What’s The Deal With iOS 14.5?

By Jen Silva

Supervisor, Search & Social

While the platforms are still working to understand what these changes will truly mean, this is an opportunity to lean into in-platform objectives."

You may have heard about Apple’s new iOS 14.5 update and chalked it up to “just another update”, but iOS 14.5 represents a sea of change in how mobile device providers manage the privacy of their users. While the full impact of Apple’s changes may not be known for years to come, the news around iOS 14.5 has reinforced a few key best-practices for successful integrated marketing that all B2B marketers should be considering. Here’s what we know so far about iOS 14.5, and some ways we recommend working around them.

Get the Guide to iOS 14.5

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What's Changing?

  • Apps now have to request permission before using your information with an opt-in pop-up
    • Example: Once opted out, Facebook can no longer track your actions across devices or use your information to retarget.
  • Unless specifically opting in for permission, advertisers can no longer use unique identifiers to track ad clicks to conversions across any domain.

The Impacts

  • Loss of retargeting data – if users opt out of using their information for any advertising needs, that means we, as advertisers, can’t leverage retargeting as we have historically 
  • Cross-device advertising – advertisers will be unable to gather information about how a user acts on one device then using that to target them on another.
  • Limitations around how much data collection – Facebook, for example, is limiting advertisers to eight tracking objectives around which they can optimize their conversions campaigns
  • Loss of conversion data unless users specifically opt-in to allow advertisers to use their data – due to these changes, we’ll see a loss of “view-through” or “assisted conversions” across all platforms, which is anticipated to impact visibility into how upper funnel tactics influence the success of  demand tactics.

Where Do We Go From Here?

There are some short-term and long-term solutions to help mediate these changes.

Short-Term:
  • Separate out iOS vs. Android
    • Pro-tip: Try understanding the performance impacts of iOS by looking at how Android is/was performing. Then extrapolate the data from Android and apply it to iOS as an “educated guess” on iOS performance without the conversion data.
  • For advertisers running on Facebook, follow Facebook’s directions:
    • Verify domain 
    • Configure top 8 pixel events including standard and custom conversions (in order)
    • Export all your historical data to look back on
  • Set up the Facebook & LinkedIn conversions API to allow for further data and visibility
  • Shift to on-platform ad units – the data you’re losing is when the user goes OFF the platform, not while they’re still on 
    • For B2B – think more on-platform lead gen, and less lead gen via traffic to your website
  • Leverage Apple’s new measurement tools
Long-Term:
  • Lean more heavily into media mix models and third-party multi-touch attribution platforms to understand the true user journey for your service/product 
  • Continue to educate your managers, colleagues, clients, anyone who may not be as informed as to why all of a sudden conversions fluctuate once these changes take place. And always educate on the importance of brand to demand – even if there’s no direct platform data to help you explain the value of view-through/assisted conversions.

How The Platforms Are Responding:

  • Based off the natural user behavior of Google’s attribution model and how it collects its data, Google has basically said it’s not worried about the minimal impact of these changes, and that it’s planning to create a more robust “modeled” conversion attribution model
  • LinkedIn is rolling out the changes as it understands them. So far we know the usage of matched audiences layered with member traits (i.e. interests) will be reduced, a loss of some retargeting data, and “some impact to scale on the LinkedIn Audience Network.”
  • Facebook thrives on view-through data and the success of its Audience Network – a curated list of third-party sites on which Facebook ads serve within standard banner units. These will be disproportionately affected by Apple’s changes which, in turn, means Facebook has more to lose than many of its competitors. As a result, Facebook is taking an aggressive opposition to Apple and investing heavily in solutions to mitigate the impact it expects from users opting out of tracking.
  • Twitter has stayed fairly quiet throughout all of this news. It has announced that the most major impacts will come with app objectives, audiences and measurement.

While the platforms are still working to understand what these changes will truly mean, this is an opportunity to lean into in-platform objectives that are already outperforming some of the older objectives, have a deeper understanding of multi-touch attribution as an industry and to test some of the newer social platforms like Pinterest and Reddit which are growing quickly in the B2B realm.

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