Facebook Advertising Return on Investment for UK Brands Being Undermined by Privacy Battle with Apple |
SmartResponse are a unique full service DRTV and TV Shopping agency offering DRTV creative and media, DR Social media and TV shopping campaigns.
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Facebook Advertising Return on Investment for UK Brands Being Undermined by Privacy Battle with Apple

Facebook has enjoyed incredible commercial success with their advertising services allowing brands to target their audiences precisely, cost effectively and in volume. Historically, their unique algorithms have generated some of the best returns on marketing investment for many UK companies.

In the past weeks and months, however, there has been a very significant decline in performance for a large percentage of Facebook UK advertisers, driven primarily by the introduction of the recent Apple iOS 14 upgrade.

In short, if a user opts into this new Apple software upgrade on their phone then this effectively prevents Facebook from tracking the user’s behaviour, therefore undermining the efficacy of the Facebook pixel that is placed and operational on advertisers’ websites.

Whilst Apple may argue this move is to protect consumer privacy, their new iOS system undermines all Facebook reporting, conversion tracking, lookalike generation and dynamic remarketing – the platform’s key differentiating strengths – and ultimately advertiser performance.

As 80% of users access Facebook via their phone, this development from Apple is causing a great deal of commercial harm. Whilst a proportion of all Facebook users may opt in to being tracked and sharing all their personal information with Facebook, looking ahead there can be no doubt that recent well publicised controversies around their poor privacy policies and data leaks cannot be helping the take up of this option.

In the UK many advertisers in recent years have opted to launch and scale their brands on the Facebook platform, and have to date achieved great success prior to this aggressive move from Apple.

Business confidence has already taken a major hit in the last quarter with some industry observers predicting 60% fewer website sales on a like for like basis from Facebook advertising investment, due to the now diminished key personalisation of their media delivery.

The good news is that, in the ever-adapting pandemic media landscape, TV remains very good media value. Since the initial national lockdown in March 2020, TV has grown in terms of audience levels and continues to deliver excellent cost per thousands and return on investment for clients.

Facebook has been a great direct marketing medium for brands and advertisers utilising audio visual content in recent years, but this severe dip does not look like it is going to be resolved in the near-term.

Many marketers are now looking to move their valuable media pound into advertising that continues to offer excellent returns on their investment. Seeing this is an opportunity to take their learnings and invaluable experience in direct selling on this online platform, and instead invest in the established medium of Direct Response TV advertising to drive their businesses forward in 2021 and beyond.