Good morning, are you a dark mode fan?

The Google Ads app now has it. But the bigger update, announced yesterday, is that optimization scores are now prominently featured in the app. As you’ll recall, this comes on the heels of rumors that optimization scores will be a key piece of agency qualifications for Google Partner status, which has raised concerns about agency autonomy.

Whether you’re managing accounts at an agency or in-house, Google’s increasing emphasis on optimization scores highlights the benefits, limitations, and concerns about the role of automation in media platforms. Using big data and machine learning to surface areas of opportunity is often useful, but there are still significant limitations on the ability of these systems to be nuanced, and when the recommendations come from the media platform themselves advertisers must take a critical look at whether they’re a good fit. I expect we’ll be having a lot more conversations about optimization scores this year.

You may want to stop chasing those 5-star reviews or trying to get rid of low ratings. Another study has shown that more than 70% of consumers don’t trust 5-star ratings. While consumers increasingly rely on reviews, they’re also increasingly wary of their authenticity or credibility.

With all of the changes happening around privacy regulation, marketers should stay up-to-date, but leave the lawyering to the lawyers, says Sayf Sharif, the VP of analytics at Seer Interactive. Read why below. 

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor


Offer guidance about privacy issues but let lawyers make the legal decisions

You are not an attorney so do not feel like you need to tell your bosses or clients what to do. Give them the breadth of options and the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches to how they deal with privacy, GDPR, web tracking implications, etc. Stay on top of what options there are, and how those options impact negatively or positively your ability to provide an ROI on analytics work. Offer to speak with their attorneys and provide them technical advice/guidance on what you can do, and how you can do it, but ultimately let the attorneys make the decisions on how they want to proceed.

I see many consultants making recommendations of what to do, what not to do at conferences for instance. At the end of the day a consultant should not be making a specific recommendation here, only providing options and advice on impact for their clients, rather than legal advice as in “this is what you need to do” because that liability for the decision lies at the feet of the consultant. It’s not our responsibility to determine what moral/ethical/legal direction their company can go, we should focus on what we can technically do, what the new limitations of browsers are, and then provide those options to our clients to make the decisions themselves, while also being aware of what the laws are, and ultimately doing our best to not break any laws knowingly ourselves, even at the direction of our clients.

– Sayf Sharif is the VP of analytics at Seer Interactive


6 reasons why your agency should offer SEO

Not every agency is comfortable selling SEO. But taking the leap is essential to your and your clients’ success. Search engine optimization plays a major role in companies’ visibility, which means you’re doing clients a disservice if you don’t offer it. This white paper from Boostability covers six reasons why you should offer SEO as a digital marketing partner.

Get it now! »

Search Shorts

Wikipedia vandalism for Google benefit

Wikipedia vandalism. How does Google protect the knowledge panel from Wikipedia vandalism? “There are a variety of things we do to watch for Wikipedia vandalism. That’s about as specific as I can really get into,” Google’s Danny Sullivan said. “It’s not perfect, as nothing is, but there are protections in place.”

Shopify & Google Search. Google does not treat Shopify sites in Google organic search results any different than other sites, said John Mueller of Google.

How to hire an SEO. There’s a new short video with tips on how to hire an SEO from Google. It may replace the 2017 version of the longer video.


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What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Another Reason To Check Bing Webmaster Tools; Bing Might Be Blocking Some Of Your Pages – Search Engine Roundtable

Cable TV meets Android TV: a new way to watch – Google Blog

Gmail Ads vs. Discovery Ads: Which Should You Leverage? – Seer Interactive

Google Adwords: The Tiered Approach – Hallam

Google Dublin working from home over possible coronavirus – 9to5Google

Heart, Ear, Eye, Mind, Mouth: Local SEO Exercises for Your Least Technical Clients – Moz

How an Automated Assistant May Respond to Queries from Children – Go Fish Digital

Lawmakers Push Again for Info on Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ – Wall Street Journal

New music controls, emoji and more features dropping for Pixel – Google Blog