Philline

  • Should you create an account using those LOGIN WITH FACEBOOK or LOGIN WITH GOOGLE buttons?

    This is a transcript of episode 74 of the Let’s Get Data-Driven Podcast

    I’m Lanie Lamarre and I think pumpkin spice is over-rated and molasses cookies are under-rated – come at me, brah! Choices can be hard, and knowing which login option to choose can definitely be a head-scratcher but we’ve got each other, boss, and I’m here to make your next choice easier when you’re wondering if you should create new accounts using your email or if it’s better to use those “Login with Facebook” or Google buttons that will auto-magically create those same accounts for you.

    You’re on a website and you’re prompted to create a new account and you have some choices. You can either use the “Log in with Facebook” or “Log in with Google” buttons or you can manually enter all your personal information by registering for a whole new account using your email address and jumping through the hoops of validating your identity.

    There are pros and cons to selecting either option so let’s get clear as to what exactly is happening when you create new accounts in these ways so you can make some informed decisions about which option is best for you.

    HOW IT WORKS

    And to do that, we’re going to start by getting clear as to how this all actually works and it works based on technology called Open Authentication – or what cool kids like us call OAuth – and Hewlett-Packard defines it as “a technological standard that allows you to share information between services without exposing your password. It’s a widely-adopted standard that’s used by developers of websites and apps, and you probably use services every day that utilize OAuth.”

    Instead of having to create a new account with a new user name, another password, typing in your personal information, verifying you’re not a bot and replying to the email to further validate your identity, you can just let Facebook or Google or whichever button you select do all of that information trading for you.

    THE ADVANTAGES

    The biggest advantage for you is that you don’t have to create this whole new account from scratch. It’s not just about the time it takes to create this account by using your email address, but it’s also that you have one less password floating out there and that can definitely be a good thing. Should that website experience a data breach where your account information is exposed, the password you used to create that account won’t end up for sale somewhere on the dark web (and for those of you who re-use the same password on multiple accounts, this most certainly is advantageous… although I would suggest mixing up your passwords as much as possible because it does create risks that we can maybe talk about on another episode.)

    On a similar note, in case you’re wondering, the answer is “no” as to whether Facebook or Google share your profile password with this new website or third-party app you’re registering the account using those profiles; your original profile password information stays within those initial accounts and is typically not shared with this new account you’re creating (but we’ll talk about that a little more later.)

    Another advantage to using the “Login with…” buttons is when you’re using two accounts that interact with each other. For instance, when you’re using a social scheduling tool, you don’t want to have to share your Instagram password with your scheduler to ensure it has access to your platform, but OAuth technology allows you to sync and connect your accounts without having to enter those sensitive details.

    Can this daisy-chain of accounts backfire on you, though? Well, of course it can!

    THE DISADVANTAGES

    Whichever of the profiles you’re using that has the highest security risk also represents the weakest link in your daisy-chain of accounts. If your Facebook account gets hacked, for instance, that hacker now also has access to all of the accounts you created using your Facebook profile.

    Another disadvantage is the exact flipside to its advantage: yes, your third-party account gets created auto-magically and you didn’t have to jump through all the hoops… but that’s only because your profile jumped through those hoops on your behalf. You may not have entered this information into your new accounts creation but data about you was certainly collected and you can expect that more is being shared about you than you would have voluntarily entered if you had create the new account on your own.

    What type of data? Information like your name, your birthday, your contact list, your messages, your photos and a slew of other personal data that your profile is populated can be shared with this third-party website or app once you consent to creating your account in this way. You may even be granting them access to post content to your Facebook profile on your behalf, or if you’re using Google, you may be granting them access to your Calendar AND your email AND your Google Drive, so you want to pay attention to what exactly is being accessed before you give your permission. You’ll generally be alerted as to what you’re giving permission to access in the little pop-up asking you to consent so keep your click-happy finger in check and actually read through what you’re agreeing to. I mentioned earlier that your actual password doesn’t typically get shared but that’s where you have some work to do, because it’s up to you to read what exactly you’re agreeing to when you’re providing your consent. 

    A little #protip about which option to select: it’s worth thinking about which accounts and profiles house the most and the least personal information when you’re making your selection as to which profile you want to use to login with. For instance, Facebook has a lot more personal information about you at its disposal to share than say, your Pinterest account does. After all, your Pinterest account probably doesn’t have access to your phone photos the way Facebook does and most people aren’t using Pinterest DMs the way they do Facebook Messenger.

    THE RISKS

    Let’s be honest: companies like Facebook and Google are far less likely to be hacked than a small website or third-party app is, so there is some security to be had with creating accounts using those profiles instead of creating a whole new, unique account that is probably easier to hack. As always, though, human error is probably the biggest vulnerability you’re dealing with (pesky humans!) and I hate to break it to you, but you ARE only human.

    If you choose to use these profiles to create new accounts, don’t be “that human” who becomes the reason their own information was exposed. Choose unique passwords on these platforms – no recycled passwords on these accounts, please – and for the love of everything good, turn on your two-factor authentication.

    Is it a pain in the booty to have to login to your account twice every time you do login? Yes, of course, and that’s the point; if it’s an inconvenience for you to have an extra step of verifying your identity on your phone when you login to Google on your laptop, that means it’s a downright challenge for anyone else trying to access those same accounts for malicious reasons.

    I’ll add to this that even if you are creating new accounts every time, and that you store all those user names and passwords in a password management tool, make sure your password management tool has two-factor authentication enabled. Yes, it’s annoying to have to login with a password and then reply to pop-up on your phone verifying that you were trying to access your account, but the internet is a bad neighborhood, kids, and you wanna make the effort of keeping your doors locked.

    WHICH SHOULD YOU USE?

    But all of this begs the question: should you login with your profiles or should you create a new account? I know you hate this answer – I hate it, too – but as always, it depends.

    You have to account for the pros and cons when deciding what type of account to create. For instance, like our earlier example of using a social scheduling app, it would make sense to connect it to your Instagram profile because you’ll be syncing the contents of these 2 accounts in any case. Meanwhile, that free game you play on your phone while you watch Netflix (I know you. I play games when I watch Netflix too. Crosswords, usually) is asking you to create an account to ensure you don’t lose your progress, but do you really need that to be connected to your Google account and share all the personal information it contains? Probably not.

    Likewise, you don’t want to connect anything related to financial details or social security/insurance numbers or anything like that. Before you make your selection, take a time-out to assess HOW you’ll be using this new website or third-party app you’re signing up for to make the right judgement call about the information it’s going to house on your behalf.

    MITIGATING YOUR RISKS

    Now what if you’ve already created a bunch of accounts using those login buttons but you’re feeling some type of way about it all? You can totally follow up on who and what you’ve authorized access to, and you can change those accesses.

    For Facebook, go into your Settings > Settings & Privacy > Permissions: Apps & Websites. You’ll be able to see which third-party apps are active, which are expired, and you can remove who and what you no longer want to share.

    For Google, go https://myaccount.google.com/security and look under Third-Party Apps to see and manage which apps have access to your account information

    Let’s pretend for a second that you actually do read what you are agreeing and consenting to when you create accounts in this way; you can also expect to receive pop-ups and emails alerting you of privacy changes and changes to the terms of service to the accounts you’ve registered with. Pay attention to these and even if you don’t understand what the terms actually stipulate, it’s a good idea to treat these as a reminder to check in on the privacy settings you have on those accounts after whatever update they’re telling you about takes effect. You don’t have to be a privacy lawyer to check in on your settings and see if there’s anything you’re maybe less than comfortable with.

    As an additional #protip safeguard that has nothing to do with your account creations but everything to do with the information you or someone else may have provided about you that you don’t necessarily want to have floating around, you can remove some of that information from Google Search results. To do that, go to https://support.google.com and in the search bar, enter the words “remove personally identifiable information”. You’ll then select that first option that shows up and follow the prompts from there to remove information you may not want search results to come up with, like your home address or your signature or your bank account or credit card numbers, just to name a few worrisome examples.

    On a personal note, I’m always impressed by people who are like “I’ve never had a Facebook account” because it’s like, HOW are you able to even EXIST in this day and age without one? There are times where your existence on this earth is only validated by your having these accounts. I mean, have you tried creating a new account on AirBNB and booking a property for the first time without having it connected to Facebook? You may as well be telling the host you’d like to turn their house into a crime scene.

    And that’s just one example of how these profiles validate our existence in the online world, both to others as well as the services we’re using, and it has its benefits but it isn’t without its shortcomings either.

    I remind you of this a lot but you’re the boss, apple sauce, so it’s up to you to make the decisions that are best for you and how you want to operate.

    Talk soon, baiieeeee!

    CONTINUE READING

  • BEHIND THE SCENES: How I Tested and Improved A NEW SALES PAGE

    This is a transcript of episode 73 of the Let’s Get Data-Driven Podcast

    I’m Lanie Lamarre and on today’s episode, I’m talking about how I split-test a sales page and what my results were so that you can hopefully use and apply this with your own optimization strategies.

    Back in February, I once again participated in Kate Doster’s Back To Business Bundle and if you want to hear about my first experience with that, check out episode 24 to see how that first one went and why I recommend the strategy for list-building.

    Another thing that bundles are great for is when you’re trying to test or validate an offer. Oftentimes when you launch a new offer or service, you’ll do what people call a “soft launch” to just get your offer out there and see if it has legs. I did that at the end of 2021 with The YOUR CEO DAY Workbook. I was tired of hearing bosses say “what do I do on a CEO Day?” and seeing creative solopreneurs struggle with quarterly planning, so I created this workbook where they could take an afternoon off and use that workbook every quarter to move the needle forward in their businesses, their way. I posted a simple “make due” sales page – nothing fancy or thorough – but now that I knew this offer had some legs, I wanted to formalize it a little more and this is where my participation in the bundle came in.

    Before you agree to any type of collaboration, it’s a good idea to establish what your expectations are ahead of time. Of course, “lead-generation” and “list-building” come to mind when you’re participating in a bundle but try to think “yeah, and THEN what am I doing with these new leads, and what kind of experience does that offer these new people?” It’s especially important to consider when you’re partaking in a group collaboration like a bundle because you have to realize that it will be difficult for you to stand out once you hit that inbox, and you want to consider that you aren’t the only person with an evergreen sequence or a pitch to send these new subscribers through. You really want to think through and be strategic about your participation with a group collaboration.

    The Back To Business Bundle ran from Monday March 7th to Friday March 11th and I contributed The YOUR CEO DAY Workbook with 2 purposes in mind: 1) to collect more testimonials I could use on my new sales page; and 2) to test my new sales page.

    I had 2 versions of the sales page and on Wednesday, I swapped the 1st version out for the 2nd version to see if there would be a difference in engagement or conversions. The 1st version had that initial “above the fold” hero section you immediately see was darker and the buttons were a bright lime green whereas the 2nd version was much brighter and the buttons were a razzle-dazzle shade of Barbie convertible pink.

    I use Kartra as my main software hub and this made it so easy to split-test my page performance because Kartra makes it simple to see how each page performed through their Engagement Page Analytics reporting and their Conversion Page Analytics reporting. If you want to test that out for yourself, I’ll include a link to get a free trial to Kartra in the shownotes but you don’t need fancy software to get some baseline numbers here: you can just look at your page visits and the actual number of opt-ins based on the dates you’re split-testing.

    Never let fancy software be the reason you say you don’t know your numbers. Baseline numbers make up 80% of any result you’re looking for.

    Overall, I had 1344 page visits over that 5-day period. According to my Engagement Analytics, my page kept a 76% engagement rate for people who were engaged for 10 seconds or longer, and the average page scroll was about 45% of the page. That means that more than half the people who came to my sales page and saw my offer and the product breakdown did not see my “who I am” bio section or the FAQs.

    I realize that this is a free bundle and people are not going to interact with this sales page in the same way as they would if it were a paid product. But I was really testing to see whether one look or use of color would significantly out-perform the interest and engagement I would see from people, and spoiler alert: the answer is no, there wasn’t a significant difference at all.

    The 1st page that rolled out Monday to Wednesday had a 77% engagement rate with an average page scroll of 45% while Wednesday to Friday had an engagement rate of 75% with an average page scroll of 45% as well. Page scroll was identical and the difference in engagement rate was marginal.

    As for my Conversion Analytics, the overall percentage of people who came to my page and signed up was 62.6% and this seemed weirdly low to me for something that was a free offer that the visitors actively chose to click-through on, so I definitely wanted to see what exactly had happened here.

    It turns out, my conversions for people who were using a desktop were great: they made up 86% of the people who signed up even though less than 75% of my visitors were using a desktop. This actually isn’t great news because out of all my mobile and tablet visitors, less than 1/3 of them signed up; this meant I needed to take a look at what the mobile and tablet experience was for that page to see what we can change to make that a better experience for those visitors.

    As for the different pages, the Conversion Analytics reflected the same story told by the Engagement Analytics: the difference was marginal with Monday to Wednesday converting at 63% while Wednesday to Friday converted at 62% so there was no obvious winner or front-runner in terms of image and color use, and my biggest take-away here was the difference in conversions based on device usage.

    At first, the time people spent on my page also took me by surprise. Monday started with a time I probably would have predicted coming in at just under 6 minutes, but then Tuesday was 24 minutes, Wednesday dropped back down to 7 minutes, Thursday was 34 minutes and Friday was 6 minutes. Weird, right? There did seem to be a correlated trend between the percentage of people who signed up with the time spent; the days where people spent less than 10 minutes on my page would have a lower conversion rate by about 8%.

    To help you visualize this, the time spent on my page throughout the week looked like the McDonald’s arches whereas the actual number of people who visit my page was shaped more like a skateboard halfpipe where Monday and Friday significantly outperformed the more “saggy” middle days.

    It dawned on me that I should compare the time spent on my other pages because it seemed a little “extra” but it turn out, nah! that’s my jam. People who buy my offers spend 25 minutes on my sales page on average and the button they use most often to purchase is the one nearest to product breakdown.

    Which means the “to update” list had a new entry and I would have to review my sales pages to see if we can test some opportunities for increased conversions outside of laptop and maybe better calls-to-action in those conversion heavy areas.

    Again, all of this is easy to do in Kartra: there’s no additional tracking to put in place or goals to create, this all gets tracked automatically and I like that it gives you just enough information to make these types of data-driven decisions but not so much that you’re too overloaded with information to actually synthesize what it all means.

    I’ll be interested in seeing what we can do about improving the tablet and mobile sign-ups, though. This isn’t a problem I see on my other sales pages – which, thank all the little pastries in the bakery for that, huh? – but it’s definitely something I want to better understand about how I’m performing.

    And look, that’s the advantage of doing these types of “lessons learned” reviews: these are personalized understandings about how you are interacting, engaging and converting with the people who are paying attention to what you have to say. The insights you gain in one area get to be carried through to your next campaign and provide you with a much shorter learning curve to achieve results you’re satisfied with and by.

    Which is all an “optimizing strategy” is: try something, position yourself to measure your outcome, and see what the story is and how you can tell a better one.

    If you want to learn more about optimizing, it’s the topic we’re focusing on in the Membership To Get-Data-Driven this month and I encourage you to check that out by clicking on the link in the shownotes or go to trackitlikeitowesyou.com.

    Also I’ve had some questions about Black Friday/Cyber Monday and I’ll say that no, there will be no sale price on the membership and that’s A-OK because the membership is already a super-low priced product that delivers mega-high value so you’re getting a deal, whenever you choose to join.

    But as I mentioned, I’ll be doing something special for The YOUR CEO DAY workbook so if you aren’t already on my mailing list, there’s a link in the shownotes for you to do that now and eliminate from your 2023 vocabulary the question about “what do I do on a CEO Day?”.

    We will talk soon, baiiieeeeee!!!

    CONTINUE READING

  • “Can having GA installed on my site increase my Google Ad cost?”

    This is a transcript of episode 72 of the Let’s Get Data-Driven Podcast

    I’m Lanie Lamarre and we’re kicking it today with another Office Hours question where Ashley wanted to know: “Can having Google Analytics installed on my site increase my Google ad cost?”. and we’re gonna answer her because that’s how Office Hours roll, kids!

    OK, so can and does having Google Analytics installed on your website increase your Google ad cost?

    Let’s start off by pointing out that Google Analytics and Google Ads are obviously designed to fit into each other and be compatible. In fact, if you’re using another analytics platform – which I recommend and I explain why on episode 53 – Google isn’t going to make it easy on you to report on your Google Ads.

    This is yet another reason why you want to use UTM parameters with any of the links that you share to track your marketing campaigns, and this is especially true of campaigns you’re paying for like Google Ads. No matter what analytics platform you’re using, having UTM parameters and analytics goals in place allows you to be intentional about tracking your ad campaign performance, your way.

    What are UTM parameters? These are little snippets of code you add to the links you share that allow you to keep track of your marketing efforts and performance, and we cover anything and everything you want to know about them in the Membership To Get Data-Driven so if you want to learn more, you can click on the link in the shownotes or you can go to trackitlikeitowesyou.com because your marketing efforts probably do.

    Now, even if you are using Google Analytics and Google Ads, you’ll probably have to cross-reference information like link clicks and ad spend because the numbers will rarely match up, even when you’re paying for Google’s ads and they’re being measured by Google Analytics. This isn’t entirely Google’s fault and there are a lot of reasons why your data will never be 100% accurate, including people’s use of ad or pixel blockers, among many other reasons that your performance data is not an exact science.

    Meanwhile, when you’re intentional about your tracking with the use of UTM parameters and you’re able to see your own sales with 100% certainty – after all, the number of invoices you had to issue and money deposited into your account are THE most reliable report of the “sales made” metric, right? You KNOW when someone paid you in a way that the pixels will never have the same certainty around.

    This is why when you hire an ad agency to run Google or Facebook ads for you, you can expect them to have their own spreadsheet and reporting. It is extra work to generate your own ad reports but it’s also a whole lot more accurate than what these platforms are able to report on because they simply can’t report on #allthethings and they certainly can’t do it with the accuracy you can when you’re intentional about your tracking and use of UTMs.

    But what about Ashley’s actual question, which was “can having GA installed on my site increase my Google Ad costs?”

    If the question is “can it”, I would say that yes, technically Google would be able to see what you can afford to spend on ads based on your Google Analytics reports and that could impact what you pay for your Google Ads.

    If the question is “does it”, the answer is that I don’t know and neither does anyone who isn’t sitting at the Google Cool Kids table. How algorithms are configured and ad costs are determined are meant to be a mystery to the rest of us, so unless Google comes out and says as much (which I doubt they would ever do), it’s impossible to know for sure.

    But the fact of the matter is that when you use Google Analytics and you run Google Ads, Google then has plenty of information at their disposal as to how much you can afford to spend on ads because they have access to how much money you’re generating from your offers.

    Is this clean-cut answer Ashley was looking for? I’m certain it isn’t.

    That’s how the tracking cookie crumbles with personal information, though: you don’t always know or have clarity around how that information is being used. This is why legislation like GDPR is so important – and why companies like Google are in hot water over these laws – because these privacy laws state that personal information can’t be used for purposes other than what it was collected for, and that people have to consent to how that information is being used. It’s an interesting time to be sitting front row to see how all the decisions and pushes are being made, and as much as these laws are meant to protect the consumer, you can see how they also impact you, the business owner, who is collecting this information.

    You want to know how this information is being used as well. Not just because you want to act like a human bring online, but because it actually CAN impact your bottom line.

    And if you’re looking to have more agency and intentionality over how you’re marketing, there’s a link in the shownotes to check out the Membership To Get Data-Driven or you can go to trackitlikeitowesyou.com and we’ll talk soon – baiiiieeee!

    CONTINUE READING

  • ZERO-PARTY Data vs. FIRST-PARTY Data vs. THIRD-PARTY Data

    This is a transcript of episode 70 of the Let’s Get Data-Driven Podcast

    I’m Lanie Lamarre and I’ve developed this weird habit as a digital marketer where I choose to see people as human being – risqué, I know! – and it’s even more controversial because I’ve positioned myself as an analytics and data person, and I’m therefore supposed to be of the opinion that you want track #allthethings and have #allthedata, whether or not you know what it means or have any use for it… and I’m not about that life AT ALL.

    I believe you can get data-driven without being a fucking creep-o, ok? And I’m pleased to report that I’m not alone because suddenly, we’re hearing about “zero-party data” and I’m here for it and I get the feeling you are, too, so I’m taking you to school as to what it is, what it means for you, and how it can be your most valuable data source.

    If we’re going to be speaking about zero-party data, I would be remiss not to tell you about first-party data and third-party data, because those terms have been floating around for years (and I did speak to them back in episode 33).

    Third-party data is information that is collected by someone or something that doesn’t have a direct relationship with the consumer. So when your aunt is sitting around the Thanksgiving table with her tin foil hat, talking about how the internet hears everything she says because those conspiracy theory books she was looking at on Amazon were showing up on the food blog where she got the Thanksgiving casserole recipe from – that’s third-party data in action, and she’s not entirely wrong to feel this way.

    In the words of the late and great Kurt Cobain, “Just because you’re paranoid / Don’t mean they’re not after you.” Third-party data is most certainly after all of our personal information, and it can be stitched together through various data sources. For instance, Google is the parent company of YouTube and therefore may combine what it learns about you from your viewing habits with the content of your emails from Gmail and combine that with your search history in Google to then repurpose that information to generate ads that target you and to freak your aunt out even further.

    Rightfully so, because as HubSpot reports, the death of third-party cookies is upon us and these third-party cookies is what has allowed for this cross-platform data collection. While they have enabled us “track website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps us target ads to the right audiences […] we [have] also use them to learn about what our visitors are checking out online when they aren’t on our websites.”

    The use of third-party cookies are being phased-out as we speak and this means digital marketers are going to have get a whole lot more intentional about tracking their own data, which is what I teach in the Membership To Get Data-Driven and you can check that out at trackitlikeitowesyou.com or you can click the link in the shownotes. A lot of marketers are having tantrums and stomping their feet about how this is ruining everything for them, but if we could all look at this through the lens of acting like flipping human beings online, I just can’t understand how anyone would see this as being a bad thing.

    My go-to example is if you went to the mall and checked out a candle at a little shoppe, and then left that store to go to the sporting goods store and the candle lady pops up from behind the winter coat rack holding up the candle and says “you sure you don’t want this candle?” and just kept popping up in places that had nothing to do with her – when you’re looking at pictures of your nieces and nephews and it’s like “candle?”, when you’re getting groceries and it’s like “still no candle?”, when you’re reading up on a loved ones serious medical problem and it’s all “can-dllllleeee!” In real life, you’d be like, “I’ll show you where you can shove that candle, lady” because it’s weird and creepy, and yet it’s something that is encouraged online even though it’s behavior we would never engage with in real life.

    A little sidenote is that I was listening to a podcast where I took fast and furious screenshots of the show notes to share with some biz besties because they were legit promoting how you can “contract digital herpes” online, and I was a mind blown emoji that herpes of any type is a goal for anyone to be and to spread. “You can be everywhere all the time” was the big selling point of this talk, and maybe I’m naïve, maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’d rather be those things than to adopt a game plan that involves mutating my marketing plan into resembling a transmittable disease. I mean, in real life, you can be charged for knowingly doing something like that, right?

    But I digress, because all this is to say, third-party cookies are dying a slow and steady death, whether digital marketers like it or not. It will also require digital marketers to take a more active and intentional role as to how they collect and use data.

    This is where first-party data comes into play, because this is the data that you collect directly from your audience with the assets that you own. Examples of this would include tracking people’s behaviors on your website and information you collected through opt-in forms like email addresses. This is information people have consented that you collect and use for your own purposes, but it still is a passive method of data-collection. It implies that someone comes to you, finds your stuff and gives you information about themselves willingly.

    Zero-party data is similar to first-party data in the sense that it is information that the other person is consenting to giving you directly, but in the case of zero-party data, you’re not using tools to collect that data as much as you are asking for it directly. An example of this could include a quiz that you have on your website that defines the person’s personality, status or interest, and that you are tagging and targeting this person based on how they have identified themselves to you. You can use the same sort of pro-active data collection in your welcome or nurture sequence where you ask new subscribers to self-select their personality, status or interest so you can better meet them where their needs or wants are, or when you present them with a drop-down menu of options that you are storing in the background. Another great example is when you tease something on social media and you ask people to DM you if they want to hear or get more of what you’re talking about: this is zero-party data because you’re actively exchanging and participating in how this data is being collected for your own use. Here’s my favorite zero-party data source: a glowing video testimonial after you asked for feedback on your offer is the bee’s knees, elbows and everything else where zero-party data is concerned.

    Any engagement where you’re getting to know more about the people you’re dealing with – even if it is just stored in your brain – is zero-party data so when you’re in your DMs and Jane messages you about your offer but you’re remembering that Jane runs an agency and she has a dog named Fido and she lives in Timbuktu, you’re using zero-party data.

    Zero-party data requires you to connect and engage directly with the people that you are serving, and I would argue that it is your most valuable and reliable source of data.

    And these are the rose-colored lenses through which I want to see the future of digital marketing: we’re going to have to do this goofy thing where connection is going to matter. (I know, weird, right?) The “pay and spray” approach to online advertising where you could just create a massive advertising campaign that would make you mad-profitable just isn’t what it was, and it’s only going to get harder to do as third-party cookies become less supported.

    I’m convinced we’re going to look back on the last few years of online marketing as being the total Wild West – like, lawlessness bordering on irresponsibility – and I’m really, really hoping that I’m not alone in thinking this is a good thing, in thinking that “contracting digital herpes” is a hella-gross marketing strategy to double-down on.

    In case you find it helpful, here’s my litmus test for “is this strategy creepy?” and it’s simply to ask “would I do this in real life?” This goes for all online behavior, really, but would you talk about your offers, would you comment on someone else’s things, would you promote yourself in this way in real life? We talk a lot about “authenticity” in the online world but, like, “would you ACTUALLY do or say this out loud, in the open?” is pretty much the simplest way of verifying how authentic you are with how you’re showing up.

    And as a final in case – because I know some of you are wondering – but we have zero-party data, we have first-party data, and we have third-party data… but what the hey happened to second-party data? Oh no, the forgotten middle child we never talk about but middle children are seen here on the Let’s Get Data-Driven podcast so let’s talk about it.

    Second-party data is basically other people’s first-data. So when you buy email lists, this is second-party data and this is an example where the people on this list may not have offered informed consent to having their information shared. It’s not all as sketchy as that, though, because you are also using second-party data when you’re participating in joint ventures and affiliate relationships because you’re using someone else’s direct audience and reach to get your offers seen. The difference here is that you are accessing that data without collecting anything because until that person opts into whatever you’re offering (and thereby becoming your first-party data), their actual information remains on the other person’s list.

    Data doesn’t necessarily require you to collect and store personal information, either; you can just use the data in question. For instance, it can be argued as being the use of second-party data would be when you are making decisions based on other people’s conversion rates because you’re using information as to how another person’s audience converts and you’re applying that information to your own marketing practices and campaigns.

    I’ve said this at length but using other people’s conversion rates as your goal post isn’t something I recommend. You’re in a position to collect and use your own information and that should always be your priority. You can use second- and third-party data to get in front of new audiences, but when it comes to promoting and converting your message and offers, you should be collecting enough first- and zero-party data to do that in-house.

    “But Lanie, I can’t do that – people aren’t reading my emails.” Maybe you need to focus on writing better emails.

    “Yeah but they don’t even like emails.” Then make videos. Then create a podcast. Meet them where they like to consume content.

    “How am I supposed to know where that is?” Ask them! Engage. Connect. And do it as soon as possible, while you have their captive attention.

    Because everyone wants to feel seen. After all, isn’t this why you market yourself in the first place? You want to feel seen, and so do the people who are coming to you. They came to you because they thought you had something to offer to them and it’s up to you to let them know that you’ve got them.

    Talk soon, baiiieee!

    CONTINUE READING

  • “When are LINK SHORTENERS most useful and how do you track them?”

    This is our inaugural Office Hours episode – this is where I take questions that were asked in the membership and share them with you – and today, we’ll talk about link shorteners: when to use them, best practices for using them and how to track them.

    Daniel says: I understand how to use the UTM parameters but what about link shortening tools like Pretty Links? Presently all of the links we share in emails are Pretty Links so we wouldn’t have to go in and change the links in the emails whenever we changed the offer they point to.

    So I definitely encourage the use of link shortening tools but they do not replace the use of UTM parameters to track your campaigns.

    Now what are UTM parameters? I talk about these in episode 18 and of course, we go into all kinds of depth with how to use these in the Membership To Get Data Driven where I essentially write out all of your UTM parameters so you can copy and paste them into your own marketing strategies.

    But at their core, UTM parameters are snippets of code you add to your links that act as location trackers for your marketing campaigns. Using these is what will grant you the superpower to generate reports you can actually read and make sense of and take action on and really understand what the return-on-investment for your promotional efforts. So that’s the sweet-and-low on UTMs but I encourage you to join the membership if you would like to know more about these magical little tracking tools.

    But let’s talk about when and where to use link shorteners.

    Daniel says he uses Pretty Links but these aren’t the only types of link shorteners there are. You can also use tools like Bit.Ly or Tiny URL, just to name a couple, or you can do what I do and save yourself the extra fee by using a redirection plug-in that will point people to whatever link you intended to share.

    REASON #1 TO USE LINK SHORTENERS

    The reason you would use a link shortener is to take big complicated links and turn them into something easier to share and remember.

    You know I love examples so let’s use one: let’s say you’re speaking at an event and you want to track the traffic you get from speaking at that event. You’re not going to tell people to go to “mydomain.com/shop/offer?utm_campaign=offer&utm_medium=offline&utm_source=event …got that? I repeat!” You’ll sound bananas.

    But when you use a link shortener, you can redirect people from something like “easy.link/event” to that big complicated link and that is something way easier to share and remember.

    Meanwhile, you’re still using the UTM parameters that make it possible for you to capture all the campaign information you want to keep track of because in the backend, that easy link is redirecting visitors to: mydomain.com/shop/offer?utm_campaign=offer&utm_medium=offline&utm_source=event

    So there’s your first reason why you can and want to use link shorteners: when you’re sharing a complicated link with an audience at something like a speaking event or on a podcast, and you want to keep tabs on the ROI for your speaking engagements.

    REASON #2 TO USE LINK SHORTENERS

    Another instance where I recommend using link shorteners is with Affiliate Marketing. I cover this in-depth in the Membership To Get Data-Driven but when YOU are an affiliate for someone else’s product or offer where your referrals gain you a commission payment, I always recommend that you avoid sharing their affiliate links and instead, that you create your own links using either a link shortener or a link redirect.

    Why? Because people may change their affiliate programs and links (and I can tell you from experience that it happens more often than you’d like). When they change your affiliate links, you are then in the unfortunate position of having to remember all the places where you shared that link and swap it out for the new one – no fun!

    But when you use a shortener or redirect, it’s no big deal at all to update your affiliate links because all you have to do is change where your link points to.

    Examples are our friend so let’s use one: I love to use Bonjoro as a tool to welcome new members to my membership and as such, I recommend the service and have an affiliate link. If you go to omgrowth.com/bonjoro, I have it set up so that this link redirects you to my Bonjoro affiliate link. If Bonjoro changes those links on me, I don’t have to hunt down everywhere I shared their link; I just have to swap out where omgrowth.com/bonjoro points to.

    Another advantage to using shorteners and redirects with your affiliate links is that, hello! they’re so much easier to remember. I don’t have to tell someone “hold on! let me find my affiliate link” because I made it easy.

    Which brings me to Daniel’s question about what about Pretty Links or link shorteners: while I do recommend using shorteners and redirects, I do no recommend you use them in your emails. Instead, I would recommend that you embed your link and use UTM parameters to track which emails performed in which way. If you use the same link shortener in all of your emails, it’ll be impossible to differentiate those results in your reports and you could be missing out on some key insights.

    I wouldn’t limit this recommendation to just emails, either: any time you’re posting links on your own assets – so things like your ads, your social media, your emails – I recommend you use your own links combined with UTM parameters.

    Meanwhile, if you’re sharing links in a free training you’re offering or any joint venture you’re collaborating on, link shorteners are great but don’t forget to use UTMs with whatever you’re redirecting to.

    And finally, if you’re sharing affiliate links for referrals/commissions, I recommend you use a link shortener to redirect to your affiliate link (and in this case, you don’t need to use UTMs because you’re not directing this traffic to your site and they’re already being tracked by the affiliate program.)

    A final note about link shorteners, though, is that I personally prefer to use my own redirections over link shorteners and I have 3 reasons for that:

    1) Because I own my domain, it’s free whereas link shorteners usually have service charges;

    2) I like that everything – including my shared and affiliate links – starts with omgrowth.com and the less I have to remember and the fewer additional accounts I need to manage my business, the better; and finally

    2) Link shorteners can be used for malicious purposes and people therefore trust them less. It’s easy to hide a link that’ll download ransomware, for example, using these types of links, and that’s often why online advertisers like Google or Facebook ads frown on your use of these types of links within their own platforms.

    Another thing that USED to be a problem but seems to have been resolved in the last couple of years is that you were once able to add a plus sign at the end of any bit.ly link to see the analytics reports for that link. This means your competitors could spy on how people were using that link, but again, this appears to have been something that has been updated.

    So link shortening and redirecting links can be incredibly useful tools, when they’re used strategically and in conjunction with UTM parameters, but they don’t necessarily replace them. You still want to track your campaigns like they owe you – because they probably do – and if you’re looking for more information on this, join the dang membership by going to trackitlikeitowesyou.com and P.S. yes, that IS a redirection link that uses UTM parameters so here’s a little bonus to the episode:

    I have 2 differently coded links in my podcast episodes that both point to my membership sign-up page. The first one is trackitlikeitowesyou.com and this shows up in my reports as people who heard and remembered the link, and went and typed it into a browser themselves. The second link is the one in the shownotes and this shows up as people who saw the membership sign-up page because they clicking on a link in the shownotes. This allows me to 1) cater to the different ways in which people use and interact with podcast links and 2) better understand what those ways are.

    So if you’re looking to creep on a real-life example of how different UTMs work, go ahead and check those out and hey! it’s not so creepy if you slip into my DMs to tell me @omgrowth – talk soon, creep-o, baiiieee!

    CONTINUE READING