iOS 14.5

This iPhone software update initially launched in April included the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Privacy feature.

ATT gives users greater control over their data and allows them to opt-in if they want app publishers to track their app data. Going forward, users must consent to data tracking and for advertisers to access their IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers).

What does this mean for marketers?

This feature makes it harder for apps like Facebook to track their users’ app activity. It also means that:

  • It will be more difficult for Facebook to target users
  • It will be harder to measure the impact of ads
  • Facebook won’t be able to see who engages with ads
  • It will be more difficult to see users online activity

This presents several issues for marketers using Facebook ads, as well as other ad platforms. The update means that there’s a greater chance of Facebook reporting inaccurate or skewed data. It also means that it will be harder to accurately target and segment consumers using the platform. Ultimately, the update directly affects the effectiveness of Facebook ads and the data used to drive them.

If the users you’re looking to target opt-out of data tracking. It can have the following impact on your marketing campaigns.

Conversion issues

Following this update, conversions from iOS 14.5 users who opt-out won’t be tracked. For those that opt-in, only 1 web event after the user clicks on an ad will be tracked.

This means you’ll get less data on the actions users take on your site, as well as less information on who converted. This information is crucial for optimising and maximising ad performance. Without it, your ads may be shown to the wrong people and this will directly impact the success of your ad campaigns.

Ad reporting issues

There are also implications for Facebook ad reporting. The iOS 14.5 update makes it more difficult for Facebook to identify who engages with an ad. This means reporting will be less accurate going forward.

Targeting and retargeting issues

It’s also important to note that your retargeting audiences will be smaller following this update. This is because iOS 14.5 users will not be included in the cohort. When it comes to your ad campaigns, you may find that your targeting and retargeting ad campaigns are less effective.

This update means that Facebook can’t accurately identify users that engage with ads and buy from them. Facebook also won’t be able to gather data on users’ pre and post-purchase behaviour. As a result, you won’t be able to build lookalike audiences and target similar users.

How many people have opted out so far?

Data privacy has always been a prevalent issue in the digital marketing industry. This update simply highlights what many of us knew already: consumers want greater control over their data and more transparency when it comes to sharing data. Apple often paves the way for other smartphone manufacturers, so it’s likely that we’ll see similar features from other providers in the near future.

So far, 75% of Apple users globally have opted out of sharing their data. This has significant implications for the digital marketing and advertising industry. Marketers must adapt fast and think of new ways to get their products and services in front of the right people.

iOS 15: What’s new?

iOS 15, due to be released in Autumn/Winter 2021, builds on the iOS 14.5 update. Some of the new data privacy features include:

App Privacy Report: This shows which apps are collecting data and the type of data they collect. This included your location and phone contacts. The App Privacy Report will also show users how often apps access your camera, contacts and more.

Safari Privacy Features: The iCloud+ Private Relay feature will hide users IP addresses.

Email marketing: iOS 15 includes features to prevent e-mail tracking. In future, email senders won’t receive information on your location and when you opened the email.

Apple ‘Hide my email’ feature: This feature generates a random email for new accounts that send through to your main account.

Which iPhone models are affected?

iOS products compatible with iOS 14.5 and iOS 15:

iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 6, iPhone SE, iPod touch (7th Generation). iPhone 6S through to the iPhone 12, the iPhone SE and the 7th generation iPod Touch.

The solutions

In reality, there’s no real way to get around this update. However, there are steps you can take to ensure reduce the impact on your ad campaigns.

Explore other paid media channels

There are a wealth of options out there when it comes to PPC advertising. This includes everything from Pinterest ads to Youtube ads. Exploring these non-Facebook related options can help you to mitigate the risk of being negatively affected by these updates going forward.

Collect your own data

It’s now more important than ever to ensure the data you’re collecting is reliable and accurate. You can collect your own user data from a wealth of channels. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Website data
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Surveys and customer research

The overall goal is to collect enough first-party data to reduce your reliance on third-party data and avoid issues like those above in the future.

Verify your domain and prioritise your pixel web events

Facebook has now introduced the ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’ protocol to track conversions from opted-out iOS users. However, the feature is limited as it only tracks 8 conversion events per domain.

This means you’ll need to prioritise your events to make sure you’re getting the most out of your data.