Facebook Advertisers Brace for iOS 14 Tracking Prompt Fallout


Facebook advertisers are gearing up to make an impact, as Apple’s initially planned rollout of iOS14 finally comes to fruition in the coming weeks. This update has sparked a very public war between Facebook and Apple, as the issue of privacy versus ad targeting continues to swirl in the marketing space.

While the data loss predicted at this time is tied to iOS 14 users, the bigger picture is that this is likely the start of how privacy will be handled in the future.

Why is iOS 14 a problem for Facebook?

This latest iteration of Apple’s operating system includes a new prompt and info format for any app. Its effort is twofold: inform users of what an application will follow before installing it:

And then an opt-in authorization for tracking during installation.

Facebook Advertisers Brace for iOS 14 Tracking Prompt Fallout

Apple named it “Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT)”, and Facebook is not happy with it.


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Facebook relies heavily on user usage information to do things like report actions or purchases from ads, create remarketing, and other similar functions. The possibility of not sharing this data is present, but it has historically been quite hidden from the user.

This latest change means that users either give or don’t expressly give permission, and many predict that users will opt out when given the choice so explicitly.

Without this information, it disrupts the targeting that Facebook Ads has relied on for the majority of its functions.

This feature was initially announced over the summer, with a strong push from Facebook released in August. Apple delayed the launch at this time, warning that it would still arrive around February 2021.

Naturally, this sparked hundreds of questions about the details, which are only just starting to become more obvious.

What measures will be affected?

Facebook explained what to expect for the metrics we’re used to. These will affect Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, and the Ads Insights API.


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  • The allocation of 28 days of any kind will no longer be supported. Historical data about them will only be available through the API.
  • 7-day click attribution will still exist
  • The attribution after posting over 7 days will also be removed.

In view of this, Facebook will use statistical models to try to compensate for lost data from iOS14 users. Some windows will only have a partial report. In these cases, annotations within the platform will signal that these models have been used.

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

While advertisers can still target based on geographic and demographic segments, it’s important to note that they will no longer be able to see a report breakdown based on these factors.

The change on the Facebook side: global measurement of events

In an attempt to minimize the impact of data loss, Facebook is creating what is called “Aggregate Events Measurement”.

In their presentation of the iOS 14 rollout, they simply say, “It’s designed to help you measure the performance of your campaigns in a way that’s consistent with consumers’ decisions about their data.”

The conversion limit 8

In this context, advertisers will be limited to 8 conversion events tracked per domain. This can be 8 pixel-based events or 8 custom conversions. No changes are necessary for this change, as it will happen automatically.

The 8 conversion events will be ranked according to their reporting priority. What does this mean exactly?

Suppose you have both Add to Cart and Buy as 2 of these 8 events. If a user performs both actions, only the purchase event will be logged as a “top priority” action.

The domain owner will be able to configure the 8 which are tracked in Events Manager. If and when an advertiser changes any of the events, there will be a 3 day suspension until they can run campaigns against the new event. This allows for an assignment day and a 1 to 2 day timeframe, which they call a “cool down” to ensure that the report attributes are correct.


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Domain-based pixel property

It is important to note the language used: the domain. Facebook pixels were once created and assigned to ad accounts, but will now be linked to a verified domain. This only really matters in cases where an advertiser owns the domain and wants to measure events or personalized conversions on it. It doesn’t matter if a brand wants to drive traffic to a third party; they still can and will always lack event and conversion metrics, as they do today.

What does this mean for other applications?

While the fury is around Facebook, it will affect other platforms with apps that work in a similar advertising environment.

At the moment, it’s unclear whether Google will do the same with the smaller attribution windows. They have expressed their intention to dispense with cookies very clearly, targeting 2022 as a rollout.

Until then, many strategists recommend using UTM tags and Google Analytics to try to supplement user information, where possible.


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What are the experts saying?

Andrew Foxwell, owner of Foxwell Digital and widely regarded as one of the best Facebook advertising experts, told me about what he’s seeing so far.

“Most advertisers fall into two camps: they are ready and prepared and have thus prepared their customers. Or they try to figure it all out. Most of the questions we receive are about whether the engagement activity in the app is maintained (it is) and what are the solutions to follow after a purchase, ”he said. declared. “We have suggested post-purchase tools as well as modeling a relationship between 7- and 28-day click-based ROAS.”

We also spoke with Christian Lovrecich, who runs Pixl Feed Media. With over a decade of experience and high spend in ecommerce, he said, “Looking at all the data from all the accounts my team and I manage, iOS makes up the majority of the converting audience. in purchase. ” He added that he has been working to mitigate the impact since his announcement, by following the steps recommended by Facebook.


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When asked to rate the level of disruption of Facebook ads as we know them, 10 being “this will change the FB as we know it forever,” he put it at 6. “At first, I would definitely say it will be a 6 But, as someone who has been doing this for over a decade, we all know that technological change is inevitable and, in the end, all we can is to prepare, adapt and overcome any change that comes our way. “

Recommended next steps

  • Be prepared for attribution data to disappear after posting. Download your historical data for the two windows (28 days and 7 days) as well as for the clicks of 28 days. Compare 28-day conversions per click and 7-day conversions per click to understand how your reported conversions will be affected if you are currently using this 28-day window.
  • If you are using rules related to this 28 day attribution, update them now to minimize any impact on your spend or bottom line.
  • Check your domain with Facebook as soon as possible to make sure your pixel data is as transparent as possible. This is especially important if you have pixels on your domain that belong to multiple entities.
  • Keep in mind that this only affects iOS14 users and the rate of opt-out adoption is not yet known. You will need to carefully monitor your own data and results to better understand the impact. This will help you prepare as iOS 14 continues to gain adoption over time.

We will continue to monitor the rollout and update new information as it becomes available.

The Facebook ad with the recommendations mentioned above can be found here.

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