Greetings Happy Readers! In this week’s PPCChat session, PPCers expressed their views on the primary sources of data in their PPC management, how the non-availability of analytic data would impact them, what are they most hopeful about regarding PPC data and more. Here is the screencap of the discussion which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini.

Q1: What are the primary sources of data you utilize in your regular PPC management?

We use proprietary data to build audiences across channels. I use that plus keyword planner and answer the public to build keywords, and I use Google/Microsoft audiences to round things out. @JuliaVyse

Like most PPCers, I rely on data directly from the ad platforms and Google Analytics. Data directly from clients themselves too. @NeptuneMoon

We collect + use (in different ways) a ton – engine data (MSCLID/FBCLID/GCLID), User Data (CDPs are fun!) and as much tool data as we’re allowed to get. @DigitalSamIAm

Mostly data from the platforms. Put it in spreadsheets to analyze/massage as needed. @dan_patterson

Mostly Google-data. When clients can, I also feed in first-party data such as value per conversion, GDPR-compliant customer lists and any market research they have. Some are uploaded to Google, others are used to influence strategy and targeting @C_J_Ridley

Google Analytics and Google Ads. I’m also starting to use heat mapping data to help with conversion optimization. @AllisonMiriani

Google Trends data is Da Best. for seasonality for ambiguous terms for emerging trends. @soanders

Mostly Google Ads and GA. I use other tools to add analysis to the raw data and when I’m evaluating competitors and prospective new clients @ynotweb

Google Analytics, Google Ads, CRM Data, CallRail As much as we can get, legally of course. @selley2134

Outside of the ad platforms themselves: Google Analytics Shopify Client’s internal platforms/dashboards Triple Whale Motion (more pulls FB creative data) @duanebrown

Q2: How heavily do you rely on analytics data from Google Analytics or a similar type of on-site behavior tracking program?

Analytics is what we use for all high-level KPI reporting, overall trend analysis, etc. Useful tool across a lot of different teams. @dan_patterson

Somewhat? privacy rules up here are very strict, so for retail, I use it a lot for transactions from shopping. for restaurants, almost none – it’s all foot traffic. and for the public sector? that’s not allowed. @JuliaVyse

Con’t: if anyone’s looking for an example of the mess the US is about to be in, look at privacy rules by province up here and then build a strategy. MESS! @JuliaVyse

It depends? GA is fine for some use cases, but if you’re trying to link your data together in a meaningful way, GA is rarely sufficient. It can be part of the solution, but rarely the entire solution. @DigitalSamIAm

I rely very heavily on analytics/site behaviour data. For me, when available, it gives a fuller picture of user behaviour beyond just converted or did not convert. @NeptuneMoon

Integrating conversion tags tends to work better for me than relying on Google Analytics. Also, working with “Smart” campaigns (don’t get me going) has taught me that Google has a number of additional signals they can use. @soanders

Not super heavily. We also use HubSpot but that can only track source if users accept cookies, so there is a gap there. @AllisonMiriani

Rely on GA pretty heavily, particularly to validate outside ad data (as well as a bunch of SEO kpis) @ynotweb

Very heavily. We have UA setup as a requirement for clients (I know we may be having to switch to GA4) and we do set that up for clients so we will have data ready, but yes, GTM and GA are big needs for us. @selley2134

Other than that, I am on Data Detox. Hate to be dependent on that stuff. It was Detox Jan for me, haha @soanders

Using Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics & Salesforce together so that we can have a better picture of data. @PPC_Reddy

Definitely depends on the client but part of the process is to rigorous data integration process with the Marin platform. @TheMarketingAnu

Note I’m a huge fan of UA/GA4, and I think it’s a fantastically helpful tool. But customers are more than website/app visits and on-site/in-app conversions – so you need more data. You really need more data if you’re using that data to make business decisions. @DigitalSamIAm

I use GA for remarketing lists, insights into user journeys, bounce rates and on-site search usage (great source of keyword research) I use hotjar for user behaviour and UX I also use GA to double check conversion tracking. @C_J_Ridley

Google Analytics weekly and sometimes daily for other ad accounts. Comes down to what I’m going in there to look up, find or just poke around about. @duanebrown

I tend to create Combined audiences in GAds based on the data I see in Google Analytics regarding Affinity and In-market. Also, if use GA for e-commerce in-depth analysis. I think in general GA gives a more holistic view. @SofiaAkritidou1

Q3: If analytics data were to become unavailable or provide a lot less detail than it currently does, how would that impact you? What would you do?

It would be a complete cultural shift. It’s a tough conversation internally to explain going from lots of good data to only directional/implicational data @dan_patterson

From a planning standpoint, we’d carry on. The real impact for me would be with retail partners, so we’d need to find a way to post-back sales data. other than that, not a big deal it could be in another province @JuliaVyse

Rely more on Gclid tracking. We do already have this in place in some accounts (mainly lead gen) but it could be a reliable way to get similar GA data we would need. @selley2134

We are moving into darker ages. The “if” is a “when”. The answer is to build as much proprietary data as possible, own the algo and the attribution, and take the rest of the data for what it is: a sales pitch. @soanders

Go directly to the client. Relationship building is 101 so we would hope they share their data with us. @TheMarketingAnu

It depends what that means. The value of data is huge. If it just became awkward to access, then I’d find a way to access it. If it was impossible – and impossible for everyone – then I guess I’d adjust to that reality. @stevegibsonppc

I find all of this talk of data regulation so fascinating. It does seem like things as we have known them are probably going to change re: analytics. It will be a gigantic shift to make decisions based on modelled behaviour vs. actual behaviour that we are used to now. @NeptuneMoon

It would have some material impacts, but (1) it wouldn’t impact your 0P/1P data in a meaningful way (i.e. there’s no reasonable way to say that you can’t know what’s happening on your website) @DigitalSamIAm

It would involve a huge loss of data (unless we can export it legally) but I have no doubt Google or another provider would market a solution that is allowed. But as long as we can still understand the average user journey I don’t think it’ll impact me too much @C_J_Ridley

I think about this all the time, especially as I’m trying to cut out tracking as much as possible. I think you can still do 90% of the things – the biggest hole is using ad platforms, where it’s become so much more about having automation read the inputs of tracking. @ferkungamaboobo

But in terms of the blended (0P/1P/3P) data, yeah it would have some impacts. But I think this brings up a larger question that @bigalittlea + I talked about at #HCAustin2022 –> how good is that data now? And it’s not that great.@DigitalSamIAm

I’d add a lot more controls in ads, use way fewer ‘smart’ options, add more tracking tricks. Sort of like back in the beginning, or “dark ages” before GA. Server logs still provide a bunch of info @ynotweb

So I think for humans, this isn’t hard – MMM is relatively straightforward, and you can get as fancy as you want. For the ad platforms, I think the answer switches to a “Maximize Clicks” kind of strategy, and work on controlling that on the platform side? @ferkungamaboobo

We talking post cookieless world? Try to find directional data and do the best we can with the data we can gather and mine. @duanebrown

Q4: Facebook is an interesting case study in PPC data going away after iOS 14.5. What, if anything, have you learned from this situation?

That a lot of people relied too heavily on Facebook’s invasive targeting methods. @ynotweb

That we need to be more human with how we do “data analysis”. read the story, know your customer and talk to them and don’t just speak in clicks and impressions. @TheMarketingAnu

Interestingly for me, most clients are largely off of FB so I have not experienced the impact like those who advertise heavily on the platform has. @NeptuneMoon

I was going to add this to Q3, but I think the biggest lesson out of that was that the numbers we’re fed by platforms are clearly and patently bullshit. I can’t imagine that real numbers were hurt so bad if nothing else changed @ferkungamaboobo

I have learnt that marketers have little faith in platforms. Everybody thought Cambridge Analytic would #deletefacebook, but I think the #appleprivacy campaign actually hurt them more! @soanders

You can survive and thrive. You also need to cross your Ts and dot your Is. Less is more in campaign and ad account structures. Google and Facebook are such different platforms. So this will be an interesting year all around. @duanebrown

Q5: Are you doing anything now to prepare clients or stakeholders for a potential loss in data that they have become used to having access to?

I am your biggest living data skeptic already. What more can I do? But then I spend more time talking about the missing data in the picture, than the real data that isn’t any good. @soanders

I always feel like part of my job is to keep clients aware of where things are/may be going and how it might impact how we do things. So talking about impacts of 3rd party data going away and ways we might gather and use 1st party data. @NeptuneMoon

Personally, new to the job so not yet. but I’m sure the team is @TheMarketingAnu

Making sure GA4 is on sites & working to set up event tracking. We are, where possible, trying to institute gclid tracking We talk with clients about their CRM systems and what data they have Teaching clients to upload data into the platforms so we never see it @selley2134

Nope. All the data they care about can be acquired still and really they care most about the bottom line ($$$). We’ve never heavily reported on invasive data. @ynotweb

Funnily enough, most of my clients are very used to having little to no data to work with or having data not easily shared back to platforms. so we’re fairly comfortable at the moment. but I’m not the norm. @JuliaVyse

Since last year we have been telling everyone Google is going the same direction as Facebook. Been saying it often… you can never repeat something too important too much. @duanebrown

Q6: What keeps you up at night when it comes to PPC data? Are you concerned about having a lot less data to work with in the near future? Why or why not?

I’m definitely concerned about it, but it seems to be the ongoing trend in digital marketing. SEO lost a lot of data years ago, other channels are catching up. It sucks, but we’ll adjust like we always have. @dan_patterson

I always found that getting reliable and sufficient PPC data is an ongoing struggle. I like the idea of an AI being able to piece partial data sources together, but I dislike the idea that the data provider should control it. I will be happy in a cookieless future @soanders

That doesn’t keep me up at night as much as it should… maybe. Running a business keeps me up at night more. @duanebrown

Boneheaded regulation is my biggest concern at the moment and all of the intended and unintended consequences we will have to deal with from it. But, as with everything, I shall adapt to whatever the landscape is/becomes. And help clients understand it all. @NeptuneMoon

Honestly, it doesn’t. there will always be brands/products and there will always be customers and we’ll continue to find an innovative way of communicating with them online. As long as we keep meeting business goals – we’ll be fine. @TheMarketingAnu

TikTok and amazon. they are giant gaps in the surveillance conversation. @JuliaVyse

Clients survived and thrived during the last 2 years and a pandemic. Our team’s instincts are good and we will survive the next evolution of Google. There is data out there if you go find it and read the tea leaves. @duanebrown

I’m concerned that the people making these decisions don’t even understand what they are deciding (from a potential legislative perspective). Also concerned about more “smart” @selley2134

Not a ton…build good data capture, vetting, pipelines & models. It’s a resilient strategy. Come what may, you’ll have the ability to improve, adapt + overcome whatever happens next. @DigitalSamIAm

I don’t lose sleep and I don’t fret about losing data that is reported by the ad platform. I worry more about how much more work it’s been ON the ad platform just to create and maintain basic campaigns. @ynotweb

Q7: What are you most hopeful about when it comes to PPC data?

Well, now thanks to this chat I’m all pessimistic! @dan_patterson

1st party! The deeper the relationship between us, our clients, and customers, the less reliant we are on all these fussy satellites. Best marketing advice I can give? Make a great product. @JuliaVyse

From small anecdotes of talking to friends & friends of friends the number of people that turned tracking back on after they saw the bad ads is encouraging. I think there should be a way to protect private info & still use data for good targeting. @selley2134

I am hopeful that we can move away from the “attribution as gospel” times that we have been living under and move back into more holistic marketing. And we as an industry need to make the case for careful use of data to make ads more useful to people. @NeptuneMoon

I think transparency and personalization of settings should be the future, but time will tell what happens. @selley2134

Also that we have this community. We shall stress about it together and what I may not catch, I’m sure someone else on here will. @TheMarketingAnu

That Google gets better at the context and makes each brand out there a shit ton of money in 2022 and beyond. @duanebrown

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