The Implications of Privacy Updates on Social Media Performance

The Implications of Privacy Updates on Social Media Performance

The Implications of Privacy Updates on Social Media Performance

Digital Privacy Takes Center Stage in 2021

As the digital space continues its evolution, two very important privacy situations are unfolding that can fundamentally change the marketing landscape.

The Addition of App Transparency Tracking

Since Apple announced in the middle of last year that it would be ramping up its privacy game, much of the industry buzz has been about the battle between Apple and Facebook. Apple took a strong stand on user privacy with its iOS 14.5 update (that rolled out this May) by offering users a choice to “opt-out” of app tracking (that includes across other websites) while Facebook has been raising loud sirens, screaming about how the impact is hurting small business advertisers who depend on the tool to promote themselves. Here’s some fun listening on that topic.

Allow "Facebook" to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites?
Source: Forbes.com

Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies on Browsers

If the option to opt-out of tracking on popular apps that make a killing on tracking user behavior by building user profiles to target to wasn’t enough, how about also doing away with cookies on browsers, the primary (and efficient) feature many advertisers use to retarget? Google is phasing those out on Chrome browsers by 2022 (that’s next year btw) leaving advertisers that rely on cookies to find another solution.

What Privacy Updates Mean for Social Media Marketers

Opting out of app tracking and cookieless browsers coming into play presents a problem for marketers proving and defending the value of social efforts. The digital space provides analytics that other mediums cannot, such as referrals and conversions coming from social platforms. We have become accustomed to seeing these metrics both easily and quickly. Audiences that are served retargeting messages often have stronger than average conversion rates compared to other target groups. The loss of tracking and retargeting means we will likely lose some valuable data and audiences. With that, attribution is likely to be impacted and the social return on ad spend faces erosion. Social marketers are now facing a challenge: how to conserve and show the value of the social space in the customer journey as the tools they often relied upon to do so sunset.  

What Social Media Marketers Can Do

Slam, that’s the sound of doors closing. But here’s one that has been cracked open for a while, so let’s just swing it wide open and wedge in a doorstop. Keep and gain social attribution (i.e., business results having a social touchpoint) by keeping users on the platform. I mean, it has never really gotten all the credit it deserves (yah, talking to you “last-touch” attribution counters) anyway. The platforms have been building up social commerce and it’s “go” time. But don’t just think about the bottom of the funnel; think about the full customer journey. Below outlines what you should consider.

Integrating Social Commerce

Social commerce isn’t quite mainstream but it’s gaining momentum. Seem far-fetched? Just go back to the time when we didn’t think consumers would shop online 😲. eMarketer predicts about 100M Social Commerce buyers by 2023.  The chart below outlines the efforts social media platforms are putting in place to support social commerce. Worth noting, LinkedIn is also rolling out product pages and plans to roll out services pages. So, the trend isn’t only on the B2B side of things. 

Social Commerce: Key Company Initiatives by Insider Intelligence

Relationship Building on Social

What is so amazing and different about social is the opportunity to build a stronger relationship between the users and brands when compared to other media vehicles (blogs, podcasts, websites, etc.). There are several ways to approach the relationship, but the low hanging fruit includes:

  • Asking for User Generated Content
  • Using Direct Messaging Features
  • Responding/Interacting to User Comments (on posts)
  • Taking Polls/Quizzes

Diversifying Presence on Platforms

It’s not only a pretty bad idea to put your social marketing eggs in one social platform basket, but it’s also not reflective of what’s happening in the space. Over time, users are more consistent with their time spent across platforms. At about 30 minutes per day, there is plenty of time to engage your customers. Just make sure you consider what’s in it for them – social is a two-way conversation.

eMarketer Chart: Average Time Spent per Day by US Users on Social Media Platforms, 2017-2022

Running Paid Reach Campaigns

Instead of focusing on getting users to a site using traffic or conversion campaigns, try getting the most qualified users in the fold by running reach and/or brand awareness campaigns. In addition, use those units that create conversation or offer more space to tell your brand story and keep those users close to your social vest, possibly even converting them within the platform.  

One thing is for certain, digital privacy conversations and measures are becoming increasingly prominent. The impact on social performance requires marketers to pivot. One way to combat the issues encountered with new privacy considerations is to keep the social user on the platform and engaging with the brand. This includes integrating social commerce, growing the customer relationships, expanding the social presence across channels, and using the paid reach objective to pull qualified customers into the top of the funnel. 

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