By |Published On: January 18th, 2021|Categories: Blog|0 Comments on Facebook Ads and iOS 14: What Can We Expect?|4.4 min read|

Facebook Ads and iOS 14 are not friends.  It’s no secret that Apple’s protection of user privacy has been called into question several times in the past few years (see here, here, and here), causing them to launch new product features, press releases, and marketing campaigns to improve consumer confidence in their framework.

iOS 14 has surprises

One of the most surprising privacy changes Apple has implemented to-date can be found within iOS 14 itself.  Most phones are set to automatically download operating system upgrades, so already have it installed. This change requires App developers to list which data types they will collect from users. Some of the data types are contact info, location, browsing history, and unique device identifiers.  This requirement is to improve app usage transparency. Additionally, applications themselves must receive permission from each user before they can collect any of these data elements.  This gives users the option to explicitly opt-out of seeing personalized ads. For example, a user who opts-out of tracking will no longer be targeted with an ad for a sweater they recently added to their online shopping cart while playing Wordscapes or browsing through Instagram Stories.

iOS 14 app privacyiOS 14 permission

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So, what does this mean for brands who advertise on mobile apps?

Before we dive into the impact of Apple’s new privacy measure, it’s important to note that the advertising platforms that will be impacted most are Facebook and Instagram. They are more impacted because personalized ad experiences are at the core of their products. Google has been less forthcoming with how this measure will impact advertising because Google utilizes GAID (Google Advertising ID) and is less reliant on Apple’s IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). Consequently, Facebook has been quite vocal about their disagreement with this new measure. These back-end changes diminish the integrity and capabilities of the ad network reach, measurement, and performance which millions of brands rely on every day.

Facebook Ads impacted

From Facebook:

We outline in our Facebook for Business post at why we disagree with Apple’s approach to their iOS 14 policy changes. In early 2021, Apple’s requirement that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework will have hard-hitting implications for businesses that advertise mobile apps and across the web. We disagree with Apple’s approach and solution, yet we have no choice but to show the prompt. If we don’t, they will block Facebook from the App Store which may further harm the businesses and users that rely on our services. We cannot take this risk on behalf of the millions of businesses that use our platform to grow. Once Apple requires the prompt and it’s shown on Facebook and Instagram, advertisers running campaigns that optimize, target or report on web events from any of our advertising tools will be impacted by limitations on data sharing.

It’s important to note that Facebook’s Audience Network consists of hundreds of thousands of websites and mobile apps, and is a crucial placement for many brands that leverage retargeting to ensure potential customers keep a brand top-of-mind even when they leave the Facebook/Instagram family of websites & apps. As users opt-out of tracking, this may render the Audience Network quite ineffective.

The most significant changes that advertisers and brands can expect due to Apple’s new privacy measures:

  • Facebook advertisers will be limited to 8-pixel events per domain that they are able to optimize. Advertisers will no longer have visibility into pixel events outside of the selected 8. This is important for brands who have a single domain that supports various regions or sub-brands; the 8 event limitation will apply to the domain as a whole. Subdomains and subfolders will not be able to utilize separate pixel events outside of the domain’s selected 8.
  • The default attribution window for conversions will move from 7-day click, 1-day view to 7-day click only. This will have a negative impact on conversion tracking for those who rely on view attribution, and overall reducing advertisers ability to show where some customers came from.  This will also have an impact on some customers more than others, as attribution for B2B is very different than B2C.
  • Custom audiences (audiences built based on specific events completed by users) will likely decrease in size as user opt-outs grow.
  • Offsite conversion actions – such as in-store purchases and phone calls – will no longer support age, gender, and region breakdowns.


There are still a lot of unknowns, and as more users upgrade to iOS14 and opt-out of tracking. Everyone will need to keep a close eye on advertising efforts that utilize web conversions, app conversions, and custom retargeting audiences. We recommend reading the below resources for a comprehensive list of anticipated changes:

Pico is here for you

Thank you for your time reading this post, and as always, please get in touch with Pico Digital Marketing if you have any questions about our content or want to work with us on a project.

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