Apple recently announced that its newest operating system update, iOS 14, will soon require all apps in their App Store to show an App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt, requesting that users opt in or opt out from allowing an app or third party site to collect their data and track their usage. For e-commerce businesses that use Facebook’s advertising tools, this is an important development. The act of opting out from tracking will affect Facebook’s ability to process data collected by tools like the Facebook pixel and the Facebook SDK, which will in turn impact advertisers’ ability to use that data to create targeted audiences and measure campaign performance for both Facebook and Instagram ads.
There are still many unknown factors in regards to the full impact of these changes, but we know they will be significant. As more details become available from both Apple and Facebook over the coming days and months, we will continue to monitor these developments closely and stay informed to ensure we are as prepared as possible. In the meantime, our marketing team has rounded up everything we know about the situation so far and outlined the steps we are taking right now to set our clients up for success in navigating the coming changes.
What This Means For Advertising on Facebook and Instagram
Limited Access to User Data
The most obvious implication of Apple’s new requirements is the new limitations they will place on advertisers’ access to user data. This data can include things like the actions a user takes on your site (such as making a purchase) as well as their activity on other sites (which can impact interest based targeting). It is not clear if actions such as engaging with pages and posts within Facebook will be included in the data that is limited but they are likely to be. The good news is that advertisers should still continue to have access to accurate CPC, CPM, & CTR stats on all future ad campaigns.
Event MANAGEMENT AND MEASUREMENT
Facebook will be shifting to a new aggregated event measurement system that supports the measurement of web events of iOS14 users in compliance with the new requirements. This new system will delay and restrict the data that is reported, removing information like age, gender, location, etc., as well as limit the amount of conversion events (i.e. “add to cart”, “purchase”, etc.) that advertisers can use for campaign optimization to 8 events per domain. Facebook will automatically configure a number of events that they believe are valuable to your business based on past activity, but events can be manually configured according to your business needs in Events Manager. According to Facebook’s recent post, “The 8 conversion events per domain will be ranked based on priority. If multiple events are completed by a user…only the higher prioritized event will be reported.”
Attribution Window changes
Facebook has also already started to remove support for 28-day click, 28-day view, and 7-day view attribution windows in its Ads Manager reporting tools. Going forward, only 7-day click, 1-day view, and 1-day click attribution windows will be supported which will likely cause reported purchases and ROAS to decrease for conversion based campaigns. Facebook will also begin using statistical modeling in its reporting of certain metrics to account for the limited access to user data.
How We Are Preparing
Verifying domains within Facebook
This is directly related to the conversion event limits we mentioned earlier. Facebook’s Business Help Center explains that “Domain verification establishes which Business Manager account has the authority to configure and prioritize the 8 available conversion events for a given domain.” It appears that at some point in the future Facebook will start requiring that this step be complete in order to create new ad campaigns that use conversion events.
Implementing Facebook’s CAPI (Conversion API)
Facebook has introduced a Conversions API which would “allow advertisers to send web events from their servers directly to Facebook” rather than relying on pixel data. These server events would be processed like browser pixel events in Facebook’s Business Manager and used similarly in reporting and optimization which will be invaluable as pixel data alone becomes less reliable.
Strengthening other marketing channels
We’ve always relied on a robust, multi-channel approach to marketing but now it is especially relevant to continue building out and strengthening all of our other marketing channels, particularly email and SMS lists. Data provided by customers who have subscribed to an email list or opted in to receive SMS marketing is owned, unlike data gathered by a third party tool like the Facebook pixel. This means that future changes made by companies like Apple or Google won’t affect our ability to use that data. We will continue to grow these lists by running sweepstakes in our clients’ stores on a regular basis, as well as taking advantage of existing social audiences while they remain mostly unaffected by the coming tracking changes to run paid ads that collect sign-ups for these channels and promote our clients’ giveaways.
Tracking audience sizes
A tried and true way of learning the real effect that any change has on your business is looking at the data. We want to make sure that we are not only proactive in preparing for and learning about these changes conceptually before they happen, but that we’re also staying aware of the real-time implications of them as they roll out. One way we are doing this is by creating logs to regularly keep track of our most used audience sizes so we can see exactly how they are affected by iOS 14’s changes. Another way we plan to monitor the effects of Apple’s new requirements is to begin testing out splitting our ad targeting in evergreen campaigns between iPhone users and non iPhone users. Once we’ve implemented the steps we’ve outlined above, this will allow us to get an informed look at the degree to which paid advertising to iPhone users is still affected.
We hope this has been a helpful summary of what Apple’s new requirements really mean for your business and that our prep tips have given you an understandable action plan as well as some peace of mind knowing that there are many things you can do to keep your marketing efforts strong. Need help getting your business set up for the coming changes? Contact your Musictoday account manager or send us a note and let’s chat!
About the Author: Kaylah Rodriguez is a Social Media Marketing Specialist at Musictoday. She manages both paid & organic social campaigns as well as sweepstakes, giveaways & more.