How does the iOS update affect Facebook and Instagram ads


Apple recently announced changes with IOS 14 that will affect how we receive and process conversion events from tools such as the Facebook Pixel. Businesses that advertise mobile apps and those that optimize, target, and report on the web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.


As part of their IOS 14 update, Apple announced a new App Tracking Transparency framework as part of the IOS 14 release. iPhone users will now be prompted to provide permission to track their data. As a result, this new framework will impact apps that use this data for advertising purposes.


The new prompt will apply to the Facebook and Instagram apps, meaning that if the user opts out of tracking, they cannot track them or access their device’s advertising identifiers.


When users opt-out of activity tracking, apps no longer link that user’s data with other 3rd party information. This means that if an opted-out user clicks on Facebook or an Instagram ad and then visits an advertiser’s website, Facebook cannot link the user data from their system to the activity the person takes on the advertiser’s website. Facebook, therefore cannot use the activity on an advertiser’s website to optimize ad delivery for other similar users, and they cannot report back to the advertiser whether the user “converted” on their website after clicking through the ad.



How does iOS14 affect your Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads?


For users who opt-in to allow activity tracking, no changes will be seen in advertisers’ ability to target ads and measure performance.

Users who opt-out will enable opt-out of tracking, Facebook’s ability to target ads based on actions and measure the person’s reaction to ads.



The reality is that we do not know how many people will enable activity tracking vs. opting out, which means that nobody knows how significant the impact of this update will be. It is evident that the more people opt-out, the larger this issue becomes for Facebook and other ad platforms.


It will likely take some time to see the full impact, but advertisers may see some gradual changes in the upcoming months.


Facebook has communicated the following 7 changes to Facebook and Instagram Ads:


1 .Conversion Tracking

iOS 14 changes will significantly impact how Facebook can receive and process conversion events from the Facebook pixel. Actions such as view content, add to cart, checkout, purchase, and other similar events will be under-reported if users opt-out.


2. Ad objectives

Some ads that use pixel tracking will be impacted: traffic ads optimized for landing page views, conversion ads optimized for standard events or custom conversions, and app installs targeting iOS platforms. Advertisers will also experience limitations regarding attributing app installs to users using iOS 14 and later.


3. Remarketing and lookalikes

Advertisers should be prepared for a possible decrease in the population of pixel-based remarketing lists (for example, website visitors who have shown an interest in a particular product) due to the new limitations in tracking. However, Facebook has communicated that lookalike audiences are not expected to be affected.


4. Delayed and aggregated results

Real-time reporting will not be supported, as Apple will be delaying data for up to three days after the event has occurred. Web conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of the associated ad impressions. Also, data will be aggregated in some instances as Facebook may not measure ad results at the user level or have restricted access to certain types of data.


5. Conversion windows

From now on, the default will be set at 1-day post view and 7-day post-click. The previously available attribution windows of 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through will no longer be supported. This means that companies with longer sales cycles may see a decrease in reported purchases.


6. Offline Conversions

Delivery and action breakdowns will no longer be supported for offline conversion events. Conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of ad impressions.


7. Audience Network

 Facebook’s ability to deliver targeted ads via the Audience Network on iOS 14 will be significantly limited. As a result, advertisers should expect less volume and lower effectiveness when using Audience Network as a placement.


Advertising opportunities that are NOT expected to be impacted by iOS 14:


Geographic targeting:

Because geotargeting is not based on activity tracking, there is not expected to be an impact on advertisers’ ability to geo-target their campaigns.


Interest-based and demographic targeting:

Advertisers’ ability to target ads based on users’ interests, age, gender and other attributes is expected to be unaffected.


Reach and link-click campaigns:

Because these types of campaigns do not rely on optimization against specific events, they are not expected to be impacted.


Uploaded custom audiences:

Although generating custom and retargeting audiences via the Facebook pixel will be impacted by the changes, directly uploading customer lists will not be. Advertisers who have privacy-complaint email lists of their customers or prospects will still be able to upload that data to Facebook to create a custom audience without issue.


Lookalike audiences:

As mentioned above, although the size of custom audiences generated via pixel events may be smaller, Facebook has stated that they do not expect the associated lookalike audience to be smaller. However, we do expect that the quality of the lookalike audience may suffer if the size of the custom audience becomes too small.





We are still in the initial stages of these changes. There may be several workarounds in the upcoming months that may benefit advertisers. For now, you can begin testing and attempting to rely less on the Facebook pixel. Exploring ways to get more out of other advertising channels like Google and Linkedin may be another option.


In the meantime, Social Know How is here to help you prepare for these changes. We are committed to putting your business in the best possible position to succeed from an advertising perspective.

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