Changes Ahead for Facebook Ads

Over the past few months, we have witnessed Facebook and Apple bicker over the implications of the upcoming iOS 14 release. While it is always interesting to watch two industry titans square off, there are some things you should know if you run ads on Facebook.

What the iOS 14 Update Means

The iOS 14 update will start to require ALL apps in the Apple App Store show users a prompt notifying them how an app uses and collects personal data and asking a user for permission to track them across apps and 3rd party sites. We should note the ability to restrict tracking has always existed for iOS users, but it was buried in the device’s settings. With iOS 14, apps will need to explicitly ask users to opt-in or opt-out of tracking and therefore more users will choose to limit tracking.

What this Means for Facebook Advertisers

Since any iOS 14 user can opt out of tracking, the overall number of sales being attributed in Facebook’s reporting to Facebook marketing campaigns will likely diminish since the sale may not be able to be linked to the customer. It is important to note that the sale will still come through your system as it always has, but it may not be tracked in FB’s analytics data. Traffic driven by FB ads to your website should remain unchanged in your Google Analytics account, but do be sure to continue tagging your links with UTM parameters to ensure it’s recorded correctly.

Additionally, Facebook has warned that advertisers are likely to see a drop in the size of audiences. According to Facebook, “As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences, and website Custom Audiences may decrease.”

Attribution windows will also change. The 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through windows will no longer be available for active campaigns.

Another important item to mention, a maximum of 8 conversion events will be supported (i.e. transactions, add-to-cart actions, email sign-ups, catalog requests, etc.). This applies more to larger companies who are running multiple campaigns, driving traffic to larger websites. If you are running more than 8 conversion events, Facebook will default to what it feels is the priority event.

Lastly, we don’t know exactly when the change in Facebook will officially take place, although iOS is projected to rollout in February 2021. Facebook is currently making updates on their backend. We keep hearing “soon”, but no specific date has been announced. Just know and be prepared that you may see smaller audiences and less sales being attributed to Facebook campaigns in Facebook’s own reporting.