The ongoing privacy-related updates by Apple after iOS 14.5 have pretty much killed Facebook ads and indirectly pushed brands toward influencer marketing. Research (and your experience) also shows that Amazon ads have risen in ACoS and CPC by more than 50% since 2020 and the situation is even worse today.
Read along to know why this is just a natural part of the rise-and-fall of marketing channels and how you can deal with it.
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iOS 14.5’s impact
April 26, 2021. The day when the apocalypse happened. This is the day Apple released its privacy updates that allowed users to opt-out of apps that track them. Many people, including your buyers, clicked the “Ask app not to track” button, maybe you did too. Nobody likes to be tracked.
After this, FB ads have been rising in costs and falling in profitability. A similar effect was seen on Amazon’s ad costs too.
These changes may have sabotaged your sole marketing channel, leaving you scrambling to find out better ways to grow.
More than that, it exposed what sane marketers and founders already knew. Being dependent on a third-party corporate (in this case, Facebook and Amazon) is a bad long-term strategy.
According to research by Flurry, only 6% of US consumers opted-in to the tracking.
This is why you see your ACoS is up, ROAS is down, and CPMs are up. Costs are exploding while profit is declining. BigTech made it really hard to run a successful eCommerce business.
But I don’t blame Facebook or Apple or Amazon. I think this is good. Let me explain.
Why this is actually good
Nobody likes to be tracked. Isn’t it creepy to get an ad for some stuff you were googling casually?
Sometimes even privately mentioning something to friends in conversation leads to an ad about it popping up on your Instagram feed. The truth is, nobody likes to be tracked and have their conversations, likes, and habits snooped into. No one likes to be interrupted by ads while they’re scrolling through their friend’s posts or watching vacation videos on their stories.
Apple’s privacy update was just a catalyst in the natural trend away from advertising. Trying to make it work is like trying to make TV advertising work. Nobody is interested in the commercial and just wants their show to be back on asap.
Many software and services companies resort to using content marketing as their most robust growth channel. Ecommerce companies may not have this luxury, as your buyers are not busy reading blogposts about the non-complicated $30 product you’re selling.
Feels like marketing is hazy right now. Your best channel got merked and popular advice like “try content” or “try TikTok ads” doesn’t seem to be the best way to do things long-term.
But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. This one does too.
Go where the trust is
Who does my buyers trust?
They trust their brother, sister, friends, acquaintances, and experts. This is an evergreen fact and doesn’t “come and go” like ad performance.
In 2022, along with recommendations from friends and family, they trust their favorite creator on social media too. This is the silver lining you can capitalize on. Don’t believe me?
This study by Elite Daily and Millennial Branding found that “millennials don’t trust advertising and are looking for the opinions from their friends (37%), parents (36%) and online experts (17%) before making a purchase.”
People live parasocial lives with creators on social media and trust them as much as, or more than, someone they know in real life.
Trust is the number 1 thing when making a sale. If they don’t trust you and your product, they will never buy. Regardless of whatever cool tactic or ad platform, you try. Now, let me tell you the best way to ride this wave of trust migration from legacy ads to other more authentic voices.
Leverage influencer marketing strategies to grow your brand
If you look through all the technicalities and abstract away, there are only three types of marketing channels. Those are
The natural progression of an ideal marketing plan is to move from rented to earned and owned channels.
This very natural progression is simply now incentivized for you by the downfall of Facebook ads. It is poetic. And you, by simply reading this, are positioning yourself for success.
Social Media Influencer marketing is earned media and that’s where your attention should be moving forward. And guess what the ROAS is, on average? 6x! That’s $1 in, $6 out.
More and more brands are increasing their influencer marketing spend and most brands spend 35%-40% of their marketing spend on influencers, which means there is a huge opportunity to capitalize on for you.
Leveraging creators with influence is the only long-term and robust solution to ad performance declining. It’s not TikTok ads, as your marketing agency may tell you. Go nowhere near interruptive ads if you want to win. Read this post to run influencer marketing campaigns.
We went over what led the costs associated with advertising on Facebook and Amazon to go up. Robust businesses do not depend on third-party platforms to grow. Do you want to keep funding these money-hungry growth machines to keep getting customers? I doubt that you do.
BigTech should not be able to control how your business grows, so it’s time to move to better, more profitable channels of growth.
The best way forward is to leverage word of mouth and put it on steroids using influencer marketing. This is made simple by tools like Saral which simplify the whole process for first-timers by making it easy to find the creator’s contact info, send them emails, and manage all your relationships in one place. You can also leverage their expertise with the done-for-you SURVIVAL program.
It’s time to move beyond unprofitable ads, ride the natural wave of trust, and leverage creators for growth.