If you’ve been banking on the new era of digital marketing being “temporary” and waiting for things to go back to “normal” you need to buckle up my friend.

This is only the beginning.

Facebook has been feeling the heat ever since Apple released the iOS 14 updates and the demand for privacy has increased. 

In order to fight back, Facebook is undergoing MASSIVE changes over the next five years.

Things aren’t going back to normal. They’re evolving entirely.

In today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, I’m diving into all the coming changes Facebook has planned and how marketers must step up and adapt.

Tune in for everything you need to know to prepare for Facebook’s metamorphosis!

After listening, DM me your biggest takeaways from this episode over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!

Article referenced in this episode.

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I cannot believe… I looked at the date this episode will be released, we are almost through August. I feel like I say that so much, but It’s just so crazy. Is it just me? Or does time just go so fast? I actually want one of my missions to be to figure out how to just slow time down sometimes, just be present and slow down because it’s insane that we’re about to go into fall and the holidays, then this year is going to be done and it was just the holidays. I don’t even know. It’s crazy. One thing I’ve avoided since I started my company that I realized is that a month is not a lot of time. When I think about when I was younger and especially a kid, I thought, “oh my gosh, a month is like forever.” But when we set goals for the month, it just goes so fast. It’s not even a lot of time to get things done. 

Anyways, I am pretty excited about today’s episode. I’m always excited about the episodes, but I came across a really great resource. My team has been super on top of making sure we stay on top of anything iOS, anything that Facebook comes out with, any information regarding the future of digital marketing. I think this is a super exciting time because there’s so much changing, so much unknown and so much that we need to pay attention to. We created the PDQ that you can subscribe to to stay up to date on all that and get our take on it and make sure that you are implementing whatever the recommendations are in your strategy, because a lot’s changing. For example, custom audiences used to not work as well as lookalike audiences and that might’ve shifted, and ways to get your ad costs down, we put all of that into the PDQ. If you’re not there, you can join at notforlazymarketers.com/pdq

I want to talk about this article. I saw an article that came out on The Verge. It was called Facebook is rebuilding its ads to know a lot less about you. We can link it in the show notes, you can look it up. It was basically an interview with somebody high up in Facebook and was super insightful. I just want to touch on it because I think the article was pretty long. I went through and basically took our own context about it and shared it with the PDQ, but it was so important that I want to bring it here, because I think it’s really telling of where things are going in the digital marketing world in the next five years. That’s the interesting part. 

The article talked about how they have hundreds of engineers at Facebook working on changing their technology in the backend to be able to optimize ads and predict ads to put in front of people that is in a privacy conscious way. Basically, they are rebuilding and creating algorithms and a whole system in understanding what the users are doing that doesn’t track them so that the ads can still do well. They said over the next five years they’re going to be working on this. That is why I’ve been saying it’s a new era. This is just the beginning. 

So much is going to change and everybody, you, me, every company, including Facebook is having to adapt to this new era. Now Facebook is kind of spearheading because they got the brunt of this in the beginning. Although, I will say Google has already done some of this privacy work a while ago before Facebook, and they’re already more compliant than Facebook was. This is going to impact TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, all of them. 

They have hundreds of engineers working on new algorithms to be able to still predict users’ actions, interests in what they’re doing on the app, but not following them because they opt out of tracking. It’s basically to learn information about individual users in a privacy conscious way, because when somebody opts out of tracking, it can still happen. They can still be tracked within the Facebook app as of now. Who knows, that could be changed in two years. They actually did say in this interview, “that’s a concern of ours”. They’re saying that yeah, it’s a concern of theirs and they’re already preparing for something like that. They also talked about, why is Facebook’s revenue so up? Even through these changes this year, they said Facebook’s average price per ad grew 47% from a year ago, in the second quarter. They expect it to continue to rise this year. 

To combat this, Facebook raises the cost of their ads. I think it’s going to go back down because what’s going to happen is less people are going to advertise because of the high costs, like really small businesses who have zero ability to run ads and zero margin to invest in their ads are going to pull ads and they’re not going to work anymore. Then it’s going to open it up for people who are willing to invest. That’s why I’m kind of excited, because if you stick with it,  you’re going to win in the long run when the costs start to go back down. Facebook is admitting they’re charging more for their ads and that it will go back down, but that’s how they’re offsetting this and that they have hundreds of engineers and teams dedicated to working on new technologies. 

One of the quotes in there was, “because data and personalization is at the heart of almost every one of our systems from targeting to ad ops optimization, to measurement, almost all of our systems will be rebuilt over the next couple of years. That’s already very much in progress to reflect this change in how data is used in support of advertising.” I wanted to share this because I think what it means for us is number one, we know that Facebook is even saying their ad costs are up. If you’re like, “my ad costs are up,” okay, that’s going to happen. What do you do to combat that? You listened to my content, how I’ve talked to you about getting that cost down, new creative is the number one way at a more frequent volume. Align yourself with Facebook’s goals. That means Reels, that means videos, that means engaging content. Test out new audiences. Recreate your lookalike audiences. Those are all things you can do to combat the higher cost. If you can get expert support, because it’s really hard to DIY your ads at this point, it is so much work in the refresh of new campaigns and new creatives and innovative things to do to keep the costs down. 

Then on the other flip side of that, you’ve got to make more on the backend. If ad costs go up, how do we make up for it? We make up for it with our average cart value. If your leads are costing more, you’ve got to figure out what does that sales conversion have to be? How do you improve that? That’s the first thing we know, ad costs are up. We have to take actions that come back to the marketing foundation and improve that and get those ad costs back down, staying competitive in a hard time. Now, if I thought that Facebook ads weren’t going to work anymore, or they weren’t a good idea right now, I wouldn’t be running them myself and I would be pivoting to a new business. I think Facebook ads are still going to be extremely effective. 

I think this is going to be as hard as it’s going to get. Then I think it’s going to continue to improve because, essentially, what they’re saying is they’re rebuilding all of their systems that read data, understand data, and update targeting. They’re already prepared for the loss of data and will be completely rebuilding their algorithms and their systems. Right now they might be out of whack, but they will continue to improve. We’ve actually seen them calm down and improve in the last month since the iOS updates have launched. Behind the scenes a lot is happening with Facebook and their systems. 

The other thing to know is that, I think Facebook ads are fine. I think that Facebook has such a monopoly on the social media world that they’re not going anywhere. They will always be the category king, Facebook and Instagram. Sure, new things might come up like TikTok, but they will try to compete with it. That is probably their biggest competitor right now for users’ time and engagement. You just align yourself knowing that. That is their biggest competitor, they want to have you create content similar to that to make sure users stay on their platform versus TikTok. 

I think that what we have to do is buckle down as marketers. If you go back to the previous podcast episode, I talked about what the future of marketing is and what you need to focus on and getting back to the basics and to the things that you had to do 10 years ago before Facebook was even an advertising platform for people. We have to get back to that. The good news is that the cost should go down. That is even what they were saying in this interview, as people pull their advertising and as advertising gets more effective, the costs will go down on your Facebook ads, but also the advertising should improve. 

Who even knows, it might be even better than before what they’re building. I mean, I’m sure they’re building pretty incredible in terms of their algorithms and the backend of them understanding their users. This time around, it’s going to be much more privacy compliant, which is important because this was bound to happen at some point. It’s amazing they got away with what they did for so long and now we have to adapt, but we also know that Facebook, they make their money from ads. They want us to do well. They don’t care as much about the tiny businesses with tiny ad spends. That’s the reality of it. You can still, even if you are that business, you can align yourself with what Facebook is doing, what their goals are. If you do that, you will be successful. 

I thought this article was super interesting, but it confirms that we are entering a new era that’s going to be very long term. They’re saying over the next two years, they’re going to be rebuilding all their systems. Then they also said this is a five-year plan because they’re also anticipating more changes. One other thing they said in there is just how Apple is basically building their own ad systems. That’s why Apple did this. We’re pretty sure of that. We’ve been sure of that the whole time, but I think those two are going to continue to kind of fight each other. That will be interesting to play out as well. 

Taking away from this for your own business is a few things. Number one, Facebook ad costs are up, and that is a fact. 47% from a year ago is quite a lot. Now they were really low in the pandemic because of increased ad space, but 47% from a year ago is a big increase. That doesn’t mean that you say, “oh, well, I’m not going to run ads until the ad costs go down.” Why would you do that? That’s going to stop your traffic. You need to figure out how to make the most out of the more expensive ad costs, meaning make more on the backend, do as much as you can to get those ad costs lower. Inside the PDQ, we talked about a strategy of going back to an opt-in page, a basic opt-in, that will be a cheaper cost per lead, then putting your webinar on the thank you page.

You’ve got to get creative with strategies. The answer is not to shut everything off and wait it out. That is never the answer because you don’t know what that means. You don’t know how long that’s going to be. You don’t even know if that is a thing. This might be the new normal of cost forever. If you don’t figure it out, how are you going to market your business? Unless you have another platform that you instantly have all your customers on, like TikTok, and it’s working for you great, but Facebook and Instagram are still the category king. They’re still where you need to be to get eyes on your brand. If you don’t get innovative and figure it out, it’s going to become irrelevant. 

Your business, there’s no such thing, in my opinion, as plateauing. You’re going backwards or you’re going forwards. If you’re paused, you have no traffic, you have no leads, you have no sales coming in. You’re going backwards in your business. Figure out how to make Facebook ads work, how to make the cost work for your business. Maybe you need to raise your prices a little bit. Maybe you need to run your numbers and figure out how to get my average cart value up? What’s one way I can increase my sales conversion by 1%? Things like that are the questions to ask. “Oh, well, I’m turning all my ads off,” that’s definitely not the solution. 

The second thing you need to know is the algorithm is going to continue to improve. Facebook’s working on the backend with hundreds of engineers, and it’s very exciting to see what they’re going to change. That means probably in the future, we’re going to see custom and lookalike audiences may have shifts in them, different things rollout, because that’s what they’re changing. It’s the way that you can target, the way that you can optimize, the way they’re going to report data. They are working on all of that in the backend. I just want to do an episode to fill you in on this because it’s a long article. If you’re interested, read it. It confirms a lot of what I’ve already been saying, but it was a really great interview from somebody inside and also confirms the fact that we truly have entered a new era and it’s not going to be gone. Facebook says we’re going to see so many changes in five years. I’m actually excited about it, but you’ve got to stay on top of it. 

All right, everybody. Thanks for tuning in today. If you have any questions, of course always reach out to Hirsh Marketing. I get so excited over this because it’s so cool. It’s so interesting. It feels like we’re a little bit like a part of the history of digital marketing. This will be a pivotal moment that, in five, 10 years from now, people are going to look back on because it’s a massive shift to being privacy conscious. This was inevitable, this was going to come at some point from when they launched. They got away with a lot for a long time that they now will not be able to. It’s a good thing in the long run for society, but for marketers, we have to navigate it. That’s what I want to help you guys do. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll talk to you guys next time.