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12/04/21 Scott Parsons

What the iOS14 update means for your Facebook ads

For a long time, Facebook has been one of the most profitable channels of digital marketing for businesses of all shapes and sizes, with a very simple and tangible way of proving Return on Investment (ROI). With a Facebook pixel installed on almost every e-commerce or service site, Facebook receives billions upon billions of web event signals every day across both mobile and desktop traffic. 

One of the better features Facebook offers to marketers is the ability to track cross devices natively without any sort of technical set up outside of the pixel. This means you can visit a site on your mobile and the event data that fires from the pixel using your website activity is tracked if you move onto a desktop device or even a mobile app as long as you are logged into Facebook on that device.

Tracking Woes

However, what happens when you take away a large chunk of your mobile traffic from firing this pixel data? 

Apple owns a 22% share of the mobile phone market in the UK, and a 38% share of the tablet market, all of which contribute a great deal to the Facebook algorithm. Apple’s iOS 14 changes are pulling the power away from Facebook to be able to track performance across platforms where an iOS device is involved. 

iOS now requires the user to give tracking permissions upon launching an app from which Facebook is attempting to fire data from. This is in addition to changes Apple made in 2017, where the Safari browser tweaked third-party cookie tracking to allow their users an increased level of control over data.

Aggregated Event Measurement

Facebook, never one to rest on their laurels, is now rolling out changes around how the pixel collects data to make up for this looming data loss. Statistical models are being used to fill in the gaps where the data is missing, with a new ROI and measurement model called Aggregated Event Measurement. The offset to this is that only 8 web events can now be tracked across devices using aggregated event measurement. 

As a result, and for the better, Facebook also reduced their default attribution window to a 7-day outlook, rather than the long tail 28-day attribution window of which Facebook is notoriously famous for typically using.

How to Avoid Downtime

No longer will Facebook simply gobble up attribution for any and every purchase on a website. Instead, these changes will enable the marketer to paint a more accurate picture of the true ROI of their Facebook and Instagram advertising. Ads that are not compliant with Aggregated Event Measurement will be temporarily paused by Facebook when the switchover completes. 

As a result, there are a few steps that will need to take place to ensure no dropoff in performance:

1. Verify your web domains

It is a super simple job and all you need to do is add a txt string to your DNS to show Facebook ownership of the domain. You can find this within the Brand Protection area of Business Settings.

2. Update your attribution windows if you haven't already

You really shouldn’t be looking at a 28-day attribution model unless there is a super high-value product with an extensive consideration phase, such as a luxury car. With Facebook removing this attribution model completely, now is the time to start optimising towards a 7-day view if you haven’t already.

3. Set up your priority site events

Set up your priority site events within Facebook's new Aggregated Event Measurement to ensure cross-device tracking is at play. This is set up in priority order, so we always recommend that the conversion which you are ultimately looking to achieve is set to the #1 position.

Scott Parsons

A social strategist with over 5 years experience driving KPI's across all channels, old and new.