May 29, 2019



EU’s new e-commerce payment rules

In September, the European Union will implement some regulations for authenticating online payments that will involve e-commerce businesses as well.

The regulation regards the Payments Services Directive, a law that was approved in November 2015, and will become active next September.

One aspect of this law is its Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). This rule aims to minimize the risk of fraudulent transactions and make online payments safer.

What does it mean in practice? European consumers will be required to use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) to complete online purchases.

So, users will need an additional security factor such as a password or a fingerprint to complete the transaction.

Recurring payments? These are excluded, and the 2FA is required only during the initial transaction.

It’s a remarkable change, but the effort is more focused on payment service businesses and consumers. These ones will have to provide secondary authentication.

The payment businesses will have to adapt to ensure that transactions follow the new Strong Customer Authentication rules. Moreover, the payment services firms will have to collaborate with banks in order to provide smooth transactions.

Stripe seems to be one business that’s already prepared for this change. In fact, the company already launched Stripe Billing, a product which seems to be geared towards the new regulation.

Other companies will obviously have to adapt to the regulations.

Will this impact conversions? Probably not. A further step in the transaction might make the conversion harder, but the fact that the consumer knows that the payment is safe will instil a level of confidence in the transaction.

It could lead to them being more trustworthy of stores and brands that were previously unknown to them.

So, more trust from consumers will probably mean more sales!


Time spent on Apps: FB vs IG vs Snap

How much time do people spend on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat?

Well, a new eMarketer report answers this question:

Let’s start with Facebook.

In 2017, FB users spent on average 41 minutes per day on that app. But that duration saw a slight drop.

In 2018, the minutes per day spent on the social network were 38 minutes. This is expected to remain unchanged for 2019, but according to eMarketer’s forecasts, it will drop to 37 minutes per day in 2020.

What are the reasons? eMarketer analysts say that the drop is due to Facebook’s focus on downranking clickbait posts and videos in favour of those that create ‘time well spent’.

In other words, when FB tried to encourage people to spend more time on the social network by downranking clickbait and borderline content, it actually had the opposite effect. You can’t fight human nature, eh?

Here’s a little lesson to learn for your marketing: people like drama, scandals and controversial content. We’re not suggesting you shift to this kind of content, but just keep it in mind when producing creative assets. Remember that FB still penalizes it too!

What about Snapchat? According to eMarketer, the time spent on the app in 2019 is estimated to be 28 minutes per day, and it’s expected to drop to 26 minutes per day by 2021. However, eMarketer’s predictions for Snapchat aren’t that accurate.

Why? Because Snapchat’s demographic is mainly 13-24 year olds, but eMarketer’s numbers are based on users aged 18 and above. Therefore, there’s a huge portion of Snapchat’s user base that are unaccounted for.

Who is navigating in good waters? Instagram! In 2018, users spent an average of 26 minutes per day. In 2019, the time is expected to be 27 minutes. This is expected to grow by one minute per year through to 2021.

How many ads a user can click on in a minute? This question should probably make you understand the real deal.

What’s the deal? These figures probably won’t influence how marketers spend their money on the platforms, especially in the short term (2-3 years).

But, these numbers still show a trend that shouldn’t be ignored. IG is surpassing FB in terms of time spent on the social network. So, in the long run, we can expect more people using IG than FB.

And this is even a good catch for FB: Stop downranking that clickbaity controversial content!

Just joking!


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4 Ad-vengers unite to take ad-tech giants down

A group of four big publishers from Germany have joined forces to bring the fight to the big ad-tech giants of Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

Axel Springer, Funke Mediengruppe, RTL Group and Gruner+Jahr are the four German biggies that have come together to form an advertising alliance called Media Impact, with a plan to sell the combined inventory of all four media groups.

The new alliance owns some of the top new titles, such as Bild, Welt, Business Insider and magazine portfolios including Die Aktuelle, Der Spiegel, and Stern and Geo.

This takes the joint reach of the alliance to 50M monthly unique users. Whereas FB has around 40M monthly unique users in Germany.

The goal is to attract a higher share of advertising budgets from social platforms and negotiate custom, annual agreements with media agencies and advertisers that want to work directly with the publishers.

“Growth has been assumed by Google, YouTube and Facebook. With this framework and cooperation, we want to get back our fair share.

Amazon is also relevant in the German market and growing. This is the base of our future growth: to find the right mix of reach, relevance, service and highest ad quality that you can generate for advertisers and agencies.”

Apart from being competent enough to offer ad targeting capabilities, the alliance’s core pitch is that it can provide a level of brand safety and contextual targeting.

Ideal for advertisers who feel burned by a string of brand-safety and fake-news scandals on platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

All digital inventory from Axel Springer and Funke MedienGruppe will be available to purchase collectively. RTL Group and Gruner+Jahr, on the other hand, pool TV inventory and print inventory.

Will these avengers allow CPA offers? We really hope so!


Remember: This is not your land

Well, the headline might already have told you something about this post. Let’s see what’s going on at Amazon.

Back in March, Amazon decided to cancel tens of thousands of orders from small vendors without any notice.

The vendors in question, however, are first-party vendors. There’s a big difference between first-party and third-party sellers:

  • First-party vendors are basically wholesalers: They sell their product in bulk to Amazon. Amazon then sets the prices, lists the products, and markets them.
  • Third-party vendors are managing their own listings and selling their products directly to the consumers.

Let’s get back to the story.

Amazon, after cutting the aforementioned orders, claimed that the pause was part of a campaign to weed out counterfeit products.

However, another purge is coming: Amazon is planning a large scale reduction of vendors on its first-party marketplace.

How come? It seems like Amazon wants to cut costs and focus wholesale purchasing on major brands like Procter & Gamble, Sony, Lego.

Amazon went on to tell first-party sellers that they should move their business to third-party marketplaces. Basically: “Sell your products on your own.”

Third-party sellers represent approximately half of the products sold on Amazon, and after this shift their market share is likely to grow. The result? More sales for them! 

Wholesalers, meanwhile, have had their wake-up call and will spend the summer trying to shift their businesses and save the holiday quarter.

Business is a tough game.


Mobile-first indexing as default

By the end of 2018, mobile versions of more than 50% of web pages were being used for indexing in Google SERPs.

Yesterday, Google announced that mobile-first indexing will now be the default for all new domains as of July 1, 2019.

What does this mean?

When a new website is registered, it will be crawled by Google’s smartphone Googlebot, and its mobile-friendly content will be used to index its pages.

The same version will also be used to understand the site’s structured data and to show snippets from the site in Google’s search results.

This is aimed at helping the company’s “primarily mobile” users to search the web in a better fashion.

Since the majority of users start their searches from mobile devices, it makes sense to use the mobile versions of websites to deliver the search results.

You can review the mobile-first indexing of your website by using the URL Inspection Tool in the search console and check when the site was last crawled and indexed.

There’s a lot of additional documentation offered by Google to make websites work for mobile-first indexing. It’s recommended that websites support responsive web design and not use separate mobile URLs.

“We’re happy to see how the web has evolved from being focused on desktop, to becoming mobile-friendly, and now to being mostly crawlable and indexable with mobile user-agents,” said Google.


New bidding controls

Following up with the announcements made at GML, Google has introduced new bidding controls that offer more flexibility than Smart Bidding.

  • Campaign-level conversion settings: Advertisers will now be able to set conversion goals at the campaign level.

Previously, advertisers could only set conversion goals at the account level. This meant that all campaigns within the account had the same conversion goals.

Now, advertisers can choose relevant conversion goals at the campaign level. This will be useful for accounts running multiple campaigns with different goals.

  • Seasonality Adjustments: To address advertiser needs for seasonal events like promos, Google is introducing seasonality adjustments.

These can be used to schedule adjustments for a specific time period when conversion rates are expected to spike.

  • Maximize Conversion Value: A new bidding strategy which allows you to optimize for the best conversion value within your budget.

Until now, bidding strategies around conversion have been more focused on efficiency.

  • Value Rules: In the coming months, Google will also be rolling out value rules to allow advertisers to differentiate conversion values based on location, device, and audience.

You can use these rules to customize conversion values so they align more closely with your business goals.


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

Forcing 5-star reviews

People trust online reviews, and they play a crucial role in online sales.

This isn’t news to anybody.

Unsurprisingly, businesses are doing whatever it takes to get those prized 5-star reviews. Many provide small samples to customers in exchange for reviews…

But what happens when everything doesn’t go as planned? Things turn nasty!

This is exactly what happened when this honest customer didn’t like the products and decided to leave a 1-star review instead of the coveted 5-stars.

A series of email exchanges followed, ranging from polite requests to borderline harassment. The gist of the emails were the same though – Change or delete the review.

The company stated that the reviewer should have communicated with them before posting the review and that they would not be cooperating with her further.

The customer didn’t play along and went on to add this exchange in her review.

By now, things had escalated far beyond company comforts, and many other buyers went on to share similar experiences with many Chinese sellers.

As per a recent study, Amazon has over 2M unverified reviews, 99.6% of these have 5 stars.

Well, if there’s one route that you shouldn’t follow to get product reviews, it’s definitely this one! Unless you feel that any publicity is good publicity.

We’ll let you be the judge of that!

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