Updates on How Google and Apple Privacy Initiatives Are Likely to Impact Franchise Lead Generation

UPDATED: How Google and Apple Privacy Initiatives Are Likely to Impact Franchise Lead Generation

September 29, 2021 —  Google issued an updated timeline for their previously announced sunset of third party cookies. Instead of being sunset by 2022, Google will prevent cookies from being collected in the second half of 2022. The reason given was to allow more time for “public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services.” Some commentators noted ironically that the deprecation of these cookies in the name of privacy would likely concentrate control over more of the ad tracking ecosystem at Google.

Cookies are unique identifiers tied to a desktop, phone or tablet browser that track user  behavior across the web and report that data back to the owner of the cookie.  In addition, mobile devices utilize a unique device ID that can track specific behaviors on that device. Apple’s iOS (mobile device operating system) 14.5 released on April 26, 2021, gives users more control over which apps are allowed to track activity across other companies’ apps and websites. These changes, while designed to further consumer data privacy,  will also  have a significant impact on the options available to franchises for reaching and connecting with potential franchisees.

Conclusions:

  • Effectiveness of some popular ad targeting and retargeting options will be challenged. 
  • Providers with ample and proprietary sources of leads are going to become ever more valuable.

Google Chrome Browser to Eliminate 3rd Party Cookies Beginning Mid-2023

In August, almost 65% of users chose the Chrome browser to navigate the internet, with Apple’s Safari (18.75%), Microsoft Edge (3.57%) and Firefox (3.55%) close behind, according to  August 2021 data from Globalstats Statcounter. Safari and Firefox have already released browser versions with no-tracking as the default, so Chrome’s change  will end the wide availability of 3rd party cookies. These changes will have a significant impact on franchise lead generation, and here are a few common techniques used every day by franchises that will fade into the sunset.

  • Retargeting your site users on other sites will be history. It is popular to place Google and Facebook retargeting tags on franchise development sites. This allows running ads on Google or Facebook that will be seen by users who previously visited your content — logically a more targeted individual. Google and Facebook will continue to offer retargeting of users from their own networks (first party cookies), but  the extent to which the elimination of retargeting pixels will impact their own sites is unknown (see Facebook below).
  • Options for targeting individuals by interest will decrease. Dubbed “interest targeting”, Google offers the option to target individuals who have visited specific content types or sites (in addition to your own). This capability will be eliminated with the removal of Google’s third party cookies from 3rd party websites. Again, Google  will still, however, be able to offer targeting of behaviours from its own properties (e.g. someone who has searched on a franchise-related keyword or viewed a YouTube franchise video). 
  • Similarly, popular Facebook targeting options by “sites visited” or content viewed off Facebook will be eliminated where third party cookies are required, though as with Google, targeting options from data collection from Facebook’s own properties will remain. 

Apple Prompts Users to Make Tracking Choices When Opening Apps

App analytics provider Appsflyer reports app opt-in rates (to allow tracking) on the order of 39%, which suggests a more than 60% reduction in targeting data from apps flowing to the ad targeting ecosystem.

  • User behavior (e.g. researching franchises) will be significantly less available to third party sites like Facebook and Google for retargeting. Similar to websites, millions of apps collect and share user data (without identifying the user identity) as part of the ad targeting ecosystem, of which Google and Facebook are key beneficiaries, along with advertisers trying to reach specific interests. Examples would include apps visited and searches made. Google and Facebook will have to rely on data they collect themselves.
  • Targeting data like demographics, geography, and financial wherewithal will no longer flow to Google and Facebook from other sites to aid in targeting. Gathering user data like this has enabled the targeting capabilities of Google and Facebook to yield higher return on investment.  Facebook’s VP of Product Marketing, Graham Mudd disclosed in a September 22, 2021 blog post that “in aggregate we are underreporting iOS web conversions by approximately 15%”, though individual advertiser experiences may be higher or lower.

The upshot of all these changes is that first party data — that franchisors and suppliers gather on their own sites — will become significantly more valuable for targeting. Further, when lead generation portals provide contact information of persons requesting more information, that becomes “first party” data to the franchise client when contact is established. Optimizing the nurturing of those inquiries — through phone, text and drip email marketing channels — will continue to be critical skills in franchise development.

FranchiseVentures is the leading demand– and lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include Franchise.com, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, SmallBusinessStartup.com and BusinessBroker.net, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.

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Published on Wednesday, September 29th, 2021.

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