How Apple’s privacy changes are driving social media marketing

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Direct-to-consumer companies that previously relied heavily on Facebook (now Meta) as a way to target and advertise through social media are now beginning to realize the dangers of Apple’s privacy policy changes. set. These changes have revolutionized the digital advertising strategy for hundreds of thousands of businesses, forcing them to find new avenues for their coveted customers.

Some brands have remained loyal to Facebook and Instagram, but many others are making sharp hinges to embrace more zero-party data and first-party data as they turn to new social platforms for marketing based on one-to-one connections, like TikTok.

Apple, maker of the iPhone and iPad, has changed the way it handles the privacy of its users. It now gives customers more control over privacy settings, giving them more control over which of their personal information is provided to brands.

Ads powered by Big Data have helped companies target people on social platforms such as Meta and Instagram, platforms that have historically been able to deliver messages to users with characteristics that indicate that the messages and offers are likely to be of interest.


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Big Data, of course, is the process of buying data from a third-party provider – collecting online activity, purchase history, social media content, and more to identify people who may be interested in what companies have to offer.

How are brands of all sizes changing their marketing?

But today, Apple’s privacy changes have made this process more difficult, causing more companies to look for alternative channels for delivering their marketing messages. Privacy aside, this pivot isn’t just bad news for businesses, as these Big Data-driven ads were based on outdated or inaccurate data.

As a result, a growing number of brands are taking a more community-driven approach to building relationships and producing their own content on social platforms and blogs, while also working with smaller influencers and returning to other “traditional” forms of marketing such as as direct mail and email. These brands believe that engaging with consumers on social media through direct messages is almost the opposite of widely targeting consumers they previously engaged through third-party lists. By approaching each individual customer more one-on-one, they can make a lasting impression.

This pivot has helped companies leverage zero-party data, information that a customer voluntarily and intentionally shares with a brand they trust. It can contain personal insights such as: preferencesfeedback, profile information, interests, consent and purchase intent.

The result is more trust, empowerment and data control

This step is in the right direction for customers to gain more control over their data. The benefits of using zero-party data are that:

  • It is unique to the brand and no other brand has the same data.
  • It is the ultimate source of truth because the customer provides their own insight, rather than the brand making assumptions based on big data.
  • It is relationship based, so it relies on a higher level of trust with the customer, which means the company must be transparent about its use of the data and the relationship must be mutually beneficial.

Every communication during the customer lifecycle (prospect, purchase, registration, customer service) creates a wealth of opportunities for zero-party data collection. For example, you can send customers a survey to better understand their unique view of the company, products or services. You can build a quiz into your welcome email, which can be both engaging and insightful. You can text shortly after a customer makes a purchase and get a little creative in enticing consumers to share data and set yourself apart from others. Many companies today also use pop-ups on their websites that ask a few compelling questions, promising to provide something of value in exchange for the users’ time.

Even B2B-focused companies are seeing changes in the way they do marketing. The FTC is currently considering whether to continue the business-to-business exception from the telemarketing sales rule. If it is discontinued, it will mean that B2B-focused companies will no longer be able to use telemarketing as the government cracks down on the abuse of telemarketing. This change would also require B2B companies to identify new ways of marketing, such as zero-party data approaches.

The changes Apple has made have made Meta and Instagram less attractive as marketing channels. This has made zero-side data and new social platforms and engagement through blogs and traditional marketing even more valuable. Brands moving in this direction and embracing new marketing and consumer engagement opportunities will see great benefits in the coming years.

Scott Frey is founder, president and CEO of NOW possible.

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