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Samantha Lim

Published on

January 29, 2021


digital marketing, iOS update

Overview: What Is The Apple IOS 14 Update

Image Credit: Apple

In the second half of 2020, Apple released the latest iteration of their operating system, iOS 14. In this version, app privacy and data usage take center stage. Amongst other privacy-related features, users will be given additional information on how they are being tracked, with cross-app and website tracking becoming opt-in only. The rollout of this privacy feature, dubbed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, was then delayed to early 2021.

How Does This Affect Businesses?

The announced changes to iOS 14 are set to change the way user data is collected for app functionality and advertising.

Image Credit: Apple

Once Apple’s ATT is enforced, users will be asked whether they would like to allow targeted ad tracking on the mobile apps that use, similar to how cookie consent banners appear on new websites that you visit. This means that Apple will mandate user authorisation to collect Apple’s device identifiers or IDFA – critical for the delivery of personalised advertising – on an app-by-app basis. Given the current stance on data privacy, the expectation is that most users would answer ‘no’ when prompted.

Ad personalisation and attribution will therefore be impacted for those that track and optimise for app and web conversions from users with iOS 14 devices across all digital media sources.

According to Facebook, “these changes will affect how Facebook receives and processes conversion events from tools such as the Facebook pixel”, as the data flowthrough from iOS 14 devices to advertising platforms becomes restricted.

There are potentially 3 main areas of impact:

  1. An advertiser’s ability to accurately measure advertising campaigns, due to conversion event limitations, shorter attribution windows, and delayed reporting
  2. A platform’s ability to allow for effective targeting and optimisation across all channels, due to reduced data received from iOS devices
  3. The way audiences are managed and engaged moving forward, due to reduced audience pools, limitations on granular audience insights, and limitations around personalised ad formats such as dynamic ads

How To Prepare For The ATT Update

The truth is, until the ATT update is live, there is much that is still unknown about it. However, if you are currently running ads on Facebook that make use of tools such as the Facebook pixel or SDK, there are a few immediate actions you can take.

Key actions for Web Advertisers using Facebook:

• Verify your website’s domain to avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns. Domain verification must be done for the effective top-level domain plus one (for instance,

• Domain verification should be prioritised for domains with pixels used by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. This will enable you to configure pixel conversion events when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available.

Key actions for App Advertisers using Facebook:

• If using the Facebook SDK, update it to iOS 14 version 8.1 or above. This supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API and enables the receipt of app conversion events, ad personalisation and measurement for app install ads. If you don’t already have the Facebook SDK installed, you may want to install it.

If you plan to deliver Facebook ads for both web and app conversion events, take all of the listed actions in preparation for the ATT update.

As compared to Facebook, other digital platforms are not as open or vocal about the impact iOS 14 will have on their advertisers. Google for instance, currently only recommends actions for app developers who monetise their app through in-app advertising.

Key actions for App Advertisers using Google:

• Use Google Analytics for Firebase SDK to track conversions if you are running Google Ads to promote app installs, as Firebase SDK automatically integrates with Apple’s SKAdnetwork.

Want to find out what steps you need to take to prepare for the ATT update? Reach out to our digital and media buying experts today!

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