The new frontier for Facebook advertising

App Prompt Predicament

Apple’s impending iOS 14.5 update has caused a bit of a stir in the industry as it brings with it a call-to-action for all App Store apps to include Apple’s ATT (App Tracking Transparency) prompt. This will require users to opt in or out of being tracked across other companies’ apps and websites.

Advertisers on platforms like Facebook rely heavily on tracking user behaviour online, in order to deliver personalised ads to them and report on campaign performance. Naturally, this enforced update by Apple has resulted in Facebook making some changes to accommodate for this.

What is it?  A prompt on all App Store apps requiring users to opt in or out of being tracked across apps and websites owned by other companies.



Why is it happening? According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, “our goal is to create technology that keeps people’s information safe and protected. We believe privacy is a fundamental human right, and our teams work every day to embed it in everything we make”. Of course, there are other schools of thought around Apple prioritising its own service and targeted advertising products, but that’s to be discussed at a later date.

When is it happening? Apple’s iOS update and release of the prompt does not have an official launch date, but it is likely before the end of March.

What does it mean for Facebook advertising? Facebook has had to adjust its measurement solution in order to mitigate the restrictions that Apple’s new update might have on user tracking across iOS devices.

Curtains Drawn on 28-day Attribution Windows

A noticeable change taking place on the platform will be the removal of certain attribution windows from Facebook’s reporting. In short, this means that campaigns previously reporting on attribution windows no longer supported, will appear to have delivered fewer conversions.

This change has been a while in the works, mainly ahead of the deprecation of cookies in the next year or so, but the iOS update has fast-tracked this somewhat. And they have already changed default attribution windows on the platform to 7-day click and 1-day view.

What is the state of available attribution windows moving forward?

So, what could this look like for my reporting?

To illustrate the effect, the below example shows six rows which each represent a path to conversion. They all begin with a click on a Facebook/Instagram ad and all end with a user converting on the website after performing a Google search, with other touchpoints along the way. Within Facebook’s 28-day click attribution window of past, all six of those conversions would be attributed back to Facebook/Instagram and reflected in reports. However, under the new attribution restrictions only four of those six conversions will now be reflected in reports, as the other two happened outside of the seven-day attribution window.

The key takeaway here, when analysing Facebook reports moving forward, is to appreciate that although conversions may appear to have dropped, looking through a 7-day window, that isn’t to say that the campaigns didn’t produce more conversions from users who converted outside of that 7-day window.


Increased digital privacy invariably leads to a give and take relationship between advertiser and user. Giving the user more opportunity to move undetected across platforms results in the opportunity to receive personalised advertising being largely taken away from them.

This presents a challenge for advertisers and advertising platforms to up their game in making sure they are taking the right steps in ensuring they respond appropriately to the situation. Here are three standout strategies on Facebook we feel best arm advertisers to deal with the impact of both the iOS 14 update and the deprecation of cookies.

–          Optimising campaigns to softer – but higher volume – conversion events. Optimising campaigns to website traffic has been frowned upon for a while if your business objective is driving onsite actions. On the other hand, optimising campaigns to low volume, bottom-funnel conversions is not ideal either. The sweet spot is found when you are optimising to the highest intent conversion event, whilst generating a healthy volume of conversion data. More data collected on converted users, means more accurate ad delivery, reaching the most relevant audience members first.

–          Not over-segmenting audiences. With the above method in place, we should have confidence in going broader with our targeting and not fragmenting audiences into smaller ad sets. By pooling together audiences we can benefit from more dedicated budget, more data to learn from and less restrictions in seeking out our best prospects.

–          Going dynamic. We need to face the facts that, at first, ad personalisation will be impacted by the changes heading our way. This means that we need to evolve our ad creative to ensure that we are giving ourselves the best possible chance to reach our audience members with the right messaging. By delivering dynamic content (whether that be through dynamic creative or dynamic ads) we piggy back off Facebook’s learning algorithm by not only finding the best prospects based on common converting user behaviour, but also by delivering the most relevant content to said prospects, based on what messaging similar converting users are responding to.

Although these are quite significant changes to the digital landscape, it sure does make for an exciting time to be a digital marketer, where advertisers who will find the most success will be those who are agile enough to pivot strategies in response to the effects of these changes.

*For more on preparing for the deprecation of cookies, our Group Head of Digital, Matt Read, has compiled a list of must-dos in order to adapt and evolve.