Blog Post updated: August 23, 2021
From garage sales to bouldering groups, many have come to ask what it is exactly that makes Facebook “free”.
The service is funded almost exclusively by advertising revenues, which account for 98.66% of Facebook’s total revenue—that, to date, sit neatly around $32 billion. Seeing as Facebook is the premier social media platform for engaging with a staggering 2.85 billion users worldwide, reaching audiences through their Facebook Advertising platform has become a powerful tool for those looking to grow their business.
However, in the wake of large-scale social events and addressing a growing wariness of disinformation, how Apple adapts its practices to better service user data could see your advertising success metrics caught in the crossfire. Through Apple’s iOS Update, the way revenues are generated and how Facebook Advertising works as a whole will see significant changes.
Let’s dig into how the platform works now to understand better what comes next and how you can stay ahead:
How Facebook Works
Facebook works by algorithmically capturing and directing user attention. By paying for Facebook Advertising, you pay for user attention and the data collected through engagement with your content. This model offers something for all parties:
For users, the endless sea of content (steered with only a single sleepy finger as the rudder) has provided entertainment, boundless information, and convenient ads suited to their needs. Their data is silently collected and used to optimize the content presented to them, increasing their enjoyment of the platform further.
The platform has offered advertisers unparalleled access to new consumers, digital markets, and indispensable metrics that help guide short and long-term strategies. Convenient integration has allowed advertisers to create compelling and organic content with a suite of feedback that helps drive future success.
For businesses, the data harvested from users is funneled towards the business or service through advertising, increasing profit and customer engagement. This feeds the cycle further and generates valuable metrics and demographic data along the way, increasing Facebook’s ability to connect users and businesses effectively.
On Apple devices, the three work together silently under the current Apple iOS—a self-contained ecosystem of clicks, data, and attention funneling in which everyone gets something.
iOS 15 provides increased visibility into how apps access your data, protects you from unwanted data collection, and gives you more control over what you choose to share, united as one. – Apple
What is Changing?
In Apple’s iOS Update 15 (continuing a trend of increasing user privacy from iOS 14 and iOS 14.5), changes to this click system are coming. This change is largely due to a larger rollout of an “opt-in” policy regarding user data, requiring explicit user consent in accepting cookies, tracking, and data collection rather than the data being available to marketers by default.
The flow of data between email advertisers and users is measured by tracking metrics such as cookies, email open rates, or tracking pixels. These are discreet techniques and digital tools that help consumers be presented with relevant content. However, in a time of increased cybersecurity and scrutiny regarding the content users are presented with, many of the features these tracking technologies unlock will be eliminated.
Similarly, with Facebook Advertising, a shortage of user data will make implementing their algorithmic search for your ideal customers a longer and less effective process since the deployment of ads to key demographics relies on this data.
What This Means for Your Facebook Advertising Campaign
For email marketers, iOS 15 allowing users to eliminate or limit the data they choose to share with email marketers, the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns will no longer be known by the organization sending said emails. Since an “open rate” is a crucial metric of evaluating whether your subject line encourages customers to open your email, it will be harder to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. For Facebook Advertising, the issue is related to a lower algorithmic efficacy concerning finding your ideal audience and tracking user interests.
What Can I Do?
Luckily, many of the aspects of your advertising will remain the same or grow in importance. As well, Apple makes up only a percentage of global device users, which will only affect a portion of your data stream. While this means many of your ad campaign methods will maintain effectiveness at present, it signals a global shift in how iOS developers are treating user data and giving power to individuals rather than platform giants.
Having catchy, personable content is more important than ever since you will have fewer resources at your disposal to track the effectiveness of your campaigns at a glance. Engaging with your audience directly, receiving meaningful feedback, and maintaining a discourse will help you measure how you reach your audiences.
Track your subscriber counts and observe which types of contact garner the most interest or engagement. Supplying Facebook Advertising with a broader base to work with will also ensure that while the pool of potential customers grows smaller, your net clicks can keep up.
Reshaping your goals at this stage is also recommended. As with any marketing shift, change requires innovation. Monitoring where your successes come from will continue to aid you in turning those clicks into customers.
As demand for online content continues to grow alongside leaps in business integration with online/mobile platforms, staying up to date with both organic and technical trends is crucial for both young and established brands. It’s not enough to get ahead, you’ve got to stay ahead.
Consider following Carmella Marketing for more updates on tech and marketing—we are Canmore-based consultants who offer marketing solutions with a view. We hope to chat with you soon!