Who Owns Your Data? + What’s Wrong with Google Analytics G4?

Stéphane Hamel has given data and privacy a lot of thought, If you are concerned about data and privacy issues, then listen in as Stéphane outlines critical ownership issues of data and the consumer expectation of privacy. Listen in to learn what Stéphane means by #NoConsentNoTracking!

In the last half of the show, Matt and Stéphane discuss the problems with Google’s G4 Analytics rollout and development. Does Google really know their audience?


[00:00:00] Stéphane Hamel: There’s a unique sequence of attributes that represent your digital DNA, your unique view, but it’s supposed to be anonymous, but it’s anonymous only until someone figure out how to deanonymize it.

And there were plenty of studies over time, like, uh, you know, the famous one using, uh, just the zip code and, you know, a few, I think it was just three attributes was sufficient for, and so on and so on. Uh, more recently, Mozilla demonstrated that using your browsing history alone was sufficient to re-identify you.

I think it, 15 attributes are sufficient to identify 99.98% of the people, just 15 attributes.

[00:00:54] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey, as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:01:22] Matt Bailey: Well, hello and welcome listeners, to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. And today we are going to be focusing on data analytics and privacy. And because of that, I have asked Stéphane Hamel to be a part of this. And if you follow Stéphane on LinkedIn, you’ll know that he’s been very outspoken about data and privacy. And, uh, so Stéphane, welcome, and thank you so much for being on today’s episode.

[00:01:51] Stéphane Hamel: Thank you for, for having me, Matt. It’s a great pleasure to, to be here.

[00:01:55] Matt Bailey: Well, Stéphane, could you take a few moments to just introduce us a little bit to yourself…

[00:02:00] Stéphane Hamel: For sure.

[00:02:00] Matt Bailey: …and, and what you’ve done in the industry?

[00:02:02] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. Well, it depends how long you have.

[00:02:05] Matt Bailey: That’s why you’re here.

[00:02:07] Stéphane Hamel: But seriously, uh, I think I was really, really lucky when, when I did my internship in computer science, uh, in 1987. So that goes pretty far back. Uh, I worked on an obscure little project, but they had access to the internet…

[00:02:25] Matt Bailey: Oh, wow.

[00:02:25] Stéphane Hamel: …uh, back in those days. And the, that project was, uh, about using healthcare data or health related data that was anonymized to understand, um, patient behavior and how much care they needed and stuff like that.

So it, it, you know, working with data goes all the way through my first, uh, internship. Um, and I was lucky to have access to the internet. Of course, at the time there was no web.

[00:02:56] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:02:56] Stéphane Hamel: There were FTP, uh, chat, email, file, uh, file transfer to FTP, of course, uh, I think newsrooms existed at the time, so it was really…

[00:03:06] Matt Bailey: Right. Yes.

[00:03:06] Stéphane Hamel: …research, academic, you know, very interesting community and it was, uh, I was using, uh, working on a Unix computer and C programming. So that goes pretty far.

[00:03:19] Matt Bailey: Wow. Wow.

[00:03:20] Stéphane Hamel: So, when the web came out, it was natural for me. I was, uh, working on another project that involve, you know, 40 years of data, uh, for, uh, Hydro-Québec, which is the main supplier of electricity. So, a, a lot of data, in fact, we had to split, it was big data before the time, because it was so big that we had to split into multiple, uh, Oracle instance.

In that role, we, I was lucky again, to have access to the internet. So, when the web came out, it was natural for me. I was assistant administrator, DBA administrator, so it was natural for me to install a web server, and then up you go, you have log files, you started looking at log files. And then my career took a shift into, uh, web development, digital marketing, and so on.

Uh, so now, over the past several years I’ve done consulting, uh, teaching, speaking at conferences, creating tools, uh, that were useful for the market, uh, sharing concepts like the digital analytics maturity model, and, and so on. So, you know, closely involved with, uh, the industry, creating, sharing, learning all the time.

[00:04:33] Matt Bailey: Great, great. And, and I think you and I sort of became partners through Simplilearn.

[00:04:39] Stéphane Hamel: Exactly.

[00:04:39] Matt Bailey: Uh, developing content for them, as well. And so, they’re, one of the reasons why I wanted to contact you is because, like I said, you’ve been very outspoken about data and privacy. Before we even get into that, I’ve just noticed that online, the people that tend to be the most outspoken about data and data privacy are people who have their foundation in analytics.

And I’m just trying to piece together why is that? Is it because like, like you said, when we saw log files back, you know, 20 years ago, I, I was amazed at how much data was in there, and it’s all traced to an IP address. And, maybe that’s it, but I’d be very curious to hear what your thoughts are.

[00:05:31] Stéphane Hamel: I think there’s, there’s probably two different factors. One is the engineering background. So, you know, working in computer science and so on, you have that sensibility or, or awareness of the usefulness of data and how powerful it can be, be it for optimizing marketing campaigns or understanding business processes and optimizing those business processes online or offline.

So, there’s, there’s this desire to understand, uh, solve, and optimize all the time. Right? Uh, the other aspect, I guess, at least for me is, uh, during my long career, at one point I was a hacker. And I guess a lot of people were at some point to different degrees, but, but I was, you know, doing stuff that, that was probably not correct at the time.

But eventually, uh, it, it, it was also a learning, uh, uh, challenge because, you know, there’s always an interesting side to hacking, which is trying to find the problem that you can exploit or trying to understand what are the issues and fix them. So, there was, there was that, you know, from, from the initial idea of trying to find the loophole, then you move on and you say, okay, yes, I can solve that.

And in fact, this is even more rewarding and much more interesting than simply exploiting. Uh, so I guess there’s this sensibility about data of knowing that data can be exploited in ways that we don’t always imagine, but someone else will figure it out and they will exploit it if you don’t. So, I guess there’s, there’s part of this awareness that we…

[00:07:25] Matt Bailey: That is a great, great point that, uh, yeah, you may not do it, but someone else will. Now, was that the moment or was there another moment that made you decide to become much more active and vocal about data and privacy?

[00:07:42] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. Well, the, the simple answer is to my consulting, and I’ve coached agencies, I’ve not talked about that a lot because typically agencies were hiring me to help them develop or, you know, further improve their own analytics practice so they could sell services to their own clients.

[00:08:03] Matt Bailey: Okay.

[00:08:04] Stéphane Hamel: So, typically those agencies, they, they wanted to keep that relationship more, you know, low profile, uh, because they want to show that they know what they’re doing and so on, which is perfectly fine. So, I was coaching agencies, working with my own clients, uh, speaking, obviously, with a lot of people in the industry.

And I witnessed, I realized how, in many cases, the data was being used in ways that were either illegal or unethical. So, that, that is one point, but the two other big points are, uh, I did a, a live Q & A, a live interview with Christopher Wylie at a conference in Europe. And, in order to get ready for that, Christopher Wylie is the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica.

[00:08:51] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:08:51] Stéphane Hamel: So, in order to get ready for that, I watched and I read so much information about this, this whole thing, that, you know, everybody heard about it, everybody knows about it, but, but to which degree?

[00:09:03] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:09:03] Stéphane Hamel: So, I spent a lot of time looking into that. And then I spent 45 minutes alone with Christopher Wylie before going on stage, and the discussion I had was just fascinating. It was, it was, uh, life changing I would say, for me in my career.

And then the third point is my data was leaked along with maybe 8 million other people from a financial institution, and guess what? It was leaked by someone working in marketing. So that was, uh, that was the, the kind of the, the cherry on the top.

[00:10:00] And, and, and then I decided to spend more time thinking about the implications of using data for marketing purposes and how we can do that in, in a more ethical way, uh, let alone the legal aspect. There are lots of people, you know, looking into the lawyers and people that are expert at the legal compliance, but my interest is more into the ethics of using data for marketing.

[00:10:08] Matt Bailey: It’s very interesting. It, kind of a similar, on my side as well, I was doing a lot of teaching and overwhelmingly, I would say probably started about eight years ago, more and more demand for programmatic. And so, teaching marketers how to do programmatic, and what was interesting is as the more I’m developing curriculum, and I knew how the system worked, I knew it was dependent upon data, but then the more I’m finding, the more I’m uncovering, and then as I would teach it, the majority of people in the room would be very uncomfortable with the amount and the level of data that was being drawn in without the end user knowing it.

[00:10:55] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah.

[00:10:55] Matt Bailey: They were putting themselves in the situation…

[00:10:57] Stéphane Hamel: Exactly.

[00:10:58] Matt Bailey: …and they were very uncomfortable, and these were marketers.

[00:11:01] Stéphane Hamel: And because now they realize the, you know, we always say, “Data is power.” But unless you understand the consequences and how it’s being collected, or how it’s being stored, how it can be exploited and used, and so on, of course, there, there are positive and, and really good ways of using the data.

But interestingly, what you see is also interesting because, uh, one of the thing I’ve been asking audiences at conferences, uh, for several years, whenever I have the opportunity is, uh, raise your hand if you use an ad blocker. And systematically, there’s at least 70% of the room that raised their hand. And they’re all marketers and analysts and that’s, what, doesn’t it show that there’s something wrong in our industry? Don’t tell me it’s because you’re testing or, you know, it, it’s because you know how it works.

[00:11:53] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:11:53] Stéphane Hamel: It’s because you understand how it works, and you, as an individual, you don’t really accept what you try to impose on others, which to me doesn’t make any sense. And, and I tell you, you know, it’s systematically, it’s, it’s about 70%, which is in the general population, the, uh, opt-in rate or the amount of people that use an ad blocker is also about 70%. So depending on where you look and, uh, which, which data points you use and so on.

[00:12:25] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:12:25] Stéphane Hamel: So, as marketers and analysts, we are not more open than the general population. So that, to me, it tells me something, there is something wrong if we, even ourselves, we use ad-blockers.

[00:12:41] Matt Bailey: Right. Oh, absolutely. And, you know, seeing more and more ways to filter or screen or, or even stop ad traffic, uh, you know, at the server level, uh, you know, within a company, I, I’ve seen more and more efforts to do that because of the drain on resources, the amount of traffic that’s going back and forth.

And I think when you have an IT staff that’s very competent about what’s happening and what’s going in and out, there are security concerns…

[00:13:12] Stéphane Hamel: Yes.

[00:13:12] Matt Bailey: …that are appearing as well with, with the amount of trackers on these ads.

[00:13:18] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. Which, which brings another point also is the, uh, interesting intersection between, uh, security as we know it, in terms of network infrastructure and, you know, website protection and so on, and then you have the, uh, data protection aspect, which is, okay, once you’ve collected the data, how do you manage it? Who controls it? And so on, which is maybe a little bit more closer to the GDPR in Europe. And then you have the legal aspect and the engineering aspect of, uh, you know, the tags and how it works and so on.

So that intersection of different disciplines is really a challenge because you, you can’t find, I don’t think you can find someone in the industry who would master all of those aspects. It’s impossible.

[00:14:08] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:14:09] Stéphane Hamel: So, we need, so you have people that have a very strong legal aspect for example, but they don’t understand the technical implementation of the tags, and how the data is going through, and what about third party cookies, and first party, and zero data, and zero party data and so on. And, and then you have the opposite. You have people who are really, really good at marketing, but they don’t understand the legal consequences of what they are doing…

[00:14:36] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:14:36] Stéphane Hamel: …or not fully understand, right?

[00:14:39] Matt Bailey: That is a great point. And, and you, so you’re bringing up a couple of things here. I want to make sure that our listeners are, are knowledgeable. So, the concept, now, of zero party data has emerged. Could you explain, you know, your opinion and, and because I’ve seen you differentiate from what, uh, how others are describing zero party.

[00:15:01] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah.

[00:15:01] Matt Bailey: How do you describe that? Because I found that very fascinating.

[00:15:05] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. Typically people will say that, uh, zero party data is data that the, the consumer did use or will give willingly to a brand, which is, is fine. And first party data is the data that the brand collects, themselves. The, and it’s interesting when you ask the question on LinkedIn, for example, you, you, you have very slightly different opinions.

[00:15:30] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:15:31] Stéphane Hamel: Uh, which, which is interesting because it reminds me of the different opinions there were about, “What is web analytics?”

[00:15:37] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:15:38] Stéphane Hamel: There were so many different answers. But to me, it’s all about who controls the data. So, if we think this perspective, zero, zero party data is data that the end user control, themselves. So, an easy example of that is, let’s say that I own a dog and I have different profiles with different brands.

So, my pet store, where I purchase the food, the pet food, I can just tell them, “Okay, I, I own a dog. It’s a large breed,” and so on. But when I go to, uh, the veterinary, and, and stuff like that, then the profile needs, obviously, to be more detailed.

[00:16:23] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:16:23] Stéphane Hamel: So, in those cases they will build different, so they, they, they might collect their own first party data because I willingly gave them the information. But we end up with different pictures, different profiles of the same dog.

[00:16:40] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:16:40] Stéphane Hamel: Right?

[00:16:40] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:16:42] Stéphane Hamel: If it, if it was zero party data in a perfect world, and I know there are startups working on that. In a zero-party data world, I would control the data. All I would have to say is, “I give, I grant access to the fact that I own a large breed dog to the pet store,” and so on for the other parties that I’m involved with. My insurance, for example, maybe…

[00:17:08] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:17:08] Stéphane Hamel: …my insurance premium is different because I own a dog. They don’t care which breed, they don’t care if it’s, you know, how, how old it is, and so on, they only care, “Is it, is it a dangerous dog?”

[00:17:18] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:17:18] Stéphane Hamel: …or whatever, right.

But the day that my dog pass away, it’s a sad day, and so on. All I have to do because I control the data, I just remove the permission to access that information. So, because I control the data, all of those different parties that instead of building their own first party data and, and having their own little kingdom, I control the data and I remove the access so the profile is not there anymore because it’s not relevant anymore.

So, maybe I don’t have the perfect, I, I think maybe it’s, we talk, we talk, yeah. Maybe it won’t happen, but I know there are startups working on concepts like this.

[00:17:57] Matt Bailey: And I loved it. I, I love that example because the biggest, I would say the hurdle, but also what is most attractive about that is, it focuses the ownership on the individual.

[00:18:12] Stéphane Hamel: Exactly.

[00:18:13] Matt Bailey: That I own my data. Therefore, I control who can see it, what they can do with it, how long…

[00:18:19] Stéphane Hamel: How long.

[00:18:20] Matt Bailey: …they can access.

[00:18:20] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah.

[00:18:21] Matt Bailey: As a end consumer, I am the one in control of my data.

[00:18:25] Stéphane Hamel: Exactly.

[00:18:25] Matt Bailey: And I love that because the current assumption in the industry is that everyone else owns your data and you can’t control anything about it.

[00:18:35] Stéphane Hamel: Well, the only thing you can control is okay, maybe you have a profile somewhere with that brand and you update your profiles, but how many profiles are there about you floating everywhere? Right?

[00:18:48] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:18:49] Stéphane Hamel: I, I’m using, uh, LastPass or 1Password to maintain my password. I have hundreds of different passwords, so hundreds of different, if not thousands of different me floating around everywhere…

[00:19:03] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:19:03] Stéphane Hamel: …with different attributes, different information. And, and I cannot easily say, let’s pull the plug. Let’s do a cleanup. You know, a spring cleaning. Good luck.

[00:19:13] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:19:13] Stéphane Hamel: You can spend hours deleting profiles or updating profiles and so on, and it probably won’t go very far because it’s not manageable.

[00:19:24] Matt Bailey: Well, and those are just the websites that you have an account where you have taken that initiative to create the account. It doesn’t count what might be sitting in a third party, uh, you know, collection of who they think I am and who they think they’re targeting based on something that happened three or four weeks ago or two hours ago.

[00:19:50] Stéphane Hamel: Yep.

[00:19:50] Matt Bailey: Um…

[00:19:50] Stéphane Hamel: Or 3 years ago.

[00:19:52] Matt Bailey: Right. And then you have multiple companies, uh, acting as these data warehouses. So, I could have, uh, like to your point, I could have thousands of profiles of what companies assume they think they know about me.

[00:20:00] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. And sometimes, you know, you receive an email saying, “We’ve updated our privacy policy,” and then you realize, “Geez, I haven’t used this website for, I don’t know how long.” So, it’s kind of a reminder, or the, the other funny one is, you know, Black Friday and stuff like that. You don’t receive any emails all year long.

[00:20:24] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:20:24] Stéphane Hamel: And then suddenly, because it’s Black Friday, everybody loves you. Every brand wants to, you know, you’re so important. And then you realize that, “I don’t care about that brand. I don’t want them to, I don’t want to be on their mailing list anymore.” It also brings me to a point where I don’t believe in anonymous data.

So, that’s a strong statement. And the reason for that is the analogy I do with DNA. DNA on its own is not worth a lot, right? You, you, you have some DNA information and it’s, it’s anonymous. It’s not tied to your name, your address or whatever, but we genuinely recognize that our DNA is, is probably what is the most unique about us.

[00:21:10] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:21:11] Stéphane Hamel: It’s very, very private.

[00:21:12] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:21:13] Stéphane Hamel: Right? And, and you know, those ancestry and so on, of course they make a good use of that. Um, so, we’ve recognized that our DNA is, is very unique. It represents us. It’s very precious, you know, and so on.

The way I see it is, in the death of the big data swamp that is, you know, everywhere in those third-party data collectors that are supposedly doing it anonymously, there’s a unique sequence of attributes that represent your digital DNA. Your unique you. It’s a unique combination, but it’s supposed to be anonymous, but it’s anonymous only until someone figure out how to de-anonymize it. And there were plenty of studies over time, like, uh, you know, the famous one using, uh, just a zip code and, you know, a few, I think it was just 3 attributes was sufficient for and so on, and so on.

Uh, more recently Mozilla demonstrated that using your browsing history alone was sufficient to re-identify you. Uh, I think it, 15 attributes are sufficient to identify 99.98% of the people. Just 15 attributes. And then you see those ad networks, you know, that sit on hundreds of different attributes, if not more, for each individual anonymous person.

So, I, I, I think it’s just a matter of, of, you know, science and evolution of the capacity, computing capacity and so on in order to reach a point where data can be deanonymized. Uh, the risk is there, you know, it’s always there.

[00:22:58] Matt Bailey: Oh yeah, absolutely. I, I even go back to, I think this was in the late nineties, AOL, uh, just looking at someone’s search history, they were able to find the person who, I, I think, I think maybe 3 months of search history, and that’s all they needed to find that person. And that was in the late nineties.

So, yeah. I think the word anonymous now is just marketing speak. It’s not, it, it’s something to make people feel better, but there’s, you know, as you said, I think the, uh, the local, it was, uh, last name, gender, and zip code, and we can find you, and that’s it. But we have IP addresses. We have location data. We have so many things.

[00:23:43] Stéphane Hamel: If you’re a Facebook or a Google, you know, let’s take the example of Google. They position themselves as being okay, a, a, a good player. “We’re going to kill third-party cookies.”

[00:23:56] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:23:57] Stéphane Hamel: And we just said that browsing history, IP address, or in the case of Google, you know, you’re almost constantly connected to your account for so many reasons. You own an Android phone and so on. They don’t even need third party cookies. They don’t need that. Uh, so behind the, uh, nice positioning of being a “good player, killing third-party cookies,” and by the way, I’m using Brave. I’ve been using it for a long time. It doesn’t support third party cookies, and guess what? Everything works fine.

[00:24:35] Matt Bailey: Right. Yes.

[00:24:36] Stéphane Hamel: As a consumer, I’m happy. As a user, I’m happy. Uh, and it doesn’t need third party cookies. So, you know, what I see is, is those tectonic plates of the Facebook, Google, Oracle also is a big player, uh, Amazon, uh, Apple, and so on, those tectonic plates are shifting. And, and of course, each of those players are, you know, putting on the hat of being, uh, you know, user-focused and privacy, and, and so on, but they are building their walled garden while trying to destroy the competition and so on. Of course they won’t say that.

Uh, there are some positive things. What I’m worried is that we’ve already reached a point where those changes are forcing innovation, and innovate, which is a good thing. The problem is, I’ve seen, uh, AdTech and MarTech players not trying to be creative and comply and, and be really, uh, user-centric and really care about privacy, but taking the opposite direction and, and trying to find ways to, “How can we continue to collect even more data in a more sneaky way?”

[00:25:51] Matt Bailey: Right. Yes.

[00:25:52] Stéphane Hamel: “And, and go until the very, very end of the thin line of legality and, and, you know, being compliant. How far can we push it before we get us, we get caught and, and you know, get a, a slap on the end?”

Uh, and that worries me because the cure might be worse than what initially we’re trying to solve.

[00:26:14] Matt Bailey: Right. Well, I mean, we see apps being delisted constantly whose only purpose was to gather data. I, I think we just see, what was it now with, uh, I think it’s Clubhouse. The amount of data that they soaked and then turned around and, uh, you, you know, we’re, we’re seeing this, yeah, leaked or sold or, you know, and you have to wonder, “What was the business plan to start with?”

Um, now you’ve, you’ve brought this up a couple of times and I, I want to come back to this to talk about FLoC and Google’s attempt, but you have used the words both illegal and ethical when it comes to privacy. So, what’s, how are you using those? What’s the difference there?

[00:26:55] Stéphane Hamel: Uh, it’s interesting cause, and maybe I’m wrong, I mean, I’m, I’m always open to be challenged and, and have a discussion around that, but to me, having a legal approach to privacy means that as a business, you’re trying to lower your risks. You’re, you’re doing everything that you have to do in order to be compliant so that you don’t incur any risks.

If you take the ethical approach to privacy, what you ask yourself is not, “How can I lower my risks?” What you ask yourself is, “What do my user want?” And the simple, most efficient way of seeing that is, uh, something that I’ve been advocating for, for a while now, which I’d call, “No consent, no tracking.” Under the GDPR and ePrivacy, you know, you go on a website and you have those annoying pop-up banners that ask you for cookie permission.

[00:27:55] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:27:55] Stéphane Hamel: And it’s so stupid because it’s not about the cookies. We don’t care about the cookies.

[00:28:00] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:28:00] Stéphane Hamel: It, it doesn’t even have to be cookies. It could be any other way. What we care about is are you going to collect personal information and how are you going to use it, for which purpose and so on. So, we provide consent. We, we say, “I agree,” or “I don’t,” and, and the opt-in rate…

[00:28:16] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:28:16] Stéphane Hamel: …is very low and, and we can complain about those, those banners and, you know, try to find ways to increase the consent rate and the opt-in rate and so on.

[00:28:26] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:28:27] Stéphane Hamel: But the thing that really annoys me is, you go on a website, there is this consent banner, and you say, “No.” Guess what happen next? They still track you.

[00:28:38] Matt Bailey: Yep. Yes.

[00:28:39] Stéphane Hamel: They still track you because they decided that they have a legitimate interest to track you anonymously. So, supposedly there is no personal information and so on, so they still track you.

But you just ask the person, “Do you accept to be tracked?” And they said, “No.” They didn’t say, “I don’t want to be tracked, but it’s okay if it’s anonymous,” or “It’s okay if it’s such and such tool,” because I, I see obviously some of the vendors are saying, “We, we are GDPR compliance and need privacy compliant. We don’t have to ask permission. You can just go ahead and track because it’s anonymous,” or whatever the reason.

But when you ask the humans are deep, they send a message, they, they answer, “I don’t want to be tracked,” or “I want to be tracked.” They, they’re not, in my opinion, they’re not really saying, “I, I love cookies,” or “I don’t love cookies.” Right? That’s not the point. That’s not the question. And they’re not say, especially they’re not saying, “I don’t want to be track, except if it’s such and such tool,” or so on. So, I think it’s a big, it’s a big lie. It, it’s a false impression of caring for privacy.

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[00:31:25] Matt Bailey: Well, as you said, it’s, it’s companies that are saying, “It’s, it’s, we’re user-centric. The user comes first.” But yet, at the same time, tracking without consent or assumed consent. And, you know, and, and so I love that the distinction there between the legal and ethical, because like you, I believe we have a serious ethical problem in collecting data and collecting it just to have it. Even though we may not know what we want to do with it, there’s money in the collection. There’s money in what can be done with that, and that’s not user centric.

[00:32:01] Stéphane Hamel: For years at conferences, I heard, you know, leading people in our industry saying, “Storing the data is cheap. Collecting the data is cheap. Let’s collect everything we can. Store it somewhere.” I call it the big needle swamp. Store it somewhere, and, and we’re going to figure out how to exploit that data when we need it, because it’s going to be there.

[00:32:24] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:32:25] Stéphane Hamel: And, and that doesn’t really work. I never…

[00:32:28] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:32:28] Stéphane Hamel: …believed it worked, but the people saying that were really industry leaders. So, it’s hard to come against, you know, publicly against something like that. Uh, I’ve done it a couple of times, but it gets me in trouble.

[00:32:43] Matt Bailey: So, as we’re saying this, I’m looking at my closet over here and I have a bin of CD ROMs with log files that I just can’t bring myself to throw out right now.

[00:32:54] Stéphane Hamel: Well, there could be golden nuggets in there.

[00:32:56] Matt Bailey: Like someday, someday I might use that.

[00:33:00] Stéphane Hamel: It’s like the AOL, uh, uh…

[00:33:02] Matt Bailey: Yes, yes, I could decorate with them. Why would I throw them out?

Well, if, if, I wanted to bring that up, because you had brought up, you know, just that ethical issue, you know, and, and getting back to differentiating between cookies and tracking and, and getting into the consent there. On that issue, and, and I’m going to circle back here on what Google was doing by eliminating third-party cookies, but they attempted to replace that with FLoC and the, the Federation Learning of Cohorts.

And to your point, if you’re using a Chrome browser, you still got a direct connection back into Google and technically by their definition, anything you do on that Chrome browser, they’re a first party, even if you’re somewhere else. And it was interesting to hear, especially again, from the analyst community, understanding how things work, the analysts were the biggest critic.

Um, and I, and I tend to think this was a victory that they stopped, because I think you saw Amazon said, “We’re going to block it.” Uh, WordPress, you know, major, major, uh, sites that would affect that. Do you think this is a, the beginning of sort of a chink in the armor of people resisting Google, you know what, Google as the eight-hundred-pound gorilla?

[00:34:28] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah, well, if we think of Amazon, of course the, you know, it’s the second biggest search engine, right? Uh, they have their own data and they, they can, they can use it. And, you know, I’m a big Amazon customer and it’s a brand that I trust, so I’m willing to give them a lot of my data if they make a good use of it and they serve me better and so on.

[00:34:57] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:34:57] Stéphane Hamel: I wouldn’t be really willing to say, “Oh, Amazon becomes, you know, just another ad network that sells the data everywhere,” and so on. So, I think they’ve, to some extent they’ve done a nice job of keeping a control over that. But yeah, I, I think FLoC is interesting because conceptually on paper, it’s interesting, but when you start to open up the engine and you, well, for what we can see, because it’s pretty much a black box, uh, but for us, for what we can see is there are many, it, it creates, one of the thing is it creates a new, a fingerprinting attribute or opportunity.

It creates a scenario where your own audience, as a brand, could be part of the FLoC group or cohort, which I should say, that would end up being used by your competitor. So, there are so many little things that are annoying, and one of the funny thing I noticed is that Google decided that they were deploying FLoC in testing, uh, in different location except Europe, because the legal approach to it is risk mitigation.

And they knew there was a risk that under the GDPR, there could be an issue, right? So, they didn’t deploy FLoC, uh, in testing mode, but the other thing is, they didn’t ask the users. They, they just said, “Okay, we’re going to test FLoC and here you go. It’s there.”

Uh, I don’t know exactly where in the browser or where on the website or, you know, all the details. I don’t need to go in, in, into this level of details, but what I know is, they never asked me if I wanted to be part of FLoC as a user. So, to me, that’s an, that’s an issue, right?

[00:36:53] Matt Bailey: Right. Absolutely. And that’s sort of Google’s history, is this across the board, “This is what we’re going to do now. And everyone else has to comply.” And so, I was kind of cheering on the sidelines when I saw FLoC.

Like finally, you know, people were standing up and, and, you know, seeing even, and I would call Amazon a competitor, and a significant competitor, and significant enough that this is going to affect Google, uh, and, and seeing that back down was a, a real, I think, a victory for, a victory for privacy? I don’t know. We’ll see.

[00:37:30] Stéphane Hamel: As, as I was mentioning, you know, they, they are building their walled garden or improving, you know, raising the wall a little higher, something like that.

[00:37:39] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:37:39] Stéphane Hamel: But yeah, the, there’s, the primary interest is commercial. It’s, it’s surely not privacy.

[00:37:46] Matt Bailey: Right. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. We, we know that, I think with Google, that anything they’re doing is, it’s, it’s to promote themselves…

[00:37:56] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah.

[00:37:56] Matt Bailey: …financially, make that happen. I, I want to shift gears a little bit here. We’ve talked a lot about data and privacy, but let, let’s, let’s bring it into analytics and move, move back to that.

Um, you’ve spent years talking about digital analytics, uh, you’ve got a, a model that, it’s been used by many agencies, uh, you’ve developed this. Can you give us a quick summary of your maturity model?

[00:38:23] Stéphane Hamel: Um, I did that when I was completing my MBA. And at the time the talk of the town was, “Analytics is hard.”

[00:38:33] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:38:34] Stéphane Hamel: And I already had some experience working with data. I, I already had years of experience working with data and it was not any easier. So, my thought was, well, if we always complain that our work is difficult, it is hard, how can we expect to understand the business and optimize it and say, “Hey, we can make recommendations.”

I was like, you don’t eat your own dog food. Do what you preach, you know? If you think analytics is hard, you need to find ways to optimize and improve your own job if you want to optimize and improve the business.

[00:39:10] Matt Bailey: Ok.

[00:39:11] Stéphane Hamel: So, I started looking at, what are the factors that are the critical drivers of success? Because we, we hear a lot about failures and occasionally we hear about, “Oh, this was a big success,” and, and then everybody talks about that one.

So, I looked at the different factors, and I, I considered, or the structure of the organization. What is the actual level of, uh, usage of the data, the governance aspect of the data? Then I looked at, okay, what is the objective? And then you realize that oftentime there’s no objective. Not at all. Uh, so you need to solve that.

[00:40:00] Then I looked at, what is the scope? Uh, oftentime, oftentime what I see is, if your job is to manage Facebook campaigns, the scope is pretty limited. You’re not managing…

[00:40:02] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:40:02] Stéphane Hamel: …the whole marketing ecosystem, but you can still do a super great job doing that. And it can be very rewarding to, you know, optimize and improve Facebook campaigns and so on.

So, the scope is important. What’s the size of the playground? And then came, uh, okay. Uh, who are the resources? What are their skills and expertise? Uh, oftentime back in the days when I did that, there were a lot of people with a marketing background, but very few people with an engineering background or few people…

[00:40:34] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:40:34] Stéphane Hamel: …with the, uh, deep understanding of, of data. They, they, they were able to use Google Analytics to get reports and nice 3d pie charts and so on, but, but beyond that, right? So, so what is the expertise of the team? And then the key factor, the, the, the thing, all of them, there are six, uh, areas that you need to master, but one of them came up as being the one that was the weak spot.

It was, what is the analysis process in place? How do you state an hypothesis? How do you get to do problem solving? Is it your own approach to it? Is it your, because you’ve done it so many times and you, you found a magic recipe that, it works for you, but, uh, if you go on vacation, then every, everything falls apart because you’re not there anymore. Right?

[00:41:27] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:41:27] Stéphane Hamel: And then the last one, probably the thing that was the least important was, what are the tools that you use? And, and not really the fact that you pay for a license, and you remember back in the day, so that was 12 years ago that I did it.

[00:41:43] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:41:43] Stéphane Hamel: So, it was all about the Google Analytics free vs. paid license, and if you use a free product, you’re kind of just playing around, and if you use a licensed product, then, wow, you’re, you’re in the big league.

[00:41:54] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:41:55] Stéphane Hamel: But it’s not the fact that you paid for the license, it’s the, the level at which you’re able to use the tool that you have at your disposal. Um, and that was probably the least important factor, in fact, to, to have success with analytics.

So, given all those, those aspects, uh, I was able to create a, a rating that would say, “Oh, you’re at level zero,” or, “level one through five,” and if you’re balanced in all of those aspects, it doesn’t matter if you’re at level five or level two, if you’re at level two and it’s well balanced, it means that in your role, you bring the most to your organization, and now you can consider, you know, pushing further.

But if it’s all over the place, you have super great tools, but your analysis process is, is very, very bad, then you need to fix that before trying to…

[00:42:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:42:48] Stéphane Hamel: …evolve to the next level. So, that was, initially it was very, um, people were skeptical around that. I had comments about, “Oh, been there, done that. It’s not useful. All models, uh, you know, uh, all models are wrong. Some are useful.” You know, all kinds of comments like that. And it took a while to really pick up, and then agencies started to use it. Uh, practitioners started to use it. Uh, people got more interested into it. Uh, it was copied. It was, uh, modified and so on. And I was, I always said, “In order to be successful, it needs to sustain the test of fire. It needs to be in the field.”

[00:43:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:43:28] Stéphane Hamel: “It needs to be used and abused.” I didn’t make money with it. Maybe I should have had a, a better business strategy around the, the model, and, you know, put a patent on it or trademark or something.

Uh, some other people did, but, uh, I think that was a big contribution to the industry. Uh, I’m glad I did, I did that. Uh, I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for, uh, because it was a challenge. Uh…

[00:43:58] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And, and you know, like you, I, I’ve heard that so many times, “Analytics is hard, it’s difficult,” and it’s interesting just training companies, they all have the same questions.

What’s important? What do I need? Where do I, how do I get insights? And I, I’m always amazed that those are very basic questions. And it seems a shame, and, and I ask marketers this all the time, “How many of you have been formally trained as to what analytics is?”

And we’re pushing kids out of university in marketing who have never dealt with any kind of analytics. And so, they don’t know the language. They don’t know, and, and it, it baffles them. When I train analytics, we don’t even start, we don’t even go to the tools.

Like you, you know, we’re going through the model of, what’s your purpose? What’s your objective? How are you trying to complete that? What’s that look like? And, and it’s that self-examination before you even start looking at data.

[00:45:02] Stéphane Hamel: There were some interesting revelations when I, I, throughout the years applying the model with my clients, so, I, I said I didn’t, I didn’t make money with it, but I did consulting and I did other stuff, obviously. I, I, I had a good living.

So, but there were some things that really fascinated me when you start a conversation, typically as a consultant, especially, they want to hire you because they have a problem they want to solve right now. But when I try to say, “Put aside the analytics and the website and those aspects because I know that. Tell me about your business. Tell me about what you do. Tell me why you do it as, as an organization. You know, what, what, what is the big goal as an organization?”

And it’s amazing how many managers had a very hard time describing what they were actually doing as a business. Uh, so, it was always trying to, uh, going back into, “Oh, we have this problem. We have this data collect,” typically a data collection problem, right? “Data quality, uh, we want to do an analysis of this and that.” “Okay, but why do you want to do this analysis? Maybe there’s something else that would be much better.” But “No, no, no. That’s what we want to do.”

So, I actually walked away from some consulting engagements because I felt my role was not simply to answer the question. My role was to enlighten the customer that my, my clients, so that in the future they can ask better questions. They can, and, and they can become self-sufficient without always relying on a consultant to tell them the answer. Right? Uh, so, you know, it was, it was interesting, I really enjoyed that. And with, coaching agencies was a little bit of that, also, uh, uh, trying to make them self-sufficient in their analytics practice.

[00:47:01] Matt Bailey: That’s great. I, I love the example you gave there because you, you just walked right into my next question, and that was how company culture plays a role in analytics, and, and I think what you just described there, is the culture was, “We want this answer, but we’re not willing to go back and even see why we are here, what, what has brought us to this point.” And then the more you’re poking and exposing that there’s a, there’s a sys-, a systemic…

[00:47:28] Stéphane Hamel: Yes.

[00:47:29] Matt Bailey: …problem here.

[00:47:29] Stéphane Hamel: I have an interesting anecdote for that. Uh, there was, uh, I worked with client that, uh, I did, because of my computer science background and so on, I did, obviously, a lot of implementation in developing WASP. WASP was the first, uh, data quality assurance tool specialized for analysts.

So, you know, detecting the tags and saying what the tag is doing and so on. So, that was, you go back again about 12 years ago. Um, but there was that client where, uh, they were using, uh, I think it was 8box at the time. And then, uh, no they were using Webtrends.

[00:48:07] Matt Bailey: Oh, okay. Yeah.

[00:48:08] Stéphane Hamel: Uh, and Webtrends, “Oh, Webtrends is not good enough. We need to switch tool.” So, okay. They did an implementation of, uh, I think it was 8box. So, they switch to 8box and then, you know, a year later or so, uh, “Oh no, 8box is not good enough. Uh, we need to find another tool.”

[00:48:26] Matt Bailey: Nope.

[00:48:27] Stéphane Hamel: And then they were looking at, uh, now it was, uh, Omniture. Uh, “Oh, we need to switch tool.” Then at one point I told them, you know, “You know what? The problem is not the tool. The problem is you. You are the problem. You, you don’t explore the tool, the data that you already have at your disposal. You need to change the way you approached a problem. If you, if you think that…”

[00:48:49] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:48:49] Stéphane Hamel: “…switching from Excel to Google Sheets is going to make you a better analyst, well, I have some news for you. The problem is not the, the worksheet that you use. The problem is…”

[00:49:00] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[00:49:00] Stéphane Hamel: “…how you approach the issue in the first place.” Uh, so, that, that cultural aspect, the organizational, and the other aspect, we, the other thing we hear very often is, you need to have executive buy-in in order to have success with analytics.

[00:49:17] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:49:18] Stéphane Hamel: And it’s true, of course, if you, if you’re really lucky and the CEO is an ex-digital analyst, you’re super lucky, right?

[00:49:31] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:49:32] Stéphane Hamel: But most of the time, what the reality is, uh, you can have a top to bottom approach, which is great because, you know, there are resources and so on, budgets, tools, hiring people, but at the same time, the expectations are super big. They want to work on very, very big problems. And guess what, as digital analysts, what we’re trying to do is to go into, uh, an, a continuous improvement process. Work on the small things and improve them all the time. So…

[00:50:00] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:50:05] Stéphane Hamel: …the top to bottom approach, yeah, maybe it, it’s one way, but the reality is a bottom-up approach works, also. We don’t have to dismiss the bottom-up, the bottom-up because people in the field, they know what are the issues. And if…

[00:50:22] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:50:23] Stéphane Hamel: …if you’ve ever worked with business analysts, that’s one of the thing they do. They, they, they try to understand what are the issues that people in the field are facing, so that it’s all about, you know, the, this analytics, uh, or analysis process of taking a big problem and trying to slice it into small chunks so that we can understand.

When you have a top to bottom, you work on big stuff. When you have to bottom to top, well, you, you can start with the small stuff and then draw your sphere of influence and take more challenging, more bigger problems, and you can make your way in, in that direction, instead. And that works, also.

[00:51:10] Matt Bailey: Yeah. And, and that, again, it kind of depends on that culture, uh, that, you know, are we allowing the innovation from within to improve in these small steps, uh, or are we a rigid approach, that we’re only looking for, for that to happen?

Um, let’s, we’ve got a few minutes left here, Stéphane, and I’d love to know, what is your opinion on Google’s new G, GA4, uh…

[00:51:37] Stéphane Hamel: What a bad name…

[00:51:37] Matt Bailey: …Analytics?

[00:51:38] Stéphane Hamel: …first.

[00:51:40] Matt Bailey: I mean, I loved Universal. Universal made sense. I, I, I it’s collecting everything. Um, I started using this the other day, just, “the other day.” I started using it when it came out. I gave up. I, I’m like, I’m not getting anything I want. Nothing’s familiar. I was completely frustrated. And then when I started seeing other analysts express the same frustrations, the same, uh, “What happened?” Uh, I, I felt so much better and I’m like, “It’s not just me. This is, ok, what, what is Google doing?”

[00:52:17] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. There, there is always that moment where you say, “What if it, it’s me?”

[00:52:19] Matt Bailey: “I’m just not catching it anymore.”

[00:52:20] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. “I’m getting too old.”

[00:52:21] Matt Bailey: “I’m, I’m, I’m aging out.”

[00:52:23] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because it, it’s not the same product. I don’t know…

[00:52:30] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:52:30] Stéphane Hamel: …why they kept the name because it’s not the same product. It’s a total re-engineering of the approach. It, it’s going from an approach that, that was, that made its way through the years of understanding page views and events and sessions and, and visitors or users and so on. And the data model is totally different, uh, different. Um, so first, I think it’s a mistake to call it G4, uh, from a branding perspective I think that’s not…

[00:53:01] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:53:01] Stéphane Hamel: …the right thing to do. But there is a bigger problem here. Uh, I’ve been quoted for saying that the simplest definition of big data is it doesn’t fit in Excel.

People asked me to explain that, and it’s pretty simple. It’s not about the size of the data and stuff like that. It’s because you have to change the way you approached a problem. If you use big data with rows and columns, it doesn’t change anything. So, you have to go from, you know, in Excel, it, it’s 2 dimensions. You have rows and columns. That’s it.

[00:53:43] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:53:43] Stéphane Hamel: Right? With big data, you can have all kinds of data structure. And in fact, it can be unstructured. The problem with Universal vs. GA4 is it trades the same kind of mindset shift. You have to go from a mindset where you have predefined reports that have rows and columns, and then suddenly you’ve end up with something that is so more powerful, just like a spreadsheet vs. big data. It’s so more powerful.

[00:54:22] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:54:22] Stéphane Hamel: But it completely, you need to re-educate yourself in how to use that. And in the same way, you go from GA, which was really like a, an office solution, like anyone can learn, can learn to use GA, but it’s not true for GA4, at least not in the state it is right now. You cannot take someone like, you cannot ask a secretary or an assistant, I should say, you cannot ask someone who doesn’t have a strong data background to go into GA4 and say, “Oh, can you look at this data and answer this simple question?”

They won’t, they won’t be able to do it, but you can still do that with GA. Uh, so I think that’s a major, major shift. And then what it creates is, if you’re going, because once again, you have to redo the implementation, right? How many times were we told that, “Oh, it’s, you know, a couple of lines of code. Uh, you won’t have to touch it anymore.” Right?

[00:55:24] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:55:25] Stéphane Hamel: So, if you have to redo an implementation because of GA4, my advice is evaluate your needs, evaluate what you’re trying to do, evaluate your match rate level in, as an organization. And maybe GA4 is not the right answer. Maybe it’s time to look at other solutions. It’s not because it’s free that it’s the best. Right?

[00:55:46] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Because it has been free for so long, and, and, and it’s almost synonymous with the analytics, I think people have, have almost forgotten that there are so many options out there that are probably better.

And I know that’s one thing that this has caused me to do is, because Google has a history of killing things. If GA4 goes away next year, I need to be ready. Or not GA4, but if, if Google Analytics, if the Universal goes away, I need to be ready for this. And so, as, you know, as website owners and, and working with other clients, I’m recommending, “You need to be ready because Google could kill it and not give anyone a moment’s notice.”

[00:56:29] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. I, I, I think one of the problem also is they, they’ve made it the default, GA4 is now the default when you create a new property. And at least when they did it, there were a lot of features. They removed the label beta from it, but there were so many issues, and so many missing pieces, and so on. It, it’s, it’s an insult to the user, to the analyst, uh, community, really, to do that. Like, typically data analysts are eager to test new stuff.

[00:56:59] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:56:59] Stéphane Hamel: They didn’t have to do that. People were willing to do old tag and test it and learn it and so on, and would probably have been much more, uh, open to occasional issues and missing pieces and stuff instead of, uh, Google saying, “Okay, now it’s the default and you need to get, you know, start doing it now.” And just this morning, again, I had a message saying, “Oh, switch your GA property to a new GA4 property.”

Don’t do that. Not now. It’s not, it’s not the right time to do it. And so, I don’t know, I don’t know why they, they did that. And of course, uh, Google has not always been an example of transparency, like any of those big players, so we probably won’t know why they chose to do that, but it, it’s, it’s backfiring a little bit, right?

[00:57:53] Matt Bailey: It is. And especially, I find in the organizations where I’m doing training, it’s marketers that are using Google Analytics. And so, to all of a sudden create this data playground, I, I, maybe that’s what the goal is. It’s completely lost on the people who just want to know, “What was my conversion rate from this campaign on this landing page that I’m just there to get the data.”

[00:58:18] Stéphane Hamel: They want to know, “What’s my, what’s the bounce rate coming from? Oh no, bounce rate is not there anymore.

[00:58:24] Matt Bailey: Right. Right. Yeah.

[00:58:24] Stéphane Hamel: We’re not saying it was a good metric, but it was, uh, it was there. It, that’s what was available at the time, and people got used to those metrics. Um, yeah, so it, it, it’s going to be very interesting to see how the market is going to evolve between those tectonic shift of the big players between the, uh, legal aspects and the privacy, and then the fact that different tools are emerging.

You know, I, I, at one point I was asked if I could only use one tool or, or one type of tool, or would it be, uh, a webinar’s tech solution? I said, “Probably not.” Uh, if I could only use one platform, and especially now you have a customer data experience platform that offers data collection, uh, in all the aspects around marketing and so on, so well-integrated and so on, why do you still need web analytics as a standalone product to do that?

So, the risk is that for Google, a lot of people are using Google Analytics because of Google Ads. So that, that kind of standalone product, is it really relevant anymore? Um, we’ll see.

[00:59:42] Matt Bailey: Do you think that’s the future, is that analytics is going to be pulled in more into, like you said, a customer experience platform, you know, like a Salesforce or, you know, like some of these CRM platforms, as you said, the more, you know, all my customer data is there, and, and their web data is there, what’s the purpose of this? You know, other than to get some real simple metrics, do you see that as the future of, of what’s happening with analytics?

[01:00:00] Stéphane Hamel: Yeah. And then if, if all you want are a very simple metrics, there are free alternatives, uh, very nice looking and easy to use, uh, to GA. There was a whole list, uh, posted on LinkedIn. But yeah, I, I, I think customer experience platforms, uh, be it Salesforce or others, they, they, they have a richness of data that, that in many, many cases should be sufficient to do a lot of the analysis that you need to do in order to optimize your website and your business.

So, it’s interesting how it’s shifting from, you know what? I think we’re going full circle in the early days of women analytics, uh, I was going to conferences and it was all marketing people. And the, the way they were talking is that they wanted to get away from IT. They were sick and tired of asking…

[01:01:07] Matt Bailey: Yes. Yes.

[01:01:08] Stéphane Hamel: …IT for reports and stuff like that. So, the way I put it is, for many, for a number of years, let’s say 15 years or whatever, marketers were really happy to not talk to IT, go into a nice-looking tool, get the, as I said, get their 3d pie charts because that looks good in a PowerPoint, and they were happy with that because they were, they, they could go there any time and, and play around and so on.

But now we’ve reached a, a, a point where it’s more about data science. So, those that are more sophisticated in terms of analytics, they don’t go into the G interface. They go into different tools. They, they, they have a different approach to solve the problem. Uh, then it makes sense to maybe have other solutions in place because the data collection aspect is, is not very difficult. The data storage is very cheap. It’s not very difficult. It’s the analysis aspect that is more, that’s, that’s where the value is.

So, now we’re coming full circle because if you want to reach that point, you don’t have any choice. Maybe you don’t talk, really, to IT anymore, but you talk to people who have more of a, a technical background in some way, or a data understanding that is more sophisticated than simply going into reports in Google Analytics and stuff like that. Yeah, it, we’re, we’re coming full circle to a much more powerful approach. More difficult. I hate to say that. More challenging, uh, maybe more important.

[01:02:44] Matt Bailey: Well, I mean, it’s getting into where we were in the first part of the session is, as we are pulling more and more data into that centralized view and the, like the data’s more dynamic, it’s updated constantly, and now we’re back to that legal and ethical aspect of, we want to be compliant, but also, what are we doing with the data? Do we really need this? You know, how are we viewing the customer and their data? The, as the systems get bigger and more robust, they’re going to provide a lot more information and there comes a lot of responsibility with that.

[01:03:19] Stéphane Hamel: Oh yeah, for sure. And I think in the future, privacy is, is going to become a brand asset, just like caring about the environment is an asset or a quality…

[01:03:30] Matt Bailey: Right.

[01:03:30] Stéphane Hamel: …and, and so on our, a brand asset, privacy is a brand asset. Right now, it’s, it’s viewed as, uh, something that is a negative in, in, in your growth or your opportunities and limits creativity and, you know, whatever the excuse is.

Uh, but I think that’s going to change. We’re going to see a difference between the brands that are really taking privacy seriously versus those that are still abusing it or neglecting it.

[01:03:56] Matt Bailey: I hope so. I, I think that would, uh, that would certainly help them industry mature much faster the quicker we get there. So, absolutely. Absolutely.

Stéphane, thank you so much. This has been just a fascinating conversation. Uh, really enjoyed talking with you. Thank you for making the time to come on today.

[01:04:15] Stéphane Hamel: Thank you, Matt. Was a pleasure.

[01:04:17] Matt Bailey: And Stéphane, if, if anyone wanted to get in touch with you, what would be the best way for them to do that?

[01:04:22] Stéphane Hamel: www.stephanehamel.net or simply look for me on LinkedIn, and I’m easy to reach.

[01:04:27] Matt Bailey: Alright. We’ll put those links in the show notes. And again, Stéphane, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

And listener, thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup. I look forward to seeing you again and talking to you again on another episode.

Featured Guest:

Stéphane Hamel

Digital marketer, analyst, speaker, teacher

LinkedIn profile: Stéphane Hamel| LinkedIn

Medium: Stephane Hamel