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What SMBs Need to Know About Apple’s Privacy Update

Facebook and Instagram ads — along with other forms of digital advertising — are now becoming less effective at targeting and more expensive because of Apple’s latest iOS update and privacy policy [1]. This shift is forcing SMBs to rethink their marketing and advertising strategy.

Here are four key takeaways that SMBs should be aware of now that they are working around Apple’s privacy update:

1. Apple isn’t the only one hurting SMBs’ digital ad spend: Apple may have made a big splash with their privacy update, but there is an overall upward trend for consumers in terms of privacy concerns and resentment towards digital ads. Ad blockers are becoming more prevalent and user friendly. In fact, the share of American internet users blocking ads has increased by more than 70% since 2014 [2]. People are also resenting digital ads more and more, which is the worst sentiment you want your existing or potential customers to experience when they interact with your brand.

2. Abandoning an “online first” strategy could be a boon for your overall advertising strategy: SMBs are used to a one-to-one transactional advertising strategy. They pay for a certain number of eyeballs to see their ad, usually on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, and then they track those individuals. Because there is so much individual targeting happening on the back end of these platforms and there’s plenty of time for customers to consume an ad on the screen, most SMBs have not developed the discipline to distill their ad strategy down to the most essential and powerful message. Not only is a one-to-one ad strategy more expensive, but it is also keeping us from “thinking BIG”.

3. What’s next? Hello broadcast advertising fit for SMBs: The upside to all of this digital doomsday talk is that there is a growing market for SMBs to now invest in broadcast ad options. We used to think TV ads, stadium sponsorships, billboards and Times Square-sized ad dollars were reserved for the Coca-Cola’s of the world. But with the rise of Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) advertising markets [3], SMBs are getting a slice of the pie. In fact, now is the best time to invest in broadcast advertising forms like DOOH as we’re emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. A late 2020 study [4] by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America found that Americans are noticing Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertising more and engaging more with the content within their surroundings as they venture outdoors.

4. Out-of-home advertising is growing and SMBs are getting creative: With the expense of digital advertising so high and privacy concerns on the rise, out of home advertising is the only form of traditional advertising that is “gaining” share. It’s projected to finish 2021 with double-digit ad revenue increases [5]. Why? Maybe it’s because more people are headed outside after a year of sheltering in place. Perhaps it’s because digital-out-of-home (DOOH) advertising solutions are becoming more creative, effective, scalable and affordable.

While social media advertising prices are spiking [6], current DOOH media rates are at a killer discount at as much as 30-40% off [7]. And some platforms are democratizing DOOH, giving the market share to the masses and away from the biggest spenders like Amazon or Google. Whether it’s to position your brand as supporting certain social justice causes like Black Lives Matter [8], promoting a first-ever summit or festival, reaching a new audience for a product launch or augmenting brand awareness, SMBs can now harness the grassroots capabilities of DOOH.

The biggest takeaway I see from the Apple privacy update is the encouragement for SMBs to branch out of the 1:1 digital advertising they’re comfortable with and start adopting future-focused advertising like broadcast [9]. SMBs should think bigger, scale their strategy and up-level their brand rather than relying solely on digital online to drive results.

James Munnerlyn is President and Co-Founder of Blip Billboards. He honed in on the convergence of technology and advertising as an entrepreneurial focal point early in his college career. Post graduation from BYU’s Marriott School of Business, James spent a few years on Utah’s digital marketing scene and then set out on his own to make his mark in the world of digital marketing and advertising. A dynamic leader and self-taught technologist, James founded Infuseo, a tech-enabled digital marketing agency in 2011. As fate would have it, YESCO, a pioneer in digital billboard advertising was among Infuseo’s closest clients. With the perfect launch partner in mind, James and Brent approached YESCO with their vision for Blip in 2015, and it was eagerly adopted. The two founders began coding right away and launched Blip to the public in the summer of 2016.