Is Facebook Advertising Going to Die?
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Is Facebook Advertising Going to Die?

Four percent of iOS14 users are opting in to let apps track them.

Compared to a few months ago (in a pre-iOS14 world), these numbers can feel staggering. As marketers, we feel these numbers as we look at our paid marketing strategies and wonder…is it all over?

It’s a valid question in a world of uncertainty.

Our first question to ask: where is this data coming from?

“Flurry is an analytics tool that the company says is installed in 1 million apps. Since iOS 14.5’s public launch, it has been tracking the opt-in rate every day using data from 2.5 million devices,” says Mashable.

To be clear, this isn’t data released by Apple based on information from all devices. It’s a “smaller” sample size, but we consider these numbers a valid look at what to expect from Apple’s data.

Does this mean Facebook advertising is going to die?

From billion-dollar lawsuits to government-mandated oversight to politically-driven censorship, there’s a lot to be concerned about. We won’t act like we can predict the future, but we can give you our take.

We’re here to say that Facebook advertising isn’t going to die.

It just might become different.

Facebook’s Current Battles

There’s no secret Facebook is working through a privacy struggle. Governments and states are questioning what Facebook is doing behind the scenes, and part of that involves Facebook paying up for damages.

TechCrunch recently covered the platform’s battle with Illinois, Facebook will pay over half a billion dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged systematic violation of an Illinois consumer privacy law.” If Facebook faces half a billion payout to one U.S. state, we have to question what that could look like on a global level.

Time reported on Facebook’s attempt at self-regulating itself with the hope of avoiding government regulation in the future, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is telling everyone who will listen that it is time to regulate the internet…

Zuckerberg’s efforts began with a 2019 op-ed in the Washington Post, ‘The Internet needs new rules.’ The article proposed four specific actions including things that Facebook was already doing. A few months later Facebook released a white paper reiterating the ideas.”

And then came Apple and their bid to win back consumer trust through the app tracking notifications of iOS14. The Business of Apps explains, “Apple has historically offered people the chance to opt-out before, with their Limited Ad Tracking feature. In iOS14, [the Identifier for Advertisers] will become opt-out by default.

Facebook’s legal team is hard at work as they try to protect their advertising platform that made $84.2 billion in 2020. We certainly see a platform that needs to abide by the modern consumer’s values when it comes to data privacy‚ but we don’t see this as the end for Facebook.

We just see it as a catalyst for change.

Proof That It’s Not The End of Facebook Advertising

Reason #1: Bet on the Network

A press release from Facebook gave us an inside look into their current numbers. The app 

had an 8% increase year-over-year in daily active users, with an average of 1.88 billion users on the app daily in March 2021. Facebook reported 2.85 billion monthly active users for that same month.

And that’s just Facebook. We still have all of the Instagram users who can spend thirty minutes cruising through their Explore page (we’re talking from experience here). We know Facebook has changes coming its way, but with this many users, it’s impossible to say that this advertising platform will disappear.

Reason #2: There’s Still Data Being Collected

While consumer behavior across platforms creates a dream world for marketers, it doesn’t mean that a world without it equals fewer conversions. What it really means is that we have to learn to market a different way: platforms changes = marketing changes.

The iOS14 update and the privacy updates Facebook is making due to the huge checks it’s cutting to governments and states don’t remove the entirety of data collected on consumers. It just reduces it. Anything a user does on Facebook can still be tracked and used to identify ads users would be interested in.

Reason #3: Marketers are masters at pivoting

Our final reason for our belief in the continued dominance of Facebook isn’t even related to the app. It’s related to you. As a marketer, you’re always changing things. You’re A/B testing your subject lines, seeing how well your offers are converting, and updating your strategies based on the latest trends. We know you’re not going to let privacy changes stop you from advertising.

You’re going to pivot. If users ask not to be tracked across platforms, then we shouldn’t be tracking them. 

This doesn’t mean marketing is dead. It means it’s time for a change. How can you and your team create strategies that get the attention of your customer avatar? Get creative; that’s the foundation of marketing.

We know that a statistic telling you only 4% of Facebook users are letting the app track them across platforms is scary. But it’s only scary at face value. 

When you dive deeper into what’s really happening here, we see a company ready to do what it takes to maintain control (ahem, Zuckerberg’s quest for self-regulation). We also hear consumers asking for options (another ahem, user’s confusion as to how online ads track them).

As marketers, this tells us Facebook will do what it can to make the advertising experience as good as possible for its advertisers—the people who made them over $80 billion last year. It also tells us people are looking for brands they can trust, which means creating loyalty can become a huge part of your marketing strategy. 
That sure sounds like Stages 7 and 8 of the Customer Value Journey

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