As we’re halfway through June, recent paid campaign performance has revealed to us what we expected but could not define in detail – that summer 2021 would be an anomalous season within the digital marketing landscape. Couple the changes following the gradual adoption of iOS 14 with notable shifts in general consumer behavior post-pandemic, and the result is one that we’re still dissecting but seeing the impact of now. Across industries and business types, campaign performance on Facebook has declined in June, with decreases in both CVR and ROAS. How can this be combatted? Read on for additional insights around the causes of this performance shakeup and what next steps you should consider within your marketing strategies.
Core Factor #1: iOS 14
June is the first full month post the launch of iOS 14’s major user privacy and data use update. It can take about 6-8 weeks for an update like iOS 14 to be fully integrated into the user experience as adoption happens over time. As more users start to adopt this new operating system, we can expect weaker performance across all platforms (not just Facebook.) Balancing privacy and allowing users to maintain control of their own data, while still providing them with relevant content can help mitigate some of this poor performance over time. One great way to do that is utilizing Facebook Conversions API.
Core Factor #2: Analyzing Year Over Year Data Correctly
While it’s natural to want to compare year-over-year growth, we would recommend analyzing that data with a large grain of salt this month. Last year at this time, we saw industry-low CPM’s, whereas this year we’re seeing a rise in CPM’s across the platform. Comparing year-over-year performance will only feel more daunting with each of these shifts at play.
Core Factor #3: Seasonality and the Impact of COVID
Other causes that have indirectly impacted performance pertain to current consumer behavior patterns. As consumers are re-emerging into society following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, they’re looking to travel, go to restaurants, and attend social events, thereby spending less time at home and next to their computers.
June is typically a slower month year over year. And, compiled with the fact that the world is opening back up and traveling is experiencing a huge boom, consumers are excited to shop in person and it’s having a direct impact on online shopping. This year, we’re seeing an even greater year-over-year dip, an average of 20-50% less compared to last June (and that’s taking into account everyone shopping online at the same time last year.)
Additionally, inflation and slow economic growth due to COVID is also playing a role in the larger general consumer landscape. When prices go up due to inflation, price points might suffer, demand might fall due to increased prices and as a result, sales could see a decline. It’s more important than ever to maintain a distinct understanding of unique selling propositions and remembering why an investment in advertising and marketing is key to combating these tumultuous times.
Recommendations + Next Steps
Experience has taught us that while it can be tempting to overcorrect when you see performance declining it’s important not to panic and take a step back to analyze all elements of data available to you. Start with looking at whether the drop you are seeing on Facebook correlates with an overall drop in business or if it is truly a channel-specific issue. From there, you can better diagnose the large issue at hand.
Similar to the beginning of COVID-19, now is not the time to turn off prospecting for a short-term ROAS increase. Don’t lose sight of what has always been true: you need to continue to drive new users into the funnel. Your prospecting campaigns need to be dialed with timely creative that reflects today’s environment, not one from a month ago. Gone are the days where work-from-home messaging is going to resonate. The world is opening back up so make sure your creative reflects that. If you are struggling to quickly turn around assets, leveraging timely influencer content is a quick way to get new creative out the door that fits the tone of today.
We will continue to update this post in the coming weeks as we continue to review performance trends.