How to Manage the iOS 14.5 Update for Your Facebook Ads Account

04.30.21 // Chelsey Wyatt

Data privacy and security have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind since GDPR went live in May of 2018. GDPR changed everything in regards to how advertisers got to store and use customers and website visitors’ data. Ever since new regulations have been continually passed giving customers control over their data. Sounds like a good thing right? Although this is good for the consumer, this type of data control is harder for the advertiser and digital marketer. The more privacy regulations that pass and the more people who opt out of anonymous data tracking, the less data we have to go on for our advertising efforts, and the more likely we are to do more, with less. 

In the past month, iOS 14.5 came into effect which was a notable software update to Apple devices (iPhones, iPads, Mac Laptops/Computers, etc.), which has allowed users to consent to third-party data tracking on apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

The Impacts of iOS 14.5 on Facebook Advertising

The newest iOS update was created to give the power back to the user and protect their data even when they are using a company’s app. However the extent of the impact has not been entirely clear this far, so let’s dive into it. 

  1. Data May Now Take Three Days to Process Into Facebook Business Manager: According to Facebook’s written statement about the impacts of the iOS 14.5 on advertising, the new update restricts, aggregates, and delays all on app event data, which means if individuals are using the Facebook app, their data will be three days late when being processed in your platform. 
  2. Users Will be Automatically Opted Out of Tracking: As the update is gradually adopted, users will automatically be opted out of tracking unless they go into settings and manually accept facebook or on-app tracking. This means unless Facebook prompts users to enable it, everyone will be opted out and advertisers won’t have on-app usage data.
  3. Social Strategy is Under New Management: No, this doesn’t mean new team members are in charge of social strategy, but now the role of the social marketer must be more proactive than reactive, raising their concerns and voicing potential pain points early on in the planning process. The reason for this is that based on the strict rules iOS 14.5 brings to Facebook advertising. The new update along with delaying on-app event data also restricts advertisers to eight conversion points. Additionally, if companies want to run app installs campaigns, they will have to create a new ads account specifically for this objective and can only have nine active campaigns running with five ad sets. This makes the job of the social marketer exceedingly more complicated, requiring them to be more strategic than ever.
  4. The Facebook Audience Network May No Longer Be Helpful for Campaign Reach: Due to this feature’s heavy dependence on on-app advertising data, the newest update may render the Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14.5 that it may not make sense to offer it at all for social marketers according to Apple. 
  5. Retargeting Audiences Just Got Even Smaller: Retargeting audiences are the bread and butter of social marketing campaign strategies. These audiences are extremely successful in bringing users down the funnel and yet, due to iOS 14.5, the incredible success many social marketers find using retargeting audiences may be short-lived. Due to the new iOS restrictions placed on app-event and conversion data, seeing these metrics and creating those lists will be more difficult than ever before. 
  6. Past Reporting Capabilities are Limited: Based on the incredibly dense impacts that the new update has made on the Facebook Business Manager advertising platform, the platform itself had to make some changes and some of the most notable ones involve reporting. For starters, the capability of having a 28-day attribution window is no longer accessible in Facebook’s reporting platform and instead, users are restricted to 1-day click-through-opt-out data, 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution window, action and demographics break-down data will be depreciated for offsite events, attribution methodology will be changed from impressions time to conversions time, and iOS 14.5+ mobile app install campaigns will use SKAN for attribution.

With all of these scary changes the question remains to be, how long do we have to adapt? Facebook claims these platform changes (due to the new update) will have a gradual roll-out starting on April 27, 2021, and last about two weeks. 

What steps do I need to take to prepare for the iOS 14.5 update and its impact on my ads?

  1. Verify Your Domains: to be properly set up on the Facebook ads platform the page’s domain has to be verified but unlike most data security challenges, Facebook has given you options on how you can do this.
    1.  The first option is to add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS to confirm you own the domain. 
    2. The second option is to upload an HTML file provided by Facebook to your web directory and confirm domain ownership. 
    3. The third option is to add a meta tag to the <head> section of your domain homepage. 
  2. Pick Your Most Important Objectives to Advertise: The new update restricts Facebook Business manager accounts to eight conversion points, a maximum of nine active app-based campaigns, and five ad sets per app-based campaign, so plan ahead and get creative. This is your opportunity to get nitty-gritty in your CRM and GA data to see what is the best strategy to meet your internal goals and optimize your ad dollar spend. 
  3. 28-Day Attribution is Gone: Our beloved 28-day attribution window has now been disposed of as a result of the new update, meaning it’s time to get up close and personal with your 7-day attribution window and get used to monitoring all future attribution using this view.
  4. Turn Off Any Audience Expansion Network Settings: Apple said this function will no longer be helpful for Facebook Advertisers so we have to turn it off and find a new way to prospect new audiences. Might I suggest creating lookalike audiences based on current customers or experimenting with some interest-based targeting to see how you can properly expand your reach while also being able to track where the views, engagements, and conversions came from. 
  5. Don’t Get Too Comfortable: In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, everything changes! Once we finally get comfortable with our platforms and our strategies something like an algorithm change or iOS 14.5 comes along and messes with the system we are so fond of. Expect the unexpected and be ready to adapt to the changes as they come. As digital marketers, flexibility and creativity can be some of our greatest assets. 

Now you are ready to tackle the challenges associated with the iOS 14.5 update. If you liked this blog post, subscribe to our newsletter for more relevant B2B marketing content!

About Chelsey Wyatt

Chelsey Wyatt is a Pacific Northwest native with a passion for marketing, public relations, and advertising. She became a member of the Paid Social Team in February 2021. View all Chelsey Wyatt’s posts >