Apple has just recently launched its iOS 14 update. While Apple users may be excited for an updated and better software across their devices, advertisers around the world are left wondering what’s next? What is it about the iOS 14 update that is impacting advertisers? Well, speaking for Facebook ads, quite a bit. It’s finally happened; the dreaded iOS 14 update has finally taken its course – so what do we know?
The product and policy changes announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will hinder the growth of small businesses as it directly affects how personalized Facebook ads are handled.
What’s the purpose of personalized ads? To reach out to potential prospects and gather and grow your conversions – whether they be sales, leads, or signups. The new data-sharing policies on iOS will impact Cost-Per-Action prediction and optimization, hypothetically resulting in a less effective advertising campaign. With all the fuss about “data privacy and its use,” this update is being perceived as a major blow to small businesses.
Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s iOS 14 update and its impact on the Facebook advertising platform:
Does Apple’s iOS 14 update affect Facebook Advertising?
Apple unfurls its box of unique updates once again with surprising new policies. However, this new update is something that is not celebrated overall. The advertisement ecosystem is dynamic, and this new change is something of the sort. Every year ads are hit with a newer policy bringing newer changes. Thus, advertisers need to be proactive.
Apple’s 14.5 iOS update provides the user with a new choice. Effective March 2021, users will choose whether they would like to allow social sites like Facebook to access their data through a prompt message. The user provides consent through this prompt.
This article is a complete guide to the iOS 14 update and its bitter-sweet relation with Facebook advertising and the way around it. If you have not experienced these changes, here is a list of changes to look out for and to consider.
1. In-App Advertisement Changes
Back in May 2018, Apple’s ‘SKAdNetwork’ API concept was released to manage user privacy in apps. This was meant to answer the rising privacy concerns for app users around the globe. The SKAdNetwork API has extended its concept and now affects Facebook ads. The problem with this is that the SKAdNetwork API tends to constrict and delay all app event data.
For instance, Facebook conversion campaigns will have issues reporting exact numbers of results, leaving the system to use statistical modelling to determine exact figures. Tools like Facebook’s Conversion API help remedy this and are highly recommended to install for advertisers who have yet to. The reporting of events is delayed for roughly three days after an app is installed.
2. Changes within Business Manager
The iOS 14 update alters to the Facebook Business Manager’s layout. This alters how the tool is handled. This is done because Facebook has the same interface for both iOS and Android.
Though changes might not come in the most obvious ways, things to note are the new annotations marked with either a  or  at the campaign level of reporting. They indicate two different ways your results are being reported.
iOS 14 will make measurement harder than it was before. The new default window will likely result in under-reporting on both paid and unpaid channels. It will also make ‘dark traffic’ stronger, which means tracking some content would be even harder with iOS 14.
Ad reporting will meet a roughly three-day delay before the data is reported from iOS 14 users due to PCM (private click management). The latter has the power to restrict and delay data sharing. That’s when the advertiser is faced with complications, deciding to report on the data that you see in front of you or wait until more data trickles in after 3-ish days.
4. Mobile Web Advertising
If you think the SKAdNetwork API is the only thing that will impact advertisers, you are mistaken. The real story is the PCM (Private Click Management). This attribution to the web will
strongly restrict data access to business platforms.
When a user clicks on an ad on Facebook and buys through that link, the PCM blocks this process and scrambles the data making it difficult to track and attribute to the original source. Geographical tracking will also be slightly hindered – for instance, if a user from Canada looks upon an ad from the UK and is redirected to the brand’s local site, it will not be able to accurately attribute the location of said purchase.
5. Optimization and Tracking
The new eight-event pixel cap is designed specifically for verified domains. This means advertisers can carry out only eight conversion events per verified domain. This allows advertisers to organize these eight events according to their priority. As far as reporting and audience creation goes, you can still use multiple (more than 8) events to do so.
In short, tracking and optimization are going to be harder than ever before. When there are not enough data points, small businesses with small budgets can be largely impacted. This will also decrease the size of retargeting audiences.
How can advertisers prepare for the iOS 14 update?
This massive update is tricky to navigate but brings along some solutions which can be executed before the update affects your business. Take a look:
1. Get Your Domains Verified
Verified domains are now a must on Facebook’s platform. And believe it or not, verifying your domain isn’t rocket science. Just add the DNS TXT entry to your DNS record, and Voila! You can also upload the Facebook-provided HTML file – which also is a straightforward route.
2. Choose Your Priority Events (Aggregated Events)
Get all your events in order and mark the most important event (to you) as the priority event in your Event Manager. The pixel owner should sort out the most important events you want as an advertiser. You can check Facebook’s official overview of events and guide to learn how to do this.
3. Calculate Your 28-day and 7-day Attribution
It would help if you learned the effect of window attribution on your business before Facebook removes the 28-day attribution window. You need to keep track of sales from day 1 to day 28.
4. Auto-Advanced Matching
You should turn on the Auto-Advanced Matching in the Events Manager. This will help you monitor the effect on campaigns after targeting and optimization.
Prove-it Post Purchase Surveys is another tool that you need to install to help you collect data from customers voluntarily.
Indeed, this update is a bummer for many, but advertisers can cope with it through diligent note-taking and ahead-of-time execution. The most proactive advertisers will be rewarded with greater knowledge, and get ahead of the curve when it comes to reporting. The update is still very new, and we are learning as the days go by.