast forward you to 2020 with AffJet – the only affiliate income management dashboard you will ever need.

AffJet supercharges your reporting:

  • You can gather your earnings from all the affiliate programs you use across your site or suite of sites and other traffic sources.
  • You can quickly create a report by date range, by affiliate network and by merchant with just a few clicks.
  • Check out commission rates, earnings, total value of sales and all the metrics that will help you see how the product or program is performing for your business.
  • Step-by-step instructions to create all sort of other reports that might be important for you.

Curious to see more? Here’s a demo you can check out right away.

If all that has you interested, you can actually start off on the free plan for your first 75 transactions a month. Need more? Check out all AffJet’s plan, starting at £5 per month.


FACEBOOK

Facebook’s “private future” train derailed again

When all eyes are on you, you should probably choose the people you work with wisely. Especially if you’re doing something against the rules.

These people can make or break you. Or, alternatively, they can whistleblow!

This is the latest trauma to hit Facebook.

They decided to transcribe users’ voice messages from the Messenger app. Initially, they used AI to transcribe the vocal notes and no humans were involved.

But then, they hired external contractors to transcribe the voice messages. The purpose was to compare the transcription made by AI to the transcriptions made by humans and check the accuracy of their AI systems.

But you know, humans, unlike bots, have emotions. And the employees that were given this task weren’t happy about it. They felt that their work was unethical, so decided to reveal what Facebook was doing.

Facebook has stated several times that “they’re not listening to it users”. But, well, it looks like that was a lie.

After the whistle was blown and the story went viral, Facebook came out and confirmed it had been transcribing users’ audio and said it will stop, following scrutiny into other companies.

Additionally, the company said that the affected users chose to have their voice chats transcribed in the Facebook Messenger app. Although Facebook never disclosed the fact that third parties may be reviewing their audio.

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It looks like the story is over now, though, with FB promising to stop transcribing voice messages.

Just another data issue resolved (hopefully).

Now we’re wondering: What’s next? How many days before Facebook are under attack about data security again?

We probably won’t have to wait too long…


SEO

New structured data reports in Search Console

Somewhere in between the indexing issues and data anomalies, three more structured data types are being added to the rich results report in Search Console.

  • Product markup: Allows Google to display detailed product information in search results.
  • Sitelink search box markup: Allows Google to display a search bar that lets users search a website’s content.
  • Unparsable types: This refers to structured data that has been implemented incorrectly.

Why is this helpful?

As an e-commerce site owner, you can now easily check whether Google can read all of your product markups. You can also identify which sets of markup contain errors and troubleshoot them immediately.

Along with these new markups, other already supported markups supported in rich results report include:

Event, FAQ, Fact check, How-to, Job posting, Logo, Q&A page and Recipe.


LINKEDIN

LinkedIn launches Audience Engagement Insights

LinkedIn announced the launch of a new Audience Engagement Insights category and has integrated five new third-party analytics platforms with its Audience Engagement API: Amobee, Annalect, Hootsuite, Ogilvy and Sprinklr.

How is this helpful?

As per LinkedIn, “With these insights, you can better refine your content strategy and make smarter decisions to help deliver better ROI for your LinkedIn ad campaigns and organic posts.”

Access to audience discovery insights, content recommendations and industry benchmarks will provide a broader view of what performs better on its platform.

These new capabilities will also enable advertisers to improve their campaign targeting efforts and improve the performance around organic and paid posts.


AMAZON

How to use the Dynamic Bidding feature on Amazon

If you run ads on Amazon, this post might be useful for you. It’s all about Dynamic Bidding.

First of all, when should you use it? It works best when you’re trying to get the top placements for keywords within the selected campaign. So, basically, when you want to be in the first set of products the users see for a search.

Essentially, Dynamic Bidding gives you more control over how and where your advertisements are placed, enabling you to be more granular with your PPC strategy.

However, we suggest reading this article for a deeper understanding on the topic. You’ll learn all about how to use it and when you should avoid it.


FROM THE CREW

Do you ever forward our emails?

Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t… Either way, we just want to let you know about something we noticed when people forward this email to their friends.

If someone you forward the email to clicks the unsubscribe link, your email will be unsubscribed!

Several people have had this happen to them and wanted to know why they stopped getting our emails, so we thought it’d be best to tell everyone about it.

How should you share? Well, you could just share our newsletter archive, which you can find here. Each email is posted online a few hours after it hits your inbox.

Another option is to click the “just read in browser” link at the very top of the email and share that link.

Using either of these methods for sharing ensures that nobody unsubs you by mistake!

PS: Do you have any other feedback for us? Do you just want to make sure you have your say in our content?

Fill in this quick-2-minute survey right here!


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Will WordPress save Tumblr?

Remember Tumblr? Maybe you’re still active on it?

Well, back in the good old days, Tumblr was incredibly popular and a very influential force.

This was especially true for its NSFW content. However, after the microblogging platform banned this type of content last December, Tumblr instantly lost a third of its users.

When Yahoo acquired it in 2013, the value of Tumblr was $1.1B. Under their 6-year management that value plummeted to just $3M. The future doesn’t look too bright, eh?

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However, Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, just bought Tumblrfor less than $3M from Verizon.

How will these two companies complement each other? It’s still unclear, although they are both blogging platforms in their own sense of the word.

So, there’s definitely room to experiment, and hopefully they can build something that will take Tumblr back to its glory days.

Maybe this will be a hot alternative traffic source to test?

Here’s what you can get if you share us with your marketing friends!

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