A world without third-party cookies is fast approaching. Big-name browsers like Safari and Firefox already block them by default, and Google Chrome —  the biggest browser of them all —  is set to follow. 

First, a quick refresher: Websites use cookies to store data in your browser specific to that website and other sites. The question, though, is who the website is storing the data for. Third-party cookies store data that allows advertising services to track your behavior on any given site, while first-party cookies are those a website uses for its own purposes. 

Like most things, not all cookies are created equal. As browsers transition to these new defaults, some will make the grade, while others will be blocked for good. What does this mean for your website, and how can you get ahead of the change? We’ll walk you through it. 

Are Cookies Really Going Away? 

That depends on the type of cookies your site uses. Browsers are slowly blocking third-party cookies by default — those associated with cross-site tracking for ad networks like Facebook or LinkedIn — but first-site, or same-site, cookies will remain. 

That means that if retargeting is essential to your paid marketing strategy, you may need to rethink your approach. But any cookies you use to support your site features and functionality can keep on keeping on, assuming your users have agreed to the use of those cookies on your site. For example, you may be able to keep track of previously viewed content and use that information to suggest other relevant content to that user. So don’t say goodbye to your cookie consent services either; you still have to give users the chance to opt out of any first-party cookies. 

Why Now? Haven’t We Been Using Cookies Forever? 

While cookies have been a web-surfing staple for almost as long as we’ve been using the internet, that’s not necessarily a good thing. 

Legislation like GDPR in Europe, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the New York Privacy Act are tightening restrictions on the use of consumer data, and rapidly increasing cybersecurity threats in recent years have illuminated the risks of large-scale data storage. Consumers have also begun to prize their privacy, realizing that their information is valuable and no organization should be looking over their shoulder as they browse. 

Ultimately, phasing out third-party cookies is about doing what’s best for your users. Making the move now can help instill trust in your website, since users know you aren’t capturing their data behind the scenes. Cookie consent forms also put the data you do use out in the open, showing users that your organization takes their privacy seriously and is prepared to protect it. 

How Will The End of Third-Party Cookies Impact My Industry? 

Not all organizations will feel the shift equally. We’ve seen some verticals get ahead of the curve, while others are naturally less reliant on third-party cookies. Here are some key industry-specific areas to consider. 

Healthcare

Strict privacy laws and regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have turned healthcare organizations into pioneers in this area. The Office of Civil Rights even published a bulletin warning organizations about third-party cookies. 

Many of the healthcare brands we support at Oomph are already focused on safeguarding user privacy because they’re used to doing it with medical records. One of our clients, for example, is already exploring adopting an in-house analytics tool hosted on their own server. If your healthcare organization is relying on third-party cookies for any marketing efforts, analytic insights, or other website features, start thinking now about the best way to phase them out. 

Higher Education

Many institutions we work with are using third-party cookies because of digital efforts to drive student enrollment. When implementing personalization cookies, be sure they are implemented with the proper “SameSite” attribute value. Then be sure to engage your vendors; we’ve encouraged many of our higher education clients to explore how their vendors are preparing for this transition.  

Nonprofits

Like higher education, nonprofits should review the vendors and larger ad networks they rely on to build their volunteer base or drive donations. Many nonprofits don’t use these services, but those that do should get ahead of the change, otherwise you may stand to lose an important fundraising channel. 

4 Steps To Prepare for the End of Third-Party Cookies

Cookies, analytics, and cross-site tracking might all sound like areas best left to the pros. But there’s a lot you can do to prepare your organization for the move away from cookies, as well as critical opportunities to pull in a vendor to maintain the functionality you need. 

Audit Your Site

A website audit should always be your first step. Taking stock of the cookies you use is the best way to get a handle on the changes you’ll need to make. Tapping your web partner is a great idea here, too. Your vendor should be able to identify existing third-party cookie warnings, which can help shape your audit. 

For example, while we were updating a client’s email marketing integration recently, Chrome notified our developer that our client’s vendor was sending third-party cookies. We then reached out to the vendor to continue the conversation, knowing that those cookies had to be addressed.

Identify Affected Cookies 

The goal of your audit is to identify all third-party cookies that won’t make the cut. Don’t stop by just listing the cookie, either. Review what function it serves and the role it plays in your organization’s digital footprint. You may have to get rid of the cookie, but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the strategy it’s tied to. 

Reach Out to Your Vendors

Ask vendors about their plans to handle the transition away from third-party cookies, and feel out whether they’ll still be able to offer the service they currently provide. Consider it a red flag if the vendor is uninformed or unprepared; you might have to seek out alternatives if there’s even the slightest chance your current vendor will be defunct by the end of the year. 

Design Alternatives

The end of third-party cookies is daunting, but it’s also exciting. Take this opportunity to innovate on your users’ behalf. How can you design engaging new experiences that still exceed their expectations? That’s more than possible, so long as you have the right tools in place.

This could be a self-hosted analytics tool you build yourself or new local storage solutions to replace the role of cookies. You might also consider a fully authenticated experience for the users of your site. Lean on a trusted partner here, too. Vendors with website expertise can guide you toward the right solution for you and your users.

Cookies on the Brain? 

For many organizations, this is the most they’ve thought about cookies in years. Third-party cookies have become so essential to building a business online, and yet they’ve largely flown under our radar. But while this change may feel overwhelming, making the switch doesn’t have to be. 

Here at Oomph, we see this as a golden opportunity for organizations to put their users first, and we’re already taking steps to help our clients do just that. 

Need a hand bringing your website into a world beyond third-party cookies? Let’s talk about it.

High-quality content management systems (CMS) and digital experience platforms (DXP) are the backbone of modern websites, helping you deliver powerful, personalized user experiences. The catch? You have to pick your platform first. 

At Oomph, we have a lot of love for open-source platforms like Drupal and WordPress. Over the years, we’ve also built applications for our clients using headless CMS tools, like Contentful and CosmicJS. The marketplace for these solutions continues to grow exponentially, including major players like Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, and Optimizely.

With so many options, developers and non-developers with a project on the horizon typically start by asking themselves, “Which CMS or DXP is the best fit for my website or application?” While that is no doubt an excellent question to consider, I think it’s equally important to ask, “Who is going to implement the solution?” 

CMS/DXP Solutions Are More Alike Than You Might Think

I recently attended the annual Healthcare Internet Conference and spoke with quite a few healthcare marketers about their CMS tools. I noticed a common thread: Many people think their CMS (some of which I mentioned above) is hard to use and doesn’t serve them well. 

That may very well be the case. Not all CMS tools are created equal; some are better suited for specific applications. However, most modern CMS and DXP tools have many of the same features in common, they just come at different price points. So here’s the multi-million dollar question: If most of these products provide access to the same or similar tools, why are so many customers displeased with them? 

Common Challenges of CMS/DXP Implementation

Often, we find that CMS users get frustrated because the tool they chose wasn’t configured to meet their specific needs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was set up incorrectly. That’s the beauty of many of today’s CMS and DXP products: They don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they allow for flexibility and customization to ensure that each customer gets the most out of the product.

While enticing, that flexibility also burdens the user with ensuring that their system is implemented effectively for their specific use case. In our experience, implementation is the make-or-break of a website development project. These are just a handful of things that can derail the process:

  1. The implementation partner didn’t fully understand how their client works and configure features accordingly.
  2. The demands of user experience overshadowed the needs of content editors and admins. 
  3. Hefty licensing fees ate away at the budget, leaving behind funds that don’t quite cover a thorough implementation. 
  4. The project was rushed to meet a tight deadline. 
  5. The CMS introduces new features over time that add complexity to the admin or editing experience. 
  6. Old features get sunsetted as new capabilities take their place. 

Most of the work we do at Oomph is to help our clients implement new websites and applications using content management systems like Drupal. We have decades of combined experience helping our clients create the ideal user experience for their target audience while also crafting a thoughtful content editing and admin experience that is easy to use.

But what does that look like in practice? 

4 Steps for a Successful CMS Implementation

Implementation can be the black box of setting up your CMS: You don’t know what you don’t know. So, we like to get our clients into a demo environment as soon as possible to help them better understand what they need from their CMS. Here’s how we use it to navigate successful CMS implementation: 

  1. Assess the Capabilities of the CMS

The first step can be the most simple at face value. Consider what the CMS needs to do for you, then find a CMS that includes all of those features. Content modeling (more on that below) is a key part of that process, but so is auditing your team’s abilities. 

Some teams may be developer-savvy and can handle less templated content-authoring features. Others may need a much more drag-and-drop experience. Either use case is normal and acceptable, but what matters is that you identify your needs and find both a CMS and an implementation process that meets them. That leads us to the next point.

  1. Test-Drive the CMS Early and Often

You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it first. Yet we find that people are often more than willing to license a CMS without looking under the hood.

Stepping into the CMS for a test drive is a huge part of getting the content editing experience right. We’ve been designing and engineering websites and platforms using CMS tools for well over a decade, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about good content management and editing experiences. 

Even with out-of-the-box, vanilla Drupal, the sky’s the limit for how you can configure it. But that also means that nothing is configured, and it can be difficult to get a sense of how best to configure and use it. Rather than diving into the deep end, we work with our clients to test the waters. We immediately set up a project sandbox that offers pre-configured content types, allowing you to enter content and play with a suite of components within the sleek drag-and-drop interface.

  1. Align User Experience with Content Authoring

Beyond pre-configured content and components, our sandbox sites include a stylish, default theme. The idea is to give you a taste both of what your live site could look like and what your content authoring experience might be. Since so many teams struggle to balance those two priorities, this can be a helpful way to figure out how your CMS can give you both. 

  1. Finalize Your Features & Capabilities 

While a demo gives you a good idea of the features you’ll need, it might include features you don’t. But discovering where our pre-built options aren’t a good fit is a good thing — it helps us understand exactly what YOUR TEAM does and does not need.

Our goal is to give you something tangible to react to, whether that’s love at first type or a chance to uncover capabilities that would serve you better. We’ve found this interactive yet structured process is the CMS silver bullet that leads to a better outcome. 

Content Modeling

Another key part of our project workflow is what we call content modeling. During this phase, we work with you to identify the many content types you’ll have on your website or application. Then, we can visualize them in a mapping system to determine things like: 

With a solid content model in place, we can have a higher level of confidence that our CMS implementation will create the right content editing experience for your team. From there, we actually implement the content model in the CMS as soon as possible so that you can test it out and we can make refinements before getting too far along in the process.

Content Moderation & Governance

Many clients tell us they either have too much or too little control over their content. In some cases, their content management system is so templated or rigid that marketing teams can’t quickly spin up landing pages and instead have to rely on development teams to assist. Other teams have too much freedom, allowing employees to easily deploy content that hasn’t been approved by the appropriate team members or strays from company brand standards. 

Here at Oomph, our mantra is balance. A good content editing process needs both flexibility and governance, so teams can create content when they need to, but avoid publishing content that doesn’t meet company standards. Through discovery, we work with clients to determine which content types need flexibility and which ones don’t. 

If a content type needs to be flexible, we create a framework that allows for agility while still ensuring that users can only select approved colors, font types, and font sizes. We also identify which content needs to be held in moderation and approved before it can be published on the website. 

Taking the time to discuss governance in advance creates a CMS experience that strikes the right balance between marketing freedom and brand adherence. 

Implementation Turns a Good CMS Into a Great One

Modern CMS/DXP solutions have mind-blowing features, and they will only continue to get more complex over time. But the reality is that while picking a CMS that has the features you need is important, how it’s configured and implemented might matter even more. After all, how helpful is it to have a CMS with embedded artificial intelligence if making simple copy updates to your home page is a nightmare? 

Implementation is the “it” factor that makes the difference between a CMS you love and one you’d rather do your job without.

Interested in solving your CMS headaches with better implementation? Let’s talk.

The world of digital accessibility can be daunting. There are many regulations and ways in which a website can be accessible or inaccessible. Many of us don’t understand what a good or bad experience looks like, and we think we can’t possibly understand people who rely solely on assistive technology to use the web. 

It doesn’t have to be daunting, though. And with anything, the key is to start small. To those who create websites or own/manage one, the first step to understanding accessibility is empathy. If more people used assistive technology, more people would understand the difference between a terrible experience and a great one. Don’t be scared of learning about accessibility tools, because you might already be more familiar with them than you realize.

Have you ever broken your dominant hand and been forced to use a keyboard instead of a mouse or trackpad? Have you tried to complete a payment form really quickly to snag concert tickets, and figured out that using the keyboard can be much faster? 

Have you been in loud surroundings and tried to watch a video? How great are captions? Have you realized that captions are assistive technology? There are alternate modes of consuming content and using a digital product that are beneficial to a much wider audience than the audience it was created for. 

With some instruction, we hope more people feel comfortable using a keyboard to navigate a website. We also hope that more of you are brave enough to try a screen reader as well, or at least watch our video to experience what that experience can be like. 

Video Tutorial

Our video is 37 minutes and we provide a break-down of the different minute-marks below if you’d like to jump to a certain area. (All cookies must be accepted for the video to play. You may also view on YouTube directly.)

Table of Contents

  1. 00:00 — Using a Keyboard
    1. 02:00 — The tab key
    2. 02:20 — A “Skip to Content” link and why that is so useful
    3. 03:40 — “Focus ring” style
    4. 04:20 — An example of an inaccessible drop-down menu
    5. 05:40 — An example of an inaccessible link (no focus ring)
    6. 07:40 — Common article card patterns and how they work with a keyboard
  2. 10:45 — The Screen Reader Experience
    1. 11:10 — Invoking VoiceOver with Command F5
    2. 12:35 — Tabbing through interactive elements
    3. 12:54 — Skip to Content link
    4. 13:07 — Company logo
    5. 13:55 — Projects link
    6. 14:31 — Topics
    7. 15:55 — About Us link, inaccessible to keyboard users
    8. 16:16 — Reading of non-interactive elements with Control Option arrows
    9. 16:50 — Reading content, Headings, links
    10. 18:50 — Visually hidden heading but screen reader accessible
    11. 19:55 — Alt text image examples
    12. 20:06 — Kittens, no alt tag present
    13. 21:06 — Doggos, empty alt tag
    14. 23:00 — Squirrels, descriptive alt text
    15. 23:48 — Article content examples
    16. 23:53 — Article 1 example, too many links
    17. 25:37 — Article 2 example, too much content
    18. 26:32 — Article 3 example, hidden content
    19. 27:44 — Article 4 example, alternate pattern
    20. 30:02 — Voiceover’s Rotor Feature, control option U
    21. 30:15 — Headings menu
    22. 30:55 — Empty heading element
    23. 31:50 — Other Rotor menus
    24. 32:18 — Non-visited Links menu
    25. 33:01 — All Links menu
    26. 33:40 — “Click here” and “Read more” link text
    27. 35:09 — Landmarks menu
    28. 35:25 — Form Controls menu
  3. 36:06 VoiceOver off and wrap up

For those who want to learn a little more, below we collect a few keyboard command cheatsheets for navigating a webpage or using VoiceOver on a Mac. Links to additional resources for setting up and getting started with VoiceOver are also included.

More Resources

Keyboard User Cheatsheet

VoiceOver Cheatsheet

These key commands reflect the default set-up for Mac OSX — I have not made any modifications. Of course, power users will modify these commands to fit their needs. 

The default VoiceOver key command combination is ^Control ⌥Option. This combination is used to ensure key combinations do not conflict with other quick key commands through the OS and Apps.

Many key commands for navigating a webpage are the same as a Keyboard user. Return, Spacebar, and Arrow keys all work the same.

Additional Resources to Start Using VoiceOver

Conclusion

With some practice, we hope you might find that using a keyboard to navigate can be your superpower. When filling out forms, for example, I use the keyboard almost exclusively to quickly move from one field to another and to find my state in a long drop-down list. Unless, of course, I run into another poorly coded form that is not accessible. Lucky for me, I can go back to using a mouse. But some do not have that option, and for them, our empathy should turn into empowerment and we shall demand better from our design and development practices.

For questions or to discuss how to make your next project more accessible, please contact us anytime.


More in Our Accessibility Series

Notable articles from the Accessibility category:

There’s a new acronym on the block: MACH (pronounced “mock”) architecture. 

But like X is to Twitter, MACH is more a rebrand than a reinvention. In fact, you’re probably already familiar with the M, A, C, and H and may even use them across your digital properties. While we’ve been helping our clients implement aspects of MACH architecture for years, organizations like the MACH Alliance have recently formed in an attempt to provide clearer definition around the approach, as well as to align their service offerings with the technologies at hand. 

One thing we’ve learned at Oomph after years of working with these technologies? It isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. There are many degrees of MACH adoption, and how far you go depends on your organization and its unique needs. 

But first, you need to know what MACH architecture is, why it’s great (and when it’s not), and how to get started. 

What Is MACH?

MACH is an approach to designing, building, and testing agile digital systems — particularly websites. It stands for microservices, APIs, cloud-native, and headless. 

Like a composable business, MACH unites a few tried-and-true components into a single, seamless framework for building modern digital systems. 

The components of MACH architecture are: 

  1. Microservices: Many online features and functions can be separated into more specific tasks, or microservices. Modern web apps often rely on specialized vendors to offer individual services, like sending emails, authenticating users, or completing transactions, rather than a single provider to rule them all. 
  2. APIs: Microservices interact with a website through APIs, or application programming interfaces. This allows developers to change the site’s architecture without impacting the applications that use APIs and easily offer those APIs to their customers.
  3. Cloud-Native: A cloud-based environment hosts websites and applications via the Internet, ensuring scalability and performance. Modern cloud technology like Kubernetes, containers, and virtual machines keep applications consistent while meeting the demands of your users. 
  4. Headless: Modern Javascript frameworks like Next.js and Gatsby empower intuitive front ends that can be coupled with a variety of back-end content management systems, like Drupal and WordPress. This gives administrators the authoring power they want without impacting end users’ experience. 

Are You Already MACHing? 

Even if the term MACH is new to you, chances are good that you’re already doing some version of it. Here are some telltale signs:

If you’re doing any of the above, you’re MACHing. But the magic of MACH is in bringing them all together, and there are plenty of reasons why companies are taking the leap. 

5 Benefits of MACH Architecture

If you make the transition to MACH, you can expect: 

  1. Choice: Organizations that use MACH don’t have to settle for one provider that’s “good enough” for the countless services websites need. Instead, they can choose the best vendor for the job. For example, when Oomph worked with One Percent for America to build a platform offering low-interest loans to immigrants pursuing citizenship, that meant leveraging the Salesforce CRM for loan approvals, while choosing “Click and Pledge” for donations and credit card transactions. 
  2. Flexibility: MACH architecture’s modular nature allows you to select and integrate individual components more easily and seamlessly update or replace those components.  Our client Leica, for example, was able to update its order fulfillment application with minimal impact to the rest of its Drupal site. 
  3. Performance: Headless applications often run faster and are easier to test, so you can deploy knowing you’ve created an optimal user experience. For example, we used a decoupled architecture for our client Wingspans to create a stable, flexible, and scalable site with lightning-fast performance for its audience of young career-seekers.     
  4. Security: Breaches are generally limited to individual features or components, keeping your entire system more secure. 
  5. Future-Proofing: A MACH system scales easily because each service is individually configured, making it easier to keep up with technologies and trends and avoid becoming out-of-date. 

5 Drawbacks of MACH Architecture

As beneficial as MACH architecture can be, making the switch isn’t always smooth sailing. Before deciding to adopt MACH, consider these potential pitfalls. 

  1. Complexity: With MACH architecture, you’ll have more vendors — sometimes a lot more — than if you run everything on one enterprise system. That’s more relationships to manage and more training needed for your employees, which can complicate development, testing, deployment, and overall system understanding. 
  2. Challenges With Data Parity: Following data and transactions across multiple microservices can be tricky. You may encounter synchronization issues as you get your system dialed in, which can frustrate your customers and the team maintaining your website. 
  3. Security: You read that right — security is a potential pro and a con with MACH, depending on your risk tolerance. While your whole site is less likely to go down with MACH, working with more vendors leaves you more vulnerable to breaches for specific services. 
  4. Technological Mishaps: As you explore new solutions for specific services, you’ll often start to use newer and less proven technologies. While some solutions will be a home run, you may also have a few misses. 
  5. Complicated Pricing: Instead of paying one price tag for an enterprise system, MACH means buying multiple subscriptions that can fluctuate more in price. This, coupled with the increased overhead of operating a MACH-based website, can burden your budget. 

Is MACH Architecture Right for You? 

In our experience, most brands could benefit from at least a little bit of MACH. Some of our clients are taking a MACH-lite approach with a few services or apps, while others have adopted a more comprehensive MACH architecture. 

Whether MACH is the right move for you depends on your: 

  1. Platform Size and Complexity: Smaller brands with tight budgets and simple websites may not need a full-on MACH approach. But if you’re managing content across multiple sites and apps, managing a high volume of communications and transactions, and need to iterate quickly to keep up with rapid growth, MACH is often the way to go. 
  2. Level of Security: If you’re in a highly regulated industry and need things locked down, you may be better off with a single enterprise system than a multi-vendor MACH solution.  
  3. ROI Needs: If it’s time to replace your system anyway, or you’re struggling with internal costs and the diminishing value of your current setup, it may be time to consider MACH. 
  4. Organizational Structure: If different teams are responsible for distinct business functions, MACH may be a good fit. 

How To Implement MACH Architecture

If any of the above scenarios apply to your organization, you’re probably anxious to give MACH a go. But a solid MACH architecture doesn’t happen overnight. We recommend starting with a technology audit: a systematic, data-driven review of your current system and its limitations.

We recently partnered with career platform Wingspans to modernize its website. Below is an example of the audit and the output: a seamless and responsive MACH architecture. 

The Audit

  1. Surveys/Questionnaires: We started with some simple questions about Wingspan’s website, including what was working, what wasn’t, and the team’s reasons for updating. They shared that they wanted to offer their users a more modern experience. 
  2. Stakeholder Interviews: We used insights from the surveys to spark more in-depth discussions with team members close to the website. Through conversation, we uncovered that website performance and speed were their users’ primary pain points. 
  3. Systems Access and Audit: Then, we took a peek under the hood. Wingspans had already shared its poor experiences with previous vendors and applications, so we wanted to uncover simpler ways to improve site speed and performance. 
  4. Organizational Structure: Understanding how the organization functions helps design a system to meet those needs. The Wingspans team was excited about modern technology and relatively savvy, but they also needed a system that could accommodate thousands of authenticated community members. 
  5. Marketing Plan Review: We also wanted to understand how Wingspans would talk about their website. They sought an “app-like” experience with super-fast search, which gave us insight into how their MACH system needed to function. 
  6. Roadmap: Wingspans had a rapid go-to-market timeline. We simplified our typical roadmap to meet that goal, knowing that MACH architecture would be easy to update down the road. 
  7. Delivery: We recommended Wingspans deploy as a headless site (a site we later developed for them), with documentation we could hand off to their design partner. 

The Output 

We later deployed Wingspans.com as a headless site using the following components of MACH architecture:

  1. Microservices: Wingspans leverages microservices like Algolia Search for site search, Amazon AWS for email sends and static site hosting, and Stripe for managing transactions.
  2. APIs: Wingspans.com communicates with the above microservices through simple APIs. 
  3. Cloud-Native: The new website uses cloud-computing services like Google Firebase, which supports user authentication and data storage. 
  4. Headless: Gatsby powers the front-end design, while Cosmic JS is the back-end content management system (CMS). 

Let’s Talk MACH

As MACH evolves, the conversation around it will, too. Wondering which components may revolutionize your site and which to skip (for now)? Get in touch to set up your own technology audit.

Feel like you’re seeing a lot more website pop-up banners these days asking about your cookie preferences? Those cookie banners are here to stay, and they’re a vital part of compliance for websites of all sizes. 

As global standards for consumer privacy and data protection continue to climb, businesses are burning more time and resources to keep up. One VentureBeat article pegged the cost for a business of maintaining data privacy compliance at an eye-popping $31 million — and the costs of non-compliance can be even higher. Failing to stay on top of this complex patchwork of regulations can trigger real consequences, from steep fines and penalties to the indirect costs of reputational harm and lost business. 

Cookie consent is one part of a holistic data privacy strategy — and an increasingly important one. Global privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD), require companies to inform visitors about the data collected on their website via cookies and provide them with granular choices about what they’re willing to share. Cookie consent management solutions help users manage cookie preferences when they enter your site, presenting a banner  that informs users about how cookies are used and letting them decide which information (if any) they want cookies to collect. 

Cookie consent management solutions are rapidly evolving to keep up with changing data privacy standards. CookiePro is a solution from OneTrust designed specifically for small to medium businesses, offering a more automated way to ensure website and mobile applications stay compliant with cookie consent and global privacy regulations. At Oomph, we’ve helped several clients integrate CookiePro into their sites in recent months and think it’s on track to become an industry standard for cookie consent management. 

For organizations that are already juggling multiple site integrations, does it make sense to add another? To answer that, let’s take a look at why cookie consent matters, how a tool like CookiePro can help, and if it’s right for you. 

Why Do I Need a Cookie Consent Solution?

To comply with privacy laws and provide a transparent experience that builds trust, many website owners are rethinking how they manage compliance. Adding a cookie consent tool to your website can improve the experience for you and your users. 

Ensure Compliance

Not taking data privacy seriously can cost you. In December 2022, Meta (the parent company of Facebook) agreed to pay $725 million to settle several class-action lawsuits that found Facebook had let third-parties access users’ private data and their friends’ data without user permission. Oracle has been sued for collecting 4.5 billion personal records from consumers who have specifically opted out of sharing, and Starbucks is potentially facing a lawsuit for continuing to “track customers ‘after they’ve declined all but required cookies.’” 

While big-name companies get most of the bad press around data privacy, you don’t have to be a global enterprise to face similar consequences. In 2022, the total value of settlements for class-action lawsuits set a new record at $63 billion — and data breach and privacy class action settlements were among the top 10 settlement categories. Instead of risking a costly settlement, a much less expensive approach is to invest in a solution to help manage the work of compliance.

Build Trust

Beyond protecting your organization from legal action, demonstrating that you care about compliance helps your business build trust and long-term relationships with users. Data privacy is becoming more important to consumers of all ages, with 74% of people ranking data privacy as one of their top values

A cookie consent solution lets users know that they’re in charge of their own data. It clearly discloses which information your business collects and uses, putting the power in their hands to control the data they share. If users want to change what they’re comfortable sharing later, they can easily update their settings. That level of transparency helps set the tone for your customer interactions, turning users into loyal brand advocates. 

Optimize Efficiency

If your website serves users in multiple states or countries, keeping up with the patchwork of state, federal, and international laws is virtually impossible without software. Eleven states have unique data privacy laws in place right now, and 16 states introduced privacy bills during the 2022 to 2023 legislative cycle. 

Factor in international regulations like GDPR, and it would take more hours than there are in a day to curate the individual preferences of your customer base. Plus, which of your team members is watching in case any regulations change? The most efficient approach is to use an automated cookie solution to curate consent requirements based on the user’s location and more. 

What Is CookiePro?

Developed by OneTrust, which offers more robust data privacy solutions for enterprises, CookiePro started as a product in the OneTrust platform. After recognizing the need among small and medium businesses for a turnkey consent tool, OneTrust spun off CookiePro as a standalone solution.

CookiePro offers plans starting at around $40 per month, making it a budget-friendly alternative to enterprise solutions like OneTrust (or the cost of a lawsuit settlement). CookiePro comes with core compliance features like user-level consent management, acceptance customization, data mapping and recordkeeping, support for over 250 user languages, and additional security features. 

After helping several of our clients implement CookiePro, there are a few key features that stand out for us:

Beyond CookiePro, there are a growing number of other cookie consent solutions on the market, such as Termly and Cookiebot by Usercentrics. The right choice for you will depend on your existing tech stack, budget, and goals  — the most important step is to put something in place to protect yourself and your users.  

Where Should I Start?

Taking a proactive approach is key to ensuring data privacy for your users and avoiding costly consequences. Educate yourself on the different regulations and requirements, figure out the gaps in your compliance approach, and invest in tools that can help reduce risk and manual effort for your team. 

Feeling overwhelmed or need a fresh perspective? Oomph’s accessibility and compliance audit is a great place to start. We can help you go beyond cookie consent to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and other regulatory standards, helping you mitigate risk and deliver on user expectations. Reach out to us to schedule your site audit. 

What’s been holding you back from migrating your website off of Drupal 7?

Maybe your brand is juggling other digital projects that have pushed your migration to the back burner. Maybe the platform has been working well enough that migration isn’t really on the radar. Or maybe (no shame here) you’ve been overwhelmed by such a massive undertaking and you’re feeling a little like Michael Scott:

Michael Scott, a character from NBC’s show The Office, says
“I don’t wanna work. I just want to bang on this mug all day.”

We get it. Whether you’re migrating to a new version of Drupal or a different platform, it’s a time-consuming process — which means now is definitely the time to get started.

While the Drupal Security Team recently announced it would extend security coverage for Drupal 7 from November 2023 to January 2025, those extra 14 months are ideally the time to plan and execute a thoughtful migration. Giving yourself ample time to plan for life after Drupal 7 is something Oomph has been recommending for a while now, and we’re here to help you through it.

3 Reasons To Start Your Drupal 7 Migration Now

1. Because Migration Takes Time

Migrating your site isn’t as simple as flipping a switch — and the more complex your site is, the more time it can take. Imagine two boats changing course in the water: It takes a massive container ship longer to turn than a small fishing boat. If your site is highly complex or has a lot of pages, it could easily take a year to fully migrate (not including the time it takes to select a partner to manage the process and kick off the work).

Even if your site isn’t so robust, you’ll do yourself a favor by building in a time buffer. Otherwise, you could risk facing a security gap if you run into complications that slow the process down. Some of the major factors that can impact timeline include:

2. Your Site Performance Is Less Than Ideal

Yes, Drupal 7 sites technically have security coverage until 2025. But if you’re still on Drupal 7, you’re missing out on the best that Drupal currently has to offer.

First, Drupal 7 is not fully compatible with PHP 8, a new and improved version of PHP that many websites are built on today. While Drupal 7’s core supports PHP 8, some contributed modules or themes on your site might not, which could create hiccups in your site performance.

In addition, the Drupal community is constantly putting out new features that aren’t available on Drupal 7. Some of the most exciting ones include:

Sticking with Drupal 7 means not only missing out on this new functionality, but also on support from the Drupal community. Interest and activity from web devs on Drupal 7 continues to wane, which means your team may find it harder to get help from others to deal with bugs or other issues. You’re also likely to see fewer new features that are compatible with the older version – so while other sites can keep up with the evolving digital landscape, a Drupal 7 site is increasingly stuck in the past.

3. To Save Your Team’s Sanity

Odds are good that if your site is still running on Drupal 7, your team is already having trouble trying to make it work for your needs. Starting your migration now is key to getting your site running as smoothly as soon as possible — and sparing your team from unnecessary misery.

Consider these pain points and how your team can address them in your migration:

Options for Life After Drupal 7

Now that Drupal 7 is officially winding down, what’s next for your website? Deciding whether to go Drupal-to-Drupal, Drupal to another CMS, or a different route entirely depends on your technical needs and resources.

Drupal 10

If Drupal 7 has served your team well in the past, then Drupal 10 is the logical choice. The newest version of Drupal is ideal for more complex sites with extensive content modeling, varying user roles, and workflow requirements. To make things easier, you can leapfrog over Drupal 8 and 9 and migrate your Drupal 7 site directly to the latest and greatest version.

Many of our clients at Oomph are going this route, since Drupal 10 offers both a range of new features and familiarity for Drupal-versed teams to cut down on the post-migration learning curve.

WordPress or Another CMS

Not sure if Drupal 10 is the best fit? If your site is on the small side or if you don’t require lots of functionality, then Drupal may be more than you really require.

In that case, moving off of Drupal altogether might be in your best interests, helping you streamline your ongoing development needs and reduce maintenance and hosting costs. Here are a few alternatives for Drupal 7 users looking for a less robust platform without sacrificing a great web presence:

An Internal Stopgap

Depending on your organization, now might not be a good time to migrate or rebuild your site. This is especially true if you’re already invested in an ongoing site redesign or rebuild. If you’re still trying to figure out your digital future, consider temporary measures you can take to stay protected once Drupal 7’s security coverage ends.

One possibility to consider is rolling up your site under another digital property in your organization. Even if it’s only an interim solution, it can help you buy time to make the best long-term plan for your website. Another option would be to develop a smaller static website with a refreshed design that would eventually be replaced with the upgraded CMS.

Tips for a Successful Migration

As your site’s technical foundation, Drupal delivers plenty of horsepower. However, the digital home you build on that foundation is what really counts. It’s crucially important to make sure all the pieces of your site work together as one — and a migration is a perfect opportunity to assess and optimize.

Over time, websites tend to accumulate “cruft” — the digital equivalent of dust and cobwebs. Cruft can take many forms: outdated, unnecessary, or poorly written code; deprecated site features; or obsolete or outdated content, files, and data. Whatever cruft exists on your site, migration is a chance to do some digital spring cleaning that can improve site performance and reduce maintenance time.

Beyond digital hygiene, evaluating each element of your site strategically can help you get the greatest business value from your migration.

No matter what you plan to tackle alongside your migration, it’s a big project. An experienced guide can make all the difference. Our team of die-hard Drupal enthusiasts has led many Drupal-to-Drupal and replatforming projects for clients, including complex e-commerce and intranet sites. For us, a successful migration is one that’s grounded in strategy, follows technical best practices, and — most importantly — can support and evolve with your brand over time.

Need a hand deciding which route to take for your Drupal 7 migration? We’d love to talk.

Finding yourself bogged down with digital analytics? Spending hours just collecting and organizing information from your websites and apps? Looker Studio could be the answer to all your problems (well, maybe not all of them, but at least where data analytics are concerned).

This business intelligence tool from Google is designed to solve one of the biggest headaches out there for marketers: turning mountains of website data into actionable insights. Anyone who’s ever gone down the proverbial rabbit hole scouring Google Analytics for the right metrics or manually inputting numbers from a spreadsheet into their business intelligence platform knows that organizing this data is no small task. With Looker Studio, you can consolidate and simplify complicated data, freeing up more time for actual analysis.

With so many customizable features and templates, it does take time to set up a Looker Studio report that works for you. Since Google’s recent switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, you might also find that certain Looker Studio reports aren’t working the way they used to.

Not to worry: Our Oomph engineers help clients configure and analyze data with Looker Studio every day, and we’ve learned a few tips along the way. Here’s what to know to make Looker Studio work for your business.

The benefits of using Looker Studio for data visualization and analysis

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio pulls, organizes, and visualizes data in one unified reporting experience. For marketers who rely heavily on data to make informed decisions, Looker Studio can save precious time and energy, which you can then invest in analyzing and interpreting data.

Key benefits of using Looker Studio include:

How Oomph uses Looker Studio

As a digital-first company in the business of helping other digital-first companies, we’re big fans of Looker Studio. We think the platform is a great way to share trends on your websites and apps in an easy-to-digest way, making monthly or quarterly reporting much more efficient.

Whether you’re looking for basic insights or need sophisticated analysis, Looker Studio’s visualization capabilities can support smarter, more informed digital decision-making. Here’s a peek at some of the metrics we monitor for our own business, including:

Oomph Looker Studio sample dashboard

We also use the platform to drill deeper, comparing trends over time, identifying seasonal fluctuations and assessing the performance of specific campaigns. We leverage features like dashboards and filters in Looker Studio to give our clients an interactive view of their data.

How Looker Studio Works With GA4

Google Analytics, now known as GA4, is one of the primary tools we connect to Looker Studio. GA4 is the latest version of Google’s popular analytics platform and offers new features and functionality compared with its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA), including new data visualization capabilities.

As many companies migrate over to GA4, they may be wondering if reporting will be similar between GA4 and Looker Studio – and if you need both.

While GA4 reports may challenge Looker Studio’s capabilities, Looker Studio provides a variety of features that go beyond what GA4 can do on its own. While GA4 dashboards and reports just include GA4 data, Looker Studio can import data from other sources as well. This means you can use Looker Studio to track trends in your site’s performance, regardless of the data source.

Looker Studio also has a unique feature called “LookML,” which allows users to create custom data models and transformations. This means you can tailor your data to your specific needs, rather than being limited by GA4’s built-in reporting. Finally, Looker Studio’s robust sharing and collaboration features allow teams to share data and insights easily and efficiently.

If your company set up Looker Studio before switching to GA4, you may notice a few metrics are now out of sync. Here are a few adjustments to get everything working correctly:

How To Set Up a Looker Studio Report

  1. Choose a template for your dashboard or create one from scratch. If you’re not sure, you can browse through templates to get an idea of what Looker can do.
A view into the Looker Studio template gallery
  1. Connect your data source. Looker supports a long list of sources, including Google, MySQL, AWS Redshift, and more. Don’t worry if your data isn’t in Google – Looker will likely be able to connect to it regardless.
Add data to a report using built-in Google connectors…
…or search for specific Conectors, some of which are provided by partners
  1. Choose your metrics. These are the specific data points you want to track and analyze in your report. You can customize your metrics to fit your specific needs.
  2. Build your dashboard. You can add charts, tables, and other visualizations to help you understand your data. Looker makes it easy to drag and drop these elements into place.
  3. Share it with others. You can either create a share link so that others can access the dashboard directly or you can set up automatic updates to be sent on a regular basis. This makes it easy for others to stay up-to-date on changes and progress.
Reports can be eamiled to participants on a schedule using Looker’s scheduling tool

A Powerful Path To Data Insights

The digital landscape is growing more fragmented and complex by the day, but tools like Looker Studio make it infinitely easier to find your path forward. Taking the time to configure and customize the platform can deliver major ROI by helping you understand user needs, pinpoint website strengths and challenges, and craft the right digital strategy.

Crunched for time or not sure where to start? Oomph can help take the hassle out of data analysis by setting up and monitoring your Looker Studio dashboards. Get in touch to chat about your needs.

With low-code and no-code development tools, anyone can be a developer. Right?

Oprah You're a Developer

That depends. While working in low-code/no-code tools may feel like you’ve unlocked the power of the digital universe, there are still many projects that require traditional full-code solutions.

According to Zapier’s recent no-code report, over 50% of no-code users started in the past year, many of whom are self-taught. Industry analysts also expect that by 2025, over 70% of the applications organizations develop will rely on no-code/low-code tools. That’s not surprising, given that these tools lower the barrier to entry – and the cost – of developing new sites and apps.

With a slew of effective low-code/no-code solutions on the market today, the question isn’t whether you should use no-code/low-code tools to evolve your digital footprint. It’s how and when you should use them so that the tools work for your organization, not against it.

What Is Low-Code/No-Code?

There are three ways to build websites or apps: full-code, low-code, and no-code. Developers hold the keys to the proverbial full-code city, but low-code and no-code open the door to people without a coding background.

While it’s tempting to brush off low-code and no-code as “same same but different,” the differences do matter. Understanding what they are and how they work will help you choose the best route for whatever digital property you need to build.

Low-code development

Low-code development uses APIs, drag-and-drop tools, code and process templates, and more to help build websites, apps, and workflows. These tools typically require some coding skills, but nothing like what you’d need to create a full-code solution. That makes it much quicker and easier to create a product using low-code development than writing all of the code from scratch.

No-code development

No-code development uses visual builders and other simple tools that allow people without any coding skills to build digital experiences. Through drag-and-drop, visual flows, and templated plug-ins, you can build something beautiful without having to touch the code at all. They’re one step more accessible than low-code solutions, making them compelling options for organizations that need fast and cost-effective development.

Pros and Cons of Low-Code/No-Code Development

Low-code/no-code tools take a lot of the time, cost, and aggravation out of traditional development – but they’re not a cure-all for your coding challenges. Before you dive in, keep their strengths and limitations in mind.

Pros of low-code/no-code

Cons of low-code/no-code

When Should You Use Low-Code/No-Code Tools?

For simple projects where hitting budgets and timelines is more important than highly customized design, low-code/no-code tools can be a great solve. They’re especially good for:

What Should You Look For in a Low-Code/No-Code Tool?

Before you choose a solution, consider whether anyone on your team has basic coding skills. If yes, low-code tools may be up your alley. If not, consider narrowing your focus to the many no-code tools around.

Whichever route you go, look for these features in both low-code and no-code tools:

When Should You Bring in an Agency To Build a Full-Code Solution?

Sometimes, only a custom or full-code solution will do. The more unique you want your digital property to be, the more likely it is that you’ll need to call in an expert. We also suggest you look for support if:

Get Help Leveraging the Right Tools for the Right Projects

You wouldn’t build a house on shaky ground, would you? Then why build an experience on a platform that might not actually be able to support it?

Though no-code/low-code tools certainly democratize the web development market, they aren’t a silver bullet. If you know that whatever you’re building is simple enough that a no-code/low-code tool and your existing team can support it, we say go for it.

But if you’re even a little uncertain, consider getting an outside opinion on how to lay a strong foundation for your next development project.

Want help deciding whether no-code, low-code, or full-code is best for you? We’d love to talk with you about your needs.

More than two years after Google announced the launch of its powerful new website analytics platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the final countdown to make the switch is on.

GA4 will officially replace Google’s previous analytics platform, Universal Analytics (UA), on July 1, 2023. It’s the first major analytics update from Google since 2012 — and it’s a big deal. As we discussed in a blog post last year, GA4 uses big data and machine learning to provide a next-generation approach to measurement, including:

At Oomph, we’ve learned a thing or two about making the transition seamless while handling GA4 migrations for our clients – including a few platform “gotchas” that are definitely better to know in advance. Before you start your migration, do yourself a favor and explore our GA4 setup guide.

Your 12-Step GA4 Migration Checklist

Step 1: Create a GA4 Analytics Property and Implement Tagging

The Gist: Launch the GA4 setup assistant to create a new GA4 property for your site or app. For sites that already have UA installed, Google is beginning to create GA4 properties automatically for them beginning in March 2023 (unless you opt out). If you’re migrating from UA, you can connect your UA property to your GA4 property to use the existing Google tracking tag on your site. For new sites, you’ll need to add the tag directly to your site or via Google Tag Manager.

The Gotcha: During property setup, Google will ask you which data streams you’d like to add (websites, apps, etc…). This is simple if you’re just tracking one site, but gets more complex for organizations with multiple properties, like educational institutions or retailers with individual locations. While UA allowed you to separate data streams by geography or line of business, GA4 handles this differently. This Google guide can help you choose the ideal configuration for your business model.

Step 2: Update Your Data Retention Settings

The Gist: GA4 lets you control how long you retain data on users and events before it’s automatically deleted from Google’s servers. For user-level data, including conversions, you can hang on to data for up to 14 months. For other event data, you have the option to retain the information for 2 months or 14 months.

The Gotcha: The data retention limits are much shorter than UA, which allowed you to keep Google-signals data for up to 26 months in some cases. The default retention setting in GA4 is 2 months for some types of data – a surprisingly short window, in our opinion – so be sure to extend it to avoid data loss.

Step 3: Initialize BigQuery

The Gist: Have a lot of data to analyze? GA4 integrates with BigQuery, Google’s cloud-based data warehouse, so you can store historical data and run analyses on massive datasets. Google walks you through the steps here.

The Gotcha: Since GA4 has tight time limits on data retention as well as data limits on reporting , skipping this step could compromise your reporting. BigQuery is a helpful workaround for storing, analyzing and visualizing large amounts of complex data.

Step 4: Configure Enhanced Measurements

The Gist: GA4 measures much more than pageviews – you can now track actions like outbound link clicks, scrolls, and engagements with YouTube videos automatically through the platform. When you set up GA4, simply check the box for any metrics you want GA4 to monitor. You can still use Google tags to customize tracking for other types of events or use Google’s Measurement Protocol for advanced tracking.

The Gotcha: If you were previously measuring events through Google tags that GA4 will now measure automatically, take the time to review which ones to keep to avoid duplicating efforts. It may be simpler to use GA4 tracking – giving you a good reason to do that Google Tag Manager cleanup you’ve been meaning to get to.

Step 5: Configure Internal and Developer Traffic Settings

The Gist: To avoid having employees or IT teams cloud your insights, set up filters for internal and developer traffic. You can create up to 10 filters per property.

The Gotcha: Setting up filters for these users is only the first step – you’ll also need to toggle the filter to “Active” for it to take effect (a step that didn’t exist in UA). Make sure to turn yours on for accurate reporting.

Step 6: Migrate Users

The Gist: If you were previously using UA, you’ll need to migrate your users and their permission settings to GA4. Google has a step-by-step guide for migrating users.

The Gotcha: Migrating users is a little more complex than just clicking a button. You’ll need to install the GA4 Migrator from Google Analytics add-on, then decide how to migrate each user from UA. You also have the option to add users manually.

Step 7: Migrate Custom Events

The Gist: Event tracking has fundamentally changed in GA4. While UA offered three default parameters for events (eventcategory, action, and eventlabel), GA4 lets you create any custom conventions you’d like. With more options at your fingertips, it’s a great opportunity to think through your overall measurement approach and which data is truly useful for your business intelligence.

When mapping UA events to GA4, look first to see if GA4 is collecting the data as an enhanced measurement, automatically collected, or recommended event. If not, you can create your own custom event using custom definitions. Google has the details for mapping events.

The Gotcha: Don’t go overboard creating custom definitions – GA4 limits you to 50 per property.

Step 8: Migrate Custom Filters to Insights

The Gist: Custom filters in UA have become Insights in GA4. The platform offers two types of insights: automated insights based on unusual changes or emerging trends, and custom insights based on conditions that matter to you. As you implement GA4, you can set up custom insights for Google to display on your Insights dashboard. Google will also email alerts upon request.

The Gotcha: Similar to custom events, GA4 limits you to 50 custom insights per property.

Step 9: Migrate Your Segments

The Gist: Segments work differently in GA4 than they do in UA. In GA4, you’ll only find segments in Explorations. The good news is you can now set up segments for events, allowing you to segment data based on user behavior as well as more traditional segments like user geography or demographics.

The Gotcha: Each Exploration has a limit of 10 segments. If you’re using a lot of segments currently in UA, you’ll likely need to create individual reports to see data for each segment. While you can also create comparisons in reports for data subsets, those are even more limited at just four comparisons per report.

Step 10: Migrate Your Audiences

The Gist: Just like UA, GA4 allows you to set up audiences to explore trends among specific user groups. To migrate your audiences from one platform to another, you’ll need to manually create each audience in GA4.

The Gotcha: You can create a maximum of 100 audiences for each GA4 property (starting to sense a theme here?). Also, keep in mind that GA4 audiences don’t apply retroactively. While Google will provide information on users in the last 30 days who meet your audience criteria — for example, visitors from California who donated more than $100 — it won’t apply the audience filter to users earlier than that.

Step 11: Migrate Goals to Conversion Events

The Gist: If you were previously tracking goals in UA, you’ll need to migrate them over to GA4, where they’re now called conversion events. GA4 has a goals migration tool that makes this process pretty simple.

The Gotcha: GA4 limits you to 30 custom conversion events per property. If you’re in e-commerce or another industry with complex marketing needs, those 30 conversion events will add up very quickly. With GA4, it will be important to review conversion events regularly and retire ones that aren’t relevant anymore, like conversions for previous campaigns.

Step 12: Migrate Alerts

The Gist: Using custom alerts in UA? As we covered in Step 8, you can now set up custom insights to keep tabs on key changes in user activity. GA4 will deliver alerts through your Insights dashboard or email, based on your preferences.

The Gotcha: This one is actually more of a bonus – GA4 will now evaluate your data hourly, so you can learn about and respond to changes more quickly.

The Future of Measurement Is Here

GA4 is already transforming how brands think about measurement and user insights – and it’s only the beginning. While Google has been tight-lipped about the GA4 roadmap, we can likely expect even more enhancements and capabilities in the not-too-distant future. The sooner you make the transition to GA4, the sooner you’ll have access to a new level of intelligence to shape your digital roadmap and business decisions.

Need a hand getting started? We’re here to help – reach out to book a chat with us.

Was this blog written by ChatGPT? How would you really know? And what impact would it have on Oomph’s site if it were?

Yes, we know there are some great AI-detecting tools out there. But for the typical reader, picking an AI article out of a crowd can be challenging. And with AI tools like ChatGPT delivering better-quality results than ever, many companies are struggling to decide whether to hand their content and SEO reins over to the machines.

While AI can add value to your content, companies should proceed with caution to avoid some potentially big pitfalls. Here’s why.

Quality Content Is Critical to SEO

All the way back in 1996, Bill Gates said “Content is King.” This phrase became ubiquitous in the early years of SEO. At that time, you could rank well simply by writing about a search topic, then optimizing your writing with the right keywords.

Since then, search algorithms have evolved, and the Google search engine results page (SERP) is more crowded than ever (not to mention the new continuous scroll). While ranking isn’t as easy as it used to be, content – whether it’s a video, an image, a product, a blog, or a news story – still matters. When content ranks well, it’s an ad-spend-free magnet for readers that eventually become customers and subscribers. What else on your website can do that?

That makes your content special. It also puts a premium on producing a high volume of relevant content quickly. For years, brands have done this the old-fashioned way: with copywriters and designers researching, writing, revising, creating images, and publishing ad infinitum.

Until AI.

AI-Powered Content Generation Changes How We Make Content

There’s no point in denying it: AI will impact SEO. But it’s still up for debate just how deep that impact will be.

The rise of AI-powered language processing tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E makes quick content generation a reality. They can easily produce high-quality content that will likely only get better with time. ChatGPT can produce an article in minutes, not hours, and even suggest keywords for you.

For all those reasons, marketers have embraced these new tools – ChatGPT shattered records when it reached 100 million daily active users in a mere two months. As the saying goes, though, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should – especially if using it means compromising on quality or losing what makes us, well, us.

After all, AI is a tool, not a replacement human. If you’re considering integrating AI into your martech stack, here’s what to keep in mind.

4 Things to Know Before Using AI for Content

1. Google may ding you.

In August 2022, Google released an algorithm update called the “helpful content update.” You can read more on Google’s blog, but what’s important is this: Google prioritizes content by people, for people.


In other words, using AI solely to churn out articles that feed the search engine beast won’t work. You should continue to create content that puts your audience first, is genuinely helpful, and is 100% unique to your brand.


But Google’s stance does beg the question: Will they really know if you used AI to generate your content? Well, they do have a very special set of skills…

Animated gif of Liam Neesen mouthing the words “I will find you” from the movie Taken (2008)

While AI content can be good quality and easy to read, tools like Crossplag’s AI Content Detector and OpenAI’s GPT-2 Output Detector can detect whether something is written by a human or by an AI bot. That comes down, in part, to the fact that AI lacks EEAT – experience, expertise, authority, and trust – which is not just a major factor in SEO, but a major reason why people consume content in the first place.

2. AI isn’t always accurate.

AI culls information from across the web, and it’s remarkably good at it. But aggregating massive amounts of information isn’t the same as fact-checking. AI tools often get it wrong – even with easily verifiable, fact-based questions.

Take the question: What is the largest country in Central America that isn’t Mexico?

AI’s answer:

The largest country in Central America that isn’t Mexico is Guatemala. Guatemala has an area of about 108,890 square kilometers, making it the largest country in Central America by land area. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, Belize to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Source for AI’s answer

Google’s answer:

Nicaragua is the largest country in the subregion, with a total area of over 130 thousand square kilometers, followed by Honduras, with more than 112 thousand square kilometers.

(Hint: Google is right)

This is a problem for your business and for your SEO. Accuracy is an important part of EEAT. It’s especially critical for “your money or your life” (YMYL) content, like financial or medical advice. In these cases, the content you publish can and does impact real people’s lives and livelihoods.

Spotty accuracy has even prompted some sites, like StackOverflow, to ban AI-generated content.

3. You don’t have the rights to your AI-generated content.

AI-generated content isn’t actually copyrightable. Yes, you read that right.

As it stands, the courts have interpreted the Copyright Act to mean that only human-authored works can be copyrighted. Something is only legally defensible when it involves at least a minimal amount of creativity.

We’re all familiar with this concept when it comes to books, TV shows, movies, and paintings, but it matters for your website, too. You want your content and your ideas to be yours. If you use AI-generated content, be aware that it isn’t subject to standard intellectual property rules and may not be protected.

4. AI-generated content can’t capture your voice.

Even if you fly under Google’s radar with your AI content, it still won’t really feel like you. You are the only you. We know that sounds like it belongs on an inspirational poster, but it’s true. Your voice is what readers will connect with, believe in, and ultimately trust.

Sure, AI may succeed at stringing together facts and keywords to create content that ranks. And that content may even drive people to your site. But it lacks the emotional intelligence to infuse your content with real-life examples and anecdotes that make readers more likely to read, share, and engage with your content and your brand.

Your voice is also what sets you apart from other brands in your industry. Without that, why would a customer choose you?

AI and SEO Is a Journey, Not a Destination

AI is not the end of human-driven SEO. In reality, AI has only just arrived. But the real opportunity lies in finding out how AI can enhance, not replace, our work to create winning SEO content.

Think about content translation. Hand translation is the most premium translation option out there. It’s also costly. While machine translation on its own can be a bit of a mess, many translation companies actually start with an automated solution, then bring in the humans to polish that first translation into a final product. If you ask us, AI and SEO will work in much the same way.

Even in a post-AI world, SEO all comes down to this guidance from Google:

“If it is useful, helpful, original, and satisfies aspects of E-E-A-T, it might do well in Search. If it doesn’t, it might not.”

If and when you do decide to leverage AI, keep these tips in mind:

At Oomph, we believe quality branded content is just one component of a digital experience that engages and inspires your audience.

Need help integrating SEO content into your company’s website? Let’s talk.

Among enterprise-scale organizations, from healthcare to government to higher education, we’ve seen many content owners longing for a faster, easier way to manage content-rich websites. While consumer-level content platforms like Squarespace or Wix make it easy to assemble web pages in minutes, most enterprise-level platforms prioritize content governance, stability, and security over ease of use.

Which is a nice way of saying, sometimes building a new page is as much fun as getting a root canal.

That’s why we’re excited about Site Studio, a robust page-building tool from our partners at Acquia. Site Studio makes content editing on Drupal websites faster and more cost-effective, while making it easy for non-technical users to create beautiful, brand-compliant content.

In this article, we’ll explain what Site Studio is, why you might want it for your next Drupal project, and a few cautions to consider.

What is Site Studio?

Formerly known as Cohesion, Site Studio is a low-code visual site builder for Drupal that makes it easy to create rich, component-based pages without writing code in PHP, HTML, or CSS. Essentially, it’s a more feature-rich alternative to Drupal’s native design tool, Layout Builder.

How does Site Studio work? Site developers lay the groundwork by building a component library and reusable templates with brand-approved design elements, such as hero banners, article cards, photo grids, buttons, layouts, and more. They can either create custom components or customize existing components from a built-in UI kit.

Content editors, marketers, and other non-technical folks can then create content directly in the front end of the website, using a drag-and-drop visual page builder with a full WYSIWYG interface and real-time previews.

Who is Site Studio For?

In our experience, the businesses that benefit most from a powerful tool like Site Studio tend to be enterprise-level organizations with content-rich websites — especially those that own multiple sites, like colleges and universities.

Within those organizations, there are a number of roles that can leverage this tool:

Content owners

With Site Studio, marketers and content editors can browse to any web page they want to update, and edit both the content and settings directly on the page. Rewriting a header, swapping an image with a text box, or rearranging a layout can be done in just seconds.

Site builders

Using Drupal’s site configuration interfaces and Site Studio’s theming tools, site builders can easily create Drupal websites end-to-end, establishing everything from the information architecture to the content editing experience.

Brand managers

Managers can define site wide elements, like headers and footers or page templates, to ensure that an organization’s branding and design preferences are carried out. They can also create sub-brand versions of websites that have unique styles alongside consistent brand elements.

IT and web teams

By putting content creation and updates in the hands of content authors, Site Studio frees up developers to work on more critical projects. In addition, new developers don’t need to have expert-level Drupal theming experience, because Site Studio takes care of the heavy lifting.

What Can You Do With Site Studio?

Site Studio makes it easy to create and manage web content with impressive flexibility, giving content owners greater control over their websites without risking quality or functionality. Here’s how.

Go to market faster.

Site Studio’s low-code nature and library of reusable components (the building blocks of a website) speeds up both site development and content creation. Creators can quickly assemble content-rich pages, while developers can easily synchronize brand styles, components, and templates.

Site Studio provides a UI Kit with around 50 predefined components, like Text, Image, Slider, Accordion, etc… Developers can also build custom components. Change any component in the library, and all instances of that component will update automatically. You can also save layout compositions as reusable ”helpers” to streamline page creation.

Build beautiful pages easily.

While we love the power and versatility of Drupal, its page building function has never been as user-friendly as, say, WordPress. Site Studio’s Visual Page Builder brings the ease of consumer-level platforms to the enterprise website world.

This intuitive, drag-and-drop interface lets users add or rewrite text, update layouts, and change fonts, styles, colors, or images without any technical help. And, it’s easy to create new pages using components or page templates from the asset library.

Ensure brand consistency.

With Site Studio, you can define standards for visual styles and UI elements at the component level. This provides guardrails for both front-end developers and content creators, who draw on the component library to build new pages. In addition, Site Studio’s import and sync capabilities make it easy to enforce brand consistency across multiple sites.

Get the best out of Drupal.

Because Site Studio is designed exclusively for Drupal, it supports many of Drupal’s core features. With Site Studio’s component library, for instance, you can create templates for core content types in Drupal. Site Studio also supports a number of contributed content modules (created by Drupal’s open-source community), so developers can add additional features that are compatible with Site Studio’s interface.

What Are Some Limitations of Using Site Studio?

There’s no doubt Site Studio makes life easier for everyone from marketers to web teams. But there are a few things to consider, in terms of resource costs and potential risks.

Start from the ground up.

To ensure the best experience, Site Studio should be involved in almost all areas of your website. Unlike other contributed modules, it’s not a simple add-on — plan on it being the core of your Drupal site’s architecture.

This will let you make decisions based on how Site Studio prefers a feature to be implemented, rather than bending Drupal to fit your needs (as is often the case). Staying within Site Studio’s guardrails will make development easier and faster.

Be careful with custom components.

With its recent Custom Components feature, Site Studio does let developers create components using their preferred code instead of its low-code tools. So, you can create a level of custom functionality, but you must work within Site Studio’s architecture (and add development time and cost).

If you decide instead that for a given content type, you’re going to sidestep Site Studio and build something custom, you’ll lose access to all its components and templates — not to mention having to manage content in different systems, and pay for the custom development.

Rolling back changes is tough.

A standard Drupal site has two underlying building blocks: database and code. Drupal uses the code (written by developers) to carry out functions with the database.

When a developer changes, say, the HTML code for a blog title, the change happens in the code, not the database. If that change happened to break the page style, you could roll back the change by reverting to the previous code. In addition, most developers test changes first in a sandbox-type environment before deploying them to the live website.

By contrast, with Site Studio, most changes happen exclusively in the database and are deployed via configuration. This presents a few areas of caution:

That’s why Site Studio requires meticulous QA and careful user permissioning to prevent inadvertent changes that affect site functionality.

One Last Thing: You Still Need Developers

While it’s true that just about anyone in your organization can create pages with Site Studio’s intuitive interface, there are still aspects of building and maintaining a Drupal website that require a developer. Those steps include:

However, once the components have been built, it’s easy for non-technical content owners to create beautiful pages. In the end, you’ll be able to launch websites and pages faster — with the creativity and consistent identity your brand deserves.

Interested in learning whether Site Studio is a good fit for your Drupal website? Contact us for more info.

There’s a phrase often used to gauge healthcare quality: the right care, at the right time, in the right place. When those elements are out of sync, the patient experience can take a turn for the worse. Think about missed appointments, misunderstood pre-op instructions, mismanagement of medication… all issues that require clear and timely communication to ensure positive outcomes.

Many healthcare organizations are tapping into patient engagement tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to drive better healthcare experiences. In this article, we’ll cover a number of use cases for AI within healthcare, showing how it can benefit providers, their patients, and their staff in an increasingly digital world.

Healthcare Consumers are Going Digital

Use of AI in the clinical space has been growing for years, from Google’s AI aiding diagnostic screenings to IBM’s Watson AI informing clinical decision making. But there are many other touchpoints along a patient’s continuum of care that can impact patient outcomes.

The industry is seeing a shift towards more personalized and data-driven patient engagement, with recent studies showing that patients are ready to integrate AI and other digital tools into their healthcare experiences.

For instance, healthcare consumers are increasingly comfortable with doctors using AI to make better decisions about their care. They also want personalized engagement to motivate them on their health journey, with 65% of patients agreeing that communication from providers makes them want to do more to improve their health.

At the same time, 80% of consumers prefer to use digital channels (online messaging, virtual appointments, text, etc…) to communicate with healthcare providers at least some of the time. This points to significant opportunities for digital tools to help providers and patients manage the healthcare experience.

Filling in Gaps: AI Use Cases for Healthcare

Healthcare will always need skilled, highly trained experts to deliver high quality care. But, AI can fill in some gaps by addressing staffing shortages, easing workflows, and improving communication. Many healthcare executives also believe AI can provide a full return on investment in less than three years.

Here are some ways AI can support healthcare consumers and providers to improve patients’ outcomes and experiences.

Streamline basic communications

Using AI as the first line to a patient for basic information enables convenient, personalized service without tying up staff resources. With tools like text-based messaging, chatbots, and automated tasks, providers can communicate with people on the devices, and at the times, that they prefer.

Examples include:

Remove barriers to access

AI algorithms are being used in some settings to conduct initial interviews that help patients determine whether they need to see a live, medical professional — and then send them to the right provider.

AI can offer a bridge for patients who, for a host of reasons, are stuck in taking the first step. For instance, having the first touchpoint as a chatbot helps overcome a barrier for patients seeking care within often-stigmatized specialities, such as behavioral health. It can also minimize time wasted at the point of care communicating things like address changes and insurance providers.

Reduce no-show rates

In the U.S., patient no-show rates range from 5.5 to 50%, depending on the location and type of practice. Missed appointments not only result in lost revenue and operational inefficiencies for health systems, they can also delay preventive care, increase readmissions, and harm long-term outcomes for patients.

AI-driven communications help ensure that patients receive critical reminders at optimal times, mitigating these risks. For instance:

Close information gaps

Imagine a patient at home, alone, not feeling well, and confused about how to take their medication or how to handle post-operative care. Not having that critical information can lead to poor outcomes, including readmission.

Delivering information at the right time, in the right place, is key. But multiple issues can arise, such as:

By providing consistent, accurate, and timely information, AI-enabled tools can provide critical support for patients and care teams.

Minimize staff burnout

Burnout and low morale have contributed to severe staffing shortages in the US healthcare system. The result is an increase in negative patient outcomes, in addition to massive hikes in labor costs for hospitals and health systems.

AI can help lighten the burden on healthcare employees through automated touchpoints in the patient journey, such as self-scheduling platforms or FAQ-answering chatbots. AI can even perform triage informed by machine learning, helping streamline the intake process and getting patients the right care as quickly as possible.

This frees up staff to focus on more meaningful downstream conversations between patients and care teams. It can also reduce phone center wait times for those patients (often seniors) who still rely on phone calls with live staff members.

Maximize staff resources

When 80% of healthcare consumers are willing to switch providers for convenience factors alone, it’s crucial to communicate with patients through their preferred channels. Some people respond to asynchronous requests (such as scheduling confirmations) late at night, while others must speak to a live staff member during the day.

Using multimodal communication channels (phone, text, email, web) offers two major benefits for healthcare providers. For one, you can better engage patients who prefer asynchronous communication. You can also identify the ratio of patients who prefer live calls and staff accordingly when it’s needed most.

Leverage customer feedback

AI provides fast, seamless avenues to gather and track patient satisfaction data and create a reliable, continual customer feedback loop. Tools like chatbots and text messaging expand the number of ways patients can communicate with healthcare providers, making it easier to leave feedback and driving not only a better digital customer experience but potentially leading to better satisfaction scores that may impact payment or quality scores.

AI offers another benefit, too: the ability to identify and respond more quickly to negative feedback. The more swiftly a problem is resolved, the better the consumer experience.

A Few Tips for Getting Started

First, find a trusted technology partner who has experience with healthcare IT stacks and understands how AI fits into the landscape. The healthcare industry is distinctly different from other verticals that might use tools like chatbots and automated tasks. You need a partner who’s familiar with the nuances of the healthcare consumer experience and regulatory compliance requirements.

Next, start small. It’s best to choose your first AI applications in a strategic, coordinated manner. One approach is to identify the biggest bottlenecks for care teams and/or patients, then assess which areas present the lowest risk to the customer experience and the greatest chance of operational success.

Finally, track the progress of your first implementation. Evaluate, iterate, evaluate again, and then expand into other areas when you’re comfortable with the results.

Focal points for iteration:

Above all, remember that successful use of AI isn’t just about how well you implement the technology. It’s about the impact those digital tools have on improving patient outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction with their healthcare experience.

Interested in exploring the specific ways AI can benefit your care team and patients? We’re here to help! Contact us today.