How Apple’s 2021 privacy update will affect your Facebook advertising campaigns | PBA

With Apple’s announcement it will give users a choice to opt out of advertising tracking on their devices in early 2021, Cameron McMaster explains what NFPs should do to adapt their campaigns immediately. 

In a move to increase privacy for users, Apple will include a choice to opt out of advertising tracking on their devices in early 2021. If you’re running any digital donation or conversion campaigns across Facebook or Google this year, this impacts you. 

Digital campaigns won’t provide as much information 

Without advertising tracking enabled, you won’t be able to see the full number of people who donated, purchased, downloaded or signed up through your campaign. It will be harder to get a clear picture of how well your advertisements are actually working, harder to demonstrate ROI on digital channels, and harder to know how to build future campaigns based on campaign insights. 

Facebook campaigns will be especially affected by this change. 79.9 per cent of Facebook users use mobile phones to access the Facebook platform and 40 per cent of Australian mobile users use Apple iPhone. This means that you won’t be able to track many of the conversions that come through Facebook ads.

You also won’t be able to match to audiences using iPhones to build Custom Audiences that can help your advertising. Currently, we can target different users based on which web pages they visited (such as donation pages), which helps us tailor our messaging based on how close they are to converting. Apple’s update will make this more difficult.  

How should you adapt your campaigns? 

There are some practical first steps that you need to take to prepare for the tracking change: 

  1. Verify your domain on Facebook ads

This will make sure Facebook can attribute conversion events to your domain. In Facebook Business Manager, go to Business Settings > Brand Safety > Domains to verify.


screenshot facebook business manager

screenshot brand safety in Facebook business manager


  1. Reduce the number of conversions in your account to eight events.

Facebook can only track up to eight events (including custom conversions), so make sure you reduce the number of events in Business Manager to eight or less. Access your events by heading to the Business menu > Events Manager.


screenshot events manager


In preparation for the change, Facebook will be switching over to aggregated conversion tracking, which doesn’t rely on tracking individuals specifically, so conversion events can still be run.  

In the meantime, begin planning for a future where data from conversion campaigns may not be as accurate. Here are some steps you can take: 

  • Gather historical Facebook/Google performance data and other data sources (such as market research) to understand how best to reach your audience in the future. 
  • Communicate the changes to others in your organisation, inform them of the impact of Apple’s changes on data and financial modelling for digital advertising. This means your future reporting may not be like-for-like. 
  • Plan to run limited conversion campaigns or traffic campaigns in the future.

The full extent of Apple’s update is not yet known, we’ll continue to work with Facebook, Google and our clients to get the most up to date information on the changes

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