Facebook Is Upset with iOS14 – What It Might Mean For Your Business and Facebook ads In 2021 And Beyond

On Wednesday 16th December, in the midst of a public spat between Apple and Facebook over privacy, policies and more, Facebook paid for full-page ads to appear in major publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times, to complain about Apple’s changes in iOS 14 which will give its users the ability to block ad tracking. While these changes will impact Facebook’s lucrative ad business, Facebook claims Apple’s changes will be “devastating to small businesses” that rely on their ad network in order to find new customers, hire employees and engage with their audience.

While Apple has provided little information about the impacts of the update, Facebook has urged Apple to consider the impact the new update will have on businesses, stating that the new iOS updates will limit small businesses’ ability to run personalised ads and reach customers effectively. Facebook is concerned that Apple’s proposed changes will limit advertisers ability to effectively reach, understand and engage with people on mobile devices and across the web. The new iOS changes will affect your ability to understand performance, control who sees your ads and make informed decisions about your advertising budgets. Eventually, as these changes begin to take effect, you may see an overall decrease in ad performance and personalisation and an increase in cost per action. 

The limiting of third party cookies and tracking isn’t just an iOS thing though, we recently wrote about how Google is removing third-party advertising cookies from Chrome and offered our insight on what you can do to guide your business through these changes, which you can read more about here. https://colehousedigital.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-third-party-cookies-being-removed-from-chrome/

So Why Is Facebook So Upset? 

Up until this point apps have not had to ask for your permission to track you, going forward apps are going to have to first ask your permission. Previously you were able to opt out but this is going to be an up front ask now.

In short, there will be a mandatory rollout of ios14 in March 2021, this is huge in terms of being able to track activity of users and to have the ability to retarget them as well as other ad strategies.

Along with this change other changes such as attribution windows (the amount of time you can justifiably say a conversion is as a result of an ad) are shortening which will result in a drop in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) metrics. If you have a website using the Facebook pixel then your pixel may only optimise for a maximum of eight optimisation events (think purchase, add to cart, lead etc) for each domain. Depending on the nature of your business or the depth of your analysis and the depth of your sales attribution strategy, that could have really frustrating consequences. 

Facebook are upset because it is going to have a massive impact on their ability to sell advertising to SMB’s which make up the majority of their advertiser base. Moves into privacy such as this will impact on their ability to help businesses build highly accurate audiences based on browser and app interactions. 

Now what? Are Facebook ads dead?

Facebook have accounted the launch of ‘Aggregated Events’ to help get around this move from Apple.

Aggregated Events Measurement allows for measurement of web events from iOS 14 devices. If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app, your activity will be limited, amounts of campaigns and ad strategy is being impacted by these changes, you can read more about it in the official Facebook help pages here. https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202

Conversion tracking will be effected but the most heavily hit strategy will be retargeting – without being able to track people across key pages and web behaviour it will be hard to measure intent and to get the low hanging retargeting fruit that many companies and marketers have replied on for cost effective returns over the last few years through Facebook advertising.

What should I do now? How to keep your Facebook Ad strategy effective after the iOS14 update.

The most important thing for businesses’ to do at this point is recognise that this change is coming. We already know that there are ad blockers that block Facebook ads and various other tools we have come to rely on over the years from being able to attribute sales to the ads being served to a user.

The trend of browser and in app privacy will continue to rise as we have covered on our blog and the ability to effectively attribute is going to diminish. However, while ad blockers (and browsers) block cookie data from being passed on the browser side, they do not have a way of blocking the data that is passed on the server side.

  • Verify your domain in your Facebook Business Manager
  • Turn on Conversions API (CAPI) and Auto-Advanced matching turned on

Facebook claims that the ROI of implementing CAPI is a 150% improvement in comparison to campaigns that only convert for traffic (clicks), which will eventually be an ad buyer’s only option without the implementation of CAPI.

You should implement these changes as soon as possible, if you are unsure about how to do that then please get in touch with our team and we can help you with that.