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Whether you are a personal Apple user or not, the implications of the upcoming iOS14 changes will impact you as a business owner and marketer. Beginning the week of April 26th, Apple will roll out its updated privacy feature that prompts users to decide Yes to No to allow app activity tracking. While much of the news about this change – and how it will impact your advertising – has been centered around Facebook, the reality is that this app activity tracking affects all social media platforms and Google (ads) as well.

Since Facebook is the most popular social media platform in terms of users as well as ads use, we’re going to look deeper into how this impacts your Facebook ads and what you can do to soften the blow of this upcoming change.

4 Things to Know about Apple iOS14 Implications for Marketers

  • Pixel Tracking – Since this iOS change is all about allowing or disallowing app activity tracking, you should expect that the size of your website custom audiences will slowly diminish. Facebook website custom audiences hold the most recent 180 days of website traffic, so the decline in audience size will be gradual but steady.
  • Pixel Events – One use of the Facebook pixel is to provide a way to track users who click on your Facebook ad, and then land over on your website or sales page. Because app activity tracking can be turned off, this will impact Landing Page View optimization as well as Conversion ad tracking.
  • Your ads will still work, but you’ll see higher ad costs and lower results – This might seem like a bit of a strange statement, but let me explain. After the Apple iOS14 update goes into effect and users begin opting out of app activity tracking, you’ll still be able to set up and run ads that require use of the Facebook pixel (e.g. Traffic and Conversion ads). Apple users will still be seeing, clicking on, and converting because of your ads…it’s just that you won’t be able to see the attribution to those ads in your data. Let’s use some easy numbers as an example. If you spend $20 to run a Traffic ad with a Landing Page Views optimization to get more readers on your new blog post, you might get 80 people who click on that ad and land on that blog post on your site. In reality, your Landing Page Views cost is $.25 per LP View, and you got 80 people over to your blog post to read it. But if 40 of those 80 people were Apple users who opted out of app activity tracking, you would still receive 80 Landing Page Views from that ad, but the reported Facebook ad data would look like you had 40 LP Views at a cost of $.50 per LP View due to the 40 Apple users who opted out of app activity tracking.
  • Android users aren’t affected – This likely goes without saying, but this change is Apple-specific. If you’d like to get an idea of how this might impact your Facebook marketing, visit your Google Analytics dashboard and look at the breakdown of traffic by device.

3 Things you Can Do to Combat these Changes

  • On-Facebook (and On-Instagram) activity will still be tracked – That means your current Facebook Page Likes/Instagram Followers, users who viewed your Facebook videos, and users who engaged with your Facebook or Instagram Pages, Posts, or Ads can all still be targeted as warm audiences in your Facebook and Instagram ads. You can still upload a list of your email subscribers to target, too.
  • Verify your domain – Facebook has been encouraging advertisers to complete a few important steps as they relate to the Apple iOS14 change. All of these steps require you to first move your Facebook Business Page and Ads account into Business Manager, so if you haven’t yet done so, that will need to be your first step. If you are already in Business Manager, you’ll want to start by verifying your domain. After completing that process, you can then select up to 8 conversion events for tracking (e.g. Thank You pages from regular opt-in campaigns you run), and then set their priority from highest to lowest.
  • Revisit your Content Creation & Email Marketing strategies – Making videos and encouraging email subscriptions might not be where your strengths currently lie, but these are 2 main tactics going forward for creating warm audiences to use for Facebook (and Instagram) advertising.

These Apple iOS14 changes are definitely a blow to all marketers and small business owners who utilize Facebook and Instagram as part of their online marketing strategy. But like what we’ve all likely learned many times before now…the online marketing world is ever changing. This impacts all of us, and we’ll all figure out a way to adapt.