IOS 14.5 – What’s happened and what does this mean for Facebook Advertisers?

Chris Tate - Head of Display,

In June 2020 Apple announced plans to introduce new privacy features for iOS. As part of these changes under the app tracking transparency framework (ATT), Apple announced new requirements for app developers. They would now need to ask for users permission to track user behaviour across other apps and websites. This is currently done through a unique identifier called an “identifier for advertisers” (IDFA). The aim of this new feature, is to add transparency to what information is being collected and by whom. Users will be able to choose whether to  “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track.”

ATT was expected to launch with the introduction of iOS14 in September 2020, although this was delayed after pushback from several tech companies. This pushback led to much public argument between Apple and some of the major ad tech businesses. These tech companies were concerned many users would chose to opt out, with Google opting to stop using IDFA and Facebook initially stating they wouldn’t be complying with this. Following a war of words between the tech giants, Facebook have decided to follow the new prompt messaging. Many have suggested it is a ploy by Apple to push its own advertising agenda.

Although the new feature will impact all advertisers and publishers using data from iOS apps the change most heavily impacts Facebook, due to the volume of users who access Facebook via a mobile phone. According to Statista, 98.3% of users who access Facebook do so via their mobile phone. The new feature has the potential to have a major impact on advertising. Facebook relies on the ability to track users across apps and domains in order to report on conversions, and re-engage with advertisers and website visitors.

At 26, we have been preparing for the last few months. After much anticipation the latest update launched on Monday evening in the UK, along with the new do not track prompts. Currently the full impact of this isn’t known yet as we wait for users to install the update and understand the opt in rates.

The impact of ATT

We wanted to look in a bit more detail about what this change means for advertisers, and how can you limit the impact of ATT. The key areas that this could affect include:

  • Reduced visibility on latency – The latest update will limit the reporting for attribution windows beyond 7 day click and 1 day view. Facebook has already changed the default attribution window to 7 day click and 1 day view earlier this year.
  • Estimated results – Facebook plans to use conversion modelling to understand the potential volume of conversions that would have happened on iOS 14 devices where a user has decided to opt out of tracking.
  • Reporting delays – The SKAdnetwork API will not support real time reporting, and data for iOS 14 campaigns could be delayed by up to 72 hours.
  • Reduced segmentation – Aggregated event measurement will aggregate some data together,  you won’t always be able to segment performance by demographics such as age, gender, region or placement.
  • Reduced audience sizes – Audiences may not include users on iOS14 where users can’t be tracked – this is likely to have the largest impact on remarketing campaigns.
  • New campaign structures – Advertisers will be required to create separate iOS 14 specific campaigns for app campaigns.
  • New limit on app & web events – App advertisers will be limited to a maximum of 63 app events and 8 web events per domain.
  • Reduced targeting options – Some targeting options have already been removed which were based on app-based audiences.
  • Reduced bidding strategies – Some bidding features such as cost cap and ROAS bidding strategies may not be available on iOS14 campaigns on short time scales.

Get Prepared

Below are some next steps you can take to prepare your account for these changes:

  • Review Attribution data - Review historical view through attribution data and performance based on different attribution windows.
  • Review device performance - Review performance based on devices to understand what proportion of spend and conversions come from apple devices.
  • Domain verification - Verify your domain with Facebook to ensure your pixel data can be passed back accurately.
  • Update your SDK – Advertisers using app install campaigns need to update to the latest version of the Facebook SDK.
  • Review account segmentation – App advertisers will need to ensure their campaigns are segmented by OS, and you’ll also need to review the account segmentation on some campaigns to group campaigns and ad sets together.
  • Configure events - Configure your conversion events with Facebook aggregated event measurement.
  • Monitor performance – The full impact of these changes won’t be known until we understand install rates and opt in rates for iOS 14 and do not track. So make sure to keep an eye on data coming into your account over the next week or so.

If you’d like to discuss how to ensure your Facebook campaigns are set up to run efficiently with Apple’s latest iOS 14 changes, get in touch.

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