Tag: google marketing platform

Revisiting Measurement Strategy with the Advent of GA4

Are your measurement strategy and tagging implementation aligned? It’s OK, you’re in a safe space here—we know that keeping technology, tactics, and strategy in 100% alignment is nearly impossible in practice. Fortunately, the advent of Google Analytics 4 (or “GA4,” formerly Google Analytics for App + Web) is an ideal time to approach a strategic measurement review.

Which came first, your tags or your measurement strategy?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Wikipedia refers to this question as a “causality dilemma”—we can’t decide which event is the cause, and which is the effect.

Which came first, your tags or your measurement strategy?

Do any of these options sound familiar?

  • There is no strategy
  • The strategy and tagging bear no relation
  • The strategy is retrofitted to match the organically grown, free range, tag management

There is no shame in accepting that the strategy might not be up to date with the current tagging implementation. Tactical measurement is more volatile, for sure. Tag management is meant to help you move fast! However, lack of a strategy, significant disconnect between strategy and tagging, or strategy adapted to fit the tags (as opposed to the right way around) are not acceptable and must be addressed.

“Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.”

James Clear, “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”

An opportunity presents itself

The advent of GA4 (formerly Google Analytics for App + Web) is an ideal time to approach a strategic measurement review. Don’t think this means you’re going to throw away your existing Universal Analytics (UA) implementation and start again. Far from it. An existing reference point to work from is a valuable asset.

You need to consider the following in your current tagging in order to decide the correct tactical and strategic alignment:

  • what currently works and aligns with strategy
  • what’s currently broken and is misaligned
  • what’s missing from tagging and/or the strategy
  • what’s bloat and simply needs to be removed

Fix the broken stuff, fill in the gaps, and ditch the unnecessary to trim down and align your tagging and measurement strategy.

Connect measurement strategy and implementation

As a quick refresher, let us recall what is meant by a “measurement strategy”:

  • Goals
  • Audiences
  • KPIs

A measurement strategy is a formalisation of what is measured, why, and what success criteria look like. The lack of an objective set of measurements is a key cause of digital marketing failure.

Accepting that the current measurement implementation and strategy need to be reviewed and adjusted, this provokes a number of questions:

  • How did we end up here?
  • How do you fix it?
  • Why do you fix it? What’s the value?
  • How often do you realign strategy and measurement?

In the absence of any formalised process for tactical and strategic data alignment, measurement tactics will naturally diverge from the ideal mandated by the organisational aims.

A good starting cadence for a process to address this issue is quarterly. This will be driven by the pace of change in your tag management, rather than your organizational strategy.

Start now.

Industry guru Avinash Kaushik has already written what needs to be written on measurement strategy so I won’t repeat it here.

The golden opportunity at hand is to reflect on the legacy measurement, consider what is possible with GA4 and ensure that the next generation of digital analytics instrumentation is as aligned with your global strategy as possible. Go beyond “fit for purpose” and strive for “OMG, this is digital marketing performance visibility I never thought possible!”

Priceless advice—don’t get this bit wrong

When you embark on this process, be aware that UA tag types no longer exist. There is only one tag: an event. GA4 is event driven and user-centric. The GA4 core measurement is based on the concept of the event which means event name choice is critical to success.

Use the GA4 event name to convey the meaning of the event. This needs strategic alignment of course, but, as much as possible, it is important to use the GA4 automatic, enhanced and recommended events before committing to a new custom event. This ensures the best/right reports are available for your data out of the box. Using customised event names might not enable all reports.

Flow chart

In conclusion

To not have a strategically aligned measurement approach is to court disaster. Recognising that Google Analytics is changing, and in so many ways, for the better, is to embrace a fabulously valuable opportunity to address strategic alignment and remedy tactical issues in one swoop.

Learn about GA4, and use it to plan the migration from UA. Build a measurement roadmap that complements the digital marketing plan. Be proactive, rather than reactive in measurement and strategy. Draw these components into a repeatable process, and ensure tagging remains aligned with strategy.

WEBINAR: ‘Mastering Creative Effectiveness’—A Roundtable with Google, MediaMonks, and MightyHive

Mastering Creative Effectiveness

On September 16, Live With MightyHive featured a conversation on Creative Effectiveness. Joining me in this episode were Ryan Tetuan, Head of Creative Solutions, Media Platforms at Google and Louise Martens, Global Head of Embedded Production at MediaMonks. The discussion was interesting and offers viewers some actionable tips on where to get started.

What does Creative Effectiveness mean?
“Does the work, work? Are our efforts paying off? Are we hitting the goals that we set out together with brands?”
– Louise Martens, Global Head of Embedded Production, MediaMonks

It didn’t take long for us to dive into an in-depth discussion about what Creative Effectiveness really means. We went on to highlight the greatest opportunities for brands and provided recommendations on how to get started with creative. Above all, collaboration is key to your team’s success.

How can creative and media buying work better together?
“As we are testing new tactics, what new creative ideas can we put out there? Hey, we just did this new research on the creative side and we now understand what consumers are responding to – Can we actually target that micro-moment using the targeting capabilities of DSP?”
– Mitchell Pok, Director, Creative Services & Technology, MightyHive

According to a recent study conducted by Google and Bain, creative is 1.5x more effective when developed collaboratively than it is when it’s created in separate silos. Nielsen states that 56% of a campaign’s performance is due to creative. The research shows that mastering Creative Effectiveness can drive meaningful results for your campaigns and broader business goals.


In this episode, we also identified various roadblocks we see across the brands we know. These roadblocks range from the briefing process to the democratization of campaign performance data.

What’s standing in the way of Creative Effectiveness?
“I had media teams within 20 yards of me. There weren’t any physical walls and my interaction with the media team was essentially an email from them with an Excel spreadsheet of sizes of ads to build. That’s it. No audience, no contextual data.”
– Ryan Tetuan, Head of Creative Solutions, Media Platforms, Google

Check out the video to join the discussion and find ways you can start mastering Creative Effectiveness today. To view the Google Marketing Platform Solutions Guides, click here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Server-Side Google Tag Manager Deep Impact

 

Before we dive into server-side Google Tag Manager (GTM), I’ll prefix the meat of this post with a caveat: always respect user privacy

Any data collection techniques discussed here must be applied righteously and not as a workaround to circumvent data collection consent regulation.

10,000 Foot View

Here’s a familiar situation – Google Tag Manager as we’ve known it for years.

Your container is loaded on all pages, or screens in your site/app, and based on trigger events, data is sent to first- and third-party endpoints.

It works, it’s fine, but it’s not perfect. Tracking blockers, JavaScript failures, many, many requests to endpoints, and inefficient JavaScript are all risks, and potential performance problems that can lead to data quality issues.  

Server-side GTM moves the tag vendor request from the client to a server—a server on Google Cloud Platform living on a subdomain of your site. The container loaded in the browser/app still has tags and still sends a request but has way less code, sends fewer requests, isn’t necessarily affected by anti-tracking software, doesn’t send the user’s IP address to third-party tag vendors, and first-party cookies are correctly set in an ITP compliant manner.  

Out of the Box – What’s Cool?

There’s a lot to be excited about with server-side GTM in that, on the client side, it’s all very familiarbut way better! The “traditional” digital marketer can still set up their Facebook tag(s) with the same triggers, and deploy Floodlights as required. Same, same… but different.

As mentioned earlier, rather than sending data to the tag vendor endpoint, it’s sent to a subdomain. For example, if you’re on www.mysite.com, server-side GTM will send data to tracking.mysite.com, a subdomain you can have configured.  

And that’s great because…?

  • It respects user privacy: The user’s IP address isn’t sent to a third party.
  • It preserves data quality: Tracking prevention doesn’t happen on requests to your own domain.
  • It lightens code bloat from the client side: The tags require less work on the browser, shifting the workload to the server instead. This means what remains in GTM on the browser does less, so the site runs faster.
  • It consolidates requests from the client side: You can send multiple requests from the server based on one request from the client.

At MightyHive, we strongly advocate for focusing on what’s best for the user, not the ability to foil or circumvent anti-tracking software. Reminder: act righteously, not selfishly. As it stands now, data is collected, not captured. In the future data will be exchanged… Think about that for a minute.

Deeper Impact

Have you noticed that tracking requests are sent to your domain and not a third-party domain? The data collection workload is moved to your infrastructure.

Does that feel like just going back to web server logging? How different is this from web server logging?  

Very. 

Analytics data is formatted (sessionized), cleaned (PII removed), integrated (joined with data from Google Ads, Search Ads/Display & Video 360) and presented ready to perform its function: analysis and optimization of all aspects of the online business, which, let’s face it, is all about better marketing.  

Web server logs don’t collect all behavioral data. Typically, log-level data isn’t integrated with marketing channel data, meaning there’s no feedback loop for activation of the data. 

But! There are similarities between server-side GTM and web server logging. The web server receives a request, typically for a page, builds the page content and responds, possibly setting first-party cookies along with the response. The server-side GTM endpoint also receives requests, and responds, potentially with cookies (but with less content).

Now… the web server knows what page it’s returning.

It knows what data to render on the data layer to record a transaction (for example). 

The data layer is picked up by a tag firing in the browser and then sent back to the tracking endpoint. 

The end point then takes the same data and fires it off to Google Analytics (GA) to complete the round trip and get your analytics data recorded. 

Phew!

Wait one minute. If the web server knows it’s rendering a “thank you” confirmation page, and it knows what data to render on the data layer, why bother sending this to the browser for the browser to just send it back to the tracking end point and then to GA?  

Why not remove some steps for efficiency? The web server knows it is rendering a confirmation page. So it builds the exact same request the browser was going to, and sends the GA transaction data straight to the tracking end point. Cut out the client round trip.

It’s quite normal to fire off conversion tags, Floodlights, FB pixels, Adnxs, TTD, and so on to record transactions. Don’t send those to the client to handle. As the web server responds with the confirmation page, send those requests straight to the tracking endpoint. The endpoint responds with the details of the cookies to set, and the web server sends those with the confirmation page content in the response to the client.

Think how many marketing tags and tracking pixels fire on page level events. How many tags actually need to fire on the client? How many tags don’t even need to be exposed to the browser? What if, just maybe, you only had page-level event-triggered tags? Maybe you only need page-level tracking if you’ve removed all of your data bloat? Then you don’t need to CNAME the tracking subdomain, you can restrict access to your tracking endpoint to only allow your web server to access it via https (think IP range restriction). That’s a bunch less complexity and a fair amount of moving parts removed from the solution.

Simpler is better. No code is better than no code, as the saying goes.

In Conclusion

The server-side GTM solution offers a good and correct solution to digital analytics measurement. It’s good because data quality can be improved, user privacy is further protected, and significantly, it’s a step towards doing less work in the browser, meaning sites and apps get faster.

Thinking about the possible solutions the technology offers, with the right motivation in mind, demonstrates how versatile the solution is, how much power is available and what avenues are still to be explored to leverage first-party data.

 

WEBINAR: A Discussion with Ace Hardware About Offline Data and Online Marketing

 

**Scroll down to watch the video**

How Ace Hardware is Using Offline Data to Measure its Digital Marketing

A recent Google report titled “How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment,” cited 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day. And 28% of those searches result in a purchase. “That’s significant,” said Mark Lowe, Director of Digital Marketing at Ace Hardware. “So it is critical for us to have the [online customer experience] be as helpful as possible.”

Lowe is a seasoned digital marketer and on August 4, he provided a glimpse into how Ace Hardware is adjusting to shifting consumer habits during an eMarketer “Tech Talk” webinar titled “How Ace Hardware is Using Offline Data to Measure Digital Marketing.” Along with Myles Younger, Senior Director of Marketing MightyHive, the two discussed how he balances nationwide digital trends with in-store buying at the retail level.

Ace Hardware generates a significant amount of first-party data from its website and its stores. By partnering with MightyHive, they reimagined ways for online and offline data to inform each other. “That means a very pure approach to data since many data sources need talk to each other,” explained Jack Pace, Project Lead at MightyHive. “Offline data from the store, online data from the site and app, franchisee sales data, manufacturer data from the thousands of SKUs carried throughout the chain — each store is different.”

Lowe is excited by the possibilities. “We are getting good insight into how many people are going into the store to pick up their online orders as well as the attachment sales when they are making their pickup,” explained Lowe. “And we are really leveraging several tools such as Google store visits and store sales direct from Google to connect the dots and understand the impact across all channels.”

With 4500 retail locations, a robust online presence, and thousands of SKUs, Ace Hardware had a unique challenge with its data but the efforts are paying off. “As data-driven marketers, we really want the same level of precision that we have with our online measurement with our offline,” explained Lowe. “There is going to be a certain level of extrapolation but it’s all about getting to the point where you can make actionable business decisions.”

In this eMarketer “Tech Talk” webinar you will learn about:

  • The Ace Hardware digital marketing tech stack
  • Successes, opportunities, and challenges in measuring the offline impact of digital campaigns
  • The role web UX can play in collecting and growing first-party data

FILL OUT THE FORM TO WATCH THE eMARKETER WEBINAR: “HOW ACE HARDWARE IS USING OFFLINE DATA TO MEASURE DIGITAL MARKETING”

Download the Slides and Video for Comparing Log-level Data to Ads Data Hub

**Scroll down to download everything**

High Fidelity: Log Files vs. Ads Data Hub

Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest on “Live with MightyHive” to talk about how Google Data Transfer Files (DT Files) compare to the data inside Ads Data Hub (ADH).

As a refresher, DT Files are the log-level data marketers can access from Google Marketing Platform (GMP). Google announced in 2018 that it would begin redacting user-level IDs in order to protect user privacy and comply with regulations like GDPR (and now CCPA, as we cover in this episode). Ads Data Hub, on the other hand, is the “data clean room” for GMP; a privacy-preserving application for analyzing campaigns and audiences without user-level data needing to leave Google.

What has happened is that the detailed user-level data offered by DT Files in many cases ends up heavily redacted (for both privacy and business reasons), whereas Ads Data Hub keeps user-level data 100% private and is consequently not nearly as redacted. Marketers NEED to understand this trade-off. This episode covers what you find when you compare the two, including:

  • The key differences between DT Files and Ads Data Hub
  • How to check data parity between DT Files and Ads Data Hub before making other comparisons
  • How to compare the effects of user ID redactions, Safari ITP, and CCPA between log-level data and ADH

We’ve packaged everything up and you can register to download these materials below:

  • The full episode video
  • The slide deck
  • Sample SQL queries for both DT Files (BigQuery) and Ads Data Hub

If you want to develop a better understanding of how Ads Data Hub differs from legacy analytics and log-level data, then this is a great set of materials. I hope you find them useful!

 

Preview the slides


A few sample slides from “High Fidelity: Log Files vs. Ads Data Hub” and the appendix of SQL queries for BigQuery and Ads Data Hub.

 

DOWNLOAD THE VIDEO, SLIDE DECK, AND SAMPLE SQL QUERIES

MightyHive Achieves Google Cloud Platform Global Marketing Analytics Specialization Certification

We’re excited to announce that MightyHive has been certified as a global sales and service partner for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with a Marketing Analytics Specialization. The Marketing Analytics Specialization certification enables MightyHive to provide data advisory services to help clients advance their marketing analytics strategies using the GCP platform for data infrastructure modernization and machine-learning automation. This enables marketers to measure the customer journey at every step of an interaction and tailor future campaigns at scale. MightyHive has been certified as a Google Cloud Platform Partner since 2018 and has recently been featured for its advanced cloud work helping to personalize digital customer experiences using Google Cloud. Read the full Mondelēz Case Study here.

MightyHive: Committed to Client Success

MightyHive’s continued investment in its data practice, inclusive of the Google Cloud Platform, demonstrates its commitment to the evolving needs of marketers seeking to make better use of their first-party data and navigate data privacy compliance and governance. As a certified Google Cloud Platform partner, MightyHive helps advertisers employ innovative technology and workload tools needed to overcome the challenges of unifying critical data from their marketing strategies, customer touch points, and sales transactions, generating new business intelligence and customized insights related to advertising performance, and activating those insights across marketing and customer-facing channels.

“MightyHive has been instrumental in helping Mondelēz lead a digital renaissance in the CPG industry. The MightyHive data team has been by my side as we’ve architected advanced data environments and future-proofed our measurement systems.”

Jon Halvorson, VP Global Media, Digital & Data, Mondelēz International

The combined expertise and certification in Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform puts MightyHive into a class with few other companies; where the interplay between cloud technology, marketing technology and advertising technology will continue to be leveraged by data-driven marketers of the present and future. As a leading marketing services provider, MightyHive focuses on the needs of brands under pressure to show that marketing strategies contribute to profits and need to develop closer connections with their customers at scale, a critical aspect of digital-readiness during this time of rapid digital transformation. Leveraging technology partnerships with both Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform, MightyHive helps clients take a more holistic approach with developing and even modernizing its data and marketing strategies to create a more unified and powerful set of customer experiences.

A Marketing Analytics Partner for the Future

Through recently completed mergers with Digodat, ConversionWorks, and MightyHive Korea and the pending merger with Lens10, MightyHive continues to rapidly expand its services capabilities and global presence with new certifications and specializations in data lake modernization, AI, and Google Cloud Identity & Security. With increased global service operations, many multinational clients trust MightyHive to provide globally consistent marketing services delivery to meet their unique in region business needs that drive their marketing analytics using the most advanced marketing and cloud technology together to deliver, contribute and measure business outcomes guiding future investments.

Press Release: Toby McAra Joins MightyHive as Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, EMEA

LONDON, July 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leading media consultancy MightyHive today announced the appointment of Toby McAra as Head of Enterprise Data Solutions (EMEA). McAra brings over 20 years of commercial experience to this role and will join the EMEA sales team in securing new client engagements, driving continued growth and profitability.

At MightyHive, McAra will be responsible for helping enterprise clients understand the importance of a data-centric approach, and supporting them in defining and executing sophisticated data strategies.

McAra has the unique experience of senior roles at both Adobe and Google and has worked with multiple enterprise brands all across EMEA on the importance of leveraging cutting-edge technology and strategic consulting to drive performance. His extensive experience includes positions driving significant growth for industry leaders like Google Analytics, Adometry and Adobe. McAra’s deep understanding of advanced digital and cloud marketing analytics helped him pair clients with the most impactful commercial solutions.

“It is more important than ever for marketers to have access to end-to-end services designed to help them harness the power of their data,” said Russell Sutton, MightyHive SVP Data, EMEA. “Having previously seen Toby’s impressive finesse with leading successful commercial teams, coordinating sales and delivery for partners and driving profitability at ConversionWorks, it is an honor to welcome him to our team at MightyHive.”

McAra’s appointment follows MightyHive’s pattern of strategic investments in the EMEA region, where it services clients such as Renault, Lavazza, Pandora Jewelry, and Electrolux. In 2019, MightyHive appointed Simon Harris as head of sales EMEA and Julien Coquet as director of analytics for EMEA. Also in 2019, MightyHive merged with ConversionWorks, a London-based digital analytics, biddable media and data science consultancy. McAra previously served as an adviser and commercial director at ConversionWorks prior to its merger with MightyHive, leading to ConversionWorks winning the Drum Analytics Agency of the Year award.

“Over the last few years, MightyHive has repeatedly demonstrated its full-service capabilities as a strategic partner, helping brands take greater control of their data and digital strategies,” McAra said. “I look forward to bringing my skills to the enterprise sales team as they continue to drive excellent results for clients in digital transformation, advanced analytics, and data strategy.”

To learn more about MightyHive EMEA, please contact emeasales@mightyhive.com.

About MightyHive
MightyHive is a new breed of media consultancy that partners with global brands and agencies seeking transformative marketing results in a time of massive disruption and opportunity. Recognized as a global leader in advanced marketing and advertising technologies, MightyHive provides consulting and services in the areas of media operations and training, data strategy and analytics.

The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with teams in 19 countries and 24 cities around the world. In 2018, MightyHive merged with S4Capital plc (SFOR.L), a new age/new era digital advertising and marketing services company established by Sir Martin Sorrell in 2018.

Contact
Blast PR for MightyHive
mightyhive@blastpr.com

Australian Analytics Leader Lens10 Announces Intent to Merge with MightyHive

Today, MightyHive is thrilled to announce that Lens10, the leading Australian digital analytics consultancy specializing in digital strategy, analytics strategy, data visualization, dashboarding, and data integration, intends to merge with MightyHive. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, builds on S4Capital’s existing analytics expertise and expands MightyHive’s steady growth in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Asia-Pacific is consistently one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions. According to Deloitte’s APAC 2019 Global Cost Survey, data and analytics are expected to be the most actively implemented technology sectors through 2021 as companies reach digital maturity and COVID-19 accelerates digital transformation trends. The proposed merger addresses an immediate need for marketers in the region and globally, over 65% of whom reported plans to increase analytics investments in the next year (2020 Global State of Enterprise Analytics).

Lens10, founded in 2010, has offices in Melbourne and Sydney. Today, the company helps clients optimize the performance of their digital assets and channels, supporting business success through data-driven decision making. Clients include Australian Ballet, CottonOn, Seek, National Rugby League, and ME Bank. 

Michelle McGrath, CEO, Lens10 Dean Gingell, Director and Strategy Principal, Lens10 Robin Jowett, Director, Lens10
Michelle McGrath
CEO
Lens10
Dean Gingell
Director and Strategy Principal
Lens10
Robin Jowett
Director and CTO
Lens10

Led by founder and former telecommunications executive Michelle McGrath, ecommerce strategist Dean Gingell, and experienced chief technology officer Robin Jowett, Lens10 holds multiple analytics partner certifications. The company is an authorized Google Cloud Partner and a Sales, Service and Technology Partner for Google Marketing Platform, certified specifically for Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Optimize, and DataStudio.

Additionally, Lens10 has been recognized as an Adobe Solution Partner, specializing in Adobe Analytics for Asia Pacific. Their deep expertise across multiple analytics platforms enables them to provide holistic data solutions for enterprises in Australia, and now globally.

Building Momentum in Data and Analytics

S4Capital Logo MightyHive Logo Lens10 Logo

Lens10’s intended merger with MightyHive would enable both companies to meet the rapidly growing demand for data and analytics expertise in Asia-Pacific and globally. 

The move will expand MightyHive’s advanced data and analytics practice with an elite group of experts to solve complicated client challenges. Already recognized as Google AUNZ Partner of the Year two years in a row, MightyHive will deepen an already formidable talent bench to become the leading Google Analytics partner in the region. 

The Lens10 team provides expertise in designing sophisticated attribution models and optimization strategies for more mature analytics clients, and once the deal is final, will be positioned to offer a larger suite of global solutions to its clients and integrated services through S4Capital.

MightyHive: Helping Marketers Embrace Change

As companies revisit digital and data strategies to meet new consumer expectations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, savvy marketers are realizing that a user-centric, omni-channel strategy is crucial to maintain a competitive edge. Together, upon deal completion, MightyHive and Lens10 will help forward-thinking companies more effectively collect, organize, analyze, and activate data sources for the best possible results and return on investment. 

MightyHive, reinforced by mergers in the UK, South Korea, and Latin America, is well-positioned to help marketers fortify their digital strategies in preparation for an economic recovery, and now intends to broaden its expertise in this area by onboarding the exceptional talent at Lens10. As marketers accelerate digital transformation plans, MightyHive strives to help clients quickly and efficiently stand up solutions that will leave them stronger and more prepared than their competitors.

In December 2018, MightyHive merged with S4Capital, a new age/new era advertising and marketing services company established by Sir Martin Sorrell. S4Capital’s strategy is to create a purely digital advertising and marketing services offering by integrating leading businesses in three areas: first-party data, digital content, digital media planning and buying.

To learn more, contact us.

Email Marketing Strategies During COVID-19

 

Introduction

As we cope with today’s unparalleled circumstances, we must recognize the importance of direct communication from company to customer. Email marketing is not only very cost effective, it is also the preferred channel for most consumers. Research from paved.com shows that global email open rates, in the last three weeks of March, increased by 21%. Clickthrough rates trail behind, at a mere 3.9% increase. This shows us that there are plenty of opportunities out there to develop a customer-centric communication strategy with your customers, remaining thoughtful and relevant while making sure not to overdo it.  

When to Reach Out

Seeing so many COVID-19 related updates in your inbox, you may feel pressure to reach out to your customers right away. However, one wrong move could affect their perception of your brand and may cause them to unsubscribe — or even worse: report your message as SPAM. Internet Service Providers and Webmail providers lean heavily on subscriber (non-)engagement stats when it comes to your email sender reputation. A large increase in SPAM complaints is seen as a red flag and may eventually lead to your domain being blacklisted. The bottom line: do not reach out to your customers without a good reason.

Choose Your Audience Wisely

Your customers’ lives and needs have changed rapidly. Buying priorities have shifted. While they are coping with these unusual circumstances, you should be wondering what it is they need today. This is your cue to adapt and find new ways of engaging with your audience by:

  • Providing service rather than selling in your messaging
  • Generating new ideas with your marketing team on how to be useful for your customers: discounts, free shipping, suspended fees and helpful content are some examples
  • Experimenting with new, thoughtful subject lines and personalized content
  • Making sure to focus on your customer experience and review every message that you send on its relevance, tone and usefulness
  • Focusing on kindness and sensitivity

Clean and Grow Your Data

The market is moving quickly, but data segmentation rules have been relatively static. Right now, it is likely that your existing marketing segments no longer apply. Time to take a new, fresh look at your data and re-think: 

  • What has changed and what groups you can identify based on today’s needs
  • How you can answer their needs and strengthen your bond with them
  • Keep in mind what you already know, based on consumer interests and previous engagements 
  • Start by focusing on your most engaged and loyal customers

As many consumers’ shopping behavior has moved to online-only, this is also an opportunity to re-engage with your previously inactive customers. But be careful here as well:

  • Do not send the same message to all of your inactive customers
  • Instead, look for recognizable target groups using previous web and shopping behavior
  • Make sure to only offer products and services that are relevant to them today

Automating data segmentation, email personalization, and triggered sending will save you time, even in the short term.

Your customer database is one of your most important assets. Keep it growing, especially now, and use it to compensate for a potential decrease in ad revenue with these tactics:

  • Implement an easy sign-up process for your email marketing to turn web visitors into first-party contacts
  • Consider setting up a multi-layer subscription model, with options for different types of communications
  • Curb abandonment by giving unsubscribers more flexibility than just a global opt-out

Measure the Engagement

Driven by a need for speed, chances are that you have been developing one-off campaigns rather than automated campaign processes. Some of these interactions may only be relevant during the current crisis situation. It is also possible that your customers, or your business propositions, have changed indefinitely. Automating data segmentation, email personalization, and triggered sending will save you time and greatly reduce the risk of human error. Regardless of the outlook, even automating short-running campaigns can be a good investment.

For example:

  • Use dynamic content in messages with region-specific updates
  • Automate segmentations based on delayed shipping

Implementing proper tagging in your emails is critical to learning from this crisis for your future marketing efforts

While we don’t know what tomorrow will look like, making sure that proper tagging is implemented into your email messages and links will keep your data clean. This is critical to learning from this crisis and being prepared for your future marketing efforts.

MightyHive is Here to Help

How much have you adjusted your email marketing strategy in response to the current COVID-19 crisis? As a Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud partner, MightyHive can assist you with any of the challenges described – and more.

Whether you are looking at a dramatic spike in demand for your internal team, or you are in need of a partner to help you form a new strategy to connect with your customers please contact us. 

Curious about other Salesforce products? Check out this post to see how MightyHive can help you activate a unified data and media strategy with Google Marketing Platform and Salesforce. 

Managing COVID-19 Brand Safety in Display & Video 360

 

Introduction

For more than half a decade, digital marketers have been concerned about their adverts appearing against content not aligned to their brand’s values. This fear is rational. Whether it is extremist content or fake news, being seen adjacent to the wrong content can erode brand equity that took years to build. The COVID-19 crisis has increased concerns amongst many marketers. Because of this, MightyHive has decided to open-source our guidance on brand safety for marketers.

In this post, we’re addressing users of the programmatic buying platform Google Display and Video 360 (DV360) and the Google Campaign Manager ad server.

Through a three-step process, you can set up your platforms to avoid high-risk websites and non-brand safe content that arise during crises like COVID-19. Crucially, we will tell you how to catch anything that might slip through the net—especially important if you’re still outsourcing buying.

Step 1: Positively Target Brand Safe Domains

Low-quality and fake news articles have the potential to misinform the public. Now —more than ever— it is important to support quality news. Advertisers can do the right thing by supporting journalism and protect their brand equity by actively avoiding content that seeks to divide or misinform internet users.

“Website and App Targeting” (whitelisting) allows programmatic buyers to do just this. By using this feature at a line-item level within DV360, buyers can positively target content that is considered to be brand safe such as email, professional news, e-commerce sites, and price comparison engines.

Historically, programmatic buyers have raised concerns about scale when adopting this approach. These concerns can be mitigated. We believe advertisers who continue to use domain blacklists (which exclude websites/apps that they know to be risky) should reconsider this approach, due to changes in the operating environment.

New high-risk sites appear every day, making it impossible to update targeting regularly enough to include every domain that may pose a risk to your brand. This means a buyer is much better off positively targeting sources they know to be high-quality and brand-safe and that do not share misleading or sensationalist news.

Step 2: Avoid Unsafe Content In Brand-Safe Domains

Domain whitelists help brands avoid the very worst content out there. However, even with brand-safe sites like news, there will be content that risk-averse advertisers will not want to appear against. This is especially true in times of crisis.

DV360 has three tools programmatic buyers can use to avoid unsafe content:

  • Sensitive Category Exclusions
  • Digital Content Labels
  • Keyword Exclusions

The first feature is “Sensitive Category Exclusions.” This feature allows an advertiser to exclude content that has the potential to be particularly risky to a brand. Of note given the circumstances is the ability to exclude ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Shocking’ content:

Beyond filtering out the riskiest content using this feature, MightyHive recommends buyers use the “Digital Content Labels” feature that is available within DV360. This is a free tool provided by Google, which can be implemented within campaigns at a line-item level. It classifies content along a range from ‘suitable for all general audiences’ up to ‘suitable for mature audiences only.’

There is also a category for content that hasn’t yet been labeled. It is critical to exclude content that hasn’t been labeled by Google for two reasons:

  1. When a site is new, Google does not have enough data to classify its content. It can take up to a month to classify a site. Whilst a site’s content may not be objectionable to most audiences, it might not be suitable given the increased stress, fear, and anxiety audiences are feeling. During extraordinary times, erring on the side of caution makes sense.
  2. Sometimes Google doesn’t know the exact domain in a bid request because a publisher “masks” a URL. In these cases, Google cannot create a Digital Content Label for the URL. The content might be fine, but advertisers are running the risk of serving ads alongside sensitive content.

The final lever programmatic buyers can use to help avoid non-brand safe content in brand safe domains is “Keyword Exclusions.” Keyword Exclusions can be seen as the last line of defense. It is a blunt tool which, if misused, can impact scale. However, adding keywords such as ‘coronavirus,’ ‘covid-19,’ ‘death,’ and ‘intensive care’ can protect risk-averse clients from appearing against such content.

Step 3: Block Content That Slips Through The Net

One of the key benefits of contract ownership is direct access to your buying platform. If you have taken this step, it is easy to check your brand safety settings are implemented correctly and protect yourself from a myriad of brand safety risks.

But what should an advertiser who has not taken control of their DSP contracts or who outsources some of their buying do to ensure they are protected?

The long-term answer is take more control. In the short term, you can request that the “Standard Content Classifiers” feature is implemented in your Campaign Manager Network.

Standard Content Classifier settings allow you to block risky content including Tragedy and Sensitive Social Issues across all buys (including those made outside DV360). There is no additional charge to implement this feature.

MightyHive recommends using Standard Content Classifiers instead of targeting a whitelist. If a marketer chooses to use a whitelist and implement Standard Content Classifiers, the whitelist will prevail, leading to ads served on a whitelisted domain even if it contains content classified as Tragedy, Sensitive Social Issue, etc.

It is critical to remember that if you implement brand safety measures solely in your ad server, a blank ad will be served against content deemed risky by Google’s classification engine and you will still be charged for the space. Make sure your settings in your ad server and your buying platform are aligned to prevent serving blank ads.

In Conclusion

What is and isn’t considered brand-safe will vary from brand to brand. We hope these measures provide you with some clear and tangible ways to address brand safety. MightyHive clients can reach out to their account teams for more guidance on how to implement these tactics within your campaigns. If you’re not already a MightyHive client, contact us and we’d love to talk.

Check out our full brand safety series here: