You may have heard the recent controversy regarding Google Analytics and its privacy concerns – and that’s what I’m talking about today with Lanie Lamarre.

In this episode, Lanie and I talk about:

  • Google Analytics privacy laws and how it affects you as a business owner AND a consumer
  • GDPR Compliance
  • What is third-party data?
  • Should you leave Google Analytics altogether?
  • “Safer” alternatives to Google Analytics

Read the full transcript

Lanie Lamarre 0:00
You go to the mall, and you go to the candle store, and you look at a candle, and then you go to somewhere else. And then oh, all of a sudden, the candle store lady pops out from behind a wall. And you’re like, Oh, where did you come from? So are you still interested in the candle? It’s like, No, I meant Best Buy. I’m not interested in candles anymore. And then you go to the clothing store and then the candle lady pops out from behind the thinking, you still want the candle and you’re like, No, I’m Gallen.

Meg Casebolt 0:31
You’re listening to social slowdown, a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send a cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7 Let’s get started.

Hello, everyone, welcome to the social slowdown podcast. I am so excited to have Lanie Lamar here as a second time guest thank you for being here. Lanie

Lanie Lamarre 1:28
Thank you for having me a second time. I’m like a two timer, which sounds negative, but it’s positive.

Meg Casebolt 1:34
Is it? Does it sound negative to be a two timer?

Lanie Lamarre 1:36
Timer? Isn’t that someone who?

Meg Casebolt 1:38
Oh, like someone who cheats? Okay, like to the opposite of cheating. Okay, we will not call this your Deus episode either, we will not do anything.

Lanie Lamarre 1:49
Show getting so much

Meg Casebolt 1:51
bad. We should, I’ll have to invite you back a third time to make it the charm.

Lanie Lamarre 1:56
I think we need someone who is a Numerology expert to sort of clarify those

Meg Casebolt 2:01
things. But I’m kind of weird. But that might be a little too woowoo. Even for me.

Lanie Lamarre 2:07
We’ll count on the third something is going to change in the internet marketing world and tracking, you’ll be like I have to call Lanie I have to

Meg Casebolt 2:13
call Lanie. It’s tomorrow, something will come up. I’m having you back today for a very specific purpose. I think you were like episode number two, or guests. Number two. You were my second guest. It was Andrea. And then it was you but I think it may have been Episode Four actually, because I to lead up doesn’t matter doesn’t matter. You You were guest number two. And we talked about one of the reasons that we wanted to slow down on relying on social media is that we don’t necessarily have some of the tracking mechanisms in place when we’re talking on social. And when you use other marketing channels like email like podcasting, like, you know, webinars or launches, you’re able to get more information about what is actually working by using campaign tracking and UTM parameters. And there’s a lot that we talked about within that first episode. But I wanted to bring you back today, because since we recorded that, you know, I don’t know six months ago or whatever things have really changed in terms of actually haven’t really changed, people have gotten more aware of how problematic analytics tracking is. and always has been, or maybe has gotten worse. But it it has been a problem for a long time in terms of privacy data. And in the past, I would say two or three months, it has become part of the news cycle that this privacy is important, which like, how is that? How was that news? Like people like privacy? And so I wanted to bring you in to discuss this, both, because you are the person that I had always gone to for years for like any Google Analytics question, but also because of your background, knowing about privacy and compliance and all that. So I’m just going to turn it over to you for a little bit to say like, what’s your background in this? And what’s the problem with Google Analytics as a tool?

Lanie Lamarre 4:14
Right. So as a card carrying member of the International Association of privacy professionals,

Meg Casebolt 4:21
which I just found, that was a thing, so that’s cool. I

Lanie Lamarre 4:25
get a lot of emails from them telling me but what privacy issues are hot topics. And I think it was in January that I got an email with a subject line of Google Analytics in it something along the lines of a court case that judged in favor, or rather against Google Analytics, in terms of being able to track in on in the EU and in the UK. So this was related to GDPR. It was shown in the court case that is the use of Google Analytics on your website to track your visitors with not On GDPR compliant, there’s a lot of reasons for that, including the types of data. But the main issue, I believe, is really the where the data is being stored, because they’re not they’re stored on American servers. And there is a whole thing. So there was the one court case. And then there was another court case, I think, I think that was in Austria, and then it was France. And now we’ve just had one in Italy. And so it’s making people more aware of where the location of the information is, what type of information is being collected. And with Google Analytics was never an out of the box software, we all sort of treated it that way. Whereas like, you just put the code on your website. And just make sure that and I’ve been guilty of this as well, where it’s like that is not retroactive, I say that a lot. I still say it, I leave it. But when you put that code onto your website, and you don’t actually change the settings, and filtering, and all that stuff that you shouldn’t be doing. You’re collecting a whole lot of information that you’re probably not supposed to be collecting. And unless you’re an expert, you probably don’t even know to look for what you’re collecting all those terms and conditions. Nobody’s reading those when they sign up to it, but you’re actually agreeing to a whole lot of stuff that you may not be cool with, let’s say or be in the know about, we worked on like a few of your clients who brought me in on Google Analytic stuff. And I think every single one of them might have been collecting personal information, I at least 90% of them were collecting personal information without realizing it. And I had to change the toggles to make sure that, you know, they stopped doing that. When we’re saying personal information, things like email addresses. Now, you might have a form that collects an email address, but in your Google Analytics code, when they enter that email address, it somehow populates in the top, you have to change all the settings to make sure you have to know what you’re doing in order to change all those settings. But things like credit card numbers and email addresses and those types of personal information. Google Analytics itself is not supposed to be collecting it and you agree to saying, oh, yeah, I’ll take care of that. I’ll take care of all the things that I’m supposed to take care of on my end, that’s what the terms and conditions are telling you. But like I said, we’re not really reading them. And unless you have a privacy professional or a Google Analytics professional, in your corner, who is knowledgeable in privacy matters, you probably don’t have those things disabled,

Meg Casebolt 7:23
right? If it’s just the default settings, and you’re like, well, somebody told me that I should install this on my website. So I did and I just left all the defaults, like, you could be collecting information. That is, you know, if you have if you’re in, I’m in New York, and I could be collecting information from a client in the UK, which is then traveling across international borders, which is illegal. And technically, I could be sued for that. Because even though is not the tool is the tools fault, it is the settings that I put on my website that are the illegal part of it. And therefore, like, I am responsible for that data collection across that international border.

Lanie Lamarre 8:01
Exactly that like that’s the tricky part of it, where if people are like, well, GDPR, it’s the UK, it’s the EU, it doesn’t affect me, if you have people coming to your website, who are from those places, it does impact you, the laws aren’t there to protect the business owners, these laws, privacy, regulation, anything related to data, anything related to e commerce in general, really, including collecting monies and things like that, you are adhering to the court, like the customer, the client, the consumer, the visitor, these people are the people who these laws are protecting, not you. So even if you’re located in the United States, that doesn’t mean that you only have to adhere to the laws of the United States or of your state, you do have to respect the laws of where the people are coming from, which means like, that’s a whole lot of legislation that you’re supposed to know from the top of your head. Well, not necessarily. And most of the laws have more in common than they are different, which is nice. But it’s also just common sense. When you start reading through some of the stuff. It’s really about I say common sense. It’s not really common sense. It’s more like let’s act like proper nice human beings treat each other respectfully. Online. Yeah. Especially

Meg Casebolt 9:21
when GDPR first rolled out. So for those of you who aren’t familiar, sorry. GDPR is the general data protection regulation. It is a law that went into effect into effect in the UK or I’m sorry, in the EU in like 2009 teen I believe? I’m like looking it up right now. Oh no, it went into effect on May 25 2018. And basically what it is is trying to find ways that these any sort of tool not just marketing tools, but any sort of online tool that collects the data does not violate your privacy concerns and it is in effect in the EU. But if you are called collecting any information from people in the EU is applicable to you. So when GDPR was in the process of being rolled out a couple of years ago, people were really starting to freak out about email collection, because part of this legislation is, if you’re collecting email, you need to tell people what you’re gonna do with that email, you can’t just say, Hey, I am gonna give you this guide. But then I’m also going to send you an email three times a day for the rest of your life and sell your email to a bunch of different places, you have to give them the opportunity to consent or to opt out of whatever options you have in your email marketing. And people really freaked out about it at the time, because they had to change a lot of things. And they got really upset about that. And there were a lot of workarounds at the time around like, well, let’s just filter out the IPs of the people coming from the EU, so that we can then, you know, make these specific regulations for them. But we can keep doing what we’re doing for everyone else. And in a lot of ways, like that’s problematic, because it’s like, well, why are we giving better, more respectful marketing to people just based on their location, like, so my approach to GDPR. And what I tell a lot of my clients is like, let’s just do the respectful thing across the board, instead of only doing it for the people that we legally have to. And I think that the same is true for some of the new ways that this legislation is impacting collection of data, which is beyond just, what’s your email address? And then how am I going to follow up with you? And how do I make sure that you can unsubscribe from everything, but what’s all the information I’m collecting from you those credit card pieces of information, your name your phone, like, you might be putting that information into a form, and then Google’s just stacking it away in their servers somewhere forever. And you might have access to that information, and you might not, but you have illegally collected it. Like there’s something really troubling about that.

Lanie Lamarre 11:55
What was interesting too, is when we, when GDPR started being enforced, it was very much focused on email, at first and everyone like it was very Chicken Little The sky is falling, all our businesses are going to be ruined there. This is a anti business. It’s not anti business, it’s pro consumer. And also what I think is really interesting about these this privacy legislation that you’re seeing, it’s like it’s catching on there. It’s not just GDPR, although that’s sort of the big gun out there. CCPA was protecting for California, and you’re going to see more and more legislation like this coming out. But you also have to, you have to be able to tell people how you got their information, how you collected their information. As a consumer, I like that, how did you get my information? And they have to tell you, you have the depending on where you are, you know, you have the right to ask people where to remove all the information that they have about you. Again, that’s something that I like as a consumer. And too often I think we think so much in terms of as marketers, instead of just thinking of, well, what would this be like for me as a consumer, and people being upset about oh, I have to include my address on all of my emails? Well, yes, if you’re a business, I think that’s not an unreasonable request that you would have an actual address where I can contact you. It shouldn’t

Meg Casebolt 13:27
need to be something that people were up in arms about. But they, it can really be triggering for people when you ask them to change something, especially something that they’ve been doing for a long time and something that in the case of Google Analytics, like it’s free software. So there’s a sense of entitlement that goes with this, of like, well, I, I have this free software that Google gave me, and therefore I am entitled to the information and the tracking that comes with it. But that’s not necessarily and I’m entitled to it for free. I shouldn’t have to pay for this because it has always been free. And now they’re changing the systems on me. And that’s not fair about that reaction.

Lanie Lamarre 14:10
I don’t want this to be like a Google Analytics bashing session, either because I do think the platform is valuable. I do think it has its place. I do think specific businesses should have it in place. If you’re going to have somebody on your staff, or someone on contract who this is, you know their job and they are working on making your use of Google Analytics compliant to privacy laws, to changes that are taking place in marketing to all these sorts of things. Absolutely, by all means, but make sure you have a professional Laden in your team doing this for you. This isn’t something that you’re winging it if you just need some basic information as to how people are finding you There are basic plug and play analytic software out there available for you to use, which frankly, will be more useful to you then Google Analytics because Google Analytics is robust. There’s a lot there. You know, even just understanding the difference between revenue versus product revenue and those reports. But there are some very, there’s a reason you have these differences showing up, because it’s for people who have these more robust business models, it’s not necessarily for it, but it’s there to accommodate those people as well. When you’re collecting something like it’s over 500 pieces of or data points with Google Analytics, I can’t name 500 data points, I can’t make it. And much less ones that I’ll actually use, you know. So it’s really about knowing where you are what you need. And if all you need is to see where people are coming from when they hit your website, and what people are doing. When they reach your website. There are analytic software out there that are privacy compliant out of the box, you just plug and play it and you actually spend more time in those reports. Because you understand them immediately you look at them, you’re like, Oh, yes. Okay, I can see what’s happening. And you can start asking yourself questions about your performance, rather than asking yourself questions about what the hell are these reports trying to? Where am I to click Next?

Meg Casebolt 16:20
I’ve spent so many years saying to people like okay, now go on the left sidebar, go hit the button that says acquisitions, that I want you to go to the landing page report. And then I want you to like, I think that’s actually behavior, but you need to know exactly where to look, because like you said, Google Analytics collects so much information, that the information has to be sliced and parsed in very specific ways for you to be able to get to the information that you actually need to evaluate what’s working. Whereas some of the more out of the box privacy compliant pieces of software, only tell you what you need to make marketing choices. Yeah, I don’t need to know like analytics,

Lanie Lamarre 17:05
privacy compliant, you can but you want, you can see that all of these changes and privacy laws are happening, you’re going to see it more not just laws, but in terms of the way browsers are dealing with cookie data. The way companies like Apple are putting, you know, the iOS, they’re walking things like this is becoming a topic that is important. Because you know, it, it is important, we kind of push the envelope so far that now we have to start putting some measures in place to protect our privacy and our personal information and how it’s being used. This business also of, well, I don’t have anything to hide, it’s not about having anything to hide, it’s about having agency over your personal information and how it’s used. And it’s not necessarily also about how you as a marketer are using the information, it’s the fact that that information is being collected and stored somewhere, which makes people more vulnerable to people who may not have the best intentions in mind with that person’s personal information. The more of this out there, the more I don’t want to say dangerous, but the more the more an unnecessary risk is having to be mitigated.

Meg Casebolt 18:24
Oh, that’s so important. Yeah, and I’m one of those people now who I’ve switched entirely over to using the brave browser, because I want to, I don’t feel like I have anything to hide. But I also don’t feel like I need to have my credit card information out there where someone else can hack into it and try to steal my identity, right? Like, just because I don’t have anything that I would go to prison doesn’t mean that all of my personal data should be available to whomever has the skills to get it out of the systems that I don’t even know are collecting it. And it can be a little frustrating. So I was gonna say it can be frustrating when I’m then going to look at my data as a marketer, and I’m using this browser that I forgot is a privacy based browser. And I’m like, why is it not showing up on my real time reports. And it’s like, no matter what you’re using, as a consumer, you are trying to protect your data. And as a marketer, you are trying to access the data that you have protected from yourself. Like it’s a very confusing system for us sometimes, the more the more we learn about this and the systems that we put into place, both in our businesses and in our personal lives, like it can get kind of awkward. Also,

Lanie Lamarre 19:32
when you’re looking at things like Okay, so we’re talking about marketers, right? The numbers, it’s not like accounting where you need the numbers to be exact. The whole point behaviors on your website is to have the opportunity to identify patterns to identify trends, to see what the overarching behaviors are. You’re not trying to hone in on like individuals and have exact numbers. You’re really trying to see what the overall performance is is how out, how are things going for you? So if you focus less on Oh, whoa, people are opting out of being tracked on my website. Okay, some people are opting out of being tracked, but also some people are. And if you have that option where people can opt in and out of being tracked on your website, this also gives you a little bit more of maybe just paying attention. How much stuff am I tracking about the people? Am I sort of making it unsavory for people, because when they click on the tracking and analytics part, and you have like 20 Different platforms tracking them? Well, of course, I’m going to say no, I won’t track be tracked by you. Thanks. But if you have one or two, well, maybe that’s not so bad.

Meg Casebolt 20:47
It’s funny to think of cookies as being unsavory. That was an interesting, interesting adjective to choose there.

Lanie Lamarre 20:53
If your diet diabetic or not.

Meg Casebolt 20:58
Like gluten free, sometimes you put in some of that Xantham Gum, and it makes it a little unsavory, it’s true.

Lanie Lamarre 21:07
But it also puts a little bit more onus, because you’re going to hear a lot more talk about cookies, and first party data and third party data. And now we’re talking about zero party data, which is becoming a topic which I think is really interesting, but third party data is, so let’s say you’re, you’re looking for shoes on Amazon, and then you go to another site, and then those shoes are following you around. And then they’re following you to the other site, and you keep seeing the dang shoes. That’s third party data inaction where someone is sharing what you did on one site with something else that is making it visible to two totally different things. Your first party data is stuff that is being collected, sort of, on behalf something like privacy compliant analytics would be first party data, but your zero party data is stuff where it is stuff that you are collecting. So when you have a quiz or something on your website, and you are intentionally collecting information about who this person is, and crafting messages that are based, much more targeted to how you know that they are and how they behave, and what they’ve identified to you as that is what they’re referring to as zero party data.

Meg Casebolt 22:28
Okay, that makes sense. You probably saw my face when you were like very zero party that I was like, What the hell is that one, but a lot of it. It’s about like user generated data, or it’s like, I’m just telling you, as the collector of the data, there’s no other, you know, ism that is getting that information. And I think also, you know, a lot of these changes that are rolling out, we’re hearing people who are mass marketing on a large scale saying like, well, this is breaking all my systems, right? Like my Facebook ads aren’t tracking, and my retargeting pixels aren’t getting picked up. And I don’t get a chance to, you know, follow up with people in that way. And that’s a huge part of what my marketing was. So speak to that a little bit like the some of these mechanisms that have been in place to digitally track and respond and react and stay top of mind with people are now going away. So what’s the what’s the experience? And what’s the alternative?

Lanie Lamarre 23:27
Well, my example for this is like,

Meg Casebolt 23:30
I love this example. That’s why I asked this question the way we’re gonna play.

Lanie Lamarre 23:37
People who whine I do think it’s why oh, I have to change the way I’ve been doing business, the fact that you’ve been getting away with being able to be so I want to say almost invasive. So evasive to this point. I compared to like, when you go to the mall, people don’t go to malls anymore. I know. But we used to do these sorts of things. And people watch Stranger Things. So they know what a mall is. You go to the mall, and you go to the candle store, and you look at a candle, and then you go to somewhere else. And then you see that, oh, all of a sudden, the Kindle store lady pops out from behind a wall. And you’re like, Oh, where did you come from? Are you still interested in the candle? It’s like, No, I meant Best Buy. I’m not interested in candles anymore. And then you go to the clothing store and then the candle lady pops out from behind the you still want the candle and you’re like, No, I and so even just having the ability to opt out of saying like, No, I don’t want this. That’s not an option online like you. It’s not really it’s not a thing in the fact that we could do this online and in real life. It seems weird. I always like to sort of bring it back. Like if you are upset about how something is online. Maybe try to transfer that into what that would look like in the real world and maybe it is weird. Maybe It was invasive. So that’s my opinion on the, you know the retargeting and whatnot. If you,

Meg Casebolt 25:09
as you’re just giving that example, I hadn’t thought about this before, whatever do you say that? But do you remember that scene and Animaniacs? Where the the two women are chasing? I think minion buttons around and going like, Would you like to take a survey? Would you like to take a survey? And they just keep popping up and be like, do you like beans? Do you like George went? Do you want to watch a video of George went eating beans just like that invasiveness and that following that, like if any of my fellow Animaniacs fans out there want to talk about it, definitely reach out, I guess.

Lanie Lamarre 25:41
You’re following people around like, online, like everywhere, I think there’s a bit of a difference between someone showing interest who’s already on your world, like if they reply to an email, or even if they clicked on a link within your email, indicating that they were interested in something and that you had room to continue that conversation. But even when you do that, you still usually won’t at least I hope so. But when you’re when you’re in an email situation, promoting something you give people the the ability to opt out of that specific launch of that specific promotion. So though, I do like the idea of retargeting people who are interested, but maybe in a much more targeted way.

Meg Casebolt 26:28
Yeah, so having some sort of segmentation and follow up and, and campaign level tracking, not relying on the software to get it right for you. You know, I’ve had a lot of questions in the past about like, how come my Google Analytics data doesn’t match? My Facebook analytics data doesn’t match my Squarespace analytics data? Like why are they different, and this is some of the reasons that they’re different is because people have different privacy tracking on their website for these different things, or the way that they get to your platform is slightly different and or they’re in different, you know, software tools or browsers. So I think you’re totally right to point out that like getting stuck on the you can get really stuck in the weeds of this tracking stuff, instead of zooming out, getting yourself up to, you know, a 30,000 foot view and going, Okay, what’s the the generalized behavior of what’s happening here? I don’t need to follow one person around the mall, I need to know why people aren’t coming into the Kindle store. Yeah.

Lanie Lamarre 27:27
And then what you brought up with all of your data, giving you different, exact numbers? Yeah, well, that’s because they’re all saying a different version of the same story. And they’re saying their version of story, you really have to think of it as two different people telling you, you know about their fight, they’re each going to have a lot in common, but they’re each going to do it from their own perspective. You know, Facebook is going to say that they were responsible for making the sale, because you clicked on one of their ads, even though maybe it was the email that actually ended up going through to the checkout. But they’re seeing it as being like, hey, we brought you this sale. And like what was that wasn’t really the like,

Meg Casebolt 28:04
that was a week ago. And then I had to do the work to bring them in to make them buy from Yeah, like, it’s

Lanie Lamarre 28:09
a different version of the same story. And your numbers are never going to match up. Even when the tracking was invasive. If we’ll say, even when you could collect all the information, it still was never adding up.

Meg Casebolt 28:22
Right. And I think also something to consider is like, because none of these tools are communicating with each other because people can opt out of things. The onus is on you as the marketer to do that tracking in the way that makes sense for you. So if you’re sending that email, making sure to put every in every link in your email put in what’s called a UTM. It’s, it’s the same link, it just has more information on the tail end of it that basically says, Oh, this came from this email campaign, or, you know, this is they clicked on this person clicked on the email in the footer, but this person clicked on the image link, you can get really intricate information about both how your marketing is working, and how your audience is behaving without relying on almost any of these tools, you need to have something in place to say, here’s what happened once they get to your website. I love doing this. We do this on our YouTube videos to see how people respond to different YouTube videos. If I put any links in the podcast show notes, we tried to put parameters behind that if I’m on someone else’s podcast, you know, trying to make sure that we’re tracking who’s coming from those by giving specific links and saying like, Oh, if you if you like this podcast, head over to social Because I’ve set that up as a redirect of a UTM parameter. There are a lot of ways that you can get this information about how your audience is finding you and how they’re behaving. That is going to be more accurate than what would otherwise show up in even the most robust piece of analytics software. Because if people have their cookies turned off, or if they’re using a privacy browser, you’re still gonna get that information from your tracking campaigns on your UTM. Even if that doesn’t always translate into what’s showing up in those reports. Yeah, I have

Lanie Lamarre 30:19
to be intentional. That’s the that’s the difference. At this point, you have to be intentional about what you’re tracking. But what is great about bringing that intentionality. So any length that you are putting out there any length that you’re publishing any length that you’re sharing, to have those UTM parameters saying, this is where this person came from, this is where they clicked on it, this or, or at least, this is where I embedded it. So you see where they clicked from it. But by being intentional, the advantage of this is that your reports look a lot less cluttered than when you’re relying on your email marketing software to code their things. However they do it and your social media and every account will do things in a different way. When you have that naming convention in place, and you’re doing it across the board, it becomes really easy for you to see, okay, something like your signature offer, you can look drill down into email as your medium and see how your evergreen emails so those sales sequences you have going how your launch emails and how the ones that you’re just doing like one off promotions and broadcasts perform compared to each other, it helps you get a lot more value out of actually tracking all this information. And you’ll actually look into your analytics and actually be able to get some insights. But you have to be intentional about the links that you’re sharing. It is one extra step. But I like to say that it’s this sort of extra step that gets those big leaps in the end, that’s how you get those big results it’s by really understand and you put so much dang effort into creating the content that you’re sharing, the least you can do is track it. Like I said, it’s kind of like sending a message out there and then expecting the carrier pigeon to come back. Wait, it’s never gonna happen. And even if it does, you’re not gonna understand what the pigeon is telling you, you know, so I don’t take pigeon.

Meg Casebolt 32:12
I don’t know what these codes mean. Stop queueing at me. I want to give an example of how this could potentially work that we’re putting together right now. And like how much extra work it is, but how I think it’s going to be beneficial. Because you and I were just talking about this last month where I was like, how do I make sure that everything is being tracked? I’m putting so much work into this new asset that I’m creating in the business? Like, how do I know what’s working. So I just created this really super long blog post, I want to get a lot of people to this blog post, I also created an ebook about it, I’m creating a product in you know, my core software member vault about it, I’m going to have an email campaign about it. And I’m going to talk about it in my content on YouTube, for example. And you know what, I’ll link to it in the show notes to this one, and then I’ll put into UTM. And so that’s five different five different marketing strategies that I am using, with this one, marketing asset, this like this one thing. And so I have a blog post that has, I think it’s a 40 different links in it. And every single one of those links, when I put it into an ebook format, when I put it into the product on member vault, you know, every time I mention it, I’m like, this is the campaign, the campaign is called website guide. I think it’s called like, it doesn’t need to be the super complex thing. But I know in this 30 page ebook, every time somebody clicks on any one of those links from an ebook, yeah, I know which link they chose. I know they came from the ebook. If they clicked on it from the product. I know they came from the product if they heard about it on this website, or on this podcast. I know they heard about there. So I’m seeing, you know, I probably put 10 hours instead ebooks designing it. I want to know if it’s worth the time to do that in the future. Yeah. And I want to know, when people come from the ebook versus the product versus the podcast, like who’s actually buying who’s viewing from there and I’m set up the events in my privacy software, so that I know my privacy focus analytic software, I should say, so that I know I’m Oh, when people come from the ebook, they go look at this product. Whereas when people come from the product, they go look at this product, right, like knowing what’s actually working in your marketing is gonna take more time. Yeah. But if I spend this 10 hours creating this ebook, and literally no one buys from it, I will not spend that 10 hours on creating an ebook in the future or if that really blows it up and everyone’s buying out of the ebook, then hell yeah, I’m gonna make audiobooks, right? Even

Lanie Lamarre 35:01
information you don’t like is good information to know it’s great information

Meg Casebolt 35:05
and one word, you have to know how to collect it, you have to know how to read it. And you have to use, you don’t have to, you don’t have to do any of this shit. But if you’re going to spend the time marketing, and you want to make sure that your time is being used effectively and efficiently, like spend a little extra time on the front end to set up these tracking mechanisms, so that you can go in and see what’s actually working. And when when we start promoting it on social, all those links are going to have these UTM parameters behind them, it’s going to be just built in, you know, you only get the one link in Instagram, but my Instagram is going to have a link that sends to this blog post that I’m going to know that it comes from Instagram to that page, right? So it takes maybe eight extra seconds, when you have the systems in place for each of those links habit of doing it, yes, I just have an air table that I just plunk it all in there. And it generates a link for me. And of course that comes from YouTube, because you’re my air table person, in addition to being my shout out to air table like a boss. So I mean, just having having these systems in place can make a huge difference in knowing what’s actually worth your time. And then let’s also let’s wrap up this conversation with like, okay, you can hire somebody to set up your Google Analytics so that it does not collect this information from you. That’s not something you’re doing. But you may have some resources that you can share that we can put in the shownotes. But if you’re like, oh, this all feels a little squeaky to me, I think I need to remove myself from from Google Analytics as a tool. I before before I let you answer the question that you know is coming, I do want to say you can still use Google Search Console to get information about what people are searching for that has not had any major issues because people are consenting to give Google their data when they are actually googling. So for all of the people who know me as the SEO person, not as the podcast host, so you can still use Google Search Console. And that often plays well with these privacy focus software’s. But what are the alternatives to Google Analytics that you’ve tested that you’ve researched, that you would recommend? There’s two of them that I

Lanie Lamarre 37:18
really like. One is plausible analytics. And the other one is Fathom analytics, there’s a couple of little differences between the two. But if you look at them, they both have demo sites. So I encourage you to look at their demo site and see how the reports show up or they’ll report because it’s one report,

Meg Casebolt 37:36
one report, one dashboard with all the information you need nothing extra. Yeah, it’s so nice.

Lanie Lamarre 37:41
So just like where’s the rest of it, and quickly get used to it, where you’re like, Oh, this is really like all I’m actually going to use. And these are, you know, out of the box ready to go. You just plop it in your site. And you know, Bob’s your uncle, they have great support both of them. There, they both have, like when you email them, they’re back at you within the day, if you have any issues.

Meg Casebolt 38:03
I got an email this morning from Fathom messin, for instance, during one of my questions. So yeah, they’re really quick,

Lanie Lamarre 38:08
really great customer service, which is not what you’ll get with Google Analytics. But listen, if you have a big team, like if you’re running a big E commerce shop, and you have the Google analytics person, or you want a Google analytics person, by all means, yes, reach out to me at Oh, my growth OMG row th on Instagram, I’ll definitely recommend people in like I said, I’m not anti Google Analytics, I’m just anti not using it properly. So if you have someone in your back pocket who can do that for you, but that is, you know, an investment. And that’s going to be an ongoing investment. That’s not a one and done sort of I’m going to hire you and it’s done. But if you’re installing a privacy compliance software, and if you’re, you know, solopreneur, you have a small team, and this sort of looks like it meets what your requirements are. Yeah, plausible is my go to and Fathom as well Fathom is based out of Canada, plausible is based out of the UK, and they have a lot of really great information on their websites as well. So I encourage you to check those out.

Meg Casebolt 39:11
Yep, so those are definitely we’ll put links to both of those in the show notes. And also, I do want to share that if if you are thinking about running Google ads, at some point, whether you’re running them now or you’re running them in the future, you will need to have Google Analytics installed. But you can make some of those choices to when you’re running your ads, because that’s a question I get a lot is like, can I still run Google ads? If I’m not using Google Analytics? You can but you’re not going to get the information that you need.

Lanie Lamarre 39:39
You can import your old Google analytics information to into plausible which I find interesting because that way you’re not losing all of your data.

Meg Casebolt 39:48
Because as you say, data is not retroactive. But you can import existing data which is a nice alternative to you know if you’ve been using GA and either you’re getting nervous about it or You don’t want to rollover to GA for which we could talk for another 20 minutes about how much we’ve neither was really love GA for. And that’s another reason that I’m like, Oh, I think we’re motivated them. You know, and I like plausible to you, I’ve tried both of them, they’re both great. It’s it’s a, you know, great situation, either one that you choose. But if that’s something also where you’re like, Google’s about to change all of their interfaces, and all of their ways of tracking. And I would rather just simplify at this point, this might also be a point where you can look into one of those privacy focused software’s.

Lanie Lamarre 40:31
And I know a lot of this stuff, like we’re sort of talking about, oh, analytics, and then reports and things that you kind of need to see in action to sort of wrap your head around, you can go to live.oh, my, we’ll put it in the show notes or magazine, we’ll put it in the show notes. And I have a bunch of resources where you can like Watch how easy it is to put a UTM parameter in place and see all the different ways that you can sort of do those sorts of things. So it doesn’t have to be like the more visual learners will appreciate being able to have that visual reference.

Meg Casebolt 41:05
Yeah, and I’m sure you’ll have a UTM or M parameter behind that data demo, same thing here just gave me the URL for because of how easy it can be to track where people are coming from. Absolutely, yeah, yes, you’ll have the referral sort of source on your website that may show that they’re coming from social Or they might be coming from lead, sprout, but like, it’s really nice to know exactly which podcast episodes people aren’t listening to, without waiting to rely on these tools to tell you that you can do a little bit of extra work and get a lot of information out of it.

Lanie Lamarre 41:35
And I can standardize how I’m collecting that information with all the other ways I’m collecting information. So it’s very clear, you know, when you’re looking at your reports, you can quite clearly see that,

Meg Casebolt 41:44
yeah, that’s a really good point that you can know, you know, I guess did on 10 podcasts so far this year. And I can look at that information, because I know that the source of you know, when I’m putting in creating these specialized links, I can say all of these links are for podcasts, interviews, and I can look at my incoming traffic and my events of people who are coming in and be like, oh, all of this podcast interview traffic is signing up for my email list. Right? Like, it’s not just who’s signing up from which podcast you can aggregate yet by by creating these tracking codes in a very specific way.

Lanie Lamarre 42:18
Yeah, absolutely.

Meg Casebolt 42:21
All right. Well, now that we’ve completely nerd it out, and Everyone now knows my love for like early 90s. cartoons. Late 90s, late 90s. Thank you so much for being here, we will put all of the links to to your demo sites to plausible to fathom to all of the UTM parameters, we’ll put a ton of information into the show notes for this. If you guys want to hear more details about this or you want to hear more about privacy and marketing or tracking in marketing, definitely go check out Leonese entire podcast is called om growth. It is incredible. She has really simplified ways of explaining complex things. And also excellent sound effects. Excellent, which is what really matters in the world. If you’re watching this on YouTube, then go check out her YouTube channel also, because she also puts in really fun videos in the midst of her podcasts, which we don’t do. I’m impressed by how much time you put into all of this.

Lanie Lamarre 43:23
Thank you. And thank you for having me on a second time. We’re going to do it a third time at some point so that the numbers match up.

Meg Casebolt 43:30
We don’t want any more number two. Thank you, lady.

Lanie Lamarre 43:34
Thank you.

Meg Casebolt 43:37
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then.

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