Addressing the Attribution FUD Around iOS 14 and Facebook

Addressing the Attribution FUD Around iOS 14 and Facebook

Madan Bharadwaj, Expert in Advertising Measurement, Attribution and Analytics

Published 03/17/2021

We’ve received a lot of questions from marketers concerned about the impending iOS 14 update from Apple and the potential impact on their ability to measure campaign performance on Facebook. It’s understandable to feel unsettled - Facebook is a significant channel for many consumer brands, some industry influencers are ringing alarm bells, and information about what to expect is confusing and vague.

We’ve got you covered. We built Measured to be agile, anticipating the need to continuously adapt to new regulations and inevitable changes at platforms. Here is a simple explanation (minus the fear, uncertainty and doubt) of how the iOS 14 release might impact campaign measurement on Facebook and how Measured plans to continue supporting our clients by working with what’s available to deliver insight you can use.

From the information we do have, there are several things we can expect as iOS 14 goes live and its associated requirements are enforced. Real-time reporting will not be supported so data could be delayed up to three days. iOS 14 will also proactively offer users the option to deny tracking on their devices. As more people opt out, there could potentially be a decrease in the size of custom and retargeting audiences.

The change that has the most significant impact for measurement and reporting is the new attribution window settings. All new or active ad campaigns will automatically be set at 7-day click-through and 1-day view-through attribution windows. 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through windows will become unavailable.

While these limitations present some new challenges for all of us to manage, they will not diminish our ability to examine results and provide valuable insight into campaign performance. Measured has access to more than four years of historical data that we can use to understand potential conversion discrepancies resulting from the shorter attribution windows. We have also carefully adapted our methodologies to ensure that Measured continues to support our clients on Facebook as these changes start to unfold.

Four Options for Facebook Measurement with Measured

  • Split test based incrementality experiments - This approach utilizes the Facebook audience split API to split target audiences into test and control cohorts. In the past we would serve public service announcements (PSAs) to the control group to measure baseline conversion propensity. We expect the shorter attribution windows will hamper the use of PSAs, so Measured is piloting alternative treatments and using the split-based measurements along with systematic lift studies to get both program-level and granular adset-level measurements.
  • Split test based scale experiments - To test for scale, Measured utilizes the audience split API to split target audiences into three cohorts - test, control and scale. The ad sets used for the test group are cloned and served to the scale group, but at 2x-3x-4x the spend, to measure the point of audience saturation. The 7-day click /1-day view attribution window reporting will still provide valuable insight into scale potential within these audiences.
  • Matched market experiments - Using a matched market method, Measured identifies smaller sibling markets/ geographies that are similar to but cheaper to test in than the larger markets. Audiences are then split into test, control and scale cells to measure incrementality and scale for each channel/tactic. Expected changes from Apple and Facebook will bear no impact on this approach.

In addition to optimizing our experiment designs for the realities of iOS 14, Measured is also helping clients prepare for 3rd party cookie deprecation issues. We now offer full service Facebook Conversion API (CAPI) integrations for clients. The forthcoming platform changes and various responses to them have heightened anxiety in the advertising world and we can only expect more changes as the industry continues to evolve. The team at Measured is committed to delivering the best tools and support to help our clients navigate times of change and uncertainty with confidence and peace of mind.

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