On April 26, 2021, the iOS 14 update launched and introduced a push notification that prompts users to either allow or deny apps to track their activity. According to a report by Flurry, during the first two weeks after the launch, 96% of US users chose to opt-out from tracking when prompted. Globally, the number is 88%.
PPC advertisers are heavily reliant on tracking and retargeting, and the new update might even place their entire ad strategy in jeopardy. The problem will only get worse as more and more smartphones are updated to the latest iOS.
However, all is not lost. In what follows, we offer five tips on how you can retarget iOS users who opted out from tracking and minimize the update’s impact on your advertising campaigns.
Segment your audience into Android and iOS users
Facebook ad campaigns allow you to target iOS users, Android users, or both. Since the update only affects iOS users, targeting only Android users is the simplest move you can make in this new situation.
Take a close look at your previous campaigns and determine which operating system your audiences are using. If a large majority of them are on Android, it will make sense to target only Android users in your campaigns. Seeing as the data gathered from iOS users will be fragmentary, this might be the best option for your company or client.
However, although Android users will offer more accurate data, targeting only them could also be disastrous if iOS users comprise a large chunk of your audience.
To get around this problem, segment your audience into iOS users and Android users, and allocate your campaign budget accordingly. Your ads will reach a part of your key audience, but you will limit the money spent on users who don’t generate valuable data.
Add UTM tracking codes to your links
UTM is an abbreviation for “Urchin Tracking Module.” These are shortcodes of text attached to the end of a URL and are used to identify traffic referred to a particular website by particular campaigns, ad sets, or ads.
Since the UTM identifier is a part of the unique URL that each user receives, UTMs aren’t affected by the recent iOS update.
Facebook allows marketers to add UTM parameters to ads. Once the URLs of your ads are armed with UTM parameters, you can use Google Analytics to monitor users who were referred to your site via Facebook. This method provides the number of visitors that have reached your website by clicking a particular ad. Additionally, UTMs can also be used to track privately shared content, which is something Facebook can’t normally do.
Although it isn’t completely clear how accurately Google Analytics tracks the UTMs from Facebook ads, it is still advisable to implement them, especially since the iOS update.
Determine the eight most valuable pixel events
Before the iOS update, the best practice was to place a pixel on every page and track whatever a user might be doing. However, whereas before you could place as many Facebook pixel events as you wanted, only 8 per domain are now allowed.
Due to the changes, you now need to consider which 8-pixel events are the most valuable to your business. Keep in mind that all campaigns optimized for pixels that fall outside of this selection will be paused until you make adjustments.
Also, keep in mind that if a user activates multiple events on your site, Facebook will report only the highest-priority one. So, for example, if a user visits your landing page, adds an item to their cart, and makes a purchase, only the purchase will be reported.
Therefore, you need to carefully analyze your data to see which pixel events should remain a part of your strategy. Generally, events like “Purchase” should be given top priority, while less critical events like “Add to Cart” or “Subscribe” should be considered only later.
Broaden your audience
Since the iOS update, you now need a significantly larger audience for a successful advertising campaign. This will make up for the loss of data from iOS users and provide Facebook with plenty to work with.
A larger audience will make your campaigns more sustainable, so you need to push more traffic to the top of your sales funnel. You could, for example, broaden your audience by omitting interest, age, or gender definitions when setting up campaigns. Or you could simply merge multiple previously defined audiences into one.
The exact approach will depend on your previous segmentation, so you need to decide for yourself whether this is appropriate for your company or client. If, for example, you run a local business that operates in a limited geographical area, this solution might not work for you at all. However, don’t despair, there are still plenty of other options on how you can target a local audience and showcase your goods or services to relevant people.
Employ customer and email lists for retargeting
A clean and maintained list of customers and leads has always been an essential part of any marketing toolbox. Since the iOS update, it has become indispensable.
Although certain activity is no longer trackable for users who opted out, you can import email lists and customer lists into Facebook and use them to build Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.
The exact composition of the lists will depend on your type of business. However, see that you provide the Facebook algorithm with enough details, such as the value of customer’s purchases and lead value. This will ensure that the algorithm has enough data to prioritize your retargeting efficiently.
Finally, keep in mind that if your company or client offers a wide variety of products and services that don’t always overlap, audiences built in this manner may contain users who don’t fully meet your criteria. So, try to test alternative options and see which targeting parameters work best.