The iOS 14 update will not destroy your Paid Social campaigns

The iOS 14 update will not destroy your Paid Social campaigns

Ah ah ah - Permission Denied!


Apples Tells Facebook You Need Permission to Track Activity

Apple's recent iOS 14 update has changed the way user data is being shared with apps such as Facebook and many companies are worried how this might impact their social campaigns. The debate over the commodity of data and how personal data is being shared across big tech companies has been reaching a fever pitch over the last few years. Apple has become one of the unlikeliest Silicon Valley companies to make a significant step towards transparency. Shocking, right?

Changes in data sharing might be a positive step change in terms of privacy, but will they be the death of paid social? Honestly, probably not.


Tim Cook - Tweet


So, how is the Apple update going to affect users and businesses? iOS 14 will now require all apps to display an App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt in the App Store, requesting that users either opt-in or opt-out from allowing an app to collect and share their data and track their usage.

In layman's terms, Facebook loses the ability to take advantage of user behaviour data from iOS 14 users that opt-out.

This will not only impact a brand's or agency's ability to retarget users who opt-out, but it will also change the way we measure and report on campaigns.


How Does App Tracking Work?

Previously, apps such as Facebook were able to track most actions taken by a user thanks to technologies such as retargeting pixels. What this meant was that information about a user's actions was (and still is) relayed via a tracking code installed on a website. This data enabled advertisers to create segments of audiences (i.e. for retargeting) and report on near real-time actions. These segments were, and still are, of great importance in advertising as they included information such as 'Customers who spent over 50 pounds' or 'Website visitors in the past 30 days', and many more specific actions.

Once the ATT pop-up is rolled out and a user clicks 'No' the information shared with brands or advertisers alike will be restricted. This limits the ability of Facebook (and other apps) to receive web conversion events and campaign optimisation opportunities that were crucial in creating smart advertising.

Apple referenced Facebook as it is one the biggest names they could call out but, to be absolutely clear, this will impact every non-Apple app on the Apple App Store including Facebook, TikTok, Tinder, and even Candy Crush.


What Will Actually Change?

There are a few things that will change drastically with this new update, as well as some minor changes that are to be expected with any operating system changes. Below are things to look out for and to keep in mind with iOS 14 changes to tracking:

  • Aggregated Event Management - Facebook will introduce a new algorithmic model that "...helps us to measure campaign performance in a way that is consistent with consumers' decisions about their data."
  • Event Restrictions - Each domain will be limited to x8 conversion events, including standard and custom conversions.
  • Reduced Audience Sizes - Custom app and website audiences could decrease as more users opt-out of tracking.
  • Reporting Limitations - Breakdowns based on age, gender, region, and placements will no longer be available for most conversion events.
  • Default Attribution Changes - Default attribution windows are changing to x7-day click (default after ATT prompt enforcement).
  • Delayed Attribution - We can expect delays of up to 72 hours when a conversion is reported from iOS users.


Where Are the Biggest Opportunities?

One thing to keep in mind is that this isn't the paid social apocalypse. If you have a decent agency behind your back, you won't need to worry - as long as they've recognized the key opportunities for advertisers and brands.

CPMs could drop

Some brands might feel a short-term frustration with platforms, and they may pause activity until the new best practice becomes clearer. Those who continue activity could benefit from a reduction in CPMs as the market thins out.

Video killed the radiostar

Strong video content is now more important than ever before. In-app engagement such as video views will not be impacted by these changes. This certainly provides an interesting opportunity to test custom audiences of video viewers or engagers if you aren't doing so already. Invest in video and visual content as this could be where you see the most efficient growth for your campaigns.

Don't run s**t ads

An oldie but a goldie, don't run BS ads. At the end of the day, this update is not encouraging users to leave the platform, so you will still be advertising here. Focus on partnering your great product with an even greater offer and content. Good creative will always engage user attention, so you should still be focusing on putting together fantastic copy and effective marketing ads.

Your own data is gold dust

Whilst retargeting will be impacted, you can still reach the same userbase. Encourage your users to provide their identifying data (number, email) to expand your owned data.


How Can You Prepare Your Paid Social Strategy?

Action 1: Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager
Advertisers will be limited to x8 conversion events which Facebook will have configured based on what they believe are most relevant to your business (based on activity). To configure these, you will need to verify ownership of your domain within your Business Manager.

Action 2: Prioritise a maximum of x8 conversion events
If your business uses more than x8 conversion events per domain for reporting, then you should identify the x8 events most critical to your business. Ask yourself - what is most important to you?


Action 3: Integrate your brand with platforms such as Klaviyo
Depending on what your current database looks like, use platforms such as Klaviyo or dotdigital to segment your owned data based on user behaviour. These segments can be synced with platforms, such as Facebook, to create custom audiences - including users who visit but don't buy.


Action 4: Get started with Facebook Attribution

As Facebook moves away from a default 28-day attribution window, if you've not set up the Facebook Attribution Tool for your business, now is the perfect time to do so.

Facebook Attribution is an advertising measurement tool designed to give you a more complete picture of your customer journey. Your attribution reporting will include conversions that happened within your chosen period or date range, up to the last 90 days.

Unfortunately, the data does not backdate, so if you want insight into longer windows, set this up today.


It's Not the End of the World

You may see scaremongering articles and clickbait LinkedIn posts from agencies and experts who will try and tell you that everything as we know it is going to change. Don't believe in the hype! This is most certainly a step towards more transparency between brands, advertisers, and consumers, but it's not the end of the world for your paid social strategy.

The key is to manage your expectations, but ultimately keep calm and carry on.

If you need any help with your paid social strategy and are unsure of how the iOS 14 update will impact your ads, then get in touch.