A Personalized Future, with Mike Barclay of MoEngage

Personalization in marketing is nothing new; since the dawn of the internet, brands have been able to customize messaging to specific groups or even individuals. However, we haven’t always used this engagement superpower for good. Many brands have been guilty of getting a little too personal and creeping out their customers in the process. But today’s guest says there’s a bright future for personalization as a cornerstone to modern marketing. Mike Barclay of MoEngage joined the pod to discuss the highs and lows of personalization, and what brands born before the dawn of the internet can do to get in on the personalization game.

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QR Codes: Are they Back for Real This Time?

QR Codes are an extension of the barcode, and were first introduced as a way for manufacturers to scan larger amounts of data quickly. By 2011, retailers and tradeshows were able to take advantage of smartphone technology to utilize QR codes in their inventories, badging, and check-ins — and slowly there emerged consumer usage in the form of online offers.
The process, however, was clunky and involved third-party app software to get QR Codes to work. Fast forward to 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic raged, and the need for contactless interaction became paramount. It was during this time that QR Code technology could now exist on everything from packaging to OOH signage, and with a simple hover of a smartphone’s camera send consumers to microsites, check-in pages, and offers.
This has allowed marketers to take advantage of QR Codes in ways previously unthought of; however, like most technologies, there are privacy and safety issues to be aware of — and the current speed and ease of QR Code usage means large untapped potential for marketers in the future as well. Read on to see how marketers are using them and addressing issues with QR Codes.

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Pulse Issue 26

iOS 14: Friend or Foe? Breaking Down the Effects of Apple’s New Privacy Policies

February 2021

By Josch Chodakowsky, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation at Ask the Expert
By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
There’s more uproar in the data privacy world: Apple has announced that with their newest update to iOS 14, the previously optional Limit Ad Tracking function (LAT) will now be on as a default. This will force all apps and app developers to ask permission to use a user’s data or track their movement, and they’ll need to opt-in to sharing a unique device code, or the ID for Advertisers (IDFA). As Apple has said on their official iOS 14 info page: “Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.”
Advertisers use the IDFA to target audiences and measure effectiveness. Just like with the cookie’s demise (as we’ve discussed here), the potential for the IDFA to be limited or disappear completely will hinder the reach and understanding advertisers have over their campaigns. Marketers will not only need to survive without cookies in their diet, but they’ll also need to find new—or in many cases, old—ways to gather audience data to aid in their targeting efforts. It may be best summed up in Apple CEO Tim Cook’s remarks on International Privacy day: "Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it, and we're here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom. If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.” The resources collected here discuss a post-IDFA world and what marketers can do to adapt without it.
Apple’s iOS 14 will give users the choice to block the IDFA identifier at the app level. Among other changes, what this means is that the update will require apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data. Here Tinuiti covers everything advertisers need to know about the iOS 14 update including recommendations for next steps. This includes the advice that “first-party data is king… start the process of creating a usable identity graph of customers and prospects with an email address and/or phone numbers as your primary key to ensure your organization can continue to market on a 1 to 1 level across ad products.”
According to a late 2020 survey from Advertiser Perceptions, 60 percent of advertisers have yet to even begin formulating any strategy for adjusting to Apple's IDFA changes. Among those who have begun developing alternative strategies, two-thirds plan to either kill or reduce their budgets explicitly targeting iOS users, though 12 percent actually plan to boost their iOS budges, presumably to offset the greater inefficiency in targeting those users. The most important part of the big advertisers’ response to Apple's moves is it implies that they don't see the changes like the kind of existential threat Facebook has been suggesting in its advertising and lobbying campaign attacking Apple. And the biggest beneficiary of these changes will be good, old-fashioned methods of targeting—especially contextual ones that utilize the media and content that attracts consumers—as a proxy for their identities.
Under Apple’s new Limit Ad Tracking system, targeted Facebook ads won’t be possible unless the user grants explicit permission. This is a huge change and could significantly reduce how many people get to see your Facebook Ads, and the reason is simple: the onus for allowing tracking cookies will shift entirely onto the shoulders of users. You’ll still be able to run Facebook Ads, but the extent to which they’re seen might be limited. More importantly, your ability to accurately track conversions will reduce, and you won’t be able to include users who opt-out in Custom Audiences. It’s not great news, to be honest, but it does highlight a wider point: now, more than ever, you need to take control of the data you own.
Increased privacy controls in the latest iOS release will dramatically restrict ad platforms’ abilities to track users of Apple products across apps and mobile web. Facebook has reacted by limiting its attribution windows and the type of data available for advertisers to target customers across all devices. For many marketers, these changes are exposing a deeper flaw in their measurement and attribution: a dependency on ad platforms to measure their own performance. With the new limitations to user-level data access for Facebook (and for other ad platforms to follow), there has never been a better time for brands to take control of their first-party data and independent measurement of the effectiveness of their marketing spend. In this article, the CEO at Fospha Marketing, Sam Carter, breaks down what’s happening with iOS 14, the impact for marketers, and how businesses can prepare for the fallout.
While Facebook’s protest over Apple’s iOS 14’s IFA changes is undoubtedly designed to generate a backlash among the app developer community, the move points at three broader trends:
  • The first is Facebook’s role in the advertising ecosystem. Privacy campaigners – and many users themselves – will likely cheer a reduction in the social network’s ability to stalk users around the internet, and sympathy for any reduction in ad revenues will likely be in short supply. As a result, it has positioned itself as a champion of the ‘little guy,’ i.e. app developers who need the ad revenue to make ends meet.
  • Secondly, at a time when regulators and campaigners are pushing towards a system of privacy and consent ‘by design’ in data collection, marketers may be concerned that Facebook has such little faith in the likelihood of users opting in to such arrangements.
  • Finally, as the walls of the open web crumble, and the cookie fades from view, this spat hints at the greater complexity to come. The system that enabled advertisers to track consumers across the web, and deliver what they considered to be relevant messages at the optimal moment, is coming to a close. In its place will be a messy assortment of deals, counter-deals, and compromises – and perhaps, ultimately, the decline of digital ad personalization itself.
Are you an ANA member with a research request? Contact Ask the Expert to submit your question.

About ANA Marketing Futures

Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.


ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.


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