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Keyword Research, How Has iOS14 Impacted Social Media Marketing?, pointdot

In April 2021, Apple released iOS 14.5, which included a new feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT). With this feature, the software update required apps to ask users for explicit permission to collect and share their data, significantly impacting the social media marketing status quo.

Keep reading to learn what the updates to the iOS platform did, how it impacted social media marketing, and what businesses are doing to adapt.

What iOS14 Did

Before ATT, platforms like Facebook could easily access data from users’ online activities across apps and websites for various purposes, including targeted advertising. However, several high-profile data breaches and misuse of data scandals highlighted the risks associated with these practices, leading to heightened awareness and concern about data privacy.

The ATT prompt allowed users to opt out of this data tracking, reducing the granularity of user data available to marketers. And as Apple rolled out the software update, Facebook warned that it’d harm the growth of small businesses and their ability to reach, understand, and engage people across the web. Conversely, Facebook later blamed Apple for projected losses of up to USD$10 billion due to the tracking restrictions.

How It Affected Social Media Marketing

Apple’s restrictions on tracking stirred the digital advertising landscape, curtailing advertisers’ capability to measure the success of their mobile campaigns.

  • It Forced Marketers And Businesses To Rethink Their Strategies
    As many users opted out of data tracking, it substantially reduced the access to granular data necessary for precise ad targeting. This change forced marketers to reinvent their strategies, with many businesses experimenting with different approaches in the first few months following the iOS update.For example, larger companies like Amazon and Microsoft increased campaign spending to glean some performance learnings. Meanwhile, as more users received the iOS update, marketers’ budgets moved away from Apple. In June 2021, Android saw its budget share increase by up to 21%. This was part of the trend that reflected advertisers’ fear that less data would mean poorer ad performance.
  • Measurement And Attribution Became A Significant Challenge
    However, in the year following the iOS update, marketers realized that ATT brought an attribution challenge instead of an advertising problem. The tracking restrictions didn’t necessarily take away from the effectiveness of the ads. However, it became exponentially more difficult to ascertain how effective those ads were.With limited access to user data, accurately determining which ads are driving conversions has become increasingly difficult. This complication directly impacts marketing strategies, making it more challenging to measure return on ad spend (ROAS) and make data-driven decisions for campaign optimization.

    One example is how the update reduced the ad attribution window from 28 to 7 days. This means if an iOS user interacts with an ad and converts after seven days, that conversion won’t be attributed to the ad, skewing the perceived effectiveness of the campaign.

Keyword Research, How Has iOS14 Impacted Social Media Marketing?, pointdot

What Businesses Are Doing

  • Platform diversification: Businesses are exploring other platforms less affected by the iOS changes, utilizing platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok, alongside their Facebook and Instagram strategies.
  • First-party data collection: Marketers are focusing more on collecting and effectively utilizing first-party data. For example, by implementing event tracking on their websites and apps, businesses can gather valuable information about user behaviour on their platforms such as which pages they visit, how long they spend on each page, and what actions they take.
  • Content quality and community building: The iOS 14 changes have renewed emphasis on creating high-quality, engaging content, with brands focusing on community building, fostering customer loyalty, and encouraging organic engagement and reach.
  • Contextual targeting: This strategy enables marketers to use keywords or topics to match and show ads relevant to the content users are viewing. This allows brands to reach users interested in their products or services without tracking them across apps and websites.
  • Taking a more holistic approach: Instead of using digital advertising as a tool exclusively for conversion, marketers are using a broader set of KPIs like brand lift and awareness to better understand a customer’s journey.

Final Words

While the iOS 14 update has undeniably disrupted social media marketing, it has also presented an opportunity for businesses to adapt and innovate. This shift towards a more privacy-focused world is redefining the strategies of marketers who now must strike a balance between respecting user privacy and delivering effective marketing campaigns. It may be challenging, but this new landscape encourages more ethical, transparent, and innovative practices in social media marketing.


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