Facebook & Apple Are Changing Everything…

Discover how the iOS 14 update will impact your marketing in 2021 and beyond.

If you’ve logged into Facebook Ads Manager recently, you might have seen a notification that reads:

“Start preparing for the impact of iOS 14 changes. Apple has announced changes with iOS 14 that will impact how we receive and process events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Once these changes take effect, website domains currently sending events will be initially configured by Facebook to send no more than 8 default events per domain. Any ad sets optimizing for events outside of this new event limit will be paused.”

In June of 2020, Apple announced that the policy amendments included with iOS 14 would go into effect in early 2021. The biggest change that has businesses and marketers concerned is one that seeks to move the needle forward in terms of user data privacy.

Starting as early as January, Apple will be requiring all apps in the App Store (including Facebook and Instagram), to obtain consent for data tracking from each individual user. In practice, what this means is that when users log into their apps, they’ll be shown a notification that reads:

“[App Name] would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. Your data will be used to deliver personalized ads to you.”

The user can then choose to opt in and select “Allow Tracking”, or opt out by clicking “Ask App Not to Track.” When faced with this information, it’s not hard to understand why these policy changes have ruffled quite a few feathers.

If you own a business that relies heavily on ads on Facebook, Instagram (or any other digital channels) to drive revenue, these policy updates will 100% impact you.

Read on to learn more about the upcoming shift, the things you should do immediately to prepare, and how to adjust your marketing strategy in the long-term to ensure you stay ahead of the pack.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note – while there are certainly actions you can take to prepare your assets, much of the subsequent impact is still an unknown. It’s unclear how many users will choose to opt out or opt in, or exactly when the notifications will be fully pushed to all users.


Overview of iOS 14 Policy Updates

  • AppTrackingTransparency framework: App Store apps must ask users for permissions to use data from third-party apps and websites via Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework
  • New protocol for website event attribution that disrupts critical advertising use cases: PCM (private click measurement) restricts, aggregates and delays data that can be shared across businesses and platforms. It does not solve for key advertiser use cases including app-to-web conversion measurement

Learn How iOS 14 Will Impact Facebook & Instagram Ads*

*Note: It’s not only FB and IG ads that will be affected. If you’re running ads on any platform (Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat, TikTok, Google, YouTube, etc.), these changes will affect you.

  • Measurement & reporting
    • Conversion events on your website will be reported based on the time the conversions occur, and not the time of ad impressions. There may also be a 24 – 48hr delay when an offsite conversion is reported
    • Delivery and action breakdowns will no longer be supported for conversion events. Meaning: you won’t be able to view granular campaign results broken down by age, gender, and region.
    • FB will not support 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows
    • While you’ll still see data reporting in Ads Reporting, it won’t be fully tracking all conversions earned from your campaign. Meaning, you will likely see your cost per action rise, even though it isn’t accurate.
  • Advertising tool configuration
    • Advertisers will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain, including both standard and custom conversions, for optimization
    • After making changes to your events, any campaigns using them will be paused for 72hrs
    • When using Value Optimization, each purchase event will count as a minimum of 4 events of the 8 event total
    • Limited reporting available in Ads Manager and Events Manager for additional events outside the allotted 8. You’ll also be able to use events outside the allotted 8 to create website custom audiences.
  • Targeting & delivery
    • Default attribution windows are moving from 7-day click through and 1-day view through to 7-day click through only (for all campaigns with an objective of conversions and catalog sales). Advertisers can expect delivery to be less efficient compared to historical performance.
    • Website custom audiences will decrease in size due to loss of events triggered by iOS 14 users.
    • Advertisers using dynamic ads for retargeting will likely see performance and audience size decrease due to loss of event data captured from iOS 14 users.

Facebook ad objectives that will be impacted

  • Catalog sales: Only purchases that require the user to click-through to the website will be affected. Any transactions happening on Facebook Shops or Instagram Shopping will still track
  • Conversions: Campaigns that are optimized to drive conversions, whether standard or custom, will be negatively impacted
  • Traffic: Ads that optimized for landing page views (which use the pixel) will be impacted. If your campaign is only optimized for link clicks, you won’t see a change
  • App installs: Only in the event that the app is hosted in the Apple App Store
  • Additional: Any pixel events you’re tracking with other objectives will also be impacted.

Here’s What You Need To Do To Prepare

Immediate actions

First, verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager

If a domain has pixel events owned by multiple Business Managers or ad accounts, one Business Manager must verify the domain in order to edit the event configuration. More info & instructions here.

Next, prepare to operate and define the priority of 8 conversion events (maximum) per domain. Identify the 8 most important conversion events for your domain, and be prepared to configure the priority level in Events Manager. (The ability to label your conversion events by priority is not yet available, but will be very soon).

Longer-term changes

As we move into 2021 and beyond, we strongly recommend stepping back to revise your digital marketing strategy and plan. The changes happening due to iOS 14 are not isolated, but instead should serve as a clear indicator of the direction the internet is headed overall. Privacy is increasingly important, as is accessibility, transparency, and (as always), authenticity.

We recommend shifting your strategy and using social channels to reach ToFu (top of funnel) audiences in the awareness phase, putting plenty of love and attention into building out your email subscriber list, and leveraging email and SMS marketing to drive conversions and lower funnel conversions.

Pro-tip: Create a Facebook ad campaign using the objective of lead generation to capture email addresses early. Time you spend building your email list now will earn exponential benefits in the future.

Conclusion

As Apple’s requirements continue to evolve, staying agile and ready to adapt are extremely important. In order to not fall behind or be crushed by sweeping policy changes, businesses of every size have to ensure that they’re not relying too heavily on any one channel as a revenue stream, and that they stay up to date on platform changes.

While it’ll still be possible to earn leads and conversions from users of iOS 14 devices, tracking that data and optimizing campaigns will be much more difficult.