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No, iOS 14.5 Isn’t the End for Advertising Agencies

May 12, 2021

Apple’s recent iOS 14.5 update shook the advertising world by allowing app users to opt-out of cross-platform tracking. The update proved a success as it currently boasts a 96% user adoption rate. In an effort to better protect user privacy, the technology titan created what looked like a panic-button situation for digital marketers and advertisers. 

Does this mean that the sky is falling? 

We highly recommend taking a deep breath and putting down your keyboard. Stop Googling “new career options for advertisers,” because the show is far from over.

In this week’s video, our Director of Ad Operations, Rob Burke, met with John, Jay, and Kwasi for a follow-up from last week’s video where we first discussed the update’s impact on the industry. Check out part 2 here:

What Does iOS 14.5 Mean for Agencies? 

Mostly, iOS 14.5 presents agencies with new challenges for reporting campaign performance and tracking conversions. For example, if a Facebook ad campaign’s intended goal is to generate form fills on your client’s website, a user who has opted out of tracking cannot be tracked by Facebook once they’ve left the app to complete the conversion. 

So, what are some key takeaways for agency leaders? 

First-Party Data is the New Standard

Advertisers will have to lean more heavily on platforms’ first-party data for targeting. With this change, we can also expect digital platforms to expand their in-app tracking capabilities. This means that campaign managers will have to examine specific platforms in-depth and tailor strategies to their specific user bases. 

Analyzing Data Will Require a More Complete Picture

Analysts will have to examine performance data across multiple platforms and build a narrative based on their insights. If a client’s website is still generating a similar amount of conversions prior to iOS 14.5, despite the tracking data remaining unavailable, you can infer that the campaign is still performing at a similar level post-update. 

Holistic Solutions Will Be a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Implementing a holistic suite of services to drive performance for your client will be the new standard. Without cross-platform tracking, it will be better to put more digital eggs in more baskets rather than doubling down on a single or small handful of key tactics. 

Organic Content Can Help Support Paid Content

Quality organic content must be factored into a client’s strategy going forward. Sharing links to conversion-driving pages on the client’s site, interacting with their followers, responding to reviews, and other similar tactics will help support paid campaigns while they are undergoing a complete paradigm shift. 

How Should Agencies Communicate These Changes to Clients?

Be Transparent and Proactive 

The first and simplest way to position yourself ahead of the changes to your data reporting is to communicate these changes to your clients as soon as possible. Offer a transparent explanation of how the 14.5 update will affect metrics in the short term and that a current data report may not tell the full story. 

Prepare to See More Numbers in the Red 

Because many data-harvesting apps like social media platforms will lose their ability to cross-track iOS users, this will show what seems to be a decline in campaign performance. However, as we mentioned, this will be telling an incomplete story. 

To help show the true value of your campaigns, gather as much information as you can through multiple sources. For example, if the numbers are red on your data report, but the amount of conversions have not changed significantly, this would indicate that your strategy is still delivering desired results. 

Offer a More Complete Suite of Solutions

If your client becomes concerned about campaign performance, be ready to offer alternative solutions. If they are only running a Facebook campaign, you could recommend that they try other tactics like paid search, display advertising, or targeted email to reach similar audiences through other channels. You could also offer organic solutions like SEO or social media content if the client does not want to increase their ad budget. 

Are You Ready to Navigate an iOS 14.5 World? 

Increased data privacy has landed and it will remain a longstanding trend. This will require agencies to shift how they approach data analysis and reporting for future campaigns. 

As we said at the beginning, the sky isn’t falling. Instead, the way we deliver better experiences to our clients is evolving.

With iOS 14.5’s arrival, are you ready to navigate this transformed digital landscape? To equip your in-house team with a more comprehensive suite of solutions, visit our partnership page to learn more about how our products can help you continue to scale.

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