How to Prepare for Changes in Ad Tracking for iOS 14.5

As a marketer, there's some massive changes coming to the way you're able to track specific events related to advertising.

 min. read
April 21, 2021

If you haven't heard, iOS 14.5 is right around the corner. On April 20th, Apple held it's "Spring Loaded" event which outlined some new products including an M1 iPad, new AirTags, and more. Underneath all the fancy new hardware was a note that the products releasing at the end of the month require iOS 14.5, hinting that the official release is imminent.

"Why should I care about iOS 14.5?"

Great question. As a marketer, there's some massive changes coming to the way you're able to track specific events related to advertising. iOS 14.5 is one of the first steps Apple is tacking in an initiative they call App Tracking Transparency — a requirement for all apps on the App Store by April 26th.

In a nutshell, this feature that automatically opts out all users from ad tracking. Meaning your Facebook Pixel or Google Ads tracking may not work as expected (unless you make changes in-line with these updates). Users will now have to opt-in for tracking — and chances are, most users are going to say no. Because who loves some good ole' app tracking? If you run ad campaigns that optimize for conversion events, you'll want to prepare!

Facebook Ads

Facebook has offered tons of resources to ensure that this transition is seamless, so we'll start there. Here is what Facebook has offered up if you plan to run ads that optimize for conversion events on a mobile app.

Now if you're running ad campaigns that optimize for conversion events on a website, which most folks are, you'll want to follow their instructions below.

  • You may need to verify your website’s domain to help avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns.
  • Configure 8 preferred web conversion events per domain in Events Manager. Aggregated Event Measurement limits domains to 8 conversion events that can be used for campaign optimization. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events we believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. Ad sets optimizing for a conversion event that is no longer available will be paused. While not usable for optimization, events not configured as one of the 8 conversion events for a domain can still be used for partial reporting in Ads Manager and website Custom Audience targeting.

If you plan to optimize for conversion events on both, you'll want to complete all of the above steps (both for web and mobile). For those that may be confused about all of the above, let's break it down into a TLDR.

  • On mobile, you'll want to update to Facebook's 8.1 SDK built for iOS 14.5 and then follow their new event tracking schema.
  • On web, you'll want to verify your website's domain, swap your events to Aggregated Event Measurement, and define the eight conversions you'd like to track using this new setup.

Google Ads

There's less you need to actually do with Google Ads.

  • Google has made note that with the transition to iOS 14.5, they anticipate there to be some fluctuations in what you see with delivery and performance in ads targeting iOS.
  • Search performance likely won't be impacted, but you will see data loss and performance decline in display, discovery, YouTube, and interest-based campaigns.
  • For those running Google Universal App Campaigns promoting iOS apps and going after iOS users, you'll want to re-evaluate the strategy as these campaigns are especially vulnerable to the changes.
  • Google is changing and updating their Modeled Conversion metrics to prepare for these changes (but nothing is required from your side).
  • Google already uses this model to model for conversion events on cross-device and view-through conversions.
  • With iOS 14.5, you'll likely see smaller remarketing audience sizes and smaller customer match rates.

"What should I do?"

If you're a byDesign subscriber, feel free to reach out to Success Manager to have one of our digital marketing Specialists ensure that your ad campaigns are ready for iOS 14.5! We have documentation in place to help with this transition!