In our Skai 5 series, we discuss digital advertising tips, tricks & trends to keep you one step ahead of the consumers, the market trends and your competition. For this portion of the series, we spoke with Elirius’ Toni Liedtke and Max Schöbel to get answers about the new era of data privacy trends one year after the release of iOS14.
A year ago today, April 26, 2021, Apple rolled out its iOS14 release and AppTrackingTransparency which has forever changed the way marketers approach digital advertising.
Since this momentous event, marketers have been scrambling to better understand existing and upcoming consumer data tracking policies to audit their existing processes to ensure they are in compliance with these rules. More importantly, they’re thinking about a “data-less” future and trying to figure out how to keep up business as usual amidst this change.
Agencies have taken on a lot of the leadership in this area for their clients who expect them to have fully-baked, flawless answers for every big industry shift. They meet with a lot of vendors and industry experts to vet solutions on behalf of their clients in order to come up with the perfect plan to address these challenges.
One agency that has a very firm point of view on the era of data privacy is Elirius. Recently we caught up with two of Elirius’ founders to learn more about the German agency, performance marketing, and their approach to mitigating data privacy issues with regard to online advertising.
One year after iOS14: 5 Questions with Elirius
Paid social marketers Toni Liedtke and Max Schöbel founded Elirius along with Google Ads expert Hai Chu in 2020. Visit their website and you will see value statements about the company’s work ethic, straightforward approach, and reach for excellence. The boutique agency’s motto is Elevating Brands like a Phoenix for both themselves and their clients.
Toni Liedtke (left) and Max Schöbel (right)
What does Elirius mean and what are the founding principles of your agency?
Max: Elirius is a combination of the words Elite and Curious. Elite, because we have very high standards of quality and client service. And Curious, because we are always trying new ways to become better every day. I remember how we created that name in Toni’s kitchen like it was just yesterday.
Toni: Our name is an expression of our vision. Elirius was founded with the goal to evolve digital advertising. Because successful advertising does not come from a one-fits-all solution. It comes from the desire to find and try new opportunities. The best ones are selected and enhanced. That’s how we turn average into excellence.
Your agency really leans into Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of its fundamental approach. What’s your point of view on AI in advertising and how it can be used to enhance digital advertising?
Toni: Artificial Intelligence is to advertising what fire was to cavemen. I always like to say that. And this is not just a phrase. AI technology offers benefits most advertisers dream of—and now, the dream has become reality.
With autonomous learning technology, it’s already possible to replace classic neuromarketing and therefore make it accessible to every advertiser. Used correctly, it is possible to find out exactly which advertising media work and precisely why they do so.
A/B testing is a good start, but if A performs much better than B, haven’t you wasted money with B? And are you really covering everything with A and B? With the help of an AI, the possibilities are suddenly endless. The best thing about it is that you can not only find out which advertising medium performed best, but you can also find out why.
But none of this is of any use if the target group is poorly defined. Does an advertiser really know in advance for whom a new product is interesting? Are personas the tool of choice? I don’t think so. But they are a good starting point. For instance, our AI can analyze target groups over the course of a campaign. Through connections to countless data sources, it finds links between people who perform the desired action (e.g., purchase) and those who do not. In this way, the target group is continuously refined and becomes more effective over time.
You can say that static audiences become fluid audiences.
Max: From my point of view, AI is unbelievably powerful in the right hands. Especially combined with the AI solution from Skai.
And our AI, for example, optimizes your ads 24/7 in real-time—even on Christmas. But it also protects our client’s data in data-clean rooms. That means that the platform providers won’t get the client’s data. But the best feature is campaign estimation. We can tell with 96% accuracy how a campaign will perform before we even start. And that’s an amazing feature loved by our clients.
In conclusion, AI Advertising makes many things possible that would not be possible without AI. Advertising efficiency increases and ultimately costs decrease. Both together ensure a higher ROAS.
We are one year removed from iOS14. What was the reaction of your clients then and how has that changed recently?
Max: Most of our clients are concerned about tracking with iOS14. Even though the topic is no longer so present, it is still noticeable today. Yet this concern is based on a great misunderstanding. You can still track with iOS14.
Toni: What’s important to understand here is that only the nature of the data changed. Tracking did not become impossible. From a technical point of view, iOS users can still be tracked. The number of signals has merely been limited. Meta (FB/IG), for example, is limited to 8 conversion events. If you select the limited signals well, you can still generate valuable data and use it for the success of advertising measures.
Also, the breakdown of the generated Conversion data has been removed. So, you can no longer see which attributes such as age group more or fewer events were generated from. However, due to the strong algorithms, you can ensure that the ads will still be delivered optimally and optimized for the appropriate clusters (in this example, age groups).
The problem was uncertainty and many poorly researched articles on the subject. Nobody likes uncertainty. When the changes were implemented, uncertainty quickly turned into certainty.
Through good and intensive consulting, we were able to help our clients prepare themselves ideally for the newly created situation and emerge strengthened from it.
After all, the change affected everyone. Those who prepared themselves early were thus able to gain a slight advantage.
Marketing is increasingly taking place in large walled gardens like Google and Facebook. How does Elirius help its clients prevent data distortions?
Max: We always advise our clients to use their first-party data and help them to get a higher data quality. Some are already very far along, others are still at the beginning. The important thing is that our clients recognize the relevance. One important point is cross-channel tracking. Users very often interact with a brand across multiple channels. For example, a user likes a post on Instagram, then sees an ad on Facebook, and later that evening goes to the website via Google search. However, the purchase doesn’t take place until the next day via the app. It’s important to understand the customer journey.
Toni: If you don’t understand that journey correctly, you distort your own data. If a user had contact on Facebook and Google, the attribution windows may overlap. This means that a purchase that only took place once is displayed on both channels. Within the walled gardens, there is no way to find out if and which overlaps occurred. In this example, the data is already 50% distorted. A single purchase is counted twice. Extrapolate that to your marketing results and you come up with completely inaccurate numbers.
Thus, we recommend that our clients use value-based models in combination with first-party data. It sounds complicated. And often it is. But for those who don’t implement long-term always-on campaigns, Skai’s cross-channel audiences can be used. Together with Skai, we can easily connect the search and social world.
First-party data is gaining importance due to iOS14. What can companies do to counteract the stricter privacy changes for third-party data?
Toni: They need to understand and use their own data. Then, if you combine your first-party data with the wallet-gardens, you can get even better data than before. Visualized in a dashboard, it becomes tangible and you can make data-driven decisions more efficiently and in real-time.
Max: A good way to start is to look at your CRM. What data is available? How can you use it to understand your audiences better? Your CRM should be your foundation. And then there are UTM-Parameters. They allow you to track various information without cookies—no matter what the platform tracks.
Old-fashioned ways like surveys or personal conversations are also methods to understand user behavior better. It is important to know what your target group values. Above all, all channels must be included. The goal should be that companies understand the customer journey of their users. Those who have understood—and use it to their own advantage—can address their target group perfectly.
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