What Apple’s iOS Update Means For Advertising

It’s official. It’s happening. Apple’s new policies have impacted small businesses and Facebook advertisers. However, it’s not all lost. We’ve got some helpful workarounds for small business owners to get the most out of their online ads despite these changes.

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Glyna: All right. Today’s topic is very interesting, a little creepy. No, not really.

Sarah: Oh, it’s creepy. I’m with you on that. There’s a show on Netflix called The Social Dilemma. You should check it out, but that’s sort of what we’re talking about today is this social dilemma, which is, should you provide useful data to advertisers that help them target their key customers, and help with that level of personalization? Or prohibit certain data collection in order to protect the privacy of the users? And it’s happening all over your phone, it’s happening all over social media. So we want to talk about this because these exact changes just happened again with any iPhone user that did the latest update from Apple. So we’re going to talk all about it, what it means to your privacy, what it means to data collection and how it impacts advertisers.

Glyna: That works.

Sarah: Let’s do it.

Glyna: Welcome to Marketing Mix, everybody. Every Friday, we are here talking about different digital marketing trends and we’d like to mix it up. That’s where the mix comes in, so before we get really into this, Sarah, let’s show everybody where they can find our broadcast.

Sarah: Every week, we go live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and you can catch the replay on Instagram. And also, you can download our podcast, Marketing and a Mic, because this show’s also broadcast on our podcast. So it’s just a whole bunch of outlets for you to check out. And of course, you’ve got our YouTube channel, Fusion One Marketing, and again, all these are resources for you to use. So let’s get right to it. So, digital privacy is important. I don’t think any of us would argue with that, at all. Apple took that and they really ran with it recently because they felt like they wanted to give consumers more control over the data that sometimes unknowingly, is shared with advertisers and publishers. That was the main purpose behind Apple implementing this brand new update. So many times, Glyna, don’t you just, it’s like you grab your phone and you’re like, oh, new update, new update. You just update your phone. You don’t even realize or question what’s happening and what it means. Of course, they let you read it if you really want to do it, but-

Glyna: Yeah, if you’re really bored.

Sarah: Right. So, a lot of people don’t even know what this latest update did on their phones, that’s exactly what we were going to talk about.

Glyna: Yeah. And a lot of times, it just happens and you don’t know it and it just says it’s already updated.

Sarah: Right. Yeah.

Glyna: Everything we’re talking about today, is like that old Michael Jackson song of somebody’s watching you, I think.

Sarah: Totally. Yeah. I feel like somebody’s watching me.

Glyna: Yeah! All right. So let’s talk about this. What did the iOS update actually do? All right. So we’re going to put this simply. Basically Apple, anybody who has an iPhone. I think a lot of people have iPhones. I do, you do. They drastically limited what advertisers and app developers can track in terms of user activity on your iPhone, which is huge.

Sarah: Yes.

Glyna: So, it’s now required. I don’t know if people will start noticing this now that we’re talking about it, but it’s now required that all apps in the app store show a prompt to the users, asking for their permission to be able to track outside the platform in various ways. Here we go, this is exactly what we’re talking about.



Sarah: Yeah. So this is now this sort of disclaimer, that’s popped up and you’ve probably seen this. You’ve probably also seen this disclaimer, which is on nearly every website where you visit that says, “Hey, either yes, I accept cookies or no, I don’t.” And you can obviously read the policies, but this is another way. And they say, they frame it up of like, we want to make your experience better, which is in a lot of parts true. Because it’s that, “Hey, we want to build up some data so that we can better serve you.” That means we’re going to track you.


iOS Updates


Glyna: Yeah. But here’s where it gets sneaky, right?

Sarah: Yes. Yes. Sneak attack.

Glyna: Because those cookies, I bet everybody out there, me included, sometimes I’m like, what are they even talking about? And you go, just accept because I’m tired of messing with this. I want to get to the stuff that I came here to find. So people go ahead and say, “Yes, I’ll accept that.” But mobile devices use cookies in a different way, than just regular normal browsers on a laptop or desktop. And we’re going to talk about something called IDFA. Now this means an identifier for advertisers and what this is, it’s a unique and totally random ID number that’s assigned to each and every iOS device. And here you have this wonderful IDFA graphic that you made. And in addition to browser tracking, the IDFA also allows you to track user behavior within these applications.


iOS Updates


Sarah: So, check this out. What does this mean? So if you see right here, this is an example on Facebook. This is an example on Twitter. It’s going to say, here’s the data that’s used to track you, your contact information, identifiers, other data. Look at on Twitter, purchases, contact, browsing history, usage, location. And then the data linked to you, which is, this is the whole thing that it’s going to even more integrate of all these things that they’re going to use to help, that are going to be linked to your identity. And the whole purpose behind this is that it’s for them to, again, use more personalized ads and more stuff to better serve you. So they’re like, “Hey, we want to use this data to get to know you. And by doing that, we’re going to send you different stuff as you’re scrolling on Facebook or Twitter.” But here’s the big caveat. So on April 26th, 2021, Apple released another update. And what this did is it turned off the IDFA by default. And what that means is that each user is now going to have to individually allow each app to turn this on. So every single app you use, you’ll have to turn this on. It’s such a dilemma though, right? Because you’re like, it makes you scared. I don’t want them tracking me. But then you think, we’re so accustomed to this tracking. If you don’t save stuff in your, if you save stuff in your cart, you turn this stuff off, you lose all that stuff. All that personalization that we’re accustomed to goes away. And I wanted to show you real quick, this is where you can find this on your phone. It’s under settings and under privacy. And if you guys pick up your phone right now and you look, you’ll go all the way down to privacy, very bottom, where it says Apple advertising. And then right here, you want to check to see if it’s on or off. Now, if it’s on or off, that’s sort of your personal preference. But the data and the things that you receive are going to be affected by that.


iOS Updates


Glyna: Yes. And this is huge for the advertising world. It’s huge for our world, and it’s very huge for people who are paying to advertise on places like Facebook and Instagram, which depend on this data. So how does this impact Facebook and Instagram ads? That’s very, very important. But the update really affected three main areas on the Facebook and Instagram platforms. All right. The three things that really affected was targeting obviously because they don’t have any data to say I’m going to target these types of people. Reporting, because again, there’s no information in optimization. If you don’t know what to optimize or you don’t have any data, then you’re kind of in trouble there. If you know anything about advertising on social media, these functions, I mean, they’re really crucial to the success of your paid campaigns.

Sarah: It sure is.

Glyna: Yeah. We’ve seen it even on the few people that we’ve had advertising. You and I and Kelsi were talking the other day about the difference in the reach that some of our customers have had. You can see the difference between when Apple did this and now, so it will come back around I believe. But yeah, all the ads took a hit.

Sarah: They sure did. And that’s sort of the question we’re asking is, how does, excuse me, how does this impact Facebook and Instagram ads? And again, you think about, if you’re from a user level, you’re like, well, why would I care? I want my privacy. But then again, you don’t realize how much stuff that does help you. So, if you decide not to opt-in on this, okay, marketers don’t have any access to the tracking capabilities which impacts advertising capabilities. And Facebook and Instagram have lost this ability to be able to have these tracking functions so that it’s helpful for you to see certain ads that may be beneficial to you.

Glyna: Exactly, and we’re all about tracking. So we always like to talk about tracking, but let’s really get down to it. How does this, how does less tracking affect advertisers for Facebook and Instagram? And there’s a lot of people out there advertising on these platforms. So this is very important to think about. For you advertisers, if you’re paying, yeah. If you’re paying to play on either one of these platforms, less tracking means less data collection. Less data collection means less personalization. Less personalization means difficulty in retargeting and less targeting function means inaccurate reporting. So you have nothing to go by when you’re setting up your ads.



Sarah: And that can be frustrating.

Glyna: Yeah. It’s like a shot in the dark, basically.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So for an advertiser, it’s like you’re at a loss. So how does this affect Facebook and Instagram? Okay. So less tracking means lower ad performance, so your ad is not going to do as well. Lower ad performance means fewer conversions. Fewer conversions mean wasted ad spend. And as an advertiser, if you are feeling like you’re wasting your ad spend, it means less revenue that you’re going to spend with Facebook and Instagram. And of course, they don’t like that because Facebook, hey, those ads, that’s a good revenue stream for them. You can best believe that when this happened, Facebook was like, “I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.”


iOS Updates


Glyna: You know that they didn’t like it. Facebook has been, when we were planning this, I’m like, “Man, I hope we don’t get fact checked on this.” Not even a warning, just like boom, cut us off. So if we disappear, you’ll know why, but-

Sarah: Right.

Glyna: No, they didn’t like that at all. And I mean, for good reason. People have been advertising on here forever and are used to being able to target all this stuff. So what changed exactly? Targeting and retargeting capabilities. This is best explained, I always tell people, “Have you ever gone and looked at something, let’s say shoes? Then all of a sudden, shoes are following you everywhere.”

Sarah: Right. We were talking about that the other day with Skechers, I think it was.

Glyna: Yeah. And we were looking at, I can’t even remember what it was we were looking at. It was some bizarre website that had advertising on it and there’s the shoes that I was looking at. It was just so weird. But that’s what we’re talking about. It’s kind of like “follow me” ads, so targeting and retargeting capabilities are a huge thing that’s changed because you can’t choose you’re retargeting in what we call lookalike audiences. They’ve been a staple of Facebook advertising forever. And it was one of those things you just say, “Yes, I’m going to pick that targeting group. I’m going to pick that.” And you are on your way, but now both are largely unavailable or not even performing well at all. So it’s a game-changer.

Sarah: It is, it’s a game-changer. So what’s the issue? The issue with this whole retargeting, it’s fairly obvious. So since a vast majority of users are opting out of this, then that means that the retargeting audience is going to get a lot smaller. They’re just not going to be able to do what they need to do to retarget. And if your advertising strategy was really dependent on that, because we always talk about, there’s a certain amount of touchpoints. So you have a certain amount of touchpoints where it’s like you see something. I mean, how many of us put something in our cart and it takes us a minute to finally commit and purchase it? So the retargeting is huge because so many advertisers are dependent on that. When that decreases, you’re going to have a big decrease in the performance of your ad. So, that stinks.

Glyna: Exactly. And we talk about, lookalike audiences. Basically, if you were to go on Instagram or Facebook, you could pick an audience that’s already working for somebody else. Let’s say for us, we’re a marketing company. If we chose, if we looked at other marketing companies and said, “Hey, these Facebook ads are working really well for them. We want to use the same audience. We want to have the lookalike audience that they’re using.” Well, that’s going away because the data is not tracked anymore and it’s definitely not correct. So that has been definitely degraded, which is huge. I mean, you could basically go on Facebook and Instagram and if you didn’t know anything about doing ads on that platform, you could kind of walkthrough and say, “Okay, yeah. I need that audience.” You could set it up yourself, but now you’re going to have to really know what you’re doing. You’re going to have to put it together from scratch.

Sarah: Yes. Yes. So along with that, there are those reporting tools. So advertisers really relied a lot on this called fix Facebook pixel conversions. And these are different metrics and again, we’re not going to go heavy into this to make your head spin. But really, again, it was all this stuff that helped with ROAs, CPA and these were all to basically determine the success of their campaigns. So with the release of this update, there have been wild inaccuracies with these metrics, which is really difficult and frustrating. So you’re like, what am I looking at? Is this even true data?

Glyna: I know. So it’s very interesting. So what else has Apple done? They’ve also announced what they call private click measurement. Everything’s got an acronym, doesn’t it? Or the old PCM protocol.

Sarah: Right.

Glyna: What does this do? Okay. It creates a three-day delay in attribution data from iOS 14.5 users. So this is going to cause advertisers to see fewer reported conversions from the Facebook ads manager. It’s skewing their data because it’s not live. It’s not happening right now. I mean a three-day delay. Yeah, that’s…

Sarah: So, you have to sit there and kind of wait for the data to collect. And again, I know I keep going back to this point, but you just really have to think about, do I want as a user, do I want to opt into this, or do I want to opt-out? You have the choice now. That’s what Apple did to give you that choice to opt-in and say, “Hey, you could collect data from me or no, you can’t.” But just keep in mind if you may be more reliant on that than not. And as an advertiser, they’re also reliant on it, so that’s another thing that was affected was the personalization and the optimization. So Facebook advertisers rely on that advertiser. They need that data, they need the algorithms to help them optimize their campaign. So when you feed algorithm data and conversions from your ads, it automatically serves ads and people who are similar to those that have converted. So that’s that thing, it’s doing that data collection for you because you’ve opted into this and it’s like, they don’t have that now. So it’s like throwing darts in the wind.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. And it’s kind of like the battle of the giants.

Sarah: Yeah. Battle of the giants. It’s the best analogy.

Glyna: It’s kind of like Apple stood up, which I must give them some kudos. But at the same time, it’s kind of like opening a can of worms.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: How will Facebook and Instagram respond to that? In one way, you think there’s really nothing they can do about it, but in another way, anyway. You just wonder what the retaliation will be.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: You keep wondering what will happen next. So anyway, if you have an iPhone with iOS 14, you will likely see that this tactic is not working as well.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: And you’ve probably already seen it. So one reason that Apple limits Facebook and Instagram advertisers to eight conversion points on their website, it provides fewer data points for the algorithm and optimization process. And it’s the same thing that we’re talking about this whole time, the data. The data’s not there. So the small advertisers who don’t have a big budget; don’t have the data to really narrow in their advertisement and be able to use their money the best way possible. It’s probably going to cost more for you to be able to see any results, which is another bad thing.

Sarah: That is another bad thing. So, okay. Here’s the thing, that’s the bad news. All right. But you’re in luck because there’s still plenty of ways that you could keep your ads going and your campaigns on track. And I do want to say too, that Facebook was like, “We’re not going to sit here and take this,” in a way. They thought we’re going to come up with solutions to help. So if you want to, that’s why we want to give you, hey, there are the things that have changed, but there are things that you could still do to have an impact. So we want to put together five action plans for advertisers. And I do want to say that we’re going to keep this pretty high level because it can get pretty nitty-gritty and detailed. So we’ll keep it pretty high level to give you some ideas. But the very first thing that you can do is what’s called verify your domain. So what does that mean? Businesses can claim ownership of their domains in the business managers. So if you have a business page, you go over to your business manager and it is, if you verify your domain, it’s a signal to Facebook that you’re a legitimate business. And they in turn are going to help you run into any account issue, is they’re going to help feed you any tools that you can to help build your visibility. So if you haven’t done that already, definitely go. You could go to facebook.com/business/help. We’ll put that up at the end and that’s one way to do it. And while I start talking, I’m going to pull up this slide. This is going to be sort of your little toolkit here. The second thing you can do is, it’s called use re-engagement audiences. So since Facebook users must be logged in to use the platform, and you know that because they do all those million verifications, the network still has a lot of data that you can use for re-engagement audiences. So really, this includes targeting users who have engaged with your content. You’ve seen it all. Excuse me, on the insights and all that stuff. So anybody in the past that’s watched one of your videos or clicked on one of your ads or clicked through to your website. They still have those targeting things, tools that you can use to help with getting back and gathering some data. So it’s important. It’s good.


iOS Updates


Glyna: Exactly, and we have a couple of questions. Lisa’s asking about Android. I’ve not heard about Android coming out with anything like this. Have you, Sarah?

Sarah: No. And I’m so glad that Lisa actually raised that question because it does not impact Android users. So this is just an Apple exclusive, Apple update. Now, Android has privacy settings of course, but they are different than this one.

Glyna: Okay, great. And then Heather is saying, “Do you think it has something to do with supporting influencers on their platform?” And it’s funny that you say that because we’re getting ready to talk about that exactly. And I think you’re onto something, Heather.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: Definitely. So number three, explore new audiences via whitelisting. All right. We talked about the lookalike audiences. If your ads are not giving you results, you might want to look at influencers and who their lookalike audiences are and follow them. So to gain access to their audiences, you’ll need to utilize what we call whitelisting, which includes other benefits as well. And we have a link to the whitelisting that we can put up or we can just, let’s see, it’s actually. Well.

Sarah: Well, yeah. There’s a great website. It’s influencermarketinghub.com. So if you go on influencermarketinghub.com, that’s really just a marketing resource platform, and search influencer whitelisting. You’ll be able to find a great article that talks just about what Heather was talking about, is how you can actually use influencers to help build your audience.

Glyna: Which is going to be a huge thing because it’s kind of, again, what we’re talking about, lookalike audiences. If it’s working for somebody, especially an influencer that does the same thing as you, then you still could access that information.

Sarah: Yes, that’s exactly right. So number four is to develop fresh ad creative featuring UGC, which is user-generated content. Let me tell you, user-generated content is wonderful. So if your targeting options are limited, one of the best ways to increase your performance is to develop better ad creativity. And what better way than using UGC in your ad creative. It’s proven, it is time tested. So trying out different types of UGC from unboxing videos to product reviews, to lifestyle photos. It allows you to do a better kind of AB testing, which is where you can compare to different types of ads and see how they perform and see how users respond. So this is when it’s always really good to bring in some of your followers and have them produce some content, and then you can help circulate it.

Glyna: Exactly, and we’re all about that circulating content. If you’re making content, put it everywhere.

Sarah: Yeah.

Glyna: Don’t just use it for one thing. All right. Then the last thing is, this is really high level, implement the conversions API. What does that mean? Since many of these reporting issues have a lot to do with Facebook, that pixel that you use, that you normally put on your website, the conversions API allows you to get data directly from the server to Facebook. So if you want to know more about that, we have another link that we can send you.

Sarah: Yes.

Glyna: And get the developer’s guide or implementation guide from Facebook. You can go to developers.facebook.com and we’ll put that up later. We can put it in the comments, maybe.

Sarah: Yes, yes. Yes. If you go to developers.facebook.com and then you can search for conversions API. But really, and again, I put this up slow, but this is where you can find it on your iPhone just so you know, the Apple advertising and personalized ads. That is just something to think about. And really, that’s it. And I know there are some of these changes and things that you can do as an advertiser might be a little bit complex, but that’s what we’re here for. We navigate through all that and we can definitely help to get through all that and still get your ad producing.

Glyna: Yep. It’s crazy.

Sarah: It’s wild, isn’t it?

Glyna: It’s very wild. And again, as I said, it’s kind of like the battle of the giants. Who’s going to win, who’s going to allow what. And as you said, it’s kind of good and bad. The advertisers, it’s hurting them a little bit, but they’re not really getting a lot of your information, which is kind of good. But then on the other side, you said, for instance, the shopping cart stuff. That stuff’s not going to be still there if you leave it because they’re not able to track you. So it’s whatever you make of it. But there are workarounds and like Sarah said, just contact us. We’d be glad to help. And I think that’s a wrap for today, right?

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a wrap. Yeah, Facebook and Apple are in a fight.

Glyna: Yeah. They are.

Sarah: I’m kidding. We’re just here to deliver the information!

Glyna: Yes, Facebook.

Sarah: Right. I love Apple. I love Facebook. I love all of them. This is their battle, not ours.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. Well, you all have a great week and we will see you next Friday.

Sarah: All right. Thanks for watching.