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The Apple iOS14’s ripple effect on Brands and Advertising

It happened. Facebook Ad account administrators received the ads notification update on the 19th January 2021 or the 20th if you’re living ‘down under’:

“Apple has announced changes with iOS 14 that will impact how we receive and process events from tools like the Facebook SDK and Facebook pixel. In response to these changes, we have replaced the existing account attribution window with a new ad set attribution setting that will default to 7-day click and 1-day view starting on January 20, 2021. While these changes won’t impact ad delivery, the new default attribution setting may result in a decrease in the number of reported conversions.”

The Apple iOS14’s ripple effect on Brands and Advertising.

By Sue Prentice.

Depending where you are in the world, you’re experiencing a new view in your Facebook ads manager and it’s all thanks to Apple’s latest iOS update and their privacy legislation that impacts how users on iOS devices are tracked and their user data is shared. Or should we say not shared!

The fact is it does impact more of us than people may think, it’s no ordinary update. This time people need to think smarter.

If you’ve been following Beyond Points on Facebook you’ll have noticed that we’ve been keeping a keen eye on how privacy laws are changing and very much anticipating knock on impact they will have on marketing. We have all seen the ad blocker options pop up on Google ads and You Tube as we surf the web and as developments continue on web browsers, more and more user tracking in the form of pixels or cookies will be phased out diminishing the view an advertiser has on what is working best to deliver return on ad spend.

Around the peak of the holiday season, you may have heard about the very public war that broke out between Apple and Facebook, with Facebook making it clear it did not favour Apple’s latest compliance requirements, yet Facebook is not the only app that will be impacted by the change. In line with the constant focus and tightening of policies, it was only a few months earlier there was an outcry from Google about Australia’s Consumer Commission and a new law that fundamentally changes the way we Google. Google cried out for public appeal that ended on the 18th January, so we should hear more on this news soon. All the while this is more challenging than ever before for anyone trying to grow a brand on or offline anywhere around the world right now.

From a user standpoint, the iOS14 update gives more transparency and control on being tracked and how your data is used. Users opt in or out, blocking data sharing linked to their unique information known as the IDFA (identifier for advertisers) . To be fair, users have been able access a level of control for some time especially on Facebook, managing their visibility of contacts, sharing and advertisers. Now Apple has now fundamentally changed the game.

As of today, every user will see an auto prompt for any app that makes them aware of how they will be tracked where they need agree or disagree and are required before use, to update their preference. This is any app including Facebook, Instagram Snapchat, Uber, YouTube and others branded custom apps. And it impacts brand websites too! People, platforms, marketers and advertisers needs to make changes, similar to when the GDPR came in.

“Currently, about 70% of IOS users share their IDFA with app publishers, after this change it’s estimated that this number will drop to 10% to 15%.”

Liz Emery, Tinuiti

Below is snippet of Apple’s earlier notification on their privacy update this update:

User Privacy and Data Use

Apple has called it ‘Apples Track Tracking Transparency” , or ATT.

It’s no big surprise this will massively impact Facebook advertisers who to date have relied heavily on data in order to optimize their paid advertising strategy, and for Facebook themselves, to deliver its users a personalised user experience delivering engaging content they are actually interested in.

Facebook advertisers are not just agencies. It’s all the SME’s and start-ups and more recently large global household brands who have realised it’s where they reach people waiting to be entertained and who are willing to shop online. It’s the ‘hang out’ by choice and a logical channel to promote on. Many of these businesses rely on the digital marketing experts who are au fait with the platform to optimise their return on ad spend (we all know the the widely used acronyms ROAS or ROI), well versed in Facebook Ads manager, insights and reporting.

Let’s talk Facebook™!

Tools, targeting, optimization and measurement have and will continue to change to accommodate one of the largest changes the industry has ever seen.

As of today we no longer can see:

  • 28-day attribution – historically it’s gone too unless you’ve implemented conversion API (CAPI)
  • 7-day view through attribution is gone
  • Certain demographic data including age, sex or location
  • More than 8 conversion events per website. Note not per pixel it is per domain.
    However as of today, I do understand from direct communication with Facebook that this is 8 events per SDK and per standard pixel events.
  • It has been said any changes to events on running campaigns will be effective after 72 hour to ensure there are no reporting errors. (This is still early to be 100% certain.)
  • Attribution will have no defined window and will be last click with no time frame
  • Reporting events will be delayed by 3 days when an advertiser wants to change an event
  • App installs will not report for 24-48 hours

What Impact Does This Have?

Unrelated to the iOS14 Apple update – we’ve been keeping a keen eye on this development having heard directly from the developer team last year that in 2021 we’ll see the Facebook pixel deprecated. We can now see why! Data is truly gold and how good advertisers make their optimisations.

It would be untrue to make a clear statement on what impact it has because tech platforms, advertisers, brands and franchises, in fact, all businesses who advertise, are scrambling unprepared in many cases, and in others, ready watching to see how they will need to adapt their strategy. The upside is it is an even playing field globally.

Of course, businesses who have been nurturing their email lists are in a strong position and brands who have formed strong customer relationships will be okay.

The bottom line is the lack of visibility to the success of what’s working, who for and when and why is the most impactful change for advertisers, curbing the previously tight control to optimise for return on ad spend.

Aggregated event measurement will limit the number of events that can be sent by a domain and used for ads. Ads will be paused if they are optimizing for conversion events no longer available in the top 8. These 8 conversions are initially selected by Facebook on what makes sense per ad account however ad account administrators do have control to adjust these inside Business Manager. You can read more about Aggregated Event Measurement from Facebook here

Good standing history and a consistent good data reporting processes historically, will catapault competitiveness over new advertisers and or product launches hitting the market when it comes to paid media.

Campaign Set Up.

  • App campaigns limited to 1 ad partner per ad account
  • Ad campaigns are limited to 9 campaigns and 5 ad sets per account
  • 8 events account limitation ranked on priority will be reported
  • Value optimisation will move to event manager and value set will need to be enabled ( we have already seen this in the accounts)

Optimization and Measurement

  • Last click attribution only
  • Lookback is 7 day not 28 day
  • With the ATT change now in effect, Facebook will use aggregated event measurement for web events for iOS14 users
  • When a user opts out of data tracking on iOS14, the single highest ranked event you have prioritized for your domain will be attributed to that user within 7 day window
  • Page insights will exist as they are inside Facebook
  • Reporting will be campaign level only and Ad set and Ads are modelled data
  • Retargeting is expected to see a lesser result in performance prior to the update
  • Audiences can still be built on actions inside the platform such as video views, post saves, engagements etc
  • In App tracking will still be identifiable and tracked by Facebook

NEED HELP FIGURING THIS OUT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? Message us here.

What Massive Action Do We Need To Take NOW?

Businesses need to note as certain steps that need to happen:

1. Domain name verification. Oh and by the way this was yesterday’s news! You can see this inside your business manager. If you’d like a copy of how to do this, please message “Verification” to us at Beyond Points on Messenger and we’ll send the PDF how to right away.
Alternatively you can learn more here

2. Configure 8 conversion events per account that can be tracked. Go to your events manager to do this. Note if you change these they take 72 hours to come into effect so think twice about it mid campaign. Set up your 8 events here.

3. Implement Conversion API to be able to track historical data and be aligned with Facebook’s developer focus on managing data moving forward to best optimise your budgets and results.

4. For Apps – Update your SDK to 8.1. Note that Users of your App will have to accept both your App’s privacy and the Facebook Apps privacy for your ads to report effectively.

5. Ensure your strategy is collecting emails for custom load audiences wherever possible!

6. Drive omni channel re-engagement because retargeting no doubt is impacted.

What is Domain Name Verification on Facebook?

This is a business manager setting that allows you to claim ownership of your domain and prevents misuse of your domain. In easy terms, it shows that you have control and are taking action to stop the spred of misinformation. In essence it’s adding a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record. The precise steps to add a DNS TEXT entry to your DNS Record may vary by the domain host. Note you only need to use ONE domain verification method.

What is Conversions API?

Conversions API is a revision of what Facebook previously called Server Side API. Server side API is what has allowed events and customised actions to be passed from a website back to Facebook for attribution. If this sounds ‘over the top techie’ it is usually left to your developer or ad administration team to configure on you are right.
Conversions API is a further development on Server side API and is a simplified installation process. It is designed to be an improvement on the data allowed for Facebook advertisers to gain insights from your website. It works because it gets around ad blockers, designed to block cookie data on the browser side, instead passing data back to Facebook from the server side.
Facebook’s adjustment to the iOS14 update means without Conversions API installed, historical data will not be available.
It is worth noting it is independent to the Facebook pixel.

How do you implement Conversions API?

Shopify Installation.
Shopify is perhaps the simpler of all when it comes to integration.

1. Go to Shopify as the business owner or screen share if you’re the ad partner.
2. The business owners should login to Facebook for Step 2 . TIP – don’t let an outside person do this step in order to hold the data indefinitely in your business.
3. Next follow the prompts making sure you TURN ON automatic advanced matching which is key to matching data of site to Facebook engagers.
4. We suggest accepting all functions offered when it comes to selecting what Shopify is allowed to do.
5. Once Facebook is set up, you go down to Settings > Go to Data Sharing Settings to install Conversions API.
6. Here ensure tracking is enabled firstly.
Select Maximum for the tracking Level.
Ensure the tracking pixel shown is YOURS! If not you can disconnect it, and follow the prompt to link the right pixel. )We recommend using both the pixel and Capi right now).
When completed, you may notice the CONFIRM button is still greyed out. This means you need to accept the terms and conditions for Facebook commerce in the Commerce Settings. From here, CONFIRM data sharing setttings.
You’re now set up for Conversions API!

7. Transitioning from standard pixel tracking on your site to Conversions API does require you to remove the Universal Facebook ID in your main Shopify Preference settings as it’s effectively operating now within this Conversion API set up. If you originally hard coded the pixel to the site, this will need to be removed to avoid duplicate attribution reporting.

8.

Installation on Woocommerce and other customer platforms, please see this comprehensive list here.

The Best Way Forward.

In our view, this is a level playing field, we all have much to learn. Our belief is never more will creative thinking be more critical in both the ad creative and the campaign set up to work on delivering that conversion with a 7-day window where applicable. For longer sales cycles and high ticket, close observation and data reporting will be key find indicators that tell a story over time.

All is not lost as we will get some data tracking ability and insight it’s just not going to be as granular or familiar as it was. Facebook is hard at work committed to helping users understand the data and what we need to do as digital marketers. Strategic thinking in campaign set up is paramount too if considering the importance of segmentation, campaign number limitations and the priority of applicable conversions.

It’s important to close out with knowing, when a user opts out on iOS14 prompt, they are opting out of being able to track them using unique identifiers across the web and not within the app itself. Custom audiences will still be allowed so hey, get your smart thinking cap on and think creatively!

NEED HELP FIGURING THIS OUT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? Message us here.

How EU Privacy Changes on Messenger Impact Chat Marketing

This blog is provided for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Beyond Points urges its customers to consult with their own legal counsel to familiarize themselves with the requirements that govern their specific situation. This information is provided as of the date of document publication, and may not account for changes after the date of publication. We encourage all businesses to update their own privacy policy.

Since December 16th, 2020, Facebook has placed restrictions on its Messenger API usage to comply with the European Union’s privacy guidelines. These restraints are in line with rules the European Commission recently unveiled that are meant to change the way big tech firms tackle harmful and illegal content.

The decision to enact these changes came about due to a landmark ruling by the EU’s top court that rendered the EU-US Privacy Shield invalid. These restrictions may be temporarily relaxed; however, there is no telling when this may happen.

Consumers may feel that these restrictions protect their privacy. However, these changes are detrimental to big firms who can’t use their customers’ data in the same way or rank the services they offer above competitors’ in app stores and search results.

In case companies don’t comply with how the EU is regulating their digital markets, they are liable to face break-ups and heavy fines that cost them up to 10% of their total European turnover.

Who Is Affected by the Restrictions?

The restrictions affect all twenty-seven countries in the European Union, as well as Iceland, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Liechtenstein. These countries are collectively the EEA.

You can be affected even if your Facebook page is located outside of the EEA. Brands leveraging chat apps such as ManyChat or Chatfuel will be impacted as below:

  • Users who operate their pages within the EEA
  • Users who operate pages that have one or more admins from the EEA
  • Users who have any chats with people from the EEA

If your business is based outside the EEA these definitions may sound semantic, but it critical to understand them.  For most businesses based outside the EEA, only people who message your page from within the EEA will be affected.  That COULD be a small proportion of your subscribers.  HOWEVER – if your page has any admins from the EEA, was created by an admin in the EEA, or if you’ve ever had someone from the EEA as an admin on your Facebook page, your whole page could be considered to be based in the EEA, which means that 100% of your messenger interactions will be affected!

What Steps Can You Take To Deal With The Possible Aftermath?

Relax. Chat isn’t going anywhere. In 2021 we’ll see Instagram messaging come to the fore and we expect to see much anticipated chat integration with WhatsApp too.

If you are not EEA-based, have no EEA-based page admins, and generate no EEA-based traffic to your bot, you can breathe a sigh of relief right now.

Suppose you generate a significant amount of EEA-based traffic but aren’t based in the EEA. In that case, your features will be impacted only for EEA traffic. If your page has any admins who belong to the EEA, you should remove them. Having even one EEA admin can affect your entire Facebook page—even if you’re outside the EEA. It’s advisable that you don’t change your Facebook page’s location since this isn’t a verified solution yet.

Taking steps immediately to identify the country origin of brand engagers in your funnels is vital. Abiding by these new laws is also critical in managing data and future marketing strategies both for inbound and outbound promotions.

You can also get in touch with chat marketing businesses to find out the best course of action for your company’s specific needs. Google and Facebook aren’t the only channels you can use for greater reach. In fact, today’s competitive online market can be best leveraged through omni-channel systems. You can advertise your product or service to audiences through channels such as Pinterest, YouTube, Spotify, WhatsApp, and SMS marketing.

What Are the Restrictions?

While EEA users will still be able to access Messenger and LiveChat, they’ll have to engage with the channel in guest mode. Guest mode keeps you from viewing and manipulating Facebook users’ native information, which includes:

  • Full name
  • Profile picture
  • Location
  • Time-zone
  • Gender

Effective December 16th, the data mentioned above will be unavailable for current and new subscribers in the EEA.

Facebook will also enact the following changes for EEA users:

Quick Replies and Buttons

Many marketers use buttons to embed URLs, thereby driving traffic to their pages. You can add buttons to text blocks or images.

Quick replies allow businesses to prompt customers with guided, simple options to reply to direct messages. Customers choose a prompt from a list of options, enabling prospective clients to have automated, seamless experiences and quick resolutions to their problems.

The restrictions prevent EEA subscribers from seeing buttons when they use Facebook on their desktops, thereby hampering businesses’ organic traffic. However, quick replies and buttons can be rendered on iOS and Android smartphones.

Quick reply rendering remains unchanged on desktops, but you can’t use quick replies for URLs anymore. Therefore, there’s no direct solution for sending traffic to a user’s desktop aside from putting a link in the message.

It’s reasonable to assume that chat marketing services will introduce new features that enable businesses to recognize whether a customer is using a smartphone or a desktop. However, companies can’t create relevant experiences for Facebook desktop users in the EEA until this happens.

What You Can Do

When an EEA user uses a desktop to engage with your bot in guest mode, they’ll only be able to use quick replies. Businesses need to assess the exposure they can get within the EEA and through EEA users. For now, it might be best for you to only display live chats on Messenger on mobile devices and remove ref urls and widgets if a significant portion of your traffic comes from inside the EEA.

It can be tough to determine whether a user is on a mobile device or desktop when they engage with your bot through other points of entry, such as your Facebook page’s CTA button. You could opt for solutions that detect devices, but these typically require button clicks—which, again, won’t be available to users in the EEA.

Instead, you could request EEA users to click plain URLs in your initial message, which would then detect the device, or use a live-chat tool that’s web-based.

Growth Tools

The Growth Tools that services like ManyChat offer Messenger bot users won’t be available for EEA-based users and pages effective December 16th. These tools include modals, live chat, QR codes, and Referrer URLs. Referrer URLs won’t work if you use custom parameters. However, users will still be able to use the naked .me link (m.me/pagename) to redirect them to your start screen or welcome message.

Note also that as a secondary impact of this, customers will no longer be able to access Facebook Ads through your chat bot software.

What You Can Do

It’s advisable for you to disable the growth tools that won’t work for EEA traffic any more. This includes referrer URLs, slide-ins, and pop-ups.

You can still take advantage of the tools that will work for users in the EEA after December 16th, such as keyword triggers and the Comment Growth Tool. New bot subscribers can use keywords that you provide them in an initial message to trigger the main menu. The Comment Growth Tool enables you to send subscribers message when they begin interacting with your bot. You can personalize messages in Flow Builder to target existing and new subscribers in different ways.

One-Time Notification (OTN)

The OTN enables pages to send requests to users to send follow-up messages after the one-day messaging window is over. EEA users and pages can’t use the OTN due to the new restrictions.

What You Can Do

You’ll still be able to use the OTN feature for non-EEA subscribers. However, you can only do so after asking subscribers and confirming that they aren’t EEA-based through automated messages.

You may still be able to target EEA subscribers by obtaining their explicit consent to market to them through email or SMS. Your business can reach customers through other channels that aren’t limited by the restrictions placed on Facebook, like Spotify and Pinterest. A professional agency can enable SMS marketing for you anywhere in the world.

Traffic Generated By Facebook Ads

The new limitations keep you from creating custom audiences through your bot subscribers if your page is associated with the EU. The Facebook algorithm won’t target prospective customers who are likeliest to engage with your Messenger ad.

You can’t optimize for leads or conversations in Facebook’s Ads Manager or create sponsored messages for potential customers who have messaged your page or Instagram profile.

What You Can Do

Target your page’s cold audiences by testing clicks-to-Messenger ads. While you may see an increase in the cost per action, it’s not likely to be hefty.

Since the JSON default ad set-up will be deactivated for EEA users and pages, you can use the visual JSON ad set-up that triggers Messenger flows through keywords incorporated into advertisements.

Media Attachments

EEA subscribers won’t be able to receive or send audio or video formats effective December 16th.

What You Can Do

You can still target EEA subscribers through .jpg or .gif files, so replace any audio or video messaging with files in these formats. You can also provide your customers with download links to files outside Messenger.

Dynamic or Persistent Menus

The new limitations prevent EEA subscribers from viewing your dynamic or persistent menu on Messenger.

What You Can Do

You can’t replace the persistent menu, so ensure that your main menu’s build-out has a proper flow that users can trigger through quick replies or keywords.

The Future of Chat Marketing

Suppose a large volume of your page’s traffic comes from the EEA. In that case, it’s best to use an omnichannel marketing approach so you can target subscribers through SMS and email.

You can also market your page to EEA subscribers through web-based conversation options instead of platform-centered apps like Facebook Messenger. These channels have fewer restrictions than Facebook’s current EU-imposed limitations. Beyond Points typically is first with leading tech and is testing application options into 2021 that allow more flexibility for brands.

However, the restrictions placed on EEA users and marketers don’t mean the end of chat marketing. Consumers can use multiple platforms to receive relevant responses from businesses around the clock. With people becoming used to personalized advertisements and customized marketing, chat is more important than ever to provide customers support before and after making purchases. It’s the way consumers choose to get direct and immediate solutions to their online experiences.

Over the last five years, Beyond Points has leveraged conversational marketing as a proven high performing conversion tool. Ironically because messaging by nature is instant and also a personalized experience, it offers consumers flexibility to choose to engage at a time that suits them. We will continue to combine the best technologies to serve our growing brands effectively incorporating chat marketing.

NEED HELP FIGURING THIS OUT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? Message us here.

How Digital Marketing Can Help Your Business Thrive During This Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected people and businesses across the world. In Australia alone, unemployment has increased from 5.2% to 7.5%, and rocking the foundation of entire business sectors.

In particular, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have been left to manage costs with zero revenue.

Yet, despite the catastrophe, many businesses have found innovative ways to pivot, adjust their businesses models and not only survive but even thrive. Ecommerce, social media marketing, and search engine marketing have emerged as strong selling channels during the pandemic, keeping millions of businesses afloat.

Remember, a volatile economy offers just as many opportunities as it takes away. To take advantage of the shifting sands, businesses that are thriving all have one thing in common. Instead of waiting it out, they have been rethinking, adjusting, and above all acting FAST.

In fact, there is still plenty of opportunity for businesses to adjust. Research shows that 88% of global consumers found their favourite brand online during the pandemic, and they’ve decided to stick with them even after it’s all over.

That’s means you still have the opportunity to make sure that your products and services make it to the favourites list and get due attention from your prospects even if they can’t make it to your brick-and-mortar store.

In this article, we’ll see how you can incorporate e-commerce and online strategies into your business not just as a short-term stop-gap, but as a long term revenue stream.

Let’s get started!

Market Where Your Audience Is

Finding the right channels for marketing products has always been one of the biggest hurdles for business owners.

In the physical world, location is key. If your store is located at a busy avenue, you can expect considerable footfall. Similarly, when going digital, businesses have to market on sites where their target audience hangs out.

There are various opportunities for your business to expand and ignite profitability as long as you know where your prospective buyers are and how you should talk to them.

The following are a few ways to do this right:

Google SEO And Targeted PPC

SEO-driven blog posts and content marketing are great ways to attract attention to your site. However, these tactics can take a lot of time. And in these desperate times, speed is key.

What if I tell you there is another faster way of attracting loads of traffic to your site? One that does not involve social media?

It’s Paid Advertising! Many businesses have deployed targeted PPC (pay-per-click) advertising to attract relevant clients to their websites. With paid advertising, your business will be able to influence previously unreachable consumer segments.

One of the reasons that PPC promises such good ROI is because you can target specific keywords with high buyer intent. This can help improve your ad rank and also add to the quality score.

It can take months or years to have a page or blog post ranked so that it appears in the top half of page 1. Yet with just a few clicks (and some carefully researched keyword analysis), you can get in front of your competitors and appear at the top of the search results with paid placements.

Develop Your Digital Channels

This is a great time to go digital.

Online consumer spending has experienced 10 years of growth in just a few months due to the situation.

Your prospects are mostly confined to their homes, and browsing their social media pages, apps, and other websites: take advantage of this by being able to take sales right where the customers are already hanging out!

For example, if a restaurant business can no longer open their doors to dine-in customers, how do they ensure business continuity?

Customized, ready-to-cook meal kits!

Atlas owner and head chef, Charlie Carrington, came up with creative strategies to keep his customer-base intact. As lockdown was imposed in Australia, Carrington started selling meal kits to his customers via Youtube and Instagram, allowing potential diners to cook up their own feast at home. Customers received ingredients from the restaurant, followed by an online YouTube Masterclass from Carrington himself!

These innovations not only enable business owners to retain their current client base but also attract new customers.

This is the time to take your business beyond the trusty old SMS marketing. Contact them on social media channels that you think they use the most. Use emails, messenger bots, social media advertising, and post relevant media consistently so that customers know which businesses are trying to reach out to them.

You can also host live sessions on Instagram or YouTube with other industry leaders to attract more traffic. People love to see how their favourite businesses are adapting in these times. Try to be an inspiration for your consumers by relating to them through these channels.

Increase Customer Engagement

There is no doubt that these are challenging times for everyone. As the pandemic impinges on people’s financial prowess, customer experience has taken on a new meaning.

Many are still panicking about the increasing unemployment and financial stress and seek stability and reliable connections. Brand messaging needs to adjust accordingly, indicating “We Are Here For You” in the literal sense. Offering hope and relating through honest and meaningful story telling is what’s working best.

Here are some of the creative ways to connect with your customer base:

Engage On A Personal Level

Businesses should try to engage with their customers on a personal level and need to be reminded that their favourite brands are there for them. Send thoughtful automated emails to your customers who have signed up for your newsletter or email updates.

The software company, SEMrush, sends automated emails to its customers who haven’t visited their website, with the subject line “Are we still friends? Please say we are!” This has impact because it shows individual customers they are counted and remembered.

Creating a personalized relationship with your customers garners loyalty, regardless of their financial situation. Consumer loyalty is the holy grail for organizational success– a 5% increase in customer retention extrapolates to a 25% increase in revenue.

Re-Define Customer Experience

Consumer experience is one of the most defining differentiators when it comes to outperforming consumers. Increasing engagement and providing a seamless consumer experience is not an added advantage, but a necessity to succeed in these testing times and into the future.

Don’t just be there, be different.

Another way of increasing customer engagement is to introduce contact-less options for businesses that were operating physically. Let’s consider the restaurant industry. The emphasis on social distancing has put restaurants in a tough spot. While disinfecting tables and using hand-sanitizer is a good start to making people feel at ease wit the status quo, there are still further options to elminate contact such as the sharing of physical menus between customers and signing in on arrival.

Beyond Points has provided practical and innovative strategies that work in this industry , helping many including Puntino Trattoria. Puntino managed to stay operational throughout the first and second wave, quickly realising the benefit an online presence, reaching customers in a virtual world. Pre Covid tracking was not an consideration as it is now to keep the community safe, igniting new ideas and the importance to list build. Early adopters of a front-of-store QR code check in this innovative 100 seat Sydney trattoria remains one of the few restaurants in Australia to develop a successful take-away ordering system fully automated through Messenger. It’s contactless, effortless and their customers love it, coming back week after week with one-click repeat orders and exploring the new menu options.

Perhaps best of all, with Messenger being a much more personal channel than email, Puntino is building deeper relationships with its customers, long term loyalty, and opening the door to changing the service game in-house, if and when we ‘return to normal’.

Take Operations Virtual

Business leaders are fervently trying to make sure that the lockdown does not become a hindrance to business growth and continuity.

With the uncertainty induced by the pandemic, many businesses had to sideline their existing sales plans and quickly adopt new strategies. Education centres had to start delivering online training, corporate businesses had to transfer resources to online training, and travel companies resorted to giving their customers virtual tours of their sites.

Following are a few examples of how different industries adopted strategies to adjust to the ‘new’ market-place:

Work On Virtual Adaptability

Through a combination of 3D technology and Instagram marketing, even museums and art galleries have been able to showcase their art to a ‘virtual audience.’

The British Museum partnered with Google Arts and Culture to allow viewers to ‘view’ the artefacts and other memorabilia without leaving the comfort of their couches. Imagine the increase in web traffic and engagement!

Businesses can also adopt such innovative strategies to make sure they make up for the lack of physical footfall and convert them into a vibrant digital audience. This is particularly true for the education industry.

For parents, students, and teachers, the pandemic brought with it many uncertainties. As schools and colleges began to adjust to the new reality, a new way of teaching emerged: virtual online education. Several educational institutes, including Inspiring Minds Early Education Centre in Melbourne, transferred their resources online & developed ways to engage the kids through Zoom.

Quite surprisingly, industries that were disrupted the most from this pandemic have responded with increased innovation and smartness. With the tourism industry offering virtual tours, food industries offering an online food experience, and delivery services on the high – it highlights the importance of adopting quick marketing and business strategies to ensure sales and profits.

In Conclusion

Success stories from the past 6 months have shown that businesses who accept change for what it is and act fast to pivot their business models have been able to survive and even prosper through the most challenging year in living memory. While almost all industries are facing loss, dynamic organizations that realize the need for change are investing in going digital.

This begs the question, what can your business do to thrive? Inaction is simply not an option.

With a pinch of creativity, many solutions lie in effective online strategies, diversifying to digital marketing channels and targeting YOUR specific consumers in the channels they use.

From restaurants to early education centres; from corporate training to eCommerce, the Beyond Points team have helped dozens of businesses survive and thrive through 2020 – setting them up with sustainable online channels for the future. If you need help making adjustments like these in your business, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation!

Changes To Privacy & Data Protection In California And How They Apply To Australian Businesses

Privacy is causing ripples brands online. Early this year, the state of California saw the new consumer privacy act go into effect. It is expected to have more repercussions for global businesses than the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was passed last spring.

Formally known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), this law takes a more expansive approach to personal information. It is also a lot stricter because failure to follow it not only results in hefty fines, but it also endangers your reputation and jeopardises consumer trust in your business.

The CCPA is more than just a state law. It is set to become an international standard for consumer-driven businesses for the foreseeable future. That’s why organizations need to understand its implications on the way they do business.

So we bring you this quick guide that details everything you need to know about California’s new privacy and data protection law and how your business can navigate these changes.

Threshold Application Of CCPA

Given how quickly the privacy law was passed, experts suspect several inconsistencies in drafting the policy. This can lead to ambiguity and confusion about its application and potential reach.

However, several new amendments were subsequently made to fix these issues, and many reviews are still pending.

But what you need to know is that the CCPA applies to for-profit organisations that meet the threshold requirements for its application; these include:

  • Annual gross revenue of $25 million
  • Annually purchase, sell, obtain, or share the personal information of 50,000 (or more) customers, families, or devices for commercial purposes
  • Source at least 50% (or more) of your annual revenue from the sale of your consumers’ personal information.
  • Parent companies and related subsidiaries that share the same branding also need to comply even if they don’t exceed the thresholds

Who Is Affected And What Is Protected?

The CCPA grants consumers the ability to access all information that a business holds about them. Under the CCPA, the term “consumer” is broadly defined to include any California resident.

However, a recent amendment (better known as AB 25) is under progress. This will redefine “consumer” to omit employee personal information in the context that an individual’s personal information is collected and used only by the employer.

A consumer’s data can then be broadly defined to include information that identifies, describes, relates, or could reasonably link to a specific consumer – either directly or indirectly.

In this context, personal information includes, but is not limited to:

  • Personally identifiable information such as a name, alias, postal address, e-mail address, account name, driver’s license number, Social Security number, passport number, IP address, online identifier, or any other personal identifier unique to the consumer
  • Educational information
  • Biometric information
  • Characteristically similar to protected classifications under California or federal law
  • Commercial information such as purchasing or consumption data, including records of property, products and/or services owned by the consumer
  • Online or other digital network activity information, including (but not limited to) the consumer’s search and browsing history as well as information about the consumer’s interaction with websites, applications, and/or advertisements on the internet
  • Visual, audio, electronic, thermal, or similar information
  • Geo-location data
  • Employment or professional-related information
  • Inferences are drawn from any information that is collected to create a consumer profile that reflects their characteristics, preferences, or psychological predispositions.

With this in mind, this list intentionally leaves out any information that is lawfully made publicly available by federal, state, or local government records.

How Can Your Business Avoid Compliance Risks?

Review Your Data Privacy Practices

The first step to compliance is to have a comprehensive understanding of your current data practices.

For starters, the CCPA gives consumers greater control over their information. As a result, your business needs to comply with any requests to access consumer files and data collected from your audience base.

As you prepare to do this, take stock of your data: determine what personal, sensitive, or confidential information your business collects from consumers – and how it’s being used. Make it a point to define the purpose behind the collection and have clear-cut answers to where (and how) you plan to keep it safe.

According to new amendments, consumers are entitled to the following info:

  • categories of personal information that a business collects
  • external (and internal) sources that a company uses collects personal information
  • the purpose – either business or commercial – of obtaining and/or selling the consumer’s personal information
  • categories of third-party sources with which a business shares the consumer’s personal information
  • the deletion of a consumer’s personal information that a company collects, with regards to special exceptions

The requested info should be delivered in a portable format within 45 days – free of any charge.

Review Your Privacy Policies

The CCPA also mandates that the new disclosure requirements must be included in an organisation’s privacy policy.

For example, a business must disclose the type of personal information it collects at or before the time of collection, as well as the purpose for which it is taken. You must also explicitly state whether the data you collect is being sold or disclosed, including the categories of sources it is sold or disclosed to.

As defined by the statute, a consumer has the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information. This means that you need to include a clear, visible link titled “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” on your store homepage, which allows consumers to easily opt-out of the sale of their personal information.

Once they’ve revoked permission, wait at least 12 months before asking them again to opt back in.

Review Third-Party Sources

Businesses should have a detailed list of vendors and third-party sources that receive personal information from you. Once you identify them, consider making additions where appropriate to your contract, including terms that define the use and disclosure of personal information.

Clarify whether you’re selling personal information to vendors. Aim to increase transparency in the process as much as you can about the data security practices of your vendors. Even if you don’t operate in the USA, and your vendors do, you will still be liable to compliance.

Identify And Implement Changes In Your System

To effectively implement the afore-mentioned processes, businesses will have to update corresponding systems and ensure compliance.

Make sure the IT team understands the nature of alterations that need to be made. Management should also get started on writing new procedures that can guide the IT team on how and where to make changes in your systems.

Conduct Employee Training On New Systems

The updates must also be understood and implemented across other departments.

So, begin training your workforce on how to correspond with consumers accordingly. Make sure they know the following salient points:

  • The physical location of both the company and its staff does not determine CCPA coverage
  • The law only applies to consumers who are residents of California
  • When, how, and where to process and direct consumers’ requests to access their personal information
  • Whether your business plans to apply this act across your entire store or only to Californian consumers

Strengthen Your Data Security

Under the CCPA, consumers can seek damages for breach of personal information resulting from poor policy implementation or unintentional violation of security practices.

Not surprisingly, this gives consumers the power to tarnish your reputation.

This makes it all the more important to review and update your information security and proactively monitor how your defenses can mitigate the risk of breaches – to the greatest possible extent.

In Conclusion

Unsurprisingly, B2C companies are far ahead of the industry average in maintaining and safeguarding their consumers’ privacy.

Business leaders across the globe would be wise to anticipate that data privacy regulatory laws – including the CCPA – a continuously evolve over the coming years. Compliance is not only essential for your business, but it is vital to securing and retaining your consumers’ trust.

Given that change will be an ongoing process in this area, we find it best to build a flexible privacy program that is capable of adapting to constant reform.

As your ecommerce growth partners, we believe that open communication and transparency are pivotal to helping consumers build trust in your business.

Partnering with us means getting the expertise and experience that matters. Right now,…we’ll be seeing more changes, more frequently.  Keep up with us to be sure you don’t lose. For example, in the next 12 to 18 months, there’s a huge change taking place, you heard it first here!
Pixel tracking and cookies will be moving away from browsers. Facebook’s ™ Pixel will be going. Yes, disappearing and in its place we’ll use the Conversion API altogether changing the way we’ve tracked the data from our site visitors.

We like to stay ahead of the game. Our strategies are backed by real-world experiences essential for thriving in a cut-throat, fast-changing business environment – and we can show you the ropes.

If the maintenance and upkeep of consumer data is a struggle for you, contact us today to learn how we can optimise your performance in this area!

7 E-Commerce Conversion Optimization Tactics To Help You Cut Down Ad Spend

As of last year, approximately 81% of people in Australia shopped online. By 2021, this number is projected to reach 22 million people.

The average conversion rate for ecommerce businesses ranges between 1% and 2%, with global figures standing at 2.58% for 2019 Q2.

This means that building an ecommerce business and making it sustainable, won’t be an easy task. Aside from determining what products to sell and how to source them, enticing visitors to your site with paid advertising takes time and dedication.

Marketers are investing in digital campaigns in an attempt to boost revenue, with the digital ad spend projected to reach approximately $8 million this year alone.

That being said, advertising can only encourage them to visit your online store. In an increasingly competitive business environment, digital advertising saturates the ecommerce realm and can only do so much to convince unqualified leads to convert to loyal customers.

In this article, you’ll find seven conversion optimization tactics that can help you reduce your advertising spend and drive new customers through your conversion funnel.

But first, let’s dive into the fundamentals:

Understanding Online Store Conversion Rates

To accurately reflect your ecommerce conversion goals, you need to define the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that your business will use to determine your success.

A conversion rate refers to the percentage of website visitors that complete a desired action. Strictly speaking, ecommerce businesses define their conversion rate as the percentage of website visitors who purchase products from their online stores. However, other metrics include:

  • A visitor adding products to their cart
  • A visitor adding an item to their wish list
  • Social media shares
  • Email signups
  • Any other KPI your brand finds valuable

7 E-Commerce Conversion Optimization Tactics

Here is how you can most of the increasing traffic and increase your conversion rate, without increasing your ad spend.

1. Use High-Quality Images And Video On Your Product Pages

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, consumers can’t touch or feel products on your ecommerce page. This can discourage purchases – especially if your website displays low-resolution images.

Here, displaying detailed, high-resolution product images and videos can help customers visualize your products better and increase your conversion rates. Pictures, after all, speak a thousand words.

When designing images for your product pages, try to cover the following:

  • Give the customer a clear understanding of what it is, and exactly what they will get (functional images)
  • Help the customer understand how to use it (explainer images).
  • Help the customer imaging themselves using it (lifestyle images).

To see a fantastic example of all three – check out babybeeprams.com.au

2. Tweak And Test Your Ecommerce Checkout Process

If your checkout process is too long or too complicated, you risk losing a large portion of potential purchases and website traffic to confusion.

Here, you must test your website checkout process using A/B tests to tweak the process based on your customers’ preferences. With over 60% of companies stating that A/B testing is crucial for conversion rate optimization (CRO) – if you’re still thinking about it, you are already lagging behind.

For starters, you can limit what can be typed into specific fields to make it easier for customers to complete the process.

This way, when a consumer fills in their credit card details, they are already aware of the format they need to fill it in. This helps make it easier to read and harder to mess up.

To optimize it further, digital wallets like PayPal Express, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay allow buyers to sign in with their account information and pre-populates their credentials for them.

Not only do these optimizations help to make checkout faster, but it also helps to reduce the risk of errors when processing payments.

3. Personalisation

PwC’s annual Global Entertainment and Media Outlook highlights how the online consumer experience is becoming progressively personal as brands customize their offerings to focus on personal preferences and purchasing patterns.

If your store has an extensive suite of items for sale, you might find that wish lists, custom preferences, and tailored recommendations for consumer goods such as clothing can help customers sift through the plethora of options available to help and shorten their decision-making.

90% of leading marketers even go as far as to say that personalisation contributes to their profitability and helps to shorten the path to purchase.

The good news is that marketers today can leverage ample consumer data and personalise their conversion funnels to align with prospects’ location, buying behavior, and preferences. Here, a personalisation engine is key to ensure you can achieve this at scale – and thus develop a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and wants. If you’re not at a scale where a personalization engine makes sense, try out Messenger funnels which will allow you to take a personal approach with a big tech budget.

The bottom line? People love personalised experiences and will appreciate your brand taking the time out to cater to their preferences.

4. Hidden Costs

One of the single biggest causes of checkout abandonment is unexpected fees and costs appearing at the payment stage. Most notably, shipping fees.

In our experience, having to pay for shipping is one of the biggest bugbears for consumers (together with delivery time). If possible, consider including the cost of shipping in your product prices. If that isn’t possible, then we recommend setting a FREE shipping level around about your average order value, and making shipping options and costs transparent as early as possible.

You can also try techniques like exit intent popups on the cart that offer free shipping in exchange for purchase today.

5. Provide Valuable Content

Advertising can only go so far to build intrigue around your products and services – and get people to check your offerings on your website. Therefore, the more value you can provide your consumers on your website, the more likely they are to complete purchases.

Not only does this include product copy, but it also refers to the use of blog content to build authority within your niche, inform consumers on your products, and engage your target audience.

If you use a merchant-provided copy for your product descriptions, consider making a shift to a more personalised copy that connects with your buyers, and sells the product instead of simply describing what it is.

Educational content – that offers consumers the quickest solution to their problem – will ultimately also help to increase your website’s organic SEO traffic. Start with your home page and product pages with the following focus:

  • Prioritize on the benefits of products instead of their features
  • Leverage selling points in customer reviews to back claims
  • Emphasize UVPS (unique value propositions) of your brand
  • Make the returns and refund policy transparent from the get-go

The effective product copy can help customers visualize the benefit of buying your product and the value it will add to their lives.

6. Provide Product Testimonials If Applicable

According to BigCommerce, 92% of customers make it a point to read online reviews before they make a purchase.

Familiar with the phrase, ‘Facts Tell, Stories Sell’? It was coined by Anthony Hill to describe how narrative merchants used to connect with consumers through stories they can relate to. Product testimonials go beyond just listing down the benefits of a certain product. Testimonials (be sure to use real ones!) can do wonders to build credibility and trust with consumers.

Consequently, 92% of online consumers read reviews and testimonials for a business before making a purchase. Similarly, 88% of consumers trust online endorsements as much as personal recommendations.

So if you want to prove the genuineness of your platform, entice your current and past buyers to leave you with reviews for your business, products and services.

7. Show Security Badges

One of the biggest fears consumers face when shopping online is releasing their credit card credentials when checking out – and for a good reason! Only recently, KrebsonSecurity learned of the sale of four million stolen credit cards tied to security breaches at restaurant chains.

When online shoppers view security badges in open display, it reassures them that their credit card details are secure and confidential. It also helps to reduce cart abandonment and improve your eCommerce conversions – because they guarantee to keep online transactions safe.

Here are some other ways you can make your e-commerce platform safer for customers:

  • Install SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) at checkout and across your website
  • Display small images of credit card logos such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard to reassure customers that you use customer-trusted payment solutions. As of now, 47% of online shoppers in Australia use credit cards to buy products online.
  • Ensure you have an active account with companies providing your security badges. Avoid adding the images if you aren’t secure

Key Takeaway

Last year Auspost forecast that by 2021, 12% of consumer spending would be conducted online. However, online ecommerce in Australia saw this take effect in March 2020 – and it’s only expected to go up from there.

The key takeaway here is that the conversion game doesn’t necessarily end after a successful campaign. In fact, it doesn’t end when you cement your reputation in the ecommerce realm, either.

It is an ongoing process, with small tweaks in your e-commerce platform not only boosting your bottom line but also helping you optimize your back-end conversion rate. Given that you now have a baseline average conversion rate for your e-commerce site, you can better allocate your advertising spend to entice new sales.

As your eCommerce Growth Partners, we recognize that optimizing store conversion rate is a critical enabler for scaling your business. Having battle tested just about every conversion rate tactic there is, we’ve developed a comprehensive 135-point conversion assessment and a unique proprietary template for Shopify that routinely puts our customers in the top 0.5% of all online stores by conversion rate.

If conversion rate is an issue for your store, contact us today about our audit and site elevation services, and together let’s get your store putting more dollars back in your pocket!

How to Combine Chat Marketing & Email to Skyrocket Your Holiday Season Sales

The holiday seasons are the prime time for ecommerce sales. An omnichannel strategy that uses email and chat marketing may be what you need to give your sales a boost.

According to data shared by WordStream, 80% of holiday shoppers check the web before they make a purchase. 

Better yet, a third say that online ads and promotions lead directly to them making holiday purchases.

The point is that the holidays represent one of the strongest sales periods for your ecommerce store.

That leaves a simple question:

Which strategy works best for getting your products in front of more shoppers?

Some may stick with the tried and tested email marketing techniques they’ve used for years. Others may adopt chat marketing in an effort to boost sales.

But what if you could use them together?

The Big Misconception

So many people see chat marketing as a way to replace email marketing. They cite the larger open and response rates to make the claim that email marketing isn’t effective anymore.

That’s not the case.

The big misconception here is that you can only use one or the other. 

But the truth is that an omnichannel marketing campaign will get your store in front of more people. Plus, it will help you to guide potential customers through your sales funnel even faster.

The end result?

More sales made faster as a result of combining chat marketing and email. 

You just need to know how to do it. Here are four examples that will help you to create a powerful strategy for the holiday seasons.

Example #1 – Collecting Accurate Data Via Chatbot For Use in an Email Campaign

The traditional email marketing campaign goes a little something like this.

You advertise a lead magnet to your target audience. People click on the ad and get prompted to enter their details in a form to get the magnet. Those details go into your CRM and you plug the lead into an automated email campaign.

That’s fine when all of the data’s accurate and up-to-date. But user errors can result in the lead never getting contacted.

Furthermore, many may decide against sending their details across once they see the form they need to fill in.

This is where chat marketing comes in.

With a chatbot, you’re able to gather customer details instantly at the point when they express interest. You can also program your bot to ask leads to confirm the data that they send across.

This means more accurate data and fewer leads getting cold feet. As a result, your email campaigns reach more people, which results in more sales.

Example #2 – Use Chat Marketing to Encourage Email Subscriptions

What happens when somebody comments on a Facebook post?

In most cases, very little happens. You may get  new follower who get post updates, and may like your page at some point.

But this moment of engagement you gives you an ideal opportunity to start a conversation.

You can use a chatbot to make contact with the new follower from the moment that they comment. 

That bot could then ask the follower if they wish to subscribe to your newsletter. It can even ask about the specific topics that the follower has an interest in.

From there, you can send targeted newsletters via email to move those followers through your funnel. And because you contacted them via chat first, they know that these emails will contain relevant information for them.

This means they’re more likely to open them, which gives you an opportunity to make offers based on their interests.

Example #3 – Lead Nurturing

Many potential customers need a little nurturing before they’ll make a purchase.

When you combine email and chat marketing, you’re able to approach this nurturing on two fronts.

With email, you can send more detailed information over an extended period to keep your audience engaged. For example, you could share valuable insights and content that helps the user remember and trust your brand. You can also use email to share important documents that help with a potential purchase.

With chat marketing, you can be more detailed and spontaneous to a customer’s enquiry. A chatbot can handle FAQ that the customer may have. Plus, you can program it to pick up on words on questions that could trigger a specific conversation flow to solve the customer’s enquiry instantly.

For example, let’s say your ecommerce store sells clothes and you have a customer who has questions about picking a size.

The chatbot could handle the basic questions related to the sizes you have in stock. It could then deliver a size chart as well as a coupon to incentivise a purchase. If the customer doesn’t purchase right away, no harm done. Your chatbot can tag the user in your email program and arrange to send out new season’s lines to re-engage them.

You’re providing information on two fronts, which moves the customer closer to making a purchase.

Example #4 – Creating More Personalised Campaigns

We touched on the importance of personalisation in our second example. Your chatbot can ask about specific topics of interest, which can feed into an email marketing campaign.

And according to data from Infosys, personalisation has a huge effect on buying decisions. In a survey, they found that 59% of people say that receiving personalised information influenced their choices.

BabyCentre UK highlights how this works in practice.

Their chatbot uses Facebook Messenger to quiz parents about their specific needs. It then delivers basic tips and tricks via Messenger while also triggering emails based on those needs.

From there, they can make specific offers based on those pre-identified needs.

Chat marketing allows you to build engagement with a lead long before they receive any emails. You can then use the data collected to ensure they receive targeted emails based on what they tell the bot.

Chat Marketing and Email in Tandem

The main message here is that you don’t have to think in terms of one or the other. While chat marketing is a new and exciting tool, email still has an important place in your marketing strategy for long-term engagement.

And when used together, you’re able to target leads with more relevant information on both channels. Ultimately, that leads to faster lead nurturing and more sales.

The critical piece of this multi-channel approach is keeping your CRM up to date on both channels to enable multiple touchpoints without mixed messages or spammy campaigns. 

Beyond Points can help you leverage chat and email to create a powerful omnichannel marketing campaign.

To find out more, message us now to schedule a strategy session.