With iOS 15 looking to further solidify Apple´s stance regarding privacy, it’s worth taking a look back at how this movement started with the iOS 14 update, how it interacts with Facebook Ads, and how the changes of the latest update will keep affecting the digital marketing world for years to come.

The reason Apple’s initiatives regarding privacy are worth looking at is simple. Even though their percentage of the market share is smaller than that of Android, Apple and their dedicated operating system, the iOS, is still their biggest competitor, and could very well influence many other corners of the online world to follow in their footsteps.

Facebook Ads.The iOS 15 Update For Marketers & Business Owners: What You Should know

What the iOS 15 Update Means for Marketers

The main point of interest for our industry in the previous update was the new privacy feature, called App Tracking Transparency. Before, developers could use the Apple-owned system IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers), as well as other third-party tools, to track iOS user data from apps.

Advertisers could then take that data, combine it with other information from various sources on the Internet, and create a profile of said user to better personalize the advertisements targeted at them, or sell that information to other companies interested in that particular segment of the market. For example, if you sell books on your website, you probably have a ton of data regarding book lovers’ spending habits, since they are your customers.

Another company might be interested in that information to see what books your users enjoyed in the past to figure out what books and deals to show them in their ads that they would be happy to see.

And this happens all the time in the real world, with one crucial difference: for the longest time, people were not completely aware of the extent to which their data was being collected which could leave them frustrated. That sentiment has been steadily growing for a few years now, and the iOS 14  update was meant to reflect that. Today, on all the devices using iOS 14 or iOS 15, companies who wish to track data must show users a prompt along the lines of those “cookie banners” you see all the time on desktop.

If they click “Allow” everything happens just like before, but if they opt out (and research indicates that a sizable percentage will opt out), IDFA gets disabled and a developer cannot track the data from that app, even if using third-party tools. This is bad news for all the marketers and business owners looking to deliver personalised experiences to their potential customers. It means flying relatively blind, going back to the advertising times before the Internet, when instant feedback didn’t exist and campaign success had to be measured with more rudimentary parameters.

The iOS 15 Update Impact On Facebook Ads

When it comes to your Facebook Ads, the people who opted out will not show in any of your reporting, so that leaves less room for specific adjustments to your campaigns. While this is the biggest change, there are two more worth taking into account – AEM (Aggregated Event Measurement) and the introduction of the 7 days attribution window.

First, let’s start with the attribution window. Instead of the old 28 days click through and 7 days view window, we now have 7 days click and 1 day view. So all the reported statistics from ads (and remember, this counts only for those users who opted in when prompted) are from actions taken within 7 days of a click or within one day of view. Historical data, however, is still available. So if you believe data gathered from the days of the old 28 click-7 view attribution window could be beneficial to your business, you should export it with the Ads Insights API.

Secondly, AEM refers to the fact that there is a limit of 8 events that you can track per domain. Facebook automatically assigns the ones it thinks are best suited to your operation, but advertisers should configure them in such a way as to track the customer’s journey (things like Purchase, Click on phone number, Submit form, Add item to cart, although custom events can also be created). Again, the people who opted out are treated differently, they are tracked through only one event.

The iOS 15 update keeps up the momentum and general idea of limiting the sharing of user’s data. As such, the most noteworthy changes are the Hide My Email and Private Relay feature.

The first is pretty self-explanatory, when asked to register for an app with their email address, users are given a randomized one. The more complex one is Private Relay. In short, the service is used to encrypt a user’s data while browning online and gives them an anonymous IP address.

If iOS users are a large chunk of your audience, and for most businesses that is a given, you may want to look into another form of tracking that goes beyond cookies – Server to Server (S2S) conversion tracking. We have been implementing S2S Tracking for our clients for over a couple of years now, as we have known that pixels are going away and our clients needed something better to replace them with.

Using this method, all information is stored not on a person’s device, but on the server. If someone generates an ad impression or clicks on a tracking link, an individual ID is created, sent to a tracking server, and used later on when the user makes a conversion. This ID holds information like the internet provider, country, browser used, operating system, etc.

S2S Tracking is harder to implement than the traditional Facebook Pixel, but it offers a greater degree of control, optimization opportunities and is more reliable than any other option currently available. Moreover, it can track conversions indefinitely while not bogging down your website!

If you want all the benefits without any of the fuss of setting up such a system, you can contact us right here and we’ll have a chat about getting your business ready for a cookie-less future!

Apple’s recent iOS 15 update is representative of the wider atmosphere in the marketing world. The death of the third-party cookie is inevitable now, and all we can do now is take this as a reminder that our companies should not be overly reliant on any one type of marketing tool. There will always be issues in the way of scaling your business, but there is also always a solution to be found. And if you would like to have marketing technology professionals by your side to aid you in your scaling offers, contact us today!