Way back in Q4 last year, we predicted that a “Q5” would come just like in previous years. A period between Christmas and New Year’s where CPMs dip as retail advertisers pull back. But Q5 never came. Instead, we witnessed CPMs on Facebook staying steady through the end of the year, if not actually rising slightly.

CPMs on Facebook, here’s what we thought would happen…

cpms on facebook

CMPs on Facebook behaved differently this holiday season (Dec 2020 to Jan 2021)…

  • Looking at CPMs on Facebook for 4 accounts from unrelated industries, CPMs did not drop after Christmas and overall have dropped less vs 2019-2020.
  • 30-40% reduction in CPMs is a normal year. This year, we have seen a 20% to 30% reduction in CPMs.

cpms on facebook

So, what happened?

There are likely many factors at play here, but here are two likely causes and how you can shift your strategy to mitigate the market changes accordingly:

Thoughts on Reason #1: Traditional Media Channels Were Less Effective Due to the Pandemic

In 2020, stay at home orders across the US and across the globe took effect for weeks that spanned into months. Those who were able to shift to remote working did, and as a result, the workweek commute dissipated. The impact was also less traditional media consumption in the form of radio and digital out of home (DOOH) advertising. Which includes billboards and screens in metro stations, bus stops, highways, and more.

People worked from home and did not commute. As a result, they were listening to less radio for entertainment and shifting instead to mobile gaming for entertainment. As a mobile acquisition industry, this has impacted where and how we advertise to consumers. And no doubt has driven an industry-wide shift to digital and mobile advertising vs non-digital channels.

With COVID cases remaining high and work from home still in place, we expect mobile user acquisition to remain fiercely competitive throughout 2021 as a result.

Thoughts Reason #2: Everyone is Trying to Front-Load Q1 before IDFA Hits in March

The rumor mill has it that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) removal will happen with iOS 14.4 in March of this year. This will have a tremendous impact on performance marketers’ ability to identify and target audiences in social media and is estimated to reduce iOS ad spend between -30% to -40%. We believe that mobile app publishers are front-loading their Q1 spend to get ahead of the change and more quickly acquiring users between December through Q1.

CPMs on Facebook

Additionally, it is worth noting that brand marketers and web-based advertisers are much less likely to be affected by IDFA changes. And, with fewer people listening to the radio and seeing billboards, the shift to social platforms like Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and others, where they can continue to gain reach and high-frequency engagement, is greatly appealing. Any hesitation that performance marketers may have about acquisition right now, brand marketers are taking full advantage of to reach audiences.

Here’s What to Do Next

In advance of the anticipated March ATT and IDFA changes, there are levers that marketers can pull now in both media buying and creative development.

Facebook has already shared the structural changes to campaigns. Including that web campaigns will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain attribution. In addition, they will now be governed by “Aggregated Event Measurement” as its mobile SKAdNetwork campaign-centric conversion value counts. Meaning, that events will only be counted at the level of campaign granularity. As with SKAdNetwork conversion events, these 8 conversion events will exist on a priority spectrum. Also, only the highest-priority event triggered by the user will be attributed to that campaign. Value Optimization (VO) campaigns will still be available to web advertisers. Although VO campaigns will only allow for 4 conversion events to be tracked. And 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows are being deprecated.

Facebook has noted that app advertisers will be limited to one ad account per app for iOS14 campaigns with up to five ad sets. But they will not need to create a new, dedicated account for iOS14 campaigns.

To prepare now and mitigate the impact of these tracking changes that are anticipated to take effect in March 2021, here’s what Facebook recommends you do now:

Media Buying and Measuring

If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 to help personalize ads delivered to devices on iOS 14, and continue to receive app conversion events reporting from iOS 14 devices. You can do this from the Events Manager. You will need to be an app admin to do so. Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 currently supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API and enables measurement for app install ads. If you do not have the SDK installed, you may want to install it.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • You may need to verify your website’s domain to help avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns. Domain verification must be done for the effective top-level domain plus one (eTLD+1). For example, for www.books.jasper.co.uk, books.jasper.co.uk, and jasper.co.uk the eTLD+1 domain is jasper.co.uk. This can help ensure that your domain verification will encompass all variations.
  • Domain verification should be prioritized for domains with pixels used by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. This will enable you to configure pixel conversion events when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available.
If you plan to deliver ads for both web and app conversion events, take all the actions listed above.

 

Ad Creative

You can use your existing ad accounts to advertise to devices on iOS 14. But you will need to create separate iOS 14 app install campaigns due to reporting limitations from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. The following are additional limitations that you will need to consider.

If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • You can only associate your app with a single ad account. However, you can use the same ad account to advertise for multiple apps.
  • Each app is limited to 9 iOS 14 campaigns at once. Each campaign is limited to 5 ad sets of the same optimization type. You cannot vary your optimization choice across ad sets in the same campaign. There is a 72-hour reset period after you turn off or delete one of your 9 permitted iOS 14 campaigns before it will no longer count against your limit. This will help minimize the risk of incorrect campaign optimization and reporting due to the delayed reporting of conversion event data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.
  • Auction is the only available buying option when you create an ad for devices on iOS 14. Reach and Frequency is not available.
  • Once your campaign is published, you cannot turn on or turn off the iOS 14 campaign toggle. You will have to turn off or delete your campaign.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • Your pixel may only optimize for a maximum of 8 conversion events for each domain. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events we believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. All other events will be made inactive for campaign optimization and reporting. You will be able to manage your preferences in Events Manager. When you create your ad set, you will choose only one of the 8 designated conversion events to optimize for.
  • Ad sets that are optimizing for a pixel conversion event that is no longer active, will be paused. In advance of this limitation, consider if changes will need to be made to your campaign or measurement strategy. You may need to consider if you will be required to optimize for upper-funnel objectives. For example, landing page views and link clicks.
You can also refer to an article we published in September, at the launch of iOS 14, on how IDFA may impact advertisers in 2021: https://www.consumeracquisition.com/game-over-ios-14-idfa-loss-drive-layoffs/

 

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What Are Our 2021 Plans?

Media Buying:

  • We now support Facebook, Google UAC, TikTok, Snap, Apple Search Ads.
  • We just launched media buying to test creative we deliver for a flat $5K / month fee. Also, we support up to $50K /month in media managed on Facebook.
  • Late Q1 / Early Q2 we are adding media buying for Applovin, IronSource, Unity Ads, and Vungle networks.
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Creative:

  • We’re generating creative for Facebook, Google AC, TikTok, Snap, Applovin, IronSource, Unity, Vungle, and OTT platforms.
  • Now Offering: ASO Creative Services (AppStore / Google Play): Logo Design, Screenshots (Portrait / Landscape), 0:30 Explainer Videos.
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