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The Impact of Apple iOS 14 Update on Facebook Ads

Published on: November 17 2023 by Nick Theriot

The Impact of Apple iOS 14 Update on Facebook Ads

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Impact of iOS 14 Update on Advertisers
    • 2.1 Background on iOS 14 Update
    • 2.2 The Statement by Tim Cook
    • 2.3 Changes to App Tracking Transparency
    • 2.4 How Advertisers Are Affected
  3. Understanding How Tracking Works
    • 3.1 The Role of Facebook's Pixel
    • 3.2 Transferring Data from Facebook to Website
    • 3.3 The Use of Cookies for Tracking
    • 3.4 The Future of Tracking: Conversion API
  4. The Effects of App Tracking Transparency
    • 4.1 Smaller Retargeting Pool
    • 4.2 Algorithm Optimization Challenges
    • 4.3 Conversion Events per Domain
    • 4.4 Cross-Domain Tracking Limitations
    • 4.5 Changes in Reporting and Attribution
  5. Strategies to Adapt to iOS 14 Update
    • 5.1 Verify Your Domain
    • 5.2 Set Up Server-Side Integration and Tagging
    • 5.3 Focus on List Building
    • 5.4 Embrace Influencer Marketing
    • 5.5 Increase Video Ads
    • 5.6 Analyze Overall ROAS
    • 5.7 Stay Up to Date on Trends and News
  6. Conclusion

The Impact of iOS 14 Update on Advertisers

Introduction

The iOS 14 update released by Apple in December 2020 has caused significant disruption in the world of online advertising. With the introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT), users now have the choice to allow or deny apps and websites from tracking their data. This update has raised concerns among advertisers who heavily rely on user data for targeting and optimization. In this article, we will explore the implications of the iOS 14 update on advertisers and provide strategies to adapt to these changes effectively.

2. The Impact of iOS 14 Update on Advertisers

2.1 Background on iOS 14 Update

The iOS 14 update brought about a fundamental shift in the way user data is collected and used by apps and websites. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, stated that users should have the choice over the data that is being collected about them and how it is used. This statement sent shockwaves through the advertising industry, as it signaled a significant change in the way advertisers operate.

2.2 The Statement by Tim Cook

Tim Cook's statement emphasized the importance of user privacy and the need for advertisers to obtain permission before tracking user activity across apps and websites. This means that platforms like Facebook, Google, and YouTube must now ask for explicit consent from users to track their activities for targeted advertising purposes.

2.3 Changes to App Tracking Transparency

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is the feature introduced by Apple in iOS 14 that requires apps to request the user's permission before tracking their data. When a user lands on a website after clicking on an ad, a prompt will appear, asking if they allow the app or website to track their activity across other companies' apps and websites. Users can choose to allow tracking, opt-out, or not allow tracking altogether, creating a challenge for advertisers who rely on this data for effective targeting.

2.4 How Advertisers Are Affected

Advertisers, especially media buyers, business owners, and marketing managers, are directly impacted by the iOS 14 update. The ability to track user actions on websites becomes limited, and retargeting audiences shrink significantly. The algorithm optimization process becomes more challenging due to the reduced data available for optimization. Additionally, conversion events per domain are restricted, cross-domain tracking is no longer supported, and reporting and attribution become more complex.

3. Understanding How Tracking Works

3.1 The Role of Facebook's Pixel

Facebook's Pixel plays a crucial role in tracking user activities and providing advertisers with valuable data for campaign optimization. When a user clicks on an ad and lands on a website, Facebook's Pixel sends information such as the ad click ID and user details to the website, establishing a communication link between Facebook and the user's activities on that website.

3.2 Transferring Data from Facebook to Website

Once the user reaches the website, cookies are downloaded onto their device, which houses Facebook's Pixel. This Pixel tracks the user's activity on the website, enabling advertisers to gather data on actions such as views, add to cart, and purchases. This data is essential for analyzing campaign performance and retargeting users with personalized ads.

3.3 The Use of Cookies for Tracking

Cookies serve as the communication link between the user's device and Facebook's Pixel, allowing data to be transmitted back and forth. However, with the rise of privacy concerns, cookies are becoming obsolete. In 2022, Google predicts that cookies will no longer be supported in Google Chrome, leading to a shift towards server-side conversions API.

3.4 The Future of Tracking: Conversion API

Server-side conversions API is an alternative tracking method that relies on the server hosting the website to track user activities. Instead of using cookies, the server communicates directly with Facebook, providing data on user actions. This eliminates the reliance on cookies and ensures continued tracking effectiveness even in a cookie-less future.

4. The Effects of App Tracking Transparency

4.1 Smaller Retargeting Pool

One of the significant impacts of App Tracking Transparency is the reduction in available retargeting audiences. As more users opt-out of tracking, the retargeting pool becomes smaller, limiting the ability to deliver personalized ads to specific segments.

4.2 Algorithm Optimization Challenges

With less data available for optimization, the algorithm's ability to target the right audience and optimize campaigns becomes more challenging. Advertisers will need to focus more on narrowing down interests and testing different audience segments to find the best-performing groups.

4.3 Conversion Events per Domain

The iOS 14 update imposes limits on the number of conversion events that can be optimized per domain. While Shopify stores might not face significant issues, businesses with multiple domains or sales funnels will need to carefully plan their conversion events to ensure optimal tracking and optimization.

4.4 Cross-Domain Tracking Limitations

Cross-domain tracking, where a single pixel tracks user activities across multiple domains, is no longer supported. This poses challenges for businesses with multiple websites or domains, as tracking and optimizing user actions becomes more complicated.

4.5 Changes in Reporting and Attribution

The iOS 14 update leads to changes in reporting and attribution within Facebook's Ads Manager. Advertisers will experience data discrepancies, delayed reporting, and a shift towards reporting based on the time of conversion rather than the time of ad impression. This makes it harder for advertisers to make informed decisions on campaign performance and budget allocation.

5. Strategies to Adapt to iOS 14 Update

5.1 Verify Your Domain

Verifying your domain within Facebook's Business Manager is essential to establish credibility and ensure smooth tracking and optimization. This process involves confirming ownership of your domain and linking it to your Facebook ad account.

5.2 Set Up Server-Side Integration and Tagging

Migrating towards server-side integration and tagging, such as Facebook's Conversion API, is crucial in preparing for a cookie-less future. This method enables tracking without relying on cookies and ensures effective communication between your server and Facebook.

5.3 Focus on List Building

Building an email list becomes even more critical in a post-iOS 14 advertising landscape. Relying on owned marketing channels like email marketing allows you to reach your audience directly without relying solely on tracking and retargeting.

5.4 Embrace Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing provides an alternative to traditional ad targeting by leveraging the influence of popular figures in your niche. Partnering with relevant influencers who have engaged audiences can help drive traffic and conversions without relying heavily on tracking data.

5.5 Increase Video Ads

Video ads offer a powerful way to engage users and retarget them based on the amount of time they spent watching your videos. Video engagement audiences are still compliant with the iOS 14 update, making them a valuable tool for effective targeting and optimization.

5.6 Analyze Overall ROAS

Instead of relying solely on Facebook's reporting, analyze overall return on ad spend (ROAS) by considering Shopify revenue divided by total ad spend. This provides a more comprehensive view of your campaign's performance and allows for better decision-making.

5.7 Stay Up to Date on Trends and News

Stay informed about the latest updates and trends related to iOS 14 and its impact on advertising. Resources such as Facebook for Business, Apple's official documentation, and ad leaks can provide valuable insights and help you adapt to the changing landscape.

6. Conclusion

The iOS 14 update and the introduction of App Tracking Transparency have created challenges for advertisers in tracking and targeting users effectively. However, by adapting to these changes and implementing strategies that focus on list building, influencer marketing, video ads, and overall performance analysis, advertisers can still thrive in this new landscape. It is crucial to stay informed, experiment with different approaches, and be adaptable to navigate the evolving world of online advertising effectively.

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