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Facebook vs Apple | Infinity Nation

Facebook vs Apple: How their feud will affect your business?

29th Jan 2021
Ffion Kelly Head of Paid Media 29th January 2021

Facebook vs Apple: What it means for your business?

What is it?

The feud between Apple and Facebook (FB) has come to a head over the past few months as Apple released plans for the latest iOS update. The update gives autonomy back to the user to have control over how their data is being used. But what does this mean for Facebook? Allowing users to opt-out means that there will be fewer conversion events tracked, performance will be harder to prove, and intelligent targeting will be limited.

The key impacts can be split out into three main areas:

1. Tracking

  1. Users will have the option to opt-in or opt-out of tracking. With a large share of users expected to opt-out, this will massively impact the ability to track conversion events.
  2. Tracking will be limited to 8 conversion events and 1 event will be tracked at any one time.
  3. Events will be listed in priority order within FB Business Manager, for example:
    1. Purchase = highest priority
    2. Add to Basket = second-highest priority
    3. If a user purchases, this is the event that will be tracked, if they do not but they did add to basket, then this is the event that will be tracked.
  1. These 8 conversion events are per domain, therefore verifying your domain is important in order to retain control over the events that are being tracked.
  2. If you have different domains for your international sites but one business manager then this will be 8 events per domain. However, if you have one domain across all your international websites then this will be limited to 8 conversion events across all those websites.
    1. It therefore becomes important to think about the tracking implications in regard to your website architecture

2. Targeting

  1. Custom audiences that are using conversion event data such as retargeting or lookalike audiences will reduce in size.
  2. Depending on the size of your customer base, it may be necessary to create custom audiences based on broader criteria in order for them to be effective, for example using an add to basket based audience rather than a purchase based audience.
  3. Clean targeting will be impacted:
    1. This is where you would exclude purchasers from prospecting campaigns, however as users opt out there is less certainty that you won’t reach any previous purchasers by doing this.

3. Reporting

  1. As the volume of conversion events that are being tracked the amount being reported also reduces, despite them happening, it’s harder to prove the worth.
  2. FB have revealed they are looking into an “estimated conversions” metric to be able to give a truer idea of a campaign’s performance.
  3. The attribution window is being shortened to a 7-day click-through lookback window and one day view through window, this will also likely have some impact on the volume of conversions that are being reported.

How can you prepare?

  1. Domain verification
    1. This is the first step you need to make sure you have completed.
    2. By verifying your domain in Business Manager, you are telling Facebook that you own that website and therefore this is where the conversion events should be tracked from.
  1. Manage expectations
    1. Performance will appear as if it has dropped off as users opt-out of tracking, be prepared for this and keep an eye out for the ‘estimated conversions’ metric.
    2. Analyse your data so that you have an idea of your average conversion rate, your average time to purchase, and how many of your audience purchase through iPhones, to give yourself the best estimate of what performance would be without this update and how the update will impact your business.
  1. Decide on the ranking importance of your conversion events and order these in Business Manager once this is rolled out.
  2. Create a range of broader custom audiences that can populate and be ready to use if your audiences become too small to run.
    1. It therefore becomes important to think about the tracking implications in regard to your website architecture

Who is the real winner?

Apple may look like the hero to the user who is happy to have more control over how their data is being used, and there is no doubt that the user should be able to decide how their data is being used. However, if you had the choice would you really want to opt-out of tracking?

Imagine shopping in the supermarket. You walk into a supermarket you’ve never been to before, and yet you instinctively know where to find the items you need. This is because data and analysis have informed these shops where to place items and which items to place together. Now imagine walking into a supermarket and there seems to be no order in what products are where and in which aisle. You walk down one aisle to see milk placed next to lightbulbs as if every aisle of the shop is the mystery middle aisle of Lidl. It would take you twice as long to find the items you needed. This is much the same as a digital world without data. If you opt-out of tracking, the ads you see on your feed will be irrelevant to you. The number of ads you see will not change, just as the total number of products in the supermarket have not changed, but without the ability to effectively target there is no relevance and no connection between what you want to purchase and what you see on your social media. Those shoes you saw from that company you can’t quite remember the name of… good luck finding it now! Because you are now much less likely to be reminded by a paid social ad to go to the website and purchase. This is why I will be opting into tracking come the iOS roll out.

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