Outmaneuvering The Facebook Signal Crash, With Tuff CEO Ellen Jantsch

Apple’s privacy changes caused the ground to shift underfoot at Meta. But growth marketing agency Tuff says it didn’t see a single client pull back on either Facebook or Instagram after the release of Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework last year.

When Tuff saw these changes start to happen, it immediately prepared for conversations with partners about reevaluating allocation. By its swift reaction, Tuff avoided what could have been a rocky situation, says CEO Ellen Jantsch on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

Even so, the results Tuff saw coming from Facebook and Instagram still looked “painful,” she says. But when Tuff brought in Google Analytics data, cohort analysis and Mixpanel data, it realized the revenue results for its overall business were still strong. Facebook simply lost the ability to claim credit for its performance.

There has been a silver lining to all the chaos, however. Apple’s move pushed the agency away from last-click attribution models. When it comes to important decisions like budget allocation, last click is (finally) done, Jantsch says.

Although Facebook and Instagram remain popular channels – 100% of Tuff clients spend on the platforms – what happened with ATT underscores the importance of channel diversification.

TikTok, for instance, is on the rise. “I used to hate it – now I love it,” Jantsch says. Seventy percent of clients now spend on TikTok, and even B2B advertisers perform on the platform despite its reputation for a youthful audience.

Tuff’s flexibility is reinforced by its business model. It charges a flat monthly retainer rather than taking a percentage of ad spend, billing by the hour or charging over the top for additional services as many other agencies do. “It gives us the ability to adapt, to pivot, to run experiments – to kill them – and not be tied to, ‘Hey, well, we scoped Facebook ads, so we’ve got to keep doing Facebook ads, no matter what,’” she says.

Also in this episode: Getting bought – the 30-person Tuff team was acquired by 500-person programmatic agency Goodway Group in March – and navigating an acquisition while pregnant. Jantsch heads out on parental leave this month.

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