Shopify increases transaction fees by 30%+ for non-US cards. January 2020 Google core update: SEMrush, SearchMetrics, RankRanger & other leading SEOs share their data. Opera Browser’s path to its own scam-apps and a likely demise.

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Is TikTok the one to shape social media in 2020?

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Whether you’re focused on organic or paid reach, it’s an interesting time in social media marketing. Facebook, while still popular, has basically stopped growing. Instagram is their engine room now, and maybe WhatsApp depending on how they develop it.

TikTok is the cool kid on the block. It was the most downloaded social media app in 2019. More and more celeb influencers are creating accounts there too and starting to learn the type of content that works on the app.

Heck, even the only app we can think of “rivalling” TikTok for the “cool kid” title, Snapchat, gives it the chapeau through CEO and founder Evan Spiegel. Evan said he is a big fan of TikTok and believes it could surpass Instagram.

So things are looking pretty for TikTok, right? Well, as you might already know, they are owned by a Chinese company and are actually a rival of WeChat. Heard of it? We thought so!

WeChat is striking back at TikTok in China and will let users add short-form videos to their feed. While not so popular in the West, WeChat is massive in China, and that’s an important market for any social media company. It seems that’s where WeChat will stay on top.

Even so, TikTok is the most promising FB rival yet. They are growing rapidly, and all that’s left for us to look at is how good they can be for marketers.

That usually means looking at reach, data, AI and perhaps ad formats. With over 1B users, TikTok definitely has the reach, and data and AI usually go hand in hand with one another. We have to say though, it’s not a walk in the park from a regulatory perspective.

Both EU and US leaders are paying close attention to this and are looking at ways to get even stricter on data and AI. So much so that Sundar Pichai of Alphabet came “out of the blue” with a warning against over-regulating AI.

Let’s be honest though – big companies can usually find ways to work around that. So, we’re pretty confident in saying that TikTok will be the app to watch for marketers, and they should probably start exploring it sooner rather than later.

Sure, the audience there is certainly on the younger side so you have to make sure your product is appealing to such a demographic, but you can’t just ignore. 1B users on an app that could surpass Instagram in 2020.


MARKETING

The Story Of Opera Browser’s Demise

Do any of you remember when Opera was actually useful? We do!

Oh, how things have changed. From one of the most reputable browsers out there with a positive outlook to revenue numbers that make you want to jump off a cliff. Just look at the details below:

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What happened?

Well, in November 2016, Opera was acquired by a Chinese-based consortium. The same consortium that owns Qihoo. Some of you might remember their apps from back when mobile CPI was the bread and butter of affiliate campaigns.

Then, in 2018, Opera IPO’ed. Aaaand then things started taking a turn for the worse. Market share was constantly declining in all regions, the “browser business” was not working and then the company started travelling down a darker path.

The path is that of loan apps in a few select geos. Why is that a dark path? Those apps are highly misleading and clearly break Google’s policies. We’re not kidding when we say extremely misleading – just check out this table of claimed rates vs actual rates:

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So, it’s only a matter of time before they get taken down from Google Play.

It’s an interesting story that Hindenburg Research covered in much more detail. For those of you who like to dig into detailed reports of public companies, especially a company relevant to us marketers, this is a wonderful read.


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A few other reasons they stand out from their competition are:

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SEO

First thoughts about January 2020 core update from industry experts

It’s been almost a week since Google rolled out its latest January 2020 core update. It was a big update and impacted a large number of sites, so it’s only fair that we take a closer look at it.

The team at SearchEngineLand did some digging and asked several data providers for their insights on this update.

So, let’s have a look at what’s really going on with this update.

+ Facts first: It was a classic broad core update which was rolled out globally around 12:00PM ET on 13th January, with roll out being largely complete by 16th January.

+ Update from RankRanger: The YMYL (your “mahney”, your life) niches got hit very hard. There is massive movement at the top of the SERPs for the Health and Finance niches and incredible increases for all niches when looking at the top 10 results overall.

Except the Retail niche, which was perhaps a focus of the December 6th update, the January 2020 core update was a far larger update across the board and at every ranking position.

However, when looking at the overall top 10 results during the core update, the Retail niche started to separate itself from the levels of volatility seen in December as well.

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+ Update from SEMrush: The most volatile categories outside of Sports and News, were Online communities, Games, Arts & Entertainments, and Finance. But all categories saw major changes and we can assume that this update wasn’t aimed at any particular topics.

+ Update from Sistrix: Domains that relate to YMYL topics have been re-evaluated by the search algorithm and have gained or lost visibility as a whole. Domains that have previously been affected by such updates are more likely to be affected again.

The absolute fluctuations appear to be decreasing with each update. Google is now becoming more certain of its assessment and does not deviate as much from the previous assessment.

+ Update from SearchMetrics: This update seems to revert some changes for the better or worse, depending on who you are. It’s another core update where thin content got penalized and where Google put an emphasis on YMYL.

It doesn’t seem to affect as many pages as with the March or September update in 2019 but it does have similar characteristics.

Was your site hit by this update? Well, as you might already know, Google hasn’t shared any specific actions you can take to recover any lost rankings. However, they did offer a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update.

Wanna go deeper into it and see the stats from the above data providers, along with a list of sites that were affected the most (whether positive or negative)? Check out this research piece by the SEL team.


ROUNING UP THE STACK

  • SHOPIFY: The popular e-commerce SaaS has announced they will add an extra 1% fee for non-US cards, starting 1st March 2020. This takes the total from 2.9% + $0.30 to a whooping 3.9% + $0.30. Over a 30% increase… Ouch!
  • INSTAGRAM: How is that test with hidden likes gong for IG? The VP of Product shares some insights.
  • SEO: If you need a comprehensive keyword research guide with the most up to date tactics for 2020, this piece by Rob Woods is a good read. It’s good even if you are new to SEO.
  • E-COMMERCE: Five lessons from $3.7M in sales in Q4. This video by Alex Fedotov is certainly worth the 10-minute watch.
  • FACEBOOK: A follow up on yesterday’s Reach objective piece. Have a look at this small case study with Reach bringing outrageous retargeting ROAS.
  • GDPR: $126M in fines from 160k reported data breaches. That’s the effect of GDPR in 2019.

BRAIN TEASER

I’m white, and used for cutting and grinding. When I’m damaged, humans usually remove me or fill me. For most animals, I am a useful tool.

You can find the solution by clicking here.


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POOLSIDE CHAT

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

It’s official: Affiliates don’t send the most annoying push notifications!

Yes, we’re not kidding. But how do we know this?

Because John Oliver went after news websites that send some of the worst notifications ever, and he didn’t even mention anything about ads. What sort of notifications do news websites send, you ask? Have a look below.

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Yep, something that should be used to notify the user is almost abused by news sites to try and drive traffic to their clickbait articles. Who would’ve thought?

We have to confess that when we saw the title of his video our thought was “Oh, boy, here come the affiliate ads!”. So we can’t help but wonder… When will push ads get their segment on the show, John?


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