Apple’s Privacy Update Means No More Training Wheels For CMOs

James Munnerlyn, president and co-founder, Blip Billboards

"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by James Munnerlyn, president and co-founder of Blip Billboards.

Apple released the much-anticipated iOS 15 in September, and with it came a number of user privacy features.

Although advertising and marketing professionals and even the platforms – including Facebook and Instagram – are concerned about how this will impact their long-standing digital ad strategy and their offerings, there is an upside to these changes.

In fact, this privacy update could be a boon to the advertising industry overall, and here’s how. 

A rise in smarter CMOs

We thought the pandemic would be an onslaught to the CMO position, but we’re seeing the opposite. The CMO role is experiencing a resurgence, and our post-pandemic economy is redefining the job beyond their typical mainstays of advertising and marketing.

The previous CMO MO was to specialize. Now, they have no choice but to gain expertise as a creative, digital whiz and a people manager.

In today’s recovering economy, companies need agile marketing leaders who can respond strategically to new policies (like Apple’s), new budgets (even Pepsi and Coca-Cola skipped out on investing in Super Bowl ads this past year) and, ultimately, they have to be able to do more with less as data becomes less easily accessible.

The smarter CMOs become, the more they’ll be able to succeed, even if now via purely transactional, one-to-one digital advertising approaches. 

Moving away from 1:1

Using customer data to power one-to-one advertising across Facebook and other apps may have been convenient. But it also encouraged a less strategic – I’d even call it lazy – way of approaching audiences.

And in light of Apple’s new iOS rollouts, it’s not only becoming less convenient; it’s getting more expensive. CPMs for Facebook ad impressions rose by a staggering 67% between Q1 and Q2 of this year, even before iOS 15.

That means brands are forking over more of their hard-earned revenue to Facebook in order to reach an increasingly elusive target demographic. Brands will need a different avenue for advertising if they want to keep a strong bottom line.

As marketing budgets shrink, every dollar counts. 

A resurgence of bold advertising

Remember when ads were memorable? We all knew the jingles and we all knew what a milk mustache on a black-and-white portrait really meant. (Got Milk?)

Well, one upside I’m most looking forward to from Apple’s privacy restrictions is how it will serve as a forcing function to drive more ingenuity, creativity and boldness in our advertising.

We may also see an uptick in traditional advertising methods, including out-of-home (OOH) and broadcast – but with a modern twist.

With the advent of technological advancements, such as dynamic digital-out-of-home (DOOH), for example, advertisers can be more flexible in how they use OOH in their marketing plans. Netflix, for instance, is using DOOH technology to lure eyeballs in new ways, like with its deployment of the first-ever anamorphic illusion technology to promote the second season of “Outer Banks” in Times Square.

An upgrade to the “super-sized” ad strategy

Targeted digital ads have taught us to think small. But historically, the best brands we know have taught us to think big. Coca-Cola, Staples, Nike – these brands are household names because they worked to position themselves as such.

The brands that will benefit most from Apple’s privacy hurdles – and the ongoing global upward trend in privacy restrictions – will be those that think big and go bold to build lasting brand recognition.

One way this will happen is through traditional advertising channels that allow for broader reach and awareness. This is the type of media that creates ubiquity around company messaging – which is something the top brands have known for a very long time.

We all walk around with phones in our pockets, but in today’s world, it’s the biggest screens that often matter most.

Apple’s privacy update may feel like a set of handcuffs for some advertisers, but what it’s really given us is an opportunity to rethink and up-level our strategies. As digital advertising loses its targeting edge, companies can turn to myriad traditional and new forms of advertising that will diversify and strengthen their investments and customer engagement.

This is an opportunity for ad and marketing executives to go back to basics and transform their marketing toolkit with tactics that have proven effective since the early days of advertising.

Follow Blip (@BlipBillboards) and AdExchanger (@AdExchanger) on Twitter.

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