Advertisers can no longer rely on browser-based technologies to power performance campaigns, but they can still deliver growth without compromising privacy by using API technology
31 January 2023
Advertisers might think that performance marketing and privacy are mutually exclusive now that many technologies restrict their ability to match user behaviour online. That is not the case, however, for marketers who prioritise delivering performance on people’s terms.
Now that the public are more aware of their privacy choices and rights, and the advertising industry is adapting accordingly by giving them tools to manage their data online, inevitably there are gaps in marketers' understanding of each customer journey. The cost of performance marketing has risen as a result and measurement of its effectiveness is more challenging. Left unchecked, the situation has the potential to harm the long-term returns on brand marketing investments, and their overall profitability.
However, none of this prevents brands from running successful performance campaigns. Ad personalisation is still valuable to consumers and businesses alike, and it can co-exist with privacy; brands simply have a greater need for measurement and targeting tools that don’t rely on signals from cookies and browser-based technology alone.
Sponsored by Meta
By Albert Abello Lozano, head of automation, Treatwell
How to drive growth while respecting privacy
Click here to download 'Leading the Personalisation Conversation', a new report from Meta and The Marketing Society. Find out more about Personalised Ads here.
One of the key ways brands can adapt is through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). An advertising platform’s API can allow brands to utilise data collected by that platform and combine it with the brand's first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. This is then used to improve understanding of users’ actions on apps and the internet, and thereby to personalise, optimise and measure campaigns effectively.
At the heart of this approach is a scoring system, which ensures the data a brand collects about customers' online activity matches scenarios that take place on the advertising platform. For example, Meta's Conversions API uses a system with four ratings: poor, okay, good or great.
Privacy-safe ad tools
Of course, these privacy-focused advertising practices must go hand-in-hand with good data governance. When considering how brands target and then measure campaigns today, it is vital to remember and respect each consumer’s privacy expectations.
People expect transparency and control over how their data is used, and Meta’s tools, for example, allow people to see why they have been shown an ad and to opt out of ads from specific advertisers or ad topics.
Once a brand embraces the mantra of performance on people’s terms, marketers will find the technologies available in today's advertising ecosystem will allow them to plan, execute and measure personalised campaigns that deliver incremental growth while also respecting consumers' choices. ■
Privacy and performance together
Establishing how a brand is going to measure marketing effectiveness in a privacy-focused ad ecosystem is just as vital. Again, APIs can help advertisers by revealing if campaigns have led to incremental lifts in outcomes they were targeting – whether that be a visit to a store and the resulting uplift in sales, completed enquiry forms, contacts made through Messenger or calls made directly to the business.
This is hugely important, because companies need to filter out the sales or enquiries they would have likely made anyway and focus on the new actions a campaign has delivered.
Conversion lift studies are one solution. A brand’s audience is split into test and control groups, with full respect paid to privacy settings; then, by comparing conversions among different groups, the incremental lift among those who were exposed to a campaign can be measured against those who were not. It's important to carry out these experiments regularly because the factors influencing conversions change over time.
By running a conversion lift test with Meta's Conversions API, agency Socialfly identified that its client Alex and Ani achieved 3,300 incremental purchases, 45,700 incremental add-to-carts and 2.26x return on ad spend, by implementing Meta’s recommended campaign best practices.
Thinking on a wider scale, it is also important to know the contribution each marketing channel makes in delivering an advertiser’s desired outcomes. For this, marketing mix modelling (MMM) is a valuable tool that requires no individual-level data.
When dog nutrition brand Bark wanted to measure the impact of digital advertising on pet food subscriptions, in comparison with its own website and PR activities, it used Meta's open-source MMM tool Robyn, and achieved 30% growth in subscriptions through budget optimisation. Creating its first in-house MMM analysis took the brand just three months.
Roisin Donnelly: We need to really understand what the customer wants. What does the customer need? Who is the customer? What do we need to do to make it easier for the customer? I hope we can educate them better – we must be absolutely customer-obsessed in everything we do.
Michael Inpong: The number one rule for personalisation is delighting the customer. And part of delighting them is answering their desire for privacy. ■
Performance on people’s terms:
Find out more about the Meta Conversions API here
A better score means the events a brand shares in the API – for example an ecommerce purchase or initiating a checkout – are more likely to match to a Facebook or Instagram account. Having this information can lead to more conversions and lower incremental costs, and means brands can optimise ads for actions that happen later in the customer journey.
Brands that follow best practices while using Conversions API alongside the Meta Pixel can expect an 8% improvement in cost per acquisition on average, according to Meta's analysis. Some achieve even better results.
For example, Czech drop-shipper Ateli wanted to improve sales in 10 European markets while also reducing the cost of customer acquisition. It incorporated Conversions API into its ad strategy and found that it boosted sales by 1.3x while lowering the cost of each incremental purchase by 26%.
Similarly, when the Polish clothing retailer Reserved used Conversions API to set up dynamic ad campaigns, it led to a 16% incremental lift in purchase events.
Drop-shipper Ateli achieved
by implementing the Meta Conversions API
lower cost per incremental purchase
Measurement that matters
Jewellery brand Alex and Ani achieved
by adopting Meta’s recommended campaign best practices
Learn more by downloading Meta's best practice guidebook.