How SMS Marketing Can Drive Customer Connection During the Third-Party Cookie Collapse
As a small business leader, you know better than anyone that strategy shifts in Silicon Valley can lead to a major impact on your bottom line. Marketers have already dealt with weathering frustrations as small changes to algorithms rewire search results and social media feeds overnight, necessitating quick pivots to make sure your brand gets seen.
Now, another major shift is coming as tech titans like Google and Apple do away with third-party cookies.
Third-party cookies are embedded in a user’s browser, allowing targeted ads to be served as they browse the internet, based on past behavior and interests. Over the last decade, third-party cookies have been scrutinized due to the potential infringement that they may make on user privacy. And now, Apple and Google have ended third-party cookie tracking. This means that businesses large and small will need to find more creative ways to connect to (and learn about) their customers.
Enter text marketing, which offers a direct connection to your customers — no third party required — and allows you to segment your customers according to their interests and purchases, so you can directly target the people most likely to connect to your message.
Here, what to know about third-party cookie limitations and why a smart SMS marketing strategy can be superior to past third-party cookie reliance.
What Does the iOS 15 Update Mean for Ecommerce?
As Apple becomes more privacy-centric, it’s more imperative than ever that ecommerce retailers and small businesses retain and collect data from users themselves. One major shift is Apple’s “Hide My Email” feature, which allows users to create a randomized email that is then forwarded to a personal account. Brands are able to then email users without seeing their email address, making it impossible for advertisers to sell email lists. This makes it more important than ever for brands to entice users to share their personal info directly with them.
This means standing out from the crowd and offering value to your customers in exchange for their information. Offering discounts for sign-ups, mobile loyalty programs, and surveys are all ways to encourage customers to share information. As your database grows, your marketing team can feel empowered to create campaigns that truly speak to your customers.
What the iOS 15 Update Means for the Future of Facebook & Social Media Advertising
The iOS 15 update also has profound implications for the future of Facebook and social media advertising. The update limits ad targeting on social media, making it harder for your target customer to see your ads. This comes on the heels of an Instagram algorithm change, which has anecdotally made it even tougher for organic posts by brands to be seen by customers.
While Facebook may provide an opt-in option for people to see targeted, relevant ads in the future, for now, this means that brands may have to work harder to develop an in-house database in order to find their people.
How Small Businesses Can Adapt to Cookie-Ban Changes
Small businesses aren’t without options for managing the iOS changes. These include:
- Paid Social Campaigns — Paid social campaigns can still get in front of the customers you want, allowing you to target your ads to reach your desired audience. But paid social campaigns can be expensive, and it can still be an upward climb to grow your own database from a paid social campaign without further on-site enticement to encourage people to share information with you.
- Paid Search — Paid search allows you to advertise within sponsored listings on a search engine results page.
- Email Campaigns — Apple’s new “Hide My Email” feature means you may not have access to your customer’s email addresses in the way you once did, but a compelling email campaign can encourage people to share their info with you.
- Direct Mailers — An old-fashioned way to get in front of your customers, especially if you’re a local business looking for foot traffic, but direct mail can be expensive, and results may not necessarily match the expense put in.
- SMS Marketing — A powerful communication channel on its own, SMS marketing also acts as an additive to all the above campaigns. Only SMS allows you and your business to directly engage and connect with your customers with the convenience and ease you both crave. Offer your best coupons, discounts, loyalty exclusives, and more, to remind your customers that you’re offering real value in return for their engagement.
How SMS Marketing Can Help You Grow First-Party Data
It’s true: The death of third-party cookies means that small businesses may need to quickly pivot. But there is a bright side. Owning a channel and strategy from which you can grow your own database allows you to control both your data and your connection to your customers, making you that much stronger the next time algorithmic shifts strike.
SMS marketing not only allows you to build your own robust database, it also gives you the ability to segment users for targeted messaging.
Here, other benefits of SMS marketing:
- First-Party Data — In marketing, being able to grow and command your database gives you the upperhand, allowing you to fully control your messaging. Because data is more valuable than ever, using SMS as a growth engine — offering premium loyalty programs and your best discounts — is a valuable strategy that pays off over time.
- Direct Communication — When you own your database, you control who sees your messages and when they see them. You can segment your list so that you can reach out to frequent shoppers, local shoppers, or any other category that makes sense.
- Unmatched Open Rates — Unlike email, which can languish, unread, in inboxes, SMS boasts an impressive 98% open rate, with many consumers checking their phones for new messages up to 5x an hour.
- A Preferred Connection — 70% of consumers want to hear from businesses via text. As more people increasingly live more of their lives on their phones, text is becoming a default strategy to seamlessly move down the funnel toward a sale or conversion.
- Compliments Email & Social — While 86% of businesses report that texting offers higher engagement than email, SMS can also help to improve the open and click-through rates for other channels. For example, a simple follow-up reminder text sent after a big email can raise open rates by 30%. Use SMS in conjunction with other channels to create a 360-degree holistic marketing campaign that reaches customers across the funnel.
- Compliance & safeSTOP — An SMS provider like EZTexting has multiple compliance features, including simplified opt-outs and automated disclosure, to limit compliance risk and ensure that the customers on your list are those who want to hear from you.
Change is constant in the marketing world, but one thing stays the same: A large database filled with customers who depend and rely on you is worth its weight in gold, no matter how the winds of change may blow in Silicon Valley. Adopting a robust SMS marketing strategy can not only help you make sales today, but can safeguard your customer information for years to come in the future.