Perhaps you’ve heard murmurings of Apple’s dreaded iOS14 update that has Facebook and Instagram advertising experts in a panic, scrambling to adjust to a new way of advertising. Perhaps you’ve noticed significant changes in the performance of your own ads (and not in a good way).
Reality check: You are no longer in control.
In a nutshell, Apple—which holds significant market share for smartphone users in the United States—has put users back in control of their privacy and how companies can track and retain information about their online behavior.
Now, iPhone users are asked to opt-in to being tracked when they update an app. Not surprisingly, a whopping 97 percent of users are saying “no, thank you.” If you’re an iPhone user, chances are you have opted out as well.
As a result, the golden age of driving traffic to your website and retargeting are over. Many social media advertisers are reverting back to cold traffic, which is more expensive and difficult to get than ever.
The good news: All is not lost.
As much doom and gloom that you’ll find online about the dreaded iOS update, all is not lost. You can continue to advertise relatively affordably as a small business. You can even retarget effectively still.
You just need to get back to your organic social media roots.
Develop your organic audience.
Some of Apple’s changes have left Facebook “flying blind.” They are unable to get the vast amount of data they once had on users and, as a result, the algorithm isn’t quite as fast or as powerful at optimizing your ads as it once was.
To get the most out of your advertising and keep costs down, give Facebook a resource to work with. Focus on building an engaged social audience, keeping the following in mind:
- Engagement is King. This is nothing particularly new, but has become more important than ever. One of the only ways Facebook can get quality data is through its own platform, so creating content potential clients actually engage in gives Facebook clues about who to target with ads. Start by taking 10 minutes each day to engage with your audience.
- Content is still Queen. At the end of the day, engagement is a natural result of great content. All of the liking and commenting in the world will do little to drive high-quality engagement if your content isn’t good.
- Bravely use new features. For years, social media algorithms have favored the brave souls who have tried new features. You don’t have to be the best when you are first, so get in there and start experimenting with Reels and IGTV!
Run Cheap Engagement Ads Based on Organic Posts
Thankfully, you can still retarget audiences with engagement ads because of the way Apple collects data. Go beyond boosted posts and run engagement ads using your organic posts instead. That way, you can better control targeting and daily ad spend. Plus, the best part is that engagement ads tend to be relatively cheap to run.
There are many post options in 2021. Should you do an image with a caption or a carousel of the event? Do you need to invest time and equipment in producing videos or will a fun GIF meme do? The answer varies for different brands and audiences, so it’s best to experiment with a variety of post types and themes to find what works best for you and your followers.
Make it look and feel organic
In the event space, gorgeous images are the easy part. To set yourself apart, take some extra time to write great captions. Compelling copy is often as simple as having a great hook, and talking to your potential clients rather than to past couples or yourself. For example, instead of talking about how much you loved a past client’s event, write about what that client wanted for their event and the process you took to deliver.
Clients looking for help with their event go through a complex booking journey that includes finding ideas and inspiration, researching costs and logistics, vetting vendors, and inquiring. Leverage these different stages in the booking journey by warming your audience up. In other words, don’t just jump from an inspirational post to an inquiry ad. Instead, offer a variety of posts and ads that reach people at different phases of the booking journey in order to warm them up and get excited about doing business with you.
Plan for the long haul
Strategies for both paid and organic social media have become increasingly complicated and expensive. Not only are ad costs up, but skilled social media managers and content experts recognize their value and charge accordingly. They are worth it, but they don’t come cheap.
Social media has also become increasingly noisy and algorithms increasingly difficult to game. The end result is that it takes more time and money than ever to see results. Be sure to build in a healthy monthly budget and some time to see results. The upshot is that ads support organic growth and get cheaper over time as Facebook learns and optimizes for your audience, brand, and offer.
Changes to technology and algorithms are not the end of the world. However, it can take some time and experimenting to adjust. By adopting a more holistic view of how ads and organic efforts support each other, you can weather changes quickly and more effectively, no matter what the future holds.