A few months ago, Threesides and every other digital advertiser or agency were busy preparing Facebook business accounts for Apple’s iOS14 update.

The update is best characterised by that pop-up you would have seen, if you’re an iPhone user, on all your third-party apps that asked whether you want to allow each app to track your data.

It’s not yet been reported what the rates of opt-ins have been in Australia, but the statistic has been put as low as 4% in the US.

Facebook was not shy in publicly opposing the privacy move, having to make major updates to ensure their advertising tools maintain their value.

We shared an overview of what these updates were and what the future of Facebook Advertising might look like.

At the time, though, there was a lot of unknowns, so here is an update on what the three main impacts have been: 

1. Statistical modelling

Against results in Facebook’s Ads Manager, there’s likely an annotation with a footnote that reads:

“These results may not include conversions from people who have opted out of tracking on iOS 14.5 and later devices… Statistical modelling may be used to account for some conversions lost due to these opt-outs and controls.”

The obvious question here is how accurate the statistical modelling is in place of partial or missing data.

We have started testing this on new accounts, which can’t rely on historical data, comparing results from Facebook to Google Analytics. Early results show that there is a discrepancy, with Google Analytics recording more landing page views as a result of Facebook campaigns. This has also been reported by other specialists.

However, more data and time is required to fully measure how large and consistent this discrepancy is across accounts and types of actions taken on the site.

The long-term solution to this will be moving towards an integrated attribution and reporting model which looks at total digital marketing and advertising performance. While individual account performance and optimisation is important, having once source of truth to benchmark results will help avoid overestimating or overlooking the roles each account play in overall performance.  

2. Reporting & optimisation

It now takes up to 72-hours for results to show in Facebook Ads Manager, which is a big shift from the real-time reporting previously available.

This also impacts Facebook’s ability to optimise campaigns in real-time via its machine learning capability. 

This means that for ads managers, looking at results at regular or recent intervals won’t offer the same insights nor make optimisations any easier. It is important to now stick to consistent milestones to work with enough data to inform decisions.

Some breakdowns in data, such as age bracket, gender and region, are no longer supported.

Audience insights can be pulled from a variety of different platforms, such as Google, but ultimately, knowing your target market, who they are and how to engage them from the jump is important to remove some of the guesswork.

3. Audience sizes

Retargeting website visitors who didn’t convert or offering a discount code to users who abandoned their cart were best practice tactics to reengage prospective customers. As was creating look-a-like audiences, which enabled Facebook to find people that look like your best customers.

These audience sizes are now smaller, so switching tactics is important. Driving first-party data or high value in-app actions is now key. Growing subscriber lists, implementing customer management systems and making awesome content that drives meaningful engagement have long been important. These changes to Facebook Advertising simply re-enforce that.

Other resources:

Facebook testing new prompt asking users to allow tracking ahead of Apple’s ATT launch 

Why you might not be seeing iOS 14.5’s new privacy pop-ups

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