Report of the week: HootSuite’s Global Digital Overview 2020

Top 3 takeaways from the report we discuss:

1. What customer engagement is going to look like in 2020 and beyond: leveraging employees as a crucial link in CX

2. Will marketers find their ‘purpose’ with video in 2020? 90% of internet users said watching videos was their number one activity online- how will marketers’ approach video content to drive business outcomes – especially with a growing list of martech vendors that enable video production in pennies and minutes?

3. Thinking about ‘what is the best investment in voice in our context’? One of the biggest surprises with Voice is that it’s turning out to have more applications at the back of the house than in customer-facing applications. Worth tracking for B2B especially.

4. Finally- the increasing scope of social media marketing- again a lot of confusion over the purpose (Engagement? Brand building? Customer service? Leads? Social commerce?) and the business outcomes one can expect from investments in social media marketing, even as expectations grow.

Trend of the week: Second-party data

LiveRamp launches Safe Haven for data partnerships

David explains in laymen terms what second party data means, how marketers can get access to it, and the business case for its rapid growth.

News of the week: CoronaVirus Workarounds and Disruptions

Here is a list of companies that have come through with work rounds to help businesses stay in motion:


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Chitra Iyer [00:00:01] Welcome back. Today, we're talking about the key findings from the Global Digital Overview 2020, a new report from HootSuite, which is as lofty-sounding as that name itself. It's a pretty exhaustive report with over 200 pages of stats around the Internet and digital patterns from pretty much every country in the world. David and I are going to be highlighting some findings that we think can help us as marketers from that report. And then a little later in the show, David is going to explain what other party data is and how the system around this new emerging source of Data is evolving, especially in the light of first and third-party data landscape itself. And finally, we do a quick roundup of industry step-ups in light of the restrictions placed due to the coronavirus. These are possibly things that can make your life a little more comfortable in the time of remote work, whether you're an entrepreneur or a manager.

Chitra Iyer [00:01:08] Let's start with what you found. Stand out in the Global Digital Overview Report 2020.

David  Raab [00:01:15] It was a very interesting report. And as you say, two hundred and forty-seven pages. So a lot of data in there if you've ever wondered what the population of the bi continent was. Here's the place to go. And some very subtle things about, you know, what's connected and how connected they are as an American. Of course, the USA should be number one in everything, but it turns out we're not. We under the index. So on even on social media time, we spend less time than in a number of other countries. So there's a lot of kind of broadening perspectives in where we sit. But I think there was some very interesting information there about speech technology and smart technology uses of those kinds of things which were just beginning to get our heads around as marketers. We know that smart tech is kind of there, and this is voice assistance in home security devices. And it's a very controversial topic. There's been a lot of discussions, but it's still not clear how we as marketers take advantage of that or even as consumers, how interested consumers are because they're very both intrigued by it, but also very aware of the privacy implications. So just to see again who's using what and who's not using what and what the adoption rates are. It provides quite a bit of very, very interesting information, well worth thinking about. If your those presumably listeners are here thinking about how you make use of this in your marketing world.

Chitra Iyer [00:02:48] A Couple of other interesting aspects that I thought leaped out. One was the insights on what for brands and what customer engagement is going to look like in 2020. Again, even within that. What I found most insightful and quite actionable, actually for marketers in the near-term, is leveraging employees more optimally in that whole CX and customer engagement piece. I think a lot of brands in the B2B in B2C space are possibly missing the opportunity just because it's quite a double-edged sword, right? Letting people represent the brand. And people who work for you at any level, not just CXO and the P.R. team, but anybody who works for the company, letting them be a voice or an ambassador or a speaker, of course not all of it will be positive. So that's something to think about. But the report said that people, consumers find employees' opinions on their employers or the company of the brands that they sell quite credible and believable. And there's also that item about the video being the number one activity online for over 90 percent of respondents. I mean, both professionally and personally, I presume behavior is pretty similar. So the video is popular. We get that. Again, a useful one for marketers to think about, because I feel like marketers still haven't found their purpose. And I'm saying that quote-unquote. I mean, marketers across the board. Don't seem to know what on earth to do with video to expect with video. We are still not sure if we want to use them to engage our consumers. Inform them or drive social media lead-ins or traffic or, you know, use them as explainers.

Chitra Iyer [00:04:25] And also, I think we're not completely sure what the most meaningful metrics around video should be, which makes RIO hard to measure. Then there's also confusion on what the best format could be, what the most cost-effective way to get a grip on video can be accessed. Because right now it's too expensive. Or that's what we think despite the democratization of making videos. Because of the Martech landscape, we see so many tools that claim to empower marketers of all shapes and sizes to make videos literally in minutes.

David Raab [00:04:55] Yeah, video is an amazing topic. We've seen some other studies about small businesses creating video and the ones that were doing it. Were doing like once a week and they think, OMG! One video a week, but then they are like 30 seconds or six seconds or 10 seconds, really short little videos. But the people who are doing it do it frequently. And because there are these tools that you were just talking about that make it very, very simple, because video traditionally was very hard to produce, very expensive and time-consuming. And, you know, we've seen people we've done some research for some of our work here at the institute. Very well, you know, $500 for 30 seconds of production time. We were  Like Woah! We're not going to pay that.

David Raab [00:05:37] But you can get do it yourself tools that let you do it for free. And someone them were pretty good.

Chitra Iyer [00:05:46] Yes. The tools all day, everything marketers like we spoke before, have to drive better  RIO  from video by first. I think understanding their purpose and then thinking about the tools that they want to use to create those videos vs. the other way around. And then also, I think there was an item about Voice that has so many different ways to use Voice today. Right. For, you know, for CRM, for even customer service agents. Voice search voice commerce, all sorts of stuff. Surprisingly, we've also seen in the last year that Voice, which we thought would be big on the consumer-facing end, is turning out to be a much bigger opportunity on the backend with internal stakeholders making our work more efficient and effective. So that's interesting for us to track on the B2B front, at least.

David  Raab [00:06:36] Voice There's been interesting studies about the use of voice search and use of voice commerce in all different subcategories of Voice, and the people still seem to be, as you say, searching a bit to understand what the proper application is of that or how they're going to use it. There's. Not as much enthusiasm for voice commerce as we might have expected. And I think just looking at, again, how the U.S. rates. The U.S. has been a slightly below average in its adoption of Voice search and voice commerce.

Chitra Iyer [00:07:10] Finally, David, let's talk about the evolution of social media as a strategic tool, because the report shows, you know, a lot of data on how much time people spend on social media and for what reasons. Now, social media started with the most companies putting in an intern to man the wall as it were. And then slowly it's emerged over the years as a strategic tool for listening to customer voices, for providing services and also building brand personality and of course, also for generating revenue. Remember, we had that show with Santiago Solimei from Melia Hotels, who came and shared how they generated upwards of 400 million euros in revenues from social media initiatives. But again, I sense that marketers are still not clear about their purpose with social media and how to measure ROI for it. There's this whole lot of things you can do with social from brand building, lead gen, having conversations, getting feedback, social commerce, of course, all sorts of things, right?

David Raab [00:08:04] Right. Well, just knowing how much time is spent on social, which is a huge portion of total Internet time. You know, that's where your market is. Right. So it's an opportunity to reach people. There's been a lot of interesting technology, even sort of beginning to keep a little track on of social commerce, technology. So, you know, clickable posts, and so that's for direct commerce. Not everyone does your commerce, of course. But there has been an explosion that has traditionally social wasn't thought of as a direct selling channel, more just obviously about P.R. But now actually is a lot of selling goes on, things like Pinterest and so on. So that's a chance. A lot of countries that even weren't traditionally direct sellers like packaged goods now are beginning to think about, well, you know, direct to consumer. It's got a three-letter acronym. So it must be important. So let's think about how we can use social to do directly to consumer sales. And, you know, with some legitimacy to it. So, yeah, the social media thing, you know, it's going to be big—Mark my words.

Chitra Iyer [00:09:10] Thank you. Thank you for that revelation, David. And you should know by the importance of three-letter acronyms, right, Mr. CDP? Speaking of CDP, we have to have our customary conversation about data. And today, we are talking about second-party data. This space keeps growing and evolving, of course, the whole customer data management space. And recently, we've had a piece of news about LiveRamp launching something called Safe Haven for second-party data. So, David, can you please tell our listeners about the news, of course, and why it matters, but also tell us a bit in general about second-party data. How can marketers use it?

David Raab [00:09:48] The second party date is what happens when two first-party data owners get together in private. They get a room and what pops out. Nine months later, it is second-party data about how long it takes to put that together. It's when two companies share their first-party data. You know, kind of exchanging. And it's done in a way kind of in the dark, as it were. So you can't see the other party's actual customer list. You can only see you. But then you ash in the technical term. You take the email, then you run it through an algorithm that generates something that is not the email id, cannot be read back to it, but always gives the same result, so if I put in my. Copy of this email address and somebody else puts in their copy of the same email address; it comes up with the same code, the same hash, so you can say, oh, we both have the same person on file. So now we can combine all the information about those people so we can build a mortgage profile because what I know what my partner knows to go together into that mortgage profile that we can do things like we can have promotions to our joint customers or I can do a promotion to your customers. You can promote it to my customers. But still, without actually sharing the information, because I go and I say to my partner, hey, take all your customers who are not my customers and send them a special offer from me. So. So you're sending it to your customers, so you don't have the privacy issues, and you don't have to share, you know, expose their data to someone outside. But yet you can still do the promotion. So that's a lot of what second-party Data is about. Is that kind of sharing, private sharing? So the announcement that you're just referring to is setting up that capability takes This trusted third party typically to take the data from both sides and do all the work. So again, there's no danger of leakage of your information to someone else. That's what LiveRamp is doing is providing that's sort of the haven that that trusted third party to do that. And it's big business—a lot of the traditional agencies like the Merkle's and the Axioms of the world.

David Raab [00:11:54] Of course, LiveRamp now is Axiom.

David Raab [00:11:58] I have had that service for quite some time. It's becoming more and more important. It gets back to our larger trust issues. Are our third-party data issue of third party data becoming harder to get your hands on? So it's one of the places that we're looking to replace to some degree. The loss of third party data is using the second party data and beyond it, again, because you're dealing with, you know, who you're dealing with. It's not like buying third party data from some random person who you don't know how they gathered it. And you're not too sure if you're actually if they have the right consent, no legal right to use it. So this is a much safer thing for a brand to do. They know they're not going to get in trouble. They know who they're dealing with. So we see a lot of growth in both so far, and we see a lot of potential growth in the future for various second party data projects.

Chitra Iyer [00:13:04] If I'm company  A and you are company B, we decide to do a second party deal. There has to be some layer in the middle, like a LiveRamp who facilitates that so that you cant see my Data, and I cant see yours. But we're still matching our data records.

David Raab [00:13:17] Exactly. And again, you do the hashing, so you don't have to expose your data. So even if LiveRamp wanted to cheat, all they have is this hashed id, which doesn't do too much. Now, I suppose if I were putting on my, you know, evil genius hat well, having the hashed id's from all these different companies and combining them would allow me to build super profiles, which I would not be allowed to do legally, and sure that no one would ever do such a thing. But even so, the risk is of exposure is way less. And again, as with the party that you're working with, the trusted third party is exactly that. We're pretty confident that LiveRamp will be ethical and be competent.

Chitra Iyer [00:14:01] Great. Speaking of handling things responsibly, we've seen most companies respond well to the coronavirus spread allowing their people to work remotely from home in just a matter of days. This, of course, speaks to the technology that must already be available that enables people to move to this sort of model rather quickly but also speaks about the tech that is now easily available out there and can be deployed very quickly and easily to enable remote work. Even for the smaller and relatively less tech-savvy firms. Right. And David, you want to put together this really handy list of companies offering free versions or quick install versions of their software to get companies set up to do this quickly.

David Raab [00:14:40] The thing about this list is this was just what came in yesterday. This is one day's worth of announcements, and there are four or six or eight companies which most of which were services that were videoconferencing or collaboration or teleconferencing or virtual workspace, something like that. You know, that had always been serving the remote workers or the work-at-home workers. And they're saying, hey, we have the service, you know, many of them extending some sort of a free offer beyond their normal services like these guys have premium things,  Zoom, for example, with an of the free version of Zoom. Still, now they've extended in some countries, some of the limits have been taken off. So you could use it more without having to pay for it. So so it's, you know, both a good marketing opportunity for them. But I must say that everyone has been pretty noncrass or tactful, I think, is the word I used about how they present it. And, you know, some of them are licking their chops and drooling, but certainly does open up a lot of opportunity for them and a lot of ways to introduce. So. So, you know, again, Microsoft, Google, Zoom, Slack, all those guys either had premiums or opened up a little broader than there are a lot of little companies, at least I was not familiar with. A company called EvolveIP, which does collaboration and workspaces, and they had a free offer.

There's another one called StarLeaf, which again was business continuity and video conferencing. And they were doing the free version, which I think again, they already had. But now they're promoting it a little more and getting more attention. Vidyo, which video conferencing, again, a free license. The other one called OneClick, which was more of a streaming application, remote access to applications. Again, that's a big part of what's going on here. They were doing that—Odo,  another one that was doing the remote access. So, you know, a lot of companies whose services are entirely relevant now, particularly a lot of people are working at home.

Chitra Iyer [00:16:51]. This can be a real eye-opener for many businesses, too, right? I mean, being forced to work with a distributed workforce has definite benefits. I mean, both in terms of cost and operational cost facilities, etc. It'd be interesting to see if there are any permanent work culture changes as an outcome of this, a forced model that's been thrust upon us. And then, of course, other industries getting disrupted, you know, events, for example. Will we see more virtual event experiences, do you think?

David Raab [00:17:18] Being able to have an online event where you get the informal interactions because that's the real reason you go to a lot of these events is for the networking and hanging out and all that. And, you know, there is technology to allow you to do that sort of informal interaction remotely. It's not the same, but a lot of the business benefits are there. And so I think that technology exists, but it hasn't been used. I think this may force companies, event companies in particular to adopt. And as you say, once they do it, they may use it much more widely. I won't say it'll never go back because I think life events will always be interesting and have opportunities that, you know, online events don't have, but the bounce will very likely shift.

Chitra Iyer [00:18:11] So we will see far more experiential virtual events moving forward. And I'm sure like gamified, events,3D experiences. Avatars, personas are doing everything you can do at a physical event. But except you're doing it virtually. 

David Raab [00:18:25] if you Remember, Second Life, you know, back was that ten years ago, 15 years ago. That's kind of the thing. And it's like I keep playing to see if there's gonna be a second life or second life. But there we have seen some, you know, 3D virtual reality things doing exactly what you're just talking about. And again, very cutting edge at the moment, but could quickly become more mainstream.

Chitra Iyer [00:18:49] Yeah, so this is good and bad. I mean, there's more democratization because global audiences can now attend industry events without having to foot travel bills or writing that letter convincing their bosses. They also these events could be more fun, you know, more gamified, more engaging virtual experiences, but also bad possibly because that means live events will become that much more exclusive and possibly even more expensive as if that was even possible. But also then I'm thinking maybe the food industry like 3D printing, your burger, and pizza.

David Raab [00:19:23] So there you go. I hadn't thought of that.

Chitra Iyer [00:19:27] Well, hey, there's an opportunity for the good. I guess there's also an opportunity for the bad. So there's, you know, always handy to know that there's a lot of hackers out there using the Covid-19 topic to trick people into opening phishing emails, viruses, and all sorts of fraudsters.

David Raab [00:19:45] Well, the irony is, of course, of emails about viruses themselves carrying viruses, which isn't as amusing as it was two weeks ago because it's a little more real now. But that and of course, there was an item where YouTube had just opened up and said, oh, we can monetize videos that talk about coronavirus. Originally, they said they weren't going to do that. They have a policy that they're natural disasters and stuff. They don't do that most because advertisers don't for brand safety purposes want to be associated with their appearance in content. That's highly negative. But there's so much going on legitimately to say about the coronavirus that and one suspects there's so much money to be made.

Chitra Iyer [00:20:27] Oh, well, on our part, I guess. Stay safe, stay vigilant. You know, it's time to be responsible workers and employees as much as it is time to be responsible citizens. I wish all of you the best. And David, thanks. Till we meet next week with a special guest, and I hope you all tune in then.

The Podcast Team

David Raab

Founder, CDP Institute and Principal, Raab AssociatesWidely recognized independent expert in customer data platforms, marketing technology and analytics; David specializes in marketing trends, technology strategy, and vendor

Anand Thaker

Martech Industry and Growth AdvisorA recognized MarTech, decisioning and AI/ML expert; Anand advises growth and go-to-market leaders and investors for global brands and funds while also being active in the startup ecosystem.

Chitra Iyer

Editor-in-Chief of Martech Advisor Editor-in-Chief of Martech Advisor and marketing veteran is the host of the show.