Until now, advertisers have been able to rely on Apple’s IDFA (identifier for advertiser) for tracking, targeting and attribution across Facebook. The IDFA is also how advertisers are able to segment iOS users into 1st party audience lists for targeting (e.g. website visitors) and optimise campaigns towards a specific conversion or event goal. 

With the launch of iOS 14.5, users must now give their permission for their data to be tracked. Businesses that advertise mobile apps as well as those that optimise, target and report on web conversion events will be affected. In response, Facebook has created solutions to help combat the impact with the release of Apple’s SKAdNetwork and Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM). 

When Apple enforced its prompt with the release of iOS 14.5 on the 26th April, advertisers initially saw 4% of users in the US and 15% of users globally opt-in. While the roll-out is gradual, as adoption increases, a variety of impacts across the Facebook platform are highly likely, including:

  • Performance fluctuations: advertisers can expect to see the Facebook pixel record fewer conversions causing performance fluctuations and increased CPAs.
  • Less granularity: as well as breakdowns (age, gender, placement) no longer supported in Ads Manager, the limit on custom conversions means advertisers will be unable to report/optimise using every step of the product journey.
  • Audience sizes may decrease: users who opt-out of tracking will automatically be excluded from certain targetable audiences.
  • Less flexibility in attribution windows: longer windows of 28-day click, and 7-day view are no longer supported which will limit analysis when trying to understand the impact of ads, especially for products with a longer decision period e.g. holidays, mortgages etc.
  • All advertisers are now subject to the 8 event per domain limit for optimisation.

While advertisers won’t know the true impact of the update until the roll-out is complete, there is no doubt that personalised advertising and attribution will face some challenges across Facebook in the future. 

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