Apple vs. Facebook: The Battleground of iOS14 and What It Means For You
It’s no secret that Apple and Facebook are clashing. In Apple’s upcoming iOS14 update, changes will be made that directly impact Facebook advertiser’s ability to track, optimize, and target customers as they currently do. But it’s not all bad! Let’s break down what we know, what we can do, and why this may not be as dark as it initially seems for advertisers.
Apple and Facebook Clash Over Ad Tracking
Opened Ads Manager recently? You’ve likely seen this scary notification pop up:
❗Upcoming Impact to Your Marketing Efforts
Apple has announced product and policy changes that may significantly impact the way you can run ads, measure performance, and engage your customers. Grim.
What We Know about Facebook and Apple’s iOS14
✅ We know the update to iOS14 is announced to happen in early 2021 and will require all apps to explicitly ask for permission to gather data and track users across mobile apps and websites.
✅ We know what this question will look like when presented to users, and we know that the majority of them will select “Ask App not to Track”, prioritizing privacy over a custom ad experience.
✅ Most Facebook users that have an Apple device will receive the notice –– those with iPhones, iPads, etc who use the Facebook app, and those who use Safari. Instagram will also be impacted for those users. Those who use Chrome, an alternative browser, or use the Facebook app on their android device are safe (for now).
✅ We know that less than 20% of people worldwide use Apple devices and/or the Safari browser.
✅ We know that losing that tracking information hinders our ability to provide a targeted ad experience to users.
✅ Some impactful changes have already taken place. iOS13 limited the tracking of cookies to just 7 days, so Facebook is already limited to attributing conversions to actions that occurred within only a week’s time. Custom audiences are impacted by this as well. In that sense, this information isn’t new, it’s the next step in privacy.
✅ We know that Facebook needs us, the advertisers, on their side. Chances are you’ve already seen their ads about “Speaking Up For Small Businesses.” However, the relationship between Facebook and its users & advertisers is a tumultuous one! Facebook’s policy support team leaves much to be desired. Their policy checking is next to robotic, resulting in harsh restrictions and bans that impact nearly every advertiser at some point. But we love Facebook advertising! We love it because it is impactful and extremely cost-effective –– probably the most effective ad platform there is right now from a targeting and tracking perspective. And we think even with these changes from Apple, Facebook advertising will continue to be impactful for marketers and businesses.
How to Prepare for iOS14 and Facebook Ad Management
Now, more than ever, it’s vital to take a step back, look beyond the stats of Ads Manager, and take in the whole picture of your digital marketing strategy.
💡 Pay Attention To Your Own Data
Ads Manager isn’t currently 100% accurate, and it's only going to get worse. It’s crucial to have a pulse on your month-over-month return, so you can make informed decisions for your accounts. Look at what you spent and what worked overall, then come up with a personal data strategy that works for YOU. Don’t get caught up in the day-to-day mantua, because conversion tracking is going to be off.
💡 Finetune Your Targeting
There will be less user interaction data when those Apple users opt-out. It’s up to us to build a customer avatar that knows what our audience’s interests are, their age groups, genders, etc. Who is your customer and how does what you offer help them? You’ll need to use that avatar to inform your targeting as options like lookalikes become less powerful.
💡 Optimize for Facebook Standard Events
Make sure you are following, using, and optimizing for standard events with conversion campaigns. Standard events being those predefined actions like “add to cart”, “purchase”, “view content”, etc. Facebook will likely phase out things like custom conversions, and it’s possible that they will automatically turn them off for us as they become obsolete.
💡 Do the Very Least
Verify your domain in Business Manager. Now. Go.
Our Thoughts on iOS14 and the Future of Facebook Ads
Cookies have been around for a long time now, and play a primary role in how we track our audience. As marketers, we are staring at a potentially massive change in terms of how to best optimize. Will cookies be a thing of the past in 2-3 years? How different will they look?
Part of marketing is adapting. We must be able to innovate and shift to get our messages to our customers. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and don’t be a fairweather advertiser. Diversify your digital marketing portfolio and stay flexible with your strategy. This is just one of many changes we’ll see in our advertising lifecycles, and we’re here to play the long game.