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Facebook iOS14 Guidance Questions: The Burning Answers

In this blog, we will highlight everything you need to know about Apple’s iOS14 software update – so that you can make the necessary changes to your Facebook ads account.

You might have questions like, what’s happening? Why is it happening? When is it happening? And what will this impact have on Facebook accounts? We catch up with our online advertising specialist Joe Williams for the lowdown. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the plan for the questions we’ll run through:

  1. What is iOS14?
  2. What’s Happening?
  3. Why is this happening?
  4. When is this going to start?
  5. Is Facebook the only app affected?
  6. What’s the impact likely to be on Facebook Advertising?
  7. Is it just in-app or website tracking affected too?
  8. What do we need to do to our ads?
  9. In Summary

What is iOS14?

iOS 14 is the fourteenth and current major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple, for their iPhones and other Apple products. It was announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 22, 2020, as the successor to iOS 13 and it was later released to the public on September 16, 2020.

What’s Happening?

Back in June 2020, Apple announced an upcoming change to its new iOS14 iPhone and iPad operating system. Apple would prompt its customers on whether they are willing to allow the app developers to track their personal usage of the app via their ‘AppTrackingTransparency’ (ATT) framework.

Why is this happening?

Why is this important to Apple you may be asking yourself? Well…Apple wants to protect users’ privacy and not allow other platforms to gain their information. Because to Apple, having a collection of important customer data allows them to create custom profiles which they can then target specific products/services direct to you.

When is this going to start?

The iOS14 system has already been rolled out across a large number of Apple users either because of the latest iPhone update or the new product rangers offered by Apple and bought by consumers. It has been suggested that towards the middle of 2021, marketers will be able to measure the impact of this.

Is Facebook the only app affected?

The update from Apple will impact social platforms such as TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, Amazon and any other apps that rely on collecting user data for their advertising ecosystems.

What’s the impact likely to be on Facebook Advertising?

If the Facebook app cannot track users on iOS14 system because of the latest update, as a Facebook advertiser, there are 3 main areas to ask yourself.

  1. Can I retarget users? 
  2. Can I track the performance of campaigns effectively?
  3. Will top of funnel audience targeting still be as effective without data from users on iOS14? 

At this moment in time, we are unsure of what will exactly happen and the impact this will have on user data and advertisers. But once more consumers get the iOS14 update, then, and only then, will we be able to see the impact on missing data. But this is unlikely to happen until the middle of 2021. 

These changes will limit your ability to:

  • Effectively deliver ads to people based on their engagement with your business, for example retargeting video viewers or similar. 
  • Measure and report on conversions from certain customers, such as leads and purchases.
  • Predict and optimise cost per action over time and efficiently allocate budgets.
  • Custom audience sizes will decrease from not having iOS14 users, as previously they would be been included prior to opting out of tracking.

In short, Facebook Ads is going to have access to less data. This means that under-reporting on conversions is highly likely. Warm retargeting audiences will likely be much slower to build too.

Is it just in-app or website tracking affected too?

The iOS14 update will not impact or change what you can or cannot track on websites, whether using cookies or server-side tracking. As far as a mobile browser running inside an app, for example, Facebook’s in-app web browser, the advice in which Facebook has given is that this does not have an impact because the app itself is not sending tracking data back, it is the web browser communicating with Facebook’s server.

What do we need to do to our ads?

Facebook has created a resource centre with tasks and updates to help prepare for iOS 14 changes. However, Facebook advertisers should take the following actions ASAP:

  • Make sure to verify each domain that you want to send data from.
  • Choose and prioritize up to 8 Pixel Events per domain and plan your campaigns to operate around these 8 events.
  • Prepare for the new attribution window default (7-day click) and export all historical data based on the ‘old’ attribution windows you were using in your campaigns. Also, remember to update Automated Rules if needed.

In Summary:

The iOS14 system is already being rolled out. Facebook themselves are currently monitoring the situation and coming up with plans to help advertisers. However, all Facebook marketers should be prepared to receive less accurate information from Facebook. It’s worth letting any managers and stakeholders know to make sure they are aware of this update. With all these changes going on with Facebook, don’t forget this is the perfect time to expand your marketing strategy and look at different marketing platforms such as Google Ads. If you’d like to talk marketing strategy, head over to our ‘request a quote’ page and let us know your plans. We’d love to talk through your options.

Joseph Williams

PPC Specialist

Hey, I’m Joe. When I’m not geeking out over PPC, you will find me playing rugby on a muddy field, or regretting my decision of running an ultra marathon… with a beer in hand.

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