Three alternative advertising tactics to try in 2022 when your paid ads stop working

Jun 22 2022

by Natasha Murphy

So, you’re not making as much money running Facebook and Instagram ads as you did last year. Join the club. This issue is real for the majority of online retailers. According to a study by Databox, more than 40% of SMBs report performance from Facebook advertising either stayed the same or performed worse last year.

Apple’s spring 2021 release of iOS 14 ushered in an important new chapter for digital marketing. iOS 14 shipped with a new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature that severely limits the ability of Facebook and other platforms to track iPhone users’ activity. This new limitation has resulted in less precise ad targeting, smaller audiences, higher acquisition costs, lower-performing ads, and less return. 

What can you do?! One tactic is to invest those precious ad dollars elsewhere. Let iOS14 be an important reminder that Facebook Ads is not the only option available to retailers. See below for three alternative marketing activities:

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Search Engine Optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is an excellent method of getting more qualified organic traffic to your site. There’s a whole science to SEO, and when done correctly, your website will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank in search engines, the more likely someone is to click on the link to your website. Best practice is to strategically rank for the search keywords and key phrases most likely to drive qualified traffic to your website. With there being hundreds of algorithmic signals that can influence search engine rankings, SEO practitioners can target high-value optimizations such as metadata and other on-page optimizations of your website to enhance your site’s appearance in search results.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the process of automatically buying and selling digital ad space Programmatic is a great advertising option because it is efficient, super-targeted, and scalable for businesses of all sizes. It also reduces advertising wastage due to reliable algorithms to drive impressions at scale — this also means less time, fewer impressions, less money wasted on ad fraud. Further, this type of advertising has been largely unaffected by the iOS 14 updates. You have most likely seen Programmatic ads in the wild. Through DSPs, Programmatic marketers bid on various placements like mobile, desktop, tablet, connected TV, and audio (podcasts and streamable audio). To truly drive more outcomes over time — in other words more long-term ROAS — marketers need to build relationships between their brand and their customers. Programmatic can help do that by ensuring that not only is the right message delivered in the right place and time, but it’s also delivered to those who are more likely to buy and more likely to buy more over time.


Last but not least is email and SMS, collectively known as retention marketing or owned marketing. Retention marketing allows you to advertise to people interested in buying from or who have already shopped in your online store. Through a combination of campaigns, automation, and the occasional promotion, you can build a relationship with your customer while educating them about your brand and products. Retention marketing has historically resulted in one of the highest returns on investment, so now is a great time to get started.

It’s been a frustrating past year for online retailers and marketers. Facebook ads have been the preferred paid advertising method for nearly a decade. Now that ad targeting is no longer as effective or profitable due to Apple’s iOS changes, intelligent business owners are considering diversifying their advertising budgets with SEO, programmatic, and retention marketing. Will you do the same, or will you continue to attempt to work around the limitations introduced with the release of iOS 14? Let us know in the comments.

Acadia is a trusted growth platform that delivers results via technology, digital expertise, and analytics to help brands and companies try and out-flank their competition. We have been building Shopify and Shopify Plus sites for 10+ years. We are unique in that we can bring the following expertise to the table:

Our comprehensive services help you think about your total growth needs. Are you interested in learning more? Click the link here and start today.


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