Everything you need to know about the upcoming iOS14 advertising changes on Facebook Ads

In June 2020, Apple announced they would implement new policies regarding ad tracking to iOS14 apps on the App Store. These new policies impact advertisers in two main ways. First, all apps will have to ask users for permission to track them across third-party apps and websites through a Tracking Transparency Prompt. Second, platforms, including Facebook, will have to adopt a new event reporting framework that restricts, aggregates and delays data. 

These changes are expected to be implemented Q1 of 2021. Watch the video to learn more about these upcoming changes, how they are going to affect advertising on Facebook and how you can prepare.


Video Transcription 

Hi, I’m Jeremy Easterbrook from Index. There are major changes coming to Facebook advertising in 2021. Are you ready? 

In this video, I’ll cover how tracking transparency and iOS 14 is bringing major changes. It’s going to require apps to ask for permission before tracking user activity, and that includes Facebook where it’s going to be limited to collect user information. So, I’m going to be with Michael Kinnunen, director of performance at Index.

What’s Upcoming?

JEREMY: Hi, Mike. 


JEREMY: Mike, first just tell us, you know, what’s upcoming? Why should we pay attention to this?

MICHAEL: So, we’re talking today about the Facebook changes quickly just I think most people would be at least aware of this, but in part because of all the complaints that Facebook’s been making. iOS 14 will be coming soon to iPhones with it. Apple will be releasing some new standards on personal identification security across the board and what we’re talking about today is Facebook’s solution to meet these new requirements by Apple. 

Why Does Apple Make These Changes? 

JEREMY: You know, why is Facebook looking to put in place those changes from their official standpoints and Apple as well? 

MICHAEL: Well Apple…the reason Apple’s doing it there are many reasons but I, I can’t specifically say other than their marketing material. I guess the simplest one is that Apple does not make money off advertising and make it off subscriptions and products, so there is less… there’s no incentive for them to worry about advertising. 

Unlike Google or Facebook which make all their money for advertising so there’s just two different business models and because of that or for whatever reasons Apple’s position themselves as someone who values privacy and provides set with their devices. 

What If Facebook Doesn’t Meet Apple’s Requirements? 

Michael: Facebook, so Facebook has to meet these new requirements or they will not be able to advertise with Apple, on the Apple iPhone. 

How Is It Going to Look for Apple’s Users? 

MICHAEL: What is going to look like from a user standpoint is, when you open a new app, the app there will be a pop-up and it will ask you, will you let this person or do you want this app to track your activity across into another app, and if the person says no then they won’t be able to track the activity across. 

The most obvious example is this, if someone’s on the Facebook app and someone said no and they clicked on add on the Facebook app, technically with the way Apple has implemented solutions you wouldn’t be able to track that. You wouldn’t be able to track if they went on the actual device and the behavior after there’s some subtleties that’s not the whole story but this is kind of a starting point. 

Which Roles Will These Changes Affect In An Organization? 

JEREMY: If I’m in marketing myself, like which roles in an organization you think this is going to affect and who should be aware of the exchanges?

MICHAEL: It’s truly only going to impact the people doing the paid advertising. 

How Is It Going to Affect Paid Advertising?  

MICHAEL: It’s going to impact how you have to set up the account, it’s going to impact the recording or reporting and it will impact, it could if you… if not done correctly. I’m going to put it that way, it could have not done correctly impact the performance of the campaigns as well. 

Will These Changes Have More Impact on Big Organizations? 

JEREMY: I think another one would be, how would it affect us more if we have a larger organization because if I’m correct, this applies to one domain so… these so if I have multiple agencies working on the same domain that’s going to affect even more.

MICHAEL: I guess yeah so backing up a step I talk quickly about… I should mention some of this stuff is pretty dynamic and will talk about why it’s so dynamic here in a second. I talked first about what Apple had done. 

Important Things to Remember

MICHAEL: It’s important to understand and I can get a little fuzzy but it’s important to understand that what you’ll have to do in these new Facebook limitations restrictions are not Apple’s requirements. They are Facebook’s solution to meet these new privacy requirements by Apple. So it’s… it’s a slightly different thing, but it’s being forced upon Facebook because of this iOS update. 

The other thing to remember or the other thing to know is Facebook has said that they don’t… they don’t have multiple solutions so this is going to impact all advertising not just on the Facebook iOS. 

What Are The New Limitations?

MICHAEL: Some of the limitations we’ll talk about will only be if people opt out but the entire system is going to change not just for apps or people who opt out on Facebook iOS. And just the couple major things there’s a lot of there’s… there’s so many things I recommend taking a look at one of the webinars, but the big thing that most advertisers are going to feel the impact of is the eight events limit

What Is The Eight Events Limit? 

What that means is going forward you will only be able to track eight events on Facebook no more. Any events outside of those top eight will can only be tracked for custom audiences or look like audiences you can’t actually report on them or you can optimize campaigns on them.

JEREMY:  Exactly, and why…why does these eight events import mean? Obviously I’m an organization so you know if most of the time I just have one KPI let’s say, I have any converse I have purchase or if I’m University and I have a registration form so why would just eight within isn’t that way enough for most advertisers?

MICHAEL: For all small advertisers yes. For most small advertisers it will not impact you. The biggest impact will be on recording and it may impact depending on how you set it up some of your optimizations. 

Important Things You Need to Be Aware of About the Eight Events Limit

MICHAEL: But let’s use for example if you had for using Facebook and you set up there automatic tracking that they automatically scan the site and so you’re getting information on the number of clicks that people were doing the number of registrations number of these are all separate events that are getting tracked. And depending on how you’re optimizing the campaign you might be getting near your eight but that’s pretty easy to set up you with someone who’s got some experience with Facebook they can easily set up your pixel and manually set up your events just remove that and so eight events is going to be more than enough and you really don’t need to worry about anything. If you’ve got one pixel in three events from all purposes the change will happen in you’ll never notice. 

Where you.. where it does impact them larger companies as if you have multiple agencies or if you have multiple campaigns. So if you have a if you have an agency or campaign or even a country and the entire website is under the “.com” domain, that means that all those agencies across all those countries have a maximum of eight events they can optimize conversions. But you can understand that be pretty difficult if you had let’s say you had your website was “.com” you didn’t have it set up as “.ca” or something else and you had an agency in Mexico managing ten different… ten different areas and you had it in United States managing 20, and then in Canada managing three or four you probably would have a pixel with their own custom events set up for each of those and for all intensive purposes all of that has to go away.

Eight Events Limit Scenarios

JEREMY: And you mentioned the impact so obviously, there’s going to be a pop-up that’s going to show to users when they arrive on the app and Apple is going to ask permissions but you know how big of a proportion of the users typically that we see on like how big of a chunk of users is iOS 14?

MICHAEL: It will be different for every person. I don’t have the most recent stats on me so I apologize that these are slightly off. But let’s say 75% of users who surf Facebook around mobile, maybe even more, 75-80%. Half of those users are usually iPhone users maybe 40 percent 50% most people who see a popup about asking that they want more data privacy of probably going to put yes. So you could be looking at 1/4 of your users now are going to be opting out.

But it’s important remember these changes will impact everything

What happens when someone opts out is a little different but these those eight events are going to that’s for everyone. 

Now what happens when someone opts out is a little different all of a sudden now that there’s a priority list that you can control and events manager and that already exists. All the sudden that becomes important because now want to be clear you will only report on the highest prioritized event and there’s a secondary thing if for instance you were running a Facebook campaign and you were optimizing for two different events. So this would be a scenario where you had a phone call click event in a registration event you would prioritize the registration event as your number one event and phone call click is four, if someone opted out you would only be optimizing on that top ranked event. So you’re basically only if one event continues. 

Now, there is a third scenario where if you think about it if you had two different events with overlap, but you were optimizing on if the campaign or ad group was not being optimized on the highest ranking event, then for reporting purposes you’re going to see the higher ranking event but for optimization purposes you’re only actually optimizing on the event for the campaign. So event I think I one of the questions asked I asked chat with specifically around that. Where if you had event four, for campaign four, and event four and event one. Let’s say event for the purpose of this discussion event four an event one were the exact same. You would never do this. If someone actually registered you would be optimizing that on event four if that’s what you’re offered campaign or accurate is optimized for but you would only ever see event one in reporting because that was the highest prioritized one. So in there you get this weird disconnect between between reporting and actual optimization which which can be a little confusing specially if you’re trying to do from reporting perspective. 

The last one and this is kind of another peculiarity is that waterfall effect going down so you can imagine you have these prioritized events. If someone visited your site we’re going to use the registration of phone call and let’s say registration was one and phone call click was two. Someone visited the site and they registered and clicked on a phone call but had opted out of iOS you would only ever see the registration event and you would only be optimizing on one event now that most cases that doesn’t really matter but you would only ever see that registration event. Versus if someone else came on this site, didn’t register but clicked on the phone calling then you would only see the phone calling. But if you had a third event let’s say visited a checkout page and let’s say that was your lowest priority event that would only show if none of the other more prioritized events occurred for someone opted out. Whereas if someone hadn’t opted out on iOS and Android user or somebody just didn’t you would still see all the events so you can imagine when you go back and look at your events, if you ever looked at it from a device standpoint you’re going to get a lot more conversions on your Android device that you are going to on your Apple devices. So you have to you have to understand or have to be aware that from Facebook’s own reporting standpoint you’re going to lose a lot of data.

The Importance of Event Configuration 

JEREMY: The CPA algorithm where Facebook tries to optimize the campaigns might be not as efficient in terms of especially if everything we just talked about this this cascade of events if it’s not configured correctly.

MICHAEL: Correct, you’re definitely… it’s a good point you’re definitely going to have to watch out for that. More often than not though most people are optimizing on one event some sometimes two or three. We’re working on solutions here where then what we do to limit the number of events and most cases what happens is or often in my experience, you’ll have a major event it may be optimized for that event or you’d optimize for two or three events. 

We’re working on combining making that combination a single event through GTM itself so then you can have multiple combinations on that site because if someone offs out, you’re not going to be able to optimize on both events. So you’re going to miss out on specific data sometimes whereas if you actually create an event which has both of them in there then that will fire regardless of which ones occurs kind of thing. So it’s it’s just one work around there’s multiple different ways of approaching this at all depend on the organization as well.

When Are These Changes Going To Happen and What Should You Do Get Ready?

JEREMY: So let’s assume that our… my organization who is whoever is listening in right now, is going to be affected because of those coming changes from Apple and also because of Facebook’s trying to follow up. So when is that happening and what kind of changes should I look into making right now in in my setup in my organization

MICHAEL: Number one is you need to get… you need to make sure your domain is verified with Facebook. That’s going to be a big one. In all cases and I don’t know and I don’t know if it’s been probably explained or what the reasons are but in some cases you won’t but that could be an issue. 

JEREMY: That’s kind of dramatic in terms of projective and such. And the other thing is well I guess you need to talk to your agencies to make sure that prepared and have a list of pixels that are running and if they’re running multiple accounts. So I guess ownership has to go back to the organization as well to make sure everything or at least the main agency where everything is really get it correctly.

MICHAEL: Yeah whoever’s again whether it’s in house or whether it’s being run with an agency. You need to have an idea yesterday what’s going on with this. This is something that could be absolutely nothing is something that could literally need all your campaign stop and you’re scrambling around. And there is no specific timeline on this so yeah whoever is whoever is managing that needs to make sure that you own your pixel there’s often times or an agency will own the pixel to events manager you need to make sure that the the company actually owns that pixel, so they can manage that for the for the agencies on that side you need to make sure that you actually are under the eight events that the eight events that do exist there you know what they are and are prioritized correctly so it’s a it’s a bit of work it’s it’s it’s a bit of a scramble and it’s clear I think it’s clear to everyone that this is rushed. 


How and where to find information about these changes?

MICHAEL: Two weeks ago, in my personal experience Facebook chat some Facebook chat weren’t even aware of this like literally questions were sent and they had no idea what we were talking about 2-3 weeks ago. Now there’s been a few webinars there’s a lot more information about more details but literally I most days still every day and we are now in the part of the implementation already question and the chat will literally have to stop and ask the one because it’s not been asked before. So this is brand new. It’s yeah it’s it’s just being rushed and Facebook doesn’t it’s not Facebook rushing this it’s Facebook trying to play catch up.

JEREMY: It’s hard to find information on the subject as well because there’s literally no information so we’re lucky to have attended those those two webinars. Facebook did and there’s nothing upcoming and nobody’s talking about this on YouTube or just literature if it’s available on this subject.

MICHAEL: Well there is a resource there is a resource centre in Facebook which I have explored I just didn’t find it that helpful. Partially because it’s so new and many times these discussions a lot of questions are brought up by other people but I didn’t find it that helpful at the start. I also it is also because it’s so new for instance there’s a lot of times where you’ll have a very basic question where it’s like well how to how do I set this stuff or what’s the best way to set this up and they don’t have a clue. Because every situation is different and they don’t even have case studies or examples of how to set this up so this is your having to come up with your own creative solutions from the limited information given. So that’s you know, in many ways, I find that that’s the interesting stuff but it’s also something that is not always that easy to do if you don’t if you’re not really familiar with the platform.

JEREMY: Well Mike, I think we’ve done a good overview of what’s coming up on Facebook iOS 14, so thanks a lot and definitely one thing is please reach out to us or if you want to talk to my Mike it’s possible but we have a team of experts here that can help you doing this transition at Index and Mike any last words about Facebook in general?

MICHAEL: The last thing I will say is… is and I’m only saying this because I’m usually pretty hard on Facebook support within the last week if you have a question, a detailed question that you have the Facebook support in the last week or two has gotten a little bit better. And because I… I guess not to stress that this is literally every single question there now getting asked so so they are well aware of at this point of… of just even a fraction of the concerns and so it is you can actually get some information right now from the Facebook support if you have very detailed questions or something along those lines that you run into. So I would give credit to Facebook it’s the one thing I will say that they have  improved in the last few weeks on versus versus few weeks ago where I the chat literally had no idea what I was referring to

JEREMY: And hopefully that does help user privacy which is obviously very important and we hope tracking gets a little bit less creepy out there. Alright well thanks a lot Mike have a good day and feel guys to reach out to us if there is anything!