Since Apple announced a new privacy feature for iOS 14, there’s been a lot of anxiety and speculation by advertising experts. No one knows the extent to which this new iOS update will impact businesses. But one thing is for sure, advertising practices will change and you should be prepared.
What to expect with the iOS 14 update
The new iOS feature, planned for rollout in early Spring 2021, is part of Apple’s new ATT framework (App Tracking Transparency) and seeks to give its users more transparency and control over their data.
The same pop-up notifications that you see asking if you’d like to opt-in to location tracking or push notifications, are coming for iPhone and iPad apps that track user activity across apps and websites owned by other companies. This is similar to a “accept all cookies” prompt – apps will need explicit permission to enable tracking.
The prompt will apply to apps that either share user data with third-party companies for marketing and ad monetization purposes and/or use customer data from other companies. And yes, that includes all your go-to advertising channels.
The implications for your experience business
The bottom line is that this iOS 14 update will likely make online advertising more costly for your experience business. That means if Facebook, Instagram, Google or any other advertising platform is critical for your sales, your business can be affected. Here’s how it works:
Retargeting ads are a great strategy for increasing conversions. But with the new iOS update, if iPhone users visit your website and opt-out of tracking, you won’t be able to retarget them with ads. This means cost per conversion is expected to increase.
Event-based retargeting, such as targeting users who have initiated checkout, will also be more difficult if you use third-party booking solutions – Fareharbour, Peek, Retreat Guru, Eventbrite, Booking Layer, Festicket, etc. This is because businesses will all need to verify their website domain with ad platforms in order for retargeting ads to run effectively (here’s how).
Prospecting ads are one of the most straightforward methods of growing your experience business’ brand awareness and reaching new audiences. To enable this, ad platforms like Facebook use data collected on their app and around the internet via the Facebook Pixel to help you create relevant target audiences.
For example, if you run a yoga retreat, you will probably want to target people interested in wellness and travel. Facebook pools together users who have consumed wellness and travel related content and will serve them your ads.
Similar to retargeting ads, people who opt-out of tracking will not be included in Facebook's target audience pool and you won’t be able to reach them. Fewer people in Facebook’s ad audiences will lead to more competition between advertisers, and therefore higher ad costs.
Other Ad Changes
Aside from limited target audiences, ATT will also impact other aspects of online advertising, such as reporting and ad creation. We recommend checking out Facebook’s full rundown on changes they are expecting.
What you can do to prepare
Of course, it’s possible that opt-out rates will be fairly low, but most experts predict that will likely not be the case. We all know that there is a widespread focus on data privacy and user rights. As experience creators, we will have to play smart as the advertising landscape continues to evolve.
Here’s the main thing you can do right now to prepare for the upcoming iOS privacy change: move your checkout to your own domain.
The advantage of running the whole customer journey on your domain is that you will have full visibility of who converts and who drops off. If a potential customer opts out of off-app tracking while checking out with Fareharbour, Retreat Guru, Eventbrite, or Festicket, then you’ll never know, and retargeting them will be impossible. That’s why the only holistic solution to Apple’s new privacy features is owning the whole customer journey through checkout.
Moving your checkout to your domain
Our mission is to give you control over your entire experience business, and that’s why our latest release allows your customers to check out on your own domain. Instead of getting redirected to
yourdomain.myeasol.com, your entire booking experience – from homepage to checkout – will take place on your domain. No more domain switching.
Checkout on your own domain is free for all creators on Easol and will be activated automatically along with a free SSL certificate – no setup required.
What else can you do?
Alongside moving checkout to your own domain, it’s recommended to:
1. Keep an eye on your return on ad spend after the update is released.
If advertising performance drops dramatically in a short period of
time, then pause all spending and re-evaluate your campaign
strategy before continuing.
2. Verify your domain with Facebook and update events setup (domains
are now limited to max. eight web conversion events).
3. Consider expanding or re-focusing website retargeting strategy to
more ad channels, such as Google Display, Pinterest, Tiktok, LinkedIn
etc. Channel diversification will increase your chances of reaching
people who have already interacted with you.
4. As platforms will have less information on what people did on your
website, consider moving away from dynamic product ads or ad
creatives that are contingent on specific webpages.
5. If advertising performance drops, explore new targeting tactics or
offer incentives that move leads from paid channels to your email list.
You can also switch to a last-click attribution model, where UTM
parameters track performance through Google Analytics.
6. Test new funnel strategies that rely less on user behavior on your
website and more on in-app behavior, such as video views or lead
gen form submissions within Facebook etc.
Switching your checkout to your own domain and following the best practices above won’t just help you safeguard your business against technology changes like iOS14.5, it’s also better for your customer experience and overall business. Talk to an Easol Expert today to help you protect your business against Apple’s new privacy features.
Chief Executive Officer