Solving The LinkedIn Bot Problem

LinkedIn is great for business, once you get passed the spam and bots.

Spending over a decade building a B2B business, you learn a couple of marketing tricks.

The biggest one:  discover where your customers hang out.

For AdTech, this used to be conferences like AdWeek, DMEXCO, iMedia, etc, but over the last couple of years, LinkedIn has grown in importance to every B2B marketer.

Instead of traveling to a conference, having a single portal where each of my current and potential customers participates was like a dream.

And LinkedIn was that for me.

I slowly built my network and over time it has grown to over 6,000 people.

LinkedIn worked for me because I was providing data which my network deemed valuable.

The LinkedIn app is on my phone and it’s the only app (besides SMS) where I have notifications turned on.

Yes – I’m a LinkedIn Lover.

But now, with in-person conferences and business travel at a standstill, every B2B marketer has substantially increased their LinkedIn outreach.

The volume of invitations and inMail messages has increased to a point where it disrupts my daily work.

  • Yes…I should turn off LinkedIn notifications.
  • Yes…I should only check LinkedIn once a day.
  • Yes…I should take the app off my phone.

But I don’t want to.  LinkedIn is my only social network and is an integral part of my business.

And it’s not just me.

Even other LinkedIn Lovers like Rob Griffin are venting their frustrations.

Rob’s post immediately struck a nerve and started me down a path to find a better solution.

I didn’t have to search far.

Eric Ramos, Director of Analytics at BusinessOnline came up with an innovative solution and shared it in the same thread.

His solution was so popular with colleagues, he created a loom video in April detailing his method for handling LinkedIn connection requests.

Eric’s system filters out 90% of connection requests and is based on growing his network only where there’s mutual value and it’s a real person.

To get this up and running, Eric created a form at Typeform with questions designed to determine if the mutual connection could be of value to both parties.

The process is simple; he copies and pastes a message to any request who sends an introductory note.

No introductory note and Eric will remove your request.

Here’s the message he sends for the 50% of requests who send an introductory note:

According to Eric, 20% complete the form.

A completed form sends a Slack message to Eric with a score he calculates based on the answers.

(I got a 4 out of 5.)

For salespeople, he asks them to refrain for 90 days from pitching him; if they agree, he connects with them.

To date, all except one have followed his request.

Eric’s system of verification plus quality is 100% the right move and I loved it!

Eric used to spend 12-13 hours per month managing Linkedin Invitations.

His system allowed him to reduce it down to less than 2 hour per month for an 89% time savings!

I knew that by integrating a little additional technology, we could accomplish the same goal plus save even more time.

Since Covid, my daughter and I have spent time thinking how to best optimize sales funnels which led to the creation of Overnight Dealer.

This LinkedIn issue was the opposite problem.

We now needed to ‘disrupt’ the sales funnel.

Step 1 was to stop the inbound ‘insanity’ by adjusting my LinkedIn preferences here.

  • Scroll down until you see the ‘Who Can Reach You’ Section and 
  • Click on ‘Change’ as shown

  • Clicking on CHANGE displays three options

  • I clicked last option as shown

It was a Zen moment.

The LinkedIn noise immediately stopped.

Unfortunately, keeping it this way meant no one new could connect with me, since I did not import my contacts.

And…I want the door open to new people who I don’t know yet.

We needed a process to verify people similar to SpamArrest but, without taking the time to individually act on each one.

Using Zapier with Twilio, Typeform and Slack, we were able to do the following:

  • Get a US phone number for my LinkedIn profile
  • Prompt people to ‘text me’ to connect
  • Send opt-in users to Typeform
  • Send responses to Slack

Without any user intervention or time requirements, we quickly duplicated Eric’s awesome system.

And it works great for anyone familiar with Zapier who has a minimum of the multi-step ‘Starter’ plan.

For those that don’t, spending $19.99/month on Zapier to cut down on LinkedIn spam is a far stretch.

And that’s why we’re excited to have you meet Clara.

Meet Clara stops LinkedIn bots without the need for user intervention.

As a virtual ‘artificial’ assistant, Clara allows you to set a reporting cadence and establish networking holidays.

If you’re interested in joining the Meet Clara beta, text me at 646-851-2382 or visit

Attribution Predictions 2019: Interview with Jeff Greenfield

Tell us about your role and journey into technology. How did you co-start C3 Metrics?

While working in the world of product placement and branded entertainment, I was lucky enough to meet my C3 Metrics Co-Founder Mark Hughes. A marketing legend, Hughes convinced a town to rename themselves from Halfway, Oregon to Oregon, creating both the first ‘dot-com’ town and one of the most memorable company launches.

The worldwide attention attracted eBay and shortly thereafter was acquired. With the release of his best-selling book ‘Buzzmarketing: Get People To Talk About Your Stuff,’ Mark and I started working together to solve in-depth marketing problems for a number of Fortune 500 brands.

The biggest problem we faced was how to properly credit and ‘attribute’ what marketing tactics were actually working. We worked with the former CEO of Nielsen and created a software that captures all consumer touch points in order to see what was working and what was not.

Besides keeping our product pipeline growing, my number one role at C3 Metrics is to ensure we keep our culture intact. We’ve grown quickly as a company and both Mark and I make a conscious effort to keep diversity, inclusion and transparency at the forefront of everything we do to create a great environment for everyone to thrive together as a team.

What is C3 Metrics and how is it different from other attribution providers?

C3 Metrics is truly ‘Built By Marketers’. Mark and I built C3 Metrics to solve problems we were facing ourselves. We’ve faced the same pressures as every one of our clients and we used C3 Metrics daily to solve those problems.

As data and the sources for that data grew, we developed the only Attribution Data Cloud to unify user journey data across channels and platforms to integrate with proprietary viewability, fraud controls and cross-device. We are the only ones to distribute attribution credit algorithmically through our Attribution Data Cloud and as a result, we are the source of truth and decision making in our industry.

What is the current state of Attribution Platforms? How does C3 Metrics deliver on its ROI promises?

The promise of MTA is massive, but the lack of standards is leading to backwards movement and confusion among marketers. We’re seeing providers ignoring industry standards such as viewability and fraud, which had led to poor outcomes. At C3 Metrics, as we incorporate all of the industry standards and guidelines surrounding viewability and fraud, we’re able to guarantee our ROI promises in every client contract. Attribution works, but only if you follow established industry standards.

Could you elaborate more on the recent recognition by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB)?

It’s been far too long that Marketers have been given the short end of the stick — one day they have budget and then it’s taken away, so Finance can ‘hit their numbers’. We’re working with the MASB to move Marketing up to the same level as Finance and get the recognition it deserves at the board level. Most marketers are shocked to learn that less than 3 percent of all public company boards have a representative from Marketing and MASB is all about changing that. We’re excited to be working with MASB members to improve marketing accountability and recognition.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

We use Salesforce in combination with Outreach, Zoom and Slack. We also rely heavily on a number of proprietary tools for our Sales Automation needs.

What are the biggest challenges in advancing into the accountable marketing practices? How does C3 Metrics help customers on this front?

The biggest challenge in advancing accountable marketing practices is not the technology or the know-how, it’s the ability of the team to adapt to utilizing technology in a way which guides their decisions. Everyone wants better measurement and ROI, but to do so requires an organizational shift, which has to come from the analyst level all the way up to the board. That’s where our team of professionals and dedicated resources come in — we’re there to help that paradigm make its way through an organization.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign from your experience?

We have a B2B client who was targeting enterprise users and spending heavily in all digital channels — predominately in paid search, where they were ‘seeing’ some decent results. They saw minimal ROI in programmatic display and as a result, they decreased their programmatic spend.

When they started working with C3 Metrics, they discovered that programmatic display was actually increasing awareness at the top of their sales funnel and that paid search was simply lower funnel activity that would have come naturally. As a result, they shifted some spend from paid search to programmatic display and saw their cost per lead drop by 25% and leads go up 37% without spending any additional money.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Operations for 2018-2020?

Two major disruptions coming to Marketing Operations are:

1) Unification of Brand & Media Teams. Traditional brand and media metrics live in different worlds and don’t talk to each other. We’re going to see unification of brand metrics with multitouch attribution (MTA), which will finally unify brand and media teams to be working together.

2) MTA Accreditation/Standards to be established. The measurement industry is currently lacking standards, given that accreditation had been non-existent, but the Media Ratings Council has come out with viewability accreditation. With upcoming MTA /Attribution accreditation, marketers will have more confidence and more quickly embrace measurement changes from ‘last click’ to MTA.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

Very impressed with the team at OpenSense and their utilization of email as a marketing channel — in addition to C3 Metrics, Salesforce is also a customer. Also watching Walmart’s digital side — operating like a start-up and on track to massively disrupt Amazon.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

As a leader, you need to keep one eye on the future and dedicate resources to always be testing new technology and integrate where it makes sense. Our team started testing AI a number of years ago and we currently have aspects of AI in both our infrastructure and underlying algorithms. The key is to be constantly testing and looking ahead.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

Technology should assist both your work and home life — not impede in your day-to-day routine. Far too often, we see tech get in the way — we see that daily in our business. You’re working, trying to do your job and all of a sudden, there’s a new ‘tool’ that is supposed to help you do your job better. It may help — but there’s a learning curve and it becomes a major hassle as you do your day job plus learn this new tech. Part of my job is to help this transition and demonstrate how tech (if used properly) can save countless hours each week and provide more time to think, relax and enhance your life.

One word that best describes how you work.


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I’ve fallen in love with my Apple Watch. Blown away with the new ECG feature and encouraged to see future medical integrations — it’s like we’re finally living in the era of The Jetsons! Can’t live without SnagIt — this simple screenshot/video tool from TechSmith is in constant use and my Sonos helps turn our home into a nightly 80’s dance party.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Hiring an executive assistant to handle all my email and calendar related duties — shout out to Jen Fox, my lifeline to the virtual world of email hell. You don’t know how much your productivity is hindered until you realize how much time you spend answering emails and managing your calendar. The constant interruptions hinder your ability to focus and actually take time to think about the future of your company (and your life).

What are you currently reading?

I’m in the middle of two books ‘Benjamin Franklin: An American Life’ by Walter Isaacson on my Kindle and ‘The Art of Fermentation’ by Sandor Katz in the hardback version. The New York Times is my daily paper (also on my Kindle) and the rest of my news tends to come from Hacker News.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received is “It’s a temporary situation.” Incredible advice for both bad and good times. When you’re in the middle of an awful scenario (which happens a lot in business), it’s great to be able to remind yourself that the awfulness is temporary and will soon change — sometimes for the better, other times for worse — but it’s never stationary.

When times are great, it’s even more important to remind yourself that this too is temporary, yet with proper guidance can continue in the right direction. This mindset helps you keep one foot in the present and the other one always navigating the future.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

The secret to my success has been to constantly reinvent myself by always learning. Life is a long journey, filled with many types of people and challenges. Success is the result of confronting difficult situations with both skill and knowledge.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Tim Barnes, Chief Data Officer at AT&T advertising and Analytics

Keith Block, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce

Gary Laben, CEO Dynata/Research Now/SSI

This article originally appeared in Martech Advisor

How To Adapt When Data Suppliers Change The Landscape

In a move to more adequately protect consumer privacy, Google recently announced that its Chrome browser will no longer support third-party tracking cookies “within two years.” In its place, the walled garden unveiled its “Privacy Sandbox” initiative.

While advertisers have used cookies as a key mechanism to target audiences and track consumers online, let’s all admit that the eventual drop of third-party cookies comes as no surprise to anyone in adtech. The move comes after the ad industry took advantage of the benefits of cookies to reach audiences more efficiently and bit off more than the public wanted. Then, Cambridge Analytica outraged the world, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I work with enterprise clients seeking multitouch attribution (MTA), and we stopped relying on cookies three years ago because we knew this was coming.

This is hardly the first time that walled gardens have disrupted the ad ecosystem. Remember when Google launched and, somewhat overnight, became the go-to browser for internet users around the world? Hungry companies seeking mass audiences for their wares flocked to optimize their ranking and buy search keywords to get on the first page for the word “shoes,” for example. Those first movers raked in millions from their quick thinking, never anticipating that Google would eventually disrupt their entire business plan with updates to its search algorithms. Well, Google did, and the behemoth will continue to do so at an even more frequent pace.

Remember, just because a Google or Amazon—or any other data supplier—is part of your process doesn’t mean that you’re reciprocally part of their process. This will certainly not be the last time that data suppliers “break” the system and disrupt the way advertisers and their partners market products and services. Here are three things you can do to ensure those who fundamentally impact your business don’t blow it up when they change the rules:

Change Your Attitude

You should adopt an attitude that any third-party data or third-party process you are relying upon can change on a dime. It’s also important to note that data providers making business-level decisions will not halt pivoting their product strategies just because you have a signed multiyear agreement in place guaranteeing access and use of their data. If their business plans shift, your company will be impacted. It’s as simple as that. Advertisers, agencies and their adtech partners all need to adopt an attitude that crucial data supplies may be shut off and have a plan in place for every possible aftershock.

Hire Really Smart, Innovative Thinkers

By assuming the inevitable, you’ll have the right mindset to plan for what will surely happen. Find the right people to help you future-proof your business. You need to find and bring in really smart, innovative people from the outside into your organization to disrupt and reignite how work is done. All businesses need futurists on staff who are thinking about what’s next rather than the “right now.” These innovators aren’t going to be set in their ways or expect the status quo to hum along as it did in the past.

If you are currently relying on a tremendous number of outside sources and your business has been built that way, there’s probably a 95% chance there is no one at your company currently who can solve the problem of what to do when your data supplies are shut off and how to work around not having that data. Why? Because it’s highly likely that your current team does not know any other way to operate, whereas innovative newcomers with a startup mentality can better see beyond the routines, systems and processes that employees often become entwined to.

Don’t Catastrophize

Don’t freak out. If you have customers, and if you’ve done a great job solving their problems to date, you will get your smart people in a room and find ways around data supplies changing or drying up.

There’s a silver lining in moves like Google killing off its cookies: At least the playing field is even. While you’re being cut off, everyone is also being impacted. Unfortunately, startups and emerging businesses will be most impacted given fewer resources needed to quickly adapt. We can only hope Google and other data suppliers spare a thought—and provide a plan—for those who are less prepared and financially able to react and pivot to save their businesses before bank accounts run dry.

Regardless, if you are the one people turn to for reaching audiences more efficiently, then they’re certainly looking to you for a solution now. Go out and find it if you haven’t already.

This article originally appeared in Forbes

Bloomberg Technology Interview On Single’s Day

Shery Ahn
Great record sales for Alibaba and yet investors don’t seem to be impressed. The stock actually fell and Baird now saying that sales saw a meaningful deceleration from 2018 levels. What’s your take?

Jeff Greenfield
It’s definitely a deceleration compared to previous years, but the key is that if you look at the growth since they started pushing on Singles Day, it’s absolutely incredible.

We shouldn’t be too impressed with the dollars, the big story here is the data: how they’re able to do it and when you look on comparison – when you look at the number of people that Alibaba shoppers have and you compare that to the US population, Prime Day and Black Friday it is actually not that far behind. The numbers with Alibaba are much much larger, but there’s so many more people.

The big story here is the data and what happens with the data for retailers in the US.

Kurt Wagner
I’m curious when you talk about that data. Give us a sense of why that’s so valuable to Alibaba especially in the growing field here of e-commerce players. What does that kind of data give them that someone like an Amazon for example might not get through prime or do they get that through Prime Day?

Jeff Greenfield
They do get it through Prime Day. The key here is understanding how that data has an impact for advertisers. There’s a lot of advertisers here in the US and a lot of big companies that traditionally don’t have access to that data. For example, CPG companies – like a cleaner
or soap company – they don’t have access to that data and advertisers are finally waking up and that’s why you’re seeing that a lot of advertisers are now jumping onboard and realizing that in
order to get that data they need to have a relationship with the consumer.

If you look at Tide for example – they have gone and started acquiring cleaners around the country so they can actually have that ‘one-to-one’ relationship.


For a lot of people in this country, their local cleaner is now called Tide Cleaners.

The other side to that data and why it’s so important, is that consumers today want a curated
experience. Consumers don’t want to just walk into a mall and have everything that’s for sale there and that’s why we’ve seen companies like Stitch Fix start to explode like crazy.

This idea that you can get exactly what fits you, exactly what you need, what’s made for you, to come to your home every single month – that’s what consumers today want and that’s where retailers really seem to kind of miss the message.

If you walk into a mall today – you’re really walking into a graveyard of brands that have not
caught up and are not taking advantage and looking forward with business intelligence.

Shery Ahn
When it comes to Alibaba though, there’s always some questions about what the Single’s Day sale means for their bottom line. There has been some accounting scrutiny over Alibaba here in the US, so what do we know about how much this actually contributes to their business?

Jeff Greenfield
That’s a great question – because at the end of the day in order to get that many consumers to purchase that large number of goods, there’s a lot of deep discounting that goes on. Across the world, consumers all still want one thing – they want a huge bargain and that’s why sales are so big. That’s a big question that we’re not going to find out today in terms of what it’s going to impact their bottom line – but believe me there’s a lot of discounting that went on there.

Kurt Wagner
You talked a lot about making sure that this experience for consumers is moving towards this idea of being personalized. How do you kind of align that with what we’re seeing from social platforms like an Instagram or a Pinterest that’s trying to be both spontaneous and also personalized at the same time?

Jeff Greenfield
Social platforms are a whole different aspect in terms of data. The big problem that these platforms have is they can personalize as much as they want but they’re not actually selling anything so they’re missing that link between commerce. Think about it in terms of Facebook – the only thing they’re selling are ads. They’re really just selling your information. Google
themselves are also not selling anything at all – all they’re selling is your information. They’re missing that link that Amazon actually has.

Amazon is in an amazing and powerful situation because not only do they have that data, not only
are they selling ads, but they also have goods that they’re able to sell.

It wouldn’t surprise me when you start to look at Facebook and Google with the amount of cash they have, that they would be looking to make an acquisition for some shopping platform. They need to have a direct connection to commerce in order to really take full advantage of all the data they have.

Shery Ahn
How are we expecting the Singles Day performance to help when it comes to that Hong Kong IPO share sale of 15 billion dollars that could come any day now for Alibaba?

Jeff Greenfield
Investors should be somewhat impressed with those numbers. They probably aren’t that impressed that the growth wasn’t as high as the years before, but I think what’s going to be interesting more than even what happens with Alibaba is how does this impressive number with Singles Day – what does it do for the economy here in the US and what what’s going to happen in Q4 as we move towards the shopping season here?

Are we gonna see a 25 percent jump? We should.

If we don’t see as much of a jump what that tells us is that Alibaba is really taking better advantage of their data than the retailers here in the US.

Shery Ahn
It’s all about that data and analytics and Jeff thank you so much. That was Jeff Greenfield joining us from C3 Metrics. This is Bloomberg.

In-Home Delivery: Welcome To The Brave New World Of Store-To-Home

Did you ever think we’d reach a tech-enabled retail revolution where groceries would be delivered not only to our front doors, but inside our refrigerators? Starting this fall, Walmart is doing just that with its InHome grocery delivery service. The new service heats up the in-home delivery market, and follows first mover Amazon, which offers in-home delivery inside customers’ front doors, as well as in-car delivery and in-garage delivery.

While these two retailers have high expectations for moving beyond the mailbox — believing that consumers will be willing to sacrifice their privacy in the name of convenience — store-to-fridge represents a new frontier of delivery, breaching the barrier of privacy to our butter, bread and berries. In-home delivery presents an opportunity for retailers to set themselves apart from their competitors and increase market share. But, given the privacy and security risks, in-home delivery services must be cleverly executed.

Amazon pioneered in-home delivery with its Key by Amazon service. Key by Amazon is a connected door lock and security system that allows package carriers into the home via the Amazon app to drop packages inside of a homeowner’s front door. The app alerts consumers of pending deliveries with a series of status notifications and provides users with the option to live-watch the delivery in progress and/or view a video clip of the delivery post-event. Amazon’s drivers are instructed to knock before requesting to unlock customers’ doors via their Amazon handheld scanner. As home access is provided via Amazon’s smart lock and app, the e-commerce giant does not need to share sensitive codes or keys with its drivers. Once the delivery is complete, the homeowner’s door is relocked, and security is contacted if lock issues arise.

While Amazon seeks permission to access customer entryways, Walmart wants permission to walk beyond that threshold to consumer kitchens and fridges. Allowing delivery workers so much farther into American homes could breach the last barrier of privacy.

Walmart understands that consumer privacy and safety is paramount to its success. Similar to Amazon’s home access model, the retail giant announced that it will use smart door lock and smart garage door kits and equip workers with body cameras to ease consumer concerns about strangers entering their homes. In addition, Walmart says it will ensure that employees have at least 12 months on the job before being allowed to enter consumers’ homes. Walmart will also include short bios of each worker within its delivery app to personalize the experience and begin to create loyal customers who will trust this service for all of their shopping needs.

But, as Uber and Lyft have painfully learned, extensive background checks and training for those in contact with customers is rarely enough. The ride-hailing companies have experienced a string of disturbing ride app incidents involving drivers. Uber has since launched an investigational unit devoted solely to driver misconduct, and it says it enforces a “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Meanwhile, ride-hailing company Lyft is under fire in a new lawsuit for reportedly mishandling what is being called a “sexual predator crisis” involving its drivers.

And there are widespread issues that arise from retailers’ use of smart home and video technologies too. Just last month a California father’s Nest camera was allegedly hijacked by woman threatening to steal his 18-month-old son. Last month a criminal reportedly used compromised passwords to hack a family’s camera security system to turn up their thermostat and play obscene music. Igniting further concern, security experts confirmed that no smart lock is perfect and demonstrated the ease of hacking various smart lock brands back in 2016 and shared a slew of smart home security flaws in recent months. Amazon’s Key by Amazon Smart Lock Kit has been the subject of numerous hacking news stories, and I believe that Walmart’s Level Lock could potentially have a similar fate.

Another quandary yet to even be considered by brands, the advertising community and regulators alike is how do retailers venturing into in-home delivery address in-home privacy in a GDPR and CCPA compliant world? The laws are not yet written, yet retailers entering homes will have access to highly personal information that can help them to further personalize interactions and communications with their consumers.

For example, if the bodycam footage of an Amazon or Walmart delivery worker notices, through artificial video recognition intelligence, that a customer is running low on Sir Kensington’s ketchup, should the retailers offer the highest paying bidder the opportunity to deliver a coupon for Hunt’s or Heinz ketchup? Does this action create a privacy concern? Does it violate the trust a customer has built with the company? Or is it simply something that consumers could find creepy? This remains to be seen. In the meanwhile, as a best practice, I recommend that all data should be frequently deleted, and brands should tread very carefully around using consumer data gained in-home until lawmakers play catch-up.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

Are The Hurdles For Outcomes-Based Measurement Surmountable?

Today, marketers are being held accountable for their organizational bottom line more than ever before. With transparency increasing across marketing departments and businesses, brand leaders are being asked to track every dollar spent and demonstrate to finance leads how they are impacting revenue.

This reality, in tandem with marketer concern about how many of their ads are actually being seen by human beings — and prominent researchers like Dr. Augustine Fou outlining a bleak outlook for dollars wasted due to digital ad fraud — has pushed both viewability standards and outcome-based attribution measurement to the forefront.

The Biggest Hurdle

True outcomes-based measurement means being able to look holistically at your marketing channels, while filtering fraud and viewability at the individual user level and accurately connecting devices across the user journey. The key challenge for agencies, sellers and brands seeking outcomes-based measurement, at scale, is the lack of an omnichannel measurement platform with reliable protections in place. Accurate outcomes-based measurement requires a gold-standard multitouch attribution (MTA) solution complete with the bells and whistles of filtering fraud and viewability across devices to determine true incrementality.

Marketers need a lot of information because they’re looking for proven cause and effect metrics and essentially putting their jobs on the line and telling finance, “When will you give me more money? I’m spending it on X. It’s going to drive Y more dollars, and it will generate Z more profit.” So, with those stakes in mind, it’s important to be absolutely certain that your predictive models will perform as promised.

Set Realistic Outcomes

Much of marketing today is predicated on key performance indicators (KPIs), such as views, engagement and clicks, that are not always directly tied to revenue. For example, an auto manufacturer like Ford or Toyota might be focused on driving leads for their dealers. But, technically, that lead is not worth anything in terms of revenue.

With MTA — identifying an individual and stitching together a consumer’s journey anonymously — marketers are able to accurately tie that lead to revenue. Those automakers are then also able to ascertain which individuals end up buying the most expensive cars and track their outcomes in terms of revenue to actual action.

And that’s really what the goal is here!

There is always a path to outcomes — even for notoriously difficult industries like pharmaceutical brands. With today’s advanced MTA technology, you can track almost any KPI back to real revenue with the right platform. And, at the end of the day, we have to remember that leads don’t mean anything to finance, but revenue certainly does.

Know What Can’t Be Measured And Create Workarounds

Some sectors, like consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, may require sampling to get information that cannot be obtained at the user level, but outcomes-based measurement is possible. Additionally, in a scurry for user-level data, I have seen a lot of CPG companies now moving very aggressively to have direct relationships with consumers — take Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, for example. Other resourceful CPG brands, like Tide, have cleverly worked around their lack of user-level data by launching and acquiring dry cleaning businesses around the country, enabling a direct one-to-one consumer relationship.

Industry Standards Are Necessary

Right now, every company has its own standards, and there’s no consensus in place for marketers or their agencies. Until industry attribution standards are agreed upon, wide-scale adoption of outcomes-based advertising approaches will be slower than marketers desire.

It’s challenging for companies delivering metrics to agree on standards and change the way that they do business for the greater good. Some attribution and outcome-based measurement businesses will struggle to adapt to the standards mandated by the industry. To prepare yourself for those new standards and develop outcomes-based measurement in your own organization, start with the following:

Perform A Geo-Based Hold-Out Test: This is often considered the gold standard, where you test one media channel versus your baseline in similar regions to demonstrate the incremental value of running a specific media channel to your organization.

Determine Your Time To Financial Impact: Extend your hold-out test for up to 90 days (or longer) to calculate how long it takes for consumers who are engaging with your media to have a financial impact on your organization. Remember that some channels may impact higher in the consumer funnel and may take up to six months or longer to have an impact.

Eventually, my prediction is that we should anticipate a shakeup in the attribution space as the inevitable takes place. In the meantime, you and your business should do everything within your power to stay up to date on these changing expectations.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

Why CCPA Is In Desperate Need Of Some Marie Kondoing

California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, filed a petition in early November that marks an investigation by California into Facebook’s privacy practices. Meanwhile, privacy legislation is still in motion. There was yet another announcement about potential changes to CCPA per a statewide ballot measure submitted in September. The plan would give Californians new data rights, place new requirements on companies, create opt-out provisions and add restrictions on access to information about consumers below 16 years of age. Notably, the submitted plan includes the creation of a data protection agency for Californians with the power to enforce the law and issue new regulations.

I believe the decision to establish an enforcement agency will provide a much-needed infrastructure to ensure CCPA compliance. It is also a sign that lawmakers are grappling with the serious undertaking that CCPA enforcement will be.

Enforcement aside, these additional measures once again place businesses in somewhat of a state of limbo. The new ballot measures and the steady stream of regulatory changes could result in an unsteady ground upon which companies can prepare in the countdown to CCPA that is going into effect on January 1, 2020.

I believe CCPA is in need of Marie Kondoing, but the train is still rolling toward the station, and all of these rules will supposedly be finalized and in effect in less than two months. It’s clear to me that most are unprepared — including those who are establishing the rules. After speaking with my colleagues, it’s become evident to me that there is a significant amount of uncertainty and a lot of confusion among businesses, not only on the adtech data side of the house, but among agencies, advertisers and those analyzing others’ data.

Because we know that CCPA today may not be CCPA tomorrow, we’re hanging on the edge of a void. I personally cannot wait for national legislation to finally come into effect. But until then, here are some questions about CCPA that I have heard and what they mean for businesses.


Companies should make certain that they’re giving notice to consumers about their data and provide consumers with the opportunity to tell them four things: “Yes, you can use my data,” “Show me what you have on me,” “What you have on me is not correct; I want to change it or amend it,” and “Don’t sell my data.”

We know that these disclosures and options need to be on our websites — visible and in plain sight — but I have yet to see any guidance on how big the disclosures need to be or what precisely they need to say.

How To Validate That A Person Is Who They Say They Are

Because of GDPR, many companies have mechanisms in place that allow removal requests. But, I haven’t seen any guidance yet in terms of how consumers are supposed to get in touch with you or how companies are to correctly validate that the person (who is saying, “Destroy my data,” or “Don’t sell my data”) is who they say they are.

There’s no system set up for that just yet. So someone can hypothetically come and say, “I’m Jeff Greenfield, and I’m a California resident, and you have data on me. Show me what you have.” Yet, how is a mere website owner supposed to know that you actually are a California resident without asking you to provide additional information about yourself? Or, how can they even know that you in fact are who you say you are? Will consumers need to provide a driver’s license to validate they are who they say they are?

That has not yet been made clear to the community at large.

Provisions For Kids And Teens

We know that the new CCPA proposal would require marketers and companies to obtain opt-in permission before collecting data from consumers younger than 16. We also know that the new proposal would require a company to obtain parent or guardian permission to collect data from consumers who are younger than 13. But how are companies supposed to know who is the actual parent or guardian of a minor under 13? And how do we validate that the consumer is younger than 16?

Unclear Definitions

There’s a lot of meandering because — even assuming validation systems will be put in place — consumers should have the option to say, “Don’t sell my data.” However, definitions are unclear. For instance, what is the definition of “selling data”? For example, it may be unlikely, but does “selling data” include analytics providers who are paid to analyze that data?

National Legislation

Yes, it seems like quite a mess, but history tells us that being privacy-compliant will become less complex and more straightforward — eventually. Legislation often first emerges at the state level, is then adopted by several states, and is then followed by national regulation. For example, several local lawmakers have enacted or proposed regulations around the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement. Earlier this year California passed the Body Camera Accountability Act, which bans law enforcement from using facial recognition software for the next three years, and only recently was a new federal bill announced to restrict federal police’s use of facial recognition across the United States.

I believe state-by-state legislation for privacy is a mere Band-Aid solution. The only approach that’s going to be viable for the advertising technology business is likely federally mandated protection at the national level akin to the broad-sweeping GDPR regulations. The technology economy is simply not set up at the state level. Until then, even Marie Kondo can’t help us make sense of this.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

The Impact of Losing Third Party Cookies On MTA & the Advertising Ecosystem

Google’s announcement about the removal of third-party cookies sent shockwaves thru both the advertising world and Wall Street.  Is this an Attribution Apocalypse or a necessary cleanse to the advertising ecosystem?

The changes and potential impact was the topic of an industry conference call held with Shyam Patil, Internet Analyst, at Susquehanna Securities and C3 Metrics Co-Founder and Chief Attribution Officer, Jeff Greenfield.

Shyam Patil:
I’m Shyam Patil, the Internet Analyst at Susquehanna. Welcome to our conference call with Jeff Greenfield, Co-Founder and Chief Attribution Officer at C3 Metrics. If anyone in the audience has any questions, please feel free to email them to me during the call. What we’re going to try to do with the structure of this call, we’re going to try to just go through what Google is doing, the time frame, the near term impact to companies. Then we’re going to talk about what happens in a couple of years, talk about some of the specific changes that are going to happen then. And then the impact to companies in the ecosystem at that point. Jeff, you also mentioned that there’s some new information that came out last night, so maybe we can weave that in as well. But to start out, can you talk about exactly what Google is doing and what the time frame is?

Jeff Greenfield:
The big announcement that Google made, is that they will be blocking third-party cookies. This is very similar to the change that’s been made both in Safari and Firefox previously. To really understand it, let’s step back a little bit and talk a little bit about the difference between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie, because that’ll help put a frame of reference on things.

Cookies are part of computer code. They’re how computers and computer language talk to each other. It’s part of JavaScript, it’s part of PHP. This is part of how things operate. So, it’s fascinating that these browsers are actually getting involved in blocking stuff like this.

A first-party cookie is when you go to a website and there’s a certain level of personalization that’s there. You go to Amazon and you’re automatically logged in and they say, “Hi Jeff.” Or you go to the New York Times and you’re automatically logged in. So first-party cookies are cookies that are set by the page that you’re actually on. And those are what make the digital experience an ‘actual’ experience. It’s what makes it comfortable to you and it’s not like you’re starting from ground zero.

A third-party cookie is a cookie that’s set by someone that is not the owner of that website. So if you go to the New York Times and there happens to be an ad there for a shoe company, there may be a cookie that’s set by that shoe company or that is set by that ad server. That’s a third-party cookie, because it’s different than the site that you’re actually on.

The whole digital experience has been about this combination of first-party cookies and third-party cookies and the whole advertising ecosystem, including the ability to target, has been built on third-party cookies. That ecosystem is extended by what you would call a cookie sync. Where, somebody who has first-party cookies syncs with somebody else who has first-party cookies and then they come up with a ‘secondary’ cookie. This secondary cookie would allow them to find individuals based upon their preferences, what type of stuff they’ve bought, maybe their age, maybe some other demographic information. And that’s been the entire basis of the advertising ecosystem.

When Safari and Firefox did away with third-party cookies, it was a hit, but it wasn’t that big of a hit. Primarily because most people around the world tend to access the digital landscape using a Chrome browser. Most companies just shifted most of their targeting over to Chrome, advertisers accepted the fact that Safari was tough to target, but they didn’t worry about it because the vast majority of people were using Chrome.

So this announcement is a big deal.

It’s a real big deal to a lot of companies, and it’s also a huge deal to brands and advertisers. Because in their world, they don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s forced a lot of questions, and it’s causing a lot of people to start to rethink strategies.

Shyam Patil:
Great. That’s a very helpful intro. I know this is a topic that all of us are trying to figure out. If anyone in the audience has questions, just please feel free to email them over to me and I can try to weave them in. Can you talk about, there’s kind of a near term and then there’s what they might do in two years. Can you just talk about right now or in February, what’s going to change?

Jeff Greenfield:
In February, they’re doing a way with non-secure cookies. Most internet traffic today, over the last couple of years, has shifted to what they call ‘SSL’ or a secure socket layer, so that any information that you send across the web, there’s a secure handshake that goes on. So that if you’re logging into your bank, everyone knows that little lock and key you want to see there. Sometimes you go to URLs, the URL name is in green, which means it’s really been validated. And you want to make sure that whenever you’re accessing webpages that the actual webpage itself is totally secure, so that somebody can’t get in the middle and get your information or take your credentials to log in.

For years, a lot of tracking technology and ad servers wouldn’t use SSL primarily because, especially in the early days, to send traffic over the web securely actually cost more money. You needed to get individual IP addresses, which were very costly. And so everybody just used the regular transmission settings.

So what’s happening in February primarily is that, if you have a cookie and it is setting in a non-secure manner, it’s going to be stopped. And so all that means is, is that anyone who’s part of this advertising ecosystem, they just have to make an update. Now, the issue is, is that you may have code that’s on a non-secure page. Most webpages today, if you try to go to the non-secure version, it’ll automatically redirect to the secure version.

But there’s a lot of older webpages that are still out there, that have a lot of older computer code, and you don’t want to be stopped from collecting data from there. What most in the advertising ecosystem are doing is that if their tag is called in a non-secure manner, they’re just going to redirect to the secure one. It’s just a quick update that folks have to do. More than anything else, it’s just a note from Google to the advertising ecosystem that says, “Hey, this is the first thing that’s going to happen.”

This happens in February where non-secure is not going to be allowed. You will have to make some updates to your code. After that, things are going to be the status quo until about two years from now, and that’s when the big change is going to come, and that’s when all third-party cookies are going to be blocked. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but it is a lot of time if you put the right minds behind it. And now there’s an incentive to start thinking differently because if you don’t, your business model is going to be completely gone in terms of how you target, how you track, and how you determine that what you’re doing is actually being effective.

Shyam Patil:
Is this a big deal? Does non-secure change, is that going to be a big deal you think? Is that going to be disruptive?

Jeff Greenfield:
It’s not disruptive. It’s a smart move that people should make. Truth be told, Google should have done this a long time ago. Because what it does is, by having stuff that’s non-secure out there, someone can think that they’re loading one thing and they’re actually loading something else, so there’s not that secure handshake. This quells for the moment some of the transmissions of potential malware and other issues. This is a cleaning house maneuver on behalf of Chrome. They should have done this a while ago. It’s not a big deal for most of the teams that need to do this at all.

Shyam Patil:
I think you already answered this question, but in terms of the near term impacts, so we’re talking changes that are coming into February. What, if any, do you see on the likes of Trade Desk, Criteo, LiveRamp, Facebook, Google, or even some of the advertisers like Booking, any impact to those guys with the changes coming in February?

Jeff Greenfield:
They’ll have zero changes to what’s going on in February. They’ve already adapted to these changes. All of those folks are very sophisticated teams. Most of this should have already been handled ahead of time.

Shyam Patil:
You talked about this a little bit, but maybe to go into more detail. What are the big things that happen in two years? Maybe the specifics there. Maybe you can weave this into your response is just how will user tracking and targeted advertising be done at that point?

Jeff Greenfield:
That’s where things get really interesting. So remember, the entire digital ecosystem has been based upon these third-party cookies. And the reason that they’ve done this is because, let’s say my company is And I’ve got ads that appear across all of these different websites. So if you see an ad on the New York Times and it’s from the ad network, I’m going to set a cookie that’s a third-party cookie. Now when you go to I’m going to be able to see that I just saw you on the New York Times because I’m going to be able to read and write that cookie. I can’t see any New York Times cookie because I’m not on the New York Times page.

So right there is the importance of that third-party cookie – it allows me to see you across all of these different sites. You may read about it where it’s called ‘cross-site tracking’, but it’s part of the nature of third-party cookies. That aspect is going to go away. Companies have all tested and tried different things. Going back in the early days, people were using flash cookies because everybody in the world had Adobe Flash on their systems. And the greatest thing about Flash is that you can put information in Flash and it would always be there. You could always find it. And it was cookie-less, which was great.

Of course Flash is not supported anymore and it stopped working and automatically getting called in the browsers. So that was gone. So then what companies did, is they did what a lot of the fraud companies do, which is digital fingerprinting. And a digital fingerprint looks at a combination of different aspects. So your operating system, your browser and versions, all of that data, all the way up to how many different fonts you have installed on your system.

And what they found is that if they could pull like eight or nine of these different aspects out, they could do a very good job at identifying you on a statistical basis. They wouldn’t know it was absolutely you but could do a good job of identifying a unique computer. Safari and Firefox in particular have done a really good job at stopping that practice and Chrome is also doing that as well, so digital fingerprinting is gone too.

There’s other methods that companies utilize. One of the big building blocks of the internet is the addressable aspect, so that every computer has to be coming from some sort of address, what they would call an IP or an internet protocol address. All IP Addresses are unique and you can link these back to specific households and to specific companies as well. Where it gets difficult is that, if you’re part of a company, everyone at the company appears to becoming from the same IP address. So that makes targeting a little bit difficult.

A lot of companies in the advertising ecosystem are going to start utilizing some sort of proprietary identification, which will be based upon location with some aspects of early digital fingerprinting – such as operating system, browser, etc. In addition, many companies have direct relationships with the sites in which the ads are being served. Criteo is a great example. Criteo works with almost 20,000 publishers. One of the unique selling prospects of Criteo is their direct relationships.

If you go back to the birth of this whole digital ecosystem, it was all about the publishers, the Yahoos of the world. They controlled the ad buying experience for marketers. All of a sudden we got into the programmatic world where it didn’t matter who you were, because everybody was providing inventory for programmatic and we moved away from direct relationships. Back in the early days, every publisher had their own sales force to sell directly to advertisers. As programmatic grew, direct sales (also know as IO sales) started to shrink.

We’re going to see a change back to where publishers are saying, the inventory I have is unique. And the reason for that is because, I know who my readers are, I know what they read, I know where they live, I have all this demographic information on them. And it’s more valuable to me to have a direct relationship with people with advertisers and a direct sales force, versus selling everything via a programmatic exchange.

It doesn’t mean the exchanges are going away, but we’re going to see a move more towards more private exchanges and a move back to direct relationships. With a direct relationship, Criteo can get data from a tracking perspective pushed back to them that will bypass Chrome. And it does that through an API where the publisher themselves will send information back directly to Criteo servers and that’s what’s going to happen.

And what that allows both the publisher and someone like a Criteo to do is to say, “Hey, we’re going to live in our own kind of world, in our own existence.” Because this is the first of many changes to come from these walled gardens. Chrome is not the way that we access the internet. Chrome is an extension of the Google and the Alphabet business strategy. Changes to Chrome at the end of the day, they are always going to be Google’s their best interests. Right now it’s being said that it has to do with privacy, but the reality is, is that this is part of a larger business strategy for Google. And so the key way for tracking for these companies is going to have direct relationships. That’s going to be their best method. Companies that don’t have direct relationship and don’t have scale, they’re going to struggle. They’re definitely going to have some problems.

Shyam Patil:
Cross-site cookie tracking. Can you just talk about why that’s important now, and then what impact this will have in two years, and who do you think is going to be impacted the most?

Jeff Greenfield:
Cross-site cookie tracking is the purpose of these third-party cookies. It allows me to track you across as many different sites as you go. As long as my ad is there and my code is there, I can track you all the way across the entire ecosystem, wherever you go. And what that allows me to do, is it allows me to make sure that I’m giving you the right frequency, that I’m not showing you 80 ads a day. It allows me to write a better experience from a brand perspective, which I know most of you on the call are probably laughing about, because that’s been one of the complaints the longest time about the web is that the experience should be incredible. With all of this technology, I should have such a positive experience with brands.

But typically what ends up happening, is a crappy experience.

I go to a place and I make a purchase – so they know that I made the purchase and their partners should know that I make the purchase, but now I get bombarded with ads for the next two weeks. And somebody is wasting somebody else’s money.

In the early days of the internet, efficiency was really, really important. And whenever someone would make a purchase, they used to call it an ‘unpixel’. It was a special piece of code that got fired to let all the partners know that this person made a purchase, stop showing them ads at least for 30 days. It depended upon the frequency of purchases. But don’t show them anymore ads because they just bought today. They’re not going to come back and buy again, but that doesn’t even happen these days.

So it’s funny because, this is going to impact the ad experience, which I think actually needs an overhaul and that’s what consumers really feel about it. That’s going to be the biggest impact is the ability to deliver ads in a targeted manner. And what’s happened is, is that you can get really micro targeted. And a lot of advertisers in a lot of brands, they get really turned on by this. Because I can actually go right now in the world of cross-site cookies, and I can go and I can find individuals who have purchased with the competitor within the last three months, and put it on a major credit card. Now none of that stuff is online, but what’s happened is companies like MasterCard and Visa, they are taking their data they have on consumers. They are matching it into a cookie pool to sync up. When you go and buy ads, you can buy segments of individuals.

And that sounds like wow, the more targeting you do. So you can find people whose lease is about to expire on their truck and this is the third truck that they’ve owned. You would think, “Wow, I’m going to target these people. My sales are going to go through the roof.” And yes, these people do buy. But the problem is this – not only do you have the cost of the ad itself, but now you have the cost of the data on top of it. Now all of this operates in this world of third-party cookies. And the cost of that data sometimes triples the cost of the actual advertising.

And what a lot of advertisers have found is that, this is a really cool thing to talk about. People get very, very excited about it, but the cost is so obscene that it makes profits kind of disappear. So yes, I can acquire customers, but it’s at a cost that is too costly for me to continue to do that strategy. And that’s part of the problem.

So that process is going to disappear. Those companies that are out there that have this data, they’re now going to have to find another way, in order to link that data up. It’s going to impact the ability to target. It’s going to be gone unless they find other ways and it’s going to impact the ability to deliver on the frequency. So all of a sudden, if these companies didn’t figure things out, you would start to see tons more ads or you wouldn’t see any ads at all. Obviously you’re going to see ads, so chances are you’re going to see a lot more ads.

Shyam Patil:
I’ve got a bunch of questions from the audience, but before I get to those, I wanted to just talk one more change just conversion measurement. You talked about this a little bit earlier. There’s also a change that Google made recently. Can you just talk about what’s happening with conversion measurement in two years, and what’s going to be the impact?

Jeff Greenfield:
Conversion measurement means the actual outcome. Advertisers buy ads because they want to lead to some sort of conversion. In the world of e-commerce, it’s an actual purchase, in the world of B2B and branding, it may be some other KPI (key performance indicator).

Most companies that have operated in this space, when they sell ads, they typically provide two tags. They provide a tag to put on every single page on the site, which is a retargeting tag. So I know that when people have been to the page, I can go and find them and I can find them on a cross-site cookie basis, so that’s going to kind of go away. And the other piece is a tag that goes on the conversion page or the action page where whatever your KPI is and I provide a tag to go there. That also historically has been a third-party cookie as well too, so I can identify these people that have actually purchased.

A lot of companies have switched to first-party cookies.

Facebook has done that.

They primarily did that to get around the whole Safari change so they could still get conversion information. This is definitely going to impact the smaller companies out there – they are going to have to update to first-party cookies so they can actually get that information. I see them definitely doing that. Part of the larger picture of conversion tracking, is this movement of the digital landscape impacting sales and the retail world off of the digital world.

Because remember, most of commerce still happens in the brick and mortar. And we’re starting to see more and more brands move into brick and mortar. We saw Amazon move and purchase Whole Foods. We’ve seen a lot of strictly a digital brands do the same – Warby Parker is one of them. They keep opening retail shops. Indochino, a suit brand for men, they have retail shops as well. You don’t actually buy anything in the shop, but you try things on and then you make your order digitally.

So the ability to link those two together for outside third parties, that is typically been a link that’s been done by syncing a series of third-party cookies together, that’s going to be impacted. That’s incredibly important, because more and more you have companies like Facebook and Google that are wanting to demonstrate that buying ads in the digital world, the virtual world where they live can impact sales in store. You buy ads on Facebook, people are going to go buy furniture at the Ashley Store. Or if you advertise, we can send people into Home Depot. So being able to connect those two together historically has been done through third-party a lot of times utilizing LiveRamp or using some sort of proprietary tool without those third-party cookies, they’re going to have to try other ways to link together.

Jeff Greenfield:
The other impact it was just reported on, is this blockage into the app world. Think about it, if I’m a brand and I buy an ad on Google on page search, I’m usually driving people to my website. So when somebody clicks and they come from Google, I can see that they came from Google, so I know my clicks are working. When somebody goes and they click and I’m sending them to download my app to the app store and when they’re there, how do I know that click actually happened? And then how do I get information out of the app store?

Jeff Greenfield:
So there’s certain app providers, one of the largest is AppsFlyer. Traditionally what they do with someone like a Google or an Apple is they say, “Hey, when that user clicks, send me a click at the same time. Either redirect through me. So when someone clicks, send them to AppsFlyer real quick and then we’ll redirect to where they’re supposed to go. Or send me a click at the same time.” And so what Google is now said is, “Hey, we’re not going to do that anymore. We’re not going to send you information on every single click. We’ll send you information for people who actually downloaded something. When somebody converts and they download an app, you send us the data you have on them and we’ll tell you what they clicked.”

Jeff Greenfield:
So it’s moving to this model where these walls are getting higher and higher, and they’re saying, trust us. It’s important in business to trust, but you also have to verify and you have to validate. And when those walls are up, it’s impossible to verify and validate. And that’s the problem.

Jeff Greenfield:
And the app world is not going away. The app world is getting much, much bigger. It’s billions of dollars a year and lots and lots of money is being spent in the app world, to not only to get people to download the app but get people to utilize the app. And so this is another way for the walls to come up from Google.

Shyam Patil:
Can you talk about companies going from being third-party to being first-party cookies? Can you just talk how companies are able to do that? And then I have a few follow ups on that.

Jeff Greenfield:
It’s just a matter of how the computer code work. The key is, is that in order to write a first-party cookie, it can only happen through JavaScript that sits on the side as a piece of computer code, so you have to have JavaScript.

Jeff Greenfield:
A lot of companies historically when they traffic out their code to go onsite, it’s typically what they call a one by one image tag. Image tags can only write third-party cookies. An image tag gets called, it doesn’t interact with the browser and it’ll call my information and that’s it. But if I put a piece of JavaScript code on the site, can also, if I’m in New York Times, can read and write New York Times cookies, and I can also read and write cookies. So it lets me do both first-party and third-party cookies.

Jeff Greenfield:
For years, Google analytics was third-party cookies, because that’s how the whole advertising ecosystem worked was on third-party cookies. They moved to first-party cookies a number of years ago. Facebook, when Safari did away with third-party cookies, Facebook quickly moved to first-party cookies. They still have the option from a privacy aspect I believe, where your pixel that you put on the page can be third-party cookies. I’m sure that’s going to be go away and it’s going to be all first-party.

Jeff Greenfield:
So it’s just a matter of moving from a one by one image tag to a piece of JavaScript. and so it’s just a matter of re trafficking, which is a little bit of a workflow. But over the next two years, that’s not going to be an issue for a lot of folk. But they’re going to want all of the members of this ecosystem, will at least be wanting to get that first- party data themselves when they’re on a publisher site. So they’ll mostly be writing first-party cookies.

Shyam Patil:
Another question. So sites like Facebook, Snap and others use pixel for targeting remarketing attribution, however those guys impacted by the Facebook as a pixel on Zappos and they can use that today to remarket on their app or tell whether there was a conversion, will that still be possible in a couple of years? What will happen there?

Jeff Greenfield:
And that example with Facebook having a tag on Zappos, that tag will be a first-party cookie, which will send information back to Facebook on that user. So they’ll still be able to target people using first-party cookies because remember, they have that relationship with that site. Because remember, it’s Zappos that went and said, “Hey, I want to enable this behavior so that I want to retarget within my Facebook feed.” So they’ll be able to send that information back and forth.

Jeff Greenfield:
Even if Google came along and decided to do away with that, then Facebook would set up an API, where Zappos would send information server to server. So that when someone landed on the Zappos site, there would be a little piece of computer code that would send information directly back in the background from Zappos to Facebook, essentially would bypass the whole Chrome and Google environment.

Shyam Patil:
Another question is, you talked about the direct relationship structure. You’ve talked about it quite a bit just now and then you talked about it earlier with Criteo. What’s the mechanics of that? Do you have to go one by one to the publishers? How many direct ties will retailers and publishers just generally have?

Jeff Greenfield:
Someone like a Criteo, when you start to see the shifting landscape of what’s happened, remember years ago I was a publisher and I would write great content that would get spidered and people would find me. And I would typically get found in the yahoos of the world and now the Googles of the world because that’s where people went to go find stuff. And Google because they’re constantly changing their business strategy over the years, when you now go to that Google page, 80 to 90% of what shows up on your screen at any one time is ads.

Jeff Greenfield:
In fact, it was just a shift that was made with how now the ad display, the little picture next to the ad where it says ad is now smaller than it ever was. The ads aren’t a different color. It’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the ad and the organic content. And so now if I’m a publisher, the chances of me getting found in Google and counting on that strategy is nonexistent.

Jeff Greenfield:
In fact, we just read about a local Boston company, TripAdvisor, because of a Google update they’ve been now moved to the second page. Publishers can’t rely upon a strategy anymore and they’re starting to realize that folks like Facebook, where five years ago publishers built up a whole Facebook strategy, they started working with them and then Facebook’s business strategy changed as well too. They’re realizing that they’re an island on their own. And they need to build content and make content that is right for their readers. They need to understand who the people are that are coming to visit them. That’s the whole purpose behind the paywall besides getting revenue from it, the real purpose is, that the more I can learn about you, the more I can create content for you and deliver the data that you want.

Jeff Greenfield:
And then an extension of that is having a direct relationship, not only with the brands that I work with, but also the partners and having a sharing relationship so that we can both thrive in this world of wall gardens. Essentially creating my own little sort of walled garden, if you will, because I can’t count on the ever evolving business strategy of Google and Facebook to deliver the traffic that they used to. I need to find ways to create my own audience and curate it.

Jeff Greenfield:
Yes. To answer your question, you have to go one by one to each one of these. The larger ones is just like an advertising relationship. They’re meeting with them on a regular basis. There’s two sides to the house there at Criteo, there’s the side that’s selling the ad, and then there’s the side that’s developing these longterm relationships. I’ve long said for many years that Criteo has thought it was a one trick pony, because all they’re doing is they’re delivering these dads to advertisers. But as their strategy continues to grow and evolve and the strategies of Google and Facebook evolve, and these relationships that they have with publishers where they’re actually delivering revenue to these folks, I could see where they could expand even more so, and provide even better tools for publishers that help improve their revenue.

Jeff Greenfield:
And I think that could be an interesting growth area for them, because that’s something that these publishers desperately need and they need a partner and Criteo’s proven to be a partner for them. So that’s a separate side of the house that most people on the marketing side don’t see, but they definitely have it in order to keep those relationships as strong as they are.

Shyam Patil:
It sounds like in the new framework with privacy sandbox on the Google [inaudible [00:31:31] that you don’t expect much impact to one-to-one retargeting. You don’t think guys like or Criteo are going to be impacted, because the likes of Criteo will be able to get their first-party cookies embedded in publisher sites. Is that a fair summary?

Jeff Greenfield:
Yeah, and their ability to create their own unique proprietary identifier. They’re also sitting on top of massive amounts of data. They’ve got the smartest and the brightest minds in the world. And not only that, it’s not like Google is pulling the rug out from under them and saying, “Hey, this is happening on Monday, guys. Good luck.” Yeah. If that were to happen, that would definitely be a problem. But two years, two years in the world of digital, that’s like 25 years in the world of brick and mortar. That’s a lot of time. A huge amount of time.

Shyam Patil:
Maybe more specifically on Trade Desk, had another question come in. It doesn’t sound like you expect much impact at Trade Desk, because of the talent they have as well as their unified ID, their own identifiers. Specifically on Trade Desk, is that going to be their solution, the unified ID that they have? Is there something else? And do you think they could lose share to Google’s DSP? Could Google’s DSP be advantaged by in any way by this? Or do you think they could lose share to Amazon’s DSP? Can you just talk about what Trade Desk solution is going to be or what you think it might be? And then, if they could lose share in the landscape to either Google or Amazon?

Jeff Greenfield:
The biggest issue that Trade Desk is going to have is, is not in two years, but it’s right now. And it’s the confusion this has created across brands and across advertisers. It’s forcing a lot of them to start rethinking their strategies.

Jeff Greenfield:
The problem is for a lot of them, they’re utilizing the Google ad server and they’re part of that stack, so it’s always a question of do I go all in on this? Or is it better to use different components? Trade Desk over time could actually gain share, as long as they handle the PR aspect, which is to instill confidence in advertisers that, “Hey, we’ve got our unified ID. This is going to work.” You want to be independent. That’s the biggest thing is that you don’t want to be dependent on Google to deliver everything.

Jeff Greenfield:
In terms of Amazon, Amazon has done a really good job of enabling that search. People tend to forget how powerful search is and why Google became the pipe that it is. It’s because their search functionality was so much better than Yahoo’s. So now start to think, when you go to search for a product on Google and the results that you get versus when you go to search on Amazon and the results that you get, what is more visual? What provides you better information? You only have to do it a couple times and then all of a sudden your behavior starts to change. Most people probably start to search first now and Amazon. And so as a result, that’s a pipe that Amazon hasn’t really started to monetize just yet. They’re just starting to do a little bit. It’s like the early days of Google when they started a first putting up their ads.

Jeff Greenfield:
The difference that Amazon has and the value that Amazon has over Google is not only can they put up little ads and start to monetize it just a little bit, but once you’re using that pipe, anything you buy from there, they get a piece of it. And not only that, but sometimes they can move you towards, after you’ve clicked on some ads where they’ve made money, you may end up buying a product that they own where they even make a bigger share. And that’s the big piece that the Facebooks of the world and the Google are missing, which is that end piece of commerce. That’s a huge piece that they’re missing that one or more acquisitions that they can make, that would really be a game changer here for them.

Shyam Patil:
So we’ve talked about Trade Desk, we talked about Criteo. LiveRamp, what do you think is going to be the impact to them from this change?

Jeff Greenfield:
LiveRamp right now, they’ve got this identity graph which is pretty incredible. It’s incredible in the sense it’s kind of like Criteo in the aspect that Criteo has 20,000 publishers that are part of their network that believe in Criteo. And LiveRamp has every single member of the digital ecosystem contributing data. You can now take our identity that we establish for our clients and link it up with a million other things. It’s absolutely incredible. And the value that they’ve created is that they’ve gotten everybody together.

Jeff Greenfield:
LiveRamp historically is operated based upon third-party cookies and there will be no impact to them over the next two years, but they’re going to have to evolve that strategy. And again, you’re talking some of the brightest minds there. I don’t doubt them at all. Primarily because every single member of the ecosystem from every single advertising technology company, to every single major brand is contributing data into this.

Jeff Greenfield:
What’s interesting is who’s not contributing data? It’s the other wall garden. Google will not allow even our tags, which are independent to be on any Google property if we’re carrying a LiveRamp tag. So the walls have been up against LiveRamp for a very, very long time. So most people see the ecosystem where LiveRamp is its own separate walled garden. But the difference is, is that they are a walled garden in that aspect that they’ve gotten everybody to buy into it and contribute data. So incredibly powerful.

Shyam Patil:
Sounds like you think that two years, nothing major’s happening in February that’s going to show up the ecosystem. Two years is a long time for the scale of public companies to adapt. So you don’t really see much impact to Trade Desk, Criteo, Ramp, and Facebook, Google from the changes that could happen in two years. Is that a fair summary of your assessment of what’s likely to happen in a couple of years from this change?

Jeff Greenfield:
Yes. I’ll add in one piece. One aspect that is going to be impacted has to do with, brands do a lot of what they call brand tracking, which has brands like to know based upon their large global advertising, how do you feel about us? What’s the likelihood that you would refer someone? What’s the likelihood that you would buy? Brands do this and they spend multi-millions of dollars each year. These brand trackers are typically done via surveys. You may see them where the survey pops up on a website. And the way that they do this is that they know whether you got exposed to an ad or you didn’t get exposed to the ad, because they’re tracking technology is there.

Jeff Greenfield:
There’s going to be an impact in the ability of brands to track. And where are they going to be able to do that really well, is that there are companies out there that have people that have opted in where they’re allowing the survey company to look at everything that they’re doing on the web. Every bit of browsing behavior is being passed to them. Even though they may be using Chrome. That’s a separate thing that gets on and Chrome can’t have anything to do with it. And these individuals, they also have it on their TV sets, so you know what they’re watching and they’d have it on their phones too.

Jeff Greenfield:
The company out there that has one of the trackers if you will, of people that have opted in for that has been Comscore. That’s going to become very valuable and there may be a lot of survey companies that are going to start utilizing their group of people, because that’s going to be incredibly important is to have a group of folks that have opted in that allow everything to be looked at so that they can check on what their impact to the brand has been if they were exposed versus that they were not.

Shyam Patil:
Awesome. If anyone in the audience has any further questions, send them over to me and I’ll make sure I get answers back to you and thank you Jeff so much for taking the time to join us today and share your thoughts. This is the very interesting topic that we all have a lot of questions on, and we’re all trying to figure out.