illustration of the number five, representing the five subscription business topics for this column, Five-on-Friday

Five on Friday: Digital News, Nacha Rules and Antitrust Cases

Featuring Ascend2, Twitter, Reuters, Google and Nacha

In this week’s Five on Friday, Ascend2 shares the results of their customer experience design survey, Twitter opens up applications for Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows, and Google readies itself for antitrust cases over its Play Store. Also, Nacha explains three new rules that will go into effect on June 30, and Reuters shares their findings from their annual digital news report, which shows that Americans no longer trust the news media.

Ascend2’s Customer Experience Design Survey: Optimize the Customer Journey

Ascend2, a research-based marketing firm, recently published its Customer Experience Design results. Using data from a standardized online questionnaire and a three-minute survey, Ascend2’s report benchmarks the performance of marketing strategies, tactics and technology.

So what exactly is Customer Experience Design? Ascend2 defines it as a strategy to optimize all touchpoints of a customer journey to bridge the gap between customer expectations and the product or solution that an organization provides. To better understand how effective marketers are, they gathered data from 327 marketers who responded to the survey between March 21 and 28, 2021. Here are a few key takeaways from that report.

Top challenges

What are the top challenges associated with designing a strategy to improve customer experience?

Lack of time and resources to execute42%
Insufficient budget37%
Difficulty creating engaging content26%
Lack of a defined strategy26%

Competitive advantage

When asked about the level of importance of a positive customer experience in gaining a competitive advantage 93% of marketers agree that an effective customer experience is needed, with 60% saying it is very important and 33% saying it was somewhat important. Five percent said it was somewhat unimportant, while 2% of respondents said it wasn’t important at all.

Most effective design elements

Which design elements contribute most to creating an effective customer experience?

Quality content53%
Efficiency/response time41%
Brand trust38%

For more survey results like impact of ineffective design, most effective touchpoint style, touchpoint style use and areas for improvement, view the full report at

Image: Bigstock Photos

Twitter’s Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows Now Accepting Applications

With two subscription products out in the Twitterverse, the social platform has two more premium features on the way, and they want people to help test them. Ticketed Spaces helps Twitter users monetize exclusive live audio experiences in Ticketed Spaces. Ticket prices can range in price between $1 and $999, so creators have the opportunity to make money from their work. Ticketed Spaces is a way for users to host intimate conversations, whether it is with five people or 100. Twitter has also made Ticketed Spaces easy to promote by sending push notifications in-app or on mobile devices.

Users who want to give Ticketed Spaces a try can apply here. To be considered, they must meet certain criteria. For example, they must be at least 18 years old; have a complete profile with name, bio, photo and header image; have a verified email address; must enable two-factor authentication; have not violated Twitter user agreement; must not operate a state-affiliated media account; must have at least 1,000 active followers; and have hosted at least three spaces within the last 30 days.

Super Follows is another monetization opportunity for Twitter users. With Super Follows, users can develop a direct relationship with their followers while generating monthly revenue by offering bonus content and interaction and engagement. Users can set the benefits at different price points, ranging from $2.99 a month to $9.99 a month. To use Super Follows, Twitter users must be 18, have at least 10,000 followers, and have tweeted at least 25 times in the last 30 days.

What’s in it for Twitter? A share of revenue. Creators can earn up to 97% of the revenue from Ticketed Spaces sales and Super Follows subscription, until a user hits a ceiling of $50,000 in earnings for both products. After that, Twitter’s revenue share increases up to 20% of future earnings. Learn more on Twitter’s media blog.

Twitter is now accepting applications for Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows subscriptions
Image courtesy of Twitter

Reuters’ Annual Digital News Report Finds U.S. News Has Lowest Level of Trust

Every year, the Reuters Institute partners with the University of Oxford to gather and analyze data for digital news. This year’s Digital News Report includes a survey of more than 92,000 online news consumers from six continents in 46 international markets, and the results reflect changes in news habits during the pandemic.

Here are key highlights from the report’s executive summary:

  • Because of the pandemic, trust in the news has grown by 6%, with 44% of the sample saying they trust news most of the time. Finland had the highest level of trust at 65%, while the U.S. came in last at only 29%.
  • TV news remains strong, while print newspapers continue their sharp decline as consumers shift their preference to digital news.
  • Some news consumers are quite engaged, but some avoid the news altogether. The study shows that interest in news has dropped since Joe Biden was elected president in the U.S.
  • Seventy-four percent of respondents prefer news that offers a range of viewpoints, but lets viewers choose their own stance. Sixty-six percent of news consumers believe that news outlets should remain neutral on all issues.
  • Global concerns about “fake news” have increased with Brazil at 82% and Germany at 37%.
  • Mainstream news organizations and journalists attract the most attention on Facebook and Twitter, but they are overshadowed by social media influencers and social platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. Seven percent of users under 35 use TikTok for news.
  • About 25% of respondents prefer to get their news on a website or via an app. Gen Z (ages 18 to 24) are twice as likely to get news from social media, aggregators or push notifications.
  • Seventy-three percent of survey participants use their smartphones for news, the largest growth rate in recent years.

For a quick, high level overview, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism prepared this video for the Digital News Report 2021.

Google to Face Antitrust Scrutiny Over Google Play Store

Google is, once again, under antitrust scrutiny, reports and Reuters. This time the issue in question is how Google operates its Play Store, where Android users download apps. Attorneys general in New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah are considering filing a case in federal court in Northern California. This is the same court where litigation between Epic Games and Apple awaits a decision. Similar to the Apple tax, the Google Play Store takes a 30% revenue share from purchases, subscriptions and content.

“Android is the only major operating system that allows people to download apps from multiple app stores. In fact, most Android devices ship with two or more app stores preinstalled,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “This openness means that if developers choose not to distribute their apps on Google Play, they can still distribute their apps on the Android platform — and many do.”

In related news, earlier this week, the European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to see if Google has violated EU competition rules by asserting its dominant market position in terms of online display advertising.

“Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetize their online services. Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary. So Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising. We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack. A level playing field is of the essence for everyone in the supply chain. Fair competition is important – both for advertisers to reach consumers on publishers’ sites and for publishers to sell their space to advertisers, to generate revenues and funding for content. We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition,” said executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager.

It is possible that regulatory scrutiny may force Google to change its ways, and they are likely to face fines, but during the first quarter of 2021, Google parent company Alphabet made $55.3 billion and reported net income of $17.9 billion. Heavy fines won’t serve as much of an incentive for Google to change its ways.

Nacha: Three New ACH Rules Starting June 30 – What You Need to Know

Starting June 30, 2021, Nacha is implementing three new rules: supplementing data security, limitation on warranty claims, and reversals and enforcement.

Data Security: This new rule has two effective dates. One set of ACH users – let’s call them super users – are required to follow the data security rule by June 30, 2021. Other users are required to follow the data security rule by June 30, 2022.

Limitation on Warranty Claims: Effective June 30, 2021, this new rule limits the length of time an RDFI is permitted to make a claim against the Originating Depository Financial Institution’s (ODFI) authorization warranty.

Reversals and Enforcement: The goal with this new rule is to deter and prevent the improper use of reversals and the subsequent harm they can cause.

For more information on these rules, visit Nacha online.

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