Why 2022 Is A Good Time To Change Your Facebook Ads Strategy
Change is unavoidable, especially when it comes to the digital marketing space. If you advertise with Facebook or Instagram, chances are you’ve noticed a decline in the performance of your ads over the past months. Due to a recent series of shifts relating to data privacy, advertising with Facebook ads isn’t the same as it used to be.
One of the biggest growing pains for Facebook is the iOS14 update from Apple. Launched in 2021, the iOS14 update put big limits on what advertisers can track and what information is accessible from users on Apple devices. These changes are still proving troublesome for advertisers on Facebook.
The good news is, that there are already solutions and workarounds being implemented. These can help advertisers continue to get profitable results on the Facebook platform. Having a flexible approach to your Facebook Ads strategy will make your business more resilient in the coming years as major changes continue to roll out.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the iOS14 update, what it means for Facebook advertising. And how you can adapt your Facebook Advertising strategy in 2022.
What is the iOS14 update?
The 2021 iOS14 update from Apple included big changes on what advertisers can track – and how much user information is available to them.
To understand the impact of the changes, it’s important to know how data tracking works on Apple devices. Apple uses an IDFA (identifier for advertisers), which is not too far off from how cookies work on web browsers. Essentially, an IDFA is a unique, random ID assigned to every user. The IDFA tracks user activity in applications, but it doesn’t collect any personal information. This data is provided to advertisers in aggregate – advertisers can’t get their hands on any individual’s data. Also, users can reset their IDFA at any time.
Before the iOS14 update, IDFA tracking was automatically switched on. But the update means mobile users have the choice to opt-in or opt-out when they start using an app. When they open an app for the first time, users receive a prompt such as “Allow Facebook to track your activity across other company websites and apps?”. Now, by default IDFA is turned off unless the user chooses to opt-in.
Now this wouldn’t be a problem if all users opt in. But research is showing that only 21% of people are opting into the IDFA tracking. This represents a huge loss of information for advertisers.
So, what’s the takeaway? In this new world of advertising, advertisers need to adjust their Google and Facebook Ads strategies if they want to keep up.
What does the iOS14 update mean for your Facebook advertising strategy?
Data privacy changes like the iOS14 update mean advertisers are now struggling with activities like building a lookalike audience and optimising campaigns based on sales. With a lack of data to draw on, Facebook is finding it harder to determine who would be a successful lead to show your ads to.
Here are the three big ways the iOS14 update may have affected your Facebook ads strategy:
- Targeting – since most people are opting out of tracking, retargeting audiences are much smaller. Lookalike audiences that are based on data aren’t being tracked correctly and the quality of the lookalike audiences is decreasing.
- Reporting – previously, using Facebook Pixel to measure ROAS and CPA was a reliable indicator of how your campaign was performing. Now there are lots of inaccuracies in the measurements. And real time reporting has taken a hit – you might have to wait three days to see the data come in.
- Optimisation – you probably used to rely on the Facebook algorithm to make decisions about where your ads will show. Now Facebook advertisers are limited to eight conversions per website, and there’s much fewer data points to work with.
Where is Facebook Ads heading?
Both Facebook and Google will eventually phase out the current form of “cookies” tracking due to outside pressure and data privacy concerns. We’re already seeing the new systems emerge. Google’s new system is called “Enhanced Conversions” while Facebook’s is called “Conversions Application Programming Interface” or CAPI.
These systems are designed to circumvent the use of a third–party pixel and essentially link the advertising platform with the backend of your site. Facebook’s CAPI works by allowing you to send web events on your site or online store directly to Facebook. In other words, CAPI helps you push your event and conversion data to Facebook Ads Manager, while still following user privacy requirements.
Enhanced Conversions and CAPI are both in their infancy stages – with exciting promises, but also lots of growing pains. With many updates and best practice changes still to come, many advertisers are left waiting for the right action to take. And in the meantime, they’re dealing with subpar results from their Facebook Ads.
Knowing how to adapt your Facebook advertising strategy as the changes roll out is crucial.
How to adapt your Facebook Ads strategy in 2022
If you’re still using the old style of conversion tracking in your Facebook Ads strategy, you’ll be missing data from people opting out of being tracked. While the missing data can present challenges, it’s not time to give up on Facebook Ads altogether. There’s still plenty of data you can tap into. And good strategies you can use to maximise your performance in the current situation.
Here are two strategies we’ve used with success at Dilate Digital:
1. Run campaigns that “keep” people on the Facebook platform
The main issue with the iOS14 update is that you can no longer track users who opt out of tracking. Once they leave the Facebook platform and go onto a browser website, you can’t track their activity. This makes it difficult to retarget or gather data for lookalike audiences.
One way of avoiding the problem is to use Facebook campaigns that work just on the Facebook platform. Lead Generation and Messenger campaigns engage users on the Facebook platform itself, rather than sending them to another website or store. By keeping them on the Facebook platform, no pixel is needed anyway. In other words, every part of their interaction with these types of campaigns is tracked.
Let’s look a little closer at these types of ad campaigns:
- Lead Generation campaigns show an ad and populate a form within Facebook. That means users can submit their details and fill in the form without ever leaving the Facebook platform.
- Messenger ads send customers a message from Facebook’s Messenger app. The ad contains a call-to-action that will take them to a place of your choosing. Instead of sending them off the Facebook platform to your website, try engaging them in a conversation with your business on Messenger. That way you can interact with each lead individually, tailoring the interaction to their needs.
- Tools like ManyChat can help you get even more out of your Messenger ads. ManyChat is an automated Messenger chat-bot. You can use it to create a full enquiry-flow with your potential customers within Messenger.
While ads that send people off Facebook are experiencing inaccurate data and reporting issues, you don’t get the same problems with ad campaigns that keep people on Facebook. By using these campaign types in your Facebook ads strategy, you get a more accurate cost per result. Since you can see everything happening within the Facebook platform itself, your reporting and optimisation will be similar to how it was before the iOS update.
2. Experiment with different optimisation events while watching your overall sales
For many eCommerce stores, the strategy above isn’t a viable option. Instead, try experimenting with different optimisation events to improve your ad performance and sales.
Since the iOS14 update, most Facebook campaigns aren’t accurately recording and tracking sales. In light of this, it may be best to optimise for something other than sales – something you can see 100% of. Going for a lower conversion optimisation event such as “page views” or “add-to-cart” sounds counter-intuitive. But it could help you sidestep the inaccuracy problems.
A word of warning. To be effective, this Facebook ads strategy requires you to be in tune with your overall sales and know exactly the impact your Facebook ads are having. You’ll have to keep a close eye on your overall sales – and you’ll need to do rigorous testing.
Here’s the thinking behind this strategy.
When you optimise for sales, Facebook takes a small % of your targeting audience and shows your ad people who it thinks will convert. The thinking it does is– you guessed it– based on previous pixel/cookies activity. Now that the pixel tracking is missing people due to iOS changes, you may be confusing Facebook and not having enough people for the system to work with.
When running your ads campaign, it’s always best to work within Facebook’s parameters for the highest level of conversion possible. Currently, that’s 50 sales in 7 days. Now let’s say you can’t attain 50 purchases in 7 days. What’ll happen? Your ad set won’t learn. So back-off and optimise for “initiate checkout” OR “add-to-cart” instead.
Sounds good, but how effective is it?
This Facebook ads strategy works super well if you know that your targeting will hit the right people. By optimising for an event higher up the sales funnel, you’re essentially just targeting more of the right audience.
We recently implemented this strategy with a client who wasn’t getting a good cost per sale by optimising for sales. We then optimised their ads for page views and received 3x the amount of traffic for the same spend to qualified traffic. This has doubled the client’s sales year on year and given a 15% increase in month on month sales.
Due to data privacy changes and shifts in the operating systems, Facebook can be a scary place for advertisers these days. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is, there are ways you can still get great results with your Facebook advertising strategy – if you know what to try!
At Dilate Digital, we hear about the changes first through our partner programs with Facebook and Google. That means we can make sure our clients are using the best practices and latest strategies to maximise ad performance.
If you’re having trouble with your Facebook Ads strategy since the iOS14 update – we’re here to help. Get in touch with our team and we’ll work with you to get your Facebook ads strategy in tip top shape. We’ve seen great results with our existing clients – and we’re ready to do the same for you.
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