Facebook Ads and The iOS 14 Update: The Critical Next Step For Shopify Stores

Facebook Ads and The iOS 14 Update: The Critical Next Step For Shopify Stores

Plenty of ecommerce businesses generate nearly all of their revenue from Facebook ads.

However, the new iOS 14 update (to Zuckerberg’s dismay 😒) restricts tracking and makes it harder than ever for ecommerce marketers to reach the right customers.

While Facebook is scrambling to find a solution to help their customers, smart ecommerce marketers realize that relying on private customer data will no longer work in the future. Here’s an overview of the iOS 14 update’s impact on Facebook ads and alternative marketing strategies to platform-based channels.

What is The iOS Update?

In the past, apps could track users without the user knowing. However, with privacy concerns rising, Apple is putting an end to this. 🙅 Now, every app in the app store must meet this criteria:

  1. Developers must create a “nutrition label” for apps. Essentially they have to disclose how they collect data.
  2. The app must request permission before tracking a user’s activity. It doesn’t mean that apps can’t track users. It just means that they have to ask for permission first.

Plenty of ecommerce businesses generate nearly all of their revenue from Facebook ads.

Facebook Ads and The iOS 14 Update: The Critical Next Step For Shopify Stores

As you can imagine, Zuckerberg is less than thrilled… and a lot of marketers are with him.😣

Now, you will have less control over who sees your ads, fewer performance metrics, and less targeted advertising spend.

Facebook’s point of view is that privacy is important, but it can coexist with personalized ads. (Although they might be a teeny bit biased given that they are losing a lot of 💰 over this update.)

Nonetheless, they believe that not only does it cause friction with the user by showing them less relevant ads, but small businesses that rely on Facebook ads will also take a hit.

Google is also less than impressed with the new update and made sure to let everyone know:

Despite Google’s sarcasm, 😏 this update is an issue for ecommerce businesses that rely on targeted ads.

How iOS 14 Impacts Ecommerce Marketers

The iOS 14 update is expected to disrupt ecommerce marketers in particular, as they tend to rely on ads more than other businesses with longer sales cycles.

Specifically, this update will:

  • Restrict event data to nine campaigns and five ad sets per campaign
  • Eliminate lift measurement
  • Delay event reporting by up to three days after an app is installed
  • Limit tracking to eight conversion events per domain

This impacts ecommerce businesses because they won’t be able to target as accurately, and delayed data will cause ecommerce stores to lose impulse purchases.

In addition, it will also make attribution much more difficult. For example, if a user from Chile clicks an ad for a Brazilian-based company, the website will redirect to a local version of the website. Unfortunately, this means that the conversion won’t be properly tracked.😩

One way that many ecommerce marketers have continued to innovate their marketing strategies is by using SMS.

Why SMS?

First, SMS is a channel you own, and it doesn’t rely on an algorithm to reach your target audience. For example, Facebook ads, SEO, Google Adwords, and almost any other marketing strategy you can think of relies on some other channel.

However, once people have signed up for your list, you own that list.

The only marketing channel similar to this is email. While email marketing is still effective, it doesn’t work as well for ecommerce customers as SMS. Here are a few reasons why:

Another reason why people are switching to SMS is that it provides a better customer experience. In fact, a whopping 70% of customers think SMS marketing is an excellent communication method.😲

Therefore, rather than looking for loopholes around a marketing strategy that is not a great customer experience (taking private data without consent), SMS focuses on providing a human experience that delights the customer.

Finally, unlike ads which cost money to scale, you can scale SMS exponentially without increasing costs exponentially. Your SMS list is a monetizable asset in the long run that you pay an upfront fee on (for the media to drive someone to your site). Once someone signs up for your SMS list, you can keep driving revenue from them over time without throwing more money Facebook’s way.

Vessi, a Tone brand that sells waterproof sneakers and other products that move you forward, grew its SMS list to over 40k new subscribers in the first 2 months of having LiveText SMS capture on its site. That translated into 15x ROI on its list over 3 months.

How many other channels can claim that? (Go ahead, I’ll wait…🕒 )

How to Prepare For The Update

Now that you know that the iOS 14 update is coming, how can Shopify owners prepare for it?

First, look at your current customer acquisition channels. If you’re only using Facebook or Instagram ads (or any platform you don’t own), try diversifying your channels. If you already have several diverse channels, consider changing the way you approach your paid channels. Instead of focusing on conversions through Facebook, utilize it as an awareness channel to drive customers to your owned channels like SMS.

Then, consider investing more in owned channels like email and SMS. Once you have these channels set up, you can redirect all of your prospects and customers to them. For example, run Facebook ads to a landing page that then collects the user’s phone number.

Once you have transferred most of your customer base over to these channels, provide an amazing experience. To do that… just be human.💁

For example, utilize relevant and timely messaging that speaks directly to the customer. Think about where they are at in their buyer journey always provide value. Your response time should also be relatively quick, similar to the response time you might expect from a friend.

In fact, the average SMS response time is just 90 seconds, so try to respond in 5 minutes or less, though not at the cost of quality (it shouldn’t sound like it’s from a robot).

Email gives you a little more leeway, though ideally, your response time should still be within a few hours.

SMS Strategies

To improve your SMS performance, here are a few suggestions.

First, install a pop-up on your website to collect phone numbers. For example, you can use a tool like Tone to create a pop-up like this and then funnel them into your SMS sequence.

Want an example? Apolis, an advocacy-focused brand that sells customized bags, uses Tone pop-ups to consistently grow its SMS list.

Facebook Ads and The iOS 14 Update: The Critical Next Step For Shopify Stores

You can also add your phone number to the product page (ideally next to the description) or in the footer. This is another way to convert traffic into new SMS subscribers.

Pro tip: Leverage your live text number inside of email communications like abandoned cart reminders, campaigns, or any additional customer facing emails. Simple messaging like “Got questions? Text us at (insert number).”

Facebook Ads and The iOS 14 Update: The Critical Next Step For Shopify Stores

To take your game up a notch, you can also build VIP SMS lists and offer subscribers exclusive deals and more. You can also leverage ads to build your VIP subscriber list now before the major shift begins to hurt your business.

Though perhaps the most important hack is to engage with your audience in a friendly and meaningful way that will delight them and leave them wanting more. When done right, SMS has the ability to provide a memorable experience that provides immense value to your customers while building trust in your brand.

Start Building Your List Now

The iOS14 change has arrived, and it won’t be long before it’s even more difficult to rely on Facebook to profitably acquire new customers 😟. So shift your focus to channels that you can own and start building your SMS list today.

Remember, customers who chat with a brand convert 3x more often and have a 10 – 15% higher cart value. The truth is that your SMS subscribers are much higher value than that cold FB traffic.

SMS can scale, too. Usual Wines, a Tone brand that sells unique wines direct-to-consumer, is driving 10% of their overall revenue through text messages.

If you’re wondering how to use two-way SMS messaging de-risk for iOS14 and drive more direct revenue, we can help with that. Schedule a demo today to learn what Tone can do for your ecommerce store.

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