In March 2021, Apple announced its new iOS update which allows users to opt out of third-party sites tracking their user data. The new opt-in feature of in-app data tracking has and will continue to affect targeting and remarketing efforts.

Our blog post in March covered the update, and this follow-up will look at how these changes have affected Facebook advertising.

AntiSocial’s media team lays out their suggestions on these iOS updates and how they affect Facebook advertising, below.

What Does the iOS Update Mean?


Apple’s iOS update has several implications for Facebook advertising. If Facebook is not able to track user behavior, our team expects the following knock-on effects:

1. The effectiveness of the tracking pixel is severely diminished.

The result:
Inaccurate reporting for conversions all the way down to ineffective remarketing efforts.

2. Targeting options will be weakened.

The result:
Your ability to create hyper-personalized ads for audiences may be hindered greatly.

Less targeting options means more wasted spend and less personalization of ad copy.

Businesses will be forced to turn to subscriptions and in-app payments

3. Less efficient and less effective advertising

The result:
Fewer website sales from ads

Greater difficulty for small businesses to reach their ideal audience, limiting growth

What to Expect


Changes in App Advertising

When it comes to campaign management, event data will be restricted to a maximum of nine campaigns and five ad sets per campaign for every Facebook Ads account.

Lift measurement will also be unavailable for iOS 14 App Install and App Events campaigns.

Reporting of events will also be delayed for up to three days after an app is installed.

Changes in Mobile Web Advertising

Tracking users in a different geographical location will be a challenge.

Example: if a user in Spain is served an ad for a US-based company, but is then redirected to the local version of the website based on their location, the purchase would not be properly tracked.

Optimization and Targeting

With iOS 14.5, there will be an eight-pixel event cap per domain for optimization. This means that an advertiser will only be able to use a maximum of eight conversion events per domain for optimization.

The result: We will need to prioritize the eight events that are of most importance. This means the new iOS update may hinder optimization, especially if there are not enough data points. We can expect that as more and more people update their operating system to iOS 14.5, the size of retargeting audiences will also shrink over time.

Measurement

The new default attribution window will make measurement more complicated as it will contribute to under-reporting on organic as well as paid channels. We can also expect an increase in dark social traffic.

When it comes to ad reporting data, there will be a three-day delay on data display for the data that comes from iOS 14.5 users. This Limited data could make running ads a little inconvenient to advertisers.

Example: clients will only be able to see a few reported conversions, and sadly, the conversion event breakdowns would not even exist.

What Can We Do?


Actions that should have been done:

Action 1: Verify your domains with Facebook.

Action 2: Decide which eight events for conversions you’ll track.

Action 3: Everyone who has access to Facebook Business Manager, needs to make their log-in setting as 2-Step Verification to prevent possible suspension of the accounts in the business manager.

Actions to take next:

Action 1: Focus on strategic alliances with innovative data products.

Use products like ‘clean rooms’, which provide advertisers with privacy and safe access to data with events tied to various user IDs for ID management.

Examples: Google Ads Data Hub, Facebook Advanced Analytics, Adobe Experience Platform, and Amazon Marketing Cloud.

Action 2: Find alternatives to cookie tracking.

You can still facilitate retargeting by using any number of user-specific identifiers to target individuals (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)

Action 3: Develop “value exchange” strategies.

Offer incentives to customers for sharing their data through “value exchange” strategies. This is a great way to increase a brand’s first-party data.

What's Next for Facebook Advertising?


While this all might sound a bit scary, we believe that there will be several workarounds in the coming months to help advertisers weather the storm! In the meantime, there are a few things that you can do to prepare yourself for the changes:

1. Make data governance a top priority.

How:
You must ensure that the data collected and stored has proper user consent, and can be appropriately leveraged for media execution purposes.

2. Implement Conversions API.

Why:
To ensure that the events are passed back to Facebook directly from the server—not just from the pixel.

3. If you use Shopify, you should set up the Facebook Sales Channel App.

How:
Simply connect your Facebook account and watch all your products sync automatically. This will make it convenient for you to promote them on Facebook or Instagram.

4. Create campaigns outside of the conversion objective.

How:
This would mean running web visit campaigns or others and using your website’s internal tracking to determine if a sale or conversion occurred as a result of the ads.

Stay tuned for more updates as more workarounds become available. If you’re concerned about how this might impact your Facebook advertising and want to talk to us directly about the developing situation, feel free to reach out!

If you’re looking for more assistance, AntiSocial can work with your team to adapt to the new changes, so contact us!