A Guide to Facebook Ads and Apple iOS 14

ios 14 Facebook ads

In 2018, Apple introduced a new concept that would increase the privacy of users with third-party mobile apps. With the introduction of the iOS 14 update, this concept became a reality. Apple now requires apps like Facebook to ask for permission to track users for advertising purposes. More precisely, iPhone users must opt-in to this tracking option for each app. The iOS 14 change will affect current Facebook ad campaigns and may skew reporting data. 

In this article, we’ll provide Facebook marketers a guide to Apple’s new iOS 14 update. Specifically, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • What is in the Apple iOS 14 update?
  • Will the Apple iOS 14 update impact my Facebook ad campaigns?
  • How to adjust for the Apple iOS 14 update
  • Should I keep using Facebook ads?
  • Final thoughts

ios 14 Facebook ads

What is in the Apple iOS 14 Update?

Recently, Apple launched its iOS 14 update. Since 2018, Apple hinted at the changes related to this update, and this new iOS made them a reality. The update also made some design changes (e.g. updated widgets, home screen organization improvements, and phone call / Siri integration). But, the most significant update pertains to privacy. 

According to Apple, the new iOS includes privacy features that: 

…improve user transparency and control over how apps access your location, photos, microphone, and camera. – Apple Privacy Policy

In other words, iOS 14 provides users with far more control over how third-party apps track their data. Now, users need to actually opt into this tracking. Before an app like Facebook can track your data, you will need to select the tracking option within the app’s settings. 

As a result, the default iPhone settings will now increase user privacy. So if you want apps like Facebook to track your data, you need to make an effort to activate that feature. 

Will the Apple iOS 14 Update Impact My Facebook Ad Campaigns?

The short answer – yes. The iOS 14 update will impact your Facebook ad campaigns. In particular, this change affects how Facebook receives and processes ad-related conversions with tools like Facebook pixel. As a result, businesses advertising on mobile apps will be affected.

As more iPhone users opt-out of tracking, Facebook’s ads personalization and reporting for app conversion events will suffer. This reduced personalization will have one of two negative effects: You either will need to spend more money to reach the same audience or, if you maintain your current Facebook ads budget, you will lose the ability to target your desired audience efficiently. 

Facebook acknowledged these negative impacts of their iOS 14 update. Fortunately, the company already took measures to provide a solution. In response to Apple’s tracking and privacy changes, Facebook will start processing pixel conversion events from iOS 14 devices using its Aggregated Event Measurement. Essentially, this allows Facebook ad marketers to measure conversion events for iOS 14 users. 

How to Adjust for the Apple iOS 14 Update

In addition to the Aggregated Event Management protocol, Facebook provided businesses with instructions on how to effectively reach their target audience. However, marketers must understand there are limitations related to the iOS update. 

Apple imposed a campaign and ad set consolidation guidelines in the update:

  • Marketers are limited to nine campaigns per app
  • They can only use five ad sets per campaign for all app install campaigns targeting iOS 14 users
  • Each campaign can have only one optimization type
  • An app install campaign must be specific to iOS 14 in order to target iOS 14 users

Due to these limitations, Facebook recommends that businesses use the following consolidation strategies in their app install campaigns to account for the iOS 14 update:

  • Use Automated App Ads
  • Use campaign budget optimization
  • Identify your top-performing combinations
  • Group your campaigns and ad sets
  • Use your existing product catalog
  • Avoid audience overlap
  • Test creative on other app install campaigns
  • Use placement asset optimization

In addition to these recommendations, businesses should also make the following adjustments to their Facebook accounts to reach their audiences effectively.

  • Update to Facebook SDK 8.0
  • Set up conversion schema in events manager
  • Verify business domain 

Should I Keep Using Facebook Ads?

While Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes certainly impact your campaigns, Facebook proactively took measures to mitigate the negative effects. As a result, Facebook ads remain a powerful tool for marketers. So, businesses just need to implement Facebook’s recommendations to work within the new Apple environment in the most effective way.

Having said that, there is no “silver bullet” strategy in the digital marketing world. And while Facebook ads remain a key marketing tool, businesses should also consider complementary strategies:

  • Amazon Advertising: If you sell goods online, advertising with Amazon is a must. The company has tremendous advertising potential and knows exactly what people buy. To leverage this information, Amazon offers paid search results. Businesses bid on certain keywords related to their products and, when users search for those keywords, Amazon promotes these paid results. 
  • Google Ads: Google remains the world’s largest search engine by a significant margin. With that in mind, digital marketers need to utilize Google Ads’ paid search tools. Most customers begin their research with basic Google queries, and paid search results can drive significant conversions. Like Amazon, businesses bid on specific keywords, and Google Ads dynamically places results in accordance with your daily budgets. 
  • Implement Value Exchange Strategies: First-party data represents the most valuable marketing information for businesses. Accordingly, marketers need to increase this information. One way to do this is through value exchange, where businesses offer certain incentives to customers who share their data. 
  • Continuous SEO: Search engine optimization is not a one-time event. Rather, it is an ongoing, long-term process designed to gradually improve your website’s organic search results. No digital marketing strategy is complete without a solid, sustained plan for improving organic results via SEO best practices. 

Final Thoughts

Apple’s iOS 14 update will force businesses and marketers to adapt their Facebook ads strategies. But, by implementing the above recommendations, you can plan and execute Facebook ad campaigns effectively. However, you should continue to pursue other digital marketing strategies. Effective marketing requires a variety of strategies. There is no catch-all tool that will take care of everything. 

If you’re still concerned about how the iOS 14 update will affect your Facebook ads, we’d love to help. At Tax Hack, we live and breathe digital marketing. Contact us today and set up a Facebook marketing strategy session!

Book your session now!