How is IOS Impacting Facebook Ads?

In 2021, Apple released significant changes to IOS 14, limiting the flow of data exchange and prohibiting specific data collection and sharing by app publishers. Apple now requires all mobile app downloads to have prompts for IOS 14 users to either opt-in or out for allowing tracking.

The update has caused significant disruption to companies' digital advertising strategies, specifically those using Facebook ads within their marketing approaches.

This article examines the direct impacts this may have on your Facebook marketing strategy and growth in 2022.

App Tracking Transparency

Apple's guidelines mandate that starting with IOS 14.5 and later, any app collecting its user's data and sharing with third parties for tracking or advertising related purposes must incorporate the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework.

The framework requires publishers to gain explicit consent from users to access their IOS Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). The IDFA has similar functionality to advertising cookies but is specifically used for tracking mobile app user performance and helps identify when users are visiting apps.

Apple has published the following video highlighting its stance:

Although a positive for increasing the privacy for users, the IOS 14.5 update does disrupt marketers being able to tap into the data for launching personalised ads.

Unsurprisingly, with Apple's message conveying data sharing as severely negative, the number of opt-ins to provide app publishers with users' IDFA has been extremely low.

How has this affected Facebook ads?

With users increasingly concerned about their data privacy and how businesses monitor or collect their personal data, the industry generally agrees that users are increasingly choosing to opt-out when faced with the ATT framework's question.

Facebook ads are an integral part of many businesses marketing strategies due to the sheer volume of monthly active users. In the third quarter of 2021, reports estimated the platform was generating around 2.9 billion monthly users, with the platform being the most popular social media internationally.

With this audience base, marketers can reach their target audience, matching the specific demographic and interests needed to achieve the campaign's objectives.

However, the impact of IOS 14.5 reduces the targeting capability, significantly reducing the audience and reporting of Facebook campaigns.

Targeting

When users choose to not opt-in, the granular targeting which Facebook has historically offered will become skewed with less opportunity for precise targeting campaigns and reducing the volume of lookalike and remarketing audiences.

Marketers are faced with a tough dilemma: creating less targeted ads with less personalised ad copy for larger audience sizes or offering targeted and specific ads with a reduced audience reach.

Reporting

As a result of the update, marketers need to consider their reporting and performance of campaigns. For those opting-out of IOS tracking, although conversions will still be made, these will not be tracked, meaning month conversions listed will be skewed comparing month over month and year over year.

These campaign conversions not being tracked will also negatively impact key reporting metrics, including ROAS and Cost/Conv.

Alongside reporting on the performance of the campaigns, the update provides fewer insights on audiences with Facebook no longer able to provide breakdowns on Age, Gender, Region or Ad Placement for IOS 14 opt-in users.

Reducing the impact of IOS 14.5 on Facebook Ads

Whilst the impact of IOS 14.5 is undeniable on Facebook Ads reducing campaign targeting and limiting the insight businesses can gain, there are some necessary action points to undertake to mitigate the impact.

  • Facebook Domain Verification
  • Enable Facebook Conversion API
  • Enable Advanced Matching
  • Update Facebook Ad Reports
  • If using Shopify as your CMS, add Facebook to the sales channel
  • If using WooCommerce, add the relevant plug-in integrations

ExtraDigital has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has successfully launched countless Facebook campaigns over the past year despite IOS 14.5. Get in touch today to discuss how we can still achieve accelerated growth for your business in 2022.

Friday 11th March 2022

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