marketing for startups

How Will The iOS 14 Changes Affect Your Business?

Our marketing agency in Vancouver first heard of the iOS 14 changes in 2020 in what was essentially the declaration of a cold war between the two giants of Facebook and Apple. We knew that this invisible “digital war” on privacy would eventually take its toll on various ad campaigns, for which businesses are only starting to see the impact in 2021.

To bring you up to speed, here’s what’s going on with Facebook vs Apple, why this should matter to you, and what you need to know to keep your “casualties” to a minimum.

To boil down the conflict to its very basics:

  1. Apple, with the release of iOS 14, is forcing all apps to explicitly seek consent from its users in order to track activity across other apps and websites.
  2. Facebook’s revenue model is heavily dependent on tracking conversions across other platforms in order to track and optimize advertising campaigns.

Apple claims that privacy is a right that their users should not have to forfeit to use online services, while Facebook claims that this sort of data is essential for businesses to thrive (and for Facebook to continue providing their services).

To be clear, our marketing agency isn’t taking sides on this debate but we are here to help the businesses that will directly be affected by these iOS 14 changes.

Here’s a couple of ways that iOS 14 will impact your ads, and how you can potentially curb the impact of these changes:

1. Your Current Ad Sets May Be In Danger

Perhaps this warning is a little after-the-fact. Perhaps you’re on this page precisely because your ad sets aren’t working. If you’re wondering why your ad sets have been sudden shut down – well, this is why:

Facebook will now optimize for 8 conversion events only

Do you like to have 12-20 signals on your website, tracking all the user actions that are driven through your Facebook Pixel? Well, tough luck because Facebook will now only accept up to 8 conversion events.

If you do not explicitly set 8 conversion events to your website via the Facebook Pixel, your ad sets will not be able to run.

This includes ad sets that were working in the past – anything referencing an “old” website conversion is essentially shut down and cannot be turned back on even after configuring your new conversion. Rough!

What’s The Fix?

The fastest way to breathe life back into your campaigns is to set your conversions by going to Events Manager > Aggregated Event Measurement > Configure Web Events and configuring your 8 conversion events. 

Then, you’ll have to duplicate your old campaigns in order for them to run with the same parameters. We recommend transferring previous comments, shares and engagement from your previous ads into your newly-duplicated ads.

As for your old campaigns? Well, write a nice farewell message and say goodbye to them. They can’t be turned back on again. Adios, amigos 🙁

2. Your Audiences May Have Gotten Smaller

Do you use custom audiences? You may have noticed that your audiences have gotten smaller due to individuals opting out of app tracking via iOS 14.

What’s the Fix?

Unlike with the previous error, this issue isn’t easily fixed by clicking a couple of buttons and hoping for the best. If your custom audience has been greatly affected by this change, you’ll need a strategic refresh to lay the foundation for a new marketing strategy after this big shake-up in the competitive landscape.

Need to hire an architect for your master marketing plan? This is where our marketing agency comes in to provide you with our expertise based on our network and portfolio of clients.

We’ve helped many businesses survive and, yes, THRIVE during the course of the 2020 pandemic – you can rely on us to provide you with the best strategic options available.

Even if you don’t need a marketing revamp, you may still need a breath of fresh air and some clarity into your existing reporting because, well, that’s been affected too.

3. Your Reports May Be Slower

If you use custom conversions or non-configured events in your Facebook Reporting metrics, any Apple iOS user that has opted out of app tracking will no longer appear in your non-configured events.

If your leads have dropped off a cliff in recent weeks, they may actually be underrepresented in general.

What’s the Fix?

The fix for this issue ties into a potentially overarching strategy that essentially….chooses not to waste resources on what may potentially be broken.

4. Avoid The Impacted Ad Networks

As taken from Facebook’s official response to Apple’s iOS14 “App Tracking Transparency” update:

We expect these changes will disproportionately affect Audience Network given its heavy dependence on app advertising. Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted.

App Tracking Transparency will threaten Facebook’s view-through conversion tracking, a metric that lets ad companies figure out how many people saw an ad, didn’t click it, but later made a purchase related to the ad.

When a corporation tells you that a certain specific network and tracking mechanism is jeopardized, we think it’s almost a no-brainer to try and avoid those negatively impacted elements.

Luckily, there are other ways to promote Facebook ads without using the Audience Network, and also to track leads without the use of Facebook’s Pixel.

We aren’t recommending to ignore the Facebook Pixel, but we are trying to draw your attention to on-page conversion tracking tools available on your own website and tracked via Google Analytics.

If any of the above items feel confusing to you, it may be a good time to look into gaining clarity on your conversion setups.

In Conclusion

This digital cold war on privacy between Facebook and Apple has only just begun. In order to protect yourself from unnecessary casualties in your business, this is the right time to stay informed on what’s new, what’s working, and what to avoid in the coming weeks.

Here’s a cheat sheet in to some other insights and areas that you might want to look into:

  • How much of your business relies on mobile traffic? Apple’s iOS 14 changes won’t hamper your desktop results
  • What is your “source of (marketing) truth”? If you count leads directly through Google Analytics, this change might not affect your business.
  • What is your targeting strategy? If your campaigns use Facebook’s interest parameters rather than custom audiences, you might be able to get by with a simple allocation of your interest portfolio.

We hope this article has helped provide some value and insight into your business strategy moving forward. If you have any questions or need any help deciphering all the changes currently taking place via Apple’s iOS 14 – why not give our marketing agency a call? We always have chocolate 🙂