Marketers, brace yourselves: The iOS 14 data changes are upon us

Isabelle Debnam
May 7 · 4 min read

Since Apple launched the iOS14 update in September 2020, we’ve been hearing whispers about a *dreaded* data privacy change that was going to flip targeted advertising on its head. Dear readers, the day has come.

Liz and I talking all things data at a recent Orange Digital event

Before you totally freak out, let me break it down for you. Apple has released a feature dubbed App Tracking Transparency (ATT) which is an anti-tracking feature that impacts iPhone users.

As marketers, we love being able to track users across apps and websites to ensure our advertising is efficient. You know when you are talking about house plants, and low and behold Siri is eavesdropping, and next minute Instagram is serving you up with some highly targeted house plant ads (hypothetically speaking)…

Credit: giphy.com

Well, this iPhone feature is putting the power back in the hands of the users (sorry, Siri) and giving them the option to choose whether apps can track them.

Note: iOS14 should not impact website tracking! (Phew)

You may have already received a popup notification (like the below) asking you whether you will “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track”.

Image credit: Social Media Examiner

From a Facebook Marketing point of view, you will begin to experience some limitations and changes to the way you target your audiences, gather information from your Pixel, and the type of reporting available to you.

For anyone who opts-out of data sharing on Facebook, you won’t be able to track their behaviour with your Pixel.

Putting on my ‘real-talk marketing hat’ — if Facebook can’t track user behaviour, the targeting functionality and data collection will be reduced, your ad spend will become less efficient and probably more expensive.

Now, throwing that hat to the side and putting on my ‘optimistic marketing hat’, this update is a reminder for us marketers to look for opportunities and diversify our channel strategy.

Since March 2020 our brand personas have changed dramatically in regards to their needs, motivators, values and buying behaviour — there’s been a significant shift towards health, wellbeing, compassion, and a sense of community. So if you haven’t already, this is your prime opportunity to revisit your personas and do some market research to inform your channel strategy and business goals.

Credit: giphy.com

Some other things to keep on your radar is that Google will also be affected. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…again. However, thanks to a more diversified ad network and less reliance on mobile ad revenue, Google isn’t as directly impacted by the new iOS policies and won’t have to show iOS 14 prompts.

So, now that you’re hopefully up to speed with these changes, I’m going to leave you with 5 tactical takeaways to prepare you…

  1. Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager. If you have multiple domains in your catalogue make sure you verify each website domain.
  2. Prioritise your top 8 most valuable Facebook Pixel events by going into Ads Manager > Events Manager > Select your Pixel > open the Aggregate Event Measurement tab and follow the prompts. If you have ad sets for event’s that aren’t included within these top 8, these ad sets will get paused.
  3. Use one Pixel per catalogue and domain to accurately capture and optimise for your chosen conversion events.
  4. Keep an eye on your new Resource Centre for any updates and changes to your active campaigns — lookout for this guy ⚠️
  5. Export any historical 28-day view or click and 7-day view attribution window data you need. All automated rules will change to a 7-day click attribution window when these changes take effect.

Good luck out there digital marketers. We are in for a bit of a wild ride as we adapt to these evolving changes, but remember that the fundamentals of marketing will always be applicable regardless of our channel.

Credit: giphy.com

In the words of the guru himself…

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