Now that iOS 14.5 has debuted, Apple is starting to enforce rules that could make it harder for advertisers to track and target iPhone and iPad users.
Under Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency framework, apps must ask users if they agree to third-party tracking across other apps and websites.
It’s a positive change for customers who want a greater degree of privacy, but it could make it harder to serve highly targeted ads to individuals. Reporting on ad performance could also become more complicated.
Some of the loudest opposition to Apple’s new rules has come from Facebook. The social network has said that its advertisers might notice that campaign performance “fluctuates” as a result of the changes.
Facebook has already deprecated several of its longer attribution windows — 7-day view-through, 28-day view-through and 28-day click-through aren’t options anymore. That leaves 1-day view-through and 7-day click-through, meaning your conversion reporting will miss views and clicks that happen outside those windows.
App Tracking Transparency will also impact Facebook’s tracking pixel. For starters, each domain is limited to eight conversion events for campaign optimization under Facebook’s new Aggregated Event Measurement protocol for iOS 14. If an ad set is optimizing for a discontinued conversion event, that ad set will be paused.
If you’re running ads designed for conversion events in your company’s app, Facebook is also recommending that you update to Facebook SDK for iOS, version 8 or higher.
In the short term, as Facebook and other platforms experience any “fluctuations” because of iOS 14.5, marketers should communicate up front with their stakeholders about the potential impact.
Over the long term? While there are several players trying to build systems that replace third-party tracking, marketers should continue building their collection of first-party data and use that to guide their outreach to individuals.
Moreover, measuring marketing’s impact doesn’t have to be tied to individuals. With an effective tracking strategy, marketers can still get a clear picture of which platforms, channels and campaigns are effective (and which deserve higher levels of budget) by analyzing results in the aggregate. If you need assistance with this, Alight can help.