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Microsoft Discusses Coming Ads in Bing Chatbot Experience.

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Microsoft Discusses Coming Ads in Bing Chatbot Experience.

With generative AI being integrated into search engines, one of the key questions for marketers is what that will mean for SEO, and how search ads may, or may not, work in future.

Microsoft, which is in early testing with its new Bing chatbot experience, has provided some early pointers on this, explaining to ad agencies that, soon, it will allow paid links within AI-generated responses to search results, along with contextual pop-ups around relevant queries.

So, for example, in a query like this, Microsoft would look to utilize the available screen real estate to display relevant promotions or products, while ads could also be directly integrated into the response – e.g. ‘the Malaga Hotel has a special offer available now on rooms’.

Microsoft says that Bing chatbot ads will also be bigger and more prominent than regular search ads, which could provide more opportunity to reach users in the discovery phase.

Though it will also come with a level of risk. Already, Microsoft’s new chatbot experience has led to some interesting exchanges with the AI, where the system has gone off the rails and tried to break-up marriages, lie to users, and plan for world domination.

These types of exchanges have seen some call for more stringent controls around AI usage, particularly given the system’s propensity to distribute false or misleading information.

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That could have big implications for advertising and brand safety, especially if brands have concerns about their ads appearing alongside these types of questionable responses.

But still, the waitlist for the new Bing chatbot experience is well into the millions, and it could represent a significant new opportunity for the tech giant.

It’s possible that we shouldn’t be looking to jump into AI so fast, given such concerns, but if we’re doing it anyway, it seems that Microsoft, at least, is going to make a profit.

Will that factor into your advertising approach? The evolution of Bing chat throughout 2023 will likely provide more indicators on this.

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Biggest fines under EU privacy law

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Mark Zuckerberg's social media firm -- owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp -- has racked up roughly two billion euros in fines

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media firm — owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — has racked up roughly two billion euros in fines – Copyright /File Brendan Smialowski

Joseph BOYLE and Jules Bonnard

The European Union rolled out its mammoth data privacy regulation five years ago this week, and has since handed down billions in fines.

Ireland’s data watchdog smashed the record for an individual fine on Monday when it demanded 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from Meta over its transfers of personal data between Europe and the United States.

Here are some of the worst offenders of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

– Meta: undisputed fine king –

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media firm — owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — has racked up roughly two billion euros in fines.

Breaches by Meta have included a mega-leak of some 533 million phone numbers and emails, mishandling children’s data and repeatedly failing to give a legal basis for its data collection.

Meta, along with the likes of Google, Twitter and LinkedIn has its European headquarters in Ireland, a low-tax regime that has courted big tech.

The Irish privacy watchdog has been reluctant to hand down big fines but said in a statement on Monday that the EU’s central authorities had ordered it to collect 1.2 billion euros from Meta.

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Austrian campaign group NOYB said it had spent millions in a decade-long legal battle to force the Irish watchdog to tackle the case.

“It is kind of absurd that the record fine will go to Ireland — the EU Member State that did everything to ensure that this fine is not issued,” said NOYB’s Max Schrems.

– US giants: In Meta’s shadow –

Luxembourg lit a torch under the Silicon Valley data industry in 2021 by slapping Amazon with a record fine of 746 million euros.

The country, whose low-tax policies have led campaigners to label it a tax haven, refused to give details of its decision at the time, only providing a brief statement after Amazon revealed the fine in its regulatory filings.

The online retail giant had been sued by a European consumer group claiming personal data was collected for ad-targeting without permission.

However, Amazon denied any breach and promised to appeal. It is unclear whether the fine has been paid.

Google has faced plenty of GDPR pain too.

France’s data watchdog hit the search giant with 50 million euros in fines for a lack of transparency on its Android mobile operating system in 2019 — the biggest such fine of that year.

– Clearview AI: Widespread penalties –

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Clearview AI may not be a household name, but it claims to own billions of photos of people’s faces that it sells as a searchable AI-powered database to law enforcement and other clients.

It scrapes the images from the web, often from social media accounts, without asking permission.

Privacy watchdogs in Greece, Italy, France and the UK have all hit the US firm with fines totally roughly 70 million euros, and regulators in Germany and Austria have declared it illegal.

The firm has consistently said it has no offices or clients in Europe and is not subject to EU privacy laws.

The status of the fines is unclear. France issued a penalty of five million euros recently, accusing the firm of failing to pay the initial fine.

– Public bodies, hacks –

In the early days of the GDPR, several watchdogs cracked down on public institutions, raising profound questions about the regulation’s scope.

Bulgaria fined its own tax authority around three million euros in 2019 after hackers stole the details of millions of people.

But several issues in the case were referred to the European Court of Justice, including whether such a hack automatically meant the data controller had not complied with GDPR.

The court has not yet issued a final decision.

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Portugal handed down one of the first significant fines under GDPR — 400,000 euros — in November 2018 to a hospital near Lisbon.

The watchdog ruled that the institution had allowed unauthorised access to patients’ data and the case was seen as an early wake-up call for public bodies to get busy with GDPR compliance.

Portugal later gave public institutions three years to adapt to the new regime, meaning the fine was never enforced.

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I Hired Gen Zers and Was Shocked by Their Professionalism

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I Hired Gen Zers and Was Shocked by Their Professionalism
  • Jen Hartmann is the founder and CEO of a marketing agency in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • She recently hired two Gen Zers to help with social media.
  • Hartmann said the workers were eager to get feedback and improve.

Last year, Jen Hartmann found herself hours into a TikTok scroll. The founder and CEO of a marketing agency in Louisville, Kentucky, she was on the hunt for marketing trends. That night, she realized she needed a Gen Z employee. She’s since hired two and says it’s dramatically helped her brand.

This is an as-told-to essay based on an interview with Hartmann about hiring young employees. 

The interview process surprised me

I started interviewing Gen Z candidates for our roles in public-relations coordination because I was spending too much time on TikTok. As a CEO, I wanted to take a step back from client strategy. I thought Gen Z could bring a fresh perspective.

How the interview process shook out was totally unexpected.

I came to the table thinking: “They’re just looking for a job or a paycheck. They’ll be in and out the door in a month or two.”

That was not true: They came to the interviews dressed better than we were. They were prepared, had listened to relevant podcasts, and had looked at our website. And they emailed and messaged us on LinkedIn after the interviews to thank us. 

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Their level of professionalism blew my mind. They were more professional than some of the millennials we had spoken with. 

My Gen Z employees take ownership of tasks and are open to feedback

Our Gen Zers were onboarded very quickly; they didn’t need as much hand-holding as I expected.

They also asked a lot of questions. As a founder, I appreciated that they were eager to learn and get feedback — not just on what they did well but also on what they could improve.  

I was also surprised by their willingness to take ownership. They contribute good ideas during client calls without even being asked. 

And if they make a mistake, they’re willing to take responsibility and fix it.

Prioritization, however, can be a little difficult for them. When you’re a new employee, it’s hard to figure out where to start if you have 15 things on your to-do list. I’ve had to work on that with them.

And when it comes to communication, we have to deliver feedback differently. I have to be gentler so it doesn’t get miscommunicated that I’m mad at them or going to fire them.

Gen Z seems to be a little more feelings-centric than millennials. Millennials have a harder outer shell. That’s not a bad thing. It’s great that Gen Z is in touch with and open about their emotions.

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But because of that, millennial bosses need to be careful not to send the wrong message, especially if it’s all done over Slack or email.

Gen Z’s knowledge of social media is critical for businesses today

Gen Zers are constantly on TikTok. They’re very in the know, very in the loop. To keep up with our clients, we needed to bring on some Gen Zers who knew the trends and what influencers were up to.

It has made the biggest difference during client conversations. Half of their timely pitches are angles directly from TikTok. Our pitches are standing out because of this, and they’re getting picked up a lot more than they were in the past. 

Their knowledge of social also helps when building media lists, something that can take a long time for other generations. Many Gen Zers read major publications and keep up with the journalists and their work by following them on social media. That makes the lists much more effective and quicker than ever before.

Since hiring Gen Z employees, I’ve been able to take that step back that I was looking for, and their work has truly benefited the business.

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Twitter Provides Additional API Access Tier to Address Pricing Concerns

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Twitter Launches Test of Ad Targeting Based Specifically on Search Queries in the App

With its recent API access cost increases causing much angst within the developer community, Twitter has come back with a new API access tier, which will provide more tweet access for a more reasonable price.

As highlighted above, the new ‘Pro’ tweet API offering provides developers with access to a million tweets per month, at the low, low price of $5k per month – or $60k per annum. Which, for some, will be an improvement than the existing access points, which have already priced many developers and academics out of their various projects. But still, $5k per month for a million tweets is a lot – especially when Twitter’s free API access, up till February this year, provided developers with similar access to this, free of cost.

Twitter’s new API access charges, which it’s implemented to combat the creation of bot armies, are a significant jump on the previous costs, with Elon and Co. also looking to do all that they can to bring in more revenue for the company.

The updated pricing immediately saw many public service tools, like transport alerts, announce that they’d be canceling their automated Twitter updates – though Twitter has since announced that approved services like these will still be able to access the API for free.

But that doesn’t cover many other bot tools and services that also provide value, and the risk in Twitter’s approach is that it could become a less valuable utility as a result, which may eventually impact usage.

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But as noted, Musk sees the API as a potential vector for bot swarms. And as with Twitter Blue, Elon’s hoping that by tacking on extra charges to such access, that’ll effectively make it cost-prohibitive for bot creators to keep running their schemes.

Though there is another potential consideration in Musk’s API and access price rises, which is more aligned with his own personal grievances.

Twitter’s also taking on Microsoft over its use of Twitter data, via API access, which it claims is beyond the limitations imposed within Microsoft’s approved usage. Microsoft is now partnered with OpenAI, a company that Elon once had a significant investment in, and Musk’s view is that OpenAI has essentially stolen Twitter data to train its LLM systems, in order to fuel generative AI tools like ChatGPT.

The brief summary is that Elon gave OpenAI millions of dollars to assist in its development, then sought to take over as CEO of the company in 2018, in order to hasten its progress. OpenAI rebutted Musk’s offer, which then saw Elon turn his back on it, and pull all of his future funding pledges. But OpenAI had already taken some millions from Musk – and now that OpenAI is making big money from its generative AI tools, Elon is apparently not happy that he isn’t going to get a dime of that intake, despite his early involvement.

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This could be another factor in his decision to hike up the price of Twitter API access, in order to restrict other companies from taking Twitter’s proprietary data, and profiting off of his content in a similar way.

Elon’s also building his own generative AI model, which will be free of ‘woke bias’, and everything considered, it’s not beyond the scope of possibility that Elon’s pushing up the costs of Twitter API access in order to fend off his various business rivals.

(Note that Twitter is also asking API subscribers to remove any previously downloaded data, or face further legal recourse)

Though the main impetus seems to be Twitter’s need to diversify its income, with subscriptions, API access and advertising ideally settling into a more equal share of the company’s revenue pie.

Which seems unlikely to be the end result, but Elon’s trying new things – and maybe there’s enough potential indicators there to keep pushing, in order to maximize Twitter’s opportunities. Or maybe there’s not, and eventually, Twitter will have to walk these changes back. That approach is seemingly part of what’s made Musk successful, his willingness to try and fail in public, and maybe, it will present potential new opportunities for the business.

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Twitter’s new API pricing system is now in effect.  



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