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Friday December 18, 2020 |Q&A

How should ecommerce brands prepare for iOS 14

Apple is set to release a new features to iOS 14 that will require users to opt in to data sharing. This is a change and will adversely affect businesses heavily reliant on advertising on Google and Facebook, especially in the short term. In the long run, this move will help fracture the advertising market and ad tag levied by Google and Facebook.

Facebook issued a press release to voice opposition against this move, in a vain effort to garner support from small businesses. To most small businesses, this support will come as a welcome surprise, though it lacks any details of how Facebook is actually a help to small businesses.

In the short term, retargeting ads will be one of the hardest hit areas. It will become nearly impossible to run retargeting campaigns in the same manner. The accuracy of tracking will also suffer. Without the ability to finely track each conversion, reporting and measurement will become less accurate.

Without specific tracking, campaigns become more like mass media than direct to consumer ads, where campaigns are more generalized. This won't necessarily make them less more effective. It will make digital advertising closer to the old advertising adage of knowing that 50% of the budget is wasted, but it's impossible to tell which part.

Facebook has already introduced ways for businesses to sell directly on its platform and those capabilities will be improved this year. Each of the platforms is looking at shopping as the way to increase profits, and will build the tools to help businesses establish themselves on the platforms.

The end results will be a more fractured ad market for brands to navigate. With more touch points available, brands must be ready to meet customers everywhere. Strengthen relationships on open protocols like email and SMS. Develop a headless strategy that meets customers at the points of their choosing. Manage it al succinctly in the backend.

The short term effects may be detrimental to some businesses. Businesses that run well strategized campaigns will not suffer in the short run, and in longer term, this sill benefit great businesses that can meet customers at the place of their choosing.

Brands must establish their own digital platforms outside any of the major platforms. The best time to establish a digital platform was years ago. The next best time is now. The change is welcome and will breed opportunity.

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