For a while there has been an unrest in the world of paid or performance marketing owing to upcoming and rolled out changes from Apple (with iOS 14.5 updates and later) and Google (cookie-less world). Both the changes have been triggered and stemmed from the user inclination and concern over user data privacy for a while now.

mind map for Apple iOS 14.5 and google changes

Apple iOS 14.5 changes

Apple has already rolled out the iOS 14.5 updates on respective IOS devices. Post which, the user is required to allow or deny the tracking of user behavior by the respective iOS mobile application, image included below. The content in the message seeking the approval has been drafted in a manner that most of the users will be inclined to click on ‘Ask App not to Track’ or to not allow the app to track the user behavior.

More than 96% users have opted out of tracking (Source Flurry). This shows a high inclination of the users preferring data privacy. But the point to be noted here is that it will have a considerable effect on Facebook ad’s tracking and performance.

96 percent users disallow app tracking

Apple has introduced SKAd Network for running Facebook ads. It will be used for all mobile app ads on all iOS devices. The idea behind SKad Network is to ensure user data privacy, which will be done by restricting, aggregating or delaying app events.

  1. Restrict – Event data will be restricted to maximum of 9 campaigns and 5 ad sets per campaign for every Facebook account. This clearly limits the use of Facebook ads on iOS devices.
  2. Delay – Reporting of events will be delayed for up to 3 days after an app is installed.
  3. Lift measurement will be unavailable for iOS 14 App installs and App event campaigns

 Marketers across the world have already started facing problems with Facebook campaign on iOS devices, due all these changes, such as increase in CPA( cost per acquisition), CPL(Cost per lead), CPI(Cost per install) etc to 2X or 3X. Also significant attribution variation has also been observed even from already running campaigns or winning ad-sets or winning ads etc.

But there are some measure that must be undertaken immediately to minimize these effects

  1. Verify your domain with Facebook – Which means claiming and verifying the ownership of your domain to Facebook in your Facebook business manager.
  2. Priorities the 8 events for conversions for tracking. Since going forward only 8 events can be used for conversion tracking, it becomes paramount to understand and prioritize which events to choose and optimize for in the campaigns
  3. Analyze the relationship between 28 days to 7 days attribution – Facebook’s 28 days attribution will be history soon. Reporting will change to ‘7 day post click’ and ‘1 day post view’. Hence we need to keep an account of sales that occur from days 8 to 28 days to pre-plan and understand the unwanted yet inevitable variation in your Facebook ads outcomes.
  4. Alternative to cookie tracking – Facilitate re-targeting using one or more user data e.g. phone number or email id. It also becomes important to make the top of the funnel stronger than ever such as in form of Lead generation. You can also encourage user website logins using authentication experience or incentivize logins. We highly recommend using a lead magnet, which provides value to your target audience. 

Google changes

Google plans to turn off the cookie based tracking on its popular browser Chrome. A cookie is how all the website track the user behavior and use it for targeting. Hence going forward it will definitely have limitations while targeting or re-marketing users using Google ads.

The solution that will be offered by Google to marketers is FLOC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). FLOC will allow browser to anonymously study how users are browsing and group them in cohorts accordingly. Think of it as a classification done by Google based on user behavior or interest etc, which can be used by marketers as a suitable cohort and target the classified cohort using their ads. It is an alternative to 3rd party cookie based on machine learning.

But other browsers and even CMSs (such as WordPress) are against FLOC. Why so? Since using chrome will automatically give consent from user to Google for FLOC, which is not to all of them and in way beats the initially intention of giving users a freedom and privacy.

Written by  – Monish Kumar