Last year U.S. advertisers spent an estimated $33 billion on Facebook Ads. Facebook is a leading digital marketing channel for small and large businesses looking to grow traffic and engage customers. Apple’s iOS 14 update introduced unfavorable advertising challenges when it began limiting the type and amount of tracking data businesses could collect.
Previously, advertisers could track user experience and behavior patterns to determine trends without many obstacles. With the launch of iOS 14.5 in April 2021, Apple decided to install an App Tracking Transparency feature and turn the user behavior tracking off by default. Apple implemented these new features amid the surge of privacy concerns surrounding companies (like Facebook) collecting sensitive data from unknowing users.
iOS 14 upgrades and beyond now prompt users to opt-in or opt-out on the specific user behavior data that is shared with app companies and websites. Less than 25% of worldwide iOS users still allow tracking, and that number continues to shrink when it comes to U.S. users.
This new challenge of incomplete/missing user data directly affects Facebook Ads targeting, reporting, and optimization. While advertisers adjust to the new normal of Facebook advertising, we have come up with workarounds for even the most difficult Facebook and iOS 14 issues. Still struggling with rising CPMs? Connect with a performance marketing expert to jumpstart your Facebook Ads strategy.
To meet new standards of brand trust, companies must maintain the three simple site requirements below:
Companies should supplement these short-term solutions with long-term strategies to generate trust. Some powerful ways to build brand trust are 1) promoting customer or influencer reviews and 2) developing effective imagery and messaging.
The switch to Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement now limits conversion KPIs to 8 conversion points. Advertisers shouldn’t panic. Unlimited tracking was always more of a luxury than a necessity. In fact, the majority of marketing decisions tend to happen between 2 and 4 KPIs.
That said, two distinct company types will be affected by this more than others: 1) App/software companies who are tracking many data points, and 2) smaller advertisers who don’t have the multitude of data points consistent with large budgets. For these companies, reprioritizing conversion KPI’s will be the easiest way to adapt to this change.
Another Facebook Ads iOS 14 hurdle is the switch from a 28-day attribution window to a 7-day attribution window. This simply means the time to measure a conversion is shorter. The reported numbers will also be lower, but this should not directly impact the number of real conversions. That said, companies offering products or services with higher prices will be affected the most by this lower attribution window setting.
While the 7-day attribution window will still yield results, the numbers will be more conservative and underreported. This means it will be more difficult to measure and demonstrate campaign efficiency. The following graphic provides five different solutions that work together to combat this new measurement restraint:
The iOS 14 requirements have greatly affected audience targeting in Facebook. Audiences are getting smaller due to lower audience metrics available, and conversion data might not match actual lead data due to incomplete/missing data points. Further, marketers should assume the actual audience size is 40-60% less than the projected audience Facebook reports.
While this should not equate to fewer impressions, in terms of “meaningful impressions” the audience size has shrunk due to users opting out of tracking, and continues to do so quickly. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to this issue. Further, advertisers should expect the market to become more regulated across different social channels, thus lowering Facebook’s competitive edge to be on a similar playing field with Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, etc.
This change in audience targeting is detrimental to advertisers solely relying on Facebook Ads to amplify their business. Here are three ways to counter Facebook’s shrinking audience: