Hot take: there’s never been a better time to leverage Facebook ads

Back in 2020, Apple unveiled its plans to limit app’s ability to track their user’s activity and collect data with their iOS 14 update, requiring apps to ask iOS 14 users for permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies. 

For advertisers, this meant the Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) associated with each device would no longer be available, limiting the ability to measure an ad’s effectiveness and serve ads tailored to the user’s activity and data.

A change that, at the time, ruffled feathers to say the least. But six months on, has sparked innovation amongst advertisers to seek alternative strategies and leverage the tools and resources – such as first-party data – already available to them (more on this later).

It’s these tools in hand with an open mind, a healthy dose of perspective and a proven track record of great client results that have brought us to this conclusion: 

There’s never been a greater time to leverage Facebook Ads. 

Don’t believe us? Well, if you’ll let us, we’ll tell you how and why your business can actually benefit from iOS 14.5.

Neglecting Facebook is closing the door on billions of potential customers

While it’s undeniable that iOS 14 (now iOS 14.5) has impacted brands utilising Facebook advertising (namely how results are reported, attribution and retargeting customers), it’s important to remember that the platform is still the only one to be used by more than half of the world’s social networking population.

In fact, Facebook has the highest number of active users out of all social media platforms, sitting at 2.80 billion per month. 13 million of which are in Australia alone – that’s approximately half the entire population.

It’s Facebook’s ability to meet its users’ needs and willingness to evolve that’s kept it securely in first place since its inception in 2007.

So moving away from the platform altogether is a huge missed opportunity. 

Instead, marketers and brands need to adapt to the new normal, find creative solutions and double down on what works. After all, isn’t that the point of marketing anyway?

Remember – Facebook’s own revenue is at stake here. 

They’re not going to raise the white flag when the privacy war between Apple and Facebook has been waging for more than a decade. Instead, they too will seek workarounds to ensure the continued funding of the platform.

Prime real estate, free for the taking

Like anything, sudden change can spark feelings of fear and uncertainty. 

And while agile advertisers have sought alternative routes for their marketing strategy, there are still a number of brands who have scaled back their Facebook Ads or pulled out altogether.

You yourself may fall into one of these brackets, and that’s okay. Because if you look beneath the surface, there’s always a silver lining.

In this case, it’s simple: there’s less noise in the digital space.

Think of it like being seated outside in a busy restaurant. Sure, it may be quieter, less buzz in the air, but this in turn creates a space for more meaningful conversation, where you can actually be heard.

Your competition may have all but given in, but your customers haven’t. They’re still scrolling their feeds, primed and ready to buy, looking for brands to connect with. 

And for the brands that stick around, you’ll likely reap the benefits of reduced competition. Namely, reduced CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) which means cheaper traffic costs, maximum reach and greater opportunity.

Did somebody say win-win-win?

The secret is to show your customers content they care about, but we’ll get into this a bit later on.

So, where to from here?

Well, Facebook has already implemented a series of steps for advertisers to take in order to minimise the impact iOS 14.5 has on your ads which we covered in an earlier blog here.

But beyond technical changes, shifting to a more holistic view of results will give you a more accurate picture of your brand’s growth over a longer period of time.

Holistic versus nitty gritty

Rather than analysing Facebook metrics on a weekly, if not daily, basis, comparing results over a larger period (such as month-on-month or year-on-year) will circumvent your inability to track conversions from those who have opted out of tracking. 

It will also help you make more informed decisions for your future marketing efforts.

While it seems simple in theory and what you should have been doing from the outset, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all things return on ad spend (ROAS) as it’s ultimately a summary of all your results in one neat metric. 

But the danger in doing so is making rash decisions on an off week that doesn’t reflect your overall business growth. 

And when you consider the effect iOS 14.5’s delayed attribution can have on the reporting of results, your ROAS may look a little different to what they were previously. Not to mention the impact aggregated event measurement has had on conversion metrics.

Living your life by the ROAS rule book also doesn’t take into consideration any external or contextual factors that could be at play during an ad’s lifetime such as seasonality or increased competition.

Which is why it’s so important to dig into your website analytics and Google Analytics before drawing any conclusions.

You can also use tools like Supermetrics Data Studio which pull in data from multiple sources to give you a dashboard overview of results for all your marketing efforts.

This will save you time, energy and ultimately, your sanity.

First-party data in a cookieless world

First-party data is information gathered directly from your customers. Whereas prior to iOS 14, advertisers relied heavily on third-party data (data collected by one party and shared or sold with an unrelated third-party).

It includes both zero-party data (information that someone voluntarily gives to you like an email address or phone number) and first-party data (information gathered through their activity on your owned properties, such as your website).

If you haven’t been gathering data about your audience, now’s the time.

Having a robust first-party data strategy is step one in solidifying your place in the digital space.

There are a variety of methods you can use to do so – from hosting contents to utilising website tracking tools, sending out customer surveys, running lead-gen campaigns and installing a newsletter sign-up pop-up form on your website. All of these tools ensure you maintain a personalised understanding of your audience, their behaviour and how best to meet their needs.

For businesses with a niche offering or ultra-targeted audience pool, pre-qualify your customers by using custom questions in your Facebook lead-gen campaigns.

This will help you gain a more thorough understanding of your prospects, save time sifting through junk leads and equip you with the knowledge you need to close the deal.

Due to the personalised nature of first-party data, it’s also more accurate and efficient at driving consumers to take action. 

Some reports even say marketers that use first-party data have generated nearly double the revenue from a single ad or placement.

Diversify your efforts

Whilst there are a variety of ways you can strengthen your Facebook Ads, you can further reinforce it through incorporating additional channels into your marketing strategy.

At the top of our list is ManyChat.

ManyChat allows you to communicate to your visitors through text message, email marketing and Facebook Messenger via a bot.

Source: ManyChat

Brands can set up their bot with pre-formatted templates aligned with their objectives, whether it be to drive sales, get more leads or engage prospects.

From there, you can direct your ad and web traffic to an interactive conversation with your bot where customers can ask questions, seek product advice and purchase, all in the one thread.

Broadcasts sent to Messenger also have an 80% open rate. A pretty impressive benchmark, especially when compared to the likes of email marketing which sits at roughly 20% on average across all industries.

Easily integrated with several CRM platforms, ManyChat helps you to build and nurture communities, and gives you access to a variety of growth and analytics tools to capture and capitalise on customer data.

Crafting a creative-led strategy

In a world where a data-first approach to digital marketing is becoming increasingly harder to implement, the power of persuasion lies in the creative.

Where in the past the emphasis was on targeting, in 2021 it’s quality, meaningful content that holds the power to shift your customer’s attitude and drive them to take action.

Which is why testing different ad creatives to find a ‘winning’ ad formula is more important than ever. 

But, how do we define ‘quality’ content?

In the case of video content, Scientific American says the virality of an ad is dependent on “congruency, emotive strength, network involvement and paired meme synergy.”

The congruency aspect of an ad comes down to your audience believing its content is aligned to your brand. 

Much like authenticity, congruence aids greater brand trust and loyalty.

Secondly, brands that produce video ads with a strong emotional appeal will always win. In hand with emotionally-charged copy, ads that make people feel something are twice as likely to perform compared to those with purely rational content.

Network involvement is simple. For ads to be successful, they must be relevant to a large network of people – so whether your audience is working a 9-5 or running their own business, the broader the content appeal the better.

Lastly, in a world where meme culture rules supreme, using memes in your ads can give your brand personality, add an element of authenticity and engage younger audiences due to its more organic-appearing nature.

And in an ever-changing world, laughter truly is the best medicine.

When this image of Bernie Sanders went viral in 2020, IKEA saw an opportunity to turn it into a “get the look” ad. Source: no good

Final thoughts

All in all, the sooner we accept that social media is an ever-evolving landscape, the better the outcome will be. 

Change is inevitable and in order to survive (and thrive), businesses need to adapt. But with the help of these tools and insights, there’s no reason why you can’t experience great things off the back of iOS 14.5, to 15 and beyond. 

And if you need a little extra help in building a robust social media strategy, we’ve got you covered. 

Drop us a line and we can chat about how we can help grow your business together.