INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: Well, hey, there, friend. Today I have a very special and very timely episode for you. You may have noticed or heard that Facebook, and in turn Instagram, is changing our ability to target some iOS, or Apple users, which presents a little hiccup for entrepreneurs wanting to use their ad platform to attract customers and conversions. And while this does make things a little more challenging, there are ways to navigate the changes to minimize how it disrupts your Facebook ad campaigns. Since I'm not the expert in this area, I've invited my go–to ads gal and student Salome Schillack to share why this challenge is happening, how this challenge impacts online–course creators running ads, and what you have to do now to prepare, also what you may need to do in the future to stay up to date with the changes.
Salome is the CEO, founder, and head Facebook and Instagram strategist of Shine and Succeed, a multi–woman Facebook ads agency. This episode is extra special because it's a training Salome did in my private–membership experience, Momentum. This is my membership for students who have gone through Digital Course Academy and are ready to take their business to the next level. I never share our special trainings for Momentum, so that's why this episode is extra special.
All right. So she has a lot to cover, so we're going to get to it, and know there's going to be some action items you take from this episode, so have a pen and paper ready or a Google Doc handy and get those typing fingers ready.
All right. Let's dive in to learn all about the new update and changes.
SALOME SCHILLACK: We are here today together to talk about how we can navigate this, what has become known as the iOS change, because we want to minimize interruption and disruption to our Facebook campaigns as much as possible, but, also, we want to be informed online marketers. We want to be strategic decision makers who are on top of all of these changes so that we can navigate them before we go into a launch or before we start building our email lists. And what I'm going to cover today, at the end of this training, what you should know is you should have a clear understanding of why this change is happening and where it comes from and why we're making these changes right now. You're going to understand how this change impacts online–course creators and how we build our Facebook ad campaigns and Instagram campaigns and how we approach things like list building, webinars, evergreen webinars, and launching as a whole, as it pertains to Facebook and Instagram ads. You will know what to do to prepare for this change, and you are going to know what you might need to do in the future and things that you should start thinking about in the future to run even better campaigns as a result of this.
So let's begin by looking at why this iOS change is happening, why Facebook is doing this. In 2020 Apple announced that they are going to be proactively asking everyone who uses iOS 14. iOS 14 is the software system that our phones run on if you have an Apple phone. So if you have an iPhone, your phone runs on iOS. So what Apple announced is everybody who uses iPhones are proactively going to be prompted and asked whether they want to opt in to being tracked online.
Now, if you think about that, if a pop up appears on your phone, that says, “Hi, would you like to give the Internet permission to track you online?” you're probably going to say no. So we assume that most people, when that prompt comes up on their iPhones, are going to say, “No, I do not want to be tracked online.” This creates a problem for us as advertisers because we rely on tracking people to run ads. We use what is commonly referred to as cookies, or the Facebook pixel is Facebook's cookie, to track our audiences online because that allows us to show people who are interested in certain topics our content.
For example, if I want to buy a new car, and I have just visited that car maker’s manufacturer’s website, there's a pixel on there that feeds that back to Facebook, and all of a sudden an ad pops up for the exact car that I'm interested in from my local dealer. So that's where tracking is really handy because it allows us to show the Internet what we're interested in, and then we get ads based on that.
It also allows us as online–course creators to be able to track people who took different actions on our own web pages. For example, if someone goes to the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast page on Amy's website, then Amy knows that they are interested in learning online marketing, and she can put a list–building ad in front of them and say, “Hey, come and join my email list, and I'm going to teach you online marketing.” So those cues that we get when people visit specific pages allow us as advertisers to put very specific messaging in front of people in the news feed so that we can offer them a way to build a relationship with us. So they've indicated they're interested in something; now we want to build a relationship with them.
The other entity that relies on this ability to see people and track people is Facebook. Facebook doesn't have eyes and ears. It only sees what the pixel shows it and the information that the pixel feeds back to it. But when the pixel feeds information back to Facebook, the algorithm is then able to optimize. And what that really means is when the algorithm—it’s kind of like if you think of it as a little spider that runs through the Internet, through the interweb spaces, like it runs through all these pages, each time someone takes an action that you have asked Facebook to take—for example, someone opts in to your lead magnet—the algorithm learns, that little spider that was running, it kind of goes, oh, this is what someone looks like who downloads this lead magnet. It learns, it remembers, and then it can go out and find more people like that. So that is how the algorithm, how Facebook, optimizes our ads. That's how it goes, you’ve got one conversion. Oh, I can get two more, I can get five more, I can get twenty more, I can get a hundred more. And that learning process happens when we start a campaign, and it's super important for the algorithm to learn and for Facebook to optimize in order for us to be able to run effective ads.
The other part of this is it also allows Facebook to give us data, and we use that data. We look at our ad managers, and we look at the data that Facebook is giving us, and we go, “Hmm, I can see that lead magnet number one resulted in five sales on my webinar. Lead magnet number two actually only resulted in one sale. So next time I run this campaign, next time I launch this course, I'm just going to run all my ads to lead magnet one.” Because Facebook is able to give us that data, we can make strategic decisions in our businesses.
Now, this doesn't just impact Facebook and Instagram. It impacts everyone who advertises on the entire Internet. It impacts Google, and it impacts Pinterest ads and LinkedIn ads and YouTube ads. It is impacting everyone. And Facebook is just taking a lot of massive action right now to prepare for this.
So how I want you to think of this is if you watch The Avengers movies, you know when the blip happens: when Thanos clicked his fingers, and all of those people disappeared. That is basically what's going to happen to our audiences, and this is the impact that it’s going to have on our audiences.
If you don't watch Avengers, you can think of it as our audiences are going to become like Swiss cheese. It is going to be full of holes, because if we assume that the majority of people who use iPhones are not going to opt in for this tracking, we are literally, like, the bottom is falling out of all of our audiences. That is what's happening. We are turning all of our audiences and all of our knowledge that those pixels feed back to Facebook into Swiss cheese, because it's going to be so full of holes that it's going to be inaccurate, and it's going to just—we're not going to be able to see the way we used to see. So that is why this is happening. And now Facebook is making some changes to accommodate that.
So now you understand why this is happening. Let's talk about how this change is going to impact online–course creators and their ads on Facebook and Instagram. We're all online–course creators. We're all using list–building ads and webinar ads and launch ads. So let's see how this is going to impact us specifically.
The first way that it impacts us is it changes the way that Facebook is able to optimize. So we've just—I've explained to you about how the algorithm runs and it learns, and every time it learns, it gets a little bit smarter; and then it learns a little bit more, and it gets a little bit smarter; and it learns, and it gets a little bit smarter.
Now, imagine for a moment somebody opts in for your lead magnet, but because they have said they don't want to be tracked, that information doesn't get fed back to Facebook. So now the algorithm’s not learning. So now the algorithm can't find more people like that. So now it has to work even harder. And what happens when the algorithm has to work harder? It spends more of your money. And when it spends more of your money, your costs become higher, your cost per conversions become higher, so you end up paying more. And what might happen is you might end up seeing more people coming into your email list than what Facebook is reporting. But the problem with that is—I mean, that's okay if we're seeing the results in our email list. But it's not okay knowing that the algorithm isn't able to optimize, because we want the algorithm to learn as quickly as it can so that it works efficiently with our money, so that we don't waste money on ads, and so that the money we give Facebook actually gets us really good results. So this is a problem for us online–course creators because Facebook will be limited in how it can optimize for us.
The second way this becomes a problem is with targeting. Imagine you have a target audience of people who are interested in something. Maybe someone's interested in flower decorating, and you have an online course that teaches flower decorating. You create an audience of people who are interested in certain things. But now, because people have opted out of tracking, Facebook doesn't know that 80 percent of those people that it used to know about, they’ve just disappeared. They're gone. So we don't know. So now Facebook's kind of going, I don't really know who's interested in flower decorating. I kind of know these few people who did opt in to being tracked. But there's this whole world of people who are interested in flower decorating that we just don't know because we can't see it.
So interest-based tracking becomes a problem, targeting becomes a problem, but, also, if I'm running an ad for a webinar, and I want to set up retargeting for everybody who checked out my webinar landing page but didn't end up signing up for my webinar, then I can't retarget those people, because only some of them will have opted in to being tracked. So now, instead of having—if I have a hundred people who landed on my page and only twenty of them opted in, that leaves eighty people that I used to be able to put an ad in front of to say, “Oy, you haven't registered for my webinar. Come back.” But now they've disappeared because they haven't opted in to tracking.
The third way this impacts course creators and our ads is in the reporting because when Facebook is running blind, it cannot give us numbers. It cannot feed back the numbers to us to help us understand what's really working in our funnels, what's really working in our campaigns, and what's not working. And so we are going to become less reliant on the data Facebook gives us to make smart, informed, strategic marketing decisions, because the numbers that Facebook is able to feed back to us is going to be very, very limited.
The other part of this is Facebook is working on some things in the background that allows us to only track people one layer deep. And what I mean by “one layer deep” is when someone's scrolling on their phone and they've opted out, they will only be tracked for one page that they click to, not multiple pages.
And if you think about that for a—let's think of it as a webinar funnel. You're running list–building ads, and then you're running webinar ads, and then you're running sales ads. It'll only report one of those actions. So somebody who saw your webinar ad and then opted in for your webinar and then attended your webinar and then saw your early-bird bonus ad and then bought your course for your early-bird bonus, Facebook can only report one of those things. It cannot report all of those things. So we got to go, “Well, what's the most important thing here that we want reporting on?” And nine out of ten times it'll be sales, but it could be webinar attendees, or it could be lead magnet. And that kind of depends on where we're at in our business and how we're running our business. So the third way in which this impacts course creator’s ads is in our ability to get accurate reporting from Facebook.
So now you know how this is going to impact your ads on Facebook and Instagram. Let's talk a little bit about what you should do now to prepare your ad account. And this is probably the thing that has had most people a little bit chasing their tails recently, and I'm going to make this as easy as possible for you.
We've got to do three things. Two of the three things we got to do now; the other one I'm going to mention to you because it's coming down the track. Those three things we've got to do is, number one, we've got to verify our domains. Number two, we've got to set up our eight conversion events inside the Events Manager tool. Now if that sounded like a lot of tech jargon, I'm going to explain it to you. Hang in there. Number three is we've got to start moving over to Conversion API. I'm going to explain that to you, too. So these are the three things.
The first two, verifying our domains and setting up our eight conversion events, we're going to do now. We've got to do that now in order to run ads. The third one, Conversion API, is coming down the track.
So let's talk about the first thing. Let's talk about verifying your domain. When you verify your domain with Facebook, before all of this happened, it was an indication to Facebook that you're a legit business owner, because once you verified your domain, they go, yep, you have a real website with a real online presence. We verify you. It's good. You're good to go. Now everybody has to verify their domains because imagine when Apple brings up that pop up and people opt out of being tracked, we got to somehow link your website to your ad account so that at the very least, if we can track them one layer deep, we know your ad account and your website belongs to each other, and Facebook is able to at least track people who click from Facebook to your website.
So just for a reminder, what is a domain? A domain is the thing that is, in my case, it's www.shineandsucceed.com, or it is amyporterfield.com. It is that little thing that you bought from GoDaddy or HostGator when you started your business. That is your domain. So you're going to need to verify that domain.
We are allowed to verify multiple domains. However, we are only able to set up conversion events from one domain. So you can verify your one business and your other business and your other business, and you could even verify any other domains that you don't own. For example, any other software platforms where you build landing pages, you could verify them.
It gets tricky when you build landing pages on multiple, different platforms. So you can verify your domain if you have a WordPress site. So amyporterfield.com can be verified as a domain, or you can verify your Kajabi, Leadpages, ClickFunnels, Kartra, any of those domains that you are able to build landing pages on. But it gets tricky when you have pages that sit on a WordPress website, and you have pages that sit inside one of those third–party landing–page builders.
What you are going to need to do if you use multiple platforms for landing pages is you will need to register a subdomain. A subdomain is something like learn.amyporterfield.com, or courses.amyporterfield.com. And then you need to find out if your third–party service, your third–party software system, allows you to integrate those custom domains or those subdomains with their platforms. That is the only way that you will be able to have a website on WordPress and build landing pages on another software system, because when you—let's pretend for a second that you use Leadpages or Kajabi or ClickFunnels and you have now registered a subdomain. You have registered learn.amyporterfield.com. And inside Facebook you verified amyporterfield.com, and inside your third–party software, you have integrated that with learn.amyporterfield.com. Because the amyporterfield.com part of your domain is verified in Facebook, you will be able to create conversions from both of these places.
So, I want to make this super easy for you all. I created a guide that breaks this down for you step by step and takes you through exactly how to verify your domain. And you can find this guide, if you go to shineandsucceed.com/ios, at that link, you will find a blog post that breaks all of this down that you can read a hundred times over if you need to kind of process the information a little bit. On that blog post, there is a link that you can click to get a guide that takes you step by step through the process of verifying your domain.
So I hope that we all are really clear now on what it means to verify a domain and what we need to do in case we have multiple different software systems.
Now, let's talk about the second part of what we need to do, and that is setting up our eight conversion events inside the Events Manager tool. Let's just recap for a second what I mean when I say “conversion events.” Whenever we run conversion ads, conversion ads or list–building ads or webinar–registration ads or sales ads or any type of ads where we ask someone to give us something in exchange for something and where they're going to land on a thank–you page. So I give you my email address. Once I've given you my email address, I land on a thank–you page, and that is a conversion. I create a custom–conversion, or I set up a standard–conversion event, which tells Facebook, once someone has landed on this thank–you page, a conversion has occurred. There has been a conversion event. And that is how the algorithm knows to optimize, because it goes, you've told me you want more of this event, and now I'm going to go find you more of this event.
When we lose this vision of all of these people on our landing pages, Facebook is now saying they will only limit our accounts—they will limit our accounts to only create eight events. Now, eight events might sound like a lot or it might sound like a little. If you have two lead magnets and you have two online courses and you have an evergreen funnel, you're going to fill up those events pretty quickly. We are limited to only eight, and those eight include standard events, and they include custom events.
A custom event is an event that is specific to one type of conversion. So if I have my lead magnet that I call Five-Day Video Training, I can create a custom conversion just for that lead magnet. That is one conversion event.
I can also, on the thank–you page for that custom conversion, put a lead standard event, which means I'm telling Facebook, when someone downloads my lead magnet, they become a lead. But I can have several lead magnets with a lead event on the thank–you page, and then that is one event that's like an umbrella for all of my lead magnets.
Same goes for sales. I can put a sales standard event on all of my sales thank–you pages, and that becomes an umbrella for any purchase someone makes inside my business.
So there's a place for standard events, because they're like umbrellas, and then there's a place for custom conversions, which is specifically linked to one lead magnet or one sale. And Facebook is saying we're going to have access to eight events, and those eight events can be custom conversions or standard events.
Now, before you choose your eight events, which we're all going to have to do—we have to choose which eight events we want in our business—you have to go in and create that event. So just as you would in any other Facebook ads process of setting it up, you would first go in and create that custom event. And if you want to, you can add a standard event to that custom conversion as well. This is still very normal. This is still what we used to do.
Then, you're going to go into the Events Manager tool inside your Business Manager account, and you are going to choose your eight events, and you are going to rank these eight events in the order of importance for your business that you want to receive data on these events. The reason we do that is that Facebook will be limited to only giving us data on one of these events. So if I have a lead magnet and a webinar and a sale, and I'm paying Facebook to run ads to that funnel, the most important thing for me is I want to know for the money that I put in, how many sales did I actually get? So I will rank “purchase” as my number one conversion, highest–ranking priority conversion.
And then, I might have a specific conversion, my custom conversion, for my online course sale. And then I might have the custom conversion for my webinar opt in, and then I might have a custom conversion for my lead magnet, and then I might have a lead standard conversion, and then I might have page–view standard conversion, because that's the data I least value.
So I hope you guys can see that we have to go in and choose these eight, and we have to rank them in the order of importance of how we value information in our business and data. Of course, to help you set these up, we created a step–by–step click–here, click–there guide that you can find on shineandsucceed.com/ios.
So now you should know the two things, two of the three things that we're going to do, and these are the two that you have to do now.
The third thing that we're going to have to do down the track that we need to start wrapping our heads around is moving to Conversion API. Now, Conversion API is just a fancy way of saying it's a new tool that Facebook is working on that's going to allow us to better track the actions people take on our websites. It is highly technical at this stage. I’ve spoken to so many developers who are the smartest developers I know, and even they're telling me they're not really sure how this is working at this stage. So once we have more information about Conversion API, I will let you guys know what it is, how it works, and what we have to do. At this stage, even when I talk to Facebook, they're not really clear on how we should integrate this and what the implications for this is going to be. But it's coming. I'm just mentioning to you guys so that you know that it is coming, and it's probably going to be a new way that we are going to track things. So for now, just know that you will be notified when there's more.
In the meantime, I want you to go and verify your domain. I want you to choose your eight events that are your highest priority. And if you're just starting out and you just have one event and that one event is your lead magnet because you're only building your email list, you only need to verify that one. You only need to create that one. You don't need to fill the eight. So don't worry if you've only got one or two or three, that's perfectly fine.
In the meantime, I want you to start thinking about how this limited data that we're going to have, the inhibited ability to track people online, and Facebook's limitations on feeding that information back to us is changing how you're thinking about building your business and building your funnels. I think now more than ever list building is becoming critical because we will only be able to see what we're getting for our ads at one level deep, so I can really see that list building needs to be your highest priority. You build your email list. Once they're on your email list, you can do with them whatever you want. You can communicate in any way you want. And then you can sell your courses from there.
Be prepared. Right now, when you go into the Ads Manager, it's glitchy, there's a lot of error messages popping up everywhere, and it takes forty-eight hours for approvals for new custom conversions. So leave plenty of time for you to create these things and to set them up before your ads need to start running.
And finally, just remember, you can go to shineandsucceed.com/ios. There is a blog post there where we break this down in written format so you can read it over and over and over and come back to it if you need to. And there's the link there for you to download the step–by–step guide to verifying your domain and setting up your eight events.
AMY: So there you have it. We covered a lot, but I couldn't ask for a better breakdown of everything that this update involves. Big thank you to Salome for sharing her knowledge and expertise. And just to remind you, be sure to head to shineandsucceed.com/ios to grab the how–to for everything you heard in this episode. And as Salome mentioned, Facebook is always changing and changing fast, so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for any new updates that come along with these changes. But for now, start with the steps that she shared here, like verifying your domain and selecting your eight events in your Events Manager.
Thanks so much for joining us. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.