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Online advertising for law firm marketersYou might have heard of Apple’s iOS 14.5 update. That’s because it’s pretty groundbreaking. The initiative delivered a major change to targeted advertising on their devices, which is essential to most of the publishers of online content (like Facebook, Google, news outlets, etc). Here’s what law firm marketers need to know about Apple’s latest iOS update along with their implications and how your firm can take action now to prevent unwelcome surprises.

What is the iOS 14.5 update – and why does it matter to law firm marketers? 

The update, released late last month – is also called Apple’s AppTracking Transparency update. The latest operating system for Apple devices essentially manages privacy changes which have become more important for consumers in recent years. The goal is to allow consumers to manage how they share their data. This is in addition to the privacy labels Apple recently installed so that users can understand how their data will be used before they download an app. 

The bottom line is that apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube – you name it – will now be required to ask users for permission to track data on them. Obviously it’s too soon to see the ultimate outcome of these changes, but there are lots of speculations about what effects this change will bring to advertising for law firm marketers.

Legal marketers who spend money each month online advertising and social media advertising need to understand this new environment because it will have a large impact on personalized ads. Law firms who use paid advertising options on Facebook specifically will be playing by a new set of rules – and likely with reduced information that can help them to better connect with future clients and build relationships. 

Why is Apple making this privacy change? 

Apple’s new direction comes after years of controversy around privacy concerns. Privacy scandals like the Cambridge Analytica election snafu, possible election interference, and general polarization have all given rise to an increasing public distrust of big technology companies, particularly Facebook.

Apple created this update as their answer to what many people see as a loss of control over their data in an increasingly digital world. 

Facebook Advertising is Changing as a Result of The Update

Law firm marketers that rely on targeted advertising to reach prospective clients on Facebook and Instagram particularly, will find it harder to do so across Apple devices and on Apple’s Safari browser. This is the case particularly with retargeting campaigns and campaigns that utilize a second layer of interest and behavior targeting through 3rd party data providers (which use 3rd party cookies)  — a point Facebook has tried to bring home in a campaign responding to Apple’s policy changes. As a result of Apple’s privacy push, Facebook has made some changes to their ad platform. Here they are:

8-Event Conversion Tracking Limit

With only eight conversion events available, legal marketers will be forced to pick and choose which events to track, potentially leading to less precise analysis of campaign performance and less opportunity for funnel optimization.

Aggregated Event Measurement

If a consumer chooses to opt out of tracking on Facebook itself, Facebook will be able to offer only one conversion event data point. You’ll be able to sort the eight conversion events in order of importance but if a consumer opts out of tracking on Facebook, only the most important conversion event will be tracked.

Removal of 28-Day Click Attribution Model

Before, marketers could track actions of users that were made as the result of a Facebook ad campaign for up to 28 days. Now, the timeframe has been reduced to just seven days, so conversions made on the 25th day after the initial click will no longer be associated with the Facebook campaign. This isn’t great for campaigns with lengthy conversion processes (such as campaigns with calls-to-action like “contact us for a consultation”).

How will these changes impact a legal marketer’s Facebook campaigns?

The most disruptive update for legal marketers will be the reduced interest and behavior targeting capabilities that Facebook will be able to provide. Reduced targeting options potentially means higher ad costs seeing as the same number of marketers will be competing to reach a smaller number of users. Smaller audience sizes may also increase frequency for any particular campaign, which may require a different approach in terms of ad creatives.

Although this lack of campaign data is a major change, rest assured that Facebook advertising will still remain impactful. Interest and behavior targeting options are constantly changing in the first place and adaptability has always been a necessity when working with the Facebook ad platform.

Additionally, just because Apple makes an update regarding user privacy doesn’t mean that Facebook will become a less effective way to advertise. Facebook is well aware that its targeting options are the main appeal of the platform, so we know they’ll get resourceful. They already have multiple sources of acquiring user data outside of traditional web tracking.

Takeaway

The focus on data sharing and privacy is not going away any time soon. In fact, Google is having their own discussions about blocking data tracking on Android devices. It’s a common thread in the larger digital conversations. Law firm marketers need to accept that these changes are coming and adapt their online advertising strategies around them rather than ignore them.

As always, Good2bSocial is helping clients navigate these changes on a case-by-case basis and providing actionable guidance on how to run effective digital marketing campaigns overall, both on Facebook and the countless other online platforms available. Contact us today if you need help navigating these changes and running effective campaigns.

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