Steffen Schebesta, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Toronto, is CEO of Sendinblue, an intuitive, all-in-one marketing solution for small businesses. We asked Steffen how Apple's new privacy changes will impact the marketing efforts of small businesses, and how they can adapt. Here's what he shared:
Apple recently announced that in Spring 2021, companies will have to seek permission from Apple device users before enabling data collection through the device's "Identifier for Advertisers" (IDFA). Companies use IDFAs, which are assigned to each Apple device, to track users' activity and target audiences with particular advertisements.
This will be a game-changer for marketing campaigns that heavily utilize IDFAs for target marketing. Although Facebook stated that many small businesses will suffer, I view it as an opportunity to pivot marketing strategies and more deeply connect with consumers.
Before detailing strategies for adapting, let's unpack how these changes will affect Apple device users' experiences and their relationships with small businesses.
Why are IDFAs important? Each time an Apple user downloads an app or browses the internet, the IDFA organizes and stores the user's activity. Currently, if a company wishes to access a user's IDFA data through their device, the company must ask for permission and indicate how their data will be used.
Once new regulations are in place, Apple users can opt-out of IDFA data collection altogether, which may be seen as a new roadblock for small businesses. However, companies can reframe this perceived obstacle as a way to develop stronger relationships with their audiences.
That said, here are five strategies small businesses can implement to shift their marketing approach and make this new Apple policy work for them:
Develop client-centric brand values
The requirement to seek permission to use consumers' IDFAs means companies must be more transparent with their audiences. In disclosing their data usage, small businesses can guide consumers through a narrative about their business approaches, marketing strategies, and brand values--thus directing audiences to their brand values and conveying a client-centric approach. This may result in audiences achieving more trusting relationships with companies.
Pivot away from target marketing
If a majority of Apple device users opt to restrict the collection and usage of their behaviors, businesses won't be able to rely heavily on target marketing as they've done in the past. This change could potentially help small businesses avoid the "black hole" of paying for targeted advertisements that promise specific audiences based on demographic data.
Target marketing can also feel cold compared with more intimate audience engagement. Small businesses can capitalize on this by pivoting to more personalized interactions through social media, content marketing, or SEO strategies.
Make a deal with your audience for data collection
Target marketing can build brand awareness with potentially relevant audiences. If small businesses want to persuade Apple device users to let them access IDFAs for data collection, they can make a deal. Such deals may range from discounts to free trials and other promotional materials that empower audiences to also benefit from the collection of their data. Small businesses could also leverage the opportunity to promote other aspects of their company and brand values. Win-win deals between small businesses and their audiences can strengthen their relationship through a framed partnership or cooperative engagement.
Collect data in other ways
IDFAs are not the only way to collect audience data: Small businesses can use social media sites or more robust programs that enable data tracking throughout wider marketing campaigns. These platforms enable small businesses to continue developing target marketing campaigns through different arenas. These data collection alternatives can also be used to develop more robust profiles of small businesses across different communication spaces, which can increase visibility and foster more audience touch-points.
Want information from your audience? Just ask.
Creating a poll or survey to ask audiences a particular question can be highly effective. Not only are small businesses able to directly narrate the information they hope to receive, but it also creates a participatory action with audiences that can help them feel empowered.
Apple's privacy changes won't end small businesses, rather, they can provide a leg-up in comparison to larger corporations with more fixed, target marketing approaches. Small businesses have the potential power to adapt to these changes in ways that build brand awareness, engage audiences more intimately, and develop more effective marketing strategies.