How the iOS 14.5 Update Is Affecting Facebook Ads

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They say there is never a right time to have a baby, well they were right! As I was giving birth to my beautiful little girl online store owners, marketers and Facebook staff alike were going into meltdown over the new iOS 14.5 update from Apple and what it would bring. 

For a run down on the update see How to prepare your business for the iOS Update.

It seemed like the worst timing but as luck would have it, I’m back from maternity leave and the sky has yet to fall in! 

Last week (26th April), the Apple iOS 14.5 update started to roll out in Australia. For iPhone owners who run the update they will now be able to choose whether an app can track them and retain their data. It’s this juicy data that has allowed Facebook ads to be so effective as we can re-target website users based on the actions they take such as looking at a product, adding to cart, or even purchasing. 

The update includes a pop up from Apple which asks the user if they give permission for the app to track them or not.

“Facebook” would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. This will allow Facebook to provide you with a better ads experience.” The user can then choose between “Ask App Not to Track” or “Allow Tracking”.

A clever move by Facebook includes a prior screen, which educates the user before the popup appears. Facebook states that by allowing Facebook to track their app and website activity they will “Show you ads that are more personalized”, “Help keep Facebook free of charge” and “Support businesses that rely on ads to reach customers”. I think the only one that may be truly motivating for the every day user is keeping Facebook free of charge.

The biggest unknown waiting for this update is how many users will allow Facebook to continue to track them, and how many will opt out. As the update is rolled out, only time will tell.

So what will the changes mean for your Facebook ads?

 

Expect Changes From Facebook

Facebook has said to expect changes in their business and advertising tools, campaign set up, targeting, delivery, measurement, and reporting.

I expect there will be changes gradually rolled out as it will take time for users to update their devices and they won’t do it all at once. 

Reporting Changes

The update affects how Facebook can report on user behaviour as they won’t have all the data they had previously. 

Any user that opts out as part of the iOS 14.5 update won’t be reflected in your reporting. So if they click on your ad, go through, and make a purchase, that purchase won’t be reflected in your reporting. 

This is one of the biggest challenges we now face. It’s like going back to the old day of TV and radio where we knew 50% of our advertising was working, we just didn’t know which 50%. What I have always loved about Facebook ads is you could account for every cent spent and know exactly how much it was bringing you back in sales. Not anymore 🙁 

It is now important that you monitor your sales through your own platform’s analytics such as Shopify or WooCommerce. This will be a true reflection of your sales and you will need to estimate how many of those sales came from your Facebook advertising, even if Facebook is not telling you the full story. Apple’s changes affect Google too, so Google Analytics will be affected in the same way.

7 Day Window

Another big change is that Facebook is changing it’s attribution settings to 7 day click through and 1 day view. The old 28 day options and 7 day view are being depreciated..

This means that any reported stats on your ads are based on actions taken within 7 days of clicking on your ad, or within 24 hours of viewing it. Keep in mind however, this data shown does not include iOS users who opted out of tracking.

The default for all new Ad Sets and web event campaigns will be 7-day click-through.

Attribution methodology will shift from Impression Time to Conversion Time.

Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM)

Aggregated Event Measurement refers to the new limit of 8 events you can optimise for, mentioned in our previous blog

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to verify your domain and set up your web events. You can follow our free guide available here

When AEM is fully enforced any ad sets that are optimised for an event that is not selected in your 8 will automatically be paused. Double check your current Ad Sets to make sure they are not optimised for something you haven’t selected in your 8.

Ad sets will also be paused if you don’t have your verified domain selected.

IMPORTANT: If you re-order your events, all Ad Sets using the affected events will be paused for 72 hours. Facebook says this is to help minimize the risk of incorrect attribution.

Targeting

Tracking users has been essential to Facebook’s targeting options. Unfortunately for users who opt out, we won’t be able to re-target them as effectively as we used to. 

This affects not only what individual users do on your website, but also interest-based targeting as Facebook can no longer store information from websites they visit to know that a person is interested in horse riding, baby clothing or planning their next holiday.

Expect some of your audience sizes to go down as more people opt out of tracking. 

Another audience that will be affected by the change is lookalike audiences. Users who opt out won’t be able to be included in seed audiences, but even those who opt in under Apple’s new rules can only be used for 7 days. This means seed audiences will need to be based on actions taken in the last 7 days, not 180. This will result in many small businesses not being able to use Lookalike of Purchases as they need a minimum of 100 people in the same country within that 7 day period. To overcome this use, a larger seed audience such as add to cart or view content, or use a seed audience of an email list of purchases.

What To Expect

While all the changes roll out and there is an increase in users updating their iPhones, expect fluctuations in the performance of your ads. So far, our clients haven’t been dramatically affected, however, I have heard stories of others who have. Just be aware a lot is going on in the background and whenever Facebook makes major changes, things break! 

I expect ad delivery and reporting will be affected and Facebook has warned of increased CPAs (cost per acquisition).

What Should You Do

It’s not all doom and gloom, there are still many effective ways to use Facebook advertising, even for iOS users who opt out. 

Focus On Email

It’s time to double down on your email strategy. Use your Facebook ads to get people to your website but then, focus on capturing their emails when they get there. This way you will be able to email them, and also target them with Facebook ads based on an audience made from our email list. 

We recommend using Klaviyo as it allows you to have a custom Facebook audience made with an email list that automatically updates when new subscribers join your list.

You can also use Facebook Lead ads to collect emails from within Facebook and then add those subscribers to your custom audience, and feed them through an email sequence.

With so many people asking for emails, you need to be more creative than offering ‘10% off your first purchase’. Consider running a competition with a monthly winner or a special offer just for subscribers.

Use Videos

Videos are a great way to capture attention in your Facebook ads, but the other great thing about them is you can create audiences of people who have viewed them. One ad strategy we will be testing is running ads top of funnel (to a cold audience) with engaging videos and then re-targeting middle of funnel ads to people who watch those videos, rather than people who view a product on your website. The premise is the same, you are showing further information in an ad to someone who has shown an interest (by watching your video). Here is a free resource featuring 8 types of thumb-stopping video you can create.

Be Patient

There has been a big build up to these changes and the chaos they are going to cause but things are not going to change dramatically overnight. It will take time to see the full effects of the changes and find the best ways to adapt. Be patient and keep an eye on our blog for the latest updates.

Don’t Panic

Things change. Once upon a time Newspapers were the best way to advertise! Along came radio, then TV. Then Netflix turned up and people stopped watching free to air TV and therefore stopped seeing ads. 

Marketing is always the same – the right message to the right person at the right time. The method is what changes, and we need to continue to evolve as the world does. Privacy is a huge issue amongst online apps so I believe Apple is only the first to make this move and others will follow suit. 

We need to adapt to what is working at the time. I still believe Facebook ads will be a powerful marketing tool for eCommerce, we will just start using them in a different way.

 

Need Help? 

If you’d like help to grow your eCommerce store using our latest eCommerce funnels designed to adapt to the latest changes check out our eComm Ignitor program. We can help you sell more on your online store.

Written by Karyn Parkinson

Karyn AKA Karyn with a Y is a Facebook ad specialist with a side dose of eCommerce marketing, particularly website optimisation.

When she's not behind the computer you'll find her at the beach with her fur babies or on the roller derby track as Pink Fury!

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