iOS 14’s Impact on E-Commerce Marketing and How to Adjust Quickly

iOS 14 isn’t the end of the world. However, you do need to know these e-commerce marketing strategies to not get left behind.

Did you know that iOS 14 is already rolled out on 72% of Apple devices

If you run an e-commerce store, it’s essential that you understand how this operating system update will change marketing forever. Otherwise, you may get the rug swept under your feet. What do we mean by this? Simply that you may experience a drop in conversions, revenue, and have to scramble to fix your campaigns.

Being prepared will help you remain competitive, increase marketing return on investment (ROI), and pivot effectively. 

Don’t panic. Things change lightning-fast in business and this isn’t any different. Trends come and go. Read this article to understand iOS 14’s impact on -e-commerce marketing and how to adjust quickly.

How will iOS 14 affect e-commerce marketing?

Can an iOS update really disrupt an entire industry? Yes. iOS 14 gives users the ability to not share their Identifier for Advertiser (IDFA) which was previously automatic. This unique identifier helped brands track users across different apps, channels, and send them targeted offers.

While approximately 70% of users shared their IDFA with brands and apps before, this number is expected to plummet to 5-10%. That means e-commerce stores that use cross-channel and cross-app tracking to retarget and understand consumers are about to hit a brick wall. 

These are some of the ways iOS 14 will impact e-commerce more specifically.

Retargeting will become more difficult and less accurate

Retargeted ads normally generate a 10x higher click-through rate (CTR). Odds are, they are an essential part of your e-commerce marketing strategy. You probably retarget customers who have reached certain points of the checkout process or funnel. 

That is about to change with iOS 14. Without the ability to track users across different channels, devices, and apps, it will become increasingly difficult to retarget consumers. This will be apparent on advertising platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and other channels. 

On top of that, retargeting will become less accurate. You will struggle to track very specific events and touchpoints. Delivering ads and offers to users who performed certain actions will become blurred.

Running Facebook Ads may become more expensive

With all of these changes to digital advertising and marketing, it’s expected to see a drop in performance if you target Apple devices. In particular, don’t be surprised if your reach declines, cost per acquisition increases, and conversions drop as well.

The reality is that Facebook Ads rely heavily on understanding what users do off of the website to drive the best results. It will have the biggest impact on Facebook Ads versus Google and other platforms.

While they did not want to initially abide by Apple’s privacy changes, eventually Facebook had to adhere to the new standards. There are now limits on the number of conversions that can be tracked, events, domain verifications, and more. Read Facebook’s official documentation for a full list.

Measuring ads will be more difficult

It’s safe to say that you want to know how much revenue ads are generating, how much they cost, and where they can be improved, right? Unfortunately this will be hampered due to iOS 14. 

Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) in particular have built their measurement around the IDFA. You can see where we’re going with this. While Apple did release a replacement API called the SKAdNetwork, it still won’t be as powerful as before.

E-commerce stores will see a decrease in the ability to measure conversion events, advertisements on major platforms, and performance across mobile campaigns specifically. 

How e-commerce stores can adapt their marketing to iOS 14

E-commerce, Facebook Ads, and affected channels aren’t going anywhere. Remember what happened in 2018 with Cambridge Analytica? Digital marketing changes fast. You simply have to stay on your toes and adapt.

These are three strategies that e-commerce can implement to ensure that they don’t fall behind with the latest iOS update and continue to scale.

Collect declared data to understand customer intent

A big concern among e-commerce businesses with the launch of iOS 14 is the lack of customer insights they will generate from marketing initiatives. Don’t worry. You can still understand what customers want, need, and desire to improve marketing performance. How? With something called declared data.

Declared data is information volunteered by customers when you engage with them. This includes their purchase intent, who they are buying for, their budget, and what categories they’re interested in. 

This is absolutely priceless for e-commerce companies. Instead of relying on guesses or digging through analytics for hours, customers tell you exactly what you need to know.

However, you’re probably thinking, “How do I collect declared data?” Conversational marketing chatbots are one of the highest quality sources. These are chatbots that integrate with channels you and your customers already use—Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Google; you name it.

They interact with customers like a friend speaking to a friend. You customize basic templates and conversation flows. Then, artificial intelligence gradually learns how customers behave, speak, and what they ask for. 

It gets smarter the more conversations it has. This increasingly drives more conversions and sales all while giving you deep insights into consumer behavior. 

This is one of the main reasons that 34% of online retail stores use intelligent chatbots.

We recommend a platform like Spectrm if you wish to invest into conversational marketing chatbots. Their solution helps companies like Ford, Red Bull, and Purple drive conversions and growth with AI chatbots.

Focus on brand loyalty and trust through content marketing

We’re not saying to ditch digital advertising. Far from it. It will always be effective no matter the business landscape. However, it’s crucial to be omni-channel.

Successful e-commerce brands use various channels and mediums to reach customers. Use this as an opportunity to expand into different strategies your brand didn’t leverage before.

One we recommend is content marketing. In a time where online privacy is its most sensitive, our e-commerce store can build trust, recognition, and authority through content. 

In fact, 56% of B2C marketers have increased their budget for content creation in the last 12 months!

A great place to begin is a blog. Articles drive organic traffic and naturally attract people to your website. They also compound over time, gradually generating a better and better return on investment (ROI).

Look at the D2C brand Purple for instance. They regularly blog about sleep related topics on their website.

Why is this important? Firstly, it only attracts relevant people to the website who have a good chance of converting. Secondly, it educates new and existing customers in topics that are important for them.

Blog about topics that your customers care about. What questions do they have? What pain points do they need solved? Use a tool like AnswerThePublic to get ideas.

Enter a search term and click the search button to begin.

This will generate questions, prepositions, comparisons, and other queries about your chosen topic. Use this to understand what your customers are interested in and get inspiration.

That brings us to our next point.

Improve your ad copywriting to ensure predictable profits

Copywriting is a massively underrated component of e-commerce. Whether you realize it or not, it plays a large role in conversions and sales. After all, the hundreds or thousands of products (or more) on your website all consists of sales copy. 74% of web readers also pay close attention to the quality of spelling and grammar.

Imagine if you were able to optimize all of these products and their copy. You could be seeing a significant increase in conversions and revenue. However, what exactly separates good and bad copy for e-commerce?

Firstly, always focus on the benefits and not just the features. This is a brutally common mistake you must avoid in e-commerce. Features are factual pieces of information. This includes sizing, color, dimensions, etc. Customers need to know them but they don’t convert. Instead, benefits do. Benefits are what the features will do for the customers.

For example, Nivea literally has a “Benefits” section for this anti-aging cream:

Note how they didn’t just claim it’s firming, moisturizing, caring, and anti-aging. They explained what that means for the customer. I.e. firmer looking skin, reduced lines, feeling refreshed in the morning, etc.

Another benefit (no pun intended) of copywriting benefits is that it generates emotions in customers. It helps them imagine what life would be like away from the pain points they are trying to avoid and the desire they are looking to fulfill.

Next, use strong calls to action. These are words or phrases that instruct customers what to do next. Heck, it might seem obvious to add a product to the cart or click a button but don’t underestimate this copywriting strategy. 

You can use calls to action for everything from pushing customers to buy or writing reviews like Nivea did on the previous example.

Thirdly, provide a unique value proposition. After all, why should people buy from you and not a competitor? You need a clear reason. This could be proprietary technology, ingredients, or materials. Sometimes—even though you sell a great product—there’s nothing proprietary about it. In that case, take a look at your top ten competitors.

Note all of the major features and benefits you all provide. Then find something that nobody advertises heavily. Bring that to the forefront of how the product is positioned and your ads will instantly stand out.

Look at Dollar Shave Club. They offer the “world’s best razors for a few bucks a month. No commitment. No membership fees. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.” 

Very few, if any, competing brands will be able to keep up with that offer which instantly separates their ad from the rest.

Final thoughts on iOS 14 and e-commerce marketing

The e-commerce landscape and other industries are about to feel a huge shift because of Apple’s iOS 14. The operating system offers many new privacy features including the ability to not share your IDFA. This will have a significant impact on digital advertising channels that e-commerce brands regularly rely on.

However, everything isn’t so grim. Retargeting will be more difficult, ad costs may rise, and you’ll have to pivot but it’s not the first time. Marketing can often be a game of cat and mouse, and you simply have to adapt. This time is no different than what happened with Cambridge Analytica in 2018.

We recommend that you invest in conversational marketing chatbots to collect declared data. These engage with customers in personalized ways at scale. Not only does this guide users from discovering your brand to converting but also provides deep insights into customers. Use this like the information previously collected from Facebook Ads, Apple Devices, etc. before iOS 14.

Secondly, begin investing in building relationships, trust, and authority through content marketing. This will help your brand expand into other channels to reach customers and scale. When people feel comfortable with your business, they will also be more likely to opt into sharing their IDFA or other personal information.

Learning how to write effective sales copy is also important. This will increase the return on investment of ads and marketing material you publish. So while different advertising channels may take a hit, you can make the most out of them. Focus on stating product benefits, using strong calls to action, and developing unique selling propositions.

If you want to generate more sales with your e-commerce store, learn more about how Younotus can double or triple your profits with consistency.

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