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How advertisers can use the full potential of Meta

16 Mar

Here, our Head of UA Karina Vasyukevich shares insights on how to improve your promotion strategy on Meta.

But before we dive into the advertising potential of Meta (ex-Facebook) in 2022, let’s have a closer look at how paid advertising changed for the social network in 2021.

Background

Beyond doubt, 2021 was a turning point for the social network, which wasn’t yet rebranded as Meta at that time. The beginning of the year didn’t seem to bring any substantial change, and the company was able to keep offering their effective advertising solutions to a wide range of advertisers worldwide. But it didn’t last long, because Apple released the 14.5 iOS update in April where they changed the privacy policy giving users the right to choose whether to share their IDFA with advertisers. And that’s when things started to get interesting.

 

Meta had to address three issues at the same time:

  1. First, Facebook and Instagram have always been the most stigmatized social networks. We’ve all heard the theories that Facebook listens to us and knows a lot of things that the social network is not supposed to know. Of course, not many people have been willing to grant access to their IDFA.
  2. It is a well-known fact that the main share of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. So it would be reasonable to assume that Facebook should be prepared for such a critical change in Apple’s data policy. But the thing was that they weren’t ready regardless of the fact that the changes had been announced at WWDC in the summer of 2020. As Apple rolled out the update, Facebook turned out to be the least prepared traffic source. It is true though that the platform released a number of guides for advertisers but, in fact, a major part of traffic got falsely attributed to organic traffic and there was no way to benchmark it. At the same time, all the integrations were marked green. On top of that, the company had a strange approach to fixing the ongoing issues which resulted in shutting down all the opportunities for some advertisers to scale their ad campaigns. Eventually, Facebook couldn’t get the expected revenue. 
  3. Third, the internal problems of Customer Support became apparent. To be honest, Facebook Business Help Center has never been a role model of a top-notch customer service. Customer support teams are always ready to answer all the easy questions, but when these questions become a bit more complex they struggle to assist, especially dealing with iOS 14.5+ related enquiries. Unsurprisingly, it resulted in reallocation of marketing budgets, and advertisers turned to other platforms for quality traffic.

That, along with media scandals and rebranding, which transformed the company into Meta, led to poor 2021 financial results. The number of active users declined (while investors were expecting the usual growth), and Q4 profits fell by 8%. Meta Reality Labs is one of the most promising projects of Meta at the moment and the company believes in its great potential in the future. Nonetheless, the “metaverse” business reported billions of net loss in 2021. Consequently, Meta shares dropped by 22%, and this negative trend is still ongoing.

What’s happening now?

Well, it might look like Meta is going to be eliminated in this advertising game, and your marketing budgets are better spent elsewhere. But let us reassure you that it is not exactly true. There is simply no other social network that has such a huge audience of real users. And that should not be overlooked.

World’s Most-Used Social Media Platforms January 2022, DataReportal

Also, there was a thing about the Meta algorithms. The company altered them in a way that resulted in their poor performance, but nonetheless they are still operational. Well, setting up ad campaigns have become much more challenging since it’s extremely hard to forecast any performance. But following a couple of rules, you will be able to get the best of the traffic source (we’ll talk about them a bit later).

In 2022, the platform is not focusing on bringing new ad formats, but rather developing new technical solutions which will help it reinstate as a reliable source of quality traffic.

How to promote apps?

It’s no wonder that it was mobile advertising that took the hit from the new Apple privacy policy. This type of advertising depended heavily on users sharing their IDFA with advertisers. To minimize the risks, follow these rules:

  1. Track your ads and properly set up a SKAd Network. This is the first thing you should do before launching any ad campaigns for your mobile apps. Ad tracking platforms have developed a number of different guides and recommendations on how your business can approach that. We highly recommend you to follow them and restrain from looking for an alternative solution now. Here’s the AppsFlyer SKAN solution guide
  2. Learn more about the changes to the Event Manager settings and how to apply them. 
  3. Learn more about the iOS 14.5 release and how it may affect your ad campaigns
  4. Learn about SKAN interoperation in Meta business account from AppsFlyer.
  5. If you use paid social advertising for iOS devices from multiple ad accounts, check out the guideline on how to set up these accounts.

 


 

If you are thinking of launching ad campaigns on Meta for a mobile app, have a look at Automated App Ads. Well, it’s true that city targeting is unavailable and it isn’t a good solution for local businesses. But if you target wider audiences, e.g. a country, this tool can perform 30% better than the standard format. We can support this from our own experience. 

 

Set up campaigns for Android and iOS in different ad accounts. Since there are not yet the same problems for Android as for iOS, it is worth separating the performance and optimization.

 

Remember, that you will get the reliable data on the traffic attribution only when your campaigns reach at least 88 daily installs. But you should not rush to scale the campaign, it can lead to a multiple increase in the costs. It’s worth keeping the number in mind, but scale your campaigns gradually.

 

Consider broadening your audiences. For iOS, some audience breakdowns are no longer available. There is no city targeting in automated campaigns. In lookalike iOS campaigns, audiences and remarketing already consist only of users who have agreed to share their IDFA with advertisers. All of this is making it harder and harder to target audiences. The trend is to run ads targeted at a broad audience, where the algorithm decides who to show ads to. Think about creatives which can attract a broad audience to your product.

How to promote websites?

It is not surprising that 2021 reshaped digital marketing, and promotion of websites faced a number of significant changes. 

 

First, the most important change is that Meta will stop supporting the Meta Pixel. It is happening in Tier 1 countries now. The main attribution of events takes place outside of the Meta Pixel.  API conversions are used instead. Soon the Meta Pixel will completely cease to exist.

 

To launch successful ad campaigns to promote a website, make sure you have done the following:

  1. Set up API conversions. There are several ways of how to do that. The range from a simple number of right settings to rather complex solutions. The thing is that you cannot afford putting that off anymore. That should have been done yesterday. 
  2. Verify your domain. Here’s a video guide on how to do that.  
  3. Verify web-events

Once you have done that, you will be ready to set up quality ad campaigns for a website. 

 

As for the general recommendations, they will be similar to the recommendations below, but there are some peculiarities.

First, if you’re an e-commerce business, use the potential of directory advertising. There is no better creative than the one which is personalized.

The second thing is to broaden your audience. For mobile app ads this is super relevant right now, but for websites it will become relevant in the future. Use detailed targeting extensions, it helps you find lookalike audiences and better optimize Facebook’s algorithm.

General recommendations on the promotion of mobile apps and websites.

  1. Don’t create multiple ad groups with different creatives and ad campaigns. The days of one ad set for one group of creatives within one campaign are long gone. Set up ad sets with different audiences and creatives within the same campaign with the same budgets. This will help you test them and use automated Meta tools to rule out overlapping audiences that you couldn’t manually rule out.
  2. Do not select just a few ad placements. Use all of them. This will give Meta more room for optimization and your ads will be displayed where the goal of your ad campaign can be achieved at the lowest cost. 
  3. Use the strategy of “Lowest Cost” when launching new ad campaigns. This way you can understand at what price you can get targeted actions and help your campaigns pass the learning phase. Beware that any cap or restriction at the launch of the campaign will negatively influence the learning phase. 
  4. Use Dynamic Creative for the standard format and test all possible scenarios at once. It’s important that these scenarios are different and that there are resizes for each of the Meta sites.

Final thoughts

Apparently, it is much more difficult to work with Meta in 2022. But if you follow all the recommendations and minimize the risks of technical errors while setting up your campaigns, Meta is still a really strong tool for promoting apps and websites.

 

If you are interested in improving your mobile app/website promotion strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch ?