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iOS 14/15 Update – How to Navigate Through Change

The landscape of digital marketing has changed more in the past 6 months than it has in the past 6 years.

April 26th – iOS14.5 drops and completely flips the table on what the industry knew about paid advertising with App Tracking Transparency (ATT)

September 20th – iOS15 drops and further disrupts online marketing by introducing Mail Privacy Protection

To say we’ve had a few sleepless nights is an understatement. But without question, we pivot and we adapt.


Why has an iPhone update created so much disruption?

Whether it’s seeing which video ads on Instagram led to the most people to make a purchase on site, or how many people opened and clicked through on your latest email, being able to identify how your potential customers interact with your marketing material is crucial for getting the best ‘bang for your buck’.

And that’s exactly what the latest string of iOS updates have affected…


What has been the exact effect of iOS14 on media buying?


Reduced interest & behaviour audience sizes

Let’s take the ‘modern design’ as an example of an interest you’re able of targeting with your Facebook ads. 6 months ago the audience size you were capable of reaching was 60M.

Fast forward to today, that same ‘modern design’ audience is only capable of finding 30M. That’s because Facebook iOS users are opting out of app tracking, meaning Facebook is unable to identify as many people with this interest.

Reduced retargeting audiences

The story is the same here as given in the example above. Users that opt out of app tracking become anonymised, meaning if they land on your site, you can’t hit them with a 20% offer and get them back like you could previously. Because of this you might see your retargeting audience pools begin to shrink.

The amount of traffic your site receives likely hasn’t changed. But the amount of those site visitors you can target has.

Reduced and delayed tracking capabilities.

Anyone opted out of tracking is persona non grata in Facebook’s eyes.

They’re pretty much untrackable. Even if they see an ad, click and convert, Facebook will still have a tough time attributing that sale to that particular ad

Advertisers are now having to rely on different reporting methods such as Conversions API (cAPI) and Private Click Measurement (PCM), which can delay attribution up to 72 hours to match a conversion to Facebook.


But what about email marketing? 

Apple’s new ‘Hide my email’ feature

This latest feature creates a random and unique email address for when you sign up to services/mailing lists that then forwards directly to your inbox.

This hides a user’s actual email, creating obvious problems for email marketers and brand owners alike.


Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

This is a particularly large thorn in the side of email marketers. Any emails sent to users with this feature enabled will be displayed as ‘opened’, to the sender, even if the recipient ignores it.

This effectively removes ‘open rates’ as a reliable metric for success with no way of knowing if your numbers can be trusted.


How can brands navigate the new changes?

1. Stay Informed

Keeping on top of industry news will keep you informed and help you make sense of your own numbers and advertising performance changes.

The world of digital advertising is changing by the minute, and taking that into account when reviewing marketing performance is vital.

2. Keep calm… Not all users are impacted

iOS devices make up 47% of all smartphones. Only iOS devices are affected by these changes.

Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices make up 35%* only of the email provider market share globally. No other providers have announced such changes

3. Adjust your goal posts

With email, consider changing your success metric to click-through-rate rather than open-rate. This will provide a much more accurate way of examining performance!

Factor in underreporting. For both email marketers and media buyers alike, mass-underreporting is happening industry-wide.

On platform results are being skewed by our ability to track through them, which leads onto the next point…

4. Utilise UTM tracking

Tracking your performance through Google Analytics using UTM parameters is essential to getting the most unbiased view of your marketing.

While Google Analytics only operates on a last click attribution model, likely discounting delayed attribution of your ad performance, you can be certain your results will be a little more reliable!

The same goes for email marketing. Cover your email links and buttons head to toe in UTM tracking to make sure you can see what’s happening as clearly as possible.

5. Focus on high-level metrics

With on-platform metrics underreporting, metrics such as Media Efficiency Ratio (MER) and overall Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) are far firmer figures to examine.

Being able to calculate the efficiency of your total advertising costs vs revenue should always be the cornerstone metric of any brand

6. Be adaptable

Potentially the most important point you need to take away from this blog.

The ability to pivot and find success is a make or break situation for a brand. If Facebook isn’t working for your brand, moving advertising spend into TikTok, Google ads, Pinterest etc and finding your audience is more important now than ever.

One more thing…

Regardless of what methods you utilise to help your brand survive and thrive the tides of change, being able to embrace that change, and pivoting is what has allowed us to continue to scale and kill it with the brands we work with.

The methods, tricks and tactics we use might change, but the fundamentals remain the same. Having a killer product, great content and reaching the correct audience will do more for your brand than any ‘Facebook Ad Guru Hacks’ you might find on YouTube.


facebook ads IOS14 Power brands


This is a general announcement we have sent out to all of our brands today following recent updates from Facebook, and additional learnings we have seen over the past couple of days as we continue to stay at the very forefront of the environment for our brand partnerships benefit

We also thought we should make this a blog post for two reasons..

1. This stuff is killer content and deserves to be put out there, so why not.

2. Navigating ios14 has been a battlefield for everyone these past couple of months. In particular, we want to help the smaller brands that may not be able to afford an expert agency that has access to this type of information, and could really do with it to just stay afloat and survive in such times. We know it can help, and hopefully it does!

There are two main points to raise as an initial FYI:

1. IOS adoption has went up significantly with their latest forced IOS 14.6 update causing a higher opt-out rate causing a decrease in performance.

2. Starting June 30th, Facebook have CONFIRMED a positive update will be taking place. Facebook shall be expanding their use of conversion modelling to include it in their 7 day click default attribution setting. The inclusion of these new modelled conversions may result in a noticeable increase in 7-day click conversions, and overall ad account performance. Facebook are continuing to improve their machine learning models and expand their coverage of these new modelled conversions, in order for the platform to have greater transparency, of which has largely been lost of late, impacting our capabilities to scale budgets effectively.

With point 2, we certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel. The next few weeks will be bumpy but hopefully we’ll see a drastic improvement in July as anticipated since March.

In line with the above, we wanted to share what is working right now and shed light on a case study which could be modelled similarly for your brand..

The clients who are performing significantly well right now are releasing either new offers, promotions, collections/product ranges or re-structuring their offer/landing pages/sales process.

One brand of which has already hit $400k this month, due to some revamping and restructuring of offers.
A lot of this is driven by a sale that finishes end of this month.
They also don’t run sales often so the urgency/desire is very much real, and has caused a stir with their audience who want to fully take advantage of this FOMO inducing campaign.

It’s worth us mentioning that a nice portion of these returns have come from our email campaigns we put in place (money is, has been and always will be in the list long term – this is fully owned by you, and is one of the biggest assets a brand can have when software companies take the control away with such things like ios14). A well nurtured email list will always be a good weapon against change. (Of course with $0 attributed marketing spend to any returns seen here is also a huge plus point)

Here is a separate campaign which went out today for a completely different brand, which goes down a ‘secret sale’ avenue, with added benefits for taking part – something this brand has also never done, so causes high intrigue and uptake.


A lot is changing right now and we need to lean into it in every form we can.

– Borders, the world, physical businesses all opening back up

– Weather globally is getting warmer so less time spent online. General market seasonality always seen at this part of the year. 

– Money being spent locally again instead of online.

Therefore, creativity will play a huge level of importance this month…

We suggest to find genuine reasons to run sales, promos or campaigns right now to boost conversion rate and sales:

1. Fathers day

2. Summer sales

3. Revenge travel hype 

4. Flash sale (72 hours/1 week only) 

Evergreen is 100% taking a hit right now. It’ll only get worse before it gets better, so we are encouraging as above, to get creative with your strategies to make the most out of what we can right now, and drive performance to be as high as it can. 

*Photo of brand performance for June thus far – can clearly see when the campaigns went live*



We would encourage you to utilise this information as much as possible, and use it to get creative with how your brand could strategise this period.


Extra point of notice: 

We have noticed performance drop offs across accounts on 1st June. Since then there has been over a 40% increase of users updating to IOS14.5. Adoption rates are increasing fast as you can see: 

Therefore, this really is a time to be thinking different, rather than sitting around hoping to ride the wave.

Your ROAS will continue to be in a downtrend, your marketing budget will be stretched thin, and ultimately you will be leaving opportunity on the table.

We hope this helps, not only to help your brand survive ios14 and the multiple updates Apple are putting out there onto brands, but ultimately we hope this helps your brand thrive, and outpace your competition in such volatile times.