What's New in Digital Governance?

Technology seems to change in the blink of an eye. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it. Take a quick look at recent and upcoming developments in digital governance that will empower you to:

  • Use accurate analytics data to understand your audience's needs and how well they're being met.
  • Design a functional and sustainable digital governance process and MarTech ecosystem within your organization.
  • Combine people, processes, and tech to meet the ever-increasing demands of your audiences.


Rob Clarke

VP of Product, ObservePoint

Rob is the VP of Product at ObservePoint and is a passionate customer champion who believes any experience should empower the customer with a design-centric and customer insight-first approach. He previously led product and end-to-end experience at Strala, now part of the ObservePoint solution. Prior to Strala, Rob was a product leader within the Adobe Experience Cloud and before that consulted with 75+ brands in the areas of marketing and experience analytics, attribution, and personalization.



John Pestana: (02:01)
Hi, welcome to Validate, ObservePoint's, annual digital marketing and analytics conference. I'm John Pestana, the co-founder and CEO of ObservePoint. ObservePoint is a data and experience governance solution that helps organizations take control of web and mobile technology implementations and data collection. As we work with companies to strengthen their governance, we see the many challenges associated with maintaining, securing, and validating your data collection. This is why ObservePoint hosts Validate to bring together solution experts and world-class data professionals to offer actionable tips and insights for taking control of your data driven efforts. Validate is typically an intimate user conference in Park City, Utah, and we hope to see you there next year. But, with it being virtual these last two years, we get to open it up to everyone regardless of location, and we hope you learn many ways to make your lives easier. Welcome, and enjoy Validate.

Rob Clarke: (03:07)
Okay, everyone. Welcome to Validate. I'm Rob Clarke VP of Product here at ObservePoint and excited to dig in with you on what's new in digital governance. Ok, to kick things off; this is often what our daily jobs feel like. No matter how good of a mood we're in, how fast we feel like we can run, we often have a hard time keeping pace, keeping pace with the pace of change. And, I just want to pause and have everyone witness the glory of those sandals popping off right there. No matter if we're responsible for our company's digital analytics, our company's digital experiences, maintaining the implementation of a technology, if we've been recently tasked with improving privacy compliance for our brand, this is the environment that we face every day -- an exponential change in technology, data, and experience. And, this exponential change only feels like it's accelerating.

Rob Clarke: (04:17)
So, let's talk about each of these three areas and let's start with technology. So, 48. We've recently dug into ObservePoint's data, our own backend data of all of the scans that we perform on behalf of our customers. And 48 is the average number of tags firing on any given webpage. So, like I said, this is uniquely from ObservePoint data, and this is the average -- 48. We also have a number of brands that have significantly higher numbers than this on every page. So the number of digital technologies we have to manage continues to increase. It's difficult to keep track of. And, oftentimes we don't even know who owns all of these technologies, if we encounter a problem, who we go to and who we talk to, which begs the question, it's 10:00 PM; do you know what technologies are on your website?

Rob Clarke: (05:17)
In 2010 it was a lot easier to know. There were only about 150 total technologies in the entire industry. So it was a lot easier to know, and of those approximately 150 marketing and digital experience technologies, only five, maybe 10, of them were implemented on your website. I actually, I remember when this visual came out, and I was blown away, it blew my colleagues away. How many technologies are there in our industry? Just look at this. Would you just look at it! And you fast forward to today, and we are well over 8,000. This is actually a snapshot from 2020. And now we're a deep into 2021. And, we're well into over 8,000 technologies in our industry.

Rob Clarke: (06:07)
So with all of this exponential increase in technology, that increase brings an increase of data because each of those technologies has their own stream of data, their own stream of data specific to that technology. So that as the number of technologies grow that we have to manage, so does our data. Here's some more data pulled from, the ObservePoint platform. Just recently, for our ObservePoint customer scans in the last year, here is the total number of network requests over the last year: 64 billion network requests that we are logging with the scans that we're going through page by page of your digital experiences. Even more breathtaking, in my opinion, is the number of total variable values, 403 billion total variable values. And that's just for the customers of ObservePoint. That is a lot of data. That's a lot of unique individual variable level data that is flowing, and that amount of data -- it's crushing. It's impossible to tame; that amount of data is wild. And yet we try and tame it. We try and bring all of those various data streams from all of the various technologies that we implement and bring it into a pristine data lake.

Rob Clarke: (07:38)
And then we talk about all of the amazing things that we're going to do with that data in that amazing pristine data lake. Just think of the insights, think of the decisions, the data-driven decisions that we can make. Think about the machine learning, the AI, the predictive algorithms that we can put on top of that data and just what we're going to be able to do. We start to lose our minds thinking about how amazing it's going to be when in reality, this is maybe a more accurate depiction of what our data is like. Most of our data, in some way or another, is a mess. No one wants to venture into those waters. No one trusts it. And so the silos of data that we brought all together and we crammed together in one place, thinking that it would be unified data, the data still looks, it still feels, it's still acts...

Rob Clarke: (08:30)
It still is largely siloed data with some connections. It's anything but a pristine data lake. It's low quality data. And if you venture into this low quality data, you're going to get bit. It's something that no one trusts. Okay, so now with all this technology and all of this data, it all but ensures that we deliver world-class experiences at every turn for our brand, is that right? Wrong, every brand struggles, and we know it. Some brands do way better than others, but one thing is for sure -- the expectations around experience are going up. So I want to go back to 2008. This is what Amazon's site looked like in 2008, and if you can kind of take yourself back to that time, just think about how you used, how you interacted with Amazon. Probably none of us were buying everything on Amazon via a mobile app.

Rob Clarke: (09:34)
The iPhone had just recently come out, apps were a brand new thing. We probably didn't have a package arriving at our doorstep what felt like every day. That's the experience from circa 2008. Now, when you think about today's experience with Amazon, just over a decade later, I don't remember the last time I purchased via browser personally. I only purchase on the app. Stuff is showing up all the time. It's just a very different experience. If I'm looking for something, and I see it, I can use my app to scan it and pull it up. I can talk to Alexa if I want to. Amazon knows these expectations are increasing exponentially. And, I want to read a quote from Jeff Bezos. A few years ago, he said, "One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static."

Rob Clarke: (10:29)
"They go up. It's human nature. " And it's true. Our expectations, as it relates to what we expect out of our experiences, are only going up. So this is according to a recent Forbes insights report, 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experiences alone. We want and we reward brands who give us great experiences. We also punish those who don't deliver great experiences. In what Forrester calls, "the age of the customer," we all have the expectation for world-class experience. And, in this age of the customer, we actually do hold the power to demand it. And this is not just for B to C experiences like I called out with Amazon. This is also for B2B. That trend is called the consumerization of enterprise software. So as our experiences get better and better in our consumer states of life, that is also impacting our expectation for those experiences to be world-class with enterprise technology, which has always lagged from an experience standpoint. Just for old time sake, I pulled ObservePoint's webpage from 2008. Look at this beauty. I think it's safe to say that ObservePoint has come a long way as well. So these are the three trends that are exponentially increasing: technology, data, and experience.

Rob Clarke: (11:57)
And our ability to keep up with those trends is not the same pace. It's not keeping pace with how technology data and experiences are changing. And to be fair, we are all pushing harder than ever, we're doing better than ever, and we should feel great. We should feel legitimately proud of the work that we're doing, and maybe even dance-moves-by-a-treadmill great, but beware that treadmill because it's moving fast. And when you jump on, you want to be considering the footwear that you have, consider those sandals that you're wearing because that treadmill is moving really fast.

Rob Clarke: (12:38)
So that gap between the reality of the pace of change with technology, data, and experience and what our ability, our actual ability to keep up, that gap is critical for us to close. Currently, that gap is filled with poor technology implementations. It's filled with poor quality data, poor quality experiences that we know we can do better, but it just feels impossible to scale ourselves to the degree that we need. And to make matters worse, we have a pretty consistent stream of curveballs coming our way. One of the most major curve balls for our industry that's occurred in the last couple of years is privacy. GDPR, CCPA regulations popping up all across the world, and they have significant impacts on our data, on the way that we implement our technology, how we can know and track the identity of our prospects of our customers across the experience.

Rob Clarke: (13:42)
In fact, here is live footage of third party cookies. This is actual recent footage of third party cookies. Third party cookies were running along at a great clip. Third-party cookies, allowing us to track anonymous individuals in a way that we've always been able to for decades now. And they have hit a wall, the proverbial wall with GDPR regulation or with privacy regulation like GDPR, with the changes that browsers are making, like what Safari has led the way with, third-party cookies -- and it's important to note that often we see headlines in our industry about the end of cookies and a cookie-less future. And, I don't think cookies are going away completely anytime soon, my personal opinion; it's third-party cookies though, that are meeting their end in a pretty abrupt way.

Rob Clarke: (14:39)
So all of this change, all of these curve balls, this is how we typically end up feeling. It's tough to keep pace. My favorite one is the lower right-hand corner. I love that Ron Swanson one. It leads us to feel like -- there's a Seinfeld one in there, "Serenity now!" But, this is our goal, and we know this is our goal, and while it's difficult to close that gap and to keep pace with that change, this is our goal. And, our ability to keep pace is directly related to the quality of how we implement our technology, the quality of our data, how trusted is our data? Are people willing to get in and use those insights? Are they always questioning it at every turn? Is it an important data set for them or is it important, but they just don't trust it?

Rob Clarke: (15:32)
And then ultimately are our experiences the right ones? Are we gaining trust with our customers by delivering them with a privacy-focused experience that they are now demanding, that we're all now demanding. So, this is the gap that we're trying to close, and this is why ObservePoint exists. This is why we exist for you. It's to help you close that gap. It's to help you improve that quality of data ,of technology, of experience. It's so that you can take your efforts and what you're doing and scale them, automate them, govern them. And that is what ultimately helps you close that gap for the respective companies and brands that you work at. This is why ObservePoint exists. So let's actually get into the ObservePoint platform and show you what we've been up to over the last year and what's new in the ObservePoint digital governance platform.

Rob Clarke: (16:33)
So last year at this time with Validate, this was the experience. I'm going to click through a few of these, and hopefully you all remember this because the experience is very different today. These were the reports, and we had a lot of data that we were capturing on your behalf. And we were bubbling that data up to you in some powerful insights, but also the user experience around those insights; it didn't unlock the full potential of your data. You couldn't do the analysis that you wanted to do; there were certain things missing from these reports that you told us about, and we knew it. We knew that we had to get better. We knew that these insights needed to evolve. So last year at Validate, we launched a beta environment of sorts. It was called next.observepoint.com. And in this environment, we started to build these much more comprehensive reports, reports that you could drill down into.

Rob Clarke: (17:31)
And we launched this last year at Validate, and we got a lot of great feedback on that beta environment, a ton of great feedback. We had customers using this environment and telling us how much better it was in some ways and where it still lacked. And there were all sorts of problems with it from a standpoint of what you wanted as our customers. So, we continued to get that feedback and iterate and iterate until earlier this year, we launched the new default experience. And now this is the default experience. So, if you're brand new customers, you may not recognize those those previous screenshots; you only know this. And, these new reports have been received in a pretty exceptional way by you, our customer base. They're way more beautiful. They're in dark mode. We've unlocked a lot of data in these reports, but I also want to take a moment and talk about how we went about achieving this.

Rob Clarke: (18:37)
We rethought our backend infrastructure. We completely overhauled it, completely rebuilt it in a way so that we could deliver the insights that you're looking for at the speed that you're looking for. So the backend technology now, the backend infrastructure that we now have, it's what drives these reports today. The blazing speed, we're now loading way more data in all of these insights. And we're doing it at just as fast, if not faster than any time before in the ObservePoint platform. Something that we're very proud of, because we know you need your insights and you need to move quickly. So, a few other things that I want to highlight: a report specific search in the upper left-hand corner filters, persistent filters, so that when you come into an audit, you can drill down to the data that is important to you and what you are managing, or the project that you're tackling at that moment. We've made the visualizations interactive so that you can click, for example, on these broken pages and filter the report immediately by those broken pages.

Rob Clarke: (19:50)
We now have trended data. That trended data is is really important, so you can see things over time and how things have been changing -- really important, little insight that you need when you come into a brand new audit. And, not only just what that trended data, but it's that run over run delta. So what has changed, what's actually changed since the last time you did that run. It's little insights like that, that help you move faster and keep pace. We've also revamped the intuitive drill downs. They all land, ultimately in one way or another, to this end page, this end insight around the page details report. These intuitive drill down paths that help you get to the information that you're looking for, and then ultimately get down to the very detail of that page, it's available for every report.

Rob Clarke: (20:41)
It's easy to click through, and this page details report itself is a significant improvement. So these are all improvements that we've made over the last year that we're incredibly excited about, and the feedback that we've gotten from you has been exceptional -- the feedback that led to these improvements and the feedback once we delivered these improvements. So, I want to say a big thank you to all of our customers. Now let's talk a little bit about experience. Last year at Validate, we also indicated that we wanted to move into unlocking new insights around managing and governing the quality of your digital experience. So, so far we were talking about the technology, the tags that are on your site, the data that's flowing. Now, let's talk about experience. So today, in our new reporting layer, this is what you have access to. You have access to pages for an audit.

Rob Clarke: (21:38)
You can see average page load time, you can see broken pages, you can see rule failures, all things that help you identify broken or subpar experiences. You also have access to what pages are successfully loaded, which pages are redirects, which might help you go and find or troubleshoot problem areas. And then also just straight broken pages. And then down in the lower right hand side, looking at page load time, status codes, the page size, is this a heavy page? Are we providing a subpar experience? So these are all metrics that are built to help you improve your digital experience, govern your digital experience. And then ultimately you can click into those pages...this is a broken page, for example, and see that it is in fact, a 404 error. You can see the parent URL.

Rob Clarke: (22:29)
There's a lot of data that helps you improve those experiences. We've spent the last year prototyping with our customers, with prospects, with other industry experts in how we can improve these insights. So this is a prototype that I'm sharing today. But this is all around how we help you improve validating your experience, governing your digital experience. So let me walk you through a few things in this prototype. At the very top, we have things like page title. So it's not just the URL. You can kind of gauge from the page title a little bit more information. So that's at the very top. We have more information about the elements that are on any given page. So, right next to the screenshot, you have things like how many images, videos, forms, what are the elements on this page? So a lot more information about the page itself and the experience that you're delivering.

Rob Clarke: (23:23)
And in addition to that, if you go back up to the top, you can see the redirect chain. So we want to unlock what are all of the steps, what are all the links in that chain? So that you're not just looking at that first step in the redirect and assuming that it's a good experience, but that you can dig into every consecutive step in that chain and identify potential issues. Right now, this is a big blind spot. This is a blind spot that you may have redirects that end in 404 errors, and you may not know it.

Rob Clarke: (23:59)
And then finally down at the bottom, a full index of the pages that link in one way or another to this broken page. Right now, this is also a blind spot where you just have that parent URL in our report. We want to unlock where this broken link exists everywhere, not just where we encountered it with that particular scan, but where it exists everywhere. Anywhere from links coming into your site, links within your site, links that are leaving your site, where it's broken and it exists in your digital experience. We want to give you that index. And then once we give you that index, it's not enough just to know that a broken experience is occurring. You need to know where it's occurring, so you can go fix it. So this is another prototype insight that we plan to deliver soon. Down here at the bottom, you can see for these internal links, you can see exactly where those internal links exist. And that helps you not only know that there's a broken experience, but not have to go sift through a bunch of the experience and land on a parent page, and then go and look at a hundred different URLs or links on that page. It helps you go and identify it immediately.

Rob Clarke: (25:19)
One of the blind spots that we have -- so this last one was for internal. One of the blind spots that we have is for inbound, anything that's coming into your site. And the reason that's an a that's a blind spot is that these are often pages that are islands of sorts, they're marketing landing pages or experiences where you might have paid media or social media or emails driving towards a page that isn't linked to your site in the same way that the ObservePoint scanning can crawl and find. And so we want to unlock those insights and help you find where are there broken links in your paid media, in your social media, in your emails, across all of those external channels that drive traffic to your site.

Rob Clarke: (26:05)
And then also hopefully help you avoid spending money, sending traffic to broken links. And it happens with every brand across the world, spending money on sending traffic to a broken 404 page. And then ultimately outbound links; this is another area that is a little bit of a blind spot. These are pages that we don't control. We don't own their links that take the experience outside of our own property and to another property. Well, those can change and we don't know it. So we want to help you govern those as well, so that any time, a valuable link that takes someone outbound from your experience that they're able to land in that new experience, and it's not a broken experience. So we're excited about those prototypes. We actually have, let me just pause here. We have a limited beta and we would love your involvement.

Rob Clarke: (27:03)
So if you're interested in getting involved in our limited beta, as it relates to these prototypes, please reach out to your CSM, to the product team here at ObservePoint to learn more about that limited beta. All right, now let's switch gears to privacy. Last year at Validate, we released V1 of our privacy product. We were really excited about it. It solves a real need in the market, and that need is only growing. We were met with a lot of great reception with this product and a lot of great feedback. So we iterated on it throughout the year and upgraded all of those reports and insights to mimic the rest of the platform. So now the powerful insights that you have with the rest of the platform now exists with privacy. And that's for managing your tags and what's approved and unapproved, that's for looking at your cookies and ensuring that they match with your consent categories in your consent management platforms...

Rob Clarke: (28:06)
and your CMPs. Very important to make sure that what you are tracking from a consent perspective is being adhered to, for the consent that your customers are giving you. Also domains and geos; all three of those reports are incredibly important for you governing privacy across your digital experience and scaling across your entire digital experience. We also added a new report, the JavaScript file change report so you can see here a list of your JavaScript files and see how they're changing over time. This helps you identify issues -- maybe a JavaScript file is, is changing and growing in a way that you wouldn't expect. It helps you identify those issues. There's a heightened fear around fines with privacy. I know British Airways was recently fined a massive amount because they had problems with their JavaScript and there was malicious code within it.

Rob Clarke: (29:09)
And, they had some pretty big, uh, privacy fines levied against them. This is the type of report that helps give you peace of mind helps you uncover potential issues. We're excited about that. And then we didn't just upgrade the reports, but we also upgraded the way that you manage consent categories and the way that you onboard so that your consent categories are mimicked very nicely with your CMP platform. And then regardless of what CMP you are using, a time to value has been improved and being able to link the data from your CMP, get it easily structured and imported into the ObservePoint platform. So we're excited about V2 and what we've been able to do and what what's coming next. So let's actually end here talking about looking ahead for the ObservePoint platform and what's next really in digital governance. Three categories: more powerful analysis, net new insights, and improved workflow.

Rob Clarke: (30:11)
You can see these three categories right here are not one specific product of our platform. It's our entire platform, the entire digital governance platform. So, for more powerful insights, improved exports, shared exports, multi-select filtering, saved filters. You'll see some of these coming very soon, others a little bit later next year. Net new insights: experience validation insights -- we just went over those. Privacy improvements -- we have some customers we built custom PII detection -- we're doing R&D around how to fully productize that. Cookie initiators and their origin. Then into Improved Workflow: platform notifications, enhanced Audits and Journeys. We're really excited about what the platform holds as we move into 2022, but no product roadmap is set in stone and it's because your needs aren't set in stone. So I want to call out where you can give us feedback. This is within the product.

Rob Clarke: (31:04)
This is the product portal. You can look at what we're considering, what we've released. You can give us net new ideas. You can also hit us up on the ObservePoint Slack community. You can give us direct feedback to your customer success teams, or set up time with the product teams, because our roadmap is here to serve you. We're excited about where we've been over the last year. We're excited where we're going with this next year in the world of digital governance. So that's all I have for you today. I'm going to sign off by teeing the next session up: our expert panel -- five trends, shaping digital experiences. We have experts from IBM, Adobe, Amplitude, wonderful individuals who are experts in their own rights. You don't want to miss it. Thanks, everyone.

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