An image of a finger touching the icon for the apple App Store. On the left side of the image there is an orange rectangle with a grey rectangle layered over the top with orange text reading ‘Apple iOS 14 Changes and Facebook Ads’ and on the right side of the image there is an orange circle with white text reading ‘Jo Francis’

Apple iOS 14 Changes and Facebook Ads

If you’re currently running Facebook ads, you may have seen this notification appear when you go into Ads Manager:-

And you might be wondering what it means and what impact it could have on you and your ads.

Sometime soon (early 2021) Apple will present Facebook and Instagram app users a popup message which allows them to opt out of data tracking across apps and websites owned by other companies.

This new policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people specifically opt into tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt.

Until this is brought in, it’s impossible to exactly predict the effect. We don’t know the volume of people that will opt out but it does appear that users will need to explicitly opt IN (rather than the usual opting OUT process) to provide these permissions.

What impact could the Apple iOS 14 changes have on your ads?

Facebook themselves are not happy about these changes and have spoken up about this potentially having a harmful impact on many small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.

Dan Levy, VP Ads and Business Products at Facebook made these points:

“They’re hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic. 

These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively. 

Our studies show, without personalized ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads.” 

He also went on to say:-

“This affects not just app developers, but also small businesses that rely on personalized ads to grow. Here’s why. Small businesses have small budgets. For these small budgets to work, they have to be targeted at the customers that matter to small businesses. It doesn’t do a local wedding planner any good to reach people who aren’t planning a wedding. Likewise, it doesn’t do a small ecommerce outfit selling customized dog leashes any good to reach cat owners. Put simply, by dramatically limiting the effectiveness of personalized advertising, Apple’s policy will make it much harder for small businesses to reach their target audience, which will limit their growth and their ability to compete with big companies.”

So what will the iOS changes actually affect?

In brief, it looks like this:

  • Tracking pixel actions from ads. Numbers will be skewed due to people opting out of tracking, and that will affect events like leads, add to cart, purchases, custom conversions etc. 
  • Optimizing your ads will become harder.  As the pixel won’t be receiving so much information there’s a chance your ads won’t be optimized as well to people who are taking the actions.
  • Building audiences.  This has the potential to become harder as your custom audiences will be missing visitors from iOS devices, which in turn will impact cold lookalike audiences. 
  • Retargeting ads. If people are opting out via an iOS 14 device then they won’t be included in your retargeting audience, therefore you may miss a large chunk of the usual audience size.
  • App installs.  App Installs or other App related conversions will struggle for iOS devices.

Should Facebook advertisers be panicking about the iOS changes?

In short, no. Not at this stage. Facebook will not see the demise of their entire business because of one change made by Apple, so whilst I’m not downplaying the impact – I’m sure we will feel it, I think there will be workarounds.

And I don’t think that ads will become less effective, I think that ad reporting will become harder. Ads will still be driving people to your content, but it may be that tracking from there becomes harder on Facebook.

Sit tight. We may be in for a bumpy ride, but I sure we’ll come out the other side! 

And if you want the full Facebook information, you can find all the details here:-

How Apple’s iOS 14 Release May Affect Your Ads
When to Use Domain Verification to Verify Your Business
Use Facebook Pixel to Reach iOS 14 Users