Important Update About the iOS 14 Apple versus Facebook Debacle

25 January, 2021

17 mins read

Facebook Warning Apple iOS 14 Update

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If you haven’t yet heard, Apple announced in 2020 all apps relying on user data for targeted advertising would need to gain permission to do so from the user. Facebook retaliated with a campaign advising if people were not educated on how using the data helps them, they would not opt-in. As a result, advertising would become less targeted and frustrating to users.

The further issue of the iOS 14 Apple iPhone update is how damaging this will be to businesses. If businesses cannot target their ads efficiently, they will not produce a good return on investment. Without the location and user data tracking, their ads won’t stand a chance.

On the 19 January 2021, Facebook released further guidance to help businesses prepare themselves for the update. However, unless you’re highly experienced in social media marketing, you probably wouldn’t understand it easily anyway. So, we’re here to translate the Actions for Partners and Mobile Web Advertisers statement from Facebook!

Why is the Apple iOS 14 update bad for Facebook users?

1. Ads will be less targeted, making them irrelevant.

When you use the Facebook app, it will access data about you from the type of device you’re using to enhance your experience. For example, it may track your location to provide you with timely, relevant ads about sales, offers or services near you.

With less targeting options, the types of Facebook Ads you see will start to be less relevant to your interests. As well as being frustrating, this is going to be detrimental to the businesses using Facebook to advertise.

2. Businesses will suffer from lower ad engagement.

Facebook reports more than 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook Ads. Due to the unique nature of advertising on a social media platform, Facebook Ads is invaluable for businesses looking to get in front of large audiences.

However, engagement on Facebook Ads can greatly impact advertisers’ results in more ways than one. Other than engagement meaning people enjoy the ad and potential leads or sales, it also influences the cost of the ad.

When Facebook sees users are engaging with an ad through likes, comments, shares or click-throughs, they see its something valuable to users. As a result, you’ll likely see a higher relevancy score, which can lower the cost of the ad. Less cost means more budget to reach people. 

With less targeting, less people will be engaging with ads. You can see the obvious problem.

3. Facebook may end up charging to use their app.

Facebook is a business. For a business to operate, they need revenue — income. When you sign-up to Facebook, you’re gaining free access to the app in return for seeing ads. The advertisers are what pays for your free access to share your thoughts, photos and connect with friends and family.

If businesses start to see less results from their Facebook Ads, they’re either going to turn for help or stop using the platform. The less people who use the platform, the less revenue going to Facebook. As a result, the price of ads are either going to increase or we could see a day where we need to pay for certain features on Facebook.

Whenever you make a purchase in an app on an Apple device, Apple turns a profit. So, it can be seen why Facebook needing to switch to a subscription service would benefit them.

How Facebook Recommends Advertisers Prepare for iOS 14

1. Use the Facebook Resource Center.

Facebook has said they will be helping advertisers by creating a personalised checklist outlining how they can specifically prepare for the Apple iOS 14 update. The checklist will be available under a Resource Center tab in the ad manager. 

In the release, Facebook said most of the recommendations will link through to articles with the information they need to complete the task. We’ll keep you updated as more information is released to guide you through the complexities of using the platform.

2. Manage your events through the new Event Manager.

A conversion event in Facebook Ads is essentially a type of conversion. What an event is for your type of Facebook Ad will depend on what you set it as to define the success of an ad. For example, you may set an event to be when someone clicks on Add to Cart or when they submit an enquiry on your website.

Due to the Apple iOS update, you will only be able to have 8 conversion events per domain. For example, if you are linking an ad through to your website, you will only be able to have Facebook track 8 different actions someone can do on the site.

Facebook has also changed how you view your events. There will be an Aggregated Event Management to help you track your campaign performance after the Apple iOS 14 update has been rolled out. The results will be dependent on if the person has opted in or out for Facebook to use their data.

They also advise you should prepare by limiting your events to 8 for each domain. While you’re doing this, you should also verify your domain in your Facebook Ads Manager. You can find out how to verify your domain on Facebook in their help centre.

3. Assess your use of Value Optimisation (VO).

Facebook Ads Value Optimisation (VO) is the way Facebook can predict how much return on ad spend (ROAS) someone will generate for you using machine learning. The platform then bids to put your ads in front of these people.

If you have used VO in the past, you’ll now find it in your Events Manager, rather than the Ads Manager. Your value sets will be turned on and automatically assigned based on your past performance. You will be able to have 8 value sets.

For those who have not used VO, you will need to be eligible to use the option. Facebook has a guide for Eligibility Requirements for Value Optimisation in their Business Help Center.

4. Prepare your catalogue feeds.

Facebook has said they expect no specific changes to dynamic ads for retargeting, however, advertisers may see changes to their performance, as well as decreased audience size. To prepare for this, Facebook recommends:

  • Verifying every product URL domain in the catalogue feed.
  • Avoiding using URLs which redirect users to a different domain.
  • Prepare only one 1 pixel per catalogue to optimise for prioritised conversion events across all catalogue items.

If you do not use this type of ad, you do not need to be concerned.

5. Understand new reporting systems.

With Facebook soon to no longer be able to track certain users, how they report on ads will need to change. Facebook has created a Comparing Window so you can see how your conversions attributed to each ad differ. This will help you learn about the below changes and how to read the differences.

Some of the changes they have reported include:

Attribution Reporting Changes

When someone converts as a result of your ad, Facebook ‘attributes’ this to that specific ad. This used to be seen in an account-level attribution window.

New attribution settings will now be seen on an ad-set level, which is accessed when you create the campaign. This will mean Facebook can measure attributions which influence your campaign optimisation.

Some attribution windows will have partial reporting and metrics may not include all actions taken by iOS 14 users. This is due to Facebook not being able to gain their data.

7-Day Click & 1-Day View Attribution

New campaigns will be defaulted to a 7-day click, instead of a 7-day click and 1-day view. This means Facebook will optimise to users within 7 days of them clicking on your ad. 

Any active and future campaigns will default to the new attribution settings. Facebook advises this will not impact how your ad is delivered, but you may see a decrease in reported conversions. This is especially the case if you have defaulted to a longer attribution window, like a 28-day click and 1-day view setting.

Off-Site Conversion Events

Conversions which occurred on your website as a result of your Facebook ad will be reported at the time of the conversion, not the view of the ad. This may create a small fluctuation in your cost metrics, such as your cost per conversion not reflecting spend over a certain period.

What to Do if Your Facebook Ads are Impacted by the iOS 14 Update

1. Check Facebook’s recommended checklist.

Facebook is providing users with a checklist of suggested activity for their accounts, as well as the generalised tips we’ve outlined above. While it’s a complex platform, you may be able to make some adjustments yourself to allow as little disruption to your Facebook Ads as possible.

However, if you utilise a social media marketing service, like Localsearch, allow them to make the necessary changes. Please do not interfere with what they need to do to ensure the continued success of your campaigns.

If you are concerned about how the Apple iOS 14 update will impact you, please contact your account manager and they can guide you into what we know and what we’re doing.

2. Adjust how you view your reporting.

To account for not being able to track the data of Apple users who opt-out with the iOS 14 update, Facebook has had to update their reporting. You may see slight or great fluctuations in how many people see your ads or engage with them.

As Facebook rolls out new updates to their reporting platform, explore and get to know what each option means. This will help you gain a greater understanding of how it works and why it may be impacted. You may also learn how to protect this metric.

3. Connect with a Facebook Marketing Partner.

A Facebook Marketing Partner is an agency or service who runs Facebook Ads on behalf of advertisers who the platform sees as trustworthy. They receive direct support from Facebook and they receive direct support from Facebook, which comes in handy in times like this.

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