Monthly Archives: March 2021
- Very few SMBs use multiple channels for their online advertising
- Facebook is the most effective channel based on the cost for CPM and CPC
- It’s important to remember that every business is unique when it comes to deciding on budget allocation
For any business in the software as a service (SaaS) space, data analysis and science are crucial to ensure they keep pushing ahead to reveal those insights that can really make a difference. With this in mind, the Cambridge MBA team looked to leverage Adzooma’s extensive data to identify new ways for SMBs to maximize their ad spend with cross-channel marketing.
For the team at Cambridge University, this was an exciting opportunity to produce some truly unique insights, given that even the big players such as Google and Microsoft only have data that pertains to their individual channels. The project promised to provide a much broader view and deliver some new insights thanks to the access to anonymized data from thousands of accounts across the three big platforms via Adzooma.
A cross-channel approach
The findings immediately identified that very few SMB customers use multiple channels (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft).
Although this wasn’t part of the main project, it was a really interesting piece of analysis and it’s something we’ve stressed the importance of a lot. Most people just stick to Google, for example, as that’s where they think they should be but that’s not always the best case for everyone’s business, and being seen across multiple touchpoints – or at least trying out multiple channels – can be crucial to digital marketing success.
Our analysis found Facebook to be the most conducive channel for SMBs based on cost (CPM, CPC) as well as return (impressions, clicks), however, it was Microsoft that came out on top for reaching a more professional and affluent audience.
The research highlighted the importance of pre-determining your specific target audience. Hence, when it comes to choosing the channel – or channels – for your business it’s really worth thinking about what you are trying to achieve with your ad spend and who you’re truly trying to reach.
What are you really trying to achieve?
Right at the offset, it’s important to think about your end goal and ask yourself who are the customers you are looking to target and what is the most efficient way to get to them.
Existing research told us that for SMBs acquiring new customers was the most chased goal on the customer journey followed by ‘generating awareness’, ‘generating leads’, and ‘retaining customers’.
Overlapping resolution methodology then allowed the team to determine the impact of cost on different marketing channels. This way, SMBs would be able to effectively determine which platform is best to use when similarities occur.
We found through the research that it was the choice of the channel itself that had the most significant impact on both CPM and CPC. Having determined a connection between channel and cost KPIs, further research was conducted to find out the average CPM and CPC across Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads.
While it was Facebook that was the most cost-effective channel on average for SMBs overall, the recommendations were that businesses should still look at the click-through rates of other channels to determine whether other factors such as industry or geography could make a significant difference.
If you’re choosing between Google and Microsoft, the results suggest using Google due to its high reach and low cost, however, Microsoft could also be useful, particularly as it offers high-level targeting and demographics that can be suitable for specific business types.
What is your ad saying?
Another factor that perhaps many businesses don’t consider when deciding on a platform is the sentiment of their messaging.
When analyzing the data this was another area where the research team saw differentiation depending on the channel where the advert appeared.
Microsoft proved to be the most popular platform when it came to a positive sentiment with a CTR of 4.2 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for neutral and 3.3 percent for negative sentiment.
Interestingly, the opposite was true for Google ads where negative sentiment proved most popular with users, gaining a CTR rate of 6.5 percent compared to 5.7 percent for neutral and negative messaging.
Again, it highlights how important it is to take that time to tweak your ads for testing purposes and learn what works best for your target customers so you can capitalize on your spends.
Every business is unique
It’s no secret that the one size fits all approach doesn’t necessarily work. All businesses are different and therefore their ad spend and utilization will of course differ.
Some people, as we all do, want to go with the stats and what has proven to have worked historically for businesses, and whilst that can be taken into account, that’s not to stay that it will work for every business. Therefore, it’s always important to remember to take the time to consider where you are spending and who you are trying to reach.
Plus, it is worth remembering that although Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads are the most popular online advertising platforms, there are alternative (and less expensive) places to list your ads including Reddit, Amazon, and industry-specific sites such as Capterra. Despite having fewer users, these are still effective as it’s often easier to reach your exact target audience and could work as an addition to your primary platform.
We hope that through this research we’ve provoked SMBs to think carefully about their target audience and specific objectives prior to ad spend allocation. What we’ve showcased here is that the advertising platforms explored within this study work effectively in their own right depending on the end goal and we hope these insights will enable SMBs to achieve greater overall results.
These learnings help determine how cross-channel partnerships can be best leveraged for SMB customers. As Facebook seems to be the most used channel by 70 percent of SMBs, and data analysis suggests it is optimal in terms of cost and return, the data will be used to scale Facebook features and opportunities. A lot of the learnings we unearthed from this study will also go directly into the core technology of the Adzooma product.
Rob Wass is Co-founder and CEO of Adzooma.
Akanshaa Khare is currently pursuing an MBA at Cambridge University and has five years of Product Management experience and three years of Consulting experience, helping consulting firms such as BCG and ZS Associates.
The post Cross-channel marketing: why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Google basket appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Last October as Slack was preparing for its virtual Frontiers conference, the company began thinking about different ways people could communicate on the platform. While it had built its name on being able to integrate a lot of services in a single place to alleviate the dreaded task-switching phenomenon, it has been largely text-based up until now.
More recently, Slack has started developing a few new features that could bring different ways of interacting to the platform. CEO Stewart Butterfield discussed them on Thursday with former TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine, now a SignalFire investor, in a Clubhouse interview.
The talk was about the future of work, and Slack believes these new ways of communicating could help employees better connect online as we shift to a hybrid work world — one which has been hastened by the pandemic over the last year. There is a general consensus that many companies will continue to work in a hybrid fashion, even when the pandemic is over.
For starters, Slack aims to add a way to communicate by video. But instead of trying to compete with Zoom or Microsoft Teams, Slack is envisioning an experience that’s more like Instagram Stories.
Think about the CEO sharing an important announcement with the company, or the kind of information that might have gone out in a companywide email. Instead, you can skip the inbox and deliver the message directly by video. It’s taking a page from the consumer approach to social and trying to move it into the enterprise.
Writing in a company blog post earlier this week, Slack chief product officer Tamar Yehoshua was clear this was going to be an asynchronous approach, rather than a meeting kind of experience.
“To help with this, we are piloting ways to shift meetings toward an asynchronous video experience that feels native in Slack. It allows us to express nuance and enthusiasm without a meeting,” she wrote.
While it was at it, Slack decided to create a way of just chatting by voice. As Butterfield told Constine in his Clubhouse interview, this is essentially Clubhouse (or Twitter Spaces) being built for Slack.
Yeah, I’ve always believed the ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ thing, so we’re just building Clubhouse into Slack, essentially. Like that idea that you can drop in, the conversation’s happening whether you’re there or not, you can enter and leave when you want, as opposed to a call that starts and stops, is an amazing model for encouraging that spontaneity and that serendipity and conversations that only need to be three minutes, but the only option for you to schedule them is 30 minutes. So look out for Clubhouse built into Slack.
Again, it’s taking a consumer social idea and applying it to a business setting with the idea of finding other ways to keep you in Slack when you could be using other tools to achieve the same thing, whether it be Zoom meetings, email or your phone.
Butterfield also hinted that another feature — asynchronous audio, allowing you to leave the equivalent of a voicemail — could be coming some time in the future. A Slack spokesperson confirmed that it was in the works, but wasn’t ready to share details yet.
It’s impossible to look at these features without thinking about them in the context of the $ 27 billion Salesforce acquisition of Slack at the end of last year. When you put them all together, you have this set of tools that let you communicate in whatever way makes the most sense to you.
When you combine that Slack Connect DM, a new feature to communicate outside the organization that was released this week to some controversy, as people wanted assurances that they could control spam and harassment, it takes the concept one step further — outside the organization itself.
As part of a larger entity like Salesforce, these tools could be useful across sales, service and even marketing as a way to communicate in a variety of ways inside and outside the organization. And they greatly expand the value prop of Slack as it becomes part of Salesforce sometime later this year.
While it began talking about the new audio and video features last fall, the company has been piloting them since the beginning of this year. So far Slack is not saying when the new features will be generally available.
Catch up on the most important updates from this week.
Feed: All Latest
With first-party data becoming more relevant and third-party cookies becoming a thing of the past, this leaves marketers questioning, how can I best prepare?
Read more at PPCHero.com
If you’re old enough to remember the outrage that followed Twitter’s decision to replace stars with hearts (aka likes instead of favorites), then you know that Twitter’s user base has strong feelings about how it wants to engage with tweets. Now, Twitter is considering another radical change on this front that could shake things up yet again. The company has been surveying users throughout the month to get input on how they feel about a broader set of emoji-style reactions, similar to what you’d see on Facebook.
“We’re exploring additional ways for people to express themselves in conversations happening on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said of the survey.
Specifically, Twitter’s survey proposed a few different sets of reaction emojis, all of which include the heart (like), laughing face with tears (funny), thinking face (interesting) and crying face (sad).
It then proposed some variations on this basic set, where the “awesome” sentiment could be expressed with either the shocked face or fire emoji, or where a “support” sentiment could be indicated with either the hug emoji or the raised hands.
More controversially, Twitter is considering a way for users to signal a general like or dislike for the tweet with either a thumbs up or thumbs down, a “100” in either green or red to indicate “agree” or “disagree,” or a green up arrow icon or red down arrow icon, reminiscent of Reddit’s upvote and downvote mechanisms.
The survey questions demonstrated that Twitter is aware of the challenges that come with introducing emoji reactions that could imply negative sentiments. It asked the respondents how they would want to take advantage of a downvote or dislike, for example — whether they would use the reaction instead of replying to a tweet, or whether they would downvote irrelevant or offensive tweets, as well.
Twitter also asked how users would feel if their own tweets were downvoted and whether that would discourage them from tweeting in the future, or if they would take it more as “constructive” feedback about their content. (Ha!)
The company clearly understands that the introduction of reaction sets could have a significant impact on how people engage with Twitter content and, potentially, could even lead to a chilling effect on Twitter usage if people became overly concerned about having their tweets downvoted.
That said, the upvote and downvote mechanism — whether as thumbs or arrows or anything else — remains a common way to engage with content elsewhere on the web. This includes not only forum sites like Reddit and others, but also YouTube, Imgur and Pandora, to name a few. A “thumbs up” signal by itself, meanwhile, is even more popular thanks to Facebook’s lead. But today, this like button can also take the shape of an arrow, heart or just a box to click — like when you mark an Amazon.com user review as “Helpful,” for example.
Meanwhile, the use of expanded emoji reactions has become more common since Facebook’s emoji reaction set debuted in 2015. Since then, other social media sites adopted their use, like LinkedIn. Twitter even added emoji reactions to its DMs (direct messages) last year.
Twitter’s survey additionally asked users about how the thought the emoji reactions should be displayed — like whether negative reaction counts should be visible, for instance.
Twitter told TechCrunch the work it’s doing in the space of reactions is exploratory — it’s only running this survey now because the company is thinking about ways people could add more nuance to the conversations they’re having, and how, by doing so, readers would be able to better understand the additional context around those conversations. Plus, Twitter notes that the new emoji reactions would not replace the “heart;” they’re additive.
But although Twitter hasn’t yet built out its emoji reaction set or put it into testing, it appears it’s on the path to do so.
In response to a user’s recent request to test emoji reactions instead of just hearts, Twitter Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis replied, “we’ll have something for you soon.”
We’ll have something for you soon.
— Dantley Davis (@dantley) March 19, 2021
The task won’t be easy: Tugboats, excavators, and cranes all may be enlisted to help the Ever Given, while at least 34 other ships wait around the blockage.
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- Google recently rolled out the “Full Coverage” feature for mobile SERPs
- Will this impact SEO traffic for news sites, SEO best practices, and content strategies?
- Here’s what in-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs foresee
Google’s “Full Coverage” update rolled out earlier this month – but what does it really mean for news-SEOs? In-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs weigh in.
As a news-SEO person myself, I was eager to get my peers’ opinions on:
- If this feature will result in greater SEO traffic for news sites?
- If editorial SEO best practices and content strategies will evolve because of it?
- If it will result in closer working relationships between SEO and editorial teams?
- Or, will everything remain “business as usual”?
ICYMI: Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search
Google added the “full coverage” feature to its mobile search functionality earlier this month – with the aim of making it easier for users to explore content related to developing news stories from a diverse set of publishers, perspectives, and media slants.
Just below the “Top Stories” carousel, users will now begin seeing the option to tap into “Full Coverage”/“More news on…” for developing news stories. The news stories on this page will be organized in a variety of sub-news topics (versus one running list of stories like we’re used to seeing), such as:
- Top news
- Local news
- Beyond the headlines, and more
Take a look at in-action, here:
While the concept of Google “Full Coverage” was developed back in 2018, it pertained strictly to the Google News site and app. The technology, temporal co-locality, works by mapping the relationships between entities – and understanding the people, places, and things in a story right as it evolves. And then, organizes it around storylines all in real-time to provide “full coverage” on the topic searched for.
The launch of Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search, specifically, is exciting because it takes its technology a step further; able to detect long-running news stories that span many days, like the Super Bowl, to many weeks or months like the pandemic to serve to users. The feature is currently available to English speakers in the U.S. and will be rolled out to additional languages and locations over the next few months.
What five news-SEO experts think about “Full Coverage” in mobile search
1. Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive
Lily Ray is a Senior SEO Director at Path Interactive in New York. She’s a prominent voice within the SEO community (with +15K followers on Twitter), and has been nominated for multiple search marketing awards throughout her career. She is well known for her E-A-T expertise. Here’s what she had to say:
“Full Coverage appears to be another new tool in Google’s arsenal for displaying a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints on recent news and events. It’s a good thing for publisher sites because it represents another opportunity to have news content surfaced organically. It may also serve as a way for niche or local publishers to gain more visibility in organic search, since Google is specifically aiming to show a broader range of viewpoints that may not always come across with the major publications.
Hopefully, Google will allow us to be able to monitor the performance of Full Coverage via either Search Console or Google Analytics, so we can segment out how our articles do in this area compared to in other areas of search.”
2. Louisa Frahm, SEO Editor at The LA Times
Louisa Frahm currently serves as the SEO Editor at the Los Angeles Times and is also pursuing a master’s degree in communication management at the University of Southern California. Prior to the LA Times, Frahm was an SEO strategist at other high-profile digital publications including Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, TMZ, Yahoo!, and E! Online. Here’s her take:
“I’ve always liked that element of Google News. It taps into readers (like me!) who are consistently hungry for more information.
Working in the journalism field, I’m always in favor of readers utilizing a diverse array of news sources. I’m glad that this new update will tap into that. I’m interested to see which stories will fall into the “develop over a period of time” criteria. I could see it working well for extended themes like COVID-19, but big breakout themes like Harry and Meghan could also potentially fit that bill.
A wide variety of story topics have resulted from that Oprah interview, and fresh angles keep flowing in! As we’re in the thick of 2021 awards season, I could also see the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars playing into this with their respective news cycles before, during, and after the events.
The long-term aspect of this update inspires me to request more updates from writers on recurring themes, so we can connect with the types of topics this particular feature likes. Though pure breaking news stories with short traffic life cycles will always be important for news SEO, this feature reinforces the additional importance of more evergreen long-term content within a publisher’s content strategy.
I could see this update providing a traffic boost, since it provides one more way for stories to get in front of readers. We always want as many eyeballs as possible on our content. Happy to add one more element to my news SEO tool kit. Google always keeps us on our toes!”
3. Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital
Barry Adams is the founder of SEO consultancy, Polemic Digital. He has earned numerous search marketing awards throughout his career and has also spoken at several industry conferences. His company has helped news and publishing companies such as – The Guardian, The Sun, FOX News, and Tech Radar to name a few. This is his opinion:
“The introduction of Full Coverage directly into search results will theoretically mean there’s one less click for users to make when trying to find the full breadth of reporting on a news topic.
Whether this actually results in significantly more traffic for publishers is doubtful. The users who are interested in reading a broad range of sources on a news story will already have adopted such click behaviour via the news tab or directly through Google News.
This removal of one layer of friction between the SERP and a larger number of news stories seems more intended as a way for Google to emphasize its commitment to showing news from all kinds of publishers – the fact remains that the initial Top Stories box is where the vast majority of clicks happen. This Full Coverage option won’t change that.”
4. John Shehata, Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, Founder of NewzDash News SEO
John Shehata is the Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, the media company known for brands such as – Architectural Digest, Allure, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. He’s also the founder of NewzDash News SEO – a News & Editorial SEO tool that helps publishers and news sites boost their visibility and traffic in Google Search. This is his opinion:
“Google has been surfacing more news stories on their SERPs over the past few years, first Top Stories were two-three links then it became a 10-link carousel. Google then started grouping related stories together expanding Top Stories carousel from one to three featuring up 30 news stories. They also introduced local news carousels for some local queries, [and now, this new feature]. It is obvious that Google keeps testing with different formats when it comes to news. One of our top news trends and prediction for 2021 is Google will continue to introduce multiple and different formats in the SERPs beyond Top Stories article formats.
As of the impact on traffic back to publishers, it is a bit early to predict but I do not expect much boost in traffic. Do not get more wrong, this feature provides more chances for more publishers to be seen, the question is how many search users will click. And if users click, Google surfaces over 50 news links plus tweets which makes it even more competitive for publishers to get clicks back to their stories.
I did some quick analysis back in July of last year When Google Search Console started providing News tab data. I found that News Impressions are less than five percent of total web impressions. Not quite sure how is the new “Full Coverage” feature CTR will be and how many users will click! The “full coverage” link placement is better than the tabs, so we might see higher CTR.”
5. Claudio Cabrera, Deputy Audience Director, News SEO at The New York Times
Claudio Cabrera serves as the Deputy Audience Director of News SEO at the New York Times. He is an award-winning audience development expert, journalist, and educator. Prior to working at The New York Times, he was Director of Social and Search strategy at CBS Local. Here are his thoughts:
“It can be looked at in so many ways. Some brands will look at it as an opportunity to gain more visibility while some will feel their strong foothold may be lost. I think it just encourages better journalism and even better SEO because it forces us to think outside of our playbooks and adjust on some level to what we’re seeing Google provide users.
From a site traffic perspective, I can’t really comment on whether this has affected us or not but I do know there are so many other areas where sites have done serious research and testing into like Discover where audiences can grow and be picked up if you do see a drop-off. I don’t think the best practices of SEO change too much but I think the relationship between search experts and editors deepens and becomes even closer due to the changes in the algo.”
Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search rolled out earlier this month and is an extension of the full coverage function developed for Google News back in 2018. The aim of this new feature is to help users gain a holistic understanding of complex news stories as they develop – by organizing editorial content in such a way that it goes beyond the top headlines and media outlets. In essence, giving users the “full coverage” of the event.
News-SEO experts seem to be in agreement that this new feature will make it simpler for users to explore – and gain a holistic understanding of – trending news stories. As far as what this new feature means for SEO traffic and strategy, experts can only speculate until more developing news stories emerge and we can analyze impact.
Elizabeth Lefelstein is an SEO consultant based in Los Angeles, California. She’s worked with a variety of high-profile brands throughout her career and is passionate about technical SEO, editorial SEO, and blogging. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @lefelstein.
The post What five news-SEO experts make of Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search results appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
OneTrust, a late stage privacy platform startup, announced it was adding ethics and compliance to the mix this morning by acquiring Convercent, a company that was built to help build more ethical organizations. The companies did not share the purchase price.
OneTrust just raised $ 300 million on a fat $ 5.1 billion valuation at the end of last year, and it’s putting that money to work with this acquisition. Alan Dabbiere, co-chairman at OneTrust sees this acquisition as a way to add a missing component to his company’s growing platform of services.
“Integrating Convercent instantly brings a proven ethics and compliance technology, team, and customer base into the OneTrust, further aligning the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer strategy alongside privacy, data governance, third-party risk, GRC (governance, risk and compliance), and ESG (environmental, social and governance) to build trust as a competitive advantage,” he said.
Convercent brings 750 customers and 150 employees to the OneTrust team along with its ethics system, which includes a way for employees to report ethical violations to the company and a tool for managing disclosures.
Convercent can also use data to help surface bad behavior before it’s been reported. As CEO Patrick Quinlan explained in a 2018 TechCrunch article:
“Sometimes you have this interactive code of conduct, where there’s a new vice president in a region and suddenly page views on the sexual harassment section of the Code of Conduct have increased 200% in the 90 days after he started. That’s easy, right? There’s a reason that’s happening, and our system will actually tell you what’s happening.”
Quinlan wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal that joining forces with OneTrust will give it the resources to expand its vision.
“As a part of OneTrust, we’ll be combining forces with the leader across privacy, security, data governance, third-party risk, GRC, ESG—and now—ethics and compliance. Our customers will now be able to build centralized programs across these workstreams to make trust a competitive differentiator,” Quinlan wrote.
Convercent was founded in 2012 and has raised over $ 100 million, according to Pitchbook data. OneTrust was founded in 2016. It has over 8000 customers and 150 employees and has raised $ 710 million, according to the company.
With so many people around the world turning to online shopping this year, advertisers need to measure how effective their digital campaigns are at driving online sales. What’s more, data-protection authorities in Europe may now require many businesses to obtain consent from users on their digital properties for activities related to advertising and/or analytics—impacting advertisers’ understanding of how users are converting on their sites.
Last month, we shared that we’ve integrated our ads systems with the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) v2.0. For businesses that choose to use this method to gather user consent, Google’s ad systems will read and respect the Transparency and Consent String, so businesses can comply with applicable regulations.
For advertisers who choose not to use TCF v2.0, we’re introducing a new solution to offer more flexibility in how they use Google tags alongside their user consent tools. Consent Mode introduces two new tag settings that manage cookies for advertising and analytics purposes for advertisers using the global site tag or Google Tag Manager. These two settings can be used to customize how Google tags behave before and after users make their consent decisions – helping advertisers more effectively measure conversions, while respecting user consent choices for ads cookies and analytics cookies.
Using Consent Mode with Google’s ad platforms
Attributing conversions to the campaign that drove them is a key priority for advertisers. It helps them better optimize campaign bids and reallocate budget towards the best performers. With Consent Mode, advertisers can achieve greater insight into conversion data while also making sure that the Google tags helping them measure conversions are reflecting users’ consent choices for ads cookies.
With Consent Mode, campaigns running on Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, and Search Ads 360 will be able to continue reporting conversions – while respecting users’ consent choices for ads cookies. And because you’re able to retain conversion measurement in your campaign reporting, you’ll be able to continue attributing conversions to the right campaign and optimize your campaign bidding efficiently.
Using Consent Mode with Google Analytics
Consent Mode also works with Google Analytics. This means that Analytics will be able to understand and respect user consent for ads cookies. For example, when the “ad_storage” tag setting is disabled for unconsented users, Analytics will not read or write ads cookies, meaning that optional features that rely on Google signals, like remarketing, will be disabled.
In addition to the “ad_storage” tag setting, Consent Mode provides advertisers with a new tag setting, “analytics_storage,” which controls analytics cookie usage. Let’s say you would like to request consent for both analytics and ads cookies from users on your website. You can use Consent Mode to update Google tag behavior based on the user selection for each type of cookie. Analytics will adjust data collection based on user consent for each of the “ad_storage” and “analytics_storage” settings. For example, if a user does not provide consent for ads cookies (and therefore advertising purposes are disabled), but does provide consent for analytics cookies, advertisers will still be able to measure site behavior and conversions in Analytics as the “analytics_storage” setting will be enabled.
Consent Mode is available in beta to a limited number of advertisers that operate in Europe and already use the global site tag or Tag Manager. To learn more about the feature, visit our Help Center here.
If you’re interested in getting started with Consent Mode, please reach out to your Google account team. Implementing Consent Mode requires adding a few lines of code above your global site tag or Tag Manager container. To help with this process, we have partnered closely with several Consent Management Platforms. A few are already integrated with Consent Mode and are ready to help.
Changes designed to improve user privacy are continuing to impact the digital advertising ecosystem, and we’re committed to helping your business navigate this new environment. To learn more about steps you can take, download our privacy playbook. And stay tuned for more new capabilities to help you manage and respect user consent choices for ads and analytics cookies across platforms.
Messaging platform Telegram, which recently passed 500 million monthly active users but still isn’t monetizing all the digital chatter it hosts — has taken in a little more funding to keep its engines ticking over.
Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor, is throwing in $ 75M in exchange for 5-year pre-IPO convertible bonds of Telegram — with Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners investing a further $ 75M, the pair said today in a press release.
The investment is touted as a strategic partnership, with Mubadala anticipating benefits for Abu Dhabi’s startup ecosystem by having a local Telegram presence drawing in skills and talent to the capital.
Per Reuters Telegram will be opening an office in Abu Dhabi following the investment — building out its regional presence from a Dubai, UAE base.
Commenting in a statement, Pavel Durov, Telegram founder and CEO, said: “We are honoured by the $ 150M investment into Telegram from Mubadala and Abu Dubai Catalyst Partners. We look forward to developing this strategic partnership to continue our growth in the MENA region and globally.”
To date, Telegram has been bankrolled over a seven+ year lifespan by Durov, who made ~$ 300M from selling his stake in the vk social network he also founded — aka Russia’s ‘Facebook’ — back in 2015.
But sustaining a messaging platform with half a billion users can’t be done through billionaire bootstrapping alone.
Some additional investment did come in via Telegram’s recent attempt to launch a blockchain platform. However the effort was derailed by US regulators last year — forcing it to refund most (but not all) of the money it had booked for the failed TON platform — so speculation over how Telegram will monetize its platform goes on.
In recent weeks Durov has responded to this chatter via his public Telegram channel to confirm he’s considering introducing ads for “large one-to-many channels” — but pledging he won’t do so in chats.
He has also rejected the notion of using user data to target ads — a move that would undermine the loud privacy promises Telegram repeatedly makes to users to put clear blue water between its platform and the (Facebook-owned) data-mining competition.
“Users will be able to opt out of ads, but I do think that privacy-conscious ads are a good way for channel owners to monetize their efforts — as an alternative to donations or subscriptions, which we are also working to offer them,” Durov wrote last month.
Telegram’s usage has, meanwhile, continued to swell this year — boosted by users switching from Facebook-owned WhatsApp over privacy concerns. So there’s limited room for copycat monetization, unless Durov is willing to trash his personal ‘pro-privacy, pro-user’ brand. To say that’s highly unlikely is an understatement.
Nonetheless, he has further limited his options by rejecting a series of investment offers in recent months.
A report in Russian press earlier this year said he’d rejected an investment offer for a 5%-10% stake in the company that had valued it at $ 30BN. We’ve also been told he rejected a higher offer that had valued Telegram at $ 35BN — and another of $ 4BN at a $ 40BN pre-money valuation.
“Durov is afraid of investors of any kind,” one source told us on why he refused to give up any equity.
Debt financing seems to be Telegram’s preferred route at this stage. Back in January The Information reported that it was discussing raising up to $ 1BN in debt financing from with banks and investors — which would convert to shares in an eventual public offering.
That debt route — via pre-IPO convertible bonds — is now taking shape with today’s investment news out of Abu Dhabi. Although $ 150M is a lot less than the rumoured $ 1BN so this may be just an initial tranche. (And may in fact be needed to pay back TON investors’ whose refunds are falling due.)
But with a couple of debt backers sticking their necks out to take a punt on Durov’s anti-establishment alternative — and on the chance of an Telegram IPO by 2026 — the company is in a better position to get buy in from other debt funders, including in the region as it deepens its geographical commitment to the Middle East.
One key attraction for Telegram backers is likely to be its agile product dev. There Durov has repeatedly shown he can deliver — growing usage of his platform with the help of a steady pipeline of user-focused features.
Efforts on the product side at this stage look geared towards pivoting into a Patreon-style platform for content creators to build communities of followers willing to pay for their content (which would thereby enable Telegram to monetize by taking a cut as commission).
“Our end goal is to establish a new class of content creators — one that is financially sustainable and free to choose the strategy that is best for their subscribers,” wrote Durov last month. “Traditional social networks have exploited users and publishers for far too long with excessive data collection and manipulative algorithms. It’s time to change this.”
Just over a month later his channel lit up again with more product news — this time capitalizing on the buzz around social audio with the announcement of the launch of a Clubhouse-clone on Telegram channels dubbed “voice chats 2.0”.
He also announced feature that lets admins of channels and public groups host voice chats for millions of live listeners — taking the cap off the earlier feature. “No matter how popular your talk gets, new people will be able to tune in. It’s like public radio reinvented fo the 21st century,” Telegram’s blog post enthused.
Durov had more developments to tease: One-to-many video broadcasts that will see the platform let users host their own ‘TV stations’ which he said will be coming this “spring”. So Telegram continues to evolve as the social app landscape shifts.
Commenting on the debt financing in a statement, James Munce, CFO and COO of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners (ADCP), lauded Telegram’s management team’s “unshakeable dedication to building a platform centred around privacy and user experience”.
“We believe this creates a strong value proposition and will be a focal point for social media platforms and a new era of messaging,” he added.
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