Almost Timely News: Broken Agreements (2023-03-12) :: View in Browser
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What’s On My Mind: Broken Agreements
Let’s talk about agreements for a moment. Marketers like you and me have had implicit agreements with various technology companies and firms over the years. We’ve had agreements that were more or less mutually beneficial – we do something, we get something in return. For example, we created something of an agreement with Google. In exchange for quality content that satisfies user intent and makes a search engine relevant, the agreement was that we would get customers in return. We make content and adhere to Google’s guidelines, we get visitors to our sites.
We had similar agreements with social media, right? We actively participate in places like Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, and in exchange for our participation, we get to interact with potential customers and win some percentage of them over to becoming our customers.
These agreements have generally worked for the last 25 years to varying degrees. Early on, as technologies debuted, the balance of power was in the hands of the marketer. We had the audience to some degree, and we had the ad dollars to spend; to keep us happy, early technology players sent us a lot of business. Those who were around for the golden years of social media will recall substantial double digit percentages of new traffic and new customers coming from unpaid, organic social media.
Over time, that balance of power has shifted. Companies became dependent on easy, and in most cases, free traffic. Organic search and organic social media powered entire generations of startups, built huge empires from online bookstores to streaming entertainment companies. In some cases, the balance of power has shifted so far in the opposite direction that the balance of power is more or less broken. Ask the average social media manager at the average company how much traffic and how many conversions come from unpaid social media and it’s going to be a tiny fraction of a company’s overall conversion drivers.
Organic search isn’t much better. Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen search engines – Google in particular – gobble up ever-increasing percentages of clicks. Back in 2019, Rand Fishkin and Jumpshot calculated that Google, for the first time, was consuming over 50% of visits for itself with its instant answers.
The evolution of large language models threatens to change that balance of power even further. As companies integrate the usage of large language models into their products, we’ll see more and more forms of search and conversation taken up by machines. For example, Snapchat now offers a chat companion in its app, for paying members, called My AI. We’ve seen LLM-based chat companies like Replika do astonishingly well at offering virtual companionship. And of course, we see Google’s Bard, Bing, and ChatGPT all consuming ever more attention through the use of large language models to provide information and entertainment to people – traffic that never leaves their services.
That raises the critical question for marketers – what do we do when the agreement between us and large technology companies is simply broken? The short answer is that you do the same as with any broken agreement: you either renegotiate, or you walk away. When I mentioned this to the audience this past weekend at Podcamp Philly, a few marketers were understandably concerned. “How will we get new audiences if search is out of the picture and social media isn’t working for us?” was a common sentiment.
How did you earn business in the pre-digital age? How did you earn business before social media? The answers hopefully should be fairly clear: word of mouth marketing, which is timeless, along with advertising, and these days, with influencer and guild marketing. We’ve said for decades now that the best way to market in the macro picture is to pretend services like Google and Facebook didn’t exist. If they weren’t available, how would you do your marketing? What would you do differently?
The reality is that many marketers, especially marketers who are younger and don’t know of the pre-digital era, have become addicted to the relative ease of digital marketing. Marketing where you don’t have to leave your desk has a distinct appeal, and companies love it as well because it scales better and at lower costs. But nothing lasts forever, and no channel, strategy, or tactic ever remains supreme for very long. There is more to the world of marketing than just digital marketing, and there’s more than one way to acquire a customer. That said, in the realm of digital marketing, expect to spend more – on ads, and on squeezing what performance you can from unpaid channels. Plan to pivot to influencer and community-based marketing if you haven’t already. Build and nurture your email list like it’s made of gold, because it almost literally is. And look to where attention is, but marketing isn’t – back in the real world.
The most successful marketers follow the attention of the audience to wherever it flows, without falling in love with any particular channel. You do what works on any given day with your audience. That’s the only guaranteed long-term formula for success – stay with your audience wherever they go.
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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it
Besides the newly-refreshed Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I recommend the piece on which parts of marketing will be revolutionized by AI.
- You Ask, I Answer: Marketing Revolutionized by AI?
- You Ask, I Answer: Great Thought Leadership?
- You Ask, I Answer: Active Users in GA4?
- Almost Timely News, March 5, 2023: ChatGPT Levels Up With an API
- Mind Readings: Communities Need Publications
- Mind Readings: Establishing Thought Leadership With Speed
- In-Ear Insights: Measuring ChatGPT Performance
- So What? Setting up A/B tests for ChatGPT
Skill Up With Classes
These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.
- ⭐️ Powering Up Your LinkedIn Profile (For Job Hunters) 2023 Edition
- Measurement Strategies for Agencies
- Empower Your Marketing With Private Social Media Communities
- Exploratory Data Analysis: The Missing Ingredient for AI
- How AI is Changing Marketing, 2022 Edition
- How to Prove Social Media ROI
- Proving Social Media ROI
- Paradise by the Analytics Dashboard Light: How to Create Impactful Dashboards and Reports
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.
- (Senior) Analytics Consultant E-Commerce at REWE Group
- Digital Analytics Lead at Incubeta
- Experimentation Data Scientist at Shutterfly
- Lead Analytics Engineer at Displate
- Senior Data Scientist – Delivery Technology at GOPuff
- Web Analyst at Telia
Advertisement: LinkedIn For Job Seekers & Personal Branding
It’s kind of rough out there with new headlines every day announcing tens of thousands of layoffs. To help a little, I put together a new edition of the Trust Insights Power Up Your LinkedIn course, totally for free.
What makes this course different? Here’s the thing about LinkedIn. Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn’s engineers regularly publish very technical papers about exactly how LinkedIn works. I read the papers, put all the clues together about the different algorithms that make LinkedIn work, and then create advice based on those technical clues. So I’m a lot more confident in suggestions about what works on LinkedIn because of that firsthand information than other social networks.
If you find it valuable, please share it with anyone who might need help tuning up their LinkedIn efforts for things like job hunting.
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
- How TikTok Is Evolving From Social Media App to Entertainment Platform
- TikTok introduces a Series feature enabling creators to sell premium episodes
- As Gen Z embraces de-influencing on TikTok, marketers and influencers need to be much more transparent and authentic via Digiday
Media and Content
- Contextual content is just a fancy way of saying preferred content based on our interests via Trust Insights Marketing Analytics Consulting
- Metaverse opportunities and barriers: Biz leaders are counting on skills training to fuel growth via Agility PR Solutions
- Content creators say they struggle to keep up with their audiences as social media platforms evolve via Digiday
SEO, Google, and Paid Media
- How to make better SEO reports for the C-suite
- 23 SEO Questions to Ask New Clients Questionnaire Template
- DuckDuckGos building AI-generated answers into its search engine via The Verge
Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers (UPDATED)
I heard you loud and clear. On Slack, in surveys, at events, you’ve said you want one thing more than anything else: Google Analytics 4 training. I heard you, and I’ve got you covered. The new Trust Insights Google Analytics 4 For Marketers Course is the comprehensive training solution that will get you up to speed thoroughly in Google Analytics 4.
What makes this different than other training courses?
- You’ll learn how Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio form the essential companion pieces to Google Analytics 4, and how to use them all together
- You’ll learn how marketers specifically should use Google Analytics 4, including the new Explore Hub with real world applications and use cases
- You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
- You’ll even learn how to hire (or be hired) for Google Analytics 4 talent specifically, not just general Google Analytics
- And finally, you’ll learn how to rearrange Google Analytics 4’s menus to be a lot more sensible because that bothers everyone
With more than 5 hours of content across 17 lessons, plus templates, spreadsheets, transcripts, and certificates of completion, you’ll master Google Analytics 4 in ways no other course can teach you.
If you already signed up for this course in the past, Chapter 8 on Google Analytics 4 configuration was JUST refreshed, so be sure to sign back in and take Chapter 8 again!
Tools, Machine Learning, and AI
- Microsoft wants generative AI to be a copilot for enterprise applications via VentureBeat
- How to Classify Web Pages Using Machine Learning?
- OpenAI GPT-4 Arriving Mid-March 2023 And It‘s Huge
Analytics, Stats, and Data Science
- Challenges for Startups in Adopting AI and Data Analytics via insideBIGDATA
- Advanced NumPy: Broadcasting and Strides via Analytics Vidhya
- 3 Hard Python Coding Interview Questions For Data Science via KDnuggets
Dealer’s Choice : Random Stuff
- Silicon Valley Bank Has Been Closed by Regulators, in FDIC Possession
- Silicon Valley Bank: What You Need to Know As the Crisis Sparks Stock Market Chaos
- Silicon Valley Bank Crisis: VC Firm Warned on Red Flags Last Year
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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:
- My blog – daily videos, blog posts, and podcast episodes
- My YouTube channel – daily videos, conference talks, and all things video
- My company, Trust Insights – marketing analytics help
- My podcast, Marketing over Coffee – weekly episodes of what’s worth noting in marketing
- My second podcast, In-Ear Insights – the Trust Insights weekly podcast focused on data and analytics
- On Twitter – multiple daily updates of marketing news
- On LinkedIn – daily videos and news
- On Instagram – personal photos and travels
- My free Slack discussion forum, Analytics for Marketers – open conversations about marketing and analytics
Events I’ll Be At
Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:
- Martechopia, London, March 2023. Use MARSPEAKER20 for 20% off the ticket price.
- B2B Ignite, Chicago, May 2023
- MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Boston, October 2023
Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.
If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.
Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.
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.
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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- It's Okay to Not Be Okay Right Now
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