How Have Apple’s Changes to Privacy Impacted Your Advertising on Facebook and Instagram?

Direct-to-consumer businesses that previously relied heavily on Facebook as a way to target and advertise on the social media giant are now starting to realize the perils that resulted from privacy policy changes instituted by Apple. These changes have upended the digital advertising strategy for hundreds of thousands of businesses and have forced these companies to find a new path to their coveted customers.

Some brands have remained loyal to Facebook and also Instagram, but many others are making sharp pivots to embrace more zero-party data and first-party data while leveraging new social platforms for marketing based on one-to-one connections, such as TikTok.

What changed with Apple?

Apple, maker of the iPhone and iPad, has made changes to the way it handles privacy for its users. Specifically, they now give customers enhanced control over privacy settings that empower them to have more say over which of their personal data is provided to brands.

Driven by Big Data, these ads have helped companies target people on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, who in the past had the ability to deliver messages to someone who possesses the characteristics that indicate the messages and offers are likely to be of interest.

Of course, Big Data is the process of purchasing data from a third-party provider, collecting online activity, purchase history, social media content and more to identify people that are potentially interested in what companies have to offer – all driven by social companies like Facebook and Instagram.

How are brands of every size changing their marketing?

But today Apple’s privacy changes have made this process more difficult, driving more companies to seek alternate channels for delivering their marketing messages. Aside from privacy, this pivot isn’t all bad news for companies since these Big Data-driven ads were based on outdated or inaccurate data.

As a result, a growing cadre of brands are taking a more community-driven approach to building relationships and producing their own content on social platforms and blogs, while also working with smaller-scale influencers and returning to other “traditional” forms of marketing such as direct mail and email. These brands feel that engaging more with consumers on social media through direct messages is almost the opposite of the large-scale targeting of consumers they had previously employed via third-party lists. By taking a more one-on-one approach to each individual customer, they can make a more lasting impression.

This pivot has helped companies leverage zero-party data, which is information a customer freely and intentionally shares with a brand they trust. It can include personal insights like preferences, feedback, profile information, interests, consent, and purchase intent.

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The Result is More Trust, Empowerment & Data Control

This step is in the right direction in that customers should be more in control of their data. The benefit of using zero-party data is that:

  • it is unique to the brand and no other brand has the same data;
  • it’s the ultimate source of truth in that the customer offers up their own insight, rather than making assumptions based on big data and;
  • it is relationship-based so it relies on a higher level of trust with the customer which means the company must be transparent about their use of the data and the relationship must be mutually beneficial.

Every communication across the customer life cycle (e.g., prospect, purchase, registration, customer service) creates a wealth of potential regarding the collection of zero-party data. For example, you can send customers a survey to better understand their unique perspectives on the company, products or services. There are also opportunities to build a quiz into your welcome email, which can be both engaging and insightful. You can also send a text message shortly after a customer makes a purchase and be a little creative to entice consumers to share data and to set yourself apart from others. Many companies today are also leveraging pop-ups on their website that asks a few engaging questions, with the promise of providing something of value in return for their time.

Even B2B-focused companies are seeing changes to the way in which they’ve been leveraging marketing. The FTC is currently reviewing whether to continue its Telemarketing Sales Rule business-to-business exception, which if discontinued means B2B-focused companies would no longer be able to leverage telemarketing as the government cracks down on telemarketing abuse. This change would mean B2B companies would also need to identify new ways of marketing, such as zero-party data approaches.

With the changes implemented by Apple, Facebook and Instagram have become less appealing as marketing channels. This has made the focus of zero-party data and new social platforms and engagement through blogs and traditional marketing even more valuable. Brands that head in this direction and embrace new opportunities for marketing and consumer engagement will see great benefits in the years ahead.

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