If you spend a lot of time in online marketing and marketing (or if you’ve logged into Facebook Ads Manager this year), you’ve probably heard approximately iOS 14 and the IDFA armageddon.
And, if you’re like many agencies and advertisers, you probably did a piece of digging, figured it broadly speaking boiled right down to shouting in shape among Apple and Facebook, and flow on.
After all, there are continually a few new replace that guarantee to wreck online advertising forever. Capitalizing on our worry of the unknown, marketing and marketing specialists prophesy that “the quit is near!” and then…now no longer a lot happens.
The replacement rolls out, all of us regulate and it’s again to the commercial enterprise as normal. Sure, some agencies (which can be typically milking a loophole the replace is designed to eliminate) get the quick quit of the stick, however, maximum people are simply fine.
Over the years, I’ve visible numerous of those game-converting updates roll out and the sport has continually stayed approximately the same. It appears frightening at first, however, matters flip out okay.
If these tale earrings are genuine to you, you probably haven’t been too involved approximately the hype surrounding the IDFA apocalypse. However, no matter whether or not or now no longer iOS 14 spells the quit of marketing and marketing as we understand it, it’s nonetheless a massive change. As advertisers, we’re going to must adapt to a post-IDFA world.
So, in this article, we’re going to take a tough examine what’s converting, why it matters, how it’d have an effect on your commercial enterprise and what you could do to adapt. We won’t trouble with the doom and gloom, we’ll simply consciousness at the realities of the state of affairs and what they imply to you.
What’s Different About the IDFA Update
While it’s not likely that iOS 14 will kill your advert campaigns, there may be a crucial distinction between this replacement and other “apocalyptic” marketing and marketing adjustments we’ve visible withinside the past: this transformation comes from Apple, now no longer a marketing and marketing platform.
In the past, a maximum of the doomsday marketing and marketing adjustments we’ve treated were pushed via way of means of the marketing and marketing structures themselves. Algorithm adjustments. New advert kinds. Old advert kinds discontinued. Bigger commercials (or smaller commercials). Forced reliance on automation over guide optimization.
With each of those adjustments, advertisers have freaked out and involved that their commercials could take a hit.
But here’s the thing: the advert structures have a vested interest in making their advertisers successful. If they destroy matters for his or their advertisers, their advertisers will leave…and the platform won’t take cash anymore.
So, while marketing and marketing structures like Google or Facebook make an “apocalyptic” change, they achieve this very thoughtfully and carefully. These don’t spur of the instant adjustments. A lot of information and checking out is going into those decisions—regardless of what it seems like from the outside.
The iOS 14 replace, however, is different.
Apple doesn’t care approximately whether or not or now no longer your commercial enterprise can put it up for sale correctly on Facebook. Your advert spend isn’t a supply of sales for them (rather speaking). Apple cares approximately making its clients happy.
And, in mild of all of the information and privateness breaches apps like Facebook have skilled in the latest years, prioritizing privateness is a great manner for Apple to make its clients happy. Even without the information breaches, maximum human beings don’t like advertisements—specifically advertisements which can be nearly intrusively personalized.
So, in contrast to the “game-changing” updates we’ve visible withinside the past, the iOS 14 replace doesn’t have our marketing and marketing exceptional pastimes at heart. It’s pretty the opposite.
What’s Changing with iOS 14
iOS 14 forces marketing and marketing structures to do matters differently in numerous ways. As you may likely imagine, the adjustments have downstream outcomes for advertisers, so let’s test what’s changing.
Perhaps the maximum vast impact of the iOS 14 replacement is the implementation of the Private Click Measurement (PCM) protocol. First added in May 2019 as a manner for browsers to remove cross-site, cookie-primarily based monitoring of consumer behavior, PCM essentially hijacks monitoring pixels and boundaries how an awful lot statistics a marketing and marketing platform can study a user.
Normally, here’s how cookie-based tracking works:
- Your ad (X) shows on an Apple app like Facebook.
- Joe sees your ad (X) and clicks on it.
- Facebook places a cookie in Joe’s browser as Joe arrives on your website.
- The Facebook cookie tracks Joe’s behavior on and off of your website, telling Facebook all kinds of useful things about Joe—whether he converts or not.
- If Joe converts, the cookie reports that Joe converted after clicking on ad (X) to Facebook. If he does not convert, you can use the cookie in Joe’s browser to continue remarketing to him.
As you can probably imagine, this sort of behavioral information is incredibly valuable to advertising platforms like Facebook and Google. It allows them to predict which users will respond best to certain types of ads, build detailed audiences and make constant micro-adjustments to your advertising.
But, in Apple’s opinion, advertising platforms shouldn’t be able to track someone who clicks on an ad anywhere and everywhere they go. It might make advertising algorithms more effective but at the cost of user’s privacy.
With the PCM protocol, here’s how things go:
- Your ad (X) shows on an Apple app like Facebook.
- Joe sees your ad (X) and clicks on it.
- That click data is stored by Apple in his browser or the app.
- If Joe converts on the same browser or app within 7 days of clicking on ad (X), the browser sends a message to your pixel 24-48 hours later saying “someone clicked on ad (X) and converted”. Who clicked on the ad and what they did after is not reported. If Joe converts on a different browser or app (or on a different device), the conversion is not reported.
For businesses with impulse-buy products, apps or services, this change may not have a huge impact. For everyone else, though, the PCM protocol has the potential to wreak havoc on their audiences, conversion tracking and funnels.
At a minimum, though, this will affect all advertisers in a few key ways.
Since Apple is effectively holding all of the data associated with your ads captive, their setup only allows them to store and send back a limited amount of data to advertising platforms like Facebook.
As a result, there is an 8-pixel event cap per domain for optimization. So, you’ll only be able to optimize for up to eight events in your Facebook campaigns. You can still track more events than that for reporting purposes, but Apple will only prioritize up to eight events.
Again, this will most heavily impact businesses with complicated funnels. If your funnel relies on numerous forms or conversion objectives, iOS 14 could really handicap your strategy—especially if your business (and advertising budget) is on the smaller side.
Currently, the cookies positioned in a browser via way of means of a marketing and marketing platform like Facebook can live there pseudo-indefinitely. This lets advertisers tune the effects in their marketing and marketing throughout something term suits their consumer adventure.
The PCM protocol, however, best keeps click on facts for seven days, this means that any conversions outdoor of that window won’t be mentioned returned to the marketing and marketing platform. That may be an actual hassle for advertisers with lengthy income cycles.
Apple argues that a person won’t do not forget seeing an advert for greater than seven days, so why need that advert to get a credit score for a sale that took longer than a week? I assume maximum advertisers might argue with that mindset, however on account that Apple has made up its mind, we’re caught with a 7-day attribution window.
Regardless of the period of your income cycle, you could count on this one-size-suits-all attribution window to bring about conversion under-reporting. In addition, it’s probably that we’ll see will increase in “darkish social” visitors, or visitors that come from privately shared social media content.
In addition, for the reason that PCM protocol randomly sends conversion facts returned to the platform someday among 24 and forty-eight hours after a conversion takes vicinity (to make sure that the marketing and marketing platform has no manner to attach the conversion without delay returned to the click on), there might be a three-day put off on facts show for the facts that come from iOS 14 customers.
This time-put-off might not have a large effect on big corporations that examine campaigns over weeks or months, however, it can vicinity a stranglehold on small corporations who’ve little extra money to waste on non-efficient campaigns.
After all, many small corporations make choices on which commercials to kill or preserve primarily based totally on only a few days (or maybe hours) of facts. They don’t have time or cash to look ahead to days to look if an advert is promising.
Since Facebook won’t be capable of examining the real overall performance of campaigns, advert units and commercials in actual time anymore, Facebook’s algorithms might be compelled to play catchup. As a result, it’s probably that campaigns will take lots longer to come to be in reality powerful, this means that even greater cap potential wasted cash for smaller corporations.
Whether they understand it or now no longer, entrepreneurs had been closely reliant on the wealth of facts furnished via way of means of cookies to date. Facebook tracks all varieties of records approximately its customers—on and rancid of Facebook or Instagram—and makes use of those records to decide which customers to expose which commercials.
Dropping gets the right of entry to loads of that facts can affect target market targeting. In addition, however, dropping the cap potential to a tune that particular customers click on in your commercials may also affect your cap potential to create retargeting and lookalike audiences.
This is wherein matters get frightening for plenty of advertisers.
The greater complicated your promotion is, the more difficult it’s miles to persuade a person to transform proper away. Many advertisers cope with this via way of means of developing layered patron trips wherein cap potential shoppers are proven unique commercials as they development closer to conversion.
With iOS 14, however, that form of modern consumer adventure will become lots greater difficult. Retargeting audiences turn smaller as humans opt-out of monitoring on iOS 14, making it more difficult and more difficult for advertisers to nudge potentialities ever nearer closer to converting.
Again, this modification will maximum probably affect small corporations the maximum. The apparent answer for big corporations is to apply their e-mail lists to construct retargeting and lookalike audiences. It’s a step backward, however now no longer a crippling one.
Smaller corporations, however, frequently don’t have big e-mail lists. Their patron base in all fairness small, so that they don’t have sufficient emails to run a powerful remarketing campaign. Instead, they’ll be compelled to rely upon upper-funnel advertising efforts…although their services or products take time to heat up to.
Almost 3 years ago, Apple brought what might subsequently come to be a brand new API for builders interested in monetization. The API is called “SKAdNetwork”—a shorthand for “StoreKit Ad Network” about “StoreKit”, that is how builders engage with the app shop and facilitate in-app purchases.
While SKAdNetwork is probably defined as a manner for advertisers to “degree the achievement of advert campaigns”, Apple makes no mystery out of the reality that SKAdNetwork’s number one goal is to shield the privateness of customers who set up cellular apps.
The SKAdNetwork gives a long way much fewer records on app installs than become formerly available. Now that Apple is transitioning to iOS 14, Facebook may be required to sue the SKAdNetwork API for app marketing and marketing on all iOS 14 devices.
What does that imply for app advertisers?
Well, at a minimum, it’s going to put off occasion reporting for up to a few days after an app is installed. In addition, carry size may be unavailable for iOS 14 App Install and App Events campaigns and occasion records may be constrained to most of 9 campaigns and 5 advert units in line with a marketing campaign for each Facebook Ads account.
Most elaborate of all, the SKAdNetwork most effective appears to well characteristic approximately 68% of conversions. That 32% inaccuracy will have a huge effect on Facebook’s algorithms, probably inflicting your commercials displaying up in the front of the incorrect human beings at the incorrect time. In addition, it can lead you to make changes to campaigns primarily based totally on horrific records, compromising your results.
Depending on your contemporary app marketing and marketing strategy, those adjustments ought to require a whole overhaul of your Facebook campaigns. Or, it won’t make that an awful lot of a difference. It all relies upon how complicated your marketing and marketing version is.
How Will iOS 14 Affect Your Business?
As you can probably tell, there are a lot of variables at play in this situation. Anything from your business size to what you’re advertising to your buyer journey can influence how iOS 14 will affect your business.
However, there are a few things to consider as try to assess iOS 14’s potential impact on your advertising:
WHERE DO FACEBOOK ADS FIT INTO YOUR BUYER JOURNEY?
Different groups use Facebook Ads in special methods. Facebook and Instagram Ads are typically low-shopping cause advert platforms. As such, many groups use Facebook Ads the identical manner they use to show ads: to generate focus.
If that’s genuine of your commercial enterprise, iOS 14 might not affect your marketing and marketing very lot. If all you operate Facebook Ads for is to get humans into your funnel, it ought to nonetheless be a powerful top-of-funnel channel.
However, in case you rely upon Facebook Ads for middle- or bottom-funnel marketing and marketing, the iOS 14 replace ought to hurt. A lot.
This is particularly genuine in case you’re promoting products or services that call for loads of explanation. Odds are that humans won’t “get it” the primary time they see your advert—or maybe if they do, they frequently want time to reflect on consideration on it—and your purchaser adventure is depending on staying in the front of these humans till matters subsequently click on for them.
If this feels like your commercial enterprise model, you’ll probably want to discover opportunity methods to live in front of potential clients. Create lead magnets. Build out your email lists. Invest in extra email marketing. And, use the one’s email lists to construct out remarketing audiences so you can nonetheless live in the front of capability clients on Facebook.
HOW DO YOUR CUSTOMERS FIND YOUR BUSINESS?
Depending on what you’re promoting, your clients will discover your commercial enterprise in special methods. If your services or products are something that humans look for online, iOS 14 might not affect you a very lot. You may lose a few remarketing incomes, however Facebook Ads probable isn’t a valuable part of your marketing and marketing strategy.
If you’re promoting something humans wouldn’t supposed to shop for otherwise, however, you’ll be reliant on Facebook Ads to construct focus in your commercial enterprise. In this situation, there are some matters which could impact whether or not or now no longer iOS 14 has an enormous impact in your commercial enterprise.
First off, are your clients the use of the Facebook cell app on an iPhone? 80% of Facebook customers most effectively use Facebook at the cell app. By comparison, simply 1.7% use Facebook most effectively on a computing device.
However, in case you recognize your target market and the maximum of them fall into the 20% of customers who use the computing device model of Facebook, you won’t be caught handling the PCM protocol. So ways, most effective the Safari browser makes use of the PCM protocol, so your clients might be cookies normally.
Similarly, even though a maximum of your target market makes use of the Facebook cell app, if the bulk of them have Android gadgets, iOS 14 won’t have a massive effect on your marketing and marketing. While the iPhone remains the dominant telephone withinside the US, Android gadgets are growing in popularity. If your target market prefers Android, you could now no longer have lots to fear about.
WHERE DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR ADVERTISING?
Similarly, even as the iPhone dominates the American telephone market, most effective eight.9% of Facebook’s customers are withinside the US. Outside of America, Android gadgets are way extra famous than the iPhone, so most effective 14.9% of the social media giant’s 1.8 billion customers get admission to Facebook on an iPhone.
Globally, 80.5% of Facebook customers get admission to the cell app on Android.
So, in case you do the maximum of your income outdoor of America (and particularly outdoor of America, Europe and Australia), iOS 14 can be only a blip on your radar. But, in case you do maximum of your income withinside the US, you’ve been given loads extra to fear about.
Adapting to iOS 14
At this point, you should have a pretty good feel for what the iOS 14 update entails and what sorts of problems it can cause for businesses. And, to put things simply, the more of these potential problems that your business has, the more likely your company is to take a hit from iOS 14.
If your business is selling impulse-buy T-shirts with funny sayings to people in South America, the update may not affect you much. But if you’re a US-based business trying to sell a new type of mattress with a complex value proposition, you may need to seriously rethink your marketing strategy.
Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, though, there are a few changes to your Facebook/Instagram advertising strategy that you should definitely consider.
VERIFY YOUR DOMAIN(S) WITH FACEBOOK
Hopefully, you’ve already done this, but if you haven’t verified your domain gives you the ability to choose which eight conversion events you want Facebook to track.
Even if you don’t expect iOS 14 to have much effect on your ad performance, you’ll still want to do this because Facebook is implementing the eight conversion restriction across the board.
There are a variety of ways to verify your domain on Facebook. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you may need a developer’s help, but with the right skill set, you can verify your domain in just a few minutes.
To verify your domain, you basically just have to prove that you have access to the backend of your site. For example, you can add a DNS TXT entry from Facebook to your DNS record, upload a Facebook-provided HTML file to your web directory, or add a meta tag to the <head> section of your domain home page.
Again, hopefully, you’ve already done this—since it’s required to grant certain permissions for your ad account—but if you haven’t, now’s a great time to make it happen!
PICK 8 CONVERSION EVENTS TO TRACK
As you can probably imagine, it’s a good idea to make sure Facebook is tracking the right conversion events in advance. You can only optimize for eight events, so you’ll want to take a look at your options and ensure that everything is selected and ranked properly in the Events Manager.
Both domain verification and conversion event selection have to be done by the pixel owner, so if you’re working with a partner agency, you may need to get on the phone and have them talk you through things.
If you have questions about what different conversion events mean or represent, you can check out Facebook’s official overview of “events”.
REVIEW YOUR ATTRIBUTION WINDOW
Since you’ll soon be forced to adopt a 7-day post-click and 1-day post-view attribution window, you’ll want to take a look at your current attribution settings and review the available data to see how this change will affect your reporting.
If you’re already using 7/1 attribution, that’s great. If not, you may want to see what information you’ll be losing and see if there are any patterns you can find to account for the upcoming data losses. In addition, it’s probably a good idea to implement a system for tracking sales that occur from days 8-28 somewhere outside of Facebook.
FIND ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO EXPAND YOUR FUNNEL
One of the biggest challenges of iOS 14 is its effects on remarketing and lookalike audiences. These audiences are central to many businesses’ buyer journeys and prospecting campaigns. Without the ability to accurately identify and market to interested, specific users on Facebook, your funnel may begin to fall apart.
To solve this problem, you’ll want to find alternative ways to identify mid- and bottom-funnel prospects on Facebook. Incentivizing people to give you their email addresses, phone numbers or log into your site is a great place to start.
You may not be able to access as large of an audience as you’re used to with this approach, but with the right incentive and follow-up strategy, you may end up with a much higher-quality set of people to market to (and a wider set of channels to market with).
Email marketing is still one of the most profitable (and affordable) ways to market your business, so if you can’t get them to buy, at least try to get their email address!
USE THE FACEBOOK CONVERSION API
This final suggestion is on the more technical side, but it allows you to circumvent some of the fallout from iOS 14 by feeding visitor data from your website directly to Facebook. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does give you a way to get more of that oh-so-important data to Facebook faster and without having to go through the PCM filter.
As I just mentioned, this is a more complicated move, so you may need to hire an analytics expert to get you set up (we can help!).
If you aren’t using Shopify, we really recommend hiring someone to help, but if you want to get this set up on your own, here’s an overview of the Facebook Conversion API that should help you get started.
RETHINK YOUR STRATEGY
Finally, if you’ve read through this article and you feel like your business is about to get creamed, now is a great time to sit down and rethink your online marketing strategy. There’s no guarantee that things will go south, but I’ve tried to present a very fair and unbiased assessment of the potential risks of this situation.
So, if you’re feeling worried, pay attention to your gut and take action now. Even if you’re wrong, coming up with new ways to expand your marketing outside of Facebook isn’t going to hurt you.
If you approach things the right way, an update like this doesn’t have to be scary. If anything, it’s an opportunity to get scrappy and explore new options for growing your business. You just have to be willing push forward instead of hedging your bets and hoping for the best.
The iOS 14 replace guarantees to be…interesting. Like a lot of the “apocalyptic” modifications we’ve visible in online marketing and marketing over the years, it possibly won’t be as terrible as a few human beings make it out to be.
But, for plenty of businesses, it is going to be a hurdle they ought to paintings through.
As with each advertising challenge, the actual query isn’t “Will this affect my commercial enterprise?” but “How will my commercial enterprise adapt to this change?” At this point, you must be aware of what to look at and feature a few thoughts for the way to respond. The relaxation is as much as you.
By the way, in case you want assistance adapting to the demanding situations of iOS 14, allow us to understand right here or withinside the feedback. We’d be satisfied to assist!
What do you consider iOS 14? Do you trust my assessment? How are you adapting your method to cope with those modifications?
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