Back when we found out about iOS 14, there were a lot of question marks as to when it would be enforced, what it would mean for your Facebook campaigns, and how you could prepare. Now that iOS 14 is in full swing, many questions have been answered—but still more arise.
Like how to run Facebook ads with the conversion objective in iOS 14 as successfully as you did before.
And that’s what I aim to answer in this post. I’m going to go over the impact of iOS on Facebook conversion campaigns and then walk you through how to adjust to changes like:
- Facebook domain verification (why it’s now necessary).
- Facebook Aggregated Event Measurement (what the heck is it?)
- Eight conversion events per domain (what happened to unlimited?)
- The seven-day attribution window (so long, 28).
Read on to make sure your success with Facebook conversion campaigns in iOS 14 is as closely matched as possible to your pre-iOS 14 glory days.
The impact of iOS 14 on Facebook conversion campaigns
The functionality of the Facebook pixel itself has been impacted in many ways with iOS 14. If you are like most Facebook advertisers, you most likely run or have run conversion campaigns within the platform.
That is, you send traffic from your ads to your website or landing page in an attempt to have those visitors complete an action. Once they complete that action, it is recorded in the Facebook interface via custom conversions or events.
This allows advertisers to derive a cost-per-action or cost-per-acquisition from the platform, giving them the ability to attribute Facebook internally and thus prove that their marketing dollars are working.
The issue with the iOS 14 update is that it poses limitations for apps (like Facebook) and their passing of data through external domains. This in return affects how advertisers are able to run ads and pass conversion or web data back to Facebook for reporting and optimization.
So you are running Facebook ads with the conversion objective, here's what you need to do to maintain success despite iOS 14's limitations:
- Verify your domain(s)
- Select eight conversion events for your domain.
- Choose your ad set attribution window.
- Rely more on internal data (Google Analytics, CRM, etc.).
- Monitor audience size.
Let's dive into each one.
1. Complete your Facebook domain verification
Facebook recommends that advertisers verify their website domain. Although they consider it a best practice, Facebook claims “it’s important to prioritize verifying your domains if your domains integrate pixels that are owned by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts.”
What this verification does is demonstrates that you are connected to your business. Domain verification requires the webmaster for your domain to place a special code on your website.
The primary reason this is important in regard to the iOS update is that it gives authority over which conversion events are eligible on your domain. In order to comply with the update, Facebook is required to request permission to users on their platform through Apple’s “AppTracking Transparency Framework” which is essentially the push notification that I had discussed in my previous post.
Due to Facebook having to comply with this, advertisers are now limited to eight web conversion events per domain. So if you own multiple domains that you advertise with, it is important to have them verified so you can have more manual control over which events are selected.
2. Select 8 conversion events (Aggregated Event Measurement)
- Domains are limited to eight conversion events that can be used for campaign optimization;
- Ad sets that are optimizing for events that are no longer available have been paused.
Facebook automatically chooses eight events based on recent campaign spend from all of the ad accounts advertising to that domain. However, you have the ability to manually select them yourselves in Business Manager. It’s recommended that you choose the events that are most important to your business.
Take a look at the events in your account and begin prioritizing them. Make an assessment of your marketing strategy and your funnel and select the eight conversion events you want to be stuck with per domain. This is sad news for marketers who prefer the agility to create custom conversions on the fly.
For detailed instructions on how to set up your eight preferred web conversions, follow these directions provided by Facebook.
Keep in mind that you will need to verify your business’s domain in order to select these events.
3. Choose your ad set attribution window
Another change you need to be aware of is that of attribution window settings. The attribution window for all new or active ad campaigns is now set at the ad set level instead of the account level. The default for all new or active campaigns is the 7-day click attribution window. You have the option for one-day click, seven-day click, one-day click + one-day view, or seven-day click + one-day view.
These changes impact advertisers who were previously viewing their reporting through a longer attribution window. There isn't really a fix for this: Regardless of the window that you are currently using, you will ultimately have less flexibility in how much data you are seeing and reporting on.
4. Lean on your internal data
Although Facebook allows you to optimize for eight events, you will still have the visibility on the back end to discern where visitors are coming from and what they’re doing on your site once they land. This means you may need to invest more time in becoming Google Analytics-savvy or rely more on your CRM to get the proper information to make decisions on Facebook.
Similarly, the shortened attribution window makes it harder to tie internal reporting back to your Facebook ad efforts, making it even more important that your internal data is accurate.
5. Monitor remarketing campaigns and ad sets
As more people opt-out of tracking on iOS14 devices, the smaller many of your custom audiences may become. If the decrease in these custom audiences is sizable (something you probably won’t be able to gauge from the audience projections), you will have to adjust your remarketing or custom list strategy a bit.
What I mean by this is that you will want to monitor remarketing campaigns or ad sets more closely and pay attention to the spend as well as the frequency. This may be something that you already do, but with the potential for shrinking audience sizes, you might want to spend less on these ad sets in order to reduce ad fatigue and frequency.
Audience sizes are generally expected to drop although it is unclear by how much. It is rumored that Facebook ran tests internally to gauge what the damage would be, but only time can tell. Regardless, it would be wise to devote your marketing resources more heavily on remarketing or custom lists now so that you can have alternative ways to reach out to those who are opting-out.
Set yourself up for continued success with Facebook conversion campaigns in iOS 14
Although many of the conversion-related changes may be irritating at first, they'll get easier over time. What might not get easier over time is the drop-off in audiences. Facebook has built its advertising empire using a variety of complex targeting tools. If those audiences shrink substantially or become less effective in the coming months, advertisers may ultimately target broader as a response. In turn, costs would increase and with reduced reporting capabilities, many businesses may decide not to advertise on Facebook. Let's hope this doesn't happen!
To end on a more positive note, here's a recap on what you can do to ensure success with the conversion objective despite iOS 14's limitations:
- Verify your domains so you can have more manual control over your conversion events.
- Manually select your eight conversion events for each of your domains in Business Manager.
- Choose your ad set attribution window.
- Lean on Google Analytics or your CRM for accurate data.
- Monitor shrinking audiences and allocate your budget accordingly to prevent ad fatigue and misleading data.