Incognito Mode is fake, UA dies in July, Facebook and Netflix in cahoots, & paid search updates

April 5, 2024

Hello there, Digital Darlings,

Strap in for a wild ride through Tech Town. Google's dropping Universal Analytics like last season's trends, Microsoft's making bidding moves, and Incognito Mode's about as private as a reality TV show. Plus, Meta's mixing up targeting like it's a new cocktail recipe. Let's decode the tech titans' latest antics and arm ourselves for the battles ahead. First things first, this is your FINAL reminder that…

Google is shutting down Universal Analytics (UA) for real.

They sent out a mass email reminding us that on July 1st, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will have fully replaced UA. All UA services and APIs will shut down forever. So if you’re still using UA for anything, it’s time to change that. You can follow Google’s migration guide to make the switch ASAP. In other Google news…

Google Ad Manager Reach Report error skewed data this week.

If you noticed some strange numbers in your Ad Reach report on Monday, you’re not alone. The issue actually lasted from Friday evening to Monday morning, but I really hope you weren’t working over the weekend, and therefore didn’t notice. Reach report data for any date later than March 20th was incomplete, depriving advertisers of their precious prior week’s data while they worked to pull together Monday’s reports. But don’t worry, Google resolved the issue Tuesday afternoon, so things should be back to normal. Now let's pivot to some Microsoft news…

Microsoft is phasing out Manual CPC this month.

All campaigns currently on Manual CPC will be automatically switched to enhanced CPC starting May 13. And manual CPC will no longer be an option when creating new campaigns starting April 30th. It’s probably for the best, TBH. Manual CPC doesn’t adapt at all to real-time auction data and puts you at an efficiency disadvantage. The only concern with eCPC is that Microsoft can increase your bids higher than the CPC you’ve set. But don’t worry, Microsoft won’t let your Average CPC exceed your bid, so you don’t need to worry about fluctuations in spend. And in other Microsoft bidding news…

Max Conversion Value bidding is now available for Microsoft Ads.

Maximize conversion value aims to drive the highest-value conversions possible. So while Max Conversions bidding drives as much conversion volume as possible, Max Conversion Value focuses on ROI. You can even choose to add a ROAS target to this bid strategy to make sure it’s bidding in line with your goals. If you’ve been using manual bidding, it might be time to test this strategy out instead! And in other tech news…

Incognito mode is fake! Chrome will not protect your privacy.

As part of a lawsuit settlement, Google agreed to delete “billions of data records” that they collected from users searching in Incognito Mode. The settlement also requires Google to update the Incognito Mode “splash page” (the blurb that pops up any time you open a new Incognito window) to state that they’re still collecting your data, no matter what browsing mode you use. It seems like all Incognito Mode does is prevent your site history from being saved in your browser. It doesn’t do anything to protect your data, and gives people a false sense of security. Time to switch to Duckduckgo! And in more scary (lack of) data privacy news…

Facebook lets Netflix read your DMs.

Court documents revealed that Meta has been giving Netflix access to users’ messages for the past decade. This info came out of a lawsuit where filers claimed Netflix and Facebook “enjoyed a special relationship” (lol) that enabled Netflix to tailor ads to Facebook users. In exchange, Facebook received billions of dollars in ad revenue from Netflix. I can’t say I’m shocked, but this seems super illegal. It all happened via an agreement that gave Netflix access to Facebook’s APIs. Fox Business said it best…

“The API agreement allowed Netflix programmatic access to Facebook’s private messages inboxes, in exchange Netflix would ‘provide to FB a written report every two weeks that shows daily counts of recommendations sends and recipient clicks by interface, initiation surface, and/or implementation variation (e.g. Facebook vs. non-Facebook recommendation receipts).’"

🎶 Meta and Facebook sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G 🎶

In other Meta news…

Meta made major targeting updates to Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns.

The updates allow advertisers to see reporting breakdowns on current audiences and target people who are interested in their products but have not yet made a purchase. The new reporting feature is called the “Engaged Customers Audience Segment” and is available in the Meta Ads UI now. Users can add the segment to any report by going to the ‘breakdown’ menu and choosing “Demographics by Audience Segments”. This will add segmented rows for ‘new customers’, ‘existing customers’, and ‘engaged customers’. 

Additionally, you can create a custom audience out of your engaged customers to directly target people who are interested in your brand but have not made a purchase. It’s basically streamlined retargeting, and I appreciate Meta doing the work for us… but can we trust their data? Who knows!

Well, there you have it. Another week of every major tech company destroying my faith in humanity!! Until next week, keep your strategies sharp, your skepticism sharper, and don’t let the lack of data privacy get you down. The tech overlords are always watching, so make sure you look good!

You know you love me.

Maddie Marinsider

Marin Software
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