What iOS14 Means for your eCommerce Business Advertising

By 02/02/2021March 17th, 2021No Comments

So, you’re an eCommerce business owner who relies on the awesomeness of digital advertising on platforms like Facebook? One thing that’s likely worrying you is Apple’s new iOS 14 update and how it affects your business. And it should, as its effects are quite significant.

In fact, the marketing world is abuzz about Apple’s recent iOS 14 update and how it affects digital marketing, especially when it comes to Facebook advertising. Sure, there has been lots of talk over the years of some type of legislation that would mark the end of Facebook ads, but this has never happened or never really had enough substantial impact on marketing agencies.

This time, though, the threat does seem substantial as these changes will surely impact the digital marketing space and have permanent implications for businesses that advertise on mobile devices. As disruptive as these changes are, eCommerce businesses will have to find ways to make digital marketing work for them.

So, how do these changes impact your business’s advertising and what can you do to plan your marketing efforts for the year ahead? This post will look at these questions in more detail and give you the answers you need.


The Impact Of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework

Announced in June 2020, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework (ATT) will change the way developers use Apple’s “Identifier for advertisers” or IDFA. In terms of the update Apple is changing access to the IDFA from an opt-out approach to an opt-in approach.

As a result, Apple is now requiring apps to ask users for permission to track them across third-party apps and websites. Before the update, IDFAs were available for most users and with the update it’s expected that very few users will choose to opt in. This, in effect, means that advertisers and platforms will likely have access to a fraction of the IDFAs they previously had available.

The inevitable result is that, for all the users that don’t opt in, no data will be available, and it will no longer be possible to understand their behaviours and conversion tracking will be severely impacted. In short, any business that advertises on mobile apps, in addition to those who optimise, target and report on web conversion events will be affected.


What’s Changing For Facebook?

One of the biggest impacts of the update will probably be on businesses who focus their marketing efforts on Facebook advertising. And it’s easy to see why, considering that 79.9% of users use Facebook only on their mobile phone. Out of this 79.9%, a large portion use iOS and it’s expected that only a small fraction of these users will actually allow the app to track their data.

To counter this Facebook has introduced Aggregated Event Measurement that’s designed to help businesses measure campaign performance in a way that is consistent with a consumer’s decision about their data. In simple terms, Aggregated Event Measurement will process pixel conversion events from iOS 14 devices that will help businesses run effective campaigns while also preserving a user’s privacy.

Event limits are also imposed, and marketers are now limited to a maximum of 8 conversion events per domain which are ranked based on priority and ad sets.

Measurement is also impacted with the 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view through attribution windows no longer supported. The default is now the 7-day click-through window. This, ultimately, means that businesses will see fewer reported conversions and that conversion data can’t be used.

All this means that advertising on Facebook will be less efficient and less effective and businesses will generate fewer website sales from Facebook ads.


What’s Changing For Google?

There’s no doubt Google will also be affected by the update. It believes that ad publishers may see a significant impact to their Google ad revenue on iOS after the update.  Accordingly, it’s currently working with the advertising industry to give Apple feedback on how to further improve the SKAdNetwork so that advertisers can measure their campaign results accurately in iOS 14.

In the meantime, Google encourages app advertisers to upgrade to the latest version of Google Analytics for Firebase and that advertisers monitor the performance and delivery of their iOS activity closely to identify declines in performance.


Implications of the Change

Considering the wide-reaching effects of the update it’s easy to see how the change will impact businesses and marketing agencies. As user data becomes limited, the visible performance of marketing campaigns is expected to decline – as fewer conversions can be attributed to the campaign activity. This is expected to add to your attribution black box – you’ll be getting more sales where you’re not exactly sure where they came from. Down the line, this can also have a tangible effect on marketing performance, as all marketing platforms require positive feedback on conversions to optimise in the right direction. Less data flowing through = less insight to generate stand-out results.

Also, given the changes in measurements and reporting, analytics metrics will no longer be accurate and return on advertising spend targets will need to be adjusted to consider the loss of conversion data in order to better plan their marketing campaigns.

Despite the above, it does not mean all hope is lost. In the next section, we will walk you through what you need to do to keep your campaigns kicking goals.


Next Steps to Protect your Digital Advertising

Despite all the doom and gloom there are some things you could do to protect your business.

These include:


  • Verifying your domains in business manager. This will ensure no immediate or future disruption in the ability to configure conversion events.
  • Planning for 8 conversion events per domain. If you currently use more than 8 conversion events per domain, plan to operate with only 8 conversion events per domain based on your business priorities.
  • Brainstorming new custom audience strategies to test, for example, in-app engagement, list building, and customer data.
  • An Ad Server may be able to help you to fill the campaign attribution gap left by Facebook, which also opens up the world of attribution modelling! ZOOLOGIC can implement this on behalf of your business to help you find your ideal budget strategy.
  • Add Facebook’s Conversions API for your E-Commerce site to measure and report on your Facebook ad campaigns.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Apple’s iOS14 update will have a long-lasting impact on your eCommerce marketing performance.

Luckily, ZOOLOGIC is ahead of the curve and we’ve developed several new tactics to help our clients pivot and gain an advantage over their competitors despite the implications. If you want to know more, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.


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