iOS 14 and Facebook – What the latest changes mean for your business

1st February 2021

You may have heard (or read) about the recent changes to iOS14, which launched back in September 2020, but this may have left you confused as to what effect this will have on you and your business.

In this article I am going to break this down for you in laymen’s terms and give you a few pointers on what you can do to minimise this impact. The changes raise questions for both apps and websites, but this article will focus primarily on the impact on and changes that need to be made by website owners.

What is the change?

Apple introduced what they have called their “App Tracking Transparency Framework” with an aim to give their users the choice as to whether their information will be tracked “across Apps and Websites owned by other companies”. This comes as no surprise as people become more and more conscious of their data privacy and what data is being collected.

In basic terms, this means that all iOS14 users will be given an opt-in notice to give permission to any given app track what you do within that app.

In response to this change, Facebook has also implemented some changes in regards to how its users can set up Facebook ads.

How will it impact me?

This is a fantastic question, and truthfully I don’t think anyone has an answer to that question.

If you are an Apple iOS 14 user – it will give you more power over what data of yours is tracked. If you decide not to accept the tracking, this, in turn, will make it a little trickier for advertising platforms to offer up relevant adverts.

If you are an advertiser, this is where things become a little more complicated.

We currently don’t know how many people will choose to opt-in to the tracking option.

We also don’t know exactly what impact Facebook’s changes will have when people do allow tracking…

The Key Issues

Less people being tracked

The more people who decline to opt-in to the tracking functionality, the fewer results will be reported in your ads manager.  Don’t get me wrong, the iOS users will still be able to go through and complete your sales process – you just won’t see it in your Facebook Ads Manager results, meaning the cost per action will increase and return on ad spend will decrease.

Audience optimisation

If fewer people are being tracked, this will have a negative impact on your pixel’s learning capacity. It will be receiving less information about what your audience likes/dislikes and therefore your ads may not be as well optimised as they previously would have been.

iOS 14 users who have not opted in will also no longer be included in your Lookalike or Retargeting audiences, which will impact the effectiveness of these types of audiences.

Max 8 Events

Facebook’s pixel (the tracking code) will now be limited to a maximum of 8 events. These events are pre-determined actions that a visitor can take on your site and be tracked back to you. These could be a page view, an add-to-basket or a purchase. If you have a fairly basic funnel (sales process), with 8 actions or less to complete the sale, you won’t need more than the now allowed 8 events. However, if your funnel is a little more complex with multiple products or processes to track, this will now become more difficult.

In addition to this 8 event limit, Facebook’s new system now sorts your events in terms of priority, with only the highest priority event being tracked.

So for example, if someone visits your site and adds-to-basket, but doesn’t complete the purchase, the event that would be tracked would be the add to cart. If they had gone through to purchase, the tracked event would be the purchase. This limits the amount of reporting data you will receive for your campaign.

Facebook will have automatically ranked your events into a priority order based on your previous campaigns. But it is still very important to check this fits with your requirements and decide for yourself which events are the most important to track for your business.

You will need to verify your domain with Facebook to be able to check and edit this – you can find out more about how to do this here.

Number of days tracked

Facebook have now put a limit on the length of the conversion window for your ad. The options are:

  • 1-day click
  • 7-day click (default)
  • 1-day click and 1-day view
  • 7-day click and 1-day view

In basic terms, these settings determine how long Facebook will track a user’s activity after they click on your ad.

Again, for a number of businesses, this will not be a big issue. If, on the other hand, your business has a longer sales process, where it would generally take a user more than 7 days to complete their purchase, this is likely to mean that a lot of sales will go unreported by Facebook.

This change is not limited to iOS users, so will affect all visitors across the board.

This factor could definitely play a role in determining your audience size, so it is worth bearing this in mind. You may need to adjust the audience you are targeting to hit the same number of people you are used to reaching.

So what do you need to do?

1. Verify your domain

Let Facebook know that it is your domain and you have control over it to be able to make the relevant changes in you Ads Manager.

2. Analyse your previous results

Take a look to see how many of your visitors were iOS users. This will give you an idea of just how much your reporting could be affected. Note that I say could – we still don’t know how many iOS users will opt in!

3. Analyse your sales process

What visitor actions are the most important for you to track? Narrow this down the the 8 actions that are most important for you and get these set up accordingly in your pixel.

It is obviously extremely important that people have the right to choose whether their online activity is tracked, that is for sure. It is a shame that is has the potential to have such an impact on the rates of success of digital advertising, but it is important nonetheless.  The key to making sure that changes such as this one do not impact your business negatively is to keep alert to the changes in modern technology and change with them.

In this case for example, if retargeting is a huge element of your business, why not focus some of your advertising on collecting emails? Moving your ad objectives across from conversion or catalogue sales to lead generation and in doing so collecting emails from your potential customers. This will make you less reliant on the data that would previously have been collected from your pixel and will give you ample opportunity to retarget your leads by email!

So in summary, it is impossible to categorically define the impact the changes iOS14 has brought to the table will have on any given business, however it is possible to prepare ourselves for these changes and react by implementing the few simple steps mentioned above to try to limit the impact!

Need some help to get your head around this?

If you would like to discuss how any of this could impact your business, why not get in touch and we can work together to find the best solution for you and your business!

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