Here’s how to prepare your Facebook Ads for the iOS 14.5 privacy update

27 Apr 2021
Jayson Chau

You may have already heard: the iOS 14.5 update is expected in April 2021. With the update, Apple users will now be asked to grant permission to be tracked across apps and websites. This is a game-changer for users, offering a new level of privacy protection. But for digital marketers, it’s going to be a challenge and Facebook has already warned that Facebook Ads might be directly impacted by this update.

This is probably the biggest topic that has been discussed for months among digital marketers. So, what should you expect from this update?

Significant changes in App Advertising

SKAdNetwork, the API introduced by Apple, will become compulsory which may restrict, aggregate or delay app event data transferring to Facebook. Simply put, the data shown in Ads Manager might not be 100% accurate.

Mobile web advertising will become messy (hopefully only for a moment)

Apple’s PCM (Private Click Measurement) protocol for web attribution will start restricting data being transferred to Facebook. For example, if you are being redirected from a Facebook ad to an e-commerce website to make a purchase, the event might get lost or not attribute accurately. Redirections because of location might also have an effect on attributions and data. This will be a major challenge for digital marketers. Facebook has promised tools to tackle this, however we are not yet sure of their capabilities.

Less data for optimisation and re-targeting

The latest update will only allow a maximum of eight conversion events per domain, and it will cap the number of events you are able to optimize. Reporting and audience creation will not be affected. If you have limited data points, for example, owning or managing only one domain, it is going to be more difficult for you to achieve better results. We can also expect to see downsized retargeting audience pool with the decreased data points.

Delays in accurate reporting

With this update, Apple’s technology will restrict and delay data access meaning that you may have reduced metrics for measurement. Data from updated users will also be delayed, and the delay may be up to three days.

New Business Manager interface updates

Be ready to relearn aspects of the Business Manager interface as Facebook is likely to update the platform to adapt to the new functions required. The changes may not be major, but any changes require time to adapt.


What can you do to minimize disruption to business? Here are some tips to help you to prepare and adapt to these change:

Verify your domains

We highly recommend verifying your website domain(s) to officially be on Facebook’s list. You can follow the guide here. If unsure, ask your IT professional to set it up for you as it may seem like rocket science if you don’t have coding knowledge.

List the eight conversion events you plan to track

The updates will introduce a limit on the conversion events you can track moving forward. Be sure to have your wish list ready, and again, have your IT professional set them up for you if needed. For example, upper funnel objectives such as link clicks or content views might not be the events that you should be optimizing in the future.

Adapting attribution windows

28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows will no-longer be supported for active campaigns. This will have a big impact on reporting, as conversions that happen during days 8 to 28 will no longer be reflected and you are likely to see a huge drop in conversion numbers. We suggest you export historical data and do the calculation prior to the update to get an idea of the reporting difference.

Develop new strategies

This may be a good time for you to make use of data from users who have given consent for marketing purposes, including emails and phone numbers. To increase the volume of this data in the future, you may want to adopt new marketing strategies like offering high-valued ‘incentives’ together with email marketing, if you haven’t done so already. It’s also a good time to consider new digital marketing tools that can support you moving forward.


This change is inevitable, and we suggest that you manage it proactively. If you have just started to place ads on Facebook, or simply are not getting the results you expected, be sure to read this insight article from Zoe Cheung as a refresher. And of course, if you would like to discuss your upcoming plans and make the best use of Facebook Ads, please do reach out to us. We’d be delighted to support you.

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