The new Apple IOS 14 update will make a significant impact on all the applications in the market. Probably the biggest among all, and also the runner of this show is Facebook. Since we're using Facebook Ads as one of our primary lead generation tactics for us and for our clients, we reached out to Facebook, and Facebook-experts to gather all the information available in one place: this article.
Here is a key statistic: 80.5% of mobile Facebook users access the app on Android. On the other hand, 14.3% use IOS. So yes, there will be remarkable changes that will affect the business owners, advertisers, and marketing agencies. We'll explain these changes one by one and also give you counter-strategies to make sure you're ready for the IOS 14 update.
Table of contents – What to expect from this article
- What is Apple's IOS 14.3 update
- How will it impact Facebook
- – Business tool set-up
- – Optimization and targeting
- – Measurement
- Key actions to undertake
- – Domain verification
- – Choose max 8 events
- – Conversion API
- – Redefine your advertisement strategy
What is Apple's IOS 14 update?
Apple is concerned about app tracking transparency (ATT) and user privacy. They want to protect the data of Apple users. In the light of this philosophy, they moved from opt-out to an opt-in principle.
What does that mean?
With the IOS 14 update, Apple's mobile devices will show a pop-up to Facebook users that will ask consent for all tracking related actions. With this gatekeeping action, Facebook and other apps will have limited data access/use, and it'll, of course, impact the outcome of marketing and advertising on these platforms.
By the end of 2021, they expect 80% of the IOS 14 devices to update their software already. In short, Facebook, advertisers, and business owners need to be prepared and find new ways to get around this IOS 14 update.
The end of IDFA (identifier for advertisers)
This is a bit more technical side of the update. But if you want to know exactly what, why, and how, you can read the detailed explanation of IDFA below.
>Apple assigns IDFA or Identifier for Advertisers to an iPhone across apps. This tracking mechanism is basically their cookie, and advertising platforms rely on that data-point to target ads… This identifier was always present by default for iOS users but Apple’s new privacy change means that IOS 14 devices cannot be tracked by default anymore. Many advertising industry insiders believe IOS 14 users will refuse data tracking permissions if given a choice. This means no data for ad targeting which eventually will make ad placement a tedious task. Fewer ads on Facebook’s Audience Network will lead to less revenue for publishers.
And below, you'll see the new pop-up for people that installed the IOS 14 update.
From now on, Facebook ads manager will have limited access to data and conversion events. Also, Facebook will have aggregated event measurement, restricted and delayed data. We'll explain what these things mean for advertisers and businesses in the next chapter.
What will happen in Facebook Ads Manager?
You may think only a certain amount of your audience/data will be affected by this limited data use. But in reality, this data interruption will affect the entire data flow for Facebook. Therefore, Facebook will make improvements in Facebook Ads Manager to adapt to the upcoming changes.
The impact of the IOS 14 Update on Facebook Advertising.
Before we start dropping some not-so-great news, we want to inform you: the changes are global and inevitable. This is the new normal. And remember, there will be an entire army of Facebook developers, advertisers, and entrepreneurs who will race to find an antidote to this situation. So we're expecting dozens of marketing tools and innovations in a short time.
Now let's look at the bigger picture.
The app-install campaigns and in-app purchases will be affected by these changes immediately. Those are the campaigns that will be hurt the most. For the other type of campaigns that focuses on different metrics, this IOS update will be less impactful
In general, the measurement of the ad impressions will become less accurate, and reported conversions will decrease. As a consequence, the targeting will become harder and less accurate. But there are ways around it, and we'll show how you can get the least loss out of these changes.
You can schedule a free call with our FB expert to pivot your marketing strategy based on the new IOS update.
IOS 14 updates will affect Facebook advertising in three areas
We'll see major changes in three areas.
– Business Tool set-up
– Targeting & optimization
Business set-up tool
Before the IOS 14 update, it was possible to set-up as many conversion events as you want for your campaigns. In the new normal, it'll be restricted to 8 events per domain. On top of that, you'll need to prioritize each of your conversion events in order of importance.
> Definition of an event: it's a metric you track to understand the success of your campaign or gather insights from your audience. Say, you have an eCommerce business, "Add to cart" is an event.
– Before: no limits on conversion events.
– With IOS 14 update opt-in: up to 8 conversion events.
– With IOS 14 update opt-out: only 1 conversion event based on the prioritization.
As you see, for the opt-out option, you'll prioritize which conversion events you want to measure. Say you prioritized the "add to cart" event and a prospect goes to your website and adds something to the cart. Even though the prospects viewed the page (event) and clicked the item (also an event), Facebook will only retrieve the "add to cart" event and won't measure the other two.
This makes a huge difference. Because when advertisers were able to track the rest of the following conversion events, they were able to understand all the stages of the funnel. Moreover, they could create dozens of lookalike audiences based on multiple events. Now, with the prioritization option, this will be more limited.
In conclusion, less events will decrease the quality of audiences and insights. But we can only say for now, because the battle is on. Facebook can turn the tides into new improvements soon.
Important P.S. Not many businesses focus on more than 8 events, so most advertisers won't even feel some of the downsides of these updates.
If you want to have a solid Facebook ad strategy that could work with IOS 14 update, you can check our Facebook Level Method guide
Impacts of IOS 14 update on measurement
There are some changes in the conversion window. Before, we had a 28 days conversion window. This means when a user clicks your ad and converts within 28 days, it was attributed as a conversion on ads manager. Now, this window moved to a 7-day click or view.
This means the ads manager won't be able to calculate conversions after the first 7 days of an ad campaign. So the conversions after the first week won't show up in the ads manager, which will cause misleading results such as an increase in CPA (cost per acquisition) or decreasing ROAS (return on advertising spend).
With that, the indirect CPAs will be more important. Advertisers will find new ways to measure these conversions with tools like Google Analytics. Measuring and tracking these indirect conversions with external tools will be one of the most challenging aspects for advertisers'.
Pro Tip: you can check your analytics tool to see how many IOS users/conversions you have now to compare this data with the upcoming months to see the impact. Keep in mind, you might feel more impact if 70% of your user base is coming from IOS/mobile. By checking analytics, you can pivot your strategy beforehand.
Another change will be on purchase cycles:
Say you have an impulse product. Since impulse purchases happen typically within 7 days, the quality of your data will remain similar. But let's assume you have a much more complex product that requires nurturing or confirmation of multiple decision-makers. Then your data can become blurry. This is why it'll be crucial to measure the indirect impacts.
Also, there will be some restrictions with the breakdowns. Before, you could go to your ad manager to breakdown your audience by demographics like age, countries, and gender. From now on, it'll be limited too, so we'll have fewer insights. Therefore insights will be less visible.
> Disclaimer: at the moment, it's not clear whether Facebook will take back all the breakdown capabilities of the ad manager.
Impacts on targeting & optimization
Optimization specific changes:
Delay in the configuration: remember we talked about the prioritization of events above. If you want to reconfigure your events and change the order, there will be a delay of 3 days. So for 3 days, Facebook will continue to execute your older settings. Therefore it's crucial to prioritize your events properly in the first place.
Delay in reporting: the data is not real-time data anymore. There is a delay up to three days.
Targeting specific changes
Remember, advertisers now can only pick 8 events. And when IOS users choose to opt-out, only one of 8 events will be registered. And the conversion window is now 7 days instead of 28 days.
To create a lookalike audience on Facebook Ad Manager, advertisers need 100 people who triggered the same event in 7 days. As we will have to deal with limited data, it will possibly cause lower quality of custom & lookalike audiences.
Pro tip: It might be more interesting to pull a list from your own system (CRM or similar tools) of all purchasers last month (which will be bigger than the ones tracked on FB) and use this to create a custom list or a lookalike audience.
Because of these impacts of targeting, we think the importance of CRM systems will skyrocket. Lead generation is going to be more critical. Because if you can enrich your data with CRM tools, you can create new custom and lookalike audiences no matter which limitations you get from the IOS 14 update.
How can we get ready for the IOS 14 update?
There are a few actions you can take to prepare for the latest changes. Facebook also recommends these actions, so you can apply them. The Facebook ads team is also implementing new improvements frequently, and they make it easier for their users to apply recent changes. If you go to your ad manager now, you'll likely see the latest updates and an action plan provided by Facebook.
1. Verify your domain
This step is crucial to have control over your links. To verify your domain, you can follow the next steps. For some parts, you might need a developer.
1. Make sure you have a business manager account.
2. Go to "business settings"
3. Go to 'Brand safety- domains'
4. Add Domain and enter your domain.
5. Use one of the 3 verification methods:
– DNS verification
– HTML file Upload
– Meta-tag verification
After applying these steps, it might take up to 72 hours for Facebook to verify your site. When domain verification is completed, you'll see a small green button next to your domain name.
2. Choose your 8 events and prioritize them
Earlier, we talked about the importance of setting these 8 events. You can go to your events manager to open the page you see below.
All you have to do is choose your pixel and event. Don't forget to rank them based on the priority of your campaign. After you're done, the new settings will be applied in three days.
3. Install the Conversion API
Installing the Conversion API will help you find the way around using the Facebook Pixel. Applying this step will connect your server with Facebook directly.
Here is how it was happening in the old way: the customer comes to your website, a Facebook Pixel event registers, and the information goes to Facebook. But if you install the Conversion API, you can send events (online & offline events) directly from your server to Facebook. Conversion API & Pixel can co-exist. And you are able to choose which events you want to send to FB. It also updates ad tracking by helping bypass issues such as long load times, poor network connections, and ad blockers.
To install the conversion API, follow the next steps:
1. Make sure you have a business manager account
2. Go to the Events manager
3. Conversion API
4. Check if there's a possibility to work with an integration
5. Manual set-up: contact your developer.
4. Rethink your Facebook ads strategy
The things you should keep in your mind
- Cross-check your conversions over different channels (FB/GA/Webshop/etc)
- Focus on the metrics/events you can trust.
- Put emphasis on your CRM data. And adopt one if you don't have a CRM tool already.
- Explore new possibilities & experiment with different set-ups
- Focus on email lead generation and build your own audience.
- When using automated rules, make sure you adjust them based on the changes in attribution models.
- Stay positive & be aware that all the advertisers and businesses are in the same boat!
You can schedule a free call with Amaury to rethink your Facebook advertising strategy with an expert.
Final words on the new IOS update and Facebook ads.
New problems bring new solutions. It's just the way it is. You may think these updates are frightening, but in reality, it's exciting. Because the entire industry is affected and in a very short time, we'll potentially see a new set of improvements, experiments, strategies, and Martech tools that could counter these updates. And more importantly, if you follow the breaking news close enough, you might be the one to benefit the most.
We expect lots of improvements from the Facebook team in the upcoming months. Embrace the situation, and keep your eyes open for the emerging anti-tools and strategies.