So long, third-party cookies. You will not be missed, even by us advertisers.
While it’s true that the cookie-less world represents a curveball for the online marketing business, most ad agencies aren’t losing sleep over the issue, and you shouldn’t either.
In the end, consumers will get more privacy, digital ads will remain effective, and it’ll be a net win for all involved.
If you’re still curious about how this will all play out, here’s a quick rundown on what’s happening and how AMG is reacting
What is the Cookie-less World? What Exactly is Happening?
Back in January 2020, Google announced it would stop supporting third-party cookies within two years, citing privacy concerns on behalf of its users.
If you don’t know what a third-party cookie is, here’s an example:
Imagine you went to your favorite restaurant for the tenth time, and the manager remembered your name. That’s like a first-party cookie.
Now, imagine in the same restaurant, and a camera on the wall recognized you, recorded your arrival time, what you were wearing, and how long you stayed, etc. That’s more like a third-party cookie.
It’s called “third-party” because the camera is not owned by the restaurant (the first party). Rather, the device’s owner pays rent to the restaurant owner for the privilege. In addition, there are hundreds of cameras just like it at most every place in town, all owned by the same company, all aggregating data on you.
In the digital world, the cameras in the metaphor often take the form of ads that are owned by sites other than the one you are visiting. One big problem with this state of affairs is that, aside from the spy factor, it denies consumers an opportunity to opt-out; the camera never asks if you mind being recorded. Also, the data it’s collecting on you can be used to some pretty controversial ends.
Is it Game Over for Digital Ads?
Not even close. This may even be a positive change for the industry.
One reason is that some tangential changes are rolling out alongside the end of cookies that will mitigate the impact. For one, Google’s Privacy Sandbox project, which seeks to build a “thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default,” is already setting the stage for a privacy-friendly internet.
Another reason is the consumers themselves, who don’t want digital tracking to go away because they favor the ads. A recent survey by Verizon Media found that 88 percent of respondents said they viewed digital ads more relevant, useful, and interesting. So it’s unlikely that any changes will occur that will diminish consumer experience in personalized ads.
What is Incite Media Doing?
This isn’t the first digital divide that Incite has navigated, and it won’t be the last. Much like how Apple blocked third-party cookies from Safari in 2019 and the world didn’t collapse, so too will we handily overcome this.
Here’s how we’re going to do it:
Working with partners. Incite Media is receiving status updates from all partners and closely tracking the ways the industry is moving. We’re happy to report that the quality of our supply chain is making progress in correcting itself and we’ll continue to be vigilant in monitoring our partners’ progress.
Preparing for media-buying adjustments. When it comes to media buying, Incite’s digital team is highly selective. Moving forward, we’ll beeven more choosy when it comes to spending your dollars, ensuring that each is invested on channels and with vendors who are effectively navigating change.
Advising spending on alternate channels where necessary. Some social media platforms may be at an inherent advantage in the cookie-less world, which favors platforms that will use first-party cookies. If we’re seeing better results on these channels, we’ll be passing this info along to our clients, along with new spending recommendations.
Keeping our clients informed. Moving forward, we’ll be appraising clients on what’s new and changing using easy-to-understand, jargon-free terminology. Our communication will make it clear how advertising is changing and what, if anything, our partners need to do.
Automation is both the best and worst thing to ever happen to market.
When applied appropriately, automatic algorithms find impossible patterns in absurd amounts of data. When abused, however, the technology can make for lazy and under-performing marketing.
Unfortunately, it’s a common practice for firms to dump their digital labor to computers while sticking you with the bill.
Don’t become a sucker. Here’s the telltale signs that your marketing partner is over-relying on poor performing technology:
You Aren’t Getting Good Results
Automation used to be the marketer’s secret weapon. But when everyone started using it, the playing field leveled and competitive advantages evaporated. Now, it’s the creative firms who have the upper hand again.
If your digital marketing results are lackluster, it may mean your partners are still relying on technology that is now commonplace.
So . . . how do you know your results are good? Sometimes, it’s not so obvious, since ROI can’t always be tracked back directly to conversions.
But in general, your digital marketing efforts should do more than exceed some arbitrary industry-standard benchmark. To validate genuine business growth, look for constant improvement, a regular stream of new insights, and, where available, competitive metrics based on comparisons to other players in your market.
Your Account Manager Can’t Explain Their Work
Do you remember that lazy kid back from high school who got high grades by paying someone else to do his homework?
And when the teacher called on him to explain his work, he stood there looking like a goon?
That’s what’ll happen if you ask an over-automating digital marketer what’s going on with your campaigns. Luckily, it’s not hard to ferret out a fraud when it comes to digital marketing, and doing so can save you thousands of dollars.
Here’s a few questions you can drop on your marketing partner to make sure they’re the ones behind the wheel, and not some machine:
Can you tell me what you did differently with my campaigns this month?
Can you explain the overall strategy of the campaigns?
What industry trends are impacting our digital marketing, and how do you know?
Why did you choose the specific KPIs that you did?
Your Campaign Is Not Creative
Even the best algorithms can’t save boring marketing.
Some marketers skip the hard work of audience research, message tailoring, and clever copywriting, and just slam dunk some generic phrasing into ad campaigns that go nowhere.
The end result is bland advertising that often sounds just like your competition’s, but with a few words rearranged.
Want to see bad marketing in action? Google a product. Any product. What you’ll likely see is 2-4 completely interchangeable search ads, all as generic as they come and written with minimal effort.
There’s no ad so inconsequential that it shouldn’t elevate your amazing brand. Every single search ad and social post should showcase your offers by creatively eliciting emotional responses, not just by spouting offers.
Incite Media: Talent That Out Competes Computers
Technology is amazing, and we love it. But there are some things that humans still do much better.
If you’re looking for a creative kick backed by innovation methodologies, drop us a line to learn about our best-of-both-worlds digital philosophy.
If you have been advertising on Facebook for a while, you’ve probably noticed the targeting changes that hit in June of 2019. This was the result of the March 2019 discrimination settlement between Facebook and the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Communications Workers of America and other private parties.
Facebook then put into place what is now known as Special Ad Categories to prevent advertisers from discriminating based on gender, age and race with any ads dealing with housing, employment and credit opportunities. You can target people in a specific location, but it will include a 15-mile radius around whatever city, address or pin-drop you select to target.
These guidelines seem clear enough, but if you work in the automotive vertical, you learned early on that all of your advertisements for automotive are now flagged as Special Ad Category, regardless of your ad’s focus.
Take for example, an ad running a simple buy back message as shown below.
This ad has nothing to do with credit or financing, but it does send the customer back to the dealership website that has a Finance tab on the homepage. Most dealerships have Finance departments and tabs appearing on their websites that automatically makes the campaigns Special Ad Category based on Facebook’s guidelines. In general, any ad linked to a page that could be related to a credit opportunity or possible financing option or credit application will be flagged as Special Ad Category.
So, does that mean Facebook advertising is now limited to only brand awareness campaigns and cannot focus on the bottom of the funnel shoppers?
Thankfully, our agency and clients benefit from our partnership with Oracle Data Cloud. We are able to layer in custom audiences built from unique purchase-based data, that includes vehicle make and model, in-market segments, and shoppers’ lifestyle. Facebook’s system automatically filters these Custom Audiences to ensure compliance.
Another valuable tool is your own customer data that can be uploaded into Facebook to create your own Custom Audience to be used within Special Ad Category ads.
We agree with preventing any type of discrimination and promoting fairness and inclusion, and now with our Oracle data we can be relevant to consumers by giving them the right message at the right time, all while eliminating waste for our clients.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can use the power of our Oracle data or your own CRM data to improve your Facebook advertising.
Maintenance–it’s what keeps cars running, and what keeps businesses selling.
In that regard, marketing is the same as machinery in that both could use a little upkeep from time to time. A quick check-up now and then will pay huge dividends for your business.
It might take some time, but here are four ways you can keep your marketing program running at full steam:
Market Share Audit
What percentage of all the transactions in your market area–including from competitors, private sellers, and marketplaces–are you winning?
For many businesses, market share is the ultimate litmus test of success. Having your finger squarely on the pulse of your market is a must. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult getting the right intel as to how you’re faring relative to your competition.
For many, obtaining market share data is cost-prohibitive since the necessary data doesn’t come cheap. However, sometimes you get lucky and find a marketing partner or chamber of commerce that has access to the goods. In either case, it’ll be worth your while to dive in to that data.
TV & Radio Planning Check
No one knows your customers better than you. But that doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t double-check some of your assumptions, especially when it comes to TV and radio advertising.
For example, when buying media, are you providing specific objectives for each campaign? When was the last time you did some deep audience research? And how are you assessing your success post-purchase?
Auditing your traditional ad spend is not always easy work, and a little conventional wisdom will go a long way. If you have an expert in-house who can guide your efforts, you’ll be in a much better position. Alternatively, retaining an outside professional on an as-needed or per-project basis is smart work, as well.
Website Analytics Review
Even if you’ve got a marketing partner, it’s good practice to get a fresh set of eyes on your website’s activity. That way, you’ll be much more likely to spot trends in traffic, customer behavior, and market demographics, among other insights.
Briefly, here’s a few items you can check for when you’re doing your website analytics audit.
Site downtime. If you’re noticing huge drop-offs in traffic, you may be having site stability issues. Contact your hosting provider immediately if you think there may be an issue.
Bot traffic. Random, large fluxes of traffic can result from nefarious sources and muddle your data. Get an analytics filter in place ASAP.
Goals tracking. Without goals in place, it’s impossible to know if your website is working for you. Don’t limit yourself to just form fills–there’s tons of other valuable events to track.
Pixel issues. Occasionally, something can happen with your Google Analytics pixel (the snippet of code required to use analytics) and data stops being recorded. That’s a waste of valuable insight.
What’s the best thing about digital ads? Transparency.
The trackability of your digital spend means that you can almost always see where the waste is. With the right reports, you should be able to see what’s not working with your digital media, and afterward be able to stop the bleeding.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to spot some basic digital advertising mistakes, such as search engine marketing spend for non-converting keywords, and poor ad placements for display and banner ads.
No Time For A Check-Up? Let Incite Do It if For You FOR FREE
Experts say that market audits should be performed at least twice annually.
But what busy leader of an business has time for that? It’s hard enough just getting to the dentist once per year, much less make time for marketing.
Don’t fret–we’ve got you covered with a completely free Marketing Check-Up.
Specifically, here’s what we’ll do for you:
Assess Your Market Share–We’ll let you know where you know exactly where you stand in regards to the competition using high-fidelity data.
Analyze Your TV and Radio Planning–Our veteran media-buyers will chime on your traditional media buys with ideas for smarter spending.
Review Your Website Analytics–We’ll peek under the hood of your website and make sure everything’s in tip-top shape.
Audit Your Digital Marketing–Your digital may be doing well, but could it be doing even better? We’ll let you know!
BONUS: Co-Op Marketing Review, 100 Percent FREE!
With more than 10 years of marketing experience, we’re sure to find some way to make you money. Sign up for an audit now to get your results quickly.
“Opportunity” and the COVID crisis go together like peanut butter and . . . motor oil.
The harsh truth is that the sales and marketing game has changed in light of the epidemic, and is, in many ways, worse for wear.
But it’s always darkest before the dawn. So for the marketing go-getters and advertising early risers, here are a few tips for getting a jump start on a brighter tomorrow:
Leap ahead of your shell-shocked competition. When they zig, you zag. And when your competitors are so far into crisis-mode that they can’t even think about marketing, that’s your window of opportunity to act. Don’t let it expire.
Geo-fence new points of interest. In the upcoming months, pop-up events will be frequent occurrences, many of which may be worth fencing. Examples of pop-ups to watch for include senior shopping events, new testing sites, and areas with increased traffic, such as public parks and parking lots where curbside service is being offered.
Leverage spikes in digital demand. Even beyond social isolation, the work-from-home revolution will create more digital touchpoints (and more competition) for digital audiences. Account for this shift in your 2020 marketing mix, and make sure your creative is punchy enough to rise about the increased clutter.
Evaluate your brand strength. COVID was the ultimate brand test for many businesses, especially those that had to go radio silent April 2020 and beyond. Strong brands saw lower-impact sales levels, while weak brands were virtually forgotten within days. If your sales took a huge hit, consider reinforcing your brand.
As the dust settles from the COVID Crisis, the Automotive Marketing Group is committed to helping clients recover.
Many of our clients have come to us in a panic to gain back control of their Google By Business (GMB) profile. It often happens innocently enough when an employee leaves without sharing account login details. What can you do if you see your Business Profile on Google is verified, but you have no idea who has control of it? Take a deep breath, relax and follow these simple steps to gain back control.
1. Log in to Google My Business with the Gmail account you will use to manage your Business Profile. Type in your business name and physical address to locate it at business.google.com/add. You can also pull up your business using Google Search or Google Maps.
2. Select your business name from above or click on “Own this business?” on the Business Profile as shown below.
3. You will then be directed to request access. Google provides you with the beginning characters of the current owner’s email address. If this is your Gmail, you can click on the Account Recovery help guide to get you back into your account. If you have no idea on the Gmail, click the “Request Access” button.
4. Complete the form information and click “Submit” to notify the current owner of your request.
5. If the owner approves the request, you’ll be alerted by email. If your request is denied, you can suggest an edit or file an appeal with Google. In our experience, you typically won’t hear back from the owner. This person probably doesn’t check the Gmail that is associated with the listing. Google gives them 3 to 7 days to respond. At that point you can go to your Google My Business dashboard and “Claim” or “Verify” the listing as your own.
Congratulations! You are now back in control and armed with a cost-free solution to generate more traffic to your website and business. With a more than 90 percent market share in 2020, promoting your business on Google is a no-brainer. Follow our guide to make sure you stay in control of your business listing and ensure all of your information is accurate, comprehensive and always up-to-date. If you are paying someone for search engine optimization, ask them about how they are leveraging your GMB listing as part of their service.