Facebook Ads and the Impact of iOS 14

A month ago, I wrote my first post about the expected impact of iOS 14. There was a lot we didn’t know at the time, and Facebook has also provided more information since.

Today, I want to break down the basics of this update into the simplest terms:

  • What the iOS 14 prompt is
  • How that prompt directly impacts Facebook ads
  • How this impacts advertising beyond iOS users

I will go into significant additional detail to help you understand and prepare for this update in my new training, Facebook Ads and iOS 14.

The iOS 14 Prompt

Within the coming hours or days (or maybe it’s already happened by the time you read this), iOS users will begin seeing a prompt when they open any app for the first time…

iOS14 App Privacy

Users will see this when they open up any of the Facebook family of apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc.), but they’ll also see it when they open other apps. How they respond matters.

Mobile Web and app Tracking

In order to receive any app conversion data, Facebook is adopting Apple’s SKAdnetwork API. The result is that any conversion data sent from iOS apps will be…

  • Restricted: No defined attribution window; maximum of one ad account, 9 campaigns, and 5 ad sets with the same optimization for app install
  • Aggregated: Details from lift measurement and demographic breakdowns will be unavailable
  • Delayed: Data delayed up to three days post-install

This will impact marketers promoting an iOS app, typically for installs and in-app conversions. The extent of the frustrations this could cause is unclear, but it certainly appears that iOS app marketers should expect less data, incomplete data, and less flexibility.

The good news is that if users opt to send their data when using Facebook apps, nothing changes related to data sent for mobile web — their data is sent as normal using mobile web tracking. The problem comes for those who opt out of sending their data.

That’s when Aggregated Event Measurement comes into play. Data will be restricted, aggregated, and delayed in this case as well.

Possibly the most notable direct impact will be related to attribution. The delayed, restricted, and incomplete data forces Facebook to update their rules on attribution. A conversion will now be reported based on seven-day click only.

Additionally, when Aggregated Event Measurement is used for a user who opts out, Facebook will only receive the highest ranked event from Apple for a given user’s visit. For example, if a user performs a ViewContent, AddToCart, and Purchase event during a visit, only the Purchase would be reported.

What About Non-iOS Users?

So, the impulse may be to assume that advertisers with a heavy Android audience may not see any impact to these changes. That’s not true. This is mostly due to the global changes that Facebook is applying.

Attribution will change globally. An 8-event limit for optimization will be applied globally. These two things alone could make a big impact.

Overall, we’re looking at a likely negative impact to the following:

  • Attribution/Reporting (fewer conversions reported)
  • Optimization (fewer events to optimize for, and based on less complete data)
  • Targeting (smaller and less complete remarketing audiences)

The result, it’s assumed, will be less effective advertising.

Learn All About the Impact of iOS 14 on Facebook Ads

This is just scratching the surface, of course, but I hope this post helps summarize succinctly the ways this update will impact you. If you’d like a thorough overview of these changes and what you can do in response, make sure to sign up for my Facebook Ads and iOS 14 Training video series.

I’ll cover the following:

1. What the iOS 14 update is. Once users start seeing this prompt, how does it impact the data sent to Facebook?

2. Why this makes an impact on all advertisers, not just those with an iOS audience. The immediate assumption is that this is an isolated issue. It’s not. Facebook is making global changes to prepare for a future where Android and all web browsers take a similar path to Apple.

3. Aggregated Event Management. If users opt out of sending their data, AEM comes into play. What is it? How does it work? How does it impact you as an advertiser?

4. 8-event limit per domain. You will now be required to choose and prioritize eight events that can be used for optimization per domain. If you share a domain, this is going to be a problem. We’ll talk about how to attack this and how various business structures are impacted differently.

5. Value Optimization. This is moved to Events Manager and using it will take up four of your eight events used for optimization. More advertisers should also qualify, so I’ll help you understand whether it’s a good option for you.

6. The impact on attribution and reporting. Facebook will now report fewer conversions, relying on a default 7-day click attribution model. In some cases, Facebook will only report on one event if a user performed multiple. How will this impact your results?

7. The impact on optimization. You can only optimize for eight different events. If you change the events, ad sets may be paused. There will be a three day delay.

8. The impact on targeting audiences. Since less data will be collected, remarketing audiences will be smaller. This impacts both targeting and excluding.

9. The impact on overall effectiveness and what to do now. The combination of all of these things leads, potentially, to poorer results. We’ll walk through a plan of attack.

Your Turn

What do you think about this update? What are you going to do differently?

Let me know in the comments below!