iOS 14: What we know and what we are doing

Author Dan Lifton 6 min read time

Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you’ve probably seen a multitude of tweets, blogs and documentation about the upcoming iOS 14 update and the impact this will have on advertising.

Like we saw in 2018 with the implementation of GDPR and the panic that caused, iOS 14 is causing a similar storm in the advertising world.

Apple is putting privacy at the heart of its product offering and with the upcoming update, users will be asked through App Tracking Transparency (ATT) when they first open an app, whether they consent to tracking or letting the company access their device’s advertising identifier.

iOS 14 Data Privacy

Why are Apple doing this?

This is being implemented by Apple to give the user more control over their privacy and data. On their website Apple have stated apps such as Facebook “will need to ask users for their permission to track them across apps and websites owned by other companies.”

This was reemphasised by Tim Cook before Christmas:

Tim Cook - iOS 14 Tweet

However, Facebook do not agree with this and they believe this will have implications for small businesses who rely on advertising on the platform:

These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively”

What does this mean for your ads?

Apple has suggested using a system called Private Click Measurement (PCM), however Facebook believe this will be very restrictive and does not support app-to-web conversion measurement – something that Facebook relies on.

So, Facebook have created their own solution – Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM). This new measurement tool will restrict, aggregate and delay data, but importantly it allows for app-to-web conversion measurement.

Because of this, there are some key changes coming which will impact your ad account:

Attribution Windows are Changing

From 19th January, Facebook will begin rolling out a new default attribution window of 7-day click, 1-day view. This will replace the existing 28-day click, 1-day view default.

On top of this, Facebook will be deprecating the following attribution windows:

  • 28-day click
  • 28-day view
  • 7-day view

This means you will no longer be able to see this data once the change is made. If you feel you need it, now is the time to export it.

It is also important to know that when iOS 14 rolls out, the Facebook default attribution will again change to 7 day click only – very confusing and we’re not quite sure why they did not just set this as the default from the 19th.

One other key change to be aware of when iOS 14 launches is you will no longer be able to use breakdowns (age, gender etc) for reported conversions. You will be able to still see breakdowns for metrics such as link clicks, CTR etc)

Action: Calculate your revenue/leads/ROAS based on a 1-day click, 7-day click and 28-day click attribution windows to understand how this will impact your reporting.

8 Conversion Events per Domain

With these changes, you will be limited to 8 conversion events, per domain, for optimisations. However, you will still be able to create and use conversion events outside of this number to create custom audiences and lookalikes. Facebook is also planning for partial reporting for events outside of these 8.

Once you have decided on your 8 conversion events, you will then need to rank them based on importance and priority. Why is this important? Facebook will only be able to attribute the highest conversion a user has taken, when they have opted out of tracking.

An example of this prioritisation list would be:

  1. Purchase
  2. Add Payment Info
  3. Initiate Checkout
  4. Add to Cart
  5. View Content
  6. Newsletter Sign Up
  7. Started Live Chat Session
  8. Viewed non-PDP page

Using this list as an example, a user opts-out but performs the following actions on your site; view content, newsletter sign up, add to cart. You have ranked add to cart highest out of these events, so Facebook will only report on this action.

Users who have opted in will be reported on as normal.

Action 1: Start thinking about the 8 conversion events you wish to prioritise, as Facebook will be launching this tool very soon.

Action 2: Verify your domain in Business Manager in order to edit the event prioritisation list.

Thoughts and useful resources

It’s important to also understand that this update will impact all apps and channels you advertise on, not just Facebook. We are still waiting on news on how platforms such as LinkedIn, TikTok and Pinterest will approach iOS14, and we will share this information as we receive it.

One thing I would say is not to panic. There is still so much we do not know, and we won’t understand the full implications for a good few months yet.

Whilst these updates impact the way we report and optimise our campaigns, they will have minimal impact on back-end sales and leads. Just because Facebook is not reporting on conversions after 7-days, does not mean they are still not taking place from day 8 onwards. Ive really seen these called “Ghost Conversions” meaning the conversions are happening, we just can’t see them in the platform anymore.

Keeping a close eye on overall revenue for the business or overall leads generated will be crucial during this time. If there are no obvious changes, you can safely say the world is not on fire.

There are also a whole host of incredible blogs, twitter threads and documentation that can help you better understand and prepare for these changes. I’ve listed some of my personal favourites that I have found useful below:

We will continue to keep this blog updated with changes and information as we receive it but in the meantime please feel free to reach out to myself or the team if you have any questions.


Dan has been working in Paid Media for 5+ years, and has extensive experience in managing strategies and campaigns both in-house and agency side, meaning he knows the best of both worlds.