Pixel problems

A small shock wave went through PPC land when Apple came up with significant restrictions for Facebook advertisers this spring. From that moment on, users of an Apple device with iOS 14.5 could easily choose not to be followed on the internet by the Facebook pixel. Now, almost six months later, it is time to take stock.

User tracking is one of the parts that made the Facebook algorithm so successful. Because the pixel is present on almost all websites, or at least e-commerce, Facebook can easily follow the user everywhere and see where the user's interests lie. 

It can easily be seen whether a user is really interested in a particular product or service. And of course also for which products. It was also recorded in which phase the user is in the customer journey. Whether they are just getting their bearings, or whether they already have a shopping cart full. For brands, the latter group turned out to be the most profitable group to reach. This way, a well-timed ad could more easily entice the user to convert. 

How do iOS 14.5 users behave? 

Depending on the reporting source and the geography of the brand, it has now reached as many as 80-95% of iOS users chose Facebook did not allowing them to be followed outside their platform.

And although there are of course also users who use Android, iOS users are generally the more wealthy users. The data shows that they spend more and therefore bring in more sales for brands. The iOS opt-out choice meant that Facebook could no longer keep track of a wealth of valuable data. Facebook was the most profitable platform for many companies. This has a number of consequences:

  • Facebook can no longer track iOS users outside their platform to find out: what products users are interested in, who is likely to buy a particular product now, etc. So it can no longer deliver the right message (ad) at the right time. to show.
  • Facebook also lost interest category information for these users, meaning interest groups have shrunk, leaving advertisers to compete for even fewer users when targeting. That is probably why “targeting expansion” is now a default setting.
  • We see a similar effect with lookalike audiences as a result of data loss.

Remarketing campaigns have in many cases lost their high profitability as pixel-based remarketing audiences have shrunk. Showing existing or new products or services again is a lot more difficult. In some cases, you may even find that certain remarketing lists become unusable.

For now, a workaround might be to use customer lists from first-party data audiences from Klaviyo, Shopify, etc. But iOS 15 may impact that as it replaces emails with emails that don't match Facebook.

What next?

In part 2 of this blog we will tell you everything about what you can actually do with Facebook Ads and how the Facebook algorithm has been affected. We also explain how you can actually reach those oh-so-coveted iOS users.