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How will Apple's upcoming iOS 14 privacy updates impact your ability to use paid media to achieve your marketing goals?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Loop Club Co-Founder and CEO Tim Keen explains what will happen when Apple rolls out iOS 14, how it will impact Facebook specifically, what it will mean for marketers' ability to use retargeting, and what brands should be doing now to prepare for it.
From simple steps like verifying your domain in Facebook ads manager and doing more testing on ad creative, to advanced solutions like server side tracking, Tim shares actionable steps that marketers can take to ensure their paid media strategies continue to deliver value.
Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, to hear what Tim has to say.
Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I am your host, Kathleen Booth and this week, my guest is Tim Keen, who is the co-founder of Loop Club. Welcome to the podcast Tim.
Tim (00:22): Thank you so much for having me, Kathleen.
Kathleen (00:24): Thanks for being here. You guys are doing some really interesting work and I can't wait to dig into the topic at hand today, but before I do that, can you just tell my listeners a little bit about yourself, how you came to be doing what you're doing now and what Loop Club is?
Tim (00:39): Absolutely. So Loop Club is a performance marketing agency. We work with specifically performance, purpose driven Shopify brands. So we're trying to grow brands that have a kind of social mission or trying to do something good or that do something that we are interested in growing. And we leverage our direct to consumer experience to grow those brands very, very, very quickly. We all came from funny backgrounds and I came from, I didn't come from this world at all. I used to play in a band and I was in like a touring rock band that was playing all around the world. It was great time. It was really, really fun. But the thing about being in a band is that it just means you don't make any money at all. No matter, like, unless you're like really, unless you're used to like those mid tier bands of bands that you see play shows, even at like pack of venues, then I'll make it.
Tim (01:28): It's just impossible to me. It's like a labor of love. So that whole time I'm just thinking to myself, I'm like, okay, like I need something. I need to figure out how to add a crack this and started teaching myself how to do digital marketing, started building online stores and, and was seeing some success. Just, just after a little while saw traction. And then I went into an agency called Mute Six, which unbeknownst to me at the time was one of the fastest growing agencies in the country. And I just kind of like lapped it all up. And then my clients grew extremely fast. I grew very fast there and a few of my colleagues and I were just doing well. And then just think it's just kind of continued on our clients, wanted to keep working with us. And now we're here at the start of COVID COVID is a huge part of this as well. Cause we kind of sat down at the side of COVID being like, just they'll take a couple of clients, like have like a relaxing time. Like, and then that was a year ago and now we're here. And obviously having Shopify ecommerce experience has been very useful to us.
Kathleen (02:34): Oh yeah. I mean the data around the just explosion in e-commerce and the massive growth in Shopify in particular is, is pretty amazing. And I just have to laugh because, you know, I, I feel like in the last year I've reflected on this a lot lately because we're recording this on the exact one year anniversary of the day that COVID was declared a pandemic, which is interesting. And when this all first started, there was so much chatter online about people saying they had all this time on their hands and they were going to like take up a hobby and learn a language. And I'm like, who are these people? I mean, I get it. If you, if you've lost your job, that's a totally different situation. But I feel like everyone, I know who didn't lose their job is so much busier than they were pre COVID.
Tim (03:16): Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. If you still have a job, I think that there's an air of like a little slight air of like, Oh, is this gonna work out? Like, am I going to do my job? And everyone is working harder than ever and being more on top of things than ever, like, I mean, we'll take it, we'll take in 72 polls in the last 12 months.
Kathleen (03:36): Yeah. I mean, it counts more than ever now, right? Like making your work count and getting results just to be live at a time when, you know, there's nothing guaranteed for business or in life. And so I feel like there's a lot on the line for a lot of people. And certainly in the e-commerce world, it's something that I talk about a lot that, you know, the core over the course of the last year. So many brick and mortar brands have, have just been gutted and e-commerce has become like the lifeline that's, that's how they've survived. And the ones who've like made that pivot really well have, have one essentially in this environment. And those that have struggled have really, really had a hard time. And so I look at e-commerce as this, this kind of like shining beacon for businesses that want to be able to still be successful at a time when we can't do a lot in person, although that's starting to change now in the world starting to open up, but I don't think we're at the clock is going to be dialed back on that.
Kathleen (04:31): And so I love that you guys do work in that sector. And I know from previous conversations with you, a big part of what you do is in the area of paid media. And you know, not only do we live in an interesting time when it comes to the shift to e-commerce, but we also live in an interesting time when it comes to paid media, because there is so much changing with the death of the third-party cookie and all these different you know, platform specific changes. And, and one of the ones in particular that, that you've spoken about and have some opinions about is what's happening with iOS 14 and what that is going to mean for brands paid media efforts. So I want to level set here and start with, for those who are listening. I think, I think pretty much everybody who's listening is doing some form of paid media. There's obviously different levels of expertise with that, but for those listening, I'm sure there are probably a lot of people who are not familiar with what is changing with iOS 14. So can we start by having you explain that?
Tim (05:27): Absolutely. So I want to, this is going to get very complicated and annoying.
Kathleen (05:33): I love complicated. The more complicated, the better
Tim (05:39): At the highest level, there is a, a fight going on between Apple and Facebook. And what Apple has decided to do is change their privacy settings on the new iOS updates. So everyone's going to update their phones and it's going to change a setting and it's going to require everyone to explicitly opt in if apps can track them across their phones. Because right now Facebook has employed a lot of data out of your phone. It's fully, it's fully like your device ID. It's pulling your IP address. It's following like literally a lot other apps that you use on your phone. Like it's very, it's it's Facebook. They take everything. So Apple has been like, we've got to put an end to this at some point, shut it down. So this will make this, even as I say that it does, like it's obvious that this is a lot of data.
Tim (06:30): They're taking a lot of data. People haven't necessarily opted into having this happen to them. So I'm not opposed to this change. Like, I don't think it's a bad thing to happen, but it will make the difference to everyone's ad accounts because Facebook has an algorithm that optimizes towards engagement. Facebook's a big data system that uses all this information about you to more efficiently place your ads in front of people. So if you are running an advertising on Facebook, you need to adapt. First of all, is very logistical things that you need to do. And then secondly, there's things you need to do that are at a more marketing level. You need to think about what this means and where this trend is going, and then adapt to that.
Kathleen (07:12): So before we get too deep into Facebook, a couple of questions. So this is only going to, well, this only relates to people, obviously who have Apple devices. Correct. and then, and then obviously, I mean, I've seen in the news, Facebook has taken out like full-page ads in the Washington post and other places kind of complaining about this move by Apple. They're, they're clearly not happy, but and they are the loudest voice in the room, but is it only Facebook that is going to be affected? Or is it also, you know, your LinkedIn ads, your Google ads, et cetera, like how, how do the rest of the platforms that you advertise on get impacted as well?
Tim (07:55): The conversation around is that Facebook is going to be the most affected because they're the most dependent on this third party data. Google owns its own data. Like Google, Google is not a benign player. It's like Google is obviously like pivoting to privacy. They're getting rid of the third party cookie as well.
Kathleen (08:12): I was going to say, Google is making its own, you know, efforts to, as people like to say, like, there are all these platforms are building walled gardens. So Google will have its own walled garden and Apple will have its walled garden.
Tim (08:25): Exactly. But Google's world will govern as the whole internet because you browse around all day. So it doesn't matter that like, they'll be fine. They still have a lot of access to data. If the conversation is that Facebook will be the most effective, although all channels need to adapt. But the reason why that matters is because for most small brands, most SMBs and most SMBs Facebook is their largest acquisition channel. It's where you spend the most money, it's when you're acquiring the most customers. And there are many, many digital brands who built, built themselves around the premise that they could acquire customers at low cost and Facebook.
Kathleen (09:02): Yeah. So, all right, it's coming. When is it coming? Do we know exactly when it's going to happen?
Tim (09:07): It's starting to roll out already. We're seeing some changes from some people, anyone who has iOS 14 has that update. So it is trickling in the impact. iOS, Apple hasn't started forcing the restrictions completely yet. So we're not seeing like the full impact, but it will be over the next coming months that everything will just stop changing. And it's my experience so far has been that it's not like big bang, like something explodes. It's like, Oh, this doesn't work anymore. It's just like, Oh, that's a little more annoying. And I'm like, Oh, that number is a bit lower than it should be. And I'm like, Oh, okay. I have to go over here and click this button now that I didn't have to click before. Like, there'll be a million little things that change.
Kathleen (09:50): Like boiling a frog. Which, I hate that analogy, but it is, it does work well. So, okay, so the boiling has begun and the little changes are happening. Let's talk and I feel like there's two sides of this. There's the side. If you're like a person who has an iPhone and there are decisions you need to make about whether you want to turn this setting on or offer, you know, how much you want to be tracked, which I that's just like a personal choice. And then there's the, your, a brand that is advertising. You know, and you, you may or may not already have successful Facebook ad campaigns. So like you started alluding to this, what are the things that brands need to be thinking about and doing now so that they're not caught unawares when this rolls?
Tim (10:34): Great, great question. So I'm going to divide this into two categories of things. And one is like very easy things to do that you should just obviously do. And then the other thing is like slightly more complicated ways of thinking about this that will help you in the long run. So the short term things. You've got to verify your domain. What that means is you go into Facebook, you go into the business manager, you hit like domain settings. You write in the name of your domain. You add a little piece of code to your website that lets Facebook know that you own that. To me, that's very, very, very important that used to not be used to be an option that was available, but it didn't make any difference. Now they'll just turn your ads off. You don't have it.
Kathleen (11:12): Yeah. I think they're putting, I remember I had to do this not long ago. I think they're putting notifications in the ads manager accounts, right?
Tim (11:19): Yeah, exactly. You should have a notification. I've been doing it for my clients. It, at some point in time agencies couldn't do it for you because you needed to be an admin on the business manager, but we've been able to do it for our clients. So I would talk to you, I guess you'd have an agency. I would talk to your agency about it. If not, it is not a difficult thing to do, but you just need to follow your instructions. It is, it's gone from a trivial thing that no one would ever really bothers to extremely important overnight. So that has to be done.
Kathleen (11:48): Yeah. So get that done now. Or your ads might just be turned off.
Tim (11:54): Absolutely, so just do it. And then the other thing you need to do is once you've verified that domain, you need to set up a series of web what's called web of events. So that to me, so what this means is Google Facebook is going to receive data from Apple. Apple is now deciding what's going to be allowed to be sent back to Facebook. And you have to tell Facebook to tell Apple what events quote unquote you're interested in. So in Facebook language an event is like someone makes a purchase or someone views a page, or someone adds to cart. They're all mixed.
Kathleen (12:29): Is this the equivalent of like a goal in Google analytics?
Tim (12:32): Exactly, exactly, exactly. And so you'll need to create these web events, what is what they're called and then prioritize them in the order that you would like them. And that's also in your Facebook business manager and is, is a lot easier to do. Once you verify that domain, you create the series of web events and make sure that you have put them in the priority order. So your purchase event is the most important one that should be at the top. That is confusing. So what this means is previously each conversion, each piece of information about that purchase is sent back from someone's phone with personally identifiable data. So it says like I, Tim Keen, purchased something from this store on this data at this time. So you go to Facebook, Apple is going to give that data back in an anonymized way. So Apple is going to say in this last 24 hour period, 50 people purchased from this store. So you want to know who purchased. You want to know how much like, stuff like that. And that's the level of, that's what they call an aggregated events. So as you can see, there's a lot less data for advertisers to work.
Kathleen (13:42): So I'm just thinking through already, my head is spinning with like, how is this going to play out in real life? So now prior to iOS 14 like if I'm on my iPhone and I'm shopping and I go to a store and I put something in my cart and then I don't buy it, what happens now is like, let's say it's a pair of boots that pair of boots starts showing up all over my Facebook feed and I'm hammered with it until I purchased the boots, which works really well by the way. So are you saying that now that that basically will not happen or it may not happen as much because they can't associate the boots in the cart with me as a specific individual?
Tim (14:21): Well, exactly, exactly. There is talk of what you're thinking about is remarketing. And there is a conversation that remarketing will go away. That's the, that's the level of the, of the extreme change that people have people are talking about. On the other hand, the next tip that I will give is a potential work around. And I think that what we'll start seeing is larger brands doing this all the time. So people will start using, what's called server-side tracking. People already doing this. And what this means is instead of right now, you install a Facebook pixel in people's browsers. That pixel exists in their browser, sends data back from their, a server side of tracking events, sends data from the website's server, and doesn't touch the user's browser. So Shopify, the data goes directly from Shopify back to Facebook, fire and API, same giving information about your visit to that website.
Kathleen (15:18): And okay, I want to get a little nerdy on this. So we're going to go, we might get technical and I'm going to ask dumb questions, fair warning. So I want to understand how that works. I am on my iPhone. I go to a website that's powered by Shopify and I'm looking around I may or may not put something in my cart. I may or may not make a purchase. In the past, the pixel, the Facebook pixel on the website would have fired. And basically, as you said, via the browser that I'm in, which in this case would be whatever browser that I'm using on and on an Apple iPhone would have then communicated it back to my Facebook ads account. And I could then market to the person around that. But because Apple is essentially an intermediary they're, they're kind of like putting up a block on that data coming back. So now I am on a Shopify powered website, if so, I guess there's two sides to this. If I, if I do something that identifies it's me, like if I put something in a cart and put my information in there, that's obviously an easier way for Shopify to communicate back. Oh, Kathleen was on the site and she was looking at boots, but if I'm just shopping around on the site and I haven't done anything to identify myself, how does Shopify tell the brand who I am or give it the ability to market? To me,
Tim (16:47): That's the question for advertisers everywhere. That's the question. Will people solve that? And some people will. I'm sure there are some grants that are matching. So Facebook is basically just like, and this is where it gets really where you see the hotdog get made. Facebook is just like a data sloping machine. They'll just take it all. If whatever you give them, they'll be like, okay, great. I found that person. So if you'll just browsing around on the website, whatever we can give Facebook, they'll use, they'll try to use that information to figure it out. So just say that you clicked a Facebook ad and then went up to the website that Facebook click in the URL, like ID associated with it. So you're in sort once, once you're in your end. So it's not a perfect science. Exactly.
Kathleen (17:35): They will triangulate essentially. And try to figure out who you are. So one more question on this. So there's certain cases where there'll be able to figure out it's me, and then you can still do remarketing bypassing Apple. But then if they're, if they're not able to figure out it's me, does it then become more like what Google is talking about with, and I'm getting sort of technical here with FLOC, the cohort based approach where they're going to be like, Hey, you know, there are people on your site who are looking at boots. And so you might want to do a campaign around boots and, and loosely, it will help you identify a cohort of people who might be like boot enthusiasts.
Tim (18:14): Yeah, exactly. So FLOC is, this is another thing, and this is, this is really interesting to FLOC is Google's response to this. Google is also pivoting to privacy and FLOC is a cohort of people before a particular actions at a particular time.
Kathleen (18:31): Federated Learning of Cohorts, I think is exactly.
Tim (18:33): Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I mean, I trust Google about as far as I can throw them, and they have all of your search data. So this basically is the same thing in my mind. This is the same as what's called custom intent or custom affinity audiences, which are already existing Google, which is just, I can already just target everyone who searched for blank in the last week.
Kathleen (18:52): I mean, and the irony is not lost on me, and this could be a whole nother podcast episode. So we won't go too deep into it. That there's a tremendous conflict of interest on the fact that Google is building this privacy engine. And it is also an advertising platform. So talk about like potential monopoly abuse issues, but that's, that's a whole nother topic.
Tim (19:12): Yeah. I was thinking about that last night, actually, I was, if this is this maybe like an incredible Android, so Google, like they might, we've got this now we have,
Kathleen (19:21): Yeah. They're like, we are going to be the only ones now who have this data. And so you should definitely advertise via Google AdSense and you know, why would you not? So again, totally different topics. So let's go. So coming back to iOS and Apple so there, there may be server side solutions. Are there, I mean, you mentioned Shopify specifically, but obviously there's plenty of people out there listening. Some of whom may be on Shopify, some of whom may not be, is this something that's like accessible to the average business or do you need to be a huge business with your own internal engineering and dev team to build a server side solution for you?
Tim (20:00): It is changing in real time. Even two months ago, two, three months ago. I would've said you need to, you really need to talk to an expert. Like you need, you need a team for it, but I, I spun one off over the weekend. There are a couple of companies that do it successfully on Shopify. I would, I would probably talk, I would probably leverage a partner. I wouldn't just try to do that. It's not something that you should do yourself because it will break at some point, but it's a company called Elevar that does it for Shopify. They're very good at tracking analytics and helping set up Google tag manager containers. There's a company called Little Data, which also has a pretty robust analytics solution for Shopify. And then the last thing is, if you are just starting out with setting up the tracking properly, and you're on Shopify, the newest version of the Facebook sales channel, like when you install Facebook on Shopify, if you, when you set that up and you set the settings to maximum data sharing does actually send automatically purchase events via server side.
Kathleen (21:07): Sorry. So just to clarify on this, so you're not saying that this is built into Shopify, but there are increasingly more ways via whether it's plugins or apps that it might be possible, or you can work with a partner, like one of the ones you mentioned. So this isn't like a native Shopify capability.
Tim (21:25): No, well, no. In the sense that no, it's not you, nothing, nothing is sent from the Shopify without you telling it. I mean, Shopify is really a very basic and robust platform that is very extendable. So they don't usually build most of these advanced features. They build the core functionality of Shopify, and then they leave the extendible feeds and stuff to third party developers. It's a marketplace. Yeah. It's a mechanics.
Kathleen (21:52): The reason I asked that question is that it got my, my sort of gears turning. And I was thinking like, I wonder if going forward, this, this is something that either CMS platforms are going or, you know, call them website engines are going to have to build into themselves, or, or if they're all going to solve it through like a marketplace approach. But it makes me think like this becomes another thing that you need to start to think about as you choose the platform on which you build your website, because that choice it's like, it has such a domino effect on other things. And, and if you build it on a platform that is, that is designed with solutions for this in mind, then it might be easier later down the, down the road for you to have more effective advertising programs. So it's just, it's interesting. Cause when I hear people say, Oh, should I build on, you know, Shopify? Or if you're not e-commerce should I build on WordPress or web flow or HubSpot or, you know, whatever that engine is in the past, a lot of it has been around just kind of functionality as far as the user interface is concerned, ease of use on the backend, but this is like a whole nother set of criteria that people might need to start thinking about.
Tim (23:06): Yeah, it does. It does bring up another set of complications and considerations. And it is, I mean, every system at some level can be extended to send data from the service side. But the question is a really good one because it feels like where should I start? Question impacts a lot of what you do down the line, right?
Kathleen (23:25): How easy will it be? Like, because you could probably do it on any platform, but some are going to be like plug and play. Whereas others are going to require a completely custom dev solution, which is not only more expensive and complicated, but as you pointed out, maintaining that over time is a whole different.
Tim (23:42): Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I would, I would look to, I mean, my instinct is always to look to like new platforms that are growing fast because they're going to have a developer support. They're going to have an influx of capital. They're going to have new users that are heavily incentivized to iterate and grow the platform. So if you, if you grab onto, like, when I started working on Shopify, like I wasn't that good yet. And I was still kind of transitioning from WordPress and I was just like, kind of in shock. I was like a little bit slow, but it was growing so far. And I was like, okay. They just gonna, like the, the rate of growth means that the investment in this, the sophistication is just going to dramatically increase. And the same with the marketplace ecosystem, it's just exploded. And those apps got very, very good. And even in the time that I was walking on the platform and it's now like an incredible ecosystem, like it's so robust and really, really easy to use, but it was the like, look at the rate of growth of the platform, essentially what I was
Kathleen (24:43): You're totally spot on because I wasn't doing so much in e-commerce, but I I'm more involved in it now, but I have always been kind of like on the B2B marketing side I used to own an agency and we did a lot of websites and WordPress was like the platform to build on for so long. And then we happened to be a HubSpot partner and HubSpot built its own website platform. And I remember in the beginning it was the same thing. I was like, eh, this is kind of like basic, but they were putting so much money in and they're so innovative and they started basically building an ecosystem around it. And today I love that platform. It's amazing. And there's so much support and they're adding onto it all the time. So I think that's sort of like a parallel example from the B2B world.
Tim (25:24): Exactly. And it's a really good example in that way, because they have also prioritized user experience and they've done, it's done that in balancing that they've built their products through rigorous optimization and through building features that people needed. It is it's really good. It's very complex, but it's, it solves a lot of problems for a lot of people. Yeah.
Kathleen (25:44): So, all right. Back back to the topic at hand, see, I can go in a lot of directions cause I'm fascinated by all this. But you mentioned in terms of what people need to be doing, we started with number one, verify your business and your Facebook ads manager. Number two was set up your web events in there. And then, and then the potential of like possibly a server side solution. If that is something that makes sense. What else should businesses be thinking about?
Tim (26:15): Yeah. So this is where we start getting out of the, like try to plug the hole situation because on the one hand, there's a bunch of holes you can plug. You can be like, okay, I want to, I want to make sure that we track as much as possible. I want accurate data. I want to solve the problem. And you should definitely try to do that. But at another level you need to think about what the macro trend is. And it is a move away from hyper hyper targeted advertising, which let's be real, very creepy, probably not the worst thing in the world. Going to be more challenging for us potentially, but I don't know if it's, I really don't think it's going to be the end of most businesses and most of the robust businesses. I think, I think we'll find a way around it.
Tim (26:57): So what you need to do is think, just imagine in your mind, a world where there is no tracking, there's no ability to optimize their Facebook. The Facebook platform is just a black box, whether or not that comes in the next two years or the next five years, it will come at some point. So if you mentally start preparing for that, you'll make decisions that lead you in a direction where you're already on the cutting edge. So you don't have to worry about it. So if you're thinking like a cave, forget about these numbers, the numbers are on their way out. The numbers will be replaced with a robot that will do the number crunching for me. They're not going to give me my data. What are the levers that you have? The letters the ad, the copy, the site experience, the value of the author, the onboarding, the, the retention, the SMS that you send, people like you still, you still have a marketing program.
Tim (27:48): You just have to like, not get so obsessed with the data. Like the ad is the biggest thing. I see so many marketers it's so, so many much whether it's in B2B or in e-commerce with low performing static ads or like boring videos, or like, copy that. Doesn't explain what the product is that then clicks through to a landing page that I still don't know what the product is. I have no idea what it's doing and it's confusing. And they're spending all their time in Facebook, like worrying about whether they get an event data app, like this doesn't matter at all, like show me what the product does, show me why I should buy it. And then send me to a page where I can buy it easily. That will do way, way, way more for your business than like worrying about whether one number is going in the right direction.
Kathleen (28:32): So I think you're totally spot on. I actually think this is a problem now, even before this iOS stuff and, and as somebody who has hired paid media agencies, what I have seen is that a lot of them have been designed more around this idea that the data is the prime thing that will drive results. And what I mean by that is when you work with paid media agencies, a lot of them don't necessarily spend a lot of time on the creative or they rely on you for the creative. And they're more about like setting up your ads account and looking at the numbers and tweaking and turning things on and off and this and that. And they also don't really do much on landing page optimization, as you explained. And, and it seems to me that, well, first of all, like I, as somebody who hires agencies, like I find that so frustrating because if you're not focusing on those other things, you, you really are. It's like tying your hands behind your back. They're such important parts of the equation with, or without iOS 14 updates, but as you've pointed out, they're going to be even more important. So I wonder what is your take on how the agency world will or will not have to change in response to this update? Because I feel like they're going to have to start to service that side of things more where they're not doing it now.
Tim (29:57): Yeah. I mean, this is a question that makes me feel, I agree with you. My business is based on the premise that you're right. So I hope that you're, I think that this is true. So my experience at mid six, which is a, a, was a very, very fast growing agency and we all learn a lot from there. And what we learned was that the people who are really performing the best performance, who drove the most growth we're doing exactly that they would not stay in the accounts too much. They were getting stuff done on the accounts, leveraging automation, building landing pages, building feedback loops with the creative team. So there was a creative team in house, and we would work closely with them working in a, in a integrative way with the other channel managers and passing information between them and building a really building a flywheel on the website.
Tim (30:45): And that's what we do. That's, that's what our company does is what my company does. And we do that all day and it works. It will always work. There's no way it can fail because all you do is you, all you're doing is optimizing every channel, making them talk to each other and creating like network effects between you're increasing your paid media efficiency 20%. Then you're increasing your landing page efficiencies 20%. And you're increasing your creative by 20% increases. Like those 20% are multiplied by each other. So you make a lot more money, but will the agency world adapt to this? I dunno. I don't know if it will, like the, there are a couple of ways of running an agency and, and some of the agencies that are more integrated that I scroll up that have teams that speak multiple languages that have people who grew up and learned how to do paid media a little close to the world of automation.
Tim (31:38): Like, have more experience in the automation world. I think they are in a good position to thrive. Agencies who can quickly make creative, or you can keep the creative team close to the data team and who don't really see a big brick wall distinction between those two things. They will be successful. But, and we're even seeing this internally, like agencies that structure in silo, the different skill sets and who train people in a very, very old school analytics. Like here's what you need to like spreadsheets all day for Google. It's not going to work anymore.
Kathleen (32:20): The classic performance marketer, who's a data wonk. I think at the same goes for when you hire in-house, if you want to hire like a growth marketer or a paid media manager, you know, it used to be, you hire that data person who like, is very savvy about how the platforms function and can get in under the hood and manipulate how things are set up. But those people, at least in my experience, it's really hard to find people like that. Who've also have been trained on the creative side and who really understand what it means to like do multi-variate testing with messaging and with imagery and rich media and things like that. Like, I don't see a lot of crossover there. It's already pretty hard to find that combination. And, and so it will be very, very interesting going forward. But I think this is like the conversation we had about your choice of CMS. Where starting now, if you're looking to hire a PA outsourced paid media, or you're looking to hire a full-time person, this is something you have to think about, like that mix of skills and how they approach it. And like you don't, this is just me talking, but like, if you're going to work with a paid media agency buyer beware, if you're shuffled off to like a junior account manager who just knows how Facebook ads work, and you're not talking to somebody on the creative side, who's looking closely at messaging and, and the media that you're using.
Tim (33:45): Exactly. You just, yeah. Via the, where if, if you're not getting that kind of interactive feel, if no one is willing to tell you about your website or if no, one's willing to tell you about your creative or no one will give you genuine feedback other than like, Oh yes, I can run those ads for you. Technical aspect of running the ad state very easy. It's not, it doesn't take very much. And, but it's really hard to find you're absolutely right. And people don't come to me. Very much. People are coming to us, looking for a paid media manager. They come saying, I want to drive X amount of growth while I am looking for strategists. And that is extremely hard to find in the mock-up like a strategy layer on top of a paid media team that outs like, I don't really say outsource to CMR. It's not a value proposition, but I've thought about it. That is what people are looking for.
Kathleen (34:36): No, that's what I mean. I just went through this with my company. And I had to switch vendors. I hate that word vendor solution providers for my paid media and this, this was exactly the thing. Like I was really looking for somebody who would not just run my ad accounts. I wanted somebody who would challenge me and be like, look, you need to try different messaging because this isn't resonating or you need to change your landing page or Hey, you know, the video you gave me, isn't working for your ads. We need to focus on this instead. Like I w I just wasn't getting that. And it is really, really hard to find, especially if you don't have an enormous budget, like you can find a lot of things when your ads budget is huge. And then, you know, the principal of the agency is working reeling to work more closely with you. But if you're not a big advertiser, it can be really difficult. I think to get the level of attention you're talking about,
Tim (35:29): This is a huge pain point, and I completely agree one. And this is I'd love to hear from people. Actually, this is something that we're working on, especially for advertisers who are spending, just spending five to $10,000 a month on paid media. You're in a really tough spot. Like you can't really hire. It's very difficult to hire a very high-end agency. And someone who can rap, you can find on Fiverr or Upwork to run, your ads is not going to, they're not going to give you that level of consultative feedback that you want. So we've been trying to build some more scalable solutions for that, like courses trying to help people level up quickly trying to do coaching and kind of, kind of more like ways of scaling that expertise, because it is, it is really, really hot.
Kathleen (36:12): And not to be like doomsday ish, but I do feel like it makes me a little scared that in the year to come, when all these changes start to happen, it's going to like create this divide between the haves and the have-nots and the paid media world, where the ones that have the giant budgets and are getting that really good advice are just going to, they're going to get even better results. And the ones that don't have the giant budgets are really going to suffer because you could waste a ton of money on ads that aren't going to do well. And it's sort of like a snowball effect. Like when that happens, then people start to say, Oh gosh, well maybe ads just don't work for us. And they stopped trying, or the budget gets cut. And so I'm really curious to see how that's going to play out because I don't see a lot of middle.
Tim (36:56): Yeah. I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more. I think it is. It's incumbent on us. Like I like startups. I like small businesses. I like the way that people work when they're trying to grow companies. I think it's exciting and fun. And I don't want to be the kind of person who just ends up only working with people with big established budgets. So it is really nice
Kathleen (37:19): As a former agency owner, I will say, you don't turn those people away.
Tim (37:23): I'm looking at turning that business down. At all? But it is. We want to make sure that we can help. My motive, I learned this industry very, very quickly. I came from not knowing the industry to learning the industry within an extremely short time span. And my real goal was to help other people do that same thing, because I don't feel that this knowledge needs to be protected or in just a few elite agencies. Like I would rather more people are able to drive growth in their businesses profitably. That that's better. That's a better world. Yeah.
Kathleen (37:56): Well, it, what it says to me, and I think you've already alluded to this is that if you are a marketer, which you are, if you're listening to this and you are not already, you don't already feel like you are, you have an extremely high skill level in paid media. Now is the time to start getting educated, because especially if you're not at a huge brand with a giant budget, because it does sound to me like we're going to have to shoulder more of the burden and really start to understand more about creative and about messaging and about, you know, all that whole kind of conversion funnel maybe than we have in the past.
Tim (38:32): Exactly. Exactly. If you, when we're doing a job that was just you a spreadsheet think very seriously, like B try to try to level up a little bit and try to get out of that. The way that I'm thinking about it, it's like any job that any job in paid media, or in advertising that a robot, you could imagine a robot doing robots going to do it, but one of the things that they can't do, and it's understanding what people want, understanding how to build a process, to improve something, understanding how to, what good creative looks like, what a good ad is, what's compelling. Like how do you get a team together? How do you get people to buy into your ideas? All of that stuff is incredibly important to this business and is not in an ad account. It does not live in Facebook ads manager.
Kathleen (39:21): Yeah. Well, I literally could talk to you all day about this. It's a fascinating topic. And I just think it has, like, on the surface, it looks so straightforward. Like, Oh, it's Apple and they're changing the rules. And so maybe your data and Facebook will change. But when you really start to think about some of these implications that you've brought up today, as far as like what platform you're building your website on, and you know, how you educate yourself as a marketer and what kind of an agency you hire to do your paid media, like the implications are massive. So I love that we got a chance to dig into this, and I love that you shared all of your thoughts on it. I'm going to shift gears before we wrap up, because I always ask my guests to questions at the end of the interview. And I'm curious what you have to say. The first one is we talk all about inbound marketing on this podcast. Is there a particular company or individual that, that you think is really doing fantastic inbound marketing work right now?
Tim (40:11): Yeah, so I am a recent convert to the cult of inbound marketing. I came up, I came in paid, maybe I came up and paid media. That's how I understood. I guess I learned SEO first, but I got out of SEO. I was like, I don't want to do that anymore. We got into paid media and recently trying to grow, growing this agency, it has been absolutely miraculous. Inbound marketing is, is really what I like about it is this specificity with which you've been captured exactly the vessel that you want to talk to. And because we do a specific thing, we work with purpose driven brands. We want to work with people who are like like us like that. We like it is really important to us that we capture the right person. So I've been thinking a lot about this. It's like, okay, how do we find out people? And I found this guy on LinkedIn, I've been looking for help with my LinkedIn looking for help leveraging LinkedIn as a, as an inbound traffic source, which by the way, it's incredible
Kathleen (41:08): I am a huge LinkedIn fan. Yeah.
Tim (41:11): Just do it. If you're not already doing it. It's amazing. I found this guy, Stephen G Pope, he's just like a LinkedIn guy. He ran a company before and I had one of those experiences where I was just like scrolling. I was thinking, I was just like, Oh man, like, I don't know, I'm too nervous to make videos for LinkedIn, I don't know if I want to do that. Like, how do I, how am I going to do it in a way that's like, feels cool and like, I'm not embarrassed by. I was literally scrolling my feed and he'd just made some video. And it was just like him in front of a black screen. And it was so clear and like a little bit silly and like concise and like told me what I wanted to know and gave me the information I wanted. I mean, literally in one click, I was like, all right. Appointment booked. And I love talking to Stephen. That it's, it's been such a pleasure because we're on the same page. Like his marketing, like spoke to his personality and spoke to the way that he walked. It made it clear to me what I would get out of, out of the relationship. And it's been, it's been a wonderful to me and it's just like, that works. That works so well.
Kathleen (42:13): Oh, I got to check him out. So Stephen G. Pope, and is he Stephen with a V or a ph? Okay. I will. I will find that. And I will put a link to his LinkedIn in the show notes for anybody who's listening, but you can also then go hunt him down yourself with that information. Second question is that a lot of the marketers I talked to say their biggest pain point is just keeping up, right? Like this interview is the perfect example. There's so much that changes so quickly when it comes to the world of digital marketing. So how do you personally like stay on top of it all and, and educate yourself?
Tim (42:44): Oh my God, this, this is an amazing question I used, I started tracking my time a little more effectively a couple of weeks ago. And part of that, I started tracking the tabs that I visited so I can try to get a sense of, okay, how am I actually doing this? And I would say, it's, it's looking at a lot of different sources quickly. It's not so much like having like one publication that I read all the time. It's, it's a lot of like, it's really about the speed of which you can take in new information. So it's like, okay, you're going LinkedIn for a second. See a couple of things that like help you like, Oh, okay. I should probably think about that. And then you might need to read like a Facebook one for a second, because that's what Facebook is saying. You might need to read like someone else's blog for a second, but you kind of have to jump around and like triangulate.
Tim (43:30): It it's really hard without a community. I think this is another pain point that I'm trying to work on, which is like, it would be really nice to have, we have a Slack and we're always chatting. And that gives me a lot of information. My colleagues, my co-founders like push me really hard with always learning. And if you're around people who will also will take things further than what you leave with them, that's, that's a really good way to do it. But I would think about it. Like you. One thing that I do is there's not much time for me between learning about something and testing it, whether that's a new product or a new SaaS or a new, like, like I would just test it, like literally just test things. Like if you have to get a 30 day trial, some software don't even think like, Oh, maybe my boss, like maybe I shouldn't do it because that's how you learn it. Like, if, if, if you can cut down the time that you spend planning and preparing and thinking about whether something is the right option in that time, you could investigate five different options.
Kathleen (44:33): Yeah. That's so true. Learning by doing is really powerful. All right, well, we're coming to the end of our time. This was amazing. I learned so much today. I'm super excited about this interview. I cannot wait to share with everybody. I suspect there'll be people who listen, who will have questions. And so if somebody does and they want to connect with you online, or they want to learn more about Loop Club, what is the best way for them to do that?
Tim (44:57): So you can go to my LinkedIn, which is linkedin.com/in/tim-keen. And just messaged me. Or you can go to the loop.club and learn about our agency there.
Kathleen (45:09): Okay, perfect. Again, I'll put those links in the show notes. So head there, if you want to connect with Tim. And if you're listening and you did learn something new like me and you enjoyed this episode, head to Apple podcasts or the platform of your choice. And I would love it if you would leave the podcast a review. That is how other people find us. And of course, if you know somebody else doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork because I would love to make them my next guest. That's it for this week. Thanks so much for joining me, Tim.
Tim (45:37): Thank you so much, Kathleen. This was a pleasure.
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