When you don’t agree with the word of a Marketing GURU, I think this is what you do.
A Facebook Friend of mine named Justin Brooke (JB) made a Facebook post that I responded to and I felt I should share the exchange. The reason, it’s about a very hot topic in the news. And I think it’s highly misunderstood. He had over a 150 People praising his post agreeing with him and then there was me. I responded to his comment in separate modules, to each of his specific statements. Note: Justin is a top notch Media Pro who teaches others how to run digital campaigns at AdSkills.com He’s a Pro and you should check his stuff out.
The start of my response...
Justin, I’m giving you these comments because I respect you. That comes with very high expectations and I know you can reach them. I'm supposed to say that when I’m about to disagree with most of what you said. I do agree with some of it. This will require a detailed response because you gave Me a lot to chew on. Let's begin...
JB: "I've been saying for years, retargeting and all of this custom/lookalike audience collection is not going to be around forever."
GO: Other than the dirt beneath our feet, not much will be around forever. In the world of digital, data will last longer-much longer than anyone reading this post. We live in a sensor economy. Sensors collect data, IoT. Sensors are growing in numbers, exponentially, there are billions and will soon be trillions of sensors. Data+Data=Insight And insight is valuable. Data-driven marketing collects, analyses, and utilizes all forms of data from sensors. Within a few layers of various companies and identity resolution technologies, IoT goes from anonymous to not. And yes, there are proper and legal ways to deal with PII to maintain privacy laws. And this Genie is not going back in the bottle. If People want to use all the cool new technology like Google Maps, Alexa, Facebook - basically all tech - they give up data collected by many, many sensors. Within tech, this is not going away. Ad platforms that help Advertisers produce audiences, leads & customers will always allow Custom Audiences for the proper utilization, optimization and enhanced targeting of that first-party data. This is not going away, it's growing and will continue to do so. Similarly, Lookalike Audiences extend the reach (in an amazing way I might add) for the Advertisers and Ad platform will continue this as well.
JB: "#CambridgeAnalytica marks the peak and #GDPR is the signal for it starting to go down from here."
GO: In terms of "starting to go down from here" there's my comment above addressed. In terms of Cambridge Analytica, from what I've read, the main issue at hand has everything to do with the data and how they went about getting the data they used. The real issue isn't Custom and Lookalike Audience. If it wasn't first-party data, that's an issue, it needs to be. If it was collected and utilized outside of Facebook's policies, that's an issue too. However, Zuck has stated it was not and policies have since gotten stricter. In terms of GDPR, I do not see similar laws coming to America. It's a much bigger discussion that gets into the politics of why. Personally, I think this whole Cambridge Analytica issue has become an issue for political reasons. All the hubbub isn't a long-standing one.
JB: "Blasphemy you say..."
GO: The irony coming from an "Ad Guy" I guess you could say that, you said it, not me.
JB: "Consumers do not like to be tracked. This weeks FB ads fiasco is the clear cut proof of that."
GO: Of course, Consumers don't want to be tracked. It's a bit of a platitude though. It's like saying people don't like to be sold, but they sure do like to buy shit. There's a give and take with using today's tech. People have a choice to unplug and tune out. Having free access to super cool tech without being "tracked" has not become an entitlement.
JB: "Browsers, the software we all use to access the Internet sides with the user. For years they have been tightening the tracking controls for the user. Now they are starting to outright just block ads, cookies, VSL's, and many other things. If the consumer does not want to be tracked, then it is only a matter of time before custom audiences and cookies go the route of pop ups (the old school kind)."
GO: Bro, you're mixing in a ton of stuff here that shouldn't be correlated together. Thank God we still live in a Free market society where yes, the User, the Customer is still always right and in control of the products they get to use. And maybe someday People will stop using Facebook, and Google (I don't think so) or there will be an ad-free paid version like Netflix. Ok, great. However, please don't think that will stop data collection, analysis, and utilization on so many levels it would makes People’s head spin. ALL machine learning and AI operate because of DATA. And what produces data, sensors. Please don't believe an ad blocker stops data collection. It stops an ad from showing to that Person on that channel. Those Advertisers who are One Channel Ponies will have a problem. And the Cookie, well, it's been crumbling for years with the advent of more and more new devices. The Cookie alone isn't cross-device or cross-channel. Thus, the advent of People-Based Data and Marketing. Believe it or not, People want the right message at the right time. In an ever growing multichannel world, Advertisers who become Omni to the segment of One, are going to win. Honestly, to liken custom audiences to pop-ups is to suggest that data collection, analysis and the utilization of behavior will stop within the ecosystems of tech and Advertising. Where's the hockey puck going? Data absorption and networked data are creating the ad networks of the future-now. They are inclusive and beyond the walled gardens. It's decentralization. The largest and smartest companies have been doing it for years. Combining the use of hybrid data platforms, DMPs, DSPs and CDPs are now audience hubs treated much like advanced CRM automation systems. It's about building Identity Graphs. Detailed profiles tagged and segmented similarly to the way Facebook and Google already do it, except, Advertisers are building their own data networks as long-term assets. People don't need to be in your CRM/Funnel to be intelligently identified and targeted. When Advertisers buy the targeting from the ad platform, IT COST MORE. When Advertisers bring their targeting into the ad platform (Custom Audiences), and it's highly responsive, IT COST LESS. Paying the heaviest load Advertising to a haystack of data on Facebook, Google or anywhere, to identify the needles that are going into your CRM/Funnel isn't necessary anymore. It's happening, it will continue, and it will become increasingly better. Side note: I think AI will take over running ad campaigns on Facebook and Google way before custom audiences are gone like the popups. That includes page/funnel optimization, and SEO as well. -- I could go on…
JB: "So then what are my options? Well, for now the window is still open. This is like in the movies where the hero is running towards the closing vault door and slides under in the last second. You're now the guy running towards the closing door. The closing door is browsers and ad networks slowly removing your ability to track user behaviors so accurately. Use it while we have it."
GO: We agree, use it. Indeed! However, the window is not getting smaller and closing, it's getting bigger, much bigger. Here's the issue, your statement "browsers and ad networks slowly removing your ability to track user behaviors so accurately" That's not happening. On some levels, it might seem like it, but it's not happening. The exact opposite is happening. This is the thing, Advertisers, in a very big way, make the world go around. Some might dispute it or say the world is flat. None the less, Advertisers and their big Agencies have for years been demanding more transparency from their huge ad spends. Why? For better attribution. To justify the ad spend while battling massive Ad-Bot Fraud and to protect their Brands from noncongruent Publisher placements. Advertising transparency is a must. You see, none of this is possible if there is no transparency in advertising. Within a few layers of various companies and identity resolution technologies, IoT goes from anonymous to not. That transparency in advertising allows for identity resolution while 100% maintaining privacy laws. The Genie isn't going back into the bottle. So, the big question is, are Advertisers going to stop spending those massive advertising dollars anytime soon? I don't think so. Decentralization is happening, it's real, and we'll start to see Zapier type APIs into the ever-growing number of Independent Data Networks.
JB: "I suggest using it more than ever before and focusing on building real audiences like email lists, youtube subscriber counts, FB groups, forums, Slack, and social media followers."
GO: Again, we agree, use it. Big time! All of the channels you mention have copious amounts of data collected in so many different ways. You use the term "real audience" in front of those channels. I find that interesting and would love for you to expand on what you mean by it.
JB: "But the movie Minority Report predicted us having ads everywhere? That's not what the consumer wants. That is a nightmare scenario to the consumer. Ads have been dying for many years now, this is just the movement now reaching the Internet. It already happened to TV and other media."
GO: Again, I truly believe that People want the right message and the right time. The only way to do that is with the proper data. I also believe we will have advertising EVERYWHERE, Omni to the segment of One style advertising. Ads are not dying, the methods used to connect the messaging are dying. And if we're going to use movie analogies, I'll go with the movie Inception. It's the job of the advertiser to plant the seed and make the Consumer first "think", determine they want what you have to offer. People will want advertising in exchange for value.
JB: "The consumer wants to be able to control their feed. Right now we live in a blacklist era, where the consumer see's your ads without choice and has to blacklist you to make you go away. Soon we will live in a whitelist era where they have to whitelist you to even be seen."
GO: We agree again! My belief, in the not so distant future, our Identity which is our personal data, will be controlled within the blockchain, giving each individual person 100% control over who can message them. In essence, a state of true 1 to 1 marketing, with the Individual Person in control of the toll gate. Thus creating an economic model for a basic income to each and every Person. We all only have 24 hours in a day, the attribution of where it's spent will become what we know as Immersive Advertising. The attention of People, of a Person will become the only channel. Omni to the segment of One.
JB: "Social networks, ad networks, and browsers live off of consumer demand. They MUST adhere to the consumers demands or they will die.
When Myspace became too cluttered with ads, what happened? Right..."
GO: We agree again! The issues in this regard have to do with the timing. When will Consumers controls over their personal data have more strength than the Advertisers? I would leave that prediction to Ray Kurzweil, because I do not know. I do believe it's in our lifetime, just not anytime soon.
JB: "For now, use every advantage we have. Use it to build the biggest permission based audience you can. You'll have a huge head start over people 2 - 10 years from now. But expect a future where the consumer only ever see's ads they have approved to show up in their feed. Act for the short-term, but prepare for the long-term."
GO: We keep agreeing here, I like it. Let's use every advantage. I love it. I AM doing it. My question is, are you doing it?
The Chief Rainmaker
The point of sharing this article is not political. Rather, the point is to show you why Trump’s digital team gained an major advantage over Clinton on Facebook’s Ad Platform.
When Democratic Leaders heard Trump’s digital team was able to buy their ads for less, and their knee jerk reaction was anger at Facebook. As if this was a choice Facebook staff made. It was not. This reaction could only come from someone who didn’t know how Facebook’s targeting algorithm works.
Read the article and look for the mention of "Custom Audiences" and "Lookalike Audiences" This is a key part of a strategy we’ve been using for many years. To say it works would be a massive understatement. With our data on the front end of this tactic, it’s rocket fuel to any campaign.
Special note: I'm sure Brad Parscale has a large amount of solid, deep and rich political data. Brad was able to produce more with less. Why? And it's not like Facebook was looking to give Brad/Trump an advantage over Hillary. At least I don't think so. The reality is , Brad got a better result because he had a better strategy. That said, Brad didn't have our data targeting technology. If he did, his results would have been even better. Meaning, the first party data our technology produces is better and more cost effective than anything Brad had. The strength in using Custom Audiences that are used to model great Lookalike Audiences comes from the initial seed data. When we lead score and segment our top of funnel audiences, it creates tighter, more relevant audiences that perform better and better over time. We do this for pennies or fractions of pennies compared to the cost of getting someone into your funnel.
It’s easy to understand why uploading your CRM Prospects and Customer Lists (CRM Retargeting) works so well, it’s because it relevant . Of course the availability, and cost adds major issues to the scalability of this first party data strategy. Then again, Brad didn’t know who we were back then. Back then. The good news today, you’re now in the know.
The Chief Rainmaker