Good morning, Marketers, and have you been following the Airbnb conversation?
It centers around the vacation home rental service revealing that their business dropped by 80% at the beginning of the pandemic, so they pulled back ALL marketing spend. However, even with this drastic reduction in spend, they were able to get back to about 95% of their previous traffic levels. “We don’t intend to ever again spend the amount of money as a percentage of revenue on marketing in the future as we did in 2019,” said Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. They discovered 90% of their traffic was direct or unpaid, and “the top of the funnel is actually PR.” But was that really the case?
Analysis from both SEO and PPC experts across the community finds that most brands wouldn’t be able to survive such a drastic budget cut. Brendon Hufford pointed out that TOFU PR is actually likely due to the heavy SEO work that’s built Airbnb up as the go-to result when we’re searching for places to stay when we travel. While Julie Bacchini hopes that not all brands cut their paid advertising spend when they don’t already have the huge brand recognition that Airbnb does. While it worked for Airbnb, performance marketers hope that other brands don’t adopt this strategy–because it can’t be sustainable for everyone long term.
Director of Search Content
The death of cookies and what is the privacy sandbox
Need a breakdown of FLoC and third-party cookies? Kirk Williams, owner of ZATO and author of Ponderings of a PPC Professional, posted a new video last week explaining the basics behind Google’s privacy plan and what it means for users and marketers.
“The good news of cohorts and labels is that random businesses around the web can’t follow you personally around. The bad news is that once you’re labeled by Google, you appear to be labeled,” Williams explains, joking that his kids stole his phone and now he’s stuck in kid-friendly cohorts.
Why we care. Many PPC marketers have accepted the upcoming change, while others are wary of Google’s “black box” of data. Julie Bacchini, host of #PPCChat said on Twitter, “Google is parading around the privacy banner for ditching 3rd party cookies and other tracking when they have MASSIVE troves of data they will still use for ad targeting.” It makes the case for businesses having opt-ins for first-party data even more compelling.
Most people “won’t allow” cross-app tracking with new iOS update
Over 60% of people will click “Don’t Allow” when Apple’s new app tracking transparency prompt pops up, according to a survey by Singular. In an analysis last year, survey author John Koetsier found that only 31% of iPhone and iPad users were taking advantage of Apple’s limited ad tracking capabilities. This means that with the new iOS nearly double the number of users will be declining data tracking.
There were some differences in demographics:
- Women were more likely than men to decline tracking.
- Teenagers and those over 54 were the most likely to click Don’t Allow.
- Survey takers between the ages of 35-44 were the most ok with mobile tracking.
For those that will allow tracking, most say that knowing the app brand is the biggest factor in saying yes. The second most important factor is the explanation brands give for requesting user data. However, the prompt only allows two short lines for marketers to explain their need for data tracking. “If you can explain in-app what data you want and why you want it, this survey suggests you have a good chance at getting tracking consent,” said Koetsier.
Why we care. With the phasing out of third-party cookies and more consumers being aware of how their data is being collected and used, marketers are worried about both their ability to know their audiences and retarget accurately. Koetsier makes the case that knowing the details of the 40% who do opt in to app tracking “is a big enough percentage to make aggregate judgments about the other 60%, at least in some things.” But it’s important to keep in mind that the trend will likely continue toward more privacy in the future, not less.
On the hunt for something new in 2021? Here are the latest career opportunities in search
SEO Senior Analyst @ Home Depot (Atlanta)
- Own weekly monitoring of assigned SEO product department performance
- Evangelize SEO across multiple departments, business groups and corporate levels
Associate Director of Search Marketing @ Entech Network Solutions, LLC. (NYC, remote)
- Collaborate with Programmatic and Agency Leads to develop strategy and execution
- Provide in-depth strategic search/eCommerce recommendations
Head of Customer Experience @ Julie Vos (New York)
- Lead CX team to resolve all customer inquiries with consistency
- Establish standards and policies for customer communications
Senior SEO Editor @ The Economist (London)
- Identify and implement strategies that maximise the discoverability of editorial content
- Consider onward journeys for visitors who have arrived as a result of such referrals
Core web vital efforts are still a priority.
SEOs still to prioritize core web vitals efforts. Aleyda Solis posted a Twitter poll asking even though Google said the page experience update won’t be a huge ranking change, will SEOs still prioritize core web vitals efforts and 69% said they will.
Short video carousel includes Facebook. Google has had a video carousel for “short videos” for some time. Initially it showed YouTube videos, then Google added TikTok and Instagram videos and now it is showing Facebook videos.
Google updating Abusing the Ad Network policy in May. Google’s advertising changelog noted that they’re updating the organization of their abuse policies in May. Policies around “text manipulation” will move from “Circumventing Systems” to the new category “Evasive Ad Content.” They’re also adding more policies in that new section.