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ADVERTISING

Elon’s message to advertisers, Google’s podcast placements, and more

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We’re holding up five fingers, because that’s how many ad updates we have for you…

Twitter gets Elon’d: After barging into Twitter’s HQ carrying a sink, Elon Musk published a much more serious statement to advertisers.

“Twitter cannot become a free-for-all hellscape,” he said, adding that it should be the “most respected ad platform in the world.” Whatever that means.

Google now allows you to add audio or video ads to podcasts, thanks to its Podcasts Lineup.

The company also launched Google Ads API v12 with updated conversion tracking. They also removed some support, however, so if you’re using API, make sure to update your client libraries.

Facebook’s got a shady algorithm: Apparently the platform is using image recognition tools to segment people appearing in ads based on age, gender, and race.

According to a recent study, the platform then uses that data to show ads to different people. For instance, if ads contain young women, they’ll get shown to men over 55 more. Yikes.

Apple paused gambling ads after developers raised concerns they’re appearing too often in the new “You May Also Like” ad placement section.

Reddit is developing their marketing ecosystem. The company just announced the first alpha partners for their API, drawing from a range of disciplines “to ensure diverse benefits for clients.” Good news if you’re using the channel.

OK, deep breath. We wrapped up the ad news, now let’s get to the latest quarter reports…


E-COMMERCE

Shopify wins, Amazon stalls

Like a McFlurry, reports for these companies were mixed. If only they were Reese’s flavored, too…

Shopify is breathing easy again after beating revenue loss estimates with $1.37B in revenue—up 22% from Q3 and $30M more than expected.

Not only that, the total value of merchandise sold on the platform rose 11% to $46.2B.

Yes, it’s a narrow win, but an important one in a “post-covid transitional year.”

Ads save Amazon: Amazon reported disappointing results overall, but advertising revenue surpassed estimates, bringing in $9.55B vs. the predicted $9.48B.

Amazon grew 15% in Q3 and reported $127.1B in revenue, though it fell short of $127.46B estimates.

Also, operating income almost halved from 2021 to $2.53B.

Why we care: Big tech had a disappointing quarter overall, with most companies falling short of estimations. But considering the economic environment, it’s not surprising.

On the bright side, growth in advertising revenues could be a good omen for the holiday season going into 2023. Fingers crossed!


SPONSORED BY WORDAGENTS

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ADVERTISING

Will you be able to “hire” big celebrities for your ads… for cheap?

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Imagine Bruce Willis, Leonardo DiCaprio, or any other global superstar starring in your ads for an affordable price.

It sounds silly, but it’s not that far-fetched.

In fact, it’s already happening thanks to deepfake technology, the tech that allows you to digitally alter someone’s face so it resembles someone else. For example:

We’ve reached the point where the tech is becoming more sophisticated and more affordable. Naturally, this brings up questions of ethics and legality, but also the potential deepfake has for advertising.

Is it legal? Technically, Elon’s deepfake wasn’t consensual, while Bruce’s was. But deepfake technology is so recent that everything is still in limbo.

Sure, Musk could sue a small startup company, but the chances for that are slim, even if a company took a chance that skyrocketed their engagement.

So it’s probably more likely that new celebrity contracts may include specific terms to forbid non-consensual deepfaking, or something similar.

And on the other hand… It’s not only about the “mojo” your ads would have if they included some relevant celebrity or a thought leader. Imagine how much money you’d save.

Experts and advertisers predict deepfakes will become popular because they would help brands and agencies produce quality content quickly while cutting production costs by… a lot.

So don’t be surprised if you see more and more brands embracing deepfake advertising.

There’ll probably be an influx of tools that can make deepfaking accessible to you or your competitor, and probably agencies that will offer deepfaking as a service.

The question is, will deepfakes be regulated in the future? For now, it’s hard to say.

But going by the dizzying rise of AI text-to-image generators in content and ads, deepfakes probably aren’t going anywhere.

It’s likely we’ll see more of them very soon.


SPONSORED BY THE INVESTOR’S PODCAST

They learned from the best investors. Now it’s your turn.

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For years, The Investor’s Podcast Network has been chatting with the world’s sharpest investors, including Ray Dalio, Joel Greenblatt, Howard Marks, and many others.

Lucky for us, they’re now producing a newsletter called We Study Markets.

Just like the popular podcast, this newsletter is filled with daily commentary and expert insights.

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THE CREW’S INSIGHTS

How to make copy feel dead simple to write

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Frameworks. Formulas. Methods. Tactics… there’s so much copywriting advice out there, it can be hard to keep up.

Sure, a lot of it is great, but how do you act on all that good advice in a way that will make a difference in your sales?

So today, we want to step back. Relax. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and write.

Because although copywriting can feel complicated, you can make it dead-simple by simplifying it to scales.

What do we mean by scales? Here are some examples:

  • Casual vs. Formal.
  • Affordable vs. Premium.
  • Funny vs. Serious.

While it can be fun to put together “Brand Manifestos” and “Tone and Voice guides” where you write a dossier with more characterization than you’d find in a George R.R. Martin novel…

… They’re rarely helpful when it comes to actually writing.

Next time you sit down to write, ask yourself which scales you’re working from.

Then, rate yourself from 1 to 10 on each scale—and start writing.

For example, imagine you’re selling Liquid Death, a popular and rather expensive canned water brand.

In that case, you’d probably give yourself a low score on the Casual to Formal scale, and a high score on the Affordable to Premium scale.

With those two things in mind, you’d have a better start for writing copy than any “Brand Guide” or copywriting formula would get you.

That’s it: think of your scales, place yourself somewhere on them, and write the best words your customers have read in decades.


ROUNDING UP THE STACK

STORYTELLING: “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” With acquisition costs skyrocketing, storytelling is the most powerful skill a marketer can learn. World Builders is a free weekly newsletter designed to level up your storytelling. Subscribe for free.*

GOOGLE: If migrating to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) makes you want to pull your hair out, you’re not the only one. Google knows this… so they’re delaying sunsetting Universal Analytics (UA) 360 properties until 2024. They also released resources to ease the transition.

TIKTOK: Tricks of the trade, straight from the platform. TikTok launched TikTok Academy, a place where you can learn “key insights that will enable creative and media excellence on the platform.” Kind of like Meta Blueprint… only for TikTok.

E-COMMERCE: The European Union’s new Digital Services Act (DSA) has been published. Meaning tech firms will have to adapt their policies and procedures if they want to dodge potential sanctions. The first to get reined in? Very large online platforms (VLOPs).

CONTENT WRITING: Who you gonna call? Ghostwriters! LinkedIn influencers are turning to creative writers to buff their profiles with entrepreneurial advice, motivational posts, and “value nuggets.” Writers, sounds like your next gig, right?

*This is a sponsored post


BRAIN TEASER

Only one color, but not one size,
Stuck at the bottom, yet easily flies.
Present in sun, but not in rain,
Doing no harm, and feeling no pain.

What is it?

You can find the answer here.


POOLSIDE CHAT

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

Mind-bending tree bending

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Who needs AI image generators when you can literally bend trees to make art?

Christophe Guinet, aka “Monsieur plant,” has been inspired by the ability of trees to wrap around and adapt to their environments, creating the most unusual shapes in the process.

His inspiration became TWIST – and it’s one of the most peculiar art projects you’ll see.

Heart-shaped, infinity-sign-shaped… It all looks straight from a fairy tale, especially when exhibited outdoors.

No, seriously… imagine spotting one of these while you’re hiking. Just wow.

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