Call analytics platforms: What are they good for?

Use cases for call analytics platforms are expanding and AI is driving more sophisticated approaches.

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Marketers are using call analytics platforms to identify the rich data and consumer insights hidden in the growing volume of inbound calls. Call analytics platforms are one of the few martech systems that can track both online and offline leads. Call tracking – following a call from source (i.e., website, click-to-call search or display ad) to sales representative (i.e., based on geographic location or product line) – has been a core use case.

However, call analytics platforms now work for a number of marketing use cases, including the following:

  • Marketing attribution: Call analytics provide flexible attribution across media channels, helping brands understand which digital media are driving phone calls. PPC marketers, in particular, have adopted call analytics to connect callers to specific campaigns and keywords, and track keywords to conversion events. The goal is to optimize bids for the keywords driving the most productive calls.
  • Personalization: Call data can be combined with other martech system data to improve marketing personalization. Call analytics surface demographic data, product interest, buying stage and customer type. By pushing caller audiences into PPC, CRM or other marketing automation systems, marketers can optimize for the next right action.
  • Persona and lookalike audience building: Call analytics platforms record and transcribe calls, then apply AI-based models to the results to determine the characteristics of the highest-performing callers or leads. Marketers can then build personas or lookalike audiences to use in campaign development and execution.
  • Retargeting: Call recordings and transcriptions can also be used to retarget prospects based on the content – and insights derived – from their prior calls.
  • Sales enablement: Call analytics platforms can score calls based on transcript analysis, to identify which callers merit callbacks, evaluate agent performance and learn which scripts or offers work best.

Many of these marketing applications are being fueled by vendor investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which are driving greater speed and accuracy into caller insights. Call analytics technology is evolving from providing basic analytics to providing “conversational intelligence” based on highly sophisticated algorithms that can extract and predict caller intent, and measure caller tone, sentiment and emotion. The goal is to enable brand marketers to increase marketing effectiveness and sales conversions.

Marketing apps emerge for new technologies

New AI-driven technologies, including intelligent voice assistants, chatbots and messaging apps may also have a positive impact on the volume of mobile calls to businesses, although industry experts are still debating the marketing value of those calls. Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) own a smart speaker in 2020 — representing more than 60 million people, according to The Smart Audio Report, published by NPR and Edison Research. The report also found that the number of smart speakers in U.S. households surpassed 118 million in 2018.

And it appears those smart speakers and voice assistants are being used to connect with businesses, with many respondents saying they’d ordered food within the last week using their smart speaker (18%) or the voice assistant on their phone (24%). Additionally, seeking information about local businesses is a regular activity, with 31% of people reporting using their smart speaker for the purpose in the last week and 38% of respondents using the assistant on their phone.

Call data governance remains a priority

But even as brand marketers gain greater access and insight into individual consumer intent, call data privacy continues to be a priority, particularly for brands in the healthcare and financial services markets. Call analytics platform vendors must comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) regulations.

Many vendors automatically redact personally identifiable information (PII) and consumer financial information from call recordings and transcripts to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), a set of security standards designed to ensure that companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Several vendors use security measures such as data encryption and two-factor authentication. Others invest in third-party data security audits through organizations such as TrustArc (formerly TRUSTe), a technology compliance and security company.

The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May 2018 and impacts all U.S. marketers and data firms handling European data or serving customers in the EU. In June 2018, California legislators passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which grants consumers more control over the use of their personal information online. The law went into effect in January 2020, and defines personal information as anything that can be associated or linked with an individual or household.

These regulations are driving an expanded industry focus on data governance, with a view toward complying with new standards for the benefit of consumers, as well as marketers.

If these benefits sound like what you’re looking for, check out our Martech Intelligence Report for in-depth info on the call analytics space and in-depth profiles of vendors.

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Google Analytics – Beginners Guide

Google Analytics is one of the best web analytics tools on the market today. More than 50 million websites worldwide trust this powerful and robust application. Any website can use Google Analytics to get a better understanding about what visitors are …

Google Analytics is one of the best web analytics tools on the market today. More than 50 million websites worldwide trust this powerful and robust application. Any website can use Google Analytics to get a better understanding about what visitors are doing on the site. This free tool makes it easy to track and analyze […]

The post Google Analytics – Beginners Guide appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Why marketers need identity to build consumer trust in a cookieless world

Marketers must have the right walled garden and publisher relationships, linked to a strong identity foundation, in order to establish and sustain trusted consumer relationships.

The post Why marketers need identity to build consumer trust in a cookieless world appeared first on Marketing Land.

For years, cookies were the connective links that helped marketers understand and reach consumers, but no more. Navigating this uncharted terrain is doable though. The keys to success are privacy-friendly, identifiable connections and relationships with those who have them.

Lots of factors have forced marketers to look beyond the cookie – from consumer privacy demands and California’s sweeping privacy law to the rise of so-called walled gardens and an increasingly fragmented media landscape.

That cookies are losing their usefulness is no surprise to anyone. Yet, with cookies going the way of the dodo, marketers need new ways to identify consumers and measure marketing performance. That means they’ll need to make a big shift away from the old-school audience targeting they’ve known.

Now more than ever marketers will need It to invest in first- and second-party data to augment the insights they once got from third-party cookies. To do that, they’ll need to partner with publishers and content producers who already have the right consumer relationships to sustain effective, personalized marketing. And they’ll need to make the value exchange clear to consumers.

Behind walled gardens, marketers need identity for holistic brand messages

For marketers, the importance of managing consumer identity is nothing new. As early as 2016, Forrester said, “it’s becoming more critical than ever for firms planning to link systems of insight and engagement to foster seamless and relevant cross-channel customer experiences.” They understood that marketers need new ways to create smooth interactions across multiple touchpoints with people – not cookies.

In many ways, consumer demand for better privacy safeguards led us toward our identity-centric marketing landscape. People wanted more control over which brands have access to their data and for what purposes. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 compelled marketers to give them that control. As a result, consumer data will no longer float around through third-party cookies in the near future. Consumers can choose whether to give brands access to information through a more fair value exchange.

Consumer identity is at the core of how brands can manage this value exchange with people. If you follow the money, you’ll see this is already playing out. Just look where advertising budgets are gravitating. Right now more than 70% of digital ad dollars flow to places with direct links to identifiable consumers, not cookies.

Many of those interactions with identified consumers take place behind the walled gardens of the three digital ad revenue leaders – Amazon, Facebook and Google. Why? Despite their privacy difficulties, overall, these brands have done a good job of developing trust with consumers. After all, people still use Google every day for convenient services. And they’re still on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram. In fact, eMarketer data shows time spent on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat is on the rise as people connect with friends and loved ones during the pandemic.

The value exchange is clear: these giants provide content and services consumers not only want, but they rely on. So, in exchange, people are willing to give them access to identifiable information like emails or phone numbers as well as interest-based clues that help those platforms sustain and grow those relationships through customized offerings.

As they have built relationships with consumers, Amazon, Facebook and Google have grown their consumer identity gardens. They possess troves of authenticated consumer identity data, so as a result, they’ve limited the effectiveness of third-party cookies on their platforms. It makes sense; they just don’t need them. They’ve gained and maintained dominance, in part by making it a challenge to access that precious consumer identity.

Increased use of mobile devices, where cookies were unreliable if not entirely inoperable, also contributed to this shift. But as third-party cookies become obsolete, marketers still need to create seamless, personalized interactions with consumers across multiple touchpoints. So, they need to access the identifiable consumer data that’s behind those walls. That means either partnering with the walled gardens or with entities that already have those relationships.

This is imperative for marketers who want to reach consumers with a cohesive message no matter where they are, and gauge campaign effectiveness. For instance, without a holistic view enabled through identity infrastructure across channels, marketers would not be able to engage with the same customer on their work and home computers. They would not be able to make direct mail offers reflecting online purchases. And they would not be able to tie their marketing efforts back to measurable insights generated by ad servers, DSPs, platforms and publishers.

How identity partnerships creates better privacy and customer experience

As marketers trek through an advertising environment without cookies, a privacy-safe consumer identity approach is super important. A recent report from Winterberry said that marketers should “prepare for a potential cookie-less future and monitor the role of Mobile Advertising IDs and other Personal Identifiers.” Part of that process, suggested the report, should involve integrating “privacy as a (non-exclusive) marketing discipline” throughout an organization.

Some may think the idea of consumer identity is at odds with privacy. But it’s not at all. In fact, consumer identity protects consumer privacy because it connects marketers only to the information they need to know about a consumer in order to provide a relevant, trustworthy experience. Partnerships that link marketers to consumer identity held by publishers, platforms and other content producers can help reinforce trusting bonds between people and brands.

A PwC study found 65% of customers said a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising. That’s saying a lot. Good experiences with brands happen when they are privacy-safe, relevant and customized in a way a consumer sees as fitting for the relationship. Positive interactions between consumers and brands help to generate first-party data by generating trust. It’s the basis for what Forrester calls an “identity backbone.”

Here’s a timely illustration of what I mean. A lot of us sheltering-in-place right now are looking around at the same four walls, tempted to change what we see. Let’s say you’ve got the home renovation bug. You’re thinking about knocking down a wall, and your partner would love to change the paint colors in the kids’ rooms.

With so much time at home, you decide to do the DIY thing. So, you visit your local hardware store to pick up some supplies. Because you’re the one who made the purchase and there’s no reason for the hardware retailer to know you’re married with kids, the store doesn’t have data revealing that.

The store does, however, know what it needs to know: the items you bought. As a regular customer you’re a loyalty program member, so you’ve provided your email and address already, and you got loyalty points with your purchase. To most consumers this is a clear and worthy value exchange. It’s even more valuable when you receive an email with a 10% discount on your next purchase.

Identity resolution makes this possible. Consumers are comfortable with it because they appreciate the way it makes their lives easier and improves a relationship with a brand they actually choose to engage with. But identity becomes even more valuable for them when it is used to ensure walled gardens and brands only get the information consumers want them to see.

Let’s say your partner decides that rather than just knocking out a wall, you should add an expansion to the back of the house. Quarantine can have this effect on people! He goes online to check out home loan rates. You have a joint checking account, so the bank does know you are married. You have a 529 college savings account for the kids, too. As your financial services provider, its relevant data it makes sense for them to know.

Either one of those brands might want to reach you with an offer based on those interactions on a walled garden platform like Facebook, for example. In this case, having a trusted and privacy-safe connection point that links brands to consumer identity ensures that the hardware store, the bank or the walled garden each sees only what you have given permission for them to see.

Put simply, while you know your own complete personal identity, each entity in that value chain only knows your identity as a consumer through its own separate lens. Their views differ from brand to brand. There’s no data crossover unless a consumer has OK’d sharing of information that each brand already has separately.

More consumer control, more trustworthy relationships

Your hardware store, your bank, and yes, Amazon – each of those brands have built up enough trust to get consumers to agree to hand over access to some identifiable data.

Maybe your bank isn’t only trying to sell you financial products. To generate a more trusting relationship with its customers, it might be providing helpful content. Pacific Northwest Credit Union Advantis is doing just that. In addition to allowing customers to skip a loan payment, the small financial co-op has relevant and welcome content on its website including an article featuring “5 tips for financial stability during uncertain times.”

These are examples of positive, relevant brand experiences – identity backbone builders. Not only is developing trust necessary to connecting with consumers in a cookieless world, it helps marketers build even more trust with them by enabling even better engagement.  Through partnerships with the right publishers, walled garden platforms, and identity resolution partners, marketers can connect with consumers to create trusting bonds and great brand experiences.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Devon DeBlasio is the Product Marketing Director of Identity and Privacy at Neustar. He is also co-founder and board member of the THREEE Marketing Council, a collection of advertiser, agency, and technology leaders working together to promote efficient, effective, and ethical marketing. Prior to Neustar, Devon lead Product Marketing at the shopping commerce platform, Curalate, as well as Sizmek (formerly PointRoll). 

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Foursquare and Factual merge, CEO Shim to lead combined company

The combined company is the clear market leader for location intelligence.

The post Foursquare and Factual merge, CEO Shim to lead combined company appeared first on Marketing Land.

In something of a surprise announcement Monday, Foursquare and Factual said they were merging. No terms were disclosed but the companies reported their combined revenue would be $150 million, which is smaller than we might have expected; the majority of which is likely Foursquare’s.

The new Foursquare will have more than 400 employees. There will apparently be a small reduction in force to eliminate redundancy.

Foursquare CEO Shim will lead. The merged entity will be called Foursquare Labs and be led by current CEO David Shim. Shim was previously the founder and CEO of Placed, which was acquired a year ago by Foursquare from Snap. Originally, Snap bought Placed in 2017.

The two companies offer similar capabilities and services. However, Factual’s underlying audience data is better than Foursquare’s, according to CEO Shim – a rare admission in a segment where everyone claims equivalent reach and data accuracy.

Factual audience data apparently better. According to an interview in the Wall Street Journal, Shim said, “When it comes to audience segments, Factual is No. 1; we’re not No. 1 . . . Foursquare is No. 1 when it comes to attribution and ad effectiveness, when it comes to app developer tools.”

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, audience segmentation and offline attribution were the primary use cases of location data. Now location is being used to help determine whether social distancing is working and to track the spread of the virus.

Location data will be ubiquitous. The traditional marketing use cases of location will return, however, after the outbreak subsides. Indeed, location data is a leading candidate to replace cookies after they disappear. Offline visitation patterns are also intent signals not unlike search. Notwithstanding privacy advocates’ concerns, location data will ultimately be woven into almost every non-search campaign in one form or another — for targeting, attribution or both.

Factual CEO Gil Elbaz, who will become a board member and member of the Foursquare executive team, told the WSJ that he would also be personally investing in the combined entity. Elbaz was a co-founder of Applied Semantics, which Google bought in 2003 for more than $100 million and which became the basis of AdSense.

Why we care. The combination of Factual and Foursquare will undeniably create the market leader in the location intelligence segment — if it wasn’t Foursquare before. My suspicion is that a variety of factors contributed to the decision to merge, one of which was undoubtedly the economy. Regardless, this development puts significant pressure on the multiple companies in the space to merge or find buyers. The market ultimately wants fewer, more capable competitors.

 

This story first appeared on Search Engine Land. For more on search marketing and SEO, click here.

 

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The state of tracking and data privacy in 2020

Here’s where search marketers find themselves in the current entanglement of data and privacy and where we can expect it to go from here.

The post The state of tracking and data privacy in 2020 appeared first on Marketing Land.

January 2020 felt like a turning point. CCPA went into effect, Google Chrome became the latest browser to commit to a cookie-less future and, after months of analytics folks sounding the alarm, digital marketers sobered to a vision of the future that looks quite different than today.

This article is not a complete history of consumer privacy nor a technical thesis on web tracking, although I link to a few good ones in the following paragraphs.

Instead, this is the state of affairs in our industry, an assessment of where search marketers find themselves in the current entanglement of data and privacy and where we can expect it to go from here.

This is also a call to action. It’s far from hyperbole to suggest that the future of digital and search marketing will be greatly defined by the actions and inactions of this current calendar year.

Why is 2020 so important? Let’s assume with some confidence that your company or clients find the following elements valuable, and review how they could be affected as the associated trends unfold this year.

  1. Channel attribution will stumble as tracking limitations break measurability and show artificial performance fluctuations.
  1. Campaign efficiency will lose clarity as retargeting efficacy diminishes and audience alignment blurs.
  1. Customer experience will falter as marketers lose control of frequency capping and creative sequencing. 

Despite the setbacks, it is not my intention to imply that improved regulation is a misstep for the consumers or companies we serve. Marketing is at its best when all of its stakeholders benefit and at its worst when an imbalance erodes mutual value and trust. But the inevitable path ahead, regardless of the destination, promises to be long and uncomfortable unless marketers are educated and contribute to the conversation.

That means the first step is understanding the basics.

A brief technical history of web tracking (for the generalist)

Search marketers know more than most about web tracking. We know enough to set people straight at dinner parties — “No, your Wear OS watch is not spying on you” — and follow along at conferences like SMX when a speaker references the potentially morbid future of data management platforms. Yet most of us would not feel confident in front of a whiteboard explaining how cookies store data or advising our board of directors on CCPA compliance. 

That’s okay. We’ve got other superpowers, nice shiny ones that have their own merit. Yet the events unfolding in 2020 will define our role as marketers and our value to consumers. We find ourselves in the middle of a privacy debate, and we should feel equipped to participate in it with a grasp of the key concepts. 

What is the cookie? 

A cookie stores information that is passed between browser and server to provide consistency as users navigate pages and sites. Consistency is an operative word. For example, that consistency can benefit consumers, like the common shopping cart example. 

Online shoppers add a product to the cart and, as they navigate the site, the product stays in the shopping cart. They can even jump to a competitor site to price compare and, when they return, the product is still in the shopping cart. That consistency makes it easier for them to shop, navigate an authenticated portion of a site, and exist a modern multi-browser, multi-device digital world.

Consistency can also benefit marketers. Can you imagine what would happen to conversion rates if users had to authenticate several times per visit? The pace of online shopping would grind to a crawl, Amazon would self combust, and Blockbuster video would rise like a phoenix.

But that consistency can violate trust. 

Some cookies are removed when you close your browser. Others can accrue data over months or years, aggregating information across many sites, sessions, purchases and content consumption. The differences between cookie types can be subtle while the implications are substantial.

Comparing first- and third-party cookies

It is important for marketers to understand that first- and third-party cookies are written, read and stored in the same way. Simo Ahava does a superb job expanding on this concept in his open-source project that is absolutely recommended reading. Here’s a snippet.

It’s common in the parlance of the web to talk about first-party cookies and third-party cookies. This is a bit of a misnomer. Cookies are pieces of information that are stored on the user’s computer. There is no distinction between first-party and third-party in how these cookies are classified and stored on the computer. What matters is the context of the access.

The difference is the top-level domain that the cookie references. A first-party cookie references and interacts with the one domain and its subdomains. 

  • searchengineland.com
  • searchengineland.com/staff
  • events.searchengineland.com

A third-party cookie references and interacts with multiple domains. 

  • searchengineland.com
  • events.marketingland.com
  • garberson.org/images

Marketing Land has a helpful explainer, aptly called WTF is a cookie, anyway? If you’re more of a visual learner, here is a super simplistic explanation of cookies from The Guardian. Both are from 2014 so not current but the basics are still the basics.

Other important web tracking concepts

Persistent cookies and session cookies refer to duration. Session cookies expire at the end of the session when the browser closes. Persistent cookies do not. Data duration will prove to be an important concept in the regulation sections. 

Cookies are not the only way to track consumers online. Fingerprinting, which uses the dozens of browser and device settings as unique identifiers, has gotten a lot of attention from platform providers, including a foreshadowed assault in Google’s Privacy Sandbox announcement.

Privacy Sandbox is Google’s attempt at setting a new standard for targeted advertising with an emphasis on user privacy. In other words, Google’s ad products and Chrome browser hope to maintain agreeable levels of privacy without the aggressive first-party cookie limitations displayed by other leading browsers like Safari and Firefox.

Storage is a broad concept. Often it applies to cookie storage, and how browsers can restrict the storage of cookies, but there are other ways to store information. LocalStorage uses Javascript to store information in browsers. It appeared that alternate storage approaches offered hope for web analysts and marketers affected by cookie loss until recent browser updates made those tactics instantly antiquated.   

Drivers: How we got here

It would be convenient if we could start this story with one event, like a first domino to fall, that changed the course of modern data privacy and contributed to the world we see in 2020. For example, if you ask a historian about WWI, many would point to a day in Sarajevo. One minute Ol’ Archduke Ferdinand was enjoying some sun in his convertible, the next minute his day took a turn for the worse. It is hard to find that with tracking and data privacy. 

Facebook’s path to monetization certainly played a part. In the face of market skepticism about the social media business model, Facebook found a path to payday by opening the data floodgates.

While unfair to give Facebook all the credit or blame, the company certainly supported the narrative that data became the new oil. An iconic Economist article drew several parallels to oil, including the consolidated, oligopolistic tendencies of former oil giants.

“The giants’ surveillance systems span the entire economy: Google can see what people search for, Facebook what they share, Amazon what they buy,” the Economist wrote. “They own app stores and operating systems, and rent out computing power…”

That consolidation of data contributed to an increase in the frequency and impact of data leaks and breaches. Like fish in a bucket, nefarious actors knew where to look to reap the biggest rewards on their hacking efforts.

It was a matter of time until corporate entities attempted to walk the blurring line of legality, introducing a new weaponization of data that occurred outside of the deepest, darkest bowels of the internet.

Enter Cambridge Analytica. Two words that changed the way every web analyst introduced themselves to strangers. “I do analytics but, you know, not in, like, a creepy way.”

Cambridge Analytica, the defunct data-mining firm entwined in political scandal, shed a frightening light on the granularity and unchecked accessibility of platform data. Investigative reporting revealed to citizens around the world that their information could not only be used by advertising campaigns to sell widgets, but also by political campaigns to sell elections. For the first time in many homes, the effects of modern data privacy became tangible and personal.  

Outcomes: Where we are today

The state of data privacy in 2020 can perhaps best be understood by framing it in terms of drivers and destinations. Consumer drivers, like those mentioned in the previous section, created reactions from stakeholders. Some micro-level outcomes, like actions taken by individual consumers, were predictable. 

For example, the #deletefacebook hashtag first trended after the Cambridge Analytica story broke and surveys found that three-quarters of Americans tightened their Facebook privacy settings or deleted the app on their phone. 

The largest outcomes are arguably happening at macro levels, where one (re-)action affects millions or hundreds of millions of people. We have seen some of that from consumers with the adoption of ad blockers. For publishers and companies that live and die with the ad impression, losing a quarter of your ad inventory due to ad blockers was, and still is, devastating. 

Political Outcomes

Only weeks after Cambridge Analytica found its infamy in the headlines, the European Union adopted GDPR to enhance and defend privacy standards for its citizens, forcing digital privacy discussions into both living rooms and board rooms around the world.  

Let’s use the following Google Trends chart for “data privacy” in the United States to dive deeper into five key outcomes.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has handed out more than 114 million in fines to companies doing business in the EU since becoming enforceable in May 2018. It’s been called “Protection + Teeth” in that the law provides a variety of data protection and privacy rights to EU citizens while allowing fine enforcement of up to €20 million or 4 percent of revenue, whichever hurts violators the most.

Months later, the United States welcomed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect in January 2020 — becoming enforceable in July. Similar to GDPR, a central theme is transparency, in that Californians have the right to understand which data is collected and how that data is shared or sold to third parties.

CCPA is interesting for a few reasons. California is material. The state represents a double-digit share of both the US population and gross domestic product. It is also not the first time that California’s novel digital privacy legislation influenced a nation-wide model. The state introduced the first data breach notification laws in 2003, and other states quickly followed.

California is not alone with CCPA, either. Two dozen US state governments have introduced bills around digital tracking and data privacy, with at least a dozen pending legislation. That includes Nevada’s SB220 which became enacted and enforceable within a matter of months in 2019.

Corporate Outcomes

Corporate responses have come in many forms, from ad blockers I mentioned to platform privacy updates to the dissolution of ad-tech providers. I will address some of these stories and trends in the following section, but, for now, let’s focus on the actions of one technology that promises to trigger exponential effects on search marketing: web browsers.

The Safari browser introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in 2017 to algorithmically limit cross-site tracking. Let’s pause to dissect the last few words in that sentence.

  • Algorithmically = automated decisions that prioritize scale over discernment
  • Limit = block immediately or after a short duration
  • Cross-site tracking = first- and third-party cookies

ITP 1.0 was only the beginning. From there, the following iterations tightened cookie duration, storage, and the role of first-party cookies for web analytics. Abigail Matchett explains the implications for users of Google Analytics.

“All client-side cookies (including first-party trusted cookies such as Google Analytics) were capped to seven days of storage. This may seem like a brief window as many users do not visit a website each week. However, with ITP 2.2 and ITP 2.3… all client-side cookies are now capped to 24-hours of storage for Safari users… This means that if a user visits your site on Monday, and returns on Wednesday, they will be granted a new _ga cookie by default.”

You are beginning to see why this is a big deal. Whether intended or not, these actions reinforce the use of quantitative metrics rather than quality measures by obstructing attribution. There is far more than can be said on ITP so if you are ready for a weekend read, I recommend this thorough technical assessment of the ITP 2.1 effects on analytics.

If ITP got marketer’s attention, Google reinforced it by announcing that Chrome would stop supporting third-party cookies in two years, codifying for marketers that cookie loss was not a can to be kicked down the road. 

“Cookies have always been unreliable,” Simo Ahava told me. “To be blind-sided by the recent changes in web browsers means you haven’t been looking at data critically before. We are entering a post-cookie world of web analytics.”

Where it goes from here

The state of tracking and data privacy can take several paths from here. I outline a few of the most plausible then ask others in the analytics and digital space to offer their insights and recommendations. 

2020 Path A: Lack of clarity leads to little change from search marketers

This outcome seemed like a real possibility in the first week of January as California enacted CCPA while enforcement deadlines got delayed. It was not yet clear what enforcement would look like later in the year and it appeared, despite big promises, that tomorrow would look a lot like today. 

This path looked less likely after the second week of January. That leads us to the next section.

2020 Path B: Compounding tracking limitations keep marketers on their heels

Already in 2020 we have seen CCPA take effect, Chrome put cookies on notice, stocks for companies that rely on third-party cookies tumble, and the sacrifice of data providers that threatened consumer trust.

And that’s just January.

2020 Path C: Correction as consumer fear eases in response to industry action

The backlash to tracking and privacy is a reaction to imbalance. Consumers are protecting their data, politicians are protecting their constituents, and platforms are protecting their profits. As difficult as it is to see from our vantage point today, it’s most likely that these imbalances will normalize as stakeholders feel safe. The question is how long it will take and how many counter adjustments are required in the wake of over or under correcting.

As digital marketers, who in some ways represent both the consumers with whom we identify and the platforms with whom we depend, are in a unique position to expedite the correction and return to balance.

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Soapbox: Are ad blockers breaking the foundations of digital marketing?

Now is the time to start rethinking what’s next for website analytics.

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I work for a B2B SaaS product and one of my tasks is to produce a monthly analytics report that breaks down our lead conversion rates. I track the conversion rate of website lands > demo requests > trials > closed deals.

Last month I was asked to create a Zapier integration that sent an alert to a Slack channel every time someone requested a demo through the website.

When doing the month’s report, I saw our Google Analytics demo request events were 22% lower than the number of messages sent to the Slack channel. It turns out ~20% of our visitors were blocking Google Analytic’s tracking.

After some research, I found that an average of 24% of internet users use an ad blocker. As more users become frustrated by ads, and Safari is looking to win the war for user privacy with intelligent tracking prevention built directly into the browser, the prevalence of ad blockers for all users will keep rising.

Are ad blockers going to break all of our analytics some point soon? It’s looking like they will and we need to start rethinking what’s next in how we use our website analytics.

Soapbox is a special feature for marketers in our community to share their observations and opinions about our industry. You can submit your own here.

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Who’s Hiring in January 2019?

Here are our picks: Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.” A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York […]

The post Who’s Hiring in January 2019? appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Here are our picks:

Website Optimization Specialist – In Atlanta, SunTrust is looking for a specialist to be responsible for “developing and executing business strategies, processes and policies to enhance the sales and service experiences intrinsic to SunTrust’s digital spaces.”

A/B Testing & Personalization Analyst – Join Barnes & Noble’s Optimization team in New York to “improve bn.com’s content, design, and usability for customers and to create unique experiences based on customers’ preferences and behaviors.”

Director-Digital Product Analytics & Testing –  Join the Enterprise Digital and Analytics team at American Express in New York.  They are looking for a leader to “provide value to the online card shopping experiences within the Global Consumer and Commercial businesses through customer data and measurement, insights through analytics techniques and experimentation.”

Marketing Manager, International Conversion – Ancestry is looking for a candidate to join their Conversion Marketing team in San Francisco.  This person is “responsible for improving and optimizing the user experience at each step in the conversion funnel with the end goal of maximizing revenue from visitors in each of Ancestry’s key global markets.”

Marketing Manager, A/B Testing & Optimization – Join AuthO’s Growth Team in “driving improvement in key engagement metrics and customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle.”

Director of B2B Marketing, Demand Generation – Join Vimeo’s B2B marketing team in New York to “scale qualified lead acquisition, build and continuously optimize digital marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), email automation, social, and event-based marketing channels.”

Sr. Analyst, eCommerce Direct to Consumer Analytics – Newell Brands is looking for a senior analyst in Hoboken, New Jersey, to drive “sustainable growth online through the best-in-class use of data and analytics.”

Digital Marketing Leader – Website Optimization – Join GE Healthcare in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to “develop a rigorous testing and experimentation framework, and conceive, scope and implement experimentation initiatives to improve the website user experience and drive conversion rate optimization.”

Manager, Marketing Planning, Test & Analysis – Express is looking for an individual to lead the testing and optimization program in Columbus, Ohio, “starting with A/B & multivariate testing taking us into experience optimization and eventually personalization.”

 

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization. Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence […]

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When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization.

Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence and machine learning solve all our problems. All you have to do is buy a new piece of software, turn it on, and…BOOM: 1:1 personalization.

As a data scientist, I’ll let you in on a little secret: that software only provides the technological capability for personalization. Even further, the algorithms found within these tools simply assign a probability to each potential experience that maximizes the desired outcome, given the data they have access to. Suffice to say, they’re not as intelligent as you are led to believe.

If you caught our first post in this series, you already know that we define personalization a bit more broadly, as any differentiated experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that user. This means personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one.

And while there are many tools that enable you to do personalization from a technical standpoint, they don’t solve for one of the main sources of anxiety around personalization: strategy

Most personalization campaigns fail because of a lack of a strategy that defines who, where and how to personalize. So I’ve put together a free downloadable guide to help you do just that. This seven-page guide is packed full of guidelines, templates and best practices to strategize and launch a successful personalization campaign, including:

  • Major considerations and things to keep in mind when developing your personalization strategy.
  • More than 30 data-driven questions about your customers to identify campaign opportunities.
  • A template for organizing and planning your personalization campaigns.
  • Guidelines for determining whether to deliver your campaigns via rule-based targeting or algorithmic targeting.

Free Download: Plan & Launch Profitable Personalization Campaigns.

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Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year. In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in […]

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It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year.

In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in its infancy. But despite all the changes we’ve experienced since then, one thing remains true: it is the opportunity to connect with so many interesting people that are solving big problems for their business that makes our work worthwhile. Thanks for walking with us.

A look back at some of our big moments from 2018

Winning like Winona

In January, our Founder & CEO, Brooks Bell, was recognized as one of 25 women who rocked digital marketing in 2017. Later in the year, she was also announced as a Southeastern Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

We also celebrated 2017’s record-breaking growth, were recognized as Optimizely’s North American Partner of the Year, and we garnered our local business journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Getting Lit with Illuminate

Fun fact: We originally built Illuminate to help us better manage and iterate upon our clients’ tests. Over time, we got so much great feedback, that we decided to make it available to everyone this year.

Now, with a successful beta launch under our belt and even more new features being added to the software, we’re excited to see where this new endeavor takes us in 2019.

F is for Friends, Fun and…Fear?

In October, things got a little spooky around the office and it had everything to do with Scott, our Director of Sales, who decided to channel his inner Ellen Degeneres for the day (much to our colleagues’ horror). Watch the video if you dare.

Making Bacon for our Clients

Back in 2014, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to achieve $1 billion in projected revenue for our clients. By the end of 2017, we’d reached $500 million. And this past December, we hit $1 billion. (cue ::gong::)

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve set some aggressive goals for 2019, with a focus on personalization, and we’re pumped to get to work.

Brooks Bell takes the Bay Area 

In September, we officially opened the doors to our San Fransisco office. This decision came after years of working with clients on the West Coast and our desire to work even more closely with them. And with the Bay Area’s rich history of innovation, we can’t think of a better place to help more companies push their boundaries through experimentation.

Still Clickin’ 

Last May, we hosted our annual Click Summit conference. We might be biased but this remains one of our favorite events as it’s filled with meaningful connections and seriously impactful takeaways. 2019 marks our 10th Click Summit, and we’ve got big plans. Request your invite today.

2018 on the blog

 


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Who’s Hiring in December?

Here are our picks: Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.” Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented […]

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Here are our picks:

Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.”

Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented and enthusiastic software engineer to join the Hearthstone team” in Irvine, California to improve testing, building and developing Hearthstone through software automation.

Conversion Optimization Specialist – Vivint Smart Home is looking for an “action-oriented thought leader to partner with the digital marketing channel manager to optimize ad creative, product lifts in on-page response rates and improve conversion rates for Vivint’s digital marketing portfolio.” in Provo, Utah.

Head Of Customer Marketing – Kabbage is “looking for an extremely analytical, results-oriented leader to join their data science team in Atlanta with a passion for growing customer relationships and increasing the value of customer marketing.”

Associate Director of Experimentation – Marketing Analytics – Join Walmart in San Bruno, California and “help the World’s largest omni-channel retailer develop, promote and lead execution of a rigorous testing and experimentation roadmap.”

Senior Product Manager, Data & Analytics – In New York, HBO is “looking for someone who has a proven track record of leading teams to identify unique market and consumer requirements, with experience in digital products portfolio management.”

Digital Product Manager – Cole Haan is looking for a manager in New York to “own the front-end digital site experience on ColeHaan.com and drive the overall user experience, optimization efforts and road map.”

UX Manager (E-Commerce) – iHerb is looking for a UI/UX Manager in Orange County, California to “enhance iHerb’s customer experience on their industry-leading, global e-commerce site through design and maintenance.”

Senior Manager, UX Planning & Insights – Join Leapfrog Online’s Strategy & Insights team in Evanston, Illinois and “help lead the strategy and cross-channel, digital user experience planning for Leapfrog clients.

Senior, UX Development – Fidelity Investments is looking for a web developer in Durham, North Carolina to join the User Experience Design team.  This role will be “supporting the Health Care Group’s digital employee and employer platforms, which customers and plan sponsors use to manage their health and welfare benefits.”

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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