The Facebook iOS 14 update (specifically iOS 14.5) left eCommerce businesses reeling, and at Daasity, we want to help those still struggling from the effects. In this piece, we’ll summarize what has happened since the update and offer tips/strategies from the best marketers around to help you succeed despite Apple’s increasing focus on privacy controls.
What effects did Facebook iOS 14 have on eCommerce brands?
Quick note: We’re referring to the iOS 14 update as Facebook iOS 14 because this software update was more or less Apple’s declaration of war on Facebook. Unfortunately, eCommerce brands who rely on Facebook Ads have been the ones hurt the most.
Details about the update
While in the full ~2400 word update, Apple doesn’t mention Facebook by name, much of the update will have a direct effect on Facebook, and in turn, eCommerce brands who leverage Facebook advertising.
Unfortunately, only about 20% of iOS users have allowed tracking. With this lack of data, the Facebook algorithm doesn’t deliver the same sales volume that it is used to. Tried and true performers like Dynamic Retargeting (DPAs), Lookalike Audiences, and targeting consumers aren’t delivering the same results, with many merchants reporting drastic increases in acquisition costs (50-300%).
What the update means for you
The current reality of Facebook advertising is going to get worse before it gets better. A couple of the most significant high-level impacts are:
- High Cost Per Acquisition: Merchants across the board are paying two to three times as much on their CPAs as they did prior to the update.
- Weaker Lookalike Audiences (LLAs): Because Facebook has so much less customer data, LLAs will not be as powerful as they once were. Facebook won’t be able to return the same quality of customers as it used to.
What Daasity recommends
Push more data into Facebook to replace some of the data they lost during opt outs.
The best way to counteract the loss of targeting it to push more customer data into Facebook, and use it in your targeting. If you create audiences in Facebook based on actual customer data two great things happen:
- You can specifically target those customers in facebook to drive targeted results to increase LTV.
- You can pipe more data into Facebook so that it can create personalized lookalike audiences. We recommend focusing on the following segments:
By focusing on these valuable customers, you’ll be spending money on the customers who love you the most or have the highest chance of coming back to your brand to remain valuable customers.
For more expert advice, we got some of our savviest friends in eCommerce to provide some additional tips around combatting the update.
6 Tips to Combat Facebook iOS 14
"Run much more frequent sprints for email lead capture, using promos as incentives."
-Josh Grindheim, Support the Gnar
In the short term, we looked for ways to capture audiences using some upper funnel objectives with wider nets that we could still retarget to, even if they opted out of tracking in iOS. This included creating 365 day engagement audiences on Facebook and Instagram as well as on YouTube. Even though these are lower intent purchase signals, those engagements are captured within the platforms for us to later remarket to with lower funnel tactics.
Additionally, we began running much more frequent sprints for email lead captures using some sort of promo as incentive. We then utilize those lists with a pretty decent match rate of Facebook and Google. These are not necessarily new tactics but it's become an understanding for both our media managers and clients that putting in place longer term objectives will be needed for sustainable growth.
“Focus on communicating with your high-value customers.”
-Brandon Amoroso, electrIQ marketing
Focus on communicating with your High-Value Customers (HVCs), especially those who are at risk of churning. We've been using Daasity's new "Churning High Value Customer" audience to automatically trigger email & SMS communication with our HVCs that are at risk of churning. We highly recommend coordinating this not only on email and SMS but also in Facebook/IG to target your HVCs across channels.
"Set up independent tracking on your website."
-Tyler Rogers, Clearco
Consider setting up manual audience tracking. Set up independent tracking on your website and upload that audience as a retargeting audience on Facebook, for example.
"Funnel more of your customers through owned channels like SMS."
-Blake Imperl, Attentive
It is increasingly important in a post-iOS 14 world to funnel more of your customers through owned channels like SMS, which help capture rich zero & first-party data immediately upon opt-in. These data points are the building blocks upon which powerful segmentation can be set up. One of my favorite ways to segment a customer on SMS is through 2-way conversational automations inside of journeys (automated flows). We've found when customers text back and forth with brands, they spend about 31% more on average, and they're more likely to purchase again.
With that in mind, we know that conversations are key to driving success on SMS. With 2-way conversational automations, you can tailor conversations at scale with your customers inside any journey by creating personalized messaging paths based on their responses. What makes this strategy even more powerful is that you can collect rich zero-party data with each response to make better segments for downstream retargeting.
One of my favorite use cases for 2-way conversational automations is on a welcome series during the holiday shopping season. Instead of just delivering one message at opt-in, you can let the customer choose their own path by asking them questions like, "who are you shopping for today". Then, based on those replies, you can continue the conversation and make personalized recommendations that inspire action. Best of all is that you can also use that information collected to retarget them in follow-up campaigns throughout the holidays. This is a true win-win for both your automations and campaign strategy!
"Segment first-time website visitors with an item in their cart and fire an email or SMS pop-up."
-Michael Wadsworth, Justuno
Our best tip to help combat this is to segment new (first-time) website visitors that have or place an item in their cart, and then fire an email and/or SMS collection pop-up on the post-purchase page. Alternatively, target new visitors and fire an in-page pop-up. The post-purchase, new visitor segment is crucial because post-purchase is considered consent with regards to iOS14, and those marketing messages you send out afterward should begin to go through.
"Segmentation to deliver more personalized experiences for customers is essential."
-Moran Khoubian, Yotpo
Using segmentation to deliver more personalized experiences for customers is essential for brands that want to mitigate the impact of inefficient acquisition due to iOS 14. Segmenting by things like purchase frequency, product interest, purchase intent, engagement, and more will allow you to tailor your strategies and communications which will maximize the impact. In order to create those segments, brands need technology like Yotpo that allows you to collect and enrich data effectively.
"Focus on growing opt-in channels (email, SMS, push notifications)."
-Lindsay Potkewitz, Omnisend
Don't ignore the growth of other opt-in channels.
Much to Facebook’s dismay, Apple’s planned privacy update to iOS 14 will prompt users to choose whether to allow Facebook to track their phone activity to provide personalized ads leaving brands to have to rely on other channels to reach their customer base.
Focus on growing opt-in channels (email, SMS, push notifications) that can work with one another and sync to paid search and social platforms. This should be on top of brands’ minds in 2021. The need to own the customer relationship and communicate with them in the manner of their choosing cannot be understated.
Above all else, be data-driven.
Fighting against this update will require doubling down on the data you have, and the customer data that you can continue to capture. At Daasity, we're here to help. If you would like to have a single source of truth around your data, save time and money, and succeed in spite of what Apple rolls out next, check out Daasity. We’d love to show you a demo.