Are content creators destined to spend their careers fixing the toothpaste robot that stole our jobs?

And would that be a bad thing?

(For context: what are you talking about?)

I’m not worried about AI stealing my job as a content writer. I’m excited about how it will evolve.

AI tools have sky-rocketed my productivity, re-ignited my excitement for work and made me a better writer. Turns out, my pain points were never about a lack of inspiration or creativity. It was the lack of efficiency.

My boss always says, “Just break the white page, get something down and you’ve done the hardest part.”

Also known in the industry as the ‘SFD’ – shitty first draft.

Now, and preferably, forever, AI does the hardest part for me.


Bringing it back to my analogy…

Mr Bucket’s original job screwing caps onto toothpaste tubes is content writing before AI.

I think this quote from the film sums up what that was like quite nicely…

“The hours were long, the pay was terrible, and occasionally, there were unexpected surprises.”

In the end, Mr Bucket gets a more interesting, better-paid role at the factory. Fixing and maintaining the robot that took his job.

I much prefer my new job of fixing and maintaining the metaphorical AI toothpaste robot.

Research is easier and more thorough. Article outlines are done for me, giving me an SEO-optimised structure which hits (and improves) my client’s briefs. I have an editor, PA, proofreader, sense-checker, and idea-suggestor, for free, whenever I need them. And we make a damn good team.


So if it can do all that, why am I not worried about it replacing me?

AI-written text can be good, but it’s not great. We all know its technical limitations, but its biggest flaw, through no fault of its own, is that it doesn’t care.

It doesn’t build relationships, collaborate with others, or get excited about what you’re trying to achieve. There’s no ‘above and beyond’ with AI.

It’s an out-of-the-box solution for a skill that’s anything but.

Maybe one day it will take my job. But I think the day humans stop writing is the day humans stop reading. In which case we’re all screwed anyway.


AI Oath🤚📕

I solemnly swear I did not open a single AI tool while writing this article. 

But I probably should have. It might have told me it’s not as funny as I think it is. And I wouldn’t have spent half an hour deep-diving the Willy Wonka fandom.



Why did Mr Bucket lose his job at the toothpaste factory?

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie’s dad (William Bucket) lost his job because a new robot did his job more efficiently – and for less money.

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First published on

“We just want to be in the Economist”. This was a response from a potential client when I asked about target media. They were new to PR, hadn’t ever really raised their profile before and were still working through their proposition. So, appearing in the Economist was definitely a case of aiming high! But, we always like something to work towards.

Whilst clients will often give us one or two key focus publications, we usually have a range of media in our sights. We’ll share a list when we first start working with clients, and we’ll keep growing and developing this list over time.

And often, we’ll share opportunities in new publications or media with clients – sometimes ones that they haven’t heard of before. Having worked with over 100 clients since starting Carnsight Communications, we always find those that are open to a range of publications get the most out. There are a number of reasons why it pays to be open to new media:

  1. The media landscape is developing all the time. Some publications wind down and other publications launch. New podcasts start and other media changes focus, for example with a change in ownership or editor. Sometimes, there’s a newly launched interview series in a publication that’s right on target. It’s our job to monitor the landscape, keep in touch with journalists and present opportunities to you. We will always give you information about a title and focus, and why it might be relevant to your business. And we always try and minimise your time – for example by drafting comments for you, or giving you some starting points.
  2. Just as the media evolves, so does your business may evolve as we work with you, with new services launching or as you start to target new markets, for example. We need to bear that in mind as we manage media relations.
  3. Whereas we used to work with a lot of staff journalists, nowadays we work with a lot more freelancers. In fact, figures last year showed there are 25% fewer newsroom jobs than there were in 2008. It’s also estimated around a third of journalists are now freelance. That means the journalists we’re pitching to often work with a range of publications. Working with a journalist on one publication could lead to opportunities in another one. So, it’s worth considering that with any approaches.
  4. Sometimes you’re keen to talk about a theme or new topic, and that might be a focus for a particular publication you may not have considered before. For example, you might be wanting to talk about a retail event like Black Friday. This is relevant for a range of publications, so if you’re an expert in Black Friday one of those publications might want to take your views on it.
  5. It’s worth bearing in mind that even if you get into your target publication (The Economist, we’re looking at you), you’re unlikely to be in there more than once in a month, or even every couple of months. Although rewarding and a great achievement, one piece of coverage in isolation isn’t ever going to be as effective as a range of pieces covering your news and commentary.
  6. Equally, it’s particularly hard to get into a national publication with no profile or commentary elsewhere. A journalist needs to do due diligence to make sure you’re the expert we’re saying you are – if nothing comes up, it’s a much harder sell. So a range of comments in titles you might not yet know could help with this. We’ve written more about this in our post about commenting in trade and local press.
  7. Generally speaking, you are not your target audience. That might sound obvious, but we often hear phrases like “I don’t read that”, or “my wife never watches that”. If you do represent your target market then it’s worth considering these points. And equally, if you disagree to a title on moral or ethical grounds, let’s remove them from the list. But if you don’t, it’s also a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and consider what media they might consume, and this could mean titles or media you’ve never seen or heard of before.
  8. As we’ve said before, no comment is ever wasted at Carnsight. So if you take time to answer a new opportunity, your comments are likely to be used elsewhere. Just this week we placed some comments in an article in the Metro, and those not used were developed into a full commentary piece in a trade title. They can also make social media posts, blogs and comments for other features. And we’ll never use more of your time than we need to.

For more on this, we’ve also written about the importance of reading your target publications.

[This article originally appeared on LinkedIn here]. 

9 years ago this week I accepted a role to join Dan Fallon and team at a small independent PPC Agency in Bath called SearchStar. The best career decision I’ve made (so far!).

4 and ½ years later we signed the paperwork to sell the Agency to a much larger corporate.

At the time of writing, that was 4 and ½ years ago (quick maths).

Recently, noticing this symmetry and feeling a little nostalgic, I’ve been telling stories about our time there to anyone who’ll listen. Especially the things I think made SearchStar a success*. I thought I’d write them all down (so I don’t forget) and share them (just in case they’re of use to someone else).

To keep the symmetry, there are 9 lessons learned.

See if you can spot the theme that connects them all.

It’s important to stress here, these are the things I think made SearchStar a success. Others may think differently, however, still being good friends with the old leadership team, I’ve shared this with them and they all broadly agree.

It’s also important to stress that the Agency was already doing well and had an excellent reputation when I joined. This is my take on what we put in place to build on those foundations.

I think these lessons largely apply to anyone running a small to mid-sized service or consultancy organisation.

SearchStar team, do you agree? Agency owners, does this resonate? Clients, is this what you’d expect in your Agency?

1) Build a senior team to challenge you: Founders can’t do it on their own. You need to be confident investing in capable senior people who will challenge your thinking. Dan very smartly put together a Leadership team comprised of talented people like Donna Moorestephanie ilesEdward Arnall-Culliford and Emma Chun, who I was very lucky to work alongside. We not only had different skills, but we had different characters, views and experience. Luckily we all got on well too. Ultimately Dan had the final say but he allowed the team to challenge his thinking; I was a part of many discussions which resulted in more balanced decisions as a collective.

2) Promote from within: If you’re growing a business you need great people in that business to do a great job. Once you’ve found that talent you need to hold onto it. We’d occasionally recruit externally (the rate of growth demanded it) but, whenever we could, we’d find ways to promote people internally. Hesitate at this and the talent will leave. Do it quickly and the talent will repay the investment. Loyal stars like Laura PinneyJo PhillipsHannah MillerJack SladekVicky Cridland and Ian Batten are testament to that.

3) Share responsibility: Once you’ve got talented, capable people working for you, leave them to get on with their jobs. Don’t micromanage them. Don’t force them to follow rigorous processes. Don’t treat them like robots. But do provide them with an idea of how you think “great work” is achieved and let them find their own way of delivering to the same standard. That way, every single member of the team can find a way of adding value, in a way that works for them.

4) Share the reward: If you’re sharing the responsibility, you should share the reward. Not just by paying a salary, but by rewarding the success of being a profitable, growing business. Dan made the more senior people in the business shareholders, a few others had share “options” and everyone shared the profit (either through dividends or a 6-monthly performance related bonus). The impact of this on-going collective reward was a huge factor in us achieving our goals.

5) Have a clear business development system: We had great Sales & Marketing people (I’m looking at you Donna, Staph and Nick Livermore) and they put some great tactics in place (anyone old prospects remember Steph randomly dropping in to see them to deliver mince pies?!). But more importantly we had a great pipeline strategy. I won’t detail it here (ask me in person) but it was essentially:

Content > Target Prospects > Quality Events > Free Health Check > New client

6) Offer high quality “supplementary” services: You need to be clear on your core service offering – in our case it was performance media – and you shouldn’t dilute this (personally I’m not a fan of “full service agencies”). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer supplementary services that

  1. Differentiate
  2. Add Value
  3. Supercharge the core services

For us those services were Conversion Optimisation, Analytics and Programmatic Display delivered by incredible specialists like Jarrah HemmantJamie WillmottJon Boon and Rob Langan.

7) Demonstrate value to clients: Don’t get sucked into charging for time, or outputs, or dashboards, or, worse still, performance related fees. Instead, focus on understanding what challenges your client has and demonstrate that you’re finding solutions and providing insights. Clients’ businesses will be more successful if you’re providing them with this sort of value. And if it’s impactful enough, they won’t care how long it took you or how well it was presented in the report. (This is even more critical now, as Automation and AI increase the need for the “person” to add meaningful value).

8) Keep communication balanced: It’s important to be open with what’s happening in the business and what’s steering decisions. But that doesn’t mean you have to share everything. We’d share everything amongst the Senior Leadership Team, share most things with the Managers and Team Heads and regularly give business status updates to the entire team provided there was something interesting or relevant to share. I’m not sure it’s possible to get this exactly right, but I’m pretty confident that sharing everything with everyone is unnecessary and hiding important things breaks trust.

9) Don’t dictate the Culture and Values: If you asked 10 employees what the SearchStar culture was, I think you’d get 10 slightly different answers. If you asked them what the SearchStar values were I think they’d probably struggle to give an answer at all! However, I think the vast majority of people who worked at SearchStar would say that it was a fun place to work where people supported each other and built genuine friendships (in fact, 4 different SearchStar couples are now married!).

Ultimately I think we fostered an environment where people truly cared.

The sense of shared responsibility and reward meant we let people be grown-ups, so the culture developed organically. The annual Christmas trip abroad was the closest thing to tangibly represent our “culture” (memorable times in Berlin, Reykjavik and Dublin!).

We were pretty relaxed about the leaving it to develop naturally then, but I think it’s probably much more important now – with a significant share of people working remotely – for the leadership team to steer the culture and be very clear on values, in order to achieve collective goals.

That sums up what I think were the key ingredients.

Did you spot the theme?

There isn’t a specific decision or strategy that was responsible for our growth, but I think there’s a clear link between the things I’ve outlined above:

The People.

There are lots of other things I could mention and I’ve probably forgotten some others, but these are the elements that I feel played the most significant part in our success. We had some support from amazing clients and suppliers too, but I’ve focused on the internal aspects for which we had most control.

It’s testament to what a great bunch of people we had at SearchStar that alumni include the likes of:

I’m delighted and proud to watch them flourish knowing that the successful time we had together provided them with a brilliant launchpad to what they’re doing now.

If I haven’t mentioned you in this post, sorry. It’s not because I don’t think you played your part, it’s just that I can’t mention everyone!  

*What do I mean by “success”? SearchStar was founded in 2005 in Bath (UK) by Dan Fallon as a pure play PPC Agency. It grew to become a 60 person Digital Agency specialising in Paid Search, Paid Social, Programmatic, Conversion Optimisation and Analytics. Through the 5 year period mentioned above: Revenue grew 25-35% YoY, we smashed through the much sought after “£1mn” profit mark, the team grew from 18 to 60, we won & retained multiple DRUM awards, worked for organisations like Danone, Mars, National Trust and Intrepid Travel and sold for a healthy valuation that many would be envious of. In my opinion, this qualifies as “success”. 😊

JonesMillbank, Bristol-based video production company, has won a competitive pitch to work with I heart Wines on their 2024 TV ad campaign.

The wine with a big heart has chosen the production company that connects brands to people to reach and resonate with their loyal customers and new converts alike.

The campaign will align with a brand refresh that comes 13 years after launch.

“The win is a fantastic opportunity to work with an exciting brand that’s bubbling with personality, sass, confidence and authenticity.”

“When we were invited to pitch we knew we had to go for it. We’re incredibly proud that the pitch was led by our 26-year-old in-house creative and director Abbie Howes. She completely embodied the brief and their audience.”

“Our concepts hit all the right notes and we’re delighted to have been chosen to work directly with Freixenet Copestick”.

Emma Fogerty, Senior Brand Manager at Freixenet Copestick said “we are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have chosen JonesMilbank to be our creative partner in producing our new TV ad. We’re excited to embark on this journey together to bring our ideas to life and see the creative vision take shape.”


JonesMillbank are a full-service video production company.

They work in-house with a talented team of multi-disciplined creatives, telling authentic stories for a range of clients such as Delivery Hero, IDLES, SOHO Coffee Co and University of Bristol. | 01173706372 | [email protected]

In the dynamic world of marketing, influence reigns supreme. And if you’ve not already dipped a toe in the influencer marketing pool, you could be missing out on a transformative strategy that has taken the industry by storm.

Brands are increasingly recognising the potency of personalities who can sway the opinions and behaviours of their engaged followers. But what’s even more intriguing is the ascent of local influencers, individuals who resonate deeply with their communities.

In this article, we share the ins and outs of influencer marketing, focusing specifically on the power of local influencers and how these community champions can offer unique advantages, fostering authenticity and loyalty in brand campaigns.

The Power of Local Influencers

Local influencers wield a remarkable power in the world of brand marketing. By definition, they are individuals who have garnered a substantial following within a specific geographical area, making them influential voices within their local communities.

One of the defining characteristics of local influencers is their unparalleled authenticity. They intimately understand the culture, values, and trends of their region, fostering a deep connection with their followers. This connection translates into trust, a cornerstone of effective influencer marketing. These influencers have the unique ability to drive foot traffic, increase sales, and elevate brand awareness at a local level. Whether it’s promoting a restaurant’s special dish or championing a community event, their endorsements resonate on a personal level.

Statistics underscore their effectiveness. Research has shown that campaigns featuring local influencers often enjoy higher engagement and conversion rates than those with macro-influencers or celebrities. This localised approach not only reaches the target audience effectively but also strengthens the brand’s bond with its local customer base.

Benefits of Using Local Influencers

There are a number of benefits exclusive to working with local influencers:

Authenticity and Relatability

Local influencers exude authenticity and relatability. Their ties to the community and genuine enthusiasm for local products and services make their endorsements more trustworthy. Audiences connect with them because they see these influencers as neighbours or friends rather than distant celebrities. This authenticity lends a human touch to brand promotions, fostering genuine connections and building trust.

Audience Targeting

Local influencers are great at reaching niche markets within their geographic region. Whether it’s a specific neighbourhood, demographic, or interest group, their local influence enables precise audience targeting. Brands can tap into these influencers’ expertise to engage with and cater to highly specific consumer segments, so they can guarantee that their marketing efforts resonate with the right people.


Compared to macro-influencers or celebrities, local influencers often come at a lower cost. This cost-effectiveness is particularly advantageous for small businesses and startups with limited budgets. Brands can achieve impactful results without breaking the bank, making local influencer collaborations an attractive option for businesses of all sizes.

Trust and Credibility:

Trust is the bedrock of influencer marketing, and local influencers have it in abundance. Their credibility within the community instils confidence in their recommendations. Audiences believe that these influencers genuinely endorse products and services because they align with local values and preferences, making their endorsements highly influential.

Community Engagement

Local influencers are community magnets. They engage with their followers on a personal level, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty. When they vouch for a brand, their followers feel like they’re supporting a trusted community member, which often leads to long-lasting customer relationships and repeat business.

How to Choose the Right Local Influencers

Choosing the right local influencers for your brand requires a strategic approach. By taking these steps, you can pinpoint local influencers who not only reach your target audience but also authentically represent your brand, resulting in effective and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Tips for a Successful Local Influencer Campaign

Running a successful local influencer campaign involves strategic planning and execution. Brands can maximise the effectiveness of their local influencer campaign so they reach their target audience and achieve their marketing objectives, by following these steps.

Setting Clear Goals

Crafting Compelling Content Strategies

Building Long-Term Relationships

Monitoring Campaign Performance

In conclusion, local influencers offer authenticity, targeted reach, and community engagement that can elevate brand marketing.  The future of influencer marketing holds even greater potential as authenticity continues to be paramount in consumer relationships. Their impact is undeniable, which is why we encourage brands to explore the local influencer avenue for powerful connections.

Need a hand picking your perfect partnership? Get in touch with OggaDoon today, and our team of experts could help align you with your ideal local influencer. We’ve worked with a wealth of local influencers in Bristol and beyond, and understand the impact of a well-matched collaboration.

Let’s demystify the world of brand marketing in a simple, clear, and actionable way. Discover the importance of branding, how to get started on your own, and when it’s time to seek expert help. Let’s embark on this journey to unlock the power of branding together.

Have you ever wondered what brand marketing is all about? You’re not alone. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but let’s break it down into simple, actionable insights. After all, understanding brand marketing can be a game-changer for your business, whether you’re in the entertainment industry or any other field.

What is Brand Marketing?

At its core, brand marketing is all about crafting and nurturing your business’s identity. It’s the embodiment of your business’s face, personality, and values that your audience will fondly associate with your products or services. Consider it the heart and soul of your venture. Just like you have a unique personality, your brand deserves a distinctive one, too.


Why is Brand Marketing Critical?

  1. Recognition and Trust: In the bustling marketplace, your brand sets you apart. It’s that instant recognition and trust invoked when people catch sight of your logo or hear your name. This trust translates into more sales and loyal customers.
  2. Consistency: A strong brand is consistent in everything it does. From your logo and website design to your messaging and customer interactions, consistency builds trust and reliability.
  3. Emotional Connection: Your brand can create a deep emotional connection with your audience. It’s not just about what you sell; it’s about the story, values, and experiences you provide.
  4. Competitive Edge: A well-defined brand gives you a competitive edge. It helps you stand out in a crowded market and attract the right customers.

How Can You Get Started with Brand Marketing?

When to Seek Expert Help

While you can certainly embark on your brand marketing journey solo, there may come a time when the expertise of professionals can catapult you to the next level. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or when a touch of finesse is required, consider teaming up with brand marketing maestros who can offer strategic guidance, creative brilliance, and unparalleled expertise.

In Conclusion, brand marketing is the linchpin of your business’s triumph. It’s about crafting a memorable, unwavering, and emotionally resonant identity that sets you head and shoulders above the competition. Embark on your journey by defining your brand, investing in professional graphic design, maintaining a consistent message, creating enchanting content, and forging profound connections with your audience.

And remember, I’m here as your friendly, accessible expert, ready to accompany you on this exhilarating adventure through the captivating world of brand marketing. Together, let’s make your brand shine brilliantly!

SEO is more than merely optimising the text on a page for search engines. It is important to design the overall user experience, including the visual components. This experience depends heavily on images, which, when properly optimised, can significantly boost your site’s SEO performance.

The Importance of Images in SEO

Each part of SEO’s multifaceted approach is crucial to the overall success of a website’s exposure. Images among these aspects are frequently disregarded as merely cosmetic features. But nothing could be further from the reality than this notion. When used correctly, images are crucial to SEO.

The Visual Nature of the Human Brain

Humans are naturally visual beings. Studies show that text is processed by the human brain 60,000 times slower than visuals. This implies that the photos you use on your website can leave an immediate impact on visitors, often even before they start reading. Utilising captivating, pertinent photos can hold the attention of your audience, ensuring they stay on your site longer, lowering bounce rates, and letting search engines know that your material is valuable.

Aiding Content Comprehension

Without any pictures, try reading a thorough article about the old Roman buildings. Sounds difficult, huh? Images give context, aid in the visualisation of complicated concepts, and increase the accessibility and digestibility of knowledge. Users may spend more time on your website as a result of their improved comprehension, which will help your SEO.

Breaking the Monotony

Although text is necessary, large passages of it can become boring to readers. Images provide a respite, which improves the taste and enjoyment of the information. User experience is important, but search engines also favour websites with rich, varied information for their users.

Boosting Social Shares

Engaging visuals are more likely to be shared on social media sites, especially infographics or original graphics. Increased social sharing can result in increased visitors, better brand recognition, and perhaps even more backlinks, all of which are good things for SEO.

A New Avenue for Traffic

Users can access your website through entirely other channels thanks to image searches like those on Google Images. By making photos SEO-friendly, you can attract visitors who may be looking for visual information that is directly relevant to your niche and open up a new channel for organic traffic.

Enhanced Mobile Experience

The significance of visuals is amplified by the growing prevalence of mobile browsing. Large amounts of text might be overwhelming on smaller screens. Images help to break this up, making the surfing experience for mobile users more pleasurable and less intimidating. Images are essential to mobile SEO since search engines use mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.

Tips for Optimising Images for SEO

In the digital sphere, images are a captivating form of communication. However, if not optimised properly, their potential can be wasted, resulting in longer loading times and lost SEO prospects. Let’s examine the numerous strategies you may employ to fully leverage the potential of photos for the SEO of your website.

The Right Image for the Right Purpose

If you want to understand how to learn SEO, images are an important factor to take into account. Selecting the best image for your text is crucial before moving on to technological optimisations.

Originality Matters

While stock photos are convenient, original images, whether they’re photographs, illustrations, or graphics, resonate more with audiences. They add a unique touch to your content and can increase trust and credibility.

Image Relevance

Make sure the image complements and closely ties to your content. An unnecessary graphic can perplex readers and distract them from the point you’re attempting to make.

Technical Image Optimisation

Once you have the right images, the next step is to ensure they are technically optimised for web use.

File Format

Different image formats are used for various purposes:

Compression is Key

File sizes can be decreased without a noticeable loss of quality using programmes like or TinyPNG. Keep in mind that faster loading times result in reduced file sizes, which is essential for both user experience and SEO.

Responsive Images

Making sure that photos appear correctly on devices of all sizes is essential in a world that is constantly moving towards mobile. You can instruct browsers to display various pictures dependent on the device’s screen size by using HTML properties like’srcset’.

Exploring Alt Text and Titles

Alt text and titles aren’t just afterthoughts; they play a significant role in image SEO.

Descriptive Alt Text

A text description of a picture is known as alt text, or “alternative text.” It should be succinct while still being descriptive enough to convey the meaning and goal of the image. It helps search engines and users who are blind understand the image.

Alt text has two purposes: it improves accessibility and increases SEO. Screen readers will read out the alt text, which captures the spirit of the image, for people who are blind or visually handicapped. Because search engines cannot “see” images the way humans can, the alt text also gives search engines context. The relevancy of your material in search results can be enhanced by an image that is well-described.

Should your alt text contain keywords? While it might be advantageous, it ought to be carried out naturally. Keyword stuffing can lead to poor user experience and may even be penalised by search engines.

Image Titles

The title attribute offers additional information and is often displayed as a tooltip when a user hovers over an image. While not as crucial as alt text for SEO, it can enhance user experience.

Structuring Images for SEO

Structured Data and Rich Results

In the information-rich digital age, it is crucial to present content in a logical and understandable way. Structured data and detailed outcomes now. These words may sound like high-tech jargon, yet they are crucial to contemporary SEO and user experience.

What is Structured Data?

A defined framework for categorising the content on a webpage is called structured data. Webmasters can give search engines detailed information about the content, its context, and its relationships by employing structured data. In essence, it functions as a “cheat sheet” for search engines regarding what is on a page.

Formats of Structured Data

Structured data comes in a variety of formats, but the following are the most used ones:

Why is Structured Data Crucial?

Search engines attempt to comprehend the context of the material when they crawl a website. This procedure is aided by structured data because it provides clear hints as to a page’s intent. For instance, structured data can tell a search engine whether the word “Avatar” on a page relates to the James Cameron movie, a user’s online profile image, or a philosophical idea.

Rich Results

When search engines are equipped with the additional insights provided by structured data, they can create enhanced search listings, known as ‘rich results’ (previously referred to as ‘rich snippets’).

Features of Rich Results

Benefits of Rich Results

How to Implement Structured Data

Image SEO optimisation is a complex procedure that involves more than just resizing. You may improve both the user experience and search engine rankings for your website by comprehending and putting into practise a variety of optimisation tactics.


The marketing sector would not exist as it does today were it not for third-party cookies. Over the past two decades, businesses have developed a heavy reliance on these bite-sized chunks of data for user insights, audience analysis and strategy development.

However, this method has faced frequent controversies and raised countless concerns regarding user privacy. As a result, the digital hemisphere is shifting, with tighter GDPR regulations leading to a future free from third-party cookies; by the end of 2024, this method of data collection may be a thing of the past.

In light of this change, alternative methods of data collection, prediction and analysis must be harnessed, filling the gap left by cookies. Machine learning algorithms, particularly those within Google Analytics 4, will play a significant role in compensating for this loss.

Where are all the Cookies?

Child Leveraging Machine Learning Algorithms in a Cookieless Future

Before exploring the key components of this so-called ‘cookieless’ future, it is important to clarify the difference between first and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are accessible only by a website’s owner and play a vital role in collecting analytical data and optimising site functionality. In contrast, third-party cookies, created by separate domains, track a user’s behaviour across the internet. In this context, ‘cookieless’ refers to eliminating third-party tracking by internet service providers (ISPs).

Eliminating third-party cookies is certain to leave voids in online marketing. Google heavily relies on cookies for its advertising platform. However, to ensure privacy compliance, alternative methods must fill these gaps; tools such as statistical modelling, predictive analytics, and machine learning will play critical roles.

Google Analytics 4 And Machine Learning

As of July 2023, Google permanently retired Universal Analytics, replacing it with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a property now used by over 20 million websites worldwide. This transition brings significant changes for digital marketers. With a focus on user privacy, GA4 utilises AI algorithms to connect data points without third-party cookies.

By blending directly observed and modelled data, GA4 builds comprehensive and accurate datasets while complying with user privacy regulations. Moreover, AI integration and machine learning enable more precise data collection than third-party cookies, utilising predictive analytics, analytics intelligence, and behaviour modelling to compensate for cookieless browsing data loss. Below, we delve into the specifics of these features.

Predictive Analytics

Among GA4’s many innovative features is the property’s capacity to predict future metrics and audiences through machine learning algorithms. As soon as data collection begins, GA4’s algorithms start learning from the information gathered, enabling the generation of projections like revenue, events, and trends based on account-specific datasets.

Additionally, GA4 utilises the data from its machine learning algorithm to create predictive audiences, forecasting which of your audience is likely to churn based on past events. This information is set to prove infinitely valuable in the development of remarketing strategies.

Consent Mode & Behavioural Modelling

Moreover, GA4’s ‘consent mode’ is vital for data compliance. This feature allows businesses to create predictive data even when a user doesn’t consent to data collection. When consent is declined, GA4 uses relevant existing data to predict the user’s behaviour.

This method of behavioural modelling fills data gaps when direct observations are lacking or non-existent. Instead of cookie-shaped voids, GA4 combines observed data with behaviour models, offering comprehensive insights into user journeys and site interactions.

Analytics Intelligence

Alongside the above, GA4’s Analytics Intelligence functionality is set to play an important part in navigating a cookieless future. As Google describes it, analytics intelligence uses machine learning and custom configurations to understand and act on data effectively. In other words, machine learning can identify anomalies and errors while simultaneously adapting to these variations; as GA4 receives more distinctive data, its ability to detect outliers improves.

This advancement in GA4 distinguishes authentic data from anomalies, reducing reliance on third-party cookies for true ‘insight’. Unlike cookies, which are about 60% accurate at best, machine learning and analytics intelligence offer continuous enhancement opportunities.

GDPR Compliance and Updated Privacy In GA4

Tree lady Leveraging Machine Learning Algorithms in a Cookieless Future

As previously mentioned, past iterations of Google Analytics faced scrutiny for their handling and retention of data. GDPR regulations have, naturally, tightened over the past few years; Google has adjusted its software accordingly.

Alongside the implementation of machine learning algorithms, GA4 introduces a host of features focused on data compliance and user privacy. Most notably, IP anonymisation means that IP addresses are neither logged nor stored. In the tech giant’s own words, ‘analytics drops any IP addresses that it collects from EU users before logging that data via EU domains and servers.’ Whereas universal analytics collected IP addresses by default, this is no longer possible in GA4. Regarding EU privacy legislation, this is perhaps the most momentous update.

Of course, this fortification of user privacy is just the tip of the iceberg. Alongside the above mentioned IP anonymisation and consent mode, Google have introduced:

Google Analytics exists as the dominant property for good reason; its newfound capabilities balance cutting edge technologies with tightened data restrictions. That said, GDPR legislation differs in relation to server location. To ensure compliance in your region, it is essential that your property is set up in a way that does not breach privacy laws.

How Will Machine Learning Impact Data Analytics?

Without a doubt, the accessibility of machine learning in GA4 is an exciting development. Unlike previous instances that required third-party solutions, Google’s integrated features now place AI power in the palm of marketers’ hands.

Machine learning, especially that within GA4, will be crucial in filling the gaps left by third-party cookies. While the property is far from flawless, businesses should not underestimate the potential of machine learning in this platform. In a cookieless future, a certain adaptability and open-mindedness towards technology is essential.