Breaking down Facebook and Apple’s fight over targeted advertising

There is a war raging between Facebook and Apple, two of the biggest controlling forces in the targeted advertising space. The conflict has been building for months, and it is now in full swing, with both users and businesses caught in the middle. 

The struggle is over Apple’s fight for user data privacy vs Facebook’s need to gather user data in order to help businesses deliver targeted ads. So let’s first break down the changes Apple has made that started this all.

Apple’s push for privacy

When the iPhone operating system iOS 14 released last fall, Apple doubled down on their continued efforts to ensure users that their personal data is protected on an iPhone. The company detailed an upcoming system that would force every available app to ask the user for permission to save their data. 

Users have always had some level of control over their privacy on iphones, which continued to be the most sold smartphone in 2020, but this update made a large splash. Now, users would be presented with a large notification upon first opening an app that tells them they can deny the app any ability to track them. Surely most users would make the choice to protect their data.

All apps are required to show users this message when first opened

This could have a strong, negative impact on businesses that rely on user data to help their social ads target the right audience. 

There was such a strong initial pushback against the requirement that Apple decided to delay the enforcement of this feature until 2021 after its announcement in September 2020. And now that the feature has arrived on app-makers’ doorsteps, Facebook is scrambling.

Facebook’s campaign against Apple

Facebook’s fight against this change began with a series of announcements to users across its main app and its business manager platform. 

The message read, “Apple has announced product and policy changes that may significantly impact the way you can run ads, measure performance, and engage customers.” It also linked to a blog update that laid out a more detailed response to Apple’s decision.

In a more reactionary section titled “Our Response”, Facebook said that they disagree with Apple’s approach, but they have no choice but to comply, or else Facebook will be blocked from the App Store. They claim that rejecting the policy and being blocked would “only further harm the businesses and users that rely on our services.”

Perhaps the most attention grabbing tactic Facebook has taken was placing multiple full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Washington Post. The second ad, titled “Apple vs. the free internet,” the tech giant aligned itself with the needs of small businesses and free ad-supported websites in an effort to appeal to readers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to defend the company’s decision, saying “We believe users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it’s used. Facebook can continue to track users across apps and websites as before, App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 will just require that they ask for your permission first.

How this affects your business

It needs to be made clear that both businesses wrapped up in this conflict are invested only for the financial impact these features have. Facebook clearly cares how much money businesses are willing to spend on utilizing Facebook’s swath of user data for targeted ads. And Apple is leaning into privacy features because it has become a major selling point for their products in recent years. It is perhaps their largest marketing push in the last year.

So while Facebook claims this campaign is being done in support of small businesses, this is clearly an appeal to the humanity of users. They want negative word of mouth to start spreading against Apple, in hopes that the feature gets rolled back. 

But at the same time, nothing Facebook is claiming is false. This change does have the potential to decrease the reach and link clicks of businesses advertisements through the platform. 

So in the end, it falls on your business to decide how you want to market yourself while this fight ensues. If the bulk of your marketing is done through facebook ads, it might be worth investing in other ad platforms that aren’t as impacted by Apple’s privacy feature. Some businesses are focusing more on their Android phone applications, as the Google Play Store is not presenting users with the same privacy notifications.

What’s important here is that businesses don’t need to pick a side. These are two major tech companies fighting to keep their marketing effective. Don’t get caught in the middle, just stay informed and find ways to shift your marketing efforts while users make their choice for either privacy or personalization. It truly could go either way.

To read more from us about balancing targeted ads in the age of digital privacy, check out our recent blog.

Better 4 Business: Facebook or Instagram

Social media has become a dominating platform with 3.2 billion users worldwide. Facebook and Instagram making up a large portion of that use, especially when it comes to business and social media marketing.

While the excitement of using social media to gain more business is intriguing more than ever, you may not need to utilize both social media platforms to see immense success.

The decision and comparison can be overwhelming. We have taken the top attributes of each and broken them down for you to decide which is Better 4 Your Business.

Facebook 4 Business

Facebook, being the matriarch of social media, has many attributes that it brings to the business table.

Industries like alcohol, Food & Beverage, sports teams, hotels, and non-profits being the breadwinner of engagement. So, businesses do well.

For starters, a wider audience. Facebook has 1.6 Billion users, while Instagram has about 112.5 million. This audience is heavily diverse but has an older audience. What those numbers tell us is that Facebook has more opportunity for more people to see your content, paid or organic.

What those numbers also tell us is that while there is a high potential for more people to see your content, they most likely will not see or engage with it. Facebook has a significantly low engagement rate of only 0.09%.

This is why targeting ads is so important. And Facebook does this factor in a great way.

The implementation of an interactive carousel ad. This ad format has shown great success for a B2B audience. This leads to retargeting.

Retargeting tracks when prospects visit your site and then display a relevant ad to that user when they are on the platform.

Using a look-a-like audience to target the ideal audience is also a feature that Facebook does well. You can specifically target individuals with a specific demographic, interest, etc. This helps to strategically pinpoint an audience rather than hoping your ad reaches who you want it to reach.

In addition, retargeting via Facebook not only gains a more specified audience but plays well in SEO tactics.

“Facebook retargeting, in cohesion with SEO tactics, places an undisputed level of efficiency. Rather than targeting a new demographic of customers, using the pixel you are targeting users who have shown the initial interest based on SEO.” Seo Marketer

Another point worth mentioning is that Facebook’s online shopping presence is top-notch. Facebook Marketplace is a mogul in social media shopping.

Outside of shopping, Facebook’s business pages are highly reputable. In fact, having a Facebook Business Page unlocks several benefits for your business in the long run.

Insert Instagram.

Instagram 4 Business

Instagram has captured social media like its iconic logo. So much so, that other social media platforms actually use its design as a model, Facebook included.

Instagram is the trendier of the comparative duo. The demographics reflect this. Instagram tends to attract the younger audience, millennials more specifically.

What is most intriguing about the fact that a young audience drives Instagram stats, is that users report that they follow at least one business religiously.

Another thing to note? One-third of Instagram users have made an online purchase within the Instagram app. Sixty-percent of users uses Instagram to seek out new products, or have discovered new products using the app. This is why the influencer industry is booming!

Perhaps the best part of advertising with Instagram is that about 72% of marketers are currently making use of it.
Instagram also shines in social media for the median 1.22 percent engagement rate it carries. The lowest engagement industry is retail which is .67 percent.

That’s nearly 7 times higher than Facebook’s median engagement rate. In fact, this is 5 times higher than the highest engaged industry on Facebook.

Now, to be fair, again – Instagram does have a significantly lower amount of users than Facebook.

One thing Instagram undoubtedly does well at is the Instagram shop capability. Similar to Facebook’s carousel feature of showcasing products or a list of services in a way that does not feel like you are being sold to, this does exactly that.

Instagram also uses the same targeting, retargeting, and look-a-like audience models as Facebook. Actually, Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012. So, while they are two different companies, the puls side is that they both use Facebook Business Manager to post ads.

Then, the most obvious difference between Facebook and Instagram is that Instagram is more visibly pleasing. For most ads that you are served within the app, you do not even realize that you are viewing an ad. The flawless advertising makes Instagram a successful platform in this sense.

Best 4 Business

So, who reigns champ? Let’s review.

Facebook has 1.6 billion users compared to Instagram’s 11.2 million users. However, Instagram’s median engagement rate is nearly 7 times higher than Facebook’s. While this may attribute to more users causing the engagement rate to water down, breaking down the engagement rate per industry returns the same results.

Instagram is also geared towards a younger audience, but an audience that yearns to shop. Facebook also has a great Facebook shopping capability, the site shows great plays in carousel advertisements.

Additionally, having a Facebook Business page may hold a greater weight than not having one. Facebook Business is a noteworthy complement to your website and business.

Also mentioned above the fact that Facebook owns Instagram. So, regardless of which you prefer, both have the same advertising tools out of Facebook Business Manager. You won’t be jipped of that aspect if you choose exclusively Instagram.

Honestly, the two things the decision boils down to are what you want your content to be and who your audience is. Are you looking for more pictures or videos? Younger or older audience? Broad or specific audience? Breaking those down will help you to decide which is better 4 your business.

Another truth?

Having one over another will not hurt your business. Having both definitely will not hurt your business. What will hurt your business is not accurately strategizing your content and advertising on these platforms.

What could be Better 4 Business is partnering with The Post and Courier.

Digital Marketing

What is Digital Marketing?

What is ‘Digital Marketing’? 

If you’re a business owner, you hear this a lot.  In short, digital marketing is the term for your company’s online marketing efforts.

Tools To Use 

Google search, social media, email, online advertising, and your website are all examples of tools you can use to enhance your company’s digital presence. 

Do I Have to Pay For All of Those?

While social media, email marketing, and your website are not technically paid advertising. Each avenue contributes to the overall online presence of your business. 

When people naturally come across your social media posts, for example, the sharing of that content helps reach an even larger audience without any cost to you!

Is Social Media and a Website Digital Marketing?

It is important to have a website and social media profiles to be an information location for potential and continuing customers.

A great example of digital marketing is having a review section on both your website and social media for customers to tell others how great your business is. 

A website is also key to having your company on the digital map. 

By having a well-put-together website, your business will be found easily by potential customers via Google search. It is also a place for online ads to be linked to when seen by potential customers in other areas of the internet.

How Does My Investment Help Me With Future Marketing? 

Another reason to invest in digital marketing is that it is the easiest way to reach your target audience: online. 

This will allow you to see real-time, measurable results from your marketing efforts. You can adjust as you need to, and using that data to create future advertising. 

Using your website and social media, you can funnel money into your marketing to best reach your target audience. 

Paid digital marketing efforts include displays and banners, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and boosted social media posts and Facebook Ads. 

 

Find out how you can apply digital marketing to your business with the Post and Courier here!

4 Unique Hacks for Facebook Advertising

If you have any experience running multiple ads on Facebook or Instagram through business manager, you probably think the process is standard and straightforward. 

The truth is, it can be. You can duplicate your old ads and change up the creative or targeting slightly, and get a whole new audience for your advertisements. You can save tons of custom audiences in your ad account and reuse them for various ad campaigns. The process is quite easy to get a hang of.

But the tools that business manager provides you with can allow for some creative ways to market your business and find a valuable audience online.

I’ll run through some of the more unique and useful hacks for Facebook Advertising through business manager.

Unicorn Ad Targeting

This hack goes against conventional advertising wisdom, at first glance. But depending on your business, it could lead to stronger customer acquisition and retention. 

The idea of unicorn ad targeting is that you can combine unrelated interests to get such unique targeting that the customer can’t help but pay attention. Audiences have become very used to seeing advertisements that target one of their interests. But they aren’t used to seeing ads that target multiple of their unique interests.

For example, you can target someone who has an interest in boating and sunflowers. Your ad can sell them a boat flag that features a sunflower. The people who fall into this audience and see this ad will be very surprised to see this overlap and will think something like, “wow, this ad really was made for me.”

The goal here isn’t to shy away from the public’s aversion to data tracking. The goal is to lean into it so that the viewer stops in their tracks and strongly remembers your ad. You’re not hiding anything here, when it comes to customer targeting.

The reason why I said this goes against conventional wisdom, is because this might feel like a weaker use of your money. Why spend $50 to target such a small group of people? Surely your estimated reach numbers will be higher if you were to align related interests in your targeting. This is true, but through unicorn targeting, your ad will catch attention much better and customers will naturally remember you more.

Create a Web Traffic Bomb

Facebook ads can be used to send a rush of users to your product or web page. This is especially useful if your business benefits from being listed on any page that shows trending products, pages, or articles.

The idea here is that you can use business manager to serve ads to the widest and cheapest audience possible. This tends to be by using audience network as your placement, since this tends to be very cheap and reaches a large number of users. 

You can also expand your location targeting wider than you typically would want to. It doesn’t matter so much if the users end up purchasing your product or service. You just want the clicks.

Once this traffic bomb starts occurring on your page, aggregate or other “trending now” type of services or websites will lift you to the top and people will find you that way. This creates a stronger impression with the user than your original paid ad would have. They are being told by a trusted service that your business is valuable among their peers.

Utilize Messenger Ads

One of the more underutilized placements in business manager is Facebook Messenger ads. These ads appear like traditional ads in the users feed, but the clickthrough takes them into facebook direct messaging, rather than a landing page you provided.

These ads can create a conversational relationship between your business and your potential customers. And the approach you should take to make the best of these ads is to use them for customer segmentation.

You have the unique advantage through messenger of finding out more about your customer lead. You can make note of what the users actually says their interests or traits are. And you can ultimately send them into applicable funnels for further marketing.

But how should you converse with the user once you have permission to message them? One good way is to apply active listening. You can set up a default initial message, when they click through, that asks them if they are a novice or expert at your industry service or product. And then you can make note of their experience level in your reply.

You don’t actually have to come up with a new product to sell them based on their experience level, if you don’t already have one. But you can acknowledge their answer and present them the product in a way that addresses their experience level. 

As an example, lets figure you’re selling a standing desk product. When the customer clicks on your messenger ad, they get a message from you asking if they are a first-time standing desk user, or an experience user looking for a better desk. 

If they respond saying they are a new user, you can reply saying “our desk is great for new users and is easy to swap between standing and sitting, as you get used to standing at work!”

If the user is an experienced user, you can craft a response saying “our desk outperforms the competition by using advanced hydraulics to achieve a smooth and fast lift into standing mode!”

Both responses fluff up the value of your product, but don’t’ distinctly state that your product is either only for beginners or experts. You sell these audiences the same product, but you make them feel listened to and acknowledged. The path to conversion then becomes much easier for you.

Skip Straight to Remarketing Ads

This hack says that remarketing is so much more valuable than regular marketing that you should skip the first step entirely.

Traditionally, you would set up an ad to run on facebook networks and then capture the info of the people who interact with your ad and then remarket to them. You create a second impression on the user after they already have brand recognition with you. They are now much more likely to make a final purchase.

The truth is that remarketed ads are 10 times more effective than regular display ads. The click through rate for retargeted ads averages at 0.7% compared to the average of 0.07% for traditional ads.

If your business spends $100 of your marketing budget on targeted ads, but only $10 on remarketed ads after running your initial campaign, you’re doing it backwards. Even if you don’t skip out on the initial ad campaign, as I suggested in the header of this segment, you should at least spend the heavier portion of your budget on retargeting.

The cost per click for remarketed audiences is significantly lower and you’ll end up with more conversions, under the same ad budget.

social media advertising: facebook vs instagram

Social Media Advertising: Facebook vs Instagram

Social Media Advertising: Facebook vs Instagram

The year 2020 has shown us that social media advertising is here to stay, and that allocating your budget to successful campaigns with a high ROI is more important than before. Many times businesses feel the return on print advertising can’t be accurately measured. The beauty of marketing via social media channels is the variety of insights provided that can be analyzed to continually improve your campaigns to achieve successful results.  

Gone are the days where social media was solely for social interaction. In fact, research shows that 52% of all online brand discovery still happens in public social feeds (organic & paid). This suggests that the majority of consumers use Instagram and Facebook to investigate a new company before even visiting their website! 

Build brand awareness and loyalty by engaging with your followers and curating a feed that gives consumers a feeling of trust and relatability. Of course this means understanding the algorithms and the importance of curating captivating content. Let’s break down common questions surrounding social media advertising

 

What are the benefits of social media marketing?

Social media is proven to increase brand awareness, inbound traffic, conversion rates, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and most importantly is measurable and cost effective.

 

Audience Growth: Facebook v Instagram

Of all social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram are proven to be the most interactive and can produce the best ROI. However, the benefits of each are very subjective and depend on which features are being used, your industry, audience, and other factors.

  • Facebook
    • Facebook launched in February 2004, and introduced Facebook Ads in November of 2007. The platform was originally created to help people stay in-touch with family and friends and became an advertising powerhouse with the launch of Facebook Ads and Business pages in 2007.According to Statista, Facebook reported almost 1.79 billion daily active users and overall, daily active users accounted for 66% of monthly active users.  This number continues to grow by 9% compared to the year before, despite the speculation that Facebook is “dying”. 
  • Instagram
    • Instagram launched in October 2010 and is a younger platform focused on storytelling through images and now instagram reels and stories. Instagram ran its first ad in November 2013. By 2017, Instagram was averaging more than 2 million businesses with purchased ads, compared to Facebook’s 5 million. 
    • However, according to Statista, Instagram has over 500 million daily active users out of 1 billion monthly active users, making Instagram a powerhouse when it comes to audience engagement.

 

Audience: Facebook v Instagram

Facebook may not have the highest engagement, but because it is the oldest platform the audience is huge, with more than 2.45 billion monthly active users. Facebook differs from other social media platforms that show strong trends in users by age. The average age for a Facebook user ranges from 18-49, with little variance in between. However, Facebook is the most popular social network among seniors and the majority of the users are in the United States.

Of this 1.79 billion daily users, the ad audience reach for the U.S. is only 183 million people. This audience size has also seen a decrease in the past year from 3% to .4% - a fairly significant dip.

Instagram’s growth continues to be studied and monitored by marketers. In the United States, the network reaches over 37% of the population. The global audience is diversified, with only 11% of Instagram users represented by the U.S. eMarketer estimates 2020 will reveal a growth of over 5% in the U.S. compared  and anticipates this number to continue growing at this growth rate. 

More adults use Instagram than you would think, with 37% in 2019. The network is also significantly more popular amongst the younger generations. 67% of users are between the ages of 18-29. Here’s a breakdown from Hootsuite:

    • 18-27: 67%
    • 30-49: 47%
    • 50-64: 23%
    • 65+: 8%

Another important and interesting insight to Instagram’s audience is that the gender demographics are pretty even - 48% female and 52% male. 

All of these statistics are important to research when considering your buyer personas. You should always analyze your business’s audience and design your strategy based on this information rather than the overall network statistics.

 

 

Brand engagement: Facebook v Instagram

It’s no surprise that consumers rarely engage with branded social content compared to all content on a social platform. A study by Forrester revealed that on six of the seven social networks, the brands studied had an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. So, between Instagram and Facebook, which platform has the highest engagement? Depending on the blog you read, you’ll render different results. According to the Forrester study, one platform stood out the most: Instagram.

Facebook launched Facebook Business Pages to support the Facebook Ads launch in 2007, and now has over 60 million business pages. 39% of Facebook users that follow Facebook Business Pages do so because they want to receive special offers. Interestingly enough, the average organic reach of a Facebook post is only 6.4% of the Page’s total likes. Statista reports that  in 2019 the social network’s marketing spending reached almost 9.9 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of over 2 billion U.S. dollars from 2018. However, despite this level of spending, the engagement on Facebook with paid branded content is still under .1%. 

A study by Merkle reveals that ad spending on Instagram is 23% higher than facebook. What is driving this shift in ad spending to Instagram’s platform? Story ads and higher engagement.  

 

 

Types of Ads: Facebook v Instagram

Facebook offers Facebook Ads Guide for types of ads. These ad types include: Image Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads, and Collection Ads. Facebook provides thorough research where their teams explored the effectiveness of ads based on engagement, exploring text, timing, and format considerations. You can find some of this research here. Facebook’s targeting tools are considerable, and allow you to narrow down by purchase behavior, interests, location, demographics, Facebook communities, and more. You can create Core, Custom, and Lookalike Audiences for your ad delivery to increase relevance, thus leading to higher ad engagement.

Instagram ad types consist of feed posts and story ads. Both types look just like regular posts and stories, but are labeled with a “Sponsored” label and include a call to action button with options to send to your messages, website, Instagram profile, etc. According to AdEspresso, the average engagement rate for Instagram branded posts is 4.3%, compared to Facebook’s 1.5%. 

The user experience for Instagram story ads shows most users don’t realize they’re seeing an ad play back to back, revealing a smooth experience that isn’t too interruptive. Additionally, because an Instagram story takes up the entire screen there is no competition with other content and when targeted correctly, the experience feels organic. Therefore, consumers are more likely to engage.

Both are measured by reach & impressions. Reach is the number of unique views on a post. Impressions are the total number of times a post was seen. Both metrics provide helpful insights to your ad performance and allow you to make adjustments to improve your ad engagement overall.

 

 

Cost: Facebook v Instagram

A study in 2019 found that the average CPM for Instagram is $5.14 per 1000 visits. While the average CPC for Instagram ads is between $.20 and $2.00. Compared to Facebook’s CPM of $5.12 and CPC of $.80, Instagram wins again in this category. This study is a broad estimation, and certain factors like your target audience will affect these costs. Let’s discuss a few factors that affect the ad costs.

  • Ad Relevance - Facebook takes into account the relevancy of your ad amongst your selected target audience and factors this into the cost of the ad. Facebook and Instagram provide a relevancy score that changes while your ad runs. If you receive high engagement, your score will increase. If consumers are hiding your ad, your score will go down. A/B testing is a great way to determine what is relevant to your audience. Remember to only change one factor so that you receive concise data. Similar to a Google algorithm, the more relevant your content is to your target buyers and ad audience, the less expensive your ads will be.
  • Target audience - If you are targeting a popular audience that is high-demand, the cost will fluctuate. 
  • Time of year - like any retail or sales strategy, the time of year will determine the cost of the ad. Popular times of the year, like holidays, will affect the ad cost.
  • Ad Run Dates - Obviously, the longer you run an ad the more your cost will increase. The average ad doesn’t necessarily need to run for a long period of time. Assessing your impression and reach goals will help guide you to determine a reasonable ad length and price.