How Advertisers Can Prepare for Apple's iOS14 Update
Apple gives users control over ad tracking but there are certain steps that you can take to minimise paid advertising disruptions.
iOS 14 delivered significant visual changes to our smartphones, but the most significant changes are centered around Apple's focus on app privacy and activity tracking. The update—iOS14.5—which started rolling out in February, centers on ad tracking and grants users more control over their data. The move has sparked a public debate between Apple and Facebook, with Facebook deeply concerned over how the update will impact ad targeting and tracking for the many small businesses that use its platform for marketing. Although detailed information about the update has been released by Apple, it is important to note that the extent of its impact on advertisers has yet to be seen.
What we know about the iOS 14 update
Named the App Tracking Transparency policy (ATT), Apple has confirmed that users will be asked permission before apps can use their unique Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) for third party ad tracking. On the app side, developers will be required to ask permission to use certain information from other apps and websites for advertising purposes to comply with ATT.
The update adds a new prompt screen to the App Store with information about app privacy, tracking data, and linked data:
And an in-app permission prompt for opt-in for tracking:
Apple is doing this to make users aware of what data apps track before they install it, and to give the user the choice to opt-in to tracking when the app is installed.
How the update will impact advertisers
The update means that users will have the choice to give consent to track them and many anticipate that a significant number of users will opt-out. Paid advertisers stand to suffer significantly from this change, although the impact and extent of this change will only become known after a full rollout.
How To Prepare For Changes
Facebook has officially outlined the changes advertisers expect to see on their platform. In an attempt to minimise the impact of any data loss from the iOS 14 update, Facebook has created “Aggregated Event Measurement” which they have designed to “help you measure campaign performance in a way that is consistent with consumers’ decisions about their data.”
Conversions: Advertisers will be limited to eight conversion events per domain i.e. eight pixel-based events, or eight custom conversion events. If you're using more than eight events for your campaigns, you will need to review your conversions.
Domain Verification: Facebook is moving pixels over to domain-based ownership. If you use pixels, verify your domain with Facebook to minimise any disruption to your data. Verifying your domain is especially important if your pixel is managed by multiple parties e.g. agencies.
Ads Reporting: 28-day attribution of any kind will no longer be supported, neither will 7-day view-through attribution. Historical data will only be available via the API. Prepare for view-through attribution data to be inaccessible. If you use the 28-day window, you can compare 28-day and 7-day click conversions to see how your reported conversions may be impacted. Update any rules you use that are currently tied to 28-day attribution.
Targeting: As people stand to opt-out of tracking after the iOS 14 update, the number of app connections and custom audiences for app and web activity will likely decrease. To account for this, broaden your audience to capture more potential customers.
With the upcoming changes to IDFA in the iOS 14 update, Google Ads has taken a different path to Facebook Ads and decided to switch to another Apple ad tracking tool: the SKAdNetwork. Google is currently pushing Apple to improve the SKAdNetwork, as it is considered less effective at enabling advertisers to track users.
Reduced Conversion Visibility: Google has announced that ATT will “reduce visibility into key metrics that show how ads drive conversions (like app installs and sales) and will affect how advertisers value and bid on ad impressions.”
Upgrade to the latest Google Analytics for Firebase: For app advertisers using Google Ads, Google has recommended upgrading to the latest version of Google Analytics for Firebase to enable SKAdNetwork support.
Monitor campaigns and adjust bids accordingly: Advertisers using Google Ads on mobile devices should monitor iOS campaign performance and delivery as the rollout takes effect and adjust their bids and budgets to achieve their goals where needed.
It is also important to note that AAT is only going to be available to iOS 14.5 users and the opt-out rate is still too early to know. With this in mind, all advertisers need to monitor their data over the coming weeks to understand the impact of the update. Keep an eye on your iOS ad performance to prepare for the full update rollout and be ready to adjust your campaign if necessary.
Track All Your Campaign Data In One Place
As an advertiser, measuring your marketing results is often a complex task that requires the right tools to get the actionable insights you need to measure and optimise campaign performance. Having an integrated platform that tracks and collects data across multiple channels is a powerful tool to track performances in once place.
Tools such as Supermetrics, Power My Analytics, and ReportDash provide powerful integrations of your campaign data from third-party sources into one single, centralised platform e.g. Google Data Studio so you can view your entire campaign performance in one place.