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Smart Route Podcast

Consensual Conversations: Building Customer Trust With First-party Data

by CallTrackingMetrics

For years, brands have been using cookies to track website visitors and gather data around user preferences in order to better target advertisements and improve customer experiences. However, Google is preparing to change the way we use cookies and ad tracking tools in the near future so that third-party cookies, or those created by domains other than the site you are visiting directly, will be phased out.

In this episode of our Smart Route podcast, we sit down with veteran PPC expert Navah Hopkins to learn more about these changes and what’s to come.

Hopkins walks us through the upcoming changes regarding third party cookies and data sharing policies, as well as how these privacy changes will impact different industries. Plus, get her insights around how marketers can prepare and get the most out of their existing customer data starting now.

Listen now:

Additional Resources

Episode Transcript

Courtney Tyson (00:21):
I’m Courtney Tyson, your host. We’re going to be talking today about first party data and how to have consensual conversations with your customers. I think everyone knows that for the past few years, the web has aimed to me be a more secure place for visitors. Protecting personal information is top of mind for companies like Google and apple and their consumers in order to build trust. So there are a lot of changes coming down the pipe for marketers regarding privacy. And so today we wanted to highlight these changes and learn more about how businesses will be affected and really prepare themselves for the future. I am not an expert, but luckily we know one. So we’ve invited Navah Hopkins to share her expertise with us today. Thank you for being here Navah.

Navah Hopkins (01:10):
Thank you so much for having me. I am a complete call tracking metrics fan girl I think you guys do amazing, amazing things. And so if we can empower your customers and those that have fallen in love with your brand on the path to profit and victory in a privacy first web happy to do

Courtney Tyson (01:31):
So. Awesome. Thank you, Navah. We truly appreciate the support, the advocacy, and really it’s an honor to have you here today to share your expertise with us. Before we get started, let’s share a little more about you with our audience. So Navah is a veteran of the digital marketing industry. She began her career in SEO, then transitioned to PPC. She’s actually a top 25 PPC influencer. She’s speaks internationally. She’s taught courses at universities and cm SEMrush. She’s also a founding member of the paid search association. Navah is truly dedicated to empowering the next generation of PPC practitioners, but also just serving as, as, as a resource for, for practitioners to learn more and share with the community. I really couldn’t think of a more perfect guest to have with us today. Did I leave anything important out Navah?

Navah Hopkins (02:26):
I am a pet mom and a star wars and avid gamer nerd. And so a lot of times my analogies will, will either bring in my pups or they’ll, they’ll bring in my, my degree was actually a really interesting is that the crossover between digital marketing and gaming or, or nerdom it’s, it’s a lot of, it’s a lot about thinking about worker placement and in how you can process all those business. And if you turn it into a game, it becomes a lot less daunting. So I love that if I make any references and people give me blank stares, I’ll, I’ll more of my explanation, but yeah. Again, really, really delighted to share my perspective with them. Great.

Courtney Tyson (03:15):
Well, I’m sure our audiences will truly appreciate the fact that, you know, you relate everything to being a pet parent and a star wars fan and a nerd in general as a big we’re all nerds a little bit. Right. so just so our audience knows too, I’m, I’m very lucky to have personally had the privilege of working and knowing Navah for the past few years. Now I’ve learned so much from you Navah, and I’m just super excited for our listeners to get to know you a little bit more and, and learn from you as well. So let’s, let’s go ahead and dive in. So as we said earlier, there are changes coming when it comes to third party cookies, privacy, and access to data, we would love if you could tell us more about these changes and the timeline for us expecting them to occur.

Navah Hopkins (04:05):
Sure. So what’s really interesting is that we’re in a very much hurry up and wait holding pattern with flock or the federated learning cohorts which was Google solution. We all thought that was coming immediately super soon, super soon, super soon. But then it kept hitting roadblocks. So we’re now looking at 2023 released for that. What all that means is when you go to a site when that rolls out, or when something similar to that rolls out, you will no longer be able to be nagged by brands who are remarketing to you just based off of the fact that you’ve landed on the site. You will only be able to have those as, as the title of the episode is called consensual conversations. If you share that specific information now, a flock co or flock, or those cohorts are Google, Microsoft Microsoft versions, parakeet Facebook, all these different ad platforms are going to make educated guesses about who you are and put you into cohorts of say 10,000 people.

Navah Hopkins (05:21):
And, and kind of like audiences today where you display behaviors, you’re put into that cohort. It’ll it’ll then get applied. So the era of one-to-one marketing fast, that’s really the urgency. That’s the concern. And what’s interesting is that Facebook, I actually think is in a deeper issue than Google because Facebook has made it so ingrained how quote unquote, scary they are like office that’s listening. Like I just was talking about this and now I’m getting ads about it. The, the, I think the bigger issues, the bigger are going to be off of how brands pivot from the 14.5 iOS update which basically made it so that when you run your campaigns, you will only have a seven day attribution window as opposed to a 28 day attribution window. So what will get credit for a conversion or a valuable action goes out the window.

Navah Hopkins (06:21):
But the other piece that, that was really kind of mind boggling these scary, and this goes not just from iOS 14.5, but also to iOS 15 is the idea of what conversion actions are able to be tracked. So if someone does an opt in to conversion tracking, we don’t get that to have that conversion access. And then with iOS 15, that basically says with email open open rates and engagement rates, we’re not gonna necessarily have that information. We’re not gonna be able to track people based off of not just the open rate, but what actions did they take within the email? So all of this is to say there’s a lot of lazy marketing. Then we got in the habit of having tools at our disposal. We’re now going to have to pivot and build our own sources of truth, where we own our data we own.

Navah Hopkins (07:13):
And we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our customers to ABC D paths. And we know that because we have a really integrated CRM, we’re having candid integrated conversations between our CS, our marketing and our sales organizations and, and we’re, we’re really tied into the customer journey. We’re also gonna be getting a lot more comfortable with conversion modeling and the idea that we’re not going to have a perfect one-to-one semantic perfect, perfect dataset. We’re at, we’re going to be comfortable modeling out because at the end of the day, provided that your business numbers are set correctly, provided that you know, who your customers are. You likely are not going to be changing your marketing tactics, all that much folks that maybe got complacent and relied on I’m just going to nag someone until they buy, or I’m going to go. And, and just trust that this system is always going to be there and not actually look at the, the story behind who my customers are. Yeah. You’re probably going to struggle a little bit, but the average, the average brand who took the time to know who their customers are and what the typical journey looks like, there’ll be totally

Courtney Tyson (08:31):
Fine. Cool. So essentially the time is now to start preparing, right. Even though these changes aren’t coming until 2023, and it’s those businesses that are taking the time to prepare that aren’t really going to feel this as a huge change in their strategy. It’s just doing things smarter, right?

Navah Hopkins (08:48):
PR person precisely. So, cause it’s, we’ve been in hurry up and wait since really 2018. Like we keep being told this is going to happen and people because people are lazy don’t want to do anything until the very, very last second. And so take the time, take the cues. You need to own your data. And there are lots of ways to do so without breaking the bank or without having to get super, super technical. So for those of you that are play with the API APIs, but for those of you that aren’t really just ha having that insight into who your customers are and using UTM parameters to be able to see that customer journey, what the traffic sources were, that’s going to be really, really helpful. The other, and this is I think, skipping ahead on the questions, but like one of the action items I would really strongly recommend everyone take make sure that you have your global site tags set correctly because that’s going to enable you to take advantage of that conversion modeling all the ad platforms. Now have some degree of that conversion modeling, which basically means that up to a 70% sense of accuracy, they can tell you this was a conversion or this wasn’t okay.

Courtney Tyson (10:05):
So what you’re saying is, you know, marketers should really be getting insight into their customers now. Right. let’s talk a little bit more about what marketers should be doing to get the most out of that existing customer data. I think you just kind of went through one, one point, right. Of, of having a good action plan, but what else couldn’t can marketers be doing?

Navah Hopkins (10:26):
So the, the big, the biggest, biggest biggest thing is have built into your sales cycle means to communicate, it means for customers to opt into having those prolonged conversations with you. It’s not enough anymore just to get that one-off deal because then they’re going to go vanish into the ether. And you’re not going to get to go back to them again, because you didn’t capture that information. You, you want to get the email and get the phone number, have, have those conversations. Another channel that I, I neglected probably to my detriment earlier in my career that I strongly recommend people explore is actually the SMS channel because SMS is one of those safe havens from a privacy standpoint. Like if you have that number, granted, if you bought the number, shame on you, you’re, you’re, you’re setting yourself up to get fine, but provided that you have that number it’s very tricky to, to acquire it.

Navah Hopkins (11:29):
And so if you have it, the freedom is there to have those really powerful, engaging conversations that not only build a brand but also inspire sales and, and alert people to deals that are, that are important. Now granted, you want to be respectful with that. But from a from a future proofing, gaining insights about your customers I, I definitely think that that’s a good path. Finally really important is having conversations with your customers about who they are and why they chose you, whether that’s directly, or whether that’s with your CS organization and, and getting those insights learning who your most valuable customers are, where they live. What times do they do they tend to engage with you? Because the chances that we will have that data perfectly handed to us on a silver platter as we’ve been very used to is going down, if we’re going to have to own that. And so that means people monitoring that information and creating the internal infrastructure to understand what that customer journey looks like.

Courtney Tyson (12:42):
Sure. And that’s interesting, you talked about having multiple channels to communicate with your audience in order to identify the right one, right? Like we always push that message here at CTM is you want to make sure you’re giving your customers different ways to communicate with you because we all prefer to communicate in different ways. So tell, talk to us a little bit too about contextual targeting, how to build that, that customer persona. I think we kind of talked about that a little bit right now and in having those, those right conversations, but I guess like once you have that data, like, what do you do with it from there?

Navah Hopkins (13:18):
For sure. So one thing that I think gets in the way of people meaningfully contextual targeting is that they’ll do the work ones to think about who their ideal customer is, and they will never do it again for any of their other personas. Because you’re like, well, I didn’t once fit. They all must be fine. I think it was ad week that had a study that 74% of brands don’t use behavioral targeting in, in their creative, when you’re thinking about creative. If you do not have demographic data at your disposal, so for example, financial industries, you’re not allowed to target off of gen gender or age. You’d want to focus more on product. If you know that you’re not going to have the wherewithal to go after every single demographic for me, from a creative standpoint or from a budget standpoint, like you just won’t have the budget to go after all of them.

Navah Hopkins (14:17):
You might want to think about how can you create an entity that is easy to project on. So one of my absolutely favorite campaigns is ironically enough that iPhone, this is privacy campaign where the phone actually obscures the face of the person. So no matter who you are, no matter what your situation is in life, you can project your self, your concerns, your life onto that person, holding that iPhone that the iPhone has meant for everyone. So if you truly don’t have the wherewithal, you don’t have the insights try to find solutions that allow for humans to easily protect themselves or protect their behaviors onto your creative. However if you can do that do a behavioral targeting. You want to think about a the way people think and speak. So I strongly recommend before doing any creative initiative go to Google trends and type in a couple of different examples of ways people might search for your product or service and confirm that the location that you’re going to be targeting actually searches in things in the way that you’re going to be making that creative.

Navah Hopkins (15:30):
This is not just an international thing. So one of my favorite examples is actually the thing with DUI attorney versus lawyer. There are certain states where it’s not DUI it’s DWI and there’s just certain states that will go for attorney versus lawyer. And if you’re going to be paying a premium to secure those engagements, you want to make sure you’re talking to your people in the way that they want to be spoken to. So Google trends is a great way to do that. I also strongly recommend using audience planners. Facebook’s, might’ve been depreciated. However Microsoft actually has a really powerful one that will show you not just the general demographics, but it’ll also show you of the groups that you’re trying to go after. What percentage of the general pool does that make up? So you can have a sense of market opportunity. We can talk about like creative, directional things, but I feel like it’s wasted without the actual visuals. So I’ll leave it with, I will include a resource that has a, my favorite creatives that have good, good behavioral instincts.

Courtney Tyson (16:41):
Cool. We’d appreciate that. Absolutely. you, you talked a little bit about the, the law industry as an example, right. And how they can, you know, I guess kind of start thinking about how to do things differently. Now let’s talk about just how the changes in general are going to impact different industries are, are, are S you know, which are the ones that are going to be tremendously affected, whereas, you know, which are the ones that might not feel the effects much at all.

Navah Hopkins (17:07):
So e-commerce I have a feeling is going to have the worst time this year because of all of the fluctuation and modeling correctly with, with conversion tracking. But every subsequent year, I actually think they’re going to be in the best spot. Because when it comes to e-commerce, it’s, it’s simple. Did the sale happen? Did it not? Did you get the email, did you not? Where I think we’re going to be in a little bit dicier areas are in the industries where we were, it was already suspect whether you got to market at all. So for example gambling can’t really advertise in the us anyway, but now it’s kind of being molded everywhere, financial and so was it really interesting is that when you’re making your ads, when you’re, you’re setting up your, your account, you want to actually make sure that you’ve linked every possible resource in to protect not just against loss of data, but also against accidental disapprovals.

Navah Hopkins (18:12):
So linking in your search console and community Google analytics so that you can verify that you are in fact, the company you’re claiming to be Google has confirmed that you have up to five vanity domains for a first party data set, where data can be shared conversion tracking can be shared site. He was going to be shared beyond those five. You’re going to have to figure out a way forward. So one of the, the groups I think will suffer probably the most are the big, big, big enterprises that maybe have very complicated domain structures. And they’re going to have to decide between the SEO hit of a migration, because there’s always going to be some work there. Versus do we just not get to have data shared between all of our various properties, all of our various entities. So this is the time to be, to be sorting that out now, like don’t push this to 2020 to do it now so that you, if you go to the site migration routes, you’re, you’re fine.

Navah Hopkins (19:19):
When 2022, 2023 comes about or if you’re, you already had your domain set up, you’re you have your path forward? What’s interesting and truly interesting actually about this is that if you look at the privacy standpoint of what industry, like where Google or Facebook, or really any ad platforms coming from, they all talk about user experience. I think the industry is that we’ll probably be fine, but shouldn’t be, are going to be industries like funeral industries like not necessarily medical health, but like the adjacent ones where it can get a little bit personal. And so I think we’re, we have maybe a year before those industries get hit, but I, that those are the ones where I have a feeling they’re going to dodge the bullet this year, but next year there, you might be scrambling a bit.

Courtney Tyson (20:28):
So would that include like the kinda like, like drug, mental illness rehabilitation, that sort of treatment centers

Navah Hopkins (20:37):
Precisely. So the the treatment centers are, are already under strict scrutiny. You already have to get approved with special approvals more what I’m talking is with supplements and vitamins. Gotcha. there’s a lot of rules there. How much can you really remark it? Depending on different personal needs. So for example, when I would mark it for a lawyer, one of the things I would do all the time is I would target people who were interested in the topic of pain relief, or physical therapy who were in market for auto repair, because in theory that someone who got hit by a car and could need a personal injury lawyer I don’t know if that tactic will be as available or useful in this cohort world. Because it’s not our data. It’s the platform’s data. And so it remains to be seen whether it will be useful. But that’s what this year is going to be for, is to see if we rely fully on the cohorts, which some people do. Like in-market custom intent behavioral targeting on Facebook. Those are, those are kind of existing cohorts. We just have to decide whether we want to use our own based off of customer lists and collecting emails, do lookalikes or whether we want to trust the ad platforms.

Courtney Tyson (22:17):
That’ll be interesting to see, like once the change has actually hit, you know, which industries are kind of standing apart from others as either struggling or, or being successful. So what I’m hearing too Navah is that really businesses should be taking the next year to prepare. Let’s kind of narrow it down to like the top three things you would recommend that our listeners do in the next year.

Navah Hopkins (22:44):
The number number, number one thing you all must do is get your sources of truth in order. That means your CRM or your, your customer intake. That means your your global site tag installs that you can sync that through. You, you just want to make sure that beyond a shadow of a doubt, you own your data and you know, what’s going on, irrespective of what any ad platform might tell you. The second most important thing is you want to, if you haven’t already do a deep dive into your customer personas so that you can start proactively having conversations with your customers based off of who they are, what they’re interested in. And from a content standpoint, that can be images that can be video actually strongly recommend everyone getting comfortable with video. There’s a really great free tool.

Navah Hopkins (23:42):
Youtube put out that lets you build pretty decent video ads it’s technically in beta, but you just raise your hand. They’ll get in. The final thing I would recommend people do is not panic. And I, I say this not to be trite. We have weathered so many different dramatic shifts and changes. And this one, ironically enough, I think is actually going to reward marketers who were really, really good marketers from the get-go. And it’s going to empower people to, to, to approach digital marketing from the standpoint of taking care of your customer, providing great experiences inspiring trust as opposed to, I’m just going to nag you until you give me your money and I don’t care who you are, what you’re doing. Cause I’ll, I’ll just nag you again later when you, when you come back. It, it really does. If you were marketing well, if you, as a brand are doing well by doing good, you will be fine. So don’t panic.

Courtney Tyson (24:47):
Yeah. It’s interesting that you say that. I think marketing has always just been such an important piece of every organization, but now it’s going to be more important than ever because it’s the marketers that are really going to be responsible for building this trust with the audience, from the get-go, which is a huge job. Right. so just to kind of recap the things that you had mentioned, so get your sources of truth in order. So everyone have fun, you know, getting your CRMs and such in, in order you know, take a deep dive in to customer personas. So start having those proactive conversations now you know, interact with your customers via all different channels, but video will likely be king so start getting comfortable with that now. And, and don’t panic, which I think is great advice for a lot of life situations.

Navah Hopkins (25:42):
Going back to what I mentioned earlier on just various geekery and, and all these things, like at the end of the day, when you’re afraid, when you think everything is going to be bad, you can kind of, self-actualize a terrible unwinnable situation. Whereas if you focus on, okay, here’s this one little task. I’m going to make sure that my global side tags on, or here’s my one little task I’m going to set up a standing five minute review of my lead sources. Obviously lead sources take more than five minutes, but just like some little, little tasks, you can begin to collect data points to help you understand you got this, but also look how much progress we’ve made boss client get on board so that you can help me help you finish the task. Cause it’s when, when you approach it from a standpoint of confidence in the, you know, what to do is just a matter of doing it. It’s a lot easier.

Courtney Tyson (26:51):
I think one of my most favorite things that I’ve ever heard you say is, you know, it’s scary until you have an action plan and that’s essentially what you just said. Right? That’s true. So looking ahead, I know that these changes aren’t coming down the pipe again till 2023…

Navah Hopkins (27:10):
You know, that’s, specifically false. So just to be clear on timeline, 14.5 is already here. Ios 15 is coming September for everyone, but people have already opted into the beta this month. Parakeet is still in the works. No, no firm date there. And then of course there’s GDPR, the UK’s version of GDPR. So this, I want to stress, this is not, this is not a, this all goes down in 2023. Okay. This has been gradually snowballing since 2018. It’s just that we’re now beginning to feel the effects of it. So that’s helpful. We don’t have until 2023 and then a switch is going to get flipped. You will be feeling these things from—since 2018 until 2023. Okay. And then we’ll be hopefully done with the privacy first web and we’ll have found our perfect state, but we all know that’s not true. They’ll find ways to be better and be sure

Courtney Tyson (28:20):
Yeah. That, that timeline is extremely helpful for me to kind of like put things into perspective and I’m sure our listeners as well. Is there anything else that you’d want to share about the iOS 15 update and what marketers should expect from that?

Navah Hopkins (28:34):
Yes. So partner with E with, with your ESP or email service provider partner with your, your email retention team or your vendor there are some great ones out there. You need to get your AB tests out of the way now clean up your lists. If someone, if you have an active, just, just do a purge because when that September date hits and we don’t have a firm date, we just, that by date is like a loosely September. You’re not going to be able to know if your thing was opened. You’re not going to be able to know who that customer segment is. So do as much as you can now get that data together. And then again, all will be, well, this all comes down though to knowing your sales figures. So if currently you don’t have a clear sense of, I did XYZ and profit and it came from these places, that’s the problems to solve. Like I wouldn’t worry so much about whether you can track later. I’d worry about how easy is it for everyone within your organization? Who, who has, has a say to be able to see the lines to profit.

Courtney Tyson (30:03):
Okay. That’s extremely helpful. I know it sales and marketing just, they go hand in hand. Right. And I think that right now is the time more than ever, right. For them to team up and just understand each other and craft a plan for moving ahead. So so this conversation has been extremely helpful and insightful, I think does sum things up changes are here. They’re still coming with the right action plan. You know, there won’t be any sort of negative impact on a business’s marketing strategy around building trust. If anything, this is going to empower marketers more than ever to better understand their customers. And like the title of the episode says has have those consensual conversations in order to build trust, which in turn right. Should just help overall sales numbers, right. The more we trust in the brand, the more likely we are to buy from them.

Navah Hopkins (31:01):
Exactly. So one last little tidbit on earning that trust, a lot of folks will shy away from asking for an email or asking for a phone number. One of the really interesting things is that when you get someone to opt into those correspondences, whether it’s at the gamification, whether it’s with an offer of exclusive deals or first to, to see something it really can help bridge the gap, not just in terms of tracking, but also in terms of revenue folks that are willing to give you that information are likely are more likely to want to buy from you. In addition, the more that you can solicit and showcase reviews, not just on the search result page with the survey but on the actual landing page on your actual site the better it will be. People like seeing that other people like you I forget who did this study, tons of folks have. The stat that comes to mind is that 80% of folks will look at reviews or testimonials before they make a purchase. So just, just honor how people behave. And we’ll be fine.

Courtney Tyson (32:32):
I’m certainly one of those people, I don’t buy anything without looking at reviews and even better if that review has an video or a photo with it, which is what we talked about too. Right. so this has been so interesting, honestly. So before we conclude today’s conversation, is there anything you’d like to plug anything in any upcoming speaking engagements or content that you’re publishing that our audience should be aware of?

Navah Hopkins (32:58):
So absolutely. Check out the, Ask the PPC monthly column on Search Engine Journal. I actually just did a for today’s episode, which is airing a week from today. So I guess it would be on 7/12/2021. I put out a post around offline conversions. So that idea of building your own source of truth and uploading those offline conversions. There’s also an article I did first in journal around ad creative. So I’ll include those both with the podcast. In terms of speaking come join me and all the amazing marketers at Pubcon as a pecan is going to August 3rd through the 5th, I will be talking about ad creative and moderating a session on CRO, so should be a good time. And then in terms of other speaking engagements I also will give a shout out to the Local Search Summit where I will be talking about local service ads. So for those of you that are in the local space absolutely check that out. Finally, just want to give a huge plug and shout out to all of the brands that are working to solve this problem. There’s a lot of solutions out there that are going to help you, whether you’re an SMB, whether you’re enterprise, whether you’re an agency solve this privacy piece. So definitely if you feel overwhelmed there are lots and lots of great solutions out there to connect with

Courtney Tyson (34:39):
And a huge shout out and much credit to you too, for the role you’re playing and helping businesses best navigate all of these changes as well. And I’d highly, highly recommend that our listeners follow you and keep up with you in order to best understand and learn about how to navigate everything. So, you know, I would just say Google Navah Hopkins, and you’ll see all of the wonderful things that she does. We’ll also be promoting her different social media accounts and such when we promote this podcast. So just thanks again, Navah for being here, we so much appreciate you sharing your expertise and guidance around this topic with us and our listeners. I know I’ve, I’ve personally learned a lot and we’re just honored that you’ve taken the time to talk with us today. And I think a huge thank you to his deserve for just being a great partner to CTM. You’re a wonderful advocate of ours, and we truly appreciate all of the support and guidance that you’ve given to us over the years. So we look forward to continuing this partnership.

Navah Hopkins (35:45):
Of course. Thank you so much for having me. I hope this wasn’t too technical. Just, just if there are any questions ever tweet me @navahf you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to help and thank you guys for being an amazing call tracking solution. I cannot overstate the importance of a good call tracking solution, and CTM is great.

Courtney Tyson (36:05):
We so appreciate that. So thanks to our audience too, for listening in. As I said, we’ll be sharing more from Navah as we promote this episode. So be on the lookout for that. And as always, and keep up with us at or @smartroutepod on Twitter. Thanks again, everyone. And we’ll talk to you soon.