Apple iOS 14 Update And What It Means For Facebook Ads


By Eros

February 11, 2021

Facebook Ads, Updates

Apple IOS 14 Update And What It Means For Facebook Ads

The recent iOS 14 privacy update on data tracking permissions has stirred a storm for marketers and advertisers in the digital world.

While it is revolutionary for data privacy, the update has a significant impact on businesses and their advertisement strategy. That’s because the new policy promises to completely change the way ads are created, measured, monetized, and presented to Apple users.

These changes have ramifications for businesses advertising on Facebook, affecting the ad performance and success of their campaigns.

In response to this move, Facebook took out full-page ads and articles in the Washington Post and New York Times to reiterate their commitment to user privacy and data security. They pulled every single PR move in the book to show the world why this update is a bad idea, not just for their platform but advertisers at large. 

First, they created a webpage denouncing Apple’s move and how it’s impacting online small businesses. Then, they removed the blue verification tick visible on Apple’s Facebook page.

In the decade-old rivalry between the two technology giants, we are now seeing a full-blown war of words due to the privacy update.

But the advertisers are still not clear on the magnitude of impact this update will have on them. This is why I have created this guide to help you understand the new policy, its impact on your business, and how you can emerge as a winner at the other end.

Apple iOS 14 Privacy Move – What Does It Entail?

Apple has been championing the data privacy of its users for a while now. It has taken a more determined stance on emphasizing that complete privacy is a user’s basic right. They should have complete control over what data they share with the digital platforms.

Following this, Apple has rolled out a new privacy policy that has been getting delayed since last year due to huge criticism from technology giants like Facebook.

This update mandates the apps to display a prompt that asks for the user’s permission to track their online behaviour. 

Now, the entire iOS 14 privacy policy revolves around three main elements.

Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA)

It’s a unique Apple ID that is assigned to each Apple device. This ID is responsible for tracking the device’s behaviour which helps platforms like Facebook get a holistic view of a customer and how they interact with an advertisement.

SKAd Network

This is Apple’s software development kit with all the tools to create and run apps and observe how the app interacts with advertisements. 

With the iOS 14 update, all the in-app advertising will be regulated by Apple’s SKAd network, which means Facebook or other platforms will not track the app installs. This is terrible news for all the marketers out there.

App Tracking Transparency

It is a new message prompt rolled out by Apple that will be seen by all the users of iOS 14 on their apps. For E-commerce businesses and other product-based businesses, this is the root cause of the dilemma.

Why Apple’s Privacy Update Is Bad News For Advertisers

All the businesses that advertise through mobile apps or use Facebook business tools to optimize and track web conversions will be affected by this privacy update.

Here are some of the restrictions for advertisers that I expect to see when the changes roll in.

  • Real-time data reporting will be delayed by up to 3 days as Facebook replaces the 24-day attribution window for a seven-day window. 
  • When it comes to app and web conversions, any delivery or action breakdowns will not be supported.
  • The attribution window for the new and active ad campaigns will now be set at the ad level. In fact, the 28-day click-through and 7-day view-through will not be supported.
  • With more people opting out of data tracking, you will see a decline in your app connections, app custom audiences, and website custom audiences
  • As more people update to iOS 14, you will see a decrease in the size of your retargeting audiences when it comes to dynamic ads.
  • You will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain. This means businesses that use more than eight conversion events per domain need to design a plan to function using a maximum of 8 conversion events. 

Why Is Facebook Furious With The New Apple Privacy Update?

Apple generates most of its revenue through iPhones, iPads, iMax, MacBook, and other products that it creates and sells. It has even branched out to offering subscription-based services such as News+, Fitness+, and TV+.

On the other hand, Facebook does not have any product of its own to earn revenue. It operates by harvesting user data and leveraging it to sell ads.

It even collects data from its family of apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and follows your tracks on the websites they have partnered with. 

With so much to lose, the advertising powerhouse is going through a meltdown after hearing about the update.

Facebook is now lashing out at the new Apple iOS 14 update. The platform fears that most of the users will opt-out of data tracking. This means it will have no data on the apps that the users are downloading or interacting with. Also, for this reason, Facebook will not be able to display targeted ads on apps.

It has been predicted that the social media giant’s revenue will take a 7% hit in Q2 of 2021. The subsequent results might also show a decrease in revenue due to Apple’s ATT restrictions.

Now, you can see why Facebook is literally panicking.

The Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” has made users all the more conscious about their data privacy. Facebook knows that most iOS users will opt-out of the tracking feature if given a choice.

Will Facebook Accept It’s Fate And Give Up On All The Ad Revenue?

In Q4 of 2020, Facebook reported that it was successful in generating $20.7 billion in advertising revenue. The company even saw a growth of 25% in its revenue stream.

So do you think Facebook will give up on this possibility of high revenue generation so easily?

My answer is no.

They have already started implementing changes to oblige to Apple’s update and ensure stability for their businesses.

But how are they actually doing this?

The full-blown effects of the update are still not known, so we can’t predict the percentage of Facebook users that will choose to opt-out of data tracking.

We only know that any performance standards or benchmarks that we used to set in the past will completely change as soon as the update is released.

Facebook has already started to work on a feature called Aggregated Event Management that enables you to measure campaign performance in line with consumer’s decisions about their data. This functionality will be released in early 2021. 

So, even though Facebook is testing new things to accommodate this update, there is still room for failures and inconveniences.

One such inconvenience is the attribution window changes from a 28-day view to a seven-day click on a one-day view. This means that you will be attributed fewer conversions to your paid campaigns. 

With my seven years of experience with ads, I think this is quite a pain as we mostly employ the 28-day view for longer funnels as it is convenient for longer lead times.

Moreover, Facebook will require you to prioritize conversion and distil it down to 8 conversion events per domain. This can be an inconvenience for some of you who prioritize essential metrics to track for your business.

My Thoughts

My personal opinion is that Facebook and other big platforms like Google will not simply bow down to Apple’s privacy updates. They are going to come up with counteracting strategies or features to accommodate these changes.

Moreover, they may even resort to turning some of their features off if you do not opt for data tracking.

Facebook is taking all the necessary steps to communicate this change once the update is released. They have strategized to ask and explain why they need to track your data.

This is because Apple’s prompt does not tell what the data tracking consists of, which sheds a bad light on the entire practice. 

In my opinion, this update is just the same as the fuss created around GDPR and how it will be the end of marketing. I believe that the GDPR was a significant issue as it involved legislation and regulation, and this is more than just a simple update from Apple.

As marketers, you even need to understand the benefits of this update. It means all those ineffective marketers will stop advertising, making the cost per thousand impressions or CPM drop. This makes ads comparatively cheaper for the marketers who know what they are doing.

It will even help marketing agencies as the creative becomes ten times more important than merely releasing the adverts and relying on the targets.

Combining this knowledge along with the pain points of your customers and implementing it on Facebook or Google Ads will still be profitable.

Therefore, I suggest you not panic. 

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