Will iOS 14 kill my ads?


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iOS 14 has been causing a big stir amongst marketers. 


The reason being that Apple recently announced that when their new OS launches in early 2021, they will include a prompt for their users to either opt in or out of being tracked by the likes of Facebook on the web.

Not ideal.

What this means is that platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, will no longer be able to track web events (such as adding an item to basket, or viewing a certain web page) because Apple will block it should the not chose to opt in

It’s important to note this is only for iOS 14 devices. Desktops, Android, etc. will all still be fine.

This change will impact 3 core areas of digital advertising:

  1. Targeting/Retargeting
  2. Optimisation
  3. Reporting

This is a huge subject so we’ll cover the top line.


As it stands a marketing campaign may run like so:

A user searches for a new car on Google
They’ll find a few websites and browse new cars
Those websites will have Facebook Pixel installed and so Facebook will pick them up as someone interested in buying a new car
If they trigger a Custom Conversion set up on that site, they may also be added to that company’s custom audience on Facebook and will receive retargeted ads for the cars they looked at

However, as it stands, Apple will now block most of this data.

They’ll block the data from step 3 (the user’s general interest in new cars) as well as step 4 (triggering Custom Events).

So now, with iOS 14 in place, if I were to set up an advertising campaign targeting those interested in new cars, the user above wouldn’t fall into that demographic (even though they are interested in a new car) and I’d lose a potential lead from my audience.



In a similar vein, retargeting becomes much more difficult as there is far less data available when it comes to onsite actions and so you don’t know who has done what on your website.

Custom Events no longer work unless the user has opted in which makes retargeting abandoned carts and window shoppers much trickier.

This is huge for a number of reasons and will undoubtedly impact a lot of advertising campaigns because what it comes down to is this: retargeting becomes a lot harder to do with less data available.


Optimisation and Reporting

Lastly, optimisation and reporting will take a hit too.

As marketers won’t know what action people are taking on site, they won’t know where they’re succeeding and failing (if they’re only using Facebook’s data), therefore making adjustments to campaigns becomes somewhat of a stab in the dark.

Also, the attribution window is being greatly reduced.

Previously, if someone clicked an ad and bought something 28 days later, you could attribute your ad to that sale. Now the max. attribution window is 7 days, meaning that you may be getting less credit for your work than you’re due. 

So what can I do?

It’s not all doom and gloom!

We don’t know how big the impact of iOS 14 will be yet or even how many users will opt out of tracking. I for one will opt in as I’ll be hit with ads regardless, may as well make them relevant, surely?!

So, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact on your campaigns.

  1. Audit your software stack – what software do you use to report on your marketing success? Will any of that be impacted by iOS 14 and will there be any breaks in the chain?
  2. Begin collecting 1st party data – When it comes to targeting, Facebook and Google have more than just the determining factors we discussed earlier. Collect email addresses and phone numbers from your audience and use those to target them using the platforms’ email matching tools. This will work even if they opt out.
  3. Analyse your iOS data now – Find out how much of your success comes from iOS devices e.g. leads, sales, page views and begin to figure out what you can expect to lose. Just because you don’t see the actions anymore, doesn’t mean they’re not still happening.
  4. Verify your domain with Facebook – Verifying your domain with Facebook is always a good idea regardless but puts you in better standing with the platform and also allows you to overwrite link metadata when creating page link posts… Which is nice
  5. Don’t panic – Facebook relies on advertising revenue as a cornerstone to their entire business. They’re not going to let that disappear without a fight! They’ll be working on some new tools in the background.
  6. Keep an eye on costs and competition – Another positive is that if other advertisers in your space pull back on their marketing out of fear, your costs will drop as there are less people bidding for the same spot, therefore the price will drop and you could get more leads at a better price!

It’s worth noting as well that your marketing funnel plays a key part in minimising the impact of this change as well. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc will still play a MASSIVE part in your advertising campaign if they are utilised correctly. We estimate them to act more as a top of the funnel method to your marketing with community, communication landing pages being even more important than before.

Remember, add value and generate interest to continue seeing successes from your campaigns.

All in all, there’s a lot of changes, but a lot that you can do.

We’ve been preparing for this change for a little while now and it really doesn’t need to be as negative as the media makes it seem. If you have any questions or want some help, please feel free to get in touch with us today and one of our experts can run you through the best steps moving forward.

[email protected]
023 9421 1150

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