This is episode 32 of Season 2 for the OMGrowth podcast.
If it feels like everything in digital marketing is shifting and changing right now, you are correct. The way you’ve “always done things” isn’t going to fly any longer but today, we’re talking about what WILL work for you and your promotional efforts amid all these changes.
If you haven’t listened to last week’s podcast, I recommend you hit up episode 31 before you listen to this episode to get the background as to why we all have to change with the times.
However, the short version of this is best expressed by Gartner, the leader in tech research and consulting, when they say that 65% of the world’s population will be protected under privacy regulation by 2023. This is a huge shift from just last year in 2020, when only 10% of people had their rights to privacy protected online.
Even without the legislation to protect them, people are becoming increasingly savvy of the way their data is being used and shared by employing privacy-safe and compliant browsers like Brave and Duck Duck Go, or by using ad and cookie blocker tools. While tracking online data was never a perfect science, it’s inevitably going to get a lot less reliable with all the updates and changes to how we are tracking data online in order to be privacy-compliant.
If you are buying ads, if you are sending emails, if you want to know what people are doing on your website… you will have to learn to be data compliant.
There is no way around this and the so-called “good ole days” of slapping a few pixels up on your website to collect as much information as that pixel can and wants to are over, and this isn’t a bad thing.
In fact, for ethical, responsible marketers who are and want to be intentional, this is an especially good thing.
We are all being forced into showing up as human beings – yes, even online! – who see treat others with respect, as opposed to treating them as “a hit”.
TARGETING: THE REMIX
In the last episode, we went over the difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies, and how some browsers (including Google) are rendering third-party cookies obsolete. If you’ve noticed your Facebook Analytics has changed – both its format and the reliability of its data – this is the reason why.
Your Facebook pixel’s default settings are to use both first-party cookies and third-party cookies. When you’re creating Facebook ads and you target someone’s interests or whether they’ve interacted with your Facebook page, these are your first-party cookies in action because everything is tracked and happening on the same site; however, when you’re using ads to retarget someone who visit your sales page on a totally different domain 2 weeks ago, those are your third-party cookies in action because this is a domain other than the one that person is currently visiting.
You are going to have to start meeting people where they are rather than try to lure them from where they are.
This is why you’re going to see an increase in the use of opt-in forms on Facebook’s platform for your email list rather than on your own website. Same deal for sales pages.
Why? Because you won’t be able to use third-party cookies to retarget someone who visit another site (i.e. yours!) but you will be able to target someone using first-party cookies so if someone visit a sales page or opt-in you have on Facebook’s platform, you can then retarget them with Facebook ads as well.
Since it’s going to become increasingly important to meet people where they are, expect a more diverse means of communications, marketing and reporting to emerge.
DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS PORTFOLIO
I predict that we will see a surge in new and creative ways that will allow us as marketers to communicate with people in a multi-platform approach. As the depreciation of cookies increases, the availability of services like text messaging, messenger chats and website intercoms will be the tip of an ever-growing iceberg people seem to be referring to as MULTI-CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS.
Another trend you can expect to see emerge is MULTI-STACK MARKETING. The same way you have multiple social media channels where you post similar content but in ways that are customized to how that platform works, you’re going to get the same thing across your marketing channels. Because platforms like Facebook and Google and Amazon will be capturing, collecting and owning the first-party data, you’ll likely be creating entire funnels to live within those systems, rather than funneling that traffic over to your site as you currently do.
And finally, because our marketing campaigns will look more like mind maps than they do now where everything centers around driving traffic to our central site, expect the emergence of MULTI-CHANNEL REPORTING to be a thing. We will no longer be able to rely or even lean on one source to tell us the truth about our online performance because the data will no longer be allowed to be shared across multiple platforms and channels.
This sounds intimidating but think of it the same way you think of social media: unless it’s a team effort, nobody is on all the platforms. Most small online businesses manage best with a focus on one or two platforms, and your marketing will be a similar approach: you’ll simply have little eco-systems living within each platform on which you have chosen to focus marketing yourself.
Another prediction I’m going to make – and I’ve already hinted at this with multi-channel communications – but engagement is going to be more important and valued than ever.
Expect more DIRECT MARKETING EFFORTS and COLLABORATIONS to increase significantly because as these changes take place and people adjust their ad campaigns accordingly; for many, it’s going to be a better return-on-investment to run campaigns like joint venture webinars where people can gain access to each other’s audiences than it will be to run ads to your webinar.
Now even collaborations will be faced with challenges because you can expect AFFILIATE LINKS to be impacted as well, since they rely on cookies that have a certain duration of tracking attributed to them. This isn’t the most elegant solution but if this is a problematic issue for you, you may find coupon codes to be an effective control for being able to accurately track those referrals. However, I’m excited to see what affiliate marketing software platforms work out as a solution to this and I’d encourage you to inquire with your provider to see what they’re saying about affiliate tracking post-iOS updates.
CONTENT WITH CONSENT
As people opt-out of being tracked, I foresee a return of the PASSWORD PROTECTED CONTENT where you have to login to a website – thereby consenting to having your activity on said website to be tracked – as a means of gaining more insight as to how people are behaving online. These were popular a few years ago and they may re-introduce an effective tool in providing something your audience wants from you while obtaining consent.
As for your email marketing, it’s very likely that the iOS15 update will turn the term “open rates” into an adorable concept we will all get nostalgic “do you remember when?” vibes over and Urban Outfitters will sell back to us in 15 years.
However, even if they can remove all the pixels and cookies they want, you will still be able to track your email marketing performance using UTM PARAMETERS. You can still get a feel for things like your Click-Through Rate (or CTR) so if you haven’t been using UTMs yet or you don’t know what they are, head over to omgrowth.com and find out everything you need to know about getting intentional with tracking your emails, your ads and your social media performance, just for starters.
EMAIL MARKETING 2.0
Another element of email marketing that will be impacted is how you CLEAN YOUR LIST. It’s known to be a good practice to clean out your email list of people who are not opening your emails because when you send emails that aren’t being opened, this can impact your deliverability as well as the cost you are paying your email marketing provider for subscribers who aren’t even seeing your emails. In the past, you would do this by sending out an email to everyone on your list who hasn’t opened an email in the last 6 months asking if they still want to receive emails from you and if it’s still crickets, you delete their contact information; I suspect that engagement metrics like “clicks” will continue to be available and so the shift will have to be from “did they open the email?” to “did they engage with my content?”
ENGAGEMENT FOR THE WIN
If you’re seeing a trend here, then BRAVO! Because yes, engagement is the new benchmark against which you will measure everything. The days of being concerned over “lowest bar” metrics like pageviews or open rates are over; you’re going to have to embrace these weird concepts called “people” and “engagement” and “consent”, and you know what? I bet you’ll be just fine with that.
Now we covered a lot here so let’s recap some new and remixed ways to shift the way you’re currently marketing yourself:
- If you’re buying ads, look into INTEGRATING FREEBIE OPT-INS AND SALES directly through the platform you’re using to run those ads. If it’s possible for you to build those sales funnels into Facebook’s own domain, it will be easier and more accurate for Facebook to retarget the user behaviors it can actually collect data on;
- Put some thought into meeting people where they are, and consider ADDING IN COMMUNICATION CHANNELS that would best meet them there, like chatbots or website intercoms;
- Anything you or your team are hitting publish on can be tracked with UTM PARAMETERS and this will be the most effective way of seeing a return-on-investment for anything you are putting out there.
The pay-and-spray approach of marketing will soon be ineffective. The reasons for which it will be made ineffective are actually beneficial to marketers who already rely more on relationship and engagement-based marketing.
Does it mean we will have to put a little more effort forth to measure its effectiveness? Yes, we will. We are in an industry of ever-changing strategies and tactics, though, and this happens to be one that not only benefits our businesses in the long term, but also forces us all to act and think a little more humanely.
In fact, next week, we go into the third and final part of this series and I’ll let you know which strategies you may as well start creating an exit strategy for because they’re being shown the door of this saloon, so be sure to subscribe and share, and feel free to slip into my DMs over on Instagram @omgrowth to tell me your thoughts, worries, concerns – let’s hear them!
Talk soon but for now, baiieeeee!