Apple’s iOS 14 Update & What It Means For Your Business
You either read about it in the news already as “The War” between tech giants Facebook and Apple, or you may have been notified by Facebook directly. Either way, it’s coming soon, and it’s going to have a massive impact on your advertising, and small businesses in particular.
There’s a lot of rumors and misinformation flying around, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you better understand the impact this may have on your business, how you should deal with it, and the long-term approach to successfully navigating these changes.
What is actually going to happen?
Apple is making this change to stop apps on iOS from mining and using data without the user’s consent. While Facebook gained the most media attention about it, this also impacts TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and every other app which collects data. Users will receive a pop-up asking if they’d like to OPT-IN to being tracked.
How is this going to impact social media platforms?
While there are many (social media) platforms out there to advertise on, Facebook is the preferred choice for many brands because of its targeting capabilities – powered with lots of user data in combination with artificial intelligence. If Facebook can no longer see what users are doing in the app, their data models will no longer work as they used to. This also impacts Facebook’s Audience Network since it relies on other apps being able to track user data. In a nutshell, this may have the following consequences:
1: Your tracking will become less accurate, and it will be harder to understand the true performance of your campaigns. These are changes affecting your tracking:
- Facebook’s default attribution model with change from 28 days click to 7 days click.
- Server-side tracking can help track those users who opted out of tracking, but are accessing your website through a mobile browser.
- Facebook will be limiting reporting to 8 conversion events per domain, but you can still work with custom conversions. Facebook will initially choose these 8 events automatically for you, but you will soon be allowed to change these.
2: The quality of targeting could suffer. Lookalike audiences may become less powerful, and FB will have less data points to understand a user’s interests & behaviors.
3: You may need to adapt your strategy. CBO, Power5 and other AI based strategies will likely won’t work as good anymore, so brands will likely need to put much stronger emphasis on the offer, creative & ad copy.
4: People’s newsfeed will likely be impacted – both in terms of organic content AND ads. Because both rely on getting data from what you did in the past.
What can you do?
Nobody knows how it will play out exactly, so there isn’t all too much you can do to prepare your brand. It will be a learning curve, everyone will try to find solutions that work once it’s rolled out. Facebook is still coming up with a full battle plan for what they recommend, but this is what you can do for now:
- Set up server side tracking: If you go to the events tab, and go to the settings of your pixel, you now have the option to install Conversion API for server-side tracking (screenshot below). Manual set-up is complex, so we recommend setting it up through a partner integration. For Shopify, you can find instructions from Shopify here (or more in-depth instructions here).
- Facebook will roll out where you can choose the 8 events that you want to track. You can read more about that here. We’ll update here as soon as this gets available. We recommend to complete domain verification to gain control over the events listed above. More info here.
- Since your website will still be able to record data, using custom landing pages and custom discount codes for each channel you’re advertising on may become your first move around the coming tracking issues.
- Shift your mindset to a top-line advertising approach. Correct attribution is not a new issue. Most bigger brands that are driving traffic from multiple channels use this approach. Instead of evaluating every ad and audience by it’s directly attributed ROAS, look at your bottom line results, i.e. total revenue – total marketing spent. Then, look at different attribution models to get a sense of the impact of each channel and make high level decisions based on that.
What are our thoughts at Rocket?
While small businesses, in particular, will be affected, we do not believe they are equally impacted. Advertisers are likely going back a few years where the tracking was nowhere near as sophisticated as now, and thus marketing principles will play a much more important role again. We believe the key for small businesses to weather this storm and turn this challenge into an opportunity is diversification.
After installing the Conversion API tracking, we recommend you do the following:
- Diversify: Be less reliant on just FB/IG ads: Start doing e-mail marketing, google ads, SEO, influencer marketing, PR and so on.
- Work on your offer: If you have a great offer, you don’t need to use the most advanced ad platform to drive traffic. Put much more focus on “value first”, on relationship building, on your funnel. We believe lead generation will be a much more common strategy when the targeting is no longer as advanced as it is now.
- Start testing other channels: List your products on etsy, amazon, ebay and co.
- Start developing first party data: Build a list of (potential) customers, survey and segment them.
- Focus on strategy and brand building: Facebook spoiled entrepreneurs. As these effects take place, your positioning becomes much more important again. Take it as an opportunity to think about your brands differentiators and value proposition again. Optimize for user experience.
- Start focusing on LTV: As customer acquisition becomes more difficult, retention strategies become the name of the game.
This will impact everyone in your industry. Nobody is gonna have a magic bullet right away, so there will be a learning phase until brands and advertisers have fully adapted.
Facebook is a bidding platform ruled by supply and demand. If brands drop out of advertising on FB because the tracking is showing poor results, competition will decrease, CPMs will fall and although conversion rates fall due to less accurate targeting, CPA could stabilize because of the cheaper cost to reach people on the platform.