Last year, Tim Cook tweeted that users should be able to have a say in whether information about them can be collected, specifically in relation to Facebook. And Apple’s newest iOS update—iOS 14—does just that.
What is the update?
Before this update, Apple did give iOS users the option to opt out of having their data collected, but it was a fairly obscure process. To opt out, users would have to go into their settings to adjust their identifier for advertisers (IDFA), something that only about 30% of iOS users did.
Now, Apple has created the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt which shows up when someone goes to download an app. This prompt changes the game in two major ways:
- It tells users upfront that the app they’re about to download is going to track their activity unless they opt out.
- It gives users the ability to easily and immediately opt out.
While this update aims to protect users, it doesn’t take into account how advertisers are using data. As a result, it poses a looming problem for digital advertisers, as experts predict that this new ATT prompt will cause 50-90% of iOS users to opt out.
Who is impacted?
The following three groups are impacted:
- App advertisers: Those using Facebook ads to drive app installations and in-app conversions.
- Pixel-reliant advertisers: Those using Facebook ads to drive e-commerce or other website activity such as lead generation, event registrations, etc.
- Publishers who use Facebook Audience Network (FAN): Those using FAN to monetize existing inventory on apps and websites.
How are pixel-reliant advertisers impacted?
There are three main ways in which pixel-reliant advertisers are impacted: the number of pixels, number of events and conversions, and timeline of the attribution window default.
- Number of pixels: Prior to the update, digital advertisers were able to place an unlimited number of pixels on a website. Now, digital advertisers can only have one pixel per domain, and that domain must be verified.
- Number of standard events: Prior to the update, digital advertisers could have an unlimited number of standard events—someone added an item to their cart, inputted their payment information, made a purchase, viewed content, submitted a form, etc. You were also able to have up to 40 custom conversions so you could see the entire funnel for measurement and optimization. Now digital advertisers are limited to eight trackable events which include standard events as well as custom conversions.
So if someone downloads Apple’s new update and opts in to having their data tracked, you’ll see all of your top eight standard events in your Facebook Ads Manager account and can use that data for future audience building and optimization. If someone opts out, only one event can be seen—your highest ranked event. Given that, you need to make sure that you rank your events based on what’s most important to you—e-commerce or lead generation. For example, if your number one ranked event was adding an item to the cart, but the user also inputted their payment information and viewed content, adding an item to the cart would be the only activity you see in your Facebook Ads Manager.
As a result of this, Facebook’s algorithm is going to have visibility and signal loss which will impact campaign performance. In the past, Facebook’s algorithm used all available data to dynamically optimize ads to garner more engagement and retarget custom audiences. Now there will be less data available, causing your ads to have a lower conversion performance and your custom retargeting audiences to shrink.
- Timeline of the attribution window default: Prior to the update, digital advertisers had a 28-day click, 1-day view attribution window default. So for longer purchase cycles where someone may take three weeks to click, you could see and track their activity. Now digital advertisers only have a 7-day click attribution window default, meaning there will be significant data loss as well as delays for actions with longer purchase cycles, cross-device activity, browser activity, and full funnel views.
What can you do to best adjust to this update?
The iOS 14 update is here to stay, and we’re only going to continue moving in the direction of protecting users’ privacy. Here are three tips to best prepare and adjust your digital advertising strategy.
- Verify that you’re the sole owner of your domain in Facebook Ads Manager. This will allow you to prioritize standard events—remember, only one person can verify and alter events. You can do this by adding a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record to confirm that you’re the owner of a particular domain, uploading a Facebook-provided HTML file to your web directory, or adding a meta tag to the <head> section of your domain homepage.
- Rank the eight standard events you want to use to track conversions in Facebook Ads Manager. Just like domain verification, this needs to be done by the pixel owner, not the partner.
- Calculate the impact that the attribution window change will have on your business. And make sure you do this before Facebook removes the 28-day click, 1-day view attribution window default. Since the reporting will change to a 7-day click attribution window default, you’ll need to keep an account of the sales that occur from days 8 to 28 to best estimate activity during this timeframe in the future.
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