Preparing for a Facebook Performance Drop Off

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Alison Zeringue, Director of Account Management at Search Influence, joined the podcast to discuss the broader trends we’ve been seeing from both tech companies and advertising platforms towards both user and data privacy, and how higher ed marketing teams need to respond to Apple’s iOS 14.5 update.

There's a lot of webinars today talkingabout the cooculous future and for what that really means is that there's this globalpush for Internet users to have more control over their privacy and their data aboutthem. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professionaldevelopment podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcomeback to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect ETU podcast network. I'm Eric Olson with Helot Education, and we're here today with Alison ZeraanDirector of account management at search influence. Alison, welcome the show. Thanks, Eric. Thank you so much for having me. Really excited to haveyou and for you to help talk us off the Ledge regarding these new advertisingplatform shifts and what it means for data driven marketers across Higher Ed. Butbefore we dig in, can you give the listeners a little bit of backgroundon both search influence and your roll there? Absolutely, search influences a full servicedigital marketing agency. WE'RE BASED OUT OF NEW ORLEANS, but we haveclients nationwide. The last few years we have started to kind of really focusin on some of our key industries that we know we can have a bigimpact in, including higher ed we've been in the industry for fifteen years nowand actually we're started as an SEO agency. So Seo kind of is our breadand butter and is usually why people find us to begin with. Butwe have really grown to offer the full suite of digital marketing services, includinglots and lots of facebook ads, as you can imagine, and all typesof digital advertising today. And my role at search influence on the director ofaccount management, so I work both with a team of account managers and theirclients on strategy. Have Been in the Organization for ten years now, soI have, you know, breadth of experience working with hundreds of clients overthe years. So I work with them on strategy and on execution of thosestrategies. But then I also get the pleasure to serve on the executive teamof search influence. I report directly to our owners and we work on agencyplanning and all of that, you know fun stuff growth for the future.CONGRATS on the ten years and it's fun because from an attribution and you knowanalytics side, where we might be moving back to how we did it tenyears ago. So absolutely, yeah. Alson to kick us off today,can you give us just a high level overview on maybe start with the broadertrends that we've been seeing from both tech companies and advertising platforms toward both userand data privacy? Yeah, absolutely so, since GDP are, which many peoplehave heard of. It's called the General Data Protection Regulation, which cameout in the EU and two thousand and sixteen, and really ever since then, more globally, there's been this push towards a you know, a cookielist future. You'll hear that a lot. There's a lot of webinars today talkingabout cookie, the Cook List Future. Yeah, and for what that reallymeans is that there's this global push for Internet users to have more controlover their privacy and their and data about them. So it's giving people moreof a say and whether or not an application can use cookies to track theirbehavior and report you on. A cookie then reports back to its its source. So this is why, you know, in the last few years you've startedto see a pop up banner on almost every website that you visit thatnotifies you this website uses cookies and it gives you the option to opt inor out. A lot of people, I think, don't even read thesebanners. It's just kind of now its second nature, click the button andmove on. But what a cookie is, to back up for a second,is it's really a piece of data...

...that's stored in your web browser thatis feeding information back to its source about what you're doing in your browser.So cookies are cookies for good or things that help a website know, say, that you're logged into that website, or what's in your cart, sothat you know Amazon, for example, can show you an net for thething that you put in your cart but didn't buy. And in the US, apple has been really leading the charge here. The United States is certainlyfar they're behind than the EU and it comes to this, you know,this privacy trend, but apple has kind of been pushing things forward. Afew years ago they made a series of updates to safari, which was,you know, is a well used browser, restricting cookie use in safari. Andthen, of course, last week apple release the IOS fourteen point fivesoftware updates for iphones and IPADS, which really kind of brings us to thisdiscussion today, because this is kind of the the new the new reality of, you know, pushing for this cookulous future. Yeah, let's dig intothat. Can you give us just kind of an overview on apple's IOS fourteenpoint five software update and how that's going to start changing things for data drivenmarketers? Yeah, absolutely so. With the release of IOS fourteen point five, apple will begin to require APPs in the APP store to show a promptto users. You might have even already seen one of you so far ifyou've opened an APP or if your phone automatically updated, where it's asking theuser to opt in or out to allow that APP to track their activity.And so they're going to now require this in the APPs to for any APPSin the APP store and any APP that's on an IOS fourteen point five device. And this is significant because apple says that I ios fourteen is now installedon eighty one percent of iphones that were introduced in the last four years,which is them. That's it's pretty big. And so if you're on IOS fourteen, then you should expect that you're going to get that fourteen point fiveupdate and then also you know, iphone in general with has such a hugemarket share. In Two thousand and twenty one. It's SSI needed to beabout fifty percent of global device us. So it's significant. And then whatthat means for marketers really is that facebook has kind of been forced to altertheir ads platform and response to these updates and it's going to require advertisers tomake some changes to their account. From a big picture perspective, what thisis doing for users is that a user could expect adds that they were typically, you know, experiencing and their facebook feed or in their everyday life asan internet consumer to be less personalized. So, you know, the pastI might see ads for kids toys or diapers was a small kids at home, but now, you know, there's going to be less information available tothe ad platform about me, so I might start to see less of thoseads and more ads about dog food when I don't actually have a dog,but they think that I'm a dog lover. So for users that's the impact andfor advertisers, naturally, what that means is that, you know,we're going to be able to deliver less personalized adds to our target audience.And what it also means is that campaigns in facebook in particular are going tobe limited to some extent when they are specifically focused on a conversion event.So, for example, if my goal is to have you Eric, youknow, click through to my website and then fill out this inquiry form about, you know, a Master's program if I was optimizing for that conversion ofyou filling out that inquiry form, I'm likely going to have less data andless specific reporting, and so as a result of that, marketers are anticipating, you know, their campaign success to be affected to some degree as aresult of that. Yeah, so, teeing off that example, I mightstill get the student, I still might...

...still get the lead, but whenI look at my facebook report, it might see that I spent the moneybut not necessarily know whether or not I got this student or not. So, if I'm a university running paid social campaigns on facebook, what are thethings I need to just to make sure that I do right away for this? Yeah, great question. So the first thing is that I was working. Point five rolled out last week. So not to scare anybody, butif you haven't prepared yet, you know you might have some catching up todo, but it's not too late. And you know, universities in particular, I think, are in somewhat of a precarious position here because, youknow, for smaller universities, where their marketing is more centralized, this mightbe a bit easier, but for larger institutions, and particular we work withtool and university and we found that, you know, they had as manyas fifteen to twenty nine different entities within the school that we're using facebook adsin their own way and not all through the same account. And so thefirst thing that I think that you know and universities need to do is to, as first step, understand the current state of facebook ads at your university. So what we did with too lane in particular was we worked with withthe limited marketing team that is, you know, part of Central University,and then ran a survey with all of the different marketing contacts across all thedifferent schools and, you know, solicited some information from them about, youknow, are you using facebook adds, how are you using it? Youknow, what types of campaigns are you running? Do you have your ownbusiness manager account? All these details that we needed to collect because it wasgoing to influence our decision making down the line. So, all that said, first point is if marketing at your university is decentralized, you you needto get a grasp on the current state of facebook advertising in particular, andif it is more centralized than you know, just just making sure that you havean understanding of what you're using your campaigns for to some extent. Ifyou are not running any conversion optimized campaigns, like, let's say you only usefacebook ads for brand awareness, this updates not going to have a hugeimpact on you. But I would think, you know, most effective ad campaignsare in fact optimizing for up conversions to some degree, and so they'regoing to need to take action. So, being on that, the second stepis in something that's new through these facebook changes is that advertisers have toverify their domain within facebook business manager to effectively certify that you, Your BusinessManager Account, your ad account, has the right to run adds for thatwebsite. Now, again, when you think about decentralized, you know,marketing at a university, you've got one domain, two lean duty to you, but you've got fifteen different advertisers. So who gets to claim that verificationof that domain? And so that's where that collaboration really comes in. Wehad to kind of establish a new business manager account that would host that domainverification and then we needed to connect all of the, you know, thedisparate business manager accounts as partners, and there's all ways to do this.There is there's definitely a, you know, framework that all that can be done, but that dontain. Verification is stuff too. It's really important.And then, third facebook is now requiring, per domain that gets verified, youto choose and prioritize eight conversion event categories, and the past there wasno limit. You know, it could be any number of conversion events thatyour campaigns could potentially optimize for, but now you're restricted to eight and youhave to have them prioritized. Than than anyone who wants to advertise for thatdomain has to comply with those same eight conversion events and the prioritization that's usedto there. So that's the next step, again, understanding what the campaigns aredoing now, and so that's going to inform which a conversion event categoriesare you going to choose effectively. You...

...need to understand, you know,which of these can I choose? That's going to cover the majority of thecampaigns that are exist with for this university. And so there're things like lead,which you know you would use for an inquiry based campaign. For example, if I want you to fill out a contact form, then that's effectivelya lead if I'm looking for blinking on some of what the other ones are, but if I'm looking for, say, an awareness tactic, that that's onetype of as, one type of conversion. So you get the idea. There's there's eight different ones and you have to or there's more than eight, but you have to choose eight and then prioritize those. And then laststep for is, once that's done, you're likely going to have to setup some new conversion tracking in your facebook Pixel and then adjust your campaigns sothat they are now optimizing towards those one of those eight newly set conversions.One thing I didn't mention prior is that we did have to, or wemade a decision rather during this process with two lane to to actually move towardsone universal facebook Pixel as opposed to all these different advertisers having their own.And so that's another consideration you another decision that may need to be made becausethe complexity. It's pretty complex to then have, you know, one domain, very vacation, and you know any number of pixels. You almost haveto choose one primary Pixel and for Tuling we ended up deciding that we woulddo one universal pixel across the domain. I love how you actually gave mean optimistic views to look at. This is a opportunity for audit in opportunityworks use for centralization. If it's something that you've been fighting for in thepast, here is your opportunity, friends. So love that, Alison. Froma reporting standpoint, how will this change? How marketing teams will needto report on their spend, for example, and you mentioned if you're doing brandawareness and you're throwing, you know, fifty grand of this thing and noone's asking you what it did or why cool, you might not todo anything. But if I'm reporting lower funnel conversion campaigns, I'm used tobeing able to tell them three thousand, four thousand, five thousand per conversion. was going to change in my ability to report on those numbers, orwhat's going to happen to those numbers? Yes, that's as a great questionand there will be impact there. So first, the attribution window for conversioncampaigns is drinking quite dramatically from twenty eight days to seven days, and soyou mentioned this earlier. But you know, this may not mean that your campaignwill be back up. Your campaign may still influence a similar number ofconversions as it did before, but because we can only track and attribute conversionswithin seven days back to your campaign as opposed to twenty eight days, yournumber is very well, are going to look very likely going to look smaller, especially in higher ed where we know this is a multitouch conversion. Youknow, people spend a lot of time thinking about these decisions and so youknow it's unlikely that they're going to see your ad and convert, you know, immediately. And so if they did, Kudos to you've got great targeting,but it's going to decrease the amount of conversion you see reported and facebookads. You kind of need to know that up front. They do havea tool available that you can kind of you can compare what your campaign,your attribution, looked like before to what it will look like with the newattribution window change. That's a really great tool to check out. But thenthere's also some some other things that will change for you know, for thosewho work in campaigns. Like you said, you know, if you're used toget being able to get down to a cross per inquiry or cost perconversion, you're going to see some differences. You're going to see a little bitof a delay in reporting. The reporting within facebook ads manager is goingto be delayed up to three days, which which definitely would have an impact, say if you're running a short term campaign. So that's something to beaware of. Another is that breakdowns that we were used to seeing before,so delivery and action breakdowns such as like age, gender, Region or conversiondevice or placement, will not be supported...

...anymore. So we used to beable to get really granular to see, okay, this campaign is doing reallywell with women or this specific region, and so those things are going tobe limited and that's certainly going to, you know, potentially impact or performit's the other thing is that if it takes, you know, two actionsor like let's say your campaign actually influence as a potential student to take twodifferent actions. Maybe they inquire and start their application. That if that conversionevent prioritization we were talking about is this is where that comes in. Solet's say they inquired and they converted their up or they couldn't started their applicationrather in the first, you know, seven days of your campaign. Soyou actually do have those two conversions that could attribute back, but it's onlygoing to attribute the highest priority event that you set in your event prioritization.So in that situation I'm going to assume you likely did start application as higher, higher importance or higher prioritization, and so it's going to count that asa started application conversion, but you're not going to get campaign credit for thefact that you also brought in that aquary. So those are some ways in whichreporting is going to change and you know it's important, if you havea heavy facebook strategy, to, you know, make sure you're keeping aneye on the big picture, because we know that campaign data is going tobe limited to a degree. So you're going to have to kind of keepthat in mind, take everything with a grain of salt for a for aperiod of time until things normalize, and keep that eye on your pipeline data. And if you're you know, your typical pacing on inquiries is really faroff, then you might need a day in and you might have a problemthere. Love those thoughts house and let me restate a couple of them andthen you ping back if I misunderstood you. So, yeah, facebook add performancewill likely look worse than ever before, and the question is, is itactually worse or is just this the new normal? And our priority suggestionsare run your historical data against your twenty eight day window versus your seven daywindow, understand the difference between those cost for enrollments or cpls to understand if, moving forward, that that trend looks similar. One of the thing thatwe did on our side was we ran android historical numbers and apple system numbers, and so if we lose sight of apples moving forward, can we makeinferences based on what we're seeing happening on the android side and the other things? A Am I interpreting your suggestions correctly, and be any other things like thatwe should do when trying to understand future data by looking at our historicals? Yeah, you nailed it, and that's a really, really great idea, a good point about android versus apple. Yeah, so you know, younow dead. I can't think of anything else at the moment. Perfect, Alison. As these trends continue, we move further and further toward aprivacy first, cookie lest world. What does Dada driven marketing, decisionmaking andattribution look like? A lot of a lot of us digital advertisers are wonderingand pondering that question right now. Yeah, you know, we believe that oneway forward is to to leverage platform the technology that that use first partydata and other technology to tract users. So, for example, device ideasrather than cookies, and since we're in such a, you know, amobile world, I think that that's going to become more prevalent. So,as an example, programmatic platforms, you know, have technology and solutions forthis. So an example, one programmatic platform that we work with him weuse for clients and uses device ideas and then it further anonymizes those into theirown unique ideas. And what's great about that is that it taps eyes theuser's behavior and interest together cross device, so it can kind of understand mybehavior from, you know, working on my iphone to my laptop and soforth, and it doesn't rely on cookies and then, you know, cancan be more compliant with some of these...

...privacy regulations and so, I mean, it remains to be seen. You know, I think they're this isa really hot topic right now and technology platforms are smart and the people whorun them are smart. So we do expect that we're going to continue tosee new technology introduced that helps advertising be as effective as you know it hasbeen and also protects the consumer. Yeah, head add on too that for thoselistening, your internal marketing teams might need to up skill and level thisinterntwn to play this new, much more analytics driven game. Yes, absolutely, Nelson. Any final next steps for institutions listening to this today looking tostay ahead of these trends make better marketing spend is decisions. Where should theystart? Good question, and I think you just kind of touched on whereI was going to start, which is upskilling. I mean, you know, there's so much, there's so many different continuing ad opportunities out there forwork and professionals on data analytics and marketing and all these different ways in which, you know, we need to be kind of upskilling and we're really seeingthat come to life right now. Of like, if you're not doing thisand you're not educating yourself, I mean speak to the value of Higher Ed. You know you gotta you're not going to build to keep up, sobut they're but also there's a lot of people power that goes into staying aheadof these trends and adapting to them. You know, the platforms are theplatforms, but it takes people staying on top of this stuff and, youknow, centralizing, for example, or pulling and figuring out what's going onat your university. So one thing we've recommended to to land since we didthat process of kind of getting our arms around what was happening at the university, we didn't necessarily completely centralize anything except maybe, you know, our pixelbut in doing that kind of almost created the foundation for the the central,the small central marketing team to keep up with all of the different advertisers thatare, you know, at the university. So if you can formalize a groupsuch that you're able to access those decision makers in the future, itwill make it easier to adapt to changes that are likely to come down thepipeline and if you can understand what those the goals are, those different departmentsand those different teams certainly going to make it easier. So what we kindof are doing with Tulan is almost establishing like some documentation. So, forexample, if a new facebook advertiser or a new like, I say,a school at the university wants to start facebook advertising and they haven't before.They can provide that this starting point, this say, is like this isyour pixel and this is that. You know, basically keep them in linewith best practices and that just sort of helps. You know, if youknow that everybody's in line at best practice, is going to make adapting in thefuture easier. And then another thing I would say is that we alwaystell out the importance of running a diverse campaign or a multi platform campaign.You want to have a diverse strategy so that you're never too dependent on anyone platform for your lead generation. And you know what, if facebook adsblew up one day, you know, that's your whole pipeline, you'd bein trouble. So and you know, lastly, I'd say the leverage expertsin the space agencies like yours a mind. We you know, we do thisevery day, and so we're compelled to stay up to date with thesebest practices and you know, the good ones can help translate that to youinto real life and into your university. Like how do we actually deal withthis? You know, in in practicality wells some. Thanks so much foryour time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you ifthey have any follow up questions? Yeah, absolutely, and Eric, thank youfor having me. It was a pleasure. You can find us online, of course, on, you know, all the show media, but wehave a white paper specifically about this topic that anyone's welcome to download.It's at a quick link that you can use as SI dotly, IOS,Fourteen Ed and you know, if you want to learn more about how youknow an agency like ours or you know,...

...if you need consulting with something likethis, we're always available for that, but you can find us at searchinfluencecom as well. Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today,Alison. Thank you, Erica's a pleasure. Attracting today's new post traditional learners meansadopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach toenrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape,and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challengesdownloaded today for free at Helix educationcom playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth universityfrom Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribeto the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so muchfor listeninging. Until next time.

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