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Preparing for Apple iOS 14 Changes to Your Facebook Ads

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Apple recently announced some changes to the iOS 14 update regarding user privacy and data use that are significantly impacting how marketers utilize the Facebook pixel. While a lot is still unknown, it’s a good idea for marketers and clients alike to be informed about what’s coming, and how it will affect Facebook ads moving forward.

Tracking and the opt-out
With iOS 14, users will need to grant permission for tracking to take place through various apps and websites, including Facebook. A prompt will appear asking if the user would like to “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not to Track” which will impact marketers abilities to get various data sets from the Facebook pixel. This will automatically cause a decrease in reporting as users decide to opt-out of tracking. It will also likely decrease the ability to optimize campaigns, as the pixel will not be able to function at its previous levels. Retargeting may get tricky as well as iOS 14 will prevent the app from recognizing if the user has visited your website before. This can also affect your ability to tap into lookalike audiences based on website conversions and app installs.

Reporting and data
Facebook has noted that this will cause reporting limitations across Ads Manager, Ads Reporting and Ads Insights API. Here are a few areas that will be affected:

  • Reporting delays – Apple iOS 14 will not support real-time reporting and information may be delayed up to three days.
  • Estimated results – For iOS 14 install campaigns, results will be sent to Facebook on an aggregated campaign level. Marketers will need to tap statistical modeling for both app install and web conversion events.
  • No demo breakdowns – For both app installs and web conversions demo breakdowns including age, gender, region and placement will not be provided.
  • Account attribution changes – The attribution window will no longer be at the account level. The window will be set at the ad set level to help ensure that conversion data used to inform campaign optimizations is directly related to performance.
  • Limited conversion events – There will be a limit of eight conversion events allowed. This encompasses both custom conversion and standard pixel events.
  • Modified attribution windows – Shorter attribution windows will be integrated as the 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through and 7-day view-through will no longer be available. Options will include:
    • 1-day click
    • 7-day click (default setting)
    • 1-day click and 1-day view
    • 7-day click and 1-day view
  • Targeting limitations – As more users opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences and website Custom Audiences may decrease.

How to prepare
So, how can advertisers prepare for these Apple iOS 14 changes? A big part of being prepared is doing some work in advance to make sure you can hit the ground running. Facebook recommends getting your domain verified, so advertisers should get that process going. Then, it’s time to do a deep dive into your historic website and app analytics data and determine how many of your customers are on an iOS device. This will help you approximate how much of your data will potentially be impacted by the change, as Android and Google devices are not yet expected to be impacted. Depending on the size of your campaign, you’ll want to review and select the conversion events that are most important to your business. Finally, companies will want to focus on data collection and lead generation directly from their target audience, especially collecting email addresses so that they don’t have to depend on the pixel for retargeting and other optimizations.

Stay on top of it
While we don’t know the extent to which the Apple iOS 14 changes will affect Facebook marketing, we know there will be significant impact. By keeping updated on the changes and taking some preemptive actions, marketers will be able to make the best of the situation. It’s important that both marketers and clients understand that this will affect reporting and capabilities, so everyone can move forward on the same page and recognize what will be available and what will no longer be supported.