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Threads reaches 100m users in 5 days; Companies fined for using GA; WordPress plugin critical vulnerability; Best Ad of the Week & More

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery.

Each week we cover the latest developments and everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing. This week we cover:

  • Meta’s new social media app Threads reaches 100 million users in 5 days
  • Companies fined for using Google Analytics by Swedish DPA
  • Critical vulnerability found in Ultimate Member WordPress plugin
  • AI could boost UK economy by £400 billion by 2030, Google says
  • Google launches new Gen Z music ad solution

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered and look ahead at key content dates coming up in July.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update… 

Meta’s new social media app Threads reaches 100 million users in 5 days

Threads reached 100 million users in just five days, making it one of the fastest-growing social media apps in history.

For reference:

  • ChatGPT reached 100 million users in two months.
  • TikTok reached 100 million users in nine months.
  • Instagram reached 100 million users in two and a half years.

The app, which is aimed at rivalling Twitter, is linked to Instagram accounts and allows users to post text, images, and videos to a close circle of friends. Posts on Threads are limited to 500 characters of text, five minutes of video, and/or ten images.

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Threads has been praised for its user-friendly interface and its focus on privacy. However, some users have raised concerns about the app’s data collection practices. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, has said that it will collect a large amount of user data from Threads, including location data, contact information, and usage patterns.

Despite these concerns, Threads has been downloaded by over 100 million users in just five days. The app is not yet available in mainland Europe due to uncertainty over whether it complies with EU data privacy legislation.

Threads’ rapid growth could shake up social media landscape

The rapid growth of Threads could shake up the social media landscape. Twitter has over 350 million users, but Threads has the potential to appeal to users who are looking for a more intimate and focused social media experience.

It remains to be seen whether Threads will be able to challenge Twitter’s dominance in the social media space. However, the app’s rapid growth in just five days is a sign that it could be a major player in the social media landscape in the years to come.

What are your first thoughts on Threads?

Let me know what you think of Threads in the comments. It’s important to note that Threads is in its early stages with more planned features on the horizon, such as an alternative home feed and the ability to edit posts.

Twitter is still my go to for finding out immediate news, rumours (*Cough* BBC Presenter *Cough*) and travel updates. The hashtag and trending features haven’t been replicated in Threads and I wonder whether they will be? Is the closed nature of the app what we currently like? If hashtags and trending features are added, will it tarnish the appeal…

Put it this way. My experience of Threads this past weekend was having conversations about whether I do the washing up before bed or leave until the next day. On Twitter I was exposed to a leaked photo of a BBC presenters bare bottom.

 

Companies fined for using Google Analytics by Swedish DPA

The Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) has fined two companies for using Google Analytics in a way that breaches the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The DPA found that the companies’ use of Google Analytics meant that personal data of EU citizens was being transferred to the US, where it could be accessed by US authorities.

The DPA said that the companies had not taken sufficient measures to protect the data, such as using IP address truncation.

The DPA has also warned other companies that they may be breaking the GDPR if they use Google Analytics in a similar way.

Google has said that it is “committed to working with the Swedish DPA to ensure that our products are compliant with the GDPR”.

The two companies that were fined are Swedish telco Tele2 and local online retailer CDON. The DPA issued a fine of SEK 12 million (around $1.1 million) to Tele2 and SEK 300,000 (around $30,000) to CDON.

The DPA’s decision is the first time that a fine has been issued for the use of Google Analytics in breach of the GDPR.

The DPA’s decision is a significant blow to Google Analytics, which is one of the most popular analytics tools in the world. The decision could also have a ripple effect on other companies that use Google Analytics, as they may now be more reluctant to use the tool for fear of being fined.

The DPA’s decision is a reminder that companies need to be careful about how they collect and use personal data, as they could face hefty fines if they do not comply with the GDPR.

In a statement sent to TechCrunch Google said

“People want the websites they visit to be well designed, easy to use, and respectful of their privacy. Google Analytics helps publishers understand how well their sites and apps are working for their visitors — but not by identifying individuals or tracking them across the web. These organizations, not Google, control what data is collected with these tools, and how it is used”

 

Critical vulnerability found in Ultimate Member WordPress plugin

A critical vulnerability has been found in the Ultimate Member WordPress plugin, which could allow hackers to take complete control of affected sites.

The vulnerability allows attackers to create new user accounts with administrative privileges, even if they do not have any prior access to the site.

The vulnerability was first discovered in late June 2023, and the plugin’s developers have released a patch to address it. However, the patch did not fully fix the vulnerability, and hackers have continued to exploit it.

The security researchers at Wordfence have urged all users of the plugin to update to version 2.6.7, which fixes the vulnerability.

This vulnerability is rated 9.8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the most serious level. It is highly recommended that users of the plugin update immediately.

“This is a very serious issue,” said Wordfence researcher Chloe Chamberlin. “Unauthenticated attackers may exploit this vulnerability to create new user accounts with administrative privileges, giving them the power to take complete control of affected sites.”

Users of the plugin are urged to update to version 2.6.7 as soon as possible. This update fixes the vulnerability and prevents hackers from exploiting it.

Here are some tips for keeping your WordPress website secure:

  1. Keep your WordPress software up to date.
  2. Use a security plugin.
  3. Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  4. Be careful about what plugins you install.
  5. Only install plugins from trusted sources.
  6. Back up your website regularly.

Get a team of experts to manage your WordPress site

 

Ad of the Week

Maybelline CGI OOH ads in London

We love this fun Maybelline Cosmetics CGI marketing campaign

Who would of thought that we needed London tubes and buses with false eyelashes. What a creative campaign.

AI could boost UK economy by £400 billion by 2030, Google says

new report by Google estimates that AI-powered innovation could create over £400 billion in economic value for the UK economy by 2030.

The report, which was compiled by Public First, highlights the potential for AI to boost productivity, make careers more accessible to people with disabilities, and unlock access to skills.

For example, the report estimates that generative AI could save the average worker in the UK over 100 hours a year, which would be the single biggest improvement to worker productivity since the arrival of Google Search.

AI could also save over 700,000 hours a year in administrative work for GPs and teachers.

In addition, AI has the potential to supercharge new assistive technologies which could help over 1 million people with disabilities at work, boosting the economy by over £30 billion per year.

The report also highlights the importance of ensuring that everyone has access to the digital skills needed to take advantage of the opportunities created by AI.

The company has also launched a new Social Innovation Fund on AI to support UK-based social entrepreneurs who are using AI to help their communities. The fund will allocate £1 million worth of funding to projects that are using AI to address social challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.

 

Google launches new Gen Z music ad solution

Google has launched a new ad solution called the Gen Z Music lineup, which is designed to help advertisers reach young audiences on YouTube. The lineup uses data to identify the songs that are currently trending with Gen Z viewers and listeners, and then packages relevant music videos into the lineup.

Advertisers who buy the Gen Z Music lineup can ensure that their brand shows up near media that uses the music this cohort has on repeat. This can help brands to be seen at the forefront of culture and to connect with young audiences in a meaningful way.

The Gen Z Music lineup is available now globally through Google Ads.

KEY CONTENT DATES

11 July 2023: World Population Day

12 July 2023: Simplicity Day, Malala Day

13 July 2023: International French Fry Day

14 July 2023: Bastille Day, National Mac and Cheese Day

15 July 2023: Give Something Away Day, World Youth Skills Day

16 July 2023: National Cherry Day, Ice Cream Day

17 July 2023: World Day for International Justice, World Emoji Day

18 July 2023: Nelson Mandela International Day

19 July 2023: National Hot Dog Day

20 July 2023: FIFA Women’s World Cup (20th July to 20th Aug) Begins, Get to Know Your Customers Day (Third Thursday of every quarter), International Chess Day

24 July 2023: National Tequila Day

28 July 2023: World Hepatitis Day

30 July 2023: International Day of Friendship

31 July 2023: National Avocado Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

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