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Expert Q & A

The New Paid Social Playbook

June 18, 2021
October 6, 2021
Mae Rice

iOS 14.5 is nearly six months old. Time flies when you… can’t target your ideal customer! Here’s how the pros are adapting to privacy-first paid social.

Table of Contents

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It’s crazy, but iOS 14.5 rolled out on April 26 — nearly six months ago.

Time hasn’t made it much easier to handle. In a recent survey, marketers named the privacy-first web a bigger marketing challenge than the pandemic.

We have good news, though: a new paid social playbook is emerging. What does it look like? We asked...

TRY: Measuring paid social performance yourself

INSTEAD OF: Using the Facebook Ads dashboard

Due to iOS 14.5, Facebook has lost a lot of visibility into which ads convert, and Facebook Ads’ conversion data is currently off by an average of 15% — by Facebook’s own estimate.

Thankfully, there are two ways to assess paid social performance in-house, Christensen said. 

Media mix modeling (MMM) 

This means building a regression model to predict sales, and it’s something Facebook does for its own products.

“Anything that you think could drive the business, you feed into this model,” Christensen said — including ad spend by channel. 

If the model finds a correlation between your Facebook spend and higher sales, that means Facebook ads are working. Probably. 

Field-level experimentation

This means tweaking regional ad spend on a paid social channel — so maybe spending more in the South, less on the West Coast. 

If this impacts where customers place orders from, it means the paid social channel is having an effect. 

TRY: Varying ad creative

INSTEAD OF: Personalized creative

In the post-iOS 14.5 world (we’re at iOS 15 now!), it’s “more difficult to match the right creative with the right person,” Christensen said. 

That means successful paid social campaigns will, according to Barraza… 

  • Address a big chunk of the funnel
  • Embrace diverse messaging

That might mean a campaign consists of 3-6 complementary messages — maybe one influencer testimonial, one unboxing video and one brand story post — geared towards buyers’ consideration phase. 

TRY: Optimizing the post-click experience

INSTEAD OF: Optimizing Facebook campaigns 

Once a user clicks through to your landing page, website or app, you can collect first-party data. 

That’s where you can still use the optimization and segmentation moves that used to work on Facebook, Barraza noted. 

That might mean… 

  • Investing in CRO for paid social landing pages
  • Setting up behavior-triggered website pop-ups
  • Segmenting your email contact list

Our takeaway? 

It’s still near-impossible to optimize individual paid social campaigns, or trust Facebook Ads’ attribution data — but paid social buyers aren’t flying totally blind. 

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is senior editor at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she enjoys interviewing marketing experts and learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture. She also loves any ad that makes her say "Huh?!" — especially Tim and Eric's ad for Totino's pizza rolls, which she watches way more often than you would think.

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