Apple’s iOS 14 changes advertising landscape.

A Q&A with Eric Nielsen, senior account executive, social media

Consumer privacy is not a new topic in digital advertising. But Apple’s recent release of iOS 14.5 has privacy-driven changes that will impact our targeting and reporting on Facebook. We met with Eric Nielsen, a paid expert on our social media team, to get a few updates.

Q. To start, what is iOS 14?

A. Apple’s iOS 14 update will mandate that all Apple apps can only collect user data if the user authorizes it. When the iOS 14 update is released, a Facebook app user will now need to choose whether they “opt in” to allow their data to be shared with the platform for marketing purposes or to “opt out” if they do not wish to.

Q. Sounds scary; how will this impact businesses?

A. I get it, especially since we can’t expect all iOS Facebook users to opt in to the changes. This smaller audience size and a projected increase in competition for similar audiences will affect the overall campaign performance.

These changes will affect our ability to track on-site actions/conversions/events from our mobile-only Facebook ads. For example, if we serve an ad to a user that has “opted out” of their data being shared, we will no longer be able to track whether this user has made an on-site action. We can expect our Facebook reporting to reflect fewer on-site conversions or events — making year-over-year comparisons hard with platform-based data.

Q. So how do we respond?

A. First, we’ll need to really rely on data sources like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, since these will allow us to see and track on-site actions like page views, purchases and conversions/leads that align with other digital tracking. Second, we’ll need to use the Facebook-developed Aggregated Event Measurement protocol that will continue to allow us to track, report and optimize on-site actions.

Q. Does this affect all devices?

A. No. The information above only applies to Apple iOS devices. Android devices (Samsung, Google Pixel) will not be affected by this change. Also, it will only affect the Facebook app; it does not apply to users that are accessing Facebook via the web. These changes do also apply to Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Finally, this will only affect measurement and optimizations through the Facebook platform. The ability to measure on-site actions is still possible through Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

Q. Any last tips or thoughts?

A. There will be a shift to relying on owned data, third-party purchased data and look-alike modeling to complement any interest-based targeting to grow our presence. Since this impacts our overall ability to find people that have been to the website and taken an action, we will have to explore these paths. From a campaign standpoint, there is a chance that a change from website conversion-based tactics might need to shift to awareness-focused campaigns.

There also will be an exploration of how to properly show event attribution from all digital tactics and the role that social has in the website performance. This will include the reliance on Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics.

Not sure what to do next?

We can help. Reach out to your Bader Rutter social media manager to discuss how we can manage your tracking needs to best suit your campaign and business objectives.

About the Author

Eric Nielsen is an analytically focused and strategic-centric social media practitioner who loves finding nuggets of information within the numbers to connect the brand messaging to the audience for his clients. Eric thrives on taking data and turning it into a fully planned and executed social media campaign that focuses on exceeding industry benchmarks. By staying up to date with trends and examining past data, Eric continues to push brand campaigns forward across all social channels.

Previous work includes implementing social campaigns for clients across agriculture, foodservice, travel and tourism, health care, higher education and consumer packaged goods verticals. During these experiences, Eric has worked across multiple teams to align messaging and creative with efficient campaign structures and promotional objectives.