September 2020 News You Can Use

Ready or not, Black Friday and the traditional shopping frenzy it spawns are headed our way. E-commerce managers and digital marketers are busy preparing —but are you? Even during a pandemic, people still need and want the goods and services your current or future employers and clients sell.

In other words: Get going. Christmas won’t wait.

In this issue of NYCU, we cover the digital marketing news that could be critical to your career. Here are a few examples of stories you’ll find below:

  • Will Facebook’s removal of over 1,000 targeting options hurt your ability to reach prospects with carefully directed ads?
  • How will the war against third-party cookies affect your marketing decisions?
  • Do the “new rules of marketing” rewrite the entire digital marketing playbook?

It’s not just time to get back into action — it’s past time. Distractions are abundant, but they can’t cloud your personal vision and desire to succeed.  


Topic: Online advertising | Social media marketing

Key Point: Facebook says the company has “routinely reviewed and refined our targeting options to make it easier for advertisers to find and use targeting that will deliver the most value for businesses and people.” 

Many advertisers see the move as a reduction in the options they have for tightly-targeted ads, and they fear their ability to reach their best prospects is getting tougher and tougher with every new Facebook announcement.

Examples given for the types of targeting options removed include “multicultural affinity segments” and redundant or unnecessary targeting rules “where there are many options about topics that were rarely used.” 

The Facebook for Business announcement provides links about detailed targeting and how ads work. For a bit more background, check the write-up by Social Media Today.


Topic: E-commerce

Key Point: “The Book” by Neiman Marcus has long been a favorite for fans of the company. From extravagant gifts like a $20-million dollar submarine to cotton flannel pajamas and the newest clothing styles, the Neiman Marcus catalogs are a treat many shoppers eagerly look forward to.

The soon-to-be-released “Fall Book” is breaking tradition. It won’t be printed at all. Rather, the Neiman’s State of Mind campaign will live online where it “reimagines the storied “Fall Book” into a digital experience.” That, according to a recent press release by the company.

One statement in the announcement may provide an additional clue to the decision. Here’s the quote: “Neiman’s will also feature a Focus on Diversity chapter that highlights Neiman’s brand partners of color.” 

It’s a story that can spark many deep and worthwhile discussions in digital marketing circles. Has Neiman Marcus lost its grip on the market? Will other companies abandon the printing press more aggressively now? Will the Neiman Marcus “Christmas Book” see another year or will it, too, be upstaged by a website? Could it be that changing social sentiments called for a radical readjustment to images — a realization made a little too late for the printing press? 

Any way you cut it, these are fascinating times for digital marketers. Stay awake. Pay attention. Watch what happens between now and the launch of the holiday shopping season.


Topic: Social media marketing | Online advertising

Key Point: Instagram says their recently-released Reels option is “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos.” Users get 15 seconds of multi-clip potential to share their best stuff. To top it off, the new Explore space “offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram.” 

If you’ve been waiting for a reason to re-activate that dusty Instagram account, this could be it. You can find out how it works, how to create reels, how to choose effects, how to share reels, how to watch reels, and pretty much anything else you want to know about the new feature on the Instagram Blog. Not only is the announcement there, but there’s a link to the Help Center where all mysteries dissolve. Get reeling.


Topic: Digital marketing | Online advertising

Key Point: Google announced, at the beginning of this year, that Chrome browser support for third-party cookies will be phased out by 2022 and that “the first origin trials” will launch by the end of this year. Rather than follow the path taken by other browsers and browser extensions, though, it seems that the Chrome browser won’t block third-party cookies … it will use other means to protect your privacy including already-instituted measures to “limit insecure cross-site tracking.” Understanding exactly how that might pan out will probably require input from developers on your team.

It’s another excellent topic for group discussion, and it could be a soon-coming change your company or clients need to be prepared for. By the way, how does a third-party cookie differ from a first-party cookie? And what are each used for? You can get the entire scoop AND find out what “the biggest marketers in the world” are doing to “make use of the window of opportunity provided by Google” to get their voices heard and create a common set of standards to address the privacy issue at the center of Google’s concern. 

Here’s the link to the first installment: The death of cookies and the threat to digital marketing.


Topic: SEO

Key Point: While you have your developer cohorts and friends gathered to discuss the war against third-party cookies, why not throw out another Google-induced leap forward: Chrome’s “fast pages” label

Google’s announcement about fast pages has SEOs going wild with speculation. Since the labeling process will be tied to Core Web Vitals, many digital marketers are wondering what the move will mean for search engine ranking. 

The Google plan is to roll out the advanced browser capability with Chrome 85, but there is a secret back door you can use to try it out early.


Topic: Digital marketing

Key Point: There are two HUGE lessons to glean from HubSpot’s “New Rules of Marketing.” First, the title or headline you use for your content serves two important purposes: It attracts attention and qualifies or identifies the preferred audience. Any marketer worth his or her salt is sure to pay more than a passing glance to a headline like that.

The second powerful point made (perhaps inadvertently) by HubSpot is that the fundamentals never change. Okay, perhaps the stats about smartphone users are updated, but the best-practice suggestions could’ve been written in the forties (sans references to the internet).


Topic: SEO | Ecommerce

Key Point: If you’re not sure the forms on websites you have a vested interest in are secure or not, NOW is an excellent time to find out. On the heels of the push towards HTTPS for the site comes a Google update that will warn users of unsecured forms.

The  example below shows how the Chromium Blog will warn visitors.

Note that the warning states that autofill won’t be available on unsecured forms. The Google announcement says users who try to submit information entered in a form that’s not completely secure will get a full-page warning about the lack of security and that the information will be visible to others.

When will the warnings begin, and what can you do about it? The word from Google is that you’ll see the feature in Chrome M86. That edition of the browser Dev channel right now, M85 is in Beta, and M84 is the current version.

How can you check and secure your forms to prepare in advance of the release? Google developers have those answers right here, but it may take a developer to understand the instructions. 


In her classic book on marketing, “Thick Face, Black Heart,” author Chin-Ning Chu says this: “Character is not made out of sunshine and roses. Like steel, it is forged in fire, between the hammer and the anvil.”

Do you feel a bit “hammered” by all that’s come down the pike this year? Are you craving a taste of “sunshine and roses”? Rest is fine, even necessary. Take one day each week to do nothing but rejoice in life and give thanks. The rest of the week, though, get your game face on. Get serious about your work and your studies. Walk through the fire of adversity, knowing you’ll be stronger and more capable because of the experience.


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