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2021 Apple iOS 14 updates

Apple has recently announced that with the iOS 14 update (dates to be confirmed) there will be some changes regarding privacy and security of information. We know that the planned changes sound a little scary, so we’ve put together an easy to understand guide on what the changes are and what they mean for your business.

What are the changes?

All apps, including Facebook, will have to ask for permission to track and use data. Facebook has already stated they will adopt Apple’s prompt. The resulting impact will be restrictions and delays when it comes to event reporting for businesses.

If a user opts out when prompted, data from them will be limited. If they opt-in it will be business as usual with data collected the same way it is now. You will then only be able to collect data from those that have opted in, impacting targeting, optimisations and measurement of campaigns.

In light of these expected changes, businesses will need to adapt to and adopt new best practices.

Impacts on web advertising

The iOS changes will present problems and be disruptive to advertisers as they will need to reconsider how advertising and campaign structure is approached.

Tools across the ad systems in Facebook will be broadly impacted and advertisers will need to adapt to product changes and develop best practices. All advertisers can expect changes to:

  • Business tool set up
    • 8 pixel events per domain can be used for campaign optimisation, while any others will only be used to build audiences. If there are more than 8 events in a pixel when the change occurs, Facebook will select the top 8 events. This can be changed, but there is a 72 hour delay on changes
    • Event configuration is impacted by the delay in data when selecting new optimisation events. Advertisers need to plan ahead for this 3 day delay.
    • Value optimisation sets will experience an update and need to be enabled in Events Manager. Once the changes come into effect, value sets will utilise 4 of your 8 optimisation events. There will no longer be precise values for each event.
  • Optimisation and targeting
    • Conversion window changes will limit event attribution and drive changes in optimisation and targeting. Because of this, we expect to see a decline in performance, challenges with retargeting and a potential need to shift to broader audiences that may cause increased audience overlap.
    • Reduction in website custom audience sizes will be seen as fewer conversions can be tracked fully from less data.
  • Measurement
    • There will be major changes to attribution. For click-through results, 1-day data will be modelled (adjusted to compensate for data loss), 7 day will be partial and 28 day will be going away. For view through results, 1 day will be partial, and 7 and 28 days will be going away. Offline conversions and store visits will be available for 28 days reporting via Ads insights API only. Facebook will state whether data provided is partial or modelled. This means that advertisers will see fewer reported conversions, even though they are still happening.
    • For reported conversions, breakdowns will no longer exist and will create difficulty for linking actions between websites and Facebook.
    • There will also be no insights on who is converting with demographic data.

Impacts on App advertising

Conversion data shared via app business tools may be restricted, aggregated and delayed by the SKAdNetwork API. When a user opts in, the IDFA will be shared between the apps, but when a user opts out, ad serving and campaign performance will suffer.

Facebook is adopting Apple’s SKAdNetwork API to offer App advertising on iOS14 devices which aggregates and delays all app events. All advertisers can expect:

  • Restrictions to campaign management and data reporting
    • There will be no defined attribution window
    • Your App can only be associated with one ad account but the same ad account can be associated with multiple apps.
    • Each app is limited to running a maximum of 9 campaigns at once and each campaign can have a maximum of 5 ad sets (each must adopt the same optimisation event).
  • Data will be aggregated
    • Demographic breakdown will be unavailable
    • Lift measurement will be unavailable on iOS 14 app install and app event campaigns
  • Reporting will be delayed
    • Reporting an install will take between 24-48 hours
    • Events will take up to 3 days post-install to be reported

Action points and suggestions

Key actions advertisers can take before Apple’s enforcement in early 2021.

Website preparation

  • Do now:
    • Verify website domain in Facebook Business Manager
  • Prepare:
    • Prepare to operate and define the priority of a maximum of 8 pixel events per domain
    • Anticipate changes to attribution windows and update automated rules if necessary
    • Identify campaign optimisation strategies that may require testing (i.e. alternative audience options)

App preparation

  • Do now:
    • Review Facebook’s data ingestion practices available in the developer’s blog post to inform your app privacy details via Apple’s App Store connect
      If using the Facebook SDK, update to version 8.1
  • Prepare:
    • Advertisers using Facebook SDK and App events API: Configure conversion schema for app events optimisation, mobile app install and events with automated app ads and value optimisation campaigns
    • Advertisers using MMPs: Consult you MMP on their SKAN integration and conversion schema configuration
    • All advertisers using any app-based business tools (GB SDK, App Events API, MMP SDKs) will need to prepare to use the ‘Advertiser tracking enabled’ flag to instruct Facebook to restrict data use on a per-event basis
    • If only using the App Events API, plan to integrate SKAN API via Events Manager instructions
    • Plan to operate all iOS 14 app install campaigns in one ad account per app, with 9 campaigns per app and 5 ad sets per campaign of the same optimisation type

To wrap up, Apple still hasn’t made it clear when this will be implemented so the sooner you are prepared the better, but when the changes do come around, they will significantly impact best practices and the way we optimise campaigns.