Friday May 13, 2022

Getting WAY better tracking from your marketing efforts. EP-027

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Greg Marshall  0:00  
I don't know, where do we where do we start? Where to? Well, you know, yesterday, we're sending our text messages talking about tracking, right, and the importance of tracking. And you know, how tracking causes a lot of issues? Yeah, with knowing what's working and what's not. And you actually discover something as you were implementing, and you're a seasoned veteran, which, which tells me if a seasoned veteran runs into this, the rest of us people, yeah, are definitely not doing this. So why don't you share a little bit about what you read?

Blake Beus  0:31  
Oh, absolutely. So I had this question for a long, long, long time as to what's the best way to actually track conversions. From like a technical standpoint, whenever you set up a new campaign, or a new conversion pixel pixel, specifically with Google, it says, Hey, here's three different ways you can set up this conversion, it could be an imported goal from Google Analytics, you can set it up with Google Tag Manager, or the third option is you can set it to your developer and they will add the code directly on the page with what's called a global site tag. But they don't tell you which one of those is best. Now, I've noticed over the years, that specifically the Google Analytics, importing of the goals, never gave me as many conversions as the other ways of doing it. And it always seemed like the conversions got dropped there. And you were saying you've noticed the same? I did, right? I've actually

Greg Marshall  1:28  
tried all three of those. Yes. And the one without a doubt, global site tag works. Yeah. And I just, luckily, or accidentally plugged this in a website correctly. And notice that there was there was more conversions recording. Yeah, then the other two options. And so I just thought, and to give you full disclosure, I also had the other two versions uploaded as well. So I can't compare. Okay, so those numbers are completely different. Yeah. So as I spoke with the client, they would look into the, into the ads manager, and they would notice, how come these they're all tracking the same thing purchases, but how come there's three or four numbers? Yeah. And my thought was, well, this is the Google, you know, pixel on the page. This is the uploaded analytics. And then this is the Google time. And the problem is, it seems like there's some level of drop off right? Where, yeah, and so that actually helped my case to show you can always trust Yeah, the attribution 100% Yes, I'd be 100%. Accurate? Well,

Blake Beus  2:34  
absolutely. And the thing is, is like every Google Ads tutorial out there, I've ever seen paid or free on YouTube, or even like provided and made by Google never talks about which one of these is most accurate, they oftentimes will talk about implementing whichever one is easiest for you, based on your setup, whatever. But there's clearly some accuracy differences. So I was diving into some of the Google documentation for something completely different. And I was reading one of their documentation pages on setting up conversion events going through and there's this small little section that says outright, the Google site, global, the Global Site tag with conversion event, is the most accurate way to track any of your events, whether that's a lead conversion, or say a sale or anything like that. And it's only on this one page kind of buried in the documentation, whatever. But it there it is, like, there's there's the evidence, that's the proof. And that's even more accurate than Google Tag Manager, which a lot of people will say, well, it's it's easier when

Greg Marshall  3:49  
it's Yeah, tracks as well. I have found just from experience, that the global site is the most Yeah, accurate. And the other thing that I've noticed is, I don't know the documentation that said this, but the Google, did you see anything about enhanced conversions? didn't show anything about that?

Blake Beus  4:10  
I have seen some stuff, but I didn't see it in relation to this. Specifically.

Greg Marshall  4:14  
It wasn't in a doc. I was curious. I wasn't looking for it. Yeah. And all the ad accounts are that I manage only some of them have that option, and others don't really. So I don't know if it's a new thing. Maybe not rolling out. Yeah.

Blake Beus  4:26  
Yeah, um, I'm not entirely sure that'll that'll be interesting. We'll have to dive into that. Yeah. But I do want to take a quick minute to just talk about maybe why. And this is one of the things we've talked about before, if we want to take a big step back about, you know, why is this and we've mentioned over and over and over again, the easier you make it for the algorithm to know what's going on, the easier it is for them to for the algorithm to deliver the right kind of the ads in front of the right kind of people and we've we've talked about that this is true with Facebook ads is true with any algorithm based Yep, adds platform, you want to make it easy. And I think that's exactly why the global site tag is the most accurate. Because from a tech perspective, it's very easy for the algorithm to consume that information, it loads on page load. It's one script tag plus fires one event, one conversion event that's either like a, you know, a lead or a purchase or whatever. If you use something like Google Analytics, your analytics has to grab that information, it gets processed as part of the goal algorithm, and then it gets sent over into Google ads. And that's a lot of steps or something could go just a tiny bit off, and then the conversion doesn't get counted. It's kind

Unknown Speaker  5:40  
of like playing the telephone game, exactly what it is yes, it gets diluted, the more time it has to go through another source. And then

Blake Beus  5:49  
you you even have with that particular setup, you even have this option where usually inside of analytics, you have multiple people in there building reports doing all these things. And if someone makes a change that breaks that goal funnel, now you have human error on your team side, causing no conversions to get reported into your Google ads, and no way to be notified that that's what happened. There's no like change management system inside of Google Analytics or anything. So there's so many places where the ball can get dropped, their information won't get communicated back. The second one was Google Tag Manager, how that works is it loads some scripts, and then Tag Manager injects other events or other scripts or things in there for you. This is set up for marketers to be able to basically change advertising events and conversion events without having to involve a developer team. So it does make sense. But then again, you're loading one library script, and then you're injecting some other library scripts. And you're hoping that all of that happens in the correct kind of timing, and then things get get converted and sent back. It's

Greg Marshall  6:57  
a recipe for failure, especially at this moment where a lot of tracking is being taken away. Yeah. Now you're adding an extra step for it to not be able to track as,

Blake Beus  7:08  
right and then one thing I've noticed is every time you set up inside of Google Tag Manager, a Google Ads conversion event, it always to ask you do you want to add the conversion linker as well. And a lot of people don't know what that is, you can you can Google it and search on it. And it just basically says, this is something that helps link up your initial ad page view with the URL parameter that says GCL ID, and then there's that long string of numbers. It helps connect that with, you know, a conversion event that happens now in your funnel. And you're thinking, okay, cool, great. That makes tons of sense. But how that works is it has to set a specific cookie for the conversion linker with the Google Click ID, which is that long string of things when people click on it, and then it has to track that cookie through all of these steps. And then, and then finally, at the very last thing, it has to send that back. And the reality is, is that there's also a lot of places for it to get lost to, for it to get lost. So really, the absolute best setup is to have the global site tag on your page. And that is on every single page of your site. Yep. And then there's a different global site tag for analytics. And for ads. Yes. So that's, that's one thing you got to think about, you can actually combine those together into one tag, but you have to set a little variable that says This one's for analytics, and this one's for ads, that goes on every page. And then and then you just load the conversion event on your, on your thank you page, whether it's a lead, thank you, or like a purchase, thank you page or whatever. And that's it. It's very simple for a developer to do, or even a non developer to just copy and paste those those codes on there. But

Greg Marshall  8:54  
the moral of the story is simple. Just pay a developer make this simple communication. Yeah. So that the information doesn't get lost.

Blake Beus  9:03  
Yeah, in any literally, if it's something that you don't know how to do, that's fine. Any competent developer could literally do this in five to 10 minutes. Like it's not, it's really super simple. And so it's not a complicated thing for a developer to do. Just find someone that knows your, your platform, whatever your website's built on. And then any developer can make that happen in five to 10 minutes.

Unknown Speaker  9:25  
Well, here's the next question, then that leads us to what we were texting back and forth about yesterday, which was

Greg Marshall  9:32  
okay, so if we have to, let's see if we have the tracking on there. But what about our page site? Experience?

Unknown Speaker  9:39  
So you had mentioned that? Oh, yeah. Ah, yeah. Had a certain score. Yeah. For the mobile. Why don't we go and

Blake Beus  9:45  
yeah, and we can just dive right. We can dive right into that. So we were talking about the actual SM three group that I talked about on here, kind of at the end. We're running we're testing out a few new ads and things like that and, and the page has been out there for a while. Now And I was looking at the numbers. And not surprisingly, almost 90% of all the views, all the clicks. For our it's a YouTube ad and all the all the page views were from mobile devices. Yep. And that's not surprising because everybody has a mobile device these days. Yep. But the problem is a lot of people build for desktop, because you're writing code on desktop, or whatever. And I do the same thing. So I just quickly went over to Google has a couple of tools. And there's some other tools PageSpeed Insights is one where you can basically calculate what your quality score is for the page from a mobile experience standpoint. And Google does clearly say from ads, that they do take that quality score into account for for who your who's gonna see your ads, and it can actually lower your costs. Anyway, the quality score was not as good as I thought it was. And I'm a developer that pays attention to this stuff. So it's very easy to just kind of let these things go. Yep, go away. So. So anyway, there's gonna be a few things that will make few changes will make to that page to make it load faster. Make sure that it's responsive and a little bit better way. Make sure it's got a good hierarchy of data. And what I mean by that is, section headings are bigger fonts. Sub titles are slightly smaller, maybe different way, it just, it has to do with readability and easy to kind of like quickly scan through. And then the other thing I was thinking about too is on the mobile experience, some of our key language on the landing page doesn't show on page load, you have to scroll down a little bit to see some of the key phrases that that that we put in there to help get people to take action. So we're gonna kind of scrunch some of that up, maybe, maybe rearrange some things on mobile. So the, the key language we want people to see is right at the top right at the top, and they can see here's

Greg Marshall  11:57  
a question I have. What about, you know how they have accelerated mobile pages? Is there any value to that? Is there any pros or cons? Yeah. Oh,

Blake Beus  12:09  
yeah, absolutely. So Accelerated Mobile Pages or amp, you've probably come across these, everybody probably has. It's a it's a thing where basically, Google takes they basically, they basically scrape your website, cache that, put it on their servers. And then and then when someone clicks on that, from Google search results, it will load that fast version of the page. Can Can you directly send someone to an app page or No, you? Because I noticed you can say it was search. So only if they search? Yeah. Can that patient? Yeah. So how, how that would work. So by search, if you choose to opt into Google amp, then anybody that clicks on your links from search will get the AMP page. If you grab the amp URL, you can send that amp URL to someone and have them load that page directly. But it's usually the URL is usually something like My website, it would be like It would it would be a different looking URL. But you could potentially send people send people directly to that. What I don't know is I don't know if you can send ads directly to that page. I have no idea. It's actually never thought about that. And

Greg Marshall  13:26  
I was wondering, could we send traffic to an AMP page? And if an AMP page, because it's, I'm assuming Google owns that kind of platform? Right? AMP is Google? Oh, yeah.

Unknown Speaker  13:40  
So then I would think, if you're using Google Adsense or Google property, would that impact it? Yeah. Like, would

Greg Marshall  13:48  
they basically favor a little bit more, as I'm saying, Yeah,

Blake Beus  13:50  
I don't know your, your quality scores would be much higher. Because the, they're putting it on a really fast server. They're caching everything, but they're also scraping out some of the JavaScript you might be running behind the scenes. So oftentimes, you might not get some of the tracking data that you would expect to get, especially if you're tracking on a non Google platform. So if you're using something like I don't know, ad roll, or Facebook pixel, or some of these things, by default, those things are not going to track, you have to do some extra work to get an AMP page to track that stuff.

Greg Marshall  14:28  
And so there would be the con basically, if you used an AMP page, you maybe you're tracking for pixel reasons wouldn't be as as effective. Right,

Blake Beus  14:37  
right. But and sometimes pages, because they're guessing, sometimes pages don't load correctly, if it's if it's a page that requires JavaScript to render certain things. And I've seen this happen before. I'll click on a page and I'm thinking this something's not right with this page. And you can actually go up to the top and click a couple of links and get to the non amp version of the page and then it starts working correctly. So there is some trade offs.

Greg Marshall  15:02  
So yeah, good now. So we've we've talked about tracking, right, and the importance of making sure your, your tracking codes are on as clean as possible samples Mazal, a direct communication to the ad platform, that's going to be the most effective. One thing to kind of transition from that is I was sharing with you someone that is currently running ads, yes, I love this. It has zero tracking pixels, like none, literally zero, that's amazing. Nothing, no analytics, no Facebook pixel, no, Google Pixel, and he's running ads on these platforms really. And he had mentioned to me that he had, he's been making sales at a decent clip, by the way, purely with no tracking, right, which goes against a lot of what these platforms will tell you to do. So that actually teaches a very important lesson, which the lesson is the messaging is the most important than absolutely, because without the right message, he wouldn't get any of these responses. Now, you can make the argument that if he's making great sales with no tracking, that his messaging might be as tight as you possibly can make it. Which means if you implement the tracking, and help optimize these pixels, he may be able to see great results. Because if it's working with no tracking, and a straight old school, just put this ad in front of people and use your message to get them to buy, then that means your your message is probably on point. So I would focus, no matter how much tracking we do. Never forget that you have to make sure you're actually talking to the right person. And that you have a strong marketing message. Yeah. And that's, that's everything.

Blake Beus  16:53  
Yeah, it's absolutely everything. And when when people start talking about split testing audiences and stuff, that's a great place to start. And we've talked about that. But you really should look at split testing your messaging, yes. And not and that's not just your messaging in your ad. That's the messaging on the landing page. And, and if you if you're using video, the messaging on your video and and seeing what's working, and then when you find out what's working, work to align all of those. So they're all in line with one another. So the messaging in the ad directs people to the landing page, which has the basically the next logical step of that messaging and the content on that page is the next logical step of the messaging, because that's super important. Yes.

Greg Marshall  17:38  
And one thing that, you know, when I first started running ads, there, I don't think there was actually pixels that shows you kind of Yeah, how, how many years ago that was? I don't think there was actually any conversion pixel. Actually, there wasn't I remember, because at the time, it came out maybe a few months later, okay, I remember thinking it being a big deal. Like, wow, there's this there's that Facebook, is that were you saying? Yes. And so with, with Facebook with these, I remember focusing heavy on the messaging. And I was actually using engagement campaigns, at the time, because there was only traffic engagement, you know, there was no conversion. And so I was using engagement campaigns. And I remember spending so much time on the messaging and split testing the messaging. And by the way, this is before I actually knew what split testing was, okay, I just from a sales background, I just knew certain things work better than others in face to face sales when I just took the same logic, yeah, to the advertising. And I remember, kind of fine tuning a couple of messages that were geared towards personal trainers. And there were different hooks and angles that worked better than others. And when you put them all together with the right picture, the right words, the right call to action, and then the right at the time, their funnel was they respond, then you get them into a Facebook Messenger, then you get them to a phone call to get them into person that was actually the funnel but has no tools to support that. So we just did it all manually. But we optimized each part of that funnel. But it all started with the messaging, right? Because we noticed, when I tested a certain message versus another, it would attract a totally different person. And that's, I think, when you first hear testing your messages, I think, at least I know on my end, it's easy to dismiss. Yeah, like does the message really make that much of a difference, especially on who responds to the targeting says it's targeted to this person. So like, maybe you shouldn't have to work on that as much. But I don't think that's the case. I actually think the message is split testing the message is more important than I think a lot of us give credit to because it just seems like how could a set of words or a picture make that much of a difference?

Blake Beus  20:07  
Yeah. And if you if you think about, you know, the olden days, yes, you know, I always go back to direct mail marketing marketing back in Canada. Dang, seriously, you guys got to lightest of all, you got to look at Dan Kennedy. And you got to read some of the material from from people that did direct direct mail marketing back in the 50s. And 60s Because they didn't have fancy pixels to send data back in, in near real time as to what was working. And so they put a lot of effort into the messaging. And just because we have all of these fancy tools now doesn't mean that the messaging is has gone away, we're, we humans haven't evolved that much like we still we still want the messaging. And it's easy to get a little lazy with testing your messaging by saying, well, let's say free download on this one, versus instant download on that one like, that can make a difference. But that's not me that we're not that's not what we're talking about. When we're talking about the messaging, we're talking about, really diving in deep to, to who you're targeting, you know, what their hopes and dreams are, what their fears are, like, get that stick and carrot going? Like, how can we help them run away from what they don't want? And how do we help them run towards what they do want, and connect the dots very clearly between what the offer is and how they can get what they want. Whatever that is with it with fitness. That doesn't necessarily mean I want to shed 50 pounds, sometimes that's the correct message. But other times, the message is actually different. Maybe it's maybe it's I'm a little bit worried about my health, because I have family members that have X, Y and Z health problems. And so I don't, I don't necessarily want to shed weight, but I want to get in a good routine now. Yeah, that kind of an understanding, they need to take that understanding and turn that into a marketing message that you got to have dive in, you got to dive in a little deeper on things.

Greg Marshall  22:01  
I think we and we've talked about this before, but I think we've gotten so spoiled. And I I will be a part of this group. So I'm not saying I have never been spoiled, is yeah, I'm actually a part when I say we included Yeah, we've been spoiled. I've noticed a direct. This has been the iOS change. And less tracking has actually been refreshing for me. And I'll tell you why. Because for a good stretch of maybe two to three years, the pixels were so accurate, that you can just throw up anything, and it will convert, right, like literally anything because the target did all the work for you. Right? And what that I noticed that during that timeframe, there was less and less talk about ad copy and the importance of what you're writing and all that stuff. And it was more about the technology. Right, right. And what that actually train everyone to do was to get not as effective with their messaging. And what that means I look at it like this. We all know well, not we all but many people know how to ride a bike or drive a car or run or do whatever, play basketball. But what you find out is if you take two years off three years off of anything, I don't care how high level you were. When you were at your peak. You are rusty. Yeah. And you're not as good as you are until you get back to that. Yeah. And I've noticed that over time, I think the entire market has gotten to that point where they're relying so much on technology, that they stopped practicing their marketing skills. And now, it might just be a perception that things are harder now. But really, it's kind of like if you haven't played baseball in two years, that 95 mile an hour fastball hasn't changed. It just feels harder, because you haven't been seen. Yeah. Right. And so I think that's kind of what's happened with, well, there's all this tracking gone, it feels like maybe it's more difficult, but I would actually argue it's probably everything's the same. It's just that your skill set, you've let it kind of dwindle during these good times of

Blake Beus  24:19  
pixel tracking, or you hopped in when the good times were happening. And this This feels like the end of the world because you're only used to you know what, what things were, which is a little bit where I was I kind of hopped in to advertising again from like the software engineering side of things. And so tracking and all that stuff was exactly what I focused on. And I hopped in kind of at the good time before before everything kind of shifted. Yeah, before everything kind of shifted. Right. But I would say the one thing I did early on is I realized that that the message was super important. So I dove in deep on reading a lot of books. I haven't gotten a copy of it. You know what that what, what is that there's this one ad book that's not real. The imprint anymore instead of $450, written by this guy I know you're talking about, I can see the cover, but I need to, I can see the cover too. But we'll we'll figure out what it is until he goes next time, but I even have a copy of that, that I've read through and has some gold in it. But, but yeah, marketing messages is extremely important. And if you think

Greg Marshall  25:19  
about it, you know, I always go to Dan Kennedy, Dan Kennedy warned us about, I don't know, five, six years ago, where he was mentioning, you do not want to rely on these algorithms and this type of targeting because they're going to take away who you can target. Yeah. And he mentioned because of that, you're going to be susceptible, unless you get the direct response marketing techniques down. And once again, he was right. 100%. And, you know, what I found is, from people who've done it a longer time, you know, because he's older. They always know because this all works in cycles. Yeah, right. It's very similar to fitness. carbs are bad for you one day, they're great for you the next day, fat is good for you, then it's fats battery. It's just

Blake Beus  26:10  
It's a never ending cycle. But what never changes is the marketing message exact like is the psychology of people, right? Like maybe there's a different angle, because there's because the offer is something new that didn't exist a while ago. But we but that psychology and focusing on the message is always going to be a constant. So the good marketers are those that focus on understanding that understanding the customer persona, and it's honestly, it's hard work it is it's it's really hard work, especially when you have limited characters, you could put in an ad. So you've got to find a way to get that message in there. In a certain space or whatever, we only

Greg Marshall  26:44  
have so much time, that's the other thing with ads is you only have a couple seconds to hook them in. So you've got to be effective quick. And if you're not, the, your mark is just not gonna work as well. And we no longer have these mega advanced. I mean, we the pixels are still there. Yeah. And they're way smarter than we were 789 10 years ago, but they're not what they were the last two or three. Yep. So train yourself back up to, you know, working on your marketing messaging and thinking about from start to finish versus I'll just throw it out there. Let the targeting do the work and right.

Blake Beus  27:20  
Watch the money come in. Yeah. And so to kind of wrap things up, because people I mean, you might be thinking, if you're listening to this right now, you guys started off talking nothing about just about tracking everything. Now we focused into this. But they're, they're extremely, extremely related, right? Like, you definitely want to make sure your tracking is is as good as you can make it. And if there's a couple of simple tweaks you can do to make that really, really good. Great. And that's what we want to do. But then you got to spend time focusing on the messaging and getting that messaging, right. Because as you have shown, some people out there not knowing what they're doing, crush the messaging and still make sales. Yep. Which many marketers would think that's crazy, that would never happen.

Greg Marshall  28:03  
But it's definitely possible. And so you need both you need both the and the key to these tracking mechanisms is to help drive your decisions on what's working. But don't overly rely on them to do all the work. Right. So that's why you need

Blake Beus  28:18  
both. Yep. All right. So we'll wrap this up here, Greg, people.

Greg Marshall  28:22  
So if you want to go ahead and reach out to me, Greg, you can go ahead and book a free strategy session. I'm Blake

Blake Beus  28:27  
how to do get a hold, just like And there's a SM3 group that Greg's actually yes involved in now and helping with now where you can communicate with us, kind of directly with weekly Q and A's and all of that stuff.

Greg Marshall  28:40  
So join the SM3 group. You'll get more information like this podcast. Yeah, absolutely. Kate will talk to you later. Bye.


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