iOS 14: What Does Apple’s New Update Mean

Josh Zhang
April 20, 2022

Typically when there's a new iOS update, people can look forward to new features like Group FaceTime, enhancements to group chats, bug fixes, adaptive lighting, face recognition capabilities, and more.

Sometimes there are even new widgets, home screen icons, or camera features introduced. However, with iOS 14, everything is different. This is more than a new feature update on your favorite device.

Apple's iOS 14 will forever change the way you market on Facebook. The update, which is focused on user and data privacy, will impact Facebook's ability to target, track, and attribute sales for their ad campaigns.

iOS 14 requires app tracking transparency to ensure that the user is always aware and in control of the data that is being passed over from their Apple devices like the iPhone XR, iPad, and Apple Watch (RIP iPod Touch) to third-party apps.

DTC operators and marketers need to understand how their Facebook targeting and attribution data will be limited due to this new default download that will change the way Facebook and web browsers can use trackers like pixels and cookies to keep tabs on consumers.

In this post, I break down Facebook's memo that they shared, so you can understand the impact that iOS 14 will have on your paid ad strategy.

Breaking it down: iOS 14's impact

iOS 14 can be challenging to interpret and fully understand how it will impact your business simply because there is a lot of information to digest.

However, no matter where you are—from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York—everyone will be impacted by it.

Facebook released a memo to help its users understand the impact of iOS 14. You can read it here.

If you dive head-first into the document, you might need a translator because it's lengthy. I've summarized it for you below. The TL;DR of the note is:

  • Apple is updating iPhones to give more transparency to users on their data (side note, we love when people are aware of their data), but it doesn't fully educate the consumer why that data is essential, especially for small businesses.
  • Apple's new AppTracking Transparency (ATT) will prompt users to opt-in to advertisers gaining access to the data, not just opt-out like it is currently set up.
  • Ad platforms (Facebook, Google, etc.) are now trying to figure out how to help their SMB advertisers get around this, mainly because so many brands use these platforms to build their businesses.

Facebook has made some pretty substantial progress, but here's what the iOS 14 update means for you as an advertiser:

  • You will not get all of the data fed back as you have thus far.
  • You will only get to track up to 8 conversion events as an advertiser (i.e., View Content, Button Click, Add to Cart, Initiate Checkout, Input Payment Information, Purchase, Subscription, etc.), and you will rank them in order of priority.
  • This means if someone goes to your site, adds a product to the cart, and buys, you'll ONLY see that they purchased. You won't get the data back showing that person added to the cart and initiated checkout. You only see the latest event if that's how you prioritize your events.
  • If you don't have the Conversions API installed on your website, you're going to miss the opportunity to get as much data back as you possibly can. If you're on Shopify or Shopify Plus, make sure you have the new Facebook app installed to set this up.
  • If you're an advertiser using 28-day attribution, you need to figure out how to get customers to purchase faster or re-assess your numbers and CPA goals. They won't look the same.
  • In most cases, when users opt-out, you'll still get some signals passed back to FB ads via their aggregated events manager, which launches in the coming months.
  • If you're using the FB Insights API for attribution, you'll need to update that as well.

I've been getting a lot of mentions on Twitter lately that there's a lot of confusion regarding iOS 14. There's a lot to keep track of, so we are partnering up with a few experts to help brands transition through all this and make sure their ad accounts are set up and ready for iOS 14.

If you want to be one of the brands we work with to transition through, please fill out this form. The cost is $5k per month and will include the following:

  • A 3-Part Consult: Audit, Prepare, Transition
  • We will gather data from the ad account to assess risk with the new iOS change, look at event tracking, spend, and conversion vulnerabilities.
  • Then we will set up new tracking events, set up Conversion API, set up a new ad account structure (removing items like value optimization, cost cap, etc.), build new audiences, and create a more resilient account for the long term.
  • You can have this team on board for one month or three months; it’s up to you.

You can sign up here to join that. We are capping this at 15-20 brands, and it will be a white-glove service. Once you sign up, you'll get an email from our team with more information.

In the meantime, it's crucial that you go into FB Business Manager to verify your domain and also make sure Facebook's Conversion API is correctly installed on your site.

A few things we're doing on our end:

  • Building Audiences/Prospecting CRM
  • Re-thinking Facebook DPA creative
  • Better last-click attribution

Scaling with iOS 14

More than just the home screen and app library on your iPhone X will look differently once iOS 14 gets downloaded. Change will be apparent. Marketers aren't watching the iOS 14 drop for the new emojis, sound recognition functionality, and improvement of Siri or the iPhone's battery life that may come with it.

Instead, this is a full app overhaul for your device that will change the way you're tracked when using your default browser (Safari, Chrome) or a third-party app like Facebook or Google.

That's why marketers will have to understand the impact iOS 14 will have on their paid ad strategy. Business owners will need to work to ensure they're getting the information they need from customers and executing effective PPC campaigns.