What Apple’s Newest iOS Privacy Changes Mean for Marketers

What Apple’s Newest iOS Privacy Changes Mean for Marketers

Advertisers, Prepare Your Facebook Ads for Big Changes This Spring

In January of 2020, Apple announced big privacy changes to their upcoming iOS 14.5 mobile operating system, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency Framework. Although these changes haven’t rolled out yet, it’s important to prepare for the many ways these changes will impact advertisers on Facebook. Namely, Facebook will need to ask users for permission to track them across their app and website.

The prompt will appear like this:

The types of tracking provided by the Apple Dev team is extensive. It includes everything from displaying targeted ads on Facebook based on user data collected, to sharing location data and email lists. It goes so far as using data from other developer’s apps to measure advertising efficiency. These are all common tactics in the advertising space.

Naturally, companies and the marketers who advertise on Facebook on companies’ behalf are worried. We’ve been hearing a range of concerns, and the most common questions include:

• How does this affect my Facebook paid media campaigns?

• Will we still be able to effectively target audience segments?

• Will our conversion and reporting metrics be thrown off?

Anticipating this bevy of inquiries from concerned marketers, Facebook has released a statement warning advertisers:

"As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

In response to these changes, we will also start processing pixel conversion events from iOS 14 devices using Aggregated Event Measurement. This will support your efforts to preserve user privacy and help you run effective campaigns."

Facebook reps have also conveyed a wait-and-see strategic approach to agencies, because they are still not completely sure what the extent of this massive change’s ramifications will be. So far, much of Facebook’s response has been solution-oriented, such as processing pixel conversion events using Aggregated Event Measurement. Because Facebook’s primary revenue stream is predicated on being able to serve targeted ads through the seemingly endless amount of data it collects on its users, the company seems to be doing damage control.

BrandMuscle’s Observations:

BrandMuscle has reviewed both Apple’s ATT framework and Facebook’s statement and proposed pivots. We feel that FB’s proposed pivots are a step in the right direction and provides good starting points that every advertiser should immediately employ. These include:

• Fully verifying each business website domain at the top-level domain plus one level

• Choosing the eight most critical conversion events to your business, and ranking them within Events Manager in order of priority

On the measurement front, 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and seven-day view-through attribution windows will no longer be supported. Thankfully, historical data for these windows will remain accessible. Thus, certain attribution windows will immediately have only partial reporting available, and metrics will not include all events from iOS 14 users- instead, seven-day click will be the default attribution window moving forward.

For all advertisers, we anticipate a delay in reporting of up to three days, as real-time reporting may be limited or not supported. We also expect a decrease in the number of reported conversions when the setting defaults to seven-day clicks.

Steps BrandMuscle Is Taking Now for Our Clients Who Advertise on Facebook:

• Preparing for attribution window changes (deprecation of 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and seven-day view-through windows). This includes utilizing the Comparing Windows feature to see how conversions attributed to ads compare across different attribution windows. This allows us to better anticipate the impact to reported conversions as a result of upcoming attribution window changes

• Updating any of our current automated rules that use a 28-day attribution window to prevent any unexpected adjustments in spend once the new seven-day click-through window default goes into effect.

• For our app-based clients, updating to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1, which will help us personalize ads delivered to iOS 14 users, and continue to receive app conversion events reporting.

We advise any companies, large and small, that advertise on Facebook to also follow the above steps, with priority on domain verification and choosing their eight most important conversion events. We also recommend companies begin monitoring any changes in reporting and attribution once these changes take effect, and continue to strategize where, among these changes, paid Facebook advertising will fit within the larger omnichannel media mix for their business.

Want To Learn More About Adjusting Your Paid Media Strategy?

Contact BrandMuscle to create personalized paid media campaigns that respect users' privacy.

About the Author

Mo Awad

Director of Paid Media at BrandMuscle


Mo Awad is BrandMuscle's Director of Paid Media. A digital marketing veteran with extensive experience within agencies and client-side, Mo provides thought leadership and strategic guidance to all of BrandMuscle's paid media clients.