How to strategically prepare for iOS 14 and the impending ‘death of the cookie’

Prepare for the rollout of Apple’s newest operating system and combat the impact it has on personalised advertising.

The coming of iOS 14 is one of the most significant changes to digital marketing in recent years. This isn’t some far off threat, with Apple's CEO Tim Cook confirming in a recent interview that the new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature will come into effect in the next few weeks.

But rather than see the death of cookies as an end to personalised advertising as we know it, we’re already putting consented first-party data at the centre of everything we do. And here’s why.

What does iOS 14 mean for marketers?

It all started back in June 2020 when Apple introduced its newest operating system: iOS 14. This update included a range of new privacy features to give users more control over their data online.

What’s most significant for marketers is this: apps are now required to clearly describe what data is being collected, and then request permission from users to share their data via a series of push notifications.

These Tracking Transparency Prompts mean accessing third-party data across apps and websites is becoming increasingly more difficult. To comply with Apple’s new policies, platforms such as Facebook are making drastic changes that will impact performance on its powerful tech - and the impacts will be felt across all digital advertising touchpoints.

For marketers, this means:

  • Ensuring domains used with the Facebook pixel are verified within the Facebook platform

  • Event tracking is limited to just 8 events per domain

  • Attribution windows have shrunk (say goodbye to 28-day click windows, and more)

  • Reporting on conversions will no longer show demographic granularity

And here’s the kicker: Google has reiterated that there will be no shortcuts or workarounds when this change comes into play in 2022. That means marketers need to rapidly shift away from a reliance on third-party data if they want to continue creating hyper-targeted, personalised campaigns.

What action needs to be taken?

This isn’t the first time the “world is ending as we know it”. In fact, TP is no stranger to digital marketing evolution. We’ve faced major disruptions over the past decade (including nearly losing our whole businesses when Facebook changed its platform overnight), but we’ve always come out on top.

As other marketers and advertisers meet these changes with surprise, fear and even annoyance, we see this as an opportunity to uncover new and innovative ways to leverage first-party data.

While others turn back to broad targeting and contextual advertising, we’re ensuring our clients’ MarTech is optimally integrated and media-ready to ensure high-accuracy signal capture, personalisation and measurement. We’re not scared about these changes because we have the tools and tech in place to continue delivering personalisation at scale.

How to combat the impacts of iOS 14

We know that tailored, personal experiences are key to convincing and converting customers. So, what can marketers do to overcome this latest set of roadblocks?

  • Shift from third-party to first-party data: we’ve spent years working with our clients to build and maintain high-quality databases, setup Facebook Conversions API and Server Side Tagging in Google Tag Manager, that means digital advertising efforts won’t suffer (and in most cases will even perform better) when these changes kick in.

  • Build direct relationships with customers: we can help you consider ways to directly speak to your customers (such as through loyalty programs) while still treating their data responsibly.

  • Invest in privacy-focused tech: we empower our clients with TP’s proprietary tech (build on first-party data collection and user privacy front-of-mind) which enables us to provide value to our clients no matter what changes come our way.

  • Complete domain verification on Facebook: while this has always been best practice, it’s even more essential if your domains integrate pixels that are owned by a number of businesses or ad accounts.

  • Strategise how you’ll operate with just 8 pixel events per domain, and rank your events in order of priority: with a strict limit to pixel events coming into effect, it’s crucial to shift your digital advertising strategy to ensure you’re able to track and optimise your campaigns, and ensure that your events tracking has been strategically mapped

With 2022 fast approaching, immediate action is needed to ensure you’re equipped to overcome the challenges iOS 14 presents. Rather than burying our head in the sand, we’ve built our businesses to never become reliant on third-party data.

We’re continuing to help our clients leverage the power of personal digital solutions through an emphasis on first-party data. And if your current media agency or technology partner isn’t ready to navigate these changes with confidence, it’s time to consider other options.

We ensure every client we work with uses their own data to power every campaign they run, not Google, Facebook or others. Our proprietary tech and privacy-aware approach means we can get to know your consumers better and continue to drive transparent ROI in 2022 and beyond.

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