The iOS 14 update: What it means for you and your ad strategy

Keywords: iOS 14, ad strategy.

Have you heard? Apple has announced changes to its user privacy policy as part of its latest software update, iOS14, that’s set to launch this month. 

A feature called “App Tracking Transparency” was announced that allows users to opt-out of their data being tracked. 

This change will have an impact on your advertising as more customers may choose not to share their data with you. The first channel that this change is known to impact is Facebook and Instagram advertising. Other platforms, such as Google, are yet to respond.

We’ll outline the impact of these changes in more detail during this blog, but the key thing you need to know is that you may not be able to track the ROI of your advertising as effectively as you’re used to going forwards. 

For some, this may leave digital advertising as a brand exercise in the same category as TV and radio advertising. For others, it may make it an untenable channel. Things will come clearer over the coming months. In the meantime, we’ve got a few top tips to help you ensure that you’re still reaching the right audiences, with the right messages, at the right time. 

What are the changes I need to be aware of?

1. Changes to pixel events

Any campaigns you have set up that track a Pixel Event (such as a purchase, adding to a basket or filling out a form) will be under-reported when users opt-out. 

Facebook will initially choose the conversion events they believe are the most relevant to your business (based on your previous activity) – this can be changed by you later. All other events will be made inactive for campaign optimization. 

Facebook recommends you identify the eight conversion events most important to your business and arrange them in priority order in Events Manager. 

“Bear in mind that because only the highest priority event will be sent, whenever a customer takes multiple actions during a conversion window, all other events may report numbers that are lower than expected, even if they are within the eight. These events may still be happening, but they might not be reflected in Events Manager” Source: Facebook 

This means you could miss out on viewing a selection of important actions your customers take before converting.

2. Attribution changes

Your data picture will change as the attribution windows shrink. 

Where before, you could see 28-day click and 1-day view, Facebook is changing their reporting to: 

  • 7-day click (the default)
  • 1-day click
  • 1-day click and 1-day view
  • 7-day click and 1-day view

It may look like your results are decreasing when, in actual fact, you’ll be missing out on data and clicks that happen after seven days.

3. Targeting and retargeting limitations

As more people opt-out of tacking on their Apple devices, the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences and website Custom Audiences may decrease. 

This will also affect the size of your retargeting audiences. Customers might be big fans of your brand, but that doesn’t mean they won’t opt-out of seeing your ads. 

Read more about the changes in detail here

What does this mean for me? 

While the changes may appear daunting, there’s a lot you can do to react and ensure that your marketing success isn’t impacted. 

Stores that focus on delivering a top experience for their existing customers (rather than being reluctant to adapt) can still continue to get noticed by the right people and establish long-term connections with them. 

Keep reading for our recommended ways to react to the changes.

👎 Customers will be dissatisfied with the level of personalization they’ll receive 

Getting personalized experiences is important to shoppers:

  • 65% say they would be loyal to a brand if they get personalized offers
  • 71% feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal
  • 60% feel like brands are failing to deliver truly personalized experiences

Customers know that if they hand over their data, they’ll get a better experience for it. Moving forwards, don’t put all your personalization eggs in the ads basket. Now’s the time to deliver personalized experiences through other channels. 

First off, harness the power of your ESP and loyalty program together to run hyper-targeted email campaigns. Start by using your loyalty program data to identify your loyal, at-risk and churned customers. Then send them tailored loyalty emails they want.

For loyal customers, send emails showing the perks of your loyalty program (such as the rewards waiting in their account) to encourage them to return. 

For at-risk and churned customers sync across personalized, loyalty elements into your emails. Loyalty emails have a 44% open rate as customers know they have tailored information inside. 

Encourage customers to opt into the channels where you can better serve their personalization needs by rewarding them with loyalty perks for doing so. 

Donna Bella Hair achieves this by showing shoppers they’ll get “Insider updates” not sent to other customers if they opt into their SMS marketing. You could also reward shoppers loyalty points for signing up to your email newsletter.

Then, use these channels to engage in a two-way conversation with the customer – rather than broadcasting snooze-worthy deals and new product drops. 

🌟 Customers will be blind to generic ads so you’ll have an opportunity to make yours stand out

As the opportunity to serve personalized content in your ads narrows and they get served to a less optimized audience, diversify your content to build trust in your brand.

83% of people agree that “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.”

Do this by using your Facebook ads to showcase who you are as a brand and to connect with customers emotionally – rather than going for the hard sell.

Display educational content or give them a peep into your brand ethos. Edgard and Cooper, the pet food brand, use social media to showcase how customers can trade in loyalty points to plant trees. Hear more about Edgard & Cooper’s approach.

By telling shoppers the initiatives you support in your ads, you’ll acquire new customers who are aligned with your brand. These customers will have a higher CLTV as 68% would return to a brand if it shares the same values as them.

With the iOS 14 changes, Facebook Ads will become more of a brand-building exercise because it will be harder to make sure you’re speaking to the right people. Use them to celebrate what you stand for and to connect with customers, rather than just for quick conversions.

💖 Move away from Facebook Ads for acquisition and use them to serve your most cherished customers

Using Facebook ads as an acquisition channel has got more challenging and costly over time. The average CPC of Facebook ads in 2018 was $0.31 and as of September 2020, the CPC average stands at $0.39. The iOS 14 changes will make it harder to acquire the kind of customers who are more likely to convert: Look-alike audiences to your existing ones.

Instead of pouring your marketing spend into Facebook Ads to acquire new shoppers, use them to retarget your existing customers instead. 

53% of customers who make a second purchase go on to make a third. Encouraging shoppers to return to you has long-term gains. Plus, retargeting ads are 76% more likely to be clicked than regular display ads because the viewer already knows and trusts your brand. 

When setting up a retargeting campaign, export a list of your most dedicated customers through your loyalty program. Upload this list to Facebook and send them campaigns that remind them of your brand and the value you give them beyond the transactional. 

These ads could show them the perks of your program (like the free gifts they’re entitled to) as well as the VIP benefits they can access (like locked content not available to your whole customer base). Watch our interview with Adam from the Shopify agency, Blend Commerce, for more inspiration for retargeting campaigns

You could also use your retargeting ads to encourage your existing brand fans to recommend your store to others. In your ads, showcase how many loyalty points they’ll get for referring a friend to your store, and the perks they can spend them on. 

As customers are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend, you’ll acquire more customers who will convert and spend more.

The impact of this change is yet to be seen

While we don’t know how drastic the impact on your digital strategy will be – nor how many customers will opt-out of being tracked – one thing’s for certain: there are plenty of ways you can diversify your strategy to ensure that you continue to reach the right audiences.

Use the approaches outlined in this post to focus your attention on your existing customers, make your ads stand out from the rest, and secure long-term connections.

Want to know more changes to the ecommerce landscape that you need to react to? Check out our Accelerate 2021 ebooks and AMA sessions to get the low-down on the trends you need to be ahead of this year.

Accelerate 2021 Be Ahead Of The Trends

Special thanks to our friends at LoyaltyLion for their insights on this topic.
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