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Weekly Digital Marketing Updates (May 6 – 12)

The week of May 6 to 12 sees its weekly digital marketing updates and events dominated by McDonald’s headlines. Here’s a summary of the top stories your Clicademist collected for your must-know updates.

McDonald’s Digital Marketing Fund: McDonald’s is set to launch a new digital marketing fund in the U.S. next year, as revealed by a memo. Franchisees will contribute 1.2% of projected identified digital sales to this fund, which aims to modernize marketing strategies and enhance the company’s competitive edge. The focus will shift towards mobile ordering and digital initiatives, potentially reducing reliance on traditional marketing methods like TV commercials.

The company plans to invest heavily in its loyalty program and introduce new ordering channels, such as web orders without an app. With over 34 million active digital customers in the U.S. and a goal to reach 100 million loyalty members by 2027, McDonald’s is forecasting an increase in cash flow for U.S. restaurants starting in 2025. This strategy also aligns with global efforts, as markets like the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Germany will contribute to the global digital marketing fund. Your Clicademist will follow up more on this in the weekly digital marketing updates.

AI and Marketing Upskill Urgency: Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) research suggests that marketers rapidly adapt to AI, analytics, and automation, with over half reporting role changes due to AI and 44% utilizing advanced tools like ChatGPT. Upskilling in AI, marketing strategy, SEO, and content creation is crucial for competitiveness, as 85% of marketers surveyed believe AI will enhance their work. Companies face a skills gap, with AI strategy development being the largest, and are prioritising upskilling initiatives over hiring new staff, recognizing the benefits of performance and employee satisfaction. Industry certifications are increasingly valued over traditional degrees, with DMI certifications boosting hiring prospects.

UXLINK and Binance Web3 Wallet Partnership: UXLINK, a leading social infrastructure platform, has partnered with Binance Web3 Wallet to launch a joint marketing campaign to drive social growth within the Web3 space. The campaign offers 20,000,000 UXUY points through UXLINK’s Social Protocol, encouraging community engagement and adoption of Web3. Binance Web3 Wallet provides secure and user-friendly access to DeFi services, while UXLINK boasts over 5 million users and facilitates social interactions via 90,000 web3-powered groups. This collaboration, announced on May 9, represents a significant step in integrating social infrastructure with decentralized finance. Your Clicademist will follow up more on this in the weekly digital marketing updates.

OKX Ventures Invests in Wild Forest: OKX Ventures, the investment division of the crypto exchange OKX, has announced an investment in Wild Forest, a Web3 real-time strategy game. Wild Forest has gained significant traction with 18,300 daily active users, 61,900 monthly active users, and over 104,800 installations. The game features PvP battles and a token-driven economy and has seen over 1 million NFTs minted since its Beta launch. The early NFT Sale on February 22, 2024, sold out in just 7 minutes, highlighting the game’s popularity. Backed by notable firms like Sky Mavis and Animoca Brands, Wild Forest is set for continued growth in the Web3 gaming market.

OpenAI’s Search Innovation: OpenAI, in collaboration with Microsoft, is set to revolutionize the digital marketing landscape with a new AI-powered search engine, says CMSWIRE. This engine, leveraging ChatGPT technology, promises to enhance personalized marketing and user experience. Marketers are anticipating the need to adapt their SEO and content strategies to align with AI-driven search dynamics. The potential launch, rumoured for May 9, could challenge Google’s dominance and introduce new analytical tools for deeper consumer insights. This pivotal development signifies a major shift in search technology and digital marketing strategies.

Constant Contact’s Campaign Builder Launch: Constant Contact, a renowned digital marketing platform, has introduced Campaign Builder, an innovative tool that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to automate multi-channel marketing campaigns for small businesses and nonprofits (SMBs). This tool, unique in offering such depth of automation, crafts strategic marketing plans by analyzing goals and suggesting optimal content, channels, and timing. It addresses common SMB challenges like time constraints and marketing expertise, enabling effective marketing with minimal effort. The launch also includes BrandKit, which is designed to assist SMBs in quickly initiating and maintaining consistent marketing efforts.

Ad Tech Investigation: A report by Adalytics revealed that the supply-side platform Colossus provided mismatched user IDs to The Trade Desk, leading to concerns about the effectiveness of verification vendors in preventing fraud. Procter & Gamble Co. is among the advertisers continuing to trade via Colossus despite these issues. Google and The Trade Desk appeared to have blocked this supply-side platform over user ID mismatch issues to create better verification processes to protect advertisers’ investments.

DMA Impact on Google Hotel Ads: Implementing the European Digital Marketing Act (DMA) has led to a significant decline in online visibility, as evidenced by a 30% drop in clicks and a 36% drop in direct bookings on Google Hotel Ads. The data, collected from a comparison of traffic volume between DMA and non-DMA markets for 3450 hotels from January to April 2024, highlight the challenges faced by the hotel industry in adapting to new digital regulations, according to the HNR Hotel News.

News Corp’s D_Coded 2024 Event: News Corp Australia is set to host its annual D_Coded digital marketing event, promising to unveil innovative solutions for securing a competitive edge in the digital landscape. The event will feature live presentations in Sydney and Melbourne, focusing on strategies and technologies for deeper insights, targeting, personalisation, and measurement. Keynote speakers include Evan Shapiro and Daniella Harkins, discussing the new user-centric era and collaborative data practices, respectively. Additionally, the event will showcase News Corp’s Intent Connect platform, shoppable experiences, and video solutions to help brands connect with audiences and maximize ROI.

HubSpot’s Strong Q1 Performance Amid Sale Rumors: HubSpot reported a 40% increase in earnings and a 23% rise in revenue for Q1 2024, surpassing expectations for the ninth consecutive quarter with a revenue of $617.4 million. The company’s stock rebounded after an initial post-earnings dip, fueled by ongoing acquisition talks with Alphabet. This potential sale to Google’s parent company aligns with Alphabet’s strategy to bolster its digital marketing capabilities, especially in light of the looming antitrust lawsuit outcomes that may force business unit divestitures.

Stream Companies & GM Partnership: Stream Companies has joined the General Motors (GM) Dealer Digital Solution Program as an approved Digital Advertising and SEO Partner. This collaboration will benefit over 4,000 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac dealerships by allowing them to use GM IMR Turnkey Match funds for Stream’s services. The partnership aims to enhance dealership sales through digital marketing strategies and first-party data analytics. David Regn, CEO of Stream Companies, and Rich Harrisson, Senior Executive VP, are optimistic about boosting GM dealerships’ success in the competitive market.

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Weekly Digital Marketing Updates (April 29 – May 5)

The week of April 29 to May 5 was busy with digital marketing updates. Here’s a summary of the top stories your Clicademist collected for your must-know updates.

Airbnb’s Evolution: Airbnb is expanding its offerings beyond traditional accommodations, emphasising memorable experiences, and strategically positioning itself for growth in various markets. Beyond overnight stays, Airbnb now offers unique experiences through its ‘Icons’ initiative, including stays in famous movie houses and with celebrities. Since 2021, Airbnb has focused on brand building rather than performance marketing. The company is targeting new markets, with India showing a 30% year-on-year growth.

Direct Bookings Focus of Booking Holdings: Booking Holdings, the parent company of Booking.com, Kayak.com, and Open Table, is shifting its strategy to prioritise direct bookings over those generated through paid marketing channels. The company reported that direct bookings grew faster than those from paid channels in the quarter ending 31 March. CEO Glenn Fogel highlighted the Genius loyalty program and the “connected trip” feature as key drivers for this growth, aiming to enhance customer experience and encourage frequent direct bookings.

Web3 Marketing Innovation: Amidst the debate on ‘engagement farming’ sparked by Elon Musk’s policy changes on X, the Web3 marketing platform Midle introduces an AI-driven anti-bot system to ensure authentic user interactions1. Midle’s solution counters the bot issue in digital marketing by verifying wallet addresses and user behaviour, offering a proof-of-humanity feature to enhance campaign security2. The platform caters to brands of all sizes, enabling them to manage tasks across social media and blockchain networks efficiently. With upcoming features like segmentation and prediction, Midle aims to revolutionize Web3 marketing by focusing on data-driven strategies and real engagements.

Google’s Cookie Deprecation Delay Google has postponed the deprecation of third-party cookies, causing a stir in the advertising technology industry. The delay of the Privacy Sandbox initiative has led to concerns about whether marketers and publishers will effectively use the additional time to adapt to the new advertising framework or simply procrastinate. The article highlights the uncertainty and potential for wasted time despite the opportunity to embrace a significant shift in digital advertising practices.

Tiger Woods Launches Sun Day Red Apparel: Golf legend Tiger Woods has debuted his new clothing line, Sun Day Red, which is available for purchase starting the 1st of May 2024. The brand’s launch strategy relies heavily on earned media and digital marketing, leveraging Woods’ substantial personal brand without extensive promotional activities. Jon Springer, reporting on sports and beverage marketing, notes the ‘athluxury’ DTC brand’s approach to marketing and its focus on the sports marketing and retail e-commerce sectors. The article also mentions an upcoming live event on May 8 for a Gen Z roundtable on media habits.

Google Cloud has recently launched a new Web3 blockchain developer portal, sparking a mixed response from the cryptocurrency community. While some, like Mitroplus labs founder Ivaibi Festo, have praised the portal as a comprehensive resource, others have criticized the lack of native support for Bitcoin and Lightning, notably Unchained’s VP Phil Geiger. The portal offers datasets, guides for creating NFTs, and resources for decentralized app deployment on Ethereum test nets. This move is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to integrate Web3 features, including wallet balance searches for various blockchains and updated advertising policies for crypto products. Despite the controversy, Google continues to strengthen its position in the Web3 ecosystem through partnerships and data analytics enhancements.

Open-Source AI in Marketing: An Adage article discusses a growing trend where developers publish open-source AI models, providing marketers with opportunities for more customization and cost savings. It highlights the shift from proprietary AI technology, which is often a “black box” to users, to a more transparent approach where the underlying code is freely available1. This movement is gaining traction among tech-savvy marketers who are exploring the potential benefits of open-source AI in their strategies.

Gannett’s Digital Ad Business Gets A Boost: Gannett, the media giant operating the USA Today Network and numerous local newspapers, has reported a 4th consecutive quarter of growth in Q1 2024, with digital revenue hitting $277 million, a 2.9% increase yearly. The company’s digital business now accounts for 42.1% of its total revenue, marking an all-time high1. This growth is attributed to strategic partnerships with non-news publishers like Home Solutions and Gambling.com Group, which boosted Q1 page views by 10%2. Gannett is also expanding its digital marketing solutions and programmatic business while navigating challenges in the news industry posed by platforms like Google, which has been using AI to surface news directly in search results, impacting traffic to news sites. The company is actively involved in legal and legislative efforts to protect news publishers’ interests.

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Last Week’s Top 10 Updates in Digital Marketing

The week of April 22 to 28 was bustling with digital marketing news. Here’s a summary of the top 10 stories your Clicademist collected for your must-know updates.

TikTok Divestiture Ultimatum: The U.S. administration has taken a firm stance against TikTok, with a new bill requiring the app to be sold or face a ban within nine months. This move could significantly impact the platform’s 170 million U.S. users and the businesses that rely on it.

Google Search Ad Spend and CPCs Surge: Advertisers in the U.S. have increased their spend on Google search ads by 17% year-over-year, despite a slowdown in click growth. The cost-per-click has also risen by 13%, with Shopping ads seeing a notable increase.

Spotify’s Record Profits: The Financial Times reports on Spotify achieving record quarterly profits, signaling a new phase for the business and highlighting the importance of digital platforms in marketing strategies[15].

Meta’s Generative AI Integration: Meta is experimenting with generative AI features across its social platforms, potentially revolutionizing how content is created and consumed.

Motive.co’s €40K Grant for SMEs: Motive.co has announced a €40,000 grant program to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the online retail sector, fostering growth and innovation in digital marketing strategies.

Gen Z Marketing Insights: The Youth Marketing Strategy Festival’s insights highlighted the importance of understanding and reaching Generation Z and the need for tailored marketing tools and strategies.

20i’s Agency Hub Launch: 20i introduced Agency Hub, an integrated client and project management tool designed to enhance agency efficiency and streamline workflows.

Cybersecurity Incidents Impact: December 2023 saw a spike in cybersecurity incidents, underscoring the importance of robust digital defenses for marketing agencies and their clients, says SOSAFE.

Digital Trends for 2024: Experts from The SEO Works shared insights on the biggest digital trends for 2024, including Google’s Search Generative Experience and the increasing significance of first-party data[2].

Iconosquare’s AI-driven Content Tools: Iconosquare unveiled new AI Content Inspiration features, leveraging Open AI’s Chat GPT 4 to aid social media marketers in overcoming creative blocks.