Whats happening? Apple has announced changes with iOS 14 that will affect how we receive and process conversion events from tools such as the Facebook pixel. Businesses that optimise, target and report on web conversion events from any of Facebook's business tools will be affected.
Specifically, Apple will begin to require that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to users on iOS 14 devices allowing them to easily opt out of tracking.
Apple's policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.
How will it affect Facebook and Instagram Ads?
In the short-term, we can expect to see a drop in conversions/results attributed to Facebook as users opt-out of tracking, and the the maximum ‘look-back’ window has decreased from 28 days to 7 days.
Previously, Facebook Ads could report on a 28 day attribution window, which means that if a user clicked your ad and looked at your website, but then came back and purchased 1, 10, or 20 days later, that sale was attributed to the Facebook ad that directed to the user to the website in the first place.
Now, that window has been reduced to 7 days which means even if total sales from Facebook Ads do not change from January to February, we will still see a drop in the number of sales credited to Facebook Ads.
This means that we will need to look at data more holistically to get a true feel for how campaigns are performing.
On the technical side, these are some of the changes:
Tracking Actions from ads. Tracking actions such as Leads, Add to Cart, Purchases, etc. with the Pixel will now be under-reported due to people opting out of tracking.
Optimising your Ads for these actions. Because the pixel isn’t learning as well, the ads possibly won’t be optimised as well to people who are taking the actions.
Retargeting ads. When you create a Retargeting audience, anyone who visited your website from an iOS 14 device won’t see your retargeted ad if they have opted-out of tracking (there are some workarounds to this that we will discuss below)
Building Audiences. Because we won’t have as much data on who visited your site from iOS devices, they will not go into a Retargeting or Lookalike audience.
App Installs. Facebook won’t be able to optimise around App Installs or other App related conversions for iOS devices if you have an App you are advertising.
What should I do to prepare?
We are already working with our clients on mitigating as many of these changes as possible by using verified domains, advanced matching, UTM tracking, etc, but if you are looking to shore up your accounts yourself here are some recommendations:
Get your Domain Verified with Facebook as soon as possible to ensure your pixel data is as seamless as possible. This is especially important if you have pixels on your domain owned by more than one entity.
Start understanding how many purchases/leads and other events are from iOS devices (use the Breakdown reports), Then you can see how your reporting might be impacted.
Choose which Conversion Events you will use if you have more than 8. This includes Add to Cart, Purchase, Lead, Complete Registration and any custom conversions you have set up.
Focus your ad efforts on getting email addresses so that you can rely less on Pixel optimisation for retargeting. You can use Lead Generation or Conversion Ads for this but Lead Generation ads will have an advantage in the future with the Apple update.
Start using UTMs for tracking in Google Analytics if you aren't already.
Create campaigns using objectives other than conversion. Like running web visit campaigns or others and using your website’s internal tracking to determine if a sale or conversion occurred as a result of the ads. UTM’s and a variety of other tactics can be used to determine which campaign, ad set, and ad that a conversion took place from without having to rely 100% on Facebook’s tracking pixel.
Just remember, you still will be able to get leads and sales and actions from iOS 14 devices, you just won’t be able to TRACK or optimise as well for those actions. And if you need help with your Facebook Ads strategy, give The Chimp a call!