You may have heard about the recent iOS 14.16 update circulating the internet and alarming most marketers in the digital marketing industry. Well, Rubato has made it our job to listen in on the conversations in forums, Facebook groups, and podcasts, to tell you everything you need to know about this update, how it can affect you, and how it affects your ads.
Let’s dive in!
Background on iOS 14.6
So what exactly does the iOS 14.6 update entail in general? It is an Apple software update that has already gone out to iPhones that is focused on user privacy among other things. This update will prompt users with the option of allowing app tracking for advertising purposes or not allowing it when they open their different social apps. Essentially, the ability to gather data is now in the hands of the user.
If a user decides to not allow tracking, they will ultimately go “dark” from a targeting and tracking perspective. Earlier this year there were estimates of people opting out of tracking as high as 75% and as low as 30%. Although this was speculation, any percentage would have a significant impact on ad performance, especially for Facebook.
Impact of iOS 14.6
Prior to the end of April, we were hearing about all of the iOS 14 changes, like the ability for users to decline app tracking, and speculating how this could affect paid media, but now the time has come and the impact is here. Rubato, along with many other agencies is starting to feel the result of losing tracking data.
This has resulted in ~95% of people opting out of being tracked on iOS. Let’s be clear, ads are still showing, at a higher frequency even, but half of the data has been dark. Now we, and many other marketers, are in a place where we aren’t sure how to see what actions users are taking, navigate this, or optimize it.
About 3 weeks ago, we saw a drop off of trackable ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), resulting in 85% less data. After this big drop, it started to slowly rebound and marketers, as well as clients, saw a steady pace in an okay ROAS. We have been following along with the forums as well as other media buyers, and this has seemed to be consistent with most of them.
This is not all bad news. Luckily, Facebook’s algorithm is being updated and it’s having a positive effect. Facebook is now using modeled data to help offset the drop which gives marketers a huge relief in having the ability to optimize their data.
Note: Although this has affected most companies, we haven’t seen the same drop-off with eCommerce on Shopify. These businesses have not experienced a huge hit to their revenue compared to trackable ROAS. Ads are still showing and data is coming through on the eCommerce side.
So what can we do?
Yes, we know. There have been a lot of changes, but we won’t leave you hanging. Here are some tips you can implement to help combat the lack of data.
1. Start plotting your eCommerce data. Export your Shopify sales on high-level revenue, day by day, and analyze the curve (from before April 1st). The rate that your Shopify curve is going down, is the rate of your inefficiency with that ad program, assuming that you are accounting for seasonality and micro trends. You can also do the same with Facebook using spend with number of sales and revenue.
Ex: If July is a lower sales month for you and you’re dropping in revenue by 10% during that time, it doesn’t mean your ad program is 10% inefficient. It could just be a seasonal thing, so you could be at a flat rate where you aren’t losing or gaining efficiency.
Note: If you’re a Facebook | Instagram business only, you’re probably feeling this on the efficiency side. If your Shopify rate of sales is going down by 15-20%, then this is probably due to a loss of efficiency with the lack of data and targeting abilities on the platform.
2. Turn up the heat testing. We can no longer trust the algorithm completely. There is probably a big focus on organic traffic that Facebook | Instagram is using like never before. Reach is going up drastically, but the algorithm still doesn’t know best. Test lots of creatives and let go of what you once knew. Get out of what you’ve always known works best and try new tools.
3. Get hyper granular with how you’re looking at messaging. As your audience gets more general, you’ll have to rely on the user to self-identify with your ads. How do you want to present yourself if you can’t hyper-target? It’s important to change or test your messaging sets. Look at CPC (Cost-Per-Click), CPM (Cost Per Thousand), CTR (Click-Through Rate) to be able to judge which messaging and creatives are doing better in a more general setting.
4. Remember that your audience sizes are going to be smaller. If you’ve done 3, 7, or 14- day audiences in the past, now since half cannot be tracked, those will hit half the audience size. Open those warm audiences up, test some Video Views, and test engagement audiences on Facebook | Instagram. You can also test the time on sites on longer time frames, get your site visitors, view contents, or ATC (Add-to-Cart) audiences opened up a little more to try to get everything you can out of the small sizes.
We are turning up our testing like never before, making dashboards, and taking back control. We will keep you updated as we learn, but until there’s more information on this, happy testing!