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You Ask, I Answer_ Marketing in a Privacy-First World

Ann asks: “How do we analyze and target in an age of privacy?”

In the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, which some Twitter pundits amusingly called the Zuckerbowl, some thoughts about privacy, data, analytics, and marketing.

Disclaimer: I AM NOT A LAWYER

  • Consult an actual lawyer

Watch the video below:

You Ask, I Answer: How To Market In An Age of Privacy?

Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.

Listen to the audio here:

We need to take three strategic steps: Own, Build, Learn.


  • If you’re not paying, you are the product
    • Doubly true for business services
  • Download as much data as you can right now
    • Regulation is coming
  • Run backups in parallel of critical systems
    • Google Analytics? Matomo as your backup, on your own server
    • Cloud servers are $5 a month


  • First party data is essential – your analytics, your data
    • Understand and control as much as you can
  • First party data collection
    • How did you hear about us?
  • Strong data governance
    • Ask or have legal counsel review your data services
    • GDPR will require you to anyway
  • Clear user agreements and policies are the law of the land in places – be globally compliant as much as possible


  • Learn to model on behavior
    • Do you need to know someone’s intimate details?
    • Behavioral targeting cannot be compromised if there’s no PII to begin with
  • Learn patterns in owned data from API data that may go away
    • Now is the time to construct those statistical models
  • Create AI/ML models for your data so you have a snapshot and algorithms in place to make inferences

Will social go away?

  • No
  • Facebook isn’t losing substantial numbers of users
  • Which means marketer’s can’t afford to stop using it


Download the MP3 audio here.

Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s you ask I answer game. One of the Zucker bowl as some people are calling it is over. Mark Zuckerberg co Facebook has testified to the Senate will be testifying to the house. Next I don’t expect any know brand new insights to come out of that and about five different people all messaged me and said. So what does this mean for marketers, how do we market in an age where privacy is the default were targeting is much more difficult. So how do we do this before we begin, I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on the internet, if you have legal questions, please consult an actual lawyer somebody who can certify the answers that giving you are correct. This is just my perspective as a marketer and as a data person not legal advice. So

we will need to do three things own build and learn what’s dig into these number one own we need to own our day.

If you are not paying you are the product that is that is the fundamental truth of all this and it is the truth of the internet today. If you are not paying money out of pocket. You are the product this is definitely true for business services you think all those free things from all the different tech companies or have no strings attached in the 75 page User Agreement. Yes. What you are the product. So if your business relies on these services

they are an under no obligation to help you stay in business, except as that bet these tech companies

need to further their own interest. So understand that they like you as a product they may like you as a customer. If you’re paying a nominal amount. But fundamentally, they have to stay in business, they will do whatever it takes to stay in business, including put you out of business. So Own your data. This also means download as much of your data as you can. Right now, especially if your business relies on.

third party data from any number of API’s add systems analytics customer data platforms, whatever it is, if you if you have a third party company that is controlling substantial portion of your businesses data download it now because regulation is coming. It’s already here in parts of the world, the most well known. One is GDP or the general data protection regulation in the EU, which has planetary consequences, but more regulation is coming. Mark Zuckerberg and CEOs of technology companies don’t testify in front of Congress, because Congress has nothing better to do well i mean they they don’t necessarily have more productive things to do, but that’s politics

regulation is coming. We know it’s coming what form. It will take we don’t know

the third thing in own is have backups of critical systems run backups in parallel for critical systems really good example. Almost everybody on planet uses Google.

analytics. It’s free. Remember the first lesson

and it is the gold standard and marketing and for good reason. It’s a great product. It is a fantastic piece of marketing software and I would say it has advanced marketing and business growth for 10s of thousands of companies and created billions of dollars in value to the economy. It is a valuable product and I holy support Google Analytics and the Google team,

but I’m not under any illusion that Google

wants to provide this without strings. Right.

So if your business relies on web analytics, you owe it to yourself to run a backup. There’s a package called matondo analytics, which you have to run on your own servers, you have to

spin up a cloud server install the software and get it running it is a web analytics package to the differences you own the server and you have to pay for the server, but it’s your own data, then you own and so run in parallel.

moto mo cloud services which again you this is now you are the customer, you’re paying money for these things. Anyway, we’re going to be between five five and 20 bucks a month so you can afford probably to do this yourself unless you have like zero dollars. So that’s part one

part two build first party data is essential, your analytics your data. So you need to understand the control as much as you can

and start if you have not already done so start doing much more first party data collection behavioral data preference data asking people how did you hear about us. I can’t tell you the number of web forms. I’ve been on where no one ever asks that question. It’s an important question. How did you hear bass. Who told you about us. You need to collect that data because that data may not be available from a third party systems second in build you need strong data governance ask or have your legal counsel review all the data services you work with all the everything that the.

Everything data in your company needs legal review and then needs a strong governance policy, you need to have governance in place that dictates who is responsible for what, where, when, why and how gt PR is going to require you to do this anyway if you do any business outside of your nation that could potentially interact with them. He uses and GDP or requires you to do this anyway so having that is an important part clear user agreements clear data policies are the law of the land and places and the easiest thing to do is be globally compliant with the the the strictest standards which in this case right now is gt PR for many things except spam laws which candidates castle was sort of the strictest in the world right now be globally compliant with the highest standard and you’re and you’re good to go. Third as marketers, we have to learn how to learn to model on behavior we don’t necessarily need to collect as much data as we do, we can collect the minimum viable amount of data we need to make decisions, our systems.

Dead. We should also be collecting lots of behavioral data because it can’t be compromised. You can’t steal someone’s identity by telling how many pages they visited on your website and in what order but we can make good business decisions as to whether someone’s a viable prospect based on the order and flow of the pages that they visited on our website as an example that’s owned data. It’s ours. We can build models on it and it’s not sensitive data in the sense that someone’s identity could be compromised with it. We have to learn patterns in owns data, especially for stuff like social media data search data web analytics data, whatever, anything that we are interacting with from systems. We don’t own and we need to do our best to build and understand patterns in in all this third party data and constructs statistical models today with the data we have the says when people do X, Y amp z and come in on this page and behave like this. They are likely to convert we need these patterns in case those API’s and that third party data goes away. If it does, we have models that we can use to can.

Need to make business decisions from the data we have and third in the Learn category we have to if you have not already done this already, you must get good at machine learning, you must be able to build machine learning algorithms based on the data that you have today. Remember, Part One who are going to download all the data that you possibly can and build machine learning algorithms machine learning processes and methods to make inferences in the data that you have to make up for the data you will lose when companies and regulations take over Trust Insights just released a white paper on this on and we just did this with LinkedIn shares because LinkedIn stop sharing part of its API. So we have to go and backfill that data. This goes back to part one download all the data now so that you have it as a training library for when these things go away. Finally, will social media. Go away. We’ll Facebook going no no is not going away. Facebook is a losing a substantial number of users according to the.

testimonial in the congressional hearing, which means that marketers can’t afford to stop using it.

We will change and I will be blinded by some of the data loss but fundamentally nothing and Mark Zuckerberg testimonial indicates that social is going to lose any importance or that regulation and restriction is imminent social networks going to do the best they can to self police and that means pulling back a lot of access in his testimonial which will include a link in the notes and he talks about what they’re doing with additional restrictions on apps on developers on API is that will continue to be the case. So

social is not going anywhere but allow the data we’ve gotten comfortable working with will now is the time to own your data build a good strong internal ecosystem with strong governance and build lots of machine learning models on top of it so that you are ready when the fire hose becomes a trickle again all the sources from this art in the show notes and stuff here. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel and to my newsletter which is my dad and I.

promised I don’t share it with anybody

and stay subscribed. Thanks for watching and talk to you soon.

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