July 15, 2021
Apple’s latest iOS 14 update introduced the App Tracking Transparency (ATT), giving users more control over their data and how it’s used. This increased emphasis on enforcing user privacy has created a new standard for how advertisers collect information. Users now have the option to opt out of third-party tracking. This has a massive effect on platforms, such as Facebook, and makes it significantly harder for advertisers to target and personalize their campaigns on ad networks. But the impact on companies trying to market their products or services is even bigger.
Marketers can’t use Facebook’s machine learning algorithms the way they used to, which allows advertisers to better connect the right ad to the right person at the right time. For example, every time a user chooses to hit the “Ask App Not to Track” button, it negatively affects the ability of marketers to deliver targeted advertising. Marketers are missing out on the valuable optimization data they rely on to improve performance for digital advertising. The users who don't opt in still see ads, but they aren’t tailored to their interests anymore. Marketers now have to make changes because of ATT and its effect on performance marketing. So, how do you evolve and use adaptive growth to face this challenge?
Before ATT, many companies allowed Facebook's algorithms to do a lot of the work for them. Sometimes, they could DIY their marketing approach and wouldn’t even need a marketing company to assist them. That isn’t the case anymore. Now, you have to change your entire approach to data-driven creative production. Before ATT, you could focus on the volume of creative, and it worked very well. Even marketers who just threw out massive volumes of creative with no strategies behind it and let Facebook do all the matchmaking for them were successful. That doesn't work as well anymore because Facebook’s signal is weaker.
To counter all of these issues, you have to give Facebook higher quality inputs than you did before and prioritize which events are most important to you. You can’t rely on volume anymore. Ladder has been preparing for this reality by significantly increasing its capabilities not just within creative execution, but also dedicated creative strategy. A deeper understanding of user segments and research-powered insights can power more resonant creative that counteracts Facebook not being as effective in audience matching to people based on their recent behavior.
An engine of creative testing that's continuously building and producing and launching and iterating creative won’t work for you as it had in the past. The quality and caliber of inputs fed into Facebook advertising are what’s important. How do you increase ad quality, though? Do the research required to create stronger Facebook ads.
Because Facebook had tons of data and an amazing signal, they were very good at predicting when people were more likely to make a purchase. For example, they could accurately predict which product you were interested in based on your friends. By knowing who you were talking to at any given time, they could determine the type of product you were talking about. In other words, they could predict how you were going to behave to a specific ad based on which friend you were talking to at that moment. They could then turn that insight into which ad to show you and when to show it to you. This essentially induced higher purchasing intent by matching the right ad to the right person at the right time, improving conversion rates.
Because Facebook has a weaker signal now, your ads have to be stronger in order to see that same improvement as before. This essentially means your ads will need more resonance amongst your audience. You won’t be able to accomplish that simply by throwing a ton of stuff at Facebook’s machine learning algorithms and let them do all the pairing for you.
You have to have a stronger layer of ad strategy going into the production of the creative. As your volume goes down, your quality will have to go up on a per asset basis. To achieve this, the entire structure of your marketing team will have to change because the people who were responsible for the highest volumes of creative production don’t have the same skill sets required to implement the extra strategy layer of creative you need to go into the machine.
To counteract changes such as ATT, and others that will follow, your company needs to become more defensible as an organization. In Ladder’s case, what does becoming more defensible mean to us and our clients? Our clients will also have to become more defensible with how they're growing. We will always want to leverage what platforms like Facebook and Google can provide, but we can’t be totally reliant on them anymore.
So, how do we learn from this? One thing Ladder has done is to ensure that our team of experienced marketers has more functions that contribute to the ultimate output of creative testing. We want to be prepared so that even if we lose the signal through a platform like Facebook, we will still be able to produce incredibly well-researched, data-driven creative, regardless of what Apple has done to Facebook.
Ladder has developed a methodology around creative testing that is channel agnostic. The importance of this is that we are producing universally applicable content by researching customers, knowing what they want to see, and understanding how to position that against the competition to stand out. Ultimately, whether it's executed on Facebook, on Google, on a website page, or through MailChimp, channel expansion is what makes you defensible. Even if we couldn't advertise on Facebook, the core process of creative strategy-producing content that can then be executed on the right channel at the destination point still stays true. We can’t develop tunnel vision and become overly reliant upon any given channel. We must evolve and rely on our own strategies to survive.
In the next couple articles, we’ll cover everything you need to know about creating successful performance marketing campaigns. Tune in next week for the first article, where we’ll cover audience testing and data-driven ad creation. Want to find out more about Ladder’s methodology and how we create successful ad campaigns across all platforms? Contact us today for more information!
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