The roll-out of iOS 14 includes a tracking prompt set to disrupt Facebook Ads targeting.

Facebook advertisers are bracing for impact, as the originally-intended roll-out of Apple’s iOS14 finally rolls out in Q1 of 2021. This update has sparked a very public war between Facebook and Apple, as the question of things like privacy versus ad targeting continue to swirl in the marketing space.

While the anticipated data loss right now is tied to iOS 14 users, the bigger picture is this is likely the start of how privacy will be handled in the future.

This latest update of Apple’s iOS includes a new prompt and information format for any app. Its effort is two-fold: to make users aware of what an app will track before they install it:

iOS 14 App Privacy

And then a permission opt-in for the tracking upon install.

Ask Facebook App not to track activity prompt image

Apple has named it “Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT)” prompt, and Facebook is not happy about it.

As we all know, Facebook relies heavily on user usage information to do things like report on actions or purchases from ads, create remarketing, and other similar functions. The ability to not share this data has always been an option, but it historically has been buried from the user.

This latest update will present the users upfront options on whether to allow their data to be used by Facebook/Instagram and other apps.  Many believe that once there is an easy way to opt out of providing this information many people will.

Without this information, it disrupts the targeting of Facebook Ads and other places which has historically relied on this data for tracking.

This function was originally announced over the summer, with a strong pushback most notably from Facebook.  The iOS has been delayed, but the new launch date is now February 2021.

Naturally, this has spawned hundreds of questions on the specifics, which are just now becoming more defined.


What Measurements Will be Affected?

Facebook outlined what to expect for the measurements they normally provide. These will affect Ads Manager, Ads Reporting, and the Ads Insights API.  Most notable it will cloud the attribution models going forward and some historical data will only be available on the API.

  • 28-day attribution of any kind will no longer be supported. Historical data for them will only be available via the API.
  • 7-day click attribution will still exist
  • 7-day view-through attribution will also be gone.

Facebook is currently building out models in trying to make up for the potential loss of data from iOS 14 users.

The good news, geo, demo, and segments targeting will still be available but conversion data level reporting against them will not.

At the end of the day this will impact the conversion reporting that occurs on or off Facebook/Instagram but running ads and driving traffic on these platforms remains the same but now there will be less sales/conversion data available.

GMLV continues to recommend UTM tags and Google Analytics for all digital media no matter where it is placed.

Credit – Search Engine Journal for images and editorial