In this episode, I interview Robert Petković, Digital Analytics Director at Pro Media Group and data storyteller extraordinaire who loves to share his wisdom online and on stage. We had a great talk about how the GDPR has impacted his work, how he tries to help clients move towards taking data privacy more seriously, and what stories and analogies help him convey the message.
Some of the resources mentioned in this podcast:
- A web archive link to Robert’s old band (picture)
- Robert’s article (EN) about GDPR: The GDPR is the best thing that happened to digital marketing in years.
- Robert’s article on the Football / Attribution analogy
Make sure you follow the show:
- Follow LifeAfterGDPR on Twitter and on LinkedIn
- Follow the host Rick Dronkers on Twitter & LinkedIn.
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If you want to help us out, please share the link to this episode page with anyone you think might be interested in learning about Digital Marketing in a Post-GDPR world.
Talk to you next week!
Life After GDPR EP014 Transcript
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[MUSIC SOUND EFFECT BEGINS AND FADES]
[00:00:00] Rick Dronkers: Hey everybody. Thank you for tuning into the Life After GDPR podcast where we discuss digital marketing in a post GDPR world. In today's episode, I interviewed Robert Petković. Robert is a digital analyst from Croatia with a lot of experience. And it was a really great storyteller and has the ability to turn really technical topics into understandable language for non-technical people.
[00:00:28] For the last couple of years he's, like all of us probably being, explaining to clients what the GDPR is and how it will impact their data. So it was really interesting to talk with him about how he approaches clients about these issues and how he handles these topics. Disclaimer before we dive in.
[00:00:48] I am not a lawyer. Robert is not a lawyer. We are also both not data privacy experts. So nothing we say in this podcast should be taken as legal advice, and you should hire a proper lawyer or data protection officer. With that out of the way, hopefully you can get something of value out of this podcast and enjoy.
[00:01:09] Here's my episode with Robert Petković. Robert, welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:14] Robert Petković: Thanks for having me, it's an honor. It's an honor to be in such a great company. Yeah.
[00:01:18] Rick Dronkers: [Laughs] I'm gonna start off with, introducing you with something that maybe people don't know about you, and that is that you are actually secretly a rockstar.
[00:01:28] Robert Petković: Secretly. Just secretly. [Laughs]
[00:01:31] Rick Dronkers: You have had a number one hit notation in Croatia. Let's start with that before we dive into analytics. Let's start with that.
[00:01:38] Robert Petković: Yeah. We had, it was I think 1995 or 1996, we really had a huge hit. Actually kids nowadays, Again, listening to the same hit and to the same rockstar. So, yeah, it was great. It was fun times, and what I usually say this happened in 1995 when we prepared the second album. And in 1993, I think I noticed the first piece of text about html or about links and webpages.
[00:02:06] And it hit me so hard. I immediately went to Notepad and started creating some interesting stuff. And for that second album of a band, me and my wife and I, we created a website dedicated to the band, which introduction to every band member, dedicated to both albums with lyrics of all the songs, and presented the second album. So we were officially the first band in Croatia who had a URL on a cd. That is something to record. I could get a city. It's over there somewhere. The stack of my CDs.
[00:02:40] Rick Dronkers: I think we're gonna put it in the show notes.
[00:02:42] Robert Petković: Okay. I don't think there's just Way Big Machine that has that url. It's so old.
[00:02:48] Rick Dronkers: We should find it. Right. Yeah. Okay. But that's really cool. You had a brief career as a rockstar, but eventually you still ended up in the technology side of things and in the web analytics side of things.
[00:03:02] Robert Petković: Yeah, I went to technology high school and then I studied psychology and then I mixed it all together. The technical part helped me understand the tech stuff. The psychology helped me understand the human behavior helped me understand the statistics analytics a lot because, I dunno, many people probably don't know that about psychology has the most advanced statistics in social sciences.
[00:03:27] Robert Petković: If you don't interpret somebody's personality test well enough, you can screw up his career, his life. So it's, yeah, pretty, pretty tough. The third part, the rockstar part, and I also used to be an amateur actor that helped me with my stage presence.
[00:03:45] So that's why I'm usually going around conferences presenting things about web analytics. And I'm trying to explain to ordinary people how to understand analytics better. That's something I do. I like to translate all the things that more intelligent and more advanced people than I am are talking about.
[00:04:05] I'm trying to translate that into, let's say, human readable language or something that clients who are not fond of statistics for figures and charts and numbers are actually, they need to understand that in order to run daily businesses better. That's why we are here, boss.
[00:04:21] Rick Dronkers: Once I learned this about you and, and now also the actor part it makes a lot of sense to me cuz I already saw that your presentations, you're really good at storytelling. Basically. You understand how to take a complex topic, turn it into a story in order to get other people to understand why it's important and highlight the important parts of it. And I think you have this also previous podcast guest, Steen Rasmussen also has.
[00:04:49] Robert Petković: Steen. Steen. We had to mention Steen. [Laughs] I had good teachers. I had good, great teachers. Some of them were in my college. The front man of our rock band, who is still a star in Croatia, was a great teacher for me. And I was in, in a back backup singer and, and a drummer. I was a master of the ceremony, but he was the leader, he taught me how to play with the audience.
[00:05:11] But there were still great storytellers like, Milo Vaga from Croatia. Jim Stern, definitely. a kk and especially Steen Rasmussen. I like him very much. I admire storytelling. And just today I wrote a tweet saying how much I hate Steen sometimes because he usually speaks before me at some conferences or he usually speak at conferences and I'm not, but he sees some data set or he sees some situation from ordinary life.
[00:05:42] And he translated into a story which helps our US analysts understand data much, much better. And he does it in a great way better than me, but I'm struggling. I'm trying to do my best. And I think Steen also has would put some nice words about my storytelling as well. But yeah, it's stories
[00:06:02] what helps people understand what the data is all about. Because you had a great specialist on your podcast. People for much, much better than I am. And great specialists in their own fields, but they usually talk about specialties that ordinary people don't relate to. And yes, us who understand, I know servier-side tech, Google tag manager or tags or data layer.
[00:06:27] We understand what it's all about, but the ordinary people don't relate to those terms and they cannot use those conclusions in their own world. So that's where I or Steen or our as storytellers are coming along, we are trying to find out some interesting bits from everyday life, correlate them with all those technical parts and tell a story to people about something they can relate to.
[00:06:54] I suppose we will talk right now about the Sephora or the black and the red shopping basket. We were talking about that earlier and you just sent me today a link on LinkedIn where, friend's Beauty, it's some beauty cosmetic store in UK I think. They have, black and white shopping basket in front of their store saying, If you take, I think it's, you take white, then yes, I need help.
[00:07:25] And if I take black one, then it says, Okay, I don't need any help. Don't help me. Or if I'm interested, I'll probably take a black one saying, Please don't approach me. And that for me, that's a perfect example of a GDPR or a cookie panel. That's how I actually explain marketers what the cookie panel is, how we are polite to our customers.
[00:07:50] We are asking them if they need any help further or if they just want to be left alone while browsing our website. So the same principle of my online. So yeah, finding such stories from everyday life and translate them into data sets either bounce rates or provision rates or something is something we should do more often.
[00:08:14] Rick Dronkers: And this analogy that you just shared, I think is, it's really powerful. Just a little bit of background. You help customers with digital analytics in the broader sense of the world, but you help with tagging, but also with analysis and with the whole spectrum.
[00:08:31] Robert Petković: I work for Pro Media Group. It's a media agency, one of the biggest media agencies in Croatia. We also have a digital division and consulting department. The media part is great with TV ads and billboards and so on, but we also have a digital part and there are a lot of clients there who actually still don't understand the digital part quite well.
[00:08:52] So I'm trying to, I don't know use Google Tech Manager to implement web analytics the proper way for them. Right now I have a huge project for a large corporation in the region of GDPR audit and implement proper analytical implementation, align with GDPR for all their websites. So yeah, I'm kind of helping people implement the web analytics in a good way, but I'm also trying to explain them later what all those figures and charts mean and how can they use those KPIs, tables, charts, and everything in order to make their businesses better.
[00:09:30] And the most interesting part for me is actually to work with clients in order to define KPIs. So what is the proper KPI for you? That's something that Tim Wilson actually taught me a lot. I'm asking a client, What's your kpi? What do you think your KPI should be? How can we achieve that? Do you think you have enough crew at your company to I know, produce so many newsletters?
[00:09:54] Do you think you have a budget for achieving that KPI? And so, I loved working with web stores eCommerce workshops because commerce and in Google Analytics especially gives a lot of data that can help each member of eCommerce score crew to understand the human behavior, the customer's behavior better.
[00:10:15] I even help them understand the offline behavior better. And the most interesting thing for me was that I found some metrics in Google Analytics enhance in commerce that help stores decide which products they should put into offline windows. And which products they should put when you enter the store, and here they are because one type of product is why they will stop in front of the store and the other product is why they will go inside and buy.
[00:10:48] The good example is, I don't know, iPhone 14. You just need to put it in the store window and people will go inside and buy iPhone 12. Yeah. And that's it. So yeah, I'm trying to understand the data and implement the data. Yeah. Okay. Most of my projects end up with just Google Tech Manager implementation and the data flow and data storage.
[00:11:10] But yeah, I also have a lot of implementations where I consult people and I do have my own company for lectures. So I do a lot of lectures and appearances at conferences and talking about web analytics. They say I'm decent or good, so. And also for the last five years, I'm talking about GDPR a lot in webinar analytics.
[00:11:35] Rick Dronkers: Yeah, because that is invariably, if you have been helping companies gathering all this data, especially if you had the Google stack, then increasingly you will get questions from your clients about, Hey, is Google not becoming illegal? Right. They are getting scared or they're getting notice. And then, this topic since 2018, has been on our radar at least a little bit before that hopefully.
[00:11:59] Robert Petković: Yeah. I remember Aurélie Pols, she was scaring us, even in 2016. No problem.
[00:12:05] Rick Dronkers: Yeah. She was early in scaring us.
[00:12:08] Robert Petković: But she's good. She is good. She's good in that. Yeah.
[00:12:11] Rick Dronkers: So you have also been involved in these talks with various clients of various types of businesses that collect data online and trying to explain GDPR to them. Let's walk through that process. So what, what is it currently that you see your clients asking? What are they, what is their mindset when they start the conversation with you?
[00:12:35] Robert Petković: Can you fix me that GDPR in half an hour? I'll pay you. Or if you think it needs to be paid well I'll pay you. So the first thing is, can you fix me that GDPR in five minutes? No, I can't. And most customers think that it's just half an hour job. It's implementing the web analytics. What do you mean?
[00:12:56] You just think that one piece of code, put it on a website or that's it. We don't need anything more. And I'm trying to explain that. That's why I go to conferences and even trying to scare people sometimes with stories. How they need to understand what the GDPR piece Okay. When we start the process, I'm usually have, I usually have a meeting with some data protection officer.
[00:13:17] If that's a big company, then that's usually some, I dunno, old policemen or security guards from the old system who is good in everything. And he's trying to scare me because I'm trying to steal the data and whatever. So Google is bad guy here and you are not good, and you need to shut everything off and then we'll talk.
[00:13:39] So I'm trying to, I know, help them also understand what happens with the data. How are we saving that data? Is there any personal identifying information, which is also a thing to consider what personal identifying information is, what's identifiable data? I dunno if things get rough, if I'm really a bad guy for them, I simply ask them, did you check your web logs web server logs data?
[00:14:07] Are you okay with that? Okay. And I usually, What's that? We can check that. Where's that? Where's our servers? And so on. Yeah, I do have some techniques to scare them, but no, it's not about scaring each other. It's about understanding the core complex of GDPR of data or data protection in some organization.
[00:14:25] Because every organization is different. I usually, I even say in my lectures then if I'm implementing eCommerce analytics on some website, I don't need to be a data protection officer. I cannot be a data protection officer, and I can have one kind of relationship with that company data processor or I dunno what's to name and I'm good.
[00:14:48] And if you are a website owner, and if you ask me, can you please check the transaction number AB 12345, there's something wrong with it. Yeah, I can, It's totally fine. I will check it out and I'll say, Okay, probably this is fake or whatever, but if you tell me, Hi, my friend Peter just bought something and his transaction is AB 12345.
[00:15:08] Can you check? No, that's a data breach. And people usually don't understand that that is also a data breach. It happened to me a lot. It happens a lot. And I usually educate people then by saying, No, you cannot ask me that. No matter, it's just two of us in this phone call. But you cannot ask me that because that's you revealing the personal identified information.
[00:15:31] Also, if I do have an approach to their CRM with people data, and if I do have approach to Google analytics, That's totally different level. We need to write totally different agreements than if I'm just implementing GTM and sending data to Google analytics and so on. Even the internal organization means a lot in implementing GDPR.
[00:15:56] So I'm just trying through all these talk and even with this to talk today, I'm just trying to help people understand that this is not such an easy job and that they also need to implement something on their side and they need to figure out whether to go left or right on some crossings in order to implement the GDPR the proper way or to be aligned with the GDPR.
[00:16:19] Are we completely aligned? I dunno. Often when they ask me, can you align this analytics with GDPR? Totally. No. 100% no. I think any good lawyer can, I don't know, sue us all for anything they find in there. And I'm not a lawyer. [Laughs] I don't know, I don't know legal stuff that much, but yeah, we cannot be totally aligned.
[00:16:41] But yeah, I do know that when Mark Stremsen and his crew, his gang, when they started suing websites around Europe. They actually most websites didn't get fined. Most of them said, Really? We didn't know we were doing that, or, Okay. Yeah, we were doing that, but we will stop it. Is that okay? Yeah, that's okay.
[00:17:04] Most of those who were just rigid or not humble. They said, Okay, what's the fine? We'll pay so no problem. So it, there were some lousey implementations, Google Analytics throughout Europe. There are many, many, many lousey implementations to Google Analytics throughout Europe saying, just put those lines of codes on website.
[00:17:24] And we are, okay, this is not a good way to implement website. If we manage just to raise awareness of website owners so that they can be more polite to customers and decide what to do with the data and we can help them, I dunno, we will make this world a better place. [Laughs] Whatever they say usually.
[00:17:49] Rick Dronkers: From the client's perspective, there's usually a couple of people that have grown accustomed to this data, right? So there's the email market there and there's the social media marketer and the paid search marketer. And then depending on how big the company, these will be separate functions or one or one person.
[00:18:09] And the marketing manager, of course, they have their KPIs and their dashboard. Let's assume that maybe they had a cookie compliance wall, but it wasn't integrated, right? So it was just there for show. As we know, that is often the case. Now you have to tell them that their boss said they have to become GDPR compliant, so at least you are gonna integrate the cookie banner with the actual what happens in tag manager. Right. How are you handling this conversation with the client? What are you telling them?
[00:18:44] Robert Petković: Oh, a lot of stuff happens. Some of them are angry, angry at me. What do you mean? Right now we need to, I know, erase the whole eMarketing database and so on. But the real situation for me starts when I analyze the client and I try, I'm trying to figure out whether they raised from the sales department or from the marketing department, because the sales, they usually want to pre approach the individual.
[00:19:12] They need individual email addresses. They need to find that individual person, which marketing usually don't. We operate in groups of 100 or more people. So it's not that marketers want to target a specific person, and marketing is here to educate people about the product. To, I dunno, make them our friends and our ambassadors.
[00:19:37] So we educate both our customers and both our employers in order to be compliant with the brand. Sales is just, okay, gimme figures and numbers and if you can just give me that person in the store, I'll take care of the rest. Just bring me that person and I'll, and they'll do it the great way I'm trying to figure out, okay, which part of this process they are from the start are marketing or sales.
[00:20:03] And then I'm trying to, I know, create my strategy on how to deal with that. And I usually say, Okay, we don't need to erase all the database. How did you get that database? Was it compliant? Did they leave you their email addresses on your website for getting discount and for further promotions, or you just bought a city from some strange Russian guy with 1 million web addresses?
[00:20:29] What did you do in that case? And so on. for remarketing, it's especially hard right now in remarketing because you are not allowed to put people in remarketing Facebook pixels or if they didn't allow you marketing cookies. If you didn't do that, then we are in trouble. So that's when they are starting to be nervous.
[00:20:52] Okay. Well, they ask, Okay, what about our marketing list? Whether it be if there will be 20% of the current vole, then we will not be able to do anything with them and so on. But the good thing is that I usually ask them my statistics from various websites. Where I'm showing the ratio of acceptancy of analytical and marketing cookies or declining all the cookies.
[00:21:18] I did have an interview a couple of years ago when I said that GDPR is one of the best things that has actually happened to marketing because it helps us learn that we need to behave to our customers much better if they want the content. If, they think that's good quality content, they will accept everything, no problem.
[00:21:41] I do have a small percentage of dropouts for marketing cookies. Really? If they, if they're accepting, they're usually accepting all marketing, both marketing and analytical cookies. There is a 2% difference among that. But the main difference is, what type of website that is and what type of advertising there was.
[00:22:05] So if there, it's some corporate. 70% of people will accept all if that's some big website with huge, I don't know, display marketing or Facebook marketing. There'll be 70% of GDPR cookie panel dropouts, which shows that most of, I don’t know programmatic and display traffic is maybe even fake, but I'm not, I didn't say that.
[00:22:33] Rick Dronkers: That's a different podcast. [Laughs]
[00:22:34] Robert Petković: That’s a different podcast. Yeah. It shows how, how quality our ads are and are those ads actually telling the story that has a good beginning and ends on our website. So if people are not feeling that story and well on the website, they will drop out. I actually don't have a problem with that.
[00:22:55] Yes, remarketing lists are smaller, getting smaller, but. It's much better quality in those two marketing lists. So yeah, it's actually people who want to be who want to be targeted back. Previously we thought everybody wants to be retargeted because that's what we think marketing is. That's what everything, that's what people usually want. But it's not the way. And you need to, you need to find a different way to tell the story to, for people to understand what actually that remarketing means or sharing the data means. I remember sharing a few words with Jim Stern from California the other day about GDPR Europe.
[00:23:35] And he was asking, Okay, what up? We were talking involved with how the stretch right now in Europe? And he said that when his daughter was pregnant when she declared she was pregnant, some two or three weeks later, she started having some newsletters in, in her Mays. Physical one, not in virtual mailbox regarding some supplements for I don't know, for her teeth or for foods.
[00:23:59] And, and she said, Yeah, maybe that was my pharmacist, Maybe that was my doctor. But I don't care. I have a good quality content in my mailbox and I'm good with that. So Americans are more, Yeah, we are getting good content out of that. Europeans are not, because we had a few situations in the history where people actually end up dead with the various data breaches, I dunno whether, Aurélie Pols told the story about the Netherlands you had a census in 1930s or 1920s.
[00:24:36] She told me that story. And there was hunger in the Netherlands. And there was a hunger and there were a lot of homeless people on the streets of Netherlands. And you had a census there.
[00:24:48] The nationality and religion was a thing asked there because the government wanted to very the homeless person in according to their religion. So it was a good cause. And then the Nazis came and got the database, said, Gee, thanks.
[00:25:05] Rick Dronkers: Yeah, it's a nice list for us.
[00:25:06] Robert Petković: So, it's not that good. And I know that Jim also said, Jim Stern also said to me, he asked his friends, okay, we have data breaches and so on, and there's a lot of data going wrong around private companies and public companies.
[00:25:23] Do you want your data to be available for the Obama administration? No problem. We don't care. Couple of years later he asked, do you want the data to be available to Donald Trump administration? Well, And now they have a situation where there are a lot of women around the world who are having health applications, putting the menstrual cycle data in their mobile phones.
[00:25:47] And it all goes to the US to private companies who can sell. They sell that data to some countries where the abortion is legal is not legal. So yeah, that's tricky.
[00:25:58] Rick Dronkers: Even states in the United States. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I think , I think Hannes Kuhl said it a couple podcast episodes ago, he said it very well. He said a person sharing personal data or privacy is about, you are opening and closing doors for your future selves, but you just don't know which doors you're opening and closing.
[00:26:21] Robert Petković: Yeah. That that was a good state.
[00:26:22] Rick Dronkers: And you're sharing the data. And today it seems harmless to share this data, right? So let's, in the Dutch example, right? So it was for a good cause to get buried in your own religions.
[00:26:35] Robert Petković: It's always for a good cause.
[00:26:37] Rick Dronkers: But then 15 years later, somebody else that gets that data and, and closes the door for you that you didn't want clothes.
[00:26:46] Robert Petković: So yeah, any technical product comes up with a good cause. Developers are usually pretty cool, pretty good, good guys who won't just make the world a better place, but it ends up in our marketing and sales.
[00:27:00] Rick Dronkers: I think, one point you made earlier, I don't recall exactly anymore, but about marketers that we have to do our best now. I think it's also, what was the case is that before GDPR, or rather before all the scandals that came out of Cambridge Analytica and all these kind of things, right?
[00:27:40] There was a mismatch between the people who required to implement the technology, the marketers, right? Cause the marketers in most cases just wanted to better the user experience. So they wanted to improve advertising, return on investment, which means they wanna show less irrelevant ads to people who are not interested, which is in essence a good thing, right?
[00:28:02] Cause nobody, if I am not woman, I don't need to see advertisements for women's products on my device. Or if I don't have a kid, I don't need to see advertisements for buying diapers, right? So that, in essence, makes the web better. So, the first thought of that was, they save money on advertising and it makes it a better place for the people who browse it.
[00:28:26] Robert Petković: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:47] Robert Petković: Yeah. And, and, and the quality of digital marketing around the world is getting worse day by. Because, , all you need is, I know finish one course and plan yourself a senior advertising and you'll get some plan and you'll get some results. Every day there are tons of kids with less knowledge than some others who are entering the market and who simply don't know what damage they EW causing the coal market was uneducated a couple of years ago regarding what can be done, what's legal or not, or I should say what's polite or not. I know in Croatia we had a law, pretty good law regarding personal data information. We didn't meet with GDPR, but nobody paid attention to that.
[00:29:31] Define was so small that nobody paid attention to that. So GDPR was great because the define was huge. It was 2 billion and everybody turned around. Oh. We need to pay attention to that right now. So that's a good thing about GDPR. It made the privacy or decision that people want regarding their privacy putting focus.
[00:29:52] Do they usually try to explain marketers regarding that it is not such a bad idea because we are polite, or at least sales people are polite to customers in the real world. The example of shopping basket. Shopping cart is really good. The other thing is we do have remarketing and retargeting in offline sales because if you come to your familiar store that the salesperson will ask you good day, Mr.
[00:30:20] Petković, how are you today? How did your wife's jacket was nice? Is she okay with that? And so on. So if it is kind marketing we want, and also anytime some person enters the store, After couple of steps, the way that person behaves, looks around, the salesperson knows exactly is that person here to buy something for themselves or for the others?
[00:30:46] Does that person know where she is or should, should be in some different store? Is that person on the mission? When a guy approaches the drug store, he's probably on a mission. He need to pay buy diapers or some family product. He's on the mission. He need to get the appropriate product, right there.
[00:31:04] The salesperson know exact words and the exact way to approach the person who entered the store. In digital marketing, What are we saying? That person buy, buy here, come buy here. Just giving the same lousy advertising to all the people because everybody's our audience and let's everybody come to our store, which is actually not a good idea.
[00:31:28] So yeah, we need to be more polite about that. And the other thing, even if we know the customer well, there are situations when that customer doesn't want to be recognized. For example, if I want to buy a new jacket for my wife on a web shop that we usually use, I will go into incognito mode. I don't want her to see the ads about that surprise.
[00:31:53] So yeah, I will pitch the incognito mode or say in that session, No, I don't want marketing cookies because it'll ruin the surprise. There is a scene in a movie Love actually. You remember that love? Actually, when it was Rick, where, where Mr. Bean was a salesman and he saw if he sold that necklace for, he say a Rickman was the actor he saw, he sold the necklace for a Rickman and he spends, I don't know, five minutes preparing a good package and everything else.
[00:32:26] And then his wife came along and she actually ruined the surprise, or for his mists, but nevermind, we didn't all that at the time. But his wife came along and she was, no, no, we are just, I'm just not browsing, just moving around and they left. That's also the situation where we don't want to be recognized or we don't want everybody else to know what we are doing right now.
[00:32:46] But also there are situations where people don't want to be recognized, but maybe they need to. I think we also mentioned the situation, I dunno, Or on the street square. When you are, I know, waiting for a street car to arrive. Yeah. You can have your shades ahead. So not to be recognized by the surveillance camera. Yeah. Okay. But you still are a person on the square. If, and if the mayor wants to know how many people are on the square day by day, you need to be counted into that calculation. You cannot be opt out that, So I think that a legitimate interest, which European law says that it's not a legitimate interest, but legitimate interest for market is to know how many sessions there were or how many pages there were on some website or how many transactions was on the website, is something that should be in that, in the Google Analytics data.
[00:33:46] Actually Google Analytics four says they're gonna be interpreted data. Data in that case. But yeah, that's something we need to know, not how many people. That's different. That's, you need to. Exchange some personal, not the Pacific people, or not even how many people, but you also in a big store if you enter some store, there are counters on, on, on doors.
[00:34:10] And usually at the end of the day, they said, Okay, we've had 12,000 people coming. No, you didn't have 12,000 people. You had 3000 entrances to your store. 3000 sessions, let's say into your store. You don't know how many people were there unless you are in the modern line with the GDPR. We do have something in the real world, something else in the digital world.
[00:34:32] With such examples from the real world and digital world, I'm trying to explain people where we are and how can we make things better for all.
[00:34:40] Rick Dronkers: So let's assume that currently what we are seeing is that most of what we know as, marketing analytics right now, so let's say Google Analytics, just as an example, but most tools do the same thing. They collect personal data, what the GDPR calls personal data, and even the cookie id. So, just the unique id, even though it is not tied to any other thing of my name, it is still classified as personal data under the GDPR.
[00:35:12] Let's just assume that that will stay that way, right? And not, not go into that discussion. So, okay. Every, every digital analytics tool that has the ability to identify unique users. well will require explicit consent at least. currently probably should also be hosted in the, in Europe and not in the, in the United States.
[00:35:31] But that's a different discussion for now. But let's asse that if we take it one step back, do you think it would be maybe be more valuable to companies to switch to aggregate analytics and drop the users, so to say, So drop the unique way to identify users and, and actually take a little bit of a step back, but that way create an analytics that is not, personal data, technically speaking.
[00:35:59] Robert Petković: I dunno, because all the data and Google Analytics so far, or most of the data in Google Analytics so far is actually aggregated data. And if you're doing marketing and analysis, you are always dealing with aggregated data the way that data was aggregated. Is something that maybe is not aligned with the GDPR because you need a lot of identifiers, although it's not a personal thing, you need a lot of identifiers to find out that it's the same person who visited the other day.
[00:36:28] And so, yeah, we know that. I'm not quite sure because we opened the user level data to marketers a couple of years ago. We said, here you have users, finally you have unique users, which is a concept I hate. You have either users or who visits. That's it. But yeah, you have unique users for many people actually around.
[00:36:49] The problem is with many marketers, they only understand the concept of people. If you are, if you are telling them about the number of clicks on Facebook, a pixel and the number of sessions in Google Analytics, they all think it's people and those figures don't match and there's something wrong.
[00:37:04] So yeah, the concept of people is something that marketing understands better, much better than any other metric we have. And that's the fact we need to be aware of that fact. Right now we have a law that says we are not allowed to provide you with such kind of data unless the customer agrees on.
[00:37:21] The next couple of years is gonna be everything about trying to make peace between those two tribes. Not to mention that the biggest problem is the way Europe approaches the data privacy. It's privacy first and security national security second, while the US is the other way around.
[00:37:43] National security first and privacy the other way, privacy second. So yeah, that's two main differences. But I also think that if I insult the Prime Minister right now on Facebook in some way, some fake account and if I said I'm gonna kill him, I'm not, please, no. But there's gonna be police on my door in a couple of files.
[00:38:05] No matter the US services on, because it's something that's against many, many loads. So police will find a way to bridge data in order to get them. The main issue here is, as I said, between the US and Europe. The other way, Yeah. Marketers want users, they want. But I usually say to people in Google Analytics world that I prefer sessions.
[00:38:31] I prefer sessions because we behave the other way. We behave one way when we are alone in some offline store. We behave the other way when we are reacting without partnering that store with our kids when we are at that store. So every session is different. Yeah, I'm a buyer, I do have my lifetime value and so on.
[00:38:49] But even we behave differently. In the same situation and on the same website. That's why I love sessions as a concept. But nevermind, users are still a good concept and nevermind they, nevermind the I dunno, device ID or cookie ID or some technical data we share around. There are many people who still want to share, I dunno, email data or names with Facebook.
[00:39:19] I think Alejandro spoke about that as well. There are still customers who want to share the data with Facebook in order to get better, better ads and so on. There's been a lot of personal identifying information in Google Analytics for the past, I dunno, 10 years or so. Even Google in Google Analytics said some seven, eight years ago, if you find FII in your data will delete the whole day of it.
[00:39:44] There was a problem, but the problem is what's person's identified data? If you have a link on your website with an email address of your office, and if you track that as, event, which I usually do, there is an email address recorded in Google Analytics. Is it the PII or not? Not quite sure if it's at office, at my company.com, definitely not the, if it's Robert firstname.lastname@example.org, it the PII or not?
[00:40:12] It is personal information. It's my personal information, whether it's published on a website. It's not personal information from a client who clicked on a link, but sometimes even Google will say, No, no, no. We need to erase that data. So there are many situations…
[00:40:26] Rick Dronkers: Machine learning, machine learning will delete
[00:40:28] Robert Petković: Will delete the data. Yeah, but I, There are many situations when you have a url. I know if you fill the newsletter form the submit button goes into post mode or get whatever you have a url, your email in the webpage. But thank you page. And of course, that URL is recorded in Google Analytics and that is personal data.
[00:40:47] So there are many, many cases in many implementations when we simply are not dealing with personal data the right way. So, GDPR at least helped, is trying to tell people, please be kind to your customers. Please be aware of their personal data. Don't spread it all around. Don't sell it.
[00:41:09] Rick Dronkers: I 100% agree with that. I think it has been a great motivator to pick up some things that otherwise would not have been picked. But I, I feel if we, if we stick to our side of it, right? So to the digital analytics part, and I think mostly for marketers, right? So less for product analytics, mostly marketing analytics.
[00:41:32] I feel we have been given user analytics, and that concept came from more from the product analytics side because there it has been more about testing user flows and AB testing and optimizing digital products. And of course, this gives us this interesting problem that all marketers to ponder about, which is attribution, How, how to attribute across a customer journey with multiple sources. this problem can keep us up forever and we will never get a
[00:42:05] Robert Petković: Totally different podcast. Yeah. On distribution. But I can say that I, even having a scholarship yesterday said, Okay, we are done in attribution. We don't know the attribution. Even he said that yesterday. Yeah.
[00:42:16] Rick Dronkers: I think it's really valuable to look at it. Consider, but it is a, I don't think you will. There's no definitive answer. Let's put it that. But we got this technology, right? So we got this user analytics and our tools have gotten better and better and better over the last 10 years, at least since, since I've been working with it.
[00:42:36] And, and you even longer. So you've seen a longer track record of all the tools becoming better. But we also now, now we have the issue that we are a little bit, we are spoiled with what we have, and we also have this fear of losing what we have. Is that also what you recognize with your clients?
[00:42:59] Robert Petković: That's actually what you said it, right? The fear of losing what we had is something that I recognized from my clients. Okay? I have that million email addresses. What I'm gonna do now, should I raise them all? I knew something about attribution. What I'm going to do right now, I used to have remarketed list for 2000 people.
[00:43:18] Now I only have 50 what I'm gonna do now. Yeah. It is a losing, it is a fear of losing something we already had or a fear of change. So it is always like that.
[00:43:29] Rick Dronkers: How do you, how do you handle that at your clients? So how you notice this fear and then how do you guide them? [Laughs]
[00:43:36] Robert Petković: Always education because people are afraid of attribution, let's say afraid of attribution. But most afraid are those people who actually never had a strategy. They only looked for the last big attribution. They never had a strategy or multi touch attribution. And they're afraid that they will lose the attribution right now.
[00:43:56] And also there's a great fear, but I'm what I'm seeing for the last two years, since Google Analytics 4 started into GA4 completely different podcast episode. Yeah. But the issue with the GA4 interface, right? People are afraid of GoogleX for Enterprise because it's something new and they think their need, they will need to find, or they should find some valuable data in there, but they are not able to find it because it was so optimized.
[00:44:25] I relate to another story, or from my life. My wife usually says, When me go to some store, she says, Yeah, I want that. She a maniquin with some combination. She said, Yeah, I do that. I don't want to go around the shelves and pick something because I'm not good at that. I like this.
[00:44:44] And this is also the situation in Google Analytics. We had 80 or hundred different reports, and people were usually clicking around the Google Analytics for half an hour trying to find something, which they will find interesting, eh? Yeah. That, that's it. I find it now. So Google Analytics 4 came along and said, Okay.
[00:45:05] You have fewer reports, but you can make a lot more reports than in mobile analytics universal right now. So you, I just need to know what you are looking for, and that's the main problem. You just need to know what you're looking for. Many marketers actually don't know what they're looking for, so I'm trying to educate them regarding your GA4, regarding GDPR and their marketing strategy, that they need to know what they're looking for, the regional, what they're, what the strategy is before they're starting the digital marketing campaign, what they will achieve, what KPIs are, and so on.
[00:45:38] So by always, no matter what fear it is, it's digital marketing, it's sport, it's real life. Any fear can be lowered now with education and proper talk. So definitely education is the way to make them feel more comfortable and make them be more, better marketers. As I said, GDPR is good for marketing.
[00:45:59] It's not a problem that you're in. Marketing list is actually smaller. There's much more quality data in that marketing list and that data can push you towards being better marketer. And of course, if you are just having small budgets or if you don't care, if you don't care about your campaign and you just have some outsourcing agency who's spending tons of dollars on your campaigns and you just want results, then yeah, you are in trouble.
[00:46:27] You, you are actually not providing them with the appropriate debt on your, or you don't have a strategy at all. Your strategy is let give those guys some money and they'll get some results. So in that, in those cases, which is not that rare, it is a problem.
[00:46:42] Rick Dronkers: I like what you just said. I think one of the points you touched upon at the beginning really struck with me is that it is mainly the companies that have not yet actually used, actually understand their data. So you use the, the, the example of attribution. So it's mainly the companies who only use LastClick and have never actually used complex attribution that are now afraid of losing it.
[00:47:09] And I think that makes a lot of sense. I recognize that as well. And I think that makes a lot of sense because they probably fear that all this data, they never actually got to really using it. So they fear they were already missing out and now it's gonna be extracted away so they can never use it again.
[00:47:29] Right. So for a lot of the more mature companies who already figured out how complex it is to work with data and how hard it is to, and that you actually have to decide what data points you want to measure and make it work for you, it's not this magic of the data will bring you the answer.
[00:47:44] It's more about you figure out what you want to measure and then you optimize against that. And that's hard work. But the companies that realize that they are less afraid of GDPR because they understand that, hey, we will still have some data to work with and it will still be hard work to get value from it.
[00:48:00] Whereas the companies that do not realize that, they had all this data that they rarely used, or they only stared at reports, but they never really took action. And now the staring at reports becomes less interesting because there will be less data in it cause of GDPR. So it feels like more loss.
[00:48:16] Robert Petković: Yeah. You measured one word, digital maturity, which is actually great concept. I don't look at companies as big, small, how many, how much revenue they generate and so on. But I'm trying to figure out their level of digital maturity because then you, you can, you can create great projects. I remember when, when people ask me, is there one factor you can, where you can decide is this gonna be a great project or not?
[00:48:44] And I usually say, in my experience, if the company has. A digital marketer for some manager coordinator between outsourcing agencies and the internal team, then that's a good project. If there is a one person at the client side, not at company side, there's one person who understands what each one of us should be doing and who understands our questions and is able to give proper answers because understands the business side, which we usually don't, that that's the, the greatest factor that impacts the, success of some project.
[00:49:20] Definitely if you have that, let's say digital maturity around the world is not that good. There is also a story, about how I explain the digital maturity or what's a strategy in digital marketing. We are Croatia. We are, let's say, pretty good in football or soccer with American sake.
[00:49:40] We all, any nation, we are, any nation thing is great in football, we think for the last hundred years or so. But yeah, we were the second on the world championship. So yeah, we are kind of, kind of good. We have Luca Modric, who's a great player, will place for real Madrid.
[00:49:58] He doesn't score goals, but in 2018 and 2019, he was voted on many occasions as the best football player in the world. Why? He's someone who can see where the ball is coming, where the goal scorer is, and he can pass the ball in a great way, pretty much like David Beckham used to do. He just passes the ball by that.
[00:50:28] He's a touchpoint in the core strategy. There is a goalkeeper. There is, I dunno, some defender player and so on. So any action let's say starts for many actions starts with the goalkeeper who passes to build the ball to defender. He passes to Luca Modric, which look at, passes to Ronaldo and Ronaldo scores the goal, who scores the goal?
[00:50:49] Ronaldo scores the goal. Each one of them is entitled to score. But what happens if we put a goalie in front? And if you put Ronaldo as a goalkeeper, if you put as a defender, is all gonna be the same four different touchpoint, but with different parts. And that action is not gonna be as successful as one proper action.
[00:51:15] If you have a kid who is in, I dunno, kindergarten or elementary school, a lot of them are going to soccer practices. if you take a drone and put it above the field at soccer practice. What you gonna see? Everybody's running where the ball is.
[00:51:36] Everybody's running toward the ball. That's the average situation. Visual marketing around the world. Everybody is running where the ball is and once the kids are mature enough, 10 or 12 years of age, then they're, okay, you'll stay here. You'll stay there. You'll pass the ball to there. That's, I know, developing tactics and that's some strategy.
[00:52:01] Each football manager needs to deal with different opponent in each game. That's our competition. Some of his players are injured, some are not allowed to. Each again, he needs to provide a different strategy. Yesterday we beat Denmark in football because our manager completely switch the strategy in other half play, second half play.
[00:52:27] So he needs to provide the good strategy, needs to know a lot of things around, and then he can look at the data to see whether he was right or wrong, not the other way. Many people are trying to look at the data, Okay, you need to see the data first to see, okay, some basics. But if you want to create a strategy, you need to know what to do, which kind of data will get, what are KPIs?
[00:52:52] And then you will evaluate yourself and see where did you went wrong, what was right, and so on. To be able to change your strategy, meaning design a copy functionalities audience, whatever in your next campaign in order to get better results. Many, many people are just expecting that the machines will do that all by themselves and we just need to throw the money. And yes, even Google on Facebook, they're using that approach and they said, Just give us more money and we'll do the job and we'll get some
[00:53:23] Rick Dronkers: [Laughs] The money gets thrown at them. That's why they, that's why they want that approach. But I think what I really like about this analogy and the way I see it is that a lot of companies think about it in, in a line. you look at the data and then you do stuff, and then hopefully the stuff is better. But actually it is a circle, right? You have, and you have to continuously do it and learn each.
[00:53:43] Robert Petković: The good thing about digital technology is it helps us understand all those things much, much quicker, much better. You, you need to, I dunno, change something, some copy and change some approach in your campaign, and you'll immediately get better results. It's great. Whenever I'm trying to, when I'm doing lectures, I'm telling kids, you're gonna be a better version of yourself at the end of the.
[00:54:07] The end of each day. If you're just trying to look at the data and understand what you did, what was wrong or right, and you will understand your customers better, if you just take a look at the data, it's it's small incremental step. But by the end of the month, you'll be, I don't know, 2% better than yourself at the end of the end, at the beginning of the month.
[00:54:26] And being better than yourself is the hardest thing in the world. Being better than competition, that's maybe easy, but being better than yourself is something we should into. And, I said digital marketing enables us very, very well. That's why I'm thankful to be a part of such a community. And the good thing about testing also is when you are on some meeting, there's always that so-called HIPPO effect, highest income paid person's opinion.
[00:54:55] So when we are stuck, we look at the person who we think it's mostly paid here, and their decision will be the one which we will all, all hold for. Usually when I'm at such meetings, I take each and every one suggestion and test it with the available tools we have. I tested data to see who was right because maybe, okay, maybe Hippo was right and maybe he was right in most cases, but that doesn't mean he'll be right in the next campaign.
[00:55:25] The next with the next product and so on there is we can test it and we can then go back with that data saying, look, this was something that we didn't think about at all. This was something that made a significant impact on your product, on your revenue or whatever. And all the other things we thought were gonna be better. Red button versus green button or so doesn't mean a thing. Okay. Red button. Red button mean a thing but.
[00:55:49] Rick Dronkers: We'll add an orange button.
[00:55:51] Robert Petković: An Amazon orange button that works well. Yeah.
[00:55:53] Rick Dronkers: I love this talk with you. I think, if we tie it all back, I think the core is education, right? If we want marketers and also digital analysts to embrace the change that we have to make in order to comply with GDPR, then the main issue is actually education is not necessarily technology.
[00:56:16] We can configure the technology out in however way we want, but we have to explain to people what needs to change and why it needs to change and why that's actually a good thing. Would you agree with that?
[00:56:52] So yeah. Okay. We were talking about marketers right now. We are not talking about GTM server-side or Mark Strem’s or whatever. But yeah, education always education is the way to go forward. And yeah, we spend our educations, we spend a lot of time to learn something to be able to translate that into some words that will help marketers save their time and money to learn the things they know right now.
[00:57:22] To makes them work better. it's not some, I don't know, it's not some devil coming from behind your screen regarding GDPR or something else. As I said, we need to be more polite to people. That's what GDPR tells us actually, and that's what we usually do in the real world. So it's not a big deal.
[00:57:42] Rick Dronkers: We should adopt that. If people wanna get educated about you?
[00:57:45] Robert Petković: I do have my own website ropertco.com with some educational materials. Most of them are in Croatian language because people in creation and surrounding countries lot to talk, allow to listen to me because I'm not speaking in English and I'm not speaking about analytics and data in English, but in creation so that they can understand me better.
[00:58:09] I do have my YouTube channel regarding Google Analytics. Also in Croatian. Maybe I'll put some subtitles, but there are also some material in English on my website. We will provide a link and usually I am at tech conferences. In a week or when this episode will be on air, I will already attend a conference in Northern Macedonia
[00:58:30] speaking about analytics and GDPR. And also in November, Yeah, in November I'll be in Venia talking about GDPR analytics. There is a lecture called “Google Analytics is Legal and You Should be Fine(d)”. That's the title of my presentation. And also pretty soon I'll being Croatia at the eCommerce Croatia conference.
[00:58:56] It's a commerce for web shop owners where I'm also gonna be speaking about the new GA four and, and GDPR and so on. I'm usually at conferences and some lectures you can find even on Twitter, on, on LinkedIn, On, on Facebook. Yeah. I'm all around.
[00:59:12] Rick Dronkers: Please do share your slides of this presentation on Twitter and LinkedIn. We would love to look along with you.
[00:59:21] Robert Petković: I might, as a Christmas present or something.
[00:59:25] Rick Dronkers: Good. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge and hopefully we'll talk soon again.
[00:59:29] Robert Petković: Thanks Rick for having me and hope to see you all in person pretty soon.
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