I’m answering 5 questions about the big Apple iOS 14 update that will impact Facebook Ads and will change the way we run online campaigns on the Facebook Platform and beyond.

  1. When is this update happening?
  2. What exactly happens when people opt-out from tracking?
  3. How will this limitation of 8 events impact campaigns?
  4. How will data be affected?
  5. Which steps should advertisers take to prepare for the update?

When is this iOS14.4 update happening?

The update is all about the prompt. A popup that users will see when they open an application on their iOS device. Apple’s iOS 14.4 update will require Facebook to promt its app users. This prompt will ask users if they want to allow or prevent Facebook from tracking them across apps and websites.

The prompt that will ask users to allow tracking

The prompt will show early 2021

iOS 14.4 is currently still in beta, but the prompt has already be seen by some iOS 14 users in other apps. It is expected that Apple will require use of the prompt in the coming months. Users will most likely start seeing the prompt sometime late January, early February and we can expect to see a full rollout early 2021.

From the moment this prompt begins showing to iOS users, advertisers will start seeing changes. Not only advertisers who run app campaigns or target iOS users, but every advertiser who uses the Facebook Ads system will have to adapt.

Prepare and adapt

Because of this update, Facebook will see a drop in data and therefore will have to remove some functionality and tools from its Ad Platform.

All advertisers will have to adapt and rethink how to target users, optimize campaigns and measure performance going forward.

What exactly happens when people opt-out from tracking?

From the moment a user asks Facebook NOT to track, there will be a limit on data sharing. When people opt-out, the Facebook system will be able to only track 1 event. That single event will also have to be one of the 8 events that have been configured and ranked for optimization in ‘Events Manager’ within Facebook Business Manager. And yes, this limitation of 8 events will be the new standard for ALL advertisers going forward.

So what happens if a user chooses to ALLOW tracking? Then the same 8 events can be used for optimization. The main difference is that the limitation will be up to 8 events returned instead of 1. As Facebook is one platform, the limitation of configuring 8 events or conversions for optimization will become the new default.

What happens if users ask Facebook not to track them across apps and websites?

How to configure these 8 events?

Facebook will soon launch a renewed ‘Events Manager’. From within this tool, advertisers will be able to select which 8 events they want to track and use for campaign optimization. Start thinking about choosing these 8 events wisely. For e-commerce shops these events might include ‘Purchase’, ‘Add to Cart’, ‘View Product’ and 5 other events.

Aggregated Event Measurement. Source:business.facebook.com

When you have chosen and configured your 8 most important events, you will have to rank them. When people opt-out from tracking, Facebook will only receive information of 1 event that happened after a click. When this happens, Facebook will follow your event prioritization.

Let’s say you’ve ranked ‘Purchase’ first, ‘Add to Cart’ second and ‘View Product’ third, Facebook will only return the event that happened at the highest position of your event ranking. If someone Purchased, then the ‘Purchase’ event would be returned, but the ‘Add to Cart’ event would not be logged. On the other hand, let’s image that you’ve ranked ‘Add to Cart’ at the highest position above ‘Purchase’, only the ‘Add to Cart’ would be returned, even when the users has purchased a product.

Aggregated Event Measurement tool in Facebook Business Manager

Verify your domain today!

Beginning early 2021 , Facebook will initially preconfigure 8 events to optimize for. Domain owners will only be able to change these 8 events after domain verification. Remember that each domain can only have 8 events configured. Click here to learn how to verify your domain.

Verify your domains. Source:business.facebook.com

Start thinking about these 8 events for your business!

How will this limitation of 8 events impact campaigns?

Every Facebook Pixel will only be able to optimize for a maximum of 8 different events or custom conversions for each domain. These 8 events will be preconfigured by Facebook based on your activity. Advertisers will be able to change these 8 events after domain verification, but all other events will be made inactive for campaign optimization and reporting.

All active Ad Sets that optimize for other events beyond these 8 events will be paused in advance of this limitation. Advertisers will need to rethink how to optimize campaigns throughout the funnel.

Once this ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’ applies, all changes to the event setup might impact active campaigns:

  • If you delete events that are currently being used in active campaigns, the ad sets will stop and they cannot be restarted
  • If you modify (reprioritize) events that are used in active ads, then this will cause your ads and ad sets to get paused automatically for 3 days. During this time all updated conversion events aren’t available for reporting or optimization. Facebook needs this 3-day pause to allow for 1 day attribution after a click and between 24 and 48 hours for the event to be reported.

How will data be affected?

Because of these changes, all advertisers will have less data to use. This will impact targeting, optimization and reporting. Data will be restricted, delayed and aggregated.

Attribution windows are changing

Advertisers will start seeing less reported data attributed to campaigns, starting January 19th. From that day Facebook will switch from the default ’28-days click & 1-day view’ attribution to ‘7-days click & 1-day view’ attribution.

The 28-day-click/view and 7-day-view-through attribution windows will be depreciated.

The following windows still remain:

  • 1-day click
  • 7-day click (this will be the new default)
  • 1-day click and 1-day view
  • 7-day click and 1-day view

All newly created campaigns will use this new default attribution. ‘Old’ campaigns will still be able to see the ’28-days click & 1-day view’ attribution.

From the moment that iOS 14 enforces the tracking prompt, the default will become ‘7-day click’.

These limites on event attribution will impact optimization and targeting. So advertisers can expect declines in peformance and will need to rethink retargeting and prospecting audiences.

Custom audiences sizes

Avertisers will also see a reduction in website Custom Audiences sizes. Because of limited data, the Facebook system will have less historical data and therefore audiences will reduce in size. Next to that, remember that only the event with the highest priority will be returned. This means that all other events will report numbers that are lower than before. These events will still be happening, but they won’t be returned and therefore can’t be used to increase audience size in custom audiences.

Campaigns that target these custom audiences will likely need to be broaden up audiences to be able to keep optimizing for specific actions.

Which steps should advertisers take to prepare for the update?

To prepare for the Apple prompt enforcement, advertisers should take the following actions:

  1. Make sure to verify each domain that you want to send data from.
  2. Choose and prioritize up to 8 Pixel Events per domain and plan your campaigns to operate around these 8 events.
  3. Prepare for the new attribution window default (7-day click) and start exporting all historical data based on the ‘old’ attribution windows you were using in your campaigns. Also, remember to update Automated Rules if applicable.
  4. Rethink your campaign strategy and setup (alternative audiences, new event optimizations, new bid strategies,…)

Let’s discuss

I’m answering more questions about this big update and its impact on Facebook Ads on my LinkedIn profile.

Be sure to follow my updates and stay in the loop!

About the Author


Bram Van der Hallen is an all-round Belgian Digital Marketer and Meta Certified Professional with 14+ years experience in media planning and buying.Bram talks about Facebook Ads on LinkedIn. Click here to connect with Bram.

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