Apple’s iOS14 opt-out update can be an opportunity for SMEs, rather than a threat

iPhone

Source: Unsplash/Arnel Hasanovic.

If you manage your business’ social media advertising, you may have noticed some alerts about the latest iOS14 update popping up on platforms such as Facebook.

This latest iOS update has some fantastic elements, with some great new features and handy bug fixes for iPhone and iPad users. But it also includes an option — rolled out on January 26, 2021 — that allows users to opt-out of being tracked on their mobile devices across apps and websites.

What this means is it will no longer be possible to track the behaviour of users who opt-out with the level of detail that has been available up until now across advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Now, as a mobile phone user, that probably sounds like a positive thing. Privacy is good, right?

But what about those business owners who use these platforms to advertise their products and services, and rely on that audience data to make cost-effective marketing decisions? Well, that’s where things might get a little tricky for a while.

In a nutshell, the iOS14 update will have the following effects on businesses using platforms such as Facebook and Google for advertising:

  • The ability to target audiences by demographics (age, gender, location) on Facebook will disappear;
  • Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) figures will appear significantly lower, due to under-reporting;
  • UAC or app-based tracking campaigns on Google Ads will be difficult to track.

While the full impact of the iOS14 update on digital advertising and marketing campaign results for Australian advertisers is still unknown, it is expected to be significant.

Digital marketers have come to rely heavily on audience information provided by platforms such as Facebook and Google, with the ability to be able to micro-target users based on their online behaviour an integral component of all good digital strategies.

So, this change is going to have a pretty serious impact on online advertising in general.

However, while some within the digital marketing industry are in a panic, we should really be looking at it as an opportunity rather than a threat. It’s time to get more creative!

Creative digital marketing strategies

Tracking and measuring audience behaviour is certainly not the be-all and end-all of digital marketing.

I’ve seen hundreds, in fact, probably thousands, of fantastic examples of businesses doing great things online to connect and engage with their customers — some with a hefty price tag, and others that have little to no outlay.

Here are just a few examples of innovative and creative digital marketing strategies that don’t rely on audience metrics.

1. Leverage social technology for a seamless customer experience

Social technologies such as chatbots and instant messaging can help you to connect you with…


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