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How Apple's iOS 14 Update May Affect Your Facebook Ads

As an agency or advertiser, it is important to prepare for iOS 14 and how this may affect your ads. In June 2020, Apple announced changes with iOS 14 that affect how advertisers receive and process some conversion events from business tools including the Facebook Pixel and Conversions API. Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices. This content comes to you today as Facebook is providing more guidance to advertisers on the subject after a long-standing debate pressing Apple to pull back these new business practices citing they are “potentially hurtful to small businesses” and the impact this can have to advertisers with “no meaningful consultation” (Source: CNBC). As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

Under Apple’s new policy, businesses will be limited in their ability to measure the performance of some web conversion events because of reporting limitations of iOS 14 devices. The following limitations are expected across Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, and the Ads Insights API.

  • Delayed reporting: Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days. Web conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of the associated ad impressions.
  • Estimated results: For web conversion events, statistical modeling may be used to account for conversions from iOS 14 users.
  • No support for breakdowns: For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported.
  • Changes to account attribution window settings: Once Apple enforces their iOS 14 requirements the attribution window for all new or active ad campaigns will be set at the ad set level, rather than at the account level. The new ad set attribution setting can be accessed during campaign creation. This ad set level attribution setting ensures that the conversions measured are the same ones used to inform campaign optimization, and will allow for increased flexibility and clarity when analyzing ad performance.

FB-IG

Source: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

What does this mean for you? Soon, iOS 14 users opening an app for the first time will be shown a permission notice with two selections: "Allow Tracking" and "Ask Apps Not to Track”. A key impact of this change is that advertisers will be limited to the use of 8 conversion events per domain through Domain Verification that can be used for optimization.

FB iOS

Source: Apple Insider

Domain verification is the method that establishes which Business Manager account has the authority to configure and prioritize the 8 available conversion events for a given domain. Domain verification requires the webmaster for your domain to place a special code on your website. Only a person with access to your business can do this. According to Facebook, “You may need to consider if you’ll be required to optimize for upper funnel objectives like landing page views and link clicks. For example, if you can’t verify your domains or currently use more than 8 conversion events per domain for optimization or reporting, you should consider optimizing for upper funnel optimizations like landing page views. Landing page views aren’t subject to the 8 conversion event per domain limitation”.

How do I verify my domain? At this time, there are 3 domain verification methods available to advertisers and web developers:

  1. HTML file upload: Upload an HTML file provided by Facebook to your web directory and confirm domain ownership in Business Manager
  2. DNS TXT record: Add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record to confirm that you own the domain
  3. Add a meta tag to the <head> section of your domain home page

Important Note: The precise steps you need to perform to add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record may vary by domain host and users will need admin access to the website's root folder to perform the HTML verification. More information can be found via Facebook for Web Developers.

MSM’s take: There is currently no set timeline for when iOS 14 will take full effect. In this case, advertisers and agencies should be cautious in new conversion based campaigns. MayoSeitz Media (MSM) recommends those who use the Facebook Pixel or Conversions API take the necessary actions sooner than later, consult with their partner agency on metrics vital to their marketing objectives, and prioritize those needs. We are ready to assist you during this time. MSM is a proud Premier Google Partner and member of the 4As Mid-Sized Media Community.

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Alexandra McLaughlin