How has iOS14.5 affected Facebook's algorithm?

To give a brief summary of the technical side of the story, we look at the consequences of the changes on Facebook's all-powerful algorithm.

iOS 14.5 has wreaked havoc on Facebook's algorithm. They have lost a lot of the “right person, right message, right time” opportunity for many users. This forces advertisers to compete for a smaller number of highly targeted users. This has prompted Facebook to do things like use statistical modeling (in other words, a good guess) and broaden its audience through e.g. audience expansion. This makes much of the magic of the FB algorithm a thing of the past.

And if Facebook can't track user behavior in iOS 14.5, that obviously defeats the entire purpose of a pixel. The targeting options for Facebook ads are limited. This means less chance of granular targeting, which can result in less personalized ad copy needing to be displayed.


Now we come to the effects that advertisers will immediately notice in practice. An important part of advertising is of course reporting. A customer or company always wants to have clear insight into where the budget is going. Hence a number of points to take into account when it comes to reporting from advertising management.

Reporting has become confused within ad management, making it more difficult to make 'button press' media buying decisions. But it's not just reporting that's affected. So always check your Shopify for hard sales. Unfortunately, we generally see that brands that even taking into account any underreporting, their actual ROAS decreased.

What are others doing with iOS14.5?

Taking that into account, brands and companies are still doing “well” with FB. And despite the barriers, they usually have a few factors working for them, including one or more:

  • Businesses don't rely on having to acquire customers at a profit - e.g. if you have a really strong backend and can afford to acquire customers with less than 1X ROAS because you make up for it on the backend with the lifetime value
  • They have products that have broad appeal, so broad targeting and messaging can work for them.
  • For example, for B2B, companies focus on lead generation and follow-up marketing via email or SMS/chat.
  • Brands don't rely on just one traffic source, in this case Facebook Ads.
  • Companies are not only focusing on direct response/performance marketing, but also on long-term brand building.

This may mean that some things need to be adjusted and revised what was seen as good in the past. For example, a lower ROAS as a guideline. The fact is that the game has changed from 8 months ago and it will remain that way for a while.

The future

Companies that adapt to the new reality within FB Ads can get through it. Brands looking for ways to make the old habits work will be disappointed. You will have to adjust your strategy, or at least your expectations. There is no silver bullet or simple push of a button that will solve this change. It is essential for small brands to show adaptive capacity and set the right expectations for the coming period.