The New iOS 14 Apple Privacy Update and How it Affects Facebook Ads

The iOS 14 Apple Privacy update is going to have a big impact on Facebook Ads. From now on, businesses who are actively running advertisements on Facebook or who plan on doing so, will need to take steps to ensure ads run smoothly, optimise effectively and tracking continues to be executed efficiently.

What is the new update exactly?

It means that Apple users who update to the new iOS 14 Apple system will be given new privacy options, one of which is whether they want to opt out of their data being tracked. For reference, 46% of smartphone users in Australia are Apple users, according to the Financial Review.
According to Facebook, “specifically, Apple will begin to require that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as ‘tracking’ to show a prompt to iOS 14 users, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.”

What will be affected in Facebook Ads?

Almost everything within Facebook Ads will be impacted by the iOS Apple Privacy update, included current ad tracking and conversion data. Furthermore, custom conversions, audiences, lookalikes and dynamic ads will be affected, and steps need to be taken to ensure all of these areas work correctly going forward.
Facebook states, “In response to these changes, we will also start processing pixel conversion events from iOS 14 devices using Aggregated Event Measurement. This will support your efforts to preserve user privacy and help you run effective campaigns.”

Will Facebook Ads Still Work?

Yes, here is how.

Facebook has created a workaround, called the Aggregated Event Measurement protocol, which all advertisers will need to utilise as soon as possible.

This protocol needs to be followed once the domain in which the Facebook is connected to, is verified and a working pixel is installed. We highly recommend businesses ask their web developer to follow the steps required to verify the website’s domain.

Facebook states, “domain verification should be prioritized for domains with pixels used by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. This will enable you to configure pixel conversion events when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available.”

Once these two steps are complete, a maximum of eight standard events or custom conversions must be created. These eight events will be the only objectives available for ads and will be the only conversions that Facebook will track.

For pages with conversions and a pixel already set up, Facebook will automatically configure the events. However, these can be changed in Business Manager at any time by an admin of the Facebook page.

Important: Any ads that are currently running, with objectives that are not one of the 8 standard events set up as part of the new update, will stop running.

Retargeting, Custom Audiences and Lookalikes

As almost half of the smartphone users in Australia will now have the power to remove themselves completely from remarketing campaigns, your data will be a bit off until Facebook adjusts itself.

Facebook hasn’t explicitly stated how it will manage the reporting of audiences when a user opts out, so we have yet to learn this. However, we do know that reporting will be slightly off with regards to audiences and demographic breakdowns.

How Will Reporting be Affected?

Prepare yourself that reporting will be very different. According to Facebook, “the 8 conversion events per domain will be ranked based on priority. If multiple events are completed by a user (i.e. “add to cart” and “purchase”) only the higher prioritized event will be reported.

Certain attribution windows will have partial reporting and metrics will not include all events from iOS 14 users. [It’ll be communicated] when a metric is partial.”

Additionally, real-time reporting will not be supported anymore, and data may be delayed up to 3 days.


So business owners, ask your web developers and social media managers to work hard over the next few weeks to get your Facebook account ready and healthy for the new updates. Any current ads that are active need to be reviewed, as do any standard or custom events that are already set up. It’s vital to establish your top 8 conversions or events you would like to see tracked by Facebook and that these are established alongside a verified domain and installed pixel.

Is Your Website Ready For Google’s Page Experience Update?

If you have been using an SEO strategy for your website or plan on implementing one, there is a major update coming to Google’s algorithm that will change the way Google ranks sites in its search results. Rolling out in May, Google will implement three new page experience ranking signals otherwise known as Core Vitals. These are metrics that will allow the search engine to determine which websites give users a negative or positive experience, based on how long they spend on them. The Core Vitals which are part of the update are:

  • Loading: this refers to Largest Contentful Paint, which is a technical term describing how long a site takes to load its most extensive section. LCP monitors and impacts user experience because visitors demand minimal waiting times and believe that sites that load quickly are reliable
  • Interactivity: Interactivity is measured by tracking how long it takes for the First Input Display to load. This is important for user experience as a website’s FID creates an impression for first-time visitors.
  • Visual Stability: Google checks for Cumulate Layout Shift – users do not stay on websites that freeze during the interaction or has images that are not stable.

Google core web vitals

The Core Vitals are in addition to the existing page experience signals, which will still be assessed by Google. These elements include the mobile-friendliness of the site, removal of harmful content like malware and phishing pages, encryption of user data through HTTPS and minimised pop-ups that block user’s view of content on the site.

Google search signals for page experience

So what does this all mean for website owners? Here are three things we can expect with the update in May:

  1. Search rankings will change for a lot of websites – websites that are performing OK in results but offer good page experience have the opportunity to rank higher, whilst sites that need to improve their page experience may notice a drop in ranks until their issues are fixed
  2. Google may add labels in the search engine results for websites that meet all of its page experience criteria (according to Search Engine Journal). If this is implemented, you can expect visitors to visit labelled sites more often to receive a better experience. Sites that are unlabelled will most likely experience less search traffic.
  3. Ensure you check your site/s page experience and make the necessary improvements if needed.

With the update coming up in a month, you will want to prepare accordingly to ensure your website maintains its rankings. Start off by assessing the user experience health of your pages with Core Web Vitals report. This will cover the existing signals for page experience and help you identify areas you will need to improve. There are many other tools that can help you prepare, but we highly recommend GTmetrix. This tool allows you to cover all your bases now and going forward with the new page experience update. Powered by Google Lighthouse, GTmetrix is designed with increased accuracy and focus to provide enhanced metrics for user experience. Lighthouse provides a grade for your website which combines front-end structure with the stats for UX and Web Vitals.

So, how prepared are you for Google’s Page Experience Algorithm? Our recommended suggestions and tools are a great way to get started, however without continuously updating and maintaining your website, you’re at risk of flawing your SEO strategy. If you lack the time or personnel to do this or need help getting your strategy on track, contact Searchsmart today! Our team of experienced SEO specialists can help you get ready for the Google update and beyond.

Posted in SEO

Move Your Business Catalyst Website With Ease

If you are a Business Catalyst customer you would most probably have been informed by now that Adobe will stop hosting existing sites on Business Catalyst on March 26th 2021.

Adobe encourages customers to download their data and migrate to other systems well before March 26th 2021.

Searchsmart can assist you in migrating across to WordPress and help you with your data retention and email hosting.

Our strategy is cost effective and simple, we simply require some details from you and can provide you with a quote to move from Business Catalyst to WordPress including hosting.

Get in touch today and we can provide you with a quote to migrate from Business Catalyst to WordPress.

Hacks Are On The Rise In Australia

All Business Owners now have to start educating themselves about security risks and data protection.

There are so many elements to the overall topic of cyber security, most of which is very technical and not the most interesting of reads to most of us. To keep it real for you we will start touching on important security news and keep our customers as up to date as possible.

What happens if my website gets hacked? – in short, complete chaos!

At Searchsmart we keep uncovering security issues for several of our client’s websites. We found that some would go offline while others would redirect to pharma sites or embed client-side malware. Others would silently send mass-email out without a single change to the public website. Hacking is so widespread that it is hard to pinpoint the exact same type of hack on every site. If a clients website gets compromised they usually contact us at Searchsmart to fix the issues in which as a small digital agency, we are limited in our capacity to take on all that extra work, especially if the hack numbers are high. This problem would also blow out our customers in waiting for their new website builds or amendments, which is hardly fair. Searchsmart has had to look at this risk factor to their agency and bring on a third party to assist with getting websites cleaned and back online quickly. After researching solutions and different approaches, Searchsmart landed with Sucuri because of its website firewall which runs on top of the website, on any server and in any environment.

Prior to implementing the Sucuri Firewall, many of the sites Searchsmart hosts would undergo hundreds, if not thousands, of different bot attacks on a weekly basis. These attacks ranged from DDoS, to brute force login attempts, to xmlrpc, or even direct plugin access. Previously Searchsmart used security plugins inside of WordPress and found they were not robust enough to handle all vectors of attacks; attacks can come through channels that plugins simply can’t cover. Although investment in security partners went up, Searchsmart realised they had to make the change to better protect their client websites, and only recommend and offer the best security product on the market.

Sucuri Hacked Website Report 2017

In the report when analysing WordPress websites, it is interesting to see that there has been an increase in hacks from 2016 to 2017. The warning to WordPress website owners really is to be aware and to secure your website now, if it has been done for you already. It is better to detect and protect than let things slide until you do ‘get hacked’, which nobody in their right mind would ever want to happen to them. The processes and costs involved to clean an infected website would cost hundreds and thousands of dollars due to the hours and tasks involved.

There are many tasks involved when rectifying and reinstating a compromised website. One of the most major time-consuming tasks is applying for your website to be removed from Blacklists.

What are Blacklists?

For example; when a website has been flagged by a blacklist authority (such as Google), the results are devastating. Blacklisting can affect how visitors access your website, how it ranks in search engine result pages (SERP) and how adversely it can affect communication mediums like email.

Google alone blacklists 10,000 websites every day. With over 100 blacklisting authorities, that means a lot of websites are being blocked for serving malicious content. When a website is blacklisted, it loses nearly 95% of organic traffic, causing serious risks to your business and its brand.

Maintaining your website integrity and reputation is a big responsibility. Blacklisting authorities feel the same way about protecting their users. They will quickly flag your website if they have evidence that it could be harmful. Most often a malicious payload is hidden on your website that could possibly infect visitors, including executable files, trojan horses, phishing schemes, Pharma hacks, and information scrapers. Most of the time, the website owner is not aware that they’ve been hacked until it is too late.

Don’t leave it too late to secure YOUR website. Speak with Searchsmart today for a free security risk assessment.

Are You Drowning In Passwords?

Ever since the Internet was introduced to the public in the ’90s, users around the world have faced the “password problem.” With a growing number of online accounts to manage on multiple devices, users continue to choose the convenience of using the same, easy-to-remember passwords on all of their accounts rather than following better security practices of using strong, unique passwords on all of their accounts. And we get it! We have so many passwords to try and remember or write down somewhere secure it can seriously hurt your head at times.

Being proactive about your digital security is important and it is time we all take seriously. Think about it – we wouldn’t use the same key for our house, car, mailbox and safe, so why would anyone use the same password for every online account?

Password managers like Dashlane help users create, use, and store passwords for all of their online accounts. It eliminates the hassle of not only memorising passwords but accessing them as well. Many password managers allow you to access your passwords on multiple devices, will automatically log into online accounts, and will fill out account registration forms with ease.

Try Dashlane’s Password Generator tool to create strong passwords. You can specify the password’s length and choose to include numbers, letters, and symbols. Password Generator will also indicate the strength of the password so you can rest assured that your password is virtually un-hackable.

I personally couldn’t live without Dashlane, I have been using it to store my 200+ passwords for years, and have made my life so much easier. Put a stop to reusing the same passwords and further secure your programs and platforms against cyber hacking attacks. Dashlane is a free tool and you may find out more HERE.

Searchsmart Wins Google Premier Partner Award For Video Innovation

Searchsmart beats Google Premier Partner agencies across Australia and New Zealand to win coveted video innovation award.

Google understands that it takes foresight, innovation, and dedication to deliver consistently great digital marketing solutions. To celebrate this hard work, Google is hosting Google Partners’ first ever global awards program — the Premier Partner Awards. The awards are used to recognize and celebrate their top-performing Google Premier Partners for their contributions to digital marketing, product innovation, and client growth.

The Premier Partner Awards are only open to digital agencies around the world that excel at digital marketing and providing superior customer support.

Searchsmart is proud to announce that we have won the Australia New Zealand award in the video innovation category, beating stiff competition from digital agencies across Australia and New Zealand. We now await the result of our entry against the other regional winners in the Asia Pacific.

From the winners in each sub-region, one regional nominee will be chosen by independent judges to represent the Asia Pacific at the global awards. Those nominees will compete at the global awards against nominees from the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa in each of the six award categories. Global winners will be announced at the Google Partner Summit in New York City on September 28, 2017. Watch this space!

If you would like to find out more how we, as an award-winning digital agency, we can help take your business to the next level, contact us for a free digital marketing consultation today.

Driving Successful Search Campaigns And How You Can Tell It’s Working

It’s no secret that online advertising campaigns play a critical role in fueling the sales cycle for many B2B and B2C businesses.

With so many online marketing channels, where does each tactic fit into the sales funnel?

Let’s just talk about the most popular of online marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Popular because it sits at the bottom of the sales funnel, and mostly when prospects are ready to convert to a lead (conversion) to a sale (acquisition).

Tracking Success Metrics

SEM campaigns drive website traffic, generate leads for your business in effort to increase sales. So it’s important to measure the success of your campaigns. This will help you determine the effectiveness of your Search campaign, and whether you are investing your money in the right online channel.

Implementing conversion tracking will allow you to see which keywords, text ads, ad groups and campaigns are driving the most valuable activity for your business.

So, how do you measure success?

Conversion tracking is actually fairly easy to implement. It begins with creating a conversion action in your Google Ads account. Conversion actions can be anything from a form fill, to a purchase, an event registration, or email sign up – just choose a metric that is important to your business.

Once you have your goal actions setup, a conversion tag is added to your website on the pages you are trying to track. When a prospective customer completes the action, a conversion will be recorded in your Google Ads Account.

Now this is great data for your Campaign Manager to work with, but what about the sales, and how do you know what leads are quality and what ones produce revenue for you. This is the area where the majority of business owners or managers want to know because outside of the great tracking and data SEM agencies can measure I’m sure you must ask yourself; how much am I getting back from what I’m putting in?

Teamwork, Communication & The Manual Approach

Unless you have an online shop where the price of the sale is ‘the price’, it is hard to track your sales coming through when your products and services may vary in price. It has to be a manual process and can only be implemented and worked on by the business.

If you are a one-man band, perhaps in the trades industry for example, you probably answer all your phone calls or read and respond to all emails (these are what we see if your Search campaign tracked as ‘conversions’). If this is your situation you will need to ask the lead on the phone, did you find me on Google?

And write down their answer, create an excel spreadsheet and track this month on month along with if it’s a sale, and how much did it bring into to your business? Was it the type of customer you want?

Also what is important when communicating with your allocated Digital Account Manager who is normally the person who discusses your campaign results and reports, the date & time measurement of the leads is a big help to them. This way, they can work with you to marry up the conversion tracked to the sale or ROI for your business.

Now if you are a bigger business you may have staff, someone who answers the phone. Based on your own staffing capacity, the roles your staff are in, and how you manage leads coming into the business, it is up to you to create a measurement process and roll out a fool proof way for your staff to follow and report back to you.

Then as mentioned above, pull out your measured data and work with your Digital Account Manager on this. You never know, the Search campaign can actually be working really well but perhaps the data you have collected shows that your website isn’t converting or your sales team may need more training on closing deals. Who knows! But unless you start tracking your ROI you will never know what is working and what is not, and be able to make informed decisions on the amount of marketing budget you are spending.

Google Announces 4 Big Google Ads Enhancements at the Google Summit 2016

Rather than announcing major Google Ads algorithm changes that send us digital marketers scurrying around madly to ensure our clients websites don’t get affected, Google instead announced some great new enhancements that we can take advantage of in our clients Google Ads campaigns. Hooray!

Text ads in Google Ads are about to get a lot bigger

Mobile Text Ads for AdWords have gotten bigger

Expanded text ads are coming to Google Ads, which allows us to be able to write bigger and longer text ads than ever before. We’ll soon be able to offer two headlines of up to 30 characters, rather than the current single headline which has a character limit of 25 characters. But that’s not all!

We’ll also have up to 80 characters for the body text instead of the current 70 characters. The advantage of having larger text ad space means, for starters, we can say a lot more in your Google Ads which is fairly obvious, plus our clients Google Ads can take up more room in the search which will bump your online competitors out of the way. We imagine this should result in increases of CTR (click through rate), which will help with conversions and quality score and inevitably result in more revenue for our clients.

Separate bidding for mobile, desktop and tablet devices

At Searchsmart we work really closely with Google, and we are at the forefront of latest data and trends regarding mobile searches. Quite often if we see a major drop in desktop searches and a large increase in mobile searches. Currently we can adjust the bidding to just go after the mobile clicks if it’s of course relevant for your industry to do so.

So we can do that right now for you ok? Ok! However, we are unable to separate desktop and tablet bidding, they are banded together. Soon to change is the fact that desktop and tablet are breaking up and we will be able to do separate bidding between the three different devices.

Another great feature for us digital marketing geeks to get excited about is the fact that we have more control over how we spend our client’s budgets which will further enhance the results we can obtain from the hundreds of Google Ads we currently run. Happy clients, happy geeks.

Ads on the Google Ads Display Network go Responsive

Responsive ads for AdWords Display Network fit any app or site on the GDBAll good things come in three’s they say, however I must say this one doesn’t excite us geeks too much, but it must be mentioned non the less. Responsive display ads for viewing on multiple devices is becoming easier for us Agencies in the creation and implementation process. Google will assist us with making the Ads responsive.

Not that exciting for our clients however it’s a great support service Google are offering Agencies and all advertisers alike if you are crazy enough to manage your own Google advertising. Hopefully you are quite sane and have a great Campaign Manager, if you don’t, then call us because we’re awesome.

a. Google maps are changing with more ad exposure available

b. Looking local is a no brainer really, we all do it. However did you know that almost a third of mobile searches tend to be location based? Well they are according to Google, so they are capitalising on the many eyeballs Google maps receive.

You will start to see local ads, brand logos and in-store promotions more visible when you do a Google search and view the Google map that relates to your particular search query. Just another amazing way advertisers can connect their brand and message directly to their potential customers.

Google are still working on how to go about targeting these ads, so this feature won’t be out until late this year.

There are other new Google enhancements coming, I’ve just stated four for today.

At Searchsmart we are at the forefront of doing some beta testing for Google with our clients, which is great because some of these new features are a clear winner for more conversions that our selected clients can take advantage of before anyone else. And we are testing now.

We’ve got room if you want to join in the glory of having something else no one else does. Contact Us and get started with a Google Ads campaign, today.

Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results

Google have confirmed that search results pages on desktop will no longer show text ads in the right sidebar. Instead, as many as four text ads will display above the organic listings, and three text ads will show at the bottom of the page.

There will certainly be a lot of analysis to come on what this change means for advertisers — impressions, CPC, CTRs, average position and so on. Here’s what we know so far about the move.

What Exactly Is Google Changing?

All of the changes confirmed on Friday pertain to desktop search results on and Google search partners.

There are a few elements included in the changes to desktop results:

  1. No text ads will be served on the right rail of the search results on desktop.
  2. Google will serve four text ads instead of three in the mainline area above the organic listings for more “highly commercial queries” (More on that below).
  3. Three text ads will show at the bottom of the SERPs.
  4. The total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.
  5. Product listing ad blocks and Knowledge Panels (sometimes with ads, as tests continue in these spaces) will show in the right rail on relevant queries.

These updates are rolling out permanently worldwide on both and search partners.

If you want to learn more about this and what this means to you and your business, give us a call

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