Our community of digital marketers are dedicated to sharing tactics to help others elevate their performance so here are a few insights from the past year that were popular with readers.

1. What you cannot measure sometimes matters most

“Marketers should use attribution reports to assess trends and relative impact, absolutely. But it’s a slippery slope to draw big conclusions from absolute numbers,” cautions Joe Hyland of ON24. “For example, comparing the win rate of deals that include one type of touch versus another is reasonable. But concluding that one specific touch-type drove a certain amount of pipeline – solely on its own – is not. Some channels may see less conversion simply because there is more competition on that platform. Or the problem could be your execution rather than the channel itself. An attribution report can’t tell you why a tactic is underperforming, so that’s where marketers come in. It’s on us to be able to analyze and to optimize our efforts, place multiple bets on different channels, and trust that what we cannot measure will pay long-term dividends.” MORE >>

2. Marketing strategy is a fluid process, don’t let it stall  

“Customer journey mapping is the manifesto of marketing strategy and operations. Laboring over the details of where your customer eats, shops, apps, visits (digitally or physically), etc. including their interactions with your potential competitors only shapes a solid strategy,” explains marketing and creative operations consultant Sharon Joseph. “But brace yourself, it’s an undertaking and a fluid process. Just as you might find yourself finalizing a strategic approach to connecting with your customers, economical shifts happen and the connections need to adapt. Keeping up with the strategy of connecting with your customers is a strategy onto itself. Strategic stall is real.” MORE >>

3. Ensure your brand story flows across mediums

“Your brand story cannot afford to be medium-centric. It must be medium-agnostic. That is, it should flow smoothly across all mediums, from blog posts to social media interactions to video storytelling,” explains Allen Martinez of Noble Digital. “This flies in the face of the age-old advice to choose a medium and stick with it. True, some mediums may not offer value to you. However, that is not the case for all of them. A good creative strategy takes into account the various platforms that work for your organization, as well as your audience, and then builds across them all at once.” MORE >> 

4. Know the best practices on your social media platforms

“Know the terrain of the digital landscape and make sure that you can articulate your message in different ways depending on the platform,” explains Ronald Dod of Visiture. “With Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platform advertising, you’ll need to be especially aware of this. Something that works as a tweet often doesn’t make a good LinkedIn post, and vice versa. If your social media posts aren’t getting enough engagement, consider that they might need to be tailored to the platform better and review some best practices and stay on top of recent updates when writing for different social media. Familiarizing yourself with each platform’s unique standards, such as their character limits and post formatting is important.” MORE >>

5. Here’s why attribution always matters

“If you are tracking results at ANY level, then you are using an attribution model, whether you believe in attribution or not. Therefore, if you’re going to use attribution (and you are), then it should be as accurate as possible,” explains Amy Bishop of Cultivative Marketing. “The goal of attribution is to give better insight into what’s working, what isn’t working and how it all works together. While I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t a company in the world that has nailed attribution with a 100% degree of confidence, I would also be the first to argue that it’s important to put energy toward making it as accurate as you can.” MORE >>

6. Setting up triggers and variables in Google Tag Manager

“Google Tag Manager saves marketers and developers alike by allowing you to set up tracking codes for analytics and ad platforms through one simple interface,” explains SMX East speaker Tim Jensen of Clix Marketing. “Once you set up tags to fire tracking codes on your site, you can choose a trigger that will cause your tag to work. Triggers can be based on a number of actions such as pageviews, clicks, element visibility, form submissions, time on site, custom events and more. Choose the trigger you want, and then use the fields to specify criteria. For instance, a pageview trigger can fire when a URL is viewed. You can also add multiple conditions, all of which will need to be true before the trigger fires. There are a limited amount of variables that appear in your options by default when setting up triggers in Google Tag Manager. If you want to delve into more precise customization, be sure to enable additional variables in the interface. For instance, you might want to target clicks for buttons that all have the same CSS class. You can check the box next to ‘Click Classes’ and you’ll now see this variable as an option.” MORE >>

7. Email best practices include a template, but that’s not all

“As useful as best practices can be, they’re not supposed to be the final word,” explains Ryan Phelan of Origin Email. “Instead, they’re something you use to launch a program, and then you develop the practice that works best for your brand, company and customers. Take the win-back program. The best practice that evolved over several years of trial, error and testing is sending a three-email program spaced at different intervals with escalating offers, all geared to bring inactive customers back. That’s the ideal. But your brand might need only one or two emails. A B2B company, especially one with long consideration cycles, might need five or more. The best practice is your template. It gives you a place to start planning. Then, you adapt that template to your needs.” MORE >>

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

About The Author

Wendy Almeida is Third Door Media’s Community Editor, working with contributors for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. She has held content management roles in a range of organizations from daily newspapers and magazines to global nonprofits.


Google is a marketing platform, but it’s also a digital marketing company that sells its own hardware, software, services and smart-home products. In that context the company is confronting the same privacy and data-constrained challenges that all digital marketers face: GDPR, CCPA, ITP.

Google has written a post that explains how the company itself is dealing with cookie-data and tracking challenges, trying to balance personalization and privacy. It’s designed to be instructive for other digital marketers.

Three marketing challenges Google faces. There are three fundamental challenges Google outlines in this new privacy-sensitive environment:

  • Audience targeting and list creation, with greater cookie and third party data restrictions
  • Ad frequency: ensuring that ads are not shown too many times despite the lack of cookie data
  • Ad performance and attribution with less available data

In response to these issues, Google says that it’s relying more heavily on firs- party data. “When people show interest in certain products by visiting the Google Store’s website — and have given us consent where appropriate — we can use that data to inform the ads we show them in the future.”

Machine learning and predictive modeling. It’s also using machine learning and predictive models to avoid over-exposing users to ads. The company explained in another blog post that it uses “traffic patterns where a third-party cookie is available, and [analyzes] them at an aggregated level across Google Ad Manager publishers . . . to create models to predict traffic patterns when a third-party cookie isn’t present.”

And when Google can’t “accurately determine someone’s interests and preferences to help personalize an ad,” it will use context to match ads to content. However, it says this isn’t like the AdSense of old; it’s more sophisticated.

Google contextually targeted ads

Headlines in ads for the Googe Home Mini adapt to the content on the page.

The post uses the example of an ad for Google Home Mini on The Guardian’s website. Ads were shown in the food section. Google analyzed the text of articles and changed ad copy to match or respond to page content.

Google also says that it has formed an internal team to focus on privacy, regulation and how future changes will impact the company’s marketing capabilities and tactics. “This team’s focus is forecasting the impact of each scenario on our campaigns and developing a game plan for how we would respond.”

Why we care. In some ways, Google is in the same boat as everyone else. In its post, the company expresses the uncertainty that most digital marketers feel today: “We expect more changes are coming, and it’s not entirely clear to what extent our digital marketing practices will need to evolve.” However, Google is also the largest digital media company in the world and has a wide range of scale, data and technology advantages, not shared by others, to weather the coming privacy storm.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.


Are you looking to boost traffic on your site to attract more buyers to your business?

Digital marketing is not just a word roaming around networks. You have to understand the types of digital marketing. You need to use the latest methods to stay on top of digital marketing competition and stand out from the crowd.

In this article, we will discuss the main facts of digital marketing. Here I will also tell you the importance and the 9 types of digital marketing. Also, you will know how digital marketing an effective part of your overall marketing strategy.

What Is Digital Marketing

Most people don’t understand the right meaning of digital marketing and they got in trouble. Digital marketing is any type of marketing for products or services that uses electronic devices.

Digital marketing is nothing new. Digital marketing started when electronic devices entered our lives. Most of the people assume that digital marketing is all about content marketing and social media. While these are the types of digital marketing, they are not all-encompassing. Digital marketing can be online and offline.


We will also go through the offline digital marketing so that you will know in-depth about digital marketing. You need to know both forms of digital marketing for a perfect marketing strategy. If you still have confusion about why digital marketing matters at all, then read on!

Why Digital Marketing Matters

The time that we spend connected to our electronic devices increases every day. In fact, Americans spend 11 hours each day using electronic devices.


That might scare you, but we spend every waking hour on electronic devices. Digital marketing is more important and efficient than ever before. Without digital marketing, you will look like standing alone. Look at the following types of digital marketing and think which one strategy should work for your business and best for your industry, your audience and your company.

Types of Digital Marketing

Now it’s time to dive head first into 9 types of digital marketing.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Search Engine Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Affiliate Marketing
  6. Influencer Marketing
  7. Email Marketing
  8. Viral Marketing
  9. Mobile Phone Advertising

1. Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of growing your online visibility in terms of (organic) search engine results. SERPs or search engine results pages appear to users after they search for a given keyword or phrase using a search engine like Google or Bing. Each user interact with an individualized results page based on the written keywords, the user’s location, the time of searching, and their browsing history.


Organic search results appear in a list and are ranked using the search engine’s algorithm. It’s algorithm changes with the user search and engagement with online content. The higher you rank on a SERP, the more organic traffic is directed to your site and the more chances of making an organic visitor an active customer.

How to get your company’s website at the top of a user’s organic search results?

By optimizing your website using SEO

Search engine optimization includes many factors from keywords to content to links to your website around the web. It includes both Off-page SEO and On-page. On-page SEO refers to the steps that you take for your own website to boost your organic SEO. Off-page refers to the connections that you make and perform actions for your website to empower using SEO.

SEO trends change as algorithms change to fit user needs. In this way, SEO is not about building a website for the sole purpose of ranking high in a search engine results list. SEO is about designing the best possible website for your user. If you want to stay on top of SEO trends, you want to improve your website’s online visibility and traffic.

2. Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) covers the ground that SEO ignores and the paid traffic from search engines. With SEM you purchase brand advertisement space that appears on a user’s search engine result pages (SERP). The most common paid search platform is Google AdWords and next is Bing Ads.

search engine marketing

Search engine charges an amount to display an advertisement in a number of places on a SERP generated specific keywords or phrases. One of the SEM examples is pay-per-click advertising. PPC is a digital marketing method where search engines charge a company each time their ads clicked.

Social media another part is PPC advertising. Now the ads show up in news feeds for the targeted audience to market your brand in a specific region.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media is an important part of digital marketing strategy. You must know the ins and outs of social media marketing. Social media provides amazing exposure to your brand. Social media allows you to connect with consumers in a more interactive way. You can gain valuable customer feedback that allows you to improve your support, product or services.


Through social media marketing, you can easily gain your targeted audience and post content according to your specific niche. Every activity that you do to increase your website traffic or business on your social media channels is considered as social media marketing. Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn these efforts all count as social media marketing.

Everyone benefits from social media marketing, but B2C companies stand to take the most advantage. Always focus on what your targeted audience talking about on social media. Try to engage in the conversation. Use social media marketing as a way to identify what content you put out does well by analyzing the likes and shares.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of providing a unique piece of content for users to generate sales and leads. Unique and quality content is one that is shared by users. Nowadays content marketing works a lot with other types of digital marketing like SEO and Social media marketing.


Always make sure that you keep your target audience in your mind while creating content. Remember who you are talking to and what they are interested in. Consider the right keyword while writing content so that the user gets the right information.

Lastly, share your content across all of your social media channels for more exposure. Content marketing is an ongoing process. It’s not only about sales but also about engagement and educating your consumers to build your brand, trust, and equity. Create relevant, quality content that helps you to stand out and also boost your SEO.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a process of paying commissions for conversions. In affiliate marketing for every sale of products or services, you get commissions. The rate of commissions in affiliate marketing is different for every brand. Most of the bloggers and Ecommerce website owners prefer affiliate marketing to increase their profits.


Before joining any affiliate you must read the terms and conditions of every brand because some of the brands send violations if you do those activities that they restrict to do. It would be good if you could read all the terms and conditions of any brand before joining their affiliates.

6. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is another type of digital marketing. Influencer marketing uses an audience with enormous online experts for your target market to drive sales and traffic.


Influencer marketing is one of the most popular types of digital marketing on social media channels like Snapchat and Instagram. Most of the companies hire Instagram people with a large following to promote their brand by posting photos of their product. Companies now engage in Instagram to hire the influencers that control the social media channels of the company for a certain amount of time. In this way, you get new followers and audiences that help your brand spread worldwide.

Make sure you do detailed research about your targeted influencers before deciding to do business with them. Do all the necessary verifications regarding their social channels followers so that you will be safe from fake accounts.

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing is another type of digital marketing that allows you to update your email subscribers on a daily basis about your company. To start email marketing you must have email subscribers and to get email subscribers you have to perform digital marketing experiments that help you to get more subscribers. The best campaign of email marketing involves a list of subscribers earned by your content. People who opt-in to your email subscription prove more likely to become active buyers.

email marketing

8. Viral Marketing

Viral marketing refers to a post that is trending and getting more engagement and viral enough to get a massive amount of shares online. In Viral marketing, there are more chances of getting an enormous spike in website traffic for a short period of time. This is difficult to do but the benefits alone make the effort worth your time.

B2C companies gain better results from viral marketing. B2C companies use social media to reach an enormous audience across all of their active platforms.

9. Mobile Phone Advertising

Mobile Phone advertising is also a type of digital marketing that happens on mobile devices. Mobile phone advertising includes SMs marketing that is an asset to local marketing. Through SMS marketing you can easily market special offers, coupons, and updates about the company.


Is advertising the “new dot com bubble” according to this intriguing article written on The Correspondent

I’ve been chewing on this question since the article came out a couple of weeks ago.

Well, I’ve been chewing on variations of this question for a while, but not in the “bubble” language ascribed by Jesse Frederik and Maurits Martijn. 

As I ponder this assertion, I think I would like to change the original title (and premise) to the following:

Original Title/Theme: The New Dot Com Bubble Is Here: It’s Called Online Advertising

Suggested Title/Theme: The New Dot Com Bubble Has Been Expanding: It’s Called Attribution of Sales in Online Advertising

I found myself nodding my head vigorously at much of Frederik and Martijn’s article, specifically as it called out the digital advertising community’s obsession with chasing tracked profit at the expense of incremental value and actual new customer growth.

However, here is where I disagreed with the article: the authors blamed the failure of marketers and engineers to actually demonstrate incremental value on digital advertising itself, rather than on the tactics devised from an improper understanding of attribution.

Wait, wut.  

Here is what I mean, digital advertising is just advertising. It’s not the greatest thing to ever happen to marketing, and it’s not a bubble. It’s just advertising. 

It’s doing what marketers have done for years, utilize a specific medium to grow a brand (and thus sales) by getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Discovering that people at eBay running most of their budget into their own (exceptionally powerful) brand terms are surprised to learn they don’t see incremental value isn’t the nail in the coffin for advertising the article suggests. Ironically, PPCers in my sphere have long written on the poor eBay PPC program management evident even from the public eye (“used babies” in titles thanks to DKI, anyone?).

This is why it’s crucial to point out the thing I believe the article alludes to but doesn’t actually identify as the actual bubble: that is an improper understanding of attribution, and how that establishes misguided tactics for paid search accounts that fail to build brands and add incremental value.

In other words, I am positing that paid search advertising itself has not failed, it’s that an understanding of how to use paid search advertising as part of an integrated marketing mix for individual companies has failed. Improper use of attribution has led to an obsession with directly tracked results that over time do not build a brand and incremental sales. They simply re-target (not necessarily remarketing, btw) the same users already in the sales cycle – ad nauseam.

In this regard, I would suggest that conversion tracking is as much of a curse as it is a blessing.

When you can track what source led to a sale, you begin to think you have an understanding of how your consumers purchase, and you begin to invest more money into that source. But what if that source is only one piece of the puzzle… especially if it’s closer to the bottom of the buying funnel, meaning much contact has already been likely made by your company?

When you think you can track everything, you begin to shift your time, resources, tools, and reporting to making your trackable KPIs grow, rather than building and implementing the tactics to accomplish an actual marketing strategy within your digital channel.

If your paid search strategy focuses solely on sweeping up those bottom of funnel clicks and sales (which is what you’re tempted to do with a last-click attribution model that gives 100% of the sale credit to the last source to send you the sale), then yup… you maybe won’t see much damage (at least initially) in pausing paid search. To be clear, certainly, there are times in competitive industries, (especially with startups who don’t have more advanced marketing channels built out yet) where using paid ads to initially catch those bottom funnel users is a sound tactic. 

I’m going to complicate things even further. You may be reading this and vehemently agreeing with this. “Death to last-click attribution!” you cry. 

However, let me push into this even further. I believe there is no perfect attribution model, and with privacy awareness increasing and dark traffic in a continually strong space, this means you can’t really trust a more complex attribution model either.  

Wait. Wut. 

Why did a person visit on their third visit and decide they “loved this brand and had to have one” because of “just the right” emotional experience. But, then didn’t actually purchase until their seventh visit, 12 days later? Who knows? That’s not something you can track. Attribution will always have limitations, which is why in some ways, attribution (improper or proper usage) itself may be the true dot com bubble the authors are sniffing out. 

Regardless, as long as we keep chasing solely after tracked individual channel success and building digital marketing strategies (selecting keywords, ad text choices, locations, devices, audiences, demographics, etc.) without thinking beyond individual channel success, then we will continue to struggle to build brands and see incremental growth. 

Only when we as paid search marketers strategize with the other channels, to build a marketing strategy targeting the right message to people at the right place in the funnel (selecting unique keywords, and channels and campaign types for those, of course) will we begin to get beyond tracked ROAS as our primary KPI and focus more on overall brand growth across all marketing channels. 

If what you’re hearing scares you, because it sounds risky, well then, I think you’re picking up what I’m dropping. Real, authentic marketing that builds lasting brands has always been difficult, risky, time-consuming and expensive (with a healthy dose of luck). 

I don’t think digital advertising is the dot com bubble, I think our belief that we can track everything is the dot com bubble. 

Time to get back to marketing, worry less about tracked profit and build a brand. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero the past 4 years and is known for his Ecommerce PPC articles across various industry publications. He is one of the revolving hosts of the weekly #PPCChat on Twitter, as well as an international conference speaker presenting on all things Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads). Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, 5 children, books, and little sleep.


“Dad, why do I see ads for jeans days and weeks after I already bought a new pair?” asked my 17-year-old daughter recently, “it’s not like the salesgirl at the Free People store follows me to my car after I make a purchase asking me if I want to buy the same item.” I try to explain to her that this is a data-driven targeting technique that has proven to be effective, but she cuts me off with “Dad, I think they just don’t care what I think or feel. It’s annoying, it makes me angry and I think they should know that!”

Once again, the “mouths of babes” got me thinking: maybe she is right. Data doesn’t care, technology doesn’t care, digital ads don’t care; people care and maybe we as an industry we have forgotten this.

Empathy is humanity

Empathy is our ability to understand and feel the experience of another from that person’s frame of mind. The term comes from the Ancient Greek empatheia, taken literally to mean “in passion.” Over the millennia, the concept has come to be recognized as one of our defining traits as human beings. This notoriously ambiguous concept can be viewed as three distinct yet intimately related ideas:

  1. Emotional Empathy: This is our capacity to feel the emotions of another. We commonly advertise our emotional empathy when saying “I feel your pain” to a friend in distress. True emotional empathy involves more than simply emulating the emotional state of another person, however; it is to feel those emotions within the contextual variations that make them unique to the person with whom you empathize. 
  1. Cognitive Empathy: Cognitive empathy is our capacity to understand the circumstances that cause another to feel and act the way they do. More than sharing another’s emotional state, cognitive empathy allows us to combine feeling and knowing to develop a profound and holistic appreciation for what motivates others. 
  1. Somatic Empathy: Somatic empathy is a physical reaction mirroring a sensation experienced by another. Some examples of this particularly mysterious aspect of empathy include almost feeling the salty spray of the sea when watching someone sail on TV or sharing in the physical satisfaction when seeing someone else crack open and enjoy a cold drink. While rare today, as VR content and advertising expand, so too will our ability to elicit this deep form of empathy from consumers. 

Empathetic communication works

Empathy is a deeply human phenomenon and no medium has greater capacity for inspiring empathy than the story. Through digital storytelling, an emotional bridge is created, linking viewer to storyteller via the characters in the story. We’ve all experienced moving stories and recognize their power to influence our feelings. Science backs up our intuition about the potency of story as demonstrated by the work of neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak.

Zak’s research has focused on the role of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter dubbed the “neurological substrate for the Golden Rule.” When we are treated with trust or kindness our brain releases oxytocin, which then encourages us to reciprocate this prosocial behavior.

In one experiment, Zak measured participants’ heart rate and sweat production while they watched short videos. He was able to track the ebb and flow of attention throughout each story and prove that when plots built up suspense in anticipation of a climax, participant attention increased significantly. An increase in oxytocin production closely followed this uptick in attention.  As the characters on screen encountered and overcame conflicts, participants experienced elevated levels of oxytocin which allowed them to empathize with the characters and to share their journey.

Beyond immersing participants in the story, the release of oxytocin quantifiably impacted their decision making. Together with attention, oxytocin levels were positively correlated with participants’ willingness to donate money to “help” the characters on screen. Zak found that these two metrics predicted subsequent charitable behavior with 82% accuracy.

Empathy – through its neurological chemical processes – allows us to feel (emotional) and therefore understand (cognitive) the needs of the object of our empathy. As part of this shared sentiment, we are compelled to act to meet these needs. This applies to businesses as well as individuals.

Empathy is good business

Empathy inspires creativity. According to a study by Professors Kelly Herd and Ravi Mehta, designers think more creatively and produce more unique, effective products when their primary focus is to imagine how their potential customers might feel when using the products in question. It follows that marketers can arrive at original, practical and highly creative digital advertising that engages with consumers by considering first and foremost how those potential customers may feel when interacting with the brand and advertising. 

Empathy builds trust. Every successful business knows that trust is the foundation of strong customer relationships. Building trust takes time, and when lost, is extraordinarily difficult to regain. Empathy is a powerful tool in a business’ arsenal when it comes to developing trusting relationships with potential customers as a truly empathetic business perceives their customers’ needs as their own and effectively meets those needs. 

Empathy ensures customer-centricity. Thinking empathetically is an organic process. One’s feelings, needs and motivations are constantly in flux, and to empathize with another is to feel these changes along with them. So, while customers’ needs and the ways they feel about meeting them are ever-shifting, empathetic marketers feel, understand and react to these shifts as they occur, in real-time. 

Empathy is good business, but only when companies proactively apply it.

Feel, think and do empathy

1. Be emotionally empathetic. In this age of infobesity, it can be difficult to pull anything “human” out of the mountains of data we accumulate. That is precisely why we must. Emotionally empathetic filters must be applied to existing methods of data collection and interpretation. What do the numbers tell us about how potential customers feel? More than “what do they need?”, we must ask “how do their needs arise?” “What motivates them to act on these needs?” and “how do they feel about meeting these needs?” We must employ emotional empathy to discover not only the what, but the why. 

2. Ladder up to cognitive empathy. As marketers, we can take insights gained from emotionally empathizing with individual consumers and contextualize how potential customers feel within the greater market. A gap exists between customers’ feelings and perceptions of how to meet their needs, and companies’ own ideas about how to meet them. Through the contextualizing power of cognitive empathy, marketers can visualize that gap and find actionable solutions to bridge it.

3. Be relentlessly empathetic. We must constantly apply both emotional and cognitive empathy at all stages of the marketing process and actively seek practical, actionable strategies to intervene as customers’ needs and motivations evolve. Empathy is not a precursor element, or a seasoning applied at the table—it is a robust and profoundly human tool that must be consistently applied throughout the marketing process, from data acquisition through to sale.

My daughter reacts to her encounters with digital marketing with feelings of anger and annoyance. According to her own understanding of her needs, ads for jeans are redundant, obsolete and therefore bothersome. Her emotional engagement with the content is overwhelmingly negative due to an absence of empathy in the marketing process. I look forward to the day when the digital ecosystem of marketers, agencies and media re-find their humanity and my daughter shouts “Dad! Look how cute that top is, it will look great with the jeans I just bought!” as she leans in to show me an (empathetic) ad on her phone. For that, I will open my wallet.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Peter Minnium is president of Ipsos US, where he leads the US team in helping companies measure and amplify how media, brands, and consumers connect through compelling content and great communications. Prior to his switch to market research, Peter was Head of Brand Initiatives at the IAB focused on addressing the under-representation of creative brand advertising online.


If you weren’t aware of the controversy and utter chaos surrounding Billy McFarland’s failed event Fyre Festival when it happened (or didn’t happen) in 2017, you almost certainly caught up when it became the subject of two documentaries on Netflix and Hulu earlier this year. In summary, everyone was promised a luxurious party in the Bahamas surrounded by supermodels, and paid a hefty ticket price for the privilege, but the reality was complete chaos. While festival-goers were left eating sad cheese sandwiches in disaster relief tents (if they were lucky), the organisers also left a trail of many “collaborators”, including London and Liverpool-based digital design agency Tokyo#, unpaid for their work.

The studio was originally brought in by New York creative agency Matte Projects, which had already developed the branding, film work and social media strategy for Fyre and approached Tokyo to be its digital partner, following a number of previous collaborations. Tokyo had established a reputation for itself in the luxury sector since starting work with Harrods in 2015, and Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Emirates and Annabel’s since then, so it was perfectly aligned to work on Fyre, as it was pitched as the pinnacle of high-end. Tasked to develop the website and hosting platform, Tokyo’s main challenge from Fyre was to prepare for an onslaught of visitors.

“The nuts and bolts of the website itself wasn’t a huge undertaking and we’ve developed much bigger and more complex projects than Fyre,” Tokyo director Aaron Bimpson tells It’s Nice That. “We were told the website was expected to get millions of hits on day one and we were like ‘yeah whatever, everyone says this’ – but we had to plan for it anyway. It’s a good job we did, because it did indeed get battered for days with global media and A-lister influencers sending traffic our way.” It calmed down, but when everything went south a few weeks later, the site got another huge spike of traffic “for less enviable reasons,” Aaron says.

From a creative point of view, Tokyo had to mirror Matte’s luxurious branding in its digital work. One key aspect of this was showcasing the launch film in full-screen on the mobile-first site, immersing potential ticket-buyers in the promise of absolute paradise. The rest of the site is pared-back, serene, aspirational, packed with shots of sunsets, jewel-blue seas, illustrated maps of the remote island – all painting a picture of the imagined event.

Meanwhile, in the background, the site was built to be able to scale up “just in case the client delivered on their promise of millions of hits,” says Aaron. It was backed on to CraftCMS and Tokyo developed a “super-complex” AMS (Amazon Web Services) cloud solution to prepare for this. Then, in the first three hours, the Fyre site had over 6 million hits with zero downtime. “On one hand we were happy the site got hammered because it bravely stood up to the intense traffic levels without any noticeable slow down at all and it made us look good,” explains Aaron. “On the other hand, we had stupidly hosted it on Tokyo’s own AWS account and capped the fees, so we were sweating watching our billings increase in real-time. We probably won’t do that again!”

The rest is history, as documented in painful detail in the aforementioned documentaries. Aaron remembers the unravelling from his and Tokyo’s perspective: “The project started out fine – a very normal process, the initial payments on time, responsive client feedback and so on. It got weird for us at the same time as for everyone else really after the site had already been live several weeks and just before the festival was due to start.”

“We saw reports that bands were pulling out due to non-payment and lacking confidence in facilities and it snowballed very, very quickly. We had payments outstanding and so were feeling a bit nervous, so we threatened to take the site down. After we made the threat, the client quickly spun up a new/rushed website and switched their domain DNS away from us – we got no more payments after that.” Now, all the studio can do is chalk it up as experience, and exposure, and move on.

worked closely with the French privacy regulator (CNIL) to develop specific consent language around third-party use of location data and saw 70% consumer opt-in rates.

Benoit Grouchko is CEO and co-founder. I spoke to him recently about data and consumer privacy and his expectations for how CCPA will impact marketers.

ML: Google proposed an industry-wide initiative to try and preserve behavioral targeting in the U.S. while giving consumers more control over that data. Are you hopeful about this effort?

BG: Google
owns such a large piece of the digital advertising pie that one can only be
hopeful. Do they have the leverage to manipulate this to their benefit? Sure,
but their efforts can also do a lot of good on a macro level. 

It’s a good
sign and indicates that Google is seeking to be ahead of the regulation curve
by setting the precedent on privacy. What’s interesting is that a lot of the
best practices this blog proposes are already in place in France and the rest
of Europe. There’s a lot the US can learn from GDPR.

ML: Many surveys suggest that consumers increasingly distrust big internet companies, brands and digital advertising generally. Can trust in digital marketing be restored?

BG: I am an
optimist so, yes, I think trust can – and will – be restored. We sometimes
forget that digital advertising is a relatively new industry. And every
industry goes through a “correction” or “adjustment” of some kind at some point
in its history. We’ve been building up to this for a while now; the Facebook
debacle and the institution of GDPR are the two straws that broke the camel’s

I think
it’s a matter of time until things settle. I can’t say it will be soon, but
regulation will normalize over time and companies will fall into place. 

What we can
do individually – as people and companies – is to do what’s right for our
customers and to organize. We need to stop thinking of short-term gains and
think about the ecosystem as a whole. As you rightly pointed out, we all stand
to lose here. 

consumers conflate mistrust with misunderstanding. Better transparency will
help people see that the “creepy types of targeting” they mistrust is not quite
as threatening as they perceive.

Advertisers are good at their jobs,
and even better when they use data. Being embedded in the ad industry, I have
the perspective that good advertising helps inform me about products or
opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise know. As digital literacy and transparency
increase, so will trust.

ML: We spoke about finding a middle point between irrelevant and creepy. In a post-GDPR, CCPA world how does all that happen on a mechanical level? 

BG: The middle
ground between irrelevant and creepy is an ad experience that optimizes
performance for the advertiser and is great for the consumer. Two things need
to happen to find that middle ground: first, advertisers need to get better at
understanding performance. Even if an ad is hyper-relevant, if a consumer
perceives it as creepy, it will decrease performance and deteriorate brand
sentiment. Advertisers need to look at performance over everything. The “creep”
factor will play into performance and help advertisers determine what types and
depth of targeting to use.

The second thing that needs to
happen is on the consumer level. Consumers need to become more digitally
literate. Any data that digital marketers ethically use will be anonymized.
Most consumers probably don’t understand that. It goes both ways, though. Many
consumers don’t know which apps are tracking them and when. Great transparency
and knowledge will help us reach a middle ground.

will certainly help put some boundaries there and make sure nothing creepy
happens. However, there is a deeper question here around what is actually
creepy or not, as that might vary from one consumer to another.

ML: My understanding that most Europeans aren’t doing much in the way of managing cookie settings; they’re making binary choices (decline/accept). Is this accurate? 

BG: I think
European consumers are confused about how cookies function. I also think many
are wary of the concept. And they should be.

companies use “tricks” to drive consumers to give consent. Some play with
screen placement and colors; others offer only a single choice, which is

From my personal point of view, I think these choices relate back to digital literacy. More digitally literate people will make more complex choices and set their permissions at the top level. Most people are probably making binary choices, but as digital literacy increases, people will begin to change their attitudes. Pop-ups were once the bane of any Internet user’s existence. Now users have to deal with privacy, notification and tracking pop-ups. I doubt this will continue forever.

ML: Regarding CCPA, what is put in front of consumers when they visit a website will matter. If choices are complicated they’ll likely “accept” to get to the desired content and there won’t be much impact. Do you agree? 

BG: I couldn’t agree more. And it’s these manipulative/deceptive practices I stated above that are counterproductive to the cause. 

No one reads the entire terms and conditions. People use the Internet to increase speed and efficiency. Like I said, even the opt-in or opt-out choices may fade away at some point.

ML: In the U.S. “ad choices” — the industry’s prior attempt to deliver user control and choice re behavioral targeting — is a total failure.  Why would any of the newer “choice” initiatives (or CCPA) be any different?

BG: Something’s
got to give in terms of privacy and transparency in the US. I hope that CCPA
will learn from GDPR and how consumers reacted. While the first set of
regulations may create an undue burden, the landscape will reach equilibrium,
and everything should go back to “normal” at some point.

ML: How does Safari and ITP, which is a different approach to these same problems, affect the market? Many marketers see cookie blocking as a blunt instrument and very heavy-handed. How do you see what Apple is doing? 

BG: Apple has
always taken a hard line on security – and it’s served them well. If there were
more companies like Apple, perhaps we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin
with. The greedy argument is that digital advertising would not have reached
such heights but, as I said, this is a long-term game. 

The problem
I see now is that everyone has gotten a taste of the profits and set the bar
quite high, making it difficult for any one vendor to take such a hard line
without losing a ton of business. Not an easy problem to solve.

While a
hard line on security has served Apple well, consumer reaction always has a lot
of influence on regulation. Apple has always been able to simplify the digital
experience for consumers. But I still think this first round of guidelines will
be a learning experience, especially as other big players in tech respond.

ML: Whose job is it to educate consumers to make them more digitally literate? 

BG: I think, ultimately, it’s up to us in the industry to not only do what’s right in terms of respecting privacy but also to educate consumers on best practices. I feel that regulation is meaningless to consumers if they don’t understand the nature of the transactions in which they engage, how the technologies work, and the associated costs, benefits, trade-offs. 

Informed consumers are in the end
the future of our businesses, which are built on trust. It’s in our best
interest to do right by then to gain/regain this trust so we can build loyalty.

Regulators, advertisers, companies,
and web providers all have an obligation to be transparent about the digital
landscape and what it means for consumer privacy. But, if the burden falls to
these entities it creates a greater layer of complexity than necessary. It begs
the question: how much should regulators, advertisers, etc. inform consumers?

There certainly should be some
level of transparency, but privacy practices that, for example, initiate pop-up
requests for permission to run every nominal background task may end up
annoying or confusing consumers more than they help them. The landscape will
eventually reach equilibrium. Ultimately, in any society with freedom of
information, it’s up to consumers themselves (along with news organizations,
journalists, and watchdogs) to become digitally literate.

About The Author

Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.


Cross-channel engagement platform provider, Cheetah Digital, has announced the debut of its Customer Engagement Suite. The suite is the result of the integration of Cheetah Digital’s existing products – Cheetah Experiences, Cheetah Messaging, Cheetah Loyalty and the Cheetah Engagement Data Platform. The solution is said to enable marketers to deliver personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies, all based on a foundational data layer – the Cheetah Engagement Data Platform.

The data platform provides real-time data collection, profile unification, segmentation and machine learning-driven insights. It also allows for personalized cross-channel execution.

Why we should care

While the platform is primarily intended for enterprise marketers, the solution is indicative of marketing challenges faced by organizations of all sizes. The challenges of unifying customer data, managing decisions and campaign execution throughout the customer lifecycle typically force marketers to choose between two extremes: piecemealing martech solutions and cobbling together a number of disparate solutions, or relying on a marketing cloud vendor that offers limited flexibility.

More on the news

Features included in the Customer Engagement Suite:

  • Cheetah Experiences: Collects first and zero-party data while securing the necessary permissions to keep brands in compliance.
  • Cheetah Messaging: Allows for personalized, cross-channel marketing campaigns.
  • Cheetah Loyalty: Provides marketers with the tools to create and deliver loyalty programs between brands and customers.
  • Cheetah Engagement Data Platform: The foundational data layer and personalization engine that provides marketers with data to create insights and take action on them.

About The Author


With the ever-increasing cost of human capital and advances in chatbot technology, it’s tempting for corporations to cut corners when it comes to operational efficiencies. However, while AI was meant to be a cost-effective way to eliminate repetitive human tasks, businesses are forgetting one big thing: interacting with humans is anything but repetitive. Instead of improving customer service, chatbots have detached humans from the equation, and that’s not cutting it for most customers. In a recent survey we conducted, 25 percent of millennials would rather spend three hours at the DMV, and more than 50 percent of women would rather wait in line to get groceries than deal with an automated system. That’s a lot of waiting just to avoid the dreaded bot.

Though some businesses may not need an end-to-end customer service team, they can lean into AI technology in integrative ways. A bot can begin a conversation but swiftly hand it off to a human; AI assists humans behind the scenes; or bots operate with human supervision. A bot can be effective for responding to standardized questions, but when the customer has a complicated issue or begins to act with emotion, it needs to seamlessly transfer the customer to a human, period.

When it comes to customer service, businesses can’t forget humans crave being heard. It might seem advantageous to use technology to reduce cost-to-serve and get in front of customer needs, but research shows that ignoring the importance of human interaction could be detrimental to your success.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author