Facebook Ads & Apple iOS14 Changes: How to prepare
You may, or may not have heard, Apple announced last year that new app policies (implemented by Apple) are expected to take effect as early as this month – but no date is confirmed as yet.
In a nutshell, these changes affect the way ALL apps on iphone (including Facebook) collects and use data from users. Moving forward, a pop-up prompt will ask users permission to track data. If people opt-in, no changes affect the way Facebook Ads collects and uses that data, but if the user opts-out there are a number of things that will affect advertising on Facebook & Instagram.
This will change the Ads Manager platform significantly, but it is important to note – as a small business owner you will be able to get leads and sales and actions from iOS 14 devices, you just won’t be able to TRACK or optimise your Facebook Ads campaigns as efficiently for those actions.
This will change how you management your Facebook Ad campaigns – their structure, audience targeting, campaign optimisation, ROAS calculations as well as measurement and reporting. Over the coming weeks/ months your Ad Reporting may not be 100% accurate due to these changes, and campaign delivery may be affected, as well as audience sizes may reduce.
What Facebook is doing to minimise the disruption:
Due to these changes, Facebook will start processing web events from iOS 14 devices using Aggregated Event Measurement, which supports advertisers’ efforts to preserve user privacy while running effective campaigns. However, this means there will be limitations using Facebook Ads moving forward.
How this affects Facebook & Instagram Advertising:
Limitations will apply to the measurement of some web conversion events (eg. Adds to cart, Purchases etc.) because of reporting limitations from iOS 14 devices. The following limitations are expected across Ads Manager & Ads Reporting:
1. Ad Creation Limitations:
Under Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement, each business domain (your website) will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain.
For mobile applications:
Your app will only be allowed to associate with one single ad account. Although, the same ad account can be used to advertise for multiple apps. Each app is limited to 9 iOS 14 campaigns at the same time & each campaign is limited to five ad sets of the same optimisation type.
There is a 72-hour reset period after you turn off or delete one of your nine permitted iOS 14 campaigns before it will no longer count against your limit.
Auction is the only available buying option when you create an ad for devices on iOS 14; reach and frequency are not available.
Once your campaign is published, you won’t be able to turn the iOS 14 campaign toggle on or turn off. You’ll have to turn off or delete your campaign.
2. Ad Reporting Limitations:
Delayed reporting: Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days. Visibility will be reduced in the Ads Manager platform. Because the pixel isn’t learning as well, the ads possibly won’t be optimized as well to people who are taking the actions.
Estimated results: Statistical modelling may be used to account for conversions from iOS 14 users. Tracking Pixel Actions (any tracking such as Leads, Add to Cart, Purchases, custom conversions, etc. with the Pixel) will now be under-reported due to people opting out of tracking.
Changes to attribution: The default for all new or active ad campaigns will be set at a 7-day click & 1-day view attribution window (this commenced January 20, 2021). While these changes won’t impact ad delivery, the new default attribution setting may result in a decrease in the number of reported conversions. More info here.
‘Breakdown reporting’ limited: At a granular level, reporting won’t be available based on age, gender, region, and placement.
3. Targeting Limitations:
Custom Audience sizes may reduce: As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, custom audiences based on website events may reduce. In other words – your retargeting, and lookalike audience sizes may reduce. When we create a Retargeting audience, anyone who visited your website from an iOS 14 device may not see your retargeted ad.
4. Dynamic Ad Limitations:
Dynamic ads limitations: (Your retargeting/ abandon cart size) audience may reduce as more devices update to iOS 14 (and people opt out). Your pixel will only report and optimise for a maximum of eight conversion events for each domain. Facebook will auto-configure the top 8 conversion events most relevant to your business based on previous activity. All other events will be paused but you can manage your preferences in Events Manager.
How do these limitations impact your (small to medium-sized) business?
Don’t stress out. You are still going to get leads and sales from iOS devices, you just won’t “see” them all in the Ads Manager reports. So your cost per action is going naturally to go up.
But the biggest problem is the longer term loss of optimisation – advertising is going to become less efficient, effective and personalised due to limitation of action breakdowns (based on age, gender etc), and it’s going to be harder to retarget and build lookalike audience from events.
It is definitely a wait and see game at the moment – how much is going to be impacted will vary from business to business.
Running Facebook Ads? Here’s your action steps to prepare for these changes.
The following are action items to prepare for these changes. There are a couple of things we can action NOW to help mitigate risks in downtime with Facebook Ads, and I’ve listed them below:
1. Verifying your website domain:
Why this needs to be done: Verifying your website domain will allow you to configure conversion events for a given domain when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available. If domain verification is not done, you will not be able to edit the conversion event configuration for the domain.
How to do it: You or your web development team will need to check, and if it’s not – you will need to verify your website address. (You can do this via Business Manager – instructions are here)
2. Decide which 8 conversion events your business needs
A big change here is that Facebook is scaling back the tracking events to a maximum of 8 events per domain. So, businesses with more than 8 conversion event per domain will need to come up with an action plan on how to operate with 8 conversion events per domain for optimisation.
What you need to do: Facebook will auto-configure the best 8 conversion events based on past activity but you may need to make changes to the configuration – you can do this in Events Manager.
3. Anticipate changes to attribution windows and update automated rules
Review how many purchases/ leads are from iOS devices. Start understanding how many purchases/leads and other events are from iOS devices.
How to do it: Use the Comparing Windows feature to see how conversions attributed to their ads compared across different attribution windows. This will help you better anticipate any changes in reported conversions that result from moving to a 7-day window. Export any historical 28-day view or click and 7-day view attribution window data you need. Historical data will still be accessible via the Ads Insights API, even after the changes go into effect.
4. Reconsider your Facebook Ads Campaign Strategy
In line with your 8 selected conversion events, reviewing the data from your attribution windows – it’s time to rethink your campaign strategies – what objectives you’re going to use, and who you’re going to target.
For example: Having an email list will reduce the reliance on Pixel optimization (website traffic) for retargeting. Continue to build and promote your email list. For Facebook Ads we’ll be able to use Lead Generation or Conversion Ads for this but Lead Generation ads will have an advantage in the future with the Apple update.
5. Consider your wider marketing strategy
What other marketing tactics are you using to promote your business and brand? Review your social media efforts, SEO, email marketing, consider display advertising….
Resources & Reading:
- FB Business Help: Facebook Pixel Updates for Apple ios14 Requirements
- FB for Developers: What is Domain Verification & How to Verify your Domain
- FB Business Help: Configure Events to Use Aggregated Event Measurement