How Privacy Updates Will Impact Your Restaurant’s Ad Strategy

Over the years, tech companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google have released privacy updates without most restaurant marketers thinking twice about how they impact their ad strategies. So, as a restaurant marketer why do you need to pay attention to this iOS14 update? In short, Apple’s iOS14 update will give Apple users the option to opt-out of data sharing whenever they download an app. Since many restaurant brands rely on targeted advertising to reach potential diners, this update will have a significant impact on strategies across the hospitality industry and beyond. 

A Quick Look into Apple's New Privacy Update 

The most significant updates to Apple's iOS14 include changes to its privacy and sharing policies, also known as Apple's App Tracking Transparency Framework (AATTF) and a string of numbers known as the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Each mobile device comes with its own identifier that provides advertisers with data from users’ behavior and preferences. Previously, users had to manually select their privacy settings, but now a pop-up will ask if they want to grant the app access to track activity across other apps and websites. 

While this new feature gives users more control over being tracked, there is real concern that many Apple users will say no to tracking, leaving Facebook and others with less data for ad campaigns. By opting out, users prohibit Facebook from collecting data about clicks, downloads, or in-app purchases to share with other websites for advertising purposes. 

How Apple's Privacy Update Can Impact Restaurant Marketing

Currently, Facebook can track user activity on other websites and apps through Facebook pixels, which are typically installed on a website or app to track users’ actions. The pixel keeps track of that data, storing it in Facebook and using it to inform ad campaigns. For example, your restaurant could set up a bunch of pixels on your local landing pages to track how long potential customers spend on menu pages. Previously, marketers had unlimited use of those pixels. However, advertisers running campaigns to iOS 14.5 and later will be impacted by these limitations – a maximum of eight-pixel objectives on a single domain. 

With fewer pixels, Facebook cannot capture as much user data and won’t track users that opt out, which means less options for targeting. This could prevent restaurant locations from being able to hone-in on their target customer base as easily. Similarly, the lack of data could impact Facebook reporting. With less data to track, fewer objectives to report, and a smaller population of customers to collect data from, reporting may be inaccurate or skewed from previous reports. 

Should Restaurants Continue to Advertise on Facebook? 

The short answer is yes! Social media is an inseparable and highly influential part of our everyday lives. In fact, social media is so powerful, 78 percent of purchase decisions are guided by information seen on social media.

Despite the changes from iOS 14 and later, no other online media offers access to as many potential customers at any given time (Facebook and its family of apps reach 3.1 billion active users monthly). 

Three Things Restaurants Can Do Now

While all of this may seem concerning, there's no reason to worry. If your restaurant is aware of the changes that come with iOS14 and later, you can make changes to ensure your local advertising goals remain strong. There are three things you can do now to soften the blow to your ad campaigns

  1. Prioritize the eight most important actions you want to track visitors to your website and use pixels for those. You may realize that some of the pixels currently being used aren't as important.
  2. Split your audience targeting by iOS and Android users. The iOS14 update will only impact Apple users. Therefore, Android users won't be affected, and Facebook can still track their data. If you segment the audiences by device, the Android data won't be skewed on Facebook. This will give a more realistic idea of how your campaigns work and what your target audiences are interested in. 
  3. Enable value optimization. Value optimization allows advertisers on Facebook to bid for the highest valued users, or in other words, the users who are most likely to take the desired action on your website. Restaurants that enable value optimization, you may get a higher return on ad spend. Note that only brands that meet specific requirements can enable value optimization and it uses four of the eight pixels, but it's worth testing if you're eligible. 

Start Re-Structuring Your Local Ad Campaigns Now

Change is inevitable and restaurants must adapt and be prepared to face these changes. There’s no excuse for letting your ad strategy fall flat. Facebook advertising is still a great way for restaurants to reach their target audience. And although things are changing, there’s still an opportunity for your restaurant brand to win more customers.