How To Prepare Your Facebook Campaigns for the iOS 14 Privacy Update

An announcement from Apple has many marketers worried about how to prepare their Facebook campaigns for iOS 14. The new mobile operating system limited the ability to use third-party cookies, which is a significant feature of most marketing and advertising software. This means that you’ll have to find alternative methods for measuring conversions, tracking data, or just using traditional pixels on your website. 

This blog post will explain what changed for advertisers in iOS 14 and how to prepare Facebook campaigns and tracking so that all your efforts are not wasted because of the iOS 14 update.

What is iOS 14, and how does it influence advertisers?

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency framework was implemented in iOS 14. The policy states that if app developers engage in what Apple defines as “tracking”, they must show a prompt to the user about their data collection and ask permission to track how users engage with the app. If the user opts out of tracking, then the app no longer can track their behavior. Facebook says that as more people opt out of Facebook and Instagram, tracking, ad personalization, and campaign reporting will be limited for mobile apps and website users. In addition, it may affect campaign measurement and targeting that advertisers use inside the business manager.

Apple has always been an advocate for privacy–their newest update is no exception! Beginning summer’21 with iOS14, users started seeing prompts when apps are engaging in tracking behaviors, including anything from collecting geolocation data without explicit consent to accessing contact information like phone numbers and email addresses stored on your device. This access was previously limited to only those third parties granted authorization by you.

iOS 14 changes will affect all apps, but the most significant noise came from Facebook. They showed a massive message in the ads manager, encouraging people to switch to a new way of tracking – server-side. You should consider moving your tracking to a server-side because of all the tracking rules and restrictions. It might become a new standard of tracking. You can already set up server-side tracking for:

    • Google Analytics (Universal Analytics and GA4)
    • Facebook and Instagram
    • TikTok
    • Reddit
    • Pinterest
    • Bing 
    • Yandex 
    • Snapchat

How will the changes in iOS 14 impact Facebook advertisers?

Facebook Audiences

When iOS users opt out of data tracking, they’ll be invisible to a Facebook pixel. And that means your retargeting audiences won’t be able to collect such users. Some research says that around 90% of iOS users in the US opted out of tracking. It means that, for example, you won’t be able to retarget 90% of users who saw your video ad on Facebook.

The good news is Facebook has a solution on how to prevent this – Facebook conversion API. FB CAPI tracks users on the server-side and passes site visitors information (like email, first name, last name, etc.).

facebook server browser event

With the help of user information, FB can match users on the site to users in their database. The more user parameters you send from the server, the better match quality you will receive on Facebook. FB CAPI will also send events through the server when the pixel is blocked. 

Facebook event match quality

Facebook recommends using both browser and server tracking. This way, you will have two data sources of events on your site. To prevent events from counting twice, you should set up event deduplication

facebook purchase event deduplication

Event Limits 

Advertisers will be limited to 8 events per domain. Each event should be added to the aggregated event measurement manually. Facebook will also ask you to set the priority of these events.

If an event is not added to the aggregate event measurement, then you won’t be able to select this event for campaign optimization. 

There is no way to bypass this restriction. This may become a problem for those advertisers who used to have ad sets with a dozen website events. 

You can’t add custom conversions to the Agregated Events Measurement . 

Facebook Aggregated event measurement

Domain Verification 

Domain verification is not a new thing. It existed for a couple of years. Domain verification was recommended, but now it is required. 

You won’t be able to use events from non-verified domains. It may become problematic if you want to optimise campaigns for the event that is sent not from your domain. For example, you advertise an online event and use a specific tool for selling tickets. In this case, users will purchase on the domain of the system that sells tickets. Even if this system allows you to add your FB pixel, you won’t be able to use the purchase event as an optimization goal for your campaigns.

Attribution Window

28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows are no longer supported. 7-day click or 1-day view attribution will become a new default option.

You will no longer be able to see the breakdown by attribution window, which makes campaign analysis more frustrating. It’s a common issue that advertisers see the different number of conversions from Facebook inside the FB ads manager and Google Analytics. Previously it was possible to compare view-through vs click-through conversion and understand your campaign result better. But it’s no longer an option.

Reporting Limitation

FB will stop supporting real-time reporting. Data can be delayed up to 3 days. In addition, breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement, will not be available.

 

Targeting limitations

Facebook says that behavioral and interest-based targeting performance will decrease since their algorithms will receive less information about user browsing history.

Action should you do to prepare Facebook and Instagram ads for iOS 14

    1. You may need to verify your website’s domain. If you already verified the domain, then skip this step. You won’t be able to use events from non-verified domains. 
    2. Use Aggregated Event Measurement tool to select and prioritize 8 events per domain. You will be able to use only these 8 events for campaign optimization.
    3. Set up Facebook conversion API. This is the most important and the hardest one. Facebook insists that all advertisers start sending conversion data not only through the browser but also through the server. This way, they will track conversions, optimize campaigns, and create custom audiences more accurately. If the browser pixel is blocked, events will be sent via the server. We have a detailed blog post that explains how to set up Facebook conversion API using the Google Tag Manager server container.

Conclusion

The most important thing you’ll need to do is set up the Facebook conversion API.  If you want your marketing plan to be successful and make sure that it will work with the new iOS 14 update, this aspect of your campaign must be done first. 

We can help you create a seamless transition from browser to browser+server tracking. This will help to set up an accurate Facebook conversion tracking. Contact us today to provide assistance in making sure all your campaigns are optimized before the release date!

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