Hootsuite fires an employee who spoke out about its contract with a controversial U.S. government agency, big news for big brands who use big data, why is Canada’s public broadcaster getting out of the podcast business, Google wants you to tell better stories, and just when you thought SEPTEMBER was bad for Facebook ad performance...
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Today: Hootsuite fires an employee who spoke out about its contract with a controversial U.S. government agency, big news for big brands who use big data, why is Canada’s public broadcaster getting out of the podcast business, Google wants you to tell better stories, and just when you thought SEPTEMBER was bad for Facebook ad performance...
IT’S Wed, Oct 7, 2020.
Happy national kale day.
I’m Tod Maffin from engageQ digital. And here is what you missed, today in digital marketing.
Hootsuite Fires Whistleblower
What the hell is going on over at Hootsuite, anyway?
First, they form a staff committee to get opinions about whether they should accept a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement department. That’s the body that’s been connected to the death of at least six migrant children in its custody, and the alleged hysterectomies media says were forced on women in their care.
So Hootsuite asks their staff their opinion… reports say staff say No, please don’t take that contract.
They do ANYWAY… this leads to an employee tweeting about it saying “My customer satisfaction scores are really high. If they fire me, it will purely be retaliatory.”
Yeah. So.. Guess who Hootsuite just fired? Yes, the whistleblower. Not even two weeks after her tweet.
Hootsuite, which is a Canadian company, got a new American CEO early in the summer. After this all blew up a couple of weeks ago, he announced they wouldn’t be taking the contract now after all. Not because it’s wrong, of course, but rather because of the “reaction from our people.”
A PR company hired by Hootsuite to handle media inquiries wouldn’t confirm that they fired anyone — you know, privacy and all — but sent me the same statement all the other media got, which said they “support differences of thoughts and opinions within the company” but “We must be unequivocal in upholding our confidentiality obligations.”
This honestly is mis-step after mis-step.
Politics aside, why would you even want to go anywhere NEAR ICE right now? It’s one of the most controversial government agencies in America. Your staff say please don’t. You do anyway. Then, when you’re called out by an employee, you back off, and fire the employee.
Hootsuite is a certified B-corp. In fact, when you go to the B-Corp home page, Hootsuite’s logo is even displayed as a paragon of ethics.
Among the criteria for getting B-corp certification? A commitment to treating employees with dignity, and using business as a force for good.
CBC growing pains
Podcasts, of course, are one of the shiny new things in our digital marketing world and some companies have taken to creating their own branded podcasts.
Most don’t do this themselves — they hire production companies like Pacific Content or Gimlet Creative.
One production company that tried to jump into the mix was the Canadian public broadcaster — the CBC.
A month or two ago, it proudly announced a new division called Tandem that would create branded podcasts for clients.
But the CBC’s main union, the CMG, threw a flag on the field, saying producing a paid podcast series could harm the journalistic integrity of the main network. The CBC does run ads on its networks, but the CMG says developing these full series goes a bit far.
This week, the CBC said it was putting Tandem on hold. A spokesperson wouldn’t say the union’s concerns were behind the decision, only that they’re “pausing to gain deeper insights into this initiative,” which — let me translate here — is PR-speak for “the union’s concerns were behind the decision, we just don’t want to say so.”
Full disclosure, I spent 10 years at the CBC’s radio network as a host and producer, as well as being its technology columnist, and I developed the network’s first national podcast strategy.
On Monday, I told you about the huge apparently problems with Facebook’s advertising platform. People have been watching their campaigns’ performance drop right off a cliff, ever since early September, it seems.
More anecdotes are coming in — this one from our own Slack community.
One member reported yesterday: “We had a brutal September after 3 really good months for seemingly no reason. I reached out to the (very good) firm running FB ads for us to see if they saw any inexplicable downturns. Our account strategist said: Yeah it's interesting, I saw a major Facebook slowdown for you and even worse for one of my other clients. I've chatted with some of our huge clients (spend 100k plus per month in Facebook) and they have seen a similar slowdown as well although they seem to think it's more to do with the election than anything. Something more concerning is the first week of October has been awful, like red sirens awful.”
So, if your Facebook campaigns have been taking a big hit in the last few weeks — at least console yourself with the fact that somewhere in the world, there is a digital marketer like you out there, experiencing the same thing, and she’s on her 8th shot of whiskey. And it’s not even 11am.
Which reminds me — you’re missing out on all sorts of stuff in our Slack community. Just go to todayindigital.com/slack or tap the link in this episode’s notes.
Yesterday, I reported that Google will start showing Web Stories in its Google app — specifically the Discover section.
Today, they outlined six reasons your content WON’T appear there.
There are the obvious ones of course — copyrighted content that you don’t own, stuff that’s too commercial.
But there are also some things I didn’t expect. One being a lack of narrative. Google said “We don’t allow Web Stories that are missing a binding theme or narrative structure from page to page.”
Also, you can’t have too many words in your stories — 180 words is the max. Honestly, I don’t know how you’d even fit 180 words onto a single vertical Story image without it being illegible anyway.
Your videos and images have to be good quality — no distortion or too much pixelation.
And, here’s the big one — no clickbaiting. Stories that require users to click over to your site to see your content will be banned.
New Captions Editor on YouTube Studio
YouTube this morning announced it is introducing a new captions editor on YouTube Studio. This change brings:
A new pop-up window with a new design, so you don’t need to open a new browser tab.
Faster captions with parallel auto-sync processing, meaning you no longer have to wait before they assign timing to the captions you have provided or entered.
And Caption timings alongside the audio stream, so you can better see where to place your captions.
They’ve also also added a handful of keyboard shortcuts and a slider to let you to zoom into the timeline.
This next story will be big news if you work for a big brand and use big data. (Sorry.)
Google Analytics is adding a free BigQuery export option to their platform. So if you need to dump a whole pile of web visit data into an engine to crunch numbers, now you can do it.
It’s a much easier workflow than the previous method, which involved setting up a Firebase project and then sort of hacking the data into that project.
To be clear, this WAS an option before — but was only available in the paid enterprise version of Analytics, called Analytics 360. This new option will be free to everyone.
Also, and this is even cooler, there’s a new streaming export that will export your data almost live — the data becomes available to export within seconds, instead of the 10-15 minutes it used to take.
Still working hard on this candidate series I’m doing here in my hometown of Nanaimo BC. We’re having a provincial election. Some of you asked if you can hear the series — and THIS one, no, because I’m still producing it. But I did a similar series for the last federal election, and you can find the podcast at NanaimoChronicles.com or just search for Nanaimo Chronicles in your app. That’s NANAIMO Chronicles.
Talk to you tomorrow.