Digital Advertising: Unlocking the Potential of Apple iOS 17 With Helga Alvarez and Wesley Hartley (episode 164)

by April Buencamino-dy

Helga Alvarez is the CTO, and Wesley Hartley is Chief Revenue Officer at Leaf. They (and the rest of the Leaf team) are specialists in driving superior digital performance for DTC brands from ad click to purchase.

Helga Alvarez & Wesley Hartley Leaf Digital Advertising

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Getting Into eCommerce

Wesley’s journey into digital advertising began with the founding of Leaf, a music app, about eight or nine years ago. Along with Gilbert and Helga, who were building the app at the time Wes met them, they approached digital marketing as a software engineering challenge. They used scripts to test various audiences and creative combinations at scale, optimizing their cost of acquisition and gaining millions of monthly active users.

As the music industry proved challenging, they shifted their focus to working with brands like Footasylum and GoCompare, eventually morphing into an agency for eCommerce brands.

What is iOS 17?

Helga explains that iOS 17 represents the second wave of privacy changes similar to those introduced with iOS 14.

The update involves changes in link sharing, where parameters from the link could be removed. This makes it more challenging to track user journeys across multiple interactions on eCommerce platforms. Apple’s anti-tracking system, known as Linking Tracking Protection, aims to remove some tracking parameters. However, the good news is that these changes will only apply to Safari private browsing, Messages, and Apple’s native Mail app.

The Impact of iOS 17

Wesley mentions that iOS 17 changes are part of a broader trend of chipping away at data that can be used for tracking users and emphasizes the importance of understanding user events on websites rather than tracking users across multiple sites.

He also advises against trying to circumvent the new changes and recommends that performance marketers focus on knowing their customers, understanding their data, and measuring the effects of their budget allocation.

For Wesley, marketers now need to be more technical and data-driven to optimize creative performance and make smarter decisions for campaign success.

How Marketers Should Handle iOS 17

Helga and Wes advise against panicking and trying to avoid the changes brought by iOS 17. Instead, they stress the importance of adapting to the new landscape by focusing on data management, signal processing, and understanding customer behavior.

It’s also important to feed the algorithm. Marketers need to create ads that clearly resonate with their target audience and encourage self-selection. By making the ad’s target audience clear and self-selecting, advertisers can work more effectively with algorithms and improve ad performance in the context of iOS 17 changes.

Lastly, everyone just needs to be better marketers, focusing on creative, budget allocation, and data tracking and management to navigate the evolving advertising landscape.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with digital advertising – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Helga says to stay curious and keep up with the changes happening in the industry.

Related to this, Wesley’s advice is to keep asking questions and learn the basics.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve digital advertising performance?

Helga’s tip is to keep up with the latest trends, while Wesley suggests getting a specialist to help you track your conversions and other relevant data.

If someone listening wants to learn more about digital advertising is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Helga says AI tools can help you, and there are free versions and ones that are under $50. Wesley recommends talking to experts and asking questions for more learning.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in digital advertising?

More changes are coming, especially when it comes to privacy, so Helga’s advice is to be resilient and work with what you have.

Because ad platforms are taking control of targeting, Wesley’s tip is to accept this shift and concentrate on what you can control within your campaigns.

Interview Links

Helga & Wesley on Social media:

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