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What E-commerce/Info-Product Businesses Can Do to Adapt to the New iOS 14 and Facebook Ads Updates

As we all know, 2020 was a tough year in all aspects including business. It provided us with so many obstacles, some that we’ve felt as we tried to adapt our marketing and digital strategies to the changing landscape. Because of the uncertainty, businesses had to scramble and realign their strategies and most went online which resulted in a wild ride for Facebook ads, and gave rise to record-breaking CPM acquisition costs.

Not only that, Apple announced a new iOS update as they’ve done every year, the iOS 14. It’s packed with a lot of new features, including ones that strengthen its mission of protecting their user’s privacy. You may have heard that this new update will allow users to disable apps like Facebook and Google from tracking their activities, and that this could heavily affect how you do online ads.

The update certainly caused a bit of an alarm for most eCommerce businesses doing ads online which is why we’re here to shed some light on it. We’ve done a bit of research to help you understand the iOS 14 update, its implications, and what you can do about it.

What Is Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy and Data Use Update?​

It mainly revolves around these three acronyms:

  • IDFA
  • SKAd Network
  • ATT

Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) -  this is the unique Apple ID that is assigned to every device. It exists across the user’s applications. This is the tool that tracks, targets, and personalizes in-app advertising on Apple devices.

SKAd Network - this refers to Apple’s SDK which controls how apps are created, run and manages interactions with advertising.

When iOS 14 is installed, apps installed as a result of in-app advertising will be mediated by Apple’s SKAD Network.

Thankfully these only apply to app developers and not other businesses.

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) -  also known as the AppTrackingTransparency framework, where a prompt will appear on all apps for all users of iOS 14.

It is this prompt that will affect eCommerce and info product business.

According to Facebook’s update:

Specifically, Apple will begin to require that all apps in the App Store show a discouraging prompt to users on iOS 14 devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple's policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via the prompt. As more people opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, ads personalisation and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.

How Will iOS 14’s New Policy Affect Facebook Advertising?​

Starting 2021, all iOS apps that use and collect data for advertising will display the new prompt which serves as an additional layer of privacy for users. From a user perspective, it looks great, and gives you more control over your privacy. But from a business perspective, you might wonder how the new updates will affect how you run Facebook ads. 

How the update basically works is when a user downloads an app, they can now stop or allow the app from tracking their activities. 

The Apple prompt will make it clear that the app wants permission to use your data with two simple buttons:

  • Allow Tracking
  • Ask App Not to Track

When given these choices, most users will choose for the app not to track their activities. This means that Facebook won’t be able to gather as much data from apps such as what apps users are downloading and what they are doing in those apps. Facebook will also not be able to show personalized or targeted ads on apps that are linked to it.

This mostly affects businesses who use the Facebook Audience Network.  If you have a free app that generates revenue through ads,  you will not be able to show targeted ads through your app. The good news is that if you do not heavily rely on the audience network, you won’t be heavily affected by the new update yet.

You can check back on what Facebook Ad strategies you are currently using and what your objectives are. If your objective, for example, is to gain more conversions, you should see that most of them do not come from the Facebook Audience Network.

Right now, Facebook is calling on business owners and advertisers to prepare for the upcoming changes as a preemptive measure from future disruption.

What You Can Do as an Ecommerce and Info-product Business:

  1. Verify your domain in Facebook Business Manager​

This is the first and most immediate step you can take. Facebook is going to introduce the “Aggregated Event Measurement” as a counter to help you track activity from iOS users after the ATT prompt appears.

  1. Pre-select 8 conversion events for each domain

Though it has not yet been released, Facebook will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain which will be ranked manually (for tracking and optimization) on ads manager. As a preemptive measure, you may prioritize which conversion events are most beneficial to your goals and pre-select eight with which you will adjust your strategy.

Even if there are users that allow tracking or opt-in, you will still be limited to eight. 

  1. Enable value optimization

In value optimization (VO), “value” means how much revenue a person generates within a certain day or week (depending on what you choose) and “optimization” is the result that the Facebook delivery is trying to get.​ Value optimization predicts the revenue value of individual users, or people who are likely to maximise the amount of value they generate, based on numerous factors brought together by machine learning.​ Basically, it enables advertisers to deliver ads to people who are most likely to spend more in apps.

If your business already uses VO, existing values will automatically be moved from Business Manager to Event Manager and be assigned based on historical data.

If you use CBO with VO enabled, no action is required.

It is only if you are bidding manually or if your ad account is totally brand new that you should expect to set VO yourself.

  1. Set up historical & seasonal benchmarks

Features like the 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows won’t be supported. Historical data will remain accessible via the Ads Insights API.​

To get an overview of the impact of your ads, you could download the 1-day, 7-day, or 28-day performance from Ad Manager.

  1. Allocate time and effort for retention & diversification​

This is the time to expand and diversify your advertising channels. It would be a great opportunity to look into mixing in Facebook and Google ads if you haven’t yet. Try Google Shopping, search ads and Youtube ads.

You can also look into developing SMS and email marketing campaigns since these are great for building customer relationships and keeping your brand at top of mind. 

To read more about these changes, you may check out Facebook’s official post about this update on their Facebook for developers site.

We hope you learned something from this article, and if you are looking for help in marketing, designing, or building your Shopify website, contact your Shopify experts at Webinopoly here.

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