iOS14 and Facebook Ads: Impact summary and checklist for how to prepare

Apple recently announced changes with iOS 14 that will impact the way we advertise on Facebook.  The update to iOS devices includes new privacy permissions that users need to explicitly opt in for tracking on third party apps. 

A prompt will appear for users when using all iOS apps to ask if they want to allow tracking or not. Here’s what it looks like:

Facebook Ads are an essential tool for charities to help them drive donations, recruit supporters and raises awareness of their services, so any changes to how effective Facebook Ads are will be concerning for nonprofits everywhere.

To help you and clients of our Facebook Ads Agency get ahead of these iOS14 changes, here’s our overview of the impact on Facebook Ads and the checklist of things you need to do so you can continuing advertising with little disruption.

How will iOS14 affect Facebook and Instagram ads?

iOS14 means that users can very easily opt out of allowing any apps in the Facebook family (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp) to track across their online activity using the Facebook Pixel.

If done properly, all Facebook advertising strategies will have some form of remarketing, conversion tracking, or lookalike generation these all rely on the effectiveness of the Facebook tracking pixel.

If all Facebook users who use an iOS device opt out of Facebook’s tracking, you will not be able to subsequently advertise to those individuals via remarketing in the future on their mobile device.

Essentially this means we’ll see less results tracked via Facebook Business Manager from iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices.

The trend towards de-personalized ads is going to have an impact on those looking to boost sales via Facebook . In particular, a loss of personalization that could result in 60% fewer website conversions from ads.

Impact on Facebook Conversion Events

Once the iOS 14 Privacy Update rolls out you’ll only be able to associate eight conversion events for each Facebook Pixel. This means you will only be allowed to optimize for a maximum of eight conversions events – including custom conversions.

If you do not reduce your conversion events down to eight, Facebook will define them for you based on which ones Facebook thinks is most relevant to your business.

Once this change happens any campaigns or ad sets that optimize for an inactive conversion event will stop running, so it’s best to be proactive.

How? Identify the most important conversion events in your funnel then reduce them down to eight key conversion events prior to the update.

Impact on Facebook Ads optimisation

If Facebook is tracking fewer events, it will be more difficult to effectively optimize your ad sets.

If you optimise for an action, such as donations or email signups, Facebook will show your ads to people most likely to perform that action.

But volume is necessary to make this effective, or your Facebook ad campaigns will fail to exit the learning phase. 

As such, there will likely be an impact on Facebook’s ability to optimise for iOS device due to an expected drop in event volume.

Impact on Facebook Audience Network

Facebook Audience Network is a network of ads that appear mostly on mobile apps, outside of the Facebook family.

There are two primary sides to Facebook Audience Network: Publishers, who place ads on their apps (and sometimes mobile websites) to monetize their product; and advertisers, who spend to reach their targeted audience while using these apps.

In preparing Audience Network for iOS14 , Facebook says that they “will continue to serve ads, however our ability to deliver personalised ads on iOS14 will be limited.” They tell publishers to expect ad revenue to decrease.

Facebook says it “may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS14 in the future.”

What does this mean for advertisers who use Audience Network among their ad placements to reach their audience?

According to Facebook, the ability to deliver targeted ads via Audience Network will be impacted. This means that some Facebook users may see less relevant ads. The result should be lower CPMs, but the percentage of ad distribution to Audience Network is mostly negligible at the moment, so it may not affect performance of your campaigns too much at all.

How can you prepare your Facebook Ads for iOS14?

To help you get ahead of these iOS14 changes, our friends at Platypus Digital put together this excellent step by step of what to do, so you can continuing advertising with little disruption:

  • See what percentage of your traffic and revenue is driven by Apple devices (iPad, iPhone). It’s important to know how much of your regular traffic will be affected by these changes, for example knowing that 40% of your results were from iOS devices allows you to manage potential decrease on Facebook reported results. 
  • Verify your domain with Facebook Business Manager: This is Facebook’s top tip and will allow you to have authority over which events are eligible for your domain. Facebook has a domain verification guide here.
  • Reduce the Facebook Pixel events you track down to 8 key events. These should include:
  1. Pageview
  2. Donation
  3. Purchase
  4. Lead
  • Consider a marketing, fundraising or digital strategy that strengthens your ‘owned’ data: this includes utilising your CRM data or retargeting lists. Once a supporter signs up to your email list, they’re giving you permission to market to them, making them more valuable than a cold contact.
  • Install Facebook’s Conversion API: Although not directly related, it will help track results as we move to a cookieless world. This is Facebook’s back up to their Pixel and allows them to track events server-side rather than through the browser.
  • Change your attribution model: Some of the options currently available will not be supported in the future (e.g. 28-day click-through). We’d advise changing to a 7-day window for all future campaigns.
  • Make sure you add UTMs to all Facebook Ads: The changes will push marketers back to relying on the last click model for first time acquisition making it more important than ever to accurately and consistently assign UTMs to your Facebook ads.Importing Facebook cost, impression and click data into Google Analytics can provide complete performance reporting outside of the Facebook Ads Manager.

Further iOS14 and Facebook Ads Resources

What steps are you taking to prepare for iOS14? 

Let us know in the comments, or get in touch with us to talk about assisting you with your Facebook Ads campaigns.

Alice Rath

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