Apple’s iOS 14 Update & What It Means For Your Business
You either read about it in the news already as “The War” between tech giants Facebook and Apple, or you may have been notified by Facebook directly. Either way, it’s coming soon, and it’s going to have a massive impact on your advertising, and small businesses in particular.
There’s a lot of rumors and misinformation flying around, so we’ve put together a quick guide to help you better understand the impact this may have on your business, how you should deal with it, and the long-term approach to successfully navigating these changes.
What is Actually Going to Happen with Apple’s iOS 14 Update?
Apple is making this change to stop apps on iOS from mining and using data without the user’s consent. While Facebook gained the most media attention about it, this also impacts TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and every other app which collects data. Users will receive a pop-up asking if they’d like to OPT-IN to being tracked.
Impact On Social Media Platforms
While there are many (social media) platforms out there to advertise on, Facebook is the preferred choice for many brands because of its targeting capabilities – powered with lots of user data in combination with artificial intelligence. If Facebook can no longer see what users are doing in the app, their data models will no longer work as they used to. This also impacts Facebook’s Audience Network since it relies on other apps being able to track user data. In a nutshell, this may have the following consequences:
1: Tracking will become less accurate
- It will be harder to understand the true performance of your campaigns
- Facebook’s default attribution model with change from 28 days click to 7 days click
- Server-side tracking can help track those users who opted out of tracking but are accessing your website through a mobile browser
- Facebook will be limiting reporting to 8 conversion events per domain, but you can still work with custom conversions. Facebook will initially choose these 8 events automatically for you, but you will soon be allowed to change these
2: Quality of targeting could suffer
Lookalike audiences may become less powerful, and FB will have fewer data points to understand a user’s interests & behaviors
3: Adapt your strategy
CBO, Power5, and other AI-based strategies won’t work as good anymore, brands will likely need to put a much stronger emphasis on the offer, creative & ad copy
4: People’s newsfeed will likely be impacted
Both in terms of organic content AND ads. Because both rely on getting data from what you did in the past
What You Can Do For Your Business with Apple’s iOS 14 Update
Nobody knows how it will play out exactly, so there isn’t all too much you can do to prepare your brand. It will be a learning curve, everyone will try to find solutions that work once it’s rolled out. Facebook is still coming up with a full battle plan for what they recommend, but this is what you can do for now:
- Set up server-side tracking. If you go to the events tab and go to the settings of your pixel, you now have the option to install Conversion API for server-side tracking (screenshot below). Manual setup is complex, so we recommend setting it up through partner integration.
For Shopify, you can find instructions from Shopify here (or more in-depth instructions here)
- We recommend completing domain verification to gain control over the 8 conversion events you want to track. More info here.
- Once you’ve completed domain verification, make sure the 8 conversion events you track suit your needs. You can read more about that here
- Since your website will still be able to record data, using custom landing pages and custom discount codes for each channel you’re advertising on may become your first move around the coming tracking issues
- Shift your mindset to a top-line advertising approach. Correct attribution is not a new issue. Instead of evaluating every ad and audience by its directly attributed ROAS, look at your bottom line results, i.e. total revenue – total marketing spent. Then, look at different attribution models to get a sense of the impact of each channel and make high-level decisions based on that.
Our Thoughts at Rocket Conversions
While small businesses, in particular, will be affected, we do not believe they are equally impacted. Advertisers are likely going back a few years where the tracking was nowhere near as sophisticated as now, and thus marketing principles will play a much more important role again. We believe the key for small businesses to weather this storm and turn this challenge into an opportunity is diversification.
After installing the Conversion API tracking, we recommend you do the following:
Be less reliant on just FB/IG ads. Start doing E-Mail Marketing, Google Ads, SEO, Influencer Marketing, PR, and so on
- Work on your offer
If you have a great offer, you don’t need to use the most advanced ad platform to drive traffic. Put much more focus on “value first”, on relationship building, on your funnel. We believe lead generation will be a much more common strategy when the targeting is no longer as advanced as it is now
- Start testing other channels
List your products on Etsy, Amazon, eBay, and co.
- Start developing first-party data
Build a list of (potential) customers, survey, and segment them
- Focus on strategy and brand building
Facebook spoiled entrepreneurs. As these effects take place, your positioning becomes much more important again. Take it as an opportunity to think about your brands’ differentiators and value proposition again. Optimize for user experience
- Start focusing on LTV
As customer acquisition becomes more difficult, retention strategies become the name of the game
Our team at Rocket understands the struggles of this change. We are constantly experimenting with different ideas and strategies to maintain the best ad performance. We offer Audits, Strategies, and Consultations, helping you boost your brand despite iOS 14. Check our plans & pricing.
This will impact everyone in your industry. Nobody is gonna have a magic bullet right away, so there will be a learning phase until brands and advertisers have fully adapted.
Facebook is a bidding platform ruled by supply and demand. If brands drop out of advertising on FB because the tracking is showing poor results, competition will decrease, CPMs will fall and although conversion rates fall due to less accurate targeting, CPA could stabilize because of the cheaper cost to reach people on the platform.
For more information, read this document Facebook shared with advertising partners in June.
iOS 14 Update in Numbers:
Statistics on the adoption of iOS14.5:
- 75% of users have adopted iOS 14.5+
- Opt-in rate to tracking is ~25%
- Opt-in rate across countries varies greatly (US 18%, France 40%)
- On average, ROAS in advertisers Facebook ad account dashboard is 30% down
- No impact on CPMs and CPCs so far. Facebook conversion rate (Purchases / Clicks) is much lower
- Google Analytics last click conversion rate has not changed, showing that audience quality has not been impacted yet
- There is no secret weapon yet to overcome these struggles entirely
- Use topline advertising tracking (= total revenue – total spent) to analyze the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
- Set up your Google Analytics properly and use consistent UTM parameters
- Compare historic data with your current performance to understand the impact on your business better
- Look at Shopify’s new customer revenue
- Observe your website engagement metrics (bounce rate, time on site, average page view, etc.) to further understand traffic quality
- Look at on-app metrics like engagement rate, CPM, CTR, etc. to understand if there’s an ad engagement problem
What You Need to Know About iOS 15
- Blocking the sender’s ability to track opens and forwards
- Optimizing list health by removing unengaged contacts
- Split testing your campaigns
- Targeting re-engagement campaigns
- Tracking IP addresses that determine the physical location
- Respecting privacy by identifying and deleting unengaged contacts
- Triggering sequential emails in an automated nurture flow
- Optimizing send time to maximize open rates
- Real-time personalization
Read here more about what’s coming next with iOS 15 and how it will impact your business.