The day that digital advertisers have been dreading is finally here. After Apple’s announcement last year that they would change their user experience from an opt out of advertising model to an opt-in model with the new iOS14 update, a looming cloud has hung over those that rely on digital advertising for their business models. Every subsequent iOS update this year has been met with anticipation of these changes, but after months of teasing, the moment is finally here with iOS 14.5.
Last week, iOS 14.5 became available to users and the ripple effects are slowly beginning to spread across the digital marketing universe. There has been countless speculation about what these changes will mean for businesses, agencies, and their digital marketing efforts, and now we’re able to see what’s real, what was just rumors, and how we’ll have to adapt to these changes.
What We Know
Facebook has been largely vocal and critical of these changes implemented by Apple. In an email to its Marketing Partners, Facebook broke down some of the impending consequences of Apple’s decision. Here is a brief overview of what to expect:
- Expect the changes to happen gradually over time, not all at once. It’s the easiest thing in the world to hit “Remind Me Later” when prompted to update your software on your phone, so we expect it to take several weeks or so before a majority of IOS users have downloaded the latest Apple update. As a result, it’s unlikely that marketers will feel an immediate impact to event reporting and instead see change trickle in over the coming weeks.
- iOS 14.5 devices will be opted-out by default. As mentioned earlier, in previous iterations of iOS, users had to find the opt out info within their settings. Now, Apple is flipping the script and keeping users opted out until they “allow tracking” or change their choice.
- To give users an option, Apple is creating an AppTrackingTransparency framework that requires apps to receive a user’s permission through a prompt. Facebook is starting to implement this ATT prompt to people on Facebook and Instagram to obtain permission to “track” users across apps and websites owned by third parties for advertising and measurement purposes. You can learn more about Facebook’s version of Apple’s prompt here.
- Marketers running mobile app install campaigns will need to get their ducks in a row and make sure they have Apple’s SKAdNetwork API through their business tool integration (e.g. Facebook SDK). If they do not, app advertisers’s existing campaigns will halt, and they will be unable to create new Mobile App Install campaigns that target iOS 14.5+ devices.
Changes In Reporting
While users might be slow to update their operating system, we can expect some immediate changes to reporting on Facebook. 1-day click-through opt-out data will be modeled, and 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution settings will no longer include iOS 14.5 opted-out events. Advertisers will be limited in their ability to track offsite events and to break down actions and demographics. Earlier, we recommended prioritizing offsite events, so you will still be able to see your top prioritized event even from iOS 14.5+ users.
Facebook also warns digital marketers who create web event campaigns that Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) will experience a gradual rollout over the next two weeks or more. So not all advertisers will awaken to new campaign restrictions that started on Tuesday, April 27th and can expect to see limits on event optimization over time.
What We Don’t Know
There are still quite a few unknowns in this change to digital marketing. Most importantly, we have no idea what percentage of people will opt in when prompted with the ATT framework and how soon this will hit. In the meantime, Facebook has put together a list of resources on actions to take regarding different campaigns types, which you can find here.
If you’re still worried, just remember that if you can get through all the unexpected challenges of 2020, you can certainly survive this curveball we saw coming for 2021.