Memo #21

How iOS 14 Changes Will Change Facebook Ads & How To Prepare For It

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What if I told you that there will be an event in the near future that will force you to change the way you do advertising, or you’ll be unable to target almost half of your potential audiences?

Apple has recently announced that it will introduce privacy changes to their latest phone operating system, the iOS 14, which will affect how advertisers receive and tabulate conversion events from tools, such as the Facebook tracking pixel.

Every business that advertises on mobile apps or targets and reports on conversion events through Facebook is affected by this change.

So it is extremely important that we learn how to structure our advertising campaigns and platform in this new environment.

In this article, I will be explaining to you how to do just that.

How to prepare for the iOS 14 update

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The most straightforward thing you need to change, as per Facebook’s own guidelines, is to go to Advanced Events Manager via admin privileges and verify the domains associated with the business.

In plain English, business verification is proving you’re linked to a business by either receiving a verification code or completing domain verification.

Worth noting though is that domain verification requires the webmaster of your website to place a special code within the site. This, in turn, would prove your association with the domain, given that only a person with the necessary authority credentials would be able to do this.

After this has been done, you can edit the events for your website via the Advanced Events Manager.

Be warned that this can take upwards of 48 hours, so it’s worth doing before the deadline. Furthermore, if you try to do this after the deadline when iOS begins enforcing these policies, it’ll take 72 hours to accept configurations.

Consequences of iOS 14 changes to your tracking data

Let’s not mince words: the iOS 14 update will reduce the granularity of your data captured within the Events Manager platform.

For example, instead of giving you specific amounts that represent your customers’ purchases, it’ll start aggregating the data and giving you ranges.

For explanatory purposes, let’s say that your business has an Order Value that varies between $1-$200.

In that case, you can activate the “Value Optimization” button within the Events Manager, and this will allow you to split the data between 4 to 8 categories.
The data ranges could thus look like this:

4 Event ranges relating to purchase value: $1-$50; $50-$100; $100-$150; $150-$200

8 Event ranges relating to purchase value: $1-$25; $25-$50; $50-$75; $75-$100; $100-$125; $125-$150; $150-$175; $175-$200

So you’re able to see how many people purchased at what order values, but you wouldn’t be able to specifically assign who bought what specifically.

Put simply, the event instances were anonymized and muddled to assuage the privacy concerns of Apple users.

It’s also worth remembering though that you can only capture a total of 8 events and that these events count even if they’re in the same category.

As such, you can capture the price ranges quite well, but in that scenario, you wouldn’t be able to capture information relating to the percentage of people who added their payment info, initiated checkout, added to carts, etc.

Then you have to decide what depth of information you want to capture at what point in the sales journey.

You can’t have it all, so you have to be clever about what data is important to collect.

To further add complications to the mix, you need to assign priority to the events that you have chosen to track.

As, in Facebook’s own words “when a customer takes several actions during a web session, only the corresponding events that are highest in priority will be sent for conversion.”

In other words, besides having a limited amount of events that you can potentially track, you also have to choose which data points are the most important to capture, as you can only get a single data point per tracked user.

Given this limitation, the best way to arrange it is by backward chronological order. As such, the purchase and its associated values are given the highest priority as it’s the last thing that happens, then you can follow the logical sequence of events in reverse order:

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  • When they add the payment info;
  • Initiate checkout;
  • Add an item to the cart; and
  • View website content.

By design, this arrangement is optimal, as the bit of information that is captured carries with it the implication of the prior sequence of events.

As such, unless you’re optimizing for a specific event, and need data on one specific action, this is the priority order we would recommend.

Conclusion

As of 2021, about 45.4% of people in the US use an iOS-enabled device. This ratio of people has roughly held firm for more than the last half-decade.

Android might also follow suit in the years to come with similar privacy-protecting policies.

As advertisers, we try to ensure the long-term viability of our campaigns and must adapt to the times.

For the time being, we will initially have access to less granular information, owing to these changes. Yet, it might simply be a change that will remain as a footnote in advertising history.

Cookies used to be all the rage for tracking online activity, now they’ve taken the backseat. It stands to reason that a similar thing might happen to Pixels in due course.

Either way, as of now, we must adapt to the environment as it is and will be in the near future. Novel means of sidestepping these new barriers will be developed in due time.

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