How will these changes impact your business? If you’re worried about the new rules, you’re not alone. Vanessa Rinaldi, paid advertising specialist at Mrs Social says that there is much “panic” at the moment amongst the small business community.
What has changed?
“Apple’s request for users to opt into tracking has changed how Facebook receives and processes data… and will therefore affect our ability to track and market to potential and current customers via Facebook and Instagram ads” explains Carly Stringer, Facebook Advertising Consultant for independent E-commerce brands.
“Every iPhone user is now given the option of not allowing the app to track their movements around the internet [and] you are opted out of tracking as standard” adds Amanda Perry, founder of E-commerce growth agency, SOUP.
Amanda adds that these changes make the amount of data available to marketers a “tiny percentage” of what was previously available. “It also doesn’t give us a full picture of the customer journey, making it harder to optimise campaigns in the way we are used to” she elaborates.
“There are still many unknowns as to the full extent to which these changes will impact advertising in the long term.” says Carly, which is why businesses need to look at steps to take to stay ahead of any dramatic changes.
What should businesses be thinking about?
An important thing to remember according to Amanda Perry is that “ this has been rolled out quickly with not a lot of information, changes are happening fast and we are still awaiting the full impact”.
Effectively, as Vanessa Rinaldi states, all businesses are “in the same boat.” “We will all be learning at the same time – no one is going to be ahead of you in this game” she explains.
There are a few technical measures that businesses need to take such as verifying their domain, and checking that their settings within Facebook business manager are optimised for the changes, such as enabling the Conversions API.
But ultimately, looking for a solution to the changes to Facebook and Instagram advertising may involve thinking more broadly about your marketing channels, including ensuring that you are investing in your email marketing, since this is data that you own.
Carly Stringer explains “The most important marketing tool is their email list so regardless of what other platforms they use to advertise their business they should always be building and nurturing this list as a priority.”
“Consider spreading your marketing spend across other platforms too, for example looking at Promoted Pins on Pinterest” suggests Vanessa.
Carly adds that “it is important for small businesses to continue testing. Testing has always been critical to achieving success and now is no exception in order to understand what will work best post the Apple update.”
What happens now?
Ultimately, although these changes may require a shift in strategy, Facebook ads are not disappearing, just changing. “I am confident that paid Facebook campaigns will continue to play a significant role in the growth of small businesses,” says Carly.
As privacy and use of data continue to be hot topics for consumers, businesses have to face up to the reality that the amount of customer data that they have access too is going to be reduced.
As Amanda explains: “Google are also making huge updates to how they track data this year and I honestly think we will look back in 5 years’ time in shock at just how much data we have had access to for the last 10 years.”
However, she does not see this as a cause for concern, after all, as she puts it, “this is digital marketing – we are used to things changing and so we adapt and take the positives.”