Keeping up with the latest digital marketing headlines is a daunting task for anyone, which is why we include a news roundup segment in each episode of the EDGE. The latest features host Erin Sparks and Creative Studio Producer Jacob Mann along with special guest Jay Acunzo, Founder of Marketing Showrunners. Here’s the news roundup from Episode 339 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast: 


Google Kills the Cookie, Leaving Digital Media Companies Craving a New Way Forward

From Ronan Shields on AdWeek we learn that Google Kills the Cookie, Leaving Digital Media Companies Craving a New Way Forward. The industry is racing against a 2-year countdown to figure out new ways to target audiences online in Chrome. 

  • Erin Sparks: People are kind of still reeling from this Google announcement about killing the cookie, and by that we mean third-party cookies, which is how digital marketers build retargeting audiences consisting of people who visit websites. What’s your reaction to this, Jay?
  • Jay Acunzo: My first job out of college was at Google Adwords, and I didn’t like that job at all. But as far as this news piece, a big part of the issue here is behavioral versus contextual marketing. I think we need to shift towards contextual marketing, not behavioral. The online retargeting tactics feel creepy and invasive. Can you imagine if something similar happened in the real world? You walk into a store and they already know what you want to buy, and then follow you around after you leave? It’s a form of advertising, and advertising is different from marketing. It’s a subset of marketing. Advertisers do things that aren’t good marketing. But to make a long story short, I am totally in favor of this move by Google.  
  • Erin Sparks: But even a lot of good marketing outfits are very dependent on these tracking components, so they’re understandably upset about it.
  • Jacy Acunzo: Yes, but we’ve also built up this myth that these giant companies like Google and Facebook are something more noble than they are. They are companies out to make as much money as they can. So my advice to people interested in marketing (not advertising) is this: By all means use those platforms to make your brand discoverable, but always drive those people to a channel you own because those giant companies and their platforms aren’t about you, they’re about themselves. If you’re interested in real marketing, you should be thinking about building things on platforms you own.


The latest data on the January 2020 Google core update

According to Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land, here is The latest data on the January 2020 Google core update. Now that the Google January 2020 core update is mostly rolled out, we have asked several data providers to send us what they found with this Google search update. All of the data providers agree that this core update was a big one and impacted a large number of web sites.

  • Erin Sparks: By all accounts this core update saw some explosive volatility in visibility for lots of different websites. Anyone involved in SEO really should be watching this data and expert opinions in order to understand the impacts on their work and clients.
  • Jay Acunzo: I literally spend 100% of my time on marketing, on creating great content and experiences. You just have to keep in mind that Google and these other big people are essentially frenemies, meaning sometimes they will do things that are good for you and other times they will do things that aren’t good for you, because they’re selfish t their core. People waste far too much time on the specifics of what one channel like Google is doing than focusing on their customers and being effective marketers. In short, if you pay more attention to your customers than to the industry, then your customers will pay more attention to you. The danger here is Goodhart’s Law, which states that when a measure becomes the goal, then it is no longer a good measure. When you start obsessing with metrics, then you’re losing sight of the goal. Growing search traffic by X percent or increasing your email list by Y percent is NOT the goal. Those are measures of the goal. The goal is to create an effective, engaging website, or create a newsletter that’s so good more and more people want to open it and read it on a regular basis. It’s very easy to get sidetracked by these things instead of focusing on what’s important and foundational. The people who are focused on the core work don’t panic around core updates and so on. And so for the people who do panic about them, you have to questions whether or not they’ve lost their focus on what’s truly important.


Spotify introduces game-changing ad technology for podcasts

On Impact, John Becker reports on how Spotify introduces game-changing ad technology for podcasts. This month, Spotify announced a new approach to its podcast marketing technology. The proprietary “streaming ad insertion” (SAI) allows Spotify’s sponsors to deliver targeted ads to podcast listeners through the use of real-time data analysis.

  • Erin Sparks: The podcast industry and its platforms have needed this for quite some time, so this is a great development.
  • Jay Acunzo: My initial impulse because of my focus on good content and marketing as opposed to advertising is to say that as these platforms embrace new technologies, I’d rather see podcasters focus more on sponsorship than flat-out advertising. Advertising rewards the transaction of the audience. If podcasters start focusing too much on what content will work for any given advertiser, it becomes a race to the bottom of the pyramid, to the lowest common denominator. Quality podcasting is about going deep to resonate with an audience, not just achieve reach. And as soon as you bring in something that rewards reach, you run the risk of watering down the content. If handled well, this new technology will hopefully allow the good actors to more effectively monetize their podcast content without sacrificing it quality. Advertising rewards extremism and sensationalism because it’s about what’s going to get the most eyeballs on something.

Connect with Jay Acunzo and Marketing Showrunners (MSR)

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