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The Future of Targeted Advertising: Influencer Marketing

Traditional targeted advertising is becoming less effective. This decline is in large part due to the recent IOS updates concerning out-of-app tracking. While this is a really important milestone for privacy, it can have some negative effects on small businesses trying to reach new customers. So how can marketing, once so reliant on these sources of data, continue to make cost-effective ads? The solution is simple and it is ready for you today.

First, understanding what the IOS update actually means

Following numerous controversial incidents of nefarious data usage and breaches, privacy initiatives have become top priorities at many of the largest tech firms. Apple in particular has been exceedingly focused on the problem, with recent IOS updates acutely targeting user tracking and data policies by third parties on its platforms. Notably, IOS update 14.5 released in April 2021, has focused specifically on providing users the option to opt-out of app tracking in a feature entitled App Tracking Transparency. App tracking refers to the embedded capability of a mobile app to track a user’s behavior, even when not actively using the app. This data allows the publisher to monitor user’s mobile behavior, giving them a plethora of insights into their behavior across web sites and other apps. Opt-ing out of this monitoring enables a user to elect for their data not to be shared, greatly reducing the amount of information any outside company can gather about their prospective audiences.

Why is this impacting small businesses?

It is no secret that small businesses benefited greatly from targeted advertising on platforms like Google’s AdSense or Facebook. This process enabled the curation of highly specialized target audiences drawn from algorithms analyzing behavior, location, and demographic data of each user. Aka those ads that you saw and thought the computer was reading your mind. Nevertheless, being able to reach such niche and personalized groups is helpful for SMBs entering new markets or trying to scale. However, with the opt-out option, the amount of data any given company can have becomes much more limited. While the process and prices are remaining more or less the same for small businesses to run marketing campaigns, the results are suffering. Without being able to track users off their app, companies have less data to make highly specific audiences. With less specific audiences, targeted ads lose their value. Not to mention, the entire process is relatively invasive to the individual, and people are beginning to realize it.

The Ethical and More Effective Solution: Affiliate Marketing

So let’s explore the alternative — self-selected targeted ads. By this, I mean leveraging the creator economy and influencer marketing. All you need to do is identify your target audience and choose which influencer is the best fit. A primary benefit of this type of marketing is you are reaching individuals who are choosing to see your content and who trust the opinion of the creator. As an additional bonus, you aren’t violating or abusing personal information along the way.

Marketing through the creator economy embraces uniform consent, everyone opts into the engagement. Data is not being scraped or recommended based on complex algorithms, people are choosing to follow them. By actively following the page, followers are consenting to receive updates and ads from the creators. In fact, many follow those influencers just to receive those promotions.

How to Make Influencer Marketing Work For You

Influencer marketing is an extremely successful means to promote your brand. Brands have complete control over how they are represented and can expand over an array of target markets.

Influencer marketing leverages built out networks that are proven to work and are completely customizable. Imagine a ‘pick your own adventure’ for targeted marketing. Influencers have completed the work of gaining an audience and building their social capital. This pipeline has an additional advantage over traditional marketing, in that brands can be even more catered towards their audiences. Ads are based on common interests and not on demographic information which can be too generalist. This allows you to reach a wider yet more tailored audience.

Quick Tips For First Timers

So if this is your first time with influencer marketing, let us share a few tips.

  • Remember that both slides of this marketplace (influencers and brands) are businesses. While the influencer may be a small or one-person business, they are still a business and should be respected and treated as such. Approach any interactions with them in a similar way you would a marketing agency. There can and should be negotiations when it comes to compensation and the contract at large.

  • Do your research. Find exactly what you want to gain from this marketing strategy: are you looking for reach or engagement? Tracking the amount of views or amount of products sold from the views? You should then match the deliverables to the goals. Communicate it clearly, don’t assume the other party knows exactly what you want.

  • It is okay to have more than one influencer marketing your product at a time, word of mouth is an effective and organic strategy for growth, don’t shy away from really spreading the word.

  • This is a good opportunity for you to market to your current customers, but also new ones, try thinking outside the box when it comes to who you choose to work with.

  • More followers isn’t always better, metrics like shares and saves can often be more valuable. In many cases micro-influencers tend to have higher loyalty from their followers, meaning they are more likely to sell to higher percent of their followers.


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