Brace yourselves, marketers: the Apple iOS 14.5 update is here.
The software update comes with some handy features, for example, Apple users can now unlock their iPhone with their Apple Watch and there are also some fun new emojis. However, one aspect in particular is getting a lot of attention as it will give users greater control over how apps can collect data and therefore impact marketers’ Facebook ad strategy.
If you’ve heard the rumblings and whispers about this update and have been wondering what all the fuss is about, you’ve come to the right place. This post will break down what this new feature is, how it will affect Facebook marketing, and how marketers can best respond and adapt to these changes.
After iPhone users update to iOS 14.5, they will have the option to opt if the app they’re using, like Facebook and Instagram, can track their behavior across the other apps they use. Until now, this behavior was enabled by default, so advertisers have been able to track the actions iPhone users take when using their phones. Ever looked at a pair of shoes and had them follow you around the internet, showing up in ads on Facebook or Instagram? This results from cross-app tracking, but now iPhone users can opt out of this feature by simply clicking a pop-up that says “Ask app not to track.”
According to Facebook, “businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.” This change will affect Facebook's pixel and SDK capabilities for measuring the effectiveness of their advertising by understanding the actions people take. Audience sizes are likely to shrink (according to Facebook, "the size of your app connections, app activity Custom Audiences, and website Custom Audiences may decrease") and CPAs are expected to increase.
If users opt out of tracking, this will directly impact and limit Facebook advertisers’ ability to:
This software update only impacts iPhone users, but according to Statista.com, the majority of Facebook’s users (79.9%) only use the application on their mobile phone and, in the US in particular, a large portion of those users have iOS devices. Considering all the heat Facebook has gotten in recent years regarding data privacy, we can also assume that a significant portion of those iOS users may opt out of cross app tracking.
In short, this update will likely make advertising on Facebook less efficient. With less efficient ad serving, business owners and marketers will need to spend more money to cast a wider net to get the results they would’ve achieved before the iOS update.
Ultimately, the iOS 14.5 updates will likely impact the performance of your Facebook ads, but not all is lost. There are different ways for you to optimize your Facebook ads marketing strategy in this context:
Get industry best practices and case studies for advertising on: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon, Google Display and some key emerging channels.
Will this update be the end of Facebook advertising as we know it? It’s too early to tell. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that humans are highly adaptable and marketers will likely come up with new ways to work around these new changes. However, if your business has been relying heavily on Facebook’s targeting and retargeting features to drive results, the best thing you can do now is to:
Honing in on these key factors will strengthen your brand messaging across any and all platforms, no matter what these new software updates throw at you.
Hint: great creative is will be the name of the game. The Apple iOS 14 update doesn't need to be all doom and gloom for advertisers—we've got tips for success!