How Changes to iOS14’s User Privacy Affects Advertisers

If you haven’t already heard, iOS 14 and other security policies have introduced some major changes to the way ad platforms like Google and Facebook can target users and attribute conversions. It’s time to adjust our strategies and make sure we’re still driving growth for our businesses.
 
Let’s start with targeting users. Audience data is now restricted, which means it’s harder to reach specific groups of people. Interest-based targeting has also been drastically reduced, so it’s not as easy to target users based on their interests. However, Google Search ads are still a solid option because they focus on user keywords. Just make sure your ad copy matches the searcher’s intent and you should be in good shape. Facebook, on the other hand, used to be able to connect users’ in-app activity to their off-app activity, but now iOS users can opt out of that capability. Big changes from the big players will continue to make big ripples in how we market moving into 2023. 

Now let’s talk about conversion attribution. It’s becoming more difficult to discover which channel drove a conversion or provided a lead. If you’re advertising an iOS app to iOS users, the results may not be as accurate as they used to be. Basic Google Search campaigns will still display the majority of conversions, but Google Display campaigns and Youtube campaigns no longer keep track of what iOS visitors do after they exit the app. As for Facebook, it used to have 28 days to attribute a purchase or lead, but now it’s limited to just 7 days. That means less last touch data is available to inform your decision making

So, what can we do to stay ahead of the game? For starters, consider using Google Ads’ Conversion Modelling (aka machine learning) to model and predict global conversion rates. GA4 also uses more advanced event-based tracking, and new APIs are on the horizon that will help with targeting and remarketing. You can also enter customer lists into Google Ad campaigns (using something called Customer Match) so that when they sign into their Google Accounts, you can still reach them with your ads. Don’t forget to use UTMs to keep track of campaign, source, and medium details in Analytics.

As for Facebook Ads, you can still use the Facebook Pixel to track and optimize for customer events, but you’re limited to a maximum of 8 events. Even users who have opted out are still tracked for the top priority event. Leads are still trackable, and Facebook has a new Conversion API (CAPI) that can add a “lift” to purchase or lead events that you might not normally see due to ad blockers. Just make sure to verify your domain before setting up your 8 events to track, and don’t forget those UTMs!

But it’s not all doom and gloom! There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you’re still driving growth for our businesses. For one, you can take control of our own data by using a CRM like Hubspot or Salesforce to capture and store as much first-party data as possible. You can also consider changing the way you advertise by placing more emphasis on copy and creative to drive results to broader audiences. Growing your email list is also important, because email marketing is becoming increasingly crucial for nurturing new customers. And most importantly, understand your target audience and their customer journey so you can anticipate and provide answers to the questions they’re looking for. After all, understanding how a lead becomes a customer is key to growing our businesses.

So don’t panic, folks! Yes, the landscape has changed, but iOS users are still using Facebook and Instagram, still shopping, still researching, and still buying. Missing data may change the way we advertise, but it won’t change fundamental human behaviors. Keep breathing and keep on marketing!