Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) launch in May 2018, privacy and security have been extremely present in our collective consciousness. The GDPR altered how advertisers could store and use our data, and since its release, more regulations have come, giving customers and site visitors more control over their data.
This sounds great—on the surface.
The problem is that the type of data control being enforced has made life harder for advertisers and digital marketing agents. As more and more users choose not to share their anonymous data, advertisers struggle to develop and target effective ads. Fewer data points translate to more work and fewer results for digital marketers.
Much more recently, Apple released a significant software update, iOS 14.5—this update requires iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook users, and more to consent to data tracking on many apps, including Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you run ad campaigns on Facebook, here’s everything you need to know about how Apple’s iOS 14.5 will affect you (if it hasn’t already).
How Facebook Ads Changed as Users Updated to iOS 14.5
The goal of the iOS update was to give users more control over their data, especially when using third-party apps like Facebook. While we can say that it certainly accomplished its goal, the full impact of this choice hasn’t been completely clear to users or advertisers. So, we’ve listed six significant changes to Facebook Ads that came from the iOS 14.5 update.
1. Processed Data May Experience a Three-Day Delay in Facebook Business Manager
According to Facebook, “real-time reporting will not be supported,” and data reporting may experience a three-day delay. This information comes from their official written statement on the impacts of the iOS 14.5 update on Facebook advertising.
2. Users Must Turn on Data-Tracking Themselves
Users with the iOS 14.5 update are automatically opted out of data tracking. This means that advertisers cannot access user’s anonymous data unless the user specifically goes into their settings and enables tracking.
3. The Evolution (and Complication) of Social Marketing Strategy
In the past, social marketing was a largely reactive role. Now, social markers must be proactive in their approach. The new iOS 14.5 update requires successful social marketers to foresee potential pain points and possible concerns—and address them early on.
Strict rules surrounding advertising and data management on Facebook (especially the delay of on-app event data) restrict advertisers to only eight conversation points. And install campaigns must be specific and separate. This means the social marketer can have only nine active ad campaigns running—and a meager five ad sets.
So, expect the role of the social media marketer to become increasingly complicated, requiring more strategic thinking than ever.
4. Say Farewell to the Facebook Audience Network
The Facebook Audience Network depends heavily on on-app advertising data—which, if you remember, is soon to be a thing of the past. If the Audience Network doesn’t evolve along with the new regulations, the iOS 14.5 update will render it useless. According to Apple, it may not even be offered to social marketers at all anymore.
5. Retargeting Audiences Will Shrink Significantly
Many social marketing campaigns can thank retargeting audiences for their success since they help move users down through the funnel. As the essential metrics and consumer lists shrink in the wake of the iOS 14.5 update’s restrictions on conversion data and on-app event data, so does the usefulness of retargeting audiences.
6. Facebook Will Severely Limit Past Reporting Capabilities
As you can see, the impacts of the iOS 14.5 update on Facebook Ads are intense. Unsurprisingly, these updates are so intense that the Facebook Business Manager platform itself had to make internal changes.
Here are the reporting modifications you need to know:
- Users can no longer access the 28-day attribution window.
- Instead, users can see:
- 1-day click-through-opt-out data
- 7-day click-through attribution window
- 1-day view-through attribution window
- For offsite events, break-down data on actions and demographics will be depreciated.
- Attribution methodology will change from impression time to conversion time.
- iOS 14.5+ mobile app install campaigns will use SKAN for attribution.
In the face of such devastating changes, advertisers are still wondering is there time to adapt? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The roll-out for these changes began in April 2021 – over a month since this was written – and as more and more users update to iOS 14.5, we lose more data.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve lost all hope. Here’s what you need to do as soon as possible.
How do I adjust to the iOS 14.5 update and the changes to Facebook Ads?
- Verify Domains
If you haven’t already verified your domains, it’s time. The new Facebook Ads platform requires verified domains, and there a few ways to do it.You can confirm domain ownership by:
• adding a DNS Text entry to your DNS
• uploading an HTML file (provided by Facebook) to your web directory
• adding a meta tag to the <head> section of your homepage
- Prioritize Advertising Objectives
Since your Business Manager account on Facebook is now restricted to 1.) only eight conversation points, 2.) nine active app-based ad campaigns, and 3.) five ad sets per app-based campaign, you need to prioritize.
Plan ahead, be creative, and know what your key goals are. Analyze your CRM and GA data with intensity to discover the strategic moves you need to optimize spending and see results.
- Familiarize Yourself with the New Attribution Window
Accept that the 28-day attribution view is gone. Then, learn about the new 7-day attribution window since this is how you’ll monitor all future attribution.
- Turn Off Settings for Audience Expansion
When Apple stated that the Audience Expansion function is essentially useless for Facebook Advertisers, we knew it was serious. So, turn off your Audience Expansion Network settings, and figure out how you’re going to prospect new audiences.
Consider used your current consumer base to create lookalike audiences or experimenting with internet-based targeting. These methods may help you expand your reach while tracking views, engagement, and conversions.
- Stay Flexible
If you’ve been in the field of digital marketing for some time, you know that flexibility is key in this fast-paced online world. Don’t get comfortable because the system isn’t likely to stay for long. Expect change to come—and expect it to come soon.
Now that you know what’s happening and how to respond, you’re ready to get out there.