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Facebook Ads and iOS 14: What you need to know

On April 26th, 2021, Apple rolled out a major update to its iOS mobile operating system. This included a new privacy feature — the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) prompt — that impacted how Facebook Ads tracks certain types of events.


This article explains what the ATT means for Facebook Ads, and how these changes have impacted the data Supermetrics is able to pull from the Facebook Ads API.



About AppTrackingTransparency

The AppTrackingTransparency framework requires app developers to get express permission from users before tracking them or their device’s advertising identifier. Read more about it in Apple's developer documentation.


With the release of ATT, any data that relies on this tracking — including conversion attribution or audience targeting — might be impacted by users opting out of it. To account for data that might be spotty or unreliable, Facebook made some adjustments to how its advertising platform works.


Impacted settings

These changes impact all campaign types in Facebook Ads, not just iOS 14 campaigns or devices.


Attribution setting

Following the iOS 14 update, Facebook changed the default attribution setting to 7-day click for all campaigns launched on or after April 26, 2021. This change is reflected in Supermetrics, where the default attribution window is 7-day click.


Additionally, the 28-day click, 28-day view, and 7-day view attribution windows were removed as part of Facebook’s update. You can still access your data for these windows through Supermetrics for campaigns that started before the update on January 19, 2021.


If you're seeing discrepancies in your attribution reporting, follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue.

Report time of action stats

While the previous default recorded when the ad impression that led to the conversion occurred, the updated model instead tracks only the conversion itself.


This means that, while all settings and data are still available in Supermetrics, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Use either "On impression date" or "On conversion date" for data generated before April 26, 2021.
  • Use only @On conversion date" for data generated after April 26, 2021.

Troubleshooting

If a Supermetrics query is set to use "On impression date" for the "Report time of action stat" setting, data will come through incorrectly.

  • To solve this issue in Google Sheets or Excel, change "On impression date" to "On conversion date" in your Supermetrics query.
    • If you have a lot of queries, save time by changing the value "ACTION_REPORT_TIME_impression" to "ACTION_REPORT_TIME_conversion" in the SupermetricsQueries sheet.
  • To solve this issue in Data Studio, follow these steps:
    1. Click any chart in your report that has Facebook Ads as its data source.
    2. Navigate to the Data source section in the sidebar. Verify that Facebook Ads is the data source.
    3. Click the edit icon next to Facebook Ads to open the configuration page.
    4. Scroll down to Report time of action stats.
    5. Select On conversion date.
    6. Click Connect.
Demographic data

Beginning April 26, 2021, delivery and action breakdowns are not supported for offsite conversion events for any campaign type. 


This change is also reflected in Facebook Ad Manager. Read more on Facebook's developer site.


When combining any app and website offsite conversion events with the following dimensions, only the "unknown" value will have any data returned:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Country
  • Country code
  • Region
  • DMA
  • Publisher platform
  • Device platform

However, the following types of conversions should still return demographic data:

  • Custom conversion events
  • On-Facebook events (On-Facebook leads, On-Facebook purchases, etc.)
  • Page- and post-related events (page likes, post engagement, etc.)


Changes to aggregation across iOS and non-iOS campaigns

Facebook no longer aggregates non-inline conversion metric values across iOS 14 and non-iOS 14 ad campaigns due to differences in attribution logic. 


Querying across iOS 14 and non-iOS 14 campaigns will result in no data returning for non-inline conversion metrics (like app installs and purchases). Inline event metrics (like impressions, link clicks, and video views) however, can still be aggregated.


To separate your iOS 14/SKAdNetwork Campaigns to report at the campaign or account level, use the dimension "Is Campaign using SKAdNetwork" to filter your data. This dimension returns either "true" or "false", so if you wanted to see only your iOS-specific campaigns, you could set the filter as:


Is Campaign using SKAdNetwork EQUALS true


Changes SKAdNetwork campaigns

Data from app install campaigns is sourced from Apple's SKAdNetwork API. This meant that the iOS 14 update impacted them in several key ways.

  • Certain attribution windows and metrics surface only partial data, excluding many iOS 14 users.
  • iOS 14 app install campaigns report the attribution window provided by Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.
  • Offsite (website) conversion events are reported by time of conversion rather than ad impression. This can lead to fluctuations in cost-based metrics.
  • Real-time reporting is not supported, and data may be delayed by up to 3 days.
  • Data is estimated, as it is reported in aggregate at the campaign level. Facebook uses statistical modeling to break it down to ad set and ad levels.
  • No support for demographic breakdowns (age, gender, location, placement) for either app or web conversions.

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