Initially released in September 2020, iOS 14 brought new messaging functions, additional emojis, and a fresh look for the iPhone’s home screen, among other features. But it’s the latest update--which is due for release any day now--that has advertisers talking: iOS 14.5.
If you sell a product online or own an app, this update brings big changes you’re going to want to know about. Read on for a quick and dirty breakdown of what’s changing, what it means for your business and the steps you need to take ASAP to minimize impacts to your traffic and sales.
In a nutshell, apps will have to ask users for permission to track their data for marketing purposes. This tracking yields nuanced data that businesses can use to run highly targeted ads, and in the past, apps could opt in users automatically.
Apple says this update will give its customers more control over how their data is being tracked and used, which those concerned about online privacy view as a good thing.
For businesses that use online ads to drive sales, however, the update has the potential to dramatically impact the effectiveness of those ads and how much they cost.
What iOS 14 means for your business
While Facebook Ads isn’t the only platform that will be impacted by iOS 14.5, we’ll use it as an example because it’s so popular among merchants.
One of the most powerful ways to recover an abandoned cart is through retargeting ads. Up until now, advertisers have been able to freely show retargeting ads on all of a user’s iOS social channels with the help of data provided by apps.
When a user visits your online store and puts something in their cart but doesn’t buy, you could show them a retargeting ad on Facebook with a few easy clicks in the platform’s ad manager.
Not anymore--unless the user gives their consent. Users will soon see a popup within apps like Facebook and Instagram asking if they give permission to have their data tracked.
Can people still opt in to data tracking? Absolutely, but it’s reasonable to expect that many won’t. Since nearly half of the U.S. population owns an iPhone, a vast portion of the U.S. audience will likely opt out of having their data tracked by apps.
If you advertise online, this means your targeting capabilities will become less precise and your cost per conversion will likely increase.
What you can do about it
First off, don’t pull the plug on your digital advertising campaigns just yet. It remains to be seen precisely how big of an impact the iOS update will have, and platforms like Facebook Ads are already looking for ways to help clients adjust.
That said, there are some actions you’ll want to take right away and others you’ll want to prioritize in the weeks ahead to make sure your budget isn’t sucked down the drain by ineffective ads.
Here are the biggies:
Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager. This is especially important for advertisers who have multiple ad accounts or whose campaigns are managed by multiple parties. Facebook offers more information on how and why to do this here.
Optimize relentlessly. ‘Set it and forget it’ is never a good practice when it comes to online advertising, but it’s even more dangerous now. Campaigns that have served you well for months may suddenly stop producing results, which could eat up your budget in a hurry if you’re not watching carefully. To avoid this, keep a close eye on your ROAS and optimize your campaigns often.
Broaden your targeting. Without the same level of data available for as wide of a pool of users, niche audience targeting will likely be less effective. If possible, broaden your targeting criteria to reach more users. However, this won’t always be possible, especially for companies with niche audiences like luxury brands. So...
Prioritize other strategies, like SEO and email marketing. SEO can help you reach more top-of-the-funnel customers organically, while email marketing helps nurture prospects further down the funnel. This is especially useful if your product has a longer conversion window, like big-ticket items.
Focus on the big picture. We’re proponents of diversification, which simply means not putting all your eggs in one basket revenue-wise. This can be achieved with a strategic eCommerce partner who has eyes on all your marketing and advertising efforts, at all times.
Parkfield is the team ambitious brands trust to master the art of eCommerce, with everything you need to sell directly to your customers in one place. We help companies like yours pivot to D2C, scale their revenue and build a brand that keeps customers coming back.
Want to head off the negative consequences of the iOS 14 update and discover more ways to future-proof your profits? Learn more about how Parkfield can help here or take the next step by booking your free 30-minute assessment with our team of experts now.