Facebook tells advertisers it has underestimated ad performance by around 15% since iOS 14.5 privacy update


A Facebook blog post aimed at its advertising partners reveals that the social media giant has underestimated the performance of iOS ads by around 15% in total since deploying the major privacy update to the system. Apple’s mobile operation in late April.

Facebook says the gap is attributed to “real-world conversions” such as sales and app installs, although the company says the trend applies to “many” but not all of its advertisers. The blog post also reiterated a projection made during the company’s July earnings call, anticipating that the privacy update would hurt ad performance more in the third quarter of the year than in the second.

Stronger-than-expected Facebook ad performance on iOS devices

Facebook says the better-than-expected ad performance is in line with what it has heard from partners about their campaigns, although there has been a lot of criticism of ad performance and negative sentiment about the new terms on iOS.

The main reason for the pessimism was the long-awaited privacy update in iOS 14.5, which became available on April 26. As Apple had warned since 2020, apps that use ad tracking must now notify users (during initial downloads or updates) and obtain their consent without denying access or limiting functionality for those who deny. .

The privacy update was expected to wipe out more than half of the iOS ad tracking market virtually overnight, and various studies and surveys since then indicate that 70 to 90 percent of users choose to opt out. However, the privacy update only applies to those who have updated to iOS 14.5 or later. Apple phone and tablet users have the option to turn off automatic software updates (as well as cancel automatically initiated updates), and devices prior to the iPhone 6s are not eligible for the update. updated to iOS 14. A June report from Apple Insider found that 85% of compatible devices updated to iOS 14, but did not have more detailed information on updates to 14.5.

While advertisers will likely be happy to hear that the ad performance is (maybe) better than expected, they are unlikely to appreciate the inaccuracy on this scale as the privacy update has made advertising on iOS more expensive and added a few layers of difficulty to the process. . Facebook shares have fallen in recent weeks, mainly due to a weak retail sales report for the end of the summer and a wider negative impact on ad revenue.

Apple’s privacy update sparked long-term feud with Facebook

While the digital marketing industry tends to be very opposed to Apple’s privacy update, Facebook has been the strongest and strongest opponent since the measure was announced. He has waged a war of words against Cupertino, including removing full-page newspaper ads, mainly claiming that the move will hurt small businesses that depend on targeted advertising to improve the functioning of their minimum advertising budgets. But Facebook was also forced to admit that the move has a disproportionate impact on its own revenue (via its personalized Audience Network advertising system). messaging services and direct it to Apple’s preloaded iMessage app.

Despite trying to get good news out of trouble, the Facebook blog post acknowledged that it is more difficult to measure the impact of Audience Network ad performance as a result of the privacy update. The company provided a few tips to its iOS advertisers, all of which essentially involved limiting what features they pay for or doing extra work: wait 72 hours to start measuring campaign impact, limit analytics to reporting at campaign level, configuring a particular API and web events, and even “taking into account” all other third-party measurement tools available.

Facebook did note some steps it was taking to remedy the situation, however, and suggested it would roll out new tools in the coming months to try to compensate for the changes brought by the iOS privacy update. Facebook says it’s improving conversion modeling, ramping up investments in metrics designed to fill reporting gaps, improving web tracking and other types of conversions, and devoting more resources to identifying and fast bug fixes.

Facebook has underestimated the performance of iOS ads by around 15% overall since rolling out the major #privacy update to Apple’s mobile operating system in late April. #respect dataClick to Tweet

In August, Facebook’s Graham Mudd also announced that the company was investing heavily in “privacy enhancing technologies” to apply to its ad network, a move most likely related to Apple’s privacy updates. One metric is an end-to-end, encrypted, multi-party computing model that appears to target concerns about hackers and unethical data brokers accessing more information than they should. Facebook also said it was experimenting with device learning and differential privacy techniques to further anonymize the data it collects and separate it from real identities.

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