Digital Marketing: This Week’s Top Stories - W8 2021

It’s been a big week. News is on its way back to Australians’ Facebook feeds, Google and Facebook have agreed to try to stop the spread of misinformation and there are calls for a mandatory code of conduct in the digital marketing industry.

Still haven’t caught up on last week’s stories? We go into more detail about the Facebook news ban as well as the iOS 14 update, amongst other things.

This Week's Biggest Stories
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    Ambire has a wrap up of the week's top stories.
    Digital Marketing
    Ambire has a wrap up of the week's top stories.

    Social Media

    Once again, the story dominating social media this week has been all about Facebook who is set to reverse its recent ‘experiment’ where it removed news in response to the government’s Media Bargaining Code. 

    The Code officially passed federal parliament yesterday (25 February). 

    As you’d definitely have noticed by now – Facebook banned all news content from being shared on the site by Australian users. 

    Although you may have noticed some sites’ content is trickling back onto your newsfeed.

    However, the ban ended up impacting more sites and content than they had initially imagined – including several state and federal health and emergency services agencies across the country, and non-news or satire sites like The Betoota Advocate

    The ABC reported that the impact of the ban was exactly what Facebook had predicted – a drop in traffic for all the major Australian news sites. 

    By the time a week had passed, however, many news sites had figured out how to do simple workarounds like posting screenshots or pdf articles, or simply sharing tweets which linked back to the story. 

    Facebook’s experiment, however, is now set to come to an end. After days of negotiations between the federal government and the social media giant, an agreement has been reached and several amendments are set to be made to the proposed media bargaining code. 

    This, of course, was designed to force tech companies to negotiate payment for news content from media companies. 

    One of the amendments will give Facebook more time to strike deals with commercial publishers and news sources. It is reported these negotiations are already well under way and some have already been struck. 

    Seven West was the first to sign a letter of intent to provide news content to the social network and others will follow. 

    The question begging to be asked, then, is who won this standoff? 

    Google, Facebook and more news

    In recent days, Facebook and Google, along with Twitter, Microsoft and TikTok, signed up to what is currently a voluntary code of conduct designed to curb the spread of misinformation. 

    The code will place spam, spun and bot-shared or created content in its firing line. It will also require political advertising to be more obvious by requiring the source of content to be available clearly to Australians when they’re online. 

    There is a whole range of measures all included within the code, including labelling fake content, suspending users who continually engage with or share misinformation or providing users with specific tools meaning they can more easily block or hide specific content.

    Digital Marketing

    In other digital marketing news, Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has joined other industry heads to call for tougher rules and regulations for digital marketing agencies. 

    Their ultimate goal is the creation of a mandatory code of conduct, a bit like the one between supermarkets and dairy producers. 

    They argue that since the COVID crisis and the explosion of online business and e-commerce, some digital marketers are taking advantage of naivety. 

    Some key players in the industry, they allege, are promising results and delivering very little to clients. Other issues include freelancers based off-shore who are ‘fleecing’ businesses – taking their money and then simply never doing any work. 

    In many cases, dodgy transactions like these are never taken to the ACCC because the amounts of money are just never large enough, and so, people and businesses continue to get away with it. 

    They’re pushing for the mandatory code of conduct to have in-built arbitration power so parties can be forced to comply. 

    Here at Ambire, we’ve seen our fair share of reliable and reputable business owners who got hoodwinked by deals that were simply too good to be true. It’s a timely reminder to all of us to beware of promises which seem outlandish from the outset.

    Paid Search

    Google is set to finally update requirements for its partner program after COVID-19 forced it to delay changes.

    We’ve gone into more detail about the benefits of being a Google Premier Partner Agency before. 

    Now, Google looks to give partners more control, saying although there is a minimum optimisation score of 70%, agencies and partners can move simply to ignore or dismiss recommendations as they like. 

    Of course, it seems unlikely that we can just choose to dismiss all recommendations – so we will see how that plays out. 

    The minimum spend requirement will remain the same, despite pre-COVID plans to double it and there will be a minimum requirement that 50% of your team is Google Ads certified. 

    These new requirements will go into full effect in February 2022

    SEO

    In true Google style, they’ve let us know some SEO gossip in a live Google Central event. Google’s Gary Ilyes said there is a benefit to having title tags longer than what is actually displayed in the Google search results page. 

    However, he then later said not to worry about the length of title tags but instead to ensure they are as relevant as possible to the title page. 

    The update to the algorithm we mentioned last week seems to still be having an impact says SEO RoundTable

    So with all these big changes about, let us know your thoughts. 

    • What do you think we will see over the next few weeks as Facebook moves to strike deals with major media players?
    • Do you think Google and Facebook can help stem the spread of misinformation?
    • Should all digital marketing experts and agencies sign up to an enforceable code of conduct?

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