19 Feb Apple iOS 14’s impact on Facebook ads and business marketing campaigns
Apple iOS 14 Update’s Impact on Facebook Ads
In late 2020, Apple rolled out its latest update, iOS 14 – and reaching your customers through Facebook ads just got a little trickier. Similar to the GDPR website requirements of 2018 (that resulted in “accept cookies” lingo), the new iOS 14 requires iPhone users to grant permission for data tracking on all apps in the App Store. This includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, which businesses rely heavily on for targeted advertising campaigns.
Companies who advertise in mobile apps and track data across platforms, such as a Facebook ad to a click-through website visit, will be impacted. Essentially, any conversion events via mobile device and tracked by the Facebook pixel will be rendered almost ineffective (or at least unbalanced) unless users opt in.
Nearly 81 percent of users only use Facebook on their phones, and a significant portion of those use iPhones. The default option is “opt out,” and users are likely to select “do not track” when downloading new apps.
The resulting conflict between Apple and Facebook has been well documented. Apple claims its update protects user information, while Facebook says the move is financially motivated and will negatively affect small businesses who rely on in-app advertising. Just this month, Facebook rolled out a prompt of its own – that will display in addition to Apple’s – to help inform and encourage users to accept the prompts.
“Agreeing to these prompts doesn’t result in Facebook collecting new types of data. It just means that we can continue to give people better experiences,” says Facebook’s Dan Levy, noting more relevant ads will reach user’s feeds.
Domino Effect on Facebook Marketing
According to Brett McHale on WordStream, the impact of the Apple update to your business’s marketing efforts include:
- Inaccurate reporting for conversions all the way down to ineffective remarketing efforts
- Weakened targeting options and a hindered ability to create hyper-personalized ads to specific audiences
- Less targeting resulting in wasted advertising dollars and less personalized ad copy
As users opt out of Apple’s new tracking requirements for Facebook, they won’t see targeted ads on their feed. Facebook pixel data will inevitably be skewed by including only Android and desktop/laptop users, as iPhone edged out Android users in the US market at just over 52 percent last year.
How to Adapt Your Marketing within iOS 14
With the Facebook pixel taking the biggest hit – including remarketing efforts and conversion events – your business can exercise some creative strategies to find your customers through Facebook advertising and by utilizing other platforms. McHale offers a few immediate suggestions:
- In Facebook campaigns with conversion objectives, select only Android devices. This will at least give you data trends on a segment of your customer base.
- Collect customer information earlier in the process – on the initial web-click landing page, for example, and not only in your online store. According to McHale: “First name, last name, or email addresses can be retroactively uploaded back into Facebook to generate custom audiences for retargeting purposes.”
- Rely less on the Facebook pixel and create campaigns based on web visits using your website tracking and analytics features. You can analyze where the traffic came from, even if Facebook itself isn’t supplying the data.
- Build remarketing efforts through other platforms like Google and Linkedin.
As the long-term impact of Apple’s iOS 14 plays out, it’s clear that businesses will need to create well-rounded online marketing campaigns beyond Facebook advertising. Still, experts are optimistic that Facebook ads will continue to serve businesses and its customers, as the social media company continues to work within (and around) these updates. Formulating a robust online marketing strategy will help your business minimize the impact of these updates and continue to find your customers in creative, targeted campaigns.