In June of 2020, Apple announced new updates to their privacy and tracking rules. These updates would require Facebook to explicitly ask for permission to track users when they leave Facebook and across other apps and websites. This process is similar to how most websites ask permission to use cookie tracking when users enter a website. Under these circumstances, users will have to opt-in for tracking as opposed to opting out. Facebook has expressed concern that most iPhone users will opt out of tracking and make targeted advertising more difficult and reporting less accurate.
In January of 2021, Apple announced these updates would roll out in early spring, but a set date has not been determined or announced.
What aspects of these Facebook tracking updates will impact businesses?
Businesses rely on pixel data for more effective and personalized targeting. Pixel data allows businesses to take website data and retarget or create look-alike audiences on Facebook. These will be limited if iPhone users do not opt into tracking options.
Conversion campaigns, most common in e-commerce businesses like retail, will find it harder to track which conversions or purchases are coming from Facebook Advertising. These privacy changes will have the most impact on conversion and event tracking on outside websites.
How is Facebook dealing with this problem?
Facebook is providing solutions to advertisers to minimize the impact these changes will cause. These include domain verification to limit problems with website event tracking. Additionally, Facebook has created an Aggregated Event Measurement to measure campaign performance similarly to current reporting while respecting consumer choice on tracking data.
Are there solutions to these potential limitations?
Employing Website Analytics
With Facebook reporting and measurement impacted by these changes, businesses can employ website analytics programs, such as Google Analytics or internal tracking, to track website traffic from Facebook and other sources.
Non-Conversion Driven Campaigns
Advertisers can focus on creating campaigns that don't rely heavily on event or conversion tracking mechanisms. Trying website tracking, lead, or awareness-building campaigns and utilizing website tracking or google analytics can help track and drive campaigns without using Facebook tracking.
Google and LinkedIn Advertising
There are other great advertising channels that advertisers can utilize. Advertisers can even develop remarketing audiences through Google or LinkedIn and upload them back into Facebook.
While these changes seem somewhat challenging, it's nothing that ad professionals don't deal with often. Knowing the potential solutions and preparing for the change can help prevent ad performance issues. Having digital advertising expertise in your pocket can mitigate the panic that comes with industry changes that will always be present in an ever-changing social world.