How does the new Apple iOS 14 update impact your business? With this release, Apple is making it much harder to track user behaviour on your websites or apps.
Basically, users can “Allow Tracking” or “Ask App Not To Track” at the device level. As the opt-in rate is expected to be very low, it might strongly affect your Facebook ads personalisation and reporting. For now, this only impacts Apple iOS devices. Keep in mind, however, that ad blockers on browsers can have a similar effect.
Until now, you probably used your FB Pixel to track data such as website visits, add to carts, newsletter subscription, purchases, etc. With this release, your Facebook Pixel won’t be able to send conversion event information to your Ads Manager as it used to.
Although Apple has announced that those changes will go into effect soon, we do not have an exact date yet. Until Apple enforces their iOS 14 changes, you have time to set up your events in your Facebook Business Manager, even if it won’t impact optimisation or reporting yet.
Keep in mind that no matter where the conversion takes place (iOS device or not, opt-in or opt-out), the new setup of Facebook Ads is mandatory.
What are the business impacts for you?
- As people will opt out progressively, your audience will become niche and you won’t be able to optimise.
- You will no longer be able to properly measure the performance of your Facebook campaigns.
- Retargeting based on user behaviour will be strongly impacted.
- Only your highest-ranking events will be reported, you will hence miss information about the customer journey on our website.
What is really changing within Facebook?
Most importantly, Facebook is switching to aggregated events. It is a protocol that allows you to measure web conversion events from iOS 14 devices when users opt out from tracking. You will be limited to 8 conversion events per website domains and the events will need to be prioritised.
Consequently, for all users who opt out, only the highest-priority event will be recorded per transaction. For example, if you have events for add-to-cart, checkout and purchase, only the event that you chose as highest-priority will be sent to FB.
The new conversion tracking window only allows for 1-day view and 7-day clicks attribution windows. The 28-day attribution window is no longer available. Because of this shorter window, you might see less conversions than you had before.
72 hours delay
There can be a delay of up to 3 days for configuration changes (72 hours). In addition, real-time reporting will no longer be available.
Breakdowns based on age, gender, region and placement will not be accessible anymore.
What you can do to prepare
In your Ads Manager, Facebook has set up a Resource Center tab to help get you started. Here is what you can do to prepare so that you can continue to deliver and measure the performance of your campaigns.
1. Verify your website domain
The first thing you need to do is check if your website domain is verified. You can find your website domains under “Business settings > Brand safety > Domains”.
If your domain has a red dot, it needs to be verified. If the dot is green, you’re all set. If you never added a domain, you need to start the process from the beginning.
For more info: Facebook guidelines
2. Configure 8 preferred web conversion events per domain
You will only be able to optimise your campaigns for 8 conversion events per website domain. Until now, you could use an unlimited number of conversion events. The new limitations force us to think strategically and track only 8 actions on each domain.
The initial configuration of your account will be done by Facebook. It will choose 8 events within your account based on what the system believes is the most relevant to your business. All other events will be made inactive, meaning that ad sets optimising for other conversion events will be automatically paused. If you want to make any modifications, go to your Events Manager. Make sure that the 8 conversion events chosen are the most critical to your business.
For more info: Facebook guidelines
If your final conversion steps (add to cart, purchase, etc.) happen on a booking widget or a third-party website, those conversion events take place on another website domain. It is very important to choose a ticketing provider that will track those events for your.
How does this impact your booking data?
As mentioned above, the purpose of the Facebook Pixel is to track actions on your website. It can help you measure the performance of a campaign by tracking activity after a user clicks on one of your ads or it can help you create targeted audiences.
The conversion events that take place on your website domain can be pageviews and newsletter subscriptions. All booking actions that take place on a booking widget do not belong to your website domain. This means that the software you use to sell tickets and products must track those conversions for you.
If you use Smeetz as your ticketing software and sell through our booking widget, we will track the following conversion events in order of priority:
- Add Payment Info
- Initiate Checkout
- Add to Cart
- View Content
Conversion tracking on the Smeetz booking system is also migrating from the Pixel to Conversions API.
3. Prioritise your conversion events
Once your events are set up, you need to aggregate them. This means reorganising them based on priority levels. The impact of event prioritisation with iOS 14 activation is that when an opt-out customer takes multiple actions on your website that should trigger more than one event, only the highest-priority event will be recorded and sent to Facebook. Luckily, for now all 8 conversion events can be recorded for users who opt in.
Remember that for now, landing page views are not subject to the 8 conversion event per domain limitation. Upper funnel objectives, such as landing page views and link clicks optimisation can still be used for campaign optimisation in addition to the 8 priorities events.
4. Setup conversions API
There are currently two ways to to track users on your website: the Facebook Pixel and Conversions API. The Facebook Pixel is usually installed directly on a website or indirectly through Google Tag Manager. When actions are taken on your website, the Pixel fires at the browser level. It is the browser that sends data to Facebook.
With conversions API, it is the website’s server, not the browser, that tracks the users when they visit your website and sends data to Facebook.
Currently, both browser and server events will continue to fire simultaneously. First, Facebook checks if there is a browser event. If it is blocked, the server event will be used instead. If both events go through, only the browser event will be used, as the events will be deduplicated. So events are only counted once.
Conversions API are not new, but they are a good solution to minimise the Pixel limitations due to the iOS 14 update. You will be able to continue tracking the effectiveness of your ads with Apple device users. This solution also works for users with ad-blocking software on their browsers.
Go to your "Events manager > Add Events > Using the Conversions API"
To setup Conversions API, you can work with an integration or do the setup manually with your developer.
Here are the available integrations.
5. Broaden your audience
Since your audiences will get smaller because of the shorter attribution window and event prioritisation, think of a new strategy to target a broader audience.