The Impact of the iOS 14 Update on Facebook Ads & How To Prepare

Akvile DeFazio
December 16th, 2020
Akvile DeFazio

In June, Apple announced its upcoming iOS 14 update that among the various software changes, it will require apps, such as Facebook to ask users for their permission to collect and share their data using Apple’s device identifier. This announcement has caused tension between Facebook and Apple, which further intensified as Facebook released strong opposition statements today. Learn more about the significant forthcoming iOS 14 update, how it will impact advertisers working with Facebook Ads, and how you can prepare.

How will the iOS 14 Update Affect Facebook Ads?

Apple plans to release its iOS 14 software update sometime in early 2021. Apple’s goal through this is to increase anti-tracking privacy for users and many tech brands like Mozilla are showing their support. Facebook on the other hand, is fighting against the update because it will impact how they receive and process events from the Pixel and the SDK which may cause advertisers to see a significant drop in reported conversions and some ads being paused or cease delivering on certain devices.

Facebook states that these changes will limit the ability for advertisers to effectively serve ads to audiences that have previously engaged with your business, measure and report on certain conversions, ensure that your audiences are delivered ads at the right frequency and that in fact they are the most relevant audiences for targeting, to be able to predict and optimize for cost per action over time, efficiently allocate budgets, and if you work with mobile apps, they may no longer be able to accurately attribute installs for people that are using iOS 14.

Image via Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook states that “Apple’s requirement that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework will have hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web. Apple’s changes will benefit them while hurting the industry and the ability for businesses of all sizes to market themselves efficiently and grow through personalized advertising. We believe that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist.”

For now, Facebook’s hands are tied as they will continue to use Apple’s device identifier for advertising, also called IDFA, because if they do not, they may risk being blocked from the App Store altogether, which could be even more detrimental to brands and users that use their social platform for business and personal reasons.

How To Prepare for iOS 14

While we don’t have all of the finalized details of the update, there are some ways you can begin preparing in Facebook Ads Manager. If you have not done so yet, here are two to three actions Facebook recommends taking by early January:

In addition to verifying your domain, you will need to plan to operate with up to 8 unique conversion events per domain. If you have any ad sets that are set to optimize for a conversion event that will no longer be available if exceeding the 8, the ad set will no longer run when Facebook implements Apple’s AppTrackingTransperency framework with the update. More details on this and how you can configure conversion events can be found here.

Image via Facebook Ads Manager

What Will Advertising Look Like in 2021?

How do we as advertisers continue to find success for our brands and for our clients in 2021 once the update pushes out? Time and more information will tell. Apple has not yet shared more specific details and guidance as to what we will need to do to further prepare ourselves, however, Facebook states that as Apple releases more information, they will provide a helpful resource center within Ads Manager to assist us through the update so stay tuned for more details as they become available. Both sides of the argument are valid to an extent so it will be interesting to see how this transpires in the coming weeks and if there will be any compromises and proposed solutions from the tech giants.

As marketers, how are you feeling about the upcoming iOS14 update?


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