Welcome to Getting Granular

The podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the digital marketing industry. How To: Facebook + iOS14 Update


Facebook vs Apple. It’s a new chapter in an ever-growing data showdown. So what does this data battle mean for your campaigns? Tune in to this episode of the Getting Granular podcast as we discuss what your business needs to do, how Facebook’s PR team is jumping on Apple, plus our take on if this really will affect small businesses or not.


What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:

  • Overview of new policies (1:37)
  • What is going to change (5:13)
  • What you need to do now to prepare (9:56)
  • What could this mean for the future for ads on Apple Apps (14:36)
  • Will it hurt small businesses (16:46)


Full Page Facebook Ad Against AppleWired’s Nice Try, Facebook. iOS Changes Aren’t Bad for Small BusinessesBlog Post: How to Prepare Your Facebook Campaigns for Apple’s iOS14 Update


Chris: Facebook versus Apple, it’s a new chapter in an ever-growing data showdown. So, what does this data battle mean for your campaigns? Emily and I are here, today, to break down everything you need to know. Well, at least all the information that’s out there as of mid-January 2021, and what you need to do right now to prepare for these changes.

Narrator: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast where digital marketing experts, from the agency Granular, talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you’re here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media, you’ve come to the right place.

Chris: Thanks again, everyone, for tuning in to the Getting Granular podcast. Once again, I am Chris Cesar, Senior Manager of Paid Media here at Granular. And, once again, I am joined by Emily Martin. Welcome back, Emily.

Emily: Hey, thanks Chris. Thanks for allowing me to come on the show again.

Chris: Yeah, I know every time that you come, at the end we discuss whether or not you’re welcome back. So, you made it one more time.

Emily: I’m thankful every time I’m here, and I’m really excited that we get to talk about this topic today because it’s so timely.

Chris: Yes, I would agree. This is probably our most timely and relevant topic for when we’re discussing it. So, I guess let’s just sort of jump right in. These last couple weeks, Emily, we’ve been following a lot of the recent news from Apple’s iOS 14 update, and how the new privacy policies are going to impact client campaigns within Facebook. Can you just provide a quick overview of what exactly is happening?

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like this is a case where we’re both like, “Wow, there’s so much information out there on this topic,” but at the same time we don’t know a lot of information on what’s going on, or what’s going to happen. But we do know a couple things. So, basically in short, Apple announced that in their new iOS 14 update, that’s going to roll out sometime in early ’21, there’s going to be a requirement for apps to have an opt in prompt for users to be able to opt in whether or not they will allow that app to track them. So, third-party data tracking apps. These would include apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et cetera. Obviously, privacy concerns has been a huge topic amongst big tech companies and it’s really come down to a data battle. A data showdown like you talked about in the intro.

Emily: So, personally, my gut is telling me that most people are probably going to opt out of this. Even if Facebook, or other third-party apps offer a disclaimer that tells them, “If you do opt in it’s ultimately going to lead to a better ad experience,” I think most people are going to opt out. So, overall, we can expect that this could potentially impact how we optimize our campaign, certain targeting we can do now, and then how we’re tracking conversions. However, the extent that is going to impact our campaigns, it’s still really unclear because we don’t know exactly everything. We just know this little, tiny bit so far.

Emily: Also, notably, Apple’s made it clear that any app or third-party like Facebook, for example, that decided not to include this opt in or device identifier prompt on their app would be removed from the App Store. So, that’s what we have, basically, going on in a nutshell right now.

Chris: So, I guess, basically what it comes down to is, this is going to be a do or die for a lot of social media apps?

Emily: Yeah. Apple’s made it clear, you either offer the prompt or you’re removed from the App Store. And I do find this timing really interesting because now Facebook’s coming out and saying, “Apple’s doing this. This isn’t fair. They have too much power.” And it is really interesting because a week ago, unfortunately, we had the Capitol riots and that led to apps like Parler, which is a very conservative app that has been criticized for not moderating its content and including violent content, from being completely removed from in the App Store and Parler being upset because of this. But it just goes to show that it’s Apple’s App Store, Apple right now makes the rules.

Chris: Right, yeah. And aside from all of our opinions on Parler, which I think that, no matter who you ask, someone’s going to have something very strongly to say about that. Putting that aside, I do think that is sort of interesting how Parler getting removed from the App Store really does show a lot about how much power Apple does have. They have a big spotlight on them. And we can get a little bit more into that as we talk about this.

Emily: Yeah. It’s just really timely. And that’s what I first thought of. And most general public isn’t aware of the iOS 14 update, so they’re not thinking about that. But a lot more people did hear about how Apple removed Parler. So, these two news stories kind of combined, at the same time, it really does bring to light what’s going on.

Emily: But with that, we do know a couple things that Facebook has now announced that with this update of the iOS 14, we do know a couple things that are going to change. Chris, do you want to kind of run through those items?

Chris: Yep, sure. So, I guess, what we do know, from a strictly data standpoint, your Facebook pixel is going to be limited to eight conversion events per domain. So, if you have one domain, you can only have eight conversion events. If you have two domains that you’re running through, you can have 16, et cetera, et cetera.

Emily: Makes sense. And right now, is that unlimited?

Chris: I do believe it is, yes.

Emily: Okay. So, they’re limiting that.

Chris: Yep, that’ll be cut down.

Chris: You’ll also lose the 28 day click-through attribution window, as well as all of your view through attribution windows, it’s going only down to two, one seven day click attribution. To sort of put that in a more general context, if you have something with a long purchase cycle where someone may interact with your ads, one, two, three, five times over the course of anything longer than a week, you may lose that attribution to know that, hey, this Facebook ad helped drive the sale. So, a lot of that tracking, if you want to put it into simple terms, a lot of that’s going to be changing and you’re going to lose that.

Emily: Right.

Chris: There is also going to be some changes to the delivery and action insights. So, you’ll still be able to see things like impressions and clicks, cost, obviously, they’ll still be transparent about that. But a little bit more of the specific or reporting breakdown metrics of what sort of sites did you show on? Was it right directly on Facebook or within the audience network? Things along the lines of that are going to be going away. And then, there’s going to be delayed reporting as well. So, right now the there’s more or less real-time reporting. Stuff’s usually up to date within, what would you say? An hour, three hours?

Emily: Definitely not longer than a day.

Chris: Right. Yeah, exactly. So, now what we’re going to be looking at is the data could be delayed up to three days.

Emily: Okay, yeah. So, obviously, those are big changes that could really impact your campaign event. That’s a great point on different companies and their sales cycle. So, it just goes to show how these changes impact one company it might not impact another company the same way. It could have little effect on one, major effect on another.

Chris: Yeah, exactly. I think to sort of take that a step further, just looking at the different clients I work with where a lot of the times we do just a lot of ads that revolve around hiring. So, someone, “I need a job, I’m looking for a job.” Boom, we see the ad, that’s a pretty quick conversion. But then there’s other clients that I work with that sell these huge pieces of power equipment, or farm equipment where that’s obviously going to be a long lead cycle of three months or even longer. So yeah, just knowing that that might not be completely reliable information may make me reevaluate how I’m going to be placing ads on Facebook for them on their behalf moving forward.

Emily: Yeah, that’s a great point. And then, especially with those companies that do have the longer sales cycles going back kind of to the only allowing the eight conversion events per domain that might limit you, especially when you do have these longer sales cycles, you’re tracking more along the way. Like, “Okay, first I get them to the website view, then Add to Cart, then a purchase, or the many other events that we might want to track just because we know that’s a part of our sales funnel.

Chris: Yep, exactly. And a lot of the times too, it’ll be different campaigns will have different goals where, obviously, if we’re looking at an e-commerce platform, the purchase is going to be the number one priority. But then, if there is another event, like an Add to Cart, or a newsletter sign up, or if we’re offering a piece of content that we want to download, and then retarget to those people, those events may end up going away and we’ll lose a significant number of those people that we just won’t know that they have been there and downloaded it. And that just becomes another big blind spot for us.

Emily: Right, yeah. That makes sense. And still just kind of waiting to see how that all plays out. So, I know we have been working with clients all week and trying to explain this to them, especially if they’re not familiar with it. And really the takeaway that I get from a lot of my clients are like, “Okay, this is great. We’ll do what we can do, but what do we need to do? What should we be doing right now to prepare for these changes?” Because they’re not here yet, but Apple’s made it pretty clear it’s coming soon.

Chris: Yeah, that’s a very good question. And, like you sort of alluded to, the question comes up and we bring it up and it’s, “Hey, I don’t exactly know what is coming on yet,” but I mean, there are a few steps. It’s here’s what we do know, we don’t know when the change is coming. They said as soon as this month. As soon as this month is obviously not a very good timeline other than

Emily: But now they have us on edge because its one thing in the account

Chris: One of these days it’s just going to be like, “Oh, by the way, we made that switch.” And then, we do our best to not set off these huge panic buttons.

Emily: Right. So, what should we be doing? What do we need to be telling clients?

Chris: Yeah so, what I’ve been telling people, I just say, “Here’s the deal,” I set them up with what’s going on. And there’s a very few things that we can do right now to get ahead of things. But just to sort of put it into perspective, you need to be able to verify your domain within your Facebook Business Manager to show, obviously, that this is a website that you own and you own this Facebook Business Manager. And then, thinking about those eight conversion events you want in your pixel. And you’ll only be able to track…

Emily: What the most important conversion events are for you?

Chris: Yeah so, the other thing with that is you picked those eight events, but then you also also will need to prioritize those. That feature at last check is not live yet, but when it is, you’ll be able to say, “Okay, my checkout complete event is going to obviously be number one. And then, number two is going to be newsletter signup. Three’s Add to Cart,” whatever it may be. That’s sort of what you need to think about is that newsletter signup more important than the Add to Cart, or vice versa? And that you’ll be in front of it, when you’ll know, “Okay, I need to be able to set these priorities ASAP because they just made this change without any forewarning,” you’ll already have had that stuff sort of planned out, written out, and you can just apply those changes.

Emily: Right. And I believe if… so, let’s say I’m a user, I’m a mobile Apple, I have an iPhone, and I opt out. And I make a purchase, I make three conversions, to my understanding, Facebook is only going to be tracking one of those conversions. And it’ll be your top prioritize one out of the three. Is that correct?

Chris: Yeah, exactly.

Emily: Yeah, that’s the takeaway I got from Facebook when we kind of sat through their webinar. That may change on a day by day but that, to me, was a main takeaway. And that’s why prioritizing those conversions to you in your business is so important. And, Chris, I’m also going to throw the instructions on how to verify your domain in this blog post that’s going to go with this podcast. So, if people aren’t sure how it’ll be in there, it’s pretty quick and easy.

Chris: Okay, cool. And then, I guess, just to touch on a few other things that, again, they’re not really actionable at this time, but things that could be of value once this change does come is really starting to think about your custom audiences, and other ways that you can work around them. Because again, like I said, if we want to re target to people based on abandoned cart, but that’s not the event that triggered as the highest priority, how are we going to do that?

Emily: Yeah, how we can capture first-party data almost.

Chris: Exactly, yeah. Other things as well, think about different campaign types you could use aside from conversion. So, again, if my conversion is just like, let’s drive someone to my website, again, make a purchase, that’s one thing. But if you’re doing something like lead generation where, “Hey, I just want all of this data to stay on Facebook and collect people’s information that way,” obviously, you’re giving Facebook more control over the information submitted there, they’ll be a lot more flexible with controlling it. And then, just other things to look into. Back to the e-commerce thing, can you bring your sales onto Facebook? So, for example, Facebook Shops released, it has to be what? About a year ago, now, they really expanded that program.

Emily: Yep, and trying to move more towards Instagram too. I think a ton of opportunity for businesses to move there, if you are really concerned about losing that insight, if your customers, your users are getting their data directly, or selling directly through Facebook, Facebook’s still going to have that because that would then be considered first-party data.

Emily: That’s all great information. And before we kind of wrap up, I kind of want to talk about our opinions, kind of talk more about the PR, how Facebook’s handling this, how Google’s handling it, who hasn’t really said too much on it? But I have to get this thought out there. And especially with Parler being taken off the app, because Apple didn’t agree with what they did, whether you agree with that or not. But what if one day Apple decides, “No Facebook, you can’t run any ads on your apps. No app can run ads that get downloaded through the App Store. You can only buy Apple ads.” And I don’t know, that just kind of made me think like, “Wow.” I don’t know, would that happen?

Chris: Yeah, that’s something crazy to think about. And, I guess, I don’t know how that would work exactly, if you can only show ads on apps through Apple. Obviously, Facebook would still be able to control… You’d be able to run Facebook ads on a desktop or somebody who uses an Android. But the thought of Apple just sort of taking that over by themselves and monetizing it that would end up being a huge legal, drawn out battle that would take multiple years and multiple millions of dollars.

Emily: Yeah speculation. Yes, it’s like maybe Facebook is seeing that as the future though, because they’re screaming loud with this new update because they might see this as something that could be down the road. So, they recently took out a full page newspaper ad that basically said that Apple’s trying to hurt small businesses, ultimately. They’re doing these privacy updates that are going to hurt small businesses. So, it’s pretty interesting. So, we were talking, Chris, do we think that these changes are actually going to hurt small businesses? Is Facebook right? Or are they just protecting their own backs?

Chris: Yeah, I mean, and that’s the thing. I’ve gone back and forth on this, I’ve thought about it. And really, I still don’t know where I stand on this honestly-

Emily: I’m kind of the same way. I don’t think we have enough information on the impact that’s actually going to happen. Interesting article The Wire wrote, and I’m including that in the podcast, where they call Facebook’s bluff. They’re like, “This is not going to hurt small businesses.” And they had a fair amount of points that they made. But, ultimately, their point was it comes down to small businesses adapting to the change, which I think is so true.

Chris: Yeah, I mean, and that’s really the nature of everything that we’ve always done is even if we look at Google Ads, it’s “Oh, we have this huge change here. We have this huge change there.” We’re all still here. We’re all still running the stuff. They’re still making money hand over foot because they tell us what to do and we don’t really have a choice, but to adapt that and continue to work through what they want, unless someone comes up with this a new ad platform that gets delivered by carrier pigeon we’re always going to be at the will of these platforms that tell us, “Here are the new policies and you’re going to have to work with them.” And here we are, as long as digital marketing’s been around for however many years, decades now people are still adapting and people are still surviving.

Emily: Yeah. It’s such a good point. So, I know The Wire calls out, but basically one of Facebook’s main points, in the full page article that they posted, was that 44% of small businesses increased their spend during the pandemic. And they’re like, “Well, duh, everybody was at home.” So, you’re moving your ad dollars from maybe billboards to Spotify, or Connected TV, Facebook, things that people would see while they’re at home trapped in their houses. So, they called their bluff. It’s an interesting article. Check it out. I’m with you, Chris, though. I can’t say one way or another yet. All I know is, if I’m a small business I’m going to verify that domain. And then kind of start thinking about the points that we made earlier. And we’re going to figure this out.

Chris: Yeah, excellent. I guess to sort of wrap things up, did you have any other sort of comments, or anything you wanted to throw out there before we hit the end here?

Emily: Last comment I’ll make is obviously this is a pretty fluid situation with new news coming out every day. We’re going to do our best to keep the blog posts attached to this podcast updated as new information comes out. So, check back, we’ll do our best as we learn more.

Chris: All right. Excellent. And I’m really just surprised here, Emily, that this is the first podcast that you didn’t mention Friends at least once.

Emily: And go watch Friends.

Chris: All right, there it is everybody. Thanks for tuning into the Getting Granular podcast. Be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on any PPC tips, tricks, or news in the digital marketing world. I’ve been your host, Chris Caesar. Thanks for Getting Granular with us today.