Apple released a major upgrade to their mobile operating system, iOS 14, back in September, and along with it came a collection of highly-anticipated privacy-oriented features. Although definitely a step in the right direction to protect the privacy of users, one of these features is creating a shockwave across the digital advertising industry.

The feature is simple, but its implications are massive: switch to an opt-in model for sharing the user’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).

To the average user, this may not sound like a big deal, but to the $80 billion industry built on top of mobile advertising this has profound implications. This has potential to disrupt entire business models built around specific types of marketing strategies like retargeting, re-engagement campaigns, and reaching look-alike audiences. Facebook confirmed to Netsertive these changes will definitely have an impact on the performance of existing advertising campaigns, which is why it’s important we stay on top of these changes and understand what they mean for your advertising.

Whether you’re a long-time Netsertive customer or just beginning to think about your digital advertising strategy, we have the resources you need to navigate this industry update and help you come out on top.

What is Apple Updating?

In an effort to protect user’s privacy, Apple decided that the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) - a unique ID associated with a user’s mobile device that is widely used to track users across apps and services - will be switched from device-level opt-out to app-level opt-in. Meaning, users will not share their IDFA with app developers by default, as in previous IOS releases, rather they will be given the explicit choice to allow each application to access their device’s IDFA by consenting, or not consenting, to being tracked.

The opt-in prompt is being phased in slowly across the app ecosystem. App developers who rely on the IDFA are scrambling to get the consent screen implemented in their apps prior to the impending deadline. The dialog box looks like this:

The advertising industry is bracing for this change, as the assumption is the vast majority of users will not allow their IDFA to be shared with app developers like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other services. As a result, businesses and organizations that use these advertising platforms for targeting purposes will be faced with the reality of negative impacts to the performance of their advertising campaigns.

How Will This Affect Facebook Advertising?

Targeting effectiveness on Facebook is going to change. At present, Facebook relies heavily on the user’s device’s IDFA for targeting, tracking, and attribution, which is why they will be hit particularly hard by this iOS update. As Netsertive continues to work with our clients to optimize and launch Facebook Advertising campaigns, we will carefully track performance to determine how our campaigns are affected by Apple’s privacy updates and Facebook’s counter measures to retain their tracking capabilities.

Since we’re still in the early stages of this development, it’s too soon to tell how much any particular campaign will be impacted and the best course of action to minimize the impact. However, Facebook released a list of best practices and action items marketers can do today to get ready for the impending changes.

What Other Changes are Coming to Facebook?

A number of new changes are coming to Facebook’s advertising platform. Here is an overview of the most relevant items:

Resource Center

Facebook is launching a Resource Center in Ads Manager that contains a customized checklist of tasks to help advertisers set up and prepare for the impact of iOS 14. This resource center will be a great tool for marketers who currently use Facebook to run ads.

Attribution Window Setting

The account level attribution window in Ads Manager will be updated with new attribution settings during campaign creation at the ad set level. The new default setting will be 7-day click-through and no view-through, but there will be an option for 1-day view-through. This change will result in a decrease in conversions reported to your account, simply because the time allotted to capture a conversion is being significantly decreased.

What is Netsertive Doing?

To prepare our customers’ campaigns for the changes coming on Facebook, Netsertive is following Facebook’s suggested action items for active accounts and campaigns. This is what we’re doing (and how our clients can help):

Facebook Domain Verification

While this is optional, verifying your domain with Facebook will ensure there are no disruptions to your advertising campaigns. Netsertive is taking care of the domain verification steps that need to be taken in Facebook Business Manager. However, there is one step where the domain configuration needs to be added to a client's website—only the client will be able to take care of this. To ensure this transition goes as smoothly as possible, we will need our customers’ cooperation.

Although optional, we highly recommend following this step. If the domain is not verified, Facebook will automatically configure the account's top 8 conversion events for the domain. If the client's domain is not verified, neither Netsertive nor the client will be able to edit these events. That means you’ll have less control over your advertising campaigns in the long run on Facebook.

Instructions will be provided to our clients including details on how to complete the domain configuration step.

Managing Conversions

As a result of Facebook’s updates to their advertising platform, domains will now have a max of 8 conversion events that Facebook will commit to using for optimization. Our account managers and operations experts will go through the conversions for each domain we are running ads for and, if more than 8 conversions are configured, we will determine the eight most effective, and rank them in order.

If there is a legitimate reason to have more than 8 conversions, those extra conversions can be left active - conversion counts will still get captured - they simply won’t be used for Facebook’s AI advertising optimization.

Tracking Attribution Windows

Facebook is changing its attribution window. The standard 28-day attribution window has been changed to a 7-day click-through and no view-through, with an option for a 1-day view-through. As of right now, we don’t know exactly what this means for our advertising campaigns - our operations team is currently monitoring the situation with Facebook. Once we have enough data to understand how these Facebook platform changes begin to affect active campaigns, we will take whatever steps can be taken to minimize the impact, and we will be in touch to discuss heavily-impacted campaigns.

Better Manage Your Digital Advertising with Netsertive

For more info on how Netsertive can help navigate challenging situations like this, manage multi-location complexities, and better optimize your advertising dollars on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Bing, and Google, contact us today for a free consultation.

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