How to Address Facebook Conversion Tracking Amid Apple IDFA Changes


Perhaps the most targeted app by privacy updates is Facebook. It's the hub of reliable mobile advertising, thanks to its widespread popularity. So, how will the Apple IDFA changes impact Facebook conversion tracking, and what's the way forward for digital marketers?

A few months ago, Apple announced iOS14 updates that are tipped to revolutionize the mobile advertising sphere. Out of the numerous changes, one that has stolen the show is privacy control. In addition, this requires developers to ask for customers' permission to track their data across different applications. (We offer basics tips on preparing for the changes HERE.)

This blog takes a deeper dive into how to combat these changes and leverage tools like Google Analytics and Wicked to track conversions as accurately as possible. 

Let's get started!

Facebook Conversion Tracking and Ads

A lot is changing in terms of Facebook ad tracking as IDFA changes take effect. For example, crucial metrics such as the number of purchases or installs are no longer available in real time. 

And the consequence? 

The chances for businesses to optimize their accounts will be minimal. Besides that, these updates will most likely impact conversion optimization, match rates, dynamic ads, customized audiences, and app optimization performance.

What's more, businesses are losing critical functionalities for iPhone users with versions iOS14 and above. These include audience exclusions, value optimization, value placement, deferred deep-linking, view-through, user characteristics breakdown, consumer behavior data, CPA bidding, and more.

So, the big question is, how can marketers deal with these disruptions to keep Facebook conversion tracking optimal?

A hand holding an iPhone displaying the Facebook application.

1. Develop a Strategy Persuading Users to Opt In via Incentives

In the past, advertisers had power over users' data, but that's bound to change following the full implementation of Apple's IDFA updates. It will be the other way around, where users decide whether they'd like you to access their data. So, to persuade as many users as possible to opt in, businesses must develop an irresistible incentives strategy.

Furthermore, there are incentives you can offer to encourage people to provide their personal information for improved Facebook conversion tracking. These may include:

●     Exclusive perks. These are high-value discounts, benefits, and rewards that customers can redeem in exchange for points, which they can then use to transact anything of their choice. It's an excellent way of getting the users to opt in by making the perks a regular incentive if they give you their opt in information.

●     Regular contests, puzzles, or games. You can also organize a contest where users compete to win one of your products or get a discount on an item you're promoting. Likewise, you can set up weekly quizzes, puzzles, or games where users enter a draw and you sample the entries to award the winner or persuade the participants to surrender their opt in information to find the answer.

●     Loyalty rewards. Offering customers loyalty benefits to express gratitude is an excellent way of triggering them to opt in. For customers to qualify for a loyalty program, they'll have to register their personal information with the business in exchange for a unique identifier that they can use every time they shop to enjoy incentives like discounts or free merchandise.

●     Surveys. Here, you create a link to your business website where participants can click to fill out the survey, leaving their names and email addresses to get the results. You can leverage that traffic to generate new opt-ins.

●     Members-only specials. This is where you give your customers a chance to save money if they agree to opt in with their data. In return, you provide monthly exclusive deals to the subscribers that they can't find elsewhere.

2. Use Customer Lists to Make Custom Audiences

Did you know that Facebook enables you to use your current customers' information to customize your audience? However, there's one small catch: You must fully adhere to the data processing terms to avoid legal implications.

Of course, the first step to creating custom audiences is making a comprehensive customer list consisting of information such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers. These are called identifiers, and gathering as many of them as possible improves your chances of getting the best match rates.

After preparing your customer list, you can follow these steps to create custom audiences:

Step #1: Add your customer list. Go to Ads Manager on your Facebook business account, then click on Audiences. After that, click on Create Audience, then Custom Audience, then finally Custom List.

Step #2: Ready your custom list. Pick the identifiers you'd like to include, then add them to the customer list you created in step 1 above. Don't forget to give it a name.

Step #3: Review the customer list. Confirming that you mapped the identifiers correctly and watching out for any errors is overly essential. If you get a green tick symbol, it means everything's in place, and you're ready to proceed to the matching process. However, a yellow exclamation mark means you either omitted some identifiers or they need manual input. Additionally, be sure to make all the necessary corrections before uploading the list.

Step #4: Upload your customer list. After updating all the identifiers and filling up the list, it's time to click the Upload and Create Button. Upon completion, you can start creating ads targeting your new Custom Audience. Also, you can create a Lookalike Audience to mark other Facebook users who share similar interests and characteristics with your custom audience, enabling you to target them with your ads.

3. Use the Latest Facebook Software Development Kit, SDK

Upgrading to the latest Facebook SDK is an excellent way of keeping up with Apple's IDFA changes because it supports marketers' efforts to respect user privacy choices. And the reward? For Facebook to enhance functionality, it may receive and process pieces of data like contact, identifiers, location, and users' device information, which can help with Facebook conversion tracking.

In addition, undertaking a Facebook SDK upgrade unlocks the following features/benefits while remaining compliant with the IDFA changes:

●     Analytics. The latest SDK allows access to anonymized and aggregated data, enabling you to analyze how people interact with your app.

●     Login. The latest SDK version allows users to sign into your app using their Facebook credentials, providing safe, convenient, and IDFA-compliant customer data.

●     App events. You can also track what users are doing in your app. This helps assess the effectiveness of your app ads and identify the users that are most likely to respond to your ads.

●     Account kit. This is a feature that enables users to verify their identity using email addresses or phone numbers.

●     App links. Facebook SDK's app links enable you to control what happens when a user clicks on a link shared on your app. You could redirect them to your website or certain content within your app. Furthermore, if the user doesn't have your app, you could lead them to the store to install it.

4. Apply or Update the Google Analytics for Firebase (GA4F) SDK

Google Analytics for Firebase is a free tool that enables businesses to gauge and determine their apps' usage and engagement rates. In addition, SDK provides an invaluable opportunity for app advertisers to generate leads, enhance audience management, and improve retention rates. By providing you with unlimited reporting of up to 500 different events, GA4F allows you to sample your custom events for measuring the metrics that uniquely define your business.

Moreover, here's an in-depth look at how you can benefit from implementing or updating Google Analytics for Firebase:

●     Improved performance. By getting unlimited reporting on customizable events, the SDK can help you perform better with time and attract loyal users. More amazingly, you can leverage the Automated Similar Audiences feature to target users with the same behaviors as the existing ones.

●     A holistic business view. You can holistically view your business across the web and app by enhancing integration between the two. To support this, GA4F introduced a new feature—App Deep Linking—that enables promoters to take new users to a particular place in the app upon installation.

●     Optimize in-app activities. You can maximize our in-app actions to target users who are better aligned with your campaign motives. GA4F also introduced a new feature—Negative Targeting—enabling you to control where you'd like your ads to show.

●     Simplified audience management. Thanks to the platform's more dynamic audience evaluation, there are no longer any audience management challenges following the introduction of more straightforward rules guiding exclusion and membership duration.

5. Implement Facebook’s Conversion API

Finally, another good method for improving Facebook conversion tracking is to use Facebook’s Conversion API. The social media giant has spent years working on its conversion tracking technology to help advertisers determine the role Facebook has played in sales and downloads. The Conversion API is the latest iteration, and it can provide a clearer view of how many sales can be attributed to an ad campaign launched on Facebook.

Facebook’s Conversion API supplements the pixel you’re likely using already, and it can send more user information over for better reporting. You see, when someone views content on your website, you can’t connect with that individual without having a cookie in place. And the same goes for Facebook. However, when you have the Conversion API working in conjunction with the pixel, then BOFU (bottom of funnel) events such as starting a checkout or making a purchase can be sent from the browser to Facebook. 

Ready to Accept the Challenge?

Many marketers and business owners may regard the new Apple IDFA changes as bottlenecks to their campaigns. But as it turns out, the imminent updates could be a blessing in disguise as they've opened doors to numerous outreach opportunities that are arguably more effective than the soon-to-be-outlawed Facebook conversion tracking mechanisms.

Furthermore, it's time to implement new strategies such as persuading through to opt in using incentives, using customer lists to custom audiences, leveraging the latest Facebook SDK, taking advantage of the free Google Analytics platform, and implementing Facebook’s Conversion API. If you wish to learn how these and more tactics can enhance your Facebook conversion tracking in the wake of IDFA changes, contact Viral Solutions today!


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Filed Under: Analytics, Tools & Technology

About Jon Maday

Jon recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a degree in marketing and economics. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and loves his Chicago sports teams. Jon found his passion for marketing while in college and decided to pursue a career in the digital side of marketing. He is an eager learner and started with Viral Solutions as an intern before accepting a position upon graduation. Outside of work, Jon enjoys hanging out with friends and watching sporting events.