Paid ads have sucked since the dawn of the internet, at least for you on the receiving end of said ads. The businesses behind the ads have enjoyed an incredible acceleration in the ability to target and retargeted their ads cheaper than ever.
With a cultural shift towards attention to privacy, companies like Apple & Google have taken steps to make it harder for third parties to advertise as accurately as they once did. This regression in data collection has caused a number of large companies to reevaluate their ad dollars on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and in response, these platforms are making it more expensive to reach the ideal client to make up for lost revenue.
Changes to the PPC and Social Ad Space in 2021
Some giants in the space have taken measures to make these retargeting efforts more difficult in 2021, leading to an increase in these costs as well as a number of court cases. The most notable moves are Apple’s iOS 14 and 15 updates and Google announcing that the Google Chrome Browser will go cookieless (later retracted but still possibly in the works).
When iOS 14 went live Facebook released the following statement…
“Apple has released changes with iOS 14 that impact how we receive and process conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools may be affected.
Specifically, Apple requires that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as "tracking" to show a prompt on iOS 14.5 or later devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14.5 or later devices via the prompt. As a result, ads personalization and performance reporting may be limited for both app and web conversion events.” Read the rest here.
What Facebook is saying here is that the pop up that asks users if they want to be tracked on iOS 14+ devices will lower the effectiveness of their ad tracking and as a result, reporting for conversions and events on the web are far more limited. These limits reduce transparency between marketing teams and their counterparts and have often ended up in a move of those marketing dollars to mediums who are progressing their tracking instead of regressing.
Google Going Cookieless
Earlier this year Google announced…
“(Our) intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. Even so, we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.
We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.” Read the rest here.
In March of this year this announcement was made, in June it was postponed until 2023. Google claims a number of reasons for this delay, much to the appreciation of marketers in the short term, but the writing is on the wall for all businesses that plan to advertise online and on social media…you will need to develop other methods of retargeting and tracking your users across the web.
Where We Are Headed in 2022
With companies leaving social media platforms in droves, that marketing budget needs to be reassigned elsewhere. Below are three of the most invasive, organic marketing tactics of 2022 being initiated by small and large businesses alike.
Paid ad alternatives
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines to show your site as an option more frequently. Search Engine Optimization can be just as expensive as paid ads if you don’t have a plan. If your SEO plan includes long tail keywords with low competition, you may be able to write one really great piece of content, build some backlinks to that content, and have it rank at the top of a relevant search for a long time to come. SEO is competition based and if you can find a sentence or a longer string of words your clients search for often with the intent to convert you can save a ton in ad budget. SEO also has a ton of benefit because internet users are becoming more savvy and less likely to click on the paid ads.
Network marketing is no longer finding your local BNI chapter and visiting a couple times a year. Post COVID network marketing has seen exponential acceptance of Zoom calls, webinars, and other networking that does not require a handshake. Finding webinars you can speak at gets you in front of more qualified leads than any other type of low budget marketing and with low cost design platforms like Canva readily available, presenting yourself as an authority in the space is easier than ever. Joining associations within your industry is also an easy way to meet other business owners just as hungry as you are and looking to collaborate.
Influencer marketing has gone the way of ppc in 2021 becoming more and more expensive for less and less of a guaranteed return. This is usually the result of a poor influencer selection. Not all influencers have to be glamorous either. If you are a local electrician, your best influencer can be the local real estate agent and part of your marketing budget can be spent taking them out to dinner once a quarter. Influencer selection should be completely based around the answer to the question “where do my customers go before they make a decision to choose my product or services”. Unless you are a large e-commerce brand the last metric you should be worried about is follower count.
Why Choose SEO Over Paid Ads in The New Year
Paid ads won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon on the traditional online advertising platforms of the 2010’s. With every company looking to leverage blockchain and the metaverse we could see the majority of ad budgets move there but even that is years away. In the meantime, the number one place to discover unknown information is Google and other search engines and the most effective way to advertise where the most people go is by ranking in the organic listing for valuable search terms. Not to mention these users stay longer, are more engaged, and convert more frequently than paid user.
All blogs are written by our incredible staff here at Mad Mango Marketing. Your Connecticut SEO, App Development, and Online Advertising experts.