Privacy Update – The Impact of Apples iOS 14.5 Update on Facebook Campaigns
Digital marketing platforms, and in particular Facebook, have been shaken up this year with the roll-out of Apple’s updated iOS 14 operating system used on iPhones and iPad. This update shifted the consent mechanism from ‘opting out’ to ‘opting in’ in regards to personal information and advertising. What this means is that Apple will block advertisers from accessing the user’s IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) in order to target and track ads. Before this iOS update, users had to manually opt-out of tracking, which historically was in the 70% range. Since the launch of iOS 14, the World Wide Opt-in Rate was 15% at the end of May, with the US hovering around 6%, which is far lower. Does this mean the end of digital marketing is near? Well, no (phew!). Ads will still show up on these users’ devices, but they will inevitably be less targeted and relevant compared to before.
What can you do to help your digital campaigns?
Facebook has released their ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’ tool, which allows for advertisers to continue to measure ‘web events’ on iOS14. If you have an app for your business, you will need to update your SDK to continue to receive reporting and conversions within the app. If you have website conversion events that you want to track, you will need to verify your website’s domain in order to continue running ads.
With limited tracking available, Facebook now requires advertisers to prioritize up to 8 web events in order of prioritization. This will allow the platform to have some insights into what conversions we want to track when the data is limited. If this sounds a little too technical for you, we are here to help and can guide you through this process.
If you plan on advertising app install campaigns towards iOS 14 devices, you will need to create a separate ad account to run your app install campaigns. You can also only associate your app with a single ad account, so it’s important to be thoughtful in your account setup.
Will reporting change with iOS 14?
Measurement and reporting are essential tools for all campaigns, and this will certainly be a large impact resulting from the iOS 14.5 update. Attribution windows, Metric calculations, and Delayed Reporting are the top 3 areas where Facebook will be impacted.
Attribution settings have been changed to prepare for the iOS update, resulting in the loss of 28-day click, 28-day view, and 7-day view attribution windows. This will mean that advertisers will struggle to see longer-term trends and the impacts that those ads may have had on large purchase cycles, and will be required to leverage CRM systems much more than ever before.
Some metrics within the platform will see a loss of data which can affect the performance and reporting of campaigns. With this data loss being a factor, Facebook has implemented statistical modeling that may be used, and the largest metrics seeing this implementation are App Install Campaigns and Conversion Events.
IOS 14 App Install Campaigns will need to rely on data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API, which reports back on app installs and any other app events that are set up. With this change in data flowing through the API, statistical modeling may be leveraged to report data on Ad Set, and Ad level results.
Conversion events from iOS 14.5 devices have also seen impacts beyond app campaigns, and Facebook will use data from several sources to measure and model conversion data for these conversions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all the data will continue to be captured though, as there is still a chance that statistical modeling can’t be used in all instances and, by nature, will never be 100% accurate because conversions will be modeled based on a sample. If you as an advertiser are optimizing towards an event that is outside of your 8 prioritized events, for instance, you may experience a reporting loss, and it’s recommended to implement these as a prioritized event.
Delayed Reporting is another aspect that has changed significantly, and can catch advertisers off-guard. I myself am used to seeing data in real-time and like to leverage data from yesterday to make changes today. With the implementation of iOS 14.5, conversion data will now be delayed up to 3 days, which seems like a lifetime for some marketers. Marketers leveraging app install campaigns will also notice that their conversion events are now reported based on the time they are reporting from the SKAdNetwork API and not the true time they occur.
The End of Facebook Advertising?
Change can be scary, but this doesn’t change the fact that Facebook is a highly efficient and effective channel. It just means we’ll have to approach it differently, and we’ll always need to ensure we are monitoring overall business impact.
How Vovia is Adapting To iOS 14.5
Reactions across the industry are ranging from “this is the end times for digital advertising” to “this won’t affect me at all”. At Vovia, we are taking a strategic approach and continuing to analyze the changes we are seeing within not only Facebook, but all advertising platforms. Being adaptable and agile is the key to ensuring performance continues, but this has always been the case in digital marketing and will continue to be for many years to come. The change with iOS is simply a catalyst that is forcing marketers to adapt more rapidly than they’re used to.
A few big changes we’ve noticed so far include a drop in remarketing audience sizes and challenges with Google’s auto-tagging. Google’s auto-tagging has worked seamlessly for the last 10 years, but in Google Discovery campaigns (which relies heavily on in-app inventory) roughly 10%-50% of data is being dropped by Google Analytics. The platforms are having a hard time with all the data flowing through, and this has caused a break in campaign reporting.
Another top theme that we’ve been noticing is the conversion data on social media platforms like Facebook has been limited since the iOS 14.5 update, limiting visibility into the breakdowns of our campaigns. This makes it more challenging to drill deep into the data to determine what is working and what isn’t working. To overcome this, we are rethinking our campaign strategies and adapting campaign structures as needed.
Changes to platforms happen constantly, and we must always adapt to them. Yes, iOS 14.5 is one of the largest updates to the marketing world in the last decade, but it isn’t an update that should stop us in our tracks. If you’re looking for some guidance in navigating iOS 14.5 or any other prominent privacy changes, please reach out!