Earlier this year, Apple announce edits newest IOS 14.5 update. Although it offers many new features for Apple users, these may affect eCommerce advertisers & Facebook advetising agencies. More prominently, eCommerce advertisements on Facebook. If your eCommerce business leverages Facebook ads as part of its marketing strategy, you may have difficulty navigating the new IOS 14.5 update. This is due to changes in tracking, attribution,(re)targeting, conversions, and reporting.
To help you handle these, we’ll delve into the key changes posed by the IOS 14.5 update. Moreover, we’ll cover how these may impact Facebook advertisements, and what you can do to tackle these changes.
How IOS 14.5 Impacts Facebook Ads
With the new update, you have to ask users for permission to track them. All apps in the App Store are now required to show a prompt that conforms with the requirements of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework. The ATT framework is Apple’s opt-in mechanism introduced with the iOS 14 update. This mechanism requests users' active authorization to access app-related data.
If users don’t want any of their data tracked, they can turn off tracking from the device’s setting. This stops tracking for all apps –– including those they’ve previously allowed tracking for. In some cases, the ATT toggle is completely grayed out, meaning users won’t be able to switch on ATT. This occurs when the device belongs to a child, is managed by an educational institution, or when the Apple ID was created in the last 3 days.
Before the iOS update, you could use Facebook Attribution to understand the impact of your ads across devices, publishers, and channels. This is because you could set the attribution window to 1, 7, or 28 days. As such, you could track users' ad behavior from up to 28days ago. Equipped with this information, you could gain a solid overview of the users and their customer journeys. This included an overview of user demographics such as age and gender.
Yet, with the new update, the attribution window can only be set between 1 and 7 days. Additionally, you’re no longer able to view user demographics or a detailed breakdown of conversions.
The new iOS 14.5 update also affects targeting and retargeting. Given that you may now obtain fewer user data –– as some will opt out of tracking –– targeted ads will be less accurate.
Moreover, if advertisers don’t support Apple’s SKAdNetwork (SKAN) API, they won’t be able to install mobile campaigns targeting users. The SKAN API is Apple’s measurement method that allows you to track conversions (e.g., clicks, impressions, app installs)across iOS apps. Yet, even if advertisers support this integration, SKAN doesn’t currently offer user- and device-level data. Consequently, this limits your reporting insights.
4.Limitations on Conversions
Before the update, you had access to unlimited conversion events and were able to install up to 40 custom events. Yet, after the iOS 14.5 update, Facebook introduced Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM). This feature supports user privacy while simultaneously helping advertisers run effective campaigns.
It does so by allowing you to track a maximum of 8 events. You can subsequently prioritize these in order of importance. Such events include standard ones as well as custom conversions for measurement and optimization.
Another key change in Facebook advertising relates to reporting capabilities. If an iOS user doesn’t want their information tracked, you can only receive data related to your highly prioritized conversion event. Additionally, there’s a delay in receiving this information. Obtaining the reporting of this limited data may take up to three days. To overcome this loss or delay of data, Facebook may make use of statistical modeling.
Yet, it’s important to note that these reporting features will be different depending on how many of your users make use of an iOS device.
How To Tackle The IOS 14.5 Update
While these changes may seem daunting, there are several things you can do to minimize this update’s impact on your Facebook advertising. Below, we list 5 top ways of tackling the iOS14.5 update.
Firstly, it’s important that you verify your domain in Business Manager. This shows Facebook that you are the owner of a business, enabling you to advertise on an ongoing basis. Moreover, verifying your domain is important if you want to set up conversion events associated with your domain. There are three ways of verifying your domain on Facebook: DNS TXT, Meta Tag, and HTML. Yet, your webmaster only needs one to verify your domain.
As the iOS 14.5 update entails a limit of 8 conversion events per domain, ensure you prioritize these carefully. If you optimize your Facebook ads for non-prioritized conversion events, yourads won’t be delivered to people who have their tracking turned off. Additionally, you won’t obtain a report on their engagement. As such, it’s essential that you rank your conversion events according to their importance.
Given this new update, you should be less inclined to be over-reliant on a single channel. This is because resorting to a single channel for your marketing ventures can be a ticking time bomb: never know how (or when) they’re going to change. For instance, Google search ads were highly sought after by businesses 20 years ago. Yet, currently, they comprise a small percentage of most businesses' budgets.
Given the ever-evolving nature of digital marketing, you should be open to exploring (and testing) emerging channels. You can do so by making sure that a small portion of your marketing budget is allocated to testing new channels and opportunities. This can diminish the impact of further radical changes to specific channels.
To understand how impactful your ad shave been previously, you’ll need to use external applications. These can help you import 1-day, 7-day, and 28-day ad performance into a single sheet. Yet, as this only applies to periods before the iOS 14.5 update, ensure that this data is analyzed and interpreted accordingly.
Additionally, you can also anchor previous data with data sources unaffected by the update. For example, you can use Google Analytics to establish a benchmark for your campaign performance. As Google Analytics relies on last-click attribution, you’ll be able to compare the analytics on Facebook and Google. You can then use these as a proxy for future campaign performance. Yet, it’s important to note that UTM tracking on Google has to be present to help you develop these benchmarks.
Lastly, while Facebook’s advertising landscape is continuously changing, having patience is key when dealing with these new features. Similar to any major platform update, it takes a while until you can adjust to such changes. As such, ensure that you’re not taking drastic budgeting decisions before carefully assessing the situation.
To help you deal with this, remind yourself that marketing is all about delivering the right message to the right people –– irrespective of channel. As such, while the circumstances surrounding Facebook advertising campaigns may be uncertain, your eCommerce advertising can be just as effective if it’s delivered correctly.