A shock for the entire industry as iOS 14 blocks Facebook ads. Discover the countermeasures to make your ads more effective.
It is common for any technology to require updates, whether it’s a social media platform or IT manufacturer. Updates are especially common when it comes to privacy, which is of the utmost importance nowadays, especially for users to feel comfortable sharing personal data.
Knowing this, you might fear that your Facebook ads will be affected, and wonder whether it is true that iOS 14 is blocking Facebook ads. Let’s find out the answer and prepare for this change together.
Is iOS 14 really blocking Facebook ads and what’s changed?
As it happens, saying that ads are being ‘blocked’ is not exactly correct. The major change is that, previously, there was a function that tracked iOS user data from IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers) and conversions, which was useful for remarketing.
However, iOS 14 is requiring its users to press ‘Allow’ before any advertisements appear on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads). This adjustment caused upset amongst Facebook advertisers, since previously when people bought Facebook ads, there was a ‘Placement’ section which showed advertising areas on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.
The iOS 14 issue is related to the part called Audience Network, an area used to place ads on websites and applications on every device, be it personal computers or mobile phones on any operating system (iOS, Android). The apparent direct result of blocking ads in iOS is that Facebook advertisers who set their Placement as Audience Network will not be able to reach customers who use iOS 14 until those users press the ‘Allow’ button, allowing the system to track their data as mentioned earlier.
Consequently, the immediate impact is that Facebook’s revenue, all of which comes from advertising, will drop by 50% or more. This, of course, does not only affect Facebook but also other businesses, especially small businesses, as they will suffer from the chain reaction since the chances of their ads reaching customers will drop significantly.
It’s not just iOS, but the whole system!
It is true that iOS is just one operating system in the market, and this change does not affect Android users. However, Facebook advertisers agree that this huge change could cause some impacts on advertising as a whole, divided into three major areas, as follows:
1. Facebook Ad Creation Limitations
1.1 The number of trackable conversion events will be limited to only 8 activities per domain. Users can create Pixel IDs for more than 1 Code per domain, but the activities must not exceed 8.
*This will directly affect businesses with one website (1 domain) working with multiple agencies. The business should plan its online marketing strategy with the agencies so they can work out each agency’s capabilities and capacities.
1.2 One application can connect with only one Ad Account. However, one Ad Account can be connected with many applications.
1.3 Active App Campaigns will be limited to 9 Campaigns at a time. Each Campaign will have no more than 5 Ad Sets.
1.4 It is not possible to create an ad which tracks Reach & Frequency data to circulate the ad to iOS 14 devices.
2. Limitations on access to insights (Reporting Limitations)
2.1 It is not possible to access real-time ad performance like before. Since the data will be sent via the SKAdNetwork API before logging-in to Facebook, there will be a delay in data transfer of approximately 3 days.
2.2 Ad performance data from Ad Sets and Ads may be reported as estimates since the data from Apple’s AKAdNetwork API will be at campaign level only. We may have to use the estimated performance measurement for the Ad Sets and Ads instead.
2.3 It is not possible to access Breakdown Data such as age, gender, city etc.
2.4 Adjustment to the Attribution Window data, from:
- Clicks from the last 28 days
- Views from the last 28 days
- Views from the last 7 days
- Clicks from the previous day
- Clicks from the last 7 days (default)
- Clicks from the previous day and views from the previous day
- Clicks from the last 7 days and views from the last 7 days
This could affect the effectiveness of the measurements, and advertisers may see a decrease in performance compared to the time before the adjustment.
* AKAdNetwork API is Apple’s attribution framework that helps marketers connect. You can install and keep In-App conversions with various Ad Networks, but they are quite limited.
3. Limitations on approaching the target group (Targeting Limitations)
3.2 When custom audiences are less achievable, the creation of dynamic ads is affected as the system is limited to receiving less audience data from target groups. This makes the learning system less effective at optimising campaigns.
How to maintain the performance of your ads
- Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager. Only one domain can be verified with one Business Manager. After the verification, the data can be shared with your partners or agencies. Learn how to verify your domain here.
- Prioritise the activities which will be used on the verified domain (1-8 activities only)
- Prepare a back-up plan for websites that collect the conversion for more than 8 activities.
- Update Facebook SDK for iOS 14 to version 8.1 or later, otherwise the system will not be able to receive conversion performance data from the SKAdNetwork API.
Summary of iOS 14 update and how it blocks Facebook ads
- Creating an advertisement in 1 domain enables conversion collecting of 8 activities only.
- Unable to monitor real-time performance, it takes approximately 3 days.
- Unable to access personal data such as age, gender, city etc.
- The domain must be verified on Facebook Business Manager.
- Do not forget to update Facebook SDK.
This iOS 14 update, from a user point of view, might not change much. Facebook advertisers should also not be too frightened of it, but instead, be prepared and make plans to adjust to this change. In the end, the most important thing, other than advertising, is the quality of your products, services and business. Those are the things that will gain you the consumers’ trust and loyalty in the future.