Episode 57: How AI Levels the Marketing Playing Field

If every part of your customer acquisition can be measured, you’ll figure out how to do it profitably. That premise has driven why digital marketing, and especially Pay-per-click (PPC) is managed by experienced humans. These professionals scour through data for the relationship between a company’s ads and the buyers actions; once found, budgets get shifted to achieve that optimal effect.  

A wrench has been thrown into our acquisition dreams by the ad platform titans: Google, Facebook and Microsoft (who own LinkedIn). Thanks to major AI investments they have made in the last five years, they’ve been able to automate much of the work that marketing professionals have done. In tandem with implementing their ‘smart’ software that runs autonomously, they have been restricting a marketer’s ability to manually control campaigns. 

The platforms believe their AI is smart enough to run marketing, so we can either be passive, letting them spend our money as they see fit, or we can choose to give them navigational assistance while they drive. The point is, you should have a game plan that works with the platforms’ AI. One that, over time, will generate the leads you need at the best possible acquisition cost.

I believe listening to this episode will give you that plan. It covers:

  • How marketing has become more computationally complex than humans can handle
  • What was in it for the platforms to automate PPC marketing
  • Stages of maturity for dealing with data, ending with predictive analytics
  • Why you shouldn’t fight ad platform automation, but instead use your business data to train algorithms how to market you more effectively
  • How you should integrate your in-house systems and apply data science to uncover insights

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Paper estimating how much data optimized advertising requires, authored by Randall A. Lewis of Google; Justin M. Rao of Microsoft: “A calibrated statistical argument shows that the required sample size for an experiment to generate informative confidence intervals is typically in excess of ten million person-weeks”

Quote by Chuck Heamann & Ken Burbary in “Digital Marketing Analytics”:  “If you think about all the tools we have talked about…you see that there is one common denominator: You do not own any of the data. Herein lies what we think is the biggest revolution coming to digital analytics..companies will be building internal repositories for this data.”

Episode Reboot 

Go talk to a coworker who uses statistical measurement, to understand how the efficiency it achieves in other fields can be applied to marketing.

Episode 43: Marketing Within the Limits of Data Privacy

A lot of changes have happened with Data Privacy lately, as people have grown more aware of information that companies have on them. Cookies were introduced to allow sites to improve the visitor experience. But their usage has mushroomed so much, we now need pop-ups on sites just to say how many cookies are being used.

With privacy regulations passed and more looming, big tech players like Apple and Google are pre-emptively changing data tracking. Google’s taking away the individual targeting on which they have sold ads for the last 20 years. 

There will be more episodes on this topic, because it is changing and we won’t know how it fully impacts marketers for another year or two. But for now, let’s explore all that’s happened and look at tactical alternatives we as site owners and marketers can take to react to this.

People/Places/Concepts

Apple Technologies:

  • ATT – App Tracking Transparency
  • ITP – Intelligent Tracking Protocol
  • IDFA – Identifier for Advertisers

Google Technologies:

  • FLoCs – Federated Learning of Cohorts
  • FLEDGE – First “Locally-Executed Decision over Groups” Experiment
  • Turtledove – “Two Uncorrelated Requests, Then Locally-Executed Decision On Victory”

Lawsuits brought by Governments in US against Google

Surveillance Capitalism (term coined by author Shoshana Zuboff)

Porter Model:

Resources:

Google Ads Announcement on Privacy Sandbox and FLoCs

Page that Julie Bacchini and the #ppcchat community are curating: Privacy & Cookieless Resources

Eric Seufert’s podcast on this topic

Episode Reboot:

Ensure your site complies with opt-in provisions and limited data collection policies.

Collect first-party data on your leads/buyers, including which advertisements they saw. Form inferences on which ads your entire potential-buyer population should see, based on this statistical sample. 

Encourage visitors to provide their email early, so you can track them as they go from visitor to lead to customer. You will be better prepared when Google Ads switches to selling cohorts of users based on interest.

Episode 22: Digital Marketing Through Uncertain Times

Today’s episode is a simple solocast of me talking to you. I’m recording in an extraordinary time when stress is being put on healthcare, public institutions, whole industries and even entire economies. All the uncertainty out there is invading our digital marketing world. What’s going to happen? Just thinking about current events can induce fears about budgets getting cut, teams getting shrunk and we feel an existential threat to our very career. 

To help, the first part of the episode goes through how uncertainty affects everyone’s mindset. I share what some authors like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Kurt Vonnegut have observed about these reactions change over time. By understanding them, we’ll hopefully cycle through these emotions more quickly. 

 

Peter Drucker said we shouldn’t scale back at times like this, but to make investments that “enable a business to make its future. That, in the last analysis, is what planning for uncertainty means.” So having dealt with how we respond to uncertainty as humans, I devote the rest of this episode to how we can respond as marketers.

I talk about investments we can make around planning, doing, analyzing and improving processes. I share resources that have helped me during crises so the way I market fits with new outside realities. Hopefully it helps propel you to act in a way that you can look back on with pride when it’s all over.

People/Products/Ideas Mentioned:

Mr. Micawber from Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield”

Pandora’s Box

Andrea Bassi, co-author of “Tackling Complexity”

Apollo 13

The Shawshank Redemption among other ‘Man in Hole’ movies

Craig Ferguson final “Late Late Show” monologue

SWOT analysis

Porter Five Forces Model

Business Model Canvas popularized by Alex Osterwalder and Ash Maurya

Anzoff Matrix

“An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield

Mark Schaefer’s Content Shock

Shell Oil’s There Is No Alternative (TINA) Scenario Planning

Dr Flint McGlaughlin, Founder MECLabs, on marketers using their art to help others in crisis. 

Reboot:

Go find another group who would benefit from clarity on their strengths and ways to express their value to their audience.

 

Episode 15: Ad Fraud and what you can do about it

This episode looks at the impact of fraudulent traffic on digital marketing. We’ll talk about how big a problem it is for publishers, ad platforms and advertisers. We will step through what advertisers can do to make their campaigns less vulnerable to attacks by fraudsters, and give thoughts on how to give your non-marketing colleagues reasons why it’s still good business to advertise, in spite of problems with ad fraud.

Shownotes:

Ideas and Products mentioned in the episode

Humans Account for Less than 40% of Global Web Traffic.

Pixel Stuffing (see ‘pixel stuffing’)

Ad Stacking 

Misrepresentation ad fraud (video) 

Ad injections

Google Data Centres

Ad Fraud Bots reported by White Ops 

IAB.canada

Media Rating Council (MRC)

TAG standards

Blade Runner Voight-Kampff machine 

Polygraph Machine    

Ads.txt

Google Tag Manager Conversion Linker (Video) – incorrectly called it Conversion Looker in the audio.

Anti-drug PSA 

Arthur Andersen & Enron conflict of interest

Script to find How much of your traffic uses adblockers

People mentioned in the episode:

Bob Hoffman (adcontrarian) 

Mark Schaefer 

Scott Stratten

Gabe Leydon 

Augustine Fou 

Reboot:

To see invalid traffic numbers and percentages in your Google Ads account:

  1. login to your account and navigate to the campaign level
  2. Click the Columns icon and add the invalid interaction data columns
  3. If there are clicks you consider invalid that are not reported, you can request an invalid traffic investigation. Details are at the bottom of this page: https://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/what-you-can-do.html

Episode 12: How Traffic Makes the Whole Funnel Work

traffic

Fifty years ago, Author and Ad Age writer Bob Stone gave a framework for direct marketing funnels: list, offer, creative. This series expands that list for the digital age, itemizing the elements every website now needs to act as a funnel and generate leads.

In this fourth of our five-part series, we talk about traffic; not the automotive type but the web visitor type. This solocast talks about all the ways web analytics tools classify traffic to your site. Then I focus on four of those channels that you can affect for getting more traffic to your site.

Show Notes: 

People/Things mentioned in the show:

For more on this topic, check out Episode 2: https://www.funnelreboot.com/ep2/

Episode Reboot: 

Check out the Acquisitions report in your Google Analytics. Navigate in the left menu to “Acquisitions” to see all the submenu items.



download

Episode 11: How A Call-to-Action Makes the Whole Funnel Work

CTAs

Fifty years ago, Author and Ad Age writer Bob Stone gave a framework for direct marketing funnels: list, offer, creative. This series expands that list for the digital age, itemizing the elements every website now needs to act as a funnel and generate leads.

In this episode, we look at both sides of website interaction. We discuss how visitors progress through a website and how marketers make conversion offers for visitors to complete. Marketers make a critical choice when deciding the conversion actions they use, so we go through the most common call-to-action offers used on leading-edge websites. Listen in for answers to these topics:

  • Why do we have conversions?
  • How to optimize your conversion offers
  • How to choose what call-to-action to put on your webpage
  • How to effectively use chatbots, contact form, call buttons, questionnaires, etc

Ideas and Products mentioned in the episode:

Chat tools

Botacademy

Drift

PureChat

Zendesk

Intercom

Snapengage

Olark

People mentioned in the episode:

Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson, author  “Making Websites Win”

Chris Goward, author “You Should Test That

Brad Geddes, author “Advanced Google AdWords”

Tim Ash, author “Landing Page Optimization”

Sangram Vajre, Flip the Funnel

Reboot:

Enjoy this list of Conversions/Calls-to-Action from “You Should Test That” (reprinted with permission)

Lead-Generation Goals

If lead generation is your overall purpose, the goals might include any of the following specific user actions:

  • Request a quote
  • Create an online quote
  • Request an in-person demo
  • View an overview video
  • Request a phone call
  • Take a quiz or poll
  • Request a situation analysis
  • in a contest
  • Request market information
  • Fill out a needs-analysis
  • Book a meeting
  • questionnaire
  • Use a needs-analysis wizard
  • Ask a question
  • Use an interactive savings or RO
  • Complete a contact form inquiry
  • calculator
  • Download software
  • Click to call
  • Sign up for trial offer
  • Click to chat
  • Request a printed brochure
  • Make a phone call
  • Request a catalogue
  • Register for a webinar
  • Download an online brochure
  • Register for a conference
  • Download a whitepaper
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Download an ebook
  • Sign up for a blog subscription
  • Download a worksheet
  • Sign up for an RSS feed Subscription
  • Download a case study

E-Commerce Goals

For e-commerce, your goals might be based on any of these common metrics:

  • e-commerce purchase conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Return on ad spend
  • Revenue per visitor

Or they might include any of the following user actions:

  • Sign up for an RSS feed
  • Request a catalog
  • Subscription
  • Ask a question
  • Add to cart
  • Click to cali
  • Save to a wish list
  • Click to chat
  • Sign up for auto-reordering
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Add accessories (up-sell)
  • Sign up for a blog subscription

Affiliate Marketing Goals

For affiliate marketing, your goals might include a specific revenue-per-visitor value, along with any of the following actions:

  • Click through to an affiliate site
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Sign up for a blog subscription
  • Fill out a needs-analysis questionnaire
  • Sign up for an RSS feed subscription
  • Use a needs-analysis wizard
  • Find a service provider
  • Use an interactive savings or ROI calculator
  • Find savings in your area
  • Create an online quote

Subscription Goals

Subscription goals might include any of the following actions and metrics:

  • Sign up for a free trial subscription
  • Upgrade subscription
  • Paid subscription signups
  • Average subscription signup value

There are many more goals you can track, depending on your business model. For each test, choose the one that drives the most revenue. Once you have identified the goals for your test, you’ll be ready to set up your conversion-optimization experiment and get testing.

 

Episode 10: How a Tracking Infrastructure Makes the Whole Funnel Work

tracking infrastructure

Fifty years ago, Author and Ad Age writer Bob Stone gave a framework for direct marketing funnels: list, offer, creative. This series expands that list for the digital age, itemizing the elements every website now needs to act as a funnel and generate leads. This episode covers what needs to be in place to know everything about people’s interactions with your website.

Listen in for answers to these topics:

  • What are the main pieces of a funnel infrastructure
  • What are the skills you need to set up and maintain your infrastructure?plinko
  • How to track what’s happening in your site through Google Analytics, everything from a video view to use of a chatbot
  • Which tools manage the tags behind these conversions
  • What you need to run A/B testing

You’ll also hear how Mother Hubbard, Gas Tanks and the game of Plinko all relate to tracking on your website.

Ideas and Products mentioned in episode:

Installing the Google Sheet add-on

Google Analytics

Search Console

Google’s Campaign URL Builder

Uptime Robot

VisualPing

Google Tag Manager

Google Optimize

HubSpot

Eloqua

Marketo

Pardot

Google Analytics Suite

People mentioned in episode:

Sayf Sharif

Sangram Vajre

Reboot:

Please go see the Google Marketing Platform by going into https://analytics.google.com and clicking the 2 by 2 grid icon shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 9: How Dashboards Make the Whole Funnel Work

dashboards

Fifty years ago, Author and Ad Age writer Bob Stone gave a framework for direct marketing funnels: list, offer, creative. This series expands that list for the digital age, itemizing the elements every website now needs to act as a funnel and generate leads. This episode focuses on the dashboard component.

Here is the 7-step process described for building a marketing dashboard:

  • Interview stakeholders
  • Review Technology
  • Select KPIs
  • Group requirements
  • Select Charts
  • Prototyping/Wireframing
  • Launch

Ideas and Products mentioned in episode:

Entity relationship Model (ERM)

Database Schema

Extract Transform Load (ETL)

Supermetrics

Domo

Tableau

Klipfolio

Geckoboard

Google Data Studio

People mentioned in episode:

Special thanks to Doug McCaffrey who collaborated on this dashboarding initiative with me.

Ben Yoskovitz

Alistair Croll

James Hebdon

Robert Rose

Matt Heinz

Christopher Berry

Reboot:

Look at Nicholas Kelly’s site, Nicksight.com for ideas and products related to dashboard-making

Episode 5: Dealing with how work’s changed with digital

Dealing with how work’s changed with digital

Shownotes:

This episode covers the way we work in digital. As the pace of work has sped up, we’re using more agile methods to plan our resources. As automation and artificial intelligence enter, we’re deciding how it gets used in our marketing stack. We are also figuring out how our organizational culture fits with this, so everyone can focus on a funnel that efficiently converts visitors into buyers.

This Episode’s Links:

turtles all the way down
turtles all the way down

Scott Brinker’s Book, “Hacking Marketing”

Jim Sterne http://twitter.com/jimsterne

Christopher P. Berry http://twitter.com/cjpberry

 

This Episode’s Reboot:

Read the Agile Manifesto at
http://agilemanifesto.org/

Photo: Thomas Edison and ‘the muckers’ in front of the Menlo Park laboratory

Episode 4: Dealing with how digital is measured

Dealing with how digital is measured

Shownotes:

This episode is about how digital has changed how we measure marketing. We’ll cover the explosion of data brought by the Internet. We’ll look at how to clean and filter data so only the right kind is used for analysis. We’ll talk about tools for analyzing and reporting data, for sharing data with core areas of our business, and also for insights we ourselves get out of it. Finally, we’ll see how more leads can be generated by analyzing how buyers respond to our content.

Links mentioned:

Urchin Software  (acquired/rebranded as Google Analytics)

Robert Rose

Difference between Stock and Flow numbers

Renaissance Men

Eric Peterson’s Big Book of Key Performance Indicators (author’s full-text release)

This Episode’s Reboot:

I’m going to recommend that you review your own KPIs. You can even benchmark them against some external KPI libraries out there. First time I learned these things existed, I was fascinated. There’s kpilibrary.com, free-kpi.com, smartkpis.com and others. These are all great places to get inspiration for choosing the KPIs that matter to your own organization.