Photo by Denis Cherkashin, Unsplash

Apple to launch iOS14 update with major implications for Facebook advertisers. Here's what you need to know.

You may have read or heard about the release of the new Apple operating system update - the iOS14 - and its increased privacy and security measures.

“This update will include an opt-in prompt for users on each app to allow them to choose whether to allow third-party sites (like Facebook and other social media sites) to track their user data.” 

It is likely most users will ‘opt out’ of this. The iOS14 update is mandatory for all Apple device users, so this will result in a reduction in the potential to track users activity on your website, and will hamper your ability to retarget across paid media platforms on apps such as Facebook and Instagram. It is estimated that retargeting across Apple devices will decrease from being able to track and retarget ~ 70% of users, down to about 10-15%.

If you're not totally across this change, you can read in more detail about the update here. It's worth saving this link, as Facebook will keep this page updated with new announcements and solutions to prevent large scale impact on businesses their advertising activity and results.

It's important to note that this update rollout is still in early stages, and we are still awaiting Facebook’s response to issues like new retargeting options and reporting.

What we do know is that tracking will become more difficult, and ads could be less effective due to a loss of “signals'' from users opting out of tracking. You’ll need to develop a greater understanding of how customers are finding you and how to keep them around.

Users will have to 'opt-in' for tracking.

In addition to this, Facebook has recently rolled out a change in how they attribute conversions. Facebook, as of mid-January, no longer supports 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, or 7-day view-through attribution windows, with 1-day view-through and 7-day click-through being the new default. 

Conversions are now being assigned to the day of purchase rather than the time ads were clicked, thus when comparing advertising results to previous periods, your results may look less impressive. The results are not actually changing, just the attribution window is being made smaller. You should note this within your paid media reports to take into account when analysing results.

So, what can you do about all of this? We've complied some important considerations and things you should be preparing now.

To action immediately

Verify your Domain in Facebook

This is something that needs to be actioned by the account owner, within your Facebook Business Manager Settings.

Shopify won't allow for the standard HTML file upload to the web root directory so will require editing of the DNS TXT records.

The recommended method for Shopify merchants is to add a meta field to the homepage - using the following steps;

1. FB Business Manager Account > Brand Safety (left menu) > Domains (dropdown)

2. Add’ domain (blue button)

3. Select 'Meta-tag Verification'

4. Add code to Shopify homepage template (or have developers action this)

More information

Further Preparation for the IOS14 Update

Forewarned is forearmed. Reduced tracking will mean ads won’t be able to rely as heavily on people’s actions on the website (page visits, product views, add to cart, abandoned carts), which is to date the most effective retargeting tactic with the highest ROAS. 

Many brands rely on this tactic, and if you’re one of them, this change will have an impact if you continue using the ad platforms as you always have. But if you take the time to understand the changes, prepare, and adjust your advertising and content strategy, we don’t think the impact will be detrimental and leaves a lot of room to still efficiently advertise to your audience.

As part of 30Acres’ ethos - we have always stressed the importance of employing an omni-channel approach to marketing to ensure you are reaching and communicating with customers wherever they are active, and in a variety of ways. 

With these changes presenting potential barriers in targeting consumers, it's more important than ever to encourage customers to opt-in to your owned channels (e.g. email) so that you may maintain targeted, and personalised one-on-one communications with them at all times.

Some recommendations to prepare for this change and reduce the impact of this:

Grow your database

Invest in growing your ‘owned’ databases (email database, sms opt-ins, loyalty programs). You will continue to be able to use custom audiences built from audiences that have actively opted in to be marketed to by your brand.

Video content

Create and publish engaging video content on social and through paid social - to build up retargeting audiences within the paid media platforms. 

Facebook Shop

Ensure your Facebook Shopify integration is up to date within your Shopify store 'Sales Channels'. We preempt that Facebook will be more actively driving in app-sales rather than focussed on driving traffic off their platform, as this will be harder to track results with this update. Facebook will still have control over all the data within its own suite of apps.

Improve your content - use data and testing

Less options to personalise based on pixel tracking and website actions means you need to be more creative and strategic with content. Use data to truly understand your audience. Demonstrate this understanding through quality creative and copywriting. Delve into your audience’s drivers, and promote your USPs - attract users to your brand and product.

Use Facebook’s A/B testing functionality to test ad copy and imagery. Conduct customer research at frequent intervals to ensure you are continuing to meet the needs and wants of your customers.

Where to ‘wait and see’ how Facebook responds

Reduced tracking will mean reduced reporting potential and less accuracy around attributing revenue to advertising activities and specific campaigns and creative.

There are ways to improve the Google Analytics reporting setup to use campaign UTM’s and improve GA reporting for Facebook advertising results… However, Facebook has a pretty vested interest in making sure that businesses can still see the return and benefit of their ad spend.

It’s likely that Facebook will come up with solutions around attribution and platform performance reporting, as they are the most impacted if revenue cannot be attributed to their platform advertising.

Hence, rather than investing in alternative reporting methods just yet, we’d recommend to wait and see if Facebook comes up with something first. They’ve surely got their best team on it.

Want support? We can help.

As a Facebook agency partner we’ll be kept up to date with new recommendations, features and solutions from Facebook directly, plus we have our ears to the ground for industry updates and best practices.

Still confused? Reach out to us via our contact form if you’d like assistance with navigating these changes to your paid media campaigns.


Below are resources for you to peruse for more information.

Facebook resources

Opinion pieces/ consultancy blogs


by margreet

February 11, 2021

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