How the iOS 14 Update Impacts Your Social Ads

Data privacy and security are becoming increasingly important for consumers in the digital age. The growing awareness of tracking media usage and consumption has made consumers concerned about their data privacy. Addressing these concerns is at the forefront of Apple’s new iOS 14 update. So, how do these new privacy protection policies impact your social media advertising campaigns and is there cause for concern?

What is the iOS 14 Update?

Apple’s iOS 14 was rolled out in the second half of 2021 and was one of Apple’s biggest updates to date. iOs 14introduced a range of new features to iOS users, but the key features that marketers will be keeping an eye on are those regarding the consumer’s privacy. These features include:

  • App tracking transparency and settings
  • Disclosing app data collection on the App Store
  • Voice and video recording indicator
  • Approximate location instead of exact location

What is app tracking transparency?

Apple has promised consumers app tracking transparency, but what does that actually mean? These new transparency features grant iOS users control over whether or not apps have permission to track their usage across apps and websites. The App Store now includes information about how certain apps collect and use data about the user if they opt-in to tracking. Essentially, Apple has made the decision to hand over control of user data to the users, rather than third-party companies.

How does the iOS 14 update affect digital marketing?

Digital marketers heavily rely on tracking audience insights to analyse the effectiveness of online campaigns. The introduction of increased consumer control of their data permissions impacts digital marketers and businesses using online advertisements by eliminating the ability to track ad engagements of users who opt-out of tracking. We’ve compiled an explanation of how you can expect your social media advertising to be affected by the update.

The impact of tracking transparency on social media marketing

The ability of Facebook’s tracking tool Pixel to receive and process consumer conversion rates from a paid advertisement is directly impacted by whether or not users opt-in or opt-out of app tracking. Below, we explore how campaign creation and tracking can expect to be affected by the consumer’s decision.

  • Conversion tracking: expect an under-reporting of conversions achieved from an online campaign. Consumer actions, such as website visits, add to cart, and online purchases will not be reported for iOS users who opt-out of tracking.
  • Delayed results: real-time reporting will no longer be supported, as Apple instead delays data by up to three days. In combination with the reduced number of events recorded, it is harder to measure the effectiveness of the campaign to generate conversions.
  • Traffic objectives: advertisements with an objective to generate more website views or website events will be negatively impacted by users who opt-out of online behaviour tracking.
  • Remarketing and Lookalike Audiences: remarketing lists, such as those that categorise users by recent website visits, may experience a reduction in size. However, the generation of lookalike audiences are expected to remain unaffected.

Though there are several areas which can be negatively affected by users who choose to opt-out of tracking, there are others which will not be impacted:

  • Geographic targeting: though Apple has introduced approximate location, rather than exact location tracking, marketers will still be able to target audiences in certain regions as part of their audience creation.
  • Demographic targeting: advertisers can still create custom target audiences based on consumer interests, age, and gender. This remains a vital and effective tool for social media marketing.
  • Reach and traffic campaigns: these campaigns do not rely on tracking specific events across platforms or apps and will remain unaffected by the update.

How can you prepare for these changes?

There are a number of ways you can manage the impacts of the update on your online marketing campaigns.

  • Facebook Aggregated Event Measurement: Facebook has responded to the update by creating a protocol which allows measurement of web events from iOS 14 devices to minimise the likelihood of under-reporting conversions. Learn more about this tool.
  • Exclude iOS 14 Devices: when setting up your online campaigns, you can choose to exclude iOS users from reporting.
  • Lead Generation Campaigns: instead of running a conversion campaign, consider the relevance and benefits of running a lead generation campaign instead.

Why this isn’t the end of digital marketing

Whilst it may seem frightening that the entire digital marketing landscape has been flipped on its head, it’s important to consider how drastic these changes will be. The smartphone market is increasingly becoming dominated by Android and Google users, rather than iOS users. This means that whilst iOS users opting-out threatens campaign measurement and conversion generation, there is still a large market of non-iOS users who remain unaffected by this update. The digital market is constantly changing and advertisers constantly adapt and overcome the challenges that come with it. Contact the team at TwentyTwo Digital to find out more about how we’re addressing the latest iOS update.

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