May 19

Will iOS14 be the death of Facebook Ads?

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For small businesses, Facebook Advertising has been an indispensable tool to reach potential customers.

This has been made possible due to the low dollar cost needed to place an advertisement online, as compared to the exorbitant cost of placing ads in mass media.

Not to mention, the ability to precisely target customers with ads based on their interests improved the efficiency of ads by maximising the chance of a sale.

Well, that might change with the upcoming policy changes Apple has announced in June 2020 for their iOS14 update.

What is changing? What has it got to do with Facebook Ads?

Apple has announced a new transparency framework known as “AppTrackingTransparency” in an upcoming iOS14 update.

With this update, all apps on the Apple App store that track customer data are required to show a prompt asking for the user’s permission to track their data.

This has a massive implication on Facebook’s ability to segment and target people using the iOS14 platform.

Following the change, iOS14 users will be able to opt out of data collection at a touch of a button.

This means that should they opt out, iOS14 users who browse the Facebook App will no longer be sharing information such as their demographics, device, behaviour and hobbies – all of which are vital information Facebook uses for segmenting and targeting.

How will ad campaigns (and businesses) be affected?

The following effects may be observed assuming a majority of iOS14 users elect to opt out from tracking.

Firstly, businesses may notice discrepancies in breakdown data within their ad campaigns.

facebook demographic breakdown

With tracking disabled, Facebook is unable to collect breakdown data such as Age, Gender, Region, Device etc. which affects the ability of businesses to learn from their ads.

Without this data, a party planning business may be limited in its ability to determine what age groups their latest advertised package work best for, or a local family restaurant may find themselves unable to discover whether males or females were most interested in their recent beer promotion.

Secondly, targeted ads may be a thing of the past for iOS14 users.

When a user opts out of tracking, Facebook is no longer able to segment customers based on their interests.

Businesses may find that audience sizes for specific target interests, for example yoga, smartphones and books, will shrink in size due to the opt outs.

The decrease might be rather significant, with over 286 million Facebook users using Apple’s operating system globally.

iOS Users on FB

With lesser audience sizes to target, businesses may find that they are less able to reach an interested potential customer, resulting in higher costs per sale.

Thirdly, businesses may have to rethink how they carry out retargeting ads.

Retargeting is a useful tool for digital advertisers to display ads to people who have interacted with a business’s website or page, and hence are more interested in making a purchase than the Average Joe.

Typically, Pixels are key to retargeting as they reveal data about what actions a user takes on a page, which subsequently unveils how close to a purchase they are.

In response to the AppTrackingTransparency Policy, Facebook has announced plans to tweak the Facebook Pixel.

Each domain will only be allowed eight conversion events – meaning only eight different actions users make on a page can be tracked per website.

Such actions include clicking a link, viewing a page, filling up a form or adding an item to cart.

With this limitation, businesses will need to prioritise the top eight conversion events they want to optimise for – ad sets optimising for other conversion events will be disabled.

Therefore, businesses may find themselves back at the drawing board to devise new retargeting campaigns with the most ideal action in mind.

What can businesses do in preparation for the change?

Firstly, consider generating more “permanent” leads such as a contact number or email.

These provide a business with a direct line to an interested customer, giving you the opportunity to grow the customer by building a solid relationship with them.

For instance, you might consider sending a monthly email newsletter containing snippets of new products, promotions and company news to your list of prospects.

 One easy way is by running Facebook Lead ads.

Image credit: GIPHY

It’s never too early to begin building your list of prospects, and we recommend starting now so that you have time to expand your list.


Next, start preparing by choosing the eight most important conversion events for your business.

For instance, a Bakery offering online advance ordering may want to track visitors that added items to cart but did not check out in order to start a retargeting campaign to remind them to do so.

Lastly, keep calm and don’t panic.

While there are certainly a lot of Apple users out there, according to Facebook data, they make up only about 20% of mobile users on Facebook.

Facebook Mobile Users

How Google’s Android and other mobile operating systems will react to Apple’s updated policy remains to be seen.

The best course of action would be to accept that Facebook advertising is about to change and remain open minded while adapting to the situation.

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