Apple's new iOS14 and the impact on your Facebook ad campaigns

IMPORTANT: iOS14 update and actions. Dec 2020

Apple has announced the details of the new operating system rolling out across its devices, apps and all apps in the App Store.

iOS 14 contains a number of new features that are designed to enhance privacy and security through the reduction of tracking.

This means that the Facebook pixel (and all other tracking from all platforms) will not track as it has done previously and that users will have the opportunity to opt out of sharing tracking information. Specifically, users will be shown an on screen message asking permission to track them. It is widely believed that a high number of users will deny permission.

Apple has made it compulsory for every app listed in the app store to incorporate this feature. Any apps refusing to comply are being removed from the app store. As you can imagine, there is little resistance to complying with Apple’s demands from the owners of listed apps!

Below is our understanding of the new roll out, actions we are taking and advice we are sharing with our active clients. As we learn more about these changes we will endeavour to keep this updated.

How does this change affect your advertising?

A key impact of this change is that you will be limited to 8 Conversion Events that you can optimise for and report on when running Facebook ads.

Facebook will determine the conversion events that you are eligible to use.

We suggest setting campaigns to use all of the conversion events that you deem to be important ahead of these changes being implemented in order to influence those which Facebook allocates to you.

Custom conversions will need to be mapped to Standard Events and may not run at all (we’re waiting for clarification).

Ad sets that are optimising for a conversion event that is no longer supported will be automatically paused by Facebook.

Custom audiences built from pixel events or website pages may decrease as more users opt out of tracking on iOS14.

Dynamic product ads may suffer from reduced audience sizes. If you are, or plan on using, dynamic ads for your business you will need to set up a product catalog using only 1 pixel. Facebook will configure the events it believes to be most relevant based on your previous activity.

We suggest running low cost ads to each conversion event that you would like to optimise for in the future to influence this conversion allocation.

The events allocated to you will be editable but it is uncertain whether this will be an ongoing feature or set for a period of time, or how often you can edit them.

You will be limited to 9 campaigns at any one time targeting iOS14 users. Once you have 9 running, you can turn off or delete your campaign to open a space for a new campaign.

Each ad set (max. 5) inside an iOS14 campaign must have the same conversion optimisation event. Eg. you can’t have 1 campaign with 3 ad sets optimising for ATC, IC, PUR. All must have the same event.

Domain Verification.

Take steps to verify your domain, now.

Verifying your domain and you as an individual satisfies the requirements for privacy and tracking use. Please ensure you do this ahead of time. This can only be done directly through your Business Manager, we cannot do this remotely for you.

Facebook has a clear guide on how to achieve this: Click here to access it

If you have any questions or wish to book a zoom call to do this, please do not hesitate to do so.

We politely ask that you ensure you have all the required information (shown on the link above) ready before the call.

If you have multiple domains or redirect to other domains (ie. scheduler, payment processor or other 3rd party software), you must ensure you verify each domain. Where this is not within your control you should seek to embed the 3rd party software on a page that is of your own verified domain.

Changes to Reporting.

All devices running on iOS14 will create reduced reporting capacity via Facebook.

They key changes are:

Real time reporting will not run. There will be a data delay of up to 3 days.

Breakdowns (age, gender, region, placement) will not be supported.

Attribution will be set at a 7-day click meaning that no events that happen outside the 7-day window will be reported on in ads manager (this is currently a 28day attribution as standard).

What does this mean for your business?

The full impact of these changes is as yet unknown but early testing suggests that there will be significant drops in the numbers reported on Facebook.

As a user it means the ads you see will be less targeted and more generic, which gives ground to the larger, higher spending advertisers and seems to be punitive to smaller businesses.

Facebook is fighting Apple very publicly and is actively generating user stories to show how businesses may be impacted.

Moving forward.

The Only Constant is Change!

We have no doubt that there will be continued change over time as more people take up the new iOS14, but have confidence that by adapting and focusing on the customer journey we will overcome these challenges. Just as we have the many that have come before it!

While targeting options may be reduced, we are buoyed by the fact that Facebook has long been an advocate of larger audiences and has done a great deal to promote strong content and an engaging user experience as the cornerstone of successful advertising. While we lament the loss of some of the more custom features of tracking, we are confident that results will prove our customer-led approach is the right thing to do.


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