Survive and Thrive in a Cookie-less World | Jeff Greenfield

Today’s Guest Jeff Greenfield

Meet Jeff Greenfield, the marketing maven who's been shaking up the attribution world with cookies in one hand and a magic wand in the other. From pioneering multi-touch attribution at C3 Metrics to steering Provalytics towards the future without third-party cookies, Jeff's journey through tech innovation is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride that defies gravity. With a background as eclectic as a biochemist turned chiropractor, turned tech entrepreneur, and a side gig as a performing magician, Jeff's story is the perfect blend of science, magic, and marketing mastery.

In this episode of the eCommerce Podcast, Matt Edmundson discusses the complexities and opportunities of a cookie-less digital marketing landscape with Jeff Greenfield from Provolytics. Jeff shares his unique journey from biochemist to chiropractor to tech entrepreneur and magician, explaining how his diverse background influences his approach to marketing and problem-solving. Throughout the episode Matt and Jeff explore the implications of major tech companies like Apple and Google phasing out third-party cookies and what this means for marketers and businesses of all sizes.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Shift to Awareness Marketing: Jeff Greenfield emphasizes the importance of moving away from the traditional focus on user-level data and click-based advertising. Instead, marketers should prioritize building brand awareness through impression-based strategies, much like the methods used before the digital era. This shift is essential in adapting to a cookie-less world and maintaining effective marketing campaigns.
  2. Leveraging First-Party Data: As third-party cookies are phased out, businesses must pivot to collecting and utilizing first-party data. This involves developing direct relationships with customers through various channels, such as email newsletters and social media interactions. By focusing on first-party data, businesses can better understand their audience and create more personalized and effective marketing strategies.
  3. Adapting to Platform-Specific Funnels: With the changes in data privacy and tracking, marketers need to adapt their strategies to fit within the constraints of individual platforms. For instance, extending the customer journey within platforms like Facebook before directing them to external websites can improve conversion rates and reduce acquisition costs. This approach requires creativity and a deep understanding of each platform's capabilities and limitations.

This is episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in eCommerce, an in depth look at the changing world of cookies and digital marketing from one of eCommerce's experts on the topic. Be sure to subscribe to the eCommerce Podcast on your preferred platform to catch more expert conversations and actionable insights.

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Jeff Greenfield


Matt Edmundson: Well, hello and welcome to the eCommerce Podcast with me, your host, . Matt Edmundson. Now this is a show all about helping you deliver eCommerce wow and to help us do just that today We are carrying on our conversation about what it means to live in a cookie less landscape Not the biscuit thing Uh, if you're, you know, if you're in England, you know what biscuits are.

No, we're not talking about that. We're talking about the other things, you know, the things which Apple and Google seem intent on cutting from our proverbial digital diets. And we're having our conversation with Jeff Greenfield today, uh, from Provolytics. Now, Jeff is a legend. We're going to get into our conversation.

But before we do, let me just tell you a warm welcome. If you are new to the show, if [00:01:00] this is your first time with us, great that you're here. Uh, great to be with you, absolutely, uh, on what is actually a sunny day here in Liverpool, England, as we are recording this, uh, but a warm welcome to you. If you haven't done so already, check out the website, eCommercePodcast.

net, uh, and whilst you're there, it gives you all the links to all the podcasts, all the show notes, all the transcripts, all the stuff that's going to come out of today's conversation with Jeff. You can get it all there for free on the website, which is important if you're driving, uh, Or out walking the dog and you can't take notes.

So, you know, it's all there. Just go to ecommercepodcast. net. And of course, if you are there, sign up to the newsletter, because then you don't even have to go to the website ever again, because we just email the stuff straight to your inbox. That's all we do. So check that out, uh, all on the website. So. I warm welcome to you.

Now, if you are a regular to the show, uh, you will know that we have been having lots and lots of conversations about cuckoo less landscapes, uh, and [00:02:00] what it means because the industry is getting shaken up. There's no doubt about it. And so I'm super excited to have Jeff. On the show who is? Well, let's just describe Jeff as a marketing maven who's been shaking up the attribution world with cookies in one hand, and apparently we're gonna get into it a magic wand in the other.

So from pi pioneering multitouch attribution at C3 metrics to steering Provolytics to towards the future. Dun, dun, dun. Without third party cookies, Jeff's journey through tech innovation is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride that defies gravity. Oh yes. Now with a background as eclectic, as a biochemist turned chiropractor turned tech entrepreneur.

I thought I had some funky things in my CV, Jeff, not gonna lie. Uh, and as a side gig, as a performing magician. Oh, yes. Jeff's story is the perfect blend of science magic and marketing mastery. Jeff, welcome to the show, man. Great to have you. How are you doing? [00:03:00]

Jeff Greenfield: Oh, I'm doing wonderful, Matt. And thank you for that beautiful intro.

Uh, fantastic.

Matt Edmundson: It's great to have you on the show. I am super curious, right? Uh, tell me about the magician thing because let's, why not? I'm, I'm still a kid at heart. Let's talk about that. You've done some incredible stuff where magic is concerned. Am I, am I hearing that right?

Jeff Greenfield: No, you're absolutely right.

You know, I think, I think all of us get excited about magic when we're much, much younger. Yeah. I'll never forget. I took a trip to, to Disney World. I think I was five and a half years old and, and they put those bunnies in my hand and wave the magic wand abracadabra. And then, then they multiplied. And, and I was like, I was hooked at that point.


Jeff Greenfield: But there's usually, there's usually a point at which kids. You know, they start to look outside in the outside world and they realize that, Oh, it's just tricks.

Matt Edmundson: And

Jeff Greenfield: then they kind of move on. Uh, but I, I kept at it. I was, uh, really hyper focused on trying to develop, be able to do things with cards. I was fascinated [00:04:00] with the sleight of hand and worked on that for many, many years.

And then eventually when I moved to LA, I was able to work, uh, for a while at Hollywood's Magic Castle, which was like my big, Ultimate goal. So it was very, very exciting. And what's exciting for me is a lot of people that I worked with then, uh, still now tour the world as working magicians. So it's, it's exciting to see how our careers have all gone in different directions, but it's a tough life, uh, being a working magician because you're on the road most of the time.

So it's, it's, you know, with, with everything you do, whether you're an entrepreneur, you have a regular job or you're a traveling magician, there's, There's there's pros and cons to everything.

Matt Edmundson: No doubt. No doubt. Well, I have a slight magician envy. I'm not gonna lie. I learned a few tricks, you know, as you do when you're a teenager, I learned how to do a few card tricks.

And they still impress my kids now because they still don't know how I how it all works. And there's just something about [00:05:00] the That look on a kid's face when you show, or even actually some of the stuff, you know, like with street street magicians and what can be done now, you know, when we see it on shows like Britain's Got Talent, America's Got Talent, you know, or David Blaine or just going up to people in the street and doing insane stuff with cards and just the look on people's faces.

Um, I watched the video the other day where, I don't know if you've seen it, I think it was David Blaine goes to the house of Harrison Ford.


Matt Edmundson: yeah. I've seen that. And does that trick, and you, I mean, you may know how it works, does that magic where his card ends up inside of, I think it was an orange or something like that, and it freaked Harrison Ford out, and I just, there's something about that which makes me go, hats off to you guys for practicing and practicing your craft so much and to a point where you can do that.

I think it's extraordinary.

Jeff Greenfield: Well, what I love about magic, and I've used it all throughout, especially my ad tech career, [00:06:00] It teaches you that there's different routes to get to different places. Some of them are very obvious. Uh, some of them are not obvious at all. And as humans, we tend to think in a very linear fashion, you know, to get to D you have to go A to B, B to C, C to D.

Magicians tend to exploit that. We know how you think, we know how you process. And so we're able to work around that. But when you're building a business, especially in ad technology or any business, you're always faced with problems and you have to find solutions. It's nice to be able to borrow upon magic and be able to think outside the box to try to find a solution that is a different way of getting there.

Amen, America. Many years ago, we were trying to solve the problem of viewability. How do you figure out how long an ad has actually been seen? And we tried all of these routes in order to get there because [00:07:00] the issue was is that most ads were inside of something called an iframe and which is a page within a page.

Sometimes it was a page Within multiple pages. And you couldn't see if, if the page was in view or not. Now the browsers have components that you can tap into. But back in 2009, 2010, you had to think outside the box. And I remember myself and my CTO, uh, Craig, uh, who lives out in the West coast. We went to the magic castle.

We spent an evening of watching magic. And the purpose was to just expand our, our mode of thinking. And it was. It was that next weekend where we both came to a solution to be able to solve for how you could determine whether an ad was in view or not. Uh, and it was completely outside the box.


Jeff Greenfield: that's what magic helps you with is to realize that there are ways to accomplish things that you cannot even imagine.

Ever imagine ?

Matt Edmundson: I have no doubt. I have no, [00:08:00] and I actually, yeah, I, I I like that. You know, I love how, how you've brought that in, because I can imagine you're right. You know, the, the ability to think differently, to think outside the box, to see a different path and a different route, um, I think is very entrepreneurial, isn't it?

Uh, in a lot of ways. And it's, um, I can see how that. Connects with magic super, super well. So it's a shack. What I should have done was said to you, Jeff, listen, do a magic trick. But of course, everyone's going to be like, whatever, because most of the audience listen to this, you know, uh, through their earphones.

Don't they? You know, on a podcast app. So I'm not quite sure how that would work. You're thinking of a number. It's 37. So do you still do the magic thing or are you, have you sort of just do it every now and again for the kids?

Jeff Greenfield: I still always have a deck of cards nearby. It's, you know, something I've always had in my hand.

It's like, you know, one of those fidget wheels, you know, my deck of cards have always been nearby me. I still have [00:09:00] downstairs in our coat closet, my tuxedo that I wore. I told my wife, I will never get rid of it because, you know, just in case this whole entrepreneurial thing doesn't work out, I can put that on, grab a deck of cards and go off and figure out how to make a living.

So, yeah. And I've gone back to that several times throughout my life, uh, you know, in between different careers. Um, but I still keep up with things. Um, you know, one of the things for me with magic that's interesting is that everything now with magic in terms of learning the sleight of hand, it's all DVD, it's all video.

Matt Edmundson: So you

Jeff Greenfield: have the person actually showing it to you. When I learned, it was so much more difficult because it was books with illustrations. Uh, so it was, it was, it was a lot of just trying to figure it out on your own. And now you have a DVD with someone explaining it word for word. So it's a whole different kind of learning process, but I still keep up with it.

I still try to occasionally, [00:10:00] uh, fool my wife, which is very difficult because after almost 40 years, she's figured out everything herself, but the thing is that the thing is a magician that I'm always looking for. And the reason I still go to magic shows. is because that feeling that you had when you watched David Blaine with Harrison Ford's house and, and that amazement, that feeling of, of, wow, there is real magic in the world.

I, I want to feel that too.


Jeff Greenfield: And the problem is, since I pretty much understand the fundamentals. I, I, I know how things are done. So when I'm amazed, it's, it's unbelievable. There's a great show that's on Hulu. Uh, there's a magician by the name of Derek DelGaudio, who had an incredible show off Broadway called In and Of Itself, that is an amazing, uh, different way of looking at magic.

It was incredible. [00:11:00] Incredible storytelling and just unbelievable. I would highly recommend anyone see that. And there's also a great touring magician right now who just also finished an off Broadway run. Ozzy Wind is amazing as well. So both of them, I would highly recommend for those who are looking to be absolutely astounded and amazed.

Matt Edmundson: Fat word, it's on my list. I'm going to be watching. Uh, uh, thank you for that. In the

Jeff Greenfield: UK, I would say Darren Brown. He's a

Matt Edmundson: really interesting character, isn't he? Because a lot of his is psychological, uh, and understanding the human brain and how it works. It is.

Jeff Greenfield: I've come over to the UK two or three times just to see his show.

Oh really? He did one show in New York. Oh yeah. He's absolutely unbelievable. Phenomenal show.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Yeah. An interesting showman. Uh, one day I hope to get him on the podcast, not the eCommerce podcast. We've got another podcast called Push, but it'd be interesting to get him anyway. Long story. Um, but yeah, that's fascinating.

That's absolutely fascinating. You [00:12:00] know what, Jeff? I am trying super hard to plot a course. From magician via chiropractor to what you do now, and I'm struggling.

Jeff Greenfield: Oh, I've got to figure it out for you. It's because it took me years to figure out what is the connection on its way. And it, it, it all comes down to something very simple.

And it's simples are always simple. The simple way is always the best way. So with magic, you're, you're entertaining people. It's entertainment. It's, it's even though people get frustrated when they see magic, it does help them think differently, which I think helps reduce stress, which is a good thing.

Chiropractic is about. Reducing stress on the body, helping your body work better.

Matt Edmundson: And

Jeff Greenfield: attribution, the problem of attribution is a huge problem for marketers, uh, since the beginning of advertising.


Jeff Greenfield: especially now it's even more [00:13:00] difficult. And regardless of where you are in your function in that marketing food chain, you, you always have a boss that you have to report up to and you have a boss's boss and everything like that.

And you have to figure out What did we do yesterday or last month? How did we split up the credit and, and where do I spend money? And this becomes fundamentally a huge math problem. And folks that go into marketing, they're, they're not, they're not finance wizards. They didn't get into marketing because they wanted to play with spreadsheets and do math.

If they, if they did that, they would have become a CFO. These are people. These are people who get into this business because they want to, they want to do creative. They want to make a difference. They want to understand the fundamentals of human psychology and have an impact. Not do math and the math part of the marketing equation is very stressful for creative people.

And our [00:14:00] platform reduces their stress, makes it so that they can leave the math to us and they can do the creativity. So the, the direct link is all about making people's lives more enjoyable, making it so that they can smile during the day. That's, that's, that's, that's. That's what I've kind of come to grips with as I look back throughout the years.

Matt Edmundson: Well, I'm loving the link. Uh, I, I think that's a, that's a very good link to have. I think if you're going to have a life mission, reducing people's stress is actually quite a good one. Um, I, I like that. Um, it's interesting, isn't it? I, you know, you and I both been in business a long time and I think, um, as I get older, the more I, uh, I'm intrigued about how my business can actually help solve real problems for people, you know, um, it's not that it wasn't about that in my early twenties, but I think in my early twenties I was focused a lot more on money than I am now, [00:15:00] you know, and I think as I've got older and the money seems to take care of itself a little bit more, I, I tend to focus more now on solving people's problems or trying to have an impact on humanity, um, in, in everything that we do.

And, um, It's not like I'm intentional about it every morning, but I see this as a golden thread, you know, throughout what we do, and I think interestingly enough, that's what brings me the most joy. That's what brings me the most job satisfaction. And I, um, I mean, you talk about attribution and measuring things.

I I don't know how easy it is to measure impact, uh, like that. Other than I love it when I hear people's stories. Right? So, um, you take this podcast and I appreciate this is not really what we're supposed to talk about, but it's, I, it You take something like this podcast, um, and I can look at how many people download it, right?

And I can look at the stats and I can say, well, it's great, we're getting more listeners every week and the people that listen come back and they must enjoy it because they come back and they download it again, which is great. [00:16:00] The thing that has the most impact on me is when somebody reaches out to me on LinkedIn and said, I was listening to this episode and dot, dot, dot.

And you kind of go, wow, that's, that's in some respects worth more than just the data, the card hold data. Does that make sense?

Jeff Greenfield: No, it makes, it makes perfect sense to me. I had a conversation earlier this week with a fellow colleague who's going through some career changes. Um, and you know, the, the change for me every day, it's all about the conversations that I have.

When I, when I finish up my day, I look down at my notes, at the conversations that I had and, and it becomes really meaningful for me. But, but this conversation that we had, even though we were talking about business, we only talked about business for maybe about 10 minutes, I would say 45 minutes. It was more about.

The changes that he's gone through, uh, and the shifts that he's happened. I think that for a lot of younger folks, this [00:17:00] concept of exits,


Jeff Greenfield: when you leave one thing and you go to another thing. are very stressful because you're, you know, when you leave one thing, you don't have something sometimes. Or, and, and, and what I've learned over time is that if you're going to end up leaving anyway, and either you leave on your own, or you're going to kind of get dragged out.

Uh, and, and as I've gotten older, when I was much younger, I used to look at life as though I'm in this. Uh, this carriage with like four horses and I'm up top and I'm hitting the horses as hard as I can, and I'm pushing to get to my next stop as quickly as possible. Now I've realized the horses already know where to go.

I'm sitting inside the carriage relaxing. Yeah. Uh, you don't have to push as hard. Uh, and, and that analogy for him, it, it, it made a difference to him. Uh, and he was so thankful that [00:18:00] we had a conversation and, and I don't think he realizes that it, it meant as much to me that it meant something to him

Matt Edmundson: as it

Jeff Greenfield: did to him.

Uh, and that, that to me, what it's all about, it's, it's all about these relationships that you connect with. Throughout the journey as you're, as you're doing your business and just like the connection that you had with someone on LinkedIn, it's like, Hey, you know, I made a difference, uh, in their day, which is, which is phenomenal.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. And I love it. And if you're listening to the show, please do get in touch either via LinkedIn, Instagram, or through the website. I'd love to hear your stories. Genuinely. Let me know what you get up to. Let me know about your business. I'm really curious. Um, and I always love to hear, hear people's stories and just meet with people.

Um, And it's interesting, isn't it? I mean, we're talking about, uh, bringing it back onto topic, uh, Jeff, because I have a, I have a habit of wandering slightly, um, but bringing it back onto topic, um, if we're talking about, you know, the world's, um, this sort of this cookie less world where cookies are being, or have been, significantly [00:19:00] phased out by Apple and Google, who are the key players, aren't they, really?

Um, and we have relied on cookies for so long to track. Behavior and Do Advertising Well. It changes the landscape quite a lot, doesn't it? And I think one of the things it brings you to is this idea of first party data and actually going back to good old fashioned relationships and understanding what your customers are up to, um, and making decisions on the basis of that.

I don't know if that's something that you've discovered, but in my head, when we talk about a cuckoo less landscape, that's where I think I wonder if this is where we need to go to.

Jeff Greenfield: Yeah, it's kind of, we're going back to the future. If you go back

Matt Edmundson: I love that. I wish I had the Back To The Future music playing in the background right now.

Jeff Greenfield: I mean, that's really what it is. Because if you go back before, let's say, 2005, where digital was small, you go back to the late 90s, there was no digital. All we had [00:20:00] was TV, radio, print, direct mail, out of home, that, that was it. And marketers would plan out campaigns, they would run the campaign, and they would use one or two methods or a combination of them to determine what worked and what didn't.

They would use a mathematical technique called marketing mixed modeling, where they would look for correlations between how many ad impressions. We're in Market and compare that to the sales. And then the other thing they would do is they would do surveys, uh, there were survey companies that would gather people, ask their opinion.

Did they see this ad? Did it have an impact on them? What did they think of the brand? And that combination of their, of those two, uh, was able to guide very large, uh, global brands into really great growth. And what's amazing is that when you compare that to today, [00:21:00] that was a real bird's eye view. There was no user level data whatsoever.

And then what happened is in the mid to late 2000s, we ended up in a scenario where we had this user level data and brands came along and they said, Hey, let's, let's do a little test. And so they took a little of their brand money. And they moved it over to test this new internet, worldwide web stuff. And what was fascinating is that in the, in the days before the internet, they would run a campaign.

And it would take them three or four months to see results. And now I could run a campaign. And at the end of the month, I could get a, a report that showed me how many clicks I got. And that started the whole process of click through rate and, and price per click, and, and we started moving dollars over from brand to this new digital world.

People started understanding, wow, I can target so much better. I can [00:22:00] hyper target, never realizing of course, that every time you target and you go deeper, you're adding more money to the cost of your advertising and that these clicks tend to be lower funnel. And now they're the, the perpetual, uh, advertising funnel, if you will, where we were at the top before.

We now started spending a more and more portion of our dollars at the bottom of our funnel, eventually reducing and cutting our reach substantially, which, which is the world where we're living in now. And what's ended up happening is, is that, I mean, the technology's been incredible. Let's, let's, let's talk about that.

Let's not ignore the advances, behavioral retargeting is absolutely incredible. But we now have a whole generation of marketers who their view of the world is that advertising is a one to one relationship. And the better you can target, the better you can sell. [00:23:00]

Matt Edmundson: Yeah.

Jeff Greenfield: And, and, and that's all going to change.

In fact, I was just talking to someone, another colleague right before we got on, and he We're having the same discussion and I was explaining to him that the view of the world of most marketers today is that you make an investment and with that investment you buy clicks and those clicks lead to sales.

And that's not advertising. That's the view that these publishers want you to have. Advertising and marketing is you make an investment and you buy impressions. Those impressions lead to awareness. Awareness drives clicks. Which then lead to sales. But the other view of investing to buy clicks, it's right down at the bottom of the funnel.

And that's exactly where they want us to be because it's so hyper targeted, they can charge more and, uh, but ultimately that increases the cost of advertising, decreases the ad effectiveness and it's, it's not good for [00:24:00] everyone, but luckily with the cookies going away, we are now going back to the way things used to be.

But we have a whole generation of marketers. Who are going to be running around, uh, like, like chickens with their heads cut off, they're going to be completely lost on how do you survive in this world where you can't target an individual. It's, it's very, very difficult for them. So we're going to be in a world for the next probably three or four years.

Where folks are going to be trying to circumvent. We're going to find all of these cookie alternatives. Uh, we're going to be matching IP addresses. People are going to be doing all sorts of things to link identities together. And we're going to see both Apple and Google and all of these other walled gardens, like the Walmarts and the Amazons of the world, stop that behavior.

So that they can keep their data contained within their own world, if you will.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, that's really interesting.

Jeff Greenfield: And [00:25:00] then eventually people will figure out how to survive. And not only survive, but thrive. I actually think this is a good thing

Matt Edmundson: for

Jeff Greenfield: brands overall. For, for marketers, it's a painful, um, a painful move.

Because everyone is going to have to be re educated, if you will.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it's um, I'm just smiling as I listen to you talk because I, like you, I'm a bit old school with marketing and so it doesn't faze me. These changes that are coming through, I understand why Apple, Google, the likes are doing them because they can sell it on the basis of privacy, which I'm not doubting, you know, they're, they're genuine in that.

But like you say, it enables them to keep their data to a minimum. You know, it's not like Google is going to stop monitoring what you search, I, I, I refuse to believe that. I think they're going to have a very clear understanding. Same as Apple. Um, and we're [00:26:00] going to, they are still going to make their money from advertisers.

So it's, there's still going to be something that we can do. It's not like they're shutting that down, but it is going to have to be different, but you've kind of preempted my question a little bit, Jeff, because I was going to say the way you're sounding as you talk about it is actually from your point of view, this sounds like a good thing.

A good. change that is happening to the industry and I suppose when Google or Apple take away your toys you can either get just Hacked off about it, or you can look at that and go, there's an opportunity for me here. Um, if I just apply a little bit of thought, a little bit of insight, um, and just do a little bit of testing, I could, we could do well, because it's not just changing for me, it's changing for everybody.

So I'm, I'm curious why, let's dig into why this is a good thing. So, um, maybe. If I'm Nike, you know, I can, I can look at someone like Nike and go, well, you've got a big ad department. You've got billions in your budget to figure all this out. You're probably talking to [00:27:00] Google directly who are telling you what to do, but why is it a good thing for me?

The little guy that's turning over, you know, in significant amounts of money for one to a better expression online.

Jeff Greenfield: Well, it's, that's where it gets a little difficult for the little guys because the little guys. Don't have the sophistication. And if you're spending like, let's say 10, 000 a month online, which for most small businesses is a tidy sum.

And it's important to understand if you, if you step back from this, 95 percent of Facebook's advertisers are your local florist. Chiropractor, massage therapist, dentist, those folks that are spending under 1, 000 a month. So for them, it's not necessarily a good thing for them unless they are advertising in a single platform.

If all you're advertising in is Facebook, You're, you're going to be fine. There's not going to be an issue. It's [00:28:00] the little larger ones that start to expand, where they're not just in Facebook, but they're in Amazon, and they're also in Google. That's where things start to get complicated, because you need to have a view that is overseeing all of this, that is at that higher level, very similar to how things were before digital.

Where you you're using math and, and, or surveys, that type of stuff to be able to have this kind of big picture view. As I say, we have to pan the camera back because none of these walled gardens, if you will, are going to share their data across them. Now that there are other solutions and, and the big solution right now for brands is, is, you know, come to Amazon.

Give us all of your data in a clean room. And so the way that brands are trying to solve this is they're digging into their first party data and trying to get a one to one relationship between their customers [00:29:00] and, and where their customers live on Amazon. And then they have to do the same with Walmart.

And that tends to be a very expensive, um, Proposition. Um, but it's probably the right thing for a lot of these larger brands to do, to have a direct relationship at the place where customers are spending their dollars. It definitely is.


Jeff Greenfield: it's something that a lot of brands have put off for a while, but now Amazon and Walmart and the others are making it a little bit easier to do.

The smaller advertisers, They're not going to have the volume where that makes sense and they're not going to be able to afford the expense. But as long as they're in one platform and they don't leave there, uh, then that's, then they're going to be fine. There's not going to be an issue with those folks that are kind of caught in the middle, that's where they run into difficulties.

And then on the other side of that, the other folks that are having problems are the large, Very large advertisers and [00:30:00] sometimes the global advertisers. And what we find as we start to work with them is that the larger they are. The more simplistic their measurement strategy, most of the large global advertisers, even though, just like you said, Matt, how like, well, Nike's probably talking to Google direct.

I guarantee you they are, but they're, they are focused on like last click because they're doing so much so fast across so many different countries and regions, they have to go to the only thing that they can count on. Even if they know what's wrong, they do it because it's, at least it's a basis that they can guarantee will always be there.

Uh, and, and so the larger advertisers tend to be the worst off, if you will, which is just, it's, it's contrary to what we think, but they have, they have So much going on. Uh, these initiatives take sometimes years to put into place.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. And to be, I get, I get that [00:31:00] part of me is like, well, I don't feel any sympathy for them.

But I, but I am curious, Jeff, how, how you see, The future in terms of what can we do to take advantage of this? Right. Um, so for example, you mentioned if you're on Facebook, do Facebook well, and you'll be okay that there's problems. If you try and do Facebook and this and that and the other, um, we had Nicky on recently, Nicky Lindgren, um, Nicky Lindgren, I think, uh, And she talked about how people now are starting to create funnels, say on Facebook.

So before you would use Facebook ads to get people onto your site, to funnel them down. Actually people are getting more creative and keeping the funnels longer on that platform before bringing them over to the website because of the fact that Facebook holds that data, they can target better, they're targeting, you know, if they take them through a funnel on Facebook before they bring them over, their conversion rates higher, their cost per acquisition cost is lower, and so on and so forth.[00:32:00]

What strategies do you see working going forward for those who are, I'm going to just call us the regular eco, I call us Digital Davids in the sense that, you know, we're not the Walgreens, we're not the Amazons. We may advertise, we may promote our products on those platforms, but we're not them. What are some really good strategies for us?

So, for

Jeff Greenfield: the Digital Davids, as you called it, every single one of them has a Google sheet that they've been keeping since they started advertising. And it's a daily sheet where they have how much they spent per day, how many clicks, their cost per click, how many sales they got, their cost per sale or cost per lead, that type of thing.

And they have their, every single platform that they're advertising on. Understanding what we talked about before, that those sheets are built upon the premise that you make investment to drive clicks. That lead to sales, but since we know from, from our experience and we know [00:33:00] how advertising actually functions, you actually invest to buy impressions, to drive awareness, to drive clicks, to sales.

So what I would tell every digital David out there to do, especially if they're listening right now is to go to that Google sheet. And add a new tab or a new column

Matt Edmundson: on

Jeff Greenfield: that sheet and call it impressions and go back since the beginning. You know, some of these sheets are like three years old, go back at least a year and add in your total impression count by day, because that number.

It means everything versus the clicks. Uh, and the reason for that is because when you put advertising in market, even though your Google analytics tells you that it had an, you know, that 95 percent of people convert today. Um, well that's because that's what Google sees, but Google doesn't see the funnel.

That you built on Facebook. Google may not see the CTV ad or the [00:34:00] podcast mentioned that you had three weeks ago. And so you want to put those impressions in there. Also what I would include is if you have an email newsletter that goes out, you want to add how many people open the email newsletter. Those are impressions as well.

If you have a YouTube video, start keeping track of those impressions.


Jeff Greenfield: what you'll start to notice is that as you increase impressions, You will notice that there'll be a delay. How long? It's, it's dependent on the type of media that's running, but eventually you'll start to see visits to your site start to increase.

Now it may not be clicks coming from Facebook or coming from Google. It may be clicks that just show up, you know, what Google likes to call organic. And you know, where you want to advertise is the place where people become aware of you at, that whole awareness concept. And so just by doing this, it'll start to build your awareness of the concept that I do something today, it has an impact, [00:35:00] not necessarily today, but maybe two or three weeks later.

And I would recommend once you add this and you fill this out, there's a very long scientific, Uh, concept, a nice Wikipedia article about something called advertising ad stock. And ad stock is all about this concept of the laggard impact of advertising, meaning that you run an ad, and there's an old story about back in the, back in the early days of digital when Yahoo was king.

Yahoo was the number one place, and the most visited place on the web was the Yahoo homepage. Quaker Oats, the breakfast company, the breakfast cereal, they did a homepage takeover, which was probably one of the most expensive buys in the day.


Jeff Greenfield: the cool thing about Yahoo then is that they also had the number one search engine.

Which was Yahoo. And so Quaker Oats did a homepage takeover for that day. Obviously traffic to the website went up substantially and [00:36:00] so did searches for healthy breakfast cereal. Next day, the ad is gone and yet traffic. Uh, declined only slightly for the Quaker Oats website.


Jeff Greenfield: And it stayed at that level for about 10 days and then it started to decline, but it never got down to the lower level that it was before.

And that was just an ad for one day. And the reason for that is the impact, that long term impact of advertising.


Jeff Greenfield: All ads have it to a certain degree, some more than others. Uh, and so you start to recognize that when you open your mind up to this concept that I'm buying impressions. I'm not buying clicks.

It's not about individual people. It's about the overall reach. How many people am I actually trying to reach on a daily basis? Uh, that's really the key to marketing and advertising. So that, that's what I would say for all the digital Davids out there [00:37:00] that, cause it is a, It is a bit of a mind shift.

There's this massive paradigm that's coming around that they need to kind of open up to.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah, I love that. Thank you for that. I think that's very helpful actually to, because you're right, we have been so conditioned to market for clicks. The courses, the, I'm just thinking about even guests that have been on this show, you know, in terms of how to do the ads.

What I'm hearing you say, if I'm correct, Jeff, is actually we need to add a new feather or a new arrow to a sort of a quiver, if you like, in the sense that we need to become experts in awareness marketing, uh, and focus in on that and start understanding that the sooner you start, the better, right? It is, is the, is the fundamental, uh, Uh, thing that I'm hearing, we had a guest on the show, uh, a couple months ago called Neil Hoynes.

Now Neil works for Google. He's the chief data strategist, I think is his title. Um. And [00:38:00] he looks at data all day long and, and one of the things I remember about Neil, and because he sees all the Google data, this is a man that knows everything that's going on in a lot of ways in this kind of stuff, a really fascinating chap.

One of the stories he told, which I'll, really sticks with me, was a lady who went to buy some shoes. And he said, when we looked at the journey this lady went on, um, and he was talking specifically about attribution, he said, There were 236, I think it was, that's a really high number, 236 touchpoints with that lady and that company before she bought the shoes.

So she'd gone to the website, she'd looked at things, she'd looked at the blog, she'd watched a YouTube video, she'd seen some Facebook ads, she'd seen some organic Facebook posts, she'd seen stuff on Instagram, stuff on TikTok, and, and Nia was like, At which point did this lady become a customer? It's very hard to say, well, it was because of the TikTok ad, because of [00:39:00] all the other stuff that was going on.

The lady wouldn't have even known at what point she decided to buy. But when you look to those things collectively as a whole, you then go, well, all of that stuff worked together to get that one sale, 236 connections for one pair of shoes, which I thought was extraordinary. And I think as technology has increased, As the complexity of the platforms and the different ways we interact, all the social media platforms, the website, the web, you know, the mobile experience, apps, Amazon, everything, um, it's changed a lot, so attribution has become more and more complicated, and what I'm loving about what you're saying is, what Actually think about this a step back and it becomes simple again.

Think about the awareness. So you need, this lady needed the Facebook, the Instagram, and the TikTok, because that was all building awareness. And the more we get those impressions out there, there is a delay, but the more likely she is to end up buying. And [00:40:00] I, I love the simplicity of that.

Jeff Greenfield: And that's why we're seeing a lot of.

large global brands like Airbnb, they've looked at their marketing mix and they've cut out a lot of their lower funnel marketing.

Matt Edmundson: Mm.

Jeff Greenfield: And they've, they've moved to what I'm calling the new growth lane. Which is branded.

Matt Edmundson: And

Jeff Greenfield: as they've done that, they've seen sales skyrocket and this all goes along with, I'll give a shout out for one of my favorite marketing books, which is right behind me, uh, called Lemon, How the Advertising Brain Turned Sour by Orlando Wood, uh, published in the UK from the IPA, um, Orlando is, is a legend in this space.

And he's, you know, at his company, they measure ad effectiveness, and they've demonstrate the value of branding versus the value of just selling and saying here, buy now type of thing. [00:41:00] And this is what we're seeing. This is the trend that we're seeing. But, but of course, We're working against this movement of most of today's marketers, which only know this user level marketing, which only know how to target at this user level who are convinced That the way to sell is to hit people that are searching that are in market for that.

And the reality is, is that, you know, I remember many years ago, uh, an executive at BMW saying, I, you know, my ads are designed for 16 year olds so that when they're 35 and 40, They'll be dreaming. They've been dreaming about an EMW for years and that's, that's branding. Now, of course, in today's world, it's for a publicly traded company.

It's very difficult to say I'm spending dollars now for 30 years in the future. The CFO won't allow that. You have to be able to connect your branding to revenue. Uh, and the beauty is, is that that [00:42:00] can be done with the right kind of math. Uh, we're, we're living in a world now where computers are so much faster than they were three or four years ago.

And the ability to solve these mathematical equations with machine learning and AI, we can get to these answers very rapidly. And we can even demonstrate. Uh, by showing how well these mathematical models are able to predict, uh, what sales would be, uh, to where you say to someone, Hey, this is, this is great.

Now, of course, mathematical models are models. You know, all, there's a saying, all models are wrong, some are useful.

Matt Edmundson: Mm-hmm, .

Jeff Greenfield: But when you have a model that's predicting 75, 70 8% of the time. That's, that's pretty good. You could, you could use, you could use that pretty good. Now going, going back to what Neil was saying about the number of touch points, That lady went through to buy that pair of shoes.[00:43:00]

Um, that's not uncommon. Uh, back in my days at C3, where we had a view into every touch point, uh, that someone did at least through exposure to ads. Um, we would see that we would sometimes see, see double that. Uh, it was unbelievable. Of course, what Neil didn't tell you is that the last six or seven clicks on that journey.

We're all clicking on paid search terms on Google for the client, which meant that purchase was probably they lost money on that sale. Uh, that he didn't tell you, but that's how Google makes their money. So good for Google for that, but it is interesting the journey, but, but the problem is, is that when you dig in on that user level.

It's impossible to make these larger, broader decisions. You need to pan back the camera so that you can see the forest for the trees, essentially. You need to be able to see [00:44:00] everything. That's really the key.

Matt Edmundson: Yeah. It's super powerful, isn't it? And I think you're, it is interesting, the changes that are coming and what you're talking about fascinates me.

It genuinely does. I mean, uh, awareness marketing is not a new phrase and it was certainly not, you know, I should probably trademark it. I don't even know if the domain, I should buy the domain name awareness marketing. I'm sure someone's got it already if they have, if I haven't done it. But I think, I think it's just really fascinating, isn't it?

I mean, you look at Google and you go, well, okay, so cookies are going, you're, there's these new privacy. So what is Google doing that's going to help the advertiser? Well, the thing, from what I see. There's this idea around interest based marketing now, isn't it? So again, you're, you're saying, right, well, they've got whatever it is, 300, you know, sort of groups of interest.

So if someone's online and they're searching for beauty products, we know that there's an interest in there. So you can use ads to, you know, display. So you can [00:45:00] start to connect with people that way. But again, it's much more top of funnel, isn't it? It's very, very top of funnel, very awareness thing. Um, and that, that again, seems a little bit old school, like I remember years ago, you know, when I sold saunas, you'd, you would advertise the saunas in architectural magazines because that's what architects read.

And so we were targeting architects so that they would put these things in client houses. Okay, let's do that. You know, there was a magazine, I don't even know if it's still around, called Building for Leisure, which was really good for us because it was targeting people in the city. We're building stuff for leisure industries and we're like, great.

So I'm understood. We understood back then. These are the interests of the people. Let's go and, you know, do some awareness campaigns in that area. And it feels like Jeff that we are returning back to that in digital marketing.

Jeff Greenfield: It so is. It's almost like if you remember in Y2K when the Y2K craziness was going on [00:46:00] and they had All of the programmers who did Fortran, this old school, and there were only like a couple of, uh, maybe thousand of them worldwide because all of the bank programs and everything were written in Fortran.

And these programmers were commanding thousands of dollars an hour. I feel like we're back in that time because those of us who have been around since digital, This makes so much sense to us.

Matt Edmundson: It does.

Jeff Greenfield: But to the common, the everyday digital marketer, the folks that are the Facebook experts, or the Google experts, or even the CTV experts, they don't get it.

They're completely lost. So I feel like, This is an opportunity where, where those of us and some that are older than us who have already retired, they've already left the business. They need to be brought back to sit down with the younger marketers and, [00:47:00] and give like daily counseling sessions to let them know it's going to be okay.

You're going to figure this out and, and, and your job's going to be even easier. I had a discussion. Last week, Matt, with, with a colleague explaining to him, he was frustrated because the data is not available real time, because digital marketers are all about real time this and real time that, and, and one of the lessons that us old timers, if you will, have to Have to teach them is this concept of ad stock, that it takes time.

And it's like, well, what am I supposed to do for two weeks? And it's like, sit on your hands and just watch things and make sure there's no fraud, but just check on things every day. I think a lot of marketers have, have, they feel that their worth is done every day by going in and turning the knobs and changing things.

And, and if you remember, if you ever watched that show Mad [00:48:00] Men, when they launched the campaign, they would just go out and drink most of the time. They weren't really working because they knew the campaign was running on its own. So maybe, maybe have a cocktail or two instead of playing with the knobs and stuff.

I think that that would be good.

Matt Edmundson: That's brilliant. I love the fact that, uh, Jeff, what you've basically said is, uh, Matt, you're, you're old school. Actually, you can start to charge thousands of dollars every hour now to help, help, help a generation, maybe understand old school methodology and, and show how it's going to work.

And I love that. It'll be okay, it'll be all right, because Google's still going to want their money out of you, as will Apple, as will Facebook, as will all of them, right. So Jeff, listen, I, if I'm aware of time, I'm aware that, uh, I could carry on this conversation, uh, certainly around old school marketing methodology.

Um, you know, I, I often say actually, In a world where we are, I get asked every day by people, in effect, what's the latest silver bullet, which is [00:49:00] going to transform my business? My answer has always been the same. Get really good at old school methodology, because you've got to get the foundations right, and you've got to get the fundamental principles right, because if you're not, the rest of it, it's, it's a house of cards you're building, really.

Um, If people want to find out more about you, if they want to connect, what is the best way to do that? Um, and also, uh, what I should mention is you, you actually have this attribution course going on, which is a free thing, which, so tell us about that and tell us how people can reach you.

Jeff Greenfield: Well, it, that course is, is actually perfect because it's, it's essentially a virtual way To counsel this whole new generation of marketers and the old school ways.

And, and in order to do that, you have to have a foundation of understanding how we got to where we are today. And that, that's important. In fact, you know, most marketers today understand what a UTM code is,

Matt Edmundson: but

Jeff Greenfield: they don't know what UTM stands for. Uh, we even talk about that in there. [00:50:00] UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module.

Urchin was a web analytics platform that Google acquired, which became Google Analytics back in the day. And Urchin was amazing, but having an understanding of where the view through came for, why it's there, the click through and all of these things. We'll help guide marketers into this kind of new world.

They can, they can get it. They can go to provalytics. com. It's right there on the website to become attribution certified. Take you about an hour or two. There's a quiz afterwards. There's no cost. And you get a really cool certificate to share on your LinkedIn. Showing that your attribution certified. But I think it's a great first step and, uh, building a foundation of understanding of how marketing works and why we are where we are right now today.

Uh, and that's probably the best place for people to get in touch with me. They can also find me on LinkedIn, uh, as we discussed earlier, I love. Talking to other [00:51:00] marketers, other entrepreneurs. So feel free to always, uh, reach out and, and, and have a chat. I'm always up for that.

Matt Edmundson: Fantastic. Yeah. Go ask Jeff your questions, even if you don't agree with him, uh, because I think there's going to be a lot of people listening to this episode going, nah, it's all nonsense.

You're all old fuddy duddies. No idea what you're talking about, which is great. I mean, you know, fair play to you. Um, but, uh, definitely get in touch with Jeff. We will, of course, put Jeff's information in the show notes as well. So, uh, all of those links to the course, to Jeff, to his website, to his company, to his LinkedIn profile will also be in the show notes, uh, which you can get at the ecommercepodcast.

net website. Um, and of course, if you sign up to the newsletter. They're going to be in your inbox because you, my friend, are a genius. There are thousands of geniuses out there. They just come straight to you. Don't even have to think about it. Jeff, listen. I have thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this conversation.

I, I, I, I genuinely have. It went in a direction that I didn't anticipate it going, but that's the beauty of conversation, uh, with people like your good self. So [00:52:00] thank you for coming on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom in all of this, given us maybe a different way to think about the future and advertising, and hopefully we'll hear some good stories as a result of it.

But you, my friend, are a legend. Thank you for coming on.

Jeff Greenfield: Thank you, Matt. It's been a pleasure.

Matt Edmundson: Wow. There you have it. What a great conversation. Huge thanks to Jeff again for joining me today. Also be sure to follow the eCommerce Podcast wherever you get your podcasts from because obviously we've got get more great conversations coming up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, let me be the first. You are awesome. Yes, you are. Create it awesome. It is just a burden. You have to bear. Jeff has got to bear it. I've got to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. Now, the eCommerce Podcast is produced by Podjunction. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.

The team that makes this show possible is the beautiful, talented, and all round good egg, Sadaf Beynon and [00:53:00] Tanya Hutzalak. Our theme song was written by Josh Edmundson. And as I mentioned, if you'd like to read the transcript or show notes to the podcast, just simply head over to the website.

ecommercepodcast. net, where like I said, you can also sign up for our newsletter. That is it from me. That's it from Geoff. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.