Life After the iOS 14 Update – Adapting to the New Normal

When the iOS 14 update was announced, marketers began a months-long collective freakout.

We had become so accustomed to being able to track every move that our customers made and then targeting them based on those actions.

We had 30-day click through and 7+ day view-through attribution. We had lookalike audiences that gave us a sure-fire way to drive down cost per demo booking and overall cost per conversion.

Ahhh, those were the days.

When Google and Facebook made noise that they would do anything they could to get around the new iOS restrictions, Apple even doubled down – one need look no further than their latest (brilliant) TV spot.  So what can you do? 

Here are four key things we’re telling our clients who still want to be super effective with their targeting, audience discovery, and attribution.

1. Take Account of What You Do Have & Use It Well

As much as it may feel like it as marketers, Apple has not taken away all of our toys. We can still get most of what we need by digging into the various platforms, analytics tools, and our CRM to get an idea about what is working and what is not.

Can you still see which ads are getting the most clicks? Yes.
Can you still see which job functions, titles, and seniority levels are converting or clicking better on LinkedIn? Yes.
Can you get the general idea of how each channel, and even each ad, is impacting your funnel using data tools (data tool like Oribi)? Yes.

The fact of the matter is that marketing is both a science and an art. In the pre-iOS update world, scientists could thrive in marketing without artists. They had all the data at their fingertips. Now, with the update, you need those who are willing to synthesize and hypothesize without the whole picture being right there in front of them; you need people who can fill in the gaps with fresh, insightful, and creative ideas. So welcome back, marketing artists!

2. Join the Data Party

I wrote about this as the iOS release was upon us, because it was clear that the data market was forever going to change.

At the end of the day, a lot of the pain for marketers is coming from the fact that we all got very used to getting free data from our ad platforms – especially Facebook.  Their massive network of apps and partners allowed you to leverage heaps of third party data at a very low CPM.  If you look at it from that perspective you can understand why so many non-marketers found it to be insidious.

So what do we do now that we have to pay for data?  Well, you do just that.  You pay for your data.

Partnering with vendors that can give you solid second-party data is one way to go about this.

Another way is to leverage a tool like Bombora or ZoomInfo that will allow you to build audiences that are in-market based on increased intent.  You can also target based on technographic data, which is pretty fun, too!  Need a client who has a certain software installed?  You got it.  Need someone who is searching for your type of SaaS or product? Technographic targeting and tools like Bombora and ZoomInfo can get it done.

How are they able to do this after the iOS update?  Good question.  Bombora essentially has a bunch of first party partners from whom they receive real, on-site click data. Bombora packages that info up for you so you can use it to refine your targeting. A bonus of this setup is that Bombora and tools like it allow you to push their highly targeted business audiences over to Facebook. You used to only be able to build these types of business audiences on LinkedIn, but by getting them over to Facebook, you can capitalize on the fact that CPMs there are about a fifth of the price.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Facebook is an inferior B2B platform.  Anyone who has run a demand gen campaign knows that Facebook can be MQL gold.  Even if the MQL-to-SQL conversion rate is a bit lower, you can still come out significantly ahead, especially when using quality data and targeting! 

3. Get Familiar with Your Direct & Organic Traffic Patterns

Marketers have long looked at increasing direct and organic traffic as the “halo effect” that stems from paid and owned marketing efforts. 

Well, we have to take that to a new level now.  Why?  Because this is where we are going to find the conversions that are not properly attributed due to the iOS update changes.

So how, specifically, can you do that?

1. Look at the percentage increase, month over month, that you were seeing in direct and organic conversions before the iOS update.
2. Take a look at the landing pages that people would go to or the search terms that would get them there.
3. Evaluate the change in the percentage growth of organic and direct conversions.
4. Compare the old keywords and conversion paths to the new ones. Assume that at least some of the new ones that were not there before have some influence from paid efforts and attribute them there!

Your CRM can be really helpful with this step, and that’s covered next.

4. Get A CRM & Use It Wisely

Before I get going on this one, full disclosure: we are a Hubspot Platinum Partner agency, so clearly we love HubSpot. That said, I get it – not everyone is using or will use Hubspot.  If you’re using a quality CRM – HubSpot and Salesforce being two of the very best – you’ll get great insight into both how to refine your targeting and how to measure your results. 

Run through the steps above, but this time, look for an increase in the role that direct and organic are playing in moving people through your pre-sales lifecycle stages.

Pick a user and take a look at what page they directly visited for their conversion and if it is probable (or even possible) that they went directly to that page without having first seen that page from an ad.  Get familiar with your attribution changes by digging into cohorts of individuals to see what you can observe has changed in your conversion path behavior (read: more direct and organic activity) since the iOS update.

And that's it! For now...

While my recommendations will not bring your lookalike audiences and perfect attribution models back, they should make your marketing world a bit brighter. There are still tools out there and strategies that work, as marketers, we just need to roll with the punches, get creative, and most importantly, get strategic.

I will continue to track the iOS saga and when I either read about how others are adapting their tracking tactics or discover a new solution that we roll out to our own clients, I will be sure to share it with you on the blog! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss iOS14 related and other important marketing updates!



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