New Guidelines for Mandatory Breach Reporting under PIPEDA and how they Impact Digital Advertising

From IAB Canada:

As anticipated, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) clarified where obligation lies in reporting a data breach, while personal information is resting with a third-party processor. Developed to assist organizations in meeting their breach reporting and record-keeping obligations under PIPEDA’s mandatory breach reporting regime, this come into full force on November 1, 2018.

This critical piece of PIPEDA legislation impacts virtually all IAB Canada members and we strongly recommend you review these final guidelines with your internal privacy compliance officer and all members of the organization dealing directly with data management and processing. We also recommend that you discuss this will your media partners to ensure these new guidelines are fully understood.

The principal organization retains control of personal data, throughout the entire process, and therefore retains accountability and the responsibility for reporting a breach.

To summarize, the OPC reinforces that the principal organization bears the responsibility in reporting the breach. As they have control of the personal information it is therefore their responsibility to report a violation.

IAB Canada would like to stress the importance of maintaining a secured partner strategy. It is more important than ever to ensure that you have trusted vendors who are in full compliance of PIPEDA regulation. We strongly recommend that this is reflected in your agreements and that you revisit any existing contracts to revise as necessary.

To read the full article, click here. For more information about the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), click here.

It’s Not Easy Being Green: The Dos and Don’ts of Advertising Cannabis Online

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, and companies have been licensed to sell it (with a longer list of companies awaiting that licence), there comes the challenge of separating yourself from the rest of the bourgeoning, and in many ways, exploratory market. We say challenge because, while Health Canada has released its strict regulations around digital marketing of cannabis, that’s all its really done, and questions remain around its broad language on how to properly (i.e. legally) proceed.

As companies push the boundaries and experiment in the grey areas, we’re likely to see a more concrete framework form. For now though, all we have to go on is the act itself, and what it tells us about what we can and can’t do on-line when advertising cannabis.

First, we can take a cue from where it came from. Much of the language is lifted directly from the Tobacco Act and its restrictions around advertising cigarettes.  Think about how and where you see cigarette ads – think about the last time you even saw a cigarette ad –  and you’re starting to get the idea.

Another thing to consider is the whole reason weed is legal now in the first place. It’s not because the Prime Minister believes that smoking up is good for you (JT’s stint as a snowboard instructor in Whistler, notwithstanding.) Prohibition is over largely to squeeze out the black market and prevent weed from falling into the hands of young people. The commercial viability of legal weed is the last of the government’s concerns.

So, as digital marketers, what can we do? Probably best to start with what we can’t do.

First, no lying. False advertising is as illegal here as it is in every other market. So, no overhyping your products potency or underplaying its health risks. No suggesting that you’ll finish that screenplay or get better at yoga.

No advertising to kids. Obvious, but it has implications – especially online. We have to take reasonable precautions that our ads won’t be seen by anyone under the legal age (18 in Alberta and Quebec, 19 in the rest of the country.) This means making sure our direct emails are sent to adults and those customers are identified by name. And while websites are fair game, they must be age-gated.

We can’t promote a lifestyle. According to the act, ads may not evoke “a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.” It’s here where you can see those grey areas starting to form. The question becomes how to promote the recreational use of marijuana without ever referring to recreation.

We can’t use testimonials from users or hire celebrities to endorse a product. (That sound you hear is Snoop Dogg shutting down his Canadian Operations department.) We can’t sponsor a person or event. Our ads can’t depict characters or mascots, animals, or cartoons – again, anything that might appeal to children.  

In fact, we can’t depict people in our ads at all. Here’s another place where it remains to be seen how far this rule can be stretched. Is a hand considered a person?  

So what can go in our digital ads? This is one of those questions that marketers would like the government to be more forthcoming with. While we wait for that, we can look to packaging rules for guidance. We’re talking a single, uniform colour, a standardized font size and no graphics other than the company logo and, probably, a health warning.

It’s true, the act doesn’t leave a lot of room to play in. But it does leave plenty of questions. Is a hand considered a person? Is an image of a car a depiction of a certain lifestyle? How about AR technology, as some companies are already trying out, to enhance otherwise “safe” packaging?

So, online marketers have to decide: Push the boundaries of what’s allowed and risk hefty fines or even jail time, or play it uber-safe and get left behind as others innovate and find new routes.

As the market grows into its own, expect to see the advertising side of it grow too. Remember, nobody in the world has ever tried this before, and no one can predict how it will play out. As digital advertisers, we have to keep our eyes open, understand the spirit of the act, and make sound, educated judgements.

Then again, this stuff might just sell itself.

How to Get More Subscribers on YouTube

You plan, prep, film, and edit for hours to create one video and post it to your channel, hoping that people will find it, watch, and subscribe. And in addition to that, there’s a new YouTube algorithm in town.

Things were simpler back then

Not to sound like my grandpa, but it was easier in the old days – or at least easier to gain subscribers on YouTube. Before the new algorithm, small-time YouTubers were still able to find their way to viewer’s dashboards and recommended videos. Now, YouTube rewards big-time players that are churning multiple videos a day (looking at you, BuzzFeed). So how can you break through the new algorithm and grow your channel organically? Here are a few tips we recommend:

Produce watchable content

Watchable as in people want to watch it. If it’s not interesting, regardless of the length and quality – no one’s going to watch it. YouTube rewards watch time, so the longer you can retain your viewers, the more likely they are going to favour your video and add it to viewer’s dashboards and recommended lists. YouTube is trying to get people on YouTube to stay on YouTube as long as possible. And the more you can help them, the more they will help you.

Identify what people are watching

Start by identifying what videos your competitors are producing and why people are watching them. Then ask yourself, what value can you add to make it better for the consumer. If you can make the content more intriguing and more engaging, regardless of the length, consumers are going to watch that instead. Realistically, how many of us would rather watch an hour-long, interesting movie than a 20-minute, boring show?

Keep producing it

By consistently producing quality content that people are watching and getting them to come back, you can increase your subscriber count. Subscribers are key to growing your channel; they watch and engage with your video more so than viewers who aren’t subscribed. Similar to the 80/20 rule where 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers, your view counts may largely be dispersed amongst people who aren’t subscribed, but your watch time will increase from those who are subscribed. And watch time is king to YouTube.

Make your videos attractive

No one’s going to watch a movie if the trailers are bad. First impressions are everything, content is the rest. And in this case, the first impression comes from the video thumbnail.

YouTube has a plethora of videos, most of which are very similar in content. It’s crucial to stand out and convince potential viewers to click on your video before they are pulled away by another video of similar content.

Common thumbnail practices

Two common thumbnail practices are taking over the world of YouTube right now. The top YouTubers are making their thumbnails as animated and flashy as possible. This includes bright colours, emojis, and loud titles to scream to consumers.

The second most common thumbnail practice is using a simple title and a modest image. Depending on your brand image, one of either thumbnail practices may be utilized. However, the commonality between all thumbnails seems to be the use of a human face. The human touch can show viewers reflections of themselves and adds credibility and trustworthiness.

Add CTA’s

Finally, YouTube is on our side! CTA’s can easily be added through YouTube’s Video Manager to be spread around the duration of the video and at the end. With the use of cards and the new end screen feature, it’s much easier to drive consumers to another video, playlist, or to get them to subscribe.

End screens

Gone are the days of annotations. YouTube recognized that content creators were creating their own end screens with links to other videos and annotations for subscription. For a while, they were performing well; as with everything in social media, it had to evolve. Annotations didn’t work on mobile, and were soon seen as distractions to consumers. Many consumers were closing them without paying attention to the content. Annotation use plummeted by 70 percent, and so YouTube used this opportunity to give birth to end screens.

End screens show for the last five to 20 seconds of a video, and include elements that will direct viewers to another video or playlist, subscribe, or to another link. The best way to utilize this feature is to have a still image that plays at the end of the video so that the elements don’t divert attention away from any important video content.


You can add up to five cards in one video to drive consumers to other channels, to links, and video and playlists. Cards may divert attention away from your current video, however, and should be used strategically. Look at your YouTube analytics to see where your videos fall off in watch time and where consumers are beginning to click away. Use this as an opportunity to enter cards and entice them with another video they may be interested in.


We’re all familiar with the saying, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.” Sometimes that’s all it takes. Simply ask viewers in the introduction or at the end of the video to give you some support by liking the video and subscribing. By verbally asking, people may also be more inclined to say yes.

Video marketing adds value

Video marketing isn’t new, but in this digital media age the value has substantially increased as it demands more consumer attention than any other medium. 83 percent of businesses that use video marketing believe it gives them good return-on-investment. The audience of video marketing chose to watch the video within their own choice with the intent to be educated or entertained; heightening the value of video marketing.

Used effectively, YouTube can build trust between consumers and a company while also cultivating a community of subscribers that enjoy the content you have to offer. It is also the second largest search engine in the world, so it makes good sense to upload the videos on a platform in which billions of consumers are watching. It doesn’t look like YouTube will be going away any time soon – just the opposite, it’s still growing!

Measuring Offline Sales From Your Facebook Advertising

People see Facebook ads all the time, but how much do those ads slowly trickle their ways to consumer’s hearts and convince them to purchase? And if they do make a purchase, how will we know that Facebook ads were responsible for the offline sale?

Tracking offline conversion

The Facebook pixel can only go so far in conversion tracking, optimization, and remarketing. Facebook’s “Offline Events” feature enables marketers to track and optimize transactions that the pixel is not able to. Offline transactions such as in-store sales and phone bookings can now be tracked and correlated to the consumer’s viewing of or engagement with a Facebook ad.

Sounds amazing, right? One of a digital marketer’s greatest concerns is regarding tracking Facebook ad effectiveness. Gone are the days where online ads must be coupled with promotional codes for tracking, consumers are automatically tracked when they go in-store without the need to check-in. And to top it off, the offline conversion tool can tell you the last product or service the consumer viewed or clicked in the Facebook ad platform.

Let’s get started

To get started, your Facebook ad data needs to be connected with your offline sales data.

Before your ad campaign begins, create a new Offline Event set for your ad campaign.

  • Visit Offline Events in Business Manager
  • Create an offline event set
  • Assigned an ad account to be tracked
  • Ensure that auto-tracking is enabled as this will allow future ads to be automatically tracked
  • Assign permissions to each person that needs to access the information

Next, create and start running your ad campaign. Throughout the campaign, you will need to upload your offline event data to quantify offline traffic and attribute offline sales directly to Facebook campaigns.

This can be done in a couple of ways:

Here are some best practices:

  • Upload the offline event data daily (only data that is less than 90 days old at the time of upload can be processed by Facebook Analytics)
  • Only upload new data collected since the last upload (duplicate data will be created and there is limited ability to de-duplicate); this allows effective matching of transactions to the ads running

A .csv data file that includes the event and customer information will be needed to match Facebook users and their ad history to the consumers that performed a transaction at the event.

A good .csv data file includes:

Customer Information

  • Full name (first, last)
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Address (postal code, city, country)

Event Information

  • Event name
  • Date
  • Value and currency
  • Order ID and/or item number (if applicable)

Facebook has 17 different accepted identifiers which it can use to match a Facebook user targeted within the ad campaign to the offline buyer. Though not all 17 identifiers are required, the more information uploaded, the more accurate the results will be.

On average, Facebook’s match rate ranges between 60 to 80 percent. While it’s not perfect, it’s a substantial number considering we were never able to track offline data before.

Now for the results

The results can be seen within Ads Manager as soon as the upload is completed. As your campaign progresses, uploading and viewing your offline event data will allow you to adjust your ads and strategy to ensure you meet your goals. You can also customize your column view to add Offline Event Data for 1, 7, or 28 days.

Things to keep in mind

Facebook is revolutionizing the way digital marketers can use offline data; however, it is not yet able to identify crossovers of offline and online conversions. If you are a business that is selling products both in-store and online, keep in mind that there will be duplicates as they are not yet mutually exclusive.

Facebook’s ability to attribute a click/view with a conversion is limited to 28 days and the offline data upload is restricted to being uploaded within 62 days of the conversion; a total of 90 days.

Facebook has only recently introduced the offline conversion tool within the last year, so it’s still imperfect. But even with its imperfections, it does address the biggest concern marketers have when it comes to Facebook ads – being able to quantify, track and measure their effectiveness.

Hosting a (Legal) Promotion on Facebook – What You Should Know

On my Facebook feed, I often see friends being tagged by other friends or sharing posts to qualify for giveaways. Little did they know that Facebook guidelines prohibits brands from using these kinds of qualifications for entering giveaways.

Here is a guide to hosting a successful promotion on Facebook – without breaking any rules.

Types of promotions

There are three types of promotions Facebook recognizes; sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries. All of which include entry, chance, and a prize. And two of which are legal to be run on Facebook pages.

The three promotion types include:

1. Sweepstakes: These campaigns are based on chance; meaning the winner is chosen randomly. For Canadian sweepstakes, however, winners cannot be chosen by luck; there must be at least some level of skill involved. A popular example is including a skill-testing question.

2. Contest: Referring to campaigns that requires entrants to display a level of skill. Winners are chosen for their ability to perform the skill rather than by chance and is based on a judging or voting criteria.

3. Lotteries: campaigns that revolve around consideration (something of value – monetary or non-monetary, contestants must provide to be eligible to enter).

As you may have guessed, hosting lotteries are illegal on Facebook. As we cannot ask people to pay to enter to win, the phrase, “No purchase necessary” is often posted on Facebook promotions to avoid any legal infringements.

Promotion posts must include:

  • Official rules: this can be written on the post or be directed to through a link. It must include the prize value, odds of winning, judging criteria or method of selecting winner(s), and date winner(s) will be chosen.
  • Eligibility: requirements or restrictions based on age, location, etc. Within Quebec, regulations are strict and vary from the rest of Canada, so any location restrictions should be identified.
  • Not sponsored by Facebook: must acknowledge that the promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Facebook.

Promotions must also be done through a business page; personal page promotions are prohibited by Facebook.

Entry methods

Facebook is strict with their entry methods; since 2016, it has been trying to reduce the amount of brand posts displayed on consumer feeds. As a result, it doesn’t want brands to be requiring consumers to share or tag friends as entries.

Legal Entry Methods

  • Liking your page
  • Posting on your page
  • Messaging your page
  • Liking your post
  • Commenting on your post
  • Completing an entry form

Illegal Entry Methods

  • Sharing pages
  • Sharing a post onto their timeline
  • Sharing a post onto a friend’s timeline
  • Entrants tagging themselves in photos they aren’t in
  • Tagging friends in the comments

Under “Promotions” in the Facebook Pages Term, it states that:

“Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).”

With the new Facebook algorithm, not being able to ask entrants tag friends or share posts to enter hinders the reach of promotions. Brand content is slowly being phased out of consumer feeds in exchange for more intimate posts of their families and friends. This will mean brand will have to adapt, find new ways to engage audiences with their content and their contests.

Facebook's New Algorithm is Not Marketer Friendly

In 2016, Facebook released a statement saying the new algorithm update will prioritize posts from families and friends over brand content. Fast forward to today in 2018, and Facebook released another statement claiming it will show you even more posts from families and friends than before.

What does this mean for brands?

The new update works against brand content considering you’re neither family or friend. You’re a brand. And Facebook is pressuring brands to create meaningful content that provokes interactions amongst people. After all, Facebook is a community; and it wants brands to start thinking more so about the community’s perspective than business’ perspective.

So instead of using the number of likes and shares as metrics, Facebook wants brands to spark stimulating conversations to increase engagement – engagement in the form of comments. Facebook is starting to filter out clickbait promotions such as “Like if you like donuts”, or “Comment your favourite colour.” These are seen as spam by Facebook and by users; but there are ways to create organic engagement and move past the algorithm changes.

Good practices for promotions to beat the new algorithm

The good news is that the changes won’t affect brands that are creating meaningful, engaging content. There are still numerous ways to reach consumers with your promotions.

Create Engaging Promotions
Instead of asking for easy, one-word comments as entry submissions, ask for a story. People are going to be more receptive to sharing the post on their own, and it optimizes engagement with the brand. Remember, you can always encourage participants to tag their friends, like, or share while not making it an entry requirement. 

Utilizing the “See First” Option
Winners can be revealed by sharing on business pages. Prompt loyal followers to select the “See First” option on their news feed preferences to stay up to date with the promotion and winners.

Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has always been about the connection between humans. Influencers aren’t seen as brands by Facebook, and the new algorithm could improve the social connection between them and consumers. Consumers follow influencers because of the rapport they’ve built, and Facebook is trying to establish more connectivity in its news feed. By leveraging influencers, it could have a positive impact on your promotions on Facebook.

Live Videos
Facebook loves live videos. Live videos on average perform six times better in interaction compared to regular videos. It stimulates discussions amongst viewers – even if there is a low number of initial viewers. Facebook wants interactions and live videos increase interaction, so adding live videos can help your promotions perform better. Better yet – have influencers host live videos.

Paid Posts
Facebook states that the new algorithm won’t affect posts; they will still be seen. However, the CPM rates may eventually increase if brands see a decrease in reach due to the new algorithm.

Regardless of the changes, Facebook is still the home to over 2.13 billion monthly active users,  and users are increasing year over year. It has a large capacity for wide reach, and so long as brands are creating engaging content, they will perform well.

Instagram’s New Filter: Hashtags are Out for Third-Party Tools

Instagram’s New Filter: Hashtags are Out for Third-Party Tools

By now we’re all well aware of the upheaval at Facebook. Between private data breaches, stolen elections and congressional hearings, the social media giant is under an immense amount of pressure to change its ways in favour of the user over big business. Amid the fallout, Facebook’s second biggest product, Instagram, has quietly changed the way it, too, interacts with businesses that use it.