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The roll-out of iOS 14 includes a tracking prompt set that could impact your Facebook advertising. Here are the details and how to prepare for the change.

Facebook and its advertisers are bracing for an impact caused by Apple’s new iOS 14 policy change which includes a new prompt and information format for any app from App Store. Its main goal is two-fold: to make users aware of the information that can be tracked and then a permission opt-in for the tracking upon install.

Facebook relies heavily on user usage information to report on actions, purchases from ads, create remarketing lists (which will also help in creating lookalikes), and other similar functions. The ability to not share this data is present, but it historically has been rather hidden from the user.

However, with the latest changes, users are given an option to opt-in or opt-out of the information collected by apps like Facebook and Instagram. Many experts are anticipating users to opt-out when given the choice so explicitly. Without this information, Facebook Ads targeting is heavily disrupted as the tech giant has relied on for a majority of its function.

What will be affected? 

The changes will affect Ads Manager, Ads Reporting and the Ads Insights API.

• 28-day attribution will no longer be available. Historical data for them will only be available via API.

• 7-day click attribution remains.

• 7-day view-through attribution will also be gone.

Based on the lost information, Facebook will be using statistical models to try and make up for the lost data from iOS 14 devices and users.

There is also an impact on offsite conversion events that are imported. Delivery vs. action breakdowns will no longer be available, and the conversions that occur will be reported based on when they happened and not on when the ad impression occurred.

Also, marketers can still target based on conversion events such as ‘Add to cart’ or ‘Initiate Checkout’ but they will no longer be able to see a reporting breakdown for each event.

Changes from Facebook:

• Domain-Based Pixel Ownership 

Facebook pixels used to be created and assigned to ad accounts, but they will now be allocated to a verified domain. This only matters for cases where a marketer owns the domain and wants to measure an event or a conversion on it.

• Aggregated Event Measurement 

To try and minimise the impact of the loss of data, Facebook is creating something called “Aggregated Event Measurement”. They haven’t given a lot of details on this, however, they said: “it is designed to help you measure campaign performance in a way that is consistent with consumers decisions about their data.”

• 8 Conversion Limit

In this framework, marketers will be limited to 8 conversion events tracked per domain. This could be 8 pixel-based events or custom conversions. The 8 conversion events will be ranked based on priority when it comes to reporting. For instance, if you have both ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Purchase’ as 2 of the 8 events and a user completed both actions, only the Purchase event will be recorded as the “higher prioritisation” metric.

Ads Manager Interface Updates 

• Resource Center: Facebook is releasing a new tab in Ads Manager with a customised checklist of tasks to guide users through the actions to implement to ensure advertising is set up optimally and prepare for the upcoming impact of iOS 14 requirements.

• Attribution Window Setting: Facebook will be replacing the account level attribution window with a new attribution setting accessible during campaign creation at the ad set level. For active and new ad sets, the setting will default to 7-day clicks and 1-day view, which will have an impact on the number of reported conversions. To prepare for the attribution window changes, marketers can use the Comparing Windows feature in Ads Manager to see performance across all existing windows.

• Event Set-up Flows: Facebook is rolling out the ability for app advertisers to set up and test SKAdNetwork-based app install campaigns in Ads Manager and via API. Additionally, for web events, advertisers will be able to view, edit, and prioritise the 8 conversion events allowed for a given domain.

Okay, but what should I do now?

• Advertisers/businesses need to have your own Business Manager and verify their domains. So, if you don’t verify your domain, you won’t be able to prioritise your events.

• Set up event configuration for your domain in Events Manager (only 8 events per domain).

Notes:

  1. Review and consider replacing ad sets that will be impacted. Duplicate ad sets that use new conversion events will be published immediately and replaced ad sets will be paused.
  2. Events need to be prioritised in order of importance. If event order changes, ad sets optimising towards that event will be paused for 3 days.
  3. Advertisers will also be able to review and replace ad sets that will be paused as outside of the top 8 selected by Facebook.
  4. Advertisers can duplicate the ad sets that will be paused at enforcement and replace them to use one of the top 8 selected events when enforcement happens.
  5. Landing Page Views are not part of the Events – your Traffic Campaigns can run as usual.

Overall, iOS 14 updates will change the landscape of Facebook advertising as lawmakers, companies and users are becoming more aware of privacy. Facebook is attempting to fight back but is also reluctantly making changes to their reporting, tracking and targeting to make it easier for marketers and small businesses.