screenshot depicting new Facebook advertising settings for marketers

What are Apple’s new privacy changes?

Apple is launching a new privacy feature that requires all apps to ask for explicit permission to track users. This feature, called App Tracking Transparency, will be included in an iOS 14 update in spring 2021.

From an iPhone user’s perspective, this means you’ll receive a pop-up notification in every app asking if you want to allow tracking. If you opt in, then the app can track you and use the collected data to deliver personalized ads.

What is Apple IDFA?

IDFA, or Identifier for Advertisers, is the system that Apple uses to track and identify iOS users across apps and websites, all without revealing personal information. IDFAs are critical for marketers, because they allow us to accurately track users and use data to deliver relevant ads.

Currently, iOS users can opt out of IDFA by turning on a privacy setting called Limit Ad Tracking (LAT). This setting does not stop users from receiving ads, but the ads will no longer be personalized. As of 2020, 31.5% of American iOS users have enabled LAT. With the upcoming shift to an opt-in model, marketers are concerned that even more iPhone users will opt out of tracking.

screenshot example of LAT tracking

How will the iOS 14 update affect Facebook?

If users do not opt in to tracking, the effectiveness of Facebook’s tracking pixel will decrease. What does this mean for your Facebook ads?

  1. Targeting options will be hindered. You will not be able to target users as accurately or with the same level of hyper-personalization.
  2. Conversion reporting will be less accurate, since you cannot track the user’s behavior after viewing your ad.
  3. Remarketing campaigns will be less effective, since you cannot remarket based on the user’s previous behavior.
  4. Lookalike audiences will be less accurate, since these audiences are generated based on user behavior.

With all of these factors combined, advertisers may begin to see weaker results on their Facebook ad campaigns. Note that this will disproportionately affect Audience Network ads (ie. ads in third-party mobile apps), rather than ads delivered on Facebook itself.

Facebook is fiercely contesting Apple’s new iOS policy, but they will still be required to display Apple’s pop-up consent prompt, or else the Facebook app would be blocked from the App Store. 

What does this mean for digital marketers?

The increasing focus on privacy puts users’ interests at heart, but will cause a major shake-up in the digital advertising world. 

Marketers have come to rely on tracking data to deliver highly personalized, targeted ads to users. As access to this type of data becomes more limited, marketers will need to start using other strategies to ensure ads find the right audiences. 

  1. Track conversions with UTMs. The Facebook algorithm will not be able to optimize for conversion goals as effectively if iOS users don’t opt in to tracking. To get the most out of Facebook’s built-in optimization, try running campaigns with other objectives (ie. website traffic) and rely on your own tracking to measure conversions. If you use campaign URLs and Google Analytics, your UTMs will help you understand which ads drove conversions.

    screenshot showing what a UTM url looks like

  2. Cast a wider net. Focus on ad creative with wide, general appeal, rather than a hyper-specific message that would only appeal to a narrow audience. In some cases, advertisers may find broad targeting more effective because it helps you expand beyond your core audience.

  3. Use context-based ad placements. In our increasingly privacy-conscious world, context may start to be a better bet than audience targeting, and Facebook may no longer be the best place for your ads. Consider doing a digital ad buy where you can control which sites display your ad. For example, a health food brand might choose to advertise on health and wellness sites, where they can expect to reach like-minded consumers.

Privacy has become a top concern for consumers and marketers alike. Apple’s privacy updates are not the first to impact digital marketers (hello, GDPR!) and they won’t be the last, so it’s on us as marketers to adapt.


If you have questions about how to get the most out of your marketing budget amidst this changing landscape, let’s talk.

In a digital world where influencers often hold more trust, authority, and followers than the average brand, it’s critical that senior leaders and executives work to build their own personal brand and position themselves as a thought leader in their field.

What is a Thought Leader? 

Thought leaders are trusted experts, the “go-to” people, in their field of expertise. They are authorities in their realm that regularly inspire, motivate, teach, and share their prowess with others, helping fans and followers increase their knowledge and enhance their skill set. Thought leaders can be anyone from an Instagram fashion icon to a business CEO, or even your average marketing enthusiast. What separates a thought leader from an expert is trust, influence, and a following.

Some business thought leaders you might already know of include Mark Cuban, Neil Patel, Arianna Huffington, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brené Brown and Amy Porterfield.

Why Become a Thought Leader?

A 2018 survey by Edelman and LinkedIn found that 55% of respondents use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire. Additionally, a study by Marketing Insider Group found similar results with 81% of respondents saying their trust increases after engaging with thought leadership content. In a world where everything and everyone is “Google-able,” creating a personal brand is paramount to building trust with potential clients.

Furthermore, influencer marketing is a highly profitable and growing industry estimated to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. Influencers are successful in promoting and selling products because of the high trust they have with consumers. For many companies, the CEO is often the personification of the brand. Rather than spend thousands paying other influencers to promote your product or service, why not build your own “influencer” internally and save your marketing budget while building trust with customers?

How to Become a Thought Leader

If you’ve never given much thought to your personal brand as a professional, it can feel overwhelming to start – especially when you think about how saturated the online space already is. However, as big as the digital thought leadership space is, the internet is even bigger. There is room for everyone willing to make the effort to grow, stand out, and bring in business using their personal brand. Here are five tips for getting started:

1. Identify Your Niche

Niche market. Concept of selecting specific target instead of mass all segment in marketing strategy.

Before you share anything, understand what you want to be known for and who you’re trying to reach. What are your strengths? What makes you unique? Make a list of topics you are most passionate about and have expertise on, then make a separate list of qualities that differentiate you from your peers.

These topics and qualities are the foundation of your thought leadership strategy and should inform everything you do in building your brand as a thought leader, from the content you share to the tone in which you write.

Remember, the online space is crowded. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you, but it does mean you need focus and clarity on what “space” you want to own. Identifying a niche focus area will also benefit you and your organization from an SEO perspective, where Google will be able to more easily identify and link together the topics you provide commentary for.

  1. Consistently Provide Value on Social Media

A graphic showing a pale watering social media tree

If you want to be seen as an expert, or a thought leader, you need to demonstrate your expertise. Look back to the list you made in step one (identify your niche,) and start building a steady stream of content related to those topics, weaving your unique differentiators into each post.

Your posts could be anything from your response to an industry trend, a checklist, blog (like this one!), video tutorial, or even a discussion starter. Get creative! The key is to provide value. Give users a reason to follow you, subscribe to your emails, and read your articles. Your content should be informative, useful, and different from what is traditionally shared.

It’s worth underlining again that the content you share must provide exceptional value. At CBC, we encourage clients to give it all away. Don’t be afraid to share your expertise for fear of copycats or worry that prospective clients may not “need” your services. People can rip off your work, but they’ll never be able to execute quite like you. Clients may read your content, but they’ll pay you to do the work for them or to tell your advice to them. The more you give, the more trust and loyalty you build.

Which channel should you be focusing your efforts on? We recommend all clients establish a presence on LinkedIn but, depending on your industry and niche, other platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and the rising Clubhouse app may be appropriate too.

  1. Bring Your Expertise to the Media

A screenshot of Leonard Cercone's thought leader profile on Forbes

A large part of building your personal brand as a thought leader includes building authority and credibility amongst your peers. You can, of course, accomplish this by sharing your expertise on your owned channels (social media, email, website.) However, you can expedite the brand-building process by sharing your expertise with the media.

How can you start working with the media? There’s a plethora of ways:

  • Write and publish bylines for trade publications
  • Provide commentary to journalists on your niche topics
  • Apply for exclusive panels, such as the Forbes Council
  • Partner with publications to host webinars
  • Submit yourself for awards (and win!)
  • Speak at conferences and events

Start pitching your brand and expertise to the media, focusing on adding value and building meaningful relationships. Or, work with an agency like CBC to help get you in front of the press.

  1. Network, Network, Network

Attaining followers is all about providing value and trust. An easy and impactful way you can do this is by highlighting other great thought leaders in your network. If you see a fellow thought leader share content that would be valuable to your audience, it would be wise to share it amongst your connections as well. Trust and transparency breed loyalty, prove that you’re here to serve – not gain notoriety – and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true authority in your realm.

This means that networking with fellow leaders in your industry is crucial. Reach out to those you feel are providing valuable content or have unique expertise and build bridges. Plus, you would both be served well by sharing each other’s content and networks with each other.

When you have a strong niche and consistently provide value-add content, there is no need to worry about “competition.”

  1. Peel Back the Curtain and Be Human

illustration of pratfall effect

Ever hear the phrase “Nobody likes a know-it-all”? It’s true; even as you’re trying to position yourself as a thought leader, it’s important to share the things that make you a human, too.

To become a thought leader that’s in demand, users have to not only know that you’re smart, but they have to like, know, and trust you, too. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone they know, like, and trust?

This concept is known as the Pratfall Effect, and it’s been used by sales and marketing teams for decades to create relationships and generate business. The Pratfall Effect, in short, explains that people held in high esteem are even more likeable when they make a mistake and/or show their imperfections. A common story about the Pratfall Effect that demonstrates the impact of this strategy is:

A Sales Executive gives the same presentation to two different groups. In the first group, he is articulate, smart, and friendly as he shares his pitch. In the second group, he is still articulate, smart, and friendly…but he also has a coffee stain on his shirt. For the second group, he opens up the presentation by talking about how he spilled coffee on himself on his way to work. Researchers measured the likeability of the Sales Executive after each presentation and found the Pratfall Effect to be true: the second group, even though it was the exact same presentation, found him to be more likeable.

You don’t need to share your deepest secrets or embarrassing stories, but you do need to show that you’re a flawed human like everyone else to garner more trust. Pull back the curtain and let your audience get to know the real you.


As the online marketplace becomes increasingly saturated, clients are looking to us more and more for help in maximizing the visibility of their team and company. Need help creating your thought leader brand? Contact us.