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Apple’s New iOS 14 Update and Its Impact On Advertising

June 28, 2021
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Apple’s New iOS 14 Update and Its Impact On Advertising

As marketers, we all knew Apple’s iOS 14 update was going to impact our advertising strategies. The new iOS 14 update is now giving Apple users the option to opt out of data sharing every time they download an app. This changes the game because advertisers have been relying on data sharing both for paid search and paid social to gather data and derive ad targeting decisions.

How to Adjust Your Campaigns to Get The Most Out of The iOS 14 Update

In this article, we will go through the impact of iOS 14 and how advertisers can shift strategies and adjust marketing efforts in response to the operating system update.

What is changing with iOS 14?

Apple’s newest changes to its privacy and sharing policies, also known as Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework, is tied to a string of numbers known as the identifier for advertisers (IDFA). Each iPhone mobile device comes with its own identifier that provides advertisers with aggregate data about the user’s behavior & preferences. 

In the past, Apple users had to go into their settings app to turn off data sharing functions. The new iOS 14 update will give iPhone or other iOS device users a pop-up message every time they download a new app (and when opening already installed apps) that asks if they want to grant the app access to track your activity across other apps and websites.

paid social services


What is the impact of the iOS update?

When users decide to opt-out of the app tracking, this new operating system will not allow advertisers to easily target or exclude that user like we used to be able to. While some may agree that this new update will give users more control over their privacy, other marketers are concerned that many Apple or iOS device users will select the option of “Ask App not to Track” when the new pop up shows up, which will prohibit the application from collecting data about the things those users click on, download, or purchase within the app in order to share it with other companies/websites for advertising purposes. This change is not going to happen overnight, but with time, the adoption rate of iOS 14 is going to increase and more users will opt-out of app tracking.

Why is this such a big deal?

This is the type of data that advertisers use to personalize ads for users,so, if your business relies on ad campaigns as a part of your localized marketing strategy, this iOS update will have a major impact. The Facebook Pixel will no longer be able to store information and inform ad campaigns for users who chose to opt- out for tracking. In addition, the Facebook reporting will no longer include off-platform (website events) actions that users who chose to opt-out of tracking and will only track a smaller number of objectives due to the pixel restrictions, causing potential inaccurate reporting.

What’s next?

While this seems to be concerning, there is a new game plan. Remember, users are still out there spending just as much time on their social platforms, and you still have the ability to advertise. But, the rules changed and there are a few actions you can take to maintain efficiency. More importantly, you’d need to rethink the way you measure success to ensure your advertising efforts are continuing to drive results for your business.

Here are the steps you need to take in order to ensure your Facebook advertising effectiveness remains strong.(Please note that this may change as more updates will come from Facebook.)

  • Verify your domain and prioritize the most important 8 events you’d like to track through your pixel. This was the very first requirement made by Facebook in order to keep up with iOS 14 changes.
  • Enable highest value optimization. This is a way to adjust campaigns that allow advertisers on Facebook to bid for the highest valued users, who are most likely to take the desired action on your website. This may help you get a higher return on your ad spend. It’s important to note that you need to meet the Eligibility Requirements for Value Optimization
  • Consolidate campaigns where possible due to limited signals from users who opted out for app tracking. We need to be extra cautious and strategic with how many campaigns, adsets, and ads we launch. Since we expect to get less to no signals from users who opted out for app tracking, we’d want to aggregate the results and learnings to draw better optimization decisions while adjusting campaigns on Facebook Ad Manager.
  • Adjust the frequency and times of day you optimize your ad account based on Facebook platform updates and the limited attribution windows. While each advertising campaign/account has different goals. iOS updates are now causing delays in reporting and limited data, resulting in disruption to the way you optimize ad campaigns. You may notice data lags and certain data breakdowns such as dynamic creative will no longer be available due to iOS 14. This will require you to optimize based on older data. Changes can vary based on the objectives of your campaigns and the attribution window you use. For example, 1 day click attribution will use statistical modeling to account for some iOS conversions that we are unable to count directly, while 7-day click does not.
  • Use additional data sources instead of just the Facebook pixel to draw optimizations and business decisions.

Since fewer reported actions are shared on all advertising platforms due to users opting out of app tracking, it is crucial to look at the bigger picture when drawing decisions and consider more data sources. 

  • Tracking your overall website revenue/lead volume while considering % of spend across all advertising platforms. This can help understand the impact and trends each platform has on the entire business. A good way to start is analyzing GA and or overall revenue/growth in addition to % of ad spend.
  • First Party Data, over the past few years, privacy laws and consumer regulations have started cracking down on the selling and sharing of user data to outside parties. Now with Apple’s iOS 14 rollout, we are yet again being reminded why first-party data-which keeps this information between a website and its users-has become increasingly crucial to digital marketing strategies. Learn how DataQ allows your first-party data to seamlessly connect to email service providers and digital ads platforms.

The world of advertising on social media platforms is constantly changing and one size doesn’t fit all. As an agency, our top priority is to keep up with platform changes and ensure all of our clients adjust their marketing strategies accordingly to maximize returns and maintain efficiency. We guide our clients to succeed by using the most accurate data, following the newest best practices, and refreshing ad creative. It is important to remember that the way to measure success on each paid social platform always changes and will continue to evolve, but taking the right steps quickly will allow your business to grow continuously with less/shorter disruptions.

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