Apple iOS 14 and Your Facebook Ads

ios 14 and facebook ads

With increasing concern around privacy in the digital age, Apple has announced that they will be making changes to increase security with iOS 14. This includes how we process conversions through tools like Facebook Pixel. This update has naturally caused some friction between Apple and Facebook due to the argument for ad targeting in marketing. This leads to the assertion that there might be an end to targeted ads on Facebook due to lack of data mining. 

How is iOS 14 an issue for Facebook? 

Privacy online has become a modern concern and Apple’s operating system is designed to make sure you feel safe. It gives you information about every app, letting the user know exactly what it tracks before you install it. The most interesting security feature is the permission opt-in for tracking upon installation of the app. This means that you can prevent apps, like Facebook, from tracking your activity across other apps and websites. 

Known as ATT or Apple’s ‘App Tracking Transparency’, it will make operations for Facebook a lot more complex. Relying on user usage information, Facebook takes garnered information to report actions or purchasing from ads to allow for remarketing campaigns and targeted ads. Usually, the user isn’t able to access this information or see how their information is being used. The ATT changes this. 

Users can give their permission or reject tracking, with the assumption being that most users will opt-out from sharing when given the choice. This choice creates serious issues for Facebook who have relied on this mining of user information for targeting in Facebook Ads.

apple ios 14 facebook ad manager
Apple's iOS 14 is causing issues for Facebook Ads due to its privacy settings.

Will the iOS 14 Update Affect Conversion Tracking?

Naturally, due to available information becoming potentially limited, Facebook risks issues with some of their tools like Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, and Ads Insights API. This means that Facebook will try and use statistical models to provide data for iOS 14 users. This will also mean partial reporting and the breakdown will include information that the statistical model has been used in place of the traditional tracking. 

Not only does this affect Facebook, it will affect their business partners and the offsite conversions that are imported back to Facebook Ads Manager. An issue that will occur is that the conversions that are reported will be based on when they happened rather than when the ad impression occured. 

You will still be able to target based on geographical location and demographic segments, but there won’t be a breakdown in the report to see these factors. 7 day view through attribution will be gone and 28 day attribution of any kind will not be supported. You will be able to access historical data through the API and 7 day click attribution will still exist. 

Apple and iOS 14
iOS 14 allows users to opt in or out of app tracking.

What are Facebook Doing to Help Marketers?

This could be considered a devastating blow to those who rely heavily on Facebook Ads for generating leads. Facebook has devised a tool called the ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’ to help measure campaign performance, taking into consideration how users have ruled on their data being used. 

Facebook plans to limit advertisers to eight conversion events tracked per domain. This could be a variety of events from 8-pixel based or 8 custom conversions. The conversion events will be ranked on priority when it comes to reporting, based on the action the consumer takes that is considered the higher priority action such as purchasing.  

Another thing to consider is Facebook pixels. While they used to be created and assigned to ad accounts, they will now be related to a domain. This will matter to marketers who own their domain and want to measure the events or custom conversion on the site. 

facebook and apple
Facebook have been openly frustrated with Apple's new development.

What Should I Do Now? 

If you work regularly with Facebook Ads, the way you operate them is going to change significantly, so prepare accordingly and inform your clients about how this is going to happen. Download your historic data for both from 28 day and 7 day, and also 28 day click through. Then, you can compare how your 28 day conversions correlate with your 7 day conversions to help you grasp how your reported conversions are going to be affected. Make sure you update your rules around your 28 day attribution to minimise the impact that this change might make on your results or even on your spend.  

Ensure that you have verified your domain with Facebook. This is crucial if you want uninterrupted use of your pixel data. This becomes even more important when the pixels on your domain are operated by more than one organisation.  

While there are a lot of changes happening, it is crucial to remember that, currently, this change is only impacting iOS 14 users. Correlating and analysing your data will help you understand how this change affects your results. There is no way of telling how many consumers will opt in or out, so paying attention to the impact will be crucial as you update your marketing methods around this change. 

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