Apple released a new iOS update in the Fall of 2020, which included brand-new privacy prompts for users. Starting in the Spring of 2021, these prompts allowed users to opt out of an app’s ad tracking more easily than before. Apple’s offer of increased privacy sparked many previously tracked users to deny apps access to their data. Almost one year later, Apple has seen an estimated opt-out rate of more than 95%, leaving advertisers scrambling to address the impacts.
iOS Impact on Conversions
The biggest issue with the iOS14 changes comes from the loss of conversions tracked in the user interface. Conversions occur when a user takes a desired action, whether that’s clicking a certain link or submitting a form on your website or landing page. Since in most cases Facebook can no longer follow the user to the landing page to track their activity, any conversion taken on the page by that user is lost. In most cases, user activity is tracked by a pixel, which is a snippet of code placed on an advertiser’s website or app. However, with Facebook’s new update, the pixel will only record a fraction of the conversions (from users who have not opted out/Android users), which hurts results AND optimization.
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other, and is a tool often used for data collection. Facebook has developed a Conversions API to help bridge the gap in reporting, It is also promoting new “Aggregated Event Measurement” as a way to estimate how many total conversions occur (including user conversions unseen by Facebook’s traditional pixel tracking). However, it’s still a fairly recent development and there is not much transparency in the reporting/attribution process.
iOS and Optimization
The other major issue involves Facebook’s ability to optimize campaigns based on conversion events. Optimization is how Facebook continually improves ad delivery and results, by constantly learning about the people who are most likely to convert and using that data to move forward. Campaigns that are not properly optimized are less efficient and spend budget less effectively. When running a conversions campaign, Facebook’s algorithm is based on finding users similar to those who previously took a conversion action. Since only a fraction of the conversions are recorded post-update, Facebook has fewer conversion events to optimize from. This can prolong its Learning Mode, which in turn delays optimization and means your budget will not be spent effectively.
One simple way to avoid tangling with the new tracking issues is to create campaigns with optimization goals that occur within Facebook. For example, if you’re focusing on Lead Generation, move away from lead forms on your website and instead implement Facebook lead forms. Optimize for Link Clicks or Facebook Page Likes to track engagement. Since these actions occur within the platform, Facebook can accurately report back and optimize based on their own user information.
Additional iOS14 Impacts
Additional impacts can be seen in audience sizes, reporting capabilities, targeting options and pixel/event setup. The iOS14 privacy changes have complicated Facebook advertising across all industries, and advertisers are decreasing the budgets allocated to Facebook in favor of platforms that were less affected by this change (including Google Ads, targeted display ads, etc.). As Facebook works to find a solution to their new tracking problems and regain the confidence of their advertisers, you may need to rethink your goals and media mixes to reflect current limitations.
At CloudControlMedia, we work closely with Facebook representatives and our digital peers to stay on top of all the latest changes and their impacts our clients. For further insight on how your campaigns can be improved, contact us today.