How iOS14 Will Impact Advertising on Facebook and Beyond

iOS14 update

Apple has announced the iOS14 update that will give iPhone users the opportunity to opt-out of being tracked.

So why does this have Facebook advertisers in a panic?

Well, if you’re not sure how Facebook advertising works – to put it very simply, Facebook keeps a track of what sites you visit so it knows what you’re interested in. It will then feed that data to advertisers so that they can get in front of the right audience.

Even though this opt-out is only for iPhone (and excludes Androids or desktops), it still calls for concern as approximately 30-50% of Facebook sessions are from an iPhone. So for businesses who rely heavily on Facebook ads to bring in new customers, this could have quite an impact on their income.

But it's not all doom and gloom for advertisers. In this post, I will explain what this means for the advertisers and what steps you should be taking now.

Why Have Apple Created the iOS14 Opt-Out?

facebook vs apple

Basically, it’s a battle of the tech giant (Apple) vs the advertising giant (Facebook).

Apple wants to get a piece of the pie and the only way they can do that is hit Facebook where it’s going hurt them most.

Obviously, Facebook didn’t want to comply with this optional tracking opt-out, but Apple threatened to remove the Facebook App from the App store.

Apple is trying to be seen as a company that values your data but at the same time, they're not applying these rules to their own data transparency. Once they collect your data they can do whatever they want with it and they want to stop advertisers from getting access to that valuable information.

What Does This Mean for iPhone Users?

Basically, if you opt-out of tracking this means that Facebook will have less data on you and you will be receiving more irrelevant ads.

iOS14 update

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

Your targeting, delivery, measurement and reporting will all be affected. Here’s why:

  • When someone opts-out, they don’t actually become totally invisible. You will still be able to track a single event. For example, if you choose that your priority is to track the purchase event, then you will know when it is completed. But you can’t track the steps they took before or after that.
  • Advertisers will be limited to 8 Conversion events per domain, including both standard events and custom conversions, for optimization.
  • The 28-Day attribution window will change to 7-day click through. For example, if someone browses a site and adds something to the cart but doesn’t purchase until a few weeks later – this will no longer be tracked and attributed to your Facebook ad because the window is now only 7 days.
  • There is up to 24-48 hours delay on reporting in the ads manager.

Delivery of ads will therefore be less efficient and custom audience sizes will likely decrease.

The Five Steps That Facebook Advertisers Need to Take Right Now

1. Verify your Domain

Businesses need to think about how they can leverage a multiple domain strategy with multiple ad accounts in order to get more than the 8 conversion events which are allocated to your domain.

So what constitutes a domain in Facebook?

Single domain examples:

  • (which is a subdomain)

Two domains: and are considered 2 separate domains. The extension is different here so you can create 2 different ad accounts and therefore receive 8 x 2 the conversion events.

What about Third-party domains?
You won’t be able to use third-party domains such as Click Funnels.

2. App-Based Businesses Need to Update to SKD 8.1

App-Based businesses are the most hardest hit by this IOS14 update and need to update to SKD 8.1 now.

3. Conversion API

The much bigger problem that’s coming is that browser-based reporting and tracking is going to disappear soon. This has been confirmed by all the browsers including Safari and Chrome.

Cookies and cookie tracking will be removed from your browser. This will affect retargeting for anyone using third party pixels in a big way.

How it works at the moment:

Basically, it works browser to browser – as soon as someone opts into something on a website, the pixel fires, the cookie is activated and this information is pushed over to Facebook.

How it will work moving forward:

Conversion API is designed to help businesses maintain data privacy whilst delivering personalized advertising experiences to customers and audiences. This is done by tracking users at a server-based level. Here’s how it works:

  1. User opts-in to something on a website
  2. Code will be attributed to them
  3. This information is added to their user profile which will be held in your CRM or landing page software.
  4. Once that fires inside that server or software, this then gets pushed to Facebook based upon their IP address
  5. It gets matched to the user’s profile and that fires the conversion event

This is much more complicated to match and we are relying on IP address, email, phone and location matching from a server.

You can set this up using Zapier which is a little complicated and you will need some coding.

The current best practice is to set this up and start testing it whilst still using pixels. You will need to shift over to this at some stage – so testing conversion API is really important right now so that when things shift over you’ll be in a much better space.

4. Plan and Prioritize Key Conversion Events

Advertisers will be limited to 8 Conversion events per domain, including both standard events and custom conversions. For optimization, you’ll need to prioritize them in order of importance.

When someone opts-out, Facebook will still be able to track a single event or action that person took so you advertisers need to decide the order of importance of the data they want to see.

What that looks like:

An example of the typical conversions you’ll set up in order of tracking priority:
1. Purchase
2. Initiate checkout
3. Add to cart
4. Lead / Source
5. Search
6. View content

For a Lead Generation campaign to Book a Call the order of priority can look something like this:

1. Call Booked
2. Application completed
3. Lead
4. View content

5. Use Ads That Keep the User Within Facebook

You can still retarget users based on your Facebook Ad engagement because anything that’s on Facebook will stay there from a reporting standpoint. So try to use lead ad campaigns, messenger campaigns and video view campaigns.

Tracking Software Options and Strategies to Combat iOS14

The tools you can use to help you combat 1OS14 are:

Facebook Tools:
Ads Manager, Conversions API

Web analytics tools:
Google analytics

Click aggregation:
Tools such as Wicked Reports or Hyros

Try not to get lost in having too much information though – it can be overwhelming and stop you from making any decisions at all. It’s best to take a more holistic view of things. You can do this by:

Utilising your CRM better:
You can feed the information on your warm audience to your CRM and then feed that to Facebook to retarget them correctly. You can do this by using unique URL’s, coupons or numbers.

For example, when a restaurant runs an advert it’s hard for them to track where they have seen the ad when they come to redeem the offer. However, if they have a different coupon code for every campaign, they can track which campaigns delivered the results.

URL Parameters:
Keep using your UTM parameters – they are still reporting everything back to your software.

Final Thoughts

Try not to panic as there are still ways we can target ads. Just try to get on top of it now and set up your conversion API so the transition for you is much easier.

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Elena Kapp

Elena Kapp is the Head Media Buyer at Your Social Voice. Elena hails from South Africa but has spent the best part of the last decade in sunny Perth with her hubby and two beautiful boys.

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