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Weekly martech review: HubSpot Ventures, Google Ads conversions, Facebook bug, Google+ April shutdown

In our review of last week’s martech news, we highlight:

  1. HubSpot Ventures launches with $30M for startups that help companies grow better.
  2. Google Ads now lets you pay for conversions — not just clicks or impressions.
  3. Facebook bug on photo API affects up to 6.8 million users.
  4. Google+ will shut down in April instead of August after a bug was found.

HubSpot launches HubSpot Ventures with $30M for startups that “help millions of organizations grow better”

What it is

HubSpot Ventures is a fund for early stage (seed, Series A & B) startups that align with the company mission to “help millions of organizations grow better.”

In addition to capital, the fund will provide leadership advice, HubSpot product discounts, and special event access.

They encourage people to apply who are focused not just on quick wins, but on “never sacrificing the customer experience for the sake of growth.”

Why it matters

In a blog post on Medium, Andrew Lindsay, VP of Corporate & Business Development at HubSpot, wrote:

“We are what we are today because years ago a collection of investors saw something in us and in our philosophy of growth. We owe a great deal to Google Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Matrix Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Sequoia Capital to name a few for having that belief and trust in us. It’s an incredibly exciting feeling to be in the position now to do the same for a new cohort of startups. We can’t wait to get started.”

Marketers can now pay for conversions in Google Ads

What it is

As of December 15, marketers can select “conversions” as a pricing model — versus just “clicks” and “impressions” — in setting up their campaigns on Google Ads.

Paying for conversions uses the same Target CPA bidding algorithm as paying for clicks, but you only pay when customers convert on your website or app, rather than paying for clicks or impressions leading to those conversions.

Why it matters

Marketers are moving from measuring action to measuring ROI. Especially in such an overcrowded landscape, strategy in zeroing in on what works and forgoing what doesn’t. Paying for conversions is a reflection of this shift.

However, this model doesn’t optimize for offline conversions or cross-device conversions — both of which will surely come in the future.

Here’s how to see if you qualify (not all accounts do, depending on current traffic and conversion rates) and how to get started with it.

Facebook photo API bug affected up to 6.8 million users

What it is

Facebook put out a statement on December 14 that “some third-party apps may have had access to a broader set of photos than usual for 12 days between September 13 to September 25, 2018.”

The exposed photos included not just those shared on timelines (which is the normal access allowed) but also photos shared on Marketplace, Stories, and even photos saved as drafts.

Up to 6.8 million users were affected, along with up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers.

Why it matters

The company says that only “the only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorized to access their photos.”

However, the number of apps authorized can be surprising — everything from getting free wifi at an airport to checking out more quickly on an ecommerce site.

To see if you’ve been affected, visit this Help Center link.

Google+ shutting down in April instead of August after finding another bug

What it is

After the data breach of Google+ that exposed the data of up to 500,000 users in October — and also because of low user engagement relative to other products — the company announced that they’re retiring the Google+ platform. They planned to leave it up until August 2019.

Last week, however, on December 10, they posted a blog stating that they found a bug in the Google+ API and that they will expedite the shut-down date to April 2019.

Here is the information they revealed about the bug:

  • 52.5 million users affected in connection with this Google+ API.
  • Apps using this API could view user profile information even when the user had set it to not-public.
  • Apps could also see some non-public information shared by users’ connections.
  • Information about finances, identity, passwords, etc was not affected
  • No third party was involved in the compromise (not a hack) and there’s no evidence that developers who had the access were aware of it or used it.

Why it matters

The bug seems to have been relatively innocent, but is still another example of the scale of potential problems in the user data available on the internet. It’s also further proof of how important building trust between brands and customers will be in 2019.

Google seems to have learned from the previous breach of Google+ in disclosing this one rather than waiting months and having it leak.

Before you go

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in Congress last week on the company’s practices around accountability, transparency, and data collection. Here’s the good, the bad, and the frustrating.
  • New research: “quick access to actionable insights” from data still marketing’s biggest challenge.
  • AppOnboard closes $30 million in funding for 2018 to make every app and game on-demand.
  • Business communication software Avochato raised $5M Series A to help teams communicate better across departments.
  • gets $33M Series B for a platform that transcribes sales calls and analyzes them to close better deals.
  • Amazon employees paid in company stock are leveraging shareholder rights to demand decreased dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Six key social media marketing trends for 2019.
  • Is privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo on the verge of another jump in popularity?
  • IKEA is moving into Manhattan and other center cities.


We announced the Marketing Technology Awards 2019 last week. Here’s what you need to know about the awards, voting, and how to enter.

See something we missed? Leave us a comment below!

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