Media Insights

iOS 14 Impact on Targeting: Four Immediate Steps for Marketers

As Apple rolls out iOS 14 updates, there will be significant impact on marketers’ ability to both target and measure at the customer level. We have outlined the immediate steps you should be taking to prepare as marketers. 

Updated 1/15/2021 to include Step 4- Download historical attribution results from the Facebook UI.

Alex Meyers shared his perspective on how measurement capabilities will be impacted by Apple’s iOS 14 requirements for users to opt-in to data collection and tracking, limiting the amount of data for user path analysis in the article Marketing Measurement in an Increasingly Privacy-Oriented World.  

However, the impact of iOS 14 changes will reach far beyond measurement and will change the way marketers target. Advertising on Facebook will be impacted most given its robust ad product offering and reliance on advanced tracking. Read more about the iOS 14 policy changes, why they matter for you, and immediate steps to be taking for your Facebook advertising program.  

What Policy Changes Are Included in iOS 14? 

With the release of iOS 14 policy change expected to occur in early 2021, Apple will require all app developers who wish to be searchable in the app store to adhere to their new AppTracking Transparency FrameworkThis will require that prior to downloading any app on iOS users must give their permission to be tracked and permit the use of their device ID (IDFA) for things like targeted advertising.  

Why Does it Matter for Media Targeting? 

This will impact in-app advertising platforms that leverage device IDs in their data stitching for targeted ad productsThis is particularly significant for Facebook given its ad product’s reliance on advanced tracking and ID stitchingExpected implications include: 

  • Website Custom Audiences (WCA) may see an impact via audience size and scalability   
  • The number of conversion events that are trackable on FB pixels will be restricted to 8 per domain   
  • Ad Personalization and Reporting may be limited or delayed 
  • Attribution windows may need to be altered  
  • The 28-day view and click through and 7-day view through will be depreciated  
  • Delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported

Additionally, if consumers begin opting out of tracking on iOS 14 devices at a meaningful rate, it will ultimately impact the targeting precision and scalability across any in-app advertising platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.   

Immediate Next Steps for Marketers on Facebook 

1. Verify your domain by mid-January  

Why? Establishes which Business Manager account has the authority to configure and prioritize the eight available conversion events for a given domain.  

Who? Advertisers who optimize to web activity. Give this additional priority if your domains have multiple businesses or personal ad accounts with pixels. 

How? Domain verification can be completed through DNS verification by someone with access to your domain host, HTML file upload by an admin with access to your site’s root folder, or meta-tag verification.  

2. Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1

Why? Allows for continued app event tracking from iOS devices.  

Who? Advertisers who optimize to app installs or activities. 

How? Admin to update their SDK via the Facebook Events Manager. 

3. Estimate the impact on your business 

Why? While it is unknown how widely adopted app tracking suppression on iOS will become, take these steps to estimate potential impact for your business.  

Who? All advertisers on Facebook. 

How?  STEP 1) Analyze what percent of your users are iOS based using your mobile web analytics software (e.g. GA, Adobe). STEP 2) Apply an estimated opt-out adoption rate threshold (2%-10%) to that number to get a sense of what percent of your users may fall within limited ad targeting capabilities in the future. NOTE) Ad servers, like DCM, can also breakout mobile ad delivery and ad conversions by operating device. 

4. Download historical attribution results from the Facebook UI

Why? Starting Tuesday 1/19 advertisers will have more limited access to 28-day click, 28-day view, 7-day click, or 7-day view attributed results within the Facebook UI. Advertisers will have to use the comparing windows feature to access. In the future as Apple requires the ATT prompt, advertisers will lose access to this data within the UI completely.

Who? All advertisers on Facebook. 

How?  Download historical data from the UI to ensure you have access to this important data set for your brand. 

Marketers have overcome tracking obstacles in the industry before, from cookie acceptance pop-ups to tracking opt outs and cookie blocking. Taking these immediate steps will help you prepare for the iOS 14 rollout and understand the potential impact on your business.  

As always, marketers should continue watching how the industry reacts and respond accordingly. Will Google roll out similar privacy rules for non-Apple devices? How will platforms and measurement technologies adjust their methodologies? Ovative will cover what you need to know and actionable steps to take in upcoming Insights posts.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more! 

SOURCES: Apple, AppTracking Transparency Framework


Stephanie Davila

Director, Paid Media

About the Author

Stephanie is a Director of Display and Paid Social at Ovative. She is responsible for developing data driven full funnel social and display media strategies, inclusive of video/CTV, programmatic/audience-first buying, and dynamic retail ads.  Stephanie joined the Ovative team in late 2020 and has hit the ground running on driving innovation and testing in the social and display space for some of our high end luxury retail clients.

Stephanie is a seasoned digital media professional with over 15 years’ experience spanning the retail, automotive, finance and higher ed industries.  Prior to joining Ovative, she was the Director of Media Strategy at Strategic Education Inc. (Strayer and Capella Universities) focusing on paid social, display, video and paid search to drive new student acquisition and revenue growth across universities. She is a passionate data geek at heart and spent the last few years implementing MMM and moving beyond last click attribution for Strategic Ed. Prior to her stint in higher ed, Stephanie worked at various local Mpls agencies on both brand and direct response clients; most notably working on media strategy for Target (Fashion, Home, Registry), Subaru (national and dealer level) and AMC.

When she isn’t working on the next great media idea, Stephanie enjoys dedicating her time to mentoring and developing her team members and helping drive their careers forward. She lives in downtown Minneapolis with her husband and dog Gatsby! She went to Macalester College in Saint Paul and loves to cross over the river for a visit every now and again, but is a Minneapolis girl at heart! Stephanie is fluent in Spanish and loves to practice the language with other native speakers whenever she can.

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