The Impact of Apple’s iOS 14 Updates on Facebook Advertising

By Gokul Prasad

Recently, Apple announced some major changes related to user privacy with their iOS 14 operating system. This will impact how Facebook receives and processes data about users on Apple devices. So, if you are running Facebook or Instagram ads for your business, then you will want to understand how these updates may impact your ad performance and reporting.

iOS 14.5 Release and changes in Apple

Apple rolled out a long-awaited privacy feature for iOS on 26th April 2021. The latest version iOS 14.5 will prompt iPhone and iPad users to opt-out of tracking in apps that monitor their behavior and share that data with third parties. This new feature is a great step towards protecting user privacy, as it gives people more control over their mobile phone app data and how it is used by companies like Facebook and Google to target ads. Some of these privacy features exist in iOS 14, but 14.5 serves as the deadline to complete the new policy before the apps are removed from the App Store. Here is a quick video that easily explains the changes.

App Tracking Transparency

How Is Facebook Responding?

Facebook will now prompt its users to allow ad tracking on iPhones and iPads. Facebook will also provide information on the benefits to a user for giving them permission to track them on iOS.


iOS 14.5 Impact on Facebook ads & Reporting

It is important for businesses to be aware of these changes and adapt to get better results on their upcoming Facebook campaigns. There are a few things that our partners and clients should know to be prepared for iOS 14.5 updates. This iOS update means that users will still see your ads, but the ads will not be as relevant to the individuals who have opted out of tracking. For example, someone might click on your ad, go to your website, browse some products, then purchase or contact you. Without the usual tracking methods, Facebook will struggle to match a click/view to all the actions users take in response to your Facebook ads.

How does this apply to App Advertisers?

  • To comply with iOS 14.5, App advertisers must upgrade to a Facebook SDK version 8.0 or above. If an advertiser is using a Mobile Measurement Partner, they must confirm that their SDK supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.

  • App advertisers must now set up conversion schema in Events Manager to optimize for App Events, Value and Mobile App Installs with Automated App Ads.

  • Media Planners must plan their iOS 14 app install campaigns in such a way that one app is limited an ad account and only 9 campaigns can be live per app.

How does this apply to Advertisers using websites & pixels?

  • All businesses must verify their website domain in Facebook Business Manager.

  • Businesses should now set up and prioritize up to 8 web events per domain in the Events Manager.

How does this impact Facebook reporting?

Facebook used to track every click and scroll a user made, then it was reported back into the metrics. Facebook used these data points to connect the user journey and attribute conversions to a specific campaign. Now with iOS 14.5 update, Facebook has less data which means the reporting might be less accurate. Facebook must now make more assumptions about who is relevant and what is working with the latest iOS 14.5 updates.

You can expect these immediate changes to your reporting:

  • 1-day click-through opt-out data will be modeled.

  • 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution settings will no longer include iOS 14.5 opted-out events.

  • Action and demographic breakdowns will be deprecated for offsite events.

  • Attribution setting default will change to 7-day click-through for newly created ad sets and web event campaigns.

  • 28-day click-through, 7-day view-through, 28-day view-through attribution settings will be fully deprecated along with the Comparing Windows feature.

  • Attribution methodology will shift from Impression Time to Conversion Time.

What to expect immediately on your campaigns?

The next few weeks are going to be tough, and we can expect a decline in conversion numbers while the Facebook algorithm re-learns. The exact impact and how long it will take to adjust are still unknown. But here are few things you can expect immediately:

  • Expect performance fluctuations: We may see a greater impact on delivery and reporting, resulting in performance fluctuations and increased CPAs for future campaigns.

  • All advertisers must configure their 8 events per domain limit on the Events Manager to comply.

  • Ad sets will be paused if they are optimizing for an event that is not configured within the defined 8 events.

  • Ads that have not selected a domain for tracking will also be paused.

  • Modification to some web event configurations, including reprioritization, will automatically pause ad sets that are impacted by the event change for 72 hours to help minimize the risk of incorrect attribution.

  • Audience sizes may decrease as more users opt-out using iOS 14.5 feature.

These changes to Apple and Facebook are necessary to ensure consumer privacy and data protection. With these important developments also come new challenges and learnings for all of us. Peloton Media is here to provide you with our expertise and guidance as we continue to navigate this ever-changing media advertising landscape.