By Abigail Draper, OSCPA marketing manager
A new Apple update might take a toll on Facebook advertising for small businesses, but organizations can plan ahead by making changes to their marketing strategies now.
The iOS 14.5 update, projected to roll out in March, will require all applications to ask permission to track user activity, said Maria Grimm, founder of Relly, an online portal that makes marketing easier and more effective for small business owners.
“Facebook is claiming that it's going to probably end up being a 60% cut in sales for every ad dollar spent for small businesses,” Grimm said.
Do you ever wonder why you get ads on Facebook for things you’ve searched for on Google, or websites you’ve recently visited? Until now, Facebook has been able to track your activity across the internet – and not just while you’re in the app.
Now, Apple’s update will ask users if they would like to share this information with Facebook, and they’re betting most people will decline.
Therefore, small businesses will not have the ability to use the same targeting and personalization for Facebook ads that they had in the past.
If you’re familiar with Facebook advertising, you’ll also know about the Facebook Pixel, which is code inserted on your website that is able to track actions, or “events,” that users take on your site after reaching it from a Facebook ad.
Facebook will now be limiting the number of events that the Pixel can track to eight. Grimm says this means you’ll need to determine the most important events on your website (i.e., submitting a “Contact Us” form or signing up for a newsletter).
So, what steps can you take for your firm or small business to keep this update from negatively affecting your marketing strategy?
First, Grimm said one of the best kept secrets for advertising in the industry is LinkedIn because people are in a buying mindset while using it.
LinkedIn advertising gives organizations the ability to have very specific targeting. You can choose to target people by their company size, job title, skills and interests, demographics and more.
“LinkedIn is such a great platform for advertising, especially for accountants and accounting firms. They can spend less money, get in front of more of their ideal customers and see better results,” she said.
Grimm also said firms should remember that email marketing is still alive and that return-on-investment for it is huge. Asking current customers for referrals, cross-selling services and even sending handwritten notes thanking them for their business can be other ways to drum up business with contacts you already have.
“It can cost five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones.”
She said along with all of this, it’s important to make sure you have your brand voice nailed down. Ask yourself who your ideal audience is and what makes your firm or business different from others.
“You know, you aren’t in the accounting business. I think people need to understand that you’re in the relationship business.”
While it is possible to prepare your business for the Facebook app changes and continue to use that platform, there are other ways to revamp your marketing plan and be more successful.
“It doesn't matter what happens – if Apple updates, or Facebook takes away something, or the algorithms change. What really matters is how you're creating an experience that your customers can't get enough of and they want to tell everybody else about it, so you don't even have to spend money on ads.”