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Overcoming iOS 14 and In-App Tracking

iOS 14’s latest update is here and it’s one that digital marketers haven’t been looking forward to. Apple announced that it would be introducing privacy changes that allowed for its users to opt into data tracking in all of its apps. The idea was that it would serve as beneficial to both the user and the advertiser. Users would have a choice whether they wanted their in-app activity tracked and advertisers would get a chance to perfectly measure ad effectiveness since they would only be in front of people who wanted to engage with ads. Not exactly the case, since most users have opted out of the app tracking since this debuted a few weeks ago. Panic ensues! Well, no, don’t panic, there are still steps and workarounds to help navigate the changes. The first thing advertisers and marketers should do is read up on exactly what Facebook has done with the changes and how they can try to combat them. Remember Facebook is on your side on this one. They don’t like Apple cutting down on the number of users who can have their activity tracked because it affects their revenue too. If advertisers do not think Facebook is a useful place to advertise, well then, they’re not going to make money. So, you can bet that Mark Zuckerberg and company are going to do whatever it takes to make this work. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with that, the easiest thing you can do to help get back some of that missing data is start working with these three easy letters, U-T-M. If you’re not familiar with UTM codes or tags, they’re a snippet of code that can be created on your existing URL for tracking purposes within Google Analytics. Google Analytics is where you can find tons of different data on your website activity including where people came from, how they interacted with the site, etc. So, if you’re following me this far, UTM codes on your Facebook ad URLs will help get back that data you might be missing. Users who opt-out of in-app data tracking will still see ads, it’s just that Facebook won’t be able to pull as much data on those users as they could previously. However, you can pull data from your own first-party website and if you’ve got a unique URL of someone who came there, well then you should have some good data to analyze about that person. You can easily make UTM codes for any URL with Google’s free to use tool. The other thing that’s important to remember is to still prioritize your conversion events within Facebook. You can still track data within Facebook Ads and the system will show you up to eight conversion events within your dashboard. If you don’t select the 8 conversion events that you want to track, then Facebook is going to do it for you, so prioritize! Finally, these changes only affect in-app data on iOS devices. So, nothing on desktop, mobile browsers, or android devices will be affected by this, at all. Granted, that sounds nothing more than a silver lining, and nobody ever wants to rely on a silver lining or consolation prize. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before this type of data privacy protection is applied to every source of digital advertising, which will force marketers and advertisers alike to adapt to the changing times. Whether it is changes to cookies and tracking on websites or in-app opt-ins like we have here, there will always be a challenge to overcome. Rest assured though, with the world becoming increasingly more digital, there will always be a need for ad revenue to support the free platforms that we as users love to use.
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