Industry News

Industry IQ: Facebook Under Fire Over Privacy Scandal, Google Clashes with Amazon and The Debut of Pinterest’s Shopping Ads

Facebook Data Scandal Brings About FTC Probe

Last week news broke that Cambridge Analytica siphoned 50 million Facebook user profiles in an effort to aid Trump’s Presidential election campaign. But the revelation isn’t all that shocking: evidence of a data breach has been hovering around Mark Zuckerberg’s head for the past two years. Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to get involved.

The information acquired by Cambridge Analytica was allegedly used for microtargeting political advertisements. Facebook hasn’t refuted the disturbing reports and Zuckerberg has apologized profusely, but it hasn’t stopped their public image from plummeting — especially with the announcement of the FTC’s full investigation. Facebook has already dealt with the FTC back in 2011 — but this time, the investigation has caused Facebook’s share price drop by five percent. Not to mention, the social media giant could be subject to immense fines reaching into the trillions of dollars.

Needless to say, a major fine would be detrimental to the future of Facebook, but the more pressing matter for Zuckerberg and co. at the moment will be trying to douse out the tire fire they created around their reputation.

Google and Amazon Preparing for Potential Clash of the Giants

Once upon a time it would have been difficult to imagine Google and Amazon standing side-by-side, occupying the same market space. Google provided the number one search engine in the world, with advanced advertising capabilities. Amazon quickly became the largest online retailer in history. But things have changed dramatically over the years, as the two technology goliaths sense an impending duel on the horizon.

Amazon and Google are slowly, but surely, beginning to intersect and morph into extremely similar companies. So, as a retailer, the question is where should you invest your money? Google Shopping has become comparable to Amazon’s search results page. The Shopping Actions function gives customers a universal shopping cart, which can hold items from various online retailers. And Google Express is a direct response to Amazon’s last-minute delivery. Meanwhile, Amazon is looking more and more like a product advertising platform.

Both companies are also investing heavily in the logistics industry, with Amazon leading the way. Amazon already has full intention to introduce drone delivery. Google, on the other hand, are late to the logistics game, but they’ve jumped ahead all others with their investment in the driverless car industry. It’s going to be a dog fight between these two, but the reality is that both platforms provide a unique set of advantages for any retail company. The key will be evaluating your retail needs, understanding your market, and a lot of trial and error.

Pinterest’s Shopping Ads are Here and Ready for Advertisers

Pinterest has finally opened its Shopping Ads feature to advertisers, after an extensive beta phase, which lasted just over a year. In order to qualify for the Shopping Ads program, your company will first have to fill out the “Pinterest Propel Program” form. After that, Pinterest will evaluate your business needs and contact you directly for the next steps.

Throughout the entire beta phase, Shopping Ads received high praise from several industry juggernauts, such as Ulta Beauty, Lowe’s, and IKEA Canada. Lowe’s saw a 76 percent increase from their initial ROAS, and IKEA Canada lowered their overall cost per order by 25 percent. The new Pinterest feature clearly has its perks, and it’s only going to get better. The company has already stated that they will be upgrading Shopping Ads by adding new ad designs in order to prompt more visual cues, and expanding their Shop the Look program to more countries, i.e. France, Japan, UK, and Germany. Keep an eye out for Pinterest to introduce these upgrades in the near future.

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