As a result of the new Apple iOS 14 privacy update, one of the biggest shifts in online marketing is happening. How does the Apple iOS 14 update affect Facebook advertising?
FB is no longer able to track behaviour as people move around different pages on the internet and while using apps on their apple devices if they have opted out of tracking.
The new iOS changes make it difficult for Facebook and advertisers to track data and personal information of people using websites and apps, thus stopping our ability to gather insights into their behaviors and preferences. Traditionally marketers have used this data to create demographic profiles and target custom audiences who are most likely to fit their target avatar or buying behaviours. In addition, the Apple iOS 14 changes will also make it difficult to attribute conversions properly.
The Apple iOS 14 update effects Facebook ad targeting in different ways:
Advertisers will no longer be able to have as many reporting tools to track page views, customer conversions and purchasing habits.
Facebook will not have as much data to use to formulate audience profiles and sort people into different groups based on their internet and app behaviour. This will also limit the ability to track and assess how particular ads perform and make it more difficult to optimize ad campaigns. It will also affect the creation of lookalike audiences.
3. Remarketing & Retargeting
If an Apple device user has opted out of tracking they can no longer be retargeted or remarketed to based on their historical behavior, including events such as cart abandonment, purchase behaviour, and pages visited.
So what do we do now?
Facebook has been preparing users in advance of the iOS 14 update through updates, alerts, and a summary of How the Apple iOS 14 May Affect Ads and Reporting in Facebook in their business help centre. The Facebook business guide includes instructions on:
- How to Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1
- How to Verify Your Website’s Domain with Facebook
- Configure 8 preferred conversion events in Event Manager
- How to use the Facebook Pixel to reach devices on iOS 14 and measure performance.
Facebook is implementing new measurement tools, for example, aggregate event management which will attempt to fill in the gaps of what will be lost due to the iOS 14 update. This includes prioritizing up to 8 conversion events on accounts. Users should consider which conversion events (such as, add to cart, purchase, lead form submissions, content views) are most important for their business and prioritize accordingly. You can find a Guide on Choosing The Best Events to Track With the Facebook Pixel under the business help section of Facebook. Also note that conversion tracking will only be over a period of 7 days vs. the previous 28 day tracking period. This will have the largest impact on businesses who market to customers with a longer customer journey rather than those who use short campaigns and quick paths to sales because the ads that brought customers into the sales funnel will not necessarily be the ads that are associated with the conversion.
Will this effect our ability to run profitable ad campaigns on Facebook?
No, the iOS 14 changes will mostly affect reporting metrics (for example, the number of clicks or sales attributed specifically to a Facebook ad vs other sources).
Top 8 Things Marketers Need to Do in Response to the Apple iOS 14 Update:
- Verify your website domain with Facebook
- Set up priority conversion events.
- Be aware that new tracking is only based on a maximum of 7 days vs the previous 28-day attribution tracking window when comparing old and new campaigns. Adjust all of your attributions to 7 days so you are comparing apples to apples.
- Manually set up UTM codes for tracking performance at the ads level of each campaign so that you can obtain information using Google Analytics.
- Develop a good understanding of your target audience and use parameters like age, gender, and device used rather than relying on algorithms to deliver your ads to the best audience.
- Use alternative tools to track marketing-related events like Google Analytics, UTM codes, and tools on the backend of websites.
- Set up Conversion APIs to be able to track conversions from the server and gather more information to be able to gather more data for reports and make better marketing decisions.
- Consider using a post-purchase survey to collect information from clients who have made purchases voluntarily, rather than relying on cookie data.
The iOS 14 changes will certainly affect visibility on Facebook, but there are many alternative methods to reach, engage with and market to audiences. Rather than relying on algorithms to automatically identify and deliver ads, businesses will need to shift mindsets to traditional marketing approaches where the understanding of customer demographics and creating detailed client avatars are of utmost importance. Overall, the iOS 14 changes may lead us to be better marketers because we will gain personal knowledge of what fascinates potential buyers about our business, how customers interact with brands, and what drives purchasing behaviour. Ultimately, when we better understand our target audience, we can develop stronger campaigns based on our own knowledge rather than relying on algorithms to bring customers to us.
Remember that Facebook ads is not the only way to grow a business. Facebook ads are applicable to a broad range of advertising needs, but also consider other ways of advertising such as email marketing, text and Messenger based marketing, affiliate marketing, strategic partnerships, Google Ads, in person events and trade shows, social media (including YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram) marketing, testimonials and referrals, vouchers, networking in your community. Now is the time to diversify your advertising and marketing strategy!