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The following is a transcription of the Tailwind Flash Briefing published February 17th, 2020. To listen activate through the Amazon Alexa Skill store.

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Tailwind Digital Minute Flash Briefing for February 17th, 2020

Good morning listeners, today is Monday, February 17th and this is the Tailwind Weekly Digital Minute. Your go to source for everything happening in the digital marketing landscape. I’m Priscilla Plazola and co hosting this week's episode and helping me bring you the latest news is Tailwind’s very own, Harrison Sharp.

Hello everyone. We’re continuing that “connected” story method we did last week so you can count on our stories building on each other again. First we’ll be talking to you about Shopify’s revenue growth and their marketing offerings. Second we’ll be talking about Microsoft and Bing changes that the community is not on board with. Yeah, we can only assume we’ve built up a little curiosity for how those are connected so, without further ado, let’s jump in to this week’s briefing.

Shopify Cites Revenue Growth as A Result of New Marketing Offerings

Shopify’s reporting annual revenues of over $1.57 billion as they continue to invest in new technology and a lot that can be attributed to some of their new marketing capabilities.

In particular, Q4 revenues grew 47% in 2019, essentially $505 million dollars, with offerings Shopify Email and Native Chat for sites being signified as big contributors.

Before we dive in to why this is exciting news to marketers, we want to call out what these two services are. Shopify Email allows Shopify merchants to create, execute and monitor email marketing campaigns natively within the platform and will be generally available to all merchants within the coming month or two.

Native chat, a consumer-facing function that displays chat tools on all pages of the merchant’s online store, has been available for no additional cost since midway through 2019. Shopify chat integrates with Shopify Ping, the company’s mobile messaging app, making it a dual sided tool for conquering both markets.

What makes this important is this a clear indicator of Shopify’s efforts to become a centralized, full force, end-to-end retail and marketing platform built for all merchants and sellers.

And from the constant, considerable growth that they’ve experienced over the last couple of years, it definitely seems like it’s working.

To summarize a big part of their 2019, Shopify launched its Shopify Distribution network, acquired 6 River Systems, added machine-learning powered inventory management systems and introduced the two platforms we already mentioned, pointing to a clear dedication to improving and growing their own offerings and abilities.

To quote Shopify CEO, Harley Finklestein, “With consumer expectations rising for fast and affordable delivery, fulfillment poses a challenge to all businesses; Combining our economies of scale with the automate fulfillment technology… we will enable our merchants to better compete with the largest business on the planet.”

We also want to call out that Shopify Marketing has begun integrating with Microsoft Advertising to allow merchants to extend their reach into the Microsoft, (Bing), search network.

Additional Resources:

https://marketingland.com/shopify-revenue-grew-47-in-q4-as-merchants-take-advantage-of-new-marketing-capabilities-275864

Microsoft Almost Forces Bing Search On Chrome & Firefox

Speaking of Microsoft’s Search Network, Microsoft has, in what’s being called a halfhearted reversal, begun to compromise and not force their newest extension on users.

Said extension was one that was announced back in January of this year and would have, if launched normally, forced chrome and firefox to permanently default to Bing search as opposed to offering the choice of Google or other search networks.

As for what’s being considered “predatory fashion,” the extension would’ve automatically saught out, through both the network and the local device files, installations of independent browsers and then changed their configuration files to preference Bing.

However, it is important we call out, this delay is just a delay… not a permanent change.

For now, administrators on Microsoft devices will be required to opt-in to allow these browsers to be automatically changed and actions will be initially limited only to Active Directory joined devices.

In fact, a representative from Microsoft was quoted saying: “In the future we will add specific settings to govern the deployment of the extension to unmanaged devices.”

Search Engine Land contributor Detlef Johnson points out a very good insight in his article on the reversal in which he says: “Ironically, ink from the press about the backlash gave the search capability of Microsoft in Bing a spotlight that the extension may not have received otherwise.”

This is blatantly an effort to attempt to steal market share away from Google and shift the organic and paid marketplace. Considering the wide range of Microsoft devices, Bing’s integration would serve to compete aggressively against Google’s inability to expand its reach without “emulating its own suite of interoperable services appearing in search results.”

Considering we like to utilize paid search on a lot of our digital media campaigns, and for many clients that involves Bing, it’s interesting to see how this movement could, in the future, result in even more budgetary splits.

Additional Resources:

https://searchengineland.com/microsoft-office-extension-pauses-on-forcing-chrome-firefox-search-defaults-to-bing-329016

https://searchengineland.com/default-search-in-chrome-switched-to-bing-for-office-365-proplus-users-328121

 

Well, that’s all we have for you this week in terms of the biggest marketing news. For more information, links to all of our wonderful resources, and a transcription of this week’s briefing, head on over to FindYourTailwind.com/blog. I’m Harrison Sharp

And I’m Priscilla Plazola

And that’s been your tailwind digital minute.

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