Apple unveiled iOS 14 earlier this month, unleashing brand new emojis, cool new ways to unlock your phone while masked, and a tidal wave of controversy surrounding privacy policies.
If you’re a small business currently running Facebook ads, you’ll want to pay close attention to the resulting iOS 14 Facebook advertising changes, as they have the potential to contribute to inefficient marketing campaigns and lower conversions.
To Make a Long Story… Less Long
Through Apple’s update, apps that track user data and share it with third parties will henceforth need to alert iOS 14 users that they are doing so. It’s all part of the App Tracking Transparency framework, Apple’s pop-up privacy tool which immediately prompts users to opt-in or out of tracking with every app install.
Opting out will disable Facebook’s tracking pixel. If you’re an advertiser hoping to optimize a campaign based on data delivered by the Facebook Pixel, your day’s going to be thrown out of whack in a big way.
No longer will Facebook Ad Manager be able to learn and optimize for customers taking a certain action, and the platform will be unable to optimize for app installs unless users choose to opt-in on both the app and Facebook, itself.
Facebook and its business constituents were more than a bit frustrated when this update was announced, as it potentially impacts an advertiser’s ability to determine who sees their ads, and subsequently make strategic decisions about budgets.
Specifically, such changes may make it challenging for small businesses to:
- Deliver ads to customers based on their interaction with your company.
- Make certain your ads are delivered to the right audiences at the right time.
- Measure and/or report on conversions.
- Optimize cost per action and allocate budgets accordingly.
- Reach your target audience and compete with bigger businesses.
What You Can (and Should) Do
Facebook has been busy addressing customer concerns. On April 27th, the social media giant introduced new ad measurement protocols, including its Aggregated Event Measurement and a new version of the Facebook SDK, which will provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. The former allows for the measurement of web events from iOS 14 devices.
Users whose ads are optimized for conversion events occurring in their business’s apps will need to update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14. This will help you personalize ads delivered to iOS 14 users, while still receiving app conversion events reporting. Those who do not have the latest version of Facebook’s SDK installed should do so asap.
Other hurdles include:
- Limits for tracked events are being lowered to a max of 8 per domain. Under the new rules, Facebook will only be able to track one event per interaction with ads. Advertisers are limited to tracking no more than eight conversion events across all campaigns per domain. This means you’re going to have to make a swift decision which events are most critical to your business.
- Limits will be placed on longer conversion windows. Out? 28-day attribution. In? Much, much shorter conversion windows that give users only 7 days to convert in order to be tallied by Facebook Ads Manager. This change will impact both iOS and Android users – particularly those with longer sales funnels.
For the time being, it won’t help anyone to take a “sky is falling” approach to Apple’s update. The impact on campaigns will not immediately be evident. Chances are it will take months for users to install the app and make their decision to opt-in or out of tracking.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not just Facebook advertisers being impacted by Apple’s latest update. Advertisers using platforms such as Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google, and more may need to pivot accordingly.
In the meantime, we suggest keeping a level head while keeping a watchful eye on early analytics. And take the following steps to prepare your campaigns for these iOS Facebook advertising changes – and come out ahead.
- Verify your website’s domain to help avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns.
- Determine the 8 conversion events you’ll track. Based on Facebook’s new limits, you will need to choose the 8 events (purchases, leads, registrations, etc.) that will be used to track conversions and rank these in order of preference in Events Manager.
- Keep track of sales. Facebook will be removing 28-day attribution. Reporting will change to 7-day post click and 1-day post view. Users should keep tabs on sales occurring between days 8 and 28 to better estimate the impact that the change will have on your business.
- Diversify: Broaden your horizons beyond Facebook to get a feel for what’s working and what’s not as Apple’s update begins to impact campaigns. Facebook advertising can still benefit your business. But your game plan may have to change initially. Instead of conversions, consider different goals – such as building awareness for your brand, or generating new leads.
- To Google! Reviewing your Google Analytics can help you determine how many of your customers are reaching you via an Apple device. This will help you formulate a guesstimate of how many will be impacted by these iOS 14 Facebook advertising changes. Find this information by clicking on “Audience,” then “Mobile,” then “Device.”
- Rely on surveys: You may need to incentivize customers somewhat with a coupon or some other goodies but having them fill out a post-purchase survey can give you a clear view of how people heard about your business, and where they’ve been spending their time. Using this data can help you diversify your platforms, so you’re not putting all of your eggs into one basket.
Questions? We’d be surprised if not. Apple’s update and the resulting iOS 14 Facebook advertising changes are all part of a complex issue with wide-ranging implications. Don’t go it alone. Turn to a digital marketing professional who can help you regroup, optimize, and embrace the future. The IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations team is standing by.