How Apple iOS14 Will Impact Advertising Results

Apple’s iOS14 will shake-up digital advertising as we know it. This is how it will impact your results.

What is the iOS14 update and why should I care?

Phone updates typically consist of bug fixes and smaller tweaks, but not this one. iOS14 could signal the start of a complete transformation in advertising, and its launching this week.

iOS14 introduces significant app privacy controls. For the first time ever, users will have to ‘opt-in’ to behaviour tracking, rather than opt-out. It also allows ‘precise location tracking’ to be disabled when it’s used for measurement and attribution purposes.

What this essentially means is the customer journey will be a whole lot harder to track. Ad performance across the board will suffer as a result of this update.

This is yet another blow to the marketing industry, which has been under increased scrutiny over its use of personal data. Google announced last year that its phasing out third-party cookies – a key staple of digital advertising.

How will it affect Facebook ads?

Facebook has been particularly against this ‘opt-in’ approach to data collection. They produced this article last week explaining how paid social activity will be affected. You need to take certain measures within Ads Manager, otherwise your ads could be disrupted in the following ways:

– Inability to create mobile app install ad campaigns targeting users on iOS 14.5 and above.

– Limited access to certain optimization choices and the pause of certain ad sets.

– Ad performance impact as delivery to users on iOS 14.5 and above may decline for certain ad sets.

At E1MA we’ve had to make changes to our media buying to fit around iOS 14, particularly around Facebook pixel data. You can now only have up to 8 conversion events sent through a single pixel. Conversion events include add-to-baskets, landing page loads, checkout completion and more.

You need to make sure your domains are verified on Facebook. Work with your website provider to initiate these changes otherwise it may negatively impact ad delivery. Reach out to us if you need assistance. 

In short, expect to see a dip in your Facebook & Instagram ad performance. This could include reduced Reach, a higher CPC or a lower conversion rate. At this stage, it’s too soon to tell. iOS14 might not have the far-reaching impact we suspect it does, but it could be a sign of things to come. Will the likes of Google and Microsoft follow Apple’s lead?

Final thoughts

It’s hard to see why users would willingly opt-in to personal data tracking. There’s certainly a slice of the population who enjoy seeing tailor-made ads that match their interests. But there’s also a vocal majority that find personalised advertising invasive and off-putting. Such sentiments are only accelerated by popular Netflix documentaries such as ‘The Social Dilemma’ and ‘The Great Hack’.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on our iOS14 impacts paid advertising. Our initial impressions are that, aside from a few technical tweaks needing to be made, it won’t have the catastrophic impact many were predicting. The E1MA team is communicating closely with our clients to ensure paid social activity continues as normal. If you have any concerns or would like to know how this will affect your business, get in touch.

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