With almost 3 billion active users (yes, billions-with-a-B), Facebook is still the most popular social media platform on the internet. That means, in addition to being your best source for cute cat pictures, superhero movie news, and political arguments, it’s also one of the most powerful avenues for digital marketing today.
With a variety of different Facebook advertising types—video ads, story ads, carousel ads, etc.—and the ability to easily target specific niche demographics on a computer and mobile devices.
That said, it’s worth noting that Facebook ads, like virtually all other social media marketing systems, rely heavily on user data to help define demographic groups and pinpoint-target advertisements towards the exact users most likely to be interested in a business’s products or services.
Last year, Apple rolled out iOS 14, a major update to its iPhone operating system. Why does this matter? Because the iPhone accounts for more than 50% of the mobile phone market. Also because iOS 14’s changes instituted key alterations to how user data is shared and collected, and these changes have been carried over to iOS 15.
Since these changes aren’t likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, it’s important that businesses know how to profitably scale their Facebook advertising strategies post iOS 14.
How iOS 14 Changes Impact Facebook Ads
In April of 2021, iPhone users started receiving prompts from social media apps like Facebook asking them to choose to either “Allow Tracking” or “Ask Apps Not to Track.”
This means that, following iOS 14, Facebook users on iPhone can refuse to share their search data, web history, and online conversions with the social media service, ergo preventing that information from being used to optimize and personalize Facebook ads.
Although some users may continue allowing their data to be shared, many more will not. As a result, businesses using Facebook ads manager tools like Facebook Pixel will now have a much harder time doing the following:
- Targeting relevant users with relevant advertisements right when those users need those advertisements most
- Making informed marketing decisions based on large amounts of accurate, granular data collected by Facebook
- Budgeting Facebook advertising costs efficiently to produce the lowest cost per acquisition or return on ad spend
How to Advertise on Facebook After iOS 14
Complete Your Facebook Domain Verification
First off, if your domains integrate Pixels from multiple businesses or personal ad accounts, it’s important to verify those domains. Verification demonstrates to Facebook that you are connected to your business, ensuring that you have full access and control over your Facebook advertising efforts.
The primary reason this is important in regard to the iOS 14 update is that doing this gives you greater 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.”
Select Conversion Events (Aggregated Event Measurement)
In response to Apple’s Private Click Measurement, Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement is a protocol that allows for the measurement of web events from iOS users. Through this protocol, domains are limited to eight conversion events that are they can use for campaign optimization. Ad sets designed to optimize for events that are no longer available have been paused.
Because of this limitation, it’s critical that you sit down, take a close look at the events in your account, and begin prioritizing them based on their relevance to you and their efficacy within your campaign. Make an assessment of your marketing strategy and your funnel and select the eight conversion events you want to stick with for each of your domains.
Tips for Profitably Scaling Ads on Facebook
Start Over with a Clean Slate
The most common pain point with iOS 14’s changes to data sharing is that previously successful Facebook ad campaigns have stopped performing as well as they used to. Although it does represent a significant investment of time and human resources, the best approach to scaling ads on Facebook for maximum profitability is to rebuild campaigns from scratch.
Don’t think of this as throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to start over with a clean slate and make your digital marketing efforts better than ever.
Utilize Interest Stacking
Before the advent of iOS 14, it was easy to do Facebook ad targeting based on individual user interests. This level of specificity was great, especially for businesses that really knew their audiences.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work quite as well anymore. Following iOS 14, it is much more effective for Facebook ad targeting to go broader. While narrowcasting and ad personalization remain powerful tools within digital marketing, stacking interests is preferable over single interest targeting.
Keep Targeting Expansion On
As noted above, going broader with your audience’s interests gives the Facebook algorithm more to work with. So in addition to stacking interests, you should also lock the Targeting Expansion option to “On.”
One major impact of iOS14 is that it’s now harder than ever to build effective Custom Audiences, which therefore makes it harder to create Lookalike Audiences. Lookalike Audiences previously proved themselves as top-notch performers. Now, however, campaigns using interest stacking and Detailed Targeting Expansion have started outperforming them.
Use the Facebook Conversions API
Once upon a time, Facebook Pixel was all you needed for effective conversion tracking and reporting. Alas, the time they are a-changin’, so if you want to avoid underreporting results, it’s a good idea to use the Facebook Conversions API.
The Facebook Conversions AP connects your server directly to Facebook’s, meaning that it doesn’t require cookies to track conversion events. On top of the iOS 14 changes, Google recently announced it would be dropping third-party cookies, so really, you can’t afford to not use this particular tool.
Utilize UTM Tags
If you’re using both Facebook and Google Analytics—and you should be—UTM tags are a simple but effective way of tracking your conversions without relying on users opting in to sharing their data.
UTM tags can easily be added to the destination URLs of your ads. They enable you to track traffic from Facebook ad campaigns by sending a record of your clicks and conversions to your Google Analytics account.
Don’t Get Impatient with Reports
Another thing that iOS 14 has made trickier now is Facebook’s conversion reporting, which may now be delayed up to three days. In other words, any conversions you’ve recently received may not show up immediately.
Keep that in mind and give yourself a 3-4 day buffer when gauging the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Don’t jump the gun and change up your strategy if you don’t see immediate results, because there’s a good chance that this is simply a result of a reporting delay rather than an unsuccessful campaign.
Adaptation is the Key to Success
Marketing any business requires adaptation. It always has and it always will. The widespread digitization of most marketing hasn’t really affected that; it’s just sped the process up, which may make it more obvious than it used to be.
While iOS 14 represents a not inconsiderable challenge for businesses using Facebook ads for marketing purposes, it’s not worth getting upset or frustrated over. The key to success is being open to change, to adapt and keep moving. Stagnancy breeds complacency, and complacency spells doom for any business.
Get Expert Help with Facebook Ad Scaling
If the changes brought upon by Apple’s iOS 14 update have done one thing, it’s reminded us all of the importance of versatility and creativity when it comes to digital marketing. Simply put, if you want to make the most of your social media advertising resources, you need to get more creative with your Facebook ad targeting.
At LSEO, we know how difficult it can be for businesses to keep up with the rapidly changing social media landscape. New platforms seem to be popping up every day, while alterations to data-sharing policies have wide-ranging effects.
If you need help strategizing, optimizing, and/or managing your digital marketing campaigns, we can help. Reach out to LSEO today and let our professional marketing team members put their expertise to work for you!