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3 Ways Marketers Can Survive Apple's iOS 14 Privacy Update

May 15, 2021 4 min read

What Digital Marketers Can Do Now to Survive Apple's IOS 14.5 Update

Apple's iOS 14 Privacy Update is here. And it has marketers worried. 

The source of anxiety stems from the new App Tracking Transparency feature. This privacy guard is designed to protect iPhone and iPad users from third-party data and behavior tracking. Now, when users go to download an app, they will see a pop-up prompt asking if they want to grant that app permission to track their activity across other apps and websites. Users can opt-out, and still continue to download and use the app.

As you can imagine, this has digital marketers a bit on edge. More than likely, when asked if they’d like to be tracked across the internet or not, most users will say no. Without access to this information, paid digital advertising stands to take a big hit. apple's ios 14.5 updateBut before you throw in the towel on all your ad campaigns, take some time to understand exactly what the changes mean. This will help you pinpoint the areas where you can optimize your campaigns allowing you to still target the right audience and survive Apple's iOS 14 Privacy Update.

How The iOS 14 Privacy Update Impacts Advertisers

We’ll start with Facebook. With 94% of Facebook Ad revenue coming from mobile users, the iOS 14.5 update is expected to have the biggest effect on this platform. Let’s take a look at some of the changes you can expect to see in your Facebook ad campaigns. 

  • Limit on Conversion Pixels: Facebook tracks user activity on other websites and apps through Facebook pixels. When a user takes action on a site the pixel is triggered, and Facebook then stores that data within your campaigns. This is helpful for determining what ads are working, and what ads might need improvement. Previously, Facebook advertisers were allowed as many tracking pixels as they’d like to utilize on their site. With the iOS 14.5 update, advertisers will be limited to eight-pixel objectives on one domain. This means the data you collect and use for campaign insights will be significantly reduced. 
  • Less Accurate Reporting: The data collected from Facebook Ads will exclude any users who denied permission for tracking. Plus, it will be limited to the eight-pixel objectives allowed by the platform. This will create less accurate reporting.
  • Less Targeting Options:  Users that opt out of data tracking won’t be tracked by pixels. This will significantly reduce the amount of data Facebook is able to track about user behavior, and decrease the precision of Facebook targeting capabilities. 
  • Less Personalized Ads: With less data on user behavior, it will be harder to target ads to specific users. Advertisers can expect a more difficult time getting personalized ads in front of their targeted personas. As a result, ad campaigns may be less effective and generate fewer leads. 

Sounds like a lot of bad news? Well, we got the worst out of the way first. Other advertising platforms like Google and LinkedIn won’t see such drastic effects. There are just a few things to be aware of on each platform. 

Google Ads: Search performance shouldn’t be affected. But Google display, discovery and Youtube campaigns that use interest-based targeting will likely see performance decline due to the data loss. As a result, you can expect smaller remarketing audience sizes. 

LinkedIn: Because most of LinkedIn’s targeting options are based on user profiles and not third-party data, there will be limited impact on ad campaigns. Some changes you can expect are smaller matched audiences, smaller website retargeting audiences and a small decline in conversions. As a result, the platform recommends activating Lead Gen Forms as an additional way to capture leads. 

use social media to drive new leads

3 Ways to Survive Apple's iOS 14 Privacy Update 

Even with all the changes limiting ad campaign reach, there are strategic actions you can take now to help your digital ad campaigns survive the iOS update. It takes a solid understanding of your buyer persona and some outside-the-box thinking to optimize for the right audiences. 

1. Target Android Devices

Apple doesn’t monopolize all smartphones. iOS only controls 25 percent of the global smartphone market, with the other 75 largely controlled by Google’s Android. So don’t forget about Android ad campaigns. The iOS 14 Privacy update will only affect Apple devices. So your ad campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google can still be targeted to Android users without much worry of impact. 

2. Verify Your Domain on Facebook

Given the impact of iOS 14.5 on Facebook’s platform, the company is taking various steps to lessen the impact on ad campaigns. This includes shifting tracking pixels over to domain-based ownership, allowing businesses to have control over choosing their eight top priority conversion events. To ensure all data received by your pixels is accurately being tracked, Facebook encourages users to verify their website domains in the platform. 

To verify your domain: 

  1. Navigate to Facebook Business Manager. 
  2. Click on Business Settings in the upper right corner. 
  3. Select the “Brand Safety” tab and select Domains from the left side navigation list.
  4. Click on “Add” and enter your domain in the pop-up box.
    how to verify your doman on facebook

3. Use Independent Data to Aid Retargeting Efforts

Finally, to survive Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy update, digital marketers need to start tapping into independent data. It’s important to note that the privacy changes only affect data collected by third-party sources. 

Instead of using Facebook to monitor any conversions on your site, start using your internal website platform’s metrics. Monitor where visitors are coming from, and the actions they take when on your site. Build your own lists, and generate your own custom audiences. By being smart and strategic about your data, you can beat the system and still successfully retarget users. 

Here are some ideas: 

  • Build a list off of an email list 
  • Use a chatbot and create lookalike audiences from users it interacts with
  • Create more landing pages, designed to collect necessary information like email addresses and phone numbers. 
  • Tap into gated into content to incentivize users to give information. 

Beat the iOS 14 Privacy Update with a Proactive Paid Media Strategy

This may be the end of Facebook advertising as we know it, but it certainly isn’t the end to Facebook as a viable ad platform. As digital marketers learn to adapt, Facebook ad campaigns will bounce back. But it will take strategic thinking and continued optimization. 

As we move forward in the new era of iOS 14.5, keep on your toes. Many digital advertisers are still unsure of the full effect Apple’s update will have on advertising campaigns. As the data begins to roll out, and we all monitor and evaluate our campaigns, we’ll be better prepared to conquer the new iOS 14 Privacy update, and keep the fuel in our ad campaigns. 

Keep an eye out on Facebook too. The platform promises advertisers that it will continue to provide guidance moving forward, as we all become more aware of the impacts that iOS 14.5 will have on digital marketers and campaigns. 

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This post was originally published May 14, 2021