Apple is one of the leading device manufacturers in the world. As of January this year, the company has an active install base of more than 1.65 billion devices across the globe. This massive ecosystem that Apple has created provides marketers with an incredible opportunity.
Customers who use Apple devices are known to have higher purchasing power. Marketers can thus utilize any number of the powerful tracking tools offered by social media platforms like Facebook to target this lucrative customer base.
Apple has increasingly been focusing on improving the privacy features that it offers to its customers. With iOS 14, the company made a substantial change that has a drastic effect on the performance of Facebook ads served to iOS device users.
It’s important for marketers to understand this complex relationship of iOS 14 and Facebook ads so that they avoid burning through their budgets and make the required changes to get the best possible ROI for their campaigns.
What does the Facebook iOS 14 update change?
Apple has made a major change to the way its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) works. IDFA is an Apple cookie that enables tracking on iOS devices. Prior to the Facebook iOS 14 update, all iOS device users were opted-in for tracking automatically. They could manually choose to opt-out of tracking if they so desired.
All of that changed with iOS 14. After this update, iOS device users are opted-out of tracking by default. They are prompted if they would like to opt-in for tracking. This immediately shut off a major data source for Facebook. Billions of devices were no longer sharing tracking data by default.
The prompt had users make a conscious decision if they wanted to be tracked. Most didn't. Mobile analytics company According to reports, only an estimated 10% of iOS 14 users have opted-in for tracking ever since the prompts began in April 2021.
How does it impact Facebook ads campaigns?
Without access to the IDFA cookie, Facebook Pixels are unable to track user behaviors accurately. The targeting options for Facebook ads also become limited. Marketers are left with limited opportunities for granular targeting.
The Facebook Pixel is a very powerful tool for building audiences and retargeting audiences, particularly through event completion campaigns. This change severely limits the ability to accurately track and add to retargeting audiences.
Marketers require the ability to track the full user journey in order to make their campaigns more effective. With important data points missing, it becomes difficult to get the complete picture. Moreover, there's a new default 7-day click-through attribution window. Many attribution windows are no longer supported, including 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through and 7-day view-through.
Facebook's response to this change alters how it processes pixel conversion events. These events will now be processed using Aggregated Event Measurement on iOS 14 and later devices.
A big blow to marketers is the limit placed on conversion events. Aggregated Event Measurement limits them to 8 conversion events for each domain.
How you need to adapt your campaigns after the Facebook iOS 14 update
- Revamp your audience building strategy
Building a targeted audience is important to succeeding with Facebook ads. This significant change now requires you to revamp the way you build audiences for your campaigns. There are a few steps that you could take to achieve the objective.
Custom Audiences are a good alternative. They can be uploaded from existing customer lists, for example. Lookalike Audiences can also be created based on those Custom Audiences on engaged fans on Facebook.
The social network's Lookalike Audiences tool is quite powerful at finding you new potential customers similar to your existing customers. Interest-based audiences are also another powerful way to expand your audiences.
- Don’t forget about Facebook domain verification
In light of the iOS 14 update, the social network now recommends that you complete your Facebook domain verification. It's an important step particularly if your domain has pixels owned by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts.
The webmaster for your domain will need to place a code on the website in order for the domain verification to be successful. The verification is what provides the authority over the conversion events eligible on your domain.
With verified domains you can exercise more manual control over the selection of conversion events.
- Prioritize the conversion events most important to your business
Now that conversion events are limited to 8 by the Aggregated Event Measurement too, it's important to prioritize the eight most relevant events for your business. This is crucial since it's these events that enable Facebook's algorithms to better optimize and target your campaigns.
The simple rule to follow when prioritizing conversion events is to have the most valuable actions on top and the least valuable on the bottom.
So when multiple actions are completed by a user during a conversion window, it will only be the highest priority event that gets counted. Conversions for lower priority events aren't reported.
- Develop new campaign strategies
Your Facebook ads strategy might have done very well in the past. If you achieved success with it, chances are that you would have stuck with it and not made any significant changes. Why try to fix something when it's not broken, right?
However, with the changes introduced by this Facebook iOS 14 update, you now need to come up with new campaign strategies. It's no longer business as usual. For example, you might need to broaden your optimization events for more accurate targeting.
Another way to go about this is by relying on Facebook's Campaign Budget Optimization tool which relies on the social network's algorithm to fine-tune optimization.
These changes aren’t enough to make you lose hope in Facebook ads
It might seem like Apple has severely limited the ability of Facebook ads to deliver exceptional results for your campaign. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Facebook ads are still a very powerful tool to generate new leads and convert new customers for your business.
What it only requires now is a rethink of your strategy. Take some time to really understand what has been changed. Test new strategies and adapt to the new order. Your next superstar campaign is still very much within reach.