Paid Facebook Campaigns in the Age of iOS 14

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You may have heard murmurs of – or be fully immersed in – the latest Facebook privacy updates as Apple enforces their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) with iOS 14. We’ve rounded up our top takeaways from trusted digital marketers* to help you understand the changes and prepare your ad campaigns and expectations.

As with any tech update, we rely on the latest information available. While the information below is current as of the time of this publish date, we can expect additional changes as Facebook developers reinvent their processes and new technologies arise to address shifts.

Here’s what we know at this time.

  1. Conversion tracking: Your metrics will see the biggest negative impact. Your campaign quality in terms of the number of conversions is not likely to change; however, the conversion tracking is changing.
  2. Long-term leads: If you typically have a short-term conversion, this won’t affect you as much. Longer-term lead conversion (and retargeting campaigns) will see a snag in reporting due to limited tracking timeframes.
  3. Evolution of updates: New best practices will evolve per use case as we learn and optimize.

Our main takeaways: Your reach will be reduced. Your data will be different.

Facebook privacy disclosures present users with the option to opt in or out of data collection. An estimated 40-50% of Facebook users will opt out according to a recent survey by AppsFlyer.

Your Ads Manager database will reflect restricted data. For users that opt-in, you’ll be able to track events and conversions for 7 days. For users that opt out, you’ll be able to track their engagement for 1 day. In the past, Facebook has used a 28-day attribution model, so this is major shift.

Your reporting will show fewer conversions, which will inflate your reported cost per conversion. Again, your campaigns may deliver the same results as before, but the reporting is limited.

The algorithm will need to be retrained for the 7-day attribution model. Facebook ad specialists recommend running ads for 7-10 days to complete the learning phase.

Prepare for changes sooner rather than later.

iPhone users continue to upgrade to Apple’s iOS 14, which became available in January 2021, and iOS 14.5 rolling out mid-April. Although we are still learning the new best practices, we recommend these steps to optimize your campaigns as soon as possible.

  • Download your 28-day conversion data now before it’s removed from your Ads Manager account.
  • Verify your domain in Business Manager to allow limited event tracking. Facebook provides detailed steps here, but you will need a developer to access your server.
  • Implement the Conversions API.
  • Configure your allowed 8 conversion events in order of priority.
  • Start testing in-Facebook ads, such as Facebook lead forms and Messenger ads.

Keep in mind that this iOS 14.5 update is one of many to come in a landslide of privacy and data collection policies that impact digital marketers. By 2022, most web browsers (Safari, Chrome and others) will disable support for all cookies, which track website visitors for effective retargeting.

Your first party data will become even more valuable. We recommend targeted gated content offers to collect contacts in your database for email remarketing instead of relying on Facebook’s remarketing tools. Confide in your Google Analytics reports to track traffic, goals and behavior flow. Your owned assets (your website and content) will remain your greatest asset.

Don’t forget, paid social marketing is only one tactic to build visibility for your brand. As content marketers, we’ll continue to lean on best practices to ensure your message reaches the right people in the right places to achieve results in this ever-changing digital landscape. Contact us for a strategic content planning session to rebuild your paid social campaigns.

*A special thanks to our friends at Marketing Doctor for providing additional guidance on the nuances of these latest developments.

About the Author

Lauren Konst is an Account Manager at Muse. With a strong background in integrated marketing and communications, advertising and events, Lauren pitches grassroots marketing ideas and creative solutions to support clients’ business objectives. Throughout her career, she has worked with notable clients including Cleveland Clinic, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

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