This year, April brought more than just May flowers.
On April 26, Apple introduced a privacy update for iPhones and iPads (iOS 14.5) that limits behavioral ad targeting (i.e. showing people personalized ads based on their previous actions). It also makes measuring conversions / ROI from your ads more difficult.
But don’t worry—the sky is not falling!
In this article, we will share 3 things you can do right now to minimize the impact of the Apple privacy update on your business.
Set up server-side tracking
Server-side tracking is a type of online tracking that takes place on your website’s server (rather than in the browser). So you can, to an extent, bypass Apple’s client-side filtering and send data directly to the ad platform (to build your retargeting list, measure conversions, etc.)
If you advertise on Facebook Ads, here’s a tutorial on how to set up server-side tracking using the Facebook Conversions API.
The downside: Twitter and many other popular ad platforms don’t support server-side tracking yet.
Stay tuned as we are likely to see an explosive growth in new advertising technologies in the coming months to tackle these changes.
Build your email database and collect 1st-party data
It’s difficult to run personalized ads when you can’t identify who’s who online (hmmm… is this that customer who likes formal wear, or is it actually the one who prefers a casual look?)
Thankfully, many advertising platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to tap into your email database to deliver personalized ads (using email addresses as uniques identifier to define your target audience).
You can also tap into 1st-party data to further enrich your ad strategy (i.e. use what Facebook knows about your customers—or layer in more of your own data—to make your ads more relevant).
For example, imagine that you own a clothing brand. Facebook knows that John Doe (firstname.lastname@example.org) ‘likes’ several men’s fashion Pages, has a certain level of education and income, and much more. Using this information to further refine your target audience and ad creative can produce great results.
Adobe recently introduced a neat feature called Segment Match that lets companies enrich their 1st party data by securely sharing it with partners.
Let’s say that you own a jewelry brand. You could partner with a clothing brand and receive valuable data about your mutual customers—such as their purchase history. You could then use that data to further segment your audience and serve personalized ads for jewelry that goes well with the kinds of clothing they buy.
Dust off your customer personas
It is now more important than ever to really know your customers and leverage that understanding in your marketing efforts.
Dust off and update those customer personas.
Find out where your customers hang out online… what they like/dislike… causes they support…
Then use your knowledge about your customers to optimize ad targeting and deliver highly relevant ads.
For instance, LinkedIn offers incredible options for account-based marketing (ABM), allowing ad targeting based on demographic and firmographic knowledge of your ideal customers. And Reddit is a promising platform for contextual advertising, allowing you to place ads in thousands of ‘subreddits’ (communities) organized around specific interests. These capabilities remain unaffected by the iOS14 update.
Although it’s enticing to look at Apple’s privacy update and decry the death of online advertising, this is really just an evolution.
Businesses who build their strategy on email, 1st party data, emerging ad technologies, and a deep understanding of their customers are the ones that will thrive in next decade.
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss your digital advertising strategy for the privacy-centric future.