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iOS 14 Update What You Can Do to Overcome This Paid Media Challenge

Earlier this year, Apple released iOS 14 with the App Tracking Transparency policy in tow. Now, many advertisers are stuck trying to determine the right way to reach iOS users, especially via Facebook and Instagram.

With the release of iOS 14, users can now choose whether they want these apps to track information such as app activity and browsing history. This same data previously allowed advertisers to develop and publish ads based on app usage.

Analytics gathered around three weeks after the initial launch found that only 6% of iOS users in the US were opting in to app tracking. Globally, that number was only 15%. 

These opt-outs have decreased the accuracy of Facebook and Instagram targeting. And although they don’t impact desktop users significantly, the majority of Facebook and Instagram users are on mobile. Stats current at the publishing of this post show 81.8% of Facebook users worldwide use Facebook only via mobile device.

The Cro Metrics Strategy & Solutions for Moving Forward

These major shifts in paid media are far from the first changes made and they won’t be the last. The iOS 14 update has driven up customer acquisition costs (CAC) for current campaigns across the board.

Here at Cro Metrics, we’re working to combat these challenges by looking to analytics and experimentation to drive growth and decrease CAC. We’re currently finding success by rebuilding campaigns quickly and changing strategies as needed to qualify audiences that will convert at the right time. Combined with landing page optimization, we can quickly create positive outcomes that lower CAC as well as improve lifetime value (LTV) and return on ad spend (ROAS).

For your campaigns, we recommend a few specific steps to boost your growth and reduce costs. Let’s dive in further.

1. FB Recommendations

Ahead of the update, Facebook released a set of recommendations to complete to ensure you maintain audience quality, retargeting capabilities, and data quality. The recommendations are focused on domain verification and tracking pixels. Three of the recommendations include:

  • Completing domain verification: From the Business Manager, you should verify your website domain. This is especially important if your domains use pixels that are owned by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts.
  • Operating 8 conversion events per domain: Aggregated Event Measurement will limit your primary domains to 8 prioritized events for campaign optimization. The real change here is that conversion events are now a limited number that includes one primary conversion event you can set as the priority. If you fail to update your campaign events, your ads won’t deliver to or report on those who have opted out of tracking on their Facebook or Instagram app on iOS 14.
  • Selecting a single domain for conversion tracking: You’re now unable to track events for an ad across multiple domains if the ads are shown to a user that has opted out of app tracking for Facebook or Instagram. So, it’s important to select a single domain for conversion tracking.

2. Excluding iOS Devices

If you had campaigns that were successful prior to the update, take a look at your traffic to see where those users are coming from. Did 70-80% come from Android devices? In this case, this might be a campaign worth running while excluding iOS devices.

3. Qualifying Your Audiences

Targeting is now less precise. That’s why qualifying your audience further is critical. You must treat your formerly targeted audience as a more general audience when you’re reaching out, focusing on upper- and mid-level conversions you can attribute back to Facebook.

To be successful, you should create campaign goals focused on upper-funnel and mid-funnel goals rather than down-funnel conversions. For example, turn your focus toward getting emails. From there, you can determine the level of interest in an audience. This also gives you a follow-up point via email marketing, which is more cost-effective.

4. Website Side Attribution

You can also get creative when it comes to attributing your conversions to Facebook. For example, when sending users to a landing page and asking them to take an action, you can record the traffic source using your web analytics.

Whether you aim for purchase conversion or use a mid-funnel tactic like email capture, a quiz or a download, you can then use a UTM tracking code on your Facebook ad to explicitly track your data and attribute conversions to Facebook on the site analytics side.

This process does not rely on data being passed back to Facebook via the tracking pixel. You can also upload purchase audiences back into Facebook to build new look-alike targeting audiences. This will help make up for the loss in targeting specificity when relying on the Facebook tracking pixel alone. 

5. Brand Collabs

For certain business cases, collaborating with micro- and macro-influencers is an opportunity that might just be your targeting ticket. This platform is made available through Facebook. It allows you to source influencers on Facebook & Instagram, connect with them directly and create collaborations via the Brand Collabs Manager.

To make it work, you’ll create a contract with your influencer who will develop content speaking about your product or service. And with their permission, you can promote this content as advertising to their following or your own target audience. Through this collab, you gain extra campaign targeting specificity that isn’t dependent on the iOS 14 update.

6. Experimentation

Any potential solution, whether that’s excluding iOS devices or collaborating with an influencer, must be proven first and then scaled. Assumptions are dangerous and have the potential to cost you in time and cash.

Active learning through experimentation will allow you to find what works for your audience, ad creative, and landing pages. Plus, experimentation allows you to track different audience behaviors on-site and determine how each segment may need to be addressed given the new updates.

The best way forward is to take an iterative approach. Invest where there is an opportunity while continuing to optimize from the top of the funnel down. And you must make sure any changes you make to your campaigns or processes are evidence-based.

Build an Effective Optimization Program With Cro Metrics

The best way to combat the iOS 14 update is through experimenting and optimizing for your specific audience. Robust experimentation is hard and if you don’t have the capacity in-house to do it right, Cro Metrics can help. To learn more about our optimization programs, give us a call at 415-209-5192 or send us a message.