iOS 14 and using owned channels for engagement

iOS 14

The inside track on iOS 14 – and how to own your owned channels to improve audience engagement

Changes inside the iOS 14 upgrade present new challenges for online retailers that use email platforms that rely on third party data and cookies for conversion, says Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, GM EMEA at Wunderkind.

With over 80% of shopping journeys now starting online, and around 60% of those starting on a mobile device – of which half 50% of those devices being Apple – it is clear that any changes that Apple makes to its operating system are big news to online retailers, as one of the main channels charting the path to conversions and sales.

And the biggest news right now is the fact that iOS 14 allows users to opt-out of data transfer between apps. That means when someone browses in Safari or Chrome, Facebook, Instagram, other apps can’t use that for advertising purposes, potentially limiting the ability of third party advertisers and remarketing providers to reach audiences.

The iOS 14 update will essentially kill Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) as a persistent identifier for users with iOS devices, as many users are anticipated to choose to opt out.

That’s bad news that will only get worse as ecommerce on both Facebook and Instagram ramps up.  Facebook spelled it out this year when it said: “As more devices update to iOS 14, the size of your retargeting audiences may decrease.”

The bottom line is, this new privacy feature, called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) makes all tracking across apps and websites opt-in only, so companies will need new ways to learn about – and reach – their customers.

This could have serious impact on the scale of retailers’ audience sizes on major platforms like Facebook and Google, and through AdTech providers who use any 3rd party data.

And the changes may not stop there; it is reasonable to assume that where Apple leads, others follow, particularly as personal data has become of growing concern to consumers during lockdown.

With Apple putting more control in the hands of consumers, a proportion of them will choose the options made available to them. There is however another way for retailers and that is to dramatically decrease reliance on tracking and take advantage of their own data.

This means working with an email provider with its own Identity Network that uses retailers’ own secret weapon – its first-party data to re-engage users and drive revenue.

By using both triggered emails and texts (SMS), retailers can more effectively and efficiently retarget their most valuable leads and drive more conversions.

Working with a global email service provider is also important because of the sheer volume of devices that need to be observed, and the rapid growth of cross border commerce. Figures from cross border commerce firm, eShopWorld show that sales transacted through its checkout rose by 82% year-on-year (YOY) across 2020. In addition, this unprecedented demand set off by Covid restrictions saw sales peak at +141% YOY in July 2020.

Wunderkind has always supported retailers in trying to balance dependence on third party tools and data and exploiting their own assets, helping retailers optimise what they already own, control and can action.

The objective is to enable retailers make the channels they own work harder to find conversion leaks by understanding behaviour, content, traffic and merchandising. The goal is to optimise the shopping experiences that convert; and, track down non-converters and win them back.

Once these preferences and actions are known, then it becomes easier to market to them subsequently using the right communications, and to automate this process to achieve speed and scale.

With the recent changes to iOS 14, online retailers are now actually in a better position to improve conversion through email and SMS, because they are now working much more dynamically with their own data and channels.