A new iOS update just dropped, and there’s a lot of worry going around in marketing circles.

If you haven’t heard, the iOS 14 app tracking transparency (ATT) update changed the way iOS users are tracked by technologies that personalize ads.

Up until late April, users had the option to go into settings and opt out of activity tracking performed by apps. With this latest update, iOS users will now receive a notification that asks them to opt into being tracked by ad technologies.

Many marketers are concerned that these changes will impact their ability to personalize ad targeting across platforms — but especially Facebook ads.

And their worst fears may be coming true. Preliminary data suggests that over 90% of users are opting out of ad tracking.

Why should small businesses care?

Many small businesses have adopted targeted social media advertising. With limited access to ad targeting data, businesses like gyms, dental offices, and auto repair shops will have a harder time serving their ads to potential customers. 

That means they’ll have to spend more to reach the right audiences (leading to less ROI). 

Any business that uses Facebook for advertising will be impacted by the iOS 14 changes. If you currently use Facebook ads as part of your marketing strategy, there are some changes you should make right away.

And if you’re looking to expand your marketing by using Facebook or other targeted ads, you may want to reassess your strategy. 

What should you do right now?

If you currently use Facebook Business Manager for advertising, there are a few small adjustments that you need to make right now. 

Verify domains on Facebook Verify.

In order to offset any potential delays for future campaigns, we recommend verifying your domains with Facebook so you’re officially recognized in the platform. Requesting verification through Facebook Verify is generally a simple process, and your business will receive a “badge” that makes your page appear more official to users. 

Set your conversion priorities.

Starting now, you’ll have to choose the eight conversion events that you want to track and rank them in Events Manager. New conversion limits also mean that only the pixel owner can access the portal — if you’re working with a partner agency, they can’t manage this feature, but they can advise you on selecting the most valuable events to track.  

Double check attribution windows.

Facebook now defaults all new ad sets to the seven-day post-click ad option. If you have existing ongoing ads, the attribution window may have been reset as part of the change. Also, moving forward, new reporting standards stop documenting conversions after day seven — you will have to keep a manual record of sales that are logged from days eight to 28. 

Make sure that Auto-Advanced Matching is turned on.

This valuable feature may not be activated after the new changes. You can find the setting in the Events Manager. 

What should you do moving forward?

Don’t panic

Digital marketing trends come and go. The iOS 14 update is just another natural evolution in marketing technology.

While it may create headaches for agencies and small businesses in the near term — especially those that rely on Facebook ads — it’s important to remember that iPhones are only one touchpoint that customers use to look for information.

Though this is a substantial update and we do think it will have an impact on ad performance, we don’t think it will be as detrimental as many marketers suspect (at least not right away).

Reassess your marketing mix.

If your business relies heavily on Facebook or other targeted ad platforms, now is a great time to consider diversifying your ad spend.

Traditional favorites like direct-mail advertising or Google search ads can generate big results without relying on personal data from social media. UpSwell can help you determine which marketing mix will work best for you.

Stop relying on Facebook for data.

Without your own first-party data, you’re left vulnerable to the shifting winds at tech giants like Apple and Facebook.

The consumer data landscape is changing, and privacy will only continue to become more regulated. Owning your own data — i.e. a clean CRM, email addresses from inbound marketing, local lists — is a major advantage for small businesses.

Ask an expert.

Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who spends their days solving technical marketing problems like these. If you want to understand how these changes might affect you, contact your UpSwell representative or request a free assessment.

Contact UpSwell for hyper-local marketing advice.

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