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Losing track

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For a while now, Apple has had plenty to say about user privacy. And in practical terms, the tech giant has been making changes to its operating system for iPhones and iPads, aimed at giving users more control of their data and what happens to it.

Link to Digital Marketing feature

Nelly Berova

As estate agents, you might be wondering if you should care? We’d say ‘yes, you should’. With the vast majority of property searches starting on mobile devices, and Apple one of the two market leaders, changes could filter down to impact on your ability to generate and convert leads.

Apple’s iOS 14.5 update was released in April 2021. Alongside the usual bug fixes and new emojis, the software refresh brought a radical feature – App Tracking Transparency (ATT).

According to Apple, ATT is part of a drive to make the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch “even more intelligent, more personal, and [crucially] more private,” by allowing users to decide whether you can track their activity across other companies’ platforms. It does this via a screen pop-up, which invites users to select either “allow” or “ask app not to track” before engaging with an app. Facebook has been vocal in opposing the move, introducing its own pop-up asking users to “help keep Facebook free of charge” and “support businesses that rely on ads to reach their customers” – to allow tracking, in other words.

The vast majority of property searches start on mobile devices.

The move could be significant for you, if you rely heavily on Facebook ads to retarget to niche audiences. If Facebook is unable to track user behaviour, the amount of data it collects will be limited and its ability to target ads to specific users will be diminished, meaning your adverting will be less efficient.

To illustrate how that might work in practice, say a user shares a link to your website on their Facebook feed. If one of their friends sees the link, and clicks on it, but has denied Facebook permission to track their movements, neither you, nor Facebook will be able to see where this potential new customer goes and what they do on your site.

If you’re wondering whether the changes spell the end for your Facebook estate agency marketing, we’d say not necessarily. Facebook remains one of the best social medial platforms for advertising your properties and generating leads.

There are also a few technical fixes you could employ. Start by updating your version of Facebook and verifying your website’s domain in the Facebook Business Manager. Facebook also recommends limiting your tracking to no more than eight conversion events at one time.

Useful plug-in

In addition, you should also consider installing the piece of software, Conversions API on your website. This allows your server to speak directly to Facebook, bypassing the pixel, which stops an opted-out user from being tracked.

However, the real trick, with this update, and other technological changes that can catch you out, is to be diverse in your marketing; so, you’re never relying on one platform or method for all your leads and conversions. Options to consider include advertising through Google Search, Google Display and email marketing. Here are a few tips you might want to think about too:

  • Have a diverse marketing strategy – draw up a strategy that takes in all on and offline methods at your disposal from retargeting right through to brochures and billboards.

Don’t ignore content marketing – it’s not all about paid ads, remember generating quality content that solves your ideal customers’ pain points is vital to drawing leads to your brand.

Organic social is important too – use social media to connect with your target customers through engaging and targeted posts.

Make your brand count – your personal brand is key to connecting with the people who will buy, sell and rent houses with you. Everything from the look and feel of your premises to your tone of voice online is crucial to ensuring you are memorable and trusted.

Stay on top of the key trends – digital marketing is such a fast-moving area that you need to keep on top of changes and understand the subtle shifts. You don’t have to embrace every trend that comes along, but you should be aware of them, to decide whether they work for your ideal customers.

And if you’re too busy selling houses, don’t be afraid to bring in expert help.

In response to Apple’s ATT feature, we at Art Division are developing a solution that transports the Conversion API from Facebook into a WordPress site. Visit our website to find out more www.artdivision.co.uk

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