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#Industry News

iOS 14.5 is here, what’s next?

Since the announcement of Apple’s iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update, performance marketers have been left wondering what the impact will be on their Paid Social campaigns.

You may have spent the past few weeks and months making on site adjustments to tagging, updating your owned apps and coordinating with multiple stakeholders across the globe, but now the moment is here! With iOS 14.5 due to deploy next week, we’re all wondering: what’s next?

Firstly, let’s recap what has happened, and more importantly how it could impact your advertising.


What is iOS 14.5?

Apple’s latest software update (iOS 14.5) will include new consumer privacy features, including a new ‘App Tracking Transparency Framework’, designed to offer consumers the choice of whether an app can track their off-app activity or not. The update also mandates that iOS 14.5 apps use Apple’s SKAdNetwork (SKAN) to attribute app installs and other in-app actions. The prevalent consequence is that publishers such as Facebook will face measurement and optimisation challenges for their performance marketing campaigns.

 Setup and Tracking

Prior to the launch of iOS 14.5, advertisers running campaigns on Facebook were required to undertake numerous steps to ensure that they were prepared, including domain verification and event prioritisation. Across other partners, the main setup requirement was to update owned apps to the latest SDK.


On Facebook, advertisers will have already experienced an initial change to attribution windows in Ads Manager in January 2021. Now the default attribution window will change to 7-day click only. Advertisers will also face restrictions when tracking conversion events on site, and the data that does reach the publisher may be modelled, delayed, or aggregated.

For other publishers, there will be fewer specific changes, though most publishers have acknowledged that advertisers may see a slight decline in results for conversion and app install campaigns.

 Optimisation and Targeting

Advertisers using website custom audiences, will see a reduction in audience sizes, since publishers will not be able to track the activity of users who opt out. Some publishers have recommended to split iOS 14 users into separate campaigns, to protect spend behind this audience, as well as to quantify the impact of ATT more clearly. However, others have suggested to keep budget fluid between users.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Brands running direct response campaigns on Facebook should expect to see a reduction in the number of conversion events being attributed to their ad campaigns. However, it’s important to note that this does not necessarily mean that the campaigns are any less effective, the challenge is the inability to measure them as effectively, due to tracking restrictions.

The restrictions arrive in the wake of calls for increased consumer privacy; and it should be noted that, according to the 2019 Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report, 97% of people are concerned about protecting their personal data.[1] Therefore, these changes are in line with consumer opinion but certainly, will present ongoing challenges to publishers and advertisers.

So, What Should Brands Do Next?

No one knows exactly what impact iOS 14.5 will have on the measurement of Paid Social ads, but a clearer picture will emerge over the coming weeks.

Perhaps segmenting campaigns by device type will be best practice. Alternatively, the most effective solution could be to optimise campaigns to a different pixel event or select a higher funnel objective altogether.

Website custom audiences may become less reliable, instigating the need for first party audiences to play a larger role in Paid Social strategy. As we come to terms with these changes, adopting a test and learn approach to identify what works best will be key. Whilst many advanced ad tech solutions, such as advanced matching for conversion events and cookie-less tracking via conversions APIs, will not be resilient to the iOS 14.5 changes, they should remain on the roadmap for brands. Looking further into the future, the advertising industry is quickly approaching a cookieless world, at which point APIs and server to server integrations could form the backbone of marketing technology, filling the void of cookies and pixels.

It suffices to say that Paid Social practitioners will be paying close attention to their campaigns to understand how to meet their brand and business goals, especially at a time when Social Media is the most common place to discover new brands and products[2] and social commerce is seeing exponential growth. Social commerce no longer refers to lower-funnel, revenue-driving tactics, it encompasses the entire path-to-purchase and can support overarching advertiser growth.

To see how your own brand stacks up against these priorities, we’ve developed the Social Commerce Readiness Audit which is available to you today to help support your Social Commerce priorities for 2021. Click here to download now.

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[1] Survey results from 1000 respondents. Source: “2019 Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report (”, November 2019, Tealium.

[2] Source: GlobalWebIndex Q4 2020, 33 countries across globe, n=180,852