This is how the iOS 14 update will affect your Facebook ads

Author: Katharina Rendtslev

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The beginning of 2021 has not exactly been peaceful in the digital world. The discussion regarding Apple’s new iOS 14 update raised more questions than answers. The new update is the immediate culmination of a dispute between Facebook and Apple, about tracking users.

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What is the purpose of the update?

The controversial update will introduce new confidentiality and tracking measures that will hinder the way apps and websites collect and track data. Apple want to give users the opportunity to easily select or deselect tracking through a pop-up that appears on the screen before the user enter their apps.

One of the update’s most affected – and one of the loudest opponents of the change – has been Facebook, who claims the update will make it harder for its advertisers to see and receive data from their campaigns. To accommodate the update, Facebook had to reconsider large parts of its current advertising ecosystem.

Who is affected by Apple's update?

The update will strongly affect many companies and advertisers. With this kind of a pop-up, one must assume that far more people will reject tracking, and one can at best hope that only 50% opt out of tracking. But more people are gradually getting used to cookie policies and data tracking, which is why it is not unrealistic to assume that some will still allow tracking.

Initially, the update only applies to mobile devices (iPhone and iPad). But in Denmark, Apple’s products have a market share of 62%, which is why an update will affect a large part of the advertisers’ target groups.

What will the update affect?

Specifically, the iOS 14.5 update will affect the following:

  • Optimization based on conversion data will be less accurate in the future
  • All data can be delayed for up to 3 days, so it is important to be patient
  • Shorter attribution window of 7 days rather than 28 days
  • Retargeting and Custom Audiences will be smaller due to lack of conversion data
  • Copy target groups/lookalike target groups will also be less effective as they are based on smaller Custom Audiences
  • Fewer goals for customers’ campaigns, because only up to 8 events can be tracked in the future
  • It will not be possible to get the same insight into conversion data

The huge amount of data that Facebook’s algorithm continuously collected has made the algorithm one of the market’s most powerful marketing tools. But with the update, the algorithm will be challenged and become less effective. In the wake of the challenges and the limited amount of data that the update entails, Facebook introduced its own protocol; Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM), that will be based on aggregated data instead of real-time data, which has been possible until now. This is because Apple do not want Facebook to be able to associate a conversion event to a specific person.

Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) aim to make sure that Facebook still are able to track the most important events without it being linked to a personal profile. This will make it possible to still track the results of campaigns, but it does not change the fact that Facebook receive less data and the results may look significantly different than before the update took place.

What do companies and advertisers HAVE to do now?

In the future, companies need to verify their domain, which is done in the Business Manager:

  1. Go to “Company Settings
  2. Next, “Brand Safety
  3. Enter domain name without https and www. Then reload the page.
  4. Subsequently, there are the following methods to verify domain:
    • DNS authentication
    • HTML file transfer
    • Meta tag configuration

With a meta tag, a small code is inserted in the header in the backend of your website. Once that is done, you can verify. This is done under “Company settings” → “Brand safety” → “Domain” and then press “Verify”.

  • Once the domain has been verified, enter and rank your events/happenings. Here you only have the opportunity to rank 8 events against which you can optimize your campaigns.
  • You need to rank your events by importance from 1 to 8. It is possible to have more than 8 events, but it is not possible to optimize your campaigns according to them.
  • The event that you rank as number 1 will be the most important and therefore the event that you will be able to track, even if people said no to tracking.

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A person opt out of tracking and then sees your ad. Your business has ranked purchases as number 1. When the person enter your ad, looks at a product, puts it in the shopping cart, and then make a purchase, it is exclusively the event purchase that will be measured. Facebook are not able to see who the person is, which is why it will be more difficult to create copy target groups.
If the person chooses not to buy, but stays in the shopping basket, and the “shopping basket” is event number 2, then this is the event you will be able to measure, as you have the opportunity to measure one event per person.

*However, you should be aware that if you want to change the order of your events, Facebook created a period of 3 days where you will not have the opportunity to run campaigns. From the day you change the order of your events, it will take up to 24 hours for data from previous campaigns to be collected, and it can take up to 48 hours before you can run campaigns again.

How do you solve the challenge?

It is not impossible to code yourselves out of the update, but the most important part is that you as a company are well informed about the update and its significance. Where Facebook has so far provided the opportunity to effectively use machine learning to develop and train the algorithm, and thereby create significant results, the future will offer less data, limited opportunities for tracking, reporting and targeting.

What is the future for social media advertising?

In the future, companies and advertisers will be forced to restructure their business and transform their digital marketing setup with a more limited focus on data. That is not because there are fewer sales, but because there are less data to analyze the results from.

Therefore, there will be higher expectations for the companies’ and advertisers’ creations and ads in the battle to win the attention of the target groups. In order to collect as much data as possible, the goal will therefore be to try to keep the target group as long as possible on the social platforms, as one will loose data as soon as the target group leave the platform. This can be done via video and lightning experience, where you can target those who just interacted with this content and shown an interest. Then, the use of discount codes can also be an interesting option to measure the effect of one’s campaigns.



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