Not so long ago Apple announced the latest operating system for their handheld devices - iOS 14. How deeply this update will affect your e-commerce business depends not only on the new features introduced and updated privacy policies but also on how prepared you are when this update hits the shelves. With guidance, you can efficiently control these changes and how much you want to be affected by them based on your preferences.
Before talking about further details, we need to understand the term IFDA
An identifier for Advertisers(IDFA) is a unique identifier for mobile devices and is used to target and measure the effectiveness of advertising on a user level across mobile devices. In this case, it is an Apple ID assigned to every device that persists across a user’s applications. On Apple devices, IDFAs track, target, and personalize in-app advertising.
So, what’s happening?
Image source: Facebook
Suppose an iPhone or iPad user does not want their iOS apps to track or collect their browsing data (also known as Identifier for Advertisers or IDFA). In that case, they can go to “Settings” and opt-out of tracking. However, once users download iOS 14, apps will be required to ask users for permission to collect and share data via a pop-up prompt. By opting out, users can completely block their data from being shared with the apps they use — essentially limiting all personalized advertising, retargeting, segmentation, lookalike audiences, and exclusion targeting.
But why is Apple doing this? iOS 14 is simply the latest step in Apple’s strategic stance of demonstrating that users should have the power to take back control of their digital footprint. In the iOS 14 announcement, Apple said, “Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used.”
How does this affect you?
This update will have the highest impact on Facebook campaigns that include app placements. As an eCommerce business owner, you can expect to be affected by this update in multiple ways. According to our survey through various aspects of this update, we can say that mobile app developers, small businesses, luxury brands and digital marketers will be affected the most.
The iOS14 changes the way apps ask for and collects user data. As mentioned above, this update requires each person using an Apple device to give consent that their user and device data can be tracked by each app individually. As an e-commerce business owner, this will affect you while tracking conversions from IOS 14 devices. As usual data tracking will be recorded in Facebook pixels and if someone purchases a product it will count as a conversion, but the cookie data will not be stored now nor transferred to Facebook, hence Facebook won't know about the buyer behavior.
This change is expected to reduce your Facebook ad’s efficiency as well as ROI. But don’t panic, while this change may make your eCommerce marketing plan a little more complicated, the best thing you can do is prepare now by diversifying your brand awareness strategy.
When Will IDFA Changes Take Place?
We expect the release of iOS 14 in the early Spring of 2021 (the date is still TBD). That being said, just because we don’t know the exact date, doesn’t mean advertisers should kick back and relax. We work as if the date is tomorrow. Once this launches, you don’t want to be behind the ball.
What does Facebook have to say about this?
Since the new policies of iOS14 will affect businesses’ ability to market themselves and monetize through online ads significantly, Facebook has addressed these changes and provided recommendations to help eCommerce owners who advertise through their platform.
You can read more about this here.
Clearing their approach plan for this update, Facebook wrote-
“First, we will not collect the identifier for advertisers (IDFA) on our own apps on iOS 14 devices.”
“We will remind users that they have a choice about how their information is used on Facebook and about our Off-Facebook Activity feature, which allows them to see a summary of the off-Facebook app and website activity businesses send to Facebook and disconnect it from their accounts.”
What can you do about this?
Indeed, this struggle between Facebook’s data gathering and Apple’s privacy policies will ultimately affect established sellers and new businesses with a weak value proposition in this highly competitive environment. But there are numerous ways to mitigate any lower ad performance that you come across.
- Verify Your Domain in Facebook Business Manager - Verifying your domain is the first, most-immediate step. To track activity from iOS users, Facebook will introduce “Aggregated Event Measurement.” You can directly verify the domains in the Facebook event management app, by copy-pasting the DNS code, after which you can officially track up to 8 events.
- Pre-Select Eight Conversion Events per Domain And Prioritize - In total, Facebook will be limited to eight conversion events for each domain. Those events will be ranked manually within Ads Manager: that is, prioritized for tracking and optimization. Anything more than 8 would be an issue as of now.
- You can run ads smartly by categorizing them into 2 categories - One special category only for iOS 14 devices and another for all other devices. Thus, you will at least get precise data from all non iOS devices.
- Focus on building a brand and finding new platforms - Create an effective email list and find new platforms to advertise rather than trying to constantly acquire new customers. Keep polishing the foundations and you will do great in the long run. Any single advertising platform like Facebook should be just a part of your customer acquisition strategy, not the primary focus. Diversify your advertising channels. Prioritize a Healthy Traffic Mix of Facebook and Google (Google Shopping, search and YouTube) and also prioritize developing SMS and an email marketing strategy.
Remember, patience and optimism are the keys!
There are many other features in iOS 14 that make the upgrade worth it. Apple did indeed cave (at least temporarily) to pressure from Facebook and other publishers to delay a feature that would ask users for permission before tracking them across other companies’ apps and websites. But iOS 14 does include some other important privacy features.
What iOS 14 features are you most excited about? What changes are you least happy with?