How The New iOS14 Update Will Affect Facebook Ads

A few weeks ago, Apple rolled out its latest iOS14 update to all iPhone users. Before you stop reading and say, “So what? I get a ton of updates to my phone, and it’s no big deal,” I implore you to read on. While simple phone updates are regularly pushed out, this one impacts how you do business and how businesses market to you while you’re online, especially when it comes to your Facebook ads.

The iOS14 Update

The big deal with the recent update is that Apple will now notify users of any “tracking” done by apps according to their definition. The new policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on their iOS14 devices. This will affect ad performance as more people opt-out of being tracked, limiting ad personalization and performance. 

As for pixel users, in response to this update, Facebook has created a sort of aggregated event management workaround to continue measuring specific analytics without getting in trouble with Apple’s stricter privacy settings. It requires a bit of work, and you have to verify your website domain, but you’ll be able to continue using your pixel.

How To Prepare:

For marketers, the vast ad possibilities may come to a quick halt as it relates to iOS14 users, but there are still ways you can prepare.

  • Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS14 version 8.1 to continue to deliver personalized Facebook ads to iOS14 users and receive accurate conversion reporting.
  • Follow the steps to continue utilizing your pixel:
    • Verify your website domain. By verifying your domain, you’ll be able to configure pixel conversion events once the aggregate event management tool becomes available.
    • Configure eight prioritized web conversion events per domain in Events Manager. These events are selected based on what’s most relevant to your specific business.
    • Visit the Facebook Developers website for further pixel help with this change.

Ad Creation Limits

  • Each app is limited to 9 simultaneous iOS14 campaigns. And each campaign is limited to 5 ad sets of the same optimization type. You’re not able to vary your optimization settings across ad sets in the same campaign. There’s also a 72-hour lead time when you turn off or delete any of your 9 campaigns before it no longer counts against your limit.
  • The only available buying option for iOS14 Facebook ads is auction. Reach and frequency are no longer available.
  • Once your campaign is published, you can’t turn on or off the campaign toggle. Instead, you’ll have to turn off or totally delete your campaign.
  • You’ll only be able to prioritize up to 8 unique conversion events per website domain for those using conversion events. Facebook will do this for you, but it can be edited in your Event Manager settings.
  • If you choose a bid strategy such as cost cap or minimum ROAS, your ad set will need to run at least three full days.

Reporting Limitations

  • Real-time reporting will no longer be available. Expect a lead time of 3 days before seeing any of your iOS14 campaign data. Facebook doesn’t give a lead time for conversion events, but they said they would have them as soon as they have them. Real specific there Facebook, lol.
  • Instead of cold hard facts, a statistical approach will be used to serve up analytics. This means the results of your ads will be “estimated.”
  • There will be no more breakdowns for specific conversions, such as user demographics (age, location, gender, etc.).
  • The attribution window will now be set at the ad level rather than the previous account level. The new default for all new or active campaigns will be a 7-day click attribution window. Going forward, 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows will not be supported for active campaigns. 

TIP: Before these attribution windows go away, make sure you take note of your past ad performance and download any historical data you may need in the future.  

Targeting Limitations

As more people opt out of the iOS14 tracking, the size of your app connections, custom audiences, and website custom audiences may decrease.

In short, the new iOS14 update is excellent news for those concerned about privacy on their Apple devices. However, it’s a bit of bad news for us marketers who use tracking to deliver leads to our clients. Furthermore, the limitations of analytical reporting will likely make a difficult case for substantial ad spending in the future.

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Anna Teal


Anna Teal

Anna is an author and writer who is passionate about the art of storytelling. She enjoys connecting with small businesses in her community while taking their marketing efforts to the next level of growth.

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