Welcome to Part 2 of our NEW series on Traffic in 2021… you can catch up on Part 1 right here.
If you asked people, what is the biggest thing that happened in terms of paid traffic in 2021, most people would probably say, the iOS update and Facebook.
The iOS updates started rolling out in March of 2021, and most advertisers were impacted by June of 2021.
Basically, Apple restricted access to some of the data for people using Apple devices.
Now, Facebook is working around it – and while it’s not the same as it was, you still have access to quite a bit of data.
But here’s the thing:
The iOS update WAS one of the biggest things to happen in terms of traffic, but not for the reasons you might think.
See, anytime there’s an “apocalypse” on any of the platforms, often the biggest impacts aren’t from the update itself, but from people REACTING to the update (or overreacting).
And today I want to share 3 examples of a proactive vs. reactive strategy when it comes to traffic, based on some of the updates that have happened on the “Big 3” platforms recently, so that you can see concrete examples of what’s changed, and be up-to-the-minute on how to navigate these changes and stay on top.
Facebook iOS 2021 Updates
When the iOS updates rolled out, you heard a lot of “end of the world” talk. And yes, the updates did impact a lot of people, and we’re still learning how to work around them.
But if you have a solid, proactive traffic strategy in place, then you can actually make the “apocalypse” work in your favor.
When the updates rolled out we saw an increase in our cost per click on some of our keywords…and then a decrease of 60% on some of our other keywords – because people got freaked out and stopped advertising.
So we were actually able to get cheaper traffic as a result of the updates – and weather the storm because we have a solid strategy in place, while other advertisers see what’s happening with the algorithm and react in a way that can backfire.
Now, one thing that the iOS updates have reinforced is the importance of diversifying your traffic. Not only are you leaning into the “hub and spoke” content strategy that we mentioned in Part 1, but you’re also able to weather the storms of the rapidly changing traffic world.
Youtube Updates Monetization Strategy
In April 2021, Youtube expanded its advertising guidelines to allow more types of content to be fully monetized.2
They expanded their color-coding system so that people can allow ads on their content even if it’s more “controversial” or adult content.
This immediately expanded the amount of places that you can buy ads for, increasing supply and lowering the cost per click for Youtube ads.
Now, with every update like this, it takes a while for the dust to settle as people readjust their strategy and their budget.
Again, if you have a solid traffic strategy built across multiple platforms, these kinds of updates will have less of a negative impact, and can even present an opportunity for you to take advantage of.
Google Gets Fuzzy With the Data
In February 2021, Google rolled out “Simplified Match Types.”
Previously, when you ran a keyword report in Google Analytics, you’d get all the different deviations of a specific search query.
Now, with this update, Google has consolidated those results.
For example, the phrase “moving services NYC to Boston” will also show results for phrases like “affordable moving services NYC to Boston” or “NYC corporate moving services to Boston” (which originally has only been shown under broad match modifier keywords). However, Google won’t show results where the direction is reversed, e.g., “Boston to NYC.”3
So, in addition to simplifying the results using their primary keywords, the algorithm is also stepping up to give you data on INTENT.
The purpose behind this update is to lean more on the algorithm to determine buying intent and give you better results.
So instead of you having to do the work to figure out where someone is in the buying cycle, now it’s automatic, and the algorithm will do the heavy lifting for you.
Now, if you’re an experienced advertiser who is running hundreds of campaigns and spending thousands of dollars, you might be frustrated by this data being limited and not being able to see all your keywords.
But if you’re an inexperienced advertiser, this is great! This makes it easier, especially if you’re getting started, to use Google discovery and other tools to get your message and your product in front of an audience faster.
What you had to do 20 years ago to try to get results on Google, it is so much easier now, if you have a solid, proactive strategy.
Being proactive is the name of the game
Now, what’s funny about all of these updates is that, for all of the “doom and gloom” talk, if you look back 20 years, we didn’t have access to ANY of that data to begin with!
And yet people still ran ads profitably, without the benefit of all of the data and algorithms that we have access to today.
What makes the difference is knowing that there’s ALWAYS going to be a new update, a new platform, a new targeting strategy – and being able to ride out the storm with a proactive and smart traffic strategy.
If your traffic strategy is just reacting to what’s happening, you’re going to find yourself on a rollercoaster or worse.
If you’re proactive about knowing what changes are happening, but not freaking out at each one, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.
So how do you know which changes to pay attention to and what’s coming up next?
That’s what we’ll talk about in part 3: The Future of Traffic and How to Be on the Cutting Edge Without Falling off the Cliff.
I’ve got something BIG coming up on running paid traffic. If you want to be the first to know about it, enter your name and email below to get on the priority list!
And stay tuned for part 3!