In June 2020, Apple announced three new app policies that will change the way you perceive your data. They are expected to take full effect as early as January 2021.
Here they are:
Data Nutritional Label: All apps must submit information about their app’s data collection practices via Apple’s App Store Connect.
Tracking Transparency Prompt: All the App Store apps, including Facebook, must ask users for permission to track them across third-party apps and websites through Apple’s App tracking Transparency (ATT) Framework, a.k.a the prompt.
Tracking Via App/Browser APIs: Facebook and other platforms will need to use a new framework that restricts, aggregates, and delays events reporting.
This policy will prohibit you from certain data collection and sharing it unless you opt-in to track IOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more and more people opt-out of this prompt and tracking, your ad performance and personalization, which you once had, will be limited for both web and app conversion events.
What this means is that you will not be able to track people on mobile devices completely. This alone will impact the pixel and everything that constitutes it, whether it’s targeting, conversion, tracking, or optimization. Marketers and advertisers will take a hit because of this policy change as their ads and placement strategy will be less effective. Apple’s IOS 14 policy changes are the most recent examples of a rapidly evolving digital ads ecosystem.
Facebook completely disagreed with Apple’s approach and could not use Apple’s prompt or IDFA to provide stability for their partners. But that will be the worst outcome for Facebook because their app could be banned from the App Store permanently; thus, to protect millions of businesses that run on Facebook, they agreed.
Apple is making far-reaching changes without input from the industry through a policy that will impact businesses of all sizes, including publishers and developers. Apple’s IOS 14 policy requirements will be turbulent and limit businesses’ ability to use personalized advertising to effectively acquire new customers. It is extremely critical because, due to the pandemic, many businesses are relying on the internet. The outcome could be catastrophic, and the question of business survival will arise.
It may seem like the focus is more on privacy, but Apple will gain exponential profits due to this policy. It will force businesses to turn to subscriptions and other in-app purchases for revenue, and all the free services will have to charge or exit the market.
In this system’s core, how this policy works is that all the apps, including Facebook, will be given a prompt to opt into. A positive opt-in will make no changes to data use, while a negative opt-out will limit the data use – conversion events will be restricted, aggregated, and delayed. The result will be a significant change to both app and web advertising flows.
Everyone will be impacted.
People will need to make drastic changes in their choice regarding each application, such as Facebook, Uber, Instagram, Spotify, etc.
Platforms like Google, Facebook, Kenshoo, Shopify, Liveramp will also need to make changes.
Marketers need to make changes to their websites, Apps/SDK, CRMs, pixels, reporting, measurement, etc.
Facebook Advertisers will also need to make changes to their campaign structure, best practices, ROAS calculations, and measurements.
Platforms will need to rework and remodel their systems. Marketers will need to rethink the system they use, measure the value of digital ads, and structure the metrics. It will take time for everyone to understand the full impact.
Facebook is taking action to prevent further harm to their clients and partners who rely on Facebook to grow their businesses. They will be using Apple’s prompt across Instagram and Facebook while collecting device identifiers from IOS 14 users who opt-in to Apple’s prompt.
Facebook will provide support for Apple’s limited measurement solutions SKAdNetwork API for mobile apps for advertisers who are using app-based business tools.
Facebook will maintain limited measurement of some web events for IOS 14 users through their new data-sharing protocol – Aggregated Event Measurement for advertisers using web-based business tools.
You need to know two important things related to significant changes to web and app ads flow.
First, this work is ongoing, and Facebook will not have all the facilities, choices, and options to mitigate the impact. More information will be released across 2021.
Second, this will result in changes to the ads manager. They have one system that manages all, but they plan to separate it into two systems – one for android and one for IOS. Hence, some products and functionalities will be deprecated.
Facebook has updated their guidance and that results in the following decisions:
They will be adopting Apple’s prompt on Facebook and Instagram.
They will continue to collect IDFA on IOS 14.
Adopt to SKAdNetwork API for app conversion campaigns.
Apple has created a new protocol for web attribution – Private Click measurement (PCM). It significantly restricts data that can be shared across businesses and platforms. PCM does not support App to web conversion measurement and cross-domain measurement. Facebook has introduced Aggregated Even Measurement (AEM) that supports the above mentioned while limiting the transmission of user data.
All Facebook Advertisers (IOS and Android) can expect the following changes:
Business tool set up: 8 event limitation on domains and event configuration.
Optimization and Targeting: The conversion window will change and result in a reduction of custom audience sizes on websites.
Measurement: No 28-days attribution and limited view through and no conversion event breakdowns. It will cause two major impacts:
Clients will see fewer reported conversions.
For reported conversions, the breakdown will no longer exist, such as knowing the demographics etc.
Advertisers will need to prioritize their top 8 events. Make sure to configure because if you opt-out of the prompt, FB will only be able to recognize one action event. Therefore, you must set one top event (usually it’s a purchase). If you have opt-in, then up to 8 events could be returned (ex: purchase, add to cart, viewing the product etc.)
Prospecting campaigns will be less effective therefore, ads will mostly be shown to prior customers. Limits on event attribution will drive changes in optimization and targeting.
Due to delay of data, when advertisers select a new event (of the 8) or change the configuration, they will be prevented from optimizing to that event for the next 3 days. Do think about it before the IOS 14 policy is enforced while setting the campaign to not lose time in the future.
Major attribution changes include:
It would be best if you prioritized conversion API’s now more than ever.
Key Actions To be Taken
Advertisers using web business tools such as FB Pixel, conversion API, Ads Manager are impacted due to Apple IOS 14 policy – the mobile web is no exception as well. To soften the blow, some key actions need to be taken.
Here are the actions App advertisers need to take before Apple’s enforcement in early 2021.
Review Facebook’s data ingestion practices available in our developer’s blog post to inform your app privacy details via Apple’s App Store Connect.
If using the Facebook SDK, update to version 8.1 or above.
Advertisers using the Facebook SDK & App Events API: configure conversion schema for App Events Optimization, Mobile App Install, and Events with Automated Ads and Value Optimization campaigns.
For advertisers using MMPs: Consult your MMP on their SKAN integration and conversion schema configuration.
All advertisers using any app-based business tools (FB SDK, App Events API, MMP SDKs) will need to prepare to use the “Advertiser Tracking Enabled” flag to instruct Facebook to restrict data use on a per-event basis.
If only using the App Events API, plan to integrate SKAN API via Events Manager instructions
Plan to operate all iOS 14 app install campaigns in one ad account per app, with 9 campaigns per app and 5 ad sets per campaign of the same optimization type.
Here are the actions web advertisers need to take before Apple’s enforcement in early 2021.
Verify your Domain in Facebook Business Manager.
Prepare to operate and define the priority of a maximum of 8 Pixel events per Domain.
Anticipate changes to attribution windows and update automated rules if necessary.
Identify campaign optimization strategies that may require testing (ie. alternative audience options, different Bidding strategies, etc.)
As much as we despise radical change, there is no denying that change is inevitable. Instead of taking a blow, choose to work around the norm and create ways and strategies to thrive despite strict policies.
Apple’s IOS 14 policy change is going to revolutionize the market place within the advertising industry. Is it moving towards a positive change or not depends on your response towards it.
What is your strategy to tackle, survive and grow despite the enforced policy?