How the Apple iOS Update is Going to Impact Your Facebook Ads

You’ve probably seen the notification from Facebook that talks about how Apple’s newest update will negatively impact small business’s ads.  Since many small businesses use Facebook to advertise, it is alarming to now have another wrench thrown into your plan.  On top of algorithm changes and decreasing reach for businesses, this may feel like yet another way big tech is punishing small businesses.

Although this seems alarming and out of your control; we’re here to help set the record straight, provide some key facts, and help you to navigate this change in your Facebook advertising.

First, here are the key facts you need to know:

  • At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2020, they announced new privacy features in iOS 14.
  • Apple has since delayed the rollout of this update to give developers more time to make necessary changes. It is expected to happen sometime early this year.
  • Facebook relies heavily on advertising dollars to keep their platform free for the user.
  • Apple stands to make more money as apps may turn to subscription fees or in-app payments.
  • There are 588 million Apple users worldwide, with 1 billion active devices.
  • There are 2.5 billion active Android devices worldwide.
  • A feature called App Tracking Transparency is what the Facebook community is upset about. This feature requires people to opt in to apps as opposed of what we’re used to, where you must opt out.  Facebook can still track users across apps and websites, it’s just that people will have to give them permission via a pop-up notification, first.

Here’s what you can do to help limit any negative impact:

  • Facebook is going to start processing pixel conversion events from iOS devices using Aggregated Event Measurement, which will help you to continue to run effective campaigns. There are different action steps detailed here based on whether you are delivering ads for conversions from your app or your website.
  • You can use your existing ad accounts to advertise, but will need to create separate iOS 14 app install campaigns. There are other limitations towards ad creation that likely won’t impact you if you have a small advertising budget (under $500).
  • The Auction buying type is the only buying option for ads created for Apple iOS 14 devices, which is likely the type you use, already. Reach and Frequency campaigns are not available, but again, with a small budget, you likely weren’t running those types of ads, anyways.
  • Set up your website’s pixel to optimize for the max of 8 conversion events.


Here are the most notable differences that will impact your campaigns:

  • Reporting will look different. This may include delayed reporting, estimated results, and no audience breakdowns (like age, gender, or placement).
  • Building and monitoring your ads will look different. Once your campaign is published, you won’t be able to toggle it off; you’ll have to turn off the campaign or delete it (not recommended because you’ll lose your reporting data tied to that ad set).  New or Active ad campaigns will be set at the Ad Set level as opposed to the Account level at the top of Ads Manager:
  • Targeting limitations are the biggest drawback of this privacy update; and may impact targeting your Custom Audiences and retargeting efforts. This is because as more people choose not to proactively opt in to data sharing, those Apple devices will no longer be available for you to use for targeting ads.

The most important thing to remember as you continue to see Facebook prompts denouncing this update; is that there are always workarounds and things you can do to help mitigate any negative impact to your Facebook advertising.  Facebook relies on your dollars to survive, so they will be working overtime to try to find ways to keep you spending money on their platform.  They also provide a multitude of reference and instructional materials so you can be prepared when the update occurs.

The second thing to remember is: Nothing happens overnight!  Once the iOS update is installed on billions of devices, those users are not going to proactively opt out of every single thing.  My bet is that users won’t make any changes to how they usually install apps, and will allow every pop up and tracking.

Finally, if you are one of the 44% of small-to-medium sized businesses in the US who started advertising on social media or raised your budget over the course of the last year, and you need help, we are here.  We are Facebook Blueprint Certified and can help you navigate your best course of action to not only weather this storm, but come out the other side, thriving.


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