4 Tips for Reaching Holiday Season Performance During the Privacy Era

iOS 14 and iOS 15 have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape. In an effort to protect consumer privacy, they now require users to opt-in to having their activity tracked across mobile apps and websites via a prompt that pops up in-app. Even more, for iOS devices, the attribution window went from 28 days to 7, meaning we have a much smaller time frame to attribute advertising to conversions. Additionally, Google announced that Chrome will eliminate third-party cookies beginning in 2022 which could further impact the ability of tracking pixels to measure and attribute conversions. For the average consumer, this means greater control over their data, but it presents an enormous challenge to businesses and advertisers who have relied on that user data for targeted advertising and business growth for the past 25 years.

Ad personalization, optimization, and performance reporting are now limited for both app and web conversion events, and the strategies that have worked for years in targeting and retargeting consumers have been diminished. In fact, since the release of iOS 14.5, only 21% of app users have opted in for tracking, according to Statista, meaning audience sizes and optimization signals are severely reduced.

Yet this does not mean advertising to Apple users is a lost cause. It just means that advertisers need to rethink what has been working for them in recent years to maintain great performance in this new era of privacy. Advertising is a constantly evolving space, and those who can navigate this challenge will have a leg up on those confounded by how to advertise without the data and tools they have had in the past. 

At StitcherAds, we are well-versed in this new landscape, and we are constantly in touch with our partners at Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest to understand how the situation is evolving. With the impending holiday season, it is more important than ever to ensure that, despite new circumstances, ad campaigns are set up for success. In this blog, we share everything advertisers need to consider to get the best performance possible with four essential tactics. 

Make sure your creative can capture your target audience to collapse the funnel. 

Audience retargeting has been hindered, so it is more important than ever to consider your creative strategy. Despite not being able to directly retarget audiences with the same level of detail as before, you can still reach the right audience with optimized creative assets that will attract and engage the right consumers through testing different creative overlays. In fact, according to a recent study we conducted, 85% of respondents prefer ads that are clearly personalized, which shows a good creative strategy can truly have a tangible impact. Brands leveraging StitcherAds are maintaining a layer of personalization through dynamic creative by aligning creative elements to seasonal messaging, sales and promotions, and product-specific attributes such as reviews and features.

Though it is not as easy to ensure your ads will, for example, appear in social media feeds of specific consumers through contextual advertising, the context in which an ad lives is a basic and fundamental concept that should be emphasized. Though individual consumers are more difficult to retarget, audience groups have shared preferences and interests that can be considered and targeted through creative content. Make sure your creative assets and messaging match the interests of your target audience to maintain ad relevance and engagement.

Take advantage of first-party data.

Though third-party data has taken a big hit, there is luckily an abundance of first-party data that is a gift for advertisers. The art is in using it correctly. Retailers can take advantage of their loyalty lists, CRM lists, in-store-offline data to create lookalike audiences resembling existing customers. Furthermore, StitcherAds unlocks the ability to expand to a 20% Lookalike audience which doubles the size of the audience compared to the standard 10% maximum on platforms such as Facebook  Then they can use those audiences in combination with DABA ( dynamic ads for broad audiences) to reach their prospects. DABA allows them to target ads towards a larger pool of potential customers, helping brands at the top of the funnel.

Retailers are in possession of valuable first-party data on consumers’ interest in and purchase behavior around their brands, whether from loyalty programs, website activity, geolocation, and more. With third-party cookie deprecation, this data has become more powerful than ever, and retailers can work with tech giants and brands to share that data. In fact, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest have even created tools for retailers to share their first-party data via Conversions API, allowing them to match users to consumer profiles for more relevant advertising, and retailers to verify whether this consumer saw an ad from one of the platforms’ brands.

Using this first-party data can provide brands and advertisers with much-needed help in this new third-party data-deprived climate and can ensure that advertising is still highly targeted and strategic. Further, brands and retailers should also consider how they can earn more first-party data from consumers, through rewards programs and other incentives, social media, and surveys.

Have a cross-publisher strategy.

These changes in the data landscape mean that going all-in with advertising on one platform is highly risky. You can no longer guarantee certain outcomes from Facebook or Instagram or see exactly where your target audience is spending their time online. But that’s a great opportunity to diversify where you are spending your budget and to branch out to other advertising channels.  In fact, for Gen Z, we have found that the top 3 platforms used are Instagram (82%), TikTok (71%), and Snapchat (59%). You can no longer focus on one platform. If you want to scale across generations you’ll need and need to diversify content across platforms.

Each of these platforms has unique audiences and advantages, and this can help advertisers compensate for the loss of targeting ability. For example, TikTok and Snapchat are dominated by younger consumers, and brands trying to reach those audiences would be wise to have a strategy for spending on those platforms. These video-based platforms are also primed for creative that seems organic and helps build a solid brand identity. In fact, according to our 2021 consumer survey, Gen Z’s purchasing decisions are most influenced by ads on Instagram and TikTok. 59% say they’re most impacted by Instagram ads, and 57% they’re influenced by TikTok. Meanwhile, Pinterest is a place consumers often go to look for inspiration and new brands, and Pinterest ads can help shoppers discover new content or hone in specific stores.

Thinking beyond a single channel can help reduce risk by casting a wider net so that your creative is seen on whatever channels your target audience is spending their time. 

Optimize your targeting strategies and expect measurement changes.

With many users choosing to opt-out of data sharing, audience sizes have been reduced, affecting both how many you can retarget and the accuracy exclusions across audiences, 

For this reason, it’s important to monitor your audience size closely. If you see a significant drop, consider grouping your audiences together. (For example, Add-to-Cart and View-Product audiences may need to be grouped together.) This is another way first-party data can come into play as well. For example, your CRM lists can still allow you to target users, and you may want to upload these lists to prospects to retarget. In fact, with StitcherAds you can automate this process.

At the same time, the new changes caused by iOS 14 and 15 requirements are also impacting measurement. Without real-time reporting, measurement data is now seeing delays as long as three days. Consider taking advantage of StitcherAds’ Third Party Stats capability to integrate Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics into your dashboard for real-time reporting. Further, the ability to track conversions has been significantly reduced, and that should be considered when measuring the success of your holiday campaigns over previous years.


There have been a lot of changes with the release of iOS 14 and iOS 15, and for advertisers who had built successful strategies on the back of third-party data, this shift has been overwhelming. It can be difficult to replicate past levels of success in this new privacy-driven era. Yet, at StitcherAds, our paid social advertising platform has tools that are helping some of the biggest retail and eCommerce brands in the world adjust to these changes and expertise that can help you get the most out of the data you do have. 

StitcherAds has a lot of advantages that can help advertisers during this transitional time. 

  • Our reporting dashboard allows advertisers to see the historical performance in an attribution window no longer available on Facebook Ads Manager.
  • Our “Third-Party Stats” integration allows advertisers to view the performance from any source of truth tool (such as Google or Adobe) as we’re data agnostic.
  • Our “Advanced Custom Metrics” capability allows advertisers to lean on their MTA models to create custom attribution model reporting. 
  • Our “In-Store Data Connector” allows advertisers to measure in-store sales up to a 28-day click, 28-day view attribution window.

These are just a few ways working with our platform can help solve some of the problems facing advertisers with reducing third-party data.

The holidays are an important time for advertisers, having historically been a time for big campaigns, high conversions, and a boost to annual KPIs. Last year’s COVID-informed holiday season luckily didn’t result in the wildly-predicted decreased consumer spending, and 2021 is actually expected to see 7% to 9% growth in holiday retail (with 11% to 15% growth in e-commerce), compared to 2020. Yet with the enormous changes to digital marketing and advertising, it can feel more difficult to achieve or even measure the success of these campaigns.

With Apple now requiring opt-ins for third-party cookies and Google soon to eliminate them altogether in the coming year, it’s clear that this focus on consumer privacy isn’t a fad, it’s a new era. For advertisers, this means it’s become crucial to innovate and come up with new ways to reach audiences, to make informed choices for creative and spend, and to measure the success of advertising efforts. At StitcherAds, we’re staying abreast of the constantly evolving landscape and working on new ways to optimize social advertising in 2021 and beyond.

To learn more about how StitcherAds can help you maximize performance for your business in 2022, book a 1:1 meeting with one of our experts today.