Is iOS 14.5 the End of the Line for Facebook Advertising?

May 6, 2021 David Rivera
a screenshot of how a user decides to control facebook advertising on iOS 14.5

Should you be concerned about Apple’s iOS 14.5 update? Is it the end of the line for your precious targeted ads? The new update for iPhone and iPad has sent Facebook on an ongoing war with Apple’s privacy-focused update that intends to make the user in control of what information their device shares to various apps. It seems as if it’s killing Facebook advertising.

The general belief about Apple’s App Tracking update is that it strikes at the heart of Facebook’s ad business, something that the company said would “damage small businesses worldwide.”

Analysts say that it’s “certain to hurt,” whereas privacy experts acknowledge the fact that it “might not be enough to put an end to shady tracking on iPhones.”

Whichever side of the argument you belong to, calling the App Tracking feature the “end of the line” for Facebook advertising is nothing but a mere knee-jerk reaction. While iOS 14.5 limits what advertisers can access, it doesn’t take away their ability to serve targeted ads. It might be less targeted and relevant than before, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.

There’s No Need for an iOS 14.5 Panic

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that advertisers and marketers are aware of changes in the marketing sphere—the need to adapt and reinvent.

Alex Kantrowitz of Big Technology Podcast shares one conversation he had with an advertiser. “I don’t see how Facebook is the victim in any of the iOS conversations. It makes us move away from retargeting and personalization and back to targeting large segments and audiences,” says the advertiser.

And when you think about Facebook advertising in general, the company’s CEO isn’t as aggressive as he once was when the update was announced. Mark Zuckerberg shared in an earnings call last April that the social media platform plans to bolster its eCommerce business as a way to reduce its reliance on Apple. With Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shops currently picking up steam, the company wants to sell more products on its apps so it won’t have to rely on cross-site and cross-app tracking.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Wehner also revealed that the company is planning to reshape its advertising systems to adapt to the iOS 14.5 changes and work with fewer data needed from users.

So What Happens to Facebook Advertising and Targeting on iOS 14.5?

Simply put, Facebook ads aren’t going away if you use an iPhone sporting the latest iOS update. From a user’s perspective, having control over what data is shared is a massive win, especially for privacy enthusiasts. It’s not a bad thing if you look at it. But for businesses, the change does mean a reduction in revenue.

User data and analytics will be less detailed, but then again, it doesn’t necessarily take away a small business’s ability to target people with its ads. Facebook might encourage businesses to use Facebook-owned apps, so it’s easier for them to deliver workable data. By having its clients migrate to these apps, the social media platform can go on with its usual way of running things, with data tracking done exclusively within their native apps.

Another helpful answer to the question of ad targeting on iOS 14.5 is Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement. It’s “a protocol that allows for measurement of web events from iOS 14 users. Aggregated Event Measurement limits domains to eight conversion events that can be used for conversion optimization.”

In essence, this enables a business to decide which events (actions done on your website) you’d like to track. Standard events are predefined by Facebook and can be used to log conversions, optimize for conversions and build audiences.

Learn more about how Aggregated Event Measurement works here and here.

Again, there’s no reason to panic about iOS 14.5’s app tracking features. Facebook ad targeting is here to stay, and it’s only a matter of adapting to this change that your business can keep up and continue delivering valuable ads to your audience.

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