Get Your Facebook Ads Ready for iOS 14.5

The iOS 14 update and its effects on Facebook Ads accounts have been a hot topic for marketers ever since apple announced the changes in June 2020. Now that the rollout of the update is actually getting started, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to get your Facebook and Instagram ads ready.

Read on to learn about:

  • What the iOS 14 update is and why it matters to your Facebook ads account
  • How the iOS 14 update and Facebook’s response to it will affect your Facebook and Instagram campaigns
  • What you need to do to get your Facebook Ads account ready for the changes

What is the iOS 14 update and does it really matter to my account?

With the new iOS 14 update, all apps on the Apple App Store (including Facebook) will have to ask users for permission before they can track them across third party apps and websites. Users who do not actively opt in, cannot be tracked.

Users on devices running iOS 14.5 and above will start seeing prompts like the one below where they can decide if they want to be tracked:

iOS 14 tracking opt-in prompt

(Image source: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/user-privacy-and-data-use/)

When is is this happening? Soon… Apple announced in mid-2020 that the changes would be part of the beta versions of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5. iOS 14.5 is available as a developer beta as of Feb. 1, which means the final version will likely be released sometime this month.

Even though these changes only apply to Apple users, Facebook is responding with some widespread changes to the way tracking works on Facebook – affecting performance measurement and targeting options for all advertisers.

How will the iOS 14 update affect my Facebook ads?

Let’s first look at the changes to how Facebook Ads works:

  • 7-day attribution will become standard (no more 28-day attribution windows)
  • A maximum of 8 conversion events can be tracked and optimised for
  • iOS users who didn’t opt in to being tracked individually, will be tracked in aggregate using Facebook’s new aggregated event measurement Only the highest priority conversion event will be tracked for these users (more on that later)
  • You’ll no longer be able to break down reports by variables like age, gender, region or placement

Second, let’s look at how these changes can affect the performance of your Facebook and Instagram ads:

  • A decrease in reported conversions due to the shorter attribution, the limit on conversion events and the fact that only one conversion event can be tracked for iOS users.
  • The shorter attribution window and the 1-conversion-event-limit for opted out iOS users will also result in smaller retargeting audiences.
  • Less effective (re-)targeting due to incomplete conversion data and the 7-day attribution limit. For instance, if you used to exclude people who made a purchase on your website in the last 28 days, that will no longer be possible.
  • Optimisation will be more difficult as reporting becomes less accurate and less granular.

Dan Levy, Facebooks VP Ads and Business Products, expects that “Apple’s new iOS 14 policy will have a harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat”. These are some of the impacts Levy predicts for advertisers:

  • It will become more difficult to spend advertising budgets efficiently and effectively
  • Website sales from ads could drop by 60% due to a loss of personalisation
  • Growth will become more difficult for businesses who rely on reaching narrow target audiences

What do I need to do?

Although there is no workaround to completely avoid the impacts of the changes, here’s what you can do to get your Facebook Ads account ready for the iOS 14 update:

  1. Verify your website domain
  • If your domain is not yet verified, you should see the following warning in the new Resources tab in your Facebook Ads Manager interface:

Facebook verify domain task

  • To verify your domain, in your Facebook Business Manager, go to Business Settings, then Brand Safety and click on Domains. You’ll be presented with three options and instructions for verifying your domain:

Fcebook verofy domain instructions

 

  1. Define and prioritise up to 8 web conversion events (once your domain is verified)
  • If your web conversion events haven’t been defined yet, this warning should appear in the new Resources tab in your Facebook Ads Manager interface:

Facebook review conversion events task

  • To check, update and prioritise the web events, go to Events Manager. You’ll likely see this pop-up explaining the process:

Facebook aggregated event measurement explainer

  • Next to the familiar pixel tab, you’ll find the new aggregated event measurement tab:

Facebook aggregated event measurement tab

  • From there, you can check and set up your new web events:

Facebook configure web events button

  • Enter your website domain name, and it should appear in the results with some default events pre-assigned by Facebook:

Facebook search web domain

  • When you click to edit the events, you’ll see a warning:

Facebook edit web events warning

(See step 4 – Consider setting up campaigns with non-conversion objectives on what you can do about this)

  • Now you can define up to 8 conversion events and rank their priority:

Facebook configure web events

Keep in mind that only the triggered event with the highest priority will be tracked for opted out iOS 14 users. So using the example above, if a user views your product pages (View Content), adds a product to their shopping cart (Add to cart) and then leaves the site, only the Add to Cart event will show up in your reports.

If you are running app install campaigns on Facebook Ads, you’ll need to

  1. Check and update any automated rules that use the old 28-day attribution window

Facebook update attribution window rules task

When you click on Update Automated Rules, the interface will show you all of the rules you need to check. None there? Then you can tick this box and move on…

  1. Consider setting up campaigns with non-conversion objectives

Once iOS 14 tracking changes come into effect, any changes you make to web conversion events in the Aggregated Event Measurement tab will cause ad sets and ads optimised for those events to be paused for three days (see screenshot above under step 2 – Define and prioritise up to 8 web events)

To avoid losing important traffic and conversions during those three days, you can create alternative campaigns with non-conversion objectives such as link clicks. Once the conversion-optimised campaigns can be activated again, you can switch back.

Facebook campaign objectives list

In addition, you may generally want to look into adding campaigns with objectives that aren’t reliant on Facebook’s tracking pixel, e.g. Lead Generation or Messages. Once the iOS update has come into effect, these could be interesting alternatives to web conversion optimised campaigns.

  1. Ensure your website tracking and lead capture mechanisms are set up and working:
  • Check your UTM parameters are in place for every ad
  • Ensure your website tracking works and is set up to track relevant conversions
  • Use a naming convention that lets you easily identify relevant information about your campaigns, ad sets and ads, so you can analyse performance in your web analytics reports
  1. Monitor performance closely using Facebook Ads as well as web analytics reports, test and adapt your campaigns to find what works best.

We’re here to help

Want help making the most of your Facebook ads and navigating changes like the iOS 14 update with a team of experts at your side? Then schedule a free 30-minute, no-strings-attached marketing consultation call with one of our senior experts now.

Or do you prefer to run your own Facebook and Instagram ads but aren’t sure you’re using the best possible techniques? We run customised Facebook Ads Workshops tailored specifically to your business goals and needs that will give you all the tools you need to succeed.

Nakoa Digital is the digital agency for data-driven marketing. Out of our offices in Munich and The Hague, we help brands succeed on Facebook and Instagram as well as on search engines, marketplaces and other digital marketing channels. Our client success stories range from online-only start-ups to leading retailers in the DACH area. Find out how we can help your business on Nakoa.Digital.