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iOS 14 Facebook Advertising: What's Changing

How To Adapt As A Marketer

"You Are Not Prepared"

Ok, now that I’ve got that nerdy World of Warcraft reference out of my system, let’s dive into why you really aren’t ready for the changes that iOS 14 is bringing to the table...

Apple's iOS vs Facebook

If for some reason you’ve been hiding under a rock lately and don’t know the context, understand that Apple and Facebook are gearing up for war. Back in 2020, the maker of the iPhone dropped that bomb that is iOS 14. This new operating system is a big game changer when it comes to being able to retarget online.

Starting sometime in winter 2021, users will now be asked whether or not they want to be tracked online. Given that most won’t opt in, the implications should be frighteningly obvious. Simply put, it ain’t going to be as easy as it used to be to pixel someone and track them all around the intrawebz anymore.

Getting Ready for the iOS 14 Updates

To adequately prepare for why Facebook Ads Are Now Even Easier to Create (other than the basic points mentioned here), there are a few things that you absolutely need to do ASAP if you want your ads to remain competitive. Those that don’t take the following actions will be left “flying blind” so to speak…

1) Verify Your Domain

The first action you'll want to take is to verify your domain within Facebook. This can easily be done in a number of ways but the best method will largely depend on your companies infrastructure. Whichever method you choose, just make sure you do this first as the coming actions will require such.

2) Get the Conversions API

Or, how about this, Facebook Ads Suddenly Stop Working? Some of the pixel events are handled on the browser whereas others are handled server side. Generally speaking, top of funnel things like time on site are calculated by the browser whereas purchases and other conversion-related events are overseen by the server. Of course, this all assumes that you’re using Facebook’s conversions API.

For the e-commerce businesses out there, this is easy as all you need to do is install the Shopify plugin. Not on Shopify? Don’t worry. There are other methods but you’ll want to do some digging in Google to figure out what to do.

3) Aggregated Event Measurement

In the Events Manager section of Business Manager, you will find a new section titled Aggregated Event Measurement. Here, you can choose which conversion objectives you want the Facebook pixel to focus on and in what hierarchy. Following iOS 14, marketers will now only be able to track up to eight conversion events so don’t overlook this important section.

While Facebook will do all it can to track conversion events, the data from here on out is going to be a lot more murky and this is even more true in Japan where the iPhone is the dominant player. Expect to see a lot of weird artifacts like having more purchases than initiate checkouts on your pixel (something that SHOULD be impossible).

4) Get Your Own Data

Since anything on Facebook’s suite of apps such as video views, engagement, etc. is still going to be fair game for remarketing, you will want to put more weight into these metrics than site views. Likewise, you’ll also want to build out your email list too as this will allow you to work to close prospects via alternative paths to conversions.

Essentially, since the pixel will not be as effective in tracking now, you want to help it with whatever additional customer data you can.

5) Conversion Window

With the iOS 14 changes now starting to go live, 28 day conversion windows are going to be a thing of the past. Any live campaigns will roll over to the new settings but all lifetime campaigns as well as any campaigns that are left off will be left as is. This creates the minor annoyance that you can no longer tally everything well as different conversion windows are counted as two distinct conversion events when it comes to attribution.

Note that Facebook is not taking the iOS 14 changes lightly. You can find a lot of the steps that you’ll need to take to adequately prepare in the “Resource Center” tab in Ad Manager. This new section will basically walk you through all you need to do but do review the steps outlined above too to ensure that you have all your bases covered.

Limited Real-Time Data Via iOS14

One other thing that marketers now need to be cognizant of is that data feedback is now WAY slower than it used to be. Since iOS 14 dropped, it can take Facebook up to a week to aggregate all conversion events from a pixel. This means that you can no longer judge the efficacy of campaigns in real time anymore.

Even at AdVertize, we too have fallen victim to making a call too quickly post iOS 14. Just recently, we had a campaign that we thought wasn’t performing well. After reporting this fact to the client, we learned several days later that it indeed was driving a 400% return on the advertising spend. This anecdote should highlight just how important it is now to be patient when it comes to turning off ads.

At the end of the day, iOS 14 is a big game changer. That said, most marketers won’t see much more than a 10% drop in effectiveness when it comes to Facebook ads. While the efficacy of campaign objectives like Catalog Sales will probably see a more significant dip, this isn’t the end of the world for Facebook ads assuming that you’ve taken the steps outlined above.

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