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5 Ways Facebook Advertisers Can Survive the Apple iOS 14 Privacy Update

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Digital advertising has always been a growing and highly dynamic world. In December 2020, the online business world reeled from the privacy changes set to be introduced by Apple’s new iOS 14 update.

Although Apple touted the changes as responding to consumer concerns over privacy, many cynically assumed it was a direct attempt at hurting Facebook’s revenue streams.

There’s some merit to addressing concerns over the level of security offered by major companies. One study revealed that 87% of consumers would not do business with a company if they had any security concerns.

In the wake of data breaches around the world, including the leaking of the personal data of 530 million Facebook users in 2019, it’s no surprise that iOS 14 is popular amongst the general public.

But where do these tougher privacy rules leave businesses who need detailed data to finetune their ads, and what can they do about it?

What is the key change you need to be aware of?

iOS 14.5 was launched on Monday, April 26th, therefore the changes have already been implemented. Although there are a tremendous number of technical changes, there is one key change: the idea of initial consent.

Advertisers are now required to ask the permission of users to track them. All apps in the App Store are now required to show this prompt to conform with the requirements of the App Tracking Transparency framework.

It’s never been easier for users to opt out of advertising. Of course, users could always do this, but it required some initiative on behalf of the user.

Naturally, most people opted in. This meant businesses were able to track, collect, and utilize their data to sharpen their advertising campaigns.

What does this mean for your Facebook ads?

Unfortunately, small businesses must now adapt their advertising strategies to comply with the changes Facebook has been forced to make.

Here’s what you can expect from your Facebook ads served to iOS users:

  • Less efficient ads.
  • Less effective ads.
  • Fewer website sales attributed to ads.
  • Loss of ad personalization, which could lead to a 50% drop in revenue.
  • Increased difficulty in reaching your target audience.

On the other hand, these disadvantages could well lead to lower click costs.

The growth in popularity of Facebook ads has meant rising costs. As recently as 2019, 85% of marketers were concerned about spiraling ad costs.

Are potentially lower costs worth the blunted impact of Facebook advertising? That depends on who you ask.

Here’s how you can adjust and adapt to Apple’s advertiser onslaught.

Exclude iOS devices from your future advertising campaigns

The easiest option is to simply exclude iOS users from your advertising campaigns. The new privacy changes aren’t universal and other operating systems aren’t required to implement these changes.

How long this lasts is currently unknown, but Android has announced no plans to follow Apple’s lead.

This is crucial because the fact is just 14.3% of Facebook users access the app via iOS. The vast majority are Android users, meaning you can avoid many of these changes simply by excluding iOS users entirely.

Set your eight campaign conversions

Facebook has launched the Aggregated Event Management (AEM) platform to coincide with the launch of iOS 14.5.

Businesses are limited to tracking just eight-pixel events per domain. What this means is Facebook will only track a maximum of eight conversion events. This could be anything from a website view to adding a product to a shopping cart.

You can set the order of priority through Business Manager > Events Manager.

The key is to set your rankings according to your overall business goals. You’ll need to take more care over this than before simply because of these new limits.

Compare 28-day attribution to 7-day attribution

Previously, businesses could always rely on looking up 28-day attribution. Apple’s iOS 14.5 has banished these changes, along with 7-day- view-through attribution.

Your historical advertising data will continue to be available via the API, so you can still download your old data.

The easiest way to plan for the future is to take the 28-day window and compare it to 7-day click conversions. This will offer you an idea of how your reported conversions will be impacted in the long term.

Launch campaigns outside of your primary conversion objective

Advertisers have been blessed by an all-encompassing Facebook pixel that does all the heavy lifting when it comes to tracking.

Lend more weight to your own website’s internal tracking instead. Remember, Apple’s privacy changes only apply to apps within the App Store. It doesn’t apply to your website, so you can get around most of the tracking restrictions after a user lands on your website.

This means you can run web visit campaigns through the Facebook pixel and then get your tracking framework to follow the rest of the user’s journey.

It won’t negate all of the iOS 14.5 changes, but it can limit their impact.

Break down your conversion flow on landing pages

Although Facebook cannot harvest as much data as it used to, it isn’t the death of custom audiences for advertising.

An easy way around this is to request user information earlier in the conversion process. Basic data types, such as first name, last name, and email addresses, can be uploaded back to Facebook for ad retargeting later on.

It’s a roundabout way of doing what you were doing before, but, again, it can help you focus on more engaged users who are more willing to supply you with a small amount of personal information.

Facebook Advertising Post-iOS 14.5: Conclusion

Regardless of your industry, targeting iOS users has become infinitely more difficult. However, by implementing the above strategies, you can still analyze your audiences and increase the effectiveness of your ads.

It may take time and money to get the results you were used to, but Facebook advertising is far from dead.

Adapt quickly and you can still run profitable ads on Facebook.

What have you done to adjust your advertising strategies to iOS 14.5?

About the author

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Bob Haegele

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who contributes several finance websites, including Modest Money and GOBankingRates. Bob writes about investing topics such as The Motley Fool and M1 Finance. He also specializes in budgeting and banking.

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