Apple iOS14 + Recent Facebook and Instagram Updates: What They Mean to Your Hotel Marketing Strategy
So, it happened! The Apple iOS14 update has been released, and the world didn’t collapse around us (yet! 😊).
This blog will briefly cover what the Apple update is and how it affects the way we can collect data from our website visitors. It will also go on to detail the new changes to Facebook and Instagram and how you can leverage those to get in front of more target customers online. And towards the end there is a bonus list of 9 content creation tips to maximise your presence on social, so let's get going!
First of all, I am an Android user. In fact, I might actually be an alien because there is nothing made by Apple in my house at all.
So, my first question when I heard about the Apple iOS14 update was… if the update only affects iPhone users, how many are there out there in the world?
Here are some relevant stats:
Currently, there are around 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world.
Google Android and Apple iOS combined form 99% of the global market share.
Android is the most popular mobile operating system in 2021.
Android users versus iOS users are respectively 75% and 25% of all smartphone users. ¹
However, this data does vary according to where you are, and how this will affect your marketing strategy also depends on where your target market is of course. So, let’s take a closer look at that.
In the UK and the US, uptake of both is approximately 50/50.
In South America users total 89% Android versus 11% iOS.
In South Africa the figures are 85% Android users versus 15% iOS.
Here in Austria 65% choose Android while 35% opt for iOS.
A whopping 80% of Chinese users prefer Android phones.
Here is a great tool to check on your region. Scroll down and click on View All Regions.
Remember, even if you are located in a region where Android users far outweigh iOS users, carry on reading to find out more about the new changes to Instagram and Facebook so that you can strengthen your already awesome online presence.
So, with some info about Android versus iPhone users out of the way, on to some burning questions:
What exactly is the Apple iOS14 update?
Essentially it asks users if they want to protect their activity on the internet. If the user clicks on yes, then any Cookies that used to track behaviour, interests, like and activity will simply not function.
What does it mean for my business?
It means that your website analytics will not return information on anyone who visits your site using an iPhone, and also that Facebook and Instagram will no longer be able to predict which posts and sponsored content is the most relevant to you based on that activity from third-party websites.
What happens if a user decides to "Ask App Not to Track"?
Users will then no longer be presented with ads that are relevant to them based on their activity on third party apps and websites. What that user does within the Facebook and Instagram apps will continue to be tracked as that is known as First-Party Tracking, and it continues to be allowed. It is their activity outside of those apps that will no longer be monitored.
Will all iOS users choose the "Ask App Not to Track" option?
Not everyone will of course. Some people prefer to be presented with content that is relevant to them all of the time. However, stats from the United States show that, to date, only 4% choose to Allow Tracking within the US, while the figure is 12% globally. ² Does the iOS update affect my email marketing?
Yes and no. It means that the importance of email open rates as a metric to measure the success of an email campaign will no longer be as relevant. What is unaffected and remains of extremely high relevance are click through rates.
If someone who receives one of your email campaigns resonates with the content, they will be motivated to click through to a link within your email, and this will continue to be tracked as before.
I have always used click through rates as a healthy way to measure how effective my content is. It allows me to create more of the stuff that resonates, and less of the stuff that doesn’t. It allows me to keep my email list tight and tidy, filled with people like you who find value in what I write. My intention is to help you run your small business more effectively and to demystify the seemingly overwhelming marketing options that are available to you. I also want to give you a dose of inspiration when you most need it, and to let you know that you are not out there alone. If you don’t want that kind of information, then I am happy for you to unsubscribe.
You can apply similar thinking to your email marketing content. If someone is interested in hearing from you, then they will click to find out more from within your emails.
In summary, what is not affected by the iOS update, is the continued importance of creating and putting high quality content out there that is relevant to, and engaging for, your target audiences.
In that sense, nothing has changed.
To learn more about how to create valuable content, take a look at this short course that gives you all the tools and tips to get started.
Let’s take a look now at the recent changes to Instagram.
#1. "Tap" feature to replace "swipe up"
The “swipe up” feature on Stories is being phased out. Now, this is something that is currently only available for accounts with more than 10,000 followers, so you might think this is not relevant to you. However, what is going to replace it definitely is of interest.
A “tap feature” is being tested because Instagram has deemed that to be more congruent with how users actually – physically – use the app. Apparently, we tap more than we swipe!
The new feature will allow users to tap on a story to be taken to an external URL. While it has not yet been released, rumour has it that when it is phased in, it might be available for accounts with less than 10.000 followers.
#2. New “Shop Tab” for small businesses
This is awesome news for hotels! You will be able to display ads on the new Shop Tab which can be made up of a single image or a carousel. When the user clicks on one of these ads, they will be directed straight to your page and product.
In partnership with Shopify, Instagram enables any hotel to develop seamless checkout experiences. Set up is a six-part process allowing you to transform your hotel business profile into a direct booking funnel while avoiding that the user has to leave the app platform.
Here are the instructions for set up:
Check if you are approved for Instagram shopping here
Go to your Instagram Business Profile and tap "Edit Profile"
Under Public Business Information, tap "Contact Options"
Tap the "Add Action" button
Choose the action button you want to add and tap "Next"
Enter the hotel website booking page URL and tap "Done"
Not too many hotels are taking advantage of this feature to date, so get in first and stand out from our crowded timelines!
#3. The Wishlist feature
Users will soon be able to add items (or hotel nights!) to a wishlist that they will then be able to share with friends.
#4. Changes to the search feature
Instagram is also rolling out a change to their search feature.
In the past, Insta relied heavily on hashtags to return results. Now they focus on the following three indicators for showing posts:
a) the text the user enters into the search bar,
b) the past activity of the user (what they have interacted with in the past), and
c) internal popularity signals.
Don’t forget that the Apple iOS update does not affect point b, because activity tracking for first party apps continues to be allowed. This means what you do on Instagram stays on Instagram so to speak…. though for sure, it will be shared with Facebook.
As for point c, to a certain extent you cannot control how Instagram classifies your “popularity”, but you can most definitely influence it by posting regularly and engaging with your community. Instagram is looking for those posts that gain the most traction.
#5. New recommendations for hashtags
Once upon a time, marketers preached that 30 hashtags is what gets the algorithm excited. Now, the best practice advice is to use between 8 and 15 hashtags, and that 3 to 5 of them should be repetitive. By that I mean, they should be related to your niche and your target audience. For example: #familyhotel #travellingwithkids, or #venicehotel #romanticgetaway
Also, the hashtags should go into the text itself, as they will no longer be picked up by the algorithm if they are in the comments.
See this quote from Adam Mosseri, Instagram's CEO:
So, that's Instagram done.
Now let’s take a look at the following new tools that Facebook is planning on releasing over the coming months.
#1. Campaign Idea Generator
This feature is designed to inspire you with resources, premade assets, industry insights and campaign ideas.
In the official announcement about the new tool, Facebook said that they “heard that businesses like yours are looking for guidance on how to develop content for new campaigns, so we built a dynamic tool that could help”.
Even if you don't use Facebook ads, the tool is incredibly useful for trying and testing new arrangements and setups that you know are already optimised for both Facebook and Instagram.
#2. Badges for small businesses
This is a new feature that is currently being rolled out. It might take some time to reach where you are but keep an eye out for it.
“Small business” badges will become available for businesses that meet the criteria and will be added to your ads and posts once the verification process is complete.
This is a great way to appeal to those consumers who are compassionate about supporting small and local businesses.
#3. Reaching more than just your followers
Admittedly this new feature is hard for you to control because it ticks along in the background and is dependent on Facebook's complex algorithm. However, the fact that it exists is great for all businesses. The idea is that your page or post could get suggested to a new user if other people they are connected to have previously interacted with that page or post.
#4. Reaching consumers near your business in real-time
If someone is physically close to your location when they search for a service that you offer (and they have their location settings activated), then they will see suggestions based on where they are. This is to be boosted by the fact that Facebook will promote those pages in that localised area that other people are interacting and engaging with the most.
#5. Reels are to be added to Facebook
In the growing battle with TikTok, Reels are coming to Facebook. Starting with a rollout in the United States, Facebook announced in September 2021 that they will begin testing the Facebook Reels feature, which will give users the ability to create and share short-form video content directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups.
So, that is all exciting stuff, but there is one question that I get asked, a LOT!
What are the main ranking signals for Facebook Business Pages?
Without going into too much detail, here is a short list of essential signals that Facebook detects and analyses to consider how to rank your Business page:
Length of time the page has been available
% of followers engaging with posts
Consistency of posts posted to page
How active the page admin(s) engage with their community
Amount of time spent on Stories
Ultimately, the main theme running through this blog is that in order to encourage engagement, you simply must create content worth sharing.
Before we close, here are 9 quick content creation tips to get you inspired:
#1. Before you post, ask yourself “Is this worth sharing?"
#2. Produce quality video content that is longer than 3 minutes long
#3. Mix up your content between video and great quality images
#4. If you choose to post a text only post, then pep it up with emojis
#5. Know when to post. Use the insights tool in your Business page dashboard and post when your followers are the most engaged
#6. Ask your followers to click on the “Favourites” button so that you show up higher in their feeds
#7. Build interaction by asking people to share and tag. You can even get family and friends to do this to boost your page at first at it will have an immediate impact on your ranking signals. Just make sure people you know do it with caution
#8. Timely engagement. Respond as soon as possible where possible. Ideally within 24 hours maximum. Remember that FB dangles the carrot (i.e. your post) in front of a handful of people they believe will resonate with it. If nothing happens, they will stop showing it to people. If people interact and engage with it, Facebook will show it to more and more people increasing your reach exponentially
#9. Leverage FB and Instagram ads. There is an argument that spending just US$ 1 a day on ads means that FB sees that you are engaging more, and that will increase your organic reach
In summary, for those in countries where iOS users are higher, these updates mean that you will no longer be able to rely on organic reach alone to attract new customers or engage with existing customers. This is however nothing radically new. Over the last few years, organic reach has been dropping and according to these 2021 stats, is now around 6.1%. ³ Many marketers would even say that that figure is on the high side.
The hype around the iOS14 update has increased awareness of a golden marketing strategy that is actually nothing new but is simply not leveraged enough.
What is that golden marketing strategy?
A customer-centric content creation strategy that aims to provide consistent, valuable, and engaging information for your target audiences in a range of formats and across a range of channels.
For more information, click here to find more details about The Ultimate Content Creation Course created specifically for hotels, lodges, b&bs and hostels.
Have any questions?
Send me a mail here at email@example.com. I make time to respond to every mail I receive.
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