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How to adapt your marketing strategy to Apple’s tracking changes

By Jocelyn Toonders, Head of partnerships

Mention Me


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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May 5, 2021 | 5 min read

After almost a year of anticipation, last week Apple implemented its advertising tracking changes. Going forward, all businesses must request user permission to access their unique identifier for advertisers (IDFA).


With 80% of users expected to withhold this permission, that presents a challenge for marketers. No permission means no way to learn about shoppers and serve targeted ads via Facebook and other social media platforms. Brands relying on these as their acquisition strategy suddenly face falling returns.

To overcome this and continue reaching target customers, marketers must adapt – fast.

How marketers can adapt to iOS 14.5

Instead of relying on paid social, marketers should focus on diversifying their marketing strategy across channels that drive customer engagement and create long-term relationships. In the short-term, this will help to recover falling customer acquisition numbers. In the long-term, it will put your customers back at the centre of your marketing strategy.

While the paid media space will remain vital, there’s going to be an adjustment phase. As our agency partner Nest Commerce explains: “iOS 14 will change the landscape of paid social, but not extinguish it as a powerful channel.

“Brands that will feel the impact are those that haven’t optimized their approach to paid social. Those that have the capability to adapt and test new approaches after the ATT prompt and interpret the data to determine how to optimize their performance will come out the winners. Any potential drop-off from brands pulling back from the channel would actually make the opportunity even greater for the remaining advertisers as the space becomes less competitive.”

With media costs rising, digital teams will need to work hard to implement a sophisticated set-up and strategy to drive their desired results from social media platforms. Brands with strong client bases and higher customer lifetime value will be able to afford higher costs-per-acquisition (CPA) and ride the high levels of Facebook CPMs that lie ahead in 2021 and beyond.

Alongside immediate updates to the tactical side of their paid campaigns, marketers should consider how they build engagement and advocacy with their customers. These relationships will provide the foundations for long-term revenue and growth.

Content marketing, for example, can help to plug immediate gaps. Your business website, social media and media activity are now key touchpoints for addressing customer pain points directly. Overseeing marketing content that is consistent, fits your target customers’ profile and can be served in the right places is a great starting point.

Building brand trust

In an ideal world, your customers would immediately opt in to your marketing activity. But most businesses can’t count on that. Instead, they should focus on building relationships rooted in real brand values. Building up this brand affinity – through means such as showing consistent messaging and showcasing brand values throughout the customer journey – will nurture the brand loyalty and trust that converts into long-term revenue.

Your existing customers also offer a powerful channel for acquiring new customers. 51% trust a friend’s recommendation more than any other advertising. By turning customers into advocates, referral programmes drive significant new customer acquisition and revenue. The customers acquired via referral are also likely to have high lifetime value and five times more likely to refer themselves, continuing the cycle of growth.

On the flip side, brands without a referral programme have no way to track – and more importantly, reward – the loyal customers actively recommending them to others.

Seizing the opportunities of iOS 14.5

Since Apple first announced these changes, the industry has nervously waited for soaring costs and plummeting conversion rates. While these worries are valid, this latest development also offers the opportunity to refresh your marketing strategy.

Paid advertising was only ever meant to be one piece of the customer acquisition and engagement strategy. In a marketing landscape already feeling the impact of changing consumer spending and shopping habits, now is the time to incorporate other tools and channels.

Change is often unsettling, but iOS 14.5 is an opportunity to put customers back at the heart of your marketing strategy. Brands that seize it can look forward to higher customer engagement and acquisition that drives greater, more sustainable ROI.

Jocelyn Toonders, head of partnerships at Mention Me.


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