There’s been a lot of talk in the digital space about Apple’s iOS 14.5 update and how that relates in particular to Facebook advertising. Over the years I have read and heard of rumors that there would be some type of legislation that would mark the end of Facebook ads. These, of course, either never happened or never really had a substantial impact on the business so Facebook advertising has continued to be very effective and a main channel for most companies.
However, this time may be different. The changes that Apple are forcing on Facebook remove such a large amount of data that it will be an enormous challenge for Facebook to innovate their way out of it. Given that Facebook's revenue from ads is around $20billion a quarter - they have a massive incentive to work it out.
In this article, we are going to discuss how Apple’s new policies will affect Facebook advertisers.
Here are some changes you should expect soon:
1.Effects On App Advertising
In the mid of 2018, Apple introduced a concept called the ‘SKAdNetwork’ API. One of the foremost reasons behind coming up with this concept was to increase the privacy of users who installed mobile apps.
Today the SKAdNetwork API is no longer just an assumption.. It will affect the way you use Facebook Ads.
Going forward, the SKAdNetwork API will be used by Facebook for app advertising on all iOS 14 devices, and this will either restrict, aggregate, or delay all app event data. .
Furthermore, lift measurement will not be available for iOS 14 App Install and App Events campaigns.
And last but not least, reporting of events will be delayed for up to three days after an app is installed.
2. Changes in Mobile Web Advertising
The SKAdNetwork API is not the only new creation of Apple that will affect advertisers. Apple has also created the PCM (Private Click Measurement) protocol for web attribution. This protocol will strongly contribute to restricting data that businesses and platforms can access.
Let’s understand PCM with an example.
Suppose an iOS 14 user is served an ad on Instagram and is taken to a web browser to complete a purchase. Now, because of PCM, this event would be lost and not properly attributed.
Tracking users in a different geographical location will also be a challenge. For example, if a user in Spain is served an ad for a US-based company, but is then redirected to the local version of the website based on their location, the purchase would not be properly tracked.
Facebook will release the Aggregated Event Management tool to counter this problem. This tool will help in proper attribution of sales if an event similar to the ones mentioned above occurs.
4. Optimization and Targeting
With iOS 14.5, there will be an eight-pixel event cap per domain for optimization. This means that an advertiser will only be able to use a maximum of eight conversion events per domain for optimization.
So, if you’re an advertiser, you will need to prioritize the eight events that are of most importance to you. One thing to note here is that the eight-event cap is only capping the number of events you can optimize towards. However, you may still track more events for reporting and audience creation.
In short, the new apple update may hinder optimization, especially if there are not enough data points. This is probably not very good news for small-scale advertisers who do not have many data points as compared to the big players. Also, as more and more people update their operating system to iOS 14.5, the size of retargeting audiences will also shrink over time.
The new default attribution window will make measurement a bit complicated as it will contribute to under-reporting on organic as well as paid channels. You should also expect an increase in dark social traffic. (If you cannot recall what ‘dark social’ is, it’s when people privately share content on social media which makes it harder to track. Dark traffic has always been there, but the new iOS update might contribute to its increment.)
When it comes to ad reporting data, there will be a three-day delay on data display for the data that comes from iOS 14.5 users. This is because of Apple’s PCM (Private Click Measurement) protocol. As explained above, PCM can restrict and delay data access.
Limited data could make running ads a little inconvenient to advertisers. For example, clients will only be able to see a few reported conversions, and sadly, the conversion event breakdowns would not even exist.
6.Changes in Business Manager
This section is short and simple, yet very important. The Facebook Business Manager interface will have a change in design. This needs to be done because Facebook cannot have a separate interface for Android and iOS.
It’s likely not going to be rocket science and advertisers will get used to the new changes in the Facebook Business Manager interface easily. For instance, things might move from Ads Manager settings to campaign level, or maybe, from Ads Manager to Event Manager.
Hopefully that provides some context for the changes you're about to see in the Facebook advertising space.