War. Doomsday. Apple vs. Facebook. The bout between the two tech giants has been going on for years with no end in sight. If you’re reading this, you already know what iOS 14.5 is – the people’s champion, the “little guy’s” liberator – the advertising killer.
We live In a time where privacy is a luxury and Apple was promising to give it back. No more indiscriminate tracking. No more stalker-ish ads. Your data was yours. The only way companies like Facebook or Google could use your data?
You had to willingly grant it.
Starting in May 2021, any app that collects end-user data must obtain explicit consent from users. According to flurry.com, over 96% of users chose to opt out of tracking. If you’re a marketer, you’re understandably worried.
This is having a tremendous effect on our industry – but don’t worry, there are solutions.
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Ways This Affects Marketers
In the age of automation, Facebook takes care of bidding for us based on a multitude of signals. More signals and data directly equate to better results. 96% of opt-outs mean way less data. As a solution, Facebook uses modeling to bridge the gap.
However, It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that marketing results will take a nosedive.
Facebook is notoriously difficult to report on. The numbers in Facebook never match up to the numbers in a customer’s content management system (CMS), in Google Analytics (GA) or anywhere else. With the update, it’s near impossible to match up the numbers and to prove to our clients that we should continue to invest in Facebook. This will in turn, cause more performance decreases because as a marketer, we know that Facebook works.
We just can’t prove it.
3. Decision Making
Decision making is hurt on both the marketer’s end and the clients end.
For a marketer, we now need to make decisions on partial data. Ever drive on a busy highway with a blindfold? Yea, me neither but this is what it feels like. Instead of basing everything we do on the numbers, we’re now making indirect assumptions and hoping for the best.
For our clients, it’s like taking Trust Fall on steroids. Facebook is now showing even lower numbers and the logical choice would be to move budgets elsewhere. Why aren’t they moving their budgets to “better performing” channels?
Because we’re telling them to, “trust us”.
Solutions To Solve All Our Issues
1. Server-side Tracking through Google Tag Manager (GTM)
Client-side tracking (browser/app) is the standard way most marketers use for marketing purposes. The way a user gets “tracked” is by a cookie placed in the browser, app, etc. On the other hand, server-side is hosted on your own servers and has nothing to do with the outside world.
The downside is that it takes some time to set-up and a dedicated web developer with extensive knowledge in both dev & marketing. Just reading Google’s article won’t work.
The possibilities and upsides are endless.
Instead of the browser, the GTM is hosted on your own servers and you have full control over the data. You can validate the traffic and if done correctly, can truly understand where/how/what is converting. Marketing performance will improve, you can report better and on top of that, both you and your clients can make better decisions.
2. API To Offline Conversions Tracking
Offline conversions allow you to upload your own sales data into the majority of engines. If Facebook can’t attribute a transaction to a purchase, your offline conversions might bridge the gap.
For example, if Mike didn’t want to be tracked, clicked a Facebook ad in the Facebook app and made a purchase, Facebook wouldn’t be able to attribute that back. However, if you were able to upload Mike’s data after the purchase into Facebook, Facebook can match that back to the Facebook ad.
API’s allow us to do this automatically in GA, Facebook, Google Ads and more in real-time. If we can match CMS sales data within our engines, we can be better marketers.
We’re living in the Wild Wild West of digital marketing and this isn’t changing anytime soon. The good news is, when you adjust your lens on challenges like these you can continue to get in front of the right customers and grow your brand.