“Opt-Out” App Tracking with iOS 14.5 & Facebook’s Response
Written by Katelin Shaft, Pearson & von Elbe Advertising & Graphic Design
You may have heard the news around the block that Apple has implemented great changes regarding user privacy on their devices. More specifically, Apple has recently released iOS 14.5 to the general public. In simple terms, this software update includes a prompt that asks device owners if they desire to have their activity tracked (for ad targeting purposes) on particular apps including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more.
What does this iOS 14.5 prompt look like?
Once iOS 14.5 is downloaded on your Apple device, you will see a prompt (like the one below) that will fill your screen after opening, downloading, or uploading an app to your device.
According to Flurry Analytics via Mashable, only 4 percent of U.S. users have “allowed” various apps to track their activities across apps and websites. Interestingly enough, the “allow” rate is significantly higher worldwide, with an average opt-in rate of around 12 percent. Perhaps this distinct difference in “allow” rates has much to do with the American General Publics’ feelings that data tracking is “out of control” and privacy is virtually non-existent in the digital era.
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research, six in 10 U.S. adults in 2019 reported feeling like they’re being watched all the time. Not only that, but an overwhelming majority (70%) of Americans also feel as though their data is less secure now than it was five years ago. This number only continues to climb year over year.
How iOS 14.5 hurts Facebook
For the remainder of this article, we’re going to focus heavily on Facebook. Why? Well, for starters, Facebook is an advertiser’s Mecca. There is no other social media platform currently in existence that allows for as great of a reach to the masses — Facebook has 2.14 billion users — and that’s only counting the users that can be reached with ads.
A major benefit to using Facebook for ad targeting purposes is the ability for advertisers to target their exact audience based on user behavior data. Now, with the rollout of iOS 14.5, users can opt-out of allowing Facebook to hone in on their behaviors, thus creating much less personalized and detailed audience insights. In response to to iOS 14.5, Facebook outlined four key aspects on their particular platform that will be harmed due to the latest Apple software release:
- The ability to effectively deliver ads based on engagement is diminished
- Measuring and reporting on certain conversions is diminished
- Ensuring ads are delivered to the most relevant audiences is diminished
- Predicting and optimizing cost per action is diminished
For advertisers out there — how to work around these changes
Well, the header is a little misleading. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done on Facebook’s end to “work around” Apple’s data sharing feature. However, Facebook has provided a few suggestions to advertisers who have felt the negative effects of iOS 14.5 already. To help support your Facebook Ad Campaigns in an iOS 14.5 world:
- Verify your website domain on Facebook. This is critical for businesses with pixels used by multiple Business Managers or personal ad accounts. Domain verification will ensure no immediate or future disruption in the ability to configure conversion events.
- Plan to operate with 8 conversion events per domain. You can only configure up to 8 unique conversion events per website domain that can be used for campaign optimization.
While these suggestions don’t completely solve Facebook’s issue, they are fool-proof ways in which advertisers can take a step forward to safeguard their advertising strategies on the platform with the hopes of continuing to connect with and broaden their audience market on Facebook.
As mentioned previously, Apple’s latest software update affects platforms beyond just Facebook. Hundreds of thousands of apps that the general public knows and loves will be affected by this release.
This isn’t an article to persuade anyone to “opt-in” or “opt-out.” Whether you choose to opt-out of targeted advertising tracking entirely or be selective about which apps you provide access to, your personal feelings towards your digital privacy take precedent.