Insight, Paid Media, Tips

How the Facebook iOS 14 update will impact luxury brands

We knew this was coming. Facebook has collected every drop of user data they could over the last decade, and now the spotlight has landed on them for an explanation. Oliver Clay, Paid Media Senior Account Manager at VERB Brands, looks at what the update means for tailored advertising, and how it will improve the paid advertising experience for those who use Facebook advertising. 

What is the Facebook iOS 14 update? 

Once a year, Apple rolls out a major update to the iOS software that runs on all iPhones, and last year iOS 14 was announced. In particular iOS 14 gained a lot of traction this year in how it will impact Facebook advertising. Ultimately, it will change the way Facebook is able to receive and process conversion events from tools like the Facebook pixel. Apple’s development and release of iOS 14 has introduced a new feature designed to give users more control around data collection by third parties. While the controls were previously available, they required users to manually check for them. This update means Apple users will be prompted by their device to opt into or out of data collection for each app they use. If permission is denied, apps will have reduced ability to track site and app behaviour via their pixels.

This will impact all social platforms like Facebook Snapchat, TikTok and Pinterest, but the hardest-hit platform will undoubtedly be Facebook. In response, Facebook is making changes to pixel implementation and event tracking in order to minimise the amount of data that will be lost. This is referred to as ‘Aggregated Event Management’ and it will affect all marketers who use the platform

What has the reaction been? 

Some agree they’d rather see relevant content that matched their behaviours, even if that meant giving up their data, and some have accepted this as a necessary evil. Others loathed it, and have pushed for total transparency, and the end of excessive data collection. Evidently this has been showcased through intensive news coverage, Netflix documentaries (The Social Dilemma), and eventually court summons across the world.

What have Apple done? 

Only one of the tech ‘big four’ decided to sit on the other side of the fence – Apple. They took a stance on data privacy that only they, as the dominant player in the Western mobile market that isn’t funded by ad revenue, could do. From here onwards, Apple users would need to consent to being tracked. An opt-in model, that most believe will lead to a domino-effect of reduced data collection. Apple is requiring that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to it’s users on iOS devices essentially asking the user for permission for the app to track them outside the platform in different ways:

How does this impact luxury brands?

One of the main consequences arising from the change that Apple implemented concerns attribution windows. This is the length of time a user can be tracked from their last interaction with a Facebook ad, up to their point of purchase. Previously, this sat at a maximum of 28 days, now this sits at just 7 days.

This reduction is particularly tricky for luxury brands. Why? Because data shows that higher price points go hand in hand with a more considered, lengthy decision making process. The new model means Facebook will not be able to tell you your ad was involved in the purchase journey, if they do not complete that journey in 7 days or less. The lack of visibility here will deflate results, and could encourage budget changes that don’t reflect the true value of your campaigns.

How can luxury brands adapt?

With the knowledge of these changes there are several actions a luxury brand can take in order to prepare and adapt. As the blog post mentions at the start – the update sadly limits data across all social platforms – we, and most, just feel that as Facebook is the most used platform to run consumer ads that those campaigns will suffer the most

01 We recommend that any additional tracking and attribution (eg Google Analytics or a campaign manager) that you have in place is up to date and implemented accurately.  By analysing these longer customer journeys via a tool like Google Analytics, means you can consider longer attribution windows. This can support you in building a more holistic understanding of a customer’s path to purchase, so that you can allocate your marketing budget to the channels which will provide a newer but more robust long term customer growth.

02 Consider expanding your retargeting campaigns in Facebook to ensure that users continue to be exposed to your advertising more than 7 days after their first click. This will give you an opportunity to touch base with users who haven’t completed their purchase, whilst also bringing them back into the attribution window for tracking.

03 Work with partners or agencies who will have access to data stacks and more sophisticated approaches to first, second and third party data. We have a refined approach to building audience profiles through our own data, combined with second and third party data overlayed. We’ve called it Luxury IQ. Whilst we’re using this technology on a basic level already, and have been doing for some time, we’re adding on some further clever technology soon, so watch this space…. 

We pride ourselves as experts in all paid performance marketing and analytics. Should you want to understand  more about this or speak to an expert about paid advertising, please get in touch.