iOS 14.5 Updates and Advertising

What the iOS 14.5 Updates Mean for Advertisers

By Casey NewmanAug 17 /2021

Most mobile operating system updates come with a few exciting new features that get users talking, but the latest iOS update — 14.5 — comes with a feature that’s also got advertisers and e-commerce brands breaking a sweat.

iOS 14.5 lets users opt out of tracking that allows apps to track their behavior and share the data with third parties. While this gives iPhone users more control over their data, it gives advertisers reduced tracking capabilities and reduced personalization.

Facebook’s Reaction

The social network says the update will severely impact businesses. It says it’s conducted internal testing and has seen a 50% drop in “the revenue generated by its Audience Network advertising platform when it removed the ability to offer up these highly targeted, personalized ads,” according to The Motley Fool.

But it’s not sitting back quietly. Facebook has included a pop-up message to iOS 14.5 users explaining the benefits of allowing it to track them. It even created a website for small business owners to share their stories and tell others they #deservetobefound.

What the iOS Update Means for Advertisers & Marketers

You’re likely to experience targeting and measurement challenges if you use the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Since the update has been released, only about 5% of iPhone users have opted in to be tracked.

“Specifically, the updates are expected to create significant gaps in marketers’ ability to measure the degree to which their ad campaigns are actually working. Measuring attribution, or the specific instance responsible for converting a consumer, is especially complicated without user opt-in,” reports The Drum.

Facebook can track user activity on its site and through other apps via pixels. The information you get from pixels can give you an idea of whether your campaign is working and allows you to retarget users. Before the iOS update, you could place as many pixels as you want on your site for as many campaigns as you like. However, with the update, you’re only able to place eight pixel objectives on a single domain. As you can probably imagine, this change will reduce the amount of data you’ll be able to collect, report on and use in campaigns, which could make your ads less effective and your ad spend more costly.

Specifically, here are the changes you’ll experience if you’re using Facebook:

  • Delayed reporting: Real-time reporting isn’t supported and your data may be delayed by up to three days.
  • Estimated results: Your results will be aggregated at the campaign level
  • Breakdowns aren’t supported: You won’t be able to see metrics like age, gender or region.
  • Changes to account attribution window settings: The attribution window for active campaigns will be set at the ad level, not the account level.

How Advertisers Should Move Forward

So what can you do now that iPhone users can opt out of being tracked?

Target Android Users

The tracking restrictions only apply to iPhone users, which means Android users are still able to be tracked. You can segment campaigns by device when you’re setting them up on Facebook.

Focus on Your Website

While tracking some users on Facebook may be limited, your site is still fair game. Use the tracking capabilities on your website and your website’s analytics to learn more about your website visitors’ behavior and better target them.

Enable or Update Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK)

If you haven’t updated your SDK for iOS version 8.1 or higher, or if you’re advertising on apps that require a Facebook login, you’ll need to set the SDK for version 9 or higher. According to Facebook, this update will let you:

  • Deliver more personalized ads to iOS 14.5 and later users.
  • Continue to measure app install ads.
  • Continue to optimize for mobile app installs, app event optimization (AEO) and value optimization (VO).
  • Continue to optimize for app installs and event optimization with Automated App Ads.
  • Send the Advertiser Tracking Enabled flag with app events to share user consent status.
  • Share app events from iOS 14.5 and later users if the Advertiser Tracking Enabled flag is sent and set to true.

Focus on Your Organic Efforts

Take a look at your organic social media strategy and boost your efforts there. They will help better establish your brand and connect with your followers and audiences.

Don’t Forget About Your Digital Marketing

What moves people to take action is a seamless experience. You want to delight the customer, and the way to do that is to focus on your audience, message and customer journeys.

Verify Your Domain

Verifying your domain on Facebook ensures there are no interruptions in your ability to configure conversion events. Once you do that, as noted above, prepare to use only eight conversion events.

While the iOS 14.5 updates can affect the success of your advertising, keeping the above points in mind can ensure your ads remain in front of the right audience.

The New Demand Generation

Casey Newman
The Author

Casey Newman

A former journalist, Casey tells brands’ stories and helps to create engaging content strategies for companies. Before joining Kuno, she was in charge of public relations for marketing tech company Knotice. She earned a gold Hermes Creative Award for Knotice’s blog content and spearheaded several content initiatives that helped lead to the company's acquisition.