March 2020 News You Can Use

This month’s News You Can Use covers declining social media use with a free downloadable assignment on digital campfires, changes in Google’s featured snippets, Facebook content regulation, and more!


Topic: Social media marketing

Key Point: People on the internet aren’t gathering in the public square as much anymore. Talk-to-the-world conversations are turning toward smaller, private gatherings.

Studies from Edison Research, Triton Digital, and Global Web found that social media activity by Gen Z and Millennial users has peaked and is beginning to drop. Those users are still online, but they are moving towards hanging out in micro-communities and preferring “campfires” with like-minded friends rather than seeing how many followers they can amass.

What does the social media turnaround mean for digital marketing? A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests ways you can locate and get invited to the campfire. It’s a move that, correctly handled, can boost brand loyalty and make your company the first-in-mind alternative for the tools and services group members want.

ALSO SEE: Social Media Usage Statistics for 2019 Reveal Surprising Shifts & Visualizing Social Media Use by Generation

FREE ASSIGNMENT: Use the free Marketing Using Digital Campfires assignment to teach students how to draft marketing plans for companies of various sizes, incorporating digital campfires.


Topic: Social media marketing | E-commerce

Key Point: Social Bakers announced that Instagram now has a larger audience and nearly 20X more interactions than Facebook, placing it among the top 50 biggest brand profiles worldwide.

Interestingly, those brands published more often on Facebook, but the follower count and level of interaction was less. Do consumers prefer vertical images over horizontal images? That’s one possible takeaway from the Q4 2019 Social Media Trends report.

ALSO SEE: Instagram overtakes Facebook


Topic: SEO

Key Point: It was a five-year run of search results bliss for companies producing content chosen by Google for a “featured snippet.” Not only did that content get highlighted in a special box appearing above (position zero) all “regular” search results, but it also claimed a prime spot on the SERP (search engines results page). 

Those days are over.

Google stopped duplicating the results. Getting chosen for the featured snippet is still desired, but you’ll no longer get a double dip below the snippet. One possible reason for the change is that Google now has more room for ads. Before the switch, searchers would see the position zero snippet PLUS 10 organic results. Now, you’ll find the snippet and nine results.

ALSO SEE: Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero


Topic: Social media marketing

Key Point: Mark Zuckerberg’s first reaction (2017) to government busybodies was to hire more lobbyists to convince politicians he could manage his own regulatory systems. (To be fair, all the other big online players — including Google and Apple — did the same.) In 2018, Zuckerberg told CNN “I actually am not sure we shouldn’t be regulated.” 

And in 2019, he wrote this: 

“I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it —the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things -— while also protecting society from broader harms.”

Moving ahead to 2020, a new Facebook white paper posits four critical questions raised by concerns over online content regulation. How will this turnabout in thinking affect digital marketing? 

ALSO SEE: Charting a Way Forward on Online Content Regulation & Google, Facebook And Others Not Bound By First Amendment, Judge Rules


Topic: Online advertising

Key Point: YouTube tallied the results from AdBlitz to reveal the top five most-viewed ads from Super Bowl 2020. Amazon led the list, followed by Jeep, HyundaiUSA, GenesisUSA, and T-Mobile.

What’s most interesting is not which company is commanding the most views, but WHY those ads are pulling the best response rates. Here’s your chance to watch each ad, take notes, and assess the standings. 

Do the winners share anything in common? Can you identify the audience each is targeting?

Here’s the announcement from YouTube: The YouTube AdBlitz Champion of 2020 is…

ALSO SEE: Adweek’s Top 10 Best Super Bowl Ads of 2020

Never stop learning. Being aware of today’s developments helps prepare you for whatever happens next.


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