Facebook Retargeting iOS 14 Update

Navigate the Challenge: Facebook Retargeting iOS 14 Update

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The iOS 14 update has sent seismic waves through the digital advertising landscape. As Apple users now wield more control over their data, it’s a game-changer for Facebook advertisers who have relied on user behavior tracking to personalize ads and enhance their campaigns. But remember, with every challenge comes an opportunity – an opportunity to adapt, innovate, and emerge stronger with Facebook retargeting iOS 14 strategies. So, let’s dive in and chart out a course to navigate these turbulent waters.

Key Takeaways

  • The iOS 14 update significantly impacts Facebook retargeting, resulting in decreased retargeting audiences, reduced data for personalization, and a shorter attribution window, affecting ad performance and optimization.
  • Businesses can adapt to iOS 14 changes by leveraging first-party data, diversifying ad channels, and focusing on high-quality, creative ad content to maintain their reach and campaign effectiveness.
  • Facebook Conversion API offers a server-side tracking solution to circumvent the tracking limitations of iOS 14, enhancing data accuracy, expediting reporting, and ensuring privacy compliance.

The Impact of iOS 14 on Facebook Retargeting

Illustration of Facebook ads on mobile devices

Facebook retargeting has been significantly affected by the iOS 14 update. The new privacy-centered approach has led to:

  • Shrinking retargeting audiences, as users opt for more control over their data
  • Reduction in data available to the Facebook Ads Manager
  • Restricted ability to optimize ads based on user behavior
  • Affecting ad performance

Furthermore, Apple’s ‘Ask App not to Track’ feature has imposed a significant reduction in data available for ad personalization, and restrictions on conversion tracking capabilities. The ripple effect has been a reduction of Facebook’s attribution window from 28 days to 7 days, thereby affecting mobile apps’ advertising performance.

Shrinking retargeting audiences

The launch of iOS 14 has resulted in a notable decline in retargeting audiences. This has been largely due to an increase in user opt-outs from tracking on their iOS devices, creating a significant impact on ad performance. The Facebook pixel that has been instrumental in gathering website behavior data from users, is now at a disadvantage when iOS users decide to opt-out of tracking.

To further compound the issue, the reduction in Facebook’s conversion window from 28 days to a mere seven days has led to a decrease in retargeting audiences. This change has shortened the timeframe for advertisers to reach users who have taken a qualifying action, which could potentially affect the efficiency of ad spend.

Limited data for ad personalization

Limited data for ad personalization due to the iOS 14 update has created a challenge for advertisers. The creation of targeted and relevant ads for iPhone users, especially in the context of mobile app installs, has become significantly more challenging. With the new constraint of optimizing just one event out of eight that can be tracked per domain, the user experience for Apple users has been impacted.

If iOS 14 users decide to opt-out of data tracking after interacting with a Facebook ad, only a single event of their activity will be recorded. To address these limitations, Facebook suggests optimizing the tracking of the top 8 conversion events to follow a consumer’s path. This would help advertisers to emphasize the data that holds the highest significance for their business, and thereby ensure the effectiveness of Facebook campaigns.

Strategies to Adapt to iOS 14 Changes

Photo of a person using an iPhone

Despite the challenges posed by the iOS 14 update, businesses can still succeed by:

  • Utilizing first-party data, which is a goldmine of information collected directly from your audience or customer base. It can help you target specific audience segments, customize ad campaigns, and evaluate audience behavior and customer patterns.
  • Expanding their ad channels to reach a wider audience and diversify their advertising efforts.
  • Concentrating on creative ad content that grabs attention, tells a story, and resonates with the target audience.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can navigate the changes brought about by the iOS 14 update and continue to thrive in their advertising efforts.

Diversifying your ad channels is another effective strategy. By reaching a broader audience and reducing dependency on a single platform like Facebook, you can enhance your ad performance. Apart from these, focusing on creative ad content can increase awareness, reveal audience insights through creative testing and iteration, and expand your retargeting efforts.

Leveraging first-party data

First-party data is information directly collected from your customers, subscribers, and website visitors through data collection. This data is like a treasure trove that can help you determine who your customers are, and what they want.

In the context of the constraints introduced by the iOS 14 update, first-party data can play a crucial role in upholding ad relevance and performance. This data can be collected from customers or website visitors using methods such as:

  • lead gen campaigns
  • custom questions
  • utilizing website tracking tools
  • CRM systems
  • email marketing platforms

Diversifying ad channels

Expanding your ad channels is a viable strategy to counter the effects of the iOS 14 update. By expanding your reach to a broader audience, you can minimize the effects of iOS 14 on Facebook retargeting.

By spreading your eggs across different baskets, you can reduce dependency on Facebook and compensate for the shrinking retargeting audiences and less personalized ad data available due to iOS 14. This involves exploring and establishing campaigns across various platforms, such as Connected TV (CTV), influencer collaborations, online advertising, and optimizing for app stores.

While certain platforms may experience cost escalation, leveraging a mix of well-established platforms can help alleviate the overall impact and offer supplementary advertising avenues.

Focusing on creative ad content

Creative ad content is crucial in attracting attention, building significant connections, and improving campaign performance. The key components of creative ad content encompass:

  • A clearly defined target audience
  • A value proposition
  • High-quality content and design
  • Ad structure
  • Use of color
  • Use of typography
  • A clear call-to-action (CTA)

Creative ads can:

  • Foster emotional resonance with users
  • Motivate them to engage with the ad through actions such as liking, commenting, or sharing
  • Possess a distinctiveness that enables them to stand out amidst other content, thereby drawing increased attention.

Successful creative Facebook ad campaigns include SofaLush, Lume Deodorant, Kay Jewelers, Monday.com, Amazon, NatureBox, Winc, Shutterfly, MU Campus Dining, and Boston.

Implementing Facebook Conversion API

Facebook Conversion API is a tool developed for server-side tracking of user activity across websites, apps, and offline channels. It transmits data to Facebook without the need for third-party cookies, providing a solution to the limitations imposed by the iOS 14 update.

The Facebook Conversion API provides advantages such as enhanced data accuracy, expedited reporting, and improved compliance with privacy regulations. Furthermore, the implementation of Facebook Conversion API allows advertisers to track events from the server-side, offering a resolution to the constraints on conversion events caused by the iOS 14 update as it operates independently of client-side tracking mechanisms such as cookies.

Benefits of using Conversion API

The Facebook Conversion API offers the following benefits:

  • Enhances data accuracy
  • Facilitates improved measurement of ad performance and attribution across the customer journey
  • Contributes to the improved effectiveness of Facebook ads, especially in a landscape where cookie usage is increasingly limited.

Conversion API facilitates quicker reporting on Facebook by enabling advertisers to transmit web events directly from their servers to Facebook. This streamlined approach enhances the speed of measurement and attribution throughout the customer journey. Furthermore, the Conversion API contributes to improved compliance with privacy regulations by enabling organizations to selectively share data for which they possess the requisite rights and permissions.

Setting up Conversion API

Setting up the Conversion API on Facebook involves specific steps. You can access the Conversions API Gateway Admin UI using the CapigSetupURL within the Outputs tab and use the partner_agent field to attribute Conversions API events to your platform.

In terms of configuring events for Facebook’s Conversion API, you are required to:

  1. Add events in the activity chart
  2. Select ‘Add new integration’
  3. Choose Conversions API
  4. Set it up manually
  5. Use the partner_agent field for attributing events to your platform.

In order to integrate the Conversion API, you have the option to choose between a direct integration method or utilize tools such as Pixelavo, a WordPress plugin specifically designed to streamline the integration process.

Adapting Retargeting Strategies for iOS 14 Users

Illustration of app retargeting strategies for iOS 14 users

In response to the iOS 14 update, it’s vital to adapt retargeting strategies for its users. By utilizing broad audience targeting and engaging with re-engagement campaigns, businesses can maintain ad performance and continue to connect with their target audience. Broad audience targeting involves expanding the reach to a wider audience by employing less specific targeting criteria. It proves beneficial for adapting to iOS 14 as it can serve as an alternative approach in situations where detailed targeting options are constrained or restricted due to the update.

Re-engagement campaigns can help businesses reconnect with users who have previously interacted with their brand. These campaigns play a crucial role in maintaining the app’s prominence, fostering brand loyalty, and boosting in-app conversions from existing customers.

Utilizing broad audience targeting

Broad audience targeting in Facebook advertising uses Facebook’s delivery system to find the ideal audience for your ad, without the need for specific targeting parameters. This strategy enables Facebook to select from a more extensive pool of individuals using their algorithms.

By utilizing broad audience targeting, businesses can expand their reach to a wider audience, overcoming the constraints of iOS 14 and maintaining ad performance. This is particularly significant in the context of iOS 14 changes as it enables advertisers to expand their reach to a wider pool of potential customers, thereby enhancing the likelihood of reaching the intended audience and meeting campaign objectives.

Engaging with re-engagement campaigns

Re-engagement campaigns are tailored to engage with lapsed, dormant, or potentially abandoning users without reliance on IDFA. These campaigns play a crucial role in maintaining the app’s prominence, fostering brand loyalty, and boosting in-app conversions from existing customers.

Strategies for developing impactful re-engagement campaigns targeting iOS 14 users include:

  • Prioritizing the user experience
  • Conducting experiments and A/B testing
  • Re-engaging lapsed users
  • Fostering increased interaction among current users
  • Devising innovative methods to engage dormant or infrequently active users
  • Rebuilding campaigns from the ground up
  • Exploring interest stacking
  • Maintaining audience expansion
  • Implementing on-platform retargeting campaigns
  • Leveraging Facebook lead ads.

Understanding Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM)

Illustration of aggregated event measurement (AEM) process

Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) is a protocol that helps advertisers navigate the challenges of the iOS 14 update by focusing on conversion events and maintaining ad effectiveness. It was developed in response to the privacy modifications in iOS 14 that limit data monitoring and is structured to enable the measurement of web and app events in a manner that aids marketers in executing successful campaigns while upholding user privacy.

AEM provides advertisers with the capability to prioritize and configure up to 8 conversion events for each of their domains, enabling them to concentrate on the most pertinent and valuable actions for their campaigns. This alignment of measurement with crucial business outcomes aids in maintaining ad performance, particularly in the face of the data privacy restrictions imposed by iOS 14.

How AEM works

The Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) system:

  • Manages data from iOS 14 and subsequent devices
  • Allows advertisers to track events while respecting user privacy
  • Provides advertisers with a new method for consolidating and displaying data
  • Allows advertisers to assess the performance of their campaigns on Facebook despite the privacy constraints imposed by iOS 14.

Notably, AEM enables the tracking of web and app events, encompassing app events from iOS 14.5+ users who have chosen to opt out of app tracking. This functionality empowers advertisers to acquire valuable insights while honoring user privacy preferences.

Prioritizing conversion events

Conversion event prioritization in Facebook ads entails the arrangement of the most valuable events at the top and the least valuable ones at the bottom. Prioritizing conversion events can significantly impact Facebook ad performance by allowing optimization for specific actions and improving ad effectiveness.

In the wake of iOS 14, businesses are required to select the conversion events to prioritize, or Facebook will handle the configuration automatically. The process for prioritizing conversion events in Facebook Ads Manager involves several steps:

  1. Create a campaign in Ads Manager without selecting a conversion domain.
  2. At the ad set level, use the Conversion Event drop-down menu to choose the desired conversion event.
  3. Maximize the value of conversions by following the recommended steps.

Monitoring and Optimizing Facebook Ad Performance Post-iOS 14

Post-iOS 14, it’s crucial for businesses, especially Facebook advertisers, to monitor and optimize Facebook ad performance to stay competitive. By leveraging Google Analytics and employing automated rules, businesses can keep track of their campaign performance and make real-time adjustments to ensure continued ad performance.

Leveraging Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides insight into user behavior, navigation patterns on a website, and the success of marketing initiatives. By utilizing Google Analytics, businesses can identify primary sources of user traffic, monitor goal achievements, and furnish data for generating comprehensive reports that yield valuable business insights.

Specific metrics in Google Analytics that are beneficial for optimizing Facebook ads include:

  • Ad impressions
  • Relevance score
  • Geographical location
  • Audience demographic
  • Cost per result
  • Video views
  • Video percentage watched

To configure Google Analytics for monitoring Facebook ad campaigns, businesses can start by logging into their Google Analytics account and navigating to Acquisition, followed by All Traffic, and then Source/Medium.

Employing automated rules

Automated rules serve as effective tools for continuous tracking of ad performance on Facebook. They enable advertisers to establish precise criteria for automatic adjustments to their campaigns based on performance metrics, thereby ensuring real-time optimization of ads without the need for manual intervention.

To establish automated rules for Facebook Ads, businesses can follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Ads Manager.
  2. Select the campaign, ad set, or ad you want to apply a rule to.
  3. Choose the Rules dropdown.
  4. Opt for Create a new rule.

Implementing automated rules can be a key strategy in mitigating overspending on underperforming Facebook ads and in optimizing ad performance amidst the iOS 14 update.


In summary, the advent of the iOS 14 update has certainly disrupted the digital advertising landscape. However, with the right strategies, businesses can navigate these changes and continue to drive successful Facebook ad campaigns. By leveraging first-party data, diversifying ad channels, focusing on creative ad content, implementing the Facebook Conversion API, adapting retargeting strategies, understanding AEM, and leveraging Google Analytics and automated rules, businesses can maintain ad performance and continue to reach their target audience effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you retarget with iOS 14?

No, with the iOS 14 update, retargeting with the same precision as before becomes challenging due to decreased available remarketing audience and limitations in identifying users’ devices. Therefore, retargeting on iOS 14 is not as effective as it used to be.

What happened with iOS 14 Facebook ads?

iOS 14 has caused a significant decrease in Facebook ad performance due to reduced targeting, reporting, and optimization capabilities, as a result of the majority of iOS users opting out of tracking. This has led to smaller retargeting audiences.

Does Facebook retargeting still work?

Yes, Facebook retargeting still works because it enables brands to reach potential customers who have already shown interest in their products or services.

What was the result of the iOS 14.5 change on Facebook advertising?

The result of the iOS 14.5 change on Facebook advertising was a sharp decline in reported traffic and returning users from Facebook ads on mobile devices, making the ‘Landing page views’ metric unreliable and causing a decrease in website size based on custom audiences.

What benefits does the Facebook Conversion API provide?

The Facebook Conversion API offers enhanced data accuracy, expedited reporting, and improved compliance with privacy regulations, making it a valuable tool for businesses.

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Cam Morales

Cam is the Founder & CEO of Brandafy.com, Bix Marketing.com and EcomUpstart - he built two 7 figure businesses since he started his entrepreneurship journey in 2016. He now helps others launch ecommerce stores and other online businesses.

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