What is iOS14?
iOS 14 is the most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system, officially released in September 2020. Here are some of the key features it has updated or introduced:
- Greater customization of the home screen and widgets
- A new App Library with efficient organization
- Compact call notifications and picture-in-picture video calls when in another app
- New Memoji styles and stickers for messaging
- New modes and features for the Translate app
- A new, streamlined design for Siri, and a larger knowledge bank
- Improved performance and privacy when browsing Safari
- Audio sharing for Apple TV with AirPods
These are just some of the updates that will make using an iPhone smoother and more personalized in 2021.
Improving privacy and security
A lot of the above features focus on design and functionality, but an increasing concern for users these days is privacy. We are becoming increasingly aware that brands and their technologies are collecting more and more data about our demographics, interests, and behaviors.
Well, Apple has responded to these concerns in their latest update, helping users take greater control over their data and their privacy. This is obviously great news for us all as mobile users, but the implications for anyone advertising on mobile are a little concerning.
What has changed?
You’ve always been able to see how an app or brand uses your data, but this information used to be buried deep in the settings or within a long list of terms and conditions. If users were interested enough and savvy enough to check up on this, they could opt-out of certain types of data collection if they wanted to.
Now, this information is becoming more transparent within each app’s product page in the App Store. From early 2021, all apps in the Apple App Store must collect permission from users that allows it to track the user’s activity outside of the app.
Currently, a lot of apps can track which other apps and websites you use on your smartphone, as well as the pages you visit on those apps and certain behaviors you perform.
Once this update has rolled out, you will be able to easily prevent apps from tracking this activity, shifting this type of data collection from ‘opt-out’ to ‘opt-in’.
How does this affect Facebook Ads?
One of the benefits of advertising on Facebook is their extensive targeting options. This allows brands to show their ads to the most relevant audiences based on a wide variety of demographics and online behaviors, helping businesses get the most from their advertising budget through remarketing.
For example, if someone searches for women’s trainers in another app, a sports apparel company advertising on Facebook could target that user.
But, of course, this requires data on each user’s activity across their phone or other devices, something that will become more difficult to attain after the latest iOS 14 update. These issues similarly affect other platforms like Instagram Ads and advertising within third-party apps.
Another issue arises when it comes to reporting on Facebook Ads. It is useful for brands to understand what actions a user completes after clicking on their ad. Did they browse the website after arriving from Facebook? Did they buy something? Or did they leave the site straight away?
If Facebook can no longer track its users’ activity on other apps and websites, it will become much harder to obtain this data, meaning advertisers have fewer insights into how well their ads are performing.
It’s important to note that the capability of collecting the above types of data is still there, it will just become easier for users to prevent apps from doing so.
When presented upfront with the option to opt-in or out with a single tap, it is assumed that most users will opt-out, seriously reducing the amount of user data available to collect.
Facebook’s response to these changes
When this update was first announced by Apple, Facebook was understandably resistant to it. They believe that small businesses will be the most affected by the latest changes, and have spoken out against the policy changes in support of small business owners.
Dan Levy, VP of Ads and Business Products, claims that the new policy is only done under the guise of privacy for its users when, in reality, it will lead to greater profits for Apple as businesses will be forced to turn to subscriptions and in-app payments to continue promoting themselves.
Since there seems to be no stopping these privacy updates, Facebook has turned to providing advice and support for small businesses in the face of these challenges.
One of their responses is a push towards aggregated event measurement to help users measure ad performance while complying with Apple’s changes. Part of this is that advertisers will be limited to tracking 8 conversion events.
Preparing for iOS 14 changes
Here are some simple tips that could help your business prepare for Apple’s changes:
- Check your existing ad data to see what portion of your clicks and leads are coming from iOS devices. This will give you an idea of how much your advertising will be affected
- There will be a shift from 7-day attribution to 28-day attribution, so update any of your advertising rules that are reliant on 28-day attribution
- Verify your domain with Facebook in Business Manager as soon as possible, as well as product URL domains. This will help you configure your conversion events
- Prioritize conversion events to determine which ones your Facebook Ads will target