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Digital News to Watch: Marketing giant ‘admits it listens to your conversations to sell targeted ads’

Welcome to the latest instalment in our series of weekly roundups, where we bring you the latest exciting developments in the world of digital marketing. This week, we delve into the truth about how conversations online are monitored for targeted advertising purposes and much more…

Let’s dive into some of the latest and exciting updates and news from the marketing world…


Marketing giant ‘admits it listens to your conversations to sell targeted ads’

Prominent U.S. marketing company Cox Media Group (CMG) has acknowledged monitoring conversations for targeted advertising purposes. Collaborating with renowned brands such as CBS, Fox News, and ESPN, CMG has allegedly promoted its ability to eavesdrop on consumers using microphones in smartphones, TVs, and smart speakers. The agency has named this capability “Active Listening” and actively pitched this service to advertisers, highlighting the feature on its website, as reported by 404.

The significance lies in the context of the global push for heightened privacy, including initiatives like the phasing out of third-party cookies. These revelations have taken the PPC community by surprise, triggering speculation about potential consequences and serving as a cautionary note to the broader industry. Read more here:


Consumers are multihyphenates. With a new strategy, agencies can become them, too

The word ‘multihyphenate’ gets thrown around in entertainment, usually to describe a celebrity who expands into a new vertical through a brand partnership or other sideways move. But when brands and agencies think about culture, they can lose sight of the fact that we should think of consumers as multihyphenates, too, developing work that appeals to their passion points that run across and intersect within the cultural spectrum. Read more here:


Google Search Results Super Volatile Days After Reviews Update Completed

The most recent Google confirmed update, the November 2023 reviews update, concluded last Thursday afternoon on the 7th. However, even days after its completion, the Google search results continue to exhibit significant volatility. The online landscape is buzzing with fluctuations, and discussions within the digital community are fervent.

The aftermath of this update has stirred up considerable chatter, indicating that the impact on search rankings and visibility remains a topic of intense discussion and analysis. Digital experts are closely monitoring the ongoing fluctuations, providing insights and interpretations as the SEO community grapples with the aftermath of this noteworthy update. Read more here:


Meta Is Scraping Photos from Facebook and Instagram to Create AI Images

Meta has recently unveiled a new standalone AI image generator. This technology relies on its Emu image synthesis, and the mechanics behind it may come as a surprise.

The Meta AI, called Imagine, is already integrated into Meta apps such as Messenger and Instagram. Now, it can be accessed in a browser window, offering an impressive experience. The only caveat is that users need to provide the source images. Read more here:


‘We have to adapt and change’: How will marketers manage marcom spend in 2024?

Optimism is in short supply as marketers face up to another year of constrained spend – but where that spend will be directed is ever-evolving. 2023 hasn’t quite matched the volatility of 2022. Inflation has slowed, and the government has almost managed to keep its prime minister for an entire calendar year. But conditions have still been less than ideal, which weighed on marketing spend going into the year’s final six months. Read more here:


Google local search ranking algorithm strengthens “openness” signal

Google’s local search ranking algorithm has undergone a recent update to enhance its “openness” signal for non-navigational queries. Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, stated, “we’ve long used ‘openness’ as part of our local ranking systems, and it recently became a stronger signal for non-navigational queries.”

What changed? Earlier this month, a report revealed that Google is more likely to rank open businesses higher in its local search rankings compared to closed businesses. “As of November 2023, Google seems to be considering whether a business is currently open as a ranking factor for local pack rankings,” noted Joy Hawkins in her report. Read more here:


If you’re looking for some expert advice on how to keep your digital marketing strategies up to date and follow the trends in a rapidly moving market – get in touch with us. Our team of experts will be more than willing to discuss your requirements and offer their knowledge – just fire over an email to and we’ll get back to you.

Kylie Moody - Modo25
Kylie Moody
Kylie Moody - Modo25
Kylie Moody

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