With the growing concerns and developments surrounding users' privacy and data protection, software developers like Apple and Google are in the process of taking steps to limit the tracking of third-party cookies. Check out this blog to find out what the consequences of Apple’s iOS 14 update will be for advertisers, and how to prepare for this with i.a. integrating Facebook’s Conversions API.
With the growing concerns and developments surrounding users' privacy and data protection, software developers like Apple and Google are in the process of taking steps to limit the tracking of third-party cookies.
As this inevitably will affect marketing as we know, businesses shouldn’t wait any longer to take action and start implementing other ways to collect data for their online advertising campaigns.
One way to do this is by making use of Facebook’s Conversions API. Check out this blog to find out what the consequences of Apple’s iOS 14 update will be for advertisers, and how to prepare for this with i.a. integrating Facebook’s Conversions API.
Privacy legislation and browser policies
Over the last couple of years, more and more people have expressed their concerns about the way user data is collected through third-party cookies and processed by other platforms. In response to this, a number of technology companies have changed their policies around data tracking.
One major change that is going to affect advertising platforms like Facebook, is regarding Apple’s iOS 14 update. In June 2020, Apple announced that its iOS 14 update will require all apps in the App Store and all websites that are visited from the Internet browser Safari, to show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework.
The iOS 14 update will add a new prompt screen to the App Store with information about app privacy, tracking data, and linked data, and an in-app permission prompt for opt-in for tracking.
Implications on advertising
As users are required to explicitly give consent to be tracked after the update, it is expected that many users will choose to opt out. Based on the first figures, it is indicated that an average of 70% of iOS users will answer “no” to the request for permission. Considering the loss of much data needed for targeting and measurement, the update will have a significant impact on digital advertising.
In regards to Facebook, it’ll affect how Facebook collects user data and processes conversion events from tools like the Facebook Pixel. Once Apple makes the prompt mandatory, advertisers running campaigns to iOS 14 users are going to be impacted by the limitations on data sharing.
Naturally, Apple’s iOS 14 update will not only have an impact on Facebook, but other advertising platforms that use Pixels to collect and process data such as Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok, will be affected as well.
- Targeting and retargeting
As people are likely to opt out of tracking on iOS 14 devices, the size of your app connections and custom audiences for app and web activity may decrease.
- Reporting limitations
Advertisers will be limited in their ability to measure the performance of iOS 14 app install campaigns on Facebook.
- Real-time reporting will not be supported, and data may be delayed up to 3 days. App conversion events will be reported once they’re reported to Facebook by the SKAdNetwork API (not the time they actually occur). Web conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of the associated ad impressions.
- For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported.
- The purchase journey will no longer be identifiable to iOS users after 7 days, due to the fact that 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through and 7-day view-through attribution will no longer be supported for active campaigns.
- Historical data for the attribution windows that are no longer supported will be accessible via Facebook’s Ads Insights API.
- Limited conversion events
Your pixel may only optimise for a maximum of 8 conversion events for each domain. This will impact campaigns that optimise for events beyond those 8 events. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events they believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. You will be able to manage your preferences in Events Manager. All other events will unfortunately be unavailable for campaign optimisation.
- Ad creation limitations
Advertisers can still use their existing ad accounts to advertise to iOS 14 users, but you’ll need to create separate iOS 14 app install campaigns due to reporting limitations from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. Ad sets that were optimised for a pixel conversion event that is no longer available after the iOS 14 update, will be turned off.
Facebook’s Conversions API as the solution
As a result of policies around third-party cookies changing, businesses are going to experience more difficulties tracking events on their websites via the Facebook Pixel.
To help you as a business get ahead of these changes in the best and most fair way possible, Facebook introduced a Conversions API that allows businesses to share data directly from their server with Ads Manager.
What is Facebook Conversions API?
Facebook’s Conversions API collects and shares first-party data directly from your own servers, whereas the Facebook Pixel relies on third-party cookies from web browsers. The Conversions API allows you to bypass the use of Facebook cookies because you then collect data firsthand.
As the Facebook Pixel is bound to lose some effectiveness due to browser and mobile app changes, using Facebook’s Conversions API (a server-to-server connection) allows for a more reliable data connection by sending data directly to Facebook from a server rather than a browser.
That way advertisers are still able to use that data to target, optimise and measure their Facebook campaigns.
Limitations of Facebook’s Conversions API
Unfortunately, the Conversions API can’t completely replace the Facebook Pixel, as it doesn’t show a user’s entire customer journey, but rather collects data from the final moments. This means that the upper and middle layers of the advertising funnel won’t be tracked without the help of the Facebook Pixel.
Only after a website visitor leaves some type of information, will the data be passed on to your website’s server and be picked up by the Conversion API. Without an identifier like an email address or phone number, the Conversions API won’t be able to connect events like Page Views, Add to Carts or Checkouts to a user and feed that data back to Facebook.
Steps you need to take
- Verify your website domain in Business Manager
As Facebook is moving over from Pixels to domain-based ownership, verifying your domain is important to minimise any disruption to your data.
In Business Manager, open Business Settings, select Brand Safety in the left-hand menu and then select Domains. Now click on "Add a new domain" and enter your domain name. Then click on "Add domain".
Your domain is now verified, but if you work with an advertising partner, you will need to give advertisers access to the domain verification. Do this by opening your domain name and clicking "Assign partner". Select ‘’Domain Admin’’ under role.
Now you can share the provided unique link with each Business Manager partner, or you can share your domain using your partner’s Business Manager ID.
Also make sure you grant your advertising partner access to your Pixel. Do this by going to ‘’Pixels’’, select your Pixel and click on ‘’Partners’’. Now click “Assign Partners” to enter the partner’s Business ID and determine the level of access they will need.
- Define 8 conversion events to track
If you use more than 8 conversion events per domain for optimisation or reporting, prepare a plan for how to operate with 8 conversion events per domain based on your business priorities. Identify the most important conversion events in your funnel. Then, limit them to the 8 most important conversion events, before the iOS 14 update is completely pushed through.
- Switch to a 7-day reporting window
Prepare for attribution window changes (deprecation of 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through windows). Do this by using the ‘’Comparing Windows’’ feature to see how conversions attributed to ads compare across different attribution windows. This will help you to better anticipate the impact to reported conversions as a result of the upcoming attribution window changes.
You may also want to update any automated rules currently using a 28-day attribution window to prevent any sudden changes in spend once the new 7-day click-through window default goes into effect.
- Implement Facebook’s Conversions API
Setting up Facebook’s Conversions API isn’t necessarily an easy task. Working together with an advertising agency and a developer to set this up the right way may be the best decision.
Ask your advertising partner to help select the events and parameters you want to set up. This information can then be sent to a developer who can set up the Conversions API correctly.
Check out this article for details on how to implement the Conversions API. If your website runs on one of Facebook’s partner platforms, you can easily set up your pixel and/or Conversions API in Events Manager - check out this article for more information.
The protection of user data is an important development and these changes have been a long time coming. It will, however, have some serious implications for businesses that advertisers should be aware of when planning to run campaigns after the full user privacy and data-protection measures go into effect.
Even though Facebook’s Conversions API may be different from what we are used to with the Facebook Pixel, it’s crucial to set it up nonetheless in order to prevent losing all of your conversion data.
Working with an experienced partner
The importance of running campaigns on both data and expertise will become even more prevalent from now on. If you are looking for a partner to handle your advertising campaigns, The Next Ad is the agency for you! With our 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, our experts have seen it all and know how to advertise your business in the best way possible.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team and find out how we can help you get the most out of your marketing investments!