The Science Of Advertising Show: iOS14’s Impact On Facebook Advertisers

Jonathan Rolley (00:00):
Well, welcome to the Gold Coast Edition, that’s why I’m in shorts, of the Science of Advertising show. I’m here with one of the three gurus that I go to for expert counsel, specifically for social media. Dan, welcome to the show for our special edition.

Dan Richardson (00:18):
Thanks for having me, Jono.

Jonathan Rolley (00:19):
Today, we’re going to get laser focused on the changes that are happening with Apple and what that means for Facebook advertisers. So, to start with, can you just explain what’s happening with Apple and the changes that are occurring?

Dan Richardson (00:31):
Yeah, definitely. Specific changes we’re looking at at the moment relate to the iOS 14, and there’s really two components to that. The first one is that the apps we all know and love are going to ask for permission to track us and the behaviour on our phones. And the second component which is tied to that is Apple rolled out a new data sharing policy, of which they’re going to restrict, delay, and aggregate the data which is shared with our businesses and platforms.

In short, what that basically means is the data that we’re used to getting from an advertising perspective, it’s going to take longer to come to us, in some instances, as long as three days. It might not be as clear at an individual user level as it currently is.

Jonathan Rolley (01:12):
Got it. So anyone that’s advertising on Facebook, there’s going to be some changes then, isn’t there?

Dan Richardson (01:17):
Definitely. Anyone who’s really using any app in terms of advertising or delivering content, these changes are going to apply to them. So YouTube, Chrome, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat. It’s all going to apply.

Jonathan Rolley (01:24):
Okay. So let’s go to social media platforms and YouTube, because they’re probably the dominant ones from an advertising perspective. As a Facebook advertiser, what changes could you expect, and what impact will that have on your campaign performance?

Dan Richardson (01:41):
Yeah. To explain that, it’s probably important to take a step back and talk about how Apple changes being made over here, and Facebook’s rolling out their own changes over here in response to what Apple is doing.

Technical jargon of the big change Facebook’s making is they’ve launched their own update to their platform around aggregated event management. Basically what that means is how they’re going to work within the confines or playing field that Apple’s set from a development perspective.

Dan Richardson (02:07):
That is how we translate the impact that advertisers are going to see to their campaigns really down to two key areas. One is around attribution. The way that conversions are being recorded in campaigns is going to change.

It’s going to shift from 28-day click default Monday view to a seven-day click default Monday view. Basically means if you’re tracking sales or leads that come through after the week of clicking on your ads, it’s not going to be recorded from a conversions perspective in the Facebook Ads platform.

Dan Richardson (02:35):
The other component of that is around retargeting audiences. So, if all of a sudden a bunch of people opt-out of being tracked, your retargeting audiences are going to decrease in size. It’s probably going to reduce to about seven to eight.

Jonathan Rolley (02:47):
See, that’s interesting, because I go, one of Facebook’s superpowers is really its power of not only retargeting somebody who goes to your site, but more so, if you’re an industry, say solar or IVF or whatever it may be, Facebook’s very aware that you’ve visited other sites in that category, and then it can just serve a myriad of ads. So, in essence, soon as someone goes to your site, Facebook can serve all your competitors there as well. So this will change, won’t it?

Dan Richardson (03:12):
It will change, but it perhaps isn’t as great as people might be worried that, all of a sudden, they’re going to be flying blind with their campaigns, their targeting. But even if someone opts out, there will be still some data which will be shared back to Facebook or one of the other platforms. Just the way that that data is shared is different to the way that it currently is.

So Facebook’s going to use modelling, it’s going to reduce the window that you can retarget. So talking specifically about seven days versus 180 days might be currently in place, as well as other options that Facebook have in terms of the way that you’re engaging with content on Facebook versus perhaps off Facebook.

Jonathan Rolley (03:50):
But we should expect some deterioration in how effectively Facebook can target?

Dan Richardson (03:57):
I think the way that we’re talking about it with clients and with other people we’re talking with the changes about is the strategy and the value of the platforms is still the same.

The way they implement that strategy or media buying is just shifting. It’s just the best practices are going to change. So I wouldn’t say it’s about the declining effectiveness of the platform or of your campaigns. It’s just that what’s currently best practise in January 2021 is going to evolve.

Jonathan Rolley (04:20):
See, this is where I think it’s really interesting, because this is where it’s going to separate the amateurs from the pros. Because I think your amateur’s anyone that can think they can just plug in, load a Facebook campaign, and Facebook, the engine itself, delivers quite favourable outcomes, whereas now it’s going to be that tactician and the technician that is structuring the campaign that’s ultimately going to soar, whereas some others that are being overly reliant on the platform.

Is that your view?

Dan Richardson (04:45):
Yeah, definitely. I think what you’re using to measure success. I think if you’re used to jumping into a campaign and looking at your cost per lead from the past seven days, and you’re looking at the most recent things that have come through, and that’s what you’re evaluating campaign success with a pretty short-term focus, you’re gonna be in for a bumpy ride.

But if you’re looking at your long-term strategy in terms of the way that your business or your brand is engaging potential customers or existing customers on these platforms, then you’re going to be pretty set.

I think you just have to make sure that implementation and strategy work together, you’re not just purely looking at things from an implementation perspective.

Jonathan Rolley (05:18):
Interesting. In terms of the advice you’re giving your clients or brands now, what advice are you giving for them to help mitigate any potential risks?

Dan Richardson (05:27):
Definitely, probably keeping a sense of calm. And look, this is my biassed view of the world. Probably not going to run down the street, screaming, “The sky is falling!” Probably my position on it is the clouds are shifting a little bit, you just have to learn to adapt.

Very specifically, the advice that we’re giving clients is if you’re not currently capturing key campaign information at the point of conversion, whether it’s a sale or an equiry, you’re probably exposed.

So at the moment, your campaign can pass through the campaign and the audience and the ad that was responsible for that conversion coming through, and that’s going to be real time. That’s not going to change.

You can still always go back direct to the source, the raw data, see which campaign’s converting and what your cost per lead or sale is.

Jonathan Rolley (06:09):
So just on that, you’re meaning that you need to control that flow from Facebook through to a specific landing page so you know which ad is going to that landing page?

Dan Richardson (06:17):

Jonathan Rolley (06:17):
And you’re capturing that either in your CRM or-

Dan Richardson (06:19):
Or Google Analytics.

Jonathan Rolley (06:21):
… or Google Analytics.

Dan Richardson (06:22):
Whatever reporting software you use.

You want to make sure that you’re not relying purely on Facebook or whatever the platform is to report back that success. You’ve got redundancies in place around reporting the campaign, the platforms, and the ads which were responsible for that conversion.

Jonathan Rolley (06:38):
So the number one tip right now is make sure your setup is right, for any potential measure, the impact Facebook actually has on business.

Dan Richardson (06:45):
Absolutely. In the event that some of that data takes longer to come through or it’s not as clear as it currently is, you can go direct to the source to find that information, and make campaign decisions and calculate cost per lead or cost per sale.

Jonathan Rolley (06:57):
Love it. Anything else brands should be doing right now?

Dan Richardson (06:59):
Yeah, definitely. I think if you’re not currently using a seven-day click attribution, that’s very specific, but I would shift your campaigns to it now.

Jonathan Rolley (07:07):
So just already move to the new normal?

Dan Richardson (07:08):
Move to the new normal, have a look at what your current results are.

Facebook’s keeping both at the moment, which probably means they still have the legacy attribution all there. So you can actually toggle between our cost per sale is this, but when I put seven-day click on it, it’s this. Why is that?

It starts to analyse the impact this is going to have on your campaign, and probably start looking at strategy in terms of how long does it take from someone to click an ad to actually convert for us? What’s our sale cycle from the campaign perspective, so to speak.

Dan Richardson (07:36):
I think the other one is just making sure that you’ve got your technology set up. There’s a lot of specifics around making sure your domain is verified and you’re using the new tools on Facebook correctly. Just making sure you batten down the hatches.

Jonathan Rolley (07:49):
Right, but is there anything else brands should be doing?

Dan Richardson (07:55):
I think retargeting is probably an important one as well.

When we talk about retargeting, the thing that we often, well, the thing I think about most is typically site traffic retargeting, and that’s the one where Facebook are most exposed, I think, in terms of these changes as well.

Retargeting in terms of what you can do via the Facebook platform, could be people engaging your ads on Facebook, it could be people watching the video content, people who like your page, people who can see your posts, those aren’t going to be impacted.

All your on-platform activity on Facebook isn’t going to be impacted. It’s going to be about what happens once the people leave Facebook.

Dan Richardson (08:26):
So again, if you’re relying heavily on retargeting, or website retargeting, excuse me, or Facebook Ad products, which sit off that, like dynamic ads. Be looking at your overall retargeting strategy and what you could do in the event that your website traffic retargeting audiences decrease in size.

Jonathan Rolley (08:47):
That’s interesting, the saying the retargeting audience could decrease in size because it’s now a seven-day v. a 30-day window.

Dan Richardson (08:55):

Jonathan Rolley (08:56):
Or, is there anything else that we need to be aware of from retargeting?

Dan Richardson (08:59):
Yeah. Worst case scenario is a bunch of iOS users opt out of being tracked, and all of a sudden there’s-

Jonathan Rolley (09:01):
Ballpark idea, how many of those tracking will opt out, because that does count?

Dan Richardson (09:08):
Such a good question and we don’t have that ballpark. Not enough that I feel comfortable talking about.

This has happened in the past around location tracking, and again, because it’s different from app to app, and the app developers aren’t necessarily keen to broadcast their failures or their loss of audience share, it’s a pretty close-guarded secret. We don’t know. What we do know is it’s going to take quite a bit of time for the changes to be rolled out by Apple, for the apps to adopt them, and then to measure the impact on campaign performance and audience adoption.

The changes that we’re preparing for, from a Facebook perspective, Apple’s forced Facebook’s hand, but Facebook is also now running their own timeline in terms of the changes.

That’s what advertisers need to be conscious of, and that’s where really the first immediate impact will be.

Jonathan Rolley (09:59):
That’s really interesting, because I look at the lifecycle of, say, a Facebook agency. Started off, there was only a few people running Facebook or social agencies.

Now it’s literally anyone that’s graduated from any digital course starts their social agency. It’s really cluttered, and I think what we will see on the backend of this is Facebook’s going to be harder to get similar results to what we’re experiencing now.

We’re already seeing CPC’s and everything else go up with more demand, especially bigger brands going more aggressively.

Jonathan Rolley (10:26):
But I think what we’ll see is up to half of agencies go out of business over the coming years. It will really be the cream of the crop leading the way, but we’ll take that market share.

Really, the ones I feel are most at risk are probably smaller brands. Small budgets, they’ve got a small agency, and it’s a really simple, vanilla type of strategy.

Facebook Ad, simple campaign in-market audience, as such, and that’s as complex as it gets. And as soon as that data gets a little bit grey, there’s no complexity to counter it.

Is that the risk you see, are these smaller agencies and the smaller brands?

Dan Richardson (10:57):
Yeah, I think so. Look, I think from a campaign perspective, from an advertising perspective, smaller advertisers, they’re probably in for a bumpy ride, because, if they’re not getting enough data through their campaign in short amount of time, then they’re going to be most exposed to fluctuations.

Jonathan Rolley (11:13):
Because they’ll also be sitting there, going, “Is my campaign working or not?” The data’s probably suggesting it’s not, when it could be the opposite that they don’t get a clear read on it because they’re not.

Dan Richardson (11:22):
That’s it. I think, to your point, an agency perspective, if you’re jumping on the phone every week to tell the client how many leads or sales you got through in the past seven days, and that’s your measure for success, you’re probably in for a bumpy ride.

But if you’re working with clients around strategically how do these platforms fit within your channel strategy, how are we implementing the strategy over a longer period of time to deliver on these strategic outcomes, then it’s probably similar to any other platform in terms of good creative, good strategy, smart implementation, making sure you’re measuring success at the moment.

Jonathan Rolley (11:53):
Yeah. I think there’s going to be an opportunity there, but I know, at least in their hand, that Facebook’s not going to die wondering. They’re going to do everything in their power to ensure that any potential risk they have on advertising revenue is mitigated.

So I’m sure there are two sides of that coin, but is there anything else anyone else should be aware of?

Dan Richardson (12:10):
No, look, I think, at the end of the day, it’s a quickly-changing space. No one knows. Facebook doesn’t know, Apple doesn’t know how this is all going to play out. Make sure you button down on your numbers, take advantage of what you can do now, when things are in transition, versus waking up one day and not having access to the same data.

I think, at the end of the day, just making sure that you’re looking at the strategic value of these platforms and how you’re using them, rather than just looking at them from purely an implementation perspective.

Jonathan Rolley (12:36):
Love it. Dan from Axis Social. Thank you, mate.

Dan Richardson (12:38):
Thank you, sir.

Jonathan Rolley (12:38):
Till next time.

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