Apple’s iOS change in May 2021 continues to impact advertising. To Triple Whale, an Austin, Texas-based analytics platform, the change is a debacle for merchants and an opportunity for the company.
Rabah Rahil is Triple Whale’s chief marketing officer. He and I recently discussed the impact of iOS 14.5 and the need for accurate attribution, ad testing, and more.
The audio of our entire conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: What is Triple Whale?
Rabah Rahil: We’ve dubbed Triple Whale the ecommerce operating system. We pull in your sales and ads data and cost of goods sold to generate a profit checker to analyze what’s going on with your online store — all in one interface.
Our Affluencer Hub tracks the return on investment from influencers. Creative Cockpit analyzes the effectiveness of content. It applies Triple Pixel, our answer to the iOS 14.5 debacle, to solve the attribution puzzle and know what creatives are working.
Bandholz: Is Triple Pixel first-party?
Rahil: Yes, Triple Pixel is first-party. Our customers are essentially renting the pixel infrastructure from us, meaning they won’t get kicked off a platform (or experience delays) for using third-party pixels.
A problem with attribution is the duplication of systems. Which platform is the source of truth for knowing the referrals of a sale? Google, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat all have their attribution systems, and they overlap.
Triple Whale’s first-party pixel bypasses the iOS 14.5 rules. All platforms — Facebook, Google, YouTube, TikTok — link within our interface, eliminating the need to dedupe attribution. Triple Pixel becomes the sole source of truth to measure performance.
Bandholz: If you’re paying for acquisition, the metrics should focus on new customers. It took me a while to realize that.
Rahil: Right. Paid media is expensive. It works better on high-margin products. I believe in 80% prospecting and 20% retargeting — or even 90% to 10% if you don’t have the margins.
We’re seeing the pendulum swing back to profitability, incremental conversions, and acquiring new customers. Use paid media to augment an overall marketing ecosystem, such as branding, email, and organic reach. But if you try to grow solely through paid, it’s going to be a long road, and it’s going to be expensive.
Plus, ad diversification is critical. We’ve observed that from our biggest, most successful clients. They consider paid media as asset allocation. How can you spend money to get the most incremental lift for your business? If it’s billboards or newspaper ads, do that. Facebook is not the only way to grow.
Another way to diversify is by investing in your community. A community drives growth, retention, and product development. Merchants need a place for their most loyal customers to congregate — a Facebook group, a Slack channel, WhatsApp, any place.
Also, look at foundational economics. There’s a saying in fitness: “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” The same holds for marketing. You can’t out-spend bad economics. If you’re buying ads, make sure your margins and profitability are there. If not, change the framework. Get better shipping rates. Figure it out. Don’t play unwinnable games.
Most importantly, build a system around creative ad testing. That would be my top investment. Merchants spending $50,000 daily on ads typically produce new creatives constantly, testing them against each other. A system for creative testing is invaluable, especially if you want to scale your ad spend.
Bandholz: Where can people find you and reach out?
Rahil: Our website is TripleWhale.com. Listeners can follow us on Twitter, @triplewhale. I’m on Twitter, too, @rabahrahil.