August 2021 News You Can Use

This issue is jam-packed with digital marketing information you can use to advance further in the direction of your professional goals. From proof that SEO still matters, news releases about Clubhouse and TikTok, to a really sweet set of graphs from Google (and more), there’s enough buzz here to get those digital marketing juices flowing.  

Let’s go!


Topic: SEO

Google search topics on laptop screen

Key Point: Has anyone ever told you SEO is dead — that the search engines are now so amazingly powerful that search engine optimization is a relic of the past? When you hear that, how do you respond?

This DigitalMarketer article cuts to the chase: SEO can’t go anywhere. SEO “runs the internet.” How can that be? Author Mark de Grasse says there are at least five good reasons why SEO specialists are still an integral part of digital marketing, then backs up those points with data like this:

  • Consumers are spending more time online than ever
  • Google search queries are higher than ever
  • Companies that include blogging in their digital strategy enjoy a 13x ROI

DISCUSSION IDEA: Why are SEO skills necessary in digital marketing? Can you think of any internet developments that would actually render SEO useless?


Topic: Social Media Marketing 

Clubhouse app logos

Key Point: After operating the first year as an invitation-only platform, the Clubhouse app is now open to all. The Opening Day page says this:

Everyone in the world should have access to meaningful conversations. And the best rooms on Clubhouse are the ones where you meet people from far outside your social circle, with very different views and lived experiences, who change your perspective on the world.

The number of daily rooms is now at about 500,000 and the subscriber base is at 10 million, and the new messaging system, Backchannel, is live. Both one-one-one and group chats are available.  

How can you get in on the action? You can check out the Backchannel home page, or just download the Clubhouse app and follow the registration path. 


Topic: SEO | eCommerce

Hand holding cellphone showing Google search bar

Key Point: The Google @SearchLiason announced via Twitter the successful completions of core updates in June and July. An earlier post on that same account assured followers “Nothing in a core update is site-specific. Those who seek to perform well with search generally, including with core updates.”

What sorts of things do core updates affect? Google has you covered with the “What site owners should know about Google’s core updates” article. Got questions? We hope so. There’s plenty to learn and discuss here. Another excellent resource is the Search Quality Rater Guidelines download.


Topic: Social Media | Education 

Students at desk with laptops having a discussion

Key Point: A new social media app aims to promote lively discussions between “the world’s brightest youth and global leaders.” The app is a real-life test for Winston Churchill’s declaration that “It takes courage to stand up and speak. It takes courage to sit down and listen.” 

Here’s a statement from the Polemix home page: “Social networks isolate people by only showing them content they agree with. It’s like french kissing yourself in the mirror.”

Right now, participation is by invitation only — but you can get your name on the waiting list and begin polishing your debate skills in advance. We’ve heard reports that approval can roll out quite quickly. The app is available for both Android and iOS smartphones. 

DISCUSSION IDEA: Is the Polemix statement about the isolating effect of social media channels correct? Do you think Polemix is a desirable alternative?

ALSO SEE: Elite Students are Debating Hot-Button Issues


Topic: Social Media Marketing

Hand holding cellphone showing Facebook ad

Key Point: Did the iOS 14 update create as much havoc for advertisers as many digital marketers feared? Sean Johnston, VP of Digital Marketing for Closed Loop, says the move by Apple “has transformed ad campaigns.”

How so? Johnston says the update — aimed at providing enhanced privacy for consumers — rocked Facebook advertisers by skewing pixel-based reporting, making conversion rates inconsistent, rendering campaign budget optimization considerably more difficult, and by decreasing the size of retargeting audiences.

What to do?  Johnston’s article goes on to suggest remedies for each of those dilemmas. This is must-read content for every digital marketer.

DISCUSSION IDEA: Apple says iOS 15 will be released this fall. Can you gather any clues about how that might further affect digital marketing?


Topic: Social Media 

Hand holding cellphone showing Disney Plus app

Key Point: A CNBC report says “the streaming wars” are no longer limited to a battle of the giants like Disney, Netflix, and Amazon. Now that consumers are comfortable with watching television shows via the internet, the game is getting busier. TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch are blurring the line between the standby movie channels and social media.

The article points to a Netflix SEC report as proof. Here’s an excerpt from that 8-K filing:

All of the major entertainment companies like WarnerMedia, Disney and NBCUniversal are pushing their own streaming services and two of the most valuable companies in the world, Apple and Amazon, are growing their investment in premium content. In addition, TikTok’s growth is astounding, showing the fluidity of internet entertainment.

Given the Biden administration’s interest in ordering “greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms,” things could heat up quickly. Technology reporter, Alex Sherman, provides plenty of fuel for thought in this rather deep look at the situation.

DISCUSSION IDEA: Are Alex Sherman’s points valid? Do you think “The lines are increasingly blurring between historical social media companies and legacy media”?

NOTE: How are we doing with alerting the influencers whose Twitter handles I link to in NYCU? Chances are high they will share the article … if they know about it.


Topic: SEO

Person on laptop on Google Analytics page

Key Point: Here’s something that should have SEO practitioners jumping up and down: Google released graphs to illustrate the difference between the various issues that may cause a drop in organic traffic.

But that’s not all. The Google Search Engine Blog article also provides ways to use Search Console Performance reports and Google Trends to get to the bottom of your traffic-related problems. And you can read/learn all about it right here.

ALSO SEE: What Organic Search Traffic Drops Look Like


Topic: Online Advertising

Tik Tok logo

Key Point: TikTok is on the move. The wildly popular video app just launched a new Sparks Ads tool that allows brands to sponsor trending topics without needing an advertising agency to cut a deal with creators and influencers. Marketing Dive says the move can not only serve to “cut out the middleman,” but positions TikTok to compete squarely with larger brands like Instagram and LinkedIn for advertising dollars. 

That release follows closely on the heels of another recent TikTok improvement: longer videos. That capability began rolling out to all users last month and may be complete by now. The new limit gives creators three minutes — triple the present one-minute allotment. 

But there’s one more item to mention: TikTok Resumes. That feature is still in pilot stage and will need additional testing/development time … but the promise to users is that they will be able to apply for entry-level positions “with some of the world’s most sought-after employers.” Candidates post video resumes using the #TikTokResumes hashtag. Look out, LinkedIn. TikTok is aiming for a piece of the job search pie.

DISCUSSION IDEA: How can digital marketers best leverage TikTok to boost sales? What are the current demographics of TikTok’s user base? 

Why Not Start a 2021 Holiday Season Marketing Swipe File?

Students may not get the opportunity to contribute to a holiday marketing strategy this year, but digital marketing majors should definitely be paying attention. The holiday campaign work going on behind the scenes will soon begin to reveal itself via ads, articles, and email blasts. 

Here’s an idea: Start a holiday marketing “swipe file.” Get on the mailing list of a few companies you want to track, then watch as their seasonal promotions begin to launch. You’ll learn a bunch about digital marketing … and maybe even end up with a fantastic deal on that new ski jacket or upgraded computer you’ve been wanting.

See you in September!


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