So many changes coming from so many directions—so little time!
2022 is just a few months away, and marketing teams everywhere are consistently tweaking their UA strategies, based on updates being made across ad networks, operating systems, digital distribution platforms, and more.
Facebook’s deprecation of the AMM program, for example, will come into effect on October 29th. This will no longer allow Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) to provide user-level attribution data to mobile marketers for Facebook traffic. Facebook’s view-through data was previously removed from AMM in 2020, and the latest change will remove click-through data from AMM. Facebook will only allow MMPs to provide aggregate results over events that are sent to them. Examples of such events include revenue events, signups, or even pLTV events such as the optimized signals from Voyantis.
Another big shakeup, is the latest Apple ruling, which dictates that Apple can no longer ban developers from providing buttons or links in their apps that direct customers to other ways to pay outside of Apple's own in-app purchase system. The ruling also said Apple cannot ban developers from communicating with customers via contact information obtained by the developers when customers signed up within the app.
Of course, these changes all ride on the coattails of one of the bigger shakeups, which growth teams are still navigating through: the UA challenges that were brought on by iOS 14.5. Once that rolled out, user-level marketing data became unavailable for the majority of iOS campaigns; retargeting became far more competitive, attribution became a greater challenge; and there were fewer signals to rely on.
But get ready, cause now it’s time to throw iOS 15 into the mix! Here’s all you need to know!
There will be improvements to the SKAdNetwork
Before iOS 15, Facebook and Google both announced that they will model missing data from ad campaigns where they received incomplete reporting from the SKAdNetwork API due to Apple’s privacy threshold. It used to be relatively impossible to compare the performance from all campaigns and ad networks, and this obstacle led to mobile marketers using app-level blended ROAS as a key performance metric.
Well it looks like Apple got the memo—and is making strides in appeasing marketers.
The biggest improvement on the SKAdNetwork is that marketers will finally have access to raw/unedited SKAdNetwork postback data for auditing purposes—data which in early versions of SKAdNetwork Apple forwarded directly to ad networks responsible for driving installs.
This makes campaign measurement flexible with more control to analyze data, for marketers and advertisers alike.
You can optimize your product page better than before
One of the better features of iOS 15 is product page optimization. This will increase opportunities for marketers to drive more traffic to their product pages on the App Store. It is dividing the app store into two categories: Paid and Organic.
For you and the rest of the growth team, this means that you can tailor the content on your product pages based on your audience. You can A/B test pages and see what clicks. As needed, you can also swap out screenshots, app icons, or highlight certain features to see if that drives conversions or increases downloads in particular categories.
You can also make good use of comprehensive App Analytics from App Store Connect, and run tests for up to 90 days. While those tests are live, you can monitor the performance of impressions, page views, installs, and conversions for each variant.
Of course, for each test you run, you can define the amount of traffic you wish to allocate as well. The best part is that each test can be localized for different audiences, so you can track and gather user behavior learnings from different cultures and countries.
In many ways, this is similar to Google’s Store Listing Experiments.
You can create custom product pages for paid UA
The custom product pages of iOS 15 are a real treat. With it, you can create up to 35 versions of your App product pages to highlight specific features of the app for certain audiences. Marketers will have complete freedom to change the promo text, screenshots, and the app preview video and drive audiences to unique URLs.
When it comes to paid UA campaigns, you can create a product page that appeals to your target audiences. Tailoring the message to your audience’s intent could have the power to drive up conversion rates significantly.
For the data geeks among us: you will be able to monitor and review analytical data associated with each of the product pages, including downloads, impressions, conversion rates, and more in App Analytics. For each Custom Product Page you create, you can also see average revenue generated per user.
Tracking will get trickier
iOS 15 will give Apple's customers several ways to limit or prevent data-sharing.
Those privacy features include technology to mask the email and IP addresses of Apple customers, making them less effective as a unique identifier for online tracking. IP masking means you won't be able to track and analyze where your customers are from. Then there is also email masking, which means that if you're using emails as a unique identifier for server to server conversions—the ad platform won't find a match. If you use emails for lookalike lists, then the ad network won't be able to find a match as well. You can read more on the irksome technicalities involved in this post.
The pixel that tracks emails (if a user opens an email and how often), will be limited at the user's discretion (due to the ease of opt-in/opt-out). Then there is also “Hide my email,” which allows users to sign up for email offers with an Apple-generated randomized address instead of the real email address. 😖
All this is annoying for growth teams, but they can still embrace personalized messaging, as there will still be one-to-one communication between brands and customers who opt into receiving promotions and offers with a compelling subject line. When it comes to trying to entice people to share their personal information, surveys and questionnaires will be the way to win the UA game.
Don’t disregard the new “Focus” Mode
Focus mode is essentially an expanded “Do Not Disturb” feature, which allows users to select which notifications they don’t want on-the-fly, which they will later receive in the form of a summary that resembles a newsletter.
That feature will lessen the effect of push notifications for teams that are trying to engage with the customer base. Then again, it’s all about perspective—because when the customer does get around to viewing the summary, they will put more focus into the messaging of the notification. As such, growth teams need to ensure that the messaging of their notifications are more engaging than ever.
The best way for growth teams to adapt
These changes serve as a step in the right direction for Apple in terms of charming over growth teams, but there is still much left to be desired, such as insights into which ad creatives drive quality installs, and greater support for a web-to-app solution that would attribute users on iOS devices who ask not to be tracked via ATT.
Very generally speaking, brands across all industries (regardless of the stage they’re in) are responding to the many shifts taking place (with iOS 15, plus all other platforms and ad networks) by diversifying their marketing efforts. They are doing so by focusing on multiple platforms and many different audiences.
To be honest, diversification will be the name of the game from 2022 onwards. And while it is great to see that Apple has made some marketer-friendly enhancements with iOS 15, it’s good to know that the adjustments that are less marketer-friendly are still workable, as long as you have growth superpowers on your side. 😉