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  • How Third Party Vendor Management Can Affect Agency Scalability

    Sept 1, 2023 Let’s be real for a second: Agency life can go from calm and peaceful one week to absolute chaos the next. When the time comes to scale up, one of the first solutions that agencies look toward is vendors. If you’re running an agency that outsources aspects of your operations to one or more freelancers or subcontractors, you’re working with multiple vendors. The intended goal is to leverage their expertise and fill skill gaps that might exist in-house. This raises a question though: Is managing a network of siloed vendors the most effective way to drive results for your clients and scale your agency? While this may initially seem like a proactive strategy, it can inadvertently hinder your agency's ability to scale efficiently and achieve long-term success. Today, we're going to talk about how managing multiple vendors can prevent you from achieving the goals you've set for your agency, and what you can do about it. Vendor Management: A Double-Edged Sword On the surface, having multiple vendors seems to offer several advantages, including specialization, competitive pricing, and reduced risk. You can tap into the best of each vendor’s capabilities, and rely on their deliverables to enhance your service offerings. However, managing multiple vendors can quickly become a resource-draining endeavor and can actually pose a risk to the quality of work that you provide for your clients. Here are some reasons why: Complexity in Coordination As you bring more vendors on board, you introduce additional layers of complexity to your operation. Your team finds themselves managing various pricing models, process structures, contracts, and invoicing systems. Each vendor may also demand their own set of meetings, status updates, and review sessions. This consumes valuable time and mental resources that could otherwise be devoted to strategic planning and core in-house priorities. Eroding Profit Margins While it may appear that you are receiving the most favorable terms from each vendor, this fragmented approach can gradually diminish your profit margins. Why is this? When you're paying for multiple vendors, you're also paying varying rates that may change at any given time, preventing your financial situation from becoming predictable. A vendor could increase their prices over time, which then means you also either have to raise your own rates to compensate or take less revenue for your agency. While vendors do not require the overhead of in-house hires like benefits and PTO, they may not always prove the best use of resources, especially if they start to nickel-and-dime each aspect of their relationship with your agency. Again, this further removes financial predictability from the picture. Administrative Burden When you have multiple vendors, the administrative overhead can become overwhelming. Contract negotiation, payment processing, and quality assurance are all necessary parts of vendor management. These tasks multiply with each additional vendor, becoming a significant drain on resources. Don't underestimate the time and labor costs associated with vendor-related administration; they can add up, affecting your bottom line. Your team should be using vendors to save time (and ultimately money) for your agency, but if they are bogged down with quality assurance from their vended deliverables, efficiency diminishes. Inconsistent Branding and Quality One of the hallmarks of a successful digital marketing campaign is a coherent and impactful brand message. Managing multiple vendors makes it challenging to ensure consistency across all deliverables. Different vendors have different styles, interpretations, and quality standards. The resulting mismatch can dilute the brand message, ultimately impacting campaign effectiveness and client satisfaction. Because most vendors will operate on a fee-for-service model, they are not beholden to fulfilling any aspect of their role with your agency that is not explicitly detailed in their contracts. If they decide to start phoning in their work, but their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed, there's very little your agency can do to resolve dissatisfaction with quality. Lack of Unified Strategy Clients hire advertising agencies for their expertise in providing a unified and strategic approach to marketing. When an agency relies on multiple vendors, it risks diluting this unified strategy. The more vendors involved, the harder it is to control and implement a cohesive plan. Clients may begin to question your agency's ability to manage their brand effectively, which could lead to lost contracts and a tarnished reputation. Slower Turnaround Times Let's face it, time is money. Clients often work on tight deadlines, expecting their agencies to deliver high-quality work quickly. Juggling multiple vendors can result in slower project turnaround times, as it's not just your internal team that you have to coordinate but an entire ecosystem of external suppliers. Delays can erode client trust and make your agency less competitive in a fast-paced market. Is There a Better Alternative to Working with Multiple Vendors? Instead of building and managing networks of siloed vendors, there are other alternatives you can consider. Chief among them is joining forces with a white label digital marketing partner. What does a white label partner provide for your agency that a vendor can't? Here are a few advantages that you can gain through partnership that are not available in most vendor arrangements. Unified Strategy: A white label partner provides a holistic approach to marketing strategies, ensuring brand consistency across all channels. This is often harder to achieve when dealing with multiple vendors. Faster Turnaround: White label partners have comprehensive in-house teams that can efficiently execute campaigns across various digital platforms, reducing the time spent coordinating with multiple vendors. Quality Control: With a white label partner, quality control becomes much more manageable, as they are responsible for delivering on all fronts, minimizing the risk of dilution in quality. Cost-Effective: Partnering with a white label service can be more cost-effective than hiring multiple vendors, as it eliminates the need to negotiate and manage numerous contracts. Scalability: White label partners can easily scale their services according to business needs, providing the flexibility that might not be feasible with multiple vendors. Expertise: White label partners specialize in providing comprehensive marketing solutions, offering expertise and insights across all aspects of digital marketing that multiple vendors may lack. Holistic Service Offering: A white label partner offers a full suite of digital marketing services, ranging from SEO, content marketing, and social media management, to more specialized services like PPC advertising and programmatic advertising. This prevents the fragmentation that may occur when working with different vendors for each service, ensuring a streamlined, cohesive digital strategy. Single Point of Contact Communication: Working with a white label partner simplifies communication as it provides a single point of contact for all your digital marketing requirements. This eliminates the confusion and time spent juggling between multiple vendors, ensuring more effective and efficient communication. Is your agency ready for a partnership with a white label ad operations team? Check out our post on 5 Signs Your Agency is Ready for Partnership. Work with North America's Elite White Label Partner At Conduit Digital, we strive to redefine what it means to be a white label solution for North American advertising, creative, digital, and public relations agencies. Offering 17 channels through a single partnership, fully fulfilled in the U.S., we give your agency the communication and performance infrastructure that you need to say "yes" to the opportunities you actually want to pursue. If you're ready to learn more about what it's like to partner with Conduit, let's talk!

  • Overcoming Advertising Agency Turnover and Hiring Challenges

    Aug 24, 2023 The world of advertising is constantly changing and becoming more competitive. Advertising agencies need to stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and techniques. However, this is often easier said than done. Many ad agency leaders face challenges such as turnover and hiring difficulties that often hinder their capacity for growth. When there are not enough people to work on new campaigns, client services and overall business operations can suffer. This is not an unusual challenge for agency leaders. In fact, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) estimated that the advertising agency turnover rate is over 25%. Doing some quick math, for every four people you hire, slightly more than one will leave. Obviously, this cuts against an agency’s ability to scale. How can you keep growing your agency when you’re worrying about losing members of your team? While keeping 3 out of every 4 you hire is a promising statistic, you could one day lose the only specialist you have serving a specific channel. After that, you might face the very real decision over whether to discontinue a service or outsource it to a platform or vendor that you’re not 100% confident in from a quality standpoint. It doesn’t have to go that route, though. Today, we’re going to cover some tips for what you can do at your agency to navigate through staffing obstacles and continue to scale when the opportunities arise. 1: Take a Proactive Approach to Recruitment Agency leaders must be proactive when it comes to recruitment. This means anticipating future hiring needs and starting the recruitment process before there is an urgent need. This approach allows for a longer lead time to identify suitable candidates and accommodate the often lengthy hiring process. Additionally, agencies can astutely preview the candidates' experience, skills, core values, and teams, ensuring a long-term fit. Finding the right candidate who is less likely to turnover at your agency can be a challenge. However, there are specific qualities you should look for when hiring, such as: Individuals who express genuine interest in your agency's mission, culture, and values. These individuals are more likely to stick around for the long haul because they believe in the company's vision. Candidates with a history of loyalty in their past roles. Someone who has stayed with previous employers for an extended period of time is more likely to do the same with your agency. Individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow with the agency. Those who are hungry for knowledge and progression are less likely to get bored and move on. By keeping these qualities in mind, you can hire the right candidate who will be loyal and committed to the success of your agency. Looking for these types of individuals will help you find the right fit for your agency. If you serve a specific industry or a small handful, you may also want to consider what industries a candidate has worked in in the past. They may feel more at-home serving a niche that’s the same or similar to ones that they have done so previously. 2: Encourage Employee Retention Employee retention is as essential as recruitment. Once the agency has hired the right person, it is vital to retain them. Attracting and keeping the ideal people is key to a successful and stable workplace. Encourage employee retention by investing in your employee's development needs, treating them equitably, valuing their contributions, and providing them with a positive work-life balance. When someone enjoys where they work, they are far less likely to search for another professional home in the future. 3: Elevate Internal Culture & Communication Internal culture and communication are key factors in employee motivation and engagement across your agency. As a leader, it is your responsibility to foster an environment where teams collaborate, promote diversity and inclusion, manage difficult conversations, and establish trust. Communicate frequently and transparently across all channels to ensure that employees are aware of the agency's direction and objectives. You could also hold weekly company-wide meetings where everyone can feel informed, contribute to discussions, and receive clarification from you on certain aspects of agency life that they are interested in learning more about. 4: Take Stock of Current In-House Utilization Utilization issues can be costly and can also make or break operations at an agency. If a member of your in-house team is underutilized, are they costing too much to retain? If they don’t have enough hours to spend on client service in their usual role, can their role be expanded to drive additional value? If someone on the team is underutilized, consider some options to boost their utilization such as: Having them focus on internal marketing to promote your agency to your ideal clients Having them learn a new digital specialty so that they can contribute to your team in new ways Cross-train to assist other team members that may be at full capacity or approaching over-capacity Similarly, overutilization does not help with hiring and retaining an in-house team. Employees that are burnt out, stressed, and spread thin cannot perform at the highest levels for your clients. This can lead to errors, miscommunications, and potentially damage the relationships that you build with your clients that trust you to deliver results for them. Beyond hiring, here are some other ways that you can solve the challenge of overutilization: Prioritize daily, weekly, or monthly tasks in order of most important to least important so that the person fulfilling them knows where they need to concentrate most of their attention. Reassess client expectations if the client is expecting too much for what was promised to them in their agreement with your agency. Ask your team if there are certain specific tools or types of tools that they can use to streamline some of their more time-consuming tasks that they perform on a regular basis. Encourage senior members of the team to delegate tasks more efficiently so that they can take more work off of their plate and allocate toward someone who might be underutilized. Establish clear communication so that the people struggling with capacity know that they can come to you as the agency leader to figure out a potential solution or more efficient path forward. 5: Look Beyond Your Local Market As much as most agencies prefer to keep their talent geographically close, it may make sense to consider hiring someone remotely if you are struggling to find the right expertise in your market. Look for remote workers who possess the skills that you need and have a track record of reliability in similar long-distance work environments. Remote workers may also help you save on staffing costs. You may find someone who asks for less money than your local market commands if they are based in an area with a lower cost of living and will not have to spend money on commuting-related expenses such as fuel, tolls, and vehicle maintenance. However, while fully remote workers may sound like a solid solution, finding the right ones should be approached with caution. According to the chief economist of ZipRecruiter, high turnover should be expected as a permanent fixture in remote working. 6: Activate a White Label Digital Marketing Partnership When you need a reliable team that can consistently deliver for your clients, where should you turn? While you can and should take steps to enhance the employee experience at your agency, there may simply be periods where the right people are not available to help you in your efforts to scale. That’s where a white label digital marketing partnership comes in. A white label ad operations team provides ad agencies with access to an extensive range of digital marketing services, allowing them to expand their suite of services without the need to recruit highly specialized and/or costly development teams. These partnerships also provide your agency with the ability to deliver better performance through a single partnership with access to experienced professionals with hands-on experience in diverse digital marketing fields. Beyond solving staffing issues, white labeling also enables you to expand the scope of services you offer in-house. For example, if you’ve never offered OTT advertising to your clients before, you now can offer white label OTT advertising through your partnership with the confidence that a certified expert is handling each aspect of the campaign. Overall, partnership is a win-win for your agency and clients. Better yet? White label deliverables can be rebranded to your agency or client’s branding to help you maintain more continuity and control over the materials that you provide to your clients. Solve Advertising Agency Turnover with a White Label Partnership Scaling an agency requires overcoming the hiring and turnover challenges that many ad agency leaders face today. Taking a proactive approach to recruitment, employee retention culture and communication, and leveraging contractors/freelancers are all wise steps to overcoming outside forces that impact hiring and retention. When you need to solve your capacity, bandwidth, and skill-gap issues, there’s a solution forward: white label partnership. At Conduit Digital, we partner with successful ad agencies in North America as their trusted white label adoperations team to help them scale higher than previously possible. With a single partnership, you can access 17 expertly managed digital channels all overseen and implemented directly from our team at our New Jersey headquarters. If you’re ready to solve your hiring and turnover challenges through the power of partnership, let’s talk.

  • The Scope of Marketing: Overcoming Limits and Inexperience

    Aug 22, 2023 In the agency world, there are few worse feelings than hitting a plateau or having to tell a client “no” when they ask for specific services, but your current scope is holding you back from fulfilling them. As we’ve said many times before in previous articles, if you cannot offer a digital marketing service that your client is asking for, chances are another agency can and will. After reading that, you might think, “I’d love to offer every agency service under the sun, but there’s just not enough talent or resources in my market to make it happen.” That’s fair, and it’s not an uncommon issue that we discuss in the hundreds of conversations with agency leaders that we talk to each year. Frankly, as difficult as it can be to find the right clients, it can be similarly challenging to hire the right talent or access the necessary resources to provide a service that your client keeps mentioning at their last few account check-in calls with your team. This boils down to two major obstacles that your agency might be facing when it comes to the scope of marketing services you can offer to your clients: lack of capabilities and inexperience. So, how can you overcome these without overstretching your in-house resources? There are three possible paths forward, and we’ll break them down for you in a good, better, best format so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your agency. Good: A Software Platform Look online and you’ll find no shortage of software companies claiming that their solutions are what your agency needs to elevate your client services to the next level. Some of them are handy in a pinch, and they offer a wide range of capabilities. As much promise as a platform might offer, they do not come without their drawbacks. Platforms could be limited in their own scope of marketing capabilities, and they do often require some pre-existing expertise in a specific area to maximize their value. Without that expert overseeing the use of the platform, are you also able to guarantee the quality of its work? While it might seem like an opportunity to scale your service offerings, trusting in software alone can also create massive risk when it comes to delivering something of quality that your client will be satisfied with. For example, if you’re using a generative AI tool like ChatGPT to tackle your content marketing, can you be confident in what it’s producing if you do not already have a skilled copywriter on hand to quality-check its work? Platforms are best utilized when an expert is using them, which can become a challenge if you’re lacking that expertise in-house. Learn More: How to Use AI Content Generation Better: A Vendor In the scope of marketing, a vendor is someone who provides a third-party service for your agency in exchange for a fee. Oftentimes, these individuals possess expertise in a single channel and will deliver a specific set of services. Look at a platform like Fiverr. These are filled with vendors offering to provide you with a specific lists of tasks in exchange for their listed price. Vendors may be a suitable alternative to an in-house hire, as it will not necessarily matter where they are located. You will not have to go through the same hiring process and you will not have to furnish any costs beyond what is mutually agreed upon. However, vendor costs can add up, and if you’re using multiple vendors for multiple channels, stabilizing these expenses and unifying your strategy becomes more difficult. It’s like constantly trying to catch multiple fish with your bare hands instead of using a net. Lastly, vendor quality can be tricky to gauge. A vendor is only obligated to fulfill the specific terms of their work agreement with you. If you need additional support or services, this could result in more expenses that can quickly eat at your margins. When you’re looking for help, you’re looking for someone to assist you in maintaining your profitability, not threatening it. Best: A White Label Partner In the context of digital marketing, a white label partner refers to an agency that provides a holistic suite of services to another agency. Essentially, it’s like hiring another ad operations team to support your own, adding your own markup to their services, and keeping everything under your own brand. Partnership contrasts with using a software platform or single-channel vendor, where the services are typically more specialized and might not be as easily rebranded or integrated into a broader service offering. Here are some reasons why hiring a white label digital marketing partner might be considered better for your agency’s scope challenges: Comprehensive Service Offering: White label partners typically offer a range of digital marketing services like SEO, paid search, paid social, and programmatic advertising. This allows agencies to provide full-service solutions to their clients without needing to specialize in each area themselves. Cost-Effectiveness: Developing expertise in every aspect of digital marketing would be time-consuming and expensive for a local ad agency. By outsourcing these services to a white label partner, you can offer these services without having to invest in the hiring and development of in-house expertise. Customization and Flexibility: White label services can be tailored to fit the specific needs and branding of your clients. This level of customization might be harder to achieve with a specialized software platform or single-channel vendor. Quality Assurance: White label partners often have expertise in various aspects of digital marketing and can provide quality assurance on the services offered. This can enhance your agency’s reputation and ability to establish credibility with your clients. Time to Market: Partnering with a white label provider enables quicker delivery of comprehensive solutions, since your agency doesn't have to develop each service from scratch. This is especially valuable if you to quickly meet the varied demands of different clients. Scalability: White label providers are usually equipped to handle a range of client sizes and needs, allowing you to scale offerings up or down based on demand without significant adjustments to your own processes or infrastructure. Consistency: Using a single white label partner for various services ensures a uniform approach and quality across different channels and strategies. This might be harder to achieve when working with different single-channel vendors or specialized software platforms. Client Relationships: By outsourcing to a white label partner, you can focus more on building and maintaining relationships with clients, understanding their needs, and acting as a strategic partner rather than being bogged down with the technical details of implementation. Competitive Edge: Offering a wide range of services under one umbrella can give your agency a competitive edge in you market. It allows you to be a one-stop-shop for your clients, increasing client retention and attracting new business. When you compare the three options we’ve outlined, there really is no question that a white label partner is the best solution for any agency that needs to scale but feels impeded by scope. Upon activating your partnership, your agency becomes truly unleashed to deliver at a higher level and land and expand new business - all backed by the confidence that there are experts ready to deliver on your campaigns for your clients. How to Find the Right White Label Partner for Your Agency Not all white label digital marketing partners are the same, and you shouldn’t automatically join forces with the first one you encounter. Take the time to vet a few different white label digital marketing agencies to determine which one fits best with your existing operations. As you’re considering your options here are some factors to keep in mind: Can the partner meet your needs? Clarify what services you want to offer, the target markets, budget constraints, and any specific technology or skill requirements. Does the partner have the expertise and experience you’re looking for? Ask to speak with members of their team that specialize in services you’re interested in, look at their case studies, and request a demo with them to learn as much as you can about their capabilities. Where does the partner source their work? Is their work offshored or outsourced to another provider after you sign with them? Is the partner compatible with your brand? Consider whether the partner's style, culture, and approach align with your brand values and the way you want to work. How do they communicate? Communication matters as much as performance. Ask them about how they handle communication between their team and your agency. Can they maintain confidentiality? You may not want to have your partnership disclosed. Ask them what steps they take to maintain confidentiality and if they’re willing sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if you want an extra layer of assurance. Are they scalable? Consider whether the partner can scale their services up or down to match your growth and adapt to changes in demand. Can I afford their work? Ask them for a quote or estimate for how much their partnership would cost you to maintain to determine whether it’s the right fit for your agency. These questions are examples of ones you can use to gauge the right white label for your agency. You can also develop questions that relate directly to your specific business model to determine if the potential partner is the right fit from a process, tech, or performance standpoint to determine whether or not you want to move forward. Learn More: 5 Signs Your Agency is Ready for Partnership Work with the Elite White Label Partner for North American Agencies At Conduit Digital, we’re the proud partner of some of the highest-performing ad agencies in all of North America. With 17 channels provided to your agency through a single solution, all implemented 100% in the U.S., you can confidently say “yes” to better opportunities without worrying about limitations on in-house scope or expertise. To learn more about how you can overcome scope challenges at your agency with a Conduit Agency Partnership, let’s talk.

  • How to Integrate AI Marketing Tools Into Agency Services

    Aug 18, 2023 Artificial intelligence (AI) has introduced a paradigm shift in the world of digital marketing. From automating mundane operations to synthesizing and summarizing complex information and writing content, we’re only at the beginning of what these tools are capable of. Understandably, though, agency leaders are each approaching these new innovations at their own pace. If you own an ad agency, how have you handled using AI? Have you become a heavy adopter of the technology, or are you watching and waiting to see how it will more fully impact your business model? Having concerns about AI is completely fair. It takes work out of human hands and entrusts them to a machine that has been trained by humans to repeat similar tasks. That requires confidence in the technology, and you may not have found that comfort zone yet. However, it can’t be understated that AI marketing tools are immensely beneficial once you start to use them in a responsible manner. They can offset much of the recurring tasks that once needed to be completed entirely by hand, such as writing copy for SEO blogs or meticulously setting up each aspect of a Google Ads campaign with tools like Performance Max. Simply put: Once you find the level of AI that you’re comfortable with, you’ll often find that it enables your team to be better marketers rather than take away from the value that your agency provides. Would you rather your copywriter spend more time crafting each piece of content by hand, or would you prefer them to have the ability to produce two or more blogs in the time it used to take them to write one? If you’re exploring the possibilities of using AI in any capacity at your digital marketing or advertising agency, this guide is for you. Today, we’re going to cover the essentials about using AI, where its limitations are, and how you can find other solutions when AI isn’t enough to drive elite performance for your clients. AI in Marketing: More Than Just Tools AI in marketing goes far beyond the mere use of AI marketing tools. It is a vast field that encompasses a wide range of algorithms and machine-learning techniques. These can process data, predict consumer trends, and automate various marketing tasks. Recently, we’re seeing a new wave of AI-based search engine tools designed to enhance the way Google and Bing provide answers to users. Understanding AI's broad scope is essential. It's not just about automating mundane recurring tasks but about providing insights into customer behavior, optimizing marketing campaigns, and enabling personalized customer experiences. The importance of creating a strategic approach that incorporates AI at various touchpoints can't be overstated. This broader understanding helps marketers tailor strategies to better meet the needs of their audience, aligning with brand goals and customer needs. Integrating AI: A Step-by-Step Guide 1. Define Your Goals and Objectives Understanding what you want to accomplish with AI is your first step. Whether enhancing personalization, automating ad campaigns, or anything in between, defining clear objectives is paramount. Before diving into AI, ensure that your objectives align with what AI can achieve. This involves understanding both the capabilities and limitations of various AI technologies and how they can serve your specific needs. To further identify the best marketing AI tool for your agency, decide what tasks you would want AI to perform for you and which ones you think are best left in the hands of a human operator. Each agency will have different preferences, so choose which areas you think your team will have the most impact and provide the most value for your client’s campaign. 2. Select the Right Tools and Platforms The market is indeed flooded with AI marketing tools designed for different purposes. Researching and finding those that align perfectly with your goals is essential, be it for SEO optimization, PPC campaigns, content generation, or predictive analytics. Identifying your agency's specific needs and selecting tools that meet those needs requires careful review. Factors like scalability, user-friendliness, and integration with existing systems should be taken into account. Don’t be afraid to test multiple solutions for the same task, either. Ask AI developers for product demos, watch tutorials on YouTube or elsewhere, and don’t be afraid to contact these companies for more information about their capabilities. If you’re investing in AI, you should select the best one to provide the greatest returns. 3. Train Your Team AI tools can be complex. Providing comprehensive training for your team is crucial in order to empower them to use the technology productively and responsibly. Training ensures that your team leverages the full potential of AI, helping them grasp the intricacies of the technologies they will be working with. Many AI tools are designed with the experience of the end user in mind, so they are often rather simple and can be utilized effectively after a little bit of practice. 4. Implement Incrementally, Measure, and Adjust Don't overhaul your strategy overnight. Implement AI gradually, starting with one aspect of your marketing plan. Monitoring results, learning from them, and then expanding is a wise approach. A phased approach ensures that the transition to AI is smooth. You can adjust your strategy based on real-world results, thus making incremental changes that align with your overall goals. Utilizing metrics and analytics to continually evaluate how AI is affecting your marketing strategy is vital. The landscape of AI marketing tools is constantly evolving, so adapting as necessary ensures you stay ahead of the curve. 5. Create an AI Code of Ethics AI provides immense potential for agencies, but it also comes with some risks. For example, tools like ChatGPT makes writing easy, but they can also not guarantee factual accuracy or freedom from plagiarism. Here, the responsible use of AI matters more than ever. Create a code of ethics around each use case that you implement AI at your agency. How do you plan to handle these tools, what quality assurance measures do you have in place, and what is your alternative when AI cannot solve a problem that you have? Consider these, write them down, and plan to communicate them to your team. Learn More: How to Use AI Content Generation Agencies Ask: Will Marketing Be Replaced by AI? AI has dramatically altered the marketing landscape, but it's not without limitations. The question "Will marketing be replaced by AI?" can be answered by understanding the limitations of the technology, such as: Lack of Creativity: AI tools are mostly intended to work off of the inputs entered by humans. This requires a creative user with innovative ideas, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking that only a human can provide. Dependence on Data Quality: AI needs excellent data to perform at its best. Inaccurate or biased data can create misleading results. A data architecture created by human strategists remains an essential component of digital campaigns. Cost-Effectiveness: Depending on the AI tool used, costs can add up quickly to the point where you may be just breaking even rather than profiting from the investment. As you grow, you might find that machines are not your finance department’s best friends. Inability to Self-Regulate: AI cannot self-regulate or put itself through an objective quality control process. Ethical Challenges: If you serve clients in specialized industries like medicine, finance, or legal services, there is an inherent risk. Providing your client’s audiences with inaccurate information could create liability for their business. Someone with industry knowledge is still necessary to review the work performed by AI to safeguard against these issues. Beyond AI: White Label Digital Agency Partners As we saw above, AI does not come without its limitations. It can also not solve every challenge that your agency faces. Sure, it has plenty of conveniences and it helps every agency fill some needs, but when it comes down to elite performance, you cannot just AI your way to the top. A white label digital agency partner is a team of digital marketing and advertising experts that assist your agency in offering an elevated service for your clients. Whether you are facing scope limitations, hiring challenges, issues with managing multiple vendors, or you’ve landed a white-whale client and need to deliver, your agency partner can help you. For example, say your agency excels at SEO and social, but you do not have any programmatic advertising experts in-house. You’ve landed one of the biggest clients in your agency’s history, but they require OTT advertising as part of the campaign. In a scenario like this, you can solve your scope, hiring, vending, and white-whale-sized client challenges in a single solution. Leveraging your partnership with a white label agency, you can entrust their white label OTT advertising campaign to an experienced analyst and re-label any deliverables, reports, or communications under your agency’s own brand. This allows you to maintain greater control over the service you provide to your clients in a cost-effective manner that does not require you to take on more overhead. Connect with a White Label Agency Partner Today At the end of the day, AI has plenty of helpful use cases, but it’s not a perfect problem-solver for everything. When you’re facing new challenges that machines cannot solve, there are other strategies to navigate the changing tides. Let’s break it down into a simple takeaway: Use AI tools to boost efficiency, and leverage a white label agency partnership to boost performance. That’s where Conduit comes in. At Conduit Digital, we strive to serve successful ad agencies across North America as the elite white label ad operations performance partner. With 17 expertly managed channels in one single partnership, we deliver superior results for your campaigns all from our office in New Jersey. To learn more about how we can help your agency scale further, let’s talk.

  • The Marketing Process: How Structure Underpins Every Strategy

    Aug 16, 2023 At Conduit Digital, we abide by a list of values that we call the 5P’s: People: Our team drives our engine, and our Agency Partners matter to us. That’s why we don’t just work with anyone and everyone who says that they own an ad agency. Performance: We hold ourselves to a high standard to ensure our product is worthy of our Agency Partners’ investment in our expertise. Product: We want to offer a product that matters to our Agency Partners and their clients. Partnership: We strive to be a true partner for our agencies, acting as a seamless integration to their in-house ad operations. Isn’t that only 4? We’re saving the fifth one for last because it underpins the other four: Process. The marketing process involves the series of steps that we take to make sure that our people can perform at a high level within their areas of product expertise so that we can be a true partner for our agencies. Without process, none of the above can be possible. From the series of tasks that need to be completed, the order they need to be completed, and how long each one takes requires a process that drives the engine forward. If you’re running an agency and it feels like any of the above is plateauing at your business, the first place to start looking for opportunities for improvement has to be the processes. If you do not have a process in place for something that’s stalled, now is an excellent time to create one. Does this sound relevant to your day-to-day at your agency? If so, this guide is for you. Today, we’re going to cover how you can construct a marketing process that supports your people, their performance, the quality of your products, and ultimately, sets you up for more profitability. While we cannot guarantee success for you, we can give you a framework that you can consider applying to your own agency. Let’s start with the first P: people. Marketing Processes Need the Right People Hiring is subjective, and it’s often mysterious to some degree. When you hire someone to join your agency team, you’re doing so based on their background and your interactions with them during the interview process. Once they’re actually on the team and starting to work for your clients, that is when you see the actual fruits of their labor and expertise. A good marketing process needs the right people because the success of marketing isn’t solely dependent on strategies, tools, or technologies but on the individuals who design and execute those strategies. The right people possess the necessary skills, creativity, and understanding of both the market and the customers' needs. Beyond this, they can also navigate the complex landscape of modern marketing, embracing both analytical and empathetic thinking. Their ability to analyze data helps in making informed decisions, while their creativity allows them to craft compelling messages that resonate with the target audience. Beyond their skills and abilities, communication is another critical aspect of hiring the right people. Effective collaboration and communication among members of a team ensures that various aspects of the marketing process are well-coordinated and aligned with the client’s goals. Having the right people in place fosters a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, which is crucial for staying ahead in a constantly evolving profession. Process Supports Performance Performance is the actual result of a well-executed strategy. It’s the fulfillment of the promises that you have made to your clients. Ultimately, it’s the lifeblood of any agency alongside communication. What is performance, though? That term could apply to a number of different aspects of the services you provide. Let’s try to create a more objective understanding of what it means. First up, we have accuracy: Understanding the market and the client's specific needs is key. A well-structured marketing process starts with some serious digging into what customers want and what the competition is doing. At the end of the day, does the strategy you create align with the client’s industry and business goals? Next, we have the implementation of the strategy. It's not just about throwing a bunch of ads out there. It's a coordinated effort to align campaign tactics, optimizations, and internal collaboration to continuously drive the client’s marketing efforts toward accomplishing their stated business goals. Finally, it doesn't end with just launching the campaign. A marketing process includes constant monitoring and optimization. It's about learning from what's working (and what's not) and making on-the-fly adjustments. Imagine steering a ship; small changes to the course can make a massive difference in where you end up. At the end of the campaign, or at various touchpoints throughout, the performance is justified in reporting. Did your work match the expectations that you’ve set with your client? Are there other factors that came into play that could have enhanced, maintained, or lessened expectations? With a process in place that enables your team to perform at a high level, you can more accurately craft the right strategy, set realistic expectations, and create a comprehensive reporting system that accurately communicates this information to your clients in context. Without that infrastructure, campaign implementation and subsequent reporting can often feel like your agency is constantly shooting from the hip. This Results in a Superior Product to Offer to Your Clients Every agency has a set of core competencies that they emphasize. One of the main motivating factors for our Agency Partners to join the Conduit Agency Network is that they want to expand beyond what they do well in-house and add another expert team into the mix. For example, if you’re great at paid social ads and PPC, you may want to explore white label SEO and OTT campaigns because you do not have the personnel to meet those needs for your clients. With the right process in place, one that allows you to maximize the potential of the platforms you work on, you can offer a superior result to your clients for the services that you excel at. This not only enhances your reputation, but your credibility within the ideal niches you seek to serve. For services you may not offer or struggle with in-house, there are other solutions to compensate and continue to maintain a high standard of performance. Whether it’s white label digital marketing partnership or building a process system that enables you to cover for any performance gaps in certain channels, there are means to deliver for your clients even when you do not have all the tools in the toolbox on your own. Process is the Key for Any Partnership When we talk to the hundreds of agency leaders that we do each year, a common question that we answer revolves around some variant of “What are your processes like?”. This is no small question. If you are looking for the right white label solution, you need to make sure that their processes fit with your own. As you’re considering a holistic white label partner (not a single-channel vendor or platform), don’t be afraid to ask a potential partner about their processes. This will give you a clearer idea of what to expect for your clients, when to expect it, and what you can guarantee to your current accounts and leads when selling new solutions. Think of asking questions like: What is your pre-live process like for (campaign channel)? When should I expect reports for my clients’ campaigns? What is needed from me for your process to work as intended? What can I expect from ongoing monthly work performed by your team? These are fair, objective, and momentum-driving questions as you prepare to scale. Predictability is key to partnership, and the right process supports that. You will be able to have a solid idea of the work being performed for your clients, communicate this to them effectively, and more easily manage expectations across the board. Learn More: 5 Signs Your Agency is Ready for Partnership The 6th P: Process is Profitability Do you track how much each aspect of your agency operations costs? It goes beyond payroll and platform expenses. When you’re running a fast-paced business like a local ad agency, time literally is money, because that is the majority of what your client is paying for: your expert time spent on their marketing and advertising campaigns. With a solid process in place, you can determine how long something takes to do, how much that costs when specific team members are doing it, and whether or not it is profitable for your business. By continuously analyzing and modifying your process toward achieving profitability, you can protect yourself from overserving specific accounts and potentially losing massive revenue as a result. Not tying specific tasks to expected turnaround times also muddies your view of bandwidth and capacity. When you have metrics set for specific tasks and channels, you can more accurately gauge other needs for your agency such as: Making a better-informed decision to hire more people as bandwidth dictates Setting a definitive workload for existing team members Knowing exactly how long something should take and how much it costs Knowing when a team member definitely has or does not have time for extra work or special projects What the full campaign cycle looks like, how much you will spend on it, and how much you will also make on it by the end Process infrastructure does more than just make agency life easier from a work standpoint. It also drives your ability to scale, land and expand accounts, and to know when it’s time to go to another level. 5 Key Takeaways We’ve covered quite a bit of detail about the importance of process. It really cannot be overstated in agency life. Let’s bring it all back together before we wrap up with five of the most important takeaways here: Process enables your best people to be the best and will reveal team members that are not the right fit for what you want to accomplish at your agency. Process directly ties into performance, giving the foundation for your team to deliver for your clients. Process also allows you to offer a superior end-product to your clients, giving them the confidence that they are working with a credible agency with the expertise to help them. Process is inextricably linked to profitability. Without knowing how long something takes to do and how much it costs, you can risk leaving your agency exposed to missed opportunities to gain more revenue and grow further. If you do decide to expand beyond your in-house scope, such as joining forces with a white label partner, make sure they have the right processes in place to support your operations effectively. Process and Performance-Driven White Label Partnership for Your Agency At Conduit, we’re proud to be the elite white label digital marketing agency partner for established and successful local ad agencies throughout North America. We’ve invested countless hours into building the right processes to provide your agency with the necessary communication and performance infrastructure to scale higher, land and expand your accounts, and ultimately, drive greater profitability. To learn more about what a white label partnership could look like for your agency, let’s talk.

  • How AI-Based Search Will Transform the Future of SEO

    Aug 11, 2023 When voice-enabled search features were first introduced, many thought this new way of using search engines would become the next digital frontier for search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (PPC). However, that didn’t come to pass. With voice search, one glaring limitation would prevent it from meaningfully competing against text-based searches: privacy. Speaking into your phone requires you to audibly enter your query into the search engine. If you want to ask Google or Bing something confidentially, you are not always able to with voice features. Sure, voice searches are fine for asking where to find a nearby restaurant. However, they could easily prove the less-preferred option for questions of a more sensitive nature like seeking medical, financial, or legal information. This year, Microsoft’s Bing transformed the search engine landscape by introducing Bing AI. Instead of entering a query and letting an algorithm compile its best guess, a sophisticated artificial intelligence model actively searches the internet for the most up-to-date information that answers your questions, all while compressing the information into a concise response with links to websites for the users to read further. The craziest part? Microsoft released Bing AI for free to anyone with a Microsoft account and the latest Edge browser. All you need to do is create an account to start using it in your searches. While Bing AI is fully rolled out and available to everyone, Google is not far behind. The undisputed search engine leader has worked diligently behind the digital curtain to introduce new AI-based features to enhance the user experience. Some new Google AI features on the horizon include: Immerse View for Google Maps where the app allows you to see the actual streets you’ll be driving on rather than a 2D graphic of the roadways. Magic Editor for Google Photos where AI will automatically enhance your favorite photos that you want modified to enhance visual elements, remove visual elements, and many other features without you needing to know tools like Adobe Photoshop. PaLM 2: An advanced model based on logical reasoning that could be used for complex tasks like debugging code and providing advanced medical insights in over 100 different languages. Bard: Google’s generative AI model intended to compete with tools like ChatGPT, will only grow more intelligent and capable with the vast amounts of first-party data the platform has at its disposal. The one that stands out the most in regards to SEO, however, is the new Search Generative Experience (SGE). Google’s SGE will operate almost exactly like Bing AI, with its ability to provide conversational search results that synthesize information from more than one source online, all presented in a tidy format at the top of the page that is easy to read. So, where does SEO go from here? Is SEO another profession that will be eaten alive by the machine overlords? No, and today we’re going to cover why AI-based search is not only the future of SEO, but why SEO matters more than ever. First, let’s explore why AI-based search really is the wave of the future, compared to voice search. For purposes of convenience, any screenshots we share here are done using Bing AI, as it is already a fully developed and widely available tool. We’ll be updating this later once Google SGE becomes a universally accessible asset for more users. Why Will AI-Based Search Do What Voice Couldn’t? AI-based searches not only provide the convenience of voice search, but they can also maintain users’ much-valued privacy. You can type in a phrase or question as you would with a standard text-based search and receive a more tailored response. The results also contain resources from other sites that are pre-selected by an AI model that has done the heavy lifting and scoured billions of web pages for you in seconds to find the most credible information possible. Obviously, for any agency incorporating paid and/or organic search into their service offerings, this presents a seismic shift in the industry. Instead of relying solely on established best practices to rank highly for traditional text-based searches, strategies now need to incorporate positioning a client’s website to be viewed as highly credible and trustworthy by an AI model that is more selective and places a heavier emphasis on the quality of information. How AI-Based Search Results Differ from Traditional SERPs Answers Are Specific and Personalized Because most of these AI-assisted search engines are using a more conversational approach to curating results for you, users can expect a more tailored experience. Beyond initial results, you can also continue the conversation to dive deeper into certain topics or refine your results over multiple iterations. Along with this change, it can be reasonably expected that a more personalized organic search experience will be expected by users in the future. AI chatbots are designed in a way to act as if they are conversing with you like they’re your own personal assistant. You Will Only See a Few Results at a Time When tools like Bing AI’s Chat feature or Google SGE compile search results, they condense the information into a single body of concise text along with links to sources if the user wants to dive further. For instance, if you want to learn about white label digital ad operations, you might receive a response like this with a familiar domain in the Learn More section: As you can see above, Bing AI condensed the information into a single paragraph with some additional bullet points for specificity. Then, it curated its top-four external resources to provide you with more information if you want to dive deeper into your search. If you are content with the information you are given, then you can count the AI-generated response as sufficient and continue with your day. Greater Potential for a Multimedia Experience AI-powered search engines like Bing AI can not only provide text-based answers, but they can also generate images you might request. As an example, we asked it to create pictures of a coffee cup containing fancy latte art. Below, you can see that it was able to do this within seconds and with minimal effort. With AI powering your searches, the results will have a greater potential for a more visual multimedia experience. To position your client’s ranking potential, optimizing images, including alt text, file names, and descriptions will be a necessity and not just an extra finishing touch. How AI Search will Transform Your SEO Strategy Domain Credibility and Authority Matters More Than Ever Compared to traditional SERPs, AI-based searches focus on curating the most authoritative and credible sources possible for their responses. As part of that, these programs heavily consider the domain authority and credibility of a website. Providing credible, authoritative information on your website that strays from self-promotion will be the dominant strategy here. Couple this with Google’s increased emphasis on content that is objectively helpful, and the brands that emphasize helpful information over promoting their exact brand and business model will dominate the SERPs. Many clients tend to want to produce content for their website that aligns exactly with their business model and product or service offerings while also promoting themselves somewhere within the content. This is not considered “helpful” by Google’s standards. Instead, information that could be applied to a topic or industry at large is considered preferable, regardless of whether or not it mirrors a business’s exact way of operating. Quality Backlinking Will Be Essential As AI-powered search engines compile their results for users, part of their methodology for assessing a domain’s authority will be its backlink portfolio. If you’re new to SEO, essentially a backlink is created on your client’s website whenever another domain links to its content. For example, a blogger in the same industry might link to a blog on your client’s site as a source for their own writing. A desirable backlink is one from a credible domain with relevance to your industry or the topic your content is centered on. Links from spammy, irrelevant, or oddly structured sites are considered “toxic” and can negatively impact your domain authority if not dealt with properly. In essence, if your client’s website is swarmed with toxic backlinks, search engines will likely also view your site as a low-authority domain. Keeping on top of toxic backlinks and acquiring ones from quality sources will continue to remain a priority for organic search. Great Content Will Matter More Than Ever Since the dawn of SEO, various thought leaders, reporters, and influencers in the profession have proposed new strategies to leverage content to dominate organic search. These tactics and best practices have evolved as search engine algorithms have grown more sophisticated, but one thing remains the same: Content is a competitive world. What is one of generative AI’s current most-useful tools? Content writing. With the power of tools like ChatGPT in SEO professionals’ digital toolkits, maximizing content production will turn into something of a virtual arms race to try to cover as many topics and keywords as possible. Beyond the production of content, though, its quality will matter more than ever. As AI models compile results for search users, they will rely on the well-written, authoritative, and helpful content that your clients provide on their websites. For example, if a local search user is looking for great camping spots in Upstate New York, and your client is a camping equipment store in the area, you have an immense opportunity to leverage their brand to provide credible information to that audience member! LEARN MORE: How to USE AI CONTENT GENERATION. Optimize Your Media Assets! As AI-based search engines are able to retrieve media files from the web that match a user’s prompts, having your images and videos properly optimized will be non-negotiable. This could include essentials like: Using keyword-optimized ALT text for your images Choosing descriptive file names for images and videos Making sure that your YouTube channel’s video information is optimized for organic search Local SEO Strategies Need to be Airtight Tools like BingAI are currently able to leverage your device’s location to provide you with a list of locations in your area that are relevant to your searches. Within the response, it can also supply the actual business listing with directions and phone numbers to call. With this in mind, managing directory listings for your clients and ensuring their business information is as accurate as possible will both be necessities for competitive performance. When people are able to interact with their business directly from an AI chatbot’s response, this level of convenience has immense potential to spur significantly more interaction. Long-Tail Keywords Take Center Stage AI-assisted search engines like BingAI distill the most essential part of your search into a long-tail keyword. Looking at the example below, you can see how it transformed a question into a highly specific keyword search: From an SEO perspective, this long-tail keyword would be a low-volume keyword (not many people are searching this on a regular basis), but also likely one where competition is not high. As new SEO strategies are built with AI in mind, dedicating equal time to focus keywords (high volume) and granular long-tail terms that are immensely relevant to your client’s business model will become the new norm when building keyword lists. Similarly, incorporating multiple variations of keywords and long-tail phrases will need to be kept in mind. Giving AI-based search engines the ability to align their long-tail surveys with your content will highly increase the chances of your pages being recommended in chat responses. Double Down on Mobile-First The earliest viral generative AI programs, like ChatGPT and Jasper, were first developed as browser applications meant to be viewed via a desktop or laptop. Now, most generative AI programs are starting to offer mobile apps to best align with the majority of users who conduct most of their online activity via smartphones and tablets. For example, these are just some of the notable generative AI apps that are available via iOS and/or Android: Bing AI Snapchat’s My AI ChatGPT Jasper Google Bard We can reasonably expect that AI-based search engines will also determine a page’s quality in a similar way to traditional algorithms based on various user experience features like quick site speed. With that in mind, continue to optimize toward the most seamless mobile experience possible for your client’s website. Be Ready for an AI-Based Search Engine Optimization Future So, with everything above, what can we take away? Here’s a few key points that stand out: AI will only become a more prominent search engine tool in the future Currently, AI tools have incredible features that enhance the user’s search experience Over time, SEO campaigns will have to factor in how AI tools use search engines to serve users as a key component of the strategy At Conduit Digital, we are the white label digital marketing partner for established and successful ad agencies in North America. We equip your agency with the ability to say “yes” to any new client opportunity by extending your in-house ad operations with 17 digital marketing channels operated by expert U.S.-based analysts. To learn more about how you can leverage us as your white label SEO partner for an AI-driven landscape, let’s talk.

  • How to Use AI Content Generation

    Aug 8, 2023 A Supplement, Not a Substitute for Effective Content Marketing If you've worked in digital marketing in any capacity, you have probably seen more and more mentions of ChatGPT and other AI applications increasing over the past 8-10 months. From headlines in major media outlets to questions from clients asking about this exciting new technology, it seems almost inescapable. So, after ChatGPT has had its viral moment, and now we're in the era where generative AI is becoming more widely adopted, how do we use it the right way? For agencies, using a tool like ChatGPT can be a powerful copywriting resource, especially when an in-house writer is not a readily available commodity. Like with any tool, though, AI content generation is best used when handled responsibly. That's exactly what we're talking about in our latest eBook "How to Use AI Content Generation: A Supplement, Not a Substitute for Effective Content Marketing," which you can find here: View and Download the "How to Use AI Content Generation" eBook Here Get More Resources to Grow Your Agency At Conduit Digital, we partner exclusively with the most established and successful digital advertising agencies in North America to serve as a complete ad operations solution to extend your in-house team. With 17 channels and the communication, performance, and reporting to back it up, we'll supercharge your clients' campaigns and enable you to scale higher than ever before. Why partner with Conduit? Find out by clicking below!

  • Down to the Wire on GA4? Here’s a GA4 Reporting Journey Cheat Sheet

    Jun 21, 2023 Google Analytics A4’s full and permanent rollout is happening in less than two weeks! As we’ve mentioned in our previous pieces on the new analytics interface, it will replace Universal Analytics on July 1. After that, UA will no longer collect new data. While you’ll still be able to view and create backups of your UA data for 6 to 12 months after the fact, what really matters at this moment is how you transition your clients to GA4 and set them up for a new data frontier. If you have not joined the migration to GA4, the clock is ticking, and doesn’t have many ticks left. To help you cross the finish line, we’ve compiled a comprehensive cheat sheet to help you confidently enter this new era. Get Your GA4 Reporting Journey Cheat Sheet Now What’s Inside Your GA4 Reporting Journey Cheat Sheet? What’s Different About GA4 vs. UA In this section, we’ll cover a quick, but highly comprehensive summary of the most notable changes between GA4 and its predecessor. If your clients, or your team, have questions about the most significant changes that they need to pay attention to, it’s all here! Reporting Journey Overview What is GA4’s most notable contribution to its new interface? Reporting with Google Analytics is now far more simplified and streamlined than it was with UA. Rather than navigating a large menu of tabs, you can more intuitively find the reports that you need. Finding Specific Types of Reports To find reports that are most impactful for paid and organic campaigns, we provide you with a quick roadmap to accessing common reports offered by GA4 so that you can find the data you need. Use this cheat sheet as your compass to maintain your reporting continuity! Still Need Help with GA4? Let’s Talk At Conduit Digital, we partner with established and successful agencies to equip their operations with elite performance, communication, and reporting capabilities to scalably deliver better results for clients and confidently say “yes” to any new opportunities. If you’re still preparing for GA4, we can help you set your agency up to enter this new data collection and reporting era with the assurance that you have a partner in your corner with extensive experience in the new interface. Using our unique APP dashboard, you can view your clients’ UA and GA4 data all in one place to maintain ultimate continuity throughout your reports. Schedule a call with us today to learn how you can scale your agency with Conduit across 17 different channels in a single partnership.

  • How To Maintain a Holistic View of Your Client’s Historical Data with UA and GA4

    Jun 14, 2023 If you have been reading anything else that we’ve written recently, you’ll know one fact above any other: Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is here, and as of July 1, 2023 it will be the new and only standard analytics platform offered by Google. The previous standard, Universal Analytics, will stop processing data on July 1. While you’ll still have at least 6 months to view your previous UA data, eventually the interface will be depreciated until a point where these accounts are no longer accessible or viewable. Without exporting your UA data, your agency could lose a valuable historical perspective on your client’s campaigns. To maintain month-over-month and year-over-year continuity, having both UA and GA4 data in one place will be essential. As a digital marketing agency, you are responsible for the performance of your clients’ campaigns. This also includes measuring and reporting on the data to determine the effectiveness of the strategy you created backed by their investment. However, there are some definite challenges. GA4 is not some cosmetic swap of the UA interface nor is it just a few tweaks to the platform. It represents an entire paradigm shift for how campaigns are evaluated. Anticipated Challenges for Agencies After July 1 As we’re all creatures of comfort, this massive transition can seem like more of an obstacle than an opportunity. The specific challenges lie within access to your clients analytics reporting data in two locations, such as: Finding the Data You Need Does everyone still have the correct access permissions and correct properties in GA4 that they had in UA? Between ensuring proper access permissions to view the data and the proper alignment of properties between UA and GA4, knowing where to look for similar data can become time consuming, frustrating, and highly inefficient. Different Primary Metrics GA4 and UA collect data differently. Along with this, the primary metrics that they measure also differ significantly, with GA4 placing a heavy emphasis on Events. Comparing the two will never be an apples-to-apples situation, but highlighting the primary metrics in the new interface will be essential. Let’s note, though, that not everything between UA and GA4 has a one-to-one counterpart. Some metrics will translate with ease while others will not prove compatible at all. This will create a responsibility for your agency to put these new metrics into a relevant context for your client’s business when reporting on campaign performance. This also ties back to the importance of proper access and aligning properties correctly. With these pieces of the puzzle in place, finding the right data becomes a far easier task than jumping into GA4 headfirst on July 1 without a holistic historical view. Reporting Can Become Outdated If you’ve based your reporting on UA up until July 1, you will undoubtedly need to alter the way that you report on campaign performance to your clients. With primary metrics shifting, your reporting processes will need to adapt alongside this change. Take the time now to understand how GA4’s arrival will alter the way that you report for your clients. Build these changes into your documentation and prepare to explain why the change happened, what this means for measuring performance, and how it will change (and ultimately benefit) your client’s campaigns from a data perspective. UA is Dwindling Down As we mentioned above, UA stops processing data as of july 1st. However, GA4 is not retroactive - so how will you be able to keep track of histroical trends/data even if it's not a seamless comparison? If you have not already exported your UA data and migrated your clients’ to GA4, then you should export all of your data first and foremost after July 1. While we cannot give you a guarantee when UA will officially be discontinued and barred from public access, it’s best to do this as soon as possible so that you can maintain the integrity of your client’s data and avoid any surprises a few months from now. A Reporting System that puts both your Agency Client’s UA and GA4 Data at your fingertips The solution to overlay GA4 Data on top of UA data is an industry wide challenge that still needs to be solved. Having both in a single, holistic environment that simplifies the user interface and access are both instrumental advantages for any agency looking for a solution to navigate this shifting landscape. At Conduit, we’ve been assisting agencies with GA4 transitions since it was first introduced. More than a year ago, we made the decision to connect both UA and GA4 data into a centralized dashboard so that our agency partners could easily access both instances of data with a few simple clicks. This resulted in our one-of-a-kind Agency Performance Panel (APP) which brings together a complete view of your entire account portfolio as well as the ability to drill down to the most granular details for campaigns run on each channel. Building our tech stack to centralize your analytics data in a single location provides tangible benefits to your agency in multiple ways, including: Single Point of Entry Once you get the proper access no additional access is required, simple switching back and forth, and no guessing what reports/metrics are the most importan benefits of a Conduit APPt. You won’t need to spend time juggling multiple interfaces and risking something becoming lost in translation. Centralizing UA and GA4 Data Analysis With our dashboard, you can view UA and GA4 data in one location. This creates an easy single point of access for everything that you need to measure your client’s campaigns historically as well as performance in real-time. Identifying the Most Comparable Metrics Once we have access to your client’s data, our system organizes it in a way that highlights the most comparable metrics between UA and GA4. You’ll know exactly what to analyze, where to find it, and how to tell the best story for your clients. Beyond the pure metrics, we also provide unique insights and analyses from our analysts for each campaign that you’re running as part of your partnership with Conduit. Get Ahead of July 1 with an Elite Partner Our team at Conduit Digital serves as an elite white label ad operations partner for established and successful agencies in North America. Acting as an extension of your own in-house team, we outfit you with the communication and performance infrastructure to confidently operate your agency in a digital landscape that seems to change drastically by the second. Once you’ve exported your UA data and are ready to take your GA4 reporting to the next level, contact us to learn more about how our state of the industry APP.

  • What Agency Leaders Need to Know About GA4

    Jun 7, 2023 Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents the largest and most significant change to the Google Analytics platform to date. Beyond establishing Events as a primary metric at the forefront of GA4’s capabilities, the shift has upended much of what agencies have thought they’ve known about analytics for years and has introduced a necessary paradigm shift. On July 1, 2023, GA4 will officially replace Google’s previous Universal Analytics model as the standard analytics system offered by the tech giant. Universal Analytics will cease collecting new data and account owners will have a period of time to save the historical data before it is fully sunset and access is no longer possible. We’re here. GA4 is happening and the shift will occur before you realize. Fortunately, this does not create a cause for panic. With some strategy, careful planning, and making the most of the time available, you can ensure a smooth transition from UA to GA4 and maintain a seamless continuity across your campaigns. That’s why we assembled our latest eBook: The Ultimate Guide to GA4 for Agencies View and Download Our Latest eBook for Free Here What’s Inside A Concise Yet Comprehensive Preview of GA4 Learn everything about the major changes that GA4 is introducing. After reading this eBook, you’ll know exactly what the most notable shifts are to the platform so that you can prepare to adjust your own measurement and reporting practices accordingly. The Big Shift to Event-Based Data Collection Why is GA4 treating Events as its primary metric? Why does that matter, and why is it a better way to measure performance? In this section, we’ll dive deep into Events and how to put them into the right context for your clients. Notable User Interface (UI) Improvements with GA4 Along with a shift in how data is collected and measured, GA4 has also introduced new updates to improve the functionality and efficiency of its UI along with notable visual updates. Get a full preview of these updates and what they entail before you make the shift. Changes to Dimensions and Metrics How have dimensions and metrics changed with the introduction of GA4? We dive deep here to show you the significance behind these changes and which ones are worth paying the most attention to. What You Can Do to Prepare Right Now July 1 is not far from now. This section includes a practical guide to prepare for the Google-wide implementation of GA4 with confidence that you are fully ready for the big move. Prepare Your Clients with an Original GA4 Adopter Since GA4 was first introduced in late 2020, our Ad Operations Team at Conduit Digital has been an early GA4 adopter and has integrated this new system into the core of our measurement and reporting processes for our agency partners’ clients. Along with implementing campaigns across 17 different channels at the highest levels to the most complete multi-channel reporting processes possible, we give your agency the confidence to say “yes” to better opportunities knowing that you have the communication and performance infrastructure to take that next step towards scaling. To learn more about how we can assist your agency in the GA4 era, schedule a call with us today.

  • What Your Agency Needs to Do Right Now for GA4

    May 31, 2023 Come July 1, 2023, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will supersede Universal Analytics (UA) as the standard analytics platform offered by Google. UA will disappear shortly after, and with it, valuable data that many marketers have relied on for previous campaigns. That is unless you take the steps now to prepare for the migration. To prepare for GA4’s arrival, we are going to cover exactly what you need to know to ensure a smooth migration. First, let’s talk about why the best day to implement GA4 was yesterday but today is a very close second. Why is It Important to Activate GA4 ASAP? GA4 does not have historical data. Therefore, this should be treated as a fresh start or a much-needed refresher for accounts. Your insight and analysis are only as good as the data you have. Ensuring your data is clean, tangible, and functional is crucial. For some accounts, the UA property has been set up for years. It has seen many iterations of changes from new websites, new marketing channels, and revised priorities and goals - some of which are no longer relevant. Think about it. If you moved into a brand new home, would you take the bag of slimy lettuce from the back of your fridge that you swore up and down you’d make a salad out of a month ago to your new home? We’re hoping you’re shaking your head no. So treat your new GA4 property in the same way and clean up your events! While UA accounts will eventually disappear, there is still time to configure your migration. To help marketers currently using UA, Google has offered an automatic migration to allow current accounts to maintain data continuity. However, it’s not a perfect science, and Google even recommends that you configure your GA4 account manually. Opt Out of Automatic Migration To ensure that you can maintain a continuous level of measurement prior to the July 1st deadline, Google has been automatically opting IN all accounts by default to be automatically migrated to GA4. This would copy over applicable Universal Analytics configurations unless you opt out of this service. Google themselves strongly recommends not relying on this auto-migration, but rather configuring your GA4 manually. The two primary reasons for this being: Not all UA configurations have obvious GA4 counterparts The automated process may not make the same choices you would - causing things to get missed, removed, or no longer be relevant. If you have already created a GA4 property, the auto-migration will copy over any configurations from UA that you have not marked as ‘completed’ in your GA4 Setup Assistant panel, unless you opt out. If you opt out, the toggle in UA should be gray to the left. You are opted in if your toggle is blue to the right. If it is gray to the right, that means you do not have the permission to edit this setting. Important Reminder: Auto Migration is done at the property level. Meaning, if you have multiple properties within your UA Account, you will need to opt OUT of every applicable property you do NOT want migrated. What if I didn’t opt out in time? Google has already begun creating these automatic GA4 properties for those that are opted IN. An easy way to tell if this has been done for you is if you see this red header in your GA4 property. If you want to manually configure your GA4 settings OR Google automatically created a property you did not want to migrate, follow these steps: 1. In your UA property, click Admin (lower left) 2. In the Property (middle) column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. 3. Under Connected Property, click Disconnect 4. Navigate to the GA4 property that was disconnected, click Admin (lower left) 5. Under Property, navigate to Property Settings (second option) 6. Select Move to Trash Can in the upper right a. Note: you cannot delete this GA4 property if it is still connected to UA. You must disconnect the properties first b. Also, be sure you are deleting the property not the account. 7. Confirm. Do I Still Need to Opt Out if I Already Created a GA4 Account? This will depend per account. Some accounts will prefer to manually configure all settings - in this case you will still want to opt OUT in UA. If you are looking for some, but not all configutations to be automatically copied over, you will want to continue to be opted IN and follow these steps: In your GA4 property, navigate to Admin (lower left) In the Property (middle) column, click GA4 Setup Assistant. It's the first option. Mark the configurations that you don’t want copied over as complete Click the arrow to the right of the configuration Mark as Complete Repeat step 3 as necessary for each configuration If you have created your GA4 account already and want some configurations are auto-migrated, be sure the two accounts are linked. You can do this by Navigating to the UA property, under Admin > Property Settings > GA4 Setup Assistant In the I want to connect to an existing Google Analytics 4 property section, select the Google Analytics 4 property that maps to your Universal Analytics property. Click Connect properties. All information regarding how this auto-migration process works can be found here. Please note, it is recommended to manually configure your GA4 property. There’s Still Time to Beat the GA4 Clock - Let’s Get to Work! When you’re in the middle of navigating the neverending chaos that comes with every digital channel always seeming to update their platforms at once, it can be tough to know the right direction to take. With the timed sunsetting of UA, the urgency only magnifies. Instead of waiting for the inevitable, take charge of your clients’ data destiny and set them up the right way before July 1. To ensure a smooth transition, you can also ask your partner for help. For you, we may be that partner. At Conduit Digital, we serve as the elite white label digital ad operations solution for established and successful local ad agencies in North America. Lean on our team of Google Analytics experts to assist you in navigating to GA4 while also setting up your client’s organic and paid digital campaigns to reach new levels of performance you never thought possible before. To learn more about how we can assist your agency, schedule a quick call with us today.

  • Preparing Your Agency for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) [UPDATED 2023]

    Mar 24, 2023 The Ultimate Primer for the Google Analytics 4 Paradigm Shift This month, Google revealed that they will be replacing Universal Analytics and Universal Analytics 360 products with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) starting in mid-2023. Because digital marketers like ourselves consume data as a vital nutrient, this presents a significant paradigm shift in the way that campaigns are launched, monitored, optimized, and reported on. For agency leaders, we cannot stress enough the importance of being ahead of major platform updates like these. If or when a client asks about the new GA4 rollout, you can establish greater authority and trust with them if you are already prepared to brief them on the coming changes and what to expect from them. To help you provide your clients with the information they need, we’ve put together this GA4 primer to help you more easily understand what changes are approaching over the next year. We’re going to cover: What is Google Analytics 4 anyway? What makes GA4 unique? How to prepare your agency and clients for GA4 Prefer to skip the read? Start equipping your agency to deliver high-performance campaigns on Google products before these updates and book a 20-minute call with us at your convenience: So, What is Google Analytics 4 Anyway? Google Analytics 4 was designed to address today’s measurement and reporting needs for digital campaigns on Google platforms. According to Google themselves, the Universal Analytics products were designed for an era where desktop sessions dominated and third-party cookies drove the majority of tracking strategies. As we move to a cookieless digital era and mobile search continues to outpace desktop devices, the Universal Analytics framework becomes less relevant and less useful by the hour. What Makes GA 4 Unique? According to Google’s announcement, several key differences that GA4 will bring include: Cross-Platform, Event-Based Data GA4 provides advertisers with a holistic picture of the customer journey using event-based measurement to present data across platforms and multiple sessions. For example, if your client operates a website and a mobile app, your agency can use GA4 data to identify any disconnects in the user experience. From there, you can perform optimizations to one or both properties to improve the funnel and increase conversion rates for desired key performance actions (KPAs). Data-Driven Attribution The new Google Analytics framework will leverage data-based attribution to provide advertisers with a comprehensive view of cross-platform customer behavior. Attribution will credit more than just the user’s most recent clicks for more intelligent optimization insights and opportunities. The data can also be ported into Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform so that you can maintain continuity across the tools that you use to manage these campaigns. Cookieless Tracking Instead of relying on third-party cookies, GA4 will generate more sophisticated first-party data with deeper insights than previous cookie-based models. Your agency will be able to generate greater performance and reporting capabilities directly from Google itself. Better User Privacy In an effort to minimize the gathering and storage of user data, GA4 will not store IP address information. For advertisers that serve clients with heavy privacy restrictions (i.e., medical practices) or for brands that do not want to risk compromising user data, this proves an advantageous feature. Google campaigns can now foster greater trust between advertisers and audiences with a mutual assurance that IP addresses remain anonymous. Maximum Data Value GA4 leverages Google’s industry-leading machine learning capabilities to offer predictive insights into audience behavior and likely conversion activity. This gives your team the necessary information to prioritize specific audiences and double-down on serving ads to those who are most likely to engage. Advertiser-Specific Customization With GA4, the structure of your Google Analytics account can be fully customized to satisfy your agency’s data policies. For example, if you or your client wish to restrict access to certain information from other external partners, this can easily be done directly from the platform. How to Prepare Your Agency and Clients for GA4 Get Your Team on the Same Page Now that you’ve been briefed on GA4, share this information with the rest of your team – especially those that serve your clients using Google products. Campaigns like SEO, Paid Search, Programmatic Display, and YouTube Advertising will be among those most impacted by these updates. As your team interacts with your clients, they will have the necessary knowledge to provide more complete and thorough answers to any questions or concerns that arise ahead of the Google-wide rollout. Install GA4 ASAP To maximize the most value from GA4, you should implement it across all of your clients’ Analytics accounts as soon as possible. The data that GA4 collects only starts generating after installation, so if you want to start seeing year-over-year data for most of 2022, install it now. Save Your Clients’ Historical UA Data With the Google-wide July 1, 2023 rollout of GA4, no new data will populate in Universal Analytics. It will be fully sunset after at least 6 months following this, and afterward, you will not be able to access its data any longer. 360 Universal Analytics properties will be able to still take advantage of a one-time processing extension that ends in July 2024. To save your clients’ historical data, you will have to export it before GA4 becomes the permanent and only analytics solution. Simply migrating UA to GA4 is not possible. They do not use similar data models, so merging them will not be something that you should plan for. The fastest and least-complicated way to save your UA data is to: 1. Open the UA report that you want to save 2. Add any customizations that you need to, such as geographical region 3. Click “Export” in the upper-right-hand corner to begin the process 4. Select the type of file format that you prefer. These include PDF, Google Sheets, XLSV, and CSV Keep in mind that you can only apply two dimensions when exporting historical UA data and that it may be samples rather than a full readout of every single metric. If a green check symbol is visible on the report, this will indicate that no sampling occurred. Share This Information with Your Clients Gatekeeping does the opposite of fostering trust with clients. Let them know that GA4 is coming and that they can expect: Better data collection and attribution for Google campaigns Advertiser-specific customization Increased user privacy for greater brand credibility and audience trust More valuable data for your campaigns By sharing this information with your clients ahead of the rollout, you can establish greater authority and credibility with your accounts. This positions your agency and your team as true experts on the Google campaigns that your clients entrust your business to manage for them. Revamp Your Measurement and Reporting Processes Ahead of Time The best time to prepare your measurement and reporting processes for GA4 is yesterday, but now also works. Thankfully, GA4 is already available to any and all advertisers, so you can start building your new reporting infrastructure as well as familiarize yourself with its user features before it becomes the set-in-stone standard. Deliver Better Performance with a White Label Google Premier Partner If you are looking to deliver true performance at scalable volumes for your client, it may be time to enlist a partner’s help. Look for a white label digital marketing partner that holds a Google Premier Partner designation, meaning their team is certified at the highest levels to drive elite performance for your client’s campaign. Say “Yes” To Better Opportunities with a White Label Partnership Today At Conduit Digital, we enable your agency to say “yes” to better opportunities of any scope by equipping your team with a holistic product suite, access to a team of Google Premier Partner analysts, and 24/7 live reporting – all tied together with single point of contact communication. If you are ready to dominate a GA4 world, schedule your 20-minute call with us today. This article was originally written on March 16, 2022 and updated on March 24, 2023.

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