We were first warned about iOS 14 and how it would impact Facebook advertising in 2020. Now that Apple has launched iOS 14.5 and begun enforcement of the new rules we’ve been warned about, it’s time to review what you may be seeing.
So, what’s happening now? Let’s run through what you need to know…
How you optimize impacts who sees your Facebook ad. Facebook will show your ad to people most likely to perform your desired action. for Eight Events Only
If you want to create a conversions campaign, you can only optimize for one of your eight configured events. Before this was enforced, you could still pick an event that wasn’t configured, but you’d get a soft, yellow warning icon.
Now, only your configured events will be selectable for optimization…
Any events that haven’t been configured will be grayed out…
If you haven’t yet configured your events, you’ll need to do that by going to Events Manager > Aggregated Event Measurement > Configure Web Events. Just know that you should expect up to a 72-hour delay before being able to optimize for any new configured events.
Paused An ad set is a Facebook ads grouping where settings like targeting, scheduling, optimization, and placement are determined.
If you created ad sets within conversion The campaign is the foundation of your Facebook ad. This is where you'll set an advertising objective, which defines what you want your ad to achieve. prior to iOS 14 enforcement that were optimized for events that aren’t among your configured eight events, those ad sets will now be paused.
Here’s what that will look like (courtesy of Andrea Vahl):
Delayed Access to New Configured Events
If you change your configured events, know that any new event will result in up to a 72-hour delay. Until that time passes, you will not be able to optimize for that event.
If you remove an event from your configuration list in this process, any ad sets optimizing for that event will be paused.
You are likely seeing messages from Facebook about your custom audiences shrinking.
This is related only to audiences that include people who have opted out of iOS tracking (mainly A website custom audience matches people who visit your website with people on Facebook. You can then create ads to show to that audience. and An app activity custom audience is an audience used for ad targeting of people who launched your app or took specific actions while using it.). If you target or exclude these audiences that have been impacted by iOS opt-outs, expect them to be incomplete.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Just know that they’ll be smaller. How much smaller will depend upon the volume and percentage of your overall traffic coming from iOS devices.
The frustrating part is that unless you’ve been tracking the size of these audiences closely, Facebook does not provide a way to see how much their sizes are being impacted.
If someone opts out of iOS tracking, Facebook will receive the highest ranking event from a given visit. However, it will take up to three days for it to show up in your reporting.
In other words, you may want to ignore your conversion reporting for the most recent three-day window. If you have significant iOS traffic, those numbers will not be complete.
Instead, consider customizing your reporting window to a period prior to three days ago.
Similarly, consider how this impacts automated rules. If reporting is delayed for up to three days for some of your conversions, the most recent-three day window isn’t ideal for determining whether to make adjustments. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t provide a window that excludes the past three days.
Consider expanding the window to a longer time period. Or, adjust your expectations for a Cost Per Action, knowing that conversions will be underreported.
Reporting for Non-configured Events
You can technically continue to add a column to your ad reporting for non-configured events using the Customize Columns feature.
However, know that if events occur from iOS users who opted out of tracking, those events will not be included in the reporting.
This is different from reporting for events that have been configured using Aggregated Event Measurement. In that case, Facebook will continue to show the highest-ranking event from a given visit. But, if you never configured an event (it isn’t ranked), it will not show up in your reporting for iOS users who opted out.
In other words, expect non-configured events to be (more) underreported than configured events. If you have significant iOS traffic, you may want to rely only on configured events for reporting.
Aggregated Event Measurement Reporting
If you haven’t yet started to see data appear within the Aggregated Event Measurement tab in Events Manager (I haven’t), you will soon.
It appears Facebook will list the events that are being processed using the Aggregated Event Measurement protocol. In other words, it will list the configured events that have occurred, displaying the number of times each event was the highest priority event for a given visit by a user who opted out of iOS tracking.
Note that it does not matter whether these events are attributed to ads. Unlike your Ads Manager reporting, this section will display all events — paid and organic — that were processed using this protocol.
With this live, I think it’s important to remember a few things…
1. Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic.
Let’s say that 50-percent of your audience owns an iOS device. Know that this doesn’t mean that 50-percent of your audiences and reporting will be impacted. Many of the same people who have iOS devices also access your website from their desktop. Tracking will occur normally in those cases.
Have an idea regarding how much of your traffic is from an iOS device. I know that 8-percent of my total traffic comes from iOS. That means up to 8-percent of my website custom audiences and reporting may be impacted.
2. How Many Will Opt-Out?
We’ve heard some preliminary reporting on the number of people opting out of tracking, but it’s been a bit across the board. Plan for the worst-case scenario, but don’t assume it. We’ll need to wait a while before we know the full impact of opt-outs.
3. Don’t Blame All Bad Results on iOS 14.
During this time, it’s going to be easy to blame iOS 14 for every poorly performing campaign. Was every campaign effective prior to these changes? Probably not. It will be important that you separate iOS-related factors from those within your control (like copy, creative, targeting, product, etc.).
4. Be Creative.
You’ll need to start doing things differently than you’ve done them before. Experiment. Find solutions. This is no time to be stubborn and stuck in your ways.
How I Can Help
I know this is overwhelming. I’ve created a number of resources that can help you:
This is a collection of all ways that I can help on this topic in one place.
I created a list of frequently asked questions and answers related to this topic.
3. Power Hitters Club – Elite Membership
Every week, I conduct a strategy session, webinar, and Hotline Q&A for my most exclusive members within the PHC – Elite community. You can also get answers from other members within the private Facebook group as well as get access to iOS 14 training and all other training I’ve conducted.
4. Book a One-on-One with Me
This has been a popular option for brands, advertisers, and agencies lately. You can book a private, 45-minute session with me to discuss what you’re doing, answer questions, and recommend some strategies to take. You can access my calendar here.
Anyone can book a session with me, but PHC – Elite members get a deep discount.
Have you started seeing the impact of iOS 14 on your advertising? What are you doing?
Let me know in the comments below!