- What is happening
- Why they’re happening
- Who they’ll impact
- When they will start to impact you
- How to prepare
- What people can do about it
What is happening
Apple are putting more transparent tracking notifications and options for users that are operating on their iOS 14 systems and above, which is pretty much all iphones after the iphone 7.
Instead of saying ‘we’re opting you in’, Apple will prompt them to say ‘Do you want this app and it’s properties to track you’Given the option of whether you want people to track you on the internet, it’s fairly likely that most people will opt-out. And since Facebook doesn’t have the greatest track record with privacy, this is probably going to make their decisions a bit easier.
This means that tracking script such as the Facebook pixel will not be able to track users across websites and link them to a Facebook profile in order to measure results and create remarketing audiences.
The flow of data that we had from websites back to Facebook will be cut off. Period.
Why they’re happening
Facebook V Apple battle goes back to 2018 when Tim Cook said of Mark Zuckerberg about the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, ‘what would you do?’ – he replied ‘I wouldn’t be in this position in the first place’
Facebook took that as a shot across the bow about what they were doing and it’s been a matter that Zuckerberg has simmered away till this year he announced in his quarterly address, Apple are our competitors. Laying down the battle lines and say, you wanna play in the big leagues – let’s do it.
This is the modern day Bill Gates Vs Steve Jobs. It’s the battle of arguably two of the most influential people in the world.
The thing is though, Apple are holding the cards here. Realistically their advertising business (and yes they have an advertising business) isn’t a great deal of their revenue and if it takes a hit well they can just release another iphone or ipad or mac and sell more of those. Hardware has been the backbone of their business.
Facebook on the other hand rely heavily on it. If Apple were to wipe out half of tracking capabilities to their audience it would be a truly Thanos moment. Just like that, half of the targeting opportunities go.
Now ironically, even though Apple are taking this step they’re silently building their own advertising suite. Being able to show ads in apps and other areas around the web – you can be sure that they probably won’t apply the same restrictions to themselves.
Who they’ll impact
All businesses across Facebook, whether you advertise or not.
You see, without the ability for Facebook to track what behaviours you’re doing off of the platform they can’t track things like:
- Whether you browsed a website
- Whether you purchased a product
- Whether you signed up for that program
- If you abandoned your cart
- If you downloaded that app
Now on the surface this might seem like it’s fine if you’re running ads but make no mistake, what people do on your website impacts your organic reach as well. If they know that someone has been on your website recently, you can be sure that your page will appear as suggested to follow if they haven’t already. Or your recent post or announcement is more like to be shown to them.
They’re tracking so many data points to truly make the newsfeed the best experience for its user base.
If you ARE running ads, then it’s going to hit you even harder. Here’s what you won’t be able to do to people that opt-out of the tracking:
- Create custom audiences from them for remarketing
- Create custom audiences from people that have converted to exclude them from ads so you don’t waste money
- Know how many conversions your ads are getting
- Know whether people actually arrived on your website or not
- Know how much sales revenue your ads have generated to calculate your ROI
- Be able to determine which campaign, audiences and/or ads are performing best
Mobile App developers are going to be hit the hardest and out of all business models I really feel for them because they don’t have any obvious adjustments they can make to their revenue generating strategy. You see, quite a lot of the ads you see when you play mobile games, use apps that have pre or mid roll video are actually bringing those ads in from Facebook and they earn revenue by allowing Facebook to show them there. Now if Facebook can’t show them there, because Apple is restricting it and they don’t know who has downloaded, used or performed certain actions then one of their main revenue generating strategies goes out the window. Which means they rely on in-app purchases which last year we saw the battle between developers and apple about how they have to use their payment platform – of which they take a cut of.
When they’ll start to be impacted
Facebook has been preparing for this for months, and finally, Apple announced recently that ios 14.5 will be the update that will pull the trigger on the privacy changes.
So the changes are happening right now! The good thing is it’s not a complete drop off once the software has rolled out. People still need to update their software, Apple need to serve them the notification – all which takes time.
Right now though, is the moment to adjust your strategy to limit its impact. Your Facebook Ads sales funnel may simply not be (as) effective ever again unless you make changes.
How to adjust
Facebook has been trying to mitigate the impact of this change by implementing technology that acts as a kind of ‘backup’ for when the pixel can’t be activated to track a user and also make changes to ads reporting to more accurately optimise ads.
You can prepare right now by implementing the below, they’re all FREE to do so:
- Verifying your domain on Facebook. This allows you to setup the 8 events you want Facebook to be able to track (more on that shortly)
- Install the Conversions API. This piece of technology allows Facebook to measure events that the pixel can’t. Think of it like a backup to what you usually do.
- Setup which conversion events you want Facebook to track. Going forward, Facebook has limited your ‘conversion events’ to a total of 8. A conversion event is a trackable behaviour that you want to measure, for instance, a ‘purchase’ or a ‘lead’ or when an ‘add to cart’. For the majority of us 8 will be plenty, but you need to tell Facebook which ones you want to prioritise so they know how to optimise your ads.
- Turn-on two-factor authentication. This is a forced setting that Facebook will be implementing for all members of a Facebook Business manager. It’s not only good practice but keeps you and your business safe from being locked out or worse from Facebook.
- Start to think about other avenues that you can use to drive sales and leads and capture data that your business owns (more on that below)
All up, the above steps should take you less than an hour if you’re using the pre-built solutions and use major website systems such as Shopify or WordPress
Our suggested solution to ios14 – install a Messenger Chatbot
No surprises that integrating Chatbots in your business can help negate some of the impact on iOS14.
Here is what a Chatbot can do that your website no longer can:
- Build remarketing audiences of people that have started a conversation
- Remarket to customers that have reached a certain point in a conversation
- Send messages directly to the Facebook Messenger inbox of engaged users
- Capture payments in Messenger and report them back to Facebook Ads
- Use the Manychat pixel (that isn’t affected by the updates) to track website conversions and link them to existing subscribers