Digital Marketing Trends for 2023 

It’s difficult to stay up on all of the changes and new opportunities in digital marketing. Yet, with 1.5 billion social media users around the world, the demand for digital marketing only continues to grow – and consumers’ expectations right along with it. Consumers want increasingly rapid response times, a stellar user experience, and options for how they do business with the brands they choose.

Digital marketing, like never before, enables marketers to deliver what consumers want when they want it, using multiple platforms. The benefits of digital marketing on growing the bottom line cannot be overstated.

  • Target The Right Audience
  • Optimize And Improve Conversion Rates
  • Increase Customer Loyalty
  • Build Brand Credibility

Here are eight digital marketing trends you should plan for in 2023. It’s never too early to retool your strategy and transform your marketing efforts going forward.

1.  Gather Data Using Forms 

Our dependence on big data is as inescapable. It also has the power to be transformative, making it significantly more important to businesses. However, privacy laws have affected how marketers gather data. 2023 will bring with it a shift toward businesses being even more proactive in gathering data, using varying methods. Businesses will continue to implement savvy collection methods and analysis of the information gathered, integrating their findings into their digital marketing campaigns and using it to steer marketing decisions. 

The use of forms will continue to grow in 2023 because they are quick and easy and work so well to gather useful information on customers. Forms are a highly effective way to keep users engaged.

2. Include E-Mail Marketing

E-mail marketing will continue to be popular in the coming year because it’s so effective at generating leads. Nearly everyone in the world has an e-mail account, so that makes this platform a continued must for marketers looking to connect with customers and give them access to their brand. The success of any e-mail campaign ultimately relies on the list you are sending to. Make sure it’s highly targeted and cleaned up regularly.

3. Implement Real-Time Messaging Platforms 

Real-time messaging platforms enable marketers to reach customers quickly and directly, right when they are read to communicate with your brand. It’s also a great way to collect data so you can know as much about your customers as possible. Today’s customer is impatient, often seeking instant gratification. Empowering marketers and sales to be in contact with those eager to do business when they are ready to talk is powerful.

As these platforms mature, they’ll offer brands the mechanisms to capitalize even more on customer data for digital marketing initiatives.

4. Add Ease of Doing Business With Chatbots 

Chatbots have grown increasingly more popular with marketers – in fact, they are the fastest growing brand communication channel. That trend will continue in 2023. Chatbots enable a business to be available 24/7 to engage with customers who need assistance outside of standard business hours, which is a huge asset. 

5. Rethink Old Ways

According to a recent Drift survey, the most common frustrations reported by consumers include:

  1. Websites being hard to navigate (34%)
  2. Not being able to get answers to simple questions (31%)
  3. Basic details about a business — like address, hours of operations, and phone number — being hard to find (28%).

Clearly, the online experiences businesses are used to providing may no longer match with evolving customer demand and changing preferences in the ways customers prefer to buy. Customers increasingly want all of the information they seek at the touch of a button. If they have to work to learn about a brand, they will likely look to the competition.

6. Put Attention Into Details

Consumers are inundated with information. It is imperative that marketers put as much thought into their content and creative as they do in choosing the platforms they will run on. Marketers want their content to work to increase clicks and engagement. Pay close attention to creativity, making your brand stand out in the very crowded online market.

7. Be Strategic About Influencer Marketing 

What was once used by only a handful of brands has now become common practice. It is estimated that more than $16 billion will be spent on influencer-marketing programs by 2023. It’s no wonder then that influencer marketing will continue to boom next year and in the coming years. 

A huge word of caution here. Businesses must understand their vertical and know the type of influencer who will help promote their brand. Choosing the proper influencer can generate a great ROI. However, marketers frequently fall short in this area because they’ve chosen the wrong influencer who doesn’t have the relevant audience or reach for their brand. Marketers want to choose an influencer who can create a trust relationship between customers and brands through transparency and authenticity. To aide this process, marketers must have a thorough understanding of their target audience and then design campaigns that resonate with them. 

8. Consider Outsourcing to Digital Marketing Agency 

Outsourcing some or all of your digital marketing remains a great way to get more done, using the expertise and resources of an agency. An experienced digital marketing agency can help businesses get better overall results by developing strategies that leverage current technologies and best practices across all channels. 

Keeping these forecasted digital marketing trends on your radar and implementing those that work for your business will help you successfully grow your business in 2023 and beyond.

Subscribe to my monthly LinkedIn Newsletter: Digital Marketing Snapshot.

Why is AI So Important for B2B Lead Generation?

No matter the vertical you are in, customer experience is paramount. Today’s B2B consumer cares nearly as much about the service they get from a business as they do about the product or service they are buying. The expectations are set for a fully personalized experience at all online touch points – including your lead generation website.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help companies create the experience leads and prospects want and expect. More and more marketers are utilizing the power of AI to sell, and the trend is just beginning. According to data from Salesforce, the use of AI in marketing has skyrocketed from just 29% in 2018 to a staggering 84% in 2020. Here’s a look at how AI is being used to drive and close leads:

1. Access Massive Datasets 24/7

We all know that lead scoring is a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is a necessary evil. AI enables marketers to access massive datasets 24/7, looking at the most important factors and every detail that marketers just don’t have time to do on their own. And, AI does a better job, picking up on finer details that an overworked marketing professional cannot. AI scoring is far more accurate, enabling marketers to use the data to target leads much better.

Even better, AI only improves with time due to machine learning that studies computer algorithms and makes improvements automatically through experience and data analysis.

2. Reduce Bounce and Increase Engagement

This is marketers sore spot: bounce rates. All marketers want a low bounce rate because it’s an indication of interest in your content, your products, and your brand. A high bounce rate indicates low interest, which isn’t something anyone in marketing and sales wants to see.

The best way to mitigate a high bounce rate is to take measures to increase engagement. We know that the longer a prospect stays on your website, the more likely they are to convert to a lead and self-nurture. Keep in mind, the average buyer consumes at least 13 pieces of content from a single site before making a decision. Self-nurturing websites let prospects binge relevant content until they’re ready to provide their e-mail address and other information.

We also know that in order to get a lead to provide contact information, takes work, even when the content on our site is compelling. AI uses your content to create an engaging customer experience using multiple algorithms to study the behavior of each prospect that visits your site. AI then provides personalized content recommendations to let prospects do their own research while being guided down the sales funnel – all without having to fill out a form or talk to a salesperson yet. AI streamlines the sales process, encouraging prospects to stay on your site longer and to learn more about the opportunity, consuming more content with each subsequent visit to your site. 

3. Make Better Insights

Most marketers are in the fortunate position of having lots of data on prospects. However, it takes time and know-how to properly sort through that mountain of information. AI gathers and analyzes all of that data and draws better insight than any marketer could working alone.

4. Create Adaptive Content Hubs

Most blogs require visitors to scroll through an organized list of blog posts based on categories you have selected in order to access the content they want. AI enables you to organize your blogs by any vertical or pain point you choose. Once a prospect starts browsing your blog, your algorithms study the prospect’s behavior and provide personalized selections from your blog content.

5. Collect Accurate Data

It takes a good strategy to segment prospects, score leads, and develop content. But all that work can go down the drain if you are not collecting high-quality data. When your data is incomplete or incorrect, it throws a wrench in your marketing efforts. AI is your security that you are collecting accurate, usable data from the get-go, right when the lead enters your system. It does this by scanning public sources to verify company, job title, and other contact information. 

Adding an AI engine to your site puts you in a prime position to benefit from high-level personalization for your lead gen. AI also assists you with the task of nurturing your leads. Implementing tech-driven tools like adaptive content hubs and self-nurturing landing pages help ensure your content is working hard and smart for you.

Technology Trends To Ignite Your Lead Gen in 2022

Quarter four is upon us. The numbers don’t lie. A majority of industry experts reported that weak technology infrastructure was the main reason businesses struggled so hard to survive during the pandemic. How about you? Is your technology where it needs to be? Technology isn’t a trend that is going away. There will be a continued move next year away from sales-centric models and toward working with digital lead resources—website, social media, content marketing, e-mail marketing, and others.

As you begin your allocations for next year’s marketing budget – and your lead generation, to be specific – keep the following information in mind. I’ve outlined the trends we’ll see next year and highlight what they mean for you and your lead generation strategy and budget. 

Digital Channels for Sales and Service

As we continue to try to distance ourselves from the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects it has had on our traditional lead gen activities, such as travel, conferences, tradeshows, lunch meetings, and other offline marketing and sales events, we must admit that some of the changes weren’t so bad. Marketers were forced to turn to automation to drive leads while still providing the best customer experience. Inbound and outbound lead generation saw the continued use of artificial intelligence in sales operations. Increasingly, more and more marketers used digital and online channels like video conferencing and live chat offerings to achieve their lead and sales performance targets. Lead generation activities will still be performed through offline channels, but increased emphasis will be placed on digital channels. 

Value-Based Selling to Secure Customers

An increase in digital business strategies means an increase in data available for your use. 2022 will see a movement toward better use of data to shape a value-based selling approach. This trend has marketers responding to their data in real time as a way to slowly build to a sale, showing prospects over time the value of their product or service. 

Artificial Intelligence to Increase Value

AI is becoming more widely used across a broader platform now. That will continue in 2022 and well beyond. More and more companies are looking to AI to improve lead generation and sales because this technology helps gather valuable data on existing as well as potential customers. This data then helps marketers develop  more effective marketing strategies to increase sales. AI is also an effective way to influence future behavior based on prior transactions or interactions and helps identify hot leads that are more likely to convert.

Also on the rise is the use of chatbots. This is a relatively easy way to enhance communication with prospects and customers and to provide better overall service. Chatbots allow companies to be available 24/7 to answer common questions and respond to typical issues. Customers report they love this option.

Better Customer Experience to Build Customer Loyalty

Nothing makes you value a personalized experience more than a global pandemic. Companies will use 2022 to continue work to enhance and personalize their brand’s customer experience. 

Social Media to Generate Better Leads 

Using social media to generate leads is nothing new. Companies will use 2022 to look for ideas to develop better ways of using social media platforms that make sense for their brand. Content will become more personalized using the data available. Video content marketing will continue to dominate, with experts predicting it will account for 82% of total Internet traffic. E-mail marketing is another hot area for 2022. That is because it is highly effective at influencing prospects. Researchers found that interactive e-mails increase their click-to-open rate by 73% and videos boost it an amazing 300%.

Marketers looking to grow in 2022 will want to capitalize on these trends to maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing.  We’ve developed  first-party data, cookie-less advertising products and historical data analytics to deliver results.  Learn more at producerdigital.com

Clubhouse: How to Navigate and Stand Out Using the Newest Online Communications App


As I mentioned in my last blog, Clubhouse is the hot new app that is on everyone’s radar – especially now that it is no longer invite-only.  Clubhouse is a networking platform that enables users to start or join audio-only “rooms.” There are rooms for just about every topic, making Clubhouse a great hub for thought leadership, targeted networking, and industry insight.

As with any new platform, there is a bit of a learning curve. The Clubhouse app is pretty straightforward, but they are making changes to it pretty regularly. The app uses a lot of lingo, so here’s a quick guide to help you decipher all the new terms coming your way: 
 
Hallway – This is where you will be when you open the app. This is your hub where you can see rooms from your followers and the people you follow. If you want to load more rooms, scroll to the bottom of your screen and click on “🌍  Explore.”
 
Stage – Speakers are often on a stage, so that’s where you’ll find the speaker in this app. When you enter a room, the stage is at the top of your screen. It shows all of the moderators and speakers. 
 
Audience Members – If you are curious to see who all is in the room with you, look under the stage and you’ll see a list of muted listeners. Audience members can leave the room at any time without disrupting the talk. There is an icon to raise your hand to speak or you can send the moderator a text. 
 
Moderator – This is the person in charge of the talk. They will be indicated by a green and white asterisk on the list of people in the room. They control the Stage and who talks and when. 
 
PTR “Pull to Refresh” – The moderator will say “PTR” when they want the audience to refresh their screens by putting their finger at the top of their screen and swipe down. 
 
Ping – You can click on the “+” button right next to the Raise Your Hand button to invite a user into a room that you are in.
 
Once you are familiar with navigating the new app, it’s time to work on your brand and content on Clubhouse. As with all other platforms you use, you will need an engaging content strategy in order to gain organic traffic and build awareness. Here are some ideas to get you going:
 
1.     Follow clubs that your target market is interested in.
2.     Better yet, start a club and speak to your target market directly.
3.     Create an engaging and searchable bio that promotes your brand.
4.     Consider connecting your Instagram and Twitter accounts to Clubhouse so you can receive a direct
message in Clubhouse – and encourage those on Clubhouse to follow you on your social media.
 
That’s a quick run through of Clubhouse to get you going on this exciting, new platform. As I mentioned, Clubhouse is still growing and changing, so the best way to learn all of the newest ins and outs is to download the app, jump on, and start exploring.  

Clubhouse 101: Understanding the Newest Social Networking App

I’m guessing most of you have heard the buzz about Clubhouse. Maybe you’re even one of the people who had been clamoring to gain access by gaining an invitation to join? Well good news! As of July 21, 2021, Clubhouse is out of beta and open to everyone – no invitation to join is necessary anymore.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Clubhouse, it is a free social media app that is voice based rather than text based. It’s more like a private, interactive podcast. Clubhouse members join virtual rooms to have live, unscripted discussions. Topics cover just about anything you could ever want to talk about and with thousands of different rooms going on an any given night, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. 

“If you have a club, you can post your link far and wide. If you are a creator with an audience, you can bring them all on,” the company said in a recent blog post. “If you’re hosting a public event, anyone can attend. You can bring close friends, classmates, family members, coworkers, and anyone else you like — on iOS or Android,” the post added.

Just over a year since its launch in April 2020, Clubhouse has attracted 10 million users worldwide and is currently reportedly worth $1 billion. Currently, Clubhouse is available as an iOS or Android app. 

Once you join a live conversation on the app, the Host will moderate the conversation, so everyone “in” the room has an option to virtually contribute to the conversation, with the Host in charge of turning attendees’ mics on and off. New in July, hosts can now send and receive questions from the audience via text, and listeners can submit questions without wanting to speak.

Picture a semi-private ZOOM with everyone’s cameras turned off, which makes following who is talking difficult at time. Also, because of its audio-only format, there are some inherent challenges with content moderation, not too dissimilar to the same challenges faced by platforms that offer text, video and images, but the “live” element adds another layer of screening difficulty.

Founded by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, both of whom are well connected in the tech industry and worked at top companies, Clubhouse wasn’t developed to be exclusive. The founders said their goal with Clubhouse “was to build a social experience that felt more human — where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk.” In order to achieve that end, controls on membership needed to be created in order to build a new social ecosystem with a small team. With membership no longer invite-only, their vision for Clubhouse is fully underway. And, the recent deal Clubhouse struck with TED to bring exclusive talks on its platform means the Clubhouse reach is even broader.

Clubhouse is a unique way to gather a broad range of people in one place to discuss a specific topic. It’s no wonder that its membership reads like a who’s-who list of venture capitalists, tech leaders and celebrities. 

With this kind of success, competition is inevitable. Twitter has begun experimenting with a new feature called “Spaces,” which will be a live audio experience that enables multiple Twitter users to communicate and discuss or debate a topic. 

There are differences among its competition. On Clubhouse there’s no pressure to participate. Users simply listen to interesting people speak on interesting topics. The platform has both business and non-business topics, connecting diverse voices and global communities. Conversations on Twitter and Facebook groups can become free-for-alls, not so on Clubhouse. The moderator is in charge and can call on people who wish to speak, muting them if necessary. Any Clubhouse user can start a room and set it to be “open,” which indicates other users can pop in. A “social” room, however, indicates the room is only available to the people you follow. A “closed” room is for invited guests only. The app also has “clubs,” which can create reoccurring rooms and have members.

While it experienced explosive initial growth, Clubhouse is now at a tricky stage of growth. With all success comes hurdles, and Clubhouse has its share: user complaints about unclear moderation policies, failure to invest adequate resources in policing harassment or hate speech. Concerns have been raised, mostly by women and people of color, about cyberbullying, anti-Semitism, misogynoir, misinformation on COVID-19, etc.

Clubhouse says any hate speech and bullying are against its Community Guidelines, but users want more action.

As a growing number of people engage online, social media platforms need to adapt and grow to enable more people to connect in even more diverse and varied ways. Clubhouse is an exciting (though somewhat flawed) new platform that has many online users pretty excited to use it.

In my next blog, I will discuss more specifics of Clubhouse to help you get the most out of this new platform.  

The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing.  We’ve developed  first-party data, cookie-less advertising products and historical data analytics to deliver results.  Learn more at producerdigital.com

Three Things to Do Right Now to Get New Customers in a Cookie-Less World

I mentioned on this blog already that Apple and Google will no longer support tracking technologies like third-party cookies. This move has undoubtedly left many marketers scrambling to find good alternatives to enable them to continue to effectively communicate with their prospects. 

When change occurs, it’s easy to focus on what you have lost. However, I encourage you to focus on what you may still have or what you may still do. You could be sitting on a wealth of first-party data that customers have agreed to share with you.  And if you aren’t in that fortunate position, I encourage you to begin now to consider how you will generate new customers without cookies.

Here are three ways to help you get new customers without cookies.  Think of this as an initial plan that will help you prepare for a cookie-less world. 

1.  Audit how you are currently using cookies 

In order to prepare for a cookie-less marketing world, start with auditing how you use cookies now.  Study how cookies are used in your current digital strategy and if they are necessary. What is your retargeting strategy? You should seek to have a full understanding regarding how you collect data now and how the loss of retargeting will affect how you collect data moving forward.

2.  Focus on first-party data

Since you can’t borrow data from Facebook and Google, you need to own it.  In most cases you already do or you are working with a media agency that can gather it for you.  So, what does this mean for advertisers? Here’s what it means:

Focus your marketing efforts on capturing more data from your current customers. Try to acquire e-mail addresses with their consent.

3.  Rethink your data sources

Third-party data will help you better understand your target market, their interests, demographics, etc. More traditional data collection like surveys will help you better predict audience behavior from samples.

The changes from a cookie-less world can be challenging.  If you need help determining the best approach to defining your customers’ identity and how to use first-party data to grow your revenue, please contact me.

The Producers Network is a digital media company specializing in franchise development marketing.  We’ve developed  first-party data, cookie-less advertising products, and historical data analytics to deliver results.  Learn more on our website.

No More Cookies and Retargeting…Now What?

How to Target Customers Under the New Digital Advertising Privacy Rules

The phase-out is well underway with regard to the changes Apple and Google made to each of its longstanding ad targeting practices.  Add to these the new privacy regulations that are quickly gaining momentum, and it’s no wonder advertisers are looking for ways to shake up how they target and measure their ads’ effectiveness.

There’s no denying the industry is changing. As e-commerce accelerates and platforms continue to clamp down on ad targeting, companies must master data and digital technologies. To facilitate this long-term competitive advantage, companies should consolidate insights collected from first-party data such as marketing and social media, as well as retail,  e-commerce sales, and lead generation. This valuable information can then be used to design tailored messaging to your different audiences. Big brand companies have begun doing this and are reporting impressive sales increases, higher ad recall, and increases in consumers’ likelihood of buying its brands versus benchmarks.

All that data you are likely already collecting must be well organized to produce optimum insight so you can leverage it at a scale that works for your needs. Keep in mind that not all data is created equal, some will be better predictors of behavior than others. For example, purchasing history and geographic location work well to predict behavior – like someone living in a hot environment is likely to buy a cold beer – than traditional demographics. Also, compare your data to that of your competition. Chances are your first-party data will outperform other media platform’s consumer segments.

Regional marketing programs also enable you to gather useful information on consumers because it gives you an opportunity to collect more nuanced first-party data, which helps improve your targeting, ROI, and research and development. This data can help you determine how much to spend on each platform, the success of each ad, and the point of diminished returns. This decreases your reliance on any one media platform.

Both Facebook and Google are working with digital advertisers to help determine the best way to utilize first-party data.  Facebook’s Lookalike program is a great use of generating the right impressions, traffic, and lead generation opportunities.  

How to Use Reddit for Your Digital Marketing

The recent buzz surrounding the investment app Robinhood and the skyrocketing of GameStop stock put the Reddit platform in the spotlight and left many marketers wondering if this vehicle should become a component of their digital marketing. This blog outlines the opportunities available on Reddit so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your business.

Reddit is a social sharing website that is built around users submitting text, images, and videos that users can vote on, sending popular content to the top of the chain (called “upvotes”) and pushing unpopular posts further down the chain so they get less views or none at all. Reddit claims to be “the front-page of the Internet.” The platform most recently added livestream content through its Reddit Public Access Network. Reddit’s popularity is a result of the fact it’s free and it fosters open sharing among users. The parameters are loose – so you’ll see just about anything and everything on the site. According to stats from Ignite, most Reddit users:

  • Are males between the ages of 35-44 (although 25-34 year-olds are not far behind)
  • Have annual income levels around $25,000-$50,000Have a bachelor’s degree or some college education
  • Are from the U.S. (in particular San Francisco and Seattle) with Canada (Toronto) a close second

What to Know Before You Reddit

There are two ways businesses can use Reddit: advertisements and posts. Buying an ad on Reddit is pretty straightforward, so I’ll focus on how you should approach posting to Reddit to try to market your business. First and foremost, you cannot post anything that blatantly looks or sounds like an ad. That is strictly forbidden. In fact, before you even think about trying to market on Reddit, you really must read the guidelines for each Reddit community. 

Even though Reddit is a massive sharing community, it’s not for the meek and the mild. You can’t just put anything up on Reddit and wait for the marketing magic to happen. Reddit users can spot marketers a mile away. You must know how to provide content of interest and of value or you just may get banned from the platform. Reddit users can be brutal and will ensure you’re never heard from again if they don’t like what you’re posting.  To help you overcome this potential pitfall, here are subjects that are extremely well received on Reddit that work for businesses:

  • Only Share Content People Will Actually Want to See – Don’t post anything else.
  • Include Links In Your Posts – The links don’t have to be ones you created, in fact it’s best if you don’t just post your own content. You want posts that you think Reddit or subreddit users will find interesting, valuable, insightful or funny.
  • Tell Personal Stories That Come From the Heart – Talk about how you overcame challenges, beat the odds, survived the impossible, etc. 
  • Share Unusual or Obscure Facts – Reddit users like to learn little-known facts about a variety of topics, products, movements, diseases and any other topic you can think of that has interesting facts surrounding it that are relevant to your business. 
  • Post Interesting Videos, Photographs and Art – Videos generate the most upvotes.
  • Talk About US and Global Politics Related to Your Business Vertical 
  • Share How You Use Technology to Benefit Your Customers
  • Include Topics On Science, Fitness, Music, Comics and Food As Relevant

Content that is unique, progressive, or simply just eye-catching tends to do very well on Reddit. This platform is no different from other social media sharing sites – each has its own underlying feel. Tap into what that is and post content related to that feel, and you will be rewarded with favorable results. Reddit users are trendsetters.

Another advantage of Reddit is that it is divided into smaller communities called “subreddits.” A subreddit is a board dedicated to a certain topic, which is great news for marketers! Each subreddit begins with “reddit.com/r”, such as reddit.com/r/entrepreneurship, which would potentially put your posts in front of entrepreneurs on Reddit. 

Reddit also enables you to reverse engineer your messaging by giving you the ability to do a search to see which posts have done well on Reddit for the subreddit group you’re looking to target. To Go to the search bar in Reddit and type in “Site: DomainName.com.” What you enter for “DomainName.com” will be the website address for a business that you think is generating lots of likes in a Reddit community you’re looking to target. Doing this will show you all of the Reddit posts that were most successful for the searched site. This is really helpful for marketers who are new to Reddit.

Reddit has a bit of a reputation of being the ugly stepsister, so many marketers dismiss it. However, if you are looking to target certain niche markets and you are open to user’s potential criticism, Reddit is the best place for you. And consider this: If your competition is passing on Reddit, the market is wide open for you.

Before you make the move though, make sure you’ve thoroughly educated yourself on all things Reddit. If you need any help figuring out if Reddit works for your business, let’s talk. Good luck!

What You Need to Know About Apple’s New Privacy Policies and the Impact On Your Digital Advertising

We all know that apps collect our data. We also know that just about no one reads the existing and very long privacy policies that are full of legal jargon to see exactly what is being done with our data. So late last year, as part of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple set out to rectify that. They introduced a new requirement for all software developers that publish apps through its App Store that they must include privacy labels. These look a lot like nutrition packages that are printed on the side of food packaging. The new labels indicate in an easy-to-read format exactly how data is going to used. 

  • Privacy Label — already released, it requires every app to give users an easy-to-view summary of the developer’s privacy practices that includes how an app uses their data — including whether the data is used to track them, linked to them, or not linked to them.
  • App Tracking Transparency — set to be released this spring, it requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies.

The new privacy labels began appearing in the App Store in December 2020. At top-of-mind for advertisers is whether or not the new privacy labels will influence users’ choices and how this will influence their digital advertising strategy, potentially limiting campaign measurement and attribution on Facebook. Will the new requirements stop users from downloading the app? We don’t know yet. 

When a user opts-out of data tracking, that means apps cannot gather data to share with  data brokers.  What this trickle-down effect means for digital advertisers is that there is less robust data to back targeted advertising. And, data brokers are just the beginning. There is a vast network of apps, social media companies, websites, etc., that rely on capturing vast amounts of user information across different platforms. According to Apple, the average app has six trackers, which in most cases allow third-party data collection and link data from many different sources.  

Facebook’s Response

While the scope of these changes and their affects are far reaching, entangling the entire mobile-app ecosystem, many advertisers are looking for alternatives – as they rely on Facebook to run and personalize ads on their own platforms and other third-party apps.

Most recently, Facebook responded to the Apple changes saying it would shutter conversion-lift studies, instead providing “alternative options to help you effectively test and optimize your ads in response to the limitations resulting from Apple’s updates.” These studies were used test and control groups to measure returns on ad campaigns. They also helped advertisers gauge a user’s propensity to buy after seeing ads on the platform. Without targeted ads and lift tests going away, small businesses won’t be able to reach their customers as well as before. Some are predicting a regression in the industry and a return to older measurement techniques like geo matched-market testing. I have seen rumors online that Facebook is running a beta test for such a tool.

Looking Forward

As with all change, not every outcome is necessarily bad. These privacy changes could lead advertisers to engage in different approaches like media-mix modeling and insight garnered from a variety of sources. Facebook’s look-a-like program is an excellent targeting strategy.  Building a database and using e-mail is a tried-and-true retargeting method of reaching customers and prospects.

If you need assistance navigating through these changes, let’s talk.

Have Facebook’s Targeting Changes Affected Your Digital Marketing?

While these changes happened in fall 2020 when Facebook announced major  alterations to its ad targeting tools, we are still feeling the effects now. We see the impact of these changes with both existing ad campaigns as well as new ones. Perhaps you’re in the same boat and are wondering how you need to adjust your digital strategy to ensure Facebook is still delivering results for you.

If you’re like me, you may have asked yourself why Facebook decided to make changes to its ad targeting. This has been a slow build, which began back in early 2019 when Facebook was sued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for violations of the Fair Housing Act. According to HUD and other organizations like the ACLU and NFHA,  Facebook’s ad targeting tools limited the housing options reaching certain protected classes by enabling advertisers to target ads based on age, location, education status, etc. 

Facebook responded with a vague announcement that it would make changes to its targeting and advertising tools by the end of 2019. They offered no further insight as to when these changes would go into effect. It came as a shock to many of us then when Facebook, without prior announcement, decided to implement several changes that had immediate effects on existing campaigns and all of the digital advertising on Facebook moving forward. 

Here are the Facebook Targeting Changes

  • The list of interests we had grown so accustomed to and relied on is now greatly shortened. There are no longer targeting options for jobs, housing, employment, and credit ads. 
  • There is no longer an option to do demographic targeting based on traits like age, ethnicity, and income.
  • Radius targeting has also been impacted. Now, there is a 15-mile minimum radius. It used to be a one-mile minimum radius.

These changes create much broader Facebook ad audiences. This creates greater competition among ads because more people are seeing a greater variety of ads. Your ad must fight harder now to get noticed. 

My team has been working diligently to understand and master the Facebook targeting changes. We have been adapting our approach for our clients, leveraging our digital expertise to create updated best practices. All is not bad news. While Facebook’s changes did limit some of the functionality of certain targeting tools, it is still very possible and feasible to use Facebook ads as an effective part of your ad mix. You will, however, need to rethink your Facebook strategy. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Evaluate Your Current Digital Media Strategy

Are you getting the results you want? Where do you need to make changes to get the results you want from Facebook? Too often businesses become complacent and don’t make changes to their digital ads like they should. Now is a good time to see if you have fallen into this trap and if you have to take steps to reinvigorate your strategy. 

2. Optimize Your Ad Copy and Design

If you want to attract the best prospects, your ads must cut through the clutter and speak to your target audience with clear and focused messaging. Facebook ads don’t come with much geography, so use the little space you have wisely: think high-impact copy, high-quality images, and a clear benefit.

3. Switch to a Look-A-Like Model

In some cases Facebook allows you to use a Look-A-Like model. This is a great option, but it can get a bit tricky. Your Look-A-Like database must match your target market, and then you must understand how to work with Facebook so they will allow you to use it.

4. Place Your Targeting Radius Strategically

Even with the new 15-mile targeting radius minimum, you may still be able to effectively target by location. We’ve also discovered a workaround you may want to try for your location. Try centering your target over rural or less densely populated areas. You only want the outer part of your circle to include the area you are really looking to target. This little trick helps bring down the number of unqualified prospects and puts your ad in front of your target location.  

As you navigate this new Facebook terrain, please e-mail me if you need any guidance.