Apple’s iOS 14.5 may not be the most recent release (iOS 15 lets you unlock your phone while wearing a mask and has 38 new emoji, but I digress!), but it altered the digital marketing landscape for good. The logic was sound – give users more control over how their data is collected and used by publishers and advertisers. But the impact on brands that rely on paid social campaigns has been enormous, and not in a good way.
On Facebook, less data equals less accuracy. When the accuracy of data suffers, paid social campaigns become less effective. If your brand is running paid ads on social media, you don’t need to be reminded how important accurate targeting, optimizing, and reporting are to successful, cost-effective, and profitable campaigns.
And it’s not just brands who are unnerved. The changes are having a real and measurable impact on Facebook, too. The digital behemoth reports that its ad revenue will take a hit to the tune of a cool $10 billion in 2022 following significant share price damage late last year, both of which which the company directly attributes to the new iOS.
So what’s the solution for advertisers? This might sound radical, but imagine going back to basics and distilling the absolute essence of social media – community and connection – into the most powerful marketing tool there is: relationships. And if, as brands, we acknowledged that building authentic relationships is the future of digital marketing, could the ‘humble’ influence be our saviour?
opting out is the new black
In 2020, 59% of Australians reported having experienced problems relating to the handling of their personal information, so the option to turn off tracking was not surprisingly a huge hit with consumers.
Since the update, which was announced in June of 2020 and launched on April 21, 2021, 94.5% of iOS 14.5 users offered the chance to restrict tracking have turned it off. With fewer people allowing apps to collect their data, the effect on social media ad campaigns and retargeting has been significant.
Your Facebook ad targeting becomes less accurate when the app knows less about its users. That means you end up paying more money trying to reach the right audience. And that’s not great for your next campaign.
What happens to your ad campaign when users opt out?
If iOS users choose to opt out of Facebook’s tracking, the domino effect on your brand piles up into 4 short episodes, and it’s not great viewing.
Phase One: If Facebook can’t track user behavior, the effectiveness of its tracking pixel is weakened.
Phase Two: With an inefficient tracking pixel, you experience inaccurate reporting across conversions, remarketing efforts, and everything in between.
Phase Three: Inaccurate reporting means your targeting options are weakened and your ads are no longer hyper-personalised.
Stage Four: Without hyper-personalized ads, your campaigns see more wasted spending and a reduced ROI.
So should you cancel your Facebook ads, delete your account, and head back to MySpace? Of course not. Facebook ads still have a valuable role to play in any social media marketing strategy. But you’ll need to diversify if you want to stretch your marketing budget further and enjoy maximum ROI.
Remember, Apple isn’t making sweeping changes to its operating system for no reason. They’re acting because people want a more authentic experience when dealing with brands online. And what’s the most authentic way to connect your brand with an audience hungry for transparency and honesty? The human touch.
Influencers bring your audience to you
With Apple’s latest changes, hyper-targeting your ad campaigns will become a challenge. What was previously an advertising bullseye is now a shot in the dark to hope you’re speaking to the right audience.
Partnering with influencers essentially eliminates this problem.
Finding new ways to connect with audiences in 2022 is more important than ever. Instead of chasing individual consumers around the interwebs, brands are able to leverage influencers’ existing audiences to tap into followers who are hungry for product suggestions and recommendations.
By leaning on an influencer’s existing audience you can choose what demographic to speak to and create powerful social proof. Forget about third-party cookies, privacy concerns, or data collection. Instead of trying to chase your audience from one website to the next, you get to focus on building authentic communities…that come directly to you.
Influencer marketing combines the authenticity of individual creators with your brand voice to create a branded ad that doesn’t look or feel like an ad at all.
Your brand exists as native content in users’ feeds, and the recommendation from their favorite influencer helps build trust and authority that translates naturally to sales.
So much more than a fad, influencers drive real purchasing decisions, with 49% of consumers depending on influencer recommendations in 2021.
But be warned, it’s not enough to jump on IG and start DM’ing influencers with a ton of followers or who you think have a great vibe. The key to maximizing influencer marketing ROI is to find and nurture authentic relationships with the right influencers. It’s less about who you know, but who you know. Ya know?!