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Digital News to Watch: Platforms face EU Watchdog push for ad-free choice

In this week’s digital news to watch, Marketing Week’s latest survey has found that soft skills trump functional expertise to succeed in marketing, the EU privacy watchdog says that platforms like Meta should offer users an ad-free choice and Google is still Gen Z’s top search engine. All this and much more in our latest news round-up.

Soft skills trump functional marketing expertise, study finds

Soft skills around leadership and communication are more important than functional expertise to succeed in marketing, according to a new study. Leadership emerged as the most useful skill for both CMOs and senior marketing leaders, followed by communication, strategic thinking, interpersonal skills and problem-solving, according to research from Deloitte shared exclusively with Marketing Week. Functional marketing knowledge is considered only the sixth most useful skill by the 38 UK CMOs and 34 senior marketing leaders/aspiring CMOs surveyed. Martech expertise was the least useful skill listed, followed by storytelling, data analysis, and analytics.

Google Search & Maps get upgrades for greener travel

Google have updated their Search and Maps features to show greener travel options and highlight emissions data to encourage users to make more eco-friendly choices. Google Maps will suggest eco-friendly transit and walking alternative options alongside driving routes, and both Google Search and Flights will display train routes as alternatives for flying. Estimated flight emissions data will also be more widely accessible to users across Google products. Google Search’s Group Product Manager stated, “When it comes to traveling and commuting, we want people to have the right information to make more sustainable choices.”

British consumers want more than just rewards

The number of British people who expect to be rewarded for their loyalty to brands has increased significantly in the last three years. Young adults aged 18 to 24 are particularly keen on rewards programmes. More than half (51%) believe being rewarded for loyalty is among the top three ways brands can support society during crises, significantly surpassing their US counterparts (39%). These are among the findings from the latest Value Shift research from Hall & Partners, which interviewed 4,000 consumers in both the UK and the US about what matters most to them when they purchase consumer goods and services.

Platforms face EU Watchdog push for ad-free choice

The EU privacy watchdog stated that platforms like Meta should offer users the choice to use their services for free without targeted advertising, responding to Meta’s paid ad-free service. The watchdog emphasised that if platforms charge a fee for ad-free access, they should also provide an additional free alternative without behavioural advertising. This comes after national privacy regulators sought an opinion on the validity of such consent. Meta referred to previous blogs, stating that the ‘subscription for no ads’ aligns with a European Union court ruling. Privacy advocates welcomed the EDPB’s nuanced discussion on ‘pay or okay’.

Google is still Gen Z’s top search engine

A recent report by Axios shows that whilst Gen Z increasingly uses social media platforms for informational searches, Google remains the starting point for their internet searches. Whilst the likes of TikTok are gaining ground, Google still remains the top search engine, with 46% of internet users aged 18-24 beginning their searches on here. In comparison, 58% of internet users aged 25-39 start their search on Google, which does show a shift in search habits between the generations. Despite the growth of social media platforms, only 21% of Gen Z were found to start their searches on TikTok, whilst 5% start on YouTube.

Hyundai pause advertising on X due to antisemitism

Hyundai announced on Thursday that it has halted advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter, following reports that one of its ads appeared alongside an antisemitic and pro-Hitler post on the platform. The automaker paused its ads after user Nancy Levine Stearns shared screenshots showing the ad above the offensive post from a verified account. This move comes amid growing concerns about brand safety on the platform, with Hyundai joining other companies in pausing advertising on X. X has since suspended the antisemitic account, but similar accounts still exist on the platform. Elon Musk, owner of X, has faced criticism for his handling of antisemitic content on the platform, including expressing agreement with a post promoting antisemitic views in 2023.

For more information on any of these stories, or for support with your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with our team by sending us an email to 

Tom Pickard  - Modo25
Tom Pickard
Tom Pickard  - Modo25
Tom Pickard

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