Apple’s iOS 14 update is still very much an unknown, however, as you may know by now, will change the future of Facebook advertising. Subsequently, Facebook recently launched Aggregated Event Management (AEM) for mobile web campaigns.
Here’s everything you need to know about AEM and how it can support your Facebook advertising as security measures increase:
What is iOS 14?
iOS 14 is the newest release of Apple’s iPhone software update, which will be rolled out worldwide throughout 2021. As media privacy and safety awareness continues to surmount, the new iOS update will fundamentally change the way that your ads interact with your audience via tracking limits. Stricter data tracking parameters mean restricted marketing, which will fundamentally shake up the way businesses target customers online.
iOS users currently make up the majority of purchase conversions on social media. At the roll out of iOS 14, users will receive a pop-up that encourages them to disallow apps to track their data.
At this stage there is no date for when this privacy prompt will roll out, but rumours have it launching as soon as the end of this month (January 2021) others suggesting March or even September.
“Our solution [AEM] is analogous to Apple’s Private Click Measurement but is designed to solve for key advertiser use cases not addressed by Apple’s proposal. Aggregated Event Measurement will continue to evolve with upcoming browser changes to help our advertisers support consumer privacy.” – Facebook (Source: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/721422165168355)
How do apps like Facebook track ads currently?
As it stands, Facebook works cohesively with cookies, browsers and servers to connect customers to products. Every metric on your Facebook Ads dashboard is measured and present through the capabilities of that cohesive network, which iOS is set to disrupt.
What exactly will iOS 14 change for advertisers?
28-day and 7-day view-through attribution windows will not be supported for iOS users. Offsite conversion events will be reported based on the time that the conversions occur and not the time of ad impressions. However, the attribution window data you have from before the iOS 14 update will remain available.
The new default will be 7-day-click and you will be given a prompt at the ad set level to determine your window. For those using rules, it’s recommended to update these windows now to avoid any mishaps once the changes roll out.
Advertisers will be limited to the use of 8 conversion events per domain if the tracking is accepted. Ad sets optimising for an event beyond that 8 will be paused. These 8 conversion events per domain will be prioritised. If multiple events are completed by a user (i.e. add to cart, purchase) only the higher prioritised event will be reported.
If a user does NOT accept the tracking, you will be limited to 1 conversion event. You will be able to set a preference for the order of the 8. This is still uncertain and unclear, but if so could mean you’d still be able to track view content to retarget, or track purchase to track sales. Facebook is building a tool to help with the prioritisation which will be rolled out soon.
However, changes to events will pause ALL ads using those events for 3 days. You will also need to manually unpause all ads, so changing events frequently will be detrimental, which is why Facebook are advising to prioritise the events as soon as this new tool rolls out (date is yet to be released) and will effect those of us who will need to test multiple event options to determine which method of prioritisation works best.
Real-time reporting will not be supported, and advertisers can expect to see their results with an estimated 3-day delay.
This will have a huge impact for larger budgets that are used to scaling and optimising daily or hourly. Results if they come through at all could be delayed by up to 3 days, which will slow optimisation and testing periods. It will also extend testing periods and the ability to run shorter campaigns for those on smaller or limited budgets.
No support for breakdowns
For app and web conversions, age, gender, region and placement breakdowns will not be supported for conversions. However, it seems we will still get this data for impressions, click through rates etc. which will at least give you an indication of audience data.
How will this affect my results?
Essentially, the delayed and limited nature of the data means audience sizes will drop, custom audiences will become limited, and your ability to target to warmer audiences and retargeting ads are going to be limited.
In addition the data we are able to see is going to be seriously limited.
However, it will not stop sales from happening. If you have a great ad and a great audience those ads will still deliver those sales to your site – we might not be able to track the full story though.
What I imagine will happen is Facebook will be used more for cold audience targeting, and a little bit of nurturing and retargeting for those who allow us to see their data. And other methods such as email marketing and potential Google ads will be used to fill in some of those gaps.
I guarantee that Facebook is working on systems and structures to help mitigate these changes and tech developers will be scrambling to create tech solutions to help ease this transition. It’s certainly not the end of the world, just the beginning of a new way of tracking and ad development and strategy.
Actions to take now
Domain Verification in Business Manager
If your business uses pixels managed by multiple Business Managers or personal accounts, ensure that you verify your domain. By verifying your domain, you ensure no immediate or future disruption to conversion event configuration. You can read our tutorial for this here: Verify your Domain
Verify Product URLs
There are no specific changes to dynamic ads currently known in the update, but to avoid URL errors, verify your URL domains in the catalogue feed. Prepare to only use one pixel per catalogue to optimise priority conversions across all of your catalogue items.
Build your email list
Given that we will be losing a lot of customer data, it’s more important than ever to be building your email list. We’ve always said, it’s important to build things you own, while we utilise Facebook to drive large volumes of traffic, you own your email list and the data it contains – so focus on building that so you always have a way to reach your customers and potential customers.
Update (for app management)
To help personalise ads delivered to devices on iOS 14 and continue to receive app conversion events reporting from iOS 14 devices, update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1. You can do this from Events Manager as an account admin. This will assist in personalising ads to people using iOS 14 devices.
What we think this means moving forward
Facebook is going to build their own tracking that will follow Apples guidelines but allow advertisers to track a little more accurately and allow for personalised ads. However, will still mean we lose some critical functionality. This is still in development so we don’t know exactly what this looks like, but it should help to bridge some of the gaps, however, will still mean serious changes for how data is reported.
I believe testing is going to be key, at this stage it looks like for those who opt out, you’ll be able to track one pixel event. What we want to test and know is – is it better to track view content so we can still see who’s been to the site, but we miss out on the purchase event data? Or is it better to track purchases but then you miss out on retargeting options? Only testing and further information on this roll out will tell.
This is going to affect everyone – so it’s not going to affect one business more than another. So take comfort in the fact that everyone is in the same boat with this, and everyone will be looking for solutions.
Advertiser questions that have been answered by Apple and Facebook:
Q: Can I incentivise users to agree to allow tracking in the ad transparency?
A: No, per the App Store Review Guideline 3.2.2 (link: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/)
Q. If I haven’t received permission from a user to track them from the tracking prompt, can I use another identifier such as their email address or phone number?
A: No. You will need to receive the user’s permission through the AppTrackingTransparency agreement to track that user.
Q: Can I use signals from the device to try and identify the device or a user?
A: No. As per the Developer License Agreement, advertisers may not gather data from a device for the purpose of uniquely identifying it.
Q: If I haven’t received permission from a user to track them from the tracking prompt, but they have accepted tracking via a separate process on our website, can I track that user across apps and websites?
A: Advertisers must get permission via the app tracking prompt for data collected in the app and used for tracking. Data collected separately outside of the app and not related to the app will not be affected.
Q: Does the 8 events include custom conversions?
A: Yes, this includes standard events and custom conversions. Custom events will not be supported (not currently available for all advertisers). Advertisers that previously had access to web Custom Event Optimization will no longer be able to use it. However, we plan to offer support in the future.
Q: Will the prompt be shown on desktop? Will desktop tracking change?
A: No, desktop tracking will not change at this time.
Resources from Facebook for more information:
Facebook Webinar on this topic: https://www.facebook.com/business/m/sessionsforsuccess
The Pixel and The New iOS Update: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/126789292407737?id=428636648170202
How the update may affect your ads: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202