placeholder_200x200

iOS 14’s Impact on Facebook’s App-Based Business Tools

February 2, 2021

Stay up to date

Stay up to date

We have already written a blog to talk about the gist of what’s happening on Facebook, focusing on web-based business tools. You can find that blog here.

In this article, we’d like to dive into what it means for app-based business tools.

Recap

Apple announced 3 new app policies in June 2020:
  1. Apps will need to detail their data collection practices in the Apple Store. If apps don’t do this, they will be removed from the Apple App Store.
  2. Apps will be required to ask user permission via an in-app prompt before they can track and store user data.
  3. App programming interfaces will need to update their framework to the Apple SKAdNetwork (SKAN) API to allow for tracking user activity within their apps.

On Facebook, these changes affect advertisers using the Facebook SDK, App Events API, or a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) SDK.

What’s Facebook’s solution to iOS 14?

  1. They will be using Apple’s prompt across Facebook and Instagram.
  2. They will continue to collect device identifiers (IDFA) from iOS 14 users who opt-in to Apple’s prompt.
  3. They will provide support for Apple’s restrictions in data measurement through SKAdNetwork API for App Conversion Campaigns.

SKAdNetwork API and its effects

The SKAdNetwork API will restrict and aggregate what data can be collected and delay how fast the information is fed back to apps, and thereby, advertisers within the apps.

Thus, Facebook will be forced to move to last-click attribution and remove attribution windows. Reporting on app installs can be delayed between 24-48 hours, while post-install events can be delayed up to 3 days. However, Facebook will still support all 14 standard app events, including the ability to run app install campaigns with event optimization for Automated App Ads.

 

Simply put, cross-app and web tracking are no longer available once someone opts out, but in-app tracking is still available.

 

Facebook will be restricting app install campaigns to one ad account per app, with a maximum of 9 campaigns. Within the campaigns, a total of five ad sets are allowed and they must have the same optimization type.

Demographic breakdowns and lift measurements for app-related campaigns will no longer be available.

What does this look like?

Here are two scenarios and how it plays out:

  1. When a user opts-in to a third-party app AND Facebook’s prompts, the IDFA will be shared between the apps.
  2. When a user opts-in to one or neither apps, the IDFA will not be shared.

When IDFA is not shared, Facebook will not be able to match event data to specific users which will affect performance.

However, this does not mean by opting out, an iOS 14 user’s actions are no longer tracked within the app. It means that the app cannot track the user using unique device identifiers across the web and other apps on the iOS14 device. Simply put, cross-app and web tracking are no longer available once someone opts out, but in-app tracking is still available.

Thus, the data stream from users who opt out of tracking is essentially lost. As Facebook itself is largely used in-app, they stand to lose an overwhelming amount of data points for targeting and audience modeling.

Again, regardless of opt-in or opt-out, reporting and measurement will be restricted, aggregated, and delayed. However, to receive any measurement at all, apps must adopt the SKAdNetwork API.

How to prepare for the iOS 14 release for Facebook’s app-based business tools

Here is Facebook’s advice on how to prepare:

 

Do Now
  1. Review Facebook’s data ingestion practices available in their developer’s blog to inform your app privacy details via Apple’s App Store Connect.
  2. If you are using Facebook SDK, update it to version 8.1 or above or you won’t be able to create iOS 14 app install campaigns.
  3. Update your Audience Network SDK to the latest version (6.2.1). You can do so here.

Things to prepare for
  1. If you are using Facebook SDK & App Events API, configure conversion schema for App Events Optimization, Mobile App Install, and Events with Automated App Ads and Value Optimization campaigns. Learn how to do so here.
  2. If you are using MMPs: Consult your MMP on their SKAN integration and conversion schema configuration.
  3. If using any app-based business tools (FB SDK, App Events API, MMP SDKs), prepare to use the “Advertiser Tracking Enabled” flag to instruct Facebook to restrict data use on a per-event basis. You can find details here.
  4. If only using App Events API, plan to integrate SKAN API via Events Manager instructions. More information here.
  5. Plan to operate all iOS 14 app install campaigns in one ad account per app, with 9 campaigns per app and 5 ad sets per campaign of the same optimization type.

Summary

Apple’s iOS 14 updates will impact the data collected from apps and the structure of app install campaigns on Facebook. However, all is not lost as in-app tracking is still available even when someone opts out of an app’s prompt. With no official release date on iOS 14.4 (with the anti-tracking prompts), we recommend advertisers using app-based business tools on Facebook to take the necessary steps to prepare for the update.

 

 

FREE Webinar: The Cookie-less Future

TUESDAY FEB 23, 10AM MST

Join Sara Kerr (ZGM's Senior Media Manager), Colby Doyle and myself (both Data Insights Strategists) as we wade into how this is going to unfold and the best way to prep for what's about to happen in 2021. 

Save My Seat

View all posts