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Alternatives to social media ads in the age of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency

“A user’s data belongs to them and they should get to decide whether to share their data and with whom,” Vox has quoted an Apple spokesperson explaining about the rationale behind the company’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, which started rolling out in early 2021.

The spokesperson continued: “With iOS and iPadOS, we have given users the choice whether or not they want to allow apps to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies.”

To leverage ATT, an iPhone or iPad user can head into the device’s Privacy settings and specify which apps — if any — are allowed to track them. However, for many companies, this has all left social media apps less attractive as advertising platforms than before.

These days, advertising on social media apps could see you struggling to muster a worthwhile return on investment, as ATT has made it harder for these apps to determine which ads should be shown to which people. Fortunately, there remain the following options that skirt around Apple’s ATT rules.

Google Search ads

These can be classed as Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, as the amount you ultimately pay for Google Search ads will be influenced by the number of times they are clicked.

We say ‘influenced’ because the extent of your financial outlay here will also depend on any bids and budgets you set for Google Search ads. 

Through you will be required to take part in an auction in order to secure placements for these ads, how much you are actually charged will likely be less than what you bid.

Placing phone numbers on Facebook ads 

Yes, you don’t necessarily have to abandon Facebook advertising altogether. One thing you could do is, with every Facebook ad design you create, include a phone number specific to it.

That way, you will be able to see which of these designs seem to work better than others at eliciting responses. You could then tweak ad designs that appear to have trailed in effectiveness.

Contextual ads 

Imagine if you wanted to get into swimming but didn’t know how to do it, so decided to search for an online article covering basics of how to swim.

What if you did find and read this kind of article, and noticed that the webpage also displayed an ad for a related product, like a smartwatch with swim tracking functionality? 

This ad would be a good example of what is referred to as a ‘contextual ad’. Basically, the choice of product or service for a contextual ad to publicise will be influenced by the rest of the page’s content.

Using first-party data

You could require — or at least strongly urge — people who visit your website to register an account with it. If they indeed take this step, you could ask them for data that would enable you to serve these users personalised ads on the website itself.

Given our expertise with social media ads and PPC ads, we are well-positioned to help you get your promotional efforts around Apple’s ATT-imposed restrictions.

Alternatives to social media ads in the age of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency
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