March 27, 2019


Facebook knows all about your cloaking tactics

Facebook is used by thousands of marketers every day, and you would think it would be tough for the relatively small advertising policies and review team within Facebook to enforce everything. Their algorithmic scans and automated rejections can’t deal with everything, right?

You might think that Facebook isn’t even aware of cloaking, right?

It turns out that if you did think that, you’re wrong.

We came across this leaked document from FB’s Threat Research Team. Within it, they reveal everything Facebook knows about the practice of “cloaking”.

FB knows way more than you think.

In this leaked document they go through explaining such things as:

  • Cloaking standards in 2007 vs cloaking standards today.
  • Cloaking systems classification.
  • Beginner, intermediate and advanced cloaking systems.
  • Real user vs real user emulation.
  • Fraud around cloaking in cyber underground.
  • Ad platform-wise campaign survival times.
  • Cloaking detection research methods.
  • Myths around cloaking.

Well, looks like FB isn’t so dumb after all. They seem to have a good understanding of the cloaking practices and are well aware of the services and products used by BH marketers. In fact, for the most part they seem very much on top of things.

PS: This doc was first shared in the WHAT THE AFF Insiders group. Those already in there might have seen it already. Those who would like to part of the group, you know what you have to do!


Amazon playin’ hide and seek

How much do we talk about Amazon? Enough? Too much? Want more?

We have always talked about Amazon as the next big thing to hop on to, both as a marketer and as a retailer.

However, this time it isn’t exactly positive news.

A Twitter user shared a screenshot that shows Amazon advertising their own private label products inside the products page of other sellers of similar products!

related discussion started on Reddit and many sellers complained that this has been going on for over a year.

What does this mean?

Amazon knows what people buy. They have the resources, the traffic and the data to compete with everyone. Thus, if there’s a way to grow their revenues, they will. That fact is not a surprise to anybody.

Talking from a mere business perspective, they can’t really be blamed for this. Business is business, after all.

Or can they be blamed?

Simply put, this is not fair on the merchants that put Amazon where they are today. They bring in all the business for Amazon, and without them Amazon would be a fraction of the size that they are.

However, it seems that with all the power and resources they have now, they don’t really care about their partners. They just want to eat the whole pie.

If Amazon doesn’t become more careful about its practices, it might become a huge antitrust issue. Yet, it’s still their own land, so if you’re an Amazon merchant, or aspire to be one, watch yourself.

Also, we suggest having a look at our interview episode with Howard Thai. It’s loaded with insights on surviving the Amazon jungle and the competitiveness around it.


Bing releases annual report on ad quality

Bing released its annual report on ad quality for 2018 and it’s thrown up nothing different to Google’s ad quality report we shared a week ago.

Bing cracked down on 200k bad ad accounts in 2018, double the number of accounts it took down last year. It also removed 900M ads, 300k publisher sites from its ad platform.

Any verticals that stood out?

Tech support scams, crypto and weapons were the top verticals that caught Bing’s attention the most.

  • Tech support scammers have tried their luck on almost all ad platforms, pushing one scheme or another for the last several years.

Common activities continued to be the ones where users are redirected from innocent looking ads to fake support pages that show pop-ups with messages such as “Virus detected in your computer” or “Your computer has been locked” and prompting them to call for so-called support services.

Bing’s own parent company Microsoft was one of the top brands used to lure victims.

Action Taken: Bing put restrictions on all third-party tech support advertisers. More than 12k tech support scam accounts across Microsoft properties were banned.

  • Cryptocurrency was the next most common vertical appealing to scamsters.

Action Taken: Cryptocurrency ads were banned in May. More than 5M crypto ads were blocked.

  • Weapons-related advertising was further limited, while recreational guns and accessory ads were banned.

Actions Taken: More than 18M ads and 5k sites were banned for such content.

Unless you deal in such verticals, you needn’t be worried. After all, this sort of crackdown is all about creating a safe digital ecosystem for everybody.

“We’ll continue to leverage the interdisciplinary efforts of experts in machine learning and system design to scale our technology, alongside the domain expertise of policy and review experts to deter bad actors.”


How native advertising will change in 2020

eMarketer recently published a 2020 forecast-report on native advertising. As per the report, native ads will be more programmatic and mobile but less social.

Social native ads command around 75% of all native spending. However, that is expected to go down by 2020.

As social’s share of voice declines programmatically, it’s the non-social technology platforms that will benefit the most.

It also warns that with so many vendors globally, market fragmentation could become a problem for buyers. It’s the demand-side platforms DSPs that could solve this issue by consolidating the supply vendors with highest growth outlook under one platform.

Additionally, numbers from the MediaRadar’s 2018 report suggest that new advertisers using native have stagnated.

As per the report, 473 advertisers placed native ads for the first time each month, on average. However, that’s still only 11% of all online advertisers using native ads.

“Native advertising outside social platforms still faces many of the same challenges as it did in 2018, including advertisers’ clients not educated about native formats and native creative.”

The average TV advertiser spends $5 on distribution for every $1 they spend on creative. The average content marketer does the opposite.

That’s the reason why only 11% of brands doing online paid media are also using programmatic native distribution.

Content marketing adoption rates for B2B brands is around 91% and 86% for B2Cs. This means that not a lot of brands creating content are involved in any form of paid content amplification.

Here are some reasons why brands prefer content marketing:

  • 84% of users expect brands to provide entertaining content that tells stories, offers solutions and creates experiences.
  • 70% of users want to learn about products through content, versus traditional advertisements.
  • 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional ads. Purchasing decisions for Gen Z aren’t as influenced by ads, but rather by other forms of content.
  • An average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision.

Well, content marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. However, as more and more marketers struggle to gain the content visibility they seek, programmatic, native advertising adoption will see a flourish of growth.

Zoom In

89% of brands aren’t doing any form of programmatic native advertising. This is the perfect time for content marketers to start using this distribution tactic into their marketing mix.

Early adopters always benefit the most because it’s still not crowded with content like the paid platforms most are relying on currently.


How Google wants to change the email game

After years of incubating, Google is now introducing AMP for email. For the uninitiated, AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s an open initiative to help webmasters create pages that are smooth and load instantaneously.

Many websites use this technology to build speedy mobile pages.

Yesterday, Google officially launched AMP for email.

What does it mean?

Up until now, emails have always been of a static format. They have simply been medium used to send a message and redirect people to other webpages where they can take action or complete a task.

With this update, emails will transform into a more interactive experience. You’ll be able to register for an event, fill a questionnaire, browse through a store inventory or respond to a comment.

All, without leaving the email message.

Companies like, Pinterest, Doodle and Freshworks already use this technology. So, if you get emails from them you can easily visualize what this looks like.

Will it be easy for marketers/developers to implement such emails?

If you are already experienced with AMP pages, it’ll probably be an easy switch. If not, you might struggle with testing this on your own. The shortcut is to hire a dev that knows what they’re doing.

Will this change the way we send emails?

This means we’ll be able to personalize our messages more than before. For example, you can send your catalogue including a carousel of items, a questionnaire to your leads and they will be able to act on it within the email message itself.

Completing a purchase through email? Unfortunately, it doesn’t yet support payment gateways, but it might be possible in the near future.

Another downside is that AMP for email will be available only for Gmail users initially, although it could become a standard among all email service providers.

What will change for Google? Until now, users had to move out of Gmail to visit external websites such as airlines, online shops, social media, and other places. These are online locations that Google doesn’t own or control.

This is where this update comes into the picture. All of these actions will now be possible to do within Gmail.

That means that, with AMP, Big G will be able to control the content inside these new emails. They will Gather more data, define the regulations, and generally keep more control.

Well, only the future will tell us if AMP for emails is a success or not.

Will WTAFF adopt this new technology? That’s a mystery…


Google releases mobile-friendly code testing tools

Google introduced the ability to test the actual code in Google’s mobile-friendly and AMP testing tools.

Previously, these tools only supported live URLs testing. But now, developers will be able to test the actual code and know if a web page is mobile friendly before it even goes live.

Then, if your site didn’t pass the mobile-friendliness test, you can edit the code and run the test again.

It might be small, but it’s a very useful update.


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

Savour the journey, not the destination

You know that feeling when you feelin’ hungry, so you go to some website to order some food and it takes you to a page selling a FB Ads course? Of course, you know!

Something similar happened to the passengers of this British Airways flightwho planned to go to Dusseldorf in Germany but instead ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Was it because of a GPS error? No.
Was it because the pilot wanted to visit Scotland? Nope.
Was it because of too much whisky? Negative.

Apparently, the company subcontracted to run this flight just duplicated the last flight from the night before into the next morning! So this was just a copy and paste error, someone might say.

The pilots turned, saw the location as Edinburg, so they flew to Edinburgh.

A passenger shares: I realized something wasn’t right when I saw mountains outside the plane, instead of the “usual German industrial landscape.”

Well, life throws many surprises at you but this ain’t one of the pleasing ones. Maybe that’s why the wise have always said: Enjoy the journey, forget about the destination.

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