Google updates policies on targeting minors: Wednesday’s Daily Brief

Plus the future of marketing automation and why Shopify isn't a snowboard company.

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Good morning, Marketers, and how do your customer’s view the people they message with on the other end of the WhatsApp? The email? The ad sender?

I suspect that as a journalist who reports on the marketing landscape, I’m a little more lenient. And nervous. If I’m waiting for contact lenses to arrive in the mail, I’m aware of the many steps between the confirmation email I received, the helpline I can call, and the in-store associates behind the counter who can re-confirm to me that my new eyes are on their way.

I pray that the retailer has a decent CRM, or even better, a CDP, and that the system will work out the bugs.

But good customer experience has a way of erasing all the steps that a consumer worries about. Such a consumer has no hesitation asking “them” a question on Facebook Messenger. A customer that has that much confidence in your brand will also not think twice about moving a new item into the cart and clicking purchase.

Chris Wood,


On the horizon for marketing automation

What was the promise of marketing automation when it was a new category in 2004? That marketing automation would take away all the tedious, repetitive marketing tasks that marketers hated, freeing them up to focus on more creative and strategic projects. “Fast forward 15 years and the result is…well, not really that,” writes AWS Global Marketing Operations manager Darrell Alfonso in his latest contribution to MarTech. Marketing automation does automate some activities, of course, but marketers still find themselves bogged down in Excel spreadsheets and cleaning up data.

But there’s a newer category of solutions on the horizon which holds out hope — tools which I’m truly astounded at the possibilities IPaaS can bring to the marketing ecosystem. The ability to save marketers time by skipping the spreadsheets is great, but the truly exciting part is empowering them to build solutions that were once impossible without engineering resources. be grouped together as Integration Platform as a Service, or IPaaS. 

Platforms such as Workato, Mulesoft,, Zapier and others were created to address challenges where traditional marketing automation falls short. “They can effortlessly and programmatically move data from one system to another without breaking a sweat,” Alfonso writes. “And that’s just the start. With the right coaching, some of these platforms can add leads to CRM with the correct assignment, alert reps in slack, update record data, use AI/ML to analyze customer information and categorize it, automate a range of business activities such as HR, invoicing, and more.

“I’m truly astounded at the possibilities IPaaS can bring to the marketing ecosystem. The ability to save marketers time by skipping the spreadsheets is great, but the truly exciting part is empowering them to build solutions that were once impossible without engineering resources.”

Read more here.

Verint to acquire Conversocial

Customer engagement company Verint announced its upcoming acquisition of conversational AI platform Conversocial. The deal will add AI conversation and messaging capabilities to the Verint Cloud Platform, which supports cross-channel engagement for brands like Sephora and British Airways.

These capabilities help marketers adapt to one-to-one strategies, where consumers expect to be heard. With the acquisition, Verint Cloud Platform will cover common messaging channels like Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp and others.

The transaction is valued at $50 million in cash. Conversocial has approximately 80 employees, with offices in London and New York. Verint is headquartered in Melville, New York. The transaction is expected to be finalized at the end of the third quarter this year.

Why we care. Having a presence on every channel is a minimum for the big brands, and not having it is a missed opportunity for any other sized organization. But in order to be even more competitive in the fragmented digital landscape, brands also need a level of orchestration to manage customer journeys across these same channels.

AI-powered conversational capabilities enable a brand to be more present and receptive to consumers’ needs when they feel like expressing them to a chat bot or WhatsApp account. AI-powered knowledge management, included in Verint’s new offerings, will also allow marketers to gain more insights from the data derived from these conversations. 

Google updates policies on targeting minors  

With virtual school and other online childrens’ enrichment, more kids than ever are online. The sudden influx of online classes and meetups mean that children’s data is more at risk than before. In fact, 75% of children would share personal information online in exchange for goods and services, according to data from SafeAtLast.

As a result of these changes and new regulations from countries, Google is updating its policies around minors online:

Letting those under 18 remove images from search. “Children are at particular risk when it comes to controlling their imagery on the internet. In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results,” wrote Mindy Brooks, product and UX director for kids and families at Google. While this doesn’t remove the image from the internet completely, it can prevent it from showing in image search results.

Adjusting product experiences for youths. YouTube will change the default upload mode to private for kids aged 13-17. SafeSearch will be automatically turned on for those under 18 using Google Search. Those under 18 will not be able to turn on their location history.

Advertising changes. In the coming months, Google Ads will “be expanding safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens, and we will block ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18,” the company said.

Why we care. Any move to protect kids online is a step in the right direction. We’ve all been more online than ever over the past eighteen months as the pandemic forced lockdowns, homeschooling and working from home. With the Delta and Lambda variants, this trend may continue into 2022. This move is a step toward protecting those under 18 as they navigate the internet to attend classes, connect with family and friends and explore the world. While advertisers should not be drastically affected, you may see changes in your ad metrics as audiences are potentially taken away from your targeting.

Quote of the day

“You can’t be precious about your first idea. If you come across a better problem or a better solution — build that. If [Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke] hadn’t had that philosophy, Shopify would still be a snowboard company.” Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify

About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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