How iOS14 Changes are affecting Facebook Ads and what you can do

How iOS14 Changes are affecting Facebook Ads and what you can do

Big Ideas

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April 30 2021
Big Ideas
Author: Mike Brown

What happened with Apple? 

Each year Apple releases a new operating system (iOS) update. In March of 2021, iOS 14 was released and within it there’s a specific feature causing a stir among marketers. 

In a push to make a concerted effort in protecting user's privacy and data, Apple will now show a prompt to it’s users on all iOS devices (iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch). This prompt will ask permission for the app to track them outside the platform. 

Here's what the prompt says -  [“Example App” 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] 


What does this have to do with Facebook? 

If you’re still wondering what this has to do with Facebook. Simply put, Facebook is an App. Facebook also owns a network of other ubiquitous apps like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Facebook does not want its apps to go from implied consent (100% of users) to opt-in consent (not 100% of users). With free reign to connect a user’s personal info, location data, and other data across all their apps, a very accurate digital fingerprint is created for all users.  

When app data is combined with the information businesses give it through the Facebook Pixel (piece of code that shares a business's website data with the Facebook Ads platform) they can give some very useful information to marketing teams. For an example, see the reporting data for an app built by our sister company First Descent. The app install data that can then be seen for each campaign, all the way down to each specific creative asset or placement. 


So how does this affect my ad campaigns as a marketer?  

If iOS users elect to opt out of Facebook’s tracking, it will greatly inhibit Facebook’s ability to “match” business website traffic to their app’s users, which will have the following effects: 

Targeting options will be reduced.  
If Facebook loses track of who has an app installed on their phone or who has done a specific action, creating hyper-personalized retargeting audiences might be more difficult to do or involve a different process or workflow. This may lead to wasted spend on users outside of your curated audience or limit your ability to write hard-hitting, personalized ad copy.  

Limits the number of events you can track for each user. 
Previously, a website/app could measure an unlimited number of browser-based events for each user (sign-up, add to cart, purchase, CTA clicks, etc.). With the new iOS update, the following will be true: 

If a user opts into cookie tracking – Up to a maximum of 8 events can be measured 

If a user opts out of cookie tracking – Only 1 event returned, based on prioritization settings 

Inhibits the ability for Facebook to self-optimize.  
Every time someone completes a conversion event on your website, Facebook takes note of who that person was and what type of conversion they completed. Facebook is constantly learning and adjusting its algorithm to show your ads to more people who are also likely to convert. With less accuracy in conversion tracking, Facebook’s pixel will be less effective in finding the exact users it would like to, which could lead to a less efficient use of budget. 


So, what can we do to prepare for this?  

If you are doing either of the three things below, there will be some adjustments needed. 

  • Measuring events and conversions (Complete adjustments #1) 
  • Optimizing campaigns for conversions or setting CPA targets (Complete adjustment #1 & #2) 
  • Advertising mobile apps (Complete adjustment #1, #2 & #3) 

BTW, if you are not doing the first two things on the list above, we need to talk…  

Adjustment 1: Update your account with Facebook’s new best practices. 
Update your account to begin using Facebook’s workaround for conversion optimization and mobile app advertising by following these steps. 

1. Ensure your Business Information is up to date with Facebook Business Manager

a. Once updated, request Business Verification if not already completed

2. Turn on two-factor authentication within Facebook Business Manager

3. Verify your domain within Facebook Business Manager

a. Done within Business Manager settings

4. Go to your company’s Pixel in Facebook Events Manager and set-up “Aggregated Event Measurement”

a. This allows you to assign up to 8 conversion events to your newly verified domain

b. Prioritize your events. It is ideal to prioritize bottom up (Ex. 1- Purchase, 2- Add to Cart, 3- View Item) 

At the end of this process, you will be able to have verified events firing and you will be able to view them in your Facebook report. 
The next steps are more optional than required. 

Adjustment 2: Set up “Server Based Tracking” through Facebook Conversions API. 

What is Conversion’s API? It is a feature that allows advertisers to send web events from their servers directly to Facebook, backfilling the information that Facebook needs to match users to events.  

Currently browser-based cookies fill in these information gaps, but having server-based tracking is a workaround to measure important user events, send them to Facebook and have them processed like browser pixel events (current state). 

You can see the difference between the two visually below: 

Browser-based cookie tracking (current state) 

OP-Browser-based-cookie-tracking.png (Source: Markeko - Diego Rios)

Server-based tracking (What marketers are moving to) 

(Source: Markeko - Diego Rios)

Setting server-based tracking up will help you: 
- Reduce reliance on browser-based cookies 
- Improve your conversion and events tracking (less data lost due to privacy settings, ad-blocking tools, page crashes, etc.) 

How to set-up: 
1. Go to your company’s Pixel settings and turn on Automatic Advanced Matching 
2. Set-up Conversions API (Also in Pixel settings) 
a. Set-up through a partner 
i. If you do not see your website CMS as a partner (Shopify, WordPress, etc.), this means it will need to be set-up through custom code and you can find the resource here: 

Adjustment 3: Are you promoting Apps on Facebook? If so, review the specific update below. 
1. Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS14 version 8.1 
a. To help personalize ads delivered to iOS 14 users and continue to receive app conversion events reporting. You can do this from Events Manager and will need to be an app admin to do so. Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 currently supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API and enables measurement for app install ads. If you don’t have the latest version of Facebook’s SDK installed, you may want to install it. 

If you would like to know how this update specifically affects your business, marketing strategy or technology stack. Reach out and we’d be happy to work with you to answer your questions

how to turn on two-factor authentication for Facebook accounts 

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