How Apple’s iOS 14 Updates May Impact Your Facebook Ads


Meaghan Butler, Paid Search Specialist at Ontario SEO
Meaghan Butler
April 27, 2021

Nothing lasts forever, and that’s especially true in the digital marketing world!

Recently, Apple announced some major changes with their iOS 14 operating system that impact how Facebook receives and processes data about users on Apple devices. If you’re running Facebook or Instagram ads, you’ll want to understand how these updates may impact your ad performance and reporting.

For years, digital advertising platforms have leveraged robust user data to deliver hyper-personalized ads to users as they browse the web. Facebook might be the best (and worst) example of this, with their data collection to blame for a number of privacy scandals.

Over the last few months, a growing push for consumer privacy has led major industry players to implement new policies that limit this data collection.

How will my Facebook/Instagram ads be affected?

Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless users opt into tracking on their iOS 14 devices. Apps available in the App Store must show a prompt to iOS 14 users that allows them to “allow” or “reject” tracking for the purpose of personalized advertising.

When people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited. But what does this mean for your ad account?

Audience sizes may decrease

Facebook audiences are built on user behaviour data, and the latest iOS 14 updates may reduce the amount of data Facebook is able to collect. Less data unfortunately means lower quality audiences for ad targeting.

As a result, advertisers may need to define their audiences more broadly to achieve the same reach and results that they were achieving before the iOS update. Remarketing audiences could be heavily impacted as iOS users who have opted out of tracking can no longer be targeted based on past visits to your website or app.

New limit on web events

“Events” are actions taken on your website, like a click to call your business. Events can signal how well your ads are performing. At Ontario SEO, we use event tracking to assess which ads and targeting methods are performing well, so we can continually refine our clients’ strategies to achieve the best results at the lowest cost.

To comply with Apple’s policy changes, Facebook will implement Aggregated Event Measurement which limits the amount and type of data that advertisers can send to Facebook through tools like the Facebook pixel.

Aggregated Event Measurement limits domains to 8 conversion events that can be used for conversion optimization. With this new framework, advertisers may need to prioritize certain events based on how important they are to the business. For advertisers tracking fewer than 8 unique events, the impact is expected to be minimal.

Some campaign results will be counted differently

As more people opt out of tracking, there may be a decrease in the number of conversions Facebook is able to report. To supplement this missing information, Facebook may use statistical modeling to account for some conversions that are completed on iOS 14 devices.

Another big change affects “attribution windows”, or the length of time after an ad click that an action can be traced back to the ad. Certain attribution windows are no longer supported, making it more difficult to trace user actions across website sessions.

In addition, real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days.

What should I do next as a Facebook advertiser?

There are certain actions you can take to help create a smoother transition, like verifying your website domains and configuring events for Aggregated Event Measurement. As the situation evolves, the entire industry is still waiting to see exactly what effects the latest iOS 14 updates will have, and digital ad platforms may update their guidance accordingly.

While Apple is the first to implement these widespread changes, this is only the beginning of a trend toward greater privacy controls for users.

As users opt out of tracking and 3rd party cookies are eliminated, there will be less accurate data for ad personalization across all digital marketing channels. This shift will require significant changes in personalized advertising approaches in the coming months.

With changes like these, it’s important to partner with an agency that has your business’ best interests in mind. At Ontario SEO, we stay on top of the latest updates affecting our clients’ ad performance and actively manage campaigns to preserve results as the digital advertising environment shifts.