Leaked memo: Facebook details how Apple's privacy change will impact its advertising business
28th April 2021
  • A leaked Facebook memo to advertisers lays out how Apple’s new iOS 14.5 will impact ad campaigns.
  • The memo warns that results will fluctuate and audiences will shrink.
  • Certain attribution tools will no longer be available.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook sent a memo to advertisers April 28 detailing the effects Apple’s new privacy settings will have on ad campaigns.

The memo, obtained by Insider, elaborates on an April 26 blog post advising advertisers on how to prepare for the change.

Facebook warned that the results of their ad campaigns will fluctuate, with the size of audiences shrinking as users gradually update their Apple devices in the coming weeks. Facebook and Instagram will automatically opt those users out of tracking settings.

Specifically, the memo says: 

  • 1-day click-through opt-out data will be modeled for advertisers.
  • 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution settings will no longer include iOS 14.5 opted-out events.
  • 28-day click-through, 7-day view-through, 28-day view-through attribution tools will no longer be available to advertisers.

The memo comes as advertisers brace for big changes from Apple, Google and others that are expected to make it harder for advertisers to target and measure digital ads. Experts largely agree that opt-in rates from consumers allowing their data to be used could be low and are preparing to experiment with cookieless ads.

Apple’s move comes on the heels of Facebook reporting earnings on Wednesday, with revenue up 48% year over year to $26.17 billion.

During the earnings call, chief revenue officer David Wehner warned analysts that Apple’s move would impact Facebook’s second-quarter earnings.

Facebook did not immediately comment. The memo is reprinted in full below:

On April 20, 2021, Apple confirmed that the release of general availability of iOS 14.5 will begin next week, and it will start requiring apps in the App Store to obtain permission to “track” users across apps and websites owned by third parties for advertising and measurement purposes through its AppTrackingTransparency framework.

In line with the general availability of iOS 14.5 — next week (week of April 26) — we will begin rollout of our new advertiser experiences and measurement protocols, including Apple’s SKAdNetwork API (SKAN) and Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM). Once the specific date of the general availability release of 14.5 is confirmed, we will establish the rollout timing of our new experiences and communicate this timing.

With the release of general availability of iOS 14.5 and Apple’s prompt enforcement, you can expect to see changes in our business and advertising tools, campaign set up, targeting, delivery, measurement, and reporting.

What to expect when Apple enforces its prompt with the release of iOS 14.5

  • Expect a gradual adoption: We expect people will update their devices slowly over several weeks. As a result, we do not expect immediate noticeable impact to iOS event reporting once Apple enforces its ATT prompt.
  • iOS 14.5 devices will be opted-out by default: When a user updates to iOS 14.5 and launches the Facebook or Instagram apps, our system detects the update and automatically opts them out on that device.

What to expect when Facebook begins rollout of our new advertiser experiences and measurement protocols (SKAN and AEM)

  • Expect immediate changes to app campaigns:
  • App advertisers that do not support Apple’s SKAdNetwork API through their business tool integration (e.g. Facebook SDK) will be unable to create Mobile App Install campaigns targeting users on iOS 14.5+ devices, and existing campaigns will stop delivering to iOS 14.5+ devices.
  • All SKAdNetwork API campaign pauses and conversion schema configuration changes will trigger a 72 hour reset period for all active iOS 14 App Event Optimization (AEO) and Value Optimization (VO) campaigns to help minimize the risk of incorrect attribution.
  • Expect immediate changes to reporting (app and web): The following reporting changes will go into effect on the day Apple enforces its prompt:
  • 1-day click-through opt-out data will be modeled.
  • 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution settings will no longer include iOS 14.5 opted-out events.
  • Action and demographic breakdowns will be deprecated for offsite events.
  • Attribution setting default will change to 7-day click-through for newly created ad sets and web event campaigns.
  • 28-day click-through, 7-day view-through, 28-day view-through attribution settings will be fully deprecated along with the Comparing Windows feature.
  • Attribution methodology will shift from Impression Time to Conversion Time.
  • iOS 14.5+ mobile app install campaigns will use SKAN for attribution.
  • Expect gradual rollout to campaigns using web events: We expect that Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) will have a 2-week rollout period, though this period may be extended based on issues we encounter. This means not all advertisers will have campaign restrictions, including limits on events that are available for optimization, starting next week.

What to expect in the following weeks:

  • Expect performance fluctuations: As we see adoption of iOS 14.5 continue to increase, we may see greater impact to delivery and reporting, resulting in performance fluctuations and increased CPAs.
  • 100% AEM rollout to campaigns using web events: Unless we need to extend the roll out period to address implementation issues we may encounter, we expect 100% of advertisers will see the new AEM experience by Day 14 (post rollout).
  • All advertisers are subject to the 8 event per domain limit for optimization in campaign creation.
  • Ad sets will be paused if they are optimizing for an event that is not configured for AEM.
  • Ads that have not selected a domain for tracking will also be paused.
  • Modification to some web event configurations, including reprioritization, will automatically pause ad sets that are impacted by the event change (the changed event and all lower priority events) for 72 hours in order to help minimize the risk of incorrect attribution.
  • Audience sizes may decrease: As more people upgrade to iOS 14.5, opted-out users will automatically be excluded from certain targetable audiences, which may result in decrease of audience sizes.

In this dynamic time, we expect future changes and new product iterations, and will continue to proactively communicate our guidance and help you navigate these shifts. You can always find updated resources and recommendations here.

To learn more about the impact of Apple’s iOS 14 prompt, as well as a high level view of how we’re thinking about the future of advertising on Facebook, visit Facebook for Business.


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