Home Daily News Roundup Reddit And Google, Sitting In A Tree; Meta’s Glitch In The Matrix

Reddit And Google, Sitting In A Tree; Meta’s Glitch In The Matrix

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Reddit Here First

Google and Reddit have numerous deals – the contours of which are unknown – that will likely come under some scrutiny.

Take Reddit’s search visibility. It showed some improvement last year, but ever since a search algo update last month, Reddit has rocketed up Google pages in a way that’s “unprecedented in the history of Google Search,” per Lily Ray, VP of SEO strategy and research at performance marketing agency Amsive.

Last July, Reddit was No. 80 on Amsive’s internal index of SEO publishers – and now it’s No. 6, having surpassed IMDb and Instagram. These are the top five, if you’re curious: Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, Merriam-Webster and Facebook.

So, what’s controversial about Reddit’s rise? The quantum entanglements of Google’s and Reddit’s contracts.

Reddit, which uses both AWS and Google Cloud Platform, has pledged to spend at least $385 million on cloud over the next two years. Meanwhile, Reddit received $60 million from Google in exchange for access to proprietary Reddit data to train AI models. Plus, Google gets unique access to the Reddit data API, and Reddit will use Google for its on-platform search.

Not to mention that Google and/or Reddit seem to have made changes that propel Reddit’s SEO visibility in unprecedented ways.

People who typically take a diplomatic stance on Google SEO, like Ray, sound like reluctant conspiracy theorists – but sometimes the tin-foil hat just fits. “They’re making it pretty hard not to be skeptical that there appears to be something extremely shady going on,” Ray writes.

Bugged

Here’s a strange paradox: Meta’s ad revenue is growing at a healthy rate, but if you talk to advertisers of all sizes, the platform’s a mess.

CPMs and acquisitions costs are way up, ROAS is down, and the platform glitches constantly.

Meta may have enough supply and demand to smooth things out, especially since so many advertisers opt to let Meta’s algorithms optimize their campaigns.

But Meta also made obfuscation into a key part of its playbook.

One bizarre aspect of these glitches, as Bloomberg reports, is Meta’s seeming obliviousness. The company doesn’t acknowledge failures of its ad platform, even as massive overspending errors are documented by advertisers. It gives no explanations of the problems or fixes. Advertisers must crowdsource patchwork solutions themselves, such as figuring out on their own how to remove a certain browser extension or sign into the platform through a circuitous route.

A Meta spokesperson tells Bloomberg: “Our ads system is working as expected for the vast majority of advertisers. We recently fixed a few technical issues and are researching a small amount of additional reports.”

It cannot be overstated how out of touch with reality this response is. It may even come courtesy of the same chatbot AI that has now largely replaced Meta’s advertiser account services.

Creating The Creators

Starting this year, TikTok has been developing AI-generated “creators” that (who?) produce content and compete with real influencers for brand deals, The Information reports.

The AI influencers aren’t quite ready for their close-up, though. (Let’s hope they look better than the cast of Temu’s Super Bowl ad, which The Atlantic described as “silent, off-brand Pixar characters.”) In tests, human creations still vastly outperform AI-generated videos for ecommerce marketers.

TikTok takes the usual company line that AI avatars will complement people, not replace them, because, at least for now, the tech isn’t developed enough to operate without a human in the loop.

Generative AI systems “all spit out the same recommendations, create a sea of content, and then it won’t perform,” says Keith Bendes, VP at influencer agency Linqia. The output only becomes useful and unique when a human makes tweaks and changes.

But whether creators will always be able to outcompete their tireless AI twins is an open question.

But Wait, There’s More!

The FTC has taken action against an alcohol addiction treatment service for allegedly disclosing personal health data to third-party advertising platforms. [release]

TikTok’s brand safety tech adds “category exclusion” and “vertical sensitivity” controls. [release]

Paramount hires a bank to explore the sale of YouTube creator conference VidCon. [Adweek]

The latest version of Scope3’s green media product aims to eliminate “problematic placements.” [Digiday]

Publicis Groupe attributes its strong Q1 results to demand for data-driven marketing and a tech sector bounceback. [WSJ]

You’re Hired!

Contextual ad platform Seedtag appoints Kara Ullmann as head of political in the US. [release]

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