Since the first announcement in June 2020, online retailers have been preparing for the upcoming changes in IDFA tracking. Preparing for this has been a grueling process at times, where retailers must ensure that every aspect of their business is enabled to continue operations without significant risks to business once the upcoming iOS14 tracking changes start to impact the ecosystem.
One example of this is ABOUT YOU, a German fashion brand, which mapped out all the potential effects for the entire business — not just its marketing. From business intelligence to website architecture and CRM systems, depreciation of IDFA can have unexpected consequences. Once complete, ABOUT YOU was able to easily make decisions and plan accordingly.
Back to Basics: Channel Strategy
Caroline Schlünsen, senior performance marketing manager at ABOUT YOU, has been spearheading the iOS14 readiness project at the company for the past nine months.
"This disruption will be temporary as networks will figure out the kinks and get SKAdNetwork up and running," says Schlünsen. "We will see some shifts in marketing spend per network over the spring and summer, which, in turn, will affect CPMs, making advertising more expensive in some channels but create opportunities in others.”
One of the shifts that ABOUT YOU is preparing for is an overemphasis of spend on social channels that have been preparing their SKAdNetwork readiness for longer, and thus, are now able to provide marketers viable alternatives. In contrast, display advertising is at a disadvantage, since demand-side platforms are dependent on individual publishers’ readiness for the tracking changes.
Schlünsen adds that “we already see that more walled gardens are popping up, and the walls are getting higher. Going forward, marketers might have to get used to operating individual channels in silos as each platform and network is operating more and more based on their proprietary data. It is, obviously not, apples to apples from network to network. Comparing performance will be difficult.”
In a way, it's almost like a return to the days when ad spend was impossible to measure. However, now brands must find ways to measure what matters. It will have a lot to do with incrementality and causal impact. Brands need to take a page out of TV advertisers' playbooks and start to understand indirect impact better.
Brand Will Be the Key Differentiating Factor
So what will a retailer's social advertising strategy look like in a post-IDFA world? In addition to shifting channel strategies and adopting new ways for measurement and attribution, Schlünsen expects to see a change in how marketers approach the entire customer funnel. Don’t differentiate performance and branding, but combine and mix them, she says.
As marketers have less access to consumers’ behavioral signals, the mindset will shift from a purely bottom-funnel approach to a more middle-funnel thinking. The emphasis will be again on the brand — both in terms of existing brand recognition and positioning as well as branding campaigns across channels.
"There might be interesting and cost-efficient opportunities this spring to try and test more branding campaigns and mid-funnel approaches in networks that are less prepared for the tracking changes," Schlünsen says smiling. "We just need to get used to tracking campaigns that are not trackable."
Retailer’s iOS14 Checklist for Social Advertising
For retailers that are also preparing for these changes, here is Smartly.io’s recommendation for maintaining success on social:
- Involve the entire business. Inform every department about the changes and share the info they need to evaluate how/if there's an impact.
- Rebuild your campaign setup if needed. Consider the platform limitations and the impact on your audience and business.
- Plan your channels strategy. Prepare for scenarios where CPM and CPA per channel might fluctuate rapidly.
- Create mid-funnel campaigns. Prepare your concepts; test which ones attract shoppers and start gathering learnings.
- Work with your brand team. The most effective way to offset performance issues is to ensure your full-funnel campaigns work as hard as possible.
- Stay on top of the information. Talk to your partners on a regular basis and test everything as soon as available.
Riikka Söderlund is the marketing director of Smartly.io, a website that automates every step of social advertising to unlock greater performance and creativity.
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