If you’re running Facebook Ads, you may have seen a notification pop up with a warning about the latest iOS update and how this will affect your online advertising.

Will the iOS 14 - 14.5 Update Affect Your Online Advertising?

Facebook Audience Network

Up until now, the tracking cookie was enabled by default for iOS users, but now users can’t be tracked by default anymore. This means that there is less data for ad targeting. Facebook says that they will continue to serve ads, however the ability to deliver personalised ads on iOS 14 will be limited.

The ability to accurately target and measure campaigns on the Audience Network will be impacted; while it should result in lower CPMs (Cost Per Mille or 1,000 impressions) on the Audience Network, you will have more clutter since targeting will be less accurate.

Facebook App Install campaigns for iOS

The main objective of App Install Facebook campaigns is to drive app installs. As we receive less data from iOS users, it becomes more difficult to run these Facebook campaigns for iOS users. Therefore, targeting and retargeting will be limited.

Facebook audience building

When users choose not to be tracked anymore, this will have an impact on your collected remarketing audiences, which will then have an impact on lookalike audiences. Even the standard Facebook interest audiences will suffer under it, since there will be less data available to base the audiences on.

Facebook conversion events

Advertisers are now limited to 8 conversion events per domain. This includes pixel events and custom conversions. Optimised ad sets for an event or conversion which fall outside of these 8 ‘chosen ones’, will be paused.

Let's say you have conversions placed on page views and user actions. In this case, when someone visits your website (page view - conversion 1), visits a product page, adds something to the cart (add to cart, conversion 2), makes a purchase (purchase - conversion 3), you're good.

Facebook delivery & optimisation

If Facebook tracks fewer events, it would be more difficult to optimise your ad sets and ad sets could have a harder time leaving the learning phase.

Facebook reporting

There will be a significant delay in reporting. So, don’t panic if you don’t see any results coming in right after you launch your Facebook ad. From now on, it will take one to three days between someone taking action and you seeing that data. It means you’ll have to change your approach from short-term (1 day) to long-term (1 week) approach.

What’s more? When you compare today’s data with data before the iOS 14 - 14.5 update, it will likely look like your results have declined. This occurs because the Attribution Window is changing from 28-day to 7-day click: in other words, leads, conversions and events will only be tracked and registered for 7 instead of 28 days after (an interaction with) your Facebook ad. Fortunately, you can still analyze the additional conversions in Google Analytics and Shopify too.

facebook report

What can you do?

1. Check the iOS share of your audiences

When setting up your ad set, you can figure out the share of iOS users. How? Go to your Google Analytics Account to see how big the iOS share of your users is. Otherwise, you could use the targeting estimates at the ad set level, filter on iOS devices and see what percentage of your users are iOS users within your targeted group.

2. Get your domain verified

In order to get a hold of your 8 configured events, you will need to get your domain verified in your Facebook Business Manager. To do this, surf to business.facebook.com.Then you can find ‘Domains’ under the ‘Brand safety’ tab. There, you can add a new domain. You will then get instructions on how to verify the domain. In our experience, the easiest way to do it is via a HTML file upload.

3. Choose which conversion events you will use

Don’t wait until it’s too late, start thinking about these 8 conversion events now. Remember: these conversions include pageviews, add to cart, purchase, lead, complete registration and custom conversions. Which conversions you choose best is totally up to you and the goals for your business.

4. Consider removing the Audience Network

When you rely heavily on the Audience Network, you will need to rethink your strategy. It’s better to focus on the other ad placements provided by Facebook.

5. Improve your first-party data

Focus on gathering first-party data, such as email addresses, in order to build (lookalike) audiences yourself.

marketing report

You can work with Conversions API, an alternative to the Facebook pixel, which allows you to send conversions to Facebook. The API does not work from your client’s browser, but from your own server. This means you are no longer dependent on cookies and can bypass the whole iOS 14 - 14.5 update. For more information, we recommend visiting the Conversions API page on Facebook for Developers.

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