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Facebook Details Approach to Mobile Industry Changes

4 MINUTE READ | August 31, 2020

Facebook Details Approach to Mobile Industry Changes

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

In a partner announcement to advertisers and developers last week, Facebook shared details about its approach to the changes accompanying the release of Apple’s iOS 14 in September. Facebook’s news served as another bellwether of how recent changes to operating systems will fundamentally reshape the mobile marketing industry. 

To start, Facebook will not collect the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) across the Facebook family of apps on iOS 14 devices, citing that this decision provides the most certainty and stability for its partners. Since iOS 14 will alert users if an app requests their data to be tracked, Facebook says the app will use this opportunity to remind users that “they have a choice about how their personal information is used on Facebook as well as the Off-Facebook Activity feature.” 

Refresher: The Off-Facebook Activity feature provides Facebook users with a summary of the data that apps and websites share with Facebook about them, and the control to determine if and how Facebook uses it.

Facebook also outlined that an updated version of the Audience Network SDK will be released to support iOS 14, in line with updates to the Facebook SDK, all to provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork 2.0 API. While the release schedule of iOS 14 has not been announced yet, Facebook plans to release the Audience Network SDK as soon as possible. 

Given the tracking limitations of Apple’s new framework, SKAdNetwork 2.0, Facebook will be requiring businesses to create a new ad account in order to run app install ad campaigns for iOS 14 users in “an effort to mitigate the impact on the efficacy of app install campaign measurement.”

Facebook anticipates the Audience Network will be disproportionately affected by iOS 14 changes given the ad network’s reliance on user data to drive app advertising off Facebook’s platforms. As a result, Facebook warns app developers and publishers should expect lower CPMs on the Facebook Audience Network (and likely other ad networks as well) on iOS 14. In early tests, Facebook reports a more than 50 percent drop in Audience Network publisher revenue because personalization capabilities were removed from app campaigns on iOS 14. 

With this in mind, Facebook warned in Wednesday’s announcement that the Audience Network might be rendered so ineffective that “it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.” This would obviously come as a significant blow to advertisers and publishers that use the Facebook Audience Network to bolster brand safety and improve ad adjacency.

In the wake of these changes, Facebook is said to be engaging in industry conversations, including the World Wide Web Consortium and Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, to identify the best way to support developers and publishers that have come to depend on the data flow capabilities within ad networks such as Facebook’s

To best prepare for these changes, Facebook recommends the following: 

  • “Update to the latest version of the SDK to support iOS 14. The new version of the Facebook SDK will provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API, which limits the data available to businesses for running and measuring campaigns.”

  • “Use non-IDFA match methods such as adopting Facebook Login or using Advanced Matching to share (with applicable permissions) hashed customer contact information (e.g., email address).”

  • “To help preserve the fidelity of app install campaign measurement, we will require the creation and usage of a dedicated iOS 14 ad account. To run app install ads targeting iOS 14 users, prepare to create a new ad account via a new account creation experience that will launch in early September.”

Because Facebook’s Advanced Match within the pixel and the Facebook SDK do not solely rely on IDFA, advertisers should not see an impact on reporting or audience reach from ads that run throughout Facebook and Instagram inventory, with the exception of Audience Network. Based on this, we do not expect huge impacts on performance or reach based on the potential complete removal of Facebook’s Audience Network. 

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PMG is in contact with our Facebook partners awaiting more information on the effects of these changes and will continue to share updates on any developments as we receive them.

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