With Apple all set to change user settings on its iOS devices in the name of privacy, it has put Facebook in a kind of dilemma. The new privacy settings are likely to put a dent in Facebook’s mobile advertising and it will greatly impact the advertisers who rely on their ads for marketing their products and services. Ever since Apple announced that they are going to change the way advertising is done, to protect their users’ privacy, there has been a rift between the two tech giants for the last couple of months. Apple has prepared some new privacy settings that will change how ads will be tracked across its devices – iPhones, iPads, Mac, etc. The growing concern regarding this is that it will significantly impact advertising and online marketers.
In the last couple of months, we have seen everything from the ad industry retaliating against Apple to some of the ad companies, including Facebook, trying to implement their kind of standard that would not hinder their marketing campaigns while respecting the privacy of the users. But it seems like Apple is not bothered at all.
It is known that Facebook tracks your data for targeted advertising. Hence, Facebook fears that Apple’s announcement of privacy changes will discourage users from enabling tracking. Since ads are the core of their business, the new privacy settings will limit their ability to target ads and make revenue.
While the war has already begun between Facebook and Apple, my focus is on something else. As someone with over two decades of experience in the digital marketing industry, I feel like changes are an inevitable part of the industry, and marketers need to optimize their campaigns with customized solutions.
It is all about optimizing creatives differently and more efficiently. It is for this reason that I created this blog post where I will explain to you in detail how ad marketers can overcome the issues that are currently happening in the ad market.
How we Used to Optimize Ads till 2020
When it comes to reaching their audience, advertising and marketing professionals face a lot of challenges. Factors such as checking the cross-device compatibility, browser options, demographics, etc., are really important. Nevertheless, it allowed us to design many creatives for a wide range of audiences, and these ads were placed in numerous categories and platforms. While it is still the norm, there will be limits.
The new PCM protocol developed by Apple prevents cross-site tracking. Nevertheless, it will enable marketers to measure the effectiveness of their web campaigns. This means that Apple’s new protocol is going to block way more traffic and data than Facebook’s AEM.
As a marketer, what can you do now? What are the set of actions you can take?
Let’s dive deep into it.
Optimizing Creatives in 2021 – Build a Brand
Personally, my number one recommendation that I still follow for my company Fixel, is brand building.
Branding has power that no great ad campaign has. It makes the right people appreciate your business and generate a greater ROI.
What should it look like?
Will it resonate with your target audience?
How should it make people feel?
How do you want people to perceive your brand?
These questions are going to be the stepping stones for how you will be building your brand. Now it is easier said than done. To answer these questions, you need to focus on the tactics. You will be running your ads and campaigns as usual for iOS users focused mainly on Facebook. But, there are several tactical changes that you need to implement to get things placed right away.
Focus on the Last Click Engagement:
Put your funnel efforts on an ad creative that will generate high engagement in the last click after seeing the ad.
Suppose one of your users saw your ad via the Facebook app browser, but she completed the purchase on Safari. So, there is no connection. I am saying that the ad platforms, including Facebook, will have a hard time optimizing purchase events on cross-browser and cross-device platforms.
As a marketer, your primary goal is to determine what will generate high-quality traffic. We have already seen that high-quality traffic leads to a higher conversion rate. Therefore, it can be a challenge to optimize traffic into real conversions.
My best bet is to focus on engagement signals. You can use Fixel, or you can simply use page views with attributes like:
- Time on site
- By scroll, etc.
What I would like to convey is that you need to determine the engagement signs, whether manually or using a tool like Fixel, within your website that represents high-quality visitors. You can then build it as your ‘conversion event’. This is a vital start to brand building and one of the ways to tackle new policy changes.
To better understand, let’s take the example of Fixel.
Using Fixel, you can focus on last-click engagement according to the:
- Number of scrolls
- Date and time
- Product views
- Added to cart or not
- Organic search
- And many other variables
Once you are done with last-click engagement, you need to make use of Google Analytics. How?
Use Google Analytics for Finding Opportunities
Recently, Facebook announced that they are going to shut down Facebook Analytics. It was a great platform for the majority of online marketers. The alternative option you are left with is Google Analytics, which is also a great tool. Here are some ways:
- Analyze time and interest categories, demographics to identify potential audience.
- Within these combinations, look for higher conversion rates. You can also look into the site average for relevant data.
- Most importantly, if you don’t have sufficient data, you can use other engagement signals like “High engagement scoring”.
When I use Google Analytics, I usually take 4-5 relevant metrics as per my business goals, and then I review each one of the metrics to figure out where I have a difference in the conversion rate. To better understand, consider the following table:
Gender Age Device State Interest Users Conversion Rates Difference from Average F 35-45 iPhone NY Fashion 4000 2.60% 73.33% M 25-34 Android CA Fashion 3000 2.80% 86.67% F 25-34 iPhone NY Cars 1500 3.00% 100.00% M 35-45 iPhone TX Restaurants 2900 2.70% 80.00%
*Average Conversion Rate = 1.5%
This is an example of the data that you can pull within your Google Analytics. Once you know the metrics and find the audience that you feel will be great conversions, things can turn out differently.
For instance, if I find an audience segment of females from New York, aged between 25 and 34 who love cars, I can easily segment this within Facebook and other ad platforms and run ads; it works well. This is because I thoroughly understand where my audience is coming from and what they are interested in.
Just find the right combinations that are relevant to your marketing goals.
But when I talk about optimizing your media for audience engagement, how can you know that this can make you money?
Well, the answer is simple. Offline conversions!
The idea behind using offline conversion is taking the relevant data like email and phone numbers from your e-commerce store or CRM platform and connecting it with Facebook to create a more streamlined ad experience for the users. Next, you get the data of the ad or campaign on which your target audience is engaged with and optimize the media based on that engagement. You can cross-check it with offline (real-life conversions).
Important Factors to Consider When Using Facebook Offline Conversions
- Make sure that you import all your purchase data into Facebook’s Offline Conversion.
- After that, manually check each of the ad creatives and the users that generate high revenue.
- Keep in mind that offline conversions can only be used for reporting and not for optimization.
- The primary reason why I am recommending you and all other marketers to use Facebook’s Offline conversions is that, unlike Conversion API, offline conversions won’t be affected by the iOS / AEM limitations. So, this is a big plus.
Simply put, offline conversions are not going to be impacted or influenced by the changes in the latest iOS privacy policies.
I would also recommend you group your audiences according to the key message. That is;
1. Look for scalable audiences at the top of the funnel:
- Use the Facebook algorithm to optimize for specific audiences
- Reduce the number of messages
2. Segment your target users based on low engagement and high engagement audiences:
- High engagement – hard sale
- Low engagement – softer messages
3. Emphasize non-media channels for higher exposure:
- Use channels like SMS and email marketing to promote your brand, product, or service.
Consistency is the key here. You will really have to push your audience into looking at what you have to offer. I truly believe that creating a killer email marketing campaign will help you gain the right amount of conversion.
Last but not least, Facebook is not the only channel to market your products or services. You need to diversify your media on a larger scale. Make use of different social media platforms and ad networks to target your audience from all angles. Also, use Google Analytics and a robust CRM platform to measure the progress of your campaign. This will help you determine where things are going right and what aspects need improvement.
Overall, things are actually not that bad for marketers. You will just have to improvise and develop an optimized creative if you want to be successful in this competitive market. I would recommend to you not to just rely on Facebook anymore. Use diverse channels, including email and SMS, to leverage offline conversions.