iOS14 Update

Preparing Your Nonprofit for iOS14 Changes on Facebook

What’s Happening:

Starting with the iOS14.5 update (which will likely roll out sometime this month), Apple will begin requiring users’ permission for apps to track them and use their data. People will be prompted when using iOS apps to either opt into tracking (for more customized ad experiences) or opt-out of tracking (for greater data privacy). 

Because the majority of people on Facebook browse via the app, this means that Facebook will require advertisers to make a few changes in preparation for the rollout.

Are these changes going to be the end of the world for advertisers – particularly nonprofits who find a lot of fundraising success on Facebook? NO. But it will affect you in a number of ways, so it’s important to be prepared for the change!

How The iOS14 Update May Affect You:

Conversion Tracking

  • Facebook will begin using “Aggregated Event Measurement.” You will now be limited to 8 conversion events per domain and will be asked to rank them in order of priority. This could, potentially, limit how much insight you’ll be able to get into the conversion funnel so it’s important to select which events you want to track carefully!  Events tracked outside of the 8 can still be used for partial reporting and targeting (through Custom Audiences), but advertisers won’t be able to optimize ads towards any events outside of the 8 selected as conversions.
  • Attribution settings will now report on 7-day click and 1-day view conversions (rather than the 28-day click and 1-day view default of the past). Since you will no longer be able to see conversions that were part of a longer conversion window, you may notice a drop in performance.
  • Conversion counts may not be 100% accurate:
      • One day click conversions may now be MODELED for some iOS14 users
      • 7-day click and one-day view conversions may now be PARTIAL. Facebook will no longer report all conversions from iOS14 users.
      • Not all events may be reflected in reports. If a customer takes multiple actions in a single session, only the highest priority event will be reported back. For example, if someone adds something to a cart (firing one event) and then makes a purchase (firing another event), only the purchase will be sent back to Facebook, even though that lower priority event happened. This will likely result in reports with lower than expected numbers, especially when combined with the shrinking attribution window. You can read more about event prioritization here.
      • Additionally, reporting will now be delayed up to 3 days.
      • Because of these factors, we recommend using a second platform, such as Google Analytics, to verify conversion data. It’s unclear how much impact this modeling will have at this time.

Domain Verification

  • You will be required by Facebook to verify your domain. Once the domain is verified, the owner will be able to configure the 8 conversion events for that domain and share those with any partners or agencies as necessary. This is a relatively simple process (outlined below) if you own the domain where your conversions take place. 
  • This process may be more complicated if your campaigns drive to a third-party site that your organization does not own (ie: convio.net for Blackbaud platforms). For third-party platforms where domain masking is available, such as Classy.org, be sure to verify your root domain (the domain you own) and configure Aggregated Event Measurement using your organization’s pixel + that domain.
  • If you use a 3rd party platform, we recommend reaching out to them directly. In the meantime, we also suggest setting up alternative tracking via UTMs or source codes in case Facebook tracking is lost.

Audiences

  • Audience size may decrease when people using iOS14 are removed. Be prepared and keep an eye out for potential changes – such as how your campaign reach and frequency may be impacted.
  • For more information on these changes, we recommend tuning into this helpful Facebook Webinar.

What You Should Do to Prepare: 

    • Within your account, the Resources tab provides guidelines on what needs to be done to prepare.
    • Two of the most important steps will be to verify your domain and configure your conversion events. Here are some instructions.Business Manager

Step 1: Add Your Domain to Business Manager

In Facebook Business Manager’s Business Settings, navigate to “Domains” under “Brand Safety” 

Step 2: Verify Your Domain

Once your domain has been added to Business Manager, choose one of the three options below to verify your domain and follow the prompts in Business Manager.

1. DNS Verification

DNS Verification

2. HTML Verification

HTML Verification

3. Meta Tag Verification

Meta Tag

Step 3: Configure Conversion Events.

Under the new iOS14 requirements, you can add up to 8 conversion events per domain. To configure conversion events, please follow the steps below:

1. Navigate to Events Manager

Events Manager

2. Select the pixel you use to track conversions for the domain you have just verified.

3. Select “Aggregated Event Measurement” then click “Configure Web Events”

Aggregated Events

4. Select your domain, then click “Edit Events”

Edit Events

5. Click “Add Event”

Add Event

6. Select your pixel and an event you’d like to track.

7. Assign up to 8 standard or custom events. Events are tied to the pixel you selected, so if you don’t see one listed, it’s likely because it hasn’t been fired by that pixel before. It is important to note that for events that track value (such as Purchase), you will have the option to turn on Value Optimization (a way to optimize bids based on projected spending habits) but it will take up at least 4 slots.

8. Be sure to click + drag conversions so that they are listed in order of priority. For example: if Donations are the most important action you are tracking, list that first and be prepared for a potential dip in other lesser conversions.

89 Click “Submit”

Note: You don’t need to add all 8 events, and you may come back later to add or edit events. Once an event is edited, added, or had its priority changed, it will take up to 72 hours to update in order to be used for ad optimization. However, if your domain or app is under the threshold and you add new events to the bottom of the priority list, this will not trigger the 3-day cooldown period.

Advertisers might also consider adopting Conversions API, which Facebook recommends to mitigate the impact on pixel reporting. This API lets advertisers share data from their servers, while also protecting individual privacy. The drawback is that this can be an involved process depending on what data is available, what can be shared, and whether the advertiser has the proper permissions from users and is transparent with data collection. We recommend discussing with your IT and legal team to see what is possible.

Additional Actions for App-Focused Campaigns:

Things are a little more complicated if you are running campaigns with app events or installs as a goal, but do not fret! Here are a few key things to do to prepare:

    1. Update to the latest SDK (version 8.1 or above). (more info here)
    2. Configure Apple’s SKAdNetwork in Facebook Events Manager in order to track and measure actions from iOS14 users. (more info here)
    3. If you are using an MMP, check with them to see the most appropriate action to take.

And a few other items to keep in mind:

    1. You can only associate your app with one ad account. If you have multiple accounts and an app, we recommend streamlining as soon as possible. 
    2. Facebook will limit advertisers to only 9 iOS 14 campaigns at once, with each campaign limited to 5 ad sets, all of which must optimize for the same event. If you turn off or delete one of these campaigns, there is a 72 hour cooldown period before it no longer counts against your limit of 9. 
    3. Reach and frequency will not be an option when creating an ad for iOS 14.
    4. Create NEW iOS14 app install campaigns. Old campaigns that optimize for app installs may soon stop delivering to iOS14 users.

As with website campaigns, the “Resources” tab in Facebook is a helpful tool for determining what is required to continue running effective app ads.

Final Thoughts

Although the date of the iOS14.5 updates are not set in stone, we do know that they will be happening soon. Thus, we recommend making the above changes as soon as you possibly can! 

These Facebook changes are only a small part of the iOS 14.5 update and the general shift to a Cookieless Future. Although this does create some challenges for us as Marketers, it is a step in the right direction for customers who want more control over their data privacy online. We are keeping a close eye on these changes as they evolve!

Additional Resources: