iOS14 Updates and what they mean for your Facebook advertising

The much anticipated Apple iOS14 updates have finally come into play and as expected, they’re going to significantly change Facebook Ad capabilities. The short story is that Apple’s new update will mean iphone users get the lowdown on how apps will use their data and then be prompted to “opt in or “opt out”. If they opt out to sharing their data with external apps like Facebook, that means tracking their behaviour online gets more difficult. In laymans terms, we can’t see what they do or where they go after they click on your ad.

What does that actually mean?

  • We’re going to lose dynamic retargeting as we currently know it and will have less opportunities to retarget in general.
  • Because of this, we expect to see website custom audiences shrinking in size.
  • Reporting is going to take a bit of a battering as Facebook can’t report on the same stats anymore.
  • Our targeting of new interest-based audiences may become more difficult as the data Facebook has about people’s interests will be less.
What can you do?

If you’re a small business using Facebook Ads for basic brand awareness, engagement and conversions, the changes won’t be as catastrophic as you might initially think. It’s the businesses that were running many, many, dynamic retargeting ads for multiple products / multiple events that will feel the changes the most as events are now limited to 8 events per domain. There are a couple of simple things you can do to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

  • Verify your domain as you can still track what happens on a domain you own
  • Aggregate your events – pick the most important ones to your business i.e purchases
  • Stay calm. Monitor your Ads closely and be ready to adapt when needed

Keep a close eye on your ad campaigns over the coming weeks. Watch for things not delivery the results they once were and be ready to jump in and amend / start new campaigns if necessary. Make sure you’re utilising all the data you have such as your engagement audiences, external databases, lookalikes etc. We really need to see how these changes affect ads over the next few weeks before we can make strategic decisions about the future of ads. Just remember, you can switch them off at any point. So if you’re results are tanking, pause the ads and get your researcher hat on.

Take-home messages

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing and we need to be agile and able to adapt to these changes. They may have us feeling a little unsure about the future right now; but once the dust settles, we can take a look with our strategy hat on and start planning a new way forward. There are huge issues with how data is being acquired and used; so the iOS changes will be a good thing in the long run. We just need to sit tight, consider our options and remember – that’s when new ideas and better ways of working often come to life.

Facebook’s News Ban and How It Will Affect You

Well … it’s been quite a week in Facebook land.

Today, Facebook properly threw its proverbial toys out of the pram by banning any news sharing on the platform. Although this is throwing a spanner in the works for news organisations (and currently the many government/sport/travel pages which also seem to have been removed), this is going to be a pivotal moment for the way we all think about Facebook.

Facebook has made billions of dollars from the words, videos and imagery of others and although taking away the route by which hundreds of thousands of people get their news is harsh, it could be the way to pave a fairer way forward. If you want the full background to how we got here, check out this BBC article.

What can you do?

• Do not panic. Do not delete content. Do not start another page.

• If you’re not a news outlet, but your page has been disabled anyway in the mayhem, you can try and lodge a request through Facebook now. We’re not sure how far that will get you as apparently, there will be an appeals process where you can request a review to have your page reinstated starting on 25 February. That’s hearsay right now though so no harm in lodging the request.

• We’re pretty sure the pages and existing content are still there and it’s highly likely once Facebook gets its ducks in a row, everything will reappear.

• If your page is unaffected, you might want to stop adding external links *just* for a few days…. Although the ban is on news sites, other links like some blogs etc are also being banned. So for now, play it safe and give the links a miss.

• If you’re running Facebook ads, they will still continue to run. Yep, even if you’re a news outlet. Money certainly talks. Some people are ditching their ads as an act of defiance against Facebook, whilst some are actually pumping *more* into their ads to ensure their messages are seen.

• Don’t panic. Utilise your other digital marketing channels to communicate with your audience: Instagram, Pinterest, Clubhouse, your email database, EDMs, Google, SEM and even the phone or post!

This week, why not use the time you would have spent posting on Facebook to think about your digital marketing strategy. Are you too reliant on one platform? Have you worked hard enough to gather your own data and community? If you don’t like Facebook’s code of conduct, do you ethically want to keep spending your money there? Could you switch some of your budget or time to another marketing method that suits your brand better? We’re not saying to do any of those things tonight, but maybe use this as a good opportunity to consider the bigger picture.

Lush bath bomb

Lush UK exits social media (kind of)

The UK arm of cosmetics company Lush has just announced a drastic change to its social media strategy, basically exiting Facebook and Instagram in their traditional forms.

Lush famously do not pay to advertise their products online or offline. They focus on word of mouth, PR, events and partnerships to promote their brand – along with the amazingly strong scent that wafts up all the way up the high street from their stores.

Their media release said:

“Over the years we have created, published and cross-promoted organic content and conversations with the Lush community across multiple platforms and accounts. However, it has become more and more apparent that these genuine conversations with the Lush Community cannot grow without us paying for the reach and engagement. We are proud of what we have built organically using borrowed platforms, but it is time for a change. An audit of our social content and strategy demonstrated that on average, only 6% of our followers are serviced with our content in their newsfeed because we don’t pay to play. So in an effort to make Lush better educated as both technologists and consumers, we’re making the bold step to evolve our social media strategy.

Going forward the UK strategy is to primarily focus and invest more heavily in our owned platforms, where we have seen stronger engagement, rather than rely so heavily on third parties.”

This shift from social media to owned platforms is a bold and interesting one.  Lush will now be directing people to their website, their Lush Player (home to stories and interviews) and the Lush Lab website and app.

Lush will still be playing in the social space, but via staff profiles, partners, individual shop account and influencers.

I love this new approach and the stand they’re taking against the big boys. Driving people to your owned channels can only be a good thing.

If, as a brand, you don’t pay to advertise and rely on organic content, you’re basically talking to 10% of your audience on social media – so why not look for new ways to engage and inspire?

My biggest concern (if I was their social media manager) would be giving the power to the individual stores and staff members. I would imagine Lush are investing in some heavy-weight brand training for store managers to ensure a consistent tone of voice, content theme and visual look and feel for their social media. Creating a cohesive brand across so many subpages is a serious challenge, but if they manage it, these store pages are going to be able to tailor their content for local audiences, drive direct footfall and sales and build genuine relationships with their neighbours.

Stay tuned guys, this is going to be very, very interesting!