Almost Timely News, 13 February 2022: Google Analytics and GDPR, Metaverse, Content Sparks

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Almost Timely News, 13 February 2022: Google Analytics and GDPR, Metaverse, Content Sparks (2/13) :: View in Browser

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What’s On My Mind: Google Analytics and Privacy Laws

This past week, we saw in the news that Google Analytics™ in its current form was ruled non-compliant with GDPR. According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals:

Just weeks after the Austrian Data Protection Authority’s ruling that Google Analytics use violates the EU General Data Protection Regulation, France’s data protection authority, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, has reached a similar decision.

In its decision, the CNIL said data collection and transfers to the United States using Google Analytics “are illegal,” violating Article 44 of the GDPR. The CNIL ordered an unidentified French website manager to bring its processing into compliance with the GDPR within one month and stop using the service under current conditions, if necessary.

The CNIL said transfers to the United States “are currently not sufficiently regulated” and the absence of an EU-U.S. adequacy decision presents “a risk for French website users who use this service and whose data is exported.” The authority noted additional measures taken by Google to regulate Google Analytics data transfers “are not sufficient to exclude the accessibility of this data for US intelligence services.”

The CNIL said its investigation “also extends to other tools used by sites that result in the transfer of data of European Internet users to the United States,” adding, “Corrective measures in this respect may be adopted in the near future.”

What does this mean for us, given that increased privacy laws came into effect this year (such as California’s CPRA, whose enforcement mechanisms take effect next year but the scope of data began January 1, 2022)? In short, it means several things.

The key paragraph in the story from IAPP is the final part of the excerpt above. It’s not just Google Analytics™ that’s in question here. It’s every piece of MarTech software that transfers data across borders. If you use Hubspot, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics… you name it, if data is crossing borders, it’s likely at some point to run afoul of the law.

Companies need to be thinking about first-party analytics solutions. First-party analytics solutions are software packages that you host yourself, on your own servers, collecting data and not transferring it to any other entity (even Google). Open source solutions such as Matomo may fit the bill, as they are entirely self-hosted; they are capable of meeting the strictest privacy requirements, including highly-regulated industries. Remember though, the key to compliance here is that you must host and maintain the servers in your own IT architecture so that the data you collect never leaves your possession.

In the longer term, we marketers must make the pivot away from collecting personal information and focusing on behavioral information. This is something I’ve been saying since 2017, when we all saw the final form GDPR would take. Do we need to know someone’s age or gender or ethnicity or religion? Do we need to know their Spotify favorites or their sexual orientation or the last movie they watched on Netflix? No. What we need to know are the behavioral buying signals to look for. For example, if someone visits your products page, your about page, and engages with your chatbot, that could be a behavioral signal that the person – whoever they are – has buying intent. That in turn should trigger marketing technology solutions to engage them further.

Here’s the real secret, the real key to making all this work. The one thing that makes all privacy legislation and law moot is affirmative consent. If a consumer knowingly and willingly gives us their information and consent to use it for marketing purposes, no law can touch us as long as we have a paper trail that will stand up in a court of law. So, how do we earn that consent? The same way you earn any consent: by providing much more value than you take, so much that the consumer is eager and happy to give you their information. They WANT to hear from you. They look forward to your emails. They have conversations with you.

Pivoting to a marketing strategy which involves actually making customers happy is going to be more costly in the short term but will return multiples on your investment in the long term. You’ll have very few issues with privacy laws. You’ll have an easy time providing proof in a court of law. And most of all, you’ll have happy prospects and customers, people who will willingly share your marketing with others and do part of your marketing for you. You need very few analytics services when customers are throwing information at you as fast and as fully as possible, eager and excited to hear from you.

That’s the end state we should all be aiming for, and forward thinking companies and marketing leaders should be working towards that end state with as much investment as possible.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to pick one thing for you to review this week, it would be my mildly amusing commentary on the metaverse and whether it’s going to change everything – or anything – in marketing.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

Ad: How to Prove the ROI of your Marketing Agency

I put together a brand new talk on how agencies could use data-driven marketing as a way to showcase their value and real results they obtain. Fundamentally, agencies need to take five steps to make this journey:

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  4. Use data to become proactive. Impress clients by being more proactive and pushing them.
  5. Squeeze all the juice from your tools. You probably don’t need to buy more tools.

An agency which takes these steps becomes more and more valuable to its clients. For folks on the client side, these are the things you should expect of your agencies, things you should ask for when agencies are pitching you. Agencies not doing these things will not serve you as well as they could. There’s obviously a lot more detail, so go ahead and watch the talk now.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

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How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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