The only summary of yesterday’s tech hearing you’ll need to read
The antitrust tech hearing yesterday in the United States was one of the most anticipated events this year in tech – not for entertainment purposes, but for the potential legislation and impacts to follow.
And, as expected, plenty of headline news came from yesterday’s event. Here’s all you need to know, by brand:
- Jeff Bezos would not confirm or deny whether Amazon invaded its sellers’ privacy for its own product research. The question, in reference to a WSJ report, asked Bezos whether Amazon mined the data of third-party sellers to launch its own competing products. Bezos ‘could not guarantee’ that Amazon hadn’t.
- Bezos brushed off questions about undercutting Diapers.com to put them out of business. Amazon had reportedly sold diapers at $200M quarterly losses, until Diapers.com was forced to sell to Amazon in 2017.
- The U.S. House obtained documents that include Zuckerberg’s discussion about ‘neutralizing a competitor’ by buying Instagram. There’s plenty of debate as to whether the acquisition was wrong, but regardless, the documents don’t change much for advertisers today.
- “We’re not going to change our content policies because of advertisers.” Zuckerberg laid down the final word on the ad boycotts – they’re not going to work (at least as long as they’re not significantly affecting Facebook’s bottom line).
- Sundar Pichai was nonspecific about Google’s practice of ‘stealing content’. We’ve written about it before here – Google’s search results will always show whatever is most advantageous to Google, above all else. When asked about scraping content from sites like Yelp, Pichai was less than talkative.
- Pichai was also asked about Google’s increasing control over advertising revenue. When questioned why a greater share of ad revenue has gone to Google instead of non-Google properties over time, Pichai claimed that the company is simply focused on providing information that users are looking for.
Tim Cook denied engaging in abrupt ‘pandemic profiteering’ with commissions. Cook said that claims from Airbnb and ClassPass about commissions are due to a standard Apple procedure, and that they are working with developers to solve the issue.
The Crew’s take: the hearing yesterday brought forth all sorts of information – interesting, disturbing, or otherwise – but what does it mean for marketers?
The easiest answer is nothing, for now. While the hearing was contentious and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are anxious to break up these big companies, the type of action that many politicians are talking about is monumental. It’ll likely be months, or years, before we see any major action from the U.S. government.
So yes, your ad campaigns, websites, and business accounts are safe. But keep a close eye on the news – if the United States cracks down like many lawmakers want it to, everything could change for the world of tech and marketing. If you’re interested in checking out the full hearing, you can do that here.
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It helps you manage more campaigns, more clients, efficiently and scale your Facebook Ads operations. So schedule a demo to see BuyerTool in action right here.
TikTok’s CEO doesn’t pull any punches
He wasn’t invited to yesterday’s tech hearing , but TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer released a statement yesterday about TikTok’s standing in the competitive space, and he certainly didn’t hold back.
Before we get started – it’s refreshing to see such an aggressive tone (relatively speaking, of course) in a public statement from a major tech CEO. We’d definitely recommend reading the whole thing. However, here are the important bits:
- Mayer claims that TikTok is good for competition and the market. Amidst claims to shut down the app, Mayer is making it clear that TikTok is the first revolutionary social media app in years, and that it encourages competitors to keep up – which means more opportunities for marketers, too.
- It’s safe to say that Mayer isn’t impressed with Facebook. He criticized Facebook for creating a “copycat” product, and made a point to mention that Facebook’s last TikTok clone, Lasso, failed quickly. In his words, “bring it on.”
- We’ll soon be able to see how TikTok’s algorithms work. In his statement, Mayer announced that content algorithms will be shared so that experts can figure out exactly how the app functions.
It was Mayer’s first public statement, and a bold one at that. We’re interested in all of the above, of course – but particularly in learning how TikTok’s algorithms work, which could offer some helpful insights for marketers.
Generating e-commerce page copy at scale – with AI
Artificial intelligence hasn’t taken over the world yet (knock on wood), but for the moment it can help you generate copy for your e-commerce pages.
And yes, we’re talking about GPT-2. You’ve probably heard of it by now. But what is GPT-2, really?
“GPT-2 is the second generation of Elon Musk’s OpenAI team’s Generative Pretrained Transformer library and it is capable of writing copy that you will find very difficult to distinguish from a human.”
In other words, it’s basically a text-generation system, and its strength is the ability to generate text from minimal prompts. GPT-2 works by receiving a prompt and generating a set amount of words based on that prompt.
Give it a headline, and it’ll return a story.
Give it a romantic quote, and it will come up with a love letter.
But now for what we care about – GPT-2 can generate copy for your e-commerce store. At scale.
Michael King, in this Search Engine Journal article, gave a well-rounded explanation on how to use GPT-2 for this scope.
As he stated, the process of creating copy or your store can be outlined in eight steps:
- Review your site’s data model: Your site’s data will influence how you drive data-injected blocks.
- Generate a series of sentences that incorporate those data points: This is about generating the initial sentences that will be used to generate further copy.
- Collect/scrape as much text content as you can that is relevant to your space: If your site is rich in content, you can pull it from your website. Otherwise, use your competitors’ website.
- Fine-Tune a GPT-2 model: Feed the text into GPT-2.
- Populate the sentences with data from the data model using content spinning.
- Use your data-driven sentences as prompts: each phrase is then used as a prompt into GPT-2 to generate as much copy as you like.
- Review and edit: Make sure that the copy generated is in line with your brand values and tone of voice.
This is definitely not easy to implement. But if you have the need to generate large amounts of copy pieces, you can get help from coders to use GPT-2.
And to all you copywriters out there, don’t worry, GPT-2 isn’t taking your job anytime soon.
SEO: Brodie Clark has put together a Web Story to help you sort through Cumulative Layout Shift issues – a Core Web Vital – on your site. Check it out to see a Web Story, learn something, or both.
TWITTER: COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, and it’s brought people together in unique ways. Check out these stats Twitter just dropped about their watch parties.
SNAPCHAT: A report from Snap and National Research Group shows mobile phones lead in share of media time. What Snapchat is doing about it and what you should know as a marketer is in the 20/20 Vision for Mobile Video.
SEO: John Mueller from Google clarified some common rumors around whether Analytics is used for ranking. TL;DR: no!
SPOTIFY: The company just released their Q2 earnings report, and the results are mixed (sound familiar?), but the future’s looking fairly bright for the music streaming platform.
What program do Jedi use to open PDF files?
You can find the solution here.
Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
Yesterday’s tech hearing would have been a lot more interesting with some smoked meats
The tech hearing yesterday was a lot of things, but captivating certainly wasn’t one of them – the norm for those kinds of government events.
However, one user on Twitter set out to change that with an edit we’re still laughing about. You can find the Tweet here, and we recommend watching it for the full experience.
If you’re short on time: it’s a clip that edits Zuckerberg’s notoriously awkward ‘smoked meats’ livestream in place of his actual opening remarks during the conference call yesterday, and it makes the entire event a lot more entertaining.
Carve some time out today to check out the video – it’ll probably be the most entertaining 83 seconds of your day.