Why iOS14 Update Has Killed Facebook Ads (and what you can do about it)

If you’ve been advertising on Meta (formerly Facebook) for a while, you already know the effects of Apple’s iOS14 update firsthand. Announced early 2021, the effects of this update have taken a full year to really take effect – but they are well and truly here.

If you haven’t advertised on Facebook before, here’s what you need to know!

Apple iOS14 update was a big rehaul in online privacy. Essentially, Apple announced that they would allow iPhone and other Apple device users to opt out of online tracking by applications. This means that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and others are no longer able to see what iPhone users are doing after they click an ad.

What Facebook (and others) are missing out on

This opt out feature is a huge deal, as this is what made Facebook Ads (and all the other platforms that had copied their model) so special. They knew so much about us and were able to sell incredibly targeted ads as a result.

Essentially, Facebook was able to track everything users did on apps and websites that allowed tracking. Facebook would be able to see what websites you visited, how long you spent there, what products you viewed, and every single step along the way to purchasing those products. These platforms could see how much you were spending online, how many products you bought and any coupons, specials or promotions that brought you in.

Furthermore, these Apps stored all this information about you to create personalised consumer profiles based of your shopping and online behaviour. Facebook is estimated to have 52,000 points of data per person on the platform.

Why is this a big deal?

If you’re a business trying to reach customers, it was huge! This was a revolutionary type of advertising that allowed advertisers not only to niche down on their target audience, but also to upload their customer list and use Facebook’s advertising algorithm to use these 52,000 points of data to statistically model the information and find customer segments that were up to 99% similar in their customer profile.

That meant that if you had a list of customers, you could give that to Facebook and they would be able to find near identical matches to them based on 52,000 points of data.

Instead of trying to sell to people based on their age, their gender, their location and interests, businesses could essentially leave it to Facebook’s algorithm to find the right audience for you.

What’s even more mind-blowing, was that advertisers could tell Facebook what type of actions they wanted audiences to take on their website – actions like purchase a product, fill out a form, add to cart – and Facebook would further filter down the audiences to focus exclusively on people more likely to take these actions.

Why The iOS14 Update Killed Facebook

In the end, removing these secret weapons from Facebook’s arsenal have been a killer blow. In Australia, over 60% of smart phone users are on iPhones. It’s likely the same in most developed countries. This means that Facebook’s algorithm tools are no longer able to spy on a majority of consumers to create these data models for incredibly targeted audiences.

They aren’t able to report accurately on sales coming from their advertising campaigns.

Meta (formerly Facebook) can’t track any metrics from iPhone users to further assist advertisers in finding audiences likely to purchase their products, or add to cart. Unless they are android based, that is!

So what can we do? Well, the good news is that there is actions you can take.

What You Can Do About iOS14

Meta (formerly Facebook) have announced that advertisers can take certain steps to assist them in providing you with the best tracking possible, and assisting their algorithm in keeping campaigns performing strong.

Set up Aggregated Event Measurement for web events

  • Verify your domain. Domain verification establishes which business account has the authority to edit a web event configuration as the domain owner. Learn how to verify your domains.
  • Choose what events you want to track. Configure and prioritise your top eight events on your domain. You can choose up to eight standard events or custom conversions that can be prioritised for campaign optimisation. Page view events and custom events are not available at this time. Visit Events Manager to access the web event configurations tool. Learn more about event configuration or go to Events Manager to get started.
  • Use UTM Codes in your advertisements. UTM Codes are snippets of codes that can be tracked by Google Analytics and other analytical tools. It will allow you to see sales and other actions from your Facebook Ads and create more accurate reporting for your business.
  • Learn more about Pixel updates for Apple’s iOS 14 requirements.

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